Xanth sat uneasily on the chair in Lillian’s small but warm house and opposite him sat Syrana, Kye could not sit and Iris busied herself by the window keeping a keen eye on the rest of the Khiones who had positioned themselves outside to guard the place. Xanth had one elbow propped on the table and his head resting in his palm, his head felt light and his thoughts swam in his head making the feeling even worse, what he had just been told today felt more than a bomb shell.
He sighed heavily.
Kye leaned on the kitchen counter with his arms crossed and a tight frown on his face, he wished he could unhear what he had heard, he wished desperately that it was not true but he trusted Syrana so much that he could not doubt her, it has to be true.
It was true.
“You’ve known this for how long now?” Kye asked her to which she sighed and looked up to Xanth.
“Not long, I only suspected a while but it’s true, I could not deny it.”
“My mother,” Xanth choked as he spoke and lifted his head up to face Syrana. “…is Naphtalia and she is also your sister, right?”
Syrana nodded her head. Xanth continued.
“And Lyra is your daughter as well.” He said to which Syrana nodded again, this time Iris turned towards them, finally understanding what Xanth was driving at. She frowned.
“And that would make Lyra and I…what?”
At this point Kye pushed himself from off the kitchen counter and came close to the table where they sat. The realization hit him before Syrana answered.
“That would make you both cousins.”
Xanth sighed heavily and dropped his head again, he closed his eyes and breathed in deeply, he could feel his heart beating in his head loudly and he knew that a headache was bound to come sooner or later. He could hear Kye’s voice, violently opposing what was clearly true and for so many reasons he just did not want to believe that it was the truth.
He sighed again, Khiones and Axeris are enemies, well Axeris are Khiones’ enemies, Axeris could never afford to make Khione their enemy, they needed them. But the two races didn’t see eye to eye and for reasonable reasons too; Axeris were the hunters and Khiones were seen as preys and he being Xanth, half Khione and half Axeris sometimes would just refuse to side with any one but on matters like this, he knew he had to take a stand.
On whose side was he going to be on?
The sacrifice was needed. The sacrifice was essential. The sacrifice was for the…
His eyes snapped open and he shot his head up, his body followed suit as the back of his knees forced the chair he had been sitting on to topple over loudly.
“The sacrifice…” He began
“...can not happen!” Syrana cut him off, she shot up to her feet as well, anger in her eyes.
“It will.” Xanth said and then shook his head slightly as he caught his words. “I mean, it shouldn’t, but Lyra, she’s gone with Ryder and neither of them know what we know now.”
Syrana sucked in a sharp breath. “Where is Lyra? Where are they headed?”
“Fang peek.” This time Iris replied her.
“We have to hurry.” Syrana said hastily and turned away from the table towards the door, grabbing a hold of Kye’s arm as she made for the exit.
“Wait! Syrana!” Xanth yelled as he went after her. He caught her arm just before she could reach for the door.
“Let go of me, Xanth!” She struggled. “How far have they gone? I need my daughter! Alive and with me!”
“Let go!” Kye yelled at him and struck him hard in the chest. Xanth groaned and stumbled backwards, clutching at his chest in pain. “You are supposed to protect her and not try to stop us! There should not be a trace of Khione blood coursing through your body! You’re a disgrace!”
“Watch what you say to him.” Iris warned, her voice though calm carried enough venom in them to tell Kye that she would not hesitate to attack him. Kye narrowed his eyes at her and grunted.
“The sacrifice doesn’t have to happen.” Xanth struggled to say, the unexpected blow from Kye to his chest had knocked the air out of his lungs.
“And it won’t! as long as I can help it.” Syrana sniffed and turned around to face Xanth, then with a lowered voice, added. “Even if the whole world has to burn.”
“The sacrifice will happen.” Xanth said. He completely ignored the death stare that Kye bore into him and chose to focus on Syrana’s bewildered and very angry expression. And then he managed a smile. “But she doesn’t have to die.”
Syrana sniffed back a tear. “Are you hearing yourself speak, Xanth?”
“The sacrifice,” He continued and reached out to hold her hand, making her face him fully. “…is of Khione blood, not of a Khione’s life. Lyra is not going to die.”
“You can say that.” Syrana replied to him and snatched her hands away from his. “But what about Ryder? Isn’t he the one with her now? Going to Fang Peek?”
“Ryder is…” Xanth started but stopped when he realized. He and Iris both know that the sacrifice doesn’t have to happen anymore, but Ryder doesn’t. He hissed slowly and closed his eyes, balling his hands into fists. “…he does not know.”
“What is the quickest route to Fang Peek?” Kye asked.
“Through the forest.” Iris replied. “But the witch…”
“Is trying to stop the sacrifice from happening, surely she would not keep us trapped in the forest.” Xanth cut in. He was positive that the witch would not delay them.
“Then…” Iris gasped. “…what if she has Ryder trapped?”
“All the better for us.” Kye replied to which Iris shot him an icy cold stare. Kye smirked.
“Through the forest and then where next?” Syrana asked desperately.
“There is only one kingdom beyond that forest and that is not a kingdom that accepts visitors or trespassers.” Kye said. “I would know.”
“There is the Zagaroth mountain between the forest and the kingdom of Erstonia.” Iris continued.
“They would be safe after exiting the forest.” Xanth waved a hand in the air. “As long as they don’t end up in Denzor.”
There was a moment of silence where no one said a word. Iris thought of Ryder and him only, the girl’s life was only as important as the role she was needed to play and that was it. Xanth thought of them both, but mostly about Lyra. To think that she was related to him, his cousin and he had no idea, not even an inkling.
The girl had been placed in a kingdom that has not associations with Khiones for her own safety, to keep her away from the Axeris, and somehow still, she had ended up right in the center of all this drama.
Syrana thought of her daughter. Only her daughter. She had suffered herself to be away from her, hoping that it would be enough to hide her identity and keep her safe and away from falling into this exact situation. Maybe she was not good enough of a mother. Maybe she had not been good enough of a mother but now she would be, come hail or high water, she would rescue her daughter from falling victim to this Osyron sacrifice.
She had lost her sister, she was not prepared to loose another family member again. Most especially, not her daughter.
excerpt from my ongoing novel - Ryder, Lord of Astaroth.
available to read on Goodnovel, Nova, Wattpad, Dreame, Webnovel.