34

To say she was tired would be an understatement. It had been nonstop arguing and clean up and sleepless days and forgetting to eat while trying to make sure that those that were still at the cabin got rest, were fed, and remembered to bathe. Sure it wasn’t her job to do that, nor should it really be her concern whether the rest of the Court drove themselves into the ground, but no one else was stepping up to do it so it may as well be her. Because Nhulynolyn was hyper-focused on Bayls, Shadiranamen and Xheshmaryú had gone with Thayne to Zhalharaq, Azriel and Relyt were either at each other’s throats or keeping watch on Rhyshladlyn so they weren’t remotely focused on the Court as a whole. And she didn’t really blame them, though a nasty, petty part of her wanted to. Even Adïmshyl wasn’t focused on the whole Court; he mainly split his time between doing clean up and following her around as though waiting for the moment her stamina gave out entirely, which was as annoying as it was endearing. But it was all too much.

She had volunteered to do the laundry just for a decent break. For the slim chance that she’d be far enough away from everyone else and their arguing and thick silences that she stood a decent chance of getting some rest. That she’d finally be able to hear herself think without their verbalized thoughts stampeding all over unspoken ones. Because even Adïmshyl’s silence and hovering made her jaw ache with the effort it took to keep from clenching it, to keep from snarling and violently hitting whatever was at hand until it didn’t exist anymore.

Everything was fucked but no one was willing to see just how fucked it really was and actively try to fix it.

Not that she hadn’t tried to get them to realize. Not that she hadn’t argued her fair share and then some. But there was only so much yelling and snarling one could handle before it became safer to pull back, avoid everyone, and pray that when one came back that things would be better. Is that what Rhys thought when he left us after Azriel’s death?

So here she was, doing something menial enough that she could do it without much conscious focus, still as upset and tense as she was everywhere else in the cabin. It was ridiculous and by the Webs she just wanted peace and quiet.

She didn’t remember when she last ate, her hair hadn’t been washed in days and she could smell the remnants of fear-sweat and tears on her clothes and skin, but she wouldn’t stop to do anything about it. Not yet. Not until Rhyshladlyn woke up, not until she knew they were all safe. Not until the petty arguments stopped, not until she no longer wanted to add more bloody linens to the wash that weren’t from helping the two Dhaoine that were already wounded.

She didn’t know who to turn towards first, Bayls and Nhulynolyn or Azriel and Rhyshladlyn. Didn’t know who needed the most attention. Though her instincts told her Rhyshladlyn only because she could feel the weight of the absence of the magick that had soaked the cabin like someone had covered her in soaked blankets. The magick that had always given her a taste of him over the centuries while he had been away was just gone; swallowed back up to use for a boost to drop every single Hound in seconds with the same ease as breathing.

“Rhys! Release the attend! Rhys!”

As Rhyshladlyn flicked his fingers and released the order that had brought them all to the ground she watched Azriel run towards their Qishir, sliding in the blood that soaked the sands, stumbling and tripping over pieces of Hounds as he went. There was nothing she could do for the Qishir that Azriel and his Others couldn’t.

At least, that was the excuse she told herself so she didn’t have to think too hard on how it was actually because Relyt’s expression as he followed Azriel made her skin crawl.

The cabin rumbled ominously just before a loud thunk and the clear sounds of arguing male voices broke the relative peace of the early morning. She did her best to ignore it. Did her best to keep trying to wash the blood out of the blankets and towels that were piled beside her. It was the norm by now to hear arguing voices, especially theirs, while everyone worked (or attempted to) on cleaning up the absolute disaster that had become of the cabin and the grounds. And she was no different. But for all that it wasn’t abnormal, she still hated it.

Another thunk and more yelling followed by the sound of glass breaking had her throwing the half-washed blanket she’d been working on into the reddish water and rising to her feet with a growl that made the very air vibrate. By the time she had stomped her way to the laundry room’s doors, the air was syrupy with her magick as it sparked around her. Throwing open the doors she made for the front room where the two obstinate, rude males were whose arguing she had heard for days now. Literal days. And she had had enough.

The length of hallway would have normally served to help her calm down some before reaching the front of the cabin. But not this time. Now all it did was enrage her further because she had to waste more time to get to there so she could tell them off properly.

She was yelling before she was even to the end of the hallway.

“What the entire fuck is wrong with you two?

She rounded the corner to find Azriel and Relyt paused mid-swing, eyes wide like children caught trying to nick a treat before dinner. Adïmshyl, who had stepped out of the kitchen at some point before she’d come stomping down the hallway, caught sight of her face and ducked back into the kitchen out of sight. He knew the expression she sported, he knew the warning her tone held, and because of that was smart enough to avoid her. The rest of the Court wasn’t nearly that lucky.

“By the Webs, are you two capable of not fighting?” She snarled, advancing several paces and smiling viciously as the two males let go of each other and shuffled rapidly away from her. They recognized the danger of a Dreamweaver furious and exhausted with it, even if they weren’t too thrilled with being scolded like errant children. “We have two Court members down, one only having just woken up yesterday and the other hasn’t even stirred. And you’re fighting? We have nearly half a million Hound corpses littering the yard and you’re throwing fists? Seriously?

“Now, Tee–” Relyt began.

“Did I tell you you could speak?” She hissed, interrupting him. The Soul Healer paled and shook his head. “Then if you wish to keep your tongue operational for your future lovers, Relyt Greymend, I highly recommend you do not speak out of turn again.” With a huff that was more an attempt to lessen the pressure of her rage than anything else, she roughly pushed her hair from her eyes, hands still slick with soapy water. “Act the way that is befitting of your stations, you miserable bastards. Your Qishir is struggling to stay alive! But rather than acting like a proper Steward and Companion, you’re instead acting like spoiled children. It’s pathetic and disgusting. And I am sick of hearing it, feeling it, dealing with it. So unfuck yourselves or so help me…”

She let the threat trail off, watched as Azriel gulped and nodded. Watched as Relyt’s expression shifted, darkening as he crossed his arms over his chest and raised an eyebrow at her. Azriel side eyed the Soul Healer, looked at her, and then took a large step away from his fellow qahllynshæ. Clearly the Anglëtinean knew better than to further enrage someone whose magick was making beads of water collect on the walls. Relyt, however, either took no notice or he did and just didn’t give two fucks.

And truly she didn’t know which was worse.

“I’ll act how I wish to act, Thae’a, not how you tell me I should,” Relyt retorted, a challenge clear in his tone. “And it would behoove you to remember that you have no right to speak with such condescension to me.”

Something in her snapped, some crucial ability to remember her place, to remember that while she was powerful, this male was a Gret’yinl, that he wasn’t the Grey Steward without reason. But all she could think about was the fury he had thrown at Rhyshladlyn, the terror that had made her Qishir go still and unnaturally quiet while Relyt had beat on him. All she could think about was Rhyshladlyn’s look of finally, I’m free just as he fell to the ground after draining the cabin’s protections dry to save them. But it was the memory of how twisted and wrong Relyt had looked while following Azriel in running to Rhyshladlyn’s side that evaporated whatever was still holding her back. With a roar that shook the entirety of the cabin, that made the Currents and the windows whine, she tossed the reading chair that stood between them out of her way as she closed the distance between them in five strides and slapped Relyt across the face.

“You listen well to me, Relyt,” her voice filled with the power that had turned Shiran City into a nightmarescape. “You will stop picking fights with Azriel and you will act your age as well as the way that is expected of your position within this Court. Or so help me, I will ensure that you are never Oathed. And if you think that I am incapable of doing so, try me.” Turning to face Azriel who was staring at her with eyes the size of dinner plates, she added, “And if you rise to his bait? I will lock you in a Weave that while it won’t kill you or break your mind, it will make you wish it would.” She took a deep breath and let it out slow, the anger fading away slightly. “Show each other respect and do the same to those of us here that are pulling more than our fair share of the weight because the two of you can’t be bothered to give a fuck.”

“Respect is earned,” Relyt muttered, just loud enough for her to catch but soft enough to give the illusion that it shouldn’t have been, snapping her attention back to him quick enough that he actually flinched.

“I haven’t slept in days because I’ve been focused on doing everything that has been left by the wayside. I haven’t showered, I haven’t eaten because taking care of our Qishir, of our sister, is far more important,” she growled. “I’ve done more than enough to earn respect. Have you?”

She didn’t give either the chance to say anything else before she turned on her heel and left the main room before the urge to feed Relyt his own vocal chords became to great to ignore. The quiet that followed her was heavy with things left unsaid, not all of which were good, but at least it was quiet.

So long as it was fucking quiet and stayed that way, she’d deal with the consequences of what she had just done later.

6 thoughts on “34

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