Once in his office, Tahlmus used his magic to locate Urytemil. He was surprised at how far from the estate Urytemil was, but he was able to sense that Urytemil was in dragon form. Dragon eyesight was much better than that of elves or humans.
“Urytemil,” Tahlmus said through thought. “We need to talk.” A few seconds later, Urytemil was standing in Tahlmus’s office in his human form.
“You’re supposed to be taking care of business today.”
“Solas has draconic magic.”
Urytemil’s jaw dropped. “It couldn’t be,” he thought. “She promised, but it would explain…” he finished in a whisper.
“What’s going on?” Tahlmus asked.
“Are you sure he has draconic magic?” Urytemil asked.
Tahlmus nodded. “I noticed the same thing in him that I did in Kanes. He has the magic ability but no source.”
“What about his signature?” Urytemil asked more desperately than he meant to.
Tahlmus closed his eyes trying to remember what he felt when he had sensed Solas’s ability. His eyes opened quickly looking directly at Urytemil. The reaction had told Urytemil what he needed to know. “How?” Tahlmus asked.
“What’s going on?” Kanes asked looking between the two of them.
“We have another half sibling,” Tahlmus stated.
“Other than Andrevin?” Kanes asked. Tahlmus nodded still looking at Urytemil who was rubbing his temples.
“It explains so much,” Urytemil whispered.
“Explain it to us,” Tahlmus said pointing to himself and Kanes.
“Years and years ago, before the curse was placed on myself and your mother we’d had a daughter, Ardeszeld.”
“Wait, you actually named her gold dragon?” Kanes asked.
Urytemil let out a smirk as he nodded. He then went on to explain how Ardeszeld enjoyed turning into human form and wandering among the humans in the city they ruled over. They had always warned her about what could happen if she stayed human for too long, and how she had always promised to be careful. After the curse that had turned Urytemil into a black dragon and his beloved into an elf, their daughter had gone off to find those responsible. She was going to make them undo what had been done.
“I had to keep an eye on her,” Urytemil said, “but it was dangerous for me to get too close. The day Mystic caught me I had been trying to get close enough to speak to her. It was a few years after you two were born that I found out she had married Mystic. She had been in human form too long, she had forgotten her draconic origins.” Urytemil paused. “I… I found out a couple years before your parents were killed, that she’d had twins.”
Tahlmus’s face went a shade darker. He was wondering why Urytemil hadn’t said anything when he had mentioned that Solas was Mystic’s kid, but he along with Kanes stayed silent as Urytemil continued to explain about the gene mutation that caused one twin to need the other to do magic. It was a family trait that was passed down, but only a female possessing the trait could pass on the active gene. While any male that was conceived had the gene, and would pass it on, it stayed masked.
“So while you two have the gene, none of your wives will have twins possessing powers the way that you two do. If, however, you have a daughter, she has the chance of conceiving twins that will have powers as you two do,” he said finishing his explanation. Tahlmus found a chair and sat down putting his elbows on his knees and clasping his hands together. “My question is, why didn’t Mystic and Ardeszeld register both kids?”
Tahlmus looked up at Urytemil, the surprise evident on his face. “You don’t know?” he asked just above a whisper. Urytemil’s eyes filled with questions but he said nothing. Tahlmus then explained the interaction he’d had with Mystic, after having asked him about Solas having a twin. As Tahlmus spoke, Urytemil felt his legs go weak. Kanes had noticed, and helped Urytemil into a chair.
“I’ll kill him,” Urytemil said once Tahlmus was finished. “I’ll kill that bastard myself.”
“That won’t break the curse,” Kanes said. “Tahlmus needs to do it. Then our mom and your daughter will come back. It might even bring Solas’s twin back.” Both Urytemil and Tahlmus looked at Kanes. “I’m not sure I can explain it, but the curse runs through us as well,” he said pointing to Tahlmus and himself. “We can talk to Lillianna later, it’s almost time for the welcome speech,” he finished. Tahlmus nodded. He and Kanes left his office to go to the dining hall.
Mystic was so caught up in thinking about his late wife and son, that he barely noticed the two women who checked his son into the dormitory. It didn’t even register that they were two of the wives he was looking for. He also couldn’t get Atargatis off his mind. Her hair was dark instead of blonde, but everything else reminded him of his late wife. Even the name Atargatis was almost as beautiful as his wife’s name, Kaonna.
She had not been elven, but she had explained her elven name, telling him that a clan of wandering elves had raised her after finding her abandoned on the side of a forest trail as an infant. Realizing now that she’d had draconic magic, he wondered if that story were true. Her name which meant dragon keeper, now came off as a bit ironic. While Mystic helped Solas unpack and get settled into his room, his henchmen were going to work.
“Excuse me,” a woman said walking up to Fleur. “I’m trying to find someone to help me. My husband and I have a surprise for our son in our cart, and he’s keeping our son occupied in his room, but I’m not strong enough to get it on my own.”
“I can help you,” Fleur stated with a smile. She felt Andrevin’s small talons gently grip her knee, then heard his voice in her head.
“You shouldn’t leave. What if it’s a trick?”
“Everything will be fine,” Fleur formed the thought in her head. “Tahlmus has plenty of protections in place. You all worry too much. Stay here and continue to hand out tickets,” she finished the thought and followed the woman outside over to a cart.
Fleur had not seen the men until after she had been grabbed from behind and a cloth put over her mouth and nose. By the time she thought of screaming the chemical already had her feeling woozy. The last thing she remembered before her eyes closed was being lifted and put into the cart.
Once the first wife was in the cart, the woman went back inside the estate. She needed to find one more of Tahlmus’s wives, as per Mystic’s orders. She knew two of them were at the table signing out keys. After a moment’s consideration she determined getting one of them alone would be difficult. She wandered through the back halls of the estate until she found the dining hall.
Luck was with her as she saw the last wife, sitting at the table where guests were turning in their meal tickets. She was a little disappointed to see Lillianna there, but was certain she’d have no problems as she walked to the table. Her last interaction with Lillianna had been so brief she doubted that Lillianna would remember her. “Excuse me,” she said as she approached Celestial’s side of the table. “I have some questions and everyone has told me you are the best one to go to for answers.”
Celestial smiled. “I can try to answer them,” she replied. The woman started to look a little nervous, glancing around. “We can go somewhere more private,” Celestial stated as she stood. “Will you be alright without me for a few minutes?” she asked Lillianna.
Lillianna hesitated in answering. The woman looked familiar, and was causing her to feel uncomfortable, but she wasn’t going to be able to explain that to Celestial without the lady believing she was paranoid. So she just nodded. “I’ll be fine,” she said. Lillianna watched as Celestial and the woman walked away from the dining hall. She was going to rise to follow, but a couple of families approached the table.
Celestial led the woman into a back hallway. She was about to turn around to speak with her when she felt someone grab her from behind. Her cry was muffled by a cloth that was put over her mouth and nose. She wanted to cast a spell, but her brain had become foggy and she couldn’t think of one.
“Two will be enough,” Celestial heard as she struggled to maintain consciousness. The cloth had not yet been removed and she continued to breathe in the chemical it had been soaked in.
“Mystic will be pleased.” The female’s voice sounded very far away.
“I’ve failed him,” was the last thought Celestial had before her world went black.
Mystic entered the dining hall with Solas. He was still so lost in thought about his late wife and son, that he barely noticed Lillianna at the table. He just accepted the name plates she offered and followed Solas as he ran ahead to find a table. The table Solas picked just happened to be with Atargatis, and one other family.
Sitting there Mystic felt awkward. He realized he was developing feelings for Atargatis and watching his son interact with her caused him to feel slightly embarrassed. He was just working up the courage to ask to speak with her privately when Tahlmus came walking into the dining hall and everyone started to quiet down.
“Good afternoon,” Tahlmus stated loudly as he walked through the hall up to the head table. “Before we eat, I would like to take a couple minutes to welcome all of you to the school. Myself and the rest of the staff are very excited to have you with us, and we are looking forward to a successful school year.” Tahlmus said a few more words before he sat down. As he did food appeared on the tables, and the hall was once again filled with casual chatter.
Tahlmus scanned the hall as he ate. He had seen Coral and Laguna sneak in, taking their seats near the back, and he’d seen Lillianna. “Where’s Celestial and Fleur?” he asked out of the corner of his mouth. Kanes, who was directly behind him, was invisible once again to everyone who was looking at the head table.
“I’ll wander around and take a look brother,” Kanes whispered in Tahlmus’s ear. He then wandered the floor. He spoke to Coral and Laguna through thought. They hadn’t seen anything. Since Celestial had been with Lillianna, he asked her to go into the hall to speak with him in private. “What happened to Celestial? I can’t find her anywhere,” he paused. “I can’t find Fleur anywhere either.”
Lillianna growled. “I knew it,” she said in a harsh whisper. “There was a woman that came by our table, said she had questions. Celestial agreed to talk to her in private. When she didn’t come back, I figured she was with Tahlmus.” Lillianna stomped her foot in anger. “I knew I shouldn’t have let her go off alone,” she paused. “Wait, Fleur is missing too?”
Kanes nodded as he prepared to speak, but another voice joined the conversation. “It was probably the same woman that came to Fleur asking for help to bring in a surprise for her son. I tried to express my concern, but she told me not to worry, that Tahlmus had plenty of protections in place.”
Kanes ran his hand over his face in slightly frustration. A habit, Lillianna noticed that he had to have picked up from Tahlmus. “We have to speak to Tahlmus,” he said. “No doubt Mystic found a way to get them, and the sooner we can locate them, the sooner we can get them back.”
Lillianna and Andrevin nodded, following Kanes back into the dining hall, where Tahlmus was standing, and speaking once again. Kanes made himself unnoticeable, before moving through the crowd to his brother’s side.
“Parents will have fifteen to twenty minutes to say their goodbyes before the students are split into groups and given tours of the school,” Tahlmus finished as he felt Kanes presence.
“We need to talk now,” he heard in his head. Seeing everyone now milling about, he turned and walked into the back hallway and into another room, closing the door. Kanes removed the spell. “Celestial and Fleur are missing. We think Mystic found a way to get his henchmen in here.” He watched his brother lose all color in his face.
Tahlmus felt his legs go weak. He felt like he was going to fall. “How… Where’s Andrevin? Lillianna?” Kanes nodded at the door which opened. Lillianna and Andrevin came walking in.
“What happened?” was all Tahlmus could manage to ask.
Lillianna and Andrevin both described their interactions with the strange woman who had approached each of their tables. Tahlmus started to rock back and forth on his heels. “I never should have let them participate in the activities today,” he thought as he closed his eyes and started to focus on both Celestial and Fleur in an effort to locate them. He put more and more of his power into the spell, but he couldn’t come up with a location. He couldn’t even see them. He was about to put more magic into the spell when he felt a pair of hands against the back of his shoulders. Tahlmus opened his eyes and the room started spinning. He felt like he would fall over, but the two hands held him up.
“Urytemil?” Tahlmus questioned. “What are you doing here?”
“Andrevin contacted me. He told me what happened. I came to try and help.”
“I can’t… I can’t locate them,” Tahlmus said as his breathing became more labored and his chest started to tighten as he realized his spell hadn’t worked. “Why… Why can’t I locate them?” he started to feel panicked. This was not what the vision showed. “Why didn’t I have a vision?” he wondered.
“Because you changed things this morning,” Urytemil’s voice sounded in his head answering his unasked question. Urytemil was no longer holding him, and Tahlmus could no longer stand on his own. He let himself fall to his knees as his chest continued to tighten. It was getting harder to breathe. “I … I can’t… I can’t locate them,” he said again. “Why… why can’t I locate them?” he asked trying to look at Urytemil.
“I don’t know,” Urytemil replied, “but you have five minutes to pull yourself together and go address your students before their tours.”
“But Celestial… Fleur… I have to find them. I have to save them. I…”
“I will go in search of them,” Urytemil said. “You take care of your students. I will be back as soon as I find anything.” As he finished Urytemil disappeared from sight.
It took a couple minutes, but Tahlmus managed to get his emotions under control. He told Lillianna and Andrevin to go get Coral Laguna and Atargatis. They were to take them to his office. He wanted to speak to them when he was done with the students.
Mystic said goodbye to Solas, then went up to Atargatis. He felt absolutely foolish with what he wanted to ask her, and he was terrified of her answer. So instead of asking her what he wanted, he settled for asking if he could speak with her privately, maybe walk a little ways with him back towards the water where the ship waited to take him back to his homeland.
Atargatis agreed. She saw no harm in it. Mystic was not interested in using her to get to Tahlmus. She was not one he was looking for. So she walked with him. He was silent for a little ways. Atargatis could tell he was nervous, though she didn’t understand why. Finally Mystic took her by the hand and turned to look her in the eye. “I… I know you have responsibilities to the school,” he started with a slight stutter. “But I haven’t felt the way you make me feel in quite a while.” His face started to turn red. “I guess what I’m saying is that I have feelings for you, and I’d like to get to know you better.”
Atargatis gave Mystic a sad smile. “I’m sorry,” she said, “but I’m already married.”
Mystic tried to hide his disappointment. “Well, he must be one lucky man,” he managed to reply. He watched Atargatis smile.
“Actually, I think I’m the lucky one. For an elf, Tahlmus is very much a gentleman.”
“Tahlmus,” Mystic started stunned. “The… the headmaster of the school?”
Atargatis nodded. “He’s really…” she didn’t get to finish the sentence as Mystic used a spell to make her fall into a sudden deep sleep. He then cast another spell to make her light enough to carry. Mystic carried her to the ship that would take him back home. The others wouldn’t be kept at the estate, but this one would. This one would be his.
Tahlmus spoke with the kids, once the last of the parents had left. He then split them into smaller groups, assigning two Sirens to each group. The groups then went in different directions as each would start in a different part of the estate, but all meet back in the dining hall when done. Tahlmus stood there in the middle of the room watching everyone leave. He went to his office after the room had emptied out.
He was greeted by somber faces. Coral and Laguna ran over to hug him, while Kanes and Lillianna looked on. Tahlmus’s eyes scanned the room as he embraced his two wives. “Where’s… where’s Atargatis?” he asked.
“I.. I saw her leave with Mystic,” Kanes said. “I tried to follow, but the further away I got from you, the weaker my magic was. I couldn’t maintain the spell. There was no cover. I couldn’t keep them in sight.” Kanes hung his head. “I’m sorry brother,” he whispered.
Tahlmus removed his arms from Coral and Laguna, closed his eyes and focused on Atargatis. He was able to locate her. He focused more magic into the spell. He could see Mystic holding her. She was sleeping, and Mystic was talking to her. “You’ll see,” he was saying, “I’ll be a better husband, and you already have a good relationship with Solas. He will be ecstatic when he finds out you are going to be his step-mom.”
Opening his eyes in shock, Tahlmus felt his chest begin to tighten again. His breath became short getting caught in his chest. He felt someone catch him as he fell; then sensed himself being slowly lowered down to the floor, so that he was sitting on his knees. “He… he has her. He’s … He’s going to force her to be his wife.” Hands now also on the floor with sweat breaking out on his forehead, his breaths were short and quick, like he was panting, but it still felt like there was no air in his lungs. His heart was breaking, and he was terrified.
Closing his eyes he tried to focus. He knew Coral and Laguna were kneeling on either side of him. “You… You can’t leave,” he finally said. “None of you can leave this estate,” he said as he moved to a sitting position looking at each one of them.
Kanes had heard his brother’s thoughts. “If you leave this estate, I’m going with you,” he stated walking over to his brother and pulling him to his feet. Tahlmus opened his mouth to argue, but Kanes wasn’t going to hear it. “I’m stronger now. We were born to work together. That’s the only way we will be able to defeat Mystic and save everyone.” Tahlmus went to open his mouth again.
“Kanes either goes with you, or you don’t get to leave the estate either,” Coral stated before he could say anything.
Laguna nodded in agreement. “You almost died the last time you took Mystic on by yourself, and this time there’s more at stake.”
“Fine,” Tahlmus said softly after a few minutes. “No one leaves the estate until Urytemil comes back with information on Celestial and Fleur.” They all nodded, then left Tahlmus’s office. Tours would be done soon, and while the kids would be free to go to their rooms to finish organizing or socialize with each other, there was much to get ready for the next day.
Tahlmus stayed in his office while the rest went about their tasks. He knew eventually he’d have to call them all together and let them know what had happened. He decided he would do it after supper, after the kids had gone to bed. Until that time, he was going to focus on his new plan to keep Coral, Laguna, Lillianna and Kanes safe. They were in the most danger from Mystic and his henchmen. He had to be sure they weren’t taken too.
Continue on to Part 15 here.
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