Shisti snarled and threw her latest choice of gown to the floor. It was excellently made by the best seamstress in Raven Court. A beautiful work of art in soft, rich materials. Anywhere else, she would love wearing a gown of such quality.
In the Raven Court, it served only to remind her of why she was there — for use as… as nothing more than breeding stock.
She hated Fechin. He was all male — big muscles, battle scars, and tanned skin — a body created for holding a woman close and making her feel protected… though he’d never done that for her.
When she’d first arrived at the Raven Court, she thought him attractive, and hoped he would be kind — in spite of his mother being a monster — and that he could at least make her unwanted fate bearable. Shisti never expected to love Fechin, but she’d thought an alliance might be possible.
He hadn’t even tried.
Fechin had never wanted her, and no matter what she did, she couldn’t entice him. It wasn’t fair of her to put all the blame on him, she knew. She didn't want him, either, and wouldn’t have come here if she hadn’t been forced to, but she’d put some effort in when he hadn’t.
Shisti had been at this damned castle for two years, for an arranged marriage, likely to never happen, to the man who would become king. She’d seen Fechin's coronation in her visions, and she was responsible for making him king over his brother — by giving Fechin an heir.
Her dreams were never wrong, no matter how badly she wanted them to be different.
Once her father found out, damn the Norns for spilling her secrets, he’d given her to the Raven family — after forcing her to endure training on how to please men from his soldiers. She'd awakened in Raven Castle with no memory of how she'd arrived.
Trapped behind the powerful wards and magical fog protecting Raven Court, she hadn't even been able to contact her mother. The Queen of Winter would not abide this treatment of her daughter. If there was anyone who despised everything the Raven Court stood for more than Shisti, it was her mother.
Ymir, the only man Shisti detested more than Fechin, loved nothing more than power, and would do anything to get it — including whoring out his daughter. He'd torn her from her home, her love, and her mother, banishing her to the Inisfáil Fae castle. She only knew her father hadn’t actually sold her into slavery because Fechin didn’t want her around anymore than she wanted to be there.
Day by day, slight by slight, Fechin turned her hope into resentment. Even after she’d told him she’d make him king, he humiliated her at every turn.
Ignored her in the halls.
Never paid her a compliment.
Didn’t offer her company or escort her in public.
Snubbed her at court functions.
He'd made her a laughingstock. A woman to be pitied. His whore. Worse — he'd made her his unpaid whore, and he probably treated them more like ladies than he did her.
She should be queen of all Fae by now — those who mocked her in the past crushed in her grip or under her heel. That sweet revenge would be a start to having to endure her existence at Raven Court.
Even after all this time, there was no talk of marriage, but she made sure there was sex — perfunctory as it was. No kissing or cuddling, and he always took her from behind. In a way, it was a small mercy. She didn't have to look at him either, and could pretend he was someone else.
Someone who had truly loved her, once. That face was blurred by magic to make her forget. The spell on her felt like her father’s oily, otherworldly touch, but love was stronger than even the most powerful magic, and he hadn’t been completely successful.
She constantly kept her body ready with potions and magic. Once. She only needed him to come inside her a single time, and she would be pregnant. And able to refuse his touch forevermore.
He wanted to become king. Why he didn't cooperate, he'd never bothered explaining.
Shisti sighed, and crouched to scoop up the discarded dress. She worked the material over her body and sat at her vanity to finish getting ready. No one could ever say she didn't do her part.
During her scrying, the signs were favorable for her getting pregnant tonight. Fechin only needed one heir. The sooner that happened, the sooner she could start counting down the days until she could leave this place.
If she was feeling benevolent at that time, maybe she wouldn't leave it in ashes.