The young man quietly bend down, removing the shackles from my ankles.
I breath out in delight, my legs are so light again, it makes me wanna jump and run around.
The young man shook his head amused. But when he looked down at my feet, I saw his smile disappear. He looked sad. “I will keep them off your ankles tonight” he said looking at the open wounds on my ankles were the shackles had been a moment ago.
“Thank you Theo” I said with a thankful smile.
“I would behave, so you don’t get im trouble”.
Theo grimaced. “That’s not what I am scared of” he admitted silently.
His reply left a bitter taste in my mouth. It made me visibly tense up.
“I have to warn you, Ephione.” Theo said with caution. He stood up, while holding his hand out to me. “There is something weird going on” he said while he pulled me up.
We slowly made our way to the tents. While we were walking I admired the beautiful stars that were placed with such delicacy in the rich dark blue sky. I filled my lungs with the cool air, softly singing a melody.
“How are you so happy?” I heard him whisper softly. I closed my eyes but the smile never left my lips.
“How are you still working with them?” I counteracted, now turning to face him with the same soft smile.
He didn’t say anything, the only thing he did was lower his head while scratching the back of his nek.
“How is your sister handling the loss of her mother?” I asked, eyeing him closely. “Or should I say half-sister?”
I saw his body visibly tense up. He gulped, but never meeting my eyes. “How did-” he started.
But I interrupted him. “Theo, its clear as day that you don’t have a bad bone in your body, you don’t even want to be here. Just like Leader Archibald, that laugh you guys have in common, says enough for me. While that makes you his son and that makes you the half brother of the girl from today. You tell me if I am wrong or right.”
He looked at me like he saw water burning.
“You scare me woman” he mumbled, admitting that I was indeed right.
Making me laugh softly. “Always keep your eyes and ears open.”
“Can you help him?” He looked at me. There was hope in his eyes. By him he meant his father.
“Were they mates?” I asked. When he didn’t say anything, I shot him a look with one eyebrow raised, checking if he understood that I meant the situation between his father and the deceased woman.
“Why- how-” Theo stuttered angrily. I laid a soothing hand on his shoulder. “Calm down, theo” I said softly.
“I just don’t understand!” He spitted out. “Why didn’t he get Kristin and her daughter out of this mess?!” He breated harshly. “And why did Ashlyn carry her dead mother?! Its just- its disgusting!” He seeted, while his face got redder by every word he spoke.
I stayed silent, trying to gather how he was feeling. Was he jealous? Sad? Or maybe confused?
“I hate this life so much” He said while a lone tear wandered down his cheek. “But I can’t leave.” he hiccuped, now fully breaking down.
“I really don’t wanna hurt you guys.”
“I know. We know, theo. Its alright, come here” I pulled him in a hug while softly murmuring sweet nothings into his ear. He was all over the place with his emotions.
“I miss my mom” he admitted with a hoarse voice.
I smiled, but a traitor tear ran down my cheek.
I closed my eyes trying to hold in the other tears.
“Come on” I said restraining my voice from breaking. “Let’s see if I can help your father”.
We continued our walk in silence, until we reached the tent of Leader Archibald. The place around the tent was decorated with pillars of wood were some pillars had fire torches and some were decorated with beautiful wood carvings. I eyed every detail with awe.
“Ephione” A low baritone voice said. I gulped while quickly turning around.
I was met with a sickly white face with deep sunken eyes. “Leader” I acknowledged him while crossing my hands in front of me before bowing down.
“No- no my child, please don’t” he protested.
“Come on in” he said while turning around.
I softly walked behind him. When I finally stepped inside I turned around to close the tent opening, but was met with a girl sprawled out on a mattress on the ground.
When I was done I turned around again. Raising my eyebrows, hoping someone would enlighten me why there was a girl laying on the mattress.
But Theo nor Archibald seemed to meet my eyes. I shook my head.
“Are we going to stay quiet or are you going to tell me what I am here for?” I spoke bitterly.
But before anybody could say anything, Archibald started a serious coughing fit.