Friday Ficlet: Nightmares  

Posted by Dristanel in ,

In lieu of anything overly productive to post, I decided to tackle Anna's writing prompt this weekend. As I noted before, IC/story posts will always be sorted without a picture, so you can easily skim them in your feed reader if you so desire. But if you do read this... enjoy! It's proof positive that I love torturing my characters.

Written for Gypsy as much as the prompt. Even if she won't give me that list.

Oh, and this is... way longer than I intended. Also not edited beyond a once-over proofread.

Ratharion immediately noticed two things upon waking: It was uncommonly bright, and he was alone.

Neither of those things gave him too much pause, except that he had evidently overslept his morning duties. The starch-starved jackals could wait a few hours, and at least another on top of that while he oriented himself a bit. The baker made a half-hearted attempt at pushing himself up, flopping back down on the bed with a groan, his hand resting on the vacant pillow beside him. It was still rather warm, so evidently she hadn't left that long ago. It was a small comfort, but one his sleep-hazy mind would accept as he curled a bit closer to her side of the bed.

The opening of his door came as no surprise. He rolled over to face it, drowsy grin and all, just about to murmur something that would likely make no sense, yet would make her smile just the same. But hushed whispers caught his ear and he strained to make out voices.

"...just being lazy, darling. Get him out of bed for me, would you?"

It was Istolla's voice, touched with a light humor. But who was she talking to? He scarcely had time to contemplate as he was, much to his surprise, pounced upon. It wasn't Istolla. Too small to be Istolla. And for as demanding as she could be - when she wanted something, you'd know it - she was usually a bit more subtle in this particular area. He cracked open one eye and smiled. The face that stared back at him was familiar. Wide, green eyes and an expression filled with insatiable curiosity. And a bit of impatience, at present. She looked like her aunt, in fact, and the red curls tumbling over her shoulders didn't help...

Ratharion sat up, frowning. Aurellia didn't have red hair. It was more blonde than her mother's, if anything. Had she dyed it? Some sort of reverence for her aunt? Orora certainly wouldn't be happy about that...

"It's about time you woke up, Daddy."

Daddy? But for all that he was confused, he felt the truth of it as she slipped her arms about his neck and gave him a warm hug. Pulling back he offered a bewildered smile. Light, but she did look like Istolla.

"Can we open presents now?" The girl bounced on the bed exuberantly, evidently having used up what little patience she possessed while waiting for him to wake.


"A common tradition on Winter's Veil, I'm told." There was a gentle mirth to her voice as she stepped into the room, a picture of grace that caught his eye and held him riveted. There was flour on her face and she wore a rather simple dress of a dark green, but he was fairly certain she had never looked more breathtaking. She sat on the edge of the bed and presented a tray of cookies that - well, had been iced by a child, quite obviously. "Your daughter and I did the baking this morning. Happy Winter's Veil, Pussycat." She leaned in to kiss him, then further to whisper in his ear. "You can unwrap the rest of your present later."

A shiver ran down his spine as she pulled back, donning an innocent expression but for the devious smirk of victory on her lips. Before he could contemplate that, his daughter was in his lap again, insisting he try one of the cookies. He chose one carefully - or rather, with her guidance and continual 'Not that one!' swallowed in a sheet of giggles - and took a bite, grinning with approval and a fair bit of pride. The girl's face seemed to light at this and he felt a sense of contentment wash over him. This was right. But still, something tugged at the back of his mind...

"Get dressed, beloved. We have company." She collected the child, brushing her lips over his cheek before standing, presenting him with neatly pressed red robes adorned in gold trim.

They looked... disturbingly familiar. "Istolla, these are..."

"His robes, yes." She wore a girlish smile. "I thought it only appropriate."

He looked at them skeptically, then back at her. "Appropriate for what, exactly?"

She smiled at him, shaking her head, and nudged the girl toward the door. "Meet us downstairs, you silly thing. I'm sure he's already waiting."

Ratharion would have asked questions, but she was suddenly gone, and he found himself in the hall, dressed in those ridiculously pompous robes. They clung to him, weighing him down, making him feel rather disgusted with himself. But he continued on regardless.

The force of the man's presence hit him on the stairs, alluring and all-too-familiar. Even if he hadn't caught a glimpse of the golden hair and the proud, poised stature, there was no mistaking him. And at present he was seated rather too close to Istolla, holding her hand in both of his while their daughter sat beside him, transfixed. Ratharion was about to open his mouth - say something; anything - when the Prince turned slowly, a charming smile gracing his features. "Dear boy, come and sit. I have wonderful news."

He found himself compelled to obey, even as his mind reeled at the very thought. Taking a seat across from the man, he observed the scene that was unfolding before him. Kael'thas was in his sitting room. Somehow decidedly not dead. And he had Istolla - whom he now encircled possessively with one arm - and his daughter fawning all over him, held rapt with anticipation. Ratharion could form several thoughts, not the least of which involved the Prince's gruesome demise, but he could string none of them into coherent sentences, instead just gaping like the fool he was.

"I wanted to thank you, Ratharion. You've taken excellent care of my property while I've been detained." Property? He tried to protest with as much venom as he could muster, but was unable to manage even a word. "You will be pleased to know I am relieving you of your duties, Confessor. You needn't play house anymore." He stroked a hand through Istolla's hair, petting her as he would a dog, and smiled as she submissively curled into him.

"What the hell is this?" He found his voice, finally, but it sounded weak and dry; hollow and sucked into the void created by the Prince's presence.

Kael'thas Sunstrider - or what passed for him, as Ratharion was certain he was never that tall or that damned... bright - gave a dismissive wave of his hand as he stood with a sweeping grace, slowly approaching Ratharion. Cold, calculating eyes appraised him and the faintest smirk touched his lips. "Just how did you think this was going to play out, boy? They were never yours to begin with. And though I've missed a few years..." He turned slightly, aiming a lascivious grin at Istolla as his gaze roved over her figure. "I will enjoy reacquainting myself with what is mine. Now, be a good lad and drink this."

Somehow his long fingers had curled around a cup of tea - or rather, a bit of hot water and what looked to be mostly bloodthistle, the liquid reeking of it. In what must have been a blink, the cup was in Ratharion's hands, pressed to his lips, and he was drinking, his family nowhere in sight.


He woke with a start, sweat beaded on his brow, heart racing, breath shallow and labored. Sitting bolt upright he surprised his bedmate who made a bewildered sound of protest before waking more fully. In an instant her hands were resting on the sides of his face and she was whispering calming words, her forehead pressed to his. Just a dream. Nothing more. Still shaking, Ratharion wrapped his arms around her and tried desperately to forget.

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 3, 2010 at Saturday, April 03, 2010 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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