Alezae stood slowly, silently, from her chair, that ghostly, wicked grin still on her face. I refrained from shivering, holding her gaze firmly. I had to do this. There was no turning back.
"So, Andrion," she finally spoke, her voice completely unlike I had ever heard it before. "You have returned to me ... to plead for my merciful forgiveness?"
Her eyes flickered with fury, her smile shifting. She iced over the anger with her cold hard cynicism. As if to tempt my tastebuds, Alezae played with the orb at hand. "You can't win, Andrion. You and my brother and his human 'lover'. You all have lost your minds, and you have wronged the wrong woman."
I sighed, filled with sadness as I looked upon her. So beautiful, so strong ... yet so weak. "How have I wronged you, Alezae?" I said. My voice sounded very tired, melancholy, as they floated the air. "You are far from the woman I had fallen in love with."
She stiffened. My last sentence clearly hit a nerve. She stepped forward, confrontational. My plan was already beginning to take effect. "Fallen in love with?" Her voice was shrill, high and creasing. "Love? There is no such thing! It is darkness draped in a dreamy fantasy, a shadow that drains your blood with poison fangs!"
"How can you say such things, how can you deny your heart such light and affection? The hole which Love leaves opens the door for Hate and Shadow," I continued to challenge.
"Do not lecture me!" Alezae was stepping closer. "You insolent, stupid horrendous fool - you are neither my teacher or father!"
"I still love you. I still care. Seeing you like this hurts me," I murmured softly after her shrieking had sizzled out. She was panting, silent tears at the corner of her flaming eyes. I took the liberty of reaching out, gently holding her arm with my hand. "Don't be like this. There is no reason."
There was only quiet, a long moment where nothing was done or said. I began to wonder at what war was raging at her heart at this time.
And then she reached out and slapped me, hitting me with an unexpected strength that knocked me off my feet and sent my head swimming. "I HATE YOU! You cannot love me! You gave your soul to that whore, Alissa!"
I lunged forward, surprising her with my sudden move, roughly wrestling her to the ground. The orb dropped from her hand, rolling lazily over the ground as we tussled. I smoothly drew one of my knives, calming her with the coolness of the blade against her pale throat.
"Kill me, Andrion." Her words were meant to be a dare, but they came out feeble and frightened. I paused, even if I did not plan on granting her wish, the weakness in her face, her voice, softened my heart. I did love her, in a time that seemed so long ago. This one flash of innocence, vulnerability at my own hands, made my chest ache.
"I will not, Alezae. I do not look to harm you, but to heal you," I whispered, withdrawing my dagger. "I still uphold my previous statement. I still love you."
She lay, unmoving, staring up into my eyes. Here was the change; I saw my sweet, stubborn Alezae, so darkly, enchantingly beautiful despite the red of tears that had swollen her eyes, her face.
"Is there such a thing?" she murmured finally, a hurt child. I nodded slowly in reply. "And you still feel it? For me? After all ... I have said, all I have done?"
My mission was forgotten. My stupid plan. My heart was only swollen with blind adoration of my poor, dearest Alezae. I did not answer her question, simply bending closer to her, hanging my face over hers, my breath on her lips. "Alezae, part of love is ... forgiveness."
We kissed, tender and soft. Sparks of elation lingered about us, joy long belated dancing round and round. My arms about her, her fingers in my hair, her relieved heart pouring sweet love into my own. Her white skin glowed sliver, beaming brilliantly at my touch. Wind stirred all around, although we oblivious to the world around as Alezae was clensed of her wrong-doings, realization purifying, ridding the curse that infected had her mind. She pulled away, fresh tears a silver halo around her open eyes, filled with the breath of new life, the radiance, the clarity, of Love and Light.
"How could I be so wrong? So wicked? How can you forgive me? How can you still love me?" Alezae wept, soft sobs of guilt.
"Oh, Alezae," I tenderly caressed her cheek; smooth and wet. The orb ... Tony's powers ... then caught my sight, floating leisurely about us, glittering as if joining our happiness. I retracted from Alezae's grasp, standing and helping her to her feet as well. I looked to her with firm determination. "There is something we must do."
She nodded purposefully as I squeezed her hand.
Just then I felt a bite at my back, the burn of poison, the dampness of blood ... my blood. The world was spinning in a haze of color, I could no longer feel my feet, I was on the ground ... Alezae was screaming.
There was a face above mine, torn and bloodied, bruised and broken, eyes replaced with those of a snake, ruby red. Desmious.
"....Not so fast, loverboy. Desmious always wins his game.