84

He glanced back at where Rhyshladlyn lay on a stretcher that four guards carried between them. It was hard to reconcile that the male who lay so docilely, so still, was the same one who had ripped through the first layer of spellwork on his collar with all the ease of a child tearing wet paper. It was hard to reconcile that the slave he had come to know and call friend was the legendary Grey Qishir. That for the first time in three hundred years the Worlds had felt a sliver of his magick, that for the first time since finding out exactly who he was, Xefras had gotten to see a sliver of that truth in action.

Looking away so he didn’t stumble over his feet and knock into Iköl who trudged along ahead of him, again, he rubbed his hands together and tried not to think of the way Rhyshladlyn’s power had rumbled down his skin, had made every inch of his body tingle. Tried not to remember the way that auburn hair had floated around his head, sending the bells woven among the locks tumbling and dancing over each other as they sang sweet notes that had filled the hallway. In that moment he’d gotten only a glimpse of what Rhyshladlyn was truly capable of but it had been enough to steal his breath, to make his heart stutter to a halt before kicking back up at double its normal speed.

How the Anointed One had ever thought he’d be able to keep someone as powerful as the Grey Qishir contained at all, let alone for any true length of time, was beyond him.

For by all the gods, Rhyshladlyn had body walked. Had left his physical body and traveled Worlds away to where his twin was, where Nhulynolyn had been dying, and still managed to have a conversation with Xefras while he did it. Had spoken an attend that had touched both those in the compound and at the cabin. Had put the knowledge of where his twin was in Xefras’ head without speaking it out loud. Had known he had an Other, knew that by sending Hythin, he was sending a veritable army of Otherborn. All without ever saying a word verbally. Just a single touch of magick, of power, and he’d known.

What is he capable of without any limitations on his power? 

The thought was both exhilarating and utterly terrifying.

They passed a bank of windows that let in the late afternoon sunlight and he chanced one more glance at the Qishir. Watched the way the sunlight played with the high- and lowlights in Rhyshladlyn’s hair, the way it made his tanned skin look darker with a touch more gold than he was used to seeing. Watched it glint off the bells in the Qishir’s hair as the movement of the guards carrying the stretcher sent them tumbling over one another with soft chimes. He longed to see what those orange-amber eyes looked like in the sunlight, longed to see what they looked like filled with his power, with the truth of him loud and filling every inch of his muscled, battle-hardened frame. 

Longed for the day that the great Grey Qishir was free once again.

“Hurry up!” Lílrt’s voice pulled his attention away from Rhyshladlyn and to where the Anointed One stood waving impatiently at them from near the end of the hallway. “I want him secured before he wakes up.”

Xefras stood to the side with Iköl as the guards jogged the rest of the way, ducking into the room Lílrt gestured towards. After a respectful amount of time he went to follow after them, to join Rhyshladlyn in what would be the Qishir’s new rooms when a hand on his arm stopped him.

“No, slave,” he looked up to find Iköl grinning at him and definitely didn’t like the way it touched the Cymerian’s green eyes. “You’re coming with me for a bit.” The Cymerian snickered at whatever expression had touched his face before he could control it and outright laughed when he glanced down the hallway at where Lílrt stood watching the guards get Rhyshladlyn settled in. “Don’t worry, you won’t be separated from his majesty for too long.”

He stared at the hand wrapped around his arm, stared at how the Cymerian’s rich brown skin made his own look borderline translucent. Stared because he didn’t like the way Iköl was holding on to him as if he was an Owner and not just a Better. But he couldn’t do anything about it without taking greater risks against Rhyshladlyn’s safety and his own. So instead he just stared until Iköl let go and once he had, Xefras dropped to his knees to make a proper bow. After a count of ten as was required, he stood and followed Iköl down the hallway passed Rhyshladlyn’s open bedroom door. His stomach twisted into knots at the sight of the guards strapping the Qishir to a table with heavy, magick-laden chains. He knew that such an action couldn’t mean anything good.

Knew that he was being called away because Lílrt didn’t trust him not to interfere again. Which made sense from the Anointed One’s perspective but by all the gods, Xefras wanted nothing more than to rip Iköl’s throat out and throw it at Lílrt before barricading himself and Rhyshladlyn in that room until Hythin returned with help. But he couldn’t. Not yet.

Soon though, Rhyshladlyn. Soon we will both be free. 

“Eyes on me, slave,” Iköl snapped. “Or you’ll lose them.”

He didn’t reply, couldn’t even if he wanted to because the Cymerian wasn’t looking at him so he couldn’t use the slave language. So instead he watched the way the muscles of Iköl’s back shifted and bunched as he walked. Stared at the spread of the Cymerian’s shoulders where his dark green tunic strained to wrap around them as Lílrt chuckled low as Xefras walked behind him.

“Have fun, Iköl,” the Anointed One called after them just as they made to turn down another hallway. “And remember not to do permanent damage. I have other uses for him besides a few hours worth of fun for you.”

“Of course, my Lord, ” Iköl answered, throwing a smile over his shoulder at the Soul Healer. Xefras had to swallow hard around the bile that rose in his throat at the sight of that smile, of the way it made those pure emerald eyes darken with something he had no words for and didn’t think he ever wanted to have words for. “I’ll get him back in one functioning piece, I promise.”

Xefras didn’t remotely fucking believe him.

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