31] A Red Lullaby
31] A Red Lullaby
I couldn’t deny it. Eros’ plan? Worked. Having the Darvs under my mate’s command had stricken real fear and doubt into King Aegir. It caught Aegir so off guard, that he agreed to Eros’ requirements for the abrupt treaty.
Out of all of the drama, however, I was glad for the most important thing. Peace. Temporary, but nice enough.
I leave the Ezili Castle, feeling too crowded in by a full house including the Darvs that clearly wanted to rip into my neck for having them end up as hostages to reckless creatures of the night sea.
But, I couldn’t deal with their problems right now.
I needed some time to process. To rest.
I walk past the bay, I enter the Ruins and I shift into my tail, lying in the shallow rock pool, closing my eyes, resting on my stomach, my chin on my crossed arms as I doze on the edge of the rock shelf.
I hold the Orca teeth necklace in my hand lightly. Jewellery that felt like home. Power. Secrets. The power of the Rough, returns to my bones while I rest in the rock pool.
I relax, hoping Eros is also… how do I put it… I hope he is okay, with the fact that I tried to kill him. Yes, it was in a fit of rage. But, it worried me that Eros seemed to forgive me for attempted-murder so quickly after the fact.
Did I deserve that kind of forgiveness so quickly? Was it even real? I don’t know.
I had truly tried to take my mate’s life… and I had seen no real consequences to effect me directly… as of yet.
So far, Eros ended up calling me an equal at his side.
As King of the Ezili Clan, back in his home and his Ezili Castle, with his view of the cliffs, close access to the ocean and the island; Eros seemed happier. Perhaps he felt more settled.
It had never occurred to me, to put myself in his shoes from the beginning of his traumatic transition, from abandoned exiled young prince… to King.
Thrust out of his safety haven as a mere toddler, to be raised in the Deep. An orphan, surrounded by more orphans just as lost and confused as he. How tragic.
I guess that is why Eros was so independent, but sometimes cruel. I guess it wasn’t just his nature. I myself, may have been an orphan but I had guaranteed access to food, teachers and some sense of freedom… even… a sense of belonging, at certain times.
I thought I’d miss being a nurse at the island hospital, with Doctor Iris at my side.
Instead, I didn’t care.
Because I was becoming something I barely even understood.
And all I know right now, is that this kind of power and fate comes with one very important quality to survive; thick skin.
I had fucked Eros, then nearly murdered him the same day. I had saved the Darvs, and in weeks, had them change from freed Mermaids to caught as hostages. I had gone from insignificant, quiet girl, to a Queen of a Clan of violent, short tempered and mysterious Erebos. I watched Signet, Overseer of the Crest Clan, die in my arms. I had killed a Siren. I had learnt that I could control the Rough. I had met my mother.
Two fat tears of exasperation fall down my cheeks and I close my eyes, breathing quietly.
The most benefiting line of thought right now, was meditative strings of simplicity. The slow lapping water around my healing fins, my scales rippling across the sand every time I shift my tail. My wet hair soft against my breasts. My stomach full after I have eaten my fill of stored mussels.
What else could I hear?
Sounds of the ocean. The thunderous wind. The ragged, violent breaths of my mate. The quiet yet obvious pat pat of his feet slapping over rock. The splash of water as he jumps into my rock pool.
So much for meditation.
I turn around lazily and I witness Eros’ Erebos sized tail, shifting into place, curling around the entire length of one side of the pool so his soft tail fin tickles my waist.
I recline with my back into the rocks now, my chin above the water, my body still fairly relaxed despite the interruption.
Eros is… strangely similar… just sitting up a bit taller, his arms spread across the rock shelf, his piercing, toxic eyes, bearing down onto my form. The intensity and possession is real. But at least he isn’t pouncing on me and fucking me on the spot.
“I’m shocked and surprised, Eros,” I drawl, slowly, not rushed or meek, “I was your equal today.”
“…better to show a unified front in a war already hard enough to win,” Eros speaks quietly, the roughness leaving his tone, leaving his tone simply husky instead.
“You tricked Aegir… with bluff, good job–”
“The Darvs were starting to chat too much, Lily, I returned them to their tanks,” Eros growls a bit louder, irate, his shoulders twitching with lingering impatience at the memory, “…overall… Ezili Clan has regained ground, including perceived power over Belle Island…”
Eros blinks slowly and we both fall into a strangely comfortable silence.
Just staring at each other.
I shift down into the sand, slightly, his tail flicking across my waist, tickling me, but mostly giving me a sensation of warmth. I keep sliding down, until my arm curls around the end of his flipper, pulling it to my chest. I hold it, my breasts hidden, even though they squish up against his tail in the meantime.
I hold the end of it like a teddy bear. Eros doesn’t smile when he sees me smile, but it doesn’t stop me enjoying the sensation.
“Sleep,” Eros murmurs.
“Huh?” I blink, losing that smile with his command.
Sleep? What was the catch…? What kind of underlying game was going to unfold from that command?
“I’ll keep watch,” Eros looks over his shoulder, “You have been through a lot… being my food… losing your virginity… other things concerning war, although boring, it can be all consuming… I should know … now… rest.”
I think for a bit on how he explains it, but Eros seems serious… about me sleeping.
So, I close my eyes and exhale quietly.
“Tell me a story?” I ask, holding his tail close.
“I’ll sing you a story, half-wit,” Eros snarls it, back to rough, as if offended that I’d ask for a tale to simply be told.
“Okay, precious,” I smirk, my eyes still shut as I rest my head back, comfortable and warm with his tail in my arms.
First, Eros considers his tale, and then he begins, “…she dreamed of me, she had seen me… she called to me, she found me… she resisted me, she lusted for me… she tried to heal me, she tried to kill me… her name is Lily… and she helped me find me… sweet, sweet Lily… sweeter than the sea… the sweetest blood can’t rival… the things she does to me… sweet, sweet, Lily… dreaming of hot and full tea… drinking up her breakfast… wishing she had some meat… sweet, fearful Lily… shifting into her strangest new identity… as every death amounts… from one, to two, then three… an Erebos she just might become to me…”
I think I’m dreaming with the last parts of Eros’ tale, his rough yet poetic predatory tone, cradling me straight into a lucid sleep.
But as my dreams were violent in the morning, these new dreams are even more so vivid and haunting.
My best friend.
Halina. Darya. Too close.
Hunger for that… red stuff…
And now I’m too deep to remember anything else.
My dreams once prophesised Eros. I saw him before I met him. And now my dreams were showing me something else.