I recently discovered the wonderful world of faeries in the book Tithe, and fell in love with it. I think we should hear more from Roiben in the books, though, so I decided to write this fic, which is a series of moments from Tithe and Ironside from his POV.
This chapter starts a little bit before page 22 of Ironside and goes to page 26.
Rath Roiben Rye sat on the throne, surrounded by chattering members of the Unseelie Gentry. They had been blabbering on for what seemed like hours, but he couldn't see what was so important. Everything crucial about the coronation had been discussed in the first two minutes of this meeting. Besides, he had already been King of the Unseelie Court for two months – this coronation was merely a formality. But, since he was King, he did his duty and hid his boredom, pretending to listen to listen to these creatures drone on.
His thought of the "diplomacy visit" from his sister that had preceded this meeting. He thought about what she had implied.
For my brother. I cut it when he died.
That had hurt coming from her, which he had not expected. He had believed that he had lost the ability to be hurt, to love, to feel, long ago.
But that was obviously not the case, as the conversation had shown. As Kaye showed him everyday. He smiled at the thought of her, throwing a nod to the small hob who was still speaking in a monotone, as if he were paying attention. Kaye proved to him every day that he could still feel. Sometimes, like today, it hurt. But when he was with her, he relished the emotions she brought up in him.
The only feeling he had lost was his love for the Queen of the Seelie. His mind went back to his conversation with Ethine.
Nothing about her tempts me.
And he was pleased to find that he was not lying in the least. Well, no faery could tell an untruth, but he had not even had to bend the words to fit his meaning. He felt nothing for Silarial anymore, except resentment for what she had done to him. Yet, in a twisted way, he was thankful she had done so, for if she had not, he would still desire her, answer her every back and call, and follow her around like a lovesick puppy. And if he had not been sent to serve Nicnevin, he would not have met Kaye. Yes, in some ways, though servitude to Queen of the Night Court had been terrible and, according to his sister, had changed him and hardened his heart, but it may have been a blessing in disguise.
But that didn't mean he would forgive Silarial for what she had put him through.
He turned his attention back to whomever it was that was standing before him. "Do you agree, sire?"
"Yes, yes," he mumbled distractedly, rising out of his seat. "Now I believe it is time I returned to my chambers."
"But your majesty –".
He ignored the hob, sweeping past him with Ruddles and another servant following behind.
As he walked through the familiar halls to his chambers, he reflected on the fact that, for so long, he considered these same walls his prison. And now, here he was, about to assume the position of King of the Night Court.
King of a court of monsters.
Roiben wished he didn't have to assume this responsibility, that he could go back to his home. But the truth was that he had to take the throne. It was his duty. He had to rid the world of Silarial and her twisted ways. Ways that she hid behind a façade of innocence. Even if he did not feel obligated to do so, he would not be welcome back in the Bright Court, no matter how much Silarial said otherwise. And if he returned, she would assume him to be her consort. And he would not take that position, no matter what.
Still deep in thought, he entered into his sparsely furnished chamber to find a figure in his bed.
She looked beautiful in her sleep, he green hair spread across his pillow. Her expression caused him to freeze in his tracks. Usually, her face was full of cleverness and witty words. But in sleep, that was wiped from her face, leaving only innocence behind.
Lovely. That was the word that came to mind.
For a moment, he was overcome by the idea that she belonged here, with him. He allowed himself to wonder, for a moment, what would happen if he told her about declarations. If he asked her to declare herself to him. She could be his consort. She could stay here and live with him. That way he could be with her more often, even with his busy schedule as Lord of the Night Court.
He tried to banish the thoughts. He would never do that to her. He would not bind her to the Unseelie Court as he had been bound to it. She deserved better.
He walked to the edge of the bed and sat next to her. He was filled with longing once again as he looked down at her. He wanted her to be in his bed every night – for purposes not so innocent as sleeping. Nevertheless, he worked to keep his expression impassive for the benefit of Ruddles and the servant, who were still standing at the door.
He touched her arm gently, causing her to jolt out of her slumber. She sat up and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. As she rose, the coverlet that had been covering her slipped a bit, revealing the olive green shirt she wore. He was startled for a moment – the green matched her skin, and, for an instant, he thought she had not been wearing a shirt at all.
He banished the thought from his mind, not allowing himself to wander down that tantalizing train of thought, as a new one entered. How long had she been here? Long enough to fall asleep, obviously. Why hadn't anyone informed him?
He frowned, and words tumbled out of his mouth of their own accord. "Nobody told me you were here."
He regretted it immediately afterward, as her cheeks heated up and she grabbed her jacket, stepping off the bed. "I should go."
He felt an ache in his chest at the thought of her leaving him, especially when he had offended or hurt her.
"No." He gestured to the servants. "Leave us."
They complied, exiting the room and leaving him alone with Kaye.
"It's late. Your thing is going to start soon."
That statement hurt him – she was grasping at straws to get away from him. What had he done?
"Kaye, you have no idea what time it is." He stood and reached for her arm. "You've been asleep."
She didn't allow him to touch her, stepping back and digging her nails into her palm. He sighed sadly.
"Stay. Let me beg your forgiveness for whatever it is I've done."
"Stop." Her voice was sharp. She shook her head before speaking, her words rushed. "They don't want me to be with you, do they?"
He didn't need to ask whom she was referring to, smiling bitterly instead.
"I am forbidden nothing."
"No one wants me here. They don't want me near you. Why?"
He was startled, not expecting her to ask. "Because I'm Gentry and you're…not," he finished lamely, catching himself before he told her the true reason: she had been raised by humans. Her ways were those of the Ironsiders. Though her antics amused him and pulled him deeper under her spell, his court looked down on her ways, thinking of her as ignorant. He knew they whispered and gossiped about her and why he was with her. They thought of her as nothing more than a dirty pixie with bad manners.
Though the assumption angered him, he did not act on that anger. That would accomplish nothing, except advertise to everyone that he cared for her. That she was the weak link in his armor.
She spoke dully, turning away from him. "I'm low class. Nothing new there."
Roiben walked toward her, pulling her against his chest and speaking against the skin of her neck. "I have my own thoughts on the subject. I care nothing for anyone else's."
She relaxed into him for a moment, causing him to wonder if she had doubted it – had she thought he would not want to be with her simply because of what the members of his court thought?
Kaye turned in his arms. "What's the big deal about you slumming?"
He snorted at her human choice of words, letting his hand rest on the curve of her hip but averting his eyes, not wanting to meet hers as he told her.
"It is a weakness. My affection for you."
She opened her mouth as if to speak but closed it again, scanning his face. He didn't know what she found there, but it caused her to pull away.
"I really should go. I'll see you out there. Break a leg."
He let go of her reluctantly. "You cannot stand on the dais during the ceremony nor walk in the procession. I do not want you to be taken for part of my court. Above all, you must not swear fealty. Promise me, Kaye."
Her expression shifted. "So I'm supposed to act like I don't know you? Like you don't have any weaknesses?"
He realized his mistake. "No, of course not, he answered quickly, though it was partly true. But he did not want her to be under the misapprehension that he thought of her as a weakness. She was a blessing to him. But if the enemy found out about the depth of his affection for Kaye and got their hands on her, he knew he would do anything they asked. Anything to keep her safe.
"You are the only thing I have that is neither duty nor obligation, the only thing I chose for myself." He paused for a moment before continuing. "The only thing I want."
A small, teasing smile crept onto her face. "Really?"
He snorted, shaking his head. "You think I'm being absurd, don't you?"
"I think you're trying to be nice. Which is pretty absurd."
For a second he wondered if she was right, if it was absurd when he tried to be kind. Had the life in the Unseelie changed him that much?
He didn't linger on it, instead walking to where she stood and pressing his lips to hers.
Why would anything about Silarial tempt him, he wondered as he lost himself in the kiss, when he had Kaye?
Well? Hit or miss?
I wrote this for myself, and I'm not expecting that many reviews (because the Tithe fandom is so darn small! I'm telling everyone I know about it though, so hopefully we'll see more writers!) But I'd still appreciate it if you took the time to leave me a review (flames welcome).