Eric: The Fight I
I look down at Adria pacing around the tree we’re on and smile.
She wanted to climb up to look at the scene in front of us but Argider argued that she has to stay on the ground just in case.
We tried to sleep last night but I couldn’t. My nightmare from the night before haunted me. Deep down, I know that Adria will choose to sacrifice her life to make sure these people go back because the longer they stay; people like my grandmother will always find means to fight.
Argider, on the other hand, couldn’t sleep. He kept staring into the space. I kind of get the situation he’s in. Both her wife and daughter are the only means his people can go back home. My grandmother plans on raiding once the gates open just so she can avenge for what went down five hundred years ago, for something she wants that she claims is in there. I still have no idea what she did with me.
Honestly, when Argider told me the situation I truly am in, I got freaked out but managed to keep my emotions in check because of Adria. She was already scared and kept holding onto my hand as we tried to sleep. Argider once raised his eyebrows at us and I shrugged in response, embarrassed. I wish we could tell him everything but he is far too worried about his wife to properly worry his daughter at the moment.
“What happened between you and Dianne?” I ask, trying to look at what is happening in the clearing.
“We got into a fight. We are best known for making very stupid decisions on the spur of the moment. We fought and she left!”
“Yeah, like I ki...lled that guy back in Exeter!” We look down at Adria hugging herself.
“It was the Pneuma part of you!” Argider says softly as he looks at her.
I look at Argider standing on my right, “I can’t make out what is happening down there!”
“Try to listen! Relax your mind,” He tells me gently and I nod before turning back to face the vast clearing in front of me.
What we see in front of us is not what we were expecting. My grandmother has arranged some kind of stage at one side of the clearing on our far left at the moment. She has been standing there for a long time now, waiting for what? I don’t know.
Behind her, Bert is pacing and Albern stands closer to her. On one side of this ‘stage’, I see Daemon and Aura whispering with Jaivyn in the further back. The rest of the clearing is filled with people. They are not more than two hundred, probably around one from A and one hundred from B. They have tied down a group of people on our further right and I notice that Ben and Orla are one of them. I don’t tell Adria about this and try to focus on what exactly is happening.
“They are waiting for Dianne!” Argider whispers.
“How do you know?”
“Because they can’t go into the other part of the forest without her.”
“Oh....” I look down at Adria once more.
“Come on, let’s go to A!”
“Wait!” I say as I look back at the clearing. Now Pneumas are appearing from our right. They are not much but still, they are here. I spot Devon and Aylin in the front. With them, there are others I don’t know about.
“Oh, they are he.....” I vaguely make out Jaivyn’s excited voice which dies down on his lips when he sees Aylin among them.
“Good, but where is Dianne? Or even Adria? Clara you promised!” Aura says acidly and loud enough to be heard. People who have been quiet up till now start shouting at my grandmother.
“Let’s just go already!”
“What’s going on?” Adria asks below us.
“My grandmother just ticked off her people!”
“Shh Eric!” Argider puts his finger to his lips and nods towards the clearing again.
“I think Adria was your responsibility. She was the backup but you lost her!!” My grandmother retorts. The crowd hushes.
“She was with my son. She tricked him!”
“NO, SHE DIDN’T!” Devon shouts from the other side and people turn to look. “I LET HER GO. HOW CAN YOU STAB US IN THE BACK!?” Aylin puts her hand on Devon’s arm to stop him but he jerks her away.
“Devon, shut your mouth! This is our chance to go back!” Aura is fuming by now but Devon doesn’t pay heed to that.
“Oh yeah? If it’s sacrificing my cousin against her will then it’s so not happening!”
“What is the idiot even trying to do?” I look down at Adria’s voice. She is hugging herself, something she does when she feels alone and helpless.
“He knows what he’s doing!” I say to her and look at Argider. His eyes are a little misty as if he is trying hard not to cry. Devon told us that he was raised by Argider so he was the only true family he had; I think the feeling is mutual.
“IT HAS TO HAPPEN! IF IT’S NOT HER TODAY, THEN IT WILL BE HER KIDS!” Aura shrieks wildly. I cringe at her tone of voice and her words, she isn’t wrong but this isn’t the right way to do it.
“Shut up Aura! You’re creating a scene!” Bert pulls her back towards the stage.
“Well well well...” I jump up and look down. Argider and Adria’s reactions aren’t different either. I was so engrossed in listening to what is going on that I didn’t realize someone sneaking upon us.
“Charon!” Argider says and jumps down gracefully. I follow him down. Just then, Leslie steps out from behind Charon.
“You couldn’t stop going after this witch!” She snarls at Adria while talking to me. I don’t know why she hates Adria that much, lately, I feel like it’s personal.
“Boys!!!” Charon says loudly and the next moment we are surrounded by many Pneumas. Ignoring Leslie, I keep my eyes on Charon. He is a tall and muscular guy with high cheekbones and way too bright eyes. I’ve seen him glaring at us back in the forest now and then but right now he looks like a cat that caught a mouse.
“Don’t mess with me guys!” He winks and nods towards one of his guys. The next moment, I feel Adria gasping for breath. I know what that is,
“You can’t kill her!” I say acidly and he chuckles. “Of course not. But I can kill both of you!”
“Don’t!” Adria rasps as she tries to regain her breath. “I’ll come with you! I know you need me so I will come with you!”
“Adria!” Argider visibly pales but she just shakes her head.
“Awwww!!!” Leslie croons mockingly at me. I badly want to gauge her eyes out.
“I can’t let the two of you die. I just got my father back and I...met you. I can’t let anything happen to you guys!”
Charon and Leslie start laughing and I feel my breath leave my lungs. She shouldn’t be gambling away her life for the two of us and when I notice Argider clenching his fists, I know he feels the same.
“What about us then? Do you think it’s not the same for us?” I say and she raises her hand to make me stop.
“Let’s go!” She says to Charon, witheringly. I try to hold her arm but Argider stops me.
“Goooooood!” Charon intones and bows mockingly towards Adria. She doesn’t say anything and calmly starts walking away.
“Don’t worry when she dies, you will have me!!” Leslie winks at me before following her.
“She just saved your life, for a few minutes, that is!” Charon smirks and follows Leslie. His guys push us to follow them, heading towards the makeshift stage.
As soon as we come to stand at the stage, all the voices die down around us. My grandmother doesn’t even look at me or Argider, her eyes are on Adria who doesn’t look anywhere but straight ahead. I don’t like the look my grandmother has on her face right now.
Bert on the other hand chuckles, “She looks like her mother. WOW, Argider!” He thumps his brother’s back who doesn’t say anything and keeps looking ahead just like his daughter. I notice Daemon’s relieved look and Aura’s crazy smirk.
“SHE IS HERE!!” My grandmother smiles at the crowd who cheers. Despite the cheers, I’m able to hear Devon’s and Aylin’s no.
“Yes, yes, I know!!!” My grandmother says and raises her hand to stop the crowd’s cheering.
“We’ve waited for five hundred years to go back and get revenge for the lives lost in the war with Pneumas. We didn’t want anything. We just wanted to live together with them. Live together with the people who shared brilliant abilities a little different from ours.”
“LIAR!!” Argider shouts but Albern elbows his stomach and he bends over, coughing.
“Don’t hurt him! It was the deal!” Bert shouts at Albern who glares back at him with gritted teeth.
“LET HER GO!!” I look up at a voice from the very end, surprised.
People turn to look while we don’t have to try because she is right there. She looks a lot like Adria. She has the same features minus her hair and ice-blue eyes. I feel Argider go still, very, very still when he spots her. It’s Dianne! There is no mistake.
“No, no, no, no!” Adria hugs herself again while Argider stumbles a little and I quickly put my arm around him for support. Dianne shouldn’t be here, I think, but the selfish part of me is relieved that maybe Adria can be saved from this sacrifice.
“Let her go, Clara! I am here!” She says again and starts making her way towards us.
“Where is my granddaughter?” My grandmother asks and looks around frantically in the crowd. Oh yes, she is asking for her beloved Verona. I, too look around for my sister but don’t find her anywhere.
“Sorry about that but police got to her before she could make it here!!!” Dianne calmly walks up on the stage, her eyes are fixed on Argider as if he’s the only one she can see. If Verona is in custody, it means that Cyril has succeeded in getting the documents.
“You lied, you asshole!!” She says witheringly to Daemon, her voice nothing more than a fierce whisper, “He was alive!!!”
My grandmother laughs or at least pretends to, “Of course he was!” Daemon stays quiet and looks down at his feet as if he is ashamed of what he had to do.
Dianne looks over at Argider but keeps her distance, “I came for you but they said you died! I was... I left!”
Argider doesn’t say anything but keeps looking back at her. He seems lost as if he’s wondering if he’s dreaming. I can’t imagine how it must be like for both of them. They were told that the love of their life was dead yet, here they stand years later. Seeing them right now brings a lump in my throat and my eyes travel to Adria. She is still and quite pale and is looking at her mother.
“Enough of this drama! We are going back today!” My grandmother mutters and smiles back at the crowd.
“Let her go and I will gladly let myself be sacrificed!” Dianne points towards Adria and turns to my grandmother.
“Dia....” Argider tries to say but I squeeze him a little to make him stop. This is not the time, if either of them gives away their emotions right now, my grandmother will win.
“Everyone here is soooo clueless!” We turn to see Devon walking up to the stage with so much confidence that I move out of his way. How did he manage to get away from the guards?
“Devon!” Aura warns but he ignores her.
“Uncle, you have no idea how thankful I am to this old hag for keeping you alive!! Get back your strength, I need your help!” He says to Argider without looking at him.
Argider moves away from me with a knowing smile on his face. I feel like they share a secret we don’t know yet.
“What are you doing, boy!?” Bert and my grandmother ask at the same time.
“You can’t use your guards anymore. Did you honestly think that I have no friends among Pneumas or among the people who came here pretending to be on your side?” Devon smiles and looks over at the crowd.
“People, look at me! I’m going to help you!” He says in a different tone which sounds heavier and huskier than his voice otherwise.
“Stop this madness this instant! Devon, what are you doing?” Aura rushes up as if she realizes what her son is about to do but Dianne knees her in her stomach. I watch as Aura falls on all fours. The crowd goes silent, no one moves for a second.
Then, Dianne jumps on Aura as soon as Aura lands on the ground and starts choking her. Albern raises his hand, muttering something when she is shoved back, hitting the nearby tree with a force. I stand there, looking at my grandmother’s butler bewildered. He just used magic. Is that because of the ring he wears? Grandmother pointed out that they need things to do magic.
“Don’t. Touch. My. Mother!” Adria growls and the next moment I notice Albern fly high up in the sky and then his body starts falling in the crowd, people move aside as Albern hits the ground and goes still. Everything happens so fast. I gape at Adria and notice her shudder for a moment before she stands up straighter. I don’t even have to be blind to know that she just killed Albern when her past still haunts her. I don’t like the way things are turning out to be.
“So, people! She is the one who sold your crops to the market and treated you worst like animals! I think people in B know about it!” Devon says and I notice people shift on their feet nervously.
“You were fooled by magical storms and you guys worked your ass off on the fields!!! Why? Because you are human and these people in A are sorcerers!”
“STOP IT!!” Clara moves towards Devon. Before she can reach him, I find her pinned to the wall. I stare, my mouth wide open as Jaivyn holds her by her throat and she struggles to loosen his grip.
“Jaivyn!!” I hear Daemon’s warning voice and he appears out of nowhere by Argider’s side. So near! I don’t think about anything as I push Argider away from Daemon’s reach.
I remember him having invisibility. He is capable of making himself and the things around invisible like the barriers which can be only be done by someone at a higher level like he is but the ones who share the same ability and are at lower levels can only make things disappear.
“Sorry, Dad!!!” I notice dry tree roots burst out from under the stage which was just a raised part of the ground. The roots tie my grandmother around her ankles, wrists, waist, and her throat. After securing her in one place, Jaivyn moves back and faces his father.
“I don’t want to betray our people! We decided to leave for a home together! This is not the way I thought it would be.”
Jaivyn smiles, “Yeah, with sorcerers in tow who might kill us as soon as the gates open!? No thanks, and I don’t trust them.” He says and laughs with a slight hysterical tint to it.
“Son...” Daemon tries to say something but decides against it and vanishes.
On the other side, I notice Adria help her mother up and Argider is standing behind Devon who still is talking to the people. By now the people of B are gripping their sticks tightly and glaring at everyone in A.
“STOP!!” Aura yells and I notice a thin rim of fire surround us. It’s thin but tall and very hot. I jump back only to burn from the fire behind me. The fire surrounds me in a circle and I feel my face going hot, very hot. At that moment, I feel like I’m going to die, tears spring up in my eyes as my skin starts to burn. I vaguely hear Adria scream somewhere and the next moment the fire isn’t very hot or burning me. I quickly stand up and look around for my savior. Fire does not surround Devon and within seconds it does not surround me or Argider either. Aura stares at her son, not believing the scene in front of her.
“Control doesn’t work on us right?” Devon asks her mother and moves towards her while Argider takes his place and starts talking to the people about how he just found out that he has a daughter and wife.
“What are you talking about?” Aura asks Devon, a little breathless and confused. I can see the fear overtaking her pale face.
“Come on! Don’t tell me you never wondered why I had only one ability?” So this is what it is about. Devon having royal blood in his veins has three abilities and his mother never knew.
“How...? Your father had only one so it only makes sense that you have...have one.” She stares between Argider and Devon.
“You thought you’re the only deserving one? I’m sorry mother. I loved you but I could never trust you! I’m so sorry!” Devon says, his voice trembles a little, and Aura keeps staring at him.
“Jaivyn!” Devon says and turns around. Within a blink of an eye, tree roots shoot out of the ground and pierce Aura’s stomach, chest, shoulders, and thighs. She doesn’t get to utter a single word and collapses on the ground. I stare in horror at her body as the blood starts pooling around her. Despite their abilities and long lives, Pneumas have almost non-existent physical strength.
“NOO!!!” Bert screams and runs towards her but he is thrown back and hits the tree on the opposite end. I see Adria standing by Aura’s side, she took the advantage of a slight distraction.
“I told you, master Devon, that I can make people fly!” She says to Devon with a crazy look on her face. I just stand there feeling helpless. This is not my fight, and it’s beyond me. I stagger back, I don’t belong here. I want to help Adria before she pushes herself over the edge. Her past haunts her and I can only imagine what kind of repercussions this day will have on her.
Devon laughs shakily and stumbles forward. Ignoring everything else, I run up to catch him, “You could have talked to her.”
“I couldn’t! I tried and I kept trying since I was captured but she got mad. She even slapped me few times! My mother was the kind of person you could never talk sense into!” Devon looks up at me. Tears flow down his cheeks and he wipes them away furiously.
“What have I done?”
“I’m so sorry!” I whisper and pull him into a hug. I can feel my tears streaming down my cheeks. This is not how I had pictured everything turning out to be.
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