Chapter 16: Flight Of The Wyvern
This time they do her the great courtesy of leaving her conscious. Right after Helio carried Ra’venna from the arena Amsyn was escorted from the coliseum by two rookie soldiers.
Sinnion rearranges himself on her shoulder, sitting up. He yawns, letting out a sound that sounds like a cross between a whine and a pained scream. He crawled onto her shoulder and fell asleep as soon as they boarded the ship. He almost toasted the guards when they removed the muzzle.
Sinnion nudges her cheek with his head, demanding her attention. Smiling, she runs her finger down his head and neck. He purrs and she laughs.
It dies down as she remembers the Helix and Ra’venna. Images of her brutality flash through her mind. She drove her sai into the High Priestess’s head without hesitation. She brutally murdered three creatures and showed no remorse. Amsyn frowns. She won Amsyn her freedom. She would be dead if not for Ra’venna.
Ra’venna didn’t do it for her though. She said as much. She did it because Helio asked her to.
In a way Amsyn is thankful she was taken to the Helix. It allowed her to set eyes on Helio. Knowing he’s safe has filled her with the courage she needs.
Amsyn looks up at the clear lavender sky. The air catches her flaming curls and whips them around. She closes her eyes and rests her head against the railing, relishing in the fresh air. She didn’t realize how much she relished her freedom until it was taken away. She understands now why Avdon has such a commitment to the Children of Tevata and she owes him the truth.
“Set up.” One of the soldiers barks, kicking her outstretched leg. Sinnion growls at him. The Dragon sneers in response. Amsyn draws her legs in and stands up.
She was so lost in her thoughts she didn’t notice they had arrived at Gorus. The captain lowers the ship as it hovers feet above the water, alongside one of the numerous docks protruding from land. The soldier snatches her by the arm and drags her to the edge. “Welcome back.” He hisses, before unceremoniously pushing her out onto the sand. She coughs, spitting out the sand that flew into her open mouth. She spins her head around to glare at the soldier who has the gall to smirk. She stands up and looks back to find the ship already pulling away.
Amsyn wastes no time running towards the Cri Wilds. She doesn’t want the soldiers to have the chance to change their mind. Sinnion flies beside her, acting as her guard. She follows a path similar to the one she took when she first came to Gorus. Only this time she knows where she’s going.
Her spirits brighten as she recognizes the trees that conceal the Temple of the Fallen. She ducks under a low hanging branch and finds herself standing before the crumbling, holy place. She sweeps the dangling vines aside and slips through. She kneels before the slab baring the image of the Faun. She presses the eye and the circle slides to the side, revealing the tunnel underneath.
Amsyn swings her legs over the side and jumps in, surprisingly landing on her feet. Sinnion sweeps down onto her shoulder. Amsyn only has to take one step forward for the torches lining the walls to flare to life. Amsyn all but sprints down the tunnel; her heart pounding against her chest cavity.
Tear of relief spring to her eyes at the sight of the bustling forest sanctuary. In the distance she can see Avdon’s manor. Without thinking twice she charges down the pathway and across Ta’floon to Avdon’s manor, ignoring the cries of her name.
Amsyn bangs on the Avdon’s door between pants. It’s only a moment later that she hears heavy footfalls and the door opens to reveal an exhausted Avdon. His hair is messy and there are shadows beneath his eyes. His sapphire orbs widen as he takes in the sight of the Elf in front of him.
“Amsyn,” he gasps. Before she can speak he engulfs her petite figure in a bone-crushing hug. Amsyn doesn’t hesitate in returning it. He releases her only so he can pull her inside. “What happened? Are you okay? How did you escape?” He asks, while looking her over for injuries.
Amsyn looks down at her fiddling fingers. She owes Avdon the truth; even if he hates her for it. “Perhaps we should sit down.” She suggests with a trembling voice.
He takes ahold of Amsyn’s wooden hand and ushers her into the foyer. She breaks away from him and sits on the couch, not trusting her knees to support her. Sinnion crawls off her shoulder onto the couch. Avdon rests his back against the wall beside the window and folds his arms over his always bare chest. Amsyn refuses to meet his gaze. Instead her eyes remain fixed on her clasped hands.
“What happened?” Avdon questions. His voice is painfully soft. Amsyn almost bursts into tears at the sound. He’s going to hate her.
“They took me to the Helix. Someone fought in my stead and won my freedom.” She recites. Her eyes never stray far from her wringing hands.
“Who?” She hears his hands fall to his sides.
“There is something I have to tell you.” She releases a shaky breath.
“I understand if you hate me afterwards, but I never intended to hurt you.” She looks up, her magenta eyes shining with tears.
“Amsyn you’re not making any sense.” He approaches her. She holds up her hands and he stops.
“I had told you that when I was fifteen Udor was attacked and my mother and I were caught in an explosion. It killed her and claimed my arm and leg.” She gestures to tree-like limbs. Avdon’s face darkens at their mention.
“But I-I didn’t tell you how I survived or who saved me.” She draws a breath. “Helio has just run away from his family and came immediately to Udor to help. He found me after the explosion, half-dead and took me to a healer who saved my life. He didn’t leave, even after he was sure I would live. He cared for me; helped me cultivate and adapt to my prosthetics. We fled to Fulor where we lived...until a mercenary came. She dares to look up from her lap at Avdon. Though his face is blank Amsyn can read confusion in his eyes.
“Who’s Helio?” She forces herself to hold Avdon’s gaze.
“Prince Helioson Shalquim of the Quvanian Empire.” The room stills.
Avdon stumbles back, his eyes wide. The shock lasts for a brief moment before the anger sets in. “You are working for the Shalquims!” He bellows. She shakes her head furiously.
“No! Please, let me explain. I promise I’ll answer all your questions. Please.” She begs, unruly tears slipping down her cheeks.
He only sneers at her. The compassion she has grown accustom to is gone.
“The mercenary was Ra’venna, the Dark Duchess, the Nether Fairy.” She gulps. “She was hired to kill Helio by his brother, Terdar. However, Terdar also sent elite guards to kill the both of them. Ra’venna let Helio live because Terdar betrayed her and now she wants him dead. Helio left in the first place because he wanted to stop his parents and couldn’t. Ra’venna inspired him, maybe because his presence made it real again. He offered her a deal. If she protected him while he worked to take down his family from the inside out he would give her the opportunity to kill Terdar. But for this plan to work one of us I would need to join the Children of Tevata. Helio needs allies, an army. He knows that if he succeeds he’ll need help bringing order to the kingdoms. Please, Helio just wants to help. I want to help. I lost my mother, my home, and two of my limbs. I want the Quvanians brought to justice as much as you do.” She chokes on a sob. Sinnion rests a clawed hand on her leg. She sobs louder.
“Why would you betray your kin by agreeing to help that monster?” He roars. Amsyn looks up, revealing her tear stained cheeks and swollen nose. Avdon almost crumbles at the sight.
“He’s not a monster. His family are monsters, but Helio isn’t. He saved my life and he’s saved others.” She manages through the tears. A scoff slips through Avdon’s lips.
“And what is it that makes him different?”
“He was there when Etrien fell. He never forgot the horrors he saw and he hated his family for them.”
Avdon’s jaw locks as he looks into Amsyn’s pleading eyes. Her tears are his weakness. To believe her though would be to disregard everything he believes. The Shalquims are monsters. He’s experienced it first hand. What would make Helio different? Avdon’s eyes trail down to Amsyn’s false limbs. Those wounds would have been fatal.
“Why would the Prince send you to us?” Amsyn swipes away some of her tears.
“Everyone knows of the work the Children of Tevata have done. He knew you would serve the kingdoms.”
“How did you escape the Helix?”
“Helio couldn’t stop the fight without exposing us so he asked Ra’venna to fight on my behalf. She killed three creatures to win my freedom.” Amsyn’s hand trembles as the memories of the battle return.
Avdon falls silent for what feels like an eternity, adding to Amsyn’s desperation.
“You betrayed the trust I put in you.” Amsyn whimpers.
“But I understand why. Everything logical within me tells me I’m a fool, but I believe you. I believe you Amsyn Zylphyra.” Tears of relief spill over onto her cheeks. She launches off the couch and tackles Avdon in a hug.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to betray you. You’ve been nothing but sweet and kind and I took advantage of that and I shouldn’t have. I’ll do anything to prove I deserve your trust.” She promises. Slowly, Avdon wraps his arms around her.
“You proved your loyalty when you stayed behind.” He tells her. She pulls away enough to look up at him and then blushes, after realizing how close they are.
Avdon caresses her exposed wooden arm. She shifts from foot to foot under his scrutinizing gaze. He analyzes the arm, amazed by the complexity of it. “I’m pretty broken, aren’t I?” She tries to joke, but the words are heavy. She bites her lip and turns away from his intense gaze. Chuckling, she tugs her into him; she gasps.
He uses a calloused hand to raise her chin. “Why? Because you have these?” He gestures to her two false limbs. “They don’t make you broken. They make you a survivor. You walked through fire and you survived. Bare your scars proudly.” He reaches up and brushes away a loose curl from her face. Amsyn’s already flushed cheeks darken.
“How can you be so kind after everything I’ve done.” She wonders aloud. He smiles.
“Because, I know you. You have the purest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. You’ve not capable of evil.” He presses a lingering kiss to her forehead; his soft lips leaving an imaginary imprint behind.
Amsyn studies his face. She lifts her hand and gingerly reaches forward to caress his injured cheek. How could she not have noticed he was injured before? She skims her finger over the cut. He jerks away from her touch, wincing. She sharply retracts her hand and stumbles backwards. Avdon reaches for the wooden hand she is clutching to her chest and pulls her to him. She lets out a squeal as she collides with his chest. He smiles, brightening his features as he twirls a defiant curl around his finger.
“You still have a lot of explaining to do.”
“What do you want to know?” She asks, intending to keep her promise.
“Everything. We have an empire to destroy.”