Tyrric’s Madness, Part Four

This is one of those scenes where I will probably come back to it in half a year and find it completely cringe-worthy.

Also, a minor content warning as Tyrric considers suicide, followed by a romance. (I told you: totally cringe-worthy!)

Author’s Note

Tyrric considered swallowing coals.

It wasn’t as effective as poison, or as fast as swallowing a knife. Yet he was here, and so were the coals in the fireplace, and he could just barely reach them, if he tried.

He couldn’t even try. So useless you can’t even suicide, he told himself, and willfully blacked out again.

Someone stroked his hair. Over and over again, all in one spot, like a broken piece of gnomish engineering. He slowly lifted his head. It was Alelsa. Her face was ugly with tears, but she was silent now as they poured across her face. Raw. Defenseless. Empty. He knew what that felt like.

He tried to croak out an explanation, but it only brought her tears streaming faster.

“Don’t,” she said. “I know I’m unlovable.”

Blast it, but that wasn’t what he had meant at all. He took her hand.

“You’re not,” was all he could think to say.

“Oh yeah?” she answered. “My first love… aban-abandoned me. The second one stuck in a time warp. And now you. Now you.”

It made Tyrric feel positively wretched.

“I thought this time, maybe for sure,” she continued. “After all, why would someone marry me, if they didn’t love me? Dote on me? Even throw all their f-f-family away for m-me.

“I don’t even have the strength to kill you,” she said, reaching over and gripping his neck. “I should. You deserve it.”

“I deserve it,” Tyrric repeated numbly.

“But then I’d only feel worse!” It started a new rash of sobs. “You continue to manipulate me, as you did the rest of them!”

Tyrric winced. No… no… this was wrong. He hated to see Alelsa cry. He lifted himself up, taking her hands.

“D-don’t!”

He slid off the glove on her left hand that hid the fel scar that tore down one side of her arm. A mark of her taint, she had told him early on. He bent and kissed it gently, just as he had then.

“You hate me!” said Alelsa in a flurry of tears. “You hate me…”

“The only one I hate right now is myself,” said Tyrric, and it was the truth. Closing his eyes, he placed both hands on either side of hers.

That admission made the rest easier to say.

“I don’t hate you. I used you. You heard me right. … I wish I could say I didn’t know what I was doing, that it was all the Void’s work, but I fear that would be a lie.”

“Oh, Tyrric,” said Alelsa, and she collapsed against him. “I did, too.”

“What?”

“I used you, too. I only wanted you for that book. But then one thing led to another, and I fell for you. I wanted you. Your kisses, your touch…” She touched him now, smoothing his unshaven beard. “I-I wanted… a life… that I could never have… Look at me! I’m a warlock! Scarred outside and in–”

“I’m looking,” said Tyrric quietly, “and I see scars, but I also see you.”

She sniffled and sniveled and pressed her face into his shoulder. “I thought… when I heard you… from the hallway, just now… we must truly be meant for each other. A punishment to the other, for all our sins.” She chuckled unhappily, but he didn’t see the humor in it.

“Is that so?” said Tyrric, and he pulled her closer, against her resistance. “Maybe that is so.”

“…but at least this hell… was heaven… for a little while, Tyrric.” She then sat up, pushing away from him, blowing her nose and making to leave.

“Don’t go,” said Tyrric softly.

Another nose blow. “Why?”

“I need you.”

“Need me? Why would you need me?” The outrage was back.

Tyrric wasn’t sure why he was doing it. He tilted her head back and kissed her cheek, then her lips. An old stir of passion, remembered from their early months together, stirred in his core.

“Because I need you to remind me… who I am.”


Her kisses came swifter and more hungrily, as she pressed against the arm chair, then into his lap. Yet he was still weak… so weak… She enveloped him with herself, and he hid in the warmth. Bittersweet. Perhaps for a moment they could ignore the implications, lose each other in the other’s shadow… dark and cold and–

Then Alelsa slapped him. Then again, so hard tears sprung to his cheeks.

He looked up at her, not understanding. There was anguish in her eyes.

“I can still make you hate me,” she warned him. “If you don’t die first, I will corrupt you and make you beg for mercy before the end. I will destroy you, and everything you ever cared for.”

“Someone got to it before you did, I’m afraid,” said Tyrric.

“What??” She raised her hand go slap him again.

He grabbed both her wrists and pulled her down against him again. “I don’t hate you,” he whispered into her hair, that scent he had come to know so well over the past couple years, “I never will.”

She screamed her rage at him, but neither one of them let go.

“If one of us goes down, we both go down together,” said Tyrric. “If I have to share that fate with you… it is not a bad one.”

She looked up to him, hopeless, and he let her see the reflection of it in his eyes: the same dark roads walked. She gave in to him then, pressing her hands across his chest, pushing him away but also keeping him from leaving as she wrapped her fingers tight through his collar. He closed his eyes and kissed her, nevermind the confused feelings, nevermind the revulsion of himself, or of her misdeeds.

Neither of them were alone, and that was what mattered most. She took him down, and he gave to her willingly.

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