Song of Winter(6)

By: May Sage

Vale acquiesced and finished his point. “You understand, now, why we cannot allow a spell to take root. It is dangerous, for you and me alike.”

“I know what an obsession spell is, I’ve read about it,” she told him, rolling her eyes. “It makes you incapable of thinking about anything else but the person it bound you to. If either of us had been hexed, we most definitely wouldn’t have been able to talk of Isle politics.”

She had a point.

“Besides,” Devi added, “it’s entirely impossible.”

Vale insisted, “I know my mother. Whatever else she may have trained you to be, trust me when I say that what she’s turned you into is a perfect uterus meant to grow my seed.”

And as he said it, Vale suddenly understood why. Devi had professed to possess every godly power, and she was almost right. She may be versed in the four elements, but there was one divine ability she still lacked. The most powerful one, arguably. His. Power over minds. The one skill she didn’t have was the strength to read thoughts, manipulate people, and make them suffer. Shea had bound them because she loved nothing more than power, and if he and Devi were to have a child, the babe could be blessed with all five powers. Mind and matter in one tiny grasp.

Vale wondered if the other part of him had seen it first. Perhaps that was why the darkness inside him, which cared for no one and nothing beyond his own satisfaction, seemed to value her so.

Devi left her bed and walked out of the room. Belatedly, he noted his lady was more than a little put out.

Vale replayed his choice of words and winced. He had been harsh. Vale followed her, unwilling to part ways on such terms.


She made no response, moving easily in the smooth black stone corridors outside her doors. Tall elves in thin clothing passed them, their dresses billowing in the wind. There was no glass in the thousands of large, curved windows flanked by pillars, yet none appeared to feel the bitter cold. They bent their heads to Devi, hands over their hearts. She stopped and returned each of their greetings. When their eyes slid to him, they were cold but curious. He inclined his head.

After passing through five corridors and two halls, they reached a wet room with dozens of large natural pools. Three were occupied; it didn’t faze her.

He understood. She wanted to put an end to their conversation, and so she’d chosen a public venue. No doubt she had a bathroom next to her large rooms upstairs.

Vale went in after her.

“I didn’t wish to offend you. I simply know my mother better than you do, although she speaks to you more than I.”

She stared at him without a word.

“And I didn’t mean to say I’m approaching you because of a spell. You’re lovely, as you well know. I would have wanted you without any interference. But my natural inclination might have been more along the lines of desiring you for an hour and then wanting you far away. This is different. It… doesn’t feel like me.”

Vale sensed a bond tethering them, as if an oath forced his hands. Trapping him.

He decided against saying it out loud. Devi seemed one insult away from kicking him in the balls.

He immediately saw when she changed her approach. There was a glint in her eyes, and she stifled a smile. Vale considered taking a cautious step back. He’d seen that look before—in his mother’s eyes a time or two, for one. The night when she condemned Drake to his torment, she’d borne such a look.

To ensure she was comfortable as she rested, Devi had been uncloaked and unbooted, but she was still dressed as she’d been when they’d left Elham, in his shirt, and leather breeches.

Eyes set on him, unblinking, she started to remove her clothing. Slowly, she peeled her breeches from her slender limbs and stood before him in his shirt. It was pure white and thin enough for him to see her nipples through the fabric. The shirt drowned her, but in the dim light of the declining moon shining through the bare window, he could see the outline of each of her curves.

Fucking delicious.

Her undressing was no invitation—her smug look made that clear. It was punishment. Showing him what he was missing.

Remaining where he stood took all his self-control.

“I’m not vexed,” she finally said.