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Authors: Callie Kanno

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BOOK: The Threshold Child
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Adesina didn’t quite understand how it happened, but her
vyala
took the two halves of her bone
and put them together; reuniting them as if they had never been apart. Her arm
felt warm with the rush of energy and the rest of her was left cold by the
sudden drain. The pain she had been feeling vanished without a trace.

She looked at L’iam with an expression of amazement on her face,
and he smiled.

“Did it work?”

She nodded. “Yes, it worked. I am still not sure how, though.”

He didn’t appear to be surprised. “It seems your
vyala
needs less guidance than what is
usual for our race in order to accomplish what you wish of it.”

Adesina felt a whisper of a hope at his words. “Do you think I
would be able to heal my father?”

L’iam thought about it carefully before answering. “I do not know,
Adesina. It would be dangerous.”

“More dangerous than just letting his wound bleed and fester until
we can find a proper healer?” she asked stiffly.

“What about Aleron?”

The young woman shook her head. “He is no more than an apprentice.
My father’s wound is much too serious.”

He sighed, knowing that she was right. They were days away from
any sign of civilization, maybe even weeks. Me’shan would not last that long.

“Just consider carefully before making a decision. You would never
forgive yourself if something went wrong.”

Ravi appeared a few feet away from them. “Ma’eve, you had better
come quickly. It is your father.”

She did not ask questions, but sprinted back towards the shack.
E’nes had Me’shan laid out beside the fire and covered with blankets, but he
was still shaking violently. His face was a ghostly white, and he had dark
circles underneath his eyes. A sheen of sweat covered his feverish brow, and
his breath came is short gasps.

Adesina didn’t pause to consider the consequences, but knelt by
his side and brought forth her
vyala
.

His entire form, which should have been yellow in her vision, was
overspread with gray and black, indicating multiple injuries. The darkest of
all was the wound in his stomach, but there was also a strange shadow over his
heart.

She used her power to try and get a feel for what would be needed
to heal him, but L’iam was right in warning her about how vastly different it
was from healing oneself. His body, while having the same anatomy, was completely
different from her own. His spirit and life experience were etched on every
aspect of his frame. It was almost like looking at a completely different
species. How was she to know what would bring harmony to his being?

Not knowing what else to do, she whispered a prayer she had often
heard the other L’avan recite. She repeated it again and again, knowing that if
there was a higher power, it was the only thing that could help her in a moment
like this.

 

Vethma Yura, gweith a soma,

Zhuma quima yami quiso,

Whemi, lo pol be thiryu lazhon.

Be oser polev, Vethma Yura, thasith be,

Yami gwe be thiryu vyu.

Gri lith polo vya.

Bana.

 

As if responding to her murmured words, her
vyala
suddenly took over. Energy flowed from her body to his, and
his chest rose in a deep calming breath.

The power took the form of some sort of small wraith, and it
flitted over Me’shan’s body, restoring and knitting and reuniting all that had
been torn asunder.

The only thing it did not seem to be able to remove the black
stains from was his heart. The glowing apparition did not even go near it.

When Adesina’s sight returned to normal, she sat back completely
exhausted but full of hope. She waited impatiently as her father’s eyes slowly
fluttered and then opened. He looked at her, a bit dazed at first, and then
smiled.

“Ma’eve.”

Chapter
Fifty-one: Pursuit
 

The stares that Adesina received after the miraculous healing of
her father were much worse than the ones she had been given before. Each L’avan
studied her eyes in confusion, trying to account for the skill they had
witnessed. It wasn’t long before the words “Threshold Child” had circulated the
group in excited whispers. After that, they treated her so deferentially that
she eventually had to ask L’iam to intervene.

“Can you not ask them to stop?” she asked with a strained tone.

A puzzled frown creased his forehead. “Stop what?”

She glanced around and lowered her voice. “They are treating me
like some sort of deity.”

He smiled, greatly amused. “Surely it is not as bad as that.”

“It is,” she insisted. “Please tell them to stop.”

L’iam, who was sorting through the supplies found in the cellar of
the shack and deciding what to take with them, hid another smile by bending
over a sack of beans. “What makes you think they will listen to me?”

Adesina sighed in exasperation. “Because you are their prince.
They have to listen to you.”

He shrugged. “I can make a request that they treat you more
normally, but I cannot command them in what they believe.”

Knowing she would not get a better answer, she nodded and thanked
him reluctantly. He took note of her voice and gave her a questioning gaze.

“Why does it bother you so much? Would you rather they treat you
like a traitor?”

“Yes,” she answered immediately.

He laughed at her incredulously. “Why?”

“At least then there are no illusions. It does not matter if they
think I am a Shimat, because I was. I would much rather work to earn their
trust than have them create this false idea of who I am.”

The surprise on his face was replaced with respect. He got to his
feet and brushed himself off. “You finish up here, and I will go talk to them.”

L’iam climbed up the ladder that led out of the cellar, and
Adesina continued sorting through the supplies. When she heard footsteps behind
her, she expected that L’iam had returned, but she looked up to see Me’shan
walking toward her.

He was still very weak and was having trouble summoning his own
vyala
, but his physical condition was
vastly improved. He gave her an uncertain smile and he moved to sit beside her
and help her with her task.

“I have not had the chance to thank you.”

She fixed her eyes on the medical kit in her hands. “You do not
need to thank me.”

“I do,” he replied gently. “You have saved me twice now, and I am
grateful for that.”

She shrugged and murmured, “If I had not…” Her voice broke. She
took a moment to collect herself and went on more firmly. “It was my fault that
you were captured by the Shimat in the first place. I had to make amends.”

For a moment he said nothing, considering her words. Finally he
put his hand underneath her chin and raised her face to his. “You did not know
you were doing wrong. I am just glad that you discovered the truth.”

Adesina felt a warm swelling in her heart, and her eyes filled
with tears. “I am so sorry.”

He got down on his knees and embraced her. “I forgive you, Ma’eve.
I would have forgiven you even if you had never come for me.”

They still had their arms tightly around each other when E’nes
descended the ladder. He saw them and jerked to a stop, embarrassed that he had
interrupted them.

Me’shan motioned him forward. “It is all right.”

E’nes explained why he had come down. “L’iam wants us to pass up
the supplies we will be taking. He says we will be leaving within the next few
minutes.”

Adesina nodded and immediately set to work. A couple other L’avan
appeared and formed a line in which they could pass the load along. It only
took a few minutes to gather what they could use, and then they all met outside
the shanty.

Those who were wounded were given the horses to ride, and Sa’jan’s
body was also laid across the back of one. The rest of the group walked
alongside, moving as quickly as possible. Still not quite certain of their
location, they headed north and hoped that they would soon know which way to go
in order to meet up with L’era and Aleron.

Adesina walked in-between her father and L’iam at the front of the
group. E’nes kept to Me’shan’s other side, speaking to him quietly.

Ravi studied the woods around them with an intense look on his
feline face. “We are near the campsite, but something is not right. I should be
able to hear their movements by now.”

Adesina felt her chest constrict in fear. “Perhaps they are still
sleeping.”

Even she didn’t believe the words she spoke.

Several feet ahead of them, the trees opened up to a clearing. The
same clearing where they had parted ways the night before. The camp was still
set up as it had been when they had left, but it looked as if it had been abandoned.
The remains of a fire were apparent, and Adesina stared at it in horror.

“He built a fire and did not even dig a hole to hide some of its
light.”

It was as if he had flagged down the nearest Shimat patrol and
asked them to attack. Deep down she knew what had happened, but she couldn’t
bring herself to believe it. She took several steps forward, scanning the area
for clues. It didn’t take long for everything to become abundantly clear.

Aleron was sprawled on the outskirts of the camp, his face covered
in blood. Judging from the upset underbrush around his body, it appeared that
he had struggled before dying. L’era was only a few feet away, her clothing
torn and her throat viciously slashed.

L’iam saw his sister and rushed to her side, a strangled sob
ripping the silence of the clearing. He picked up her still form and cradled
her close to his chest, weeping uncontrollably.

Adesina walked over to Aleron and knelt down beside him. She wiped
the blood and dirt from his face, and gently brushed back a stray curl from his
forehead. She didn’t notice the tears streaming down her face until she felt
one drop on her hand.

“Dear friend,” she whispered, “I am so sorry!”

 

***

 

Kendan paced the stone floor of his office. The dead bodies had
been removed and the entire room thoroughly cleaned, but he still saw the stain
of blood in his mind’s eye.

Three Shimat stood in a line, giving him a report about the
escaped prisoners, but he barely heard the words coming out of their mouths.
Breyen, who was standing next to the desk, noticed his lack of attention and
quietly cleared his throat.

“Perhaps it is time we expanded our search.”

This brought Kendan to a sudden stop. “What?” he asked harshly.

The arrogant tone in the young man’s voice grated on Breyen’s
nerves. He was the closest advisor to the Sharifal, but he was still required
to defer to her nephew when she was away. He couldn’t stand the way Kendan
pretended to be in charge, when he really had no power at all. Not if Breyen
had anything to do with it, anyway.

He gestured to the three men who had been in charge of the search
parties. “We have combed the fortress for the prisoners. It is clear that they
have slipped past us. We need to send out a search party immediately.”

The young Shar mustered up a look of supreme disdain. “How could a
large group of ragged prisoners get past our guards? There were Shimat
stationed at every exit! No, they must still be hiding somewhere in the
fortress.”

Breyen frowned. His expression was not quite suspicious, but
Kendan knew it would be soon if he did not cooperate.

“Perhaps we can cover both ends,” suggested Breyen. “We can
continue the search here in the fortress and send out a party to examine the
surrounding area.”

Kendan’s arguments were becoming weaker and weaker. “Why risk
splitting our forces? We need every available Shimat if we are to find them and
return them to their cells.”

Breyen gave a condescending smile. “We have more than enough
Shimat to do both.”

Kendan knew he could not resist any more without throwing
suspicion on himself. He pretended to consider his options for a few more
moments before giving a single nod. “Very well. Send out a party, and instruct
them to search in an expanding circle.”

“That will not be necessary,” replied the older man. “It is
obvious that they will head north.”

Kendan shook his head stubbornly. “Adesina might be counting on
that assumption. We must check all possibilities.”

Breyen clenched his fist and took a calming breath. “In that case,
Shar Kendan, it would be best to send out more than one party.”

He turned on his heel and stalked out of the room, not leaving any
time for Kendan to object.

The young Shar knew that he could stall for no more time. He
prayed that Adesina had gotten far enough away to be able to evade the Shimat
who would now be coming after her.

BOOK: The Threshold Child
10.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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