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31 Days of Hell on Archanea

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“You have a lot of nerve.”

Ogma gave the unwelcome man standing at the foot of the bed his best I’ve-killed-a-lot-of-people-and-you-know-it glare, sorely tempted to revisit his old ways. Waking up at an ungodly hour of the morning with a man standing in his room would have been unpleasant no matter the person. A stranger would have likely meant an assassin or robber- messy, but easily dealt with. An old friend like the little prince- no, king now- would have meant extra work at best and reopening old wounds at worst. There may have been one person he’d have been glad to see, once, who had strolled into his bedchamber with the first morning light, left hand full of flowers, fresh bandages in her right and smile more radiant than the sun, but that little girl had become a woman and then that woman had died, many long years ago.

And yet, there was likely not one person in this world or any other he’d have wanted to break into his house and watch him sleep less than Navarre.

Ogma felt his brow crease as his scowl deepened. The tall man’s dark hair hid enough of his pale face that he seemed to melt into the shadowed doorway, the other edge of his frame blurred in the low light- yet his expensive crimson tunic seemed to glow against the blackness, making him unmistakable. “You’re supposed to be dead.”

Navarre didn’t immediately respond, yet he turned the white shadow of his face directly towards the other man’s. Ogma felt a shiver go down his spine despite himself- Navarre gave off an eerie presence at the best of times, and his hidden eyes gave the illusion of being faceless.

But the man’s next words were far more chilling than anything his imagination could have cooked up.

“You know me?”

Navarre’s voice was quiet, barely a whisper, yet his low baritone seemed to brush across Ogma’s bare skin like a draft. Ogma pulled his blanket close and stood, floor creaking heavily under his weight, yet his legs were unwilling to bring his body a single step closer to the mass of utter Wrongness that stood at the foot of his bed.

A sudden gust of autumn wind chose that moment to slam into the side of his cabin- his bedroom shudders thudding against the side of the building with such force that the entire wall groaned. Ogma started, wincing at the sudden blast of cold. He took a step to shut the window but when he turned, the younger man stood bare inches from his face.

Ogma did not jump back as his reflexes were tempted to do, but sucked in a sudden breath, pure ice filling his lungs. His first thought was that he did not know this man. Despite the oddly persisting blurriness that seemed to greaten with the closeness rather than falter, he could tell that these were not his old rival’s eyes.

Navarre’s eyes always shone cold and hard, every bit as threatening as his blade. On the incredibly rare occasion the man’s guard lowered as far as he would ever allow it, when you could see the ghost of pain in his expression and hear the involuntary shudder in his breath,  the threat in his face changed to a perhaps even more dangerous “Don’t you dare pity me.” But who or what stood before him was an entirely different creature, all vulnerability and want and more fearful than he’d ever have guessed possible for that man’s stern face to display.

The man spoke again, rivulets of electric ice running across Ogma’s skin as he did so.

“Who am I?”

Ogma opened his mouth to reply, but the room spun violently for an instant and a blinding flash filled his vision-

Ogma blinked blearily at the morning sun. He groaned and pulled his blanket closer against the morning chill- just a dream. Nightmares were hardly unheard of for him, but rarely of such an eerie nature. He threw his cover off and sat up with a hearty thwack! as his head hit the underside of his bedside table. Ogma let out a guttural curse as he rubbed his forehead.

“Please, don’t incapacitate yourself again.”

Ogma felt his blood freeze at the low, scornful whisper. He leapt to his feet and looked around furiously for the source of the voice- the telltale shadow shifting in the corner allowing him to notice the red blur concealed within. Ogma stared at the corner as his mind attempted to make logical sense of what he saw, as the illusory figure seemed to look not back at, but through him, judgmentally.

“Tell me now, who am I?”