46

It was cold. Colder than it had ever been. And it was loud. Loud with a sound that was piercing and incessant, undercut by a rumbling that was at once like a heartbeat and thunder and yet not. It beat against over sensitive flesh and ears that weren’t accustomed to noise. Shaking hands covered ringing ears, a groan breaking through the cacophony to bounce off the walls of this place. Wherever it was, whatever it was.

It was all wrong. All wrong.

Had to get back, not welcomed here. Not supposed to be here. Where was here? What was here? What is going on? 

“Anisfajir,” a voice cut through the incessant sound, catching the attention of a mind muddled by pain and too much stimulus like a shriek of fear in the dark of night. “Focus on me and breathe. It’s a lot to take in but you’ll recover soon.”

Try as he might — am I a male? I must be, “-jir” is the suffix of a male name. — to listen to that voice’s direction, it was difficult when everything hurt, when it was so cold and loud and–

“Anisfajir,” that voice spoke again with more insistence, bringing with it a face that swam into clarity before him, eyes the color of burning charcoal, hair as black as night. His face looked off, like it was real but not and that weirdness caught his attention better than the name spoken in reference to him. “Focus. We haven’t much time.”

“w’Shje?” he asked, voice cracking out at an octave that strained his vocal chords and left his throat feeling itchy.

The other male shook his head and shrugged one shoulder, his face taking on an expression that was probably supposed to be welcoming but fell somewhere closer to annoyance than anything else.

“I do not know Sinxhët, Anisfajir, but I will assume you asked ‘why’?” At his nod the other male continued, “You are in your tomb in the Iryduu Mountains. I woke you because you are greatly needed.”

He frowned and leaned forward where he sat heedless of his nakedness, hands gripping the top edge of the glass wall that separated him and what he read as a Black Soul Healer but the reading didn’t feel accurate enough. “d’Shday?” he asked, pointing at himself with a finger that trembled.

“Were you dead?” He rolled his eyes as if to say clearly that’s why we’re in your tomb and nodded impatiently. “You were, yes,” the Soul Healer answered after a beat, “for several centuries. But your sister needs you… so here you are.”

It was both an answer and not all at once and he frowned harder. “w’Shje?” he asked again, not recalling his previous life let alone believing what this strange male told him in this cold, painful place. And what was Sinxhët besides a language? Furthermore, what was the Soul Healer speaking and how could he understand it but not speak it?

His head throbbed.

“There was an attack on the Palace in Ryphqi City and your twin, Alaïs, is missing. Rhyshladlyn, your younger brother, is desperately trying to find her but we can’t let him find her first.”

He growled, flapping a hand weakly in impatience, not bothering to voice the why that bounced viciously around in his head on repeat.

“He means to kill her when he finds her.”

It was not an answer he was expecting and he let as much show on his face, followed by a shrug that clearly said, and what does that have to do with me? 

“Here, I will show you,” the Soul Healer answered, closing the distance between them with an arm outstretched.

He hissed and shuffled away from the Soul Healer with the off face and expressions that didn’t match his tone and his eyes, growling when he was laughed at. Growled even louder when his back hit something solid, effectively trapping him.

“Easy, Anisfajir,” the Soul Healer implored, “I mean you no harm. I am just going to show you what you’ve missed,” he tapped his own temple with a smile that didn’t touch his eyes. “That is all. I promise you.”

They stayed like that for several long minutes before he leaned forward with his own hand held out, upper lip curled back off his teeth because he didn’t trust this creature that wore the likeness of a Black Soul Healer.

It was suddenly colder than it had been when he’d become aware again. Cold and burning and loud. He jerked his hand out of the Soul Healer’s grip when he realized that that burning cold came from where their hands made contact, that the noise that flooded his ears came from inside his mind from the images and memories and emotions the other male had pressed into him. Came from the scream he had loosed to ease the pressure that encircled his chest.

“Who the fuck are you,” he hissed as the memory of how to speak Common settled in, closing his eyes against the tidal wave of millions of other memories. His head throbbed worse now and his stomach threatened a violent revolution of its contents if he didn’t get the damned room to stop spinning.

Closing his eyes didn’t make it better, only worse. Because of course it did.

“My name is not important,” the Soul Healer answered with a casual wave of his hand. “But you may call me the Anointed One.”

He fell forward, hands grabbing hold of the other side of what he recognized as a coffin, his coffin and isn’t that a disconcerting thought? and heaved in deep breaths, the pressure on his chest worse than before.

“Why did you bring me back, Anointed One?” He couldn’t resist wrapping sarcastic emphasis around the title.

“I told you,” the Soul Healer answered, jaw clenched at the disrespect, “I need you to help me stop Rhyshladlyn from killing Alaïs.”

“Rhys would never hurt Al, he gave everything to protect her and regardless of what she’s done in the,” he took a shaky breath when the World tilted and then spun, continuing when it settled, “in the centuries that I’ve been gone, that would not change.”

The Soul Healer’s lip twitched like he wanted to curl it up over his teeth, the skin of his forehead shifting oddly around the point just above his eyebrows, like something was there that kept the skin from moving like it should have.

“He would if she defected to the enemy side. If she chose the people who think that Azriel’s death was justified. If she left because he turned his back on his Court and his family and left them alone for centuries to suffer in his absence,” the Anointed One answered, voice clipped and filled with a rage that was just as frigid as the air around them, if not more so. And he narrowed his eyes at the other male because that kind of emotion only happened when one discussed something that effected them deeply.

“Why does it,” he swallowed against the bile that rose up his throat, “why does it matter if Rhys kills her or not? What’s it to you?”

The Anointed One blinked, clearly not expecting that question and he grinned toothily at the Soul Healer.

“I promised to protect her, I gave her my word that I would keep her safe by any means necessary,” he answered after a moment, voice quiet and filled with an emotion Anis wasn’t prepared for. “And if I cannot protect her myself, I will get someone who can, no I got someone who can: you. So you will help her, you have to.”

“Do it yourself,” he quipped, swallowing a howl of agony as his memories caught up to the moment of his death. He was left panting, sweat dripping down his face and chest, steam rising from his overheated skin in the freezing air, mind finally blissfully quiet again. “I’m not supposed to be here. I don’t want to be here. It isn’t time yet. Send me back.

He felt the energy shift and raised his eyes to look at the Soul Healer that called himself the Anointed One.

“Afraid I cannot comply with that rudely stated request, Anisfajir,” he answered. “You are needed and can either comply willingly or I shall make you.”

It wasn’t even something he had to think about. He knew Rhyshladlyn would never wish to kill their sister, no matter what she had done. The Qishir had allowed their father to rape him in order to save her. There was no way that–

“Tick tock, Anisfajir. Decide: willing or forced?”

His lip curled and he spat at the other male. “Fuck you.”

“Oh, I was hoping you’d say that.”

While he watched, that face twitched and then the glamour fell away and revealed the truth beneath it and he hissed out a curse, flinging himself against the far coffin wall. The chuckle that danced around the room made fear slip down his spine but he’d be damned if he showed it.

He sent a desperate prayer winging towards the gods as the Soul Healer reached out and grabbed hold of one of his legs and pulled him closer. He swung out with a weak punch as the other male’s free hand cupped the side of his face, fingers brushing his temple. He felt his fist connect but–

–it was cold. Colder than it had ever been. And it was loud. Loud with a sound that was piercing and incessant, undercut by a rumbling that was at once like a heartbeat and thunder and yet not. It beat against over sensitive flesh and ears that weren’t accustomed to noise. Shaking hands covered ringing ears, a groan breaking through the cacophony to bounce off the walls of this place. Wherever it was, whatever it was.

It was all wrong. All wrong.

Had to get back, not welcomed here. Not supposed to be here. Where was here? What was here? What is going on? 

“Anisfajir,” a voice cut through the incessant sound, catching the attention of a mind muddled by pain and too much stimulus like a shriek of fear in the dark of night. “Focus on me and breathe. It’s a lot to take in but you’ll recover soon.”

Try as he might — am I a male? I must be, “-jir” is the suffix of a male name. — to listen to that voice’s direction, it was difficult when everything hurt, when it was so cold and loud and–

“Anisfajir,” the tone was more insistent and he blinked and stared as a face came into view; a face that looked off but he couldn’t place why or how only that it was. “That’s it, just breathe. Everything will be alright. I promise.”

He didn’t believe him.

7 thoughts on “46

  1. Holy fucking shit. So that was just the right Amount of all over the place because Anis is still trying to find his bearings and really doesn’t want to be here. I have questions. Several of them actually. Not gonna scream, but gods that was an amazing read.

    Liked by 1 person

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