The Silver Siren (Page 53)

“No, I won’t let you go!” He raised his voice. “We may not have another day together, because tomorrow is not guaranteed. So I will not wait for what could have been. Yes, I felt guilty when I saw Siobhan and what has happened to her. It hit me that it might have been my fault. If I had approached her with my intentions to court her, she may have stayed. She wouldn’t have been captured and turned into that…thing. What are you calling it?” he asked.

“It’s not an it. We’re Sirens.” I spoke irritably.

“Okay, whatever. Siren. I saw her and I felt overwhelmingly guilty for my lack of action, so I wanted to make it up to her. But since then, on the journey here, I’ve had time to think.” Fenri reached to grasp Syrani around the shoulders and pull her closer to him. In a last ditch effort of feminine ire, she slapped him.

Fenri only smiled. “It looks like you’ve had plenty of time to think as well. But just so you know, I can’t stop thinking about you, Meja Tigyr.” He pulled a shocked and crying Syrani into his embrace and kissed her full on the mouth.

I couldn’t help but smile. It would take awhile for Syrani to learn our tongue and to realize that he just called her Little Tiger, which was actually fitting. I looked away and started up the stairs, trying to give them privacy as they made up and poured out their hearts to each other. Fenri was right, this might very well be the last night they truly did have together, so it shouldn’t be wasted being angry.

And if we did all survive, they could very well be the first of a new generation, Denai and Siren living harmoniously together. Oh, how that would be a world worth living to see.

I found a servant in the halls and told them to find Xiven for me and tell him that I would be in the upper tower room. The young boy promised he would immediately search him out.

Exhaustion slowly crept up my body and began to weigh heavily on my eyelids. I hadn’t slept in over thirty-six hours, and I knew that I needed to sit before I collapsed. My father and Gideon were preparing for an invasion. Any moment, Xiven would come and we would spend hours trying to find a way to save Siobhan. I might only have a few moments to myself.

I rubbed my arms as I took the stone steps slowly. Once again I was filled with loneliness. Fenri said he had many hours to think over who was right for him, and I too had spent many hours thinking over my future. Joss and Kael. As much as I tried to tell myself that Joss was the more stable of the two, I couldn’t help but know that I was lying. I needed Kael like I needed air. I wasn’t whole without him. Everything started and ended with Kael. He was there in the prison with me, he was there by my side saving me, training me, guiding me. He was always there, and now he was always here. I touched my chest and felt my heart speed up just thinking about him.

I turned left down the direction Fenri had come and found Siobhan in the fourth room. Exhausted, I pulled up a chair and sat next to her bed to wait. To watch her sleep. No one had cleaned her up, so I took a bowl of water and did my best to get the dirt and grime off of her. When I was finished and I had brushed her hair, I laid my head on my arms at the edge of her bed. I tried to close my eyes and scan for Kael. But I couldn’t. I was now surrounded by more Sirens. My gifts were muted once again. I could feel them, just beyond my reach. It was difficult, but I navigated the obstacles faster.

Then Queen Lilyana’s words came rushing back to me just as I was about to pass out from fatigue. If I could reverse what was done to me, would I give it all up for a chance to be normal? Before, I had said yes without a doubt. But now…I didn’t know if I could.

Chapter 31

The knocking at the door didn’t surprise me—I was expecting it. But I wasn’t expecting Portia to come barreling into the room and wrap her arms around me in a desperate and undignified hug.

“I knew you would come back. I knew that you cared,” Portia said.

“Xiven,” I interrupted. “Have you seen Xiven? My cousin. We need to try and save my cousin.”

She pulled away and a frown appeared on her face. “No, I haven’t seen him since yesterday.”

“What about Prince Sevril?” I was now fully alert. This was not what I was expecting.

“No. He didn’t come down for dinner last night or for any meals today.”

“Then who’s going to help Siobhan?” I cried out, letting my worry and frustration ring through my voice. I knew we couldn’t keep her unconscious forever. She would eventually wake up on her own. And then, Cirrus could kill her.

“She’ll be fine. But we need to discuss you and your future.” Portia admonished me, but I just ignored her. Whatever she was going to say wasn’t important.

No one understood my concern. Siobhan was me. If they couldn’t help her, then what chance was there of ever saving me?

Loud footsteps rushed down the hall and one of the Elite came in with a worried expression on his face. He spoke quickly and quietly to Lady Portia. His shoulders straightened and he turned to give me a onceover before he spoke aloud.

“They’re here,” he said stiffly.

Portia let out a little scream of fright, pulled up her skirt and ran out of the room. I ran after her. I watched as Portia ran down a hall away from the front door. I left my cousin and ran to the main hall, where I saw that a small selection of weapons had appeared. I watched as servants and anyone willing to defend the castle began to assemble themselves for battle. My throat constricted when I saw a young boy of ten or so pick up a sword much too heavy for him.

I immediately pulled it out and tossed it onto the table. I grabbed a shorter, lighter sword and handed it to him. He gave me a defiant look and I couldn’t help but raise my voice at him.

“You won’t be able to handle the larger sword. It’s too heavy and not balanced right for your arm length. Speed is your ally. Hiding and attacking from afar. Only engage in hand-to-hand combat when cornered. Do you understand me?” Next, I handed him the smallest of the crossbows, one that I knew he could load as well as a quiver of arrows.

“Yes, ma’am,” he said before darting off to what I hoped was a good hiding spot. He seemed relieved that I didn’t deny him his right to defend his home. I should have told him to run to the woods and not come back. I took it upon myself to make sure that the household staff was properly outfitted with weapons. It didn’t matter how much convincing I did. The head cook wouldn’t choose any other weapon other than the meat cleaver. The same with the older boys. They took up stations using scythes and hoes. Each person chose a weapon they knew and were comfortable with over something that was foreign.

I couldn’t help but feel a mixture of pride for their willingness to fight and sadness. This day would end in a lot of death.

For myself, I found a bow and a quiver full of arrows. Next, I chose a knife and began to work on my dress. It had long since been destroyed by my foray through the woods and riding. I sliced the dress off at the knees and cut long slits up the sides, so it resembled a tunic. My riding boots, thankfully, were high and would offer some protection.

I went out to the courtyard and met my father and his men; they were preparing to go with King Tieren to meet the army. Bearen and Fenri were already mounted. I had convinced my father to take Faraway into battle instead of his own steed. There was no one I trusted more to take care of my father if things went downhill. Faraway would protect my father since I couldn’t. Even now, I could easily spot Faraway’s gleaming white coat with Bearen’s large form riding next to Gideon. Everyone’s faces mirrored the same grim expression.