I groaned again, clutching my shoulder. Something writhed in my flesh, something icky and gross. I could feel it moving and pulsing, pushing muscle aside, wrapping around bone and blood vessel, pinching at nerves. My gorge wanted to rise, and I attempted to think of anything but a parasite inside me.
"What did you do to her?" Steven growled. He held his ground, keeping Kurlog from coming in, but his eyes were on me. More than anything, Steven wanted to comfort me.
And I didn't want anything from him.
The writhing sensation increased, and I was sure my skin was moving. But there was nothing beneath my hand as I clasped my shoulder. There was nothing to indicate that something was living within me.
"I had to find the little Grayling again. So while I was having my way with her, I put something in her." Kurlog laughed. "Well, put something else in her."
"You let him touch you?" Steven's attention was fully on me. He even turned away from the big warrior in the other room. "Him? A failed Lord?"
I laughed at the absurdity of the situation. "I had no idea who he was at the time. Kind of like I didn't know who you were."
His face turned red, his jaw clenching. "So that makes it okay to fuck him?"
Kurlog interrupted, stooping through the door to shove Steven aside. He was still as enormous, but somehow he fit in the cottage. My vision blurred when I looked at him, and I couldn't figure it out. Damn Chaos and its disregard for Order and reality.
"Get off your high horse, kid. She's too good for you."
Steven whirled, staring up at the red-haired Chaos Lord. "And you think you deserve her?"
I tried to move, but nearly threw up. I didn't want to be here, but I couldn't get up and leave.
Maybe I could wish myself away like I got here.
"I'm certainly more entitled to her than you are, Ascended. At least I was born to immortality." Kurlog braced his legs, shoulders thrown back, hands wrapped around his belt. "You're just a pathetic human."
He spat the word, and I flinched. Memories swarmed up from my subconscious, pushing aside my illness and this fight.
I knew this cottage. This entire hamlet had belonged to my father. I'd spent time here, teaching the children, helping the wives, showing the artisans new techniques. I liked the humans, liked their simple and short lives. Part of me had wanted to elevate them through teaching.
The village head's son was a bright young man; good to look at, and intelligent. We'd spent time together, and he became my favorite human. He was eager to please, eager to learn, and he gave me hope for their entire race.
I loved him, and wanted him to live forever. I didn't want to be without him. Swearing to find a way to bring him out of mortality, I studied and researched and dug and dug.
Father had warned me against my course, but didn't stop me. Eventually I found a path of ascendence, and worked to educate Steven. I would give him immortality.
Memories faded as Steven attacked Kurlog. Where had I gone so wrong?