He spared no expense, Gorthaurion knew that prowess in battle was not sufficient to impress and appease the race of men. One needed to show the wealth and refinement (or lack thereof) of his or her station. Entertainers, merchants and warriors from all over the corners of Middle Earth came to Pashaar in order to impress the one that legend told had seen it all. Wines, silks, exotic fruits and metals were brought as offerings to the one who had bent the unruly Harad tribes to his will. Vanimórë knew the memory of humankind was fickle and from time to time they needed to be reminded either by opulence or bloody carnage who was in charge.
The news that the most gracious and talented of the daughters of the Empire of Cathaia had made her way to Pashaar spread through the city like fire. The people who had seen her dance called her “The best dancer in the world”. It was rumored that she rendered the Son of Heaven speechless. The Khagan of Palisor had fallen hopelessly in love with the woman and offered her to be his main concubine only to be politely and graciously turned down, or so the gossipers said. She camped outside the city in a series of luxurious tents that held orphans bought from slavery with the earnings she made through her dancing. It was said that she favored the company of children; that she treated them like family, paid for their schooling and clothing and that she was very proud and aloof. Vanimórë was curious about this mysterious woman. It was obvious that she needed to be invited to the palace if only to disprove her claims to be the most talented dancer in the world.
Vanimórë sat in his desk his eyes unfocused as if he were lost in thought. His Istar advisor, Pallando, stood in front of him.
“What dost thou know about this woman, the Cathaian dancer?” Vanimorë asked.
“It is said that she is more talented than the most gracious elf in the arts of dancing.” Pallando paused and stole a look at Vanimórë. It was remarkable, the great Emperor seemed interested. “They say that her skills rival those of Lúthien.” Pallando concluded, his lips curving with the hint of a smile. He knew Vanimórë had to test the truth of such boastful utterances himself.
Vanimórë snorted incredulously, “That I shall have to see to believe.” He fixed his steely gaze on his advisor. “Thou shalt call upon her and bring her to the palace. She is to perform for me and the rest of the court tonight.”
The Istar smothered a sardonic grin. Vanimórë’s curiosity and pride were going to land him in trouble some day. “I shall bring her before thee my Lord, ” he said bowing deeply.
Vanimórë raised an elegant eyebrow. “See that thou doest, ” he replied before dismissing the Istar.
Elgalad observed from his seat on the raised dais next to his Lord as the tiny woman made her way to the center of the hall. She walked with the supple, small steps so common to those of the Cathaian empire. It almost seemed as if she glided. The delicate face was unusually blank and her eyes were strangely fixed as if she were staring into space.
The woman’s garments were made of expensive silk, her long black hair was held high above her head. A golden crown with pins that tinkled with every step she took held it in place, her bow shaped mouth was painted a deep red. The rest of her face was devoid of any other coloring and her flawless skin held a light brown undertone denoting her origins along with her slanted eyes. The effect was quite pleasant to the sight and exotic, she looked exquisitely feminine. A small girl next to her held her hand, it looked as if the little girl was leading the woman. The girl whispered something in their tongue and the woman bowed deeply and elegantly in front of his Lord.
Vanimorë’s eyebrows rose and his countenance held deep amusement. After watching the woman with unusual interest, his smooth, rich voice rang through the hall. “Rumor has it thou art the most skillful and graceful dancer on earth.”
The tiny woman smiled and responded in a soft voice that held a very pleasant sing-song accent, “It is not a title that I have granted upon myself my Lord." She bowed slightly before continuing, "those who have seen my skills have named me thus.”
“What is thy name daughter of Cathaian?”
“I was named Xia He my Lord.”
“Thy name makes thee justice child for thy beauty is as exquisite as that of the flower thou art named after.”
“My Lord gives me praise that I cannot accept. I gained my name after my skills not my looks. It was my Liege, the Son of Heaven who bestowed upon me. He said watching me dance was like smelling the scent of the Summer Lotus.”
Vanimorë was amused. “And did he tell thee what he thought smelling the Summer Lotus was like to him?
Her face held no trace of vanity when she answered, “Aye my Lord. The Son of Heaven said that to watch me dance was an enthralling experience. Unique and beautiful.”
Vanimórë thought to taunt her and see how far her humility and good will went. “How is it that one without sight can hold the grace to enchant the Son of Heaven?”
The woman tilted her head and gave the Emperor an amused smiled. “My eyes are the ones that do not function properly my Lord, both my feet and my ears were spared.”
“I see thy tongue holds a sharp edge . Not many dare to speak thus to the Emperor.”
Her brow creased lightly and her beautiful mouth turned into a slight pout. She gave Vanimorë a gracious bow. “I apologize my Lord if my answer seemed impertinent. I merely answered the question your majesty presented.”
Vanimórë ignored her apologies and asked, “Wilt thou dance for us...? My guests grow weary”
The woman who kept her hands in the wide sleeves of her gown gave another little bow. “Name any dance my Lord and I shall perform it for you.”
Vanimórë was surprised by her bluntness, but decided to humor her. “Then I shall have to test the claims thy name holds. Thou shalt perform the Dance of the Scimitars”
Elgalad's breath caugh. That was a very complex dance usually performed by warriors and for a blind person to perform the dance would be a death sentence. His thoughts were interrupted by the sweet sound of Xia He's voice. “My Lord has exquisite taste. I shall be honored to perform the ancient warrior's dance.”
Elgalad turned to his Lord, his eyes full of concern “Thou c-canst allow her to do this; it is t-too dangerous.”
Xia He turned her head toward Elgalad's voice and gifted him with a confident smile. “I assure thee that I am quite capable of performing the dance my Lord.” Turning to Vanimórë she added, “but I shall ask one boon from thee in exchange to watch me dance.”
Vanimórë was both aggravated and amused by this woman's assertiveness and honesty; her soul held no evil, but she had accepted the challenge so he said,“I shall give thee anything thou desire..., but there is one condition.”
“Name thy terms my Lord,” Xia He challenged.
“I shall be the one wielding the scimitars.”
Everyone started talking in the hall and Vanimórë heard Xia He's voice. “My Lord honors me with this; thy skills art those of legend and although I could never dream of matching thy skills with the scimitars I shall be honored to have you wield them while I dance the warrior's dance.”
Elgalad turned once more to his Lord. “Thou w-wilt kill her my Lord.”
Vanimórë turned toward his beautiful companion and gave him a small smile. “She said she could perform the dance, Meluion”
“B-But thou art not human my Lord. To measure her skills against your steels is to condemn her t-to death.”
Xia He's voice rang again, her eyes unfocused. “Death is better than to lose my honor my golden Lord,” she said to Elgalad. “It is the way of Cathaia to meet one's destiny with courage and grace.”
Vanimórë never backed down from a challenge and she had challenged him in the most subtle way first by rebuking his compliments and now by accepting his terms. “Then it shall be done.”
Xia He bowed deeply once again and three teenagers came and took away her voluminous golden outer robe and the pins from her hair; underneath the robe she wore loose white pants and a sleeveless bodice that was embroidered in golden thread; over the bodice a lighter tunic made of a soft material that came to her knees. She looked delicate and incredibly vulnerable; like a fine crystal goblet. Vanimórë rose and Elgalad brought his scimitars forth although with great reluctance. Vanimórë winked at Elgalad. He would never intentionally hurt the woman, but he could not help it if she agreed to the terms he presented. He nodded toward the musicians and the deep cadence of drums inundated the hall.
Vanimórë walked and stood in front of her and he heard her say in an almost imperceptible whisper, “Do not hold back my Lord. Do not insult my honor by pitying me.”
Vanimórë gave her a small nod. This woman had fought hard to become what she was and he would not dishonor her by going easy on her.
Elgalad could not help but stare transfixed at his master. The hard body that released power from every pore, the beautiful amethyst eyes that burned with passion, the silky, sable hair that reflected the light around the room in shades of blue. His Lord was truly a magnificent being, a dark power that drew Elgalad like moth to a flame.
Vanimórë started swinging the deadly blade to the rhythm of the music moving his body with the nimbleness and precision of the first born paired with the thousand of years of rigorous martial training under his belt, but what drew Elgalad's surprised gaze was Xia He's body. She wove in and out of the reach of the deadly blades with incredible magnificence and fluidity. She looked powerful and frail all at once. The spectacle of those two bodies moving with the strength and speed of rushing water commanded everyone to be immobile and eyes to be glued to the deadly, bewitching dance.
The nobles invited were gifted to an spectacle that no one else saw on Middle Earth ever again. The Dark God and the daughter of Cathaia held the attention of everyone present. Power and grace, strength and diaphanous beauty circling each other. The swishing sound of the blades and the ripple of silk were the only things heard in the hall beside the drums. Both the Dark Vala and the woman's feet made absolutely no sound as they danced, twirled, and soared in the air.
Elgalad felt lightheaded, and to his embarrassment incredibly aroused; the breathtaking paradox unraveling in front of him made his blood hum with desire and dread. His master was, in his own right, an incredibly gifted dancer, paired with Xia He's frailty he became irresistible. The mental images of Meluion possessing the dancer at the same time he was being possessed by his Lord made him gasp in desire and need.
He was aroused by the woman and such sentiments filled him with shame and guilt. He had never held any sexual desires for females. He admired their beauty but they did not arouse him. However, this tiny woman with her slanted eyes and her graceful frailty made his insides burn.
After what seemed ages the drums ceased and Xia He slid gracefully inside the circle formed by Vanimórë's arms and his scimitars; a communal exhale was heard throughout the hall. Xia He did not have one scratch on her and her silks were free of tears.
Vanimórë dropped the scimitars to the floor and drew Xia He into his arms and deposited a soft kiss on the carmine lips. “Thou hast performed flawlessly, laereloth,” he said caressing her cheek. “What dost thou want from me?”
Xia He dropped to her knees in a movement that was both provocative and innocent. “My Lord granted me one boon, no conditions, no caveats, so I shall be bold in my request, God Emperor.” She paused and raised her head, her sightless eyes fruitlessly sought to focus on Vanimórë. “I wish for a night with thine elven companion.”
The soft humming of people murmuring was heard through the hall. “She is mad on top of blind” was the cry uttered by the guests.. They were sure that their Lord would condemn her to death, but Vanimórë's soft laughter was heard. “Thou art really brave or incredibly foolish, laereloth,” he said grasping her hand and helping her to her feet. “But I am not who shall decide if thy wish is to be granted Xia He.” Turning toward Elgalad he asked, “Dost thou want to spend the night with this woman Meluion?”
Elgalad blanched. He felt incredibly guilty for desiring the woman, but his heart belonged only to his Lord. “T-Thou dost know that I only l-love thee.”
“But thou dost desire her Meluion. I see it in thine eyes and I did say she could have anything she asked for,” Vanimórë countered. “A mistake I shall never make again.”
Elgalad felt pressed between a rock and a hard place. If he refused, his Lord's honor would be tarnished in front of his vassals, and if he accepted he'd betray his Lord. Vanimórë came to stand next to Elgalad and placed his hand on his cheek.“ Whatever you decide I shall not hold it against thee, Meluion. It was my foolishness what put thee in the middle of this situation,” Vanimorë said before placing a soft kiss on his lips.
Elgalad was silent for a long time. He looked from his Lord to Xia He and back again before saying, “I shall grant thy request, D-Daughter of Cathaia; but I shall only do it to p-protect my Lord's honor.”
Xia He bowed once again. “Thou art truly a Dark God. I have never encounter such raw power and beauty of movement my Lord. I am humbled to have danced in thy presence”
Vanimórë wanted to throttle the woman, but he reigned in his anger. “Thou should take thy price before I change my mind and order you to be taken from my presence.”
Xia He could feel his rage, it radiated from him in deep, angry waves. He walked out of the hall in long angry strides.
Meluion observed with pained eyes as his Lord stormed out of the hall, but when he saw the vulnerable woman in front of him he gathered his courage and took the woman's hand.
“L-Let us go t-tiny one,” he whispered so that only she could hear. “M-My Lord is not p-pleased, thou hast bested him tonight.”
Xia He let the one with the warmth spirit lead her away from the hall, her heart beating wildly in her chest. She had never been as bold as she was in front of the Emperor, but when she felt the warmth of the Dark God's companion's spirit she had been lost. He was pure and beautiful, like the feeling of the morning sun after a cold spring night. She also felt the strength of the love he held for his Lord. It issued from him and permeated every single corner of the room. Deep, sensuous and clear like the smell of a forest at dawn. She also felt his desire for her, and if she could not have his love she could have his body, if only for one night.
Suddenly she felt the raw power and strength of the Dark God in front of them and her heart filled with dread. Maybe he would kill her for affronting him, but instead he spoke to his lover. “A set of rooms have been readied for thine use, Meluion. Thou dost not need to leave the palace tonight.”
Xia Hen heard a crash of thunder reverberate through the air marking the Emperor’s absence.
Elgalad poured wine into a pair of goblets. His companion, Xia He, was sitting on the edge of the bed in the chambers his Lord made available for them in the palace. He placed the wine goblet in her hands and saw as she slowly brought it up to her face. However, she did not drink. She lowered it the instant it came close to her face.
“Forgive me my Lord, but I cannot drink this,” she said in a low voice. “It dulls my senses and I must rely on them to survive.”
“F-forgive me, I did not think of it.” He took the goblet form her hands. “Dost thou prefer s-some water perhaps?” Xia He nodded and he rose to pour some water instead. He placed the goblet in her hands. “T-thou art very skilled, Lady.”
Xia He smiled. “Do not call me Lady, my Lord, for I was born a slave. My name is Xia He.” She took a sip of the water before continuing, “I thank thee for thy kind words.”
Elgalad relaxed a little and sat next to her. “Why d-dist thou petition for a night with me, X-Xia He?”
Xia He turned her face toward the place where Elgalad's voice came from. “I was born blind my Lord. In order to survive I had to learn to hone all of my senses and open my mind and spirit to my surroundings. I can never see the faces of the people around me, but I can feel their spirit. I felt thy spirit my Lord. Thou hast the most beautiful and radiant spirit that I have ever come across.”
Elgalad felt heat rise to his face; this tiny, delicate woman thought him beautiful. “My L-Lord is more beautiful t-than I,” he protested.
Xia He gave him a sad smile. “Indeed he is breathtakingly beautiful. His beauty is raw and dangerous like the sound of the roaring sea. His power pulsates around him, but like the sea he also holds danger and peril within him. His spirit is overwhelming.”
Elgalad thought the description fitting. “Aye, he hath always felt that way to me.”
“Thou lovest him so much,” she added in a soft voice. “Thy feelings for him are so warm and strong. Lovest thou him with the strength of all thy spiri.” Yet, Xia He knew she had fallen in love with a soul that was already taken, someone so pure it made her soul weep in amazement.
He remained silent for a few minutes before asking, “How d-dist thou learn to dance the way thou dost?”
Xia He's face held a far away look, as if she were transporting her mind to the land where she was born. “My mother was a very famous dancer in a rich establishment, but her spirit depended on the poppy paste and she lost her freedom to her former master because of it. I was born while she was in servitude, the product of one of her duties to some Lord or another. My former master wanted to kill me, since he thought my disability prevented me from gaining any useful employment. My mother begged him to let me live, she promised him that I would make him very rich. I was born in the caul, a sign from the Gods marking I was blessed.” She took another sip of water before continuing, “Since I was a toddler she schooled me in the martial arts and in the arts of dancing. I would get beaten if I made a mistake. Mother said that it was better for me to feel the cane than the blade of my master's knife.” She fell silent for a couple of seconds before adding in a bitter tone, “If thy life depended on thy abilities to dance, thou wouldst had also become a great dancer.”
Elgalad let out a horrified gasp. His gentle soul could not bear the thought of children being abused. It saddened him and filled his heart with murderous anger. “How dist thou become free from thine enslavement?”
Xia He smiled. “The same way I gained this night in thy company my Lord, by waging on my own abilities and playing my pieces right.” Her lips curved in a satisfied smile. “I challenged my master the same way I challenged the Emperor.”
Sensing Elgalad’s discomfort, she continued, “Forgive me my Lord. I know how much thou lovetst the Emperor, but that is how I have earned my place in this world. Skill alone would have made a valued slave. I had to learn how to play on people's weaknesses in order to become what I am today, and more often than not had to pay dearly for my mistakes. It is all worth it because the children I rescue won't have to dance and entertain nobles in order to survive. ”
“And what d-dost thou think my master's weakness is?” Elgalad asked with a frown.
“Thy master is curious and he likes to wager on his abilities.” She did not tell him she was jealous of how thoroughly as Elgalad loved the Emperor. No one had ever loved her as Elgalad loved his master.
“He is a V-Vala,” Elgalad protested. “He is a deadly warrior and an skillful dancer.”
“There is always a risk when we wager on anything my Lord. I risked my life tonight, thy master could have killed me, but he has a noble heart. We always meet our match or those who can best us and often we will find it in the least likable place.”
“Hast thou been bested yet?”
“Not dancing, but that does not mean that there isn't a better dancer out there. Although, I feel thy Lord held back tonight,” she said smiling. “In wagers yes, many times. Earlier in my life I had to do things that I rather had not.” She paused. “I am usually not as foolish as I was tonight; I am alive by the grace of the One. I had to use all of my abilities to sense thy Lord as his feet make no sound and he moves like the wind. I am grateful that he radiates power with every movement he makes and that I learned to sense it, or I would be dead .”
“That is an unusual ability for a human.”
“Unusual yes, but not impossible to master. I spend many hours meditating and opening my mind. I usually forgo from earthly pleasures to keep my mind focused.”
“Y-Yet we are here...”
She whispered so softly he could barely hear her, “I could not resist thee my Lord.” She licked her lips. “I don't think anyone can, thou art so easy to love.” Elgalad blushed at that. He thought of his master and how he often held back. He knew this fact, and yet, here he was next to this tiny woman who offered him her entire soul. He could not take it, but he could give her affection. He knew the importance of feeling wanted.
She withdrew a small piece of cloth from her bosom and dipped the corner in the water in her goblet. She was trying to wipe away the paint on her lips, but was instead smearing it all over her cheeks and chin. Elgalad took the cloth and the goblet from her hands and proceeded to help her, marveling as he did in the softness of her skin. He wondered if she would taste as good as she smelled. She held the spicy, fresh scent of a lotus blossom.
The feel of Xia He's hands on his face distracted him from those wayward thoughts.
“Forgive me my Lord,” she murmured. “I only wished to know if thou art as beautiful in body as thou art in spirit.” She placed her hands demurely on her lap, her cheeks flushed with desire and embarrassment.
He placed the goblet and cloth on the little table next to the bed, took her hands and brought them back up to his face .“I-I want thee to call me Meluion,” he said in a low whisper. “Thou d-dost not need to apologize.” He closed his eyes and enjoyed the experience, Xia He's touch felt like a flutter of soft feathers against his face.
“Thou art so perfect,” she whispered, her sweet breath tickling his nose while her hands explored his face. She touched his hair, his forehead, his eyes, his cheeks, his neck, the soft caresses made him tremble with a mixture of anticipation and desire. He gasped when he felt her fingers explore the sensitive tips of his ears. “T-thou best not t-touch me there Xia Hen,” he warned.
“But I want to touch thee,” she replied. “I want to explore thee, Meluion.” She ran her fingers down the column of his throat making him shudder with desire. “I want to learn what makes thee gasp.” She felt for the clasps that held his tunic together. “I want to feel the warmth of thy skin against mine.”
Elgalad freed her long straight jet black hair and buried his hands in it. He brought her face close to his and with a little hesitation took her mouth in a deep kiss. The feeling was so strange... here he was the one taking the lead, possessing instead of being possessed. It aroused to feel the wanton responses of the soft, delicate woman in front of him. Her body was so different to what he was used to, soft and rounded in places where Vanimorë’s was hard. He undressed and allowed her to explore his body. He watched, fascinated, the emotions that flew through her face. She touched him with her hands, her mouth, her endeavors did not leave one inch of skin unexplored.
“When I first felt you in the hall,” she said licking one of his nipples, “your spirit felt like spring water to a thirsty traveler.” She nibbled and this tore a low groan from Elgalad’s chest. She went on, “you are fresh, clean and pure.” She knelt in front of him, her attentions traveling south, which disconcerted him, but also made his desire grow. She licked his stomach, the hard lines of his pelvic bone, his narrow hips. He whimpered softly when her soft hands discover his weeping erection. It was an exquisite torture, and he was torn between shame and wantonness. He felt her hot breath there, where he wanted her to touch him. Her lips closing on the tip of his member felt like a ring of molten fire on his cock, a ragged moan escaped his throat and he threw his head back in ecstasy when she licked the drops of pre-ejaculate dripping from his slit. Still, she did not stop, not that he ever wanted her to, she went on, hands kneading his strong thighs, his calves. Caresses that woke every single nerve on his body and set them aflame.
She urged him to turn around and slowly inched her way up. She licked the back of his knees, his thighs, his gluts, biting into the firm flesh. “Your skin is soft like silk but your muscles are so strong.” She ran a finger along the cleft and he gasped aloud when he felt her hands separate his cheeks and a teasing finger swirl around his hidden entrance. He groaned when she inserted it in that most secret of places, teasing him, driving him mad with need. Right in that place he thought only males would find significant. “Thou art a beautiful instrument waiting to be played, Meluion.”
He turned and drew her into his arms and kissed her deeply rubbing himself on her clothed thigh “I want to s-see thee and feel thee.”
He helped her out of her robe and undid the laces of her bodice freeing the small shapely breasts from their confinement. He took one in his hand and brushed his thumb over the light brown nipple. He was pleased when he saw how hard and stiff it became. Xia He let out a little moan when his lips closed on her bud. His other hand played with her other breast. weighing it in his hand, squeezing it softly. All the small sighs and the utter abandonment in which she delivered herself to him drove his excitement to new heights. It made him reckless, he tore her trousers away and had her naked in front of him.
The scent of her arousal invaded his nostrils. It was different, yet pleasant... and he was curious. He dropped to his knees and stared at her silky nest of dark hair. Tentatively, he touched her there, in that unknown, delicate delta using the softest of strokes. He felt her moist nether lips and discovered that little button that if stroked made her moan in pleasure and anticipation. In one daring movement he brought his lips to it and kissed it, separating her folds to get better access to it. He wondered if the taste would be as enticing as a male's, so he licked it softly and was surprised at the sweet, clean taste of her. Just like a male, her intimate folds wept if stimulated further, so he did and lost himself for a while in her foreign, enticing taste.
Xia He buried her hands in his hair. “I want thee inside Meluion,” she begged him. “Take me now!”
Elgalad needed no further pleas and in an instant she was on the bed, he knelt between her splayed thighs. He wanted to lose himself in the softness of her skin, and the heat of her kisses. He felt her hands everywhere, they left sweet remembrances all over his skin as if committing his body to memory. Every ridge and valley, every inch of silken skin. He groaned, he felt ready to burst, he needed her. She helped him find her entrance and Elgalad slid into her in a swift, deep thrust. He moaned, the feeling of being wrapped in her soft, moist, tight walls was overwhelming. He knew he needed to slow down, pace himself, but instinct overrode him and he plunged into her.
“More,” she begged.
He thrust into her faster, deeper, over and over again, encouraged by the loud pleas issuing from her lips. It was marvelous, that such a delicate creature could drive him to this passion. She started to tighten around him, her body tensed up like a bow ready to deliver a deadly arrow. It was too much, the sight of her, the sounds she made, the feel of her. He couldn't contain himself longer and his orgasm hit him with the strength of an earthquake.
“T-That was different,” Elgalad said after recovering his breath.
Xia He gave him a small smile. “I hope it pleased thee...”
Elgalad caressed Xia He’s face and kissed her swollen, red lips before replying “I-It did. T-Thou didst please me, Xia He, m-more than I ever thought possible...”
They got little sleep that night. Elgalad discovered what made Xia He scream and writhe in pleasure and he delighted in bringing her to completion over and over again either through his mouth or by hitting hidden spots within her. They tasted each other's essence and explored each other’s bodies with licks, caresses and sweet kisses. The story of their encounter was written in passion and sweat in their minds.
Morning found Elgalad sleeping soundly, his beautiful body spent by the nights endeavors. Xia He was already dressed and standing near a window feeling the warmth of the early sun rays on her skin, her long black hair unbound and upon her face a look of utter sorrow. She felt the powerful presence of the Dark God in the room and she addressed him in a very soft voice, “Dost thou know how much he loves thee, my Lord?”
Vanimórë felt all his anger melt away at the sight of the tiny woman's face; it was a look of one that has lost all hope and suffered from immense heartbreak; he walked toward Xia He and put his hands on her shoulders “Aye, I know... I do not deserve to be loved so thoroughly.”
“Do not underestimate him My Lord nor hold back. He loves you completely, there is no room for another in his soul.” There were tears running down her cheeks, she wen on, “He is gentle and sweet but loves with a fierceness that few can muster and if thou dost not love him back with the same intensity he will wither away.”
Vanimórë tightened his grasp on her shoulders slightly. “I know though hast sensed the darkness within me. I cannot sully him with it. I need him to be pure or I will be lost”
Xia He smiled bitterly. “My eyes have never seen the rays of the sun, yet I can see what thou canst not. He cannot help loving thee like he does.” She turned and felt for Vanimórë's face. “Do not take that love for granted my Lord nor underestimate the strength of his devotion.”
“Thou art speaking in riddles,” Vanimórë whispered. He did not wish to rise his lover. “Why not just tell me what thou hast sensed.”
“I cannot as I have no knowledge of the future.” She dropped her hands from his face and turned. “I only sense what sometimes people fail to see.” She walked back to the window. “I sense that thou hast surrounded thyself with beings full of darkness and greed, yet thou despise both things.”
“Men will always hunger for power,” he replied in a bitter tone. “I serve a purpose here.”
Xia He spun toward Vanimorë. She was the picture of sorrow incarnate. “Duty will take thee away from him and it will hurt him. Loving thee comes with a great price to him!”
He gathered her in his arms, he had been angry with her but he understood now that she was resigned to love and never be loved back, and just like Elgalad, she loved with the strength of a thousand suns. “How canst thou have fallen in love with him so fast?” he whispered against her ear.
She smiled sadly. “How could I not my Lord? He is Love.”
Elgalad was sitting on a tree branch, high above the ground, while his mind wandered. A whole year had gone by since his Lord brought him to Vinyacuiviénen and Elgalad had not seen him in over three months. All this time apart made him feel despondent and lonely. He sighed and longed for his lover to come back to his arms.
A soft breeze brought the scent of lotus blooms to his nostrils and he smiled. The smell always made him smile both in remembrance and in gratitude.
Elgalad thought about the ill fated day when the assassination attempt was made against him. He would have been killed, had he not been roused by the insistent smell of summer lotus in the air and the feeling of soft petals touching his face. He remembered opening his eyes and watching how a hired assassin threw a dagger at him. It missed him by bare inches. There were no ponds in Zunad that held any lotus blooms and when he told his Lord about the strange incident, Vanimorë had just smiled and said, “Thou hast a spirit of grace that looks over thee.”
The scent also brought memories of that night years ago. The woman with the scent of lotus flowers had showed him the delicacies of the female body and loved him so thoroughly. It made him feel humbled. He never saw her again after that night. Months went by and then news of her death reached him. She died from an unknown illness leaving the world bereft of the beauty of her face, the grace of her body, and the generosity of her soul.
The gossipers said she was cursed by his master, but he knew better. His Lord held no ill will toward Xia He. She had died of a broken heart and he had wept then because he did not mean for her to love him. He wasn’t able to love her like she deserved and it had pained him to know that she had drowned in despair. His Lord found him crying after learning of her death.
“Do not weep for her, Meluion.” Vanimórë chided gently. “She was indeed like a flower. She was meant to show her beauty, to bring happiness only for a short time and then whither away.” Vanimorë took Elgalad in his arms and pressed a kiss on his forehead. “She would not want thee to cry for her, but to remember her grace and strength and her love for thee.”
Since then, every time Elgalad felt sad or lonely, he felt her presence. She was his spirit of grace, the scent of summer lotus in the air around him. She was always with him, and for that he was grateful.
Elagalad felt his Lord’s presence next to him. “Why art thou feeling so sad Meluion?”
“I t-thought thou hadst forgotten me,” he said leaning his head on the hard chest.
Vanimorë kissed him deeply and Elgalad melted in the embrace.“I love thee Meluion. Do not ever doubt it,” Vanimórë said before taking him in his arms and leaping from the tree to take him to his rooms.
In the aftermath of their passion when Meluion slept in his arms Vanimórë’s nose caught the scent of summer of lotus in the air and the brief touch of soft petals on his face. He smiled and whispered,“I will love him as thou wouldst have, laereloth. I promise thee.”