won't let them tear you apart: Alethea


She caves easily, offering him her thoughts on a silver tray. Mordred smiled, his expression a picture of understanding, and took another step into the room. He ran his hand along an empty sideboard and his finger tips come away covered in dust. Giving her a moment to regroup, he studied the grey fluff, rubbing it away with his thumb. When he raised his eyes again he found her looking at him. Mordred held her gaze steadily. She was lost, confused, lonely, troubled, wishing for the past she had lost. At first glance Alethea seemed to have much in common with her new queen. They were both pretty, feminine things with large eyes and soft hands. And yet... There was something sharper about Alethea, a core of metal beneath the layers of silk and taffeta. She was shrewder, scrappier, perhaps harder to fool. She had an alluring mind. At his side, Mordred's fingers twitched, as if eager to reach out and touch it, his precious, kept thing.

He had been drawn to Gaiane's magic. Her mere presence was enough to make his blood hum. His power pulsed, vibrating beneath his skin, and that was intoxicating. Perhaps he had been drunk on her in the beginning, a love, a lust, of a different kind. For a time too her soft pliability had appealed to him. It had been enjoyable playing the fairytale prince, another character in his ever-expanding repertoire. He had made her his, had made her magic his, and ensured she would never stray far. All that remained for him to do was to keep her happy. She had her child, his child, and he was more than prepared to offer her anything else she might yearn for. It was a price worth paying.

But mental stimulation would have to come in other forms. The novelty of his queen had long since worn thin.

"I miss them too," he said gently. It was not untrue. "Sometimes, when I have time enough to stop and think of it I find it hard to believe how much has changed in so short a time." Mordred moved further into the room, looking out through the window into the courtyard below. Men were exercising the horses. He could see Tristan's stallion, growing a little fat, being walked around in a circle. "I'm not entirely sure I know what to make of it all yet, either." He shook his head, glancing down at the floor for the first time, as if unsure.

He glances up again, fixing his eyes on hers, his expression open, almost imploring. He decided to test the waters.
"Is there anything I can do for you?" he wondered, angling his head a little to one side. "To make things easier? To help you find your way?" He closed the space between them, reached out and took hold of her hands, drawing them towards him. "You are safe here," he promised her, "I swear it. And if there's anything you need, anything at all, all you need to do is ask."

photo by Jes at flickr.com


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