Liz felt like she was floating, but wasn’t sure where. A small smile appeared on her lips as her memory started to come back. She must have fallen into some trouble during her chase of Durj and would get chewed out by Kellin soon enough. Slowly her senses returned enough to allow her to see where her body rested. A hand felt along a silken, soft mattress to the edge as her eyes flickered open. At first her surroundings were blurred by sleep, she raised her right hand to rub her eyes clear to find it bandaged to her elbow. Ignoring it for the moment, she looked around fighting rising panic. The walls were a light blue; not an army camp like she was expecting but a well-built building that could pass for any estate she had stayed at during her tenure as Queen, but she was completely alone. Liz rose until she was upright against the pillows, wincing as a wound on her side pulled. Her eyes searched the room again, a small table sat beside her bed. Across the room there was a writing desk and vanity with a large mirror. She walked over the mirror despite her body’s protests. Her face was thin and her hair fell well past her shoulders. A slight scar ran along her chinbone, barely noticeable except she knew for a fact it was new. She wore a simple, silken nightshirt over her undergarments, all of which were fresh. Her eyes traveled down the bandaged arm as her other hand reached for it.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” a breezy voice came from beside her. Liz whirled around, dagger appearing in her hand only to pause at the sight of Kakri standing there looking somewhat amused. “We really must stop meeting this way,” she chuckled. “I’m glad you’re finally out of bed. For second I thought I would have to sing or bribe you some other way from the land of slumber.”
Liz’s eyes narrowed and her brow furrowed. “But how…”
Kakri sighed, “You’re in my realm if that helps. Do you remember anything?”
Liz fell in a nearby chair. “We were facing these creatures in battle in the former Uranyian homeland. Our enemy finally had shown their true colors so we went of the offensive before they could launch a full out attack.”
“Enemy?” Kakri frowned. “What enemy?”
“To be honest, I still am not sure. We split their army as best we could, each taking a tier of the city as we made our way through… Manarun was there… I do not know why, we had no quarrel with them.” Her left hand rose to her forehead. “The ground split as the largest creatures attacked… we were separated even more…Then, I caught sight of Durj. I could not let him escape so I gave chase despite being alone.
Kakri stepped forward as she put her head in her hands. “Anything after that?”
“I am trying to recall,” Liz sighed and stood up, pacing. “I remember facing him in battle and getting the upper hand… then… there was someone else—a woman… Wait—” She turned toward Kakri with wide eyes. “There was yet another… a mage…”
Kakri’s eyes widened, “That’s what you mentioned to me.”
“When we found you in the jungle near Eiraen’s territory you muttered something about a mage.”
“I am not sure what that means here in your realm.” Liz shook her head as though trying to clear it. “I do not know what happened after the woman rescued Durj.”
“Maybe it’ll come back in time.”
Liz let out a bitter laugh, “Well, my memories of my life before I was separated from my parents have yet to return beyond flashes so I do not hold much hope.”
“This is different, or so Lona tells me. Enough of that for the moment, how are you feeling?”
“Stiff, confused of course, but well.”
“That’s oddly surprising given the condition we found you in.”
“What condition is that? It does not seem too bad given my only bandage is this on my arm.”
Kakri guided her back to the bed. “Lona’s magic is rather potent, it was easy to care for most of your wounds—mainly cuts and bruises,” she supplied at Liz’s questioning gaze. “The bones took more time to mend and some seemed to somehow resist her efforts,” she gestured to the arm.
“What is under this?”
Kakri’s breathe shuddered, “A burn… “
“There is more. Did it damage my birthmark or something?”
“Yes.” The Goddess’ voice was grave.
“I see…” Liz’s eyes fell to the bandage. She reached and slowly unwound it, ignoring Kakri’s protests. The skin below the bandage was an angry, shiny redish-pink. Several areas were darker, as though the skin had been burnt black, but had recovered. There was not even the slightest trace of her birth mark. “It was just a mark, but—“
“It was part of you,” Kakri finished and took her hands. “We’ll find out what happened, I promise. For now you need to recover so we can get you back to your people once we figure it’s safe.”
Liz reapplied the bandage in silence. Once the task was completed she explained, “I seem to be mostly recovered now, Gods know how long it has been!” She sighed and took another deep breath, “Tell me what do you know of what happened.”
“There’s not much to tell at this point. We found you a few weeks ago; Lona decided it was best to let you wake up naturally though you’ve been healed except for your wrist, your side and a couple cuts beneath your clothing. I sent Apoxas, a human goddess, to Ahiel’s domain to see if he is neglecting his punishment after his actions in your realm. So far, we have yet to hear back from her. Eiraen also has some of the others finding out what they can as well.”
“So the missing pieces are what happened from my last memory to you finding me.” It was not so much a question, but a statement.
Liz sighed and leaned back slightly. “Hopefully, we will have answers soon.” She leapt to her feet and let an Eiren curse. “Kellin and the others, they have no idea!”
“Calm down,” Kakri said. “That’ll be taken care of in no time. You haven’t been gone too long in terms of your realm, a week at most.”
Liz’s gaze fell back to the wrist. “Has it been that little of time though? I have seen wounds like that after extensive torture in Lower Quarter and what you are describing as being done to me is much worse than that. Too much to be done in that little of time seems unlikely.”
Kakri nodded, half relieved that this was one mortal she didn’t really have to shelter from the likely truth. “That thought definitely crossed my mind too. It does seem too short, but time does travel faster here.” Liz hid a yawn causing Kakri to chuckle. “You lay back down; if you’re lucky I’ll show you around in the next few days. You’re going to be here a bit longer so you might as well see my home.”
“I am fine.”
Kakri guided her to bed and pulled the blankets back. “Like you said, you’re recovering from a large amount of damage. You’ll be out and about again soon.”
Liz yawned as the blanket was draped over her, “Fine, I will rest for a bit. If there is any news come find me.”
Kakri waved her hand, causing a gust of wind to blow out the candles before closing the door. In the hall Eiraen and Lona waited for her. “How is she doing?” Eiraen asked.
“As well as can be expected; she’s actually taking it in better than I thought she would.”
“She is healing well,” Lona said. “I am guessing it will be only a few more days before she is ready to be out of bed for extended time.”
“She’ll want to charge back into things as soon as that happens,” Kakri said.
“I would not advise it. Did you inform her about what we discovered after her wounds were taken care of?”
“No, not yet. I want more information before I raise an alarm, the wounds could have counted for the loss of blood you discovered, though unlikely. There’s no reason to worry her about more sinister purposes quite yet.”
“I don’t think you’ll have to wait long,” Lepah joined them. “Apoxas just returned, she’s cleaning up then will come up here to join us this evening.”
“Good, that will give me enough time to take care of one other thing before she gets here.”
“Which is?” Eiraen asked.
“I need to pop down the mortal realms and inform Liz’s closest companions of the situation here. I promised her I would take care of it and given it might be a while before its safe for her to go back…”
“Her champion still marches with the rest of the army towards the Eire,” Eiraen said. “While he is most in need of the news I do not suggest going to him, your presence will undoubtedly scare the soldiers with him. Go instead to her other companions, who are on their way to him after hearing the news, I believe one was involved intimately with your little adventure behind Ravenwood’s old palace.”
“Terra,” Kakri immediate provided. “Yes, that’s probably better. Will a few of you stay here with her while the others gather our Brothers and Sisters?” By now the arrival of the mortal Queen had spread like wildfire among the Gods regardless of who were their primary worshipers. Each had been quite vocal in their desire to be present as soon as something was known or Apoxas returned.
“I’ll go,” Lepah said. “Lona’s needed here in case something happens with her and Eiraen’s able to see things coming.”
“Thanks,” Kakri said, striding to the exit. “I’ll be back soon.”
She launched herself skyward as soon as she was in the open roofed section of her home. Once aloft on the wind, she glanced down at Lepah getting into the gondola that conveyed more terrestrial fairing guests to her home. Once she knew other goddess was on her way she turned back to the sky. The blue around her gave no indication of the chaos that had been the past few weeks since discovering Segennya’s Queen near the river. She had never seen everyone so on edge, even after her confrontation with Ahiel and the discovery of his plots life had returned to what it had been. Now, Eiraen and Lona were almost daily guests with Lepah just about as frequent and all three jumped at any chance to be helpful. The Gods were on constant patrol with the exception of Ahiel’s lands since until Apoxas reported in later that evening they didn’t know what to expect. As Kakri soared she felt her own worries fade away on the breeze as it rushed past her, unconsciously her arms went out from her sides and casually moved up and down. Soon, the portal came into view and concentrating on her destination she entered the vortex of colors to the mortal realms.
Patrons get the chapters before they go up here. Check out the rewards over on the patreon page!