Categories wip

ATOM: Luna – VI

Leira’s silent feet walked the bloodied floor. The fae who feasted between these walls already departed to continue their dark enjoyment elsewhere. Her boots stained fast – but she didn’t pay attention to them. Her hair was falling with a thick cascade in her moonlit face. She had to see it. How wild they can be, when their veins boiled hot. The ballroom seemed a place from sensual and cruel nightmares, where dark needs were fulfilled in most ruthless and perverse way.

The chamber smelled of magic. Not even of blood. Of fae. Beautiful scent of flowers, trees and leaves. They could enchant a human with mere this, if they wanted. Before, she was asking herself so many times, why such cruel beings were graced with such charming beauty, with tempting voices and powers. This was before she understood the fey, where her life was a streak of fearful days, one after another. Now… she understood that faeries were hunters, and their beauty was their trap. Brightly blooming predatory flowers, tempting their prey. It was so obvious and her views from before were now laughable for her. The fae could force you to love them. Force you on your knees, Or just feast on your fear like carnivores feast on meat.

And Lorian…

His darkness was his temptation. Pulling his victims on an iron string with tendrils of shadows, collecting them, to swallow them later.

And she fell for it. After long years of resisting. But now… she wanted to know more. Now, she felt that he returns her curiosity, interest, and passion. That he wants more of her. Not only for her body, that he could and had anytime. Of her.

She was curious of his soul, she wanted to dig deeper, fascinated. Passion and a will to understand, a dangerous amalgament, definitely for her. She felt it in her mind when their thoughts intertwined.

The fae liked someone when it was convenient. Loved when they could feel it sensually. Lorian… he didn’t only say he admires her. She felt that. In all lies he was capable of saying, it was a rare truth.

She knew that Lorian was in her mind, anchored in her thoughts. This would be frightening, if she wasn’t used to it. Her thoughts were his thoughts, her feelings were his. He felt with her and was with her all the time.

Yes, this would be terrifying for them all. It would be even terrifying, if they knew that he can do that, enter their heads, play with their thoughts. Change them. But she was not afraid. If someone wanted to hurt her… he would react ruthlessly and fast.

And you like that.

Thoughts were running through her head, uninvited. She loved it more and more. She only hoped none of them – the fey – will ever see it. To never become an open book, so the enemies, the same who spilled blood here mere hour ago, couldn’t find her weak spots.

The floor was wet and she could see herself on the surface of blood. Crimson face, like an omen. Her eyes calm like ponds, also red, gleaming in the crimson with ghastly light. She could swear she sees Lorian’s face, just near her own, his smile mysterious and heartwrenching. But as soon as soon as he appeared, he vanished, leaving her confused.

All fae seemed to depart. But she was not alone.

A soft voice reached her from the door. But loud enough to startle her. She turned slowly, her heart involuntarily started to beat a tone faster… but not enough he could find out it did.

Kolerial Verne’se.

The one she spied. The husband of a woman she sentenced to death.

His smile was kind. Awfully kind.

He crossed his arms, in an aloof pose. His long hair seemed windswept, like he was on the balcony or the window, admiring winter.

“You look at your face in the mirror of blood, child? They say such a mirror… shows much more to the one who looks into it. But not all answers given by it are… happy ones.”

“My lord” she made a curtsy, her dress fluttered around her legs.

“Do not pretend. We both know you have only one lord” his eyes darkened, Usually icy blue, now reached much darker colors. “How he hid you. Bearing a slave status, and on a leash. He has an intriguing mind, I must give that to him.”

He got closer to her. She didn’t back off. She didn’t even fear. She knew now, it was too late for him. Now, he could do nothing. Lorian spared him. Every move against her, would be his doom.

“I always wondered why he kept you for so long…” mused Vern’ese. “Now I know. I remember when he brought you to Dal’coler. You were prey incarnate… but he always had been drawn to you, no matter what he was doing to you… How did such a fawn become a wolf? Fascinating…”

A smile cracked Leira’s lips. Her pose, so far bent in a slight bow, straightened. Her face met Kolerial’s. Her eyes gleamed with something dangerous. She didn’t need to pretend anymore. He knew. She didn’t have to hide.

“We are all living our lives the best we can” her voice wasn’t the voice of a slave. Not of a prey incarnate. This voice… only Lorian was aware of. Only he knew of her inner struggles, her fears, her desires and her strength. “Even if we must use teeth and talons.”

“Oh yes! You not only survive. You like it” smiled Kolerial.

“Would you not like it, my lord?” she smiled, beautifully. Like a fae.

“If I was you, I would drown in it” laughed the fey. “You are of a lower race. Every other would not hide anymore under the mask of a servant. They would want to avenge their suffering. The faster the better, they would not allow others to see them weak and bent. But you…”

Her smile still on her lips, wandering. Defiant.

“… you enjoy pulling the strings. And that is… very faery. I could congratulate you. If you didn’t kill my wife. Who was a fool, but I loved her. If I was a fool as well, I would kill you now.”

“I don’t doubt a lover in you still wants to do it” her eyes were merciless, like daggers. “I am not surprised. I am not afraid either.”

“Ah, but your only power is being our king’s spy. His favorite. His… toy.”

Leira chuckled.

“Do say what your heart desires, my lord. I long ago stopped caring about words. They can sting, they can slice. Fae kind never spared me their words. They can bury so hard into one’s soul. But only if one  let them enter it.”

Kolerial’s eyes drilled her through. She could swear his mind works faster than usually, that he tries to… feel her. And she could swear that she heard a smile in her head. Lorian’s joy. She heard him, but at the same time not. She saw his voice. She felt the touch of his black gaze.

“You are very bold for a prey…” eventually, Kolerial stopped examining her. “But that could be said by every fey. You are ready for words and their blades… But now, we serve the same master. I can’t betray Lorian and I don’t plan to. I want peaceful and wealthy life. My wife… ” he stopped but shook his head. “But do know… not all of us will like it if they find out how well you played with their lives. How you fooled them. They could stand and possibly will stand being fooled by their king. But not by a lower human being.”

“I will take a risk, my lord. Do I have another choice?”

“If you want to live, no.”

“So I will do what my heart desires. And risk my life in this. After all, we all are playing it. It’s the cruel charm of Dal’coler.”

“And you really know how to be in its favor” he offered her a bitter gleam. She knew him, partially. Lorian told her about old autumnal lords. The ones who had souls still in autumn.

Kolerial, Alnam, Manahal, Lokin.

They all had copper leaves in their hearts, and bright  rays of sun.

And her heart belonged to frozen planes and  high icy peaks.

She looked as he departed. Slow-cat like moves. His scent of pansies, his aura, gleaming mutely.

Yes.

There was no turn back. In Dal’coler, even the stones were hungry.

Kolerial disappeared behind the vast door, leaving only silence. Silence so thick that could choke her, if entered her lungs.

Her feet carried her again. In dim hush, her boots meeting the stone floor was an only sound. Death was still present here, but turned into awaiting, patient silence. She walked to the throne, on which Lorian was usually sitting during feasts. The chair next to it, only slightly smaller, belonged to Nymre. Always by his side, a watchful raven eye. A lover. Almost a wife, if he ever decided to take one. Her heart beat faster, when her fingers ran over the ornamental frame of the royal seat. Blood. Everywhere, drying slowly. And the slight scent of his aura, violet darkness. The throne was engraved with wild brushas, his symbol. With an uncanny, almost human faces, swallowing their own tails, feasting on own pain. A symbol of someone who will do everything to achieve his goals, no matter how many he hurts on the path to it. No matter how much scars he will carve in his own flesh. No matter if he dies, he will always prevail. Relentless. Unstoppable.

And she heard a voice. Lazy, muted, but which sounded like an opening wound.

He took her here. Poured blood on her skin and took her. Do you want to know how? How she moaned for more?

Her heart stopped for a second. She looked around, but saw no one. Not even fairy lights, the chamber was illuminated only by the huge orb of the solstice moon.

“Who is there?”

You love it, yes, old soul? That he ravished her. That he ate her whole. How does it feel? How does it feel, old soul?”

The voice seemed to come from everywhere… but from nowhere. Drilling into her heart.

She felt fear, yes.

Whoever it was, he knew what lays in her heart. And wanted to harm her with it. Wanted to sprout a seed of doubt.

The voice became a dull silence, filling her ears with its song. Pressing inside her head, just like Lorian’s mind… but without pleasant strokes, without sensual touch of his shadowed power. It was the dimness of fire burning in a closed space, a trapped flame, hungry for air.

A flame maiming her mind, mincing it like meat pulled between two stones.

And again, it left her, making her gasp.

Lorian.

Lorian.

It wants Lorian.

And you.

How does it feel?

The last frantic thought caught her mind in cruel tongs, squeezed her head and she could feel that her brain – might – just – trickled through her earholes.

She fell on the floor, with her hands on her ears, trying to stop the absence of the sound. The absence of life.

The absence of space unpolluted by the trapped flame.

How does it feel to have your mind open so much? Old child?

Categories wip

This Cruel Pain – II

Corvel never felt so lost in any place. Dal’coler was dark, overwhelming and monumental – traits he wasn’t accustomed with. Devlonmere was different, light, sun licking white curtains and entering white walls behind white curtains. His family was bound with the white, since he remembered. White – like snow. Like winter. Even if his father seemed to hold autumn in his heart, also since he remembered. Corvel never knew king Marnsul, a companion to his father, good one. Yet Marnsul gave life, when the forest chose his son.

Corvel Devlon – his name meant that he had lord’s status, yet he never grasped the subtleties of commanding, acting like the world belonged to him. Self-confidence. He grew up in a secluded place, where he was loved. Adored, without needing to give orders.  He was aware this kind of upbringing is not common among High Fae. Most of fey didn’t bond with their children that much. He knew his family was unique.

But Corvel wanted to taste life in the palace. Far from safety. Far from the warmth of his manor. Something dark bloomed in his heart for some time. His father would say that he grew up, that his claws became sharper. He thought that he needed the change to see how others live. Compare, drown in night, and return. Maybe bolder.

Father always was telling him that love can command just as well as fear. Even illusion of love. Even a lie.  But among High Fae fear-inducing was more respected. That, Corvel wanted to see as well.

Darkness was… tempting. Somehow… less polished to shine, but beaming with timeless power. Father said once that it was the matter of time that blossomed in him. Corvel was as much wanting it, as he was afraid.

But the want was stronger.

When he at last traversed the dark and shadowed passages of Dal’coler, he felt the ages in them. Whispering ghosts of the blood which was spilled here through ages. It spoke about power, relentless, hungry and unstoppable. Every young fae would be moved.

And Corvel was very moved.

Each of the stones here had its own history. He would love to know each one of them.

The lesser fairy with black wings and antlers growing from her thick copper hair led him through a richly ornamented corridor; the scenes carved on walls depicted things which Corvel didn’t see well and couldn’t decipher their meaning. As the fey stated at the beginning – they were aiming the private quarters of the lords. Far from the throne room, but placed in a circle around the royal chambers. Corvel stopped to admire the art and spatial build of the capital, even expressing his curiosity a few times. The fairy’s voice was melodic and silent, when she explained to him with a low tone, that she was ordered to show him his rooms and only that. By the king. And his order had to be fulfilled in every detail.

“Why is my father not with us?” he tried to sound as commanding as he was able.

“Your father was invited for a supper with King Lorian, my lord” the fairy smiled meekly. But Corvel could swear that he saw a wild gleam in her burgundy eyes.

“Will he visit me here… or?”

“Please forgive me for my impertinence, my lord. But I do not know. I am only a messenger.”

This sounded reasonable.

“I was accepted to the court. How will my day look from now on?” he was really curious.

“How you wish, my lord. You still don’t have duties in the palace, so your day will be filled with pleasures. You can do whatever you want. Whatever your heart desires.”

The possibilities… that sounded a bit… frightening. He didn’t know anyone here, yet he was given a free hand in everything. Possibly he could get to know other lords, with time. But they were winter fae, and he was raised as an autumn child. How will they react to him?

How will the lords and ladies react to his lack of sophistication?

Maybe they have books here. For sure they have. But then, he doubted many High Fae here liked to read.

“Can you send someone to my room?”

“A woman?” her eyes gleamed.

“Someone who can show me around here, that is.”

“Of course. But allow me graciously to give you advice, my lord. Do not ask servants if they can do something for you. Other lords…’ ‘ she shook her head, her copper hair falling on her forehead, in a very wild way. “Command. You have the right to do so.”

That sounded like the advice his father would give him. Something, which would allow him to not sound like an autumnal child in the winter court. Alnam knew how to command. He led armies to battle. He many times did this against his own beliefs, because he had to. But he knew how to lead faeries, who always were more selfish than loyal. He could be ruthless if needed.

Corvel still didn’t have that in him. But he hoped that it would bloom in him, just like he imagined in Devlonmere. He wanted power, he wanted darkness, even against his own nature. He wanted to be like Alnam, yes.

He wanted to be like Lorian Ain’Dal.

He heard about the power of the king. He possessed rare shadow magic and it was so strong. Stronger than in any other winter king. When he met him, he felt it, pushing under his skin.

When he met him…

and…

HER.

Face hidden behind the raven mask, which was almost blending with her skin. A nonchalant smile on her lips, like everything around her, was boring to her. Her aura was so similar to his own, light, but strong. He felt that she had more power in her small finger than he in his whole body.

Perfect temptation. Perfect trap.

And he fell into it, willingly.

Lady Nymre, the king’s consort.

Oh, he heard about her too. But nothing prepared him for seeing her.

She was allure incarnate.

And she belonged to the king of Ain’asel.

His chances were nonexistent. Trying anything, he would doom himself.

*

Alnam watched as Lorian lifted the cup with wine and sipped from it slowly, his dark eyes set on him above the rim. Nymre was sitting between them, like a dam between their mutual dislike. Alnam always thought that Nymre was clever, but vain. Intelligent but very selfish, A fae woman in every aspect. Someone who he always had to take into consideration, while traveling to Dal’coler.

Lorian was aware of that. Nymre was not his weakness, though. She was his weapon, just as she was his lover.

Corvel made a bad first impression, yes. Nymre seemed lazily amused by his attention, He hoped Lorian thought the same. It would be unfortunate, if Corvel became a sliver, which he would want to remove. Given that he thought of Alnam as a bother, it would be a good excuse to send Corvel back to Devlonmere, without giving him a chance.

“So…” the cup was put on the table and Lorian smiled. A slight mock behind it, yet not enough to call it an offense. “The young boy wants to taste the flavors of Dal’coler.”

“He is here exactly for that, Your Majesty. My son is not used to life on the court, though. He is very young.”

Lorian’s smile cracked into something darker.

“Many young fae are not ready. But the circumstances make them willingly open before possibilities.”

Alnam’s brow drifted higher.

“Corvel is very excited, my lord. I do not ask for special favors for him, though.”

“Oh, but he will get them,” Lorian’s gaze slid over Alnam slowly. “A son of my father’s most trusted companion must receive… my most special attention.”

“I hope this won’t bother Your Majesty” Alnam’s serious expression hid his thought inside his head, where no one could gaze into.

“On the contrary! I will adore to offer him the right treatment.”

Nymre’s piercing eyes laid on Alnam. He could swear she tried to dig into his mind and pull his thoughts out.

“Your son is very fine,” she mused. “And he has a taste for beautiful things.”

Lorian sipped the wine again.

“He will see many beautiful things here. But he must be aware that some of them hide claws and sharp teeth. A predatory plants in disguise.” his eyes gleamed with stars. “As you know well.”

Nymre took a small piece of meat on the fork. A small droplet of blood fell from the morsel, just on the plate.

“I can promise you that I will keep a watchful eye on your son” Lorian tapped the surface of the table with his fingers. “And do not allow him to fall prey to dangers of Dal’coler. That is the least I can do to my loyal general.”

Alnam was sure that it was true.

Lorian may not like him, but he would not harm Corvel, just to prove his point. He was not petty, cruel, yes, but not petty. At least that he knew well.

Why did he feel that it all went wrong?

“Is life in Devlonmere treating you well?” Lorian seemed to offer him real attention on the subject. “Narlia… it was too long since I had delight to see her.”

“Narlia perceives pleasures of solitude very personally. They soothe her soul… just as mine.”

“We all sometimes long for loneliness… even if surrounded by miracles and beautiful nightmares.”

Nymre chuckled silently, kindly… but enjoying these words, like she knew some dangerous secrets. Lorian and Nymre… the shadows over Ain’asel… yet never step too far, never crossing boundaries. Deadly. And unpredictable.

His own skills will be very useful here. Lorian looked amused by Corvel’s purity.

And maybe, he involuntarily helps him to grow a stronger spine.

Categories wip

ATOM: Luna – V

“Who is he?”

The inner garden swallowed them, separating them from the bloodstained chamber, from the tall arches and columns, from… everything. Lorian’s personal garden, which he gave a long time ago to Nymre, so she could keep her ravens here, and rest from the noise of the palace. Filled with rarest flowers, which usually bloomed only in spring – now they bloomed for his winter. Black roses, ashen hellebores, sweetest narials, cruel voarnlons.

Nymre liked the peace of this place. Where she could chew on her worry and feel it even more. Sometimes, she was sure that this place was her personal torment, her beautiful torture chamber.

But now, she felt only the scent of flowers, which Lorian stained with eternity. They were immortal, blooming all the time, the same ones through long years. Lorian liked taking life. And giving it on a whim.

But now, Nymre wasn’t ready to think about those Lorian graced with immortality.

She wanted to know what enemy could stand between their immortality and them.

Possibly many of them. She wondered about which of them Lorian would tell her. She would want all of it. But she knew that he never, ever showed anyone all he knew. To her, in the long gone past, but he changed. She changed. For better and for worse.

Lorian’s lips and hands were still stained with slave’s blood. Her robes, fastly pulled on her body, also were crimson. Somehow this reminded her first visit to Dal’coler, after Lorian claimed the throne. They were so much younger… and she was so drunk with the possibility of the fey king turning his attention on her. Lorian always was different from his father. She never met anyone like him. He was so filled with fire. He took her on the table in his chamber, her skin dripping with wine, which they spilled in reckless passion. So red.

Like blood.

In which they loved to bathe the world.

They reached the bench made of black wood from Harlorn forest, near Shadowlands. The trees there were so filled with magic, that no one used it to build furniture from it. Lorian though, always was different.

He sat on the bench, one foot on the knee, his gaze playful and filled with small glittering stars.

At least not with the void. She hated the void. Especially if it was swallowing him, leaving an empty shell.

“The silence after the sound of death is quite… intoxicating” he mused. She crossed her arms, she didn’t sit. He would again play on her body like on a harp, making her willing. And she wanted information. “I see” he chuckled, and leaned over the back of the bench. “Strong. Determined. I love that, Nymre. Even if it’s turned against me.”

She sighed.

“The Saru spy… a pawn, but well trained by his superiors. Not only a warrior, not only a spy. An assassin” he commented charmingly. Curse you, Lorian Ain’Dal. “He was of course not ordered to kill me. He was ordered to kill the vessel. Quite suicidal target. If he was killed, nothing would stop the first ones from drinking souls half of the Saru in existence. But they preferred to kill half of their people, to only take us with them.”

That was not only suicidal. Mad. Born in the depths of a doomed mind.

Lorian still smiled, like it was nothing. And she read her mind. For trivial thing. But she allowed. Of course he did it.

“You would think that water folk don’t have darkness in them. But they have it, another kind of night. Night that puts one’s head under a blade, to save its companions. A desperate darkness of a martyr. A cruel soul chopping the hand of the executioner, who does the killing blow, even when their head already rolls on the ground.”

“Human terms…”

“Perhaps. But so fitting, my cruel raven. The Saru are used. Used by the ones who want to fill themselves with us. And they will feed on Saru too. But… they prefer death over being our property.”

“Fools.”

Lorian laughed. It was bitter laughter, which she rarely was hearing from him. Filled with ages of unknown pain and struggles. Maybe now it was the time to ask him. To… try her chances. When you started to fear the reply of your own lover?

“I wouldn’t say so, my nymph of blood. Water is a free element. And prefers to drown in its own vastness than allow the dam that would stop it from flowing. And maybe… only maybe… this is what I can use against them.”

“You won’t kill this assassin.”

“I would not go that far,” he chuckled. “What is a spy, what is an assassin, without one, very important trait?”

Nymre lifted her brow. Of course.

“Loyalty” she whispered.

Of course. Yes.

Lorian nodded. His gaze even more playful than before.

“I can put any loyalty into his mind. Since no one knows what I am capable of, no one will suspect him of being beautifully… indoctrinated. His trusted company, his faithful rulers… a hope in eclipse, a parasite inside the womb of everything.”

She released the air that she held in her lungs for too long. She would do the same, if she had his power. She many times relied on double spies. But with Lorian’s ability… it was undetectable, and his loyalty will be completely belonging to Lorian.

Beautiful indeed, in its simplicity.

“Lorian…”

He raised his brow. She approached him, slowly, her wings embraced him, like wanting to hold him forever in her presence. Do not slip away. She looked into his dark eyes, night and shadows incarnate, his power emanating from him, strong, pleasant in taste, beautiful. She shook her head. She had to ask.

“Lorian… I know…” she felt the weight of these words. Heavy like an iron axe pushing through the air between them. When you started to feel that way? His secrets. His mysteries. His all. “I know you suffer.”

His gaze drilled her through. Endless and deep like caverns under the mountains. He loves you. He loves you more than anything. He has the whole world, but it’s you who he wants most. But he suffers. Something is not right. No matter what his lies tell, she knows. They have been together for more than two hundred years. And she feels him more than before, he is already part of her like an iron sliver in her heart, painful but shining with unearthly light. Beautiful like a dying star. Deadly as a wolf’s claw tearing one’s throat.

Hers.

And his own.

He still looked at her, an undeciphered expression, darker than ever. His shadows pulsated around him. Purest dark. Unadulterated. The air around them became thick, so thick she could slice it. Muted, dim. Threatening.

“Lorian… do not…”

She blinked.

His eyes again black void, killing all light around him, leaving black and all-swallowing debris.

“Yes.”

Yes. He said it. He said it for the woods’ sake.

“So tell me. Why. Tell me, or I will move all stones in Dal’coler to find out. I will bury this palace under the snow, if I had to.”

He laughed. Casually, so lightly, like it was a joke, like he always was doing.  But it  sounded too similar to an incoming storm, ready to wipe the whole world. A preparation for a fall. A last blow given to a dying sky.

“Something that shreds my apart, Nymre” his voice low, well-controlled, but deep down, a hate, deep hate for the force that causes him pain… but also hunger for it. She could feel it, as clear as she was seeing his face. “I am dying so I could live.”

“Your mysteries stopped being tempting” her voice was dull and tense. “And became scary. When it stops? Whatever is tormenting you… does it have such power over you? When, Lorian.”

“When my victory is full. When I drink the last drop from their open throats. Last sunlit drop of the golden blood.”

She exhaled. Golden blood. The gods. Something with these cursed gods, who are trapped under the mountain. She didn’t have to ask more. The doom wasn’t coming, even if it was prophecied in those books Lorian dug in the temple. The doom, which should have come long time ago. Lorian really did something vile. Vile for himself, vile for any sensible fae.

He is dying so he could live.

Curse you!

And this was strangely reminding her of the Saru spy. Lorian was ready to bathe the world in blood. But also himself, to only get what he wanted.

She hoped it is worth it.

The flowers around them started to slowly open, attracted by the lies. By the heavy air of the mysteries. They were feeling Lorian’s darkness and his secrets. And they loved it. Now she knew part of it… but she was not happier than before. Less suspicious,  yes, but angrier.

What he was probably doing was sick and mad.

“I won’t stop you, if that was what you thought I will do” her light aura bubbling over his skin. Her anger. Her love. Her. All of her. Her desire and her fear. “Trust me more, for the forest’s sake. I am not one of your slaves, good for bed, but not for sharing anything with them. My eternity is entwined with yours. I hope you didn’t forget, you beautiful bastard.”

Lorian’s gaze drowned in inner shadows, but his smile again present. Maybe some kind of relief in it… or maybe she wanted it be there. Maybe he still hid hundreds of secrets.

But she wanted them all. A burden, but needed one. The angrier she was getting, the more flame she was seeing in Lorian’s eyes. Fierce, warming, pleasing. She felt his black gaze deep in her veins, burning her, filling her… so much.

He always knew ho to fill her.

“It won’t kill me. As long as my power can hold the balance. But the moment will come, when the vessel arrives. It will be very delicate process. They will awake fully – and I will need to hold them down.”

“What do you want to do?” she already knew she won’t find the answer neither satisfactory or relieving.

“I will drink the fire” his grin held an ominous gleam. “I will drink the flame from his veins. To kill the god, one needs to be one of them. I need to be their equal, Nymre. And I know we both won’t like how it will be done.”

Categories wip

ATOM: Luna – IV

 

His teeth reached her neck and sunk in her flesh, her bloodstained body pressing against him, taking him in, squeezing his shadows out of him straight into herself. He felt every tensed muscle, every drop of sweat over her body. The screams stopped some time ago, replaced by the sounds of his subjects, enjoying the night.

The court was drunk with lust and wine. His beautiful, dangerous court of collarbones and phalanges, of honey and blood. The forest whispered his name, silently, when he climaxed, taking Nymre with himself. His release pushed more shadows into her womb and made her finish too.

“Curse you, Lorian” she murmured into his mouth, when he left a wound on her neck in peace and offered her a shadowed kiss. Deeper than his tongue could reach.

He chuckled into her lips and responded with fire. Once more.

He would abandon himself in her again, if not a noise in the corridors, leading to the ballroom. The fae’s eyes drifted there, as always alert, ready for danger. Ready to respond with even more of it.

His court of death’s hellebores and frozen trees.

And now they all bathed in the spark he ignited.

Nymre raised her hazy eyes, turning her head to the entrance, her whole body crimson. The murmur of the fae sounded like a whisper of the forest as well. Leaves and traveling roots. Rain soaked moss… and falling snow.

Whoever it was, they liked tension. Or were just stupid.

When Lorian thought he would have to drag them by himself into the feasting chamber, the door opened. Wings. Massive, raven-like, black as coal. Slender body, beautiful but in an uncanny, not obvious way. And eyes like green orbs, too big to be beautiful, adding even more unnatural charm to their owner’s features. Light aura repressed, the scent of a stone warmed by the sun in the noon.

Bean Sidhe. Her wings torn in so many places, her skin as well, showing patches of burnt flesh.

Lady Avel.

Sent by him with Nymre’s ravens to have an eye on the vessel.

And she barely made it.

Dragging a tall faery on a silver leash, his eyes white like snow, his body also stained with blood, but wounds not as numerous as Avel’s.

“My lord…” Bean Sidhe coughed and small drops of blue blood left her mouth, dripping down her chin. Just on the not less blood-stained floor.

Lorian looked at her lazily. His one brow lifted with a well-repressed curiosity.

The faery whom Avel brought before him, was tossed mercilessly on the stones. Just over a torn and tormented body of a human Lorian offered to his court. The white eyed looked at it with badly hidden disgust, mixed with fear. Good.

“Yes?” Lorian’s silent voice filled the chamber. Cold like snow in an unknown fairy’s eyes. Nymre smiled at Avel and the faery, running her fingers through Lorian’s hair.

His court looked in no less lazy way at the white eyed one, considering if he is worthy of being interested in or not.

“Your Majesty” Avel eventually reminded herself of her position and fell on one knee, even if her wounds wailed. “The Saru warrior. From Nor’learl. A spy, all the same.”

“How curious…” Lorian’s eyes gleamed with amusement. “And how unfortunate for him.”

Saru lifted his heated gaze at the throne, at Lorian, Nymre, and embraced the court with utter contempt. So bold. And so stupid. Lorian kissed Nymre in the neck, catching a few blue droplets trickling from her wound.

“Is your wish for me to interrogate him, Your Majesty?” Avel pulled the leash, causing the spy to fall back. Nymre looked at him with her ideal, blue eyes, like she wanted to carve a soul from him.

Lorian clicked with his tongue.

“The court is in the mood, Avel. Maybe we should leave this for tomorrow. Tonight, this sweet fool would not survive an hour, not less an amount of time needed to pull information from him.”

One eye of the battered body under Saru’s feet opened. The human slave moaned, his nerves and tendons visible, moving in agony. His mouth catching breath, hopelessly. The spy opened his eyes wider.

Lorian smiled kindly at the Saru warrior. The court around him smelled of blood and dark desire. Like a predatory animal just before attacking its prey. Like a calm before the storm. It had a delicious scent, and he knew that Saru would not survive longer than the flesh which was lying under his feet, mutely begging anyone to end his suffering.

“We are good hosts,” mused Lorian, his fingers digging into Nymre’s exposed skin. “And during the celebration of the New Lunar Year we should be even kinder. Even to a spy, who wanted to know our secrets so badly that risked reaching Dal’coler. I must admit, I am impressed.”

Saru’s gaze filled with both despair and fear… and some kind of bold determination. So beautiful, with a beauty that Lorian was fond of. Harder to break, but the process more fascinating as well.

“Lift him up” Lorian ordered, and Avel obliged. The silver thread around the prisoner’s neck became even tighter., digging hard into his skin “Your boldness is intriguing. I would love to reach deep into the core of it.”

His smile became predatory. Nymre ‘s fingers dragging slowly over his chest, her lips touching his face, her hand delving between his legs – her knowledge how to punctuate his words was flawless… His power trembled around them and shifted, making the air thicker… filled with violets and night. Saru’s eyes now beamed, he had to feel it too.

“Take him somewhere where he can think more about his own courage. Maybe even plan how to use it against me. It will be such a rapture to see how it all fails.”

The fae around him looked at the spy intensely, curious of him. Saru. The race of the morning dew and the starlit ponds. Ain’asel swallowed their realm years ago, but the water folk were amusingly resistant.

“I won’t scream” a melodious voice reached all of them, a rippling of a stream, a sensual touch of a rain over skin. “I may fear and feel pain… but won’t scream.”

Nymre laughed. Like bluebells on the wind.

“Maybe we don’t want to make you scream.”

Lorian’s hand closed over her tight. She growled, approvingly.

“Screams… are beautiful” he smiled, his most tempting smile. “But not needed. Some things are better left for imagination.”

Lorian’s smile was hunger incarnate, when Nymre’s leg rubbed against him, just in the right place. He felt as he becomes hard again, as she was looking with scorn at the the spy, caressing Lorian’s chest, in slow, deliberate way.

Avel pulled the leash and bowing before Lorian again, she dragged the spy to an entrance. Nymre’s eyes narrowed. Her body still heated, but her worries slightly overcoming the heat.

“Saru, Lorian. Here?”

“Oh yes, my raven. It was the matter of time.”

“How did he harm Avel so much?” she didn’t let go.

“So many things to unravel” he purred into her ear. “With him and in him. And in you.”

Nymre sighed again, when his hand closed around her breast, and trailed a path around her nipple.

“You are careless, my lord.”

“On the contrary. Today is a day of victory. But I delved into his thoughts. I know who he is.”

“And?” Nymre’s body pressed against his chest, her hands over his back.

“I will tell you, when having less ears around us’ ‘ he kissed her behind her ear, making her slightly shiver. “Maybe, in the end, we can retreat and disappear… like hunters after a good pursue.”

Her eyes glimmered.

“Allow me to steal you, my raven” he sighed into her hair, inhaling the scent of leaves and moss.

“Always” her lips tasted his, tasted violets and jasmine, tasted his eternal hunger.

And his lies.

His shadows.

His everything.

And she knew that this time, she would know everything.

Categories wip

ATOM: Luna – III

Lorian’s gaze followed his more and more carefree subjects, warmed up by the wine and influence of the moon. He sipped his wine slowly, his hand only sometimes picking up the goblet. His eyes delved in the depths of the ballroom, his mind catching delicious thoughts, filled with fire, awaiting fulfillment, which their heated bodies and souls craved for.

He felt the moon warm his own body too. Eternal lover for all the fae, which reflected all their needs. All their hidden desires.

He felt as Nymre leaned to him, wine mixed with her feminine magic caused her to be less tensed, less restricted. And darker.

“Lorian…” her fingers landed on his chest and slowly traveled down, on his tight. “I allowed… the wine to work on me. I loosened my guard…” a small, vicious smile wandered on her lips.

Lorian felt her insistent body, as it started to press to him, latching to him like sticky honey. His eyes gleaming with something that would frightened all the others, human or fey. But not Nymre. She wanted it. She desires exactly this.

“I shall use it against you…” he whispered, a sultry caress for her ears. “Use all your weaknesses.”

Her eyes sparkled, her long talons closed over his tight, he felt them burying in the flesh. Such a rapture. Such a tamed, beautiful, tempting pain.

He will give her more of it.

Just as they both wanted.

His finger took a whitish lock of hair that fell on her forehead, brushing it behind her ear. Her eyes were now wild, deep like wells filled with thorns and black roses.

Painted with blue and white.

“But first… I want to spark that fire to unbearable heights” he purred into her exposed ear. “Painfully intense.”

Nymre sighed when he touched her neck. The other fae, who were sitting around him by the feasting table, were only partially aware of what was going on. Some of those who danced, following the atonal sound of the forest music, played by the group of the lower fey, already started to disappear between the low arches, by the ornate doors which led to corridors, even outside, to taste cruel love of the frost and snow.

Lorian felt Nymre’s arousal. Her worries disappeared from her mind, leaving a place only for enjoyment, the moon filled her with another kind of strength. She was unquenchable now, untamed. She was everything he admired in her, ready to destroy whole nations with her magic and allure. Send all lesser beings on their knees. Just as he did in the past. Enjoying the pain of those who opposed them, carving their names on their skin…

“But first, I will give you… blood.”

His gaze landed on a human slave, one of many, who now served Lord Trivan, handing him the goblet of strongest, moon-influenced wine.

Nymre followed his attention, and her smile became falsely concerned, almost frightened, unsure.

A game they loved to play. A game they never were tired of. A hunter and a prey, a hungry wolf and a maiden. Death and life. It worked on his lover better than blood apples.

His power danced around the slave, with dark and deepest shadows. The human felt them quicker than saw, entering under his clothes and pulling him in Lorian’s direction. He moaned into a tentacle of shadows, which pushed around his mouth, entering them and taking his breath away.

“After all, the most intense love is bathed in crimson” he smiled at Nymre, his face lighted up from within, beautiful and pure, like cruel winter itself. Nymre’s hand closed harder over his leg, as she followed the sight of the human, who approached them willingly, looking at Lorian with fear.

His shadows pushed the human under his feet. Fear in the slave’s eyes, a real unadulterated fear. Invigorating one. Beautiful. Lorian could feel it in the air, in his marrow. All fae could feel the human emotions, fear, love, desire, and desperation. Fear, the sweetest of them, was overwhelming for every faery. It fed them with its strength, and Lorian could feel how his body reacted to it. Nymre saw and felt it too… and she loved that.

He smiled at the human, reaching to him with his hand, like he offered his own life to him.

“Come, child” he spoke, his shadows drifting off from his victim, returning to him. “We are enjoying ourselves. So much. We want to enjoy even more.”

He felt frantic thoughts in the human’s mind, a will to escape, strong, desperate and hushed by reality. He had no way to escape. Yet he still would try, if given a chance. He removed the shadows, to allow breathing.

“Do you want to serve your lord?” he mused casually, staying with his hand on the slave’s abdomen. “Give yourself, to bring him enjoyment?”

“N— Ye-s… please…” the human’s fear was intoxicating. Lorian dragged him closer.

He touched his chest, dragging his hand lower, under his simple slave shirt, until it landed on his abdomen.

“Your blood is hot. Allow me to make it even hotter.”

And he pushed.

Human’s eyes opened wider. At first nothing seemed to happen, but soon, the slave’s skin started to tense and spread, his mouth forming a pained groan.

“Bleed for us” purred Lorian and the slave’s body, slowly, mercilessly, bloomed with thorns. Blood poured from the wounds, when they pushed through his veins, making him bend in an unnatural pose and eventually fall on the stone floor. Torn skin opening more, but Lorian didn’t intend to kill him. This was just the beginning.

The fey around them looked with fascination as human’s skin closes tightly over the thorns, and the victim is left panting, his pained moans filling the air. Lord Lon’s fingers also closed over his lover’s arm. Lorian knew what they all needed, a beautiful torment to break all rules that usually were binding them, and set them free, and willing.

He wanted it.

He wanted to tear into this slave’s flesh and cause his agony. Lorian surely would allow him. He felt as the other fae, the whole Winter Court beamed with vicious energy, blooming in them, fast, like night flowers. This was the night when all of them wanted the same thing. Praise the king with sweet pain… and gloat over his power.

Free.

Untamed.

Wild.

Just like nature created them.

Lorian smiled, beautifully, like the sun coming from between the clouds, and pulled the slave; his shadows carrying him straight under his feet and up. He lifted his chin with his fingers; tears already in the human’s eyes, while the fey king’s black gaze delved just into his terrified soul. Lorian’s fingers smeared theem on his face with a tender move and closed his mouth with a hungry kiss. Pushing more shadows inside, a slow and visceral torment. Lorian lost in the taste of fear, dripping off the human’s tongue like nectar for the gods. Better, even, because it was so real. So touchable. So delicious. His eyes closed, when he ate it, all, swallowing it, draining the human from hope.

He broke the kiss, his smile pleased, his expression bright like the brightest star.

And his teeth buried in the skin on human’s neck, fresh blood poured, staining his robes with crimson. Hot, human blood, iron in disguise, the only iron the fae could bear. He growled into his wound, tearing it further, devouring the warmth. His taloned hands caught the slave’s hips and forced him closer to himself, digging in his skin, leaving marks. The blood trickled down the fae king’s lips an chin and landed in thick drops on the table. The human tossed, scream caught in his throat.

Lorian raised from above him, licking his lips. His smile bloodstained and hungry, Nymre so close to him, he felt her blood too, under her skin, in her veins.

“Do you want to please your lords’ hearts? The court loves you. They crave for you. Perhaps I should give them what they want. A sacrifice for the moss and stone.”

And he looked just at Lon. The fey lord could swear it was directed just at him, and his hunger reached its peak. The faery king’s power threw the slave at the floor, hard, leaving bloodied trails.

“I would keep you for myself… but the solstice is a time of sharing. I may allow them to pleasure themselves with you. Allow them to experience my grace.”

The human’s eyes met Lorian’s. And found in them amusement, dark, unforgiving… alluring. And his own fate. No matter what he does, he will suffer. Lorian wanted it, so it will happen.

“I—” his body, still pierced with thorns under his skin, hurt with the pain, but muted, like the faery wanted to leave more place for suffering. He knew that Lorian wouldn’t let him be. What was better? To be killed by him, or the others? His thoughts were buried under a wall of despair. His voice was unable to leave his mouth, the destroyed throat refused him, the blood still pouring from wide wound. He started to helplessly crawl, only far away from Lorian, even if it was futile.

The fae’s eyes on him, digging holes in his already wounded flesh.

“Not beautiful enough” laughed Lorian, his laugh silent but cutting the air like blades. The fae around him slowly moved from their seats. An offering for the moon. Bleeding sacrifice for the forest. Something so rare, but more tempting thanks to that. Their auras glimmering, darkened, when their powers amassed over the human slave.

A gift from their king. Who now was equal to gods.

All barriers broken, only pure lust left.

Lorian leaned back in his seat, a smile, cruel, beautiful one, dancing on his bloodstained lips. Nymre was looking at him intensely, his depraved raven, feeding on the emotions of the court. Her fingers, mimicking his own trail over the human’s abdomen, slid down, down, just between his legs.

And pressed. Feeling he is more than ready to own her.

Lorian’s gaze pinned her to her seat, her body aflame.

“I need it, my lord…” she murmured, her eyes wandered off, at the fae and the human, and the blood and pain. The Winter Court celebrated the New Lunar Year, causing the flesh to scream.

He pulled her on his lap, lifting her dress and allowing her to sit astride of him. He was hard already, and he knew that this act would push the court into more intense, sweet abandonment.

Her impatient hands pulled him from his trousers. They both were heated, powerful and free. Her kiss was hot like molten iron, and just as deadly. Her grasp on him, her breast flattening over his chest, her nipples erected, visible through her dress. She descended on him, he reached deep into her, his shadows entering through her skin, and traveling down, even more, to the point of no return. She moaned, her arms around his neck, her legs tightly pressing to him, like she didn’t want to let him slip from her and join the celebration.

“Fuck me” she grunted, such a low voice, enchanting. Like a distant storm. “Make me yours. Make me your moon bride.”

“I will enslave you” he grinned, his black eyes glimmering with danger. “So hard. Mercilessly.”

“Do it, my king… break me.”

He took her, wild and free, to the sound of the screams and under the moonlight, which hung over the castle, bigger than the sky, pulling all the right strings in their nerves. The Winter Fae knew how to celebrate. And they knew how to drown in the purest wine of freedom.

“Bathe me in blood” she purred, biting his ear and drawing a small droplet from it. His shadows coiled around her neck, pressing, hard.

And he laughed.

And he did it.

The court abandoned itself. In pleasure and violence. In pain and lust.

Freedom.

And the light entering the arched windows, eating them alive.

Categories wip

ATOM : Luna – II

Alnam observed the ceremony with a bitter air. His chest heaved, when Lorian stepped into the sacred circle, ready to become one with the woods; only for a small while, but it was enough for the protective forest to anoint him again. To give him all power again. Allow him to hold all the reins – again and again.

Alnam didn’t understand it, the only explanation was that the woods… liked Lorian’s nature. His hidden crimes. His reign that perhaps – only perhaps – was giving them enjoyment of a more twisted kind.

His eyes drifted at Nymre.

In long gone times he thought she was the most clever woman in this court. But at the same time, he thought that Lorian may be the perfect choice, a perfect king  – after all.

Now, he thought of Nymre either as a fool, who takes a monster to her bed. Or someone who simply enjoys it. The court changed so much through last years… and he… he stayed an autumnal lord, with all bad and good it was bringing. Winter was alien to him, too harsh and too cruel.

Autumnal lord in the palace of frozen dreams and nightmares covered with a thick pillow of snow.

Nymre… poor soul or a twisted creature that fed on his lover’s darkness? He would lean to both. She was more than meets the eye.

Lorian was always so beautiful… and under it, maws filled with blood. How could they not see it? His hatred, dull like old pain, drilled his soul through so many years that he didn’t recognize it anymore. It blended with him so tightly that it became him.

Making him hollow.

Lorian, smiling, took Nymre by the hand and led her to the ballroom, to start the celebration, which will end for many deep in the woods, in bedrooms, in corridors, hungrily relishing on each other, tasting the pleasures. And as always he will spend this time of freedom, with his memories.

Corvel.

Narlia.

Leira.

When he met her in the corridor, some time ago… she was not the same woman he tried to ease during the same celebration. Who he wanted to love. No, who he loved; her strength, her innocent boldness, her resistance… and who he wanted to respect… all these feelings didn’t fade during last thirty years. Perhaps became even stronger, as he observed as she changed. From Lorian’s slave, she went through a long path. And he didn’t know anymore who she hated now. Who she wanted now. To whom she was leaning.

But not to him. And he wouldn’t dare to even talk to her about this, not knowing where her loyalty lays.

This was over, a fast, fleeting moment of pain and joy. Lorian did it masterfully, throwing him again into another pit filled with shadows.

“Alnam, my friend…”

The familiar voice. Alnam turned to it, to see a tan face of one of his strongest allies, Lord Kolerial Vern’ese. They fought together in two wars and both relied on each other for so long that he would never consider him less than a friend. In the court filled with deception and cruel games, Kolerial was an exception. He never plotted against anyone, planning their demise.

Which could not be said about his wife, whom Alnam didn’t trust from the beginning. A poor choice of usually very rational Vern’ese. Dark heart, hidden behind sharp beauty, she held the household in her talons like a wild shuldra.

“The ceremony was quite the sight, ” mused Kolerial, looking back at the disappearing court. They followed Lorian to the ballroom, among laughs and eager conversations; a promise of pure pleasure above them, like a heavy cloud, their auras shivering.

“I wonder how much of what the priests share with us, is truly the woods’ will,” said Alnam with a calm smile. He pondered about it for years already. Perhaps only he minded the blood on Lorian’s hands…

Kolerial gazed at him, then at the disappearing crowd. His face an undeciphered mask, showing pleased content, a mask, which Alnam knew very well.

Kolerial knew about Corvel. The only time he lowered his guard and – to not suffer alone – he shared his pain with someone from the outside.

Sometimes Alnam wondered if it was a good choice. But Kolerial never even tried to use it against him. Never played on his memories… like not a winter fae.

He was stoic like an autumnal child and that made Alnam like him. It was rare, in this castle of dark.

“Woods are a god,” said Vern’ese, with a slight amusement. “Maybe they love us, but it’s a twisted love.”

Alnam never tried to pull Kolerial on his side, to make him hate Lorian, just as he did. He knew that he preferred silent existence and hatred, real, blood-boiling hatred is alien to him. He had no reason to hate Lorian, he could not trust him, fear him, after all which he knew about him, but Alnam didn’t expect anything from him.

And it proved to work between them. His brother in arms stayed away from any court scheme, but was true enough to understand Alnam’s desperate pain.

Which still blossomed in him, after all these years.

Alnam didn’t expect him to bathe in it, and change his calm demeanor into a creature of vengeance. His own vengeance died a long time ago after all, with his not less desperate act in one of the New Lunar Years, thirty years ago. Lorian killed even that. And took Leira from him.

He breathed in air and exhaled loss.

“Will you again travel to Devlonmere tonight?” Kolerial’s eyes beamed with slight worry. He seemed to know his tendency to tear up the old wounds. In Devlomere, where it all started.

“No, not tonight. I still have duties to do, in Dal’coler” Alnam suddenly felt very tired. Duties of battles that were not his own. Duties connected with nations which already bowed before Lorian. He tried to perform them with as much strict finesse as he could.

“You should allow your subordinates to take some from your shoulders.”

“I can’t,” Alnam laughed bitterly. “I am too grown into the procedure. Devlonmere will wait. It always waits, after all.”

With its white walls, pallid sky and cruel mountains. Beautiful, raw and wild, a real winter tale, happening just before his eyes. He was its autumn lord, even before it took the white color, a copper and vermilion home of his youth, of his best memories… and his first love. Narlia, who loved autumn, but even more loved winter. Her lilac lips, a contrast for the white, either in autumn and in winter. Beautiful. Cruel in their truth-speaking way. Honest.

“Why are you tormenting yourself, traveling there? Here, you at least don’t see ghosts.”

“And here, I can at least do what soothes me the most” Alnam’s lips curved into a perfect smile.

Kolerial lifted his well-shaped brow.

“Play this charade. Isn’t it all we love most, me and Lorian?”

Play the charade. Something overwhelming. But taking his soul into place, where white walls were a safe harbor of good memories, and the bitter ones…

… were just perishing.

And he knew Lorian loved it too.

How could it not be a perfect end for himself? Losing in the charade, which he played for forty years. But he knew he would lose it one day. The thing was, how much he will take with him and how much it will belong to Lorian.

Maybe nothing.

Maybe all.

Categories wip

ATOM: Luna – I

“The gates are open once again.”

“To let the moon in.”

“To swallow the sunlight and replace it with frozen darkness.”

The voices of the forest priests resounded in the vast chamber, filled with fey nobility. Their susurring tones; repressed and dull, more a whisper, were loud enough to fill the hall; loud even if silent. The thick veils on their faces seemed to swallow all light around them. Like they were made of night; and there could be a lot of truth in it. The tales told that they were created from nocturnal silk, woven by creatures that have never seen the sun. Lorian knew the truth though it was much less pleasant and much more interesting.

During New Lunar Year, also his own fate was counted. If the woods decided that he needs an heir, he would have to oblige. Produce the child and allow the future decide if his offspring takes his throne… and life. But he knew that it won’t happen. The ancient forest loved him.

And he was aware such love could bring only one thing.

Eternity.

He felt the mind of Nymre. Her light aura gleaming around her. He suddenly felt a strong urge to grasp at her. Pull her away, even by force. Bury her in truth. But at the same time, he knew he couldn’t. Perhaps the life his lies will give to her, will be enough for her, to forgive him. He wanted her eternity as much as his own.

What have you become. Tormenting those who you love.

But Nymre wouldn’t be herself, if she let her worries be an open book. Even to him. She hid her face under her raven mask, which seemed to swallow also her inner turmoils. She was scared of being weak as much as he despised the mere idea of it.

They were good at wearing masks. A hidden place where no one could reach. While they should truly… scream.

And when she was letting him inside, into her mind, he felt everything that she stored, even if she was sure he sees only the surface.

She would never understand that he has to suffer to live. That he has to pay the prize, for himself and her, to feed his hunger that never ceased to burn his entrails.  His hunger, which she admired when he loved her, but also which scorched him from deep inside.

Which made him – eventually – fight the creatures as old as time.

He wondered if he was ever ready to completely free himself from the overpowering pleasure of gods’ blood. Even if he kills them. Even if he eats them whole, bone by bone, string by string.

“We give our blood to the sacred forest.”

“We offer our flesh to the branches.

“We sacrifice our hearts in the name of the woods.”

The priests pretended to be above this all. They were drinking fear from his court, intoxicated with admiration and fear they were causing. While Lorian knew they were bending under spores the gods were releasing, under the power they couldn’t bear, guarding their prison, faint-hearted, afraid, ready to feed on his night, only to reach peace. Only to not collapse under the pressure of the god’s awakening rage.

And only he knew the truth. Which, unknown to others, wasn’t becoming less tasty, less… pleasing.

“It seems your subjects enjoy the rite” he heard Nymre’s voice. Beautifully mocking.

“In New Lunar Year the woods drags us closer to them” he smiled at her, sparks in his black eyes. “Drink from us and allow us to drink from them. At least… that’s what the priests tend to say.”

Nymre’s eyes widened… and she laughed. Her aura shivered slightly. Anticipating.

“You do not share the sentiment of your court.”

“Not at all. I share it, reluctantly. I know the forest loves to test us, though. It’s an unpredictable, cruel god. They think they explain its wishes to us. While the forest toys with them… just as with you or me.”

Nymre’s eyes drilled him through. Her mind almost forcefully begged him to read her thoughts, to be one with him… so he slipped into her.

Shallow thoughts. Pleased elation. Curiosity. And deeper… doubt, worry. So much of it. His eyes closed, when he spoke inside her head.

They are fools, Nymre.

Don’t you worry that the woods would ask for your heir?

That is always a possibility. But I don’t tend to fear, Nymre. I act.

Her mind latched to him, in a possessive grip. He allowed to her to become one with him. It was another kind of union… more intimate than sex… but at the same time much more painful in its purity.

He was becoming Nymre, with all of her. With her desire. With all her inner strength, untamed wilderness of her nature.

With her fear.

And with her love.

“Our king.”

“Lorian Ain’Dal, hundredth king of Ain’asel.”

He parted with her, slowly, to not harm her.

He raised his black eyes at the gathering under the portal to sacred woods, a core place of the chamber. The cathedral was built around it, to give honors to the god of the moss, which allowed Dal’coler to sprout from the mountain. The fact that the fae themselves built it, biting into stone with their magic, was forgotten through many ages.

The priests, clad in thick black, looked like ominous ravens, with not less thick silky capes dragging behind them in a parody of wings. Nymre would be offended by the comparison. Ravens were graceful, harbingers of the eternal storm, while them… decomposing alive, eaten by the power they had to guard.

Lorian offered the court his most perfect smile. He didn’t fear that his reign would end. He knew it wouldn’t. The forest liked him, craved him, it wanted him in the most perverse way. If someone was to replace him, if he somehow decided to have a child… the woods would remove them. Fast and without remorse.

The priests were looking at him from under the dry out flesh that were their veils and he felt their thoughts, chaotic, pained, terrified. They also hoped, no, they needed him on the throne. Only he could stop their anguish, take the burden from their backs.

Kill the First Ones.

End their misery.

They would prefer death over becoming like him, filled with fire and pain. They weren’t ready for the flames. But he was more than eager to take that from them, as long as he could drink the heat from the holy veins and fill himself with delicious power.

Stop them. Kill them. Swallow them whole, like a treat that hangs on the tallest tree – a reward that was worthy of all the effort.

The priests opened before him to let him in their circle. He stepped into it, allowing the dark and dim energy of the woods enter his body.

He was never ready for it, but he welcomed it even more eagerly. The power of the woods entwined with him and he felt the rapture, not even slightly similar to the one that was washing over him, when he was eating blood apples. The second was strong like a hammer and overwhelming like a snow storm… the touch of the woods was pure tranquility. A smile bloomed on his lips and his aura pulled the dark energy in… taking it inside.

Pleasure instead of pain.

A soothing calmth of the moss and rippling stream, instead of rays of the cruel sun.

He could almost sense the scent of the forest, of the old bark, of resin and of the leaves murmuring in the darkness, moved by the wind…

He didn’t know how long it lasted, how long the woods were claiming him as theirs, making him rest in the protective peace of the enchanted overgrowth. He abandoned himself in it, catching each tendril of the soothing delight. His so often pained body relaxed and drifted in familiar darkness, which was becoming one with his shadows. Just like he became one with Nymre.

“No heir. The woods decided.”

The words pulled him violently from the pond of the green stillness.

He heard Nymre’s sigh, a relief.  Her aura glimmering through her, her features not as tensed as before. Her body slowly relaxing.

And he had plans which surely would allow her to relax even more.

His mind entered heads of the whole court; the cacophony of voices, thoughts, and hidden dreams and cravings hit him with their pure and loud power.

Blossoming hatred, well hidden, yet so obvious.

Just as well hidden approval, silent keen of his loyal ones.

The fear, delicacy that he never had enough of.

And one thought which was repressing them all.

Leira’s bold and powerful core, beaming with well tamed but strong hope, in the far distance.

You hate what you are becoming.

And  you love it.

Just like her.

Categories wip

ATOM: Flesh and Bone – III

Before him – a vast sky, painted with rays of a faint sun, which fought for survival with the frozen aura of this place. Under him – a void, deep and disappearing in the thick mist, which shouldn’t be present in such cold.

And far away… a cold forest, dark and harsh with its sharp edges.

If Qhal told the truth – and Tiyan knew he did – this was the first passage leading to Dal’coler, the place of wonders and death. Even Qhal seemed to be aware that Dal’coler is dangerous, not only for humans, but for the fae too. The court was a vicious hungry thing, feeding on weakness.

On human hope and blood.

The wind was almost non-existent, like the even more potent cold in Lesser Realm was petrifying it, not allowing it to dance above the land.

Qhal was looking at him all the time, even if he… didn’t look. If the fey had some power that allowed it to have an eye on him, even without turning his eyes… it was well hidden, but Tiyan always felt his gaze on himself. Following him. Guarding him. Spying.

The incident with the portal made him reluctant, an old fear creeping in. Perhaps the fae could fight the gods… but he was not ready. Few days ago, he was indifferent to them, they didn’t seem even half as real as now. The Goddess, the creation itself, always seemed distant to him, even if he believed she watched him for most of his life. He would never imagine that he could meet her, face to face. She was… absent but ever present, she was in nature; leaves, flowers, the water he drank… even in snow, when winter didn’t mean death. But god… a god having a body, who was able to turn his attention on him, who could do as he pleases with him, by mere whim… it was disturbing.

But he knew the fey could do the same, with the same means. For humans, they were gods. It was only a matter of perception.

How he ended between two blades of these sharp scissors?

“We are in a dangerous place. The cold in this region is especially intense.”

Tiyan stopped grinding his thoughts, which were taking him to nowhere. He will mull them over and over again, meeting dead ends.

“Trapped between two mountain ranges” continued the fey. “The magic here is less intense than in Dal’coler. But it affects the weather more than the minds of living beings.”

“So… would I lose another finger?” a bitter, dark joke, but Tiyan couldn’t stop himself.

“No, if you will do what I say” replied Qhal with a small smile wandering on his lips. “After all, my king wants you whole. With as many lost parts as possible.”

Tiyan couldn’t not use the chance of Qhal speaking freely of the king. He wanted to know who awaits him. Wanted to know what he can expect and what fate may possibly he meet. Even if Qhal will again react with animosity, he can’t harm him, even if he presses on him. He had his orders.

“Why don’t you want to talk about him?”

Qhal’s face tensed. As Tiyan expected. But he decided to take risks and push forth.

“He took my sister. He killed my family. And you serve him. I will not bargain. If you need me to go with you, tell me what I can expect. Why? Why don’t you allow me to speak his name?”

Qhal ‘s throat slowly pulsed with light, which his body started to emit. Light… darker than usually. Muted light which would not enlighten the dark night hours.

But Tiyan wanted to at least try. And trying – pull as much information as he can. Going into maw of the beast not knowing practically anything was a reason why his god-induced worries were intensifying through the last days.

“Qhal… I need to know. I will probably die. What do you risk?”

The fey seemed petrified. His brows narrowed in displeasure, but his face stayed cold, like sculpted in marble.

“You won’t die” Qhal’s light became a tone darker. It looked like his throat shone with absence of the sun. “If he needs you, you won’t. But do not expect not to suffer. Lorian is my savior, I owe him my life, but he is not merciful. Not to humans. Not to anyone he doesn’t deem worthy.”

Savior.

He was Qhal’s savior.

Now, Tiyan slowly started to understand. Qhal admired his king. Cold fear closed its talons over his heart.

“Have you seen her? My sister?” the words barely were leaving his throat. Qhal couldn’t lie. He was walking truth and Tiyan was afraid of what he could hear.

Qhal silently, noiselessly, turned to the sun. Reached with his hand to it. And… smiled. He really smiled.

“I saw her, yes. She was not harmed. And won’t be. Unless… you decided to disobey him.”

He slowly looked at Tiyan, lazily. His features perfect and dangerous, beautiful and stern at the same time. A scultpure of a calm god, who’s indifference can lead him to stepping on small bugs that were humans.

“What do you expect to hear from me, poor soul? That Lorian Ain’Dal kills you as soon as you stop being useful? That your sister suffers terrible pain in the palace and you will come in vain, just to share her fate?” he chuckled. “I can assure you that nothing can prepare you for Dal’coler. But as much as I like you, I am not here to warn you or to save you from what awaits you. I am here to keep you alive. And I will do it, even against your will. Even if you refuse to go with me, I will keep you alive and deliver you to Dal’coler. Even if that meant your hurt feelings… or your pain.”

Tiyan swallowed a thick ball of saliva. He felt like he could expect such an answer. Qhal was dutiful soldier of of the throne and loved Lorian, with whatever grateful love he sprouted in him.

He loved the shadow that forced under his clothes, craving him voraciously.

And Tiyan was afraid of this love. Afraid how it can affect him.

This was pointless. Qhal was a fae and will remain one, no matter how much he liked Tiyan or how much he despised him. He would really harm him, just to fulfill his mission. He saw it in his soft eyes, which always promised rain and in his smile, which held mysteries. He was a fae. Nothing changes that.

The croaking was heard in the distance. Loud and piercing, like intensified by the cold, empty air. Tiyan, angry at himself and at Qhal – at all fae – looked up, to see the flock of black birds, feathers darker than night. Their voices, sharp as stone edges, somehow… reminded him of home… and the dead bodies of his family. Carnivors. When he woke up, he heard bird voices too. Just as sharp. Just as hungry.

Dirt in his mother’s mouth. Tangles of vines going straight through her flesh. Cruel laughter of a fairy messenger, her empty eyes.

One of the ravens parted with the group and flew just in their direction. A small shape on the pale sky became bigger, until it was so close and Tiyan saw that the bird had strange eyes.

Blue, large, perfectly round. Like the eyes of the heavens itself. Like paint that was used to color the sky, and later was poured just into those eyes, to add stellar, unearthly magic to them.

Qhal smiled and stretched his arm, so the raven could sit on it. His throat beaming now with a familiar soft light, like its intensity and shade depended on his mood.

Probably it did.

The raven indeed had huge eyes. Bigger than Qhal’s, strangely intelligent, wells filled with wisdom of many ages. His wings wide and thickly feathered, dark, so dark, glistening with obsidian. And now, the bird was looking at him, intensely, like wanting to see into his head and pull all his thoughts out.

“Dal’coler watches us,” Qhal touched the head of the raven, softly rubbing it. The black bird made a single croak, silent and dry.

“Was it sent… by the king?” tried cautiously Tiyan.

“Yes” chuckled Qhal again. “And by Lady Nymre.”

And that was all. Lady Nymre. Qhal didn’t even try to explain that, the raven looked at Tiyan like it was engraving his features in his mind. It seemed to look like that forever, eons passed, years crumbled, and Tiyan couldn’t stop gazing in those electrifying, round eyes; they grounded him completely.  There was magic in them, not completely cruel. Just… alien, like this whole realm.

When the bird broke the contact, Tiyan felt as he was ravaged by the winter itself. Cold tendrils of sweat slowly stroking his skin. It was unplesant, like a freezing and suffocating water after a warm bath in the sun.

The raven took flight as unexpectedly as it arrived and doing a few circles above Tiyan’s head, croaking loudly, it flew to join the flock in the distance.

Qhal of course would not explain. That would be too easy.

Ravens.

And he was left in ignorance, still knowing as little as before.

Or maybe… knowing even less.

Categories wip

ATOM: Flesh and Bone – II

The portal closed over him, taking him in a tight and merciless embrace.

Qhal disappeared, Shadowlands; with its snow, dangerous beauty, cruel wind – it seemed to dissolve around him, like winter chill is dissolved by the touch of spring. Like the whole Ain’asel was removed from existence, leaving… not void. It didn’t feel like the last time. It wasn’t all consuming night that was taking him, forcing him, like a restless lover, stealing parts of his soul, replacing the and returning, all in the matter of seconds.

Tiyan felt the warm touch of non-existence sun. His eyes slowly adjusted to the reality the portal threw him in. The bright red sand, the crimson sky, and the distant mountains on the horizon; it all beamed with warmth. Which, following the dreadful cold of Shadowlands, was as shocking, as relieving.

The land was all shades of red; vermilion and mahogany… blood. The sky seemed to pulse above his head, with copper heat. Tiyan felt as the fire in his veins awakes and moves, eager to free itself and merge within this reality.

Why was he here?

Weren’t he supposed to pass the gate and land in somewhere called Lesser Realm? As far as he understood from Qhal’s words, it was another realm under the rule of Dal’coler, as cold and merciless as other fae lands.

This land though… was silent, with the silence of the burning furnace, quiet like a burned forest…

… what if he landed here and won’t be able to free himself? Tossed somewhere by mistake, unable to find the way back…

His insides twisted in fear.

Mina. All he did, he did for her. If the shortcut made him lost, he won’t save her and shadows will consume her soul. Such foolish way to fail – misguided, after all he went through.

He still felt eyes of the burning faeries on him, their nightmares under his skin. And the vision of dying Mina will join this, crueler than teeth and talons.

Qhal… he had to be here, somewhere… or he would search for him. The flames under his heart were burning around the mark on his chest, the lines that scarred his skin lighting up from within.

No.

He couldn’t get lost. In sake of Mina and himself.

He looked into the sky, sunless and empty. Only bright red and vermillion. The ovewhelming colors was everywhere, like mocking him, closing all paths, and chance to find guidance or signs.

“A human.”

Only one word, just in his head, but powerful enough to make him fall on his knees, his fingers burying in the red sand.

“Mortal creature, such a bad choice…”

Tiyan wasn’t ready. The dry meat he ate before landed before him in a unrecognizable pulp. The voice which spoke, forced inside him,; started to eat him alive and take senses from him.

“… but did we have another?”

Tears ran from his eyes… to sink into the sand, releasing smoke.

What was that? Oh goddess…

“But maybe that is the best choice, after all.”

This time, the voice wasn’t as painful. Feminine, delicate, but emotionless and alien, somehow, like Tiyan would imagine a sky or a mountain to speak – distant, empty… but… at the same time curious.

How?

Who?

His eyes were still filled with tears, which were slowly evaporating from him, the skin on his face drying, like he was becoming a desert itself. His flames, his mysterious power danced in his veins, happy to hear the voice. Enjoying its closeness.

“Hope is not something that I can embrace, poor soul. But, if I did… I hoped that you would survive.”

His tongue was dry too, but he didn’t have to speak. His thoughts were sucked in by the strange force that was addressing him.

Who are you.

“This is a question even I don’t know the answer for. All I know is that my womb became dry, when I created winter. And I can’t bear flames anymore.”

Tiyan’s mind swirled frantically. Flames. Fire.

“And I am hungry.”

Visions attacked Tiyan’s mind. Chaotic, incoherent, painful. The entity in his head showed him its feelings, its hunger… loss of strength and power. But… also vile intent to destroy everything that walks on Ain’asel and swallow it to feed the flame.

Tiyan felt the meat, what was left of it in his stomach, again traveled to his throat.

“You shouldn’t be here, mortal one. You came too close. Too close. But my hunger is overwhelming. I can’t swallow you though. You are the key to my existence.”

Tiyan heard this hunger in its voice, even if it was emotionless and dry as the sand under his fingers. It didn’t care how many lives it would destroy, satiating itself. It was pure want. Want for souls, blood, crave for flesh.

It was a bottomless mouth wanting food and only food.

And Tiyan felt a repressed desire to eat him too in it. It would swallow him, destroy him, even if it would feed it only for a few minutes.

He didn’t even fear. He felt utter disgust and repulsion. His flames suddenly felt vile for him, because they wanted so much to become one with this warm land and the voice.

“A soul of your… one of a kind… burning… flaming… with the flames that were torn from under my skin..  it would fill me… it would bring me so much… but I can’t… even if I want this so much… the pain of hunger is… unbearable… he EATS us… HE EATS US WHOLE…

Bottomless mouth wanting food.

Someone’s hand grasped over his arm. He heard a voice, much more familiar, much more… alive. And he was pulled. So hard that when he landed with a thump in the freezing snow, he thought that’s shock would destroy him.

The snow slowly was falling on his hair, his hat laying under his feet, he felt a strong urge to throw up again, but he couldn’t, nothing was left anymore.

“Fool” murmured Qhal, his voice slightly off, like he was worried… or scared. “But no. It was only my fault. I should anchor you with me.”

Tiyan’s eyes filled with snow and tears. His body was shaking but not only from the immense cold.

“What… where was I?” his voice shaking, alongside his limbs.

“Shadowlands were once a gate to the underworld. When gods still lived, going through this portal was a death sentence.”

“G-gods?” Tiyan started to form a frightening conclusion.

“They are dead. But the underworld is a trap. It can fill you with the afterglow of the deceased elders and it can madden you… or kill… and I am not sure which of these two would be worse.”

“They are d-dead?” the voice inside his head didn’t seem dead. It knew his name. It knew him, of all. It craved his veins and tendons.

“For a very long time, Tiyan Markon” Qhal started immediately to enchant leaves and vines, the cold here was even worse than in Shadowlands, and even if Qhal could joyfully walk naked in it, Tiyan would die, a frozen bundle of lost hope and failure. “But they still harm our realm.”

Gods.

Hungry gods.

Fae gods, as filled with need as the fairy folk. An intensified and personified craving.

It didn’t feel as if they were dead. It felt as if they were very alive.

And Tiyan thought immediately that his flames wanted them. They felt good there, in this ellusive realm.

And that meant…

… that it was all bigger than him. Bigger than he imagined. Bigger than he wanted.

And bigger than he was ready for.

Categories wip

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.

Interesting.

“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.