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Taken by the Dark Elf King : Chapter 27


MY MIDNIGHT STALLION FLIES FROM the castle towards Lastlight forest.

The brutal wind rips at my hair and stings my face. But my tears are not from the wind. They are from Arkain and his inability to think himself worthy of love.

I know he didn’t mean what he said to me, but it hurt all the same. He is so scared that I am going to leave him, that he’d rather push me away. And let’s face it, he did a pretty fantastic job of it.

My horse trots to the clearing and a fresh wave of tears threaten to spill. The last time I was here I was so happy. Now I am at odds with my husband and my father is dying.

My father. I cannot let this fight with Arkain overshadow my purpose for being out here. Mother’s note was brief but her pleading was clear. To get there as soon as possible. I gallop through the forest, my steed avoiding the large branches of the trees.

I try not to think of the predators that lurk here as the portal comes into sight. Without giving myself a chance to reconsider, I urge my horse forward and we dive through it at full speed.

Emerging in Merrywood forest, I remember Arkain’s pleading to keep this portal a secret. I’ll tell my family I was already on my way home for a visit when a rider came upon me with their message. Though if my father’s condition is as bad as they’ve stated, I doubt they’ll be asking me how I got here so fast.

As my horse gallops faster, I find it odd that the first time I am back in Lysan alone, all I wish is to be back in Myrkorvin. In bed with Arkain, exploring each other and telling stories. Even now that my heart is breaking for my father, it still yearns for my husband.

One that rides off to war at first light.

My stomach plummets. He will be alright. He has to be. When I return to Myrkorvin we will work this out and come to a better understanding. That he is worthy of my love and he shouldn’t think that it is some trick.

I am so deep in thought that I do not even realize I am at Solys until my horse’s hooves clap on the stone path. Dismounting and tethering him to a post by the door, I push the door open and yell out.

“Mother? Father? Briar?” I call. “Garren?”

My boot clad feet squeak on the tile. The palace is eerily quiet. It is odd that no other lords from neighboring territories are here to pay their respects. Something doesn’t feel right here, the hairs on the back of my neck are raising. Still, I push into the throne room.

Only to be greeted by the sight of both my parents.

At first I am elated that my father looks so well, until unease curls my stomach. I notice their hands tied to their thrones. The fabric around their mouths. My two brothers are bound and gagged in the corner. Sybil is nowhere to be found. I hope that means she was not here when whatever this is went down.

“What is going on?” I ask, but my parents just shake their heads.

“I believe I can answer that.” That oily voice makes my skin crawl. I turn and see Ryvik leaning against one of the walls. Still dressed in the clothes I saw him in a few days ago. Trian stands to his left baring his teeth at me.

“You see Elvie, this is quite simply all your fault. If you hadn’t been such a little slut and married me like you were supposed to, all of this could’ve been avoided.” He laughs. “I would’ve bedded, bred you, and at least had the decency to make killing your family look like an accident before assuming the throne.”

He walks over to my parents and pinches my father’s cheek, who bares his teeth as much as he can. Ryvik only chuckles and descends back towards me.

“But then dear old dad just had to send you off to Myrkorvin. And you opened your legs to that beast and he ruined everything, and now I have to kill him. And his kingdom will be mine by right.”

“You’re insane,” I spit. “What makes you think you’re even capable of killing Arkain?”

Ryvik’s smile is all teeth and he gestures towards Trian who digs around in his satchel.

“It was a hard artifact to find and it costs a lot of fucking gold marks but it was worth it.” Trian pulls the object out of his bag and my heart sinks before Ryvik even says what it is. “An orc’s teeth arrow. Terribly hard to come by, but extremely poisonous.”

I try my best to be brave, even while my heart pounds in my chest. I have to keep him talking. Ryvik loves to hear himself talk, and maybe I can get him to reveal a part of his plan that will help me free my parents and save Arkain.

“So what is your plan? To sneak into Myrkorvin and assassinate the king? How will that win you his kingdom?”

“Our bannermen have already rallied to enter Myrkorvin. Did you know Trian can copy anyone’s handwriting almost perfectly? He replicated your mother’s to get you here, and a few hundred scrolls to Lysan nobles posing as your father. Beseeching them to ride north to save his precious daughter who was being defiled nightly by that beast of a king. The same king who tried to murder me, one of Lysan’s golden sons, in cold blood for trying to save you.”

“Our forces are nowhere near the size of Myrkorvin’s, they’ll be slaughtered immediately.”

“Perhaps if Arkain hadn’t already sent his bannermen east that would be true.” I snap up my head and look at Ryvik. His grin only deepens. “They’ll be off fighting the orcs. Or at least thinking they are. By the time any of them figure out it was a trick, King Arkain will be dead.”

“Why the fuck are you doing this?” I scream. Ryvik lets out a shrill whistle and two strong guards come in and grasp me around the upper arms. “I’ll find a way to warn Arkain!”

“I severely doubt that. Keep her in her room. The free magic will be out of her system soon.” His teeth flash as he smiles at me. “That’s when the real fun will begin.”

I’ve been pacing this room for hours, trying to think of any way I can escape.

My windows and doors have been warded shut. My power was useless against them initially. Now with the free magic completely out of my system it is no use to keep trying. My head is whirling with so many questions.

Mainly, how did Ryvik get embroiled in something like this? Sure he’s always been a snake but treason? He never seemed ambitious enough for that. Now, he’s armed with an orc’s teeth arrow and is determined to murder my husband. I have to get out of here and tell Arkain about Ryvik’s plan.

Most importantly, the threat of the orcs isn’t real.

My door swings open and in walks Ryvik. I stand in the corner of the room and he chuckles, not even bothering to close the door. That’s how little of a threat he views me as. The little knife in my boot Arkain gave me feels like the only way I am going to make him regret that.

“Gods, you even smell like that foul creature,” Ryvik huffs. “Either he must be breeding you regularly or he’s your mate. The gods can be cruel.”

I glare at him and spit, “Arkain is double the male you are.”

“He’s also about to be twice as dead as I am.”

“Even if the bannermen leave now, it takes a few hours to get to Blackfire Castle.” I gesture towards the rising sun. “Arkain is leaving at first light to go east. You’ll miss your chance to kill him.” I hope.

“See that is where you are wrong, Elvie. As we speak, our bannermen are pouring through the portal deep in the Merrywood. They’ll surround Myrkorvin and wait for my signal before they launch their attack.” My heart splinters and my shoulders slump. “Oh? Did you think I didn’t know about the portal? How do you think Arkain will react when he finds out we’ve used it and you’re the only light elf that knew about it?”

Ryvik tsks. “Even if you did somehow manage to get word to him about my plan, why would he believe the words of a traitor?”

Something snaps inside of me and I snarl, launching myself at him with my claws. Ryvik catches me and slams me down on the bed as I try my best to kick him with my boots.

“Before I leave, I might as well sample the King’s bride. I’ll tell him all about it when I cut him down with that poison—”

One of my kicks lands and it sends Ryvik back a few steps. Before he gets a chance to think, I grab for the knife in my boot. Pressing down on the button and watching the blade slide out, I strike and my knife embeds itself in Ryvik’s chest.

His golden eyes are wide. His mouth is open as if to say something, but no words come out as blood trickles from the corner of his mouth. I gasp and let his body fall to the ground.

I killed an elf. I killed an elf. I killed an elf.

If I am to become a dark elf, then at least I have Arkain. Who I need to warn, and I pray to the gods that he believes me. Ryvik said that the bannerman were waiting for his signal to invade. I look down at his corpse and swallow the bile that rises in my throat back down.

I know what I have to do, and if I’ve already damned myself…I just hope that I’m not too late.


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