What Darkness Lies, Part 5 (NSFW)

They agreed then they were too different now, too likely to hurt each other, too likely to do something they would both regret. The living and the dead…

Not-Safe-For-Work due to a scene involving sex. This post explores the relationship between Mirium and Keelath a little more in the wake of Keelath becoming a death knight.

This was a difficult scene, both to write and then re-write for the Great Revision. Mirium’s character has matured as I get to know her better, having gone from someone who was supposed to be rather flighty and capricious to someone with quite a lot of depth and strength to her, even though it’s currently clouded over by her trauma. Meanwhile, Keelath’s undeath pushes him to some very dark places.

The harsher parts of their relationship are then a tricky balance to keep, between too much cringe (including “too much information” when it comes to the spicier parts of their relationship, shall we say!), respecting the dark subject matter, but yet still reminding the reader these two are still very much human (elven?) with sympathetic emotions and motives despite all their flaws and mistakes.

That’s the intent, at least, and I hope I managed it better in this version.

Author’s Note

Dear Mirium,

I hope you are well.

I write to you of a difficult matter. I intend this as one concerned family member to another, not as a method of eliciting guilt in you. I understand if you do not wish to continue our marriage, and how hard it must have been for you to learn I am, if not living, aware and walking the earth again. I wouldn’t wish to make your day harder, but for the concern I have for another individual affected by our decisions.

As I told you once, I wish to treat Medyfivol as my own daughter. Her father seems to not have made much of his responsibilities to her, and she’s confessed she has felt lost and “like a freak”—her own words—since her transformation. I made this decision before our own relationship was clarified, but with your blessing I would prefer to continue acting as a parent to her despire this. I can empathize with her sentiments on a more personal level, and she is a valuable connection to Evelos while faction lines and his sickness of mind divide us. I hope you understand this is not meant in a mercenary fashion, only a desire to keep in contact with both of my children.

To that end, I tell you of a worrisome event of earlier this evening. I met Medyfivol at the Darkmoon Faire, and we spoke some of the family. When she learned you had left Dawnmist, she began to cry and seemed to be afraid you would disappear from her life entirely.

I explained to her that neither of us have much reason for staying at Dawnmist as the troubles with Tyrric grow, and that I was certain you still loved her, but I thought it may also do better coming from your lips. Perhaps we should come to a more steady accord than simply divorced? As I intend to keep in contact with Evelos as well, I would wish for the relationship between his parents to be a positive one while he is suffering.

Respectfully,

Keelath


Dear Keelath,

I had privately hoped you would step into that role of Medi’s father, if I’m being honest here. Though Talthan was never overtly cruel to her, he did ignore her, and I know she craves a good, solid bond with someone. I’d rather she learn from you, who I can trust to be honorable at the least, than all her questionable friends she could meet in Murder Row or her continuing to pester Evelos while he is so sick.

I suppose the trouble with Tyrric means Evelos has been well and truly pushed out of the line for inheriting the barony, too, hasn’t he? We should probably only tell him when he is better, though I worry what it means for our grandson. Talthan didn’t exactly neglect me, but, in a lot of ways I raised Medyfivol by myself, and I wouldn’t wish that on another person.

I wish I could give you a better answer about, well, “us”… I’m still very fond of you, but some of my other reasons for wishing to maintain a distance are still there, too. Give me some more time to think on it, please. I promise to stay in contact for now through our letters.

Do keep me updated on Medi’s well-being too, if she says something else? I’ll try to help her understand our relationship, even though I’m not sure I understand it right now myself.

Love,

Mirium


Dear Keelath,

I spoke to Medi today. I think she understands now, but she also told me Evelos is dying. They are doing everything they can to help him in Stormwind, but I just thought you should know…

—Mirium


Dear Mirium,

I would not wish to impose on you, but the tone of your last letter was concerning. May we meet, to speak in person? Though I know how much it might unnerve you…


Mirium closed her eyes before she got many sentences into Keelath’s last letter. Yes, his request unnerved her. It had barely been a month since they had parted ways, but the thought of her last meeting with him still filled her with a hollow ache…

He had no heartbeat. She lay against his chest, a heavy blanket heaped on top the both of them to cut away his innate chill. Nor he did have breath: when they kissed, she was the one breaking each time to gasp in air. It seemed to stir nothing in him. He went through with touching her mechanically, as if she were paying him, rather than him truly seeking the intimacy.

She tried every trick she knew to entice him that night, but all failed. When he finally took her under him, it was using blood magic and shards of memory to try and please her. His touch was frigid, and she cried out more with shock than enjoyment.

“Is there no way to help you?” she asked him.

“Only death,” Keelath whispered. Mirium didn’t ask him to elaborate.

He didn’t sleep, but she must have, as it was some hours later when she woke. Unease and sadness swirled in her, as well as the first inklings of a desperate idea.

She didn’t tell him about it, and he watched her in confused silence as she rose from his side and dug into her farrier tools. She took up a sharp hoof knife and cut a gash across her collarbone. His nostrils flared at the scent of blood, a darkness and sudden ghoulish energy appearing in his eyes.

“It’s alright,” she told him, sitting beside him again and taking his hands.

He didn’t answer. His warm regard for her as his wife warred with the cold, unholy hunger in his eyes. His lips were gentle and tentative at first on her shoulder, and she swallowed, wondering if she had solved their problem, but then something shifted in him, and he bit down hard.

This time he was more forceful, channeling some alien aggression into the act as he drank of her blood. Mirium grit her teeth, trying to find enjoyment in his renewed interest, but the pit in her stomach only deepened as he pushed her down and used her.

He had just enough presence of mind to not hurt her terribly, but the morning after, her body was a mass of aches.

She woke up alone. Keelath had risen early and was still in the house, but he was standoffish when she approached, understandably ashamed of his actions.

She asked for his forgiveness for her foolishness, and he gave it in relief. They agreed then they were too different now, too likely to hurt each other, too likely to do something they would both regret.

The marriage had ended.

Tears sliding down Mirium’s cheeks brought her back to the present moment. She didn’t read the rest of the letter, only taking up her quill and penning a brief but polite declining of their meeting.

Medyfivol and Tyrric would not understand, she knew. She prayed that perhaps Evelos might, but also hoped he never found out if he was not much longer for this life. The reminder of that fading, too, brought her head to her arms, as she quietly sobbed out her grief.

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