On May 2, 2018, P.T. Wyant offered up a prompt at ptwyant.com involving a glowing sword, a masked figure, and twins separated at birth.
Words cannot express how much I loved this one. I may have to use it again. 🙂
What I came up with was something inspired by a bizarre fanfic cross-over I never posted at Archive of Our Own. It was so removed from the fandoms that inspired it, I decided to shape the story into something original.
This was the result…
I reached out to the mirror toward my reflection.
“Poor little slave.” My own face smiled back at me.
Only it wasn’t my face.
“Trapped serving a man who’d cut you down if he suspected what you truly are.” My likeness lowered his head slightly.
My own dipped in response. I clapped my hands to my neck, trying to keep myself from moving.
“Master Shin.” I closed my eyes against the vision behind this master waiting beyond the class.
Shin waited right before my eyes, his own fuming red. His irises shifted, becoming an ever darker red.
“No!” I was crying out in the vision, thrusting my hand forward. “Master Shin!
My master’s irises might be changing right now, becoming the color of blood.
“Master Shin.” I shut my eyes, but I couldn’t block the vision. Shin was laughing, hungry lust for battle in his eyes. His sword glowed in hand, perhaps anticipating the bodies it would soon have a chance to pierce.
The blade glowed with power. I could hear its tiny scream of hunger. What did it want? Didn’t it have enough food?
He offered a sweetly savage smile to the delicate girls and boys cowering before him. All of them were younger than myself. Each had the androgynous slenderness I possessed.
I closed my eyes before he brought the sword down upon, allowing it to feed upon its victims’s magic.
“Yes, it’s a devilish sword that your master uses.” The voice of the boy in the mirror caressed my ears, mocking them. “It devours the very souls filled with magic which make those poor creatures devil spawn.”
“It’s necessary.” I opened my eyes to meet green ones identical to my own. “In order to fight heavenly spawn, my master needs energy from one of the hells.”
“Liar.” He shook his head, raven locks bouncing with the movement. “Your Lord Shin will take anyone with his sword, including members of his own Imperial legion. His own kin has fallen to not only his blade, but his lust for blood, his hunger for violence.”
“He’s not always like that.” An image of Shin, weeping tears of red, clinging onto one of my hands.
“Lathryn, don’t ever leave me,” he murmured. “You’re the only one who can calm the madness burning within.”
Yes, he’d said something like that. I’d taken one of master’s bloodstained hands and simply sat with them while he released his grief and guilt.
“I’m only a slave, I should beneath his notice.” I raised a hand to tuck a lock of hair behind my ear, identical to my double’s. “My master chose to confide in me, in spite of that.”
“If only he knew you were the very thing he hunts!” My reflection leaned closer from the darkness on the other side of the glass. “Where would you run if your master decided to hunt you?”
“Shut up!” I reached out to strike him…
…only to find my hand claimed by one of his own.
“Little brother, we were never meant to be apart.” He leaned forward, brushed his lips against mine. “When your master betrays you, when you come into your own, look into a mirror. Any mirror.” He bent to kiss my fingers. “I’ll be waiting for you.”
“No,” I murmured, lifting my own hand to his cheek, only to feel cold hardness.
I withdrew my fingers, only to watch his mask fall off.
“Your lips were so real,” I swallowed, backing away from the glass.
“All the better to lure you close to me with kisses.” Writhing serpents and flowers exploded from his cheeks, chin, and brow. “I no longer have a human face.”
Once more, he reached out, grasping blindly, no longer able to touch me. “Lathryn, please, give me yours.”
“No!” I cried, thrashing in my cot, nearly knocking the boy sleeping next to me out.
“Lathryn?” Quara stirred, returning to the waking world with slow reluctance. “What’s wrong?”
“I dreamed of a reunion with my lost twin brother.” I shuddered, my skin prickling in the cold air. “I hope it wasn’t a true dream.”
“Only the Devil Touched and our masters have true visions when they sleep.” Quara offered me a sleepy smile. “Otherwise dreams are just dreams. Nothing to worry about.”
“You’re right.” I forced myself to smile. “I’m sorry I disturbed you, Quara.” I softened my voice, making it as soothing as possible. Quara would pick up any trace of fear I felt. “We’ve got a busy day tomorrow.”
“Mine won’t be as busy as yours.” Quara smiled back at me. “I don’t envy you. I wouldn’t know how to keep Lord Shin happy.” He closed his eyes. “I’m not sure how you do it.”
With those words, Quara drifted back into slumber, leaving me to stare at his chest, rising and falling with the polite softness of his snores.
I didn’t know how I kept Lord Shin happy either. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could keep it up.