Beros stands at the counter, watching the blacksmith as he works on the ore for the smelting. He listens to the hammers of the other workers as his ‘pet’ bird rests on his shoulder. Behind him, the crowd continues, ignoring his presence. The sun hangs high in the sky with a fall breeze, reporting the time of day to the people below. And the fall scenery are the town of Devi, Allayn makes the warmth of the forges all the more inviting.
“So, the blacksmith you work for sends you here,” the blacksmith asks after pouring the molten liquid into the bar mold.
Beros nods. “He can’t afford to leave the shop or his apprentices. I offered to do so to help pay for a request.”
The master nods in understanding as the vessel is returned back to the fires. Apparently, the teacher understands his position. Or not as well; Beros couldn’t tell. Either way, the errand is a well earned relief from his tasks of his rank. It allows him to actually visit and see places important to his father’s business. The atmosphere soothes him, seemingly welcoming him to the place.
“It is quite welcoming, isn’t it?”
His golden eyes glance to where the voice calls. A woman stands next to him with light brown and orange feathers. Wise brown eyes look up at him. Her narrow face rests on a long neck. Lean arms hide under her long sleeve tunic. “The air here is welcoming as well as calm…”
“It is,” he answers with a brief nod. “Can I help you, ma’am?”
“No, everything is fine,” she answers pushing a lock of dirty blond aside. “I’d ask the same, but it seems you have things under control.”
He quirks an eyebrow as the older female leaves with a slight smile on her face. Beros glances at the master of the forge, whom returned to the counter from his task. “Your order will be ready in the morning, lad. What name must I put on it?”
“Solaris,” the young commander answers as he leaves the counter to follow the other Phoenix. Curiosity gnaws at him, wondering what she means with the second sentence. He searches above the crowd, looking for the wings among the crowd of Man. As his search continues, he progresses through the sea…with no avail.
Hours pass, unknown and fleeing. The woman eludes him still. The crowds remain dense as he weaves through them. The sun descends, tainting the sky with a purple hue. Clouds crawl into view. Beros groans softly as he runs a hand through the red locks. He turns and heads to the inn, ready to check in. As the crowd thins out, he glances around.
Something didn’t sit right. He just couldn’t place it. His body tenses as his vision suddenly focuses and unfocuses before falling into darkness.
Beros snaps awake as the walls of his temple room vanish, replaced by the off grey walls of his room. His golden eyes frantically scan his room, landing on the red gem of his sword’s hilt next the bed. The young commander struggles to soothe his nerves. But the memories of his days captive flash before him, especially the incoming glowing cast iron brand. He internally reaches down, only finding a silent void of where his undesired guest usually dwelled.
The call through their link goes unanswered. Silence looms within him. Unsettling silence. No response. No feelings of where the former commander is or acknowledgement.
The young heart’s pace increases. What is going on? Did we merge? No… I’m still her. Where, the thought stops as a knock sounds on the frame of his door. His words tie themselves in his throat and lodge themselves there. His hands snare the hilt of his blade, aiming the still sheathed sword at the incoming intruder. All respiratory functions continue to increase, making the mind forget.
“Son,” a concerned voice penetrates. An older set of golden eyes gaze into his own. The seas of gold overflow with parental worry. Nikolas steps towards him, gently guiding the covered metal to the ground. The tanned Phoenix takes the blade away before giving him the fullest attention. “What’s wrong? You have been jumpy the past few days.”
“It’s nothing,” Beros answers, trying hard to compose his nerves and convince the man that partially raised him like wise.
However, the weapon smith looks at him. “Beros, don’t you lie to me. I’ve let you deal with your problems on your own, but this is appearing to a problem you can’t handle.”
“I can,” he snaps; the golden irises glowing in intensity. “It is my problem and has been for twenty-four years. Not yours, not my brother’s. Mine and my own. Thank you for coming to get me out of that place.”
Nikolas allows the silence to hang between them before leaving the smaller male alone. The wooden door closes behind him. Beros pushes his body up off the mattress of his bed, ignoring that his father walked out with the blade in hand. His eyes solemnly look around the room he spent a fraction of his youth in. The wall behind his door still supported the bookshelves his father moved in twenty-one years ago. The shelves retain their form under the pressure of the tomes and scrolls he loaded them with all the years ago. An outdated map of the Caelian lands clings to the wall next to his only window.
Outside, the clear black and blue night skies twinkle with lights. I slept that long… His mind wonders as he approaches the glass and stares to the heavens above as the memories swell.
“Don’t bother of asking to go outside,” the voice behind him hisses.
“Why shouldn’t I? It is you that is retaining me with no grounds,” Beros retorts.
The robed male growls; amber eyes raging. “No grounds, scum. You are the grounds. You carry a third color, scum. Something that we are never to carry!” He pauses, then continues with a grin. “Which is why we keep you here. So you are out of the picture and in Fate’s hands alone.”
“I could be in her hands out there,” the commander snaps. He spins to face the opponent. The red bangs split and fall back, framing his narrow face as the muscles of his back tense. The tricolor wings flare.
“Then, stay here and rot!”
The priest slams the door to his prison shut. The sound of his lock echoes into the room he resided. Silence looms; only the footsteps echo for a short time before fading away. Beros allows his knees to buckle, bringing his body crashing to the hard cot behind him. Both of his hands push the dark blood strands back as uncertainty gnaws at him.
“Present life…” A feeling fills him as if a person cradled his form. “I will not let them hurt you. Nor will they take your freedom.”
Beros lifts his head slightly as the soul within him vows. His mind draws blank, feeling the other lurking and looking at the memories as they happen. The protector remains silent, having said what he wished.
Days and nights blend. His captors retain their disgust; the extra soul maintains his watch. Until the end of the third day…
The memory fades as he forces himself back. You held your word, San…I’m still free and unharmed… Yet, he stops; eyes linger on the odd red moon. It feels odd… Like something is missing…
In this now solitary existence…