SEBASTIAN - Calisto Assists
WaterRose, Meadow Mountain, Grier Country
Sebastian crossed the foyer to the stairs but saw the library door open and glimpsed Elsabet sitting within.
In my chair of course. The great red and gold construction was plush and comfortable.
A book rested in her lap. She was absorbed staring into the dancing flames from the endless fire.
Does she notice I warm every room here for her?
She went back to leafing through the volume.
Still trying to find my story. He knew.
She grew further frustrated when she couldn’t. Rising in a huff, she returned that one to grab another before returning to the chair.
Bast veered to the stairs on the far side of the dais to keep from disturbing her. Deciding on his more comfortable chamber upstairs, he slowly climbed the steps. Keeping her in view until he’d rose too high to see in the door any longer.
Back in the library, there was a grating sound as a book clunked to the floor in a puff of dust.
Elsabet’s eyes narrowed in curiosity. She popped up and went to pick it up. Sweeping dirt from the leather cover. Hearing a sound, her eyes flew to the end of the aisle between the shelves.
A beautiful dark-haired woman stared at her from the deepest corner.
Elsabet squinted through the dark, seeing the woman’s hazy outline hovering inches above the floor. The room eerily silent.
“Who are you?”
“Find him.” The voice was strained. Far away. Hard to discern, even for Elsabet’s unearthen ears.
“Who are you? Him who?” Elsabet demanded. Gasping when she saw her breath crystallizing. The room suddenly impossibly cold.
“Calisto…Find Raese.” She wailed slowly, brokenly. It drained her to say his name. She shimmered then faded as dust settled. She’d used the floating particles to make herself visible.
Elsabet stared into the emptiness, averting her attention back to the book in her hands. The cover said, ‘The Book of Immortals’. Thick leather decorated with interweaving vines and roses. She recognized the depiction as the emblem found throughout the castle. Covering doors and tables, even the drawbridge. She drew a breath, realizing what she likely held.
“Thank you.” Elsabet held it reverently as she made way back to her chair to read. It told of men who’d been born and raised in the Upper Lands, the world above Ardae, who’d found their way into Ardae to avoid a second persecution.
“What?” Her eyes poured over the pages, mesmerized.
It told of the woman-creature falling from the sky in a shroud of blinding light. With her last breath she felt a love beyond the constraints of mortality.
One look at her and the Captain was irrevocably taken. Lifting her to his arms.
Another knight fell at the Captain’s feet, clinging to one feathered wing which hung limply from her shoulders. He offered his life for the sacred creature dying in the Captain’s arms. When he did, he still clenched the reins of his stallion.
She gave them all immortality. Turning them into the Aeternus Tutela, Eternal Guardians. Frozen as they were for the rest of time. Forever Knights.
Elsabet neared the bottom of the parchment page, crying out upon reading the name of the Knight, and the name of his war horse, Sivikon.
Sebastian Bodane. Greatly empowered as a gift for his intended sacrifice.
“Forever Knights.” She whispered thoughtfully. The book slipped from her fingers.
What’d she say? Bast shot to his feet in his chamber. She’d been murmuring to herself. But where’d she get that?
Elsabet heard the thudding of someone running down the stairs so loudly it almost sounded like they fell.
“No!” Bast skid through the doorway of the library. Eyes widening on the book still falling to the floor. Slow motion to his eyes. He outstretched a hand in a movement too fast for her to see.
He was suddenly next to her and lifting the book in a flattened palm. Rage written all over his face. Blue-green eyes glowing in the firelight. Skin nearly translucent. Revealing the shadows of his skull underneath. As the creatures moved under his flesh.
Finally, he asked in a dangerous tone. “How’d you find this?”
You couldn’t have done it alone.
I don’t believe the other knights would’ve shown you.
She knew to answer carefully. She thought he wouldn’t believe her.
Why won’t I believe you?
The roaring flame doused in a puff of smoke. His warm eyes hardened to infinite gold stones. “What won’t I believe?”
“Get out of my head.”
Through his predator’s eyes he saw fine hairs all over her prickling. The room was silent, but he exuded anger so fluidly he might as well have been roaring. His eyes never left her, as he decisively shut the book in his palm.
“Woman!” He shouted. “How much did you read?”
She leapt to her feet at his raised voice. Toppling the chair. Body quivering and eyes lighting red like burning coals. Brown moved from the roots of her hair to the tips chased by layers of white as it decided on a color.
He invaded her mind.
“You’re scared of me.” He calmed, eyes turning turquoise again.
The sudden rush of water outside drew her attention. The river walls of WaterRose flooded again. “Did you stop the water?”
The room brightened, and the warm glow of the fire returning.
She blew a heavy breath. “You’re calm now?” She edged away warily.
Calm is a bit strong for it.
His face no longer showed the shadows of his skull. His eyes remained on her, still watching her every movement like a wild cat ready to pounce.
“What’d make you think that I’d hurt you? You’ve stabbed me, shredded me and nearly eviscerated me-never have I touched you to harm.”
She looked away, recognizing the truth of his words. “It’s not you.” She murmured so quietly she was sure he couldn’t have heard her.
But I did.
“Then who?” He asked softly. Leaping on the subject.
“A shadow in my past.”
“Is it he that makes you hold your anger so close?” He probed.
She nodded slightly, not meeting his permeating gaze.
“What’d he do to you?” He pressed her boundaries. Surprised to find most of her reservations lowered.
She shot him an angry look.
And now it’s over. He sighed.
“What concern to you, is the past of your captive?” She lashed out.
He was taken aback by her sudden attack. “It’s the past of the woman I wish to know.”
“You think to taunt me?” At his blank look she surged on. “I don’t care about your little kindnesses!”
She’s attacking for the sake of building the distance back. He refused to rise to her baiting.
She scrambled for another excuse. “You wouldn’t be faithful if I were yours!”
Where’d that come from? I’d be faithful to a mate. Shadows crossed his face and flames in the fireplace spat as they climbed over the mantle. Cloying fingers charring the walls to claw the ceiling. Roaring behind him and illuminating his ominous face.
He appeared much more then human with his broad-shouldered, muscular frame outlined by licking orange and red firelight. His square jawline and the straight bones of his cheeks jagged in his severe expression.
In turn she was a halo of silver and gold. Firelight tossing a glow over her soft skin. Making her seem incredibly tempting to touch.
He closed in.
She reflexively backed up until her legs encountered the chair. Teetering, she fell into it. He leaned over her and gripped the twining gold armrests.
“You don’t know me at all, Little Harpie! I’m a breed of the most loyal kind.” He tilted his head to look at her. “When a man becomes my brother, I’d pay my life for his. If I chose to take a woman as mate, she’d be the only woman I’d lie with.” He growled low in his throat.
His face distorted, shaping into something with an elongated snout and glittering gold eyes. The walls around her quivered and dissipated briefly as though nothing more than a mirage. The ground quaked and they settled back into place again.
“I don’t have to explain myself to you!” He massaged his temples a moment before he rolled his shoulders and straightened.
“Then why did you?”
Because I wanted to!
“I don’t toy with you. My interest is genuine, tangible. You fascinate me and I’m sure if you opened your heart to me, you’d have me as putty in your hands.”
Her confusion was apparent. Rising from the chair she held it carefully before her. Opening her mouth to speak.
Then suddenly she wound around him and headed out the library door. Dully taking the steps up to the second floor.
Stepping from the library, he watched her climb the stairs in her dreamlike state.
Shaking his head, he went back in the library to carefully hide the book on the back of a different shelf.
How’d she find it?
He allowed her free reign of this room due to the certainty she’d never locate it. Someone helped her.
With a sinking stomach he looked around the room. Scanning every corner for orange-eyed nonis. Nothing.
His shoulders straightened. He shifted in the aisle between the shelves. “Calisto?”
He felt the smallest flicker of energy. Maybe her?
He waited. Watching carefully. Nothing.
“Why? Why betray me? Why show her?” His voice was wounded even to his own ears.
He thought he heard a tiny voice whispering a word. So, faint it could’ve been the wind, “Merlinus.”
“What?” He turned looking for her. “Raese? I don’t understand.”
She said nothing more.
“Why would you talk to her but not to me?”
Only silence filled the library. The energy gone.
If she was here…She’s not any longer.