The now-quiet blood stained the ground. A moment before it had been quickened by the heart of the beast before him, and – he realized – it was easy to see how it could have been his own. The fear he had not let overwhelm in the thick of the chase consumed him and he fell to his knees.
She walked to him, the dark-skinned warrior, trembling and alone in the road. The gancanagh lay dead. Her eyes cleared as the blood drained from the Aes Sídhe, her mind freed as the last breath left its body. She was glad to see it go. She knelt next to her warrior and laid a hand on his, her pale skin a frightening contrast to his dark.
“My fire-heart,” he said and leaned into her, his head falling into the crook at her neck, comfortable there.
“How did you know it was me?” Her voice was weak and tired.
“Your eyes,” he said, looking up into her soul. “Your eyes, mo dearg áilleacht.”
She put a hand to her mouth. “I never thought you’d come for me,” she said. “But your words, they are music…”
“I would cross all the world for you a thousand times.” He grabbed her hand and clutched it to her. “Tá grá agam duit. I have searched for you across all of the continents. It has been too long since last I held you to my breast.”
She pressed her filthy hand to his cheek, stained with the horrible bright red blood of the gancanagh. She looked at the now-dead beast. “How much time?”
“Five years,” he said.
She gasped, and hot tears welled in her eyes. “He held me for five years?” She whipped around, and her eyes went wide. The smallish figure in the door stood in rags and filth, confusion consuming his tiny face. Her tears burned. “Half demon…”
“No, no, áilleacht,” he said, turning her face back to him. “Not half demon. Half of you. The whole of your heart. We will raise him to the light.”
The dark warrior stood from the dirt of the road. The gancanagh, once in the guise of the man his áilleacht called ‘husband’ was revealed in his true form. A twisted, spiteful creature who preyed on the brokenhearted, he was now fading into the dirt of the back-country road. He looked to the Halfling and once again to his áilleacht.
“We cannot stay here,” he said. “Should anyone find his true parentage, he will be an outcast. I do not wish that for our son.”
“We…” She stared deep into his coal black eyes to his luminous soul.
“We. If you will have me.”
“Until the Almighty sees fit to end our world,” she breathed.
He pulled her to him, and pressed his lips to hers. The memories rose and sparkled between them, almost as bright as the sun, banishing the last of the darkness.