Description: Kela has always known what path in life she would follow. She was born a Euchoun. Half Witheleghean, a passive peaceful race where magic runs freely and the other half, Sordarin, a valiant warrior race of hawkmen who rule the sky, she was born with one purpose- to protect. Having proven her ability during the Payelaga Desert battle, she believes herself ready to follow her destiny beside Cono, her warrior. Fate has another path for Kela. A fear emerges that Asmeodai, an evil as no other, is on the threshold of her world. Having proven her ability during the Payelaga Desert battle, she believes herself ready to follow her destiny beside her warrior. Fate has another path for Kela. When she discovers all she has long believed is not as it seems, the betrayal leaves Kela torn by her desire for Cono and the path she has been given to follow.
The Legend continues…
Engrossed in my thoughts, the figure in the sky shadowed over me without reaction until the fluttering of his wings blew around me. Taking a few steps back, Cono landed beside me. His bold eyes caught mine. Irritation dissipated with each step he took toward me.
His lips on one side lifted in way one might considered a smile. His broad shoulders glistened in the sunlight with the sweat he had exerted. His wings flexed. The shadows flying above us softened the sharp planes of my warrior’s face. His hand reached for me. I gave no resistance, uttering only under my breath.
“You were to come to me this day. I waited…then I saw this celebration in the…” Others words hung in the air for he said nothing.
Ignoring my ramblings, his arm rounded me pulling me to him. His hand caressed my face, tenderly, passionately. I felt I couldn’t breath. He bent his head and kissed me, fiercely. The power flowed between us. I leaned into him, accepting him, wanting what I wasn’t sure, but I opened myself to him, heart and soul. His mouth wandered over my lips, cheeks, brows and throat.
“Kela,” he uttered, his voice rasping my name. “I love you, Woman. With everything in me. You are part of me.”
In some dim recess of my mind, I suspected all a dream. In hypnotized fascination I said nothing. He ran his hand through my hair, freeing the bounds that held it. Falling down long passed my waist, his fingers lost in the mass of tangles.
His eyes blazing, he tightened his hold. His mouth claimed mine once more. Flows of warmth filled me, gasping as his lips burned a path down my cheek to the sensitive part of my neck. I arched back, baring my throat for him, lost in a sensation that dealt not with reason but want.
“Cono,” I whispered in a low drawing voice. His hand rounded me, pressing me against his leather bound chest. Between the material of my gown, his hands cupped my breast, sending me into a spasm of pleasure, robbing me of all reason.
“We can’t,” I uttered, though my body betrayed me. With reluctance, he broke from me. His hand lingered on my face.
“I’ll wait only until I get you back to my barrack. No more separation. Not now.”
Exhilarated! Words I had only dreamed of escaped his lips. “I have no say?” I teased.
He laughed and drew me into his arms again. “Tell me, my Euchoun. Tell me you love me.”
My arrogant, handsome, warrior!
“I love you,” I managed before he kissed me again.
His arms rounded under me. Lifting me into his arms, he prepared to fly, but as suddenly as he swept me up, he released me. My feet found the ground, but his arm held me tight to him. I sensed a change in my warrior.
Then I heard Falco calling to me. For how long he had done so, I didn’t know but his tone lay with frustration and annoyance. The King was about to descend on us. I glanced up at Cono, worried.
“It is only a delay. King Edulf has given his permission for us to be together and for you to stay. He must only want to collect information on your arrival,” he smiled. His hand went under my chin. “I have questions also. I was only waiting until after…” he paused. “As such where did you get the gown?”
“It was a gift for my birthday,” I answered him. My eyes searched the sky for the sign of the expected entourage. “No one listens to me. I have told you that the woods hold spirits. The Wood Spirit said it was destiny, my fate to wear. You do not like it?”
His nostrils flared on a sharply indrawn breath. “I like it very much. I have never seen you so…”
“Like a lady?” I asked. Irritation now recalled. “Is that what you mean as my cousin you saw before you came to me?”
“Do I detect my Kela is jealous?” he laughed, shaking his head. “You have no rivals for my heart if that is what you ask.” Suddenly his tone altered, somber. “There is much to be made up to you, Kela. I tried to come before this day. Forgive me. Hold to me.”
“I asked for nothing but you.”
“You have me, always. We are bonded, Kela.”
Lowering my head, I stared into his eyes. In all of things I had no knowledge, but this bond, this union, I comprehended well. I would not be complete without him by my side, nor he without me.
Above me the fluttering of wings announced the King’s arrival. I recoiled back into my warrior’s arms, secure in the knowledge we were one.
The room immediately became crowded. Falco flew beside our grandfather followed by only a few I recognized. Lord Lothar landed with Roderic. Roderic, my own cousin whom I had never met, but knew from the Shimmering Pool, stared at me. Cono lowered his head and bowed. A moment later, I curtsied. The delay did not go unnoticed.
Rising back up, the King frowned upon me. I didn’t care. I was to stay. He had need of me and I had shown him my worth. Hadn’t I? The years of his treatment brewed inside of me. The unfairness of all swelled deciphering what I had witnessed this day…the world that had been denied me.
King Edulf gestured for the Sordarins on the ends to spread out, exiting out the entrance door. A few moments later the room held only a trusted few, except Roderic who still stood by Falco. King Edulf nodded to his other grandson.
“Roderic, check to make sure all is secure.”
Roderic’s jaw clenched and muscles twinge, but he bowed and retreated out of the room. My brave thoughts forgotten when King Edulf’s attention turned once more on me. I was once more the child cowering in his bedchamber. My legs buckled beneath me. Cono’s arms caught me.
“She weakens only slightly now when her power is expelled, your Majesty,” Cono offered.
King Edulf nodded, but his intense stare remained on me. I had not seen him for well over four years. Four years since he banished me to the Forbidden Forest to train without distractions, to become the Euchoun Scarladin had need.
“Where did you get the gown?”
Of all the words I expected him to utter, those were not among them. I looked back confused at Cono and back at the King.
“It is my eighteenth year today, your Majesty. It was a gift.”
“I see your manners have not improved. I asked who gave it to you not for what reason.”
My chest heaved. Cono squeezed my hand, but I jerked it back from him. Suddenly regaining my composure, I answered, “Since I have been banished, your Majesty, my contacts have been few as you yourself have seen to, but I have no control over the spirits in the Forbidden Forest. The Wood Spirit in his kindness gave it to me to meet my destiny he said.”
“It was not a Wood Spirit,” he said solemnly and without emotion.
“I have not told you a lie. How else would I get anything, Your Majesty?” I implored. My fears forgotten replaced with only my anger. “I have nothing. My only tunic lies upon the ground by the stream. You question a gift and question not how I came. The Wood Spirit sent me through today. He told me it was time. If I questioned, I would question why it was not you that sent for me.”
“It is not your place to question me.”
“What is my place?”
Ignoring my brother’s pleas to contain myself and refusing to look over at Cono whom I was certain would have silenced me, I rebuffed their intent. They hadn’t lived as I, with purpose perhaps, but I had been promised this day to return. I met King Edulf’s stare with my own. Comprehending for the first time, he wasn’t acting as my grandfather, but my king.
“You are a Euchoun bond to protect.”
Without care of etiquette or fear of reprisal, I interrupted. “In which I have and will always. But I ask you, Your Majesty, how can I do so from the Forbidden Forest? Has it not become obvious I am needed?”
“It is well you were here today,” he acknowledged. Flexing his wings, he walked around me, making no effort to conceal his assessing of my being. “With the display, I can well see Twiten and Cono have done well in your training. Your skills have greatly improved.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty,” Cono offered. “We are prepared as you can see. It is well she has returned. I will see to her needs this day…”
“Plans have changed, Cono,” King Edulf said in a commanding tone. “In all I was premature to agree to all you asked. I have need of you this evening. The Celebration Ball has to go on as planned and your presence is required. I will see to Kela. Falco will be calling for Sareta.” He turned back to me. “It isn’t time, Kela. You are to return back to the Forest.”
“No!” I cried, stepping backwards to Cono. “I refuse. I’m not going back ever. I have done all you required. I have trained endlessly. It is all I have done. I’m eighteen today…”
Reality returned blaring before me. I tumbled backwards out of Cono’s reach. Shaking my head, I fought back the water welling in my eyes. Warriors did not cry. I was not a child anymore and I refused to let that man see me cry. All eyes within the room lay upon me like a caged animal.
Cono stepped forward, bowing low, but his words plain to hear. “Your Majesty, I must object. You gave me your word. All is set. She is already here. People have seen her power. They know or will soon comprehend a Euchoun is present. I have all arranged to keep her out of harm’s way. We agreed…”
“It is regrettable, but a complex matter has reared its ugly head once more that needs to be extinguished. Until then, I see no alternative except her return to the Forest,” his words echoed in my ear.
I looked around again and panic fluttered. His reason…I didn’t care. I wasn’t going back. No, no, no…please, no. I hesitated and then said, “I can take care of myself, Your Majesty. Do not be concerned that I will claim myself as your granddaughter…”
“It is not my concern, Kela. You’re not.”
My eyes widened on his words. Confusion rang. He gestured with his hand to clarify his meaning.
“My granddaughter, Kela Calledwdele, died years ago. Misfortunate, but tragedies are expected in life. You are a Euchoun. It is time you come to terms with all that it pertains. Sacrifice is the life of a Euchoun.”
Not his granddaughter! Sacrifice! Looking around, I saw within Cono and Falco both had known. Incipient hysteria surfaced within my being.
“Then who am I?”