Helsia Deep (Part 1)
“Now remember what I told you about Helsian custom?”
Vynette Charo was standing outside the Amaya residence within Helsia Deep. It was built inside an underground grove, with skylights drilled into the mountain itself, to lend the illusion that it was out in the open air. Standing next to her was the soldier she had rescued from the rubble of the Water Palace, a man named Chase Beck.
He was a young Xaabosian, just out of his teens by the looks of it. He’d stayed behind in secret, which was a foolish thing to do – a point that Vynette made perfectly clear on their flight here. He grimaced, they had come straight here after they had landed. After twenty hours of fighting and a six hour flight, he was ready to drop.
“Don’t speak to the chief or his wife unless spoken to first. Always answer truthfully, even if a lie may be easier to hear. Never leave their sight unless given permission to do so. Is that right?” he asked after he rattled off all the things that Vynette had been drilling in to him the whole way here, he couldn’t forget it if he tried.
“Perfect. Get ready.” Vynette knocked on the door and waited. It wasn’t long before a teenage boy with fiery red hair answered the door. Seeing that hair colour made Vynette think of Shaela and the Stormers, especially the one she left behind at the Water Palace.
“Vynette?” he asked, but when he saw the exhaustion on her face and the Xaabosian behind her he ushered them in without any further questions. He directed them in to a small study. “Stay here, I must inform my mother.”
“Is Chief Amaya here?” Vynette questioned, curious as to why the boy would go straight to his mother.
“He is out.” the boy disappeared in to the hallway and left the two of them in the study.
“Hello” called out a calm, polite voice to Vynette’s side.
“That… That’s the prince!” cried out Case.
Vynette was shocked. She’d heard rumours, but obviously they were unfounded. “I thought you were executed?”
“Nope.” he smiled, “Name’s Jett. No prince, just Jett please.”
Case nodded his head but otherwise kept quiet.
“What brings you here in such a sorry state?” asked Jett as he gestured to Vynette’s torn and soot-stained clothing.
“Your father is dead and the Water Palace has been sacked.” Never one to beat around the bush, she laid it out there bluntly and watched as the shock set in to the young prince.
“Well I would’ve put it a different way.” muttered Case as he stifled a yawn.
“Helsian custom!” she snapped under her breath.
“Oh, so that tell the truth thing applies to everyone? Didn’t know that.”
Jett stood up. “Khlee would’ve warned Vennla by now, come with me.” Case moved to stand, “Not you. Go get some rest, my room is down the hall and to the right.”
Case nodded his thanks and stumbled his way down the hall.
“Right, let’s go.”
Vynette followed the prince. The true heir to the Xaabosian throne. Under Helsian custom, he should be dead. His life was forfeit the second Shaela lost her own life. Yet here he was guiding her through the Amaya household.
Did that mean that Shaela was alive? No! she shook her head angrily, hope is for the foolish.