“How do you know my name?” Zeph asked, his heart tight in his throat.
The two men exchanged a look between them, before the siren turned to Zephren. “I know this must be confusing,” he said, avoiding the question as he knelt before Zephren with a kind of nobility.
Zephren held his breath. At this closeness Zeph could see that the siren’s shimmering skin was flawless apart from a deep scar running vertically over his lips. The siren brushed back his long white hair with his gloved fingers, his gaze on Zephren where they held him still.
“We found you injured outside a manor, on the outskirts of Gallery. Were you caught up in an explosion?” he asked, his deep voice somehow soothing.
‘Gallery…’ Was that the city Zeph had lived in?
Everything seemed like a distant dream, almost hazy as memories came flooding back. Zephren’s throat felt irritated as he said, “Yes…there was a blast that destroyed the outer wall… I was in the hallway when it happened.” Zeph’s voice was rough and much gruffer than he was used to. “My side,” Zephren reached to touch his waist, feeling more thick bandages under the shirt, “I injured it when I fell off the second floor… How did you find me?”
Again, the siren didn’t answer, instead gesturing to Zephren’s arm. “Did you break your arm in the fall?”
Zephren brushed his fingertips against the injury, gingerly, flinching as he remembered the horrible snapping sound. He closed his eyes, shaking his head as he tried not to remember.
He felt a hand come down on his shoulde, jumping, terrified at the touch.
The siren’s eyes widened slightly, retracting his hand at Zeph’s reaction. “I didn’t mean to scare you…” He let his hand slip to the floor, narrowing his eyes slightly as he examined Zeph’s face. “Do you know who I am?”
Zephren shook his head. “Should I know who you are?”
There was a pause before he spoke; his voice was a low rumble, deep and rough in his throat. “My name is Rosakai Stane. This is Blade,” he gestured to the silent, black haired man with amber eyes. “You’ve been unconscious for several hours. Our physician tended to your wounds and gave you some medication to fight infection and ease your pain. You were critically low on blood, so we gave you a transfusion as well. You’re lucky the wound in your side didn’t come in contact with any major blood vessels or organs…otherwise you’d probably be dead.” Rosakai glanced at Zephren’s side, as if he could see the wound underneath. “You were smart…cauterizing the wound. You bought yourself a lot of time.”
Zephren shook his head, astounded. “You put in a lot of effort to save a stranger.”
He watched Rosakai’s eyes narrow slightly. “You’re not a stranger. You’re a siren…which might have helped save your life. We heal faster than humans,” he studied Zephren’s face, saying quietly, “Half siren, in any case.”
Zephren broke his eye contact, hoping the hazel eyes of his father would disappear in the shadows.
“Why were you dressed in rags when we found you?” Rosakai asked.
Feeling his dry lips peel apart, Zephren was ready to answer him only to find that he had no words… He didn’t know if it was the shame or fear, but somehow the words ‘I was a prisoner’ couldn’t be said.
Rosakai’s eyebrows twitched into a furrow, almost agitated. He glanced back at his companion, Blade, who stood behind him with his arms crossed. The siren looked back at Zeph, his hair fanning out around him. “You say you are Zephren Kyne… Where is your father?”
Zeph breathed in heavily, his hair standing on end. “Isn’t he dead? Didn’t you find him?” Zephren could feel himself begin to shake, pleadingly looking up at this stranger’s harsh expression. His fingers gripped the edge of the blanket covering him. “Please…tell me he isn’t going to find me…”
Rosakai blinked at him, restless as he looked for the first time truly concerned. “No…he isn’t going to find you.” He stared back at Blade for a moment, though they both said nothing.
Silence engulfed Zephren as he held his breath.
The siren stood abruptly, his demeanour darkening. “This is not a safe place. If you stay here, you will be put in danger... But I fear that your injuries would cause you great difficulty on your own. You are a siren…and the world does not take kindly to sirens.” Rosakai looked at Zephren softly, glancing at his arm and his sickly appearance. “I can offer you protection.”
Zephren craned his neck up to look at the man, impressively tall. “I can stay here?”
Rosakai sighed, eyes flicking to the floor for a moment, then back to Zephren. “Yes, I think it would be the best option.”
“My father said that there were people looking for me,” Zeph said, quietly, “Are you those people?”
Rosakai was unsmiling as he stayed perfectly still. “There are many people looking for you, Zephren…” he outstretched a hand towards Zeph, almost in asking, “I want to protect you from them. And if you agree, I can help you find the answers you seek as well.”
Zephren stared up at him, the way his eyes glowed… Just a few hours ago Zeph had been dying, and a few before that he’d been locked behind an unmovable door. “Then…I see little choice but to agree.”
Rosakai sucked in a breath, his face anxious. “Are you certain?”
Looking at Rosakai’s gloved hand, reaching, waiting for Zeph to take it…to trust this stranger, Zephren felt his heart skip a beat. The moment Zephren took Rosakai’s hand he would walk away from everything he had ever known. There would be no more doors to keep him away from the world, and the world away from him.
Zephren watched Rosakai’s silver eyes, meeting his with a kind of expectation. Zeph didn’t waste time to clarify where he was, why any of this had happened… It wouldn’t change anything.
His bare fingers grazed the cool leather of Rosakai’s glove, gripping his hand tightly. Zephren nodded, his eyes blazing. “Yes. I am certain.”