He wasn’t ready for mating , but I would give him what he needed. He needed to be loved, to know that he was important, and that his pleasure gave me pleasure.
Glacial drops of water rained onto my head from the ceiling of my cavern cell. The rhythmic spattering keeping me focused while searing pain coursed through my body. My daily ritual of flexing my fingers and gritting my teeth did nothing to abate this hellish torture that attempted to split my soul in two. No, it only got worse. So much so, that the groans I had promised myself I would never give ‘them’ the chance to hear; finally left my throat.
The guttural sounds echoed off the walls of this cave-like prison, signaling I had finally given them what they wanted, which I was sure was my complete and utter despair. Every day the separation grew more intense, leaving me weaker, powerless, a failure to my people, and to my love. I rotted away in this dank, shadowy cave, year after year; I became less of a person and more of a body in which they took from. My captors, Lygos and his mistress, of whom I called the Cloak, were the epitome of devilry, nothing more than mindless whores for power.
In the beginning of my stay here, I had tried to escape, using what power I had left after the initial attack against me, to try and flee my confines. But in the end, it was of no use, and I learned that their black magic was stronger in numbers against me. There were no plans to flee anymore, no one was coming to my rescue, and little by little I lost my faith in the Great Mother. Why would she allow this to be? Why would she let my Jillian die? Why would she never let me know the boy that was my own flesh and blood?
The Mother was everything to the world, but suddenly, she became nothing to me. This great and powerful deity, that held every scrap of life in her ancient hands, made no move to help her own child. I had been her warrior, a protector and provider for her people, my heart and soul were with her always, and yet she denied me now. As a warrior, I had been dignified and proud, but now I was hopeless and nothing more than skin and bones. The tears fell and the last of my manhood slipped into the dark void where my heart used to be.
Weeping was beneath what came from me as the pain stopped. I broke apart screaming and writhing, my wrists were raw from the animalistic thrashing. I felt my Jillian’s soul begin to leave this earth, lost to me forever. The mist infused manacles clanked violently away from the rock wall and I howled at the shadowy barrier that sealed this end of the cavern.
Where are you Great One? Why have you forsaken me! I fell to my knees, threw back my head, and screamed the cry of a lost soul. Just kill me! Please! I begged for her to answer me, whisper in my ear, or send me a sign that this was all a mistake. What have I done to deserve this life? A warm breeze stole my hoarse cries, settling around me with the strangest sense of security.
My eyes widened and I whipped my head around the dim earthy room, looking for something out of place. Surely after all this time, it could not be her. The warmth grew stronger, relaxing my shaking body until I was leaning back against the wall.
“Are you there?” I breathed, afraid of what I would hear.
Small footprints appeared in the earth, walking towards me. I held my breath and clutched my knees to my chest. The imprints on the dirty cave floor stopped at my toes. Warm air, in the form of invisible fingers, ran down my cheek and over my drying tears.
A chilling whisper came next to my ear, “Never question the creator of the grass and the sun. Never ponder whether your Mother loves you and watches over you. Your pain is my pain, your heart is my heart, and I carry it with me always. To walk the earth is a gift of which I have given you and I make no mistakes. Things must happen for a reason my child, even if the journey to your answers is a burden you don’t think you can bare. Have faith in yourself and you shall have faith in me. Show me my warrior and I will give you her light.”
“What does that mean?” I answered frantically, searching the air for her with my aching fingers.
Something like a kiss was pressed between my eyes, a heated tingle left on my skin. Be strong my son. All the heat that had built within my confines vanished, replaced with the dreary cold yet again. I flinched at the abrupt change and the footfalls of heavy boots nearing. Taking a deep breath, I stretched, cracking my spine, and rolling my neck. I remained on the floor with my legs in front of me, letting my arms hang at my sides.
The wall of mist parted, creating an opening for Lygos and his cloaked consort. He studied me for a few moments as I looked into the black slits of his eyes. I had seen some Fae that would be considered comparable to a nightmare, but never had I seen a being so ugly. Lygos was completely hairless, his face nothing more than skin pulled tight over ill-sculpted bone. His cheeks were hollow with a flat swine reminiscent nose centering his face. In short he was disgusting, and when he pulled his chapped lips back, showcasing his decaying teeth with a grin, my stomach rolled, the non-existent contents threatening to come up.
“This is rich,” Lygos bellowed, the sound vibrating around the flesh of his pudgy belly.
“The Prince of Fae with tears running down his cheeks like a fucking babe. What happened to…What was it darling?” He turned with a smile to the darkness behind him.
“Oh, yes I remember now. ‘You’ll never break me, you pig faced bastard’,” Lygos ended with a wicked cackle. “What do you say now little babe?” The ogre of a man crouched to my eye level, his leather pants squeaking under his displaced weight.
“Do you remember what I said when I first brought you here, Jameen of Fae?” He cocked his head waiting for my reply, but I didn’t answer him.
“Let me refresh your memory then. I believe I said that when I broke you, I would show you the torment you caused me when you killed my sister,” He licked his grimy teeth.
I couldn’t stand him or his accusations any longer and I jumped at him, landing on my feet in a crouch like a feral cat. Maybe I had no power and I was of a human standard at this point, but I couldn’t give in to him…I just couldn’t. My body was on fire, the countless beatings and daily surges of ‘separation anxiety’ having taken their toll. I stood fast though, never flinching as he brought his face within inches of mine.
“Your sister was greedy. Although her death was not by my hand, I am not sorry for what my people did to her. She abused her gift for power, not to protect those weaker than her. The shadows are created of the darkness, but with the right person, and a pure heart, they can be tamed. She was never going to change and the Fae court knew that. She would never be that right person. Her mind was set on the destruction of my people and I could not stand at her side a minute longer. I hated her and even still, I hate her now…” I seethed.
He slapped me with the back of his hand and blood filled my mouth. I spit it out and hissed like the animal I had become. We stood off, my chains still binding me to the wall, with only the slightest bit of slack to work with.
“Enough,” Cloak’s raspy voice haunted our ears. She was in glamour. That much I knew to be true. Her voice was not the one she was born with, but then again nothing about her was all that met the eye. Even though I was powerless, I still recognized her as Fae, and more importantly a traitor to our kind.
Thick yards of folded velvet flowed across the floor, the slithering sound as she crossed the dirt made me shudder. Her covering was equivalent to something out of a gothic fairy tale, dark greens fading into black, and shimmering like a snake as she passed the lone torch in my cell. The train of her hooded cloak splayed around her small figure, making the garment all the more eerie. One would have the impression that if the hood was pulled off, the face of darkness itself would stare back at you.
Crimson painted lips were visible as she motioned Lygos away from me, “You are so broken little one.” A lone, onyx lacquered nail scraped gently down my jaw. “And now that you have given up, I have my way into your mind and body.”
What is she talking about? My eyes were questioning and she noticed, grasping my chin in her painted clutches, and turning me to face her, “I will remember this moment for the rest of my days. When I sit on the throne of Fae and watch you all suffer at my feet, I will remember this look on your face with joy in my heart.”
With her free hand, she pulled the hood back, letting her glamour slip away. NO! This isn’t real, she’s…It can’t be…
“Traitor…” I whispered in shock, all this time, it was her.
“You cannot be a traitor to someone you never served,” She laughed, her voice smooth now, melodic even.
“Skeenji…” It was the only word that I could think of. That’s why they had waited all this time, not to kill me, or use my powers, but to use my body as a puppet and gain access into Fae under their control. This was bad, worse than anything I could have imagined.
“At least you have some intelligence left over after all these years. Now, look into my eyes Jameen…” Her voice soft and inviting, her hands cupped either side of my face.
“No, please,” It was the last thing I remembered saying of my own accord, before she took over my body, and I was left to cower in the dark, within the farthest corner of my mind.
Jordan was growling in my arms, his back arched with his nails digging into my sides. The sharp pain was nothing to me, my concern for my beloved superseding all else around me. I held him around the waist, keeping his thrashing to a minimum, while his growling turned to small whimpers.
“Hold on my love,” I begged, clutching him to me while lifting his weight to stand.
“Vendish! What are you doing?” Kimella shrieked, still put off by the shadows. I did not care for her sudden prejudice or her nearness. She was becoming more of an irritation than anything. Lucy wiped her eyes on her arm. She took a deep breath and pushed her mother out of the room, slamming the door in her face.
“Tell me what you need my Lord,” She bowed slightly and I nodded.
“I think the water will help him some. While I tend to him, have Rosie make something to eat, and make sure that the King and the other leaders are taken care of when they arrive. Call in others of the court if you need any help. For now, I want no one in this room, not even Guardwin himself. Am I clear Luciana?” I narrowed my eyes and Jordan groaned, the shadows moving down his face to his chest. Hang on my Telija, please…
“Yes, my Lord,” Lucy lifted her head from a short bow. “Please take care of him. We may not get a long all the time, but he is my best friend, and like a brother to me.”
“He is my mate Luciana, I will care for him the best I know how, for he is the most precious thing in the world to me,” I spared her not another word and took my love into the bath room.
Prismatic glass shimmered from above as the last of the fading sun swept over the horizon. My bath was large enough to be considered a small pool, with natural stone and crystals forming the basin. Water filled into the bath the moment I set Jordan onto the floor, his powers subconsciously being called forth. I ripped his wet clothing from his body, gasping at the sight before me.
While his body was smooth and perfect, that was not the reason for my shock. The shadows formed on his skin, stilling their movements into thick tribal patterns around his arms and chest. Vibrant blue vines twisted in between each ribbon of black before finally stopping altogether. Jordan’s eyes faded from black to teal, his body going limp under my fingers.
I was quickly becoming a mess, watching his transformation into something unknown. There wasn’t much I could do for him, except to stay near and comfort him. I know he needed me as much as I needed him, and my thoughts were confirmed when his thin fingers brushed my hand, searching for me. Bending down, I laid a kiss upon his brow, smoothing his damp hair away from his face.
“If you can hear me Jordan, I’m just going to remove these wet clothes, and put you in the water. Don’t try and move alright?” His fingers reached towards my face and I cupped his hand with mine.
“Everything is going to be alright, don’t worry my Telija.” The bath had filled and a light steam rose from the water.
I unbuckled Jordan’s belt and gently tugged his slacks down his legs, avoiding staring at his groin in his helpless state. He whimpered and tried to turn on his side, to hide his naked body from me in shame. Stroking his side in encouragement, I leaned down and whispered in his ear, “You are beautiful Jordan, but now is not the time for that. I just want to take care of you and put you in the bath. Please let me do this.”
My hand moved from his side, stroking over his belly in slow circles until finally he lay on his back. I smiled and pulled his soaking wet socks from his feet, tossing them into the corner, before moving back up to his briefs. Staring into his eyes to distract him, my fingers hooked into the band of material and pulled down.
Jordan swallowed and his bottom lip trembled, but he didn’t pull away. I sat back on my heels to pull the remaining garment off him completely, sighing at his new tattoos. What did this mean? Was he the master of the shadows now and if so, where was his staff? Meeka had a staff, but it disappeared when she died. Jordan tapped my hand, my train of thought lost.
Despite my stress over Jordan, I put on a mask that included a gentle smile to lift him under his back and knees. His body weighed nothing in my arms as I carried him a few feet to the bath. I placed him in the water and for the first time in what seemed an eternity, he sighed with relief. Jordan floated on the surface, like a leaf floated on a lake, and he seemed perfectly at ease. Even if he could speak at the moment, he didn’t. He just relaxed and let his body recover.
The water lapped at him soothingly while I began to strip out of my wet clothing. His eyes were shut, so I didn’t worry about his reaction to what I was doing. With my clothes around my feet, I took a deep breath and joined Jordan in the bath. He startled, swishing his arms around, teal eyes searching for the source of disturbance. I sat down in the water directly behind him and pulled him to me.
“Vendish?” He turned in my embrace, his eyed wide.
I smiled and cupped his face, “How are you feeling?” Jordan flustered, trying his hardest not to look down. Obviously he was conflicted with the fact that we were both entirely nude, but I on the other hand, had no problem with it whatsoever.
“I…um…don’t know,” His eyes roamed my bare chest, flicking back up to my face with a blush.
I grabbed his arm and raised it in front of his face, waiting for him to see his markings and maybe distract him in the process.
“What the hell?” His eyes bugged, making him look even more inhuman. He flipped his arm this way and that. Jordan raised his other arm, giving it the same treatment as the first.
“What is this Vendish? Oh my God, what’s happening to me?” The last words were muffled as he broke into tears and buried his face in my chest. “My mom is gone…She’s gone…”
My heart raced for him, not because he clung to me naked, but because he was so upset. I rocked him gently, watching the water around us start to rise in tiny beads. He had no idea what he was doing with the water, and I didn’t say anything, he would figure it out in time. The little droplets filled the air, attaching themselves to his skin like small kisses. They spread out along his body and connected, causing Jordan to sit up straight and gasp.