Author's Note: Here is the next chapter to The Dark King. I realize I made a promise of adding a chapter every month for this fic, but things just never work out how you plan for them too. At least not for me. So the best I can say at this point for this story, for all my stories in that case, is that I will add to them when I can. I won't be letting you guys know what I'm working on and when I'm adding it because I don't want to be disappointing you guys repeatedly. So on to the story and please do enjoy!

Part Three: Love


HE touched me, so I live to know
That such a day, permitted so,
I groped upon his breast.
It was a boundless place to me,
And silenced, as the awful sea
Puts minor streams to rest.

And now, I 'm different from before,
As if I breathed superior air,
Or brushed a royal gown;
My feet, too, that had wandered so,
My gypsy face transfigured now
To tenderer renown.

Emily Dickinson

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

The Dark King

By: SailorPerfect

Chapter 4: Awaken the Enchantress

Korinthos, Capital City to the Southern Continent of Earth

Last Existing Stronghold of Miles, Lord of Barakhas

Korinthos was a continent known for its harsh winters and endless nights. The sun shone little in this continent where humanity did not wish to reside. The winters were brutal here, the summers hardly better, and so left the peasants fleeing instead to much warmer climates. Many fled to the central city of Earth, Ramadan.

It had been a little over a week since the taking of Alexandria and their own defeat. They had lost more men then Alexander would have believed in a battle that had not even lasted so long. When they had gathered on the borders of Korinthos to account the men who had survived, he had been shocked by the massively dwindled number.

Of course to him the main importance had been the survival of Miles. Miles was their last remaining hope in this fight against tyranny and aggression. If he were to perish, so then would hope and any dreams they had of conquering the Dark King one day.

Here in Korinthos the central palace was lined by large pillars and walls that stood as a shield against the savage winds and also invading armies. It was said to have been built by one of the gods in the past, who had sworn upon himself that no army would ever breech the walls of his creation. Alexander dearly hoped that legend was true, for one day it would be put to the test.

In the time that had passed since their defeat at Alexandria, Alexander had gathered his Lieutenants to him and ordered them to search the borders of Alexandria, where they still held some patches of land, provinces where peasants resided and were loyal to Miles. Their instructions had been clear: to gather more men to their cause, and instruct those still living in Alexandria to do the same. Their men were small in number, a pittance in comparison to the Dark King's existing army. If the Dark King were to strike them now, they would be powerless against his assault.

Briefly Alexander wondered why it was the Dark King had not yet attacked them. The man must know they were at their weakest point now and if he wanted victory swiftly, the present time was the best to take that.

Perhaps arrogance led him to hold back, to wait and see if Miles could assimilate more men to him and give them a battle worth fighting. Or perhaps he was much too busy with bringing order under Alexandria after their take over there. It was obvious something held the Dark King's attention at the present time, Alexander only hoped it lasted long enough to give them a fighting chance against his armies.

He stood overlooking the endless white plains of Korinthos, heedless of the fierce winds that whipped through his fur lined coat and heavy armor. The stallion he rode moved restlessly, tossing his head, sensing the coming of a new storm. A new sadness crept into his heart as he watched peasants flee for their homes, for the small warmth they would find. These people who lived in Korinthos stayed for Miles and the allegiance they had sworn to him. Their loyalty may very well cost them their lives this winter.

Because he could see a storm drifting in, hailing more cold and disaster, he spurred his stallion ahead to the gates of the palace, ordering the peasants brought in for protection and the heavy gates closed against the onslaught that was about to come to them.

Once he had seen to his stallion, he entered the warmth of the palace and strode through the vast halls, to the second story where he knew Miles resided in his offices.

He paused before entering, knocking and waiting respectfully for his Lord and friend to grant him entry. "Enter, please."

He pushed the heavy doors open, shutting them quietly behind him. Miles sat at his desk, several maps of the Earth spread around him, charts and statistics littered next to them. Alexander knew he worried daily over the lives of the peasants in Korinthos, and also those still in the numerous provinces in Alexandria. Both were in danger, of starvation or attack.

"My father once told me Alexander, of a story, a legend really, of two gods who had remained on earth after the other gods had departed, and fought for control over what both wished to dominate and possess." Miles spoke without looking up, keeping his attention on what he had before him.

Alexander knew the story well, as any mortal man did. "Yes, the legend is known to me."

"Yes, and do you remember the story of the Silvery Maiden of Osiris, the one woman no mortal man could ever behold?" Miles ran his quill swiftly over his charts, not pausing once.

A slight frown creased Alexander's brow. "Yes, of course. Every man knows of this story."

"But what most men don't know is the curse she carries with her." Miles halted and finally raised his eyes to meet his Generals. "My father told me that ordinary men were to never know of the curse. It was a tale really, a myth related as much to her existence. But the curse was such that if any man was to take her from the god, Adonis, he would suffer the damnation of hell's fire and face the wrath of this glorious god."

Alexander remained silent for a moment, taking in this bit of information. "Adonis is a god known for his superb beauty, is he not?"

"That is true. But he is also known for his black temper, and thirst to have more power then any of the other gods. There is a balance among them, you see. Adonis standing as the light, with the darkness within, and the other who remained on this earth with him standing as the darkness on either side. While each of them lives, neither will ever dominate the earth." Miles leaned back from his desk, placing his hands atop the desk and folding them calmly together. "The Maiden, the one who quenched Adonis' terrible thirst for blood and power, anchor's him with her perfection and light. If she were to be touched, Adonis would awaken."

Alexander knew these to be myth's and legends, stories to be told to the young, but the steadiness of Miles' gaze unnerved and worried him. "My Lord, forgive my rudeness, but I feel you are trying to reach a point I cannot see with this tale."

Miles' laugh was low and amused. "Yes, of course I am. I forget how frank you prefer to be at times Alexander." He tapped his fingers against his desk slowly. "I dreamt last night of a woman. I couldn't see her face, she was draped in so much beautiful light it was blinding, but I knew she was this maiden. She stood between two worlds, a symbol of hope and beauty, until she was wrenched to one side and smothered in darkness."

When Miles didn't continue, Alexander raised one dark brow. "A dream, my Lord?"

"I knew you'd manage to make me feel like a fool without really trying." Miles shook his head, smiling slightly. "A dream meant as a warning. Alexander, I could see her taken by the Dark King. And just as she was, I felt a terrible anger awaken, a fury stronger then any I've ever encountered, and turn itself upon him." He stood and paced around the desk. "But what I couldn't understand was how she could have been taken without Adonis' knowledge. No mortal man could trespass into his mountains without awakening him."

Alexander knew Miles took his dreams quite seriously, and decided to indulge his lord. "Unless the mortal man had the favor of the gods."

Miles glanced up at him quickly, his mind working on that single statement. "Your right. Only the gods could ever play tricks against each other. But why would the Dark King be in favor with them?"

Alexander sighed. "My Lord, these thoughts of yours worry me. Perhaps it would be better to keep to the present tasks at hand and see to gathering more men to protect these lands. The Dark King could very well attack us any day."

It took him a moment, but he lifted his hand at last and rubbed deeply at his eyes, letting out a long, weary sigh. "Your right Alexander, as always. My dreams have been troubled in these past days, more so then usual. I feel as if something that will change the course of the earth's history is happening as we speak." He laughed softly. "Listen to me, speaking in riddles. I think it is time we directed our attention to more pressing matters."

Alexander was pleased that his lord had finally stopped to think on their present situation, but couldn't miss the deeply set frown between his brows, or the vague attention he was giving him as they went over the maps of the earth's continents.

He himself wondered if perhaps Miles' dreams were indeed true and held a more profound meaning then they were led to believe.

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Rhumedian, Eastern Province of the Alexandrian Continent

Seven Miles South of the Central City of Alexandria

The eastern province of Alexandria was a city known for its prosperous trades and wealthy populous. The merchants here gathered the finest poultry, meats, salts and spices, as well as silks and jewels. The Rhumedian city was filled with wealth and the promise of the earth's future.

Malachite had decided to pass through the city instead of around it. They had been riding for three days, making camp each night and sleeping among the bitter cold that seeped across the land. He was accustomed to this, his men were accustomed to this, but he knew Serenity was not. They had to halt several times during the day, allowing her to relax, the men giving her most of the bread and cheese they had packed for themselves. She took it reluctantly, but still managed to thank them despite her situation. Malachite felt himself fall more deeply into the spell she had woven over him with each passing moment.

He knew what he was doing was completely uncalled for, but he couldn't help himself. He knew Endymion would be furious by the fact that he was indulging the soft side she provoked in him and showing her a world she had never seen.

But even he knew that he could never allow her into a city with so many men alert and watching during the day, and so led them through at night, when the people were in their homes resting for the night, and he would have no fear of a kidnapping attempt for her.

He found them lodging easily enough, and couldn't help the pleasure she gave him when he saw the relief and the gratefulness for him in her eyes. He had learned in the past days that although she was angry for her being taken from her home, she was also a woman who could not hold a hardened resolve for long. Most days she spoke with him, asking him of the earth's people and history. She was curious to know of the other gods who existed, a bit surprised that they did. She had thought in her temple that only Adonis ruled this world and the next.

They sat and had dinner in the inn, the room empty and silent but for them. His men excused themselves the moment they were finished with their meal, leaving them alone and him feeling edgy with the knowledge that tomorrow they would reach Alexandria and the Dark King.

He knew what Endymion would do with her when he saw her. He knew it, the same as his men did, but unlike them felt anger and jealousy, a possessiveness he had never thought he had. He had been tempted, sorely tempted, to take her with him and ride away, far and deep into the earth, where they would never be found.

But even he knew that no matter where he took her, the Dark King would find them and murder him without a moment's hesitation.

He watched her eat in silence, admiring the smooth glow of her flesh against the flickering lights of the inn. Although he was no longer reduced to a fumbling fool at the sight of her, he still felt his heart stutter and his pulse race whenever those sorceress eyes met his directly.

He had noted on their first day together that she had a curious tattoo on her right shoulder blade, against the smooth perfection of her back. It was a Celtic cross, with a single beam of light circling. He had glimpsed it when the blazing sun had turned the early afternoon into sweltering heat, and she had removed her fur lined cloak. The clinging white gowns she wore left her arms bare, and as she had ridden her mare, the sleeve of her gown had slipped away, revealing the tattoo.

He had been fascinated by it, staring until she had adjusted the sleeve and covered it once again. She had noticed his gaze, but pointedly ignored it, keeping her own eyes fixed on the road they held.

After some time she halted in eating her dinner, raising her eyes to meet his. She cocked one those dark brows, and made his pulse beat strongly with desire at how alluring the simple act made her.

"What is it?" Her voice was soft, but exotically tempting. He felt his hands curl into fists atop the table.

He took his time responding, making sure he wouldn't stumble over his words as he most usually did with her. "I wonder of your tattoo. Is it a symbol of your god?"

She kept her eyes directly on his for some time, making him shift uncomfortably. There were times when the steadiness of her gaze, the intensity made him wonder if she could read his very thoughts.

When she spoke at last her voice was smooth, unreadable. "It is." Lacing her fingers together atop the table, she kept her gaze directly on his.

He could feel his heart pound inside his chest, could feel his mouth run dry as she kept those eyes topped by slashing dark brows on him. He knew that he would have to rid himself of these emotions before they reached the Dark King or else his sovereign would notice them.

But even he wasn't fool enough to realize this love that was growing inside of him would ever be something he could be rid of.

Remaining calm despite the furious beating of his heart, he took up his cup and sipped the cool ale within. "When did you receive it?"

"I didn't. I was born with it."

He placed his cup carefully on the table, frowning sharply as he stared at her. "Born with it? A tattoo is received, not born with."

"Yes, of course it is. That is what you think. However, I was born with this and will die with it as well."

"Was it an heirloom then? Something passed from mother to daughter over the years of your existence?" Malachite mused it aloud, curious by her confession.

Her eyes locked to his, and he saw the beginnings of annoyance there. "No, my mother did not have it. She told me--," she paused, eyed him suspiciously for one long moment, then tossed her silvery hair over her shoulder and turned away from him. "The hour is late. Could I be shown to my rooms, please?"

He wanted to ask her more of her life in the temple, he wanted to know what it was her mother had told her of the tattoo, but he bit back his impatience and instead rose from the table. Once she was safely inside her rooms he went to his own, where he laid to rest and struggled to fight back the dreams that came of her. It was longing and love that drove them through his mind when he was at his weakest, images of her telling him she loved him, images of her welcoming him and no other.

But they were dreams, and even trapped inside of them, his heart despaired for what could never be.

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Alexandria, Capital City to the Northern Continent of Earth

His patience was at an end.

Malachite and his Centurions had been gone for ten days now. For the last two he had been watching for them, impatient for their return. He knew that his Head General had to have indulged his soft side for the prisoners and allowed them rest on their return. There was no other explanation that could account for the length of time it was taking for them to come back.

It was the early afternoon in the city, and he stood over the battlements of the palace, overlooking the spread of Alexandria before him. The sun shone brilliantly today, sweeping away any cold winds that might linger. He could see the peasants going about their daily lives, minding their crops in the fields littered before him, the women hanging out the wash for the sun to dry, the little one's running about the green pastures with their laughter trailing lightly behind them.

The days in this city were peaceful, he mused as he stood straight and tall, with his hands folded tightly behind his back. A small teasing wind swept over him, brushing softly at the black, unruly hair that reached nearly his shoulders. His skin was a deep bronze, acquired from birth and also gained by numerous days spent in the sun, his eyes a deep, almost violent opaque. There was a small scar marring the near perfection of his features, over his left brow. But even such a small scar could not take away from the savage beauty he held.

He continued his silent vigilance over the city, watching as his legions patrolled the fields, causing the peasants to still in their easy life and laughter to watch them go by. He could see the wariness with which they watched them, and felt pleased by this. If they felt their lives were truly peaceful here, then they would not be able to acknowledge the leadership he now held over them. Miles was gone, and so were any hopes for a better future under him.

It was then he felt it, heard it in the cry of the falcon that flew overhead. It was subtle, almost unnoticeable, but he knew. He would always know when something changed and was coming toward him.

It took some time for them to appear in the distance, the small party riding steadily toward the central city. They appeared as any ordinary patrol of men he might send out, but his instinct told him otherwise. He knew who they were, knew it before they had even fully entered these lands.

Patience had never been one of his finer virtues, but he applied every bit he had in that moment, remaining as he was, keeping his eyes trained on the small party. He kept still, even when their presence was recognized and acknowledged, even when the trumpets were hailed, announcing their arrival. He remained there until Gregori came to him, silent in his approach, and always cautious.

"My Lord," Gregori spoke softly, afraid of disturbing Endymion in his thoughts, but Malachite had ordered them to retrieve him at once. "My Lord, Malachite has returned." He chose not to mention the single package that had come with his return, shocking the three other Generals greatly with its immense beauty, but also cool aloofness.

"He has, hasn't he?" Endymion countered, taking a moment to turn and eye his General. Gregori was uneasy and he could easily imagine why. He could not fault the other man, and decided to let it pass. "Let us meet him then."

He strode past his General and down the winding stairs that led below into the entry hall of the palace. He continued until he emerged into the daylight once again, into the courtyard, where Malachite stood waiting patiently, his men behind him, a single small figure blocked by his Head Generals larger body.

The Dark King recognized the suspicion in his General almost immediately, coming to an abrupt halt before him, the two men standing at equal ground, their eyes locking to one anothers.

"Your late. I thought I specifically said no delays." The Dark King's voice was soft, almost calm, but it was the tinge of menace hidden skillfully beneath the surface that had his Generals all shifting uncomfortably.

Malachite's jaw hardened, and for one tense moment he thought to challenge his King, to strike him down and eliminate any threats to Serenity, but almost immediately he backed down, taking one step to the side to allow the Dark King his first full view of her.

"As you can see, we were delayed with just cause."

The first meeting between the Dark King and the Silvery Maiden. In silence, Malachite watched as the two took in their first glimpses of one another, as their gazes locked and held. He kept his eyes warily on his sovereign, prepared to defend Serenity should need be against him. He knew, as the other Generals did, how the Dark King tended to treat his women and he would not stand by to watch Serenity subjected to abuse and humiliation.

But even with a high tension pouring through the room and his own black jealousy boiling through him, he could sense that time seemed to come to an abrupt halt, that the sun was suddenly covered in darkness and the winds that had been sweeping gently over the land died, silence reigning over a moment that would be forever seared into time and mark the beginning of the changes that would accompany such an insult against Adonis. Two of the earth's most important beings, one with the power of life and death, the other with the power of seduction and the protection of a wrathful god. Malachite couldn't suppress the shudder that passed through him at the thought, as if taking this one woman would launch a war such as the earth had never seen.

Malachite slid his gaze back to his King, a bit troubled by the intensity of his eyes on Serenity. He hadn't spoken one word, had not moved nor acknowledged any of his men. He had never seen Endymion react in such a way before. He glanced quickly back at Serenity, frowning sharply when he saw the shock and fear marring her exquisite features. She had not looked this way even when she had first seen him, as if she was faced with an evil she had hoped to elude all her life.

The men took cautious steps back when the Dark King moved forward finally, taking slow steps toward her, until he stood before her, his hard gaze moving over her sultry features, his nostrils flaring as the scent of her reached his senses. The naked fear coating her sultry features caused a sharp stab of resentment to pulse through Malachite.

"Her name Malachite." He spoke briskly, never once removing his gaze from hers, as steady as a predator eyeing its prey. Because of this he did not miss the way her eyes widened with horror at the sound of his voice, a violent tremor coursing over her delicate frame as she seemed to realize something.

Malachite came to attention, folding his hands securely behind his back, making sure to keep his expression carefully blank. "Serenity, the Silvery Maiden of Osiris, my Lord."

Endymion stirred then, as if jerked from his trance like state, his hard gaze whipping to his head Generals. "You lie." The single statement was breathed with the beginnings of incredulous rage.

Malachite met his Lord's hard stare with one of his own. "I do not."

A single muscle ticked in his jaw, the only sign of his increasing fury. But before he could react to it she spoke, breaking the suffocating tension of the room. "He does not lie. I am what he says."

Endymion turned his stare back on her, the opaque turning to a near black as he took in the sight of her before him. He could see the fear coating her features, could almost smell it as her breathing became heavier and she struggled to hold her ground. Such a little thing, he mused, to have such courage in her. He'd found men who she could not even equal in half their size who had cowered before him in the past.

But despite her obvious fear of him, it was wonder that brought his dark hand up to cup and caress her cheek, to feel the smooth skin beneath his hand. He felt her cringe at his touch, but he did not remove his hand, sweeping it over her temple and into her lustrous hair, to tangle and sift through the long, silvery strands flowing down her graceful back.

She trembled against him, her eyes remaining on his, her hands forming small fists at her sides. Never, in all his life, had he seen such a beautiful creature, gifted with erotic, sensual beauty, but also a purity and innocence no other woman could ever possess.

Slowly he became aware of his men surrounding them, of their eyes dark with hunger for her, of their gazes lingering on the small heaving breasts. Rage, pure, unadulterated fury rose like a roaring tidal wave through him, a dark, possessive violence causing him to grip her arm and place her behind him, his black fury turning itself on his Generals and the Centurions around them.

His first instinct with these high emotions racing through him was to challenge them with his sword, to draw blood and feel satisfaction for his rage. But even with these burning emotions churning through him he was able to take a deep, calming breath and press down on the demon that forever emerged when any signs of battle came. He had achieved victory so far in his life with careful planning and precise actions. He ruled by his cunning mind and swift blade, and followed the lead of a black heart that had taken him to where he stood this day.

Keeping a tight grip on Serenity's arm, he spoke in a sharp, clipped tone. "Send for a maid." He issued the command to one of the Centurions, who quickly rushed from the room, returning moments later followed by a small, trembling woman.

The maid quickly curtsied, keeping her gaze averted from the Dark King. "Yes, my Lord?"

"Take her to my rooms." He moved aside to reveal Serenity, still taut with tension as every man in the room kept their gaze riveted on her. "See to her needs and remain with her until further notice from me."

The maid curtsied once again, waiting patiently as Endymion circled Serenity's throat with his dark hand, his larger body moving closer to her. "You will follow her and not attempt to defy my will. If you do....," his gaze was focused on her mouth, the hand at her throat tightening only slightly," you will find my fury a formidable opponent."

He released her and stepped back, allowing her to move past him and follow the small maid, both women exiting the room. He did not notice the quick glance she cast toward Malachite, the small moment that passed between them, just before leaving the courtyard. The moment Serenity was gone from sight the heavy tension vanished, allowing the men to relax somewhat in the presence of their sovereign.

Malachite turned to his Centurions and nodded curtly to his men. "Dismissed. Go rest and gather your strengths once again."

Once the Centurions had exited the room and left the Generals with their King, Endymion turned back from the door Serenity had left from, focusing his attention on his head General. "Report."

"The mountains were deserted when we encountered them. We found small signs of life at the base, but none once we began to journey through the trails." Malachite stood stiffly as the Dark King kept his steady gaze on him. "I believe the legends of those mountains kept any rebels from seeking refuge there."

"But you found her." Gregori spoke quietly from beside him, his own curiosity where she was concerned overwhelming him.

"Yes, we found her. There is a temple, deep into the mountains, where I believe no man has ever been able to reach. It seems she has lived here all her life, as well as the other Priestess' who came before her, her ancestors."

"Was she alone Malachite?" Endymion questioned abruptly.

"Yes, my Lord, she was."

"It is important we take into account the legends that accompany this woman." Julius spoke quickly when a small silence had fallen. "We have always thought her to be a myth, a legend, and now that we have her here in this palace we must also realize whom she serves and truly belongs too. She-"

"Belongs to me Julius." Endymion's entire demeanor had changed; where he had once been deep in thought he was now alert, taut with tension and an aggressive stance that had the Generals eyeing him with caution. "Do not make the mistake of thinking she will be returned to where she came from. Her place is with me from this day forward."

Malachite had known this would occur, but he had still hoped the Dark King would perhaps by some miracle not want her and allow him to have her. Taking a deep breath to sustain his courage in the topic he was about to breach with his Lord, he forced himself to speak.

"My Lord, I ask for permission to speak."

Endymion's eyes moved from Julius to his head Generals, the dark opaque still dark with anger, but also curiosity as well now. "Permission granted. Speak."

"My question regards the Maiden, my Lord. I wish to keep her for myself once you no longer have need of her." Malachite's gaze never wavered once from his Kings.

As always the rage came first, the all consuming fury that served its purpose in battle, but on the heels of this anger came the ice, a freezing that poured through his blood and hardened his heart. He knew Malachite's request was perfectly reasonable, a question he should have expected to come from any of his Generals. He took different women periodically only because he tired of them so quickly, sometimes casting them off to his Generals, and if not them then his Praetorians. He was not a man to keep any woman for long.

But he found that instead of the usual calm and cool detachment he felt in such situations, the icy fury that had flooded his veins caused a murderous possessiveness to take over him, nearly consuming his reason to the point of attack against his head General. Such an occurrence was unlike him and made him worry over what power this Maiden could have over him so quickly.

When he spoke there was no emotion in his tone, merely a neutral calm that relieved Malachite. "I will not give you an answer so soon. Give me time to think on this."

The Generals were all taken back by this declaration. Endymion was always so quick to agree, uncaring of where the women went once discarded by him. It was the first woman he had ever hesitated to release.

Malachite's first initiative was to question him, demand Serenity be given to him, but he relented, bowing his head and nodding once. "As you will, my Lord."

"Now I want no interruptions. I will see to my Maiden and expect to be left alone until I send for any of you." Endymion issued the warning calmly before turning on his heel and stalking from the room.

"Its unbelievable, isn't it, to realize this woman truly exists?" Kendrick was still stunned by the discovery. "That she and the others who came before her have resided in that temple for so long."

"Its also dangerous, this game we play." Julius had been captivated by her beauty, but also frightened in knowing Adonis would realize his Maiden had been taken and unleash his fury upon them. "She belongs with her god. We have no right to keep her here."

"It is not in us to question Endymion's decisions. If he wish's to keep her, then we must prepare ourselves for the consequences of these actions." Gregori reminded him softly.

Malachite listened to them argue, vaguely aware of what they were saying to one another. He had not missed the single look of helplessness Serenity had sent toward him just before leaving, nor the quiet plea that had accompanied the look. Although she had treated him with cool disdain along the journey home, she had obviously come to rely on him and also look to him for protection.

It was pure irony that in the moment she needed him most he was helpless to truly protect her as he wished he could.

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

The maid had shown Serenity to the Dark King's rooms, introducing herself as Sarah. She had informed her that she worked mainly in the kitchens as the cooks assistant and also saw to the cleaning of the rooms about the palace from time to time. She had exclaimed over Serenity's beauty with open admiration, chattering on excitedly that she had never seen his majesty so enchanted by any other woman before.

Serenity listened to her with a faint detachment, sitting serenely atop his magnificent bed, her hands folded in her lap. Sarah bustled about the room, picking up tossed clothing, seeing to her work more from habit then nervousness. She was smoothing the bedding down behind Serenity when she suddenly stopped speaking, a heavy silence ensuing.

Curious to know what could have silenced the joyful girl, Serenity turned slightly to see her staring at the tattoo at her shoulder blade, her eyes wide with both fear and wonder. The instant she turned Sarah quickly averted her gaze, embarrassed to have been caught.

"Has no one ever seen a tattoo?" Serenity questioned with a sigh, remembering Malachite's shock at seeing it as well.

"Yes, my Lady, but that is no ordinary tattoo." Sarah came to stand before her again, studying the smokey eyes topped by the slashing brows, her eyes lingering on the silvery hair that even now gleamed in the glow of the afternoon sun. "It is no wonder you are so beautiful, my Lady."

Serenity cocked one of those brows in question. "Oh?"

"You are the Silvery Maiden of Osiris, my Lady. The stories told of your beauty are legend." Sarah explained. "His majesty will be cherishing you as he has never cherished another."

In that moment each woman heard the footsteps coming toward the door, causing Sarah to straighten and immediately drop into a curtsy as they burst open, the Dark King's large frame filling the doorway. His eyes unerringly found Serenity, drinking in the sight of her as she sat calmly watching him.

"Leave us." He whispered the order, moving aside to allow Sarah to flee the room, leaving them alone.

Serenity was still in brutal shock at the sound of that voice, at the familiarity it held, of the vague memories that had accompanied meeting those eyes for the first time. She had only ever known two people in her life: her mother and Adonis. How was it that this man, this reputed King, held a distant memory for her when she had never met him before?

"I'm pleased that you heeded my warnings, little one." He spoke lazily just before slamming the door shut behind him, moving slowly into the room.

Serenity remembered Adonis, with his golden beauty and superb body strength. And even knowing he had been a prime specimen of man at his finest, she realized he could never compare in physical beauty to this man.

"I had no other choice, did I?" She countered, remaining relaxed despite the fact that he moved closer to her.

"No, you did not. But even with little choices left, I see the rebellion in your eyes." He stood behind her, and she held her breath when she felt his hands in her hair, touching the long, silvery strands. "I admire spirit, little one, and find that I am pleased by both your immense beauty as well."

She shut her eyes tight when his hands wandered from her hair to her bare shoulders, gently massaging the smooth flesh. "What exactly do you want with me?"

He chuckled quietly, a deep rumble that emerged from deep within his chest. "Surely you know."

"I fail to see why a King such as yourself would want a simple maiden who serves a god."

His hands tightened on her shoulders so suddenly she was unable to stop the grimace that accompanied it. "You no longer serve Adonis. Your sole purpose from this day is to see to my own happiness and needs." He moved before her and hauled her to her feet, catching her chin in one hand and forcing her eyes to his. "Do you understand?"

Her eyes flashed, her jaw tightening. "And do you truly believe you can rule a person's life so absolutely?"

"I have no need to believe in something I know. And do not think to defy my will ever." His dark eyes studied her for a moment, before he suddenly crushed her soft mouth beneath his, silencing any protests as he shoved her back on his bed and spread his lithe, powerful frame above her.

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Last Notes: I would first like to say that no, there will be absolutely no rape in the next chapter, no matter how it may seem with the ending of this one. I was very sick and tired of reading about how my fanfic had rape before and I was able to realize that I wrote the first love scene very poorly. I have taken care of this mistake and I'm only saying to wait until the next chapter comes out to see how I did.

I hope you guys noticed the title of the story and how it related the title of the first chapter in the original version. I'm finally catching up with what I had written before, but I'm still not near there. Although there are maybe one or two things in this chapter that may be similar to the first chapter of the original, this one is still all its own.

Now I truly hope you all enjoyed this latest installment and will think that it was worth the wait. I hurried as quickly as I could, when I could, to add to this fic for you guys. So now please do me a favor and review! I really want to know what you guys thought of this chapter. So I'll end with saying that if the response is big, then I'll definitely work my ass off to get Carnal Moon posted ASAP next. Thanks! :: SailorP ::

The Dark King copyright © 9.29.02 by SailorPerfect

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