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|Liadan meets a mysterious, handsome, elf at Cyric's house and learns that there is always hope.||
The door to Cyric’s home opened before he could knock and when Liadan caught sight of the man opening the door she nearly squeaked with surprise. Standing in front of her was a chestnut-haired, ivory skinned elf.
Liadan put her hand to her chest and then, thinking better of her actions, extended it to the man.
“Uhm, hi?” she managed. Her cheeks turned red at her fumble for words and she lowered her eyes to hide her embarrassment. Thank goodness her wings had melted back into tattoos before she got here.
The elf-man chuckled and reached forward to take her hand. “How do you do, m’Lady?” he asked her while shaking her hand heartily.
“I—uh—well, I guess.”
Cyric stepped forward and removed the elf’s hand from Liadan’s before he could shake her to pieces. He smiled at her and indicated that she should step inside.
“You’ll have to forgive Griffe,” he told her as the elf-man, Griffe, closed the door behind them. “He gets a little too excited when he meets new people and he forgets his manners.”
“No, no,” Griffe said. “It is only when I meet charming and beautiful ladies like this lovely woman here.” He re-extended his hand to Liadan and smiled, brown eyes sparkling. “Though good Cyric has already told my name, I must admit that I am a follower of formal introductions. So, hello, m’Lady. If I may I introduce myself, I am Griffenari n’Ulya.” He winked. “Sparing all titles, mind you.”
Liadan grasped his hand and smiled a little shakily. “My Lord, I assume?” Griffe nodded. “I am Liadan ahn’Ahearn.” She paused to smile at the two men and curtsied ever so slightly. “Sparing all titles, of course.”
“Oh, of course,” Griffe said quickly. He released her hand and bowed deeply. “It is my pleasure to have the honor of meeting you, m’Lady.” Liadan blushed slightly and gestured that he stand straight.
“Please,” she whispered, voice sad, “you needn’t bow. I’m no royalty.” The tone of her voice nearly shouted the words, at least not anymore.
Cyric’s hand fell on Liadan’s shoulder and she jumped slightly. He looked down at her and she saw such sympathy in his eyes that she nearly cried. He smiled at her and brushed her hair away from her face. “Royalty has nothing to do with blood. It has to do with the way you act. And for that, Liadan, you will always be royalty.” He gave her another heart-wrenching smile before turning away, pretending he didn’t see the tears that formed in her eyes.
Griffe looked from Cyric to Liadan and back. He frowned. “Well, I can see that I am the only man here not lacking in courtesies. Aren’t you supposed to be making your lady comfortable now?” Though Griffe was only slightly older than Cyric, he had been raised by the Elven Court and acted as though he were centuries old.
Cyric blushed and began fumbling around, fixing up a chair for Liadan to sit in. She laughed, even in her misery. “Cyric, really. It’s okay.”
Cyric helped her into the chair anyway. Griffe disappeared into another room, presumably to get some ‘refreshments for the Lady’.
“Are you alright?” Cyric whispered into her ear.
A tear dripped slowly from the corner of Liadan’s eye. She smiled and brushed it away quickly. “I’m as fine as I’m going to be for awhile, I think.” She placed her hand over Cyric’s and squeezed it gently. “Thank you, by the way.” She blinked as more tears threatened to fall and gave his hand another squeeze. “Without you I would be lost,” she whispered.
Blood rushed to Cyric’s cheeks and he looked down, a grin pulling at the corners of his mouth. “It’s the least I could do for you. You are my best friend, after all.” He looked up slowly but was caught quickly in her eyes. They stared at each other until Griffe exploded into the room with a crash of shattered glass.
Cyric stood up quickly and grimaced. Blood red juice was splattered all over the side of his shirt. Griffe smiled sheepishly at him and then flashed a quick grin at Liadan. She covered her mouth with her hand to hide a smile. Even so, the amusement sparkled in her eyes.
“I’ll be damned if I don’t do that at least once every time I come to visit,” Griffe said.
Cyric mock glared at him, trying and failing to suppress a smile that played on his lips. “Once? Are you kidding me? You do it at least three times every time you come to visit. I was wondering when you would get around to it this time.”
Both men turned quickly when Liadan burst into laughter. Then they looked back at each other and grinned.
“What’s so funny?” asked Cyric. “I just got pomegranate juice all over me and you think that it’s funny?” Liadan shook her head, tears of laughter welling in her eyes. Cyric shook his finger at her and then pointed to one of the large red spots. “I mean, come on, I bet that this is going to stain! This is my good linen shirt!”
Liadan stood up, still shaking with mirth, and hugged Cyric tightly. She then backed away and punched him lightly in the arm. “Who would have thought that you were such a girl?”
“Hey! That hurt. I’m sensitive!”
Liadan laughed and smiled, she was feeling happy for the first time since her becoming. She took Cyric’s hand and squeezed it, watching his face for the smile that seemed to shine light into her soul. When he did smile she felt the pieces of her heart start to fit back together. It was then that she understood that her heart would indeed mend, if only in time.
Later that night, Liadan soaked in the large metal washtub in Cyric’s bathroom. It was the first time she had bathed since the night of her becoming and she was feeling more than dirty. She felt filthy. Every inch of skin on her body felt as though it had been rolled thoroughly in a vat of mud. Liadan sighed as she scrubbed yet another dirt patch from her foot. Only blessed Maddone would understand how she managed to get so filthy in such a short amount of time. Just like only he would understand why all this has happened to me, she thought.
Liadan looked up towards the ceiling of the bathroom. “What have I done to deserve such torture?” she asked. “Do you hate me so much? Have I been so bad?”
She shook her fist at the sky and then let her head sag in defeat, chin resting against her chest. What was the use? Maddone seemed to not hear her pleas, no matter how loud and long she cried them out. Or perhaps he just didn’t care to listen to them.
A tear slipped out of the corner of Liadan’s eye and she quickly brushed it from her face before it could trace its path of misery down her cheek. Outside, she could hear the wind rustling through the trees and pushing through the shutters on people’s windows. Its path, she knew, was relentless. Wind would stop for nothing and no one. If only I could be like the wind, she thought.
Liadan clenched her fists and then stood suddenly from the water, suds running down her body in small rivulets. That was it. She would cry no longer. She would no longer feel pain and sorrow for herself. She would come to terms with what fate had dealt her. Her eyes narrowed. She would forge on in her life, stopping for nothing. She would be like the wind.
|Liadan, Chapter 12||The Otherking - Chapter Two|
|Liadan, Chapter 4||Liadan, Chapter 3|
|Liadan, Chapter 5||Liadan, Chapter 8|