Promise of the Lost Gods

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Dark Dreams

I walked down a forest path, wading through thick fog, the trail illuminated only by the twin moons' light. Dead trees towered around me, their skeletal branches closing in, reaching, catching my long curls and the fabric of my gossamer shift. My feet padded silently, even when I began to run. A figure appeared suddenly in front of me.

"Serena..." the voice came, slithering over my skin, before the eyes appeared through the mist. Cold, cruel, silver eyes, boring into my own.

The dark voice beckoned again.

"Come to me... Serena..."

Hands reached for me and I stumbled backward, until I was pressed against the hard bark of a tree. The hands closed around my wrists, dragging me forward, toward darkness and the silver eyes.

I opened my mouth to scream, but no sound came.

I bolted upright, out of sleep, flames lashing out from my curly hair like small dragons. Those silver eyes would keep sleep from me if I risked closing my own again. That voice, eerie and seductive, chilled me to my core. I realized I was quaking uncontrollably.

No. Better to stay awake.

I rose from bed to fetch water from my sitting room, wrapping my thin summer shawl around me, just as a soft knock came at my door. My heart began to pound madly in my chest when a newly familiar voice came through the door. I breathed out a sigh of relief.

“Lady Serena? Are you alright? Serena?”

I padded silently to the door, unlocking and quietly opening the massive thing slowly. Lord Gareth stood at my door in loose trousers, and a billowy white shirt, unlaced, revealing his muscular chest. He clutched a dagger, his countenance a display of worry. He pushed the door out of my hand and stepped inside to look around for threats. His feet were bare.

“You must tell me, my lady, is this a normal day for you?” he inquired softly.

I furrowed my brow, confused and very tired.

“Racing giant horses, setting people on fire, fainting in corridors, and screaming in the night?” he explained for me.

“Fainting...?” I tried to remember getting into bed, but found a hole in my memory. The voice lingered in my mind and I shivered. Gareth led me into the room and sat me on the sofa in the center of the room.

“When your sisters brought me to my chambers, I realized you were no longer following behind us so I retraced my steps, arriving just in time to see you conjuring giant fireballs in your hands before collapsing,” Gareth ran a hand through his sandy locks perplexed, “and now I wake to hear you screaming in the wee hours of the night with no one around. Why?”

I looked around the room nervously, then down at my hands with wide eyes and noticing they were trembling, stared at them as if they were not my own. Larger, rougher hands covered them, moving up my forearms to grasp my elbows and gently guide me into the bedchamber and down onto the thick, plush carpets and cushions which littered the floor in front of the colossal canopy bed.

He made me feel safe and comforted, but I had known him for less than a day and even in our realm, one filled with elemental magic, it was not a good sign to hear voices.

And the voice was only the newest of my secrets...

I gazed up at him, my eyes wide, my lips quivering. I opened my mouth to answer him, but could not find the words.

"Nightmare," I barely squeaked out.

“Serena,” Gareth began quietly, "it's alright. I'll stay with you, if you wish?"

I trembled, but could not respond, and he eased his large frame down next to me, leaning back against the foot of the bed. I was highly unaware of my disheveled hair and lack of proper dress, my mind completely absorbed by the nightmare and the feeling of those silver eyes on me.

Gareth slowly and gently wrapped his large arms around my slender shoulders and drew me into his chest. A lock of hair swung into my face which he immediately moved to secure behind my ear. Gareth then leaned his head back, his capable arms tightening slightly around me. And for the first time, I allowed a man to hold me as I drifted off, lulled into a peaceful sleep by his steady heartbeat.

The sound of gentle snoring woke me, confusing my ears. The left side of my body rested against something large and warm. My eyes fluttered open to see Lord Gareth lying next to me on the floor of my chambers, a dainty pillow comically cushioning his noble head. Last night’s events flooded back to me and I silently thanked the Elements I had slept dreamlessly for the remainder of the night and pushed the dark thoughts from my mind.

Warding my mind against the whispers, I gazed at Gareth sleeping tranquilly and got up from the cushions and rugs on the floor. I couldn't believe he had slept on the floor to comfort me. I couldn't believe he was here, still sleeping on my floor. I couldn't believe there was a man in my bed chamber.

How handsome and kind he is. Intelligent and quite funny as well. Could I really feel affection for a suitor so soon? This must be unnatural. I mused to myself as I felt a warm spark run through my body. Walking to the northern window, I wondered if I could ever truly have something normal with someone like Gareth.

“Good morning, my darling Lady Serena!” Thea burst through the main door singing my name.

“SHHHH!” I turned and hastened into the sitting room, quickly putting a finger against my lips.

Thea’s eyes grew wide when she saw Lord Gareth asleep on the floor of the bedchamber.

“LADY SERENA,” she whispered loudly, clearly shocked. In all her years of service to me, which had been my entire life, Thea had never known me to show interest in -let alone fraternize with- a man.

“Thea, calm yourself!" I crossed the room and grabbed her wrists, "Lord Gareth is quite the gentleman, I’ll have you know. I had a nightmare and he heard me cry out. Concerned, he came to my chambers to make sure I was alright. He just held me until I fell asleep. He is actually very sweet, Thea, and I think I might actually like him,” I smiled at her.

Thea’s face lit up and she clasped her hands together joyously.

“Well then. Why don’t you wake the Lord and I’ll fetch breakfast for the both of you, milady?”

As the door closed, Gareth's deep voice resonated, “I think I might like you too, Serena,” as his arms wrapped around me from behind, embracing me. As I leaned into him, his manhood, still in its state of morning excitement, grazed my lower back and, blushing, I stepped away and turned to face him.

“Apologies, my lady,” he cleared his throat, “unfortunate side effect of being a male in the morning.”

“I wouldn’t say ‘unfortunate’,” I said shyly. I stepped closer again and placed my hands on his warm chest where his shirt was open. His muscles rippled under my touch and I felt a heat rising in my body that wasn’t Fire. I found his height pleasantly contributed to my attraction toward him, but when I looked up it was the blue of his eyes that caught, and held, me.

“Gareth,” I whispered his name breathlessly as his hands dwarfed my waist. I was then highly aware of my erect nipples showing through the thin fabric of my nightgown.

"I just want to say 'thank you,' for your concern last night, and, er..."

“Serena,” Gareth closed the gap between our bodies, one hand just grazing the side of my face, the other on my waist, and a small gasp escaped my lips as my breasts pressed against him, and the heat between my legs intensified almost unbearably as his manhood pressed into my abdomen. He lowered his head, his fingers twined into my hair. I closed my eyes and parted my lips slightly, waiting for his kiss.

The scrape of the wooden door on the flagstones broke the spell and I stepped away. I flipped some of my hair over my breasts as Lord Gareth quickly turned toward the window, one hand adjusting his trousers.

“Thea! What perfect timing you have! Lord Gareth is ravenous.”

Gareth’s eyes sparkled and he smiled his laughter at me, before thanking Thea and depositing pieces of bread, fruit and cheese from the loaded tray into a napkin.

“I must return to my chambers and dress properly before anyone develops wild ideas about what may have occurred here,” Gareth smiled again at me.

“Very good thinking, Lord Gareth, Lady Serena should don more proper attire as well, I should think.”

“Again, my gratitude for breakfast, Madam.”

Thea blushed and flapped a hand at him before curtsying slightly and bidding him good day. I walked with him to the door, quickly peeking out to check the corridor.

“Shall I see you this afternoon, Lady Serena?” Gareth asked, taking my hand, “Perhaps for another ride?” I nodded and smiled my agreement. I could feel Thea’s eyes burning holes in my back as he kissed my hand softly and said his farewells.

“Oh, Lady Serena!” Thea exclaimed as soon as the door shut, “what a fine man Lord Gareth is!”

“He is indeed, isn’t he?” I murmured as I sat at my western window seat. My hair glittering with happy sparks, I gazed out the window through curls of steam from my tea, warm thoughts of blue eyes having chased away cold, cruel silver.

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