tagSci-Fi & FantasyCities of Power Ch. 08

Cities of Power Ch. 08

byxelliebabex©

Authors note: This storyline has very little sex in it so if you are looking for a stroke piece this won't be it. Thank you very much to Paul who has volunteered to edit for me as I attempt to finish off this series. Enjoy! ~Ellie

*

The big men of Gryphon prepared to move the shackled and neutralised black robed Night Walkers. Having been stripped of their alcove and colour, they each wore a plain undyed robe that was imbued with a powerful talisman created by Gabriel and bound to them by the magic they could no longer wield. The four leaders of Phoenix, content with the last two days of work their people had done to help repair the damage wrought by the short, but intense battle, also prepared to leave the city. Both Gryphon and Phoenix were leaving behind a contingent of peace keepers to assist with the change of leadership. The ceremony had been held on the first evening after the battle, despite the protests of many of the remaining Pegasus elders.

At forty years, Verdani was considered by many too young and untested to assume the mantle Alethea had held for so long. Many of those who had been present in the penitent cells, though, had heard the Hammer name her and her daughter as if they too were part of the prophecy, and rallied to her and ratified the decision of the magicians. The woman had said nothing as the two sides of the debate over her worthiness had raged.

Eventually, after seeing the magicians and men of the other cities standing back and saying nothing, she had stepped forward and addressed the crowd. She had spoken eloquently about her love of Pegasus, and the original vision of their elders before the city had been segregated by small people with big egos. She had stood there as they all watched her and told them she didn't care about the leadership as long as her city survived and flourished for future generations. When she pointed out that Alethea still lived and would remain the true leader of their city, if only in spirit, the stalemate between the two factions had been broken, and she ascended to the position without further debate.

With the help of the other leaders, she had delegated tasks trying to suit the larger tasks to the alcoves most suited to them. She gathered one healer of each of the alcoves, except the black, that she trusted to her side and a new council was formed. She had kept in constant contact with Jade, discovering the fate of the girl that had been attacked and the Son of prophecy who had returned to her side. Verdani sought out Ayla and told her of Jade's theory regarding the fate of Pyre and asked if anything could be done by Jade, who seemed only to be able to feel the fire trapping Pyre's mind with the help of the Son.

"I will be leaving with the delegation. We will travel to Gryphon and then onto the village of Judah where Jade is. She will manage for two or three days until I arrive," Ayla said, her mind preoccupied with all she had left to do before she left the city of Pegasus to its fate.

"I had hoped Jade would return to me here and help rebuild the city," Verdani said with obvious worry. "I had asked her to return home when last I spoke with her earlier this evening."

"She will not return, Verdani," Ayla stopped what she was doing and looked at the woman. "Fate and the prophecy have other plans for your daughter. You will see her again, but she will live in this city no longer."

"No!" Verdani gasped. "I need the comfort of her closeness to manage the trials of rebuilding our city! She is not mentioned in the prophecy!"

"Will you too attempt to challenge fate and interfere with the prophecy?" Ayla rebuked her. "Each city has their own version of the prophecy. It is not only the Mystics of Pegasus that walk the paths of time. The Fanatics and Elementals have also been watching the world. Be careful not to fall into the trap of your black alcove and think your power supreme," Ayla warned Verdani like she would a child.

"But they seek our counsel in these matters," Verdani frowned.

"They are not arrogant enough to believe they are the only ones who have been given the visions and prophecy," she said meaningfully, and saw Verdani recoil as if slapped. "The people of Gryphon sit in judgement because they look at all information from every source possible before coming to a decision. They are hard men, but they are fair and just, even to their detriment at times. The warriors of Phoenix are headstrong and battle hardened to the point where they wish to avoid any further conflict between the cities and the people of the foothills. They keep their own counsel but are no less concerned with what the elementals have been dreaming and prophesizing."

"We are all guilty of arrogance," Verdani despaired. "We had believed for a long time that our powers set us above the other cities and that they sought our counsel because they accepted this to be true, when, in fact, they were seeking to work with us as equals, and we..." she shook her head, not needing to finish the sentence. "Yet they came to our aid when needed, so perhaps there is hope for an equal future between the cities."

"They didn't come because you were in peril, they came because of prophecy. They came because the Night Walkers attacked the Unicorn, not because you called or needed them. Talon rode here because of what was done to the woman he loved and his child. He is a man of the prophecy, and the others rode to his aid. The bridges Pegasus must now build to regain some form of respect from Gryphon and Phoenix again will be great, but not insurmountable," Ayla counselled. "Your daughter is where she needs to be at this moment, as are you and the woman you called sister for so long. Before the year is out, you will all come together again, until then you must do what is being asked of you by your people."

*****

Judah considered the job he had been given by his fellow magicians. Bringing together all of the elements of a prophecy at just the right time could have a profound effect on the understanding of riddled words, and he considered whether his interpretation of what was currently happening was correct.

He had said nothing as Talon, Flint, Emery and Mica entered the underground chamber he had chosen as his library so many years ago. Scrolls and books littered every surface except the central table. Trix had visited this room often during the weeks she was trapped in the fortress and had done her best to make some sense of the jumble of books and curiosities. It was a task that would never be completed, as he constantly consulted the many and varied versions of the prophecy the magicians had collected over the years since the first rulers had come to this place to build their cities of power.

"We will need to leave the village for a short trip tomorrow morning. Is there any chance your warriors will not follow us?" Judah finally broke the silence as he addressed Talon.

"I could tell them to let us go, but that is the one order they have never managed to follow successfully," Talon chuckled.

"I'd say you have about the same chance of the sun rising in the west tomorrow as you do of leaving Venn and Edge behind," Mica joined in Talons chuckling. "They practically sleep with Talon's bike to ensure it doesn't move."

"How do you feel about riding to Sparta with a quorum behind you?" Judah asked, looking at each of the men as he spoke.

"Why would we go where we would not be welcome?" Flint asked, feeling that he would be blamed for the disappearance of the Trix and Emery, notwithstanding how Talon would be treated. "I couldn't return home without Trix, Mother's reaction would be unbearable."

"She will be coming with us. It is essential now, given recent events, that we bring the elements of the Prophecy together in one place, that includes your parents and your siblings, as well as Talon," Judah said seriously.

"She's not well enough to travel!" Talon immediately became protective of Trix.

"She was healed that first night, and Jade has continued that process. She is quite fine physically, and I believe she will only improve in her disposition by being able to confide what has happened to her mother," Judah suggested reasonably. "Jade, too, will be accompanying us to ensure Trix is not harmed in any way."

Talon looked at Flint and saw that he had accepted that statement without any protest and wondered what the big man was thinking. Surely taking a woman from Pegasus to his village was dangerous.

"I know that I am possibly the only one here who would enjoy visiting home and seeing my parents and brother again, but I have to ask... Is there not another way to do this rather than have the warriors descend upon the village? They will all see it as a threat and bar the way for you."

"Which brings us back to the first question I asked," Judah said simply.

"There's a camp on the edge of the plains close to the village where my friends and I have camped several times," Talon admitted. "It was how I managed to see Trix so often as I travelled on missions." He didn't mention Mica or Mason as he spoke. "Venn and Edge would be content to come that far and no further, I expect."

"We have friends in the village who will make our welcome a little smoother," Judah suggested. "The parents of Jason, as well as others, he too will join us."

"Seems you get to meet your father-in-law sooner than you expected," Flint turned a rare grin on Talon.

"Thanks for reminding me," Talon groaned. "If this is something that Trix needs to heal though, I will walk willingly into the home of Spar and Opal."

"Walk into his iron fist, more like it," Emery said. "You're a brave man Talon. There are few who would do that, no matter the reason."

'There is nothing I wouldn't give your sister if it were in my power," Talon admitted. "Tell me what you intend to gain from such a meeting, aside of peace of mind for Trix?"

"I am still not convinced that Flint is the son of the prophecy," Judah admitted. "The prophecy is incomplete and more comes to light with each version I see. Ayla, Gabriel and I have been gathering each version that comes to light and trying to put them together into one cohesive document. The prophecy of Pegasus is the closest to what we have discerned, but there are still elements missing which make it open to interpretation. If we bring all the elements listed to this point together in one place, we are hoping that something will change, or more will be revealed. It is important for each of you as your destiny is entwined in this prophecy, as is that of Trix and Jade."

"May I see what you feel is the most complete version of the prophecy?" Talon asked. "It will help to understand why you wish these men to face their father's wrath and me to present myself as the man who stole his youngest son and defiled his daughter. What you are asking is no simple thing for any of us."

"You have the version that we believe is most current, but it is still difficult to interpret, especially when faced with four sons of the Hammer and the Jewel. Flint may have filled the prophecy most recently, but I am unsure that all of the verse refers to him. I would like to prod the universe into revealing more to us, and I believe bringing you all together is the best way," Judah sighed. He had known it would be difficult to convince these men to walk into the lion's den, so to speak.

"We are grown men. Father needs to understand we no longer live under his roof or are bound by his family rules," Flint said, feeling hopeful that what Judah had said was true. If he were not the son of the rest of the prophecy, then perhaps he could have the life he wanted with Jade in a small village far away from the craziness of the cities and their prophecies. "I will go, and Talon has said he will go, if for no other reason than to help Trix heal her heart after the loss of the baby. Emery has said he will go," Flint looked at Mica. "You are a free man now. Father cannot make you stay if you don't wish to."

"What would I say to Rock when I don't bring Mason home with me?" Mica said miserably. He didn't want to face anyone in the village where he had grown up. He had been enjoying living his life without their narrow minded judgement.

"You will tell him the truth, that you and Mason are very happy in your new home," Talon said. "I will certainly vouch for that."

"Fine, I will go," Mica grumbled. "As long as the others come as far as the camp site and rescue us if anything goes amiss."

"I doubt we will need rescuing," Flint chuckled. "I think we all have a distorted view of our father from growing up in that house. We will visit and allow both him and Mother some peace to know that we are all alive and happy." At least he was hopeful that would happen. He would also like to give Jade the opportunity to talk to his mother about her former family. "I believe that if we told the warriors that we have now put the people of this village in danger for harbouring us that they would stay to protect them if we asked, as long as we are honest about where we are going and why. They know where to find us should we not return on time," Flint added.

"He makes good points," Talon nodded as Mica and Emery stared as the usually silent Flint. "I would still prefer that we gave Trix another day of rest before making the journey."

"Time is not on our side, I fear," Judah said seriously. "I imagine your Flint has started a shift in the world that will wait for no man or woman."

*****

Terra and Glow had given up their bikes to Emery and Flint, while Mica continued to ride Sirrus's bike. Unsurprising, Judah rode one of his own that had been hidden in the bandit village until the night they had ridden to Pegasus. Talon had led the way with Trix clinging to him and exhilarating once again to the rush of the wind and the scenery flying past her. It had been so long since she had been kidnapped by Talon the night she had received Clove's jacket from her brothers. It seemed like a lifetime ago now, and she tightened her arms around Talon knowing that she chose to ride behind him this time because she loved him, not because she was forced. She could see Jade clinging to Flint in much the same way and wondered if she somehow felt the same exhilaration.

It seemed to Trix as if she had been away for years rather than weeks. She felt like a different woman to the girl who had left in a cloud of heightened emotion. She remembered her mother's tear streaked face when they had parted, and felt bad that she had been the cause of such distress. She took comfort in the feel of Talon and knew they wouldn't be facing her parents alone. Flint, if no one else, would stand between Spar and Talon if necessary, and she had Jade to stand with her if necessary.

The small group drew up before the gates of the newly walled town of Sparta and called out to the men who guarded it.

"Open the gate, you idiots, don't you recognise the sons of Spar and Opal?" Judah called out.

"We do, but we don't recognise you or the Phoenix warrior!" One bravely called back.

The gate opened moments later, and Opal stood there looking out at her children. Talon helped Trix from his bike, and she ran to her mother, embracing the woman, holding back the tears that threatened to overwhelm her.

"Katrix, what are you doing here!" her mother exclaimed, immediately worried about her daughter's condition and the safety of the warrior, Talon.

"I lost the baby," Trix whispered with a catch in her voice.

"Oh, my child!" Opal clutched Trix to her and turned to enter the gate. "You all had better come in then. Your father will know you are here by now." Opal spoke to her sons, but included the other two men and Jade in the sweep of her gaze. The men walked beside their bikes as they entered the town and continued to follow Opal to her home where they parked the bikes at the side of the house. The thud of heavy boots coming rapidly toward them made the men turn and watch as Cobalt swept Trix from his mother's arms and lifted her into a huge bear hug.

"You're back! I thought I would never see you again!" Cobalt gushed happily.

"Put me down, Cob!" Trix laughed, equally happy to see her oldest brother. "Mica is here too, and he was gone far longer than me," she laughed.

"Don't worry about Mica, I have something special planned for him." Cobalt winked at her and chuckled deeply.

"Who are your friends?" he looked with suspicion at Judah and Talon as they followed his brothers from the side of the house where the bikes were parked.

"I am Judah, an arbiter of Faith and Justice," Judah introduced himself. "This is Talon, crown prince of the Air Clan in Phoenix."

"You're the Hawk the fanatics rave about then?" Cobalt asked.

"I am," Talon admitted, preparing for a fight and stepping onto his back foot, ready to evade the swinging arm he believed was coming.

"You married my sister?" Cobalt asked, curiously looking at Trix again, his eyes travelling down to her belly.

"Not yet, but I do plan to ask your father for permission while we are here," Talon said carefully, wondering how much this man knew of Trix's condition, despite her belief that he knew nothing.

"And the child?" he asked bluntly.

"There is no child," Talon said, carefully looking at Opal and wondering what had happened here once Trix left home.

"And you?" he turned his attention to one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen standing between his twin brothers.

"I am Jade, and I have come to ask your fathers permission to marry Flint," she grinned. Flint choked on a breath he had been holding, and Emery laughed loudly. "You don't think he will agree?" she asked innocently, looking at Mica who was having trouble keeping a straight face. "I just thought if Talon was asking I may as well get it over with too." She looked up at Flint with a mischievous glint in her eyes.

"It's not that, it's just we always thought Emery was the prettier twin," Mica chuckled. "Are you sure you're ready to settle for Flint?" He teased.

"That's true, and you haven't even considered that there is an older, better-looking option," Cobalt nodded seriously, despite the laughter of Mica and Emery. "I imagine Spar will be happy to grant your proposal. His, however..." he poked his thumb at Talon and fixed him with a hard gaze. "I remember you from the first night you took Trix and left me unconscious on the floor."

"It's true I took your sister that night, but I was not the one who knocked you out, I can, however, introduce you to that man, and the two of you can have a fair rematch if you like," Talon offered.

"Maybe I'd just prefer a rematch with you," Cobalt said threateningly.

"That would be after you fought me for insulting a friend of mine and the man your sister loves," Flint stepped forward moving between his brother and Talon.

"That won't be necessary, Flint. I am more than capable of accepting your brother's challenge and understanding his need to make it," Talon said easily. "I would be happy to accommodate Cobalt, if it will ease his burden of guilt for not stopping us that night. It was three on one though, so there is no guilt or shame to be felt by you or anyone."

Cobalt was saved from replying by the appearance of his father walking toward the house with Rock. He had been impressed that the warrior hadn't hidden behind his brothers but talked quite openly about what had happened and his intentions to marry Trix. He had wanted to hit him and show Trix he was not the man she thought, but Talon had accepted his challenge for exactly what it was; retribution.

"Mica," Spar said looking at his youngest son. "Is this your jailor?" He asked, indicating Talon.

"No, this is my friend, Talon. He made it possible for me to make this visit to my parents with my brothers and sister," Mica corrected his father. "He is also the man that Trix loves and intends to marry."

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