Fane crawled over the ground until he was lying on his stomach beside Quinlan and Talon, as they surveyed the large town that lay at the bottom of the hill. He reached out and touched Talon’s shoulder.
“Have you seen anything yet?” Fane asked.
Quinlan raised up and looked across Talon’s back and shook his head. “Not yet, but I feel we are close. I think that maybe Brayden is being held here.”
“Like your heartbeats are becoming more distinct… like they are synchronising.” When Quinlan nodded he continued. “I have been feeling it to. I think our heartbeat is leading us to the other parts of us… the missing parts. I think yours will lead you to my son and mine will lead me to his father’s grave.”
“I still hold out hope that King Thayer is still alive…”
“Then you are a better man than I,” Fane shook his head.
“If he is there we will find him. If he is there we will bring him home… even if it is just a body. They King should be laid to rest in royal ground and not out here in the middle of nowhere.” Quinlan said. “But I still think that maybe he is alive. Never give up hope.”
“Hope left me ten years ago when I found my son lying in a bloody and mangled mess beside the body of my sister. That was the day that I stopped believing.”
“Well looky-looky,” Talon handed the spy glass to Fane, “Tell me if you see anyone familiar down there.”
Fane lifted the glass to his eye and hisses as Ormand came into focus. “Ormand!”
“So the bastard did have something to do with Brayden’s disappearance. I just knew he was in it up to his neck.” Quinlan spat.
“He has a lot to answer for that is for sure.” Talon held up his finger against his mouth, “Someone comes,” he whispered.
They all listened to the sound of the Nightjar call and relief flooded the. “Come Ingrid.” Quinlan smiled. “I see you found us. Are my sons safe?”
Ingrid snorted, “You didn’t cover you tracks really well even a blind man could have followed you lot.” She sat on her haunches, her leather breeches pulling tight across her thighs. “ Your sons are safe Quin, my family will keep them that way until our return. I have already scouted the town. Ormand is there,” She shook her head, “he is not the threat we will be up against though. There is this guy and he is so familiar to me and I just can’t place him. He is evil, and power hungry.”
“Have you seen or heard anything about Brayden?” Quinlan asked.
Ingrid dropped her head and stared at the ground in silence for a moment. “I never saw him. But he is there. They are keeping him alive because they want the child. I heard two guards laughing about how the child would be the key to ruling Panthea.”
“What?” Quinlan asked.
“If they have Brayden and the child… your child, then they control you.” Talon said matter of factly.
“They want to rule Panthea? I thought this was just a sect that wanted to wipe out the old ones?” Quinlan thought that this was getting more confusing by the minute.
“That was their plan… they have a new plan now.” Ingrid pulled at the grass in front of her. “We have another problem. Not only do they have Brayden but they have King Thayer as well.”
“Thayer!” Fane gasped.
“So the king is alive,” Quinlan smiled, “then it looks like we must rescue two people.”
“Not going to be so easy. King Thayer has been scheduled for execution for crimes against humanity.”
“Tomorrow morning. He is sentenced to be dismembered and burnt. They are not taking any chances of him surviving this.”
“Why would they kill him?” Quinlan asked.
“He has always stood up to them. They don’t need him now that they have Brayden and the child. He is scheduled to die at dawn.”
“So we rescue him tonight.” Quinlan stated.
“We can’t go in swords a swinging, the first sign that we are there and they will kill them all. We go in with just a few of us. Leave the rest here. Cleric Saskia and Milo can take charge, unless you want to stay behind and keep the guards in check?”
“Not likely, that is my husband in there. I am going.”
Ingrid smiled and bumped shoulders with Talon, they knew that Quinlan was going to refuse to be left behind in the moment of battle. That is why Ingrid had insisted that Cleric Saskia come along with them. She knew that they would need someone they trusted to look after things.
“Gear up…” Quinlan grinned evilly, “we have a king to rescue.”
Brayden scrambled across the room as his fathers battered body was tossed unceremoniously onto the ground within their cell.
“Father?” Brayden sobbed as he brushed his father’s matted hair off of his face. “What have they done to you?”
“Make you peace with him son, he is scheduled for death with the coming of the dawn.”
Brayden looked up and saw such sadness in the eyes of the guard that stood before him. This was a guard that he had only seen a couple of times. Brayden always thought that he didn’t belong here. He was too nice. “What is your name guard?”
“Josep, my name is Josep MacLean.” He said as he straightened up.
Brayden smiled sadly. “When my husband comes for me, I will remember your kindness, Josep MacLean.”
Josep nodded, “For your sake I hope that he hurries. Tondran has decided that maybe for this to work one must be mated to the old one. He has chosen himself to be your new mate.”
“No!” Brayden cried out. “I am already mated.”
“That is a fact that in his eyes can be rectified. Once the bond is severed then you will be his for the taking.”
Thayer groaned in pain. He had lain and listened to the conversation and had to warn them. “Once the bond is severed there is no more,” he whispered hoarsely, “kill one - and they both die.”
“Thank the Gods for that.” Brayden wept as he pulled his father into his arms. He was glad for that news, because there was no way he would want to live in a world without Quinlan.