“We gave you the curse to give to him,” she said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, “We gave you help and shelter, we gave you information about the Emrys and in return you trapped us and set armies upon us, fuelled hatred and ignited a bomb. We were here first, on Earth. This is our land by right and you cannot ignore that.” The voices of the Conlaw grew louder and louder and louder. The worst of it all was, the noise was for me. I held my hands to my ears.
“SHUT UP,” shouted Zephina at the same time as pulling my hand gently down and squeezing reassuringly. They were silenced.
“Thank you. I am not Ximena, that is what I want to start off by saying. People, I am not Ximena. I don’t remember her woes and happiness, and I don’t know why she damned you. I don’t know. All I want to do is fix it. I want to fix what she created, I want to help. But to do that, I need to know. You need to tell me for the sake of your own people. Put our shared past aside, and let us look to the shared future, one in which there is prosperity and friendship.”
Evelyn staggered towards me, “You expect us to believe such blatant lies. You are Ximena. The lying schemer from..”
The draped woman nodded, “Evelyn is correct. We do not believe you. As a majority we have voted not to trust you. But, we will give a second chance. One second chance by proving to us you are good of heart. The fydol’s have our youngest son hostage in the fortress. Retrieve him (safely) and stop the armies deployed in the area and we promise to tell you.”
I looked to Zephina and Elias for reassurance. They both nodded, grimly, so I nodded too.
“Let us have a oath,” said the previously quiet figure in grey in the far corner, facing the still waters of the lake.
“Yes,” said Dai, too eager for my liking. But I nodded anyway. We were trapped and this was the only way out.
The figure in grey took five steps towards me, but remained at a safe distance.
He pulled his hood down to reveal marks across his face, burns in small slashes across his eyebrows and cheeks and chin. I gasped, unable to keep the emotion in. “This was your fault. I want you to know. This was your fault.”
A pit fell deep inside my stomach. I tried to keep a straight face as my conscience mocked me. Your fault? You are one terrible person. He pulled up is sleeves and touched my hand.
“Say, I vow to do my best to bring back our daughter in return we will tell you what we need to know.”
I repeated his words in a monotone voice and a strange flow of energy flew through our equally frozen hands.
We were returned to the ground by the strange transport magic and this time, thankfully, I didn’t try to drown myself. They led us back through the trees, solemnly and gestured to a patch of empty space, bare of anything. No grass or flowers or birds or leaves This must be where the door was made. This must be the exit.
But was what I was doing right? Was this worth it? My heart skipped beats as I took a step forward and I was very conscious of the fact that the Xana’s could sense my fear. It was intimidating.
I cleared my throat, hoping they would catch on to the fact that I wouldn’t know what to do. Elias lent up to my cold ear and said, “Knock,” his breath warm upon my numb by the wind ears,. So I knocked upon the air, in what I thought was the centre of the alclove and surpisingly the door formed. My eyes widened, but I knew I shouldn’t have been so surprised. It was after all nothing compared to the atrocitries I had seen. A hatch opened from the door and the general’s face peeped out. She smiled nervously at me, but didn’t ask questions when the three of us walked in and the Xana’s snarled behind.
We hadn’t formed a plan as of yet. No plan. This was a great start.
“Are you to stay here Ximena?” ushered the general as she led us back through the heavily guarded corridors.
“Aah..Wi,” she stopped as if trying to rephrase her question in fear of myself. “Did you do what was needed?”
I nodded, hoping her questions would just go away into the shadows where they belong.Obviously, I had no idea what she was talking about. I just hoped I was doing the right thing.
“Would you like some fresh clothes?” she said, noticing my have frozen with water white gown.
I sat on the bed, the ache in my head getting forever worse. Someone thankfully caught onto my emotions, and sent her out of the room like trained hound and brought me a cup of steaming herbal tea.
I looked up from the same positron I had been sitting in for the past hour. Zephina smiled warmly.
“Are you feeling better?”
I nodded, not wanting to worry her any further.
“Whtat are we going to do then? How are we going y to free this girl?”
I shrugged, hoping she may have some sort of an idea.. But she followed with an equally stumped shrug. . There was literally no way we could free the girl. I knew the general’s patience would probably only stretch so far. She was only allowing us to do what we were doing because she though w I was still Ximena, that I still knew her horrible secret. I didn’t. And if we attracted too much attention she would ask the king, my nephew, and he would tell her. He didn’t think the Xana’s deserved a breath of air that was widely known.
Perhaps I may have once believed that. But perhaps I no longer do. The xana seemed like many things, distanced, cold and a bit unreasonable but then, they weren’t the evil murders politics made them out to be. I didn’t think if the humans had just left them alone 100 years back and not meddled, they would have brought destruction to humanity.
But then they may have. Their hatred for the fygols stretched further than a bit of name-calling and derogatory thinking. Maybe if they were given the chance, they too would kill everyone different to themselves. They may wreak havoc and plunder and murder; they sure had the capability to do so.
If only everyone could just live in peace and not bicker to fight, my purpose to restore peace would be made a whole lot simpler.