Excerpt: The Cursed

“Why’d you do it?”

Her voice was small, but steady as she stood before Norflus and the bodies of the three young children.

“I had no choice, Saya.. You must believe me.”, said Norflus, taking a step towards her.

“You sick bastard… You murdered them! Your own children!”

“I only did it to save them! They were sick! You know that!! You’d seen Maya and Aliana yesterday! They could barely stand. And Ria hasn’t opened her eyes in 4 days! They’re at peace now, and I’m not sorry for what I’ve done!

The sound of a gun cocking made both of them turn around in time to see a disheveled Shade standing at the door, his eyes sweeping across the ransacked room.

“Saya, what the fuck is going on?”

 “Shade!”, Saya exclaimed, instinctively moving towards him, “What are you doing here? You need to be resting! Where are Tonya and -“

She stopped in her tracks as Shade pointed the muzzle of the gun at her, “I asked you a question.”

Saya stared at him in disbelief, dismayed at her training having seemingly failed her at this crucial juncture. She had no idea what to say to him. Besides the fact that it was dangerous for him to be here.

She watched his eyes sweep over the room, pausing over the bedsheet strewn carelessly over the bodies of the three young children. Oh, no.. Aliana…

Norflus now stepped up to Shade. “My Lord, I did what I thought best. Now you must do the same.”

Saya’s heart began to race. The Imperium would never forgive such a transgression. Already the walls were tainted with the blood of three innocents. Shade would be held responsible. The council was waiting for just such a transgression. The last thing he needed was to kill the one man who could offer proof before the Most Honorable Assembly of The Highest Justice.

She moved closer to him, and Shade drew back his pistol, cracking Norflus across the face with it. It took all of Saya’s training to not gasp out aloud at the sudden violence. Norflus fell to the floor in a faint, and Shade swayed himself.

“Shade!”, exclaimed Saya, slipping her arms around his waist to steady him. “Guards”, she called out into the hall, cursing the Others for letting him out of the Healing Ward and into this mess. He must have followed her. But why was he alone? His body was tense against hers, and she resisted the urge to dig her nails into his back, shocked at the suddenness of the thought.

In anger or in love? she asked herself, suddenly miserable.

Shade looked down at her, “I’m fine. You can let me go.”

Reddening, she stepped away from him. “You tried to shoot me.”, she accused, already aware of what was going to happen next, as if she had seen it all happen before. In the ghost of a dream, she thought, feeling her skin tingle as she watched Shade turn away from her and walk towards the murdered children.

Even though he wasn’t supposed to have entered the room before dawn. By then the girls would have been prepared for the ceremony. And he wouldn’t be walking towards their still-warm bodies on a floor slick with their blood.

It wasn’t your fault, she thought, her heart aching for him. But she couldn’t say that out loud. Because it wasn’t what she was supposed to say. He will curse now. Swear vengeance on the Introducers of this Vile disease. And Norflus.. And even me..

He stopped before the outstretched hand, that would have tugged Saya’s heart right out of her body were it not for her lessons in Momentary Isolation Techniques. “They need a proper funeral”, she said, finally, because that was what she was supposed to do, even though it was six hours earlier than when she was supposed to be saying it.

He will curse now.

A sudden movement on his part drew her out of her reverie, and she saw him on one knee, hand hovering around the youngest child’s hand, which stretched out from below the bloodstained sheet, fingers curled around a crumpled piece of paper. He took the piece of paper with his left hand, then covered her hand with his right.

She took a step closer, concerned with the different direction the situation was taking, and then stopped as she heard him speak. The Ancient Tongue! Tears sprang unbidden in Saya’s eyes..

He was praying for the children.

What had they done?

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The Cursed – Excerpt: Nova

(c)

The ground trembled beneath them again. Yonas ran through the carnage, pushing his red hair out of his eyes as he craned his neck, trying to locate any of the Nine. To his right, he could see the brave Sir Richmond battling two creeps all by himself. He tried to catch his eye as he passed, but did not dare to linger. Ahead, in the mass of dust and sweat and blood, something bright and white caught his eye. The Queen of the Lost! He rushed forward, darting through the feet of men and beast caught up in a lust for battle that his young mind could not yet fathom.

He struggled to keep her in his sight, heart soaring with pride as he saw the Lord Shade and his young squire flanking her as she cast devastating spell after spell at the charging enemy lines, only pausing to summon up protective shields around her friends. The elven archer grinned as he spotted the boy, and yelled out to the Queen. But he need not have bothered, for she was already looking at him, a worried smile lighting up her tired features. She swayed, and the Knight and his squire simultaneously leapt forward to catch her, swords at the ready in their free hands, daring anyone around them to come seek a challenge. She smiled at them reassuringly and steadied herself on the forest floor, preparing to cast once again.

Suddenly, a sharp pain stabbed through his spine, and he dropped to the trampled grass, confused. He could barely make out the Queen’s distant screams as she lunged forward, only to be held back by Ether, even as Janek and Shgyar moved in closer and assumed defensive positions. Lord Shade and the Mhak man charged forward, but a tightening feeling in the pit of his stomach brought forth the sudden realization. He had been stabbed. And he was dying.

He could hear the Queen calling out to him, much like the first time he had met her on the bridge outside the town, her dark hair blowing about her pale face, even as Lord Shade spoke to her in low urgent tones. She had caught sight of Yonas perched on the tree growing on the riverbank, and she had smiled at him causing Lord Shade to turn about to investigate the source of her humor. For some inexplicable reason, he left his hands and hung upside down from the tree, reveling in her gasp and the pretty laugh that followed. She was the most beautiful lady he had ever seen. And, as he swung upside down on the tree, offering to pluck her some fruit for one of the pretty stones around her neck, he noticed the Lord watching her as she fingered the green gems about her neck, and when she screamed in delight at the berries Yonas tossed her, he saw that the Lord was smiling. Yonas had never before then even seen the Lord of Shade smile since he returned from the first Crusades.

But now she was crumbling to the floor, eyes wide and unseeing and pointed at him. He wanted to reassure her about his place in the palace of God, but did not know how to. He shivered violently, and felt rather than saw her helplessness and fear.

Another tremble took over the ground, and the last thing Yonas saw was the Mhak man peering down at him intently, even as Lord Shade cursed out loud. The trembling intensified, and the two sword wielding men turned just in time to see the burst of flames heading out towards them at a rapid speed.

“Nova”

Beware the Rose’s thorns

 Her Last Letter to Lord Stone

In this world of pain lies betrayal, you were the only person I ever fully trusted with myself. The only person who learned the truth about me. Sometimes I wonder if that’s why you loathe me so. Because of a weakness I shall never have the chance to correct. Because I had already disappointed you before you had ever even laid eyes on me, even though I redeemed myself from the image of the life you once thought I’d lead… Even though you were straight fingered and caught in your own pots of honey back then. While I, while I drowned in endless rain.

Sinister thoughts overcome my mind sometimes. Maybe that’s why I hate white. Or maybe that’s why I prefer the color of skin when it is devoid of any color except undertones of blue and white. But then I remember other paler faces, and I know that that’s not true. (Is this when I’m supposed to feel relieved?)

Remember when we were flung out so far in that distant painted phony looking sky? When we laughed so hard that I began to cry, like I always do when I can’t stand how happy I am, and you wiped away every last tear even as we fell freely to the ground that was so so so far beneath us. Whispering over and over, Don’t cry, sweetheart, I’ve caught you.

Except I took too long to fall, and the ground was actually an ocean, and the ocean swallowed you whole, and made you see me from a whole new point of view, and you could tell how broken and damaged and worthless I truly was. And I could not find you. Can not find you. Because you do not want me to, and no one can reach you while you’re gone.

And I’ve followed you into this ocean, beloved. This ocean of ash and dust. You cannot turn your back on me now. Not after all this time. Not after everything we’ve been through together. Not after everything I have been through in your name!

But now I see just how this test was designed for me to fail. How the past year was designed to lead to no other outcome but this. It was clever of you. An almost automatic response, I would assume. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t see it happening. But I thought I had more time. I thought I had at least as long as some real betrayal.

If I had known that this is what it would turn into. If I had only known that the easier path would be all that attracted you, that you would rather run from something as simple as pain than stand your ground and be the man you swore you were, if I had known that you would actually choose mediocrity over meaning, as long as it meant the stabilization of your dominance and authority…

My father was right about you.

And this is the price of my disobedience.

Molten

I cannot hold you in my hands anymore
Flowing out of my veins, like lava in flames
Shining like an intense ocean of red and gold
if I choose to burn, is it not only I who is to blame?

Though sometimes I still dream of that very first time
That my ice-cold soul felt the burn of your skin
Around your fingers, you wrapped my reeling mind
Leaving my edges on steam, and my core, molten.

And you should know I’ve been melting ever since
First in cracks that trickled, then in streams that screamed
And I wonder if you ever truly were the lost prince
Or simply a lord from some nightmarish tale I once dreamed.

My love, how can I follow you any further into this night?
When I know not the way through the depths of your mind
I set out following the treacherous moon and its light
Only to leave myself somewhere too far behind.

And now the embers falling from my skin
from all the places we have touched
are all I have to light my way of sin
Not enough, but always too much

I like to believe I’ll catch up with you sometime
Before going up in flames, or melting out of sight
And if being too weak to help you was my only crime
Then I hope at least my pyre provides you with light.

 

The Lost

Yesterday drifts through the mind
With memories of winter and frost
The signposts have been left behind,
But not the anguish of the lost

I knew a man, who had sailed the sea
and I asked him to be my guide
He told me of a better World
But I think he may have lied

For I live in palaces, always golden
but the real World waits just outside
Where poverty is bought and stolen
and it’s justice that’s denied.

All by myself, what is it I can do?
I asked both the brave and wise
You do what you can, you do what you must
But first you must survive.

Ah, surviving is half the war
That much, I swear, is true
And what mountains will I ever scale,
If that alone is too much to do?

And it was in those trials of ice and fire
That I first met the One I desired
And it was in those trials of fire and ice
That I lost not just once, but also twice

But that is a story for a different day
for first he showed me what I must do
It’s true, my Lord must have his way
But, my lonely soul, you must, too

So I walked on edges, watched and guided
Like a princess of Blood and Fire
Until the kingdom burned, and my Lord decided
that my feet deserved glass and wire

And it was I who hung up my dreams
In strings and strings of rope
It was I who set my kingdom on fire
It was I who strangled hope

Forgive me, forgive this dithering child
Every step I take turns into a mistake
I loved you, and the way you smiled
And it’s my own heart I most callously break

For now you no longer smile for me
I have transformed into all that is wrong
In breaking vows to reach where you sleep
I am no longer worthy of your song.

In colder times, you held my hand
You walked me home, said you understand
I remember winters, white, covered in frost
Ice and Fire, and the things that I have lost.

You will always mean, what you did to me
On that morning so old and golden
Before you could tell, and before I could see
just how irreparably I lay broken.