Chapter Twenty-One: Hopes
“Mother, she’s awake”.
Jeanove had been watching their prisoner for the past few hours while she came around, she had definitely been dazed and confused however fear seemed to have been lost somewhere along the way unless she just hadn’t come around yet for the adrenaline to kick in.
He was conscious of everything he was doing, the plans his mother had appointed but it hadn’t cleared anything up for him, he felt even more lost having his life planned out than he did before she went mad.
The things he’d seen and heard from his own fathers cries of pain to the pleading of other innocent captives held behind bars for things completely meaningless like speaking their mind, the memories terrorised him to the point sleep was bearly an option anymore.
But it’s not like he had a choice, his mother has a ruthless and cruel heart and he wouldn’t imagine crossing her because she wouldn’t hesitate to imprison and torture him just like she had his father and he doubted he’d last even half the time he had.
“Take me to her” she demanded, he had no other choice than to follow the order so he lead her down into one of his least favourite places in the capital. “Has she said anything to you?”
“No mother she hasn’t long opened her eyes, she will more than likely be disorientated for a while until the full effects ware off” he replied keeping his voice low but being careful to not mutter or stutter knowing it agitated her.
“Very well, good work Jeanove you might have proved useful yet. Wait out here for me while I have a nice talk” Braylen stated opening the door resulting in a creaking sound from the rusted hinges.
“Yes, thank you mother” he replied cowering into the shadows.
Braylen continued into the room closing the door rather abruptly behind her, sat in the corner of the dimly lit room sat Helena, hair swept back out her face but seemingly tangled, she looked tired the effects of the chemicals not worn off completely yet.
“Where am I?” she spoke, considering how he looked her voice was a lot more confident and steady.
“Crestfold, a little ways away from your home no doubt.” Braylen replied keeping on the innocent and charming facade.
“So you’re Braylen I’m gathering and that twerp outside is your son.”
“Correct, but enough about me I want to know about you. More specifically about the little group, my dear husband put together”
“No can do woman, my lips are sealed. I won’t rat out my own people so do what you want” she said stubbornly giving Braylen a hard and fixed gaze.
Braylen’s features hardened and turned cynical, the glinting resent in her eyes shook Helena raising the fear but she wasn’t one to buckle under pressure especially when her family and friends were on the line not to mention the rest of the lives of Arravan.
“You will tell me everything of your petty operations to hinder my efforts for a better future eventually. One way or another I will get answers, even if I have to hunt down your sibling and torture him in front of you”
“How do you know I have a brother? Did Rowan tell you?” she remarked.
“I didn’t know until you just told me I was simply guessing, but thank you for revealing some useful information regardless. Now unless you talk I will not only find your brother but I will proceed with Rowan’s execution that’s set for sunrise.”
“I won’t talk, Rowan didn’t snitch on us and if you execute him then he won’t die in vain because I am not saying, anything lady.”
“Suit yourself. Expect to be seeing your brother soon but I’d start planning the last words you’ll say to him now.” she threatened before exiting the room.
“You’ll never find them! I won’t say anything to you, you’re crazy and you’ll lose this war!” she yelled after her.
Jeanove appeared in the room, he took hold of the doorknob, his eyes met hers and for a brief minute he wanted another life where he was in charge of his own future and not under the rule and orders of his mother, the girl before him stood as a reminder he wasn’t free and wouldn’t have the life she had.
“Help me, please” she said desperately.
“I’m sorry, I can’t” he replied quickly retreating out the room, the door swinging shut behind him, the lock clicking and the key slipping out the lock before being placed in his pocket.
“Stay safe Zack” she whispered to herself in the loneliness of the cold cell.
* * *
“Mayfel! Kaydence! You’re back” Rena yelled as she sprinted towards them from the pathway, her emerald green dress floating around her and her plum hair waving behind her.
“We’re back but not for long” Mayfel said before the air was forced out of his lungs by the sheer force of her running into him and embracing him in a vice- gripped hug.
“What do you mean not for long? You just got here” she complained before hitting his arm violently.
“Ouch don’t do that it hurts” he whined rubbing the sore spot.
“Oh it hurts does it?” she remarked, raising her fist to deliver another blow.
“Woah Woah let’s calm down here, Rena it’s nice to see you again but we have to get going, we need our horses. It’s personal and Mayfel’s only coming with me because he’s stubborn and wouldn’t take no for an answer” he explained.
“Hello to you too Kaydence, at least one of you had the decency to explain.” she cast a harsh sideways glance at Mayfel.
“Rena, the horses” Kaydence spoke again almost reminding her even though it’d only been a few seconds.
“Yes, okay their at my village let’s go” she sighed exasperatedly
“Thank you” he whispered mercifully to the skies.
The trio sauntered towards the village, Mayfel and Rena chatting or more so her asking questions that Mayfel wouldn’t answer.
Kaydence hung back behind them content in his own thoughts where he seemed to be a lot of the time recently, before it was just because of everything with the high council but now, now it was even more personal.
The part of him that had always been a mystery to him had the opportunity to be presented, he could find his family and find out what happened, surely they’d know especially his father since according to Solon he was a member of the high council the one’s who had shut the rest of their race out.
He just hoped that they had a good reason so that the hatred and spite could be laid to rest, they could reunite as allies and everything could get better, he hoped the rumours were lies made up of distaste and confusion and not whispers of truth.
“Anything either of you need before you leave?” she asked while looking at them both with the eyes of a compassionate friend.
“No, I think we’re all set we got some food and water from the king so it should last us” Kaydence replied.
Both entered the stables and arranged their bags before mounting their steeds, as comfortable as they could be on the saddles they manoeuvred out of the wooden archway into the daylight.
“We’ll be passing back through in a couple of days time” Mayfel announced looking at Rena.
“Ok well stay safe. Both of you, please”
“We will don’t worry. I will look after him” Kaydence replied giving her a humorous grin before beginning to trot away, leading his horse out of the village.
Mayfel scoffed but couldn’t resist a small smile pulling at the corners of his mouth.
“Goodbye again Rena”
“Goodbye Mayfel, Ut radices ligare nos”
"Ut radices ligare nos” he repeated before taking off after Kaydence who’d already made quite a gap of distance between them and was about to vanish over the hillside.
“Can I ask one question?” Mayfel asked breathlessly after galloping to catch up.
“Well you just did but it also depends on what the question is”
“Where are we going?” he replied, ignoring the rest of what he’d said.
“Like I said don’t ask me about this” Kaydence said.
“Well don’t I at least deserve to know where we’re going? At least then I can decide for myself whether or not I still want to come with you”
“Fine but no more questions, don’t even talk to me until we get there.” he said before falling silent making Mayfel think he wasn’t ever going to reply. “We’re going to Himiratia. Evangelis more specifically”
“What? Why would you go there? Are you out of your mind? No one goes there unless they really have to Kaydence and you just want to waltz onto deserted land that’s quite possibly a death trap?”
“Mayfel I swear to anything above us, please be quiet. I told you not to talk, I told you where we’re going now at least follow my wishes or I will go alone” he snapped.
He had no idea where the sudden surge of anger came from but it was there loud and clear even if he didn’t want it to be, the look of upset and anger flashing across Mayfel’s face wasn’t missed and he truly regretted his outburst but it’s not like it had been planned or even like he felt as though he should snap and be aggressive it’s like it was out of instinct.
He wasn’t violent and only used violent measures if he or someone close to him was in danger or hurt so to have a random outburst like this was new and frightening, if it happened without his knowledge who knew what else could happen when not even he’s expecting it.
If he couldn’t predict the outbursts how was he to control them or be alone when they happened so no one got hurt?
“I’m sorry, you’re right I shouldn’t have asked questions. I should have just honoured your wishes” came Mayfel’s apologetic voice, his body was more slumped than usual, his hands lazily holding the reins and his gaze cast to the horizon.
“I’m sorry too, I didn’t mean to snap at you” he replied pulling his vision away from the boy who’s eyes had turned the upsetting olive colour he hated to see so much and instead redirected it forward. “We’re going there because I need to find out who I really am, I lived a lie for so long and one that I wasn’t even aware of. We’ve done all we can for our world, I need to do what’s best for me now and whether you come along too is up to you”
Hearing him out Mayfel replied “Truce?”
“A truce sounds good to me” Kaydence replied unable to prevent the hint of a smile tugging the corner of his lips.
Out the corner of his eyes, he saw Mayfel’s posture straighten just a degree and the slack grip on the reins tighten the smallest bit, if he hadn’t caught his eyes and held contact for as long as he did then he wouldn’t have to witness the galaxy of indigo, violet and amethyst with the subtle flecks of white dazzling stars or the sparks of a million shooting stars.
Even though it was just a second, the boundless expanse of wonders held in just two irises was timeless just like being lost in the heavens with no way other than the circulation of the sun to tell the time and even then he didn’t know if he wanted to know or just let himself be lost in the purple ringlets.
He committed the sight to memory, rethinking every detail not wanting even a single or slightest bit to evade the box with which it would be stored in.
Bregan had reminded him religiously on the importance of the eyes, if in battle or simply making acquaintances.
He had said it’s where their true intentions and lies were presented, they spent hours sitting and watching people go about their days, Bregan tutoring him on signs or certain things to look out for like the direction they looked in when mentioning or recounting moments in a story or the pace they blinked at, did it pick up or slow down when a certain topic was brought up?
Bregan wouldn’t let him quit until he got it right, it was safe to say that the lesson’s he’d been taught had been lost over the years as he’d got older and more distant with Bregan and the village since he’d slowly come to understand that he wasn’t like the others and felt like he didn’t belong there, but did he regret them? No, he didn’t because if he regretted them then all the time he’d spent with the man he called a father wouldn’t have been as memorable or even exist In the first place.
Sure his childhood wasn’t like others but it could have been a lot worse if his mother hadn’t left him with the man that could have ended up being his real father if she hadn’t have left him for the stranger who apparently held the parental title although having nothing to do with his life except for being half the reason he was born.
From what the King had said, his father was the leader of the High Council so he must have had been the one to order the barricade, if it’s true then he wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to meet the man who helped put him on the earth, he was content in calling Bregan his father for so long but this just seemed like a journey of self-destruction, everything could be ruined if he finds out the truth.
And what if there were parts the king didn’t know or left out, after all, everything he was told was rumours or speculation, this man Vallen might not even be the way he was described, might not be the reason for the barricade.
He had to have hope, because if he didn’t what else did he have?