The Seer’s Nightmare

PART TWO: SALVATION

25th November 2016, was a very sad day indeed for the people of the Third Plane of Existence and though the people were unified in one mournful event, Thea’s heart was giddy at the very real possibility of seeing Alyan again. She knew she should not be so euphoric and should instead have been focusing more on helping to console the grief of her innocent, the Prince of Wintria but she really couldn’t help herself. She consoled him as best she could with her mind and heart so happily surrendered elsewhere.

Not that Thea’s ministrations truly mattered to Prince Ismead whose mind and heart were lost in the grief of losing both his parents in one single night, a result of dark magic that had not been seen in Wintria since its advent. Once he was able to pull himself out of the mire of grief and saw Thea dusting his ceremonial gown off, he held both her hands in his own and pulled her into a hug.

Thea had always been averse to displays of affection but on that day, she was even more repulsed than usual. Perhaps it was better off not to have known that Alyan existed at all since previously, she was at least a little tolerant of the Prince’s affections for her. The Prince had never been one to shy away from showing Thea his true emotions. Then in his room, just the two of them, he was able to mourn and she consoled him. He then cupped her face in his hands and stared deep into her eyes. Thea felt very compassionate to his plight but could not reciprocate the affection displayed in the Prince’s eyes.

“Thea- I-” the Prince began but then they were interrupted by a knock on the door and a prompt reminder that there was the burial ceremony to attend to and without further ado, they had to leave or risk gracing the ceremony late. Thea was glad that she didn’t have to talk to the Prince either in the winged horse- driven caravan they shared with other ice nymph warriors or when he had to address the dignitaries from all over the Planes of Existence who had come to show solidarity with him. Among the dignitaries was the Sage of the Undine Pillars and her family which appeared  to have expanded by one; a very beautiful woman was then standing dutifully by the Sage’s own daughter’s side, surrounded by the eerily tall Sprite warriors.

Thea looked nervously around hoping to see Alyan among the crowd, her heart thumping uneasily. She was barely able to carry out her duties for the day and instead frantically sought her true innocent out. Even as she begrudgingly settled in her seat next to the Prince of Wintria, his cold palm enveloping her own, making them out to be the regal power couple they were supposed to be, her frantic search among the historic crowd gathered at the Mountain of the Dead where the people of Wintria, following all proper rituals which ended with embalming their dead and placing them in specially made cocoon-like structures (symbolizing a rebirth to the after-life for the nymph people), came up short. After the proper observances were met, the Sages of their kind began the recitation of the rites of passage into the Spirit World. There was still no sign of Alyan anywhere, to Thea’s great dismay.

The corpses of the lost Prince and his Protector were placed on an elevated pure white slab with mystic runes embedded within it where the dead were usually placed for the rites to be observed, were horrifically marred and contorted with nothing but mere burn holes where their eyes had been. Both their mouths were wide open as if they had died screaming in pain and horror. No one could have thought any harm would ever come to them since Prince Stilbe was their most powerful seer after all. Whatever had killed them had been quick and ruthless and strangely, unforeseen.

The Sages groomed the corpses as best they could, singing hymns and chanting their prayers before beginning the exorcising rights as was the tradition in the case of deaths caused by dark magic to ensure the spirits  would have a safe journey into the Spirit World rather than be forever doomed to roam the earth as lost spirits. However, as the religious rites were all observed, one after the other, the corpses began to smoke before spontaneously bursting into flames. The flames emerging from the bodies as they melted was putrid and darkly stained the air. All gathered were in awe of what they saw. Prince Ismead had to be restrained as he tried running straight towards his parents’ rapidly melting corpses.

The entire thing caused quite the debacle and there was a mad rush towards the safety of Wintria in the mountains beneath the Mountain of the Dead, the tallest Mountain in the whole Third Plane of Existence. The Mystai in attendance came to investigate and reported that the dark magic that had been used to kill the Prince and his mate had been the cause of the bodies burning the way they did.

“Find the culprit behind this heinous act. Close the borders and ensure no one dares leave Wintria until we found out who did this to my parents!” Prince Ismead demanded. The warrior class of Wintria obeyed his orders while the Mystai called in to find the culprits unravelled the complicated magic behind the deaths of the former Prince and his Protector uncovering a trail of dark magic which helped pin a location the Warriors of Wintria spent the rest of the day pursuing which thankfully panned out.

The culprit by association, was apprehended and brought before Prince Ismead and his Protector, Thea. The Prince looked upon the lowly man before him with nothing but awe and wonder.

“Sire, we caught him trying to escape to Ghorma territory and when we asked him to come quietly, he fought and resisted us,” reported the Commander.

Ismead looked at the prisoner once more but with pure loathing taking his flight and resistance as confirmation of guilt. Based off his clothing, the man was probably the same age as he was only with less stature than he. He began plotting his revenge on this obviously disguised dark sorcerer but noticed he was looking at Thea in awe. The Prince turned to his Protector and sure enough, she was staring in awe at the prisoner as well, her mouth open ajar in shock.

“Thea, do you know this man?” Prince Ismead asked in shock.

“Y-yes, my liege and I would pledge my life on it that he is not the culprit,”

“On your life?” the Prince asked surprised.

“Yes my lord. I know this man. He would never practice such dark magic. He is being framed,”

“How do you know this man, Thea?”

“He- he saved my life once,”

The Prince snorted his denial indignantly. Was Thea out of her mind? Since when had she ever been in any life threatening situation that would require this beggar’s help? Where would an esteemed warrior like Thea even meet such a wretch of a man? What a load of nonsense!

“Sire please, trust me. I do not say things lightly, as you are well aware of. This man is innocent. I swear to you, he is innocent,” Thea said desperately.

The Prince would hear none of it. In his mind, he had already caught his parents’ murderer. That he had been caught fleeing was further proof of his guilt. His execution would be held the following morning after he was interrogated. Thea begged and pleaded for mercy or at least for the justice of a fair trial but it was no use. She was not allowed anywhere near the dungeons during interrogation but felt every torture Alyan was subjected to, felt his anguish, his pain… She mourned for him, begging them to stop- why must they subject an innocent man to such horrid punishment? It was too much to take. What could she do?

She plotted fighting her way through to him, consequences be damned. No one saw it coming and she fought and defeated so many of her colleagues before they started gaining on her. Inevitably, they caught her and kept her in a cell as far away from Alyan’s as possible. Not that it would have mattered anyway… Alyan had passed out because of the torture he had endured.

Thea wept even as the guards came back with a stunned Prince Ismead who was brought up to speed on what she had done to try to get close to the prisoner. The Prince was not allowed in her cell, however, for fear of his safety.

“Thea, what is the meaning of this? Why are you behaving so eerily? Has this man bewitched you too?”

“I told you he is innocent! And yet look at what you’ve done! You’ve tortured an innocent man and all for what? He didn’t kill your parents!”

“The magic was traced back to him. There is no doubt of his guilt, Thea but it appears he really has bewitched you. Look at you- how you weep for him. This is not normal, Thea,”

“Let him go. He has not bewitched me! He is not to blame. Release him and I will find the real culprit- I’ll tear him limb from limb and bring you the pieces if I must but let this innocent man go,”

“Thea-”

“Please, if you love me, I beg of you, let him go,”

Prince Ismead was even more stunned. Since he had known her, Thea had never emotionally blackmailed him before. How would he find the courage to say no to her when she put it like that? Of course he loved her. Thea was his Protector and he was her charge, her innocent. Why would she blackmail him like that? Who was this man truly to make her resort to things so beneath her?

“My love, why would you put me to the test like this? Why ask me to let go of my parents’ murderer?”

“Because it isn’t him. Please believe me, Prince Ismead. Have I ever lied to you? Have I misguided you even once? Trust me on this. This man is a hero- he saved my life,”

“That’s- that’s impossible, Thea. He couldn’t have. How do you even know this man? Are you certain that your memory has not been compromised?”

“I am of sane mind. Please-”

“Hush now, my love. It will be alright. You have taken such great care of me and now it is my turn to do my part,”

Thea watched the Prince nod to the guards and they got into her cell and held her down as one injected her with a sleeping potion and after that, her world began to dissolve and disappear, giving way to the dream world. She sought Alyan out but he wasn’t in her dream even as she began to scream and plead for him. He was going to die and there was nothing she could do to protect him. She was helpless, oblivious to her dream-scape reshaping itself and just when all hope seemed lost, she felt some reassuring hands on her shoulder.

She looked up to see Alyan, standing in her dream looking as magnificent as a god, shining ethereally.

“I thought I told you to forget about me,” Alyan chastised her.

She stood up and threw herself at him, felt his arms around her and sighed in relief. “Never. I can never forget you,” she told him firmly looking into his eyes. He shook his head as if stunned by her declaration and sighed as if defeated but caressed her face and she happily let him, indulging in every loving stroke.

“I am not him, Thea. I am not a prince. I am a poor farmer’s son. I can’t offer you the life that he can. I am a coward. That’s why I ran instead of attending my own parents’ funeral,”

“Your- your parents?”

Alyan nodded. “Biologically, anyway,”

“Do you mean that-”

“I was supposed to be the Prince of Wintria but Ismead and I were switched at birth. Whoever did it was powerful enough to convince my parents and the entire Kingdom that Ismead was truly the prince’s son,”

“Why didn’t you tell anyone?”

“No one would believe me,”

“Does- does that mean that I’m- I’m your Protector? Have we imprinted?”

“Not entirely. You must swear allegiance to me for that to happen,”

Thea got down to her knees.

“No, Thea! Not here- not now!”

“I want to do this now, please-”

“Not now. Some-some other time. Right now, just rest, okay? You’ve been through enough,”

“How can I sleep when I must arise to save your life?”

“We are no longer in any danger, Thea. As unlikely as it seems, we were rescued from Prince Ismead’s clutches,”

“How?”

“I don’t… really know or understand it. I am not even certain of our rescuers’ identities. I cannot… I do not possess my prophetic powers in this land,”

“You- you can see the future?”

“Multiple possibilities, yes, at least as much as my mind can perceive which I suspect is not so much,”

“Why do you doubt your abilities? You are the true Prince of Wintria! You are the greatest seer that has ever lived,”

“Imprinting makes you think so but that’s not true. My counterparts across the other Planes of Existence are much more powerful than I could ever hope to be,”

“Be that as it may… You are not without your own power. None should underestimate you,”

Alyan smiled. His smile was the sunshine through dark, stormy clouds. She responded with a smile of her own.

“No, they should not underestimate me because of you. You’re the strongest Protector I have ever known,”

“Now you’re exaggerating,” she said shyfully surprised she was even capable of shyness.

Alyan laughed and it was amazing how much younger he appeared to be. She laughed with him and spent time with him until she awoke on a comfortable hospital bed rather than in a prison cell. She reached out to him to make sure he was real, still convinced that she was dreaming, artistically carving out his facial features with her fingers.

“Better stop that, Thea,” Alyan warned her.

“Why? What’s the problem?”

“You are the chosen mate of Prince Ismead,”

“No, I am yours just as you are mine, Alyan,” she said.

Alyan sighed and shook his head. He sat up and so did she, peering at the unfamiliar room. Thea observed the ugly wounds he had incurred from being tortured a few hours prior and her eyes began to water. That he could even bring such a powerful warrior to cry was overwhelming to Alyan.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t stop that. I failed you,” Thea said, tears pouring down her face and freezing in place. Alyan smiled and she felt all better. “It’s okay. He lost his parents and I was acting guiltily so… I guess I can’t really blame him,”

“Don’t make excuses for him! He acted on blind loathing and rage. Not even my word was good enough for him,”

“Grief can do that to someone. Don’t blame him too much. He has lost so much already- his parents and now you too. He will loathe me until the day he dies,”

Thea sighed and shook her head. “Come what may, I will protect you,”

“I have no doubt that you will,” he said confidently. He then stared into her eyes and got lost in them. In mere seconds, the chemistry between them proved too much and they inched closer to each other. They were interrupted by someone clearing his throat loudly and they turned to face him.

“Ah, I see that both of you are already making an excellent recovery. Without wasting any more time, kindly allow me to introduce myself to you. My name is Ember and I am the one who brought you here,”

Alyan and Thea looked at him puzzled, wondering who he really was and how or even why he had saved them in the first place.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Didn’t catch part one? No worries, I’ve got you covered 😉 . Please copy paste the link below into your address bar and Eureka! Thanks. https://wordpress.com/post/elenaverseblog.wordpress.com/3704

 

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