Faethfully Yours: Unbound
Lightning clawed the dense gray that veiled the sky. Ivan Stokaya looked to the ice-covered waters stretching into the horizon, knowing that his love was out there, somewhere. He closed his eyes, and whispered secret words into the passing wind, hoping that though he didn’t know where she was, the wind would find her, and caress his words against her skin when she needed them most.
Stepping back, Ivan closed the balcony doors, still able to hear the resounding waves crashing against the shores of Tarshish. Violent gusts rattled the doors, as if begging him to join them, to fly out to sea…to freedom. Ivan’s hands fell from the door knob. There was no freedom. And as open as the lands may seem, there were eyes watching him, everywhere.
“Your Grace,” a voice cut in from behind. Cold. Hard. Fae. “Your Domis has arrived. Shall I have her pass?”
Though fire coursed through his veins, the room grew icy around Ivan, cold sweat clinging to his pores. He didn’t answer, and walked to the sidebar of his room, no longer able to swallow through the guilt induced knot in his throat. Pouring himself a glass of water, he stared down at his rippling reflection, the cup trembling in his hands.
“Let her pass,” he answered firmly, his voice a rusted whisper.
A steady rhythm of footfalls hissed across the marble floor, coming to a stop in the middle of the large room. Ivan didn’t turn around. It was clear who was there to see him, and what had to be done. It wasn’t the first time. But whether the second, or the fifth, it never got easier, nor lessened the guilt. Not by a long shot. A frustrated Ivan slammed the cup down, and squeezed his eyes shut.
“Gwin,” he said, and nothing further.
“Your Grace,” replied the timid girl, falling into equal silence. A tense quiet settled over the room, the only sound that of crackling fire, freezing rains and howling winds grating at the window. Ivan was slow to turn to the young blond he'd chosen as his Domis—his slave.
“You may begin,” he started, but trailed off in catching sight of his guard by the door. Ivan held a staying hand to Gwin, and regarded the watchman, that though Seelie, wore the color of betrayal.
“Your services are no longer needed.” Ivan snipped brusquely.
The guard’s face twisted to a smirk. An inhuman smile. “Kala’el has instructed I stay and watch, just to be sure you do what you are meant to do, and nothing more.” Ivan was not surprised. After all, in having his choice at any Domis in the land, he’d called on the same one four times. And after all four visits, Gwin had yet to bear his marks. Kala’el was bound to take notice.
Ivan blew out a breath, and walked through the sheer curtains to his bed. Feeling the mattress give beneath him as he sat down, his stomach plummeted. Gwin followed, and stopped before him on the large starred emblem on the floor. From the corner of his eye, Ivan watched in dread as she loosened the buckle of her cloak with little hesitation, and slid it off her shoulders. With a gentle hush, it landed bunched around her feet, her sheer white gown transparent before the flames.
“Your Grace,” she spoke the rehearsed words. “Is there anything you would like of me?”
Ivan swallowed, and lifted his eyes. Trailing them the course of her body, guilt rolled through him. Nothing would ever take away from what he was about to do. He hesitated.
“Now, please. You must do this,” Gwin whispered. Lifting blue eyes darkened with desire and fear, she tilted her neck. Ivan could see the constant melody of her life beneath her skin, there for his taking. Because he knew all that was at stake, Ivan swallowed all memory of the one woman who owned his body, and soul. He would never forgive himself, but hoped that Charlotte would understand he did it all for her.
A rough, primal growl escaping him, Ivan misted across the room and crashed against Gwin, pinning her against the wall, desperately, indelicately, disgusted. A soft, pitched cry filled the room as Ivan sunk his teeth into Gwin’s flesh, the taste of copper and life-force invading his mouth. Gwin’s body writhed, spasms wracking her frame against him as a map of veins twisted beneath her skin, running the course of her pale body. The poison of his marks branded her body with little mercy. Imagining it were Charlotte’s body he claimed, Ivan banded his arms around Gwin. But the taste of her wasn’t Charlotte, and the battle to keep from tearing Gwin away cut him deep.