“You don’t like us.”
“I’m being held here against my will, my dear,” Ayla said patiently. “Be assured, my demeanor is not a comment on your character.”
Yira nodded, understanding. “It’s sort of funny, isn’t it. First you were born in a prison. Then you’re sent back to another one and they think it will make you better. It’s like trying to fix poisoning with more poison.”
“Well,” Ayla noted. “I may not know much about elves, but apparently this one knows a great deal about me.”
“I heard my mother speaking with Ariadne,” Yira admitted. “I overhear things sometimes.”
“Your mother… Riva?”
Yira nodded. “Mhm.”
“Why don’t you come in,” Ayla said with a smile that hinted at warmth, but didn’t quite supply it. “You can close the door if you like.”
Ayla patted the bed next to her and Yira approached, an eager look on her face. She sat down a few inches from Ayla, her knees turned toward the witch so that their legs almost touched. At that distance, her beauty was all the more evident. Her eyes were deep pools of caramel, and her hair was like a silken skein of rich wood tones. Delicate but pronounced features made her face quite pleasing to look at, her eyes narrower and more angled than Ayla’s, her cheekbones higher, and her face narrower. Full elf blood was always something to behold. Ayla found her eyes hovering about Yira’s mouth. She had pretty lips with a lovely shape and a slight natural pout.
In comparison, Ayla was broader in both shoulder and waist, and curvier, her features exotic but far more grounded. Her pale blonde hair was thinner than the elven strands, and her eyes held an earthier touch, her bright green gaze taking all of Yira in.
“Your mother told you about me?”
Yira swallowed and nodded. “I was curious to see if you were really like she says.”
“And am I?”
“You’re…” Yira colored. “You’re much more than I imagined you would be. She… the goddess, she made you sound like one of the broken elves. The ones who are all twisted and sick. But you are neither. So you can’t have done anything so bad after all.”
“I’m also not a full elf,” Ayla reminded her gently. “Though I do not think I have done anything particularly ‘bad’.”
“Bad enough to annoy a goddess,” Yira grinned a little. “That made me curious too. Everyone here is very… good.”
“Elves have to be good,” Ayla said. “As you just said, being bad twists and disfigures an elf.”
“We have to be good,” Yira nodded. “But we don’t have to be boring.”
Ayla smiled an understanding smile. “I see,” she said. “You have not yet lived long enough to know that boring circumstances are ones to be treasured.”
“I am old enough,” Yira replied with a small note of indignation. “I am well past the maturation. I have lived a long time.”
“And you will live a great deal longer,” Ayla said. “The things you will see will soon teach you that these days of boredom are not to be scoffed at.”
Yira wrinkled her nose slightly. “You’re starting to sound like my mother.”
“Well, that will not do,” Ayla laughed.
“You don’t like her, do you?”
“I don’t like being prisoner,” Ayla said. “It is as simple as that. I do not know her.”
“Maybe you could think of it as being… I don’t know, maybe don’t think of it as being a prison?” Yira looked at her with that innocent, warm gaze which sent a bolt of pure pain through Ayla’s chest. This young woman knew nothing. She believed in hopes and dreams and the concept of love and a great many other fairy tales – all of which were true, of course. What Yira was ignorant of was the shadow side of all those things.
“You’re a very beautiful young woman,” Ayla said. “You should not linger with someone like me.”
Ayla’s hand left the bed and ran lightly over Yira’s thigh. She watched the younger woman’s eyes closely, saw the unmistakeable gleam of arousal and felt the excited clenching which made every muscle in her legs and lower belly taut.
“Because I am dangerous to be with.”
Those beautifully innocent eyes searched Ayla’s gaze. “You don’t seem dangerous.”
“But I am,” Ayla warned, leaning in a little closer, her hand dipping between the young woman’s thighs. “Very dangerous for one such as you. You should not risk being with me.”
“… being with you?” Yira asked in a breathless stammer.
“That’s why you came in here, isn’t it? The soup isn’t the only hot, wet thing in this room.” Ayla quirked a brow at the elf who was now blushing quite profusely.
“You shouldn’t speak like that,” Yira said.
“Like what? Honestly?” Ayla leaned forward so that their lips were almost touching. “Tell me, Yira. Are you bored now?”
A once-famous witch seductress finds herself outcast and alone after time and fate strip her of friends, lovers, and enemies alike. With little left, she wanders the land she once protected, a vengeful shadow of the healer she once was.
When a skirmish with a goddess sends her into custody in the elven realm she becomes the captive of a wise elder named Riva, a woman who considers the witch little more than a rebel ripe for schooling. She also finds herself an object of infatuation to Riva’s acolyte daughter, Yira, a beautiful elf far too innocent for the witch’s tastes.
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