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|Diadis' Yule Masque||
Several months had passed, and winter had fallen over all of Diadis. A thick blanket of white snow covered the rocky terrain. The branches of the trees were awkwardly weighed down.
It was midday, shortly after lunch, the sun was shining down on the snow, making it look like millions of little diamonds spread over the ground and trees.
Linea had been in Diadis for sixth months now. At night she would sit in her room, looking out the window at the men fighting the Vampyr below. The fire would burn brightly in her quarters, warming everything within its walls.
Domynic still would not allow the
elf to fight with the men. Not long ago she had gotten into an argument with
him on the matter…
"No Linea, I won't have it." Domynic bellowed. His voice echoed through the halls.
"Why the hell not?" Linea retorted, her anger building, "I know how to fight Domynic. I took you out without a problem."
"Linea, I have told you before, fighting a man is different then a Vampyr. They are stronger, faster..."
"And apparently, they are smarter too," she snapped, without thinking. "Domynic, Nikolai thinks I am ready. I've killed their kind before. I know what I am doing."
"No Linea. You don't know what you are doing. You are not yet ready."
With that Domynic turned from Linea, shutting the door to the library behind him.
Linea jaw was set firmly. She wanted so badly to scream at the
man. She was not his to control.
Linea had barely spoken two words to Domynic since that day. She knew she was in the right. The elf sighed, and turned from the window.
As she made her way across the room, a soft rapping came from the door. Linea walked over to it, and opened it wide.
Before her stood Domynic, dressed in his winter garb.
"Linea," he stated simply, "Would you mind coming for a walk with me?"
The elf looked the man in his eyes, "I can see no harm in that. Give me a moment to change." She closed the door, and turned to get her thick cloak and gloves. Even though she could not feel the cold, she did this to give the illusion of it.
Once finished, Linea stepped out into the hallway, and walked outside with Domynic.
The two walked in an awkward silence for sometime. Finally Domynic spoke up "Linea," he began, uncertain of himself.
The she-elf looked over to the man, "Yes Domynic." She knew exactly what he wanted to say, but was not about to help him in any way, shape or form to say it.
Domynic grabbed Linea's arm, turning her to look at him. His dark eyes locked with her grey ones. "Linea, I'm sorry for everything. I know that you are strong enough to fight for yourself, but..." he sighed and turned from the elf, shaking his head. "Linea, I did not want to risk you being hurt. A group of men like this can be unpredictable and wild around a beautiful woman."
Linea laughed to herself, "Please, Domynic I have taken out much larger groups of men than that of your Hunters. I had to fight off soldiers of Mondoria on more then one occasion, and I have walked out unscathed."
He had turned and was looking at Linea again, his eyes full of intent, and emotion.
Linea placed her graceful hand on Domynic's large arm, "Domynic. You needn't worry about me. I am a strong woman. I mean – I was going to go by myself to kill them. If Mihkhi hadn't wanted me to deliver that message to you, I would have continued through this town, and down to the woods. I needed my vengeance, and though I still do, I want it for more than just Erwren now. I want it for everybody who's ever been killed by one of the Night Beasts."
Once more, Domynic's black eyes caught hers. Linea's breath caught in her throat at his intense gaze. For a brief moment, the way he looked at her reminded her of how Erwren used to gaze upon her.
"I know Linea," he paused for what felt like an eternity, "That's why after the Yule Ball, you will join my men and I in the hunt."
Linea's eyes lit up, some of the weight was instantly lifted off of her heart, "Thank you Domynic. You honestly don’t know how much this means to me." Not thinking, Linea bridged the gap between them, and gave the man a brief hug, "Thank you," she whispered against his ear.
As brief as the moment was, Domynic
savoured every second of it, with a slight smile playing his lips.
It was yet a few nights before Diadis' Annual Yule Ball, and the whole town was a flutter with excitement. Women were about shopping for gowns for themselves and their daughters. Single men were continuously working the nerve to ask out their lady of choice.
Linea had been propositioned several times, but had turned down each young man. Their thoughts were loud, and Linea knew that they were only interested in having the ‘new girl’ in town to see how far she would let them get with her.
If only they knew my true age, the elf thought after the most recent experience of this sort. She could not help but laugh at their advancements. In some ways it reminded her of the annual ball in Paridisio.
That night Linea lay restless in her bed. Her mind would not shut down. She sighed and rolled over, closing her grey eyes. There was Magick in the air that night. Something was drawing close. The smell of it was thick and sweet, like standing in a field of vanilla orchids after a rainstorm.
When Linea opened her eyes, a familiar face swam into her view. The elf gasped, and sat up quickly. “Erwren," she said with an all too sad smile. She knew this was his spectre, but he was so solid. Linea reached up, her graceful fingers brushing his strong jawbone. "How is it, that even though I know you are a spirit, you feel and look so real, so...here?"
Erwren smiled softly at his love, "Magick of the God's, I suppose. Maybe the Magick of your Dreams."
"But it does not feel as though I'm sleeping."
"It wouldn't,” he breathed, still smiling. Erwren's hand lifted to Linea's face, sliding a thumb easily over her smooth skin, "The time is coming, my darling. You will soon have to leave here."
Linea sighed deeply, "When?" she stated, once again enjoying Erwren's sweet touch.
"The night of your first hunt. You will know more when the time comes. You will feel it.” The spectre's arms wrapped tightly about the elf's body. "This will be the last time you see me in this form, Linea. The God's are sending my soul to a new body. In thirty years, we may meet again. They have not told me who, or where, and I don’t believe I will remember anything of the life we once shared."
Linea looked up at him, with tears brimming her eyes, "Why are you telling me this? Why do I need to know this?"
He cupped her face in his large hands, "Because, you have a chance to be happy, here with Domynic. He cares about you. Or you can go, hunt, and wait, maybe find me again, maybe not, but I want you to be happy Linea. I know that my brother can make you happy, he can comfort your pain."
Linea could not believe what she was hearing, "Erwren, no. I could never betray you nor your memory. Not even with your permission. I love you too much to ever do anything of that sort. Yes, Domynic has been good to me, but I only consider him a friend. I will go hunt the creatures that took you from me." Silver tears now poured freely down Linea's cheeks, "I could have saved you, like I saved Aleczander. We could have still been together. We would have been married by now, maybe even had children on the way. I still love you, Erwren. That is one thing that has not changed. I have dreamt of you every night since it happened, and I have cried myself to sleep every night for the past 8 months. I don't want to try to be happy with somebody else. I want to be happy with you."
Erwren held Linea closer,
"That's all I needed to hear my love.
Go to sleep now, and remember that I love you. I always will." He
gently laid the elf back on the bed, and ran a hand over her face. Instantly Linea was asleep, but her dreams
Domynic heard Linea crying in the next room. In all the months that she had been there, she had cried herself to sleep each night. But that night was the worst yet. Her sobs rang through his heart that night. She sounded as if she were in pure pain.
I'm going over there, he thought getting up from the bed, and going to her door.
Domynic knocked lightly on Linea's door. He opened it up, and saw her thrashing about her bed.
"Linea," he whispered hoping to wake her up. He walked barefoot toward the bed, and calling her name again. Domynic sat at the edge of the bed, and placed his hand on her cheek. "Linea," he called once more, as she sat up with a gasp, and wrapped her arms around his neck.
After Erwren had put her back to sleep, Linea had begun to have nightmares. She once again saw the attack on her and her mother, by Alatar. She again witnessed Erwren's death, feeling the moment the Vampyr’s teeth sank into the soft flesh of his throat.
Linea took in a deep hot breath, and sat up. She realized there was somebody on her bed, so she wrapped her arms around his neck.
Domynic's hands immediately wrapped about Linea's waist. "Are you alright?" he asked gently.
Linea was suddenly shocked at who was holding her. She pushed away from him, her hand lingering on his chest. "D-Domynic," she breathed, looking up into his dark eyes, "What are you doing here?"
His hand moved to Linea's face, his thumb wiped at her tears, "I heard you crying from my room. I couldn't sit there, listening while you sounded to be in so much pain."
Linea didn't know what to say. The only other time, she had woken up to an unexpected man in her bed, was when Erwren had awoken her from her nightmares, but that was so long ago.
This was all too familiar to the elf. "Thank you Domynic, but you really didn't need to."
"Yes I did Linea," Domynic realized his hand had been resting on the place where Linea's long neck and shoulder met.
His eyes wandered from her large, sad grey eyes, down to her full red lips. He couldn't take it any longer. He pulled her toward him, capturing her lips with his.
When Domynic's lips touched hers, Linea did not know what to do. A part of her wanted to pull away, and slap him for trying such a thing. But another part, the lonely part, told her to let this happen. This part of her had been longing for a man's soft touch, and strong embrace. And that was the part of her that was winning. She allowed her self to return Domynic's favour. She placed her hand on his shoulder, the other on his stomach.
Domynic felt the exact moment Linea gave into him. God's she was sweet, like the nectar of the freshest of honeysuckles. He wanted to taste every part of her, to make her happy once more.
I shouldn't be doing this, Linea thought. She pulled herself away from Domynic, and looked up into his black eyes.
"I’m sorry, but I can't," her voice came out breathy, full of desire. Not at all how she wanted to sound. "Not yet Domynic."
Domynic sighed, and brought his hand up to Linea's face, and gently ran it over her cheek, down her jaw line. "I can wait for you. As long as it takes I will wait."
Linea closed her eyes and lowered her head. “That is not what I meant Domynic," she whispered.
“What did you mean then, Linea?” he asked running her soft hair between his fingers.
Linea lifted her head, so that she was again looking into his strong chiselled face. "I don’t think I will ever be ready. My heart still has not healed, from when I lost Erwren. I am sorry if you thought otherwise."
Domynic smiled, "Linea, it has been nearly a year, but I can understand where you are coming from. I want you to be comfortable with me. And I want you to be happy"
She was amazed that a man with such hard features could look so soft. As Linea looked up at him, she found herself leaning into him for another kiss. She gently, and innocently pressed her full lips to his.
When they pulled apart, Domynic placed his hand on the nape of Linea's neck, and pressed his forehead to hers. "I should go," he said, moving away slightly, "If you need me for anything, I am right next door."
Linea nodded, as Domynic got up from the bed, and walked back to the door.
Just before he left, Domynic turned back to face Linea, "Anything at all," he said smiling gently.
"I know," Linea replied.
The door closed, and the elf was left to her own devices. She sighed deeply, and lay back in the bed. Linea realized she was playing with the engagement ring Erwren had given her.
I just want you to be happy; Erwren’s voice rang through her head as she once more fell asleep.
“Why wasn't I told it was a costume ball earlier?" Linea questioned Eva.
“Calm down,” the petite brunette replied, "We'll figure something out for you."
The two women had spent most of the morning trying to find a perfect costume for Linea. They had gone through all of Eva's old one's but nothing seemed right.
Finally the two resorted to going to the seamstress in the town common. The seamstress, Maryana, was a middle-aged woman, with callused hands, and black hair greying around the front. She had an eye for woman's clothing, be it travelling garb, or evening gowns.
"Well it is rather last minute, but I think that I know what will look good on you," Maryana stated. She hurried to the store back, and came out with a shimmering green-blue fabric, which seemed to change colours in varying degrees of light.
Linea was measured, and before long, sent out the door, with a message to return that afternoon to pick up her costume. For the majority of the afternoon, Linea and Eva walked through town.
When the time came, the elf returned to Maryana's shop. The woman passed her a garment bag. "Don't open it until you get home. Now hurry, before the sun sets."
Linea rushed through the streets, back to Keszult Manor. Once inside, she rushed up the stairs to her quarters, excited to see what the woman had made for her.
She pulled the gown from the bag, and hung it over the wardrobe. It was absolutely gorgeous. Off the shoulder, with flared sleeves, like something Linea would have worn when she was in her youth. She turned it around, and noticed the iridescent wings, of a slightly lighter purple-blue, on the hanger as well.
"One of the fae," she said with a slight grin, "relatives to my own people."
Linea quickly dressed. She applied glimmer to her collarbones and cheeks. She darkened her eyes with charcoal and silver dust. As she stood before the mirror, the elf realized that she was the only fair-haired person in town. Everybody would know who the woman behind the mask was. She performed a quick glamour, darkening her hair to a deep, rich, chocolate brown and finally she was ready. She placed the mask over her eyes, and made her way to the tunnels, to head to town hall.
The Yule Ball was one of Diadis' major holidays. It celebrated the birth of the fatherless Stag God, Rolloc, and his twin sister the Goddess of Changes, Saraya, of the Moon Goddess Tynwellya. Rolloc protected the men of the hunt, whether their prey was Vampyr, or wild game. He brought success to the hunt, and protected the men of Diadis.
Rolloc's sister, Saraya, was the Goddess of Seasons. She brought about the change from spring to summer to fall to winter. In the spring, Saraya had met a man, and loved him all summer. At the end of summer a wicked man killed her lover. Her pain turned the warmth of summer to autumn, and the further she drifted into depression the colder it became, creating winter. When a new spring came, her lover had been reborn of her tears, only to repeat this process over again.
And so Diadis had its yearly Yule ball, to honour these two great deities. The halls were decorated to look like a winter wonderland, where deer should have roamed free. Linea had only ever seen decorations like this in Neveah, for Valley View's anniversary celebrations.
She was amazed by their simplicity, yet great beauty. When the elf entered the great hall, all conversation stopped, and all eyes turned to her. Whispers of curiosity began to rise from the crowd. People had been awaiting Linea, to see what her costume would be, but because of her glamour, nobody knew as to who the slender brunette, in the guise of the Fae, was.
The elf looked around quickly, noting that some of the guests had already removed their masks.
Discovered so soon, she thought with a smile playing her lips. Though men such as Nikolai could not easily disguise themselves, for their size easily gave them away.
Linea walked over to Eva and Aleczander, who were dressed to match as peacocks. Eva's eyebrow's raised up above her mask, as the elf drew near.
She excused herself from her husband, and walked over to Linea. "Linea," she whispered, "Is that you?"
The elf smiled and nodded softly. "The costume looks amazing, if I wasn't there with you when the fabric was chosen, I never would have known."
"Thank you Eva, you both look lovely yourselves." Eva looked over to Aleczander, and smiled affectionately.
He came over instantly, and placed a protective arm about the woman's slender shoulders. He nodded cordially to Linea, completely unaware who she was.
"How are you Aleczander?" Linea inquired. It was then, by her soft voice, with the foreign accent that he realized who she was.
"Linea? By the God's I didn't recognize you."
Linea smiled and tucked a stray hair behind her ear, "I thought that was the point?" she jested, causing both man and woman to laugh. The three talked until the announcement for dinner was given.
It was then that a tall man, dressed as an elfin prince, approached them. "Alec, Have you seen Linea yet tonight?" it was Domynic.
The elf smirked to herself. Don't tell him Alec, she sent the thought to the younger brother.
"I'm sorry Domynic. I have not. Come why don't you sit with us for dinner?"
His eyes searched the room for Linea, pausing briefly on the woman, in Fae costume, before him.
"She said she would be here. I'm going to find her."
Eva grabbed his upper arm, "Domynic, she is here. You just have not yet recognized her. Trust me."
He sighed deeply; "Alright." And the group went to one of the tables, and all sat down.
Linea seldom spoke during the dinner. Whenever acknowledged by Domynic, she would take a drink of wine, or place some food in her mouth, and reply with a nod of her head, or a muffled sound.
After the dinner the tables were cleared. A dance was to begin, and Linea began to move to the back of the room, only to find a hand grab her wrist.
"I know that's you, Linea," Domynic said, his voice was husky, full of desire.
She turned around to face him, a small smile on her lips, "How did you know?"
Domynic's large hand caressed up and down Linea's arm, "You can change your hair, and wear a mask, but your eyes, and your ethereal grace will always give you away." His hand came up once more, and came to a rest on her jaw line, "You look amazing tonight."
Linea's eye’s sparkled like diamonds, "Thank you Domynic," she said, sounding breathier than she had intended.
Before the elf could move away from the man, his lips gently grazed hers, causing sparks to run through Linea's blood.
"Come, dance with me," it was not a question. Domynic guided Linea out onto the dance floor. Once there he held her close, and circled around gracefully with her in his arms.
Linea didn't realize that she was supporting her head against Domynic’s muscled chest. She was taking in his scent, remembering it, so that when she left the next night, she would have something to remember him by.
Linea brought her head up, and looked into Domynic’s black eyes. What was she doing here? She found herself suddenly guilty for being so close to another man.
Domynic placed his hand on Linea's milky cheek. She unwillingly turning her head into him, and found herself sighing. "Domynic," she whispered, for no reason at all.
The man found himself leaning his face closer to hers, "Linea, I need you in my life. Stay here with me."
The elf's breath caught in her throat. She hadn't expected him to say that, and it terrified had her. She shook her head, and moved out of his grasp, "I can't. You know that I can’t."
She moved further away from Domynic, and across the ballroom. Her gown moved behind, as though a breeze was blowing through the room. She made her way to the entrance of the tunnels.
Linea hurried through the tunnel, removing the mask and the glamour on the way, back to Keszult Manor. Tears ran freely down her cheeks. She knew that she could not be with him, but at the same time did not wish to hurt him.
She had not been in her room long, when there was a knock at the door.
Domynic didn't wait for her reply before entering. He saw her pacing the room.
"Why are you doing this to me Domynic?" Linea asked, with tears in her eyes. Her voice was loud with anger and her immortal heart beat wildly in her chest. "Why would you do this to me? You know that I can’t."
Seeing Linea's rage tore at the man's heart. "I'm doing what feels right." He placed his hands on her upper arms. His head dipped down to her lips, claiming them for his own.
Again, Linea melted under his kiss. She let herself give into pleasure one last time before she left the following day. His kisses were so passionate, that the elf’s knees almost gave out on her.
Domynic felt the moment Linea melted in his arms. He lifted her, and carried her to the bed, never breaking their sweet kiss. He laid her down on the bed, positioning himself over her. His lips roamed down Linea's long thin neck. She felt Domynic's teeth nipping lightly at the skin beneath, followed by a swirling of his tongue. He did the same across her collarbones. Domynic moved his hands around Linea's back, finding the hooks of her gown, and began unfastening them. He pulled the dress, with undergarments, down over her breasts.
When they had finished their deed, Linea lay beneath Domynic with her eyes closed tightly. Why did she feel so suddenly guilty? What had she done?
"Linea," Domynic whispered into her ear, “Open your eyes. Look at me.”
All the elf could manage was a simple moan, as her eyes fluttered opened.
He gently kissed her neck and shoulder before proceeding, "Stay here with me. Be my wife. Be my love."
Linea's lip began to shake. She closed her eyes tightly, and pretended to fall asleep. She would leave as soon as Domynic fell asleep.
The man laughed shortly. He kissed Linea's shoulder again, and let himself slumber with the woman whom he had fallen so deeply in love with in so short a time.
|An Elfin Tale ~ Chapter One||An Elfin Tale ~ Chapter Seven|
|A Witch's Fate ~ Chapter Eight||A Witch's Fate ~ Chapter Two|
|A Witch's Fate ~ Chapter Seven|