Halfling- Chapter Thirteen

Awen sat at her throne, back ram rod straight. It was made of red cherry wood with symbols carved in. She would have preferred something made of metal, but she didn’t want to change it. The fae had an affinity for natural materials, and it made them stronger. This had a similar effect for halflings, but not as much. She kept it for this reason. The red carpet stretched from her feet to the tall double doors. She could feel the changes in the energy around her. She closed her eyes and reached out with her mind. She saw the dead trees rush past and she floated above them. She reached a meadow that should be dead.

Clenching her hands into fists, she saw Gareth in an embrace with a red haired twit. This must the long lost princess, and her most trusted advisor. Together. She felt enraged and screamed, shattering a window. Her body was tense with anger and she quivered. She kept her black eyes closed and watched them until they disappeared. She knew there was a unit somewhere in that area of dissidents, but she could never find them.

Awen stood, her black gown skin tight and a black leather corset holding up her breasts, the skirt spilling down to swirl out at her ankles. Her sleeves widened as they reached her wrists. The silk whispered against her hot and dark brown skin, the only comfort she had. She wasn’t sure what to do, and felt a bit bereft at the betrayal. Her black hair fell in a straight line down her back, down to her ass. She was still standing when the doors opened, and one of her minions fell to his knees at the edge of the red carpet.

“M’lady,” he rasped, his black hair falling into his eyes as he bowed his head to her.

“Get up,” her ice cold voice commanded. “Do you have news?” She would already know anything he would tell her, but no one needed to know about her powers.

He stood and approached her until he was a few feet away. She stood above him on the steps. It was good to keep everyone below you, and she reveled in the feeling of satisfaction it gave her. “M’lady, we found the rebel princess, but were unable to get her. She killed many of my men, and ran off. And…” his voice trailed away.

Awen knew, but said, “Yes?” in a sugary sweet voice.

He gulped. “Gareth was with her. We thought he had been bringing her to you. But he… he helped her. It appears as though she has his power of the universe,” he trembled before her.

She knew it wasn’t his fault, but she wanted to punish him anyway. It would give her great satisfaction to spill his blood. “Come with me,” she purred. Her gut clenched with anticipation. She walked in front of him. She walked out of the throne room, and down the stone stairs. Since she was a creature of the dark, she didn’t need light. Her eyes adjusted to the dark, and she didn’t bother lighting a torch. Walking down the hallway, her spiked heels clicked on the stone. She was already tall, but enjoyed towering over everyone she could. She walked into her own private torture room. Devices and knives lined the walls, sharp and shining. A table sat in the middle of the room.

The halfling didn’t say anything, but she could taste his fear in the air. She commanded him to strip, and he did as he was told. She nodded to the stainless steel table and he climbed on as she chose her weapons. A small scalpel, a small hammer, and a longer knife. She put them on the tool tray. Turning around, she saw the fear in his eyes. She ran a soft hand across his cheek. “Shhh. It won’t hurt. Too much.” She strapped him to the table, binding his arms and legs. “Or, maybe it will,” she whispered in his ear, her long tongue reaching out to lick his ear. She bit down on his ear lobe hard, causing him to cry out. She laughed, running her sharp fingernail down his arm. She nearly broke skin, but instead caused an angry welt.

Awen lifted her skirt a little and climbed onto the table, straddling the creature. He started whimpering. She liked that. She stole his power by blocking his mind. She bit his shoulder, drawing blood. She licked at the blood, tasting it’s tang. She enjoyed the taste in small amounts, and only once in a while. She rolled her eyes to the back of her head, leaning back, taking in the power of the stars. Gareth wasn’t the only one with secrets. There was a reason she had been able to take the throne. She took just enough to make the halfling erect beneath her, keeping the rest of the power for herself. She rubbed herself against him, grabbing the scalpel. She cut into his flesh at his stomach and he screamed as she moved on top of him. Her body was on fire with the thrill, and she wanted nothing more than to possess him. She smeared his blood with her fingers, running them along his mouth, forcing them inside. He gagged on his own blood and she moaned as she sucked the blood off her fingers. She was shuddering already, and forced herself to calm down a little.

Tears started running down from his eyes, probably from the pain. She grasped his hair as she rode him with his hard cock inside her. She forced herself to take in his entire length, stretching her. He was well endowed, and she was pleased the bearer of bad news was as big as he was, because she reveled in the pain. She sliced some more of his skin, his screams reverberating inside her skull and she gasped at how happy it made her feel. She took his pain into herself, leaning down to bite him, her sharp teeth drawing more blood. She licked his blood, moaning.

Awen took the bigger knife, and stabbed him near his throat, not quite wanting to kill him yet. She moved faster on him, her breath short. She cried out, closing her eyes. She felt on his chest, his heart beating rapidly. She knew what she had to do. She cut along his sternum. She had to move quickly as she cut deep, blood pouring out. His screams were more frantic now. She reached in under his rib cage and grasped his beating heart in her hand. She tore it out as she thrust herself upon him. She ate his heart, feeling the last beats in her mouth. With the last bite, the orgasm ripped through her, nearly tearing her to pieces. The blood made it impossible to clutch onto him, and her muscles tightened as she moaned and screamed. She was covered in hot, sticky blood and Awen shivered. She forced the pieces of herself back together, and looked down at her masterpiece.

A gaping hole was what was left of his chest, blood thick. It ran down the table and dripped on the floor. She gingerly lifted herself from him, aftershocks left over made her shudder. She smelled the scent of blood and death, and she felt more powerful for it. She left the room, blood dripping down her chin and falling into the valley in between her breasts. She was full and satisfied, and had a plan. She knew how she would deal with Gareth, and his precious rebel princess. She just needed to draw them out. She needed to get the princess’s sister.

She laughed, shooting the sound down the hallway in echoes. A bat flew and perched on her shoulder. She stroked its tiny head, her little faithful pet. She cooed to him, singing him a song. She walked up the stairs and once again sat in her throne. She liked ruling in blood. It reminded the little ants that they needed to fear her. That they should fear her. If they didn’t, she would tear their pretty little limbs right off, and eat their hearts, and they needed to be reminded. She wanted them quivering in their little boots. She whispered in her pet’s ear, and drew down some magic.

She turned him into a beautiful bird, full of bright shades of blue. Feathers sprang from his tail in large tufts, and his wings dazzled. Yes, the little twit wouldn’t be able to resist the damn thing. After all, her favorite color was blue. Awen laughed to herself again, sending her pet to fly out the broken window. She sent for a few guards to lay in wait for the batty bird to draw out the enemy. She sat tall on her throne, blood drying on her skin, her hands clasping the arms of the giant chair. She smiled, her sharp teeth showing. They would all get what they deserve, and Gareth and that little bitch would get the worst of them all.


Halfling- Chapter Twelve

Gareth clenched his teeth and narrowed his eyes at the intruder. The idiot had spoken too soon, before anyone had had the chance to tell Jasmine who she really was. He sighed and his breath whistled through his teeth. He brought Jasmine to his side. “Haniford, this is Jasmine.” He could feel her tension, and he turned to her, “He’s one of us. He’s fighting on the rebel side, so don’t worry. He’s just a jackass. He means us no harm,” he said, raising his eyebrow at Haniford.

He grinned and lowered the sword, jauntily placing it back in the scabbard hanging from his waist. He took a more relaxed pose, crossing his arms at his chest and smirking a half smirk. Jasmine didn’t know what to think. Princess? Love? Her head was spinning. “What does he mean by princess?” She asked Gareth, squinting up at him with her hands on her hips, legs slightly spread.

Gareth grit his teeth a little and sighed. He didn’t want to get into this now. They needed to get safely behind the walls of the camp. “Let’s not talk about this here. We don’t know if they’ve followed us, or if they’re right behind us. We need to get to safety. Come,” he said, holding out his hand.

Jasmine narrowed her eyes at him, but took his hand anyway. He was the only one she could trust. His half and non-truths would have to come to an end, and she fully intended on speaking to him about that. The trees here were full and green, life was all around her. She felt it and sighed with a smile as they walked at a fast pace. She knew they still glowed from the magic swirling about. A white wolf saw them and stopped in his tracks, fur laying down as he quietly watched them. He knew they meant no harm and she wished she could reach out her hand to him, but knew they didn’t have the time. She saw many animals on their walk, and after a time, they stopped. She looked questioningly at Gareth, but he said nothing.

Haniford made a series of complicated hand symbols so fast she couldn’t keep up. They stood in front of a wall of trees, each so close the branches intermingled and tangled together. She wondered how the roots grew. They must be intertwined as well. After Haniford was done, a space the size of a doorway shimmered and the trees disappeared. Jasmine was shocked. She hadn’t felt this force field at all. Amazed, she followed the men through the doorway, and looked behind her as she stepped through the threshold. The doorway closed, and it looked like trees once more. What kind of powerful magic was this? She didn’t know if she could ever do something like that.

“The Elders would like to see you, Gareth,” Haniford said. “We knew you were coming. They felt a disturbance in the air, and knew it was you.”

“Of course,” Gareth said, tugging Jasmine’s hand to follow him. She looked around her as they walked. People walked around, doing various tasks. She could see that the force field was huge, and the ring of fake trees ran around the circle. There were streets and homes and businesses. The buildings were made of beautiful oak and carved with intricate designs that swirled around, and she recognized symbols for magic. Protection spells. Main street was lined with businesses. She saw a small inn, a pub, and an open farmer’s market. She wanted to stop and see all of the lovely necklaces and bracelets, run her fingers through the shades of soft silks, and smell the bittersweet ripeness of strawberries. She made a note to come back and browse. The people she passed seemed in good spirits for the most part, and wondered how long these people had been here; as she had been living alone in the woods for so many years.

They came to the center, and stood before a building made that was the most beautiful she had ever seen. It was made of granite with symbols etched into columns that stood high about her head. They walked up the stairs and Gareth opened one of the heavy oak doors for her. She walked through and felt underdressed. The women had long and kempt hair, their gowns clean and stirred with the light breeze of movement, the silk embracing curves where it was tight in the bodice and long and flowing at the skirts. Jasmine knew she was travel ragged with clumped up hair and her dress was dirty and torn in a few places. Her cheeks slightly reddened, but she held her head high.

“Who are the Elders?” Jasmine questioned.

“They are the oldest fae in the camp. They still remember the King and Queen of Old, before halflings were ever created. They are the ones that created and maintain the perimeter of the camp. They are also the ones that head up the Resistance. They are the planners. They run this camp, and are the central authority.”

After living so freely for many years, Jasmine didn’t like the sound of any central authority, but didn’t say anything. What kinds of rules would she have to abide by? She didn’t ask, and figured if she broke any of them, she could claim ignorance. Which was true, she was ignorant. But she also wouldn’t seek out knowledge of the rules. They walked across the lobby, to one of the staircases. The shoes that the fae wore did not make any sound on the marble floor, since they wore slippers made of silk. She could feel strong magic in this building, and thought it must be the Elders. She slightly shivered at it as they walked up the stairs. The people in this building were more serious than those walking around outside and at the farmers market. Here, there were no smiles and hushed whispers, a stark contrast to the smiles and laughter outside.

Gareth took her to a room with double doors. A desk sat outside the doors in a lobby area with chairs for guests. He murmured to the female fae that sat there, and Jasmine noticed the contrast of her pale skin to Gareth’s tan. She knew he was a halfling, but so different from those that she had heard about. He had been very silent for a while, not talking to Haniford or herself. She saw he was tense, but didn’t understand why. The lady nodded slightly to the chairs, and Gareth motioned for her to go first. She sat down and he sat next to her.

“Is there something wrong?”

He hesitated. “You’ll find out soon enough,” he softly told her, taking her hand to his lips and softly kissing her. His lips felt dry and cracked as they looked, but Jasmine didn’t care. She wanted to lean into him, but resisted. She still didn’t know how to feel about his words of love, or what Haniford had said about a princess. Was she a princess? How could that possibly be? Nothing made any sense.

Gareth looked at Jasmine from the corner of his eye. He wondered how she would take all of this. He didn’t know how she felt. She hadn’t had a chance to say anything about love. He had had more time than her to figure out his feelings, and he wouldn’t blame her for needing time. The waiting part was what was tearing him apart. After what seemed like a long time to a thinking mind, the lady at the desk told them they could go in. He stood and opened the door for her. He saw that all twelve Elders were there, all dressed in black as usual. Jasmine looked a little intimidated, so he put his hand on the small of her back and guided her to a chair at the side of the table facing the Elders. He took the other chair and folded his hands together.

They didn’t speak for a time. Finally Eldrich, the oldest of them with long white hair and grey eyes, cleared his throat. “So. What happened in the meadow? We felt a great disturbance in the universe. Quite significant.” Eldrich was also the most serious of the Elders. A joke was lost on him, and he was always focused on the plan at hand.

Gareth spoke quickly and quietly. He began with the witch, and when he got to the part where he had made love with Jasmine, he stopped speaking. He didn’t know what to say. The disturbance began when they had shared power and then let it go in passion.

“Speak, my dear,” Rishtah said softly. “Your words are safe here.” Rishtah had a graceful beauty about her and an ageless face. She didn’t have wrinkles and her green eyes were clear and sharp. Her hair was black and streaked with grey, the only sign that she was an older fae. She was the sweetest of them, the most consoling when Gareth’s mentor had passed, baking sticky sweet caramel brownies and serving them warm with vanilla ice cream and caramel drizzle. His mouth watered now just thinking of them, but quickly shoved it out of his mind. More pressing matters were at hand.

“Jasmine and I…we joined.” He felt her start then stiffen next to him, and he knew she was appalled that he had shared this sensitive information. But, he knew that the Elders had to know about this. “As man and woman. During this time, we took energy from the universe, and we shared it. We spindled it, and let it grow. This was the first disturbance that you felt, when we let it go back into the universe. It stayed upon the earth, and gifted the meadow with a small mountain, and a waterfall with a pond. It grew flowers from the earth and brought animals to the clearing. I should have known to leave, that the halflings would feel it.

“Jasmine and I stayed in the field, and explored, and made love once more. We created more from the earth, and were surrounded by halflings. We made a shield, and then used the energy to destroy them. We ran until we were almost here.”

The Elders were silent for a while. Rishtah stated, “So the Queen knows that you are not one on her side,” lifting her eyebrows.

Gareth was silent for a moment, and then slightly nodded in the affirmative. The table was silent for several minutes as this information sunk in, with Gareth looking at his clasped hands. He knew that he had ruined everything. The plan had been a plan for many years, carefully planned out. It was his fault, and he would take full responsibility. He had no idea what that meant, but it was his burden. He didn’t blame Jasmine. It was his own mistake.

“We shall have to discuss a new plan, then,” Vivierah was the first one to speak. “Since the first plan is now kaput, we shall see what happens next. Maybe the Queen strikes first, or waits for us. Either way, you obviously can’t go back to her. In the meantime, you shall train Zaria in how to use her magic properly.”

Gareth clenched his teeth. He knew what was coming next, and he hadn’t had a chance to tell her anything. He could only hope that she would forgive him for keeping this from her. He closed his eyes and held his breath.

“Princess, welcome home,” Vivierah continued, looking towards Jasmine. “I hope you understand why we kept you alone all these years. We thought it would be safest for you.” Gareth could sense her confusion.

“I don’t know what you mean,” Jasmine said slowly. The name Zaria tugged on her senses. She suddenly remembered the man who had come to her village, talking about the invasion of the halfling queen. Nothing was making any sense.

“Gareth didn’t tell you?” Surprise had Vivierah raising her eyebrows.

Jasmine turned her head towards him, but he couldn’t look at her. She looked back at the Elders. “No, he hasn’t told me anything.”

“You are a princess, my dear. Your mother was the queen before the halfling queen, Awen, stole the throne. There’s more to the story, but I’m sure you can ask her yourself,” with that, Vivierah made a motion with her hand and the double doors behind Gareth and Jasmine opened.

Jasmine turned around and gasped. She was seeing a ghost, she had to be. No, not just one ghost. Two ghosts. “Mother!”