FOREVER KNIGHTS: #3 Forsaking the Vanquished

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ALAZAR - A Bat from Hell

Warlock Grove, Nightway (Three years since meeting Riaura)

ALAZAR

Alazar heard Riaura calling for him and groaned.

He rose from the Targue track he’d been mulling over for nearly an hour. It was at the far end of the pond, within easy sight of where the girl often played next to the water.

Where did it go? The track went nowhere. No trail. Nothing.

He warily wove through the grove until finding her leaping in the air to try and catch butterflies. Blissfully oblivious to the potential threat.

“Alazar!” She squealed. Beaming. “There you are! You must see what I found.” She fetched a mewling thing from behind a rock, cradling it in her palm. “Isn’t it cute?” Her infectious smile was bright. “It was hungry in the bailey.”

Even in the shadow of trees, the sunlight cast her in yellow streamers.

He eyed the gray fluffball. Looks like any other cat. He thought dryly.

But she’s staring at it as if it’s the most magnificent creature to ever breathe.

It reached a paw to flick the tip of her nose and she grinned.

He smiled, despite himself. “I suppose if one enjoys the company of such creatures, it’s a fine one indeed.”

She gasped in dismay. “You don’t like kittens! How could you not?”

“I don’t like cats.” He enunciated. Clearing his throat. “My brother does. I do not.”

“How awful!” She proclaimed.

“I’ve told ye many times I’m awful. But ye don’t believe.”

“No. You’re kind and good. And there’s no one better!”

If you knew how many men I’ve killed. Still, the compliment touched his cold heart.

“I hope one day to be like you.” She murmured. Tucking the kitten under her chin.

I dearly hope not!

“You’ve another bruise.” He commented to change the subject.

She pressed her palm to her cheek, revealing she knew where it was. “I tried to tell mother about you.”

“Marod?” He grated out.

Heinous bat from hell.

“I wanted her to know you’re my friend.” She gnawed her cheek. “I tried to tell her about the stones.”

Throwing stones. He realized.

“And that you teach me about Nightway birds. But she just got angry.”

He realized his hands were fisting at the thought of the Dark Dread queen.

But in all this time, he’d remembered what Bast said. Knowing it to be truth. Radix would kill Riaura too.

“Would hear none of it...” Riaura echoed, face falling. She pressed on. “But what harm could come to me with you?”

Nothing. I’d rip apart anyone that’d harm you.

“I wouldn’t let anyone hurt you.”

If I’m there to stop them. I would. In a heartbeat.

She grinned. “I know!” She impulsively tossed her arms around his neck. Dropping her head to his shoulder.

He sat, arms to his side. The sensation of the tight hug feeling completely foreign.

Unsure what to do, he finally pulled her back from him. “When you need me, you need only call out. I will hear you.”

You’re going to need me. Radix is going to want to hurt you.

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