Chapter Forty Two
It had been raining for days; forcing Keara and Sicily to take shelter at an Inn, in a small town called Laprel. Sicily had reserved and paid for a room, taking care to hide her true appearance. Though no one knew her, she thought it best not to draw any attention, good or bad. Keara stayed out of sight as she was known throughout the kingdom; and until she regained the people’s trust, she could not allow anyone to see her.
The horses were taken to the stables next to the Inn. Keara thought it might be a good place to wait until Sicily had gotten them a room.
Sicily closed and locked the door and opened a window. She removed the hood over her eyes and shrugged off her coat.
Keara climbed in through the open window, taking care not to draw any attention, closing it as she stepped inside.
‘All the rooms below were taken.’ Sicily informed.
‘That’s fine.’ Keara replied.
Keara took off her coat and hung it on the coat rack to dry.
‘How long do you think we’ll be here?’ Sicily asked.
‘I don’t know. Just as long as we need too.’
‘I just have to point out that our money won’t last forever.’
‘I have reserves.’
‘They won’t do us much good. I don’t believe anyone will allow you to access it as long as they think you’re the enemy.’
‘I will change my standing with the people, before we need it.’
Sicily nodded, ‘In the meantime, you want something to eat?’
‘I’ll be right back.’ Sicily said and headed for the door.
The Ravens took shifts watching over the royal brothers. They never let their guard down. They would not risk the chance of the demon attacking without them being aware of it.
Though Artemis did not enjoy being watched constantly and didn’t want the Ravens to feel obligated to be his personal bodyguard, he was thankful for their efforts. At least now he could sleep without fear of being taunted in his dreams.
Deryck continued his training with the Ravens. He decided that as long as he was under their watch and had nothing else to do, he might as well train, despite the constant rain.
It had been several days and the rain still hadn’t stopped. Sicily was sitting on the bed, reading to Keara from one of the books Zarra had given her, regarding the Drow history, while Keara had made herself comfortable in one of the chairs.
There came a knock on the door.
‘Who is it?’ Sicily asked, looking up from her book.
‘Housekeeping.’ a lady called from behind the door.
Keara quickly got up, grabbing her weapons and coat, heading for the window. She climbed down swiftly and smoothly as though it was nothing at all.
Sicily opened the door, having put on a jacket and pulled the hood over her eyes.
Keara still leaned against the wall, keeping the hood over her eyes. Her head bowed so no one could see her face. While she waited for Sicily to let her know when it was safe to go back to their room, she listened to some of the conversations passing by her.
Several of them were of her and how everyone felt she had betrayed them. Despite her being a Dark Elf, many people had trusted her. Some believed that she wasn’t in control of her actions; others believed that she was completely aware of what she was doing. Some even thought that it wasn’t really her; after all, most of them had never seen her in her transformed state. And though her brothers were not present during any of the rampages, most people believed that they were also involved.
Keara lifted her head slightly; tears filled her eyes. She had hurt so many people. She desperately hoped she could regain their trust.
She heard Sicily’s voice as a flutter on a breeze drifting to her ears. She looked around to make sure no one was watching before she scaled the wall and slipped in through the window.
Sharzak was growing impatient. The last message he had received from the demon in the castle, was only to announce that it had been discovered. And Keara had still not been found. His Shadows were everywhere, but none of them could find her. He could not understand how she could just disappear. He needed to regain control over her; if he couldn’t, he would have to kill her, for her existence could greatly affect his plans.
He would have to draw her out. He suspected she would attempt to regain the kingdom’s trust, so by sending the Shadows on a rampage, he thought she would surely reveal her whereabouts. She would not be able to defend herself and others against so many Shadows; or at least, that’s what he hoped.
Within one of the chambers in the Haunted Castle, he conjured up several spirits that he had locked away centuries ago. He had left them to fester and grow resentful, turning them evil and giving them a growing need to cause harm to others. He sent many of them out. Their deeds could be as normal as a common criminal, or as supernatural as Keara’s abilities. He didn’t know what they would do, and he didn’t care. He was only interested in drawing her out.
It was nearly midnight. Sicily had already fallen asleep, still sitting with a book in her hands. But Keara could not fall asleep. She was sitting by the window, watching the rain fall. The streets were quiet. No light came from the windows of the other buildings; the only sound to be heard, was the gentle tap-tap-tapping of the rain falling on the window pane.
She took a deep breath. She was growing restless. Sitting in this room with nothing to do, was driving her insane.
Sicily insisted that Keara remain hidden, but how could she help anyone if she had to keep hiding?
She sighed deeply, getting up and wrapping her coat around her shoulders and pulling the hood over her eyes. She opened the window and jumped out, landing softly despite the many puddles of water. She decided she needed to go for a walk, just to keep herself from growing crazy, so she left her sword in the room, though she still carried her daggers with her.
Keara turned down a few streets and allowed her senses to guide her. The fresh smell of rain filled her nostrils and she took a few deep breathes to fill her lungs with fresh, clean air.
Suddenly she stopped dead in her tracks. She could smell something foul, mixed in with the clean air. She saw movement around her, but it didn’t seem like much more than a breeze kicking up sand, only the sand had become mud with all the rain. She tried to follow where it was going, but it disappeared around a corner. So instead she tried to put it out of her mind and continued her walk, but the stench of fresh blood quickly drifted to her nostrils. Where was it coming from? She cocked her head, listening for any sounds. Quiet sobs; a girl, only a little younger than her. There were others with her. Someone continuously whispering, “Please, please don’t hurt us.”
Heavy footsteps on a wooden floor and the sound of someone rummaging through drawers and cupboards, though it didn’t sound like they were really looking for something, just keeping themselves busy. Someone gasping for air, the final breathes leaving the body.
She quietly went along, still listening, following the smell of blood in the air. She believed she found the house where the smell came from, but she couldn’t see inside as the curtains were drawn.
The people inside were in great distress; she could feel it. She needed to help them, but she couldn’t burst through the front door; it could be dangerous for the people inside.
She walked around the house, looking for a way in. She found a window that had been left open on the second floor. She quickly climbed up to the window, crouching on the ledge near it. She heard the irregular breathing of a shivering child. It was a little boy, hiding on the ledge, in the rain; frightened by her, but too cold to move.
‘It’s okay. It’s okay.’ she whispered, slowly approaching him, ‘Come inside.’
‘N-no. Th-they’ll find m-me.’ the boy stuttered.
‘They won’t find you.’ she said and reached out her hand, ‘Take my hand. I’ll protect you.’
At first he hesitated, but then reached out a shivering hand. She slowly lead him inside and covered him with a blanket from the bed. She lifted her hood just enough to reveal her deep purple eyes.
The boy was stunned, ‘You’re, Keara, aren’t you?’ he whispered.
‘Yes.’ was her only answer.
‘Please don’t hurt me.’ he begged.
‘I’m not going to hurt you.’ she whispered, ‘You’re safe now.’
‘But those men are down stairs.’
‘Everything’s gonna be okay.’ she whispered before turning and quietly heading towards the door. She turned to look at him, putting a finger to her lips, gesturing for the boy to remain quiet. He nodded nervously.
She crept down the stairs, stepping lightly to ensure she didn’t make a sound. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, she crouched down and pulled a dagger from her boot. She peered around the corner, seeing three huge men with several weapons standing around the room. One was rummaging through belongings, another was peeking through the curtains to ensure no one outside was aware of their presence. The last man was standing over several tied up people. Three girls, the oldest hugging the youngest; the other girl had pulled her knees to her chest and was crying softly. She was the one Keara had heard sobbing. The mother was holding a bleeding man in her arms; the father, trying to keep him from losing more blood by covering his stab-wound with a cloth. She was the one who had begged for their safety.
The man standing over them was growing impatient and hit the mother across the face.
Keara’s eyes were immediately inflamed.
The oldest daughter tried to stand up for her mother, but only received a fist in her eye for her courage. The man grabbed her arm and pulled her up.
‘Your family will serve the cause.’ the man said, his eyes constantly changing colour between black and red.
Keara knew that he was possessed, though his aura didn’t smell much cleaner than the spirit that possessed him; none of the intruders' did. But now she could no longer hear what was being said; her rage had taken over. It looked as though the man was going to slit the daughter’s throat, but she wouldn’t allow any more pain to befall this family. She knew what those men were doing there, it wasn’t a burglary.
She attacked, kicking the man hard in the middle of his face. He fell over like a tree, crashing into the floor and stayed there. Keara landed next to him, crouching. The stench of the evil spirit inhabiting his body grew stronger as it emerged and dissipated into nothingness.
She had now gotten the other men’s attention. One of them approached as she pulled back her hood, revealing her blood-red inflamed eyes. He stopped for a moment as she looked at him with no expression on her face; her burning eyes searing his.
‘You’ve come.’ the man smiled and it reminded her of Sharzak, ‘Big mistake.’
‘You are not welcome here.’ she said.
The other man standing behind her, thrust his dagger at her, but she dodged it and did away with him quickly. The stench grew stronger as another evil spirit dissipated.
The last man tossed his own dagger in her general direction, but missed her completely and went straight for the youngest daughter. Keara caught the tip of the dagger and flung it the man before he could escape.
With a dagger lodged in his calve, he stumbled to the floor and tried to drag himself to the door. She slowly walked over to him, putting her boot down hard on his back and bent down, taking hold of his head.
‘Tell your master, he’d better run.’ she whispered and twisted his neck.
The mother started crying loudly; her husband was dying. Keara looked at the man who had already lost so much blood.
She bent down beside him, the flames in her eyes had been extinguished and their deep purple colour had returned.
‘Please, help him.’ the woman sobbed.
Keara looked at her; she wasn’t sure what to do. She had an idea, but had no idea if it would work.
She slowly got the man to his feet, putting his arm around her neck to keep him steady, then took him outside as the little boy ran downstairs. Keara sat him down on the steps outside in the rain, his wife sitting behind him allowing him to lean against her. Keara placed her hand on the horrific wound. She closed her eyes. At first, nothing happened, but then, rain water began to gather around and under her hand, emitting a very faint glow. She opened her eyes; they emitted the same light blue glow as the water around her hand.
The wound slowly started healing and the man’s breathing became more regular. The wound healed completely as Keara closed her eyes again. She removed her hand and opened her eyes once again, to see that the man was now perfectly fine.
People had been awakened by the occurrences and entered the street to see what was happening. They were all surprised to see Keara helping someone; some even started protesting.
Keara stood up, looking around at the people surrounding her.
She looked down as the little boy ran over to her and hugged her tightly. She hugged him back.
The woman helped her husband to his feet, ‘Thank you for your help, Keara. We are grateful.’
Keara just nodded. She wasn’t sure what else to do. She bent down and looked at the little boy, ‘Take care of yourself. Be brave.’
The boy nodded and threw his arms around her neck. He let go and Keara disappeared before protestors could do anything. She quickly made her way back to the Inn; insuring that she was not followed before climbing up and through the window, closing it.
Sicily awoke for the first time, ‘You’re soaking wet.’
‘Where were you?’
‘Yeah, I figured. What were you doing?’
Keara just looked at Sicily.
‘How many people saw you?’
‘I don’t know.’ Keara didn’t really care.
‘What!?’ Sicily exclaimed.
‘Someone needed help. So I helped.’
‘Well, this is not exactly how I thought we’d begin, but I guess it works.’