Rhysand smirked at me and shook his head, “Delightful as always, I see.”
I shrugged. “I’m nothing if not consistent.”
“Indeed.” He raised his eyebrows and turned to Mor, “So my third in command is not good enough for you?”
“Well, you asked for me, and here I am.” He held his arms out and then clasped them behind his back. “What can I do for you, Nesta?”
I stepped forward and copied his posture. My eyes fell on some of the paintings scattered around the cabin. “You can start by telling me where my sister is.”
“She’s about ten feet to your right,” he smirked again. I wanted to thump him.
“Hilarious,” I groaned, as Elain hovered in the corner of my vision, sipping cocoa at the kitchen table. “You know which sister I mean.”
His infuriating expression morphed into blankness. “I’m…afraid I can’t tell you that.” He gulped and glanced at Mor for a split second, probably hoping that I’d missed it, but I latched on to that tell-tale sign.
“Where is she?”
“She’s all right,” Mor smiled, holding her hands up as if trying to fire out some calming spells. “She’s absolutely fine.”
I ignored her. “I lost my sister once, Rhysand, I won’t stand for it again. Tell me where she is.”
“I cannot divulge that information, Nesta. I’m sorry.” I knew those last two words were meant to be a full stop on the end of the conversation. He gave me a look that said ‘drop it’, but it just made me more determined.
“The last thing I remember was hearing her tell that lion-man that you’d tricked her, had her under some horrible spell, and that she wanted him to take her home. Are you going to let me believe that everything she said there was true?”
He shifted his weight uncomfortably but said nothing.
I glared at him, frankly shocked by his silence. “You’re honestly going to let me…and Elain, believe that, despite everything we saw between you two when you visited our home, it was all lies?” He fought to keep his composure. I was done with tip-toeing around the issue, and huffed, “She’s with him, isn’t she? The beast?”
His eyes flickered.
“Is that where she wants to be, Rhysand?”
He pulled his shoulders back and fixed his focus on me. “Stop asking questions about Feyre.”
“Oh, so you remember her name, at least,” I pouted, “I guess we should be grateful for small mercies.”
Mor held back a chuckle.
I felt my next words catch in my throat, “Are we ever going to see her again?”
“Of course,” he whispered. I could have sworn I felt the cabin walls creak with sympathy. “When it’s safe to do so, you will see her, talk to her…you will be reunited with your sister, I promise.” He rolled his lips, silently pleading with me to acknowledge this good news. I simply nodded. “And his name is Tamlin.”
“Pardon?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh, I know his name,” I frowned, before a smile curled my lips, “I just wanted to hear you say it.”
He wrinkled his nose. Was that a hint of approval of my sneaky tactics?
“Any news on Lucien?” Elain chipped in, lifting her hand like an eager school girl. I rolled my eyes.
Rhysand turned to her, his demeanour immediately more courteous. “Nothing specific, but he is with Feyre, so they will look after each other, I’m sure.”
“Do you honestly believe that?” I asked, moving to stand behind Elain to hijack his attention. My voice was starting to annoy me, so goodness knows how much it must’ve been grating on everyone else. “He hasn’t been any kind of friend to her recently, what makes you think he’ll look after her now?”
He held his hands up in my little sister’s direction and smiled softly, calming her down. I could see why Feyre loved him; he had an enchanting air of mystery, and a face of pure dark beauty. “Well, first of all, she’s more likely to look after him. And secondly, he will help because she is the sister of his mate. He is bonded to your family, now, no matter what, and believe me, that makes a male act very differently.” He forced down a lump that was suddenly lodged in his throat, “And…and I saw a lot of good in Lucien when we were Un…Under the Mountain. He cares deeply for her, of that I’m certain.”
Elain grasped my hand that now dropped onto her shoulder, and looked up at me. “I believe him,” she whispered.
I stared down at her, my face etched in stone. I didn’t move a muscle, except to raise my eyes back to him. “Fine. I’ll accept your word on that.”
His shoulders relaxed and I could’ve sworn I saw a bead of sweat run down his sculpted temple.
I was shocked by how on-edge I could make the High Lord of the Night Court feel. Wasn’t this the male they claimed to be the most powerful High Lord who ever lived? He was practically quivering in my presence. It’s not you, Nesta, it’s because his mate is in enemy territory. He’s probably scared. I swallowed my pride and spoke softly, thoughtfully, “How are you, Rhys?”
Elain nearly fell off her chair, and Mor’s head snapped back to look at her High Lord.
“I…erm, I’m all right. Coping. Thank you for asking.”
I nodded in acknowledgement. “You took some heavy hits in that castle -”
He laughed under his breath, “If you’re enquiring about Cass -”
“I wasn’t!” I snapped. He grinned. “I was enquiring about your health, and that of all the other members of the Night Court. Nobody else in particular.” I looked at Mor and petulantly asked, “How is Azriel?”
“He’s getting better,” she replied, chewing on her bottom lip and pretending that I wasn’t asking just to piss off Rhysand. “Taking it steady, but he’ll be fighting fit again in no time.”
Rhysand rolled his lips and began to slink forwards. I felt Elain’s shoulders tense up. “Y’know, he’s been asking after you.”
“Has he, now?” I stood a little taller and lifted my chin in the air, knowing full well who he was talking about. “And did you tell him the truth? How you dumped us here on this damned mountain and left us, with no one around to show us how to live in these new bodies?” I lifted my hands up and studied my palms. My fingers were longer, slenderer. “No help or guidance on what we can do…or what we can’t do.”
He frowned. “Such as?”
“Can we die?”
“Not that I’m aware of.”
“Can we get out of this place?”
“When the time is right, yes.”
“Can I see Cassian?” My eyes nearly popped out of my head and my face turned a delightful shade of red. Damn him.
Rhysand grinned like a Cheshire cat and turned to his third in command. I wanted to curl up into a ball and disappear, or perhaps curl my new Fae hand into a fist and wallop him with it. “It seems the time is right,” he said to Mor, before returning to look at me and my sister. “Very well, let us make the necessary arrangements, and then you can join us at the House of Wind.”
Elain spluttered her cocoa and laughed as she slammed her mug down, “The House of…Wind? Who on earth named it that?”
I chuckled under my breath as my cheeks returned to their normal colour. I was enjoying my sister poking fun at this high and mighty male.
He shrugged and looked at us both with an infuriatingly disinterested face. “Who knows, but unless you’d prefer to stay here in this cosy mountain hideaway by yourselves for the foreseeable future, I’d suggest you not make fun at our expense?”
Elain clamped her mouth shut. I just glared at him.
He sucked in air through his teeth and I could’ve sworn I saw the dark outlines of his wings. He was demonstrating his power, I knew he was, letting us know our place within his Court. At the bottom. I didn’t argue, but simply softened my features into a kind of half-smile and looked at him, then Mor.
She clapped her hands together and grinned, “Good, I’m glad that’s settled. Staying with us makes the most sense anyway, if we’re to teach you how to be…well, Fae, I suppose.”
I gave a sharp nod and turned towards the kitchen sink, wrapping my hands around the edge of the counter top as I looked out of the window. The mountains were covered in a fresh layer of snow, which seemed unnaturally bright white against the cloudless blue sky. “How much longer do we wait?”
“We’ll be back by the end of the day,” Rhysand said, “Let you make your dramatic entrance under a veil of stars.”
“Sounds wonderful,” Elain beamed just as I turned and opened my mouth to offer a sarcastic comment. She grabbed Lucien’s jacket from the back of another dining chair and hugged it close. “See you tonight.”
I found myself standing beside the fireplace, waiting for the day to turn into the evening and finally night so we could get out of this place. I had nothing to pack, nothing to gather up…no trinkets or tokens of anybody’s affection. Nothing. All I had was myself, the clothes on my back, and Elain. Dear, sweet Elain. For a brief moment I wondered if her naïve view of the world…of men, had rubbed off on me, causing me to care about someone who was probably just trying to score points with his friends. I shook my head. He’s not like that, Nesta, and you know it.
“Do I?” I said aloud.
The logs on the fire crackled and shifted, sending delicate sparks of ash and ember floating upwards, riding on the air that twisted and swirled up the chimney into the cold evening air. I felt a shadow of warmth come over me, stalking towards me. The faint outline of wings, of shoulder length hair and that cursed smile.
“Who hurt you?”
He did care. Dammit, why did he have to care? It was so much easier when I could tease him and talk down to him as I stared up at those intense hazel eyes. But I could feel him in front of me right now. I could feel the warmth of his chest as he tried desperately to contain the fire that was pressing to get out, demanding it. The fire that would, without question, have been unleashed on Tomas Mandray, for what he’d tried to do to me.
A part of me that was unnervingly close to the surface wished I’d let him do it, but I’d been too swept up in the presence of that Illyrian warrior…that tall, supremely handsome male with a body covered in tattoos. I’d fooled myself into thinking a kiss would be enough, and that once he had that, once he’d born witness to that part of me, he’d leave me alone.
I couldn’t do it though, so I’d let his breath caress my skin instead. I’d let his lips fall against my neck. I’d offered myself to him, by not offering myself to him.
Oh, Nesta, what are you talking about?
“Heaven knows,” I scoffed, watching the flames of amber and gold dance in the fireplace. I crouched down and threw another log on top of the blackened pile. “It probably meant nothing to him.” I shook my head, and rose to my feet. I suddenly felt the stroke of his thumb against the back of my hand. “Or maybe it did.”
Rhysand and Mor returned a couple of hours later, knocking on the door as if we owned the place, and greeting us with warm smiles in the freezing cold night air.
“Ladies,” he said as he stepped inside, rubbing his hands together to stir some heat from the depths of his body, “Ready to go?”
Elain and I stared at each other. The cabin had given us long cloaks that skimmed the wooden floor; Elain’s a dusty pink with embroidered flowers on the collar, and mine; a deep burgundy red, with small red gemstones stitched into it at regular intervals.
“I guess so,” I shrugged, and he bowed his head.
“Very well. Elain, you will go with Mor, out of the cabin and beyond the ward. From there, she will winnow you to the House. Nesta,” he said, looking at me, “You and I will follow.”
Elain hugged Lucien’s jacket like her life depended on it, but looked radiant as she stepped out of the cabin ahead of me. I felt a little overdressed and stuffy in my cloak, but when I followed her out into the night, I had a sudden appreciation for it. The wind was brutal, whipping my hair up into a spiral before dropping it in a mess around my face. I glanced at Elain, and noticed that she had fixed her hair in a braid. Why didn’t I think of that?
I wanted to look back at the cabin, at my home for the past however many days, give it a proper goodbye, but I had kicked up such a fuss about being left there, I couldn’t face it. Something deep in the pit of my stomach told me I would wish to return to this solitude one day, however. I dreaded it.
“Shall we?” Rhysand said, extending his hand to me.
I pulled a face.
He withdrew his hand. “Morrigan!” he shouted through the blizzard, and trudged through the deep snow after her.
She was a good thirty feet ahead of us, Elain’s hand in hers, but she turned around and scowled. “What, dear cousin?”
“Change of plan. It seems Nesta would prefer to travel with you, or…maybe throw me off this mountain, I’m not sure which.” He turned and looked at me, being smothered by my own windswept hair, “Maybe both? Either way, I will take Elain and you ta -”
“Oh for goodness sake!” I huffed, and grabbed his hand.
Just like that, we were gone.
The cold, unforgiving wind and snow ceased chilling my bones, to be replaced by a warm, gentle breeze that swept me up and gently lowered my feet to the ground as we arrived at the House of Wind. That veil of stars really did make for a memorable entrance. It was…simply enchanting.
“Thank you,” I whispered to Rhysand, who slowly released my hand and took a step back, his head bowed. I expected to hear Mor and Elain come up beside us, but they were nowhere to be found as we stood on a wide stone balcony, by a wall of open glass doors. “Where are they?”
He flicked his head backwards and spoke softly, “They landed further down. I thought you might like some privacy -”
I gasped, my eyes wide. Deep blue swathes of organza billowed from the open doors to my right, and I took in a breath of air through my nostrils, “No, no, Rhysand, I can’t…I don’t -”
“Hey, hey, hey.” He held his hands out in protest and glanced across at the room beyond, bathed in darkness, save for a column of moonlight that cut across the floor. “I told you he’s been asking for you, Nesta, I wasn’t kidding about that, but it’s all right. Please…” He dropped his head, then looked at me, pleading, “Just see him.”
That cabin. That damned, insufferable, perfect little cabin.
Mor had brought myself and Elain here in the aftermath of our making, told us that we’d be safe and that, if we needed anything, the cabin would take care of the rest. That was it. She’d offered us the briefest of smiles and turned on her heels, rushing out of the door and yelling back that she’d see us again in a day or two.
And now, six days had passed, or, at least I think it was six days. I’d tried to keep track of the number of sunsets since we’d arrived, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if this place had tricked us. Seemed just like the kind of thing those Fae might do. A joke, at our expense. Or, my expense, since Elain had hardly done anything, said anything in all this time. She sat most days on her bed, wrapped up in that redhead’s jacket, sniffing the collar in hopes of determining his scent. His. Scent. Honestly, I rolled my eyes so hard at the thought that I nearly blinded myself. She claimed she could smell pumpkin and crisp autumn air. All I could smell was crazy.
So I left her, sitting on one of the twin beds in the second bedroom, staring out of the window at the snow covered mountains, and returned to the living room. The cosy furniture, the roaring fire…it all irked me. I wanted to rip it to pieces with my newfound strength. In fact, the way I was feeling, I was in a good mind to tear the entire cabin piece by piece, until all that remained were the tiniest of splinters. I felt like I could run outside and scream, opening my lungs to take a deep, hearty breath with my new and improved body, and blow the place away. That’d show them.
I hated myself for it. These people, these friends of my little sister, they had taken us away from that cauldron, from that king…they were keeping us safe. I ran my fingers through my hair as I sighed, and shuddered as they brushed against my ears. My…High Fae gently pointed ears. I had been made. Elain had been made. I hadn’t been able to protect her. I hadn’t been able to protect either of my sisters, now. I was as bad as my father.
I shed a tear, one stubborn, painful tear, thinking back to the days when I would sit around, waiting for him to get himself out of that chair and go make some money. Feed his children. He never did, so I never did. Feyre. The baby of the family. She did. I shook my head.
Selfish, selfish, selfish.
I grabbed a broom handle and pounded it against the walls and the furniture. Nothing happened. Someone must have been able to hear me, surely? I dropped the broom and leapt onto an overstuffed chair.
“Is anybody there? Can anybody hear me?” I yelled towards the ceiling, my hands now curled into fists and thumping against the tops of my legs, “Mor? Hello? It’s been a lot longer than two days!” I waited for a response, and glanced over at Elain, who had climbed off the bed and now stood motionless in the doorway, still clutching that damned jacket.
“Maybe she’s busy?” she offered, with a shrug of those fine-boned shoulders.
“Or maybe she’s ignoring us,” I snapped, entirely too aggressively for such a simple question, “Maybe they’re intending on leaving us here for a few months…or even a year-”
She sighed. My sister was tired of me. I was tired of me, of my voice and my attitude. “We’re safe, that’s all that’s important right no-”
“No, it’s not!! There are…other things that are important.”
Elain pushed herself away from the doorway and took a step towards me, her usually serene face lined with weariness. “Such as…?”
I felt my cheeks flush. That hadn’t happened before. She caught sight of them for a brief moment before I got myself under control and felt the pink drain out of my face again, then opened my mouth to speak.
There was a knock at the door.
I spun around, grateful for the interruption, and jumped off the chair and ran to it, yanking the heavy door open in one swift motion.
“Hello,” Mor yelled over the blizzard outside. She was rocking back and forth on her heels, her arms wrapped tightly around herself, her blonde hair falling perfectly on either side of her face. “Sorry it’s taken me so long to come back, things have been…erm, hectic.” She shivered in the biting snow and smiled again, “May I come in?”
“Oh, ye…yes, of course,” I mumbled, stepping out of her way.
She stomped over the threshold, brushing powdery snow off the shoulders of her thick red woollen coat, and headed straight into the living room. “Hmm, that fires looking a bit lacklustre,” she frowned, and within moments, it roared into vibrant life. That made me feel even worse. I couldn’t even keep a fire going without Feyre’s help. She unbuttoned and shed the coat with such speed, such effortless grace that I was momentarily taken aback. “So, how are you both doing?”
“We’re angry, Mor,” I growled, interrupting Elain’s no-doubt more tactful response. “You dumped us here, days and days ago, and since then we’ve heard nothing! Not a peep, not from you, from Feyre…even Rhysand.”
“I know,” the blonde replied, sweeping into the kitchen area and snatching up the instantly whistling kettle from the stove. “We’ve had a lot of things to take care of, and-”
“That’s not good enough! Look at us! We needed help, not abandonment!”
Mor poured hot water into three mugs that simply appeared by her side, then replaced the kettle and held up her hands, “I’m sorry, Nesta, but after what happened with the King of-”
“Fuck the king!"
”Nesta!“ Elain gasped, her hand slamming against her chest.
"Yeah, you…erm…wouldn’t want to do that,” Mor said, giggling awkwardly. A desperate attempt to thaw the icy atmosphere that I had created. She watched as I leaned back against one of the cabinets and dropped my head, then she moved to stand opposite me.
I stared for a long time at her chunky snow boots; white calf suede with thick brown laces, and a cosy fur trim. I liked them a lot. “We’re trapped, Morrigan. We both went through an awful, horrible experience and you just left us here. And now…you’re not telling us anything at all.” I lifted my gaze to meet hers and sighed, “I’m crawling the walls, whilst my dear sister…” I threw a glance at Elain, still hovering on the edge of the room, “pines for that High Fae wimp.”
“He is not a wimp!” Elain sniped, and rushed over to us, dropping the jacket on the countertop. “Have you heard from him? Is he all right?” she asked. I could feel the desperation in her voice.
Mor shook her head, glumly, and then turned back to me. “Shall I see if I can find out a few things for you? Would that help?”
“Yes, please,” Elain smiled, “We’d appreciate that.”
“No, actually,” I said, pulling my chin up and my shoulders back, “I’ve had enough of this. I want to speak directly to Rhysand.”
“Oh, right…” Mor looked hurt, like I’d dismissed her. Good. “If that’s what you’d prefer, I’ll…let him know you wish to deal with him.” She scrambled her things together, made sure that the steaming mugs of water were now aromatic tea, and hurried off.
“Mor,” Elain said, her voice softly pleading, as she followed the blonde High Fae to the door. “We’re both very grateful for what you’ve done for us…for all of the Night Court have done, but Nesta-”
“Nesta doesn’t want third in command,” Mor shrugged, “She wants to deal with the High Lord himself, and I can’t blame her.” She offered Elain a sweet smile and squeezed her hand. “I’ll fetch Rhys as soon as possible.”
I heard the whistling wind as she opened the door. And with that, she was gone.
Elain stomped over to me, scooped up Lucien’s jacket, collected her mug of tea, and disappeared back into the bedroom. The slamming door made the whole cabin shudder, and a part of me almost wished it’d caused an avalanche to bury me under, but alas, the cabin remained standing.
Three more days passed, without so much as a word from anyone. I had begun to feel like I was being punished for my attitude towards Mor. I didn’t think she was the type to take things personally, but stranger things have happened…like me becoming one of them.
I couldn’t sleep.
Every time I closed my eyes I saw that room, that cauldron. I saw the plain face of the King who used me and my sweet sister to demonstrate the cauldron’s power to those mortal queens. Those vile, narcissistic queens who made a deal with the devil himself, all for the sake of living forever. The thought made me want to throw up.
Closing my eyes to the night allowed all of the sounds of screaming and pleading to leak out, and devour me, all over again, just like that cauldron’s liquid had. It had seeped into my entire being, suffocating and consuming me, before it spat out this Fae shadow I saw before me in the mirror. I could hear Feyre, strong as always, trying to protect me, trying to protect Elain. And Cassian… Wake up, wake up, wake up.
So I did.
I glanced across at Elain, sleeping peacefully in the bed next to me. I envied her. I knew she was probably dreaming about the redhead, the High Fae male who she’d known for all of twenty seconds, but had shown her more kindness than any human man had done before. I wished my dreams had been filled with wonder and declarations of love, instead of the declaration of vengeance I had aimed to the king. I wondered if I had recited the words aloud in my sleep, but Elain never said anything.
I sighed and threw the warm, soft covers back, exposing my bare legs to the cold mountain air before wrapping a towelling robe around myself. With every step my bare feet took on the wooden floor, the cabin seemed to thaw a little, so that by the time I’d slipped out of the bedroom and reached the living area, I was toasty warm.
I yanked the sash and began to let the robe fall from my bare shoulders when a deep, sensuous voice drifted towards me from behind.
“I wondered when I’d get to see the full show.”
I gasped and spun around, clutching my robe. I was surprised to note my eye sight was sharp as a tack in the darkness. “Ca…Cassian?”
He chuckled under his breath, and I could’ve sworn he seeped into the night and disappeared. “Did you miss me?” he purred.
I pulled my shoulders back and let go of the robe, allowing it to open as much as it wanted. My nightdress was short, revealing. This’ll show him, knock him off his pedestal.
“I take that as a yes,” he smiled, appearing before me, a little closer, before vanishing into thin air once more.
“Will you please stand still, Cassian!” I said in an angry whisper. He chuckled again. Prick.
“Does…” he appeared again, splayed out on the kitchen table, “…this…” Now sat on the sofa, “…upset you?” He was behind me, near the bedroom doors.
I spun around and raised a finger of silent warning.
“Or…does it…unnerve you?” Now he stood to my left, his body achingly close as he looked down on me, probably right down my nightdress, in fact. Bastard. His voice was like pure honey, and he knew it. I loathed him.
“No,” I said slowly, turning to face him, my eyes locking on to his. “It just pisses me off.” I poked him in the chest with my index finger and he took a few steps back, opening those incredible wings of pure darkness. Wings.
“Hang on…” I shook my head, gaping at this beautiful man and his perfect wings. “Your…wings…they were…”
He didn’t say a word, only marched back towards me with sheer animal intent in those hazel eyes, ran his long fingers up my neck and into my hair and pulled me into a kiss. The greatest, most passionate kiss I had ever had. A wonderful, glorious kiss…the best kiss anyone would probably ever have…
“Nesta! Nes-ta!” Elain said, shaking me.
I awoke and immediately sat up in my bed. A dream. Thank goodness. Just a dream. I shook my head. “Wh..what time is it?”
“It doesn’t matter what time it is,” she said, releasing a sigh, “We have a visitor.” With that, she spun on her heels and disappeared out the door.
I could hear muted conversation as I climbed out of bed, Mor? Had she forgiven my bluntness and returned? I quickly dressed in what can only be described as skimpy silk pyjamas, and arranged my hair in a messy bun as I left the bedroom. Mor was indeed back, her beautiful flowing blonde hair shinier than ever in the early morning sun, but she wasn’t the focus of my attention. There, now risen from an overstuffed chair beside her, was the High Lord of the Night Court. Rhysand.
“Hello, Nesta,” he smiled.
“About time,” I replied.
So, anyway, I have jumped aboard the Nessian (Nesta x Cassian) ship, and hoisted my flag with gusto, and this story is my version of the events that follow for them, at the end of ACOMAF. I hope you like where I'm going with the story, and if you do, please let me know in the comments, I very much appreciate the feedback. This is my first time writing literary fan fiction, and my first POV story, so I'm particularly nervous about it. I originally posted this on my Sarah J. Maas sideblog on Tumblr (@feyre-archerons-scrapbook), but thought I would post it here as well.
Thank you for reading! More chapters to follow very soon!
Hi there, and thanks for checking out my page
Writing about myself is never easy, I much prefer pretending to be other people in my work, but anyway, here goes...
I am a tea-drinking, floaty dress-wearing professional graphic designer from England. I am a huge fan of Bucky Barnes, Natasha Romanoff and Peggy Carter...so all of Steve Rogers' favourite people, lol! I like to sketch my favourite characters, and I design stuff (mainly Marvel related posters) for fun.
I'm pretty new to fan fiction, having had many, many ideas rolling around in my head for the past 27 years, but never having written any of them down. At the beginning of the year, with some major encouragement from a dear, dear friend, I started getting some of these ideas written down. This dA page is the result. I hope you enjoy my fan fiction and art. Any questions, drop me message.
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