The female had sat straight up in bed, her eyes wide as the fear seeped from her pores. She’d heard the Valkyrie’s voice. She could smell her. This was bad. Khia had not expected Ashlyn to arrive with what she’d asked for and her presence was making an already tedious moment, worse.
The Ra’vyns had served the Shadows for eons. Messengers to the enemy of dark souls, they were trained to avoid the Valkyries at all costs. So deeply ingrained in their being, a Ra’vyns first instinct was to flee, failing that, they would fight to the death to escape with skills of evading their hunters, beyond compare. There had been many an encounter recorded in the archives and it had never ended well.
Now though, the Ra’vyns were said to be no more. Wiped out for a betrayal so immense, that only one female remained and she was on the top of every hunter’s list. The Valkyries would want her for the knowledge she contained, her Masters, to see to it that the knowledge never saw the light of day; no wonder she was so frightened.
“Do not worry, she will not know you are here!” Khia told the female with a bow of her head. “You are safe!”
With an assurance she hoped would see the young female calmed, she turned to the door and brushed a lock of her short black hair from her face. Ashlyn could not enter the room, and despite the pleas of those who’d commissioned her to find the female, Khia needed all the help she could get.
Opening the door, she hurried out into the dimly lit hall, careful not to let Ashlyn’s eyes glance inside. “We must walk, my old friend!” Khia smiled and taking the tray from her hands, she set it down on a nearby end table.
Ashlyn’s eyes carried with them a warrant of concern. “It is unlike you to harbor things in the shadows!”
“She, is what we must discuss, but not here!” Khia shook her head.
“I know what she is, I can smell her, Khia!” Ashlyn blurted out, cutting through the bullshit.
“Then you should also know, that your presence will only hinder the task at hand.” Khia sighed, making her way towards the balcony doors. “Just now, your voice had her turning to stone.”
“That was not my intent!”
“I know, but she does not. She is young and scared, Ashlyn. To her, you are just another hunter with her name on your list. She will never open up to me if she knows you are near!”
“Who is she?” Ashlyn inquired again with a raised brow. “You know me, Khia, and you know that I would never harm an innocent...”
“Is she an innocent though, to you? To Ellaria?” Khia cocked her head in reply. “Do you see the Ra’vyns as friend or foe, now that they have been disowned by their Masters?”
“You, are beginning to sound like my sister!” Ashlyn glared at her.
“Janice was a brilliant strategist...”
“Janice was a fool who got herself lost!” Ashlyn sighed and shook her head. “I beg you not to make the same mistakes. Do not keep secrets from me.”
“If I were to keep secrets from you, Ashlyn, we would not be having this conversation, now!”
“Then who, is she? What is her name? Who was her kin? Did she have anything to do with Malice?”
Khia could see the worry building within the Valkyrie. It was common knowledge that the dark one, Malice, was of Ashlyn’s own blood and that the wayward female had fallen into the enemy’s grasp. Some pitied Ashlyn, others despised her for not controlling her kin; but none of their opinions mattered, for Khia knew that Ashlyn was her best hope of keeping the Ra’vyns alive.
“Her name, from what I have been told, is Jayde. Twin sister to the rebel, Jayce.”
“Did either of them have anything to do with my daughter’s madness?”
“They served the Shadows, as all Ra’vyns did; but I have no knowledge of her involvement in Malice’s case. All I do know, is that the contract was for two, Ra’vyns...”
“But you only have one!” Ashlyn raised her brow in suspicion.
“Exactly, which means she is all alone in this world with secrets galore trapped inside her mind!” Khia smiled.
“And you mean to unlock those secrets?” Ashlyn asked, but quickly put her hand up. “No, I should not ask for specifics in my sister’s plans!”
“What makes you think Janice ordered the contract?” Khia looked surprised.
“Who else would make you hide your actions like this?” Ashlyn replied with a cocked brow and a chuckle as she pulled her long dark fair from her face. “I know my sister is out there, somewhere, and that when she can communicate, she does; I just wish she would reach out to me for once!”
“Your sister loves you, Ashlyn. She does not want you to suffer for any of her actions, but what she does, must be done if this war is ever to end. There are things at play here, that no one truly understands but her.” Khia smiled again, “So, when she asks that I care for this Ra’vyn, I must do as requested.”
“Then I will help you!”
“You do not have to do this, Ashlyn. She would not want you to get involved. Protecting the Ra’vyn...”
“I have protected my sister’s secrets for eons, what is one more added to the list?” Ashlyn chuckled. “No one need know of my involvement, not even Janice.”
“A silent benefactor?” Khia was surprised, to say the least.
“Just tell me what is needed!”
“She will need a place to stay, to live and work like any normal being!” Khia replied. “She will need some place safe to call her own.”
“I have a place in mind, close to my own sanctuary and yet not too close to cause panic!” Ashlyn smiled in reply, brushing a loose lock of dark hair from her eyes.
“Then see it done, my friend, and know that your services will never be forgotten!” Khia closed her eyes and lay a kiss upon Ashlyn’s lips. “You have always brought me sound advice, now let me offer you some...”
“Oh?” Ashlyn replied with a sigh.
“Your daughter readies herself in the Guild’s moonpools. Go to her, relax and enjoy her special day. Let me, deal with this issue for now!”