She recognized her folly immediately. In striving to protect the child, she had unwittingly sacrificed herself. In the darkness of the hall as he dragged her unfalteringly toward the only room in her home containing a mirror, she recalled the dire and dreadful warnings given to all young fey as they entered youth. A mirror never stood in a sleeping chamber for a mirror could never be left in darkness. Should a Dark One cross over, he would open the portal the mirror provided and summon his legion. Then they would cross in untold numbers visiting such vile acts of upon the young fey as could never be named. They would only return into their own realm when the first light of the sun crossed the horizon, leaving ruination and despair in their wake and, oftentimes, death.
“No!” She shrieked in absolute horror, straining against his grasp, leaning away from him, scratching at his hand, beating her wings with every ounce of strength she possessed, but her resistance seemed more an inconvenience to him than a problem. Tugging her along behind him, he strode purposefully into her boudoir, her private chamber of preparation, and turned toward the mirror. Raising his free hand toward the reflecting glass, he arched his wings as if setting himself against a foe and closed his eyes, beginning an incantation that was not spoken in the Dlalth tongue, but in a language she did not immediately recognize.
Where were all the spells of protection she had learned as a child? How could she have forgotten after repeating them, literally, thousands of times until she was weary of speaking? Her mind spun, her terror choked her, her breath came in ragged gasps, she shook like a willow in a November wind, but she could still hear him speaking in the mysterious language and, in spite of her fear, she could not prevent the shred of curiosity that made her pause and glance up at him. She realized in that brief moment of clarity that his hand around her wrist was not an iron of restriction, clamped around her like a manacle. In fact, astonishingly, he was not hurting her at all.
The mirror creaked like ice shifting on a frozen river, the sound making her tremble more fiercely. He was opening the portal. Desperation inundated her like a spring flood and she pulled against his restraining grasp more vehemently, but he did not even turn his head. Hauling her up against his side, he crossed his arm over her shoulders and pinned her against him, turning the edge of one broad wing toward her furious thrashings to threaten any further resistance with a glinting, ten-inch spine.
Suddenly, her training returned to her and words of protection filled her mind. She gasped them out in haste, but her voice was little more than a choked squeak. Regardless of the weakness in her chanting however, his reaction was instantaneous. Pausing in his invocation, he turned his head to look down at her with obvious irritation, pressed the cruel barb on his wing to the soft skin under her chin and raised his hand from her shoulder to cover her mouth. There was nothing more she could do to protect herself. She had been defeated in her first and only battle. She knew she was utterly lost.
Turning back to the mirror, he began again, the unrecognizable words ringing in her ears like chimes spinning her senses. She was falling under his spell. She was unable to struggle, unable to speak her own protection, unable to do anything other than listen as he opened the portal and wrought her destruction. Yet even in her panic-stricken state, she could not prevent her overly inquisitive mind from lucidly noting that his hand, pressed over her mouth, was not hurting her. He did not bruise her lips under the ferocity of his contact; he did not wrench her head backward with cruel disregard; he did not restrict her breathing. He was simply thwarting her ability to speak.
Why was he being so shockingly careful about not hurting her? Why had he permitted her to protect Roshwyn with Light as well as spell? Why had he pulled the nursery door closed quietly before proceeding to drag her down the hallway toward the mirror? She could not comprehend his entirely incongruous behavior. Moreover, she had always been told The Reviled were cold-blooded, heartless creatures; that the touch of a Dark Fey was icy as death itself, yet, pressed up against him as she was his surprising warmth was undeniable.
The mirror creaked more loudly, drawing her back to the horror of her present situation and, with these calamitous musings confusing her thoughts, she strained to see around his vast pinions and broad shoulders to watch the mirror with morbid curiosity.
Tiny shards like crystalline ice were stretching across the reflective pane, each splinter a minuscule prism that reflected any spark of light in the room, even the ineffectual glimmer of her diminishing aura and his ethereal, dark crimson glow. With each word he spoke, the crystals increased, growing in number, dimension and intensity until they spread across the glass like frost on a winter window. Scraping and creaking like snow scrunching underfoot on the coldest day, the shards in the mirror began to reflect their own luminosity and as he continued to speak the luster of the mirror intensified.
Then the mirror resounded with a deafening crack and she flinched abruptly away, a sharp cry escaping her muffled mouth. Even the Dark One recoiled from the force of the sound and fell silent. Petrified, she squeezed her eyes tightly closed and held her breath. He had opened the portal; his kind would soon rush in and then she would pray for death long before it would come. In her terror, she could not breathe, blackness swirled at the edges of her mind, and her knees grew weak. Almost imperceptibly, she began to collapse, sliding down the length of his strong frame with no measure of power left within her to break her fall.
Without a sound, the Dark One turned his head to look down at her and released her. He did not drop her or throw her to the floor like a worn out plaything; he took her by the shoulder and by the hand and lowered her to the floor at his feet. Her thoughts swirled at this additional peculiarity and, before she lost herself to fear completely and was swallowed up by blackness, she opened her eyes to peer up at him wanly, utterly bewildered.
The room was bathed in Light! The mirror was intact, not lying in a multitude of shattered pieces on the floor as she had expected, and, somehow, it stood aglow with radiant, incandescent Light that sparkled and reflected in its own shimmering! Blinking woozily in the brilliance, she gazed up at him and drew a deep breath.
What had he done?
This is the conclusion of My Favourite Chapter of Dark Fey The Reviled. Should you find yourself intrigued and wanting to read more of the book, you can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JYDIWW2
I hope you enjoyed Friday Fantasy this week 🙂
Photograph found at: duncanpoulton.com