10. Bad Blood
I found myself once again at the bridge overlooking the water. Those silver eyes held such bleak emptiness as they stared back at me and I tried to read what lay within. Silhouettes swam in and out of my focus as I tried to make out the vague flurry of activity that took place beyond the mirror-like surface of the lake’s dark waters.
As I leaned in closer the water from the lake melted away and I thought of the only place I knew beyond the lakes still black water, Elvaraz. The scene before me was in low light and held an eerie yellowish glow which made the path towards the village a haunting sight to look upon.
The figures in contrast to the strange light were black but I could still tell each Aelfe apart. There was Shine without Sonny by her side a stricken look on her face as she lay bleeding on the ground reaching out towards all the terrified Aelfe that run past her.
No one looked her way, they were too terrified of something or someone, a figure I did not recognize in the further and too far away for me to get a good look.
I looked away from the shadowy figure to search for Del and the others. I found them fighting amongst other Nematons. I watched in horror as bodies caught fire, some staked and others being strangled by an invisible force, all scared. Uselessly, I tried calling out to them but no sound came.
Frantically I tried to pull myself over the baluster and failed, my body trapped in place watching the unimaginable unfold before my eyes. There was confusion all around, it was an outright anarchy.
The patrols determination morphed into one of panic and I watched in dread as death looked upon them, taking them down one by one as they protected each other from the savagery of their own kind.
They all looked up at me dying, while darkness sucked the light from them and still I tried to push myself over it wouldn’t work. I cried out but no tears came, it was as if my body was not my own.
The opening of the lake began to close and from it, a low humming crept into my consciousness dull and ominous. Soon it occupied my mind swelling in volume. The lake was once again a mirror reflecting not sorrow but emptiness in my eyes.
I couldn’t understand the contrast between what I felt and what I saw looking back at me from the dark water. I was terrified. I closed my eyes not wanting to see myself any longer but still, the humming remained steady and constant growing louder still, until I was...
“Aghh!” I shrieked protecting the side of my face as my eyes flew open. I looked up to see Ignis her face unreadable and Leah glancing fearfully at me over her shoulder.
“I’m sorry Oli, you wouldn’t wake up and then your cousin showed up” Leah began to explain.
“Ouch!” I sat up quickly in anger, “seriously Ignis! what the hell is wrong with you!” I shouted still feeling remnants of pain from the slap across my cheek. I looked at her expectantly.
“If your waiting for an apology, don’t hold your breath, you would have slapped you too for being all creepy” she seemed to shiver a bit as she said this then walked over to take a seat at the table in my room.
Leah made her way to my side looking me over cautiously then pulling me in for a hug. “What happened?” I asked sourly still in a bad mood from the way I had been awoken.
“You were screaming your head off calling out names at first and then all of a sudden you just stopped like, you went unconscious or something and I thought maybe it was just a nightmare but then you started humming and it just really freaked me out” Leah informed me her eyes frightened as if she were seeing it all again just by telling me.
“What the hell were you dreaming about?” she asked eagerly when I said nothing.
“I don’t remember” I lied not sure that I was ready to reveal what I had seen or whether or not it meant anything. Ignis stared at me for a moment then shrugged.
“Anyway” she began “you missed a call from your dear old Mae,” she said picking my phone up off the table and throwing it towards me.
I caught it entering my security code and redialling her number frantically. It rang once before hanging up and then I called once again. Nothing. “I don’t think she can talk right now” I notified the others confused.
“Surprise” Ignis sneered.
“I think I have to go back to Elvaraz, something doesn’t feel right” I confessed the images from my dream still haunting me.
“I would argue with you but there’s no way for us to get there without notifying the Elders and you already burnt that bridge so please continue” Ignis pointed out.
Leah looked back and forth between us lost “I think I found a way to go back without having to rely on them...”
Ignis shook her head a look of doubt on her face “Any waterbody can take you somewhere but if not through the usual checkpoint portals which as I’ve pointed out are all closed then you’ll have to be summoned through a summoning portal and I’m sure no ones expecting you after your ultimatum” she explained quickly.
I felt discouraged for a moment trying to recall what had built the bridge between Del and I in the shower. “What if... someone from Elvaraz and I were thinking of each other...like at the same time” I offered rationally.
Ignis rolled her eyes as she prepared to explain “do you know how dangerous that could be if it were that simple. It has to be something stronger like wanting the person to be where you are and...” she trailed off her expression turning from bewilderment to astonishment.
“You had a thing with one of those boys from the house didn’t you?” she gathered amused “tell me what happened?” she asked.
“Nothing happened with anyone” I blurted out defensively.
Leah smiled at me sweetly “Oh Oli” she gushed hearing the news.
“Not with the guy, about when you were summoned?” she clarified with interest.
“Please tell me about the guy” Leah insisted the look on her face was that of a proud mother.
I sighed building the courage to disclose my most embarrassing moment. Ever.
*** *** ***
After relaying the events of my shower fantasy we all stood expectantly in the bathroom with the faucet running. “I’m sure he’s not just soaking in a tub expecting me to pop up after what happened.”
“You still have to try” Leah pushed more determined to meet Del for herself than getting me through to Elvaraz.
“I just escaped that place, I’m sorry but there’s no way I’m coming back with you” Ignis declared.
I turned to face her now feeling a bit guilty. “I was hoping you’d feel that way. You can stay here until I get back or until Aunt Mae reaches out again, your the only person who’ll be able to reach me once I’m gone.”
“It’s sad you think I don’t have better things to do, but even if I didn’t I’m not playing messenger for you and your aunt” she declined, folding her arms.
“I’ll do it” Leah offered, perking up. “I won’t be able to get to you but at least I’ll be able to take the message.”
I turned to her thankfully “I know I can always count on you. If she does call let her know where I am and that she should meet me there it’s important.”
“Great problem solved, I’m going” Ignis notified us as she turned to the door.
“Wait are you serious?” I asked feeling let down. Even though there was bad blood between her and her mother I had expected that she would be there for me. Her personality had spiraled drastically since that first phone call from my aunt. “You said we were in this together, it’s fine if you don’t want to see your mother but--” she spoke cutting me off.
“Yea that was before we left Elvaraz and I’ve changed my mind” she replied coldly “This isn’t my fight and you have your Aunt so good luck” she continued towards the bedroom without looking back.
“That was... harsh” Leah commented sounding just as flummoxed as I felt. I swallowed feeling like I had been slapped in the face once again.
“Well, at least she was honest” I reassured myself turning my focus on the tub of water before me.
*** *** ***
We sat for hours and now it was near evening as we spoke casually about school and life before Elvaraz but the conversation always found its way back to the realm and its otherworldly ways.
“I still can’t believe how pissed you are about Phillip dropping out of school and not telling you. Your hate is not valid until I know why and since you still refuse to tell me, even after all this time I’m afraid I can’t care much. Even though I do, but you don’t have to know that.” She pouted playfully.
I appreciated her honesty and understanding because even though what had happened between Phillip and I was something I kept to myself, It was something that I tried not to even think about whenever the memory would arise.
Severing the link between the day before he disappeared and the day he did was like discarding a part of myself that was filled with regret and shame. “So while we wait for your bath water to do something funny why don’t you start telling me about this other realm, the people are they like us?” Leah asked pulling me out my brooding.
I leaned over into the bathtub, dipping my hands into the lukewarm water while I waited to be summoned to the realm as Ignis had explained. “I don’t think they like being called people, which is stupid but the Aelfe of Elvaraz--”
“Aelfe?” Leah asked cutting me off. I could see her mind searching to remember what the word meant.
“Their... species?, I think... it’s how you would say human beings I guess.” I answered her not sure how to explain it myself.
“Right, got it” she nodded following my explanation.
“I mean, look at me, they look like normal human people who lie... a lot. The only difference is this” I said while watching the water wind up my arm like vines.
“And your eyes” Leah pointed out excitedly.
“So what about your grandparents? the only thing you’ve told me about them is how evil they are because--” she stopped seeming to remember the reason why I had ranted for a good two hours while crying in between over how much I despised them for what they did.
“Sonny, he’s just a straight up asshole. He hated me from the moment he found out who I was and according to his equally wicked wife Shine...” I scoffed getting worked up all over again.
“Sonny and Shine, more like Dark and Night. I gotta say, Olivia, your family is really messed up I mean she calls her mother by her first name” she censured referring to Ignis.
Conversations like these never offended me with Leah, because as terrible as the truth was I didn’t feel as bad talking about it with her “But Leah you call your mother by her first name all the time” I pointed out.
“Yea out of love, it’s different when you hate your mother... it’s rude. And we both know Ignis hates her mother” she reasoned.
“Ok, but Ignis does have a good reason for hating her mother. I’ not saying she should, just that this all happened when she was a child. If she had reacted the complete opposite of how she is now, I would have definitely thought she’s mental.” Leah folded her arms but accepted my perspective.
“Alright so everybody has family drama. I’m getting a feeling that this is way more severe when it comes to your people” she noted.
“My people,” I said through giggles, “you say that like I’m a part of some cult,” I said trying to sound offended.
She joined me saying “well you probably are, that one creepy guy who you said made you feel worthy by just speaking to you” she teased reminding me of the extra details I hadn’t expected would stick with me about Voy.
I smiled sheepishly covering my face with my wet hands, then putting them back into the water. “Come on, it’s not like that. He is hot but not my type, he’s kinda more like you...really uptight” I joked.
She looked at me with daggers in her eyes “Ha, that coming from the girl who doesn’t drink at a party I bet you just can’t handle how cool he is.” I rolled my eyes at her witty remark.
“Besides” she continued “it seems like you prefer suicidal liars to easy going men” she commented while wrinkling her nose in a smile.
“Can you stop trying to tag Del as suicidal?” I chuckled.
“See you’re already defending him, he must not be so bad,” she said.
“He is... and isn’t” I was glad that I was facing the water because I wouldn’t be able to bear the knowing smile Leah would have on her face as I went on. “He can be interesting when he’s not trying to stroke my ego about being a Seilie, it’s so annoying. And when he’s not choosing what I need to know from what I don’t.”
I sighed the memory of him clutching me in his arms amidst the chaotic Siths when I had first arrived in Elvaraz, flashed in my mind making me hold my breath. My chest began feeling warm as I tried to hold the moment there.
I snapped out of my revere starting to feel self-conscious” I’m sensing a kind of bad boy vibe here,” she said huskily. I looked over at her to see her eyes narrowed and staring past me as if trying to picture him.
“Trust me he’s not,” I scoffed correcting her “he’s more like a boy scout since he followed the Elders bidding so willingly” once again the thought of them left a bad taste in my mouth.
“It’s not even just him, his sister too. Of course, I can’t expect anything from her but she was honest, until she wasn’t” I said feeling more despondent as I spoke of her.
The water which now had gone cold began dispersing slowly away from my fingers and I quickly removed my arms from the small pool, watching as the surface remained still while the center dropped out like sand in an hourglass.
It was working, I thought and Leah’s sharp intake of breath indicated that she was seeing it too. “Oli is that...?” she began unable to finish her question.
“Yea” I replied simply knowing what she wanted to ask. I waited a few moments to see if Del would emerge from its center but he didn’t. “I’m going,” I said to Leah.
Leah kept quiet too stunned to give me a response. I stood up looking down at her disbelieving eyes. “I’ll be back, just remember to let aunt Mae know where I am and that she needs to be here or else I’m going to go out searching for her” I reminded Leah.
She nodded once even though she didn’t seem to be paying much attention to what I had said. “Ok, here goes nothing,” I said to myself putting one leg before the other as I entered the portal.
*** *** ***
The familiar dizziness hit me but for a shorter period, and I was ready for the weight that would fill my body as I touched the ground. I stood now facing a steamy mirror in what I recognized to be Kelu’s bathroom which was more like a spa because of its size.
I spun around coming face to face with Kelu and not Del “disappointed?” she asked not an ounce of humor evident in her voice.
“Uh, no. Why would I be?” I replied a bit too sharply.
“Come on, we all took turns after Del’s little incident. How nice of you to be thinking of me” she stated dryly as she made her way out of the bathroom while I followed.
“Well they weren’t good thoughts” I muttered under my breath.
“I wouldn’t expect them to be, after what we did to you. Sorry about that” she replied sounding as if what had happened was minor. I knew that this was sincere especially for her and accepted her apology nonetheless.
We ended up in the meeting room and the others were there as expected. “Olivia’s here” she announced taking her position beside her brother. Our eyes met for a moment and I looked away quickly not knowing how to react after what had happened in the shower.
“Hi Alen” I blurted out instead and he smiled apologetically. I surmised he must have known being so close to Kelu. I looked over nodding at Voy, he nodded back calm as ever.
“I guess that means who you’re really mad at, is me” Del spoke up now. I was still unable to meet his eyes and found myself focusing intently on the wall behind him.
“If you’re waiting for an apology, don’t bother. This is the reason I hate Seilie’s in the first place” his confession was enough to draw my gaze to his. I was taken aback.
“Excuse me?!” I asked my voice coming out louder than I had intended. The others remained silent and the look on Kelu’s face showed that she knew exactly what his statement meant.
“What, are you upset that I haven’t wallowed in remorse like the others and try to seek out your forgiveness. All the decisions I made were necessary and just because you don’t understand why I did what I did, doesn’t mean that I was wrong and you were right.” He stood up now emotions I had never sensed in him before baring their fangs.
“What the hell are you talking about?” I stuttered half surprised and half furious. The Del I had met on that bridge was nothing like the guy shouting words laced with venom at me now.
“Here’s one more thing to add to Del’s hate list... I never believed you’re ‘bored out of your mind act’ when I almost puked over and over telling you how amazing your abilities were” he snapped.
I was so shocked that I was unable to try and put together what all this must mean and only replied to whatever he threw at me “I don’t have a Del hate list, your the one who lied over and over about everything that was happening here! What kind of idiot would I be to not even want to know the whole truth” I ranted the anger I felt against him breaking like a dam within me.
“Well, you sure left in a hurry for someone so interested in the whole truth! At the least other Seilie’s were brave enough to stick around when the realm was in danger, you have no sense of duty!” he threw back harshly.
“Duty?! I’m not a soldier!... Maybe having these abilities seems like such a great honor to you, but they aren’t to me. It’s amazing don’t get me wrong, but let’s just say I had a choice between being an all-powerful supernatural being and being wonted, I’d chose the latter.”
" I’d chose being stuck with stacks of homework than be here with a spiteful con artist who despised the person who they were asking for help. Despite the fact that their uncle is a murderous psychopath who killed his parents and kept it a secret!” I finished feeling the heat in my veins, my breaths were heavy as I tried to calm the raging fire within me, the room itself felt as though it had been put under a flame.
Del said nothing, the look on his face darker than I had ever seen it. The air was tense between us and as he continued to glower at me something deeper than hate in his eyes. I regained my senses long enough to regret the blow I had just delt.
My hand flew to my mouth ashamed as the shock set in, my body trembling. I looked over to Kelu now who held no emotion in her eyes then back at Del who snickered half-heartedly as he turned away from me.
“Del” I began, but I didn’t know what else to say. Nothing could erase this moment.
Thank you, awesome readers, for making it this far, please leave your feedback and share if you are enjoying Book I so far