The trip to Shalador Nehele was uneventful in the physical sense; mentally I was ready to leap out of my skin with nervousness. It had gotten so bad that Lucivar had taken to trying to drown me with a relaxing tea that Jaenelle had sent with us. After what had to be the eighth cup I was ready to do some drowning of my own.
"Enough! If I have to drink one more cup of tea I will not be held responsible for my actions!" I snarled at the Prince
"It's either you drink the damn tea or I won't be held responsible for my actions" He snarled back at me.
"Um... although this is highly amusing to watch, may I remind you both that if you do decide to go for each others throats I will be caught in the middle and I'm not nearly as dark as the two of you." Asha said mildly.
The rolling thunderous undercurrent in the carriage stopped, I sat back and settled for glaring at Lucivar; I had to clench my teeth when all the bastard did was grin. I turned my gaze to stare out the window, I had never been to this area of the realm and the landscape was both interesting and empty at the same time. Asha sighed in relief and settled in too, since we sat beside each other she rested her head on my shoulder and nodded off. Now I had no choice but to sit still or else risk waking her, and she's not quite such a great person to deal with if woken up too soon, and I didn't have any coffee to appease her. Lucivar of course was amused, his shoulders slightly shaking as he chuckled to himself.
Now forced to sit still, I had nothing to distract me from my musings. We had met Cassidy before, we like her and the couple of warlord princes that had come with her. Spending time in her court wouldn't have been so bad if not for the fact that we wouldn't be the only Queens to be taking instruction from her. A few days before our departure we received a letter from Cassidy informing us that there are a few other girls there taking the same lessons. They were about the same age but it usually takes me a while to warm up to strangers. I didn't want to look like a fool in front of strangers, and the other girls were probably far more educated than we were.
With careful movements I grabbed my Protocol book and started reading it again, ignoring the look on Lucivar's face. I had read most of it before but I figured that I could just refresh my memory. My back ached and I knew that I hadn't much time now, a week tops, as it was I'll probably have to deal with the repercussions anyway. Asha had been studying her healing books religiously since she got them. She knew I would need help soon and she wanted to be able to help when the time came. We would be arriving at our destination soon so with the help of the eight cups of tea I settled in and read my book.
My first impression of the town when I saw it was that I loved it. It was small and seemed to be really close knit. Asha had woken a little while ago and now was currently staring out the window with me. There were buildings still going up all over the place, so there were lots of people milling about doing errands and chores. With these people running around I noticed a fair amount of schelties running around with them. I wonder how they will get along with Prince Kasmau and Arial who were following us outside. I didn't think there would be any problems but I didn't want to take any chances either. I will just have to try and keep an eye on him that's all, I thought as turned away from the window. Once we rolled to a stop the doors open and Lucivar exited first, turned and help us out of the carriage. With my feet now firmly back on solid ground I was steadier. Cassidy and most of her court was there to greet us, the rest of the introductions were made. Apparently the other girls had also just arrived and were at the moment getting their things packed away.
We were shown to what was to be our home away from home, it was a sturdy two bedroom house and it reminded us of our old home. Asha and I walked in and started situating ourselves with the place, the rooms were a decent size and we even had our own little kitchen. There was room just out back for a little herb garden for Asha as well. Standing at the back door I called in my Ebon Grey ring and put it on my finger, Asha also called in hers; we decided that we can always unpack our thing tonight but we both really wanted to play in the dirt. So calling in a few gardening tools we set to work. The earth was fairly dry and easy to work with, we soon had our seedlings planted and watered and we smiled contently as we both stood up and brushed our hands on our pants.
"You got dirt all over your faces and clothes." Lucivar said as he lounged against the back door frame.
Since I still wasn't quite happy with him I replied sarcastically.
"Gee I wonder how that happened..."
Asha huffed and with a small amount of Grey she cleaned us both up.
"There all better; now both of you try to pretend that you can stand each other for a few more minutes as we have other people yet to meet."
"Since when did you get all bossy? And why did you clean me up, I happened to like the dirt." I said mainly to be difficult.
"I'm bossy because you are acting like a child, and Prince Yaslana is not helping matters." She said with a small glare at the male; who just laughed and moved away from the door to let us pass.
There were three other girls here; each one was incredibly pretty and looked so self confident. Though it was obvious that one in particular was seen as the leader their names were Nicole, Britney and the leader Elizabeth. All where fairly tall and slender as reeds, making me very aware of my fuller figure; Nicole was a brunette with highlights that would make anyone envious. Her eyes were a warm honey colour and she was quick to smile at all the boys. Britney was a blonde with sky blue eyes that watched everything around her. Her smile wasn't a quick but something about it was predatory. Than there was Elizabeth, the apparent leader of the other two girls, with long black hair and starling green eyes she was easily the prettiest of the three. She had a small smile on her face but it was her eyes that held little warmth in them; when those eyes landed on Lucivar though it reminded me of a cat who had just spotted a delectable plump bird for the taking.
The look she gave him made even me uncomfortable, but it didn't appear as if Lucivar had noticed it. Still I didn't want anything to cause the damn idiot more trouble than we had already put him though, so with my head held high I walked over to his side and planted myself between her and him.
"Prince Yaslana, would you be escorting us around the town before you leave?" I asked careful to use respectful titles.
"It would be a pleasure." He answered just as politely, a twitch in his brow the only indication that he was aware that he though I was up to something.
Cassidy just frowned slightly at the request but chose not to say anything on the subject. Prince Ranon who stood at her side seemed to have guessed what the issue might be, but also wisely kept his mouth shut. I got a searing glare from Elizabeth for my efforts before she turned her back on me and walked away. The other two following in her wake, they had their own escort to show them around the town.
Having now avoided immediate danger I relaxed a little as Asha joined me at Lucivar's side. Prince Ranon and Lady Cassidy decided to join our group in the tour since she had a few things she wished to discuss with Lucivar. As she and Yaslana went off to one side to talk, Ranon took over telling us about the town. At the music store he stopped and turned to us, his eyes serious.
"I'm sure I've already guessed but would you mind telling me what just happened?"
"I don't know how much you know about our history, but I know the look a person gets in their eye when they spot something they want, and I know the type that when they find something they want not much will stop them." I answered not meeting his eyes.
"The girl wants Yaslana." He made it a statement but I still felt compelled to answer.
"Yes, and I apologize for any trouble I might have just caused by getting in her way."
"There's something not quite right about those girls, which is why they are here. Cassidy hopes that she'll be able to turn them around before they go too far down that path."
"I hope I didn't make things worse, but Yaslana is a friend even though more often than not I want to strangle him myself."
Ranon laughed, though it sounded a little scared. "I think I would pay to see that."
"So would I." Lucivar said striding back to us. From the look on his face he had probably heard everything.
"Prince..." I started but was cut off.
"I appreciate you looking out for me, but I've held to deal with those types of females a very long time, I know what I'm doing."
"I know... it's just that it's nice not having to do so one your own sometimes." I said with a small smile before walking on, Asha sending them a look of apology before she jogged to catch up with me; she took a hold of my arm and we walked back towards our home.
"We're not there anymore, you know that right?" She asked as we walked.
"I know, really I do it's just sometimes I see something that sparks up all those old memories."
"Yeah I understand, but we have to keep trying not to let them get to us like that."
"Those girls remind me so much of those dead bitches, the way they hold themselves, the way they talk hell even the look in their eyes are the same."
"But they are here to learn not to be that way, remember? They are still young enough to turn around."
"The question becomes, do they really want to change though?"
"We can't do anything about what they feel is the right path, we just have to concentrate on our own problems. Like when's dinner?"
I laughed; trust Asha not only to give sound advice but to crack the tension. She rubbed my back with her other hand her fingers brushing between my shoulders causing some pain to travel through me.
"It's getting worse, isn't it?"
"It will soon."
"Than we can't wait, we'll just have to try and fix what damage ha already been done."
"Here? Where I am surrounded by people I hardly know?"
"Would you rather lose them forever?"
That shut me up; it was bad enough that they may never be useable again, but to see they removed forever was worse in my mind.
"A week, by that time your herbs should be established and we'll have a better chance at not being discovered."
"Fine, one week than I don't care who finds out." Asha said stubbornly.
We reached our home; Prince Kasmau and Arial were inside making themselves as comfortable as possible, but such large animals it was fairly difficult in small quarters. I walked into my room to find Prince Kasmau sprawled on my bed looking disgruntled.
This den is too small, need bigger one.
"Well I think the den as you call it is just perfect."
Arial and I will sleep outside in open, we will watch entrances.
"I don't see a problem with that, just make sure no one steps on..." I stopped when I realized what I was saying. Who could miss such a large cat?
"Anyway, Asha and I are going to the dinning hall, will you need anything?"
Yaslana bring food for us to eat so we don't hunt snacks.
"Snacks? No wait forget I asked I think I know what you are talking about."
Asha and I walked to the hall; the place was already filling up with people. We watched the hustle and bustle for a minute than notice Lucivar watching us. Why flag us down when a simple look will do the trick. I thought darkly as we made our way over to him. Everyone started taking their seats and we followed suit, we sat across from the other girls, Elizabeth still watched Lucivar with far too much attention in my mind, but there was nothing I could do at the moment. We filled our plates and started eating; I forced my mind on the conversations of those closest to us. The people here seemed really happy and content with their lives, whether they were Blood or not. I relaxed into the happy drone of voices until one voice spoke up.
"Prince Yaslana, I hope you are enjoying your time here, it's too bad you couldn't stay longer." Elizabeth cooed at him.
"Lets get something straight, I have no interest in you I will never be interested in you, so take this as your first and final warning." Lucivar said coldly, his eyes slightly glazing. Instead of clearing up though his eyes seem to be getting worse, like he was caught up in his own dark memories.
I didn't know what else to do; I decided that I was going to be my regular self.
"Prince Yaslana, would you like some more tea?" I asked as I switched seats with Asha, placing myself directly beside Lucivar.
When he didn't react and stayed staring at the girl across from him I knew I had to try something else. Reaching slightly across the table I snatched a pot of tea, I adjusted the temperature so that it was ice cold than promptly pour it over his head. He exploded out of his seat, knocking the chair backwards as he went, his wings snapped open in challenge and he finally turned his glazed eyes on me.
"Oh I'm sorry Prince, that was only four cups of tea in that one, let me get another for you to finish and maybe that will help you relax."
My words seemed to have finally reached his fogged brain, his eyes started clearing up even as the smile that touched his mouth made me want to duck and hide. Someone handed him a towel to wipe his face with. I remained sitting in the chair as he righted his and sat back down. I swear I could feel his mind working on a way to get back at me for what I did, so I shouldn't have been surprised when I went to take a sip of water only for it to have turned into that dreaded tea. It was childish and I had probably gotten off easy, but now even my temper was stroked. So I simply turned is ale into milk, which I am happy to announce he choked on. I finished the rest of my plate and just simply sat there trying hard not to laugh. Our specific table had gone quite after Lucviar's roar but most had a hard time not laughing at the spray of milk that went almost all the way across the table.
The three other Queens looked aghast at the display, but I stoutly ignored them I was just happy that nothing horrible happened. After dinner was over and the tables were cleaned and all the chores done, we left the hall and stood outside for a minute, we had some how managed to sneak out before Lucivar.
"Did you really have to turn his ale into milk? You do realize how childish that was?"
"Yes, but I just couldn't resist! And after all that damn tea he made me drink..."
"One does not turn an Eyrien's ale into milk, or they could find themselves in a heap of trouble." The dark voice behind us made me freeze, and turn woodenly to face Lucivar.
"I hate to point this out to you, but you started it." I said bravely.
"Oh Really? It was you who was driving us insane from your fidgeting. Now drink the damn tea."
"Fidgeting? Who wouldn't fidget, being stuck inside a small space with you on the way to some new place one's never been to before!"
"Children! Do you think you can go five minutes without it becoming an argument about something?" Asha said pushing us apart.
"Fine, I'm going to go to bed after I unpack my things so I'll say my goodbyes now, I hope you have a better journey back Prince. And you're welcome." I said stiffly before I stalked off leaving Asha with him as I retreated back into our new home.
Inside I went through my things and unpacked most of what I thought I would need. I hadn't meant to be so difficult but my temper always got the best of me when I was placed out of my comfort zone, it use to cause a lot of problems back when I was little more than a slave. I guess it's just something I will have to adjust to; in the meantime I better focus on the reason as to why we are here. I read several more pages before I heard Asha come in, we didn't say anything just continued reading.
The next morning we were up early and going through our exercise routines, when we saw others up and moving about we headed over to the eating hall. We got there fairly early, so we pitched in to help get breakfast ready for everyone. Although everyone was pleasant and kind, there was nervousness in the air, and I caught several glances towards the ring on my hand. They were nervous because I wore such a dark jewel, and I wasn't the only one getting some looks. Since there wasn't really anything we could do without taking our rings off, we decided just to do what we could without using Craft.
Cassidy came in to help several minutes later, approval shone in her eyes when she saw us working already and without Craft.
"Good morning Lady." We said politely.
"Did you sleep well?"
"Fairly well considering we're in a new place, it'll get better though." I answered with a smile.
"I'm glad to hear that, I take it you have both read the books?"
"Yes, Lady; we have both read our Protocol books." Asha said smiling as well.
"Than your time here should be fairly straight forward, if you have any questions please feel free to come talk to me."
"Thank you so much, we will keep that in mind." I said as we all took our seats to start eating.
As I was about to put the first forkful in my mouth the other Queens came in, took their seats and started eating. Their blatant rudeness almost made me choke on my food, I than happen to notice the jewels they were wearing. They were on the darker side as well; Nicole and Britney both wore Green, whereas Elizabeth wore Red. They probably thought that regular rules didn't apply to them since they were darker than Cassidy. Even if that was the reason, both Asha and I wore darker Jewels than them and yet they did not acknowledge us in any way.
I wanted to say something, but Protocol demanded that I let Cassidy take care of the problem. So without a word I went back to eating, when I was finished I excused myself and cleaned my dishes before I put them away. I left the hall to clear my head a little, the main reason for coming here was to see a properly functioning court works, when they use Protocol. Rubbing my temples to stop a headache from forming I returned just in time to hear the tail end of the dress down Cassidy gave the girls. Although they apologized, their faces told me they all but were choking on the words.
The girls were than sent to do the dishes as punishment without the use of Craft; it seemed like a fair sentence to me, but a little part of me wanted more. I steadily ignored that part and walked over to join Asha and Cassidy.
"So what is the plan for today?" I asked.
"Well I was hoping that you two will give us a hand with raising a couple more houses today."
"Sure, but I have to tell you, I know nothing of building houses." I said with a chuckle.
"That's okay; we just need your strength to help get the structure in place."
"Well that we can do." I smiled.
The days that followed were filled with house building and court business, and not necessarily in that order either. We wrote our daily letters to Jaenelle, telling her all the different things we were doing. I was careful to make sure my letters contained only things we were doing or learning. My personal life was my own; I didn't like to share it. About the sixth day there, my week was almost up; the other girls in my opinion hadn't improved an inch, in fact I swear they had gotten worse. They were clever enough to skirt the edge of the rules, not quite breaking them but not precisely following them either. I kept an eye on them, they liked to sneak over to the non-Blood village when they thought no one was looking, but I hadn't managed to get enough time to follow them to see what they were up to. The reply letters that we received from Jaenelle were quite personal despite the fact I've avoided anything personal. I wasn't about to start discussing my moon times with anyone, I will cross that bridge when I come to it, and after the brew Asha had made it shouldn't be for another month.
On the seventh day, I decided that I couldn't put it off any longer. Making my excuses I slipped away from everyone and followed the other three girls into the laden village. At first I couldn't see why they would come here, it was obvious that they weren't the best liked here, but they didn't seem to cause any actual problem in front of people. As I walked behind them, careful to keep several yards back so I wouldn't be noticed unless they actually turned and looked. They took several turns around the village and I was just beginning to think that they just liked walking around here when they came to an old looking house. They didn't even bother to knock on the door before they just went in; closing the door firmly behind them. Frowning, I slipped across the street to one of the windows, seeing nothing I moved to the next until at last I saw them.
It appeared to be a bedroom they were in, with a single bed in pushed up against the far wall. The rest of the room was bare and very little light penetrated the darkness of the room. A rustling sound from the bed alerted me that there was someone actually on it, but from the rattling of the frame it appeared as if that someone was bound to the bed. A sickening sensation began to form in my gut, and was only made worse when the girls moved closer to the bed with smiles of anticipation on their faces.
"Don't you know by now that no one can hear you?" Nicole said as she sat on the bed.
"Now, now Nicole I like it when they squirm when they know what's coming." Britney said sitting on the other side of the bed.
Elizabeth stood at the foot of the bed, her back to me and the window; she began to undress herself, the noise on the bed intensified as if the person on the bed was trying to get away. The sick feeling in my stomach boiled over and I was sick, throwing up everything I ate that day on the dirt ground. My heart was pounding and seemed to have taken up residence in my head. I couldn't bring myself to watch what they were doing inside the house, but the noise coming from it confirmed everything my brain conjured up.
When I walked in the door later that day Asha was waiting for me, her arms full of herbs and cloth.
"About time you returned I was beginning to think you were hiding somewhere" She said.
"No, I had promised I would be here and I am, but there is something I need to tell you." I said, my voice sounding hollow and cracked.
"What's wrong?" Asha asked concerned.
As we went into my bedroom to prepare I told her all that I saw and heard when I followed the other Queens. Asha was so quite I though she had left the room but when I turned to check she stood by the door staring at me.
"We have to tell someone."
"I don't know, but we can't just let that poor man suffer like that."
I sighed; the only problem with telling someone is that there was a very good chance that they wouldn't believe what was being told. Asha went about laying out special coverings on the bed that would prevent anything from soaking in, than helped me remove my top. I lay down on my stomach with my head pillowed in my arms, and waited as Asha finished arranging her tools.
"It looks painful, you definitely have an infection, but I won't know how bad it is until you let them out."
"Just so you know I am not looking forward to this." I grumbled than hissed out a long breath when I opened the slits on my back.
It felt like I was ripping apart my skin I could even feel the liquid seeping out as they began to open. I couldn't be sure whether it was blood or something else probably a combination of both, either way it was hot and the smell was disgusting. By the time they were fully open I was panting, my back was on fire and Asha was cursing under her breath. I bit down on part of the fabric covering the bed as she reached in and gently pulled out the drenched black masses that were my wings. The infection was terrible, the fluid spilling out was hot against my now clammy skin and the pain was all consuming.
"I won't know how damage they are until I get them cleaned up, but first I have to do something about the infection in your back."
She worked as quickly as she could, cleaning away the dead tissues and flushing out the puss that continued to ooze out. I don't know how long she sat there working at it but eventually she began to tire.
"No matter how much I clean out, it just seems to fill up again. I need help Akira." She said exhausted.
"We could ask Shira..."
"I don't think she would be able to help too much, we need someone who understands the structure of wings; someone who had had some experience in actually mending the structure of the wing."
"You're not suggesting..."
"We don't have a choice, I'll ask Prince Ariel to send a message to her, and she is our only hope in fixing this mess."
"Fine." I relented, my back was killing me; it felt like someone had set it afire. My voice was little more than a panted whisper through the waves of pain.
"Here drink this; it will at least help with the pain."
"It had better not be tea..."
In Kaeleer, the Hall was quiet, maybe a little too quiet. Jaenelle sat in the library trying to read her book, but the stillness of the Hall was getting to her. Daemon sat across from her reading his own book as well as some papers that had come in late.
"I miss them." Jaenelle said in the quiet room.
Daemon put down his work and looked at her.
"It used to be livelier around here, I mean when they opened up a little. I even miss the yelling contests that Lucivar and Akira would get into over the silliest things. And I can't forget the music Asha could play. The place just feels so empty without them."
"You miss the yelling? Weren't you the one that usually broke it up?"
"That's beside the point; it's too quiet here without them around."
"Well then ask them to come back; I'm sure that you are capable of teaching them anything they will learn there."
"I can't do that, not yet anyway."
"We must step carefully for a little while yet." Witch's voice held a hint of sadness.
"Is there really nothing we can do?"
Witch stared at him from Jaenelle's eyes; she was both angry and sad about the inability to change what was coming. A howl echoed throughout the hall, the sound urgent.
Lucivar and Jaenelle stepped off the landing web with Prince Ariel, and made their way to a little house in the middle of the town. Lucivar was pissed but also very worried all Prince Ariel told them was that something was wrong with Akira and that she needed help from people who knew wings. Why in hell would it matter whether or not someone knew about wings, if something was wrong she should have immediately gone to the healer. As they walked in the door they knew something was really wrong, Jaenelle ran into Akira's room and gasped. Akira lay writhing on the bed in agony, her back a mass of blood and puss, it continued to seep out of what appeared to be gaping wounds on her back, two black masses seemed to be attached to the inside of those wounds. It looked like someone had ripped her back open and had tried to disembowel her. Asha was busy trying to clean out the wounds but it seemed to be too big of a job for her to do solely on her own. Asha looked up at Jaenelle, with tears in her eyes.
"What happened?" Jaenelle said as she moved forward to help.
"I know we should have told you, but I didn't think it was this bad, she never said it was this bad..." Asha said brokenly.
"Hush now, I'm here to help now, let me have a look at what we're dealing with." Jaenelle said as she moved Asha out of the way to have a look for herself.
"Lucivar... I may need your help to hold her down, the fever has already taken her in its grips and I need to take a closer look at these wounds on her back."
As Lucivar gently pinned Akira to the bed so Jaenelle could get a closer look at the supposed gaping wounds on the girls back, her hand froze when she realized the black masses were actually attached in them, and when she ran her hand over the wet mass, she felt something very unusual. The black masses appeared to be feathered, and that's when it dawned on her. Her eye widened in shock, these were actually wings! Black feathered wings.
"Asha I'm still going to need your help. We have to get this infection under control before we can move outward. I will guide you but you will need to use your own strength to accomplish it."
"Yes of course, show me what to do."
For the next few hours the worked together, the oozing soon slowed to a stop the wounds soon only bleeding red. Once they had controlled that they moved on to see how damaged the wings were from being stuck inside that environment for so long. The damage was fairly bad considering the extent of the infection; the bacteria had done its job in eating away at some of the important flight feathers. The remaining feathers were dripping wet still and needed to be thoroughly cleaned before they attempted to dry them Lucivar was shocked as the wet gave way to dry feathers, with some power from Asha they were able to pin the wings upright so they were stretched out, using some strips of cloth they were able to construct a temporary hanging apparatus to keep the wings aloft. The feathers that were badly damaged had to be pulled to make room for new ones. Thankfully some of the main flight feathers weren't too badly ruined so it wouldn't take as long for her to recover the use of them. When the wings were completely dried, they were magnificent even though they looked a little worse for wear. Lucivar ran his hand over the bend on the wing closet to him, he had never seen anything like it before, nor had he heard of it. Wings that were feathered rather than membrane were completely unknown to him.
"What is she?" He said quietly, Akira having just slipped into a more fitful sleep in her room.
"Something thought to be long extinct." Jaenelle said as she preened through the remaining feathers, arranging them carefully into place; a small smile on her face.
"You knew what she is?"
"I suspected, but I didn't know for sure until I saw these. She's descended from a race not so far removed from the Eyreins. They too were fearsome warriors, talented with many weapons. The race, I believe they were called Sereins were thought to have disappeared completely thousands of years ago. I never thought I would get to see one."
"Than how did she come to be here?"
"My guess is that she's essentially a throw back."
"So you're saying she's the only one of her kind?"
"More than likely, it would explain why she tried so hard to hide what she was." Jaenelle checked Akira's temperature.
"Her fever is going down, she will have to stay in bed for a few days but she should be fine, if she waited any longer she would be risking her life as much as her ability to fly."
I awoke from the darkness to be greeted with blinding sun, pouring in from the window next to my bed. My back ached and felt tight in some places, but it wasn't trying to kill me anymore which made me sigh in relief. My internal clock was screwed up so I knew I had been asleep longer than just one night.
"Good your awake, this means you'll live."
"Oh no, I must still be having that nightmare, if you're here I must surely be near death's door."
"Be thankful your not, I wouldn't be the only one you would have to deal with if you were."
"Are you just going to stand there or are you going to help me up?" I asked as I tested my mobility.
"So now you're asking for help?"
"Fine, just go away." I snarled; I wasn't in the mood to be made to feel guilty for not saying anything sooner. Plus my back still ached badly and I was never really any good with pain, it tended to make me moody.
Using a little Ebon Grey I managed to free my wings from their moorings. The muscles were stiff and sore from disuse and from being held in such a position for so long. They fell to the bed with a flap, I lay there for a few minutes just breathing through the new agony before I slid my legs off the bed than straighten. I had to grab the bed frame to keep my balance, it had been such a long time since I had them out that my wings where knocking me off balance. Throwing a glare at Lucivar who continued to stand by the door watching; his eyes sharp and slightly glazing over as if watching me in pain was as difficult for him, I extended and closed my wings to get some feeling back in them and to remember how adjust my weight to counter act the difference. Like any limb that had gone to sleep and now was expected to wake up, my wings brought a whole new meaning to the "pins and needles" sensation, but it the sun would shine in Hell before I let the ever watching Prince know. With them tucked closed I stepped away from the bed and towards the window, silently patting myself on the back when I didn't fall flat on my face.
"And she says I'm stubborn." Lucivar said with a sigh and walked into the room. He joined me by the window, standing close enough to catch me if I fell but not too close as to be touching me.
"Look, I'm sorry I hadn't said anything before, it's not exactly something I have a habit of talking about." I said grudgingly folding my arms over my chest, my thin backless shirt barely preventing the cool morning air from stealing my warmth. Lucivar sighed heavily and wrapped me in a warming spell to stop my shivering.
"It's not that I'm pissed about, it's why the hell did you wait so long?" Lucivar all but roared at me.
"I don't know..." I said softly, I didn't understand why I had waited so long, maybe I thought that it would simply go away eventually. Or that some part of me harboured the fear that I would get a repeat performance of what happened the last time I showed them to anyone.
"You're to rest for another few days during which you have to keep them out during that time. Be thankful that those are the Lady's orders and not mine."
"I can't do that! I would have to stay..."
"You can and will; Jaenelle has already spoken to Cassidy before she left, so they've been made aware of your foolishness." Even as he said it in such a stern voice he had move around me and was carefully inspecting my wings in the light coming in through the window.
I swore I felt my heart drop, I had spent the majority of my life hiding them from people, and now the knowledge was out there. I was afraid now; actually that was an understatement, I was completely terrified, my mind had begun to spin down the dark corners of my memories, I had to change the subject if I wanted to keep sane. Only once in the past had I left them out so freely and I had paid dearly for it.
"There was something I need to talk to you about." I told him what I had seen and heard the other day, everything I had told Asha I now told him. The room went deathly silent when I finished, I hugged myself tighter; every time I repeated it made me feel like I was somehow back to being used as a slave. Lucivar was quiet beside me; his muscles clenched with tension, his wings were snapped close to his body to stop the tremor that had taken root in his frame. When I shifted slightly closer to the sun coming in the window I could than see his face more clearly. His eyes were completely glazed over. I really shouldn't have been surprised at that considering the information. But he wore a Jewel just as dark as mine but he still seemed really scary to me when he got like this.
"Lucivar? I'm really sorry; I probably shouldn't have said anything till I had more concrete evidence to show you..." I trailed off as he left the room, his temper preceding him as he went. I dashed to get a proper top, adjusting it to fit around my wings before running out to catch up to him. The running part was a little difficult because of the new weight but I managed by some miracle.
By the time I managed to catch up to him, we were almost at the house I told him about. Seeing it again made me freeze several feet away from it but Lucivar didn't pause, he shoved the door open, startling the occupant inside. The door he had shoved had literally disintegrated from his touch, a sure sign that his temper had the best of him. At the yelp I moved forward to see what was going on. A young teenage boy had sat at the table eating his brunch; he had jumped away when Lucivar stormed in. This was the first time I had actually seen the boy, but I had no doubt this was the poor creature that had been tied to bed the other night. The slight abrasions around his wrists proved it and I was betting he had matching patterns on his ankles as well, he shuffled as far away from the Eyrein as possible. Lucivar stared at the boy for a minute than went to check the rest of the house. I moved into the kitchen, the boy's eyes jumped to me as Lucivar left the room.
"Who are you?" I asked gently.
"Why? What's it to you?" He said the tremor in his voice belying the tough words.
"Well if you don't want to tell me your name than could you tell me if you're hurt?" I said
"I'm fine; I don't need yours and anyone else's help!" He said slowly gaining courage.
"It didn't sound like you were fine yesterday all tied up." I said bluntly.
His face lost all colour as he stared at me, "I don't know what you are talking about."
"I believe she's asking if you were used against your will." Lucivar said as he came back from looking the house over, the boy went back to cowering. The temper still riding the Warlord Prince hard, it was obvious that the boy was reacting to it.
"I wouldn't have used those words, but the meaning is what I was aiming for." I said watching Lucivar's eyes, those golden orbs were still glazed but at least he was listening.
"I don't know what you are talking about, there's nothing wrong with having some fun."
"Fun? Are you sure about that?" Lucivar asked, his voice going deeper.
"Yes fun, they didn't do anything to me that I didn't want." The boy said bravely, the scent of fear so overwhelming that I couldn't tell if he was lying or not. And apparently neither could Lucivar, if the boy claimed it was consensual there was nothing more Lucivar could do about it.
"Where are your parents?" the glazing in his eyes slowly receding. The effort to control his anger must have been fierce.
"Don't got any."
"Well than you're coming with me."
"You don't have much choice in the matter, pup. Now get your things and get moving." Lucivar said folding his arms across his chest and flaring his wings a little.
When the boy ran from the room I turned on Lucivar, my own wings flaring a little in response. The newly healing wounds protested the quick motion but it barely fazed me.
"Why does he have to go with you?" I was feeling protective of the boy, since in my heart I knew he was lying to cover for those bitches.
"He's coming with me so that those whoring little sluts can't touch him anymore."
"So you believe me?" I asked not quite believing he would take my word so easily.
I just received an exasperated expression to my question, so decided to ask another.
"Where are you taking him?"
"There's a special orphanage in Kaeleer that Daemon keeps an eye on, I think that's the best place for him."
"He'll be safe there?" I asked sternly, I wasn't about to let the poor boy go without some assurance.
Lucivar paused a second maybe realizing that I was serious about protecting the boy even from him. He nodded still watching me closely, even as the boy came back into the room. His eyes slowly returned to the boy whose arms were full of dirty clothes and little else. My heart went out to him, I knew what it was like to have so little, or nothing at all. Without really realizing I was doing it, I sent out soothing waves of calm and security. I approached him confidently but respectively.
"Here let me help, please?" I said with a small smile and held out my arm to take his things.
Surprisingly he handed over the items although I think he practically dumped them on me to be a more accurate account of what happened, I used my power to clean them quickly and fold them. With great care I called in a small trunk and placed the items in it; turning to Lucivar I asked him if he would be so kind as to make sure the trunk traveled with the boy. I went back to the boy.
"I must apologize, I haven't introduced myself properly. My name Akira, if you need any help please send me a note at anytime, I will do my best to help."
"Um... Thank you, my name is Johnny."
"It's very nice to meet you, Johnny; this is my friend Lucivar, I know he looks scary but he's a really nice guy; just so long as you don't try to give him milk." I smiled as the boy answering grin lit up his face.
The boy followed Lucivar out the door; I followed behind them, than paused and watched them walk away. I turned back towards the house, snapping up an Ebon Grey shield around the place I unleashed my full power and anger at the building. The building disintegrated under the force and when I was certain it was all gone I let go of the shield. They won't ever be using that place again for their games. Turning to leave I flared my wings feeling the airs sift through my feathers; it felt good to have them out although I would never admit that to Lucivar.
When I returned to our side of the town I receive a lot of stares. I did my best to ignore them and continued on to the hall where we were to meet Cassidy. When I walked in all eyes turned to me, Asha got up and came to see how I was doing.
"I had forgotten how pretty they looked when they were out" She said with a smile.
"Thanks for trying to make me feel better, and thanks for all you did to make them better." I said in response than turned to Cassidy.
"I'm sorry I'm so late I had something to take care of before I came."
"Prince Yaslana has told me all about it, there's nothing for you to worry about." She smiled at me.
I felt better that the three bitched were even later than I thought, than I realized that this was about the time they went to the house. Several minutes later they came in; the look in their eyes was worth the wait. They must have seen that their game house was no more and not only that their little plaything was also gone. Elizabeth's gaze narrowed in on me, she knew I was the one responsible. It wasn't as if I was trying to hide that fact either, I met her eyes and raised an eyebrow in query. If she wanted to talk about it now I was more than happy to air out her dirty laundry. Instead she and others went and sat at their usual spots and pretended to listen to the lesson.
After the lesson was over, Prince Ranon came over to me and offered to walk Asha and I back to our home. I knew he was worried about any repercussions that may fall my way. I polity told him that I can take care of myself. I also gently pointed out that he wore a lighter Jewel than me and the girls he was planning on protecting me from. With a wave Asha and I left the hall.
I created a tight Ebon Grey shield around me, Asha snapping a Grey over herself as we made our way home. We were about half way there when I felt their arrival.
"Who let the freak out?" Nicole sneered as their group approached, stopping several feet away.
"Just what are those things? Are they supposed to be wings?" Britney asked pointing at my wings.
"Where is he?" Elizabeth asked her voice tight with her anger.
"He's somewhere where you will never touch him again, you should be thankful that he claimed it was all consensual or else you wouldn't be standing there in your pitiful anger." I said my anger rising with each word.
"He was mine! You had no right to touch him!" She yelled at me.
"Right? You dare talk to me about rights? Where were the boy's rights when you had him tied down? Where were his rights when you used him again and again? You have no right to tell me about rights!" I snarled
"He's just a laden orphan, he should be thankful we took such good care of him." Nicole said.
"Is that what you call it? Would you like to know what it feels like than?" I asked, my voice deepening in a purr even as the ice in it caused Asha to shiver in response.
"Don't do it, Akira they aren't worth the effort." Asha said trying to pull me to the house.
A loud feline roar filled the night as I struck out at them. Tangles of power dropping over them without warning, as soon as the tendrils touched them they dropped to the ground and began to twist and groan. My fury built up their agony to the breaking point, over and over again their minds experienced what it was like to be used and passed around. A shout went up and people came running. Prince Talon was the first to arrive having been on his way to check on us. He tried to use his jewel against the power of my anger; Sapphire met Ebon Grey and fell beneath the sheer power of the darker jewel. Prince Kasmau came up to my side and nipped my hip. The pain snapped my out of my fury to turn at the Arcadia cat.
"That hurt!" I snarled at him, my power already withdrawing from the women on the ground.
You are to stop now, Queen-cub.
They will learn better now, you showed them your fangs they will not be so quick to challenge you again.
I stared at his beautiful blue eyes, and suddenly I was so very tired. I slopped to my knees in the dirt and leaned my head on his shoulder. I closed my eyes, what had I done? They deserved punishment but not like this, no one deserved this, did they? I could feel tears gathering in my eyes but I refused to let them fall. People were over with the women now helping them get to their feet. With Kasmau's help I climbed back to mine, despite my exhaustion I wasn't about to show any weakness to them. They stared at me in both hatred and fear. They soon stormed off, not once looking back. When they were out of sigh Talon turned back to us.
"Mind telling me what the hell brought that on?"
Leaning on Kasmau for support and comfort, I repeated everything for him.
"What were you doing to them?" He asked wearily.
"In all honesty you probably don't want to know, but if you must I was just giving them a taste of what they were doing to Johnny."
I smiled; it was a cold, unemotional thing and it made Talon straighten when he saw it.
"Yes a taste, if I had given them any more they would have broke, and than they wouldn't feel anymore and that simply won't do."
"It is not your call to make, Lady."
"And for that I apologize, my anger got the best of my better judgement."
"You would be lucky if they don't ask for compensation."
"Let them try, I will be no ones whipping boy." I said, my eyes narrowing at the thought.
Realizing that I still walked the knife's edge I decided the best course of action now was to leave the killing field. With my closet friends at my side we left, when I was back in my room I went straight to bed. My wings covering me like a black blanket of feathers. Kasmau even came in and lay at the side of my bed. He set a Green shield around my room. Asha came in as well and crawled into bed behind me, I adjusted my wings so she wouldn't end up lying on the. Prince Ariel lay on the other side of the bed. For the first time in a long while I felt safe as I drifted off to sleep.
At some point during the night I woke up, I had no idea what woke me but I didn't want to stay in bed any more. Something was pulling at me and now matter how I tossed and turned I couldn't shake the feeling. I stepped softly over the sleeping cat and left my room than the house. Night had fallen completely, the coolness felt good against my heated skin. As I stood there I heard a scream, the sound abruptly cut off; I took off racing across the ground towards the sound. When I got there I skidded to a stop, not five feet away lay the body of a young boy. He had a startling resemblance to Johnny but it wasn't him. He looked like he had been torn apart be animals, but there was an undercurrent of Craft enhances spells around the body. His eyes were open and staring, his mouth gapped open in an eerie silent scream. I dropped to my knees beside the body, I carefully looked to make sure no other spells would be triggered if I touch the corpse, but I had a feeling that there was nothing more. People began to gather, having heard the noise, Kasmau walked up to me and sniffed the body.
Very bad smells...