Balthazar - 5. Chapter 5
When next he woke, a soft gentle humming filled the air above him while bright sunlight broke across his vision through the slight part of the tent’s entrance. Blearily, Balthazar’s amber hued eyes blinked in vain of banishing the jarring rays of light away. An involuntary groan passed his dry cracked lips, ceasing the lovely humming mid-tune.
“You are awake!”
K’tine hurried to his side, her shadow blessedly blocking out the harsh sun. The fact that he could now understand her perfectly was not very surprising. Feeling much restored, he was practically brimming with draconic magicks.
Her palm was warm against the cool skin of his brow, the fever pitch brought on by his frenzied regeneration quelled. The vestiges of a phantom kiss pressed to his cheek imprinted itself on his memories.
“Is it just you, Madam? I do not hear the bells…”
She pulled her hand back as though burned, backing a few steps away from where he still lay quite prone. Her tawny clouded tail wrapped around her legs in a motion of self comfort.
“You speak our words just as He did. You really are M’thos....but what do you mean by the bells?”
A look of panic filled her gaze and she crouched down at his bedside, her voice suddenly low and urgent.
“Please, I am begging you. When did you hear the bells? What happened? Do you remember?”
K’tines words poured forth in a deluge, almost too fast to discern. Noting the obvious delicacy of the situation at hand, Balthazar cast out his senses to confirm that they were indeed alone. When he was satisfied with being in complete confidence, the dragon locked his gaze with hers.
“First, may I ask what you meant by ‘really are M’thos’? Has one of my ilk been here before?”
K’tine nodded solemnly, her hands wringing nervously to the point that her claws left tiny scratches against her skin. Balthazar gently took her hands into his own warm grasp.
“I swear I mean you no harm, and I already have an idea of who the mysterious stranger is, and he’s the reason I am here now. It would be of a great help to me if you would impart what you know to me.”
The golden dragon could tell that some of what he said was ‘lost in translation’, but she seemed to understand. Weighing his words for a moment more before nodding to herself in assent, the tawny cat lady leaned forward to whisper the words beside his ear.
“A pass of the moon ago, he appeared in the night as you did. I attacked him with my cooking skillet when he wandered into our tent. M’nou and I are alone...there used to be another...|”
It was then that her voice began to break and she inhaled a deep fortifying breath.
“I also have a son.”
Balthazar could smell the salty tang of falling tears.
“I could not save him, and I would die before I let harm befall M’nou. Shaking with fear, I was sure we were about to die. I held M’nou tight and the M’thos howled such a sound, I closed my eyes and waited. Daniel...the M’thos called himself, just backed away slowly...the words he spoke were foreign to me and sounded like your own. For a good ten minutes he stayed there and stared at me in a very uncomfortable way. The next time he spoke...I could understand him.”
After another deep fortifying breath she faltered to a stop.
“If it is too hard for you there is no need for you to continue.”
K’tine shook her head.
“No, I feel that I can trust you so I will tell you the same tale I shared with Daniel M’thos. I hail from a land to the West, and traveled here with my husband. I was with cub during the journey and bore my son in a foreign land...the elder’s of a village we stopped in delivered my M’nato. As our firstborn, they gave him a customary gift to welcome him into the world. To be a dutiful and obedient boy. It would come to be just as much a curse as a blessing. We were sent on our way with fresh supplies and warm words, practically shining with our good fortune.”
A heavy sigh passed her lips.
“It was small things at first. He never cried, even when he pulled down a plate and sliced his tiny hand open on a shard...he never cried. Pull on my skirt calm as can be and show me his bleeding hand. After that...everything just got worse. When he turned ten my husband left, something about finding a way to break the blessing and then haven’t seen him since. Months later I discovered that I was again with cub.”
K’tines voice broke as she looked him in the eye before whispering raggedly.
“M’nato brought his sister into the world. After what happened to him, I refused anyone else to be present at my bearing. For the last eight years, it’s only been the three of us. Moving along from place to place...at first it was the kids telling him to take fruit from the stalls in town. The last was because he punched the son of an elder after being taunted on by one of his ‘friends’. M’nato seldom has much to say for himself...he’s actually so quiet that he took to wearing bells so that me and M’nou could tell when he was there.”
At the mention of bells, Balthazar’s expression froze.
“When you mentioned them...I felt such shock. There is no way you could have possibly known. Some moon’s past, the vassals of a grand house in the nearest town kept approaching M’nou and attempting to goad her into joining their Lady’s household despite her being so young. During one particularly heated entreaty, M’nato offered himself up in the stead of his sister. M’nou returned to me alone and crying that day...and we have not seen M’nato again since.”
So deep in her emotions, she never noticed the parting of the tent opening or M’nou entering behind her.
“I’ve failed as a mother...I should have protected him. Daniel M’thos placed an enchantment upon our home to help us escape the notice of others, but what suffering is my dutiful son forcing himself to endure for our sake.”
Small arms lightly furred with cloudy dark markings wrapped around K’tine’s waist.
“M’to will come back. M’to is strong.”
The small reassurances of an innocent child was the last that the lady was able to take. Tears falling unheeded, K’tine took her daughter up onto her lap. Hugging her tight she let the salty sadness seep into her daughter’s shoulder.
You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on. We get it, because we feel it too. Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.
There are no comments to display.
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now