Suri & Hern 4

Chapter One

Suri and Herns sons were now 13 and as wild as ever. Ryker recently fell head over heels for a girl he met. Suri wasn’t sure how old she was but her antlers were almost precisely the same size at Rykers so she had to only be a year or two apart in age. The name Dahlia was almost all he ever said. Nico was jealous of her. The boys had always been close and did everything together but Ryker now liked alone time with Dahlia. She did like her though. Dahlia was fun and really sweet. Suri absolutely adored them and thought it was cute Ryker wouldn’t admit his feelings for her. She could tell how much her son cared for her.

Suri & Nico sat down for dinner waiting on Hern to come. Ryker had one of his alone days with Dahlia. Suri was all smiles thinking about the two of them. It was just ridiculously cute to her. Her little boy was in love. When Hern got to the table he asked “Where’s Ryker?” Suddenly Suri realized Hern didn’t know about her yet because once again he fell into his busy ways. It wasn’t as bad as the last time though. He had promised himself he’d never let it get that bad again. Lately it was just the clan of Nethids were getting violent and a few of the clans were trying to decide how to handle it. It was just one attack after another.

Nico said “he’s with his girlfriend” then laughed. Just then Ryker had been coming in “She’s not my girlfriend Nico!! I’ve told you a million times!”

“Ryker and Dahlia sititng in a tree!”

“Mom!!”

“Stop that Nico. She’s just his friend.” She winked and Nico giggled. “I saw that mom”

“Calm down sweetheart. You inherited your fathers temper. We are only teasing you. Besides she’s a lovely girl” Ryker sat down his face blood red. Hern decided not to embarrass his son more and talk to Suri about it later.

“So what did you do today son?” Hern asked as he ate.

“Me and Dahlia-” Ryker started.

“Ha see, every sentence. You got it bad.” Nico interrupted.

“Do not.” He flung a tomato at his brother.

Hern cleared his throat and the boys stopped. “Sounds like me and your mother.”

“Gross dad, not cool.” Ryker said.

“Ask her to come over tomorrow for dinner.” Suri said and her son blushed.

“Okay mom.”

They finished eating and the boys went to their separate rooms. Nico had asked for his own space after Ryker had told his hundredth Dahlia story. Hern lifted Suri and carried her to their room, lowering her to feet as he kissed her. “When did Ryker start dating?” He asked.

“About a month ago. He really likes her.” Suri said.

“Once again I’ve missed something important.”

“It’s okay. You have spent so much time with us. Sometimes you just get busy.” She kissed him. “How was your day?”

“Bad. The other clans want me to take care of the Nethids. They are uncharacteristicly violent. I know something’s wrong, I just can’t figure out what.”

“I’m sorry” she said as she rubbed his chest. Hern smiled and picked her up again taking her to their bed. She layed down and he put his head on her stomach. He looked up at her “Do you like Dahlia”

“Oh I love her. She is very sweet. Your son always looks so happy around her too. I like talking to her mother. Her dad doesn’t really talk much but he does seem nice.”

“That’s good, I’m glad you told Ryker to bring her to dinner tomorrow night.”

“Oh it’s going to be adorable! I just love seeing those two little love birds. You wont recognize your son though. The adventurous, collected Ryker is a mess around her.” Hern laughed. Suri started stroking his head gently to help him fall asleep. She could see he was tired and knew he was only up talking to her to make sure she felt loved. With all the trouble the Nethids were causing Hern had to work hard to make sure he could spend time with her.

When he was asleep she finally let herself go. Morning came and almost as soon as Suri got out of her room Ryker was running up to her “May I please go ahead and go?”

“Ryker we are taking a family trip to the lake this morning. Your dad found some time for us and he’ll be upset if you dont atleast wait until after lunch when he has to go back to work”

“Can she come with us?”

“I’m sure your father wont mind.” He suddenly got an excited look “Can I go ahead and get her now?”

“Sure, be careful hunny. I worry about you going out alone with those Nethids about.”

“I will I promise!” He ran off and Suri giggled. She didn’t know Hern had gotten up too so he startled her when he said “He really does have it bad huh?” He hugged her “Lets go eat breakfast ok?”

Ryker was gidd with excitement. He loved the time he got to spend with Dahlia. He was focused on where he was going that he did not know he was being stalked. When he arrived at Dahlia’s home she was waited for him outside. She always knew he would be there. She ran into his arms and he lifted her, twirling her around then setting her on her feet.

“We’re going out to the lake this morning do you want to come with us?” He asked.

“Of course, maybe I’ll finally get to meet the King.” She grinned and slipped her hand in his.

They took their time walking. Ryker knew everyone would still be eating breakfast. His mom would have to practically jump on Nico to get him up. They walked along the edge of the forest, Dahlia stopped to pick up a smooth black stone and a group of Nethids burst from the forest. He jerked her behind him and she screamed as the humanoid creatures surrounded them with swords drawn. Dahlia clung to his shirt as he turned in a circle, ready to fight them off.

Hern got up from the table and looked out the window. He had an odd feeling. “What’s wrong?” Suri asked.

“I have a bad feeling.” He drummed his fingers on the wall. A high pitched sound reached his ears and he cocked his head to the side to listen. There was no mistaking what it was. “Someone’s screaming.” He said fearfully.

“Are you sure?” Suri was on her feet in an instant.

“Yes, we have to hurry.” They ran out of the dining room, through the courtyard and outside. Nico was right behind them and they didn’t bother to tell him to stay because they were in such a panic.

All Ryker had was a small blade Hern had givin each of the boys for their birthday. Ryker was terrfied but mainly for Dahlia. Two went straight for him. As he was fighting them the other went for Dahlia . Luckily they weren’t far from the castle. Hern was running as fast as he could. He knew Suri wouldn’t mind. The Nethid had slashed at her. She jumped back but it still cut her cheek. Next thing she knew Hern had her in his arms and set her to the side. He quickly killed the beast. When the other two saw Hern and their dead comrad they fled.

Suri was almost there and Nico was standing there shocked. Dahlia was crying and holding her face. Ryker ran to her and hugged her. “I’m so sorry Dahlia”

“It’s not your fault” she said through her tears. Suri was now there and said “Come to Fallons with me and I’ll fix your face ok?” Dahlia nodded and then turned to Hern “Thank you. It’s nice to meet you I’m Dahlia”

“I wish I could’ve met you in a better way”

“Well we can get to know eachother better today” She smiled even though she was still crying. “Can I go with you two mom?”

“Of course. We can all go.” They started walking twords Fallons. Ryker looked so sad. Hern guessed it was because he couldn’t protect her. He felt bad for his son but saw that his mother was right. He had very deep feelings for Dahlia. When they got there she sat Dahlia down and said “It’s only a small cut. It’ll go away fast.” She put somthing in it that made Dahlia cringe. “I know sweetheart just relax” She wiped off her face and said “Good as new. It’ll be healed by tomorrow morning.”

“Thank you so much Suri” She hugged her “Lets go back to the castle and get ready for our trip today. Ryker and Dahlia walked behind everybody. Dahlia whispered to Ryker “Please stop looking so sad. I’m ok”

“You wouldn’t have been on if it weren’t for my dad” She sighed and did somthing she never had before. She grabbed him to make him stop walking for a second and kissed his cheek. Ryker immediatly blushed and looked at her surprised. “There that’s a much better look than sadness” She smiled again. Ryker couldn’t help but smile back.

Nico started laughing and Suri and Hern turned around to sweet what all the commotion was about. “Everything okay son?” He asked and Ryker looked at his feet.

“Fine dad.” Ryker said softly.

“You should have seen how shocked your face looked.” Nico had doubled over with laughter, clenching his stomach. “Look how red he is.” Ryker pushed him over which just made him laugh harder.

“Oh Ryker stop being so mad. You two are absolutely adorable together.” Suri said, making his turn a deeper shade of red.

Dahlia smiled and slipped her hand into Rykers. “I love it when you blush.”

They continued to the castle, Hern on high alert. The Nethids had never attacked so close to home. He didn’t understand what was going on with them. This wasn’t just happening to his family, this was happening all over. The Nethids had even taken captives only to release them a week later as if they realized it had been a mistake. He wanted to talk to their leader, but they had blocked themselves off. He would talk to Suri about it later. She was better at talking to people than he was and he was the King. After thirteen years he still preferred action to words and found he counted on his wife at times to talk people down. When they arrived at the castle he helped Suri pack a picnic basket wile Ryker showed Dahlia around the castle and Nico disappeared.

“I thought we might need these.” Nico said when he came back and met them in the courtyard. He had the three necklaces in his hand. He handed Ryker his and Suri hers before slipping his own on.

“Good idea.” Suri said and put hers around Hern’s neck. He was a faster runner and could easily catch up with anyone.

Ryker handed it to Dahlia. “It would probably be better if you wore it” They started walking twords the lake. It wasn’t a long journey. Hern was on edge the whole way there. He was really mad that they dared come after his son and they ruined this morning. He just wanted one day to enjoy his family and now he had to be watchful to make sure nothing was approaching. Suri could feel her husbands tension.

“Sweetheart youre with us nothings going to happen.”

“I knew they were going crazy but this is just too far.”

“Don’t let your temper get you carried away. Just relax with us today. Your son and his friend are fine.” She almost laughed when she said friend but managed to keep it down so Ryker wouldn’t explode on her. Soon they could see the lake. Nico ran excitedly with Ryker and Dahlia following. Dahlia stood at the edge looking into the water. Ryker looked at her, the water was making her eyes even more beautiful.

“There goes that puppy dog stare” Nico laughed

“You really need to stop that Nico. This is why he prefers to spend time alone with her.”

“After that kiss I bet they’ll want some alone time to smooch” He winked and laughed hysterically again. Dahlia was red herself now.

“You jerk.” Ryker shoved him into the water and Nico came up sputtering and laughing. He had his mom’s sense of humor so nothing hardly ever go to him.

“Maybe you should be the one cooling off.” Nico said and splashed his brother.

Dahlia’s laughter made it all the better. Ryker lifted her off her feet and tossed her. She clung to him so he went in too. They came up laughing and started a splash fight with Nico who dove under the water and grabbed their ankles, yanking them under then letting them go. Suri and Hern lay in the grass enjoying their children’s and Dahlia’s laughter. “Poor Ryker, I’ve never seen someone so enamoured of anyone.” Hern said as he stroked Suri’s arm.

“I have. He’s stubborn, handsome, has a huge set of antler, and teased me about never smiling the day I got here.” Suri said and rested her chin on his chest.

“I should watch out for this guy. He might steal my wife.”

“I’m afraid he already has.” He laughed and kissed her. She was the most gorgeous thing he had ever seen. She still looked as beautiful as the day he saw her. “Am I really that pretty?” She asked.

“Oh yes, more so today than yesterday.” He said softly.

“You’re only saying that because my aging slowed. I should go back to the human world for a few years and come back when I’m an old maid.” Spending so much time in Hern’s world had indeed stunted her aging. Humans usually aged much faster.

“You know that’s not true. You will always be the most beautiful creature to me.” They heard Dahlia scream and sat up. It was just Ryker and Nico taking turns splashing her.

They were relieved. Hern sat with his legs open so Suri could get between them and lay back against him. He held her close. He wished he had more time to spend with his family. After taking care of the Nethids he was going to take a whole week just to be with them. He knew the kingdom would understand. Ryker, Dahlia and Nico came running up after a few hours “We’re hungry”. Suri and Hern got up and set out everything for the picnic. They all ate happily.

When they were finished it was time to go. Hern had more things to take care of. When they were back Hern told Suri he needed her help adn to come with him to his office. Suri looked at the children and said “You can all still hangout and play but make sure to not go far from the castle so we can hear if anything happens.” They all said yes mam and ran off. Hern picked up Suri “Why do you carry me so much Hern? You do know it’s not hard for me to walk?”

“I just like being close to you. This is better than holding hands.” She kissed his cheek and he smiled as he carried her to his office. Ryker, Dahlia and Nico decided to play hide and seek. To find hiding places they slowly got further from the castle not even realizing they were doing it.

Chapter Two

“What is it, Hern you look so worried.” Suri brushed his cheek with her fingers.

“I’m afraid I may not be able to keep the Nethids in check on my own. I’ve tried keeping the other clans calm, but they are all afraid and ready to start a war. I need you to talk to them for me, ease their minds. We also have to talk to the Nethid leader somehow. He won’t come here so we have to go there. I need to know what’s happening.” He said. He felt like he had failed somehow in not keeping her away from all of this.

“Anything to keep the peace. I don’t want our children drawn into a war. I can’t let it spill into our home. I will speak to them. You should not have to do this alone. Your father expected me to help you when you needed it. So don’t ever be afraid to ask. It doesn’t make you less of a man.” He thanked his father once again for bringing him such a courageous queen. She would step into a pit of fire if it meant protecting innocent lives. He kissed her softly, pouring all his love and pride into her.

Nico opened his eyes after counting to a hundred. Dahlia and Ryker were somewhere in the woods hiding. He moved quietly, his dark eyes searching the white wood. He and Ryker were both amazing trackers. He stayed low to the ground, following a set of smaller boot prints. They had to be Dahlia’s because Ryker would never leave any. He placed his palm in the blue grass and closed his eyes. Fallon said if you listened and felt the earth would tell you things. A disturbance rolled through the ground, something ominous and dark. He hid behind a tree, his eyes moving nervously around. A group of Nethids passed him and he felt his heart hammering fearfully. He waited until they disappeared. He had to find his brother and Dahlia before the Nethids did. It didn’t take him long to realize the creatures were tracking Dahlia. His brother would kill him if he didn’t do something.

He ran as fast as he could then he heard Dahlia let out a horrific scream as one picked her up. Nico stabbed it in the back and it laughed. It swung it’s large hand at him slamming him hard into a nearby tree where he passed out. Ryker had heard it too and was coming as fast as he could. When he got there he saw blood near the tree but no sign of either of them. “DAHLIA! NICO! Please say this is a fucking horrible joke!”

He ran around looking for them. Screaming their names. He ran to the castle to get his father & mother. He had failed his Dahlia again. His heart was aching with worry and sorrow. When he arrived at his dads office he could barely breath. Suri ran over to him “Ryker what’s wrong?”

“I don’t know. We were playing hide and seek then I heard Dahlia scream. I went to where the scream came from and there was blood and no sign of Nico or Dahlia anywhere. “You gave the necklace to Dahlia right?”

“Yes”

“Then we can find her. If they have Nico too then the necklaces will work I promise.”

Ryker led his parents back to where they were playing. It was deeper into the forest than he realized. “We got to far away, I’m sorry.” Ryker said and felt like crying.

Suri pulled her son into her arms. “It’s okay baby, we’ll get them back.”

“Ryker I want you to go back to the castle.” Hern ordered and his son started shaking his head.

“No dad, I have to go. I have to help. Please don’t make me go back, please.”

“It might be better if he stay with us dear.”

Hern wanted to yell at him to go home, but he recognized that look in his eye. It was the same one Suri often pointed out in himself. “Alright, but you must stay close. Do not wander off for anything.” He stared into his son’s eyes, making sure he understood. Ryker nodded and Hern started through the woods. The necklace pulled him, guiding him through thick underbrush. He found more blood on some leaves. He didn’t think it was all from one person. “Maybe Nico wounded whoever took him and Dahlia.” He said.

“I hope so.” Suri said. She was scared to death for her son and young Dahlia.

Hern pulled her into his arms for a moment. “They would not have taken the dead. This was a kidnapping.”

Ryker frustratedly yelled ‘Why would they want them?” Hern solemnly said “I think they wanted Dahlia. Your brother was probably just trying to stop it. Both times it seems their only target was her” Nico woke up to the sound of Dahlia crying. He looked around and noticed they were in a prison cell. It was empty, not even a bed for them to lay on. It reminded him of when he was kidnapped with his brother.

He got up and walked over to Dahlia. “Please don’t cry. They’ll find us” he hugged her to give her some comfort. She hugged him back and said “Thank you for trying to help.” He laughed “I had to, my lovesick brother would’ve killed me if I hadn’t. You’re his everything.”

“I doubt that. Your brother is amazing and so handsome. Why would somone like me be his everything?” One thing Nico had never told his brother is that he had liked Dahlia too when they all first met but he was the shy one. Outspoken Ryker of course got the girl even though they weren’t officially together. He said “Well you’re really nice and very beautiful. Don’t say dumb stuff like why would you be his everything.” Nico was happy they were happy though. His brother would probably kill him if he knew the real reason he got jealous was because he liked her aswell.

“How are we going to get out of here?” Dahlia asked.

Nico held up his necklace and pointed at the one around her neck. “As long as we stay together my dad, mom, and Ryker will find us. These necklaces can’t be separated.” He said and walked around the cell, looking for a way out. He wrenched on the bars. One of them was loose. One of the Nethids heard the noise and approached the cell. “What are you doing?” He growled.

“Staring at the ugliest thing I’ve seen in awhile, what are you doing?” Nico had to be brave. Nethids were actually very beautiful creatures. Their skin was a bright blue and they had large green eyes and long black hair. It looked confused for a moment and rubbed its head.

“Just sit down.” He walked away.

“What was that about?” Dahlia asked. “He looked confused.”

“Dad said something’s going on with them.” He started messing with the bar again, pausing every now and again to listen. If he could get it loose there would be enough room for Dahlia to escape. He would take Ryker’s necklace and wait for them here.

He sat there messing with it for 20minuets when Dahlia said “Aren’t you getting tired of that?”

“I have nothing else to do honestly. Besides this is for you. If I can get it out you would be able to fit through.”

“I can’t leave you here.”

“Yes you can and will if I get this loose.”

“You can’t tell me what to do. You tried to save me and I’m not paying you back by leaving you in this place alone. We need to think of a plan together. I’m not some damn damsel in distress who needs saving. We’ll get out of this together.” Nico sighed. “You’re a hard head. You and Ryker will definitly get along fine,” She laughed. “I’m so glad we all met eachother.”

“I guess I am too even though you’re a brother stealer” he said teasingly

“I’m more than happy to hangout with you aswell. You just pick on him so badly that he wants us to be alone. You’ll find a pretty girl you’ll want to be with eventually so you should be nicer to him before he gives you payback later” Nico laughed “yeah I guess I should”

“How does your head feel”

“Oh like I got slammed into a tree helping a damsel in distress” He winked

“You just live to pick on people don’t you Nico” She said slightly annoyed at him calling her that.

Hern bounded over a fallen tree, following the pull of the necklace and the drops of blood. Suri rode on his back because she was having trouble keeping up. They were getting closer. The sun was almost down and soon the would have to rely solely on the necklace to guide them. He hoped by the time they got there Nico and Dahlia would still be alive. He had a feeling he would know if they passed. Ryker would probably know first. He and Nico shared such a tight bond. He noticed his son looked exhausted. He wasn’t used to running such long distances. “We’re going to break for a few minutes.” He said as he came to a stop and lowered Suri to the ground.

“No dad, we have to keep going.” Ryker tried to take off, but Hern grabbed his arm. “Let me go.”

“Ryker that’s enough.” He gripped his son’s shoulders and gave him a small shake. “If you don’t rest you’ll be too tired to help.”

“I’m sorry, I’m just so angry.” Ryker should have been paying attention. If he had they would not have wandered so far into the woods and Nico and Dahlia would still be with him.

“It’s okay to be angry, but you have to rest.” They sat down to catch their breath.

Nico yanked on the bar and it came loose. He paused, listening. “Okay,” he whispered, “I’m going to make some noise and we’ll hide against this wall. When the guard comes back he’ll see a bar missing and come in. I’ll hit him in the head and we’ll run.”

“How do you know it’ll play out like that?” Dahlia asked.

“I have a feeling.” He picked up the bar and slammed it against the cell door. He screamed for Dahlia to run and then they both pressed themselves against the wall. He heard footsteps and sure enough the Nethid entered the cell. He whacked it over the head and they darted out of the cell, running down a hall. He heard footsteps behind him, more Nethid were gaining fast. He ripped the necklace from around Dahlia’s neck and looped it around his neck. “Run, go now.” He screamed as he pulled the dagger from his boot and faced the Nethid.

“What did I tell you!”

“Ugh this is no time to bicker with me Dahlia!” She decided to run since she’d probably just make it harder for him to fight anyway. She got pretty far when one appeared in front of her slamming a rock into her forehead. She felt a horrible pain then lost consciousness. While asleep she dreamed of Ryker. She was back at the pond with him but it was just the two of them. It was such a lovely dream that was so real she forgot what was really going on. When she woke up it was dawn. It looked like they put them in a different cell.

She looked around and saw Nico laying on the ground. There was a bunch of blood around him and she worried he may be dead so she rushed over to him and shook him. Nico grunted “Why would you do that?”

“I’m sorry I was worried you were dead.”

“No, our plan just failed miserably.” Nico looked really bad. “I can’t believe they did this to you. You look horrible.”

“You don’t look so good right now yourself Dahlia” he said as he pushed air through his nose with his slight laugh “How is everything always a joke with you?”

“Would you rather me be serious? Joking about things makes them better.”

“I guess, looking on the bright side atleast i had a wonderful dream while I was passed out.”

“That’s good. I don’t think I dreamed anything.”

Nico tried to stand, but a sharp pain shot through his side. He gripped his side, his hand coming away with blood. “I think they stabbed me.” He said with a smile.

“They took the necklaces.” Dahlia sounded so upset.

“Shit. How’s your head?”

“Sore, but I’ll live.” She tore a long strip of cloth off her shirt and tied it around his midsection. “Do you think they’ll find us now?”

“They’ll find the necklaces and hopefully be able to talk to whoever has them.” He lay down, feeling weak. He had lost a lot of blood.

Ryker followed kept pace with his parents. He had told them something had happened to Nico and they had to hurry. There was a burning sensation at his ribs. They broke through the tree line and right into a Nethid camp. All the creatures turned and looked at them in shock.

Hern lowered Suri to the ground and held up his hands. “I wish to speak to your leader, take me to him now.” He said. The Nethid looked unsure and grabbed their heads as if in pain. They screeched and attacked them. Hern and Ryker slashed and stabbed the creatures while Suri used what magic she had learned from Fallon to push the beasts back. There was something seriously wrong with them. When there was only one left Her grabbed him by his hair and was about to kill him when Suri screamed for him to stop.

“Let me talk to him.” She said. Ryker brought his dad some rope he found and they tied the Nethid to a tree. Suri dropped to her knees in front of him. “Do you know who I am?” She asked and he nodded. “Where is my son and the girl?”

He looked confused. “We took them somewhere, I can’t remember where. My head hurts so bad.”

“Can I try something to help you?” The Nethid looked scared but nodded. She grabbed his head in her hands and pushed white hot, healing light into him. He writhed, his mouth open in a soundless scream. He vomited some black and slimy. “What the hell is that?” She asked.

“Looks like black cap slime. Someone has poisoned these creatures.” Hern said as he lifted some of the black goo off the ground with his knife and then wiped it off.

“Poisoned what do you mean?”

“They’ve poisoned their minds. It isn’t their fault they are acting this way. Sombody else has an agenda here.” Suri looked at the Nethid again. “Do you remember where they are now?”

“Yes mam, follow me.” Ryker could barely contain himself. He had to get to Dahlia. He also feared for his brother. He could feel Nicos pain. In the cell Dahlia was now yelling at the fading Nico. He was losing too much blood. “You better not die! Ryker will be so upset! Even though I know you don’t like me for taking your brother so much I think of you as a good friend. Please stay awake!” She just kept repeating stay awake until it caught Herns ear and he ran past the Nethid.

He saw his son laying the floor with Dahlia crying over him trying to keep him up. Suri and Ryker soon caught up and Suri ran to her sons side. She had brought some medicines and she was thankful for it. Fallon had also taught her a healing spell. She was having trouble mastering it but she was good enough to save her son. Daliah moved out of the way and Suri placed her hands on her son healing his wounds enough to stop the bleeding.

Ryker hugged his brother as soon as he sat up. Nico was wincing “What you hugging me for when Daliahs over there?” Ryker smiled at him and went to embrace Daliah. Suri held Nico sobbing and Hern held them both in his arms. “Thank god you two are still alive. How’re you Daliah?”

“I’m ok.”

“Good, we need to get going.”

Chapter Three

Hern helped his son walk and they followed the healed Nethid who led them to a clearing in the woods. He looked a bit ashamed and kept his distance. Hern sat his son down and both he and Suri approached the man. “Tell me who poisoned you.” Hern said a little angrily. The Nethid backed up a couple of feet and Suir rested a calming hand on her husband’s arm.

“You don’t have to be afraid, we’re all a little rattled. Can you remember when this all started?” She said and smiled at him.

“I just remember we all got sick. We thought it was just some sickness moving through us that would go away, but it got worse. We started kidnapping people. I remember asking myself why we were doing this, but the anger took over and I couldn’t stop. It hurt my head if I tried to stop.” He looked around, his mind working to remember more. “There was a man who came to see out leader. He was asking for something, I think the stone under our village. It can be made into jewelry, pottery, and used for trapping spirits and healing. It means everything to us. The man wanted our leader to keep it from everyone else, but he said no that the earth gives it freely and so would he. The man was angry.”

“Can you remember what he looks like?”

“Short with a round stomach and goat legs. He wore gold earrings.”

“Luca, that son of a bitch is the one who suggested war.” Her said angrily. “I think we need to call a meeting of the clan leaders and expose him. Bring you leader to the castle. My wife will used her magic to show everyone what he has done.”

“Yes sir” it quickly said and ran off. Suri and Hern went back to the children and Hern picked up Nico again. “Lets go home” Hern was frustrated and wanted to run but didn’t want to move Nico too much. Ryker was carrying Daliah because he wanted to make sure nothing could take her away without taking him too. Suri had a heartbreaking look on her face and she looked at Nico. Hern was absolutely furious. If he didn’t know Suri wouldn’t forgive him he’d go to Lucas and kill him for what he had done.

When they arrived at the castle it was evening. Hern took Nico to his room and layed him down on his bed. He then went straight to his office to arrange a meeting. Ryker and Daliah went to Nicos room when Hern left. Daliah put her hand on his head. “Thank you Nico for trying to help me escape”

“It’s fine, I had to do it for my brother.” Ryker hugged him “Thank you so much Nico”

“What’re brothers for? I’m sure you’d do the same if I had somone. I want to sleep.” They nodded and left the room. When they were outside the room Ryker wrapped Daliah in a hug and kissed her. When he pulled back she said “So does that mean I’m really your girlfriend now?” He smiled “I’d love for you to be”

“Well I love you so ok” She gave him her brightest smile. Ryker felt terrible looking at her head. He knew there was not much his mother could do right now.

The next morning Hern sat in his throne while Suri stood next to him. The clan leaders entered, Luca the last one in. They started to speak and Hern raised a hand. Their mouths snapped shut. They waited a little longer and the young Nethid entered the room with another young man and their leader between them.

“What are these beasts doing here?” Luca asked.

“I invited them.” Hern said and glared at the man. “Suri my love would you please help him and the other young man as well?”

Suri nodded and walked down the steps to the Nethid leader. She held his head in her hands and pushed light into his body, forcing the poison out. She did the same for the other Nethid and then went back to her husband. “What is that?” One of the other clan leaders asked.

“It’s poison, but you would know that wouldn’t you Luca?” Hern turned his gaze to the little goat man who was shaking with fear. He opened his mouth to speak and Hern said, “I dare you to lie to me you greedy bastard.” He was on his feet and walking toward the smaller man.

“Your highness, please.” Luca begged.

“Please? Please? You nearly killed my son and an innocent you girl. There will be no please. For the crime of harming an entire tribe of people, for trying to start a war for stone, and for nearly killing a member of the royal family I sentence you to death and to be replaced by someone of my choosing.” He sounded so calm and that was more terrifying than yelling. “Get him out of my sight.” He ordered the two antlered guards standing at the door. They grabbed Luca and dragged him away, his screams slowly fading away. “The rest of you are dismissed. If the Nethid wish to be healed from this poison they are welcome to come here where I am sure my wife and Fallon will help them. Please accept my apology that this will never happen again. You are always welcome in my home.”

“Thank you great King. I wish to give you some of out stone when we return. Perhaps it will be put to good use by your wife and healer.” The Nethid leader said and Hern nodded. They left without another word.

As soon as everybody was gone Hern almost knocked his wife down he flew into her so hard. He just needed her embrace so badly. She hugged him “Our poor Nico, I’m shocked he wasn’t dead. Good thing Daliah was yelling at him to keep him awake.”

“Yes, I think our son has found a wonderful girl.” Suri said holding him tighter. She continued saying “I need to let Fallon know what all has happend. The two of us need to be ready. I’m sure they’ll all be coming soon to be healed. “Alright my love, please hurry back to me. I need your embrace. I only stayed so calm before because you were at my side.”

“I will, you should take Daliah home though. Her parents must be worried. We didn’t tell them what was going on before we left.” Hern nodded and went to Rykers room to find them. Ryker was just standing there hugging her. Hern smiled, he knew then and there the two of them would end up married. His oldest had found his queen for when Hern passed on. His mind wandered to poor Nico. All he went through. He also felt sad that he had two boys. He wasn’t even sure if Nico knew that Ryker would have the thrown because he was first born. He had an idea for Nicos future now though. Maybe Lucas clan would accept Nico as their future leader.

Hern cleared his throat. “Come Daliah, I’m sure your parents are worried.”

“Can I go too dad?”

“Of course” They walked out of the castle and on to Daliahs house. Her parents ran out of this house as soon as they saw them coming up “Oh Daliah! Where have you been?!”

“She was kidnapped along with my other son Nico. I didn’t have time to alert you before I left. I’m very sorry”

“Oh please sir don’t be sorry! Thank you for getting her back.”

When Suri returned she checked the throne room and Hern was not there. He also wasn’t in his study so she went to their room. He was staring out the window, off in his own little world. “Are you alright?” She asked and he nodded. She walked over him and he pulled her close.

“I’m fine.” He said and smiled down at her. “I’ve decided to give Nico Luca’s seat as clan leader. He deserves something for being so brave.”

“Have you told him yet?”

“No, he’s sleeping. He almost died last night and I would have never told him how much he means to me.”

“He knows, we all know you love us. You are a wonderful father and husband.” She grabbed his face in her hands and kissed him.

“I’m taking more time off for all of you. I want to take the kids up to the cottage for a week. Dahlia can come too if she wants. I think she would like it there.” He pulled her head against his chest and just held her. She yawned so he lifted her and carried her to the bed. He lay next to her, her head pillowed on his chest. “I love you more than you know Suri.” He whispered.

“And I love you with all my heart my beautiful deer man.” They drifted off together, dreaming of a better tomorrow.

When Hern woke up his beautiful wife was still sleeping. He just palced a hand on her head and enjoyed her laying on him. Suri couldn’t possibly know how much he still loved her. The love he had for her grew every day even though it seemed impossible. Somtimes he’d find himself hoping that he would die before Suri because he just couldn’t live without her. He doubted he would even be able to pull himself out of bed every day if she were gone.

He gently hugged her then drew one of her hands to his face so he could kiss it. He placed her hand on his face and took a deep breath. It woke her up. “Oh no I’m sorry Suri. I really didn’t want to wake you. I was just enjoying being near you.”

“It’s ok” She smiled. Her hair was messy and it was absolutely adorable to Hern. “How is it you make me love you more every time I look at you?” She loved when Hern said stuff like that. “We should get up. You need to meet with Lucas clan today and we should tell our son before hand our plans.”

“I know, can’t I just hold you a little longer?” Suri laughed. There will be time after we get things settled. You said you were taking time off right?” He said yes as he pulled her back down onto him refusing to let her up again. “Hern!” He laughed and kissed her “Fine, lets get up.” She started to change her clothes. It stopped Hern in his tracks seeing her amazing naked body. She noticed he was staring “Is that what the romance was about just there? You want some?”

“You know I love you Suri. Just to prove to you it wasn’t to lure you into sex I wont touch you.” She laughed and finished getting ready. They went straight to breakfast. They knew Nico would be there. When they were finished Hern told Nico to come talk with him in the garden. He explained to Nico how proud he was of him and how much he loved him and that he was making him leader of Lucas clan. “But dad I’m 13.”

“You’re already a man though. I have faith in you.” Nico was so happy and hugged his father. Later in the day the clans came back and Hern announced his decision. Lucas Clan thought it was an amazing idea and were honored the king chose his own son to guide them.

~The End~

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