#dc lot Tumblr posts

  • magma-cjay
    29.05.2022 - 2 hours ago

    A woman goes god mode

    #my art#au#lot au #legends of tomorrow #phantom lady#sandra knight #lol back to my dc posting
    View Full
  • moda-serieseblahblahblah
    28.05.2022 - 10 hours ago

    Kind people are kind because they know firsthand that life isn’t

    (post )

    #ray palmer #dc legends of tomorrow #lot #legends of tomorrow #brandon routh#my creation
    View Full
  • ticklishfrog
    28.05.2022 - 17 hours ago

    How aboutttt Battinson + ears >:3

    Honestly I'd say a solid 10!! His ears are definitely one of his worst spots (an unexpected disadvantage of his good hearing), but since it's not really somewhere people would immediately think to tickle, they're a little under-exploited. However, Selina will occasionally give him kisses there while tickling his upperbody, and he just about dies. She also sometimes pulls that "come here I have to tell you a secret" *blows air into his ear* thing with him and he hates it 😭

    send me a character + body part, and I will tell you my headcanon about that spot being ticklish and will rate it on a scale from 1 to 10

    #THANKS FOR THE REQUEST ILY #this got a lot longer than the answers to these are probably supposed to be but i... have a lot of thoughts 😭 #also please tell me the ''i have to tell you a secret'' thing is like. an actual thing. and not just something that only happened to me 😭 #answered#fluffy-lee-boa#the batman#bruce wayne #ticklish!bruce wayne #dc#headcanons
    View Full
  • sk8trniel
    28.05.2022 - 19 hours ago

    it's now darla's favorite piece of blackmail

    #and she has a LOT #on both of them #tim drake#bernard dowd#darla aquista#timber#red robin#dc#dc comics #dc bring darla back 2k22 #louis grieve trio #tweets
    View Full
  • velarisarchives
    28.05.2022 - 1 day ago

    ☪ A Million Miles Away | Chapter 17 |

    Rhiannon Archeron did not spend her life amongst her unfortunate family. After a rather distasteful beginning in life bought on by Mr and Mrs Archeron, she ended up in a land on the other side of the world. Grew up in a city called Gotham as Kamaria Wayne. Years after her original abandonment, right after a most unfortunate war that left her alone once again, Rhian went in search for her birth family, only to stumble across more than she bargained for. Amongst those things, a High Lord who helped heal her broken heart, and whom she just so happened to help heal as well.

    Pairing: Rhysand x Archeron!oc

    Warnings: Passages from ACOMAF. Mentions of torture.

    Word Count: 8345

    Chapter 17- The One With the Priestesses and the Amphitheater

    That night, Rhys had come into her room around midnight.

    He didn’t have to say a word for her to understand, to make her way over to him. She’d let him lead the way to his room, and though they had not created an arrangement of any sort, Rhian had done what she did that first night he’d had a nightmare.

    They’d cuddled close, just as they had the night prior.

    Neither of them thought it odd, not as she hummed another pleasant tune, as she shared another piece of her past. This time, the tale of her first ballet recital with one of her sisters who’d also trained in the League of Assassins.

    Cassandra.

    Rhys had been able to recover from his nightmare quicker that time around, had talked more than the previous night. He’d explained the ballet she described was much like a dance Fae called something different.

    She’d hummed a different song after her tale of the night she’d proven she was more than just a girl in tandem with death. It had also been the first time mom had come to a family event, as dad’s girlfriend at the time.

    That morning, the two had woken equally as cuddled as how they’d fallen asleep, they’d eaten breakfast and flown to the House of Wind to oversee Feyre’s training.

    After a lunch spent with the court, in which they discussed possible hiding spots for the book in the Summer Court amongst many other things…Rhys had surprised her.

    He’d excused them from drinking with the others, taking her arm as he guided her down the complex, and unventured halls of the House of Wind.

    Only Mor and Cassian had raised a brow at their leaving, Amren looking unnervingly amused by it. Feyre had shot Rhian a questioning look, which the human answered with a shrug. She really had no idea where they were going, at least not until she dared to ask.

    He’d led her down a few flights through a curved stairwell, mentioning they were visiting a library, one that had been around for many years, and served as his family’s personal library for many centuries.

    She’d been to bookstores in Velaris before, but hadn’t seen any true libraries, and Rhysand had found it fascinating that humans had free libraries open to anyone.

    Down they went, so far that Rhys had to tuck in his wings as the stairs became tighter, the ceiling dropping. Once they reached their desired floor, likely far below the ground floor of the House of Wind and below the mountain itself, he led her down a corridor lit only by bowls of faelight upraised in the hands of beautiful female statues, their forms High Fae and faerie alike.

    The air was dry and cool—and heavy. As if it had been trapped inside for ages.

    “You're the only one with a library here?” she asked, to which he nodded by her side.

    “There were great libraries before the war, full of cranky scholars who could find tomes dating back thousands of years. But humans were not allowed inside-unless they were slaves on errands. But I remember they were closely watched”

    As they descended down the last flight of stairs, Rhian let go of their intertwined arms, staring at the hall beyond as she asked, “Why?”

    “Because the books were full of magic, and things they wanted to keep humans from knowing.” Rhys explained with a muscle tick of his jaw as they walked the last few steps down a wide passageway of carved red stone and a sealed set of obsidian doors, veins of silver running throughout, when he added, “The scholars and librarians refused to keep slaves of their own—some for personal reasons, but mainly because they didn’t want them accessing the books and archives.”

    “What happened to the libraries?” she asked wearily, “You know, after the war. I saw book stores in the human lands, but no libraries”

    Rhys frowned, “Most scholars had enough time to evacuate—and were able to winnow the books out. But if they didn’t have the time or the brute power…they burned the libraries. Rather than let the humans access their precious information.”

    Rhian dropped the hand that had been holding her dress skirts in place for walking, couldn't help but let both of her arms fall limp to her sides in disappointment as she exclaimed, “Idiots. They’d rather have lost that information forever?”

    He nodded, the dim light gilding his blue-black hair. “Prejudices aside, the fear was that the humans would find dangerous spells”

    She’d chuckled at that, the only human she knew to use spells out of a book was Doctor Strange, and even he didn’t use many dangerous ones. None of which she suspected came from Fae origins.

    “Yet here I am, about to enter a Fae library” she mused, which earned her a playful shove. They walked up to the doors, which opened on a phantom wind, as if the mountain itself lived to serve him.

    Rhys slid his fingers through hers then, interlacing their hands as he led her inside his family’s private library.

    This place, it was…amazing.

    It wasn't like the massive libraries of centuries past back in the human lands, a shining room from fantasies. Yet its beauty was unlike any other, and all the books…the knowledge they must contain! Most if not all of these books must be older than her, older than Rhys.

    The library looked as if the base of the mountain had been hollowed out by some massive digging beast, leaving a pit descending into the dark heart of the world. Rhian had scooped up her yellow dress skirts (one of the many gorgeous and comfortable dresses Rhys had gifted her upon her arrival), and made her way towards it, not even noticing she’d left Rhys at the door.

    Around that gaping hole, carved into the mountain itself, spiraled level after level of shelves and books and reading areas, leading into the inky black.

    From what she could see of the various levels as she drifted toward the carved stone railing overlooking the drop, the stacks shot far into the mountain itself, like the spokes of a mighty wheel. And through it all, fluttering like moth’s wings, the rustle of paper and parchment.

    Silent, and yet alive. Awake and humming and restless, some many-limbed beast at constant work.

    Rhian peered upward, finding more levels rising toward the House above. And lurking far below…Darkness.

    When she’d asked why there wasn’t anything down there, Rhys had joined her at the railing with their shoulders grazing one another, and though he wore the aura of the confident High Lord, he nervously stated, “I once dared Cassian to fly down and see.” bracing his hands on the railing, gazing down into the gloom, he added “And he came back up, faster than I’ve ever seen him fly, white as death. He never told me what he saw. The first few weeks, I thought it was a joke—just to pique my curiosity. But when I finally decided to see for myself a month later, he threatened to tie me to a chair. He said some things were better left unseen and undisturbed. It’s been two hundred years, and he still won’t tell me what he saw. If you even mention it, he goes pale and shaky and won’t talk for a few hours.”

    Shit.

    Was it bad that she wanted to see what was down there all the more? Probably. Rhys must’ve read her smirk to a tea, because he sent her a playful warning glare.

    Still, her curiosity was quelled when she realized they weren’t the only people in the library. She’d assumed Rhys had brought her here to help with her research, give her access to older books that were not normally available.

    But he’d brought her here for a nobler reason, one that sparked that sense of respect and trust that grew when she thought of him.

    When Rhian heard steps approaching, she turned back towards the doors only to see a hooded, cloaked figure walking their way, footsteps echoing on the redstone floors.

    If it weren't for Rhys's calm demeanor, Rhian might've reached for a weapon, mistaking the female for a threat. Old habits.

    Said stranger wore pale robes, a hood crowned with a limpid blue stone, the panel that could be lowered over the eyes.

    “This is Clotho,” Rhys said calmly, guiding her toward the awaiting female, “She’s one of the dozens of priestesses who work here.”

    Clotho lowered her head in reverence but said nothing.

    “Hello” Rhian said lamely and nervously, realizing this female was harmless. That it might be Rhian who was intruding, not the other way around.

    She’d never met a priestess before, had only heard of them and assumed they existed if the Fae worshiped the Mother and the Cauldron.

    She wondered if this Fae female would find it insulting to have a human woman here amongst their dangerous texts. If perhaps she was old enough to remember those days when her kind were not welcome to places like these.

    But this was Velaris. Rhysand's lands which had proven to be anything but prejudiced.

    Upon the silence, Rhys added with a wry smile Rhian's way, “The priestesses here …they are special. Unique.”

    The female angled her head in what might have been amusement. Her face remained in shadow, despite the golden lights that had flickered to life upon their entering of the library.

    Her slim body concealed in those pale, heavy robes. No signs of weapons beneath them, and Rhian didn't get the same assumption of power she could almost feel from beings like Mor, Amren, and Rhys.

    So what made them unique?

    Rhys smiled warmly at the priestess, gesturing at the human with a hand that was not locked with Rhian's own, introducing her, “This is Rhiannon”

    The female lowered her head in a gentle bow Rhian’s way, a gesture the human returned in case it was the polite thing to do.

    She only noticed Rhys was grinning when she rose. He pretended not to notice her glare, and instead asked the priestess, “Did you find the texts?”

    And it was only when Clotho bobbed her head in a sort of “so-so” motion that Rhiannon finally realized either she could not or would not speak.

    Her sister Cassandra had been similar, a mute by choice after her own training under the League. Rhian could see much of her late sister in this female, the way they communicated with their eyes and gestures.

    Unsure if sign language was a thing here, she refrained from using it.

    Clotho gestured to her left, led them down the sloping walkway with floors of red stone, like the rest of the place, but these were smooth and polished.

    Rhian briefly and childishly wondered if any of the priestesses had ever gone sledding down the spiraling path. If her siblings were here, Jason and Duke would’ve already done so for sure.

    She had warmed up to Rhys enough to whisper her ridiculous inquiry, and had to clamp a hand on her mouth to keep laughter at bay when he leaned down to whisper, "Mor and I tried once when we were children. My mother caught us on our third level down, and we were sent to bed without supper”

    “Shi-” Rhian clamped down on her insult, in case the priestess found them unacceptable, and instead muttered, “It was that bad?”

    With a feline smirk, Rhys added, “It was when we’d oiled up the floor, and the scholars were falling on their faces”

    Rhian had to cough to cover her amusement, even with Clotho a few steps ahead.

    In that moment, Rhiannon was certain the Inner Circle would’ve gotten along beautifully with her family. The thought was not painful for once, but almost felt like a relief. Because then, maybe that meant her family would be happy and accepting of her being here…working with them.

    Not that she needed her family's approval to do things, but given their deaths, it would be nice to know they agreed Rhian was once again trying to do the right thing with the right people.

    Still following the priestess hand in hand, they passed by stacks of books and parchment, the shelves either built into the stone itself or made of dark, solid wood. Hallways lined with both vanished into the mountain itself, and every few minutes, a little reading area popped up, full of tidy tables, low-burning glass lamps, and deep-cushioned chairs and couches.

    Ancient woven rugs adorned the floors beneath them, usually set before fireplaces that had been carved into the rock and kept well away from any shelves, their grates fine-meshed enough to retain any wandering embers.

    Cozy, despite the size of the space; warm, despite the unknown terror lurking below.

    Making their way down to the next floor, Rhys whispered, “If the others piss me off too much, I like to come down here for some peace and quiet” to which Rhian grinned.

    “Don’t they know by now that they can find you down here?”

    He shrugged.

    “Of course. But I never go to the same spot twice in a row, so it usually takes them so long to find me that they don’t bother. Plus, they know that if I’m here, it’s because I want to be alone”

    “So dramatic” Rhian teased, and upon his exaggerated gasp of offense, she added, “Will you come hide from me here if I piss you off? Because I’ll end up sledding down the paths until you either come stop me, or the priestesses throw me out”

    Rhysand made a show of bumping her side with his hip, which would’ve sent her tumbling into a passing bookshelf had it not been for their intertwined hands. Which for some reason, remained so.

    Rhian could have sworn Clotho’s shoulders shook with laughter then.

    The gentle priestess led them into a reading area about three levels down, the massive worktable laden with fat, ancient books bound in various dark leathers. A neat stack of paper was set to one side, along with an assortment of quills, and the reading lamps were at full glow, merry and sparkling in the gloom.

    A silver tea service gleamed on a low-lying table between the two leather couches before the grumbling fireplace, steam curling from the arched spout of the kettle. Biscuits and little sandwiches filled the platter beside it, along with a fat pile of napkins that subtly hinted they use them before touching the books.

    “Thank you,” Rhys told the priestess, who only pulled a book off the pile she’d undoubtedly gathered and opened it to a marked page. The ancient velvet ribbon was the color of old blood—but it was her hand that struck Rhian as it met the golden light of the lamps.

    It was an effort to keep from reacting, to keep her heartbeat steady.

    Clotho fingers were crooked. Bent and twisted at such angles that she would have thought the priestess might've been born with them were it not for the scarring. Just like she’d figured out Az’s injuries had not been a birth defect, she knew the female’s hands were nothing but a cruel injury.

    The effort it must have taken Clotho to move everything into place with those gnarled hands…

    She gestured with a finger that was bent in two different directions to the page she’d selected, then to the book. They depicted records of Rask’s ruthless leaders, the legal disputes they often found themselves in throughout the years.

    Rhys inclined his head. “We’ll give a shout if we need anything.”

    Clotho bowed her head again and began striding away, careful and silent. Before she could disappear, Rhian shouted after her, “Thank you!”

    The priestess paused, looking back, and bowed her head, hood swaying. Within seconds, she was gone.

    Rhian stared after her, even as Rhys slid into one of the two chairs before the piles of books. Stared until she had disappeared past the dozens of bookshelves and past the dim lighting of the halls.

    Stared. Wondered if there was something she could do to help. Maybe a surgery of sorts, or perhaps she could ask Feyre to heal the hands the way she'd healed her own injuries after her spar with Cassian.

    Maybe-

    “A long time ago, Clotho was hurt very badly by a group of males,” Rhys said quietly, “They cut out her tongue so she couldn’t tell anyone who had hurt her. And smashed her hands so she couldn’t write it.”

    Every word was more clipped than the last, and darkness snarled through the small space.

    Her stomach turned. “Why not kill her?”

    “Because it was more entertaining for them that way. That is, until Mor found her. And brought her to me.”

    When he’d undoubtedly looked into her mind and had seen their faces with those telepathic powers of his.

    “I let Mor hunt them.”, his wings tucked in tightly, “And when she finished, she stayed down here for a month. Helping Clotho heal as best as could be expected, but also…wiping away the stain of them.”

    “Why Mor?”

    Rhysand frowned, his gaze distant as he whispered, “That's her story to tell. Just know she grew up in a very bad place, the Court of Nightmares. She refused the path laid out for her, and she was punished. After dealing with those kinds of males, Mor wanted help when no one had been there to save her”

    Mor, who was all smiles and joy. Beauty without bounds, laughter that echoed…

    The world was a cruel place, and it seemed no one from the Inner Circle might’ve been spared from its wickedness after all. Yet, they’d remained good people.

    “The males were…healing Clotho as they hurt her. Making the injuries permanent. When Mor found her, the damage had been set. They hadn’t finished her hands, so we were able to salvage them, give her some use, but…to heal her, the wounds would have needed to be ripped open again. I offered to take the pain away while it was done, but …she could not endure it—what having the wounds open again would trigger in her mind. Her heart. She has lived down here since then—with others like her. Her magic helps with her mobility.”

    Rhian, who’d been in the process of sitting beside him, stopped and asked, “Are…all the priestesses in this library like her?”

    “Yes.”

    When Rhian sat down, staring at the many levels above and beyond them for any trace of more priestesses, she noticed Rhys was tracing the tattoo in her arm, one visible thanks to the thin straps of her dress.

    No one had seen it up at the House of Wind thanks to the lazy shawl she'd had on, but she briefly wondered if they would’ve said anything upon noticing it.

    Feyre had a tattoo along her arm, which she knew came from a deal to heal her from Rhys (thanks to Spring for divulging the dots she'd connected the night she got her own tattoo).

    Rhiannon wondered if he’d made a deal with Clotho and the others, if this place truly was more special than she’d originally thought.

    To prove her suspicions, Rhys added, “I made this library into a refuge for them. Some come to heal, work as acolytes, and then leave; some take the oaths to the Cauldron and Mother to become priestesses and remain here forever. But it belongs to them whether they stay a week or a lifetime. Outsiders are allowed to use the library for research, but only if the priestesses approve. And only if they take binding oaths to do no harm while they visit. This library belongs to them.”

    “How come you didn’t ask me to take an oath?”

    Rhys smiled, hand closing around her shoulder, above the tattoo.

    “Because I know you won’t. I asked them for permission to bring you and they all agreed. They know your skillset, but they wouldn’t have let you in if they thought you were a threat” he said.

    Rhian wondered just what Rhys had said to convince them of such a thing. Most people wouldn’t let ex-killers into their safe space.

    “Who was even here before them?” she asked, turning to face the table and the pulled-out texts, wondering just what Clotho had deemed important to bring her.

    Rhys shrugged, pulling a few books closer to his side of the table as he mused, “A few cranky old scholars who cursed me soundly when I relocated them to other book shops in the city. They still get access, but when and where is always approved by the priestesses.”

    The books before him forgotten, Rhys moved his hand towards her own, catching her attention.

    Her eyes drifted from the books to his own gaze, noticed he was already staring intently at her when he added, “I came here a great deal in those weeks after Under the Mountain.”

    Because…he was like them, like the priestesses.

    Now Rhian understood why she was brought here. He could've asked for the books to be delivered for sure, they could've remained upstairs with the others, but he'd wanted her to see this. Just the two of them, because only they would understand the significance.

    Clutching his hand tighter in her own, she whispered, “Thank you for sharing this place with me.”

    “It belongs to you, too, now. Not just because you are from my court or my friend, but it belongs to you in the ways it belongs to the other females here. Females who endured so much and survived” he added.

    Rhian realized that what she’d shared about the Infinity War had to have remained in his mind after the words were spoken, her situation with Eros, and all the wars before and after that.

    He’d listened, remembered, and brought her here because just as much as Rhys could relate to the priestesses, she could too.

    Rhys knew that, and wanted to give her a safe space.

    Maybe that's why the priestesses had allowed her in.

    “Some of them have been hurt the way we have, haven't they?” she asked nervously, and when Rhys let out a solemn nod, she dared to ask, “Have they worked past it?”

    Rhys turned his attention to the books before him.

    “They’ve told me it never leaves, but it does get better” he admitted.

    Rhiannon kept their hands interlocked, but used her other to flip through her first book. In a whisper, unable to look him in the eye, she said, “Then, I hope we get better”

    She could’ve sworn then that she heard Rhys reply, “We will”

    ☪☪☪☪☪

    After they’d gathered some information in their respective research, they’d bid goodbye to any passing priestess.

    Many had been kind, welcoming towards Rhian as if she truly were one of their own. The woman had decided then that she would come back soon enough, maybe bringing them some pastries from town to get to know them better if they wished.

    One of them would certainly take the time to speak with her, seeing as she had seemed very excited to see a human with her own eyes. That priestess with a thirst of knowledge had even asked Rhian to stop by if she could, to compare stuff about humans in texts with reality.

    Rhys had beamed when she’d agreed at the harmless invitation.

    She had a feeling that the library would become one of her favorite places in the city. And she was so thankful to Rhys for showing it to her, couldn’t even describe how much that kindness meant to her.

    To her surprise, Rhysand didn’t fly them back down to the townhouse afterwards. He’d flown them to the city, where they'd landed in front of the Rainbow.

    Proving he’d been listening to her tale last night, Rhys offered to take her to see the Fae version of ballet that afternoon.

    He’d found out there was a recital in the main amphitheater by the sea cliffs. When she’d agreed, Rhys gladly led the way down the crowded streets where people greeted them by name. No one was surprised to see her with Rhys this time around, no one seemed to treat her human aspect with a second glance.

    In fact, when Rhian had found familiar faces in the crowd, like the snake-skinned male from her favorite bakery, or the cluster of children that often played by her street, she almost teared up at the closeness of it all.

    Rhysand had smiled with each small interaction for some reason. She figured he might be glad to see humans and Fae getting along after all these centuries.

    Though Rhys had asked everyone in the Inner Circle if they’d wanted to join in, most claimed to be too busy, and as she came to learn that afternoon, Feyre didn’t really care for strolling around Velaris often…unless it was with Mor or for a group meal.

    Rhys didn’t appear too bothered by it, didn’t seem to mind spending more time alone with her despite the fact that they’d shared one another’s company since before the sun rose.

    They’d walked at a leisurely place, arm in arm towards the sea cliffs where a large amphitheater stood, made of marble and emerald, large enough to possibly fit over four hundred people.

    In her days as a singer, she’d adapted the useless ability to tell how many people fit in a stadium, given how many she'd performed in.

    She was confident in her guess.

    The inside was lavish, with red carpeted floors and dark oak wood stairs. She was surprised to see so many people making their way in, even more so when she and Rhys were led to a private box on the second floor.

    It was cozy, comfortable, and the two chairs before the balcony were of the softest leather, like thrones made for royalty (Rhys’s made to accommodate for his wings).

    A petite female with vermillion eyes and a snake-like nose brought them a few appetizers, which Rhian was convinced she wouldn’t eat given the tea and biscuits she’d devoured at the library.

    Still, they thanked the kind lady and waited till everyone below had found their seats before the stage became shrouded in large red curtains that obscured the view behind it.

    Beside her, Rhys didn’t look the least bit annoyed to be here.

    In fact, he was contently telling her facts about the place as they waited. Like how it had been founded by his grandfather over a thousand years ago, and despite its enormity in size, it was the smallest amphitheater in the city.

    When asked if he visited often, Rhysand shook his head.

    “I used to come here with my mom and sister when time allowed it” he said, “Nowadays when I do have free time…I don’t think I’ve ever thought to stop by”

    Nitpicking at the small white jeweled patterns that ran down her dress skirts, she quipped, “No wonder every worker here started panicking when they saw us. At first I thought it was a ‘me being a human’ thing, but they must be shitting themselves at the thought of having their High Lord view their performance”

    Rhys rolled his eyes, leaning back on his seat with his head lazily tilted her way, “I’m sure the performance will be fantastic, but if it falls short of your human expectations, maybe you could go down there and show us your human ballet skills”

    Placing her tired feet on the little foot rest before her, Rhiannon groaned at the thought.

    “I haven’t danced in months. Never mind that the dancing I have done the past few years is far from ballet, but dances by the world’s strictest choreographers that probably loved to push me to new limits. It would probably end up being a very poor performance” she admitted with a grin, “Besides, my sister Cass always was the more graceful out of the two of us”

    Amused, her friend gasped at her dramatics, but their attention was taken away by the suddenness in which the candles all around the amphitheater became mellower in their glow, done by magic no doubt.

    The curtains below slowly opened, revealing a large stage of hardwood flooring, delicate faelights scattered on the wall in a way that they looked like stars against the black backdrop. At the growing quiet of the crowd, five figures stepped on stage from the side entrances hidden from sight.

    They were Fae of different races, some taller that Rhys, others likely as tall as her waist. Their steps were so damn graceful they almost looked like they were floating their way over to the center stage.

    Dressed in ankle length dresses of varying shades of dark blues, the dancers bowed to the crowd…then to her surprise, bowed specifically up at their box, to their High Lord.

    If they were nervous to perform before him, none of them looked it.

    Rhian recognized that look in their eyes as something beyond confidence in their own abilities. It was the joy and pleasure of doing something they were passionate about. A feeling she hadn't indulged in a very long time.

    As soon as the first sounds of fiddles filled the echoing space, Rhiannon became instantly mesmerized by the dance itself. The dancers…they appeared like they moved underwater, or floated up in the air. Their moves WERE ballet-like, but had an additional intricacy of acrobatics along with their steps that kept her hooked, almost in a trance, until the intermission arrived.

    Like a spell broken, Rhiannon suddenly realized she was leaning forward in her seat, tears pooling in her eyes, mouth open wide in shock and admiration. When she turned to face Rhys, his eyes were on her, not the stage. Yet, he didn’t look bored.

    Rhian couldn’t say a word, just gaped and smiled.

    She hadn’t seen such a beautiful display in such a long time, didn’t think the joy she felt in that moment could be attainable after the losses she’d suffered. More than that, even after all Rhys had told her he’d gone through and all he’d yet to say, his large grin that made his eyes smile seemed like even more of a miracle.

    Alone in that lavish booth of gold accents and expensive velvet, Rhiannon could only see him, the stars in his eyes that she could’ve sworn were shining brighter than the first time they met.

    “I take it you find the performance interesting?” Rhys teased breathlessly, leaning his elbow on the armrest of his throne-like chair, resting his head atop his palm, curiously cocking his head at her.

    Slouching on her own chair, hand covering her wide smile, Rhiannon replied happily, “What do you think? I don’t gawk at boring things”

    The mischief in his eyes lit up like a lantern, he was quick to reply, “Seeing as though your gorgeous eyes have stayed on mine for the past few minutes, I’ll take the compliment”

    With a groan, Rhian reached towards the small side table nearby and hurled a cluster of grapes his way. Grapes which he MISTED with a smirk just before they could hit him square in the nose.

    Cheater.

    To her surprise, he then asked with heartbreaking gentleness, “Do you miss it? Dancing?”

    An unexpected question.

    Rhiannon did miss it some days, more so the aspect of sharing a hobby with her sister than the actual ballet. It was a demanding discipline, painful to the feet but liberating to the soul. But she missed music more, the singing and performing…the difference it made in people’s lives.

    After watching these dancers and listening to their music, Rhian was reminded of the reason she fell in love with music all those years ago.

    Music was a universal language. It didn’t matter what country you came from, what language you spoke, or what species you were…if one heard a sad song, the message was received by all, and a crowd of opposite views could be moved to tears as one. If a joyous song was in the midst of many varying crowds, they’d dance together without a care for what made them alike or different.

    Music was a translation of raw emotions.

    “Maybe I’ll find my old ballet shoes once our…schedules clear up” she pondered, “My sister would be saddened if she knew I’d stored them away. She would’ve wanted me to keep her memory alive that way”

    “Maybe I’ll come back here more often once our schedules clear up” Rhys said with equal quiet, “My sister would’ve also been very upset if she found out I stopped coming here because this was a place she loved”

    Rhiannon paused, suddenly feeling awful for being the reason they were here in the first palace. What kind of memories had this place brought back? Rhys, that self-sacrificing bastard WOULD bring her here despite his own hesitations…

    But, he didn’t look upset. Even now with the mention of his loved one, Rhysand’s smile remained as he nodded her way.

    Nodded in thanks she realized, for bringing him back here.

    For the rest of the performance, Rhian was once again enthralled by its beauty, but oftentimes tore her gaze away from the show to make sure Rhysand was doing alright. Every time she’d turned, he’d looked just as mesmerized as she was, and the smiles he set her way when he noticed her stares…they were breathtaking.

    ☪☪☪☪☪

    In the next few days, the two fell into a routine of sorts. One that, by the end of the week, seemed like a permanent and unspoken arrangement.

    Given the closeness to the next stage of their plans for the Book of Breathings, Rhysand was busy planning security measures with Az and Cassian most days, while Rhian was preoccupied not only learning as much as she could about the world of the Fae, but planning security measures of her own.

    Mor would stop by most days in the afternoon to take Rhiannon out of the house for something to eat, and the two would spend an hour or so getting to know one another or just having a good laugh about the silliest of things.

    Rhiannon had yet to ask Mor about the past Rhys had hinted at in their stay at the library, but she’d wait however long it took for Mor to feel comfortable sharing it.

    Speaking of the library, when Cassian stopped by to wisk her up to the House of Wind (with the excuse that he wanted a challenge during his training that day, one neither of his brothers could provide) she’d sneak downstairs afterward to the family library.

    Rhian didn’t do it to get more books, but with the intention to check on the females. She’d had tea with Clotho a few times, taught her the basics of human sign language in hopes that it might be useful to her.

    The two priestesses who had shown an interest in learning more about humanity were just as kind to her, always greeting her with genuine smiles, and after the third visit, embraces.

    What was perhaps quite saddening was the fact that both of those priestesses had no names. They’d had names growing up, but had given them up along with all the bad things that had happened to them.

    Somehow, it had never occurred to them to think of new ones, but when Rhiannon suggested a few, the two females had beamed with tears in their eyes.

    For the High Fae, a blonde female with straw colored eyes, Rhian had suggested the name Atropos. As for the dark skinned female with round human ears and bright green eyes, she’d suggested the name Lachesis.

    Both females had quickly fallen in love with their new identities, especially when Rhian explained both names had been inspired by Clotho’s own namesake. This way, they could be named after the Three Fates or Moirai who spin the thread of human life (in accordance to Greek Mythology that is).

    Rhiannon had never asked Aunt Diana if the fates were real or not, but at least now there would be three strong females with incredible brains and immortality to carry that human tale in these lands.

    The priestesses had become good companions these past few days, and seeing them smile more and more each visit, having them greet her at the door upon arrival as if they were excited to see her again…it made the darkness of the past vanish all the more.

    It was also nice that they’d taken a liking to Titus during a few of his visits, in which her dog had almost bitten Cassian’s arm off during take off a few times during those mornings they'd been flown over to the House of Wind for training.

    To say Titus had warmed up to Cassian the way he had with Rhys was…a lie. He’d even stopped growling at Mor during their lunch outings, but Cass LOVED to rile up the Great Dane, which didn’t help their relationship in the least.

    During those days up at the House training, Rhiannon never really got to see her twin. From what she was told, Feyre was busy training her powers with Amren most mornings for their upcoming mission. Nevertheless, Feyre sent a few letters when she could, explaining the things she’d learned about the other High Lords and their magic, or asking Rhian to tell Rhys he was a prick for one reason or another.

    Once both her and Rhys came back to the house after a long day, the two shared their late afternoons fin the comfort of the sitting room, food they prepared before them, a roaring fire keeping them warm, and since a few days ago, human music playing in the background of their relaxing conversations.

    Rhys would never admit it, but he’d taken a liking to Britney Spears and ABBA. She could tell.

    To her relief, despite their busy schedules, their progress in friendship had never lessened, only grown.

    Rhys was no longer hesitant to ask for help, which she considered a win. He would come into her room after a gentle knock on the door, usually when the moon was still high in the night sky. She didn’t need him to say anything, explain his intrusion, she’d just walk him back to his room, and the two would lay down as they had nights prior, seeking comfort in their embraces.

    Though she still hummed songs to him, he now knew enough human melodies to request one or two. Rhiannon had always relented, because having him speak after a nightmare was a relief in its own.

    What was even better, was that a few nights ago, after she’d shared a tale to ease his nerves, Rhysand had begun offering tales of his own. He’d share tales of the Fae just as she had those of her own culture.

    The story of Nephelle became one of her favorites, a real-life event from the first war that always brought tears to her eyes.

    In turn, his favorite tale of hers became that of the Kings and Queens of Narnia. Though it was not a real-life recounting, it was the tale he requested the most, barely beating the tale of her first birthday in Gotham when she’d snuffed down her cake candles with a katana (much to the horror of her dad).

    It got to the point that waking up in his large bed and embrace was normal, that the days he wasn’t plagued by nightmares, she’d find herself missing his warmth in the mornings.

    On the days they shared his bed, Titus would come join them. When they didn’t, Titus had taken to alternating between both beds during the night, which Rhys often praised with extra bacon in the mornings.

    As for her nightmares, maybe it was the fact that the days were busier, leaving little time for her mind to linger on things, because her nightmares HAD lessened. That wasn’t to say they were gone, but she’d yet to waken Rhys at the expense of her bad dreams, even if she had debated it more than once, standing with a hand reaching for her door handle.

    She’d always be there to help him, but something about having him helping Rhian made her pause.

    Because, well, she wasn’t used to asking for help.

    Rhian had already trusted Rhysand with many memories, had managed to relax around him, but there were still many things he did not know. Pains she kept close.

    Though she had a feeling Rhys WAS aware of the nights she had nightmares, because when he came in to seek her on those instances under the guise of his own bad dreams, those nights he’d hold her closer, almost as if he wanted to comfort her as well.

    They did that routine for the week and a half it took to set everything up for the Summer Court visit.

    The night before, Rhys had called a family dinner at the House of Wind, but it wasn’t until the meal was finished that he got down to business.

    Seated beside her, Rhysand set down his wine, smiling at his family as he announced, “Tomorrow Tarquin is expecting us by sunrise. Feyre, Amren, Rhian, and I will go tomorrow.”

    Only the four of them? Across the table, Cassian seemed to have the same thought, his wings rustling as he crossed his arms and faced Rhys. “The Summer Court is full of hot-headed fools and arrogant pricks,” he warned, “I should join you.”

    “You’d fit right in,” Amren crooned from her seat beside him, “Too bad you still aren’t going.”

    Cassian pointed a finger at her. “Watch it, Amren.”

    She bared her teeth in a wicked smile. “Believe me, I’d prefer not to go, either.”

    Rhiannon had to clamp her lips shut to keep from smiling or grimacing, of which she wasn’t sure.

    Rhian and Amren had become good acquaintances recently, likely thanks to the foreign jewelry she kept giving the greedy firedrake.

    She’d also come to appreciate Cassian’s boldness, even found him funny most of the time, even if he’d taken to treating her like a younger sibling, which was a lot to process in itself. She supposed it was good they ended up beating each other up every day during training. A balance of sorts.

    Beside Rhiannon, the High Lord rubbed his temples, “Cassian, considering the fact that the last time you visited, it didn’t end well—”

    “I wrecked one building—” Cass defended, which almost made Rhian spill her water all over the table. He’d done wha…actually, that wasn’t as surprising as she’d originally thought.

    “And,” Rhys cut him off. “Considering the fact that they are utterly terrified of sweet Amren, she is the wiser choice. Not to mention Rhiannon is additional backup when it comes to safety”

    Honestly, she had not expected to be invited to go…but the more she thought about it, it would be a chance to make sure Amren, her sibling, and good friend were safe.

    Amren likely didn’t need the help though, she’d come to realize that perhaps everyone outside of these lands would (and should) be scared of her.

    “It could easily be a trap,” Cassian pushed, “Who’s to say the delay in replying wasn’t because they’re contacting our enemies to ambush you?”

    “That is also why Amren and Rhian are coming,” Rhys said simply.

    Across the table, Amren was frowning—bored and annoyed.

    Maybe that's why Rhys said too casually, “There is also a great deal of treasure to be found in the Summer Court. If the Book is hidden, Amren, you might find other objects to your liking.”

    “Shit,” Mor said from her spot beside Amren, throwing up her hands in protest, “Really, Rhys? It’s bad enough we’re stealing from them, but robbing them blind—”

    “Rhysand does have a point,” Amren interrupted, “Their High Lord is young and untested. I doubt he’s had much time to catalog his inherited hoard since he was appointed Under the Mountain. I doubt he’ll know anything is missing. Very well, Rhysand—I’m in.”

    Shit…

    No better than a firedrake guarding its trove indeed. The thought was amusing enough she must’ve smiled, enough so for Mor to shoot her a secret, subtle look that conveyed the same thing.

    Rhian had to swallow a chuckle over a spoonful of soup.

    Cassian started to object again, but Rhys said quietly, “I will need you—not Amren—in the human realm. The Summer Court has banned you for eternity, and though your presence would be a good distraction while Feyre does what she has to, it could lead to more trouble than it’s worth.”

    On Rhian’s other side, she saw Feyre stiffen, likely from nerves. Tracking down that Book of Breathings and stealing it was a big leap from going to the Weaver’s cottage.

    But she wouldn’t have to do it alone, which is why Rhiannon placed her hand on her sister’s under the table for reassurance.

    Feyre seemed to appreciate her weak attempt at comfort at least.

    “Just cool your heels, Cassian,” Amren said, eyes a bit glazed—as she no doubt imagined the treasure she might steal from the Summer Court, “We’ll be fine without your swaggering and growling at everyone. Their High Lord owes Rhys a favor for saving his life Under the Mountain—and keeping his secrets.”

    Cassian’s wings twitched, but Mor chimed in, “And the High Lord also probably wants to figure out where we stand in regard to any upcoming conflict.”

    The general's wings settled again. He jerked his chin at both Rhian and Feyre, adding, “Feyre, though. It’s one thing to have her here—even when everyone knows it. It’s another to bring her to a different court, and introduce her as a member of our own. And bringing her human sister as one of our own as well…a human, Rhys!”

    The message it’d send to the other courts, to Feyre’s previous court...it could very well be political chaos if they didn't play it right.

    Rhys turned to face Rhian, eyes kind and sincere as he explained, “Having a human emissary will speak volumes of where we stand in this upcoming conflict, plus-”

    Rhiannon cut him off with a smirk, knowing full well what he was planning.

    “Plus having a human will be a great distraction. Aside from Feyre, the Summer Court individuals have never seen a human in five hundred years. Me being there, distracting the court and throwing them off with my unexpected presence might just give my sister more liberties to search for the book without interference or suspicion. I can buy us time if need be, not to mention, with me being human, I’ll have to convince them my species is worth saving for them to get involved in this war. I’ll have to charm them, correct?”

    Rhysand smirked widely, nodding with pride as if he were glad she’d figured it out.

    He always looked at her like that, as if she were something unexpected…it always made her reciprocate his smiles, even when she was unaware she'd done it.

    Azriel then spoke up for the first time since the meal began, voice cold and calculating. And though he did not look her way, the spymaster said, “It will be a good chance to wage if Rhiannon’s nonlethal skills can be put to good use as well”

    Rhiannon wasn’t sure if he’d said so to offend her in a backhanded sort of way. He always spoke so seriously it was hard to tell when he was stoic, or if that was just how he always was.

    He’d been busy with the plans across the continent to be around too much lately. In fact, this was probably only the second time she’d seen him these past few days.

    Though, she did not doubt some of his adorable little shadows remained behind to spy on her when he was away. Cerridwen and Nuala had never hinted as such, and though they were nothing but friendly when they helped Rhian fit into her dresses and drew up baths, she never failed to wonder if they reported back to Az on her movements.

    But his words now, they COULD be meant to offend her, but she didn’t take them as such.

    In fact, she smiled and replied, “Thank you, Azriel. I believe this mission is something I can do well, especially considering they know little of humanity and I know little of the Fae of that court. I can play my role well, make sure to keep the appearance of the Night Court while I’m at it. I always had a knack for politics anyways”

    Rhys nodded.

    When it seemed no one had any objections, even Feyre, they all turned in for an early night. After hugs from Cass and Mor, them wishing her luck, she and Rhys flew back down to the townhouse.

    Rhian knew that while they ate, the wraith twins had finished packing both hers and Feyre’s stuff (Rhys had said as much on their flight back when she’d groaned about still having to pack). Given that their time there had no real deadline until they found the book, she wondered what the twins had deemed worth taking and how much.

    All she knew is that they’d packed a few Night Court dresses, which she’d grown to love and favor more and more each day. On that front, Mor was still upset Rhys refused to disclose which shop he got them from, a never-ending form of amusement for Rhian.

    Still, once they landed on the rooftop, Rhiannon explained she wanted to pack a few human things just in case. She was taking her presence there seriously, and would be prepared for anything that came their way.

    To her surprise, Rhys had asked to join her while she did so, saying he was too full to go to sleep just yet.

    Titus seemed all the happier for the company.

    Seated on the chair of her desk, Titus by his side, Rhysand watched as Rhian un-shrunk a few essentials from her handbag with amusement in his eyes.

    As he lazily turned over a pencil sharpener with curiosity, Rhys asked, “Are you sure you want to go? You know you can say no if you don't want to”

    Rhiannon re-shrunk a few tasers, setting them on the cozy bed with her back to Rhys.

    “Of course I’ll go, not just because its my job as part of the court, but because I want to help in any way I can”

    He paused, and after some shuffling of her pencil sharpener being put back in its palace, she heard him whisper, “I told you that others outside the court see me differently. They just see me as a confident, overly flirtatious, dangerously powerful, and wicked male. I will have to say and do things, and I don’t want that to change this…your perception of me”

    She paused her movements.

    Oh, that's what had him so nervous…

    “You do realize I get it right?” she inquired, turning back to face him, walking up to sit on the desk table beside him. Titus had welcomed her closeness, standing on his hind legs to paw at the skirts of her violet dress.

    To further her point, she offered, “I’ve played the wicked creature before, kept a mask on that made others think I was something I’m not. If you’re expecting judgment from anyone, it will never come from me. Do what you have to do, say what you have to say, I’ll back you up and play along”

    When he finally let out a relieved breath, Rhian tapped her shoulder where the tattoo was, then reached out to tap the fabric of Rhys's shoulder where his near-identical tattoo rested.

    “Friends got one another’s backs, remember?”

    Rhysand chucked at last, moved his fingers to trace her arm once he noticed the approach of his hand did not spook her in any way. Gentle, he was always so careful when touching her, when caressing her scars at night as he dozed into slumber.

    “You’ll need to be careful” he mused, “I know you can and will defend yourself, but whatever happens, you need to be safe”

    Rhian grinned, placing her hand atop his on her shoulder, then joked, “I’m offended you think a bunch of royals can best me when I wrecked the Weaver’s day and lived to tell the tale. You wound me my friend, enough so that I might just perish from the pain of this betrayal”

    Something rippled in his eyes that Rhian couldn’t place, but then he flicked her nose—gentle enough that she playfully hissed and batted his hand away.

    “I can’t wait to see what that sharp tongue of yours can do at the Summer Court,” he said, gaze fixed on her mouth, and then without a warning, he vanished into shadow back to his room.

    When she cursed him, Rhian heard his chuckle resonate along the hall.

    She went to bed that night thinking of the way his beautiful violet eyes had locked on her lips, which made her feel a little foolish since it was likely nothing. Nothing…well…nothing more than the gaze of a friend to another.

    Tomorrow would be a new challenge, a chance to see more of Prythian, and hopefully by the end of their mission, they’d be a step closer to nullifying the cauldron.

    There was no room for error, no chance to falter when all of Pyrthian and the Human Lands were at risk. She'd play whatever role got them that book, do whatever was necessary.

    She'd keep her companions safe, and most of all, trust Feyre had made enough progress with her magic these past few days to do her vital part of the mission.

    No big deal, right?

    #acotar#acomaf#acowar #a million miles away #rhysand x reader #rhysand x oc #rhysand x archeron!oc #rhysand x feyre #acotar fanfiction#archeron sister #a court of mist and fury #cassian#morrigan#azriel#amren#dc crossover#marvel crossover #just a humble fanfic with lots of fluff #mating bond#humour #please don't roast me too hard i've never written anything other than scientific papers before #friends to lovers #slow burn#mutual pining #star crossed lovers #a dash of angst #warnings of violence blood and injury #rhysand x wayne!oc
    View Full
  • velarisarchives
    28.05.2022 - 1 day ago

    ☪ A Million Miles Away | Chapter 16 |

    Rhiannon Archeron did not spend her life amongst her unfortunate family. After a rather distasteful beginning in life bought on by Mr and Mrs Archeron, she ended up in a land on the other side of the world. Grew up in a city called Gotham as Kamaria Wayne. Years after her original abandonment, right after a most unfortunate war that left her alone once again, Rhian went in search for her birth family, only to stumble across more than she bargained for. Amongst those things, a High Lord who helped heal her broken heart, and whom she just so happened to help heal as well.

    Pairing: Rhysand x Archeron!oc

    Warnings: Nightmares? Mentions of rape. Passages from ACOMAF.

    Word Count: 6650

    Chapter 16- The One With Rhysand's Nightmare

    It had to be around midnight when she was startled awake, not by a nightmare for once, but a feeling. When she looked at the digital hologram hovering on her bedside, she noticed it was in fact two in the morning.

    With a tired chuckle, Rhiannon had been ready to try and drift off again when the house let out a groan. Titus was still asleep at the end of the bed, so she moved carefully so as to not disturb him, sitting up on her bed against the array of fluffy pillows.

    Like the wood itself was being warped, the house began to moan and shudder, the colored glass lights in my room tinkling. Rhian finally jolted upright, pushing back her exhaustion to go to the open window.

    Pulling back the thick curtains, she only saw clear skies, nothing amiss.

    Turning back to bed in hopes of getting some sleep, she finally noticed what the true problem was. There was darkness leaking into her room from the hall door. Actual darkness.

    It rushed in from the cracks of the door like a flood. When the house shuddered again, Rhian vaulted from her spot in the middle of the room, yanking the door open and letting darkness sweep past her on a phantom wind, full of stars and flapping wings and—pain.

    It was almost like she could feel what the darkness carried, So much pain, despair, guilt, and fear.

    She hurtled barefoot into the hall, utterly blind in the impenetrable dark. It was dark. So dark it almost felt like she was…it felt like she was back in space.

    The thought hit her like a truck, fastened her breathing, but even so she couldn’t seem to get air into her lungs. Because she could almost feel it, like she was drifting in the darkness of space. War, such a brutal war around her…gods, it was like she could hear their screams again.

    Rhian didn’t even notice when she ended up sinking to her knees, gasping for air, shaking her head, pulling at the loose strands of her short brown hair. She likely would’ve had a full-blown panic attack, something that she hadn’t let herself feel in such a long time, that is, if it wasn’t for the fact that a stronger thought barreled through the frantic memories.

    Rhys.

    She could tell the darkness was coming from his room, that it was somehow connected to him. The thought of those kind and cunning violet eyes, the sound of his laughter as they soared through the clear skies, and those strong and gentle hands that had held her own on more than one occasion like an anchor that kept her grounded…they brought her back.

    Rhys was in the house too. In the direction of the darkness.

    Rhian quickly felt around for the wall, picked herself up, determined to go to him. It didn’t matter how the darkness made her feel, she’d walk right through if it meant getting to her friend.

    And when she did, somehow, the trepidation became secondary.

    Rhian HAD to get to him, even if she had no clue where she was going. But there was a thread, an instinct which she followed, trusting to guide her to where she knew his room was in her panic.

    After fumbling for the handle, once she managed to open the door, more night and stars and wind poured out, her shoulder-length hair whipping around her.

    Rhiannon lifted an arm to shield her face as she edged into the room, worried something awful had happened right under her nose.

    They’d just been sharing jokes during dinner, her laughing freely as Rhys tried his first cup of coffee, the sacrifice of limited caffeine well worth it when she saw his eyes bulge.

    What could’ve gone wrong…

    “Rhysand.”

    No response. In her sudden panic, she scrambled along the dark room she’d never ventured, arms stretched out until her shins banged into what had to be his bed.

    “Rhysand,” she said over the wind and dark.

    The house shook again, the floorboards clattering under her feet. Rhian cursed herself for not bringing her phone as a flashlight, but it was too late to go back, she could only go forward.

    Tentatively, she patted the bed, feeling sheets and blankets and down, and then—

    Then a hard, taut male body. But the bed was enormous, and she couldn’t get a grip on him.

    “Rhysand!” she screamed this time, panic seeping through her voice.

    Around and around the darkness swirled, the beginning and end of the world.

    She wasn't even sure if they were alone in here, if there was a danger attacking him. Rhian had no clue what was going on, only that Rhys had to be here, had to be ok. Right?

    Rhian didn’t waste any more time, she scrambled onto the bed, lunging for him, feeling what was his arm, then his stomach, then his shoulders. His skin was freezing as Rhian gripped his shoulders and shouted his name.

    No response.

    For the first time in months, Rhiannon felt cold panic overtake her, actual fear take root in her heart as she slid a hand up his neck, to his mouth—to make sure he was still breathing, that this wasn’t his power floating away from him.

    Icy breath hit her palm, but despite her mental relief, she braced herself, rose up on her knees, aiming blindly, and slapped him. Rhian’s palm stung with the contact—but he didn’t move.

    Desperately, she hit him again, shouting his name like a lifeline. Because she couldn't lose him, wouldn’t lose him.

    A crack in the dark suddenly startled her. And then his hands were on Rhian, flipping her, pinning her with expert skill to the mattress, a taloned hand at her throat.

    Rhian went perfectly still.

    “Rhysand.” she breathed.

    The dark shuddered.

    She still couldn’t see him, but if he’d risen up like that…it might’ve just been a nightmare. This might just be his magic.

    Unsure how to soothe him, Rhian hummed a song for a few seconds, one her mom had hummed when she’d come back after a particularly bad day at school or a patrol gone wrong.

    The melody was simple, kind and gentle. Unsure if it helped or not, Rhian didn't care, not when the house stop groaning.

    It wasn’t until then that she said to the darkness, “It was a dream,” his hand, cold around her neck, made her repeat slowly “It was a dream.”

    Again, the dark paused. And for a heartbeat, the inky blackness cleared enough that she saw his face above her. Drawn, lips pale, violet eyes wide—scanning.

    “Rhiannon,” she said soothingly, “I’m Rhian.”

    His breathing was jagged, uneven. She gripped the wrist that held her throat—held, but still didn’t hurt. She added, “You were dreaming. Its just us here”

    Then, like snow shaken from a tree, his darkness fell away. Moonlight poured in—and the sounds of the city once again reminded them both of the peaceful city they were surrounded by.

    His room was similar to hers, Rhiannon noted absentmindedly, but the bed so big it must have been built to accommodate wings, all tastefully, comfortably appointed.

    And...he was naked above her—utterly naked.

    Rhiannon didn’t dare look lower than the tattooed panes of his chest out of respect.

    “Rhian,” he said, his voice hoarse. As if he’d been screaming.

    “Yes,” she whispered, still cautious of not startling him further.

    He studied her face—the taloned hand at her throat. And released Rhian immediately. She laid there, staring up at where he now knelt on the bed, rubbing his hands over his face.

    Now wasn’t the time to be an idiot, but her traitorous eyes indeed dared to look lower than his chest—but her attention snagged on the twin tattoos on each of his knees: a towering mountain crowned by three stars. Just like the one on her shoulder.

    Beautiful—but brutal, somehow.

    “You were having a nightmare,” she said again, easing into a sitting position before him. She noted his hands still ended in long, black talons—and his feet…they ended in claws, too. The wings were out, slumped down behind him. She wondered why, how-

    Rhys lowered his hands, talons fading into fingers.

    “I’m sorry.”

    “You know I don’t mind” she replied softly, “I told you you could count on me for this kind of stuff, remember?”

    “I normally keep it contained to my room. I’m sorry it woke you.” he said regardless. It was confirmation enough that during her stay here, Rhys had chosen not to seek her out for help.

    He’d kept suffering alone.

    Rhian fisted her hands on her lap to keep from touching him. But she dared to ask, “How often does it happen?”

    Rhys’ violet eyes met hers, both knew the answer before he said, “As often as you.”

    She swallowed hard, tracing the softness of his covers as she asked, “What did you dream of tonight?”

    He shook his head, looking toward the window—to where snow had dusted the nearby rooftops.

    “There are memories from Under the Mountain that are best left unshared, Rhian. Even with you.”

    That had to be beyond nightmares, then. Memories were always worse, no wonder he’d reacted how he did.

    Moving closer, she slowly put a hand on his elbow, naked body and all. She couldn't help but whisper, “When you want to talk, let me know. You know I won’t tell the others, that I'm here for you. Always”

    Thinking he was still too stunned by the nightmare, Rhian made to slither off the bed, willing to leave him to recover if that's what he wished. Sometimes silence was the best way to deal with such things.

    But then he'd grabbed her hand, keeping it against his arm.

    “Thank you.” he whispered.

    Rhian turned, sitting back on the bed, studying his hand, the ravaged face. Such pain lingered there—and exhaustion. The face he never let anyone see.

    Rhys still knelt, wings drooping across the white sheets, head bowed, his tattoos stark against his golden skin.

    A dark, fallen prince.

    In that moment, she knew leaving him alone was not even a possibility she was willing to ponder.

    She helped Rhys to lean against the headboard of his bed, made sure to keep her eyes on respectable places as she helped the stunned High Lord place the silky covers across his lap. Rhian took the space beside him, and though she kept the covers off her body, she remained by his side.

    She stayed because…how many nights these past few months had she wanted someone to do the same for her?

    Even if that wasn't the case, she would've done it because it was Rhys. Her friend. One that needed her.

    Unsure what to do to help, Rhiannon started by easing off the bed. When she noticed his widened eyes, almost as if he was worried she’d leave without a word, Rhian clarified, “I’m just going to get you some water, ok? It will help your throat. I’ll be right back”

    He’d nodded. And when she returned, he was still as she left him, only she could see the band of sleeping pants peeking from the covers on his lap, meaning he’d likely used magic to make some appear.

    She handed over the glass, rushed back to his side and watched as he finished and set it aside. Still silent, Rhian urged her friend to lay down, and she took care to tuck him in comfortably, to brush strands of dark hair out of his face.

    In the silence, hoping it would pull him out of the memories he clearly struggled with, Rhian asked, “Honesty bubble?”

    Rhys looked up her way, simply nodding, but at least he wasn’t mindlessly staring at the sheer blue canopy of the bed anymore.

    “Ok. Well, when I was little, around ten or eleven, I used to have nightmares that Ra’s would come back from the dead, that he would come for me and take me away…back to the pain, the ruthless tests, the killing. My eldest brother would come into my room, he’d bring me a glass of water, then cuddle into bed with me, telling me stories of his youth” she said, then paused nervously, unsure if she should even offer…

    But Rhys was a selfless male, he would not ask her to stay if he had it in his head that it was a bother, that he was keeping her up or just a nuisance to deal with. She realized that in order to help someone like him, she had to be the one to hand over an olive branch.

    Knew because, perhaps she was like the High Lord in that sense.

    So Rhian swallowed her worries, determined to help out a friend as she added, “I’ve never been great at helping the grieving, clearly, I can’t even help myself. But…only if you’d like, I can stay for a while, help get your mind off things the way my brother used to”

    Rhysand’s face was illuminated by the moonlight coming through the window before them. She could see all his pain, still fresh after whatever he had re-lived.

    In fact, her empathy was so strong that she almost felt it.

    The High Lord appeared shocked by her offer, and his response came in the form of actions rather than words. One of his hands moved to hold her own she kept atop her lap, his cold fingers shaking slightly, but there was no sign of the talons from earlier.

    She quickly got comfortable, leaning slightly so her back rested amongst the plush pillows. Rhian beckoned Rhys to come forth, let him rest his head on her stomach, wind his muscled arms around her waist as his wings stretched out behind him on the large bed.

    Rhiannon found she did not find the close position odd or uncomfortable, she was quickly able to relax, run soothing strokes along his hair, her other hand tracing the swirls and loops of the black tattoos along his upper back.

    Despite the open window, the winter chill was not uncomfortable, the snow beyond like a soothing grace. Even dressed in a simple pair of shorts and an old tank top with the Superman symbol gleaming against the moonlight, the cold felt like an assurance that she was awake, safe in this lovely city, next to a trusted friend.

    Once she registered Rhysand’s breathing had slowed, that his shaking had lessened and their legs had somehow intertwined after the High Lord silently insisted for her to shield from the chill under his sheets, she began to hum.

    It occurred to her that she hadn’t really dared to hear herself sing or hum from the heart in a long time. She'd used the buffer of earphones before, a way to keep herself from hearing the voice that had once brought her such joy. She didn't have that buffer right now, something to keep the memories at bay should they come at the sound of her voice. But she’d done it to soothe him earlier, and it hadn’t made her sick, nor had memories of the past barreled into her.

    Even now, the pull of a distant song kept her humming, and by some miracle, Rhys seemed to relax further at the noise.

    The melody was familiar, soothing. It was a song of love that started out sweet and innocent. Then it changed pace, into something sadder, a construct of pain and loss, of a love sacrificed. But she knew it ended with renewed hope and strength, and perhaps that is why her mind had chosen it specifically. Because he needed it.

    Rhys did not need something loud and flamboyant, something funny or overly joyous. He needed something mellow, something to give him hope, to pull him back from the shadows and up to the shining sky.

    It must've worked, because at the last dregs of the melody, she could already tell his taught muscles had relaxed, if only slightly.

    To further help him relax, RHian pondered what story she could tell him, what could help pull him out of the shadows further. The thing was, the only things with meaning she could think of were…difficult to speak of. She could tell him tales of human history but he’d likely end up bored to death. Seeing as though he’d dreamt of Under the Mountain, she had to be careful to keep her tales from too much suffering or war.

    Maybe…she could share something special instead.

    Yeah, she could share a piece of herself, rip off a poorly placed bandaid for the sake of a friend. So Rhian steeled her nerves once again, dug deep into the reserves of good memories she’d locked away months ago.

    As her hands continued their soothing strokes on his hair, she whispered, “The place I grew up in as a child was mountainous, too high up to see anything but the sleeping giants around us and the clouds. So when I moved to Gotham, my home, dad decided one day that me and Damian, a brother that had spent his youth in the same place as me, should see the beach for the first time”

    She felt Rhysand’s head tilt up ever so slightly, and though it remained nuzzled atop her stomach, it seemed he was paying attention.

    “My eldest brother, Dick, was so excited that day. I remember he came into our room before the sun had risen just because he was that happy to go with us. And even when Damian swung a sword at his head, he still dragged us out of bed” she said with a chuckle.

    “Dad wanted to rent out the beach for ourselves, but Dick convinced him not to, said that if we saw the beach for the first time, it had to be in its natural state, full of people and life. It turned out to be one of the most fun disasters of my life” she added, smiling up at the canopy that swayed with the intrusive winds that made their way into the bedroom.

    Rhiannon continued to smile as she spoke of the way Rhiannon had immediately got lost from the group as soon as they made it to the overcrowded beach, enough so that in an effort to keep from losing any more children, dad had bought a cluster of suit ties, fashioning them around hers and Damian’s waists like a leash.

    While dad set up their towels and supplies, the three siblings had stated an augment of sorts, all because Dick had sworn sand got its name because it stood between the sea and land. S depicting the sea. AND was well…land.

    That part of the tale had finally drawn a weak chuckle from Rhys, which she considered a small win, something that helped fuel her with motivation to continue the story.

    So she told him of how the skies had filled with clouds, how their first attempts at surfing (something that according to Rhys's head shakes, Pryhtian did not have) ended up with such quick success from the twins that Dick had pouted about his long learning curve on the matter.

    She and Damian had surfed along the waves with ease, earning dirty looks from young inexperienced kids, and even silent beckons of challenges from teens and adults. After beating everyone in the water, they’d made enough enemies that dad made them get out of before they killed someone.

    Rhiannon recounted the sandcastle building contest that ended up with dad buried neck-deep in the sand. The way Dick had somersaulted away from a group of teens who he’d accidentally spilled his ice cream on. She told the Fae holding onto her like a lifeline about the way she and Damian had ended up sunburnt for days after, but had eaten so many frozen treats and accidentally swallowed so much salty beach water that they ended up bedridden for days anyways.

    Her and Damian had always brought up that day after hard missions, let themselves laugh at their vacationary misfortunes when times were bleak.

    It was with a genuine smile, one paired with a few stray tears that Rhiannon ended her tale with, “Every time we got a new adopted sibling, we’d make a trip to that same beach. We weren’t Waynes or vigilantes then, just a family of civilians. It became a tradition of sorts”

    She was surprised when Rhys asked, voice soft as a whisper, “Do you dream about them?”

    Settling more comfortably against the pillows, Rhian paused the running of her hand through his hair. She didn’t know why she hadn’t noticed it earlier, likely because the place was as dark as space itself, but there was a portrait on the adjacent wall, tall and elegant, like a painting kings and queens of old would have in their castles.

    It was Rhys’ family. A family that was no longer here for whatever reason.

    As she beheld the painting, eyes locked on the woman Rhysand had spoken so much praise of, the little sister he’d barely brought himself mention, that she admitted with a slight crack of her voice, “All the time. They were my world, and now I feel…sluggish and broken without them most days”

    “You will feel that way every day for the rest of your life,” Rhysand whispered, not tauntingly or menacingly. He just sounded like he'd lived it, knew the pain personally.

    “I have felt that way every day since my mother and sister were slaughtered and I had to bury them myself, and even retribution didn’t fix it.”

    Rhian couldn't bring herself to behold the painting again, not as she painfully agreed, “Retribution didn’t fix it for me either”

    Not all the blood she had spilled, the villains she hunted down, blowing up hundreds of enemy ships had only made her feel disgusted. Dad had always told her to seek justice not vengeance, and she’d broken that rule upon his death…

    Her fingers resumed their soothing path along the silky tendrils of his hair, and neither one of them spoke as she began humming another gentle song. Rhys’s relaxed demeanor, his closing eyes, they kept her going, and though she still couldn’t bring herself to add in the lyrics, she hummed and hummed.

    Still, the lyrics came to her in her mind, such a stark contrast to the song of the Weaver in every way. A song not of cruel deaths, but of innocent goodbyes.

    And if you have a minute why don’t we go Talk about it somewhere only we know This could be the end of everything So why don't we go, somewhere only we know?

    Though she had originally intended to go back to her room when Rhys had calmed down, she’d ended up falling asleep alongside him.

    In the early hours of the morning, when she opened her sleepy eyes, spurred by the unfamiliar feeling of comfort and warmth, Rhian was met with quite an unbelievable sight.

    Rhys remained sleeping with his head comfortably on her lap, arms wound around her waist. Their legs had remained intertwined, and her hands had come to rest on his back, almost like she was beckoning his warm body closer.

    The covers were still neatly placed over their laps, but someone else had joined the bed at some point in the night. Titus lay at the end of the bed, curled comfortably by their feet with that mangled Joker plushie around his paws.

    Rhiannon was surprised to find she was not bothered by this, so much so that she easily went back to sleep, not a nightmare to wake her for the rest of the night. The next time she’d woken up, the large bed was empty, and she laid in the middle of it almost comically, like a small doll in a normal-sized bed.

    She’d worried Rhysand had woken up and found their arrangement wrong, unprofessional, or just a closeness he didn’t want after the bad dream he suffered. But when she’d made her way downstairs, listening to the distant chirping morning birds and the now familiar bells from the temples across the city…she found the High Lord busy in the kitchen.

    Titus was diligently standing by his side, likely just begging for bacon (spoiled thing). Rhys was still clad in his sleeping trousers, but his wings no longer dropped in defeat. It was like some semblance of life had returned to him.

    Likely already having heard her steps since she descended, he greeted her once she stepped into the kitchen.

    There was tea on the counter, hot off the pot. Their makeshift toast recipe was served on two plates, already lathered in the various jams she and Rhys had deemed a signature delicacy given their poor cooking skills.

    She knew Nuela and Cerridwen were available to come in today, that they weren’t off running errands for Azriel or busy helping Feyre in the morning since her twin had started training early from now on after the Weaver.

    With them available, Rhian figured Rhys would be happy to be rid of their poor cooking attempts for something more worthy of a High Lord's meal. How odd.

    Titus quickly rushed to her side to greet her, though he didn’t linger long, not when Rhys had bacon in hand for him, which is what he’d been busy cooking when she’d arrived.

    Rhian slowly made to stand by his side, and Rhysand surprised her further with a bright smile, not a trace of yesterday’s pain in it.

    She didn’t want to bring up last night in case he was…uncomfortable by it. In fact, she’d debated apologizing for falling asleep by his side. Rhys actually halted her poorly structured mental apologies when he said, “Thank you—for last night”

    After a sip of her berry flavored tea, Rhiannon leaned on the counter to face him, smiling as she asked something that would acknowledge last night, but perhaps not make him feel bad. A safe question after the emotional revelations they’d shared.

    “Speaking of last night, why do you have the Night Court symbol tattooed on your knees?”

    After a casual sip of his own tea, he replied, “They mean that I will bow before no one and nothing but my crown”

    Rhiannon smiled at that, grabbing her mug and clinked it against his own in respect. Smirking at the action, Rhys then revealed that the covered plate before them had some additional delicacy food to offer, likely why the kitchen smelled like burnt food.

    Sure enough, Rhian chuckled when she saw the plate full of slightly burnt eggs, two strips of bacon (one for each), likely because Titus had demanded all others, and Rhys seemed to be wrapped around his paws when it came to food already.

    She’d thanked him, piled some eggs next to her toast, and dug in, not at all expecting anything else from last night to be brought up.

    Again, not that she minded.

    Rhian was halfway through her lone piece of bacon when Rhys suddenly said beside her, “I have two kinds of nightmares: the ones where I’m again Amarantha’s whore or my friends are…and the ones where I hear Feyre’s neck snap and see the light leave her eyes”

    She paused her next bite, slowly setting down her fork.

    Is that what he’d been unable to share last night, one of those three scenarios? He’d mentioned it had been a memory, and as far as she knew, aside from Rhys, no one else from the Court had been Under the Mountain.

    But, Amarantha’s whore…

    Many things clicked into place then that it almost made her head spin. Things she hadn't had the time to work out before.

    Rhys had been Under the Mountain, his people here hidden and protected since he mentioned the city has not been breached in thousands of years.

    Tamlin had mentioned Amarantha tortured and killed for fun down there…a place Rhys had to live with for fifty years.

    Rhys didn’t strike her as the kind to do nothing like Tamlin had, and if he was as selfless as Mor described, he likely would’ve taken a lot of shit for the safety of his court…of his people.

    Rhysand had done what Rhian had once suggested Tamlin should’ve done, play along to Amarantha’s feelings to keep her distracted and the people safe. But he hadn’t called himself her lover…he’d said whore the way he said bastard and half-breed . Like insults from others’ mouths.

    Gods.

    This selfless man in front of her had let himself get raped for the sake of his people for fifty long years. He'd been away from his family, locked under a mountain when he was a being that loved to fly.

    Like a bird in a cage.

    Her heart broke for him, made her wonder if that's why he’d gotten out of bed without waking her. Had Rhian made a mistake cuddling him close. He could very well not be comfortable with that kind of contact after Amarantha, which was completely understandable.

    It also shattered her heart that out of all other things for them to have in common, this was another.

    She’d played that risky game too when she’d been captured long ago, had bid her time, all for the sake of those she loved.

    She’d blocked that out long ago, focused more on the war aspect of that period of time, the war her people came to know as the Infinity War.

    But she’d only had to do that for three months…not fifty years. Then the war had continued, another following in its wake, and she’d never had time to process it. Just as Rhys was not able to now that this war with Hybern was imminent.

    When their eyes met, even if she hadn’t said a word, she could tell that somehow…somehow Rhys knew they had that in common. She could see it in the devastation in his eyes, which was no doubt a reflection of her own towards him.

    Rhian couldn’t help but close her hand around his and say, “I’m sorry I couldn’t find a way to spare you from what happened Under the Mountain. That kind of suffering…it’s not something that goes away easily”

    Rhys seemed reluctant, but still asked a simple yet obvious question.

    “Who?”

    He’d shared his truth about Amarantha…she could share her own, the words she hadn’t even had with her own family after the war.

    Because he’d listen, he’d get it.

    “Remember how I told you about those stones that sparked creation?”

    He nodded.

    “An Eternal got his hands on them, planned to kill half of life in the universe with them. Long story short, I was captured when I tried to kill him after an…unsuccessful ambush on our part” she explained, gazing down at Titus, who whimpered painfully as if he knew what she spoke of.

    Calmly she added, “Thanos tortured me for weeks, tried to break me into joining his forces. Eventually, I decided that I was no use to the war effort dead, so I played a dangerous game. To keep him from going to our planet, from looking towards my family too long, I pretended to break, to want vengeance for those still alive that complained over their lives when so many of my own had been killed. I became one of his generals”

    “Was it him that…”

    Rhiannon shook her head vigorously. Now that was a nightmare of an image.

    “Hell no,” she sputtered, “when he made me a general, many of those in his inner circle became…confident in their future success, bored with the ease in which they conquered the Universe. In their boredom, many wondered what it would be like to…lay with a human woman”

    Rhys was visibly shaking with unrestrained anger at this point, not at her, but at her tale. She could feel it in their intertwined hands. Rhian could tell his eyes lingered on her bare back, likely wondering what injuries might have resulted from this story.

    “I likely would’ve been passed around had it not been for a clever plan on my part, one with the help of another Eternal who wanted nothing to do with Thanos’ shit but had to remain by his side. You see, Thanos had a brother named Eros, a being with the ability to make anyone…sexually attracted to him”

    “The one you told Amren she could speak to should she wish to reconcile with her species?”

    Rhian nodded.

    “He knew what others planned to do, that Thanos might allow it. So he and I devised a deal. He’d claim me, and in return I’d get him out of Thanos’ fleet to safety. He knew I was playing games, that I was biding my time to strike and kill all of Thanos’ army, rid him of the Infinity Stones, even if it got me killed. He wanted out, even if he was the rightful Prince of his people” she explained.

    With a tired sigh, she added, “Because everyone needed to…relax given the stress of the war, our coupling was made public amongst them. Eros was a womanizer, his behavior was expected so no one bat an eyelash when he claimed me as one of his whores. I’m sure he thought he was doing me a favor by not using his powers on me, but having him do all that to me when he was…rough and unrelenting as was expected of him…it made it worse. But because I was doing my job to ‘destroy rebellious civilizations’ and was Eros’ plaything, no one suspected betrayal from me after a time”

    Pushing back memories of those days, Rhiannon finished her tale with faked ease, “We did end up getting out. I blew up all of Thanos’ army, but he escaped with the stones, which is part of what kept the war going. But without his millions of soldiers and ships full of weapons that could take out civilizations…it was worth it I guess. I suppose both your plan and mine worked, we kept our loved ones safe at a heavy price”

    “Did you not…tell anyone?” Rhys inquired.

    She couldn’t help but chuckle.

    “No need really. In some of the further parts of space, far from this planet and our allies, most would only know me as Eros’ whore. In time that information would have reached humanity, and I suppose it did. The lives of public figures can’t be private…but I never told anyone. We were at war”

    Rhysand ran his calloused hand through his hair a few times, looking out the small window atop the counter they stood in front of, where his people were already making their way down the street, some in groups of friends, others in families, some lonesome but joyful.

    Though she’d willed ice coldness to take over her emotions to repress the past, it seemed Rhys was unable to. His eyes looked glossy, the hand now intertwined with her own atop the counter tightened comfortably, with Rhys running his thumb along the skin of her lower palm.

    She wasn’t really much better.

    Despite having buried her own pain within, her heart still ached for him. Eros had ACTED cruel and rough with her…but Rhys had been stuck with a despicable being that brought Prythian to its knees. Amarantha hadn't faked her cruelty, and Rhys hadn't had an ally in her either. He'd been alone, subjected to true torture at the hands of his enemy.

    And it had been so long…such a long time he'd suffered, and yet he’d mentioned once that he’d continued to stare up at the stars, wishing for a better future.

    She’d done that too.

    In the hours after her times with Eros, she’d have a little time left alone, undisturbed, before someone came looking for her. Rhian recalled standing before that large round window in her room on the ship, the one that made her feel like she was in a fish tank. She’d looked out towards space, and though she hadn’t dared to make wishes towards the stars…they had been her only companions.

    Rhian could almost see it, four years ago, both her and Rhys staring up at the night sky on a lonely night after the horrors. She knew it was impossible, a cruel stretch of her mind and guilt, but she wished she could’ve reached out to him then somehow…to let him know he wasn’t alone.

    “You were so young” Rhys whispered, likely more to himself than her.

    With a pained smile, Rhian countered, “It’s in the past. But if you ever need to talk about it, about Amarantha, please come to me. I get that it's best sometimes to ignore it...but I really get it. Maybe not exactly as it happened to you, but I know the scar it leaves”

    Rhysand had nodded, and the two had finished their breakfast in comfortable silence, watching the people of Velaris stroll past the house till their duties tore them away from the kitchen.

    Though they had not been able to see one another till dinner time thanks to their separate preparations for war and the upcoming visit to the Summer court, Rhysand had taken to doing something quite interesting throughout the day.

    He’d somehow used his magic to make a piece of parchment paper appear out of nowhere while she was in her room. She’d almost had a heart attack! She’d been reading, listening to the merry chatter of the toasty birch fire across the room, and just as she turned the page of her book, it appeared!

    Rhian had taken one look at the cream stationery and the handwriting and somehow knew it was from Rhysand. It had been neatly folded, followed by the apparition of a quill which she ignored in favor of a pen.

    She wondered if he’d bothered to speak to her like this because he couldn’t do so mind to mind like with the others. The fact that he’d looked for an alternative was strangely endearing in itself.

    The note had been scribbled in elegant penmanship, but its message was short. Likely because she knew for a fact he had gone to the Illyrian mountains with Cass and was probably in a meeting of sorts.

    Honesty bubble?

    Rhiannon had smiled, amused by the absurdity that lack of phones provided, yet she pushed back a few scattered papers so she could write back;

    Always.

    The paper vanished. It was gone for a while—far longer than it should have taken to write the few words that appeared on the paper when it returned

    I haven’t had such a peaceful sleep in a long time. Are you sure your humming doesn’t have magical properties?

    Rhian clamped my lips shut to keep from smiling when Nuala stopped by with a cup of tea. After thanking the wraith, Rhian pulled out the note from where she’d hidden it under her books and wrote,

    So what if I was magic? That wouldn’t be nearly as flamboyant as summoning darkness. Or maybe I should try to score points with Azriel by telling him his shadows are cooler?

    The paper vanished before she’d even completed the final mark. It appeared back a while later, his writing smaller to fit in the small parchment.

    It almost felt like she was passing notes in class…

    You wound me, dear human. I thought WE were friends?

    Rhiannon, who was now leaning back on her chair, merely chuckled at the words. She was forced to write on the other side of the paper for her response;

    Go lick your wounds and leave me be. I’m busy plotting a way to spread some nasty rumors in distant lands.

    His reply was a long time coming. Then,

    So ruthless. But, I’d much rather you licked my wounds for me

    She had to read the letter a few times, wondering if she’d interpreted it wrong. But his playful banter, even if it was borderline flirting, made her heart pound faster and faster, and a strange sort of rush went through her veins as she read the sentence again and again.

    She’d accept the challenge.

    Lick you where, exactly?

    Again, the reply was a long time coming, enough so that she’d turned back to her work on researching everything about past conflicts between Vallahan, Montesere, and Rask to add fuel to the rumors. She’d been in the midst of writing down a few notes in what she had dubbed The Burn Book of Prythian, when the paper appeared back atop her book.

    The words made her pause.

    Wherever you want to lick me, Rhian. I’d like to start with “Everywhere,” but I can choose, if necessary.

    She’d chuckled and thrown the paper to the burning fire, and when Rhys had returned to the house, the two had laughed themselves hoarse when the conversation came up as they ate some of the bread Rhian had brought back from a nearby bakery, along with legumes and steak from a different store.

    A surprise Rhys had very much appreciated after a long day away.

    It had started because Rhys had insisted he could whip up some more jelly for their bread, and when Titus had suddenly jumped on the counter to snatch a piece of steak like a hawk, the High Lord had almost tumbled down ungracefully to the floor.

    Amidst her uncontrollable laughter, Rhian had muttered, “Remember our joke about licking wounds. I’d lick your pride right now, but that's impossible considering it's gone with that display of grace, my lord”

    Rhys had gotten back at her by spreading jam all over her cheek, which started a jam war that resulted in the two being covered in the red substance. What was worse is that amidst their laughter, they’d failed to note Amren had come in, arms crossed at the entrance of the kitchen.

    When they DID notice her, the laughter died, and they watched as her unnerving silver eyes judged them, like two kids getting caught sneaking into the cookie jar. The Eternal hadn’t asked for an explanation, only dropped off a few documents and left, almost looking as if she were fighting a smile she refused to relent in their presence.

    That had only made them laugh harder.

    Hours later, after the two had showered separately, they’d gone to bed with relaxed goodnights exchanged before entering their respective bedroom doors.

    Rhian hadn’t admitted it out loud, but she hadn’t felt lighter in years…

    Taglist: @mariiecapo

    #acotar#acomaf#acowar #a million miles away #rhysand x reader #rhysand x oc #rhysand x archeron!oc #rhysand x feyre #acotar fanfiction#archeron sister #a court of mist and fury #cassian#azriel#morrigan#amren#dc crossover#marvel crossover #just a humble fanfic with lots of fluff #mating bond#humour #please don't roast me too hard i've never written anything other than scientific papers before #friends to lovers #slow burn#mutual pining #star crossed lovers #a dash of angst #warnings of violence blood and injury #rhysand x wayne!oc
    View Full
  • prototypedeity
    28.05.2022 - 1 day ago

    more on 3rd robin steph: she doesn't figure out batman's or anyone's identity and confronts them in their civilian identities like tim does; instead she makes herself a robin costume, walks up to batman and goes 'hey look, look at me. look into my eyes. im robin now.'

    batman: no you're not

    steph: yes i am

    batman: no you're not

    steph: yes i am

    batman: no you're not

    steph: no i'm not

    batman: yes you are-fuck

    #steph dont got a lot but she do got the sheer gall #where's tim in this au? off with his parents in bolivia on a dig on a site with shit reception #he still knows who batman is but is less invested in the gotham nightlife #stephanie brown#spoiler#robin#batman#dc#bruce wayne
    View Full
  • remosdeerica
    28.05.2022 - 1 day ago

    Broke: The Angry One is soft for the Sunshine One.

    Woke: The Sunshine One is feral for the Angry One

    #damijon#kiribaku#kacchako #tbh im more of an ememies to lovers fan so i dont have a lot of ships to tag here 😂😂😂 #damian wayne is my fave batfam character so i think bakugou being my fave bnha character is pretty on brand #dc#super sons#bnha #boku no hero academia #my hero acadamy #i just want bakugou to be with someone that loves him and doesn’t put up with his bullshit #ya know? #same for dami
    View Full
  • emin-folly
    28.05.2022 - 1 day ago

    wally stans' number 1 favorite thing to do is to act like barry doesn't exist as his own person, but only as a part of the west family. i've legit seen people here talk about barry as "wally's uncle". he was here before girlie -_-

    So true! And it's just, grahhHHH Like...ok, I get it, Barry was dead for decades and Wally took his place, I get that a lot of people aren't familiar with Barry as his own character because they're used to him being dead for so long. I understand that. But it doesn't take a lot to just respect him as a character. Barry's more than just a extension of the West family, he basically revolutionized the Flash title as well as a whole era for superheroes.

    I'm not saying everyone has to like Barry, of course not, we all have our own tastes. But just a little acknowledgment him being more than just 'Wally uncle' would be nice~

    #dc#dc comics#barry allen#wally west#the flash #Uhhh rant ig??? #DC also really didn't help matters with throwing out Wally so Barry could be the main Flash #it's so stupid #THEY COULD BOTH BE THE FLASH DC'S JUST A COWARD #I know there's also like Flashpoint that soured a lot of people on Barry #But that is a whole other can of worms lol
    View Full
  • viperbit
    27.05.2022 - 1 day ago

    WARNING: VENOMOUS SNAKES OBSERVED IN THIS AREA. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

                                            indie red room oc poisoned by mckenna. 

    credit

    #assassin for hire } self promo #indie marvel oc #indie mcu rp #indie black widow rp #indie red room oc #indie marvel rp #indie dc rp #indie winter soldier rp #okay....i like this one a lot more #the other one was just...not the best.
    View Full
  • waywardgirlwithbloodonherhands
    27.05.2022 - 1 day ago
    Nothing more to add; this line says it all.
    #idk why but I like this line a lot #it’s extremely well written #vixen: nyc#dc comcis
    View Full
  • solamoure
    27.05.2022 - 1 day ago

    so I'm helping this lower AR player on domains. And they're like??? just standing there and literally letting me do the whole thing. nghhhh

    #sol:daily #idk why Im annoyed with this #this is on domains only #lmfao #im helping u #dont let me do the whole thing #i dont care if your dmg is low but I appreciate help #and they aint dc #the ping is decent #plus theyve been constantly bragging about their c1 ayaka #like my friend my guy my dude okay?? #u've said that to me lots of time already T.T #good for u but honestly I dont care #lmaoooo #im sorry if this comes off as whining but nah dont do that to someone who’s helping u
    View Full
  • deathsmallcaps
    27.05.2022 - 1 day ago

    Check out Vixen’s new Webtoon!

    If you like the Batman one, but wish it had more plot, this is a good comic for you!

    EDIT: apparently vixen is a banned tag so I retagged this as vixen dc and dc vixen.

    #dc vixen#vixen dc#dc #mari jiwe mccabe #mari mccabe#Karen Beecher#beast boy#garfield logan#bumblebee #I never knew that Vixen #was Ghanaian! very cool. tbh I don’t know a lot about her #so it’s going to be fun learning more about her and her lore as the comic goes on #I have no clue who the villian is rn besides that he’s a relative of Mari #also I know why the bounty Hunter and his apprentice (?) have that hairstyle XD #may Killmonger’s influence never die #it’s a very handsome hairstyle #the art style isn’t my favorite - I think they’re trying too hard for anime when they’re a non-moving medium #but Mari looks very cute. #I’m glad they didn’t straighten her hair (much) like they often do. and let her have a long hairstyle #and I guess they went with the dc supergirls (don’t remember exact name) design for Karen?
    View Full
  • thedisablednaturalist
    27.05.2022 - 1 day ago

    Pros of using a wheelchair: legs don't hurt

    Cons of using a wheelchair: arms hurt

    #fibromyalgia#chronic disability#chronic pain#spoonie#wheelchair #i feel bad having my friends push me everywhere so i try to roll myself as much as i can #we got lost in dc and also the metro kept having us hunt for their elevators #overall i had a lot of fun but today is a no bones day for sure
    View Full
  • velarisarchives
    27.05.2022 - 2 days ago

    ☪ A Million Miles Away | Chapter 15 |

    Rhiannon Archeron did not spend her life amongst her unfortunate family. After a rather distasteful beginning in life bought on by Mr and Mrs Archeron, she ended up in a land on the other side of the world. Grew up in a city called Gotham as Kamaria Wayne. Years after her original abandonment, right after a most unfortunate war that left her alone once again, Rhian went in search for her birth family, only to stumble across more than she bargained for. Amongst those things, a High Lord who helped heal her broken heart, and whom she just so happened to help heal as well.

    Pairing: Rhysand x Archeron!oc

    Warnings: The Weaver. Passages from ACOMAF. Violence.

    Word Count: 6356

    Chapter 15- The One With the Ring

    Al'ama (shit).

    Rhian and Feyre froze, her twin quickly depositing the ring in the pocket of Rhiannon’s jacket last minute. Feyre, it seemed, did not trust herself to keep it safe, or perhaps wanted nothing to do with it given their situation.

    They stared at the wall in silence, wondering if the Weaver had merely finished her song—maybe she’d start another.

    Maybe.

    Then the spinning wheel slowed.

    Keeping Feyre behind her, Rhiannon motioned for her sister to go back a step towards the door. Then another.

    As one, they moved with their eyes now locked on the enemy. Slower and slower, each rotation of the ancient wheel longer than the last was like a taunting clock.

    Rhian had counted their steps upon entry, knew they only needed ten steps to make it to the door.

    Five.

    The wheel went round, one last time, so slow she could see each of the spokes.

    Two.

    Rhian, hands strongly clutching the handles of her knives, motioned for Feyre to turn for the door just as the Weaver lashed out with a white hand, gripping the wheel and stopping it wholly.

    Internally, Rhian was cursing so colorfully in Arabic that mom and dad would’ve surely given her an earful for it. That cursing only intensified when the door before them snapped shut.

    Almost as if by invisible magic.

    Feyre bothered to lunge for the handle, even when there was none. Rhiannon was already resigned to her fate, the fact that they’d likely have to fight their way out. She knew what being spotted felt like, and this was it.

    Whatever magic had kept them invisible this long was gone now.

    As Feyre moved behind her to reach for one of the many windows, The Weaver said softly, “Who is in my house?”

    Her twin’s breathing picked up behind Rhian, like fear had finally slammed into her. Fear Rhian herself did not feel, not when the adrenaline kicked in and her sole instinct was to protect the sister behind her.

    Rhiannon kept her eyes on the immortal’s back, even as Feyre frantically fumbled with the window beside the door. Sealed. No latch, no opening. Just glass that was not glass. Solid and impenetrable.

    Rhian shifted her feet into a fighting stance just as the Weaver turned her face towards them. Above her young and supple body, beneath her black beautiful hair, her skin was gray—wrinkled and sagging and dry.

    And where eyes should have gleamed instead lay rotting black pits. Her lips had withered to nothing but deep, dark lines around a hole full of jagged stumps of teeth—like she had gnawed on too many bones.

    Christ…how the fuck had the Celestials messed up so thoroughly when creating her ancestors? Just what the hell was the Weaver?

    Her nose—perhaps once pert and pretty, now half-caved in—flared as she sniffed in their direction.

    “What are you two?” she said in a voice that was so young and lovely.

    Behind her, Feyre whispered frantically, “We’re trapped, Rhian. What do we do?”

    The windows may be locked, the door shut, but those weren’t the only exits Rhian had cataloged. Granted this was the suicidal, reckless way to get out. But it was their best bet.

    She wouldn't let Feyre die, be eaten, or be pulled into that sweet darkness that had taken all her family from her.

    The Weaver rose from her little stool.

    “Well well…a peculiar mortal and…what is like all,” she mused, taking one graceful step toward them, “but unlike all?”

    Rhian had never been one to wait for villains to finish their taunting speeches. She wasted no time lunging for the sole candle burning on the table in the center of the room. And hurled it against the wall of woven thread—against all those miserable, dark bolts of fabric.

    Woven bodies, skins, lives. Maybe this way they’d finally be set free.

    Fire erupted, and the Weaver’s shriek was so piercing Rhian thought her head might shatter; thought her blood might boil in its veins.

    Her bargain had paid off, for the Weaver quickly dashed for the flames, as if she’d put them out with those flawless white hands, her mouth of rotted teeth open and screaming like there was nothing but black hell inside her.

    Rhian didn’t waste any time grabbing Feyre’s hand, pulling her towards the darkened hearth. For the fireplace and chimney above. Upon closer look, it seemed like it would be a tight squeeze, but enough for them to go one at a time.

    “Go!” Rhian commanded, glad to see her sister didn’t hesitate to grab onto the ledge and hauled herself up, arms buckling. Hopefully, her immortal strength would be of some help, even if her twin still looked a bit weak and malnourished.

    The human likely would’ve followed, had she not noticed The Weaver’s screaming was cut short, that the being was lunging towards her.

    Rhian didn’t hesitate to kick off the chimney, lunging into the air with weapons in hand.

    Her attack managed to cut through the Weaver’s skin, black blood pooling at her cheek and collarbone. Her screams were deafening, but Rhian couldn't let the Weaver make it to Feyre, so she stood on shaky legs and made to attack again.

    With the room still burning around them, the two engaged in a fight of knives and claws. Rhian had to admit, The Weaver definitely knew how to fight, was able to move past her defenses enough to slide a nail across her shoulder, which her leathers took the hit of for the most part.

    After round kicking the immortal being down onto a carpet that was slowly catching fire, the Weaver shrieked, “What are you!?”

    Despite the fact that breathing was getting harder to do, Rhiannon got back into an offensive stance and replied, “Just a human”, stalling enough to hear if the shuffling from behind her in the chimney had stopped.

    Rhian could hear Feyre struggling, stating she was stuck, sounding frantic.

    She needed more time.

    “I don’t want to kill you, but I will” Rhiannon stated coldly, never letting go of her weapons, “It’s not personal, we just came here for something. Stand down and no more harm will come to you or your home”

    The Weaver smirked past the blood dribbling down her cheek.

    “You little human, you are nothing but a mouse to me”

    Rhiannon sighed tiredly…looks like death it was. Without giving the female enough time to wage the move, Rhian rushed over to attack, throwing a few of her knives the Weaver’s way, none of which grazed the immortal being.

    When Rhian was close enough, she tried to kick her, but the stranger was as quick as Cassian and easily moved out of the way, leaving Rhian to kick one of the support beams instead.

    The poor Weaver was too busy laughing at her human speed to notice Rhian’s attacks were intentional, that her hits and knife-throws were calculated moves to weaken the support beam behind them.

    The female had only noticed when it was too late.

    Covered in soot and coughing out black phlegm, Rhian delivered one last kick to the groaning wood, and thanks to the knives embedded onto the wood, it splintered and cracked easier along the center.

    Rolling out the way, just managing to dodge some of the couch in flames, Rhiannon had a front row seat to the Weaver’s wide eyes as she looked up at the cracking structure just before it began falling onto her body.

    Rhiannon didn’t wait to see if any of the cracked pieces of wood would impale the monster, she just rushed inside the chimney, noticing the soot-stained bricks were loose and uneven.

    Perfect for climbing.

    With the house crumbling and screams loud as sirens in her ears, Rhian began to climb, even if it reeked like carrion and burned hair, even as her hands made contact with the oily sheen on the stone, like cooked fat—

    If she hadn't been choking on the ever-nearing smoke, she might’ve gagged.

    Rhiannon was halfway up her chimney, sunlight and trees almost visible, when she noticed Feyre wasn’t climbing anymore.

    “What’s wrong?” Rhian screamed up between coughs. Feyre could barely manage to look down, arms squeezing on the stone around her.

    “I’m stuck!” Feyre yelled down, voice laced with panic, especially as the Weaver continued to scream bloody murder in the distance.

    “You have superhuman strength, damn it! Use it!” Rhiannon yelled back, watching as Feyre froze, as if registering the words.

    Realizing their truth, perhaps even working past the gaze of panic.

    Somewhere beyond, Rhian heard the Weaver hissing from within her house, still alive, “Did you think you could steal and flee, thieves?”

    Oh shit, Ms. Voldemort was alive.

    And her voice…it might’ve just been the nerves, but she could almost swear it was closer than before…

    Like in a horror movie, Rhian had just enough room to look down as the Weaver’s rotted face appeared below in a flash. She put that milk-white hand on the ledge, and the human realized how little room there was between them thanks to Feyre’s halt.

    Seeming to see what Rhian had, Feyre thankfully unfroze and began pushing against the grip of the chimney, clearly not keen to be dragged down by those beautiful hands, ripped apart and eaten.

    Whatever blank panic crushed her sister was long gone, replaced by the fuel of survival as the Weaver’s nails scratched against the bricks, taking a step up.

    In a stupid effort to buy them time, Rhian barely had enough room to reach for her last two remaining knives. With League accuracy, she threw them down with as much momentum as she could, glad to see they embedded into the monster's right shoulder and just barely nipping her ear.

    The screams that follow echoed across the chimney like the screech of a banshee. Rhiannon wasn’t sure if her ears were bleeding after that, but she didn’t give herself time to ponder any of the pain, after all, when on a mission or fight…pain was always secondary.

    “Breathe, you can do this! You’re stronger than this!” Rhian screamed in what she hoped was encouragement, climbing up just a little higher to put some space between her and the injured Weaver. Coming up so that her head was at level with Feyre’s grease-stained boots.

    Pushing past her own pain, the Weaver shifted closer, brick crumbling under her hands. She’d climbed up like a spider — like they were flies in her web.

    She heard the sounds of Feyre’s first colliding with the chimney wall, felt the debris that rained down on both her and the Weaver. Her twin pounded her fist into the walls over and over, enough so that a brick must’ve loosened with the effort.

    Feyre quickly handed it over, and no words needed to be spoken between them for Rhian to know what to do. Sliding into her waiting palm, Rhiannon wasted no time hurling it at the Weaver’s hideous, horrible face as hard as she could with a battle cry.

    Bone crunched and she roared, black blood spraying, her body falling into the piles of ashes and wood that remained at the chimney's base.

    Rhian could only stare up as Feyre rammed her shoulders into the sides of the chimney, skin tearing beneath her leather. She kept going, going, going, until she was stone breaking stone, until nothing and no one held her back and they were able to climb the rest of the chimney.

    Whatever bricks came loose, Rhian made sure to throw down below, watching as the Weaver dodged them as best she could despite her writhing form at the base, unable to climb out to follow them.

    She didn’t dare stop, not as Rhian helped haul Feyre’s legs out of the lip, until both had tumbled onto the thatched roof. Which was not thatched with hay at all.

    But hair.

    And with all that fat lining the chimney, all that fat now gleaming on her and Feyre’s skin…the hair clung to them. In clumps and strands and tufts.

    Gods.

    But Rhian couldn’t stop now, not as she reached into one of the pockets where she’d stashed a bit of coal from the base of the chimney on her way up. Against the bricks of the chimney, she began to collide the two to try and create a spark, using her other hand to pick up clumps of hair before throwing them down the hole.

    “What are you doing?” Feyre asked, rushing to her side, observing her actions nervously.

    “Making sure that bitch doesn’t follow” Rhian replied, panting as she finally managed to create a flame. Careful not to let the burning coal touch her oily skin or the roof, she carefully maneuvered the flame atop the chimney hole where horrifying screams still echoed.

    With all the oils and hair gathered inside, the flames would undoubtedly expand, meet those she had already started below.

    “When I say go, you run across the roof towards that tree branch hanging close by. Understand?” she commanded. Not even bothering to turn to the side to see if Feyre would agree, not as she heard the crumbling of bricks, as if the spider was climbing up for her prey.

    Unwilling to risk a closer encounter, Rhian screamed, “Now!” and dropped the coal.

    Feyre and Rhian all but scrambled across that heinous roof, trying not to think about who and what they was stepping on, what clung to their skin or clothes. They ran like the wind, launching themselves onto the waiting branch, scrambling into the leaves and moss as the Weaver screeched.

    Rhian could almost feel the heat of the fueled fire, and despite the large puffs of black smoke and screams from the chimney, she didn’t turn back, not as she nudged Feyre to keep going, running to another tree, leaping from branch to branch, bare hands tearing on the wood.

    The screams were just as loud no matter how far they ran, but thankfully, they were not being followed.

    Feyre’s previous struggle to weave through nature was long gone after a while, jumping up onto the next branches like she was flying. It was Rhian that lingered behind, that had to get a little more crafty to keep up and jump long distances.

    Eventually, just as she’d begun wondering where Rhys could be the farther they fled, her mind was beginning to wonder if he'd abandoned them. She knew he wouldn’t, but the earlier revelation of his powers had made her pause.

    She wasn't afraid of them, not in the least, especially when it was a part of him he had no control over. It was her memories that made her pause, the ease in which one could see all of that.

    But Rhysand couldn't have left them. Not when he was her friend.

    Despite her rising worries, she encouraged Feyre to keep going, keeping an eye on their backs as they moved further into the deep woods.

    The Weaver could be dead, but that didn’t mean other dangerous creatures would keep their distance.

    Just as she’d begun to feel the dregs of mild exhaustion, she heard Feyre skid to a stop before her. There, lounging on a branch in a tree before them, one arm draped over the edge, Rhysand drawled, “What the hell did you two do?”

    Breathing raw, Rhian couldn’t manage any words, now when she felt like her lungs might actually be bleeding.

    “You!” Feyre hissed, but he raised a finger to his lips and winnowed to them—grabbing Feyre’s arm and Rhian’s waist before he spirited them away—to Velaris. To just above the House of Wind.

    Rhiannon heard Feyre scream as they practically hung in the air, close to free-falling, until Rhys’ wings appeared, spreading wide, and the High Lord grasped their arms, holding them as he curved into a steady glide right through the open windows of what had to be a war room from last night.

    She was not as frightened by heights as Feyre was, didn’t bother screaming as she noted that Cassian was there in the room—in the middle of arguing with Amren about something.

    Both froze as they all landed on the red floor. More like, as Rhysand set them down, the sisters collapsed on the tiles,

    Retracting his wings, he moved to stand behind them but stayed back at the sight of Feyre's glare.

    Catching her breath, Rhian noticed there was a mirror on the wall behind them, and glimpsed herself long enough to know why the others were gaping.

    She and Feyre did not look…well.

    Feyre’s face was scratched and bloody, Rhian hands and arm were bleeding, and both were absolutely covered in dirt and grease—boiled fat —and mortar dust.

    The twins shared a look in the mirror, noted the hair that stuck to them, which smelled—

    “You smell like barbecue,” Amren said, cringing a bit.

    Cassian loosened the hand he’d wrapped around the fighting knife at his thigh. Rhian was still panting, still trying to gobble down breaths to even consider the sight of a knife a threat.

    The hair clinging to them scratched and tickled, and—

    “You guys killed her?” Cassian said.

    “No,” Rhys answered for them, loosely folding his wings. “But given how much the Weaver was screaming, I’m dying to know what they did.”

    Rhian would be impressed if the Weaver got out of that house, but despite her cruelty, Rhian wasn’t eager to claim she’d killed the monster.

    One should never brag about taking a life after all, no matter how deserving.

    Grease—they had the grease and hair of people on them...

    Feyre was the first to lose it, vomiting all over the floor, thankfully, on the side opposite of where Rhian lay. Though she felt like spilling out her guts too, Rhiannon had seen enough carnage in the past to keep her bile at bay. A small mercy.

    Cassian swore, but Amren waved a hand and the mess was instantly gone—along with the mess on both of them. Rhian could feel the ghost of it there, the remnants of people, the mortar of those bricks.

    “She … detected us somehow,” Feyre managed to say for them, slumping against the large black table, wiping her mouth against the shoulder of her leathers. “and locked the doors and windows”

    Rhian was quick to sit by her twin’s side, pushing back the tendrils of her short braid that had come loose, some of which had been covered in the Weaver’s black blood.

    After a steading breath, Rhiannon added, “I set her house on fire, injured her, and then we got stuck climbing out through the chimney…” she took another steading breath, Cassian’s brows rising, “so when she tried to climb up, I threw bricks at her face. Then I set her house to sinders. Easy…”

    Silence.

    Amren looked to Rhysand. “And where were you?”

    “Waiting, far enough away that she couldn’t detect me.” he replied, just as Feyre snarled back, “We could have used some help.”

    “You survived,” he said. “And found a way to help yourself in the end, without Rhian’s intervention”

    From the hard glimmer in his eye, Rhian knew he was aware of the panic that had almost gotten them killed, perhaps thanks to those mental abilities that allowed them to speak to one another.

    He’d been aware it could happen to Feyre—and let her endure it. Because it had almost gotten them killed, and she’d be no use to their future mission if it happened when it mattered—with the Book.

    Rhiannon would’ve been pissed on her sister’s behalf, had she not completely understood the importance of that little exercise. Rhian had her panic snuffed out long ago, Feyre hadn’t, and in war it meant the difference between life and death.

    “That’s what this was also about,” Feyre spat, nudging Rhian’s shoulder, “Not just that stupid ring or my abilities, but if I can master my panic!?”

    At the mention of the ring, Rhian reached into one of her pockets from where she’d been very careful to keep it safe from any dangers. Thankfully, when she pulled out the delicate ring that almost seemed to sing a song much different than that of the Weaver, it was still intact.

    There was something soothing about it, something loving, and warm.

    Though her arm still ached, Rhiannon stood, slowly making her way to Rhys. She didn’t have it in her to meet his gaze like back in the forest, so she kept her eyes on the floor, nudged his fisted fingers to unwind. And despite her very faint anger she still felt, Rhian gently placed the ring on his palm.

    Without bothering to linger, she rushed back to Feyre’s side, sitting beside her on the cold floor. Once she did, she heard Cassian swear again, his eyes on that ring.

    Amren shook her head, sheet of dark hair swaying as she stood by Rhys’s side, stating, “Brutal, but effective.”

    Rhysand's eyes lingered on Rhian, but she refused to acknowledge him. It was to a still seething Feyre that he said, “Now you know. That you can use your abilities to hunt our objects, track the Book at the Summer Court, and master yourself.”

    “You’re a prick, Rhysand,” Cassian said quietly.

    Rhys merely tucked his wings further in with a graceful snap. “You’d do the same.”

    Cassian shrugged, as if to say fine, he would. The truth was, Rhian might’ve done the same as well. Gotham and the League had been brutal, you either learned fast or you died. She knew the importance of such tests, was almost glad Feyre had managed to work past the block of fear for her own good, even if saying so to her now would likely get Rhian punched.

    Thankfully, a lesson HAD been learned, the trip worth it, because her sister immediately asked Cassian to lengthen their training hours. Feyre didn’t want to run and hide anymore, she wanted to fight well, get strong. She didn’t want to rely on others to save her (that last part directed at Rhian, laced with shame, worry, and gratitude).

    Standing, Feyre’s shadow loomed on Rhian as her sister crossed her arms, eyes on the High Lord as she shouted, “ Well? Have I proved myself?”

    Rhys merely picked up the ring and gave them a nod of thanks, his eyes lingering on Rhian a little longer as he stated, “It’s my mother’s ring.”

    It occurred to her that Feyre had not been told of its importance prior to this.

    “How’d you lose it?” Feyre demanded as Cassian moved to help Rhian off the floor with a nod of approval, eyes lingering on the blood beneath her nails that Amren’s magic had not gotten rid of.

    “I didn’t. My mother gave it to me as a keepsake, then took it back when I reached maturity—and gave it to the Weaver for safekeeping.” Rhys replied, stunning Rhian, letting go of Cassian’s helping hand.

    She hadn’t dared to ask how something of his mother’s ended up there…

    “Why?” Feyre pressed, already eyeing the door to their left, likely just as eager for a bath as Rhian was.

    With a gentle breath, Rhys merely stated, “So I wouldn’t waste it.”

    Seeming unsatisfied with the answer, Feyre raised her head high and walked out of the room past Amren and Cass, but not before stopping before Rhian, enveloping her in an embrace…one that was not helping her arm injury at all.

    Rhiannon did not dare make a sound of pain though, not when her sister likely needed the embrace as much as she did.

    “Thank you for protecting me, for pushing me” she whispered, “You saved us”

    Rhian smiled past the pain, briefly wrapping her arms around Feyre as she replied, “You got us out. You did well, sister. I wager once you get further in your training, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with" stroking her sister's long hair, she added, "And Feyre…you're not as weak as you think yourself to be. For me, fighting is natural, something I’ve done since my youth for which fear has long since vanished. It’s instinct to go into battle, to rush into danger knowing little can kill me. I think someone who grew up without fighting, without the familiarity of war…it makes you braver than any of us to step into dangerous situations because the cause is right. That makes you strong, remember that”

    Rhian finally registered it then, the two of them had worked together in the end, and it had been simple and natural. Not once then had Rhian felt like she’d betrayed Damian, yet Feyre had felt like a…like a sister at last.

    Beaming at the praise, Feyre sent her one last smile, gray eyes smiling along too, before walking out the doors, likely back to her room.

    Now…Rhian wanted a bath. She wanted quiet and a bath. The need for those things hit her strong enough that it felt like her knees might buckle.

    Still staring down at the floor, she heard footsteps approaching, knew who they belonged to before she noticed the hand still holding the ring.

    “Rhian, I didn’t get the chance to-”

    She cut him off, too exhausted to think, to forgive, to rationalize that perhaps she needn't be so offended. Instead she just said, “Fly me back to the house, I need a bath. Please”

    Rhiannon smiled at Cassian, nodded at Amren, watched as they shared confused glances between her and their High Lord, unaware what he was apologizing for. Rhys, to his credit, granted her request without another word as both made their way back to the balcony.

    She barely looked at Rhys before he grabbed her hand, flared his wings, and had them soaring back through the windows. They free-fell for five thunderous, wild heartbeats before he winnowed to Rhian’s bedroom in the townhouse, right in front of the bathing chamber.

    To her surprise, a hot bath was already running.

    Not expecting him to linger, especially with the pitter-patter of Titus rushing up the stairs, the tired human staggered inside the bathroom, stretching her arms a bit after the physical toll of today, that, though minimal, had left her mind quite exhausted.

    She’d have to figure out how to remove her leathers, the straps Rhysand had put together. The thought alone was like a battle in itself.

    Just as she leaned against the counter to casually look at her wound, which was not as deep as she’d thought, Rhys said, “I never told you I tried to read your mind because I didn’t work, because once I sat with you that night out in the hall, I knew I wouldn’t have to anyways”

    Through the rising steam from the tub, Rhian replied, “I know. I get it”

    “You still sound pissed at me” he said, leaning against the bathing room threshold. She could see his reflection in the mirror, noticed as his eyes locked onto her own through the reflection. He didn’t look nearly as smug and swaggering as he had back at the House of Wind.

    Rhys was worried, guilty, and something told her he wouldn’t leave unless they made amends. Why? She was not sure.

    A part of her wondered how much their friendship truly meant, couldn’t help but let the doubt pull at her.

    Shrugging off the side buttons of her leathers, she managed to take off the top half of the suit, let it fall to her waist. She had a black crop top under, one that was modest, but revealed the nasty scars and injuries on her back, the wound on her shoulder blade, and the tattoo from last night.

    Rhian gazed at his reflection, noticing his eyes straying to her back, and though he didn’t flinch or seemed disgusted by them, she could tell his eyes lingered there for a while.

    Shrugging off her boots while keeping her eyes locked on the mirror, locked on him, she said, “The bath will go cold.”

    Eyes back onto her own, Rhysand crossed his arms, ignoring the barks from the bed as he replied, “I promise it’ll be just as hot in a few moments, but I really do want to…apologize”

    Something told her he didn’t do that often.

    Rhian frowned. But took a step toward him, then another—making him yield a step, two, into the bedroom.

    The phantom grease and hair clung to her, reminding Rhian what she’d done.

    The human held his stare, those violet eyes twinkling in that lovely way she always admired. Looking up at him, she triedly admitted, “You already apologized. Just…it’s my old instincts ok? I have a really hard time trusting others, especially when my old mentor filled me with ideas as to why doing so was a bad idea. I just need to flush them out. I’m not blaming you for trying to learn more about a stranger, really, it’s just instinct for my mind to think you betrayed me”

    Rhysand frowned, then said over the burbling and chittering garden birds, “That master of yours. He must’ve been cruel. I smelled no fear from you today, even after we got back…even now”

    A shrug.

    “Fear makes shitty assassins” she said, “But Ra’s…he was something else I suppose. At least all that training he put me through is still useful, we got your ring back”

    Rhys crossed the two feet between them, their breaths suddenly intermingling as he whispered, “You kept it safe. Even when you were mad at me, you kept it safe”.

    A statement, not a question.

    “Anything from loved ones is important” she said, having to lean her head up a bit more to keep their gazes locked, “Besides, fighting the Weaver was not that hard. Though I do feel bad for burning her house, well, only a little bit considering her song will haunt me for a while. I swear she was weaving dead bodies, it was sick”

    Rhysand chuckled, at last daring to smile.

    “Not many would claim an encounter with the Weaver as something easy. But thank you for getting this back to me”

    Rhiannon shrugged again, “Feyre is the one that found it with her powers, I just pocketed it and got us out”

    His hand moved then, pausing in its journey to her shoulder as if he thought she might push it away, shy from the contact. But Rhian let it happen, because she truly wasn’t mad, wouldn't let herself go back to her way of thinking from the League.

    Rhys began tracing the lines of the stars tattooed there, moved those warm fingers upwards at the edges of her injury.

    “You know” he mused, “I don’t think my mother expected a human to challenge the Weaver for this ring, much less a made-Fae with the powers of the High Lords”

    Rhian looked down at the ring he still held between two fingers on his free hand. A ring of twisted strands of gold and silver, flecked with pearl, and set with a stone containing a six pointed star.

    It would match perfectly with the necklaces Rhian still had, the ones actually containing celestial bodies in them. All beautiful in their own one-of-a-kind way.

    “My mother was low-born,” he suddenly explained, gaze lowered closer to her face so he too could behold the ring, “and worked as a seamstress in one of their many mountain war camps. When females come of age in the camps— when they have their first bleeding—their wings are…clipped. Just an incision in the right place, left to improperly heal, can cripple you forever. And my mother—she was gentle and wild and loved to fly. So she did everything in her power to keep herself from maturing. She starved herself, gathered illegal herbs—anything to halt the natural course of her body. She turned eighteen and hadn’t yet bled, to the mortification of her parents. But her bleeding finally arrived, and all it took was for her to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time, before a male scented it on her and told the camp’s lord”

    Rhiannon couldn’t help the small gasp that left her mouth, the anger she felt against the Illyrians, the respect she had for the female he spoke of despite not even knowing her name.

    Hand back to tracing her tattoo, as if it could soothe him through the tale, Rhys added, “She tried to flee—took right to the skies. But she was young, and the warriors were faster, and they dragged her back. They were about to tie her to the posts in the center of camp when my father winnowed in for a meeting with the camp’s lord about readying for war. He saw my mother thrashing and fighting like a wildcat, and …”

    He swallowed, mist from the bath swirling around them.

    “The mating bond between them clicked into place. One look at her, and he knew what she was. He misted the guards holding her.”

    There it was, that thing about soulmates. The force Fae swore was real, a pull between two people. As for the new term she did not understand…

    Brows narrowed in confusion, Rhian asked, “Misted?”

    Rhys reattached to the bainet beside the door, one containing various bars of scented soaps. He picked up the closest one without riding his gaze from her eyes, made it float between them, and once he was sure her gaze was locked on the white bar, with a flick of his finger, it turned to lavender-scented mist.

    Holy shit.

    No wonder Rhys was the most powerful High Lord in existence…gods, what would that even look like if it were people? Probably something out of a nightmare.

    Yet, she did not feel afraid. If for some reason Rhys truly did not like her or was weary of her, he could’ve misted her ages ago.

    That had been a display of trust, she realized. He was showing her his powers, so she’d know instead of having to be told.

    “Through the blood-rain,” Rhys went on, “my mother looked at him. And the bond fell into place for her. My father took her back to the Night Court that evening and made her his bride. She loved her people, and missed them, but never forgot what they had tried to do to her— what they did to the females among them. She tried for decades to get my father to ban it, but the War was coming, and he wouldn’t risk isolating the Illyrians when he needed them to lead his armies. And to die for him.”

    “Your father sounds like a pleasant male” she couldn’t help but grumble, even as the calming scent of lavender filled the air around them.

    “Indeed” Rhys replied, then clarified for her, “my father and mother, despite being mates, were wrong for each other. My father was cold and calculating, and could be vicious, as he had been trained to be since birth. My mother was soft and fiery and beloved by everyone she met. She hated him after a time—but never stopped being grateful that he had saved her wings, that he allowed her to fly whenever and wherever she wished. And when I was born, and could summon the Illyrian wings as I pleased …she wanted me to know her people’s culture.”

    “Are you sure she didn’t just want to keep you from becoming like your old man?” she sputtered without thinking.

    Rhian didn’t have a second to feel guilty about her observation, not as Rhys laughed.

    “That, too,” Rhys added drily. “When I turned eight, my mother brought me to one of the Illyrian war camps. To be trained, as all Illyrian males were trained. And like all Illyrian mothers, she shoved me toward the sparring ring on the first day, and walked away without looking back.”

    Rhiannon understood that, could see why she’d do so in a place full of ruthless males. Showing weakness by coddling Rhys might’ve helped him then, not in the long run though. She had to throw him to the wolves to make him stronger.

    Again, the respect for the female grew.

    “She spared you from embarrassment” she found myself saying, “Did she stay close by?”

    Rhysand smiled fondly at that, either by her somehow correct assumption or memories of that past.

    “She was staying at the camp as well. But it WAS considered an embarrassment for a mother to coddle her son when he goes to train. My mother also didn’t want me to rely on my power. She knew from the moment she conceived me that I’d be hunted my entire life. Where one strength failed, she wanted others to save me. My education was another weapon—which was why she went with me: to tutor me after lessons were done for the day” he explained.

    Rhiannon wondered for a brief second what life would’ve been like if her birth mother had even just a sixteenth of the heart and conviction that Rhys’s own mother possessed. She wouldn't have been abandoned for sure if Lady Archeron’s motherly love had been as strong.

    Rhian didn’t bother asking how his parents died, hell, she wasn’t even ready to speak of the passing of her own. Instead, she stated, “Your mother was a gem. I can’t even begin to comprehend how strong she was, it's really no wonder you turned out to be such a great male. And I know it's not my place to say, but I think she would be very proud of you”

    He let out a shaky breath at that, even when his smile only widened.

    “She would’ve liked you” he stated, “and she would’ve scolded me senseless for upsetting you. I really am sorry about that. Even if I could read your mind, I swear I wouldn't do it without your permission”

    “I know” Rhian said, and upon noticing that if she leaned up just a little more, their noses would touch...the human did herself a favor as took a few steps back, feeling Rhys’s fingers graze her tattoo with the movement.

    Turning back to the bath, she added, “Thank you for trusting me to keep Feyre safe”

    She heard the sound of his steps retreating back into the room, Titus moving to greet him, but she still heard him reply, “I’m the one that should be thanking you”

    When she turned, the door had closed on a phantom wind, and Rhys’s voice from the room beyond spoke to Titus, asking the dog if he wanted a snack.

    The two made their way downstairs eventually, and it was once she heard them leave the room that she finally peeled off her clothes, noticing that at some point Rhysand had made the buckles and straps he’d put on her disappear.

    He’d known she’d struggle with them, and without even needing to ask him, he’d removed them.

    As he’d promised, the bath was still warm when she made her way in. She was able to scrub away the ghost of blood and grime off her body in relative peace. In fact, she felt more relaxed than ever, as if going through a dangerous mission was a familiar enough experience that she actually found solace in it.

    She’d pondered that ridiculousness, wondering if she truly was nothing without a battle to fight, until the bath water went cold.

    #acotar#acomaf#acowar #a million miles away #rhysand x reader #rhysand x oc #rhysand x archeron!oc #rhysand x feyre #acotar fanfiction#archeron sister #a court of mist and fury #cassian#azriel#morrigan#amren#dc crossover#marvel crossover #just a humble fanfic with lots of fluff #mating bond#humour #please don't roast me too hard i've never written anything other than scientific papers before #friends to lovers #slow burn#mutual pining #star crossed lovers #a dash of angst #warnings of violence blood and injury #rhysand x wayne!oc
    View Full
  • transdudedemyx
    26.05.2022 - 2 days ago

    Got bored and decided to doodle a Jonathan! Tall man,,,

    #jonathan crane#scarecrow#the scarecrow#batman#gotham rogues#my art#katverse #he needs more fine-tuning but im having a lot of fun #dc #disheveled academic chic
    View Full
  • thefoghaslifted
    26.05.2022 - 2 days ago

    opinions on jaykyle ?

    GASP. love love love. but disclaimer before i say anything,,, i have not read the one (1) comic they are in together, everything i know about them is completely Dashboard Osmosis xoxo

    first of all. love the Disaster energy of jaykyle,,, both of them being like "i dont care! *proceeds to care a lot*" bc they Do Not Want to be interested in each other but alas. they are

    i love the hc of neither of them realizing that they are into each other but donna knowing and being so fucking tired of them all the time. kyle goes "jason is soooo annoying 🙄 hes not even that hot. no one thinks hes hot. i dont know why anyone would think that hes hot. who would even be into him. everyone thinks hes sooooo cool and sexy and everyone wants to fuck him. not me though." while donna sits there like "sure, talk more about how much you don’t think or care about him 🙂"

    meanwhile jason is actually chill about it. hes like "yeah kyle gets on my nerves but like in a hot way" while kyle is fuming in a corner. boyfriends <3

    and hhhmmhhhsmshsmhhhm characters that pretend not to care about each other but then are super protective and would kill and die for each other??? oh my god i am crying. jason sees kyle in danger and he immediately runs in and tries to protect him despite the fact that kyle is a lot more powerful than him fjfjdjsmdn

    but ohh my god. italicized oh moment for realizing they actually DO like each other??? fuck! both of them are fucking dumb and emotionally repressed so that they wouldnt even realize it until something major happens. like one of them is in danger and the other is Panicking and doesnt realize why theyre so worried until theyre like "hold on. hold on. i am in love. okay."

    and LISTEN. both of them are scared of bringing people into their lives and caring for another person :(

    after what happened to alex (🧊💔) kyle is wary of bringing people into his life because he is afraid that it will only end badly for them :( he doesnt want to see the people he cares about get hurt so he tries to keep Emotional Distance so nothing can happen

    and jason has felt constantly hurt and left behind by the people that are supposed to care about him :( his dad left, his mom died (which obviously is not her fault bc she was an addict but from a 10-year-old jason's perspective it def gave him some abandonment issues from seeing his mothers dead body then needing to live on the streets), then sheila betrayed him, then he felt betrayed by bruce, then he felt left behind by his whole family. so that tends to affect a persons relationships

    so both of them are extremely hesitant to be in a relationship, i feel like jason would be the one to end up making the first move but for a while they would both have a “one foot out the door” attitude but they would have to slowly accept that they trust each other and care about each other :(

    because FUCK it’s about learning to accept that they can’t always be there when the person they care about is in danger! and overcoming insecurities about the danger of opening your life for another person!!! aaaaaah!!!!!!!!!

    that’s all i’m going to say for now because i am going to go into cardiac arrest but i just…. care deeply about them. anyways while i’m talking about jaykyle i implore everyone to read violet tendencies by elixir because it’s my fav jaykyle fic and i think about it constantly

    #i’m sorry this took so long for me to answer :( but tysm for the ask ily 💕 #upon seeing this in my inbox i clutched my chest and started leaning against a wall #so emotional over jaykyle i am now in a life alert commercial #jaykyle#jason todd#kyle rayner#dc #ps i have read a lot more jason comics than kyle comics so i can’t delve that deep into kyle’s emotions #but i love to examine all of jason’s feelings under a microscope #so i’m sorry if i said anything wrong about kyle but i will die defending my jason opinions
    View Full
  • dragon-cookies
    26.05.2022 - 2 days ago

    Sending immense kudos to the YouTubers who narrate and explain horror series for fraidy cats like me who are interested in horror but are way too scared to watch the series directly

    They are the sole reason I’ve been able to get into The Walten Files and I love it

    #dc talks #I think it’s because it helps a ton to have someone ‘there’ with you #in the sense that they can remind you it’s all fictional and there’s nothing to ge afraid of #as well as explain what’s going on and help you connect all the pieces #which is very helpful for me bc I will definitely miss a lot of details #nexpo in particular does a really good analysis on the Walten files #cannot recommend him enough
    View Full
  • vigilantsycamore
    26.05.2022 - 2 days ago

    There is no reason for Superman to be buff

    I said what I said and you can’t convince me otherwise

    #listen. LISTEN #the man has actual literal superstrength and has had it basically all his life #and it only got more op as he grew up #in order to build up his muscles he'd need to exert himself and being superstrong means it would take a lot more for him to do that #also there are multiple continuities where earth has a lighter gravity than krypton which means clark would have to be working out extra #hard just to avoid muscle atrophy #but even without that do you have any idea how hard it would be for someone who without any exercise can juggle oil rigs to get enough #of a workout to actually be BUFF? #what does he bench press CONTINENTS on a regular basis? #SUPERMAN SHOULD BE A FUCKING STICK BUG OF A MAN #that wouldn't make him any less impressive either us stick bugs can look cool too #superman#dc comics
    View Full
  • velarisarchives
    26.05.2022 - 2 days ago

    ☪ A Million Miles Away | Chapter 14 |

    Rhiannon Archeron did not spend her life amongst her unfortunate family. After a rather distasteful beginning in life bought on by Mr and Mrs Archeron, she ended up in a land on the other side of the world. Grew up in a city called Gotham as Kamaria Wayne. Years after her original abandonment, right after a most unfortunate war that left her alone once again, Rhian went in search for her birth family, only to stumble across more than she bargained for. Amongst those things, a High Lord who helped heal her broken heart, and whom she just so happened to help heal as well.

    Pairing: Rhysand x Archeron!oc

    Warnings: The Weaver. Passages from ACOMAF. Did I mention the Weaver? Mentions of death and blood.

    Word Count: 8338

    Chapter 14- The One With Friendship, A Tattoo, and The Weaver

    Rhian could tell Rhysand had a lot on his mind on their flight back to the townhouse, so she remained silent, mulling over her own preparations for tomorrow’s visit of the Weaver.

    Aside from her unfortunate encounter with Spring, this would be her first time meeting a Fae enemy, or at the very least a very dangerous being who might not hesitate in killing her.

    Titus had been waiting for them at the terrace, wagging his tail happily when he watched them descend. Rhian had quickly rushed to his side, scratching his ears and back fondly. She hadn’t noticed Rhys had stopped to kneel beside her until Titus nuzzled his head against the Hight Lord's waiting hand.

    Sometimes it was still odd to see Titus being kind and affectionate to someone else, but Rhian couldn’t really blame him, not when war and what had happened back home had likely changed him too. Just seeing Titus happy was a comfort in itself, knowing there was someone the dog would trust should she meet an unexpected end in this war was like a weight off her shoulders.

    Upon noticing neither Fae or Human had brought treats with them for him to steal, Titus ran over to the door, ushering them back inside the house for a midnight meal.

    Realizing she was starving, Rhian was all the happier to follow, but was stopped by Rhys’s warm hand on her elbow, grasping the fabric of her hoodie. When she turned, Rhian was met with a concerned gaze.

    “Whatever you have to say, you can. Honesty bubble” she said, turning fully to face him under the glow of the moon. She'd expected him to have questions after all, and was prepared for anything he might inquire about.

    Rhysand quirked up a brow, deviating from his actual words to ask, “Honestly bubble?”

    Mentally slapping herself for saying the words without realizing it, she sighed and explained, trying her best to hide that sudden smile of hers behind her hand, “Shit, that. It's something from when I was young. Damian, my twin, and I…we had trouble speaking our minds and emotions when we got out of the League of Assassins. Our eldest brother tricked us into thinking an Honesty Bubble was a real thing” she said with a chuckle, “He told us that amongst friends and family, once the Honesty Bubble was up, the other would listen without judgment. A safe space of sorts”

    Rhys whispered the words, unable to hide the smirk from his face.

    “I know it sounds silly, but I think it's one of the only reasons the two of us opened up about the emotions we were never allowed to have. Even as adults, when we all and jobs and some already had kids of their own, we still called on the Honesty Bubble…used to drive my brother Jason into a fit of laughter” she added, so lost in her memories she had yet to detect Rhysand’s steading hand clutching her own, running circles on her palm with his thumb.

    When she finally looked up from the ground, she noticed he was standing closer to her, his eyes no longer burdened, but alright with mirth and life.

    “Are you saying you think of me as a friend?”

    Rhiannon made sure her face was calm as she nervously replied, “That depends, I can be a pain in the ass. Being my friend is not a choice to take lightly”

    Rhysand made a show of considering her words, but she still held her breath until he replied, “Being my friend is not easy either. If anyone outside the city saw us together, you’d be hunted. My enemies would try to use this friendship to get me to surrender to their will”

    A warning she realized.

    Rhys had not been joking when he’d mentioned others had left for that reason alone, and he likely thought Rhian would as well. In all honesty, it made her want to hunt down all those lovers that had tossed such a wonderful and selfless male aside, if only to scream in their faces for being such idiots.

    Then again, she understood the allure of a peaceful life, had almost surrendered to it back in the human lands with the Archerons.

    A life associated with Rhys WOULD be dangerous, likely after the war was won as well…and she understood it, because she’d had to give out that same painful warning to any people who’d wanted to get close.

    If anyone found out she was alive, Rhian had a hundred enemies on Earth (likely more than that now that the public seemed to have mixed emotions about her), and outside the planet…she’d pissed off many others.

    There was something important, special, about this moment. Like an irreversible decision was about to be made, something bigger than just a few words that could be taken back.

    But she wouldn’t.

    Rhian would not turn her back on the High Lord who cherished the skies, loved his family and people with all his heart, the simple male who’d lost and lost…yet stayed in this townhouse to live out that suffering alone.

    She would not turn her back on him.

    “Then I hope your enemies are ready to get their asses kicked, because I’m not going anywhere. Rhys, you’re so much more than the mask of the High Lord, there is a lot of good in you that perhaps those fools out there will never see. But Velaris is a testament to that beauty, and I told you I’d protect it, that means you as well”

    A gusting wind brushed past them, carrying the scents of the ocean with them up on that roof. Rhys’s dark blue hair, which shone such a beautiful color under the moonlight, and those eyes - she could see the constellations above them inside those violet orbs - they seemed all the more beautiful under the summoning of their Honesty Bubble.

    One she never thought she'd have the guts to call forth again, much less trust anyone to know about it.

    Rhian noticed his smirk had long vanished, replaced by a stare she could only describe as his tearing some protective wall down just for her. Rhiannon wasn’t sure what to make of his relieved sigh, the shimmering glow of something in the corners of his eyes, but when he whispered his next words…she felt them in her heart.

    “When I got back from Under the mountain,” he said, leaning closer without removing his eyes from her own, “I would stand up here alone, looking up at the stars, wishing something good would come along amidst all the darkness that would soon devour Prythian. I wanted to feel joy again, to smile so strongly even I could believe the decades spent without genuine warmth were nothing but a nightmare. I wished for someone who understood, prayed to the Mother for someone…someone who could bring the light back”

    He was silent for a few seconds, with a smile so wide she could almost feel his joy in her mind.

    “I think the Mother took pity on a poor fool, and sent me a friend like you” he finished, and though his words had not been poetic, just raw honesty, Rhiannon felt the heartstrings of her organ ache at the longing in them.

    She’d wished too, despite having no real belief in a being that lived up in the stars and listened to prayers, she’d asked that invisible force to not be condemned to be alone, to not be trapped with her thoughts.

    Maybe she'd wished for a friend too.

    Still, Rhian felt the need to warn one last time, “I have enemies too, and you will find that back in my lands…let’s just say I’m not liked. During these wars, I had to make a lot of choices very quickly, and I didn’t get to save everyone. Some people hold grudges for that. I don’t want you to deal with someone else's baggage when you have enough on your plate. No one deserves that”

    Felling his large encompassing her cheek had been unexpected, but such an unusual comfort she almost thought it wasn’t real.

    But there he was, Rhysand, delicately tracing the path of her faint freckles, looking mesmerized as he whispered, “I’d be honored to have you as a friend”

    Friend.

    She had a friend…

    Kamaria was standing outside in the gardens atop the vast expanse of the snowy mountains she’d known all her life. Katana loosely in hand, she stared at the horizon, uncaring that her green cape fluttered with the harsh winds, or that the bruise on her cheek was starting to complain against the cold.

    She’d just turned nine, and with a new birthday came a day of evaluations, tests, and tortures to ensure she was progressing well. She’d succeeded of course, Kamaria never failed at whatever test Ra’s and Talia threw her way.

    Still, she’d snuck out of her chambers, stood in the middle of nowhere risking hypothermia…but why? There was no point in coming here to sulk, not when the trials had been successful, not when that success meant she lived to see another day.

    For some reason, the memories of those thirty bodies, still in a puddle of their own blood…the image wouldn’t leave her mind. Nor did the way Ra’s smirked appreciatively at her display of efficient ruthlessness, the hands behind Talia’s back that signified a punishment was not in its way.

    Two bodies, in particular, stayed in her mind the longest. A young boy and girl, perhaps a little older than her. They’d been the last ones she’d killed, the ones Ra’s instructed needed a lesson, meaning their deaths should be slow and painful.

    In an unexpected turn of events, the two unimportant individuals had refused to fight one another that morning. Standing their ground, holding hands, claiming they were friends. Such a foreign word, one that only came up during lessons on human flaws that needed to be rectified.

    Kamaria had watched them, face blank despite her curiosity. She’d expected them to fall back in line eventually, especially when Ra’s had mocked their words, mentioning one had to die, and the other would get to live. He’d stood on the platform overseeing all the trainees, Talia standing on his left, the picture of beauty and perfection.

    Damian had stood on Ra’s right, sneering at the interruption, the stupidity of it all.

    Both kids had astounded the courtyard when they refused to kill, throwing down their katanas, tears in their eyes. The boy, a dark-haired kid with a prominent nose and a scar running down the left side of his eye, had declared he would not kill the friend who had healed his wounds when no one else would.

    The girl, a petite thing about as tall as Kamaria (only she had black hair instead of brown), stated she would not kill the boy who trained with her every night so she’d stand a chance to live another day.

    She’d thought them fools, and when Ra’s had smirked, locking eyes with her - silent command delivered - Kamaria had stepped forward, weapons in hand, ready to attack.

    Talia had thought the fight might be a little boring, so she brought older trainees, teenagers and young adults, to serve as a better training example.

    She’d killed them all, and it wasn’t until her hair was covered in blood, her hands dripping with it, that she moved her cold gaze to the boy and girl. She’d watched them pick up their katanas, and sighed mentally when they tried to protect one another, taking hits for the sake of saving the other’s vital organs.

    They’d ended up on the floor soon enough, bones broken, skin bruised, all their blood coating the perfectly carved designs of the floor beneath them.

    Kamaria hadn’t dared to pant in exhaustion, and didn’t set her katana on her back until after she bowed at the dais up above. That act gave her a perfect sight of the two she'd just killed, those that had tried to betray Ra's with their emotions. For their last moments of consciousness, they all but crawled to one another, fingertips barely touching before they both succumbed to their wounds.

    Now she was gazing at the mountains, watching as the moon shone brightly above her and stars became visible. Even with the blood gone after a long and scalding hot shower, Kamaria could still feel it on her hands, hear as those two kids screamed for one another in every language they’d been taught during the fight.

    She’d felt no pity for them, no sadness, those were not emotions she was allowed to have. Still, deep within her heart, she felt a kernel of something else. She didn’t know what it was, could only describe it as a deep longing, a terrible emotional pain that showed no scars on her skin.

    It was almost as if the emotion was not her own. Maybe that boy and girl had suffered from some contagious disease that made them lose their minds? Contagious, because as Kamaria stood watching the stars, she wondered what it would be like to willingly to give your life for someone.

    Those two knew what they were doing, what would await them if they chose their path. To an assassin, there was nothing more precious than their duty to their master, and those two had neglected it. Chose to stare death in the face, to fight a common battle.

    The way they’d held hands, it was almost like they had drawn strength from one another, their blows more effective when they noticed the other was hurt.

    But Ra’s had told them feelings were a weakness, that having friends was a weakness…

    Kamaria briefly wondered, amongst the company of silent celestial bodies that could not betray her, what it would be like to have a friend. It was a forbidden thought, a betrayal to her training and masters, but the thought had just slipped through.

    She thought of what a family must be like too, another thought foreign to her own head.

    It was foolish to ponder on such things though. She had her mission, to protect Damian al Ghul, bring down the world for Ra’s to rule, to die in the boy’s stead someday when an attack was too strong.

    Yes, she would die for Damian, but the heir would not die for her, so it was different from those two idiots. Right? It was not ‘friendship’, it was duty.

    That night, she’d gone to bed feeling dirty and traitorous, yet, she'd looked past her small round window one last time, beheld the moon and stars. The nine-year-old had wondered what it would be like to be free of that future…wondered what it would be like to fly away. And pondered…if anyone would ever dare to gaze at the stars with her.

    She knew what a friend was now, knew why those two kids had defied Ra’s so ardently back then.

    Leaning slightly onto Rhys’s hand, she whispered, “Well, friend, I promise you that I’ll keep you safe. That is the strongest promise I can make, to fight by your side no matter what”

    Rhys chuckled, membranous wings wrapping around them like a cocoon against the cold, and added softly, “Then I promise to stand by your side too, no matter the enemy. Its a deal”

    Feeling a funny sensation on her upper arm, just under her shoulder, Rhian barely pulled back enough to see what that was all about.

    After shrugging down her hoodie, she noticed something was taking shape.

    It danced along her skin until it settled into a…a tattoo.

    Mesmerized, Rhian didn’t pull back from Rhys’s hand on her cheek as she reached her bare fingers to trace the black ink, depicting a crescent moon, surrounded by rings of stars.

    Looking up at Rhys with a raised brow, he explained, “Deals here in the Night Court are sealed with tattoos” then brought down his sleeve to show his own arm, where a similar tattoo was printed on his tanned skin.

    With a smile, Rhian’s gaze locked onto the metal chest pin Rhys had on his shirt, the one depicting the Night Court’s symbol, three mountains with three stars above them. Such a symbol reminded her of him, of the male who against all probability, had managed to befriend a human nobody.

    “Can you make the tattoo look like the crest of the court?” she found herself whispering, gently raising a hand to trace the patterns of the silver mountains resting atop his strong chest.

    He’d moved some of his own fingers to trace the lines beside her own, and tentatively asked, “That symbol cannot be removed, once I change it, you would be stuck with it forever”

    With a small airy laugh, Rhian countered, “I think you’re missing the point of tattoos, they’re meant to be permanent. Plus, I suppose it's a good thing I’m Emissary to the Night Court for the Human Lands. I’d say the design fits”

    The hand that had been tracing his own crest moved to slowly lift up her chin, finally let her see the seriousness in Rhys’s eyes at the simple request.

    “You really want to carry the symbol of my court around forever?”

    Rhiannon looked to the side, watching the glow of the city beyond and around them. She could see the river from up here, almost hear the buzzing of happy people in the distance.

    “How could I not?” Rhian whispered, “Change it, and I’ll wear the symbol with pride every day, look at it and remember that I can look up at the stars and have a friend doing the same”

    Rhys’s laugh was more like a sob, yet he nodded, and without lifting his hand she felt the design change, that tingling in her skin return. When she dared to look at her still exposed shoulder, she was met with a beautiful sight.

    There it was, the symbol of the Night Court, nestled at the base of the crescent moon, swirling shadows and flowers winding along the side of the lunar beauty. She recognized those flowers actually…they had been the flowers blooming on the garlands above the square they’d danced at, specifically like the white blooms.

    Such a flower had fluffy interlocked petals that looked soft as cotton. The blooms had looked beautiful beyond description, and had emitted such a sweet smell that was almost relaxing.

    Had Elain been here, she would’ve loved them.

    Seeing her graze was locked on the petals, Rhys explained, “They’re Moonflowers, native to my lands even if other courts have them. The thing is they only bloom at night, this court is the only exception to that rule”

    On his arm, she noticed the tattoo had changed to match her own, only instead of the flowers, Rhys had…a bat? A simplistic rendition of one that almost looked exactly like…

    “A batarang?” Rhian asked in astonishment, pulling one of the bat-shaped blades from a hidden opening in her hoodie.

    Rhys had smirked at his own tattoo before saying, “So I too can remember I'm not alone under the stars”

    With a smile, the two broke apart, fixed their clothing, and made their way downstairs thanks to Titus’s distant barks of complaint. She’d held his hand the way down, held it like that nameless boy from the past had with the girl, determined to stand by Rhys as she’d promised.

    After a simple dinner where Rhian and Rhys had managed to prepare some tea and toast some bread, they lingered by the fireplace of the sitting room for a while.

    It was then that Rhysand seemed to finally speak what had been on his mind before their tangent.

    “The Weaver is a foul creature,” he warned, “I won’t ask you to stay, but I will implore you to be careful”

    “Of course I will, and Feyre couldn’t be in safer hands. But…is the object in there truly important to you? How did it end up there?” she asked, swirling her spoon around the hot berry tea on her lap.

    With a sad smile, Rhys explained, “My mother put it there for safe keeping. It's mine though, has my magical signature”

    Some part of her was curious as to what it might be, hoped Feyre’s powers were successful in acquiring the object that was clearly more special that Rhys was letting on. It had some significance to his dead mother, someone he had spoken of fondly before.

    If Feyre’s magic failed, Rhian might just bitch-slap the Weaver into telling her where it was, if only for Rhys to have something of his mother’s.

    She knew how comforting having pieces of your family members was after all.

    That night, despite lingering by their doors with smiles and kind good nights, Rhysand had not come to visit her after a nightmare. Maybe he’d had none. Rhian was certainly finding it easier to sleep here, had only a small nightmare she’d been able to shrug off quickly.

    She might’ve asked him about his sleep during breakfast had the others not shown up with Feyre. Mor and Cassian had quickly moved to sit by her side, and all conversation had shifted towards today’s inevitability.

    The Weaver.

    They had a mission to get to after all.

    Hours later before the sun was fully up in the sky, Rhian and Feyre were clad in matching fur-lined Illyrian leathers, which despite being made to fit tightly against their bodies, were surprisingly warm and comfortable.

    Rhian had been more than a little shocked when Rhys had come into her room with a set for her while Feyre was off getting ready in Mor’s room across the hall (apparently refusing his help).

    Titus was downstairs playing tug of war with Cassian, who he seemed not to like as much as Rhys, but the Illyrian somehow found that amusing.

    She could hear his distant barks and Cass’s loud laughter even from her room. Titus must not have been happy by Rhys’s absence.

    Rhian could even hear the faint murmurs of Amren’s scolding, and wondered if Az had sent a few shadows to make sure his High Lord was safe in her company…

    Still, at the offering of the attire, she’d been worried wearing Illyrian leathers might be offensive to his culture (seeing as she was human). But Rhysand had assured her there was no harm in the action. The thing that did cause problems, later on, were the straps of a belt of knives.

    He’d presented it after she’d gotten dressed, and though she’d tried to work it out herself, Rhysand had spared her further embarrassment by approaching, taking the straps into his own hands.

    When she’d raised a brow at the simplicity of the knives, especially considering she was about to raid the territory of what Cass had described as ‘one of the deadliest of creatures in Prythian’, Rhys had chuckled, knelt down before her, and began arranging the straps.

    “No swords, no bow or arrows,” Rhys had mentioned, “None of your human weapons either”

    As he knelt so close to her, she’d noticed he’d worn his own Illyrian fighting leathers, a simple, brutal sword strapped down his spine. In his Illyrian get-up, he looked nothing short of deadly, and if she were paying attention (which she wasn't), she’d say he looked very good in them.

    “But knives are fine?” she’d asked to distract herself.

    Now kneeling closer to her, he spread wide the web of leather and steel, beckoning for her to stick a leg through one loop. Rhian did as instructed, ignoring the brush of his steady hands on her thighs as she stepped through the other loop, and he began tightening and buckling things.

    It had been a long time since she’d needed assistance with anything, enough so that it felt foreign to receive help in the first place.

    “She will not notice a knife, as she has knives in her cottage for eating and her work. But things that are out of place—objects that have not been there…an arrow, a bow, a vibranium set of swords… she might sense those things.”

    Great.

    With a sigh, Rhian researched in the small pockets of her leathers, taking out the weapons she’d stashed in there, things like mini bombs, a Glock, the housing unit for her nanotech armor, or the array of batarangs rigged to flash blinding lights for a quick getaway.

    Still strapping the belts and buckles, Rhysand smiled up at the array of weapons she’d already kept on her person, shaking his head almost fondly.

    “What about me and Feyre?”

    He tightened a strap. Strong, capable hands—so at odds with the finery he usually wore to dazzle the rest of the world into thinking he was something else entirely.

    “Do not make a sound, both of you should not touch anything but the object she has of mine” Rhys added, looking up, hands braced on her thighs.

    He was trying not to seem worried, she could tell. Even with the crackling of the fireplace, the gentle snow falling outdoors, and the distant shrieks of fun, he looked tense.

    “If we’re correct about Feyre’s powers,” he said, “if the Bone Carver wasn’t lying to us, then her and the object will have the same… imprint, thanks to the preserving spells I placed on it long ago. They are one and the same. She will not notice your presence so long as Feyre touches only it. You will both be invisible to her.”

    “She’s blind?”

    A nod. “But her other senses are lethal. So be quick, and quiet. Find the object and run out, Rhian.” His hands lingered on her legs, wrapping around the back of them.

    “And if she notices either one of us?”

    His hands tightened slightly. “Then we’ll learn precisely how skilled you are, Rhian the Celestial Slayer”

    That wasn’t going away anytime soon, was it? Clutching the end of her small braid hair, she rolled her eyes and playfully glared down at him.

    Still, she couldn’t help but wonder, “Why not get this object yourself, since its so important?”

    Rhys paused, almost looking surprised she’d caught that.

    “Because the Weaver knows me—and if I am caught, there would be a steep price. High Lords are not to interfere with her, no matter the direness of the situation. There are many treasures in her hoard, some she has kept for millennia. Most will never be retrieved—because the High Lords do not dare be caught, thanks to the laws that protect her, thanks to her wrath. Any thieves on their behalf… either they do not return, or they are never sent, for fear of it leading back to their High Lord. But you and Feyre …she does not know you. Feyre belongs to every court, and you belong to the human realm.” he explained.

    With a hand on his shoulder, Rhiannon mentioned, “Test or not, we’ll get that object back to you”

    “Because we’re such good friends now?” Rhys teased.

    Rhian dared to let her fingertips grasp the end of some of a strand of his hair. It was as soft as it looked.

    “Well, yes” she admitted, the added more softly, “but also because I know what it’s like to miss a mother. I will hang this Weaver upside down in her own sitting room and make her give it back if need be. Who knows, it might even make Feyre laugh”

    Rhysand got up, chuckling in disbelief as he stood before her, fingers lingering on the straps of the belts that rested by her hips.

    “You’d threaten one of the most powerful beings in Prythian for an object of mine?”

    “I may be reduced to simple blades, High Lord. But I was trained in Judo, Kenjutsu, Hyoho Niten Ichi-Ryu, NInjutsu, AIkido, Kickboxing, Kobudo, Kali, and Krav Maga. I’m just as deadly without any weapon, so that Weaver better hope Feyre’s magic does it trick and we can sneak out undetected” she joked back, even when she’d been telling the truth.

    Ra's had been thorough in his teachings. He hadn't just taught them to wield weapons. He'd turned them into one.

    With a roguish grin, Rhys had replied, “In that case, I’ll make sure to pray for the Weaver”

    ☪☪☪☪☪

    Hours later, Rhian and Feyre walked behind Rhys after he’d winnowed them into a wood that was older, more aware, than any place she’d ever been to. The gnarled beech trees were tightly woven together, splattered and draped so thoroughly with moss and lichen that it was nearly impossible to see the bark beneath.

    Both Rhys and Rhian kept their hands close to their weapons, scanning their surroundings for any danger. Feyre, who’d hunted once in the woods, seemed to be equally as alert, asking their guide, “Where are we?”, hardly daring to whisper.

    Rhys moved to walk between them, his hands still within casual reach of his weapons as he replied to Feyre’s inquiry, “In the heart of Prythian, there is a large, empty territory that divides the North and South. At the center of it is our sacred mountain.”

    Though Rhian was focusing on her steps through the ferns, moss, and roots, she noticed Feyre flinched at the words, almost stumbling a step.

    “This forest,” Rhys went on, “is on the eastern edge of that neutral territory. Here, there is no High Lord. Here, the law is made by who is strongest, meanest, most cunning. And the Weaver of the Wood is at the top of their food chain.”

    “Huh,“ Rhian mused jokingly, “Sounds like the place I grew up in, no wonder it feels so familiar”

    The trees groaned—though there was no breeze to shift them. No, the air here was tight and stale. It didn’t help that the foliage was so thick that barely any rays of the sun above reached them.

    This place looked like something out of a horror movie, a place where people went to die.

    “Amarantha didn’t wipe them out?” Feyre inquired, brining up that female again, the one that had put Feyre and Rhys through so much, one Rhian sometimes wished wasn’t dead so she could kill the bitch herself.

    “Amarantha was no fool,” Rhys said, his face dark, “She did not touch these creatures or disturb the wood. For years, I tried to find ways to manipulate her to make that foolish mistake, but she never bought it.”

    Feyre groaned, “And now we’re disturbing her—for a mere test.”

    When they reached a massive fallen trunk, Rhys placed his hands around Rhian’s waist in silent permission, and when she nodded, he effortlessly threw her over it, and she’d landed back on the ground swift as a cat.

    Like anytime they encountered an obstacle, Feyre refused help (even if it slowed their pace), and though she had Fae advantages, her twin still seemed to be getting used to this new body of hers, for she did jumps like these with some difficulty.

    Once back at her side, Rhys chuckled, the sound bouncing off the gray stones strewn across the forest floor like scattered marbles.

    His gaze on Feyre.

    “Cassian tried to convince me this morning not to take you. I thought he might even punch me.”

    Rhiannon went wide-eyed at the revelation, even if it did make sense. Feyre was Cassian’s pupil, if he thought she might not be ready, he had every right to be worried.

    And Rhys had not directed those words at her, meaning Cass either didn’t include her in that statement because he now knew she could handle herself, or because they were still relative strangers.

    “Why?” Feyre asked.

    “Who knows? With Cassian, he’s probably more interested in fucking you than protecting you.” Rhys muttered, raising a branch for them to walk under.

    Rhian had almost stumbled a step, unable to get that odd image out of her head. Disgusting.

    “You’re a pig, you can’t say stuff like that in front of my sister” Feyre scolded, even as her cheeks bloomed with color.

    “You could, you know,” Rhys said, holding up another branch of a scrawny beech for Rhian to slip under, even as his gaze lingering on her twin, “If you needed to move on in a physical sense, I’m sure Cassian would be more than happy to oblige.”

    Rhian couldn’t help the roll of her eyes, wishing she could’ve brought her earpods so she wouldn’t have to listen to the sexual offers Feyre had at her door. Granted, Cassian would be a much better choice that Spring.

    That male was still the lowest standard of a Fae in her eyes.

    Voice visibly pissed off, Rhiannon heard her twin croon, “Then tell him to come to my room tonight.”

    Gods spare her. Rhian silently made to scout ahead, making sure her feet were as silent as those of the Fae behind her as she counted the shadows. Everything here looked menacing, but even so the fear never came, it was largely overpowered by the disgust she had for the conversation behind them.

    She heard Rhys mutter back, “If you survive this test.”

    Pausing atop a little lichen-crusted rock, Rhian had barely given the signal to keep going when Feyre replied, “You seem pleased by the idea that I won’t.”

    It was then that Rhian silently realized what was going on. A distraction, Rhys was taunting Feyre to quell her visible nerves. Son of a bitch…even if Rhian HAD used that same tactic once or twice on her old team.

    “Quite the opposite, Feyre.” Rhys said as he prowled to where Rhian stood on the stone. The forest went even quieter—the trees seeming to lean closer, as if to catch every word as Rhys turned to add to her twin, “I’ll let Cassian know you’re…open to his advances.”

    “Good,” Feyre said, to which Rhian couldn’t help but hide her knowing grin.

    While their waited for Feyre to climb up as well, Rhiannon was surprised that when she made to jump off the stone to continue scouting ahead, Rhys gently gripped her chin, the movement too fast to detect.

    His words were a lethal caress as he said, “What about you Rhiannon? Has any male in the city caught your eye yet?”

    Rhian knew he could hear her heart as it ratcheted into a thunderous beat, so she kept it steady despite their closeness, gave him a playfully hateful little smirk, and yanked her chin out of his touch, leaping off the stone.

    Once she’d body rolled to a crouching stance, knives in hand ready to attack anything that might be in the shadows, she looked back up to the rock where Rhys and Feyre stood to say,

    “Nice try,” she said hoarsely, “Anger, flirtation, and annoyance may be Feyre’s crutches, but not mine. Sweet of you to try and distract us tough”

    Rhysand just shrugged and after jumping down beside her, swaggered off into the trees ahead. Feyre jumped down to her side, open-mouthed as she came to realize the anger was actually to make her feel better.

    She might’ve cursed his name, and Rhysand may have chuckled after hearing it with those enhanced pointed ears of his.

    With a gentle nudge of her shoulder, Rhian told her twin, “You have nothing to worry about anyways. It not like we’re stealing the Declaration of Independence”

    Feyre blinked.

    Right, Feyre had no idea what that was.

    As they continued on with their pace behind Rhys, Feyre did not inquire about the Declaration, instead she whispered to her, “I’m sorry we haven’t had time to bond properly, to sit and talk. I’ve wanted to come visit you, but I seem to be busy these days”

    Rhiannon realized Feyre was right, aside from meals shared with the court, the two hadn’t had any time to spend alone. Maybe Rhian HAD noticed, but had not complained about it because…if she spent time with Feyre, would that mean she was betraying Damian, the twin she’d actually spent her life surrounded by.

    It was a silly thought, but a painful one nonetheless.

    Maybe that’s why Rhian had not pushed the other Archerons for a better relationship, because it felt like a betrayal to those that had taken her in, that had truly loved her and become her family.

    Weaving around a few fallen twigs, Rhian replied casually, “Hey no worries. Besides, what’s a better bonding experience than going through something dangerous together?”

    Feyre laughed nervously at the words, but seemed more eased than before, even with the eerie silence of the forest still a heavy presence around them.

    Her twin, it seemed, wanted to talk, either to distract herself or to bond. As if grasping a topic out of thin air, Feyre asked, “Rhys told me yesterday that you went shopping with Mor. How was that?”

    “He told you? How, I thought he’d been busy?” she inquired, knowing full well that despite Rhys walking a few steps in front of them as to give them privacy, he could very well hear them.

    Feyre nodded, “Oh…he told me in my head”

    “Like telepathy?” Rhian asked, her gaze suddenly away from the forest and focused solely on Rhys’s powerful back, on the back of his head.

    “I guess. He does that all the time with all of us. He’s a daemati, and apparently I’m one too” Feyre whispered back, tilting her head with a confused frown as she turned to Rhian.

    Well shit.

    That word, it was the one used to describe the two Hybern generals she'd been spying on lately. Daemati. It was not a rank, but an ability.

    Daemati were telepaths.

    At her raised brow of confusion, Feyre sheepishly explained, “You have good mental shields. Have you been training them?

    “I don’t even know what mental shields are, or that there were telepaths in these lands” she explained, suddenly very aware of the fact that others could’ve read her thoughts, wondering if Rhysand had already.

    Luckily, that wasn’t the case.

    To inquire about her curiosity without it seeming like an accusation, Rhiannon asked, "How come Rhys hasn’t spoken to me like that? I wonder if he can’t do that with humans”

    “He can” Feyre quickly countered, pushing up a branch for them to walk under, “he helped me with a trial that way, calmed me down enough by talking me through what to do afterwards”

    Maybe he just didn't want to talk to her all the time then? Why was that a painful sort of thought all of the sudden? She should be glad her mind remained unventured that way.

    Over his shoulder, Rhys casually explained, “I must admit, I’m curious about your mental shields as well. I only tried to get through them once out of curiosity, because humans typically don’t have any, despite my extensive talents I was never able to breach them”

    Feyre looked aghast at the words.

    “I thought you could get into anyone’s mind, even other daemati?” her twin stated, to which Rhys finally turned, stopping to shake his head.

    Rhiannon wondered if there might be something wrong with her, if it had to do with the exposure she had to the infinity stones…or perhaps it was something simpler she’d completely forgotten about. Something that was so useless most of the time she’d completely forgotten about it.

    “I don’t think the High Lord’s abilities are to blame” Rhiannon admitted, “I hadn’t even remembered until now, but a while back there was a battle against some dangerous mutants, humans with abilities. There was a man named Professor Xavier, the most powerful mind in the world by our standards. Since the other team had a powerful telepath that could reach into our minds with ease, Xavier set up a countermeasure with his powers, called it a block. Maybe that’s why you can’t get into my head? It’s such a useless defense by normal standards I’d completely forgotten about it, we don’t really have daemati to worry about”

    Rhysand looked as if a great question had been lifted from his shoulders, one she hadn’t even been aware had been bothering him.

    But the fact that he’d tried to breach her privacy…it felt like a small betrayal, enough that she wouldn’t meet his gaze as they continued. Even when she knew she would’ve done the same had she had the skill and came across an odd stranger.

    Perhaps her anger was centered around the fact that there was a lot in her mind that she wanted to keep to herself, things both painful and blood spilled she was not proud of.

    Plus, her old instincts, those of a born and trained spy were going off like alarms in her head, spouting worry and distrust that she didn't really feel all that strongly.

    Feyre intercepted her thoughts by asking, “How did that battle go? Against the humans with mag- I mean, powers”

    Rhiannon sighed, thinking back to that particularly odd summer where she’d found herself stuck in a fight between X-men and ‘evil’ mutants.

    “A city was destroyed, 145 humans were hurt, but everyone responsible for that destruction was put in jail in the end. I had to tell my dad I broke my leg during a ballet routine gone wrong…I don’t think he ever believed me” she said casually, still amused she and Damian had dodged getting grounded in the end.

    She hadn’t even noticed Rhys had stopped walking before them until she almost ran into his back.

    He held up a hand, and it was then that she noticed he’d stopped before a clearing.

    A small, whitewashed cottage with a thatched roof and half-crumbling chimney sat in the center.

    Ordinary—almost mortal.

    There was even a well, its bucket perched on the stone lip, and a woodpile beneath one of the round windows of the cottage. No sound or light within, not even smoke puffed from the chimney.

    The few birds in the forest fell quiet. Not entirely, but to keep their chatter to a minimum. And—there. Faint, coming from inside the cottage, was a pretty, steady humming. It might have been the sort of place one would have stopped if they were thirsty, or hungry, or in need of shelter for the night.

    A beautiful trap for curious mice.

    The trees around the clearing, so close that their branches nearly clawed at the thatched roof, might very well have been the bars of a cage.

    Rhys inclined his head toward the cottage, bowing with dramatic grace at the two sisters.

    It was time.

    The objective was simple, go in, out—don’t make a sound. Find whatever object it was and snatch it from beneath a blind person’s nose. And then run like hell.

    Easy.

    Mossy earth paved the way to the front door, already cracked slightly. A bit of cheese. And we were the foolish mice about to fall for it.

    Despite keeping silent and not returning his amusement, Rhys mouthed to both of them, Good luck.

    Rhiannon just moved forward. Feyre gave him a vulgar gesture and slowly, silently made their way toward the front door. If it was even possible, it felt as if the woods were monitoring each of their steps. It was eerie enough that when she looked back to glace at Rhys one last time, she was unnerved to see he was gone.

    He hadn’t said if he’d interfere if they were in mortal peril, wasn’t sure if he would be able to risk the Weaver’s wrath by showing he was involved in this little mission.

    Still, she had to repeat a few sentences in her head to calm down.

    Rhys didn’t leave you here to die.

    He hadn’t known you when he tried to read your mind.

    His offer for friendship had to be real.

    It wasn’t a lie. It wasn’t a lie.

    Rhian moved to walk before Feyre, avoiding any leaves and stones, falling into a pattern of movement that was careful and precise. After they passed the well, which held not a speck of dirt, not a stone out of place, Rhiannon turned back to give her sister a reassuring nod.

    They were walking into a perfect, pretty trap.

    But she was not prey, she’d been trained to be a hunter.

    As they walked up to the door, she let Feyre listen in on the threshold with that superior hearing of hers, noticing the rock below was worn as if many, many boots had passed through—and perhaps never passed back over again.

    She remind herself that she'd walked into stupider traps before, many of which she had been expected to show up at. This Weaver…she had no idea what was coming. An advantage.

    As Feyre put her ear to the door, Rhian realized she could hear something now. A song.

    The voice of the singer was sweet and beautiful, like sunlight on a stream as she sang;

    “There were two sisters, they went playing, To see their father’s ships come sailing…and when they came unto the sea-brim. The elder did push the younger in.”

    Well, shit.

    When Feyre’s gray eyes locked onto her own, Rhian shook her head, motioning for Feyre to go ahead. Aside from the honeyed voice, ancient and horrifying, there was only a clatter and thrum of some sort of device. Meaning no one else should be inside.

    Still the song continued;

    “Sometimes she sank, and sometimes she swam, Til her corpse came to the miller’s dam.”

    Rhian could tell Feyre’s breath was tight in her chest, despite her silent breathing. As she eased open the front door, just an inch, Rhiannon noticed there was no squeak—no whine of rusty hinges.

    Another piece of the pretty trap: practically inviting thieves in.

    They peered inside together when the door had opened wide enough.

    A large main room, with a small, shut door in the back. Floor-to-ceiling shelves lined the walls, crammed with bric-a-brac: books, shells, dolls, herbs, pottery, shoes, crystals, more books, and jewels.

    From the ceiling and wood rafters hung all manner of chains, dead birds, dresses, ribbons, gnarled bits of wood, and strands of pearls.

    A junk shop—of some immortal hoarder. Actually, exactly like a place that would be shown in the show Hoarders.

    And the hoarder herself…

    In the gloom of the cottage, there sat a large spinning wheel, cracked and dulled with age. Despite the ancientness of such a device, Rhian knew what it was.

    Before that ancient spinning wheel, her back to them, sat the Weaver.

    Her thick hair was of richest onyx, tumbling down to her slender waist as she worked the wheel, snow-white hands feeding and pulling the thread around a thorn-sharp spindle. She looked young—her gray gown simple but elegant, sparkling faintly in the dim forest light through the windows as she sang in a voice of glittering gold:

    “But what did he do with her breastbone? He made him a viol to play on. What’d he do with her fingers so small? He made pegs to his viol withall.”

    As a singer, Rhian could admire the fact that the immortal’s pitch was perfect, every other part of her wanted to run because…the fiber she fed into the wheel was white—soft. Like wool, but…Rhian knew, in that human part of her, it was not wool. Rhiannon knew that she did not want to learn what creature it had come from, who she was spinning into thread.

    Because on the shelf directly beyond her were cones upon cones of threads—of every color and texture. And on the shelf adjacent to her were swaths and yards of that woven thread—woven, Rhian realized, on the massive loom nearly hidden in the darkness near the hearth.

    The Weaver’s loom.

    They had come on spinning day, and Rhian briefly worried and wondered if the Weaver would have been singing if they had come on weaving day instead?

    With a gentle and silent nudge to Feyre, the two stepped into the cottage, careful of the scattered debris on the earthen floor. The distant Weaver kept working, the wheel clattering so merrily, so at odds with her horrible song:

    “And what did he do with her nose-ridge? Unto his viol he made a bridge. What did he do with her veins so blue? He made strings to his viol thereto.”

    While Feyre scanned the room and Rhian guarded her back, trying not to listen to the lyrics, she wondered if the Fae could hear her human breathing, smell her human scent.

    Likely not for the Weaver kept working, a small blessing.

    As Feyre moved to scan the shelves and the ceiling, Rhian couldn't help but feel like they were on borrowed time. And they were likely almost out of it.

    Just as Feyre’s searching got to the lengths of frustration, made Rhian worry that perhaps her magic would not be up to the task, Feyre pivoted in place, almost like she felt a tap on her shoulder.

    Keeping one eye on the Weaver, Rhian let Feyre walk through the maze of tables and junk. Almost as if she was guided to an obvious beacon, Feyre stopped before a shelf lining the wall beside the hearth.

    The Weaver sang behind them;

    “What did he do with her eyes so bright? On his viol he set at first light. What did he do with her tongue so rough? ’Twas the new till and it spoke enough.”

    Rhian stood before Feyre’s back, knives drawn, letting her twin rise on her toes to examine the shelf properly. From what she’d been able to peek, there had only been odd objects, an old letter knife, books, a handful of acorns, a tarnished crown of ruby and jasper, and—

    Sneaking a glance back, Rhiannon noticed Feyre’s gaze locked on a ring. A ring of twisted strands of gold and silver, flecked with pearl, and set with a stone of deepest, solid blue. Sapphire—but different.

    She’d never seen a sapphire like that. This one…Rhiannon might’ve been high on adrenaline, but she could’ve sworn that in the pale light, the lines of a six-pointed star radiated across the round, opaque surface.

    When Feyre turned her way, she nodded. That was the object that called to her magic.

    Rhian almost felt like celebrating, likely would’ve smiled had The Weaver not kept on singing;

    “Then bespake the treble string, ‘O yonder is my father the king.”

    Just as Feyre slowly moved her hand, tentatively pondering grabbing the object, Rhian was busy gauging the distance between the shelf and the open door.

    “Then bespake the second string, ‘O yonder sits my mother the queen.”

    Rhian dropped a hand toward one of the knives strapped to her thighs. There was still material for the immortal to work through, enough to keep her distracted and on her seat for at least ten more minutes.

    They could do it.

    “Then bespake the strings all three, ‘Yonder is my sister that drowned me.”

    Rhian had turned back just in time to see whatever hesitation had made Feyre approach with caution had vanished. Her hand was quiet as a final and dying breath, as she plucked the ring from the shelf.

    Her breath halted with the motion, and the two twins stood stiff as a tree at the action…especially when The Weaver stopped singing.

    Taglist: @mariiecapo

    #acotar#acomaf#acowar #a million miles away #rhysand x reader #rhysand x oc #rhysand x archeron!oc #rhysand x feyre #acotar fanfiction#archeron sister #a court of mist and fury #cassian#azriel#morrigan#amren#dc crossover#marvel crossover #just a humble fanfic with lots of fluff #mating bond#humour #please don't roast me too hard i've never written anything other than scientific papers before #friends to lovers #slow burn#mutual pining #star crossed lovers #a dash of angst #warnings of violence blood and injury #rhysand x wayne!oc
    View Full