Saturday, December 14, 2019

Storm Born Chapter Twenty-One Free Essays

I shot up, anger coursing through my body as I stared at that smug face. A heavy, bejeweled crown sat atop his brown hair, and he wore a close-fitting black satin dinner jacket. â€Å"Don’t look at me like that, Lady Markham,† he told me in a voice both pleasant and hostile. We will write a custom essay sample on Storm Born Chapter Twenty-One or any similar topic only for you Order Now â€Å"Dorian will not protect you if you start trouble in his home, no matter how advantageous you are as a lover.† â€Å"Fine. I’ll just have to kill you somewhere else.† â€Å"Your plan didn’t work so well last time.† â€Å"Neither did yours.† He leered. â€Å"That dress is exquisite, you know. It outlines every part of your body beautifully.† I crossed my arms instinctually. â€Å"Don’t waste my time with compliments.† â€Å"Just tossing in my own bid for your body, just like everyone else here.† â€Å"Yeah? Haven’t you paid attention? None of their compliments have worked either.† â€Å"Bah. They’re petty lordlings and leeches scraping for power,† he said with a sneer. â€Å"The general consensus is that you’ve refused everyone simply because you’ve yet to be approached by anyone worthy.† He cut a glance at Kiyo as he spoke. â€Å"Or maybe because I’m with Dorian. Not that it makes any difference. I’d fuck that trowe over there before I’d go anywhere near you.† â€Å"I think I’d like to see that, especially considering he comes to your knees.† â€Å"If this is the part where you tell me how well-endowed you are, save it. There’s nothing you can say that would get me near your bed, so just give it up and leave.† His features hardened, a cold and sardonic smirk turning up his lips. â€Å"I suppose I can’t argue with that. Not that it matters. I won’t be alone tonight.† He stepped aside, just barely, and inclined his head. I followed the motion across the room. Jasmine Delaney stood among a group of gentry nobles. She was watching us, an unreadable look on her face. A long dress, heavy with brocade and jewels, draped her slight form, and her gray eyes looked even more enormous than last time. I clenched my fists, remembering the look on my mom’s face when she described her captivity. Wil’s picture of a lonely girl, lost in her fantasy world, circled around my mind. â€Å"I will kill you, you bastard. But first I’ll make sure you beg me for it.† I sounded like Volusian. â€Å"Eugenie,† murmured Kiyo, laying a hand on my wrist. His voice was firm and cautionary. He apparently feared I’d do something stupid. It was a good fear. Aeson seemed unconcerned. â€Å"Those are kind of extreme measures, don’t you think? Especially when there are much simpler ones.† â€Å"Such as?† He shrugged. â€Å"I’ll turn her over to you tonight.† â€Å"Let me guess. If I go live with you instead?† â€Å"No such commitments. Come with me just for Beltane. One night, and both you and she walk free. Not a bad offer, especially since there are still a number of men out there plotting to carry you off for an extended period. Considering the other drivel that’s approached you, you could do a lot worse. I’m powerful. Rich. Influential. A worthy consort.† I looked Aeson up from head to toe, glanced at the still-watching Jasmine, and then turned back to him. â€Å"I think I’d rather just kill you.† He gave me a mocking bow, face still hard. â€Å"I look forward to the attempt.† He started to walk away, then gave Kiyo a considering look. â€Å"I suppose you could pick worse men to father your child. This one’s already proven he can do it.† Aeson swept away from us and headed back to his group. Sliding a possessive arm around Jasmine, he leaned over and kissed her hard, pressing her body up against his. With the difference in their heights, he looked like he was molesting a small child – which, I supposed, he actually was. Puberty be damned. The anger that sight inspired in me solidified into ice as I turned back around to face Kiyo. The look on his face made something inside of me curl up into a ball. â€Å"What’s he talking about?† He started to open his mouth and then paused, apparently reconsidering what he wanted to say. My incredulity exploded. â€Å"Kiyo! This is where you tell me he’s full of shit and you have no idea what he’s talking about.† â€Å"Eugenie†¦Ã¢â‚¬  he began slowly. â€Å"Oh, my God.† I turned around. The ice inside of me melted and made me queasy. â€Å"You have a kid you never told me about. You have a kid somewhere.† â€Å"No. Not yet.† I spun around. â€Å"What the hell is that supposed to – † I stopped. â€Å"Maiwenn. Maiwenn is pregnant.† Poor Maiwenn. Poor sick and weak Maiwenn. I’d heard a number of comments made about her condition and never questioned it. It was a sign of my distraction in the last month. Gentry didn’t really get sick. They could get killed in battle, die from an infected wound, or die of old age. That was about it. Even now, looking across the room, I saw her sitting and talking with a few others. She was smiling but looked pale under her tan. The dress she wore was loose and voluminous. The one she’d worn at my house had been similar, albeit not made of silk. She wasn’t currently showing off her body. â€Å"You should’ve told me,† I whispered. â€Å"Yes,† he said simply. â€Å"I should have.† â€Å"You should have told me!† I repeated, my voice loud and strained. Most of the room’s noise muffled my cry, but a few people nearby gave us curious looks. â€Å"Shh.† Kiyo took my arm and steered us back toward the wall. â€Å"I was waiting. Things were so uncertain between us. I wanted to have a steady foundation before I told you.† â€Å"Did you ever consider that telling me now might help that ‘steady foundation’? What happened to all the honesty rhetoric?† â€Å"And how would you have taken it?† he asked quietly. â€Å"You’ve had a hard enough time knowing she and I were together at all.† â€Å"No, I haven’t.† â€Å"Eugenie, I see it in your face whenever her name’s mentioned.† â€Å"It doesn’t matter. This is big.† He shook his head. â€Å"It happened in the past. She and I aren’t together. We’re friends now. You and I are together.† â€Å"So what? You’re not going to do anything with this baby because you guys aren’t together anymore?† â€Å"No! Of course not. I’ll be there for the baby, and I’ll support Maiwenn as much as that requires.† â€Å"Then that’s not the past,† I snapped. â€Å"That’s your future. My future too if you were planning on being with me.† His face turned even more sober than it had been. â€Å"You’re right,† he said after several drawn-out moments. â€Å"It was wrong of me. I’m sorry. I thought I was protecting you.† I gave a harsh laugh that bordered dangerously on being a sob. â€Å"Yeah. Everyone wants to protect me lately. My parents did too. You guys think if I don’t hear bad things, then they won’t exist anymore. But you know what? They do still exist, and I do end up hearing them. And I wish to God that I could have heard them from the people I love first.† I turned and started walking away. Kiyo grabbed my shoulder. I tried to tug out of his grasp. â€Å"Don’t touch me,† I warned. â€Å"We’re done here.† â€Å"What are you saying?† â€Å"What do you think? You think I’m going to smile and forgive all this? I can barely forgive my parents, and I’ve known them my whole life. I’ve barely known you for a month. That doesn’t really count for much.† He flinched. The hand on my shoulder dropped. â€Å"I see,† he said stiffly, face darkening. â€Å"Then I guess we are done here.† â€Å"Yeah.† We stood staring at each other, and where heat once had smoldered between us, only a lonely chasm remained. I turned on my heels and stormed across the room without even knowing where I went. Eager men approached me, but I brushed past them all, apparently showing the arrogance Shaya had said was expected of me. I just couldn’t face them right now. It was too much. All of it. The crazy propositions. My so-called legacy. Aeson and Jasmine. Maiwenn and Kiyo. Oh, God, Kiyo. Why had he done this to me? I’d tried to write him off after our first night together, and he’d made me care about him again. Now it only hurt twice as much. The words from last night came back to me. You’re mine. Apparently not. I stopped in the middle of the crowded ballroom floor with no clue where I was going. I’d gotten disoriented somehow and forgotten where the exit was. The throne was over there, so that meant – â€Å"Yo, Odile. Some party, huh?† My navigation attempts were interrupted by Finn’s approach. I still hadn’t adjusted to seeing him in his more humanlike Otherworldly form. â€Å"Finn! I need you to get me out of here.† He frowned. â€Å"You can’t leave yet. Etiquette says – â€Å" â€Å"Fuck etiquette,† I snarled. â€Å"Get me out. I want to be alone.† His standard cheery expression faded. â€Å"Sure thing. Come on.† He led me not toward the main doors but rather to a small doorway tucked near a corner. Delicious smells wafted out from inside. This was some sort of back way to the kitchen. A number of scurrying servants gave us startled looks as we passed through twisting corridors and banks of ovens, but Finn moved with purpose, never breaking stride. People tend not to question if they think you know where you’re going. With a flourish, he gestured me to a small alcove far from the bustle of the cooks. Hooks with cloaks and coats covered the walls, and I realized this must be where the staff had stashed their personal things. A small bench sat below the hooks. â€Å"Good enough?† Finn asked. â€Å"Yes. Thank you. Now go away.† I sat down and wrapped my arms around myself. â€Å"But shouldn’t I – â€Å" â€Å"Just go, Finn.† I could hear the tears in my voice. â€Å"Please.† He gave me a mournful, almost hurt look and then walked away. The tears took a long time to come, and even then, they did so reluctantly. Only a couple streaked down my cheeks. I had felt helpless with the mud elemental, but this was a different kind of helplessness, one with mental, not physical, consequences. My heart ached inside for Kiyo, and my stomach burned with fury against Aeson. Neither ailment looked to have a remedy anytime soon. I don’t know how long I sat there before Dorian came. I could only make out his shape in my periphery, but the scent of cinnamon gave him away. He sat down beside me for a long time, saying nothing. Finally, I felt his fingertip gently run along my cheek and wipe away one of the tears. â€Å"What can I do?† he asked. â€Å"Nothing. Not unless you’ll let me break hospitality and go do some damage.† â€Å"Ah, sweet one, if that were possible, I would have long since strangled several of my nobles, lest I be forced to listen to more of their idiotic blather.† â€Å"What’s the point of being a king, then?† â€Å"Not sure that there is one. The food maybe.† â€Å"You make a joke out of everything.† â€Å"Life’s too painful not to.† â€Å"Yeah. I guess.† We lapsed into silence until Dorian called someone’s name. A moment later, a small, harried servant appeared. â€Å"Bring us some of that chocolate cake Bertha made. Two slices.† The man hurried off. â€Å"I’m not hungry,† I mumbled. â€Å"You will be.† The cake arrived. It was one of those flourless kinds, so it was more like cake chocolate than chocolate cake. Raspberry sauce pooled around it. I found myself eating every bite. â€Å"Better?† Dorian asked. â€Å"Yeah.† â€Å"You see? I told you it was the food.† I set the plate on the floor and tried to give voice to an idea that had slowly been percolating in the back of my head. An idea that probably would never have dared surface had I not been so furious at Aeson and Kiyo tonight. Indeed, it was Aeson’s preposterous proposal that had reminded me of it. â€Å"Dorian?† â€Å"Yes?† â€Å"When we first met†¦you told me that if I slept with you, you’d go with me to get Jasmine. Does that offer still stand?† The first surprised look I’d ever seen on him crossed his face. I took a certain amount of pride in realizing I’d finally caught him off-guard. â€Å"My, my,† he said softly. â€Å"This is unexpected. So. Desperation and fury achieve what all my charms could not, hmm?† A flush spilled over my cheeks. â€Å"Well, no†¦it’s not like – â€Å" â€Å"No,† he said abruptly. â€Å"The offer does not still stand.† â€Å"But I thought – â€Å" â€Å"I saw you fight with Aeson and the kitsune. I won’t have you come to my bed out of some misguided sense of revenge on the two of them.† He was right in a way, I realized. This was my means of getting back at both them. Aeson for flaunting Jasmine. Kiyo for breaking my heart. â€Å"Please,† I said. â€Å"I’ll do it. I-I don’t mind. And anyway†¦I have to get Jasmine back. I can’t handle her being with him anymore.† Dorian was quiet for a long time. Finally he said, â€Å"All right.† I snapped my head toward him. â€Å"You mean it?† â€Å"Certainly. We’ll go back to my room and see how you do.† â€Å"See how – ? What’s that supposed to mean?† Was the deal contingent on how good I was in bed? He smiled. â€Å"I’ll get Nia to take you back. I have to mingle a bit more and will join you soon.† Nia arrived as if by magic and did exactly as he’d said. Once alone in his massive chamber, I paced restlessly, reconciling myself to sex with a full gentry. It would be easy. Nothing to it. I just had to lay there. Gentry didn’t carry diseases like humans. I couldn’t get pregnant. One night, and I could finally get revenge on that bastard Aeson and the smug look on his face. And yes, Dorian had been right: I’d be getting revenge on Kiyo too. Who knew? Maybe sleeping with Dorian would fill the terrible, aching hole Kiyo’s betrayal had left in me. â€Å"Admiring the view?† asked Dorian when he finally entered. I stood by the huge picture window, staring at my own reflection in the dark glass. â€Å"I’m never here in daylight. I’ve never seen what it looks like.† â€Å"It’s lovely. You’ll see it in the morning.† I supposed I would. He took off the heavy robe, poured a glass of wine, and sprawled back on the pile of pillows on his bed. The move seemed less an initiation into sex and more of an expression of fatigue. He looked very ordinary. Very human. â€Å"You look tired.† I leaned against the bedpost, watching him. He exhaled heavily. â€Å"It’s hard work amusing one’s admirers – as you can no doubt attest to. How’d you like your first royal party? Tell me who you spoke to. Your night must have been more tedious than mine.† Gingerly, I sat on the bed’s edge and recounted the night for him. I gave my opinions and offered up as many details as I could on my many solicitations. Names eluded me, but Dorian could identify the culprits pretty easily based on other identifying information. He laughed so hard at my accounts and opinions, I thought he’d start crying. Swinging himself up gracefully, he slid over on the satin coverlet to sit beside me. â€Å"You poor, poor thing. No wonder you like hunting us down. Although, I confess after my own equally inane experiences tonight, I might have a few names to give you.† â€Å"You shouldn’t say things like that.† He shook his head and laughed. â€Å"Stay here long enough, and you’ll say them too.† Those gold and green eyes watched me, glimmering with both affection and desire. For a moment, I could almost believe Dorian wanted me for me and not for my human fertility or connection to a prophecy. Resting his hand on the back of my neck, he kissed me, and I had no more time for questions. We’d kissed a lot by now, and his lips still held that same silky softness, that careful precision and control. I was used to this, and it warmed up every part of me, but tonight’s inevitable conclusion loomed before me. My lips almost faltered but still managed to kiss him back. I could do this. It was easy†¦right? He gently lay me back on the bed, still kissing me as he rested his body partially across my own. The heat and weight of him triggered something pleasurable within me, even as some part of my brain suddenly started pining for Kiyo and recalling every bad thing I’d ever been taught about gentry. My breath quickened but not from passion. No, no, I chastised myself, forcing my body to not go rigid. This is Dorian. There’s nothing to be afraid of. But I was afraid. This didn’t feel right. I couldn’t let myself do it, even though I knew there was no reason not to. I hung out with gentry now. I had titles. I wanted to learn their magic. I wanted to kill Aeson. And yet, somehow, some part of me refused to give into this final – Dorian broke away from me and sat up. â€Å"It’s as I thought. You don’t want to really do this. You’re afraid of me.† I half sat up, propping on my elbow. Swallowing, I tried to breathe more steadily. â€Å"Didn’t you say once that you wanted me to be afraid?† â€Å"Not this afraid. Besides, your heart is a bit muddled tonight.† He rose from the bed and casually poured another goblet of wine. Sipping from it, he walked over to the window and stared at the nothingness, just as I had earlier. â€Å"W-what are you doing?† â€Å"I told you before. I don’t take women who don’t want me.† He kept his back to me, but his voice held that usual carefree tone. Like everything was still just one big joke. I wondered if he was upset. I couldn’t read him at all. â€Å"Er, wait†¦Ã¢â‚¬  I scrambled off the bed and grabbed his arm, nearly spilling the wine. â€Å"What are you saying? We have to do this. I swear, it doesn’t matter. I want to do this. Really.† â€Å"Maybe. You don’t look at me like you do the kitsune, but I’ve felt your desire before. It’s a fleeting thing, though, and it can’t quite win against that part of you that says not to submit to one of the shining ones.† â€Å"Maybe we can ignore that part.† He laughed and touched my cheek. â€Å"I adore you, you know that? I’m so happy I met you.† I swallowed, anxious and desperate. â€Å"Please, Dorian. I want to get Jasmine. We have to do this.† â€Å"We aren’t doing anything like that. Not tonight, I’m afraid.† He walked away and sat back on the bed near the headboard, just as he had earlier. â€Å"I will, however, make you a deal. We will postpone our arrangement until you’re ready. In exchange for this grace period, I add the further caveat that we won’t go to Aeson until you’ve made some suitable progress with your magic.† I thought about our last couple of dismal lessons. â€Å"That might take awhile†¦.† â€Å"Then it takes awhile. Really, if you want every edge you can get to defeat him, you’ll be better off knowing something about your power, even if it’s small. Your weapons are strong, but if they’re gone†¦then they’re gone.† I wanted to fight him on this, to tell him I couldn’t wait that long. Fuck the magic. Fuck my prudish resistance. We should get the sex over with and just grab Jasmine. But I knew he was right. On all levels. He didn’t deserve my body without my mind being into it, and I did need every advantage I could get. â€Å"Well, then†¦can we practice tonight? Seeing as how nothing else is going on?† If I distracted myself, maybe I’d stop hurting for Kiyo. â€Å"No point in bothering with tact, eh? Very well, then, let’s see what we can accomplish.† I dragged a chair into the middle of the room while Dorian produced some more cords from his never-ending supply. â€Å"Beige and violet,† he said, holding them up. â€Å"To match your dress.† â€Å"It’s ‘champagne.'† He didn’t tie my hands this time, but he did completely bind my torso. Again, he used intricate patterns as he worked, integrating unique braids and weaves. The purple silk crisscrossed around my breasts, and each time his hand brushed some sensitive part, a secret thrill would run through my body. What was the matter with me? If I could have these physical reactions, then why couldn’t I have sex with him? The binding took forever, just like always. It made me so impatient, but Dorian clearly enjoyed it. He worked with infinite patience, careful of every weave and knot. When he finally finished, he stood back and surveyed me, just as he had the last two times. â€Å"Very nice,† he observed, eyes taking me in. A strange thought occurred to me as I sat there. I willingly let him do this to me, but really, it was a leap of faith. My arms might be free, but as he stood over me, I realized how helpless I was. How totally in his power I was if he wanted to abuse it. But he didn’t. He never did. After blindfolding me, I heard him fetch the water pitcher from the other room. Once it was apparently hidden, he returned to the bed. I heard the bed shift under his weight, the sound of more wine pouring out. â€Å"Have at it,† he said. I focused just like I’d done in our last two lessons. My mind expanded, reaching out into the room, trying to find the water I supposedly had an affinity for. I repeated the same exercises, visualizing moisture and wetness. The way it felt and tasted. Yet, when I pointed to where I thought the water jug sat, he told me I was wrong. So I tried again. Three more times, to be precise. Failures each time. I heard him yawn. â€Å"Would you like to call it a night? I dare say this bed is big enough for us to sleep chastely in. Or, if you wish, I have no qualms about sleeping on the sofa in the other room.† â€Å"No,† I said stubbornly. â€Å"I want to try again.† â€Å"As you like.† Again, I went through the motions, hating them yet burning with need. I wanted to do this. I wanted to control the power. I might have failed at sex tonight, but I would not fail at – â€Å"It’s there,† I said suddenly. â€Å"Where?† I pointed, and in my outstretched hand, I could almost feel something wet. It was so easy. How had I not noticed this before? â€Å"It’s right beside you. Really close. If you’re still lying on the bed, I’d say†¦elbow level. Maybe on the table.† He stayed quiet. â€Å"Well? I’m right, aren’t I?† â€Å"Check the rest of the room.† My hopes crumbled. â€Å"I was wrong again.† â€Å"Just check. See if the water is somewhere else.† I didn’t get his game. Why the vagueness? Had I found it or not? But I tried again, reaching out into the room. That spot near him pulsed to my senses. The water was there, I knew it. So what was this all about? Another spot suddenly called out to me. I reached for it without using my hands this time, and that same strong pulsing reached back. And with that sensation came a slight tingle, only a spark, but it whispered of the power I’d felt in the dream-memory. â€Å"Okay. Right by the door. On the floor, I think.† â€Å"Yes.† The response was surprisingly simple and clear. No jokes or games. â€Å"Right? I’m right? Really? You’re not just messing with me so we can go to bed?† I heard his soft laugher as he walked to the door and then approached me. Taking my hand, he dipped it down into a ceramic pitcher, and I felt cool water slide over my hand. I laughed, ecstatic and empowered. I felt like splashing it on both of us. â€Å"So what’d I find the first time then? By the bed? It must have been something, judging from your reaction.† â€Å"Indeed it was.† He took the pitcher away, walked toward the bed, and returned to me. I felt his arm move toward me, and then the scent of something strong and fruity touched my nose. â€Å"The wine,† I realized. â€Å"I found the wine.† â€Å"Yes. Quite remarkable too, considering I’d almost drank it all.† He set the decanter down and untied my blindfold. â€Å"Now, my dear, it’s time to go to sleep.† He knelt before me and started the tedious process of undoing all those ties and knots. I waved my free hands. â€Å"You want help?† He shook his head. I could smell the wine on him. â€Å"No. Leave me my simple pastimes, please.† â€Å"Are you drunk?† â€Å"Probably.† He worked steadily on freeing me from the cords, his fingers a little less precise than they’d been earlier. I again felt that strange chill over being so ensnared. Released at last, I stood up and stretched. â€Å"Can I have some of that?† I wanted to celebrate, and after weeks of good behavior, I realized I could safely drink here. Funny that the safest place for me now would be in a gentry’s keep. He held up the decanter. There was probably only one glass left. He eyed it askance for a moment and then took off his shirt. Perplexed, I watched him walk over to the door and stick his head out. â€Å"Yes, sire?† I heard a voice say. â€Å"We need more wine!† declared Dorian in a booming voice. â€Å"Lady Markham and I have a lot more to do tonight.† â€Å"Right away, your majesty!† â€Å"Hurry, man. You have no idea how demanding she is. I can barely keep her satisfied as it is.† I heard boots running on the stone floor. Dorian shut the door and turned to me. â€Å"Your wine will be here shortly, and my prowess will no doubt be proclaimed throughout the castle.† I rolled my eyes at his show. â€Å"So did I pass the test?† â€Å"Hmm?† â€Å"You said I had to make progress in magic before we could go get Jasmine.† â€Å"Oh. That. Well, this wasn’t exactly progress.† â€Å"The hell it wasn’t.† He sat next to me on the bed. â€Å"You found the water. Now you have to do something with it. Your enemies won’t be impressed when you inform them there’s a lake just over the next hill.† I sighed. Great. â€Å"So what’s the next step?† â€Å"Next you make the water come to you.† â€Å"Huh. Well. That at least sounds more exciting.† â€Å"Not really. Mostly we do exactly the same thing except you just sit around and try to make it move.† â€Å"You’re the most boring teacher ever.† He grinned and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek, just as a knock sounded at the door. â€Å"It all depends on what you want me to teach you.† How to cite Storm Born Chapter Twenty-One, Essay examples

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.