The Durants Part X


Katie’s violent swearing ripped her traveling companions from their slumber. “Rakowsky’s gone and cut himself a new one!” Frustration cut through her voice. “We can’t infiltrate the guilds by ourselves, Orsin.”

The large man rose gracefully and padded over to his comrade’s corpse. The sword was still pinning it to the earth. He glanced at Bionca. She blanched and looked away quickly, bile rising in her throat. Orsin’s large fist surrounded the hilt before he slowly extracted it. He thrust the blade into the girl’s hands.

“We should move on. Mama’s waiting.” The group somberly packed up and followed Orsin.


Vaslera had the distinct feeling of having once been a bustling hub of activity. The town square was a grave to grandeur. What few people were in the streets waved to Orsin and Katie before disappearing upon catching sight of the strangers. They were led down twisting alleyways. Hopelessly lost without their guides, all but Bionca were relieved once they reached the Orsin residence. The son cleared his throat and called out while opening the door. “Mama, I’m back. We have visitors.”

Stepping in was like being transported back to Hyra. Nostalgia and self-pity swirled with the guilt in Bionca’s stomach. It was arid and adorned with swatches of cloth typically used for Hyran robes. A woman with deep, rich crimson hair swayed into the hallway.

“Eddy, I’m so happy you’re back. And you too, Katie.” She pulled them both into a tight bear-hug. After releasing them, she scanned the remaining people crowding into her home. Her eyes flicked questioningly to Orsin before stopping between Oscar and Drake. “Hmmm, familiar somehow. And so very much alike. You should really make up, you know. You never know how long you have left.” Drake stiffened.

“And twins. How charming. Same goes for the two of you.” Finally, her gaze settled on Bionca. She gave the briefest of calculating looks before turning to her son. “Be a dear, Eddy, and fix up my clinic for me. I should really check up on all of you. Make sure all your parts are working. Oh, and how rude of me! I’m Lynn Orsin. Welcome to Vaslera.”

The assembled bunch murmured thanks awkwardly, looking away from their overbearing host.

“Katie, dear, you first. Let’s look at your pretty bones.”

An uncomfortable silence descended upon the group. The minutes stretched into hours until, finally, Katie emerged from Lynn’s makeshift clinic. She side-glanced Orsin before dropping to the floor. Lynn exited soon after and beckoned Bionca forward.

Apprehensive, the girl followed. Once inside, the woman spun on her heel and gripped Bionca’s shoulders. “Forgive me if I’m insensitive, but I am so fascinated by your skin and hair. Have they always been like that? I’ve never seen anything like it! Is your mother the quiet and surly one or the quiet and guarded one? Where’s your father? Can I genome you?” Her nails had begun to dig into Bionca’s skin, who stood dumbfounded with her mouth hanging open.

Lynn withdrew her hands. “Oh, love, I’m so sorry. I’ve overwhelmed you, haven’t I?” She embraced the shaking girl gently, smoothing down the gold and bistre hair she was so curious about. “Here. Let’s sit you down. You can talk to me about anything. Your secrets are safe with me.” She began scanning Bionca. “It’s also okay if you don’t want to say anything. I can certainly talk more than enough for two people.” Lynn giggled at her own expense, then looked deeply into Bionca’s eyes, a motherly concern welling behind her own.

A single sob shuddered through the young woman’s body. “I just…I’ve lost so much…in such a short time.” Her whispers were halting. “My first friend, my father, my home….” She lowered her gaze, tears falling off her chin.

“Oh, sweetheart.” Bionca was pulled into another hug, this one bone-crushing.

“And I feel like, even though I should rely on my mother more, we’re farther apart than ever….” Her voice was muffled against Lynn’s shoulder.

“Oh, my dear, I know it’s hard. I almost lost my Sam once. But then we raised Eddy together. Now he and Sam work to rid our world of the Volarchy’s corrupted systems.” She pulled away and searched Bionca’s tear-stained face. “I sense that you’ve not gotten over the deaths in your life. And honey, you never really will.” She brushed some of the moisture glistening on the girl’s cheek off. “But if you want my advice, work toward something in their memory. That’s helped my boy and my Sam.” Beneath them, the ground shook. Sighing, Lynn pinched the bridge of her nose. “It never ends, does it?”


The next day, after everyone had slept fitfully, the front was kicked open and a loud holler rang through. “Honey, I have some bodies for you to check. Damn comet took out so many of us.”

Lynn appeared, both relief and worry on her face. “Welcome home, my love.”

“Sammy?” Drake stood transfixed in a doorway.

“Is that you, brother dearest?” Sam’s face lit up. “I’m surprised you got out of hellhole Hyra! What about Viv and Dev?” Drake’s expression faltered and he slumped against the door jamb. “You know what, nevermind. We’ll talk later, bro.” Sam returned to dragging the bodies into the house. “Can you get Ed to help me with this? I feel so old anymore.”

“I’m here Mom. We need to talk about our guild-crashing strategy, too. Things have changed.”

“Sorry to butt in,” Bionca slipped under Drake’s arm. “But I’d like to help take down the Volarchy. Tell me what I can do.”

Sam, Lynn, and Mina nodded in approval. Drake fidgeted while Orsin peered thoughtfully at the girl. Gaia inhaled sharply. “Bionca, I don’t think this is a good idea. I know you’re still upset about your father and the doctor, but this is not the best way to honor them.”

Bionca looked coldly at her mother, a sneer forming. “Mother, I don’t expect you to understand, but this is something I just need to do.” Gaia stared at her daughter sadly before retreating back into the darkness.


Brittany Teodorski


Next Chapter

Previous Chapter


Similar Posts