The Story of Gladianima (Part V)

Thyra drew a slow breath as she sat down at a desk. Her heart was racing in her chest as Kegan sat a thick book in front of her. The leather-bound cover was caked in dust, clearly having been hidden on a shelf somewhere and forgotten. Thyra ran her hand over the cover, smoothing away the dust. Beneath the layer a monokero was pressed into the leather.

Thyra looked up slowly at Kegan. “Have you opened it?” she asked softly.

Kegan shook his head, his eyes apprehensive.

Thyra looked back down at the book, feeling a knot forming in her gut. Doran Estrella was either a genius or a madman. No one could ever prove which. He was her four-times-great grandfather, and he’d claimed to possess a connection with the last monokero that had lived in Gexalatia.

No one had ever seen the beast, but Doran had a way of knowing things he shouldn’t have, or couldn’t have known. It was also said that he possessed a weapon that was forged in the blood of his enemies, a magical thing that never dulled and never failed to kill. There was much debate about what that weapon was, whether a sword or spear or something else, but the story was always the same. And the story always ended with the same warning, that the weapon would do its master’s bidding, but it would always demand the wielder’s soul as payment. Everyone, including Doran, when the weapon finally left their hands, succumbed to a weariness that they could never recover from.

“Well?” Kegan prompted.

Thyra looked back at him from the book, blinking away her thoughts. “I don’t know if I should,” she said quietly.

Kegan arched a brow. “Why?” he asked.

“I’m not sure I want to know the truth about Doran,” she said shortly.

Kegan grinned slightly. “What’s so bad about knowing the truth?” he asked. “And what could be so bad about Doran?” He looked down at the book. “Maybe he can shed some light on what you’re feeling.”

Thyra frowned at him. She hadn’t said much else about the voice in her head, but he hadn’t seemed surprised when she’d mentioned it. She wondered at that. What did Kegan know that he wasn’t saying still?

“Why are you helping me?” she asked suddenly.

Kegan drew a slow breath. “There is talk in the texts about a gift that select people can possess,” he said. “It typically runs through a bloodline, and there are reasons to think that the Estrella line is the one that is chosen.”

Thyra suddenly leveled a look at him. “You’re talking about that prophecy.”

Kegan arched a brow, surprised by her monotone.

“You know that’s just a story told to children,” Thyra continued. “There’s no such thing.”

Kegan shrugged then. “Maybe there is, and maybe there isn’t,” he said lightly. “But you can’t deny that there are things that have happened in your life and in your family history that can’t be explained any other way.”

Thyra sighed, looking down at Doran’s journal. “I need some time to read this,” she said softly.

Kegan nodded. “I’ll leave you,” he said, straightening. “I’ll be back later.”

Thyra nodded, grateful for the silence when he was finally gone. Her mind was spinning. She’d heard about the prophecy, but she hadn’t wanted to believe it. It talked about a person who could wield the sword that Doran supposedly once held and not succumb to it. Both stories seemed ridiculous to her, but now she was feeling a tickle of doubt in her mind.

She drew a slow breath as she cracked the spine on the old leather book. She didn’t know what she would find inside.

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