Maverick Makts’ Residence
“Thank the Ancients you’re here. When did you arrive in Cervalis?”
“Just now, the moment we landed I felt something was wrong, so I Traveled here.”
“Of course you did, and alone at that, again. Spoiled fuckin’ Fae.”
Maverick and I stand outside his mansion, surrounded by guards who each held a blade to my throat moments before. Sweltering summer sweeps through my long curls and sweat trails down my brow. Tzel hates summer, therefore ruining my former favorite season.
“They’ll come-” I start to say, but Maverick knows better.
“I’m not the one who needs to hear it, besides, all he wants right now is you.”
“That bad?” I ask, rubbing my neck.
“Don’t know, apparently Da isn’t special enough to share secrets with.” Maverick says, not unkindly. He sighs and scratches at his beard.
“Some things are just an achi thing, doesn’t mean you’re not raising him right.” I say, and the words taste sour. Maverick gives me a look of ‘do you hear yourself?’
“Let’s just go, it’s cooler inside.” Maverick says without meeting my eyes, and I follow him inside. Tzel purrs with relief and I roll my neck, shaking off it’s presence. I sparred with Alvis yesterday so the beast would be tired and behave today. These visits always break my heart and the thing preys on my emotions, taking control every time I turn weak.
“Settling nicely.” I remark to break the tension.
Lofty halls are being decorated by happy servants as we traverse through them, only Humans work here. Maverick is the first Human to be elected Lord of Cervalis, and they’ve only been living here for a few months. Savir misses Vabel, and I think Maverick does too, but he won’t admit it.
“I suppose.” Maverick says with a shrug, the lines in his face are turned down. The moment we’re alone again in a dim hallway, he stops and turns to me. “There’s already been an attempt, and this time they targeted Savir, too. Security took the assassin down easily enough, but still. I’m worried for him.”
“When?” I bristle and my fists clench. Tzel rumbles with annoyance, giving me a headache.
“Two months ago.”
“Right after I left, then.”
“Fuckin’ hell, why didn’t you lead with this? I’ll take care of it.”
“It’s not your job, and what’re you gonna do? You’re hardly here as it is.”
“It is my job. You and Savir are of upmost importance to me.”
Maverick looks away from me. “Your visits are farther and fewer in between. Either be here more, or don’t come back at all. You don’t understand what he’s like after you leave.”
I rest my hands on my old friend’s shoulders and squeeze gently. He stares into my eyes warily. “Your right, I’ve just had a hard time controlling, it, lately. I’ll … try harder.”
Maverick sighs and presses his forehead to mine. “You’re doing your best, we all are.”
“Let’s go see the boy.” I say, and we walk the rest of the way in silence.
We stop outside a closed bedroom door that neighbors Maverick’s. “Bring him out for dinner when you’re through.” He says over his shoulder, turning to leave.
“Sure thing.” I say, then step inside the dark bedroom and shut the door behind me.
I snap my fingers and the numerous sconces along the wallpapered walls flare to life. I walk through a sea of clutter, careful not to step on any of Savir’s many trinkets and memorabilia I’ve given him over the years from other lands.
Savir must’ve had a fit. His quick anger expresses itself in the form of throwing and hitting, something I’m sure he’ll grow out of. A bed, or fort, depending on how you look at it, is tucked into the corner of the spacious bedroom. Maverick and I built a faux tree trunk and integrated it as part of his room to help with the move, but I think it might’ve made Savir miss Vabel more.
Despite the fact it always gave Maverick a heart attack, Savir loves to climb trees.
“Savir, it’s achi.” I approach the tree trunk with caution, then sit down cross legged outside the narrow entrance. The small boy rolls over underneath a mound of blankets and sniffs, but he doesn’t leave his hideout.
“You’re late.” He states, small voice wet with anger and something else.
“I waited up all night during the last moon. You never came.”
“I know. I, was not myself that night. It takes me awhile to feel better, after. I’m sorry, Savir. I won’t leave you waiting again. Won’t you come out and talk to me?”
“Did you bring it?”
I chuckle, then reach inside my vest pocket. I stretch my legs out and lean against the trunk, then place the neatly sealed paper bag in my lap. I open the bag and cinnamon fills the air. I twirl a finger and my shadows warm the cinnamon roll, further filling the room with the scent of butter and icing.
A small boy with silver hair pokes his head out from the tree trunk. Blankets are pulled around his neck like a cape, making me smile. He crawls out on hands and knees until he’s sitting with me, side by side. He puts on a good show of pouting, arms crossed and brow set. I whistle and tear off a piece off the cinnamon roll, then obnoxiously eat it through ‘oh, it’s so tasty.’
“Fine, fine. I forgive you. Did he come with you this time?”
Savir looks up to me with those big, sapphire blue eyes that are flecked with black, like someone splattered ink across his pupils. They’re swollen and bloodshot, he’s been crying for most of the day. Locks of hair identical to stars is a wild mess, sticking up in every direction and flowing around his waist.
He’s hoping I’ll say yes, there is a hint of dimples in his familiar face. I want to say yes.
I offer him the cinnamon roll and he takes it with a gloved hand, gleefully diving in.
“No, Alvis had some work to do, but he’ll come next time. Should I tell him these are better than the last?”
Savir frowns but it only lasts for a second. “Yeah, how about cookies, next time? And he’ll bring them himself, right? I want to meet the Prince!”
I smile and wrap my arm around Savir’s shoulder, pulling him in close to my side. “Alright. Cookies next time.” Savir melts into me and I hold him tight. My free hand wipes hair away from his face. “Your Da isn’t going to be happy with me, giving you sweets for dinner. Better make sure you eat something so I don’t get into too much trouble.”
Savir nods and finishes chewing, his brows are pulled together. “I’m used to people hating us, but last time was scary, achi.”
“People don’t hate you, Savir, and they don’t hate your Da. I’ve told you what the world is like, they judge what they don’t know. Don’t worry, no one will be coming here ever again. I promise.”
Savir takes his left glove off and offers his hand to me. “Promise me like this.”
“Don’t trust me?”
“I didn’t say that … I just, want to hold your hand.”
I clear my mind and push away all things a child should never see. I leash Tzel and fill my head with only lovesafelove, then take Savir’s hand. He sighs and his fingers entangle tightly with mine. I allow silence to fill the room while he reads my mind. When he relaxes once more, I toe the line and hold him close.
“Tell me what happened, Savir.”
Savir holds me tighter than I’m holding him. Our joined fingers shake.
“I didn’t want to tell Da, after how much I had to fight for him to agree to school, but it was so awful, achi, they were so mean.”
Savir trembles in my embrace and I don’t speak, only kiss the top of his head.
“They said I’m broken, they said I ki,” Harsh sobs erupt, “killed my mama, that’s why I’m blind. I cursed myself.”
I pull Savir into my lap and cradle him the same way I did when he was born. I rock him back and forth, then bring my lips to his forehead and send lovelovelove, with Aether through his skin to soothe his incoming headache. He relaxes, but the tears don’t stop. His bare hand finds the agate necklace around my neck and he fidgets with it.
“Hey, you know that’s not true. Listen, to me, shh, listen. I love you, little Savior. You’re going to be a legend someday, more famous than I am. You can do anything, and don’t let anyone tell you different, not me, not your Da. I’ve got your back, kid. You are not a curse, and you did not kill your mother.”
“Promise?” He asks. “You have to tell me the truth, achi.”
Oh, how my heart breaks.
“I promise, Savir. All of it is the truth.” I slip my necklace off and kiss the flat stone plated with gold, willing this moment to embed inside the crystal. I slide it over his neck and oh how he smiles through the tears. “Here, now you can hear my love for you even when I’m gone, and I won’t be that long ever again.”
Savir throws his arms around my neck and hugs me. I hold him tight to my chest and sigh, fighting to keep my own sadness hidden.
“Will you tell Da?” He asks quietly after a moment, head on my shoulder.
“Will you keep attending school, or will you let this stop you?”
Savir contemplates for a moment. “No, I won’t stop going. I’ve come too far.”
I smile and ruffle his hair, then sit him up so I can press my forehead to his.
“In that case, I’ll keep this between us, if you promise to try your best, and if you come eat your dinner.”
Savir giggles, it’s been too long since I’ve heard the sound and my heart fills.
“I love you, achi.”
“And I love you, my little gibor.”