Monday, February 4, 2019

The Shalafae Archives - An elf's relief

They met at one of her secret homes; a forgotten moon in a dying solar system. Kyra's magic kept a lush garden protected from the ravages of the torn landscape.

Kyra wore a white gown as always, prim and alluring at the same time. Her golden hair was braided in a single plait down her back. Elthanael wore only silk trousers, hair unbound past his waist.

"This will not be easy," she said, moving to an obsidian disk in the middle of the garden. "You will curse me before the end."

He took a deep breath, following her. "Whatever it takes."

Kyra gestured at the disk, and he stepped onto it. "Remember you said that during the worst of it." The Sidhehan drew a knife from the aether.

Elthanael's eyes, amber in the dark, widened a fraction. "You were serious when you said you'd cut the pain out?"

Blue eyes sparkled when she smiled. "Some magic works best with a literal component. Especially when dealing with emotions."

He drew his shoulders straight and clasped his hands behind his back. "Whatever my lady deems necessary." A breeze stirred his hair, wrapping some of it around his throat.

Kyra held the knife at her side and laid her free hand over her heart. Magic hummed in the air, curling around them. El's skin prickled, but he held still.

Thicker and thicker the power grew until it formed a wall around him. Obsidian became warm beneath his feet, absorbing the magic. He bit his lip as pressure increased around him, forcing itself to his very bones.

With a word from the Sidhehan, it stopped. The elf reeled momentarily, but did not fall. For a moment, he thought the power had gone away.

It all resided in the stone he stood on, pulsing and awaiting Kyra's will.

"Think of her," she commanded. "Call her into your mind's eye. See her face, and her hair, and her claws. Remember how she looked the first time you saw her, how it was when you fell in love with her."

Memories came easily to Elthanael, two Morrigana's side by side

One, the young girl brought as a suitor to his birthday party. Sweet and innocent, vaguely elven looking, but with a dragon's ferocity. Large silver eyes so very shy, but so very hopeful, when he suggested a kiss.

The second was Morrigana grown, wild and wicked, not a shred of innocence about her. A proud killer, relentless, passionate. Sharp teeth and wicked claws and hungry swords. Taking anything she wanted, including him.

Young Gana had captured his heart, but it was truthfully the grown one that had taken his soul.

Magic shifted up his legs as Kyra spoke. "Let yourself feel that love, all the joy, all the wonder. Summon every good time you have ever had with her."

The memories came in flashes, but the emotions lingered in his heart, growing stronger. They trained together, fought together, hunted together. They partied, and explored, and spent time together.

She had fun with him, gave him hugs and touches, and cuddled close to him. She never hid from him, or punished him, or rejected his presence.

A spark of bitterness lit his thoughts. Morrigana never noticed him.

"Let the pain come," Kyra coached. Warmth followed the magic as it ascended his body. "Do not suppress it. Give it its head."

She'd kissed him. She knew he loved her, and still gave him no notice. She thought nothing of undressing before him, or sleeping with her head in his lap. Her touches were only casual to her, but were torturous to him.

"All of it. Hold nothing back."

Elthanael's jaw tightened and his fists clenched as the latest memory surfaced. As if three and a half millenia of teasing hadn't been enough, Morrigana had come and had her way with him, then fucked her father in his bed.

But she hadn't merely used him. She'd come to him from love, because no one else was dear to her. No cruelty was intended, just a pleasurable union of trusting friends.

Then why did she ignore him? Why make no mention of it? Why make him bear her mark if it meant nothing to her?

Kyra's voice came from a great distance. Emotions and memories rioted in Elthanael's heart and head, nearly overwhelming his consciousness. "What point does your pain serve?"

His pain was wild, running deep through his very soul. He was not a toy, not a child. No longer would he stand in the back, waiting for the crumbs of affection she deigned to offer.

Morrigana would love him. El would never be cruel like Shalafae. He would protect and cherish her, and make her happy. All they needed was to be alone, for her father to not be there.

"That one! Hold that one." Kyra's hand rested over his heart.

Shalafae was a wicked man, too cruel by far. He had hurt Gana, driven her to the elf's arms, yet punished Elthanael as the transgressor. The Sidhehan could not accept responsibility for his daughter's actions.

"What would happen to Morrigana without Ulrin?"

Rage joined the tempest. His commander would self-destruct, convinced she could never live without her father. Grief would tear her apart, and she'd take entire galaxies with her in a death frenzy.

He couldn't allow that to happen! He needed to protect Morrigana, keep her safe and happy.

Kyra plunged the knife into his chest just below his heart. The elf stiffened in shock, unable to cry out as physical pain stilled his thoughts. His eyes locked on hers, magic blazing inside him.

"You already protect Morrigana. She is safe and happy with you at her side. Taking her for yourself will only destroy her."

Elthanael groaned, trying to move. He burned from the magic, and the knife was acid in his chest. Raw emotions tore at him, screaming to be free.

The war in his heart raged on. He was madly in love with Gana, and was truly happy just to be near her. She didn't need to give herself to him, or be more than who she was.

But she could acknowledge their bond, at least try to love him back. There was no need to carry on her cruelty by saying the word love and never acting upon it.

Kyra twisted the knife, and he collapsed to his knees, a scream tearing from him. "Let it go. Release the blame and bitterness and angst."

Shalafae had put him to his knees, had threatened his life for making Morrigana happy. Loving the woman was dangerous.

The knife burned deeper into his chest. He grabbed Kyra's wrist, needing to remove the weapon. "Why didn't he kill you?" Her voice was gentle in contrast to her actions.

Elthanael clawed at her arm, needing mercy and release. He was being pulled apart, couldn't survive. Morrigana had never hurt him this bad. Even watching the Shalafaes rut had wounded him less.

Kyra stroked his face and twisted the knife. Pain and pleasure, hate and love. "Why? Why were you allowed to live?"

"Because he loves her," the elf choked out, tears streaming down his cheeks. "Killing me would cause her too much pain."

Magic surged through his system, stilling his emotions. Elthanael gasped, staring up at Kyra with a suddenly clear head. "And how much would it hurt her if you tried to take her away?"

He sagged, held up by the knife. Kyra ran her free hand through his hair, then cradled the back of his head. The mage leaned down, whispering against his brow.

"Free yourself from your bitterness. Allow nothing to mar your love for her. Cherish her touches. Revel in your friendship. Do no forget that you do have a place in her heart."

Power moved toward the knife, pulling negativity with it. Elthanael resisted, knowing a part of him was being taken away. Kyra kissed his forehead, then his tears, and a wonderful memory filled his head.

He had held Morrigana as she drowsed, weary and spent from sex. He was sore and bloody, his collarbone aching from her bite. Her head fit well on his shoulder, her arm curled possessively across his torso.

And as she'd fallen asleep, Gana had whispered four wonderful words. "I love you, El."

Something snapped in his head, and the elf groaned. A flood of bitterness left him, pulling near cancerous negativity with it. An infection of his heart was being drained, and immediate relief followed.

Morrigana loved him. She relied on him, and trusted him, and was happy with him. Their love wasn't wild and passionate, but deep and powerful.

It would last forever.

Kyra removed her blade, taking the last of the magic and negativity with it. Heart light for the first time in a long time, Elthanael sighed. She healed him and held him, smiling beatifically.

There were no words to express his gratitude, and none were needed. Kyra had done everyone a favor, but that's what family was for.

Elthanael couldn't wait to see his friend smile.

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