Awen clapped with childlike glee, a nefarious smile curving her lips. After weeks, she had finally gotten her way in to the village. She saw what her bird saw, heard what he heard. She had made the right decision in calling back the halflings she had sent to the location. They had been there a month and she thought better of it, keeping her bird out there. She knew they had to come out at some point, and that stupid picnic was the perfect opportunity. She listened to the ditzy sister drone on about her wedding, Awen bored with the entire thing. She was thrilled when she was finally seeing the inside of the traitor camp, but then astonished at how many half breeds had betrayed her. She felt anger boiling inside, and wasn’t sure what to do with it.
A thunderstorm brewed above the castle, thunder loud and menacing, echoing. No rain fell, only electricity lit the sky and the scent of ozone reached her nostrils. She fed off the energy and consumed it until she glowed a faint black around her skin. Darkness swirled inside of her and she pulled the energy from a star into her core. She kept it there, the power nearly ripping her apart. She let it out with a scream, the sky blazing with electricity. It struck trees and stone all at once until the sky was white with it. Charred bark and smoke filled her lungs, but her anger was satiated. For the time being.
Aria nuzzled Buster. His feathers were soft and she stroked his neck. He was doing much better, learning how to fly again. He flew short distances within her house, but stopped to rest often. She smiled at how well he was doing with his wing. She knew it was healed because of her sister, but she was ginger with it nonetheless. Manuel was humming and cooking dinner in the next room. The smell of rabbit and potatoes in the stew was welcoming and charming.
She left Buster to set the table for them, white and blue bowls on matching plates with blue place settings. Silver napkin rings engraved with roses slid over periwinkle napkins. Crystal wine glasses in front of the plates and real silver utensils adorned the table. She set a vase of lilacs in the middle of the table, the fragrant petals making her smile.
“I think I should take Buster to work with me tomorrow,” Manuel said. Aria frowned.
“Are you sure he should be out in the open yet? I’m a little worried about him.”
“Yeah, I think he’ll be fine. He needs some fresh air sweetpea.” He chucked her under the chin and smiled down at her. His smile still got to her and made her melt. She just couldn’t say no.
She smiled back, “I suppose that’s okay, sure. Just be careful with him.” Manuel leaned down and kissed the top of her head.
“Of course I will.” Aria felt comfort in her confidence of his abilities to take care of Buster. She put some rabbit on a plate for him and he ate from the table. The wine in their glasses disappeared and reappeared, only to disappear again. Feeling lightheaded, Aria and Manuel left the dishes on the table. Walking upstairs to their bedroom and giggling, she tingled even more when Manuel touched her, running his palms up and down her arms. He grasped a handful of hair and tipped her head back, exposing her long neck. He glowed with magic as he bit her, teeth digging in. He felt the warmth of blood flowing into his mouth, and she didn’t even whimper. She could hide these marks with a scarf. It felt so deliciously good that she didn’t stop him. Aria giggled when she thought about how everyone thinks she’s a prim and proper twit, not realizing she had a dark side.
Manuel shoved her down on the bed, removing his belt. She felt herself getting wet already, wine making her giddy. She slid down onto the floor and crawled to him, feeling over his bulge. She looked up at him, pulling his trousers down, his thick member popping free. She looked at it hungrily and opened her mouth, slowly bringing him in, the silky smooth skin running over her tongue. He grabbed her hair with his hands, pushing himself deeper, until she felt him at the back of her throat.
He grabbed her head and forced himself in and out of her mouth, not gently. Her jaw hurt after a couple of minutes but he was relentless. He finally stopped and let her rest as he worked on disrobing her. He nearly tore the light blue dress from her frame, and impatiently yanked at the cording to her corset.
Manuel took the belt in his hands before bending her over their bed and she tensed her body, waiting for the strike. When it came, she screamed when the lines blurred between pain and pleasure and she wasn’t sure anymore what it was. Nothing less than what she wanted. She whimpered when he stopped, her bottom sore and no doubt red. He gently touched the skin, and kissed her there. Aria was almost crying, but held back. After a few moments of gentleness, he shoved himself inside of her, grabbing her hair and pulling back on it until her head couldn’t tip back anymore. He was so rough and hard that it hurt, but it was a wonderful pain.
She clutched at the bedspread, grabbing fistfuls. When he stopped, she had to catch her breath, and heard him doing the same. As he pulled out, she writhed and cried out with the orgasm, trembling. He stood her up and told her to get on her knees again. Then he was inside her mouth again, and she could taste herself on him. He fucked her mouth again, this time he came, holding her head so he tickled the back of her throat, and she swallowed, savoring the taste of him. His cum was sweet from the food he ate, and she loved it. Nearly every inch of her was sore, and they showered together.
Manuel gently washed her, taking care over her especially sore parts. She embraced him, the water hitting the back of her head as her head rested on his chest. “I love you,” she said, nearly crying with the words. He was perfect for her, and she let him know it whenever she could. She didn’t think she would feel complete without him in her life. It had been a hard life, losing Zaria at such a young age, and her father in that horrible night. She would never forget it, nor forget how Manuel had saved her and her mother along with Gareth.
He toweled her off as they got out of the shower, and she put on a silk nightgown, the material sliding nicely against her bruised skin. She fell asleep in her soon to be husband’s arms. When she awoke in the morning, he was gone, and so was Buster. She always felt bereft when he wasn’t with her. She concentrated on the wedding plans, making sure everything would be perfect.
Manuel walked with the bird, whistling. He was trying to appear calm, when he felt anything but. He was scared. Terrified. He was going to lose everything, and his chest was tightening with the horrible thought. He found a private part of the compound, in a corner surrounded by trees. He sat the bird on a tree stump and started talking to it.
“What are you doing here?” His voice trembled, and he hated himself for it.
The bird cackled, a horrifying sound that grated on his ears. “Do you forget your place?” The bird hissed, unnatural from its beak.
“I apologize, Your Majesty. I was just wondering how you had found this place.”
“Are you scared at having been discovered, you insect? How dare you betray me and live among these wretched things!” The bird squawked, angrily ruffling its feathers.
“I-I’m sorry My Lady,” Manuel stuttered, wondering how he could possibly get out of this mess.
“You must prove your loyalty to me all over again, you bastard of a halfling.” How did she want him to do that? His blood ran ice cold. “You need to kill your fiancé’s family. While she watches. Then torture her to death. On your wedding day. But. Keep the bitch Zaria alive. She’s mine. Just keep her on the edge of living and death.”
Manuel’s heart raced. He felt like he was going to pass out, but kept a poised face. “Yes Ma’am.” She flew off, to a higher tree to see more of the compound. He let a few tears run down his face. That night, when he had seen his leader defecting, he had thought to bring him to the Queen for punishment, possibly death. But when he had captured Gareth, Gareth had talked sense into him, and together they helped the princess Aria and Gabrielle to safety. From then on, he was a supporter of the Resistance. He was thankful to Gareth for saving him. He now abhorred the Queen Awen and loved Aria. How could he do this? His heart was broken. He made his way to his shop, where he took his grief out on silver. He shaped and pounded the metal into place. By the time he was done, he had a piece in the shape of a twisted heart, garnets flashing in the metal. He sobbed. He couldn’t do this.
Awen was angry with the ingrate, and wasn’t sure how this would play out. Would he prove his loyalty? Or betray her again? She made the bird fly to the center of the place, scoping out the layout. It looked so perfect it made her sick. She wanted to destroy it. All in due time. The wedding was only in a couple of weeks. She was bored with everything else going on here, until she saw Gareth and that bitch walking hand in hand in the square, laughing. She seethed. She had no outlet for her anger, so she watched them through narrowed eyes. Soon, she thought to herself, soon. She just needed to hold on and be patient.