How do I make a man like the archmage love me? He is surrounded every day by beauty and power. He is inundated with it, steeped in it. And I am so ordinary. A skilled warrior, yes, but in an army of the elite.

If it were simply a matter of skill, of proving my prowess on the battlefield, it would be a challenge easily won. I have eaten, drunk and sweated battle since birth. If it wasn’t in my blood when I left the womb, it certainly is now. I have spilled enough of it. Holding the swords in my hand is power of a sort, heady, intoxicating power.

But it’s not a power he understands. His way is magic, a series of forces and sciences I cannot hope to understand, let alone control. In a few short years he will surpass his teachers and rise to the rank reserved for him since childhood.

Dozens of generals stand in my path, and all their lieutenants before them. I have ignored the game on which this citadel is based in favor of mastering the blade. I had no interest in politics in my youth, and I have no interest in it now. But I must inhabit a place of power if his eyes are ever to turn toward me again. It has been months. I can’t stand it.

* * *

I have been watching. There is a discernible rhythm to the court. It can be likened to a battle, although fought with strange weapons. Perhaps it is more like a game of chess, and not all the pieces on the board are meant to be thrown at the enemy. But each must be in the proper place to use their unique ability when the time is right. Only in that way can a commander rise to victory.

Perhaps my teachers taught me too well. I think that’s what the warlord wants.

* * *

Things were so much simpler in our youth. If we had grown up on the farms or in the forests, it would have been more difficult, I think. We would have had to work. But who says that would be a bad thing? We wouldn’t have had to play this game just to speak with each other.

He used to come to me, to tell me everything that troubled him. I served as his protector, and gladly. Even if the monsters I fought were imaginary, or invisible, it made him smile whenever I vanquished them.

I miss the shade of the trees. The soft caress of his hand. Why were we in such a hurry to grow up? What did we think would be waiting for us? Not each other, it seems.

He looked at me today. It was almost like it used to be, before the court and the titles. He noticed my medal. I’ll have to get more of them.

* * *

These courtiers are pathetically easy to manipulate. Why hasn’t the archmage tired of them yet? The right word, the right gesture, and they throw themselves at your feet. Disgusting. It makes me long for the battlefield, for a worthy adversary.

I thought the generals would be difficult. Did they undergo the same training? Or any, at all? They call my ascension through the ranks astounding. It draws his attention, the archmage. I think his smile is somewhat knowing. Let him claim a little bit of credit, if it draws him back to me. As a general I can court him. It won’t be like before. It will be better. This time, it won’t have to end.

* * *

I haven’t the proper words. Poetry is beyond me. He is, perhaps, the only work of art that ever penetrated my thick skull. He walks with the grace of a cat. His neck is long, his face slender. His long fingers move with a grace all their own. Is that normal for a mage? Does it come from the weaving of their spells?

His hair is like a cloak of midnight. I’d say his wings were angelic, if I believed in any such thing. Like a dove’s maybe. But his eyes… there isn’t a word for his eyes. Not when he looks at me.

* * *

If ever there were gods, they have forsaken this place.

If I must burn the world to the ground to gain his love, so be it, I swear.

* * *

Power. Beauty. It is never enough. Gifts are meaningless. Words hollow. Promises have ever been empty in these halls.

To be a general in the citadel is to have freedom. The freedom to move. The freedom to act. The freedom to gain.

But there are other generals. Coy generals. Clever generals. Or so they think.

I put my pieces in place long ago. It’s only a matter of time now. I must shine brighter than any light, burn hotter than any fire, paint the ground with blood, if that’s what it takes to keep his eyes upon me.

* * *

He accepted my proposal, and my gift. It was worthy of him. I made certain.

Someday soon he will see that all I have done was for him, to make myself worthy and bring him back to me.

* * *

He betrayed me for some… thing! Some magical abomination! He gave it my face!

I will find it and I will end it in the most painful way I can imagine. I can imagine a lot.

And when I find my traitorous archmage, he will renounce his foul acts and beg the forgiveness that would allow him to resume his place at my side.

He will be mine. If I cannot have him, he will die screaming my name.

Please take a peek at my writing partner’s version of this prompt as well. (Note: my writing partner has decided to include a disclaimer with prompt warning that some people may find it upsetting. Read at your discretion.)

Author Beth Alvarez of Ithilear has also written a response to the Colours prompt!

If you’d like to participate, leave a link to your response in the comments and I’ll feature it next week.

3 Replies to “Obsession”

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