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    Demiurge
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Awaken - 26. Fork

I hadn’t slept. I’d reached across the bond, tried to take away as much of the pain as I could without a physical connection. Talon never communicated with me, but I felt him. I held my knees to my chest as I poured every ounce of my feelings for him over the bond. In the wee hours of the morning, when the rest of the world slept, I desperately tried to stave off his suffering. It felt like standing in a sinking boat and trying to bail out water with a bucket. The bucket also had a hole and for every bit I threw out, a gallon surged in. I kept going though, pressing everything that was me against that presence that I could barely make out. I didn’t even know if it was helping. He had to be gravely injured to not even have the frame of mind for actual thought. I had been monitoring it, hoping that I would catch a stray image that gave me a hint as to who had him or where he was. It was no use, he was beyond rational thought. It was like a mantra. All he knew was pain, pain, pain. I clenched my jaw and forced what little memories we had through the tether because I was selfish and wouldn’t let him give up. I couldn’t lose him.

When sunlight started streaming in through my curtains, I finally relented. I was exhausted and my limbs felt heavy. I wasn’t delusional. Even through my effort, I doubted I had made even a dent in his suffering. I’d continue every night, though, if I thought it gave him any kind of respite. I rolled onto my side and held his tunic tighter around me. I came to this hellhole looking to learn and get out of a marriage. I had been a naïve little fool. I had thought it’d be so easy. I’d come here, become all-powerful or something, and the king would fall all over himself to release me from my engagement. In my mind, Lex hadn’t been what he was now. A monster with pretty green eyes and a blinding smile. The perfect partner if you asked anyone else. No one knew him like I did. He was selfish and power hungry and, in his desperation to make something of himself, he’d become someone else. The kingdom was on the brink and all Lex wanted was power and me for some reason.

Anders was an entirely different opponent. He was wise, intelligent, and he’d obviously been working this angle for years. Since before I even knew up from down. He was running the country. He’d tried to veil his words, but the implication had been glaring. He offered me a deal, a place of power in what would be his kingdom’s expansion. At the expense of the king, queen, Talon, and probably countless other innocent lives. How could Lex support someone like that? How could he be so indifferent to others’ suffering? I paused in my thought trail and an image of blond curls invaded my thoughts. Blond curls and a rock raised above his head. It seemed that I was still trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. Mallex had a track record for resorting to violence to get what he wanted. Or to punish someone for receiving something he hadn’t.

My door opened a crack and I saw my brother’s messy hair through it, “Are you awake?”

“I haven’t slept.” I murmured, sitting up. Eon didn’t speak, he closed the door behind him and padded quietly over to my bed. He wore satin sleep pants and a matching shirt, and he looked about as tired as I felt. He crawled into my bed and laid next to me, both of us staring up at the canopy.

“If you would have told me a year ago that I’d be losing sleep over Talon Verloren, I would have laughed in your face.” He rolled on his side to look at me and frowned, “I can’t imagine what you’re feeling if I’m this upset. I barely know him, but when Anders was running his mouth, I wanted to take his head off. I don’t know how you stayed in control during that meeting.”

“I had to. Think where we’d be right now if I had lost my cool like normal. I would have no idea that there was anything even wrong with Talon. I had assumed he was too busy to reach out.” I rolled on my side to face Eon who stayed quiet, letting me talk.

“I am so scared Eon. I’m terrified. Not only of losing Talon, but of anything happening to you or Tyren. I don’t have many friends here, but having any right now seems dangerous. I don’t know if I’ll be enough. For any of it. Everything that is being laid down before us is so out of the spectrum of what I considered within my abilities to handle. I’m lost. One mess up and a person I care about could die. Maybe more than one.”

“I’m scared too.” Hearing it surprised me. For some reason, I thought it should upset me, but it was almost a comfort. I wasn’t struggling with this alone. He cleared his throat and pulled at a tassel on the corner of a pillow, “As I said, I almost lost it when they hinted Talon might be hurt or worse. But Kal…losing you would destroy all of us. We’ll get him back. We’ll figure this out. I know we will. I am so scared that you’ll lose yourself in all of it. In all the ugly that inevitably gets thrown your way. You were naïve, sheltered, stubborn, and spoiled-“

“Wow thanks.”

“Let me finish. You are and were all those things but yesterday, yesterday you were a force. It was impressive. I’ve never seen you clamp down on your emotions and do what needed to be done. Other then maybe at the banquet. It was all you and I was along for the ride.”

“I’m confused. Do you want me to change or not?” I frowned.

“It wasn’t a change. That person has been inside you this entire time. Just beaten down and shoved to the back. I’m happy to see him emerging. You can’t be that scared, sullen kid for what’s coming. We’re all going to need you to make decisions and lead.” I stared at him and wiped tears away from my eyes. He pulled me into his arms, and I let it all go for the second time in as many days. I went further though. I let it all go. Every single thing my family had done to me. Every misstep with Talon. Every cruel word thrown my way by people who thought I was lesser. I let it all slip out until I was shaking in my brother’s arms, no tears left.

“I’m sorry I’m not Talon.” He chuckled, “I can only comfort you the way I should’ve been for our whole lives. Verloren is strong though, Kal. He’s not going to give in and he’s…well versed in pain. We’ll find him.”

 

*

 

Tyren was not expecting us at seven in the morning. It was two hours before my scheduled classes. We’d had to force open the door to his main room and I realized for the first time that it was solid metal and only moved smoothly because Tyren willed it to. Out of breath, I leaned against the desk. His window seat was vacant. No surprise there, really. The sun wasn’t warm enough yet. The seasons here were strange and fall seemed to have come a bit later than it had in Krinn. It was getting colder and I rubbed my arms over Talon’s thin long-sleeved tunic. I hadn’t been able to convince myself to take it off. Movement in the back room and then Tyren practically fell out of the door, wearing only tiny shorts. Both Eon and I looked away fast.

He stared at us and rubbed his face, “I suppose I’ll get dressed.” He turned back around and disappeared.

“Ah sorry, I’m not a morning person.” Tyren was pulling on a sky blue vest five minutes later, cream colored pants now on his lower half.

“We’re sorry to bother you so early, but we have news.” Eon offered up, the tops of his ears tinted red.

“It’s fine. What’s your news, Alauis brothers?” He moved to sit on his desk, legs dangling.

“Anders surprised us with an impromptu meeting yesterday.” I said as I sank into my normal seat. Eon stayed standing, face serious and arms crossed. Eon wore a loose tunic that showed off much of his chest and I tried not to gag when Tyren’s eyes took it all in. That was something I’d have to revisit at a much later time, or repress for my own mental health.

“What happened?” Tyren asked, sitting up straighter, eyes wide.

“He wanted to make a deal. He basically implied he’s in control and wants me to join him. For king and country, he claims, but let’s be honest, the king is little more than a pawn now.” I heard the bitterness in my voice as Tyren rubbed his chin.

“I’ve wondered for some time. He seemed to start slipping in earnest two years ago. That’s when the queen and him truly began to have problems and when he stopped being as present at court, mentally.” Tyren stood and walked to the window.

“There’s more.” I looked down at the desk and tried to string the words together. Luckily, Eon stepped in.

“They’ve done something to Talon. This last mission was a fool’s errand and from what it sounds like, he went down. If there was a mission at all.”

“There was a mission. I assigned it myself.” We all turned, and a small man stood in the doorway. White hair hung in choppy pieces around his face and his pink eyes were unnerving in the dim light. He was shorter than I was by a few inches and clothed in deep burgundy. Tyren went so still that I wasn’t even sure he was breathing. His eyes were impossibly wide. The man strolled in and smiled at each one of us slowly.

“What do you mean you assigned it?” I snapped and his smile widened. Inch long fangs giving me pause. What was he?

“I assigned him the mission, boy. I pride myself on knowing just about everything this country is up to, but…I missed this one.” I launched myself out of my seat and was across the room before I knew what I was doing. Eon was frozen in place, a horrified expression on his face.

I gripped the strange man’s collar and slammed him into the wall, a strangled noise left Tyren’s lips, but I didn’t care, “You missed it? He could die because of you! Who the fuck do you think you are?”

“Mm, you are feisty. I get the appeal now.” His hand slid up the underside of the arm pinning him to the wall, “Neither Talon nor I share toys though, pity. You’re wasted on him.” He was completely unfazed by my violent outburst, which irritated me.

I pulled him from the wall and then slammed him against it again, a shudder tearing down my spine as he moaned, “What is wrong with you?”

His eyes had slipped closed, but he opened them now. He was still grinning, and he reached up, prying my hand off his collar as if it were nothing. I stared as he lifted his hand and pushed my chest. It was a light touch, but I jerked across the room, hitting one of the desks hard.

“Mm, well I bent the rules of the deal. I’m not supposed to hurt you. I’m sure he’ll be cross with me. To answer your question, child, my name is Wren. I am the leader of the Verseckt and you will do well to remember your manners before you touch me like that again without my permission.” His tongue ran over a fang as his eyes ran over me, “Although, if you were so inclined, I would give you all kinds of permissions.” I rolled my eyes as I pulled myself to my feet, gripping my side. Nothing felt broken, but I’d have a heinous bruise for sure.

“Shut up. If you’re here does that mean you’re going to help us? Why else would you show your stupid secret face?” His eyes flashed and his smile only grew.

“I am here to help, yes. It was not part of the deal, but I find myself quite put out. Anders has taken my favorite toy and broken him beyond the acceptable amount. It’s an offense, I find, I’m having a hard time forgiving. As I said, I like to know everything, and they’ve pulled the wool over my eyes. That has not happened for an exceptionally long time. You see, normally I would rip his spine from his body and eat him, but he holds sway with my king.” That was the second time he’d mentioned a deal. What deal?What was going on? Wren was in my space again and glances at Tyren and Eon showed both weren’t sure what to do. Tyren was sitting in his window seat. His deep skin barely hiding the fact that he had paled. Eon looked scared, but at the same time he was judging the distance between the two of us. I shook my head at him and he relaxed, nodding.

“Your king. You’re loyal to the king?” I asked, trying not to cringe away from him as he stood mere inches away now.

“I have been loyal to the kings of Dimian since the country’s creation. I am a family heirloom you could say.” He giggled at his own joke and his voice felt like a snake slithering over my skin.

“How did you come to be their servant?” He stepped back and looked at me again.

“No one has ever asked me this many questions about myself. Another day, boy. I promise. For now, I want to know if you have located Talon.” His eyes moved from me to Tyren and he sent a particularly predatory grin to the teacher.

Tyren licked his lips and swallowed before standing, “Eon was just filling me in.” Wren turned, his eyes running over my brother who met his gaze with defiance and a raise brow. He swept across the room. One minute he was in front of me, the next he was behind Eon.

“I had heard of you, but no one told me you looked like this.” Hands crept around my brother’s hips then up his chest. Hands that gave way to long white claws instead of normal nails. Eon looked to me, shocked and removed the hands, or tried to. Wren gripped his hands and spun him around like a princess at a ball.

“You, I will also have another day with. That I promise you. I may even leave you alive.” A claw ran over Eon’s cheek and he glowered down at the much smaller male.

“How kind of you.” Eon stepped out of his touch and Wren pouted.

“Now, what have you learned kids?”

Eon shook his head and sighed, “Not much. Talon went on a mission and was either ambushed on it or on the way back. Either way Anders’ men have him and he’s in-he’s in bad shape.” Wren motioned for him to continue and he shot a glare his way, much to Wren’s delight. Eon cleared his throat, “Kalian was able to communicate with him a little but all we know is that he’s moving, there’s honeysuckle, and red dirt. We also found a book of Talon’s where he talked about a trip he’d taken to Dleth, where honeysuckle had been along the road.”

“It would be the end of the season for honeysuckle.” Tyren said as he walked to his desk, carefully avoiding stepping any closer to Wren, “I’m not sure that there would still be blooms. Early fall is normally the latest it goes.”

“It’s what he said. I’m sorry. He wasn’t able to give me much more.” I rubbed my neck and sighed. I hadn’t wanted to push him. I wasn’t even sure if pushing him would have helped in the first place. It was an effort for him to answer me at all.

“The mission was in Dleth. In the very heart. I had thought it strange, but I was assured it was an easy in and out. I received word that somewhere around the border, Talon disappeared. Not unusual as disappearing is why Talon is so good at his job, but then he didn’t complete the mission. He hasn’t even made an appearance since the border. That is very unlike him. He never misses a report, and he should’ve already been safely back in Syrin, no doubt wrapped in you.” He grinned at me, but there was a strange look in his eyes.

“It’s a five-day ride. He would need ten days in total just for travel. That’s not even accounting for however long it took him to complete whatever mission he was on.” Eon argued, frowning deeply, “Your timeframe doesn’t make sense, Wren.”

“If you say my name again, just like you did there, I will definitely let you live.” Wren purred, biting his lower lip as he eyed Eon.

Eon rolled his eyes, and I was taken aback as he grinned almost shyly, “Wren, focus here. Like I said you’re not making sense.”

Wren shuddered and sighed, “Talon doesn’t use horses. Talon, uh, jumps? I suppose that is a word you could use for it.”

“From shadow to shadow,” Tyren gasped, “unbelievable.”

“Right you are.” The white head bobbed in approval and I frowned again.

“He left during the day though, wouldn’t shadows be limited?” Eon nodded and we both looked to Wren as he plopped himself down on the desk next where I usually sat.

“He left in the early morning, yes. He doesn’t need it to be dark. He creates his own shadow. He’s only able to go farther in one go at night.” I looked down at my shoes. I should have made Talon tell me every single detail of his gifts. I felt stupid finding this out for the first time from a stranger. Wren seemed to notice my expression.

“He doesn’t tell anyone boy. I don’t even know the extent of his power. It irritates me too. I want all the secrets. They’re my favorite.” He turned to Tyren and my teacher seemed distraught to have his entire focus, “Do you have the bone Magik user here?”

“Phelti is my second.” Tyren looked at him suspiciously.

“I had thought, when she came here as a child, that she would be a beautiful addition to the Verseckt. We Lost Ones must stick together you see. As the oldest one remaining, I like to preside over our private little court. It turned out that she wasn’t a fit though. She had too much…”

“What?” Tyren ground out, his fear being pushed aside by his need to protect his student.

“Hope.” Wren smiled broadly, “She’s too happy. We’d eat her alive. Literally if she disappointed me.”

“Anyway,” I groaned, rubbing my face, “We’ve established that Talon was supposed to travel to Dleth. He didn’t make it. The last information you have on him, he was at the border. The roads from Dleth to Syrin are few. Do we have any way to narrow down which ones may have honeysuckle and red dirt?”

“Dleth has red dirt,” Tyren said, his eyes still on Wren, regarding him suspiciously.

“Which doesn’t help us narrow down the road. Kalian did Talon mention a road in his journal thing?” Eon sighed.

“Nothing specific, and he was limited to one word sentences when we spoke.” Eon frowned and looked to the ground, worry in his gaze.

“If they took Talon, they would’ve needed a force. The kid doesn’t go down without a fight. Magik users and soldiers alike I should think. Otherwise, there are few that could stand toe to toe with him with their Magik alone. Myself, a couple who aren’t even in the country anymore, and maybe you little Kalian.”

“He took out at least six by himself when we were attacked and didn’t even seemed winded,” Eon added, rubbing his almost healed wound.

“It’s much easier to fight when you aren’t protecting something, or someone,” Those pink eyes dipped back to me.

“I went down and Mallex wasn’t doing great either. He was defending pretty much all of us.” Eon sighed.

“Awe you went down?” Wren was back in his space, hands all over my brother’s torso.

“I’m fine, thank you.” Once again Wren’s hands were removed, and he pouted. This was an interesting development. I had never heard of an ancient monster having a crush, but here it was, and on my normally stoic brother no less. I couldn’t remember Eon ever even being romantically interested in someone.

I groaned and tried to force the conversation back on course, “So we’ve established that it would take quite a few men to incapacitate Talon. So what? How does that help us?”

“It means that to transport him they’d have to have some form of carriage or at least a cart. It also means that they’d be easy to spot on a main road. That many men around a single vehicle like that?” Tyren interjected as Eon batted Wren’s hands away.

“That raises more questions. If they’d be easily spotted, why take main roads?” Eon asked the room.

“Simple, Talon is huge. They’re not going to risk putting his giant ass on some kind of stretcher to traipse through woods or whatever terrain.” Wren said, eyes now only for Eon.

“So, find the road, find Talon?” I was slightly frustrated. It seemed like we had almost completed the puzzle, but that last piece eluded us.

“Find the road, find the little party of soldiers, slaughter them all, and get Talon. Yes, that about sums it up.” Wren nodded, finally looking serious.

“There are two choices that make the most sense.” Tyren said as he rummaged through some papers in his desk. He pulled out a small, rolled up map and spread it out. We all crowded around as he pointed to the two most direct routes from Syrin to Dleth.

I stepped closer and traced my finger along the line, “It’s the same road until it forks, halfway between here and there.”

“Have you not had geography lessons Kalian?” Tyren asked.

“Uh, not formal ones. I know how to read a map.” I shrugged and Tyren sighed. I could see him adding it to the long list of things he’d have to teach me.

“You are correct. The main Carissan Road stretches to the halfway point and then branches off in a road that travels north, taking you farther west. The Lidan Road. The one that favors the east is the Amake Road. Both cut through the Humiad forest, which separates Dimian from Dleth. It’s like a natural border.” Wren moved his finger across the paper and all of us watched. The forest started just a bit below the fork in the road.

“How do we pick one?” I asked, frustration growing again.

“Simple,” Eon shrugged, “Which one is shorter? They aren’t going to want to be on the road with Talon forever.”

“Kalian, your bond, can you sense him? If we got you to that fork, do you think your connection could lead you the rest of the way?” Tyren asked as he looked at me.

“I’m not sure. We’ve never used it for something like that. We only discovered it works over distance when he left.” I rubbed my cheek. Was it possible?

“How much of a distance?” Eon and Wren both looked at me as they spoke in unison.

I shuddered at the unpleasant harmony, “All he said was that he was in a different country.” I blanched. I had forgotten all about that.

“Well, he made it over the border then. That upends our timeline. If they’re traveling by horse and carriage, they may still be in Dleth. They may not have even reached the border. Like I said it’s a five-day ride minimum and that’s when you’re not hauling one of the most dangerous men in Dimian.” Eon groaned.

“The solution remains the same. The halfway point is roughly two and a half days away. My guess is that incapacitating Talon would’ve taken time. It wasn’t quick. So, from your last contact with him when he was coherent, I would tack on at least a day if not two to their journey.” Wren said, claw tapping on the fork in the road.

“Why?” I asked, confused.

A cruel smile slipped onto Wren’s face, but Eon answered, “There’s no way it would’ve been neat with Talon, like we said earlier. They’d need extra time to tend their wounds and bury their dead. It’s almost impossible that he didn’t take some of his attackers out.”

“Okay, so say their entire journey took a week, they would be approximately four days away then?” I furrowed my brow as I looked between Dleth and the checkpoint. How was it possible that Talon had only been gone for three days? It felt like months.

“We obviously don’t know for sure, but it’s a fair guess with evidence supporting it.” Tyren sighed softly, one of his hands dragging down his face. He wore none of his normal jewelry and he looked tired.

“So, if we leave soon, we could meet them before they make it here.” Eon nodded.

“What, pray tell, will you do when you find him? This severely injured, ruined man?” The voice was a new one and we all turned. Hanja was stepping out of the back room, his long black hair falling over his shoulders in shining sheets of onyx. He was pulling a robe over a thin black shirt and pants. The robe was also black with a bright red crane at the bottom hem.

“Bring him home of course.” I answered. It was obvious, wasn’t it?

“You will travel, at what I’m sure will be an exhausting pace. Then you will have to fight to free him from his captors, and what? Let him die from his injuries as you bring him back?” Hanja’s voice was quiet and calm as ever, but his red eyes scanned over each of us, his mouth downturned.

“He’d die with them too. Wouldn’t they take precautions to make sure that didn’t happen?” I asked, my voice dropping as worry roared through my head.

“There is a major difference between these men and the group assembled here.” The man finally reached our group, tugging on his thin black gloves.

It was silent for a long moment before Wren muttered, “They don’t care if he makes it here alive.”

“You’re saying we’d need a healer. Are you offering your services?” Eon turned fully to Hanja, who was braiding his thick hair over his shoulder. None of us had been in the mood to acknowledge that he’d strolled out of Tyren’s bedroom like it was the most normal thing ever. I should’ve made a bet with someone. I knew it.

“No, of course not. I have my own students to attend to. I can’t be gone for however long this takes.” He secured the braid and threw it over his shoulder.

“Please, Hanj. Talon is a friend.” Tyren’s voice was so soft I almost missed it. I looked between the two and saw frustration cross Hanja’s face. Tyren didn’t look at him, staring down at the map.

“Fine. I would be the obvious choice for extensive injuries anyway if he made it here. I might as well get a head start.” All of us pretended not to notice Hanja slide closer to Tyren, his hand slipping into the shorter man’s.

“Alright are we quite done with the boring part?” Wren yawned, “We’d need to leave as soon as possible. Today would be ideal.”

“We’ll separate and regroup.” Tyren said, “We’ll meet at the gate to the city.”

 

*

 

Eon and I hadn’t spoken much since leaving Tyren’s classroom. We’d somehow gathered more allies in a short amount of time. Hanja and Wren would both be vital. I was anxious when we separated at the palace’s main entrance. I went within, making my way to Potlyne’s room. I hoped she was in and not off waiting on someone else. I pushed open the door to the bright room and found the woman sitting at a sewing machine, working a piece of fabric through. Her blond curls bounced as she looked up at me and smiled in surprise.

“Well, this is a pleasant surprise lord.” She stood and I glanced to the machine she’d left. She smiled more and walked towards me, “Sometimes I like to do my work by hand. It’s soothing. What can I do for you?”

“I need some clothes. I don’t have anything that’s not…” I paused as I tried to think of the best word.

“Just for show?” She filled in and waved to the pedestal in the middle of the room, “Care to explain what this outfit will need to be able to withstand?”

I looked hard at her for a long minute, trying to decide if it was safe to tell her, “Horseback riding and…and fighting.” She didn’t look surprised at me, simply nodded. Her eyes took in the ill-fitting tunic and she looked up at me sadly. She gently helped me take it off and set it to the side after carefully folding it. She rolled her cart over to me and then tapped her lips as she looked me over. Thick fabric swirled around me and dark, charcoal, wool, leggings stitched themselves together on my legs.

“You have much more muscle then the first time I dressed you, impressive!” I blushed and looked at myself in the mirror. She was right. I wasn’t huge by any means, but I had toned considerably. My shoulders had become a bit wider, and my arms and legs were toned. I skimmed my fingers lightly over the abs that were still too shy to be well defined. My face even looked different. I’d always be baby-faced, but my jaw line was now more pronounced like Eon’s. My violet eyes were brighter, and my hair shone under Potlyne’s lights. She tilted her head as she smiled again, waving her hands. A tight, tan tunic formed on my torso, long sleeves sewing themselves together down my arms, thread wrapping around the hem at my wrists, so it wasn’t raw. I looked in the mirror as leather shimmied up from the ground. Potylne’s hands moved in more jerking motions and a black vest, secured with buckles, settled on my chest. She tilted her head and stepped forward, tugging on the vest’s hem.

“Are the shoulders too tight?” She stepped up on a stool and tugged at the fabric.

“No, everything is perfect like normal Potlyne.” She continued fussing and I frowned, “Is everything okay?”

“I know something is wrong with Master Talon and I know that whatever your reason for this, it has to do with him. It was obvious from the moment you walked in. You look haunted, child. We don’t know each other and maybe I’m being a silly old woman, but please stay safe. I’m scared for you both even if I have no clue what’s going on.” I squeezed her hands in mine, unable to form a good answer. I held her hands for a moment before I stepped off the pedestal.

“Thank you, and I’m sure Talon will thank you when he returns as well.” She shook her head at me and tried to smile, but I saw her struggling to keep back unshed tears. I left quickly and made my way out of the palace, wincing when I realized people were starting to fill the court. I had wanted to be gone so that no one questioned my attire. Some heads turned but I quickened my pace and was out the palace doors fast. I was to meet Eon in the third ring. He had gone, against my advice, to our parents’ house. He had brought weapons from home, but in our haste to leave as we were forced out, he hadn’t had enough hands for them. I shuddered to think how that encounter could have gone as I watched people pass by. I had been walking already for some time and I rubbed my neck as I crossed from the fourth ring into the third. I looked around at the families and residents on the street. The third layer was less extravagant than the fourth, but it was still well-maintained and the people in it were rich enough to be happy. I focused on almost every person that passed me, trying to take in their features. I had started making a conscious effort to be more aware of my surroundings after my walk with Amaris. Watching her constantly taking stock of possible threats, made me realize I was rarely aware of my surroundings. Not the safest practice.

I finally made it to the house, and it felt wrong to stand in front of it. It was a physical reminder of what I was leaving behind. I heard yelling and commotion and I took a breath and then stepped inside. Eon was making his way down the stairs, weapons acquired. Two short swords crossed his back and another hung from his hip. My father was hot on his heels, my mother and sister seated about twenty feet from me in the courtyard.

“How dare you come back here and take what doesn’t belong to you! I told you, you were done!” My father screamed at Eon’s back. My mother gasped when she saw me, and Anika glared.

“I took nothing that belonged to you. These are military issued.” Eon said coldly, his face blank.

Anika sprung to her feet and made straight for me, “Who gave you the right to come in here?” I frowned at her as she didn’t slow, marching directly for me. I blinked and dodged as she tried to smack me. She seemed surprised, more so when I dropped and swept her legs out from under her. She landed on her ass and her face went as red as her hair. Both of our parents focused on us now. My mother was standing, and my father shoved passed Eon, nearly running down the stairs. Water whipped from Anika’s fingers, and I flicked my wrist. A gold arc of light struck out and cut her water in half. It dropped to the ground, harmless, its shape lost. If I hadn’t stopped it, she would’ve slashed across my face.

My father was on us now and he was enraged, “How dare you lay hands on your own sister!” Eon strolled over to me, completely unbothered by the entire exchange.

“I don’t have a sister.” I said as I stared him down. I wasn’t in the mood for any of this, “Eon took what he needed. We’ll be leaving now. Don’t worry. We won’t come back.” My eyes widened as my father drew his hand back. Eon darted forward as flames appeared around our father’s hand. Eon’s own hand lit up with blue fire and he covered our father’s fist and then shoved, knocking him off balance. He landed much like Anika had and we looked down at them. I had never seen Eon’s flames turn blue and I made a mental note to ask him about it later.

“Stop! All of you stop! Leave! Just leave!” My mother cried out, tears slipping down her cheeks as she watched from across the room.

“Gladly.” Eon let his flame go out after sending a warning look to Anika and father. He turned to leave, and I followed, both of us ignoring the shouted threats from inside. Our lives had changed so much. In mere months, we had become entirely different people. It still felt surreal.

“I’m sorry. I was trying to get out, but he kept getting in my way. I really didn’t want to get into it like that with father of all people.” Eon mumbled as we started down the path.

I nodded and sighed, “It probably wouldn’t have mattered either way. They’ve been ready for a fight ever since we left. I think he’s angry that we don’t need him like he thought.”

“He asked Mallex’s father to consider Anika in your place.”

“Really? How’d you find that out?” I looked at him out of the corner of my eye.

“He yelled it at me. Said it was his only option since we had tried so hard to ruin them.” Eon shrugged and rubbed the scar on the side of his head.

“What’s Mallex think of that?”

“What do you think? He’s furious that his father’s gone behind his back. His father accepted father’s proposal.”

I couldn’t help the sharp bark of laughter that tore from me, “Oh no! I wonder what that feels like? I’m sure Anika is over the moon.”

Eon cringed and I laughed again, “Can you imagine that marriage? They’re both so power hungry and selfish.”

I nodded, “They deserve each other. Maybe one of them will kill the other.” We fell into silence after that, both of us lost in our own thoughts. There was nothing left to do but meet the others.

:thankyou:

Copyright © 2020 Demiurge; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

We have an impressively powerful force gathered to rescue Talon. I have no doubt they can do it if they can locate them. I think Lex's guys just became the fools on an errand, their last.

Wren is not exactly mortal or human. What the heck is he?

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Philippe

Posted (edited)

OMG, poor Eon; that has to be a roller coaster of shock, fright, paralysis, surprise,...and intrigue???? Hahaha 

Hmmm, Wren, Talon,...are the Verseckt all preordained to bird related names? Will the Verseckt emerge from the shadows to exact the pain deserved upon those daring to attack their order?

Pale skin, red eyes,...is Wren more than a dungeon recluse? Albino?

Wren prides himself on knowledge and is thought to be ancient..., so what does Wren already know of Kalian’s abilities and for that matter how does Talon fits into this lifetime event that seems born of prophecy. It almost seems as if Wren wants to personally be there for Talon, but not necessarily in the traditional sense, but rather to coach the emergence of the powers about to be born to our favorite young couple; likewise, he has to be there to protect Kalian anyway! Hahaha

Dear Ole...ex-dad, formerly dad? Anyway, the dads have succeeded in giving Lex and Anita a major dose of the medicine forced upon Kalian; bravo to the dads screwing up so justly!

Meanwhile, we’ll let @Demiurgereturn us to the more “hands on assistance” that Wren brings to this adventure! 

 

Edited by Philippe
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18 minutes ago, Philippe said:

Hmmm, Wren, Talon,...are the Verseckt all preordained to bird related names? Will the Verseckt emerge from the shadows to exact the pain deserved upon those daring to attack their order?

Pure coincidence I'd say. Amaris is a member and no bird name.

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Karma is a bitch it is said, Abhorrent Anika and Malodorous Mallex comingling under the sheets seems to be a fate worse than...well ain't much that could be worse is there???

 

“He asked Mallex’s father to consider Anika in your place.”

“Really? How’d you find that out?” I looked at him out of the corner of my eye.

“He yelled it at me. Said it was his only option since we had tried so hard to ruin them.” Eon shrugged and rubbed the scar on the side of his head.

“What’s Mallex think of that?”

“What do you think? He’s furious that his father’s gone behind his back. His father accepted father’s proposal.”

I couldn’t help the sharp bark of laughter that tore from me, “Oh no! I wonder what that feels like? I’m sure Anika is over the moon.”

Eon cringed and I laughed again, “Can you imagine that marriage? They’re both so power hungry and selfish.”

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