Hope Like Mist

Hope Like Mist
by Ruby

Notes

Disclaimer: This short story is inspired by the Wraeththu books of Storm Constantine. The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire and all characters named in those books are the copyright of Storm Constantine and her publishers. No infringement on the copyrights are intended.

Spoilers: The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit
Author: Ruby: rubyrohvale@mailpride.com

Hope Like Mist

In my previous life, I earned my living singing songs that other people
wrote. While so very much has changed in some respects, nothing has changed
there. My life has become a song that someone else wrote and I’m employed to
sing. I get up on a stage and I put on an act, all the while, moving to
words and music not mine. Perhaps I should try my hand at song-writing. My
grandmother used to sing a lot when I was very young. She had a wonderful
voice, as did my mother, and I was lucky enough to inherit that talent. One
of my grandmother’s favorites was an old song called “Tea For Two.” Perhaps
I could change it around a little and call it “Toy For Two.” Does that sound
bitter? Perhaps…

If I could walk out on all of this tomorrow, would I do it? The simple
answer is no. Not because of all I have in the way of material things,
though they are nice and help make this hellish existence bearable. I would
stay because of what I don’t have. There’s an old adage that goes, “Where
there’s life, there’s hope”, and I do have hope – futile as it may prove.

I know he hated me because he thought I was nothing more than a gold-digger,
showing up when I did, trailing our son. But he was very wrong in that. I
didn’t know what he was, I didn’t know that Thiede had only recently decided
he ought to be blood-bonded with a suitable someone. Of course, the timing
of my arrival couldn’t have been worse. It made me look like the gold-digger
he accused me of being, and it put me right in the line of Thiede’s sights.
Was it Fate? I’m sure Thiede wouldn’t like to think so. He’d hate the idea
that there was someone or something more powerful than his godlike self
guiding our movements.

If it was Thiede’s hand guiding events, why did he choose me? I think I know
the answer to that. It wasn’t because I was weak-willed and compliant – when
I arrived here, I was neither of those things. He chose me because he knew I
loved Pell and that I would continue to hold, deep within me, some hope for
that love, no matter that his Tigron hated the sight of me and wanted
nothing to do with me. Am I tenacious or stupid?

Of course, Pell’s opinion of me was shared by many of his cronies. Pell
encouraged this view, and those sycophants who wanted to win his favor
attempted to do so by adopting his stance in relation to me. This view of me
as a greedy, vain, gold-digger continues to be held in some quarters to this
day. They like to think I’m shallow and vapid, concerned with little else
than my own reflection. It’s easy enough to play that part. Better to have
their scorn than their pity.

Contrary to the popular perception of me, I do think. And I think a lot
about Ferelithia and what happened there. I think about Pell and wonder how
he perceived me during our brief time together all those years ago. He knew
what he was, he knew why he was coming to Immanion, yet he chose me. Would
he have done that if he’d thought I was an opportunist who’d come chasing
after him as soon as I learned the truth? And how long did he think that
truth could be kept secret? He was to be a figurehead – a very public
figurehead. His face and his name would become renowned throughout the land.
He must have known I’d discover the truth eventually, or did he hope that
news of the Tigron and his identity would never reach Ferelithia? Vain hope!

So I return, over and over, to the puzzling question of why? Why did he do
as he did? Since arriving here, I’ve learned more about Pell’s history, and
I’ve discovered that he hadn’t been lying when he’d told me his body was
“virgin” for me. So perhaps, having survived all he had, and having not
shared aruna with anyone for so long, he was overcome by his own needs and
desires – which would explain the act, but not the resultant child. He went
ahead and did what he did – knowing all he did. That wasn’t rushed, that
wasn’t unbridled lust. There was intent – on his part at least.

Conception is a conscious act. Pell knew what was required, and proceeded to
do it. Why? Had I indicated to him that I’d wanted more than a night
together, that I’d wanted a permanent reminder of what we’d shared?
Definitely not! A child was the last thing on my mind. I certainly didn’t
ask to be impregnated then hastily deserted and left to raise our child on
my own.

What was he thinking? There’s that question again – that question which has
never left my mind since the fateful day when the reality of what he’d done
first made itself evident to me; that question which became even more
important after we arrived here only to be subjected to a disgraceful
reception and his poisonous vitriol. Over time, the terrible truth has
revealed itself to me. In Ferelithia, he hadn’t thought at all. He did as he
did, knowing he could fall back on the old excuse that it was all part of
Thiede’s plan. Whether he is right in that is yet to become clear. But no
matter whose doing it was, from my point of view what happened in Ferelithia
that night was a violation

Kate says it’s typical of male behavior, to recklessly do as they will
without thought to consequence, then squeal like a stuck pig when events
turn around and bite them in the arse. I think she forgets that I was once a
young man myself. Therefore I know that, her blunt phraseology aside, what
she says does go some way to explaining Pell’s actions. But there’s nothing
of comfort in it.

In my more spiteful moments, I nurture the hope that Thiede had no hand in
events. I take shameful delight in the thought that it was all Pell’s own
doing, and that the web he began spinning in far off Ferelithia only served
to entrap him, leaving him unable to do more than bemoan his fate, and
regret that his impulsive behavior has seen him bonded to me for life.
Naturally, there’s little of joy in this situation for me, either, but that
would be so no matter whose will moved events. However, despite all his
misgivings, Pell doesn’t regret Abrimel, and for that I am eternally
thankful.

During those hours following our arrival here in Immanion, when we were
spirited away to be hidden like a shameful secret, my head was spinning and
my mind was in turmoil. But I did manage to drag some coherent thoughts out
of the uproar swirling in my head. Those thoughts were of Pell. Was this
being done on his orders? If so, why? Did he now think he had made a
terrible miscalculation in Ferelithia, that he had misjudged me so
completely? I wanted to see him desperately, so I could explain things
weren’t as they appeared to be. But then he came, and I was the one left
wondering about miscalculations, and my own sense of judgement. This was not
the har I knew in Ferelithia. He was deranged by fury, and said such hateful
things. How did he dare it? If anyone had the right to rant like a maniac
and fling accusations about, it was me. But I didn’t do that, I couldn’t do
that. I was shattered by his reaction to my presence, and could nothing but
cower under the avalanche of his rage. He was…but no, I don’t want to recall
that time, nor the effects of that first glimpse of his sire on Abrimel. Nor
will I dwell on the time and effort that went into soothing my son and
convincing him his father was not the monster he had given every appearance
of being during that first encounter – although it was difficult trying to
explain something even I didn’t understand. But somehow our independent
efforts – Pell’s and mine – saw the relationship between father and son
patched and they remain on amiable terms to this day.

I don’t hate Pell, although to do so would make my life easier. I hate some
of the things he’s done, and I hate the way he behaves sometimes, but deep
inside I maintain a hope – a foolish, inane hope – that, one day, through
perseverance and sheer tenacity, I will find myself face to face once more
with the har I met and loved in Ferelithia.

But in my more lucid moments I know I might as well try to grasp and hold
the early morning mist.

The End

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