Ulamara hurried forth to the center of the arena as the atmosphere became rife with shock and confusion.
With a proud grin on her face and wrapped in a coat of mana that seamlessly warped the light around her body, she descended silently beside her honored one. ‘Is it over?’ She curiously questioned, keeping her awe and glee from seeping through.
The honored one turned to look at her and with welcoming eyes, ‘It is.’ He answered, inserting his voice directly into her thoughts.
Turning her gaze downward to the human who was convulsing painfully on the ground, with an expression full of agony, the golden-haired man was lying on his side and clutching tightly onto his torso. She looked to the other, and the second man was curled up like a caterpillar with their face in the ground, and their hands pressing upward onto their chest like it was going to burst.
Though she did not know which foolish reason could have brought about such a heated confrontation between the two humans, she had understood why the honored one had intervened. And watching them squirm, ‘Will they be okay?’ She asked, tilting her head inquisitively as the two began howling, having finally caught their breaths.
‘They will be.’ The honored one warmly replied, appearing to be amused by her words.
And as the sound of his voice slowly and vigorously vibrated through her thoughts, a wave of mana instantly swelled upward around them.
Recognizing that his powerful will was taking form, Ulamara quickly stilled herself as a torrent of translucent mana surged together, coalescing into hundreds of invisible strands.
Not daring to look away lest she missed the spectacle, she continued to observe as the mana threads weaved through the air, fraying and vanishing into the two men like a gust of wind.
Immediately, the coarse gasps from the two humans lessened as their groans ceased. Their postures also became more laxed and within the span of a single breath after mellowing, the humans were both breathing normally again, having been relieved of their suffering.
Taking in the excess mana that was still permeating through the air, she shuddered at the majestic sight as an irrepressible grin made its course across her lips.
She had glimpsed it within the fragments of his memories and had felt it while in an unconscious state, but to witness the manifestation of the powerful rejuvenation magic with her own eyes, it had only proved to reinforce the sense of pride within herself, reaffirming her choices.
“Get up. Both of you.”
Sounding disappointed, the voice command came out like a serene wave and washed over her, flowing with the sole purpose of addressing the two who were now lying silently on the ground.
Suddenly soothed and flushed with pride once more, ‘Great Mother…’ Ulamara voiced in silence as she took in the glory of his presence. ‘Was this how you felt?’ She wondered, watching quietly as blurred visions that had been lying dormant within her mind slowly began to unravel. ‘Was this what you wanted?’ And she questioned, as memories filled with tears and regrets suddenly blossomed into life before her eyes.
‘I’m so sorry! I-…’
Clear as day, words and emotions reverberated forth as the impossible memories began rooting themselves, melding into her thoughts like they were her own.
She watched again as the vision discarded its own destiny and wishes, forsaking them in order to safeguard the fate of phrae kind.
‘Please… please stay safe…’
She listened as it begged in anguish, knowing the crushing magnitude of such a betrayal.
‘O’ Tranquiline one…”
And she shrunk into darkness as it wept, having understood the consequences of its own fickle and worthless resolve.
Whether an errant fabrication of the past or a frayed thread upon the unrelenting tapestry of time, the sense of loss and infinite pain of loneliness within the memories continued to cycle before her eyes.
And, “Forgive me…” She quietly echoed, softly voicing the vision’s sentiments as they overwhelmed her, “Please forgive me…”
‘Ulamara.’ A voice as clear as morning dew, its warmth called out to her. ‘Is something wrong?’ Inquisitive but gentle, in a single breath, it culled through the amalgam of intangible thoughts in her mind, dispersing them like smoke.
And suddenly clear of mind with her own sense of self once again, ‘H-huh?’ She wordlessly managed to eke out, unsure as to what it was that just happened.
‘You look troubled. Is something wrong?’ He repeated.
‘I…’ Staring into the honored one’s piercing gaze, ‘No… I’m fine.’ She calmly answered, feeling her core vibrating tensely as the silvery visage of a man wrought with indescribable guilt peered back at her.
Mustering her own resolve, the grin that had waned upon the odd memory’s abrupt intrusion instantly resurfaced upon her lips, ‘I- I was just thinking… how fortunate I am.’ She replied, returning an earnest smile.
‘Fortunate?’ A flash of confusion came through from the honored one.
‘Yes.’ And she gleefully answered, fortifying her words.
‘Is that so.’ The honored one stated and with an understanding smile, ceased his inquiry before turning his attention toward the two men who had sat up and were now examining themselves.
Unable to take her eyes of his sharp gentle gaze and kindly smile, she could do naught, but watch as a sense of elation began overtaking the intensity of her core.
‘Y-yes?’ She quickly responded, feeling her chest thrumming anxiously.
‘I will be done here soon. You should return to your sister and Zirus first.’
‘Ah? What about you?’ Taken aback by his words, she hastily thought back, unwilling to leave his side if only for a moment.
‘There’s no need to worry. I will join you all soon.’
‘Go on. Go and let Elamara know that I will be following behind with these two.’ A thoughtful smile veered itself briefly across his face before vanishing.
Glancing over to the aforementioned humans, ‘Then…’ The meaning of his words struck her and though the thought of leaving him tore at her core, ‘Then we will be waiting.’ She obediently nodded and without waiting for another word, hurried away.
Instead of leaving the area, she halted herself at a distance and turned to look back. And Just like what she had glimpsed within her transient hallucinations, her core began to ache.
In the arena.
Though surrounded by dozens of his kind, the honored one was standing alone.
Even after the display of his strength, instead of celebrating his prowess, the circle of spectators had only grown wider and more distant.
It was something that she had been aware of ever since their meeting, but she had not expected it so soon.
The truth that had existed ever since the inception of time.
The fate of those who stood upon the precipice of the world, unparalleled and unchallenged.
Yet. Seeing his lonesome figure, the sense of anguish and helplessness that she had felt prior came crashing back like a tidal wave.
Clutching a fist to her chest, “Venerable ancestor…” She quietly grieved as the Great Mother’s regrets and desires became all too apparent.
“Your will and your wishes…” She solemnly spoke, feeling the pain within her chest solidifying, “I will fulfill them.” Ulamara vowed.
Uninterested in the stranglehold that had silenced the audience’s previous clamoring, Kaidus calmly strolled over to the blonde knight.
“How are you feeling?” He questioned as he approached the man.
“M-my Lord?” Still rubbing his side and back, Biran slowly and carefully turned to look up at him. “What- what happened to me?”
Face filled with a curious uncertainty, Biran continued to press at where he had been struck, as if unable to believe his body.
“What brought this on?” Not hiding his displeasure, Kaidus coldly glared down at the knight.
“My apologies, Sire.” Biran quickly lowered his head and hastily shifted himself into a kneeling position, “Due to my inadequacies, I had allowed Sir Vick’s provocations to get to me. It… it will not happen again.”
“…” Stepping before the knight, with a quick visual scan, he could see that the knight’s heightened senses which naturally came with the gift of Vox was indeed no longer flaring. Any sort of desire to fight had also been completely extinguished as well.
“… See to it that it does not.” He calmly ordered.
“Yes, Sire.” The knight quickly acknowledged once more and lowered his head even further onto the ground.
Turning away from Biran, he focused his attention to the second culprit who was standing up, “What were you thinking?”
“It’s… it’s not what you think.” A nervous answer, Vick too, was rubbing his chest as if still searching for the pain within, “It was just a… a friendly match.”
“A friendly match?” Echoing the excuse, he easily recalled the bloodthirsty anticipation that the mercenary had been exerting.
On one side, was a reckless sell-sword with too much pride in themself.
On the other, an unwary blade who did not understand his own sharpness.
“There will be no more ‘friendly’ matches between the two of you. Especially in the state you were both in.” He added, speaking clearly and firmly so that no misunderstandings could be made.
“S-state? What does that mean?” Though shaken, there was genuine curiosity within Vick’s words.
Returning an unwavering gaze to the mercenary, “It means you need to pick your fights better. Or be prepared to lose a limb.”
A glint of fear flashed within Vick’s eyes as their gazes met, and Vick quickly turned his head, “R-right…”
Hearing the disheartened but instantaneous concession. “Great. Now come. We’ve a few matters to discuss and this is not the place for such conversations.” Turning back around to Biran who had yet to lift their head, “Captain.”
“My Lord?” The knight answered, not moving a muscle.
“Have someone deliver a message to Lord Shradech for me. Tell him that I wish to impose upon his grace whenever possible, and that I bring good tidings. After you have done so, you will join Vick and myself within your quarters.”
Walking in silence with Vick trekking behind him, Kaidus carefully took in the familiar atmosphere.
Beyond the warm gusts that seem to be flowing listlessly from every direction toward him, it was very reminiscent of what he had seen before.
The disorderly situation of various families living closely alongside one another was still continuing in relative peace, even with the lack of privacy.
Boisterous children ran about as they tend to do, laughing and playing, having escaped the watchful eyes of their guardians.
Men and women, children and adults. Even without guards watching over them, many had understood their dire situation and were moving about, doing their own tasks while being mindful of one another.
Theirs was a true fight for survival. Yet the essence of civility that the group had garnered, had remained somewhat unchanged.
Stepping off the narrow dirt path to allow for an elderly man and his entourage to pass, he glanced back to Vick whose expression had been nothing but troubled ever since they left the training grounds.
“W-what?” A tense question came from the mercenary.
Returning a cordial smile, “You all did a great job at keeping the peace.” He calmly replied in an attempt to quell the man’s uneasiness.
“Wasn’t my doing.” And quickly shrugging off his compliment, Vick turned to survey those around them.
“I heard from Saadra.” He spoke, continuing forward after the group had passed, “Thank you for looking after everyone. And sorry if I went a little overboard back there.”
“S-sorry? You’re sorry?” Vick’s voice faltered for an instant, “I thought I was going to die!” Before snarling back anxiously.
“Like I said. I’ve been out of practice.”
“My ass you are!” A swift retort filled with an insurmountable quantity of doubt.
“Perhaps not, but be that as it may, someone needed to stop the two of you.” He coldly countered and ceased his steps, “Or was I mistaking your bloodlust for something else?” He questioned, glaring back at Vick.
Having halted as well, he caught the slightest twitch of defiance from the mercenary, but no voice came out to refute his words.
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s all your fault. You might have been the one to instigate it, but the captain himself was ready and eager as well.”
“Then… why stop us?”
“Why?” Kaidus replied, resuming his steps, “Because you were about to lose more than your pride.”
Recalling their brief exchanges, whether a mage or a swordsman, one with the gift of Vox was not someone to be trifled with. And even though he is lacking, the knight was definitely becoming more aware of his newfound strength.
“S-sir! You’re back!”
Distraught and frightened, a guard rushed over to them as they appeared within sight of the command tent.
Being one of the few who had seen Zirus earlier, he had tasked the man to stand watch while he sought out the captain.
“Did something happen?” Kaidus asked, looking ahead.
The others were still waiting inside as he had bade them to do. Yet it was not just the twins or the youngling now, as Zion had joined them as well.
“No! Nothing happened! D-did you manage to find the captain, sir?” The guard replied and stammered upon catching sight of Vick.
“He should be returning soon. Thank you for your assistance.”
“No- no! It was my pleasure!” With a swift response, the man submissively and graciously lowered his head.
“Then you are free to return to your duties. Vick and I will wait inside for Captain Biran.” Walking past the guard, he could see that man’s face had turned a shade whiter.
“Yessir. S-Sir Vick.” With compliance and a courteous nod to the mercenary, the guard hurried away.
“What happened to the guards here?” Vick questioned dumbfoundedly as they approached the command tent.
“If you are talking about the two who were here before, I suggested for them to take a break.”
“And Tourel? That man?”
Not slowing his steps, “What about him?” Kaidus questioned in return.
“Why was he here? How do you know him?”
“I ran into him and the others earlier upon my return. He was nice enough to guide me here.” Looking down at himself, “These clothes also came from him.”
“Huh? That- that’s right. What happened to your clothes?”
“It’s a long story.” Dismissing the inquiry, “What about you? Why was he so afraid of you?”
“I…” Pausing in silent contemplation, “I might have threatened them a bit the other evening. And… and beaten a few of them black and blue yesterday.” Vick quickly replied.
Having heard about what happened from Saadra and the gregarious woman who called herself Ms. Ebernny, he decided not to pursue to the topic.
Instead, he braced himself as he opened the flap to the captain’s tent.
A powerful draft hastily swept by from inside the tent, followed by a dark and elongated shadow.
“Wh-what was that?!” Vick yelped in surprise, barely catching himself from falling.
Seeing what was happening, Kaidus promptly stepped into the room, “Stop it.” Willing forth his thoughts, the wind instantly vanished upon the command as Zirus frantically crashed into the side of the tent.
Quickly picking itself up, the young hvaral arched its head back and with an innocent look as if it had been slighted, slowly slithered over toward him. “Shrrrraaa! Sharaaaakrrrraaa!!” It hissed defensively, like a child caught doing something wrong.
Ignoring Vick’s panicked voice, “Zion… what are you doing?” He tiredly questioned.
“Keheheheh! It Hasss Been Toooo Long. Thisssssss One Wassss Merely Greeting The Youngssster.” Spiraling endlessly within the center of the room, Zion’s laughter resonated around them, circulating itself throughout the tent.
“Wah?! Who!?” Another yelp from behind.
“Stop teasing him. You know he does not like it.” Admonishing the spirit, he looked over to the rectangular wooden table near the center of the room, “Elamara. Ulamara. Are you both alright?”
“Kaidus? W-who are you talking to?” Having entered no further than the tent’s entrance, the mercenary began to glance apprehensively around the room.
“Y-yes.” Completely different from her usual tone, Elamara brokenly stuttered back at his question.
In contrast to her sister, “Yes!” Ulamara was wide-eyed and grinning as usual.
“Who’s there??!” A sharp and frightened cry came from Vick once more. This time, procuring a giggle from Ulamara.
“Haa… can you stop that for one moment?” Sighing deeply, he gave Vick a dry and tiresome look before returning his gaze to the invisible tempest within the room. “Zion. What did you do?”
“Nothingggg Untoward Or Unscrupuloussss.” The spirit replied and swiftly swam over to him.
“Elamara. Did Zion tease you as well?” Asking the frightened looking youngster as he made his way over to them, all he got in reply was a timid shake of her head.
“K-K-Kaidus? Kaidus??? Kaidus!!”
Hearing Vick screaming his name, Kaidus quickly around, “What?” He questioned, before immediately suppressing the annoyance that was about to burst outward from his mouth.
In the air, the playful spirit had picked up a handful of dust and was projecting an image of a face at Vick. The mercenary on the other hand, was frozen in place and had already turned pale with terror.
“That’s enough, Zion.”
Upon his words, the projection quickly wilted as the dust that had been circulating in the air fell to the ground.
“W-who!? W-w-what was that?!” Vick frightfully cried out.
“Hah… forget it.” With another sigh, “I wanted to wait for Biran, but I guess we might as well start the introductions now.” Taking a seat at the table, “Well come on.” He beckoned, pushing a seat on the opposite side out for Vick.
“Kaidus, w-what’s happening right now?”
Terrified and unsure of himself, Vick’s eyes had completely reverted back to those he had seen upon their last parting.
And for what felt like an eternity, he stared at the mercenary before calmly taking a deep breath. “Do you remember what I said before leaving last time?”
“Then you might want to sit down.”
At his behest, Vick slowly and tentatively stepped forward into the room, sitting down opposite him.
“Like I said before. I value your friendship too much to keep lying to you.” Placing both hands on top of the table so as not to hide anything, “I know you have a lot of questions and I assure you that I will answer what I can and in time. But first, allow me to introduce you to everyone that’s present.”
With a thought, the room flickered brightly as Vishan flashed into being. Manifesting out of thin air, it hovered quietly above the table in its pure white orb form.
Following the light spirit, a torrential wind snaked throughout the tent, picking up a number of random objects as Zion made its grand entrance as well.
“I’m sure you remember Vishan.” Tilting his head up at the white orb that was pulsing silently, Kaidus lifted up his right arm and the wind serpent that had been coiling around them surged onto his palm, “And this is Zion, whom you’ve just met.”
From the opposite side of the table, Vick’s eyes were now staring intently at the two spirits.
“And these two precious ones, are Elamara and Ulamara.” Standing in between himself and Vick, the twins nervously glanced back at him. Yet with an encouraging nod, they both nodded in return and stepped toward the mercenary.
Like burning curtains away to welcome the morning’s dawn, the thick coat of mana around the twins slowly began to diffuse and dissipate, revealing their childlike appearances burning with a reddish glow.
“Elamara, Ulamara, meet Vick. My friend, and one of the few people that I know I can trust.”
Lowering their heads politely toward Vick, “Nice to meet you!” Ulamara cheerfully greeted.
“H-hello.” And Elamara bashfully followed.
Eyes wide, Vick darted his gaze between the two.
From where it had been sulking on the ground, “KaaaaaRa!” The youngling snapped loudly and propelled itself up onto the table. “Haaaassss!” It hissed, hurrying over to join the twins.
“And of course, you already know Zirus.” Kaidus grinned, seeing the young serpent forcefully inserting itself into the greetings.
“I. I- uh- *gulp* …” Vick rigidly swallowed his words, “I think… I think I need some air.”
Slowing his steps, Biran looked down at his trembling hands and then ahead to his quarters. There was a sense of dread coming from within the tent, and the closer he got, the more the sense of fear within himself multiplied.
Overwhelming and unbearable, the fear was driving itself into his awareness, threatening to rip away flesh and bones.
Yet, compelled by its strength and unable to turn away, he pushed forward.
“Guh?! *Cough!*” The pressure within the room assaulted him as he entered the tent, forcing him to his knees before he could even see who was inside.
A disjointed voice unlike any he had ever heard before, it pierced him like a searing blade.
“Perfect timing, Captain. Come over here.”
Followed by the lord’s voice, the terrifying force was easily swept away.
A devastated city covered in ashes.
The impending threat of doom.
Pure white pillars descending from the sky.
The final breaths before death.
The existence of a being who could not possibly be.
It all rushed back into him, “I- I am unworthy…” Biran carefully replied, not lifting his head as the failure of keeping himself in order swarmed his mind.
“Biran…” A calm and weary tone danced itself along his ears.
Pulling himself together, “Yes, Sire?” Biran questioned, trying his utmost to keep composed.
“Stop kneeling and come join us.”
“I would not dare-”
“That is an order.” More callous than before, there was now a hint of irritation within the lord’s words.
“Y-yes, Sire.” Unable to defy his lord’s will, he trepidatiously stood up.
The horrifying pressure from before had somewhat subsided, but as his eyes fell upon the table where his lord sat, a terror-filled jolt instantly took hold of his thoughts.
There, floating in the air above the table, were two spheres brimming with immense amounts of power. So much so, that it was becoming harder and harder to breath as he stared at them.
While one of them was pulsing silently like a miniature sun, the other, was like that of a raging tempest, swirling and crackling within itself.
And slowly shuffling toward the table, he caught Vick’s pale face looking back at him.
“This is Biran Vox Naingart. A man who has pledged himself to me, and the first of my blades.” The lord spoke as he took a seat beside the mercenary. “Go on and introduce yourselves.”
““Okay!”” Two tiny and pitched voices spoke out in unison.
Blinking his eyes in disbelief, Biran carefully looked down at the table in front of him to where the voices were coming from. “W-who? What are you two?” He questioned, stiffening his posture upon spotting the two human-like creatures that were even smaller than his fingers.
“I am Elamara.” One of the creatures politely greeted, stepping forward and curtsying.
With beautiful deep black eyes and a tiny horn protruding from the center of her forehead, the small girl’s reddish body was glowing like that of smoldering coals. Her dark green hair was also flowing ceaselessly along her shoulders as if billowing in the wind.
“And I, am Ulamara.” The second added, performing a curtsy as well.
Identical to the first and possibly a twin, the only feature that set her apart were her eyes. Instead of black, the tiny girl’s eyes were a lustrous silver.
“Be Thrillllled, Coward…” A wisplike voice easily soared around the room.
His body suddenly locked up at the voice, and in an attempt to free himself, an unnatural breeze slowly began coiling about his chest.
‘He Issss But A Coward. A Fool Sssseeking Essscape.’
The words that had carved themselves into his mind that day swirled forth, joining the storm that was brewing. “You… you were there…”
“Yesssss.” The breeze soft whispered as it constricted him, “I Am The Ssssupreme And Endlesss Ssssky. The Undying Breathhhh Of The WORLD. I AM ZION… THE EVERSSSSTORM.”
Like the air was being sucked out of his lungs, he painfully clutched onto the sides of his seat, holding with all his might so as not to faint or lose himself in the gale’s presence.
“Such Theatrics…” Pulsing brightly from above the table, a continuous ray emerged from the white orb and slashed across the room, slicing the wind in half.
Severed by the light as well, he gasped in horror, only find himself still intact and no longer breathless.
“The Light of The First Dawns…” The orb shimmered, fading to a dim glow as it floated toward him, “Vishan At Your Service, O’ rusted blade of our master.”
And at the orb’s disjointed voice, even though he had been unable to taste the biting cold of the air due to the Lord’s gift, there was now a frozen chill running up his spine.
Ferrent. 11th Ward.
Keeping to the lesser populated streets and moving with haste, a man dark of eyes with short brown hair skillfully navigated his way through the ward. Using the throngs of people who had been displaced from their homes as a cover, he anxiously made his way to the northeastern side of the ward.
To where a modest mansion stood.
Except for the few blemishes and broken walls that had undoubtedly been incurred during the attack, the place had remained the same from what he could remember.
Old and graying rooftops with crumbling tiles that had not been changed for years. Two circular towers that sat upon opposite ends of the mansion, overlooking nothing, for they had no lands. The once white stone walls he had heard about in his childhood were now a drab and disgusting brown color, and had been marred further with vines and burnt marks. Barely large enough to call itself a mansion, it was a glorified hovel when compared to the glory of the other manors within the 11th ward.
Yet, none of that mattered. It was home.
Hurrying to the front door, as usual, no one answered as the man knocked.
With an incantation, he allowed himself into the house.
“Father?!” The man shouted, hastily surveying the dark and lifeless foyer. “Mother!?” He screamed again, looking to the stairs that led to his parents’ chamber and his father’s study. “Anyone home?!” He roared.
Yet again, there was no answer.
“Where is everyone?” The man wondered, racing up the stairs.
Their family had indeed been declining and could barely pass off as a part of the aristocracy, yet it was still quite unusual for the house to be bereft of any servants.
“Is anyone home?!” The man continued shouting, frantically searching through the various vacant rooms in his path.
Shouting loudly as he neared the master bedroom, the sound of movements eventually arose from the end of the hall.
“M-Mirat?!” Deep but hoarse, a familiar voice filled with shock and wonder called out from his parent’s bedroom, followed by the sound of screeching and thumping of an opening door.
“Father?” He called back, seeing a silhouette sluggishly emerging into the dim hallway.
“M-m-my son…” The voice replied tearfully as it begun to shuffle toward him.
“F-father!” And hurrying forth, “Is it really you?!” He shouted, embracing the aging man tightly.
Appearing way older and more withered than what he could remember, his father’s usually round and hairless face was now gaunt and unshaven, like he had not slept for days. The patch of dark brown hair upon his father had also grayed considerably, and was disheveled and unwashed. “W-what happened to you? How did this happen, and where is my mother and everyone?”
“Your- your mother…” With tears flowing freely now, “S-she was on her way to the physicians when the city was attacked.”
Mirat immediately froze in place at what such words meant, “W…what?”
“We burnt her r-remains five days ago…” His father continued weeping, “W-where were you? Where have you been all this time? How could you have left us like that without a single word?”
Such questions ripped at his heart, yet unable to answer them especially to the man before him, Mirat fell to his knees, “I’m so sorry, father. I’m so sorry…” He painfully apologized, prostrating himself.
Because of his failure, the city’s peace had been upturned and thousands of people along with his mother was gone.
“We all thought you were dead. Your… your poor mother. She- she prayed for you every day, hoping that you would return.” Sobbing in between his words, “How could you? H-how could you not send us any words that you were still alive?”
“J-just what were you doing? Why did you wait so long to return?”
Clinging onto his father’s pain-stricken words, “Please forgive me, father…”
“My son… w-what happened to you?”
The agony within his father’s words almost sliced his chest apart, and opening his mouth, “I… I-” He could only stumble upon his words as no answers dared to come out.
“No… never mind that.” Quickly composing himself, “You are back now. That’s all that matters. My- my son is finally back.”
Hearing the words of forgiveness, Mirat clenched his teeth as his own tears rushed outward. “I’m so sorry… It was all my fault. I should never have left. I’m so sorry!” And vehemently apologized, wrapping his arms around his father’s legs.
“Mirat… can you at least tell me what you have been doing?”
His father finally spoke as they sat in silence within the hallway after releasing their tears.
“I…” The urge to answer boiled upward from within his chest, but fighting to keep it from surfacing, “I’m sorry, I can’t…”
“I am your father. If there is any-”
“Which is why I can’t.” He painfully replied, lowering his head to his knees. “It… it is not safe to talk about.”
“Why not? What is not safe?”
“Father, please… please don’t ask anymore.” He begged, unwilling to look at his father’s face.
“Just look around us. What’s the worst that can possibly happen to me now?” His father cried out.
The word lurched forth from within the back of his mind.
“And if you didn’t want me prying, then what are you doing back here, showing yourself to me like this?”
He felt a sharp pang latch itself onto his chest, “I… you’re right.” Unable to see any way of escaping his fate and barely able to keep his calm, “I should not have come back, but I don’t have a choice anymore.”
Turning to look his father in the eyes, he steeled his nerves and stood up, “I’m sorry, father. I was. I was just so happy that I got to see this house again. To see you again… even if mother is no longer with us.”
“No, Mirat.” His father grabbed onto his sleeves, “I- I did not mean it. Please, please do not leave again.”
“It’s alright, father.” He quietly whispered, having reluctantly already accepted his situation. “I don’t have much time anyways. The person watching over me should have noticed by now and will be looking for me soon. But because of that, there is something I must ask of you.” Sliding a hand into his shirt, he unbuttoned a secret pocket and pulled out a piece of folded paper. “We will be leaving the city tonight, and I have no one else who I can trust with this.” Mirat added, handing the piece of paper to his father and clasping it in his father’s shaking hands.
“What is this, and who is coming for you?” More questions, overflowing with worry.
“Father.” Forcing a smile for his father, “Please wait three days and then find a way to get this note to one of the masters at Zorin. They should know what to do from there. And please, tell them that the pegril will no longer return to its nest.”
“What does any of that mean?! What is in this note?!”
“I’m sorry, father.” Giving the agitated old man one last embrace, “Asiran. Enra va sinovae …”
“M-Mirat?” His father’s voice called his name one last time
Feeling the sleeping magic taking hold, ‘Forgive me.’ He wordlessly apologized once again.