Friday, October 19, 2018

#FridayFlash - Diary of a Temple Cat 2

Yarn balls and warm cream, I love my temple! It's small, and a little disused, but it has a long history and a piece of the Secret. Dogs chase anyone who looks down upon it or me.

Master Shadow and I had a pleasant journey here, almost like we were blessed. Temple virgins rode with us in the palanquin, keeping our fur soft with their pettings, and our tummies full of dried fish.

I purred so hard that I thought I might vibrate apart. This seemed to make the girls happy, and their prayers carried farther while I laid in their laps. Master Shadow had to slow blink me to calmness, to help me maintain my dignity.

Speaking of dignity; the procession into the temple was the most overwhelming moment ever. I was carried at the head of the line, on a silk pillow, the virgins singing in my name. The sun was so very warm, but Master Shadow said I couldn't take a nap until after we settled in. I couldn't even chase the waving banners, no matter how delightful they would be to chase and pounce on.

My new priest is fat and old, but he showed me respect. He had a bowl of delicious liver waiting for me, and everyone waited for me to accept the offering. After long days of traveling, I really needed it. It wasn't nearly enough, and I gobbled it all down, and all my humans seemed very happy.

Then I got to see the Secret! I could use all nine lives trying to describe the wonderousness of the moment, but it would never be enough. Not that words are necessary; merely being Its keeper is enough. My nose is quivering again just thinking of it.

No catnip has ever been this intense. No cream has ever been this sweet, no sunbeam this warm. I am honored to have been chosen, and will perform to the very fullest of my furry best.

My temple and my name will live through the ages.


Monday, October 15, 2018

The Shalafae Archives - His Love

Morrigana has complicated relationships. Being a master assassin, slightly cruel, and a violent dragon, it's surprising when so many people come to love her.

***

Pain gnawed along every nerve in her body. Sometimes she cursed her draconic heritage, and did so now. Her elven companion, bleeding from several deep wounds, touched her elbow, steadying her. She spat blood, letting herself collapse to her knees.

"Just a bit farther, Gana-tii," Elthanael said lowly, his own voice trembling with pain. "We've got to get under shelter before the storm."

Morrigana growled, spasms moving through her tattered wings. She'd felt the Chaos storm before her second-in-command, and she felt the affects of it more sharply than he did. Who ever heard of a Chaos lord who couldn't dwell in Chaos? The growl deepened as she shoved to her feet, blindly stumbling to shelter.

The world lurched, and the half-dragon woman howled in pain. The storm was upon them, whirling strands of pure Chaos, tearing at the fabric of reality around them. Morrigana clung to her pain, for it reminded her of her body, of her personality. The woman was cursed, she felt, and she could not retain her personality under large influences of the liquid force of Chaos.

Her mind cleared, and she keened lowly, realizing she and the elf were inside the cave. Her entire body seared with pain, pulsing with the dancing forces outside. Between her and the colors and flavors of the storm stood a thick barrier. It tasted of her father, and she knew he was close by. He just needed time to navigate the storm.

Elthanael leaned against a wall of the cave, an arm wrapped around his middle. His leather armor was rent in several places, a livid scar crossing his left shoulder down onto his golden chest. He looked exhausted and worn out, his hair limp around his face. Morri smiled faintly, wondering who had cut his ponytail off, and shifted on the sandy floor of the cave.

He frowned, wiping blood from one narrow cheek. "What do you have to smile about? You're in worse shape than me."

Her wings throbbed again, the air stirring across the sensitive patagia, and she wished she dared use her powers to shift shapes. Even though it was a natural power to her, it still drew from Chaos, and could trigger a fight for control she was too weak to win. "I was wondering who cut your hair off," she wheezed out. Morrigana tasted blood, and pondering what had been ruptured internally.

The elf ran a curious hand through the shorn locks, frowning. "Hadn't noticed. Probably that last war elemental." El shook his head, scooting on his butt towards his leader. "How are your wings?" He reached one scarred hand toward her back.

"They hurt," she mumbled, the tip of her tail lashing irritably. "Bad."

"Let me see if I can help," he said softly, and let a hand rest between her wings. Morrigana cried out, biting deep into her lip, drawing blood as pain raced through her limbs.

The elf's energy surged through on the heels of pain, and she sighed. It was soothing and warm, and chased away the aches. Heat settled in her wings, and they began twitching, the talons digging into the soft floor. Her voice rose in a strangled moan, and she drove her claws into the ground. Her lungs burned with the need to scream.

El's hand trembled, fingers digging into her back. She hissed, her body latching onto his energy, greedily drawing it in. Her wings vibrated, the heat becoming painful, her veins feeling molten in her skin, her joints feeling like they were going to come apart.

Morri gasped sharply, coming to a sudden stillness. She felt El as she felt herself, felt all his aches and wounds through herself. Her heart stumbled, and she felt his weariness. The elf was tapped out, pulling on reserves that were already drained.

The hybrid pushed herself to her hands and knees, and the two assassins groaned as one. Morrigana stretched her wings in the cramped room. The pain was gone, the majority of the tissues closed.

"Gana-tii," Elthanael muttered, his hand falling from her back. She curled onto her side, touching his leg, and breathed deeply. She no longer tasted blood, but there was a constriction through her ribs. The elf drew a deep breath, trembling with exhaustion, and collapsed down against her.

They lay like that for several long minutes, listening to the melodic rage of the storm outside. Elthanael's head rested comfortably on her thigh, and he stroked her near arm. Blinking lazily, the woman ran a taloned hand through his tattered hair.

She began to think, staring into his golden eyes. He had been a faithful companion since he killed his father to prove fealty to her. He'd never balked at her commands, had performed any dangerous missions she did, and not once had he asked for anything. Her beloved father had encouraged their partnership, entrusting the elf to keep the girl safe.

Elthanael had more than fulfilled that duty earlier in the day. They'd been sent to assassinate a war lord, and tangled with his captured war elementals. While Morri had broken one elemental free, El had nearly lost his life when the war lord attacked with his axe.

With the war lord's death, the other elementals had gone wild, chasing the two assassins around the plains and hills. The Chaos storm had already been moving in, trapping them on the planet. It was Elthanael who had found the cave.

Morrigana sighed softly, gently tugging at his golden locks. "Why?" she asked, thinking of all the damage he'd taken for her, and then used his dwindling strength to heal her. She still felt the bond between them, felt their hearts beating as one.

He looked away, his hand coming to a halt on her forearm. "Your father bade me-"

"Bullshit," she said lowly, tugging harder on his hair. The elf kept his eyes cast away, pulling his hand away from her. "None of that was spawned by Father's command."

He blushed, sitting up, and turned his back to her. "Gana-tii, I..." He paused, and she stroked his thigh. His heart was trembling, and some emotion burned deep in his soul. She didn't immediately recognize it, but it called to her, curiosity causing her to sit up. Morri's hand drifted up to his shoulder, and she waited for him to speak.

The elf's trembling increased, and he started to pull away. The burning emotion grew stronger, and she squeezed his shoulder. Morrigana grew impatient, and she called his name softly. He remained quiet, and she wondered if he heard her over the storm. Elthanael spoke before she could prompt him again.

"You remember when we met again? How I said I hadn't stopped thinking about you since we were children?" She nodded, drawing closer, and felt his awareness of her. He kept his head turned, and her brows drew sharply together. "I still haven't gotten you out of my head. Being able to work with you only eases the ache I feel, but nothing ends it."

His need jumped across their connection, and she groaned lowly. Understanding flooded her mind, and she finally recognized the unknown emotion.

Elthanael was in love with her. His heart was fixated on her, and he needed her as much as he needed to breathe. It was so similar to her need for her father.

The hybrid pressed herself against his lean back, and wrapped her arm around his shoulders. They were cousins, they were assassins, and they worked closely together. She relied on him, and she loved him. She'd been so comfortable around him, affectionate and tactile with him. Had he been harmed by her attentions, by her friendly touches?

"El, I'm so-"

"Don't!" he said sharply, turning haunted eyes towards her. "I don't want you to pity me. I could leave if I want. Or I could work for your father directly and not see you. I could become a free agent. But I like being around you." He reached up to clasp her forearm. "I enjoy your touch, and treasure any moment we have together. Morrigana..." The elf's voice trailed off as they fell into each other's eyes. "Morri, I love you. I always have."

Impulsive as always, the dragon pulled him closer to her, her hand forcing his head toward her. Their mouths met, and she kissed him fiercely, pouring her love through their connection.

El whimpered, trying briefly to pull back, and she tasted his fear. She growled, not breaking the kiss, and pulled harder on him. She continued to open her heart to him, wanting him to feel her need for him.

He finally stopped pulling away, and shifted. The elf clasped her face, kissing her harder, letting his tongue invade her mouth. Now it was the hybrid's turn to whimper as the force of his love swelled around her.

I couldn't live without him any more. I need him in my life. He's my shadow, my guardian, and I love him. I don't want him to ever leave.

El broke the kiss, his fingers tracing her jawline. "I will be with you as long as you will have me." He brushed his lips across her mouth.

Morri's hands roved his stomach and side, feeling his drying blood and seeping wounds. His joy warmed her heart, and made her feel comfortable and safe "You know a dragon only gives her heart to one mate."

Their eyes met, and she saw understanding in his golden eyes. "I know. I also know I can never replace your father." He kissed the tip of her nose. "I will never ask for anything more than you choose to give me. I will be content just to be at your side."

Morrigana pulled his face to her again, claiming his mouth and his fealty. She tasted his resolve, knowing he would follow through on his words, that he would not try to make her fall in love with him. She could give him love, but never her heart. The hybrid tasted his heart, strengthening the bond between them, and understood that her love was more than he expected.

The storm stopped abruptly, devoured by the presence that swelled the woman's heart. "Father!" she cried out, breaking the kiss. His icy mind touched hers, checking her health, and she laughed like a child. Scrambling past the elf, she burst out of the cave into the waiting arms of the Lord Shalafae. He kissed her greedily, concerned, angry that anyone had hurt her. The dragon silently assured him she was fine, kissing him hungrily, offering her heart to him.

Silently, Morrigana's shadow emerged from the cave, smiling faintly to himself.