Chapter 9: "I will find you!"
“I shall either find a way or make one.” - Hannibal
Alix groans, her head throbbing as she wakes from darkness, only groggily realizing she is tied up, and being pulled into a small cell. She vaguely senses the door closing, and keys rattling as she drifts into darkness again.
The man shuts the door as he steps into the building behind Rea. Several people are gathered in the room.
“What kind of halfwit have you dragged in this time?” one rough looking woman asks loudly.
“Oi, treat our guest better!” the man behind Rea exclaims.
Rea shakes her head, “It’s fine. So, where is Alix and how do I get to her?”
Before anyone can answer, someone walks in from the back room, part of his cheek red and slightly swollen. “Aha!” exclaims the man behind Rea. “This is my twin brother, Ralph.”
Ralph scowls, “Kaden, I’m assuming you’ve done your part?”
“Well hi,” Rea interrupts, “But I need to find Alix before something happens to her!”
“Don’t worry dearie, Ralph went to check on her. She is fine.”
“You know where she is? Can I go to her now?”
They shake their heads in unison. “No. Bad idea,” Ralph says.
“Why? What’s wrong?”
“She’s… injured.” Ralph says finally. “She would hate for you to see her in such a state. She requested you wait herself.”
“But don’t worry, you’ll see her soon.”
Exasperated, Rea draws her throwing knife, “Lead me to her or else.”
The other occupants of the room burst into laughter.
“Or else? You couldn’t possibly hope to harm any of us.”
Rea steps up to Ralph and holds the knife to his throat, “Tell me where she is.”
“Puny girl threatens us with a puny knife!” they laugh. Two other men step behind her and grab her arms, pulling her away from Ralph. “Little girls like you shouldn’t play with knives,” he scolds, shaking his head. Kaden takes the knife from her hand. Rea pulls, and rips free of the two men’s grasp. She runs to the door, throwing it open and running into the streets.
No one bothers to chase after her. “We know you’ll be back!” Kaden calls after her, “If you ever want to see your blasted mentor again!”
Rea spends that night lost in the alleyways. She had never felt so alone and friendless since she had been orphaned. Finally, exhausted and her shoulder hurting her, she curls up in a dark alley and cries until sleep comes.
Alix sits up, her head throbbing and wrists and ankles red from the rope binding her. She looks up as the door bangs open, and in walks a man with a knife. Alix’s eyes widen when she realizes it’s Rea’s.
“We didn’t need her anymore,” is all he says, showing her the knife.
“What? I- I don’t understand.”
The man doesn’t respond, just sheaths the knife.
“No. You are going to let me go, and I am going to find my apprentice,” Alix growls, trying to stand, but rather unsuccessfully. “You better not have harmed her or I will hunt you all down one by one.”
The man laughs, “That’s what you think, but it’ll never happen.” He leaves, and Alix is alone.
She pulls against the ropes binding her, but to no avail. Unfortunately, as Alix is struggling to get free, Ralph steps in. “Trying to get away girlie? It won’t work. There is no escape. Not from here, not from us.”
“I’m of no use to you. There is no point to this!” Alix spits.
“That’s not true, and you know it,” he states.
“Then what do you need me for?” Alix hisses, very angry.
“I’m not going to tell you,” he taunts.
“Yes. you. ARE!” Alix snarls, lurching towards Ralph. He smoothly steps out of the way, and Alix lands heavily on the floor.
“No, I don’t think I will,” Ralph smirks, leaving Alix alone once more.
Rea wakes to find that it had rained, and she is drenched and muddy. She stands, rubbing her shoulder. She decides to find the harbor in hopes of backtracking to the inn where she and Alix had been staying. A small light of hope flickers in her chest. “Maybe she’s there, waiting for me to return. Maybe those horrible men were lying,” she mutters, trying to convince herself that it’s true.
“Get the ranger. We’re leaving.”
Alix is pulled from the cell, and her ankles unbound, with a guard on either side of her. “Walk,” one growls, the point of a knife pressed into her back. They leave, clearly heading for the harbor. They walk silently through the backstreets of the city until they reach the harbor. Alix is pushed along, her captors unrelenting, not giving her the opportunity to escape. They board a ship, and Alix hears a familiar voice.
Rea barely reaches the harbor when she sees Alix boarding the ship and is frozen in shock, horrified. She feels a scream welling up inside of her, and she finally lets it out. “ALIX!” She runs forward to the ship, but there is still a great distance to cover before she reaches the boat.
Alix turns. “Rea?” The ship lurches as it pulls away from shore, and she stumbles towards the bulwarks of the ship.
“Alix! I’ll come for you!”
Alix feels hope swell in her chest, “Get help! Don’t do it alone-” Someone clamps their hand over her mouth, cutting her off.
“I won’t! I will find you!” Rea calls, the ship now much farther away. “I need to find Selethen,” she says to herself, the slightest bit more hopeful now that she had seen Alix alive and for the most part, unharmed. Rea searches all day for the tall figure she had only recently met, but to no avail.
Gilan leans against the mast of the ship, watching the official that would be signing the treaty talk to two of the crewmembers. “And you say we will get there about noon?”
One of the crewmembers nods. “Yes. Just a few more hours.”
Gilan nods, pleased to have left the paperwork and castle behind to travel to Arrida. He walks to the prow of the boat, looking out at the seemingly endless sea.
Later, the treaty delegation is walking onshore, causing heads to turn to look at the officials. Gilan searches the harbor for the pair of familiar faces he knew would be here, disappointed when he doesn’t see them.
“Didn’t Alix say she would meet up here?” he questions the delegate beside him. When his question is met with a nod, Gilan shrugs. “Probably waiting with Selethen.”
Rea is wandering back to the harbor, hoping to find some clues as to where Alix went, when she sees a familiar green-grey mottled cloak. “Gilan!” she runs, but is stopped by the official’s guards. “Gilan!” she calls again desperately.
Gilan turns, recognising the voice. “Rea?” The guards let her through, and she runs to Gilan, sobbing with relief at seeing a familiar face.
“Oh, Gilan… Alix… the men… the dart… alley… unconscious... gone… ship,” she sobs.
“Its okay, don’t try to explain yet,” he says gently, returning her embrace. “Come with us. You can get cleaned up and then you can explain,” he says, noting Rea’s dirty appearance. Rea nods, sniffing, and walks with him.