Tahlmus woke with a start. Celestial was still lying peacefully beside him, and the others were scattered about his room on the mattresses he had provided. They were all sleeping peacefully, except Coral. He could see that her eyes were open watching him.
“Come with me,” he said to her through thought, as he carefully left his bed, and walked over to the door. Coral met him there. Knowing the door squeaked, he transported them to the hallway, where they walked together in silence, turning this way and that until they reached the courtyard doors. As they stepped outside Tahlmus worked a little magic to give them privacy. He walked with Coral to a bench under one of the trees and they sat down.
“What’s wrong love?” he asked softly. Coral pursed her lips. They had agreed not to tell Tahlmus of their worries. Tahlmus wrapped his arms around her and kissed her cheek.
“None of us want you to do this alone today,” she blurted out, then quickly covered her mouth. Tahlmus just looked at her slightly surprised. Coral closed her eyes, sighed, and took her hand away from her mouth. “None of us like the plan of you hiding us away today. We want to be by your side. You can’t take Mystic on alone. We can help. Beside if he already knows what we look like, what’s the point in hiding?”
“He’d capture you. Take you away. He could…” Tahlmus’s words trailed off as Coral put her finger to his lips. It was then she saw it in his eyes, and she could feel it. In this moment of slight vulnerability, fear radiated off of him.
“And we almost lost you, the last time you took him on alone,” Coral responded gently, but firmly. “Let us be there. Let us help you, like with Abi, the Dark Lord. Coral silently cursed herself for allowing the last sentence to sound like she was begging him, but in a sense she was. She knew he was very much the protective sort, and wouldn’t accept help even if he needed it, if it meant any possible harm to those he cared for.
A few seconds was all it took for the fear she sensed to dissipate. Tahlmus took hold of both of her hands, and looked her directly in the eye, confident as ever. “Ok,” he whispered. Coral’s eyes widened in surprise. “Ok,” he said again slightly louder. “We will run orientation the way we originally planned, with one minor change.”
“The niflers, milk cartons, and Andrevin are all close by to also help out if needed.”
Coral wrinkled her nose. She didn’t need the little niflers hanging around, but if that’s what it took… she sighed. “Fine, the niflers can be there too.” Coral sneezed as she finished the sentence. Just saying their name made her allergies crop up. Tahlmus magicked up a tissue and handed it to her. Looking at him she wasn’t sure if she should thank him, or punch his arm.
She chose to thank him as she accepted the tissue and blew her nose. Tahlmus then magicked the used tissue away. “Why don’t you go wake the others, and tell them of the change in plans. You all can start preparing before breakfast.”
Coral nodded and left his side. He watched her go before letting out a sigh and burying his face in his hands. “You know, she’s not wrong,” Tahlmus heard in draconic.
“How long have you been there Kanes?” Tahlmus asked after he removed his hands from his face.
“Long enough,” Kanes replied switching back to their normal tongue.
“You’re draconic is getting better,” Tahlmus said motioning for Kanes to come sit next to him. Kanes silently did as Tahlmus had wanted. “So is your ability to draw on my power. I wasn’t even aware of you using it.” Kanes smiled at the compliment but stayed silent. “You had a dream didn’t you?” Kanes nodded. “What happened?”
“Mystic managed to find you and a couple of your wives alone during a school outing. I couldn’t really see what went down. That part was blurry, but before I woke up, you were lying on the ground paralyzed, and two of Mystic’s henchmen were dragging your two wives away, while Mystic went running after a young boy.”
Tahlmus put his elbows on his knees, clasping his hands together, then bringing his forehead to them. “I know what happens,” Tahlmus said. “What was blurry for you, was clear for me.” Kanes stayed silent, watching as his brothers seemed to age before his eyes. Tahlmus jerked his hands down away from his head as he let out a short, quick growl before leaning back with a sigh, but said nothing.
“What.. uh… What happened?”
“Solas found us, and got between myself and Mystic as Mystic cast the spell. I hadn’t been able to cast a defensive spell because Solas ran up, so I had just grabbed him, turned, and shielded him from the spell. It hit my spine, and as I felt my muscles seizing up, I told Solas to run back to the school group. Solas, however, had seen what his father had done, and he watched the henchmen grab my wives, dragging them away, before he ran.”
The both sat silently for a few minutes. “So what do we do?” Kanes asked.
“Nothing,” Tahlmus replied. “It has to happen.”
Kanes was about to speak when another voice joined the conversation. “Only if you do not wish to kill Mystic in the physical meaning. Although even so, you know he will still want your power.”
Tahlmus nodded. He knew that very well. He also knew Mystic would be more ruthless about it as his son would no longer wish him to be his father. This meant that things would not be easy on the wives Mystic took. Tahlmus also knew he wouldn’t have much time to find and save them.
“I know what you’re thinking Tahlmus,” Urytemil stated. “You won’t be able to save everyone without other consequences following you.”
“What consequences are those?” Kanes asked unable to suppress his curiosity.
“If I kill Mystic, it will be the end of the school before we’ve even really started, and if I manage to change the dream scenario, so that Mystic only finds me, there will be dark rumors started concerning me. I’ll have to leave the school if it is to survive.”
Urytemil just nodded in agreement, when Kanes looked his way. There was more to each scenario, but he didn’t want to complicate Tahlmus’s decision any further by adding more possible emotions to a situation that had yet to occur. Tahlmus was running his hand over his face in frustration when Atargatis came out. She was upbeat and excited about the day to come. Tahlmus managed to smile at her excitement over breakfast almost being ready.
He pushed all the dark thoughts from his mind as he stood and kissed her cheek before giving her his arm so he could escort her to the dining hall. Kanes slowly followed. He was not envious of his brother’s situation, and knew no matter what choice was made, he, himself would end up playing a vital part in any physical or emotional harm that befell Tahlmus.
Tahlmus will be meeting Mystic for the first time since he saved Kanes. What will that interaction bring? Find out here.