CHAPTER 40 - Of a Chief (Part II)

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"His mother killed your father!"

"What did you just say?" I blinked in surprise.

"It's true, my child." She sagged and sat back on the settee where I had been sitting a while ago.

"Why...but..." I remembered Ralph's mother's face from the ring. She had looked at me with pure loathing. Even Ralph had once let out that his mother was difficult. But it still didn't make sense!

"She found out. Sent men in his search, in our search. And they...they found us in the forest of the Viridi, asked the coffeeshop owner, you know, Uncle Barak. Well, he alerted Matt. But it was too late. I ran with you and Amelia, but your father..."

"Stop!" I cut her off with a yell, "You are not making sense."

She let out a huge sigh and composed herself, "Your father and I, we were young and the Conquest had just begun. It just happened. He walked into my High Lady's tent instead of his own - was a bit bad with directions, your father." She allowed herself a small smile and something tugged in my heart, "And we met and we kept stumbling into each other after that. And things...things happened...and when we found that I was pregnant with you... we were scared. I asked help from my High Lady..."

"Una's mother," I mumbled.

"Yes. Well, I did not tell her whose child I carried and she helped me lay low. But... Egan's wife found out. Apparently, your father, wanted to be honest with her. And he... told her right before the Finale of the Conquest. But..."

I looked at the Chief's hesitant face and I was scared to find out the truth.

Not supposed to mean anything!

"...but he did not come. He was never seen after that. The Conquest went on without him and...when you were born, I just...I just knew that you harbored a rare power, which has been never known to the world. Already there was so much angst about people Born of Two Realms and along with that you were the most unique. First of a kind. You bring hellfire out of the ground, my child. And there could be many more things, much powerful otherworldly magic that you might never be able to let out of you."

Tears cascaded down her old-wizened yet beautiful face and I felt my throat choking up.

"I was scared. I knew I couldn't keep you in the Autumn Realm, being in such close proximity with Her Highness. She had her doubt about the father of my child being of another Realm than Autumn, but she helped me nevertheless. We were friends out of the court, you see," the Chief said and I thought of Una.

My mother had not trusted Una's mother just like I hadn't trusted Una with my secrets. History repeated itself!

"But then one night...your father disguised as a servant, came to fetch me - fetch us. How he managed to enter the Autumn Realm is a mystery but he somehow did. For you."

I sobbed now, unleashing everything that I had buried deep. He chose me over Ralph.

" us both out. Egan had fled from his wife's clutches and he..." she broke down wildly, as if she was relieving the memories, "he was all wounded, when he came to us. His wife had him under arrest and well, tortured."

"Why?" I asked through ragged breaths.

"Because that's what she is. That's just how the High Lady of Aries House is. I am telling you, Eleni, that woman..." she sighed, restraining herself, "It's a relief he escaped. But it didn't last for long."

My chest heaved frantically. "She really got father killed?"

"Yes. She was forever on the lookout for us. Ransacked the whole Autumn and Summer Realms and that got us peaceful seven years together in the Spring Realm. Amelia's father, Matt, owed a Debt of Life to Egan and so, he helped us hide in the Spring Realm, in Liberan. You have no idea how much I miss our home in the woods, training you, gardening with you, watching you grow up, listening to all the stories your father told you..."

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