Marchiel stared into Francis's twisted visage. The black rose stood just behind the broken man and Marchiel wanted her. Francis put a hand on Marchiel's chest as the younger man started forward.
"No, brother. You will not have her. She has chosen me. ME!" Francis crowed in triumph. It was true. The Black Rose had chosen his twisted, fire-marked brother over Marchiel. Marchiel's heart ached at the rejection.
"You have placed a spell on her, Francis. I will break it with true love's kiss." Marchiel brushed his brother aside and continued up the steps towards his love. "Chereal," he whispered as he touched her pale face. Her skin was shockingly white against a luxurious fall of raven black hair.
She lifted her eyes to his and he stepped back at the animosity in them.
"I chose Francis of my own free will, lover." Chereal pulled a dagger from her sleeve and plunged it into Marchiel's strong chest, finding his heart. He gasped as he fell back and the pair stood over him, watching his life's blood flow from his body.
"Even now he is noble," the Black Rose said to Francis, her nose wrinkled in distaste.
"Disgusting. I know," Francis replied as he took her hand and led her from the chamber.