The Lost Chapter

This happens after Aoreth was saved from an attack wherein she could have been perhaps raped or killed, which was averted by her lover Thiaerin.

Thiaerin freed himself easily and purposefully went and shut the door. When he left Aoreth sank to the stone floor listlessly, as if he had been the only thing holding her up. She lay there without moving, her body curled loosely, her eyes caught in a distance. Thiaerin came near to where she was and sat with his elbows resting on his knees and his hands on the sword hilt between them, the point of the blade resting on the stone. Both were too absorbed in their stillness to be conscious of helping the other. Aoreth had suffered physically and was weakened, but it was what she had experienced in her mind that had catapulted her into a form of shock. Thiaerin was locked into his own inner turmoil.

The paradox of how to deal with his uncle in accordance with what Aoreth wanted offered no apparent solution. He was fairly certain that in order to stop Ingalforn from taking power would be a fight to the death, especially now. He saw no way of avoiding the destruction that would entail. There would be no turning back. Under these terms he may as well role over and die for his uncle’s convenience. He felt an acute sense of defeat that seemed indelible, and the battle hadn’t really even started yet. From Ingalforn’s perspective things must be looking very good, his opponent already felt he had lost, and wasn’t supposed to fight. How could he stop him?

He immediately felt images of his mother, who had tried the utmost within her power to resist him, all he embodied. He knew the pain in consequence of her efforts, how she paid, and the death that emanated in consequence of his hand every day. He felt through her the dying Wood, and deeper still, her pain. She had been poisoned in her own efforts to touch humanity, and it stayed with her like a sickness. He could feel her rage inside his thought like a strident voice, even though she was not speaking to him now, it was as if she was, telling all. Look at me! She cried. Feel me. I tried, Oh, I tried. Would I act in half measure? You cannot love them. You cannot let them touch you, you become them, as I became them. As I must fight them now, as they would have it. I lose myself, so that this is not lost forever, and through it I will survive where they cannot touch me. There is no other way, my son of theirs, you must kill him . . .

All this he touched in an instant. Just to touch her unleashed in him a rage against what had been done. Her very existence bore revelation of fundamental wrong that lay un-absolved within his kingdom. It could not be ignored, and he was the one faced with the dealing of it. He was the one who knew. It dawned easily that for this reason she had given birth to him, to rectify the inevitable. And she was certain that to begin this reversal, Ingalforn must be killed. This was the only way she would stain her hands, in her offspring, one of their own.

After what had transpired Thiaerin believed that she was right, Ingalforn could only be killed. He saw that he was being locked into an inexorable confrontation with his uncle where one would die rather than lose. There was no compromise in their positions. Thiaerin felt an obligation to avenge for all Ingalforn had done, for it touched him, and he alone was touched by all of it. He would assume the burden of retribution for all the injury he had caused to those he loved, in turn to preserve all they each represented. No one would argue that Ingalforn did not deserve to die.

Why did you stop me? I would have killed him, it would have been finished. I should have . . .He faltered, looking in on himself. The answer was self-evident, he needn’t ask for it, he already knew what it would be, for in his heart he found the desire. He wanted to kill him. There was no doubt in his mind that he would have failed to complete it. He knew his desire to be the same as his uncle’s, the same as what became his mother, in her anger. He had adopted the evil of his uncle, become his enemy to fight his enemy. What good was it then, if in overcoming your enemy in victory you became him? What good would that service the kingdom?

Herein lied the trap that held his mother. This was defeat.

This is what Aoreth had sensed and strove with him to avoid. She had tried to protect him. He looked on her with newfound awe mixed with remorse. How could she be here, and still be? How can I, how can we be like you? How can you survive? They will kill you, He will Kill Us . . .

He felt her shudder, saw her tremble, and saw the blood trickle over her breast. He released his sword and gathered her into his arms, clasping her against his body. Her lungs shudderingly released as if she had held her breath from the moment Ingalforn entered the room. Within her she was silent, there was a void of emotion filled with deep sadness, fear and pain. It flooded over him, submerging as she was given release. It nearly made him weep. He could not believe what had been done to her and found himself pleading against what had been rendered. The agony it caused in him was suffusing to anger again, when in the midst of the swirling maelstrom he felt in Aoreth a plea for help . . .

He took his sleeve in his palm and put it against the puncture wound. Beneath it he could fell the heart beating fiercely as if it would burst. He looked at her very directly and asked her: What did he do to you? He maintained a tone as cold and emotionless as steel, but even then he failed not to edge it with menace.

She didn’t answer. Instead he felt her retreating from him, deeper inside herself. This only served to alarm him further, to make him fear the worst. His eyes bored deeply into hers as he strove to cover the growing distance. He realized then that he was in grave danger of becoming part of what she feared.

                Please, . . . Tell me, . . . . don’t . . .

Then she saw how things were worsening, that they would soon hurt each other. She couldn’t run and hide. It took courage to pull herself back, to face him and ask that he first must promise not to succumb to his anger. And so he became calm, and gave her his word.

Haltingly at first, and then more smoothly, she relayed the memory. There were moments she became hesitant, instances she clearly did not want to remember or reveal.

Thiaerin felt with himself two opposite reactions: first, he was relieved that nothing graver had happened to her, and simultaneously he was seeing just how much graver it was than what he had perceived possible, within her thought. For now he was made much more aware of her frame of existence, her mind. It had not been so much the physical confrontation from which she suffered, but the inner conflict. Ingalforn had not actually raped her; he had raped her mind. This glimpse into her amazed Thiaerin. She had a level of naïveté and child-like innocence that was perilous, far greater than he could of possibly surmised, as it transcended his perception of human limits. It was gravely threatened. It was what filled him with awe. No human was like this, this was what humanity had lost. But she was human, and that had changed her, and was continuing to change her. (It did not occur to him to wonder, at this, what she had been before.) To be human, for her, was to lose part of herself, and her innocence was among what was being lost. Aoreth had begun with no understanding of what was implied in being human: how they behaved, their imperfections, their capacity for evil, through ignorance or intent. She had been forced to learn what she had about humanity very quickly, too quickly. Ingalforn had terrified her. He embodied evil intent she was previously incapable of imagining.

He had tried to break her by using her own naïveté as a tool against her. More than anything she feared what was happening to herself, and what she, as a human, could become. She feared her own possible failure. Ingalforn had seized upon her vulnerability and used it against her. He utilized force, and fear, but his greatest blow was achieved when he manipulated her into wondering if she had failed in her opposition, and in so defeated herself. Even now she lingered in uncertainty, unsure of what had been her own reactions, for she had never known them before.

Be still, he whispered. You did nothing wrong. You are simply human. You withstood him. He looked at her very intently, his eyes alight. He cannot touch you . . .

He kissed the spot where the mark had been on her forehead, as if to erase the stain on her memory. That memory was now his also to bear, and he felt its pain until at last in was finally forgotten by both of them. But he had taken away its power to do anything else. A surge of relief swept over him and he felt it for both of them, for in her awareness he saw Ingalforn’s devices at work, and so recognized them within himself, which made them powerless. He would no longer be hampered by his own sense of defeat, though he did not know yet how this war was to be fought. For this insight he was grateful to Aoreth and he embraced her closely, and felt now the heart that beat for him.

Perhaps it was this that spurred him to take his next decision, for as he held her he dwelt upon the damage that had already been done. The way he touched you was meant to be used in love, not for hurt. And that role was his. For I love you, and will touch you in love. They had already committed themselves to each other in a way far deeper than Thiaerin could see in any of those surrounding him, so to him he saw no wrong in fulfilling the prospect that was forming in his head. And so he said softly, Will you lie with me?

Aoreth did not really comprehend the seriousness surrounding the question, nor his twinge of self-consciousness, all of which she sensed plainly enough. She was accustomed to a much higher degree of closeness than she saw in this form of existence, that she preferred as good, so she did not see why there was such gravity in asking. She was not so hesitant to say yes.

I would make love to you, but I feel we are not prepared for that yet. But come . . .

Thiaerin had loosed his cloak, he took her hand and brought her to face him by the bed. His eyes momentarily searched hers and she received him, searching him in return. She realized she did not totally understand his intentions, and wanted to know the truth of it. What did he want? His eyes flickered to the floor before he recovered them to face her.

May I take off your gown?

There were both immediately conscious of the cut in it. She stared at him with a new acuteness before slowly acquiescing. He slid it off her shoulders and let it ripple noiselessly to the floor. He appraised her, but his eyes rarely strayed from hers, the vantage into her soul.

You are very beautiful.

He turned with regards to himself and accordingly began removing his garments until his torso and legs were bare. He faced her again.

May I touch you?

The implication in his need to ask charged the air between them, Thiaerin even detected and faint involuntary tremor of fear. But the fear was not of his person, for he had never taken from her. He reached out and caressed her face, gently as if tracing a film of air. Invariably his hand strayed to the path once taken down the line of her jaw. He followed the path of the dagger to her heart, and let his hand fall to take her own. He clasped it momentarily between them before she took his meaning and stirred by the memory, reached up and touched his cheek. Thiaerin was stricken by the invocation of the memory. It was a profound revelation, and made him look on her with newfound wonder.

You knew, even then? (You knew!)

It carried an edge of loss, of remorse. What if he had never come to this point, to know her?

Why did you go? (Why not stay?)

Her hand drifted to her side, her eyes fell.

I was afraid . . .

He uplifted her face, sought her eyes.

Please, do not be afraid of me, or what you feel.

He reached down and pulled back the coverlets.

Lie with me . . .

And so she laid herself in the bed as indicated, almost rigid in her straightness of body. Thiaerin removed the remainder of his clothing and was a little surprised at the simplistic curiosity that became writ on her face. It made him regard himself with a wry sense of false modesty, only for a moment.

What’s that? The humor was too much to be avoided, and he could not help averting and smiling to himself, before approaching her the gravity she deserved.

With that I could begin a child within you.

In his thought he conveyed to her the natural cycle of conception, birth and death, and watched her eyes widen further.

How remarkable, was her response, as he laid down close beside her.

It is you who are remarkable. Like a child, and yet within you lies a timeless existence. Like a child . . .

He touched her, and was infected with a new sensation coupled by its wonder, that reflected on her own.

I feel you, he thought. I can feel you within me.

Her sensation at is touch became his. Her response to him he sensed through his frame, aroused in him a feverish desire to see what he could do. He caressed her tentatively, her lips, her shoulder, her breast. He felt each awakening and each brought him closer. He sent his palm over her belly, and sensed deep within her a place holding potential for new life, he honed his touch until a small cry escaped her lips. He suffused it with his kiss and oh, how she felt!

She wrapped her arms around him in a close embrace. Both were filled with a mutual sense of awe, at this love, which was reciprocally discovered in its form, by each other. For her it was of human love, found through him. And to her it was vital, she needed him to survive.

You are life itself to me. It was her inner jubilant cry, a declaration she had longed to give him, but felt he would never perceive in its fullest, until now. He in turn looked upon her with an even deeper sense of wonder at what she gave him.

That you would give of yourself to me, freely, give of yourself . . .

Simultaneously they reached a plateau, merged in mind and soul in one love, and in one voice was their declaration,

I love you! And they soared, brazen, and unashamed.

The crescendo of that moment reverberated through the land, for those who were capable of sensing it. Briel turned and raised his head in the direction of Eithiln, its source. His tone was serene, pitched with the tranquility of certain triumph, as he sent forth his benediction:

Love, my children, for love is the strongest power in the universe . . .

Silvarin too was struck by it, and momentarily froze. At that instant she knew events had just slid beyond her control.

There were perhaps two others capable of sensing it, for one it was a vague, incomprehensible affirmation of renewal; the other was filled with an impotent rage that made him tremble.