Home > Sovereign

Sovereign
Author: Kilian Grey

Part I

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Faust pulled the dried tunic from the branches, inspecting his handiwork with a scowl. He’d scrubbed most of the blood out of the tunic, but his clothes weren’t from Drokan. He would stick out no matter how clean he appeared, and cleaning bedding or clothing wasn’t part of his royal training. He slipped it on. It wasn’t like he could find something new to wear.

He secured his belts at his waist and adjusted his swords, glad he still had them to protect himself. Without allies as the High King, he had limited options going forward, and being alone and unarmed was not a scenario he wanted to experience.

The wind caressed his cheek comfortingly, but it didn’t bring him any sense of calm. Magic saturated the air—far too abundant when compared to the Kingdoms of Alios, Roltan, and even Windilum. He moved his hand through the air, and the magic twirled around his fingers. The other kingdoms’ magic didn’t feel like this. Magic thrived in Drokan, but there were areas of empty patches, dark and barren, as if someone had drained it dry.

He turned around to stare into the patch within the forest near him.

Faust walked until he happened upon a wilting tree. The flow of magic was weak under his touch. He wasn’t certain he could fix it, but it seemed wrong to have one tree die among so many others.

He pressed his palm to the trunk and concentrated, pulling at the natural magic around him, stealing a bit from each tree around to share with this dying one.

Wind garbled in his ears, rising in volume the longer he pressed against the bark.

High King.

Faust jumped and removed his hand from the tree. He searched for the owner of the voice but saw no one. The words echoed again, sending a chill down his spine. It was the same strange voice he’d heard at Konrad’s base, like a few voices in one. The voice sounded pleased.

His hair swept upward in the small updraft of warm wind. Alimphis was happy. Faust tore a piece of his tunic and tied his hair back, still perplexed why it was so long. It reached past his shoulders and was longer than when he’d been Lord Arcus. He needed to find out how much time had passed since Wim had stabbed him. It had to have been a considerable amount for his hair to grow this long.

Faust leaned against the tree and sifted through the natural magic of Alimphis again, letting some flow from his fingertips to his surroundings. The magic swirled and answered his call, singing beneath his hands. He located Konrad a far distance away with a massive armada. That wasn’t too surprising, but Vasil’s position was. The deity was on top of Konrad’s location and both moved in Faust’s direction. Two deities bent on saving him—they’d reduce Drokan to rubble.

Faust grimaced at the thought. He moved farther into the flow to find Aris. Aris’s magic trailed behind Konrad and Vasil, but with wind on Aris’s side, he’d catch up quickly. Strong warmth echoed near Aris, snaring Faust’s magic in a net—Ignas. Faust shuddered, his magic quivering, singing, demanding he have his consorts. He ached, his breathing quickening with a lust he couldn’t let himself fall prey to yet.

He shook the craving when another, weaker warmth thrummed by them—Photis, his grandfather. Two Kings of Windilum. What an odd pairing. Ignas, Photis, and Vasil all headed his way. It wasn’t wise to leave Windilum without a ruler.

A small crack snapped above his head and Faust opened his eyes. Beautiful white petals fell from the tree’s enormous canopy. He stepped back and lowered his gaze, a shaky breath tumbling from his lips—healthy grass and flowers blanketed the ground.

He’d done this.

Faust detached the stone from the bracelet Ignas had given him and rubbed at the gemstone hanging off the small chain to calm himself. Photis warned him about this. Alimphis would listen to any of his commands, no matter how small. He stared at his surroundings. Magic crept along his skin, seeping into the natural magic of Alimphis, filling the gaps. Light flickered across the grass, and a chill rushed through him at the sight of a few earth stones among the fresh flowers.

Impossible.

There was no way he made magic stones.

Faust gripped the stone in his palm, heaving. Calm. He needed to remain calm.

Ore mingled with the natural magic far above his head, and he searched the sky. Several Volliare flew in formation yards above his location, where a loud bang resonated with the unmistakable hum of Volar igniting. Faust swore. They must have seen the tree.

He sprinted despite the spasming in his limbs brought about by disuse and exertion. He called upon the water stone at his belt, grasping the moisture in the air to create a water veil, but the water surged into something far greater, covering yards around him in a veil. The water stone shattered, and the veil rippled through the trees.

Faust sucked in a breath, hoping it hadn’t been seen, but the Volar circled closer. So much for luck.

Danger.

Faust gripped his head, the voice cutting through his thoughts like a knife. He stumbled into a step, but the wind pushed him into a run.

He ran until he no longer felt the wind at his back and collapsed on his knees in a small clearing. He surveyed the area, catching his breath, ignoring his growling stomach. He couldn’t stop for food, and catching food wasn’t his best skill—someone else always did it for him. Vasil would scold him for this.

Fire flashed across Faust’s vision and a cold fear rushed through his veins.

Vasil.

Vasil killed Qinn.

He rubbed at his chest, wincing. “Vas,” he mumbled. Pain from the blade lingered, like in his vision. The deity taught him and Aris plenty about being deities, but doubt tore at him. Faust thought Qinn and Vasil were close, but it was possible they weren’t.

Anger tainted the wind near his face, and he dropped his hand. Alimphis still didn’t want Vasil near him. He hadn’t seen Vasil stab Qinn, but the deity could control metal. He’d seen it firsthand. Deep down, it felt wrong—Vasil didn’t seem to carry bad blood with the previous High King.

High King.

Faust whipped around, but no one was there. This time, the voice pleaded with an edge of urgency. He saw nothing amiss, but the ground rumbled with the sound of hooves. He grasped the natural magic and halted. He’d give his position away by broadcasting his magic.

Horses neighed near his location and a wolf howled.

Faust closed off his magic and fumbled into a run, jumping over rocks, looking for somewhere to hide, even though he knew it was useless. The wolves would sniff him out. He gripped at the gemstone on his bracelet, his heart racing. Wolves were the last animals he wanted to be around again. He glanced at the wide clearing with several hanging branches. It would have to do.

Faust turned.

A group of seven Drokan Knights broke through the brush with two wolves and came to a slow halt. The wolves padded to a stop by the lead knight and stood alert.

Faust averted his gaze, doing his best to ignore the rising tremble in his limbs and the prickle of fear twisting under his skin. He could do this.

“What are you doing out here?” the lead knight asked.

Faust kept his mouth shut.

“State your name. What unit are you with?”

“I do not remember,” Faust lied. “I do not even know where I am.”

The Drokan Knight eyed Faust up and down and dismounted the horse, ordering the rest to follow suit as if they were expecting a fight. “Look, we aren’t going to hurt you. You’ve obviously been through something, kid.”

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