FOREVER KNIGHTS: #3 Forsaking the Vanquished

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ALAZAR - Intent on Killing Marod

Warlock Grove, Nightway


Today was so rainy Alazareth was already drenched when the drizzle thickened into heavy flakes sticking to the grass.

He finished his meal and leaned over the Wake to wash his hands. Rising to leave but caught the sound of steps in the distance.

Riaura. Checking the weight of the step and how the footfalls fell he knew. It’s her. But the timing was off. Something’s wrong.

Not her usual excitement…He peered through the trees until she emerged.

From under the hood of her brown cloak, her mouth was badly bloodied. She cradled her left hand in the palm of the other. Careful not to bump it on anything.

A low growl emitted from his throat. “Riaura!” He called.

What the hell happened to you? Did Cimmerii find you?

When she lifted her head, he saw dark shadows under her eyes. Her left cheek swollen, and eyelid heavy and thick. Her green eyes were haunted.

“What has happened?” He rushed to her, sliding on his knees through the mud. Hands outstretched helplessly as he bobbed his head to inspect her face.

Gnawing her lip, she said nothing. Eventually turning toward the big boulder she usually sat on.

“Riaura!” He stopped her with his shout. “What happened to you?”

Answer me! His eyes flitted to the trees from whence she’d come, watching for evil black creatures.

“M-m-mother.” She gnawed her bloodied lip harder. Wincing at the pain it invoked. Her shoulders beginning to quake.

What? What about the woman?

“Is she alright? What happened to her?”

“She gets angry!” Riaura burst out. “She strikes me when she’s too many horns of wine.”

I’ll kill her.

Appalled he stared at her. “What?”

She hits her own child?

He lightly pressed the swelling on her cheek, making her wince. Despite that her eyes were awash with tears, she refused to shed even one.

“You whimper and tear when I leave you at the pond but when…this...You stand quiet despite your hurt.”

Wail, rant. React as a child should.

She lifted her chin a little at the compliment. Eyes brightening. “Mother says I’m too stubborn.”

“Someday such a quality will serve you well.” He argued. Ripping a piece from the hem of his tunic to hand it to her for the mess on her face. He hid his rage best he could.

“Thank you.” She whispered. Lunging to wrap her arms around his neck, dropping her head to his shoulder.

Pushing her from him he examined the hand she favored. Peeling back the other fingertips, he saw two of the injured fingers tilted at an impossible angle.

It was crunched somehow.

“This is from no backhand!” He shouted. Making her rear back. “What happened?” He demanded harshly.

“No. No. I-I”

Calm down Alazareth. He told himself. Stop hollering at the child. He drew a staying breath.

“It’s okay. I don’t mean to roar at ye.” He ran an agitated hand through his hair. Softening his tone. “What happened?”

“I didn’t walk to my room fast enough. She drug me.”

“She crushed your little hand?”

“It hurts a sennight or two,” She assured quickly. “But it does heal!”

As if this has happened many times before.

“Little One!” He clucked his tongue in his cheek. “Give me this hand.”

What’s happened to her is intolerable. Someone will pay.

“Please no! It hurts already.” She begged. Eyes fearful.

Stop it.

“What would I do?” He was somewhat wounded. “I’d not harm you.”

She eyed him carefully and saw no dark flicker behind his eyes. No lie hiding in his face. Drawing a long breath, she hesitantly offered it to him.

“Hold it there.” He instructed.

In-front of her the fingers were tight together to support the injured ones. It bounced slightly in the air as she concentrated on stilling it.

Alazar hovered a one hand over hers, palm down. His other was under it, palm up. Several inches from her little hand.

“Close your eyes and try to ease.” He ordered.

Squinting her eyes closed Riaura complied. Trusting his decisive orders.

Alazar let currents flow through him. Illuminating her hand in light. There was slight popping as the fingers adjusted and she winced in pain and dropped to her knees. Eyes closed against the shriek of agony.

He lowered with her. His face twisted in wretched sympathy. Damn it all to hell! “Just a moment more. You are so strong.” He assured in a breaking voice.

Whimpering she nodded. “Okay. Okay.” Her voice caught on silent sobs.

Feeling the pain move out of her and into his arms he eased. “There. That should be better.”

Looking down she shook the hand a little. Studying the silver flecks falling from it. “It doesn’t hurt at all.” She beamed. “You did what you did to my squirrel, didn’t you?”

“And your eye?” He cut her off. Refusing to answer.

Blinking she reached up and touched it. Finding the skin smooth and flat. “H-how did you do that, Alazar?”

“Some things I can’t explain Riaura.”

“Okay...But when I’m older and smarter...You must tell me than...If we are still friends.”

“We will be friends Riaura. Always friends. I won’t ever leave you.” He grated through gritted teeth.

I’m going to kill the Dread witch!

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