An Eye for an Eye
Authors Note: I’m so sorry
He could smell the malice and charm coming off of the sycophants of the Queen’s court. He was disgusted with his family for forging such alliances with the sadistic female. Tamlin..Tamlin was better than this, better than the sadistic savagery of these fae who delighted in murdering innocent fae.
His brothers stood by Amaratha’s throne. Their smug smiles full of court-trained malice. Lucien faced down his brothers, the same brothers who murdered his Amata in front of him, and the queen with his chin high and defiance in his eyes, “I am the emissary for the High Lord Tamlin of the Spring Court, Lucien, formerly of the Autumn Court. Tamlin wishes to forge peace, he does not want a war, but he does not accept your proposal.” He would have snorted at the forced politeness he made himself master. She didn’t deserve the respect.
She leaned back in her throne, rubbing her finger across her ring, Jurian’s eye, her eyes flashed rage but she clicked her tongue, “Look at you, Lucien. Little more than a lapdog, doing its owner’s wishes. Tell your master that I reject his proposition,” Her ruby lips stretched into a seductive smile. He could barely keep the disgust off his face as she purred, “But mine is still open.”
His friend wasn’t some stud for her to get off on. His temper snapped and he spat, ‘Climb your way back into the shit-hole you came out of Amaratha. No one wants you here. I don’t, the High Lords don’t,” he looked down at her, “Tamlin sure as fuck doesn’t.”
The second he said that he wished he never opened his mouth. It was the wrong thing to say and he knew it.
Her black eyes blazed as she jerked her chin. Before he could move against her, before he could protect himself, his brothers descended upon him. Grabbing his arms, forcing him to his knees. Eris whispered into his ear, “Perhaps now you will see Amata again, little brother.”
Amata’s screams deafened him. He could still hear her and still feel the helplessness of not being able to save his lost love. He would see her again-
No. No. She would want him to fight, to go down fighting.
He thrashed against his brothers. His bones cried out from fighting against them. His shoulders were nearly out of their sockets as he thrashed. His hair covered his face as he bucked forward and backwards, trying to get out of their grips. His back was sticking to his tunic from the sweat. They hunkered down, and his bones cried out in pain, his growls echoed against the walls around him as he barked, “Let me fucking go. I’ll kill you. I swear on the Cauldron, the Mother. Let me go. I will fucking kill you.”
When Amaratha rose, her own red hair braided into her crown. He knew he was going to die.
Amata, I’m so sorry. I tried to fight. I tried to fight for you-
She took slow deliberate steps to him, Her gown sweeping across the floor. His heart pounded through his ears. He thrashed harder. He needed to get away. He needed to keep fighting. He- Tamlin. This would start a war. If she killed his Second, his Emissary. It would start a war.
“Tamlin will destroy you,” he spat, “Go on. Kill me. Tamlin will kill you like the sheep you are. You call yourself Queen? You are the King of Hybern’s lacky, you bitch.” He laughed ruefully, “If you kill me, you are done for. My death would start a war,” he couldn’t keep the mock out of his voice, “Tamlin will never love you.”
Ire flashed in her eyes but she tilted her head and clicked her tongue and knelt down, her black eyes meeting his, taking his face into her cold, slender fingers, “It would seem you are right. I do not need war,” She smiled, his blood froze, “However. I will not be insulted.”
She caressed the skin beneath his left eye. His eyes darted between her cruel smile and her fingers, to Jurian’s whirling wild eye. No, no. His eye. She was going to take his eye. The bitch was going to take-
He jerked back, trying to shake his face away from her hands. His brothers’ tightened their grips around his shoulders and forearms. His bones, his tissue, his blood cried out in pain. Sweat coated his skin as he kept fighting against them.
She took his face into his hand, locking it into place between her slender fingers, she said coldly, “You do not need two eyes to see, Lucien.”
His screams echoed off the walls as her nail dug just below the eyelid, scooping back behind his eye. Not once had he ever thought about the importance of his eyes, how much he relied on them. How much he needed them.
Blind piercing pain blasted through his eye socket. The pressure of her nail digging under his eye, blood ran and tears ran down his face as her smile grew, his brothers laughed.
With a sickening pop she pulled his eye out. He felt a hollowness where his eye had just been. Blood was pouring, pouring out of the hole in a gush, leaving his head so light. So very, very light.
He was forced to watch as Amarantha examined his removed eye, she said lightly, “Such a pretty color, Lucien. This russet,” her gaze darkened as she looked back at him, saying coldly, “The next time you decide to insult me in my own court it will be more than your eye that gets taken from you.”
Her fingers clenched his eye into a fist, squeezing it, crushing it. A sickening squishing sound came from between her fingers. Opening them, she ran what remained of his eye across his face, leaving a trail of cool stickiness in it’s wake. He vomited.
Blood still poured steadily from his face as she stepped back, disgusted, “No. Not enough.” Enough what? Enough pain. Enough punishment. He froze on his knees, panting heavily.
He nearly whimpered, “Stop. Stop.” He hated himself for it.
Amarantha looked past him, to his brothers, “I’m sure you would like some quality time with your brother before he is sent home. You are dismissed for some…family quality time.”
No. No. He heard Amata’s screams in his ears, saw her dead eyes looking back at him. He could almost hear her begging. His brothers butchered her. Now they were going to butcher him.
He steeled his spine before his brothers winnowed him to a dark, dank cell. He wouldn’t break.
He flashed in and out of consciousness.
The pain was unbearable. He remembered flashes of Eris’s eyes and Freis’s cruel grin. Talons clawed down his face, joints popped out of places, bones shattered. Taunts and jeers, lies and cruel truths.
Tamlin. Tamlin would come. He would save him. He was his High Lord, his friend. They would all pay when his friend came.
He saw darkness.
He screamed when they re-broke his bones.
Healing, rebreaking, healing rebreaking.
He would come. He would be here. He would come because he was his friend.
His brothers’ laughs echoed off of the cell walls.
Lucien blacked out.
Where was he?
He stopped hoping.
Days. Weeks. Eternity.
He was blacked out from the pain when he heard the command, “Leave him in the Spring Court where Dearest Tamlin can find him.”
Lucien should have been back by now. He had sent Lucien to Amaratha’s court weeks ago. To forge peace.
Tamlin waited for his emissary, he better have a good reason for this. For his absence. His worry. He couldn’t fight the stone of worry in his gut.
He looked out the windows at his mother’s garden when Alis ran up to him, urgency filled his voice as “High Lord! You must come!”
“What’s wrong?” he snapped.
Alis’s throat bobbed, “It’s Lucien. He’s back.”
By her tone, his blood roared as he ran.
Lucien was splayed near broken in the grass, the sun scorched down on his emissary. Dried blood stained his ragged clothes. Tamlin leaned down, getting a better look at Lucien’s half unconscious state.
Lucien’s voice was raw from screaming, most likely, and broken when he near-whimpered, “Where were you? Where was my High Lord? Where was my friend?”
The sight of all the blood. The smell of decayed flesh. The disgust, the guilt, Tamlin threw up his guts.