“You really are boring, aren’t you?” Maisura laughed at him. “Seriously, it couldn’t have hurt that badly!”
He’d opened up to her, and now she was doing what she always did, she made fun of him for it. This was how Mai coped with things. Sarcastic as fuck and didn’t give a shit about anything, in public; but behind closed doors there was another story. Another female. Mai had seen her own share of hells and laughing in the face of fear and defeat was her way of overcoming the grief that followed.
A badass on the outside, the biggest thorn in the briar patch, but once that veil was shed, she was as pure and fragile as, well, a Petal. Even now, Ahlex could see her concern hidden beneath that smirk. She was just as hurt as he was, and that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. Maisura hated Belvaya just as much as Bel hated her. So alike and yet, you couldn’t put them on the same planet, let alone in the same room.
“She has always had to learn the hard way!” Mai smiled softly. “It is in her nature, an outcast, forced to make her home among other outcasts. No real family, no real hope. She’s an assassin, Ahlexander, a toy to satisfy a handful of your needs, but she will never be what you want her to be!”
“I didn’t want her to be anything, but honest!” He reminded the female who sat next to him with drink in hand. “I never once tried to change her. I followed her orders, kept her crew in line and graced her cabin with my presence...” His words drifted off.
“But you would never be equals. She does not know how, my Lex!” Maisura sighed. “It is sad, but it is true. Belvaya is a rogue, what some here on Earth would call a lone Wolf. They will fight, they will survive, but they will never function as part of a pack. She was raised by killers and thieves, she knows nothing more, nothing less!”
It hurt like hell, but it was so true. Belvaya never knew her mother or her father, or at least, that’s what she told everyone, even Ahlexander. How was he to know if that was true or not? She said she was half Vampire, half, something else. She said she was old, very old. She said she had no family, nothing bound her to any specific place. She said, she said, she said...
“It will pass!” Mai spoke, but his eyes were closed, his ears ringing, he couldn’t concentrate on anything but the clashing of swords and shields below.
“I’ve got to let loose!” He mumbled.
“Excuse you?” Mai let out. “What was that?” She added as he looked up, only to find a sword in her hand.
“You planned this? You brought me here...”
“To unleash the anger within you!” She grinned. “Do you really think I would let you meet her like this? All, frustrated?” Mai laughed and held the sword out. “She is fragile, Ahlexander, she needs to feel safe if she is going to go anywhere with you!”
“Who?” He growled, accepting the sword with a glance at the fighting pit below. “If I am fighting for her, I should at least know her name!”
“And when you win this fight, he will tell you her name!”
“He?” Ahlexander frowned and followed her finger across the way.
“I have given him instructions, he will know where to find his brother and will take you to him, if, he thinks you are worthy enough.”
Bloody hell. There was always a catch when working with Mai, in the bedroom or on the battlefield, it was always something to make things what she called, interesting. Nephrami, was beyond interesting, reporting to none other than Belvaya herself. So, what was the bastard doing here? Did Mist send him?
“So many questions, my Lex. Rest assured, all will be answered, when you win!” Maisura grinned at him.
Well, across the pits stood a rather sinister looking fellow with thick, dark skinned arms crossed over his chest. Shit! The male was massive at the best of times and now it seemed the only way to get where he needed to be, was through that Angel.
“You know, she’s probably already fallen in with some lush in that Guild of hers. You know how they get there...” Mai let out and Ahlexander’s mind turned back to Belvaya.
That was all he’d needed to hear, for he knew it was true. Belvaya wasn’t so much a whore, but she loved to fuck. He’d shared her with many, both male and female, but the thought of her with another, on her own, was enough to put him in rage mode. He didn’t need the stairs, for a moment later, his opponents found him before them, cloak off and armor bared for the world to see.
“What, you were expecting a street fighter?” He laughed as they stood before him with jaws dropped.
“Your kind, are not welcome here!” One of them let slide.
“Then perhaps you should try and remove me!” Ahlexander grinned at him and stood his ground.
“Dammit!” Kordahn hissed, his hand reaching for his head.
It had been years since he’d felt the pull, his kin so far from their native lands that he’d all but lost hope in seeing either of them again. He was their brother, their protector, and he’d lost them. But now, as he stood in the halls of the ruined manor, his heart aching with the sudden presence of thought, he took solace in the fact that one of them was remembering.
“What it is, my heart?” She found him leaning into a wall, his head in his hands as he shook like a leaf.
“She’s remembering!” He muttered out loud, emotions swallowing him up like the sea does a wreck.
“Navina?” Khia whispered, her heart in her throat.
No one had seen her since the day she was taken from that meadow. Their father had fought so hard to get her back, to reunite his family, safe from the clutches of the enemy. He’d succeeded, for a time, but that fateful day had marked the end of Foran’s hope, and he too had disappeared.
“Marena!” He replied with a sigh and Khia stood her ground.
That, was a whole other story. Khia knew what had befallen Marena. They all did, which meant, this was either a lie, or a trap. Kordahn’s sisters may have both disappeared from the meadow that day, but Marena’s fate was known far and wide, for the Mistress of the Masters was known for doing their bidding, against even her own.
“It’s not what you think, my love! They would never allow her to know the truth! She is one of them, Kordahn!” Khia tried to assure him, watching as he shook his head back and forth.
“She is my sister, Khia!” He snapped back at her. “And she’s remembering, I can feel it! Whatever is happening, whatever they’ve done to her, she now knows!”
Whether it be wishful thinking or the slim chance that it could be true and that somehow, Marena had managed to fight back her Host...
“We have other things, bigger things to deal with, my love! She, in there, needs to be protected from Marena. She needs to be trained, by you!”
“But why? Why does it have to be me?”
“Because I trust no other!” Khia gazed up at him. “You, are the other half of my soul, Kordahn, I trust you, above all and I cannot see her into the hands of another, not when she has suffered so much already!”
With a low growl, knowing it was true, he slumped into the wall even further. He knew what he’d felt, Marena was remembering, but he also knew that it would take a hell of a lot more than a few memories to undo what the Eno’tai had done to his sister.
“If I do this, then you will help the others find Malice and complete Mist’s plan!” His voice was dim. “If I train the Ra’vyn, you will do what you can to see them all freed!”
“The Guild exists to serve no other purpose, my love. The Petals will gather the secrets needed, even if it takes a century. We will find a way to defeat our enemies and bring home those trapped in their midst.” She assured him, coming before him with a smile and tilting his head with her finger beneath his chin. “We will bring them all home. Malice, Marena and Navina.”
That last one was going to be hard to do. She’d had Petals on Navina’s disappearance for years now, not even a glimmer could be found; but she had to try, for him.