Feyre sighed as she looked down at her hand and let the glamor fall away to show the small tattoo that adorned it. With a small smile, she reached up with the other hand to trace the delicate pattern. She hadn’t had a chance to really look at it since the night the High Priestess had put it there along with her new position as High Lady of the Night Court. She’d known they were going on a dangerous mission, then. She’d been more than aware of the risks they had all been taking and had made sure to send up a quiet prayer to the Mother for each and every member of her new family. She had thought that they had predicted and counted on every possible outcome and had been certain that she’d either be coming home with her mate and the rest, or she’d be dead. She had not, however, predicted just how far Tamlin would go to reclaim what he considered to be his.
And so here she sat now, out in the little clearing of the woods that she had come to call her own. She had spent as many days as possible here since she came back to the Spring court two months prior, finding that it was the only place where she didn’t feel like her lungs were about to burst from the dire need to just scream at the feeling of being a prisoner once again.
Tamlin hadn’t even once been suspicious or questioned her story about how Rhys had forced the mating-bond, and Feyre assumed she should be grateful for that. For his absolute conviction of the other high lord’s evil nature. It made her job easier after all, since she didn’t have to constantly remind him of the love he thought they still shared. The one she’d died for while he’d just sat, on a pedestal, and watched.
But for the life of her, she couldn’t feel grateful or even smug when Tamlin spoke about how sorry he was for the abuse he was so certain Rhysand had put her through. She couldn’t help but want to lash out violently every time he called the other High lord one awful thing after the next, every time he insinuated that sexually predatory behavior wasn’t surprising for someone like the High Lord of the Night Court.
Tonight hadn’t been any worse than the other days, but she’d still spent the entire evening feeling this intense need to leave the manor. So she had waited until everyone fell asleep, reaching out with her mind to make sure the few guards and servants who were still working were all safely in their own personal dream-land and wouldn’t notice her slipping out of the door and into the woods. When she’d reached the clearing, it had almost felt as if a weight had been lifted off of her heart and as she sat down to drop some of her glamor, she couldn’t help the sigh of relief that escaped her lips.
Laying down on the grass, the long nightgown she hadn’t bothered to change out of spread out underneath her, Feyre finally took the last step and opened the mental bond she’d been forced to shut down until she could figure out if there were any way for Tamlin and the others in the court to notice it or if it was safe to keep open.
I miss you, she let the words flow down the bond and almost instantly the reply came from the other side.
Feyre, his words were barely a whisper, as if he wasn’t entirely sure about what he had heard and Feyre felt her throat close up against the emotions threatening to overwhelm her at the sound.
Shh, it’s okay my sweet Feyre. Please don’t cry when I can not be there to hold you, he spoke again and Feyre smiled at his obvious frustration over their separation. It was the first true and real smile that had graced her lips since they’d parted in Hybern and she wished with all her heart she could bury her face in his strong chest and inhale the familiar and comforting scent that was all Rhys.
A phantom hand reached out to stroke her cheek and Feyre leaned into the touch with a sigh, knowing just who it came from.
I’m sorry. I just… I miss you so much, and every cell in me is screaming out that I need to get back to you. Only I can’t. I have the power to move the ocean and create fire out of thin air, but I can’t even defend my mate when they…., she broke off the words that had accidentally slipped out. Nothing would get better by Rhys having it confirmed what he imagined people thought of him, it would do nothing but hurt him and that was the last thing Feyre wanted.
She should have known that her mate wouldn’t let it go though.
When they do what, Feyre? he asked, his voice so gentle that the High Lady felt her heart soar with the love she felt for the man. Although she wanted anything but to hurt him, she remembered her promise to share everything with him, both good and bad, and gazing up at the sky above her she let the memories of what the people in the Spring Court had said and how she’d felt at the words, how she’d wanted to roar and fight in defense of her mate, flow over the bond. Rhys didn’t say anything for a long time, and Feyre feared for a second that he’d closed the connection between them. She could still feel his presence, though, and knew that he was just deep in thought.
That will never change, my darling Feyre. The things I did for Amarantha… There is nothing I can do to make up for that, he said finally and Feyre frowned at his words. If there was one thing she’d learnt in the past year it was that nothing was unchangeable and she’d be damned if she let her mate be viewed as a monster and spat on, when he had been through so much hurt to save his people. When he’d done what no other High Lord had dared and sacrificed his own soul for his people. When he had saved so many of them from more pain by taking the blow himself in private.
We will change it, Rhys. You are the best man I have ever known, the best mate anyone could have ever asked for, and there is nothing I won’t do to make sure you get the love and respect that you deserve. You saved so many people from so much pain, even when you had to hurt them because of her control over you, and it is time that they know that. It’s time they see you not as the High Lord of the Court of Nightmares, but as the High Lord of the Court of Dreams. It’s time they see the hero behind the mask. It’s time they see just how beautiful your heart is, she answered him and she could almost swear she heard him cry at her words. In that moment she wanted nothing other than to hold him close and whisper to him stories of how she imagined their future would look like. But since she couldn’t do that, she focused as much energy as she could to conjure a phantom feeling on his side of the bond, making it lean up to press a comforting kiss to his forehead before wiping away a few of his tears as he had done for her so many times.
I really wish I could kiss you right now, he said, his voice almost in awe over what she had just managed to do. Feyre nodded at his words.
Yeah, me too, she whispered back, a hand reaching up to touch her lips as if she could somehow make it possible. Still feeling the need to comfort him in some way, she decided to share the magical view she had of the starry sky. It was such a clear night that for a moment, Feyre could almost pretend she was back in the Night Court, sitting on the balcony of their house and just taking in the pure beauty that was the stars at night.
You’re outside? he asked and she could almost swear she felt him smile at the fact that she had most likely broken more than one rule in coming here at night. Rhys, of course, knew that should any creature attack her, Feyre was more than capable of taking care of it all by herself. Tamlin, however, if he found out about her little adventure he’d most likely be flipping tables and screaming at her about the dangers that he needed to protect her from, regardless of whether or not he’d known about her true power.
I put the guards and servants to sleep and snuck out, she admitted a bit sheepishly and then felt her heart sing as the sound of Rhys’ laughter filled her mind.
I love you so much. You never cease to amaze me, Feyre, he said eventually and she couldn’t help but smile proudly at that. Looking up at the stars again, Feyre let the silence spread between them, just enjoying the feeling of his presence. They stayed like that for a couple of minutes, until Rhys spoke again:
Would you like to know their stories? he asked and honestly, Feyre hadn’t even known there were stories about the stars. She had to admit that it excited her a little, and the thought of the stars made her once again feel like she was back home in the Night Court, and so she nodded and answered:
I would love that
First of all, you need to know that a very long time ago, the humans believed that many different Gods and Titans ruled over the world, and not the Mother as is believed in today’s world. It was called “the greek mythology”, he began and Feyre felt herself relax into the sound of his voice as she studied the stars above her.
In the many constellations that the stars make up, the one that comes to mind first is Carcinus, The Crab or “Cancer” as the sign is called. I can’t point it out to you right now, but when you come back home I promise to teach you all about where they live in the night sky, Feyre could feel he was going down a sad train of thought again, so she reached out to stroke his mind soothingly, then couldn’t help but smile as she felt him relax into the phantom touch.
According to the legend, Hera, who was the wife of Zeus, the most powerful of the Gods, was jealous of Hercules, Zeus’ son. She wanted to prove to Zeus that Hercules wasn’t worthy of his father’s love and gave him 12 labors to test his strength and courage. The second of these 12 labors was to kill the Lernean Hydra. The Lernean Hydra had a long dragon-like body and nine heads. If anyone succeeded in cutting off one of its heads, another one would immediately grow in its place, Rhys began the story and Feyre found herself loving how his voice somehow managed to draw her in with just a few words. She couldn’t wait until she could hear that voice in person and have his arms around her as he pointed the stars out for her.
Although she was certain that Hercules would fail at his task, Hera still wanted to make sure. So she sent a large crab, Carcinus, to grab the demigod by the heel and distract him as he was fighting the Hydra.
What she hadn’t counted on, however, was the other people who might love Hercules as Zeus did. When the fight was announced, Hercules' nephew Iolas demanded to come with him to help and as Hera didn’t see how a human could possibly be of any help to the demigod, she made no objection. Yet another to underestimate the strength of mankind, he said and Feyre could almost feel the smile on his face at the words.
I’m assuming she was taught her lesson? she couldn’t help but ask and suppressed a shiver as her mate’s low laugh traveled over the bond.
You could say that.
During the fight, Hercules cut off one of the Hydra’s heads and then Iolas would sear that neck with a torch so that no new head could grow back. Fearing that Hercules might indeed defeat the Hydra, Hera sent in the crab to grab Hercules’ foot. But just as the crab grabbed his foot, Hercules stomped down with his other foot and crushed the crab. He then cut the final head of the Hydra off and Iolas seared it, thus defeating the Hydra and Hera.
To honor Hercules’ great victory and to remind Hera of her failure, Zeus placed the constellation of Cancer the Crab in the sky and those stars are still visible to this day, he finished the story and Feyre smiled tiredly at the hint of excitement in his voice.
Tell me another one, please? she whispered. Her eyelids were drooping and she really should get back to the manor before anyone woke up to find her missing, but she really didn’t want to stop listening to Rhys’ voice. The mere sound of it as well as the feeling of his presence, although it was only a mental one, had managed to almost completely erase the tension she’d been carrying around ever since her arrival at the Spring court, and she wasn’t willing to let that go just yet.
If no one has sensed your powers yet, Feyre darling, then I am sure that it’s safe for you to leave it open. If that's what you’re worrying about, Rhys said as if he’d been able to sense exactly what she was feeling and Feyre smiled through the relieved tears streaming down her cheeks.
I just… I miss you so much. It’s like half of me is missing when you’re not here and I..., she started and shook her head at her own words, not willing to utter just how hopeless and alone she’d felt these past months.
I know, Feyre, I know. By the Cauldron, I feel exactly what you feel. Please, tell me that you won’t shut the bond again. It’s killing me to know that you’re hurting and I can’t do anything about it. If anyone suspects it, we’ll get you out of there immediately, okay? Just… I need to be able to feel that you’re okay, Feyre. It’s driving me insane, Rhys said and Feyre could sense the desperation in his words. She nodded through the tears before realizing he couldn’t see her.
Yes, I’ll leave it open. The mother knows I’m pretty sure I won’t survive shutting you out again, Rhys, she answered instead and as his relief flowed over the bond, Feyre once again found herself craving his touch. Not willing to go down that route and turn what had been a beautiful moment into something sad, she decided to repeat her request.
So will you? Tell me another one? Please?
She was sure Rhys knew exactly what she was doing, judging by the somewhat sad amusement she could feel coming from him.
Of course, Feyre Darling. On one condition though, he purred in response and Feyre’s blood sang in response to it.
What? she breathed and Rhys’ deep chuckle made her heart stutter.
I want you to go back to the manor, so no one wakes up to find you missing. I’ll tell you another one, if you start walking towards the manor, he answered and Feyre couldn’t help but roll her eyes at him even as she rose from her place in the grass. Trust her mate to worry about her to the amount that he made a deal with her to return to another man’s home.
Okay, I’m walking. You now you’re insane, right? I don’t even know why I love you so much, sometimes, she smiled and shook her head as she started the walk back towards the manor.
It’s because of my devastating beauty, I’m sure, he teased back and Feyre couldn’t help the laugh that slipped out of her at that.
Speaking of beauty... Rhys continued, and Feyre knew that he was keeping his end of the bargain.
In the ancient Greece, there was a woman named Andromeda. She was known throughout the world for her beauty. Of course I would argue that no one could ever be more beautiful than you my darling Feyre, but Andromeda’s mother, Cassiopeia, boasted and claimed that Andromeda was the most beautiful woman in the world. She would go as far as to say that her daughter was even more beautiful than the Gods.
Of course, as I’m sure you can guess, the Gods wasn’t too pleased with this. Poseidon the brother of Zeus and the God of the seas, took great offense at Cassiopeia’s words, for he had created the most beautiful beings to grace the surface of the earth, in the form of his sea nymphs. In his anger, he created a great sea monster named “Cetus”, which looked a little bit like a huge whale, to roam the seas and the sea coast,
Feyre walked through the woods as she listened to her mate’s story, unable to keep the small smile from her face. If anyone had told her just a little over a year ago that the mere sound of someone else’s voice would be enough to make her feel as if she was floating, she would have laughed in their face. And yet here she was feeling just that at the sound of Rhys’ voice as he told the story of Andromeda.
Since Cassiopeia would not take back her words and the claim of her daughter’s beauty, it was decided that she must sacrifice her only daughter, the beautiful Andromeda, to Cetus the sea monster, as a punishment for going against the Gods.
So, Andromeda was chained to a large rock that was moved into the sea, and there she was left to await the arrival of her death at the hands of Cetus.
As the sea monster approached Andromeda, the hero Perseus arrived. Some say the God’s messenger, Hermes, had given him his winged sandals for killing the gorgon Medusa, who was famous for being able to turn any being into stone by just getting them to look her in the eyes. When he was on his was back from finishing the job, Perseus saw the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, needing help. With Medusa’s head in a special bag, the hero went to her aid. When he saw the sea monster closing in on Andromeda, Perseus acted without a thought and drew Medusa’s head from the bag and held it so that Cetus would see it and, just like every other being that had met the eyes of Medusa, the sea monster turned to stone.
Feyre stepped out of the woods into the garden of the manor and where she’d normally feel like she was slowly being suffocated, the sound of Rhys’ low voice as he told the story of Andromeda kept her heart light and the smile on her lips. The words came out before she even had a chance to stop them.
I love you, Rhys, she whispered.
Perseus then…. Feyre? Are you alright? Is something wrong? he asked, sounding almost frantic even though Feyre was sure he could tell through the bond that she wasn’t hurt, and her smile grew toothy.
I’m fine, Rhys. In fact, I’m more than fine. It’s just… I realized how much better I feel by just hearing your voice and… Well... I realized that we can do this. You and me, together, we can get through this war and when we do, then I get to come how to you and finally marry you in front of our entire court. I just… I realized how much strength you give me and I.. well, I needed to remind you that I love you, she explained, shrugging along with her words even though she knew he couldn’t see her. It was quiet on the other end of the bond for a couple of minutes as Feyre walked up the stairs to her room and laid down under the covers. When he finally spoke, Rhys’ voice was hoarse from the emotions it held:
You have no idea how much I wish I could kiss you now, Feyre darling..._he said and Feyre found herself laughing in delight at having that power on her mate even with the distance currently between them.
Yeah, me too, she answered, burring down further into her pillow with a happy sigh. Yawning, she realized he never got to finish the story, so she gave a mental nudge and prompted:
Hey, you never said what happened to Perseus and Andromeda
Rhsy chuckled at her curiosity and finished the story:
After the sea monster had been turned into stone, Perseus flew down towards where Andromeda was tied up and freed her from her ropes with a single blow of his sword. Where Perseus had never seen a woman more beautiful, Andromeda had never met a man willing to risk his life to save another. It was on that base that they fell in love with each other. Perseus took her home with him and claimed her as his wife and queen to rule by his side.
The Gods, as a memorial, set Andromeda’s whole family amongst the stars as constellations.
Feyre was asleep before Rhys has spoken the last word of the story and that night, with the feeling of her mate’s presence filling her mind and chasing away her nightmares, the High Lady of the Night court had the most peaceful sleep in the two months she'd been away from her family.
When, just a few weeks later, the time came to shed her glamor and prove to Tamlin just how powerful she really was, even the pride she felt at that moment couldn't overcome the happiness of finally being able to feel her mate’s arms around her again. The High Lady of the Night Court was finally reunited with her family, and together they were prepared to face anything the king of Hybern had to throw at them.