FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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Samuel Marshall Is Back

“How was my Passing Ceremony?” He queried.

“Everyone came!” She squealed. Taking his hand to lead him back into the Parlor. “You should’ve seen it! You would’ve loved it.”

“Ebony organized everything.” Rhyers said quietly. Watching how roughly Sam moved.

Lurching with each step like he was unaccustomed to his own body.

She led him to the chairs and they sat.

“Sam?” Rhyers said.

“Yes?”

“What have you been doing the last year?”

“Radix and I spoke about many things. I found he’s not all bad. He wants to end corruption in Ardae.” Sam smiled.

He is the corruption in Ardae. A black cloud of evil trying to spill out of Battling and overtake everything resembling light. Rhyers tempered his thoughts and tried to be open-minded. Tried to trust this man that had been his best friend for many years.

“What did you do together?” Rhyers queried.

“Bodin! This isn’t an inquisition!” Ebony intervened.

Sam shrugged. “I don’t mind, Ebs.” He smiled tenderly at her. “Radix was teaching me what it will be like when my power evolves.”

“Did he give you a taste of that power?”

“Yes. Often.” Sam nodded cheerfully.

Oh, no. He’s addicted to it by now.

“You’ll have power?” Ebony frowned.

“Abilities. I’ll be able to do things I couldn’t before.”

“Wow.” Ebony smiled.

Not wow. Not good. Rhyers was staying a distance away from his friend. The smell was too potent to get much nearer. And everytime Sam patted his sister’s hand, Rhyers felt himself flinch.

Don’t hurt her. He willed his former friend.

“Ebs?” Sam looked at her.

“Yes?” She scooted closer, eagerly awaiting his words.

“Could you excuse Bodin and I for a moment to speak?”

“If it’s about Christophe, I already know!”

Sam gave Rhyers a quick look.

Rhyers shrugged.

“It’s not.” Sam said.

Ebony nodded hesitantly and left the room.

“Bodin, please calm down.”

Rhyers realized he’d been pacing behind the settee.

“It’s me.”

“The hell it is.” Rhyers spat impulsively.

Sam looked a little wounded.

“You may feel like you now,” Rhyers said more gently. “But it’ll change as you begin to crave his magic. It’s not fair what he did to you. You never chose to be evil.”

“I’m not evil! I’m not even sure Radix is anymore.”

“He is!” Rhyers shouted. Coming to a stop and his eyes turning a shining green. Animalistic. “You don’t have a choice anymore. You are what you are now. You should’ve never come here.”

“I waited a year, Bodin. I missed her.” He looked over his shoulder. Brown eyes filled with emotion.

“If you love her, you shouldn’t have come here.”

“Where were you?” Sam jumped to his feet. Black veins spiraling from his dark eyes. Which were now trimmed in red.

Rhyers blanched. “I tried to get there, Sam!”

“You were my partner! You should’ve been at my side!”

“You didn’t tell me you were going!” Rhyers charged him.

Both of them were pointing at each other in equal rage.

“I didn’t ask to be like this!” Sam stabbed his chest repeatedly.

Rhyers stilled next to the settee. “I know you didn’t.” He sighed. “But you are. And you’re going to get worse. Especially the longer you’re away from his magic. How much did you tell him.”

“I didn’t mention you.” Sam reassured.

“But you let him into your mind everytime he gave you demonic power.” Rhyers said, knowing Sam wouldn’t have known that. “He knows everything about me. About her.” He gestured above where Ebony would now be.

Sam shook his head. Looking horrified. “I didn’t…I didn’t know he could-”

“I know. I tried to get there.”

Sam looked at him sympathetically. The black veins spiraling from his eyes retracted and the red vanished as his shoulders slumped. “I’d never hurt her, you know?”

“I know you wouldn’t have. But this,” He gestured to Sam’s length. “eventually will. And when you do…God forgive me,” His voice broke. “I’m going to kill you before you can hurt her.”

“I’d want you to.”


“Ebony!” Rhyers called. Keeping his eyes trained on Sam as he called for her to come back down.

“Yes?” She hurried down the steps.

“Is that chamber still ready?”

“Yours?” She looked from one man to the other and saw the ugly look Rhyers was giving her brother. “Not any more.” She said decisively.

The Hell its not! Rhyers gave her a sharp study.

“It’ll do.”

He headed for the stairs. Aiming to go past her and up them.

“But you can’t-I said-” She turned to talk to him as he drew next to her.

He leaned sideways next to her. Green eyes piercing. “Too late.” He smirked. “You already invited me.”

“But that was before-”

“Don’t care!” He called as he jogged up the stairs.

“But-”

“Too late!” He vanished down the hall.

“It’s okay, Ebony.” Sam walked to stand next to the stairs. Talking to her over the railing. “I think for the time being it is a good idea he remain here.”

“Why?”

“I don’t feel well and we may need him.”

“You’ll have to tell me what’s happened and all about this man that saved you. I want to know everything!”

He nodded reluctantly.


Rhyers was peeling off his shirt which now reeked of Cimmerii and looking for another one to change into from the grand armoire. I really just needed a moment to gather my thoughts.

Having never expected to see Sam again, he’d certainly never prepared to meet him as a Firoque.

How’d Radix do that without his consent? He had to have consented. And it dawned on Rhyers that all Radix had to have done was ask him if he wanted to live.

Sam would’ve said yes. To look after Ebony.

Then Radix would’ve let him die, let me find him that way, then revived him as a Firoque after I left. Rhyers deflated and slumped to the edge of his bed.

Why?

“Rhyers.” The voice erupted in Rhyers’ mind. Giving him an instant headache.

His hands flew to cradle his head. What Bast?

Acharius has found another artifact missing.

Dammit! Rhyers returned telepathically. We need to find the albino man.

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