by Ruth Davis Hays 2011
As the days dragged the two young paramours further and further apart, each had to adjust to their new realities, even if their hearts’ memories remained with each other…
His appetite returned with vigor. In the days after the surgery, D’harromarrie’khiall waded in a pool of rawness that was growing ever more shallow.
The acolyte that came in three times a day to give him meager meals of bread, fruit, and milk was a striking, young human with a crown of short-cropped brown hair and sharp eyes. He kept his mouth dutifully closed no matter how relentlessly ‘Khiall tried to interrogate him. The other monk that entered his room every day turned out to be more pliable, though ‘Khiall did not look forward to his visits as much. This was the one that saw to his dressings and medical attention.
Twice a day, a dry husk of a human came shuffling into the dim cell, his sandaled feet scraping on the stones. His gnarled hands holding the small, thin tin of healing salve made with Apthia Water, Brother Talwa would grin toothlessly at him. The relief and pleasant sensation from the salve was tainted by the humiliation he felt as the old man applied it with lingering fingers.
Staring hard at the ceiling, his eyes prying apart the wooden beams that spread out across the overhead as the warm gel was smeared on him, ‘Khiall ground his teeth and gripped at the cot to keep from smacking the old human across the room. He tried once again to gain information.
“How long before I’m healed completely?” he grumbled, trying his best to sound complacent with the old man’s efforts to administer to him.
“It is still very red,” the stringy, heavily accented voice of the old monk stated. Then he sounded amused when he asked, “Can you walk yet?”
“No,” D’harromarrie’khiall said plaintively.
“Are you still tender?”
“Yes!” The fae grimaced, nearly jerking out of the cot as the monk tapped his crotch hard to prove the point. Not amused, ‘Khiall grabbed the man’s brittle wrist and yanked it away from his wound. “Must you do that?” he growled, irritated.
There was a malicious glint in the ancient human’s eye. He said calmly, “Then you are not ready to leave, are you?”
Releasing him, ‘Khiall lay back and asked in a low voice, “When will I be sent home? There are servants to care for me there.” Though, it was not the servants that he was anxious to see again. His mind was constantly running back to Lauralei, even in his dreams.
“You are better served here,” was all he would hear whenever confronting anyone with this topic. It was extremely annoying to never get a straight answer. ‘Khiall fumed silently as the hand came back towards his genitals with the placid cream glistening on it. He could not stop his taloned hand from snatching the human by the wrist again.
“It is thrice-blessed Apthia Water, my dear boy. It will speed your healing tenfold.” The old man cackled innocently.
“Doubtless,” D’harromarrie’khiall held him at bay still. His chest felt constricted. “But, must you rub it on like that?”
The old man’s head cocked in feigned confusion and he asked, “How else can it be applied?”
“I’m recovered enough to eat my own meals and stay awake through the days. Can I not do this myself?” ‘Khiall insisted.
Snapping his arm away from the young fae with a surprising strength, the man chuckled knowingly. “Now, we cannot have the area over stimulated, or the sutures will rupture.” He grinned down at the young man.
“I’m pissing blood and can barely do that, old man,” he snapped, his eyes flaming intensely. “It’s not as though I’m in the mood to test those limits.”
“Young men, such as yourself, are easily roused,” the monk chided.
“That’s highly unlikely with you around,” “Khaill muttered. The human looked offended for a moment then began to scrape the salve back into the tin.
“We are commissioned to heal you. No matter how ungrateful you are.” Talwa was murmuring more to himself than to D’harromar’rie’khiall.
“By whom?” A bit of panic shadowed his stomach as the monk closed the tin. Talwa had only applied one layer and his mouth seemed to shut as quickly as his tin. ‘Khiall tried again. “How long am I to stay here?”
Thin lips pressed tight, Brother Talwa picked up the fresh bandages with his gnarled hands.
Desperation for news filled ‘Khiall and he tried a different approach. Watching the fellow carefully fold the wrapping, he took a deep breath and said as humbly as he could, “Forgive me, mon-sirra. I don’t mean to seem ungrateful.”
The cold gray eyes flicked down at him again. It wasn’t much but at least it was a response.
“Please, I just wish to know what is to become of me,” he said as his blue eyes pleaded darkly. “Will you not tell me?”
Sitting back down slowly, the brother sighed and placed his hands in his lap. “You are to apprentice under the High Priest of Coreigan,” he said simply.
D’harromar’rie’khiall felt a weight swell and pull his heart down to the Nine pits of Hell. His mind spun along a murky path. Apprenticeship in a monastery meant a life of seclusion and servitude. His knowledge of the Coreigan doctrine was sketchy, but he remembered that the priests followed a path of sacrifice and painful ritual to come closer to their spiritual guide. Solomen had placed him into a life of torment that masqueraded as faith. He wondered what Lauralei’s fate would be and if he would ever see her again. His emotions began to roil and burn as he struggled against this destiny.
The old monk began to dress his wound and ‘Khiall snapped violently at him, “Leave me alone!”
“But your dressings, I must change them.” The monk fumbled in shock at the sudden outburst.
“I don’t care,” the fae growled as he pulled himself into a sitting position. “I’m just sick of lying here letting you fondle me like an old pervert!”
With that, Brother Talwa snatched up his bandages and salve tin. He left the room in an indignant huff, slamming and locking the cell door with a resounding click.
That sound hurt D’harromar’rie’khiall more than the rash movement. Sore and stiff, he settled back down onto the cot slowly and pulled the sheet up over his torso. His breath staggered as he wrestled against the thought of being trapped here. The walls and roof of the small room crushing in on him, his mind raced.
A priest of Coreigan was not a path that he would tread willingly.
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