Monday, January 28, 2019

The Shalafae Archives - An elf's pain

"Having her makes it harder, doesn't it?" Kyra laid a hand on Elthanael's shoulder, standing just behind the sweating elf.

"My lady?" He looked over his shoulder, too tired from his work out to rise and greet her properly.

Kyra smiled kindly, maintaining her touch. A cool breeze came through the training room windows, stirring her blond hair. Shalafae and Morrigana continued to duel outside, swords and magic ringing in the air.


"You hide it well, but I see it," the Sidhehan said. "The pain has increased since she took you to bed, has it not?"

Elthanael lowered his honey-colored eyes and returned to repairing his armor. "That is not a topic for discussion."

She lifted his braid to her nose, inhaling deeply the scents of elf and exertion and death. "Did you know the golden ones were intended for pleasure and stewardship?"

He looked up, frowning deeply. "What does my lady mean?"

"Before they were a fully vetted immortal race, elves were bred as slaves." Kyra rubbed the end of his braid across her cheek. "The golden elves were intended to be stewards and highly trusted body slaves. They were never meant to smell of death and blood, only lust and perfume."

The assassin was always courteous, but never held back. "I have missed my lady's point."

Kyra smiled, kissing his braid before releasing it to fall against his lean back. "My niece has corrupted you. You coat yourself in darkness for her, and you wound your heart for her. All the while she ignores you to play with her father."

Elthanael rose and snapped a bow at Kyra, eyes hard. "What I do or do not do for my commander is my business. Excuse me, Lady Kyra, but I must bathe." The elf turned on the ball of his foot and stalked away.

"I can help you."

"There is nothing I need help with," he replied without looking back.

"Not even a dragon shaped hole in your heart?"

His shoulders stiffened and he stopped. Kyra took several steps toward him, smiling beatifically.

Elthanael turned on her with anger in his eyes, jaw clenched. For the first time since joining Morrigana, he spoke sharply to the Sidhehan. "Why do you insist on meddling in my affairs?"

Kyra continued to approach him, her white gown whispering across training sand. "I would see you happy."

Elthanael loomed over Shalafae's sister, every line in his body tense with restrained emotion. Even his voice was locked down. "I am happy. I have a secure place in the universe, limitless power, and the patronage of an esteemed family. I have access to learning and training, and have more freedom than I could have dreamed of." There was a clash of swords outside, and honey eyes darted to the sound. "And I serve a wonderful woman who allows me to love her."

She closed until the barest of distances separated them, looking up into his angular face. "Being allowed to love doesn't sound happy."

His sadness was plain to her empathy as he returned his gaze. "Gana loves me too. She would never hurt me."

Kyra laid a hand over his scar, fingertips resting against the new one. The ring of teethmarks gleamed ivory against his golden skin. "You've nearly died for her, and she repays you with a moment of lust. Was it worth it?"

The elf stiffened, but did not pull away. "Your lord brother rewarded me handsomely enough."

Kyra raised her other hand to his arm, caressing him. "All golden whores were paid well."

Elthanael's anger broke loose, and he grabbed Kyra by the upper arms. He shook her, snarling in her face. "Enough with your games. My heart is just that; mine. I will do with it what I want. If it bothers you that I'm in love with her, then keep it to yourself."

She smiled and kissed him. The elf froze in shock, his hands loosening. "My niece will need that passion in the future. But we must take care that it never becomes bitterness, or you will turn against her."

He blinked, releasing her. "My lady?" came his soft voice.

"Let us return to my original question. It's harder to watch Morrigana now that you've been intimate with her, yes?"

Elthanael stared longingly out a window. The hybrid swooped around her father, laughing merrily as they sparred. "Unbelievably so."

"Do you think you could make her happier than he does?"

"That's treason," he hissed, snapping his gaze back to her. "Gana belongs to Lord Shalafae."

Kyra laid a hand over his heart, and power swelled between them. "That hasn't stopped you from thinking it."

He lowered his eyes, shoulders slumped. The elf couldn't voice his answer, but Kyra gleaned it from his thoughts.

"That is what I would help you with," she said. "To once more be centered and accepting. If allowed to fester, this unrequited love will ruin you, darken your heart to your beloved. When she needs you most, all that selfless love will be gone, and you will destroy her."

"It's so hard," Elthanael whispered, a tear sliding down his cheek.

Kyra embraced him, pulling his head to her shoulder. "I know. We Shalafaes are a demanding family. Staying with us is dangerous and painful and draining."

Elthanael wrapped his arms around her torso, shaking with suppressed sobs. "I love her so much. I can't leave her side, Kyra." His voice caught, and she stroked his head. "I don't want to hurt her. What do I do?"

"Let me show you how to let go."

The elf's head jerked up, unshed tears making his eyes sparkle. "I don't want to stop loving her. The joy outweighs the pain."

Kyra gave him a knowing smile. "Of course it does. It is only the pain you need to let go. You should see her and smile, not fret because she doesn't look at you. You once accepted your place at her side, and you will do so again."

They remained embraced. Elthanael's eyes were dark and weary, his face drawn now that his defenses were down. "You've seen the future, that she needs me?" Kyra nodded. "Does it ever...does she..." His voice shook to much to continue.

She kissed him, long and slow. "The future is ever in flux, but some things are constant. Ulrin and Morrigana's love is one of them." His entire body drooped, and a light left his eyes. Kyra forced the elf to look at her, gaze boring into his soul.

"Do not ever doubt that she loves you. That she needs you. She depends on you as one of her constants, whether or not she tells you so. As a Shalafae, my niece expects you to simply know that you have a place in her heart and soul.

"You may never be her mate, but you will always be her friend."

Elthanael smiled wearily. "Thank you."

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