by Rhiannon Paille
Series: The Ferryman & The Flame, Book 2
Genera: Young Adult Fantasy / Paranormal Romance
Published: April 2nd 2013
How far would you go to destroy yourself?
Krishani always knew he would have to go to the Lands of Men, but he never thought it would be like this. Enemies everywhere, an ancestor he can't respect, elders he can't trust, a curse he can't stop and friends he can't help but hate. Desperate to end the pain, he sets out on a quest to find the other Flames and face the enemy that took everything from him.
Krishani sighed and looked at the stars. The vastness of the lands stretched into a thousand tiny dots. The day had felt the longest since he left Avristar. He closed his eyes, getting lost in memories of Kaliel all over again, the softness of her smile and the shining greenness of her eyes.
Shivers ran up his spine. He would never let Kaliel go. She had entwined herself into his heart and it was her Flame that kept it beating day after day even when he had nothing left. He only fled Avristar because she told him to. If it had been up to him he would have had the axe of destruction fall on him, forcing his return to the Great Hall and leaving the Tavesins without a Ferryman, immortality or not.
He sighed and opened his eyes. Aulises stared at him, her green eyes full of innocence and curiosity. She looked away when he looked at her. He turned his back to her, but there were shuffles behind him, footsteps in the sand, a dress swishing around in the wind. He felt the log shift as she sat. He stole a glance in her direction. She focused on the fire, grief etched into her features. He thought she must have seen roughly sixteen summers, give or take a couple. Her tiny body made it hard to judge.
“I have no home,” she whispered.
Krishani gulped. He remembered the morning he had woken up with Kaliel in Nandaro. She said the same thing. Even with melancholy making the girl look distinctly unlike Kaliel, it was still a biting thought.
“I know the feeling.” He went rigid and watched the salamanders dancing in the flames. He tried to let his thoughts drift away from the girl and her similarities. As the silence ensued, he slipped back into the dark thoughts that kept him occupied every other moment of the day since the attack on Avristar. He loathed the idea of facing off with the Daed a second time. He needed to see the cold terror of the one who had taken her life. He shuddered unexpectedly and felt a hand on his leg. He glanced down, Aulises’s hand on his thigh.
Wild anger rushed into his body. He glanced at her, an apologetic and suggestive young girl with bright green eyes bored into him. It took no time at all to know what the girl wanted. He was disgusted and appalled. He ripped himself off the log and drew his sword.
“Harlot!” His eyes went wide and she turned fearful. Krishani held the sword at her throat, his entire body pulsing with debasement. “Look at me that way again and I won’t think twice about cutting your throat.” His voice was low and uneven. It hurt to get the words out.
Aulises scrambled backwards and fell in the sand. Her eyes flashed with the same murkiness as her family. “You like me,” she said with a sneer, her lips twisting into a devious smile.
Krishani stepped over the log, his lips turned up in disgust. He clenched the sword tighter and pushed it to her throat. “You’re a thief’s daughter. I feel nothing for you. I won’t hesitate to kill you.”
Aulises dipped her head back and let out a sob that sounded more like laughter. “End me. I have no family and nowhere to go.” She said it slowly, her bare neck exposed, the sword pointed at it.
Krishani froze, blinked, heat rushing into his extremities.
“Krishani!” Shimma called from the cabin. She ran across the sand, pausing when she was close enough to the girl. “What are you doing?” she asked, her eyes panicked.
Krishani hung his head. Deep down he knew he couldn’t kill her, not when she looked so much like Kaliel. It would be like ending her himself, and he could never do that. He blinked and pulled the sword away from Aulises’s throat. He fumbled with it and eventually shoved it back into the scabbard. Shimma knelt beside Aulises as she sat up.
“He looked like he needed comforting.” Aulises sounded meek again, nothing like the devious girl Krishani faced moments ago. He made a guttural noise with his nostrils and stalked towards the cabin.
“Keep her away from me.”
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