Monday, December 3, 2018

The Shalafae Archives - Training

Morrigana strode into her father’s weapons room, small bells tinkling in her hair. Her Aunt Kyra had braided them in this morning after breakfast, and the sound had kept the hybrid company as she explored the castle.

All these enchanted weapons, and I never see him use them. But, he has been spending a lot of time training me and the others. She smirked. Maybe one of them is for me.

The hybrid paused when a soft song came to her. Images of battle and victory filled her head, and Morri focused on the black swords hanging on the wall. They were alone, the other weapons kept away from them.

She knew the swords, but had never seen them. The Lord Shalafae wielded Stormbringer and Mournblade, two Chaos blades. Her father was unstoppable with them, though he rarely drew them anymore.

Father, she mused as she approached the swords. It’s still strange to think that. He sired me, and trains me, and lays with me. And he’ll grant me revenge. Morrigana’s thoughts turned dark as she reached for the blade on the left.

The singing increased as she grabbed the hilt.

“Put it down, Daughter.” Alzair’s voice was harsh, his presence filling the room. He was deadly serious and would brook no resistance.

Morrigana turned toward him, Mournblade in hand. “Or you’ll do what?” She grinned madly as the images of battle increased. Soon, she would attack the dragons. Soon, her mother would pay for lying to the hybrid. Soon, all would fear her.

Lord Shalafae strode directly to Stormbringer, his eyes hard. “This is no game, child.” The black sword howled as he took it up.

She smiled, playful and mildly crazy. “Everything is a game. You said so.” Black iron hummed as she swung it in figure eights.

Her father glared, unmoving. “These are not. Put the sword down.” He refused to name them.

Morrigana laughed as she sprang forward, slashing at him. “Stop being so dour. Play with me.” He black hair swung with her movements, the bells tinkling.

Alzair blocked easily, crimson eyes stern. The albino Sidhehan had been riding recently and wore plain leather pants and tunic. The thin black clothes were enough to hide his movements, and Morrigana misjudged his parry. She nearly lost her balance as he dodged, and the smile left her face.

“Do not start this fight.” Alzair swung again, driving her back. “Put down the sword, and we’ll find another way to play.”

The hybrid frowned, petulant, and thrust with Mournblade. “You never let me pick what we do. Are you scared I’ll kill you with your own blade?”

His eyes hardened. “So be it.”

When he attacked, Morrigana realized she was ill-prepared to face him. Shalafae had millions of years of experience, and she only a few. Metal shrieked against metal as she blocked and parried, unable to go on the offensive.

Time froze. Morrigana gasped at the suddenness of blood on his face, and then the breath died in her lungs. Why was she on the floor? Why couldn’t he move? Why was her father so sad?

Glancing down, she saw Stormbringer punched through her chest, just to the right of her heart. Realization began sinking in. Her pulse suddenly raced, and she felt her heart pounding against the sword. She screamed in pain.

“I told you not to start that fight.” Alzair knelt before her, breathing deeply as he dispelled the illusion. “Have you learned your lesson?”

The training illusion was done, but the agony remained. Morrigana continued to scream.

Her soul was being eaten by the chaos blade. Hungry and villainous, it wanted her dead. She was Shalafae’s new weapon, and that couldn’t be allowed. Pulling at her tunic, Morrigana felt blood running between her breasts.

“Daughter?” Her father gripped her shoulder, gave her a little shake. “It’s over. You’re fine.” He cupped her cheek with his other hand.

Her only response was to shriek and collapse into his arms.

Even lost in pain and dying, she felt her father’s concern. He bundled her up and teleported her to his room. “Kyra!” He bellowed for his sister, and Morrigana’s voice lifted wordlessly with his.

Blood burned her skin as her life poured out onto the sheets. The young woman thrashed in torment, consciousness fading. Scream after scream tore through her, even when her aunt laid soothing hands on her face.

“What happened, Brother?”

"The sword scenario. She couldn’t resist them, and she couldn’t win.” A pause in speech as he held her down. “But when it ended, she was still wounded.”

Kyra’s healing power surged through the half-dragon. Morrigana knew her soul was being eaten, that no healing could stop it. Her surety strengthened when Kyra gasped in shock.

“Hold on to her with everything you have,” the Sidhehan healer ordered. Lord Shalafae tightened his grip, and used Chaos magic to bundle her up with the sheets. Warmth flooded her soul, gripped her heart, and she felt her father’s soul against her own. Morri writhed in his grip, lost in a twilight of pain and death, but faded no further.

“Can you stop it?” Alzair’s voice was soft and low, and the ache in it caused Morrigana to stop screaming.

He cares about me. He will be sad if I die. Suppressing another shriek, the hybrid reached for her father, tried to hold on just for him.

“There’s so much blood.” Kyra was distracted by her work, and her voice came out as a murmur. “The wound is real. Not psychological.” The healer grunted, and pain faded beneath more energy. “She’s really been cut by that blade.”

Shalafae caressed her hair, and Morrigana forced her eyes open. Tears glittered on his cheeks, and she wanted to wipe them away. Morri tried to move, but the sheets kept her restrained.

Vertigo ripped through her, causing Morrigana to sigh in relief as pain faded. She floated in a sea of tension, but she was no longer dying. Though she ached and was weary, she was safe in her father’s arms.

“I don’t know if she’ll heal right.” Kyra moved fro the bed, voice gravely with her weariness. “I’ve done the best I can, but I don’t know if it will be enough.”

“That’s all I ask,” Alzair replied. Ensorcelled sheets released her, and Morrigana whimpered as her father pulled her tightly to him. Kyra stepped through the aether to leave them alone.

Neither of them spoke. Morrigana basked in his presence, grateful to be alive, happy to be in his arms. Shalafae stroked her hair, arms trembling as he held her.

“Do not ever scare me like that again,” he finally said in a voice choked with emotion.

Morrigana squeezed him close. “I promise.”

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