Chapter Seven: Seeking Refuge
“Kyril, my friend” Ida announced stepping towards him, Nix and Zanya who sat at the large table amongst the open grass, and away from the portal that closed behind Erabos and Xenia.
“It has been too long my Lady,” he said, his pink irises falling to her and away from the other realm leaders.
“It is good to see you also Nix as well as you Zanya. Are your realms well?”
“What possessed you to help the mortals Ida?” Nix began, her bluish-grey, waist-long tresses plaited into a single braid that lay over her shoulder, her short fringe reaching just above her eyebrows.
Nix’s white irises glared in Ida’s direction as she continued on to say “Our lands are not well, there are signs of them dying. The grass is beginning to whither and our crops no longer grow, it is not just I that feels the strain with my magic as the life force of Mater Arbor diminishes. There is no saying how much longer we can survive” her voice holding spite and loss of politeness.
“It was not my choice to help them, they came to my home and they forced my hand, I did not befriend them by will” Ida snapped back not accepting her tone so lightly.
Kyril who stepped in to prevent an argument attempted to draw the conversation forward “Is it possible for us to contact those through the Rebrum Portas or the Foramina’s? We may be able to ask them for help and possibly refuge”
“I am unsure, communication between our realms was severed when the portals closed. I have had Xenia and some others attempt to cast portals to Micantia” Ida stated.
It had been too long since they spoke to their allies through the Ignis portals, the two Rebrum Portas acting like two doors to one room, the room being the lands of Micantia.
A stunning place, full of life and heat, although amazingly different from Alden holding more plant life and wildlife alike.
There's no man-made buildings in Micantia, they lived much like Ida and her people did, using the surrounding trees and land as their home much like the animals would.
But who was to say they hadn’t changed their ways? Ida couldn’t blame them for needing to change although, without man-kind influence or architecture and technology, she hardly saw a point in modifying their homes if their people are satisfied to live the way they always have done.
“And did they succeed?” Nix asked still keeping a twinge of spite to her voice whenever directed to Ida who sat across from her.
“Clearly not. And we had no such luck reaching Nova Vallis either. We are on our own as of now unless the stones can be retrieved and returned for the portals to open” Ida stated, holding her head up high.
Zanya who had kept quiet as she analysed her countless individual braids of dark hair, one ear listening in on the discussion, decided to make note of her thoughts aloud “It is true, we may be able to begin planning further steps should we possess the stones” she began dropping her manicured hands to rest on her staff of twisted tree roots that spiralled around a cloudy gemstone at the top “But we must not be so eager, there is no certainty that our fellow friends will remember and honour are partnership and allow us to seek refuge. The Rebrum Portas would be easily reached and therefore would be our first target, the Foramina’s however are another story. They have not been touched in decades, their entire formation will be overgrown and the land around them too, locating them will be difficult enough. Then there is the lands themselves, should we pass through the Foramina’s and into Nova Vallis there is no saying that the lands will be untouched or living”
“I suggest we take King Solon’s offer,” Erabos said, drawing the eyes of those sitting around him, he sat between his mother and Xenia, Kyril, Nix and Zanya opposite. “We could stay in Arravan, live alongside them”
Turning to her son with sharp eyes, appalled that he’d bring up such nonsense in the presence of the others she said “I did not think of my son as a traitor. They were the one’s to cause it all, help from them would be a dire request and the last thing they would seek. Perhaps Bregan was correct in thinking of the humans being the supreme race, they definitely seemed smarter than the fae”
“Mother, how could you say such things. You too had human friends” he retaliated in disbelief.
“Those friends are long since dead, Erabos. I no longer have attachments to the mortals”
“King Solon has done nothing but try to come up with a solution for us, the mortals to have helped us and even retrieved the crystals as they promised,” Erabos said, his mother was stubborn at the best of times, but when under stress and pressure she lashed out and built a wall in an attempt to separate herself from the troubles.
“And in doing so they destroyed our home and have condemned us to a time of struggle and homelessness”
Nix, who along with Zanya and Kyril had been watching the family tiff, chose to speak up when words between the mother and son fell silent.
“Could the crystals be used to resurrect mother?” she asked, she was indeed wise as were they all.
Ida saw herself as the leader, Kyril her second in command of sorts. Zanya was the one to see things more than a handful of steps ahead, she was the brains behind everything and held wisdom that could not be taught or trained.
And Nix, she was the organiser, she and her people had everything schemed, right down to the time when their barley would be collected or when the seasons would begin to change bringing forth a change in the weather.
Erabos felt unwelcome at times, his mother made sure to drag him along to meetings with the realm leaders, she said it would be useful for him to see for himself what it is to be a leader so that when the time came he would be ready.
Although it didn’t seem as though his mother would be handing the title over anytime soon.
Speaking for the rest of the group, Zanya replied, her eyes sparkling sapphire as she said “Absolutely not, we do not deal in necromantic magic. It is forbidden and unthinkable, death cannot be reversed, we must accept the fate that has been dealt”
“She is right Nix. Mother would be too much of a powerful entity to bring back, there is no knowing what could go wrong” Kyril stated
“The crystals are securely kept beside the King. If we are to open the portals to seek out and regrow the alliance between us and the other realms then we will need to consult with the King” Ida said hating the words even as she spoke them.
“Could we not take them?” Kyril asked “We owe no words of kindness to him nor his untrue bloodline that is created of nothing but deceit and lies. The fae have done nothing but use our abilities for their own selfish acts with no sign of payment in return”
“Ask for the stones as payment” Zanya added to the discussion
Ida, who took Zanya’s words into consideration, replied “It would be a fair price, however, I do not see Solon agreeing to such terms and it would do no good to argue, he has much influence over the lands and many allies”
“The king would never agree to hand the stones over. We should take his offer mother, if not for ourselves then our people. You need to look past your pride or we will end up just like the Elementum”
Hissing with rage, Ida whipped her head around to face him “You do not speak the names of the first beings” she scorned harshly
Standing up Erabos pushed his chair to the table “Excuse me. May I please speak to Xenia in private”
Thinking it over Ida agreed, although hesitantly, she knew Xenia would not agree to creating a portal without speaking to her first so she was not concerned although she didn’t understand why he would need to speak with her.
Xenia followed Erabos away from the group, he lead her through the thicket of the forest until they reached the other side, he took up a seat at the river bank.
“What is it you wished to speak to me about,” Xenia asked sounding a little tired.
“I want a portal,” he said simply watching the ripples in the water's surface.
Sceptically she asked “Where to”
“Evangelis, I left something there that is very important to me” he said pausing for a minute, Xenia was about to reply when he continued “My mother does not need to know, It will not take long and we will be back before she realises we are gone”
“I do not wish to defy your mother, she is in a delicate mental state and does not need the added stress of you leaving her watch”
“It will be a quick trip, my mother doesn’t have to know” he repeated as the pupil’s of his snake-like eyes expanded to nearly double the size, the green of his eyes reflecting in Xenia’s silver pupil’s.
“Of course” she replied flat-toned as her hands spun a portal from the air.
Erabos hardly used his powers after hearing of his father and their shared trait, but it was a matter of importance.
As he stepped through, Xenia following behind him, and the portal shrank behind them he caught sight of his mother.
The look passing over her face was that of range and betrayal, she began to run towards them but even before she was halfway to the portal it closed leaving Erabos to breathe a sigh of relief.
A throat was cleared behind him and spinning around he came face to face with Dalamis standing on the edge of Heaven’s Descent, folding his wings behind his back as if he was either about to leap from the edge or had just landed.
“I did not think I’d see you back here, the way your mother talked about us all made it seem like she didn’t want to see any of us again” Dalamis mentioned stepping towards him and Xenia.
Erabos looking him in the eyes said “I have nothing against you”
“How are you?” he asked changing the conversation.
“Better” Erabos responded “Not bleeding out any longer” he added which persuaded a small smile of amusement from Dalamis.
“Why are you here?”
“I must speak with the King, urgently” he replied suddenly reminded of the reason.
“He’s in the main hall with his family. But if you do not mind me asking, why is it you’re looking for him?”
“It is nothing, simply a question”
Dalamis not trusting him, nodded in reply keeping his suspicion to himself although he let his eyes follow the green-haired sorcerer inside the mountain as Xenia trailed behind, a woman of little words as he’d learnt.
He followed shortly after them staying hidden around corners and columns in the hallways until he reached the main hall, he lingered outside the door listening in on their conversation.
“My mother wishes to get the stones and open the portals in the other clans. She plans to meet with you to discuss such things with the other realm leaders”
“I am willing to meet with her and her party, but I have other issues to take care of first. I have offered her refuge in the clans here and she has refused, there is little else I can do in the meantime. Connections and alliances between the clans and the human cities are brittle, I need to try and bring back support as much as possible before another catastrophe can take place” Solon explained tiredly, all he spoke of nowadays was politics and solutions, he knew it was his job but he truly missed the days he could spend with Florenta and Borren in their home garden on Haven’s Gate.
Nevertheless, Erabos kept the ball rolling “I do not think my mother will wait that long” just as Ida stormed in, her gown swaying around her as she moved towards them.
Roaring out, her bellowing voice echoing off all the walls “Erabos Adamos! How dare you defy me!”
Her eyes flickered to Xenia, no doubt to scorn her also but all anger was redirected to Erabos once again “Release her this instance” she yelled not having to ask twice as Xenia blinked rapidly her eyes losing the greenish tint.
“How dare you use your abilities on Xenia, have you lost your mind completely?!” she continued to criticise.
“Lady Ida, Erabos tells me you wish to speak with me” Solon cut in hoping to spare the poor boy.
Her glare turned to him, assuming her natural authority she straightened her back and relaxed her shoulders before saying “Nix Woodgrove, Zanya Elkgreen and Kyril Oldavan, leaders of the realms linked with Mater Arbour wish to summon you for council. There are matters we wish to discuss with you”
“I can lend an ear and few words to the leaders in a weeks time My Lady. There are matters to which I too need to deal with first within my own kingdom, I understand the pressing time but it will do neither of us nor our people any good should the four lands descend into another war. I give you my word that there will be a formal meeting between us, but you will need to grant me some time to do so” he explained using his Kingly charm and negotiation tactics in the hopes it would win her over, if only partially.
Ida’s gaze fell over his shoulder as Kaydence sauntered in, a fondness of sorts graced her features and as it seemed her mood as she once again made eye contact with Solon.
“One week, that is all.”
“Thank you for your understanding” he replied graciously giving a subtle bow-like nod of his head.
“You should also summon Nerina Barika, Sorin Ribaya, Rowan Ackroyd and whoever stands as High council representative for Himiratia. It will be a matter that includes all four lands” she suggested, something hinting at her words, not exactly sinister but in no way innocent either.
Curious but dubious too Solon questioned her “What is it you are planning?” he asked, it was probably naive of him to believe she’d provide a straightforward answer.
“It is not something I wish to discuss with you alone, it needs to be brought up amongst all council members. I do request that you remember my home had perished and those linked to it follow suit, there is no telling how much longer we can go on. Perhaps a week will see the end of my people”
“I would have you remember that I have offered the four lands to you and your people Ida, the High Council would be more than happy to see you situated in their lands until something else can be arranged. Himiratia holds miles of land, untouched by human development that can be used by you to rebuild your homes” Solon pressed, it was no less than the third time she and himself had debated the topic and she still refused his help and yet made it clear she had nowhere to go. Nevertheless, he carried on trying to get it through to her “Dalamis is a likely candidate for Himiratia’s leader of the High Council, he would have no objection’s, especially when you spared his brother of such a mark that could have killed him and Mayfel Kierser”
“Mother he is right, you need to think about it. Mater Arbour cannot return, perhaps it is a sign to rejoin the fae and humans. Reintroducing the stones has already proven damaging as shown by the Lamia Rose, it would be folly to return the others also.” Erabos stated as he took a step closer.
“It will be discussed when those invited are attending. I shall return when the time is right, until then continue on with your deals and negotiations”
“Remain here,” Solon said catching those in the room by surprise “There are a few things I want to clear up with you before our meeting with the others. It shouldn’t take too long but if you are willing to wait until the morning I would be very grateful”
eyeing him suspiciously she spoke “It depends what it would be about”
“I wish to find a new council for Evangelis and Lirren, you seem to have an accurate judge of character. I would ask that Erabos stays also, his ability t read minds would make it much easier to avoid those unsuitable for the position”
“I see no harm in it, but it will be only until the morning, my presence if greatly required among my people. I will oblige however to your request only if you will keep an open mind and consider my words during the meeting to come”
“I give you my word”