FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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DERAGAN - Dying in Rosewynn

Rosewynn Manor, Outside Meadowbrook, Grier


After a tense evening visit, Nora retired.

Deragan was leaning back in the chair. His head tipped back against the mantle from exhaustion. He stared out the window. Relaxing he closed his eyes momentarily to check on her. Finding her head had barely hit the bed before she was transported to another room, a shared room, in another time. Staring into midnight blue eyes as she basked in the warmth of a lover’s arms. Memorizing his face until sleep enfolded her.

Mine. He sighed. Shoulders deflating in sorrow.

I miss you too.

In this memory she woke to horrendous cold.

A creature with too many legs working its way in the window. Folding in on itself it crackled and adjusted to fit through the window slit.

Trying to scream she had no voice. Her body immobilized against the bedding. Feeling magic weighing like stones piled atop her. As she’d feared, the thing contorted until becoming Radix.

Deragan was still next to her.

In my Knight Sleep. He knew this dream.

She’s reliving Anastacia on our wedding night. The pain tightened his gut. Making him nauseous. It pained him to let her have this nightmare.

She needs to know the truth. The dangers.

The cold man approaching her had underestimated her.

She knew he’d make her die slowly. Hoping her lover would suffer next to her for hours. But she believed the Knight Sleep would grip him until she was gone.

She felt the pressure of his nails pressing into her skin. Hot burning in her veins as he injected poison. Fighting the paralysis, she stared in horror as his black eyes filled with joy. When he moved backward, something drew out of her.

Her soul dying as it was yanked out.

Glancing next to her Radix verified her husband slept soundly. Radix’s mouth opened, dropping to the floor. Hunkering over her, he arched his body to consume her.

Just when she’d have witnessed her spirit being swallowed.

Instead, there was a bloom of light. Gold waves formed around the projection. High wailing was so faint it could barely be heard.

The cries of the remaining Watcher’s.

Salvaging her soul, they shot upward in a flare of brightness which blinded Radix.

Even through the blinding pain Nora managed a weak smirk. The energy left in her kept her body alive a long while, but Radix succeeded in severing the connection between soul and skin.

No repairing it. Deragan had tried for the entirety of that time before Bast’s arrival.

Breathing shallowly her body had clung to life despite her will.

She wouldn’t give Radix the satisfaction of waking me until she was nearly dead. Wanting to minimize my suffering, she’d endured the pain.

But to her horror Deragan awoke with the rise of the sun.

Seeing his precious face gave her strength enough to sacrifice what magic lingered. Managing to talk between panting breaths she whispered. “They’re close. They’ll hear me.” Grabbing his shoulder pitifully she struggled to ignore the tears welling in his eyes. “Watch for the stars.”

“No sweetheart.” He shook her lightly. “Don’t go. Please” He pleaded.

Barely hearing him, she sent the blast of energy out knowing what it’d do for her, for him.

For all of us.

Sighing heavily her body shook once and then there was peace.

He sighed. “I was a warrior…For my beliefs.”

She grunted. “What does that even mean?”

“I fought hard for a cause. For what I believed in…Faith.”

“You were a zealot, weren’t you?” She laughed.

“You asked me!”

“So…How did you gain such purpose?” There was a mocking note in her voice.

“I lost my son.” He said flatly.

Nora froze. “I’m sorry.”

“You have never told me anything so personal.” Her bottom lip pouted. “I ache for you.”

“You have never asked.” He deflated.

“I always thought you were young.” She gnawed her cheek.

He puzzled over how to answer. “I am. I was…Then.” The match note returned to his voice.

“How old was your son?” She blurted.

“Five. Two months shy of six.” He said proudly.

He tuned into her thoughts and found her trying to resist the urge to ask what happened.

“Common illness of the time.” He explained swallowing down the old familiar pain. “As it was, I wanted to do something that would honor him. Even in death.”

“So noble!” She laughed. “So, what you’re saying is the rest of us are shallow little inferior beings.”

“You make light of my misery?” He asked somberly.

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