Eyes Cast in Shadow
They were sure to leave the castle before the break of dawn with an ample amount of rations and water in their possession. What remained of the castle town was dyed a deep blue hue from the early morning light. Makeshift tents lined the streets, set up in front of all of the homes that were destroyed during the war. Although victory was on their side, the casualties they suffered were great. Hundreds of lives were lost, that many more hearts were broken. In time, buildings could be restored, but human lives were irreplacable.
Under the leadership of the princess-turned-Queen, Lynn Felabeorht, Sigismonda was bound to be restored back to its former glory. Or perhaps she was going to lead the people of this kingdom into a golden age. With her love for drama and the arts, Darcy could see her sparking inspiration in many, breathing new life into their home. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t be here to see that happen.
There were more reasons to go than to stay. If he stayed, Darcy would have to return to a life of confinement. If the people were to see his black hair, they would recognize him as the late king’s illegitimate son. If the people were to see his red eyes, that’d be the end of him. After losing so much to the demons, it only made sense for them to be hostile towards any demon in their midst, even one who also had human blood coursing though his veins. That was why, if he chose to stay, he would have to go back into hiding, and lock himself away in the tower his father kept him in, forever destined to be the king’s dirty little secret. Now that he got a taste of freedom, Darcy no longer wished to live his lfie in chains. This was how he wished to live his life, venturing out into the world with Lukas by his side.
Lukas still stood tall as he strode uphill, carrying a lot more than just bags of rations and water. He lost many comrades on the battlefield to the demons who had slaughtered his people and conquered Concordia, the kingdom he once called home. There, he lost his father, a man Lukas revered for teaching him the art of swordsmanship, especially in a place where it was frowned upon to brandish a sword. The Concordians were known to be pacifists, who encouraged their people to create instruments instead of weapons, to learn how to play music instead of learning how to fight. What brought them peace and happiness ultimately turned out to be their downfall. Lukas had no choice but to leave and now here he was once again leaving a place he called home.
Unlike Darcy, he didn’t have to go. Lukas was a human. He had plenty of reasons to stay: the comrades who survived the war as well as his mentor, Saxon. However, Lukas chose to leave for one reason. For Darcy.
Halfway up the hill, Darcy stopped.
Lukas was quick to notice. “What’s wrong?” He asked.
Darcy’s chest grew taut with emotion. The man before him had gone through hell and back again. More than anything, Darcy wished for him to find peace. Darcy didn’t wish for him to be chained to his side. As much as it would pain him to let Lukas go, Darcy wished to do right by him, and it was only right to ask him. “Are you sure about this?”
“Yes,” Lukas replied with no doubt nor hesitation. “Why are you asking this now?”
“I just...” Darcy looked back. “I don’t want you to have any regrets.”
“There’s nothing to regret,” Lukas told him. “I paid my respects. I said my goodbyes.” Strong hands reached out to take a gentle hold of his. “I put a lot of thought into this. If I were to stay in Sigismonda and let you leave, that would be the biggest regret of my life.”
“Lukas,” Darcy murmured, touched.
The feelings, the love that had taken root in his heart so long ago grew that much more. He didn’t want to keep these feelings hidden any longer. He embraced the man he loved more than anything, more than the world, more than his kingdom, more than himself, and leaned up to kiss him. Lukas kissed him back, slow and deep, as if he were savoring the taste of his lips, his tongue. Darcy could taste the bread and fresh berries in his mouth. He could feel Lukas’ hands trail up his arms, his shoulders, his neck and caress his face. Darcy held him closer still.
Together, they faced and navigated through the darkness. Together, they stuffered, they bled, they cried...Now, the only thing that stood between them and the light was time.