The Four Lands Of Arravan: Birthright

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Chapter Thirty: That Was Your Plan?

Trekking through the sludge that made up, at least, seventy percent of the ground beneath them, Kaydence and the others trudged on.

The mountains that were once just a spec in the distance, grew taller as they pushed through the night and into the s-called early morning, not they could tell with the starless skies that failed to give any indication of what time it was or even directions leaving them relying on Ida.

Kaydence had been hearing noises behind them as they walked, he presumed it was his tired mind playing tricks, but still, he kept a wary eye on the rear horizon.

On entering a valley, the ground hard underfoot and almost sand-like Kaydence got an odd feeling, one that screamed familiarity and warning.

Even in the near non-existent lighting, he recognised the teeth-like rocks and razor ridges of stone, he would be a fool to have forgotten, and even more so to have forgotten what events took place there when locked in his mind.

A splash of dust and minute pebbles skimmed the back of Kaydences feet, he spun around with despair on his mind only to come face to face with Vasilios.

Raising Acuere, he let its hilt fly from his grasp, its blade aimed for the snake-eyed man’s chest and as the tip of the blade sank into his flesh, his face morphed.

Standing before him, bloodied hands clasped around the penetrating sword protruding from his chest, was Mayfel.

His vision perished, left to a realm of darkness with no features but the humming and thrumming of silence.

Kaydence could feel his body moving although it wasn’t he was willing his limbs to do such a thing.

Harsh ground scraped along his back, his feet suspended in the air but his mind could make no sense of it.

Had he died? Was he banished for an eternity of darkness?

That was what he had been thinking until a suffocating downpour of cool liquid drown him and flooded his airways.

Kaydences chest convulsed and his body flung itself onto all fours as he spluttered and coughed.

The stone floor under his hands told him he wasn’t outside and the hissing voice from Ida told him that he wasn’t alone.

“You’re plan failed if that is what you’re wondering” Vasilios announced, his chin held high as he gazed down to the group now held hostage in a cell. “Your mother was caught” he added as if it were an afterthought.

Kaydences eyes furiously searched the room, the gentleness of his mother's hand on his back was lost to him as he looked for Mayfel.

“Are you looking for this?” Vasilios’ voice came again along with outstretched hands that bestowed Acuere.

“I didn’t” Kaydence uttered, his throat restricting making it hard to swallow.

“No, you did not. He is in another room, but the suspense was worth it to see the utter despair and terror in your eyes. You made a good attempt at running, it was a shame you never reached more than a hundred meters from my front door.” he stated, his voice low with what sounded like disappointment.

The cogs in Kaydences mind twisted and turned, it didn’t make sense, Mayfel was alright, it was Vasilios he stabbed but then how did he appear as Mayfel, he was a sorcerer of mind manipulation not shifting to another person.

Unless…

“You are getting slower my boy. But I see in your eyes that you understand, for the others, however, I will explain”

Clearing his throat and ignoring Kaydences sorry sight, his tongue darted across his lips as his cruel eyes settled on the group.

“While you were all wallowing in defeat, after being caught, Kaydence here was writhing in horror as he slept. Sadly the horrors do not end here my guests, I shall be with you again shortly so until then please stay put.”

“Let me see him” Kaydence demanded, his body rising from the floor until he was on his feet.

“You have your mother, show her some attention. It will do you well to be apart for some time, as the humans say, distance makes the heart grow fonder” he snarled in reply.

One look at his mother sent him spiralling out of control, seeing the darkening bruise along her cheek, her swollen and split lip as well as her chain-bound hands rung something inside him, a call o which he could not ignore.

Holding her regretful and grave expression in the forefront of his mind, Kaydences fist swinging out between the bars towards Vasilios’ face.

The man, however, stood unphased as he took a simple step back, tutting as he did so before his own hand shot out and took a hold of Kaydences wrist yanking him into the bars.

“You have stabbed me and made no progress in killing me, yet you think you can do some sort of damage with your fist. Do mortals ever learn?” he sighed.

Side-eyeing Ida, he continued on his droning, one-sided chat.

“How can you put up with them for so long? They’re very tiring to be around, I feel as though I have aged a century”

Refusing to make eye contact, Ida instead faced the rock wall with a composure mirroring extreme frustration and perhaps a little embarrassment.

“You will all be on your knees before me and my throne soon enough” Vasilios muttered.

“What did you mean by the horrors don’t end here?” Evan suddenly asked as if he hadn’t heard a word of what had been said from then until now.

Unsettlingly, Vasilios’ thin and pointed pupils twitched Evan’s way, his lips parted as a slow and even breath slithered out.

“My creations” he uttered with wide eyes as if he were upset they wouldn’t have guessed or known the answer. “They’ve been set free” he continued on now facing Kaydence as the roots of a grin took hold on his face.

“Where?” Kaydence gritted out, his heart speeding up as he waited for an answer.

The face-splitting grin, that ironically resembled a snake as his yellowed fangs too poked out from his risen lip, grieved Kaydence further, he didn’t like the looks Vasilios held at the best of times, but this was different, there was cruelty and malice hidden within.

“Your lovely neighbours, the City of Embers and their human counterpart, I believe it goes by Ashrise City” he hissed.

“Which creatures?” Fraya asked, the fear in her voice detectable.

“Well, I thought it would be fitting to unleash my Embers, especially for them. Do not give me such a disapproving look dear boy” he noted to Kaydence who had managed to distance himself a little from the bars with Vasilios’ slightly slackened arm.

He could feel his mother's hand in his own as if to keep him calm and to ground him, but the more he knew she was there the more he wished to murder the man with a hold on him.

“Lay another hand on my mother and I will find a way to kill you, even if I have to try every single weapon ever created, I will find a way. I will kill Vallen along the way as well for allowing this” he snarled.

“So scary” Vasilios teased his eyes showing a great lack of consideration or care “Perhaps if you hadn’t have tried your little stunt, no one would have gotten hurt. As for your father, he has no objections to what happens to dear Elena. As far as he is concerned his wife faked their love for quite some time and his family is a deceitful lie. Your mother's heart, even after death, yearns for another, even if that other was not so different from Vallen and me”

peering at his mother who failed to meet his eyes, Kaydence spoke back to Vasilios, even if what he said was true, there was nothing that could be done.

“You and Vallen should watch your backs, I killed Bregan and I won’t hesitate to kill you both as well. Expect your fate to be like his”

“That was a lovely speech, so brave and confident. It’s a shame that’s all you were born to do” he said with a mocking pout of his lip.

“It isn’t built in me, I will change my fate because no one else that I care about is going o die, I won’t let it happen. So do what you want and say what you want but you’ll be the one saying goodbye” Kaydence spat, his eyes matching the intensity of Vasilios’.

With one jolt of Vasilios’ arm, Kaydence was sent crashing against the bars, his body uncomfortably pressed to the bars, he was forced to listen as Vasilios leaned closer and hissed out a whisper of words, lost to the ears of the others.

As his lips fell shut, Kaydence was discarded to the ground, his body free but his mind held against its will by fear, it showed in his eyes that he was questioning something but fright was also there.

Vasilios of course held nothing but an unbothered smirk that he adored carrying around.

Opening the cell door, allowing it to purposefully collide with Kaydence, further knocking him onto his back with a bloody nose, he stepped aside as Vallen stormed in with a swaying Mayfel who ended up on the cell floor with a clatter as his hands slapped the stone in an attempt to catch himself.

“If it is any consolation, your mother feels no pain. The dead feel nothing, they can simply replicate emotions when they are brought back. What your mother says or does, has no true feeling behind it, they cannot feel love or remorse, not even regret. Tears are nothing but treachery” he said as he pulled the cell door closed “You should all get comfortable, you will be spending quite some time where you are. Say goodbye to the luxury beds I accommodated for you all, oh and before I forget, the toilet is in the corner” he went on with a cackled hat echoed behind him as he strolled off into the corridor until it was no more than a whisper, blocked out by the wooden door pulled closed by Vallen.

“What now?” Fraya asked to those that were lending an ear, which apparently was not something that applied to Kaydence as he shuffled himself to Mayfel who still lay on his front.

Rolling him onto his back, Kaydence got a better idea of the damage inflicted.

It wasn’t anything life-threatening, but the bruises, and grazes looked sore nonetheless.

The groan that came from Mayfel, one which Kaydence would usually link to his grumpy morning awakenings, was sweet, rugged music to his ears, he was okay, a bit beat up, but alive.

“Do you see any way out?” Evan asked sarcastically “We’re stuck here for sure, there are too many complications to escape now”

“Do not bother, we had our one chance and you wasted it” Ida snapped, the blame once again being shoved to them and away from her.

“We can escape, we just have to make another plan” Mayfel grumbled from the floor, his eyes closed as if wanting to sleep, which after the night or day they’d had, Kaydence couldn’t blame him.

“I have a plan” Kaydence stated and rose to his feet, wiping his sleeve under his nose to collect the drying blood.

Taking hold of the bars with both hands, he fired his voice like an arrow towards the door at the top of his lungs, knowing it would reach Vasilios’ easily tempted, pointed ears.

“I challenge my father and you to a fight”

Not a moment later the door slammed open, a grinning Vasilios stepping in with glowing eyes.

“That was your plan?” Ida hissed but was spoken over by Vasilios who seemed rather excited and enthusiastic about the whole ordeal.

“I cannot refuse a challenge such as that. It would be an honour, Kaydence Harkhallow”

“Then it is settled, but I wish for the other to watch,” Kaydence said sternly.

“That is a bit dark don’t you think? Inviting your friends and loved ones to watch you die”

“You mean to watch me win?”

With an observing eye, Vasilios spoke “I will allow it, bust should you defy me again, then worse will befall you.”

“I understand,” he said.

“Then let the show begin”

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