Nyx Ch. 04

byIraleth©

Author's Notes

Well, this was my first chapter entirely without an editor (so if you find anything confusing or with weird errors, please let me know), as well as the first from Nyx's perspective. I lost interest for a while, and then was really busy with work... but here is, after significant revision, Chapter Four. There isn't any sex in this one... but, well, it took the story to where I wanted it to end up. Chapter five is complete; all it needs is an editor. There are a couple things that I couldn't find a way to explain without breaking the flow of the story; they're included directly after this note.

Glossary

Glamour: Glamour is the term for a sort of energy that sidhe in their natural forms exude - it causes those who witness it to see them in a more favorable (or at least impressive) light, and draws attention to them. It enhances their already somewhat-ridiculous attractiveness (well, it doesn't really, it just highlights it, but the end result is the same) as well - glamour combined with this natural beauty is where the tales of being struck blind or driven mad by the Fae spring from. Creatures of Faerie all have some inherent resistance to this - it will not drive them mad or strike them blind, but it will still draw the eye and make the sidhe exuding it more impressive. Sidhe can suppress it for short periods if they choose to, but the only way to keep it off for long periods is to simply not be in their true form.

Languages: Faerie has two languages (at least so the sidhe will tell you), High Tongue and Low Tongue. High Tongue is the language of the sidhe themselves, while Low Tongue functions more like a common language for all beings of Faerie. In reality, each separate major creature type has at least one language specific to them (usually more - goblins, for example, have three, while elves have two)... but rare is the sidhe who bothers to learn such barbaric tongues.

Chapter 04 (Nyx)

I hurried out the door, flicking it shut with a hurried gesture as I kept moving. Damn, going to need to speed up the trip this time, I thought as I entered the park. The Gate took only a moment to find this morning, the energies leaking through from beyond it plainly visible to my eyes. A gesture and an act of will and I was through the Gate, and into Faerie beyond it.

For most people, Faerie wouldn't be much of a shortcut - distance there is roughly equivalent to distance on Earth (well... provided your intention is to move to another location on Earth - if your desire is to venture deeper into Faerie, the relationship between distance and time there and on Earth becomes illogical at best). For me, however... well, as much as I might dislike my father, his blood runs through my veins, and Faerie bows to the wishes of its rulers. I may be a half-breed, but reality here still warps itself to my wishes when I exert my will upon it. Those with blood richer than mine could simply will themselves where they wished to go; such tricks were, unfortunately, beyond my abilities. Other, less efficient ones were well within them though - particularly tunnels or shortcuts through Faerie itself. I closed my eyes and focused for a moment, then opened them, speaking.

"Oh, my land of Faerie dear,
I'd like to get to work, you see,
So open a shortcut up quite near,
And I'll be off, quick as can be"

I hate rhymes. They're trite, annoying to come up with, and sound stupid. I can't contest, however, their effectiveness in channeling magical energies more efficiently, so I used them anyway. Wasting the extra energy wasn't something I preferred to do when I might run across some of the more hostile denizens of Faerie during my shortcut. It only happens rarely... but Murphy's Law and all that.

The shortcut manifested as a doorknob appearing in the trunk of the nearest tree. I turned it, and stepped into darkness. For once, the trip was uneventful. Well, relatively so - there was a stretch where I felt like everything was watching me, but for the most part it was just a walk down a tiled path raised above an endless, almost perfectly still, body of water. Uncle Jack once told me that the shortcuts bend themselves to our desires just from us being there - whenever he took them, they were a sunlit path through the woods at springtime. I guess my imagination is just a minimalist.

The pathway came to an end before long, leaving me in a forest, the leaves green and the bark lush. I recognized the area as one about three-quarters of a mile from work – I occasionally came out here to eat lunch. I was about to set off when I heard it – metal striking metal, accompanied by whooping and shouting. I frowned, and then set off in that direction – it was the opposite direction of work, but it sounded close. Before long, I reached the edge of the clearing, and was confronted with a disturbing sight: Erilith, a sword in her hand, her clothes bearing a handful of slash marks, encircled by a half-dozen goblins (there were two goblins dead on the ground, but the others didn't seem perturbed by that). They were taunting her, whooping and shouting, and not attacking her in earnest – one would occasionally step forward to strike with its weapon, but she parried those (though just barely).

I suppose now would be a good time to explain goblins. They are not, like in many human novels, short, stupid, angry vermin. Real goblins are strong, fast, tough, cunning, and very, very cruel. The Sidhe lead hunts to exterminate them from time to time, and have managed to drive them back from the civilized parts of Faerie... but they always come back (the damn things are as persistent as cockroaches). Even a dozen goblins would fall like wheat before a scythe before a Sidhe warrior... but I was neither full-blooded nor a warrior. Half a dozen goblins could spell the end of me, were I unlucky or foolish.

The odds were unfavorable, but in the end, that didn't change what I needed to do. After barely a moment to assess, I focused my will and, grasping the short, straight sword lying against the tree next to me (it hadn't been there before... but once again, Faerie provides for its rulers), adopted my true form. Superficially speaking, it was similar to my typical shape, with the same height, hair color, and so on, but it let loose the glamour of the Sidhe (even as a half-blood, it would have been sufficient to blind and stun a mortal). Glamour spilled forth from me as I let the shift end, garbing myself in the browns and greens of a Sidhe's hunting attire, before taking a step into the clearing, a plan already formulated.

"If you wish to survive 'till after noon, goblins," I said in the Low Tongue almost conversationally, "I would recommend leaving this woman unharmed, and fleeing back to whatever hole you came from."

"Sidhe scum!" spat the largest of the goblins, his Low Tongue heavily accented, but not enough to disguise he hatred in its voice as he gestured to two of the others shouting, "kill her!"

Only two? Perfect. I thought, smirking. They came at me with inhuman speed, club swinging and spear stabbing, but here, in Faerie and wearing my true form, they seemed to move almost sluggishly. I slid smoothly out of the way, batting the spear aside easily as Uncle Jack's training came back to me. As the two skidded to a halt and struggled to turn and process where I was, I took them both – a slash took off the head of the one with the club, and as the one with the spear spun, I gripped its haft, snapped it, and drove it through the goblin's chest. I spun, and almost too late noticed the large goblin almost upon me, his axe swinging, with two of his cronies just behind.

Damn, he's better than me... and not as slow as the others. I parried his strike, then lept back to avoid his friends. The swing of a crude sword came from my left, and I rolled under it, coming up to take off the goblin's arm, then to bite deep into its side. A spear stabbed at me, and, thinking to get inside its reach, I stepped in, attempting to parry the thrust off to the side. I wasn't as fast as I'd hoped – the maneuver earned me a gash across my side – but I was fast enough. The goblin earned a fist to its chin for its trouble, and I could feel its spine crack as it fell. I heard a whistling sound and instinctively threw myself to the side... just quickly enough to avoid being beheaded by the leader. He drove me back, axe flashing – I had speed on him, but the monster knew what he was doing. I took a cut across my arm as he pressed the attack, and, in the hiss of pain that followed, he sent the sword spinning from my hand. I threw myself backward, narrowly avoiding a brutal strike... and tripped over one of the dead goblins.

I landed on the ground hard, and he stepped up to me, hefting his axe and preparing to strike. "Foolish Sidhe," he spat, "always underestimating us. Know that it was Talshok who took your life in your last mo-" he broke off, coughing, as a spear thrust through his stomach from behind. He snarled, whirling, and I saw Erilith standing behind him, having let go of the spear as he spun. "You! Elven bitch! I will break you!" he snapped the spear out of his back and struck her, hard, with its haft. I fumbled desperately. I know it was here somewhere...

"You will be toys for the pleasure of my warriors!" He struck her again. She fell. I wriggled desperately over to the side, still fumbling. "And once your spirits have been broken utterly, I will use you, and at the peak of my pleasure I will spill your lifeblood over the rocks and cast you both aside for the crows!" I heard another pained whimper from Erilith as my hands closed around a familiar leather-wrapped handle. Found it! I stood, slipping silently over to him and, as he raised his arm to strike at Erilith again, I took it off. He cried out with pain, and spun... just in time to see me before I beheaded him. I shoved his body aside before it could fall, dropping to my knees next to Erilith. My stomach churned with worry as I got a good look. Her eyes were fluttering unsteadily, and I could already see new welts forming where he had struck her... as well as the amount of blood she had lost from her wounds.

"N-Nyx?" she mumbled, "couldn't let him... couldn't let him hurt..."

"Shh," I murmured soothingly, "just lie still and let me heal you." I took her hand in mine, squeezing gently, and closed my eyes. I let out a deep breath as I sank deep inside myself to where my power lay, grasping it firmly and bringing it to the surface, letting a trickle of it pass into her and, extending my awareness through it. Cracked ribs... broken shoulder blade... broken arm... gashes on the sides, legs, and one arm...

Rage boiled through me as I identified the injuries, but I pushed it aside, focusing instead on drawing forth more of my power. I eased her pain and coaxed her to sleep, then let it flow into her, guiding it gently to the places where she was wounded, and watching as it mended her. I'm not sure how long it took, but as I completed my work, the last of my energy slipped away... and darkness took me.

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