Aegis of the Immortal: Blood Blessed
Aegis of the Immortal: Blood Blessed
Author: The Concierge


The soft sound of falling rain beyond the orphanage walls would've served as nothing more than a resounding lullaby if only he cared to give it the appreciation it deserved. But how could he when he knew the walls only muffled the truth; the rain drops raged in anger and yet the flashing lights and growling thunder refused it their company. If he was the rain, refused the company of those he had grown acquainted to, he would be enraged, too.

            He listened silently, lying in the comfort of his bunk bed as the boy who slept above him tossed and turned, as he always did on rainy nights.

            The orphanage was a good enough home to him. He had come in a year ago, snuck in by a child he'd met on a cold night and somehow gotten a bed despite the presence of more deserving children. Still, living like this took a toll on his mind. Every morning he would wonder if it was the day Miss Ereden, caretaker of Dun's orphanage, would finally ask who he was before throwing him out. And every day she would give him food, pat him on the head without the faintest bit of affection, as she did the other children, with leathery hands seduced by old age. Then she would go off to her place. There she would sit, still as death.

            Tonight, he ignored the darkness of the room and the eight other boys he shared it with. The rain beyond the walls couldn't touch him and as the pain in his shoulder blades, a phantom of what they'd once been, ached even after a year, he thought back to the life he'd once had, a life as a child of the conisoir. Being the slums of the city, most people would've thought it horrible but it had been his home, and for a time it had been where his family was.

            He sighed the sigh of an eight-year-old boy who already knew what it meant to lose as he thought back to the night that had set everything into motion; the unknown guests, a child's mistake, and a morning's death. If only he had been more attentive, taken more caution, not walked into that dark alley, if only he had...

            It didn't matter.

            He could lie here as he'd done for the past year thinking of things he could've done differently and it still wouldn't change anything. He would still wake up at the crack of dawn and have his breakfast, get patted by the old caretaker and still get bullied because he wasn't allowed to fight back.

            Drawing his thoughts to more recent happenings, he adjusted his place on the mattress knowing he wouldn't be sleeping on it when the night aged more.

            Like the events that had led to their chance encounter, Sael had run away earlier in the day. It was a stupid thing to do for a seven-year-old but he didn't judge her; he never judged her. He knew why she did the things she did, the thoughts and sometimes the feelings, but he rarely understood them.

            For the past week she'd been courting the normally elusive touch of adoption. The couple had come looking for a child to help make a family, which on its own was a great rarity in the city. They'd set their eyes on her almost immediately and had fallen in love with her, at least according to what Sael had told him. Through the week, they visited every high noon and talked with her, asking her questions like what she knew about her real parents and what kinds of things she liked to do. The answers where quite simple. Sael had no recollection of her real parents, and the one thing he had in common with her and not the other children was that they didn't care about not knowing their real parents.

            Then this morning Miss Ereden had dropped the news, the couple had come earlier and taken a younger child, a child they thought would fit in better with them; a child that would be able to believe they were their real parents without question. Ereden explained as best anyone he had ever seen could, but he knew Sael well enough to know what she'd gleaned from the woman's words: The couple had come earlier to take any child that wasn't her.

            He'd expected her to do something rash, but when she'd run, he'd been preoccupied with saving his head from being kicked by the stupid boys of the orphanage, boys who wouldn't last a day in the conisoir.

So when he'd found out she was missing, he snuck out too.

            Sael had always had a tendency towards things that were not for the likes of her. And unsurprisingly, he'd found her in the conisoir mere hours into the evening. The fact that she'd gone there was proof enough that she hadn't wanted to be found by him, because not only was entering the conisoir risking his life, the place he'd found her was the place where they had met. A place where they'd almost lost their lives and had witnessed the deaths of the men who had almost taken them.

            Convincing her to return with him had been a tasking ordeal in and of itself, but in the end, he was able to bring her back to the comfort of the orphanage.

            The door to the room creaked open, pulling him from his memory and while he couldn't see in the darkness and wouldn't dare to try, he knew who stood there.

            In the light of the sun, Sael was always the strangest thing to behold. Her caramel skin wasn't common in the realm but it wasn't her most striking feature, even her opaque green eyes, though strange, wasn't so demanding to him, after all, he'd spent time being mocked for the abnormality of how upsettingly blue his were.

            No. Neither her eyes nor her skin made her so strange to behold as much as her hair. And as she approached his bed he felt he would be able to see it even in the darkness if he tried hard enough. It was the most astonishing white, as if Ayla herself had taken the mountain snow and woven it onto the girl's head as the gift of hair.

            Oblivious to vision as he was on most nights, he prepared himself for the argument that was to follow as was their nightly ritual before she would finally displace him to the ground, but it never came. Sael climbed into bed with him, shivering in his arms as she laid herself beside him almost as if requesting he remind her that she wasn't defective; that nothing was wrong with her.

            Ayla rip the souls from those bastards, he clenched his jaw, wrapping his arm around her.

            If anyone was to think themselves defective between the both of them, he was the one. At his age, he'd already lost a brother to death, and a family because they had refused to believe his claim of innocence when he'd been found in a compromising position. Ayla be told! They were his family. Even if it was hard to believe his tale, they were the ones who should've believed him, not condemn him behind closed doors while planning his exile. By the bones of Ayla, he'd only been seven.


            This time he shook himself from his annoyance to give Sael his attention.


            "Thank you," she said.

            "What for?" he frowned. "I didn't do anything."

            "You found me. And maybe it doesn't matter to you, but to me it matters that you kept your promise."

            He remembered the promise. As far as the girl was concerned he had saved her life in the alley the night they'd met just by showing up when he did. Three nights later, she'd found him in another alley, skinny, starved and nothing like the boy she'd believed was her savior. She'd brought him to the orphanage and a month later she'd run away for the first time since he'd known. He'd spared no effort finding her, and after a day of searching, came upon her at the gates of one of the noble's homes in the dark of night.

            There had been a level of elation when she'd seen him that had taken a tight grip on his heart, and while she'd happily followed him back, skipping, he'd spent the trip fighting the guilt in his heart. Because where she'd found some misplaced trust that he'd cared enough to come for her, was a truth that he'd only done it to ensure his place in the orphanage. But he wasn't sure why he had promised to find her anytime she runs off to Ayla knows where. On her own part, she'd gone and promised him she'd wait for as long as it took him to find her.

            Sael snuggled against him, draining his body heat in exchange of hers and just like that the conversation was over.

            Then in one of his few moments of foolishness, lost in the monotony of idleness, he gave the darkness his attention.

            Children are often told tales of horror by grown-ups designed to scare them or keep them from certain behaviors, and despite these stories, or perhaps because of them, children were so frightened of the dark that they often saw monsters in it.

            So while his mates feared the things common to their age and figments of their imaginations like the dark, he took solace in it until times like this when it haunted him. And now that he'd been foolish enough to give it his attention, he couldn't take his eyes of them.

            Thus, he stared and back at him they stared, hilts the black of night so melded into the darkness that he had once wondered how he could discern them. Their blades sheathed in the darkness, he fought—as his did every time—against the temptation to touch them because deep in the crevice of his soul, he knew giving into them was not going to end well. Eventually, his eyes fell heavy, dragging him into the darkness of sleep and he thanked it for the reprieve.

            And as Sethlzaar, once a child of Groc, fell to slumber, the last thing he felt was the light touch of soft skin against his sleeping lips, knowing tomorrow would hold as much promise as yesterday.

Comments (1)
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Ikeh Ifeoma
I just started and I’m already hooked ?

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