Tag Archives: flashback

The Bloodied Briar – Part 2

“Jim. You missed the turn.”

Jim made a grunting noise to acknowledge his sister in law. They were on their way to see The Mariinsky Ballet from St. Petersburg performing Sleeping Beauty. Jim’s mind was less on the dancing they were headed to and more on the woman in his passenger seat. While his brother had been away in jail the two had grown close.

Jim and Jonathon were brothers but they were not alike in any way. Jim had dark hair and Jonathon light, they had different colour eyes. Jim was a cop, a detective. And Jonathon, well, Jonathon had gotten himself sent to jail for his involvement in a confidence scam. He was being released in three days after serving eighteen months of his sentence.

This was Jim’s last day with Rosanne. She had wanted it to be special and Jim was doing his best to give it to her. They had enjoyed lunch on the harbour, a leisurely two-hour cruise, followed by a walk in the gardens, most of their time spent by the roses. Rosanne loved roses. Dinner had been at a 50’s themed diner that Rosanne loved and now they were headed to the ballet.

Afterwards, they would go back to the hotel for their first and last night together.

Jim was excited and nervous, and more than a little envious of his brother for being married to this astounding woman. Not that it could have been him, he had been married years before Jonathon and Rosanne had met. Still, Jim would never understand what Rosanne saw in his brother beyond his good looks. Rosanne was well travelled, highly educated and stunningly beautiful. She could have had any opportunity she wished to pursue and yet she was married to Jonathon, staying that way, and not planning to pursue any kind of career. It was a mystery that not even a top detective could unravel.

“You’re very quiet, Jim. Is everything okay?”

“So far everything is perfect,” Jim replied. He glanced from the road to Rosanne and gave her a smile. Everything about today was perfect and he hoped it had been for her too. He also hoped what remained of their time together would be just as perfect.

“I agree, it’s been perfect. You’ve spoiled me, Jim.” Rosanne rested her hand on Jim’s thigh and left it there as he navigated his way to the parking building for the theatre. Once they were parked they shared a kiss, Rosanne fixed her lipstick and by the time she had finished, Jim was around the car opening the door for her.

“You look beautiful,” Jim almost stammered as he helped her from the car. Beautiful seemed inadequate and yet, if he waxed lyrical he would most likely come off cheesy. Jim wasn’t really a man of many words, nor a very eloquent one when he tried to be.

“Thank you.” Rosanne blushed and touched her hair. It was a sweet gesture that Jim read to mean that she was just as nervous as he was.

He took her arm and kissed her cheek. “You’re welcome.”

Both smiling, often at each other, they walked arm in arm toward the door to the stairs to head to the theatre and their seats. Sleeping Beauty was Rosanne’s favourite ballet and Jim was so glad they could share it together.

**

“You were conceived that night.”

Briar had not been aware of herself until that moment. She had been watching the scene play out unaware of her own form and consciousness, right up until the female voice spoke and the scene paused around her. Briar turned and found a woman standing next to her wearing a red dress. She looked as Briar imagined she might when she was older.

Was this an older version of Briar come to give her wisdom on her quest?

It took Briar a moment to see the differences in this woman, differences that would not come to Briar with age. This was not herself, no, this woman was more like the one that Jim had been escorting away. This woman looked like Briar’s mother, or how she would have looked had she lived and aged. The woman Briar had been watching had been twenty or twenty-one, twenty-two at most, and Rosanne had died two weeks before her twenty-fifth birthday. She would have been in her fifties now, as this woman in the red dress looked.

“Are you my…?” Briar couldn’t bring herself to say it. She wasn’t sure why, but the word mother stuck in her throat like cotton balls.

“In a way. I was once but now I am something different.”

“And that was you I was watching. That’s what really happened?”

“It is. I knew I would fall pregnant that night, and I knew I wanted Jim to be your father. It was one of the best nights of my life. I loved Jim so much.”

“Loved him? Yeah, I can tell how much you loved him by the fact you never tried to be with him.”

Rosanne, or the spirit that had been Rosanne, looked down and Briar could have sworn that sadness rolled off the woman like mist off the sea.

“No, you don’t get to go all quiet and sad on me. If he had been known to be my father I would have gone to him when you died. Not your sister and that…man.”

Briar’s anger was quick to rise. It always was but especially on this topic. It was something that had eaten away at her since she had found out that Jim was her father and not Jonathon. Why had her mother denied her a real father? Why had she been sent to her Aunt? Why was she denied a loving home? Even if Jim’s wife had hated Briar it would have been a more loving environment than what she got.

“It was complicated. Jim had obligations to his wife, his children and I…I had complications too.”

“Complications? Don’t you dare give me that BS. Don’t you fucking dare.”

“You had to go to my sister. I made promises and even though I did try to break them, it was already done.”

“That tells me nothing. Why did you damn your own daughter?”

The woman in the red dress paced a few steps away from Briar and then turned and looked back at her. Rosanne looked like she had made a decision and Briar hoped like hell it was one that would allow her to understand.

“I, I wanted a child. I was willing to do anything, anything at all for one. A man came to me. I thought he was an angel. He was beautiful, and he radiated power. He promised me I would have a child. He showed me a potion that I could drink to have a child and it reminded me of an old Sleeping Beauty story I had read, a magical creature promises the queen a baby. He asked me what I would pay for it and I told him anything, I would pay anything, do anything for a child and he told me that was an acceptable payment. I could have kept the potion and drank it when Johnny came home but I drank it the night I was with Jim. I wanted you to be the child of a good man. When I was six weeks pregnant with you I made up my mind to leave Johnny and go to Jim. Even if it was selfish to ask him to leave his family. But the angel returned, he walked in with Johnny and I knew I had been played. They told me the child would be terminated if I tried to leave and if I did not do everything that the angel wanted after the child was born he would return and cut out the child’s beating heart.

He was not an angel. He was a demon and he told me of my heritage, our heritage, that we come from the line of a demon.”

Rosanne fell silent and while Briar knew that at this news she should feel compassion for her mother, she did not. She still felt anger and betrayal.

“So, you agreed to everything they asked and doomed me. Losing my heart might have been a better way to go.”

“They had plans for you and I could not bear to take life away from you. I tried to fight them, I did.”

“By doing everything they wanted? That’s a fantastic fighting technique, Mum.”

“Each birthday they would come for a ritual. By your fifth birthday, you would be completely twisted into a demonic creature. By your sixteenth, you would join them. I couldn’t let it happen. I found a woman, a witch who promised to help me. On your next birthday, they came again to do the ritual. A man appeared that was more powerful than them and he cast them out. He said I only needed to summon him and he would come to save you. He said he protected his family.  I called him one last time the night of the accident and he saved you. By the time he returned to help me I was already dead.”

Briar found herself sinking down onto the concrete ground. She could see the whole thing playing out in her mind, the birthday party, the car accident that was clearly no accident. It was jarring and painful to witness, her head throbbing painfully. Briar closed her eyes until it was done and the pressure left her head.

Rosanne looked around before she moved to Briar’s side and embraced her. The two women clung to each other and Briar was not sure who started crying first.

“I am sorry for everything that happened then and after. I would give my life again to change things for you. I am so proud of you and I wish I could stay.”

“I have so many questions. So many things I’ve always wanted to say to you.”

“And I wish I could stay so we could speak of everything you wish.”

Briar looked up. She had thought Rosanne meant that she wished she could stay for good, not that she could stay no longer. “You’re leaving?”

“I should not be here. Lorelei gave me as much time as she could to join with you. Be strong, my Briar Rose. You are so much better than me. You can survive this. You will wake.”

Rosanne vanished. Briar was left alone as the background faded into shadows. She had been given a glimpse of the love that she had been conceived in and given dozens more questions about herself, her mother and her uncle.

It had answered one question that Briar had always wondered about Jim. It seemed he had really loved Rosanne, and what he said to Briar about wanting to make a life with Rosanne if she’d let him was true. No wonder his wife had left him when she found out. But, it still did not excuse him for not coming for Briar, no matter what promises he made to Rosanne.

Briar was not one for tears, she had trained herself not to cry at an early age. But she was crying now. For her father, for her mother, but mostly for herself and the life she could have lived if she had been allowed to grow up in the love that had created her. It seemed that the universe had been against her right from the beginning, so was it any wonder that Briar kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and destroy her current happiness. If the universe was so set on taking love and happiness from her from the beginning why should it allow her to have it now?

“Are you ready to move on now, Briar Rose? You have much more to see.”

A man was suddenly standing in front of her with his hand extended to help her to her feet. He seemed familiar but Briar had never seen his face before.

“Who are you?”

“We met before when I helped you with a tricky situation. I wore someone else’s face then, someone I knew you would trust.”

“Greece. You, you called yourself Hermes.”

“A slight lie on my part but given you believed the others were also Greek Gods it seemed a logical lie.”

“Who are you then?”

“You can call me Nathaniel.”

“I can call you that, or that is your name?”

“It’s one of them.”

Briar hesitated for a moment and then took his hand. If this was the same man or being, that had rescued her then it stood to reason she could trust him. He helped her to her feet, tucked her hand into his bent elbow and started walking.

“Where are we going?”

“Back to Greece, well, we shall begin there. You were right to worry that it was more than it appeared to be and that your attackers were not done with you.”

**

Back in the room, they could all see Briar’s body twitch and move as she dreamed. They could all see the tears that ran down her cheeks, into her hair and wet the mattress beneath her. Lorelei moved and placed a hand on Alistair’s shoulder as he sat on the floor at the edge of the circle. “Those tears are ones of healing, do not fear, she has not passed into any danger, yet.”

“It’s the yet that worries me.”

“I know, but she is protected and guarded. She would not want you upset.” Lorelei knew that all present worried; Briar’s tears upset them. Lorelei knew that there was much worse yet to come. This was only the beginning.

 

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Lyric Warm-Up Writing Day 23 – Starting to Get Old

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Words were hard today, I had to resort to coffee to even try to brain and even then it took forever. But eventually, the randomly selected lyric yielded to the Muse. This character hasn’t been introduced to the world yet, but I hope she will be loved.

Words that I’m hearing are starting to get old

“Stop with the insults. Stop talking. Just shut up!”

Elisaveta screamed the words, at least she did in her head.  She did not say them aloud. She never did. No matter the hateful, hurtful things her mother said, no matter how her mother put her down and tore her down…Elisaveta never spoke back, not since she was a child.

She knew she was nothing but a disappointment to her mother. She knew her mother wanted nothing more for Elisaveta than a miserable life.

Elisaveta came from a long line of powerful witches. She was heir to amazing powers. And yet she had none. No matter how hard Elisaveta had tried, trained, no matter who taught her, she could not master even the most basic magic. And for it, her mother hated her.

Elisaveta held the phone away from her ears as her mother spat hate and words of disappointment down the line. Elisaveta let her mind wander, as she so often did when her speaking to her mother on their fortnightly chats. It was a defence mechanism. What she did not listen to could not hurt her.

Her mind drifted to dreams she had been having lately about a dark eyed, dark haired, well-spoken man. Each dream was different but so often her dreams were about him. (Something she never told her boyfriend.)

The night had been cold and she had taken her cloak when she snuck out. The travellers were on the beach, the only place they were allowed to stay by the pompous men in town led by the hateful man of God who had already burned two of her friends.

It was foolish to sneak out but she wanted to see the travellers and hear their music. She loved their music, she loved to dance and twirl to the wild melodies, so she risked it. Tonight there were new people in their group. And he was there standing beside the other musicians playing the violin. He looked so serious as he played but then he smiled and she found herself grinning because of it.

He looked at her and she giggled.

He held out a hand and she took it.

They danced beside the sand and the fire making shadows dance beyond them.

And then fire approached men with torches and ill intentions. And she feared the flames.

“Elisaveta are you still there or are you off on another empty-headed daydream?”

“I’m here mother. There are police outside and I…”

“Thought you would be rude to your own mother and ignore me?”

“As always, your words are getting old, Mother. I’ll talk to you later.”

And this Elisaveta said aloud. She actually stood up to the biggest bully in her life. She hung up and looked at her dazed reflection in the window glass.

She had stood up to her mother. Would wonders never cease?

 

 

Lyric Warm-Up Writing Day 8 -Take me away from me

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I’ve gone back to where it all began, working on one of the first stories I created in RP and taking it through to where it needs to be in novels. Tienai was my first character, Jaidee (Jai the Fae) followed. Teinai has been almost as loud as her sister of late, so she decided to tell some of the original story. Enjoy!

Take me away from me.

“Take my hand.”

“Will you take me away?”

“From it all.”

“From myself?”

“I promise, you will finally find peace in yourself.”

His smile was charming, his eyes were captivating. Tienai felt like she was being drawn deep into his eyes as this man gently ran is hand over the top of hers.

She was an empath, she should have known better, she should have known what he was doing. She should have known she was being mesmerised but she had spent so long denying her power, willingly ignoring it, that it did not help her.

“Will that be all, Sir?”

Tienai barely registered the man who had brought her here. All she could care about was the man with the charming smile.

“Yes, thank you, Thorn. You’ve outdone yourself.”

The man with the charming smile led Tienai across the room. He punched numbers into a keypad and the wall slid back.

She should have been worried right now, she should have been scared. She should have known better than to follow blindly. But Tienai followed the man through the hole in the wall and onto the staircase.

She liked this feeling of bliss that he created. For the first time in years, she was not being eaten alive by the agony of what had happened. She was not paying the cost of her curiosity.

It had been centuries but the guilt still gnawed as strong as ever. It had been she who had been interested in the forbidden magic. It had been she who had found the book. It had been she who had convinced Damien to try a spell. It had been she who had lost control of the Olde magic. It had been Damien who had burned. It had been she who had killed her own fiancé.

Now there was no guilt. Just this man.

She followed willingly. She followed him into the hallway that was a mixture of a jail block and a hospital. She did not even glance into the cells to see the misery contained within them. She should have felt the suffering. She was an empath, stronger than her sister, but she felt nothing and had no compassion and no fear.

She followed willingly as they turned a corner and entered a room with a thick and heavy door.

“Have a seat,” the man suggested.

She did. The chair was old. Hard. She sat smiling at the man and did not even notice the other person in the room. She did not recognise him because she was not looking. She should have. She was a twin. As her husband-to-be had been. She should have recognised him. But she sat smiling with no desire to look anywhere but into the man’s eyes.

She did not flinch or scream as heavy straps were used to secure her. She did not notice the marks carved into leather and metal. Ancient patterns that worked dark magic.

She did not flinch or scream as a needle was slid into her flesh. She smiled happily, glad this man existed.

“Did you wish a taste, Galen?”

The man nodded. “As if you need to ask.”

He chuckled, the sound was full of menace and the spell was broken.

Tienai became aware of her surroundings. Of the men. She finally felt fear and she felt pain. The needle in her arm pulled blood too fast from her veins and she screamed in pain.

Galen laughed and took the offered cup. He drank the contents quickly and his eyes glazed over. “More.”

“Soon.”

“Now.” Galen roared and advanced on Tienai. His fangs were in her flesh before she had time to draw breath to scream. It did not matter; her screams could bring no help.

The pain was too much, her screams broke and her eyelids fluttered. A warm flush rushed through her body as she began to faint.

She heard her sister’s voice in her mind for the first time in centuries. She heard Jaidee screaming her name.

She knew that this time she had strayed into a danger that not even Jaidee could save her from. Galen had promised her peace. Tienai did not need the gift of prophecy to see her future. She knew that she no longer had one. But first, there would be pain.

And for the death of Damien she deserved it.

 

 

 

Lyric Warm-Up Writing Day 3 -Read All About It

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My Casey, it felt so good to write for her today and writing flashbacks for her life was how she got started. Oh the feels.

Pretending Isn’t Working Anymore

Was he kidding?

He expected her to take him back, to be happy about it. To smile and love him and pick up where they left off. Where he left off.

He was the one who left. No letter, no call, no word. He just vanished off and she let him go. If he wanted to be there, if he wanted to be hers then he would be. He would stay. He would love her. But he vanished.

“I needed to clear my head. I needed to work things out.”

“It’s okay. I understand.”

And there it was. Her fake smile because she had missed him. She had loved him. She had wanted him back. And for the shining moment, love was everything.

Only it wasn’t. After that initial excitement wore off, that euphoria of a long-awaited kiss. Of being in his arms again. Of being loved. After it wore off she was left feeling…little.

Minutes passed and then hours and then days and he expected her to still love him and keep smiling and just forgive everything. She tried to talk to him, he did not want to hear it. There was the unspoken threat that if she made waves he would vanish into the mountains again and she would be left waiting in pain for him to return.

But her smile was cracking and it was not love she was feeling it was pain and it was anger. That was what he had left her with every single time he had vanished. That was what she was left with.

“I don’t want to talk about it. Come here. I want to feel you in my arms.”

“No! You want to see me smiling but you’re going to have to see me hurting. I can’t do this. I cannot keep doing this. You want all the happy with none of the bad and that is not how love works.”

“I love you, you know I love you. I’m sorry. Please, I just want things how they were.”

“No. I can’t keep pretending everything is okay when it isn’t.”

“Do you still love me?”

“I don’t know.”

Yes, she knew. She just did not want to say. That was pretending though, wasn’t it? She knew. She had known for a long time. Love is love is love is love is love. But not all love is the same. This wasn’t the love she thought it was. This wasn’t love at all. It might have been some kind of love but it had been mixed up in other things and now her head was clear.

He had cleared it for her.

No, she did not still love him. She did not want him. She did not need him. That was the big one. She did not need him. She had needed him and that need had been the love. She needed to be loved. She needed to be wanted. She needed to be healed.

She no longer needed that from him. He could not heal her. He could not love her.

She could not love him.

So, Casey left. There was no goodbye. No letter, no call, no nothing. She simply got into the car with Uncle Trent and knew that was it. She was done.

“I’m proud of you, Cas.”

“You are?”

“He was never good for you but you had to be the one to work it out.”

“It’s still hard, though.”

“Life always is, kiddo.”

“So, it won’t get suddenly easier?”

A shadow passed over Trent’s face but Casey did not see it. He squeezed her hand and it was tighter than she expected.

Life would be hard and Trent wished he could take it all away from her. She thought leaving Danny behind was hard. It was going to be nothing compared to what the young girl would face now.

He would do anything at all to take it away from her. But the fates are always hardest on those that could shine the brightest. It would be up to Casey if she came out of her trials whole.

But in that moment, Casey felt good. She felt free.

Danny would never hear the words or know the truth but she smiled as she looked out the car window.

“I’m free. And I’m not looking back. It was good and it was bad and it’s done. I won’t cry for you again. I’m free.”

Ladies of the Lake

So I wanted to do another teaser for Tuesday. We have so many stories we are working on,  and I want to share them all. So I asked Sam for a suggestion as to what I should share of ours today. She, with very little hesitation, said “Ladies of the Lake”. Now as you have probably guessed this first-draft-writing-in-progress is part of the Shadows of Avalon and is in fact a flashback to times gone by and the days of Arthur….

**

She came from the lake, water spilling from her body as the wet cloth clung to her. She glowed in the twilight as she moved towards the party, the men on horseback waiting on the shore. She knew each by face and by name though none knew her, not yet. The sun had vanished behind the clouds as it set though the hint of its light remained setting the lake and sky to a deep blue the lake rippling with dark shadows and in the water she stood there in her silver gown, the retrieved sword in her hands, though it was not the one that was promised to this man who rode at the head of the pack, his would come in time but that time was not tonight and she would not be the one to bring it to him.
This sword belonged to another who rode to join them now, he alone knew her face, though many who looked on her now knew her soul in the lives that had come before them.
“Madame, you will catch a chill.” A young knight jumped from his horse and came forward once he had tugged a cloak free of his belongings strapped to the horse. “Please, take this, we will cast our eyes away and let you change from these sodden clothes. It would not do well for you to catch your death.” The man came closer to her and noticed first the sword in her hands and then the mark on her forehead that denoted her as a priestess of the Isle. He dropped to bent knee before her and held out his cloak, head bowed in reverence. “My lady I did not know you for who you were.”
“And yet you showed me kindness and respect, your heart is ever pure Bedevere. I thank you for the gesture.”
“You know me lady?” He tilted his head and looked up at her, the others remaining silent on their horses but all looked on curious as to what was transpiring that one of their own would drop to bended knee before her.
“I know you all.” She smiled kindly at him and then as she touched a hand to his to raise him up she turned her eyes to the others. “Please, you are all welcome at the lake. You may rest here as you planned to for the night.”
Their leader jumped from his horse and strode forward, wearing his crown well for all his youthful years and short months upon the throne.
“You know us lady, but please let us give our names and greetings as if we were strangers to you, as you are to us.” He unsheathed his sword and set it into the ground before him and knelt before it. “I am Arthos, or Arthur as the people all me.”
“Be welcome Arthur, I am Niniane of the Lake and I have been sent to bring this to another of your party who lost it many years ago in an argument with a young priestess.”
“A young priestess who was ever stubborn and would not cast aside duty.” A figure broke from the darkness of the trees, leading a horse that favoured it’s front right hoof.
“A young priestess who fought with a stubborn young priest who would not cast aside his own duty either. Hello Myrddin.”
“Hello Niniane, the years have been kind to you.” Myrddin let his horse free as another knight left his own to tend to it. He moved to her side and bent his head to kiss her cheek. “I have missed you.”
“And yet you have not come to call on me.” She chided him gently though there was still accusation in her words. He had not returned to the Isle in seven years since they had argued and he had thrown the sword she had given him into the lake in his anger. He had left her then, left the island and not returned until this night when he brought the new king he had chosen over her, to find blessing with Lord and Lady of the Isle and the great Gods who blessed this place.
“I have been busy.”
“I have seen.”
“You have watched me then?”
“Often do I go to your sanctuary and let the cave of crystal show me you as you have been and are. We both submitted to our duty this does not mean my heart turned as cold as that crystal against you.” Niniane spoke with no embarrassment as she admitted that she still loved the man who now wore grey in his beard.
“It seems there are stories to be shared, but perhaps camp might be made and dinner prepared if we are to spend the night here, the light will fade soon and we are without the moon tonight.” A handsome young knight moved from his horse.
“Gwaine is right, you should all be about your business as if I did not disturb you. If you would be willing to share your meal with me I should repay by sharing a story or two.”
“It shall be as you say lady.” Gwaine bowed low in her direction and all the knights and their king followed suit, the only one who did not bow was Myrddin, he stood fixed in place his eyes moving from her face to the sword and Niniane fought to not laugh at him. Though he would have known that he might see her in this journey he clearly did not expect to find her so soon.
“Will you walk with me Myrddin?” She asked in a soft voice, still holding his sword in her hands.
“Forgive me lady.” Arthur took a step closer to them, clearly feeling he was intruding and seeming almost bashful for it.
“Yes my king?” Niniane turned her gaze to the young king from his mentor.
“You are still dressed in your wet clothes and it still stands that in this cool night air you might take a chill and become unwell and none here will allow such a thing to come to pass and rest on our conscience. Please let us give you dry clothes before you and Myrddin take your leave to continue your reunion.”
“You are quite the silver tongue my king and I will gratefully accept the lending of clothes, I was foolish in that I did not think beyond my quest to retrieve the sword from where it lay hidden to what my state would be after. The Lady would chide me for it, though it would not I believe surprise her that I would act so, especially not when this one is involved.” Niniane spoke in a low conspiratorial tone and gave Arthur a wink that caused him to look even more self-conscious. It amused her that he in such a position as he held would act in such a way. It gave her more hope for his reign after the bloodshed and destruction of his father.
Arthur was all king though as he waved his hand for others to bring to him the clothes he had offered but she did not begrudge him that, he was after all king. Bedevere came forth and offered his cloak to go with the rest and she accepted it with no hesitation. She knew their pride would not allow her to say no and she wished them to be at ease with her.
“I will change over in the trees.” She turned and began to walk only to pause at the sound of footsteps on the lake stones behind her. She turned back to face the way she had come and found Myrddin close behind her. “One might wonder where you think you are going?”
“I will not spy while you change but I will not allow you to enter the woods with no escort nearby nor will I let you too far from my sight this evening.” He gave her a smile that she had missed all too much and one she could not resist.
“Very well.” Niniane continued to walk to the trees and finding one with a trunk of suitable girth she moved behind it to shed her damp dress and change. She had to admit once she had secured the pants around her with the rope belt and pulled the cloak around her shoulders that it did feel better to be dry, the slight breeze did not seem to move through to her bones in the same fashion now. She retrieved her wet dress and undergarments from the forest floor and held them in one hand while she picked up Myrddin’s sword in the other as she came forth from behind the tree and into his sight once more.
“Do you recall the night you gave that to me?”
“I do, in vivid detail including the moment you cast it away and broke the promise between us.” Tallking of the memory brought it to mind and the feelings of that night burned as strong as the image burned bright in her mind.
“You would not come away with me.” Myrddin replied, his tone defensive.
“And you would not stay with me.” Niniane tried not to react to the tone but though years had passed the hurt still remained between them. “You had your duty and I had mine and we are hardly strangers to it being this way.”
“Your lips.”
“My lips?” Niniane blinked her eyes at his reply to her words, they were not expected.
“I would kiss them.”
“You are not free to give me the promises that your kiss has always held Myrddin, we might not either be strong enough to survive it.”
“And yet standing there all I wish for is to kiss them again, to know you again, your body and pleasure as is my right as your chosen.”
“You chose me Myrddin, claimed me but you left me and it near destroyed me, I come to make peace, not to make love.”
“You do not feel the same as you once did.” His words accused her even as his eyes turned cold and hard in anger.
“I feel as I always have, I loved you before you claimed me and I love you still, my body still stirs for yours Myrddin as it ever has, there has been no other I have lain with in ritual or in pleasure.” Niniane looked down at the sword in her hands, tears stinging at her eyes and she tried to blink them away before they could fall and betray the sadness in her heart. “I gave you this sword six moons after you claimed me as the wolf to my dragon, it was to be the gift of our betrothal and when you threw it away you threw with it my heart. I give you back your sword and give you always my heart, but I can never be yours as you cannot be mine. We have been given our tasks and will shall do them because our lives are only two compared to the many that will be blessed and the peace that will hold these lands if we do as we are tasked.”
Myrddin did not reply but took her by the arms and pulled her to him, his arms locked around her and he held her tight in his embrace. No words spoken though any watching could see from the shaking of their bodies that both wept for what they had between them, for what had been and what could be and would not.
Niniane was first to break their embrace though she did not wish to but she was not strong enough to remain in his arms and not be moved, not relent and let his lips taste hers once more. More nights than she could count had passed as she wished to kiss him again, to lie with him again and she knew that she would relent far too easily and perhaps even turn her back on her task.
“I promised the king and his companions a tale for my supper, I should pay the debt.”
“There is no debt, you have not eaten and even if you had already not one man expects anything for the gesture of hospitality.” Myrddin said and let his hand rise to wipe a tear from her cheek but his hand froze in place between them without reaching her cheek. For a moment her heart had sped up as she thought he might so tenderly touch her and she turned aside when he did not so he would not see into her eyes.
“Come let us eat supper together and let me share in the hospitality offered.” Niniane drew her eyes from the ground to look briefly at Myrddin and then handing the sword into his keeping once more she turned and made her way to the fireside, taking a place offered to her at Arthur’s right side. It was a position of honour and she accepted it with a smile keeping her eyes from seeking out Myrddin in the firelight once more.