This is a few chapters long story, on how it all started between Alnam and Lorian. They already despised each other, but not as much as after the events. Let’s just say that Corvel wasn’t killed because of having eyes for Nymre 😉 Lorian is not a fool. He would not kill a son of Alnam because of a woman. Alnam though, never knew the real reason…

 

Dal’coler was… intimidating. To say the least. Living his whole life in his father’s property, not visiting the palace, the first impression pushed Corvel into the ground. The stone walls, which were guarded by the magical barriers, were biting into the mountain side, like teeth of the predator in its prey’s throat. When he and Alnam were passing the gates, many eyes looked at them – stone eyes, brimming with strange intelligence that things shouldn’t have.

Alnam seemed focused on the goal, which was passing the gate and only this. In his opinion, Dal’coler was not a good place for Corvel, at least no until he learns its ways. He was too naive, still, too young. Court schemes should be left to older fey. Like him. Or any other with more than four hundred years. But Corvel gave him no choice. It was his biggest dream and Alnam hoped it will appear for him as he dreamed it, not a disappointment.

The lonely passages that surrounded the heart of the palace, breathed with melancholy. Filled with stone sculptures surrounded by ever hungry vines. Pierced by roots, just like walls. The place had a beautiful aura of something decaying in all its glory. Reaching to them with talons made of mist and night.

Alnam loved Dal’coler.

Corvel touched the wall with badly concealed fascination. He stood in that pose, like the stone was telling him long forgotten stories – and maybe it did, each fey felt Dal’coler differently. Personally. Corvel pressed on Alnam for months to be taken to the court. Wintery court for an autumnal child, born seven hundred years too late…

Without saying anything they passed the main corridor, leading to the throne room. As custom wanted from each lord, younglings were submitted under judgment of the king. Alnam already had enough of old customs, at least those who were changed. Current king didn’t keep to tradition, unless it was comfortable for him. And gods help them, the young fae were pleased when nothing like that bound them. Bliss and violence. Darkness and illusion of freedom.

The corridor became wider, more overwhelming. The roots and even whole trees were growing straight from high, looming walls. Alnam was drinking it like delicious wine. But he saw that his own autumnal child was not used to the dark aura of this place. At least as much as High Fae could not be used to their natural element.

Corvel, though visibly nervous, enjoyed the visit, which could start being his key to blind and moody but also generous fortune.

Alnam was sure that for Corvel, change of the environment, may be both his saving point, like his damnation. He liked to think, that rather saving point. Corvel was maybe inexperienced in court life, but filled with inner flame.

Dal’coler already injected its poison into their veins, brimming in them, promising more than they could ever get. Corvel looked enchanted. Boy should know that with his blood and strong budding magic, he could bind many humans and lowest fey here with such thick magical thread, that they would never be able to set themselves free.

Oh, he was surely aware of his own power. Alnam minded to pass him that knowledge. But Corvel was only thirty. A man who was still a child. Too young to truly spread his wings.

A small lesser fey approached, bowing before them, her opalescent wings gleaming with their own light in darkness.

“My lords… king Lorian was told that you arrived. He… waits for you in the throne room.”

The slight pause the lesser fey did, told Alnam, that Lorian either doesn’t wait for them at all, busy with own affairs… or prepares himself to just reject Corvel. It was not a secret before them that both disliked each other. Alnam thought that Lorian is a brat with huge ego. Lorian thought that Alnam would one day oppose him openly. The words filled with toxic brew they both exchanged, always were heavy with animosity – the court possibly predicted Alnam’s fall already.

A human woman passed the corridor, far from them, yet Alnam stopped his gaze on her. Blonde hair, oval, beautiful face – features like taken from an old tale… and well known human fear in her eyes. Alnam knew her. She was Lorian’s slave. Strangely still alive. Lorian captured her on the wild hunt. He remembered her better than others, for some reason.

Alnam’s gaze lingered in place where she was, when she disappeared.

Corvel looked with badly concealed interest at the throne room, when they entered the chamber. Alnam needs to teach him to not stare. Not here, when each step was watched by many eyes. Some of them, with attention only, some – with hunger.

He saw Lorian as soon as they entered.  Filled with tempting enchantment… and all of this in the wrong, distorted way. When Lorian took the throne, Alnam hoped that he will be a king who will be at least in small amount similar to his father, Marnsul. Marnsul was rigid but fair and Alnam was proud to call him his friend. Lorian yet, even if at first seeming a perfect match with the throne… with time turned to show his true, cruel face. Lorian didn’t have children, though and that was giving less hope. Only offspring can replace a king. And of course the assassin’s hand. But in Lorian’s case, trying to kill him was madness. His magic was too strong and that alone was making Alnam hope he will get his woman pregnant, the sooner, the better.

Or any woman, that is.

Lorian was conversing with her exactly. Her face tensed, she was not agreeing with him and that seemed to displease him too. Worst moment to present Corvel, thought Alnam, but what has been done, couldn’t be undone.

He felt Lorian’s attention on them, rather than saw, as he still seemed to be focused on Nymre. But he felt it, deep under his skin. Lorian looked at them slowly, almost lazily and Alnam bowed, his expression a perfect mask of calm composure, Corvel following his example.

“My lord… my son, Corvel Devlon” presented Alnam.

“My lord” smiled Corvel. He was moved by the atmosphere of the capital, so much. Fire in his eyes and probably in his soul too.

At least that.

Lorian stood up, Nymre looking at Corvel with curiosity. The fey ruler approached, stepping down to them.

Alnam wanted to shake Corvel, so he straightened, for dark woods’ sake.

Lorian smiled charmingly. Like he was really glad from their arrival, which Alnam knew was not true.

“Look at me, boy. I need to see your heart.”

Corvel raised his eyes, flaming and passionate, holding darkness of another, purer kind. And brushed over Lorian’s black holes. His gaze drifted though and suddenly landed on Nymre.

Alnam cursed in his mind. Because his son’s gaze landed on Nymre and stayed there. Longer than it should in such situation.

Lorian’s eyes followed Corvel’s and his smile from perfect became perfect and predatory.

“Many wonders are to be found by you in Dal’coler. I am glad that you found some even before being accepted as a part of the court.”

Alnam decided it’s time to enter and stop this. Corvel was not making good impression. And gods know what he was thinking.

“My lord… will you do the honor to our family and take my son under your wings?”

Lorian managed to cause Corvel to focus on him again. The boy really needs to learn how to be a lord, though Alnam. Maybe the court will carve that in him, even by the price of wounds.

“Your son is a promising young fae, such high flame, such intriguing… mind” Lorian’s smile still lighting up his features. “I like seeing what Devlonmere has to offer, always. Fresh blood is delicious.”

“I am glad to hear that” Alnam pressed his teeth. “This is pure joy… how it could be otherwise.”

“The first day in the palace is always the most enthralling one. I will send someone so to show him his place, a one he truly deserves. So he could revel in tempting beauty of his new home.”

Alnam felt like hit by the moon spear.

“I will show him myself, my lord. You surely need all your servants.”

“Lesser fey can do the task without blinking an eye. Let them enjoy. Let them feed their eyes with new face.”

Alnam smiled too. His grin stark and pure, a waking up sun. A young radiant star.

Lorian was testing him, but Alnam was both used to it… and ready for it. Corvel looked at Lorian with curiosity, which could move mountains to tell him their secrets.

Yes, you will learn, that not all here is what it seems. And most of residents of Dal’coler will faster eat you than level you up.

They didn’t like each other, even if they would never really frontally attack. Alnam knew why Lorian does it and Lorian knew what to expect from Alnam. They both danced on the edge of the colossal munument and the pit under them was filled with broken glass, which any of them wasn’t that eager to fall onto. He didn’t even blame Lorian – he would do exactly the same.

Alnam just hoped that hidden gaze that Corvel gave Nymre again, was only an accidental one.

But of course it wasn’t.

Of course.

Foolish boy.

Alnam was furious, how badly it all went, deep under easy words and court politeness. Corvel should know better.

They all should know better.

2 Replies to “This Cruel Pain – I”

  1. I loved reading this, Lorian!🖤 I was always curious to know how everything happened leading to the death of Alnam’s son. I confess that ever since I read the summary you wrote a while ago, I sympathized with Corvel. He seemed so innocent and pure to me…Unfortunately he fell in love with someone he shouldn’t have. From what you said, that’s not why Lorian killed him, but I think it was kind of the beginning of everything that led to a path that ended with his death.

    1. Corvel is really a pure one, for a fae. Pure ones don’t last long in Dal’coler.
      Yes, Corvel’s fault was that he was was charmed by Nymre’s beauty… and that he was in wrong place in wrong time. And Lorian is not a good person, tormented by own demons. It had to end bad.

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