“You must let me heal you,” Iris said, getting increasingly frustrated as Will pushed her hand away.
“No I do not want your taint on me,” he said, coughing up thick globs of blood as he soon as he said it.
“What taint sir?” Theo asked, although he seemed to direct the question to Iris as well. He passed a handkerchief to Will who smiled at him gratefully. He wiped his mouth and hands.
“It means that my powers can taint those with supernatural abilities such as you and Will. It means you will have a shadow of my abilities passed onto you but in certain circumstances this can kill the person, such as Will who is of an unknown species,” Iris explained.
“That’s exactly why I am not allowing her near me,” Will added, scrunching up the handkerchief in one hand.
Iris went closer to Theo and lowered her voice. “If I do not help him he will die, if I try to help him there is a chance he will live.”
Theo saw her eyes begging him to believe that she was right, that it was the only way. He also saw Will starting to become feverish, his eyes un-focusing and starting to roll about in his head in a state between delirium and reality.
“Okay,” he said.
“You must restrain him,” Iris said, moving right of Will whilst Theo took the left.
Will’s eyes locked onto Theo’s, his eyebrows raised in alarm.
“Theo what are you doing?” Will murmured, pushing him away feebly. Theo caught his arms and forced them down. Will’s eyes widened in panic and he began to thrash his legs. He begged “Don’t do this!” Tears ran down his cheeks and he shouted “You’re going to kill me! You’re going to kill me!” When Theo did not let go, he only looked away. He could not stand Will crying.
Iris whispered under her breath some phrases and got hold of Will’s head. He started to scream in pain, light streamed from her fingertips seeming to melt his skull. She sought deeper into his mind, into his soul. The shimmering of his soul’s energy was dimming and receding as she went to it. Her hands reached out, her fingertips brushing its damaged edge with careful precision. Her power fed into Will’s soul and she watched as the curled grey edge began to uncurl and lighten as vivacity was brought back into it. His soul not burning with the influx as energy as she had feared.
Only when she felt Will’s soul could cleanse itself of the poison did something flash before her eyes. She blinked thinking it was her imagination until another dark flash appeared in front of her as a window to a darkened house.
“Ancestral memories,” she thought, another side effect of her healing power.
Iris went to retreat before the memory could take hold. Her foot stepped onto the dark wooden floor of a house and she glanced round to see she was in a hall.
There was a large window with the curtains drawn open to see the full moon peering through, her eyes followed its silvery rays shone on the varnished wood.
A loud wailing tore up the silent air.
Iris stumbled back like the sound had tried to push her off her feet.
The waling continued rising and falling. It was coming from the open door beside her. She pushed the door open cautiously.
The room was small decorated in yellow paint and silver patterns. Gusts of wind blew in from an open window making the thin curtains writhe and struggle to hold onto the curtain rail. There was a pale blue painted cot in the centre of the room with puffs of white fabric spilling out. Iris saw a shadow squirming in it. She made her way towards it, her steps treading carefully, icy cold sweat made her dress cling to her back. Iris squinted her eyes to get a better look and saw a baby crying. Her breath caught in her throat when the dim light strained through the curtains to highlight those young, yellow eyes now huge and scared.
She heard movement round the other side of the table, a constant muttering.
Iris turned the corner of the cot, her eyes perceived a hunched shadow that became defined as her eyes adjusted to the gloom.
Her hand went to her mouth feeling sick with horror because in front of her was a man covered blood, his face buried in the bloody, matted hair of a woman. A dark crescent curved around her pale throat where blood still trickled out.
Iris could not comprehend the scene and watched as the man raised his head, but the man had disappeared and the figure of insanity had taken his place. A knife gripped in his right hand.
“No, no,” Iris screamed, as she backed into the melting wall of the room as the memory disintegrated. The young man’s face was the last thing to disappear, he was younger with the beginning of lines that will mark his face in permanent scowls. He was Dorian.
Reality reformed around Iris as she let go of Will’s head. He collapsed back in the chair in a deep sleep. She fell onto the floor pulling her knees to her chest as she rocked. She gasped for air as the awful scene played out in front of her eyes, a thin veil hiding her eyes from being able to find the somewhat safe present-day.
Theo’s face broke through the veil he looked terrified and she noticed him placing his hands on her tense shoulders.
“Iris what happened?” he asked, the question finally registering after the first couple of times.
“Will,” she whispered in a high pitch voice. “Oh god Will.”
“What about him?” Theo demanded, his face creasing up in worry, in dread.
“I saw something terrible,” she managed to say. Her big eyes locked onto Theo’s. “I think I saw Will’s mother being murdered by Dorian.”
Will was slumped in the chair, completely cut off from the world with the only contribution to the conversation was snores and low throaty growls.
“He will sleep for a long time,” Iris said, sipping from her mug of some hot beverage Theo had concocted. It tasted sweet, sugary bringing warmth tingling all the way to her toes. She was sat on the wooden floor with a blanket draped over her shoulders.
“At least he will recover, thank you Miss Cadance,” Theo said. He was sat cross-legged on the floor near Will. “How are you feeling?”
“I am okay, drained and little shaken by what I saw if I am being honest with you Theo,” she replied. She started to undo her hair in front of him, he watched the way it broke free and flowed over her shoulders, the glints of blond honey tones mixed with rich darker tones. “I am scared about breaking this to Will,” she said, snapping him out of his gaze.
“Why yes… of course,” Theo said, his eyes lingered on her. He moved forward feeling the need to be close to her. She stayed there watching him, her breathing was audible. He stopped beside her suddenly overcome by embarrassment and nerves, he sat down facing the sleeping Will. “Miss Cadance do not worry about that at this moment, wait until Will recovers. Is it a swift recovery?”
“Yes it is considering, he will be fine tomorrow and in a few days back to his grumbling, scowling self.” She smiled and Theo laughed.
“I think I have hardly known the difference since he moaned about being sick. I think he could go to a wonderful paradise and moan about how perfect it is.”
They both laughed at the truth in that thought.
It was true, Will was stalking the house once more complaining about this and that, as if a near-death experience had made no impression on him to be grateful. Theo was secretly glad, it meant Will was being Will once more.
“Someone is going to pay for wasting valuable time putting that death mark on me,” Will announced to the house a few days after. His arms were laden down with brown paper packages dotted with dark wet spots from the rain. His hair was flattened against his head his cheeks and nose reddened from the cold.
“Is that the worst thing you are angry about sir? Maybe just the idea someone tried to kill you might be something to shout about,” Theo said, taking some of the packages from him feeling the rough paper chafed his fingers.
“I am angry about that too,” he said. “Where is Iris?”
“Taking a walk, she said she needed to clear her head,” Theo replied, as they walked into the kitchen. There was Daisy there scouring some pots.
“Hello sirs,” she greeted.
“Good morning miss,” Will replied stopping in front of the doorway so Theo bumped into the back of him. He hardly noticed. “How are you?”
“I am quite fine sir?” she replied, pausing for a moment in her cleaning.
“How was your trip?” Will asked. Theo rolled his eyes at this conversation the packages seeming to grow heavier.
“Sir, can we please put these down,” Theo said.
“Oh yes,” Will said moving slowly forward. His eyes still attached to watching Daisy going back to her cleaning, placing a large pot on the side with a loud clang.
Theo placed the package on the worn cookery table where some bowls of vegetables were. He noticed Will smirking at Daisy, staring her with longing. She wasn’t young there were lines on her face now and some crinkles around her eyes. Yet in the soul her and Will were the same age.
“So did you have a good trip?” Will asked again.
“Yes I did sir,” she replied, wringing a cloth over the bowl.
“Good,” he said, running a hand through his hair. “You can finish washing now, Theo and I require privacy.”
“Yes sir,” she said, folding the cloth quickly and placing it on the side. She went out.
“Wait Daisy,” Will called before she completely disappeared out of sight.
“I need a hot water bottle for tonight to warm my bed,” he said, a mischievous smile pulling at his mouth.
Daisy’s cheeks turned red. “Yes sir,” she said, and hurried out. She closed the door behind her.
“Are you still…” Theo glanced to the door and back to Will.
“Maybe,” Will replied, undoing the strings on the package to release the leaves of brown paper.
“Are you sure about that sir?”
Will rubbed his jaw, there was still thick stubble because he hadn’t shaved yet since the incident.
“Yes I am, I need the warm embrace of a woman Theo as you know I did have a near-death experience.” He smoothed out the brown paper. Theo still stood there his hands resting on the box.
“I am sorry Will,” he blurted out.
“Huh?” Will said, glancing up his eyebrows furrowed in concern. “What is wrong?”
Theo licked his lips nervously. “I could not help you, that I did not have the magic to heal and save you.” His gripped the string wrapped around the box.
“It is not your fault Theo,” Will said.
“I should have been able to heal you, but I cannot because my magic is corrupt,” he said sadly.
“What happened to you was not your fault, and do not blame yourself for what happened to me I am fine now, and that is all that matters. You can still resurrect and do other amazing things with your magic still,” Will tried to explain.
“I was going to be a witch of light, to be of a proud order of people who helped to heal and protect people. They murdered me,” Theo snapped the string and began opening the packaging in mechanical actions. “I still have the scar where they drove the blade into my heart, I was resurrected, and of course I have the scars from later when they used my magic for their evil work.”
“Yes but you got through it all and escaped more or less whole,” Will said. “My father saved your life and you became my brother, family, do not think you are corrupt in any way.”
“I might trust your word,” Theo said, a smell of rotten eggs erupted from the package, he wrinkled his nose.
“Some strong spices and herbs,” Will said, wafting his hand in front of his nose.
“Why does it smell so bad?” Theo asked, pulling the brown paper back over to stop more of the terrible smell escaping.
“It just does.” Will frowned. “Anyway you should trust my word sometimes at least like in this instance.”
Will unclipped a latch and pushed up a wooden lid which was decorated in symbols.
"Now look at this Theo," he said, beckoning him to move forward.
There was worn purple velvet lining the inside of this box, his eyes perceived a small jewelled casket with a small silver handle in the shape of a flower poking out of the top. Will picked it up carefully by this and you could see black and red diamonds patterned so when the light caught them it was like they went up in flames and black smoke. There was silver tightly wound round it into bands.
"Wow that sure is something," Theo said. His ears picked up tiny scratching nearby, he glanced around the kitchen thinking it was a mouse or rat in the kitchen again. Yet the scratching persisted and he realised it was much closer than he first realised.
"Sir is that sound coming from-," Theo tilted his head slightly in the casket's direction.
"Yes it is," Will said, holding the casket closer for inspection. "Yes this little guy is part of the curse we are concocting for my dear uncle."
"So you meet anyone on your trip?" Will asked as he pulled the cotton white shirt over his shoulders.
"No I did not Will," Daisy replied. She was brushing her hair with one of Iris's expensive brushes. He felt his mouth curl into a smile at her saying his name, like they have temporarily transcended the boundaries between social class for this short time. He would cherish that.
"I need to prepare for something important you will probably would not see much of me or Theo-"
"Or the woman who's staying?" Daisy finished. She stood up placing the brush on the side and started brushing down the creases in her uniform.
"Yes her," he said. He was trying to button up his shirt but kept missing or putting the wrong button in the wrong hole. He slammed his hands down on the bed in frustration.
"Let me do that for you," Daisy said, she carefully and methodically began to button his shirt up. "You sound like you do not approve of her."
"I do not trust her and because she looks near my age in appearance does not mean I have any interest in Iris," he said, he placed a hand round Daisy and pulled her closer. "I care about you only and I care for Theo like a brother but I worry about him."
"Why are you worried?" she asked.
"He hasn't been able to look me in the eye since I was healed like he feels guilty. He admitted he felt guilty about not being able to save me but I know him and it is something more, something to do with that Iris." He spat out her name. "I spot them sometimes talking alone together, in secret about something that is eating him up from the inside out. I think Theo is also in love with her."
Daisy smiled. "Is that not a good thing?"
"If it was someone worthy of him yes, but she is not good, the things she has done." Will bit his tongue to stop saying any more. "No I do not approve of her, she is needed for an important job, no more."