SEBASTIAN - Too Weak to Keep Her
WaterRose, Meadow Mountain, Grier Country
Sebastian was bedridden for the next several days. Weak from unleashing his tiny beasts to scout for Alazareth. He barely noticed a new year had begun as he recuperated. Hating every boring moment, he was awake.
He mulled over the valkyrie. As was his want. She’s been here drawing on fifteen years now. He mused.
And still no warmer today then in 1701. That thought was less than pleasant. But they’d developed a strange sort of camaraderie where he customarily joined her at the meal table for breakfast and dinner when at WaterRose.
I wonder if she’s disturbed, I’ve not been here for days? Did she even notice?
Strangely, he didn’t seem to regain his strength as fast as usual. But he’d gathered enough to creep down and check on her. Hearing her in the library below. Restlessly rummaging through books.
She straightened when she felt a distinct presence. “Sebastian?” She called softly, watching the shadows for him. “Are you here?”
Something slinked along the back wall of the library. A smooth shining black shape glinting in the meager light before vanishing out the doorway as quietly as it’d come.
“Quandary?” She blew a long breath. She hadn’t seen him in a long while.
Rushing from the library she tried to catch sight of it in the foyer but was too late.
Bast retreated back to his chamber. Feeling himself weakening. Already changing as he went down the corridor. Dropping to all fours as a naked man, stumbling toward his chamber. Feeling dizzied as though he were going to pass out.
Damn Alazareth. He doesn’t know how much it takes from me. Not in truth. Bast had to admit what it’d done to him. He’d never confided the long-term effects to his brother. And none of the other knights were around long enough to realize it took more from him every time the creatures tore his body to pieces.
Elsabet snarled in frustration and turned to return to the library. Jolting when she heard a scrape above her.
A dark wing drug across the high wall.
She squealed in delight.
The feel of her wings was unfamiliar, it’d been so long since they’d sprung from her... Relieved she reached up and ran a hand along the fine bones reaching from her shoulder. Curling the wing around herself she rubbed her cheek along the edge, savoring the warmth as she wrapped herself in a cocoon. Nearly purring she nestled her face in it.
She cooed happily.
Bast barely heard the sound. Blinking heavily as he flopped onto his bed and tugged furs over him. Shivering uncontrollably.
So cold. Though he rarely felt it, he certainly did now.
Her head lurched up as she realized if she could sprout wings, she’d regained enough strength the castle no longer held her in sway. “Are you allowing me freedom?” She wondered aloud looking around the abandoned room. Surprised he didn’t answer.
Rushing the stairs, she sought him out to thank him. Ripping open his chamber door, she found him abed. A still figure under the covers.
Walking hesitantly to the high bed she leaned next to it and found his eyes open and intent on her. He’d layered furs under the coverlet and wore a fur tunic beneath that. His face was sunk in.
“What’s wrong with you?” She demanded.
It’d not occurred to her I was too weak to contain her…He sighed.
He eyed her fair features. As a woman, her hair was light blonde wound with silver and gold highlights. Her eyes were impossibly huge. So blue they were almost purple. Her small face narrowed to an impudent chin and bow mouth. Today she wore a dress trimmed in white feathers, similar to those on the tiny winged circlet wrapping under her hair.
She surprised him by kneeling next to him as he eyed her steadily. “What’s wrong?” Her voice was soft this time, and if he wasn’t mistaken, that was concern in her deep gaze.
“I don’t feel well.” His low timbre sounded hoarse to even his ears.
“Are you ill?”
“It’s a wee bit more than that.” He laughed softly but it turned into a choked cough.
“Sebastian.” Her hand moved to his shoulder without thought.
Don’t look at me with pity. He gave her a weak smile and said in a rasping voice. “I told you, you’d call me by my name.”
Wincing she frowned. “You make light, but you truly don’t look well.”
“Ease woman. I’m fine.”
I will be. Eventually.
“Oh, are you? So, if I left this castle now, you’d hop up and skip after me?”
His brows drew together. “Do not.”
I will come after you.
“Even your command is weak.” She murmured.
“I’m not weak!”
“You don’t look strong.” She countered with a skeptical look. Mouth turning down in a frown.
“I’ll be strong enough to keep you here. But it may kill me.”
Very plausibly could.
She ran her tongue over her small square teeth.
She’s debating a difficult decision.
“Would you truly trap me here merely from spite?” Her gaze zeroed in on him.
Spite isn’t why I keep you. I want you here.
“I’d trap you here to keep you safe from a world that’ll never understand you.”