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Awaken - 21. Enough

*Descriptions of wounds-tiniest bit of gore*

It didn’t seem possible that two weeks had gone by since we had arrived in Syrin. My world revolved around my training and I seemed to be growing by leaps and bounds. No matter how many times I exceeded their expectations, we couldn’t slow time. I had still only had formal training for half of a month and Tyren was positive it would take years to master my gift. Raw talent would only get me so far. In the two days prior, Tyren had filled me in on what the engagement dinner would entail. It was mostly just an excuse for the king to parade around his newest toy. I would be expected to mingle, but Tyren doubted they expected much from me in the way of intelligent conversation. Many in the court saw me as a naïve boy, kept from society too long. Tyren aimed to prepare me well enough to shatter the image. Etiquette and public speaking were now crammed into my already full day. I could see myself improving and a few times I had to remind myself that unless I could pull something off, this training would most likely stop.

“Focus. I’m not going to stop it this time. You need to push yourself. We can’t do everything for you.” There was an edge of frustration to Talon’s voice and I was forced from my thoughts.

Tyren looked on from his mass of pillows, his yellow eyes serious. My attitude hadn’t improved and now the party was in only a few hours. Eight to be exact. The overall morale of my band of misfits was rapidly plummeting. Eon had insisted our father still had some pull in court, but no one was willing to stand against the king’s wishes. If he wanted this wedding, they wouldn’t protest. Many of Eon’s friends from when he had been in the military now supported Lex. It seemed our family had been absent from the public eye for too much time and our allies had moved along. Which made sense. Why continue to support someone who wouldn’t further your position in society? My father had withdrawn slowly, but everyone had noticed. Every time he declined an invitation and only came to the capital when it was required, it was carefully cataloged. At least my parents were consistent in sabotaging everything that may have helped me be successful.

Tyren seemed to be facing a similar problem. He had influence in court, but many of his sources liked to keep their connection a secret. It was like Talon and the Verseckt. Powerful and influential, yes, but also secretive and hesitant to step into the light. They had managed to take some of the heat off Talon, but that was it. Eon and Tyren had both used every open door available to them to try and sway the court back into our favor. I was thankful for that, but I was sure it wasn’t enough. Both had to be far more careful spreading the information of Lex and the queen’s private meeting. If she found out who was telling everyone, it would end badly for us. I hadn’t seen Lex since the day he kissed me, but I felt his presence linger in my thoughts. Every second of happiness was tainted with poisonous reminders of how soon he’d take all this away from me. I couldn’t help but feel defeated.

Tyren had shifted gear in our lessons, fully giving up on the reading material. The books were discarded in the classroom. As interesting as the second volume of Fundamentals might be, I had to say I wouldn’t miss it. Talon and Tyren both worked together to outright torture me daily for four hours straight after grilling me on how to properly act in high society. Talon would throw up targets that I was meant to hit as hard as I could. While I was trying to focus on that, Tyren would fly winged metal creations at me without warning. More than once, copper wings had clipped various places on my body or bronze talons sunk painfully into my shoulders. It seemed that as we all got more anxious, the training amped up. As if they could force me to learn faster by throwing everything at me at once. It was a crack in Tyren’s rigid structure and Talon’s restraint. Today’s event had put everyone on edge.

And that edge made the last two days a struggle for me. And here I was again. The classroom’s desks and seating were pushed aside to give Talon and Tyren more room to assault me. I stood in the middle of the room, Tyren watching me from his pillows while Talon’s shadows crept up on me from the other side. Apparently, my teachers had decided that an additional motivator would be useful. Pain. They’d only attempted this specific onslaught starting yesterday and I was not excited for a repeat.They stood on opposing sides and they would both throw things my way. Talon’s shadows and Tyren’s metal works. Talon would stop before I got hurt but something about his darkness sliding through the room toward me filled me with unease. I almost welcomed the few times his Magik slipped over my skin leaving behind the tiniest cuts. At least the short and sharp pain was less unsettling than the pitch-black darkness descending upon me. Tyren also held onto restraint, but both men pushed and it forced me to the very edge of my fledgling power.

My focus was again brought back by a metallic noise that ended with metal ripping into my shoulder blades. I let out a gasp as I dropped low, getting out of the metal hawk’s range. Tyren had a slew of metal creatures but this one was the worst. Small and fast, I was rarely quick enough to escape it unscathed. I looked at the bird flying in a rickety circle on a harness attached to a track system. It was how Tyren’s creations moved. The harness and tracks made it possible for him to give the contraptions real animal like movement. I watched the bird for an additional moment before my eyes darted to Tyren’s hands as they danced elegantly through the space in front of him. My attention went back to Talon. He still held his palms upright, grey eyes full of black. Every shadow in the room slinked toward me. They were only about two feet away. I was concentrating hard, intent on giving it my all. I was pushing the shadows back to Talon when that damn bird slammed into my back. I fell forward, gasping as my breath froze inside me. The bird soared back up towards the ceiling as the blackness crept closer.

“When did these lessons also become an excuse to beat the shit out of me!” I slammed my hands down angrily on the ground as the words ripped from my mouth. Light shot from under them. It pulsed in waves, spreading through the room. As I stood, warmth filled my body. Talon covered his eyes and the shadows skittered away.

“My Lord! My Lord!” I was basking in the feeling my power gave me. I let out a sigh of relief as it filled every crevice of my soul, banishing every negative feeling. It was so liberating. It was a high unlike any other. My head fell back, my eyes closed as a fresh burst of energy came from my body, radiating into my surroundings.

“Kalian! Stop!” I tried to remember where I was. In class. I had become fed up with my torment and gave into my Magik. Talon was yelling. His voice sounded wrong. His tone slid through my senses and my stomach churned. Pain. Fear. He was scared. Of me? Why?

I reluctantly let go of my power. I blinked and glanced around. Tyren had a great piece of metal in front of him. My eyes widened as I realized it was his classroom door, now warped and buckled. He had yanked it over from its place to defend himself. I turned to Talon who had crumpled as soon as my light went out. His hands were curled under him to his chest. I jumped, startled as Tyren’s hawk fell from the ceiling, melted, and deformed. I had done that. Tyren threw his door to the side, his eyes wide and weary as he looked at me. Shakily, I stumbled over to Talon who still hadn’t moved from his position.

“Talon?” I asked, fear now growing in my voice.

“Give me a minute,” He said to the floor. I glanced over at Tyren questioningly and he sighed softly.

“My lord, that was…devastating. I would ask you to try and remain in control. You could’ve killed us both.” I looked back to Talon as he slowly stood up. He moved his hands behind his back and my heart sank.

“Did the black spread higher?” I asked.

“Sure. Let’s go with that.” I frowned as I approached him, tugging his sleeve. He winced and I stopped pulling. The black spreading up his hands bothered him, but as far as I knew it never hurt.

“Let me see.” I stared up at him and he sighed, allowing me to pull his hands forward. I let go immediately, covering my mouth as my stomach lurched. The skin was black seconds ago. Now it was red, angry, and cracked. His palms looked the worst. Only one or two fingers were burned black, the rest white with blisters or charred in red, yellow, or crimson. I staggered back. I began tripping over my own feet, and almost landed on my ass. I caught myself at the last second. My stomach churned and my eyes were wet.

“Calm down Sunshine. It’s nothing a healer can’t fix.”

“What happened?” I gasped.

“You succeeded in burning my shadows away. You did so well I didn’t have time to form an adequate shield. Hence, crispy hands.”

“I don’t want to do this to people. I don’t want this. I’m a monster!” Talon tried to hide his hands again as I rambled, but the image was stuck into my memory. Burned, if you will.

“You become a monster only if you don’t learn how to control it, Kalian.” Talon murmured.

Gentle hands held my shoulders and Tyren’s voice was by my ear, “We knew the risks of playing this dangerous game, my lord. This time we were reckless. This is as much our fault as it is yours. With the stress you’ve been under, I’m not surprised that you exploded. Quite literally. Do not worry, we’ll get him healed. It will be alright. I’ll fetch a healer straight away.” He moved out the empty doorway, disappearing down the stairs. Talon stepped closer and I looked up at him, feeling tears roll down my cheeks.

“It was bound to happen eventually. Stop beating yourself up. Surely you didn’t think we were kidding when we told you that you had the potential to be the strongest Magik user anyone had ever seen? You proved us right. Now we work on a little more control.”

“I don’t want to learn to control that. I don’t want to hurt people.” I shook my head.

“Lack of control is why my hands are the way they are. Unfortunately, beautiful, you have the gift. You are responsible for learning how to harness it so you can safely use it.” He smiled softly as Tyren came back into the room, going straight to Talon. Drying my eyes and my cheeks, I helped Tyren lower Talon into a nearby chair.

“The healer shouldn’t take too long. It’s Master Chirurgie, the teacher of the body manipulators. Master Talon could not be in better hands.”

“High praise, metal worker.” The voice announced the healer’s presence. He was six foot, a thick black braid over his shoulder. His eyes were a deep scarlet rimmed with blue, his skin fair and his features sharp. He looked at each of us, his expression serious. He wore red robes with black flowers and pink petals on the wide sleeves and the hem.

“A-ah! Hanja! Thank you for coming so quickly!” Tyren exclaimed. I rubbed Talon’s shoulder gently and tried to keep myself from smiling. Tyren was rambling to this other teacher-Hanja. I knew if Tyren’s skin hadn’t been so deep and rich, he would’ve been blushing. His eyes seemed to dart over every inch of the other man, his fingers playing with his curls.

“Reckless and irresponsible.” Hanja’s soft voice somehow carried across the room; his eyes narrowed at Tyren.

“Yes of course. We should have been more careful.” Tyren said quietly, frowning at the scolding tone of the conversation.

“Yes. However, I suppose it would be hard to plan for a power that has never been seen before. You have always been well suited to the unknown, Tyren.” His eyes softened as he looked at Tyren and I caught the other man smiling brightly at the healer.

Well, it was certainly nice to watch someone else fall to pieces around their crush. I had to say, Tyren handled himself with much more grace than I ever had. Hanja crossed the room, and I felt my nerves rise a bit. Hanja was so serious and for Tyren to speak so highly of him, he must be skilled. Not to mention that he was a teacher as well. He had to be powerful.

“Please let me see.” He said as he came to stand in front of Talon. Talon lifted his hands and Hanja gracefully kneeled. “Palms up, if you could.” Talon’s hands turned and I covered my mouth again. Hanja hummed under his breath and I watched him take off black gloves that I hadn’t noticed before. He flipped his braid over his shoulder and hovered his long, delicate-looking fingers over Talon’s.

“I must warn you; this might hurt. In fact, it most definitely will.” Talon nodded and Hanja began humming softly again. A red glow surrounded his hands and Talon went rigid. I watched in morbid fascination as the blisters on his hands popped and then shrunk quickly. The crimson and yellow coloration on his hands faded after that, slowly vanishing. The bright red was the next to go. Talon was gritting his teeth, his eyes closed tightly. Hanja hummed the entire time, his face almost serene. He gently touched Talon’s palm after a few minutes, testing the now regular colored skin.

“Any pain here?” When Talon shook his head, Hanja turned his hands over and addressed the less damaged backs of his hands. I stood with my mouth open, unable to tear my gaze from the work the other man was doing. Soon, Talon’s hands were back normal, and I felt the weight on my heart lift. They looked as if nothing had ever happened. Talon tilted them this way and that, clearly impressed. Hanja rose and his humming stopped abruptly.

He dusted off his knees and looked at each of us, “Please don’t make this a habit. I have my own students to attend to. I do look forward to seeing the progress you make, lord, especially working together. This pairing is an ancient one. The moon and sun always seek each other out.” A whisper of a smile slid over his lips at the confusion on my face before he turned to leave. Tyren hurried to walk him out.

“See? No harm done.” Talon’s arms wrapped around me and he nuzzled my neck,“Crisis averted. Our sex life isn’t ruined.”

“That’s not funny Talon. I could’ve hurt both of you a lot worse. We’re lucky that we are so close to the best healer in the capital.”

Talon rolled his eyes as he held me, “What do you think is the story with them?”

“What?” I asked, looking up at him, annoyed that he was trying to change the subject.

“Think those two are together?” He mumbled.

“Maybe. I think at least one of them wants to be. I know that for sure.” His hands cupped my face and his lips pressed against mine.

“You’re going to be late for your lesson with Athel.”

“Oh gods! She going to kill me!” I ran from the room, descending the steps rapidly. I rushed through the classroom below, the students glancing my way as I barreled through. We passed Tyren who waved as we left the building. I sprinted as fast as my legs would take me, but dread descended as Athel came into view. She stood with her hands on her hips, an angry scowl on her face.


“I’m sorry! Talon was injured and we had to get a h- “

“You run! Laps! Now!” She ordered and I groaned, but relented. I began to jog around the dirt track that ran the outside of the training grounds. Talon plopped down on a stump and I cringed as she descended on him too.

“You late too! You also run!” He laughed at first, then as she glared at him, he slowly rose to his feet. The next time I came around, he joined me, sulking. We ran for half an hour. My legs tired but not as much as they did in the beginning of my training. As the days passed, I had adjusted. I was still sore, but it didn’t hurt that much to move. My muscles were becoming more defined, and I was shedding the little bit of extra fat I had from inactivity. The months of hard work were finally starting to pay off. But Athel’s training is what had really brought results. Even my long shy abs were starting to become noticeable.

“Finished. Now, your stance!”


I had almost managed to keep my mind off the engagement party all day. It came rushing back as I stood in Potlyne’s small chambers where she worked. Tyren leaned against the wall in emerald pants, a sapphire silk wrapped around his waist and thrown over his shoulder. The colors looked amazing along with his silver jewelry. His face was serious for once, troubled. Potlyne scurried around the room, more subdued than she had been at our first meeting. She’d picked up on the mood we were both in and tension filled her cheery room. The walls were a light pink, the floor a pale wood, fabric was present everywhere, on couches, chairs, doors. Everything that could hold something had been put to use.

I stood on a small platform; my arms outstretched. Talon had gone home. Eon would meet us in the grand banquet hall when it was time. I wanted more than anything for Talon to be able to come with me. It made me sick to think of sitting next to Lex, trying to pretend like I was happy with this arrangement.

“Potlyne?” The woman paused, her kind face smiling up at me.

“Yes, my lord?”

“I want black.” She frowned and then a conspiratorial look crossed her face. Tyren gave me a warning look, but I ignored him. A long sleeve stitched itself together on my right arm, the fabric black. I watched in the giant mirrors across from me as the long hem shifted, looping itself around my middle finger. A silver lace applique attached to the fabric on my shoulder. The right side was constructed in almost the same way, but with crisp white instead of black. The fabric stitched together, crossing over my stomach. The colors reached for the opposite hip. It created a deeply cut neckline, half my torso white, half black. Black trousers formed on my legs and were stitched together with white thread. I looked at myself in the mirror and tried to send the image over the connection. I felt his thoughts open and bit my lip as the image of him behind me filled my mind. I could almost feel his arms wrap around me, his lips at my neck.

“Do you think this is a good idea, my lord?” Tyren asked.

“Of course.” I said innocently, shuddering as the image of Talon’s hands sliding over my stomach and hips filled my mind. I let go of the image as Potlyne rose on her tiptoes, using pins to secure my waves away from my face.

“You’re wearing his colors. It’s like announcing who you belong to.”

“There are plenty of people who wear black,” I argued.

“Not many choose to wear that color alone.” Tyren sighed.

“You’re reading too far into it Tyren.” I stepped off the platform, squeezing Potlyne’s hand in mine, appreciatively.

“He looks stunning. No one’s going to notice that.” She said, coming to my defense.

“Either way, we have to leave. It won’t look good for us to be late.” I followed Tyren out of the room, waving goodbye to Potlyne. We made our way through the small hallways that would lead from the servants’ chambers back to the main hall. There were some people milling around once we reached it and I took a deep breath as Tyren came to a stop. Mallex stood across the hall, surrounded by men dressed in the same military blue as he was. He laughed loudly at something one of them said and then he saw me. We had talked of this after my training with Athel and Talon. They’d both been careful not to leave marks so that I looked my best for tonight. Part of me had known that Talon wouldn’t be allowed to accompany me, but I still deflated when Tyren confirmed it. He’d also informed me that he would have to go his own way once we arrived as it was expected that I’d be hanging off Lex the entire night.
Tyren doubted there would be even a moment where it would be acceptable for me to be away from him. Tyren and Eon would both be there, but who knew if I’d be able to talk to either man once the actual feast started? Eon caught my eye, surrounded by a much different group. He waved. His face visibly pained. Some in his group wore the military blue, others the usual finery of lords and ladies. I was surprised to see Hanja to his right, the same robes from earlier.
His long hair fell neatly down his back, unbraided. Tyren moved to join them, throwing an apologetic smile my way. A small woman stood next to Hanja, the sides and back of her head were buzzed short. Her white hair only long on top. She had bottle green eyes, rust-colored skin and looked to be in her 40’s. She wore a burnt orange dress that hit the floor and was cut to her stomach. Thankfully, she didn’t have much of a chest so there was no dangerous amount of cleavage. Hanja spoke to her and she turned to look at me. She studied me and I wondered if she was another teacher. Tyren stepped up beside Hanja and my mood was lifted for a second as they shared a secret little smile.

“All sorts huh?” I stopped myself from jumping as Lex’s hands found my hips. I tried to ignore it, reminding myself of how Talon’s had felt there.

“What?” I forced the words past my teeth.

“The court. It’s made up of all types of people. Some obviously better than others.” I watched Lex level Eon with a fake smile, a cruel look in his eyes. Eon lifted his chin, completely unfazed.

“Of course, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up Lex. It wasn’t in your cards to be great.” I was proud of the rage that flashed across his expression for the briefest of moments. He spun me and trapped me against his chest. The entire motion made me reel with revulsion.

“You reek of him. Every fucking part of you. You’re even starting to dress like him. That is going to stop. How do you think I should kill him? Suggestions?” His eyes roamed over my outfit and face, he kept the disgust in his voice. A fake smile plastered on his face.

“The fact that you think you could kill him shows me how dumb you are.”

His arm tightened around my waist, forcing me ever closer, “You don’t give me enough credit, beloved. Maybe I don’t need to do anything at all. I heard I’m not the only one to ruin his hands.”

“How do you…” I looked up into his cruel eyes, disbelief in my voice.

“You’re not the only ones with spies skittering around like little spiders.”

I took a deep breath but was interrupted by a loud voice booming over all the conversation in the hall, “His highness asks that you all move into the banquet hall.” I wasn’t sure where the disembodied voice was coming from, but I turned as the huge doors to my left opened dramatically. Lex cleared his throat, releasing me.

“Come.” He offered his arm, and I took it, looking straight ahead. The banquet hall was almost as big as the great hall. The floors and walls were the famous white and black marble. The ceilings soared upward, the highest I’d ever seen. Huge floor-to-ceiling windows lined one wall, huge navy curtains drawn to the sides to frame the view of the rest of the city. The biggest table I’d ever seen stretched down the center of the room. It was solid wood, stained so dark it was almost black. The chairs were of the same wood, high backed and padded with burgundy fabric with the king’s symbol repeated over it. Huge flower arrangements in a riot of colors and shapes sat on either side of the door and in the far corner. There were roses, baby’s breath, lilies, and flowers I’d never seen before. A centerpiece with the same florals sat in the center of the table. It was set with navy and burgundy plates and chargers. Each setting had a beautifully folded gold cloth napkin and two crystal glasses each. I was stunned for a few seconds as Lex led me down the table. The King and Queen sat at the end farthest from us. It took me a moment to realize that we were headed in their direction. There were two seats on the king’s side that were empty, and Lex pulled out the second chair for me.

“No, no! I would have the boy right next to me. I must know how his training is going.” Lex stiffened but composed himself in an instant, flashing a brilliant smile before pulling the chair closest out for me. I slid into it fluidly, proud that I hadn’t flopped down clumsily. Lex sat on my other side and the King’s full attention slammed down on me.

“How are you liking the school? Is Tyren the teacher I made him out to be? A great gift, but the boy sleeps far too long! I hear Athel has been putting you through the wringer!” He laughed loudly at his own joke. He’d barely taken a breath between each question. This was going to be a miserable interaction. Tyren was farther down the table, about twenty feet away, seated next to Hanja. Tyren had schooled his features into a calm expression, but I saw the hard set of his jaw. I watched Hanja’s pale hand pat his and then withdraw. Tyren looked at him and I looked back at the king.

I took a breath to steady myself and then smiled brightly, “The school is amazing. I’m truly thankful that your majesty has given me such an opportunity. Tyren is an excellent teacher and I’m sure I’d be simply lost without him!” I heard how fake my voice sounded and suppressed a gag. The king was enthralled as I continued, “Athel is very firm, and I have grown leaps and bounds since being put in her care. The level of skill and power your excellency has in his court is surely unparalleled.” His expression was smug, and I sensed his patting himself on the back. My eyes darted down the table and Tyren wore a bright smile. I looked a bit farther and realized Eon was on my side farther down the table. He sat with my parents and a glowering Anika. Where had they been this whole time? I hadn’t seen them in the hall. He stared at me, shock covering his face. I smiled at him. I had to do this. I was on my own. They couldn’t help me here. No one was coming to my rescue. If I had any hope, I had to step into the exceptionally large shoes everyone had laid out for me.

“Such flattery. Of course, he has powerful men and women in court. We practically farm them. Tell me lord Alauis, what do you think of the king’s yearly search for Magik students? Meteo and Chirurgie will be sent out shortly to try and find more students.” The queen mused, smiling challengingly at me. The mirth and joy fell off the king’s face and he glared at a spot on the wall across the room.

“My queen, my fiancé possesses no knowledge of the inner workings of the court. I’m afraid he was truly stunted in his social growth as a child. It’s unfair to ask him such a question when he’s so woefully underprepared.”

I cleared my throat, settling myself by remembering all the preparation my friends have given me for these conversations. They had given everything in a ridiculously short amount of time so I wouldn’t be the person Lex had just described. Tyren spent hours twisting my book’s propaganda into as much of the truth as he could reveal. He allowed me for the first time in my life to form my own opinions, to come to my own understanding of things happening around me. Then of course there was Talon. From day one he had pushed me to be more than my parents told me I was. I had started on this journey because of him. Had we never met I wouldn’t have had any reason to disobey my family and the king’s wishes. My chest seized for a moment as the feelings I had for him cemented things into place for me. Game on.

“Excuse me, dear, my studies have been all-encompassing. The king would allow nothing less. I would first like to apologize, my queen. My fiancé got wrapped up in the excitement and didn’t think before rudely correcting you. Sometimes in our youth we forget ourselves.” I schooled my features into what I hoped was humble and remorseful.

“O-oh well, of course I accept your apology. I’m sure the captain meant no disrespect!” She replied.

I turned to Lex, smiling sweetly at him in triumph. His expression was dark, and I watched him fail to correct it right away.

“I have heard that the yearly search for more students is costly, but I shudder to think what would happen if our borders and cities were not protected. It seems that it is a king’s mission in life to protect his country as it is and add to his power with resources and other commodities. Which we can only get from expanding our control. That being said, my queen, I’ve also read much of your belief that we should stop expanding and focus more on the happenings at home. The king is the strength and courage behind the crown, and you are truly the restraint and strategy.” She stared at me, her eyes wide and expression strange. She looked at me as if seeing me for the first time, Lex’s whispering in her ear under a new light.

“So, which choice do you think is best Lord Alauis?” The king asked, a smile on his lips.

“Oh, I could never answer that. It is truly above me, but may I be so bold as to suggest that neither is the correct answer? I think you need a bit of both of your ideals to be successful. Of course, that’s just my humble opinion. I can’t imagine the burden on your shoulders. How beautiful that you’re able to share it together, however.” They looked at each other and I slipped my hands under the table, trying to hide the fact that they were shaking.

“What a charming boy!” The king boomed, startling those of us close to him. The queen finally got her face under control as she looked at me, impressed. I could feel the rage radiating off Lex next to me.

“No wonder the captain wishes to marry you!” The king laughed, throwing his head back. Servants had started slipping into the hall with the meal. They set plates with a crisp colorful salad in front of us, a light oil drizzled over the top.

“My king?” I asked softly.

His head jerked up and he smiled at me, “yes, honored guest?”

“I had hoped to discuss a matter with you. I know your time is valuable so I would hate to waste a second of it.”

“Go on boy, go on!”

I cleared my throat, “I wish to be separated formally from my family. In a short time, my teachers believe my power will eclipse most of the Magik users in the capital and I wish to have my own place in court. I’d like to move around a bit more freely.” A hand clamped down, bruising, on my thigh.

The king looked troubled for a moment, “You would break free of such a legacy? The Alauis family has always been held in the highest regard. What an odd request at a party celebrating your engagement. Your family is here, are they not?”

“They are. I was…mismanaged your majesty. My parents failed to see my true potential and I would like to strike out on my own.”

“Is this a ploy to end your engagement? Bold of you child.” The queen’s voice was curious, her expression free of hostility this time.

“You would separate from a great legacy and the chance for another? My boy are you unwell?” The king exclaimed. Fingers dug into my thigh, but I kept my focus on the king.

“I wish to separate to create my own legacy. One that would be greater than any this kingdom had ever seen. Your highness, stripped of my original family title I could do far more for the crown.” I had run out of my planned dialogue and was just stabbing in the dark now, “My father is not expected to brunt the heavy expense that my learning and training would normally cost because of your majesty’s belief in me. A new power hasn’t arisen in a long time and I think one as powerful as mine deserves its own house, its own title. This may sound overconfident, but I assure you in a short amount of time you’d see a return on your investment.”

He tilted his head and I realized it was working. He wasn’t writing off what I said right away. He pulled at his beard, “You would throw Captain Nainde to the side? I was told your relationship was one of love.”

“I do not wish to be tied to the military by marriage. If I am correct, your highness, it is exceedingly rare for both halves of a married couple to join the Oben. I would have that be my goal one day. To earn your trust and validate your belief in me.”

“You would join my Oben?” I could hear the hungry greed in his voice. He was practically salivating at the thought. It had taken this long for Lex to find his bearings and he finally spoke up, still gripping my thigh. I would have a bruise there. Talon would be incensed.

“My king, Lord Alauis has been training hard. He’s not in his right min- “

“Hush now Mallex. The boy can very clearly talk for himself. If I’m being honest, you’ve talked for him long enough! He is not who you made him out to be. This strength! How refreshing! I assumed you would be a timid little idiot who only supported the kingdom from your back!” The king laughed hard at his own joke as our plates were switched out for a liquid in a bowl that could’ve been soup.

I swallowed hard, completely disgusted by the man. I forced my brightest smile back on my face just for him though, “I am glad to hear it your majesty. Quite a few choices have been made for me that do more harm than good to the crown.”

“The Alauis-Nainde alliance would bring the army incredible joy and bolster morale!” Lex argued.

The king’s face fell, and he suddenly looked extremely dangerous, “Are you arguing with me Mallex? Do you think you know better than I do what’s best for my country?”

“O-of course not your highness!” The hand slipped from my thigh as he held both of them up.

“Listen here, Kalian Alauis. I hear your words and there seems to be some truth to them. However, how do I know your power has this much potential? You’ve lived a life of luxury. Would it not be easier to just lay under someone who already has their course in life planned and working? It would take quite a bit of work for you to establish yourself here. New shiny title or not.” I couldn’t stop it. I felt my anger slip into Talon’s rage through our connection and my hands gripped the edge of the table. I was planning on standing but never made it. My head fell back, and my nails dug into the wood as every light in the room flared and burst. They made loud popping noises and a woman screamed as the room went dark. I released the table and closed my eyes, letting my power ebb out from me in gentle waves, basking the room in warm light. The lights on the wall were lit slowly and as I opened my eyes, I watched people look around in awe and wonder. The king turned his hand this and that way, trying to catch the light. The queen touched her cheek where the glow was lighting up her face. Tyren looked proud and Hanja turned the other man’s face to him, his eyes studying the light that danced across his cheeks. Eon beamed at me after looking around in surprise. My parents stared at me dumbfounded and Anika looked like she’d be sick any minute.

“Alright, you’ve made your point young lord!” The king chortled. “If I didn’t know the kind of man you were, I would have thought this a threat! I will think about the argument you have made... Now!” He clapped his hands and the servants who had been waiting in the doorway rushed forward with the main entrée. I glanced at Lex who glared at me. I pushed my hair away from my face and cut into my steak.


“How could you do this to me?” I had thought I would escape the after-dinner mingling and drama. Lex had other plans.

“I used to ask myself that about you quite frequently and then I realized something. Everything you’ve done has been in your best interest. I am simply following your lead Lex.”

“None of this will make you happy. He can’t make you happy. He’s a fucking nobody. When we get back home, he’ll go back to his shady slum and you’ll realize what he really is.”

“Lex, if I get my own estate, don’t you think Talon will be by my side?”

“I did all of this for you. You were no one. Nobody here would’ve looked at you twice had it not been for me. I brought you here! I fucking made you! I’m the one who loved you!” We were standing a distance away from the palace’s main entrance, where the carriages were kept in a neat line. A valet heard us, and I watched his back as he rushed away.

“Wow, you’ve really told yourself an amazing story. You’re buying your own con Mallex. The only thing you ever did for me was force me into a marriage. Then physically and mentally abuse me. You don’t love me. This is not love. You say the words and you don’t even know what they mean.”

“You don’t know what love is either so who are you to tell me?” When I didn’t answer, realization seemed to dawn on him, “No. No. There’s no way. You’re really picking him over me?”

“Luckily, that’s not a choice I ever had to make. I love him. I’ve never loved you Mallex and I never will. At one time I thought maybe we could be friends by the end of this, but no. You’re unhinged.” He stared at me for a second and then he gripped my shoulders, shaking me.

“I’m not going to let you do this!” I pried his hands from me and shoved him away.

“You don’t get a say. Like I didn’t.” That stupid stunned look spread over his face again. Had he really thought this would end positively for him? Did he really think there was a way we came out of this together and in love? I almost felt bad for him.

He cocked his hand back, but I saw the punch coming. I dodged out of the way. I formed a small blade of light in my hand and pressed it between his ribs. Talon had taught me this just today as we had been trying to see how many weapons I could create. This one was ideal for someone bigger than me, when I wanted to get close, do damage and get away.

Lex froze as the tip drew blood, “You’re going to stab me? Really? You learn a couple of tricks and you think you’re almighty now?” Wind blew my feet out from under me, and my face hit the dirt. He pushed my face into it, and I tasted the earth in my mouth. I could hear Athel and Talon in my head chiding me for underestimating my opponent. I pushed myself up with one arm, calling the blade back and bringing it down as he smashed my face into the ground. I stabbed through his foot, hitting the soil underneath his shoe and I heard him swear. His hands left me. I rolled, pushing myself to my feet. I waved my hand and a short sword extended from my hand. Lex raised his hands. I dipped under them, stomping on his injured foot. He cried out and I rose, pressing the sharp edge of light against his neck.

“Touch me again. Try it, I dare you. I’m done with this. I will not be bullied by you anymore. I have fought to carve out a place for myself in this world and I will be damned if someone like you takes it from me.” I pressed the blade further, a trickle of blood sliding down his throat. His eyes were wide, shocked. I stepped harder on his foot, “Use your words. Do you understand me?”

“Y-yes.” He winced as the blade cut a bit deeper.

“End the engagement or I will” I stepped a safe distance away, flicking my wrist so that the sword disappeared, “And if I do it, Lex, I will ruin you.”
I turned away, trying to keep my stride confident as I found one of the spare carriages the king had arranged for the night, outfitted in the usual navy. I climbed in after instructing the driver who sat on the bench, the reins in his hands. I closed the door behind me, not sparing Lex another glance. As I sunk into the seat, I tried to calm myself down as I came undone. I was shaking and felt light-headed. I wrapped my arms around myself and held on to the knowledge that I had done it. By myself. I had fought him off on my own and no one had needed to come to my rescue.


Talon was waiting in front of the house, leaning against the wall, his face troubled. I stumbled out and thanked the driver who started back toward the palace once I was clear. Talon looked like he had a thousand things on his mind as he opened his mouth.

“I need a second,” I mumbled as I wrapped my arms around his waist, my cheek against his chest. I closed my eyes as I listened to his heartbeat. Talon’s arms wrapped around me. He held me tight to his body and kissed the top of my head.

“Did you just decide today was a good day for a rampage?” He asked softly.

“I guess. I have no idea what carried me through all of that.” I laughed softly, looking up at him, “Did you see any of it? I tried to give you as much of a front-row seat as I could.”

“Oh yes, gorgeous. I saw it. All of it.” His eyebrow rose and a cocky grin made its way onto his face.

I blushed and held his gaze, “Oh. I guess you know now.”

“Mm, it was my favorite part of the night. You destroying Mallex’s carefully constructed delusion and then telling him you love the person he hates most? Oh, you ground that salt in the wound Kalian. Then, as if all of that wasn’t enough, you kicked his ass. It was…poetic.” He smirked. His fingers ran gently over my cheeks and there was a softness in his expression that I’d never seen.

“It didn’t make you uncomfortable?”

“You think I didn’t know? Kalian, if I’m inside you, you literally can’t keep anything from me.”

Heat flared in my face and ears, “I have other things on my mind during those moments.” His fingers lightly traced my jaw and I tried to ignore the lack of response. I hadn’t expected much when I had said it in the moment. Now that it was out in the open, I had hoped. My chest ached and I pressed my cheek back against his sternum.

He sighed as my walls slammed down, “Come inside. It’s starting to get chilly.” I followed him to his room, rubbing my palm gently against my chest. He closed his bedroom door behind him and wrapped his arms around me from behind, his lips pressing lightly against my neck, “Don’t get upset. Please. Let’s just celebrate how much you accomplished tonight.” I let myself relax against him, closing my eyes as his mouth kissed over my neck, his fingers turning my head to kiss along my jaw. His mouth finally found mine and he cupped my cheek as he kissed me slowly. He moved in front of me, leaning down, both hands cradling my face. He kissed my eyelids softly, then my forehead. His lips left a trail over my cheekbones and I opened my eyes as he stopped.

“I like you in black.” He murmured against my lips as he kissed me again. His fingers rubbed down my arms, unlooping the fabric from my middle fingers. Potlyne had hidden the button on my side so they wouldn’t disrupt the fabric on my chest and stomach. He deftly undid them and helped me out of the shirt. He tugged my hand and I followed him toward the bed. He sat and I watched his eyes roam over my lightly tanned skin. His hands ran over my chest, down my stomach and he looked up at me. I ran my fingers through his hair, tugging the ends as he pulled me onto his lap. I kissed him, tilting my head so his mouth slanted over mine. I kissed him harder as his hand rubbed circles on the small of my back. I bit his lip and he chuckled softly.

“Slow down.”

“Why?” I challenged, raising my eyebrow. He licked his lips as I ground against him, my fingers gripping his tunic.

“Because I told you to.”

“You seem to get your way a lot. That’s not fair to me.”

“Are you saying you do not get everything you want? I seem to remember some things you’ve screamed out that wouldn’t support your claim.”

“What if for once I want to be the one to tell you what to do?” I slid my hand up his neck, gripping it the way he so often did to me.

His eyes were almost black with lust and his smirk was feral, “You can try...”

“You’d be surprised. I can do it.”


I quickly found out that was not the case.

So, I apologize that the time between updates has been getting longer.

There is a long list of reasons why that I won't bore you with. I'm trying to improve 🖤

Thanks to J for keeping this story on track and letting me know when I'm losing the plot🖤🖤


Copyright © 2020 Demiurge; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments


Posted (edited)

Kalian is learning his lessons well and growing exponentially. I think he has finally outmaneuvered Lex and it made me happy to see him assert himself. It has been frustrating to watch Lex treat him like a toy.

The most insightfull comment came from the healer.

This pairing is an ancient one. The moon and sun always seek each other out.

Edited by drpaladin
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Great chapter, just wish someone of "relevance" would have seem the final part, Malled was the one attack Kalian again, but was defeated. So if he gets is one aristocratic house, does Kalian have to change is name? I think he ("they"), should change the name to Verlauis 😁

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On target indeed, the light and dark have surely made their presence know. Malicious Mallex is not one for toying though, as the vicious attack on young Talon those years ago; Lex will be looking for advantage to sew his anger and deny to any what he cannot have for himself.

The Queen especially seemed caught in complete surprise, though it was obvious she was doing some baiting on her own. Then too was Kalian surprised by Lex having knowledge of his maiming Talon in practice that very day.

Deceit seems to be in constant play. Malicious Mallex and Angry Anika seem to be more cut out for each other, as neither show compassion for others but seek partnerships in political maneuvering. What seems today like a victory for Kalian’s small band of supporters, may be closer thought of as an announcement for those yet to chose sides, that this will not be settled in compromise.

Whether by choice of tradition, or by political blackmail, Kalian’s parents have screwed up royally and seem too oblivious to even realize just how severely; now to the extent of losing Kalian, and the prestigious recognition his gift will most likely bring.

Another great installment to your wonderful tale @Demiurge!

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Posted (edited)

You have no need to apologize! Time marches on and life take precedence for each of us. That said, this installment was AWESOM!!! I can barely wait to see the fallout of the rebuttal and where things go from here.

Edited by raj1s
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Malodorous Malex has finally met his well deserved match...LOVE IT!!!

“Touch me again. Just try it, I dare you. I’m done with this. I will not be bullied by you anymore. I have fought to carve out a place for myself in this world and I will be damned if someone like you takes it from me.” I pressed the blade further, a trickle of blood sliding down his throat. His eyes were wide, shocked. I stepped harder on his foot, “Use your words. Do you understand me?”

“Y-yes.” He winced as the blade cut a bit deeper.

“End the engagement or I will” I stepped a safe distance away, flicking my wrist so that the sword disappeared, “And if I do it, Lex, I will ruin you.” 


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So many compliments I want to pay but can't get them organized.  I love your writing style.  The storyline is enchanting and captivating. Please continue at whatever pace works for you. 

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I'm just glad Kalian finally grew a backbone and decided to stand up for himself. I just started reading this story a couple days ago, but he was really starting to annoy me.

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Kalian has promised the king a lot... and I know he can deliver, I just don't want our hero to be stuck with such a terrible monarch. 

I have a feeling we'll see more of Mallex... but hopefully in a more subdued manner... I hate the conniving prick!

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Such a satisfying chapter. Seeing Kalian succeed using all he’s learned, even though the odds were against him at every turn, was a very nice twist and so captivating to read. Ugh just amazing.

Also, crispy hands 😫 I can’t decide if I loved or hated that observation of Talon’s lol.

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@headtransplant I feel like that’s Talon’s whole personality. You either love him or hate him. 

I literally just picture him like lifting up horrifically charred fingers and being like…jazz hands

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