The Hunt
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blood between my fingers
the eyes of the prey, closing in death
the sisters moons taking the colors

There was a blink of light under her eyes, the serene feeling of being embraced, almost weightlessness.

The last day was hard for both of them. He was working so long upon court requests, that he didn’t return at night. She slowly pulled the chain off her ankle, in mute disapproval of whoever kept him so occupied. He wanted him close, and remove the headaches of the responsibility, putting her small hands on his temples.

The last thing she remembered, was making a potion for him, to soothe bone aches. They were making him nervous and she didn’t like him in that mood, when he only nagged at the other skeksis and fallen asleep, to ease the pain, without any talk.

She got too used to long talks, with which he shared his ideas, his life. When he felt pain, her efforts were fruitless.

Her fingers ran through the chain that was not longer embracing her leg. It was foolish, he thought at first, no one enters my chamber without permission, if they dared, he would mind trying new punishment ways that Ritual Master so gladly invented. But she felt safer when others could take her by a mere toy, not a —

Then, she fell asleep, the potion flasks still laying on the desk where she left them.

Blink under her eyes, weightlessness.

Embrace.

It seemed that in the room only shadows danced and the flickering light of the crystal candle created the mirage of a large figure leaning over her. The apparition, a ghost from another time, when she was still much more naive and feared things much more than now.

‘skekSo…” she purred, her hands folding over his bigger frame, feeling as he inhales her scent deeply but with evident effort. She allowed him to hold her, yet soon, she got worried. He was wheezing, she heard it clearly, as his beak was so close, she could feel the texture of the metal protection.

Saria delicately put a hand over his artificial beak and he immediately opened eyes which were closed all the time.

“Not there,” he said.

“But it’s the exact place when you should be touched. By someone knowing herbs and medicine.” she retorted. Her hand landed on his chest, now concealed by the heavy fabric.

He immediately withdrew and sat by her, observing how she raises from the bed, and folds her legs under her bottom, crouching to lean against him. He of course allowed that. Couldn’t be otherwise.

“I tried many things, Saria, yours too,” he said. He looked resigned but ready to oppose her, whatever she says. “But the power it gives me, the strength to rule the Thra… it’s a price.”

“Ah, price!” she didn’t hide her disapproval. “Price of life to win the kingdom.”

“Someone has to” now he was getting angry. As always when she tried that topic. The sickness which was eating him was caused by his own talons and he didn’t like it when she was reminding him of that.

“Let the others sacrifice, you are too good to perish,” she said, suddenly, standing up. He followed her moves with tired eyes, which still were burning with anger at his own subjects who annoyed him during the last day.

“Maybe when I distill the extract from jolm flowers petal, I can have a better result.”

“You speak like skekTek and I am fed up with skekTek for the time being.”

She narrowed her eyes, inquisitively.

“What happened?”

“Nothing that shouldn’t. But I won’t want to hear his name this night. Saria. Not today. Please.”

She wanted to ask further, but he already was in a bad mood and he was saying that word so rarely, that special word skeksis don’t know, that she gave up.

“At least let me give you something that allows you to sleep without pain.” she tried. She felt the sickness goes forth and his pain was growing bigger too. How often he woke up, sweated, tail curled and madness in his eyes, all body twisted in mute suffering.

“Who said I want to sleep?” he squinted.

She smiled at this, touching his forehead with her hand. He was was hot as crystal pit fumes, from a fever that drilled into his body.

“Not this night, my Emperor. This night we both sleep.” she placed a small kiss on the skin under his eye. “But next night, I will serve you the best way I can.”

He growled, but he already was half asleep. Saria helped him to disrobe and lay on the bedsheets. Even if he was telling her he doesn’t want to, she made him drink a painkilling remedy.

“You act like—” these were his last words, until he dozed off, his fingers running during sleep like he wanted to catch something, Perhaps her, perhaps some memory from the past.

He probably was feeling the warmth of the crystal candle, she turned closer to their bed. Flickering warmth.

And the feel of weightlesness.

In a difficult time, they lived in. She pondered very often, how it would look like if they did live in the dawn of time when skeksis were young, joyful and not bitter and the gelfling loved them and feasted with them under the open air.

For her, it didn’t matter, she would love him young and she would love him old.

But she would like to imagine not being forced to hide and love openly, and the lack of sickness in both of them would crown them as emperors of their own lives.

//   Article written by skekMal  //