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The Job

“You need to trust this man,” a voice that I have never heard chimes within my head. “He knows you. He knows you better than anyone, he knows what your mind can take, you have to trust him, he can save you.”

I have no idea where that voice comes from but for some reason I’m not afraid of it, if anything I feel as if I have no choice but to obey. Those words were not a suggestion, they were an order. I know in an instant who the voice belongs to, this is the voice of Calara, The Goddess of Fire. I also know better than to disobey a direct order from the Gods but that doesn’t mean that following this particular order is going to be easy. I shove my hands into my pockets as I run everything through my mind. Everything in me screams that I shouldn’t trust anyone. There’s also an instinct that tells me that Kai is easily the most dangerous person I’ve met since I regained my memory. It isn’t just the knowledge of me that he is, which could easily be enough for me to accidentally blow Calarabia of the map. It isn’t even the fact that I know he was holding back during that fight in the tavern. The most dangerous thing about him is also the most confusing. The fact that even though I’m drawn to him in a way that I can’t explain, I’m also terrified of him. Terrified that I’m going to say or do the wrong thing, terrified that he will leave and terrified that he will stay.

Something tells me that my lack of memories is just as dangerous to Kai as it is to me, maybe even more so. The more I think about it I realise that though we both pose a threat to everyone else he is also a risk to himself. I pull my tobacco box from my pocket, using the movement of my hands to let my mind keep processing. Which means that I’m a risk to him but then again, he must already know that. He should have already tried to run, demanded that I take him home but he’s still here. I deftly roll a cigarette, never taking my eyes off of the man struggling to keep himself upright.

“The strangest thing just happened,” I grunt as Kai moves gingerly to the room. I light my cigarette. “Sit down before you fall down and I’ll tell you about it. I heard this voice in my head, should have freaked me out. Yet for some reason it did not, even though it was clear that I was being given an order, an order that I intend to start following right now. The voice told me that I should trust you, that you knew what my mind could take. So I am going to ask you a question but you should only answer if you think that I can handle it. Would it be feasible that I was hearing the voice of a God?” I take in a lungful of smoke, watching as Kai considers his answer before opening his mouth.

“Finally,” I hold up a hand to stop Kai as a much more familiar voice sounds in my mind. “Being the only one that you trust and in a different world has been extremely trying, you keep much of your mind walled off these days. I cannot tell how information will effect you, little one, but I trust Kai. We were friends once, if I were closer I would even be able to speak with him the same way that I do with you. There was a time when the three of us were virtually inseparable, it warms my heart that you have found each other.” I blow out a long plume of smoke, trying to hide how uncomfortable his words make me.

I chuckle lightly, shaking my head but when I focus on Kai once more I realise that he heard the voice just as clearly as I did. It would seem that my friend was wrong about being unable to communicate with him over this distance. I tap the ash from my cigarette as I wait for the private conversation taking place to end. In fact, from the blank look on his face I can tell that they’re still talking. I set a kettle over the fire and remove the potato and spring onion pancakes from the tray that they are cooking on. I transfer the pancakes onto plates and place them on the table. I toss the remains of my cigarette into the fire as I return to it, careful to make sure that it lands in the flames. I add some bacon and eggs to the plates just as the kettle begins to boil and Kai snaps back to attention.

“You do not need to tell me what you two were talking about,” I tell Kai as I quickly make two cups of coffee. “I get the sense that it would likely be a bad idea, or he would have included me in the conversation.” Kai’s chocolate brown eyes go wide with shock but I decide to let him figure out the answer on his own. “I do not know how to initiate the connection, though I think if I really needed to I could. As it stands at the moment, we only talk when he wants to talk, it is just the way that it is.”

“He may be the only one who knows you as well as I do,” Kai sighs. “You are a lot older than I am. You’re a lot older than he is as well but he knows a lot more about the years before we met than I do.” Kai winces as he reaches up, using a leather cord to tie his dreadlocks back away from his face. “He was also able to remain at least partially connected to you when everyone else believed you were gone.” There is a note of guilt in his tone and he can’t meet my gaze. “He’s stuck on the other bonus veren siteler side of a barrier that he can’t open, you can but I don’t think that trying would be a good idea. He agrees with me on that but we do agree that you should probably know that he’s a dragon. The female voice was most likely a Goddess, you have been known to communicate directly with them. Or rather, they communicate with you, you should never try to talk back the way that you do with Nightstar.” I get the immediate sense that this is good advice. “You only tried once and it nearly killed you.”

“If the Gods are speaking to you then it must mean that something important is happening,” Nightstar points out. “It takes a massive amount of power for them to affect anything down here. Even speaking to you so briefly would have left even a Goddess weakened, they would never risk such a thing if it were not important.” I get the impression that the Gods are in some kind of prison. “You should take note of anything that they say to you.”

“Wise words indeed,” the female voice sounds once more. “Each and every one of them true. You need to find a way to get to the royals, one of them is of great importance, I believe your companion has a way.”

“You do not need to relay the information,” Nightstar sounds awed. “Kai is connected to me. I am connected to you and you were connected to Calara, he heard what she said and so did I. Oh, I forgot that you forgot, my apologies, Calara is indeed a Goddess, the Goddess of Fire and that is whose voice you have heard. We have never been linked when you have heard one of them before. I have only witnessed your memories of these events but actually experiencing it is a very different matter.” I try to ignore the tone of reverence in Nightstar’s voice because I know it isn’t just about the Goddess.

Thoughts begin to race through Nightstar’s mind, faster than I can keep track of them and he abruptly breaks the contact. He must be thinking about something that I can’t know but at least he isn’t telling Kai anything wither. I finish making the coffee and head back to the table, taking a seat in front of one of the plates of now cold food. I take hold of both plates and will my hands to heat up. It isn’t long until the food is hot again and I heave a sigh, secretly proud of myself. Kai makes a noise of appreciation as he takes a bite out of one of the pancakes, it turns out that I’m a good cook. Not that I was paying attention to what I was doing, I’ve found that’s the best way to go when doing new things. I just let my body take over and go through the motions.

“Are you going to tell me?” I ask and Kai looks at me in confusion. “Calara said that you would have a way of getting me in with the royals. She also said that I needed an in with the royals. Both you and Nightstar keep telling me that I need to do what she tells me which means that I need an invitation to the castle. I kind of need you to tell me how I’m supposed to go about that.”

“Oh,” Kai chuckles sheepishly. “I’m not sure how much help what I have is going to be but I was approached by someone. She told me that she’d be sent by someone in the royal family to talk about a job. She wouldn’t tell me what it was, only that they’d asked for me by name, I was supposed to meet her today. Though I doubt I’m going to make it, honestly, I barely made it in here.”

A strange keening noise comes from behind one of the doors that circle the room and I rise from the table. With a sigh I enter a different room, emerging quickly with the partially butchered carcass of a pig. I kick open the door that the noises are coming from and throw the carcass through. I close the door behind me and head back to the table to finish my coffee, luckily I’ve already cleared my plate. Kai’s looking at me as if I’ve grown an extra head with his coffee mug balanced precariously against his lips. I take in this ridiculous picture for a moment before I burst out laughing. I think this is the first time that I’ve properly laughed that I can remember.

“There is a giant salamander in there,” I tell him once I have myself under control. “According to the name plate on the stall her name is Elisa, she gets really grumpy when she is hungry. Finding that out was not a particularly fun experience, neither was finding her in the first place. I have no idea how she even got in there or how long she has been in there but she might come in handy one day. Even if I wanted to let her loose I would not know where to do it so I am stuck with her for now.”

I open a different door and a strawberry roan horse sticks his head through, I feed Julien a carrot and he quickly retreats. I wait for a few seconds to see if he’s going to come back to get his nose stroked. I shrug and close the stable door, there’s also a room filled with nothing but apples. This place doesn’t make much sense, though I’m sure that everything in this place is here for a reason.

“Do you not think that you are getting a little off topic here?” Nightstar grunts. “Kai you need to give something to Raven. Something bedava bahis that will prove to your contact that she’s there in your place. Then Raven can keep the meeting and that way you do not have to lose the opportunity to get into the palace. Raven can start the job and when Kai has recovered he can join in.”

I make a soft growl and shove Nightstar forcibly out of my mind, I know better than to think that he came up with the exact same plan that I had. Night has a habit of reading my thoughts. I know that he’s deliberately staying on the surface and he’s used to a much deeper connection but that doesn’t change anything. It’s irritated me for as long as I can remember but there doesn’t really seem to be anything to do about it. Not while he’s the only one with the ability to control the connection, I can end it but that’s it. He’s always connected to me, he sees everything I do, he just stays quiet most of the time. I can’t even begin to say how thankful I am for that.

“Something tells me that he is going to be a lot more vocal now that you are around,” I grunt. Both Nightstar and Kai are strong male influences in my life and that kind of thing could easily evolve into some kind of testosterone war. “He took the words right out of my mouth, this would be easier if they had not asked for you specifically.” I want to ask him why they did but I get the impression that he won’t tell me. “Still, if you are willing to help I am certain that I can make this work, I have no idea how but I am sure that I can manage it. I could just offer to pay them to let me help and pay your fee as well.”

“I see that you have found some of your collection,” Kai says warily. “You should be careful what you give away. A lot of the items you collected were cursed as well as beautiful, if you find anything that gives off magic you should leave it where it is. People might start to notice if you leave behind a trail of curses.”

“If you miss this opportunity there will not be another,” Calara tells me. “Yet you should be aware that this path will lead to a massive onslaught of memories and emotion. You should prepare yourself.”

“That was the Goddess again, wasn’t it?” Kai asks. “You go kind of blank when she speaks to you.”

I nod slowly.

“I heard what she said, little one,” Nightstar says softly. “I know that you are angry with me. That does not matter right now, first you are going to listen to me and then you can carry on with being angry. None of the Gods would ever give you more than you can handle, whatever is coming is going to be hard.” Way to state the obvious, all of this is hard, it’s been hard for as long as I can remember. “She would not have warned you otherwise but you are the strongest person that I have ever met. I know that you will find a way, to get through it, you always find a way to conquer your fear.”

“I know that you do not remember who you are,” his voice fills with emotion. Emotion that makes me uncomfortable. “But the fact is that the person that Kai remembers is still inside there too.” I have to stop myself from snorting because that person may still be inside of me but she has been torn apart. “The person that I can remember is still in there. That person could never be beaten, not completely, not if she had something to fight for. I truly believe that you can find that person again, you just have to let her out, you need to let go of your fear. You cannot let the panic, the fear that has grown inside of you to control you.”

By the time Nightstar has finished speaking there are tears running down my face and Kai is watching me with concern. I stand from the table abruptly and head over to the window, throwing it open. I can hear doors opening and closing behind me but I’m more focused on trying to get myself under control. There’s a light tap on my forearm and I whirl to find Kai with his hands up. He points to a door that stands open and I cross the threshold into a music room, or rather a room with a piano in the centre of it.

“All right,” I say slowly. “I really am starting to believe that you know more about me than I do.” What I find the most unsettling is that he seems to be trying to hide how much he actually does know. “I never really explored all of these rooms, I just went looking for a bedroom and stuck my head through the doors that got noisy.” In hindsight sticking your head through a door that holds a hungry giant salamander. “But you, you knew that this was here, you were looking for it but you told me yourself that you have never been here. How could you possibly know that this was here?”

“Anyone who truly knows you and hasn’t just heard about you that if you ever lived anywhere for more than a month there would be a music room,” Kai’s eyes are glazed over with memory. “I was the artist and you were the musician but my pictures are just pictures, your music had a magic all of it’s own.” There’s a kind of wistful joy in his voice and the look on his face takes me breath away. “There was something that no one else could replicate, I don’t know how else to explain it.” deneme bonus There is only word to describe his face right now, whatever he’s remembering, he was in love with it.

“It is similar to when our minds are fully connected,” Nightstar supplies. “The way that we know not only what the other person is thinking but also what they are feeling. It is like you can read the room. You always know what people need to hear and you give it to them and at the same time it is like you project all of your own emotion. I never saw you calmer than you get after you preform.”

I take a seat in front of the piano, running the tips of my fingers over the keys and for some reason an image of the horse pops into my head. My eyes drift closed and I begin to play, I don’t really remember how to play. My body takes over, I just let my mind go blank and all of the emotion I couldn’t process begins to leech away. It runs from my heart, through my fingers and into the music itself.

“Keep your eyes closed,” Nightstar keeps his voice soft. “Bring to mind the images that scare you. Allow them to fill you and then flow through you, through your entire body until it goes out of your fingers. You will have a few seconds where you are consumed by it but once you have it out it will be out for good. You are safe here, now that Kai is with you, you are safer than you have been in your memory. Take advantage of it, get the pain and fear out so that you can move on with the journey.”

“I know that this is going to work,” Night continues in that soft voice. It’s driving me mad, like he’s speaking to me like I’m a child. “I know that you can do it. Even without what I know about the past I would know it because I see through the glamour when you look in the mirror. I know your true form and that shows more strength than you could possible imagine. I know how long you were gone, I know who took you and I can guess at the things that were done to you. You survived, you are still standing, you can survive anything.” He has no idea how true those words are.

I do as Nightstar has suggested, barely able to even hear the music that I’m playing, simply using it as a form of escape. My fingers move of their own accord, my heartbeat keeps the rhythm. I don’t know how long I play for but as the last note fades into the air my eyes flutter open. It takes a while for anything to come into focus and after a second I realise that it’s because I’m crying. The first thing I see is Kai’s face and he looks completely destroyed.

“Oh,” a sound of sympathy escapes me. “Did something happen? You should have shouted. I would have stopped playing, I would not have minded, perhaps you should sit down, you are still weak.”

“It’s all right,” Kai’s voice sounds broken. “I’m fine, I promise, it was the music, I felt you through the music.”

Before I can say another word Kai leaves the room. I want to stop him but I can’t bring myself to do it.

“Give him a little time,” Nightstar’s voice is full of sympathy. “Your mind is not the only one that can go into overload.” I want to kick myself for needing this spelled out to me but then again what’s the use in being really old if you have no memory of your life experiences. “This is a lot for anyone to handle, there are a lot of people who care for you.” The problem is that I don’t care for them, not the way that I’m supposed to. “He cared for you more than most, there was a kind of purity in it, a lot of things changed for a lot of people after you were gone. Things changed for him more than anyone else, he came close to losing everything.”

“There is something inside of him,” Night sighs. He immediately has my attention, I can hear the concern in his voice. “An entity that he can barely control, when it reaches the surface you are the only one who can push it back. Once you were gone he had to constantly keep it in check. You noticed that he was holding back in the tavern, this is the reason why. He can never risk losing control because the thing inside him is too unpredictable, too dangerous.” This is the first time that I have felt I have something in common with someone.

“What he just felt from you came close to pushing him over the edge,” Night seems uncomfortable relaying this information. I can understand why, this isn’t his story to tell but that doesn’t mean that I don’t need to know. “All of the pain and fear that you were feeling, everything you poured into the music. It helped you to move past it but it also forced us to experience it.” My heart turns to ice at his words, if I had any idea that this was a possibility then I never would have sat at that piano. “I am far from you so it did not touch me very strongly but he was in the same room. He experienced the full force of it, he was the only one in the room so it was magnified for him.”

“This is a power that you have always possessed,” Night informs me. As if that’s going to make me feel any better. “Whenever you play the emotion that you put into a piece is magnified and sent out to your audience.” There’s a good chance that this could come in handy if focused correctly. “It does not matter what emotion you are feeling or even what instrument you are playing. When it is negative it feels good for you to get it out. When it is positive it feels good to share it but you must be careful when playing to a crowd.”

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