Memories, Firelight, and Tension
Much love to the precious souls who waited for me to update this thing. It's taken almost two months to go back and edit the whole story (don't worry, no major plot changes, but there are a lot of little ones that I added/replaced, and almost two years to actually add the new chapter.
Life took quite a few turns and twists that prevented me from getting my head in the game and working on this fic, but don't worry, I'm back from my hiatus now FOR GOOD! :) Enjoy!
Xen stood with his hand propped against the cherry oak table as he carefully flipped the next page in the massive, ancient spellbook. Half of it's pages were torn up and beginning to rot, but the words pressed in ink held true against the curse of time. He turned the book around, showing the specific page he'd spent days to find to the rest of the group sitting before him.
"This is it." He pointed to a small scripted paragraph at the bottom of the page, nearly hidden.
"So? That's a simple mind spell, it does nothing but allow one to explore early memories quickly." Cahir shrugged, puzzled.
"That's exactly what we need. If I can find Luna's mother's spell," he glanced pointedly at her. "then we can possibly find a way to understand it, perhaps even reverse it." He theorized, he smiled at the light of hope entering Luna's eyes. Her heart warmed at the sight of his passion for their new found goal. One that she would have to remind him later that came second, however, to what they had set out to do.
"And do you have any experience on exploring minds, Xen?" Cahir grilled him condescendingly. Xen appeared taken back for an instant before his expression was masked by indifference. "Yes, as a matter of fact, I do." He asserted, standing up straight with a slight lift of his chin.
Cahir raised his eyebrows. "It's good to know you did taught yourself something other than stealing while you were away." Cahir chortled lightly to himself.
Luna saw Xen take a quick inhale of breath, keeping his annoyance well concealed. He turned to Luna, taking a step towards her.
"I can go back to your memories as a newborn and try to see if the spe-" Luna jumped as he was cut off by a quick but loud rap on the thick wooden door. They all shot a curious but concerned glance to Cahir, who mirrored their expressions.
"Come in." He commanded. His manservant from before entered the room, surprised by the small group of people.
He cleared his throat, then handed him a rolled up parchment sealed by a glob of red wax. In the center was the seal of the mayor. Cahir nodded in approvement to the man, allowing him to leave.
He unrolled the parchment, the room's air growing tense with anticipation. He eyes scanned the page, and suddenly a worried look crossed his face. He laid the paper down, crossing his fingers.
"The mayor has received word of what is reported to now be four thieves who have collaborated in stealing two dragon eggs. They were spotted in traveling garb by a hunter outside of the city, therefore a mandatory search will be taking place tonight, starting with the sundown. No one is exempt." He relayed the words. Luna looked fearfully to Misty, who'd been strangely quiet the whole time. The usual opinionated girl was deep in thought, her brows furrowed and hands grasping the edge of the chair handles. She looked up, addressing the group.
"We have an hour, maybe even two. If Luna's up to it, I say we try and go ahead to find the memory." Shock fluttered across everyone's faces. Opinionated she was, but daring she was not. Cahir opened his mouth, fully intending on adding his assessment, but Misty continued. "Once we leave here, we'll be out in the wild again. In mind searching you need a quiet, safe environment in case something goes wrong, so that both of the minds involved will be safe." She stated, her confidence in speaking growing. "The closer we get to the border, the more bandits and wild mercenaries there are, not to mention animals ten times bigger than horses. And don't even forget about our new bounty that's been added to all of our heads." She exhaled finally.
Tarack nodded. "I agree. Luna, I take it you are fine with Xen searching your mind?" He asked.
Luna stopped for a moment, a few thoughts of worry flashing in her head.
"For goodness grief, of course she's fine with it! It's a simple mind search of Luna as a squealing baby, not marriage vows!" Misty settled, crossing her arms. Luna forced a grateful smile, glad that Misty had taken the lead.
Xen grimaced. "Well then, let's get packed. Those guards certainly aren't waiting!"
Luna folded her new pairs of pants and shirts that Cahir had given them. She dreadfully need new ones, as the old pants were littered with holes from months of riding and fighting. She held up her new cloak, admiring the soft, fuzzy wool that aligned the neck. She looked over to Misty, who has trying on a pair of new leather boots, making sure they fit before packing them in with the rest of her things.
Misty turned her head, smiling fondly at Luna. "You're worried about it, aren't you?" She asked, letting her hands fall to her sides.
Luna set the cloak down, the sat on the bed opposite to Misty. Her thoughts had been muddled the whole day, going from carefree to in a hurry was not something she enjoyed, considering the circumstances.
"I'm sure you know what I'm worried about." Luna mumbled, folding her arms over her chest. A sly smile sneaked onto Misty's face. "I thought so. Well, now would be a good time to tell him, wouldn't it?" Misty leaned forward, prodding her question. Luna groaned and laid back against the woodframe of the bed.
"Feelings complicate things. I like where we are now, we're not fighting, we're not trying to kill each other, it's good!" She countered. Misty shook her head, laughing.
"So you'd rather just live with the tension? Tarack and I joke about the two of all the time!" She grinned, crossing her legs under her as she played with the tassels on a red satin pillow.
Luna was about to open her mouth when an alien presence entered her mind. It wasn't an elf or a human, but something entirely different. Her face and entire body froze in shock it slowly observed her emotions. Then she felt two hand shaking her shoulders, and it left. Her focus returned to her as she was met with Misty's scared face.
"What was that?" She asked, her hands still grasping Luna's shoulders. Luna's mouth was still wide open from shock. "I-It couldn't have b-been." she stuttered, slowly standing up and hobbling towards the small padded bag in the corner of the room. The closer she got, the more familiar the presence felt.
"I...I don't know." She lied, turning around quickly. "I'm going to go ahead and meet Xen. Do you mind keeping watch on the eggs?" She said quickly, wanting out of the room. Misty looked taken back and confused, but nodded.
Luna hurried as her footsteps echoed down the marble halls. It had been the dragon egg, no doubt. She had read about bonds being made with their carriers, but she had no idea what they truly were or how they developed. She noticed the orange haze of the sun, and quickened her steps.
She arrived at Xen's door, then knocked three times. She noticed small notches and holes, and a curiosity piqued.
After a few moments he answered, a look of surprise on his face. He opened the rest of the door, letting her in. She walked in slowly, taking in all of the old childhood trinkets he had. She saw old wooden swords and light fake armor made from old sheets, and old chest and his real weapons on shelves and racks. He walked around to her front, taking a chair with him and setting it by the bed.
"I've been reading up on searching that far back, and it'd be best for you if you'd lie down." He gestured to the bed. She nodded then sat down, the old sheets still soft to the touch. 'He must have truly grown up here.' She thought, noticing a child's paintings of dragons and knights around the walls. A faint smile played on her lips as he sat down next to her on the wooden chair aligned with the bed.
He followed her eyes to the paintings, then chuckled.
"I had quite the imagination as a child. I'd spend days holed up in that library of his with nothing but some food I'd stolen from the kitchen and a lantern before he'd have a servant crawl though one of the tunnels and fetch me out. He'd be livid by then of course, but after a few days he'd get over it and I'd go and do it again." His voice had a nostalgic ring to it. Luna smiled, remembering her old days working in the library with Silas. The old elf had only agreed to let her work there as long as she dedicated her time to it, and she did wholeheartedly.
"Now, what I'm going to to exactly is breeze though your memories. It'd be difficult to breeze through your memories, so I'm going to ease into them." He stated. He reached over, taking her hand in his.
"If you want to stop, then squeeze my hand." He urged. She nodded, her cheeks turning a slight pink.
He put his palm over her brow, then closed his eyes.
She felt a familiar presence at the end of her consciousness, poking at her mental guard. She let them vanish, like stones turning ashes. She inhaled quickly as she felt her mind retreat. She rarely let other people in her mind, excluding Misty. The girl had been her lifelong friend, and they'd used their mental powers since they were children to speak to each other in private, but having another personal altogether was beginning to get overwhelming.
'Luna, are you alright?' Xen asked her. She could feel the concern emanating. 'Yes'. She replied, not wanting to waste any time.
She saw the old library flash in front of her, and the strong feeling of sentiment. Her old apartment, her favorite pair of shoes, her first time meeting Misty, her very first sword, all memories passed through her mind, dug up like buried treasures. She felt Xen's amusement when her very first pranks, rather fond childhood memories, came into view. It was still incredibly strange to her, the sensation of another consciousness in her head. More memories spun by, of her time at the academy, the multiple failures, when she started going to the council, when she found the book about Alagaesia, and finally, it jumped to her mother's funeral. She felt her younger self in anguish, like the entire world has rotted away. Suddenly, it skipped to herself as a toddler. The bookshelf in their old home seemed as big as the sky, and she recognized in her meloncholy her mother, alive, sitting next to Rhys at a small wooden table. He was writing in a book, and appeared to be eight or nine. A door close to her right as an elf walked in, and her heart dropped at the sight of him.
Her father patted her on the head like a puppy, then walked into the kitchen, kissing Luna's mother on the cheek. She saw Rhys conceal a glare at him, and continue writing in his book. She saw so much of her father in Rhys now, but only in appearance. He had the same broad shoulders and sharp eyes, but they lacked the kindness Rhys possessed. It all felt so tranquil. The soft light was beaming down on the warm carpet she was sitting on, and all she could hear was the boiling of water on their stove and the sounds of birds singing. The air felt pure through her lungs and her eyes drooped as she felt herself growing tired.
But suddenly, she felt herself being pulled out of the memory by force. She felt her memories go back even further, getting more and more scattered and blurry. Then, Xen stopped. The memory they'd come across was pure white, as if it had a wall of it's own. He went forward, but a blinding white hot light flashed under both their eyelids. She felt Xen being thrown out of her mind by an unknown force as her eyes flew open, a gasp of pain escaping her lips.
Luna turned her head, only to see Xen cradling his head in his hands, hissing in pain. She quickly sat up, her head spinning from the pain still.
"Xen?" She asked, in fear. He looked up slowly, his brow clenched in pain. She rested her hand against his cheek. "I'm sorry, I didn't know!" She nurtured, helping him stand up.
"I saw it, Luna. I saw the spell!" he exclaimed, grasping her hands. She smiled, then wrapped her arms around his chest gleefully. She felt his cheek against the crown of her head as he returned her embrace. She looked up, now noticing the joyful glint in his eyes. On an act of impulse, she pressed her lips to his. She felt her breath hitch as they stayed frozen for a moment, then melted into each others arms.
His arm snaked around her waist, holding her affectionately as she wrapped her arms around his neck. She felt him cup her cheek, kissing her back. Her skin prickled against his hair, brushing her face lightly as she let his hand venture to her hip. The heat of the fireplace seemed to intensify around the dim lit room, the orange light bouncing off their skin. She smiled, his eyes still closed. She felt his breath on her lips, but a loud knock resounded though the room. They broke apart, as she was now aware of her heart pounding in her chest.
Xen gave her a blissful hint of a smile, then turned to the door, only to find a heavy breathing courier.
"The guards are here now! It's an ambush at the gates and the doors have been blocked! Cahir says to 'Take the merchant's route.' !"
Xen turned to Luna, then quickly grabbed his bag.
"Thank you. Tell him we are on our way to the teashop." He stated, still out of breath himself.
The courier nodded, then took off running.
Xen took Luna's hand, leading her to an old tapestry on the opposite side of the room.
"Xen, what is the Merchant's Rou-" She whispered, but he put a finger over her lips. He pulled it back to reveal a small wooden door disguised as a panel. He winced as it made a loud creak with opening, but gestured for to go inside.
The tunnel was dark and damp, but after a few magic words from Xen, they had a ball of floating light in front of them.
It had been nearly thirty minutes of walking, and Luna was sure they were out of the city by now.
"Are you sure you know where you're going?" She asked him, her face illuminated by the white light.
He grinned boyishly. "I used these all the time when I was a kid. My friends and I, the few I did have, would play and hide and seek down here. We'd spend hours making our own tunnels and adding new ones onto the old establishments. I know this system like the back of my hand."
He stopped, then pointed up. "See that? It's a storm cellar to those above, but to us, it's freedom." He explained, gesturing to a wooden door at the end. He walked forward, lifting the hatch.
It flew open, revealing nothing but a pointed sword, aimed right at his throat.
AW YEAH I'M BACK. :)
Anyways, I hope y'all enjoyed the new chapter, and I'll be back with a new one at least every month-two weeks now that I've outlined the rest of it! :D
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