The Four Lands Of Arravan: Bloodline

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Chapter Twenty-Five: The Harkhallow Bloodline

The slope seemed to keep rising at an unforgiving angle and pace.

They’d not long reached the foothills of the Evangilian mountains which at first was a pretty sight with all of its small incomprehensible rock stacks dotted around tat were clearly aged with moss and fungi that fused them together.

And even as it started to get a bit steeper and rougher, all was well because the surroundings were a good distraction from the exhaustion.

However as they left the soft grass, rustling trees and bewildering scenery all behind and the uneven rocks became more frequent and less mystifying without the lines of quarts spiderwebbing through the harsh rock.

All the haze of beauty they got stuck in when they had first arrived had worn off, whether it was the increasing altitude or simply because their minds were simply more tired than their bodies, neither could say.

Kaydence studied the view to the left of him, the trees had grown smaller, as had the majority of the landscape which in the next hour or so would be completely invisible when they start passing through the layer of clouds.

Despite the fact he has wings and in theory, should be able to fly, he could feel knots forming in his stomach as his palms become sweaty.

Until now he had never been afraid of heights, he’d climbed to the tops of trees in his teen years, but then again when you can barely see the trees everything gets put into a new perspective.

He couldn’t say he was liking the new viewpoint and could honestly say he was never going to let his feet leave the ground when they reached the grass again.

“Kaydence should we stop soon? The lights dimming and it’s getting hard to see where I’m treading.” Mayfel panted from behind him.

It looks like it flattens out slightly just up ahead, we’ll see if it’s a good place to stop” he called back his breathing virtually identical to Mayfel’s.

With the flat ground in sight, they pushed their bodies past the limits, Mayfel’s legs grew shaky, his breathing erratic as his lungs struggled to heave in oxygen to soothe his deprived muscles.

Kaydences abraded soles, sore and inflamed to a degree from all the harsh surfaces of rock, ached to no end.

Mayfel, well his entire body felt the same, his clothes were drenched with sweat that the cool nightly air didn’t help reduce, blisters rampaged on his heels and toes and his eyes burned with exhaustion as he fought to keep them open and keep his legs moving.

“This looks like a safer place to rest for the night. We should probably get some sleep, the sun will most likely wake us up so we have a few hours”

“Way ahead of you” Mayfel muttered from the ground where he lay wrapped in the grey blanket, his head resting on his bag.

“It’s going to get cold up here I imagine, did you want to share my wings?” he shamelessly asked while fishing his own blanket out of the stuffed bag.

“Keep that option open and we’ll see later, I’m good for now but like you said the temperature might drop. Just don’t be surprised if you wake up to my face in the morning” Mayfel replied, his voice already softening along with his breathing.

“You will probably wake me up before the sun rises with the amount you fidget around, not to mention how much you dribble. We might even sail down the mountain yet”

“Do you know how difficult it is to sleep on the ground, it’s bumpy and uncomfortable so sorry for trying to find a good spot to sleep. Also, I disagree with that statement, I do not dribble” he huffed keeping his eyes closed.

“Of course I know how difficult it is, I am literally sleeping right next to you and by the way, my wings and shirt would say otherwise” Kaydence mocked.

A simple hum came from Mayfel as a response and quickly left Kaydence alone to his thoughts once again.

Hie gaze fell over the precipice and out towards the skyline, the darkness of the oncoming night was setting in, a blanket thrown over them all with which the only light to shine through was the twinkling of light that weaved through the minuscule gaps of the fabric and the beam that shot directly through the torn keyhole.

A weightless blush of a breeze, cool but not intimidating, no sounds of life except the exhale of the earth.

Even being so close to his people he had never felt more alone, nothing to distract his mind as he sat silently halfway up the Evangilian mountains.

The mind could be a dark place and to wonder it could lead to you getting lost or uncovering things once buried to protect your vulnerable mind, sticking to the path laid out would be wise but no one can resist the small trails that branch off to memories unknown, they just look so inviting and tempting compared to the road that you’ve walked for so long, the road that never changes.

With all the silence it made him wonder whether he was walking to a place that was uninhabited, who was to say they hadn’t perished after the war? No one had seen them, no one had heard them.

Just like the mountainside to which he sat upon, it was quiet, too quiet for life and yet too quiet for death for every soul leaves a whisper, a faint memory or feeling for those of the living to experience.

Unconsciously he recited a poem Bregan had read to him as a lullaby, he never paid much mind to the meaning of the words just the voice saying them as it soothed him into his dreams.

Maybe if Bregan had lived he could have taught him the meaning and maybe the origin, like he would with other texts. But those days were gone and all he had now was the distant memory of Bregan’s voice and the words carefully whispered into the night.

"The years grow old,

My days untold,

The seasons change as night grows cold,

But who am I to behold,

As the pages of my life begin to fold.

I too hold,

The map of old,

That leads me through and over the lands of Wold

Beneath the boughs of glittering gold.

I passed the rivers as I strolled,

To the light above that the elders foretold.

Come take my hand be bold,

Before my hands of old grow cold.”

As predicted he not only woke up to early daylight but also extra weight on his right-wing and a damp shoulder that he didn’t remember going to sleep with.

The culprit, well, he was still fast asleep snuggling with his blanket and Kaydences wing, mouth agape and snores along with saliva escaping it.

“Mayfel” he sang into his ear. “Time to wake up you lazy sack of potatoes”

“I don’t even like potatoes” he mumbled back, slowly rolling out of the blanket and off the feathered mattress, jolting awake as his bare arms connecting with the cold stone.

“Guess what?” Kaydence asked slyly

“Hm let me see, the suns up which means more walking?”

“No, well yes but that’s not what I was on about. I meant, you dribbled in your sleep and you snore”

“We’ve been over this Kaydence, I don’t-” before he could finish his sentence Kaydence moved his wing showing the damp patch on his shoulder, Mayfel’s cheeks flared up in a sight of brilliant red.

“Can we just start walking please?” Mayfel said trying to avoid the rest of the discussion knowing he’d lost.

“Good plan, we only have roughly half the mountain left but the route gets a bit complicated so keep hold of that map from Solon. We’ll need it.”

Finding that the flat ledge- like platform the were on lead to the path they needed was honestly relieving, the thought of not having to climb using their hands up a sheer slope brought just a little consolation.

With their gear packed they willed their aching and locked joints to move which was easier said than done.

Mayfel internally groaned and complained with every step, using some of the worst words and phrases that came to mind not that it helped but it gave him something to do other than looking at the grey landscape.

They followed a bend that lead through a section of the mountain under, what seemed to be a prodigious carved archway engraved with a mass amount of detail ranging from depictions of the skies, mountains and a number of lands to intricate patters all interlinking and equally beautiful.

It looked to have been carved by giants or some form of greater height and strength and not those who they knew to be responsible for such divine architecture.

“Are you sure you’re part Aer clan?” Mayfel uttered all the while not being able to peel his eyes away from the incomprehensible sight.

“Well unless these wings come from somewhere else. Why did you ask?” he replied a little confused.

“Well, when you tried drawing the map in the dirt a while back to try and get your head around the route, well. Let’s just say they didn’t pass on their art skills to you.”

“That’s rude” he grumbled.

“I’m sure you’re good at it, you just haven’t found your passion yet” Mayfel snickered.

“You won’t be laughing when I push you off the side of this mountain”

“And if you threw me off then you’d be lonely and quite frankly I reckon you’d miss me” he teased while beginning to walk up a smooth, steadily increasing slope and around another bend leading to yet another almost identical archway that was simply a fraction shorter.

“If you carry on yapping I won’t be sad at all and I definitely won’t miss you”

“Ok tough guy, I’d like to see you try. Just as a note though, if I go over you’re coming with me.” he said.

Kaydence paid him no mind, he was too preoccupied with the stone stacks that appeared once again perched atop larger rocks or on the floor along the path.

It was both equally interesting and unnerving, the thought of them unknowingly being alone was unsettling especially when the rock piles, unlike the ones before, looked newer and had no plant life slowly enclosing them.

Feeling put off his feet picked up the pace and quite quickly caught up to Mayfel who was once again awestruck with yet another archway, once again it was smaller stating with the correlation he’d started to predict.

One thing that stood out differently too the other two was the sun-bleached, faded, red material wrapped around a lopsided, misshapen, naked tree that had clearly been vulnerable to the harsh mountainous elements for some time leaving it a paler shade of its original dark brown.

The material ominously floated in the short burst of air that travelled around the cliff-side, the whistling of wind rang out ahead probably through some minuscule crevice in the metamorphic rock.

“Is it just me who feels like this place is haunted?”

“It’s not haunted Mayfel, it’s just the wind now come on” he ensured before continuing along the path.

The crunching of pebbles and eroded stone beneath his feet felt energized, elusive sparks advanced from the tips of his toes and into his bloodstream until his wings twitched and shook out his feathers like an animal would do when its fur gets wet.

Looking up above at the archway as Kaydence approached he recognised the Aer clan insignia chiselled into stone, the triangle pointed side up and a line cutting just below the peak seemingly creating a small triangle within.

On passing through the air entering his lungs felt fresh, pure even.

Nothing but the faint aroma of soil and dust but it smelled and felt better than anything he’d breathed before, it was strange but he felt complete in a way.

“Kaydence” Mayfel muttered in disbelief.

“If you’re going to mock my mp drawing skills again Mayfel” he started to say but cut himself off when he saw his face and turned to see what he was so surprised about.

Kaydence found himself lost for words, through the gaps of the two slopes stood Evangelis.

It was what Kaydence imagined the so-called “gods” in the books he read, to live in.

“Kaydence” Mayfel called as a heavier gust of wind tore around the corner.

“I know I see it, it’s Evangelis” he yelled back.

“I know but Kaydence, your eyes. They’re really bright” he said getting closer.

“What do you mean bright? Mayfel it’s probably the sun” Kaydence sighed.

“It’s not the sun you dimwit we’re in the shade behind thick clouds, you’re eyes are like really gold and blue it’s kind of freaking me out”

“Then stop looking at them” he retaliated

“Well it’s a bit difficult when they’re practically glowing”

“Can we not argue again I just really want to get over there so we can finally leave .”

“Fine then let’s go sunshine” Mayfel mocked and began leading the way.

“Stop with the nicknames” he groaned and followed after him.

“You’ll have to kill me”

“You don’t want to tempt me right now”

Their pathway lead through more of the mountainside until eventually, their feet came to a stop before the temple of Evangelis.

A palace carved from the very rock they stood on, the same intricate designs trailed down the two walls either side of the overly large archway to which a worn white sheer curtain split down the middle sailed on the breeze.

In the rock-face above the door sat the Aer clan Crest, even the look of the symbol looked deceiving and hollow like their oaths to protect their lands and join the king when he called.

And he was in direct line of the leader of the high council, the one to have called the orders to barricade themselves in like cowards, not that he associated himself with them but no one could ignore the fact he shared their blood.

Mayfel stood gawping at the structure, he presumed the entire summit of the mountain had been hollowed out some time ago when the temple was first crafted, he couldn’t imagine the time and effort put into making such precise architecture let alone the lives that must have gone into it as well.

Multiple sets of steps and platforms lay before them like a mockery, they’d climbed for hours upon hours and now they were faced with more steps of stone.

Kaydence went first, unknown as to what he’d find and not knowing what to hope for.

On first look, it seemed abandoned, unlike Crestfold there were no families or children around, no bustling shops or markets just cold stone floor right up to the thick wooden gate behind the veil.

Standing before the gate he raised a fist and brought it down onto the wood.

Three knocks he left upon the wood before letting the silence consume them again.

There they waited, Mayfel shuffling eagerly from one foot to the other as he debated whether or not to sit down or keep standing in fear that his limbs would seize up.

Kaydence on the other hand stood emotionless.

“looks like no one’s home, maybe we can come back another day” Mayfel said nervously.

“Sure Ok, do you want to climb all the way up here again because I sure don’t”

With no answer he hammered on the door again, aggression and frustration powering his actions.

“Kaydence I don’t think that’ll work. I don’t, I don’t think anyone’s here” he said and placed a calming hand on his back between the bases of his wings. “I’m sorry, I know you had hope but at least we tried”

A clunk came from behind the wood followed soon after by another and another, the wood trembled and the scraping of stone echoed all around them as the doors slowly but surely opened.

Both took a safe step back as silhouettes of winged men- clearly armed- spilt from the shadows followed by the stuffy air that carried the smell of aged books and superiority.

Kaydence unconsciously took a step in front of Mayfel as the strangers continued to approach.

His wings twitched behind his back like seeing someone of his own kind was sparking some sort of hibernating reaction.

As the group parted around them creating a circled barrier, one came straight towards them.

Pale gold curls almost white to which sat a subtle crown showing his high status, striking blue eyes encircled with golden rings, pointed ears pierced with small silver ringlets matching his lordly silver shirt displaying his strong and set shoulders.

Upon his back, seemingly ready to splay out to their full lengths sat a pair of pale brown wings.

“My name is Dalamis Harkhallow, state your business quickly” he demanded, his voice somewhat gruff with an underlying softness.

“Harkhallow” Kaydence uttered in disbelief

Dalamis eyed him curiously, skimming over his entire body taking note of the sword at his hip, before laying to rest on his eyes where his own widened and his wings flickered as if they themselves were taken by surprise.

“You, what is your name?” he asked a bit too aggressively for Kaydences liking causing the feathers on his wings to splay wider, his one wing rising like a shield in front of Mayfel.

“My name is Kaydence Banshaw, I was raised by Bregan Banshaw in Graylow Village. But I found out recently that my true name had been kept from me and I lost the chance to find out after my Father Bregan was murdered, however, it has finally been uncovered to me and that name is Kaydence Harkhallow”

Taken aback Mayfel looked from him to Dalamis and back, the blood had drained from Dalamis’ already paled face, he looked to the other guards and nodded to them before turning around and gliding off into the hall of stone.

Before he could comprehend the situation, hands grasped his arms as another pair seized his legs, he was lifted off of his feet and carried like a log through the doors that soon shut behind them.

Mayfel was in the same situation, Kaydence could see him if he looked back.

He took the time to take in the inside fortress, stone pedestal’s that held stone bowls of flames positioned at each and every massive stone column standing in two rows down the substantial hall at even intervals.

The black obsidian floors looked newly polished and reflected all the flickering from the flames as well as his own reflection which looked relatively pathetic.

On either side of the extensive room were archways continuing into corridors that lead who knows where leading him to believe more of the mountain was most likely hollow and not just the summit possibly where the rest of the council spent their days.

Ahead of them sat a display of chairs on a matching obsidian platform-like stage, five in total four of which were a degree smaller than the one positioned in the middle.

Kaydence heard a loud thud followed by a pain-filled groan, looking back he noticed Mayfel on the floor and two guards standing over him, bag stripped from his back and tossed to the side with the contents

As he prepared to call out to him, he felt all grip on his body disappear and he too descended to the rock below.

“Stand up both of you” Dalamis commanded, he stood in front of them, a massive window or rather a hole cut from the mountain walls, behind him encompassing his entire body in a blinding halo.

“You just dropped us on solid ground, you can wait” Kaydence wheezed out, his chest burning from having the air viscously forced from his lungs.

“You are in the presence of The Are Clan and son of the Leader of the High Council, you will obey me”

“I might have wings and have the same last name, but I’ll be damned if I consider myself one of you, I bear the birthmark of the Terra Clan but I have the blood of Aer. I am your equal” he sneered

“Well I will let my father decide what happens to you after all for anyone who trespasses on this sacred land is instantly condemned to death by the hands of Vallen Harkhallow”

“King Solon told me my father was mad but I think he underestimated him” Kaydence mocked, shooting a glare at Dalamis.

“Father is not mad, he is the holder of knowledge, guardian of the winged folk and leader of Evangelis” he all but recited.

“Do you honestly believe anything you just said? You sound like you’re reading a forced poem”

“Silence!” he demanded “Tell me why you are here and maybe we will make your death painless, I can’t say the same for your companion however”

“If you harm him I won’t hesitate to kill you even if you are related to me” Kaydence growled and standing slowly from the ground.

“Then spare him the pain and tell me why you come to Evangelis and while you’re at it hand over your weapons, don’t think for a second I didn’t notice the sword at your side and the quivers and bow he carries.” he continued, eyeing Kaydence carefully for any sign of advancement.

“I came here to learn of what became of my traitorous father although nothing was ever said about you. And I think I’ll keep my sword close if you don’t mind. It’s nothing personal, I just don’t trust you.”

Dalamis gritted his teeth, giving him a hard stare or distaste.

“Well, you shall meet father soon enough. Now hand over your weapons or we will remove them by force.” he finalised.

“Give it a try” Kaydence sneered and tearing Acuere from its sheath, pointing the sharpened tip towards Dalamis’ throat.

Mayfel- who still lay on the ground- managed to inch his hand close enough to grasp a quiver and his bow and in an instant was ready on his feet, bow and quiver fixed and aimed at a nearby guard.

“And you say father is mad, well you look to have lost your mind now. Do you really think you can win against six guards and me who has been trained from the moment I could hold a blade? Give up now while you still can”

“I think we have quite a good chance” Kaydence teased, presenting a devilish smirk.

Dalamis shrugged, accepting the challenge.

Like birds of prey they circled, neither knowing who would become the prey but both eager to find out.

Two blades plucked from his belt were held steadily in Dalamis’ hands, handles grasped and blades facing up his arms.

Steady feet and steady gaze until Kaydence made the first move, he swung Acuere at Dalamis’ left hand knicking the edge of the blade but Dalamis was quick to react and twisted the blade expertly in his grip before slashing calculatedly at Kaydences arm.

He used the movements and tactics he knew, the ones Bregan had taught him.

Yes, they were brothers but he had something Dalamis didn’t, a teacher with experience in battle and he was going to use it to his full advantage.

As they battled Mayfel kept watch of the guards, all seemed ready to pounce as his eyes tracked their breathing and muscle tension.

One dove for him but Mayfel was quick to dodge his body and swung his bow like one would a sword and drove it into the face of the first guard.

With a thud and a groan, he fell to the floor, a bruise already showing across his forehead.

Kaydence and Dalamis fought, neither one winning or losing.

As one lost his balance the other would miss but, with the gleam, Kaydence could see in Dalamis’ eyes and the start of a smile- like a child would have when being able to play with friends- pushed his mind to not even try to win.

Despite Dalamis’ so-called expert training, Kaydence kept up, but neither could seriously harm the other even if they had a prime chance.

They were equals and brothers.

“What is going on here?!” boomed a voice that came from across the hall and yet seemed to fill the entire space.

All movement ceased, the guards straightened up as others got to their feet holding broken and bleeding noses and sliced hands.

Dalamis sheathed his blades and let the lordly arrogance fill his being again as his face straightened and lost emotion.

Kaydences eyes focused on the man that emerged, silver robes lined with fur from an animal, light brown hair slowly thinning and ageing to a duller and paler grey in places, ruffled wings of deep brown like trees in the dark of night.

As he proceeded towards them he would see the gold of his eyes, the same gold in his own as well as circling Dalamis’.

Their bloodline could not be mistaken, he was the son of Vallen Harkhallow and apparently also brother to Dalamis which he didn’t approve of in the slightest.

“Who are you?” his voice boomed and echoed around the room, not a sound replied it was like even the mountain and wind itself feared the voice and wrath of Vallen.

“These are-” Dalamis began but stopped as his father’s hand raised ferociously into the air, his eyes bore into Kaydences and it did indeed strike fear into his heart.

“I am Kaydence Harkhallow and this is Mayfel Kierser of Ivory Village”

“Are you here to rob us? You lie I have but one son, my other perished along with my wife moons ago” he accused, madness was clear in his eyes and Solon had definitely underestimated just how far It went.

“We are no spies I simply wanted to meet you, I wanted to know if you were alive” he tried to explain.

“Lies! You wish to steal our knowledge, you wish to rob us blind. These two here would have us begging for mercy as they strip the jewels from our throats and the clothes from or bodies. They would see us eradicated” he rambled on, Kaydence and Mayfel watched on in bewilderment at the true delusions they were being charged with.

Kaydence looked at the guards who seemed to just reflect the words and not take them in, their faces straight and no responses being given.

He looked to Dalamis who if he had to say looked to be forcing himself to believe the paranoid rants of the man they both called a father, he could only imagine what being raised by him must have been like with all of the paranoia and madness surrounding him and having no way to escape.

He doesn’t blame him for being so stubborn and blind after hearing it all as a child was bound to influence his own way of thinking, but with the look he was trying to hide it gave Kaydence hope that his brother could possibly see the truth if he didn’t already.

“Look clearly I have the wrong person because Vallen Harkhallow was described as much less insane than what you’re showing right now”

“You dare question me boy, I am Vallen Harkhallow, holder of knowledge, guardian of the winged folk and leader of Evangelis.” Vallen replied highly.

“I have heard, my brother sounds like a broken record, he said exactly the same word for word.” Kaydence said taking a look at Dalamis who had an unreadable expression on his face.

“Enough! Deceivers you are condemned to death on accounts of infiltration, trespassing and lying to the leader of Evangelis and Himiratia. Get them ready” he ordered and stood watching as the guards grabbed them pinning them to the smooth ground winding him once again.

He struggled as did Mayfel who feared for his life at the hands of a mad man and his followers, he as in unknown territory and didn’t know what to expect.

“Dalamis you can stop this! He’s mad can’t you see it? Dalamis you’re not like him!” he pleaded while thrashing around to avoid the growing number of hands reaching for him.

Dalamis seemed, for the first time since they’d got there, lost and confused, his blue eyes flickered from Kaydence to their father, the golden ringlets seemingly growing and shrinking as his mind argued.

“Dalamis!” Kaydence yelled as he and Mayfel were dragged towards an archway, rope wound tightly around their limbs as well as Kaydences wings.

Dalamis didn’t move and just looked on as they went until they were out of ears reach.

“Father spare Kaydence, he’s my brother and he’s your son, not an imposter. I know little about him and remember even less, for years we have grown to believe he died with mother, but he’s here”

“Dalamis-” Vallen began.

“No father I will not let you murder the only other family member I know of, father please”

“Dalamis enough, unless you want to join this person pretending to be your lost brother then step down and be the good foot soldier I raised you to be, emotions and family are weakness Dalamis everyone wants us for one thing and that is to steal our knowledge for themselves and to see us suffer”

“But he’s your son and so am I, surely you can make an exception?” Dalamis pleaded.

“You are welcome to join us outside” Vallen said calmly and left following the crowd in front.

Outside Kaydence, Mayfel and the crowd of guards were standing on a rock ledge which the corridor had lead to.

The wind was harsh as it whipped the side of the mountain face and moved the mist that clung to the coarse surface.

The guards continued to shove them along the pathway until everyone was stood on a well- supported wooden structure much like a a dock, a wide wooden surface attached to the precipice.

Both were pushed to their knees nearer to the edge than either would like to be, the weather-splintered wood pricked their knees as they were blown from side to side by the gale winds.

Facing one another, each could see the fear in the eyes of the other at the realisation of what was about to happen.

“We’ll be alright Mayfel” he said in a hushed tone

“Bit late for that Kaydence I think this is the end of the road for us” he replied terrified, his hands shaking as well as the rest of him.

“I’m going to get us out of this just stay hopeful” he said and attempted a comforting smile although it felt to be more of a grimace.

Kaydence looked at Vallen with pure hatred burning in his irises but it did nothing to stir or obscure Vallen’s thought process.

“Who wishes to go first?” Vallen asked smirking and observed them both.

“You’re crazy!” Kaydence cried out before a binding of cloth gagged him cutting off the rest of his pleads.

The gaze Kaydence and Mayfel held was heart-wrenching, Mayfel knew what was to come but was not ready, he had less of a chance than Kaydence if he managed to get his wings free from the one rope holding them to his back.

Kaydences eyes were sorrowful, begging for forgiveness and filled with regret.

He couldn’t do it, Mayfel couldn’t look at him without feeling the yanking of his heartstrings and the rising anxiety filling his chest cutting off his air supply.

They watched as a guarded tossed their bags and weapons over the edge, every chance of fighting back tossed with them.

It oddly seemed to foreshadow their own fate.

The next thing either of them could comprehend, Vallen’s foot made contact with Mayfel’s shoulder sending him tumbling and desperately trying to clutch at the splintering wood with his hands tied behind his back.

Panic filled his whole being as he toppled over the edge and began his descent.

“That’s the reason we call this Heaven’s descent, even the best of us fall and you’re next” Vallen said.

But before he’d even finished his sentence Kaydence had willingly thrown himself over the edge after Mayfel.

A jolt of fear stabbed his body on seeing the clouds below them, he kept falling as did Mayfel.

Managing to rid his mouth of the cloth gag he inhaled air and with every ounce of strength he could muster against the fear riling up his body, he forced his wings to open snapping the rope binding him.

In an instant they spread to their full wingspan letting him briefly hover before he was gracefully falling again.

The descending sun blazed against Evangelis casting Kaydences form to a silhouette, black against the orange orb.

For a second it felt like his dream, just floating, except this was very real and the darkness that held him in his dream wasn’t there just the approaching ground.

His heart was racing and to match was his mind as he plummeted down past the rocks and jagged slopes of the Evangelian mountains.

His eyes teared, his ears lost the ability to hear past the rushing air and his skin grew ice cold but whether It was from the terror or freezing air gnawing at him wasn’t important.

His weightless body fell down through the shrouded veil of clouds, on the other side he saw Mayfel falling, his body completely limp and as far as he could see his eyes were closed tightly.

Kaydence tucked his wings in and straightened up his body to pick up speed, slowly he gained on Mayfel’s body.

He reached for him but for a while desperately grasped at the air until he managed to stretch just a little further and clutched his fingers around Mayfel’s arm.

He pulled him towards him and wrapped his arms and legs tightly around him, the rapid beats of their hearts and laboured breathing was the only thing ensuring Kaydence that it wasn’t a dream and that they were actually falling to their deaths.

He forced himself to focus on Mayfel’s face as a distraction to the inevitability, tear tracks stained his cheeks guiding a path for the others to follow before they’re swept away by the harsh and frantic attempted grasps of the airs intangible clutches.

Eyes fixed to the increasingly growing cluster of the Bristling forest below he outstretched his wings as far as he could, the wind caught at them and began to slow them down but not enough with Mayfel’s added weight.

The trees got closer and closer but they didn’t slow much more, as they collided with the first layer of branches and twigs Mayfel’s eyes shot open as Kaydence closed his own and gave up trying to slow them down and simply turned them around and wrapped his wings around Mayfel giving him as much protection as possible.

Their bodies hit the ground with a number of sickly cracks and crunches.

His wings fell open on impact letting Mayfel get flung and thrown to the ground allowing his body to roll even further as Kaydence curled up and rolled in a different direction.

And there they both lay unconscious as Vallen surveyed the air below, pleased with himself.

But Dalamis was anything but pleased, he was horrified and regretful that he’d believed and followed his father for so long.

Little did his father know, their alliance and trust was over.

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