sacrifice of love Page 38

“Honestly, I have no idea.”

“Doesn’t that worry you?”

Gerick shook his head. “What worries me is that something about this whole thing feels wrong. Cypher is convinced that Reyaz is simply looking to hurt him or Lilly, but I think he has bigger plans than that.”

“The forest is full of his darkness.” Thalion looked at the rock wall surrounding them as if he could see through it into the forest he spoke of. “It is malevolent and a sickness is in the air.”

Gerick took a deep breath, but the air got caught in his lungs. He began to cough until he had to lean against a row of swords to keep from falling over. He felt light headed and the room swam before him.

“General, are you all right?” Thalion asked as he stepped towards him.

Gerick closed his eyes and tried to focus himself. He counted to ten and finally the feeling passed and he could breathe again.

“I’m fine, sorry,” he cleared his throat. “I don’t know what that was but I’m better now.”

Thalion watched him briefly before nodding. “I will get your bows made and some new swords as well. I will return in a week with them.”

Gerick nodded. “Thank you. Prince Thalion.”

Once the Elvin Prince was gone Gerick sat abruptly down on one of the benches that lined the walls. He didn’t know what was going on, but his heart was pounding painfully in his chest, and his head felt as though it might split open. He had been telling the truth when he said he could breathe again, but he didn’t add that now his whole body felt as though something was trying to explode out of him, like his skin was being stretched too thin against his frame.

He heard a commotion out in the hall and tried to listen to see what was going on. He didn’t have to listen long when the door that Thalion had recently exited burst open.

“Gerick you must come now.” Finbar, the mate of one of their healers, motioned for him to follow.

“What is going on?” he asked as he stood from the bench and stilled until he felt steady enough to move.

“Just hurry please,” Finbar said desperately.

He followed quickly and his skin began to crawl as he heard wailing. They entered the great hall of the mountain and Gerick’s mouth dropped open.

“What happened?” he asked as his stomach rolled at the smells of sickness that permeated the air.

Gerick watched in horror as male and female warlocks alike doubled over in pain, some grabbing their heads and others clutching around their stomachs. Sounds of retching began to fill the air and then the wails of anguish climbed up the walls of the hall into the high ceiling of the mountain. Gerick moved forward, running to the first person he could reach. It was Indigo, one of his fellow warriors, and his skin was soaked in sweat and flushed with fever. Heplaced his hand against Indigo’s face and felt that he was burning up. When the male turned his face up at Gerick, he watched as his eyes went from green to blazing red. Indigo took several deep breaths and then closed his eyes. Gerick took a step back and waited as he tried to tune out the cries around him. Finally, the warrior stood up straight, opened his eyes which continued to burn bright red, and let out a deep breath.

“Indigo,” Gerick said cautiously, “are you alright?”

“I am,” Indigo answered.

Gerick watched him for several seconds, but the noise around him ripped through his concern over what was happening with Indigo. He shook his head, attempting to push away the raging headache that had suddenly latched on like a vice grip and was attempting to drive him to his knees. He didn’t have time to be ill, not when his King was away and something was terribly wrong with their people.

“Fine,” he said in frustration, “help me with the others.” Gerick motioned toward the room that continued to fill up with more and more sick warlocks. Indigo nodded and then headed towards the closest sick person.

Gerick started to head to another warrior, but changed course when he saw Avrora, one of their healers come rushing in.

“Avrora,” Gerick nearly yelled, “what is this madness?”

Avrora looked around slowly and Gerick was reminded of why she was the head healer. She was legendary for her calm and collected demeanor in times of stress and it was very apparent now that she was exactly what was needed.

“It’s dark,” Avrora finally said coolly. “Dark magic at work, General.”

“What do we do?”

“I don’t know,” she looked over at him and, despite her control, he could still see the undiluted fear in her eyes.

Gerick felt another stab of pain in his stomach and then his vision swam as he fell to his knees. The words ‘dark magic’ floated through his head as he felt his mind being wrapped in a fog of confusion. He tried to push through the haze and think clearly, but he couldn’t grasp onto a single thought. He heard his name being called, but couldn’t respond. He felt completely out of control of his faculties, and just when he was sure he was going to lose his mind, suddenly everything was clear.

He pushed up from the ground as his eyes opened. He rotated his neck, working out the stiffness. When he heard his name being called, this time he responded.

“My King,” Gerick turned to see Cypher striding towards him. He fell to one knee as he bowed his head. “When did you return?”

“I’ve been back for about an hour. Are you feeling better?”

Gerick stood up and nodded. “I’m much better now, and all of our people will be well.”