Freed From Her Spell
For the first week of working for Marco and his wife, Kiaran mostly cleaned. Ryker, however, was learning to paint and play the lute.
They learned the usual, daily routines and they slowly got to know Inari. She was a great cook and only came for lunch and dinner time, leaving in the evening to go home to her husband and two sons.
Kiaran stood in the kitchen, helping Inari ready the plates on the silver tray. “Nilo is around Ryker’s age,” Inari broke the silence between them. “I will bring him with me tomorrow, for Marco’s leave. Usually, we have a little feast and some music and dancing. We like to throw a small party for him.”
“I think Ryker would enjoy that,” Kiaran said.
Ryker barged in, his nose in an old book. “You won’t believe this,” Ryker beamed, looking to Kiaran. “Apparently, a healer is more powerful than a mage!”
Inari looked at him oddly and Kiaran’s stomach grew weak. “The only thing about a healer, though, is all their power is locked up into their healing technique and they don’t have much room to move from that branch of expertise,” he continued. He looked to Inari and said, “I love reading about magic, but I’ve never read this before. It was a shock.”
Inari let out a light, hollow laugh. Kiaran grinned uncomfortably with her. Something was unsettled between them, Ryker’s brow lowering slightly as he noticed. “Ry, why don’t you fetch Marco and Nila? Dinner is ready,” Kiaran suggested.
“Right,” he nodded and darted off.
Inari watched her uneasily for a moment before asking, “Anika...does your son have magic?” Her voice was very hushed, a fear melting across her eyes.
“No,” Kiaran answered more quickly than necessary.
“Oh,” she whispered.
Kiaran could see the look of unease in her eyes and the anxiety in the way she moved her hands. “Do one of your sons have it?” she asked.
“No,” she shook her head, “They do not.” She answered much in the same manner that Kiaran had.
“Inari...What happens if they do have it?” she asked lowly.
Inari stared at her for a long time, lowering a brow. “You do not know?”
“I was in a small town and all we hear are rumors, and we’ve read very little about it,” she explained. “Where I was from, we didn’t have any mages.”
She was silent for a moment before answering, “The queen takes them into her own custody to train them as her magic warriors. If they do not cooperate in any way, she kills them in the streets. Some are hangings, others they are burned, some stoned.”
Kiaran’s heart dropped, her face growing pale. “Are you well, Anika?”
“I--Yeah,” Kiaran nodded anxiously. “Yes.”
That night, Kiaran tried to sleep...But her mind wouldn’t calm down for her to catch the slumber she needed. All the world was alseep it seemed, but her. She rested on her back, her head propped up by several, fluffy pillows.
Her hand sat across her stomach, feeling cold and naked. She missed Nurra curling up with her as she slept. Her brows lowered and her heart dipped into her stomach.
She wanted to hear Davin’s voice; she wanted to feel him sitting beside her, his warmth touching her. Pulling the blanket over her face, she groaned. Her arms ached to pull him into an embrace.
The question begged for answers that she didn’t want to think about. Why did she want his presence? Because he was incredibly handsome and sweet. Why did she miss his voice? Because he always spoke so warmly to her. Why did she want to touch him? Because he was addicting.
She sighed sharply.
She was addicted to a man she might never see again. Her heart was broken. What could she do even if he was free? Chances were, she would die trying to end Sterjia before she could be with Davin. That’s all she truly wanted...was to be with him.
Coming to that conclusion, she felt utterly broken. Lost...Hurt. Tears swelled in her eyes and she wiped them with the balls of her hands.
There was a soft knock at her door and she knew it was Ryker. He couldn’t sleep either.
Quietly, she stood and opened the door. The little boy stood in his baggy shirt and pants, rubbing his hands together to warm them. Kiaran allowed a soft sigh to escape her lips and she stood aside to let him in. She closed the door and watched him quietly make his way to the bed and sit on it.
Finally, after a couple minutes of silence, he looked to her and said, “I cannot sleep.”
“Neither can I,” she admitted, sitting beside him. His legs were crossed on the mattress where Kiaran’s were hanging over the edge. “What is wrong?”
“You know what is wrong,” he said, his voice hardly heard. His eyes locked with hers and he said, “I worry about Davin. Working here is doing nothing, Mother.” Her heart sank as he continued to call her that, seeming fully natural to him. “We aren’t getting the information we need and Davin could be in there starving.” Tears began to form and his voice wavered. “I don’t think we’re doing any good here.”
“I know,” she whispered. She grasped her hands together in her lap, staring at them. “I know,” she cleared her throat. “Davin will have to remain strong for a little while longer.”
“How can you sit for so long?” he hissed, trying to keep from shouting too loudly. “You’ve done nothing but sit since we’ve arrived--” She shot him possibly the angriest glare he’d ever seen from her and he shut his mouth.
“I hate this as much as you do,” she said, her voice deep and shaking slightly. His brows creased. “I hate this. But I cannot do anything without killing one or both of us. Trust in me, Ryker.”
It grew deadly quiet and Kiaran expected to hear a little trill or the clicking of Nurra’s talons on the floor. Though she heard nothing. He was with Estiahn. Kiaran felt alone--all she had was a child who wasn’t even hers.
Ryker sighed shakily and wiped his eyes. “I’m sorry,” he said.
“As am I.”
After another moment of silence, he said, “I figured out how to do Petre’s spell. Would you like to speak to Davin again?”
She wanted to so badly, but she was skeptic to believe it worked even the fist time. She almost didn’t want to say anything because she couldn’t hear him in return. It was like speaking to the thin air.
Wiping her eye before the tear ran down her cheek, she nodded. Ryker stood and she pointed to the dresser. “It is in the top drawer.”
He opened the drawer to find the flower still in perfect condition, wrapped in a thin fabric. Bringing it to her, he sat on the bed again. His little fingers held the glass-like stem, his eyes stuck to the unique petals. “Do you know what you want to tell him?”
“I never do,” she said lowly.
“Are you ready?”
“As I’ll ever be.”
It was quiet before either of them moved; neither of them looked from the flower. They remained motionless, soundless. Finally, without moving, Ryker said, “Perhaps...you should tell him you love him.” Her heart pounded and he shrugged. “That is something I would want to hear, I think.”
A smile shook on her lips and she said, “I am ready, Ryker.”
He uttered a small spell and said, “I put a barrier around us in case someone is listening or looking for magic.” Then, he proceeded with the spell so they could speak with Davin.
Blood was all that remained in Davin’s vision, even as he sat on his cot. His thoughts were mottled, condensed into something like a locked box. All he could focus on was Sterjia’s task: Destroy Pompari. It was a simple town just more than six days away from the capital.
He had done his duty and the city fell within hours. With twelve mages at hand, he believed he could destroy anything in his way. It was late into the night, the burning city days behind them. Yet, it felt as if it had just happened.
Surrounding Davin’s tent were six mages, rotating out when necessary. They weren’t protecting him, however. He was still a captive.
Davin rested his elbows on his knees and held his weaved fingers over his eyes. he breathed in deeply, his chest heaving. Suddenly, there was a pop in his ears and the sounds of the earth died off. There was another loud pop and he could hear a soft fire as if it were in a mantle before him. “Davin,” Kiaran’s voice stung like a hornet.
In the days prior, not a single thought of her crossed his mind. She seemed no more special than any other thing. “Davin, I’m sorry,” she whispered. If he didn’t feel anything toward her, why did his heart ache so badly? “I’m sorry it is taking so long. But I promise I’ll free you--” her voice suddenly was cut short, and after a series of pops, his hearing returned.
To his surprise, Davin was rather rattled. His chest heaved as he attempted to breathe and his hands trembled slightly. Closing his eyes, he sighed heavily. How could he have forgotten? He made a promise to himself...A promise to always cherish her. And he promised he’d return for her.
Cracks broke across the surface of his mental cage. His thoughts seemed to breathe through those fractures and his migraine lessened. It was then that he realized his love to Kiaran was a promise, not just a simple feeling or emotion.
Thus, he cracked, his senses returning to him. Sterjia had forgotten something in her curse, it seemed. Suddenly, his free range of emotions hit him like a cascading waterfall, burying him, drowning him. Tears ran down his face, crashing to his hands and thighs. He had just killed an entire town and so many in Rishana were killed on his part.
He killed so many on behalf of the most evil person--someone far worse than Murdock. Guilt stung like a thousand bites and he muffled his crying, careful that the guards wouldn’t hear.
The realization hit him: He had to continue as if his emotions were obscured so his guards or anyone else wouldn’t notice his curse had been broken. He was fully aware that Sterjia would find out easily, but he’d prefer that she did over the others, for they might kill him. But it was possible that she might as well...The thought twisted his already churning stomach.
The spell broke and the air popped around them like a huff from imaginary lungs. Kiaran blinked once and locked eyes with Ryker. “Do you think he heard us?” she asked.
“I do...” he nodded. “Whether or not he believes it was actually you...I cannot say.” She gently took the flower from him and stood, taking it to the dresser. Her eyes watched it with a long look of dread and fear.
“Why didn’t you tell him...?” he whispered. She glanced over to him, then silently wrapped the flower back up and hid it in the drawer. Quietly closing it, she faced him once more. “Why didn’t you say that you loved him?”
“I never know how long the spell is going to last. It was hardly ten seconds,” she answered. She sat on the other side of the bed and leaned her back to the headboard. “Ryker.”
“Yes?” he asked lowly, still rather upset.
“Would you sleep if you stayed in here?” He nodded his head and she pulled the blankets aside. “Come and sleep.”
Tears formed in his eyes as he climbed into the bed, lying on the pillow. Kiaran gently lied the blanket over him then weaved her fingers together, resting her hands across her waist. He watched her with a warm flow of blood and hot, tired eyes.
She hummed lowly until he slowly drifted into sleep. But before he could fall asleep, he lethargically rested his hand on her elbow just beside him. She looked down to him and he was fast asleep, his little fingers resting on her skin.