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ATOM – Flesh and Bone – I

When Tiyan heard of the portal, he was ready for another translucent passage, which would swallow him as soon as he would dare to touch it. Dorh-arsol was nothing like that.

The huge gate, biting with stone teeth into the wall of the mountain, looked all but translucent or delicate. When Tiyan approached it, the monument seemed to swallow all sound and movement, replacing it with heavy stillness and silence. Tiyan almost felt the beating of the heart of the ages trapped under the surface.

Last days Tiyan spent with his very soul traveling in places in his body, he would never have thought it could. He felt the eyes, burning eyes of the – as Qhal explained him – Shadow Fairies. With a dull tone he painted him the situation that arose between Ain’Dal throne and the burning folk.

“One of these faeries killed a son of an important general” Tiyan felt Qhal wasn’t telling him everything.

“And Lorian Ain’Dal had to punish him, of course. Shadow Faeries don’t forget. And never forgive. Besides… The shadow folk has a long history of turbulence with the ruling line. Everyone connected with Ain’Dals is their greatest enemy.”

Those ominous words stayed with Tiyan for all nights which he had to spend under the canopy of thriving leaves. The burning folk were always on post, like animals, like wild beasts, giving him company, and making sure he won’t forget that they are there. Qhal, even if he almost died, seemed to not care more about them than for the snow that was falling on their faces as they walked.

“Lorian… is the king” Tiyan of course remembered who’s blood he gave to Qhal to wake him up from his cruel mirages.

Qhal’s almost transparent, pale blue eyes drilled him through.

“Lorian Ain’Dal is the one who awaits you. That is the only thing you need to know about him.”

Tiyan didn’t understand that approach. But he preferred to not ask further, in case the fae decided that he still can function without some body parts or two.

He caught himself observing Qhal with true curiosity. Aside from his animosity when he tried to talk about his king, Qhal was nothing like Tiyan imagined faeries. The small folk… their cruel games, the nightmares they were sending for him, the hunger – for his soul and flesh – Qhal seemed different. Not bloodthirsty. Not hungry.

He was closer to someone Tiyan imagined to be a High Fae.

High Fae though were unreachable perfection, which Tiyan preferred to not imagine, not now, not in the future, until he meets them.

The same perfection oozed from the portal – dangerous beauty, hiding ages of life… and cruel darkness.

The snow stopped falling and the sun emerged above their heads, pale and faint. Qhal seemed energized, even if he didn’t feed on it; maybe the closeness to the portal, filled with familiar magic, was somehow affecting him. Tiyan felt only dull anxiety.

How will it affect him? How much of his soul will get squeezed off him again and returned in a minced way? The gate, with closer look, gleamed with emptiness, similar to faint light given by the sun. What spells animated it?

“Dorh-arsol” Qhal’s voice reached him and Tiyan heard a note of warmth in it. “The only way to pass the Shadowlands and reach a lesser realm without entering Natsel’sorl. The only way… that would not disfigure your body in quite an intriguing way” he turned with amused eyes at Tiyan.

“I don’t know if disfiguring my body is worse than disfiguring my spirit” Tiyan himself didn’t know, but felt a strong urge to respond to the light mock.

“Believe me” smiled Qhal. “The other ones would do both.”

Oh, I am sure.

“Still. If you want to pass it without feeling pain – which I believe you do – I must do something quite interesting to you.”

“How interesting?” Tiyan’s brow raised. This already sounded not interesting at all. Tiyan knew that Qhal didn’t want to kill him – or harm him – after all, he was sent to deliver him to the capital. But… that didn’t mean, the fae can’t do something vile, in order to carry him easier.


“Your gaze sells you, human soul” laughed Qhal. And started to rummage in his backpack, to eventually pull out the bottle with the same blue liquid which Tiyan served him when he was under shadow spell.

Lorian’s blood.

The blood of the fairy king.

Will he have to drink it? Or…?

“It must go straight to your veins” Qhal shook the bottle before Tiyan’s eyes. “In order to allow it to, I must do… a small wound in you.”

“And this is to protect me from pain?” Tiyan mocked.

“Yes, much worse pain. Something you would not survive with a sane mind. Or you would. But I am not going to risk it.”

Tiyan looked at his hands. The fae – and the freezing cold – took already one finger from his hand.

Small wound to allow the fairy blood to enter his veins… The question was… how this blood will change him, inside.

“Have you tried that before?”

“On humans? Many High Fae transport their slaves that way. This is the only way” Qhal face showed no amusement. He was really telling the truth. Afterall, he couldn’t lie.

At all.

“Very well” Tiyan swallowed saliva. He knew that something like that may happen, since he was told about the passage. He won’t be able to save Mina, if he will be backing off too often. If he won’t be able to walk as fast as he can, as long as he can.

He pulled the sleeve. The chill attacked his skin immediately, a cruel touch of winter. Qhal approached, and taking his hand in his own – strangely delicately, with care – he pulled the small dagger, and quickly, without prolonging it, he made a cut. Much deeper than Tiyan suspected. His mouth released a cloud of warm air, stifling a loud protest.

Qhal as quickly as the cut was made, poured the blue blood on the wound. Tiyan’s own blood trickled thickly on the white snow. Tiyan looked hypnotized, as the fairy blood is not falling down in droplets, but gets under his skin, worming its way into him, up up, to eventually disappear inside him…

Like it wanted to be in him.

Like fae blood wanted the human one.

He felt as the whole world dissolves in strange haze. Dazed, and confused he looked at the gate. The ancient carvings on it seemed to dance before his eyes, emitting the blacklight, so bright in its darkness, that he had to lower his eyes. Black as burning as light. Almost unbearable to stand.

He took few breaths, trying to gain courage to look again. The gate seemed to reach for him, almost ordering him to look at it and bathe in its repressed and still power.

When he raised his gaze at Qhal, nothing indicated that he enjoyed it too much or not. A mask of perfection, hiding all his feelings. The fae started to enchant the vines around his bleeding wound; a touch of spring, soothing all pain and allowing him to heal quicker.

“Will it… change me inside?” Tiyan had to ask.

“Maybe… but no one enters Ain’asel and remains the same” was the enigmatic answer.

Yes. Such a good question. Has he changed? Was it bad? Or, maybe better ask, if he became something different because of it? Something more.

Or something less?

Will he stay human still, when – if – he will be able to leave the fae realm?

The portal seemed to look at him, again stale and towering, and only that. Hungry with the hunger of the High Fae – not obvious… but a threat hidden behind the wall of beauty and enchantment.

2 Comments on “ATOM – Flesh and Bone – I”

  1. So good to read a new part!!😊 From what I know, everyone who enters fairyland and comes back is somehow different. Nothing “in-your-face”, however. It’s something more subtle. I think he will come back changed, but I hope he continues to be a good person. ❤️ ^^

    1. Yes, exactly 🙂 Tiyan will continue to be a good person, but there will be darkness to him. Something like in case of Frodo after the One Ring.

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