The Silver Siren (Page 46)

“Kidnapping. It was all the same. We needed Denai.” He shrugged his shoulders and gazed at the ground. “What the machine actually did was slowly strip a person’s power and convert it into a liquid serum. Ultimate power in a bottle. Sometimes the Denai lived through it and sometimes…” Xiven shivered. “All that was left was a hollowed shell of a being.”

“Why? Why would you do something so horrible?”

Xiven stood up, his eyes blazing in indignation. “I didn’t know any better. I felt trapped. I stayed until I learned all I could. I pretended to go along with everything, translating the books, writing up plans, and then I watched what they did and I felt sick to my stomach. When I saw with my own eyes how powerful you were, I realized the Raven wasn’t going to stop with just you. There were hints, things said, that lead to a much larger plan. And since the secret of the Sirens was out, I had to act. In Skyfell, in that moment of chaos when I thought I’d killed you. It was my only chance.”

“You left me to die!” I screamed at him. “If it wasn’t for Hemi and Fanny, I wouldn’t even be here.”

“I know. It was wrong of me. But I did it. And I fled to Sinnendor. I had learned enough to follow the Siren bloodline and went to the source.”

Prince Sevril leaned forward and scratched the back of his head. “He admitted freely what he had done and we began to talk. We believe we can alter the machine to help with our Siren curse.”

“By breaking the seal on your power?” I asked.

Xiven shook his head no. “We don’t want to make Sevril stronger by injecting him with Denai gifts. Instead, we’ve chosen a safer alternative. We’ve just decided to strip every essence of Siren blood from him. We do it in small steps, not as painful. And much easier to monitor.”

“You can’t be serious,” I said. The horror of their building another machine made me cringe.

“Even I know what my future holds. Madness, pain, and darkness. I’m willing to go through all that to stop the curse from passing on to another generation. Do you really think I want to have children like Tomac? Who are happy and beautiful one day and the next terribly insane? I would give it all up to be free of my generational curse.”

“But you heard Xiven. Half of the experiments failed. They ended in death.”

“And the others ended up empty shells. Both are preferable to my current destiny. Right now, even death seems like a quiet and peaceful alternative.” Sevril cried out, jumping up from his spot and pacing the room He fidgeted with his shirt sleeve.

“Thalia,” Xiven said. “We are not asking you for anything. We aren’t asking for your permission. We’ve already begun the process. You may not know it because you haven’t been here that long, but Sevril’s already changed.”

“What? You mean you’ve already started?” I turned and glared at Sevril, feeling like he was a bigger traitor than Xiven. That he would willingly trust and accept the help of someone who admitted to lying, kidnapping, and torturing innocents.

Sevril worried the inside of his cheek, let out a long sigh, and then pulled up his sleeves to show me the black bloodied bandages that ran up the inside of his arms. No wonder his arms were uncomfortable. “I doubt you would ever believe me, but the episode Tomac had was tame compared to how mine were even few short weeks ago.”

I couldn’t tear my eyes away from Sevril’s arms. He willingly went under the machine, knowing he could die, just to be free of his curse. A curse only now beginning to plague my body.

“It’s not the same as what was done to you, Thalia.” Xiven tried to make an excuse to ease the horrified look I plastered Sevril with. “The Raven figured out what you were when the experiments started to work.”

I turned to glare at Xiven, my voice filling with conviction. “Who is the Raven?”

Xiven shifted uncomfortably and sat down on the stool again. “I’m not exactly sure.”

“How can you not know?” I snapped.

He bowed his head to stare at a spot on the floor before he looked up to me. “I have a suspicion, but it’s unfounded and quite unlikely that anyone will believe me. And even if I did tell you, it won’t change what is to come.”

“And what is that?”

“The Raven wants the Denai to be the most powerful race in the world. To make that happen, the Sirens need to be destroyed.”

“Well, the queen is certainly convinced all of the evidence points to Sinnendor,” I said.

Xiven’s head snapped up and he met Sevril’s eyes. A silent pause passed between them, and I could almost see the silent conversation.

“Interesting and a bit coincidental isn’t it?” Xiven asked. “The queen and her Denai are hesitant to pursue justice for these horrendous deeds. They won’t enter Sinnendor to find answers, even when—”

“It’s not like that,” I sighed loudly. “The Denai are not strong enough to enter into a war with Sinnendor, and I doubt that even Queen Lilyana would sacrifice any of their lives needlessly. Even though I’m sure if she asked the Adept Council, they would do everything they could to help her.”

“So what? She could send Calandry’s emissaries into Sinnendor? Why hasn’t she done so already?” Sevril replied, crossing his arms to wait for my answer.

“Maybe she fears King Tieren would think it a threat and attack Calandry in retaliation,” I rushed out.

“Listen to yourself. You are basing this on a whole lot of what-ifs, for a queen and race your clan doesn’t even like.” Xiven answered back, a quizzical expression on his face.

“I am listening to myself, and I’m making more sense than you are. You suddenly show up in Sinnendor of your own free will. You’re doing experiments to try and remove all trace of Siren genes from the Prince of Sinnendor. And all to save a dying race that you didn’t even know existed a few months ago.” My voice rose loudly in conviction with each word I uttered. It felt like my blood was rushing through my veins, and I was finding it harder to control my emotions. I looked over to Sevril to see if he shared my concern.

He looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. “If he has an ulterior motive, so be it. I would rather live a fully human life than a mad one.”

“You’re pathetic,” I shouted. “He could be plotting the destruction of all of us—your grandmother, father, brother. Don’t you have any loyalty?”

Sevril’s eyes blazed. “My loyalty has always been that of the people of this land—no matter what their race. I do this for them! So that they can have hope for the future. A cure. Who are you to question my choices and motives?”

I was stunned by the utter fury and conviction that laced Sevril’s words. His eyes were dark with anger, his hands clenched into fists. Even his hair looked as if it stood on end in anger. I had, in that one moment, seen a glimpse of the madness and power that lay sealed within Sevril. Here was proof that he may have been the more unstable one.

My own vision became blurry with fury. I knew I needed to leave and leave now, before I lashed out. I stomped over to the barricaded door and began to forcefully shove the trunk to the side. It was heavy and made a loud screeching noise.

Xiven stepped forward to offer help.