CHAPTER 18 - Of an Epiphany

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Note: Check that aesthetic board out! weasley20  made this so amazingly. Definitely go check her graphics book. And this came just in time for this important chapter. ❤️
This is the smallest chapter so far. Let me know  your theories. I published with a shaky hand today lol. 

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I was awake but couldn't dare open my eyes. My head thumped with pain. Chaos spreading all over my body, I tried not to shiver.

Too many things, just too many.

I, being an Earth Elemental, had lived my whole life in the Spring Realm, as a Vacuusha.

My mother had trained me, with weapons, but never with magic. She kept it a secret. Father kept it a secret.

That face from the portrait.

Had my eyes deceived me? Or was that just another young woman who had looked like my mother?

The pain in my head gnawed in my skull, pulsating over my eyebrows.

There was no denying, I told myself sternly, my mother had been the Head Guard of the Lady of the House of Virgo. She was a warrior, raised on the island Virgous, trained at Terraskee. It all made sense to me, why she had been the one to train me while father was the one who educated me.

My father! Was he a warrior too? Of the Autumn Realm? Or...

I sat up straight at the thought that had occurred to me. I pushed it to a dark corner of my head. My problems were so gruesome and explosive that even if I went to Mind Healer, they'd need another.

No. No. No.

Panting hard, I looked around my surrounding. I had been sprawled on a wooden table. It looked like the work-bench of my tent. I was, indeed, in the work-tent of Corresponders.

I recalled the moments, that had passed just before consciousness had left me. Doran had been there. His tired face flashed before my eyes, vulnerable and tortured. He had said something about the Debt of Life.

I pressed my fingers over my forehead, trying to ooze out the headache. I had saved his life that day, with the black tower. That  was the connection we felt.

But I felt a different kind of disappointment. Was that the only reason why he thought of me? I shook my head, knowing it was an absurd thought.

We belonged to the enemy Realms.

And after he would have paid his debt to me, after he would have fulfilled the favor that I would ask of him, it would be like we never even met.

I heard voices around me, Serena was snoring on the chair beside my table. Rosa and Violette were seated around another work-bench to a little distance, not yet noticing that I was awake. A bowl of warm water and a large heating spinner, that whirred softly, were placed beside my makeshift pillow of napkins. My eyes searched for Doran on their own accord.

"How are you feeling, Eleni?" Landon asked coming from behind me.

His voice stirred Serena up and she rose up straight from her chair, clutching my hand, sleep still evident in her eyes.

"Eleni, what happened? Doran carried you in here. I was so shocked. You fainted yet again. Why is that happening? What if the he hadn't found you? Goodness..." She spoke hurriedly, her face etched with fear and worry.

The thought of him, carrying me in his arms, involuntarily made me blush. No. I pushed that thought down too. At this rate, the pit of my dark thoughts would have no room left.

I turned my head towards Landon to see a streak of worry crossing his usually cool face as he spoke, "Let the girl breathe, Serena."

Violette and Rosa came over as well; everyone looked at me, anticipating an explanation.

"I am fine, seriously."

"You keep saying that, but you're clearly not. Is the work stressing you out, dear, or is the cold too much?" Violette asked, coming a little closer to me and placed a gentle elderly hand over my forehead, "You're cold as ice, Eleni," she squealed.

"It's the cold, yes." Serena said promptly. Our eyes met and I knew she was covering up for me. Yet again.

It scared me this time, realizing how deeply involved she was in my dark, chaotic life. A life, full of secrets and danger. She was my only friend, and now with the addition of Una - I gulped down the fear that arose, thinking about Una. I belonged to her House. How would she take this information?

All this time, Una and I had been connected, the past lurking around us, and had jumped out today at me, in the least expected way.

My mother had been her mother's guard. I also realized that it was a key to finding out more about the mystery surrounding my family, but I knew the answers would be just as horrifying as the questions.

"Eleni, how do you know the Sagittarian Prince?" Rosa asked, "Did you two meet again, after that carriage incident?

I recalled my first encounter with Doran, the driver prince, and how Rosa had comically confronted him. That was my safest way out. "Yes, we did," I answered unable to meet her eyes.

In the past one and a half months, I had been constantly lying to everyone around me. Even to myself. I despised my whole life in that moment.

"I am sorry to remind you, my dear," Violette spoke softly, tucking a stray strand of hair behind my ear, "but you have to remember that he is from the Summer Realm..."

She need not finish the sentence, because I knew. I knew just too well. There was no chance. It didn't matter, even if I were from Spring Realm or the Autumn Realm, he and I would never happen. And he had made it perfectly clear that thinking about me, was just because of the magical Debt that he owed me, and that was in fact torturing him.

I nodded my head at them all, averting my gaze, embarrassed to the core, "I know and it isn't like that."

"Go rest up in your chamber for now," Landon advised with a gentle pat on my shoulder, bringing the awkward discussion at a stop. I obliged gratefully. 

Getting down from the table, my feet touched the cool stony land. And my Mark blazed with pain. I swallowed it, not letting it show on my face. Serena had held my elbow, but I gestured her to stay and not follow me.

I walked out of the tent, my right ankle still thumping. Burning.

That was yet another huge question? Why did it not resemble the symbol of the Maiden? The symbol of the House of Virgo! My mother had clearly been an important part of the House. But father...

My heart skipped a beat as I realized. I shut my eyes close, unable to bear the burden of the epiphany. My nails digging into my palms, almost drew out blood. The realization was overdue.

The question that I had buried deep, before opening my eyes earlier, crawled up again, with deadly claws. Begging me to acknowledge the possibility. It was clear as a crystal to me - no one abandons their own Realm, to live in another. No one hides their Elementation powers. 

There was a reason why my Mark wasn't ordinary.

My mother sure was of Autumn Realm, but my father was not.

I was a Luesha. Born of Two Realms.

An Abomination.

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