The rest of the evening had bene tense. Altair had sent the guards away, and the servants had brought out the food. A young elven kid, covered in blue dragon scales had come in and with levitation magic helped Karia remove Tahlmus’s body. Not a word had been said until Altair dismissed them from the dining hall, all except Coral and Mystic. He had asked those two to stay.
With a snap of his fingers a single guard appeared. “Can you please take my cousin to my office,” Altair stated. “I wish to discuss some business with him.” The guard nodded. Mystic just scowled as he stood and turned to follow the guard out. After the door closed Altair turned his gaze towards Coral. She was more beautiful than he remembered. Even now, with a frown on her face, and staring at her hands which were folded in front of her on the table, she was breathtaking.
“Duchess Coral, you look stunning this evening,” he paused waiting for her to speak. His words earned him a bored look from Coral instead. He took a deep breath, diverting his gaze trying to decide what to say next. “What happened to you? After you left that is.”
Coral’s eyes glowed red, and her hand slammed on the table. “Left? Left? You mean after you threw me out of your estate because your doctor said I was barren.”
“My darling that…” Altair tried to speak as he reached for Coral.
Coral growled standing so quickly that the chair tipped over. “Don’t you Darling me. You threw me out, made me a disgrace. My parents wouldn’t even take me back,” Coral yelled getting as close as she dared to Altair. “I lost my title, my inheritance… everything. You ruined me because you were too prideful to admit to being sterile.” As she finished yelling she turned around storming out of the hall, making sure the door slammed behind her.
Altair growled as the hall fell silent. “She will take me back,” he whispered in anger. If she didn’t come to him willingly, he would force her to come back to him once he had the draconic power. Shrugging off what had just happened, he left the hall through a different set of doors to go speak to his cousin.
Mystic paced back and forth in Altair’s office. His adrenaline was high as were his emotions. If what his cousin said was true, then all he had to do was convince Tahlmus that giving him the draconic magic was better than giving it to his cousin. It wouldn’t exactly be going against his promise to no longer seek draconic power. He’d be doing it to help Tahlmus get out of the bondage he was currently in. Then there was all the unanswered questions that continued to float through his mind.
Why was Tahlmus still a prisoner? Why didn’t he just use his magic to get rid of Altair? What was up with the purple eye and different voice? Why had Tahlmus said us when asking to be silenced?
There was something going on and Mystic needed the answers. He needed to speak with Tahlmus alone. Mystic had just finished coming up with a plan of action when the door opened and Altair walked in. “What do you think you’re doing?” Mystic asked before he could stop himself.
“I could ask you the same thing cousin,” Altair retorted. “You just injured my prisoner. I had him where I wanted him.”
Mystic stared at him with an open mouth. “You do realize the boy can still use his magic despite those cuffs, don’t you?”
Altair just started laughing. “If they were the cuffs your father gave me, sure. I saw him do that. The cuffs he was wearing though, those were specially made by someone who knew the true formula. He can’t even sense his magic.”
Mystic opened his mouth, and then closed it. He knew what he had seen, how the cuffs had changed. Tahlmus had spoken to him through thought, which required special advanced magic. Whatever was going on, Tahlmus was keeping his cousin in the dark. He definitely had to speak with the young elf privately.
Altair started laughing again and it brought Mystic out of his daze. “You are just dripping with jealousy cousin. I can see it and I can’t hide my glee.”
Mystic let out a low growl. “I am hardly jealous, but why not turn this into a competition?”
“Let’s see which of us Tahlmus is more willing to give his magic to,” Mystic stated. “But,” he continued before Altair could form any words, “you give me access to Tahlmus whenever I ask. I will try to convince him in my own way; privately, with no interference from you.”
Altair grinned an evil grin. “Fine. What are the stakes?”
“If I win, you hand your Kingdom over to me.”
“And if I win?” Mystic opened and closed his mouth a couple of times before shrugging. He listened to Altair laugh. “If I win, I get Atargatis and that beautiful little baby girl of yours. Kynes I believe her name was.” Mystic grit his teeth. He had no plans on giving up Atargatis or Kynes. “So do we have a deal?” Altair asked holding out his hand.
With his teeth still clenched Mystic took Altair’s hand giving it a firm shake. “Deal.” It took everything in him not to punch his cousin. He really wanted to wipe the smirk off Altair’s face. “I want to see Tahlmus when he wakes up. Alone,” Mystic said as the handshake ended.
“I will have Karia fetch you, when that happens.” Mystic nodded and turned to leave. “So, I can expect you to stay for a while.”
“Count on it,” Mystic replied as he walked out of Altair’s office slamming the door behind him.
The cool cement floor sent a chill through Tahlmus, though his head felt warm. “Mate is touching us,” Andrekaon’s voice came into his thoughts. “We should speak to her.”
“No,” Tahlmus voiced to his inner dragon. He had heard another voice. “Not yet.”
Andrekaon wanted to ask why, but heard a young kid’s voice. “Mom…”
“I don’t want to hear it,” Karia’s voice reached his ears. “You didn’t have to be so rough with him.”
“He’s a prisoner.”
“That doesn’t matter.”
“Mate has feelings for us,” Andrekaon whispered in Tahlmus’s thoughts as he had picked up on the emotions in Karia’s voice.
“Are you in love with him?” the kids voice seemed to catch Karia by surprise because her hands stopped what they were doing.
“I…I…” Karia’s voice faltered.
“Mom, he’s a prisoner; a really bad man. You’re just supposed to be getting information from him for the King to use.”
“I know Felazair, but that doesn’t mean…”
“If you keep this up and the King finds out… what do you think he’s going to do?”
“He won’t find out, will he Felazair?” Tahlmus felt his head being set on the floor and felt Karia’s presence move away from him. He took a chance on opening an eye and saw Karia standing at the cell door looking at Felazair.
“The King is questioning me too,” Felazair’s lip quivered. “I’m not making any promises.” The boy paused. “He’s threatened to take you away from me.”
“Felazair…” Karia wasn’t sure what to say.
“You better get something out of him soon or I’m going to tell the King that you love him,” Felazair finished in tears before turning and running away. Karia ran after him. Tahlmus waited until the footsteps had faded away before he forced himself to a sitting position.
“Mate is in trouble,” Andrekaon voice in Tahlmus’s thoughts.
“I know,” Tahlmus voiced as he closed his eyes, leaning his head back against the wall gently.
“We need to help mate.”
Tahlmus sighed. “I don’t know.”