After the unexpected return of Teias and Sunnia, Bossurk seemed slightly vexed or somewhat more nervous. At least Gadrik noticed. Bossurk’s mood seemed fine at times, but all it took was for Teias to appear in his path for the old demon to become completely mute. You could detect his nervousness as if he wanted to say something to Teias, but then he seemed to regret it and left in a hurry. And then, poor Gadrik, he suffered for Bossurk’s anger.
The young demon was now looking for Teias. For a long time, an idea had been in his head: if he could not become a Lord, he wanted to be one of the soldiers. Bossurk always scoffed at his decision. Telling him not to waste the General of the Legions’ precious time with such nonsense. Gadrik decided this time to seek out Teias and ask him to let him join him.
The Throne Room was empty; Gadrik kept searching but found no one. Believing he would find the King in the Abyss first, he manifested there. His body was totally petrified. In front of him, a strange, softly curved woman stood at the Abyss’ edge with her back to him. Her fingers played with the mist swirling between them.
Her flowing hair possessed an irresistible luster. Her clothes were strange. Clothes of a mortal, Gadrik thought.
“Who are you?” Gadrik’s voice made her suddenly be motionless.
The stranger was enjoying her moment alone there, oblivious to how much time had passed.
She turned, and Gadrik gasped. Although he had seen her only a few times, her face clearly belonged to her. “Ragothara?”
The woman who looked so much like the Queen of Demons looked at him strangely.
“Ragothara?” She then spoke. “Who are you?”
“My name is Gadrik. The King must know you are...” But the woman disappeared from there, leaving Gadrik speechless and dumbfounded.
For a moment, he thought maybe it was a trick of his mind. But it couldn’t be. She seemed very real. And besides, the sheer strength and power emanated from her was far too mighty to be a mere high-ranking demoness.
Gadrik materialized desperately in the Ancient Land. Completely forgetting the purpose of his desire to join the legions.
The whispers in the heart of the demon city caught his attention. Gadrik, curious, appeared there, his wide eyes now watching one of the Lords: Stelios.
It was too much of a coincidence. Three of the five Lords showed up out of nowhere, and now Ragothara...
More determined than ever, the young demon went in search of the King.
The days continued to pass, and the leaves of the trees which had fallen away began to grow once more. In the morning, the cool spring breeze was one of those moments that could make one feel most alive just by breathing. At least that’s how it felt to the woman lying in a field of young, damp grass. She had her eyes closed as she enjoyed the sun’s rays touching her face.
This had been her escape for a long time. Lying there, she could only hide from the torture that had haunted her every day since she had returned. Memories had been stripped away, her identity was forgotten. Except for glimpses of a face that remained in her memory. She did not know to whom it belonged, but it made her feel uneasy and hopeful.
Her tranquillity was interrupted when the usual scream of that old woman could frighten even death itself.
She sighed, trying to ignore the voice that kept calling her name over and over again. The old grumpy woman’s hurried footsteps were louder now. Reaching her faster than she thought.
“What have I told you about disappearing like this?” The old woman spoke to her, with hands-on her hips. Her figure blocked out the sun, creating a shadow above her.
She opened only one eye and saw how the old woman seemed in a bad mood this morning. Closing her eyes again, she said, “Agate, I’m not a little girl. I can take care of myself just fine.”
“Then stop acting like one. I’ve told you not to walk away until you don’t-”
She groaned, opening her eyes and standing up. “Yes, yes, I know. Take a look at this place, Agate. We’re in the middle of nowhere. Who’s going to come here?” she said as she pointed with her hands.
“Even if you continue to question what I tell you, many would move heaven and earth to find you if they knew you were alive, Daphne.”
“Are you sure that’s my name?” She said in a mocking tone.
“I’m not going to fall for your absurd games anymore,” Agate replied. “Come on, we have to get started.”
Daphne smiled. The witch was not amused every time she pretended to forget her own name. It was a joke she had been playing on her for a long time. A pity the old woman no longer fell for it.
They both transported themselves to a house made of stones. Smoke billowed from the chimney that heated a cauldron containing soup this time.
“Sit down,” Agate ordered. Daphne pulled two chairs to the middle of the small house, which consisted of two rooms large enough for a small bed to fit inside.
Agate closed all the windows, leaving the house in the shadows.
The two sat across from each other.
“Drink this,” Daphne took the metal cup offered. Swallowing the red and sour concoction once more. According to the witch, the drink would help her relax. “Now, close your eyes and let your mind go blank. Try not to push me out.”
With her eyes closed, Daphne let the witch into the back of her unclouded and confused mind. The witch recited some words in a mysterious language, holding her hands tightly. The already known pressure meant the intruder was trying to break down the mental walls, searching for lost memories. Getting her memory back was like untangling small knots of fine threads, or so Agate perceived it. Little knots that grew bigger as the witch went on.
Agate initially explained how the small knots represented her childhood memories and her family. However, those that were larger and stronger had to do with experiences that had significantly affected her existence.
A few months ago, Daphne had managed to see the face of a young man who was ill and then full of health in her memory. Remembering for the first time a name: James, her brother.
The pressure the witch was exerting was now more acute. A headache was beginning to rise in her temples.
“Agate,” Daphne said.
“Wait...” The witch warned her, finding one of those knots of memories that seemed a little larger than the tiny ones she had managed to untangle months ago.
Daphne groaned, feeling the pain in her head intensify as the pressure increased. Beads of sweat ran down Agate’s neck, almost on the verge of being able to reveal the knowledge to Daphne, who, her lips pressed together, holding the pain like hammer blows, saw a face that was clear and unmistakable. A look that did not belong to the one she needed to know more than any other.
At that moment, images of a forest with dry leaves, her brother sick, and her begging Agate to help her flashed like lights in her mind. A man caused her resentment and hatred.
“Rothvaln,” Daphne whispered, finally feeling Agate leave her mind. “I remember now.”
“Tell me what you saw this time?”
“I remember making a deal with him. Of all the times I killed for him.” Daphne put her fingers to her temples, trying to ease her headache. One memory, in particular, gave her some displeasure. “Did I ever have an intimate relationship with Rothvaln?”
“Why do you ask?” Agate had risen to her feet and was now standing near the cauldron, adding some ingredients to it.
“I remembered how I kissed him. I don’t think I had a thing with him because the memory disgusted me.”
“Your relationship with him was only to get something in return.”
“When will I be able to remember who the other one is? Why don’t you tell me about that face that I keep seeing?”
“I can tell you who he is, but it’s better if you remember for yourself. It’s the only way you’ll understand what he means to you.”
Daphne sighed. Accepting now the mug Agate had given her with another thick, black concoction. “Thank you.” And Daphne glugged it. Her headache begins to ease rapidly, “Will you ever tell me who Teias, Sunnia, and Stelios are?” she asked, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.
“They are the Demon King’s Lords. You still have to get the other Lords out of the Abyss.” Agate pointed the spoon at her.
“Why so much interest and effort in getting them out of there?”
“I’m just trying to help an old acquaintance.”
“You’re not telling me the whole truth Agate. Do you think I don’t notice your particular interest in getting this Teias out of the Abyss?”
“Daphne, some things are best unsaid for now. Someday you’ll know my reasons.”
“There’s something I haven’t told you,” Daphne said.
“When I was pulling the other Demon Lord out of the Abyss, a demon saw me.”
“I didn’t recognize him. He called me Ragothara.”
“I told you to be more careful.” Agate began to reprimand her.
“I don’t understand why I must keep hiding? Why can’t I see my brother?”
“Until you get your memory back, you can’t. At least you are learning to control the power of the Abyss. For some reason, Maret and Myron are still in it. You will return when you are ready.”
“Yes...to the Demon Realm. Probably no one cares if I come back or not.” Daphne stood up, heading to open the windows.
“That’s where you’re wrong, Daphne. The red-eyed demon you see in your dreams is the one who waits for you more than anyone else.”