FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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SEBASTIAN - Captivity Is Killing Her

WaterRose, Meadow Mountain, Grier Country

SEBASTIAN

Sebastian returned from checking on Rosewynn. His steps up Meadow Mountain slow and hesitant. He was afraid.

Afraid to face Elsabet again. And to see that horrible anguish on her face.

Thusly, his step was hollow as he entered the marbled foyer. The castle seemed impossibly cold.

He immediately envisioned, as he always did, Sebet eagerly shouting ‘Daddy!’ and skipping down the staircase. Sunlight filling her pretty white-blonde hair and luminescing over dust flakes falling around her. The vibrant light surrounding her which brightened any room she entered. Her beaming smile which made joy surge in him every time he saw it.

He put a palm to his face to silence the sob that nearly overtook him. Feeling a few tears escape him to trail quietly down his cheeks.

Months had gone by with Elsabet shoving him away and breaking furniture in her chamber at every opportunity.

Bast didn’t even realize he’d slid to his knees in his grief. Until he felt a hand at his shoulder. He met the startling green gaze of Christophe Rhyers.

“What can I do?”

“Nothing.” Bast shook his head.

There was a pained shriek and the bang from Elsabet’s room.

“Furniture?” Bast asked.

“Yes.” Rhyers nodded. “Every evening. She shatters everything in her chamber. When she finally leaves to wander the stables I have everything replaced so she can break it again.”

Kind of him. He understands its likely her only way to cope.

“Thank you.” Bast’s said brokenly.

“She’s not sleeping much. But we can hear the rafters crunching.”

“She’s hanging upside down to try.” Bast said hopefully. “She is giving herself the chance to rest, at least.”

He walked to the second level. Every step seeming to take forever.

Rhyers climbed them behind him.

When he reached the second level he turned right to head down the corridor to her chamber. Stunned to see the row of men against the wall across from her door.

Mardichi, Teverius, Alazareth and Rhyers joined them as they all looked helplessly from him to the door.

They want to help but don’t know what to do.

“She’s dying in there.” Mardichi said.

“She won’t hardly come out.” Alazar contributed. “I’ve been coming back when I can to check on her. She’s not doing well.”

Bast couldn’t summon words to speak. He turned and put his forehead to the door. Putting a palm to the wood. Tempted to turn the handle and join her.

“Don’t do it.” Rhyers cautioned. “You’ll only be a target for her pain. Not comfort.”

He’s right. Bast rolled his head along the door to peer over his shoulder. Meeting Rhyers’ sympathetic look.

“Open the door.” Mardichi said solemnly.

The other men looked at him.

“She’s no’ doin’ this entirely alone.” Mardichi said. “She needs ta know.”

That they care for her. Bast understood.

Drawing a steadying breath he turned the handle and shoved the door. The mass of them entered. Automatically splaying in a way which only made her feel more threatened.

“Elsabet.” Bast lifted a staying hand. “We only want to help.”

“I don’t want your help!” She cried. Face red and swollen from crying for hours.

“Yer gettin’ it nonetheless, Lass.” Mardichi purred.

“We don’t want to hurt you, Els.” Rhyers coaxed from the other side of her.

Her head flipped to keep whoever was speaking in view. She backed up and Mardichi maneuvered behind her.

“Calm down, Els.” Bast pleaded.

“You’re not alone in your pain.” Teverius said.

“We all miss ’er, Lass.” Mardichi said a moment before his huge arms snapped out to wrap her. Pinning her hands to her sides.

She shrieked as though being cut in half.

But the others closed in.

Bast met her head on and dropped his forehead to hers. Cupping her cheeks. “I’m sorry.” He shook his head. “So sorry.”

“Why? How could you let this happen!” She raged. Falling to sit on her heels as Mardichi guided her down.

Teverius and Rhyers appeared on each side and embraced them all in a hug. Putting Elsabet in the center until they all crowded around her on the floor. Their heads falling against hers as she cried wildly.

“We’re all here.” Teverius said.

“And the others would be if they could.” Rhyers told her confidently. “What can we do?”

“You can all rot!” She wailed. Tears streaming her face. When she went limp, Mardichi released his grip until he only held her upper arms in a hug.

“This ain’t yer fault, Lass. And it ain’t his.” He nodded toward Bast. “It’s only Radix’s. But we’ll get ’im. We’ll avenge our pretty Sunshine.”

Elsabet could no longer even muster words as she cried uninhibitedly. Dropping her face into her palms.

Teverius pulled a handkerchief to hand to her.

They all sat around her.

And though she’d not look at Sebastian she stayed where she sat.

Knowing she needed our comfort as much as we needed to give it to her.

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