Chapter 53 - Emmalyn
Emmalyn healed the last person she could and sighed in frustration. She had lasted longer than anyone expected her to, but the last few wounds had been superficial. Now she was drained, and no matter how hard she tried, she could not call her power back up.
“Stop trying,” her father soothed as he placed his hand on her shoulder. “You have done more than you should have. It is time for you to rest.”
Emmalyn looked up into his concerned face and smiled. She would have loved to have had him in her life while growing up. Connor had robbed her of that. She had no doubt it was him behind her initial attack. She pushed to her feet and stepped into her father’s open arms.
“I am proud of all that you have done today, sweetheart. You saved many lives.”
“Thank you,” she replied. “And I am proud of you. You fought bravely, and you fought well.”
“Thank you,” her father grinned as he gave her a small squeeze.
“What do we do now?” Emmalyn questioned Mathias as he moved to join them.
“We wait for Kell,” he declared. “It may take him a while to search the castle and locate Connor.”
“And what if he isn’t there?” Emmalyn pushed in concern.
“He will be there,” Mathias stated. “He believed Kell was dead and not a threat. And he assumed his men would be victorious. I can guarantee he is here for the celebration that will not happen.”
“Of course,” Emmalyn agreed. “A King reigning over his spoils.” She thought of Kell and wondered what would await him in the castle. “Do you think Kell will be okay?”
“I do,” Mathias assured her. “He is a skilled fighter, and Connor would concentrate his force outside. I do not think he will run into many inside.”
“And Thane and Aspen are inside. He will go to them once he realizes he has lost. It is all he has left to bargain with,” Emmalyn huffed.
“My guess is they are all in the dungeon,” her father added.
She looked at him in surprise. “But if they corner Connor, will he not be forced to do something drastic?”
Her father let her go and placed his warm palms on her cheeks. “My beautiful daughter, Kell will come out with a smile on his face and his eyes locked on you. He will prowl across that courtyard like a man on a mission, and all your worries will be for naught.”
Emmalyn grinned up at him. She could see Kell doing just that thing and it warmed her heart. He had his powers, and he had his men, nothing would happen to him. As she thought this, Thane came rushing up to them.
“Emmalyn, Kell is in the castle and he needs your assistance. Our mother was hurt and he wants to see if you can heal her,” he huffed as he tried to catch his breath.
Emmalyn pulled from her father and moved to face Thane, sadness evident on her face. “My powers are useless. I have used them up,” she admitted.
Thane frowned before continuing. “He will still want you with him. If this ends badly, you need to be there.”
Emmalyn nodded in agreement. “He told me to stay here. I have my father and guardian with me, along with quite a few of his warriors. He wanted me protected.”
“They can all come too,” Thane immediately replied. “But we can not waste any time.”
When both her father and Mathias nodded, she felt considerable relief. “Show us the way,” Emmalyn ordered.
Thane moved towards the castle, thankfully at a much slower pace. When Emmalyn glanced back she saw at least fifteen men were following. Kell’s men were not taking any chances. They reached the doors and one man moved to open it.
Just before stepping inside, Emmalyn remembered Kiera and the Fae. Kiera had promised Kell she would stay with her as well. When Emmalyn looked to the sky, there was no sign of her. She glanced left and right, but the Fae were nowhere to be seen.
“What are you looking for?” Thane questioned as too looked to the sky in confusion.
“Nothing,” Emmalyn responded, knowing it was the right answer. If Kiera had disappeared, it was for a good reason. The Fae had promised to protect her, and Emmalyn could not see Kiera breaking that promise.
Sighing, she turned back to the doors and moved through them. Standing inside was Torin, and his face clearly showed his confusion. She was just as surprised to see him as he was to see her.
“What are you doing in here?” Torin demanded.
“Thane came and told me Kell needed me. He explained Aspen was hurt and I was needed,” she explained.
Torin eyed Thane with a frown. “I’ve been standing here the whole time. You didn’t come past me. And I have received no word from Kell or any of the warriors that are with him of what you claim. How is it you know this and were able to get to Emmalyn when I know nothing?”
Thane threw up his arms in frustration. “We do not have time for this,” he grunted. “Aspen is hurt. Emmalyn can heal her. We waste time discussing this.”
“Make time,” Torin ordered as he stepped closer towards him.
“I was down there with them,” Thane admitted with a huff. “I left and took the side door because it was faster. My thoughts were only on getting to Emmalyn. I was not even aware you were up here. If I knew, I would have sent you down, then retrieved Emmalyn.”
“It makes sense,” Emmalyn interrupted as she placed a hand on a Torin’s arm. “You can accompany us, but if she is indeed hurt, I need to be there.”
Torin studied Thane a minute, then he finally stepped aside. Emmalyn breathed a sigh of relief as she dropped her hand and motioned for Thane to lead the way.
“They are all in the dungeon,” Thane shouted to Torin as he hurried down the hall.
No more words were spoken as the group moved down the hall and stopped at a large door at the back of the house. It was wide open and revealed a narrow set of winding stairs. The entire thing gave Emmalyn the creeps.
“I will go first,” Thane declared. “Emmalyn will follow, but we need to do this one at a time. We will not fit side by side.”
Emmalyn heard the men grunting their disapproval, but she ignored them. When Thane started down, she moved to follow. The footsteps behind her reassured her the rest were close to her back. The stairs were lit with candles, but they cast shadows on the walls. Emmalyn decided she did not like the dungeon at all, and she hadn’t even reached it yet.
As they hit the bottom of the stairs Thane suddenly twisted and grabbed her hand. The quick move scared her, and she cried out in surprise. Before the men could reach for her, Thane was dragging her through a door in the side of a thick wall and slamming it behind them. He let her go as he bolted it, encasing them in another dark hallway. She backed away from him in terror.
“I was right in my initial assessment of you,” Emmalyn cried in horror. “You are the enemy.”
“No,” Thane denied as he spun around to face her. He grabbed the only lit torch that rested against the wall and approached. When she backed further away, he stopped. “Do not be afraid of me,” he grunted.
“You’re working with your father,” Emmalyn accused.
Thane huffed in frustration as he shook his head. “My father is sick in the head. He is not thinking straight. Why he is doing all this is beyond me. Kell will take him down, it is clear for everyone to see, except my father. He truly believes he will win this battle and the Kingdoms will be his to command.”
“And what of you?” Emmalyn demanded. “Will you rule by his side as the dutiful son?”
“No,” Thane grunted.
“Then why are you doing this?” she questioned as her tears fell.
“Because my father has a contingency of men watching my every move. He believes I am on his side, but he still does not trust me. He can see the close bond I share with my brother, but he anticipates my betrayal. The men are there to make sure that does not happen.”
“And if it does?” Emmalyn pushed.
“They will kill me and step in to see what I am tasked with done,” Thane growled.
“And what is it you have been tasked to do?” Emmalyn hesitantly asked. She could hear pounding on the door behind them, and she knew the men were trying to reach her.
“I am to kill you,” Thane admitted with a scowl. Before she could cry out in denial, he raised his hand to stop her. “Which I will not be doing.”
While she was trying to figure him out, he gently took her arm and led her away from the door. She had no choice but to follow, even though she still had no idea what to make of him.
“So what exactly are you doing then?” Emmalyn questioned as she wiped at her tears with her sleeve.
“I’m getting you the hell away from here, and away from the men watching me,” Thane declared. “This tunnel ends in an exit to the south of the castle. Many did not know it even existed. I am hoping they will not follow us, although that is doubtful. If we can at least get a good head start, it should be enough.”
“Head start to where?” Emmalyn demanded, as her skin pebbled with goosebumps.
“The portal,” Thane huffed. “I need to get you to safety. Then I can go back and explain everything to Kell.”
“Why not take me to Kell?” she pleaded. “He can help you, and with our combined powers we can dispel the men following you.”
“I can not take the chance they could get to you first. Did you not think I hadn’t thought of doing just that?” Thane admonished. “They would figure out what I was doing and kill us both.”
“I’m pregnant,” Emmalyn whispered as they reached a thick door at the end of the tunnel. Thane sighed as dropped the torch and pushed it open.
“And that only proves to me I am doing the right thing,” Thane declared. Then he pulled her outside and shut the door. “Kell will understand, and if he doesn’t he will kill me. But you and his babe will be safe. And that’s all that matters.”
Then he was taking her hand once more and pulling her towards a horse. There was nothing Emmalyn could do as he lifted her and placed her on the horses back. She was exhausted, and her powers were momentarily gone. All she could do was lean against him. Then the horse was moving, and they left the castle behind.