Feathers and Flame

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Chapter 5

Faye somehow managed to not punch Tadhg's smug, leering face. She walked with him, gently removing his hand from her shoulder on the way. They came to a well-kept house that was one of the few remaining to still have an intact door. Two of his men took a place at either side of the door and ogled at her. Five more men stood talking in a group, nearer to the door than Faye preferred. Tadhg opened the door and pushed her inside.

Once inside, she walked away from him as he slammed the door shut. She looked at everything as she walked about the room, ignoring how he watched her. She picked up pieces that the family who had once lived there had left, and then tossed them aside when they failed to interest her. Tadhg walked passed her to sit on a large, leather sack filled with grain. He watched her walk about the room for a short amount of them before getting impatient.

“Seen you do pain,” he said, “Now show me how you do pleasure.”

Faye smiled, and then turned her head so he could see the smile. All slavers were the same, and they all thought they were special. She approached Tadhg, with every intention of showing him just how special he was, and let him think that her smile meant anticipation for something else. She stood over him and bent forward to touch his face, while her lips were close enough to his for him to feel her breaths. She sent him a rush of pleasure, watched his aura light up like it had done before, and not fade as quickly. Then she stopped. She only wanted to give him a little taste. He shivered as the feeling left him and beamed up at her.

“That’s perfect, darling,” he said, “You do that, and leave the hurting to me.”

Faye ran her fingers from his cheeks to his scalp and traced the very tips across the brand.

“I think I’ve seen this mark before,” she told him.

“Mmmm,” he said, putting an arm around her and pulling her closer so that their chests were touching, “It’s a punishment for not doing as I was told. The Council thought it was wrong of me to sell one of their scrolls.”

She pulled away in pretend shock.

“So they burned you?” she asked, with some semblance of horror.

“Don’t be so surprised. The Council are just as bad as the rest of us. Worse really, because they pretend to be better. They would kill a sweet little thing like you for being a witch. Maybe they came looking for you, and that’s where you saw the mark?” he asked.

“No, that’s not it,” she said. She sent another wave of pleasure into him, through his brand. He smiled and leaned into her hand like a dog getting scratched.

“They mark their caravans sometimes," he said, when she stopped.

“No…Oh, I remember.”

“Go on then,” he said, “Tell me.”

Faye smiled again and made it so he couldn’t move. She stilled his throat so he couldn’t speak. His eyes grew wide, and angry. He wasn’t afraid, yet. She watched him struggle for a moment and laughed.

“It actually shocks you, doesn’t it?” she asked, playing with the stubble on his scalp, “It would never occur to you that someone might not do as you say, might not be afraid of you. You said earlier that I was your witch. Well, that's wrong on both counts, I’m afraid.”

Keeping one hand on his head, she used the other to roll up her sleeve. His eyes rolled to look at it. Then, finally, came the fear. The tattoo she revealed was the same brand that he had burned into his scalp. Faye laughed at him.

“How stupid does a slaver have to be to try and take a Council Scout?” asked Faye, “You think you’re scary? I have seen things that would stop your little heart in terror. I’ve seen true monsters, Tadhg. I’m afraid you are just a twisted, pathetic creature.”

Oh, now he was angry. Good.

“I noticed what you did with the food and the fire earlier. You mentioned something about a fire tomorrow too. Have you ever seen people burn? It’s okay, I’ll let you whisper.”

“C-cursed bi-”

“Now now. None of that. Answer my question like a good boy.”

“Yes,” he gasped, after she’d stopped his lungs for a moment.

“Nothing else smells like it, does it? I still have nightmares about the smell, and the screams.”

“Y-you burned people?”

“No,” said Faye, “I was just too late to help. It was so intense. I felt it.”

“I’ll burn you,” he hissed, as a nasty smile twisted his expressions.

Faye laughed and pet his cheek with her free hand.

“Of course you will,” she said in a baby voice.

Faye made him stand up and walk to the centre of the room. Her control flickered once, but he hadn’t noticed. She had to be quick.

“I have an idea. Since you're so interested, I'll show you what burning feels like,” she said. She put more pain on him, focusing on his skin and the softer muscle underneath it. In some places, like his face, she drove the pain into his bones. She stopped him from screaming, but it was too much to stop him falling to his knees.

“Sleep now,” she said.

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