FOREVER KNIGHTS: #3 Forsaking the Vanquished

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DERAGAN - Why I Summoned Lucien

For centuries you, Captain Black of the Forever Knights, have been the only thing feared by Cimmerii. You’ve fought the root of evil. Relentlessly driven by purpose and vengeance.

The darkest evil is preparing to take everything. Your Forever Knights, I, and mine are the sole hope for salvation. Together, only we can change the tide of evil.

I, The Fallen, am the key to everything. With me, the others will come.

Like wolves you and I can never accept another in each other’s stead.

You’ll always be able to find me, whoever I am.

Do whatever it takes.

And forgive me for forgetting.

-The Fallen, ‘The Book of Immortals’

WaterRose, Meadow Mountain, Grier Country (Seventy-two years since the death of Annastacia)


“No solace tonight, Captain?” Lucien Sabias queried.

Of course not. Deragan Black shot him a quick look. Seeing Lucien standing before the gilded winding staircase which curled up to the vaulted cathedral ceilings and upper rows of bookshelves in the massive library.

Lucien leaned comfortably against a shelf. Watching Deragan’s silhouette at the window slit until he rounded to assess Lucien with shrewd blue eyes.

“You look malicious as Hell in the dark.” Deragan grunted.

“You should see your face just now…” Lucien scoffed. “I know you can tear a man apart. But right now you look it.”

I know I look as bitter as I feel. Deragan could admit it. Silver moonlight swathed over him. His profile etched by gray clouds which currently intersected the moon.

Feeling bleaker than the storm outside, Deragan stared out endless windows. Above the bailey lightning cut a jagged line through a black sky. Angular glass panes slid from the castle turrets down to the bailey walls shielding the castle from the world outside. Cascading waterfalls blurred the meadow beyond.

He already knows my answer.

In truth Lucien had little need to ask, after knowing Deragan a touch over three hundred years. Long enough to know when he looked like this…I’m missing my wife.

“So why am I here?”

“I need you to rule WaterRose if Bast can find her.”

He will. Deragan assured himself. Fighting the same pangs of fear, he always felt when he wasn’t with her.

The stronghold was the only place safe enough for them to call sanctuary. The valley bowl surrounding it lay beneath a blanket of green. Stretching to the treeline where patches of velvety snow interloped on the serenity. Here in the valley, the peaceful meadow below, nothing was ever disturbed. Every flower poised in perfection. Each leaf unfurled in eternal bloom.

“The others were busy?” He asked hesitantly.

“Most I trust, yes…And I wanted you to do it.”

“Because you’d heard I was in some trouble.” Lucien sighed.

“Yes.” Deragan said flatly.

Falling into Radix’s traps.

Lucien grudgingly nodded. “Radix has been on my tail.”

“I’d heard.”

“Bast.” Lucien said without question. “So, this is to be a forced sanctuary?” He sighed.

For now.

“Had you come on your own, it wouldn’t be.”

Lucien frowned.

“I’ll not allow something to happen to you.” Deragan turned from the window. Dark hair fell in wild curls over his forehead. Waving back to brush his collar. He possessed an aquiline nose and lips usually so quick to smile were just now, deeply compressed, causing rivets around them. His face was darker for the deep blue of his eyes. Hollow with pain but nonetheless striking. A man that dominated a room.

Yet his Second in Command was asking him if he felt solace here.

Irony in that, I suppose.

“Two years I’ve been this restless.” Deragan answered, Crossing the room morosely to put a hand to the mantle as he looked into the dancing fire.

“You’ve not left the stronghold in much of that time.” Lucien argued as he leaned against a mahogany shelf. Crossing his arms thoughtfully. “Homesick for your mansion?”

He’d come when he could no longer bare the silence in Rosewynn. Watching it fall into disrepair. With no reason to restore it…The mansion always felt empty without his mate filling the rooms with the scent of roses and tinkling laughter and shining blonde hair.

“That too.” Deragan gave a grudging tilt of his head. Sighing he asked the same as he always did. “Are they still looking Lucien?”

I hope so.

“You know they are.” Lucien’s eyes glittered from the shadows. “You can feel them out there, same as I.” The tactician’s voice softened in understanding.

True. Deragan sighed.

A steady flow of energy rose from the Forever Knights assuring they were sprawled over Ardae. Velvet paws crossing endless corners of the country, in the rain of the Paladines or the rocky desert land of Battling.

Searching for her.

“Word came earlier from the South. No trace of her.” Lucien added reluctantly.

“I know.”

Thunder pulsed over the mountains. A heartbeat over the valley, echoing through the ridges. Rain tapped on the glass above them. Its crisp scent wafting in on the breeze creeping through the window slits.

“Bast is looking.” Lucien reminded consolingly. “If anyone can sense her flicker of light…”

“I know.” Deragan grated. Pain surged through him. He moved to the comfortable blue chair positioned cozily near the fireplace.

Lucien’s concern mounted as he watched the dispassionate air of his commander. Chatting about several topics he tried to distract his captain from his sorrow.

Barely hearing him Deragan stared at the blackened splinters filling the grate. Weary of the view he gave a quiet whisper. Flames erupted. A log materialized. Crackling peacefully, it emitted a curling bloom of smoke. Offering more steam then heat, rendered nearly useless by the draft.

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