“You went and talked to that witch?!” Theyo boasted as he marched around the room, his hands in the air as he paced back and forth.
“She is not a witch,” Cora spoke softly yet sternly as she stared at the man, his hair falling over his green eyes, specks of white glittering in the hue. Her arms crossed over her chest as she practically scolded the older man.
“Cora, she could have killed you,” Amor spoke gently as he slowly stepped towards the heir, his hands falling to her shoulders. She shrugged them off as she spun her way around and away from him. Oren was staying quiet as he leaned against a wall with his head shifting from each person that spoke.
“No, she wasn’t!” Her hands ran through her hair and down her face as she fell into a chair, her shoulders slumping and her hands on her knees.
“How do you know that? You have been here for less than a day, and you disappear and come back saying you were with Azolda.” Theyo planted his hands on the table next to her, his large hands firmly against the wood, his weight creaking the stem as he looked down at her.
“You don’t understand! We went to this cave, and she showed me-”
“She led you into a cave?!” Amor and Oren said in unison as concern fell across their faces. Theyo’s hands gripped the edge of the table, rattling it as his entire being flooding with anger and rage.
“I’m going to kill her!” They screamed as he flung the table over and stomped to the door. Both the young men and Cora startled by the table, now recollecting themselves as he made his way for the handle.
“You can’t!” Cora pleaded as she raced towards him
“I will do what I have to!” He raised his voice as he left the sandstone house. Cora chased after him. Theyo began to run across the beach, Cora sprinting to keep up.
“Theyo! Theyo stop!”
“It has been too long!”
He stopped. Cora was slowing down to catch her breath. She panted and panted, falling to her hands and knees as she tried to catch her breath, her hair waving over the golden sand. Amor and Oren were catching up to the two of them. Their brows wrinkled as they looked to one another.
“She’s dead, Theyo.”
“How?” Theyo helped her up and held her hand, his eyes pleading for an explanation, rubbing his thumb across the back of her hand. She looked into his green eyes and saw nothing but a familiar face, all too familiar. And so she began telling them.
They walked back across the beach, following the deep grooves in the sand form their feet. Their arms interlocked as Cora continued to tell them how she fell in love with the color of the crystals, their bright light, and their textures. How she gripped that falling crystal and all she could see was white, and when she woke up, the gems seemed to have melted and now glaze the walls of the cave.
“And when she… The light seemed to fade.”
“Cora, I’m sorry.” Theyo apologized as they entered the home once again.
“Us too, we should’ve listened to you.” Amor apologized as well, Oren nodding as he looked at her. She smiled and shook her head.
She let out a slight chuckle, the three men tapping her on the shoulder as they too began to laugh.
As the laughter began to die down, Cora stood from the chair, stretching her arms, her back tensing as she rose to her toes, her sleeves falling down her arms.
Faded marks on her skin wrapped from palms down and into her sleeves. They twisted and convulsed as her muscles stretched and relaxed, moving with her, dancing across her body, flowing like ripples in the water.
“Cora, your arms.” Oren pointed as he stared in complete shock and disarray. Amor and Theyo stared as they whipped themselves over her skin, like a snake across the sand.
She was in awe, mesmerized by their movements, how they thrashed and thrashed over her skin with any pain, declining to a gentle twist. She got lost in them. She began to lose herself in the memories of stories, visions of the sea, crashing of the waves. They reminded her of the sea. Coating her mind in a case of water.
Her skin began to fade back to normal. All of them stood there in awe, Cora slowly slipped from the water that coaxed her mind.
Oren let his mouth fall, "holy-" but was quickly cut off.
A sudden knock came at the door. A pounding on the wood, splinters falling to the door. Cora falling out of her daze. Amor and Oren stepped further away from each other and out of sight. Theyo slowly walking to grip that handles and reveal the source of the booming knock.
The door creaked open. A man in armor that shone under the light from the sky. His chest plate was engraved with the kingdom's seal. A blue plume stood from his helm that covered only his hair and framed his face. His metal gauntlets were designed with an even circle on their backs. They held a long sword that dug into the sand, the handle the color of a tree's bark, the blade glowing from the reflection of his armor. Cora dipped through the house and out of the man's sight.
"Queen's Guard. Theyo Brenritch -- Captain of an Aecorian Naut." He spoke quick and clear.
"That would be me." Theyo's voice came as a stutter, nervous and surprised by the visitor. A lump in his throat began to grow, tightening his airway, practically choking him.
"All seaports have been closed in search of the missing heir. Queen Vitana has ordered a search of all ships." The man spoke quick.
Theyo paused, his heart skipping a beat as he thought about his circumstance. Both heirs and a renegade knight were in his care, his protection. He was practically kidnapping them in the kingdom’s eyes. He let out a shaky breath, “of course.” He left through the door with the knight as the clink of armor faded.
Cora slowly crawled from under the table, looking to Amor and Oren who seem to have been holding their breath the entire time the guard was there.
"We're done for," Amor said amidst the drowning silence. Cora & Oren stood still and stared at the door as it tapped against the frame.