The Goldweaver Legacy Chapter 17: A New Guardian
It was happening again. They were coming more often now. The brushes with death. And with each one, it was getting harder to find his way back. He was spiraling out of control. He didn’t know how much more his body could take.
He stared the enemy in the eye. This was the man that had taken everything away. This was the man he hated most. How was it he could hate a man that he’d never met?
The two fought as they always did. The image of Gal taunted him that Gal would be the victor. “It would be so much easier if you’d just give in. You know you can’t win boy. So why do you even try?”
Why did he even try? It was getting harder to remember why. It would be easy to give in, to just go to sleep and never wake up again. But he couldn’t. He wasn’t fighting for himself, but for everyone. Not just those who were living, but for those who were dead. For every single person of his Lorian.
He walked away as he’d done before. It was getting harder to go back, but Toren still remembered the way. He knew a better future was possible; he’d seen it once a long time ago. He was going to find a way to make that dream a reality.
Glyndwr stood with his arms crossed worry etched on his every feature. He was worried for his son. Since he’d been home, Toren had hardly slept and he’d suffered what his daughter had termed three overloads. He wondered again if he was doing the right thing.
“ I talked to some of the locals about your vision. I think I may have found out what you are looking for.” Toren’s face remained an unreadable mask. Should he tell him? You’ve already said too much now Glyn, he thought. So he told his son everything he knew about the mysterious statue.
Half an hour later father and son were shaking hands. Glyndwr’s blue eyes stared into his son’s. “Toren, be careful. If..” Toren gave a half smile, “Don’t worry father. I’ll be fine. I’ll call you as soon as I get back to Waterfall Springs.” Glyndwr watched his son leave and hoped it wouldn’t be the last time he spoke with him. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A few days earlier at Harmonious Haven….. “ You’re looking to find a glowing statue? Made out of gold? There’s stories of a statue like that. There was a elven king once long time ago who built a statue he called Jumbok.”
“ What happened to it?” “ Nobody really knows for sure. And quite frankly I don’t care. No good ever came from that statue according to the old stories. As for the place with the fountains and statues, now that place I know. It’s an old Valen ruin. It used to be a beautiful city, but only the stone pillars and a few of the statutes are left.”
“ It was destroyed in a war between the Valen and Dark elves a long time ago. Stories say they were fighting over that statue. Nobody ever goes there anymore. Well if you’re smart you don’t. Anyone I ever heard of that tried never came back.”
“ Alfie what have I done? What possessed me to tell him about that city?” “ I don’t know Glyn. But if Gal is looking for that statue, from what you tell me, we don’t want him to get it.” “ I know. I just hope he’ll be okay.” “ Toren’s a smart kid. I’m sure he’ll be fine. You do know Silvana followed him right?”
“ Si, I still don’t know why you insist on following me everywhere I go.” “ Let’s see, first you’re my brother. And second of all there’s no way I’m letting you go off by yourself in your current condition.” Toren sighed. He surveyed the ruins and gave a half smile, “It’s beautiful isn’t it?” He’d given up convincing Silvana to stay where it was safe a long time ago, “Hey that’s the statue from my dream!”
Silvana saw the statue in the distance. It sat upon a lone platform surrounded on all sides by deep water. “Great. Toren, you’re dream didn’t tell you there was going to be all this water did it? I’m really not comfortable about you swimming.” She hated to doubt him, but Toren had not been himself lately, and truth be told neither had she. She hadn’t told him yet, but she’d started to have trouble sleeping herself and she feared it was only a matter of time before she had her own overload.
Toren turned away from the water and suddenly yanked her arm. “Toren? What on earth…” then she felt it. A ripple of thoughts invaded her mind. Someone else was here. Toren’s blue eyes were watching something behind them.
She turned slowly and looked. There flying through the night was a bat. But the bat looked like it was wearing a collar. Wait bats don’t wear collars…”Toren, I’m hearing…” “ thoughts from him?” Silvana shook her head, “No.” She looked at Toren confused, “Him? You mean the bat?”
But it turned out the bat was indeed a him. Silvana jumped back when he landed and turned into a man. Toren quickly stepped up to protect his little sister if needed. “Who are you and what are you doing here!” The vampire smiled a toothy grin, “Whoa. Easy there. I got to tell ya though, you two are hard to track down you know that?”
Silvana spoke up now her initial fear gone, “Hard to track? You’ve been following us?” Why was this vampire following them? Had the vampires switched sides and joined up with Gal? The vampire threw his hands out in a peaceful gesture. This was not going well. He half laughed, “Really it’s not as bad as it sounds. Look uh I’m new at this sort of thing. Let’s start over. My name is Ryker, and I’ve been trying to find you because Master Midlock was my teacher.”
Toren pushed Silvana back and he confronted the vampire, “How do I know you knew Count Midlock as you say? I thought the vampires didn’t want anything to do with us?” Ryker frowned, “I’m sorry about that. Look, my people are just.. look now’s not really the time for the whole spill.” He tilted his head toward the island, “Look I want to help you Toren. I can get the statue for starters, seeing how I can fly and all that jazz.” Seeing the look Toren gave him he continued, “Your sister’s telepathic right? She can read my mind to see that I’m on the up and up if you’d like.”
Toren walked slowly over to where his sister was standing, though he kept his eyes glued on the unknown vampire nearby. “Well Si?” Si smiled, “He’s telling the truth Toren. He really knew grandfather.” Toren looked at him some more. “Well he’s being honest about that part.” After a few more moments he finally made up his mind, “I’m going to let him get the statue.” Silvana nodded. She wasn’t one hundred percent sure he’d actually give it them either.
The Vijaykar’s watched as Ryker flew effortlessly across the water to where the statue sat. He pushed a button causing the statue to shrink. The vampire then placed the statue into a small box and then flew back across the water.
To their pleasant surprise Ryker kept his word and handed the box over to Toren, “There ya go.” As Toren took the package and safely tucked it away he started to feel dizzy.
Everything started to go out of focus. He could hear his sister calling his name. No, not now. He did not have time for this now…He heard a new voice and felt someone else touching his arm. “ So take three deep breaths. Wait first ya got to close your eyes, then take the three deep breaths. Concentrate on my voice as you breath. Then, as you let the third one out open your eyes.”
Toren followed the instructions and when he opened his eyes he found Ryker staring at him with his red eyes. Toren smiled, “How did you do that?” Ryker shrugged, “You hear the old man pull enough of our kind out of overloads enough and it sticks.” Toren smiled again, “Uh thanks. Listen we should probably go.” Silvana stood stock still, “Guys, those thoughts are back.”
The group was nearly at the exit when they came face to face with two masked men. The group stared each other down. Then one of the masked men stepped forward and demanded, “Hand over the statue, by the order of his royal highness Gal!”
Ryker stepped forward before either Vijayakar could react. He shoved the leader hard and growled out, “You tell Gal, that he has no right to tell anyone in this land what to do. And they certainly won’t be giving you that statue.”
Silvana cringed in worry. She quickly yelled, “Ryker watch out!”
The warning was enough. Ryker spun around and saw the other man trying to sneak up on him. The vampire lunged at his newest attacker, fangs ready to sink into the exposed flesh.
Ryker missed his mark and the man fled down the road. The other shoved Ryker once, and Silvana covered her eyes in fear. Toren though was closing in to come to Ryker’s aide.
Realizing they were outmatched, both men fled down the street. Ryker hissed in satisfaction. Toren watched with a sense of amusement. He talked silently to Si, “I’m starting to think our new friend here’s kind of young.” Silvana nodded, “Yeah me too.”
“ You failed! How dare you come back to me without Jumbok! It should be mine! All of this is rightfully mine! You won’t make me break my promise!” “ Please my lord,” “ Silence! You’ve failed your king for the last time.”
Well at least I’m just having horrible nightmares. Toren rubbed his head. He didn’t like to think about the fact that one of those men were dead. And what was Gal talking about? Tala’s voice suddenly pierced his troubled thoughts, “Hey Tor! That vampire dude’s here.”
“ Hey Toren! Ya asked me to stop by, yes?” Toren kept his face expressionless, “Yeah, come on in. We can talk over some chess.” Tala and Silvana exchanged a knowing look. He’d had a vision. “ Yeah sure chess.” the vampire laughed nervously as they entered the house.
“ So basically that’s what’s going on. Our people are spooked. Master Midlock had been with us for centuries and in their minds if he could die, so can they if they get involved. So they’re hiding so they don’t end up fried.” As he picked up another piece he asked nervously, “And you really play this to relax huh?” Ryker had never been good at chess. Edward had tried time and time again to teach him, but he’d never gotten past a basic knowledge of the game.
Toren couldn’t help but give Ryker a confused glance. “So why are you not hiding?” Ryker shifted his eyes, “Uh, okay look I know I’m only 110. And okay I’m one of those vampires that was born without any special gift. I know I’m probably not what you’d want in a guardian protector, and I’m cool with that. I mean how could I possibly follow somebody like your grandfather? But the old guy did a lot for me, more than anybody else anyway. This is your show Toren, all I want is a chance to play even a bit part in it.”
It was early morning as the two men stood together by the door. Toren’s face was again expressionless and unreadable. “Ryker, you are by far one of the oddest people I’ve ever met, but you were able to save our skins twice last night so welcome to the team.” Ryker nodded his head trying his best to remember his training. “I’ll be in touch then.”
A few hours later Toren had called home again trying to reach his father. “Yeah we’re both fine.” Glyndwr sighed on his side of the phone, “I’m glad you two are okay. I can’t believe your sister followed you like that.” Toren snapped his fingers, “Really?”Silvana followed him everywhere. He shook his head, “I need to go. Ravi’s introducing me to his parents tonight, and if we don’t leave now we’ll be late.”
Ravi and Toren soon left, leaving the girls alone with Avri. Avri had been left to keep an eye on things while Ravi and Toren were gone. Avri was a servant of the Walosenko house and he’d immediately been set to fixing the clogged toilet. “Come on you stupid thing. What did that cow put down there? A stuffed llama?”
After he was finished getting the keys out of the toilet, he headed into the main room and found Silvana recently returned from the greenhouse. “So how’s the painting coming?” he asked casually. Silvana smiled, “Oh hey Avri. Back looking after the damsels in distress again?” Avri winked, “I don’t see any damsels in distress here.”
“ Si you fall for that every time you know?” Silvana growled, “Avri that’s not funny.” Avri shrugged, “You’d think it’d be harder to sneak up on a telepath.” Silvana huffed, “Avri we’ve been over this before. I don’t like using my gift without someone's permission. You are such a pill sometimes.” Avri apologized, “Okay look I’m sorry. I just didn’t have much of an upbringing I guess.” Silvana smiled, “You got that right.”
Later that evening Silvana was taking out the trash when she ran into the house’s newest visitor, “Hey Ryker! Long time no see.” Ryker put his hands on his hips, “Hey, is Toren here?” “ Nope sorry. He’s still out with Tristen. But hey if you want to stick around I’m sure he’ll be back before the sun comes up.”
Ryker decided to take Silvana up on the offer. He could keep an eye on things while he was at it. He was walking the grounds when he ran into a rather nice looking green gal. “Oh, hey there.” “ Hi. You’re Ryker?” Ryker smiled, “Sure am. And who might you be?” “ I’m Kaya McCarthy.”
“ So you’re Tala’s little sister?” “ Half-sister actually.” Tala walked by, “Hey K? See you in a bit. I’m headed out for the night. Don’t wait up.” Kaya was barely paying attention, “Yeah, sure sis. So do you have any siblings Ryker?” “ Nope.”
“ Ravi haven’t we been here before?” Ravi smiled nervously, “Yeah, we came here on our first date.” “ You mean the outing where we met the crabby vampire?” “ Yeah, that one. But I kind of hope you’ll have a better memory of this place after tonight.”
Once they’d gotten inside Ravi wasted no time in dropping to one knee. If he didn’t do this now he’d chicken out. “Tala McCarthy? I was hoping that…well.”
“ Will you marry me?” “ Oh my gosh! Yes!” As she slipped the ring on her finger she asked, “Ravi is that your sister?”
Why had she let Toren and Ravi talk her into this? This was what the eighth time she’d fallen down? But she knew this was a big night for her older brother and so she’d agreed to come. It was traditional for the head of a family to oversee a proposal so Toren had gone to the skating rink and she’d agreed to go to make it less awkward for him.
“ Need a little help?” Toren gently pulled Tristen off the floor and took her hands. Together they spun around the rink. “ Well at least your cousin said yes.” Toren smiled, “I knew she would. I don’t really get all these gypsy dating rituals. Shouldn’t he have gotten permission from her father instead of me?” Tristen smiled, “No because you are the head of your family tree, so he has to ask you. I know it’s a little confusing.”
Toren wasn’t sure what had gotten into him. He knew technically he wasn’t supposed to kiss a gypsy in public, but he didn’t care. Besides her brother was right outside and he’d already given his blessing. He leaned in close and kissed her lightly. To his relief, Tristen didn’t pull away.
The two had made their way outside and decided to have a slow dance there under the stars. The two were enjoying each other’s company completely forgetting for the moment about the rest of the world when…
Toren suddenly found himself being smacked repeatedly upside the head and shoulders. What on earth was going on?
Tristen watched in horror as her grandmother smacked Toren around. She’d known this was a bad idea. She kept her head down to the ground embarrassed. “ How dare you touch a proper lady in public like that! I know for a fact you haven’t spoken with her family on this matter yet!”
“ And you!” the old woman screeched turning on Tristen, “You’ve been trouble since the day you were born. Always have your head in the clouds or off trying to….and now here you are kissing in public!”
Toren felt white hot anger beginning to boil. He stepped between Tristen and her grandmother. No one should talk to Tristen like that especially her own family. He spoke curtly, “My apologies Lady Crumplebottom. I was under the impression that Tristen’s brother had given me his blessing to court his sister, unless of course he’s changed his mind since yesterday.” The old woman looked surprised at that news and then huffed off.
Toren gently took Tristen’s hands. “I’m sorry. Are you okay?” Tristen was close to tears. She knew she didn’t amount to much back home, which was one reason why she had hoped that here in Waterfall Springs she could get away from all the stares and rude comments for a while. “I’m fine. Can we just go?” Toren nodded and led the way. He had to do something to make her feel better. But what?
The next morning when Tristen got out of bed she found a beautiful little bonsai tree on her bedside table. Only one person could possibly have known how much she’d always wanted her own bonsai tree.
Tristen nearly bumped into Kaya. “Hi Kaya! Did you see my new tree?” Kaya smiled kindly. “It’s very pretty.” Tristen was so excited, “Toren gave it to me. I’ve always wanted one. They say that you can talk to them. I hope I can talk to mine. How have you been?”
“ I’ve been good.” Kaya smiled. That gypsy had a one track mind, but then would jump to a completely new topic at the drop of a hat. It was rather amusing. “ Can you tell Toren if you see him that Ryker was by last night? I think he’s got something important he wants to tell him.”
“ Hey, is anyone home?” Glyn called out from the living area. He’d made a trip to check on the kids well and take care of a job his son had neglected. He wore the same unreadable expression that was often on his son’s face, but underneath he was worried why his son had left something like picking up his cousin slip his mind.
“ Uncle Glyndwr!” Kaya bounded into the main room. She hadn’t seen him since she’d moved to Waterfall Springs. Glyn asked, “Kaya, is Toren alright? He never came to pick Iruviel up. I went ahead and brought her myself.” Kaya frowned, “He has been a bit distracted lately, but he’s doing much better since we met Ryker.
“ Oh, hello.” Tristen said nervously. This was Toren’s father, she could tell just by looking at him. The two really did look alike. Glyndwr turned and faced the new woman. “Hello. And you are…Oh you must be Tristen.” Tristen nodded and then shyly darted out of the room leaving a confused Glyn standing in her wake.
Ravi caught his sister as she was darting out of the house. “Whoa there Tristen. Where are you headed in such a hurry?” Tristen gave a sheepish smile. She was acting silly, but she always made bad first impressions. “Uh, nowhere I guess. Wait Ravi did you get a haircut?” Ravi laughed, “Yeah. I figured if I’m gonna be the head of our house, I should start dressing the part.” Toren piped up, “Is that my cousin? Ah crap.”
Toren made apologies to his father and cousin for forgetting. He’d gotten so caught up in figuring out the recent visions, his relationship with Tristen, and everything else he’d forgotten he was meant to be home. Thankfully his cousin didn’t seem to put out. “Toren, you are okay though right? I mean you’re not gonna fall out on me are you?” “ No, I haven’t fallen out in over a week.” Why did everyone keep asking that?
Ryker arrived later in the evening insisting he had big news. Curious both siblings lounged on the floor. “So Ryker, what’s up?” Silvana asked with a grin. Ryker got straight to the point, “I was thinking about how you two could get more training in your gifts seeing as how I don’t have any. None of the other vampires are game. I tried. Then it hit me when I was walking by the other day.”
“ The old guy had a house in Rainbow City. I walked by some of the other houses and remembered he had one. I’m thinking he may have books on each of your gifts or books on relaxation techniques. Maybe both. Of course, you’ll have to open the doors since your blood kin. I can’t do it or I would have checked myself.” Toren nodded, “That’s great Ryker. I’ll gather everyone up and we’ll check it out. Do you think you could stay here and watch after the girls? I’d rather go in the daylight thanks.” Ryker was a little disappointed but he nodded, “Sure Toren. I’d be honored.”
The next day found Avri, Ravi, and Silvana (who was not letting her big brother go anywhere without her) and Toren seated in what had once been Count Edward’s living room.
Toren sat with his hands on his lap face wearing the usual unreadable expression. Ravi wondered if perhaps Toren had developed this trait from having a telepathic sister or if he would have been so expressionless no matter what. It was a stark contrast to Silvana who seemed to wear her heart on her sleeve for the whole world to see. “So should we split up and see what we can find then?” Toren simply nodded and then lifted himself slowly out of the armchair.
Ravi had followed Toren ordering Avri to stay with Silvana. “You changed your look Avri.” Avri shrugged, “It’s a more traditional look. Apparently I need to start towing the line.” Silvana gave a sympathetic smile, “You don’t like it?” Avri shrugged again, “It’s not so bad I guess. It’s complicated.”
Silvana was about to say more when her eyes suddenly lit up. Her grandfather had owned a piano! She hadn’t played anything in months. She slid onto the bench and palced her fingers on the delicate ivory keys.
She was soon completely lost in her own world. She wondered if the grandfather she’d never known had ever played the piano? Maybe he was where she got her love of music? From behind her Avri watched with a smile.
Meanwhile in a small study on the ground level, Ravi and Toren were investigating. “Toren, you and my sister are made for each other you know?” Toren kept his calm mask in place, “Really?” Ravi laughed, “Yep. You’re both really hard to read. Seriously do you ever get excited?” Toren raised an eyebrow, “Occasionally.”
Toren made his way over to the shelf pulling a book off. Taking a seat he began to leaf through the pages. “ So is that what we’re looking for?” Toren shook his head, “No. Just some old stories my father used to tell me.”
He was interrupted by a call from upstairs, “Hey Tor! You might want to come take a look at this. I think I may have hit the jackpot.” Toren handed the book to Ravi, “Here, it’s pretty good.” Ravi shook his head and turned to put the book back on the shelf. He knew how to take a hint.
Half-way up the stairs Toren doubled over in pain. His head started throbbing and the world started spinning. He’d felt it coming and the last thing he’d wanted were there well meaning platitudes that he wasn’t well and that he needed to go home. He knew he wasn’t well, but really laying about in bed wasn’t going to fix it. He closed his eyes and took the deep breaths as Ryker had instructed and slowly the world came back into focus.
Silvana had felt her brother’s thoughts touch hers. She knew he’d nearly gone into overload again. But she said nothing as he bent down to inspect the books. What more could she really say? “Well now this looks interesting. Guide to Telepathy. Sounds like your kind of reading Si.” Si smiled, “And this whole shelf looks like it was made for you.”
The two read quietly for some time. Silvana smiled as she read over the different things she could learn to do with her gift. She realized she hadn’t even scraped the surface. “Toren what is it?” “ You’ve got to be kidding.” “ What?” “ You know those elven meditation techniques…they are the most effective treatment for prophetic dreamers.” “ You’re kidding.”
But Toren was serious. They’d known how to deal with this problem all along and didn’t even know it. Well that was a kicker. As Toren spotted the chess board, Silvana excused herself to use the restroom. As she washed her hands she wondered if she could ever do any of those things she’d read about. Some sounded like they would be useful, but others like mind control…did she even want to use something like that? She’d always been shy about using her gift and some people gave her flack for it, but was it wrong of her to be careful with it? Surely it wasn’t.
Out in the main library on the third floor, Toren let a rare grin show through. He was finally able to find the tools to get better. Now maybe he could turn the tables and finally find a way to make that dream a reality.
As Silvana joined him at the table he moved a piece. “You’re in a better mood.” Toren raised and eyebrow, “Let’s see sis. I just found a way to deal with the overload problem and actually take control over my gift, aren’t you?” Silvana rubbed her chin thoughtfully, “I guess so.” She glanced around the room, “So what should we do about all this stuff.” That was actually a good point, “Yeah, we probably should take everything that looks useful with us before we leave. Just in case.”
Downstairs Ravi suddenly tensed. He’d heard the door open even here in the study. Avri gave his commander a nervous glance. He asked uneasily, “Is everything alright?” Ravi slowly rose from his seat never taking his eyes off the western staircase, “Avri, use the other staircase. Find Toren and Silvana. Make sure they stay safe.” Avri looked confused, “But, what’s going on?” He was cut off by a raised hand. Ravi looked back once and whispered,