The Price of Vengeance

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She's Gone

Back to the Present:

Disseus was holding Nim. And she felt small and weightless in his arms. Warm to the touch and pressed against him. As if needing his heat.

His eyes were scanning the treeline. As much as he was enjoying the feel of her, and he was, his body as clearly reacting, he was intent on the rustling in the trees just beyond sight.

They’re there.

He’d been right.

There are Battling Dogs out there. Or Battling demons...

But they didn’t close in. For whatever reason... Which was worrisome. He didn’t particularly favor when demons became unpredictable.

What are they waiting for?

Unable to resist, his eyes slid down to look at Nealinim’s profile.

At some point during the night, she’d finally fallen asleep.

After much flailing and combatting whatever nightmares haunt her.

He wondered what it felt like for her to be in the arms of her former lover.

What does she think, when I hold her again?

Clearly, she was comforted. It was the first he could recall of her sleeping so deeply.

She knows, much as I resent her, I’d protect her. In a way that made him feel wistful and filled with regrets. Wishing that things had not ended how they did.

That she hadn’t run from me.


But Disseus was wrong.

Nim was more relaxed than she had been in an eternity. But she wasn’t fully asleep. She was savoring the feel of his powerful presence and the protection she felt in the cradle of his body.

Protection no one else had ever made her feel. It was always she looking after them.

Or trying to escape them.

But she feared the morning.

How she’d feel when she woke in his muscled arms, knowing she’d have to leave them again.

But for now, she savored the feel of him, his warm body pressed to her back. His breath against her neck, sending chills down her spine. And making her yearn to writhe against him. Wanting to feel him again.

Even if it was only in his furious rage.

How many nights had she laid like this before, feeling such happiness? Feeling safe in his arms? All those countless days in meadows and nights in their bed. Feeling like they’d never end.

Her own sort of paradise.

But then had come the unforgiving hatred of the First Water Fey.


Nealinim had always known Harbingers were the darkest of their kind. Outsiders, heartless barbarians, policing Enuchte.

But liked by no one.

A lonely existence indeed. She thought dryly.

Made lonelier by the contempt of even his own kind. He was unique. Different from even them. Which was one of the first things that had drawn her attention.

That, and his impressive skill with every weapon they trained with.

When they turned on him it was for doing the forbidden, dallying with a First Water Fey.

Nim.

Nim knew she couldn’t stand being the reason he was outcast. Threatened and beat.

The reason he’d never belong anywhere.

She’d lived like that herself, for years. Isolated from everyone after the death of her parents. The Fey had taken care of her, but none had loved her, wanted her. She’d had shelter but not affection.

They’d taken turns offering her their homes. Making sure she was fed. But like a stray dog, she’d never truly been welcome.

But he’d made a home for her. With him.

But then, because of her, Feral was treated as even less than she had been. And it was her fault.

She knew what he was. Knew him well enough to know he didn’t care and wouldn’t back down from the course he was on merely because he met obstacles.

He’d have stayed by her side despite a tidal wave.


Then came the worst night she could recall. The beginning of the end for them.

A group of fey and Harbingers alike, had torn her from she and Feral’s bed. Yanking her out the door and dragging her kicking and screaming from him, in the dead of night. Then stopping far enough back that she could still see the hut.

They’d dragged him out. It had taken nearly an army of them to control him. He kept tearing loose and swinging like a wild animal. Shouting for her. His head tossing as he tried to spot her in the dark.

But the two men restraining her had quickly bound her in rope and stepped before her to block her from his view. Knowing once he had a direction to head, he’d storm through the fey to get to her.

More fey had arrived outside the hut in a flood, piling over him. Forcing him to the ground despite his immense strength. They’d held him down, tortured him to make him refute their relationship. Raking vicious curved blades over him while he reared and tossed. They demanded he reject her and never have contact with their fey women again.

They wanted him to refuse her at all costs.

But he’d refused. Injuring many of them as he repeatedly fought them off. Standing time and time again. Wearing himself down as their numbers only grew.

Eventually, they’d far outnumbered him. Nearly killing him, to contain him.

She’d been gagged which had kept her screaming from ever reaching them. Her pleading for them to leave him, never getting beyond the crumpled bit of cloth.

She’d have pleaded for him to do as they bid but she was forbidden from speaking to him. She could have persuaded him, with only a few words, to do what they couldn’t force him to with raw violence. That had killed her.

Breaking her far more than it’d broken him.

He was unbreakable. Even when the sun was rising and he was shredded from the cuts and the man standing over him with a cracking whip, he’d refused to give ground. The only word he’d utter was after they’d demand.

“Abandon her.”

“No.”

They’d hit him again. And his next word was as strong as the last.

“No.”

He was too weak to stand and lay on his side clutching his abdomen which was riddled with cuts. And they still cut away at his arm between lashes.

“No.”

She’d known that morning what she’d done. What she’d brought upon him. And that she could never go back. Could never stand to see him like that again. Would never allow them to hurt him in such a way.

So, she’d forsaken him.

When he’d said ‘no’ that last time, she’d whispered ‘yes’ around her gag. And gone still. Tears streaming her face.

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