The Damned

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 47 (v.1)

Submitted: November 12, 2013

Reads: 92

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Submitted: November 12, 2013

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47

 

Foxwood Hall, Yorkshire, 15th December 1537

 

Isabel's fingers tightened around his. He felt the cold pressure of gemstones and hard gold against the back of his hand as her rings bit into his yellowed flesh. The jewels glittered, the colours inside seeming to turn over themselves, to twist and writhe sinuously, as though they were filled with liquid ore. He wondered if her marriage ring still sat amongst those antique treasures. He knew, now, that his own token never would, and for a moment grief squeezed his heart so tightly that he caught his breath. She would never wear it now, nor ever again smile at him with such delicious promise in those lovely eyes. It was as if she had died, and only her ghost remained to comfort him. All those dreams, the life that they were supposed to share, turned to ash, trickled through his fingers. He would never hold their child in his arms. The ancient cradle, covered over with dust, would never rock in time with his son's lusty cries. Their son would never rule over his father's great, sprawling empire, and nor would Thomas. He would lie entombed in the family crypt, his mother and brothers to either side of him, whilst another man ruled over what should have been his.

"Tell me, Isabel, was ever a lamb more willing than I?" He wondered if she had enjoyed his weakness. Had his beautiful, black widow revelled in his suffering? Had she laughed because all men were weak when she fixed them with that brilliant stare? He understood, now, that with that first, heavenly touch she had damned him, for love was truly poison. Yet he had opened his mouth for it, tipped back his head, begged and pleaded, swallowed it in a single, greedy gulp. He had been ravenous, gluttonous.  

"Perhaps not, my love." She gently touched his cheek, in a gesture that clung and bade farewell at the same time.

Thomas slowly turned his face from her. He took in the lay of the room, and it was as if he had never seen it before. It seemed to lie. It had not changed. It appeared the way it always had, when he had smiled and laughed and loved her. But the world was so much darker now.

That darkness faced away from him, looking out onto the bleak, winter landscape. The devil's hands were clasped at the small of his back, his broad shoulders covered in exquisite velvet and ebony silk. His black locks fell to his shoulders. They gleamed like the feathers of a raven's wing, blending into the shadows he had chosen for himself.

Conor turned around slowly, and it seemed that he were the only truth in the room. “I was trying to save you…” His expression was desperate, pleading with her to understand. The angry red flames reflected on his pale skin, engulfing him in fire, the tortured look on his face making it seem as if he were burning in the scorching pits of hell. And Thomas saw that he was. He was trapped in a self-made pit of torment and loathing. And that was only right, for he had left Isabel all alone. He had thrown her to the devils. 

Isabel’s voice was soft yet deadly. “But instead you killed me."

Crimson tears dripped from those black eyes, spilling down Conor's ivory cheeks. A wracking sob escaped him. He raised his hand to his mouth, as if to stifle the sound, to push it back in. "Isabel..." There was an aching tone to the word, a raw admission of guilt and pain and blame.  

"Have you nothing more to say to me?"

Torment shadowed Conor's features. “It was all my fault. I never meant for any of this to happen. If I had known…” His voice trembled.

Isabel walked toward him slowly. She stood eerily still, her head slightly tilted. The fire dappled her hair, so that it was a living mass of fire and shadow, darkness and light warring with one another. Conor trembled as she raised a hand to his face, her long nails gently tracing the line of his jaw. He leaned into her touch, his eyes so dark and full of pain.

"I'm sorry," he whispered.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing, my love. Regrets mean nothing. They change nothing."

Conor seized her wrists, pressed his big, powerful body against hers. His crimson lips moved against her temple as he spoke. "If I had been there, I would have torn him to pieces and given his heart to you on a silver platter." His voice was a rough plea, begging her to pardon him.

"But you were gone. I was alone."

"Yes," Conor whispered, his handsome features wracked with pain.

Isabel lifted her chin. Her face was impassive despite the tears of the one she loved. Her voice was colder than the touch of death. "Where were you when I needed you most? Tell him, Conor.”

 


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