“That’s impossible,” Andre shook his head, not sure he had understood Kylan right. “Abaddon’s chamber is blocked off from the mines—”
“By a door,” Kylan nodded. “A heavy, steel door with a lock, I know. It’s down an unused shaft where miners rarely go, but my work brought me down there one day, and when I passed the opening to the passage I heard someone call my name. I knew who it was, I knew where that passage led and what was behind the door at the bottom, but I couldn’t help it. He used her voice. The girl from Copenhagen, it sounded like her.” A crazed look crossed Kylan’s eyes and the dark spirit once again squirmed under the Panoplia’s steady influence keeping it at bay. “At first I ran,” he continued. “I was scared out of my mind, but the voice rang like a broken record over and over and wouldn’t leave me alone. I couldn’t help it, I had to go back and hear it again.
“This time I took a torch and walked into the passage until I reached the door. No one had been down there in years and though the door was still firmly in place, I found that the lock was rusty. With a few tools it would be easy to break open even without the key.”
“Why would you open it?” Jora interjected desperately. “Why?”
“I don’t know,” he answered. “I don’t! I just know that I could hear her. I felt the same standing next to that door as I had when I was with her, and I wanted to get through it badly. I left, eventually, but I thought about it every day until I had another chance to get down there with tools to break it open.”
“Did you go in?” Andre asked, pressing for every detail even though it appeared to physically cause pain to Kylan to relate it.
“Did you go all the way in?”
Kylan’s head was in his hands and it took him a moment to respond. When he did, he looked up and met the Agabus’ eye so he knew he was telling the truth. “I didn’t have to. He was waiting on the other side.”
Jora covered her mouth with a stifled sob, and turned away. Svana had not moved or hardly even blinked.
“I picked him up again,” Kylan said sounding tired, as if he had given up completely. “I walked out of there with that monster on my back and drove right to Iasis to pick up Jora and Svana. When I reached the third floor, I saw May Beth. The Daimon wanted her, and I let him go. She wasn’t expecting to see me and wasn’t prepared to fight him off. I don’t even remember what I said to her, but whatever it was made it very easy for him to latch on. Just the reminder of the trip, the presence of the Daimon…it all came back to her, I think. I mean…she was supposed to be getting married.
“I’m sorry, Agabus,” he concluded wearily, unchecked tears dropping from the corner of his eyes. “It’s all my fault. All of it.”
Jora sobbed quietly into her hand, and Svana turned away so no one could see her cry. Declan stood immobile and silent by the door. Andre straightened to his feet suddenly before catching himself against the wall. Crossing the room, he bypassed Velvela, stepped in front of the growling, sniveling rodent, and pushed the sword hilt to with one forceful motion of his arm. The blade sliced the Daimon in two, and it disappeared instantly, leaving its host with a relieving shudder.
The room went still with only the intermittent sounds of sniffling to break the silence. No one knew what to say after that, and Andre was still sorting things out in his mind. In fifty years no one had gone near that door, much less opened it. Like the cave, everyone knew it was off limits. Abaddon had stretched his arm too far.
“Dre?” Declan got his attention by the door. “We’ve got company, mate.”
Peering through the slit, he watched as several vehicles approached the row of cells, their headlights lighting up his face. Andre moved and pulled the door wide, standing in the opening and waiting as three ATVs pulled up and stopped abruptly in a row. Captain Barow stepped forward first followed by several members of the Kaluma Guard.
“Kylan!” Mr. Kirkeby appeared from the shadows into the blinding light, running to the door and shoving Andre aside to get in. “Girls!” He went off on them in rapid Norwegian as all three of his children got up from the bed. Jora and Svana were grabbed by the arm and dragged out into the glare and fresh air, propelled by the anger in their father’s voice. “—disgraceful deceit!” he concluded in English, turning on Andre with an accusatory finger driven repeatedly in his face. “Stay away from my family, Agabus. I don’t care what you do, just don’t involve my family!”
“Nok, far!” Kylan appeared in the doorway and got his father’s attention with his rigid tone. “Go home. Stop coming here and give the Agabus some respect.” He glanced in Andre’s direction before reaching for the door handle. Declan and Andre got out of the way before he pulled it closed with a resounding slam.
Kirkeby blinked in shock, stepped forward, and yelled through the thick steel. “Kylan!” He banged a fist on the flat surface before turning to Captain Barow. “Open this,” he demanded. “Give me my son! I am taking my family home.” He reached for Svana’s arm again but missed as she pulled away with a fierce scowl.
“Stop, Pappa!” she snapped. “Listen for once and leave Kylan alone.” She turned on her heel, walked decisively to the ATV, and got on. Jora appeared less stubborn but just as resolute as she crossed her arms protectively around her middle and followed her twin.
“We’ll have your vehicle back at Headquarters momentarily,” Andre spoke to a silent and baffled Captain Barow. “And you can radio Phulake and inform them their cruiser will be returned safely to the docks within the half hour.”
She stood by and watched as he and Declan climbed into the seats in front of the twins and drove away from the barracks across the open runway toward the village.