She stared at Tyrric. Something in her chest was struggling to get out, beating wings of distress against her rib cage. Then the vertigo came. What was happening? How had this come to be? What was up? What was down? And suddenly she stood on the edge of a deep chasm, and the familiar, terrible darkness in it of blame and despair was rising up to grasp her.
Still Tyrric watched her, his face cool, eyes without emotion or pity. Face of a predator! screamed one part of her. No, it’s just Tyrric, said another part, that oddly sounded like Keelath.
Just Tyrric. Supposed to be safety. Helping her. He wasn’t. It was a lie, a horrid lie, and her anger bubbled, too great and terrible to express. Nowhere to go. Then the emotion turned to panic and pain. Nowhere to hide.
She barely noticed that Keelath was now striding towards Tyrric, back stiff and teeth bared. Would he kill his own brother? No, that wasn’t right… “Keelath…” The words slipped from her mouth, sliding down her faint exhale, seeming softer than a leaf falling from a tree.
But he heard her, and paused, looking back. His glowing eyes pierced her, bright with rage. Yet they were a human rage, not the cold, empty look of the Scourge. The same rage he had worn when he had advanced on her ex–she shook the image from her head.
Tyrric was saying something, something final and cold. He took the hand of his wife and led her away. Sudden anger snapped in Mirium–that cowardly traitor!–but it was soon layered under with pain. So she had abandoned her, too. Thought she was worthless. Deserving of it.
Tyrric hadn’t even looked back. He hated her, she knew with sudden certainty, a weakness in her middle. Why? She had done what she thought was right, pushing past every obstacle to rescue Keelath, whom they both loved. So what if it had kept Tyrric from arresting him for the Horde–that had not been an intentional flouting of the Blood Knight’s authority, and Mirium was not convinced Keelath would be treated well in their prison anyway, whatever assurances Tyrric might give her. So why could he not understand that? Was it jealousy? Pride?
Or something darker. A deeply embedded need to control and to punish…?
Or something darker still.
Maybe she had deserved it, after all.
The darkness in the chasm inside her crashed over her. Blindly she turned away from Keelath and the departing couple and staggered out of the room and the house. She didn’t know where she was going. She couldn’t hear or see anything past the waves of what felt like death coursing through her. Death. No hope. No one cared. Hated her. She was wrong and ugly inside. She was wrong, she was wrong, she was wrong, wrong, wrong-wrong-wrong wrongwrongwrong–
It was Keelath who slammed into her from behind. She squealed and shoved at him as they went down in a furious tangle. He grappled her, tried to get his arms around her. The physical shock of it cracked through the spreading ice in her head. He was attacking her? Because of what his brother had said? She struggled, biting at his shoulder, but he had her in a bearhug now, squeezing the life from her–
And then he let go. Mirium tried to squirm away, but then his arms were back, squeezing again. Then he let go. This time she sat, stunned. The third time was gentle. Arms came up about her, and he rocked her. He was talking, she realized dimly. Meaningless words of soothing and love.
They weren’t fighting. It took a moment for that to sink in. Confusion bloomed. They were both sitting on the ground. He must have tried to embrace her and she fought back, or he had tripped as he had come after her and landed on top of her, maybe. Or was she the one who had tripped…? She couldn’t remember.
Now he was holding her, trying to comfort her, to snap her out of her daze. That was all.
She tried to sink further into her fear, instead. She didn’t deserve this. Couldn’t he see the gaping hole in her, that would swallow him, too, if she allowed him to get too close? Tyrric saw it, as did his wife. Why couldn’t he? She pushed back against him, but as always he was the stronger, and stronger still in undeath.
Rock, squeeze, let go. Soothing words. Rock, squeeze, let go.
It was Keelath. Just Keelath. He still loved her, despite whatever horrible mistake she had made to cause this.
Relief so cool it burned burst up inside of her, through the ice, streaming down her cheeks as tears. She leaned into him and sobbed. Still nothing made sense, but here was something solid, at least. Here was something she could hold onto, until the world stopped swirling and started making sense again.