The little messenger paused at the door. There were consequences to interrupting the Mayor’s Magical Aid. He liked his privacy, especially when studying or working on magical objects. The doctor had been insistent though. Taking a deep breath the boy burst through the door. Several heads turned to look at him, but he only cared about Mystic, and Mystic’s face was starting to turn red in anger.
“Atargatis is having the baby,” he said before Mystic could open his mouth to start yelling. The boy watched as Mystic’s face quit turning red and slowly started to pale. The young messenger then watched as Mystic hastily gathered up all the items on his desk, shoving them into a bag; apologizing to those who were with him.
“Where is she?” he asked with desperation as he approached the messenger boy. Mystic knew she had been at the school helping for the day. “I didn’t think she was due yet.” The thought ran through his mind.
“She’s still at the school,” the boy replied. “It wasn’t safe to move her. She’s in the nurse’s office.”
Worry flooded Mystic’s face. “Thank you,” he managed to say as he ran from his office and out of the building. He continued to run down the street. The school was only a few blocks away. Within minutes he was bursting through the school’s main doors. He had never been in the school before, so he paused for a second trying to figure out where to go. A scream came from the hallway to his left. “Atargatis,” he whispered as he took off running before the hall monitor, who had seen him enter on the security cameras, could approach him. He heard another scream close by and within seconds had burst through the door to the nurse’s office.
“Atargatis,” Mystic whispered, before making his way to her side avoiding the reach of the hall monitor. He took hold of her hand, telling her that everything would be ok as the hall monitor stood there, preparing to say something. Before he could get a word out Atargatis let out a scream in pain. The hall monitor tried to speak again as the scream finished, but the doctor was quicker. “Get out and shut the door. Husband and wife deserve as much privacy as we can give them.”
“Yes of course,” the hall monitor replied awkwardly before stepping out of the doorway and closing the door. Several minutes later the doctor stepped out leaving Mystic and Atargatis with their little one.
“She looks just like you,” Mystic whispered as tears gathered in the corner of his eyes. “She’s so beautiful,” he said. Mystic knew the child wasn’t actually his, but looking at her in Atargatis’s arms he knew the little one already had him wrapped around her finger.
“Would you like to hold her?” Atargatis asked. Mystic nodded, gently taking the bundle into his arms. She was so small and seemed so fragile. He tried his best to be gentle. “What should we name her?”
Mystic looked at Atargatis. He hadn’t thought of any names. With the child not actually being his, he didn’t think he deserved to have a say in what the child was named. “I… I think the one you had mentioned last night, Kynes, was nice.” Atargatis smiled at him. The baby smiled too. “I think she likes it,” he whispered. “Are you happy with the name, Kynes?” he asked the little one looking into her blue eyes, which seemed to grow brighter in answer to the question. “Kynes it is then,” he whispered as a tear found its way to his cheek.
“The name really does fit her,” Atargatis said as Mystic maneuvered to sit next to her.
Laguna woke up to a knocking on her door. “What’s going on?” she wondered as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes. She could hear Firmil cooing happily in his crib and the mumbled whispering outside her door, before the knocking came again. “Just a minute,” she sighed. Laguna stretched before getting out of bed. She had actually slept well. “No nightmares,” she whispered as she picked Firmil up out of his crib. He immediately curled into her, holding her nightgown tightly, smiling and cooing into the fabric. “Weird,” she thought as she went to the door. Opening it she found Celestial and Fleur standing there holding Junior and Thalvia. “What’s wrong?” she asked noting the concerned look on their faces.
“Something is going on with the little ones,” Celestial said.
“I talked to the doctor and while he said the behavior isn’t normal he doesn’t have an explanation,” Fleur stated.
Laguna let them in as she thought on their words. Firmil had been acting a little differently than she remembered her first son acting. She was pretty sure it had something to do with Tahlmus’s situation, but she couldn’t explain that. Everyone else thought Tahlmus was dead. “What’s been happening?” she asked.
Celestial and Fleur started to explain the things that had been happening; starting with the unexplained crying that had occurred a few days prior. “Then yesterday they were lying peacefully sleeping, but every few minutes they’d scream, but they wouldn’t wake up,” Celestial said.
“Then partway through the night, they started cooing, wanting attention and being all lovey,” Fleur stated.
Laguna nodded. “Firmil has been like that too.” Celestial and Fleur had made their way to Laguna’s bed and were sitting down. They had started discussing different ideas about what was going on. Each one sounded a little crazier than the next. The only one that made a little bit of sense was that the babies were reacting that way because Tahlmus’s spirit was trying to tell the women he still cared for them.
“What’s wrong?” Celestial asked Laguna. She had noticed that Laguna had started shifting her weight nervously.
“I…” Laguna wasn’t sure what to say. A part of her wanted to tell them Tahlmus was alive and in trouble, but the other part did not think that would be a good idea. She started playing with the ring on her finger. “I have an idea… a hypothesis,” Laguna said slowly, “but I need to do more research.”
“What is it?” Celestial asked.
“Yeah, we can help,” Fleur stated.
“No,” Laguna said. She thought she said it a little too quickly and tried to control the sudden adrenaline rush. “I mean… it’s complicated to explain. Give me a couple weeks, and I should have an answer,” she said. Celestial and Fleur both frowned, but nodded. “Why don’t we get breakfast?” Laguna suggested. “I’m starving.” She wasn’t actually hungry, but leaving the room and being around the other Sirens would hopefully get Celestial and Fleur to start thinking of other things. Thankfully Celestial and Fleur agreed and they all walked down to the dining hall.
Thalixen, Ardeszeld and Urytemil walked back into camp to find the rest of the group around the fire pit, with a small fire going. Except for Anders and Solas who looked to be in a deep, but quiet conversation, the others were just staring blankly into the fire. “What is going on here?” Urytemil asked.
Kanes looked from Lillianna to Coral, before turning his gaze to Urytemil. “We want to know what actually happened to Tahlmus.”
“What do you mean?” Urytemil asked before Thalixen or Ardeszeld opened their mouths. “He is waiting for us at the palace.
“Stop lying to us,” Coral raised her voice, passing Kavan over to Kanes before she stood. “If Tahlmus was fine he would have come back with you. What’s really going on?” she asked as she found herself standing in front of Urytemil.
“He had some business to take care of…” Urytemil started to speak, but part way through Coral slapped him.
“Quit lying to me,” she screamed with tears in her eyes. “I saw him in my dream last night. He was sleeping in a jail cell and had bandages covering his body. Now tell me what’s going on.” Tears streamed down her face, but Coral didn’t care. She also didn’t care that she had challenged Urytemil. He was powerful, but she knew Tahlmus was more powerful.
Urytemil tried to open his mouth, but all he could do was touch his face, where the sting from Coral’s slap still lingered on his skin. Thalixen stepped forward. “Come with me Coral dear. I will fill you in on what’s going on; Ardeszeld, sweetheart, why don’t you make breakfast.”
Ardeszeld just nodded as she went to the small tent that stored their food, while Coral accepted Thalixen’s hand, following her into the trees. They walked for a couple minutes in silence before Thalixen sat, motioning for Coral to do the same. Coral sat as more tears found their way to her cheeks. She noticed that Thalixen now had silent tears making their way down her face as well.
“The King thinks Tahlmus is our first born and that he is more powerful than Urytemil. So in exchange for his friendship and a place to stay in the palace, we had to turn over our first born to be his prisoner.” Coral started crying harder and couldn’t get the words she wanted to say to come out. “Since Bahamut had told us that it needed to happen, Urytemil shook on it.” Thalixen paused as a lump started to grow in her throat.
“It… it wasn’t until Urytemil sat with the King at supper the night we handed Tahlmus over, that he learned what the King’s true intentions were.” Thalixen paused again. She realized it was harder to explain it to Coral than it had been to explain to Ardeszeld. “The King is Mystic’s cousin.” She heard Coral gasp. “With Mystic having failed, the King is determined to get the draconic power. Unfortunately the King also knows to be more powerful, the magic must be given of the dragon’s own free will, and not drained as Mystic had planned on doing.”
“So… then… Why is Tahlmus in such bad shape?” Coral managed to ask feeling confused. She felt like if the King wanted Tahlmus to be willing to give up some of his draconic power, that the King would be overly nice to him.
“The King tortured him. He had Tahlmus hooked up to a contraption and every time Tahlmus refused to give the King what he wanted electricity was sent through his body.” Thalixen was almost sobbing now. She managed to explain how Tahlmus couldn’t risk using his magic to fight back, as a guard was threatening to kill her if he did. She showed Coral the bracelets, explaining how neither her nor Urytemil could use their magic. Thalixen then explained what led to Tahlmus blacking out and being taken back to the jail cell. “I’m… I’m sure the King is only going to let Tahlmus heal enough so he can do it again,” Thalixen finished.
Coral closed her eyes as she fidgeted with the ring on her finger. She had already gone through the pain of losing Tahlmus once; she couldn’t handle going through it again. As the tears continued to stream down her face, an image came into her mind. It was Tahlmus sitting with his back against the wall of a cell. Then she heard his voice. “Please Love, don’t cry. I know you’re worried about me, but I’ll be alright. I can take it. I don’t know how long I have to wait before I can take care of the King, but I will come back to you. I promise. I love you.” The connection was then severed and Coral opened her eyes.
“Did you…?” Coral tried to ask as she choked up.
Thalixen nodded. “I heard. Let’s go back to camp. There’s a lot to get done today.” Coral just nodded as she stood with Thalixen and followed her back to camp.