Interlude III

Interlude III

A Song for Elit

            I had thought I would simply pleasure her to appease her drunken desires, but I knew I was playing with fire. ‘Tia’s  pheromones were stronger now that she was reaching the end of her fertile cycle and my body reacted to its’ potential mate. I knew I loved her the moment my body demanded to mate with her- no I suppose it was actually before that. It really must’ve happened back in Osel when she unflinchingly faced the possibility of death. That was definitely when I first started to desire her.

But I had plans- Cegil was so close to returning the homeland and if I were to take advantage of this moment it would ruin everything. Someone must take part in the ceremony, and Cegil needed to come home and see why it has to be me. I knew my brother didn’t understand, but everything was happening for a reason. It is possible for me to undergo the ceremony and make ‘Tia mine- I merely had to time it right. But I had to wait, it was still too soon.

Had she not passed out, I know we would’ve mated right then and there. I had wanted her so very badly, but I refused to take her while she was unconscious. I had to wait- at least until Cegil comes home and learns the truth. Then everything will go according to plan and the Daedeleth will be happy until another prophecy should manifest.

But it was getting harder to calm myself after going this far- I’ve never had experienced feelings like this before and I hadn’t anticipated the urges to be so strong. All I knew came from the word of mouth teachings I had received when I had turned one hundred years old. Knowing how to mate was very important for falucite since it was imperative for us to produce offspring at some point in our lives. I had to be taught early, since one could find their true mate anywhere, and we couldn’t afford to mess it up.

‘Tia should feel honored- she was the first I had ever touched in this manner. I never felt compelled to please another before and, if everything goes as planned, she will be the only one.

I glanced down at her still flushed features and felt an overwhelming urge to protect her. She was strong, but she was also vulnerable. She possessed no power, she didn’t seem exceedingly intelligent, and she was just so…small. By human terms, she was the average size of a seafaring woman- coming only to a height of five feet and three inches. But her hands were so tiny in mine- and my arms easily wrapped around her frame. I couldn’t help but feel that she needed protection.

Some part of me still couldn’t believe that this human had managed to knock my world off kilter and make me practically rearrange the stars in the sky to accommodate her into my life. Of course, I was well aware that she didn’t ask me to, but I was highly disturbed that I did it anyway. I actually cared about her, and it wasn’t in my nature to. Maybe it was her mysterious past, but I found myself so intrigued that I couldn’t get her out of my mind.

I wasn’t one to be swayed by beauty as I have seen it many times in many other women, but she had to be different. ‘Tia still had her disgusting human smells and other natural traits that her kind possessed, but I found myself not caring about them. They were small things I could ignore because I was smitten with the creature inside the pretty sculpture of flesh.

More often than not, I was drawn to her storm grey eyes. I was certain she had taken lessons from my brother- she was able to hide her expressions behind that youthful mask, but her eyes gave away her feelings. Even when she’s yelling and acting angry, I knew she was thinking other things in her gaze. I had to wonder if that was why she had her hair covering most of her face- she must’ve been trying to keep others from reading her.

I couldn’t resist kissing the light brown spots that dusted her cheeks. What did humans call them again? Freckles? I heard it was an undesirable blemish for some of her kind, but they made her appear all the more adorable to me. I continued to brush more of her hair from her face to both help her cool off and so I could gaze at more of her now calm features.

Even her hair was interesting. It wasn’t a single color of brown- there were golden strands mixed in that gave it a lighter appearance. It could’ve been the result of being out in the sun often- or perhaps she had a parent that possessed blonde hair. Either way, she was stunning when she had it free from the braid she often wore.

I knew the longer I stalled, the harder it would be for me to return her to Cegil. I had to get her to bed so she could sleep off the rest of the drink she’d had. I steeled myself when I finally pulled my hand from her underwear and tied very hard not to react to the fresh scent of her arousal. I feared that Cegil would pick up the scent as well.

All I could do for her was use my spare handkerchief to clean her up. Come to think of it, didn’t I loan her one before with an ice charm? I wonder what she did with it? Dismissing the thought for now, I started erasing the evidence. I knew I couldn’t completely eliminate the aroma, but at least it wasn’t as strong as before.

I sent the soiled cloth back to my chambers- where I will decide at a later time if I should have it cleaned or keep it as is. I wouldn’t be able to use it anymore if I chose the latter, but I would have a small memento of my future mate.

When I was done rearranging her clothing, I used my magicks to make myself more presentable. I suppose it didn’t really matter trying to cover up anything- Cegil was going to have his suspicions anyway. By the time I restored my hat to its proper place, I contemplated on what to do about ‘Tia’s hair.

I probably should braid it back to her usual style, but I didn’t have the heart to. She was simply divine with it loose. I wrapped her hair band around her wrist so it wouldn’t get lost before I shifted her in my lap. I made sure that her head was resting securely on my chest and shoulder before I stood up with her in my arms.

One arm supported her under her knees, while my other arm made sure her upper half was firmly against my chest. If I were to guess, I would say that she weighed roughly about one hundred fifteen pounds- easy enough for me to lift, but heavy enough to be a burden if I were to carry her a long distance this way. I summoned up a thin wind barrier under her to lighten the load before I began my trek to the inn.

I could’ve simply teleported back and made the journey faster, but I wanted to let this moment last. There was no telling how long it would be before I could have ‘Tia in my arms again. Hmph… it seemed being in love also made me sentimental- I wasn’t sure if I liked that. I risked a glance to my slumbering treasure and decided that I could afford it- but only around her. I wasn’t about to go soft on the rest of humanity for her sake.

By the time the inn was in view, I could see Cegil looking out at the city from the top floor balcony. He didn’t appear to be very pleased- leaving me to wonder what arrangement ‘Tia had made with him. Perhaps she was due back much sooner than now. It wasn’t until he caught sight of me when I decided that it was time to teleport up. I was almost blindsided by him when I materialized beside him.

“What did you do?” he inquired instantly, sounding both very worried and angry. I wasn’t sure if he had already caught wind of the incident at the tavern or if he was upset to see her unconscious.

I let out a sigh before I swallowed my pride and told him what had happened. “Don’t be mad at her- it was my fault this time. I gave her a beverage that was a little too strong for her and she …well, I’m sure her Pappy would’ve been proud.”

I wasn’t sure if this ‘Pappy’ she had mentioned was real or if Cegil was even aware of him, but I knew pirates took pride in how rowdy one could get while inebriated. My brother did seem confused at the reference, but he ended up focusing on my confession.

“…Did you just take responsibility for your actions? Are you well?” he queried, his monotone voice feigning some concern at the end.

I gritted my teeth and tried not to take too much offense at the remark. It was true that I would cast blame on others who were involved, but that didn’t mean I took no responsibility. I rarely ever was at fault since others did the screwing up for me. Though really, it was ‘Tia’s fault for getting drunk in the first place- she didn’t have to accept my gift. However, I didn’t want Cegil to be furious with her, so I chose to take the blame just this once.

Nevertheless, I was about to retort and at least defend my honor, but Cegil shook his head and gestured inside. “Never mind, get her to bed- quickly.”

Why ‘quickly’? I wanted to question the request, but I agreed that my sirsa needed to be comfortable. I followed my brother to her bed and then placed her upon the cool silken sheets. I then troubled myself to remove her shoes as Cegil glanced outside with a hardened gaze.

“I suppose we still have time…” he muttered to himself as he crossed his arms and turned to me. I was about to ask what we had time for, but he didn’t give me the chance. “How serious are you about Dantia?”

I found it odd that he had to ask. He knew that I wouldn’t say anything if I didn’t mean it. I had told him how I felt about her and gave a very heavy hint that I intended to have her as a mate. I couldn’t tell him outright, though, since it would lead straight into discussions that I had no permission to speak about.

“Did you think I was joking yesterday?” I inquired, not wanting to answer just yet. I could see that he wasn’t pleased with that as he brushed some of his lavender hair away from his forehead. If I didn’t know any better, I would almost think he was anxious… but why?

“I believe you are having second thoughts. Why else can you not give me a definite answer? You know that if you follow the reading that the Fates have given you, everyone but yourself will be happy. But you also know that it would be hard to turn away from the clan. You are having a difficult time ascertaining which path would be worth the risks.”

Hmm, ‘Second thoughts’ eh? Was that the idea he was picking up? I had to admit that meeting ‘Tia did throw me into a bind since I honestly didn’t think I would find a mate before the deadline, but nothing has changed.

“I can see why you think that way,” I admitted as I turned away from the sleeping human and glanced out at the balcony. “But I am certain of everything. I know what I want and I will have it. The ceremony is nothing more than some strange made up tradition to respect other races- so why should I have to suffer in the aftermath if I hold no love for the dragon the Fates chose for me?”

“So you intend to make a mockery of ancient traditions and the sanctity of marital bonds- all while subjecting my adoptive falcie to the shame of being a mistress?”

I winced slightly at his sharp tone- Cegil always had a way of twisting words and making them sound utterly horrific. I didn’t think my taunting would lead him to believe that– no wonder he was angry. I fully intend to have ‘Tia bear my falcie someday; so I would never place her in such a role.

“If that is what you think, then I apologize for insinuating such. My plans do not involve that kind of future for ‘Tia. I’m sorry, but I cannot explain further on this until you speak to the elders,” I explained to him, getting straight to the point. I had forgotten that speaking in circles around him didn’t work out well.

He huffed in response and furrowed his brows. “Then I suppose I no longer care about your goals or what the elders are planning- so long as Dantia isn’t used as a pawn or as your personal slave.”

“Don’t insult me,” I muttered while giving him a pointed glare. Many viewed me as young, irresponsible, and immature, but that didn’t mean they were right. My mate will be both the bearer of my falcie and a prominent member of the clan. I was certain there was work ‘Tia could do- if not assist me on my missions. I certainly didn’t plan for her to become some decorative fixture in my bedchambers.

It was a little quiet as Cegil took in my response and thought it over. For a moment, his cold cinnamon eyes seemed tired and he began to resemble our grandfather on a hectic day. “I suppose if you are being serious, then you must be experiencing an intense urge to mate. You may also possess feelings of protectiveness and admiration for her- such is the result of finding your match-”

“I’ve received proper instruction of mating just fine, thank you- you need not repeat them to me,” I interjected hastily, feeling uncomfortable with him trying to perform what should have been our father’s duty.

“But I’m sure Garroe didn’t explain to you that it’s not too late to change your mind. So long as you haven’t mated yet, you could still find another and bond with her instead,” he added, undeterred with my interruption.

Of my siblings, Garroe was the eldest and was the one who had to teach me in Father’s place, but Cegil was the first to have found a mate and have a falcie. I suppose his instruction would be better because of experience, but I didn’t want him to feel obligated to bear that burden of instructing me. Even if everything that had happened back then was his fault, nothing would’ve come to pass if I hadn’t been born. I knew that fact very well.

“Find another? Why? Are you against my decision to take ‘Tia? I had thought you supported the idea when you first gave me permission to court her,” I reminded him, though I had to admit that there was a significant difference between wanting to court over wanting to mate. Cegil probably thought it was going to be a short relationship and that I would’ve ended it by now. I, myself, didn’t really think she was the one until recently.

“I am not against the union, should she decide to have you. But I want to ensure that the both of you would be happy together. Taking a mate is both a joy and a heavy, life-long responsibility. It will only become more demanding with every new life you bring in with her.”

“You think me so irresponsible that I wouldn’t care for my mate? I am capable, you know, and I would like to have the chance to prove it,” I told my brother, feeling very offended. When I was much younger and before his exile was official, Cegil used to be the only one who treated me as if I was part of the clan, while everyone else treated me as if I were some disease. Having him suddenly act as if I were a newborn falcie bothered me more than it should have.

“I am not doubting that you are capable- I am not sure if you are willing is all. Dantia can be quite a burden at times and I want to make you aware of that before you make the final decision. I do not wish to see her neglected because you do not feel like helping her with her problems,” he clarified, causing me to pause.

I wanted to argue that I would always have time for her, but even I knew that wouldn’t always be true. My life has been comprised of fulfilling the will of the elders and more often than not- that came before all else. Taking a mate would mean that I would have to adjust my life so that I could handle both my role in the clan and my ability to support her. Was I really ready for that?

I truly loathed admitting it, but Maetira was right- I had never took on a role of a long-term responsibility before, and so I wouldn’t know if I could handle it. I could risk making ‘Tia unhappy, and I didn’t like that thought.

“I am not trying to dissuade you- I merely want you to really think it through. If you believe she is worth the trouble, then you may very well be ready to have a mate,” Cegil continued before his hand landed on my arm and pulled me away from her bed.

I gave him a curious glance before I willingly moved to stand beside him. I was beginning to believe that there was a point to all of his actions and had a feeling that he was about to demonstrate something to me. I decided to give him that opportunity so that I could figure out what exactly he was trying to tell me.

“Why wouldn’t she be worth it?” I inquired as I reflected on his words. “As far as I have witnessed, she has done nothing that I wouldn’t do- and we both seem to find some enjoyment from it.”

I couldn’t really confirm it since I had been unable to spend that much time with her yet, but I really believed that we had the same ideals and view of humanity. All because she was human herself didn’t mean that she couldn’t understand why her kind needed certain methods of control.

“You both do seem to be compatible enough, but there is something else about her that you are not aware of. In fact- I do not believe she knows about it as well.”

I raised an eyebrow- I had thought his specialty was twisting words, but he seemed to have moved on to using my talents. But before I could open my mouth to call him out on it or ask for his meaning, he raised his hand in a gesture of silence and then pointed towards ‘Tia.

It was then when I noticed that she was writhing her in sleep as if she were having a nightmare. Her face was still calm and she didn’t seem to be under distress, but I could hear soft humming sounds coming from her. The next thing I knew, she was sitting up with her head bowed and her eyes half open. She didn’t appear to be awake at all- it was more like something was controlling her.

“Wh-what is going on?” I asked Cegil, only to be silenced at the sound of her lovely voice.

‘Tia suddenly began to sing and I nearly felt myself overcome by the beauty of her dulcet tones. It was like listening to the voice of a goddess- and then just after I had that thought, I realized that it couldn’t be her singing. It was indeed her voice, but as far as I knew, the language she was currently using was unknown to humans. Even I barely knew the basics of it.

But it didn’t end there- ‘Tia started to shift until she was at the edge of the large bed and stood on wobbly legs. I was able to clearly see that her light grey eyes were unfocused, meaning she wasn’t consciously doing anything. She soon gained her balance and made her way over to the glass doors of the balcony and that was when Cegil finally reacted.

He followed her out the still open door, leaving me no choice but to pursue them to see where this was going to end. I nearly felt my heart leap when I caught her in the act of trying to climb on the stone railing that surrounded the terrace, but my brother prevented her from falling with just a simple yank at her dress. She then stepped back, almost obediently, and chose to stare up at the night sky as her song continued.

By the time I was standing beside her, I realized that she was actually staring at the moon- the physical body of Elit. The stunning song must’ve lasted nearly five minutes and when it was over, it was like something spirited out of her body. Her eyes fell closed and she began to collapse into Cegil’s waiting arms.

The lavender haired man was silent as he picked her up, much like how I had earlier, and carried her back to bed. This seemed to be routine for him- leaving me to wonder if this was what he was waiting for. He must’ve been trying to arrange this night for some time so that I could bear witness.

“This happens every night around this time,” he finally explained as I slowly walked back inside. “The only time I can relax is when she is behind bars for the night- where she cannot wander far in that state.”

Somehow I doubted that the humans who ran the local jails missed those ‘performances’. I had a feeling Cegil had been taking advantage of them, knowing that they would easily relinquish a girl that they thought was possessed. But was she really?

“Do you know why this happens? With her being a seafarer, she could’ve received some blessing from a sea creature- or she could be from Eruda,” I speculated, trying to appear calm before my brother.

This new development was a little daunting, but I wanted to know everything about it first. All because she was inflicted with something didn’t mean that she had to be stuck with it forever. Those so-called seafaring ‘blessings’ and possessions could easily be removed if we knew the origin. With Cegil unable to use his powers, he probably had no way of trying to find a cure- though if ‘Tia was Eruda, it would be near impossible to remove the affliction.

“I had thought of that since she does possess the traits of an Erudian, but I had adopted from Port Sibest. I was under the impression that they could not leave the waters of Elati unless they were chosen to directly serve a goddess,” Cegil replied, bringing on a valid point.

The island of Eruda was a land only for humans. They enjoyed better health and longevity, but this was in exchange for being slaves to the sea goddesses. I couldn’t judge the age of humans that well, but Cegil informed me that ‘Tia appears younger than she is. That was a common trait of the Erudians- they aged slower than average and could easily live up to a hundred years.

But they also had no freedom- they couldn’t travel without the permission of at least one of the goddesses. I never personally witnessed it, but I hear that if they stray too far, then they age quickly and die within an hour. Clearly that wasn’t the case with her, yet I doubted some sea goddess would let a pet wander this far away from the sea like ‘Tia had.

“Maybe that’s why she sings every night- perhaps something is trying to call her back,” I suggested, hoping that that wasn’t the case. If some being wanted to summon her, then it would make things difficult for me to keep her as a mate.

“I do not think so,” he responded with a shake of his head. “She seems to be completely unaware of her nightly episodes, leaving me to believe that an outside force is behind it. That song was a dedication to Elit- something only his daughters and those indebted to him would perform every night.”

Either Cegil knew the language better than I did, or he was able to get some information on this continent about it. Though, I wasn’t that surprised that he was well informed. He wasn’t one to simply shove details to the side and think about them later.

“So either ‘Tia is a goddess trapped in a human body, which is unlikely- or she owes Elit a great debt.” I doubted that as well. Elit didn’t grant favors to humans or any lesser creatures because they were unable to pay him back within their lifetime. Not much of this made any sense- ‘Tia was clearly human and she possessed no special power or skill that made her significant enough to be recognized by the immortals.

“Hence why I believe that this is a possession. Someone else must have placed their burden upon her, but I am not certain who would do such a thing or why.”

I couldn’t think of anything either- I saw no reason to use a human to take on another’s responsibilities. I suppose they were easy to manipulate since they were so powerless, but their overall uselessness wasn’t worth it.

I watched on as Cegil made sure to cover ‘Tia with the blankets and then brush her hair from her face- that also seemed to be habitual.

“Regardless of what plagues her, it is very clear that she is bound to the sea. Would you still take her knowing that?” my brother inquired, subtly requesting me to really think it through.

“I…I don’t know,” I answered honestly. This wasn’t some simple ‘problem’ that would go away eventually- it was something that could require me to deal with higher forces. It was beyond my ability to help her and I wasn’t certain if I could live with that. “Is it really possible for me to move on despite how I feel?”

I was still fond of her despite the new development and I doubt that I could simply stop feeling just because I didn’t think I could take care of her. Once we find our mate, it is near impossible to simply fall for another. In fact, our innate sense of loyalty was what kept Cegil from seeking a new mate after Oria’s death.

“It is possible, though difficult. This is why I wanted to show you this now, before it is too late. If you do not think you can have Dantia as your mate, then it is best for the two of you to part ways now. However, if you still want her, then I will help out the best I can in regards to her situation,” he offered, proving that he really was working for my best interests.

It was better to cut ties now before I became too involved with her. But… I couldn’t help but glance back at ‘Tia’s slumbering form. The damage was done and there was no going back for me- I loved her, but I wasn’t sure if she was worth it. In the long run, we could both be happier apart.

“…Thank you for informing me of this, Cegil. I need to think on this more- however, the ceremony will still go on no matter what,” I reminded him to make that part clear. I could tell that he was just waiting to use my uncertainty as a weapon to confuse me from my goals. “I will see you at the homestead.”

I didn’t bother to stay and wait for a response- I teleported directly to my bedchamber and promptly collapsed on my bed. There, I immediately covered my face with my hat.

What was I going to do? I hadn’t expected this at all. I was so certain of having her for a mate, but I wasn’t too keen on the idea of dealing with a curse or possession. But I wasn’t sure if I could just let her go, either. I had a lot of thinking to do- and perhaps some time to see if I could live without ‘Tia.

To the Next Chapter

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