FOREVER KNIGHTS: #3 Forsaking the Vanquished

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Advice for the King of Assassins

Chavias heard the familiar whoosh and felt the weight of his crow landing on his shoulder.

“Hello, Boy.” He reached up and caressed the birds back. Watching the jostling of the coach leaving Worthington’s drive.

Sighing as he watched the youth succumb to Radix’s temptations. Another soul for Radix to consume.

“Don’t look so forlorn.” An unemotional voice above him had him slowly lifting his eyes.

Savage. A grin already pulled at Chavias’ face as he spotted the shadow perfectly balanced on a narrow branch above Chavias’ head.

Thadeus turned on Chavias’ shoulder to stare up at the other man. Squawking and bowing up to flap in objection of Savage’s spying.

Chavias gauged the distance to the tree he’d been crouched in to Savage’s. How much did he see?

“Ssh.” Chavias hushed the bird as he ran a finger down its back. Soothing it.

“Oh, yes. I watched you the whole time.”

The crow cawed.

“You, are aware, even I find you unsettling?” Chavias commented.

“You should.” Savage Jaxson strolled along the branch. Tilting his head down to look at Chavias.

“What are you up to, Lad?”

He doesn’t like being called ‘Boy’. Chavias was aware. Now.

“I’ve a question.” He paced along the branch, thoughtfully.

“Yes?”

“I saw something.”

“Something unusual, I take it?”

“Was a child with this…” He paused, brow furrowing as he walked the length of the branch.” He waved his hand as he searched for a word.

“Hurry, Lad.” Chavias glanced around for Cimmerii. Certain they were likely close.

I don’t’ want to call him Savage, in-case Cimmerii are listening.

“Light. All,” He framed a head and shoulders. “Around.”

You can see lights around people?

“It’s beautiful.” Slight excitement entered his voice. “White and shining. With some gold.”

Excitement?

There was never anything in Savage’s voice, other than rare amusement.

Never excitement!

“I’ve heard someone speak of something like that before.”

“What is it?” Savage crouched on the branch to look at Chavias.

A Watcher.

“Something. Rare. Something Radix will want to own or kill.”

“No.” Savage went eerily still in his characteristic way. Saying nothing more.

He won’t let that happen. Chavias knew.

A Noni squealed in the distance.

Returning this way.

“I have to go.”

“I know.” Savage stood and began strolling back toward the trunk of the tree.

“Jaxson?”

“Yes?” His head whipped to look over his shoulder.

“Keep her safe.”

He grunted in agreement. “Chavias?”

“Yes?”

“Are you ready to be free yet?”

“No…” He whispered, eyes falling to his boots.

There was silence when neither of them moved.

Savage waited for him to say something more, but Chavias turned instead and aimed for the shrieking Noni.

“Be safe, Chavias.” Savage’s words carried to him.

Somehow soothing Chavias’ bleak soul like a warm balm.


Days later the coach made the slow trek along the narrow mountainside, as it had for most of the day. Everything still coated in a sparkling film of snow. Broad needle trees glistened with frost before the backdrop of the descending sun.

They reached the midway fork in the road. Worthington noticed a high cave entrance sheltered by remnants of an old tower. The coach slowed around the corner.

A rasping voice called. “Worthington…”

Drawing his gaze to the cave. A rocky overhang jutted on one side and just beyond that, Worthington saw red-orange eyes blinking at him.

The same eyes he’d seen earlier. Chavias knew. He watched from the trees behind the coach. Having kept step with it all the way here.

Protect it. Was his orders. I just want to rip it in half and cut the boy down. But Chavias refrained. Knowing the brutality of the consequence for such actions.

Bob hadn’t noticed they were watched, Worthington yelled for the coach to stop. Muttering he’d be back, he hopped down. Clumsily scrambling over the boulders up the slight incline, to the entrance.

Fall and break your damn neck. Chavias willed.

Old Bob just shook his head.

Beneath layers of rock and sediment Radix Malorum hissed in fury.

Worthington took a wrong turn and Chavias walked straight to the demon’s chambers. Knowing the boy would make it eventually.

With no help from me.

My spells are accurate. But the Forever Knights are always only a heartbeat behind. Circling like vultures.” He raged toward Chavias, as he entered and pressed his back to the far wall staying as far from Radix’s odor as possible. “How? How do they do it?”

The large, dark silhouette shrugged in answer.

Radix swore. “Don’t you give me that, Chavias!” His rage forced flames rising from the fire pit to surge to impossible heights, despite the lack of air in the wretched cave. Radix dismissed the flames with a sideways glance at them. Making them settle.

“You know-” Radix accused. Pausing, he glowered at the man opposite him. “Where’s the Worthington boy?”

Chavias shrugged. Inspecting his fingernails.

A Noni scrambled in, eyes gleaming.

The Worthington boy?”

Nodding emphatically the Noni backed from the chamber.

“Bring him here.” He commanded.

Worthington reluctantly made his way into the darkness. Following the chirp of the creepy little monster ahead of him, he fumbled through winding turns. Passing fallen torches and giant jagged boulders which had fallen from the walls. Throat clogged with smoke, he coughed until the air cleared enough he could breathe. A fire came into view with a haggard man standing over it.

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