Chapter 47 - Emmalyn
Emmalyn stood at Kell’s back as Seraphine was revealed. She had no idea why the girl was there, and that made her nervous. It was pure madness for her to step foot into their camp. They considered her a threat, and to walk in unarmed and knowing everyone hated her, was a surprise. The girl either had a death wish, or had something extremely important to reveal. Emmalyn prayed it was the latter.
Seraphine honestly looked horrible. The last time she saw the girl was at her parents’ castle. At that time she had been dressed expensively and every hair was in place. Jewels had adorned her fingers and neck, and she had been seated in a carriage that clearly showed her status. The girl had looked like the royal she was.
This time was completely different. Seraphine was dressed in a common gown that had clearly seen better days. Her hair was thrown in a messy bun on top of her head. And all the jewels were gone. She had dirt smudges on her face and hands, and a small cut on her forehead. But the thing that concerned Emmalyn the most was her demeanour. Gone was the nasty attitude she had witnessed before, and in its place was a look of pure fear. Whatever had happened to Seraphine had broken her.
“What in the ever loving hell makes you think you can just walk into my camp?” Kell demanded, as his massive body shook with anger. “You do realize you’re sentencing yourself to death?”
Seraphine seemed to wilt and tears pooled in her eyes. Emmalyn couldn’t help but feel some compassion for the girl.
“Kell,” she beseeched as she placed her hand on his back. “Please, can we hear her out?”
Kell twisted to look down at her, and for once his tender look was missing. He looked like a man about to reign hell on the girl, and Emmalyn was terrified for her.
“This time you will not sway me,” Kell grunted, and she could see the truth in his eyes. “Seraphine has been a thorn in all our sides for far too long. She has done naught but try to bend us to her will, and we have all had enough. Tonight she will have her say, and then she will be dealt with accordingly.”
Emmalyn paled and had no idea what to do. She had never seen Kell like this before and it scared her some. She took a step back and dropped her head, then gasped when Kell pulled her to his side.
“Never fear me,” he rasped. “I do not mean to frighten you. I just need you to know the seriousness of the situation. It is common knowledge that Seraphine conspired with Connor.”
Emmalyn nodded, then stood on her tip toes to kiss his chin. “I will not interfere,” she promised. Then she dropped back down and again stepped back. As soon as she did, Abrielle was there, and together they stood in silence, waiting to see what would transpire.
Kell turned back to Seraphine and stepped a bit closer. “I have word that you took a royal as a lover. Is this true?”
“No,” Seraphine whispered. “Although that is what I was made to have you believe.”
Kell didn’t show any reaction at all to her words. If any, his eyes seemed to narrow even more.
“Was it you that opened the portal for Warrick and his men?” Kell thundered. “Men that wanted to slaughter Emmalyn and Mathias.”
At his words, Emmalyn’s father moved to her side and wrapped his arms around her in comfort. It was clear he didn’t appreciate the reminder of what could have happened that day if Kell had not reached her in time.
“I,” Seraphine began, but Kell cut her off.
“Yes or no?” he demanded furiously.
“Yes,” Seraphine whispered as her tears finally fell.
“So you conspired with Connor to bring about Emmalyn’s death?” Kell pushed.
“I did what I had to,” Seraphine sobbed. “Just as you would have done if you were in my position.”
“And what position is that?” Kell growled. “You have been a bitch for the last five years. You have riches at your feet, servants at your beck and call, and a title you do not deserve. How is it you feel you had to do what you did?”
Seraphine looked at him, and a determination seemed to take hold of her. She swiped at her eyes with the sleeve of her dress and sat up straighter.
“For five years I was a bitch,” Seraphine agreed, as her own anger seemed to build. “But I wasn’t before that. Have any of you stopped to realize that?”
The men looked taken aback by her words. They looked at each other, and then Emmalyn’s father was stepping forward.
“I knew you when you were younger,” he admitted. “I must say your attitude has caused me to forget what you used to be like.”
“And?” Seraphine pushed.
Her father frowned, but he answered her. “You were a sweet child. You were honest, loving, and kind to everyone.”
“I agree,” Rayme added. “I actually considered pursuing you, but then you changed. I wanted nothing to do with you after that.”
Seraphine seemed surprised by his admission, and then a tender look crossed her features. As pretty as the girl was, Emmalyn had to admit the look changed her completely. She seemed to light from the inside out.
“I may have considered you, had I not already fallen in love,” Seraphine admitted.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Kell sneered. “Did Connor put you up to this?”
She ignored his question and asked one of her own. “You are a male. Do you lose your title if you marry beneath you?”
“No,” Kell grunted. “But what has that to do with anything?”
Emmalyn could remain silent no longer. She stepped out of her father’s arms and moved to take her place beside Kell.
“You fell in love with someone your family wouldn’t approve of, and you were worried about loosing your status,” she declared.
“No,” Seraphine denied. “I did fall in love, but I didn’t care one bit about what I would lose if I wed him. He meant far more to me than my status. I would have given it all up for him.”
“So what changed?” Emmalyn’s father demanded. “If you were willing to walk away from it all, how is it you became what you are?”
“Connor,” Emmalyn guessed, causing everyone to turn her way. “He found out about it.”
Seraphine sighed. “We kept our relationship hidden for years. Douglas is a blacksmith. He knew what I would be sacrificing if we wed, and he didn’t like it. He tried for years to push me away, but it never worked. I refused to walk away from him.”
“Douglas has been gone for years,” Rayme interrupted. “He took off, leaving everything behind.”
“No, he didn’t,” Seraphine denied. “Connor discovered us and took action.”
“What did he do?” Emmalyn whispered. She prayed Douglas wasn’t dead, just like Kell’s father.
“He didn’t kill him,” Seraphine revealed, guessing her thoughts. “But he knew just what to do to get me to do his bidding.” She deflated, and Emmalyn could see the pain she was no longer hiding. “He took him away. He’s been in the dungeon below your castle ever since,” Seraphine sobbed as she looked up at Kell. “If I didn’t do everything he asked, he would torture Douglas.”
All the warriors stood there, and no one said a word. But Emmalyn could see in their expressions they believed her. Things were finally beginning to make sense.
“He was in my castle the whole time and no one knew?” Kell spat. “Is he even still alive?”
“I have no idea,” Seraphine admitted. “I haven’t seen him since the day he was taken. But I have to hold on to my hope. If I lose it, there is nothing left to hold me to this world.”
Emmalyn gasped, knowing if Douglas was dead, Seraphine would take her own life. She knew because she had felt the same thing when she thought Kell had been taken from her.
“I felt the same way when I thought you were dead,” Emmalyn whispered, without looking at Kell. “I didn’t want to live without you.”
Kell growled and moved in front of her to grip her arms tightly. She looked up to see his eyes had darkened immensely. “I never would have wanted that,” he rasped, obviously tortured by her words. “The world needs you in it.”
“And I needed to be with you,” Emmalyn sighed. “Even if it was in death.”
Kell wrapped his arms around her and brought her into his chest. Then he turned back to Seraphine. “So the rumour was started that you were sleeping with a royal?”
“It was the only way to hide what was really going on,” Seraphine explained. “I started it myself.”
“And you know of Connor’s plans?” Kell pushed.
“I know only what he told me,” Seraphine shrugged. “He didn’t trust me with everything.” She paused then and looked up at him in sadness. “He wanted you and I to marry, and he pushed me in that direction. When he saw that wouldn’t happen, it angered him. If we married, he assumed he could use me to control you. I didn’t believe that, but he did.”
Kell snorted and a small smile appeared on her face. “Even if you fell for me, it wouldn’t have worked. You would have seen right through me. I could never have loved you, no matter what was at stake. You cannot pretend to love someone when you already love someone else.”
Kell nodded, and Emmalyn hoped he was finally beginning to come around. She had hated Seraphine, but now all she felt was empathy.
“Kell,” Emmalyn pleaded, not saying any more.
“So he wants my power?” Kell pushed, crossing his arms over his massive chest.
“Connor wants everything you have. He wants to destroy you,” Seraphine imparted. “He’s angry and he’s out of his mind. He wants to have full power over all the Kingdoms. And he wants them all to bow to him.”
Kell huffed. “That won’t bloody happen.”
“Will you kill me now?” Seraphine asked warily. “There is nothing more I can tell you.”
Emmalyn slipped her hand in Kell’s. She said not a word, remembering her promise, but she pleaded with him with her eyes. He glanced at her briefly, then turned back to face Seraphine. His face gave nothing away, and Emmalyn had no idea how he would answer.
“You will be detained until the battle is over. Once I regain my lands and take Connor’s head, I will search for Douglas. If he is alive, he will either confirm or deny your allegations. If he has perished, I’m sure there will be someone present I can question as to what befell him. If all you say proves true, and you are as innocent as you claim, I will release you. You will be free to go where you please, however you will do so without your birthright.”
Seraphine nodded and surprisingly looked relieved. It was clear she truly didn’t care about her title.
“Now tell me who the other person is that accompanied you here? I was advised you were not alone,” Kell ordered.
Seraphine looked up at him and smiled, and it was a smile that was filled with revenge.
“I wish to see you defeat Connor, and I wish to see him dead. I have brought you someone that will aid you in your fight. Someone who just might tip the scales in your favour,” she smirked. “She’s the one that found your camp, and she’s the one that led me here.”