“Kill me??”

The sound of his own words reigned way too loud in his ears and Tiyan almost felt as something, some vile force, tried to slip through his protective spells, almost pushing the air from his lungs. He thought that his eyes would get adjusted to the dark but nothing like that happened and not being even able to place where he is and where is Lorian, made him close to panic.

If that was some cruel joke from the fae prince, he was not amused.

The light gleamed in the distance. How vast this chamber even was? And when Tiyan was able to see again, when the flickering brightness freed the room from the darkness’s reign… he saw the most perfect, the most ominous and most overwhelming sight he ever witnessed in his whole life.

Lorian stood near a large cartouche built in the wall, which seemed to be placed on invisible threads, portruding from the stone. The prince’s shadows were frantic and manically pulled and danced and amassed before the cartridge which towered over him, far up, where light wasn’t reaching. The light appeared to be kept captive by the chamber, unwilling guest in the kingdom of the night.

He slowly approached the fey prince, looking with reluctant awe at the darkened cartouche. He almost forgot about being unenthusiastic about the palace. The previous murder attempts from Lorian’s brother were pushed into the back of Tiyan’s mind, and that alone was a sign not only he is curious and amazed, but also that he slowly started to accept the status quo. If someone told him so, though, he would probably deny. But the palace had a charm that was sinking into his skin and changing his reality.

The cartouche was filled with cryptic writings and images the young hunter had no idea what could depict. All of them held a primal beauty, like something created in the eve of time.

“The Lord and the Lady” said Lorian with a muted tone, like darkness around them didn’t allow any sound to spread wider. “The Tidal Water; Impatient”. The Autumn and the Great Depth”.

Tiyan made a bitter expression.

“Do not frown, winter child” smiled Lorian, gazing at him. His black eyes held white sparks. “These all are prophecies. Some are more enigmatic and some very simple. But one thing binds them. All were explaining things that really happened. And some refer to those which will happen in the future – though the fey kind forgot about their meanings.”

“I didn’t expect the mighty fae relying on some obscure guessing” Tiyan had to bite. He wouldn’t be himself, if he didn’t.

“Because you never witnessed a real prophecy. In your world, even now, when magic touched it, you had no access to them, nor you wouldn’t be able to decipher the simplest one, even if someone was giving you an answer on a plate.”

“Do not hold back. Offend us more” grinned Tiyan voraciously.

“I am not offending you” Lorian grinned like a cat, seemingly amused. “Humans never were exposed to high spellbinding. You would walk into it and not see how it changes the world around you. You wouldn’t even feel it. And this is the fact, not an offense.”

Lorian touched the cartridge, delicately. The letters on the lowest prophecy started to shift and dance.

“Your brother was right. You like to amaze mortals” Tiyan said, but even he had to admit that it was intriguing.

“Perhaps because you are so easy to be amazed” Lorian laughed; it again sounded like on the battlefield, a long time ago, in another life. But Tiyan was slowly getting used to it. “At least, in the beginning. Not a lot of things can move a human that lives in Dal’coler long enough.”

Tiyan suddenly felt an urge to ask about Leira, but decided not to. He would better hear more from her, than listening lies from the monster who enslaved her.

Lorian touched the swirling letters again and they drifted towards him, shifting and drinking from his aura, until they returned on the cartouche, forming words… which he still didn’t understand. Probably written in fey language, they were as alien to him, as Ain’Dal’s black eyes.

“The Cat, the Fox and the Raven” said Lorian, looking at the lighted up words, a tension in his usually collected voice.

Tiyan involuntarily shivered, like he was embraced by the cold gust of wind. Looking behind, in fear that it may be again Lorian’s brother, but they were alone. Closed in the chamber, tightly shut; the other half of it was drowning in deep darkness.

“The forbidden prophecy” continued Lorian. “Most of the Kilyans despise humans. And the mere thought of being dependent on them, is revolting. An insult for all the fey. But I realized quickly that the pride is what could carry us into the open jaws of death. And not only death. Our souls would be torn from us, and our magic would be removed, swallowed by the beast of many faces. This means pain and oblivion. And I love my people, my kind and my subjects too much to allow them to pass away screaming, forced to fill the dreams and soul of a god.”

Tiyan got lost pretty quickly.

“Wait, wait… what god? What death? And what am I even supposed to do?” he felt a bad feeling worming into his mind. Prophecies by default were something he would avoid, even if he knew what they are all about.

Lorian’s eyes gleamed with amusement, real one, like he was telling an especially vicious joke. “You are needed, because your blood will bind the Devourer in the mortal realm.”

Lorian possibly was saying something else, but Tiyan focused only on the words that just left his mouth. Blood? His pupils opened in disbelief and he suddenly felt claustrophobic, the liquid night around them closed its talons around his fast-beating heart. Blood. This one word changed whole deal. Not only this bastard captured him and took into the nest filled with enemies, but also wanted his life to appease some another monster.

“Let me explain everything” the calm voice of the fae prince brought him back to life and pulled him over the sea of fear. “Because you seem to believe I am going to sacrifice you. I won’t. But to understand my trail of thoughts, I need to unveil the real meaning of this prophecy.”

Tiyan huffed in badly concealed anger.

“Explain then, your highness” he only said, and Lorian smiled. And it was a sad smile of someone who has seen too much.

And will see even more.