Prince of Dust

Lael Amaranthine and his twin sister Fayne are the only surviving heirs of an ancient royal bloodline - the fae people. After years of mistreatment at the hands of their human oppressors, fearing the few of them capable of the magical arts, the fae had finally risen up; but fallen short when their king was slaughtered in his own throne room.
Now, while his sister rallies what remains of their insurgents, troubled sorcerer Lael must flee the kingdom of Fibret and stay alive at all costs, on a perilous journey to find what remains of the race of fae who had once thrived on the isles of dust. Guarding him is Cadel, the very assassin who had been sent to end his life; until he meets the fae prince in person, with the startling green eyes and a heart of gold, and more than simply money begins to drive him to keep him alive.

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1. Ace of wands - L

It's true, what they say; one small butterfly fluttering it's wings can lead to a devastating hurricane in years to come. One small action, one act of rebellion, can cause the lives of many to be changed for ever.

"Lael! Lael wake up! It's father.. They, they killed him, Lael, the humans have assassinated our father!" 

In this case perhaps it wasn't a mere flutter of wings that changed the world.

I had been asleep in the castle tower when in rushed my sister, and I remember my first thought being why she hadn't knocked first. Our secret knock, 4 taps with a breath between, as it meant safety. A necessary precaution.  It had never been a matter of privacy between us, as even ones deepest secrets had always been shared with the other.. And we had very few. 

Yet still, the door woke me as it rebounded and slammed into the stone wall, and she began speaking before I had even had time to completely open my eyes. I thought maybe I was still asleep, dreaming the words - nothing so sudden and horrific could happen, could it? Just the fact that she had burst into my room left me stunned..

But when I did open my eyes, though her image was blurry, she was stood there in her white nightshirt, hands extended, chest heaving and her eyes wild.. And the shirt wasn't white anymore.

That colour, crimson, like red roses - it coated her hands, patched her clothing, and there was even a streak across her cheek; fingermarks. The image never truly left me, that sight that told me that I hadn't dreamed what she said. This was real. I had awoken to a different world than the one I fell asleep in, and I wasn't capable of forming words.

Staring at her,  I felt my eyes widen, and when I blinked twice the sight didn't disappear. Horror overcame me. I released a choked scream, scrambling backwards in my bed and kicking up my sheets as I went, crying out; "What?! No.. No, that's not possible!" I panted hard, my chest heaving, and then again, "Fayne, what did you do..?! What has happened?!"

"LAEL! I did nothing! Nothing! I need you to be calm!" My sister barked back, but I was inconsolable, shaking my head like somehow I could shake the information from my mind and make it untrue.

I only truly snapped out of it when she stepped forward, put both knees on the bed, and without warning slapped me across the face with her open palm, leaving that same imprint of blood across my cheek and causing the area of contact to sting. I fell silent. Instead, I focused my wide eyed gaze on her, clutching my cheek with dumbstruck horror.

"..You struck me!"

"I'm sorry brother, but I need to explain quickly, time isn't on our side! I.. I  was right there, Lael, I found him first.." For a moment she too struggled to speak, but inhaled deeply, then managed to choke out her words. "They'd torn him apart."

"Who did? The blood-"

"It was his wings, his back.. His head. The humans have murdered him! Lael please, I can't.."

I had heard enough. I placed a hand on her arm to lightly shift my sister out of the way, scrambled from my bed and darted through the open doorway, not stopping for even a second to look back at her. I continued on without a second thought.

"Lael, stop! PLEASE!"

Even despite her pleading tone, I ignored her, hearing nothing but the pounding of my own heart in my ears.

To this day, I regret not listening to my sister. I have killed, and not felt remorse. I have dealt with forces darker than some men's hearts could even muster, and never looked back. But some things are far worse than what may appear in even your most terrifying nightmares.

It was in the throne room that I found him, dismembered.

His head was severed atop the crystal throne, though the crown of flowers and thorns he had once worn proudly was bloodied and discarded on the ground without thought. Jaw slack, eyes frozen wide and rolled back slightly, his raven black hair strewn across the seat and matted with the blood that pooled from his neck; he was dead with no way of bringing him back.

Even his arms, legs, and various sections of his torso had been torn apart, and were grotesquely piled at the ground before the throne, with what looked like a lake of crimson blood making its way down the steps..

And there, atop the heap of gore that had once been a man, were his wings; once iridescent and vibrant, and now carved from his back and placed there for us to see.

The minds of men, of humans, have never surprised me since that day. He wasn't killed, murdered, even assassinated - he was a village massacred by invading savages, a city destroyed by plague, a pig sent for slaughter and drained of blood before they severed the parts they cared about.. He was butchered, my own father, and the king of the fae, because he dared to rebel alongside his people.

That was a month ago. And still, I dream of the bloodied flowers, the red on my sisters hands, the wings atop the heap of severed limbs, and worst of all the expression left there on his face - fear. Forever.

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