03 Aszurya Death-Rose
The wind blows softly against my skin as I stare up into the light sky. My hair, now down to my knees, flows freely around my body as I sit on this lonely tree branch and let my legs dangle. This tree has been dead for a while now, abandoned by most wildlife. There’s no magic or life running through its bark. I could bring life back to this tree, bring the animals back to this part of the forest, but Aiden would kill me for wasting such energy. Or at least try to
Speaking of the guy, I turn around and scan my surroundings for my trainer. I can’t even sense his heartbeat. Where in Hell’s Heart did he go? We stopped an hour ago so he could ‘take a piss’ but he never came back. Maybe I should keep on going without him. I’m sure he can catch up to me. Eventually. Just as I stand up, I feel his presence right next to me.
“I thought you weren’t going to show up. I was just about to leave you behind.”
“I could tell. Didn’t know you were in such a hurry.”
“I’m not, I was just getting bored. So what called you away, hmm? I would say you had to take a shit but that doesn’t take an hour.”
Aiden turns me towards him and stares me in my eyes before leaning closer and kissing me softly on the lips. He’s helped heal me in more than one way. After everything with that guy, I wasn’t stable. When we left two years ago Aiden told me that he would make me stronger than any other could. I didn’t think that included healing my mental psyche.
I smile against Aiden’s soft lips and kiss him back before pulling away. I laugh at his ferocious growl before extending my wings and taking off. Aiden’s laughter carries with the wind as he joins me in the sky. We fly for the rest of the day, not taking any breaks after that one.
To my surprise, the manor is just as I remember it to be: filled with strange memories. Nothing has changed and I miss nothing about this mansion. Aiden flies as close as our wings allow trying to make eye contact with me but I just ignore him. Sure, it was my idea of coming back now but doesn’t mean I have to actually miss this place. And it doesn’t mean I have to let him in about the horrors of this place.
I sigh heavily as the mansion entrance comes into view. Taking in the iron spires of the roof, I briefly recall many nights just standing on one looking up into the world. Trying to find some semblance of sanity. I land softly on the ground and wait for Aiden to do the same. Thankfully, none of the staff have noticed us yet. My lips turn downwards as I walk up the marble stairs and ring the doorbell, a loud scream piercing the air.
“Are you sure about this? I could warp us right back to our spot in the woods. No one would ever know we were here.”
The door opens up to reveal my family’s butler, Francisco. The weather old man seems to have aged even more since our last encounter. His hair, still full and voluminous, has completely greyed save a few darker stranges. Wrinkles have begun to appear as he begins to reach my grandmother’s age. But his blue eyes are still as brilliant as ever with that beautiful green ring around his irises. The old man smiles and raises his grey eyebrows at me showing his surprise.
“Lady Aszurya! What a surprise it is to see you here. Happy Birthday!”
I smile and bow my head slightly. It just so happens that I’m not a fan of my birthday. Usually, I avoid seeing my family because of their unwelcomed enthusiasm but I felt the need to come home now. I allow Francisco a hug before stepping foot into the place I called home for the first 15 years of my life. If I’m being honest with myself. I’m not sure what I consider home anymore.
As soon as the door shuts behind Aiden and me, I hear my mother’s voice come closer, her breathing patterns and heartbeat slowly becoming louder in my ears. If I put my mind to it, I can even hear the slightest movement of her body. Anything that affects the air I’ve trained myself to hear. But that’s nothing compared to the numerous feats of my training.
“Aszurya! I thought that might be you. How are you, Parf Doni? Come give me a hug. I haven’t seen you in years.”
I stand still as my mother walks towards me babbling on about how I’ve changed and how I look different. I personally don’t think much has changed. Sure my hair has gotten longer but that’s about it. Though, I haven’t really looked in a mirror in a long time.
Looking over my mother’s head (I inherited my father’s height as did my brothers), I see several members of my family coming towards me, including my baby brother James. Releasing my mother, I lift up James and hug him tightly. He was barely a few months old when I left 2 years ago. Now he’s a toddling two-year-old with light blonde hair. Strange since our parents both have darker hair.
“Hey, baby James. I remember when you were just a little newborn. You couldn’t do a thing.”
I laugh and nuzzle my nose against his soft smooth skin. Every one of my siblings takes turns hugging me and marvelling over absurd changes. Miniscule really. Ana pointed out how I’ve gotten skinny and even Matt said that I looked different. I’ll see eventually, I suppose. Maybe after a long hot shower and a nap or a feast even.
“Mother… Is Father here? In the manor?”
My mother nods her head and gestures towards the office area. I nod my head in response and begin up the front stairs. It doesn’t take me long to recognize his breathing patterns. My own begins to skip beats at the thought of seeing his face after so long. The offices have always been placed towards the front of the manor, as a way of signifying our riches to the visitors who meet with us.
Hesitating, my steps falter upon seeing his door and knock softly on the white wood. The floor seems to have just been polished, shining and reflecting just a small portion of the room behind the door. The barrier between us swings open at my father’s command, leaving me to feel defenceless as I stand in the middle of the doorway watching the man. He beckons for me to come in without looking up from the packet of papers in his hand. It’s obvious my return means nothing to him.
“Father… I am home.”
He finally looks up and into my eyes which reflect his own. Something warm floats over me, killing another part of my heart once more. My demons stir once more as the sensation settles deep in my stomach.
“Yes, I see that. Am I right to assume that you have excelled in many ways?”
My father stands up tall behind his desk and squares his shoulders before approaching me. I lower my head, avoiding his dark gaze, knowing that he will still be disappointed in me. There is no changing that. I will always be a failure in his chauvinistic eyes. My father’s golden wedding band shines as he raises his bronze hand up to my face, cupping my chin softly. He tilts my head up so I have no choice but to look him in his harsh green-black eyes.
“A Death-Rose is never submissive. You should know that, Ey Parf Nuyel.”
I can’t help but smile at his old nickname for me. To my utmost surprise, my father wraps his arms around my shoulders capturing me in a tight hug. After tensing, I simply relax into his body, wondering why this is happening. Frowning, my twin hearts begin to hurt at the amount of emotion building up deep inside both of them.
“Why are you doing this, Father?”
“Because I’ve missed you. Aszurya, when you left I realized that I hadn’t been the best father that a girl like you needs. Sure, you are not what I wanted you to be, but you are still my creation and daughter. I should have been there for you when your heart broke instead of locking you up in a dark cell. I was wrong and I hope that it isn’t too late to be forgiven.”
“I don’t know. I’ve changed a lot in the past two years. I’m not the same broken girl that you kept inside of a dark cell.”
“I know. So why don’t we start over now? Let me treat the way I should have before. Come have dinner with me tonight in my private dining room. I would love to hear about your accomplishments.”
I step away from the man in front of me wondering if I am in a dream or not. This couldn’t be a dream. I’ve never dreamt of anything with my father being so nice to me. I don’t know whether to take him seriously or not. I could put on a facade and feign my belief while watching to see if this is a joke or test.
“Fine,” I say giving in after some deep contemplation. As soon as this gets fishy, I’m shutting it down. I may have built myself a new thicker wall but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its weaknesses. But I’ll strengthen those holes too.
I turn around and walk out of my father’s office to find my trainer leaning against the wall staring off down the hallway. I rest my arms on his shoulders, tangling my fingers in his shoulder-length hair and press my lips against his.
“Come on, let me show you the training grounds.”
“That’s not what I really want to see.”
I roll my eyes and warp both of us into the fields outside. My oldest brother is pounding away at Will, not letting up. I can almost see the steam coming off of Chris’s body as he lets loose countless punches against Will’s violet shield. When I look at Aiden, I can tell just how impressed he is with my brothers. It’s all in his cold eyes. Impressed he may be, but I know that he believes I can do better.
Just as I am about to lead my trainer away from the boys, I receive a fire message from an old friend asking me to meet him in one of the major cities. I burn a message into the air with my finger before kissing Aiden briefly, telling him I’d be back.
Turning away from my trainer, I close my eyes and warp out of the training grounds and into Facies. As soon as my body rematerializes, I spot a familiar green face speaking with a person whose identity is concealed. Narrowing my eyes, I try to make out who the person might be but just as I do Alaric notices me watching.
Damn, I think to myself as Alaric pulls down the hood even farther on the masked figure and sends him in the opposite direction, whispering something in English. Hmm…. Why would Alaric feel the need to use English in this realm when we have our own language? One that he is most fluent in. I re-warp myself in front of Alaric and stop him from moving anywhere.
“Who was that?”
“Hello to you too, old friend. How have you been?”
I ignore his sarcasm and hug the overly feminine man while scanning the area for his mysterious companion, coming up more than empty-handed. If I had some type of trait I could narrow it down. I can’t even trace the noted breathing patterns with so many people bustling about. It’s like ear-rape paying attention to these fools. Taking a deep breath, I temporarily give up on the search, finally noticing the way Alaric smells.
“Why do you smell like that?”
“Do I smell bad?” The warlock gasps, alarm written all over his face.
“No. It’s not bad. It’s just… different. Almost familiar… ”
“Aren’t I familiar?”
“Yes, but this isn’t a ‘you’ type of familiar. I don’t know. Forget it. How have you been?”
“Oh, great! Thanks for finally asking.”
I roll my eyes and lead my friend to a less crowded area. Pulling him into a shop, I sit down at a table near the large window and relax my muscles a bit, taking a deep breath just like Aiden would tell me to do instead of getting flustered from the interactions.
“So, why did you call me into this city?”
“I was passing through and just wanted to see you before going off on an adventure. I see we are still doing the face mask thing.”
I roll my eyes once more and toy with my half mask, feeling just a tad bit self-conscious. “You act as if this is ever going to stay off.”
“It stayed off at one point,” Alaric whispers under his breath, avoiding my gaze. I swallow hard and stare out of the window as an awkward silence settles between the two of us. “How are your hearts, anyway?”
I look down at my chest and shrug my shoulders. Two years back, my heart broke into two separate pieces that still beat together. I haven’t sought out anyone to try to put them back together. The pain keeps me sure of my existence. “They’re fine. I have the occasional chest pain but it’s nothing I can’t deal with.”
Alaric nods his head letting the same silence slip between us. I retrace our conversation, knowing that I had a question to ask him. When it comes back to me, I gasp and my body jolts with a start, startling Alaric. This is my chance to figure out something about Alaric and that mysterious guy. It sure as hell wasn’t a girl. No one is that tall. Not unless you have Fae blood or are from the Icelands.
“You said you were going on an adventure. Where to?”
“Oh, just the dream court. I need to speak with Nadia.”
“Why would you need to speak with Nadia?”
“She’s not yours to keep, you know. I was sent a dream omen.”
“That’s why we are going to see Nadia. To find out what the dream was about. See if we can get some clues as to what to do.”
I smirk and watch Alaric as he slips up. Slowly, he catches his mistake and covers his mouth with a green hand. Before he can even try to fix his mistake, I wave it away and lean with my chin in my hands, suddenly intrigued. Obviously there’s a secret here. Maybe he’s found some lover. Is it too much to hope that he got over Diamond?
“So there’s a ‘we’ now, huh? How interesting. Do tell the identity of this mysterious man that is visiting the Dream Court with you.”
“It’s no one. I’m going by myself.”
“You know, I could just stalk you in secret and find out who the person is, right?”
“Yes, but you don’t have the time for that. And you wouldn’t want to know who this mysterious other being is as you put it.”
I roll my eyes and walk with Alaric out of the tea shop. I’ll get it out of him somehow. There are plenty of ways to get information out of the guy. Plus, it’ll give me something to think about when I’m not being smothered by my mother.