Rhetta lead Faye and Faelan through the lower town the next day, Tomas promised his daughter that he would accompany her later after he checked out the kitchens and how it was run. Adunan was completely different from Brev, the women wore dresses of dark greens and blue the fabrics and designs were not as lavish as the ones Annthea and Queen Claretta wore but beautiful nonetheless. All the men wore leather boots and all wore hats, unlike Brev where most men were lucky enough to own a pair of boots with minimal holes.
‘Are all the roads made of stone?’ Faelan couldn’t keep himself from gaping in awe at the entire town, the houses made of stone and much sturdier than the dilapidated ones in Brev. His mouth fell open as he stared at his surroundings, looking much like a young child. Faye chuckled and leaned over to him whispering,
‘Senthannos ithmiel. (You’re being careless darling)’
‘You know I hate when you call me that. I am not a child.’ When Faye turned thirteen Eilin decided that she was old enough to take on small missions. She was the only Paeriamos living in Brev, so Eilin introduced a young orphaned boy who lost his parents to a rescue mission gone wrong and was developing his abilities. He was only ten and too young to actually accompany Faye on a mission, she befriended him quickly taking him in as her own brother and even protected him from the older boys in the village. Rhetta was currently making her way down the streets in front of the two waving her hands expressively as she talked about the new developments around the town.
The marketplace was exactly how Faye remembered it, a large area near the front gate of the citadel with a fountain in the middle of the many carts and booths. There were vendors scattered throughout the area with stands of food, clothes and other items, people were advertising their wares with painted signs and customers were bartering for the better price. Rhetta had wandered off for a bit leaving them on their own while she ran errands and picked up a few things needed for the princess and younger prince. Faye chuckled as a particularly pushy saleswoman pulled him into a booth doing her best to convince Faelan that he needed to buy the beautiful silk clothes the whatever young girl he was fancying at the moment. Faye had to scoff at this; Faelan only fell in love once with a girl in their village. But she found out what he was, and–if not for Faye getting the help of a Magicaetor –she was about to turn him in to the king. The girl then disappeared and forgot about him. Faelan was currently being overwhelmed by the older woman who was now draping the wide-eyed boy in colorful silks, his voice wove it’s way into Faye’s head echoing sounding desperate,
‘Baetheus, quen! (Help me)’ Chuckling to herself she quickly made her way over to the poor boy who now seemed to resemble a tangled rainbow.
‘There you are!’ She wrapped her arm around his shoulders. The older woman raised an eyebrow questioningly at her. Faelan glared at her, the smirk giving away the fact she found his situation a bit amusing.
‘Excuse my little brother madam! He is only a poor piteous thing, this will be the fifth time I have lost sight of him today! Silly little dove you are, running off like that.’
‘Lianni-thiae (Stop talking: Shut up).’ She ignored his voice in the back of her head and pinched his cheek, clucking her tongue and ignoring the daggers shooting from his gaze.
‘Yes madam, he is quite tall for his age isn’t he? My darling little brother you haven’t got the money for all these lovely silks!’ She turned back to the slack-jawed woman, briefly untangling Faelan from the multiple wraps of fabric and handing them back to the woman.
‘Thank you for humoring him madam, but I shall take him off your hands.’
‘Good day.’ Faye escorted Faelan away from the woman quickly guiding him behind a stall before letting her laughter tumble out.
‘Lianni-thiae Baetheus, kaethelian. (Focus, shut up.)’
‘Whatever you say Ithmiel.’ Faelan glared at her at the use of the old, childish nickname.
‘Hey!’ They quickly turned around to see a young girl barely over eight years of age running through the busy market, frantically pushing through the crowd, nervously checking behind her for the two guards who had been chasing her. The girl ran towards Faye and Faelan, bumping into Faye.
‘I am sorry!’
‘You! Halt!’ Faye quickly whisked the little girl behind a stall, pushing her down to crouch below the table hidden. Two guards looked around the area.
‘Are you looking for something sir?’ They turned to Faye, Faelan shifted to stand in front of the crouched girl under the stand, further blocking her from view. Faye smiled innocently, ‘Perhaps I can help?’
‘Have you seen a young girl?’
‘I have seen many. Looking for a partner for the next celebration sir?’ Faelan just shook his head at her victorious smirk before turning back towards the stall.
‘Baetheus.’ She turned around, the little girl had disappeare; Faye spun around only to see the fading figure of the little girl slipping through the crowds once more towards the lower town.
‘Iriados thelialos. (Perhaps an Iriados).’ Faelan inwardly groaned, leaning against the wall, ‘Hethios…(Hell…)’
Dinner was not a simple dinner that Tomas prepared for Faye and himself from vegetables from their garden. They never did have much, but Faye never wanted much and for that Tomas was grateful. Although a troublemaker, Faye never was one to complain or ask for more. Tomas looked over the lavish table overflowing with rich foods. He had been one of the cooks who helped prepare the meal of course, but he was still in awe at the amount of food there was for only 8 people.
‘The food looks marvelous Tomas, Alizabeth informed us that you helped prepare most of it!’ Tomas shook his head humbly at the queen’s praise.
‘It was the cooks who were patient enough to teach me their recipes.’ The king of course was sitting at the head of the table with Lucianus at his left and Tomas at his right. The queen sat at the opposite end of the table with Annthea to her right and Romanus to her left. Faye between Annthea and her father with Faelan sat across her between Lucianus and Romanus.
‘Faye, how was your visit to the town? I trust you had a pleasant tour?’
‘Yes your majesty. Thank you again for allowing Faelan and myself to explore this afternoon.’ Queen Claretta put a hand atop Annthea’s, ‘Perhaps tomorrow Annthea will give you a tour of the castle, it can be very confusing.’
‘Yes mother, of course.’
‘Forgive me if I’m being rude your majesties.’ Tomas kicked his daughter under the table, sending her a warning glance to remember her manners. Faye had not even manners to forget.
‘Faelan and I were hoping to return to the town tomorrow.’ Romanus burst into the conversation, still young enough to excuse his brief neglect for manners.
‘But why would you wish to return to the town?’
‘We were, amazed at the sight of the marketplace. We have not seen a marketplace before.’ King Hadrianus nodded, having seen the small outer villages before and remembers the communal living that provided no need for a market due to lack of money and a very high need for provisions.
‘Perhaps I could join you.’ Faye snapped her gaze to Annthea
‘You will need to take Rhetta with you. As well as some guards.’
‘Baetheus.’ Faelan’s voice sounded a bit strained as it entered Annthea’s mind. She nodded briefly towards him, before turning back to the princess’s determined gaze.
‘You need not do that your highness, we are able to make our way around the town ourselves.’
‘You were brought here on my account, and I have not spent much time together.’
‘How gracious of you, your majesty.’ Tomas nudged Faye, signaling the end of that topic. Faye pulled her lips into a stiff smile, ‘And we will not need any guards.’
‘Faye saved my life before from a band of bandits father. She can keep me safe amongst our people for a day.’ Tomas nudged Faye before she could speak, signaling the end of the conversation. The king and queen obliged to Annthea’s request for only Rhetta accompanying them. And the topic passed on to the next, Faye kept her gaze on Annthea.
‘Baetheus? Kiai ie?’
‘Le-ie, ithienor. Let her follow, our schedule stands. Send message to Alphaeus Eilin tonight.’
The rest of the dinner passed with casual conversation. Lucianus had to excuse himself a bit earlier than the rest, he had to check on some of the guards who were on the patrol, Romanus was told to accompany him to observe how the patrols are run and how his brother conducts things, as the crown prince starts to take higher responsibilities Romanus will assume his previous duties. The king and queen excused themselves and retired for the night. Tomas bid his daughter a goodnight and excused himself as well, he had to wake up early the next morning to help with breakfast preparations. Faelan and Faye sat there with the princess as the maids and other servants cleared the table. Faye abruptly stood and walked off with Faelan following behind her closely, not bothering to excuse themselves.
‘What are you going to do in the marketplace?’ Annthea had followed them into the hall. Faelan stood between the two girls, alert. Faye kept her back to Annthea, when she showed the princess her abilities she wanted the young royal to see that not all Paeriamos would use their abilities for their own gain, but it can also be beautiful. But Annthea remained a bit skeptic about her, Faye could feel Annthea’s nervous gaze always on her curious but anticipating.
‘Why do you with to return to the marketplace?’ Annthea pressed again, keeping her distance between herself and Faye. She twisted her fingers together, Rhetta was currently cleaning her chambers and getting Annthea’s room and bath ready for her.
‘Are you planning something?’
‘Have no worries your majesty. The peace you like to think you have in this kingdom will be safe.’
‘Then why –?’ Faye spun around to face Annthea, crossing her arms. Annthea held her fists at her sides, and stood up straighter.
‘Do you fear us? Because if I wished you and your family dead, then you would not be standing right now.’
‘Then why am I standing?’
‘And why am I here?’ It was the king and queen who insisted on inviting Faye and her family to stay. Rhetta had told Annthea to beg them to change their minds and give Faye a different reward. But Annthea was curious, she was always curious even as a child she had a scar on her knee from when she was a small child and fell when she was exploring the river behind the castle for the first time.
‘I remember the war. Were you there?’ Faelan looked down, Faye remembered the war of course she did she was just a child but she remembers her mother mourning one night in the garden crying with her shoulders shaking, tears falling silently so no one would hear her anguish over lost friends, her lost family. Eilin told her to take Faye and Tomas and move to Brev where they would be safe. Even moving to Brev, Faye’s mother ran into the battle telling Tomas she had to go visit a distant relative despite his disapproval, she was hit by an arrow covered in essence from the Aeronia flower. The powerful scent disabled her ability, she was able to escape and return to Tomas. Eilin attempted to get her to allow an Auxillios to heal her but Abbey would not allow Tomas to find out about their people. She wouldn’t dare put him in such a position, instead she told Faye to close her wound and just to let Tomas think it was just a sickness that took her life .
‘Do you know how much death and loss the people of Adunan suffered?’ Annthea’s voice rising slowly, she remembered hearing the servants crying in the castle halls, remembers her father and mother’s serious faces dark with worry.
‘No I do not.’
‘Your people –.’
‘My people suffered as well.’ Faye stepped closer to the princess who had a thin layer of cold sweat forming on her forehead, the hallway starting to feel warmer. ‘Families torn apart, we were not only outcasts and seen as evil we were being persecuted and killed off for only being ourselves.’ Annthea’s glare faltered a bit, the air itself around Faye seemed to darken. Her eyes clouded over, the air thickening with moisture, Annthea felt she like would suffocate. But she instead stood taller, glaring equally strong into Faye’s eyes.
‘My father did what he had to, to keep our people safe.’
‘Your father killed innocent men, women and children.’
‘Only because they killed innocent men, women and children as well, are you like them as well?’ Faye scoffed, her eyes turning almost completely grey. Annthea’s throat felt like it was closing up, she gasped in a short breath. Faye’s eyes cleared a bit, growing a bit distant.
‘More than you can count.’ Faye’s answer was just a whisper regret passed through her eyes but was gone in a blink. The hall went quiet save for Annthea and Faelan’s slightly labored gasps for air.
Faelan reached out to Faye placing his hand on her shoulder catching her attention. She felt like a hand was clasping itself over her throat choking her blocking the air from entering her lungs, Faye stepped back her eyes clearing completely before she took Faelan’s arm. Annthea took in a deep breath shakily, bringing a hand to her chest. She looked up at Faye who stood there holding Faelan up with a thin sheen of sweat on his face mirroring Annthea’s. Faye stood there unaffected, but her eyes still clouded over but now clearing slowly. Faye turned back around to leave with Faelan walking uneasily behind her, stopping as Faye froze abruptly looking back over her shoulder towards Annthea.
‘I kill only to protect my own, and I will keep doing so until they are safe.’ Faelan softly grasped her elbow, Faye wrapped her arm around him and lead the way to their chambers. Leaving Annthea to slump onto the floor and watch them leave.
Faye remembers the first lives she took. She had just gained the title of Baetheus and Eilin gave her, her first assignment; it was a simple pick-up mission. There had been a message from a Taellius whose assignment was Minerva, there was a young boy who was just developing his abilities and Faye was the leader of the group. Their mission had been simple; accompany the young boy to the Paeriamos camp where he would be taken in by Eilin and her company to be safe and train.
But there was a problem, the boy’s family was there and they had not been able to accept his abilities. The guards got there before Faye was able to, she found the boy being dragged away and she moved before thinking. The two guards lay on the floor, dead with water and blood leaking from the corners of their mouths. The boy was cowering on the ground covering his ears sobbing. Faye stood there, frozen at the sight in front of her; she was too young it was her first mission. She was able to lead her group towards the camp safely, more guards attempted to apprehend them but they were able to get away. And that’s all that mattered.
For every victory, there has to be loss. That is what Eilin tells every Paeriamos when they are training, Faye was taught as a Baetheus that she cannot save everyone no matter how much she tries. She was not allowed to to tie a ribbon for the lives she took in the Indillien cave, but Faye remembers every life she took.
Deep in the forest just outside the village of Brev, there is a Yew tree grown by Faye’s mother that she planted when Faye was born for her daughter. Her mother was a Natvilior gifted with the ability to grow and manipulate the earth especially plant-life, she grew the Yew tree for her daughter; just like the tree Faye would one day grow to be strong as well as be a shelter for their people. After her mother’s death Faye would visit the tree, mourn for her mother and for the lost people who sacrificed their lives for the Paeriamos people. After her first mission she visited the tree again to mourn the lives she took, and every time she stole a person’s life another tick would be added to the trunk of the tree. After that first mission, when she scratched the first ticks onto the large trunk of the tree she named it Eilie –lamentation, sorrow. She was too young it was her first mission, and she would never forget it.
Annthea was practically running through the corridors to the front gates of the palace. She had Rhetta dress her as quickly as possible, the servant who brought breakfast to her chambers informed Annthea that Faye was seen leaving her chambers and walking across the courtyard to the front gates. She rushed down the stairs gingerly making sure to not trip on her skirts, she knew it was not proper for a princess to be seen running anywhere, but she was never one to be a technically proper princess when times for rushing were at hand.
‘You said you I could accompany you.’ She attempted to not seem out of breath as she slowed to a walking pace up to Faye and Faelan, they had made it halfway down the road towards the marketplace before she was able to catch up to them.
‘I did, but I did not say we would wait for you.’
‘And how would I have found you then?’
‘Listen for the sounds of chaos perhaps your majesty?’ Annthea frowned but quickened her pace as the two made their way down the road a bit faster. Faye was wearing the same tunic and trousers she wore when she had arrived, she also wore a slightly tattered belt with a flask attached to her hip and an old leather bracelet on her wrist. Annthea studied the two’s clothes, wondering if they were in need of anything.
‘Please do not stare too hard your highness, or your eyesight will go bad.’ She shot a glare towards Faelan, he seemed more reserved and quiet but being with Faye for so long, he seemed to have acquired her sharp tongue and tactlessness.
‘I was just thinking.’
‘Oh that does not sound good, are you well princess?’ Faye’s lips quirked up into her signature smirk. ‘Is there anything you need?’
‘Need? Baetheus if you needed anything you should have just told me.’ Faye cast a slightly exasperated glare. ‘I need nothing ithmiel. The princess is just being an overly gracious host.’ Faelan scowled at the nickname. Annthea watched the two started to bicker in their own language; she paused for a second to glance back at the castle where her two brothers currently were.
‘Did you forget something your highness?’ Faye and Faelan had paused, Annthea quickly caught up with them shaking her head, ‘No, I am fine. Do you remember the way to the market? Shall I lead?’ She was ahead of them now, looking back towards the two who had yet to move. Faye crossed her arms, amusement flying across her face pointing to the opposite direction, ‘Is the market not that way?’
Annthea rarely went down to the marketplace, mostly with her family when she was young before her day was scheduled with lessons of learning writing, etiquette and of what her duties would be when she marries a prince herself. Her mother and father usually did not allow her to venture into the town on her own unless she was Rhetta and a group of guards, or accompanied by Romanus and Lucianus.
‘Deep in thought your majesty?’ She was pulled out of her thoughts by Faelan, who was walking next to her, his gaze fixed ahead at Faye who was leading. Annthea was a bit taken aback, he never spoke to her more than single-worded sentences. He tilted his head a bit turning to face her, ‘If not in thought, then in memory?’
‘What are you going into the market for?’
‘There is a girl Baetheus wishes to save.’
‘You keep calling her that, Baetheus, what does that mean?’
‘Faelan.’ Faye called, interrupting their conversation. Faelan gave Annthea a nod before jogging to catch up with Faye. Annthea sighed, and picked up her pace to keep up.
‘She went towards the lower town, Faelan you need to make a connection with her get her to meet us somewhere so we can get her away safely.’
‘I do not know where she is? I cannot focus on making that connection if I do not know where she is.’
‘My dear ithmiel,’ Faye cooed wrapping her arm around the younger boy as if he was a child, ‘You have contacted people who were farther away. People who you have not ever even met before.’ Faelan rolled his eyes and shoved her arm off his shoulders and glared at her, ‘They were other Taellius and she does not have a Liarié yet, she is not connected to our people and I might scare her more than gain her trust.’ Faye waved her hand. When Paeriamos are found, they were taken to meet Queen Eilin. If they showed potential they were then allowed to stay with the Queen and her group in order to train their abilities. Even if they are not shown to be honorable enough to stay in the Queen’s direct service they are still given the mark of Paeriamos, the Liarié; and with the mark a Magicaetor –Someone who can manipulate the mind and memories of an individual –gives them knowledge of Praetenyan –the language of the Paeriamos –as well so they will be able to communicate and help each other in the community.
, ‘Emharii ie othu thiae (What were you saying to the princess)? ’
‘Emharii ie quethanos thiae. (The princess had questions)’
‘Othu le-el? (About what?)’
‘Baetheus le-el. (You)’ Faye cast a quick glance back towards the princess who was lagging just a bit behind them, looking around at the busy marketplace with a faint smile on her face waving to children who smiled shyly at her in return giggling and running to hide behind their mother’s skirts. Faye clicked her tongue and continued to search the crowds, ‘Dodari Emharii (Long nosed: Nosey princess).’
The castle was located on the far side of the kingdom the farthest away from the main gate entering the kingdom. Surrounding the castle there were noble and some of the more well-known and respected merchants lived in more luxurious housing, the marketplace was located in the center of the kingdom, there was the main town where some of the middle-classed commoners who worked in the market lived. And finally there was the lower town located closest to the entrance gate, the lower-classed commoners lived here. Annthea rarely ventured into these parts of the kingdom unless she was accompanying her brother or her parents on a visit. It was not known for being very dangerous, but not it was one of the more poor areas of the kingdom with more raucous nighttime activity.
‘Why are we here? I thought you wanted only to visit the market.’ Annthea had quickened her pace to keep up with the two Paeriamos who walked with aim, keeping on alert for any clue to help with finding the young girl.
‘Baetheus.’ Faelan nodded his head towards the guards walking through the streets questioning people as they walked by.
‘We have to work fast, or they will find her first. Sieviela Baetheus? (Instruction?: What’s the plan?)’
‘If she is an Iriados she is a very inexperienced one. Keep your eyes alert, she won’t be able to use her power for long periods of time.’
‘Le-iloheim.’ Faelan made his way through the crowds leaving Faye with Annthea who was still confused waiting for them to acknowledge her.
‘Why are we here?’
‘Search and rescue your majesty.’ Faye wove her way through the crowd, Annthea tripped over her long skirts attempting to keep up with her. People parted out of the way for Annthea acknowledging the princess with a bow, her bright silk skirts standing out in the crowds of people. She started to fall behind as Faye surged through the crowd keeping aware of anyone who resembled the young girl from the market, a young Iriados could create illusions, make themselves appear invisible to an untrained eye. But Faye knew that someone so young and inexperienced even gifted with great control would not be able to hold the illusion for long. She would tire herself out and have to come out of hiding.
‘Baetheus.’ Faelan was near the outskirts of the town looking from behind a small house, she caught up with him. He pointed towards a dilapidated house,’ Near the window.’ Taellius were not just useful as messengers, they were able to sense the aura of others finding Paeriamos more easily which is why they were always sent on search and save missions and were most trusted advisors to the Alphaeus. The house was very worn and tired-looking, voices could be heard coming from inside –young children, many of them. Childish laughter and a mother softly chiding them flowed from the broken window, Faye leaned a bit closer; near the window the air wavered a bit.
‘She is there. But why?’ Faelan frowned a bit at the sadness that flashed in Faye’s eyes. She was silent, waiting as the air wavered more revealing the young girl peeking into the window looking tired and dirty staring longingly into the busy house. Faye’s whisper broke through the silence, ‘They cast her out and turned her in, but they are still her family.’
When a Paeriamos’s abilities started to form, they were sometimes preconceived if one or both parents were Paeriamos themselves. But if someone was the first in their family to develop abilities they were usually cast away, common people did not understand and usually did not want to. Even if they were just children, they were not exempt from these situations.
‘You will tire yourself out if you keep using your abilities to spy like this.’ The girl gasped, jumping away from the window staring with wide eyes up at Faye and Faelan.
‘I will be found if I do not.’ Her little hands trembled a bit, nervous not knowing what these strangers would do now that they found her. Recognition dawned on her face, but her trembling did not cease. ‘You are the ones from the market. You saved me why?’
‘You are like us.’
‘You can do what I do?’ Faye smiled chuckling a bit, ‘Not quite what you do. But there are many of us, people with other gifts and some like yours. We will take you to them.’
‘But the guards, they are looking for me. I will not be able to make it out of the gates.’ Faye put her hand on the girls shoulder leading her away from the house, ‘Trust us, we will keep you safe.’ The girl paused, thinking for a second before nodding her head.
Annthea tried to not grumble as she wandered through the streets keeping an eye out for her two companions who left her to herself. Faye disappeared through the busy crowds of people making their way to and from the market, pushing carts of vegetables and wood to houses, children running around without care of who they ran into. She fought the urge to scream her frustration in the crowd, it would not be proper for the princess to be found throwing a tantrum in the lower town. She was not even certain if it was proper for her to be found in the lower town at all. She was about to give up and turn around back to the castle when she saw Faye making her way with Faelan next to her walking towards the gates.
‘Faye!’ She called out to her, Faye paused and turned around looking around anxiously as they waited for Annthea to catch up to them.
‘How dare you abandon me like that!’ Faelan nudged Faye reprimanding her for rolling her eyes at the princess. ‘Where did you dissapear off to?’ Faye didn’t spare her an answer and just made her way through the crowds once again. ‘Excuse me. You cannot just walk away from me while I am speaking to you!’
‘You will have to forgive me your highness, but there are more important things at hand than your rant at the moment.’
‘My rant? I am not ranting!’
‘Tantrum then perhaps?’ Annthea caught herself before she was found sputtering in the middle of the street. Faelan gave her an apologetic look before following Faye, keeping focus. ‘Faelan?’
‘You have only half of a minute Baetheus, the gate is too far.’
‘Half of a minute for what?’ Annthea glanced between the two, still upset at their lack of acknowledgement. ‘Quickly then.’ Faye ducked into an ally between two houses. Annthea rushed to follow, noticing four guards making their way towards them.
‘What is going on –?’ Annthea gasped as a young girl appeared, she leaned against Faye breathing heavily looking tired, ‘It is too much for her Baetheus.’
‘We cannot wait, they will find her if we stay for too long.’
‘Is…is she…’ The little girl hid behind Faye, everyone knew who Annthea was she looked up at Faye wondering why the princess of Adunan was standing in an ally of the lower town. ‘Yes your highness, she is.’ Annthea turned her attention from the girl hiding to Faye who stared at her calculating, a challenge to see if Annthea would turn them in or not. ‘Baetheus.’ Faye placed a hand on the girl’s shoulder, ‘Stay here, the princess will keep you safe we will come back.’ Annthea stood staring at the young girl, she was very small no older than eight looking shaken, tired and afraid.
‘What is your name?’
‘Teiah.’ They jumped at a loud commotion coming from the street. Faye and Faelan were doing their best to lure guards away from the alley where Teiah was hidden. Faye surreptitiously created little water dancers atop of fruits and puddles as she hid within the crowds, doing her best to hide her smirk as the guards chased the little water droplets, their uniforms becoming wet as they attempted to catch the water only to have it melt as they tackled them. ‘Kaethelian Baetheus, they are approaching you.’ She rolled her eyes and walked deeper into the crowds avoiding the guards as they chased her. Long snakes of water created puddles onto the flagstones making them slippery tripping the guards as they ran across the streets to catch the taunting water dancers.
‘Faye seems to be distracting the guards away. The way to the gate will be clearing soon.’ Teiah only became more agitated as the commotion grew. Faelan suddenly appeared in the ally, ‘Baetheus is leading them to the market, quickly while it is clear.’ Teiah took his hand, Annthea followed them towards the gate. Villagers were too preoccupied watching the display happening near the market to notice the three running towards the gate. ‘Faelan wait.’ Annthea slowed, catching her breath, ‘There is no time to wait. Faye will meet us at the gate.’
‘How will we get past the guards at the gate?’
‘There are people waiting for us.’ Faelan’s tone clipped, annoyed at her numerous questions attempting patience knowing that the princess was not aware of how often they did these search and save missions. A taller, more muscled man appeared from behind a house motioning to Faelan who glared at him.
‘Ivianthaeos (Late, tardy) Please come on time next time.’ The taller man smiled sheepishly, he wore chainmail and a vest with the crest of Adunan on the right breast, one of her brother’s guards. Annthea recognized him now, Byrne son of Balius a nobleman who had visited her father on multiple occasions. ‘Baetheus Iunia is waiting outside the gate.’
‘You must take her, she is weak from using her ability for too long. Baetheus Faye will come soon, guards will follow once they see us try to get past the gate.’ Byrne reached down and picked up Teiah. Faye grabbed Annthea’s arm yanking her behind a house, Faelan split from them behind another house allowing Byrne to carry Teiah ducking into an ally. Guards ran past the group, ‘Close the gates!’
‘Skéche (shit: dung, crap, damn).’ Faye cursed under her breathe, Annthea slumped against the house watching the guards working fast to close the gates, ensuring the way out was closed so the runaway would be trapped in the village. ‘Did no one pass you?’ Lucianus made his way towards the guards his men behind him. ‘She is young, but powerful enough to create that chaos in the market.’ Faye snickered next to Annthea.
‘No one has approached the gate.’ Byrne left his spot with Faelan and Teiah, back to his original post near the gate. Annthea saw Faelan peek out from behind the house, glancing back at Faye.
‘Then she is still within the walls.’ Lucianus motioned for his men to start their search. Annthea moved away from Faye, ‘I will clear the way, there is a grate on the east side of the gate that is unguarded big enough for a small girl to fit through.’
‘Your majesty –.’
‘Brother!’ Lucianus stilled at Annthea’s voice, she walked out from her place appearing to have just been walking through the streets alone. ‘What are you doing out here alone?’
‘I seem to have lost my companions in the crowds. I need an escort back to the palace.’ He ran a hand through his hair in frustration, ‘Why are you in the lower town? There is a sorcer –.’ ‘I cannot make my way back to the palace alone. Do you expect me to make my way with a supposed dangerous sorceress on the loose?’ He growled under his breath, and called for one of his men to come over. Annthea crossed her arms stubbornly lifting her chin, ‘Am I that unimportant to you brother, that you see me only worthy for one guard as protection against this powerful sorceress?’
‘Annthea, we must find her as soon as –.’
‘And if she finds me first?’ Lucianus gave in and called for a group of seven guards to escort Annthea, leaving only a handful of guards for Faye to sneak past. Annthea just prayed it would be enough. She smiled sweetly at her brother, knowing that he would of course inform her parents of her being in the lower town when he returned to the castle. ‘Thank you brother, I feel very safe. I shall see you at supper.’ As she turned back to head towards the castle, out of the corner of her eye she saw Faye and her group ducking behind houses towards the east side of the gate surreptitiously following Byrne’s leading.