Chapter 17: Lyzaria
“They’re not going to let me leave again,” I mutter, feeling a cold terror sweep over me.
“Nolo ut noceat te, permitte mihi placet,” I plead to the leader. He makes an awful hissing noise that makes me cringe.
“What? What happened?” Daerius asks in panic.
“I told him I didn’t want to hurt them and to please let me leave, but he took it as a threat. Now I have no choice,” I whisper in defeat.
“How can you hurt them? Didn’t you say you can go right through them?”
“There is another reason they wanted to keep me here. Fire is the one thing they want, and the one thing that can destroy them.”
Ready? I ask my dragon.
Yes, he growls and I feel a comforting warmth surround me. I throw my hands up and instantly a wall of fire surrounds us, as well as a shrill scream.
I cover my ears, my hands shaking and my head splitting with pain. Daerius is collapsed on the ground beside me, holding his head with white knuckles.
It is an icy sound that makes me curl in on myself and forces dozens of shivers down my spine. I see shadows thrashing in the wall of flames and recognize Myrka’s writhing form.
My eyes squeeze shut as tightly as my hands cover my ears. I block out everything around me and find myself in a flashback.
I slowly uncover my ears and am met with silence. My eyes peel open, but I can’t see anything through the tall grass I sit in.
“Lyza? Where are you?” I hear my father call. I stand up and spot him looking around in panic.
“Lyza! There you are, they’re gone now,” he says, running to me and kneeling in front of me. He puts his hands on either side of my face.
“Are you alright?” He asks gently. I slowly nod.
“What was that sound? It was like a scream but, much worse,” I mumble, very confused. My father sighs and looks at the ground for a few moments.
He chews his lip like he always does when he is thinking. Then he looks back up at me, and I instantly know I’m not going to like what he is about to say.
“That’s the sound someone makes when they know death is coming, and there’s nothing they can do slow him down.”
A hand squeezing my shoulder has me jerking out of my flashback with a small gasp. I look around in wild confusion until my eyes meet Daerius’ worried gaze.
My breathing is uneven and I can feel my heart beating furiously in my chest. Daerius grabs my hands and pulls me to my feet.
He doesn’t let go though, instead he keeps his hands on my shoulders which I am very grateful for due to my shaking legs.
Tears well up in my eyes as I take in the scene around me. Nothing but piles of black sand, and tufts of white ash floating in the wind.
The silence bothers me most though; the only thing I can hear is the screams echoing in my mind.
I wrap my arms around myself as disgust fills my thoughts. Daerius guides me through the vacant village, and down the mountain.
I still haven’t said a word, nor has he taken his hands off my shoulders, when we reach the dirt path. My mind goes numb until we stop and I realize it is dark outside.
“Are there any other shadows in these mountains?” Daerius asks me as we walk a little ways off the path and into a shallow cave.
“None nearby, all the others are deep in the mountains and never come anywhere near this path,” I reply with a sigh.
“I have your pack,” Daerius says, pulling it off his shoulder and holding it out for me. I take it with a small frown.
“You didn’t need to carry it,” I mutter, noticing his own pack on his other shoulder. He shrugs.
“It’s fine, I didn’t mind.”
I set it down on the rock and start to lay down, but then I see it. White flecks of ash are scattered all over my clothes.
I rip off my shirt with a cringe and toss it into the center of the cave where it bursts into a small ball of flames. Half the guards curse and jump in shock.
I tear off my speckled pants as well, throwing them into the fireball that grows into a small fire. I rub my skin, desperately trying to get off the remains of the shadows.
Hands on my arms make me stop, tears streaming down my cheeks. I see Daerius and am frozen with shock when he pulls me against him.
His arms wrap around me, and I find his embrace oddly comforting. I almost immediately relax, with my head resting against his chest.
His hand strokes my hair gently, slow and rhythmic. But then, realization hits me and my eyebrows furrow in confusion. Why does this seem so familiar?
My eyes peel open as light shines on my face and I sigh at the warmth that surrounds me. Daerius’ arm is curled around my body, and my hand and head rest on his chest. Even trough his shirt, I can feel the muscles rippling underneath.
My hand moves of its own accord, lightly tracing up and down his abs.
“Ever heard the saying ‘look but don’t touch’?” His voice startles me and I frown, snatching my hand back and moving away. I try to stand but his arm stays firmly wrapped around me, keeping me in place.
“Daerius, we need to get moving, its already light out,” I hiss and he smirks, pulling me closer with one arm and throwing the other over his face to block the sunlight.
“This is so comfortable though,” he mumbles. I sigh. This is very comfortable, I honestly don’t want to move either, I think but don’t say it aloud.
“Let’s go, we should be there by sundown if we leave now,” I say and he releases me with an irritated sigh.
“Let’s go then,” he says, his voice rough. I mentally face palm myself, you just had to piss him off huh Lyza?