Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Karawyn & Aerath: The Way They Were

It was sort of fun posting old, cut chapters from Return to Arethane, reliving moments with Emily and Jarrad that now only happened in the backstory SO, I'm now giving you one from Karawyn's perspective.

Again, it comes from Return to Arethane when it was called Glow.  Also, Aerath and his father when by another name then:  Aerath was known as Gareth (far stretch, I know, but the new name had elfish meaning) and Malyr was known as Varick.  The following was what occurred in Karawyn's mind when her spell wore off at sunset and she wandered hauntingly through the woods.

I stood up from the porch swing and walked forward, not looking where my feet took me.  I didn’t just see him now; I could feel him.  He was with me.  Walking with me through the woods like we did so many nights before. 
I opened my eyes. 
He was there.  
I was unaware of how far I had walked.  Dense trees surrounded me.  They guided me and assured me I was safe.  The night was black with no moon in the sky.  
My heart fell.  His presence was stronger in the moonlight.  
He began to fade, like a dream upon waking.  I fought to pull him closer to me, but I couldn’t.  He was no longer tangible and I felt the tears fall at this. 
The forest reminded me of hurt.  Abandonment.  I should hate him.  But I didn’t.  I couldn’t.  I only ever loved him…since the day we first met. 
I was angry with him, but I didn’t want to waste this time with those feelings.  Something told me this time was fleeting.
So I sang to myself while I wandered.  It was the song he used to sing to me.  I closed my eyes and he was with me again.
I was no longer here in these woods.  I was far away, standing under a tree, shadowed in the moonlight.  An enormous moon hung in the sky; so big it felt close enough to touch if I stood on my tiptoes.  I could hear crickets chirping and the quiet rippling of water nearby. 
I could smell the water. 
A lake. 
There was a large meadow stretching around me and an endless lake to my right.  It was a warm night.  The lake sounded inviting.
I leaned against the tree; a sheer white dress clung to me in the breeze.  It was held up by thin straps that tied around my neck.  I could feel the wind touch every inch of my skin; cool and caressing the wet hair at my neck.  It was heavenly.
I looked around me at the meadow lit brightly in the moonlight like a silver afternoon.  The line of forest was black against the deep, purple sky. 
A silhouette formed in the middle of the field.  A tall, slender, dark figure strode fluidly toward me.  As he moved closer, the moonlight illuminated the side of his face – white, smooth and soft.  His features were still in shadow.  He wore a loose white shirt, unbuttoned to show a bare, pale chest and stomach.  His abdominal muscles flexed with each step.  His black pants accented his long legs.
As he came near, my heart raced.  Pounding so hard I thought it would break free of my chest.  My breaths came short and quick.  I fought to even them out. 
The moonlight hit his face fully and his bright smile sent shivers down my warm skin. 
He stopped two feet from me. 
I stood up from against the tree and turned my body squarely to him.  My hands clenched with excitement. 
He moved closer.  My legs trembled.
He moved closer still, so that his chest was barely a whisper from mine.  An electric current pulsed between our bodies, pulling like two attracted magnets. He leaned his head down to me.  His full lips turned in a gentle smile.  I lifted my chin to look him in his eyes, sparkling like diamonds in the moonlight. 
I no longer heard the crickets or the lake or felt the wind.  There was nothing in this world but the two of us. 
He moved one hand and slid it around my waist, his long fingers curving around my back.  He raised his other hand and brushed his fingers lightly down the side of my face.  His eyes followed his fingertips as they moved across my lips, over my chin, and down my neck; resting in the hollow valley in between my collar bones.  His palm flattened against my chest; the heart beneath responding by throbbing faster.
“Hello,” he softly murmured.
“You’re warm.”
“Am I?”
He removed his shirt, fully exposing his ivory torso and marble shoulders.  A gasp escaped my lips – I had never seen him this way before.  He grinned at me – his mischievous grin that always made my knees weak.  Before they could give way, he swept me up in his arms and held me close to his chest.  I wrapped my arms around his neck, my face just inches from his, as he began to walk to the lake.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“For a swim,” he grinned.
He didn’t give me time to fight – not that it would have done any good, he was so much stronger than I.  He kicked off his boots and walked into the shallow shore as I struggled pointlessly in his arms.  He descended deeper and deeper into the water, still holding me.
I felt the cold wash suddenly over me and engulf me, sending chills down my arms and legs as I gasped.  I gripped his neck tighter and his smile grew wider, the muscles in his arms tightening. 
His eyes were spirited in the light.
Then he bent his legs and we were both submerged under the water.  Below the surface, he let go of my legs, allowing them to float away from him, but he held my face in his hands and pulled it to his.  His lips found mine in the dark waters and I felt a rush of warm and cold as his mouth opened to mine.  My hair and dress swirled around us as our bodies drifted toward each other and entwined. 
I ran my hands over his shoulders and arms.  His skin felt like cold satin.  His muscles flexed as he held me closer, his hands moved up my back and behind my neck. 
The water finally pushed us up and we emerged, gasping and panting.  His mouth hung open as he stared at me with conflict warring in his eyes, his chest heaving and glistening.  His arms wrapped around my waist and pulled me against him.  He struggled with some emotion I couldn’t read, and buried his face in my neck.  I could feel his heart pulsing against my chest.
“You’re shivering.  Are you cold?” he asked as he pulled away from me.
He glanced down and quickly back up again, grinning.
“Wait here.”
The water barely rippled as he waded out of the lake, streams cascading down his back as he moved, and emerged dripping.  He bent over and grabbed his shirt and then turned to me.  A crooked smile turned up the corner of his mouth as he held the shirt open and turned his face to the side, eyes looking at the mountains. 
I looked down at the white dress floating around me and understood his meaning.  Embarrassment burned my cheeks as I wrapped my arms around my chest.  I walked out of the lake and into the waiting arms of the shirt, grateful for his act of chivalry.  He buttoned the shirt up and held his arms around me, lowering us both down onto the thick grass.
We laid there holding each other for hours.  His fingers lightly traced lines up and down my arm draped over his chest.
“You said you loved me last night,” I finally worked up the courage to say.
“I know.”
“That was the first time.”  My face turned up to his, his eyes staring up at the night sky, stars reflected in their gray depth.
“It wasn’t the first time,” he grinned and looked down at me.
I smiled and turned my face into his chest, pressing my lips against his smooth skin as modesty gripped me.
“You didn’t give me a chance to reply,” I whispered.
He was silent, waiting patiently for my mouth to work up the courage to say what my heart knew the first day I met him.  The pause must have started to affect him, for he tightened his arm around me and I felt his breath hold.
“I love you, too.  Of course I do!” I blurted out.
The air escaped loudly from his lungs and he pulled me up so that I lay on top of his chest, my face directly above his.
“You have me completely, Princess Karawyn, daughter of Aubrey.  I am yours forever,” he whispered, lifting his mouth up to mine. 
“I am yours forever,” I repeated against his lips.
Everything turned dark.

My memory suddenly shot forward, taking me to another, colder time.
I was in my room. 
Blankets of white snow covered the woods surrounding the palace.  I sat beside a large fire drawn in the hearth, humming while I painted the scenery extending outside my window. 
There was a light tap on the door as Jabari poked his head around it.
“Good day,” I stated without looking away from my work.
“May I speak with you a moment, Your Highness?” he asked timidly.
“Of course.  What’s on your mind?” 
He entered and began to pace and fidget nervously, cleaning his spectacles.
            “Well, there are some awful rumors floating around the kingdom about…” he trailed off.
“Well about you,” he sputtered after a long pause.
I laid down my brush and looked him in the eyes. 
“And what are these rumors?”
“Please tell me you’re not having an affair with a dark elf!  And not just any dark elf, but Gareth, Varick’s son!!”  His voice rose as he spoke his accusation.
“So?” I asked indifferently.
“So?!” he exasperated.  “Tell me it’s not true!”
“I cannot.  That would be a lie.”
“Karawyn, you cannot continue this.  He’s your father’s enemy.  He’s a killer.  You must end it.”
            I stood up suddenly, my fists at my sides, speaking in a lethal whisper.  “He is not a killer.  He is not our enemy.”  My voice began to rise as my temper turned to bubbling mercury.  “You will not dare tell me what to do.  I will NOT end it.  I love him!” 
Had there been any glass in my room, it would have shattered then.  There was none for that very reason.
His body sunk against the mantle of the fireplace.
            “Karawyn, please.  This is too dangerous.”
“This is not a matter I care to discuss with you.  You are no longer my tutor.  You are my father’s advisor.  Not my advisor.  Leave my room at once,” I bellowed and pointed at the door, glowering at him.  “You have no business here!”
He turned and shuffled meagerly out of the room.  I sat back down, my hands shaking and a longing to be with Gareth clenching my insides.  I closed my eyes and let the dark soothe me.


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