Title: Jealousy and Gifts
Rating: PG-13 (for violence mentions)
Fandom: Seven Citadels- Children of the Wind series
Characters: Kerish, Forolkin,
Genre: General, Angst
Relationships: None. Hint of unrequited Gwerath/ Forolkin
Summary: Kerish has gifts that Forolkin cannot master, and they share a bond that others cannot understand.
A/N: Based on Geraldine Harris's series called the Seven Citadels. I own only book 2, so the incident within, though canon within the book itself, is unlikely to be canon for the whole series. Apparently Forolkin has no chance at being magical, but for the sake of artistic licence, that has been changed a little.
There is no jealousy between them, though perhaps there should have been. Forolkin was born without the gifts, the potential that Kerish has within his very blood, and yet in the way he moves, even in the very way that he thinks, Kerish can recognise himself, his thoughts and actions twisted, without the bias that magical ability lends to the most innocuous of things. And sometimes the light catches Forolkin's eyes, and there is something there which does not belong, something more akin to the power that Kerish has running through his veins, than to the man whom his half-brother purports to be.
There would appear to be nothing that could have induced any sort of bond between them, their blood-tie was negligible to say the least, everything about them on the surface so different, their colouring, their build, though Kerish's fine boned features were mirrored in Forolkin, in the elder's face they were stronger. Where Forolkin can fight with sword, spear and bow, and is a passable hand at the dagger, Kerish is skilled with the mind with the different permutations of his talent.
Of late the balance is shifting in Kerish's favour however. Fighting his brother had brought home to him, some truths he would rather not learn. He knew intrinsically why he had won the fight. Forolkin had begun with the intention of not harming him, of disarming him, of saving him, and Kerish had been willing to hurt him, in order to win, to prove himself more than the spoiled younger prince that Gidjabolgo made him out to be so often. He could not forget the fierce exaltation that had flooded through him, when he had driven the dagger into the one person who had always protected him. Or the mind-tearing grief that had come about afterwards, when he realised how close he had come not only to being a killer, but to losing his very soul.
So he attempts to redress the difference. Kerish has proved that he can master those arts of which Forolkin is capable, now he endeavours to prove to himself that he can help Forolkin do the same. He does not acknowledge the guilt which drives him, that whispers in his ear of the sanctity of mind which he has violated even if it was for Forolkin's own good. If he can only induce his brother to learn those arts which run through his veins, then surely the temptation will be removed from him. Or as he acknowledges, it could push him further down the route of taking what must be denied.
Every day now, when they can spare the time, usually at night, or very early in the morning, Kerish shakes his brother awake, and attempts to teach him how to at least attempt the feats that Kerish finds possible. It never ends well. Forolkin insists that his blood is not pure enough for such an attempt, claims that it is not possible for him to master such powers, that the ability to even attempt them is not within him. He uses his colouring as evidence; surely he points out, if he was gifted with the God-born powers, he would possess the colouring that Kerish has- the silver hair, purple and silver eyes, rather than his brown hair, and tanned skin. When he has finished objecting, Kerish usually manages to persuade him to meditate for a few minutes. Kerish is not sure what these sessions make him feel. There is sometimes faint elation- occasionally Forolkin's mind will open voluntarily, and in stretching out his own mind, Kerish can contact the other, not in the control relationship he uses, but as communication. He knows such a bond, such a possibility must exist. When Forolkin is in danger, Kerish can sense it with every bone in his body, even if sometimes he strains to deny it, can alter events without the other knowing, can feel his thoughts at a time when those thoughts are strong. And he knows Forolkin feels it as well, when he stumbles or falls Forolkin is first there always, and when the need is great Forolkin twice admitted to having felt that Kerish was in danger.
Forolkin calls such things illusions, he won't use them or even admit he can feel anything when they are in his hands. Gwerath watched them once, face utterly uncomprehending. It was beyond Kerish's power to explain it to her what he was trying to do, what he was trying to awaken. She has forgiven neither of them yet, he can sense that much vaguely, through the intuition he possesses, though his God-born powers do not help with her- though she is a cousin, she means little to him, and he is fairly certain that the relationship determines the strength of the bond. She has not forgiven Kerish for stabbing Forolkin, and she has not forgiven Forolkin for forgiving Kerish so freely. Gwerath claims to be different from those others of her tribe, through virtue of her office, but though she bends many rules there are others that she upholds rigidly; for they are not only part of her, but of her culture and they are not something she can discard even though she is outcast from the Circle. It is beyond her comprehension that Forolkin should value love over revenge; indeed not out of weakness but of strength, that he would rather take a stab wound, than lose that love.
That is part of what convinces Kerish that Forolkin does have some remnants of power in his blood. No man surely could be willing to do such a thing, and not intimately know the mind of another to at least some extent. The tie between them is stronger now, deepened by blood spilt, and those hours shared through the long night, when Kerish had vowed anything, if only the other would live. He remembers with certainty, the cut hand he had placed and held on Forolkin's wound, hoping it would help, that he had the healer's touch, and how tied by blood even further, he had listened to the rush of blood, and the swift pounding of the heart. He knows Forolkin remembers in some deep part of himself, he had once mentioned a fever dream in that time, where he and Kerish were walking in the gardens back home, and they had flown like eagles across the land. Kerish does not tell Forolkin that he had half-dreamt the whole thing, while he clutched the hand that Forolkin had extended to him.
Kerish thinks that Eamey spoke true, when she had reprimanded Gwerath that night. 'What do you know about hate and love?' Eamey had been right, the younger girl knew of neither of those things, not of the complexity or similarity of them both to each other. Gwerath had experienced neither of them, not even read of them, perhaps had never seen them first hand. Her childish infatuation with Forolkin did not scratch the surface of love, and as with all those who do not understand something yet believe they do, she refused to believe that it was possible that Forolkin scarcely thought about her, and that it was possible that Forolkin would save Kerish over her. Kerish is not proud of that conclusion, but to be impartial he must be truthful to himself. For Gwerath, daughter of a society where the only mention of love was that of physical love, the only one that mattered, since it was the only one that swelled the bellies of woman and propagated the tribe, it was perhaps beyond possibility that something else could exist.
Even now, she tries her best to flirt with Forolkin, and dismay was written large on her too-clear face when he had first repelled her offer of the Goddess's token. It had been on him when he returned, and he had torn it from him, dropping it in the mud. Perhaps she had thought he would keep it. When they had met Queen Pellameera, Gwerath had looked heart-sick at the other woman's beauty and grace, uncomfortable in her own body as though conscious that she could not compete. Forolkin treated her as a child, he rumpled her hair and told stories at night, but when he spoke it was to Kerish.
The dream that Kerish had was another incentive to reawaken the power in the other man. Part of him was determined that where he could enter, so could the other. He is alone now, both father and mother gone, and Forolkin as good as, and Kerish is determined that he will give neither the pain of losing the other. On that terrible night when he had sat vigil with Forolkin, he had told Gidjabolgo that he could not complete the quest without Forolkin and had known it for truth.
They sleep back to back as always, entangled in the night to conserve heat, an arrangement that dismays Gwerath, as well it might. She is faced with the choice of curling up with Gidjabolgo or intruding on their huddle. They reach an unspoken compromise, she sleeps closest to the fire, with Gidjabolgo on the other side, and though she is not happy there is nothing she can do to change it. They have always slept like this, and though they are conscious of owing her a debt of gratitude for her help, the fact that she is a woman does not stir an impulse of chivalry. Folkorin is conscious that Kerish gets ill more easily, and Kerish knows that Folklorin is still healing from his wound. Sometimes they try like that, when it is night, and Folklorin hovers on the borders of sleep, and Kerish thinks his mind might be more open. Twice they share dreams, a phenonomen that Kerish is sure only comes from sharing minds.
Guilt is a powerful emotion. And some ties are not meant to be broken. Kerish wishes he could forgive himself for being both more and less than Forolkin. He doesn't know if he wants to.
Eh I would bet a hundred pounds that I won't get any reviews on this one . But it's the writing that counts. If anyone by any chance should happen to read this, then hit that little blue review button and surprise me :D.