Chapter Thirty-Seven: May Death Come To You All
On the orders of Nerina, Demetrius and Mayfel sat down in an allocated room in the nearby tavern, it was odd to have time to himself, but even more so, that he was spending it with a man he was renown for not getting along with.
“So how have you been?” Demetrius asked, despite the answer being clear as day with the bruises and grazes.
“Seriously, that’s the best you can do? I just got thrown out of a portal from another world, carrying my injured boyfriend and you ask me how I’ve been. You really haven’t changed have you?”
“Neither have you with your snappy attitude” he stated with a firm posture that a lord might hold, but that was always Demetrius, so regal looking despite being in the countryside and leading a farming town.
“Well I’m only snappy because of your town leading skills”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Stepping in before it got any further, Wren acted like the adult “I can not listen to the both of you bickering, it is driving me up the walls.” he said rubbing a hand down his face “Demetrius if you do not mind, there is something I would like to tell Mayfel”
With a careless swish of his hand, Demetrius granted him confirmation to continue.
“Do you remember me?” Wren asked Mayfel curiously.
“You seem familiar”
“My name is Wren Tornsey and I wish to apologise,” he said.
“Whatever you have done in the past, you are forgiven. I’m not in the mood for a heart-to-heart discussion right now”
Ignoring his comment, Wren began to explain “I am the one that hurt you and the winged boy when you both came here. You were severely injured”
“Now you say it, your name and voice do sound familiar”
Nodding in acceptance, his eyes filled with sorrow and sympathy “I would also like to extend my condolences to you, I heard of Rena’s passing, and I too was deeply saddened by the news.” he added.
“Oh were you? Funny, I didn’t see you at her funeral” Mayfel stabbed with no remorse or care.
“I was not aware of it until after the fact. I knew her parents well when they paid visits to the capital, I have not seen them in some years”
“You don’t mourn her, you barely knew her. You just know her parents” Mayfel muttered.
A deep breath taken, that seemed to drain the entire room of breathable air, Wren spoke again.
“Rena came to me seeking help. When you both arrived, her cause was forgotten in her eyes”
With piqued interest, Mayfel asked “What did she come all this way to see you about? It’s not exactly a short journey, it had to be important”
“It was indeed, but not something she believed she could discuss with her family. You know how they are”
“What was it?” Mayfel pushed as he grew concerned.
“Rena was, expecting,” he said hesitantly watching Mayfel’s expressions carefully.
“Expecting a letter? A delivery?” Mayfel stuttered for words.
“That’s not possible, Rena would have told me about something like that” he stammered in utter disbelief and anguish. “I wouldn’t have let her go anywhere if I had known”
“That is exactly why she did not divulge anything, she came to me asking for help, she wished to know if you had passed through. Rena had been attempting to locate you Mayfel, although I do not know if she had intentions of telling you. But when she had seen you in your state-”
Mayfel’s face, was taken over with rage, his voice possessed by an eerie whisper as he said “You knew about her being pregnant and you still put her through all of that stress.” he hissed, tears brimming his furious eyes “You could have killed the child and her you oaf. Why are you apologising to me, when you should be at the waters edge on your hands and knees begging for forgiveness.” he sniffled wiping the tears off his cheek. “You’re lucky that I don’t hurt you in worse ways than you hurt me”
Standing in, as Wren had done, Demetrius tried to calm the situation “This is getting a little heated, Mayfel I suggest you take a minute to breath”
“Breathing won’t do anything” he spat before focusing the majority of his anger on one specific man “Do you know who the father is?” he demanded, his voice razor-sharp, sparing no expenses.
“I do not, however, Rena assured me she knew who and that he wanted no part in raising her”
Mayfel, on his feet and beginning to pace back and forth past the window, yet not paying any attention to the outside world, his brain reeled from all of the memories of the past year.
It was all confusing now as his mind tried registering and picking up on the new information.
He never noticed a bump, how far along had she been? A girl, she was having a girl, but who was the father? Why didn’t she tell him sooner?
Another question tore through his mind, one that made his blood curdle and his stomach knot impossibly tighter.
His face drained of all colour and his skin heated up.
He was going to throw up.
Launching himself towards the bin in the corner, he made it just in time as his last meal made its way into the bag.
Both men sat in silence waiting for him to settle down and he did although his paled, ill complexion remained unwavering,
“Rena was pregnant when she-” he breathed out releasing a few of the words she wanted to say.
“She was” Wren replied mournfully.
Realisation daunted on Mayfel “There was no funeral for the child”
“She and the child were one at the time, it was yet to be its own being”
“It doesn’t make a difference, the father might not have wanted anything to do with them, but I would have. I would have helped raise her as my own”
“That is something she was clear about, she did not want you giving up your relationship with the winged boy. She would never have asked you to sacrifice your life to raise her child” Wren stated firmly.
“I wouldn’t be giving up my life, I love Kaydence but I loved her too. I wouldn’t have loved my little baby girl if I had gotten the chance to meet her”
Through Mayfel’s sobbing and sniffles, Demetrius spoke aloud saying “What is done, is done. Dwelling on it will only make things worse, the past cannot be changed”
“I am sorry” Wren followed up.
“I don’t want your apologies. But I will ask for one favour”
* * *
The group Halda had gathered, in command of the king, consisted of Dalamis, himself, Kai and his sister Kayla, Stavros and Everette, all of which were sat in the library accompanied by Solon.
Blankets, pillows and mugs of coffee adorned each individual as they examined the information that they had from Sorin’s letter.
Everyone besides Dalamis, he say alone with a blank noted pad and pen that repeatedly clicked against the pages as he thought endlessly for a name or person.
Halda occasionally glanced in his direction, not that Dalamis seemed to notice, his mind off in its own world.
A new note from Sorin had not long been delivered, its contents revealed more information on the attack and according to her words, the creatures had retreated but the dead rank in the high fifties.
As they had read down the page, reports from fishermen that were near the coast of Alden spoke of firefly-like insects, although much larger.
The thing that rose suspicion was the fact that fireflies are never spotted near the shore, let alone flying over the ocean, so clearly, there was something unnatural at play.
“It says here that they were headed towards the Maria Portas, so we start there?” Everette suggested, her head turning to the King.
“Find out what we know of the realms, with the portals open who knows what could be passing through. I want contact created between the leaders of each realm immediately” Solon listed.
“There’s no chance of getting a hold of realm three, Ida says they lost contact with them centuries ago” she stated from her memory of Ida’s words in the boat.
“Please try,” Solon said before turning an eye to Dalamis, silently sitting with nothing as much as a word written on the lined paper. “Have you found anything?”
“Nothing, no one close to my father has the capability to do something like this. It was an organised attack and the creatures used, are not in any books I’ve ever seen in these halls. We are most definitely not looking for a human or a Fae, if I had to lay blame, my finger would be pointing towards a Sorcerer”
“I wish to speak with Ida, reach out to her in every way possible. And do it fast.”
* * *
Demetrius on watch, Mayfel and Wren entered the meeting room of Salatia when Ida was said to be.
“Ida” Mayfel called out as he strode towards her “How would one bring someone back from the dead?”
Looking up from the papers she had been writing on, Xenia too switching her gaze, peered from Ida to Mayfel, startled by the sudden intrusion and the unthinkable question.
“What is the meaning of this?” she asked sourly.
“Did you know that Rena was pregnant when she died?”
Placing down her pen Ida answered him “I noticed signs, yes” she said, not concealing the fact that she held no shame.
“So you not only failed to save her, but you failed to save her child too. Do you truly feel no remorse at all for what you’ve done?”
Ida raised from her seat, her hands planted on the desk “Kaydence seems to be influencing you too harshly, your attitude has become irrational and easily provoked” she stated with distaste.
“She and her child died and neither of them had a choice” he continued on, paying no mind to her remark.
“If I am right in thinking, what you desire, is to bring Rena back. Which, I greatly discourage you from doing so, afterall she would not want the life you wish to breathe back into her lungs”
“Can you do it or not?” he snapped.
“It does not matter if I can or not, I refuse either way” with that said, her eyes met Wren’s, who held a mix of expressions. “Are you on board with his plans?”
“It is not my place to say” Wren explained.
“You were a friend to Rena were you not? Do you think she would want this?”
“To hell with what he thinks” Mayfel hollered, his growling voice echoing off of the walls.
Ida, standing unaffected by the outburst, hardened her glare “Are you thinking of Rena or is it a personal interest along, urging you to do this?”
“Of course, I am thinking of her. If you won’t do it then you’ve left me no choice” Mayfel said, his feet ready to leave.
“It would be suicide to return to that place. He will not allow you or Rena to leave and he certainly will not do your bidding without a price”
“Then make your choice,” he said calmly, his footfall evacuating the room into the hallway.
He hadn’t stayed long enough to know whether Wren did the same or if he stayed to reason with them.
Has it been courage or fear that made him say those things? There was doubt in his mind about what he wanted to do, of course, there was but he kept telling himself it was normal, doubt was something he should be feeling because no plan was ever one hundred percent.
The winding streets and corridors reminded him much of the rivers running through Nirvariten, to the clan Rena belonged to.
It inherited the same flowing tranquillity as Rena did, apart from when she was angry or frustrated, then it was like trying to stay afloat in treacherous oceans.
Even when he had been living in Ivory, just receiving her messages kept his mind at ease, he felt connected to her even with being so far apart.
But now, they were as far apart as they could be with no letters, no visits and the connection was nothing more than longing and grief that weighed heavy on his heart.
Giving a nurse a passing, courteous smile, Mayfel proceeded over to Kaydences bed positioned between Evan and Nathan.
The winged fae didn’t at all seem amused with the nurse's constant check-ups between himself Evan and Nathan, neither was he please with the switching from the snoring to the chatting with Monty.
Mayfel’s footsteps caught Kaydences attention, he was sitting up in bed with a freshly dressed wing, eyes hooded until he became aware of another presence.
Something changed in his eyes as they fell upon Mayfel, a light twinkle that caught him off guard.
A seat taken in front of Kaydences crossed legs on the bed Mayfel surveyed the patched up injuries.
“Where have you been all day?” Kaydence asked.
“Someone’s missed me”
“I’ve been lonely” he groaned, side-eyeing Evan “The nurses aren’t great conversationalists”
“You have Evan and Monty to talk to”
Turning his face to his hands on his lap, Kaydence muttered “But they’re not you”
Mayfel forced a smile out in response, his fingers fluttering over his knees before they were cooped into Kaydences slightly larger ones and held firmly enough for it to be comfortable.
“I know something is wrong”
Sighing, Mayfel said “Death just never leaves you alone”
Gripping his hands a little more, Kaydence watched their joined hands “We always carry grief, whether we’re aware of it or not. It’s important to not let it get the best of you”
The paleness of Mayfel’s skin returned, “Rena was carrying a child when she was killed” he said solemnly, swallowing down the bile rising from his stomach.
“Who told you this?” Kaydence asked with a troubled expression.
“Wren. According to him, she knew who the father was but he wanted nothing to do with her. How could you not want anything to do with your own child” he asked dumbfounded as his brain spiralled in an attempt to understand.
“Some people aren’t ready for the responsibility”
“But Rena was? She didn’t have a choice, she was left with the responsibility of raising a baby alone”
“She wouldn’t have been alone,” he said as his thumb brushed aside the tumbling tears that slipped down Mayfel’s cheek “I know you would have been there for her, no matter what you would have been there for them both”
Through mumbles and sniffles, Mayfel uttered out “Rena was having a girl”
“Do you know what she would have called her?”
“Wren didn’t say anything about a name. But when we were growing up, Rena would speak of the family she’d have and her dream home. She loved the name Lauros for a boy but for a girl, it was always Melia.”
Eyeing his curiously, Kaydence asked “And What about you?” and awaited his answer, which came not too long after Mayfel had wiped his eyes.
“What about me?” he asked
“Have you ever thought about having a family? About names for future children?”
Throwing his legs over the edge of the bed, he put distance between himself and Kaydence “To be honest, yes. But the thought of my children having to say goodbye to me isn’t something I ever want to happen. Besides, I don’t think I’m completely cut out for being a parent, I don’t know the first thing about raising a child, but then I guess I get that from my father.”
“Everyone has a time to say goodbye, we’re just lucky to have extended years compared to the humans. As for your father, I don’t believe he would have been a bad parent had things been different. That, however, is where you have to decide whether you want to fight it or accept it”
“I’ll see Rena again, it won’t be the last time” Mayfel stated assuredly.
“Until then, I want you to focus on the now. What you’re feeling, seeing, smelling, hearing and even tasting. What is it that you want most right now?”
“I could really do with being held,” he said honestly, although he had another answer he wished he could have said instead, it was best kept to himself until the time was right.
With a soft smile, Kaydence opened his arms wide “I would hold you forever if you’d let me”
“That’s too much contact for my liking, a half an hour nap will suffice”
The rest of the day went along with little conversation here and there, as did some of the night until Kaydence fell soundly asleep.
Nathan had made a surprising improvement through the night that no one saw coming, it caught Monty off guard as it did the nurses, but luck and hope were finally on their side, perhaps everything wouldn’t be as bad as they thought, afterall there was an antidote that proved to work.
As the sun broke the sky, Mayfel slipped from Kaydences embrace, his feet padding towards two women he’d questioned and spoke his mind to the previous night.
It wasn’t too out of the ordinary to find them where he had done before, it was like they hadn’t budged all night, but with the change of clothes and not a hair out of place told him they had slept and refreshed before returning.
Why so early in the morning, he’d never know.
“Have you made up your mind?” he asked.
Her hand scribbling words onto paper, her eyes fixated on said words as she read them back to herself silently, her voice echoed through the room “No”
“Then I suppose I’ll use plan B. Xenia, I request a portal, here and now”
“Have you mentioned your venture to your cupid yet?” Ida asked finally raising her face.
“Of course not”
“But you know he will not let you leave alone,” she said raising a brow.
“I do know that which is why he doesn’t know about it”
Eyeing him cautiously, Ida resumed her thoughts “Do you think he will not attempt to pursue you?”
“He’ll try, but none of you are to give him a chance. No matter how much he begs or tires, don’t give him the option” he said swallowing the guilt that was swelling in his chest.
“I understand. Xenia if you will”
“You’re helping me, why?” Mayfel questioned her suspiciously, watching her place the quill in the ink pot.
“I have lost many friends, family and acquaintances in my lifetime. I know how it feels, although I cannot understand why you possess the desire to do such a thing as bring Rena back. I will not help you with the ceremony, but I give you passage to half a chance at succeeding or failing and that is all I can offer you”
“So you have a heart afterall” he noted.
“Despite what many may say or thin, yes I do” she replied, a quiver of a smile twitched on her lips.
“Do not thank me for condemning you?” Ida said, her head bowing in a nod to Xenia, a silent command for her to lead Mayfel away.
Honouring Ida, Xenia lead Mayfel, who spared a look behind him as he left, to the ring of trees that surrounded Salatia.
They passed through the hallways and across the courtyards with little to no sound, the trees would provide a safe space for Xenia to form a portal should anything go wrong, seeing as he would be exiting her portal in front of the Maria Porta that lead to Pailings.
But little did he know, that in the medical wing, Kaydence awoke to an empty bed.
The winged man sat up in a confused state and seeing Monty as the only person awake, he asked for Mayfel’s whereabouts.
“I saw him leave a little while ago” Monty had informed him, his eyelids heavy making Kaydence think that Evan had probably woken up not long ago only to fall back asleep.
“Did he say where he was going?”
“No, but he looked troubled”
A bang that all but startled the ward, occurred as Demetrius burst through the doors “Mayfel is attempting to travel to Pailings” he hollered. “I should have told you earlier but I wanted to believe it was the right thing for him”
“Why would he be going back there, is he mad” Kaydence exclaimed as he leapt from the bed and threw on a light gown provided by the nurses.
He wasted no time and was already rushing past the village leader before he could reply.
“He wants to bring Rena back”
“Where are they?” Kaydence said with wide eyes and thrumming heart.
“I saw Xenia heading out of the city as I made my way here”
Pushing his legs to the absolute limit, he sped ahead and broke out into the streets to which he followed like a map to the front gates, he sprung out into the open plane of grass, the trees in his line of sight in the distance.
He noticed the two bodies between the trees and focused his attention on reaching them in time, it was them he knew it was and there was no way he was letting Mayfel go back to that place.
“Mayfel!” he screamed at the very top of his burning lungs, catching the man’s attention.
“Go back Kaydence!”
Nearing Mayfel bit by bit, the need to shout for his voice to reach him becoming less, Kaydence called back “Like hell am I going to do that!”
“I need to do this Kaydence”
“She’s gone, I know it’s hard to accept but she’s gone! This isn’t right and you know it, so stop it right now before you cause more trouble than you can handle”
Shaking his head in denial, Mayfel faced the portal “I have no other choice”
“Yes you do” he stated, coming to a stop a few meters or so away, keeping a comfortable distance between them. “You have the choice to stay and move on, it’s what she’d want “
“You didn’t know her, you can’t say what she wanted “
“Do you know what she’d want? Because I am pretty sure no one in their right mind would want this.”
“Just leave me alone, Kaydence. It’s my decision” he argued, his temper rising.
“Exactly, it’s your decision!” Kaydence cried out “You’re as bad as my father and my mother. You promised you would never leave, I can’t stand lies Mayfel!”
Going into a frantic frenzy, Mayfel’s eyes and nose started to run as his voice rose ever louder “Rena was pregnant, I loved her and I still do. My life, will never just revolve around you Kaydence, you need to accept that” he spat, viciousness he’d never seen surfaced.
“Then just go, go back there and glare death in the eyes because that’s what’s waiting for you. Death and pain. He won’t show sympathy for you, he’s as bad as Bregan was” Kaydence fought back.
“At least I’m trying to fix things,” he said taking a sudden and sharp step forwards closing the gap. “You’re completely disregarding the idea”
“It doesn’t need fixing, it happened and there’s no going back. Did you learn anything from my mother? If you bring Rena back, it’ll be exactly the same situation, she won’t be able to step foot fifty yards from that man. That’s no life for her or her baby” he tried to reason.
“I will make it work”
“There’s no making it work, you can’t stay there. There’s no killing Vasilios, just use your brain Mayfel!”
“I will stay and protect them” he insisted.
“And leave me altogether? You wouldn’t”
Scowling through the brightening light, Mayfel tested Kaydence's patience “And why wouldn’t I?” he asked.
“If you go through there, are you sure you can live with yourself and your choices?”
“If I don’t, there’s a chance I couldn’t live with my choices either.
Kaydence was growing tired of his feeble arguments, why was it so hard for him to see the realistic and sensible side, it was as though his head was lost in the clouds.
“Then choose the lesser of two evils” he tried to reason.
“Mayfel wait!” he cried out to him as he stepped through the portal.
Kaydence stretched out his arm for Mayfel’s shirt, his fingers so close but grasped nothing but air as the display of Mater Arbor and the portal to Pailings vanished sending him tripping and stumbling to the grass.
Kaydence didn’t remain on the floor for long, he scrambled to his feet and wasted no time in listing his demands.
“Open it back up” he barked.
“I will not, Mayfel specified I am not to open another under any circumstances as did Ida. I am to see you all back to Evangelis this morning” she repeated.
“I don’t care what they told you not to do, I am telling you right here and now to open a portal or so help me I will do it myself”
Demetrius, having kept his distance, for the most part, spoke up in neither of their defences and instead, dangerously stuck himself in the middle of it.
“Take some breaths” he directed to the heavily breathing fae.
Kaydence, however, turned on him like a wild animal, finger prodding into Demetrius’ chest and he pushed him back “And you” he spat “You were in on it. How can you stand there and tell me to breathe when Mayfel’s just gone to his death?”
“Yelling and getting angry won’t solve anything”
“And neither will ignoring where he went, why he went and how to get him back” Kaydence snapped.
“Violence and threats aren’t the way”
Backing away, Kaydences eyes bewildered and searching for an answer, he appeared betrayed and dumbfounded as if he had been given the most difficult question one could think of to try and answer.
“Who’s side are you on?” he asked in almost a whisper.
Raising his fist, Kaydence took a swing, but Demetrius was quicker than he thought and stopped his fist before delivering his own across Kaydences cheek stunning the man to the floor.
No one he loves ever stays, why did he think Mayfel was any different? It was only a matter of time before his brother would leave too.
By the time that Kaydence reached the inner city, most of the group was ready to leave with Xenia, everyone besides Nathan and Monty who would remain until the week's end to ensure his stable condition.
It was all with the help of Kyril and portal summoners from his realm that they were able to return to the mountain, Xenia was weak and her magic even more so and so creating a portal stable enough for them all to pass through was risky.
His help, of course, didn’t come free, so in return for his services, Ida gifted him the Elder book which she stole from Vasilios’ realm, for safekeeping and of course against the knowledge of everyone.
“Kaydence Harkhallow, I would greatly appreciate it if you would refrain from harassing my people for transport,” Kyril said. “We will not grant passage for anyone there and my people will not risk everything for your personal voyages. If you wish to get there then you can row across the ocean”
“But Xenia helped Mayfel get there” Kaydence snitched.
“That was a decision she made, she and Ida are not of my realm and therefore, I do not speak on their behalf.”
“I hate you all” he announced “May death come for you”