xxxvii. Stones From The Gallows
The three women scaled the rest of the way up the slate shingles to the gargoyle weather-vane, where they could see to the distant edges of the woodland in every direction. The night was crisp.
They clung to each other with arms around the gothic wind-gauge―praying to themselves that they made it through the horrors of the day. As the storm steadily intensified tenfold, raging strong all around them, they each made prayers.
Eva shivered in shock―staring off into the sky’s tumult, as lightning crashed across the Forest crown―from Miramar to Evyl Falls of the Payne. She thought of Seven and all of their memories together.
Aly hung on to hope bravely, thinking of Olin and close they had come that day to rekindling their rocky romance. But now it looked as if she had lost him again for all time to the bitch Silverskin.
Marietta grimly stayed strong for the girls, for she knew how how hearts hurt so, and all she wanted now was for it to be over. She longed for Godwin even now so soon as she had seen him, but it was over.
All three of them just wanted to get as far away as was humanly possible from this terrible Lady Faye of French’s Forest.
Eva just wanted to be home again in Old York—and to never have bothered Seven about meeting his family in the first place—to never have even thought of it.
She closed her eyes now, desperately wishing she could take it all back and escape into clouds like a bird.
If she lived to see home again, she promised herself she would so forget this place for as long as she ever then lived.
Meanwhile, inside―Olin knelt down on the surface of the silver water, submitting before Faye in total surrender—shoulders hung, head slumped down low.
But just as Faye raised Ierre to strike him from life―Seven jumped from the long table, tackling Olin down under silver swirls—and Faye flung a funnel of blue fire from Ierre—just missing them as they went down below the silver swirls.
Blue flames crackled across the surface, as bubbles rose up from where Seven had tackled Olin underneath ebb.
‘Everybody surfaces eventually,’ She taunted. ‘How dare you ever keep Me from My Olin,’ she cried. ‘Damn you, Seven! He is MINE NOW!!! MINE … !!!’
For a moment, there were no more bubbles—and the surface soon stilled—but then suddenly, Seven stood up out of the water, pulling Olin with him, holding him fast in an iron arm-lock now from behind.
Olin’s skin was melting off of his skeleton from the exposure to molten silver—while Seven was beginning to feel numb in his limbs. They were in trouble.
“Let me go brother!” Olin snarled―choking and hacking—spitting up blood. “Let me go to be with Her now.”
“This is for your own good, brother.”
Faye hissed. ‘I knew you could not stand by and watch while I turned My attention to your brother. ‘JEALOUS!!!
‘Admit it—you cannot deny, Seven … Your feelings for Me remain to this very day. You have never let go …’
“I HATE YOU!” Seven snarled at Her.
“I am warning you once,” Olin hissed, straining against Seven’s grip. “You had your chance! She is mine now!”
“She’s playing you!” Seven growled.
This only infuriated Olin even more.
He thrust his head back and struck Seven squarely on the nose—drawing a font of blood. He growled in his dismay.
But Seven only redoubled his hold.
“I’m saving your life, brother …”
‘LET HIM GO!!!’ Faye boomed. ‘Why must Olin suffer for your jealous ways, Seven? Why must you ruin Our love, just to satisfy your own little greedy heart?’
“SPARE ME YOUR GAMES!” Seven roared. “I SEE THROUGH ALL OF YOUR LIES NOW―YOU GODDAMNED HEARTLESS WITCH! YOU HOLLOW LIAR!”
“Let me go, brother,” Olin growled through gritted teeth. “Last warning …”
“Snap out of it Olin! SNAP OUT!”
“Let me have Her, brother. You have Eva now. Why must you do this?”
“I don’t want Her―and She doesn’t want you! Can’t you see that by now?”
“LIAR! You are just jealous She loves me!!! You wish She loved you still.”
Olin bit Seven’s arm—fangs sinking deep into muscle—causing Seven to cry out and loosen his hold—allowing Olin to break free. Seven cursed at the turn.
He recoiled, blood spurting from his arm all across the rippled silver surface. He loved his brother but this was much.
Olin waded toward Faye, losing strength with every step, as the silver sapped his spirit. He needed Her so bad.
She pushed him to his knees—where he clung to Her leg—unwilling to let Her go again. He was everything but himself.
She grabbed him by the hair and leveled Ierre at his neck—smiling wickedly to Herself. She savored these simple kills.
Seven jumped on the table again, grabbing Tréowlufu—which he held up yelling at Her. He swung the sword.
“LET HIM GO!!! LET HIM GO I SAY!”
‘MAKE ME!!! Come and make me!’
“Olin! Wake up! Release yourself!”
“I always loved Her more than you, brother …” Olin said with a sneer―head cocked and ready to be severed—in order to serve Her fancy. He would die for Her.
“She was the moon to me,” he concluded, closing his eyes. “All I ever wanted.” He had completely lost himself.
Seven steadied himself―feeling the tip of Tréowlufu twitch—and he closed his eyes—infusing his pure consciousness into the blade. The sword began to vibrate.
He targeted Faye deep in his mind.
Bat-blind―he twisted about and flung Tréowlufu―but Olin saw it launch—and at the last second, he jumped up to shield Faye with his own body in between.
“She is MINE now!” Olin cried—just as the sharp tip of the blade met with his heart―and blood gushed like a grotesque geyser from entry point and open mouth.
Then Tréowlufu hovered there―holding him up, skewered aloft—just like the poor pigs Olin used to steal at night from the local farms—and eat live off the spit. He was the spitting image of it.
Tréowlufu slowly twisted in his chest now—and he wailed in agony—voice hollowing as life left him. His eyes rolled.
Seven looked on in horror, slowly shaking his head in disbelief—before it dawned on him Faye did it. She did it.
He tried to focus on the moment, in order to keep his wits about him—and not go the route of his brother. He loved him.
He watched as Tréowlufu then began to turn Olin about in the air—all the way around to face Faye—and with his last breath, Olin screamed in an unspeakable pain—for he now knew it was his love who had killed him. She laughed mercilessly.
“Damn You …” Seven cursed Faye in dismay—still struggling to hold his emotions in check. “Damn you witch!”
Faye laughed at the look of life leaving Olin’s eyes—for She cherished death in every form. It tasted so good.
Finally, She flicked her wrist in disgust—twisting the sword in further—finishing him for good. It was satisfying.
In his remaining seconds, when he could no longer speak—and all intelligence left behind his bleeding eyes was quickening to becoming questionable―he weakly clutched at the hilt of Tréowlufu, killed by betrayal. “Brother,” he cried.
Then in a small but touching mercy, just before the better part of his spirit departed that dimension forever—his dead eye regenerated. The blood drained from both eyes—so that although he was all but dead—for the first time in his life he was no longer undead—and his eyes shone clear as crystal, in a beautiful human blue.
But his body went limp now and hung suspended by the hovering blade that remained parked in his dark heart—and after a few palpable beats of sadistic enjoyment in the pain that She was inflicting upon both him and Seven in one fell swoop―Faye pistoned Her elbow—yanking the blade clean from its heavy sheath of flesh. She guffawed in delight.
Olin’s corpse dropped like a stone from the gallows, into silver water, never to resurface. He was now gone forever.
Only bubbles of acid then riddled the water where he went down―as every cell of his body was slowly devoured by the swirling silver pool. It was an empty end.
Then Faye pointed to the side―and the sword flew across the room, smashing into the giant stone boulder fireplace―sending up plumes of ash and ember. Her fire spread blue flames over the iron mantle, high along the far walls—and across the ceiling by quantum arcs.
Then She leapt like a bow of quicksilver onto the long-table before Seven—whirling Ierre above Her head, roaring in a feral battle-lust—fueled by Her fresh kill. She longed for Seven’s blood.
Seven braced for the impending melee—but his heart teetered on see-saw hopes—for he secretly knew that nothing could ever truly ready one for Her rage. When She finally hit Her stride—and decided to really show it—She was Hell.
So as She brought Ierre down upon him—it seemed like She was moving in slow motion—as he struggled and wrestled with himself to get his wits back about him. Everything came down to this.
But he managed to snap back in—agilely dodging to the right—yet blue fire flared from Ierre as it swept past him—burning up his back as he tried to spin away from harm. He bit down the pain.
Next, he spun full circle—and holding his hand out, used his latent telekinesis to summon Tréowlufu from the bowel of the fireplace. He drew its hilt back into his hand—and spun to strike Faye―crashing so hard against Hete, as to hew it into halves that melted away from Her arm. He found his good footing now.
In that moment, he was profoundly reminded that She was real enough to die—if he kept confidence alive. He flexed.
Scowling in a hell-raising fury, She sliced at his jugular—but he deftly parried Her attack—keeping Her on Her heels with a flurry of swordplay, driven by his instinct to survive, derived directly from his human side. He was in the groove now.
He had nearly forced Her off of the end of the long-table—when She suddenly sheathed Ierre—and bowing in surrender—fell to Her knees before him in a vulnerable supplication, preying on his weakness for Her love. She batted eyes.
‘Please …’ She begged in her sweetest voice. ‘I’ve made such a mistake …! Seven—I never meant it! I love you!’
“Best explain yourself quick!” Seven cried, exasperated—now caught up by his own bloodlust—and deathly afraid of giving her an inch—lest he give her his life for the fault. “One false word and I will finish you without another thought!” he growled ferociously. He had her down.
But then he made the error of casting his gaze deep into her enchanting green eyes—and he could not help but to recall the deep romance that they once shared. She had been the world to him.
‘Please,’ she cried, affecting Her most pitiful airs. ‘I got confused, Seven … You know you were the only one I ever loved … I was just reacting to your rejection … I never meant any of it … Please …! PLEASE … … …! Please …’
Seven let Tréowlufu come to a rest by his side—and reaching out, stroked Her hair. He looked down into her sad eyes.
“I missed You,” he said, gulping.
(Author’s Note: If you are enjoying The Silverskin, you can buy the full 400 page Revised & Expanded 10th Anniversary edition paperback here. Forever Yours In French’s Forest, Rian Torr)