His thoughts filled with violence as the frenzy of bloodlust took hold of the Eternal and, when he bared his teeth at the Fey, Gairynzvl understood clearly just what purpose his glinting fangs served. Rather than back away in fear, however; he flexed his powerful wings with equal aggression and delved deeper, listening to the thoughts that filled Jean’s mind even as he rushed forward and grasped the Fey by his neck. Glaring back at the Eternal with every measure of composure he could manage, Gairynzvl took Jean by both arms with an iron-like clasp and beat his wings forcefully. Rising up from the ground at a daunting rate of speed was unexpected enough to redirect his attention and Jean paused to look down at the receding rooftop with an evident combination of astonishment and respect for the Fey’s countermove.
“Kill me and you may not live to regret it.” Gairynzvl hissed viperously as they ascended, continuing hastily before his quick-witted adversary had time to interject some acerbic reply. “But before you rip my throat out, will you allow me to pose one final question?” Jean’s black eyes locked with lavender-ice and he growled ferociously in return.
“It’s not like I have a lot of choice.” The Fey smiled with vexing charm, halting their upward climb and turning them in a slow circle before beginning to descend. Jean could not silence himself.
“If you wanted to dance, I could have asked the orchestra to play some Strauss.” Thirty feet from the rooftop, Gairynzvl inclined his head with exaggerated courtesy and let go of Jean’s arms. He plummeted to the ground amid the fluttering black of his coat, looking every bit the dark raven he was, and landed with surprising agility, neither falling nor staggering. Regaining his orientation, he glared viciously upward at the descending Fey, the red mists rushing over him, but Jean could not stop himself from laughing. Alighting several feet from the unpredictable Eternal, Gairynzvl watched his amusement cautiously, probing further into his thoughts in spite of polite decorum.
“If your existence here is as abhorrent to you as you claim, what have you to lose? The Light of Jyndari may not be fatal to you.” Recovering from his atypical display of mirth, Jean drew a deep breath and stalked closer.
“Light is light and I don’t fancy incinerating myself on a whim.” Gairynzvl shook his head.
“That is like saying blood is blood, but even now I can hear you debating whether or not my blood will satisfy you.” The revelation that he could read his thoughts rekindled the flame of his anger, causing the Eternal to move within inches of the brazen Fey with another growl.
“And just how might you know what I am debating?”
“We all have our gifts.”
“You may not want to read my mind. It just might make me angry.” Gairynzvl smirked with understanding; for the moment they enjoyed a truce and it was all he required.
“I do not know much about your realm, but you do. You know enough, at least, to wonder if my blood will satisfy you as a human’s might, which is vastly different than pigs blood or that of the wolf. I only suggest that Light is no different. Your body knows only the light of your realm; the Light of Jyndari is an unrecognized source of energy and may not be lethal.” Jean could not dispute the Fey’s logic, but sneered all the same.
“Yet if it is, I will not live long enough to say I told you so.”
“As I am not from this place, my blood may be equally as deadly; yet it is a risk you seem eager to take.” Considering the Fey’s argument pensively, his silence provided Gairynzvl a final opportunity, not only to save his own life, but to perhaps change the Eternals as well.
“If you are able to cross and stand beneath the radiance of our Light, will it not give you what you seek most; to breathe life and liberty without the compulsion for violence that you claim to detest? To gain some measure of purpose through the freedom of choice to live as you wish, rather than as you are forced?” The intensity of Jean’s glare pierced the Fey. He was certain he was right, but everything he knew was violence. How would he change that? It was a question he did not need to ask.
“I once lived a life of violence much as you do, but the Light of Jyndari changed me, allowed me to Prevail over the darkness and find a purpose for my life. It can do the same for you.”
“Is having a purpose so important?”
“You seem to believe so.” Jeans glare darkened.
“I asked you not to do that.” Once again, the Fey smiled with annoying charisma. Turning to gesture at the slowly undulating darkness of the portal, he questioned without speaking; yet Jean knew precisely what he was not saying. Looking round him at the garish glamour of the Rhineland and his, as yet, unconscious sometimes-friend, he took a hesitant step forward. If the Fey was right, then what he offered was as irresistible to the Eternal as blood itself, but the realization sent a myriad other questions tumbling through his mind. What would he do in this new realm and what would he consume if their blood was poisonous?
Gairynzvl reached outward toward the portal and spoke the dark words of Dlalth required to reverse its path, turning back to gaze at Jean with a wry smile even as he indicated that he should step through its dark surface.
“All very good questions, but you have time to debate them later.” Stopping beside the Fey, the dark raven reached out and laid his hand on his throat.
“If I have time to debate them, I may also have time for lunch.”
The portal opened, darkness pulling on darkness and Jean could not keep his feet from moving forward into the spiraling blackness. Letting go of the Fey, he stepped inward, hesitation and uncertainty filling every fiber of his being, but there was no turning back and what did he have, after all, to turn back for? The slurking pitch was utterly disorientating, but, in spite of not knowing which way was up or back, he took another step and felt the unexpected plush of undergrowth beneath his boots.
Light poured into the portal with terrifying velocity and the Eternal, born to death and darkness, stepped out into a brilliant glimmering of sunlight, which streamed through emeraldine branches. Warmth surrounded him for the first time in his life and the unexpected sensation made him squeeze his eyes closed in horror, certain it was the beginning of the end for him, but nothing happened. Birdsong filled the air more sweet than any concerto or symphony he had ever heard and the blush of the Light of Jyndari made him sigh profoundly. The rush of red mists that ever swirled in the depths of his being began to dissipate and the gnawing hunger he had always known was inexplicably quelled. Opening his eyes, he stared upward at the green canopy of a forest so beautiful he could not combat the tears that sprang from somewhere deep within him. Turning, he watched Gairynzvl step out of the portal, an insolent smirk upon his face, but the rush of anger he had always fought no longer compelled him to violence. Still, he had not changed all that much.
“You don’t live in these trees do you?” Gairynzvl pretended to laugh with marked sarcasm and pointed into the distance where the Eternal, whose vision remained as remarkable as ever, could see a village with clusters of quaint cottages and buildings nestled into the woodland.
“Lunch is at the tavern.”
~A Collaboration by Morgan and Richard M. Ankers. Richard’s contributions are highlighted for you in italics to set his writing apart from my own. We hope you will enjoyed this collaboration and debut of Character Interactions.
If you find the notion intriguing and would like to set your own characters in some new and entirely different situation, drop me a line or a comment to discuss the possibilities 🙂