The boy walks through vast halls, impossibly large... as though built for giants. The furniture, the tapestries and artwork decorating the walls, all are immense. More than that, they are all warped somehow. Distorted. Wrong. Statues leer as he passes them, figures in paintings undulate in twisted ecstacy, and behind him the boy hears whispers.
He does not turn. He knows that no one is there.
Eyes downcast, the boy winds his way through the corridors until he comes to a massive archway, flanked by a pair of silver-clad guards. "What do you want, freak?"
"....the Kyrul sent for refreshment...." Without looking up, the boy raises the tray, until it begins to shake.
A knowing smirk crosses one guard's face. "I can imagine. Very well, you may pass." He waves the boy through, and silken curtains lift out of the way.
Sounds call out to the boy as he makes his way through the grand chambers, sounds of lust and of pain, coming from ahead. The rustle of sheets, the sliding of skin against skin... sounds all too familiar to him, and, above them all, the harsh grunts of the Kyrul as he has his way, the whimpers of his latest plaything, forever ruined.
"Ah! Boy! Set that down!"
The Kyrul's voice booms in the boy's ears as he sets the tray upon the indicated table and turns to go. Yet something stops him, a sense of someone familiar. Raising his eyes for the first time, the boy looks upon the two figures in the bed. One is the Kyrul, oblivious to all but sating his hunger as he reaches for the tray, but the other--smaller, almost dwarfed by her tormentor's bulk--looks back at the boy with eyes that plead for rescue.
Eyes of solid color, so much like his own. Eyes of deepest azure.
+ + +
His lashes flew open wide as Ebon awoke suddenly, the night's silence broken only by the gentle rhythm of Phen's breathing beside him. It had been a dream, nothing more. A dream that he thought had been banished from his sleeping hours years before, after Bram's mindwar.
Why was it haunting him again?
After kissing his wife's forehead as she slept, Ebon rose and crossed the bedroom to the nursery alcove where Olivia lay in her crib, the charm gifted by Colleen keeping her safe. Then he threw a robe on over his nightclothes and slipped out of the room and down the hall, towards the children's rooms Doran was at the manor, but his other daughter remained here at the townhouse. "Azure," he whispered, easing the door open and softly stepping inside. Had the dream's return been a warning from her namesake that the child was in danger?
No. She slumbered peacefully, protected as her sister was by a charm. She was safe.
Yes, she's safe from me. For now.
The voice came from behind him, and Ebon's black eyes turned white-hot with fury as he spun around to see... nobody.
Then mocking laughter echoed in his ears, fading as if moving away, drawing him out. He followed that laugh through the townhouse, downstairs and out into the courtyard. "Enough!" he hissed, eyes still blazing. "Show yourself, you monster!"
Certainly. A speck of light flashed past, and another and another, building up with larger shapes interspersed, like something exploding in reverse. Which, in fact, is exactly what it was.
When it was done, a translucent figure stood before Ebon, clad in fine robes and topped with an ornate crown. Yet beneath that crown, the eye sockets lay open and empty, save for two cold, orange pinpoints of light. "Well, boy?" the apparition asked with a sneer. "Aren't you going to kneel before the Kyrul, your lord and master?"
[size=9]To be continued....[/size]