February 27, 2016 by jorthusbooks
by Ruth Davis Hays 2011 (from the fantasy worlds of Jorthus)
After hearing the bitter truth from ‘Khiall, that he did not keep the other boys safe out of loyalty, Daviel presses him further to find what he wants to know.
“You would’ve gone without us, wouldn’t you?” he asked the raven-haired tempter. When ‘Khiall said yes, Daviel lashed back. “Then why did you take us?”
The fae’s face wrinkled at the ungratefulness of the humans. “You all were the ones bothering me with questions about women. Like I am some sort of expert. I thought that maybe you might find your own answers.”
“But those weren’t women, they were water daemons.” Daviel glanced away, unable to look at him with the memories of that night’s sport running through his mind. ‘Khiall’s grin only made it worse.
“They may have been more spirit than flesh, but they were females all the same.”
“Were you intimate with all of them?” Daviel asked guardedly, the beaming satisfaction in the other’s eye burning into him.
“Not all,” he admitted, the grin irrepressible. “I’m surprised that you didn’t come down to join us. Out of all you humans, I thought that you…”
“Why me? I’m not a beast that has to give in to such base urges,” Daviel snapped, meeting the fae’s stare this time. “I can stay clean by denying them.”
“Denying those urges is just an excuse to act under a false sense of superiority. Everyone has them.” ‘Khiall stepped close, challenging the young acolyte to refute him. “I know that you have urges too, as do all the priests and priestesses. I just choose not to live a lie.”
“Was it worth it, then?” Daviel retorted. “Was your little romp really worth the lashing, the interrogation, even nearly being drowned by those witches?”
“You’ll never know first hand, will you little priest?” ‘Khiall smirked wickedly down at him.
The dark fae was so close to him, he could feel his breath. Tantalizingly close. His deep voice continued to cloy at Daviel. “They may have tried to tempt me under those waves, but they could never keep me there. Some would have counted death as the price to pay for such delicious attentions, and they would be right.”
“You disgust me. I would never give chase as if I were a beast,” Daviel breathed, almost inaudible. His back was pressed hard up against the wall as he tried to avoid the pressing contact with the beguiling fae as he loomed near.
“What is it that you want from me, Daviel?” The sound was so intimate that it could have been a kiss on his ear. “Why did you watch me with those naiades? Because you wanted to, not because I made you. I kept your name out of it; I took the lashes. So, what more do you want from me? Do you wish me to say that I did it because I care? Because we’re friends?”
“No.” Daviel resisted, staring out over the broad shoulder. He would not give this creature the satisfaction of ingratiating himself. “I know that you didn’t do any of that to protect me… or any of us. I think you like getting into trouble, and you like taking the punishments. Fine, take them and see if I care.”
“Maybe you liked watching me take the lashes. Otherwise you would have spoken up,” ‘Khiall struck back at him, his blue eyes questing to trap his. “You may believe in The Cleansing of Coriegan, or Duathea, or even Cuathar. But, I don’t. I think you were afraid to join me in the river, and afraid to take your stripes for it. You’re as weak as the rest of them. But, you’re right. I don’t care about any of you and I do get into trouble on purpose, because I don’t plan on staying here. I’m only here because I am being locked away from the one person I ever did care about. Alright? That’s the simple truth of it. Is that what you wanted from me?”
The two boys were staring intently into each other now; the jaded honesty creating something indescribable between them. Daviel realized that this was only part of what he had wanted from the fae all along. This secret frankness; this prize. It had a cleansing power all its own. Daviel stood up a bit straighter.
“Then why don’t you leave here.” He challenged ‘Khiall. “You’ve already proven that you can get out, or perhaps that was the real purpose for the little escapade the other night. To show us that you were not beholden like the rest of us. Just leave if you have no friends.”
A silent fuming drifted off ‘Khiall for a moment and then something happened that Daviel thought was incredible. ‘Khiall backed down; his keen, penetrating eyes fell to the ground as he said quietly, “Because I don’t know where I am.”
Daviel didn’t laugh, though his mind barked loudly with mocking laughter. He merely smirked, “What do you mean?”
The blue eyes came back up at him again, accusing this time. ‘Khiall pushed away from the wall sullenly. “I was unconscious when I was brought here, and no one will tell me where the monastery is located. They keep maps away from me. I’m as good as lost if I go any farther from the walls than I can see. I may be fae, but only a fool would run into the woods alone when he doesn’t know where the nearest village is!”
“So, you need help if you are to leave here.” Daviel was enjoying the other’s weakness entirely too much. He was glorying in it as much as he thought that ‘Khiall had been relishing his victory with the water women.
‘Khiall sensed the fellow’s mood and recoiled like a snake ready to strike. “You find this amusing? Don’t act so smug, it may not be you that I need help from. There are others willing to assist me.”
Unexpectedly, it struck Daviel. What this had all been about. Why ‘Khiall had followed him and stopped to speak with him. The arrogant fae had picked him to ask for help. And here he was, practically laughing in his face. His heart thundered inside him, swelling with sudden humility. “Sorry. I …” he stumbled on his words for a moment, his victory falling numb as his pulse raced at the thought of truly conspiring with ‘Khiall. “No, I can help you. Of course.”
The sound of footsteps rang heavily in the corridor as classes were letting out. The two exchanged glances.
“But, later. Not here,” Daviel remarked quickly and ‘Khiall nodded before stalking off to another area of the monastery, leaving him to wonder with excitement what his part in this escape would entail.
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