Chapter IV: Locked Up in the Heart of Darkness – Part II

There were no winter portals which led to Vennklan Valley.

Fae portals. All that remained after Saru, a high spellbinding, unique and beautiful – and useful. Saru used them to travel between the seasons. Kilyans used them to shorten their ways. Not all portals were usable for them, as only winter ones were letting them through. And almost no winter portal was left in the human lands.

Aside of one.

Lorian was well aware that he had little time. When he tried to enter Tiyan’s mind in his sleep, he was attacked by pain, fear and confusion. He didn’t know what was happening to him, but he sensed danger looming over his Fox. And that was not only a slap in the face to his planning. All could go wrong, because he waited.

The winter portal in Dal’coler was built-in the wall of the palace, like a gate without entrance, like a door to nothing. A relic of times, when Saru and Kilyans lived together, eager and young, not stained with hatred. Encrusted with silver and jade, it invited all fae to pass. Stone and crystal, kissed with sun and entwined with starlight, was one of the most enchanted things in the capital. Now, when the moon was brushing the marble-like texture, they were gaining a charm that always allured Lorian. Something in Saru’s craft was making his heart ache.

Lorian ran his fingers over the stone and as always, he felt a bolt of energy going through his hand, straight to his heart and from there to all his limbs. He didn’t know if all Kilyans felt like that when interacting with the portal. He knew only that everytime he passes it, he feels stronger and his power swims faster through his veins.

“I bring you the shadows” he whispered. “You bring me the light.”

The portal glittered with spells that Saru put on it when they left. Wintry gates were stronger than other portals. It was something in the Seelie’s craft mixed with Kilyans’ – it was unnatural yet opposites attracted each other like angry lovers.

Lorian sighed when he felt energy starting to touch him deep inside, and he passed the gates with one step…

…. a wave of emotions washed over him, like tidal water. His body and the very being – caressed by an ancient power, which was pressing his soul with invisible fingers, a touch of long gone times. Soft and dangerous. Exciting. He felt pure power beating in him, like a loud drum.

This magic was not safe and tamed. It was primal force, and that alone was making it more delicious.

His breath became ragged, and his tension rose, until the gates decided to release him…

… to appear in the human lands.

Lorian still heard the scream of painful emotions in Tiyan’s sleeping mind, which guided him. His Fox was afraid and torn and suffering, and Lorian was afraid too that with his own boastful games, he could condemn a whole feykind. Lose more than one brother.

Vennklan Valley was still far away. Farther than his legs could carry him, a dangerous path, filled with terrors the gods sent on Avras. A path, which separated him from his destination – an only one option so choose.

His robes fell off, leaving him naked, his pallid skin exposed on the cold icy wind. Lorian, even with his bound with winter, couldn’t not shiver, but his soul greeted the cold with joy. Feeling as his power glimmer around him, raised by the unknown influention of the Saru’s portal…

… He lept.

And flew.


The wind hit the door to prison, and they cracked, old and destroyed by the long expositions on the cold.

Guards chosen from the Praetor’s army were harsh as the winter itself. They have seen all that is dark in Avras. They committed darkness too. The possibility of the punishment – and the power they were given along with the duty – was keeping them with heads high; and with respect towards the orders. Most of them originated from impoverished aristocracy, and wounded soldiers, from people who lost everything in the Great War and didn’t blame the fae – who were far and untouchable – but the king. Praetor’s spies listened to who was angry enough and silently recruited from such broken people, giving them power.

And power corrupts, especially if you already inhale air and breathe out vengeance.

Dark magic fed on whispers bitter people heard, urging them to harm and relish on pain. Jealousy-driven magic, regret-fueled power.

Three guards raised their heads, at unison, more like animals than human beings and took in the air.

The same wind carried a peculiar scent, like spring flowers, like lilacs and tulips. Something not unlike the fresh breeze from the sea. And something they sensed only when Lord Inquisitor performed magic. When they performed it.

The scent of darkness.

Light had a warm scent, which each of Praetor’s envoys could recognize. Smooth, like rose petals; vanilla with chocolate and fresh bread.

Darkness smelled of snow and frozen passages. Slick like glass, scent of ash and midsummer night, bathed in promises. Sensual scent of pure twilight.

It was a warning. It was a promise. Tempting every dark magic user, beguiling like magic itself.

But before any of them could even place where this scent was coming from, they heard a scream, talons pierced the chest from behind, blood poured. And the torch light showed a beast from deepest nightmares.

Its mouth was filled with sharp teeth, its body tense and muscular, skin black as coal, just as its eyes. In these eyes – darkness of strongest allure; it grinned at them with full aray of fangs and suddenly, both of them felt like they wanted to fulfill every wish on this monstrous being. Something they didn’t feel since the Great War, something that brought doom to humankind, along with moon spears and dark spells.

Glamour. Cursed glamour.

“A fae” a growl came from the throat of one of the soldiers and the other one knew well what that meant. Magic against magic. Dark spells against wintery sorcery. Fighting the strong urge to obey everything the fey beast could want from them, they started to weave their own enchantment.

They fought the Kilyans, both of them lost something because of them. They were aware that they never had a chance standing against the fey, but now, the forces were equal. And it was two of them, with combined powers they aquired when they joined the inquisition.

Or at least, so it seemed.

Fueled by rage that was sitting in them since the war, the ink started to dance on their faces, spreading and changing reality. The fae crooked its head and looked at them with studied interest. There was no fear in its black eyes, only void and curiosity. Its membrane wings slowly moved, its pose bent and prowling, like it waited only to cast a deadly blow. Its tilted head observed them, seemingly taking in their magic and trying to understand it.

Humans desecrate everything. Even the shadows become vile in their hands. Even night becomes loud and full of screams.

It should tell them something. That the fey stopped its attack. But they realized it only when the ink started to form spikes already. And it was too late.

It all took seconds, but for all of them, the time seemed to slow down, to eventually burst in the flurry of snow.

The fae with a sudden move caught the spikes in the taloned hand, like they were not made of darkness but hay, grinned at them, its fanged maw spreading from ear to ear. The spikes melted within its skin, causing it to crack, blue blood emerging on the surface. And it… pulled…

… alongside the faces and skin of the guards, which were attached with a spell to the spikes. Making them fall into a tangled mess of their own magic. Which was cruel enough to not care who it feeds on.

The darkness and shadows slowly crept over them, embracing them like cocoons. Their own spells, urged by the familiar magic of the Kilyan, gorged with them; eating them with hungry tongues and ready teeth.

“I am disappointed you have such a short memory” said Lorian standing over the mess of broken bones and flesh scraps. The wind again carried the scent of ocean breeze and lilacs. Naked limbs of the fae prince were soaked in melting snow, when his shape returned to normal.

The shallow lacerations in places where the human shadow magic entered his skin, gleamed with blue blood mixed with dark oily substance. Fey magic in man’s hand transformed; it wasn’t silent caress of the night, but a blow of a rusty hammer – potentially could harm a High Fae and Lorian didn’t intend to check how.

Leaning over the bloody puddle, he found the keys and entered the dark well that was the Vennklan prison.

Forest is where I belong. My gods live there.

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