“She’s been down there all day,” Axra muttered.
“I… I’m sorry,” Lilly said.
“About what?” Axra asked.
“W… well, if not for me she…”
“Cut the crap,” Axra interrupted. “It’s not your fault that she put that ring on your finger. If anything, you’re the victim in this.”
“I… I don’t think she’d hurt me,” Lilly stated.
“It doesn’t excuse her forcing that thing on your finger,” Axra said. “Imagine, calling you her bride or whatever without even asking you. The impudence irks me!”
“We… I… That is to say… I’m sure she meant no harm,” Lilly said. “I… I think she’s just… over-confident, maybe.”
“Why are you defending her?” Axra asked. “Doesn’t it make you mad? Or do you actually want to be her bride?”
“I don’t!” Lilly declared. “Not at all. But… I… I want to understand her. I… I think she gave it to me not to force anything on me… but to allow me to answer her at any time.”
Axra was about to speak again, but the two were interrupted by a tiny roar. They turned to see Fang flying near them. He cocked his head towards the stairs and hurried down.
“He wants us to follow,” Lilly noted.
“Twila must’ve found something,” Axra said. “C’mon!” She took Lilly’s hand and the two hurried downstairs.
They found Twila with her left hand over part of her face and an open book on her lap.
“A… are you okay?” Lilly asked. “I… I don’t mean to pry… but you look a little… concerned.”
“I found out about Gail,” Twila said, her voice low.
“Is she really that scary?” Axra asked. “I mean, she did get locked up, right?”
“She’s horrifying,” Twila whispered. “She… but I suppose I should start at the beginning. Just… just give me a moment. I thought I was composed but…” Lilly rushed forward and hugged Twila, tightly.
“It’s okay,” Lilly said. “It’s going to be fine. I know it.”
After a minute Twila pulled away. “Thanks,” she said, her voice sounding much clearer. “I think I can tell you now.”
“I could read it,” Kilieg offered. His voice gave Axra a start. She’d forgotten he was around.
“Thank you for offering,” Twila said. “But it should come from me.” She took a deep breath and started reading. “So, it came to pass. The Goddess of chaos visited the temple of Thanatos during the night. During her visit, she entered into an unholy union with Giria, the head priestess. A child was born, far larger than any Djinn child and with signs of multi-coloured locks. Giria named the girl, Eritos. After the Goddess who had sired her and the God she worshiped.”
“Wait,” Axra said. “How in Zeus’ name did a Goddess sire a child?”
“We… well, she is the Goddess of chaos,” Lilly said.
“Indeed,” Twila said. “The Gods aren’t like us. They can change their shapes and possess power greater than we can even imagine.”
Kilieg laughed. “Better not to imagine it, ehh? Why don’t you continue?”
Twila nodded. “By her twelfth year, Eritos stood taller than any Djinn and was starting to demonstrate power beyond mortal ken. The upper limits of her abilities were unknown and the elders grew concerned. For the time being, her powers had been limited to harmless pranks so they decided to wait and try to guide the youngster in the right direction. During her sixteenth year, she began courting young girls throughout the city. When her relationships ended, her pain would make her lose control and her power became a serious problem. The counsel had no choice. For the good of the Djinn, she had to be stopped.”
“D… does it say what she did?” Lilly asked.
“It doesn’t,” Twila answered. “It does go on to explain the elder counsel’s plan.” She cleared her throat and continued. “Eritos fell in love with the chieftain’s granddaughter. The elders watched and waited. They found the two’s meeting place and they gathered the greatest mages in the land, one hundred strong and lay in wait near the entrance. After the two had gone inside, the mages hurriedly prepared a sealing spell. To ensure its stability, they gave it a blood seal. Thus, the threat of Eritos was ended. Thanks to their sacrifice.”
“S… sacrifice?” Lilly asked.
“What the heck is a blood seal?” Axra inquired.
She looked over at Twila, who hesitated for a moment. When she answered, her voice was low. “It’s rarely used because any mage who does it won’t survive. A blood seal uses all the power a mage has, including their life force.”
“By the gods,” Lilly whispered.
“Yeah,” Twila said. “A hundred people died to seal her away and… and I destroyed that sacrifice. I let her out and I fear she won’t be easy to trap again.”