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M’Llare of the Maelrin stands with her hands buried in the maroon spikes that cascade down Thareen’s back, scratching between his shoulder blades. He pushes hard against her pearlescent claws, wanting more. Though on the edge of breaking his skin, she knows this comforts him, reminds him that he is real. A nightmare fragment made corporeal, a true nighleer, rare indeed.

M’Llare presses her lips into to a black line, lips tattooed so that she may share no more than her masters want her to as she travels the Q’Lain and beyond. Though her lips are sealed from delivering the warning that she must, Thareen’s are not.

“Thareen, look at me.”

He turns his terrible eyes upon her, but in their black depths she sees love, curiosity and determination. Her heart clutches at the thought of losing him.

“You understand what you must do, what you risk?”

He curls up his lips revealing rows of teeth dripping with poison that pools melting the ground between his feet. He scratches out, I do.

“Go straight to her, do not get distracted, do not linger, go straight to Nivin, but you must appear in my image, she trusts me enough to listen to me. Once you warn her, leave, quickly as you can.”

You worry I die, that I be nighleer no more, but dream wraith.

“Yes. I love you and I do not want that.”

I know. Without you I never real. Some life better than none.

“Do it now. It will be too hard for you in the Q’Lain.”

Thareen’s shape shimmers and shakes, the sound of cracking bones accompanies growls of effort and whimpers of pain. Finally, it is done, the facsimile complete.

“Now, tell me the message.”

“We were wrong, Lady Selene is not the Dras Reinne, the Dark Queen. You are.”

“I will wait for you here,” says M’Llare as the silver boundary mists between the worlds wrap around him stealing him from her sight.


Inspired by Trifecta’s word of the week:

1a : to be or come in sight
b : to show up <appears promptly at eight each day>
2: to come formally before an authoritative body <must appear in court today>
3: to have an outward aspect : seem <appears happy enough>