FOREVER KNIGHTS: #20 Watchers Gathering

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CHAVIAS - To The Captain

Rosewynn Manor, Outside Meadowbrook, Grier

CHAVIAS

Sabine traversed through Phalanx Forest on foot. Surrounded by multi-colored wolves at her feet. The trees broke for a road. And they followed that road until Sabine was tiring. Just when she was going to suggest a break, the road peeled open to reveal the bordering iron fence. Then that broke open for the drive up to the house.

Sabine walked. Pale blue cloak billowing around her. The wolves stepping precisely to move in-sync with her.

The lawns were beautifully manicured. The trees unusually lush for this late in the season.

At the back of the pack was the dark-haired woman in the dirty, dark blue cloak.

Calisto. Chavias was deeply relieved he’d made it out of the lair with her.

From the corner of the house. Deragan huffed and emitted the smell of smoke to summon the wolves.

As one, they veered toward the southwesterly corner of the house.

Sabine started at the sight of the scaled black snout of the dragon. One huge blue eye blinking at them.

As the clearing behind the house came into view. It was a huge open area centered with a fountain. Two stone benches curving around near it. Beyond that was a lush orange grove.

The large body of the dragon was laid down. Massive tail curling. And a woman sat in the crook of his legs and shoulder reading from a book while he watched over her.

Chavias leaned near Sabine to gesture toward the woman. “The Fallen.” He half smiled. “In every one of her lives, he finds her and cultures their love anew. Her soul knows him. Of all men in the world, its always been him she’s loved.”

“Chavias!” Sabine said bemusedly. “You’ve a romantic heart!”

He laughed, taking her hand. Suddenly his face grew somber as a dark blue eye set on him.

She followed his gaze. Seeing the black dragon swing its behemoth head to watch them approach.

“The Captain…” Chavias breathed.

What if he turns me out for my crimes?

I can’t expect him to understand why I’ve done the things I have. Chavias sent up a fervent prayer.

The wolves circled the dragon and laid on their bellies near The Fallen’s feet. How much they honored her was obvious in their posturing.

The dragon huffed toward The Fallen and she lowered the book and leaned up from Deragan so he could stand without dislodging her.

He towered ominously over them.

The largest of any of us. Chavias was suddenly reminded.

Every lurching step caused the ground to vibrate. It began reducing in shape. The Captain was eventually slightly shorter than Chavias. Dark blue eyes spared Sabine only a brief glance.

Not even one as fine as she could draw his eye. He’s loved the Fallen too long.

Deragan’s gaze was riveted on Chavias. Face expressionless.

Chavias was unsure if Deragan intended to embrace him or strike him, he approached so rapidly.

But in stereotypical, unpredictable Deragan fashion, he stopped directly before them.

“Chavias Derenoe.” The Captain greeted. “They’ve brought you back to us, have they?” He eyed the wolves behind them.

Chavias glanced back and saw many had transitioned into men who milled nervously at a distance. Watching our interchange.

Sabine squawked and nearly leapt from her skin when someone lightly grabbed her lower arms from behind.

“No, Captain.” Bast interjected. “’Twas her. She pulled him from the pit.”

The Captain gave her an assessing look. Exuding dark authority. Power rolled off him in waves and there was something intensely terrifying about him.

Even after all this time. Chavias noted. Seeing the fearful expression on Sabine’s face, he sympathized. Giving her hand a reassuring squeeze.

She bit her lip nervously.

“You summoned me?” Chavias opened the conversation. Seeing the prolonged silence was making Sabine shrink from Deragan.

“Yes, but you came to see my stance on your return.”

Chavias gave an acknowledging nod.

Sabine saw the dark look cross the Captain’s face. She shifted uncomfortably.

I can’t blame him for his choice. Look at all I’ve done.

Feeling eyes boreing into his back, Chavias glanced over his shoulder and saw the knights tense with apprehension. He held his breath waiting for the Captain to speak. It’s taking forever.

“Have you betrayed us by doing the bidding of our enemy?” The Captain asked in his cold, matter-of-fact way.

Chavias’ face fell, disheartened. He said nothing in return. I can’t deny it.

He already knows the answer.

“Did you not order us back when we would’ve retrieved you from him?” The Captain persisted.

There was no shame in Chavias’ expression when he answered this. “I did. And I feel no remorse for that choice.”

I’d gladly make it again.

“Did you harm our kind in service to the demon?”

Chavias’ heart was dropping with every icy statement.

“Please, stop!” Sabine cried.

“I have.” Chavias blanched. Deragan was judge and juror but it’d never occurred to Chavias before this moment that he could prove his executioner if he saw fit.

He’s strong enough to do it.

Sabine looked from one man to the other.

“Is not it true, Derenoe, that you suffered to betray Radix whenever possible?”

Chavias’ head shot up in surprise. He swallowed. “I did.”

“Did you help our cause in whatever ways you were able from your servitude?”

Chavias nodded. Tight-lipped.

“Did you choose to remain there when you could’ve gone, to protect others.”

Chavias’ brow knitted in confusion. “No…”

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