They had been lovers he and Achren, when Gwydion had been young and foolish. He could not have resisted her; she was impossible to resist. If she chose to gift you with her desire and attentions, no sane person would resist or turn her away.

Oh, everyone knew that she was evil, of course. He remembered a night in her bedchamber, the first but not the last, his voice whispering, "We shouldn't be doing this. We're on opposite sides in this battle," and hers responding, "It doesn't matter. People like us are meant for one another, aren't we? Look at us. We're beyond the common folk, we're something more. There aren't very many people like us in the world."

He had known that she wasn't right, that her words were as evil as her heart, but he had lost himself in her arms that night anyway, and he had done the same for many nights following. He did not ask her if she would come to his side of the battle, and tried to avoid her questions to the same effect. For many months, he was hers completely, in a way that he could only be hers, but all that ended.

And now, so many years later, he stands before her, warning Taran against her spells.

She is as beautiful as ever, of course, and completely unchanged. She seems to be an ageless goddess, and the wooden throne she sits upon was not fit to honor her, for she should be sitting upon marble, if not gold. It was to guard against her beauty that he had to scream out warnings, not just for Taran, but for himself as well. It is all too easy to become enraptured by her, he knows that.

He has succeeded in angering her with his words, for he is not capable of anything else with doing things he does not wish to do, saying things he does not wish to say. One rarely sees Achren this angry, for she is normally calmer, more collected, more in control. Surely it cannot be the fact that he once shared her bed that is causing her to become this emotional. She is not that sentimental.

Or were her long ago words true and her promises genuine? Did she truly desire him as a consort, as she once wanted Arawn? Did she really once want him forever on the throne beneath hers, leading her armies under command? She couldn't have loved him, for she could not be capable of such emotion, but had she thought that she needed him on her side? It had been those requests to switch sides and take the place she wanted him to that caused him to break all his ties to her back then, for the idea of being a subservient consort and watching her do awful deeds and while unable to prevent them, revolted him.

But the musings are halted because she raises his sword between her long, white beautiful fingers (with their red nails that had so often dug into the skin of his back, oh, so cruelly, but making him moan nevertheless) and brings it down against a marble column. It does not break, of course, for how could it by such paltry mortal means? She screams, and her voice is like that of a harpy.

But Achren is a sorceress, and Gwydion cannot forget that. Magic runs in her veins the way only blood does in the veins of normal mortals, and her power fills the room, nearly suffocating Gwydion with its overwhelming intensity as she calls upon some odd light light, as red as her dress and fingernails, to enter the room in a thunderclap and cleave the sword in two. She lets the broken pieces clatter to the flower, now useless. Things always lose some of their usefulness when broken, even if they do not lose it all.

"And so I shall break you!" she cries, her voice still the harpy's, and Gwydion understands that she is resorting to something that shall make him less useful, just like the sword, but he shall be reused, as the metal of the sword can be.

She shall succeed in breaking him eventually, and Gwydion knows it. He thinks of her hand tangled in her hair, pulling his head back during the heat of her passion. He never knew whether those movements were calculated or not, but he never resisted them. If she had wanted him broken back then, he would have stood for the blows or fallen to his knees begging at the slightest hint of that being her whim.

But now, now he has to resist, delay her inevitable success as long as possible. He is Gwydion of Don, and she is Achren of Spiral Castle. They are enemies, and she is a temptation that could destroy him. She shall try to break him but, this time, he shall not go without a fight.

And so he doesn't look at her knowing eyes, or gesturing hands, or graceful movement.

He resists.