Chapter V: Slaves and Fools – Part II

Tiyan allowed himself a moment of much needed relaxation. Of course, their kindness could be a dark trick, but when he felt like rose-scented water splashes against his tired and pained limbs, he couldn’t stiffle a sigh of true relief.

He was in Dal’coler, surrounded by enemies. The primal fear that kept him on his toes subdued, though. The calm silence of the bathing room, warm water and flowers drifting on the water’s surface numbed him. Be what has to be, but at least he won’t die dirty and reeking of rats and filth.

It was his second bathing thub. The clear water was putting gleaming reflections on the walls, making the room look… magical.

He took a small bottle filled with… something glittering, of deep green color, like fresh spring leaves. The uncorked it and strange scent enveloped him… like. Yes. Like liquid spring. The small leaves danced in the bottle, miniature signs of rebirth. Spring seemed to be closed in a small bottle and kept as a captive, until someone decided to bathe in it.

He didn’t know why, but the fact that this was even possible, made him almost regain caution. Whatever they caught in this bottle, made one wonder what other things are captured in this palace.

Deep down though… he was aware that the fae freed him. Perhaps to make him a slave, but he would break under the pressure of inquisitor’s torture. They could torment him for days, maybe months. Now, this situation was much better. He could hate Kilyans for all they did to humankind, he could oppose their orders… but he was bragging in pain before. No, torment and death were not better than a fae court.

Of course the fae who kidnapped him so easily can do much worse things to him. But now, he felt relief. The pain started to ease on him and his body slowly started to heal.

His mind won’t recover that fast, though.

Tiyan took a deep breath and dived with his head into the water, laying on the bottom of the bathing tub and closing his eyes.

This was almost lulling him to sleep, the silent movement of water and the sound of strange music, which under the water intensified and enveloped him with a soothing cocoon. He didn’t know where it came from, but was beautiful… and sad. Like lament clad in glitter and moonlight.

Your imagination becomes wilder than a famished wolf, he thought and slowly, very slowly, he pushed the air from his lungs. The bubbles flew from his mouth and started to gleam on the water’s surface.

When his lungs started to protest, he slowly poked his head out… and couldn’t stop himself from a surprised and angry screech, which sounded ridiculous even in his own ears.

“Do you know the sense of privacy?!” he growled, trying to find something, anything to cover himself with. He decided the flowers would do well and gathered them over his bare body.

“Usually yes” said the fae, who was sitting on the frame of the bathing tub, his finger making circles in the water. “But not when a person with whom we need to have a serious conversation, takes a few hours to bathe.”

Tiyan realized, even through the anger, that he lost the sense of time. The bath loosened his sore muscles and he allowed safety to creep over him. Safety he shouldn’t feel.

The fae this time was not naked. His black robes, made of raven feathers and fine silk, were tightly pressed to his limbs. The cape hung behind him, long enough to reach the floor. His temples were embellished with a silver crown.

The prince.

The prince of this place.

“You are prince Lorian” he said with an accusation in his voice. He was aware how naive this had to sound. But he already faced too many surprises in the last few days.

“Ah, Leira surely introduced me already. Did she make a good impression?”

Something boiled in Tiyan.

“You made her believe that she is here by free will! That is even worse than open slavery” he pushed more flowers over his crotch, to hide better. Prince Lorian looked at him intensely, with a dark amusement.

“You truly are impervious,” he said slowly, with real curiosity in his eyes. “Someone in your place would be at least a little grateful for saving him from shadow torment.”

Shadow torment.

“Until you tell me why you saved me when I was a child and why you kidnapped me, I won’t stop being impervious,” hissed Tiyan. “I don’t intend to play your music, not knowing the melody.”

“Clever!” Lorian’s face lightened up. “So you are not a hopeless example of a village fool, after all.”

Tiyan didn’t know how to reply to that, so he sewed his mouth and decided to not say anything, until he gets a good and filling reply of what is this madness.

Seeing the stubborn, harsh expression on his face, Lorian sighed.

“Oh, but you are childish… good. Very well” he stood from the edge of the tub. His long cape floated behind him like bat wings. “Finish your long bath and dress up. I will explain it all.”

“No tricks?” Tiyan narrowed his eyes.

“No games” grinned Lorian and sweeping in the air with a cape theatrically, he led his steps to the door. He turned back though. “I will send Leira to you. And… you already judged her. Do not. And that, you can consider an order from someone who allowed you for another day of life.”

Tiyan wanted to reply cleverly, hitting the fae with his irony, until he would feel it in his polished shoes. But something in the prince’s tone stopped him.


Something darker than night.

But he had one more question. Which burned him in the lips, urging to be let out.

“Wait! How did you bring me here? Some kind of magic?”

But Lorian already left, leaving behind a scent of jasmine and lilacs.

Forest is where I belong. My gods live there.

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