The Rest of Forever: Chapter 8
“Axel?” Ambrose whispered. Her eyesight blurred as she ran to him and hugged him. “I don’t understand - how did you get here?” she murmured into his chest. His arms wrapped around her.
“Aurora brought me here. I escaped the dungeons and came looking for you after…” he began.
“I know. My mother succumbed to the silver sickness. I was with her through it,” Ambrose finished.
“So you know about the silver?” Axel asked, relief etching his features as they stepped away from one another. Ambrose looked at her old friend.
“What do you mean? Tell me what you have learned,” she said. She pulled him closer to the pool that cast a soft light.
“We are safe here, no one ventures into the Kings forest.”
“There is darkness in the silver, Ambrose. The royal family has infected the district so they can harvest silver hearts for immortality,” Axel began. “It’s why the soldiers would come for their bodies before we could bury or mourn our loved ones. They took them away to hide the final stage of the sickness.”
Ambrose held her head between her hands.
“What is the final stage?”
Axel clenched his hands. He looked away unsure, and his stance cowered inward. He looked nervous about what he was going to say. After a deep breath, he spoke.
“The bodies turn to silver. We see these people collapse because it’s the heart that turns first…and after they take the bodies, they keep them in a room where the body undergoes the full transformation.”
Ambrose looked in his eyes for some hint or expression that Axel was lying about all of this. His eyes were saddened with the burden of the truth.
She grabbed his hand as she pleaded, “Axel tell me you didn’t see my mother’s body there…in the room, you spoke about. Tell me she is not there!”
Axel looked away but Ambrose saw that his eyes watered in distress.
“I can’t lie to you, Ambrose. Don’t ask me to,” he said. She covered her mouth to hold back the scream she felt coming. Her shaky breath did little to cover the tears falling from her face. Axel stood up and walked to the edge of the pool.
“The royal family needs this elixir on a daily basis. It’s how they have lived for so long. They’ve been ruling for centuries I think.”
Ambrose shouted, “no one should rule on the blood of their people!”
She slammed her fist down on the rock and, to her astonishment, it turned to dust. Axel’s eyes widened in shock. They looked at one another unsure if they believed what just happened.
“Did I-” Ambrose began.
“-do that?” Axel finished.
She looked at the ground that was sprinkled with gray sand. They both bent down to inspect the fine sand that covered the spot where the rock once was.
“Ambrose…what happened to you?” Axel asked.
He placed his hand on the spot covered in the gray sand. Ambrose looked at the rock covered in strange markings.
“Axel, I think it’s time I showed you the Bloodhaven journal. I remember my mother saying something about the royal family,” Ambrose mused.
She went to her pack and pulled out the journal. Opening it, she showed Axel her mothers words:
Before you were born Ambrose, I was the daughter of the High Enchantress who worked under the Queen. It came as no surprise when she died that I took over that position. My mother was honored with a longer life than most enchanters because she cast off her humanity in favor of power. In many ways, she was a slave to the royal family, but she was willing. When she had me, her ambitions for me to be her successor came as no surprise. I too was ruthless in my ascent into power. I was a powerful enchantress but then I met your father. He opened my eyes to the truth of Stemin City.
He and members of The Order of Dawn were fighting to take down the King. I aided them as a spy within the castle. The current king is not the rightful heir to the throne. His blood driven kingdom is a foul corruption of magic. A new era of magic users out of Forve came across the wastelands hoping to restore balance. He slaughtered all but one who escaped back across the desert. Any attempts on the King were futile; he had centuries of magic and by the time his firstborn came into existence he was stronger. He found a way to divide his foul magic and acquire more. When the Order of Dawn ended, I took you and escaped. Thus, hiding you in the district the King never visited.
“The Order of Dawn?” Axel questioned.
Ambrose nodded, closing the book. “Rebel enchanters who gathered to take down the King. They died out in the last battle for the throne.” Ambrose responded.
Axel looked at the journal.
“Your mother was a rebel, an enchantress, and a spy? Then how did she die? She should have been able to fight the silver sickness.”
Ambrose looked at the water in the goddesses’ pool. The murky waters eerily still as if time and life could never disturb its place in the universe.
“I think something happened to her and she lost most of her magic. Whatever she had left she used to protect me from it.” Ambrose concluded.
Axel looked at her with regret.
“I’m sorry Ambrose. I was foolish to even question this tragedy.” He joined her, sitting down by the water.
Ambrose could not fathom why her mother hid this from her and why she left the journal in a place so far from their home. There was more to the story. Ambrose figured that this was something she would ask her father if she ever found him. She looked at her friend and noted how his eyes seemed to hold a brightness akin to a flame within them. Had it always been there? Was this the result of being taken to the King’s dungeons? She was amazed and grateful that he escaped, but would they be pursued? Did they matter?
For a long while, they both sat in silence, unsure of what to say to one another. The light emanating from the rock danced and winked off the water as time passed.
Unknown to Ambrose and Axel, Aurora gazed at her magical heirs as they sat by her pool. She kept her form hidden in the gold realm, a place unable to be seen by humans. She watched the powers kindle in their souls. From Ambrose, the vines of power curled with unimaginable colors while Axel’s power flared in hues of red. Aurora knew that they both needed time for their power to adjust in their bodies and settle into the new vessels. She smiled with the knowledge that the world was coming to order and chaos once more. She gazed first into her pool, noticing the spirits that withered from its depths. She gazed at the sky and looked at the locked gate of the universe she no longer had a key to. Soon her brother would be free and the world would be right again.
Magical beings I love the whimsical cover art by be Middnite Designs has OUTDID herself. The Bloodhaven journal has revealed some crazy things, did you think their world was like this? BIG thank you for the chaos change of two edits a month from my editor Melanie, I’m excited for another chapter of Rest of Forever at the end of May!