Chapter 20: The Heart Of A Monster

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It had been clear from the start, clear from the moment the girl had stepped forth back in the palace, that she was no longer her's. Eredhelil sat on the rail of her terrace, in the bitter cold, and stared. She stared off into the distance, into the blizzard that would soon await them. She could tell by the thickness of the frost, it would dawn upon the palace by morning. The way she looked at her in there, the way Deigil looked at her. It was with hatred, with despise, something... That she couldn't live with. She didn't understand, no one did, not even Syson. Things happen behind closed doors that are brutal, life threatening, and heartless. Lots of things happen behind closed doors, especially in this castle. She couldn't help but think it, what if Deigil never forgave her? If she stayed angry with her, if she, hated her. It was understandable, but the girl didn't understand, and she wouldn't. She couldn't live with herself, not being alone, her darkness would devour her whole. Eredhelil looked down bellow her, at the great canyon that was miles deep. There was frost covering the edges of it and snow quickly piled up on the surface. What if she just fell? What if she let herself fall? What would happen? She wouldn't die instantly, yet she wouldn't be alive completely. She already wasn't alive anymore, her soul felt as though it was dead. Although it was Deigil's return that made her realize it, her heart, her soul, her humanity had already been chipping away.

Piece by piece through the years, she had been ground down by people. By her subjects, by the world around her, and by her mother. No one would care if she died, not even her own mother. If she just jumped, fell off the rail, she could be free of all restrictions. But, what good would it do? What good? Eredhelil scooted off the rail and back onto the floor of the balcony. She moved with elegance, her light dress gently brushing against her skin. Eredhelil knew she'd have to get ready for the dinner, the dinner that would test them. But for once she couldn't shake it out of her mind. I remember Ered. Deigil had said that, said her nickname, it had sent some drop of hope rippling through her. But, to have it crushed, that easily and quickly, made her weak. Love was weakness, the captain had it, her precious Eglanor. She'd secured his position a while ago, from the moment she saw him, she'd known he'd be the one to kill Meathil. Love really was a weakness, something that lingered in the heart far to often. Her own heart had been soiled by it for far too long, but why didn't she feel free then? Why did her heart still ache in pain as it once did when they were younger? When her and Deigil were younger, she felt it then too. They'd made plans, plans to present themselves to their mothers. Plans to rule both kingdoms together, side by side. And they were all gone, that night. She still loved her, even after having her heart crushed to pieces.

Eredhelil moved to a mirror and looked through it, through it at the woman she'd become. She shivered at the sight, her eyes were full of revenge. Her nails were retracted, and she didn't even know it. The sharp blades pointed down at her feet like daggers. She saw the horns she'd hated as a child, and she saw death. When she looked through that mirror, she saw... She saw... Her mother, not her. What had she become? What was she? A monster? Maybe so, but she couldn't change the darkness in her, she had to take it in. Welcome it.

~

The dining table was quiet, she sat next to her mother who was at the head of the table. The captain was at the other head of the table. She watched carefully as they ate, not taking any precautions. Deigil didn't glance at her, not a single look. It became so horrible she had to calm herself, she was about to burst. She wanted to! She wanted to explain, explain everything. She wanted to apologize and just embrace her again, she wanted to feel those warm hands on her's. But she couldn't, not with her mother here. If she did, her mother would definitely punish her to no end.

"Syson please ask the chef to bring out the Royal Ostwyn drink please. It is fitting for our guests." She knew the tone in her mothers voice, it was not a good one. What did she do to the drink? She already knew the regular ingredients, but if there was something in there that would hurt her, hurt Deigil. She would gut her mother before the woman could take a drink of her own. Eredhelil kept her face emotionless as the servants came around with trays of the drink. It was a custom to have this drink with every diner, especially when there were guests. And Eredhelil knew what was added to it sometimes, but hopefully her mother didn't order it this time. She took a glass for herself, the cold silver cup freezing against her hands. Carefully and quickly she took a drink, and immediately she knew what was wrong. It was poisoned.

The strongest poison the Ostwyn had actually, her sneaky mother. She could deal with poison just like her mother, they had been training their stomachs to be able to resist any poison since birth. The queen used to order poison be added to every meal she ate as a child, to get her body used to it. Whenever her mother had a bad day though, she would add more poison than usual. Which led to bad stomach aches usually. Deigil! No. Eredhelil glanced at the girl who was now taking a glass off of the tray. No, no no. She had to stop her from drinking it. But, if she did, her mothers plan to harm them would be foiled. She had no choice though, she loved her. Eredhelil carefully mover her hands under the table and tugged against the table fabric. It was something they did when they were younger, a way to communicate without talking. She hoped, oh she hoped Deigil would react to it. She had to get the girls attention. Eredhelil tried again, pulling carefully against the fabric. This time the girls eyes were directed to the sudden folds in the table cloth, and then met her own. Eredhelil glanced at the girl, making her blush. But she didn't have the time to get flustered. Deigil stared at her, and she stared back. She nodded her head towards the silver cup to her right, then tugged the table cloth three times. That meant no.

They looked at each other a little longer before Deigil wanted to know why. She could tell by the way the girl's eyes brightened with curiosity and fear. All Eredhelil had to do was moved her head slightly to the right exposing her neck. With this poison, it was so strong it would kill in a second. You could see the red drink with the poison in her veins, the poison was red and showed through the silver skin on her neck. The girls eyes widened, she knew what it meant. Deigil's seen her drink heavily poisoned things before, she knew what it meant. Immediately Deigil put down her cup and quietly whispered to someone next to her to do the same. The entire bracket and captain didn't drink for the rest of the meal. It made her glad, to know she was safe. Everyone left the dining hall and it was just her, and the queen. With a deathly low voice, her mother spoke.

"Why did you do that? Tell them there was poison. Did you think I wouldn't know Eredhelil?" She went pale, her mother was almost never this serious. And when she was, it meant someone was to die. She had a hard time breathing. "Well? Are you going to answer?" Eredhelil was speechless, she wanted to explain, but no words came out of her mouth. "Very well. Leave us." Immediately all of the guards and servants left the room, leaving her alone, with her mother. As long as Deigil was fine, she would take her punishment. Even if it felt like she was in the underworld, she knew it had to be done. "Turn around and show me your back." She did just that, undressing herself until her back was completely exposed. Exposed was the secret her mother held close, the one thing keeping her on a leash. And that's when the punishment started. She felt it burn through her, the pain fill every inch of her body. Her back sizzled and cracked, her blood boiled. Her insides felt like they were ashes and her breathing was slowing. All that she heard, was the sound of her own screaming, echoing around her, like a tortured monster.

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