FIFTEEN

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Chapter Fifteen

"You have no idea, do you, what she means to all of this, this hunt that you have placed so much concentration on," Dregh points out, turning to her creation as Kyril's lips are pressed together in a firm line. "You say she is merely a translator to your quest but have you no idea the symbol she bears on her soul." What does she mean? Does she know me to be the daughter of Heka? If she knows me to be the daughter of someone that the gods are too looking out for, then she would not hesitate to strike me down, but then again, Dregh seems like someone who loves to play a game. "So innocent you call her, so pure to this world of darkness, but that is merely her past."

I pull my eyes away from the goddess, seeing Duke Gravon with his head still bowed, knuckles white as his hands are fists upon the onyx dirt. He is straying his eyes from the goddess, looking towards me briefly as fear is mirrored in his eyes. His eyes show the same emotion my mother's did years ago when another well-known magician dared to do what my father did, but he did not know the fire he was playing with. I had attended the performance with my mother as it was a tribute to my father's passing, the elites of the entertainment industry surrounding us. That magician wound up in the hospital with internal bleeding, three broken ribs, and third-degree burns. No magician could recreate my father did because that performance of my father's was not an illusion or cheap trick, but actual magic without any extra affects. Gravon holds the terror in his eyes my mother did when that magician almost met his end, an indescribable fear that only grows in power. From the way Kyril and Gravon talked of the gods, I can understand why being in the presence of a god could be so terrifying, but yet it seems like the fear Gravon holds in his eyes is all because of me, and not Dregh.

"Tell me, Candice, how did you happen to wind up realms away from your home?" The goddess looks to me, her head tilted to the side as my throat runs dry. "Look at that, my dearest son, how she is brewing up a lie to lace your mind with as it takes hold and makes you believe her."

"She is my mate," Kyril snaps at his mother, taking one swift stride to place himself directly between his mother and me. "I trust her more than I could ever trust you. You had me just to show off to the other gods, to use for your own selfish needs because eternity is boring."

A laugh fills the air, causing chills to run down my spine as I look past the King before me and to the goddess who is now entertained. "If that is your reason for trusting a human, Kyril of Iduna, then I certainly overestimated all the intellect in that head of yours, all that logic." Dregh walks forward, her footprints leaving trails of a shallow fire, her presence only coming closer to me one again as she is watching me like some piece of art from a museum, as if some piece of work to be admired. Why? I am human, a mere mortal and holding no power in my veins like someone worthy of this world filled with the unreal. "Do you not recall why Iduna was created, Kyril of Iduna, why the gods crafted this world for your kingdom to have existence?"

A force pulls me upwards, the goddess holding out her hand as she twists it, my body following her control as I stand before the goddess, head held high as she inspects me further. "The realm of Iduna was crafted to shield us from the monsters of flame, of hunters lurking in the darkness, and of the fear of our kind being wiped from existence," Kyril contributes to the conversation, bring back words Soka once told me, of how humans were the hunters of her kind and others, the reason for isolation in fear of extinction. To think these people of magic fear the existence of humans, a species holding no power like those from this realm. "The gods wanted a haven for their kin and crafted Iduna, a haven to protect us from the monsters of the light. But those hunters died centuries ago when the last dragon fell, no longer training their kin as they saw we had disappeared."

"Tell me then, Duke Gravon of the Rolling Mountains of the Eastern Isles, since you have studied the creation of this realm, of the unreal power these hunters possessed," Dregh commands, speaking out to the Duke who has remained silent in all of this.

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