“That was… delicious” he heard a purr in his ear and felt the airy scent of his raven by his side. She moved noisessly, as her feet didn’t touch the ground. “Good that you sent that slave with the girl. She will lull her to sleep with her soft presence.”
He watched his subjects return to enjoying the ball. Their auras again spread widely, he felt as the air filled with magic and tension. He enjoyed it, muting it never was pleasant for the fey, like shutting a vital part of them into a cage with thorned bars.
Yet he ordered them.
The human girl sensed much more than she should, she felt his enchantment, his glamour, she even started to hate him, felt his intention. That was… interesting. Human younglings usually could feel the magic more, just like wild cubs. But these they were, unshaped by life, following instincts of fear and basic needs. Fairy children were taught to be lords from a very early age. It was depending on them, if they manage to be them, or not. Human children were never purposefully exposed to anything that could harm their young minds. Held under a blanket, loved and cared for, they were unprepared and soft. And they – felt much more. They have seen much more, their inner eye surprisingly open, until the hard life won’t take its toll. Until something slit the throat of their trust with a sharp knife.
Humans were so different from the fae. So easy to break but so absorbing and… bendable. Ready to be shaped, emotions pulsing in their open minds.
“I think you drift again with your thoughts, my busy lord. Buried deep in your plans, neglecting your mate” he heard an amused voice again and smiled. So impatient. But he loved that, her hot temper, her fire. Her blazing flame, that nothing could quench through all these years.
Trust. An issue. He knew that she was worried. He knew she would never go against him. But her spells that were sinking in his darkness started to cause him to choose own spies, own ways. He has the right to have own secrets, just as she had the right to hers – that’s why he never entered her mind against her.
Perhaps one day he will need to.
But not today.
“I thought about possibilities,” he smiled at her, charmingly, disarming her. “You are aware that kindness, once sown, once taken care of and fed with water, sprouts into belief. Into trust.”
Nymre’s eyes opened more. She had eyes as big as the sun during winter noon.
Ready to swallow him like pale portals.
“You want her to trust you? I think she already had given it all to never trust you again… and why? To keep the boy you need in shackles, I assume. To bind his hands even more.”
“Her brother soon will enter Ain’asel. To drag him here is one thing. To keep him, to force him to stay and give his soul to me, willingly, beautifully, is another thing. If this girl will trust me… it will be so much easier. She will be useful in making him more… eager. I need him eager and open like a lover.”
“You want to play with her like a toy” smiled Nymre, her features lighting up.
“An useful toy, that keeps a child occupied, until adults finish their tasks.”
“And you think that she will… allow you? I feel her, she is strong. I felt that as soon as she appeared in Dal’coler.”
Lorian’s smile became slightly predatory.
“Her mind is observant yet very receptive. And nothing makes one trust the savior than a promise of violence… a hint of darkness… a threat that overshadows his shadow. Something vile that will bind her in a net of gratittude towards the one who simply stopped it.”
Nymre seemed to gleam, her gossamer aura pulsing with badly concealed excitement. She wanted to say more, but someone interrupted.
The High Fae approached, his stride fast and cat-like. His long dark brown hair smooth like silk, and his white robe reminiscent of a summer morn.
His smile could be taken for granted, his aura muted like he was giving honors, but his bow almost nonexistent.
But Lorian knew what hides in this mind. He knew his hatred, his scorn, his… resentment and anger. And it was filling him, Alnam’s hate causing almost touchable pleasure.
His raven will have his heart in her fingers, sooner or later. Maybe they will bite through it together.
“My lord… I came to ask about… small worrying disturbence.”
Lorian waved at him and allowed Alnam. The fae lord made a content nod, his eyes joyful, pleased.
“Disturbence on the ball? I thought you are supposed to enjoy yourself, after all, it’s the night of dancing and music” Lorian grinned lightly, enjoying Alnam’s whispery voice, and knowledge of what he feels when he speaks.
Alnam’s eyes this time showed calculated caution.
“I am afraid that a human child entered the ball and stole too much of your attention, my highest lord… that was… amusing, I – and so many of us – of course enjoyed… but some ears heard, or at least thought they heard, that the ball was dedicated to her.”
Oh, the open minds, so easy to delve into. How delicious to bring them up.
“The false ears were already cut and executed” Lorian’s aura strengthened, his shadows creeping slightly from behind him. His smile is even more charming than before. “Those who brought you lies – as I cherish your wellbeing and right to have access to truth – will never speak again.”
Lorian would love to see Alnam’s face becoming paler, if not perfect self control the lord had. He was old enough to keep his reactions on a leash.
And Lorian put it into costs.
“Excuse me for being wrong, my lord” this time his tone was serious, sharp and hard like stone, yet his lips forming a perfect smile. “Maybe I should listen to truthful tongues only. I am sure that we don’t lack those around us.”
Nymre wanted to slap him in the face, leaving talon marks.
Lorian though, as always composed and calm. He needs to share that confidence with her. She admired that… and it annoyed her to no end.
“More tongues to be proven of being false or true” Lorian chuckled. “Sifting the grain from the tailings always is more than rewarding. So many little details, exposed before one’s eyes.”
Alnam face was a mask of perfect calm, controlled and reserved. Lorian felt his thoughts, washing over him with pure darkness, with clear night. His mind took it and absorbed, like a wave of sweet liquor.
“I will mind to never listen to those who come with too obvious lie. Your reminder was most needed, my lord. I don’t plan to make any further mistakes.”
He did know what Alnam wanted to achieve with that – he just liked it. As any fey, he enjoyed trying to win without causing a war. Pushing the dagger in a place where it won’t bleed. He saw that in his thoughts, in his fierce mind, still lit by dull anger, even now, even with so many years he lived through. He was an owner of personal army, he was assuming he can allow himself for that, that Lorian won’t risk losing his followers. Yet, didn’t know so many things, still – like the fact that Lorian’s power grew, fed by god’s blood. By god’s pain.
And that Lorian didn’t become his ruler because he was just unpredictable or cruel.
Alnam was as simple in his hatred, as complicated in his way of thinking. Part of him was still unknown… and part – an open book.
Combined, he was making a thrilling enemy. Lorian enjoyed this game more than he would admit to Nymre – who would just kill him, removing all threat. And adding a war between the High Fae to the plot. Yet… the one who thought he can desecrate his property – not only property, Leira, of all, Leira who hated him with the strength of a dying sun, beautiful, strong Leira – taking his face and pretending to be him, deserved much more sophisticated punishment, that just being killed, even in pain. He deserved much more. And he was going to give that to him, joyfully.
Putting him on his knees will be delightful. With all the importance, with all his power, with all his hatred, Alnam was best exercise to Lorian’s brain that his court would provide.
After all, they both were braiding a net of lies and truths, which was to capture the other. Yet… Alnam had small black hating dot on his iris. And that blind spot in his eye will be his doom.
Like a star opening in his body.
The fire slowly started to creep into Lorian’s veins. Licking his insides with tongues made of white flames, starting to slowly liquify him, burning holes in his flesh, which would drip with molten tendons if visible .
His face showed not indication of the beginning of the daily horror. His smile impecable, his pose aloof.
Yet… it was a reminder. Reminder he can’t lose.