“Feyre ,” he gasped, as if testing how the word felt on his lips. “My mate .”
For @feysandmonth Day 1, I wanted to draw everyone's attention to one of the best fics in this fandom, and certainly in the Feysand tag, A Court of Faded Dreams, by @the-lonelybarricade
When @sarahsoba and I were talking about how best to show our love and appreciation for this work of art, we knew it had to be this scene. No spoilers, but if you know, you know.
Feyre and Rhys
To the people who look at the stars and wish 🌠
For day 2 of Feysand month I had the idea to portray Rhys and Feyre how they were at the beginning of the first book, when they're both looking up at the sky and wishing for a better life.
So here's my two babies when they're both broken and just trying to survive by the amazing @naariel ❤️
I just realized the bone craver is a death god and showed Feyre her son bc her son meant her death!!!
That was supposed to be Feysand fate until nesta intervened😳😳￼
Spicy times in Velaris👀
Feyre: RHYS! We are going to be LATE!
Rhysand, busy pulling off every spec of lint on his clothes: No! We will be FASHIONABLY late!
Feyre and Rhys - A Court of Thorns and Roses
Imagine not liking Feyre Archeron, Cursebreaker, Defender of the Rainbow, and High Lady of the Night Court in this day and age
Summary: Every court has their own Great Rite with unique, ancient traditions. The Night Court’s priestesses have played coy with Rhysand since he inherited the throne last year about what imbuing the land with his power really means; all they tell him is that he is meant to spend the night in the Night Court’s mines while everyone else gets to attend the orgy without him.
He doesn’t expect to find Feyre, a faerie made of crystal who leads him on a chase deeper and deeper into the mines as the Rite’s magic overcomes him.
Happy Feysand Month, everyone! Here’s my submission for Day 1: Faerie Tales. This will be the first of three parts! Check my masterlist for more or read this fic on AO3 here.
Deep in the northernmost mountains of the Night Court lay mines rich with deposits of precious gems and metals, granite and marble. For millennia, the mines made the High Lords of the Night Court wealthy beyond belief—and before the High Lords, they had been the prize of war after war, so long ago the force of warriors bred and trained to protect the treasures buried deep within the earth forgot their ancient calling.
And, on a cool spring night thousands of years after the last of those wars, Feyre Archeron waited just out of view in the mouth of the greatest mine.
The steady drumbeats had called her here, thudding through her harder than her heartbeat and setting her pulse fluttering. She had tried to ignore it, tried to focus on the party the other faeries who called the mines home hosted every year, but the drums came faster and louder with every passing minute.
There was a string, as golden as any ore she’d ever seen, tied to her gut and luring her out of the mountain.
Come, a voice had seemed to sing beneath the music. Come and see.
So Feyre had smiled at her sisters but stopped refilling her glass of wine. She waited until the High Lord’s wraiths appeared, trays laden with offerings of cakes and fruits in hand, and snuck away.
The climb was long, exhausting, but entirely worth it. She had been greeted by the sounds of a raucous celebration that echoed down into the mines; it was louder than ever before, the Above-Dwellers singing and chanting and laughing uproariously as they danced to the drums. The softer murmurs of conversation that filtered down to her were laced with anticipation, the same that seemed to draw that string from Feyre’s core to her throat.
The mouth of the mine was decorated in sweeping garlands of glittering crystal and shining silver. Beaded curtains heavy with amethysts and moonstones meant to obscure the interior of the mine from view kept her from seeing all but the shadowed forms of the revelers. The occasional curious hand swept through the beads, drawing sweet, tinkling music from the jewels.
But none were the form she wanted to see. None were the hand she longed to feel.
The High Lord’s.
Her High Lord’s.
He was the most beautiful male she’d ever seen, her High Lord. Tall, broad, with a shock of raven-black hair that gleamed blue and purple in the gentle light the glowworms radiated. He was so finely muscled that she often mused that he seemed to be hewn from the fine deposits of dark granite located in the mountains east of the mines, rather than formed of flesh and bone.
She had loved him since he was a prince, and he had come every spring that she could remember to prepare the mountain for the Rite. When preparations were complete, he always descended into the mines with the jeweler-wraiths, examined their latest selection of gems, and selected one to be refined, polished, and placed into a setting.
I’ll need it someday, he always said when the wraiths pressed him, trying to get a read on the female he was buying such expensive gifts for. But her prince was charming, clever, and always managed to get away without revealing why he was collecting fine jewelry when he wore none. When his mother was practical to a fault and sister preferred silks and leathers over jewelry.
When he had no mistress.
And when he always, without fail, selected Feyre’s favorite gems. The ones she’d picked out long ago, twinkling like stars on the rocky walls, and mourned when the miners picked them out of the rock. Feyre didn’t believe much in the Mother or the Cauldron, or even in coincidence, but she did believe in patterns. In timing.
And this was his first Great Rite as High Lord.
The celebration grew in fervor, and the drums beat faster and faster as the excitement ratcheted higher and higher. The music swelled, stringed instruments crying out and horns blaring. A cheer went up, and the very stone beneath Feyre’s hands and feet seemed to tremble with untold power.
The most powerful High Lord in history, Feyre heard some of them saying just before another wild cheer went up from the crowd, and her heart skipped as, finally, a bit of the starkissed darkness that had always fascinated her crept into the mine. The jeweled curtains shimmered, starlight playing off them brilliantly.
She waited and waited, perched like a hunter behind crates full of diamonds in the rough, watching the forms dance and listening to the drums. She hoped the slight sparkle in the stones would camouflage her own skin, crystalline and iridescent as it was, until the moment was right.
Until it was just her and her High Lord.
A million butterflies burst into flight in her stomach when the noise quieted, the low bass-beat of his power settling to something solemn. Beyond the curtain, a female voice was speaking, cracked and rich with age. Feyre hardly heard her, hardly heard the talk of blessing their land for another year as a shadow stretched up, up, up the curtains. Through the jewels, she saw a flash of dark, golden skin and had to press her thighs together in response.
Her breathing was shallow by the time the curtains were parted by two equally large figures, their forms framed by massive wings. One of them said something, a rogueish grin on his rough-hewn face, while the other wore a look of bored nonchalance. Feyre bristled at the sight of a beautiful, golden-haired female at his side when she reached out to clasp his shoulder, but the High Lord…
The High Lord ignored her, nodding at the ancient priestess instead, his hands in his pockets and his shoulders rolled back. His chest was bare, his shoulders draped in a mantle of jewels that matched the beaded curtains, and Feyre blinked as she drank in the brutal, beautiful whorls of ink that marked his skin. It was a warrior’s ink, a blessing of luck and glory won with blood, and he wore more of it than any male she had ever seen.
The priestess handed him a goblet and he drank deeply, utterly ignorant of the way Feyre’s heart stuttered when he licked his lips clean and handed the golden cup back to the priestess, who bowed and returned to the crowd.
Feyre waited even longer as he cast those lovely eyes around the mouth of the mine. Waited until the males closed the curtain and the party retreated into the valley between the mountains. Until, for the first time, they were alone.
Quite frankly, Rhysand had no gods-damned idea what he was meant to be doing in the mines.
As the heir to his court, he had served as the Master of the Ceremonies for almost a century, arranging the celebrations above them. His job had been to ensure that there was enough wine and merriment that the party dissolved into an orgy—a burden he quite joyfully shouldered. He oversaw the magic kicked up by the revelers’ frantic coupling, harnessed it before it could escape and spilt the power back into the Earth.
In the past, Rhys had been all too happy to join in. To toast his court’s power and feast on food and females alike as the drink and the magic took hold of his senses until dawn. Until his skin was taut and heated, and every coy touch, every orgasm, was amplified tenfold. In the morning, he made sure the partygoers were safely returned to their homes and showered with little trinkets plucked from the mines—a ring or a pendant or a cluster of auspicious crystal—as thanks for sharing their power with their court.
But now, as High Lord, he was somehow meant to descend into the mines alone and, according to the ritual invocation, imbue the Night Court with his power.
He had no fucking clue what that meant.
And, Mother fuck him, he was High Lord of the Night Court. His throat tightened, and he blinked hard. He would not think of that tonight. Not when his mind was already starting to slip away despite his shields, the wine whetting his senses to a fine, honed edge.
A string of jewels caught on his nipple, and his cock pulsed with interest. Rhys had to breathe deeply to restrain himself, clenching his fists in the pockets of his loose, comfortable trousers. The muscles in his back ached without the heavy, reassuring weight of his wings.
Despite months of scouring the library, there were no written records of what the High Lord of the Night Court was supposed to do after the priestesses blessed the wine. True to form, the Night Court kept its secrets close to the chest; there was no celebrated Hunt, no Maiden to debauch. There were only the mines, filled to the brim with the court’s magical and material wealth, and the secretive ritual talked about in the vaguest of terms.
His father had never gone into much detail about the Great Rite, either; he’d always disappeared beyond the symbolic veil alone and reappeared in Velaris a day later, his eyes and mouth tight with disapproval.
But Rhys refused to believe that Cassian was right. Magic was always stronger when at least two people beckoned it to their will together, and to bless his court by stroking his cock by himself and coming onto crates of jewels all night long…
Rhys whirled around.
A beautiful female peered out from behind a stack of the same crates he had been examining. Her rose-quartz skin glittered as the dim light caught and fractured on it, and her hair was a coil of pure, silken gold atop her head. He took a step closer—her eyes were clear, brilliant aquamarine studded with onyx.
A mountain nymph, rarer than any gem in the mine.
This female must be brave beyond measure, too, to approach him like this, when her people normally stayed deep beneath the crust of the earth. Safe and sound, where no treasure hunters could find them and steal away the most precious members of the Night Court to be the jewel in some other lord’s crown.
She bit her lip, suddenly uncertain of herself and utterly unaware of how badly Rhys wanted to replace that row of gleaming, mother-of-pearl teeth with his own.
Her head dipped, her cheeks glittering. Still, she was a bold thing, just as he suspected, and didn’t drop her gaze. “…my Lord.”
Amusement and desire curled around his ribs, warm and welcome. Was this the ritual? He was to spend the night fucking magic into a pretty little gemstone, enriching his court by sinking his cock into her priceless pussy?
Rhys couldn’t contain his answering grin as he felt his power stir again, stronger this time as it awakened with the need to possess the female.
❄️ Winter in Prythian pt. 1 ❄️
Feyre x Rhysand | Ice Scating 🌟
Rhysand leads his High Lady down a snowy path. They walk through in snow covered trees, the wonderful smell of cold and frost filling their nostrils. It has been a long time since it were just the two of them. Baby Nyx is safe at home with his aunt and uncle while the couple has some time for themselves. It is some well-needed time. They talk about everything and anything, fingers entangled, their hearts beating with the same steady rhythm.
“I think it is a great idea,” Rhysand says an answer to his High Lady's suggestion about building an art studio up the hill they are currently descending. It would have great light there and would be accessible for people who do not live directly in Velaris.
“But actually all your ideas are, Feyre darling,” the High Lord drawls, making his High Lady giggle and squeeze his biceps.
They walk further down the hill, reaching the bottom of it and making a turn to the left. Right next to the Sidra river there is a small place where children and adults are ice skating. Excitement bubbles inside of the High Lady when she takes it in. She remembers how her and her sister ice skated from time to time when they were young. Rhysand must have read her thoughts and tugs on her hand to make her walk faster.
“Well, I guess we are going ice skating then?” the High Lord of the Night suggests with a grin on his lips.
Feyre stops. Her eyes glow brightly while they widen. “You can ice skate?” she expresses in astonishment. “You, the High Lord of the Night Court, can ice skate?!”
With a smirk playing on his lips Rhysand brings his High Lady's hand to his mouth and kisses her knuckles. “Oh Feyre darling, by now you should know that there is nothing I cannot do.”
Feyre laughs and tips her head back. Once again Rhysand finds himself in utter awe of the beauty of his mate.
And so they borrow some shoes for ice skating before heading onto the ice. It looks rather clumsy and bumpy at the start—neither of them have done that in years. But once they get into it again it looks smoother and almost perfect. Hand in hand they glide over the ice, greeting the inhabitants of the Night Court, swirling around on the ice, making twists and even small spins.
Rhysand catches his High Lady in his arms, brings her to his chest and kisses her in a slight film of sweat covered forehead. “I am so glad you are enjoying this day. I love you, darling.”
written in part from @feysand-month day two: memories!
First and foremost: A huge thanks to @thegloweringcastle this chapter wouldn’t be here without you! Thanks for reading and giving me your thoughts and edits. Seriously. You are the best and I so appreciate you and your friendship! I definitely used some a lot of the lines you suggested.
A Memory Undone Masterlist
warnings: the usual. ~5.6k
Rhysand had always worn his confidence with grace and ease. It was the sort of confidence that had pulled him through life and quite frankly gotten him to where he was now. Morrigan called him an arrogant prick enough times that he had to consider that perhaps, he’s taken it too far on occasion. He couldn’t help it of course. He was attractive, smart, and so many people threw themselves at him for no reason at all.
So, yes. Perhaps he was a bit arrogant. But he wore it well and he had gone through life unflappable; suave as they came and reassured in everything he did.
And then Feyre came along to turn that all on its head. Ever since the first moment he met her, he knew she was different. She had pulled at him, teased him, not given him an inch. When he inevitably would make a mistake, she would put him on a correction course. When he tried to get out of a problem with only a smile, she would simply cock her head and wait.
And he’d known. He’d known from the first moment he saw her that he would never love anyone but her.
He just never imagined screwing it up so badly.
Because that night, Rhysand knew he had played the fool. It was something he was unaccustomed to, having always carefully constructed his appearance and well-being like a second skin. The confidence he was so well acquainted with had abandoned him. And all that self-assurance evaporated the second Feyre panicked in the car. He was left with panic and regret, two emotions that left him thoroughly distressed.
He’d always known love to be a strange, if fickle, thing. In regards to his parents, Rhys had been convinced love was demanding. Benham demanded perfection in everything. From the way the house looked to the way the children were raised to the time dinner was set on the table. He was a man who, to Rhysand, perceived love as a transaction. Alanna was the opposite and Rhys would forever be grateful for a mother whose grace and kindness didn’t completely screw him over in the long run.
And it was from his mother that Rhys learned the most important thing—how to wear a mask. Because even if Alanna insisted that she was happy, even if she spoke of loving her husband, even if she never complained…
Well, Rhys was never convinced. If his father demanded such perfection from him and Thea, he could only imagine what their mother faced. But broaching that subject with Alanna was always ignored or shut down.
Perhaps Rhys needed lessons in open communication as well as love.
Because as Feyre disappeared upstairs and as he heard the water turn on in the bathroom, he was sure he’d completely mucked up both departments. He was almost tempted to text Cassian and tell him not to come but he knew Feyre wouldn’t like that. She wanted to see her sister. And as much as Rhys was pissed at Nesta for telling Feyre about the night of the accident, he also knew that this would be good for Feyre. She’d spent so long wanting a relationship with her sisters that denying it now was true prickish behavior and he did not want to backslide. Not now.
So, he tried to put aside the protective instinct rising up in his chest and went to prep the steaks and veggies they’d have for dinner. Cassian and Nesta would bring wine and dessert.
As it neared seven, Rhys went to the back patio and started the grill for the steaks. Knowing Cassian, he and Nesta would probably be a little late. Though, after that day he and Feyre had had, Rhys wasn’t about to care. He marinated the steaks with garlic butter then headed back inside, setting a mental clock of when to check the meat again.
Feyre was leaning against the counter when he shut the back door. It was a familiar stance she took as of late, tucking herself against the wall and waiting just outside of reach. Rhys wondered if she thought she was getting in the way or if she simply didn’t feel like she didn’t belong. Her hair was twisted in a simple braid, long fly-a-ways framing her face. She’d dressed in one of her oversized sweaters and a pair of leggings. Even now, she just as beautiful as the day he met her.
“Do you want to help me with the vegetables?” Rhys asked.
She hedged into the kitchen as she came up beside him. He offered her a knife and gave her enough space at the cutting board. Without saying anything else, Feyre set to work chopping zucchini and peppers. Her motions were slow and deliberate as she rocked the knife back and forth in a rhythmic motion. She might have been years out of practice, but Feyre approached this this task with as much as she did everything else.
He watched as she worked, unable to ignore the pang in his chest. This had been a moment he’d longed for. To stand side by side in the kitchen while preparing dinner. In all his imaginings, he’d pictured them laughing together, talking quietly, or even just enjoying each other’s presence. But Feyre stood stiffly and her mouth was twisted up in a way he recognized.
She was uncomfortable.
“How are you feeling?” he asked, praying that he wasn’t going to regret broaching the subject of their afternoon.
Feyre paused as she rearranged her growing pile of zucchini.
“I’m fine,” she said.
And Rhys knew she was lying. She may not remember everything they had together, may not remember him, but he knew her. He always would.
“I’m sorry about this afternoon,” he said, knowing it wouldn’t be brought up otherwise. “I shouldn’t have pushed you when you said you didn’t want to drive.
“I’m fine,” she insisted. Her actions belied her words as the slices and cuts she made quickly became uneven and imperfect. It looked like she was hacking at a log rather than a zucchini.
“No you’re not,” he said, “I know you Feyre, like it or not. You are pissed at me. That vein in your forehead is glaring at me and you’re holding that knife like you want to turn it on me next.”
She let out a slow breath and set the knife down before taking a step back from the counter. When she looked at him, it was to fix him with a long stare. Though, it wasn’t filled with her usual heat.
“I know that,” she said. “I know you know me. Everyone knows me. That’s all I hear is that it will be okay and it won’t matter if I don’t remember because at least you know. At least they know. I’m allowed to remember too. I need to remember, to know.”
The words were soft and careful and perhaps the most vulnerable declarations she had made in these last three months. It quite literally broke his heart. He set down the spatula he held and turned to her.
He almost apologized again but the look in her eyes warned him against it. No. She was past apologies and simpering words of comfort.
“What can I do?” he asked, his words an echo from just mere hours ago.
Feyre sniffed and looked away. “I want—”
She was cut off by the doorbell ringing. And just like that, she was gone, as if waiting for an excuse not to answer him.
Reminding himself that they were still trying to work together and communicate better, Rhys got the veggies ready for a quick stir fry. He listened as Feyre greeted her sister and Cassian. Cassian’s booming laugh filled the house followed by Nesta’s quick witted tongue. As always, they were at each other’s throats, right where they liked to be.
“We are not playing “Cotton Eye Joe” at the wedding,” Nesta said as she swept into the kitchen, a pie tin and bottle of wine in hand. She eyed Rhys. “You put him up to this, didn’t you?”
Rhys feigned offense. “Just when I thought we were getting along.”
Rolling her eyes, Rhys’ sister-in-law set the pie on the counter and went searching for wine glasses. As much as he and Nesta didn’t get along, Rhys had to admit that she was good for Cassian. And she was trying to fix things with Feyre too.
“C’mon, sweetheart,” Cassian insisted as he too entered the kitchen. He fixed Rhys with one of his impossible bear hugs before trying to entreat his wife. “Right when everyone’s drunk enough to barely stand straight, we get them line dancing to pure chaos. It’ll be hilarious. And leverage for later use against enemies.”
Nesta filled a glass of wine for herself and took a long sip. “No. I already have enough dirt on everyone, I could take over this country.”
Rhys caught Feyre’s eyes as she was trying to hold back a laugh. Merely shaking her head, Feyre helped distribute the wine and checked the sautéing veggies.
“Nesta Archeron, World Domination,” Feyre mused, “it does have a nice ring to it. I can picture it.”
And the night fell into an easy cadence.
Even as Rhys worried about how he and Feyre left their conversation earlier, he didn’t want to disrupt the evening by pulling her aside and asking her to finish what she’d been about to say. Especially not when she was laughing with her sister and teasing Cassian and practically glowing. This was the Feyre he remembered. The one who tried to make things better. The one who found her own happiness. The one who loved fierce and free.
He thought back to the early days of their relationship—back to when she’d been in the throes of a falling out with her sister’s and father. Back to when she was barely making it day by day, when that joy and passion dimmed and fizzled. Is that where she thought she was now? He hadn’t thought of it like that. Hadn’t thought that she may be experiencing those same loathsome thoughts or returning to those self-destructive habits. The ones where she bottled everything she felt and never talked about it. Or when she’d paint for hours and let one single line or stroke haunt her for days if it wasn’t perfect. Or when she’d refused to talk to her sisters even when she needed help the most.
“So,” Feyre said after they’d long since finished their meal and were still seated at the kitchen table each nursing their drink of choice. She pointed between Cassian and Nesta. “I don’t think I ever heard the proposal story.”
They all paused. Cassian gave Rhys a look, but what was there to do or say?
Feyre didn’t miss the exchange. She turned to Nesta. “What? Was it so horrible?”
Rolling her eyes, Nesta sipped her water. “No. I just didn’t say yes the first time.”
“Or the second,” Cassian added. He gave Nesta a soft smile, one that Rhys rarely ever saw cross his brother’s face. “Azriel took the ring from me so I couldn’t ask a third time.”
Rhys could remember each of those events perfectly. The first time had been just before Nesta was set to graduate her business program at the university. Just before the accident. The second time had been a little over a year ago. His brother had done everything he could to stay with Nesta, to love her, to support her. Rhys had seen how in the past two years Feyre’s coma affected the seemingly stand-offish woman and he wondered if worry over her sister overruled everything else Nesta felt or wanted.
“Why?” Feyre asked, confusion warring on her face as she looked between Cassian and Nesta. When her gaze came to Rhys, he was certain she could read the reason in his eyes.
“It wasn’t the right time,” Nesta said.
“She decided to barricade herself in the house for a month,” Cassian said, tipping his wine glass towards Nesta.
Nesta delicately flipped him off.
“You did what?” Feyre asked. The wine glass between her fingers was certainly about to snap from the way she was holding it.
There was a distinct thump followed by Cassian cursing in far less delicate terms as Nesta kicked him under the table.
Hell. Rhys was going to kill Cassian for bringing this up.
“I did not handle your accident well,” Nesta finally explained. She offered Feyre a small smile as she reached out to grasp her fingers. “I, I was worried and scared and…well it just took me a while to come to terms with what happened.”
“You don’t have to explain,” Feyre whispered. There were tears in her eyes as she kept a firm hold on Nesta’s hand.
It was strange to see the sisters so vulnerable with each other, Rhys realized. The Archeron women were impossibly strong and resilient and he doubted even a war could tear them down. But he knew too how much care and devotion the three of them had, and how it could harm them in ways they would never let show.
Nesta wouldn’t be deterred. She’d changed a great deal since Rhys first met her over three years ago.
“We’d just started talking again and were trying to make things better,” Nesta said, “and then the accident and the possibility of you not waking up…I didn’t know how to cope.”
“You read a lot of books,” Cassian supplied.
“Also trained for a triathlon,” Rhys added.
Feyre balked at her sister. “You hate running. And swimming.”
“Yeah, I dragged Emerie and Gwyn through that with me,” Nesta grinned. “We have another one scheduled for the spring.”
“So,” Feyre said, “what was it that made you accept the proposal?”
“It was after my first race,” Nesta said, shooting Cassian a small smile, “and we went to see you in the hospital and I just remembered how happy you were when you got married. And how changed you were, Feyre. It was so different from when we were growing up and it just put things in perspective for me.”
A shrug and then Nesta stood collecting the dirty dishes left over from pie. “Besides, Cassian is very persistent.”
After saying goodnight to her sister and Cassian and watching them leave the driveway, Feyre found herself swallowed up in too many thoughts, too many feelings, too many half memories.
As she and Rhys washed dishes—the dishwasher was being finicky and a technician couldn’t come out until the next day—they remained in companionable silence. Or as companionable as it could be. Feyre couldn’t help the way her mind whirled and how her eyes kept slipping over to Rhys.
He was drying, taking to stack everything in a systematic order to be put away later. The sleeves of his button up were rolled up leaving his brown arms on display. Why she was so fascinated with that fact, she tried not to think about. Because the more she thought about his arms the more she thought about other parts of his body. The more she did that the more she wandered to other things too.
When Rhys cleared his throat, Feyre had to mentally slap herself to attention. She was meticulously scrubbing down a pot, bubbles running down her wrists.
“Did you have fun tonight?” he asked.
It was so obviously not what he wanted to talk about that Feyre raised her brows.
“Yes,” she said, “it was good to have some time with them. It’s been a while since…well. I’m glad we got to talk.”
“Fifty bucks says “Cotton Eyed Joe” ends up playing at the wedding,” Rhys said.
Feyre snickered. “One hundred says she smashes cake in his face.”
Rhys regarded her with a careful expression. “Do you know something?”
“Do I?” she couldn’t help the little smile that certainly was teasing him.
“Hm.” He nodded once before slung the drying towel over his shoulder and holding out a hand. “Deal.”
“Deal.” And then she flicked bubbles on him.
“I am a whale,” Elain complained one afternoon. She was thirty-seven weeks pregnant and already looked ready to burst. Laid out on the lawn chair in a pair of leggings and an oversized flannel and her hair hanging in curls—she looked the perfect image of pregnancy. Even if she was scowling.
Feyre chuckled and offered her sister a blanket. Elain grudgingly accepted.
“You’re as bad as Lucien, you know,” Elain said. “I don’t need a blanket; it’s not raining and I’m not cold.”
“I know, but I’m not taking a chance on your kid not liking me when it comes out,” Feyre said.
“She will love her aunty Feyre no matter what,” Elain replied.
Feyre chuckled and took the lawn chair beside her sister. It was a decent fall day; the rains had stopped for a bit and the sun had decided to peek through the clouds for longer than five minutes.
“Really? Lucien says it’s a boy,” Feyre said. She tucked her own blanket around her as she pulled her feet up on her chair.
Elain rolled her eyes. “He knows I’m right and just wants to rile me up.” She paused, her brows pulling together in a deep furrow. “What if it is a boy, Fey? It’s going to be a boy and the both of them are going to gang up on me. How can I say no to a perfect little boy that’s an exact replica of his father?”
She seemed so concerned over that potential disaster that Feyre wondered if they’d have to call the doctor to settle the debate and spill the beans early.
“Good luck with that,” was all she could say. Though, if anyone was right in the debate, it was Elain, she had an uncanny ability of knowing things. The baby would undoubtedly be a girl and Lucien would be utterly devoted to the both of them. She almost didn’t want to be around to see it unfurl.
Smiling softly, Elain gave Feyre’s arm a small squeeze. “Thanks for letting me come over and get out of the house. I know you and Rhys have a lot going on.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Feyre said honestly. In the time that she’d been awake, it felt like she’d hardly seen her sister. And soon, Elain would be giving birth which would make reconnecting even more of a challenge.
It still felt odd to have Elain and Nesta back in her life. And yet, Feyre couldn’t help but be grateful for it. It offered another tie back to herself, helping her feel a little more grounded.
They sat in silence, staring out into the small forested area behind the house. The yard didn’t have a fence so it wasn’t a surprise for deer or other wildlife to wander in on occasion. The sun shone down in soft rays to offer a comfortable warmth, but Feyre was still grateful for the blankets she’d brought out. Between them was a small table with water and cookies to snack on. Even ready to pop, Elain still felt well enough to bake.
Elain cleared her throat and opened her mouth as if to speak. She shut it again and shook her head.
“Elain,” Feyre pressed, “just spit it out.”
Smiling sheepishly, Elain stretched her legs out beneath her blanket. “You invited me for a reason. And it wasn’t to see how fat I am.”
Feyre snorted into her cup of water. “Elain!”
“Please, I know I’m big, Lucien can’t stop telling me how much he loves it,” Elain dead panned.
“That’s enough of that.”
Elain merely shrugged and took a cookie for herself. “Feyre.”
Her sister was right. Damn her.
Feyre took a long gulp of water as she collected her thoughts and then she picked up a cookie too. She took her time to savor the soft center and sweet chocolate chips.
“How did you fall in love with Lucien?” The question had been on her mind for weeks now. And Feyre’d thought up different scenarios. She’d tried to think of different ways the two of them had come together but none of them were satisfactory. “You two didn’t get along. Especially not with how our relationship was going.”
Elain didn’t answer immediately. She only nodded along to Feyre’s words and finished her cookie.
“It was after dad’s funeral,” Elain said. “A week or so and I…I wasn’t doing so well, but I had to be—that’s what everyone expected of me after all. I was his favorite.” Her mouth puckered on the word as though she wished she could spit it out and never taste it again. “And I just didn’t know how to grieve him. Anyways, you and I had a fight and Lucien came over to talk to me. He was always too protective of you.”
She and Elain fighting didn’t sound right--it was always Feyre and Nesta at each other's throats.
“What was the fight about?” Feyre asked. When Elain tried to brush it away, Feyre insisted.
“You told me I was being childish for not wanting to sell dad’s woodworking equipment,” Elain said. She looked out over the backyard; her eyes glassy as she staved off tears. “Told me that it wasn’t worth holding on to him anymore. It had only been three months. And I told you that you were a bitch and to leave me alone.”
Feyre’s eyes widened and Elain smiled shrewdly.
“You told me I didn’t know what I was doing and to just leave things to you,” Elain continued. “So, I blocked you and went back to the house, Dad had named me the sole beneficiary. Which I never wanted. I never wanted that. And then Lucien came over to tell me off for making you cry. And I punched him.”
Elain let out a little giggle and winked at Feyre who was still trying to process everything that she was learning.
The fight sounded exactly like something that would have happened. The words, the circumstances, the reactions. Feyre had hated that woodworking equipment because everything their father had made with it never amounted to anything. Well…recently. Leading up to his death they could have sold the equipment and used the money to pay off some debts and bills. Instead, Elias had made little statues and trinkets. Nothing of value.
It had made Feyre furious.
Feyre cleared her throat. “You punched Lucien?”
“I tried, the man has pecs of steel,” Elain said. “I don’t think it affected him at all.”
A laugh escaped Feyre, along with a few tears.
“After that,” Elain shrugged. “I don’t know. He teased me, I yelled at him. He tried to help me, I said he was just working on your own vendetta. And then I needed help with stuff around the house, and he kept coming by. You know, we both needed someone, I think. He’d just found out about Helion and his mom, his brothers were in prison—and we just came together.”
Elain ran a hand over her belly, her ring gleaming in the soft light of the afternoon.
“It took me a while to understand my feelings,” she continued, “especially after Greyson and dad. But when I realized I actually liked him? It just felt like everything was falling into place. And then when I loved him? Terrified. Absolutely.”
There was a slow smile playing on Elains lips as she thought back in her memories. When she met Feyre’s eyes, there was contentment in her gaze.
“But it was worth it. It was always worth it, Feyre.” She grabbed another cookie. “Sometimes the best things for us scare us and we have to change and adapt, but that’s when we learn the most.”
Through the open window, the front door opened and shut with a bang.
“We’re back!” Rhysand called out.
“Out here!” Feyre responded. She gave Elain a grateful squeeze of the arm.
“I distracted Lucien as long as I could,” Rhys announced as he stepped through the back door. “But I think he suspects something.”
Feyre couldn’t help but grin. She and Elain had sent the men on random errands so they could have time alone, and then instructed Rhys to just keep Lucien out and busy and not hovering as he’d taken a shine to doing. They’d gotten a good three hours of sister time.
Elain sighed and slowly shifted to stand. Rhys immediately went to offer a hand. The middle Archeron glared at him. Though when her own efforts made no progress, she reluctantly accepted the help.
When she finally got up, she patted his cheek. “Cassian’s still my favorite out of you all.”
And with that she headed back inside where Lucien was bringing in some groceries from Costco.
“Thank-you,” Feyre told Rhys. “Elain and I really needed to catch up and it was good to have that time together.”
“Good,” Rhys said, he ran a hand along her arm in a comforting gesture. One that sent shivers down her spine. “I’m glad you two could talk.”
Feyre’s chest tightened and she desperately wanted to fall against Rhys like she had just a few days ago. To feel his body against hers, to match her heartbeats to his.
“Are you sleeping?” he asked. His thumb came up to stroke her cheek, just beneath her eyes.
Feyre looked away, sheepish. She had not, in fact, been sleeping. She told herself it was because of the stress the storm had brought on, her failed driving attempt, even the stress of reconnecting with her sisters. It was not because it was too silent all alone; not because the bed was too cold. Certainly not. And of course, Feyre, being a stubborn Archeron woman, was too embarrassed to ask Rhys to come to bed with her, to hold her through the nightmares.
“I’m fine,” she told him.
Rhys narrowed his eyes, clearly not believing her.
“Darling,” he said, his thumb grazing her skin just light enough to send another shiver along her skin.
“Feyre?” Elain called from inside. “Vassa wants to know your number so she can send you the baby shower invite.”
Feyre offered Rhys the best smile she could before disappearing back inside.
Later that night, after assuring Elain she would be happy to go to the baby shower, Feyre curled up onto the couch to watch one of the shows she’d missed while in her coma. Rhys was on the opposite side of the couch, laptop in his lap as he tried to get a little more work done before the weekend was over.
Had he always worked so much? Was this a coping mechanism he’d used at the start of the coma? Or was this just his way of avoiding her and their new reality? It was getting late and she knew they’d go to bed soon but she couldn’t help but feel that this was different. This was wrong. She was tired of being alone. Tired of feeling like a solitary soul when he was right there.
She blinked, realizing she’d been staring. And Rhys had noticed.
“I—” She looked away, swallowed, looked back. That intense gaze of his never wavered. “I haven’t been sleeping.”
She knew the admission came as no surprise, not after that afternoon. Not after the way he had looked at her, had touched her—everything containing so much care and love.
Rhys stretched a hand out across the back of the couch to gently squeeze her arm. “What can I do? We can ask Madja to prescribe something?”
She didn’t know if she could actually make the next words come out. “No. Will you…will you come sleep with me? So I’m not alone?”
The last part stumbled out of her in a jumbled mess and she wasn’t sure if he would be able to decipher it.
His rough fingers slowed their pattern along her bare shoulder, coming to a halt. She’d said too much. She’d made it awkward and—
“Is this your way of asking me to cuddle?” he teased.
But when Feyre looked at him, she could see the hesitance in his gaze, as though he were waiting for her to tell him she was kidding. She wasn’t of course. Not after what had happened in the last few weeks. The way he comforted her, the way he helped her, the way he encouraged her, how he offered his shoulder to lean on.
"Yes," she said simply.
Rhys crooked a smile at her before turning off his computer and standing. He held a tanned hand out to Feyre.
“C’mon darling, let’s go to bed.”
Rhys remembered the first time he stayed over at Feyre’s place. It was three months after they’d started dating and she’d finally asked him to stay the night. Even after the first moment Rhys saw her, he knew there was something special about Feyre Archeron. She was cool confidence and reckless beauty. She was different from the other women he’d been with before and when she’d invited him over, when she’d smiled at him with that small gleam of mischief in her eyes—he was a goner.
This felt similar.
In a way.
Because now, as Rhys followed her upstairs, he remembered that time of laughs and nerves. He remembered sweeping Feyre into his arms and kissing her. He remembered how her lips felt on his skin and how her hands traversed every inch of his skin. He remembered thinking that this was the start of something incredible.
Tonight was different of course—they would only be sleeping. There wouldn’t be touching or teasing. Nothing like that. But she’d invited him up to their room, their bed, their life. This was a step in the right direction, wasn’t it? It had to be.
Feyre slipped into the bathroom first with her arms full of her pajamas. She offered him a small smile before she tucked away.
Rhys ran a hand through his hair, reminding himself to breathe. Reminding himself that this was good. He changed quickly, finding some old shorts and a t-shirt tucked away in his dresser. He rarely slept with clothes on, but he knew Feyre would be more comfortable this way.
When they were both ready for bed, Feyre settled beneath the covers. She wasn’t wearing what she would usually wear—slinky silk bottoms and tank-top—rather she wore a t-shirt and beat-up leggings. The look had just as much power over him as the lingerie she used to wear.
Hell. He shouldn’t be thinking of that. Especially not when she’d finally opened up to him and asked him to come back to their bed in search of comfort. She wasn’t ready for anything else and he knew that. But damn, it was so easy to think of the earlier days of not just their marriage, but their relationship as a whole. Feyre enjoyed teasing, working him up, assuring him that she had nothing but bad intentions with him.
Without a word, she slipped into the right side of the bed—exactly where she belonged.
As he settled in on his side (above the blankets) he found she was already curled up, looking at him. Her large blue eyes pierced right through him that he wondered if she truly didn’t remember their relationship. Because as he watched her, he could have sworn there was some inkling of recognition, beyond that of what she remembered of the fight and accident.
“You favor your left knee,” she said.
She’d noticed that? The injury had happened so long ago that Rhys hardly thought about it anymore. Only on days of rough activity or when it stormed something awful. Like the night of the accident.
“I tried skiing a black diamond on my second day of learning,” he said, unable to help his grin. “Cassian told me I couldn’t do it and I was determined to prove him wrong.”
She snorted lightly. “Why doesn’t that surprise me?” Sitting up, she propped her head on her and smirked. “And where was Azriel during all this?”
“Taking bets against me,” he replied swiftly. “And standing at the ready with his camera.”
Her laugh, like everything about her, was infectious. “So you’ve always been an arrogant bastard it seems.”
“Self-assured,” he corrected.
“Please, Rhys,” Feyre drawled. “We’ve talked about this. Just because my memory is like swiss cheese doesn’t mean I don’t know you.”
Rhys froze, staring at Feyre as her words slowly registered within him. A slight burn built behind his eyes that he fought to tamp, right along with that stupid flicker of hope rising in his chest. Because he knew her words didn’t mean what he wanted them to. He knew she wasn’t saying what he so desperately wanted to hear. Still, with that knowledge, he reached out across the bed for her hand, brushed his thumb across the back of her knuckles. He had to swallow twice before speaking.
“You know me?”
The amusement that lit her eyes turned to something different. Something far more intimate than he had been prepared for. Though, even as he watched the slightest hint of panic sneak into her gaze, he also saw the calm and peace there too.
“I think I do,” she said. Then she took his hand in hers and wrapped their fingers together before resting their clasped hands against her chest, right above her heart. “I think I do.”
i may have thought of a nessian au while writing this. like the wip whore i am.
tags--let me know if i forgot to add you (i can be pretty dumb) or if you’d like to be added to my acotar list
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The Great War
I vowed I would always be yours
Summary: Feyre Archeron's kingdom has been warring with King Rhysand for longer than she can recall. When, on an unlucky stroke, he stumbles upon her and her sisters locked in a tower, Feyre will do whatever it takes to keep him from finding them.
Even marrying him.
Happy @feysandmonth (but really LB appreciation month!) My only multi-chaptered offering.
Read more on AO3
“Someone’s on the horizon.”
Feyre Archeron looked up from her chair at the far end of the tower she lived in. Her sister, Elain, sat on the open window ledge, head resting against the slate gray stone. Her lips were tinged blue from the cold, not that Elain seemed to care. She merely tugged the threadbare blanket tighter around her shoulders, brown eyes never leaving the horizon.
Nesta leaned up from the fire she was keeping alive, her eyes pinched at the corners. They had been out of everything for months and it showed. Feyre could see her eldest sister's collar bone jutting from beneath a dress that had once fit her like a glove—it now hung like a sack over her too-thin frame.
Endless war had convinced their father to hide them away, terrified his enemy to the east would one day try and steal one of his daughters. It was supposed to be temporary—he’d promised six months or less. Feyre’s eyes slid towards the wall where Nesta kept count. Eighteen months had passed without a word and their supplies had run out well before then.
“Who is it?” Nesta asked, running her tongue over chapped, broken lips. Elain shrugged fragile shoulders. She, too, was suffering from starvation. All three of them were. “Is it father?”
“I can’t tell,” Elain admitted, squinting against the glow of sunset. “Who else would know where we are?”
Feyre and Nesta’s eyes met. He hadn’t come in so long they’d just assumed he’d forgotten—or worse. Sometimes at night, Feyre wondered if he hadn’t left them here to die. It was no secret that General Graysen Nolan was his preferred heir and that one of them would be married to him eventually. It would only ever make Graysen king consort, which irked the male-centric court of the north. Men had ruled in an unbroken line for centuries.
And then Nesta had been born.
Followed by Elain.
And then Feyre.
There might have been more–more daughters for their father to ignore, to abandon in the too-small tower, had their mother not died. Even a new wife couldn’t usurp Nesta as heir to the throne, and so laws were squabbled over, abandoned when King Rhysand of Velaris attacked their border, drawing her father's attention to the military.
They’d all been spared political marriages, ones that would surely grind them all into dust. None more so than beautiful, docile Elain. Feyre suspected she’d be given to Graysen and Nesta wholly disinherited. She’d overheard her father's council of advisors suggesting Nesta be sent to a temple far in the mountains where she would remain unmarried, a devotee to the gods. And Elain, who was easier to control, who was sweet and lovely and uninterested in ruling, could take Nesta’s place and Graysen rule through her.
Until she birthed him a son.
After all, women died in childbirth all the time. It was such a strange thing, to hear these men hope that her sister might die bringing a male child into the world, so they wouldn’t be forced to serve beneath a lowly woman. Feyre knew Nesta would be far kinder to their people than Graysen ever would be—and Elain would do as she was told.
“Is it father?” Elain’s voice cut through Feyre’s guilty thoughts. She didn’t equate to any of his plans. His forgotten youngest child, she knew he’d offer her up to some noble in exchange for riches or military might.
All at once, the three of them scrambled upwards. They were supposed to be locked in, unable to get out. Once they’d realized he wasn’t coming back, the three had set to work. Elain, sitting at the highest point of that massive tower, had made nice with a local fisherman’s son. He sent up fishing line and hooks when she told him she needed it for mending, along with the occasional fish and bread.
That hook and string had helped them get the latch to the bottom door opened. Nesta collected firewood and Feyre hunted small game for them to eat. It was never enough, especially now that they were in the brutal season of winter. The fishermen were gone and so were most of the creatures Feyre meticulously hunted. They hadn’t eaten in days and Feyre was starting to get desperate.
Starting to think they should steal one of the boats left behind and take their chances in the frigid water.
They hid everything they shouldn’t have, rearranging the tower so it looked exactly as it had when they’d first been locked inside. Elain straightened the navy rug on the floor while Nesta remade the bed and Feyre hid her little weapons behind a stack of lumpy pillows.
Elain slammed the shutters of the tower closed and grabbed her knitting needles. Nesta picked up a book and Feyre…Feyre merely stood there. She’d run out of paint long ago, just as Elain had run out of yarn and Nesta had read the book many times over.
It didn’t matter. They heard the grunting of whatever soldiers were yanking open that heavy iron door, followed by the sound of clanking chainmail and heavy boots on the winding stairs. None of them dared to look at each other, jumping when a pounding fist banged against the trap door.
It was their father, just as Elain had said. Feyre came forward, her body heavy with exhaustion. She pulled back the rug Nesta had just arranged, yanking the iron ring with her limited strength.
Their father's head, adorned with a heavy iron circlet, appeared next. Hatred burned in Feyre’s gut at the sight of his full cheeks, of his glowing health. He certainly hadn’t suffered that last year and half. He climbed the rest of the way up, drinking the sight of them.
“There you are,” he murmured with relief. As if there was any doubt that they’d still be here. He looked from her to Nesta before his eyes fell fully on Elain. Feyre’s stomach knotted, nervous though she couldn’t explain why.
“Have you come to bring us home?” Nesta asked hopefully. Feyre, too, wanted to leave. The tower was perpetually freezing and they were hungry and exhausted. The fortress they’d grown up in wasn’t much better and yet they were at least well fed and warm bottles were placed beneath their bedding to keep them warm at night.
“Soon,” he murmured, not looking at Nesta at all. His eyes were still fixed on Elain, a frown ghosting his features. They looked so similar, though, on their father, those rich, brown eyes seemed soulless whereas on Elain, they were filled with warmth. Starvation couldn’t dim Elain’s beauty, though her once bouncy curls hung limp down her back and her heart-shaped face was thin and drawn. Elain, too, could have used some sleep.
“I will return for the three of you in a week's time. We are so close to beating the east back into those empty mountains.”
As if any of them cared. Nesta’s eyes sharpened. “We are out of food.”
Their father didn’t flinch. “You have enough for one last week.”
“And then what?” Feyre asked, cutting Nesta off before she angered him.
“Nesta will go to the priestess's temple at Sangravah and Elain will marry Graysen—”
Elain rose to her feet. “What?”
“Feyre will stay with me for the time being,” he added, ignoring Elain entirely.
“A priestesses temple?” Nesta demanded. It was all as Feyre had once heard. He’d decided it, then. Decided to sideline Nesta and hope Elain would be the easier-controlled ruler. Or worse, that she would die before him, giving Ellesmere the son he’d denied them. Elain didn’t respond at all, though her face was so pale it might have been bone. Graysen was not known for being kind or gentle. He would use Elain until she was nothing but a corpse, and her sister knew it.
“It’s been decided,” their father snapped.
“By who?” Feyre dared to ask. She could have reached for her bone knife beneath the pillow and tried to bury it in his neck…but he was her father.
And he had a broad sword hanging from his hips.
“By me,” he told them. Nesta scoffed while Elain said nothing, her eyes glazed over as she imagined this new future. “And you will do as I tell you or you will suffer my wrath.”
“We are already suffering,” Nesta informed him, her hatred burning in her eyes. Of the three of them, she looked the most like mother. Perhaps that was why he disliked her the most—he couldn’t look at Nesta’s silvery blue eyes and her golden brown hair braided atop her head like a crown and not see his once beautiful wife staring back at him.
Banishing her to a temple was like exorcizing a ghost.
“What’s a little more, then?” he all but whispered. Daring her to disobey him. Nesta couldn’t pick this fight. Not when her skin all but clung to her bones and not when he could have driven his blade through her chest with no repercussions at all. Feyre dropped into a chair, more exhausted than she’d ever been and Nesta followed suit.
To their father, who didn’t imagine they had any thoughts he did not permit them to have, it was an act of submission.
“It was good to see the three of you in good health,” he said, walking to Elain and brushing his fingers over her cheeks. Elain closed her eyes, clearly trying to keep herself from bursting into tears.
Feyre scoffed but said nothing else.
“Just a week, and then it's over,” he told them. As if it would ever be over. A new hell was waiting just over the horizon and Feyre had no intention of meeting it. She wouldn’t be separated from her sisters, either. She wouldn’t leave Nesta to die in a temple and Elain to perish in a marriage bed.
They waited until their father descended back down the stairs and that iron door slammed shut so hard it rattled the stones around them. They held silent and still, listening to the gallop of hooves and the accompanying silence as the sun finally set.
Elain broke first, drawing her knees up to her face with a soft sob. Nesta rose to her feet, pacing the floor, her hands outstretched before the fire.
“We’ll take the boat,” Feyre whispered. “We’ll take the boat and go south. They say their king grants asylum to those that make it to his shore. We can hide there for a time and make our way across the ocean.”
“We won’t survive,” Nesta said, her voice devoid of its usual emotion.
“I can spend the next two days hunting,” Feyre insisted. “We can scavenge for anything the fishermen left behind.”
Nesta shook her head but Elain looked up, wiping her eyes on her sleeves. “What does it matter, Nesta? We either die at sea or we die at his hands. Either way…” her voice broke with a sob. “I don’t want to be married to him.”
“It would be a terrible way to die,” Nesta said, though Feyre wasn’t sure if she meant death by their father's design or death at sea. Feyre was willing to take her chances, though. They could bundle, they could take water and food, and any other supplies in the covered ship that had been left behind. They’d be as protected from the elements within it as they were in the tower, and could fish if they ran low on supplies.
“It’s better than doing nothing,” Feyre replied.
Elain and Feyre waited. Nesta was always allowed the final say, their deference out of respect for the sister they’d always hoped would one day be queen. Those dreams were dead—they would live in exile or they wouldn’t live at all.
Two days—that was all Feyre was willing to risk. While she hunted, Nesta and Elain gathered supplies for the boat. Elain cleaned it during the day and Nesta organized until the three fell into bed each night bone weary and exhausted. They barely ate, trying so hard to preserve their rations for when they were out at sea and would have no other recourse.
Feyre went to bed that night feeling the smallest flames of hope. Hope that they’d make it to the southern border before their father realized what they’d done. That Helion, the king of that realm, didn’t decide to ransom them back. And most importantly, they managed to make it over the sea where they might live free lives for the first time since they were born. Unshackled by the chains of their father, or the monarchy, of the unfair expectations placed on women. Elain could choose her own husband and Nesta and Feyre their own fates.
The sound of someone pounding on the iron door of the tower dragged the three of them from a drowsy sleep. Their father had a key and the girls their own makeshift one—whoever was below was an interloper.
Elain flew from the bed, pushing open the shutters to blink into the dark.
“The east,” she whispered. “Rhysand.”
“He followed father,” Nesta hissed. “He led them right to us.”
Feyre blinked as Elain wrapped a cloak around her shoulders and tossed the rope down the side. “We go now,” she hissed. “Before he makes it up here and slaughters us all.”
Feyre nodded, though in her heart, she knew she wasn’t going with them. Everyone was on their boat and ready to go. All Nesta and Elain had to do was pull the anchor and set out. Rhysand would follow them—would merely drag them back where they’d be imprisoned or worse. Someone had to slow him down.
Had to distract him.
“Go,” Feyre whispered, reaching for her own cloak and her bone knife. She pressed the knife into Nesta’s hand, pretending she was getting her quiver of arrows as Elain propelled down the side. “I’m right behind you.”
The door wrenched open just beneath.
“Hurry up,” Nesta hissed. Feyre knew if either of her sisters had any inclination of her split-second decision, they would have stayed, too. The point was to go together or not at all. Rhysand was cruel—evil and terrible. He’d lock them in a frigid dungeon, would ransom them back for land and coins and whatever soldiers their father had taken prisoner. There were rumors he stole women from the bordering villages and passed them out to his own men to use as they liked. Nesta and Elain didn’t deserve that.
She thought, perhaps foolishly, that she could withstand it.
Heavy boots on the stairs drew her attention to the trap door. Nesta was gone, halfway down the tower even as the trapdoor beneath the rug rattled. She wasn’t going to help him open it. Fingers clenched to fists, Feyre pressed her back against the wall and waited for what would happen next.
The wood trap door exploded violently, splintering over the once carefully kept room. Feyre pressed her hand over her mouth to keep from screaming. The man who appeared was nothing like Feyre imagined Rhysand to be. She’d always pictured someone her father's age, someone who would look like the nightmare she’d been made to be afraid of.
Rhysand was young—early thirties at best. His dark hair seemed to gobble up the little light emanating from the fireplace as his violet-blue eyes swept over the room. They landed on her, crinkling at the edges when he realized it was just her. He looked like a warrior in his dark leather, a massive sword strapped against his spine. She tried to make herself smaller as he took a step towards her.
“Where are the other two?”
“Dead,” she lied as another man appeared. They could have been brothers—they shared the same warm brown skin, the same inky black hair. This man was perhaps lovelier in a classical sort of way, and far colder, if the stone cut of his face was any indication.
“Cassian!” Rhysand, betrayed by the silver crown of stars around his head, bellowed down the stairs. His eyes were on the rope hanging from the window. “Bring me the other two!”
“RUN!” Feyre screamed out that window. Rhysand lunged for her, strong arms wrapping over her too-thin frame. She didn’t have the strength to fight him though the gods knew she tried. Feyre thrashed as his broad hand clapped over her mouth.
“So much for dead, huh?” Rhysand whispered against her neck. Feyre twisted, her foot kicking hard between his legs. He grunted but didn’t release her. “You look close to it already.”
He and the other man dragged her kicking and silently screaming down those stairs. Feyre endeavored to make it as difficult as possible, if only to buy Elain and Nesta more time.
It worked. By the time she was beneath that violet sky of stars, a third man was striding towards them. He was the biggest by far, tall and broad and terrifyingly imposing. A crisscross of swords over his shoulders made him seem more lethal than the other two men, though when he stepped into a beam of moonlight, she thought he had the friendliest face.
“They took a ship,” he said, amusement lacing his words.
Rhysand pushed Feyre into the colder man so he could bind her wrists.
“Track them down. I can’t risk Archeron finding them first.”
Feyre kept her mouth shut. Her sisters had escaped Rhysand—they’d escape their father, too. Cassian—that’s what Rhysand had called him—looked her over, offered a smile that didn’t seem too threatening, and then turned to vanish back into the gloom.
“Are you going to kill me?” she asked him, her wrists bound in front of her body. Rhysand turned back to her, eyes sliding up and down her body. It wasn’t predatory or appreciative. In fact, he seemed almost disturbed by what he saw.
“How long have you been here?”
silver-edgedFeyre lifted her chin defiantly. She didn’t have to answer that. He didn’t care, either. Rhysand dragged her over the barren, frozen ground towards a midnight black stallion and hoisted her into a silver edged saddle with ease. He swung up just behind her.
“Would you like me to help Cassian?” the other man asked softly, his voice as dark as the night around them.
“I’ll need you,” Rhysand disagreed. “Cassian can handle two unarmed women.”
He nodded. Absolute obedience, just like Graysen ordered their father. Rhysand lowered his head until she could feel his breath on the back of her neck again. “Cassian will find them.”
“And then what? You’ll kill us as a family?” she asked him, twisting back so he could see she wasn’t afraid of him. It was a lie, of course. Feyre was terrified.
He didn’t need to know that.
Rhysand’s smile was cold—cruel. “Your father has something of mine. Now I have something of his.”
“Good luck getting it back,” Feyre retorted.
Rhysand only laughed.
It was a miserable night of riding. Feyre, half-starved and exhausted well before she was ever put in that saddle. By the time dawn broke, Feyre was miserably sore and hungrier than she’d ever been in her life. Her ribs ached, her thighs burned, and her head pounded. She was too focused on keeping herself upright to even think of her sisters, out on the icy sea all alone while a terrifying warrior tracked them down.
All she could think about was the constant twisting of her gut. As snow-capped mountains loomed, Feyre felt her vision slipping sideways. She blinked, trying to right the world, but once her lids clamped shut, there was no opening them. She heard a soft swear and realized she had tipped out of the saddle and Rhysand had been forced to catch her or potentially let her die.
She almost wished he had. Surely death on a mountain road was better than whatever he had in store for her. Still, Feyre was too exhausted to fight him when his thighs tightened around her and his arm became a steel lock around her middle. She didn’t stop herself from leaning into his solid strength, nor did she care when her neck inclined at a near awkward angle, bouncing off his shoulder each time the horse jolted.
She slipped in and out of sleep, roused when he’d grab her with a surprising amount of gentleness just beneath her jaw and demand she take a drink. At some point, she thought a blanket was draped over her body, though when she managed to pry open an eye, she realized he’d merely covered them both in his cloak.
“Will you walk? Or am I going to have to carry you into my palace?” Rhysand asked her, pulling Feyre from a rather strange, brightly colored dream.
“Go to hell,” she whispered, forgetting almost immediately what he’d even asked. It seemed like an appropriate response to anything and everything he might ask.
“I think she’s half dead,” another man’s voice murmured and Feyre swore he said those words with pure amusement. “Archeron beat you to it.”
“Shut up,” Rhysand grumbled. Feyre didn’t stay awake to hear the rest. For an unknown period of time, Feyre was lost to pure nothingness. Just bliss—utter, dreamless bliss. She could have died happy and, if she was honest, almost wished she had.
Coming back was hell. Feyre twisted against the tethers that kept her trapped in darkness, desperate to resurface. She needed to know where she was—what had happened to her sisters. And when Feyre managed to pry an eye open, she expected to find herself lying on the hard, stone floor of a damp, cold dungeon.
She was in a bed. In a room at least twice as big as the one she had at home. Bigger than the whole tower. Feyre was propped against a mountain of pillows and tucked beneath a sea of black and silver blankets. Curtains were tied from tall, wooden bed posts which made her feel, strangely, like a princess.
“You are a princess,” she whispered to no one in particular. In name only. Her filthy hair hanging in strings around her face and itching scalp told a wholly different story. Feyre pushed from the bed, strangely embarrassed to be in it at all. Her bare feet touched a plush, cream carpet that stretched the length of the bed against dark wood floors.
A fire crackled merrily in a large hearth across the room, keeping Feyre warm even after she left her blankets. She padded for the jutting, rounded windows that were curtained in more glittering silver. Pulling them aside, Feyre clapped a hand over her mouth. An ocean of icy snow blanketed the world around her, broken only by the rising mountainside she was currently trapped in.
That would make escape trickery, though not impossible. Feyre was used to the cold, the dark. If he thought to disorient her with the nice, furnished room, he didn’t know her at all.
Ignoring the bathroom, with a tub big enough to be a pool and a wall of glass that let her stare out into the snowy expanse, Feyre marched the curved, double doors gilded in more silver. He clearly had a color scheme, if nothing else. He also hadn’t locked her in. Feyre stepped into an empty hall, painted a soft lavender and trimmed in cream. No servants, no guards. Like she was no threat to him at all.
That infuriated Feyre. She marched down the hall, forgetting she hadn’t eaten in days—months, even, given the sparseness of what was available to them. She hadn’t passed out from fear, but from exhaustion and hunger. Her anger quickly evaporated into fear as blinding white spots bloomed behind her vision. Feyre reached for the wall, holding herself steady while her knees trembled violently.
“No, no, no,” Feyre moaned, her legs giving way beneath her. She clutched for the wall, looking for any purchase to keep her steady, but there was none. Only the tilting world and the brief flash of pain when her head bounced off the floor.
And then darkness again.
She came back the second time fighting. Feyre shot upwards, the heavy blanket of her bed pooling in her lap as she gasped for air. A tray of food was set on her night table and Rhysand himself sat in a chair by the window. He seemed irritated if the set of his jaw was any indication. She supposed he had better things to do than babysit her.
When she woke, he turned his head until those violet eyes were firmly on her. He cocked his head, causing a lock of his inky black hair to flop against the middle of his forehead. He was the picture of casual elegance. Bored, yet graceful, nobility. They didn’t have his type in Ellesmere–slick, polished, and arrogant.
“Good evening,” he offered, his voice rough. Feyre didn’t respond, though she did pull her knees to her chest. He watched the whole thing, no hint of his thoughts betrayed in his expression.
“You should eat.”
“I’m not hungry.”
He didn’t smile. “Sure. I suppose you like it when I carry you down the halls like an underfed corpse?”
Feyre felt embarrassment rise through her chest. “Who asked for your help?”
He leaned forward, bracing his elbows on powerful thighs. Feyre very much doubted he had ever missed a meal. She swallowed, hiding her hands beneath the blanket so he wouldn’t see how they trembled.
“Maybe you should ask it, darling. If this is how your own father treats you, maybe whatever I have in store would be a kinder fate.”
She all but spat at him. Hatred bloomed in her chest knowing whatever fate he had planned likely involved her eventual death. The deaths of her sisters, her home, and everything she’d ever cared about.
“How long do you plan to keep me captive?” she asked instead, pointedly ignoring what he’d told her.
Rhysand leaned backward, shrugging his broad shoulders. Clad in a tunic of black and silver that cut just beneath his jaw, he seemed strangely casual to her. No cape, no rings, no crown. Not even a circlet graced his forehead.
“You’re hardly captive. More like my guest.”
“If I’m your guest, that means I can leave–”
“Feyre,” he interrupted patiently, “darling. You can barely walk down the hall. Where do you imagine you’re going?”
“Away from you,” she hissed, well aware she sounded like a petulant child. The curved smirk gracing his face told her he agreed with her silent assessment.
“Well,” he murmured, rising to his feet. She’d forgotten how imposing he was. Even without the leathered armor and the sword, he cut an imposing figure. “Maybe you should eat some dinner, first. It’s no fun to best you on a technicality.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” she demanded, certain he was making fun of her. Warily, Feyre waited for Rhysand to respond. To mock her, as the courtiers back home always had.
“Are you not the Huntress of the North?”
She hated him for his use of that nickname. It had only ever been sneered at her, her bow and arrows the endless source of amusement for the men in her father's palace. A princess who wielded a weapon was practically sacrilege. That she was any good? Well, they found ways to keep her in place.”
Feyre jutted her chin, determined he would not make her feel any smaller. “Yes. That is exactly what I am.”
There was no hint of mockery in his gaze. “Then eat.”
He strode from the room without looking back to see if she obeyed him. It was only after he left that she realized night had fallen, hidden as it was behind the semi-sheer curtains. How long had he sat there, waiting? It made her uneasy, to be so helpless in front of him.
And the thought of passing out, at being left at his mercy and hoping he’d be kind was enough to motivate Feyre into eating. She swallowed her guilt, hoping her sisters were safe and, if nothing else, not starving too terribly before she pulled apart a roll of bread. Steam curled around her face and Feyre nearly moaned at the sight. It had been a long time since she’d had anything hot. She tried so hard to go slow, so she wouldn’t be sick, but the vegetables were seasoned with spices she’d never tasted, and the meat and potatoes covered in a rich gravy that had her all but licking the plate.
She could have kept going. She was tempted, even, to climb out of bed, find the kitchen, and ask for more. Instead, Feyre climbed out of bed, legs still shaky, and made her way to the bathtub.
Bastard as he was, Rhysand was right about one thing.
She’d never escape him in her current condition.
Feyre very much intended to escape.
Just as soon as she killed him.
Feyre spent a whole week minding her own business. The decision had been more practical than anything–every time she stepped into the hall, a wave of dizziness sent her practically running back for the bedroom. She would be damned if Rhysand put his filthy hands on her again. Feyre’s pride wouldn’t let her be caught in a compromising position by her enemy, which in turn ensured she ate every meal that was brought to her. The first few days had seen her all but living in the bathroom while she adjusted, gulping water from the tap when she felt feverish. She slept, she ate, she bathed, and did little else.
She felt like a traitor. Her dreams were consumed by her sisters—were they safe?
Were they alive?
She had no doubt if Rhysand had managed to find them, he would have paraded them about like his trophies like he’d no doubt done with her. The thought offered the faintest amount of relief. Only she was here.
Whoever left the trays just outside her door didn’t seem to know who, exactly she was. Or maybe they didn’t view her as a threat. Either way, she’d been provided a steak knife each night, and Feyre had begun to collect them. The silver alone would be enough to fund part of her journey, and the sharpened point sliced easily over her pointer finger. It would do well enough against anyone who put the fleshy parts of their skin too close to her body.
Feyre woke to an actual servant the dawning of that second week.
“The king requests you dine with him,” an elderly, no nonsense woman declared. As if that were the end of things. Feyre knew, from growing up around her own father, that the king's word was law. She didn’t obey him, though. He wasn’t her master.
“And if I say no?” Feyre asked in her brattiest tone.
An arched brow was the only expression she got. “I hear a palette of straw is far less comfortable than a bed made of goose down.”
She hated that woman, with her severe gray bun and her unsmiling eyes. Still, Feyre begrudgingly got into the tub and submitted to her all the same. She allowed herself to be dressed in an, admittedly, a pretty amethyst gown made of gossamer silk. She said nothing while her hair was curled and pushed off her face with a pearl-lined headband, or when thin, silver earrings were looped into her ears so it looked as if delicate trails of starlight clung to her skin. Her eyes were coated and lined until they looked bigger—more pronounced. Her lips were made softer and painted the most delicate shade of pink.
It all irritated her. Like she was a doll for dress up, like her too-thin, sharp appearance was solely for his pleasure. “Is this what your king likes?”
“Hardly,” that servant snapped. Speaking to her like that in her own home would have gotten someone killed–not that Feyre would have tattled. Still, the sharpness took her aback.
“You have a problem looking nice?”
Truthfully, Feyre had no problem looking nice. Her problem was the way she felt as if she were little more than a pretty object. She didn’t want to look nice in Rhysand’s kingdom, at a breakfast he almost certainly would also be attending. He’d see her and approve of her, which was the opposite of what she wanted.
Feyre marched down the halls, and for the first time since she’d arrived, there was no danger she’d fall flat on her face. The hall led into a larger atrium, with a winding staircase that led both upwards and back down into the palace. Feyre tried to memorize her path, but the steps leading down only directed her into another branching hall of the same cream and lavender and arching doors lined in silver pulled tightly shut.
She’d expected a large dining hall filled with people. That’s how Feyre had always eaten. A dozen eyes were always on her, listening for any morsel of gossip they could run to her father with. When the doors were opened for it, Feyre found an intimate scene. A table for five people, perhaps, but no more. Round, with only two chairs decently separated and covered in a selection of food she could directly spoon onto a silver plate herself.
Rhysand, too, waited with his usual boredom. He was framed by a line of windows frosted over from the cold. Same black tunic and pants, to the point Feyre wondered if he owned any variations to that outfit. He had taken no food, and stood when she entered. He nodded to the servant just behind, which apparently signaled to close the doors. Feyre was trapped in the chamber with him.
“Sit,” he said, gesturing towards her chair. Feyre hesitated, her slippered feet sliding against the wood just beneath. It was the wafting scent of chocolate that sent Feyre to her seat. She hadn’t had anything sweet in so long, a terrible curse for someone who liked sweets as much as she did.
“Eat,” he ordered once she was in her chair. Feyre tried her best to ignore him, scooping eggs and fruit, and cheese onto a plate. She took sausage and bread before she realized the scent of chocolate was coming from a silver pot. Hot chocolate.
His mouth twitched, watching her pour it into her porcelain cup. Feyre took a sip, trying to suppress the moan that rose in her chest. She didn't succeed and in response, his eyes widened ever so slightly.
“Are you always so adaptable?” he asked, only serving himself when she was finished. Feyre didn’t offer him a response, too busy shoveling food in her mouth. It was, as it always was, perfect. His manners were more refined, reminding her that the time she’d spent in that tower had made her wilder than before.
The silence stretched between them. It seemed unbearable for him, because Rhysand set his fork back to the table, eyes pinned on her. “Why were you in that tower?”
“Who were you expecting to find?” she sneered. Rhysand raised those dark, immaculately groomed brows and she realized belatedly he’d never meant to run into her. Who had he been looking for, then? Clearly, when the opportunity presented itself he hadn’t been able to resist and still…Feyre wanted to know.
“Answer my question.”
“We were there because of you,” she whispered, gripping the knife just beside her plate so tightly the whites of her knuckles were exposed.
If he felt guilt, he didn’t betray it. “How fortunate, then.”
She was going to stab him. If she stood, Feyre could bury the blade in his neck before he could react. “Fortunate? Did you find my sisters?”
Another casual shrug. “Cassian hasn’t returned.”
“Maybe he’s dead,” she hissed. Rhysand smiled.
“Maybe,” he agreed, his tone suggesting he did not agree. “Can I ask, darling, why I was the cause of such a slow, terrible death for you? Why not behead his daughters and be done with it?”
Feyre’s heart pounded in her throat as she rose, her plate half untouched. He was fixated on her face, unaware she still had the handle of that knife fisted in her fingers.
“Our suffering amuses you?”
“Confuses me. If your father sent you to that tower to die–”
“To protect us!” Feyre interrupted, certain he couldn’t be that stupid. “To keep you from harming us!”
He reclined in his chair as she moved towards him, her knife hidden in the flouncy material of her skirt.
“You believe that?”
“Who were you looking for? What did he take of yours?” she asked sharply, halting just in front of him. Part of her was desperate for any information, even if it came from his lips. She had never once been granted any she hadn’t stolen, and even then Feyre couldn’t be certain it was true or not.
He assessed her. “Why would I tell someone hoping to kill me anything?”
“You’re stupid?” she guessed, inching closer.
“I’ll trade you, darling. I’ll answer any question you have if you give me the knife in your hand.”
Feyre hesitated. “Do you swear?”
Rhysand nodded, that lock of dark hair falling against his forehead again. Pressing a golden hand to his heart, he said, “I swear it.”
Quick as a viper, Feyre lunged. Rhysand shouted, unprepared to have the blade of her knife buried in the back of his hand. She’d stabbed with all her pent up fury, all but pinning him to the table by the point of the serrated blade.
His face was altogether too close when she turned to look at him, those violet eyes blazing with some unreadable emotion. “You never said how I had to return it.”
Blood dripped onto the wood as Rhysand used his other, unwounded hand to pull the knife out of his hand. She waited for him to go back on his promise, to call her names or punish her—all of which she deserved. Feyre straightened.
“I want Nolan,” Rhysand gritted out, unfolding a napkin to press against his hand. “Finding you was merely good luck. I can trade you for the General. As for what he has that belongs to me, well...” he raised his hand, as if to show her why he wouldn't be divulging that bit of information.
Feyre laughed. “You could trade Elain for Graysen. Maybe. But me? You might as well kill me right here, right now.”
“I won’t be doing that,” he hissed, holding the napkin against his wounded hand. He didn’t move from his chair, though she expected him to. He merely sat there, his napkin blooming the same red that was still puddled just beside his plate.
“You will live here until you die,” he interrupted snappishly. Their gazes held and for a moment, Feyre felt as though his eyes had tied a string between them, immobilizing her entirely. She’d forgotten, for a moment, a bloodstained knife had punctured his hand and that she’d been the one who’d done it. Standing over him was wild–intoxicating.
He blinked and the spell was shattered.
“Let me go,” she breathed, swallowing hard. He crossed his ankle over his knee, one foot bouncing anxiously. “I’ll tell you anything–”
“You know nothing,” he dismissed, eyes cutting towards the door. “Another of your foolish bargains.”
“You can’t keep me here,” she insisted, turning her back to him. Feyre made a show of lifting her skirts, of stepping around the droplets of blood, all the while Rhysand watched.
“You would be surprised at what I could do. What I might do, if provoked.”
She looked over her shoulder to his wounded hand, bound in that napkin and held for her perusal. There was a darkness to his gaze that should have unsettled her. Feyre thought she could have counted the constellation of stars within it—a dangerous thought, given who he was. It struck her only then that he was handsome. Too handsome.
Beautiful. Certainly, the most beautiful man she’d ever seen in her entire life. She’d been so consumed with hating him, with survival, to pay him any attention before. Now, though, as her adrenaline ebbed into fear, she saw him for what he was. Just for a moment—lovely.
She stamped that thought deep, deep down.
“Hardly a punishment, keeping me in finery,” she taunted, swishing her pretty dress around her to emphasize her point. It was then that he stood, and Feyre so badly wished he hadn’t. She stopped her teasing, her body flooded with cold at the sight of him.
“No. You’re rather pretty, dressed in my things,” he began, holding his hand against his chest as he surveyed her. “I wonder how much prettier you’d be in my bed chamber–”
“You wouldn’t dare,” she hissed, her heart thudding in her throat.
“How even lovelier still, in my lap, on my throne—”
“Stop it,” she half pleaded, half ordered. He raised a brow.
“Oh? Commanding me, are you? There’s only one person allowed to make such demands of me,” he said, stepping closer and closer until her back was pressed against the wall. Rhysand didn’t back down, his thigh sliding between her legs to pin her between them. Feyre couldn’t control her rapid breathing, hating how close he was.
How good he smelled.
“Ask me who,” he said. She shook her head no, unable to look away.
“I’ll tell you,” he continued, his tone far too heavy. “The only person who can give me a command is my wife–”
She slapped him, sending him stumbling back a step. He needed to learn what would happen if he invaded her space. “Under no circumstances would I marry you,” she hissed, slipping around him for the door. She’d just pulled it open, had all but begun running down the hall, when he called after her.
“Not to save your home? To end this war? To keep your sisters from being traded back to your father so I can hang one man?”
Feyre whipped back around, terrified of the intensity on his face. “I can’t trust you.”
“I would shield them,” he all but whispered. He looked crazy, his shirt bloodied, his hand wounded. His face, was slightly ashen from how she’d hurt him and still decisive. “And you.”
“How can you protect me when my greatest enemy stands four feet from me?!” she shrieked. He arched a brow, as if to call her statement into question.
“None of this would have happened had you not intervened!”
“There are things you don’t understand,” he protested, but Feyre took a step through the doorway, out into the hall.
“You will,” he replied, holding her again until his gaze tied a ribbon around her very soul. She shook her head, just to prove she could still move her body independent of him.
“I’ll kill you first.”
He laughed, then.
“You may do whatever you like to me, darling.”
Everything they’d ever said about him was true. Feyre thought that as she turned her back to him, her body far warmer than she’d ever admit. Feyre knew two things with absolute certainty.
One, if she didn’t manage to escape and soon, she’d never be free of him.
And two—Rhysand wasn’t going to let her go. Not to her father. Not to the world.
Maybe not ever.
A Stroll Down Memory Lane
Feysand Month Day Two ~ Memories
Relationship: Feyre Archeron x Rhysand
Word Count: 991
Description: Feyre decides to paint all the significant moments of their relationship together.
The studio was quiet on that particular day when Feyre had gone in for some alone time. Rhysand had said that they had all deserved a day to themselves and their family had seemed grateful for the opportunity to just enjoy the warmth of that summer day. When she arrived the first thing she had done was open the windows so the warm summer breeze could waft through the studio and so she could hear the musicians playing on the corner. Velaris was particularly active on that day with Fae going to and fro.
It was only a little time until her anniversary with Rhysand approached and she had decided to paint their story together. She started with the first night they had met back when she was still with Tamlin in Spring. His words still echoed in her ears when he announced he had been looking for her. At the time she had just thought he was getting her out of a dangerous situation, but as it turned out he had meant them. He had been looking for her.
She skipped under the mountain, neither of them wanted to remember those days. But she painted right after Rhysand had taken her from her wedding to Tamlin. The moment she had tossed her shoe at him, how it had hit him in the head and then a companion one where he whirled and gave her a look of utter disbelief. She had to keep herself from laughing a few times as that memory swept over her.
Next was Starfall and how the stars had landed on their faces. She painted them laughing together and remembered how it had felt to do so. She painted after the Weaver’s cabin and how she had dropped her very wedding ring into his hand. Their mating when they were covered in paint. Sometimes it still felt like those days when they hadn’t been able to keep their hands off one another.
She painted their secret union at the temple where they took their vows as husband and wife and as she had become High Lady of the Night Court. There were so many moments that she painted for him, some that were for his eyes alone. It was a long task and she had forbidden him from entering her study so that he would not spoil the surprise. She had to admit that it was hard to keep it a secret, she was so excited to show him, but she wished to wait until it was time to exchange their gifts.
For their anniversary they would be staying in the cabin. She had Mor help her take the art to the cabin. She had thought about asking Cassian and Azriel, but she didn’t trust them not to tell Rhysand what they had seen or even them keeping their thoughts shielded enough not to let their brother see.
Mor on the other hand would be the perfect secret keeper because when she saw some of the paintings she knew how important it was that Rhysand didn’t know. “He’ll love them all,” she told her friend before patting her shoulder and letting her finish the rest of the work.
She stayed at the cabin so that she could get all the canvases in order while she waited for Rhysand to arrive. He had sent a thought down their bond that he would be there soon and anticipation thrummed through her. When he opened the door she had hidden all of the paintings with her powers but he didn’t seem to notice or care. He picked her up and kissed her, pinning her against the wall. This was the first time they had been alone in a while and it was nice not to have to worry about Nyx for a few days. All his aunts and uncles were watching over him in Velaris so that his parents could have their alone time. “Missed you,” he murmured.
“Missed you too,” she responded as she brushed her nose against his. “Shall we open each other's gifts first?”
“That’s fine with me,” he responded as he pulled back and gently set her down on her feet again. “Let me show you mine first.” He made a box appear in his hands and she took it gingerly as she headed for the couch. “It’s not big or extravagant,” he told her sheepishly. “But I put a lot of thought into it and I hope you like it.” Feyre pulled at the ribbon until it fluttered to the floor and then removed the lid and pulled out a delicate orb. It reminded her of the Veritas that they had used to show the Queens the city of Velaris. “It’s not a Veritas orb,” he told her. “I took inspiration from it though.”
When she looked inside the orb she could see their wedding, their mating, all of it but through Rhysand’s eyes. She began to laugh and she took his hand, “We had similar ideas.”
Releasing her magic Rhysand’s gaze went to the stack of canvases before turning back to his wife. He lifted them one by one, his eyes filling with tears as he took in every single moment of their time together. “Feyre… I don’t know what to say.”
“Finally struck you speechless, did I?” She teased.
He turned to her and brushed a finger across her cheek, “I love them all.”
“I’m glad, it only seemed right. We may have started out rocky, but I would do it all over again if it meant that I’d make my way to you.”
She didn’t have time to react as he pulled her onto his lap and kissed her. “Shall we recreate our first time together?” He grinned at her.
“I brought my paints,” she responded.
He laughed, “Go get them, Feyre darling.”
And she rushed to find them, excitement rushing through her as she thought about what was to come.
Once Upon a Dream 🧵
Summary: This time, the girl saves the prince. For Feysand month 2022’s Fairy Tale AU.
Massive flames erupted in the banquet hall, sending courtiers screaming and running. King Beron Vanserra emerged from the blaze, cruelty etched in his dark brown eyes. King Cormac leapt to his feet, darkness curling at the edges of the hall.
“Get out,” his voice thundered. At his side, Queen Orla fearfully clutched her newborn son, Rhysand.
“It looks like my invitation got lost in the mail,” Beron sniffed. He gazed imperiously at the other Kings sitting at the high table: Tamlin of Spring, Tarquin of Summer, Kallias of Winter, Thesan of Dawn, and Helion of Day.
“You are not welcome here. Get. Out,” King Cormac repeated. The audience held its breath anxiously. Any wrong move could lead to an all out war with the Autumn Kingdom.
Beron did not move. “Relax, Your Majesty. I only wish to bestow a gift upon your firstborn.” He smiled slyly. “Listen well, all of you. The prince shall flourish in his youth as one of the most powerful princes to grace the land. But, before the sun sets on his eighteenth birthday, he shall prick his finger on a spinning wheel and fall into a deathless sleep.”
Cries of terror and dismay arose from the room. Queen Orla was a renowned tapestry artist and seamstress; it was simply cruel for her lifelong passion to harm her beloved son.
“You bastard,” the King snarled. The power of Night slammed into Beron and misted the very stones he stood on—moments too late. Beron had teleported away with his fiery portal, his cruel laughter echoing off the walls.
Queen Orla sobbed quietly. “It’s no use. The curse has been placed.”
King Helion arose from his seat. “Not so fast, Your Majesties,” he said. “I may be able to help.”
Queen Orla turned toward her husband, who inclined his head. “Please,” she sobbed. “Help my son. Anything you can.”
Helion’s face softened as he approached the royal family. He knelt before the newborn prince, allowing golden light to pool in his hand.
“Should this curse befall Prince Rhysand, a kiss from his mate shall allow him to wake.” Helion stood up, the golden spell trickling onto baby Rhysand from his hands. He offered the King and Queen of Night a sad smile. “I’m sorry I could not do more. Few things exist strong enough to break such curses.”
The King and Queen thanked him profusely for his assistance anyways. “We will find his mate,” King Cormac vowed to his wife. “I will not let Beron take our son away from us.” Prince Rhysand, with his inky black hair and violet eyes of starlight, cooed playfully in his mother’s arms, blissfully unaware of his fate.
***15 years later***
Feyre Archeron was just about to bite into her bread when she heard the telltale snap-whoosh sound of something getting caught in her trap.
Finally…we will have something meaty for dinner tonight, she excitedly thought. Her mouth watered at the thought of the juicy rabbit—or perhaps even deer—stew Elain would prepare.
But it was a young boy hanging upside down, not a deer or rabbit. Feyre sighed with disappointment. Of course one of the bumbling Illyrian trainees got caught in her trap. His clumsiness meant she would have to reset everything and spend more hours waiting for the next unsuspecting animal.
“Help! Help!” The boy was thrashing wildly. He waved his hands at Feyre when he spied her standing a few feet away. “I’m stuck!”
Feyre sighed again as she climbed the tree, carefully undoing the knots and mechanisms. Although slicing the rope would be easier, her family didn’t have the funds to buy additional supplies for the rest of the month. These days, every little scrap and crumb needed to be rationed. Winter was coming, after all.
She released the rope without remorse, dropping the Illyrian trainee to the ground without warning. He yelped loudly. Feyre leapt down from the branch, ready to scold the boy for messing up her hard work.
But words died in her throat, for he was the most beautiful boy she had ever seen. His short, inky black hair curled slightly around his ears; his skin a tanned brown; and his eyes an ethereal shade of blue. Almost like they were purple.
He seemed strangely familiar, but Feyre was certain she had never met this boy before. Perhaps she’d seen him in a dream.
The boy was meticulously picking dried grass off his black training leathers. He looked at her, looked at the ropes in her hand, then looked at her again. “You laid that trap?” he asked incredulously.
Feyre bristled, drawing herself up to her full height. The Illyrian trainee was slightly shorter than her, making it easy to stare him down. “And what if I did?” she challenged.
Plenty of village boys underestimated her hunting skills, and this boy seemed no different than the others. If she’d brought home something large and juicy today, that would have shut the buffoons up. But alas, she’d only ensnared a pretty boy.
He took a step back, put off by her aggressive tone. “I meant that in a good way,” he conceded smoothly.
“Oh.” Feyre shrugged and began setting her trap again. The boy watched her carefully with his violet eyes, fascinated.
“Do I know you?” he asked, after several moments of silence. “You seem like someone I met before.”
“I don’t think so,” Feyre replied. “I’m from the village and I’ve rarely interacted with the warriors.”
“What’s your name, miss?” he asked curiously. “My name is Rhysand. I’m one of the Illyrian trainees.”
“I can tell.” Feyre jumped back down from the tree, the trap now carefully concealed by a pile of leaves. “My name is Feyre.”
“Feyre.” Rhysand repeated her name like he was savoring something sweet. “It’s nice to meet you.” He glanced towards the bow and quiver of arrows strapped to her back. “Do you hunt in the Illyrian forests regularly?”
“Yes. To provide for my family.” Feyre waited for him to lecture her for wandering alone in the dangerous forests, to say that girls shouldn’t be hunting, blah, blah, blah.
But Rhysand only nodded and said, “I guess you were hoping for a deer, but you found me instead.” His innocent smile melted Feyre’s cautious exterior, and she returned it.
“Want to give me something in return?” she asked.
To her surprise, Rhysand pulled out a black Illyrian blade without hesitation. “How about a new dagger?” he asked. Feyre’s jaw nearly dropped. Illyrian daggers were strong, versatile, and highly valued. The one he was holding looked expensive. Like more than a few month’s worth of wages. Rhysand must’ve seen the hesitation on her face, for he quickly added, “I can get a new one easily, don’t worry.”
Feyre’s fingers brushed his as she took it from him. She marveled at the blade’s weight and balance, the sturdiness of the hilt. A fine weapon indeed. Too valuable to be sold at the market. “Consider us friends, then,” she announced, tucking the sheathed blade into her belt.
“Friends…I don’t have many of those.”
Feyre shrugged. “It’s okay. Me too.”
Rhysand smiled again, a carefree one that made Feyre’s heart flutter. “I have to get back to the war camp now. But will I see you tomorrow? Same spot?” he asked hopefully.
“Yes,” Feyre readily agreed. Rhysand lifted his hand in with a wave as he walked backwards, still smiling at her. The starlight in his pretty eyes was hypnotizing.
Snap-whoosh! The magical moment was broken as Rhysand let out a strangled screech and swung into the air. His ankle was caught in the noose—again. “Rhysand!” Feyre shrieked in frustration, running over to untie him from her trap.
***3 years later***
“Happy eighteenth birthday!” Feyre sang as she gave her friend a bear hug. Rhysand—no, Rhys, as he’d requested her to call him shortly after they became friends—was a solid wall of heat and citrus scent on a misty morning.
Rhys was a man now, taller and brawnier, with broad shoulders and strong arms. She couldn’t believe he was ever shorter than her, for she now had to crane her neck to even look him in the eye. Feyre had even caught a peek of his muscled abdomen on more than one occasion when they swam in the forest springs…it took all her self-control to limit her peeks to only a couple every few minutes.
Feyre herself had stayed the same height, though her curves had filled out more. She wondered if Rhys ever noticed her physical changes the same way she noticed his.
Rhys saw her at least once, if not twice, a week since their fateful encounter. They ran wild through the forest, swimming in springs, foraging for berries, and teaching each other how to fight and hunt. Those activities were fun, but what Feyre loved most was simply sitting and talking to Rhys.
He told her about Windhaven and his monthly visits to their capital city of Velaris. From his wealth and general demeanor, Rhys was clearly from some line of nobility, though he was always vague about his family name.
Feyre confided in Rhys about her love for painting (he’d promptly bought her art supplies every birthday), her father’s poor health, and her sisters’ unhelpful attitudes around the house.
Feyre loved how, unlike the other boys in town, Rhys did not balk at her getting hands bloody after a successful hunt. Probably because he also possessed a vicious streak. When Rhys allowed her to visit him at the war camps, she would watch him win bloody fight after bloody fight with unmatched skill. She also took an immediate liking to his two friends, loudmouthed Cassian and deadly silent Azriel, both rising warriors who also accepted her as she was.
Feyre handed Rhys his gift wrapped in burlap cloth. His violet eyes brimmed with emotion as he regarded the miniature portrait of them cloud gazing.
“Thank you,” he murmured, unexpectedly pressing a soft kiss to Feyre’s forehead. “This is beautiful.” Feyre blushed in the morning light. Lately, it was getting harder to act naturally around Rhys, to pretend she didn’t have emotions stronger than simple friendship.
“I’m glad you like it,” she beamed. “Come, I prepared a breakfast picnic for you!”
Rhys would be returning to Velaris for the rest of the day, to celebrate his birthday with his family. Feyre had constantly begged him to show her around the city, but he always made excuses. He clearly didn’t make exceptions, not even for the occasion of his eighteenth birthday.
Whatever, Feyre pushed her bruised feelings away. Rhys is here right now, and I should be thankful we are spending the morning together.
Read: Ch. 2
Notes: So I kinda (heavily) leaned on a crutch because this is my first Feysand fic. But I promise I have more original works planned for the rest of the month! Thank you for reading!
Tags: @the-lonelybarricade @feysand-month
I recently bought these from Touch of Magic Designs so here’s my SJM shelf!!!