SCARS OF THE SEA / book two /// chapter 75 / how did we get here?
Posted April 15th, 2018 by Garrett
in a city drinking coffee
a/n: oh my god im approaching the end of this book so fast i need to slow down but i don't want to so im not going toooooo
i have less than 10 chapters left.
like literally less than 10.
what in the world.
| 75 |
How Did We Get Here?
A day later, they arrived at a small town a couple miles north of Acantha.
Almost all of the slaves had joined them. Thousands of them. Too many for him to even try to count. They’d walked in a mile-long line from the canyons to the little town of Knorbury, where the townspeople had stood on their porches and watched in amazement as thousands of dirty, branded, free women walked through their town. The town council told the people of Knorbury to allow however many of the women they could fit to sleep in their houses overnight.
Finn thanked them over and over again, unable to express his gratitude.
Finn, Jack, and Castor all stayed in one family’s home, sleeping in the attic where there were two cots and a bedroll.
He stretched out on one of the cots, sighing as he stared at the slanted attic ceiling.
“How did we get here?” Castor asked, laying a few feet away.
Finn shrugged. “Eileen brought us all together. Without meaning to, she did.”
“Eileen,” Castor said, his voice as light as a dream.
“She’s in Acantha. She’s safe.”
Jack scoffed. “If you think Acantha is safe, Finn, then you’re a fool. The capital of a country is one of the most vulnerable places.”
“How do you know?” Finn asked.
Jack laid back, folding his arms beneath his head. “I know. It’s common sense.”
“But the Wind Keep. They’re in there.”
Jack clicked his tongue. “Queen Amaya was murdered in the Wind Keep by her own servant.”
“Too soon, Jack,” Castor said.
To talk about Queen Amaya? Or to talk about death? Finn wondered, his heart aching as he thought about Brana and her speech and the way her body had glided through the air before it shattered against the stone—
He pushed it aside. That was all he could do, at least until he saw Ciara and had to deliver the news. That was when he would face reality and deal with the truth. That Brana…that she…
He reached into his pocket and slid his finger over the raised surface of the coin.
Finn woke to a light knocking. He rose, rubbing at his eyes. His brain was fuzzy, barely able to process when Ginger, the woman they were staying with, poked her head into the attic and said, “You may join us for dinner in a couple minutes, if you like.” She had a chipper voice that made Finn want to rip his own head off.
He ran his fingers through his hair and moments later filed down the attic ladder, followed by Castor.
Jack was already sitting at the dinner table, hands folded in his lap, patiently waiting for food to be set in front of him. Finn took a seat across from the Mage, Castor to his right. Ginger’s two children came busting out of a room, full of giggles and rambunctious laughter as they took their places at the dinner table.
“What’s so funny?” Ginger asked, placing plates of steaming beans and mashed potatoes and some salted meat in front of them. She set her own plate down at the head of the table and held out her hands.
Her son cleared his throat and put his right hand in his mother’s.
“Would you mind saying a prayer for us?” Ginger asked.
The three men looked from one to the other, unsure who she addressed.
Finally, Jack spoke up. “Dear, um, Daneal…”
They all awkwardly joined hands.
“Bless this food and bless this wonderful woman who has allowed us to sleep in her house tonight. Amen.”
Ginger and the children opened their eyes and said, “Amen.”
“Who is Daneal?” The little girl asked.
“Goddess of Earth,” Jack said.
“Why did you ask the Goddess of Earth to bless our food?”
Castor swallowed a mouthful of mashed potato. “Food grows from the earth, doesn’t it?”
Jack nodded. “Indeed it does.”
“Aren’t you boys heading to Acantha?” Ginger asked, taking careful bites of her beans.
“That’s right.” Finn took a sip of his water.
“You haven’t heard the news?” She asked, eyes wide.
Finn’s stomach twisted. He set down his cup. “What news?”
Castor leaned forward over his plate to listen.
“Acantha’s been attacked.”
Silence filled the house. Outside, they could hear the women joking and singing, enjoying their freedom. Though their sounds of revelry were muffled by the walls and the snow and the ominous fear hanging over the dining room.
“Acantha…by who?” Castor asked.
“Serilda and the other Witches.”
Castor fumbled for his words. “The other Witches…like how many?”
Finn sat back in his chair, suddenly not hungry at all.
“An army.” Ginger looked more interested than worried.
“Is there any news of deaths? Anyone—anyone…”
“My Great Uncle Rob just came home yesterday with the news. He said that the Queen Regent vanished, along with the Blue-Eyed Witch. No one can find them. And there’s no way they could have left. Rob said that the Witches had everyone corralled inside the city, burning them down if they tried to leave the exits.”
Finn and Castor shared a look.
“She just vanished?” Castor asked.
“Did Rob say anything else about anyone? How did he get out?”
Ginger shook her head. “No news about anyone else. He said that cousin Dina died, but no one really cared, she was a mean old crone. And he wasn’t in the city, he was just outside it when the attack happened. Somehow news got out of the city about the Queen Regent though.”
Castor hadn’t stopped eating. He shoveled more beans down his throat and asked, “Has Serilda taken over Kaede now, too?”
“It seems that way…” Ginger gazed at a wall of paintings and ruffled her sons hair.
Finn stared at the inside of his cup of water, the surface shaking with ripples from his trembling hand. He felt like throwing it against the wall and watching the wood shatter, watching the water streak the surface. He wanted to see Ginger’s reaction if he drenched her precious family portraits she had hung on the wall of her and her children and another tall man.
“Where’s your husband?” Finn asked, looking at the painting.
Ginger sighed. “He died.”
“Savages?” Finn asked.
The silence was enough of an answer.
Finn couldn’t sleep. His mind raced, trying to come up with every possible location Ciara could be. And Eileen. And Lianna…He sat up in his cot and pondered the darkness.
Castor’s voice rose out of the gloom. “It had to be Eileen.”
“She must’ve done what she did that day in the desert. She had to have.”
“But if she did, they could have gotten hurt. Ciara and Lianna could have gotten hurt.”
Castor kept on going, “But what if they didn’t? What if Eileen was still too scared to do that again? What if Serilda got them and burned them alive and no one can find their bodies because they don’t exist anymore—”
“Castor,” Finn snapped.
“Sorry. I’m sure that’s not what happened. Eileen is strong she would’ve found a way out.”
“Where do you think they went?” Finn asked.
Castor paused. “Not north. They wouldn’t have gone to the canyons.”
“They went to Rosendale,” Finn said.
“What? Why Rosendale?”
“Because that’s where Ejiri is. That’s where Ren is and Eiji and Seiji. They’re all staying at their summer house. That’s where they went to scatter Amaya’s ashes.”
“And Lianna would have said to go there. She would have wanted to go back to King Roku.”
“Is he King anymore?” Finn asked, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips. He was glad they couldn’t see him, because he looked manic. He just couldn’t help not grinning at the thought of Ejiri Roku losing his throne. He was lousy as a king.
Castor seemed more exasperated by the question than tickled. “I don’t know.”
“So we skip Acantha?” Finn asked.
“And go straight to Rosendale,” Castor said.
Finn laid back in the cot and closed his eyes, letting out a pent-up breath. “Gods, I hope they’re there.”
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