Tahlmus followed Urytemil and Thalixen into town. He stayed quiet as Urytemil spoke to several vendors along the way. He was nervous. Something was going to happen, Tahlmus knew that. He just didn’t know when. They walked into the palace and the bad feeling in the pit of his stomach started to grow. As they entered the throne room, Tahlmus could feel the tension. His eyes met those of the King, the glee evident.
Urytemil and Thalixen bowed to the King. Tahlmus started to bow too, as he did, Urytemil took him by the arm and pulled him forward, pushing him to his knees. “Our first born, Tahlmus, as promised,” Urytemil said.
The King chuckled with laughter, as Tahlmus tried to hide his shock. “Surprised by your father’s betrayal?” the King asked. Tahlmus said nothing. He hadn’t expected to be handed over like a caught prisoner. He was also surprised by Urytemil calling him the first born, as if Tahlmus was his son. “My dear Thalixen are you having second thoughts about our agreement?”
Tahlmus turned to look at his mother. Her eyes were red and he could see the tears on her cheeks. As he started to turn his head back towards the King, two guards came and put handcuffs on him. He could feel his power fading, they were the same as what the Dark Lord had, but weaker. Once the cuffs were on, the guards yanked him to his feet. Tahlmus kept a stone face as the King got within inches of him. “You will give me what I want, or you will suffer,” he said in a soft, menacing tone.
“Whatever my father said I’d give you… he was mistaken,” Tahlmus replied in a low growl.
The King wrapped his hand around Tahlmus’s neck, lifting him up so that the tips of his toes couldn’t touch the floor. “Then I guess I’ll have fun with you,” the king said softly as he watched Tahlmus struggling to breath.
It took everything Tahlmus had to not use his magic to turn the tables on the King. He had heard Bahamut’s voice telling him to be patient, so he just hung in there in the air every limb starting to tingle from the lack of oxygen. The King let go of his neck, his legs were unable to hold him and Tahlmus fell to the ground gasping for air. Even though he was unable to lift his gaze from the floor, Tahlmus could sense that the King was about to bring his foot down on him.
The pressure never came as Thalixen ran forward. “No, please,” she said as the guards reached for her. In her elven form though, Thalixen was quick and evaded their grasp. “Please don’t hurt him. Take me instead.”
The King raised his hand to Thalixen, but fell to the ground as Tahlmus had maneuvered so he could take the King’s feet out from under him. The King opened his mouth to yell at the guards when he saw Tahlmus stand, break the cuffs and turn to Thalixen. “It’s ok mom,” the voice was soft, but the King could clearly hear Tahlmus’s words.
“No,” Thalixen replied, her tears started again. “It’s not… it’s not ok. It’s not fair for us to do this to you…”
The King watched Tahlmus put a finger to Thalixen’s lips. “Nothing in my life has been fair.” Again his words were soft, but the King could clearly hear everything Tahlmus said. “I’ll be ok. He can’t hurt me.” Thalixen tried to open her mouth, but tears just streamed down her face as her son hugged her. “Give Kavan a hug for me and tell Coral I love her.” The King then watched as the cuffs found their way back around Tahlmus’s wrists.
“Get him to the dungeon,” the King ordered as he scrambled to his feet. The two guards grabbed Tahlmus who was still in front of Thalixen. They started to drag him out of the throne room. Tahlmus didn’t struggle as they drug him across the floor. He could see the tears still flowing down Thalixen’s cheeks. She had taken a step towards him, but Urytemil had held her back.
“I love you mom,” Tahlmus stated. He watched her turn into Urytemil, burying her face in his chest.
“Tahlmus,” Urytemil started to speak, but watched Tahlmus’s face grow dark.
He hadn’t yet fully figured out what game Urytemil was playing, but he figured he should keep the charade going. “Father,” he said his voice full of ice. “You better hope I don’t survive, because as soon as I’m out of here… I’m going to kill you,” he finished as he was drug out of the room and could no longer see Thalixen, Urytemil, or the King.
Tahlmus had a lot of thoughts running through his mind as the guards took him to the dungeon. His anger was rising. He hated how calm and condescending Urytemil had been. He hated seeing Thalixen cry, and he hated that he had been told to not get rid of the King right then and there. It had been right after being shoved onto his knees, that he had heard Bahamut’s voice in his head. The voice had told him to be patient; to bide his time. There were things that needed to happen before the King could be dealt with.
The guards roughly threw him into a small cell. It was small enough that his body bounced off the far wall before he fell to the ground. Thinking it was funny, the guards had started laughing and taunting Tahlmus. He knew why; the cell was similar to the one Kanes had been locked in at Mystic’s estate. Again it was weaker, as he still felt most of his power. He used his magic to remove the cuffs and throw them at the guards. A cuff caught a hand of each guard after it had wrapped around a cell bar.
Their laughter stopped immediately as Tahlmus walked over to them. His face was set in stone with fire in his eyes. The guard tried to pull away, but the cuffs wouldn’t give. “Go ahead and laugh,” Tahlmus growled. He could feel, what could only be described as his inner dragon, coming to the surface. “But you better pray you are not around when I break out of here.” The cuffs disintegrated as Tahlmus turned around. The guards were gone before Tahlmus sat with his back against the far wall, trying to get his anger to recede. “This is going to be hard,” he whispered as he let his head rest against the wall.
Soon after Tahlmus had walked out of sight, Kavan started crying. Coral let out a sad sigh. She changed and fed him, but the crying persisted. Coral sat by the fire pit in the middle of camp trying to calm Kavan. Soon Anders, Solas, Kanes and Lillianna, who was carrying a calm Genevieve, came and sat next to Coral. Kanes offered to take Kavan, and soon the baby had quieted. Coral let out a sigh of relief.
“He’ll be ok,” Lillianna said softly, placing a hand on Coral’s shoulder.
“Yeah, Uncle Tahlmus is powerful. He will finish his task in no time,” Solas stated. Coral smiled at Solas’s words. His confidence made her feel better, despite the feeling she had that it would take much longer than any of them expected.
Ardeszeld stood back in the shadows, watching everyone at the fire pit. The entire situation bothered her. She did not understand what would be gained for the city by Tahlmus suffering. To her it seemed like it would be more effective to just take out the King. If he was that bad of a ruler, then getting rid of him wouldn’t cause much fuss. Ardeszeld had not gone into the city though to hear these things for herself.
She was also worried about what she might have to do. Bahamut had said some of her brother’s suffering would come from her hand. That didn’t make sense either. Tahlmus helped her adjust to life in the forest. Why would she willingly harm him? “He said Tahlmus would suffer by the hands of others here too. I wonder who they are,” Ardeszeld whispered.
“Laguna, is everything ok?” Fleur asked as they sat around the desk in the headmaster’s office eating. The other Sirens had taken the little ones to give Celestial, Fleur, and Laguna a short reprieve.
Laguna looked up from her plate. She had just been picking at her food. “I just… I had a weird dream,” she replied. “Tahlmus was in it.”
“That doesn’t make it weird,” Celestial replied. “Tahlmus has been in many of my dreams since his passing.”
“Mine too,” Fleur stated.
Laguna shook her head. She couldn’t explain everything, as she knew Tahlmus was actually still alive, but she thought the dream was telling her that Tahlmus needed help. “In my dream, he was in a dungeon. Urytemil had handed him over to a power-hungry King. He could have easily done away with the King but he didn’t. He let the guards put him in a dungeon jail cell.”
Celestial and Fleur both quit eating to look at Laguna. They did have to concede that the dream was weird. “Maybe you’re just sleep deprived,” Celestial said.
“The newborns have been keeping us on our toes,” Fleur added.
Laguna just nodded. Celestial and Fleur could be right. Firmil had been acting up quite a bit the last twenty-four hours, and she hadn’t slept all that much. “I’ll just use the ring after I get back to my room,” Laguna thought. Seeing Tahlmus would put her mind at ease.
Once Tahlmus had been removed from the room, the King turned his attention to Urytemil and Thalixen. “He’s a feisty one Ury. He must take after you.”
Urytemil forced a chuckle. “Like father, like son, I always say,” he replied as he held Thalixen close to him. He hoped the King couldn’t tell he was lying. They needed the King to keep Tahlmus so they could take back the Kingdom and restore it to a thriving metropolis. It was what Bahamut had promised.
“Let us now eat. We shall celebrate our newfound friendship.”
“King Altair, if you do not mind, I wish to retire to my room. I am not feeling well,” Thalixen said softly. The tears were gone and her eyes were no longer red, but she could not bring herself to celebrate with this man. She also did not wish to hear the lies Urytemil would tell to keep the King under the illusion that Tahlmus was his child.
“If that is what you need my dear. Should I have one of my servants bring you some food?” he asked as he kissed the back of Thalixen’s hand.
Thalixen shook her head. “No, I will be fine. Thank you,” she finished with a bowed head. The King nodded and Thalixen walked out of the room. She made her way to the bedroom her and Urytemil had shared the last time they had stayed. Once in the room, she let her tears fall once more. “I should have remained barren,” she whispered.
“If not you, it would have been someone else,” a voice startled Thalixen making her look up towards the window. The old man in the travelers cloak and canaries, stood there. Thalixen tried to speak, but the tears kept her silent. “He won’t remember this because his memory was wiped, but he chose this. He chose you.”
“I… I don’t understand,” Thalixen replied, as her eyes started to feel heavy. She couldn’t tell if it was from the tears, or if the man with the canaries was weaving magic on her, but she was soon asleep.