Chapter 24 - Kell
Kell was absolutely livid as he walked away from the castle and his wee warrior. He could scarcely believe what had just happened. The goddamned councilmen had twisted things and made Emmalyn doubt him. He understood it had been wrong to keep things from her, that much was for sure, but it was definitely not the way he wanted her to find out. His plan was to tell her each thing individually and let her get used to it before adding another thing. He thought it was a solid plan. Now things had been thrown at her all at once and just as he predicted, she couldn’t handle it. She was strong, but his girl could only take so much.
As Kell reached the bottom of the stairs, he raised his arms and looked to the darkened sky. “Wind hear my words,” he softly requested so none close would overhear. “Hide me from view and protect my identity.” As soon as the words were out, he dropped his arms and looked to the ground. Dust began to swirl at his feet, then moved up slowly to cover him from head to toe. He was completely invisible to anyone passing by, but he could clearly see them. It was extremely effective.
Kell moved through the village cautiously, and not once did anyone glance his way. He was still wearing the ridiculous disguise, but was no longer stooping or carrying the cane. He also felt sure the murderous expression on his face would be his undoing. As soon as cleared the houses and made it to the trees, he spotted Oryn. Immediately Kell headed the warriors way, only thanking the wind and asking it to dispel once he was safely beside him.
“Jesus,” Oryn shouted as he grabbed his chest. “Maybe you could have stomped your feet to let me know that mini tornado was you?” Then he got a look at Kell’s face and his expression turned wary. “What happened?” Oryn demanded. “And are you the one raising dark clouds and thunder in the skies above us?”
“The councilman showed, and he had several things to say to Emmalyn,” Kell sneered. “All things that I of course, had not explained. It was a blow as you can imagine, and she demanded I leave.”
“Heaven help us all,” Oryn grunted, just as Torin joined them. It was clear the warrior had overheard their words.
“Emmalyn knows the danger she is in. There is no way King Lorcan can keep her safe. If we leave, it will surely result in her death,” Torin furiously added.
“My thoughts exactly,” Kell nodded sharply in agreement. “Which may be why the ass revealed the things he did. He was still demanding I wed Seraphine. With Emmalyn out of the way, that would be my only option, although not one I plan to take.”
“So we stay and protect her, that is given, but what of you and her?” Oryn questioned.
“Nothing has changed,” Kell declared as he rubbed the back of his neck. “I will give her time, but not space. I told her we were destined to be together, and that I love her, it was the truth. She will remember that soon.”
“So you will smother her and drive her to the point where she will take you back, if only to get you to stop?” Torin grinned.
“It’s a sound plan,” Kell defended as he stretched his back. The damn thing was still bothering him.
“So the clouds will remain until that time?” Oryn questioned as he eyed the sky warily.
“I will rein it in and not allow the rain to fall, but that is all I can promise,” Kell grunted. “Until my wee warrior is back in my arms, I make no other such claims.”
“And your mood?” Torin stupidity pushed, causing a clap of thunder to sound overhead. “Never mind,” he huffed.
“Gather the men,” Kell demanded. “I want everyone of them dressed as the Fairrest guards. If need be, pull Boris aside and explain why it is needed. Reveal only what you must and swear him to secrecy. He is trustworthy and loyal, so he should be easy to convince.”
“I will explain only that the Kingdom is in danger. No one but the King and Queen are aware Emmalyn is inside, and until you reveal it, none will,” Oryn vowed.
“Excellent. Station men around the castle and you yourself inside,” Kell ordered as he shrugged out of his disguise, revealing his true clothes underneath.
“And if our future Queen sees me?” Oryn questioned with a raised brow.
“Smile and wave,” Kell snorted as he strode away. He could hear both men laughing, but he had other things that needed his attention.
Kell found Colin tending the horses and setting up camp. Colin was one of the few privileged to be in his trusted circle. He was a leaner warrior, and he was fast. He was also smart and strong, which was a deadly combination. Colin nodded when he was close and stopped his task to give Kell his full attention.
“All is not well,” Colin voiced in greeting, as his eyes glanced at the sky before returning to him.
“Not even close,” Kell confirmed. “Short version is the councilman was there, he set Emmalyn against me, and I’m moving to get her back.” When Colin frowned, but nodded, Kell continued. “I need you to head back to Knightshire. Gather at least one hundred of my best warriors and bring them here. I want men at my back I can trust. If you run into anyone that you feel could be in a plot against us, take them out. If you run into the councilman steer clear, but let me know where you saw him when you get back. I don’t expect he will be headed for my Kingdom, but with him I can never be sure.”
“Done,” Colin vowed. “You fear one of us, yourself or Emmalyn will be discovered?”
“It is only a matter of time,” Kell sighed. “Make haste, I need my warriors here immediately. And please take a minute to check on Darrow. It would do us all well to get some good news.” Then he placed his hand on Colin’s shoulder. “May the souls of fallen warriors protect you and give you strength.”
“May the souls of fallen warriors protect me and give me strength,” Colin acknowledged as he dipped his head. Then he turned and headed for his horse. It took the warrior only a minute to mount and be off. Kell watched him until he was out of sight.
“You have sent for more men?” Oryn questioned, as he too looked in the direction Colin had disappeared.
“It is imperative. I fear it’s only a matter of time before someone learns of our presence. And I can bet it will be Councilman Gelding that reveals it,” Kell growled.
“Oh course,” Oryn sneered. “That man needs to be removed from his position. I am surprised he is allowed to stick his nose into the many things he does.”
“When this is over, and I have the time to do so, that will be the first thing to happen,” Kell vowed. “He went straight to the castle knowing I would get word to Emmalyn’s parents. He was waiting to find out how the rescue turned out.”
Kell moved to Zephyr after Oryn had stepped away. He made sure he was comfortable and had sufficient food and water, then caught up with Behr as he returned. Behr raised his hand when Kell went to speak and stopped him.
“Word is travelling through the men. There is no need to explain again,” Behr revealed. “Councilman Gelding headed toward Kilharbor. He is either working with the King of Queen of that Kingdom, or he wishes to keep them informed.”
“It’s looking more and more like that is where the threat is coming from,” Kell fumed.
“Then I will send two of my men after him,” King Lorcan interrupted as he stepped from the trees. “They can follow at a safe distance and keep an eye on him. You need your men here, mine can go in their stead.”
Kell eyed Emmalyn’s father, but saw no threat. The King looked exhausted, but he in no way appeared angry with him. Instead of disagreeing with the man, he consented. The guards of Fairrest could certainly handle the simple task.
“I appreciate that,” Kell nodded. “Have you come for my head,” he questioned, not at all doubting that may still be the case, and wanting to make sure his original assumptions were right.
“I have not,” the King denied. “Although the thought has crossed my mind. I just got Emmalyn back, and already I’m nursing her broken heart. That’s not what a father wishes to do on the day he reunites.”
“I apologize,” Kell reluctantly acknowledged. “I mistakenly kept things from her.”
“No. I would have done the same thing. And it is my fault it has come to this,” King Lorcan huffed in aggravation “I thought it best to keep Emmalyn ignorant about our realm. The world we sent her to was much more advanced. I was led to believe the people took unkindly to strangers. I wanted her to fit in, so I asked Mathias not to say a thing. It was foolish. Because of my decision she has turned you away.”
“There is no need for apologies,” Kell sighed. “I’m sure no matter how my elemental powers were explained to her, it would not have gone well.”
“No, but then once her powers were revealed, things would have changed,” King Lorcan smirked.
The statement surprised Kell, and he narrowed his eyes at her father. At the same time Behr moved closer. “I am the only one known to have powers on this world. You knew her only as a baby, how would you know she has powers.”
King Lorcan chuckled. “It came as a surprise to us as well. I honestly do not understand how it came to be, but she can speak to animals. When she would lie in her bassinet, the castle cats would surround her. If the window was open, we would find her surrounded by fireflies at night, and butterflies during the day. It was astounding.”
“And she knows of this ability?” Behr questioned before Kell could.
“She was just a baby. She couldn’t even talk when we sent her away. I am doubtful she knows,” King Lorcan admitted.
“She seems surprised when Zephyr obeys her,” Behr pushed. “But we’ve witnessed her do it on several occasions.”
“So we can add that to the list of oddities,” Kell sighed. “Another thing that ties us together.” Then he turned to King Lorcan. “Do you have time to sit and talk? There are many things we need to discuss, and there are things I need your help with.”
King Lorcan grinned. “I’ve got all the time in the world.”