Our bodies were so close, our lips clashing together and our breaths fast. I'd never felt anything like this before and my body craved more, my hands trailed from her hips to her waist and up her back finding that hidden zip. I moan against her lips and we pull even closer I can sense her cursing the clothes between us my thoughts equally matching hers as she curls her fingers tighter into my shirt. She moans and I pull her harder against me finally finding that all important zip, my fingers grasp it and I sense her freeze under my touch.
Sense and coherent thoughts flood my mind as we step apart, our chests both heaving. The voices begin their whispering and I hear hers dominant above the rest. "My poor daarrling, did you enjoy your moment together it was quite a show." Her voice continues and I attempt to block it out, turning from Dahlia I walk from the enclosed garden and from the corner of my eye I see the look of hurt flash and my heart throbs dully in pain.
Walking past the gossipers talking about Dahlia being the long lost daughter I storm from the room, feeling Dahlia's gaze burning into my back. The usual emptiness fills me and I stick my hand in my pocket closing my fist tightly around the tourmaline, clenching it until my knuckles are white and the dull throb in my heart is returned forcing myself to feel the pain of walking away from her, forcing myself to feel the passion and the slowly fading electricity in my lips.
As much as I grip at the tourmaline it barely helps, making it dig deeper into the palm of my hand till a small trail of blood starts to drip as I walk through the icy corridors, staining it against the cleanliness. "You know I like this one. She's got power and ugh I suppose personality but I especially like her power."
I hear the malicious smile on her lips and shake my head violently trying to get rid of her; all she does is laugh and laugh. I stumble down a familiar corridor, heading towards a closed off part of the palace that I had visited the last time I had come here. I breathe through my teeth as she laughs manically, shadows start to press in around me and I clutch tighter at the crystal as blood flows more freely from the palm of my hand.
I throw myself against a locked door, using my strength to shoulder it open, I fall in with a gasp "You know, you should really stop squeezing that little rock so hard, I can easily get around the little protection it has over you." her voice echoes around my head, getting louder as the other voices copy her words.
"Just leave me alone you old hag." I call out into the empty room exasperated and again she laughs, the shadows become thicker and start to close in around me, I call out and fight, my punches aimlessly falling through their nonexistence. Giving up I fall to the floor on my knees, dropping the crystal and giving up what feeling and what protection I had left, letting the cold return.
"That’s right baby, don't deny your true right. You know this year you should really commit and say yes. I may have your soul in my grasp," I see her pale and twisted face in my mind’s eye, her hands clenched around a bright light, she squeezes and pain contorts my body. She smiles "But I still need you. You see this measly half life is boring and I want it all. Now that either means having you as my king or her as my pet..." She pictures Dahlia's face in my mind and I scream in fury.
Her voice eventually faded from my mind as her power weakened with the rising sun "You can't stop me Rafael and you won't." Her last words ring around my head as I lift myself from the floor, wiping the dried blood from my hands preparing to face the day. Preparing to face Dahlia's hurt expressions, leaving the abandoned room I follow my own blood trail back to the main part of the palace wiping them away as I go.
The auras around me flare as I pass by the busy corridors tidying up from last night’s ball. Auras of other people started appearing around two decades ago when I met with the Oracle for the first time; she tried to help with my soul but instead managed to unlock a part of my awareness, allowing me to see people's auras. I shut them out trying to concentrate on merely finding my own feelings rather than experiencing everybody else's.
Rounding the corner I hear the gossip is still hot on the news of Dahlia and Nevan. I knew this from meeting him, his aura said it all but Nevan didn't make the realisation until the goblin market and of course Raoul, the omniscient, knew all along. This time the gossip was marred as voices drifted towards me "So I hear that the Arcana brood found out last night and is off hiding in some part of the palace, not even the head warlock can find her let alone his highness Nevan."
I freeze as I hear these words, she shouldn't have found out last night I was meant to distract her from the harsh gossip but instead I end up leaving her distraught and alone as she hears this news. My vision clouds as I try to focus on her glowing aura, usually lit with greens and pinks of summer despite her winter significance. It usually shouts loud and clear in my mind’s eye but this time I find no sense of it, not even a dull throb. Nothing stirs inside me though my mind tells me I should be feeling panic I head down towards the meeting rooms knowing that Nevan and Raoul would be there waiting for me.
Nevan's kohl lined face catches my attention; a distinct look of worry crosses his vision before he returns it to his usual arrogant smile. "Glad you finally showed up." Raoul's voice drifts towards me, no sign of worry lining his silver eyes showing me that it was nothing too serious. "What's happened?" I ask knowing the answer already as a girl who looked around the age of Dee with silver hair and a catlike elegance approached. "You pretty boy have been naughty and you," she points at me and turns to point at Nevan "have also been especially cruel." Nevan looks at the girl with a frown and nods in guilty agreement, regret lining his face.
"I should have told her but-" the girl waves her arm carrying dominance over the room that shocks me. She turns to me with a grim smile "Faline, we've met before." Holding out her hand I take it and she scratches my already cut palm, I hiss at the pain but the memory comes flooding back of a young silver haired girl running through an old castle.
She bumps into me and I scoop her up laughing, I flinch as the emotion was only a memory, I tickle her and she giggles until our father steps into the hall with a grave look on his face. "The wedding is tomorrow." I place the girl, my half sister, to the ground making sure to smile before telling her to run off and play. Sadness overwhelms my past self at the prospect of leaving my family.
The present day returns as the memory fades and I stare in shock at the silver haired girl "But... How?" She smiles slyly and I look her over taking in what must be my half sister but can't, it was so long ago now. "The perks of being a halfling, age is really but a number." She grimaces and a look of sadness lined her face before it disappears. I empathise with that look as much as the emptiness allows.
Raoul's shift in movement catches my attention "You can have the family reunion later we need to find Dahlia, she could hurt herself." His voice echoes around my head and I flinch in annoyance, having voices in head was an occurrence I didn't need to relive if I could help it but I nod casting a look over to Faline who matches my gaze of agreement.
I think to the places she could end up throughout the castle and only one comes to mind as I picture her face yesterday in the vast library. She looked so content lost in the world of a book, she looked at home. "I know where she is."
I turn from the room whether or not they were following was oblivious to me as I stormed passed the swirling colours and busy gossipers. I notice some people flinch away from me, my eyes cold with determination as I reach the solitary corridor that holds the dark door. The presence of the others approaching doesn't faze me, I open the doors.
The sight in front of me appears normal at first with the books filled with history and fairy tales lining the walls and stacks leaning in dangerous angles but never falling. I weave through the stacks and tables; darkness draws me closer into the deepest parts of the library an unnatural wind blows through the stacks further in, sending books flying like missiles around our heads. Pages line the floors as I carefully step over them their crisp pages scrunching under heavy footfalls.
She sits curled around her knees, her fair hair falling in wisps and curls tumbling over her face, the wind not affecting her as she seems to be in a bubble. The bubble around her is tinted a dark menacing blue "Dahlia?" I call out softly edging closer, reaching a hand out to touch the bubble. As my skin makes contact a sensation runs through my arm of great pain and I'm thrown backwards landing on my back. I look up and my eyes meet Faline's an awkward smile lines her face.
"I don't quite think she'd want to talk to you right now." She gives me a knowing look and I duck my head in shame as she gives me a look that scarily matches one that father used to give me when I'd done something wrong. She steps over me and brushes past a shocked Nevan, his face lined in amazement and concern. The bubble fluctuated as Faline approached, cautiously holding her hand out as she went her body shivered as she broke through the barrier.
We watched the scene in silence as she knelt down next to Dee, I found myself clutching at the tourmaline letting the guilt wash over me as I saw the state she was in. She didn't respond to Faline's attempts though the bubble quivered and eventually popped, sending a ripple of energy through the enclosed space, pushing Nevan and me back as Rao just sat still, his fur blowing fiercely before it died out.
"I don't think she's quite with us." Faline says accusingly as she brushes her silver hair out of her cat eyes, which as I look closer are hauntingly similar to the colour of our father's eyes. Stepping closer concern etched itself across my face as her body is frozen as she hugs her legs to her chest; I brush her hair from her eyes my hands feeling a pleasant numbness showing me that there is something there. Her face is peaceful yet tormented as tear tracks run down her unconscious face and her dress fans out around her body making her tall frame appear minuscule and broken.
I swallow and bend down to scoop her into my arms, stretching out her body and pulling her close to my chest like a young child. Her natural reflexes kick in as she shivers and moves closer to the warmth of my body with her face pressed hard against my chest, her lips begin to tremble and her pale cheeks blush red, even unconscious she was still aware of my presence.
Faline falls in stride next to me as Raoul's and Nevan's voices rise behind us as they begin to argue. "So brother long time no see." I flinch at her words and look down at her, her eyes betray no emotion and I clench my jaw she was only young when I left, barely five years old so I couldn't blame her for my father's decision but I couldn't help but see him in her and fury silently burned behind my eyes ironically the only emotion that she allows me to feel.
"I know you were young but," I take a deep breath, repositioning Dee in my arms "It's not like I had a choice." I finish through my teeth and still no emotion shows on her face except a mischievous grin that I remembered from so long ago. "You could have come back to find us after leaving queen hag." She cuts through my cold exterior and I lose my footing on a stair as we wind back through the corridors to the room.
Regaining my balance I hold in a harsh reply my attention now only focussing on Dee, her breathing gains in speed and her eyes move frantically beneath her eyelids. I think back to when she had the fever her unconscious body writhing in pain as it was expelled, when I saw her lying there I swear I felt her pain and felt my heart flutter in agony as she screamed.
Now looking at her, helpless and lost in her own mind made guilt boil under my skin. I knew the guilt was only a 'gift' from her of the things I could have if I agreed to become hers. Shivering but not from the chill we finally round the corner for the room, Faline's quiet demeanour holds back what fury is writhing behind her eyes as she casts glances sideways and her glowing aura has jagged edges if I step to closely.
I gently lay Dee down on her bed, her hair fans out on the pillow and her dress seems to envelope her. The fire dances around the room casting a ghoulish glow against her fair skin making it look sickly I shake my head as voices begin their whispering in my mind taking deep breaths I find it in myself to instruct Faline "Find her some comfy clothes and give her plenty of water." I leave the room stiffly and just as I exit I hear Faline open her mouth but no words come out, I continue through the door heading straight to Nevan and Raoul who had gone to another room somewhere in the vast palace.
Making my way towards them the voices riled distractedly around my head and memories equally attacked my conscious mind not allowing any space for my thoughts to take place. Shaking my head I storm into the room taking in the extravagant furniture and over the top decorations. Definitely a room decorated by Nevan, I look around and see him in deep conversation with Tabitha and Raoul, wearing a dark green velvet fitted jacket with a dark blue silk shirt.
When I come closer the conversation quickly dies down in hushed tones and from their deep frowns I can sense they were talking about me and Dahlia. "She's exhibiting a high power rate and if she doesn't control it she'll either explode or implode." Raoul's voice sounds sterile and cut off stating the facts with little emotion as he fills me in. "What can we do?" I ask sharply unable to control the irritated shadows infiltrating my mind and her laugh cackling over them all.
"There's nothing we can do, nobody has ever accepted warlocks and humans, even gifted humans like the Arcana's, to get together let alone fall in love and have a child together. There are probably children out there but there's never been a recorded case." Nevan's tired voice echoes around the heavily decorated room. We sit in silence, three men, well two and a wolf, lost in thoughts and mine sit uncomfortably replaying Dahlia's lifeless form in my arms.