Malice smiled, gazing at the terror in Pathen’s eyes. Her head tilted sideways as she considered telling him that she knew all about his plan to kill her; but instead, she snickered even louder.
“I heard a rumor…” She started in on him, but a sly look slid across her face as she sensed Marena drawing close.
Without another word, Malice slipped away from Pathen and retrieved Zander’s head from the plate, moving quickly to lay it at Marena’s feet as she entered the great hall.
Oh, how she would have loved to be offering the female Pathen’s head alongside it, for it was Zander who had committed the crimes, but he’d done so with Pathen’s consent. All the torture. All the abuse. That bastard had approved it all, not that Malice could do anything about it, yet.
“Our lady, we are avenged.” Malice replied instead, formally, before kissing Marena’s hand.
‘Marwolaeth, I know you can hear me!’ Marena stood still as her Host spoke through her mind.
If anyone could get through the blood haze that had befallen her Valkyrie, To’llan could. She could feel the heat pouring off the female, could see the blood-stained eyes that had until now, been a deep, steely-blue. She watched as the Valkyrie lifted her hand to her cheek, brushing away the spatter as if she knew Marena’s eyes were upon her.
‘I can feel you!’ Marena heard the HHost reply.
‘We need him!’ To’llan continued, as Malice and Pathen faced one another eye to eye once more.
“You think you can betray, us?” Pathen’s voices echoed through the hall, his host more than ready to take on the warrior before him.
‘We need him, Marwolaeth!’ To’llan tried again, but Malice’s Host was too enraged by the blood that had been spilled, her adrenaline blocking out all that did not heed her call for more.
“We would see your head upon a spike!” Malice hissed as her hand went for her sword.
‘Malice, stop!’ It was Marena’s turn and she tried very hard to ensure that only Malice would hear her.
If Pathen were to learn of their deception, before it had even begun...
‘Malice, please? Just a little longer!’ Marena chose her words carefully.
Malice too, was a creature who had come to love a good fight. One wrong move and Marena herself could find the Valkyrie going off like a loose cannon.
‘If you kill him now, the others will come after you.’
‘Let them!’ Malice finally replied, securing the connection between them.
‘We need him, to do our bidding, my love!’
‘What the hell are you talking about?’ Malice was confused, and enraged, and a whole hell of a lot of other emotions that she couldn’t quite make out; this was not going to end well.
Marena had to think fast. There had to be some way to convince Malice that she should back down. Without Pathen, there would be no order to take Misthaven. Without Misthaven, Malice would never get close enough to her sister to, hell, she didn’t know; maybe Mist would kidnap her and set her free? One could only hope, right?
‘You really are insane, you know that?’ Malice’s laugh rang through Marena’s mind and the frustration grew, all she could do was close her eyes.
It was when she opened them, that the insanity really set in. No one moved, no one breathed. Not even a blink of an eye. It was just...
“Well, it seems I wasn’t the only one to learn a few tricks!” Malice laughed and Marena felt her heart skip a beat.
“What is happening?” She muttered, eyeing Pathen as he stood frozen in place at the head of the table, “What did you do?”
“What did I do?” Malice cocked a brow at her. “I don’t mess with time, that shit gets messy!”
“You think I did it?” Marena gasped, circling the table of council members. “No, I couldn’t...”
“What, stop time?” Malice laughed as she made faces at Pathen. “If not you, then who? Everyone else has been turned into living, breathing, creepy looking statues!”
“This isn’t right!”
“No, it’s not...” Malice paused a moment and turned to Marena, “... but it’s the only moment we’ve got! So why don’t you tell me why we need this fool?”
“He is not worthy!”
“Which is why I was going to remove his head and voila, a pair of deadbeats to mount on the wall above the door!” Malice sighed and rolled her eyes.
“There is another who wishes our services.”
“The Eno’tai don’t wish our services, they demand them. We’re slaves, Marena, and the more I live on the outskirts the more I see!”
“And we have a chance to change that, to be rid of Pathen once and for all!”
“Again, which is what I was doing before you bippity-boppity-booped us out of the time line!”
“If you kill him now, the others will turn on you, but, if you take Misthaven, you’ll have proven your loyalties and you can ask for his head as just reward.” Marena’s eyes lit up. “You could be free, Malice!”
Malice had to think about it, and fast, cause the buzz began to fill the room as time began to tick away again. Would she kill Pathen now, or would she agree with Marena and wait for freedom? Would Marwolaeth let her be free?
It didn’t matter, did it? Malice would have done whatever Marena had asked of her. The Valkyrie nodded and she sheathed her sword over her shoulder without taking her eyes off Pathen. Summoning a lance, she made sure Zander’s head would be on display for quite some time, by driving the butt of the lance through the floor with a flash of violet light; just as the timeline returned to normal.
Stunned, Pathen stood with two of his guards, eyeing the Valkyrie. “What is this nonsense, Malice? Explain yourself!”
Malice put her arm around Marena’s waist, taking her time as she kissed her hard. She didn’t want to leave.
‘If I had my way, you would come with me to Earth, where this cretin would never find us.’ She whispered into those long, thick black locks of Marena’s hair.
All Malice wanted to do was protect her. A deep-seated need to keep her from harm, sparked in the first moments in which they had met. Marwolaeth couldn’t understand the emotion, plagued by a shadow of hate. Of all the emotions running through her veins, love was not one of them. Lust, perhaps, maybe even like, but her heart had been missing for centuries now, forever in the clutches of her Queen.
‘Patience! Please, you must be patient!’ Marena’s mind pleaded back.
‘I will do it, if only it pleases you!’ Malice smiled and kissed Marena again before turning to Pathen, where Marwolaeth took hold once more.
“It would seem you’ve got a golden horseshoe so far up your ass, Barowain.” She hissed at his Host, she cared not for Pathen or his sick and sinister ways.
“That is enough, Marwolaeth!” He shouted back. “Do not make us question where your loyalties lie!” He finished with a growl, glaring at Marena, not Malice.
That son of a bitch would do it, too. He had no problem using Marena against Malice, knowing full well that controlling Malice was hard enough for her Host. Should Marena become a target, there was no telling what would happen. There were too many souls involved, and Marwolaeth knew it. The hand of death was bound by, something she could not explain, and it pissed her off immensely.
“You dare question us?” She replied with eyes closed and hands clasped before her.
“You come into our home, threatening our very being…”
“You should not have made it so easy for her!” Marena chimed in, crossing her arms over her chest.
“I would remember where you are, our pet!” Pathen’s Host snickered at the female. “And who you serve…”
“We remember well, where we are, and who we serve. We also doubt our Queen would be pleased to know that you were so easily taken.” Marena’s Host spoke up, “I would hate to see what she does when she learns her own love, could not keep even the Shadow Tower safe for her.”
Pathen had to think about it for a moment, as did those who stood guard behind him, but in the end he nodded with a scowl, scoffing as he turned back to his seat. “Be gone with you, Marwolaeth. Bring me the bitch of Misthaven and we shall see how loyal you truly are!”
It was more for show than anything else, for Malice and Marena could both smell the fear emanating from not just Pathen, but his Host, Borawain, as well. It was true, the great Borawain was slipping, and taking Pathen with him. He was no more fit to rule a pen of pigs, let alone the Shadow Tower.
Malice leaned in and kissed Marena again before whispering in her ear. “And they say I’m scary!” She winked and disappeared in a cloud of black smoke.
She’d delivered her prize and caught sight of the pride in her female’s eyes. Marena was safe and Malice would claim her vengeance soon enough. When that time came, Pathen would have no choice but to give her what she asked for; his head.