Chapter XIX: Into the Mind of Fire (18/18)Mature

As kindly as he could, Will explained about seeing the fire, the half-faced man, her escape. Tayna looked ready to cry on a couple of occasions, but was able to pull herself back from the edge of sorrow to listen.

'I wanted to save that woman,' she said when Will had finished. 'I was so close, but when I saw the fire around her, I saw my mother, I heard her telling me to run. I couldn't save them though, I couldn't save any of them, I left them to die because I thought of myself -,' Will pulled her into an inescapable embrace before she could continue.

'Don't think like that,' he said gently, 'your family is alive out there, somewhere. So are mine, they're not here now, but we'll find them. We were allowed to live on for them.'

'My real family abandoned me, I told my foster mother she meant nothing to me - but she was my real mother. The half-faced man thought nothing of them because they were human, but it didn't matter that we weren't joined by blood. She loved me, she protected me until the end.' She pulled out of the embrace and gripped his hand, 'I know you thought that nobody understood you, but I always did. And even if I didn't, I hoped you could have trusted me...'

'I do trust you, Tayna. You're one of the only friends I've ever had.'

'Then tell me,' she appealed, 'tell me whatever it is you aren't telling me.'

Does she mean Vincula? How am I supposed to tell her? I know her secret, it's not fair that she doesn't know mine. He had a feeling deep inside that whatever he told Tayna, she would understand, if not, she was put everything she had into trying to.

'I - I want to tell you, and the crazy thing is I think you'll understand, but I just - I can't.'

'Okay,' she said, nodding but not hiding her disappointment, 'then I'll tell you another secret, one that you need to know.' She flattened herself out on her stomach, reaching across to the drawer of her bedside table. She sat back up holding a wooden box with gold decoration all around.

'I thought there was just one connection between us, that we'd both lost our families. But we share another thing in common,' she explained, 'the Evil Eye. Nobody else can see it because they have not suffered by the ones who wear it. For the Evil Eye to appear to you, it is calledinvidia.It appears to you because they killed your family...'

'So...why does it appear to you?'

In answer, Tayna opened the box. Inside was the half-faced man's dagger, and on the hilt was painted the Evil Eye.

Dizziness swept through him, Will turned away and shielded his eyes, Tayna shut her eyes and reached into the box, turning the dagger over where the eye was not shown. Tayna opened her eyes - and she smiled.

'Some might think I'm mad for keeping this, after all, in its lifetime it's probably injured and killed several innocent people. But when Castia burnt down, I lost everything, my family, my possessions all except this dagger. All the odds said I should have died that night, if I hadn't argued with my mother, I would have burnt, and if I wasn't an Elemental, the half-faced man wouldn't have hesitated killing me. This dagger is the reason I got away, maybe it was luck, maybe it was fate, the same fate that brought Paradam along that woodland path to find me.

'That's not the secret though. You saw it, Will. This dagger bears the symbol of the Evil Eye. Do you know what that means?'

He did. 'It means that whoever murdered my family that night...'

'Killed my family too.' 

The End

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