Hidden Affinity (Book 1)

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Chapter 5: Move Out

Thank you, for continuing to follow along with Aspen’s story!

Aspen’s POV


Father finished telling his side of the story. That one moment had changed the course of our lives forever.

For me, it affected me both physically and mentally. For some reason, the release of my powers triggered a change in my appearance. The flakes in my black eyes that were once gold changed to a snowstorm white. To this day my Father and Terra are the only ones that know the story behind my eyes.

Father told me it was due to accessing my power at such a young age. Causing the color shift for some strange reason. The nagging feeling had a different opinion. For example, my changes didn’t stop there.

When a halfling is born they are practically a full-fledged human besides a few physical traits. As we age we develop enhanced hearing, strength, smell, plus other enhanced scenes. It’s not until we’re in our twenties that we reach maturity, and the rest of our elven traits and magic appear.

It was for this reason and the feeling in my gut that I knew he was wrong. Since that day, I’ve always gotten these nagging feelings that run through my body like a warning, whether it be good or bad. Like the current nagging in my gut that had led me to Van.

The bigger question was, where was it going to take me?

….

My mind was still reeling from all that I had occurred within the last 24 hours.

After Father had finished telling our side of that night. More shocking news just kept rolling in. Adding to the already growing pile of shit. Prince Bane informs us that a group like the one that had attacked our town was forming an extremist group. He doesn’t know if the two groups are related or not. The current group was started by people who weren’t overjoyed with the way the war between the races ended. Even worse the kingdoms were once again on edge. When Bane mentioned this I had been watching father and noticed something pass behind his eyes, something I did not like.

A throbbing headache pounded away at my skull. That much-needed sleep never came to me last night. My nerves were scrambled, keeping me on edge.

I couldn’t even enjoy eating my breakfast. Not that it had much flavor as it was only more dried deer meat. Resting my face in my hands my eyes drifted closed.

“Everything ok?” Terra’s calm voice asked from behind me.

Slouching back into the makeshift wooden chair. “Morning kiddo, ya I’m fine just a bit tired. How are you holding up?”

Scooting around me she sat in the only other chair. It was a tight fit in our small hut of a home but we managed.

“Honestly I’m doing better than I thought, all things considered. After I let it all out the other day, my mind began to accept the reality. As much as it hurts me to say this. It feels easier for me, you know.” she fidgeted with her hands, “I was only four when I lost them both. My memories of that time aren’t as vivid. In all truth, I don’t actually remember much about them.” Her shoulders slumped with her confession. She made it sound like she was a bad person, which was a load of crap.

I have always wondered if this was the case. It saddened me to hear, but at the same time, it was a small relief. Though she doesn’t remember them our mother made sure she would know love in some capacity without her here. I could never replace the mother she should have had, but I could give her the care of one.

Reaching across the table I ruffle her hair, “It’s ok, Ma would be proud of who you are. You’re actually more alike than you know. Her eyes widened, perking up in interest. My lips turned up at the corner, “Especially in the way you rendered Van speechless the other day. When you throw yourself at him. It reminded me of when she used to do that to Father in public. Just to get a rise out of him. He would get all flustered and wouldn’t know what to do. It was so the funniest thing to watch.”

Terra’s face became a mixture of humor and embarrassment. “He was stunned, wasn’t he,” She chuckled. “His body had completely tensed up the moment I landed on his lap. I think we can add crying girls to our brother’s list of weaknesses.”A mischievous grin worked its way across her face. That look meant only one thing. Our pore brother was now going to be our sister’s newest target. Nash for one is going to be happy to hear the news.

Speaking of the big lug. Nash was still tense last night and insisted on keeping guard all night long. Only to pass out this morning. Currently, he is taking a cat nap spread out across the whole floor. Leaving no space to walk.

A rustling came from the entryway as the door flap drew open, revealing our Father. A talk was bound to happen. Last night I was waiting for him to hound me with questions, but it never came. He had been so out of it that I hadn’t even factored into his mind. Honestly, it was for the best. Since I was in the same boat. It seemed that the instant I stepped back into the clearing everything I had been pushing down, shot right to the surface. There was no way I was going to listen to anyone or anything else in that moment without combusting. My powers had been pushing hard to be released. Only after some serious deep breathing and determination did everything become manageable.

I did not need or want to explain how I already had magic at my age. Especially to the group of soldiers who had followed us back last night. It was a secret for a reason and it was going to stay that way.

When my powers first awoke, I had struggled to use them. Every time I tried they would become unstable. Often ending in some sort of disaster with me physically and/or mentally knocked out for the whole day. After being knocked down more times than I can count. Father decided to add meditation into our training sessions. In hopes that it would teach me control. Gradually it began to work. Once I learned how to only access small amounts of my power instead of all of it at once. My learning curb increases substantially. Now the only flare-ups I have are when my emotions become too unbalanced. Even then it doesn’t take much to real it back in.

“Girls pack your things, we’ll be leaving shortly.” My Father commanded, turned around, and just like that he was gone. My shoulders slumped, I guess it was too much to wish for. That for once we wouldn’t have to leave.

Defeated we packed our things. There was no point in arguing with him. He would never change his mind.

Slinging my bag over my shoulders I ushered Terra out ahead of me. Nash followed close behind. I stiffened as my eyes locked onto the group of men surrounding our small home. They sat atop horses. Fifteen soldiers in counting, including the Prince and Van. Following behind them was a horse pulling a supply cart with two more horses tied up behind. Man, I must have been really lost in thought, to not have heard them.

Tingles of anticipation ran through my body. What was this?

“Good morning, I hope everyone slept well?” Prince Bane called out. “We have a long ride ahead of us. Don’t want anyone falling from their horse because they fell asleep. Though I wouldn’t mind spending the ride holding onto a beautiful woman as she slept.” The Prince locked eyes with me. His eyebrows arched in a challenge. All he got from me was a roll of the eye. His playfulness didn’t bother me but the tension I felt rolling off Nash and my Father spoke of their disapproval. Even Van looked a little uncomfortable.

“Morning Prince Bane of Aurum,” My father answered back while doing a slight bow, though he didn’t look too pleased about it. “We are ready to depart whenever you and your men are set.”

Seeing my father act so formal was strange and if my ears were correct he said Aurum. This means Bane is possibly the hair of the biggest kingdom in our world. For some reason, I couldn’t picture it. He seemed too carefree to be a future leader of a kingdom.

“No need to be so formal you may call me Prince Bane. The ladies may call me, Bane if they so choose.” Shooting a wink in our direction. He was sure laying it on thick this morning. Shaking my head at his flirting, only made his smile spread wider. Showing off his perfect pearly whites.

I don’t like him, Nash grumbled as his tail flicked back and forth in agitation.

Patting his side, relax he’s only joking.

“Come we have two extra horses, one for you,” he addressed our father. “And one for your daughters to share.” as if they heard him the horse raised their heads.

Something was off, why would they have extra horses?

Not that it matters, because I wasn’t going to ride either of the two horses. Gripping onto Nash’s fur I swiftly swung myself up. Landing softly on his firm back. Figuring Terra wouldn’t want to ride the horses if I wasn’t, I extend my hand down to help her up. She didn’t hesitate, gripping my hand. I pulled her up with ease. Once situated behind me I turned my attention back to the group noting the slight pout on Bane’s face.

“What?” I shrugged back at him.

He smirked, turning to address Van. “Sergeant White, could you get a horse for your father it seems the girls won’t be needing one.”

As I watched my Father mount the larger of the two horses, reality sunk in. I can’t believe we are actually leaving and for once it isn’t to run away. Was this what had caused the intense nagging feeling to reawaken. It had laid almost dormant for the past couple of years, only to awaken a few days ago. That same day I had been startled awake from a dream, that felt all too real.

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