FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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Our Broken Sister

Eventually, Elsabet finally leaned back to put her head sleepily in Mardichi’s lap.

Rhyers took her hand and offered it a comforting squeeze.

Teverius and Bast switched places so Bast could stroke her face and hair until she subsided into a fitful sleep.

Teverius holding her other hand.

“We need to let her rest.” Bast told them.

“God knows she’s had perilously little of it.” Rhyers agreed.

They stood and Bast swept her up to carry her to her bed. Pulling the coverlet over her.

They walked out and Teverius pulled the door closed.

“We’re here for you too.” Rhyers put his hand on his shoulder.

“It’s true.” Mardichi added his.

As did Tev.

Like they did all those years ago. When we lost Chavias. Bast soaked in their comfort for a long while before retreating back downstairs to his servant’s chamber under the dais.

I need to rest.

“I’ll watch over you.” Rhyers said from outside the door. Sitting along the wall.

Two days later when Bast emerged it was to find Rhyers still sitting there. An empty platter next to him from when Elengard had brought him food.

“The others?” Bast asked.

“They’ve all gone now.” Rhyers said. “She seems to have settled some.” He nodded upward. “Evening is drawing near and she hasn’t been crashing around.”

“That’s good.” Bast said relieved.

“I need to get back to Marshall Manse though.” Rhyers said.

“Go.”

Rhyers stood to comply.

Bast found himself wandering up to the nursery. Visions of Sebet playing in there already filled his mind. From all the times he’d crept up there to check on her before going in search of her mother.

Often finding her awake playing in the dark. Defying her bedtime to play. Realizing he’d likely never see that again was too painful to conceive.

Stepping into the loneliness of the abandoned nursery he drew a horrified breath. What has she done?

Tapestries were shredded. Half-ripped from the walls. The toy box had been tipped over. Sending small frilled toys scattered over the dusty fur rug. The bedding was ripped from the bed and smashed on the floor. The reed mattress was tore apart and half pulled off the bed.

“No.” He fell to his knees in the doorway. Feeling as if a temple had been desecrated in his home.

Of all the things she’s broken and shredded this room was sacred. Why now?

Rage ripped through him. He leapt to his feet and ran the hall to her chamber. He yanked the door open. Seeing a long-cold fire had died in the mantle. Before it was the huge metal bathing bin. And within it was Elsabet surrounded by black water.

Dread dropped his stomach. She looks impossibly still.

Deathly still. Crossing the room, he skid to the edge of the bin and lifted her partially out of the water. Seeing her limp arms were tattered. Deeply gouged. She’d gored herself with her talons. Slitting the veins of both arms and then easing into the bath to coax her life fluids from her body. He ran to the bed and dropped her to it. Grip slipping along her damp skin.

He rolled her arms and looked at the horrific wounds. Seeing most were somehow sealed within.

The wounds were only open on the surface despite how wide they gaped.

He put a hand a few inches above her mouth and felt her breaths across his palm.

Her valkyrie body had somehow healed her human flesh despite her best efforts. Thank God. Bast found himself thanking that power for the first time in three hundred years.

Thank God for some blessed intervention or I’d have lost her too.

She made a sincere effort.

Rocking her, he leaned over and pressed a kiss to her lips. Showering light kisses over her face. Brushing her hair back from her face, he put his forehead to hers.

“Come back to me, Sweetheart.” He gritted his teeth against the pain washing over him at the thought that she may again attempt this once recovered. “Please. Please. Please.” He begged her.

He crawled onto the bed next to her, pulling her side against him. He pressed a palm to her wounds, closing his eyes and focusing his energy, he fed it into her body to help her injuries. Bit by bit the skin healed.

I can’t let her die here.

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