XV. Extinguished

Luctus was not disappointed…no, no, no, for it was quite the opposite. Time only solidified his plots, tangling the lines into unexpected turns that formed perfections that he did not imagine fate would allow him to concoct.

Yes, Lucem did not die with Amzra’s puny war: he even went on to fulfill his betrothment in a ceremony modest enough to pass for a well-off commoner’s. Quite fitting.

Ah, how he digressed. Each day passed as a reminder of his contract: it took very little time for him to get used to the plane of understanding that he knew not existed before. The human voices of idle, foolish thoughts laid exposed to him, only to make parody of the intricacies of polite pretenses his vessels donn in his presence. And oh, the ungodly powers that put the common minds at his disposal. For they are all so simple, bending to his will as simply as a flip of a palm.

Yet he sought not the merely common minds. Among the murmur of existence he found her, closer to the light when he last saw her.

Still, not far enough for her to be safe from him: she changed, she was distracted and softened by love and naive enough to think he repented when he named his worthy brother the new King of Amzra. She had fallen out of touch with the powers of her spirits as her priesthood now vie for her attention, competing against her new crown, her husband and…

…still unbeknownst to the second-mentioned, their child.

The existence of the thing disgusted Luctus as he proceeded to exert his influence over Morgain’s mind. But no matter, it would be no concern to him soon enough.

Anyway, he would like to continue the spilled ink metaphor from a couple of chapters before, for the dark tendrils of his shadows shrouded her conscience, and before she noticed she was already doomed to the realms of her distant nightmares. And, so it unfolded, as he saw through her eyes.

It was already fairly late into the night. She was at the foot of the bed, attempting fruitlessly to make creases in the silken sheets as she waited for words to formulate the confession that she had been concocting for days. Lucem was supposedly attending to some correspondences at his writing desk that she turned her back to, though in truth, he studied her from the corner of his eyes as her aura of excitement wrapped in indecision infected him.

Fine, Luctus thought that his plans would only be made more delectable if he allowed this announcement, so he did.

“What’s wrong?” Lucem finally ventured, resting his pen upon its respectful perch and turning to face her.

“…Oh, nothing,” She returned his gaze with a slight smile and another urging for him to rest. “Do we not have an appointment early morning tomorrow? If I remember correctly, with the…their names escape me…”

“…Lord and Lady Leuri, you mean.”

“Right.”

Then for a moment they agreed without speaking to notice the moonlight spilled upon the marble floors through the opened windows, curtains flirting in slight winds with occasional flourishes.

Morgain interrupted the perfect silence with a sneeze, a cue for Lucem to draw the windows shut and himself to her, “So, you can’t tell me what is troubling your mind?”

Sinking into his warmth, Morgain whined, “It’s not troubling…but there was an element of surprise that I originally envisioned but cannot seem to apply in telling you.”

“Don’t tease me now.”

She chuckled and leaned in to whisper by his ear. He sat back slightly, blinking several times and his mouth opened to utter his unbelief and happiness but lost the words in sheer joy. He ran a hand through his hair, asking her for what he thought was the second, though really was the third, to reassure that he did not mishear, went on to give her a tight embrace and a rare show of excitement that only seemed exaggerated and childish to Luctus.

Luctus thought he had waited long enough, and the wider his silly brother’s smile became, the more impatient he grew. The timing was perfect, too, as Morgain’s happy mind had a flicker of a shadow as her husband’s helplessly boyish grin accentuated the uncanny resemblance between him and a beloved youth long gone, resurrected briefly to make her glower in reminders of remorse. So slowly she sank, dragged down into the grounds with the contemplated hypotheticals that she imagined to have saved Lucius’s life until she became entangled under her own damnation and ultimately, Luctus’s control.

Lucem, of course, noticed the unspeakable sorrows that weighed down the corners of his beloved’s smile and attempted to soothe her as the object of her sudden misery was mostly understood. She reciprocated by getting up from her seat upon the bed, pacing across side the bed until she paused at the writing desk, a hand upon the wooden table as her shoulders dropped in a deep sigh.

“Mor,” The bed made a slight creak as he left it. “You cannot blame yourself for someone else’s sins.”

He wrapped his arms about her from behind, lulling her to stop her unnecessary self blame with gentle whispers that brushed against the shell of her ear. Morgain turned about to bury her face into his chest to hide her distress. As he planted a soft kiss upon her forehead, he was ambushed by a sharp pang about his heart that left him breathless.

“…what…Mor…?”

Instinctively he attempted to push her away, though another sting tore through his gut before he succeeded, stumbling and falling as he tried to back away, pained and confused. He panted, a tremorous hand pressed against his wounds while the other grasped and bloodied the edge of the bed that he backed into, unable to lift himself from the cold marble floor.

“…Lo-love?”

Oh, how Luctus savored the moment the dim glint of silver that caught a sliver of the quivering candlelight extinguished the reflected lights as it was buried into that bastard’s flesh with slick, sickening sound. How poetic, that he should be able to end his adversary’s life with his very own lover.

Luctus raised the blade again, now red to its hilt, though it never delivered its final blow as it found itself lodged into Morgain’s other hand. Luctus was thoroughly confused, but the unexpected agony seemed to have distracted him enough to allow the voice that stopped the weapon from its original trajectory to amplify, growing louder and louder until Luctus realized that he is no longer completely in control of her conscious. Very well, he thought, he had done what he wanted. So, he left her to reap the fruits of her weakness.

She came about to her beloved’s gasps for breath, her hand still wounded about the blade responsible for the deed, “Lucem!” She threw the penknife aside and herself to his side, and she felt as though she stabbed herself in the heart instead of her hand when she saw that he flinched against her presence as he rightfully expected her to deliver more harm.

“No…I am so-sorry…” Her voice was as fragile as his form, which only then relaxed into her arms as she cradled him in utter despair, his increasingly numbed senses unable to realize the tears that fell upon his cheeks. “Oh, Lucem, Lucem…”

The wounds were too deep, so no enchantment can undo what Luctus had done.

What she had done.

She stifled her cry. For a brief moment, his eyes seemed to have met hers and saw the clear depths that he loved getting lost in, his lips opened to verbalize forgiveness and understanding but the words ran out of time and gave way to a shuddering sigh.

“…Lucem…?”

His heavy eyelids fluttered shut and he dreamt.

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