Friday, May 7, 2010

Mere Acquaintances- Chapter Twenty-Three

The sound of water trickling in the stone fountain in the courtyard could be heard even in Emery’s room, even through the barred window. He appeared calm, much calmer than the evening before, when he had tried to choke Kristen to death.

Becca managed to obtain permission to bring his friends by his room– with him under supervision, of course– and allow them to speak to each other through the little viewing window in his door.

Senne could only describe herself as emotionally drained. Guilt filled her, ate at her. Cheyne had been intertwined so much in her life, all her lives, and she had betrayed him to the Dark Father for no other reason than to earn her own immortality, an immortality she had anyway, through the memories of her lives. So selfish, so foolish.

She found herself nearing the river where she had committed her last transgression, but she wasn’t alone at the river’s edge. There were four others, and one of them……

She recognized Sonsedhor in his hand. As if sensing her presence, he turned and looked straight at her, sheathing the sword at his hip as he turned. She knew he recognized her.

Emery behaved for the entire morning, very calm and in control of himself. Under the watchful eyes of a half-dozen nurses, he was allowed to go out to the courtyard for some fresh air. But as soon as he reached the stone walkway, he saw Joanna in her wheelchair, and he went into a rage, throwing himself at her in a fierce attack.

“You sent me to hell,” he said softly, his eyes burning. “Senne.””


“Cheyne is dead!” he bellowed, not moving a muscle. He didn’t shake with the fury he must be feeling, didn’t so much as twitch his cheek. Even his expression didn’t waver. He could have been a statue for all his body gave away. But his voice… the strain, the rage in it… it was painful. “It’s Roark now.”

“Roark……” he didn’t interrupt her this time, just stared at her with those hate-filled blue eyes. “I… I’m sorry…”

“Why? Why did you do this to me? Why did you murder me?”

She could feel the tears coming. She had told herself over and over again that it hadn’t been murder. It wasn’t murder… the water killed him; she just pushed him in… but she knew it for a lie. “It was… he wanted Sonsedhor.”


The tears came in earnest, making her sob uncontrollably so she couldn’t answer. Cheyne… Roark… had to demand an answer twice before she got control of herself. “The Dark One… the Dark Father.”

Roark recoiled as if from a viper. “You sold yourself to him!”

“No, please, I’ don’t belong to him anymore!” She sank to her knees. “He dismissed me. I’m… I’m no use to him anymore.”

His eyes narrowed. “Your master threw you away, so you come crawling back to me? I loved you once Senne– many, many lives ago– but I see what that meant to you.”

“I was a fool, Roark! I’m sorry!”

“Apologies aren’t enough.”

“But he’’s still after you… the Dark Father… he still wants Sonsedhor. I can help you.”

He took a few long steps toward her and grabbed her by the neckline of her dress, pulling her roughly to her feet. “Why does he want it so badly? It would do him no good. It’s just a sword. Sonsedhor is nothing but a tool.”

“It’s a means to control you,” she replied haltingly. “If he controls it, he controls you. You know you and Sonsedhor are tied together, but you were created by the Mother, her tool. Control of one is control of the other.”

“I follow the Mother’s will!”

She gasped for air, staring up at eyes that had went from molten flame to solid ice in half a heartbeat. His hand released her; her knees gave way and she crumpled to the ground, sucking in breath after sweet breath. “But Sonsedhor’s his now, isn’t it? He’s tainted it. You did deliver it to him.”” She heard the soft rasp of steel on leather, saw the sword in his hand. ““If I have to kill someone today, let it be you. You actually deserve it.””

Still short of breath, she scrambled to her feet and ran. He didn’t chase her.

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