Stories. She was standing on top of a rock face just outside the battlefields in the Ashlands. Her instincts were propelling her towards the camp as she could feel that she was needed but instead she was decked out in a beautiful white dress with rouge-stained lips and kohl darkened eyes. Her hair fell in large curls around her shoulder. All this because cloud wraiths couldn’t resist a beautiful maiden, which they often found among high lands.
She tried to remind Corvas that she was married and thus hardly qualified as a maiden. He reminded her that she was widowed and was probably the only woman worth looking at within the barren heart of the Ashlands. She told him about the river wraith’s comment about her being indelibly marked. He argued that cloud wraiths were less particular, especially the corrupted ones.
She asked how he knew so much about wraiths. He said he heard stories. So stories were the reason he had her standing on a hill in the dead of the night waiting for a Whisper. While he was hidden behind a rock with a jar.
It was quiet up there. She could see the campfires burning in the distance lighting up the wilderness like a little city. Her people were out there dying, and she was doing this. There had to be another way. She was tired of waiting.
She was about to say as much when she felt a brush of cold against her exposed shoulders. The campfires dimmed and it was like she was looking at them through heavy a veil. The veil thickened and solidified. A black shrouded form stood beside her.
“Ah princess, it is odd that you are here in such an elevated place. Dressed too like you were expecting company.” said the wraith with his soothing baritone. His eyes though misted by clouds seemed to rake lasciviously over her form.
She shut down a shudder building up within her and answered. “Good thing too since my guest of honour has arrived.” she smiled at him.
And would that be me, princess? His voice echoed within her mind and she shook her head slightly and blinked twice. He had spoken to her this way before in the prison, she didn’t like it then and hated it even more now.
“Yes, but if you don’t mind. I prefer hearing your voice through my ears and not in my head. Otherwise I will be unable to hear myself think.”
He laughed softly. “Thinking for one’s self can be so tiresome. So much easier for someone else to do it for you. But since you asked nicely, I have granted your request princess...”
“Aliana,” she corrected.
“Aliana,” he said as if tasting her name on his tongue, “why have you summoned me here, as this is indeed a summoning.” he said looking her over once more.
“I want you.” she smiled while she looked over its shoulder hoping to see Corvas coming. She was only the bait, he was supposed to do the actual catching. When he didn’t appear, it was beginning to make her nervous.
“Tempting, but to get me you would have to make an offer.” he smiled. Deals with Whispers were always a bad idea, but it seemed that Corvas needed more time. What could be holding him?
“I am listening.” she said calmly, not betraying her growing unease.
“You come with me now be my new mate and I will let your friend up there live.” he said pointing to Corvas who was standing on a rock face looking like he was about to jump. “I have his mind in my hands and it will be my decision whether he lives or not. Do we have a deal?”
Crap. Thought Aliana, she needed to think through this. “He continued, “As my mate you will have me for an eternity and beauty that cannot be surpassed by anyone.”
“You said I would be your new mate. What happened to the old one?” she said stalling while her brain worked overtime to try to figure out a solution.
“Your husband killed her. That is why I deem it fair that I take his partner in return. Think quickly, he doesn’t have much time left.” she saw Corvas dangling a foot over the cliff edge.
She had some salt tucked away in a pocket and the gem encased in a wooden sheath that hung like a pendant around her neck. She had everything she needed. How to use them, she would have to figure out later. “Fine, I will go with you.” she said. “But he not only lives now, but he goes unharmed by you for the rest of his natural life.”
“I can agree to those terms.” he smiled and offered her his hand. It was only after looking up at the ridge and seeing that Corvas was safe that she took it. It was cold and wet from the surrounding mist. “This should be quite an interesting reunion.” he said and misted her away.
When she took full form she found herself standing in a tent before the king of Garion. Beside him was baron Matthias on his left, Ana-Moriah on his right. Beside her was...
“Milos.” she said in a strangled breath that barely escaped her lips.
“Look who I found, that has agreed to become my new mate.” said the Whisper.
The people there stood and stared at her, she could feel their emotions swirling around her: anger, surprise, irritation, hate. But she couldn’t take her eyes from the one person in the room that mattered the most to her. He was supposed to be dead. He was dead. “Milos, you’re alive. How?” she whispered.
“She saved me.” he answered taking Moriah’s hand. Her stomach churned and she wanted to vomit at that brief contact. “But princess who will save you?” he continued in a dead voice that was not his own. His eyes were empty except for the green fire that raged within. A green fire that also raged within Moriah’s.
Gods above, the witch somehow had his power too. This could not end well.