Read The Realms of Ethair Online

Authors: Cecilia Beatriz

Tags: #fae, #atlantis, #esp, #extrasensory perception, #alien races, #newagefiction, #alliances, #dimensional realms

The Realms of Ethair (20 page)

BOOK: The Realms of Ethair
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If you would care to join me,” Pellinor
said in a bored tone. He had left his horse to feed on a bush at
the edge of the garden and waited at the foot of the stairs. His
complete demeanor had reverted to the cold and fearless Captain
everyone knew.

Reno followed his guide into the palace.
He was no longer in his territory and trusted only the word of a
very moody Sentry to deliver him to Karina.

The Forest Folk’s honor system was
confusing to understand making them unpredictable in behavior.
Striking a bargain, for example, one must meet the exact
requirements of the deal. If it lacks or exceeds what has been
agreed upon, the Devata would take umbrage.

Devatas they had seen greeted the Captain
respectfully. But, as soon as they laid eyes on Reno, they would
fall eerily silent, their features devoid of emotion, and watch the
pair go.

Pellinor led him to three staircases and
five hallways of varying shapes and sizes. Finally, they stopped
before a pair of wooden doors. It was intricately carved, depicting
a scene of the forest and its inhabitants. The craftsman who
designed the door had masterfully captured the finest details of
the actual setting. Reno could not avert his gaze from it as the
workings on the wood appeared to come alive.

The door creaked open beckoning them

Reno had never been this close to entering
the Devarian Realm, much less the palace. Merleinans usually stayed
at well-trodden paths of the forest and never ventured at the heart
of Kelor-dan’s domain. The two races have always viewed each other
with a certain amount of civility and caution. It was a miracle the
treaty between them has lasted for so long. Pellinor, captain or
not, was the last person he would trust with his life. Reno’s
interaction with them consisted of business contracts and wagers.
He relied on these for his Guards’ survival and his own. Sentries
and Guards have grown accustomed to one another’s presence and
cultural differences when either Captain or Commander threw their
lot to work together. Their leaders’ obvious display of mistrust
ensured that the half-human Black Guards and Sentries’ working
relationship would not evolve to a deeper friendship.

Time flowed differently in each realm.
Dimensional plane travelers, Gate Keepers and Black Guards were
used to the time lapses between worlds. They accepted it as part of
the natural workings of the universe and smoothly adapted to their
present environment. So, Reno was not surprised as sunlight flooded
the chamber he entered.

Two Devarian nobles stood by the
in deep
conversation. The Devarian lord did most of the talking. The words
Reno caught were spoken in their native language of the Forest
Folk. He could relatively understand the Devarian Tongue when
spoken a little slower than how the pair in front of him
communicated. From the slump of the Devarian lady’s shoulder and
the lord’s gesture, the he was apparently consoling the

The Commander wondered about the necessity
of waiting on the two Devatas. He stole a glance at his guide.
Probably, the Captain had urgent business with them. Pellinor’s
conduct had not changed since their arrival at the palace. In spite
of his authoritative air, the rigidity of his stance and the set of
his jaw could mean he was uncomfortable with the current company
he’s keeping; on edge because of the two nobles in front of them
are very important people, judging from the immensity of their
physical auras; or, perhaps, both.

The Devarian lord was the first to see them.
He was clearly not surprised with the arrival of uninvited guests
and cared less for what they had just witnessed.

The lady turned from her friend. Small in
stature and fair in coloring, she was most likely from another
forest in the distant north, and definitely a welcome visitor to
the palace. She wore a white dress, a scarf wrapped around her
shoulders, and her feet were bare. Her clothing was certainly
outlandish in comparison to the Devatas Reno had seen earlier. The
way she carried herself, however, was undeniably regal and demanded
respect. No doubt, the local Devatas outside would not dare mock

Upon seeing them, the lady pulled away from
her companion. She frowned as her eyes darted from Reno to his

Pellinor walked a few paces forward and

“My Prince. Liyanna. The Commander of the
Black Guard requests an audience with Liyanna.”

As the Captain spoke to the two people in
the room, Reno realized that the man before him was no other than
the elusive Kelor-dan. He looked about him searching for Karina but
the Captain had addressed the only female present. The Commander
looked again at the lady, who remained standing by the window. She
was the very opposite of what Karina looked like. The hair and eyes
were completely off.
How much change had Kala meant?

The Prince was talking to him. Absently,
he bowed and replied to Kelor-dan’s questions. His eyes kept
wandering to the woman. Eventually, Kelor-dan returned to her side,
murmuring words of reassurance that he would be nearby in case she
needed him. He kissed her hand and left, Pellinor close at his
heels. The Sentry had evidently decided that his task was complete.
The doors clicked shut leaving Reno with the lady.

She strode over to him, taking in his
appearance as he did hers. Now that she was nearer, he saw the
familiar lines of her face and the color of her aura. He gaped at
her. Reno’s misgivings that Pellinor had intended to mislead him

“Karina.” In an effort to hide his
discomfiture, he folded his arms and gave her a stern look. “What
would the Forest Folk think of us when they catch you in your

I’m afraid they already have,
,” she
replied in her quiet manner. Her mouth twitched then spread into a
small smile.

The Commander chuckled and hugged her. The
student he had grown fond of was still inside, even if the outer
shell had changed. He felt her muscles relax underneath his embrace
and vaguely remembered Pellinor’s strange behavior. Reno shrugged
it off. The Captain was a hard person to trust and harder still to

stepped back. At that moment, he caught movement at the far
end of the chamber. Shifting his gaze from her, he saw an
impressive display of large canine teeth from a lion’s head. The
rest of it was a combination of limbs found in other

Velor’s a friend,” she said.

So, the creature has a
, Reno thought. The
novice had been right all along and no wonder she had been frantic.
Karina had not only risked breaking her neck, she had also taken a
chimera as her means of escape. The creature was rarely seen in the
forest and was more familiar in history lessons and in stories
heard from others.

The beast yawned once more before it laid its
head on a foreleg. Its eyes remained open and watchful.

They moved to the sofa. Karina looked at
ease in the palace as if she was in her own home. She sat beside
him pouring orange juice to their glasses.

Why have you come here, Karina?” Reno
ventured. He could see her purse her lips in thought. After her
awakening, Karina could hide her emotions better from those who
could feel her aura. The Commander would not be able to gauge her
reactions for a while without reading through her

I needed answers,” she replied.

“Was it very urgent that you could not wait
for tomorrow?”


Sensing her reticence, he bowed his head
slightly. He would respect her need for privacy. It was the least
he could do before asking her a favor that would permanently affect

It will take me some time to get used to
your new look.” He studied Karina’s right eye. There were still
flecks of brown in the iris.

I cannot seem to grow accustomed to the
changes in me as well,” she spoke in the Old Tongue. Her hand flew
to her mouth.

“I see what you mean.” Reno arched his brow.
“Perhaps these are residues of your spiritual journey. There have
been situations similar to yours. What they bring with them in
their return gradually diminishes in time.”

I hope you’re right,” she said wistfully.
Karina sat straighter than usual, her fingers smoothing her gown.
Her manners were slightly different.
Has she acquired a new set of habits and
etiquette from where her soul had gone to?

His new assessment of her had not gone
unnoticed. The hands folded primly on her lap and her eyes held
wisdom and patience she did not possess before the accident. It
took effort not to lose focus when the person in front of him
continued to shift from the old
Karina and the new one. The Commander had only known her
for several weeks and found her transformation disconcerting. It
would have been amusing to see Arturion’s reaction, if

.” Worried eyes peered at him. Her insistence to
call him teacher was what endeared him to her first. Childhood and
training in Merleina taught him to be detached. It was no use
keeping the Liyanna innocent from the problems of the country she
resides in. Moreover, he needed her support.

,” she repeated. “Is something the

I’m afraid I need your help, Liyanna.” The
use of the title had the intended effect he expected. The frown of
concern she had for his sake smoothened. The mention of it had
taken her aback. Though almost everyone called her by that name he
had refused to utter it in her presence. But circumstances required
the Commander to force Karina to claim her destiny.

“Commander.” The formality was a good sign,
she would hear him out.

While you were comatose, many things have
happened. There have been random disappearances in the past.
Dimensional plane travelers have long practiced staying in the
third dimension for months or years at a time without leaving word
to their families. By then, we have lost fifteen Merleinans. When
five more vanished, the Elders had ordered Sola and I to form a
unit to secretly investigate on the disappearances. We lost contact
to that same unit thirty-two days ago; ten Guards and Keepers all
gone without a trace.” Reno reached for the juice and drank. “The
Council notified the public of the mysterious disappearances and
prohibited travel to the third dimension indefinitely. Those who
were still in your world were given seven days to return to their

The Council sessions Sara and the Keepers’
Commander had been attending before your accident were not only
about your
trade concerns that I suspected. The members had been discussing –
arguing on how to resolve the issue of the disappearances without
arousing fear and worry among citizens. The high priestess and the
minority had been strongly opposed to the ban. They wanted to
continue the search and bring back the victims to their families.
But the Council had already decided and made a full disclosure to
the public." Reno paused and cleared his throat.

had returned to the window, her back turned to him. The
chimera’s claws clicked on the tiles as it moved to her side. It
was rewarded by a hand smoothing its thick mane.

The Commander’s conscience prodded him to
leave her out of Merleina’s predicament. She was too pure to be
involved in politics. He wanted to convince himself that seeking
her out was not for selfish motives but for the good of all. If she
refused, he would have to—

“What do you need?” The leveled gaze directed
at him held no trace of his old student. The brown in her eye had
entirely disappeared.

The proud woman before him was no other



Chapter 22



The girl in the mirror
was a stranger to her. The pale yellow hair was
styled like a crown on her head. A few strands were artfully left
loose to frame her face. It gave emphasis to her somber grey eyes.
Her feet were shod in flimsy sandals with straps that crisscrossed
up to her knees. The silver gown the dryad Theona had assisted her
in wearing showed more skin than Liyanna liked: the shoulders and
arms were bare; the front hung dangerously low; and the slits of
the skirt came up to the thighs. It was a gift Kelor-dan had given
as a present to match Liyanna’s
eyes. She decided to accept; to refuse a gift personally
chosen by the Devarian Prince – her host, would be

Theona had sensed
Liyanna’s apprehension from the beginning
which grew after seeing her reflection.

“There is power in beauty, Liyanna.” It was
meant to reassure her.

This is more appropriate for special
occasions,” Liyanna said. She hid her trembling hands in the folds
of the dress.

Ah. It is a special day and very
important. Our
,” Theona
used the Devarian term for prince, “will reintroduce you to the
realms as Liyanna.” She led Liyanna away from the mirror. “Already
our people have accepted you as our own. It is time we share you to
the rest of the world.”

BOOK: The Realms of Ethair
2.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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