by Kristine Chester (as Aveline and Merek)
You place too much emphasis on how you look, Castor, Merek thought.
Right, because I've seen what you look like and trust me when I say you could do with a little more hygiene, Aveline thought.
Appearance is either a weapon or a handicap. Yours has made you soft and weak. Pining for freedom instead of taking it by force, Merek thought.
Says the demigod trapped in my soul, Aveline retorted.
That is precisely how I know. The being in her mind switched gears. Your hair is impractical. A handhold for your enemies or a means to obscure your vision. Cut it.
I am not cutting my hair. Are you-
My vision wouldn't be an issue if you hadn't taken over one of my eyes. Aveline wanted to cry just thinking about the damage that was done. It had been mere days since she lost it and the thought of being without part of her vision for the rest of her life was frightening.
It was necessary. In time we will be capable of sharing, when you trust me more-
Ha! Sure that'll happen.
Although I'm afraid you're doomed to look far more dangerous for the rest of your life. Some Castors choose to cover the mark and it might be wise to consider. Not all you will meet will appreciate a curse brand.
I'll keep that in mind.
You fear your new appearance is dooming you to a life of solitude, but rest assured you will never be alone for the rest of your life, and for the baser physical needs you can always make use of a body and leave out the messy and unnecessary attachment.
Aveline found herself looking over at Ash and felt her face start to turn red. Perhaps the most frightening thing about Merek was that he was in her head, capable of both reading her thoughts and taking control of her. Wha-what are you doing?
You may as well. The half-breed isn't good for much else, it would grant me a reprieve from your stupid fantasies, and you would show him that you're not so broken after all, Merek thought.
I'm not broken.
That's not how he sees you. See that look? Pity. You are a broken doll to the Fendrel. An object of his desire that he snatched from the grasp of one man and has now lost out to me. He tries to protect you because he believes you are his.
That's not how we work. Ash is my friend. He guards me and I guard him like any family members would. He's concerned that you're driving me crazy- which I might add, you are, Aveline argued.
Watch him, Castor. The Fendrel is here only for you and you will be the death of him if he remains that attached. And the Oakley only sees me. He sees a coming monster and he's jealous that you will beat him to power first, Merek thought.
I don't want power, Aveline thought.
And yet you will have it and he will struggle to catch up. You will lead to the corruption and death of both of them, Castor, if they continue to accompany you. Don't become too attached. Use them as you will and then discard them.
I can't wait until I have the power to make you be quiet, Aveline thought.
Keep up the wishful thinking, Castor. In time you will come around to my way of thinking. You will cut your hair, you will live more practically, you will learn to trust me and to accept your power.
Aveline felt sick to her stomach. She threw her brush and the mirror back into her bag, leaving her hair untamed. She stood up and threw the bag over her shoulder and started to walk away from the camp. She only reached a few paces before she hesitated and called out behind her, "Bryce, stow the book and Ash get on your feet if you're coming."