But Peace Must End - The Anmah Series Book 2

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Chapter 23

The walk to his parents' home seemed interminable to Ga'briyel, but once he finally reached it, he could feel the love flowing out toward him from behind the door. He opened it slowly and smiled when he saw Sophyra sitting at the kitchen table with Adama on her lap. The baby turned his head to look at his father, and he, too, smiled. Ga'briyel moved to his family and dropped to his knees beside his wife.

Hello, Baba, Adama said in his mind. It is so good to see you. I have missed you terribly.

Ga'briyel rested his head on Sophyra's leg, and both his wife and his son laid their hands on him.

"I missed you both so very much," he whispered, and a single tear made its way out of the corner of his eye and down his cheek to soak into the soft silk of Sophyra's blue dress.

"Shh, my love," she said softly as she caressed his hair. "We are together again, and we will stay together. Forever, Ga'briyel."

"Is that true, my heart? You will never leave me?"

"Never, husband." Sophyra chuckled quietly. "You are stuck with me until you die. Or I do."

Ga'briyel caught his breath. "Please do not say that, my heart. I cannot die, but you and Adama can. There are things out there that can kill you, and I cannot bear the thought of being without you." He raised his head and kissed his son's forehead. "Either of you."

The baby frowned. Has Yisu not told you, Baba? I cannot die, either.

Staring at his son in disbelief, Ga'briyel thought, No? Did he tell you why that is?

He felt a mental shrug from his son, and the boy said, No, Baba. Perhaps it is because I am the son of a Sainika. I was born Anmah, but I am not just Anmah; I am something more.

Yes, my son. You are so much more. I am pleased to know that you cannot die, but your mama can, so we must protect her.

Of course, Baba, but I am still a baby. It will be many years before I can protect Mama.

"Maybe not," Ga'briyel said out loud.

"What just happened, Ga'briyel?" Sophyra asked with a small frown. "You were staring at Adama so intently."

"Does he not speak to you, my heart? He speaks to me in my mind. That is what happened just now. He says he cannot die, but he does not know why. Yisu has not told him."

"Yisu? Yisu speaks to our son?"

"Apparently so." Ga'briyel stood up and held out his hands. Adama reached up and grabbed his father's fingers and pulled himself to his tiny feet, still on Sophyra's lap. Ga'briyel picked him up and nuzzled his son's neck, breathing deeply of his baby's scent, memorizing it.

"But he is just a baby, Ga'briyel. How does he speak to you when he cannot speak yet?"

"I have no idea, Sophyra, but he does. I do not know why he does not speak to you, but perhaps it will happen in time." Ga'briyel sat down on a chair with his son in one arm, and he pulled Sophyra over to himself with his free hand. She sat on his lap, and he held his family close. When Adama yawned a few minutes later, Ga'briyel grinned, pushed Sophyra off his lap, stood, and carried the baby to his room, which was across the hallway from his old room. He laid Adama in his cradle and gently rocked it until the boy fell asleep, his thumb in his mouth. Then he turned to Sophyra. He wrapped his arms around her and backed her out of the room, shutting the door behind him. Once in the hallway, he pushed her up against the wall and kissed her. He only broke the kiss when he heard the outer door open and shut along with his father's voice calling out for his mother. At that point, he moved them to their room, shut the door, and proceeded to spend the next several hours in his wife's arms.

Three days later, after spending one of those days talking with Ma'ikel, Ga'briyel and his family were in the stables awaiting King Tomas and Jarda and the older Anmah. Kumar was stamping on the ground, anxious to be moving again after so many moons being exercised only by the grooms. Taraka and Klyar had been hooked up to a cart that had a soft basket bed in the back for Adama that was lined with the katha blanket Ga'briyel had fashioned. It was a big enough cart that Sophyra and Ga'briyel would not have to sleep on the ground when they stopped where there were not inns to be found. The baby was there now, on his back, gurgling and waving his arms and legs wildly. Ga'briyel stepped up to his son and gave him his finger to grasp. The boy folded his pudgy fingers around his father's digit and pulled himself up into a sitting position.

"You are so very strong, my son," Ga'briyel said with a smile. "It will not be long before you are riding Klyar next to your mama and me. We will have no more need for this cart. And when you are bigger, I will teach you how to fight with your hands and feet and with a sword and staff. Then I will teach you how to shoot a bow. You will be a great warrior someday, just like your father."

"Ga'briyel, do not pressure him," Sophyra said softly. "He is not even a year old yet."
"There is no pressure, my heart. It will happen when it happens." He picked up Adama, kissed his head softly, and turned when his father's voice sounded behind him.
"Just remember he is still a baby, Ga'briyel. Even you were not remarkable until you were six."
"I know, Father. This baby is special, however. I forsee that he will be walking soon after we leave Torkeln and riding soon after that." Ga'briyel looked at his son. "What do you think, Adama?"
I believe you are correct, Baba. I feel as if I could walk very soon. I am not sure I could stay on Klyar quite yet, however.
You are probably right about that, my son. I shall have to get you a sword and staff and bow built to your size. It will be important for you to learn them as soon as possible. You may not be able to die, but I will not see you or your mama hurt because you do not know how to protect yourselves.
Will you get Mama a sword as well, Baba?
Yes, Adama, and I will teach her to use it. If, Yisu forbid, I am not around to protect you, I need to know you can do so without me.
The baby frowned and patted his father's cheek. Where would you go, Baba? Will you not stay with us?
Of course I will, my son, but no one can see the future, and there may be a time when I am not there for you.
"Captain Mistri?"
Ga'briyel's head snapped up from where he was studying his son. King Tomas was staring at him intently. "Yes, sire?"
"Are you sure you want no one else to go with you on this journey? I can gather as many guardsmen as you wish. If you wish it."
"No, thank you, sire. All I need is my family." He hugged his son to his chest. "They will keep me from losing myself." With a sigh, he said softly, "I almost lost myself a few times when they were not with me. I cannot let that happen again, sire." Sophyra smiled at him, and he grinned. "And with my wife and son by my side, it will not happen."
"That is good to hear, Captain. You must stay true to yourself and to Yisu if you are to succeed in your mission. Duniya needs you to stay strong, Captain Mistri. To stay on the righteous path. I know you have struggled with that at times, but you must not falter."
Ga'briyel bent his head respectfully. "I understand what you are saying, Your Majesty, and I will do my best." His eyes went wide when the king held out a large pouch that jingled when Ga'briyel took it.
"For you and your family, Captain. Courtesy of the crown. I do not want you to have to become a hireling in order to make money. You must focus on your task, and this money will help with that. You say you are headed for the Samudra Sea?"
"Yes, sire. Apparently there are three sons of Sayatan in the city of Mahasa. I must destroy them as soon as possible. But first I must find them all. I have a feeling it will not be an easy task. They can hide their nature from me if they know I am coming. They can also hide the nature of the people around them." Ga'briyel frowned. "But I will find, them, sire, and I will kill them. Only twenty-one more to go after those three."
"Then we should let you be on your way, Captain. The sooner you reach Mahasa, the sooner there will be less daemons in this world," Tomas said, and Ga'briyel dropped to one knee before his king and his father. "Rise, Captain Mistri, and may Yisu give you good travels."
"Thank you, sire."
King Tomas disappeared out of the stable, and Jarda stepped up to his son. "You were here such a short time, Ga'briyel. Are you sure you must leave so soon?"
"Yes, Father. Yisu told me I had only three days here, and then I must be headed south. It will take several moons to reach the sea, and Yisu alone knows what horrors the daemons are perpetuating while I travel."
I know, Baba.
Ga'briyel's head whipped toward his son, who was still sitting up in his basket.
Do you, my son? Do not tell me, for I do not want to spend the next moons angry.
I understand, Baba. I will keep the knowledge to myself since that is your wish.
Putting his foot in the stirrup, Ga'briyel swung himself up into his saddle while Sophyra climbed into the seat of the cart and picked up the reins.
"Goodbye, Father. May Yisu keep you and Mama well."
"May He do the same for you, my son," Jarda said quietly, and then Ga'briyel and his family headed out of the stable. Jarda sighed when he thought that it would be moons, or perhaps years, before he saw his child again. "Yisu be with you, Ga'briyel. May He be with all of you."
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