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|Liadan finds herself in a rather uncomfortable situation with Cyric and Griffe. She also finds out something about Cyric that she never imagined could be possible. I have to give most of the credit for this chapter to my best friend Kelly. I was having an incredible bought of writer's block and she pulled me through it. Much of this chapter is her own creation and I thank her for her amazing dedication to the furthering of my story. *Hugs and kisses kell-bell!*||
A fire shone in Liadan’s eyes that Griffe could not ignore. He desperately wanted to help her and give her the answers that she desired, if only to learn more about her. He felt drawn to her and his elfish curiosity demanded that he discover everything there was to know about her. She was desperately intriguing.
“Well, of course I—” He was cut off abruptly by a sharp intake of breath from the side of him. He turned and found himself face to face with Cyric. An uncomfortable grin found its way to his lips when he noticed the territorial gleam in Cyric’s eyes. The day was becoming more interesting by the minute.
“Cy. Well met!” Years of growing and learning in the Elven court enabled Griffe to quickly regain his composure and cover any awkwardness that he felt in a calm, detached manner.
Cyric gave Griffe a scathing look before turning towards Liadan. He noticed her nakedness for the first time and felt his eyes wandering for a second before he noticed how red her cheeks were. Her legs and arms were crossed as she stood and she fidgeted with embarrassment.
“Liadan, why in the heavens are you naked?” he asked. His own cheeks had started to redden as his body became aware of how much bare skin he could see. For a split second he simply stared at her, soaking her all in, then he strode across the room and unwillingly grabbed a blanket to drape across her shoulders.
“I was j-just showing Griffe the tattoos.” She blushed deeper when Cyric’s hand brushed across her shoulder as he settled the blanket over her. “He was telling me about his homeland and its legends because I was a little nervous from the guard—”
Cyric started. “The guard? What guard?” Liadan blushed and pulled the blanket tight around her body.
“The—well—the guard that—”
“That visited your house about an hour ago looking for a girl that happened to have the same description as Liadan,” Griffe interjected smoothly. “His presence frightened Liadan a little so I offered to tell her about Siruthera il Nirenthi to calm her down. When I told her of the Thousand Stars and Arwae’s race, she got so excited about the bird-shifters that I knew something was up.” He shot an amused look at Cyric. “If you feel the need to blame someone here, Cy, blame me. I was the one that insisted she explain why she got so excited because I covered for her when the guard came. There wasn’t really any other way that I would believe her.”
“I’m not trying to blame anyone here!” Cyric insisted. He gestured feebly at Liadan and shrugged his shoulders. “It was just surprising to come in and see her like that, that’s all.”
“I understand. Don’t you, Liadan?” Griffe cast a glance at her when she didn’t answer. “Liadan?” She made no move to reply but instead sat down on the edge of her bed and put her face in her hands.
“I think I have had enough excitement in the last day or so to last me for quite awhile,” she said. “And I think that I would like to try and sleep for just a while longer, or at least have some privacy.”
Both men looked towards the floor and headed towards the door. Cyric shut it gently behind him, making very little noise. In the silence, Liadan turned towards the rising sun and sighed. Besides Griffe and Cyric she truly was alone. She had no true family; she didn’t belong anywhere, unless Griffe was right about the birdshifters being so accepting. Could she find them on her own? Probably not. She could try though. Liadan climbed on the bed and lay her face down on the pillow. She recounted everything that had happened since her Becoming. If only she could have remained a joyous young girl forever.
A small tear trickled down her cheek and soaked into the pillow. Her heart ached when she realized how much she may have to leave behind to find a race in which she truly belonged. And her dear Cyric—
She jumped and rolled over on the bed to see Cyric standing in the doorway. When she didn’t respond, he slowly walked in and locked the door behind him.
“What are you doing here?” she whispered. The tear had dried on her cheek.
“I came in because I wanted to talk to you.”
“About what?” She sat up quickly, wrapping the blanket more tightly around her body, afraid he was going to make more comments about her and Griffe.
He closed his eyes and slowly reached over to grab her hand. She grew very still and her breathing slowed. His beautiful lashes leading, he opened his eyes slowly and the sunlight hit them, showing their glossy beauty. His eyes searched deep into her soul, allowing her open access to his. There was a dark veil over his heart.
“Cyric? What’s going on?” her voice was tender.
He cleared his voice and his lips trembled. “Liadan. . .I know you’ve been crying because you feel alone.” She hid her face from him, shaking her head slightly. “But the truth is that I—I have a secret as well.”
Her head snapped up, her hair rippling behind her. “What, Cy?”
“I have a secret too.”
She laughed and ceased abruptly when she saw how serious he was. He gripped her hand tighter, to the point of near pain. She closed her eyes and could almost see the scar on his heart. She could feel his pain. Liadan waited for him to create the strength to move on.
“Liadan, I don’t belong anywhere either.” He turned his head. “I am not all human, either. I-I’ve never told anyone this before.”
Liadan’s chin dropped and her mouth gaped wide open. How could this be? Cyric was a stable force in her life and she felt that she knew everything about him. This was something she never expected. But what else could he be? Her mind raced with a thousand ideas.
“Griffe is my brother, Liadan.” He grasped onto her hand harder. She saw handsome Griffe in her mind, so poised, so elfish. Then she looked at Cyric. He was part elf? Then she saw it. The slight tilt of the ears, the beautiful shining eyes, the perfectly smooth skin. Although she had always known he was handsome, she had never seen his elven beauty because of his tanned skin and human mannerisms. She gasped.
“Cyric, why didn’t you ever tell me?” Her eyes were wide, as if seeing him for the first time.
“Liadan, I didn’t think you would ever understand. Growing up, well, you seemed so perfect to me. You were royalty, beautiful, and loved by your family. How could I ruin your faultlessness by telling you about the fault within myself? In my mind I was tainted and could never compare to you.” Liadan could see the obvious pain rupturing from his heart and spilling out of his eyes. She gripped her blanket with one hand and touched his face with the other as he went on. “But now it is different. Now you have a secret too. In my mind you will always remain beautiful and unmarked; although in reality I can finally share that final piece of myself with you.”
Touched, Liadan reached to embrace Cyric. The blanket fell down as she wrapped her arms around his upper body. He touched her tattoos gently as he continued, almost as if he were in a trance. “Griffe and I both have the same mother. She was an Elven woman of great status, married to one of the highest ranked Elven warriors in our city. After a few years, Griffe was born. When he was only a year old, his father died protecting the village. My mother had a hard time adjusting to her widowed status and fled to the human city nearby, leaving Griffe with close relatives. When she returned months later, she was hand-in-hand with a human man, my father. The elves didn’t know how to take this news. Elves aren’t used to change and don’t like human men taking their Elven women. There was enough talk as it was, but when they saw my mother’s state and realized that she was pregnant, it was as though the fury of the gods broke loose. My mother fled the Elven village to save her dignity and her life. When she returned, she returned alone. She raised Griffe and I was raised by my father. When I was older, I returned to the Elven kingdom. I spent some time trying to adjust to their ways and become part of their lives. I wanted so badly to belong somewhere. But, I never felt right there. It was impossible to be what they wanted me to be and their feelings about me as I am were so apparent. They hated the human side of me; the human looks of me. They wanted me to be an elf, to be full blooded—but I will never be that. I am what I am.
“And here, in the human world, even though I fit in, I don’t always feel like I am meant to be in this place. In my mind I know I am not pure. I am not like everyone else.” He paused and brushed back a piece of Liadan’s hair from her face. “Our friendship was my life during the day, Lia, but it is very lonely at night sometimes.” His voice trailed off.
“Cy—I…” Liadan started and was cut off.
“You are lucky, Liadan. You may feel alone now, but your people are much more accepting than mine. I don’t come from a race who accepts me for my half-blood.” His hands stopped tracing the marks on her back. “Your imperfection makes you even more perfect. Mine just makes me an outcast.” He got up quickly. Neither of them was conscious of the fact that Liadan was no longer wearing anything as they were too wrapped up in their own thoughts to notice.
A cloud passed by the early sun, creating shadow in the room. The silence grew thick between them as their gazes caught and the emotions stirred up in the room flew between them. Finally, Cyric lowered his eyes and exited the room as quickly as possible, leaving Liadan to contemplate everything he had told her.
|Liadan, Chapter 12||Liadan, Chapter 9|
Liadan, Chapter 1
|Liadan, Chapter 5|
|Liadan, Chapter 3||The Otherking - Chapter One|