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ATOM: A Cruel Taste of Desire – I

Lord Vern’ese couldn’t stop a deep creeping fear.

Lorian was sitting by the ornamental desk, both of them in his audience room. His pose relaxed, showing no sign of anger – but in his eyes, a deadly amusement, which promised worst scenarios.

After all, his wife was captured by the palace guard, with a sentence of a treason. How long would it take for Lorian, to spread this over him, his family? He knew, deep under his skin, that Astra did a deadly mistake trying to pull cords of that slave woman.

Lorian was always patient, waiting to give most harmful blow, even if it took more time, never reacted by a whim; and Vern’ese knew what he is capable of.

Lorian leaned in his seat, his one leg on his knee.

“We are living in intriguing times, Kolerial” he mused, still piercing him with his black gaze. “New lands were added to Ain’asel. Some of the still opposing races may think our realm is unbalanced… and weak. If we allow disrupting the state of things.”

“I tried to stop her, Your Majesty” Lord Vern’ese tried his last mean. “Surely someone had to manipulate her. I never seen her craving for the throne before. I swear, I would stop that much sooner if I saw that a danger for Ain’asel.”

Lorian rised a brow, his smile kind, but his tone cold as ice.

“Please, do not insult my intelligence, Kolerial. I know each word your wife uttered. None of these words were manipulated, more even! She deeply enjoyed speaking them aloud.”

Vern’ese knew this of course. He heard Astra. Passion, deadly and almost unhealhy.

“I am sure such a noble lord as you knows the gravity of admission. Astra refuses to aknowledge her wrongs” Lorian tapped his knee with a finger. “And I do not plan to bother to… convince her to do so.”

He felt Kolerial’s thoughts, frantic, desperate… fearful. Wondering how to protect himself from punishment. Ah, the fairy kind… so selfish…

“You though, surely aknowledge all of yours” his grin became predatory. “Your house became a source of dangerous ideas. Yet I know that you didn’t participate, more even, you remained… stubbornly faithful.”

Vern’ese felt as fear slithers deeper. Why he is here then? He knew everything. That human woman was closer to him, that he ever would guess. She told him. All.

“Your Majesty—”

“We are in the impass, Kolerial. Someone like your wife isn’t well seen dying out of treason. It lowers faith in nobility and digs a hole under powerful families. One of which she sadly, also represents.”

Vern’ese was silent. He knew that nothing he can say will speak on Astra’s behalf.

“I am giving her a chance of a peaceful death” Lorian continued, mercilessly, his shadows dancing around him, slowly, like in trance. “I am sure that public executions are… enjoyable, but I do not like making an entertaiment show from someone’s pain. Silent ones… have certain calmth and beauty to them.”

“Why I am here, Your Majesty? If… you know I never spoke against you or Ain’Dal line?

Lorian chuckled. Vern’ese skin crept. Who laughs sentencing someone to death?

“I thought that we did agree that your innocence is slightly questionable. A good noble – and I am assured that you are one – would help his wife and told me long ago. That way, she would be stopped earlier – and do not sink deeper into treason.”

“How could I…” Kolerial’s eyes opened a bit wider.

“But now, we are truly in trouble. How can I trust you? How can I still share my palace with you, if I know that you hide important informations?”

Lord Vern’erse knew where this all is going. Lorian knew him all too well.

“Will you ask for my life as well, Your Majesty?” he looked just into Lorian’s pitch black eyes.

“You forget one thing, Kolerial” Lorian returned the gaze, intense as a dying star. “You might think of me as ruthless; I will kill your wife, after all. But…”

His shadows amassed around Lord Vern’ese.

“… I am not a monster.”

*

Nymre played with her necklace, looking how Lorian conversed with two High Fae – their faces serious and focused. The chamber was filled with most important court members; some of them were loyal – Lorian knew their thoughts and they truly were. But some…

Lorian treated them like an amusing break from boredom.

Either he had a plan, which will wipe all enemies from the face of Ain’asel… or he really treated it as a game. Both were possible, knowing him.

And maybe both were true.

Lorian laughed, a silent, tempting laugh. He also knew how to gain followers. The fact that he read in their minds, knew their most secret dreams and fears was convenient and dangerous… for them.

Some of them feared him. That was good too.

But Nymre couldn’t stop suspecting that he hides more than just a secret of his sullen moods.

She had to try, until she knew… everything.

Her most powerful light spell, the truth, floated in Lorian’s direction. She didn’t had high hopes and they proved to be real. The spell sank into the darkness of Lorian’s aura and was swallowed by it, without giving any explanations.

He didn’t seem to acknowledge it, but she knew him. She was not a fool. Partially, she wanted him to feel her spells and force him to open more.

She worried; she craved honesty.

You knew who you took as a lover.

Perhaps, but her worries weren’t smaller because of it.

Maybe even… worse.

What could he hide that never shared with her, even if in the past, they shared everything?

She caught herself burying the thread of a necklace deep into her own neck. She stopped. She didn’t need another place which she would have to hide.

Lorian dismissed the High Fae, their stern faces showed no real emotions. She had a suspicion they worked for him, of course only slight, but her obsession became really unbearable. If they were spies, it would be quite unfortunate, because she should have been initiated into it too. Again something he was hiding from her. Perhaps though it was a call for her. Maybe he wanted her to see through his game and ask him directly. The thought of asking him, instead of hiding her intentions, was tempting. He long ago told her that he never read her mind against her will. Maybe he still was up to his word.

She wouldn’t even mind, if that meant he knew her worries. Maybe he was calling her and she didn’t have enough of will to understand this call.

She saw him approaching her, his smile still perfect like rising morn… or a cruel twilight.

And she knew both of them were true. One of the things she loved in him.

The chamber murmured with talks and Nymre caught herself trying to focus on too many conversations. She sighed; she was tired. Last night she caught Lorian next to her, in bed, awake, all in sweat, with his shadowed hair wet like after a bath. That was making her unable to truly rest.

She sat on the bench, surrounded by flowers. The scent of jasmine engulfed her. Soon to be broken by a delicate scent of violets.

Lorian sat near her, one hand on the back of the bench, casually relaxed, while his eyes were all the time observing what was happening in the room.

His face turned to her; clear, unable to lie, beautiful… Yet she knew he hold many lies under the surface. He wouldn’t be a king, if he didn’t.

“What bothers my cruel raven?” he whispered into her ear. Nymre shook her head.

“Maybe… you.”

He chuckled, almost disarming her.

Almost.

“That would break my heart, if I didn’t know you better.”

Nymre scoffed. He was always so perfectly confident. Even if he shouldn’t.

“You are difficult to understand lately, that scares me.”

“My charm is boundless, then.”

She shook her head, angrily. That was not what she wanted to hear.

“Nymre…” he halted for a second, like he wanted to add something, pull his entrails out for her, fill her with truth, his expression troubled, a rare sight. But the moment passed, like cut with a dagger.

She had even more worries though, she was losing fae working for her. She produced a spell, a thin gossamer protective bubble, not wanting anyone to hear what she had to say. The net cracked around them, invisible for all others, aside of her.

And him.

“One of my best spies didn’t return from her mission.”

“Spies… are not irreplaceable. That is the charm of their hard and cruel profession” Lorian traced a circle over her arm, and Nymre involuntarily leaned to his touch.

Curse you.

“And we know perfectly how others end when falling into our hungry hands.”

“If she breaks under their pressure… she may reveal what we already know about our enemies.”

“I don’t doubt they will try. Would it be so bad, Nymre? Your people don’t know even small part of what we do, we, enamoured with whole net of truths.”

“You are very sure that they will only try.”

“I know your spies,” his grin annoyingly charming. “And sometimes have very intriguing conversations with them. I like to enter their minds. They allow me to do this, so eagerly.”

“They won’t be able to break. You put your shadows in their minds” she was almost angry that she didn’t ask him to do so herself. Perhaps she was still having remorses he didn’t have.

“What a beautiful justice…”

Nymre sighed. Maybe she shouldn’t even bother to guess what he plans, what he hides. Maybe she should just stand by his side and support him. But that was not in her personality, in her character. And Lorian knew that, he loved her for that. And she loved him – among many – because of this annoying confidence and ability to win against all odds.

Maybe she worried too much.

But something still creeped into her soul, a dreadful vine, a root with a sharp end, a cruel stalk of soul-eating grass.

Did he still feel the same towards her? Crisises happen… but they were so long, so intensely long together… it was almost not embraceable. She knew their relationship wasn’t always kind to them. They had ups and downs. Light insignificant ones… and cruel too, shattering their hearts into pieces. She hoped it’s only temporary and as always… will pass.

She would trade her immortality to read in minds, like him. To know all his pain, his thoughts and plans. And maybe be able to understand his new face better.

She reached him, her hand brushed his arm. She wanted to tell him, at last. Ask. Just ask. No matter if he read her or not.

She sensed pain. A lot of. And even more determination. That’s why she didn’t ask in the end. Cursing herself, because she somehow knew, that if she asked… he would open. Maybe not now… but eventually, he would.

Her hand squeezed his arm, like she wanted to keep him from drifting away.

Riddles, puzzles and labyrinths. That was Lorian.

Riddles which she was even more eager to solve.

“Lady Vern’ese decided to betray me” added Lorian, leaning over her, his lips touching her ear. “My good will was touching, though.”

That was not new to her. Vern’ese family was old, with roots reaching to third summer king. And what she admired in her lover, other fae feared. Maybe Lady Vern’ese saw her chance.

Nymre gazed at her with questioning expression. He didn’t even need to read her mind to guess her.

“She was given grace of moderately quick death” Lorian said, with a slight smile. “Isn’t it touching, in the end?”

Truly. Truly, indeed.

But his unfinished sentence hung between them. “Nymre…”. A call for her? Or just a feeling of guilt.

6 Comments on “ATOM: A Cruel Taste of Desire – I”

  1. I imagine it must be very frustrating for her. I, in her place, would probably be thinking that he had another woman (ops) or that he had simply gotten tired of me. Because he closed himself off, apparently.
    Yes, I can understand her.
    Very nice chapter!! 💜 ^^

    1. Yes, I can understand her too. Lorian makes mistakes, more as the time goes 😉 He will try to fix that later, but… nothing is easy.
      The worst is, that he loves her, a lot. But he wrongly thinks that he has to deal with all of his problems alone, which is worst excuse. Gods’ essence changes him, shows wrong paths.

      He will tell her all… but the thing is if not too late.

  2. I’m more and more afraid of Lorian. lol The way he talks is cold. It’s that cold, calm threat. I find it much more dangerous and unsettling than the angriest threat.😨
    After lunch, I read the next one! ^^

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