Wednesday, April 11

..and Farewell

*Darien wills his front door to open has he steps inside, his cloak's designs shimmering in the night air from the moonlight that dares trickle into the demon's abode. He calls out a name familiar to his lips. The silence is deafening. It immediately strikes him that his House is emptier than before.*

*He sees it there in the near-darkness, on the mantlepiece of the unlit hearth. The one who needs not breathe takes a long, deep breath. Floorboards creak as his bold strides carry him with dread to the fireplace. Weighing down the letter is a gift returned, the signet ring of House Bloodwing. With grim visage he places the ring aside and raises the parchment.*


*The fireplace billows with flame, then settles to a bright yet cold blaze. He reads the letter, the elgant curves of her handwriting unmistakable. The face pale as stone and just as stolid softens, the red flames in his eyes flicker. He nods silently in agreement as the missive shakes ever so slightly in his hand. An unmeasurable moment as he stands with the delicate paper at the end of his reach.*

*Did he crush it, or rip it to shreds? Did he toss it to the chilled flames? Did he slip it into his shirt, next to his heart? Or did he lovingly fold it in thirds to place in his secret compartment of ancient treasures, savoring the scent of her perfume and feline fur upon it one last time before storing it away for eternity? If he remembers, he will never share.*

*A flourish of his red cloak and he sinks like a ghost through the floorboards to land in the cold embrace of his throne. To some it was a maintenance bay, others a dungeon. To him it was the deepest, dryest space in his castle, where a monarch of Erebus would by tradition hold court.*

*But there was no court. No advisors to whisper what they wanted him to hear. No abomination in a jester's cap cavorting to cheer him. No servants to feed him. Only the gentle crackle of magic torches in sconces across from the gate to the tunnels that now seemed continents away.*

*And there, Prince Darien bent down, raising his arms to his face, an elbow tipping over an ancient, dusty bottle of wine he had rested there. A muted crash of priceless handblown glass, and the prize of now-extinct grapes escaped across the smooth stones now slick until it sank between the mortar cracks into the cold earth beneath. He ran his pallid hands over the markings of his face, palms blocking the twin glowing coals from view, fingernails barely touching the base of his boldly spiraled horns.*

*No creature heard the whisper from the bottom of his broken heart.*

"And they lived Happily Ever After."


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