Chapter Six: Who Can You Trust?
“Mayfel... Mayfel get up” Kaydence demanded his patience worn thin with the excessive amount of times he’d called the damned name and had no response, he had resorted to beating him awake with a pillow but even that had little impact on the comatose man.
It didn’t help that his wings felt achy and bruised from the still healing stitches and almost healed but strained fractures just magnifying his temper making him direct the pain verbally at whatever pushed his emotions over the edge.
Mayfel’s muffled voice refused with a direct “No” suppressed by the soft pillows his face was currently squashed into.
“Mayfel!” Kaydence called out again delivering another blow to his head with the pillow causing a thud to flatly be heard followed by the grumbling and incoherent words. “You have ten seconds to be off that bed”.
“Or what?” Mayfel sassed back still in a half-conscious and half-unconscious state.
Kaydence didn’t bother explaining and instead took hold of Mayfel’s foot and ankle that was on view from beneath the covers and dragged his entire body off the bed making him land on the wooden floor-boards and not elegantly in the slightest, most definitely not landing softly either but it certainly did the job in waking him up.
Arms and legs flailed around as well as tangling with sheets that tumble down and splaying over him.
After that it was still, nothing moved under the sheets and Kaydence thought he’d actually killed him until he heard loud grumbles almost like a growl-reminding him all too much of the hound in his nightmare- and some insincere words mumbled as his fingers clawed at the sheets that soon slipped gracefully and fell from over his head revealing a furious brunet with burning Indigo eyes.
“Morning grumpy here eat this, then get ready we need to plan” he spoke hoping it would prolong the time before the outburst long enough for it to simmer down.
The death-glare Mayfel wore wavered on seeing the pastry Kaydence was offering him and anyone would be stupid in his eyes to pass up the deliciously glazed treat.
He eyed Kaydence, the glorious buttery sensation playing along his taste buds as Kaydence rummaged through the slowly tarnishing backpack: thread fraying and tiny holes visible.
Acuere laying by his side, it’s blade shimmering in the early gaze of the morning, he didn’t fail to notice the yellow rose he’d gifted to him, laying on the shelf with dusty and discarded books.
It’s petals slightly wrinkled with thirst and age, as well as the colour, being paler almost ill-looking, it’s presence disturbed the thick coating of dust on the shelf and definitely stood out amongst the deary architecture that did not match the homely feel downstairs.
As he nibbled at the flaky pastry he continued to watch Kaydences movements, his curiosity peaked with the question of what he was looking for before a question passed through his mind.
“Where did you get this from?”
“Get what?” Kaydence questioned, still searching through his bag for the unknown, removing a few things now and again.
“The pastry and come to think about it, how did you pay for this room? Did you use my money?”
“Nope I didn’t use your money I used mine” he answered nonchalantly
For a minute Mayfel thought nothing of it until he remembered something “Yours? But you don’t have any” this should have been the least of his worries for the time being- considering it would be a vital part in the plan to buy two horses and cross the bridge to Nirvariten- and yet the not knowing was nagging at the back of his mind.
“Well, I do now obviously since I bought you breakfast” Kaydence replied, still not wavering from the task of finding something that didn’t seem to be in his bag.
“Kaydence where did you get the money from? Wait. No, you didn’t”
“I didn’t what?” he repeated, looking up to meet his eyes.
“You stole off people?”
“Well we needed somewhere to stay, you were off in dreamland and besides your money wouldn’t last forever and the trip to Nirvariten won’t be cheap” he spoke honestly.
“So you stole from people” Mayfel spoke flabbergasted
“Not like they’ll miss it they have plenty of it here” his voice was sharp and almost fed up.
Taken aback Mayfel asked “What’s gotten into you? You seemed so happy to be here before and now you seem like it’s the worst place to be” while finishing up the breakfast.
“Yeah well, not everything is as it seems. This place has always been described as the top of our country, a beautiful safe haven with its kind people and amazing scenery and for a while it was true” he began explaining as he shifted and let his weight fall back against the wall, his fingers clasped around the hilt of Acuere as his other hand held the cool steel blade against his palm. “That was until you peel back the facade this place holds up, it’s a lot darker here, people judge you hard, the council is in league with the mortals who killed the only family I ever knew and destroyed my home and murdered my people. This place they tell us about Is nothing but a story, a story full of lies” he finalised as he drove the tip of the blade into the wooden floor and turned it chipping and splintering the surrounding surface.
“Well someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed” Mayfel mumbled sassily as he removed himself from the floor and onto the bed.
“Enough chit chat we need a plan to get to the King and Queen as fast as possible and right now we’re wasting time with pointless conversation” Kaydence grunted, following Mayfel’s lead and standing up gathering everything strewn across the floor into his bag again and placing it beside Mayfel on the bed, anger written across his face, as well as fear, stress, worry and calculation, every cog, was turning.
Rolling his eyes, Mayfel grabbed the diminishing rose from the dust- layered shelf leaving particles to soar through the surrounding air and cascading to the floor, he held the thornless stem rather aggressively and pointed it towards Kaydences standing figure even more so.
“Do you remember what this means? Do you remember what I said when I gave it to you?” his voice rose up sternly
With a sigh Kaydence answered “Happiness and friendship?” he retorted
“Yes and right now this rose is meaning less and less, you don’t seem happy and if you carry on being so dramatic and gloomy then how am I supposed to help you on this mission when you can’t think clearly and are always going to look on the bad side and count the half-empty glasses?” the indigo eyed boy exclaimed, the rose shaking in his tight grasp, a petal falling loose and drifting to the ground catching Kaydences eyes.
Kaydence fell silent, partially in disbelief but mostly just overwhelmed with guilt and self-awareness.
It was true he had woken up in a bad mood but that was because of the images his mind decided to torture him with as he slept giving him no rest from the horrors.
But even with that being said he had no right taking out all his emotions on Mayfel when he himself had not long woken up and had only been a friend to him through everything which was more than he’d had even back in his own village, save for when he was younger.
Mayfel had been a good companion so far and he had shown no reason for Kaydence to start doubting his ability or loyalty let alone their developing friendship no matter what mood he was in.
“You’re right Mayfel I’m sorry” he released a breathy sigh and as gently as he could took the rose from Mayfel and gazed at it’s soft and weak petals, it felt heavier in his hand than it had the previous day but it still held the significant meaning that was now etched into his memory.
“They betrayed our trust, everyone’s in fact I get it. But you’re right about us needing a plan, it’s our job now to sort out this mess so we can’t be getting distracted. Now let’s stop the pointless arguing and actually start planning or we’ll bed too late”
“Fine” Kaydence huffed, planting himself at the end of the bed.
“Oh stop it you child” he retorted, sitting at the opposite end and opening up his own rucksack, collecting a pencil and a pad of paper bound in smooth, brown leather.
“You brought a diary with you”
“It’s not a diary, it’s a journal. There’s a difference” Mayfel spoke matter of factly while proceeding to open said journal locating a blank page for them to jot down their plan or at least things that they would need.
“Sure it is, so any ideas for these schemes that you want to contribute?”
“I thought you had a plan already or at least part of one”
“Well, we discussed it briefly last night. What was I meant to do, dream up a plan or stay awake and do it?”
Stubbornly Mayfel flatly said “Yes”
“Well this is our mission last time I checked not mine so we work this out together”
“Fine okay, well how about we gather supplies like food and things that will be useful like, I don’t know, rope maybe”
“There’s no point gathering supplies yet if we don’t have a plan we don’t know how long it will be before we can leave here and the food could go off by then. And rope what are we going to need a rope for?”
“I don’t know it just seemed like a good thing to have and it was only an example”
Kaydence shook his head and continued his train of thought, there were a million things that could go wrong in only a short amount of time not even counting the countless possibilities of death and the small, slim chance of them actually succeeding.
But he had to keep a positive mind or they wouldn’t even get to Nirvariten to start with and there would be no hope of getting to the King and Queen from their current position.
But then again a little negative thinking could do the trick in creating a foolproof plan, if they expect everything to go wrong then they’d have back-up plans.
A healthy balance of the two is what they needed.
And a healthy balance is what they had, himself the gloomy and negative thinking and Mayfel the light-hearted and optimistic.
It could work, but they still needed a plan.
“How about this: we find two hoses here, they’ll probably have some at the market, and we travel on them across the bridge to Nirvariten, I can have my friend meet us there and we can stay at her place while we set up the next part of the plan. We get on the ship that delivers strictly to the king and queen, we would have to lie and fake that we have an arranged and approved meeting with them. You could pass for the chief of a village.” Mayfel trailed off, the nib of his pencil repeatedly tapping at the page leaving behind the dull, grey remnants of the lead.
“I don’t know if that was a compliment or you calling me old. Besides, that plans great and all but what if your friend doesn’t help us, no offence but how do we know she’s not sided with the mortals”
“I know her, she wouldn’t do that, she hates them as much as I do. We can trust her.”
“Okay so say she does help us there’s still the thing of getting to the King and Queen, there’s one ship so one chance and we can’t miss it, we don’t have time to. Even if the captain buys the lie we sell him we will have to deal with guards the other side who aren’t as easily fooled then there’s Solon and Florenta themselves” he added wanting to get all the points in the open, he watched as Mayfel’s hand scribbled the pencil across the page taking note of everything, all the key points they would need to take into account.
For hours it continued, some heated arguments breaking out between them but it all slotted into the planning of the mission.
Mayfel had taken note of everything in case they were to forget or simply need to re-establish the steps if one went wrong and it was steered off course.
Their planning session had come to a close when Mayfel had fallen asleep as Kaydence ranted and paced around the room.
The thudding of Kaydences bare feet and Mayfel’s consistent snoring seemed to be the only sound of life in the tavern at that point other than light chatter from a room further down the hallway.
He didn’t think planning the whole ordeal would be quite this stressful, he knew there were a significant amount of risks involved as well as the difficulty of executing the plan but he hadn’t planned the arguments and bickering, that part just sort of happened.
As he paced back and forth he peered out the window, the streets were bustling as they would usually, everyone completely oblivious to the treason and the unforgivable alliance that sat in the fortress above them.
They weren’t aware of the lies the high council told them about protecting them and serving the King and Queen, but he was.
All the weight he was bearing on his shoulders felt heavier as he watched the innocent people go about their day none the wiser of the treachery, they were just like his village, none knew of the attack until it was forced upon them and if he didn’t complete this mission everyone in Crestfold, possibly even in Lirren would meet the same fate and who knows what the mortals and their new allies would do next.
They couldn’t waste time.
“Mayfel get up!” he yelled, startling the brunette.
His indigo eyes snapped open as his body jerked forward to sitting, frantically he looked around, his eyes skimming past Kaydence in both directions before coming to settle on him in a scowl, not in the slightest amused with being woken up from his nap.
“What now? Can I not get some sleep?”
“I need you to write that letter to your friend and get it sent pronto” was all he said, ignoring the questions Mayfel had asked, his mind completely filled with the mission and nothing more, he didn’t even acknowledge the growling of his stomach or the weakness and lack of energy his body possessed.
His mind was racing too fast for any other thought to take the lead no matter how important it was for his own health.
“Fine but after I’m having a nap since you woke me up so early and you will not wake me up again” Mayfel huffed drawing out the book and pencil once again and getting to work on the letter trying to be as informative yet vague as he could as to not give away the big plan, he may or may not have added a few white lies which he’d have to brief Kaydence on later when he wasn’t in such a grumpy mood but he didn’t know how long that would be.
“Kaydence would you please stop pacing? I’m trying to do this letter for you but you’re distracting me right now, just go and buy some food or something or just have a walk. But for the love of everything peaceful stop pacing” he complained as he carried on scribbling out his assigned task, keeping a half watchful eye on Kaydence as he stopped his restless pace.
Kaydence instead filled the time with balling his hands into fists at his sides before releasing them and repeating the pattern in a rhythmic manner, breaking the tempo now and again with a shake of the hands like crazed butterflies fluttering at his sides before he began the rhythm again.
“Kaydence honestly you need to eat something, go and get some food I can’t have you dying or passing out, you’re no use to anyone if you can’t even stand up”
With an agitated sigh, Kaydence turned to him and gave in to his suggestions “You know what fine if it’ll stop you complaining and get you off my case I’ll go eat, you on the other hand finish that letter and get to a posting agent to send it. The sooner the better” with that said Kaydence had shrugged on his jacket, or rather Mayfel’s that he’d claimed, and walked out closing the door silently behind him.
Folding the rough textured papers and sealing them with wax from a candle in the room he managed to light, Mayfel stood up making sure he had his money pouch and headed out his room, down the dusty hallway and down the creaky, dark- wooden staircase with it’s twisting bannister decorated with small leaf engravings he hadn’t noticed the night before.
With a few stairs to which he noticed but paid no attention to he carried on out of the door into the fresh and rejuvenating air.
The slight hint of pastries and other freshly prepared and baked goods lined the air, as well as the subtle flare of ‘The Lavender Pot’ mixed with a whole bunch of other aromas that he couldn’t place.
He felt a new energy surge through him, and with a new skip in his step, he started his jolly saunter to the posting agent that he had yet to locate, not that he was complaining as it meant he could take in more of the architecture and surrounding views their capital offered.
Yes, they were currently being betrayed but who was he to deny his eyes of the wonders it held and if their plan failed it might be his only time to admire it and commit it to memory if everything went downhill.
Occasionally he would stop to peer through windows of the many shops offering a wide range of products or to look at the thriving pasture fields and bustling markets, his energetic nature was rolling in all of the things to look at and possibly experience.
A few times he’d managed to start up a conversation with a local, or get complimented by boisterous children for his bright purple eyes that held a gleam of excitement, his hair entwined with the weak stems of daisies that the children had decorated his locks with.
It only encouraged his hyperactivity more when the little fae’s laughed and giggled as they messed around and played, at heart, he still had a childish demeanour that never got to show all too much.
As a child, the death of his mother and the seemingly never-ending mourning his father showed meant he had to grow up faster than he would have liked, he missed out on much of his childhood since as soon as he was tall enough to reach the counter-tops his father deemed him ready to care for his own well being as he himself took to being cared for by the usual adult beverages.
Young Mayfel didn’t understand but didn’t want to anger the man, and it only carried on until Mayfel managed to gather enough money, from selling his catches from hunts at the market as well as his job of harvesting crops on the side, to buy the small cottage he now called home.
As the children departed, running down the streets playing a game of tag with their small screeches and giggles trailing behind in the wind, the energy in Mayfel calmed.
At least it did before a voice he didn’t expect and didn’t particularly want to hear came from behind him.
“Nice to see you again Mayfel, would you be up to join me for lunch? You did promise me after all”