"I don't know, but other than the few oddities that slip through, it's exceptionally rare for them to get involved in any other realm, and yet the magi have warned that the Faemarch is starting to show signs of influencing our realm. The unease every being is feeling is a result of that influence."
I set my jaw and nodded. "How much power are we talking about? What kind of threat could we be facing?"
"I can't say. I can only speculate, but it's enough that the archangels and the greater pit lords are even talking of potential military truces." Lorelai spoke the words with a grim look on her face that sent a chill down my spine.
"Gods, what in the nine hells?"
"The underworld and the celestial realm need ours. They both draw power from it." Lorelai closed her eyes, hesitating before she spoke out pointedly, "The fae do not. The mundane, the angels, and the demons. They don't need any of us, they could get by fine without us. Do you see what I'm telling you, Sarnai?"
I swallowed a lump in my throat and nodded as I spoke, "If they wanted to start something, they wouldn't need to be subtle about it."
"Yes, and we don't have any idea what kind of power they could bring. If theories are true, some of their great spirits could very well just decide to change the weather to something cataclysmic, like maybe just plunge our whole realm into sub-zero temperatures for a few centuries, or maybe crank the thermostat up to Valley of Death levels for the whole planet."
"Do you really think they hold that kind of power, Lorelai?" I huffed the words, feeling my knees growing weak at the thought of it.
"Who knows? They are theories for a reason, my fox. Perhaps they do, perhaps they do not. An unknown enemy can sometimes be a bigger threat just from the mental torment it provides." Lorelai sighed and shook her head, "Let us deviate from the topic. We do not have enough information to go on. All I can say is; be diligent in your training my fox, and... Well, let us live our lives to their fullest with each day, if the world does end around us, let us at least go out knowing we are as happy as we can be."
"That's a pretty grim segue, my love." I frown and fold my arms.
The sheep huffed and put her hands to her hips. "You insisted upon hearing it."
"Does Alice know?" I tilted my head curiously.
"No. Like everyone else, she knows something is going on, but not what it is. I've spoken with none other than you, Torah, and Kazemde of the circle."
"Why tell me?"
"Because you and I have been through a lot over the centuries. I knew you could handle it. Also, I know if the time comes, you will be the one to stand by my side, even if it is to the bitter end."
"Again, a pretty grim statement, but you are correct, of course. I am by your side no matter what. My lady, my love." I growl the words and clench a fist, red flames rolling off it as I show my teeth.
Lorelai moved to me and placed her hands over my fist, giving me a gentle smile. "These are theoretical talks, my fox. Perhaps nothing will come of it, do not let it mar your day to day. Do not let it ruin your happiness."
"I will not. I will be diligent and train, but I will not lose sight of my loved ones, not after so recently regaining them...and myself." I pulled closer and we embraced, kissing deeply, my fingers tangling into her curly locks, taking in her scent and taste once more, trying to relish it.
& mdash; & hearts; & mdash;
I rolled my champagne flute in my palm, cradling it while watching the small amount of blood slosh up the sides, staring upon it for several moments before I clicked my tongue and shifted my gaze to you. "Well, I think you're more or less caught up now, my child."
You gave another look of disbelief and then the questions came about what happened after Lorelai. I of course had omitted the talk of the fae, I wouldn't send my new progeny into a spiral of distress after having just changed a few weeks ago.
"I've not seen her since that night, it was only a month ago you know. I came back home and the day to day resumed," I huffed the words as I finished off my drink and slowly stood, the long flowing red dress clinging to my form as I sauntered over to the window, placing my fingers upon the sill.
We both stood there in a long silence, I still hadn't come to full grips with my situation, me with a turned progeny. It had been a few weeks and I had regaled you with my past a few hours each night once things had settled down. I sighed and shook my head before speaking out, "Have you managed to draw forth your flames yet?"
A shake of your head was your response and I gave a nod to it. "You've all the time in the world now, my child, my student. Eventually, it shall come to you."
I hesitated before asking, "What of your dreams?" Your head shake and acknowledgment of no night terrors eased my heart as I gave a relieved sigh.
My arms spread as I faced you fully and showed my teeth in a grin, "Now the time for tales of the past has ended. You are in the here and now, so you will tell me of your day to day, and I shall tell you of mine."
You nodded and spoke out eagerly, the look in your eyes saying there would still be plenty of questions to come. I folded my ears and moved to you, giving you a gentle embrace, feeling you relax in my arms before we parted once more. "The sun will soon be upon us, go to your room and get some rest, my student. Tomorrow will be another busy night of training and study for you, I'll not accept any less than three new languages under your belt by the years end."
Once again you responded dutifully and eagerly before quickly slipping from my chambers, leaving me alone. I heard the door click and took a seat on the chair, sighing as I rubbed at my forehead, thinking back to how I had gotten here. I felt myself brooding for several minutes before another knock came to my chamber door.
"Come in darling," I called out as I sat up, folding my hands into my lap. Of course, I knew who it was just by the scent alone.
My husband slipped in and gave me that same gentle smile I'd seen throughout my life. "Sarnai, how was your nightly chat with our newest sibling?"
"They are not part of my family, Elias, so it is not 'our' newest family member, but yours and Alices," I grumbled the words and poked my nose up, the words sounding surprisingly fussy even to me.
"About that..." Elias took a seat and my soft brown eyes met his sharp blue ones. We stared upon one another for several moments before he spoke out, "Alice spoke to me about wishing to step down as Marquess."
"She has told me several times she only took the position to ease my transition. This is of no surprise to me, husband. Will you take the reigns back, then?" I tilted my head, giving him a matter of fact look as that would be the logical course.
"She wants us both to take the reigns of the house," He spoke the words pointedly to me.
I scoffed and gave him a halfhearted glare. "Have you forgotten I am the head of our original home? My duty is to Silverpaw and when the next six months are finished I will-" I felt my words cut off, finding I didn't want to speak the words. I clenched my teeth and averted my gaze from his.
"You will what? Will you return and leave us all behind?" He asked me point-blank.
"I have a duty to fulfill, Elias!" I barked the words out, showing my teeth and growling as I felt frustration build within me.
"Jeremy and Jennifer are nearly our equals in age, they would be fine candidates to see to our lady's former house." The fox folded his arms, giving me a level look.
"Be that as it may!" I barked out and clench my fists, feeling a myriad of emotions swirl in me. Of course, I didn't want to leave, I had grown fond of my new friends and lovers, not to mention being with my husband again.
He stood without a word and I felt my heart sink at the prospect of him leaving, I frowned and looked up at him, not saying anything as he stood over me, looking down upon me with that same level gaze. "Sarnai, I can't make you do anything you do not wish, my wife. I do not want to lose you again though, I want you to stay in my life."
"I will-" I sighed and folded my ears, looking away once more. "I will speak with the twins, and I will take all of this into consideration. We will decide something once my new student has finished their evaluation in a few seasons."
The white fox gave me a knowing smile as if he already knew I was trying to find a way to make it work. He gave me a hungry grin and put a finger to his cheek, "Ah, by the way, Katrina and Alice, they were asking for you."
My heart began to thump slightly in my chest as I looked at him and cocked a brow. "Were they now?"
My husband gave me a playful smile and offered a hand to me. "My bed is large, but it does get a little cramped with all of us. All the same, I feel the urge to invite you as well. Won't you come spend the day with us, my wife?"
I grasped his hand and stood, giving him a coy smirk as he started to walk me from my chamber. "This is the fourth day this week my husband. Why not commission a larger bed and closet for your chambers?"
"Would you stay with us if I did that?" He asked with a child-like grin on his face.
I couldn't help but giggle and pushed to his chest, moving to kiss him briefly, my free hand brushing over his face, sliding up into his white hair to rub at one of his large ears. "The times have changed but I am an adaptable fox, my love."
His tail wagged as he growled and moved to pull me closer, his kisses moved down to my throat, his palms already starting to wander my body. I hummed playfully and tilted my head, "I won't stop you, but our rabbit and cat will be furious with you if you have me yourself instead of bringing me for them to partake as well." I puffed the words into his ears as he had started to kiss along the curves of my breasts through the dress I had worn.
Elias seemed to consider that as he weighed the pros and cons of it before gently pulling from me. "Y-Yes... then let's go before I go crazy." He growled the words and took both my hands into his, starting to pull me from the chambers.
I dug my heels in and didn't move as he looked back, confused at my stance. With a cocky grin, I titled my head before speaking out in a haughty order, "Tell me you love me first."
He grinned back and wagged his tail, meeting my eyes as he stepped close once more, giving me a quick peck on the lips, before whispering against them, "I love you my wife, now and forever."
The words made me give a confident huff and I nodded, "I love you too you lecherous fox, now let us be off."
"Lecherous? What hurtful acu-"
"You have I, Katrina, Alice, Val, and I know you've partaken of Kiley as well while in the throes of being with our brother. Will you deny it?" I growled the words matter of fact.
Elias hesitated before nodding. "I apologize if-"
"It is fine my husband, I was only being playful. I still am coming to grips with it, but I myself now count three lovers aside from you. I will not judge you." I huffed the words as I began pulling him along, finding myself eager to be done with this banter and in all of their arms.
"Thank you for your understanding, my wife. I'll understand if you find another male in the future as well," He spoke the words gently as we both moved towards his chambers.
The thought had crossed my mind many times, but something about taking that step still gave me pause. Perhaps if I found the right one, but now that things were sorted, I wasn't sure if I really felt the urge to look for one, after all my husband did such a fine job keeping my carnal desires for a male in check. I gave another nod and huffed, "I am aware my husband."
& mdash; & hearts; & mdash;
"So we're not going to go hunting for another fetching male, sister?" My twin hummed the words while lounging on the small bed of our room, her back to my own, while I sat on the edge of the bed.
"We are tangled together in a bed with three of our lovers, exhausted from their adoration of us, and you want to talk about looking for more?" I huffed the words with amusement in my voice.
"Come now, are we not due such? We do not need to restrain ourselves to one male. Are you not curious about others? Our brother Val has always stirred something in us, and I still advocate that wolf, he looks so exciting to lay with."
I growled and rose up off the bed, facing myself as I put a palm on my hip, staring down my double. "The feelings we get from our brother are just the nature of things with him, I'll not sully our relationship like that. That wolf once again is dedicated to Alice and Gloria, I'll not disrupt my sisters' relationships in such a way."
"Then what of Toroah? Surly him and Lore-"
"Stop it!" I barked out sharply, growling as I pushed a palm to my forehead. "You- I- We are not succubi like our lover, we do not need so many!"
My double frowned but put a palm to her chest, wearing the same crimson night grown I had on. "Are we not? The rabbit has mingled so many different types of power through us in these few months, even the touch of celestial's and blessed silver is weakened. Could we not consider ourselves a bit of all that?"
I wanted to refute the statement, but I couldn't. All of my kinsmen from Katrina to Elias were showing the same signs only much more potent than my own. I thought back to seeing the foxfire on Lorelai's hand before shaking my head. "Perhaps we are, but I am content for now... We are content and you know it as such."
My double sulked a little and clicked her tongue, rolling her eyes as she shifted her gaze away. "I suppose... still I'd not mind having some cock that was new after five hundred plus years."
"Such a crude way of speaking, are you sure we share the same soul and mind?" I huffed out with a frown, feeling my desires start to make themselves known. It shocked me to feel such sensations, knowing how thoroughly Katrina, Alice, and Elias had sated me before I collapsed.
"Oh, we are the same, sister. I'm just taking the mantle of the deviant for now." She hummed the words, then leveled me with a calculating look. "This peace has been nice, but I fear for the future, I fear in a way I never have."
I sighed and shook my head while putting a palm to my chest once again, "Yes, we have so much to live for, so much to lose now. New lovers, new family... even a new progeny. I fear Alice has brought them into this world of ours when a tribulation the likes of which none of us can fathom is upon us."
"Are we... Are we afraid, sister?" My doppelganger tilted her head curiously.
"We are, not for ourselves, but for those we stand to lose now. Yes, we are terrified for the first time in centuries I believe. Alice, Lorelai, Katrina, and of course Elias... The thought of harm coming to any of them; it rends my heart. To say nothing of our family from all over the council."
My double stood, flames licking off her tail and ears as she moved over to me, her eyes now blood red as she spoke. "We'll have to be strong and get stronger. I'll not lose this, not after having only achieved it so recently. I was cast into the pits of being the nightmare for so long, only now am I able to truly live life with you."
I gave her a cocky smile, my own flames rolling off me as I embraced her. We pressed foreheads together, both grinning with our eyes closed. There were no words to be said, we were one and the same after all. No matter the cost, that which was ours would be protected.
& mdash; & hearts; & mdash;
The months moved forward after that. Elias had a larger bed in his chamber within days of our talk and I found I had exchanged my decades of solitude for a very crowded but loving environment. Sleeping with the three of them seemed to just channel their energy into me all the more quickly, especially on the nights Alice would snuggle up to me.
Your evaluation went off without a hitch and a few weeks later, I found myself back at my old home with the twins. Elias and Lorelai had accompanied me to make things official with what would transpire next.
"You do not know how good it does my heart to see the two of you together hand in hand!" Jennifer spoke out excitedly, her and Jeremy having met us at the car when we arrived at house Silverpaw.
Jeremy frowned and met Elias's gaze before bowing his head, "My lord, I hope you do not hate me and my sister for our actions that night."
"None of that lord stuff, Jeremy. You did as I asked you all those years ago. You stayed with my wife and were prepared to do so at any cost. I am eternally thankful for your companionship with her." The white fox spoke the words proudly as he clapped a hand over Jeremy's shoulder.
"Yes, I also should thank you two. You played your roles admirably, and though the cards didn't play out like I thought they would. I've no doubt I would have lost my foxes had you not intervened." Lorelai spoke the words giving the two mice a bow of her own head.
The twins looked shocked by Lorelai's words and courtesy, Jennifer stammering to speak, "M-My lady! Please do not bow your head to us! We simply did what we could, nothing so grand!"
I rolled my eyes and showed my teeth in a grin, "Have you two been holding down the fort alright without me?"
Both of their focuses shifted to me, and I saw the relief in their eyes to see mine so clear of madness. Jeremy nodded and spoke out in response, "It was very challenging, but we've managed to somewhat get the hang of things. I'm so thankful for my sisters support, I couldn't have done this alone."
Jennifer grinned and pushed closer to her brother, her arms gripping his in a surprising display of affection, hugging to him. "Nonsense my brother, it is I who would have been lost without you."
My eyes rolled again at their display, my heart feeling overwhelmed to see the two of them so happy and relaxed in my company. "I'm so glad you two are doing well," I spoke the words softly, feeling myself growing emotional, knowing what I had put them both through over the years.
"All the same, let us be inside, I wish to discuss matters." Lorelai huffed the words as she sauntered past the mice, flicking her tail. "Also, I've summoned for Val, he should be joining us within the hour if his flight is on time."
I tilted my head curiously, lifting my ears. "Why Val, my lady?"
Lorelai gave me a small smile. "For I am selfish, my fox... with you, Elias, and both of my mice. I called upon my goat as well, for I wished to have my family fully together for the first time since Ceuta."
I and Elias, even the twins, we all grew silent at the thought of it, each of us no doubt humbled at the thought of such a thing. As if on cue we saw another vehicle pulling down the long drive towards the manor, Elias's ears lifting at the approach as I gave a smile, knowing that our brother's calling was a little more personal for him these days.
Val was alone and had not brought Kiley with him, having no doubt picked up on the concept this was a family affair. He was not tactful or dignified as he sauntered up and threw his arms around both I and Elias, embracing us tightly as I barked out, feeling the cocktail of lewd emotions tear through me, not just from him, but my husband as well.
I pulled from the goat, offering him a fussy growl, and he an apologetic look to me. He then turned and moved to embrace both Jeremy and Jennifer as well, the mice happily returning the heartfelt hug. Finally, he moved to clasp both of Lorelai's hands, showing her a sad smile as they stared upon one another. I knew he had a role in all this, though his was more on Alice's side of things, all the same, he stood to lose us just like Lorelai had in this gambit for my sanity.