Chapter Thirty-One: Two Become One
Thin, pure air is what Kaydence breathed in, the fresh scent of mint and the musky smell of old books hung delicately around him.
It was mostly silent all but the subtle whistling of a breeze from where he guessed to be outside a window.
Where he was he didn’t know, his eyes no matter how hard he tried wouldn’t open even though his mind was conscious it was clear his body wasn’t ready.
He let out a sigh, a peaceful sound.
Something ever so slightly dabbed at his forehead, something damp and cool, he had to admit it was refreshing since he felt like his skin was burning with a fever and his body ached probably the cause being the battle.
The presence in the room felt familiar, comforting even and yet he didn’t completely feel acquainted with it, it was odd but he didn’t feel threatened or afraid which left his mind to wonder.
Kaydence couldn’t remember a lot of what happened after the King had rallied his troops, he didn’t even know if they’d won or what happened to cause his loss of memory, being badly injured didn’t come to mind either.
“Kaydence, if you can hear me, I’m glad you’re alright. The healers say you should wake up any time now, that your body has healed enough for your mind to wake up. Please make it soon, there’s someone waiting to see you” came Dalamis’ voice, Kaydence had to admit he still didn’t completely like his brother yet but then again he didn’t exactly know whether the dislike Is part of being siblings or just in their special case.
It wasn’t the voice he’d wanted to hear and quite frankly he thought he might even prefer Halda being the one next to him at that moment because at least the man wouldn’t try to start up a conversation with someone unconscious.
“The King was worried about you, he’s here you know. He sent a letter to is family and plans to stay until you wake up.” Dalamis continued. “We sorted things out, Evangelis is on it’s way to reclaiming its place in Arravan again, we pledged our allegiance to the Crown and father will be going with the King to Haven’s Gate.”
“Dalamis, shut up” he croaked out just wanting to try his voice out.
“You’re awake, finally. You took your time” he teased
“Nice to see you too big brother” he grumbled, eyes still closed and body feeling heavy and weak.
“Oh come on I was joking.”
“Sure you were”
“Are you going to wake up or sleep for even longer?” he asked
“How long have I been out?” he mumbled already feeling his body relaxing with the oncoming of sleep.
“Almost a week now” he admitted
“Wait a week!” he shouted his eyes bursting open and his body trying to sit up.
“Yes a week but take it easy you’re still healing as far as we know” he spoke sympathetically, placing a calming hand on his shoulder.
“Did we win?”
“Yes we won, it was close though near the end but a lot surrendered.” he explained
“And are you okay?” Kaydence asked
“I healed pretty quick, your human friends are safe too, they’re here too.” Dalamis clarified as the door to the room opened to reveal Halda who looked less than pleased to be there and mostly be at the capital of his own personal enemies.
“King Solon has summoned you both, be hasty as to not keep him waiting” was all he said in the most monotone voice Kaydence had ever heard, there was no enthusiasm or even emotion that he could detect, and swiftly left.
“Guess it’s time to go” Dalamis said helping Kaydence off the bed.
The padding of his freshly cleaned feet echoed through the halls next to Dalamis’ boot covered ones.
It was cold and the place seemed empty of any people, inside and out it seemed to be a lonely mountain with its head in the clouds unaware of its surroundings yet perfectly happy and peaceful.
Voices began to resonate from the doors ahead, the Kings gruff one which couldn’t be confused with any other, Halda’s inexplicably annoying one and a soft small voice to which he’d long since heard or at least it felt as though it had been.
As the King’s voice hushed the others chatters, the door was opened to reveal the man himself.
“Kaydence, good to see you’re up and about” Solon said
“It’s good to be up” he replied
“And you complained about me being lazy”
That voice, it was the voice he longed to hear, it sounded so comforting and familiar, he didn’t know how much he’d missed it over the past week.
The King stepped aside giving Kaydence a full view of the brown hair, amethyst eyes and childish grin of the one and only Mayfel.
Not wasting another moment he launched himself into his arms, wrapping his own tightly around his smaller frame.
His wings twitched and fluttered much like the butterflies in his stomach that kept multiplying by the second.
“Glad to see you missed me” Mayfel muttered
“Of course I did, who else was I supposed to annoy?” he remarked jokingly.
“Mayfel here has been checking up on you quite frequently, he’s not on the healer’s good sides, to say the least” Solon said, looking at the two.
“He’ll win them back over quickly” he said back, releasing Mayfel from his tight hold and giving him a sideways look.
Solon who looked amused rejoined the group surround the table that consisted of Halda, Dalamis, Rena and Mayfel.
“So what is it you need my King?” he asked after joining everyone else.
“Kaydence, the healers when they saved me, they had no choice” Mayfel tried to explain.
“What are you trying to say?”
“Mayfel was injured badly, by the time I got him here he’d lost too much blood and without a donor, they had no other option.” Dalamis took over.
“Had no choice to do what? Can someone tell me without being so bloody cryptic” he remarked exasperatedly.
“The healers saved him but they had to use a book form the elder times, it had a procedure they hadn’t used before and therefore didn’t know the full consequences. It didn’t mention the risk of what happened in the book and we haven’t been able to find a solution in the books we’ve looked at so far” Dalamis continued to explain.
“Okay, so what happened? What didn’t the book warn you about?”
“When they stitched him up and he stabilised they noticed his birthmark looked odd”
“Odd how?” he said
“It’s changed Kaydence, it no longer resembles any Clan birthmark, not even the one of the crown” Mayfel spoke up pulling his shirt open enough to show the new raised markings written on his chest, the scar-like symbol stood out white even against his pale skin.
He spoke of the truth, the scarred skin resembled no birthmark he’d ever seen before, it didn’t even seem like a mix of two birthmarks form different clans, it held no resemblance to the clans other than the triangle.
The one that Mayfel now bore on his chest was a triangle, the top point in the centre of a circle like the rising sun in front of a mountain peak, around the circle, were short lines almost like rays of the sun shining out across his chest and below the circle in the very middle of the triangle itself lay to horizontal lines, the same width and diameter as each other.
“So what does it mean?” Kaydence finally asked
“We don’t know but when you collapsed at Crestfold, your chest started bleeding except there was no wound. Kaydence you share the same markings as Mayfel” he said
“So we have matching tattoos? I don’t understand why any of this is so serious”
“You have to understand the procedure that the healers conducted was one to temporarily tie to life forces together so one can feed off the energy and life of the other. Apparently, the elders used it to saved their loved ones after the First war but it was stopped because some started using it for the power it brought them and their partner. But even then it was only temporary only lasting a few days or so.” Dalamis explained further.
“Ours doesn’t seem to be temporary Kaydence, we both have changed, I have gold highlights in my hair now and you, well you have purple tints to your wings” he admitted in a hushed tone.
Looking at his feathers he realised he was speaking the truth, amongst the light even the shade of brown was shimmery with a deep purple tint, he couldn’t say he hated it but it confused him and he’d be lying if he said it didn’t scare him too.
“I see” Kaydence muttered
“So we’re looking for a solution right?” he said
“Yes but not right now, we must say farewell to the King and his companion” Dalamis answered
“You’re going to need all the help you can get with looking through all of these books therefore I will nominate Halda to stay on my behalf.” Solon announced
From the look on Halda’s face, it hadn’t been a topic they’d discussed prior to the meeting and Kaydence hadn’t ever seen a more horrified look in his life, it was mildly amusing not that he’d admit it out loud in front of the King and Halda himself.
“My King I think they can handle it on their own, I should accompany you back I am the captain of the guard afterall” he tries reasoning desperately.
“I need you here Halda to keep me informed on what’s happening, Can you do that for me?”
“If it’s an order then I must comply my King, you know that” he said
“I do indeed Halda, you are my most loyal guard and trusted friend, I entrust you and only you with this task”
“Then I shall stay on your command” he said giving a slight bow.
“It’s decided then.” he concluded turning to Dalamis “Have one of your men take me to my men and we will be off”
“Of course” Dalamis said giving an elegant nod and leading him out of the room.
Halda left almost instantly after to where Kaydence didn’t pay any care to.
“I’m sorry Kaydence” Mayfel said
“You have nothing to be sorry for Mayfel, no one knew this would happen and it was your life on the line I don’t regret them doing anything” he said
“It’s just I know you had plans for after all this ended and now you’re stuck with me again until we can figure out a way to break this”
“Well look at the bright side, you’re stuck with me too, besides I can think of much worse people to be tied to” he consoled, it earned a small smile from Mayfel which seemed to fill his chest with pride.
“I’m going to get some rest but maybe we can sit and talk later on” he said, his purple eyes wide despite his statement of needing rest.
“Okay well I’m going to snoop around so I’ll be close if you need anything”
“Thank you” he said slowly making his way out.
Kaydence peered down at his bandaged chest and his wings, his mind in an impossibly tangled state.
Carelessly for the first time in months, he carried himself around the structure, he found himself in the main hall where the bowls of fire were still lit and the granite floors looked impressively polished still.
Memories of before swarmed softly around him with each step he took, admittedly not all of them good memories but the ones like his and Dalamis’ sparring game where it felt like they’d known each other for years and for a time he felt like maybe that was what it felt like to be a child, a child that didn’t have to be trained seriously for combat but one that could simply play around.
Stepping onto Heaven’s descent, the wooden platform he remembered all too well and not in a good way either.
With careful steps, he sauntered over to the edge stopping as his toes neared the edge.
The breeze slipped through his feathers, hair windswept and longer than usual allowing the wind more grip on it.
Looking below he didn’t feel scared, surprisingly.
The clouds were pure white and looked so weightless, it made him think what it must be like to glide among them, how free he’d feel to fly through them above the ground and people that had looked down on him all his life, he wondered what it would be like to let all his thoughts and stresses go and simply enjoy the quiet skies and breathtaking views Evangelis and Himiratia had to offer.
He took a seat on the wood letting his legs and bare feet dangle over the edge, staring out at the setting sun was pure bliss, it took him back to the night in the wilderness he’d spent with Mayfel, they seemed so long ago now but still vivid in his mind.
Delicate and calculated brushstrokes of orange, dusty pink and golden yellows painted the sky on a backdrop of pastel baby-blue.
It was a magnificent sight, to say the least, one he could definitely get used to seeing.
“Do you mind if I join?”
“I think it’ll be more enjoyable with someone else to talk to” Kaydence replied looking up to Dalamis who didn’t take much persuading to stay.
Eyes on the sunset he caught Dalamis’ figure take a seat next to him out the corner of his eyes.
“It’s beautiful isn’t it?” he said
“More than beautiful”
“Mother and I used to sit here like this when I was younger” Dalamis said softly
“You remember her?” Kaydence asking surprised.
“Not a lot but I remember small things like sitting with her watching the sunsets and her reading stories to me in the library” he said fondly parting his gaze from the sunset to look Kaydence in the eyes.“I don’t know what you’ve heard about mother but she was a kind-hearted woman who wanted the best for both of us”
“Well I never knew I had a brother but from what Solon told me, she took me to Bregan in fear of father harming me but she died on the way back here, I’m guessing she was on her way to get you” he said
“That’d make sense, getting you out would’ve been easier. You were only young when his madness began and by then he already favoured me because I am their firstborn it would have been harder for her to get me out without him noticing.” Dalamis explained
“I might not have known her but the fact she was willing to leave father to save us both shows the kind of woman she was, she even gave her life for it.” Kaydence said sympathetically.
“Leaving father wasn’t the hard part for her, they fought a lot, I remember it started off as small disagreements about pointless things. Eventually, they escalated into full-on fights, I think mother was ready to leave him in her heart I don’t think she was ever truly settled with him. She always seemed like a part of her was missing, in some far off place she couldn’t reach but I knew she tried to hide it from me” He explained sadly.
“Bregan, he was her first love. Solon told me that they fell in love and he was ready to settle down but she met father at a market and from there the rest Is history. I think she still loved him in some way”
“When you were born many looked to father and mother with distaste, we are supposed to hold the image of the fairest of all fae, I don’t know if you know of our eyes and why we have the colours that we do” Dalamis began.
“Solon told me of the status they represent for the families of a member of the high council.”
“He was right to tell you that, however, I found out a little after mother failed to return, that children of the high council will always take the eye colour of that member of the high council when they ascend to the position and their eyes change too, ours should have been completely gold like fathers.” he mumbled
“So why are we different from others?” Kaydence asked curiously.
“According to one of the elder book, it’s a sign of dysfunction. If parents are truly bound to one another with whole hearts and souls then our eye colours will be whole, representing the unity of the family”
“So what you’re saying is that mother and father didn’t love one another completely?”
“Yes and from what you say, Bregan is to blame for out split colours. We took on mothers blue and fathers gold” he said
“But then why did I have the Terra Clan birthmark all those years while you have the Aer Clan?”
“I always took more after father you obviously took more after mother” he said
“A part of me always hoped that Bregan was my real father, I knew obviously it wasn’t so but I hoped”
“We all hope for things, one thing I know you hoped for was the survival of your village and I’m happy to tell you that there were survivors. Because of you, they lived” Dalamis said
“Where are they? How many?”
“They’ve been relocated into other villages of their choice. There was at east a dozen”
“Thank you” Kaydence sighed.
“You saved them, thank yourself and Bregan for giving them a chance”
“I want to thank you for saving Mayfel”
“He means a lot to you, I wouldn’t want you losing someone so close” he said
“We all lose people close to us eventually”
“Very true little brother. Very true” he sighed
* * *
“You had all of that manpower and all of those weapons and you still lost?” he boomed slamming his fist down onto the oak table.
“Yes sir, but we were really outnumbered, they had bird people helping them” Horatio stammered.
“I can’t believe you, I give you one task and that is to take down Crestfold and Braylen with it and you couldn’t even do that!”
“Sorry boss, we’ll try harder next time”
“You’re lucky that you’re such a good shot Horatio or I’d replace you for your incompetence. Do we know anything of Braylen’s son?” he asked leaning back in his seat.
“No he was gone before we got there I think Braylen got him out long before everything went down” he said plucking up a bit of courage.
“So you couldn’t even kill her snivelling offspring either you really are a disappointment.” he sighed “What of Kaydence?”
“He’s with his brother like you planned boss, they took him back to Evangelis. But he had this weird thing on his chest boss I don’t know what it was”
“What weird thing Horatio? Don’t make me beat it out of you” he growled
“A symbol of some kind, a bit like the one on your chest but different, it was a triangle a circle and some lines like this” he explained while drawing it roughly onto a corner of a page on the desk.
“Interesting, Horatio you have saved yourself a little longer to live now get out of my sight before I finish you where you stand” he grumbled which sent Horatio scampering out the door like a dog with its tail between its legs.
Staring out the window at the bustling city streets of New Montem he planned his next moves.
“You’ll get what’s coming for you very soon, Kaydence Harkhallow”.
And as the last brown and withered petal of a once yellow rose fell to the wood of the bookcase so ended their journey, only for a new one to begin.
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