Rhyshladlyn flinched, pulling back from the embrace to look at Azhuri with narrowed eyes, eyebrows pulling down in a frown. “How do you know about the Nameless, Mah-avtmen?” He asked, voice wary, hands clasped over his mother’s upper arms just above her elbows.
To her credit, Azhuri didn’t look even remotely ashamed or taken aback at the tone her youngest son took with her. At this point, very little was able to faze her.
“There are things we should probably take the time to discuss, Rhyshladlyn,” she said cryptically and Rhyshladlyn’s eyes narrowed further.
“You spoke the name of a Patron god that is old enough that its place in the Great Temple had gone so long bereft of homage payers that the dust was thick enough to mimic paint,” Rhyshladlyn bit out in reply, pulling further back away from her. “It is the name that only those who are Marked by Him are told of.”
“Rhys, please, this is not a discussion we may have here!” Azhuri hissed out, voice full of a desperation that Rhyshladlyn had heard only a few times in his life; one of the most recent being when he blew into her personal chambers, livid that he had been spoken for by Anislanzir, that his personal guard had been accused of rape of all things, and demanded if she had known before the missive had arrived from the Eighth Qishir calling Azriel to the Eighth Palace and the tribunal of the Elders of his race. That was the day Rhyshladlyn had begun to believe that the walls of the Palace really did have ears and all of those ears listened for his father’s benefit and no one else’s.
“Then where, Mother? For there seems to be a mighty large amount of things we need to discuss that I feel should have been mentioned some time before this moment,” he bit back, knowing he was probably being grossly unfair to her but he was so damned tired of her ‘for the greater good I kept things from you’ bullshit. Because if his assumptions were correct, he was a Greywalker, and if that was the case, then the memories and knowledge Azhuriel had just gifted to him by force, triggered by the Deathbed Prophecy of some random peasant made to be a soldier for the sole purpose of Rhyshladlyn murdering him for Anislanzir’s pleasure and nothing else spoke of far more intriguing things. Like that Azhuri herself was a descendant of the few Greywalkers to escape the Cities ahead of the genocide enacted by Qishir Lulphé’s predecessor, Qishir Xhala Qinshi.
And part of him was so incredibly furious at the entire thing.
“My son, please, I know you are angry and hurt and confused, and I am so sorry that I had any part of that, of this, but you must drop this line of conversation before your father figures out you are once again yourself and proceeds to question what happened. I will explain everything when we can safely do so but not right now,” Azhuri replied, that desperation saturating each word she spoke like honey on bread.
Rhyshladlyn sighed heavily and nodded before he looked down at his wrist and quickly cast a glamour on it to hide the Marking. Last thing he needed was the Lord King to see that.
Gods, I feel as though I could sleep for two hundred years and it wouldn’t be enough to curb this exhaustion.
“Azhuri!” Anislanzir’s voice cut across the library suddenly and both Rhyshladlyn and Azhuri jumped at the sound, turning in unison to meet the gold eyes of the Lord King.
“Yes, my Lord?” Azhuri replied, once against the model of the perfectly demure and poised female of royal blood. It would be impressive how quickly and easily she could shift from the open, desperate female speaking to her child of moments before to this cool, controlled, submissive female speaking to the male who amounted to nothing more than her tormentor if the reason she was capable of it wasn’t so disgusting in its necessity.
“Has the boy recovered himself?” Anislanzir asked and Rhyshladlyn barely controlled his face in time to keep from raising an eyebrow and smiling derisively because obviously he had given that he was looking at the bastard.
“Yes, fahmen, I have,” Rhyshladlyn replied before his mother could speak, leaning forward slowly, indicating that Azhuri should move back so he could stand, when she had done so and he was on his feet and far steadier with it than he had expected, the youngest heir to the throne held out his hand to help the Lady Queen to her feet.
“What happened here exactly?”
For a moment Rhyshladlyn stood there in stunned silence because for a moment it sounded almost as though Anislanzir was concerned about him, but that was impossible. That male had never given a shit about him his entire life. Glancing behind Anislanzir to his siblings, Rhyshladlyn carefully noted their slow, deliberate gestures and mouthed words before replying.
“We were simply sitting discussing the deplorable skills of that soldier I dispatched this morning and that Qityor must be getting rusty in his training when suddenly there was this thunderous silence and then chaos erupted. I do not remember anything after that before coming to myself and having Mother in front of me.” Did anyone hide that tome before he got here?
*Yes, we took care of it,* Shadiranamen said and Rhyshladlyn sighed silently in relief.
*Barely got it hidden in time because that son of a bitch got here hella quick but still, it’s safe and that’s all that matters,* Nhulynolyn added and Shadiranamen chuckled though gods only knew at what. Rhyshladlyn was rapidly becoming aware of the fact that she had an odd sense of humor.
Anislanzir hummed thoughtfully as he crossed the distance between them and stopped within arm’s reach of him, gold eyes unwavering and darker than Rhyshladlyn had probably ever seen them. “So, you said nothing nor did anything that may have set off such an event?”
Rhyshladlyn raised both eyebrows before he could stop himself. “‘Such an event’?” He parroted questioningly.
“Yes, such an event. What happened here was a magickal event that set off the defenses built into the very foundations of this City when it was first constructed. For the time that the whirlwind raged within this library attempting to tear it asunder the City sang and every individual within its confines was sent to their knees by a force unseen. And then the beacon lit. I have no doubt that each City like Shiran experienced the same thing,” Anislanzir replied, leaning forward slightly.
“What could that possibly mean?” Rhyshladlyn asked, genuinely curious. He knew the second he asked that he shouldn’t have because absolute glee rioted across his father’s features then, those eyes beginning to glow with his power.
“You tell me, beloved second son of mine,” Anislanzir retorted.
“Why would I have any idea what the hell happened and why?” he bit back, bristling at the idea that this shit was entirely his fault.
“Well, Rhyshladlyn Nhulynolyn, because the City only began to sing and the beacon lit up once you screamed,” was the reply, Anislanzir looking for the first time utterly unfazed by the blatant disrespect Rhyshladlyn had shown him mere moments before. “So again, you tell me what it means and do refrain from pretending to be clueless,” he cleaned all the closer, one hand shooting out to fist itself in the fabric of Rhyshladlyn’s shirt, hauling him the last couple of inches between them so when next the Lord King spoke it was directly into Rhyshladlyn’s ear, “because I know you aren’t as clueless as you’re pretending to be and so help me, if I need to cut it out of you, I will have my answers.” With a flick of his wrist, Anislanzir released him and Rhyshladlyn stumbled backwards several steps, barely keeping his balance. “Take a few days to recover but come sundown three days hence, you will be in my private chambers and we will have a chat over dinner. Am I understood, Rhyshladlyn?”
Hands curling into fists as the urge to just pummel that damn smile off the Lord King’s face screamed along every instinct in his body, Rhyshladlyn inhaled deeply and let out the breath slowly, fingers uncurling until his hands were lose at his sides.
“Aye, fahmen, I understand you perfectly,” Rhyshladlyn replied and watched as the Lord King turned on his heel and sauntered out of the library.
As soon as the doors shut behind him, Rhyshladlyn flung his arm up, palm facing the ceiling, made a fist and jerked his hand back down, blanketing the library in a silencing charm that was strong enough to send the ears of everyone still within the confines of the library to ringing before he let loose a roar of fury that made fine cracks skitter out across the floor from where he stood, shook dust and debris from the ceiling into a mock-snowstorm around his head, power swirling and crackling around him like an ominous thundercloud in the distance. Closing his eyes tightly he hissed and as quickly as his power snapped out of control, it was reigned back again; the casting falling away as though it had never been there between one breath and the next.
Rounding on where Azhuri stood by the chair he had previously been in, Rhyshladlyn bared his teeth and pointed a shaking finger at her, “You will meet me in exactly two hours in the Great Temple, back where one makes manners to the Old Ones, and so help me if you withhold one single thing more from me for any reason, I will raze this City to the ground and take you with it.” Then, much as his father had done before him, Rhyshladlyn turned on his heel and stalked towards the library doors.
“Where are you going?” Anis called.
Without breaking stride, Rhyshladlyn tossed over his shoulder, “I have an errand to run.”
“Okay, but where?” Alaïs asked.
Stopping only long enough to throw open the doors, Rhyshladlyn snarled over his shoulder, “The Eighth Palace,” and then he was through the doors and gone from sight as he caught one of the Lines before they even had time to close behind him.