68

“Sheieh, what is wrong? Why are you calling again so soon?” 

He never thought he’d be relieved to hear the Anointed One’s voice. 

As quickly as he could and still be coherent, he explained the current situation, giving as many details as he could which was little to nothing except information on Relyt’s sudden shift in temperament and mannerisms. But every instinct was loudly telling him that something was disastrously wrong. Wrong enough that he didn’t even question whether calling Lílrt meant he was choosing his loyalty to the Anointed One over his loyalty to Relyt. Because the only other Dhaoine he could think of that could help him here was Lílrt. And if it kept Relyt safe, if it meant his charge survived whatever insanity had overtaken him and saw him running full tilt back to the Grey Court’s cabin? Then ultimately his loyalty to his charge was not in question. 

At least, that’s what he told himself to assuage any guilt that would otherwise try to plague him. 

“Lock down the Grand Palace and then follow him, Sheieh. Do whatever it takes to keep him safe, to keep him alive. I will meet you there.”

“Aye, my Lord,” he answered as he turned to head inside and find a Palace guard. 

“And Sheieh?” He glanced down at the mirror in his finely shaking hands and swallowed hard at the look on the Anointed One’s face. “If any harm befalls my brother, I will personally make your worst nightmare a living reality.” 

The call cut off before he could say anything in response which was just as well because he had no idea what to say in response. 

It had been maybe twenty minutes tops since he’d last laid eyes on Relyt. Less than that since he’d called the Anointed One in broad daylight, in full view of all gathered in the main courtyard, with the chance that Relyt had seen him too high to risk normally. He’d moved as fast as he could both to carry out Lílrt’s orders and to follow after his charge. But he only dared travel so fast across the Lines, only risked staying on one for so long before he’d jump to another. It had cost him precious time he didn’t have to waste, but arriving late was better than not arriving at all.

The thought wasn’t nearly as comforting as he wished it to be.

He was nearly there when he felt a ripple of unease slide across his skin and smack into the Line with enough force to make it wobble. Cursing under his breath he dropped from it, spread his wings, and banked towards the cabin just as the Line heaved and those nearest it whined as the ambient magick of and near them shifted into something that felt like Chaos and Order mixed. He didn’t dwell on it, there wasn’t time.

A yell rent the air and he flew faster, thankful that Fènwa’s desert landscape seemed to always have wind that was fit for nothing but making flying at any speed easier. He was less than a league away when a concussive wave rocketed outward in all directions, bringing with it a searing heat that felt like it was melting the skin from his bones. Crying out he caught a thermal and rode it until he was high enough that he didn’t feel that heat anymore but could see it making the air shimmer as another wave and another and another disturbed the shifting desert sands in rapid succession.

He stayed well above that shimmering heat and flew closer, trying to read for a signature, trying to understand what was going on. But there was no aura, no magickal signature to be sensed, nothing but those repeated concussive waves. Nothing but the sense of growing tension but not like any Dhaoine in the Worlds was used to with the loss of Balance. This was like something was coming, something terrifying and amazing, something he had the distinct feeling he didn’t want to arrive but knew was inevitable regardless of that want. 

Less than a mile from the cabin but over five miles above it, he saw Relyt stumble down the front stairs and fall to his knees in the grass. Watched as Lílrt came vaulting down after him, looking furious and deadly with it. Which made no sense because even when Relyt was at his worst right after Rhyshladlyn’s collaring, Lílrt had been careful and patient with his little brother. He called their names as he dove towards them, catching Relyt’s attention but not the Anointed One’s which was even more odd than Lílrt going after Relyt with such anger and deadly intent. But Sheieh had no time to dwell on it because the second Relyt looked away the Anointed One launched at him, fist colliding with his cheek hard enough that Sheieh could hear the bone snapping.

With a roar he landed hard and fast, using his momentum to sprint towards them. But as soon as he was within touching distance the tension that had been building hit a peak and then broke. 

Reality whined around them, took a breath, another, and then snapped.

He was only vaguely aware of being tossed feet over head through the air while someone nearby screamed their throat raw, and then nothing.

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