The crispy winter wind bites my face like a hungry animal while the sun sets after the mounatins peaks. It has been a pretty good day – I’ve managed to capture a hare in one of my traps, and found a fallen tree from which I took some branches to keep me warm for the night. But as I near my cottage I can sense that this good day of mine is slowly, yet undenaibly, turning upsidedown. I sight loudly, since they already heard me and smelled the blood from the hare.
As I approach the little meadow where my cottage is, I can sense them better. There are two fae here. One is a female, probably a high fae from her scent, the other though… He is an Illyrian, and just from that little information I start to wonder is this is going to be the last day of my life. And if so, do I mind it being the last day? As I exhale once again loudly, my lungs hurting as I force them, I enter the meadow.
They have heavy leather armors on them, and they smell like blood. They probably came from a battle from the stained look on their faces. And since there are two of them, and I don’t care enough to fight – I let go of my weapons in the snow. The blond female gives me a look that tells me she finds my lack of interest in fighting odd. As if she would be always ready for a fight.
“What do you want?” I ask slowly, only looking at the female.
She looks tired as she says “We’ve come to ask for your help.”
At that I snort. Help? From me? Hah!
But even though I want to laugh that off, I just say, “What kind of help?”
“We need your healing powers. One member of our family was greatly injured during a battle… and none of our healers can help. But we heard that you could.” There is no plea in her voice, no pain eighter. It is an order. This high fae just justified her reason for seeking me, and now she is waiting for me to oblige.
A little smlie blossoms on my face. “I see no reason for me to help you.” At that the female puts her hand on her sword.
“I am third in command in the Night Court! I am The Morrigan, and you shall help us!” her voice booms in the silent meadow. But I don’t feel fear. I don’t take a step back as she expect me to. I just say, “It doesn’t matter who you are. I still don’t have a reason to help you.”
Even though the thought of someone being that badly hurt make my heart ache. For the other healers to have told them about me – it means that the hurt fae is in grave danger.
There is silence as Morrigan looks at the Illyrian with incredulous eyes. I think it through, and then I ask them, still not looking in the male’s direction.
“Is your family member a high fae?”
“No,” the Illyrian answers, “he is a bastard – an Illyrian like me.”
A cruel smile forms on my lips. Mother! The cauldron sure has some nasty ideas sometimes. “Then I will not help you.” And with those words I take back my weapons from the snow, and walk for my cottage.
I hear Morrigan taking her sword out of its sheath, and the Illyrian stepping in between us. “Please” he says, and there is something in his voice that makes me remember of another plea. One that I made decades ago. One that wasn’t answered. The pain in my heart blossoms anew at the thought and I turn around, ready to tell him to fuck off! Illyrians did this to me! My own kin made me useless, and now they want my help? Hah!
But when I turn around and see him – all tall and broad-shouldered, tan skin and amber eyes, high cheekbones and a full lips – something knots inside of me. His gaze is fixed on me, his eyes going wide for a few seconds – just as the thing that knots loosens and then pulls me toward him. A small gasp escapes my lips, and I back away even though it pains the thing inside of me. It whines and vibrates wantig to be near him.
As I look at him, there are shadows that swirl around his shoulders and head. They seem to be his pets, and when he frowns, some dissapear and so does that thing. It settles like a cat near a fire. Waiting. Waiting.
My hand trembles as I put it on my chest where my heart is pounding ready to escape my ribbcage. His eyes keep searching me up and down – up and down, and then settle on my face in wonder. And I wonder too. Why him? Why?
“Please” he says once again, and through the bond I can feel his distress. I know how much this person that is injured means to him, to all of them, for they are a family. And from the urgency that I feel in his voice I know that that fae won’t have long to live.
He seems surprised that I accepted so easily and I hear Morrigan whisper some curse and a plea to the cauldron.
“But after I am done, you must let me leave. I don’t want to stay too much in the presence of Illyrians” I say looking at Morrigan and the Illyrian in front of me flinches. Then I look once again at him and ask “What is your name?”
“Azriel, I am the spymaster of the Night Court, a shadowsinger” he says. My mate says. I shudder at the thought. My mate – an Illyrian – a brute.
“Pack some stuff and then we will go” I hear Morrigan instruct me so I turn around and open the door of the cottage. “Where are we going?” I ask.
“In a war camp” my mate says.
War. There will be plenty of wounded there. My fingers prickle at the thought – it has been months since I heald somebody. My power feels raw and foreign, since I’ve been using it in low dosages.
I pack lightly and go back in the winter cold as soon as I finish. Morrigan looks as if I’ve taken too long, and Azriel is gone. And I wonder where he’s gone, if he is already in the camp telling whoever is waiting for me that I’m coming. That everything is going to pe allright. But I don’t ask Morrigan, instead I just take her hand as she gives it to me and then she winnows us in the smoke and blood stained mud of a war camp. And I try to keep back my lunch as it goes straight in my mouth.
How I wished I would never have to see a war camp again.