The Price of Vengeance

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Dark History

Offering her a hand he tossed her atop her horse. Opening her mouth with a rebuttal she was too late.

Turning he headed to Onyx and mounted without another word. But he veered the mount to stroll behind them. Close enough he could eavesdrop on Nim’s conversations with his inhuman hearing.

Let’s see what she has to say now.

Nim waited until Lonnix somehow mustered his way up onto the mare, sweat marking his brow as he breathed raggedly. Dangling over the horse’s mane.

Unsure if a heart attack was imminent, Nim reluctantly guided her nag closer. “Are you well?”

Not in the least. Disseus eyed the chubby fellow. Aware this was often how he sounded after climbing atop his mount.

“No.” Lonnix huffed. “No. I am fat.” He put his cheek to his horse and wheezed until managing to catch his breath.

Smile teasing her lips, Nim gave the back of his head a light reassuring pat.

As if he’s a child recovering from some tiny wound. Disseus restrained himself from snorting at her motherly reaction.

When finally, Lonnix straightened, she nodded toward Disseus. “Is he always so pleasant?”

Disseus concentrated on staring forward and pretending he couldn’t hear them from so far behind.

Lonnix scoffed. Peering over his shoulder. “Only around you. Generally, he is the embodiment of good humor. What did you do to him?”

I am good natured.

She sucked in her cheeks and cast Disseus a furtive glance before murmuring under her breath. “Hurt him, I think.”

“Oh…” Lonnix said. “He’ll likely never forgive you then.”

No. Disseus thought. Indeed I won’t.

“That had become clear to me.”

“Then why do you ask for his help now?” Lonnix asked impulsively. Still panting as he attempted to gather his breath.

She was quiet a long moment, before sighing heavily. “Because I’ve wronged my son enough. And now I’ll do whatever it takes to not abandon him again.”

Again? Why’d she do it to begin with?

Lonnix gave her a thoughtful look.

Probably wondering the same thing I am.

“This is no ploy for him?” He gestured to Disseus.

“No.” She shook her head. “No ploy. I need him. No one else can cut through Battling like him.” She paused. Lips tightening as she clearly hated admitting this truth.

So that is the real reason, indeed. He didn’t like to consider why that knowledge pierced him so deeply. He gathered that familiar anger like a cloak around him as he rode up past them to take the lead on the dangerous road.

We’re entering deeper woods.

“I’ve fought their army and come out the loser more than once.” It was hard for Nim to admit the cold truth.

Disseus caught her words as he rode by.

“I take it you’re a warrior of some note.” Lonnix commented to assuage the wound to her pride at her admonition.

Yes. Disseus remembered. His lips twitching at the mere thought. She was certainly that.

She lifted her chin. “I am Nealinim, The Missing Warrior, the greatest Guardian among my people.”

Lonnix’s brows snapped together. “Then what the hell is he?”

Fair question. Disseus had to give his friend that.

Lon was nothing if not ever clever.

“Not one of my kind.” She said slowly. “He is what kills us, when we’re not as we should be.”

To put it lightly. Disseus snorted to himself.

Lonnix shook his head in confusion before asking in a high voice. “What?”

Seeing her eyeing him warily, Lon added. “I know what he is. So, I’m certain I know what you are.”

Unlikely. Disseus noted. I’ve not explained the variations of fey to you, Old Friend.

“Define more.” She ordered.

She wants to know how much he knows.

“Fey. From Enuchte.”

She shot Disseus’s back a quick look. “He told you that?”

“I am unique.” Lonnix said proudly.

“Do you know about the kinds of Fey in Enuchte?”

“I understand what a Battling is. In Ardae they’re considered demons or some sort of Witches but in your world…”

“They are twisted fey.” She finished.

Lonnix nodded.

Nodding in acknowledgement of his understanding, she said. “I am a Benu Guard. Or used to be.”

Used to be?

Lon frowned.

“There’s a few which guard Enuchte, the fey land, from Battlings or demons, whichever you’d define them as.”

Lonnix nodded, though his confusion was still written over his face.

“So, then what is he?” He asked again.

Something else.

Nim sighed, gnawing her lip. “He’s called a Harbinger in your tongue.”

Disseus shot her a sharp look. Shocked she’d confide that to Lonnix.

“He’s dangerous even for your kind than?” Lon guessed.

She gave a cold laugh. “No. He’s what kills the dangerous ones.”

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