tagSci-Fi & FantasyFey World Ch. 22

Fey World Ch. 22

bymadam_noe©

In the morning Angoralt and I walked back to the house made for us of magic. Pietyr greeted us with a hug, quite relieved that Angoralt was back. He looked for Elfgwyven but said nothing when my Seelie husband did not show.

For two days and two nights we lived without him. I loved Angoralt but not with all my heart. The same could be said of Elfgwyven. I loved them both and the time spent with them both was the happiest in my life.

Angoralt spent his days with Morraving and Bornagold, training Pietyr in combat as well as fey history, though he stole away frequently to be with me. At both dinners he was good enough to address Shara about the needs of a wolf.

At night Angoralt was still his unusual self, and I began to realize he was trying to fulfill both the roles I had come to depend on both my husbands for. His passion and Elfgwyven's nurturing. It was novel, but I liked my men just as they were.

In fact, by the third morning, I was losing my mind. Thinking of how my mother often soothed my father and gained his attention, I cooked a large meal by hand, free of magic, and Shara helped me pack it up. Recruiting Bornagold we selected our horses and rode out.

I could have walked but was tiring more and more each day. Without both men there simply wasn't enough fey magic to keep me strong, even with the magical food Angoralt conjured.

Elfgwyven could play wounded little boy all he wanted, but he still had a responsibility to me and the children, and by the gods, he would fulfill it.

We found him much as I had days before, sitting under a tree, contemplating. Now he was dressed only in loose white trousers, his feet and chest bare, his pink hair wild and free on the wind.

"Anni, Bornagold." He focused those sea-blue eyes on us both and rose with a slight smile.

"Bornagold, thank you for seeing my wife here. You may go, I will escort her home when we are ready."

"My lady, friend."

I smiled at Bornagold who handed the basket to my husband and then turned his horse away. Elfgwyven set it down and held his hands out to me, helping me down.

I slid down against him and we remained pressed together for a long moment. There was need between us, there always would be, but words had to come first.

"I bought food for us. I thought we could eat and you could tell me what your gods have told you."

He pulled back and casually spread his fingers as he knelt. On the ground appeared a blanket and pillows. Settling onto the pillows I watched as he opened the basket and pulled the food out.

I'd made two meat pies, his favorites, and with Bornagold's help I'd made bread like the Fey ate to go on the side. The ingredients were all magic but I had made and assembled it by hand, with great pride.

"Oh, Anni, did you do this?"

I smiled at him and he returned it briefly, sitting across from me and pulling out the rest. He set out the plates and cut the pies, serving us both. He conjured butter for the bread, as well as the cups I'd forgotten for the water.

Once everything was in order he sat, folding his legs, and took a bite of the lamb pie with the spring vegetables. "Mmmm, Anni. I must say, I have been neglecting food while on this...walk. If this is how humans curry favor I may have to stay away a bit longer."

"Elfgyven-"

He held his hand up and set his plate down. "I was kidding. I have stayed away only to think on what the gods have told me."

Suddenly any and all hunger fled from me. I set my plate down and took a long sip of water before I found my voice. "And what was that?"

"This is the work of many gods. Not just those of the humans or the fey, but there are more. There is something large coming but even though I have been king of Seelie for many centuries, they will not tell me what it is.

"Instead they told me what has happened. Both children indeed have two fathers, both are the offspring of three parents. What I did not understand, what I have been wondering, is how one is fey and the other wolf."

"A bite turns a human to wolf. As far as we know, any woman carrying a babe would have the babe turn as well. Shara says legends from the East confirm this."

"Humans, but not fey. If a wolf bit me I would kill him and never once fear a moon."

"Our children are half human, Elfgwyven."

He shook his head. "True, but it is not that simple fact. If it were, both would be wolves. No, there is something planned by the gods, destinies for our children, but they will not tell me.

"I can only conclude this means if I knew what their destiny was, if my brother did, we could only make a mess of it."

I raised my eyebrows but said nothing, sensing he was still building towards some conclusion that seemed crucial. His passions were rising, and it was temper, a mantle so rarely worn upon him, such an elemental power I could sense it.

"My brother and I are the oldest living monarchs on this rock. We have seen empires rise and fall in the human world. If we can't be trusted...I haven't gotten that far yet. It means something, but that's what I have been puzzling over."

"Perhaps if you discuss this with your brother, the answer will come to you."

"Has he been playing reasonable?"

The turn of phrase took me aback. "What?"

"The opportunist. Don't you see? We need two rulers to replace us one day, and neither the Seelie or Unseelie will settle for a wolf."

"Oh?" I drawled, feeling my temper begin to rise, on my behalf as well as my child's.

"Angoralt and I will see no difference, but we will need two fey children to replace us one day. However, birthing these children will be hard enough on you, it may be years before we should try for another child. Angoralt seeks to curry your favor so that you decide our first fey child will follow his footsteps."

So this had been building somewhere, and it was somewhere dark. For a moment I was afraid he'd figured it out. There would be no other children, just these two. One a king of wolves, the other the king that would unite the fey. No, he hadn't gone down that route, he'd shot right past into a fantasy of competition with his brother, inventing a rivalry where none existed.

"You'd be so easy to beat if you played chess this way," I said under my breath.

"What was that?"

"I said we should eat our food right away."

He raised an eyebrow but picked his plate up. I did as well, but I wasn't that hungry. How long did I have? The gods never told me precisely. I was going to have to convince both men to reunite the kingdoms of fey well before our son grew to take his place.

How long did we have? Did wolves live longer than humans? Shara was a wizened old woman before she became a wolf. Now she looked a few decades younger and moved with the lithe grace of a young woman, but would she live that much longer? Even if wolves lived a hundred years, twice as long as the average man, it was still but a drop in the bucket of time a fey carried. That depressed me, obviously, but strengthened my resolve.

"Now I have you thinking every bit as hard as I did before you came. I am most conflicted, Anni. I do not wish to see such worry upon your beautiful face, but I feel some measure of relief in knowing you might be in as much turmoil as I."

I set my plate down, my own temper riding high now. "You bastard. You have been a king for centuries, and yet it appears you understand duty less than even I."

His pink brows shot almost to his hairline.

"The gods may play their games and we may be pawns, but you are my husband, and no matter if you are angry with me, you have a duty to our children. Angoralt is trying hard to fulfill both your roles while I weaken with care for the babes. Here you sit, sulking in the woods like a little boy denied his favorite toy. With power and control comes responsibility and simply because you fear the loss of one you cannot ignore the other!"

I had never in my life insulted any man so much, and even though I believed every word with my full being the moment I finished my speech I began to worry just what he would do.

Nothing could have prepared me for what came next. Ignoring his magic he reached down and swept all the food aside, throwing it clear of the blanket, and reached for me. I squeaked and tried to move back, but he was just too fast.

Kneeling before me he cupped the back of my head and jerked me against him. I could only clutch his shoulders as his mouth crashed into mine. The normal blunt edge of gentleness was gone with his temper, and I tasted raw need on his lips as his tongue swept in to claim mine.

If the times before had been gentle seduction, this was indeed a bold claiming. I felt magic now and my clothes were gone, as were his. Drawing me to my knees he pressed our bodies together and he was so hard against my swollen stomach. My own anger was swiftly transforming to another primal feeling, and then his hands reached down to cup the cheeks of my arse and he lifted me as if I were light as a feather.

Instinct had me wrap my legs around his waist, but I could only gasp as he set me down, slamming his hard cock into me.

"Elfgwyven!"

He growled in response and claimed my lips again. I expected him to move but he held still, reminding me more of his brother than him. He jerked me back and bent down, pink hair covering my pale breasts. His sea-blue eyes looked up through the curtain as he took a turgid nipple into his mouth.

Suckling fiercely, his tongue was gentle as it circled the peak. Desire wound through me and around his hard shaft buried deep I tightened. Mewling in the back of my throat I held tight to him with one hand and the other brushed his hair back as I tried to rise on him and ride him.

His arm around my waist tightened, stopping me and he nipped my breast, making me cry out. Giving me some concession his other hand stroked across my unattended nipple briefly before sliding between us. His long index finger circled between my wet lips, drawing my nubbin to aching stiffness, and then he pinched it lightly.

I cried his name out again and then he began to stroke me there, and all too quickly I was tightening, ready to explode, filled by him and needy, yet aching to feel him thrust within me, to know his pleasure matched mine.

His mouth danced to the other breast and boldly his hard tongue flicked across the tip. I hit the edge of my peak with shimmering pleasure and suddenly he stopped, lifted me, and pulled out.

The sound I made was pitiful and cruelly he smiled at it, but he was breathing hard, his chest flushed, and his wet cock was huge. He was right there with me.

His eyes followed mine and then jerked back up, narrowing. He dove, covering me, and slammed in once more. Deeper than ever before I caught my breath but he just pulled back to slam in once more.

I wrapped my legs around his waist and clutched him as his thrusts rocked us both, and one hand slipped between us to bring me as close as he was. No endearments were spoken, there was no sound but our panting breaths and my moans chasing away the fauna as he drove us into madness.

I once more came within a hair's breadth of climax and feared he would stop me, so I bit my lips to silence my cries.

"Come. Now!" He growled and drove into me, twisting his hips, pushing me higher and higher into need.

It was incredible, a thing of sheer physical beauty and I rode it. my entire body throbbed with ringing pleasure and even as I felt my body tighten and go ax he was thrusting harder, faster, and then his shout drowned out mine.

When it passed he rolled us until he was on his back and I was draped over him, exhausted and replete of body, if not of the soul.

After long moments my stomach grumbled and with a sigh, I rolled ungallantly aside and sat up. "I need to eat. Thanks to the babes if I don't eat every two hours they have a fit."

He sat up and used magic to right the cloth and food, and even clothed us once again. I sighed wistfully when he added a shirt, covering all that smooth golden skin and hard lean muscle I so enjoyed.

"I forgive you, but I won't forget."

Sighing I reached for my plate. "I seem to be hearing that often. I wait for the day my gods or yours ask something of you and I may return the favor."

He laughed at that and a weight lifted from my heart. Still, I was so hungry I finished my pate and more without speaking.

After, he made it all disappear with magic, called my horse, and mounted behind me. The tension in my shoulders eased with the knowledge he was coming home with me at last. I would have both my husbands, my friends, and Pietyr.

And with a bit of luck the gods would vacate themselves from our lives for a time and let us find our own way.



***



The door was open to the strange little house of magic when we returned. From the back in the yard came the sounds of swords clashing and my brother's laughter. No life danced in the windows or was reflected in Angoralt who stood in the open doorway like a statue. He'd been practicing sword play and still held his blade naked in his hand, wearing only those odd trousers, his chest naked and gleaming with sweat.

His eyes burned brightly and slid past my face to his brother's and his body braced as if for a battle. Why suddenly this animosity between them had grown puzzled me. If truly they thought only one child could be heir it seemed to me they would do what every other monarch in the word did: plan to have a spare. I knew that I did not have the magic to so easily survive pregnancy by a fey, but with them both at my side I could manage it.

Unless it was that they feared that any subsequent child would also be a wolf.

A wolf like me.

Suddenly I stopped my horse and swung down, letting the mare graze as I marched to the middle of them, fifteen feet away from me each, and neither watching me.

"I know what you are doing, I know what you are thinking, and damn you both!"

This brought silver and sea-colored eyes to swing my way at last.

"Does the thought of siring a wolf so fill you with disgust? Elfgwyven, as obsessed as your people are with beauty and purity I can understand to a degree even if I refuse to accept it, but Angoralt? I am a wolf, I will be one of the two-natured. Disgust at any child of mine is disgust for me, and after showing me what you can do Angoralt, how dare you!"

With each passing day my stomach grew and my emotions swung with increasing violence. As angry as I was tars threatened and I was so frustrated I wanted to scream. How dare they act so...human.

Cursing, I left them gape-mouthed and stalked to the side of the house to where a gazebo stood. I preferred to do my thinking inside but any doors meant dealing with people, and I just wasn't up to it. Suddenly I wanted to cry, to scream, to yell, but mot of all I did not want to think of how beautiful those two arrogant, pigheaded-

"Anni, how dare y-"

"Silence, brother!" Angoralt roared. I turned and saw him grab his brothers arm, holding him back. His expression was as fierce as that of the war god of my youth.

"Hannah, you mistake my wariness. I know my brother worries about our societies, but I do not. The Unseelie are of the beasts, the child of ours who is two natured will be our king, when I am ready to give up my position.

"No, my anger is that my dear brother here rejects you and our children because he cannot accept his own nature!"

"Silence!" Elfgwyven yelled.

"How dare you both presume to know what I am thinking? Brother, we may be one with magic, we may share a soul, but you are not me. This is what I have feared! That you have made up your mind already, brother dear.

"I have feared for days now just what it means one of our children will be two-natured, human and wolf, and not fey. What I truly fear is your easy acceptance of a mortal heir, and I remember what our father went through for love of a mortal!"

Again, whatever was said of my children was said of me, and a fear that had always swum in the back of my mind surfaced. "And what about me? I am mortal! Did you ever stop to think of what would happen if you tried to make me immortal as you? Did that every cross your mind, or am I after all just a breeder to you, the same as every other queen in the human world? A woman of no value except for the heirs I breed?"

I gripped the wood railing now with both hands, squeezing so tight I heard the wood groan. Never before had we fought, but before I felt I had thought myself lesser, in their shadows, and with each passing day I was more and more their equal. I knew why I was a maelstrom of emotions, I had seen women breeding all my life and was no fool, but never had I witnessed men so lose their minds.

"That's it!" Elfgwyven cried, and Angoralt and I stilled.

"What did you say?" My dark husband growled, ready to defend my honor as he saw it.

"The question of our child's fate has brought to mind the thought of yours, Anni."

I felt my lips slacken into an O, unsure of how to respond.

"And you," he continued, facing his dark brother, "how can you accept it so easily? Why do you not rage to our gods as I do?"

"Because unlike you, dear brother, my life has never revolved around knowing the future. So long as my people are healthy and prosper and there are no threats, Unseelie live in the moment. Tomorrow can take care of itself."

"That is easy for us to say." Elfgwyven's eyes swept to mine as he smoothed his pink hair back.

"I was born a simple warrior's daughter and am now queen of three realms, princess of another, and mother to future kings. I was born human but shall live out my life in two forms. Like all of the north, I write my own future, dear husbands."

"Hannah," Angoralt called my name and jogged to me swiftly as I turned to walk away. He caught my arm and gently turned my to face him, setting his sword against the gazebo.

I jerked my arm from him, suddenly feeing energetic. I wanted to leave them there and join my brother in the yard. Perhaps hacking my sword at Morrarving and Bornagold would make me feel better, though it was other fey heads I wanted wearing expressions of fear.

"Hannah, he feels what I do, what you do."

That made me stop and freeze, bristling my shoulders. I wished I had my own magic, that my long slim dress of their colors was instead lightweight armor. "Oh? And just what is that?" Turning at last his silver eyes regarded me calmly.

"Lost."

For all their posturing and wariness it was easy to forget at times they shared a soul. Oh, the plight of women to never understand men, human or otherwise. Why was it always we who were put upon and then called to aid? I loved them both, but I was feeling quite churlish.

"So?"

I barreled past them into the house, seeking the respite of my room. Mayhap I would lay in bed and... I changed direction and headed for the kitchen. I had too much energy and couldn't sit still. Bornagold had conjured more staples with magic than I had needed and perhaps I would make dinner myself, though it would take magic to multiply the food for the entire household of twelve.

"Shara?"

She appeared silently in the doorway that left to the small room of cold stores and the door to the yard, looking fit and healthy but resolute. "Yes, my lady?"

"I need help. I wish to prepare dinner, I have energy to burn, but time is short."

"I am needed elsewhere, my lady. Your husbands will see to it." With that she left, not even waiting to be dismissed.

Was everyone going mad today? There had been such peace when it was just Angoralt here with us, but a false peace. It was that sad expectation of not knowing what was to come and doing your best not to worry about it.

After a quiet moment furiously chopping vegetables I realized it was indeed quiet. Outside everyone was gone, even the breeze seemed still, the animals silent. I set down the knife and wiped my hands on a towel, walking outside.

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