Contest Excerpt 2

​As they exited the realm through the portal, VelvetWind immediately dove into the water and swam to the surface. She knew there was a reason she had never trusted Cana- knew she had been holding something back from her. For years she had pressed her, and for years Cana had lied. Never before had she tasted such betrayal! Her mind flashed quickly to the ex-communication of the house of Carnavon from the Brethren and Ethyrea. Could this kind of pain be the true cause of her father’s mental anguish? She could feel the rage begin to simmer within her, boiling just under the surface; ready to explode and unleash a fury like a typhoon barreling down on the Islands of Taran.

She was finally going to confront that deceiver; force the truth out of her with her own bare hands. She didn’t care what it took, or what anyone else thought. For years she had suffered with Cana’s suggested condescension, and subtle whispers of intolerance of some trait within Velvet that seemed to cause Cana considerable pain. Always wearing a strong sense of disappointment in Velvet, it was as if she expected more from her; as if she was somehow obligated to perform for that… that Zathyren!

“I knew she was no good! Always twisting and using the Codes for her own hidden agenda. And poor Elrich, he trusted her! He even made a plea for goodwill on Cana’s behalf; a gesture that I have no doubt was a character flaw that Cana had made avail of for far too long. She will pay for this miscalculation dearly,” she thought on the long swim back to the surface of the lagoon.

VelvetWind burst through the surface of the pool, wings spread, and launched herself at Cana with all the speed of a rampaging Vyren Warrior. She was hell-bent and consumed by revenge. In a flash, she grabbed Cana by the throat and slammed her back against the cave wall, before she had even fully rematerialized.

Struggling to control the intense shaking inside her and fueled by pure anger that was now festering within her, VelvetWind was overwhelmed by a sudden rush of powerful emotions. Loathing abhorrence and bitter resentment percolated and churned at a depth in her soul she had never deemed fathomable before. The sheer magnitude of her animus threatened to crush what remained of her normally benevolent nature. It would obliterate her capacity for mercy and compassion, only to replace it with the repugnant disdain of a maniacal power the likes of which, she knew subconsciously, no Brethren had ever known.

Her wings spread wide, she pushed hard into Cana, scraping her against the cave wall and lifting her into the air.

Cana was desperately clinging to Velvet’s hand, fighting to pull her powerful grasp from her throat.

“Please, Velvet,” Cana struggled out. “Let me explain.”

“You LIED to me! To all of us! You are no Brethren! You are one of THEM!” Velvet screamed, venom spitting from her tone like the fiery breath of the lamia in Elrick’s dream.

Elrick surfaced and quickly assessed that the situation with Velvet and Cana was dire.

“Xandreus, hurry! We have got to talk your mother down! Come quickly!” thought Elrick.

He sprung from the pool and quickly made to overpower Velvet. He struggled against his strong, capable wife, trying fruitlessly to pull her away. He could see her amulet pulsating wildly, eyes flashing yellow like the LifeBreath around her neck.

He knew then the magnitude of the situation was far worse than he had ever expected. He knew her mind, as it was, was lost to him; consumed by a fire of pure enmity and utter abomination. He could see that Velvet was gripped in a rampage of uncontrolled emotions unlike anything she had ever known. It was almost as if that wild yellow pulsing had somehow demolished the threshold of compassion he knew she lived by and was allowing her to tap into a rabid flurry of unbridled fervor, free from any conscious restraints.

Her firm grasp was locked on Cana’s throat so tightly that her arm and iron grasp would not be moved no matter how hard he struggled. He wrapped his strong arms around her waist in an attempt to pull her away from the struggling Sorceress.

Velvet spread her wings wide instinctively, and Elrick, to his surprise, was thrown from his attempts to stop her.

Quickly deflected backwards, he soared through the air and landed hard in the waters of the far side of the lagoon.

Xandreus had only just surfaced, surprised to see his father fly fast and furious over his head. He judged the situation carefully, surprised by his Mother’s current state, and jumped out of the pool to hold Moon back as she began to try to intervene.

‘No, I didn’t lie to you. I just didn’t tell you everything,” Cana began.

“You would use a lie by omission as an excuse? What was all that back there about then, Zathyren? There is but one known definition of a blood traitor, is there not?” Velvet demanded.

Cana had never sensed anger like this from VelvetWind. The way she sneered when she said the word “Zathyren” sent shivers down Cana’s spine. She reminded her of someone she had long forgotten. Had she made the wrong choice all those years ago? Lack of air began to make her dizzy, she struggled against Velvet, desperate to reach her amulet, but alas it was to no avail.

“Calm yourself, wife!” Elrick called. “We need her alive, Velvet! For the sake of all Ethyrea!” Again, he attempted to pull her away, but it was as if she could not hear him, or was not even aware he was there. He listened with his mind, but all he could hear was the angry pulse of a furious heart.

“I… am… no… blood traitor,” Cana said as she struggled, tears in her eyes.

“Please don’t make me hurt you, my love. We need her help more than ever before. I cannot allow you to harm her. Please Velvet, hear me. Please, my love. Please, let her go,” Elrick pleaded with her in her mind. He could see the rapid pulsing of her amulet begin to subside, and he gently tried to pull her away.

Finally, much to Elrick’s relief, she had felt his hands upon her and become aware of Elrick pleading with her in her rage-clouded mind. She struggled against her anger, attempting to focus on the logic of Ethyrea’s needs and well-being. She knew as well as anyone that they needed Cana to open the portals to save their world. But, she also knew the risk of betrayal was more than a fleeting thought or potential fancy now. She would not risk the lives of all the Brethren to reclaim their own world back from this woman and her twisted, covetous, and miserly bloodline.

Finally, she was able to overcome the powerful LifeBreath surge. Regaining control of her senses, she threw Cana across the cave with one arm, slamming her hard against the far wall.

Cana collapsed in a puddle, whimpering and wheezing, and Moon rushed to be by her side, as she cried.

“What was that all about, then? Explain yourself, Zathyren!” asked VelvetWind bitterly, watching as Cana wheezed and gasp for air.

“That was perhaps a bit unexpected, Sorceress,” Lady Shae said.

“To say the least. Cana, Pamera, whatever. It doesn’t make any sense,” said Mateas.

Unaware of when the others had all arrived, VelvetWind was astounded by the words that she heard next, and was completely caught off-guard by the one who spoke them.“No, no it makes perfect sense,” Xandreus answered. “The answer has been in front of us to see plainly for ourselves when we chose to do so. Always, even.”​​