Ardeszeld walked over to where Urytemil and Thalixen stayed. She had so many questions. Nothing that she had found out so far made sense. Both her parents were just waking up as she approached. Ardeszeld waited until her father recognized her presence before she spoke. “Mom, dad,” she started. “What’s going on? Why are you taking Tahlmus with you to see the King? Why do Solas, Tahlmus and I have a platinum dragon source? What did you mean when you said Tahlmus belonged to Bahamut?”
“Enough Ardeszeld,” Urytemil stated in a harsh voice as she had opened her mouth to speak again. “All you need to know is that your brother has a task he must complete. None of your other questions are relevant.”
Ardeszeld felt her blood start to boil. She may have been in her human form, but her growl was full on dragon. “Your daughter and grandson having a platinum dragon source isn’t relevant. You telling my mother that my half-brother belongs to Bahamut, a draconic God, isn’t relevant? I demand to know what’s going on.”
“Ardeszeld, sweetheart.” Thalixen stepped in between Urytemil and her daughter as she took on her elven form. “All your questions are relevant, this just isn’t the time, or place to give you the answers.”
“Ardeszeld please, there is much at stake here,” Urytemil broke in as he changed into his human form.
Ardeszeld started to shift her focus to her father, preparing to start yelling again, but felt her mother squeezing her hand. She wasn’t sure what it was about the tightened grip, that made her shift her focus back to Thalixen, but that’s what happened. “Mom, this morning, the babies were restless. Solas, Kanes and I all had fear flowing through us, and none of us know why. I think Tahlmus figured it out… but… it’s like we were all on the same wavelength.”
“I felt it too,” Thalixen sighed.
“It’s so Tahlmus knows you’re all connected. If he does not complete his task, he will feel all of your pain and suffering,” an old man’s voice entered the conversation. When Ardeszeld turned to look she saw seven canaries perched on an old man in a traveler’s cloak. “He will suffer, some by your own hand, and the hands of others here, but when his task is complete, the city will be in a better place. Your family will be in a better place.” Ardeszeld opened her mouth to speak, but before she could form any words the old man was gone.
Solas started explaining the dream he’d had after they were all settled inside Coral’s tent. He hadn’t seen everything, but explained how he’d seen the King take Tahlmus prisoner. He’d seen Tahlmus being tortured, and then finally how he had seen everyone happy living in the palace. Tahlmus however had not been seen in the group. As Solas spoke he could feel the emotion that were rising up in the others.
“There’s no way to change it… is there?” Kanes spoke first as Solas finished his explanation.
Solas shook his head as he explained how he had thought about telling Tahlmus. “But I then saw an image of all of us in a dungeon, so I didn’t tell him.”
“No,” Lillianna stated “There has to be another way. We can leave. The King can’t imprison us if he can’t find us.”
Coral struggled with all the emotions she was feeling. She didn’t’ want to believe what Solas was saying. She wanted to believe that Lillianna was right, that there was another way; that they could all leave and everything would be ok. However, a small voice inside told her that it couldn’t’ happen that way. Not wanting to hear anything else, Coral stood, clutching Kavan to her, and ran out of the tent. She wasn’t sure where she was running to, but found herself near Urytemil and Thalixen’s camp space. She had seen the figure with the birds perched on him. She had heard his words, and seen him disappear. “What’s going on?” she asked with tears running down her face. “Who was that man and how did he know what will happen to Tahlmus… to us…?”
Urytemil pursed his lips. He was not going to discuss the situation any further. Thalixen just looked at Coral with sad eyes. She was too choked up to try to speak. Ardeszeld was still in shock over what she’d seen and heard. She had no words.
“It was Bahamut,” a familiar voice sounded from behind Coral. Turning to look she saw Tahlmus walking towards her. “He’s a draconic God,” Tahlmus continued as he wrapped his arms around Coral and Kavan. “I don’t know what deal Thalixen and Urytemil made with him, but because of that… my life is not my own. I belong to Bahamut.”
Both Thalixen and Urytemil looked at Tahlmus. The look was one of shock and fear, which told him that he had drawn the correct conclusions from the visions he’d seen after transporting back to camp. He saw the questions starting to form in their eyes, but didn’t feel like answering them. He just turned around with Coral and started walking back towards their tent.
Ardeszeld turned back to Thalixen and Urytemil. “What is he talking about? What is this deal?”
“Ardeszeld,” Urytemil started as he took a step towards her. He wasn’t about to have this conversation with her.
“Tell me,” she demanded. “I spent the first part of my life looking up to you; wanting to be like you. The second part wanting to avenge those who placed that curse on you. I spent time in the spirit world watching my elven brother break that very curse. I’ve now spent almost a year here in the forest coming to terms with the past, and trying to make sense of this new life I’ve been given… struggling with it, just as Tahlmus has, except he’s been there for me. He’s been there to listen and help me train the boys… never asked for anything in return… Now… now I’m being told he’s going to suffer by my hand. I need to know why. Why is this happening? Why does he belong to Bahamut?”
Fire flamed in her eyes as tears rolled down her cheeks. Ardeszeld had so many emotions coursing through her, she wasn’t sure which one to give into. Thalixen took ardeszeld’s hands in hers, with tears streaming down her own face. “A few years before you were born, your father and I were struggling to have children.”
“Thalixen don’t…” Urytemil tried to interrupt.
“Go to the main part of camp, my beloved. I know you never wanted the secret to come out for fear it would change how the future needed to play out, but we can’t keep it secret anymore. Ardeszeld and Tahlmus deserve the truth.”
Urytemil tried to open his mouth to object, but found he couldn’t. Whether Thalixen was weaving magic on him so he could not speak, or if it was the cause of a higher power, he could not be sure. He just turned and did as Thalixen had asked. He walked off to the main part of camp. Thalixen waited until Urytemil was out of sight before turning her attention back to Ardeszeld.
“I was barren,” Thalixen said through her tears. “It killed your father and I prayed to the gods endlessly. One day, Bahamut appeared to us. He said he could help us, so we could conceive, but in return my first born son was his to use as he saw fit. I was so relieved when we had you first.”
“Shouldn’t that be Andrevin…?” Ardeszeld questioned remembering the egg that had been given to one of her brother’s wives to hatch.
Thalixen shook her head. “Andrevin isn’t mine.” Ardeszeld’s mouth formed a perfect circle. “We were struggling to conceive again, and it was wearing on your father. He strayed. The other did not want the egg, and your father brought it back. I was furious, but agreed to raise the young dragon as my own, but the curse befell us before we could get the egg to hatch.”
“Then Tahlmus was born first…” Ardeszeld whispered.
Thalixen nodded. “I had not remembered the deal after being cursed. Though I’m not sure knowing would have made it any easier when we had to give him up to keep him safe from Mystic. I hadn’t remembered the deal at all until Tahlmus broke the curse. It stayed in the back of my mind because I thought he’d fulfilled what Bahamut wanted. … Then the first night we stayed with the King, Bahamut appeared to us, and told us what was to come, and what our role would be.” Thalixen stopped speaking. She couldn’t form anymore words, nor could she look Ardeszeld in the eyes.
Tahlmus sat inside the tent with his arms around Coral and Kavan. He told her what Urytemil had requested, and of Ardeszeld’s warning. He explained what he thought had happened earlier with Kavan and Genevieve. He then described the encounter he’d had with the Platinum Dragon God, and then about the visions he’d had before he had approached Urytemil and Thalixen’s tent.
“None of this seems fair,” Coral stated as silent tears fell down her cheeks.
“I know, but I can’t let others suffer if it’s in my power to stop it.”
Coral sighed leaning on Tahlmus. She knew he was right, and Coral knew she had to let him go. Knowing, thought didn’t stop her from begging him not to go when Urytemil and Thalixen showed up at their tent a few hours later.
Tahlmus had wrapped her and Kavan in a fierce hug before kissing Kavan’s forehead. He then wiped away a tear from Coral’s cheek. “It will be ok,” he whispered before kissing her. “I will be back as soon as I can.” Coral just nodded as she watched him walk away.