The worst thing about the Broken Hills was the wind. This far south, as far south as one could go on the continent of Hybras before hitting the frozen seas that marked the Bottom of the World, it was everywhere. It was strong. And it was cold. And it was miserable. It blew across the plains. It blow across the heights. It blew across the valleys. It blew through the great halls of Blackwell, where the mighty kings who had ruled the Broken Hills with an iron fist had ruled for generations. It blew through the ports of Reddale, wrestling with the fishing ships that fueled the vast armies of the Blackwatch, armies that as of yet had been unbeaten for hundreds of years. It even blew, or at least tried to blow, into the deep caves of the Whitepick dwarves, reclusive allies of King Blackwell who emerged from their dark tunnels only to provide their finest crafts, whether in metal or warriors. The only place that the wind did not blow at all was in the Castle-at-Blackthorne, where thick stone walls that had whethered countless assaults on the kingdom of Blackwell, now whethered a no less violent and determined assault on the 10th wedding anniversary of Lord Eamon of Blackthorne, and his lovely wife, Lillanthil. The gods forbid such a momentous occasion be ruined by a chilly breeze.
Said lovely wife, however, was not currently celebrating the occasion with her husband, but rather on the short walk back towards celebrating the occasion with her husband, after having stepped outside for a visit to the Little Half-Succubus' Room. The tapping of her high-heeled shoes echoed hollowly through the cold, dank halls which, though lavishly decorated, nevertheless remained dank and cold, for not even the finest Elvish tapestries plundered from the North (Elves rarely gave up their posessions willingly - especially not to the 'inferior' races) could disguise the fact that the castle's original designer had clearly decided that such petty concepts as 'style' and 'beauty' were abominations to be avoided at all costs.
Somewhere, hordes of devils punish him by dressing him up in the latest fashions from Gempri, while he is forced to lounge in an elaborate Pelusian suite as the soft strains of an Amphoran symphony drift in the air like hummingbirds.
Lillanthil smiled at the image, even as she dismissed it. If anything, Hell was even less creative.
Abruptly, she was at a crossroads. To her right, the dining room where her husband awaited, no doubt waiting to spoil her in ways not yet invented in all the Seven Heavens. The husband who, for the rest of the night, would proceed to wine her, dine her, romance her, and then take her to the bedroom where they would soon be in so much bliss it was almost criminal. To her left, her newborn son. The bawling little orcspawn that had sat in her abdomen for nine, miserable months, stretching and malforming her lovely body so that even now, on her anniversary, she had been forced to have a new dress made for the event to replace the one she could no longer fit into. The diminutive terror whoses cries pierced the walls which had taken rock and arrow and cannonfire without shaking like paper, keeping herself, her husband, and half the servants up all night, every night, for weeks. The latest scion of a family of monsters and murderers... and that was just on his father's side. It was almost no choice at all. She went left.
What she saw there punched the breath right out of her lungs, sliced it up, stole its cash, and left it bruised and bleeding in an alley crying weakly for help. Her heartrate quickened. Her fists clenched. Her legs trembled in conflicting desire, one wishing to turn and flee, one wishing to charge forth, saber in hand and screaming the harshest battlecries she knew. Every nerve in her body screamed in equal parts terror and rage. A real scream, one born out of pure hatred and outrage, swelled up from the bottom of her chest, gained momentum in her lungs, and roiled forth in righteous fury before ultimately dying in the back of her throat, emerging as a feeble gasp.
"Oh do please hush, child. You'll wake the baby."
Morgana sat in a deep armchair, clad in a silken white robe and rocking back and forth gently, cradling Lillanthil's infant son in her arms. The previous occupant of the armchair, the boy's wetnurse, lay splattered across the far wall and part of the ceiling, the steady drip of her blood punctuating the near total silence of the room, broken only by the rhythmic creaking of Morgana's chair, and the faint, mechanized clicking of her two bodyguards.
Morgana looked up at her daughter, noticing the aura of magic surrounding both her fists.
"And you can put those away as well, darling. You know full well my guards and I can shrug off any attack you are capable of mounting. All you'll do is endanger the child."
Swallowing heavily, Lillanthil released her hold on the Arcane, and struggled to find her voice for a moment.
"What more do you want from me, Morgana? What more can you take?" She hissed.
"Why, nothing." Replied Morgana, with unconvincing surprise.
"I'm merely here to visit my new grandson."
Morgana smiled, returning her gaze to the infant cradled in her arms. She brushed a lock of hair out of his forehead for a moment with a finger, before letting the wispy red strands fall back into place.
"Little baby Kal. Your uncle will be so pleased to learn you've named a child after him, even after how you last parted ways." She said, her words laced with malicious glee.
Lillanthil closed her eyes, struggling to maintain composure.
"The child's name is Kalfinn, not Kal'selthezaar, and as far as I am concerned he will never hear that name, nor yours, for as long as he lives."
"Such harsh words, for your family. Are you sure you can keep him from his destiny?"
"He has no destiny! At least, not with you! Leave now, and never come back!"
"You can't keep him from me. He'll be mine eventually. His blood marks him."
Morgana slowly traced a spot on the baby's forehead. A raised nub that would eventually grow into a horn, marking his diabolical heritage.
"But I'll follow your wishes for now."
She placed the child back in his crib, pausing to arrange his blankets and tuck him in properly. Then she straightened, turning once again to face her daughter.
"Eighteen years. That's how long I'll give you. And then I'll be back. And we'll see if what you said to me the last time we spoke holds true."
Morgana smiled one last time. The broad, smug smile of someone who knows, deep down, that they have already won.
"But I think we both know that I'm going to turn out right. Again."
And then she was gone.
Adrenaline left Lillanthil, and she leant against the doorframe, slowly sinking to the ground. For the first time in a very, very long time, she was afraid.