Chapter Fifty Eight
It had been several days since the Ravens left, but Zarra had only recently become aware of it.
‘Why don’t I ever know about these things?’ Zarra was frustrated.
‘Because you’re never around to hear these things.’ Joseph said, leaving the library with a book in hand, ‘If Keara didn’t drag you out of the archives, you probably would’ve missed my wedding too.’
Zarra tried to think of something to say, ‘I was busy doing research, as usual.’
‘Yes, as usual.’ Joseph was a bit sarcastic.
‘Searching for the information that you all want so badly.’ Zarra was a little offended with Joseph’s sarcasm.
‘Which you prefer to do alone. And there is such a thing as taking a break.’ Joseph pointed out.
‘I take breaks.’ Zarra defended herself.
‘Keara had to drag you out of the archive.’
‘Right.’ Zarra knew that there was no point in arguing with him.
She kept following him as he reached the Raven barracks, the only place where no one stared at him with distain.
‘So, when will they be back?’ Zarra eventually asked.
‘I don’t know. Getting there is one thing, but finding the culprits is another.’
‘Oh. Okay.’ Zarra said, not sure how to reply, ‘Do you think Keara is still mad at me?’
‘Why would she be mad at you?’ Joseph wanted to know.
‘Because I didn’t tell her about the Mortags.’ Zarra admitted.
‘I don’t think she’s still mad at you.’ Joseph started, ‘She was upset because you lied to her. But she’s over it now. She’s not one to hold a grudge.’
‘But she didn’t tell me that she was leaving again.’ Zarra pointed out.
‘That’s because you never come out of the archives.’
‘So it’s not because she’s mad at me?’
‘No, you’re just never around to hear all the latest news.’
‘But I’m an archivist. Doing research is what I’m good at.’
‘I know, Zarra. But you’re gonna have to start wielding a sword.’
‘Why?’ Zarra became instantly nervous.
‘Because you’re a Dark Elf. Fighting is in your blood. And with the coming battle, we’re gonna need all the help we can get.’
‘But I’m not a fighter.’ Zarra argued.
‘You are a fighter. You just need to realize it for yourself.’ Joseph stated, ‘You cannot sit on the side lines with this battle.’
‘But I won’t be as good as any of you.’
‘We’ll teach you.’
‘What if I struggle?’ Zarra tried one last time.
‘We’ll teach you.’
The Ravens had settled at an inexpensive Inn for the night, getting a big room where all of them had a bed to sleep in for the night. Keara was lying on her bed, her one foot swinging lazily back and forth off the side of the bed.
‘We’ve been travelling along the coast for weeks. What if they have already started moving inland?’ Michael said to his father as they sat at the table by candle light, poised over several maps.
‘They haven’t moved inland yet. We would have known if they had.’ Adin stated.
‘How can you be sure, dad?’
‘Bad rumours travel much faster than good ones. If bandits who go by the Raven name had moved inland, we would have known.’ Adin said.
‘And besides, no one became hostile when they found out who we were.’ Alexander added.
‘That’s because the bandits haven’t passed through here yet. And the Ravens have never been here before , either.’ Keara said.
‘Well now Keara, that’s not entirely true.’ Adin said as he turned to look at his daughter.
She lifted her head from the pillow, ‘It’s not?’
‘No Keara. Our family is quite well known in this coastal region.’ Adin started, ‘Back when I was still an active Raven, we passed through here very often.’
‘Really?’ Keara was surprised.
‘Yes.’ Adin replied, ‘Remember when you were still young, I would bring you all along when it was safe?’
‘I remember.’ Keara answered, ‘Everyone treated us like family back then, despite our kin.’
‘You can’t blame certain people for their hostility, Keara.’ Adin said again.
‘Oh, I can.’ Keara said, laying her head back down on the pillow, ‘But I guess that’s just me.’
‘But you’re just making life harder for yourself, Keara.’ Adin pointed out.
‘That may be true dad, but I have my reasons.’ Keara stated.
‘She’s right, dad.’ Jonathan added, ‘A lot of things have happened since we became Ravens. We always try to do good and help where we can, but some people are still very hostile.’
‘Even Artemis, who once claimed that he trusted us with his life, tried to arrest us, simply because he heard rumours and would not consult with us first.’ Michael pointed out.
‘But this way of thinking is starting to control your lives. It seems you are always expecting people to be hostile at a certain destination; that’s why they are. Perhaps you should start expecting something different and you will receive something different.’ Adin suggested.
The Ravens were silent for a moment.
‘Sounds, like a good idea.’ Michael finally said at length.
‘People have been pretty friendly with us around here.’ Alexander pointed out.
‘Let’s hope it stays that way.’ Keara said without looking up at anyone.
‘Let’s hope.’ Adin agreed.
Back at the castle, Joseph was sitting in front of the fireplace with his arms around Saresse. He held her tightly and tried to forget about the situation they were currently in, but it had been several weeks and his brothers, sister and father had not yet returned. He had not even received any messages from them.
His mother had fallen asleep in one of the chairs right by the fireplace. He had covered her with a blanket earlier that evening. His brothers’ spouses and children were scattered across the Raven barracks, everyone quietly going about their business.
Artemis was in his study, sitting by the window, staring out into the cold darkness. Though it was the evening, he had again started neglecting his duties. He had become more concerned with the situation between him and the Ravens. He had started second-guessing the choices he had made when he accused them of a crime they most probably didn’t commit. Though he had not given them a chance to explain, a part of him still hoped that they could prove their innocence, not only for their sake or his brother’s sake, but also for his own. He knew that without them, his kingdom would not be as powerful and much, much more vulnerable to evil forces.
Deryck found himself walking outside in the cold, the moonlight just barely shining down on him, through the clouds. He wished that Keara would return. He needed to know that she was alright. He had no doubts about her innocence, he was just afraid for her safety. Of course he didn’t need to be, but his love for her made him very protective over her.
Sharzak had immediately known when the Ravens had departed from the castle walls and decided to act. He didn’t want to let any opportunity pass him by. Keara was the only who could defeat him and he knew it. And so he decided that if he could not control her, she could not live to pose a threat. He still didn’t understand why the Mortags were at his castle, but decided that as long as they were there, he would use them to his advantage. But of course he wouldn’t send them on a journey alone, he didn’t trust them nearly enough for that. He had summoned several immensely powerful demons to travel with the Mortags. Demons weren’t the most trust-worthy, but Sharzak could trust them more than the Mortags and he knew they wouldn’t dare betray him; they feared him too much.
Scander watched Sharzak’s every move. He had not anticipated Sharzak’s sudden comeback. He felt that it might put a stop to his plans, or at least, slow him down. But he kept his distance for now, despite feeling somewhat offended that Sharzak had not chosen him to go after Keara.