A Sword of Greed and Envy: A Nokturn Rising Novel

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 16

Some things in life happen slowly, one thing at a time. Other things happen suddenly and all at once. The latter is how I realized that I am in love with a Reaper who wants nothing to do with me. As I stood in the street, watching his black carriage grow smaller and smaller, I knew that I had just lost a part of myself. I don’t know when it happened and I cannot place the moment or the words that had me falling in love with a Reaper, but I cannot deny that it did.

Three months have passed at an excruciatingly slow pace. The air is finally cooling off in Medeor which only makes me wonder how cold it might be in Mortem, or how much snow is on the ground. Even after so much time, my thoughts still wander to Ash. What would he be doing right now? Was he thinking of me as often as I think of him? I doubt it. Whatever powers I displayed that brief moment in Mortem, have not manifested since. Perhaps I had dreamt the whole event. If it wasn’t for the judgmental looks I receive from the people in town and even my own family, I would question whether Ash was even real.

I spend most of my time in the woods, away from my family. They don’t know what to say or do. When they try to talk to me, it only turns into lectures over how naïve I had been. Despite hating Ash for lying to me and stringing me along, I find that I hate him more for leaving me. Even with all of that hate, I cannot overcome the love I feel for him still. The memories of him are the only things that bring me peace anymore. My appetite is gone. I only eat what little I need to survive. I’ve grown thin again, losing the extra weight I had gained in Mortem. My hair is dull and there is no light in my eyes. My skin is sallow and I know I look as if I might collapse at any moment.

Night is falling and I am sitting on the roof of the grist mill, looking up as stars begin to become visible. A twig snaps and I turn to see Taron stepping out of the woods. I mentally prepare myself for another conversation that is supposed to be him reasoning with me to snap out of the lethargic state I’ve been in. He climbs up to the roof and hands me a small envelope.

“What’s this?” I ask in confusion.

He shrugs, “It came for you in the post,” he says.

It is fine stationary, meaning it could’ve only come from a Nokturn. My heart flutters with hope and I immediately chastise myself. Though I am eager to tear it open and read it, I do not wish to do so in front of my brother. He eyes me closely now, studying me.

“You really do love him, don’t you?” he asks, sounding as if he still doesn’t quite believe it.

I nod, “I do,” I say, “But, the feeling wasn’t mutual, obviously.”

“You’re kidding, right?” he asks.

I quirk a brow at him, prompting him to explain.

“Lark, I saw the way he looked at you. As much as Father wants me to convince you otherwise, I know that tactic isn’t working. So, I may as well tell you the truth,” he says with a shrug, “I know what it means when a guy looks at a girl like Sebastian looked at you. He loves you. He only told you to stay because he didn’t want you to be without your family, and choosing him, means choosing to leave us behind. He knew that it would hurt you too much.”

“Taron, I appreciate you trying to make me feel better, but either way, he left me. Months have passed. It’s useless,” I tell him.

“The Lark I know wouldn’t just give up. The Lark I know, would fight till the end if there was even a shred of hope,” he says, “The Lark I know, would already be halfway to Mortem by now.”

He gives my hand a squeeze before climbing back down to the ground and disappearing into the woods. I pull the letter out and look at it closely. The seal on the back is stamped with the Arcanum crest and I cringe at the memory of imprisonment, the slave auction, and even Killian himself.

I rip open the envelope and slide out a scarlet card. There is stark white writing on it, in swirling script.

See you soon.

I know on instinct that it is Lord Killian. There is no one else from Arcanum who would send me anything. The last thing I ever want to do is see him again, especially alone. I know what is expected of Blood Captives and that is no doubt what I would be if taken to Arcanum. My brother had a great idea though. Why not just go to Mortem? I could face Ash directly. My family is doing nothing but coddling me half the time and excluding me from any and every thing related to the uprising. Would I be able to muster that sort of courage to travel back to Mortem on my own?

I pack a few things for the journey. I wait until my father is asleep. Taron knows what I am doing and surprises me by helping me gather what I need.

“Part of your journey will take you through Fortis. Be mindful there,” he warns, “Werewolves are unpredictable.”

I nod in understanding as I sling my bag over my shoulder. He hands me a bow and quiver, nowhere near as nice as the one I had left in Mortem, but it would get the job done if needed.

“Thank you for this, Taron,” I say, knowing this could be the last time we see each other, “Take care of Father and Garrison. I’ll try and contact you when I can.”

“Stay safe,” he says, “All you have to do is make it to Sebastian, he’ll protect you from there.”

He says it with such confidence that I almost believe him. I manage a small smile for his sake before slipping out the door and into the night. It would be safer to travel on foot, but in this situation, speed is more preferable. I pull a horse from the stables as quietly as I can, waiting to mount it until I am far enough away from the tree homes.

I ride quickly through Medeor to the border. The trees are denser when I slow down and cross quietly into Fortis territory. Every snap of a twig or crunch of leaves has my head spinning from fear. It is a quick pass through a small part of Fortis to cross over into Mortem. I pick up my pace, suddenly in a bigger hurry than before. I hear the howl somewhere behind me and I push the horse onward, testing his limits. I can hear the pounding of their large paws, growing closer with every second. Mortem was just a few hundred more yards away.

The snarling and snapping are right behind me now, but I don’t dare look back. Then, everything seems to move in slow motion as one of the beasts launches itself into the horse, latching onto its neck. The horse lets out a painful whinny before sending me flying through the air and tumbling across the ground, my arm bending at an unnatural angle. Both Werewolves stand over the horse carcass, feasting upon it. I want to vomit, but that would only bring attention to me. I crawl backwards, getting a little closer to the border. If I can just cross it, they won’t be able to harm me.

As if sensing that part of their prey is slipping away, they both look up, growling. They prowl toward me slowly. If I run, they will easily catch me. Could I make it up a tree in time, with an injured arm? It’s my best chance. I push myself up onto my feet, adjusting my direction so that my steps take me closer to the trees. When I’m close enough, I jump as high as I can, gripping a lower branch with my good arm. I swing one leg up and start climbing. The Werewolves are upon the tree quickly, jumping and snapping at me. My foot slips on a branch and barely catch myself, but not fast enough. I feel the teeth sink into my leg and the bones snap. I cry out in pain as the Werewolf releases me and I drag myself out of their reach.

The bottom half of my right leg is soaked with blood. It hangs limply and if the pain isn’t enough to tell me something is wrong, the awkward angle at which it hangs and my inability to put weight on it would be. It’s only a little farther until I cross into Mortem. Then I would face a whole new array of problems. I rip cloth from a shirt in my bag and tie it above the bite wound. I know that the adrenaline will wear off soon and the pain will come, so I need to move now. I drag myself up and slide along the thick branch and say a prayer of thanks to anyone listening when I see there are many sturdy branches intertwining between trees. I drag myself along at an excruciatingly slow pace until the trees start to thin out and I realize the Werewolves have stopped following me. I’ve made it to Mortem.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.