Chapter Twenty-Six: Finders Keepers
Everything was ready, supplies were packed and Ida was ready to guide them to where they needed to go.
All that was left to sort out, was his mother.
Kaydence had been roped into Vasilios’ little book club again and he’d been warily trying to think of a way to casually ask if there was a way his mother could be detached from Vasilios, the only problem was that anything he’d ask would sound suspicious.
“Your mind is troubled,” Vasilios said, sensing the mess of thoughts.
“Well is it any surprise after the dream I had last night?”
“What was it about?” he asked dumbly, focusing on the book.
“You know exactly what it was about and I know what you said as well. I don’t accept it though”
Sighing and closing the book which thudded heavily on the table, Vasilios turned to face Kaydence.
“There are times where we are incapable of making that decision. Fate is destiny, yours is simply on a larger scale than most”
“Stop reading my mind” he snapped, reopening the book and gazing blindly at the pages to move his mind off of their plans to escape.
“You wish to know how to set your other free from me”
Sighing, Kaydence scowled in his direction “I told you to stop, do you have any conscience at all?”
“I do, I am simply intrigued is all” he stated honestly with little care that he was caught.
“Well stop being intrigued, you’re invading my privacy”
“The answer is no to your question, there is no way to set her free. You can go” he said waving him off and reaching to close the book once again.
“That was the only reason you were here so you can go”
“I’ll find a way” Kaydence assured as he left his seat, quick to reach the door.
“If you detach your mother from my magic, she will become a corpse. There is no way, even if you were to chop off one of my limbs, it still wouldn’t aid your attempts.”
“Maybe I’ll have to try that theory for myself”
Tutting, slightly amused, Vasilios turned to face him in his chair “You’re a fiery one, but not as much as your lover, he hides his argumentative side that one.” he teased, his green luminous eyes blinking as a normal being would but then they blinked a second time vertically, which put Kaydence on edge.
“Leave him alone, leave me alone, leave us all alone”
“I assure you, I would much prefer it if you all weren’t here, yet here we are and here, you will stay until enough fear had been created.” he insisted raising from his seat and moving towards Kaydence and the doors. “Come, walk with me” he stated.
The hand Vasilios placed on Kaydences shoulder, brought with it a cold sensation that ran through his body.
Involuntarily, his legs began to move, his mind no longer in control as he was led to the main hall where the others were gathered around the dining table digging into lunch.
Vasilios, regally sitting upon his throne, left Kaydence to unwillingly stand at the bottom of the steps, the green-haired man’s eyes seemed brighter than usual and his snake-like pupils were blown wide.
“Who did you leave at Evangelis?” Vasilios asked to the room.
The room fell silent as his scrutinising eyes scanned over them and simultaneously raised a questioning brow when no one replied, his lips gradually falling to a frown.
“Not very talkative today I see”
A wind swept violently through the room, the candles flickered and went out, some towards the far side of the hall managing to stay alight.
The crow creatures above squawked and shrieked as smoke from an amalgamation of nearby candles swirled and moved as if someone had walked through it.
Kaydence felt a presence beside him and out of nowhere caught sight of three of the four stones, emerging from thin air.
Vasilios’ lips twisted into a crazed grin as he stood from the throne and nears the ground level of the hall, one step at a time while raising his hand out towards the stones.
“Thank you my creations, you have done well”
Vallen emerged from a room down the hallways soon appearing in the hall with everyone else, a box in his hands that was soon found to be lined with silk as he opened it.
Vasilios, with a swish of his hand, gestured towards the box, watched alongside the others as the Aurem Orb fell into one of the box’s four compartments.
On her feet and marching with conviction, Ida quickly closed the space between her and Vasilios, Kaydence could only stand and watch as Mayfel, Erabos, Evan, Fraya, Xenia and his mother edged closer, wary and utterly lost for words.
Vasilios’ bony hand raised to Ida and unexpectedly, she didn’t speak a word, but Vasilios must have done something as Kaydence felt movement spread to his body and to test it he began wiggling his fingers.
“How do you have those?” Kaydence asked, testing his voice.
“I did ask who was at Evangelis, no one seemed to want to answer though”
“What brought them here?” Evan asked from the group.
“Maniplos or Wisps, my most impressive creations of all that become visible only when you’re knocking on death’s door. I am sure I told you of them previously. And now that I have the stones, it will send hopelessness spreading, not to mention, Evangelis is now weaker than ever and vulnerable. The perfect candidates for followers.” Vasilios answered.
“You said you didn’t want the stones” Fraya accused, eyeing him suspiciously.
“I do not want them to use, I simply want them in my possession. There is a difference.”
“I need to go” Kaydence muttered, suddenly overcome with panic and dread for his brother’s life.
“Impossible, no one is going anywhere until my work is complete. When the time comes, you will all emerge with me and see the results”
Grasping a knife from Evan’s belt, Kaydence spun around and plunged it into Vasilios’ stomach.
The man didn’t show any sign of pain, he didn’t even flinch as it sunk in further, instead his face contorted into a smile as he hissed “You cannot kill me with such a petty attempt, boy. Use your imagination”
Pulling the knife out of his flesh, he took hold of Kaydences shoulder and shoved the knife’s point towards him, bringing it to a stop just before it pierced his shirt and skin.
Leaning closer, he whispered into his ear “You think I would kill tour brother and lose my companion’s cooperation? You really are stupid” he growled stepping back twirling the knife between his fingers before tossing it and sending it soaring through the air like an arrow until it’s point buried into the wall.
“No one Is leaving here, if anyone tries, I will kill you” he yelled, his voice rattling the chandelier and the cutlery on the table.
“Surely you do not think you can waltz into Arravan and not expect the humans and Fae alike, to not retaliate?” Ida mentioned.
“Of course I do, my creatures will have made sure of that”
“Do you honestly trust that we will remain here? You wouldn’t dare kill us” she pushed.
“Do not make me demonstrate my seriousness, Domina De Arboribus”
* * *
Solon, standing beside Everette, Dalamis and Halda, all of which had stayed quiet on the ride back to Evangelis, awaited the guards to see them to Evangelis’ summit as they usually would.
As minutes slipped by, however, things began to get worryingly suspicious.
“Wait here” Dalamis demanded, stepping forward extending his wings.
“You are not going up there alone, It could be dangerous” Halda retaliated, also stepping forward.
“Halda, go with him” Solon instructed him, flat-toned as his eyes trained on the mountain’s summit hidden in the thick clouds.
Nodding, Halda allowed Dalamis to encompass his torso with his arms and secured as they could be, Dalamis kicked off of the ground, his wings forcing their bodies into the air.
Both of them scanned the mountain’s face as they ascended to the top, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, until they reached the pathway leading to the main doors.
The massive doors lay wide open, blood all but painted the stone floor of the front steps, the inside was not so different as they landed and crept inside, Halda brandishing his trusty short-sword and Dalamis, his double blades.
Dalamis was affected by the deaths, Halda could tell by the way his eyes lingered on each and every one as if checking their identities and sending their souls off with the words of Arravan, he couldn’t blame him, it was an attack on Dalamis’ people
Entering the main hall, the thrones at the far end seemed further away with the piled corpses lying between them and the structures.
All guards, no innocent inhabitants…yet.
Dalamis raised everything as he called out for Stavros, he hadn’t seen his dear friend’s face as of yet, but it didn’t provide any comfort.
“Stay quiet, whatever it was that attacked, could still be here” Halda noted, moving with caution.
Apparently ignoring his words, Dalamis ran ahead, choosing a corridor that lead to the library and medical wing.
“Check the others, check the rooms and get them out,” he told Halda, about to carry on ahead until Stavros calls back, multiple pairs of footsteps echoing down the hallway towards them.
Whipping around to see Stavros, Kai and Kayla along with Salvatoris, Dalamis let out a sigh of relief, running to them and embracing his friend tightly breathing in the fresh scent of mint and musty books, finding a sense of peace and nostalgia.
“We were attacked, they took the stones” he informed them, leaving out the part of them being invisible, what he saw and the fact that his injured and pained arm was throbbing as it slid down Dalamis’ back as he let go and they parted.
“They held no physical form” Salvatoris noted, realising Stavros left it out.
“Invisible? Have you all lost your minds?” Halda asked judgementally
Sheepishly, Stavros backed her up “She speaks the truth,” he said, unable to make direct eye contact with the Captain of the guards.
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t save any of them. I watched them all die and I couldn’t even fight back” he continued on, his eyes glazing over as his stomach churned.
“If you’re telling the truth of not being able to see them, then there was nothing you could have done. You did well to escape with your life and to have protected others” Dalamis stated, placing a hand on his shoulder that somewhat tamed the nausea.
“He apparently saw one of them though” Kayla mentioned, to Stavros’ dismay.
“I don’t know what it was that I saw”
“He said he saw Everette” Kai said.
Were they trying to make him sound deranged? He thought, the nauseating dizziness returning at the memory of seeing Everette on the other side of the glass.
“Everette? But she was with us” Dalamis questioned with a quizzical brow.
“As I said, I do not know what I saw. All I know is that, whatever it was, is dangerous” he said showing his bandaged arm.
Observing the bandages, Dalamis asked “Was anyone else injured?” not entirely wanting to know the answer.
“It’s hard to say, we have only just assumed enough courage to leave the medical room when we heard you call” Stavros stated, pulling the sleeve of his shirt back over his injury.
“We should split up” Halda suggested, still keeping a tight grip on his sword.
Kayla answering first said, “I will go with my brother, Stavros can go with Salvatoris and some of the other healers”.
“I shall go with Dalamis,” Halda said “Someone must inform the King”
Stavros, hoping to get out of the mountain, ignored Kayla’s proposal “I will go”
“Salvatoris can come with us,” Kayla said in response to the change.
Nodding with approval, Halda stated “I agree with this plan”
“We wouldn’t have much of a choice if you didn’t” Dalamis teased lightly.
Tapping his arm, Dalamis took off in the direction of the library.
Closing his eyes as he passed swiftly through the main hall, Stavros made it out into the open and took a running leap off of Evangelis, his arms stretching out in front of him as he dove down through the skies.
Seeing the land quickly approaching, he snapped his wings open slowing his descent, still, he landed with a rather loud thud but kept his balance nonetheless.
He began marching over, Solon already on his way with Everette trailing up behind.
Stavros kept his eyes off of Everette for the time being, seeing her would only take him back to the medical room and he still didn’t understand why he saw her, he couldn’t afford to dwell on it now.
“Evangelis has been attacked, we do not know what by but we have a bigger situation on our hands” he informed him.
“How could it be worse?”
“The four stones are gone, they took them”