The Four Lands Of Arravan: Birthright

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Chapter Eleven: Unthinkable

Blackish-brown, spiderwebbing veins cut through the Lamia Rose, mirroring those in Nathan’s body.

Its once brilliant ocean waves, now dark like ink, something was poisoning the Lamia Rose and whatever it was had sent the stone into a survival state.

Like Nathan’s body, it was trying o defend itself against the toxins but clearly, both were losing the battle.

Ida, Kaydence, Mayfel, Xenia and Erabos had arrived in the late hours of the morning just before noon although not one of them seemed pleased to be there and Mayfel along with Kaydence looked to have just woken up.

Lady Ida had already begun examining the extracts taken from the creatures leaving everyone else to stand by and wait anxiously for her conclusion.

“Have you ever seen a poison such as this, Lady Ida?” Nerina asked, she had been standing with them since the others arrived having seen them in.

Still observing the talon under a magnifying glass, her crimson eyes unblinking she said “There are some similar to this but definitely are not of the same cause.” standing upright, placing down the magnifying glass and talon- to which she returned to the vile- she faced the group “I will request aid from my people”

With no warning, Fraya threw her hand out, her fingers fell to the black veins of the Lamia Rose.

It startled them all, even more so when her eyes went cloudy white and her body went still, not even her chest rose or fell in the since ringing out around the room.

“No one touch her” Mayfel stated raising his arm out to block anyone’s advances.

Kaydence, who stood behind, spoke up his voice near a mumble as he directed it mostly towards Mayfel “Do you know what is happening to her?”

“No, but I don’t think it would do her any good or anyone else for that matter if we were to interfere.”

“How can you be so sure?” he asked

“Because she Is seeing something”

Fraya’s body had frozen, when making contact with the dark fractures a shock had been forced through her body, a sharp jolt of sorts that took her by surprise.

She knew what she had done wasn’t smart, but the words of Evan had been reappearing, if he gets better, would you read his memories?

She had denied him her help then, not that she had a choice, but she couldn’t help but feel as though she’d let him down.

Why she cared all of a sudden she wasn’t sure, one thing she did know, however, was that her ability could be used now to possibly figure something out.

It was a risk, she’d known it the entire way up to the point where she touched it and her mind was cast to a blank void, soon to be filled with nightmares she couldn’t escape from.

But there was no going back, she had made her choice, one she would learn from.

The room holding the fountain alter reappeared into Fraya’s view, light all of a sudden seeming brighter and more splendid than ever before, she felt as though she were seeing it for the first time.

Blinking as she faced the others, taking in their faces and worried expressions, her mind became plagued with what she had seen, the memories of the Lamia Rose now her own.

“You mortals truly are naive” Ida cursed, her arms were crossed across her chest and her eyes showed no remorse as usual.

“What was it you saw?” Mayfel asked speaking across Ida, he knew how it felt to be overwhelmed by what one saw of another’s past.

He was sure he had experienced nothing similar to what she had but he had seen the same expression on his face as a child nonetheless.

When he had first developed the ability, it all but traumatised him, his father's mind had been the one he accidentally wandered into.

What he saw never left him as much as he tried to forget, he tried hard to forget his mothers tear-stained, pale face, eyes frozen open, her hand in his fathers as he as a baby wailed next to them.

It wasn’t an ability to be envied or taken lightly.

“I saw” Fraya began, although pausing as if to organise her thoughts before speaking again “Rot, a wasteland in the Maria Porta’s gateways”

“Are you sure?” Ida asked her desperately.

Nodding her head Fraya, as sympathetic sounding as possible said “I am sorry Ida”.

“What does it mean?” Kaydence said, seeming as confused as Monty and Evan who thought it best to remain silent in the matter hoping all would be explained.

“It means my people must be moved urgently and that I must press the matter with Solon”

“Shouldn’t it be investigated? The Maria Porta’s seem to have a lot to do with what is going on” Evan suggested

Monty stepped forward, he’d been keeping himself a little way away from the group as if to not be involved “He’s right, Nerina said that those creatures had been seen gathering around the Maria Porta’s more than anywhere else. And now Fraya sees them in the Lamia Rose too, it can’t be a coincidence”

“We still have business to attend to here” Fraya objected having taken a seat on the fountain wall.

Agreeing in realisation Monty reminded them, “And then there’s Nathan as well, we can’t just leave him here” he said, wariness evident in his eyes.

“We can send a small group. Xenia could portal us to the Maria Porta’s” Evan stated.

Disgraced with his words, Ida couldn’t help but to stand up for her friend who made no move to defend herself. “Absolutely not! I will not place another single one of my people in harm's way. You mortals have caused enough damage for us seeking peaceful solitude, but no more. You wish to save your home, then do it alone”

Xenia always was the more reasonable one between the two of them, she held her composure no matter how frustrated or how close she was pushed to the edge.

Ida certainly respected her patience and professionalism, but no one disrespected her dearest friend, she was not simply a tool to be used when one needed.

“Then come with us” Mayfel suggested calmly.

“I must remain here, I will be contacting my people for their help with identifying the poison”

“I can do that, the others need you to go with them since you know more about beasts and creatures like the Dwellers.”

“I knew of the Dwellers from ancient depictions, none of which portrayed anything such as the one’s we are dealing with now,” she said.

“You’re our best shot at figuring it out. And who knows, maybe your magic can help us along the way too” Evan stated truthfully.

Looking at each of them individually, her eyes settled back on Mayfel who seemed to have become the negotiator of the group, Nerina simply standing by like the others.

“I demand payment. I am past doing things for you for free”

“Don’t hold your breath” Fraya began begrudgingly “I still am yet to be paid for my help”

“You do not accept aid from the king, but you will accept something so trivial such as payment” Erabos snapped at his mother, he had stood silent long enough, not that he would be heard should his mother pay him any attention.

“Silence” she hissed “You are clueless of what I am to even ask them for in return, so do not skip to pointless conclusions”

“What is it you want?” Mayfel asked drawing her attention from her son and back to their conversation.

Ida’s eyes fell to Kaydences hip, where Acuere sat sheathed and protected.

“Acuere” she stated simply, regaining eye contact with Mayfel.

“Absolutely not!” Kaydence protested unafraid to raise his voice “It belonged to my mother, it is not yours to take”

“If you wish to have my help, then I will take the sword as payment. Should you refuse, then you best find a boat to paddle in to Maria Porta”

Refusing her again, Kaydence spat out “There is no reason for you to want it, it isn’t fair when it belongs to my family and I. How cruel could you be, to tear something so important and valued away from me? Other than my one blue eye, this sword is all I have to remember my mother by, you will not take that away from me”

“Those are my terms, if you do not agree with them then feel free to locate and hire another sorcerer to do your bidding,” she said

Kaydence looked to Erabos for help but the man didn’t look to be wanting to join in on the debate, or even attempt to settle it.

It was hopeless.

The creating of a portal required a safe space, or at least that was what Xenia demanded of them.

Kaydence walked next to Mayfel, Fraya and Eva in step behind them as Erabos, Ida and Xenia glided on ahead of them.

They’d left Monty and Nerina behind at the fountain after the debate with Ida had been settled, the dark-haired man hadn’t objected to the decision and instead welcomed it saying he would keep a close eye on things and update them as soon as they got back.

He couldn’t think of anything but the empty and light feeling of his hip where Acuere once lay, never had he regretted something more in his life than the choice he made half an hour ago.

Even the chatting between Evan and Mayfel didn’t enter his mind, nor did his tripping feet along the uneven floor, he was in a daze of sorrow and despair as he ambled across the open plane of grass towards the ring of trees.

“Rowan? Zack? Aveline? What are you guys doing here” he heard from Evan, Kaydence almost didn’t register it but he was forced to acknowledge them as Even and Mayfel departed the group and ran back past them towards the city.

The three in question were accompanied by another, an odd toned brunette, pale olive skin and striking green eyes, Kaydence felt as though he recognised him and chances were he did, possibly from the battle.

“We are following a lead on Braylen’s son,” Rowan replied.

Furrowing his brows, Evan responded, “And it involves Andrew, how?”

Andrew, the name rang a bell Kaydence thought.

“He knows some things, for one he knew who the father of Braylen’s child was” Zack replied to them.

Answering the question he knew someone would ask Rowan added “Horatio Moore is the father. He was a close ally to Bregan and was, at the time, following Braylen’s orders which were passed down by Bregan. They were together a lot as it seems”

“What now?” Kaydence asked, his voice was small and almost defeated, he had no energy left to fight seeing his only reason get handed over to a woman who cared nought for them.

“We are going to look for Horatio, it’s the best and only lead we have,” Aveline said.

Rowan spoke up next, clarifying Aveline’s points further “He could also possess the missing pages of the book. Bregan himself said he had other plans with the book, we all agreed that he would not have destroyed something so vital. Even if he had, he most likely had copies of some sort and Horatio was the closest to him so most likely entrusted them to him”

“Do you need help?” Mayfel asked “I mean, we have something to take care of but if you need an extra hand I’m sure we can manage”

“That is very thoughtful of you, however, I believe we have it under control. I too shall offer the same option to you also if there is a great need for help” Rowan stated, Kaydence could tell he wanted to know more about their visit to Salatia, he dare say there was a hint of readiness also as if he was ready to drop everything and take the lead.

Mayfel began to answer the gracious man “That won’t be necessary-” but found his sentence cut short as his name was hollered from the distance in the form of a question.

Kaydence turned simultaneously with Mayfel to face the direction of the voice, it sounded familiar and he knew why when his eyes fell onto Demetrius Zika approaching the city through the fields.

At least a dozen horses and carts, their tops covered and protected with material covers.

“I’m sorry to leave so suddenly, excuse me,” Mayfel said before briskly making his way to the main gate.

Kaydence followed, he didn’t know why exactly seeing as the last time he’d seen him they hadn’t exactly bonded in any way.

Not to mention, the incident where he and Mayfel had stolen horses from the village he couldn’t imagine Demetrius would be too pleased to see him.

He watched as Demetrius drew Mayfel’s body to his own, his arms wrapping around him in a hug, a gesture he didn’t expect to come from him especially towards Mayfel, it also surprised him that his boyfriend welcomed it considering their brittle relationship.

Time apparently did heal all things, Kaydence thought watching them form a few meter distance.

“What are you doing here?” Mayfel asked in wonder as he looked at the man in disbelief.

“I’m here to help, Nerina contacted Ivory village along with the others requesting aid. I am here on behalf of Ivory and Lirren. Enough of me though, how have you been?”

Kaydence approached, his body having a mind of its own as his hand slipped into Mayfel’s, their fingers lacing together.

“It has been a crazy year”

“Clearly, some things have not changed” Demetrius stated as he indicated to them both seeing as even a year later they were still side by side, perhaps a little closer than back then but together nevertheless. “It is good to see you both well”

“Same goes for you Demetrius,” Mayfel said “How long are you going to be here for?”

“A couple of days, I can’t stay any longer than that even though I would if I could”

Hesitantly, his hand tightening in Kaydences grip, Mayfel swivelled the conversation “And what of my father?” he asked giving Kaydence his answer on why he seemed so tense all of a sudden.

“The usual, he’s been at the market demanding alcohol. He hasn’t been seen out of the house for the past few days, however”

“I know it’s a lot to ask, but could you check on him. Perhaps send a letter to Evangelis as well for when I get back?”

“Of course, although maybe it would do you good to visit him” Demetrius suggested, it angered Kaydence to even hear him put forward the idea to a man that had been abused by the drunkard, he wouldn’t admit it to Mayfel but he could never feel sympathy for his father.

“I don’t think it would help my father, nor me for that matter,” he said, as Ida called for them from the brow of the subtle slope.

“I see. Well it seems you are needed”

“It’s just a normal day” Mayfel stated light-heartedly “If you’re not here when I get back, I promise to stop by Ivory and see you”

“You better make it soon” Demetrius teased.

“Don’t count on it”

With a heavy heart, Kaydence forced himself to break up the reunion “We should get going Mayfel”

“Take care of yourselves”

“I always have” Mayfel stated before following Kaydence back to the group, unable to prevent himself from looking back he spared a glance to Demetrius, who had turned his attention to directing the carts to their allocated spots.

By the time they had reached the others- Rowan and Aveline, Zack and Andrew stood back away from them- Xenia had created a swirling portal that soon settled to display a picture-perfect scene of the stretching ocean and Efas docks.

Kaydence, followed by Mayfel, stepped through to join the others, Xenia taking up the back of the group as the portal winked closed.

Silently the three clambered into a boat, Kaydence sitting next to Evan and Mayfel sitting opposite him next to Fraya.

It was the beginning of yet another unwanted journey, another portal opening before them displaying the Maria Portas, never in his life had Kaydence wanted to settle down more than he did at that moment.

Perhaps after all was said and done he could live in solitude, away from danger. Maybe he could be happy.

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