by moon

Moon of Fire Part v (Sastiel Sequel)

We are officially halfway through Moon of Fire! I hope hope hope you guys enjoy this part of Sastiel’s story, where you kind of sort of not really understand how the story will unfold? I can’t thank you guys enough for all your support, and them reactions are everything!!!

If you haven’t read A Court of Fire and Dreams:
Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V.

Moon of Fire:
Part i, Part ii, Part iii, Part iv

*****

He was in trouble.
Azriel knew the moment he laid his eyes on the blonde haired witch.
She was miles ahead of everyone, twisting and turning in the air as the horizon opened up to pink and yellow and orange hues.
Yellow like her hair glistening in the moonlight—swaying in the wind as she clawed for his throat.
He despised it—her stubbornness.
Despised the unfiltered, opinionated words that came out of her iron teethed mouth.
And despised her—not from the wound she gave him—but for this wild, unusual thing that’s filled his heart.

*****

With the Anascaul Mountains behind them, Seraphine steered Enox towards the Staghorns, towards Orynth, towards her home.
Despite not having been in court for nearly a century, Enox steered himself on instinct. He fell into formation behind the Thirteen’s wyverns, though Seraphine could sense that Enox was feeling strangely out of place.
Seraphine felt the same.
Kastiel reached towards her, giving her a small smile.
She despised herself then—at not considering how out of place Kastiel must feel all the time here in Erilea. She returned his smile as they flew side by side, his wings coasting by the oncoming morning breeze.
The Staghorn Mountains came into view, along with the outskirts of Oakwald Forest, then finally, the roughly circular city of the Galathynius residence loomed.
People were already milling about on the cobblestoned streets, basking in the dewy early morning sun, oblivious to the wyverns and Fae flying above them.
The towering, stone castle walls of Orynth, Terrasen’s capital, sat upon the highest point in the city, with half of its structure embedded into the Staghorn mountains. Its façade was circular in shape, with greenery covering its silver stone walls.
Asterin landed in front of the massive gates of the castle, where vines and ivy twisted around the iron bars like a snake.
Asterin squared her shoulders.
“Showtime.”

*****

Kastiel stood behind the witches as Asterin led Seraphine from the front. Despite the mountains neighbouring the castle in the distance, there were no other similarities between Valaris and Orynth.
If Valaris was the City of Starlight, Orynth was the City of Sunshine.
The castle belonged between the Dawn Court and the Day Court. It was a stunning city—a mountainside on one side and the never ending expanse of green in the other.
Seraphine glanced behind her.
At home at last—she was even more beautiful—in the backdrop of Orynth.
He gave her an encouraging nod.
They slip inside the castle, it’s foyer opening up into a grand marble stone room. Directly in front of them was a large stairwell breaking off into the east and west wing of the castle. A painting of what could only be Seraphine’s parents, and their family surrounding them hung on the wall beside a dirty looking plant pot. A strange feeling came over Kastiel.
Fen’s paws clicked against the marble floors.
He sniffed the wilted flowers in the vase.
Kastiel reached for the pommel of his sword.
“Mot—” Seraphine was about to shout, before Azriel winnowed behind her, covering her mouth with his hand, whispering something in her ears.
Kastiel unsheathed his sword.
The Thirteen spread in all directions.
“Stay here,” Azriel ordered before he vanished into shadows.
Seraphine held orange flames in her hands. “I don’t understand,” she whispered to him.
Kastiel guarded her back as she took in her her surroundings. No, he thought, it was not her home anymore. It was a stranger’s home to Seraphine, who hadn’t stepped foot in these marbled floors for years and years.
Now it was even more unfamiliar territory to her.
Somehow, between their arrival until now, it was clear that no one had been here. There were no soldiers, no maids and absolutely nobody around.
Seraphine’s head whipped towards Kastiel.
Her thoughts seemed to slip into his—through their mating bond.
He gripped her under the waist, the legs, and flew towards the city.

*****

Seraphine ran through the streets of Orynth, her hand trailing against the stone walls of the city. On her right stood her favourite shop, a bakery renowned for the most delicious chocolate cake. Her mother would drag her here during late nights, where the baker would open the store, just for them. They would all eat together, sometimes bringing her Uncle Aedion with them.
Now it stood unoccupied—its doors open wide just like her own home.
An empty vessel.
Seraphine kept going.
To her left was the shop to Orynth’s famous blacksmith. He was tall, dark and incredibly handsome, even more so after a bad accident, which left a scar across his right eye. His wife was a gentle woman, who was expecting a baby during the time Seraphine left.
Gods, that was almost a century ago.
“Where are they?” Her voice seemed to carry all around her, to her empty favourite shops, the empty streets, the empty houses. “But we saw them, the people of Orynth, here before our eyes.”
“I know what it was—a glamour.”
“A wha—”
Kastiel tackled Seraphine to the ground.
He softened the fall, taking all her weight under his wings.
She quickly sat up, scrambling on her hands and feet at the oncoming creature screeching towards them.
She’d never seen anything like it before.
The creature was black, wild-eyed with sharp teeth and claws.
Everything about it was wrong—it’s movement animalistic.
Seraphine unleashed a ball of fire towards the creature.
It screeched again, dodging incredibly fast towards the side.
“Kastiel?” Seraphine asked, not taking her eyes off the creature, who in turn, was watching her.
“I’m kind of busy over here.”
Seraphine dared to quickly look behind her.
Three more of the same terrifyingly dark creature prowled in front of Kastiel.
“I’ll take this one, and you take the three,” she said.
Kastiel laughed in reply, his battle cry loud and clear as he swiped his sword across the strange creature’s bodies.
Seraphine focused on the thing in front of her.
It scuttled on its hands and knees, lunging for Seraphine from the ground. She narrowly dodged the swipe of its claws, retreating away from its reach.
With her outstretched hand, she threw a beam of fire towards it. The creature shrieked in surprise.
“I am still a little unsure,” Kastiel said, his breathing heavy, “why your creature is more scared of you than mine is scared of me.”
The ray of fire missed the creature, though it ignited the ground beside the its feet. It went berserk.
Seraphine blinked.
“It’s my fire, Kastiel.”
“That’s really great, moon fire,” he grunted, “but I’m kind of busy.”
Strangely enough, despite her parents’ absence, the empty city, and the most terrifying looking creature attacking them, Seraphine wanted to laugh and jump with joy at his reply.
Her happiness ignited something inside her—something fierce and strong.
This time, Seraphine ran towards the creature without hesitation, her hands in flames. She grabbed the thing just by the arm—or what looked like it’s arm— it’s claws trying to swipe her hands away, screaming, wailing, before she slammed her open palm onto its chest. It ignited from the inside, the black turning into gold, then orange, then red, before exploding into cinders.
Seraphine twisted around, just in time, to hold off the oncoming creature headed her way.
She fell on her back, the impact making her cry out in pain. Its claws drew blood on her shoulder, on her new training clothes, as it tried to claw at her neck. She blocked the creature off with all her strength, before using her fire over its heart to burn it from the inside out.

*****

“Why am I not surprised that you didn’t listen to what I said, Kastiel?”
“I probably should have listened,” he mumbled under his breath, landing back down on the castle foyer with Seraphine. Both of them were covered in dirt and the creature’s black sticky blood. Yet despite this, he was so proud of her—his mate—for holding her own.
“What happened to you?” Asterin asked.
“We were attacked.”
Azriel studied him quietly—worrying about him—the way he only knew how.
“It was a dark creature we’d never seen before. Tall, skinny with long claws.”
“It was scared of my fire,” Seraphine added.
Asterin’s eyes went wild—the Thirteen mimicking her panic. “How many?”
“Four.”
“And the bodies?”
“Seraphine took care of that.”
“We need to leave—now.”
Kastiel’s first instinct was to grab his mate, to protect her, to make a run for it. Yet when he met her eyes—turquoise with the ring of gold—he bathed in the emotion blazing through them.
The strength and determination encompassing Seraphine.
“What is it Asterin?” she asked with a dangerous, lethal voice he had never heard from his mate.
“The Valg.”

*****

A folded piece of paper with Seraphine’s writing was the only indication that anyone had been at Orynth. She had left it on top of her mother’s most treasured grand piano.
It could have been days, weeks, months or even years since—yet Seraphine didn’t know.
She wasn’t there.
Her fingers danced on Enox’ reigns, mimicking the moments earlier on, when she sat in front of the grand piano, silently playing a sonata. It was a hauntingly sweet melody her mother had taught her. Her mother taught Seraphine a lot of things when she was small. Ever since she could remember, all she’d ever wanted to be was just like her mother.
Aelin Ashryver Galathynius Whitethorn.
She strapped her pack on Enox, double checking his reigns before their departure. Fen sat by her feet, watching her every movement with his ears up. He had been following her like a shadow ever since she came back with Kastiel from the city.
To Seraphine’s surprise, Asterin allowed Azriel to lead half of the Thirteen through the city. They were to inspect the rest of Orynth, whilst the rest of the group prepared for their next journey—towards the other half of her family—towards Rifthold.
As Seraphine double checked the reigns on all of the wyverns, Fen whined beside her.
She scratched his ears. “I miss them too,” she murmured absently.
Fen shook her touch away.
“What is it, boy?”
He whined again.
Seraphine held Fen’s face between her hand, “what’s the matter?”
He held her gaze a moment longer, before slipping away from her hold.
Fen ran towards the northern gardens.
An overwhelming sense of dread came over Seraphine.
She didn’t hesitate to follow him.
Didn’t hesitate, as they passed dead rose bushes and flowers.
Didn’t hesitate, as she followed Fen into the small hedge maze in the center of the northern garden.
Her hedge maze.
A maze that was made for her and her small wolf pup when she was younger—to teach Fen her scent, and to test him from finding her in the maze.
Seraphine and Fen knew the maze well.
Despite this, Seraphine felt as if the maze had transformed in front of her very eyes.
She didn’t recognise it now.
Dark blood stains splattered on the leaves, on the grass, on the countless bodies of the Valg on the ground.
Seraphine fell on her hands and knees, her eyes prickling at the sight in front of her.
A wolf with white fur and onyx eyes.