“What do you mean he’s not coming home?”  

Her voice was honey, silk, achingly vibrant.  The Eredar looked at her helplessly, adoring; he found himself unable to look away from the rippling blue of her eyes, as unworthy as he was to stare so.  Her hand on the flesh of his chest burned and chilled him at the same time, and his -soul- ached at the contact.  He looked into her perfect face, and felt awe.  “The other ones – they … destroyed him.  All of him – they shattered him.”

The pain in her voice made his own heart hurt with hers, in time. “How?  He was so much more than they would ever be.”

“He was careless, Mistress.  He was caught in a prison – some kind of soul trap – and their warlocks tore him apart in the Nether.”

“Don’t say that.  Never say that.  My Zenzorem was never careless – he always knew exactly what he was doing.”

The rebuke, gentle as it was, had him sobbing.  “Yes, Mistress.  I’m sorry – Please..”

“Shhh.”  Her hand touched his lips. In that touch was infinite promise, and his tears fell now, not for the horror of her displeasure, but the impossibility of her touch.  “Go.  Leave me.  I need time to mourn.”   He saw the sorrow in her face, and it threatened to rip the heart out of his chest, his breath lost.   When her wings spread, he lowered his head, finding it impossible to look on her pain any longer.

“Yes, Mistress.”

He scuttled out, as the attendants in Her chambers came to sooth her, to pet at raven hair, to offer clothing, and treats, and… themselves.  Anything, to soothe her sorrow.  But she sobbed, inconsolable.  He shut the door of her chambers, and leaned against it for a moment, gathering himself.

Her scream of sorrow caused the floor to vibrate, and he allowed himself a moment of relief that he’d managed to close the door in time… and felt pity for her attendants and the sounds of their bones breaking, wondering who next would be chosen, secretly hoping it would be him.  Ears ringing, he moved away, down the hall.  She’d call for him soon enough.  

Author Aunne
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