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part four.


“You’re certain?”

Lilith gently closes her fingers over Adonis’, which are currently squeezing her shoulders with such force that she can feel her arms beginning to go numb. He sometimes forgets his strength. “Positive. I felt the shift earlier; the fourth curse has struck.”

“There’s no disaster, so far as I can see.” Adonis relinquishes his grip on his adopted daughter and starts to pace the room restlessly. “It must be another magical one, like the second.”

Lilith rubs her shoulders and doesn’t respond. They’re standing in one of the temporary shelters built to accommodate people until the proper homes can be rebuilt – small, uncomfortable and it shakes like a leaf in the wind, but it’s warmer than outside and it is only temporary.
Adonis isn’t sure what’s got him so jumpy recently – since the council of war with Arthur’s ministers, he’s been like a tightly wound coil. He’d like to think that his concern for Aura’s disappearance goes no further than his respect for as his deity, but in actuality he knows that there’s a deep, profound fear that he’s thus far refused to face. Whether either of them like it or not, they’re connected forever in the form of their unborn child. Maybe it’s selfish of Adonis to be afraid of rearing his first and only child alone, but the mere thought of it terrifies him. He needs her. They need each other.

Shaking his head, the leader of the Shady Labyrinth reaches for a shirt and pulls it loosely over his bare torso. “I can’t stay here waiting for news. I’ll see you later.”

Once outside, Adonis pauses and leans back against the wooden hut, sighing. Only the Core, Shady Labyrinth and Falcon Point have thus far been relinquished from the grip of the third curse, and half of Shaman has been out for the past two days searching all of them... Aura may be small, but she’s not that small. If she were anywhere in those three territories, she would have been found by now. Slowly, Adonis turns and heads for the furthest end of the ’Labyrinth, where his own territory borders Ily Moor. The mud squelches deeper as he nears, and when the water reaches knee level he accepts defeat, turns and heads back home – clearly, the ’Moor is still as badly flooded as before the ’Labyrinth dried up. The ’Moor isn’t the only territory bordering the Core, however.

Sending Itzal off to scout around the territories bordering Falcon Point, Adonis follows the path back to the Core and follows the border round, seeking high points to peer into the territories. Shingle Brook and Cascading Waterfalls are as flooded as ever, which is only to be expected, as they’re water-based territories. Mahogany Forest seems to be flooded, but with his keen eyes Adonis notices that the water-line on the trunks seems to be much higher than the actual water level. Taking a chance, he leaps from the safety of the rock he’d been standing on and splashes through the salty water. At no point is it so deep that his feet cannot touch the ground, and as he gets deeper into the territory he realises that the water level seems to be dipping – by the time he gets to what he judges is the centre, it’s only half way up his shins.

Mahogany Forest is still flooded, but not uninhabitable. Anyone wanting to stay dry would only have to climb the trees...

Adonis looks up, just as something splashes down a few feet behind him. A pair of hands grips his shoulders.

    • part three. -
    • part two. -
    • part one. -

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