The Four Lands Of Arravan: Birthright

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Chapter Thirty-Two: Long Live The Mati

“Aim it at the fire!” Annalise yelled quietly, knowing full well what Horatio would say should she raise her voice and possibly alert the neighbours.

“Why don’t you do it” he grumbled back, squinting through the plume of powder aiming towards the fire that had accumulated from a failed attempt of a ritual.

“Do the fae not put warnings on these kinds of things?” she muttered to herself “The ritual is ruined now, I bet there’s nothing left of that pin and we used up the rest of the ingredients you idiot”

With the fire out, Horatio put the extinguisher down and wiped his beaded forehead with his sleeve.

“How am I the idiot? You’re the one that got enough ingredients for only one try at this”

“Do you know how hard it was to get all of that? I had eyes on me all of the time and so did Andrew” she scorned as her eyes set to searching for the pin amongst the charred remains of the kitchen counter.

It was but a minute glint that caught her eye, had the curtains in the kitchen not been bumped and pulled slightly open in the rush of panic, then they may not have found it.

Annalise was swift in collecting it and dusting off its slender form until it gleamed silver in the spike of invading moonlight.

Both let out a sigh of relief, possibly for different reasons but nevertheless, they were one step closer o fulfilling theirs and Bregan’s plans, one step closer to making a better world.

“How will we know if it works?” she asked turning the pin as if to observe it for damage.

“We won’t until we try it, that being said, we only have one shot at it so there’s no trial runs. Unless you fancy burning the rest of my home down”

“No pressure then” Annalise muttered

Leaning his back against the worktop, Horatio turned and gazed at her from his one hazel eye “I would do it myself but quite frankly, I don’t trust you to babysit. Besides, I would be seen as an instant threat whereas you have some leeway to use.”

She slipped the pin into her floral hairband keeping it safe and concealed, her hair tied up smartly upon her head and her cleaned up face and new attire creating an almost innocent aura around her.

“Can I use your car?” she asked putting her new look to the test.

“Yes but you’ll gave to walk down the road a little, I couldn’t risk drawing attention” he replied

Holding her hand out despite the keys being on the counter beside her, she batted her eyelids, her dark eyelashes fluttering as she did so like a child wanting something would do.

Irritation was evident on Horatio’s face, but with a sigh and a grumble following suit, he collected the keys and shoved them into her palm.

“Thank you,” she said sweetly, a smug smile accompanying it that offset the innocent nature. “What will you do now? Rowan and the two lovebirds probably know that Andrew was lying by now and he isn’t the best at holding information, he might look tough but he gives in rather easily.”

“I will handle it as it comes, they won’t be hard to beat. Besides, Andrew always has a trick or two up his sleeve”

“And the baby?” she asked.

“Tollen will be perfectly safe, I’ll make sure of it”

Nodding she tapped the worktop clambering off a stool “I best be off, I want to get there on time”

“Safe travels,” he said handing her a bag of food and drinks “For the road” he insisted

“Long live the Mati”

* * *

“We have delivered a trial antidote to Nathan” Nerina stated to Monty and the others.

They had not long returned from their journey and had been greeted by the lady of the river who of which looked pleased to say the least.

“How is he doing?” Monty wasted no time in asking.

“There have been improvements, some of which have been gradual. He has, however, not regained consciousness”

With fast feet, Monty headed for the steps, his ears catching Nerina’s warning words on the way out.

“There have been side effects from the antidote” she informed him.

Dreading the answer with a heavy heart, he asked the anticipated question “What kind of side effects?”

“That, you will have to see with your own eyes. Come, walk with me” she said, her gentle arm linking with his as they ascended the staircase at a steadier pace.

Stopping momentarily, her body turning effortlessly to face the duo at the bottom of the steps “A thank you is due to the both of you also, I am forever grateful for your assistance. I am in your debt”

“There will be no need for a debt my lady, simply allow us to help where we can” Wren insisted politely as usual.

“Very well, your nightly rounds of the city will be enough for tonight. Oh and Wren, be sure to report back to me when finished”

“I too will help” Demetrius chimed in “I came here to lend a hand and soi will help”

Bowing her head in gratitude “Thank you” she said before continuing on her gratitude “Wren if you could arrange some hospitality for Demetrius and his people”

“That won’t be an issue, my lady, many of my people have family or friends here that have taken them in for the duration of our stay” Demetrius informed her.

“And you?” she asked curiously.

“I will seek out a tavern”

“Nonsense, he will stay with me my lady” Wren assured her

Her eyes alight with pride for her people, she curtly nodded “Very well, see to it that you both rest well” she said, her feet resuming their movements up the steps. “Sleep well gentlemen”

Monty by her side grew frustrated as he was forced to amble along beside Nerina towards the medical bay.

He’d tried explaining that he wanted to get there urgently in case anything sudden were to happen, he’d expressed his concerns more than once but Nerina insisted he hold faith in the antidote.

Unsure of how he could have faith in something that had a fifty-fifty chance of working, he pressed again in the hopes of appealing to her understanding side.

“You do not talk much to those around you” she stated out of the blue.

“I don’t see why I should, there's always a high chance I won’t see them again. Fewer connections make for less grief in the long run”

“Perhaps, but is it not lonely?” she pondered.

“I have friends and family, I just choose both wisely. Usually, It takes more than a few hours for me to decide as well”

“You have a very calculating mind, you may strive for great things” she complimented.

“I don’t want great things” he admitted “I am happy where I am”

As if thinking over her next thoughts, her lips held a slight slant to them before straightening again, the pale pink plumpness resuming “Is it that you do not want to strive for great things, or is it that you are scared to?”

“I’m not scared, I don’t need power or a high status to be satisfied with life. Being an outcast is enough fun for me”

Releasing an airy laugh of summertime honey, the corners of her eyes crinkling as she did so.

Were all fae blessed with flawless features? he thought to himself.

“Did you always want to become Leader of the High Council?”

“Not particularly” she answered thoughtfully “Sorin, Braylen and I were friends in our teenage years. Braylen wanted nothing more than to follow in her great grandmother's footsteps, Sorin too had some interest. But I was more of an introvert back then” she said, her delicate fingers tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear, almost as if she were embarrassed, the pinkish tint to her cheek adding to his theory.

“What made you change your mind?”

“Even back then, there were cracks in Braylen’s personality. Her harsh ideas of ruling, soon placed a seed between us and naturally, we grew apart and our friendship broke over the years following. Sorin had applied for the position and soon after had a meeting with the King, as did Braylen, I did it out of spite. Braylen would remind me of her thoughts of me not reaching the standards of a High Council Leader because of my shy nature. I applied to show her otherwise”

“Weren’t you regretting it when you got the job?” he asked taken aback by the fair lady's old self, possibly her own self now that was kept hidden from the public’s eyes.

The question seemed to have amused her, the quirk of her lips told him that much, as if she was recounting a fond memory “I promised myself to become a better leader than Braylen ever could, I used my fears to improve my ruling. I wished to be an approachable leader for everyone as well as my council and so I surrounded myself with honest and true fae”

“I couldn’t imagine you being friends with Braylen,” he said honestly, not that he could imagine anyone wanting to be friends with Braylen, he wondered how her own son and Rowan had coped with her all of those years with the rantings and mad ideas.

“It was a long time ago now, at least for you”

“But you’re still friends with Sorin, right?” he asked like an eager child listening to a tale and wanting to know the end.

“Indeed, we reconnected at the High Council ceremony and we have kept in touch since”

They reach the medical quarters, the smell of sanitisation clear and definitely welcoming compared to the stench of the caverns.

“I wish you both luck” Nerina granted him as a farewell.

With furrowed brows, he asked “Are you not coming in?” seeing she had accompanied him the entire way.

“I have other pressing matters to attend to”

“What will happen now that the water is shut off?” he queried swiftly after she had finished her sentence, his words nearly cutting her off.

Taking a breath, to give the conversation a slight pause for the melodic pace to continue, she continued on to say “I do not know, with all hope the poison will stop spreading and the earth can begin to heal”

“The creatures, they die instantly when they’re out of water” he noted, the thought coming back to him after wracking his brain for the important thing he had to tell her but that he couldn’t quite remember.

“I will inform the King and the other village, for now you should be with your friend”

“He’s not-” Monty began to say but with Nerina’s daring expression telling him to attempt to deny it truthfully, his words fell short.

“Thank you,” he said instead “For everything”

He pushed open the door and entered the corridor, he located Nathan’s room door and didn’t spare a second of hesitation as he went in.

Laying on the bed, almost as he’d left him, was Nathan, although his appearance had taken a turn for the worst.

There was not a strand of hair on his head or face, his fingernails that sat above the white bedsheets were a strong black colour as were the deep bruises spanning across his body.

Dark circles beneath his eyes, as if he hadn’t slept added to the matching bleak tones sitting above his paled skin.

The black veins had newly reached the most recent lines places by the nurses which worried him, he thought Nerina had said they were seeing improvements, how could that be if the poison was still spreading and inching closer and closer to his heart and vital organs?

“When were the lines last drawn on?” he asked the nurse swapping Nathan’s dressings.

“Not long after we got his heart beating again” the nurse replied.

“And it hasn’t been crossed yet?”

“Indeed. Things might be looking up for him, poor thing has been through a lot, but he is strong”

“Have his vitals gotten better?” Nathan asked, uninterested in chitchat, wanting to simply get to the details with which they wouldn’t give him earlier.

“A little, but it is a little in the right direction”

“Doesn’t it get exhausting being so positive? Everyone in this city is still looking at the best and most optimistic outcome”

Side-eyeing him, the nurse replied as he packed up his things “It’s called bedside manner”

Monty’s gaze fell to Nathan “Do you think he’ll live? Give me an honest answer”

The nurse took a minute to observe Nathan and the charts in his hands before saying his part “As of now, the odds aren’t in his favour, but if his vitals keep rising at this rate, I’d say he has a chance. It will be at least a week though until he can regain consciousness, bearing in mind he continues to improve”

“So what does that all mean in one summed up answer of yes or no?” Monty asked impatiently.

“Right now, even with the antidote, he could be too far gone. Him not making it through the night is still a high possibility, just be prepared”

Monty took a seat next to the bed, his body becoming accustomed to the chair again having spent so many hours in it, he pondered the thought momentarily of the chair having actually moulded to the shape of his body, but that could be impossible and so he let the thought go, focusing back on the world around him.

“Can you give him another dose of the antidote?”

“We are under instructions from Kyril, not to administer anymore unless his vitals begin to drop again”

“I see” he said somewhat solemnly “Will he be steady enough to transport soon?”

“You should not even be thinking of moving him” he exclaimed, his expression bewildered by Monty’s question.

“Evangelis is the best place for him, they have better medical methods. No offence”

“Even so, he would not survive the journey and that includes going by portal. Have you thought about having them come here?”

Shutting him down instantly, Monty said with a straight face “They won’t leave the mountain” causing the nurse to curse under his breath, something Monty was doing in his mind over and over as a way to cope with the interaction.

“You seem to have a personal vendetta against the Aer Clan,” he said

“Everyone does, we all lost someone close. Do not move him, I will be back to check on him in an hour”

“Thank you,” Monty said, his mouth becoming tired of repeating the phrase.

“It’s my job”

Raising his brows and pursing his lips, his head nodded slightly in agreement “You could have just turned your back on Nathan though, because of us being human”

“As I said, it’s my job. I do not discriminate between lives when working, a life is a life and we try to save each and every one. You learn to look past the reasoning” he mentioned, collecting the results gathered from Nathan before leaving the room.

Only for Kyril to take his place, gliding through the door and coming to a stop in front of him, his body dowsed in a silver robe that trailed along the ground at his heels and a blue velvet waistcoat finished with a pocket watch.

“You look like you’re dressed appropriately for Salatia” Monty noted paying mind to the blues and silvers that are usually associated with Nirvariten and Salatia, in their world at least.

“I am prepared for any situation” Kyril replied, his lips holding a steady line as his pink eyes fell to the man in the bed.

“He’s improving”

“For now. There is still a chance it will peak and drop again” he stated bluntly.

“Maybe, but I know Nathan, he’ll fight”

Distaste on his lips, Kyril turned his nose up at the opposing duo “Mortals really are feeble” he sneered.

“Why did you even help us? You don’t seem to care what happens to us”

“Ida may blame you for what took place in Mater Arbor, but I still honour mothers being. A life should never be wasted” he divulged

“That’s funny, you pretty much quoted the nurse. So you don’t blame us for what happened to Ida’s realm?”

“I blame those who were in the wrong” he stated confidently.

“Do you think we were in the wrong?”

Breathing in deeply and releasing it, Kyril aimed his eyes at Monty “I can neither say yes or n, but what happened, happened and there is no going back. You must accept it and try to move forward”

“That very wise of you” Monty mocked.

“It is naive of you to think everything will be alright” he retaliated.

Disagreement disturbing his face, Monty’s eyes hardened “I never said everything would turn out well”

“You didn’t have to” Kyril replied in an all knowing manner “The way you look at the boy with hope of recovery in your eyes, was enough to tell me your beliefs”

turning his eyes away, Monty crossed his arms over his chest “I want some rest so you should get going”

“You cannot act heartless forever” Kyril added.

“I am not acting heartless”

“Showing emotion is braver than showing none at all” he continued on as if he hadn’t heard anything besides the answers he wanted.

“Thanks for the riddle, but as I said, I want to rest”

“As you wish” he stated, the expression he entered with resuming its stern play as he met with the doorway. “Remember one thing, not everything works out. The boy seems to know that better than you, Mors illis qui laeserunt nos, death to those who have wronged us. It isn’t a phrase that should be overlooked, do you think?”

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