Shadow Cursed by May Sage Page 0,1
I wait in the shadows of my Myst, invisible to the eyes of any fae. As humans are blind at the best of times, they see only a fog in front of them, and don’t even sense that anything is wrong until it’s far too late.
I let them approach, silent and immobile. I am a spider, and like the insects they are, they’re too easily caught in my web. When the dozen men are within reach, I strike, turning the world into fire all around me, scorching their flesh with blue flames. They dance all around me, tickling my skin.
The humans scream—some have the presence of mind to roll on the ground, others run away. None of that will help. They’ll stop suffering if and when I allow them to.
I hear the rest of their regiment advance, entirely focused on me rather than following after my companions. That’s the way I like it.
My parents and sister unfortunately don’t see it in the same light. The last time she shouted at me, Ma called me suicidal.
She’s wrong…and right. I’m not suicidal. I am already dead, the heart in the cavity of my chest long frozen. I care for them still. I care about the future of Tenebris—for I’ll never call our land anything else. I care about making the humans pay for taking our lands.
For all that, passion, desire, enjoyment have left me. I am a shell of the man I used to be. I’m sorry it pains my family. I’m not sorry it has turned me into Shadow. A monster who can put himself in the line of fire without a care. I am a weapon; one of our only weapons in a losing war.
The humans rush to aid their companions, and fire extends to the rest of them as they enter my web.
“Stay away from the monster—we need to kill him from a distance! Archers, lances, on my command! The sorcerer—”
Monster. I suppose that’s what I am. Not because of any of my abilities. I’m a monster because I can take lives without letting it matter to me. I’m a monster because I don’t feel. I’m a monster because of her.
I move too fast for any mortal eyes to see, taking a small knife I made a week ago in my grasp and throwing it. The leader’s words die when the blade sails through his throat. Watching him fall off his black warhorse, the lieutenant at his side freezes in horror, realizing his commander's death means he’s now in charge. Which would make him the next corpse on the blood-soaked moss.
If I were still who I used to be, there would be another knife flying through the night. I’d kill for the sake of it, again and again. But it’s a pointless endeavor. Crunching locusts is a child’s game. More will spring up in an instant. What I need is for them to leave, ensuring Iola and Erdun’s safe return.
I let him choose his fate, watching him as he stares at me, sizing me up.
“Fall back! Fall back to the Court! On my lead.”
Some mortals are smarter than others.
I retract my fire, letting those who aren’t yet dead extinguish. Burning them wouldn’t provide so much as a smidgen of satisfaction or entertainment, and it wouldn’t do to use up more energy than necessary.
Myst, like any power, is taxing on the mind. I’d hate to have to sleep before the end of the night. It’d worry Ma and Neb. Besides, I mislike fatigue. There are always things to do in Whitecroft. Young folk to train, fields to plan, swords to sharpen.
Pa understands, I think. He doesn’t say much, unlike the females in my family, but sometimes, I catch looks he sends my way when he doesn’t think I’m paying him any mind. He touches my shoulder for too long, or sighs when he watches me.
That’s worse than shouting. I see him mourning his son, though I’m right in front of his eyes. He knows part of me is gone, buried inside Whitecroft Hall.
Buried right next to Nevlaria Bane.
I don’t know why I took the loss of Vlari so hard. Perhaps she represented amusement and freedom to me. Perhaps it’s something else entirely.
I make my way back to the dome of light stretching over hectares, engulfing all of Whitecroft’s extensive grounds under Vlari’s protection.
I would never have thought that Whitecroft was intended to be used as a fortress. It was nothing but a school for the richest of the folk, or