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CHAPTER

10

Feyre

I painted and painted and painted.

My heart thundered the entire time, steady as a war-drum.

I painted until my back cramped and my stomach gurgled with demands for hot cocoa and dessert.

I’d known what needed to come out of me the moment I perched on the rickety stool I’d dusted off from the back.

I’d barely been able to hold the paintbrush steady enough to make the first few strokes. From fear, yes. I was honest enough with myself to admit that.

But also from the sheer unleashing of it, as if I were a racehorse freed from my pen, the image in my mind a dashing vision that I sprinted to keep up with.

But it began to emerge. Began to take form.

And in its wake, a sort of quiet followed, as if it were a layer of snow blanketing the earth. Clearing away what was beneath.

More cleansing, more soothing than any of the hours I’d spent rebuilding this city. Equally as fulfilling, yes, but the painting, the unleashing and facing it, was a release. A first stitch to close a wound.

The tower bells of Velaris sang twelve before I stopped.

Before I lowered my brush and stared at what I’d created.

Stared at what gazed back.

Me.

Or how I’d been in the Ouroboros, that beast of scale and claw and darkness; rage and joy and cold. All of me. What lurked beneath my skin.

I had not run from it. And I did not run from it now.

Yes—the first stitch to close a wound. That’s how it felt.

With my brush dangling between my knees, with that beast forever on canvas, my body went a bit limp. Boneless.

I scanned the gallery, the street behind the boarded-up windows. No one had come to inquire about the lights in the hours I’d been here.

I stood at last, groaning as I stretched. I couldn’t take it with me. Not when the painting had to dry, and the damp night air off the river and distant sea would be terrible for it.

I certainly wasn’t going to bring it back to the town house for someone to find. Even Rhys.

But here … No one would know, should someone come in, who had painted it. I hadn’t signed my name. Didn’t want to.

If I left it here to dry overnight, if I came back tomorrow, there would certainly be some closet in the House of Wind where I might hide it afterward.

Tomorrow, then. I’d come back tomorrow to claim it.

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