Authors: H.D Gordon
Surah stopped pacing, and her
head tilted, making the shaved half of it more visible. She studied my sister’s
face carefully, as if deciding whether or not this was information that she
should share. At last, she nodded once slowly, and the unspoken
clear enough on her face.
Nelly’s face lit up the way it
always did when she knew she was on to something. “That’s why the King needed
your brother,” she said. “To reach into my dreams when I was…Can these dream
spells affect someone’s…actions in the waking world?”
The Sorceress girl stood as still
as stone. “They can’t
people do things, if that’s what you mean,”
Surah said. “There has to be some predisposition to the matter. For example,
you couldn’t make a mother go and murder her children using a dream spell
unless it had already been an impulse seeded in their mind.” A pause. “What was
it these dreams told you to do?”
Nelly’s eyes flicked to me and
settle there. For a moment, I thought that she wasn’t going to answer Surah’s
question, and I wanted to know the answer to this question as well. This was
something Nelly hadn’t told me about yet, and I realized then that there were a
lot of somethings that we hadn’t talked about yet. I was going to have to make
a point to see that corrected.
My sister’s voice was soft when
she spoke, just a step above small. Her eyes never left mine, and the pain that
she had been hiding surprisingly well seemed to bubble up there all the way to
the top. “To drink the sun,” Nelly said. “The dreams told me to drink the sun.”
I stared at my sister, unable to
comprehend exactly what any of this meant. The idea that my sister could have a
me? Impossible. It was a thought that
just could not be believed on my part.
And why not, Warrior? You of
all people should understand
“But not Nelly. I could
You seem to keep forgetting
what you both are. You can wrap it up and put a bow on it all you want, but you
. Sun Warriors are said to go crazy with blood lust if
they take enough lives, and oh how that silver on our arm has spread. Like
wildfire. You started with three lilies, and now, have you even counted? Do you
the number of lives you have taken? I don’t. I’d bet my balls
that our little sister over there knows how many she’s killed. I wonder who has
got the more impressive number.
“We didn’t want any of this.
We were dragged into this fight. And no matter how many notches Nelly and I
have on our belt, the King has more. And, it’s too far gone now anyway. There
can’t be any turning back. We must revolt against King William’s empire. At
least we’re fighting on the side of good. What was it that Olivia said? That
good needs its warriors, too.”
And now you want to take
old bitch? Oh, Warrior, there is no good and evil in a
revolution. There is only death and pain and blood. The winners write the
history, and the winners always write themselves as heroes.
“Well, then I guess it’s a
good thing that I deal in death and pain and blood.”
Silence. I looked over the room
and saw that it had fallen there, too. Surah, for the first time since I’d met
her, looked a little uncomfortable at the information my sister had just
shared. It wasn’t too hard to put the pieces together. I was a Sun Warrior. Her
dreams told her to drink the sun, and two plus two equals four.
The Sorceress cleared her throat.
“This dream world, what did it look like?”
Nelly released a slow breath, and
I could tell that this was not something she wanted to talk about at all. But
she did. “All gray,” she said. “It was all gray. The sky, the earth, even the
air. It was a place that zapped everything out of you and left only despair. A
place that seemed endless and eternal, where pain and fear are born. A gray
world…with no hope.”
Surah nodded. “It’s called Dream
Reaching, and it is not a simple spell to perform.” She paused. “But Syris
could do it.”
Nelly spoke quietly. “I’m sorry,
Surah’s hands clenched into fists
at her sides as she turned on my sister. “Sorry? I should think so. I still
don’t know what the hell is going on here, but there are ways to find out. And
if you are lying to me, I swear to the Goddess that you will seriously regret
Anger struck me the way it always
did, swift and crude and hot. I leapt up from my chair and was standing in the
Sorceress’s face before anyone could blink. I stared hard into her cold purple
eyes, knowing that my own were glowing an angry wolf-gold. “I think I’ve had enough
of your threats,” I growled. “You want a fight? Let’s go finish it then. I
gladly step over that border with you.”
Surah’s lips turned up in a small
smile, and I knew that the next words out of her mouth were going to be an
acceptance to my challenge. My Monster laughed loudly in my head and my Gladius
sent waves of cold tingles up my spine. But then Nelly was pulling me gently
away from the Sorceress and speaking in my head.
No, Alexa, please. She’s
hurting, that’s all. She’s just lost her brother. How would you be reacting if
you had just lost me?
I breathed in and out, a growl
underlining each rush of air. I wanted so badly to jump forward and tear this
girl’s throat open with my teeth, so badly to feel her warm blood spill over my
hands, the force of her life leaving her at my hands. If Nelly hadn’t asked me
to leave just then, I may have done just that, even though somewhere in the
back of my mind I knew she was right. I would be acting the same way Surah was
acting if I had lost Nelly. Scratch that. I’d be worse.
Just go for a minute, Lex.
Take a walk or something. She can’t hurt me. I’m not sure
hurt me anymore. I could wrap every soul in this room up in my mental fingers
if I wanted to and jerk them around like puppets. Just give me a minute. Trust
These words were not underscored
with pride or anything else. They were spoken only as fact. I spun on my heel,
unable to stop myself from tossing a thought at my sister that was harsher than
I intended as soon as it left my head.
Why don’t you just
I grabbed the doorknob and tossed
the door open without a look back at the hurt expression I knew would be on my
sister’s face. Without having to be asked, Kayden followed me out and shut the
door behind us.
I slumped against the wall in the
hallway, my anger rushing out of me and leaving me tired, just tired. The
windows set into the painted walls showed that daylight was approaching, and I
realized that I hadn’t slept for over twenty-four hours. Kayden nudged my legs
apart as he came to stand in front of me, and I wrapped my arms around him as
he pressed me up against the wall. Resting my head on his chest, I listened to
the heart that beat there.
I tilted my head back and stared
up into his golden eyes. “I need to get control of my temper, huh?”
Kayden’s mouth turned up a
fraction, his voice just above a whisper. “Mmm, I don’t know. I personally like
it when you get all angry and confrontational. It’s like watching a lioness in
I smiled a little in spite of
myself. “Now that you mention it, I am kind of hungry.”
Kayden tilted his head to the
side. His dark blond hair was pulled back into a short ponytail, giving me free
access to his thick, scarred neck. I stood up on my tip-toes and licked the
skin there, earning and low rumbling growl from him that vibrated in his chest.
“Later,” I said, and settled back on my feet. “I think right now I could just
go for a good old cheeseburger and French fries. I take it there are no
McDonalds just around the corner from here?”
Kayden stepped back a fraction
and chuckled lowly. “I’m afraid not. But we can go see what Silvia has in her
kitchen. She said we were welcome to and that there is plenty there.”
I stepped out of the circle of
his arms with reluctance and patted him on his butt. “That’ll do, donkey,” I
said, in my best Scottish accent.
Kayden quirked an eyebrow at
this, but I just shook my head and laughed, leading him down the hallway to
where Silvia’s kitchen was located. I felt better already, and knew that this
was a result of being with Kayden. It was truly a wonder how he could always
take my dark moods and flip them over and fill them up with sunlight. I could
even appreciate the beauty of the enormous shimmering flowers painted onto the
walls, with their pinpoints of light that glittered like captured stars. I
looked up at him as we walked side by side, that old tingling in my chest
seeming to fill me up.
“I love you, Kayden,” I said,
realizing only as the words came out that I had only said this to him a couple
times, and always in a timid, almost reluctant whisper. Never had I said it so
loudly and easily, so simply. And it felt like a right turn in world built of
Kayden smiled a fuller smile that
I had ever seen him give, his fangs just visible. “I should certainly hope so,
Warrior,” he said.
I gave him a little nudge and was
just about to offer a smart comment when I heard voices coming from the sitting
room just up ahead. Unsure as to why I was doing it, I pulled Kayden to a stop
outside of the open door before he could step into view, holding a finger up to
my mouth to tell him to stay quiet. Kayden was good at being quiet. We stood
there and listened.
The voices were instantly
recognizable, even if they were the strained voices of those having a heated
argument. The words drifted out quietly, and I could tell that the speakers
were doing their best to keep their voices low. I leaned against the wall and
concentrated on my hearing, and the words became clear to me.
Camillia said, “Just let me
Silvia: “What is there to be
explained? You lied to me. You told me that Bethany was killed by the Accursed.
You didn’t tell me that it was the Sun Warrior’s sister who killed her. You
didn’t tell me that the Sun Warrior even
a sister, let alone that
she was one of
How could you expect me to be okay with letting
Bethany’s murderer into my home? Oh, you didn’t, right? That’s why you lied.”
Camillia: “No, you don’t
Silvia: “What don’t I understand?
Stop treating me like I’m an idiot. You are protecting that girl, even after
what she did. It’s your fault that Bethany died. Roy trusted you with his child
after his death. You promised him that you would protect her with your life,
and now you have to live with the fact that the last piece of our brother is
The sound of tears, then. The
sobs of the heartbroken. I couldn’t tell who they belong to.
Camillia’s voice, cracked:
“Nelliana is the Savior.”
Silence. My heart hit the cold
floor at my feet. I had sort of guessed that Camillia knew this, as well as the
other people Nelly had “touched” when she was escaping Two Rivers, but I had
never heard any of them speak the knowledge out loud before.
Bated breath, and then, Silvia:
“What do you mean she is the
? That’s ridiculous.”
Camillia: “Is it? The prophecy
says that a girl who is
the only one of her kind
will liberate the
people. Maybe it’s just that everyone was wrong all these years when we assumed
that the Savior would be a Sun Warrior.”
A very unladylike snort. Silvia:
“Prophecies. Just nonsense uttered by crazy old men. Just because some loon
predicted that she would save her people, you want me to somehow be okay with
the knowledge that she murdered my only niece?”
Camillia: “No, I want you to
think about all the people that are suffering, about all the people she can
help. I want you to think about the greater good, Sil…And yes, if it makes you
feel better, she is said to die in the end.”
My heart seemed to be pounding in
my ears, and for a moment or two, when nothing but silence wafted out of the
sitting room, I feared Silvia and Camillia might hear it, and my presence would
be known. Then Silvia spoke again.
A sigh. “I suppose that does
comfort me. Marginally. But you had better keep an eye on her, Cam. The entire
city is uneasy knowing that an Accursed walks among us.”
Camillia: “I’m pretty sure our
entire world is uneasy right about now.”
The rustle of clothing as they
stood up. Kayden tugged on my arm, saying that we should go before we were
caught, but I held up a hand to him, and he waited without protest.
Sniffles and more rustles.
Camillia: “We need to get some rest. More people will be arriving soon. Lines
have been drawn.” A pause. “I need to know that you will let the girl be, that
you’re on the same side of the line that I’m on, Sil.”
A scoff. “Don’t be stupid. Of
course I’m on the same side as you. Where else would I be? But you will have to
tell the others about her being the Savior. You can’t expect them to go into
this war without knowing that. They can’t go on believing that the Sun Warrior
is the chosen one. If they let Alexa lead them into battle without the Accursed
girl, they will be slaughtered. They must know that Nelliana is willing to make
A long pause. It seemed that no
one was even breathing, including me. Then, Camillia: “I will. Today, when all
the others arrive. I’m sure Gabriel and Olivia will be very interested to hear
Silvia: “Oh, I’m sure
will be very interested to hear it.”
Another tug from Kayden, and this
time I agreed. We moved off quickly back in the direction of the room where
Nelly waited, the thought of cheeseburgers and French fries all but forgotten.
When we reached the green door of the room Silvia had given us, I took Kayden’s
hand and pulled him past it and down to the door in the hall that led to the
gardens outside. The day seemed to be brightening at a sickeningly fast pace.
The crust of the sun was just visible above the line of enormous red maple
trees in the distance. And my panic seemed to be rising with it.