FOREVER KNIGHTS: #3 Forsaking the Vanquished

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ACHARIUS - Confiding in Rhyers

Merwood, Dread Hideout (Free from Udora for three years)

ACHARIUS

Acharius had been unable to think of anything else since witnessing Chavias put a blade through Dearburn. He was pure rabid violence.

How he used to look when he killed our enemies. He sees us as his enemy now? As much as Acharius didn’t want to believe it, he had no choice.

He’s no different than Radix. It was a harsh reality. Acharius walked Meredith House’s fenceline to ensure no holes or weak posts.

“I looked for you tonight.” Chastain called out her window. Drawing him from painful reveries to glance at her window. Arms crossed along the ledge. Red hair curling around her face in a thick cloud. Making her emerald eyes shimmer from the firelight seeping from her chamber.

What in the Hell! He’d nearly leapt from his skin.

“How’d you know I was here? I only just came in the gate!”

“The mist coming in.”

Of course. I forget.

“Ah, the mist…” He glimpsed the morose look on her face. Strained lines creasing her forehead.

Something’s amiss.

“What’s wrong with you?”

She needs to talk. He sighed. Walking toward the house.

“I’m not sure if I should stay here. I’ve never really been out there.” She gestured to the trees.

He sat under her window. “You should go.”

“But this is the only place that’s ever felt like my home.” She confided. “What would I do out there? Without Mags and Aggie and-and…?”

“You’ll accomplish whatever you wish.” He pinned the bottom of his bow between his ankles, to inspect it. Checking the tautness of the string. And lifting it to stretch it, assuring the wood wasn’t aging.

Stay tight, Old Boy.

“How can you be so sure?” She asked hesitantly.“I’m sure of you.” The cloying fog drug from her chamber.

You make me see in color. You can do anything. He rose, bow in hand. Duly tested.

“Are you going so soon?” She objected.

I’ve much to do tonight. I haven’t the time.

“It’s past time you rest. You need your sleep.”

I’d intended on dodging conversation tonight entirely.

“I prefer talking to you.” She complained.

Not tonight. I’m in no mood for patience.

“Goodnight Chastain.” Tone forceful. He sensed she stayed at the window watching him leave out the heavy gate.

Obstinate creature.


After his nightly trap-check, Acharius returned to the edge of the garden. Hearing her footfalls on the second level, he knew Chastain was awake. He ducked back out the fence before she saw him. Opting to return to his cave. As he rounded into his personal chambers, he was met with Rhyers’ amused voice. “You really are avoiding her?”

Acharius grunted. Bloody Hell! I’m bound to resort to drink if I’ve another startle this eve.

I must be losing my touch. Everyone is getting the jump on me. He passed Rhyers to sit on the edge of his bed.

“I hate when you do that! Can’t you make some manner of sound?”

Rhyers chuckled.

“You do that apurpose.” Acharius’ blue eyes narrowed accusingly. “Just like Bast. I’m going to stitch a bell to your damn throat. You can see about sneaking then…”

Rhyers shrugged. “Why you avoiding the little bit?”

He’s determined to stay on the subject. One which I’d rather avoid.

“She’s deciding if she should live in the Merwood.” Acharius sighed. “And I should be no part of that decision.”

“But you are?”

Acharius’ shoulders lifted helplessly.

“Do you like that she’s around?” Rhyers persisted.

Of course. I’m ceaselessly bored.

“She adds a bit of color to my world.” He lifted his head and pictured her vibrant red hair. “In truth,” He admitted. “I can’t imagine Meredith House without her.”

“Color?” Rhyers’ head shot up. “I thought-”

I can’t see color.

“I can’t. Unless she’s around…”

“So now you worry how things will be without her?”

Black and white. Bleak. Dark. Lonely. He thought morosely.

“I dread things being the way they were before she came here.” Acharius felt a rush of sadness.

Rhyers chuckled. “You’ve been bored a mite too long, Friend.” He acknowledged. “There isn’t much here for a man to take in. You check your traps and rest and…wait. Naught else to do.”

“Bored is not the word I’d use.” Acharius elaborated.

Monotonous.

Rhyers slumped down next to Acharius on his cot. “My friend, Samuel, has a sister. She’s odd, overly cheerful. But terrifyingly emotional.”

He shuddered at the memory of her last explosion of temper.

"Where are you going with this, Brother?" Acharius queried.

Rhyers gave him a pensive look.

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