Chapter 3: The Consumation


A month passed without word from the Coven. Saetan appreciated that Tersa needed time to recover from the shock of unleashing her own strength, of the trauma that nearly broke her of her strength. He'd stayed away out of respect for her, and her need to recollect her bearings. He'd stayed away because it was expected for a Warlord Prince in his position to do so.

He didn't want to stay away.

His concern for her was beginning to wear away at him. He sat behind the blackwood desk with a glass of yarbarah in his right hand. He swirled the contents once, twice, absently and without a great deal of purpose. He took a sip and scowled. It had gone cold. He sat the glass aside with a click of glass on wood that sloshed some of the contents out onto the surface.

Should he go and see her? He doubted that he would be entirely welcome at the home of the Coven just then. It wasn't yet common knowledge that he'd chosen Tersa to bear his child. He wasn't entirely sure she'd even accepted. With his contract hanging in the air, all eyes were on him, anticipatory.

Dorothea was the worst. She sent letters, and twice had tried to call upon him here. He'd politely, but firmly, sent her away. Her very psychic scent repulsed him. Scowling deeper, he pushed away from the desk and rose, stalking like a predator to a window. It was dark outside. Even with the curtains drawn, all he could see was his own reflection in the glass.

He'd nearly decided to go to the Coven's headquarters and demand to see her when a quiet knock startled him out of his own mind. He turned as the door opened. Tersa stood there. Her skin was a bit pale for the light golden brown of her race, but her sharp gold eyes were alit and alert. They simply stared at one another for awhile, without speaking. Her psychic scent was dark and deliciously intoxicating. He found himself drinking it in, losing himself. The Jewel hanging from her neck finally caught his eye.

She was wearing the Black.

"Tersa." he said. That one word brought her forward into his study. He stepped around the desk, and somehow she fell into his arms. He wrapped his arms around her, tucking her head under his chin, and just held onto her, drinking in the scent of her. She held on, but to her credit, she didn't cling, she didn't shake. She had just taken on a terrible burden, but she was strong enough to bear it.

She wouldn't have to do it alone.

He wasn't sure when she tilted her head back, or when he kissed her. They kissed. The embrace turned to touching, exploring. He finally pulled away, and she looked up at him, questioning. It didn't seem right.

"I'm sure, Saetan." she murmured. He inhaled at the sound of his name on her lips. "I've chosen this." she breathed against his lips as she kissed him again.


When Saetan woke the next day, he had a splitting headache. He realized absently that he'd forgotten to draw the drapes and the sun had been spilling over his face for some time. He shifted, but he couldn't move very far. Tersa was using his arm as a pillow, and she had a firm grip on the blanket over them both, too. When he tried to ease out from underneath her, she grumbled and rolled over. Thinking she was still asleep, he rolled out of bed, crossed to the window, and closed the blinds.

"Thank you. That was bright." she muttered groggily from the mound of blankets. Smiling to himself at her voice, he crossed back to the bed and climbed back in with her. She shifted to accomidate him and settled in. "Mm, you smell nice." she added at a murmur. He ran a hand over her hair, sleep tangled and lovely.

"I smell like sex." he replied. She cracked an eye open and her lips twisted into a smile before she closed her eyes again. She shifted slightly, settling in again.

"Do you think we made a baby last night?" she asked after a long, comfortable pause. Without thinking, his hand sought her belly, where he found her hand splayed. He shifted to look down into her face.

"I'm probably not fertile without a Healer's brew... I'll have to drink one." he sounded uncertain. He felt uncertain. Had that just been her fulfilling her end of the contract? He felt his heart tighten, but her immediate smile as she shifted to roll over onto her belly and smile at him belayed that thought.

"Then we'll have to keep trying. Over and over and over." There was a devilish little smile in her eyes. She half crawled towards him, and his arms came around her. She kissed him, and he forgot all about the headache.


Dorothea fumed. She had been fuming for weeks. Her best attempts to break that stupid Tersa had failed, and a valuable tool had been destroyed. Gerard had been easy enough to buy off. He thought Dorothea was beautiful and that was enough for him. But the stupid idiotic male had failed in one simple task, and now Tersa had been confirmed in her power! She now wore a Jewel darker than Dorothea's own. She was a threat larger than she'd ever been before.

Dorothea had to admit to a certain level of fear. She'd never admit it aloud of course, but in the privacy in her own home... Tersa was a threat. A deep, frightening threat.

Rumor had it that Tersa had disappeared after her Offering. Dorothea didn't know for certain where she'd gone, but she suspected it was too much to hope she'd been swallowed whole by the Darkness, or gone off to be a recluse somewhere. No one in the Coven even knew for sure what Jewels she'd walked away with.

Where had she gone?

No matter. Dorothea had a few things to take care of... in her absence. Dorothea rang for a servant. She had a delivery for Lady Mercedes. The Head of the Hourglass Coven had outstayed her usefulness.