With characters from Stolen by the Shadow King
Kynan calmed his mind with thoughts of soft lyre music and the solidity of the earth beneath him, then he cast his spirit into the Between. The misty, chilly air of the place that sat between life and death was always fairly quiet. The spirits whispered and laughed quietly, on their way to bless descendants or simply existing here for a time. But now, they were completely silent and all of them had gone still to look in the same direction. Every year Kynan entered this sacred place to give an offering of his blood so that the spirits could travel as they chose and to keep them satisfied and at peace. Never once had he seen them so interested in one thing as a group. He set a hand on Cynnwrf’s hilt and looked about, trying to see what had them so enthralled.
A golden-haired figure in bright blue stood at the edges of the Between. She had to be only just now a woman. Young and more bones than flesh. Her eyes were large and slightly tilted at the sides. Such a unique look to her.
Recognition hit him like a perfectly aimed arrow and his blood simmered.
She was human.
He drew Cynnwrf.
How was she here? Humans were monsters; they’d murdered his mate, the last Awenydd. A flash of memory hit him and stalled his steps—blinding pain, searing agony, blood…
“I’m sorry,” he whispered to the woman he had once loved, the one the humans had slain. He should have saved her. Their Bond had been strong from his side, not from hers. He’d felt a measure of her pain as the humans brutally took her life. He swallowed bile.
The woman turned to face him.
She shouldn’t be able to see him. Could she?
Her hands and face glowed like she was lit from within. Her honey-colored braid hung over her small shoulder and her lips parted like she was about to speak to him. She blinked and seemed to look past him, so no, she couldn’t see him, but the spirits…
How could this be?
The spirits were touching her sleeve and speaking softly to her—he could see their lips moving though he couldn’t make out the words. This was no accidental moment in time and no magical mistake. Despite what she was, she fit here as much as he did, if not more so.
His two hearts—one blood and one shadow magic—squeezed themselves against his ribs.
She was the next Awenydd.
Fated to be his mate.
Breathing too quickly and unsheathing his dagger, he drove the woman from his mind so he could perform his sacrifice with efficiency and with the knowledge that the spirits were above him. He was a lowly servant in this role. Bowing his head and whispering the words, he dropped his powerful blood into the Between.
Once his words were spoken and the blood given, he longed to look up again, to see her. Should he? Or should he leave now? Curiosity pulled his chin up and tugged his gaze toward her.
She was so beautiful. So bright. Brave and sure amongst the spirits.
Though she had the look and demeanor of a goddess, she wasn’t. She was a human, and he would have to fight his draw to her to remain safe and to keep his kingdom protected even as he took her as his bride, his Bound mate. It would be horrible. He gritted his teeth. How would he stand to be with her? Humans with their dark and terrible single hearts were never to be trusted even when they appeared kind and good. They were treacherous and evil and he would never allow his hearts to be swayed.
("Little did he know LOL,” Werian said to Alisha whilst she worked on typos.
“Werian, begone. This isn’t about you.")