There are fates worse than death…
Welcome to the serialisation of Accidental Immortal. Chapters will be published four times a week so the serialisation will be completed at (roughly) the same time as on Wattpad, if not a little sooner!
If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.
Chapter 16 – Dragon Brotherhood
Baserius put down his pen for the third time in ten minutes and rubbed his face in his hands. Taking up the pen again, he tapped a slow rhythm on the desk while he stared in to space in the direction of the window. He sighed and tried to make sense of the scroll in front of him but it was no use. The chair scraped across the wooden floor as he got up to stride across the floor to look out of the window.
The Brotherhood had built this city, maybe not with their hands but with their money and guidance. Now the money was running out but finally, on his watch, they might just get to the wealth that was rightfully theirs.
He surveyed the room at the threadbare furniture. The small amount of jewels the Brotherhood had come away with was nearly gone. They could barely afford to keep up appearance never mind keep the upstart king in check. The man was getting above himself. If the Brotherhood wanted the status that they’d lost, no, that they deserved, then they needed funds. Money to feed the brethren and money to recruit an army to put the king in his place.
He dropped down on to a leather seat by the window. The gentle breeze brought in a strong smell of sage mixed in with fruit trees. He breathed in deeply finding the combination calming. From here he could see right to the palace. In fact, the temple was higher than the King’s residence. This was a statement on where the real power lay in the land he thought with satisfaction. He would not be known as the high priest that ceded control.
There was also the oddity of the girl. Blond people just did not exist. His head rose slowly in realisation. Just like dragons didn’t exist. Maybe they were from the same place? If they were from the same origin, maybe they were akin in other ways. Would she have similar abilities? They were limited to how much elixir they could make with what they had. With more, who knows what they could achieve.
As he watched the street through the window he saw the red carriage belonging to the Duchess trundle around the corner. He leaned forward for a better look as they passed beneath the window. Three ladies alighted to Baserius’ displeasure. His lips thinned as he saw them group together on the ground. A footman dropped from atop the carriage, carrying their personal effects. How many was he going to have to entertain? Baserius ground his teeth. It was foolhardy to think the girl would come on her own. He expected her companion to come, but why the Duchess? This would take all his training and tact.
Lynsey took her purse from the footman. It was light containing only a few coins and a handkerchief. She thought it was stupid when she had to hand it to the footman before the carriage only to get it back at the other end but Luna was strict on protocol.
“One does not carry objects unless for effect or when strictly necessary.” She’d said. The woman was starting to get on Lynsey’s nerves.
Lynsey smiled at the servant and thanked him with a curtsey. Her skirt grazed the deep-packed mud street and she ruefully shook off the loose dust that gathered on the hem. The footman nodded and silently climbed back up to his place next to the coachman, driving off to come back at the appointed time. Luna let out an exasperated sigh.
“One does not courtesy to a footman or any other servant for that matter.” She reprimanded.
Lynsey rolled her eyes and ignored her, breezing past her to knock on the door. A brother she hadn’t seen before, slid open the hatch and immediately pulled the bolts to let them in. He motioned for them to follow him and his arms dropped to fold inside the sleeves of his deep-red robes as he led the way. His pace was quick and he ushered them across the hall and straight through to the high priests’ office.
“Ladies, it is lovely to see you. I wasn’t quite expecting so many of you or I would have provided more cups.” Baserius rose from the window seat to ring a bell. He indicated for them to sit on two plain chairs made of a soft wood brought in especially for them.
Lynsey glanced at Illyara. “Shall we stand, I think their counting has a little too be desired.”
“Well a Duchess never stands if she doesn’t need to.” Luna sat down, crossing her ankles while placing her purse on her lap.
Within moments a man wearing the customary crimson robes entered.
“Please could you get another cup for our guests?” Baserius’ voice was genial, coming from behind them.
“and a chair of course.”
He waved his hands at his guests. The brother slipped out of the room as he continued. “I thought we could have a small chat before we got started.” Their startled faces made his mood lighten. “I understand that you grew up in the western isles. One of our brothers has recently travelled back from there. I’m sure you will have a lot to talk about. I hear the weather is inclement there.”
“To be honest, I would rather forget about that place. The boredom of rural life is best left in the past. I want to enjoy a life with more diversions. I love my father but his dedication to the provinces is not mine. I’m happy just to be in the big city.” Lynsey retorted, beaming her biggest smile.
He nodded. “The charms of the provinces can be quite alluring but I can see the excitement of the big city is more in keeping with youth. Come,” He stood and indicated the door. “let us begin the tour while we wait for the extra cup.”
The tour of the upper levels went quite quickly. Baserius was knowledgeable of every facet of its construction. As he talked about flying buttresses, and carvings of dragons which glowered down from above at regular intervals, Lynsey’s mind inevitably wondered to Arkan. Where was he? Was he safe? Her eyes searched the shadows for him as they moved from room to room. Was he even here yet? If he was in trouble she could help him. She hated being the decoy.
“…and here is a picture of the pyramids. It was painted when the temple was first built. There are many who do not believe they existed but how else did we come to this place?” He pointed at a mural that sat behind long trestle tables, beside a lone brother eating a meal of green vegetables. He paused waiting for Lynsey to respond.
“He wants me to tell him about the pyramids.” She directed at Pico.
“It would appear so. I do not think that would be a wise idea.”
“I seem to be agreeing with you more and more.”
“I will grow on you.”
“Yeah, like moss.”
Pico’s thoughts rolled in violet as he laughed.
Baserius was now talking about the windows and it took all Lynsey’s strength to not roll her eyes at the tedium.
“Excuse me, may I use your bathroom.”
He halted mid-step and turned to look at her.
“Bathroom?” His brows furrowed. “You want to have a bath?”
“I’m sorry where I am from, the bathroom was used as a euphemism for the toilet.”
“Oh, we can’t allow you to use our facilities here. It would not be seemly. We do not have a separate place for women. We are a male only order. May I suggest the inn across the road?”
“That will be fine. I’ll just pop along and be back long before you even notice I’m gone.”
Lynsey’s thoughts raced, if she was fast she could buy a few minutes so she could do some snooping of her own. She sedately walked out of the room and rushed through to the front entrance.
The doorman was sat on a bare wooden bench next to the entrance. He groaned as he stood up but let her out without looking at her.
Her eyes burned from the bright sun and she raised her hand to cover them as she stepped out from the entrance. She squinted as she descended the steep, sand-stone steps. At the foot she paused, the path was practically non-existent, barely a person’s width. She shrugged and walked closely beside it, avoiding pools of excrement on the dirt.
Shading her eyes with her purse, there was a use for the infernal thing after all, she looked for the inn. A prominent sign down the street declared its owner to be the Dragon Inn. That must be it. Original, she thought, not without a touch of sarcasm.
The traffic was quite light, only a carriage or two passing through with a few lunchtime sellers going home with empty hand-carts. Out of habit, she gave the road a cursory look from left to right before crossing. The inn looked less than inviting. The sort of that would make a great setting for a horror movie she mused. Pico sent her an image with ghouls hanging out of the windows and lightning reigning down from above. She snorted as it faded away.
Her foot squished into the biggest pile of horse manure she had ever seen, oh for god’s sake! As she lifted her foot with disgust, she heard a whinny and she turned to see a horse gallop around the corner towards her. It was pulling an individual carriage and was out of control. Her heart beat faster and she felt Pico take control but it was too late. The horse hit her sending her flying through the air.
Baserius was finding it difficult to keep the show going while continuing the tour without the girl. The whole point of the tour was to quiz her about the location of the pyramids and she’d left him with her companions. Granted, they seemed to hang on his every word which was some comfort but there were more important things he could be doing with his time than babysit a couple of females.
“While we are waiting for Miss Walker, shall we retire back to my office for a cup of tea?”
Before they could answer, Brother Leer ran across the foyer towards them. Baserius felt a twinge of relief at the distraction but Brother Leer’s expression gave him pause. His lips were set in a line and his ambling gait was faster than normal. Something was wrong, he noted with mild curiosity.
The Brother indicated for them to follow him back to the front entrance. Baserius bristled at the command but recognized that whatever had happened Brother Leer could still not break his silence in front of his guests.
As they neared the door they started to hear shouts from outside. The nomad girl was the first to run through the door and Luna was blocking his view so he was the last to see Lynsey on the ground. It took a second to register the scene. What was most surprising was to see Arkan Blade beside her. What was he doing here?
His contemplation turned to disbelief then pleasure when he saw a gash on the girl’s arm heal up before Illyara moved between him and her. Lynsey was like the dragon! If she could heal up instantaneously was she also immortal? He had to find out. He coughed to clear his throat.
“This is beyond protocol but may I offer sanctuary in our Temple until the Lady Lynsey is well enough to travel?”
Arkan stared down at Lynsey’s battered face. As he watched, abrasions and cuts began to heal, her fingers in his straightened and her eyelashes started to flutter. Gods she was beautiful. Fear warred with feelings he couldn’t identify. No one healed that fast but she was the same girl he had rescued the night before. Was it the bracelet? He rubbed her wrists with his thumb and forefinger but could only feel silken skin. Where was it? If she wasn’t wearing it, then how was she healing like that? There was more to her than she was telling him.
In his arms, she groaned and put her hand up to her forehead wincing.
“What happened?” She whispered. The she looked at him. “You’re here?”
He laughed. “Yes, I’m here. You had an accident.”
She grimaced again and sat upright. He let his hands drop to his side.
“Can you get up? It’s not safe on the street.”
She nodded and with his help, she made it to the curb. She brushed her hair back from her face so it fell over the high collar of her yellow dress. While the colour suited her, he couldn’t but think it was a poor choice for visiting. Luna would have warned her it would get dirty on the dusty streets, but, he thought with fondness, this was a lady who knew what she wanted.
He shouldn’t get involved with her, he reminded himself, but she felt so fragile in his arms. He felt an overarching need to protect her. He shouted to Luna to call for her carriage but he could see it was already making its way towards them. He lifted Lynsey easily into his arms and carried her into the carriage where Illyara was waiting. He heard Luna thank Baserius but that she had it all in hand.
Lynsey sank back in a faint again but it gave Arkan a chance to talk to Luna. Illyara was tactfully looking out of the window.
“Baserius noticed her healing?”
“I saw. That was not normal.” Her eyes accused him. “What have you got me involved with Arkan?”
“She is an innocent. We have to protect her.”
“She doesn’t look like she needs much protecting from what I saw.”
“She is not from here.”
Arkan tried again. “Do you not like her? You have spent a lot of time with her over the last few days. She does not mean any harm and simply wanted to find help.” He tried to divine what she was thinking from her expression but she was giving nothing away. After a moment she replied.
“We have no choice but to protect her now. She has been publicly announced as part of my family. My reputation would be damaged if her ability and our deception was to get out. This was just a game when you approached me Arkan. I have worked too hard in society to let that happen now.” Her voice trailed off as she watched buildings go past through the open curtains of the window. “This will be hard to contain.”
Arkan agreed. “There was something about the way he looked at her.”
“A spider looking at a fly?” She suggested sadly.
“Something like that. I think we not only have the King to worry about but also Baserius.”
“It would seem so.”
Illyara chimed in. “Would it be better for us to go somewhere else? Lynsey wanted to come to remove a bracelet but she has made peace with it now and is happy to keep it. There is no reason for us to stay in this city any longer. I don’t know why she agreed to see the Temple or why she wants to stay.”
“What bracelet?” Luna asked.
Illyara eyes widened as she realised her mistake. “Oh, she has removed it on her own now.”
Seeing no bracelet on the sleeping girl’s arm, Luna acquiesced.
“I think you should stay. Not because I want her to stay but both those men are dangerous and they will do their utmost to capture her. Wherever she goes she will be in danger but here we can protect her – and us.”
“You call this protecting?”
“Illyara, this wasn’t our fault. This was neither the work of the King or Baserius. It was an accident.”
“She does seem to have a lot of those.”
“It is a good thing she has found some friends then isn’t it?”
Chapter 1 - Duat Chapter 2 - London - Present Day Chapter 3 – Lynsey on Duat Chapter 4 - Nomads Chapter 5 - Scorpion Chapter 6 - The Dragon Temple Chapter 7 - Assassin Chapter 8 - The Luscious Luna Chapter 9 - Arkan Blade Chapter 10 - Kidnapped Chapter 11 - Rescue Chapter 12 - Modesty Chapter 13 - Banquet Chapter 14 - Arkan Chapter 15 - Dancing with the King