Gritting his teeth, Niodas looked into the mirror.  There were no scars on the perfect skin of his face, reminding him of his skill in the ways of the sword and shield.  Hair darker and glossier than a raven’s wing framed his dazzling green eyes and strongly etched features, the blend almost more beautiful and handsome.

His head reeled from the blow his mother delivered.  Of course the blow was to the back of his head where no bruises would show rather than his face. 

“How *dare* you risk being hurt and marring your appearance?” she seethed at him.  Her hand waved, conjuring a cloth imbued with an icy spell.  “Put that on your head to prevent swelling and make yourself presentable.  You know our Lady requires perfection.”  Whirling around, she stalked out of his room, slamming and placing an arcane lock on the door, trapping him inside until the servants came for him.

Niodas rose from where he was knocked to the floor, grabbing the cloth to place on his head as he strode to his closet.  A critical eye born from years of training and practice raked over the garments within, finally settling on an outfit he thought might please not only the ladies of the court, but The Lady herself.  Dressing himself, he gazed at the reflection facing him in the full-length mirror on the closet’s door; subtle colors and expensive silk invited the touch and rewarded it with a sensual softness while just enough flawless skin showed to whet the appetite of any that looked upon him, but not so much flesh showing as to leave no room for the imagination.  A snug fit that outlined the contours of his lithe body, but not so tight as to overly expose all that lay beneath the cloth.  Satisfied with his choice, he turned to the paint pots on the vanity on his left.  The ladies enjoyed his appearance more when he looked almost androgynous but still masculine enough to excite their senses and remind them of his ability to … perform whatever they may desire.  His hand reached for a brush, ready to being painting the mask he wore to ensure his survival.

The mirror shattered, breaking the memory and causing it to fall as so many shards through his mind.  It took him a moment to realize he was the one who shattered it, his gauntleted fist still embedded in the wall behind the glass.  Ripping his arm free, he savagely removed his gauntlets, tossing them to the side where his sword and shield rested.  His hands shook with the force of the memory, eliciting a flood of words and emotions his mother would have beaten him for if he’d ever dared express them in front of her.  Sinking down to the floor, he placed his head in his hand and tried to steady the gulping gasps his breathing had become.  That life is gone, has been gone for thousands of years, he told himself over and over again.  If only his head and his heart would believe it …

Author Elli
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