From "Vynasha" (Working Title)
Wyvar told her stories while they waited, to pass the time. She still did not know the gate keeper’s name and she was too confused and embarrassed to ask Wyvar. It would make her sound like she wanted to know him and now was the least opportune time for attachments.
So she turned her ear to Wyvar’s softly spoken words instead and tried to ignore the echoes of beastly screams and snarls coming through the broken wall nearby.
“Once,” he began, “we were a noble people. Of all the blood that lived on this side of the mirror, the greatest was the royal family, known to all by the name, Bitterhelm. It was they, who used their might to unite the glens, who sought to control the mirror between our worlds. The king declared he could not marry any other, but Soraya.”
Vynasha turned to stare at the faded wight of a man in wonder. She recalled the journal she had found and the secret room, of Wyvar’s earlier confession. It could have happened years ago instead of the ages his tale implied. She had to wonder then, how old this castle was and how long it had been without life.
“She was apprenticed to the most powerful wielder of majik in this other land,” he continued. “And no one was as beautiful as she…” His ancient features softened and his eyes unfocused as though he was recalling her from memory. “She had wings that were as wide as this cell, if you can believe. Everyone knew she hid them by capes and cloaks and skirts. But few were blessed enough to see her in flight…”
“You saw her?” Vynasha softly asked. When the dungeons fell silent, she did not fear or peer into the darkness. She too was lost in the lightness of Wyvar’s memory.
His smile was slow and sorrowful as he avoided her question and continued his tale. “Her visit to our world was meant to be but a visit, until the king tricked her into loving him. Their children were among the most beautiful anyone had seen in either land, but of a darker beauty than Soraya. And the king grew bitter of his young wife.
She fell in love with his captain of the guard, who was also of mixed blood, though a little more than most. So the king locked his wife away in anger, not knowing who she had betrayed him with.”
Vynasha crawled so she was sitting within Wyvar’s natural glow. Pain flashed through his eyes as he caught the motion and warmth as he met her eyes again.
“The Prince, his son, was kept away from his mother as he grew into manhood. He was given strict instructions and raised to be of our land alone. He also used his mother’s gifts for cruelty rather than goodness as she had intended…”
“So you insist on filler her head with useless fayere tales and legend, I see. Have you not said enough, old man?” the Gate Keeper interrupted from the thick shadows.
Vynasha and Wyvar both started. It was with some difficulty their minds returned to the darkness around them, after such a tale. Though she knew very little of the wondrous creature, Soraya, Vynasha had seen her prison and read her ink bound words. She wanted to know more and she suspected Wyvar had much more to do with her fate than he was letting on.
So when she lifted her gaze to meet the pale eyes of the intruder, she stood immediately. “Leave him be, Gate Keeper. He was only trying to please me.”
The taller man sneered and crossed his arms over his broad chest. “It would seem Wyvar has spent far too much time pleasing you and less time attending his duty.”
Vynasha mirrored his pose, crossing her arms over her chest and took another step into his space. Her eyes narrowed as she replied, “Have you come to grumble some more at him? Or are we actually leaving this place? I was under the impression you were going to help me. As much as it angers you to see him help me, perhaps if you aided us both, I could leave sooner. And then all our troubles would be lessened, don’t you agree?”
His cold features twisted unpleasantly, his pale eyes growing wider with each declaration. She wasn’t in the habit of throwing all her cards on the table. But Wyvar was her only friend in this awful place, perhaps her only friend. The Prince was another matter entirely and she was weary of pretending to be less than she was before him. And she reminded herself, in spite of his lordly ways, this gate keeper was no better than either of them. At least Wyvar held onto his goodness and the memory of better years.
Nothing about this bitter and imperial man made her want anything more from his company than the promise of her escape.
At last he said, “It is good that you are brave. I was beginning to believe you were nothing more than a scarred, frightened child. If you are going to willingly run back into those mountains, you will need every scrap of mettle you can muster.” He smirked at the end and shared a glance with Wyvar over her shoulder. Yet she watched as his attempt to regain control over them faded and was replaced by a furrowed brow, with uncertainty.