FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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SEBASTIAN - A Gift For Calisto

WaterRose, Meadow Mountain, Grier Country


Elsabet awoke to broth moving between her lips and sliding down her throat. She choked and lifted to sit but found her wrists bound to the bed posts. Her eyes bled red and she attempted to unfurl her wings, but they were locked in place.

“Sebastian!” She shouted accusingly, even as her eyes opened.

Already furious.

“Why?” She demanded.

She wants to know why I’ve restrained her. But I want to know why she tried to take her own life.

“Yes, why?” He asked in an equally harsh voice.

“I can’t bear to be here anymore.” She spat on the floor. Red eyes squinting hatefully. Her hair smoldering into coarse brown threads falling over her naked shoulders.

He caught her chin in a biting grip. His fingertips rough along her jaw. “Never do that again.”

You barely survived.

Challenge darkened her eyes and she notched up her chin.

Intent on doing it again another time.

“No.” He warned. Giving her a dangerous look.

“I will.” She said around his hand. “And I’ll succeed.”

That’s what I fear.

“You won’t.” He put a knee on the edge of the bed.

I won’t let anything happen to you.

Her eyes darkened in rage.

Thinking I’m challenging her when all I want is to be close to her. He laid down next to her and pulled her against him. Winding his legs in hers to lock her still.

“I hate you.” She hissed through gritted teeth as he began soothingly rubbing her belly.

“Calm down, Sweetheart.”

“I never want to see you again! I’m ready to die rather than bear another moment of your touch.” She turned her head away to avoid looking at him.

“Elsabet.” He coaxed.

She didn’t move.

“Come back to me.”

She was still as death.

He felt only cold emanating from her. He knew in that moment that as soon as she had another chance, she’d kill herself.

To escape me. That thought was too painful to conceive.

Something inside him stilled. He closed his eyes against his pain and was soon asleep next to her. Sleeping for the first time since the murder of his daughter. When he awoke, he quietly stood. Giving her the longest stare, he ever had. Memorizing every inch of her face.

So I can bear what must come.

She watched him emotionlessly as he unbound her.

“I think you’ve calmed enough.”

She sat up and rubbed sore wrists. Watching him untying the other and sitting on the edge of the bed. Near her.

Her jerked his wrist and curved his fingers upward. A clear orb with flakes coating it formed in his hand. He stared into it. Avoiding looking at her as emotion swallowed him.

“Take this.” He directed. “It’ll bring you comfort. It’ll show you anything or anyone you wish to see. Careful not to focus too hard or you could be sucked through.” He gripped her wrist and forced it into her hand. Rotating on his heel to stride from the room.

Elsabet watched his back stunned. Eyes falling to the glass bubble she held. Images flowing inside it as her mind worked. Changing subjects as fast as her thoughts altered. Showing her whatever she considered even before the thoughts had fully formed.

Elsabet wasted little time. Imagining the first thing she could think of. The spot just within the trees where her precious daughter was murdered.

Where Sebet’s last moments occurred. Bast slid down the wall next to the door. Drawing his knees to his chest. Shoving a hand roughly through his hair before dropping his head back against the wall. Wanting to pound it against the structure.

Calming enough his nostrils flared and his breathing slowed he was suddenly in the room with her. In spirit.


Elsabet closed her eyes and focused. Making flakes float over the surface of the globe in white snowflakes. Moving around the orb and leaving a trail of gold dust as they lapped through it. Faster and faster.

Elsabet swayed and put a hand to her forehead.

A dizzying feeling, I know.

She fell backward but managed to keep the globe as she fell backward. The floor under her altered to trees and a vine coated forest floor. She landed in the grove of trees bordering Phalanx Forest.

Flipping to her stomach she looked around to assess for threats. Drawing a long breath to calm her racing heart, she took in the smell of fresh air wafting through towering trees. Which had cast their needles over the forest floor months ago. Standing she rubbed her upper arms briskly against the chilly winter wind whooshing through the forest. A far cry from the quiet peace of WaterRose’s bailey. Where it was neither particularly hot nor cold. Sheltered from the elements by the waterfalls pouring from the stronghold’s roof.

A hazy image manifested on her left. “You’re really going to leave him?”

“Calisto.” She uttered in annoyance.

“You’re truly going to make him grieve alone?”

“I’ve been grieving alone!”

“By your choice!” Calisto snapped. “I’ve watched him pacing outside your door. You’ve heard him. He’s tried to hold you, comfort you, on countless occasions.”

“I don’t want him to touch me!”

“How long do you intend to hate him?” Calisto said chidingly. Following Elsabet as she chose a direction.

“It’s his fault. So, an eternity.” Elsabet snapped. Pushing low, rubbery, branches up enough she could duck under them.

Calisto merely passed through them. Her shoulders and neck vanishing as the branches seemed to cut through her. Then reappearing before the branch afterward. Calisto shook her head disgustedly. “I’m ashamed to call you friend!”

“Then don’t.” Elsabet snapped. “I’m free. I’ve escaped him. That’s all that matters.”

“Do you think after all this time he’d give you a tool to your freedom by accident?”

Elsabet’s eyes narrowed on the ghostly outline of the black-haired woman. Lips tight.

“You know I’m right! He even told you how to use it to escape! I heard him.” Still shaking her head Calisto started to vanish.

“Calis.” Elsabet called.

Making Calisto’s image darken as she returned. Condemning blue gaze returning to Elsabet.

Elsabet swept up Calisto’s hand. Making it harden into nearly real flesh. Elsabet slapped the orb into it.

“Free yourself. Come back here.” Elsabet pointed to where they stood. “To this plane.”

“Then you can go comfort him.” She gestured to the castle.

Calisto’s eyes flew from the orb to Elsabet’s face. “There’s no bitterness in your voice. No jealousy. You truly are worried for him.”

Elsabet’s eyes filled with fluid but her face was unmoving.

“Oh, My Friend…” Calisto nodded slowly. “I understand.” And she vanished like a flame burning out.

Elsabet paused, staring at the spot where the woman had been before slowly turning back toward WaterRose to murmur. “Goodbye, My Love.”

“Goodbye, My Love.” Sebastian said from the room of the damp tower. Unbeknownst to him, saying the words the same moment she did, so far below. Where he couldn’t hear her.

He felt her energy leaving WaterRose and emerging near Phalanx Forest. Where I lost the telepathic connection with her.

Craving one last look at her he’d hurried up the tower steps to enter the highest parapet to see her. He watched her look back at WaterRose for the last time before giving it her back to wind into the trees.

Farewell, Elsabet. His face fell to his open palms. He turned his back to the stone wall, away from the window. No longer able to bear looking at the spot where she’d disappeared into the trees.

Where she left me. He raked his nails down his face in his pain and grief. Sliding his back down the wet stone wall.

“Ah!” He roared in his agony. Shaking the walls of WaterRose as his anguish echoed through the tower and reverberated through every hall. Feeling the stronghold with his pain.

The stronghold I built centuries ago to protect the Fallen from the outside world. For my Captain. The castle that’s become my home. My realm.

But now I’ve released the only true queen it’ll ever have. Bast was so absorbed in the emotions pouring over him, he failed to hear the huffing of the wolves that’d wandered from their chambers at the sound of his agonized cry.

Now they wandered the corridors aimlessly. Sensing something terrible had just occurred. Their heads upturned toward where the top tower loomed above them. Uncertain what they could do to help. But knowing they’d never heard such a sound from the King of the Castle of Water before.

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