She Can't Remember
WaterRose, Meadow Mountain, Grier Country
For the first time, the bird-woman twisted to view the castle cradled by giant trees. Framed by the foamy moat stirring with life. Stone walls were behind a layer of pouring water interspersed with roses peering from beneath the waterways, miraculously untouched by the torrents. Bubbles drifted from the water to float away.
The drawbridge’s creaking made her body tighten. Her eyes flashed to watch it slowly lowering.
She’s terrified. Bast noted.
Intertwining with her mind, he found her assessing the intricately engraved wood of the bridge. She recognized the symbols as ancient. Confusion marred her face.
Her emotions are obvious there. He rather liked that.
She emitted tiny vibrations.
Trying to muster enough magic to make an escape. But that weak fluttering is less then a hummingbird’s flight. He shrugged. Trying to flee me will prove moot anyway.
She’ll figure it out when her body won’t move. He did his best to suppress the movement of his lips but apparently, failed.
Her teeth gritted and she snarled in hatred.
She knows I was smirking.
“Oh, I find you charming too, Dove.” He cooed oozing honey in response to her venom.
She’ll learn this is my dominion.
She scowled. “You’re repulsive! I can’t bare your presence!”
Interesting. I’ve never been told that before.
“You’ll learn to.” He gave a boisterous wink.
You won’t have a choice. Not if you’re around me long enough.
“What happened to me?” She demanded.
I bumped you from the sky, albeit roughly I admit, and you took a dip.
“What do you remember?”
“Falling. Fleeing something huge.” She murmured. Brow knitting.
“Whyever would you do that?” He gave a calculatedly blank look.
“It was hunting me. Like a sparrow. It was a massive thing that wanted to feast on me.”
Least she’s right about that. His eyes wandered over her body again. But I was only after you because you’re a thief.
“Are you sure about that?”
“Why was it after you?”
“I-I can’t remember. My head,” She put a hand to it. “It feels heavy.”
Your head? What happened to your head? He realized then his wing must’ve struck her in the back of it.
“Did you hit it?” He frowned. Tilting her to examine the back but observing no injury.
She’s okay. He blew a relieved breath.
“I don’t know.” She murmured. Eying him. “Who are you?”
The man you tried to steal from.
“Who do you think I am?”
“What are you?” Predator, though she was, she knew an instinctive wariness of him.
What are you? And where have you been hiding?
“I’m wondering. Does what I make you feel reflect how you’ve terrified others?”
You’re obviously accustomed to having other creatures fear you.
“Not in the least.” Her face jerked in distaste. “I don’t fear you. Whereas I’ve never met a creature that didn’t fear me.”
Doesn’t hold true any longer.
His eyes roved her body. “You have now. I’m far from fearing you.” He gave her a half smile. “In-fact, I’m now your captor.”
“How long do you think that’ll last?”
Much longer than you hope.
“As long as I desire it.” He said with such certainty she shook with rage.
“Was the flying thing your pet?” She surged on.
My pet? Not in the least.
“You think it drove you here for me?”
She nodded slightly.
“Oh, it positively did that.”
After eying him a moment she continued. “No matter what you are, I despise you.”
“As you do all of my gender, I suspect.” He shrugged.
“Undoubtedly.” She confirmed. “I see nothing of note about you.”
“Mmm.” He made a disbelieving sound.
“You find yourself quite irresistible, don’t you?” She accused.
Unfortunately, I know I am.
His eyes were blue green like a sea frozen in the throes of turbulence. A straight aristocratic nose lent him a dispassionate air. Hair the color of twisted sunshine smoothed from his forehead to his nape to curl slightly. A squared jaw framed a full mouth tipped at the corners as though he found all things bitterly amusing. An undisguised cynicism written over his enigmatic face.
Her nose twitched in distaste. “You’re ugly.”
He was laughing inside. Then stop staring up at me with those pretty blue eyes like you’ve never seen a man before.
“As are all men?” He asked softly.
“Yes.” She asserted.
“You’re long looks at me say otherwise.” He laughed.
He emerged from Warwood into the great green valley surrounding the castle on the hill. The valley was filled with flowers in perpetual bloom. Vines twining the trees around it to almost entirely block it from view from the woods.
Unless one knows where the trails are. Bast knew.
Towering trees led toward the bridge. Once there, one could look down on the moat lit in glittering gold rays of sun. Below the water was bits of green and gold that were the remnants from the castle that Bast had discarded as he'd built the stronghold.
The castle's energy drew water up through a center tower which splayed from the parapet out to caress over an invisible barrier which created a ceiling over the bailey and then ran down the outer walls and into the moat which was in constant motion. Foaming at the edges and then peeling off into a river which ran down off of Meadow Mountain and across all of Ardae.
A river which the people of Ardae recognized as the NetherRunnel. Branching all through the continent before pouring into the Western Sea.
Bast nodded toward Demetrius, the Tower Guard.