Love With Selfishness and Hate, Love With Passion and Grace - The Four Moon Cycles Part Six

Submitted into Contest #61 in response to: Write about a character discovering something new about their past that changes how they remember an important moment.... view prompt

12 comments

Fantasy Gay

Ophyla sobbed, her sorrow stirring the winds into a deadly hurricane. “You will not take my daughter away from me!” She stumbled, but she didn’t collapse.

Denimae’s ghost shimmered beside her own solid body. She touched her airy fingers to her warm cheeks. The body that lacked a soul, and the soul that lacked the body.

Yet, their unification could never be.

Denimae’s ghost went to Ophyla’s side. Silver tears trickled down as she looked upon the Mother who would stop at nothing to bring her back. “Mother. Mother please. I will stay here with you. You preserved me, the purest part of me for a reason. You may not be able touch me, hug me, but I am here. And I will always be. Just please do not kill anymore. My life, your conscience, is not worth all those lives you tear away from the ones who love them.”

She looked at Rhyvahr, and she looked at Casrian.

At his darkest moments, Rhyvahr thought that nobody would care if he died. That he could just waste away. They would lay his body in the ground until his flesh became one with the dirt.

The darkness had blinded Rhyvahr to his Father by his side – who held him when the nightmares came, fed him and bathed him when he had no energy. And all that time, he thought it would be better if he just died.

His Father would be happy, right? He wouldn’t have to take care of Rhyvahr anymore, he could go and live his life. Rhyvahr wasn’t his anyway.

Now that Rhyvahr saw Ophyla. A cunning witch who had taken the lives of so many. And for what? To raise her daughter back from the dead. Because that was how much she couldn’t bear to live without her.

“No,” Ophyla said, a dark fire lit on her palm – it crackled and twisted under the dim light. “You are lying.”

She held the flame close to Denimae’s ghost. It caught across her body – black and hellish – burning away the only pure part of her daughter left. She screamed, batting at the flames. Looking into her Mother’s eyes with nothing but pleading, Ophyla only turned her back.

“You are not my daughter,” she said. “You do not love me as you say.”

Rhyvahr tore at the thorns binding him. They pierced his skin, hungry for more blood. He could feel the pain and agony of the ghost as it burned away from existence, having never truly lived.

Rhyvahr finally freed himself from the thorns, palms dripping with blood. But it was too late; Denimae was going up in smoke.

 Purity was doomed to be corrupted eventually. However, he managed to latch onto the wisps of Denimae’s spirit in the smoke.

You have power over life and death.

So, Rhyvahr chose life.

Denimae’s spirit flowed through him – her kindness, her innocence – a shock of purity in his veins. Light burst from Rhyvahr’s fingertips, engulfing the entire room.

“I am nothing but darkness!” Black flames came crackling once more. “You do not get to take it away!” She sent dark fire surging towards him.

Rhyvahr’s wings took him higher. His eyes ached from all the light, but it was the only thing able to quench the flames. Below, Denimae writhed at the heat of the light and the flames, struggling with her restraints.

“You think you can beat me,” Ophyla said. “I want you to heed this lesson!” She raised her arms, chanting a spell made of twisted words, eyes flashing entirely white.

Every part of Rhyvahr was aching. His wings fluttered wearily. And his entire body shook. But he didn’t relent. Because he had come this far; he wasn’t going to give up now.

A dark mist swirled across the room. It blinded Rhyvahr, attacking the light at his palms.

“Rhyvahr!” he vaguely heard his Father calling his name.

His wings grew heavy, arms limp, and he was sent crashing down. He crawled to his Father, and wrapped his wings around Casrian before the darkness came hurtling. 

*

When Rhyvahr was young, his Father told him he had been blessed by the moon. They would look up at the night sky engulfed by darkness, and believed Casrian was only telling him fabled tales.

But then he recalled a presence that seemed to hang behind him when the moon shone through his bedroom window.

When he had accidentally killed a rabbit, a kind woman had helped him bury it.

She wore a long, dark dress and a silver circlet upon her head. After they had buried it, she touched him on the shoulder and left. Rhyvahr thought he heard the fluttering of wings, but when he turned around, he saw that it was just a bird.

And he didn’t think about the woman again.

Olaa, she had always been there since before Rhyvahr had known about his powers.

“Rhyvahr.” He opened his eyes and found that he was laying in complete darkness, save for the crescent moon, shining bright. Cold fingers touched his cheek. “You have to get up.” Rhyvahr looked up, violet eyes stared back at him. Rhyvahr moaned, pain coming over his body. “Hurry. Or she will take your Father’s soul.”

A rabbit circled him, then hopped back into the darkness.

Rhyvahr stood on shaky limbs, following the rabbit, and the trail of moonlight.

*

Rhyvahr’s wings trembled as he parted them.

Pain rocked through his back, shooting through his feathers coated in blood. Rhyvahr’s fingers burned on the rope binding Casrian to the chair, but he managed to undo the knots.

A crash came from across the room. Denimae had broken free of her restraints.

She stood, chest heaving. Rhyvahr saw all the bloody marks on her body, the symbols carved into her skin. She growled at Ophyla.

“You must keep doing this to me.” Every word was raw and hate-filled. “You must keep torturing me to get what you want.”

“It will be over soon, Deni,” Ophyla said, placing a hand on Denimae’s arm. “And I can make you forget this ever happened.” She tried to touch Denimae’s face, inching closer to her daughter.

But Denimae lunged, dragging her nails viciously across Ophyla’s neck. It was so fast that Rhyvahr didn’t even see the gaping cuts on Ophyla’s throat until blood began spilling from her mouth.

She was looking at Denimae’s in shock. Her mouth moved, trying to form words, but her slashed throat wouldn’t let her. One could see it in her eyes though. The hurt, the confusion.

After everything I have sacrificed for you, this is how you repay me?

She collapsed, her blood staining the floor. Red. Bright red. Witches bled red too.

Casrian fell from his chair, stumbling towards Ophyla. He knelt beside her, blood staining his robes. “I am sorry,” he said. A tear slid down his cheek as he closed Ophyla’s eyes. “I am sorry.”

Denimae was silent as she looked upon the scene. Rhyvahr pushed himself against the wall. His body was too weak. Everything hurt. If she attacked him now, he wouldn’t have the energy to fight back.

There was an inkling in his mind as Denimae approached him. Rhyvahr snapped his fingers and brought back that wisp of Denimae’s ghost.

The one that had given him light. Who swore that if he were to fall, she would fall with him.

She materialised again in front of Denimae. “You have suffered,” she said, offering Denimae her hand. “Come with me, and be at peace.” Denimae looked down at her Mother’s blood on her hands.

“Where will you take me?” Denimae asked.

Her ghost smiled. “Anywhere you would like. The fields that bloom with flowers in the springtime. Or the beach where you can watch the sun set into the water, lay on the sand and count the stars. Or the sea where you can feel the wind on your face. Anywhere but this castle.”

Denimae turned to Rhyvahr. “How do I know you do not lie?” she asked, flashing her razor-sharp nails at him.

“Father, stay back!” Rhyvahr yelled, seeing Casrian still trying to get to him.

Denimae jumped at him. Magic sparked at his palm, and he pressed it to Denimae’s chest. Right over her beating heart. But that heart was only beating to keep her body alive. It didn’t beat for happiness or love, only survival.

Her eyes and lips faded to black. And her heart stopped beneath his palm.

Rhyvahr looked upon her unmoving body. “Be at peace now.”

A life lost. A life brought back. Only for two lives to now be gone.

It wasn’t fair. Perhaps Ophyla deserved a second chance. But death knew its way.

“Rhyvahr.” Casrian found his way to him. Rhyvahr collapsed into his arms.

Before he closed his eyes, he heard the faint fluttering of wings, and black feathers brushed across his vision.

*

He spent days in a fevered haze, plagued by dreams he could not grasp on to.

It was a blur of Ophyla and Denimae and the hunters and Fenndon. He kept seeing Fenndon fall from the cliff, and despite having wings, Rhyvahr couldn’t save him.

He awoke to a blur of white, and suddenly sat up. Hands tried to push him back down. “My wings,” he croaked. “Did you take my wings again?”

“Rhyvahr, it is all right,” Casrian’s calming voice said. As if on instinct, his wings came around to comfort him. “Just lay back down.” His Father ran a cool cloth along his burning forehead.

Voices blurred.

Rhyvahr didn’t know how long he had slept.

“The fever’s gone down,” Casrian said.

“Thank Haara for that,” Haisoka replied. “He should have died with a temperature that high.”

“He has survived worse,” Casrian said, wiping away the sweat on Rhyvahr’s brow. “He saved my life,” he muttered.

When his Father turned to leave, Rhyvahr grabbed hold of his sleeve. “Don’t go,” he said.

Casrian stroked Rhyvahr’s hair. “I am not going anywhere, Rhy.” He sat down on the bed, humming a lullaby until Rhyvahr fell into a dreamless sleep.

*

Rhyvahr sipped at the soup, and almost burnt his tongue. He had awoken parched and voraciously hungry. His appetite had definitely returned with vengeance after too long of having plain broth shoved down his throat.

“There is someone here to see you,” Casrian said, taking the empty bowl.

“Who?” Rhyvahr asked. Then, he saw the person standing at his door. Blond hair, grey eyes… Rhyvahr swallowed. “Oh.”

“I will give you two some time alone,” Casrian said.

Rhyvahr pretended to mindlessly shuffle some pillows as Fenndon walked over. He didn’t understand why Fenndon would want to be here.

He took a seat beside Rhyvahr. You look better, he signed. Rhyvahr just smiled, wishing he knew what to say. You are probably wondering why I am here.

I assumed you left already, Rhyvahr signed.

My parents and Aikirra left a few days ago, Fenndon replied. I stayed because I… was worried about you. You were really ill. Your Father said you kept calling for me.

I am sorry. I kissed you when I should not have. You were bleeding out and… it was selfish of me.

It is all right, Fenndon signed. I kissed you back. It made me realise something. That the love I felt for you never went away. I was with Irrin to try and fill some empty part of me because you were not there, and that is not fair on him. So I… I broke it off with him. He is heartbroken, but I am not meant for him.

Rhyvahr didn’t know how to feel. It would be a blatant lie to say he hadn’t been jealous, but he wanted what was best for Fenndon. Even if he was older now, wiser perhaps, Fenndon deserved to love someone better than him.

I dreamed of you falling from the cliff, and I could not save you. I kept shouting your name, but you were gone. Fenndon deserved the truth, so Rhyvahr was going to give it to him. I have never stopped loving you either. There were so many days where I just wanted to die, but every time, you were there to remind that my life was not something that could be so easily thrown away.

That was not me, Fenndon signed. That was you. You are strong, Rhyvahr. Stronger than anyone I have ever known. You think yourself terrible and unkind, when I know that you will die again and again for the ones you love. That does not sound terrible and unkind to me.

He touched Fenndon’s cheek, tracing his finger down his scar. How Rhyvahr had longed for this.

“I love you,” Rhyvahr said, tears running down his face. He loved him so much that it hurt. Fenndon placed his hand over Rhyvahr’s and nodded.

He didn’t need to say the words back. They both knew it in their hearts.

*

Rhyvahr found his Father in the gardens. That was always his quiet place. Especially since spring had come around the corner. The snow had melted, the roses blooming wildly.

Casrian sat on the stone bench, looking at the fallen petals.

“They bloom first,” Casrian said. “So they will be the first to die.” He looked so weary. “They were Ophyla’s favourite.”

“How did you know her?” Rhyvahr asked.

Casrian exhaled. “She was my friend,” he finally said. “She loved Naila, your Mother. However, Naila found out she was a witch and wanted nothing more to do with her. She was heartbroken, isolated herself, and we grew apart. Making a child was her own twisted way of having a part of Naila always with her, it is what killed her in the end.” He stroked the petals. “But I mourn her. I mourn the person she could have been.”

Rhyvahr didn’t know that version of Ophyla though. He hated her for what she did to Fenndon, what she had done to Casrian, what she had done to him. He supposed he just wasn’t as forgiving as his Father.

“My Mother,” he finally said after several moments of silence. “What is she like?”

“She is gentle, and sweet,” Casrian replied. “And she loves you so, so much. Your Father is a wonderful man. He can make anyone smile. But he is fierce too, so incredibly brave. I was so lucky to have them in my life. Two people who loved me so strongly and passionately. They would have been the best parents.”

“You are the best Father I could ask for,” Rhyvahr said, looking into Casrian’s dark eyes shining with tears. “You have cared for me my entire life.”

Casrian touched his wings, running his hand over the feathers. “They are beautiful,” he said. “But you risked losing them again to protect me.”

“What else would I have done?” Rhyvahr said.

Casrian just smiled, stroking Rhyvahr’s cheek. “Oh, Rhy,” he said, before taking Rhyvahr into his arms. And they stay in each other’s embrace for a long, long time.

*

Rhyvahr stayed on the balcony that night, looking at the moon.

A rustle of feathers came behind him.

“I see you are well now,” Olaa said. “You should be dead.”

“So I keep hearing,” Rhyvahr muttered. There was a light breeze, different from the cutting winds he was used to in winter. “You have been watching over me for a long time.”

Olaa raised an eyebrow. “What gave it away?” she asked.

“The rabbit,” Rhyvahr replied. “I was six, playing outside, just trying to catch that rabbit. But when I touched it, it died. I was devastated, but then a woman helped me bury it. That was you, was it not?”

Olaa’s mouth teased at a smile. “Well done,” she said. “I promised Hestina I would watch over her descendants. Perhaps you can meet her one day.” She walked to the railing. “It is a clear night, you want to put those wings to good use?”

When Rhyvahr ran to leap off the balcony, Olaa was already a small speck in the sky, easily mistaken for a star.

And with a ruffle of his feather, he flew to meet her. 

October 02, 2020 03:13

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12 comments

Kristin Neubauer
15:01 Oct 09, 2020

What a perfect conclusion, Yolanda! I am sorry to see this series end, and yet I feel so happy with the ending. That Fenndon and Rhyvahr find themselves together....That Rhyvahr's and Casrian's relationship is understood....That Rhyvahr has more knowledge of his parents. And with the section in particular, I loved the opening scene with Denimae and Ophyla....the concept of killing a ghost was so brilliant....and then sending her spirit into Rhyvahr! You are - I say again - an incredible, magical writer and it is so inspiring to read your...

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Yolanda Wu
21:15 Oct 09, 2020

Thank you so much, Kristin! I'm glad I managed to tie everything up well. I am definitely a discovery writer because I don't plan what I write at all, so I honestly didn't even know how it was going to end. :)

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Kristin Neubauer
13:54 Oct 10, 2020

That's so interesting...I'm the opposite. If I don't have a very clear path laid out for my story, I can't even start. But that's sort of how I am with life I guess. Whatever your process is, it worked!

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Yolanda Wu
21:37 Oct 10, 2020

I really just take an idea and run with it, sometimes it works out, other times it's a total mess.

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Jade Young
12:16 Oct 03, 2020

This is a really good story :D Even for a newbie reader to this series like myself, it flowed so cohesively and almost melodically, there was a depth of emotion that I felt while reading every line, and I enjoyed reading it from beginning to end ;D Keep up the amazing writing!

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Yolanda Wu
23:54 Oct 03, 2020

Thank you so much, Jade! I'm glad you followed along until the end. :)

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Rayhan Hidayat
23:34 Oct 02, 2020

Ahh you know that feeling of emptiness when you finish a series? I kinda got that from this, but on a smaller scale. I’m really impressed by how you maintained all these different subplots (Olaa, the romance, Rhyvahr’s relationship with Casrian, etc.) and wrapped them up in the end. It’s what makes for a satisfying story. I guess you’re moving on to writing the real thing now? Anyway, superb writing as always. Keep it up! 😙

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Yolanda Wu
00:21 Oct 03, 2020

Thank you so much for reading through to the end, Rayhan! I've had so much fun writing this, and I'm definitely excited to start writing the novel. :)

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Elle Clark
08:58 Oct 02, 2020

A brilliantly satisfying conclusion! I love the way you’ve wrapped up all the loose ends and the final bit where Rhyvahr goes to fly with Olaa is a lovely hint at things to come. I’m sad it’s over but really happy that you finished it, if that makes sense. And now you have a complete outline for your novel! This was so much fun to read; thank you for writing it!

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Yolanda Wu
10:23 Oct 02, 2020

Thank you so much for sticking around, Laura! I'm glad the end was satisfying, and I'm definitely excited to start writing the novel soon! :)

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Elle Clark
11:09 Oct 02, 2020

😄

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Yolanda Wu
03:18 Oct 02, 2020

So yeah, this is the last part to The Four Moon Cycles, I hope you enjoy, I've had so much writing so thank you to those who have stuck around to the end. I'm definitely going to be writing more stories set in this world, so it's not the last you'll see of Rhyvahr. Just hope you enjoy. :)

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