Authors: Rachel Higginson
Tags: #fantasy, #magic, #young adult, #romance young adult
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To my Daddy who instilled the
to write long before this daydream took
To Kylee, this never would have
possible without you from start to
To Zach, you were the first to ever
my dream could also be my
Headlights lit up the dark living
room, as a black, unmarked sedan pulled into the driveway. A man
sitting silently in the corner arm chair lifted his head from his
fingertips and focused sharply on the late night
The man was used to hosting many
guests, mostly dignitaries and officials sent on palace business.
The guests would come and go with lots of pomp and circumstance,
reminding the man that he was a servant. A servant to the monarchy.
The palace. The king.
The guests would also come with lots
of warning. The car parked out front came with no notice and it
caused the man to focus. He wasn’t afraid. He wasn’t worried. He
was just curious.
Standing up slowly, he felt the
tingling of magic ignite in his blood. They couldn’t disguise
themselves, those that were like him. He could feel their presence
before they were too close. Their similar magic, like a warning
flare, always reminding him of who he was, of who he belonged
He expected the worst. The final end
to a too long life. The house he had made his home in recent years
would be perfect for this tragic end. An empty tomb of centuries of
memories, most of which he would have loved to forget. The
expensive but empty house would be perfect to say goodbye to this
life in. It felt like his over-lived existence: too large, too old
and too empty.
He half wondered who they would send.
He wondered who would be strong enough to finish the job no one
previously had been able to. This time he wouldn’t fight. He was
tired of fighting. He was tired of winning. There was nothing left
for him to win for. The people he had believed in had let him down.
The king he had expected the worst from hadn’t. It was time to give
up. To throw in the towel and let them destroy what he was the only
one left fighting for. He was ready.
Finally, he was ready.
But as the magic moved towards the
door, he was surprised to find it not threatening, but familiar. An
old magic, from an old friend. A friend from a different time and
one that he had hoped to never meet again because he knew she must
be desperate to brave this visit.
Hello, Angelica,” the man
answered the door before the old woman could knock. Her long white
hair glistened in the moonlight and she returned his scowl with a
gentle smile and sad violet eyes.
Hello Amory,” Angelica’s
arms were full of something covered with blankets. She pushed past
him; his tall, muscular frame took up most of the door way. The
cold night of a winter turning into spring blew quietly into the
house, but encouraged the man to shut the door quickly behind
Once the door was shut, Amory turned
the lights on in the darkened house, planning to invite the woman
in for the night. The house now lit, took on a different
personality from before. What once felt like a stark and empty
room, was now warm and inviting with the soft glow of light. A
simple burst of magic brought a roaring fire to life and warmed the
room as quickly as it was lit.
Angelica sat down on a large leather
couch near the fire. Her arms were still full of blankets. And her
expression still sad.
Let me take those from
you,” Amory offered, realizing Angelica looked frail and tired
under her packages.
I would love that,” her
face lit up just a little bit as Amory bent over to take the first
bundle out of her right arm.
As his strong hands slipped underneath
a blue blanket to lift the package from her, they stopped suddenly,
paralyzed by the soft and warm body underneath. Pulling his hands
away, he stared at her with fear in his eyes.
What is this?” he asked,
nearly choking on his words.
Take a look for yourself,”
she nodded her head and encouraged him with tender eyes.
Who? What? It can’t be,”
Amory fumbled through words afraid of what was in either
Eventually he found enough courage to
pull the blue blanket away from a sleeping infant, not more than a
week old. The little boy was perfect, tiny and soft with chubby
cheeks and a thick head of dark curly hair that seemed too much for
his little head. He stared at the child for several seconds
recognizing his parents without ever needing
He looked back to the woman who smiled
even sweeter, a tear escaping from one of her violet eyes, making
their strange color stand out starkly against her pale and wrinkly
skin. She nodded to the other bundle, one wrapped in a pink
blanket. Amory shook his head and stepped back.
The baby boy had not himself scared
the man, it was the second bundle that had him so concerned.
Several seconds passed before Amory found the courage to pull the
second blanket away from the second sleeping child. Almost
identical to her twin brother, with chubby cheeks, and dark unruly
hair; she was unmistakably a girl, however, with almost an angelic
quality and a sweet and smaller nose.
It’s not possible,” Amory
shook his head again, noticing the tiny buzzing of infant magic
swirling around him for the first time.
That’s what I said,”
Angelica held out the baby girl and Amory took her into his arms,
shaking slightly and feeling like the smallest mistake would
shatter the fragile child.
How did they….? How did
you….? How did they get here?” Amory stumbled through several half
questions before settling on the most recent. Twins did not exist
in their culture, or at least they hadn’t in thousands of
Two days ago, Justice came
to me in the middle of the night with these two. He stayed for only
a couple minutes, just long enough to explain that these were their
children, their first and only; that they were twins and that Delia
and him were fine,” she cuddled the little boy in her arms,
pressing her cheek against his head gently. “And, Amory, he asked
me to bring them to you. It was Delia’s idea,” she stared down at
the sleeping child, afraid to look up into her dear friend’s
Although Amory was infinitely older
than her, no one would have been able to tell. His black hair
showed no signs of gray, and his matching black eyes were as sharp
as ever. She was nearing the beginning of old age and looked it.
Her face was wrinkled and hair completely white, her hands were
gnarled and she showed a lifetime of hardship that she was
unwilling to admit to.
To me?” his voice betrayed
the fear he felt and took on the sweet, cooing of a gentle soul
speaking to a baby. The little girl sighed heavily in his arms as
if perfectly content to be there.
Yes, to you. They are
choosing to stay hidden. The children would not survive if they
stayed with them,” although the younger of the two, Angelica’s
voice took on a stern maternal quality that showed her desire to
protect the two infants fiercely.
And you suppose they will
survive if they stay with me?” Amory’s voice did not lose the
sweet, soft tone, but his question was valid.
They have to. This is a
miracle, Amory. An unbelievable miracle. They have to survive for
the sake of our people,” Angelica stood, walking to Amory and
putting her free hand against his face.
Amory looked deep into Angelica’s
lavender eyes and knew that she was right. The hope he had lost so
many years ago was suddenly ignited again by these two seemingly
impossible infants. The children continued to sleep in their arms,
but made little noises only newborn babies did, oblivious to their
surroundings, innocent of the world they were entering.
Then we cannot keep them
together, Annie. They cannot have anything to do with each other if
we hope to keep them alive,” Amory looked back at the little girl,
already the spitting image of her mother. She opened her eyes at
the sound of his louder voice and gazed up at him. She did not cry,
she only stared back at the man now responsible for her
Agreed,” Angelica nodded
with resolve. “Then we will leave now.”
She covered the little boy again with
his blue, fleece blanket and leaned over to kiss the girl on the
forehead. The baby lifted her mouth to the human contact, looking
for a bottle.
I don’t think I remember
how to do this,” Amory was suddenly swept with a different kind of
fear as he realized the child, although necessary to the cause
recalled in the old man’s mind, had needs of her own; needs that a
lonely bachelor was very ill-equipped to provide for.
I have no doubt that you’ll
figure it out,” Angelica reached for Amory’s face again, offering
an encouraging smile before kissing him on the lips.
Where will you go?” he
asked her as she walked towards the front door, she had only just
Not home,” she said sadly.
I have no choice but to
stay here,” Amory said with all the malice he was capable
Then what will you do with
the child?” the fear in Angelica’s voice was unmistakable. She had
made a choice in bringing the children to Amory, and it was too
late to change her mind, but regret flooded her veins when she
realized the danger she had put all of them in.
I have a dear friend here
that will help me. A human friend. She is young, but infinitely
smart and capable,” a sly grin crossed Amory’s face and he felt
confident in his plan.
Ah. You mean she is in love
with you,” Angelica watched the embarrassment color her friends’
face but he didn’t respond; no matter how long the man lived, he
stayed humble and private. “I will contact you when we have settled
She turned to leave, opening the door
and looking out across the deserted neighborhood street.
Angelica, these children
are our only hope," Amory said quickly with more passion than he
had felt in almost a century.