ashes and snow

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five


Careful, to not bother her in any way, she removed her hand from her forehead. She took a step back and let her magic fade out. Now, she just needed the girl to open her eyes, so that she was sure that everything was alright.

She had done this several times before, but still, some things could go terribly wrong. Experience had taught her.

The girl blinked, taking in a deep breath as she awoke from that trance-like state she had been in. She looked around, confusion written all over her features.

Eira took her in for a second before flicking her fingers. Her head snapped up as her eyes focused on Eira again.

The girl’s eyes widened, and she took a step away from her. “I’m sorry for standing so close to you, my queen.”

Eira shook her head lightly and gave her a small smile. “It’s alright. There is no need to apologize. But please, just call me Eira.”

They walked towards the doors that had led her into the garden. Eira pushed open the door and held it open for her. The girl thanked her, giving her a small nod, a smile adorning her face.

She concentrated on the guard that was still trapped in the spell she had cast around him hours ago. He was still standing next to her bedroom door, completely unmoving. She looked through his eyes and was glad to see that no one had noticed her departure yet.

That meant she could easily sneak into her room again. Good.

Followed by the girl, Eira started to walk towards her room. The halls seemed endless to her, almost as if there were no stopping in her way.

“Are we going to your bedroom, your-” Eira shot her a quick look, “Eira?”

A nod was all she gave her. She felt no need to explain herself.

As they entered the hall to her room, both of their eyes immediately fell to the male. He was still standing next to her door, stiff as a board, and staring at nothing.

They slowed down.

“Why is there a guard waiting in front of your door?” The girl asked, looking from him to her.

“I don’t know,” she lied.

As they neared him, she used her powers to make him look more alive, let him regain some of his human gestures. He bowed his head to them.

They stopped. The girl moved a bit to her side, almost as if she was hiding from him. Even though Eira wasn’t looking at her, she could tell that the girl was shaking.

Eira lifted her chin as she made him move his head up, his hazel brown eyes meeting her golden, glowing ones. From deep within, she could feel his hatred for her, the way his soul was fighting to get back in control again.

She gave him a small smile.

He would forget this later on, but for now, she could enjoy this.

She used her magic to look into his mind, in search of his name. Old memories of conversations he had, the way women had spoken out his name flashed in front of her eyes.

It was pathetic to see how many women he had been with.

She shook her head and sighed. This was what male kind had come to be. “Thank you for your service, Zandro. Strong males like you are all we need.”

Giving him a small nod, she gestured for the girl to follow her.

A bit hesitant, the girl walked with her into her room. Eira closed the door behind them and sighed softly. A second passed before she turned around.

The girl had come to stand in the middle of the room. She looked around as if she didn’t know what to do with herself.

Eira smiled and brushed off her coat before she walked up to her and grabbed her hand. She walked towards the windows, tugging her along.

Eira sat down in one of the two armchairs next to the window, waiting for the girl to do the same. The girl stood next to her, her hands folded in front of her. “Your majesty-”

The girl flinched as they heard a scream from outside. Both of their gazes flew to the windows. They looked to the left side, where a few trees of the small forest in the garden could be seen. The sound came from this direction.

The girl rushed forward to open the window, sticking her head out. “Did you hear that?” she asked agitated.

Eira sighed. It seemed like the male in the forest had yet to stop screaming out for her. “I think your mind is playing tricks on you,” she said calmly as her eyes began to glow. Invading the man’s mind, she used her magic to quiet him down a bit.

For her, the screams were still audible, but the girl wouldn’t be able to hear a thing from him now.

“Please come and sit down,” she required calmly.

“But-”

“There’s nothing to worry about.”

With one reluctant look to the window, the girl finally walked back towards her. Her head and shoulders hung low, defeated. She sat down in front of Eira, the chair almost swallowing her small form.

Eira gave her an assuring smile.

She shouldn’t have to care about the bad in this world. Especially not for a man who had wanted to use her for her body.

Eira chuckled lowly as she concentrated the screams from outside, the way his voice had started to sound raspy.

The girl sent her a questioning gaze, but she only shook her head and began to focus on her, the loud screams still echoing around in her mind.

Eira tilted her head to the side, her gaze wandering over the girl’s body. Hidden behind her brown, worn-out dress, laid a frail, young body. Was she given food daily? Or had her body not taken its rightful shape because of the lack of it?

The noises from outside kept coming, never blessing her ears with the sweet silence they needed.

Eira suppressed a groan.

For a second, she closed her eyes. Her world hadn’t been quiet in weeks, all the sounds and voices around her slowly driving her insane.

“Your majesty-” Eira opened her eyes and shot her a look. “Eira? Is everything alright?”

She nodded.

She was alright, a little headache from time to time wouldn’t kill her. There wasn’t really anything that actually could. At least not a thing she knew of.

“I was wondering,” Eira started slowly, “how old are you?” Maybe knowing about her age would explain why her body hadn’t filled in yet.

The girl frowned at her for a second. Apparently, she hadn’t expected such a question from her. “I- I am fifteen, Eira,” she answered, unsure.

Eira nodded. Sadly her answer had met her apprehensions.

They continued to talk.

She’d like to think that this meant something to the girl, that she would be remembered for something genuine for once. But she knew that in a few years when Eira would be long gone, she would be forgotten.

She shook her head and tried to concentrate on the girl and not the screeching screams that still came from outside.

She tried to smile, appear as if all of this wasn’t unnerving her to no end.

If he wouldn’t stop by himself, the next thing she’d do was to go there and rip him apart limp by limp. It wasn’t that bad of an idea...

Her hands clenched as she held herself back. It was hard to stay quiet and listen to what the girl was telling her. She wanted to, though, so she gave it her best.

After some time, Eira got tired of his voice. It had grown croaked, the sound ailing for her ears. She closed her eyes and breathed out slowly, concentrating on her magic.

A second later, the world went quiet.

She sighed, a small, wicked smile on her lips. Was there anything better than the power she had over the humans?

“I need to get back,” the girl uttered, not meeting her gaze.

Eira frowned, looking up to her. “You’re not going back to that male.”

A frown appeared on the girl’s face for a second. But then, she girl shook her head, her brown, straight hair falling in her face. “I need to get back to the house, your highness. My mistress will not be happy to find me missing.”

“You’re living in that caparison?”

She shrunk down in shame, “It is where all the maidens live, my queen.”

Eira had to hold back her anger. How could you live in a house that was in such poor condition? “How long have you lived there?”

The girl didn’t meet her eyes, “Most of us have lived there our whole lives, your majesty.”

Eira frowned and shook her head, not paying attention to what she had called her again. She would remind her to call her by her name another time. They both fell into silence, neither of them willing to say something.

Minutes, where both of them only looked out of the window, passed. They were both too deep into their thoughts to talk any more.

Eira sighed into the silence.

Moments later, Eira looked up to the sky and smiled. Snowflakes started to dance in the air, slowly becoming one with the icy ground.

Oh, how much she loved the cold.


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