04 | hoaxed
Things had been really hectic around Xaeleaxus.
What Lothaire didn’t understand was why the Ravens were forcing the council to find the travelers as soon as possible.
The council had their ways of investigating but the Ravens had to meddle in that too. They wanted the travelers to be handed off to them instead of the top council and Ravens, being one of the originals families, had their wishes taken seriously by the head of the top council, Caesar.
But Lothaire stood in between, being curious as he always had been, he wanted to find them first and luckily both the travelers that had invaded the land had to have landed in his territory.
Unfortunately, the first traveler was clever enough to run away from his grasp but the second one was finally caught.
“Sire.” Hale marched into the Oubliette where Lothaire had been patiently waiting for the prisoners to be brought to him, those who had been caught a day earlier, “It has been three days since the girl was caught. She has been given little to eat and drink. There were no unusual signs. She is not supernatural.”
“Are you sure?” Lothaire furrowed his brows at Hale. Hale nodded confidently. Being one of his most trusted men, Lothaire believed Hale’s words more than anything, “Then why are the Ravens so keen on finding her?”
“I do not know sire,” Hale quickly replied.
“Find out and find out to keep minimum contact with the Ravens until then.” Lothaire knew very well of the Raven and how powerful they were. Everything in their realm had started from them.
He stood up and ordered a few guards to bring the prisoner to the throne room. It was finally time for him to meet whoever the Raven had been wanting.
“I know that you are worried, sire. But what if the council discovers that you have hold of one of the travelers?” Hale said while they walked towards the throne room.
“What if they get hold of the other traveler before us?” Lothaire added with a smirk.
Hale couldn’t help but laugh with him. The throne room seemed purportedly different than usual. Whether it was the crowd of people whispering or the presence of the traveler that had made the change Lothaire wasn’t sure.
He walked straight up the throne without even glancing at the people that were bowing to him or the girl bent on her knees at the center of the room shivering at his arrival. He could feel her muscles tense from the distance.
He sat lavishly on the oversized chair and asked, “Is she the one?”
“Yes, my lord.” One of the guards holding her down answered.
The girl immediately looked down before Lothaire could even glance at her. Her brown hair was hanging on the sides of her face. He couldn’t move his eyes from her. There was a sudden urge to see her face that dawned over him.
“What about the other traveler? How’s the search going?” He immediately turned to Hale to drift his attention elsewhere.
Hale turned to him and answered, “The other one seems to have entered The Blazemen’s territory, sire.”
Hale’s eyes were constantly shuffling between Lothaire and the girl, with a hint of worry glued on his eyes.
“You’ve done a good job, Hale.” Lothaire sighed moved up from his seat.
“Thank you, sire.” Hale walked out of the room with two of the guards.
He walked down to her. She didn’t look up. She was afraid he could tell by the way she was shivering, “Look at me.” He said.
The guards stepped back and she finally looked up at him. He was immediately caught off guard at the incredible beauty of the prisoner. She had ocean green eyes and plump rosy lips. Her body was slender and skin slightly tanned.
Her eyes were so familiar yet he didn’t understand why. He was sure that he hadn’t met her before.
He was feeling equally scared. He had encountered so many women, be it a noble or a commoner, but no one had ever caught his eyes the way she had and that too a human but it wasn’t the scary part. What scared him at that moment was that she was an intruder from a different realm who was being searched by one of the most powerful witches clan of the realm.
He might have to hand her over but he let that thought slip his attention drifted from her ocean green eyes to the marks visible over her cheeks like something had pierced her soft skin.
′Why do you smell so familiar?′ He looked at her, puzzled when her scent reached his nose and he inhaled deeply. ′I want to taste her... drain her without dropping a single drop of blood’. Her scent was so intoxicating that was hardly bearable to him, a thousand-year-old vampire who had always restrained from the blood of innocents.
“Luna,” She said looking up at him. Her eyes seemed so innocent and filled with tears.
“Where are you from?” Lothaire felt his heart weaken but he didn’t let his guard off.
“Manhattan,” Her voice was shaking and she hesitantly looked around.
He had never heard of a place like that. ‘She is a traveler.’ Lothaire reminded himself.
“Right!” Her words came out as a whisper and she rolled her eyes.
The one thing that no one had ever dared to do in front of him was, roll their eyes and seeing her do so boiled his blood and a wave of sudden anger took a toll on him, “You seem to have fun in the dungeon that you hold the audacity to talk to your king like that?”
“Bu- But I didn’t... I-” she started stammering and Lothaire cut her off, “Tell me. Why are you here and how?”
“I am clueless as you are.” Lothaire caught himself wishing that what she had said was true but he didn’t want to prove himself to be foolish enough to trust her.
Moreover, he was not liking the sight of her being stared by every man in that room or even women, “Take her back to the dungeon and lock her up. I shall be there in a while.”
He then hovered out of the room to the Oubliette.
Hale had already been there. He stood across one of the ground holes in the prison cell.
“Who is that?” Lothaire asked walking near the trap door.
Dungeons were better, unlike oubliettes that had no other escape than the trap door of the ceiling. Oubliettes were suffocating spaces that were equal to being in a vacuumed space.
They were peaking through the tiny window, watching an old lady seated leaning onto the wall with a teen lying on her lap.
“Were they the ones?” Hale nodded.
′So much to save someone you don’t even know and jeopardize your own life? What was the use?′ He was shocked himself at the audacity of the woman and her child.
He was the one who had allowed him to stay in his territory a few years back. She was a runaway with a child of six months with her and had nowhere else to go.
Lothaire walked out of the Oubliette with Hale and walked over to the dungeon where Luna was.
“Stay here.” He ordered Hale and entered the cellar.
She was sleeping cowering onto one corner of the confined space, leaning onto the dirty walls. The walls never looked dirty to him until then.
He knelt down and ruffled through the hay on the ground and cursing himself at the back of his mind he turned to her.
He couldn’t help but admire her features. It was filled with so much innocence but all of which Lothaire knew was a hoax.