Chapter 31: My Land Was Destroyed
“Are you done yet?” Avdon snaps, shrinking away from Amsyn’s hand. She laughs.
“You are such a child.” She remarks. He playfully glares at her. She places her hand on one side of his torso and spreads the rest of salve against the healing wound. “There.” He mumbles something that she chooses to ignore. Amsyn undoes the fresh bandages and wraps them around his torso. She ties it off and sinks back into her chair.
She rolls her shoulder gingerly, mindful of her own wound. It’s healed enough that it doesn’t need to be wrapped, but she still has to be careful not to irritate it too badly.
“How are you healing?” He asks softly. His sapphire eyes trail over her wound.
“Fine.” She assures him. She closes the jar of salve and places it back in her healing bag. Sinnion crawls across the table and sits down beside the bag. She smiles and runs her finger down his head.
“Have you heard from Helioson?” Avdon questions. Amsyn freezes, her eyes fall to her lap. Sinnion lifts his head. Amsyn shakes her head. The image of Helios in the Helix flashes through her mind. He’s safe. She reminds herself. He doesn’t know what’s happened with her. He doesn’t know its safe to contact her.
Avdon reaches over and takes her hand. She lifts her head, blushing. “It will be okay.” He assures her. She smiles.
“I know.” Sinnion glances at their intertwined hands and lets out a huff of smoke. Avdon and Amsyn laugh.
There’s a desperate, rushed knock at the door. Avdon releases Amsyn’s hand and stands up. “Wait here.” He mumbles, walking out of the dining room. Amsyn hears the door open followed by a string of muffled sentences. Avdon reenters the room, his arm wrapped around the shoulders of a Nymph. She looks dreadful. Her thickly curled hair is matted and tangled in the flowers in her hair. Her leaf dress is torn and her sun-kissed skin is smeared with dirt. There are several cuts and lacerations around her ankles. Amsyn helps the girl sit down.
“What happened? Are you alright?” Amsyn asks. The Nymph nods.
“Water.” She croaks. Amsyn jumps up from the chair and rushes into the kitchen. She fills a glass with water and takes it back to the girl. The Nymph snatches the glass from Amsyn’s hand and downs the water greedily.
“This is Helike.” Avdon introduces. “Helike, this is Amsyn.” The girl stops drinking and her eyes widen.
“You are Amsyn?” She nods.
“Yes, do I know you?” She inquires cautiously. Helike shakes her head.
“What happened Helike? The last I was told you were captured by the Quvanians.” Avdon intercedes. She nods.
“Prince Helioson freed me. He sent me here with a warning.” She tells him. Avdon glances at Amsyn. His expression is one of shock. He never doubted Amsyn, but he always doubts the word of a Dragon.
“What warning?” Amsyn demands before Avdon can. Helike looks between the two.
“The Emperor and Empress have dispatched The Forsaken. They are on their way right now. Prince Terdar has a spy in the rebellion that has been feeding him information. They know of Ta’floon and the entrance. Helioson says this is a sign of his goodwill and that he is not his family and that he will need our help to stop his parents and his brother.” Avdon growls and throws his fist into the wall. Amsyn jumps as does Helike. He roughly runs a hand through his hair and mutters a string of curses.
Helike turns to Amsyn. “Helioson said to say that he misses you and to be careful.” The Elf feels the first true relief she has felt since all of this begun. She throws her arms around the Nymph and whispers her thanks.
“A spy?” Avdon interrupts. Amsyn pulls away from Helike and sits back down. “Who?”
“Helioson didn’t know. He only said there was a spy.” He glances at Amsyn and sighs. She can clearly see the frustration and defeat on his face. She wishes she could speak to him about it, but not in front of Helike.
“Word of the spy does not leave this room.” He decides. Both of the woman nod.
“How are we going to find the spy?” Amsyn questions. Avdon looks away from her.
“I do not yet. First we must evacuate Ta’floon.” He says. Amsyn doesn’t know how he can remain so calm, but she appreciates it. At the moment there are so many emotions running through her that she can barely contain her power.
“We cannot go out through the tunnel The Forsaken are coming we will meet them in the Wilds.” Helike protests.
“Well, we cannot stay here and be slaughtered.” Avdon screams. Amsyn rises from her chair and approaches Avdon. She places her hand on his forearm, careful not to anger him. He softens under her touch. Without a word he wraps his arms around her slender form and she wraps hers around his torso. Avdon lodges a hand in Amsyn’s fiery hair, holding her close. She blushes at the action and rests her head against his chest.
“We can use the portal.” He says. Amsyn raises her head slightly.
“Where will we go?” Avdon glances down at her, his sapphire eyes brimming with rage.
“Quvania. The prince-” Amsyn glares at him. He rolls his eyes. “Helioson says he needs our help. We shall help him. He shall have an army of angry rebels.” Helike gasps.
“Teleport into the home of our enemy. We will be slaughtered. We might as well stay here and let The Forsaken come for us.” She cries. Avdon tightens his grip on Amsyn.
“We have no where else to go. This is our sanctuary and it is no longer safe.” He shouts. Amsyn runs her hands up and down his back, tracing the bold tattoos covering his back. He takes a deep breath. “Quvania is our last stand.”
He releases Amsyn, keeping his hands on her upper arms. “Can you go and open up the portal entrance? I will call everyone over. Can you guide them through the portal?” He asks softly. She nods.
“I can do that.” He kisses her forehead.
“Okay. Helike, get something to eat and help Amsyn.” He orders. Avdon leaves the manor.
Amsyn turns to the Nymph. “There’s food in the kitchen.” Her eyes fall to the blood trickling down the Nymph’s ankles. “I can tend to your wounds.” She says.
“There is no time.” Helike declines.
Amsyn gathers the strap of her healing bag in her hands and heads in the direction of her room. Sinnion follows after her, hovering above her shoulder. Amsyn pushes the door open and goes to her dresser where her bow and quiver are. She slings them over her shoulder, tucks her dagger into her boot, and hurries back out of the room, leaving the door open.
Amsyn follows the hallway back across the house to the other side. She stops in front of the portrait, concealing the portal. She grabs the frame of the portrait and lifts it off the wall. She sets it beside the entryway. The portal’s brown energy lights the otherwise dark room. She stares into the swirling energy. Amsyn frowns. What if the portal collapses? What if someone gets caught in the energy?
She remembers the tales Helios told her of The Forsaken. They are elite warriors who live only to kill the enemies of the Quvania Empire. They have no mercy and no conscience. They are infamous. No one has ever come face to face with them and lived to tell the tale.
She is brought out of her thoughts by the sound of delicate footsteps. Helike threads down the hallway. She rests her hand on the wall and marvels at the portal contained within the small room. She’s never seen a portal up close before.
“Did Helios sound okay?” Amsyn asks suddenly. Helike looks at her, her eyebrows furrowed.
“Yes, he had a woman with him. They seemed to be...involved.” She replies with hesitation. The Elf has an unknown, deep connection to the Dragon Prince that she is sure of. Amsyn catches the reluctance and her voice.
“Helios is like a brother to me and the woman must be Ra’venna.” She explains.
“Your prince is very different.” Helike states. Amsyn shrugs.
“He’s always been like that.” Her magenta eyes fall to her branch-like arm. She rubs her flesh hand over the wooden one. “He’s saved my life.” She adds in a quieter voice.
A herd of footsteps pulls Amsyn from her thoughts. Avdon rounds the corner followed by a large group of rebels. “Through here.” He orders. The rebels all line up outside the room. Sinnion hovers above the doorway, blocking their entry. Avdon approaches Amsyn. “Instruct them on how to use the portal and send them through. The others are coming.” She grabs ahold of his arm as he turns to leave.
“What are you going to-” “Avdon, they have hit land. They will be here in a matter of hours.” Aka interrupts. “I’m sorry.” He tells Amsyn. He pulls his arm from her grip and runs out of the manor.
Amsyn feels the eyes of the rebels on her. She pushes her worry aside and focuses on the task Avdon gave her. She clears her throat. “Under Avdon’s orders we are teleporting to Quvania. To use a portal you must clear you mind of everything except the place you are going and your emotions must be controlled. If your emotions or your mind wander you could get lost in the magic.” She nods to Sinnion who swoops down to her side.
The rebels enter the room one at a time. After the first jumps through the portal Amsyn cuts through the line. “Helike.” The Nymph looks away from the portal.
“Can you stay here? I’m going to go find Avdon.” Helike nods.
Amsyn bolts down the hallway. Sinnion flying behind her. She runs out of the manor past the dozens of rebels pushing their way inside. She scans the sanctuary with her eyes until she finds Avdon. He, Stalia, and Aka and huddled in near the fountain in the center of town.
“Avdon.” She calls, as she runs up to him. His eyes widen as they fall on Amsyn
“What are you doing out here?” He demands. “Evacuate the rest.” He orders Aka and Stalia. They agree and go in opposite directions. He turns his attention back to Amsyn.
“I wanted to make sure you were alright.” She confesses. She feels heat rush to her cheeks. Avdon’s hard gaze softens.
“I’m alright.” He assures her, taking ahold of her arms. “You need to get back through the manor and get through the portal. I want you safe.”
“What about you? What are you going to do?” Avdon stiffens. The anger flares in his sapphire eyes once again.
“I am going to stay behind and fight.” Tears rise to Amsyn’s eyes and she shakes her head. She takes ahold of Avdon’s forearms.
“No, you can’t. They’ll kill you!” She cries. The tears spill over from her eyes. Avdon raises his hand and calmly wipes them away. “You can’t.” The desperation in her voice sends a pang to the Faun’s heart.
“I have to. This is my home. This was my ancestor’s home. If The Forsaken want it, they will have to go through me.” Amsyn’s grief turns to rage.
“No!” She affirms. Despite the tears trailing down her face, her voice is firm. “That is ridiculous. The Children need you, you are The Children. You can’t abandon them. This place, no matter the memories or the history is just a place. The land and the trees didn’t make the people, the people made the land and trees. Your ancestors wouldn’t want you to stay behind and fight a lost cause. They would want you leading the charge in Quvania. You are the leader of The Children of Tevata. So lead.” She screams. When she realizes the words that’s escaped her mouth. She covers it with her hand and steps back. Avdon’s grip on her arms prevents her from going to far. “I’m so sorry. I-I didn’t mean that.”
“No, you did.” Amsyn opens her mouth to protest. “And you are right. Staying behind does no good.” He agrees.
Avdon wipes away her remaining tears. His hand lingers on her cheek. He thinks of the chaos surrounding them, the impending battle, and what it could mean for all of them. If he were to die his greatest regret wouldn’t be not protecting Ta’floon.
Avdon leans down and covers Amsyn’s lips with his own. If he is to die he does not want to die without her knowing how he feels about her. Timidly, Amsyn reaches up to place her hands on his strong shoulders. Her lips move against his. She savors the gentleness of the contact. Avdon coils his arms around her waist. His grip is protective and gentle. He holds her as if he is cradling a priceless artifact. Amsyn deepens the kiss. Her love for him bleeding through her actions. Avdon reaches up to lodge a hand in the curls he so admires. His hand brushes over her severely pointed ear. He smiles. Every inch of her is perfect. She is the healer who captured his heart and she didn’t even know she was doing it.
They separate only out of a need for air. He caresses her cheek. Amsyn closes her eyes and leans into his loving touch. “I need to tell you this.” He begins. She reopens her eyes to gaze into his. “For whatever may happen or whatever may come, know this, I love you. I love you and no matter what happens I always will.” Amsyn kisses him again.
“I love you too.” She runs her hand up the curve of his shoulder to rest on his neck. “Nothing will happen. We will make it through all of this alive.”
They hear a small whining sound and turn around to see Sinnion hovering in mid-air. He swoops down and lands on Amsyn’s shoulder. He growls at Avdon. “It seems I will have some fierce competition.” Avdon jokes. Amsyn giggles. Sinnion, embarrassed buries his head in her curls.
“Well, he doesn’t have to worry. I will not let anything happen to you.” Sinnion lets out a sound that sounds something like a scoff.
“They’re coming.” Aka shouts from near the tunnel.
“Go!” Avdon screams. He turns back to Amsyn and grabs her hand. “We need to leave now.”
The two run towards the manor. Aka and Stalia are only feet in front of them. A loud boom echoes through out Ta’floon. Amsyn knows they have blown open the temple entrance. She glances back to see a squadron of fierce looking Dragons emerge from the tunnel. Avdon kicks open the manor door, knocking it from the hinges. He and Amsyn bolt through the hallways. Amsyn trips over the rug, but Avdon catches her before she can fall. Sinnion claws dig through the material of her shirt into her skin. Her adrenaline is running to high for her to feel the pain.
Amsyn clears her mind. She focuses on Quvania, pushing even the sudden thoughts of Helios from her mind. Aware of Avdon’s hand in hers, she leaps into the brown swirling portal just as The Forsaken cross the threshold of the manor.