Monday, December 17, 2018

The Shalafae Archives - The Crypt


"What is this place?" she asked as her father approached. Morrigana sat on a marble bench amongst his rose gardens, staring at the illusion she'd summoned. The elegant crypt fit perfectly behind her favorite fountain, and the half-dragon burned with curiosity. "Who's crypt is that?"

Shalafae sat behind her, laying a hand on her bare shoulder. She smelled his pheromones, mingling with the roses, and smiled despite her confusion regarding the crypt. "Where did you find out about this?"

She turned, frowning at his shocked tone. His crimson eyes were wide, the moon making him appear wrought of silver. "In my dreams every night for the last two weeks."


"Since the storm?" He finally looked at her. Morrigana was surprised by the pain in his eyes, and reached up to take his hand.

"Yeah. I keep having flashes of your memories, and I know they're yours, but this..." She turned, sighing softly. "I assume it's one of yours, but I have no idea what it is."

He pulled her close, wrapping his arms around her shoulders, sighing. She'd been troubled since being struck by a Chaos storm, and her father had been loving and very attentive. Morrigana enjoyed the attention, and was grateful he was there for her. The hybrid would not have survived the encounter without him.

The storm had awakened her ability to channel family memories. Father said all Sidhehan can do it. It was simply latent in me. It's so strange to see things from his eyes. She shivered. It was bad enough gaining Revkah's memories; I didn't have to see myself while Father fucks me.

A gentle kiss from Shalafae roused her from disjointed thoughts. "This is my mother's tomb. After she died, your grandfather built it for her. He spent every night here, mourning her. He was obsessed."

Memories stirred, causing the illusion to flicker. "He hated you," she said softly. "You killed his wife, but you refused to die." Her voice caught in her throat as she felt pangs of being unloved and alone.

Then the hybrid hissed, stiffening in her father's arms, conscious mind subsumed by Shalafae's memories.

***

Ulrin tracked Fahrasa with weary eyes, unable to speak her name as she tidied up his room. There was little work to be done; the albino prince hadn't left his bed in a week. He was growing weaker, and servant gossip was that he was soon to die.

~You surprise everyone, my little love.~ His eyes flicked to the ethereal woman laying to his left. He tried to smile, but all Ulrin's strength went to pumping his tiny heart. ~Orarm hates that he cannot kill you.~

~You said infanticide amongst the nobles is uncouth.~ The boy was physically weak, but his mind was sharper than a razor. Highly intelligent, the five-year-old would be driving tutors mad with questions if he could leave his rooms.

The spirit beside him ruffled his hair, smiling with a mother's pride. ~Correct. No matter how he loathes you, and blames you for my death, he will never raise a hand to help you.~

~But neither will he help,~ Ulrin mentally hissed, staring at Fahrasa. The slave girl had been wont to care for him; she would dandle him on her knee, sneak him treats, make sure he was comfortable, and take him for walks when he was strong enough.

When his father had found out, Orarm had the slave's mouth sewn shut. She blamed Ulrin, and gave him resentful glares, but hadn't been reassigned. Fahrasa could do nothing but continue to serve the prince.

~So jaded. My son is too young for this bitterness.~ She stroked his forehead, suffusing his aura with her love. His body grew warm as energy coursed through empty channels.

~I'm hungry,~ he whispered. Every nerve in his body ached, needing ki, needing something to fill himself. Food was not enough to keep up with his needs. His spirit fed on his flesh, making him sickly and small, burning him up. Only his mother's constant attentions kept him going.

But the dead woman could no longer keep up with the growing boy. She drew closer to him, wrapping him in ethereal arms, cuddling him against her bosom. ~My dearest one,~ she crooned. Kissing his head, he felt her staring at the slave. ~It's time you learned to feed.~ Her voice dropped low, filling with hunger.

Ulrin responded, his limbs trembling, his tiny jaws aching. His spine raced with fire, undersized chakras pulsing as they attempted to fill with ki. He could smell the slave, like warm spices and wine, and his mouth began watering. ~How?~ His telepathic voice was plaintive, the young boy desperate to feel strong and fulfilled.

~Reach for her with your aura. Let it wrap around her, draw her close to you. Feel the pulse of her life, radiating like heat. Inhale slowly, pulling that life into you.~

He trembled with the effort, but it was just as his mother described. Fahrasa's life was warm and delicious, like fresh baked bread. Breath catching in his throat momentarily, the boy forced himself to keep at it.

Ki spread through him, filling him, easing weary muscles. Nerves sang with life, racing with stolen energy. His eyes stopped aching, his heart no longer struggled, and he began to move.

~That's it. Keep going. Take everything. Pull her in. Her energy will seek all that's empty in you, will fill every nook and cranny. Can you feel your aura expanding?~

~It feels funny.~ He giggled, giddy from the ki he was taking in. ~I feel like a balloon.~

She giggled in return, kissing him. Ulrin's senses were coming back to life, and his mother sparked across his aura, tingling enjoyably. ~Excellent. Keep feeding. Grow stronger.~

Fahrasa stumbled, a hand going to her forehead. Her aura fluttered, weakening, and Ulrin paused. ~I'm hurting her,~ he said, sitting up. The slave girl turned to look at him, face pale, wavering where she stood. The silver hoops keeping her lips closed sparkled against her skin, bright like her eyes.

His mother sat up with him, resting her hands on his shoulders. Her lips brushed his ear as she spoke, coldly and cruelly. ~Do not show concern for her. She's just a slave, and a mortal at that. For every one that dies, two more are born. Eat her, devour her. Grow strong. Your life is more important than hers.~

Ulrin's head spun as he greedily drew on the slave. He was more important than her. Another slave would be sent up tomorrow, and he'd eat her too.

Finally, he was growing strong. ~I love you, Mother.~

~I love you, Son.~

***

"I love you, Daughter." His lips were warm as he kissed her. Morrigana shuddered, staring up into his crimson eyes. The emotions of his memories slid away, letting her return to herself. She preferred to stay in his arms, feeling safe and loved.

"Your mother was dead, but she was with you?" She wrapped her arm around his middle, keeping herself close to him.

"And she kept me alive. She guided me, and sculpted me, and helped me forge my path." Shalafae was sad, his eyes glassy, mouth tight. "I loved her very much."

"It shows." The hybrid frowned. "But I can't remember her name. No matter how hard I try to draw it up, I can't."

Her father smiled, tracing her jawline. "Margana. I named you for her." He bent to kiss her, opening his heart.

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