Karia timidly knocked on the door to the King’s office. The servants had been whispering about how angry he had been. From the pieces of conversation she could pick up, Coral had turned him down again; this time with the help of one of the young boys in Urytemil’s family. She waited patiently for the King to give her permission to open the door. Finally almost five minutes after she knocked, Karia heard the King’s gruff voice telling her to enter.
Opening the door slowly, Karia walked in with her head bowed, looking to the floor. She made sure the door closed quietly before walking over to the King’s desk. Her head stayed bowed and her hands were clasped in front of her; waiting patiently for the King to give her permission to speak.
“Why are you here?” he asked gruffly without looking up from his paperwork.
“I… I think I got some useful information from that elf you have me watching over,” she tried to say in a confident voice.
The King raised his eyes to her. “The boy is awake?” Karia nodded. “What did he say?”
“He…” At first Karia wanted to confront the King about the things Tahlmus had told her, but she had promised to only tell the King about his sister. “He started telling me about his sister Ardeszeld. How they were really close. I guess they talked a lot, and found out they had a lot in common. He said they have a really strong bond.”
Karia carefully watched the King. At first he looked pensive, but slowly as the minutes passed a grin started to appear on his face. Karia tried swallowing. The larger the grin became, the more intimidating the King looked. “Thank you Karia. You are to go to my cousin’s room. Tell him the prisoner is awake and he can see him now.” Karia was sure there was confusion on her face, but she knew better than to question the King. She bowed her head, before turning and quickly walking out.
She walked quickly to the room that Altair’s cousin was occupying with his wife and child; knocking on the door. Karia was glad it was Mystic who answered. She told him Tahlmus was awake and that the King said he could talk to the prisoner. A smile almost identical to the King’s appeared on Mystic’s face, as he took off down the hall. He hadn’t even bothered to close the door.
“You don’t have to worry,” a gentle voice reached Karia’s ears. “Mystic won’t hurt him.” Karia turned to see Atargatis in the doorway. Atargatis had seen how Karia had looked at Tahlmus that night in the dining hall. She had also seen the worried look on her face when Mystic had taken off down the hall. “Why don’t you come in and talk with me? I could use some company while I feed Kynes.” Karia stood there staring at Atargatis. “Come on,” Atargatis said motioning inside the room. “I won’t bite.” Karia swallowed nervously and followed Atargatis into the room, closing the door behind her.
Tahlmus had been trying to focus on something other than the hunger pains he’d started feeling after Andrekaon had healed the body. It was nice to not be in pain, but it made him realize how much he needed food. He was thinking of trying to drift off to sleep when he heard footsteps approaching. His muscles started tensing and Andrekaon became restless within him. Neither Tahlmus nor his inner dragon had thought the King would act quite this fast. Tahlmus tried to mentally prepare himself for what might happen, keeping his eyes on the floor.
“You’re a sight better than a couple nights ago,” a familiar voice stated followed by the sound of a key in the lock.
“Mystic?” Tahlmus’s head shot up looking at the man now entering his cell.
“The one and only.”
“Why are you here?” Tahlmus asked confused. He could faintly hear Andrekaon trying to talk to him, but he was so surprised by Mystic that he wasn’t paying his inner dragon any mind.
“The real reason, or the one I told my cousin?”
Tahlmus raised an eyebrow. “Both?”
“I have questions for you, not only my own, but from the others as well.” Tahlmus nodded and as he waited patiently for Mystic to continue he noticed that Mystic was just staring at his feet.
“What did you tell your cousin?” Tahlmus asked when the silence became too uncomfortable.
Mystic couldn’t bring himself to look Tahlmus in the eye as he spoke. “I… I challenged my cousin. Told him I could get you to give me your power before you gave it to him. He has to let me talk to you alone whenever I ask. If I win I get his kingdom. If he wins…” Mystic let his words trail off.
Tahlmus could feel his anger rising and Andrekaon being agitated didn’t help. “What does Altair get if he wins?”
“Atargatis and her daughter, Kynes.”
Tahlmus started growling. “You offered him Atargatis and my daughter,” Tahlmus’s voice was very low and menacing. He knew Atargatis wasn’t really his anymore. He also knew that he wouldn’t actually get to see the child who shared his DNA and he was alright with that. He wanted Atargatis to be happy, but in that moment a possessive nature came over him that he couldn’t contain.
“I didn’t have a choice,” Mystic said softly. “I needed a way to speak to you. Your family needed a way to speak to you.”
Tahlmus took a deep breath, trying to calm both him and his inner dragon. There was truth in Mystic’s words. Talking to him would be a good way to communicate with the others; though he wasn’t sure if his family having more information would be a good thing. What if Altair had ways to trick them, listen in on them, or worse tried to torture them for information. It could cause problems. “What are your questions?” Tahlmus asked with a sigh.
“How did Altair get you? Can you use your magic? Why haven’t you taken care of Altair? Who’s Bahamut?” Mystic spit out all his questions without allowing Tahlmus the time to formulate an answer.
Once Mystic was silent, Tahlmus let out a sigh as he thought of how to answer. Tahlmus decided to start with how Urytemil had come back to camp from visiting the King, requesting that he join Urytemil and Thalixen when they went back to the palace. He then described what all occurred up to the dinner two nights previous. Mystic had stayed silent, letting Tahlmus talk, but inside his blood was boiling. He couldn’t believe that Urytemil and Thalixen could agree to give up Tahlmus, especially after they spent so much time and energy to protect him.
“So what about this Bahamut guy?” Mystic asked. He still didn’t understand why Coral said Tahlmus belonged to him. He hadn’t understood any of it.
Tahlmus closed his eyes. “Bahamut is a platinum dragon,” he replied slowly.
“What? There’s no such thing as platinum dragons,” Mystic stated in disbelief.
“He’s a platinum draconic god,” Tahlmus said looking Mystic n the eye. Mystic’s mouth dropped. He could tell Tahlmus was telling the truth and not messing with him. “He’s… He’s also my father.”
“Mystic shook his head trying to clear it. “But…”
“Bahamut took the form of Thalixen’s elven husband, seducing her and conceiving me. The same evening her actual husband went to bed with her and because of some magic Bahamut worked, Kanes was conceived. We may be twins, but he is only my half-brother… though no one else knows that,” he finished softly.
“That actually makes some sense,” Mystic replied.
Tahlmus was sitting there wondering if he should tell Mystic about Andrekaon, his inner dragon when he heard footsteps echoing off the stairs. “Someone is coming,” he whispered when he realized Mystic hadn’t heard them yet.
“How do you…?” Mystic started to ask in a low whisper, but voices had interrupted him, making him turn away from Tahlmus.
“Come on darling.”
“I told you to stop calling me that. I only came along so I could talk to Mystic,” Coral’s voice reached Tahlmus’s ears.
Tahlmus closed his eyes groaning softly as his chest started to ache. He really missed Coral. “Andrekaon,” Tahlmus started speaking to his inner dragon. “I need you to take control.”
“Because I’m not going to be able to keep the King from figuring out that Coral is my wife.” He could feel his inner dragon roll his eyes but quietly agree to take control.
When Mystic turned back to Tahlmus, he noticed that the elf’s eyes were no longer blue, but had taken on a purple color. It reminded him of the other question he’d had for Tahlmus, but the footsteps had stopped right behind him, so he kept his mouth shut.
“I have to hand it to you elf, she looks good,” Andrekaon said reluctantly unsure as to why he felt a small attraction to the woman standing in front of him. Coral was not his mate, Karia was. He felt Tahlmus smile.
“Ah cousin, had any luck?” Altair sneered.
Andrekaon let a low growl come from Tahlmus’s mouth, which made Mystic chuckle. “I think I’ve had more luck than you,” he replied. “Now is there a reason you interrupted me?”
“I wanted to invite you and Atargatis to dinner with myself and Coral. A double date if you will.”
Mystic looked to Coral who had already turned to Altair. “I already told you, I will not go on a date with you.”
Altair gave her an evil grin, as he wrapped his arm around her waist pulling her to him, before putting his other arm around her waist. Coral tried pushing him away, but his hand travelled up her back, making her shiver unpleasantly. The hand forced her to be so close to him that their lips were only inches apart. “Let me go,” Coral stated as firmly as she could. She was fighting off the fear that threatened to overtake her.
“You don’t mean that,” Altair said. His warm breathe played over her lips making her cringe.
“Yes I do. Let me go, Altair.” Coral tried to push on him but it was useless. He was stronger than she remembered. With her hands pinned between their chests she could only try to move her head as Altair leaned closer to her. Just as she thought she wouldn’t escape his lips, she felt herself being pulled away and put into Mystic’s arms.
“The lady asked you to let her go,” A low menacing growl came from Tahlmus’s lips. Coral stayed in Mystic’s arms a little scared. She was grateful for the rescue, but she had never heard the voice Tahlmus was using. Then she noticed the purple eyes. It was like he was a completely different person.
“How did you?” Altair didn’t get to finish before he felt the air leaving his lungs. His prisoner had shoved him up against the wall. He noticed the purple eyes looking at him in anger. It was like the elf was possessed.
“You will either acquiesce to the Lady’s will or I will kill you where you stand.” The voice came out cold and venomous. Altair just gapped at the elf. “No one touches my brother’s wife.” The voice came out again as Altair felt his back leave the stone wall only to be shoved back into it.
“G…Guard,” Altair managed to scream. He watched the elf smirk before releasing his hold, going back into the cell and shutting the door. Altair stood their fuming as the guards came running up. They stood there for a few minutes before watching the King stomp off. They shrugged at each other before turning and going back to their posts.
“Wow, that felt good,” Tahlmus said to Andrekaon, who smiled inwardly as he relinquished control to Tahlmus after the footsteps had faded.
Coral was shaking and could feel Mystic trembling as the purple eyes turn back to the blue color that Tahlmus normally had.
“What… What…?” Coral couldn’t form the words to finish her question. Tahlmus turned the key that was still in the cell door from when Mystic had arrived, opening the door again. He went over and took Coral into his arms. She didn’t fight it. Her yearning to be in Tahlmus’s arms outweighed her fear.
“I promise I will explain everything once this is over. Right now the less you actually know the better.” Coral nodded in understanding before she felt Tahlmus’s lips on hers. She was just starting to melt into his him when Tahlmus gently pulled away. “You should go back before the King sends someone to find you.” Coral and Mystic both nodded as Mystic took the key and they started to walk away.
“Oh, and Mystic,” Tahlmus started as he locked himself back in the cell. “You better keep an eye on her because if Altair does anything to her, I will kill you.” Tahlmus watched Mystic nod before they walked out of sight.
“Now what?” Andrekaon asked.
“We wait for the King to come torture us again. After what we did tonight it will be soon,” Tahlmus paused, “and painful.”