As Atlas left the small cell like room Elseron was left stood behind the dark dweller as she stammered and sputtered for speech, her face a broken mask of betrayal, confusion...but no fear. 'I...I...' she stammered as her mouth tried to form sentences her mind couldn't create. But Elseron wasn't listening to her; instead he had closed his eyes and stretched his consciousness across this newly formed bridge that had formed between his mind and his Princess's. He could feel her. He couldn't hear her thoughts unless she wanted him too, but...he could feel her emotion. Her exhaustion, frustration, worry and fear as crisp and cleanly as if they were his own emotions...it was a strange feeling and not one he had been expecting to occur when he joined her mind. It certainly wasn't something he'd experienced the first time he had done it...but then again...she hadn't survived. Reaching up he shuttered the blind as he saw the sun just begin to break over the tree line, the black cloth cut out all light into the room leaving him and the dark dweller in a soft twilight.
'When was the last time you fed dark dweller?' he asked moving towards the door.
'My name's Melody...' she whispered as her crystal eyes lingered on the floor. She's scared. He could tell that without having a connection to her mind but there was something else lingering behind her body language...disappointment.
'When was the last time you fed...Melody?' he said looking down at her.
'A few days ago,' her voice grew stronger as she locked her gaze with his. Ice blue meeting ice blue.
'Will that sustain you for the next twenty four hours or so?' she nodded. 'Very well. Food and water will be brought to you by the cooks there will be a guard outside this door at all times armed and ready to kill you if you attempt anything reckless is that understood?'
'Yes.' Turning Elseron grabbed the door handle and opened the door but before his foot crossed the threshold her voice spoke up, 'Just one thing...'
'I'm...I'm sorry. Tell your Queen I'm sorry.' Elseron had to smile.
'She already knows.' shutting the door behind he found the corridors of the Oaken mansion bathed in the golden orange light of the rising sun. Gleaming off his guards armour and weapons as they marched across the marbled floors in one of their many regular patrols Dante had issued after he had found the dark...Melody in the trees surrounding the large mansion. The two guards by the door nodded to him as he turned on them, 'Nobody enters of leaves that room without the permission of the Queen or me is that understood?'
'Yes sir!' they called clacking their armoured heels together to stand at full attention.
'Very good. I will send another guard to relieve you soon.' With that he left and began to make his way through the winding corridors towards Atlas's room, he hadn't seen it since they had both broken breath together, in all honesty he couldn't remember how he had gotten dressed in the night. All he remembered was ice, and cold, and water...then her face danced in front of his face and he took breath.
'Sir Elseron.' said Phaedos as he stood guard outside Atlas's improvised door. The young man was tired with huge bags beneath his eyes and a strange glaze covering his usual bright eyes.
'Phaedos,' nodded Elseron as he stopped a few feet from him.
'Her Majesty ordered me to wait here until your arrival and let none see her until she'd spoken to you.' Nodding without really acknowledging the words Elseron just looked at the Demi-God, he still didn't trust him....not really. 'I must ask to talk to you and the Queen about the possible new guard.' he said with enforced emphasis.
'Of course, for now our new guest needs food and drink and a guard I can tru...I know can fight of a Vampire outside her door.' Damn it. Elseron saw it in his face, Phaedos heard the word even if Elseron had tried to stop himself, the tired man smiled with a nod.
'Yes sir,' moving off past Elseron he grabbed Phaedos's upper arm.
'Phaedos or whatever your name is...' he said trying to add menace into his voice. 'I still don't trust you...you're of the old blood. Your kind is the reason Atlantis was sunk...' sighing he met his eyes. 'But I cannot pretend that you didn't bring her back, for that...you have my thanks.' Phaedos smiled slightly in gratitude.
'You brought her back Elseron...I just woke her up.' despite the pride at the back of his mind, despite how this boy had deceived him and Atlas...his words made him feel better, and he found himself shaking the man’s hand with a grin on his face. Coughing away the smile he ripped his hand from Phaedos's cast iron grip.
'Make sure the Vampire eats and drinks and stand guard outside her door until you're relieved.' Elseron strode off down the small hallway leaving Phaedos stood there with a grin on his face and a little more of a spark behind those tired eyes of his. Pushing open the cloth door Elseron looked around the room, it was a reck, the bed was half in splinters after he had to break the footboard off, the pictures were at odd angles, the vase had smashed, the clocks had stopped and nearly every panel of wood on the floor had been cracked. I tapped into more of her magic than I intended. He thought glancing around the room. 'Princess.' he said knocking on the doorjamb. From the fainting sofa Atlas sat up and looked back at him. She needs rest. Huge black bags were nestled beneath her eyes her hair was bedraggled and uncombed and like Phaedos her eyes seemed to see a lot less than normal.
'Come,' she said with a small smile. 'Sit with me...we...we need to discuss several things...but...'
'Yes my Princess.' he said moving to sit beside her on the small sofa, his vast bulk making the thin carved wooden legs creak and bend slightly as he sat beside her. Despite her tiredness, she still looked a Queen. In a gown of blue silk and her legs elegantly crossed her amber eyes seemed to brighten up slightly as they found his own.
'Through all of this conversation you may speak freely Els, some things are of a personal nature...others strictly business but anything you wish not to answer...you don't have to.' she said quickly. She's going to ask...
'Very well my Princess.' he said fighting back the nervous quiver from his voice, but with the connection between them...he wasn't sure if she could feel his emotions. In the name of the spirits please don't be able too.
'Why did you do what you did?' she said firmly. That took him off guard.
'I...I don't understand Princess.'
'Why did you plunge your consciousness in with mine? It's a miracle you survived you could have died Elseron.'
'Princess I did it to save you...' he said softly. How can't she understand? 'If that means my life for yours...'
'Elseron my Guardian my life is not worth yours,'
'Your life is worth everything Atlas!' he interrupted firmly. Her amber eyes suddenly glossed with tears.
'Els if...if something happened to you because of me...I...I couldn't...I wouldn't forgive myself.' she said struggling to keep back the tears. Reaching over Elseron took her hands in his and squeezed them slightly until she looked at him.
'You really don't understand my job do you?' he smiled when she laughed heartily, brushing at the tears by rubbing her cheeks against her shoulders. 'Atlas...I would give my life for yours any day. And not just because you're my Queen...but because I watched you grow up...learn to read and write, clambered after you when you insisted on climbing on the palace roof.' that pushed another laugh from her as she remembered the memories of her nimbly jumping from roof to roof and himself stumbling after her nervously. 'Atlas you're everything to Atlantis...to me. I can't let harm come to you when I have the means to prevent it.' finishing with a smile Elseron waited for her to respond but instead she just flung her arms around him, hugging him as tightly as he had done as a child.
'I...I love you Els.' she whispered softly, so softly he could barely hear, but they hung in his head like diamond chandeliers.
'I love you too Atlas.' he said hugging his Princess back. After a long while they broke apart and Atlas deftly wiped the tears from her face.
'I'm sorry for our argument Els...I treated you like a common guard, and not as my Guardian.'
'That's in the past my Little Princess...lets focus on the future for now.' he smiled saving her the pain of apologising further.
'Yes lets,' standing she moved to the cracked marble fireplace prodding the ashes of her fire with a long iron bar. 'Firstly there's how you learnt to join minds.' she said turning on him. I knew you'd have to ask. 'Remember Elseron anything you don't wish to answer...'
'No my Princess I will answer you but just...not now.' she raised an eyebrow as her amber gold eyes drilled into him, he felt her surprise through this strange bridge that had melded itself between their minds. 'Atlas...it...involves your Mother.' her fear struck his mind like a knife blade and her face froze for a split second.
'Then...maybe that is a conversation for another time.' she said returning the fire stoker to its holder, recognising the change of conversation Elseron nodded and waited for her to speak.
'Gramtag told me he was hired by Atlanteans...' she said looking to him.
'That's ridiculous! Nobody in Atlantis would want you,'
'No Els...Atlanteans up here.' she interrupted. Elseron was sure she couldn't feel his emotions through their new link as she didn't react when he was struck with so much shock and fear his heart skipped a beat. No...no it can't be...'Els what is it? You look like you've seen a ghost.'
'I believe I have,' he whispered to her rubbing a hand across his forehead trying to organise his thoughts into an orderly arrangement. 'There was a family...many many years ago. Before you were born...' taking a breath Elseron stood and looked down at Atlas. 'When your Father was coroneted he wished to take a bride, two families stood out, both distant descendants of the royal family but one had better royal bloodlines than the other.'
'My Mother's family...' she said with a nod. Elseron shook his head.
'No my Princess,' her face cracked with shock. 'Your Father married the Queen out of love alone...the other family, they swore a vendetta against the Queen but I ran them out of Atlantis with my men...last we heard they were living somewhere in this country. I think the Thetis family are trying to finish their feud.'