Chapter Nineteen: Heritage Unfolds
“Kaydence I see it, I see the island” Mayfel announced quietly peering over the side of the ship at the growing chunk of land.
From where they are there isn’t much to see other than jagged rocks jutting out of the choppy waves and the stony cliffs, the closer they get the higher the cliffs rise above them and the ship.
“Good, are you ready? This is going to be one of the toughest parts so be ready for anything and everything” he replied pulling his backpack on and holding the hilt of Acuere firmly in his grasp.
“Well I’m as ready as I could be for a guy heading for his possible death” Mayfel said while equipping his bow.
“This is what we’re going to do so listen closely. The boxes opposite us are on the jetty side meaning they’ll unload those first, when they’re distracted with unloading the cargo we’ll climb over this side of the ship and drop into the water.”
“Won’t they hear us? What if they see us?” he asked frantically
“Well there isn’t much we could do, killing a guard would be a worse punishment than hiding on board. Besides, hopefully, they’ll be too focused to notice the sound”
“Well I guess we won’t have to wait long” he said, nodding towards a few sailors that were rushing around holding ropes or calling out orders to each other.
“Just keep low”
A thud that told them they had docked came not long after, they stayed crouching listening to voices and footfall until Kaydence dared a peek over the crate they were currently hiding behind.
To say he was startled would be an understatement but then he hadn’t predicted coming face to face with a guard.
Gold and Blue staring into shamrock green, they were caught, they were going to die most likely at the King’s hand he thought over and over as he was dragged over the crate and dumped on the ground followed by Mayfel who let out grunts and huffs accompanied by some groaning most likely from him retaining more bruises on top of the newest ones.
With their plan foiled he didn’t know what to do, with the position they’re in there wouldn’t be an option for a backup plan let alone any hope of escaping and even if they did manage to escape they didn’t know the island so that ruled out any hiding spots, not to mention they’re on an island with one ship in and out.
They were rolled onto their stomachs, hands cuffed behind their backs before being dragged to their knees, one guard gripping one of their shoulders like they expected them to run as if they weren’t immobile as it was and could make it off the ship with their hands tied like they wouldn’t drown.
“Stowaways, assassins maybe” a guard said, he pushed past the ring of uniforms to stand before them.
Strawberry blonde hair pulled back into a topknot with a black band, his armour was much like the guards around him and those of the guards in Crestfold however, the slight colour difference of the edging on the armour showed he was of higher rank possibly a general or head of his little group.
Looking at the others they had an array of coloured edging mirroring their heritage to Nirvariten, Lirren and Alden whereas his was golden, it wasn’t one of the colours of their clans so it did raise the question of where he was from and what his position is.
“Not assassins sir, merely messengers” Kaydence replied calmly despite the situation.
“Messengers, you say? Well, what message could be so important that you had to hide aboard? With weapons too” he said while grasping Acuere’s hilt and raising it off the dampened wood and at Kaydences throat just inches from the skin. “Come on you’re not shy now are you? Deliver your message”
“Please leave my sword be, it’s very precious to me” he said, a hint of pleading edging his tone as he tried to swallow the lump that had grown in his throat.
“Two boys with weapons one of Terra clan descent no doubt, and the other, well a descendant of a traitorous bloodline. So you both sneak aboard to deliver a message? You see I find that hard to believe but then again it is not my place to decide. I will be seizing all personal items and you will be escorted to the king for questioning”
Both bags and weapons were torn from their bodies before they were rather brutally patted down to which they found a blade sheathed in Mayfel’s belt as well as his boot which did not help their case in the slightest.
The guards yanked them to their feet and continued to shove them forward excusing the thought of pity or the possibility of it hurting them or causing them to fall.
If they weren’t being arrested and shoved along, Kaydence would have liked to have wondered the pathway up the cliff face they were now being forced up.
It offered a perfect view of the expansive ocean, a clear view of the clouding grey skies and a timeless atmosphere containing the beauties of the earth.
It was a place he could imagine himself sitting at and just watching the world go by, somewhere he could just get away from everything and feel the winds of freedom brush against his scar-free skin.
If everything with the king worked out he wondered if it would be an option for him to stay, he had no home to go back to or at least it didn’t feel like home, but this, this could be home.
The company reached the top of the stone-carved steps, laying in front of them stood hills, not as high as back home but enough to interrupt the otherwise level plane.
Farms dotted the land made clear by the small barns, pens and fenced paddocks of cattle happily grazing and the small allotments rich with varying vegetables and herbs.
The pathway carried on ahead, their feet shuffled on the gravelly surface as their bodies twisted to try stay balanced with the uneven force propelling them forward at an unforgiving pace.
A quaint, thatch-roofed cottage came into view, it sat idly in line with the pathway that expanded out into a small village square lined with other small cabins and cottages, standing between each one were lamps and flower boxes brightening up the aura that enveloped the whole area, it was utterly charming, a place of dreams.
They were led down the path and right up to the larger cottage adorned with a thatched roof and trellises on each wall beside the sunshine yellow door, the mystery guard stepped forward and curtly knocked on the door like he was visiting a friend.
Kaydence had no idea what was going on and why they were outside this random house when the guard had specified they would be taken to the king unless they were informing someone of their arrival and the circumstances.
Not a moment later the door swung open, a middle-aged man in casual attire stood in the doorway looking at the scene in front of him.
“My king I am sorry to interrupt your evening but we caught these two stowaways on the ship, they were carrying these weapons so we have confiscated all personal items and restrained them. They claim to be delivering a message” he said, handing over the sheathed sword.
The king drew it from the sheath and inspected the blade, something in his face changed when his eyes fell to the hilt, maybe recognition or even surprise.
“Thank you Halda I’ll take it from here. Give these two back their things and you and your men can head home for the night, go be with your families.” the king replied looking up directly into the guard’s eyes and gracing everyone with a humble smile that shone brightly in his eyes.
“My king are you certain? I wouldn’t want you or your family in any sort of danger, I would gladly stay and keep guard”
“Halda that’s a very kind offer but like I said go be with your family I can take care of myself and my family.” he replied nodding his head in the direction of the path as a dismissive sign.
With a hesitant bow from all the guards they turned and marched away, Halda looking back with a scrutinizing glare in Kaydences direction which turned to worry when meeting the king’s eyes for the last time before heading down a street to the left, he knew he was too loyal to disobey a king’s direct order.
“Now boys do you both like tea?”
Mayfel looked to Kaydence with childish hope glimmering in his eyes, as his bonds were sliced in half with the blade of Acuere wielded by the king himself.
Kaydences wings fluttered on being released and so did his hands, the restraints were tight leaving light indentations on his wrists of rope.
“Thank you, my king, it’s very brave of you to assume we wouldn’t hurt you, not that we would but you just seemed very trusting” Mayfel blabbered on occasionally stumbling over his words a few times out of nervousness.
“Please just call me Solon all the formalities get tiring and I am in my own home so there’s no need now come on in and we can talk about this message you have also tell me your names, I don’t like being strangers.” he said standing aside allowing the two of them to pass through the doorway, Kaydence kept his wings tight against his back in the fear of knocking a picture frame off the wall of breaking something.
“I’m Kaydence and this is my companion and friend Mayfel” he said
Solon sauntered through the house into a comfy sized living room, it held two sofas and an armchair all placed at an angle around a fur rug positioned in front of a spectacular stone fireplace.
Sat on the armchair in a nightgown, a child around the age of eleven or twelve sat on her lap holding a book, was the Queen Florenta herself.
She was even more beautiful in person, everyone spoke of her beauty but it definitely did not match up.
Splendid fiery auburn locks lay in thick curls against her shoulders, her petite body held onto the child with a mothers care and protection as her eyes scanned the page while the boy read, her lips constantly turned up into a bright smile as she looked on with green adoration filled eyes.
“Flora, I have some matters to attend to love will you be alright getting him to bed?” Solon spoke softly, a voice filled with compassion just like his eyes that spilled with fondness.
“Yes I will be fine just don’t stay up too late and make sure you say goodnight to him before you come to our room.” she replied letting her thin and long fingers brush through his stubbly beard drawing his face close so she could leave a loving kiss on his cheek.
Kaydence dropped his gaze to give them some privacy but Mayfel, on the other hand, was awestruck, unknown emotions plastering his face although he did seem to work out one.
It showed in his eyes, the way he looked at the family before him, it was wanting.
He watched the small interactions between the family until they were being ushered to a room at the back of the house.
The door closed behind them and they were soon seated on two chairs in front of a desk holding neat piles of papers, folders and a pot of pens not to mention an even bigger pile of opened and unopened letters.
“So boys, you’re here to deliver a message” he said as he took a seat in the only other available chair.
“Yes, we have come a long way to bare this news to you, My king, It is an urgent matter and no one can be trusted” Kaydence replied, shifting in his seat nervously, he would hate to think of what would happen if the king didn’t believe them after the lengths they’ve been to sply to get there it couldn’t end like that.
“Well if no one can be trusted, how can I trust you both?” he asked, eyeing them curiously for an answer.
“Well you did when you first met us so I ask of you to trust us again”
“I see. Well if you must know the reason I trusted you when I saw you was because of your sword, it belongs to Bregan which led me to believe you are his son” he explained keeping a watchful eye on the winged boy.
“You knew Bregan?” Kaydence asked, surprised at the king’s words.
“He’s a good friend of mine but from the way you speak of him something has happened” his voice wavered
“He died during a battle, it is part of the reason why we are here”
“A battle? When was this?” he asked
“Over a month or so ago, humans attacked Graylow Village, they took hostages and killed everyone else including Bregan. I fought alongside him but before he died he told me to tell the council.” he started
“Humans? Across the border? That’s an act of war, they broke the accords, what did the council say about this? I presume you went to them” Solon asked, his voice became deep and louder, the anger pooling within was fuelling whatever he was saying from here on out and Kaydence could only dread what would happen when he heard the news he’d yet to break.
“Yes we went to the council, Mayfel he’s half Aqua clan and has subtle powers of Nirvariten ancestors, he can see prominent memories of those he comes into physical contact with” he began but looked to Mayfel to carry on seeing it was his part to tell.
“Usually I don’t have a reaction because they’re simple memories from childhood like those of your guards, but the leader of the high council, when she touched my hand what I saw was beyond anything we could imagine.” he said
“What did you see Mayfel?” he demanded lightly
“The high council of Lirren are in league with the human group that attacked Kaydences village. We don’t know how far their alliances go but I know for certain they are plotting to overthrow Evangelis”
“You have told no one about this, am I right?” Solon rose from his chair, a grave look on his face making him look a lot older than he first looked.
“No one, we came to you as soon as we could”
“You did the right thing. You will both stay here tonight. I have a spare room you can use, you speak of this to no one are we clear?”
“Yes my King Solon and anything we can do to help, you have our services” Mayfel said
Solon nodded curtly to them both, you could see the cogs and wheels turning in his head as he calculated his attack, his eyes were calculating and dangerous like a hunter daring its prey to move and begin the chase.
“Mayfel I need to speak with Kaydence alone, you go out this door up the corridor to the living room then go through the door to your left the spare room the door at the end of the hallway”
“Alright, thank you for your hospitality Solon, you have a beautiful home and family. Goodnight to you, Kaydence I will see you in a little while” Mayfel concluded, gracing the room with his weightless smile before leaving and closing the door quietly behind him.
“What is it you wanted to talk to me about?” Kaydence started feeling a mix of emotions.
“You know you are not biologically Bregan’s child, yes?”
“Yes I do, he told me I was found on the borders of Graylow village, he said he didn’t know my parents so he took me in and raised me as his own” he said.
“Kaydence what do you know about the Aer clan half of your heritage?”
“Not all that much, just that everyone looks at me scared or like I’ve committed a murder. Why do you ask?”
“Well there is no lie that the Aer clan is of higher stature, they have knowledge others could only dream of, abilities some before the war would have wished for. But one trait that all the members of the high council have is eye colour, you see each family of a high council member will all have the same eye colour, this happens when they ascend to the high council position, most of the Aer clan citizens had grey to white eyes so if you saw an Evangelian with anything but that you know they’re of high class and could identify the exact family .”
“So you’re saying that I am a child of a high council member in Evangelis?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying, Kaydence, there were whispers circling around in the months following the war, they spoke of a woman of Terra clan descent, Bregan’s name was amongst the whispers. I do not know if what they said was true but I believe that it was not all lies”
“Tell me what you know” he demanded desperately.
“When Bregan was younger, years before the Trinity War, he fell in love with a woman, she worked with the market at your village so naturally she travelled but they were strong, inseparable some said.” Solon looked to Kaydence for a sign to go on to which he received a small nod of the head. “Their relationship lasted a few years until she travelled to Nirvariten, it was a standard market trade but when she returned she wasn’t the same. Some said she grew distant from Bregan, soon the truth came out that she had fallen for another. Names vary and so do the details but one thing is for sure, she fell for a boy from the Aer clan”
A sigh left the king’s lips, there was so much to say but whether it would be too much for Kaydence was something he had to take into consideration, it could explain his whole existence and that for anyone would be a heavy burden to bear.
“Solon please I need to know, don’t hide anything from me”
“Kaydence this is a lot for you to process. I understand you want to know everything but you need to think about how this could affect you in the long run” he tried to reason with him.
“How do I know how it’s going to affect me if I don’t even know what it is you’re telling me. Please just tell me, Solon, I can handle it”
“Fine but under one condition, you don’t use it to your own advantage, don’t be like them” Solon explained, giving him a pointed look.
“Deal” he replied simply.
“Bregan broke off their relationship after she admitted that to him, sometime after she moved away to be with this other boy leaving Bregan to lead your village alone. Time passed and the war happened, the Aer clan barricaded themselves away and that was the last anyone heard from Bregan’s love. At least until a year after the war.” he knew this bit would be the part that made or broke Kaydence but they had a deal and what king he would be if he didn’t honour it so he continued. “There were sightings, a year after the war, people from Graylow village claimed to see the woman who broke Bregan’s heart knocking on his door, a bundle of blankets in her arms. She left without the blankets and soon they found it to have been a child. A boy. You Kaydence. Now after your mother left there was talk of her death, near the border by the bridge from Nirvariten to Himiratia, human hunters they said.” he took a deep breath, there wasn’t much of the tale left but it held a heavyweight over him, knowing all of this but not knowing the truth or lies frustrated him. “One thing is for sure, she never made it back to Evangelis and no one knew of the rest of the family” he concluded, sitting back in his chair he brushed the silver hair from his troubled yellow-tinted eyes, combing it back with his fingers.
“So you think my father is part of the high council?”
“I know he is even if your mother had different coloured eyes his would always be the dominant colour although yours seem to be an exception, however, there is only one family bloodline with the gold irises I didn’t know until I saw you but now I have I know some of the tales are true.”
“Your father is the leader of the high council, his name is Vallen Harkhallow”.