The Four Lands Of Arravan: Birthright

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Chapter Twenty-Nine: The Forthcoming

King Solon had gotten in touch with Sorin Ribaya and Nerina Barika on the matter of the stones and had tried his best to explain the situation, but even with Halda’s words of advice it still sounded in the side of being more difficult to believe.

Neither knew of the stone’s disappearance until that point but even so, no one had a solution.

Stavros and the others couldn’t provide any information on the beings that took them or how they even knew of the stone’s location, let alone where they had possibly taken them to.

With the recent appearance of masses of seaweed, Nerina had informed Solon of it making one wonder if the attack was connected in some way, he had consulted his thoughts with Halda also but there was no way to be sure.

One letter, from the stream they had collected, included notes on Kaydences and Ida’s group and where they had headed off to, Solon had told Dalamis himself, so that he was aware of his brother’s whereabouts, not that it made him panic less about him being so far away from home.

Something didn’t feel right as the tugging continued in the pit of his stomach, but then again everything produced the unsure feeling these days.

Solon’s concerns were brought to light however when he received yet another letter from Nerina, it spoke of Nathan and his fall to an unknown illness which only made the worry grow because of the sheer number of creatures she’d reported and the fact that they now knew what could become of their people should it continue.

Sorin had also begun to report attacks of her own within the City of Embers and even Ashrise City.

They had been targetted and attacked by creatures, never seen before, much like Salatia and even more so they had no solution or idea of their origins.

Unlike Salatia’s new and unwanted inhabitants, The City Of Embers had suffered at the hands of scorpion-like creature, the armoured body appearing to be made from glass with hurricane flames swirling within, their wings resembling that of a dragonfly but clearer and sharper as if thinned to razor blades and the noticeable stinger that all but pricked people left behind excruciating consequences.

Those that fell victim to them never recovered, or so Sorin had said in her letter before explaining in detail how those attacked by them burned from the inside out as if the beasts had injected flames beneath their skin.

The horrors never stopped, whoever was responsible had tailored each attack to each clan, supposed invisible people that mimicked the very air around the, had been selected to invade Evangelis, For Nirvariten and Salatia it was the seaweed creatures threatening their lands with poison and now it was the City of Embers with flying wielders of death.

It would be only a matter of time before Crestfold too would be targetted, although it brought some comfort knowing it was currently uninhabited as those living there prior to the battle refused to return and see the streets the bodies of their loved ones once lay in.

Solon thought that after Bregan had perished in defeat and his schemes were brought to an end, despite what Bregan had claimed, that his lands could start healing again, perhaps even that laws could have been resurrected and changed with the human government.

But now they had to deal with yet another issue threatening the fate of their world, naivety isn’t something a king should possess he thought, it isn’t something that brings strength and guidance but stupidity and mistakes and he’d made enough of those already.

He did wonder if it was what Bregan had meant when he’d said, even if he is dead that his plans would still be carried out.

Perhaps this was all his doing also, the continuation made possible by his followers honouring his blood-smeared name.

Although it didn’t seem like Bregan’s style if he had to be completely honest since he was so set on the rapid destruction and the elimination of the fae and these newly arisen problems were much too slow.

Gradual poison in the water, the scorpions only attacking at night and as for invisible assailants, that acted a little faster and more aggressive, they only wiped out the guards that were in their way.

No innocent Evangelians were harmed even though they could have murdered every last soul in the entire mountain if they so wished.

Bregan would have had them all killed by now.

It meant both good and bad news, on one hand, they had more time to fight back against the attacks, but on the other hand, if it wasn’t Bregan’s followers acting out his plans, then who was it.

* * *

As a child, the dream-like music song of the harp was what drew him in to learn its tricky rules.

It’s the music of the angels, he’d insist to those who asked why he chose to learn an instrument seemingly aimed for the female musicians of Evangelis.

Melodies that once sounded so innocent and hymns that painted beautiful worlds far from the palace halls were nothing but sorrowful now, the innocence lost and the dreams for children washed away by reality.

Even as his elegant and slender fingers subconsciously plucked at the strings, he could hear no joy in the sounds ringing out, not that he could have managed a joyous tune after the day he’d had.

It bothered him that he and Halda had argued, it wasn’t as if arguments between a couple was unheard of, but the guilt and regret he was feeling left him uncertain of how he’d affected Halda.

He never intended to upset anyone, it just seemed that no matter how hard he tried, everyone he cared for got hurt.

Was he that bad of a person to not even realise the damage he was doing?

“I did not know that you could play” Halda’s voice stated softly, the slow and steady taps of his boots coming closer brought Dalamis to attention, although his fingers continued with a mind of their own.

As Halda sat on a sheet covered seat opposite him, the golden harp the only thing separating them, Dalamis spoke although keeping his voice timid and his eyes locked to the strings despite muscle memory havng taken over.

“There are things that I don’t discuss or show about myself”

“Like what we talked about earlier?” Halda suggested.

Dalamis didn’t know what he was expecting Halda would bring up when he waltzes in, it wasn’t a shock that it would be about earlier but for some unknown reason, which remained hidden to even Dalamis, he didn’t feel ready to speak about it.

Was it odd to feel embarrassed or ashamed?

His fingers incorrectly plucked the next string sending the melody off-key and with it broke any concentration he had.

“You know, you can always-” Halda began.

“Talk to me, I know.” Dalamis finished for him having heard the same words from his mother as a child.

“Fear is not always a weakness. It creates a sense of despair and so you plan to combat it, in some ways, it makes one better, although like everything it has its fault”

“Yes I am scared to talk to people, but it’s because I don’t like being dependant on others and feeling as though I’m putting my troubles on someone else”

A show of admiration in Halda’s eyes kept Dalamis quiet while the other man replied “Everyone gets scared. I was, during the battle and not just for the King, but for you also. I had never felt such fear and anxiety in my entire service to Solon, seeing you defending yourself across the field when I couldn’t get to you. It petrified me” he admitted.

Halda had been open and honest with him in the past but not as much when it came to emotions, Dalamis admittedly liked hearing him speak his mind and wished he’d go on and map out his heart and soul for him to follow.

“Now that I have told, do you feel as though I have placed my worries onto you?” he asked

“No” was all Dalamis could manage to say.

“There is never a reason for you not to speak up. Concerns are meant to be voiced, otherwise, how do we take care of them?” Halda states softly, his voice rich with sympathy and understanding “Now come, teach me how to play”

“I have lost my ability to,” Dalamis said innocently, nerves fluttered in his stomach, it had been years since he performed for others let alone taught anyone or even played by himself, he was indeed rusty.

“It sounded splendid from what I heard on entering”

“It’s not nice to lie, Halda”

“I do not believe I was lying, Dalamis”

Stubbornly facing the strings, in an attempt to ignore the face on the other side, Dalamis muttered back “Your blushing ears would say otherwise”

But nevertheless, he beckoned Halda over as he shuffled his seat back, allowing room for Halda to slot his own seat in front.

It was somewhat embarrassing to have Halda see the state of a few forgotten rooms of Evangelis, the music room they sat in being one of them.

There was no shortage of dust or cobwebs over the white sheets covering instruments and furniture, that sat piled high in most of the once empty space for storage.

After the war, many of the rooms lost their purpose and so they were left to gather the passing years, awaiting the day where life would be let back in.

Despite the harp being left covered for years, it remained quintessential, its golden surface adorned with leafy vines that wrapped around the column, spanning up to the crown where bloomed a golden rose, all gleamed in the dim lighting of candles.

Beautiful he thought.

Both faes seated, Dalamis tenderly collected Halda’s left hand and lifted it to the strings where he positioned his thumb and three fingers, his own mimicking the positioning on the back of Halda’s.

One by one the strings rang with sweet serenity, a shimmer of sound sending Dalamis back to a far off world of sunsets and green glades, horses running free in the starlight, their bodies dancing in the summer breeze, enthralled by the pollen and petals of flowers.

Too long had he awaited the time where he could return to such a beautiful daydream, it was only fitting for him to return when beside the one that held so much of his mind.

Dalamis’ free hand slid around Halda’s stomach with an unexpected yearning and desire to be closer, the ridges of muscle easy to feel.

Halda’s fingers ceased their slow movements against the harp and instead turned, interlacing with Dalamis’, his body and head resting back against Dalamis as he observed their hands.

“I did not know there was a music room”

“It’s mostly used for storage now” Dalamis replied quietly.

“Good,” Halda said as he took in a breath, his body rotated in his seat and his hands came to cup Dalamis’ face.

Pressing his lips to the winged fae’s, heavily, to begin with, Dalamis’ eyes fell shut, after his surprise, and so Halda relaxed.

Despite none of the instruments being played, Dalamis could hear the drumming of his heart and the choiring hums resonating throughout his body, that leant back as his lovers moved forwards to compensate for the movement, as if in an attempt to keep their lips together.

In doing so, Dalamis felt his body jolt backwards, his foot shot back as did his hand that grappled the edge of his set and in a blurry series of movements, he stumbled backwards somehow on his feet.

His arms flailed as his feet kept carrying him backwards until his body collided with the piano, the disarray of chords sharp to the ears.

Dalamis huffed in breath after breath as Halda, with his broadening grin and breathless laughter, carried himself over.

“Did you enjoy your trip?” he amusedly chuckled.

“It was your fault”

“Blaming people is not very nice,” he said

“It’s not blaming if it’s a fact”

“I will have you know that I did nothing wrong”

“You kissed me and got so caught up that I fell” Dalamis argued pettily, his arms crossing over his chest.

“So I am to believe that kissing you is bad?” he teased knowing full well that Dalamis was easily wound up.

“Of course not” he sighed “I just mean that it was unexpected.”

“You do not like surprises?”

“I do,” Dalamis said at a loss.

“You are, as the humans say, digging yourself a hole”

“Oh shut up” Dalamis grumbled as he grabbed the pristinely, wrinkle-free shirt, bundling it in his fists as he yanked the fae towards him.

Lips collided sloppily, Halda’s hands moved to run through the curls at the back of Dalamis’ head.

The winged fae’s hand released their grip on Halda’s shirt where they then wandered to his top button, his thumb skimming over it as if he was making a decision about his next move.

Halda’s reddened lips moved to his lover’s jaw where he whispered lowly to him “It is alright” with so much consideration and tender love.

The simple kisses continued from his pointed ear to his cheek as he thought of his response despite already knowing what he wanted to say, it was just saying it that proved difficult to him.

Then again, not everything had to be verbally explained.

The button came undone, a gracious smile spreading across Dalamis’ face as he gazed up at Halda to meet his shamrock green eyes.

“I’m yours” he uttered timidly before drawing the man back to him, his fingers proceeding to undo button after button until Halda’s shirt was left to hang open.

Halda was taking his time with Dalamis’, each button Halda undid he rewarded him with a kiss, whether it was placed on Dalamis’ neck, cheek or elsewhere on his face.

Dalamis, finding himself pressed between his gentle partner and the piano, wasn’t sure of what came next seeing as they’d only gone so far up until now so he would be relying on Halda to guide him from here on out.

His shirt slipped off of his shoulder, cascading to the smooth floor where it pooled around his feet.

He felt Halda’s hands wander down his bareback until they were collecting the backs of his thighs, lifting him up and propping him on the piano, the keys once again singing out in dismay.

Halda stood between Dalamis’ legs, one hand beside his head on the top of the piano as if to keep him from slipping, but Dalamis had a feeling it was his way of slowly progressing things and he didn’t object in a single way.

Dalamis enjoyed the new sensations although paying mind to Halda’s fumbling fingers at his belt buckle.

This was it he thought, last time they’d gotten to the same point he’d called it a night, but now he wanted nothing but to be held, to be touched and loved until the sun came up.

He wanted nothing more than to be as close as possible to Halda, there was no denying him tonight.

“Are you sure this is what you want?” Halda asked, halting his movements and looking Dalamis in the eyes.

“I’m positive,” he said in reply hoping his want showed in his eyes.

“If you wish to stop, then we stop. Be sure to tell me”

“Halda, I trust you. I’m ready” Dalamis whispered, his hand holding the side of Halda’s face as he pressed his lips gently to his.

Seemingly reassured and confident with Dalamis’ words, Halda carried him across the room with ease that didn’t change when he set him down on the discarded sheet once covering the harp.

Holding himself over Dalamis, his kisses began from his lips and ended at Dalamis’ belt, each one followed by a shudder as pent up anticipation hummed in his nerves.

The trembles spread even to his wings that fluttered along the floors, sprawled out either side of them.

The zip of his trousers fell open and soon the cool air was brushing over his burning skin.

Even with the advancements, Halda never became greedy or hasty, he remained careful but not at all timid.

Dalamis’ body failed to keep still and his lunges and mouth even more so as they expelled gasps and gracious calls of Halda’s name over and over.

It was difficult to hold any composure with Halda’s body against his own and with the pleasure surging through every part of his body he felt as though his skin had been set alight with clear flames.

Halda’s skin felt the same, he found out as his legs encompassed his hips and his hands with their blunt and relatively short nails dug themselves into the man’s back.

Dalamis felt, in a way, guilty for the marks he was leaving but when thinking of the state Halda would be leaving him in, remorse flew out of the window.

“I love you” Halda spoke softly into his ear.

Just about able to steady his voice enough, Dalamis returned the same three words, those alone were enough to elicit a drawn-out and panting moan that curled his toes and had his hands grasping at Halda’s back and the sheet below.

His wings fluttered like wind blowing through the leaves in the trees, a light pattering noise accompanying the overwhelming feeling to which Halda soothed with peppered kisses to his sweaty body, his own not too different.

As their skin began to cool and they lay among the sheets, Dalamis felt shivers run along his spine, it was colder than he remembered.

“We should retreat to our room” Halda suggested but all Dalamis could do was nod in his dazed state although the certain twinkle in his eyes and the unwavering grin told them both that there were no regrets.

Bringing the pendant in his palm to his lips, Halda looks into Dalamis’ golden eyes, sandy gold shores surrounded by blue, the blue of oceans uncharted by fae and man, until now for he could see the map.

The map of Dalamis’ soul.

“I will promise you anything, Dalamis Harkhallow”

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