Leira was sure that something was not right. And something was not right, the night seemed to crack with tension, which she could slice with a knife. The usual thick magic of Dal’coler which she thought she was used to, seemed to haunt her, like a ghost of the past in an abandoned building.
Her steps quickly led her to her own room. Lorian offered her another very surprising gift. Safety in her own chamber. No one could pass the magic that guarded it, only him. She would call it a good will, if she suspected it in him. Probably he wanted to be the only one with full access to her.
Or it was an act of care. She sometimes – only sometimes – had a feeling that he wanted something other than her obedience, that she saw an other kind of interest in his eyes. Something… less cruel. But it was as… curious, a perfect unknown, as frightening. Why would he even care for her? After things he did in the past? After fear she felt because of him?
A sudden glimpse of him, as he pushes the shadowed tendrils, deep under her skin. As he smiles at her, when they worm their way into her veins.
Yet these small acts, however read them, were tempting her. Were promising something other than the life she led.
And she was abandoning herself even more in her needs and wants. Hating herself on how easily they were appearing. And hating him, most of all.
You are not human, you are not worthy to be a human. Not anymore. You lost yout humanity, you lost your soul. You are dead inside, as empty as fae eyes.
This emptiness gave her courage though, gave her wings, buried deep into her flesh, made of feathers and hard silver, allowing her to not fear more, to not be the victim. Emptiness, making her more like the fae. She loved it and abhorred it, because she knew it makes her stronger, but takes part of her soul away.
The air filled with dark magic. Just on the path to her room. Something wanted her, something needed her… and it was not Lorian.
Her steps carried her faster. If she reaches her room, she will be safe. What if the danger awaits her just at the door, though? What if it plays with her? In Dal’coler, she had many enemies. Many fae, who hated Lorian. Many who hated her. A court filled with black hearts and hungry teeth, craving for blood of those who couldn’t defend themselves. Perfect prey for the thirst that was filling their throats.
A sudden sound crashed against her thoughts, like a hammer.
A raven. It was sitting on the balustrade that led by the stairs from which she was quickly stepping off. A raven with strange blue eyes – unnatural and round. And it croaked. Low, but oddly melodic voice, again not fitting for a raven at all.
Leira slowly passed the raven, and then, another joined in, sitting on a crystal that beamed with feylight, its eyes set on her, like wanting to pull her thoughts, one by one.
Curse it, curse it.
Leira left the ravens behind, not even looking at them, and just… walked faster. She knew who could use the blue eyed ravens in this palace. And the only one who could – was a danger that Lorian would not want to stop. Maybe Nymre would use his love for her to remove Leira once and for all. Like she knew what brimmed in Leira’s heart, knew her all needs and wishes. But it was impossible. Nymre couldn’t read minds. She could only be paranoid and hate the scarce attention Lorian was offering her.
Third raven, behind her.
Fourth, almost brushing against her face. Fifth. It tangled its talons in her hair, and pulled. Leira didn’t scream – no one should even scream in Dal’coler if they really don’t have to – but started to run. Fast.
The flock of ravens came after her, separating her from her room, attacking her with talons and beaks, but not making any bleeding wounds.
After all, she was Lorian’s property. He would not be pleased if Nymre hurt her.
The birds, the massive amount of feathers and bodies just pushed her against the wall and she lost her breath. She was aware, through fearful mist, that the ravens stop attacking but she hit the stone so hard that she lost sense of where she was and how she landed here. She touched her forehead which took the hardest blow.
Of course. No blood.
She slowly started to gather herself, trying to stand up, her ears sounding with dead silence. This was the first time. First time she went against Lorian’s will. She felt not safe in Dal’coler but safer than before. She was a fool. Fool. Fool.
Stupid girl, who forgot so much from the beginning days.
“I see you met my servants. They love fresh meat. I had to stop them, or they would harm you. And that would be… unforgivable.”
She gazed in the voice direction, but she already recognized it. She didn’t even need to see her beautiful, round face, her perfect white hair, her intricate dress, which glimmered like an obsidian star. But she saw her and her not less perfect smile, shaded with cruel promise.
Nymre slowly approached, Leira trying to stand on her feet, fast, to not meet her on her knees. Nymre though, couldn’t care less. Her power lifted Leira up, until she stood, or rather hanged before her, her supple finger lifting her chin, with a studied care.
“Tell me, child” her voice soft, but tainted with expectations and badly concealed worry. “How close are you to your owner?”
Leira shook her head, her golden curls falling over her face.
“I am… owned by him” she said, her voice clenching in her throat, that hard Nymre’s power was.
“Oh, definitely, you are” her magical grasp tightened. “Did you please him? Has he taken you? Do not lie, I can feel the lie so easily.”
Leira’s mind whirled. This was… mad. Lorian has taken so many others, yet, she asks her, of all? That was so ridiculous, so sad.
“Never” Leira choked, the fear taking a tight hold on her, even if she suspected Nymre wouldn’t kill her. If only Nymre knew what was in her head. But she didn’t. She only suspected, fearing that Lorian was not faithful. Oh goddess…
“You tell me that ‘never’, my dear” Nymre’s voice, somehow, controlled. Her aura, light as cold breeze, enveloping Leira, she felt as thick gossamer sticks to her skin. One pull, and her skin will be open. Fae auras could be as cruel as their owners.
“Yes, my lady.”
“But I don’t feel the lie in you” Nymre’s voice indicating that she is sad, that her suspicions were not true. She would love to have a reason.
“I don’t lie, my lady.”
Nymre grinned. It was a cruel grin. Hungry grin of someone who spotted her prey and now, it’s only a matter of time until she feast on it. Someone who caught it and won’t release it, as it’s a good and filling prey.
“I know what you truly want. A human, a slave. But so many privileges, so much attention. And how many good fey he killed because they tried to teach you a lesson. I know he wants you. He could have you so many times, but he wants you willing. If you yield…”
Leira was released, tossed on the ground by Nymre’s retracting power.
“… if you yield… I will know” ended Nymre. She was furious, it could be so easily seen. She hated the idea that Lorian could not want her only. That he could want her willing. “You were taught so much boldness. If you yield… I will teach you humility.”
Leira saw that in her eyes, a hatred and something… deeper. Nymre, that was now obvious, hated her slowly, gradually, from the very beginning. The hate, the anger, was rising in her, like an avalanche of hard stones. And if something adds to it, a tiny gravel piece, it will burst into falling death.
Leira saw this with all clarity. Death. Even against Lorian’s will.
Nymre had to realize that Leira saw that. That she recognized it. But… she could of course harm her, but not without consequence in her private life. The question was, is she risks it.
Nymre left her, laying on the floor, the air filled with delicate scent of sea breeze. In the midst of raven feathers, surrounded by fluttering fairy lights, which suddenly started to dance around her, attracted by her fear. Attracted by her darkness that was starting to bloom in her, in reaction to the threat.
She of course had no chance against Nymre. No chance against any fae, even the lowest.
But she was not weak.
And it hurt her even more. She was not weak. But death was not reaching only for the frail ones.