By Moonlight 2.2 : Offerings and Other Things

Conflict.

It was a sensation that Ethan was unfamiliar with.  It had taken him a while to sort through his thoughts and experiences to finally pinpoint the exact emotion that was plaguing him.

Watching Shay struggle in silence, trying to understand the scene playing out before her, had evoked this strange feeling within him.

Looking at her now, sitting across from him, on the other side of the large circular table, he hadn’t realized how small she was, and the oversized high-back chair she was seated in made her appearance even more doll-like.  An underweight and frightened doll, maybe a year and or so younger than the seventeen surreal ones he had lived through.

His attention faltered for a moment.  He could sense Tiffany enter the room.  She was the youngest priestess, just shy of sixteen, still learning the ancient ways from the elder sisters of The Dark Order.  Even with the scar, she was the most lovely vision he had ever seen, that is, until Shay appeared before his eyes. Dressed in all white hooded cloaks, the silent parade of twelve females aligned themselves next to the towering marble columns in the shadows surrounding the circular table at the center, each behind one of the twelve seats at the table.  Without having to turn around, Ethan knew that she was standing behind him. Her thoughts were faint, stirring echoes; their dance was nowhere near as bright, brilliant, or as loud as Shay’s excited thoughts that were constantly bouncing around inside his mind, and within the quiet place deep within himself that he had sealed off long ago.

The room was deathly silent, there were no mortal breaths to be heard filling the spaces in the air.  Every face was ghastly serious, and held an unearthly and unnatural beauty.

Shay’s fright-filled eyes had shifted again, from hazel back to coal black.  Without having to peer into a mirror, Ethan knew that his had done so also. It was the awareness of the moment that was causing them all to semi-morph into their otherly forms.  Ethan also knew that Shay had no idea that the change had already begun within her, possibly even before they had encountered one another last night. He had seen her in the dive bar before, but his attention for her was always in passing, a few moments of his time and nothing more.  But last night, there was a definite difference in her scent. His attraction to her was uncontrollable, and infinitely more powerful than any other time they had been within each other’s presence. Her evolution had begun, and she hadn’t even notice, but his primal instincts had.

From some distance place in the darkness surrounding all those present, a clock chimed, chimed, chimed, chimed – sharp and quick.  It was immediately followed by a heavy rumble as the floor beneath their feet lurched and shifted.  Ethan’s eyes quickly moved toward Shay; he felt her wanting to scream in terror but managing to keep quiet, for now.  The whole of her eyes were black now, no white to be seen, as was the same for all the others.

“Bring it forth,” an adult male’s voice calmly proclaimed.

Ethan sat directly across from Shay, as was tradition.  On all side between them were the current elders, if you could call them that.  In reality, if actual years were counted, they were more like the ancients, Yet, by appearance alone, not one of them, of the five males and five females, looked more than twenty-something years of age.  They were all frighteningly appealing to the eyes, the mind and, most dangerously, the soul. A closer look within their gaze, and one could easily see their truest nature, but very few dared to look on them for that long or stare that deeply within them.  Not even Ethan, and he was to be their future sovereign, or so they had been speaking of since he was a child, before the world – his world and the real world – turned upside down and inside and began to hate itself with a seething, alluring passion.

Without delay, a pair of milky white arms, seemingly detached from the rest of the human owner, pushed through the dark backdrop and swiftly placed a bound animal at the center of the cloth-covered table.  What kind it had been, Ethan could not tell, because the fur had been removed, as had other identifiable parts. He supposed it to be a coyote, as it was customary for a medium sized prairie roamer to be offered on a holiday.  For this particular day, an animal, and not another type of offering, was acceptable. A part of him was glad for this, because he was sure that Shay would have died from horror if she had to witness what took place on high holidays, not low ones like tonight’s feast.  The life of the city-dwellers below was dreary and dangerous, but what they lived through was like a sad dream compared to the nightmare of what could – and did – happen within the walls of this mansion.

“Give her the knife,” the male spoke again.

A second pair of detached arms, yellow-tinted this time, appeared and placed a long dagger in front of Shay.  The tip of the blade gleamed bright from the unseen light that was hung above the table. The moment her eyes finally landed on it, and her mind clicked as to what was expected of her, she jumped from the seat, the slight weight of her body barely able to gather enough power to force it back from the table.

On instinct, Ethan nearly rose too.  If not for a sudden sting at the corner of his mind, he would have.  Mother.  She was trying to bind him, to keep him from reacting.  For now, he gave in. His large hands clamped down on the arms of his seat.  The wood groaned slightly under the pressure of his grip. He had to control himself or he would unintentionally rip them off.

“No,”  Shay’s voice had lost all of the fury and fight from earlier.  It was soft…childlike…frightened to the point that his heart ached for her.   In a tone barely above a weak whisper, she spoke her decision again, “I won’t.”

No one spoke; a strange silence hovered on all sides.

He felt her confusion, her fear, her hope that this was all a terrible dream that she would awaken from shortly.

She tried again to speak her objections.  “I don’t care that it’s dead,” she began, her tiny hands twisted and rolled nervously over one another, “This doesn’t feel… right….” She paused to reword her thought.  “This is all…wrong.. It feels…wrong.”

It was at that moment that Ethan realized how stunningly beautiful she was.  The bed maids had styled her long, thick hair into elaborate braids that entwined around her head into the likeness of a crown.  Her pure white tunic, slanted across one shoulder and dropping down to her ankles, fit perfectly, so much so that it added the hint of a budding feminine frame to her slight figure.  Her light brown skin glowed from the oils and honeys they had added to her bath. She sparkled with a regalness that trapped Ethan’s thoughts in adoration. But it was her eyes, those supernaturally bright hazel eyes – they had shifted back – that held his breath within his chest.

“Youngling,” a female voice this time – still calm, still filled with the same amount of dreaded authority as her male counterpart – pierced the air, “Do as you are directed.”

A quick, low breath escaped his lips – relief –  when Shay picked up the dagger between her thin fingers.  

At first, Ethan thought the request of a female – his mother, or so she called herself – had convinced Shay to partake.  She only had to cut the thing, which was still raw, and one or two other symbolic steps and that would be all, for tonight at least.  It was a light induction for the newcomer of the sacred clan, and the elders seemed to be taking the fact that she was totally uninitiated into consideration.  Or were they? The more he thought on this, the more Ethan realized what was actually happening. These beings were not capable of kindness, and this time would be no exception.  He just didn’t have enough time to stretch his mind far enough ahead to see how this would all play out. The cooling of his blood spoke volumes. Nothing good would follow from this moment.

He hated that she had to partake in the sacrifice, but he felt relief that she would finally be one with him and he would no longer dwell in this darkness completely alone.  Ethan did not understand love or happiness or why it was tearing Shay apart to have to cut into an already dead and skinned animal, but he knew loneliness and all of the miseries that it offered too well for far too long.

He pulled in an equally sharp snatch of air as she raised it an inch or two, appearing to aim it at the twisted carcass.  One swipe and then should be his bride. His queen. His one bonded and eternal mate. The other half of all that he was. Some long-buried part within him told him all of these things were true.

Then, in that one quick move which followed, she destroyed them both.  

With obvious defiance, Shay lifted the knife higher and threw it down onto the hardwood floor.  The sound of the sharp tang-tang sound confirmed that the tip of the sacred object has most likely shattered from the violent impact.

“Kill her,” the male said, and before a heartbeat passed, a darkly cloaked figure appeared from the blackness behind the head of the ceremony and lunged at Shay.

She moved to flee the ax head aimed at her, but it would not be necessary.

The assassin dropped to the center of the table and bounced very slightly after the hard thud of his weight smacking the solid object bit the air.  His eyes had glazed over into a milk-clouded and lifeless grey.

Mistake.  That was the first time he had ever heard Tiffany’s thoughts so clearly.

Ethan replayed the reflex over again in his mind.  

The king’s assassin made his move, and so had Ethan.  Using the power of cold thunder and biting shadow growing ever more powerful within him, he struck the killer dead with a single thought – END – before he could fully raise the sharp edge of the ax against Shay.  

It was a mistake, yes, and Ethan would soon pay heavily for what he had done.   But the fear of existing another moment on this dark earth without Shay’s presence somewhere upon it was greater than the fear of the punishment to follow.  Besides, he had known that this is how this scene would end. A split second before Shay threw the knife, his mind had finally foreshadowed the next few minutes after that point.  And he also knew what was approaching next.

Pain.  

His disorderly conduct would not go free from correction, even if he was due to become the ruler of the gathering new world.  There were still many lessons to be learned, and this would be counted as one more sewn deep into him.
A heavy hand clamped down on his shoulder and squeezed till Ethan felt his bone quiver from the strain.

Father.

He stood, turned from the table without making eye contact with anyone – especially Shay – and silently followed his tormentor from the room.

Copyright 2018 Lenise Lee Pubn

Copyrighted.com Registered & Protected

 

By Moonlight 1 : The Beginning

By Moonlight 2.1 : Fire and Ice, and Sun and Moon

By Moonlight 1.5: Shay, Into the Light

 

 

 

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By Moonlight 2.1 : Fire and Ice, and Sun and Moon

Smash!

Shay launched at the girl and was immediately smacked back by a wave of energy.  A force powerful enough to send her crashing into the wall on the opposite side of the room.

She hit the barrier with a thud then slid to a stop at the baseboard, feeling crumpled and broken.  Despite the unseen beating she had just taken on, Shay struggled weakly to scramble to her feet. Yet, the more her limbs fought to find balance, the tighter her joints contracted together.  Closer and closer her arms and legs bent at the seems, until she felt bound into a folded sitting position. It was as though someone had slowly tied a heavy rope around her slender body and then pulled the slack to rigid tautness.  

Immobile.

Breathless.

Trapped.

Her hazel eyes lifted toward the source, in the direction of her new enemy.  Through blurred vision – the invisible binding was squeezing the air from her lungs, suffocating her slowing and painfully, bringing tears of frustration to sting her eyes – Shay saw how the girl smirked in triumph, with one side of her lovely glossed mouth lifted high.  The fingers on the girl’s right hand were sticking out, fixed in an unyielding and unnatural position, with the tips nearly straight up against the angle of the knuckles. She was using some dark spell to hold Shay captive, refusing to release her to allow even one small breath, delighting in watching her prey slide into a horrible semi-consciousness.

“Enough.”  A booming voice pierced the tension in the silent air.

Still the girl held her unseeing grip on Shay tight…tight…tighter.

“Mouse, let her go.”  Ethan’s hulking shadow slid soundlessly from the door that led from the hallway and into the oversized master suite.

The girl’s trance remained focused on pulling the life from Shay’s drooping body, which was nearly flat to the floor by now.

TIFFANY!” His words shook the room, causing the boards of the wooden floors to creak and the plaster embedded within the walls to crackle in fear.  “I said, enough! Release her.”  His words were like a truth which the girl could not obey.

And just like that, the once constricted blood in Shay’s veins finally began to flow again, and she drank in a long, raspy gulp of bitterly sweet air.  

From her position on the floor, with her head touching the wood and beads of sweat dripping slowly on the polished amber slats below, Shay saw the girl – Tiffany – Mouse, as Ethan had initially called her – turn silently on her bare heels and stalk from the room.

What followed was a dark blurr crossing Shalise’s vision, and less than a heartbeat later, Ethan kneeled beside her.

A pale hand, large and smooth, reached toward her, and with her lifeforce suddenly restored, Shay had the strength to immediately jolt upright and push herself against the wall.  With her heart racing in full gear and eyes wild with adrenaline, she smashed her palms flat against the barrier that kept her trapped and tried to slide her body further away from him.  In one motion, faster than a blink, Ethan moved both his arms so that she was pinned between the space of them on either side of her head.

Nearly two feet taller and no less than fifty pounds heavier, Ethan was a menacing figure standing guard over Shay’s every breath.  

Yet…

The moment their eyes met, her hazel touching his blue, her fear melted away into nothingness.

Instead, an eerie calm fell over her entire being.

Deep at the center of his cold stare, with irises the color of winter ice, there was a fire burning.  Rhythmic…enticing, hot like a flare from the sun. Ready to consume all in its path, including Shalise.

One large palm slid down and moved toward her cheek.  Though her natural instincts screamed for her resist, a more carnal calling held her steady and even moved her face closer into his touch.

The sensation of his skin against hers was like being embraced by what she imagined pure peace to be.  She felt whole.  Calm.  Balanced.  Powerful.  Capable of pulling the sacred moon closer to the earth if it were called upon her to do so.  At that moment, she felt one with her innermost self.  And with his too.

As they stared endlessly into one another souls, they became wrapped tighter into an unending bond.  Beyond words.  Beyond time.  Beyond understanding.

She sensed a kiss coming.  He angled his face closer.  Lips the color of the softest pink moved toward her own light caramel ones.  Shay had never kissed anyone.  This would be her first, and the anticipation of it sent an electric wave through her body to her most secret places.

And then the mighty spell was broken.  Without warning, Ethan turned his head, pulled himself away and walked – slowly, heavily, one long footstep at a time – toward the open door.

Without looking back, or even peering over his shoulder, he spoke in the smallest tone.

“Your bed maids will help you dress.  Dinner will be offered soon.”

Offered.  What a strange way to announce a meal.  The thought stung Shay’s mind.

Then he was gone.

Once she was all alone, or assumed that she was, Shay allowed a low gasp to escape her throat.

Sobs crowded her voice and thick tears clouded her vision.  She collapsed onto the floor, somewhere near one of the four massive bedposts.  Cries racked her into violent shivers.

For the first time since she was a small girl, watching her parents’ lives end in front her, Shalise was afraid.  More than afraid, terrified to her core.

What was going on?  Why was she here?

Why had she, of all people, been taken from the party?  There were plenty of girls who would have willingly sacrificed themselves for a night with the prince.  Why her?  Why now?  She had worked at the bar dozens of times, seen him from a distance at least half as many.

The most frightening unknown of all – What did he plan on doing to her?  

Offered.  The word bit her mind once more.

There was no doubt, before the next setting of the moon, she would know what path was sealed into her fate.

If needed, could she end her own life to save herself from some worse agony?

Before Shay could answer the question, a sharp tap, tap rapped on the wooden door, and the remainder of her night of imprisonment began.

 

Part I : The Beginning

Part I : Last Chapter

Part II : Chapter I

 

 

Copyright 2018 Lenise Lee Publications.  All Rights Reserved.

Copyrighted.com Registered & Protected

Answering the Call

i have dreamed dreams

of moons rising

of suns setting

of worlds spinning, in reverse

around castles and mountains, laid waste

echoing cries

of gods and men, long-forgotten

heroes fallen

princes reborn

hearts pierced, yearning

rose petals scattered, waiting

to become whole

to sing

to surge

to soar

to touch the gates

of highest heaven

once more..

©iamlenise

Majestic Mountains. By NASA/JPL-Caltech/L. Allen (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA) via Wikimedia Commons

Divine

Remember the kiss, promises sealed in forever

Harsh winds, steer thoughts astray

But the heart always returns

to what it knows, to be

right and true

Pure

leaves bud on awakening limbs

Eternal

twilight dipped in lavender shade

Blazing

silver trails along a golden dawn

You, seeker

I, wanderer

You, sun

I, moon

You, love

I, in love

Always

words on a page

lives in a song

Let the moment wash over, like a quiet summer rain

Soar to heights, beyond the rapture

A touch of sunlight

grazing upon full lips

softer than a lover’s kiss

Feel

the pull

of destiny

*(^-^)*