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    Thirdly
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The Dawn’s Dusk - 1. Chapter 1- Entering the Estate

Regret and sheer panic seemed to co-exist within me at the same time. Though the distance we covered was significantly shortened in flight, I would have never agreed to it willingly. Tears streamed down my face as I clung to my mother's back. While I was still in my squill form, she was in her winged wyvern form. If she knew that heights continued to haunt me, she didn't show it. She dove to land, and my stomach dropped with queasy vertigo, but I refused to close my eyes for fear of the feelings intensifying.

My mother dropped the two bags she had carried for me and urged me to dismount with her snout. While the two of us were in different forms, we were unable to communicate verbally. She then promptly changed back into her squill form.

My entire body shook as if I were experiencing an earthquake. The motion sickness lingered, but I couldn't be more grateful to stand on solid ground. By the time I wiped my eyes and felt steady enough to bend down and pick up my bags, my mother had already inspected her dress for any spurs or leaves. She wouldn't have had to carry me if I had been able to fly myself. I would have preferred to walk, but with Owin's escape, what little trust she had in my obedience fled. When I dared to suggest that she accompany me on my walk, she laughed. The matriarch of the Edesias lacked that level of patience. I should have known better.

"Remember," she instructed as I hefted one bag over my shoulder and began to lift the other one. "Let me do all the talking."

"Understood," I mumbled in response. As if I even wanted to talk at all. I'd only ruin things if I tried.

"It wouldn't do to rouse his suspicion," she added.

We entered the estate and passed two gardeners, each tending to one of the hundreds of flower bushes that expanded on either side of the path as far as the eye could see. Upon closer inspection, I realized that the rows were sectioned off by type and seemed to be evenly distributed. I had seen my fair share of gardens and nurseries, but not to the scale of Vis Sepherus's estate.

My heart jumped right out of its chest at the sound of knocking. The entrance was so fascinating that I had stopped in the middle of the path. But my mother was already at the mansion's doors. As I ran to catch up to her, I found myself staring at the tall double doors. They were made out of wood in a pentagon shape. Elegant swirls and designs etched into the doors formed a tree with a glass circle at the end of each swirl. My back itched at the sight of it. I was reminded of a pattern that was too close to home.

Before I could study the doors any further, they opened to reveal a dashing wyvern in his squill form. Curly, shoulder-length platinum hair was pulled back in a low ponytail, and the man's eyes were a lovely lavender. The dark brown shade of his skin had hints of blue. Such a stance and presence seemed to scream 'alpha.' I believed him to be the Advisor to Vis Sepherus, as I had seen the two of them in prior gatherings.

"Aris Rina Edesia...you hardly seem the type to arrive unannounced to anyone's home," the elegant man greeted with an undertone of annoyance. "Yet, here you are."

"Forgive the intrusion," she responded in the same cheery voice she used whenever she hosted a party.

By adulthood, I had learned how to distinguish any of her false tones. But, it was still eerie to hear the differences with each occasion. Her voice and mannerisms were how she tried to manipulate the situation. Owin had inherited some of her skill, but he only ever used it to try to put others at ease. I, on the other hand, couldn't so much as lure a mouse into a cheese trap.

"I come as a concerned mother to plead with Vis Sepherus to help my youngest find a Craft sooner than we had planned," she concluded.

Ironically enough, part of that wasn't a lie. I did need help finding a Craft, and my parents had managed to convince the Vis to provide such tutelage in exchange for Owin's hand. Even though they already had a golden opportunity with the omega's union to Sepherus, my parents still didn't want me to marry anything other than an alpha for the sake of the family status. The Instructors were impatient with me compared to Owin. My brother was talented, quick-witted, and charming. The only area I managed to surpass him seemed to be in the form of my legible script.

"Not yet Bound and already rushing promised favors from my charge, I see," the man at the door scoffed. "Come wait in the living room, and I'll announce your arrival."

"You have my thanks, Eld Emery," my mother responded. That time, her tone of voice sounded pleased.

The two of us were led by Emery to the living room. The path was a much longer trek than I realized. I made sure that neither of my bags dragged on the floor. But, the blond advisor gave them a narrowed glance when I set them both in front of me. Nevertheless, he left to find Sepherus.

"The Vis certainly has a decent estate. It's no wonder that so many omegas want to sink their snouts into him," my mother huffed. I let out a squeak or some other equally embarrassing noise when she suddenly turned her gaze towards me. "Rhyad, remember that your brother and family need the influence of this alpha. Make sure that no other omegas try to snatch him up before the two of them become official."

"Alright," I whispered back. Just how many times was she going to repeat it? 'Beat omegas off Vis Sepherus with sticks if you have to.' My parents seemed to have zero faith in me. I was ready to do what I had to, but only for the sake of Owin. My brother had looked out for me all my life. I felt it was my turn to protect him for a change.

"Aris Rina, to what do I owe the pleasure?"

The two of us immediately stood up from the couch. Though the Vis's words were polite, something about the way he hurried towards us with a hand tucked into a pocket made me think that the man was in a rush to dismiss us both. Though it wasn't my first time standing in front of him, I was still struck by his presence. As much as Emery exuded an alpha-like countenance, Sepherus's alpha-ness seemed to broadcast harder.

Eld Emery was tall and lithe, but Vis Sepherus was taller and broader. The younger man's hair was jet black, and his skin tone was a rich olive hue. But, to me, the most striking physical asset was the thick, down-cast eyelashes that made the turquoise eyes stand out in contrast. They reminded me of tropical waters.

"Vis Sepherus," my mother greeted in that strange, syrupy tone of voice again. "We are but a few months away from the Throth Season. Though we are grateful and relieved that you have chosen our Owin as your intended mate, our concern now is for our youngest, Rhyad. As you know, we have tried to groom him into a Craft. He had access to the same Instructors as Owin, after all. However, he's turning thirty in two months…"

"So, he will turn thirty before the Troth Season," Eld Emery concluded with a sigh. "You fear he will be bound to a low-class alpha."

The blush that formed on my face was a mixture of shame and embarrassment. Un-Favored betas were considered "less" if they weren't Bound by the time they turned thirty. Omegas past thirty were never viewed in a lower light despite their age. Most betas became skilled at a Craft in their early twenties to ensure a decent mate match to compete against the preference towards omegas. I turned out to be average in the skills taught by the family's Instructors. Owin had excelled in many. A part of me wished that my mother's plight was real, that she actually cared about me enough to want me to find a decent mate. But, after two years, she stopped paying the Instructors, and I had been left with no one to teach me any skills for the past eight years.

"Our Owin fears for the safety and comfort of his brother," my mother continued. "He wants him to find a decent mate, as well, for my eldest's peace of mind and ours."

Vis Sepherus rubbed his chin as he glanced my way. I couldn't even bring myself to look him in the eye. What did they think of me? Was I as worthless in their eyes as I was to my parents? Was it too late to run away?

"Emery, what are your thoughts on this? Can we accommodate him earlier than anticipated?" Sepherus asked aloud.

"He's stronger than he looks," Emery stated, and I was in shock at his assessment. "He kept that bag, which appears to be full of books, off the ground for the thousand paces it took to reach the living room. I don't expect I'll find much difficulty in teaching him a Craft."

The taller man gave a solemn nod. "If Emery is willing to teach him right away, then he may train here as soon as today until he learns a Craft," he decided.

Azure above, he agreed. I couldn't wrap my head around that. He actually decided to host me earlier than what had been planned.

"You have my heartfelt thanks, Vis Sepherus, Eld Emery," my mother responded. "I leave him in your care."

"Allow me to walk you back while Emery gets him settled," Vis Sepherus said as he began to walk towards the entrance.

"I don't believe we've been properly introduced," Eld Emery began, drawing my attention back to him. "My name is Emery Tesran, the current Eld of both the Tesran and Vesper estates. I am watching over Vis Sepherus until he settles down with his mate and can run this estate."

My eyes widened at all of the information he willingly divulged. Though I didn't know all of the details, Eld Emery seemed to be in charge of two properties. I was surprised that my parents hadn't pushed Owin to bond with Emery instead of Sepherus.

"I-I'm Rhyad Edesia," I responded as we shook hands. My grasp was weak, but his hand was warm. "Pleased to formally meet you."

"Come, then," Eld Emery instructed. "Follow me."

The two of us walked up a set of stairs. He explained that the second floor housed all of the bedrooms and a grand salon that the late Vespers used as a ballroom. Other Vis' and Elds were eager to host gatherings in their estates, primarily to scope out any possible mates. When I asked Emery why the salon wasn't being used, he responded with his own question.

"If your brother is so concerned with your future, why didn't he bring you here himself?" Eld Emery questioned.

"Much like Vis Sepherus, he's busy with preparations for the ceremony," I managed to counter. "Wouldn't do for our Great Uncle Andre to sit at the same table as his younger brother. What if they started a fight?" Fidgeting was one of my tells, but my fingers were occupied with holding the bags. I didn't like lying, but for Owin's sake...

"Agreed," Emery replied despondently, as though he were disappointed with my response. "As I was saying, Vis Sepherus no longer held gatherings after his sister took ill. When she finally passed, he saw no reason to start them back up again."

"My condolences," I whispered. A grieving wyvern wouldn't have the desire to host parties. I'd have done the same were I in Sepherus's shoes.

"As my charge, you'll be staying in the room next to mine," Emery stated as he motioned towards it. "How strong are the soles of your shoes?"

"My shoes?" I asked as I deposited my bags onto the bed of the room. I lifted one of my feet to get a good look at the bottom of my shoes. "I'm not sure."

Eld Emery's hands settled on his hips, and he frowned. "I was hoping to start your lessons right away, but they will have to wait until I find you a few uniforms, several aprons, and a sturdy pair of boots." He took out a small pencil and notepad from a pocket and handed them to me. "Here, write down your sizes."

"Eld Emery, what skills require sturdy boots?" I asked as I jotted down the information he needed.

"The skills I've named self-preservation by staying out of Vis Sepherus's way," Eld Emery replied with a smirk that made me think of a sly fox.

Copyright © 2021 Thirdly; All Rights Reserved.

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Chapter Comments

6 hours ago, Wesley8890 said:

Very interesting start

Rhyad has no idea what he’s doing. Lol

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I don't usually get into Alpha/Omega stories, but this one quickly drew me in by way of your character introductions in the prologue and world-building thus far.

Thank you for sharing, looking forward to more :)

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11 hours ago, Serelec said:

I don't usually get into Alpha/Omega stories, but this one quickly drew me in by way of your character introductions in the prologue and world-building thus far.

Thank you for sharing, looking forward to more :)

I had originally thought to write for Owin. But, then I realized that the person that really needed to get to a better stage in life was Rhyad. His lack of self awareness nearly killed me...

 

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Well, the parents maybe idiots: but never truly a good idea to try to hide something like this, always comes out in the most embarrassing way usually.  

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7 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

Well, the parents maybe idiots: but never truly a good idea to try to hide something like this, always comes out in the most embarrassing way usually.  

Agreed. 

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