Lievon stood outside the all to familiar castle, his heart hammering in his chest, a knot forming in his throat. He couldn’t even remember how long it had been since he had been here last, but he remembered the day he had been cast out. His betrayal of his friend still twisted in his heart and he knew he had no right to be here, but he needed Chthon’s help. He forced himself to walk up to the front door and bang on it. He wasn’t expecting the beautiful young woman who answered, but he could see both Ruth and Chthon in her.
“Yes?” She asked, bringing him back to attention.
“Sorry, I wish to speak to Chthon, it’s an emergency.”
“Of course, come in and wait in the living room, I’ll get him for you.” She guided him in. “Would you mind telling me what happened?”
“My adopted daughter was taken by demons, along with a few others. I just want her back and I will no longer trouble Chthon.”
“You wont be any trouble. My family loves to help, especially in situations like that” She could see he was uncomfortable and realized there must be some history between her parents and this man she didn’t know about. She didn’t push, knowing there were more pressing things at hand than whatever lay in this demons past. She hurried to her parents room but found it empty. Typically, that meant they had to be in the library so she rushed toward that, knowing every second counted in a kidnapping. Her father met her in the hall, having smelled his old friend enter the catle “daddy”
“a man named Lievon is here to see us isn’t he?”
“Yes, he says his adopted daughter was taken” he gave a quick nod and moved past her, Ruth following. Amara rejoined, curious and always willing to help her parents with this type of work. Lievon tried to meet Chthons eyes as he entered but couldn’t. He didn’t even attempt with Ruth. His betrayal had lead to her torture and he still hadn’t forgiven himself to this day, even though it was to spare his mother. He suddenly felt her hug him and he couldn’t take it, he gently pushed Ruth away “don’t…I…I just want help and I’ll go”
“I just wanted you to know I forgive you Lievon…Chthon explained why you did what you did. He forgave you even then which is why he changed his mind about killing you. He saw why and understood” he shook his head “You’re both such good people I…”
“Tell us about this daughter of yours. Unspeakable things could be happening to her as we speak. We’ll cover this later but know…your ban on coming here is lifted…We’ve all healed enough you’re welcome back Lievon but next time, you better come to me before you do anything stupid” Lievon nodded when Chthon finished speaking, unsure he could show his face after this. He had only come now because he loved his adoptive daughter enough to push through the shame. Chthon was still the most amazing demon he had ever met, Lievon knew he could get her back.
“Her name is Annabella, I found her when she was six, both of her parents had been killed. She’s a demon like us and she just had her one hundredth birthday.” He let out a breath. “She was taken while she was on a trip with some friends. They were attacked and only one managed to escape. She was beaten and bloodied and begged me to find the others.” He swallowed. “I tried, but I couldn’t…I couldn’t save her.” He felt himself starting to choke up. “I’m supposed to be her dad, but I couldn’t save her.”
“Hey, it’s okay.” Amara said gently as she moved to comfort him.
“It’s not, I…”
“Amara is right, my friend, you can’t control everything. I know that better than anyone.” Chthon added. “How long has she been missing?”
“Three days and the ones who took her and her friends, they were…they were demons and I…I don’t want to think about what is happening, but I know…I know…” he shook his head, “I can take you to where she was taken and maybe you can pick up on her scent. I tried, but I lost it.”
“My dad will find her.” Amara said and Lievon couldn’t help the small smile that pulled at his lips. She was so confident in Chthon and it gave him greater confidence in his decision to come here.
“We should go immediately.” Chthon said. “We don’t want her in their hands any longer than she has to be.”
“Thank you, thank you so much.” Lievon forced himself not to cry, but Amara could see he wanted to and wound up hugging him.
“It’s going to be okay.” She said.
“Thank you.” He knew he didn’t deserve this, not Chthon’s help or anyone’s forgiveness or even the kindness and warmth of their daughter.
“Maybe I should come too.” Ruth said and she held up her hand when Chthon started to protest. “We don’t know what any of them have been through and they may not want you or Lievon touching them.”
“I’ll come too.” Amara said.
“Amara, it’ll be dangerous.” Chthon said.
“I know, but mom’s right. I won’t take any risks or go off on my own, I just want to help.”
Chthon knew they were capable. They had helped many times before but no matter how many times they came home okay he couldn’t help but worry. “alright, I’m sorry my protectiveness got in the way again” Ruth smiled “we think it’s sweet honey. It’s because you love us” Chthon took a more serious tone “we can go now, just let us tell a few beings we’re leaving, fill Amara in more on anything you can about this situation” Those beautiful green eyes turned to him. He felt bad for being so attracted to her but it wasn’t something he could help. The only thing he could do was not act on his attraction.
“I’m glad you came to us for help”
“I’d do anything for my daughter. I truly love her as if she were my own”
“And my dad will get her back, you have to know that.”
Lievon nodded. “I do, no matter what, he won’t stop.”
Amara hated the look of sorrow on his face and couldn’t even begin to imagine what he must be thinking. She hugged him again. “It’s okay, we’ll all be here to help her and you.”
Lievon’s heart danced in his chest and he couldn’t stop himself from hugging her back. Her scent calmed him and he held her a little tighter. “Thank you, really.”
Amara pulled back, giving him her warmest smile. “You’re welcome, now why don’t you tell me more about what happened. Any detail, no matter how small could help dad.”
Lievon recounted everything his daughter’s friend had told him, doing his best to give a description of the demons who had attacked them as well as what they smelled like. Amara listened intently, but in the back of her mind she was still curious about what this man could have possibly done to her father. He was so kind, gentle even and obviously a good father. Her parents returned and Ruth handed her a pack while her father handed one to Lievon.
“Now I’ll owe you even more.” He said, giving a sad little chuckle.
“You owe me nothing, Lievon, let the past be in the past.”
“Easier said than done.”
“lets go old friend” Chthon said as he patted Lievon on the back. They left Chthons castle and took to the sky, Amara filling her parents in on the extra details she learned from Lievon. “Thats such an interesting scent” Chthon remarked but nobody said anything back to him. They all could tell that was more of a comment to himself while he thought. They were about fiteen minuets farther when Chthon said “Ruth, doesn’t that sound like Sayavong?”
“Yeah” she seemed to think about it “yeah, it does. I mean it’s been awhile but it sounds right. I really think thats how that area smelled”
“If we lose the scent when we get to the last place Lievon saw them we should head there. Even if thats not their home area we should be able to get more information about them from someone around there”
Lievon didn’t care how they found his little girl, only that they did and he tried to stay positive. Amara could see the anxiety playing across his face and reached out, taking his hand. He looked surprised and she smiled at him. “So, how long have you known my parents?” She asked, hoping to distract him if even for a minute.
“Your father for a really long time, your mother, not as long, but long enough.”
“Do you plan on coming around more after this?”
He sighed. “I don’t know. I…I did something pretty horrible.”
“So did uncle Nigel and Lispin and some of the others. Dad and mom said they forgive you.”
“You’re really very sweet, Amara.” And beautiful, he couldn’t forget that, but he wouldn’t say it out loud, especially with Chthon right there.
“And you’re a good person, Lievon, you wouldn’t have come asking for help if you weren’t.” He felt his heart flutter and he was sure she heard it.
They way she smiled confirmed she had and made him wonder if maybe she thought he was attractive as well. He looked away from her, feeling like an ass. He could have gotten Ruth killed and now he was coming to them for help and finding himself interested in their daughter. Amara kept his hand, still wanting to give him comfort and assurance. She hoped he could come to forgive himself as many of the others in her family had. They were all demons after all, born monsters and given how most of them were raised they hadn’t been given very good odds of having virtuous lives. “You know Lievon was there during my time as a human woman Amara” Ruth suddenly added and Amara said “really?”
“Yeah, one time I came out of your fathers room crying. It’s a long story but he was so sweet and comforting. You’re right, Lievon is a good person and we know he’d never do anything like he did ever again”
Amara asked Lievon about his time with her parents and he answered as many questions as he could, but avoided the topic of his betrayal. They chatted the day away and only stopped when Lievon pointed down to where his daughter and her friends had been taken. He hated it had taken the whole day to get back here, knowing every moment they were missing meant they could be being hurt. They landed and Chthon inhaled the air. “The scent is still strong here.” He said.
“That’s because someone wounded one of the demons, not bad, but enough for them to bleed a little before they healed.” Lievon said then pointed at the woods. “It goes off that way, but then it vanished. I tried finding it again, but I’m no good at tracking it seems.”
“How close is town?”
“Not far, we can get there fairly quickly flying.”
Chthon nodded. “Amara, do you have the scent?”
“Yes, it’s so strange.”
“I want you and Lievon to go that way, your mother and I will go in that direction. If you catch it, then call for us.”
“Alright daddy.” She gently pulled Lievon.
“It’s kind of sad I have to rely on your noses, you would think as a demon I would be able to follow one little scent.”
“Lievon, you have to stop blaming yourself, it’s not your fault. You did everything a father should have done.” Amara replied, giving his hand a reassuring squeeze.
He let out a little chuckle. “You really are your parent’s daughter, so kind and understanding, so brave. I don’t know what I’d do without your constant reassurance.”
“It really does show what a good demon you are that you care this much about your daughter. So many demons out there would have just shrugged and went about their lives”
“So, I’ve heard you have a lot of siblings” he said after a few minuets of silence “Oh yeah, dad can’t keep his hands off mom and she loves kids so they don’t do anything to prevent her getting pregnant. She’ll be having babies as long as her body will make them. It’s been awhile though, maybe her uterus was like I’m done, I’ve had enough of you two” Lievon chuckled, sighing right after as her own giggle lit up her face “why do you have to be so beautiful” the voice in his head said. She continued speaking “I love my huge family though. It’s amazing and makes me feel safe. Even if something were to happen to me I know they’d all come after me” Already he knew he would to but he kept that to himself.
Amara caught onto the scent as they moved through the woods and found herself being drawn away by it. Lievon gently pulled her back, worried she might follow it on her own if he didn’t. “Sorry, I probably looked like a dog.” She said with a little laugh.
“Well at least you’d be a cute one.” She smiled and he snapped his mouth shut. What was he saying? “I mean…we should get Chthon and Ruth.”
He turned to walk away and she pulled him back. He was so stupid. “Lievon?”
“Would you look at me please?”
He raised his head, immediately falling into her eyes. “It’s okay, I don’t mind, so please don’t be upset. I know everything is hard right now, but I’m not mad. Okay?”
“Come on then.”
They began yelling for her parents as they walked back toward them. It wasn’t long before Chthon and Ruth were there, Chthon being as fast as Lievon remembered him to be. “It was this way dad” They all began running, following Chthon once he had the scent. It didn’t go unnoticed by Amara how close Lievon stayed to her, he was worried she might get hurt too. They weren’t expecting to be stopped until they reached the group that had Lievon’s daughter but they were barely in another clearing when a giant began running toward them. Chthon could tell it was heading directly to them so he flew up, intended to talk to it face to face.
It swung at Chthon, clearly not knowing who he was “we’ve done nothing to you. What the matter?” It swung at Chthon again so Chthon grabbed his fist, easily stopping the blow “just because I’m smaller than you are doesn’t mean I can’t kick your ass. I’m doing something important. Talk to me or you’ll be waking up later in massive pain”
“Demons, I’m tired of demons.” The giant growled and tried testing Chthon’s strength, but was unable to push him away. “Your kind are so vile.”
“what demons have you seen other than us?”
“A group, small, with others who smelled of blood and pain.”
“Six in all.”
“Which way and I’ll remove them.”
The giant looked them over then let his eyes meet Chthon’s again. “In the woods, back the way I came.”
“Now, if I let you go, are you going to cause anymore trouble for us or will I have to use force?”
The giant glared, but he could see he was outmatched. He could tell the demon speaking to him needed no help from the others. “You can go.”
Chthon let go and the others followed him. Lievon was happy to see Chthon truly hadn’t changed. He still didn’t kill anything he didn’t have to or use anymore force than he had to. Lievon wasn’t too keen on going easy on his daughters captors but he’d let Chthon take the lead, especially with Amara around. The last thing he would want was for her to think he was as bad of a monster as he felt over what happened with Ruth. Chthon was moving faster now, much more confident with the trolls confirmation they were heading the correct way. They slowed to a stop when they were obviously close and Ruth began rummaging in her bag/ She explained since Lievon probably didn’t know what they were waiting for “I’m going to mask our scents so they don’t smell us coming. It’s always best to go in with the upper hand”
Lievon was impatient, but he restrained himself, waiting for Ruth and Chthon. Amara squeezed his hand and he forced himself to breathe. If he rushed ahead that meant putting her in danger and he wouldn’t do that. “Alright, I’ll take lead, Livon I want you at the back just in case.” Chthon said.
“And don’t show them any mercy, Lievon. If they attack you, don’t be afraid to kill them.” Lievon glanced at Amara and Chthon placed a hand on his shoulder. “She won’t hold it against you, she’s like her mother, so don’t hold back.”
Lievon nodded. “I understand.”
“Good, let’s go.”
Lievon took up his spot at the back as they moved toward where the demons had taken his daughter and her friends. He opened his senses as much as he could and stayed close to Amara, unwilling to let her be taken or hurt. The smell of blood and fear filled their noses as they came up to the cave entrance and they could all tell these demons had taken others before.
Ruth, Lievon and Amara waited for Chthon to move again, knowing he was listening and preparing for anything he sensed protecting the demons. When he swooped in the others followed instantly, their cover now gone. Angrily demons began coming forward and Chthon spoke “I will be leaving here with the girls you’ve captured” One laughed but a few looked scared to see Chthon. “Chthon Aponte right?”
“You don’t scare me, the stories can’t be true.”
“so you’re not going to comply?” Chthon asked and a few of the beings minions ran. He sighed “I have no use for cowards anyway. I am not complying. In fact, I’ll take these two women you brought me as well” An intense current ran through the demon coming from Ruth. Amara joined but hers was such a beautiful purple Lievon couldn’t help but admire it a moment. Chthon chuckled, thrusting his fist into the demons face.
Lievon stayed close to Amara, only moving when he had to fight off a demon. He wasn’t as strong as Chthon, but he was fast and he used it to his advantage. He refused to let any of these monsters lay a single hand on Amara and allowed his own beast to slip out, easily cutting them down. They had dared take his child and now they wished to take beautiful, sweet Amara as well. Blood covered the floors and walls and all but one of the demons lay dead. Chthon had their leader pinned against the cave wall. “Where are they?” When he didn’t get an immediate answer, he squeezed the demon’s throat. “Tell me now or I will fill your lungs with water and watch you slowly die.”
“They…” he raised his hand and pointed, “there.” Chthon broke the demon’s neck and tossed him to the ground.
He took the lead once again and Amara took his hand, not knowing what they would find and wanted to be connected to him in case he needed her support. They found the women all caged, all of them stripped of their clothing and covered in bruises and healing wounds. There were some Lievon didn’t recognize, but as soon as he saw his daughter, relief flooded through him. She was alive, his Annabella was alive. Chthon released them and Amara let him go so he could embrace his daughter. “Daddy.” Was all she could say before she dissolved into tears and it broke Lievon’s heart.
“It’s okay baby, everything’s okay now.” Amara rested her hand on his back and he pulled her into his embrace as well. “Thank you, thank you so much.” He surprised both of them when he pressed a kiss to her forehead and he held her a little tighter to hide his embarrassment.
Chthon began asking the girls they didn’t know how he could help them and where they lived. One just wanted to go on by herself but there were a few girls who wanted to accept Chthons help so he’d take them back to the castle. He whispered to Ruth “go ahead and start leading these girls back. We’ll catch up” he wanted to let Amara, Lievon and Annabella have their moment. Lievon soon let both girls go and explained “I asked my old friend Chthon for help. This is his daughter Amara”
“Its nice to meet you Amara” she looked beyond her father at Chthon “thank you for helping…I know why you kicked him out of the castle so…it means a lot”
“He’s forgiven and you two are welcome anytime. Besides, it seems he’s taken a liking to my daughter” Lievons heart sped up with embarrassment. He hadn’t even settled yet from kissing her head. Then Amara gently turned his face to make him look at her “and I like him” he hugged her again briefly, knowing his daughter had to be anxious to get out of here. “Let me carry you baby” he said as he scooped up Annabella.
Chthon stopped in the nearest village on the way home and bought the women new clothing. They all seemed more comfortable and relived to be dressed. Amara got to know Annabella and every second Lievon spent in her company warmed him, causing him to fall for her even more. Even though Chthon was here to defend them, it was Amara’s presence that made him comfortable enough to let his daughter walk. “You know my dad’s never had a mate before.” Annabella said. “He says he’s always been too busy.”
Lievon’s heart skipped in his chest. “She’s not my mate sweetheart.”
“That’s like saying I’m not your daughter.”
“Annabella.” This wasn’t really the right time to be discussing something like mates.
Amara took his hand, giving him a smile. “I’m actually surprised, you’re so sweet.”
“I just haven’t been interested.” Until now, he thought to himself. He glanced at Chthon, thinking maybe he should ask his friend first before actually asking Amara. He felt like he owed it to him.
The second they were back at Chthons castle Lievon got Chthon alone so they could talk. “you made it clear you realize my feelings” Chthon interrupted “how you both feel. My Amara is interested in you too Lievon. “I know she’s the last thing I deserve Chthon”
“You only did what you did because your mother would have suffered the way Ruth did. You’ve always had a good heart, you panicked and made a mistake, a mistake I know you wouldn’t make again. I trust you, I know you’ll treat her well. I’m glad you came back into our lives Lievon. You were a good friend” Chthon gave him a brief hug and they returned to the others.
Lievon was at Amaras side instaly which made Chthon smile. Ruth kissed her mates cheek, knowing full well what just happened. Amara had found her other half and Ruth couldn’t be happier for her.
~ The End