Korom watched as Tulip rounded the corner ahead of him and vanished from sight. She was on her way to Bor and Lady Lilly’s quarters to tell them what she had done.
Korom couldn’t hold back the smile that spread over his lips. No matter how many times he told her that he was more than capable of telling the Torian king of her actions and that she would not be in any trouble, she insisted on telling him herself. She had said that her father had always taught them all that if they wanted to do something, they had to be prepared to face the consequences. To face up to what they had done and never to lie about it to those who were important to them. He liked that. Even though Korom had never met Tulip’s father, he wished he had the chance.
Kurmar came to stand beside him, “She is something truly special.”
Korom nodded. Over the last four days, Kurmar had done the impossible. He had shown Korom how to merge with his other self. To find peace and to work together. It turned out that Korom was going through what Kurmar called the Prime. And to Korom’s shock, he now needed a grounding force. Something that would keep the two sides of himself in sync. At first, Korom had no idea what that could be, but after the second day, it became crystal clear.
Kurmar had shown him, through Korom’s own actions, what, or rather who that force was. As he thought about what Tulip now meant to him, his mind raced with ideas. For the first time in his life, Korom allowed his mind to take him to the future. To make plans for many years ahead and not fear what he would become. He also felt at peace for the first time in his life. His other side stayed calm, docile and patient inside him, waiting for Korom to give it a command. He’d never experienced a stillness like this before.
“She is everything, Kurmar,” Korom said, answering his earlier statement.
“What will you do now?”
Korom shrugged, “I do not know. All I know is that the thought of being away from her for even a second has my inner self raging at the thought.”
Korom had never spoken so freely about his feelings before. Yes, he spoke to Bor often and no one knew him better, but this deep, emotional stuff had always been locked away in a deep part of his heart. But what kurmar had done for him, what they shared in that cell will forever bind the male to him.
Kurmar chuckled, “I know how you feel. At first, it will drive you… and her crazy. The thought of not being near her, of not touching her will make you moody. But it will get easier over time.”
“You speak as though you know.”
Kurmar sighed heavily, his smile falling. “I did… a long time ago. Now, all that is left is the hollow, empty feeling inside.”
Kurmar glanced up at the empty hall ahead of them, before he turned to face him. “The destruction of our home world happened. I lost everything that day.”
Korom shuddered at the thought. He never knew his home planet, nor did he know of any other Miasm besides kurmar, but he could imagine the pain of such a loss.
“I’m sorry. Perhaps you will find something new to live for.”
Kurmar schooled his features and stood straight once more. “It is not written for me. I was given everything once. I failed to protect it. It will not be granted to me a second time.”
Before Korom could tell the male that it wasn’t his fault. That there was no way he could have stopped what happened to their home world, Kurmar gestured to the hall and said, “We best go. Bor and Tulip are in the hall. She will need your help with the king.”
Korom understood the change of subject and let it be. This was not something they could discuss in the halls of a vessel while waiting to speak to Bor. It would take time for Kurmar to understand that his fate was not yet over.. Not as long as he was still alive.
Moving together down the hall, Korom turned the corner and instantly his body relaxed when he saw Tulip. She stood in front of Bor, looking so tiny next to the large male.
When she pointed up at him, Korom held back a smile. As Bor slowly turned and at the look in his brother’s eyes, Korom had to swallow, hard.
Bor all but ran over to them, engulfing him in a tight hug. Korom could feel the slight tremble in his brother’s body as they held each other for a moment, before Bor stepped back and smiled wide.
“Hello, my old friend,” Korom said, his tone light and a wide smile on his face. Tulip stepped up behind them, her shoulders slumped and her head down. Her voice was so soft, so filled with fear, that Korom had to hold himself back not to go to her, scoop her into his arms and carry her away. But he stood still, knowing that she needed to do this for herself.
“I’m sorry Bor, I did this,” She whispered.
Bor turned to her, the slight glint still evident in his glowing green eyes.
“Why would you be sorry, Tulip? You helped him.”
Korom wasn’t going to correct his brother. It was kurmar who had helped him, but if not for Tulip, he would still be locked in that tiny cell, alone and afraid.
“I didn’t do it alone.”
Seeing how uncertain Tulip was, korom stepped forward and said, “Perhaps it is best we speak in your quarters, brother. There is much I need to tell you.”
They entered the kings private quarters and made their way to the large seating area around the window. Bor left them to go to his bedroom and when the door closed, Tulip raised nervous eyes to Korom.
“Don’t be afraid,” He said, his fingers itching to go to her and touch her again. To feel her soft, warm skin against his.
“I can’t help it,” She mumbled, her fingers twisting in front of her.
“No matter what happens, I will protect you. Even if I must do so from Bor, I will. Trust me.”
She stared at him for a moment, then nodded. When she went to the large seats and sat down, curling her slim legs under herself, Korom heard the door to the bedroom open.
Lilly’s surprised shout had Korom tearing his eyes off Tulip and looking up in time to see Lilly come running towards him. A second later she had her arms around his neck, her legs dangling beneath her. Korom panicked, his eyes shooting up to see how Bor would react. But all he saw was a look of utter adoration and love for his mate. Tentative, Korom wrapped his arms around Lilly in a brief hug. Torian females would never touch another male once they were mated. Not unless they wanted to deal with a vicious fight.
He gently lowered Lilly to her feet and stepped back.
“We’ve been so worried about you, Korom. Bor has been by to see you everyday.”
Korom smiled as he looked down at his Ladies eyes. “I know, my lady. I could hear him speaking to me. I heard you there as well.”
After a few more short pleasantries, they all moved to the large seats where Tulip sat. Lilly gasped when she noticed her sister sitting there.
“What is it that you did, Tulip. You never need to fear telling me anything.” Bor said as he pulled his mate closer to his side.
Korom settled across from them, his mist constantly aware of Tulip as it seeked out any danger to her. The faintest of his mist had seeped out of him, so thin that it was unseen to all in the room. He could feel the energy of everyone around him, including the faint whisper of Kurmar in the room with them.
When Tulip told Kurmar to come out, Korom tensed, waiting to see how Bor would react. If his brother got violent, he would need to get the females to safety.
After the introductions were made, Tulip said, “That’s what I did.”
Korom met her worried gaze and gave her a small nod of encouragement. He had meant what he said in the hall to her. He would protect her from everything, including Bor’s anger if it came to that.
They spoke for a while, Kurmar explaining what he was doing on the ship, and what had happened to Korom. When the topic of Korom’s grounding force came up, he decided that if anyone was going to know that Tulip was that force for him, it would be her. So he said, “It’s something I wish to keep to myself, at least for now, my lady. I hope you will understand that my grounding force is very delicate.”
That seemed to be enough to appease the group and the conversation continued. But when Kurmar said that he had a brother, a real blood brother, his whole world shifted again. He had a family. True, blood bonded family. Out there, somewhere, he had a link to his past life. To his history and his home. The thought brought him to his feet. “Do you know where he is?”
Kurmar shook his head, “I do not. But I can search for him at the Eye, if you wish.”
“What is his name?” Korom asked in a low voice. He was almost afraid to learn about what had become of his brother. If he was taken by pirates, there was not telling the kind of male he was now.
When Kurmar told him his brother’s name, Korom met Bor’s eyes with a desperate, pleading look. If he had any hope of finding his brother and fighting the pirates, he would need the Torian warriors to help him. And they would only help if the King of Toria commanded it so.
Bor stood, placing a hand on his shoulder. He should have known Bor would do whatever it took to help him. To let him have this small piece of who he truly was. Making a promise that Korom knew he would keep, Bor vowed to do whatever it took to find his lost brother.
Once the talk with Bor and Kurmar was over, Kurmar told them he was leaving to go back to the Eye. He would send information as he discovered it and help in any way he could. Quieter, he said to Korom, “If you need me again, for any reason, call for me. I will be there for you as long as i am able.”
Korom knew there was more to that statement than what Kurmar meant, but his mind was too splintered. His thoughts raced between Tulip, his brother and how they were going to find him.