89

He was so sick of being lied to.

Tired of it on a level that there were no words for. Sick of opening himself up. Of trusting those around him only to find out that it was all for nothing.

Only to find out that for all that he gave everything, he only ever received shit. Shit and lies and betrayal and pain and self-loathing and nightmares.

It was ill-advised for him to seek out Relyt, to demand to his lying fucking face to know the Truth for once. But by the Hourglass, Scythe, and Scales, he was tired of waiting. Was tired of trying to figure out the best time to handle things. Tired of making strategies, of making plans.

What was the point anymore?

“You can’t do this, Rhys! You’re too volatile to handle it well!” Azriel’s voice was sharp and to anyone who didn’t know him it would sound like he was furious. But Rhyshladlyn knew better. He could hear the fear that had nothing to do with concern for the Anglëtinean’s own safety and everything to do with his worry for Rhyshladlyn’s.

It hadn’t taken much to search out and find Relyt. All he’d needed to do was reach for their link and then it was cake to follow the siren call of the Soul Healer’s qahllyn’qir to the Steward Corps’ main camp in northern Bondye right on the Txiwteb-Bondye border. He’d roared the male’s name as a courtesy warning of his arrival not for Relyt’s benefit but for the benefit of the Steward Corps he lead.

When he landed he could taste the disappointment, the resentment, the fear, and the loneliness in the air. It was like being back with Iköl and his insane lot. It was like being back in Shiran City, waiting for the next time Anislanzir called for him. Only this was worse. Because this? This was Relyt. The one who had heard his Call in a back alley of Shiran City and answered it without hesitation. This was Relyt who had willingly offered himself up to go stand at Alaïs’ side to protect her from the Lord King because Rhyshladlyn no longer could. This was Relyt who had always been there. Who had never once strayed from him. Whose loyalty Rhyshladlyn believed in wholeheartedly right alongside Azriel’s. This was the male he had willingly invited into his bed, the only one besides Azriel.

And gods did it feel fantastic to punch the stupid fuck in the face. To feel the cartilage of his nose give and then snap, to feel the spiderweb fractures explode out across his cheekbones. Gods did it feel good to taste true fear. To taste terror that was because of him.

Because that kind of terror meant that Relyt finally understood exactly who he had crossed.

He rolled his shoulders as his lips curled back off his teeth and he stalked into the tent after Relyt who had been knocked inside by the force of his punch.

“I am sick of your lies,” he hissed, voice like shards of ice that sliced tiny cuts all over the exposed skin of Relyt’s face and neck.

With a flick of his wrist he threw the Soul Healer back outside, following after him. It probably shouldn’t have felt so good to see Relyt scrambling to get his legs under him, to get up and face him, to get into a defensive position. But for all that the Soul Healer had surprised him after the Oiki had attacked outside the Forest, Rhyshladlyn was still faster. Was stronger. Was better.

And by the time he was done, he would make sure that Relyt knew it. Even if he had to carve it into the fucker’s very Self, he would make sure he Knew.

“Did you think I’d not find out everything you’ve kept from me? Everything you’ve done?” His voice dripped with disdain, bordering on hatred, but he didn’t care.

Didn’t care because deep down he was wailing for the loss of the male he had trusted. For the lover that had always made him laugh. For the mentor, the teacher, that had reminded him of why he’d loved to learn new things. For the foundation that had remained steady and immovable no matter what he had thrown at it, no matter what anyone had thrown at it.

“Rh-Rhys, please, what…” the Soul Healer dodged his next swing, barely. “I don’t– talk to me. I don’t know what’s goin–nngh–ing on!”

His fist connected with the Soul Healer’s throat and he felt the sound of the larynx snapping, of the vocal chords that attached to it tearing. And his smile hurt his face but he didn’t hide it.

“Shut up,” his voice made the air go stagnate, made a Silence settle hard and fast and deep over the camp. “I know about Luapít, Relyt. I know about how ey was in league with the Anointed One. I know. And I’m sick of your lies.”

Relyt spluttered, hand swiping at his throat in an attempt to Heal it so he could speak. But Rhyshladlyn didn’t give him the chance. He stepped inside the male’s space, knocking his hands away and bound them at his sides with a wordless attend that burned at the air in the other male’s lungs. Relyt’s qahllyn’qir practically shrieked at Rhyshladlyn’s proximity, begged for acknowledgement, for touch, for anything but the solitude and abandonment they had suffered. Without a thought for the brutality of the action, he blanketed them with his cold fury, the very fury that he had killed his father and mother with. The very fury that had been the last thing Lulphé had seen before her own life had been snuffed out.

The color drained from Relyt’s face as it finally registered just how fucked he actually was.

“I know it was you who brought the Hounds upon us.” His throat burned with the words, with the absolute debilitating Truth of them and he hated, gods did he hate, it. “Of all those in the Court, the only person who could have done it was you. And I want to know why! We could have all died, you fucking incompetent, stupid motherfucker!”

He grabbed up handfuls of Relyt’s shirt and shook him. “What were you thinking?”

“Rhys!” Nhulynolyn’s voice was the only warning he had before his twin was on him, fighting to take over his body just like he had that day when Azriel had first been captured and Relyt had stopped him from going back through Shiran’s retaining wall after the Anglëtinean. Back when he’d turned on his Steward and saw him as an enemy, when he intended to kill him. “Stop this!”

He growled and knocked Nhulynolyn aside.

No. He must answer for his crimes!”

But where Nhulynolyn no longer was, Azriel had taken his place and bodily shoved him away from Relyt.

“Go!” Mismatched eyes glowed with a darkness and a rage that Rhyshladlyn hadn’t seen since Azriel had learned that Anislanzir had cut out his wings. “Cool off. I’ll get the answers you want, that you need. But you have to leave right now.”

“No,” one word. Short, hard, and simple. His fury made shadows dance all around them, but Azriel stood unwavering in the face of it.

Of all in the Court, Azriel had never feared him. Ever.

Until now.

But for all that he was clearly afraid, Azriel still didn’t back down.

Yes,” Azriel bit back fearlessly. “I will not let you kill him because you are too enraged to think clearly.” The Anglëtinean pointed towards the camp’s distant boundary near the Txiwteb border. “Now go before I bodily toss you over my shoulder and carry you out.”

He didn’t argue, he knew it was a lost cause. Azriel was right, gods damn his balls. With narrowed eyes he looked over the Anglëtinean’s shoulder to find Thae’a kneeling beside Relyt, hands glowing with her power as she Healed his throat and other injuries. It would take some time, but nothing was permanent.

Yet.

“I just wanted… wanted you to see us again,” Relyt rasped as soon as his vocal chords and larynx were Healed enough to allow for speech. Thae’a hissed an admonition but the Soul Healer ignored her. “I never meant for anyone to get hurt.”

“Relyt, I have never stopped seeing you, any of you. And the fact that you believed I had enough to send Hounds upon us makes me wonder if you’re fit to be my Steward after all,” he retorted but was kept from saying anything else by Azriel who made good on his word and actually shoved him in the opposite direction. Tossing his hands up in the air, he turned around and started walking away.

And with each step, his fury only grew. With each step his exhaustion settled in deeper and deeper.

With each step, the thought that there is just no point to trying anymore grew in volume until it was louder than the Silence that filled every inch of the hollowed out spaces inside him.

Until he no longer heard the pleas of Relyt’s qahllyn’qir, only the breaking of what remained of his heart.

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