| I saw Galdrion stiffen, his eyes meeting mine briefly before they clouded over with pleasure. ‘no!’. I tried to pull back, tried to break our eye contact and mind connection but the inexorable tugging of his fear, of his concern, the heighten state of his emotions all drew me in even deeper. ‘No!’ I fought, tried to fight the inner demon within but it had gone too long, I had gone too long without feeding and its hunger, my hunger was too great to stop. ‘no!” the sstill human part of my mind whimpered as my hands reached out for Galdrion, my unending hunger now eager to feast upon my friend’s mind, on his emotion. I drew his unresisting body to me, and it was perhaps the shock of feeling him physically against me, or perhaps the last vestige of strength he possessed to slam down a thick mind shield between us, along with an open handed slap to my face, that pulled me back to my own senses, back to my awareness. He shoved me gently away from him and I allowed myself to fall at his feet, breathing hard, my eyes closed, trying to regain control. “I thought you had to be physically attracted to your prey for that to happen,” he said conversationally, and from the sound of his voice, I knew that he had sunk to his haunches to be at my level. He also still sounded very dazed, his words tinged with just a hint of longing in them. “Ordinarily yes,” I whispered, refusing to open my eyes. I could not look at him. “but I’ve... It has gone too long without feeding and.....”
I trailed off, allowing the vestiges of my hunger and the accompanying desire to ebb. “And you would have noticed that it... That I did not get a firm grip on you or....”
“Or right now, I would be in the throes of mindless pleasure whilst you fed from me.” I opened my eyes and looked at him, at his dark blue eyes that were still slightly glazed over, at the dark lashes, such a contrast to his pail complexion, at his classically etched features, his aquiline nose, strong jaw and firm mouth; features that I knew so well. And once more, I felt the hunger rising, encourage by the scent of his fear, the excitement and terror he was failing to tamper down. He was prey, my prey and he wanted to be fed upon, wanted that mindless pleasure of being.....
I stood up rapidly and moved away from him, away from the scent of him. “Control yourself Galdrion,” I snapped, turning away from him as I did so. “What?!” He sounded confused. “Conceal your fear! Conceal your scent if you must. just control yourself!” I was breathing hard again, wrestling with my inner demon for control. “I.....” Galdrion truly sounded baffled. “I don’t understand.”
“Exactly!” I hissed at him. “you don’t understand what you are asking of me. Right now, your fear, your anxiety, your heightened emotions are sending me all the wrong messages! Right now, all I want to do is feast on you and I can have you begging for it! This is what you wish to unleash before your people?! Before your subjects?! Perhaps I ought to give you a taste of what you are asking for.” Rage, yes, rage was good, it helped me gain control over my bestial self. “I’m sorry,” Galdrion sounded truly contrite and when I turned around, I found him standing before me. I hadn’t even heard him move nor scented him. He had truly concealed himself from my awareness. “But you will still order me to do it.” It was not a question; I could read the determination in his eyes. “I have full confidence in your ability to control yourself,” he said quietly. “Galdrion, I nearly fed upon you. How can you say.....” He held up a hand to silence me. “But you didn’t.”
“Only because you had the presence of mind to put up a shield! Most people will not half your ability.”
“And I am not asking you to scent out their emotions. Only to quest out their minds.”
“there one and the same thing,” I retorted. “I have confidence that you can distinguish between the two.”
Galdrion met my gaze. “Sander, I cannot allow the high seats to know that we... That the throne is weakening. It is bad enough that every time one of the artefacts dims, the high seat connected to that artefact is instantly aware of it. For them to know all at once will undermine my rule. It’s my responsibility as care-taker of those artefacts, as guardian of the children of the immortal high lords and ladies, I need to know... We need to know what is truly going on and figure out how the artefacts affect the powers of a high seat.” There was more to it of course, more than what he was telling me but I already knew what that thing was. Galdrion was afraid, we were all afraid of the possible repercussions should the remaining artefacts dim all at once. Weakened as the high seats already were, for us to weaken further as a result of the artefacts giving up their power, could possibly have the ability to destroy us completely. We weren’t exactly immortal like our forefathers after all.
I resisted for a minute longer, trying and yet failing to come up with some other way to gather the information Galdrion needed, that we needed. Finally, with resignation and bitterness, I nodded. “Understand that I do this with utmost reluctance Galdrion,” I told him, my tone curt. “If it had been any body else, and if the information you seek weren’t so urgent,.....” I didn’t need to finish my sentence. I knew that he had gotten my meaning loud and clear. “I thank y......”
“Don’t thank me,” I spat out. “You’ll be wishing soon enough that you didn’t ask this of me!” I gave him a perfunctory bow before turning on my heels and leaving him to stare after me.
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