Biana Vacker and Marella Redek are the Council's most trusted Emissaries and are always sent on the most dangerous- and most secret- projects. But what happens when they're expected to take down the group that destroyed theirs by themselves?
Just a spoiler warning, this has many plot points from Flashback.
Also, huge thanks to ThoseWhoWanderAreNotLost for my amazing book cover!
Nothing had been the same since that one fateful night.
"We are totally going to win this!" Keefe shouted as we ran down the path towards the sea. Everyone was still fairly surprised that they hadn't figured out that there was a Neverseen hideout right where Sophie and Dex were first kidnapped. Sandor had sworn that he'd checked the cave a million times with no sign of a hideout. But, of course, the ever-curious Luna had found the little notch in the wall that opened the door to the hideout. No one had actually gone inside of it, but thanks to Sophie telepathically communicating with Tam, who was still with the Neverseen, she had learned that it was one of their hideouts.
And they wanted to meet us there.
Dex spent weeks preparing all sorts of gadgets to fight the Neverseen with, and everyone started doing nearly ten hours of training per day in hopes that they would succeed against the Neverseen.
The cave was dry, and the air smelled like saltwater. They crept along, stopping at any sign of noise. Finally, they reached a chamber that reminded Biana of Nightfall. Trying not to relive the memories, they stood in the middle of the room and waited.
After about a half hour, they were ready to turn back, but suddenly, they heard a voice.
"Linh!" Tam yelled as he nearly jumped down a flight of stairs. Everyone got closer to Linh as the twins reunited. Everyone except for Biana, who was still concerned that the Neverseen could attack at any moment.
"Spare the girl. She's a smart one." She heard the unmistakable voice of Lady Gisela up in one of the balconies. She looked up just as her friends started screaming.
Fintan was standing in a balcony with the smirking Lady Gisela and hurling Everblaze at them. Sophie, obviously remembering her past experiences with Everblaze, cowered as the searing hot flames inched towards her. Biana backed farther into the corner as the flames danced towards her as well. They were about to touch her when she was surrounded by a force field. From there, all she could do was watch as the Everblaze swallowed up all of her friends one by one.
Except for Marella.
Fintan had forgotten that he had taught her the one way to evade Everblaze a few months prior, and she was definitely using it to her advantage. The firey inferno raged around her as she pulled walls of Everblaze around her, keeping her safe from the harm that Fintan's Everblaze wanted so badly to do to her.
Finally, Marella was able to get to the doorway of the room. She was just about to run when she noticed the terrified Biana, surrounded by force fields, in the opposite corner. Without a second thought, Marella was sprinting across the room and hurling Balefire at Biana's force field, a method Fintan had taught her. Finally, she broke through, and the pair sprinted to the door using Marella's Everblaze shields. They ran down the stone corridor and out onto the beach where almost everyone's parents and bodyguards were waiting.
"Girls, where's Sophie?" Edaline asked, worry lines drawn on her face.
"And Dex?" Juline added.
"Fitz?" Alden asked. And, remembering how Lord Cassius and the Songs couldn't care less about their children, added, "And Keefe and Linh?" Sir Tiergan and Prentice, while not speaking, looked just as concerned for Wylie.
"They're..." Was all Marella could get out before collapsing in a heap.
"Gone. Everblaze..." Biana tried to finish for Marella, but that was all she could get out as the world went black.
As the only survivors of that horrific day, Biana and Marella made a pact to fight the Neverseen in their friend's honor. And now, as Emissaries for the Council, they only had one mission.
To make the Neverseen pay.
Biana's imparter lit up as Councillor Oralie's face appeared. "Miss Vacker, how are you?" She asked, her voice full of kindness and happiness but her azure blue eyes showing otherwise.
"I'm alright, Oralie. And you?" Biana was attempting to eat breakfast, read a scroll sent over by the council, and talk to Oralie at the same time, and the result was hilariously messy. The scroll had bits of blitzenberry muffin all over it, and Oralie was watching her with a bemused expression.
"Well, Miss Vacker, I'm good, I suppose. Anyways, I guess there's no stalling. I'll get right to it. We need to meet with you. Today. In the next few hours." The councillor's normally kind and sweet voice was replaced by one that could command a whole room full of people.
"Um, alright, I can fit that in," Biana hesitated, glancing at her itinerary sitting on the table that showed a jam-packed day ahead of her.
"Good. Miss Redek will also be there," Oralie nodded as her face flickered away.
Biana sighed, pushed away her breakfast and the scroll, and ran down the hallway towards her bedroom to get ready. She didn't have much time, and it was a meeting with the council, after all.
Fifty-four minutes later, Biana and Marella stood side by side outside Councillor Oralie's castle. They had decided to meet there, so it would feel less formal, but it didn't stop Biana from feeling endlessly nervous. She fidgeted with the jeweled sash on her violet gown as footsteps inside the castle got closer and closer to the door. Marella sighed, twisting strands of her blonde hair around in her fingers. The door swung open, and Councillor Oralie's face appeared, looking relived.
"Oh, good, you're both here. Right this way," She called, walking down the hall. Biana and Marella followed. They glanced at each other nervously. Neither had any information on what this meeting was about.
Sitting in a semicircle in a jeweled pink room were all twelve councillors. So many had come and gone since Biana was a teenager, but a few familiar faces remained, such as the foreboding Councillor Bronte and the kind Councillor Terik. Biana and Marella sat down in plush velvet chairs facing the semicircle of councillors.
"Miss Vacker, Miss Redek, how are you?" Councillor Emery asked.
"I'm doing fine," both Marella and Biana answered simultaneously.
"Well, I suppose we must get down to business immediately," Councillor Terik spoke up, sighing and running a hand through his wavy brown hair.
"Alright. Girls, we have a project for you, but it will be very difficult," Councillor Alina said from her overstuffed chair. The once-strict councillor had become a lot more easygoing recently, probably because of the way everything was going in the Lost Cities. There were no longer any threats from opposing species, and even the Neverseen was less active. Not that Marella and Biana wanted to ignore them, however.
"You see, we've realized that as of late the numbers of Neverseen members have been dwindling. We think that now," Councillor Bronte stopped to take a deep breath. He looked at the ground as he spoke the last part of the sentence. "We think that now would be a good time to take them out once and for all."
"And we want you girls to do it," Councillor Oralie finished, also staring intently at the ground.
It took a minute for Biana to realize what they were saying. "You want us to defeat the Neverseen?" She couldn't believe what she was hearing.
"Yes," Councillor Emery answered.
"Well, how much backup do we get? I mean, they're extremely powerful, and-" Marella's question was cut off by Councillor Terik.
"We deliberated long and hard about this," Councillor Oralie's soft voice spoke up. "But we've decided that we want you two to fight them alone."
"Alone? But... we aren't that strong!" Marella cried.
"But you two have studied the Neverseen ever since you were young. You know everything about them. We see no reason why you should not fight them," Councillor Emery argued.
"Here's a reason: between the two of us, there's only two different abilities! We're a vanisher and a pyrokinetic! They have seven members, each with a different ability! How are we going to defeat them?" Biana yelled.
"Miss Vacker, Miss Redek, lower your voices. The truth is, we can't let anyone else know about this. Everyone thinks the Neverseen is gone. If we let them know that they're still around, and still a threat, we'll have chaos everywhere. Don't you remember what happened when your friends got killed?"
Biana wished Councillor Alina hadn't said those last few words. They triggered a flashback so strong she fell to the ground as scenes replayed in her head.
The Ruewens, overcome by so much grief from losing both their daughters. They stayed in their bedroom for days, leaving the animals in the gnome's care. They stopped rehabilitating animals not too long after. Havenfield, once a beautiful place full of life, became desolate. Calla's panakes disappeared, never to be seen again.
Juline and Kesler Dizznee, standing underneath Dex's wanderling, the second one they'd had to plant. Rex, Bex, and Lex, quiet for once as they took in the fact that this time, Dex really was gone. They were never quite so loud and crazy anymore, but instead kept their heads down and mouths shut.
Tiergan and Prentice, who were both Wylie's parent, shut down from grief. Prentice's healing mind stopped getting better. No matter what anyone tried, nothing ever changed.
And her own parents, quiet and shutting the world out. Biana tried so hard to make them happy again. She started hyper-focusing on her grades, achieving the top marks in all of her classes. They didn't even notice. They missed their second son so much they couldn't be bothered with their only daughter.
And all around the lost cities, chaos. The elves were deathly afraid that their children were next, that they would be childless next. They stopped leaving their houses, sending their gnomes to get things. The Lost Cities became seemingly abandoned as people gave up hoping and started hiding.
Biana thrashed as she recalled all of the memories. When she finally stopped moving, she opened up her eyes and saw the concerned face of Marella, who was kneeling beside her. "Biana, are you alright?"
"Yeah, just..." Biana trailed off as Marella nodded. They had both experienced so many horrifying flashbacks in the past thirty years since that day. Biana sat up and looked at the Council with a fierce look of determination in her eye.
"Alright, when do we start training?"
Biana walked into her living room and collapsed, face-first, into the nearest comfortable surface, which happened to be a chair by the window. She was completely exhausted just from that meeting, and she still had a ton of work to do. Eventually, she pulled herself into a sitting position and tried to continue reading the scroll she had been reading at breakfast. Suddenly, her imparter flashed. She sighed. "Not again," she whispered as the happy face of her niece, Leandra, appeared.
Leandra was the daughter of Alvar, who was currently trapped in Exilium, and Noelani, the Neverseen's shade. They had gotten married just after the Incident, and had Leandra thirteen years later. The Council had organized a mission to rescue Leandra as soon as they foundout about her, when she was about a year old. Since Biana was Leandra's Aunt, and Alden and Della didn't want to raise another child, Leandra had gone to live with Biana. Leandra had manifested as a psionipath, and was in the Gold Elite Levels.
"Hey, Biana," Leandra said, flicking a piece of her dark brown hair behind her shoulder.
"What's going on, Leandra? Is something wrong?" Biana was worried. Leandra almost never hailed her.
"Nothing's wrong, Biana. Aren't I allowed to hail my favorite aunt sometimes?" A playful smile danced on Leandra's face.
Biana sighed and rolled her eyes. "What's going on, Leandra?"
"Well, I got my match lists..." Leandra's voice trailed off.
Biana's head snapped up from her scroll. "And?"
"Well, for one thing, there's a Dizznee," Leandra smiled. "Leroy Dizznee, Bex's son."
"Oh, really? What's his ability?" Biana knew that the triplets all manifested as Chargers, which resulted in chaos around Rimeshire, but she hadn't even heard of Leroy, much less any other Dizznee child.
"He's a Technopath, I think," Leandra said, looking down. "But there's also someone else."
"What? What do you mean? Is there another Dizznee on your list?" Biana was confused.
"No, Biana." Leandra took a deep breath. "There's a boy named Kenric Foster."
"Kenric... Foster." Biana said for probably the twentieth time in a row.
"Yeah, Biana, Kenric Foster." Leandra repeated for the twentieth time.
"Are there any more Fosters that we just don't know about?" Biana refused to believe that Kenric was a descendant of the Foster she once knew.
"I've checked a million times over. Sophie Foster and Kenric Foster are the only recorded Fosters in Elvin history," Leandra shook her head. "I'm sorry, Biana."
Of course, Leandra knew all about her deceased friends. She knew about Keefe and his hair, Linh and her kindness, Dex and his talent, Wylie and his father, everything. It was Biana's coping mechanism, so her mind wouldn't break. Telling someone the old stories helped her a ton.
Biana took a second to process this.
Sophie was alive.
She had a child.
And he wasn't in the Neverseen's custody.
"I need to find this kid," Biana said after awhile.
"We need to find this kid," Leandra corrected. "He could be the key to completing your life's mission."
"And we could find Fitz," Biana realized.
"My uncle," Leandra's voice trailed off. Biana was the only one of her family members that Leandra really knew. Della and Alden had shut themselves off to the world after Fitz's death, or, rather, supposed death, and every other family member pretty much hated Biana's immediate family for the scorn and shame they'd brought to the Vacker name. Leandra had pretty much no one to turn to when she needed to but Biana, and sometimes Marella, but sometimes they didn't have time to talk, leaving Leandra stranded.
It was then that Biana decided.
She was going to find Kenric.
She was going to find her friends and brother.
She would do it for Leandra.
Marella came rushing down the hall not too long after Biana returned to her scroll. "Biana, didn't mean to eavesdrop, but..." Biana braced herself for the coming words, but they weren't what she expected. "Leandra got her match lists?"
Biana breathed a sigh of relief. "Yeah, she did. But there's... Something about them."
"What? Is she like the famous Sophie Foster? Blank lists, unmatchable, all that great stuff?" Marella looked confused.
"No. There's a Foster, Marella. We think he's Sophie's son."
"Sophie's... son." Marella couldn't seem to process that information.
"Yep," Biana said, staring at the ground.
"Sophie Elizabeth Foster's son," Marella repeated.
"The only Sophie we've ever known," I responded.
"What's his name?" Marella asked.
"Kenric. Kenric Foster," I answered.
"Well, that sounds like Sophie, to name a son after someone she loved," Marella looked at Biana. "What does Leandra think?"
"She's going to meet him, so that we can find Sophie. I don't really know what she thinks, though," Biana realized. "Anyways, Leandra's going to meet him in Atlantis next week. After that, we'll just play it by ear."
"Okay," Marella said, still not seeming to process the information given.
Leandra, Marella and Biana all sat a week later around a small table in the gardens of Merveille, Biana's home. None of them said a word.
Finally, Leandra broke the silence. "Well, at least he's nice."
"That's good," Biana answered.
"Alright, tell us already. Is Sophie his mom?" Marella seemed impatient.
Leandra sighed. "Are you sure you're ready for this news? Are your minds strong enough? I know how close both of your minds came to breaking after the..." Her voice trailed off, not knowing what to say.
"We'll be fine," Biana reassured her, a little impatient to know herself.
"Sophie is his mom," Leandra looked down. "And she's still alive. She isn't even in the Neverseen's custody anymore."
Marella and Biana gasped simultaneously.
"But there's more," Leandra continued. "Kenric is the son of both Sophie and one of the others you thought were dead."
"WHAT?" Biana yelled. She couldn't belive it. Someone else was still alive!
"Is it Fitz?" Marella seemed hopeful.
"No, if it were I wouldn't have been matched with Kenric. We'd be cousins," Leandra explained.
"Ah. Right. So who is it?" Marella wanted to know.
"It's-" Leandra was about to say when they heard a crack of thunder and the sky split open. Four winged creatures flew through.
They hadn't been seen by a single elf since the Incident.
And now they were back.
"Silveny!" Biana shouted as she ran across the gardens, all thoughts of Kenric Foster's father gone from her mind.
The sparkly alicorn tossed up her head and looked at Marella and Leandra, who were still sitting at the table. Biana sighed.
"Ugh, I just realized, no one can communicate with her now," She said to Marella and gestured to Silveny, who was busy leading Greyfell, Wynn and Luna over to Biana.
"Oh, no," Marella cried. "There's probably something wrong if they're here just out of the blue, but we have no idea how to tell what's wrong."
"What if..." Biana's voice trailed off as Marella's eyes widened.
"It's our only option," Marella confirmed.
"Wait, what? What's going on? Are these the Alicorns? How does Marella know what you're hinting at? Are you two telepaths all of the sudden? I need answers!" Leandra shouted.
"No time to explain, Leandra," Biana said, pulling out a leaping crystal she hadn't used since she was young. "We're going to Havenfield."
As soon as Biana, Marella and Leandra appeared on the abandoned lawn of the once-glittering palace of Havenfield, they started calling out for Grady and Edaline. It took a few minutes, but soon the couple emerged from their home. It was a frightening sight, their hair greasy and stringy like it hadn't been washed in forever, and their eyes lacking the glimmer that was always prominent when Sophie was alive.
"Grady! Edaline! It's the alicorns," Biana shouted. Edaline rushed over, still staring at the ground.
"Why did you girls come here instead of going to another place for the alicorns," she asked, "When we haven't treated a single animal in years?"
"Because you know the alicorns best," Biana said, "You even delivered Luna and Wynn. If anyone can help them, it's you."
Edaline sighed. She was going to need some convincing. Biana and Marella nodded at each other, willing to play the one card they had.
"Edaline, that's not all that we came here for," Marella started tentatively, "we have some new information about, well, Sophie."
Edaline's head shot up at the mention of her second daughter. "What? What do you mean?"
Biana replied, "We think she's alive. And that she has a son."
Grady, who had walked up behind Edaline, looked shocked. Edaline stumbled backwards into his arms as she started to sob.
"Really? Alive?" Grady was doubtful, but who could blame him? He believed his second daughter had been killed for over thirty years, and now he was being told that that all was false.
"Yes, alive. Her son was on my match lists. One date proved that Sophie was his mother," Leandra spoke up.
"But... How has she not been discovered? This kind of thing would've been discovered ages ago," Grady argued.
Suddenly, Luna, who had teleported in a few minutes prior, came racing over to Grady and Edaline, who was still a sobbing mess. She knelt down in front of him, her way of saying, Get on so I can take you somewhere. Grady seemed doubtful, but climbed on the now-grown alicorn's back. Edaline did the same to Wynn, Leandra climbed on Greyfell, and Biana and Marella hopped on Silveny's back.
"Any idea where they're taking us, girls?" Edaline called, tears still streaming down her face.
"No idea," Marella called back. "Let's just see where they take us."
The alicorns took off, flying upwards at an alarmingly fast rate, and then dropping towards the ground. But right before they hit the ground, the sky split open and they teleported away.
The alicorns landed in a desert that no one seemed to recognize except for Biana. "This is where the training grounds were," She nearly whispered, "Before Fitz and Sophie were attacked."
"You're right," Marella realized.
But, instead of training grounds, there was a small house instead. And standing on the porch with a look of shock was the presumed-dead Sophie Foster.
Hey, just a quick question to the probably three people who actually read this- I was thinking of doing a chapter in Leandra's POV that showed what happened on her date with Kenric Foster. Would that be something you'd want to read? Vote in the comments section! Just say "yes" if you'd want to read that or "no" if you don't. Thanks!
Bonus Chapter: The Leandra/Kenric Date
Alright, I'm going to write this chapter from Leandra's POV about her date with Kenric. Yeah, I know, this is sort of a weird order to put it in, but It's fairly necessary to have it before the next few chapters.
Leandra took a deep breath and opened the glass door of the Atlantis restaurant. She scanned the tables, looking for a brown-eyed elf while asking the hostess, "Is there anyone here under the reservation Foster?"
"Yes, right this way," The hostess led her to the very back of the restaurant, sitting her down at a table right by the kitchen doors. Sitting across from her was a blond-haired elf with brown eyes.
He had to be Kenric Foster.
"Hello," Leandra muttered.
"Hi," Kenric responded, shifting in his chair. "You know what, I'm going to just cut right to the chase. You're a Vacker, correct?"
"Yep, Leandra Vacker," Leandra muttered under her breath.
"Any relation to Fitz or Biana Vacker?" Kenric seemed to be rolling his eyes at Leandra, but she didn't know why.
"My Aunt and Uncle," Leandra answered.
Kenric's eyes grew wide. "Wait, so... you're not Biana's daughter? Because that's totally what I thought you were. I didn't know that Alvar..."
"Yep, I'm Alvar's daughter," Leandra cut him off, already a bit ticked off. "But Biana raised me. There was a huge rescue mission to save me. Anyways, I'd like to cut right to the chase as well. Is your mom Sophie Foster?"
Kenric sighed. "I knew this question would come, so I might as well answer it. Yep, she's my mother."
Leandra sat back in her chair, her hyacinth blue eyes wide. She was just about to ask another question when a waiter interrupted them.
"Would you two like anything to drink?" The waiter asked, oblivious to the obvious tension between Kenric and Leandra.
They sighed, placed their orders, and the waiter left.
"Alright, so back on track," Leandra started to say, but was cut off by Kenric.
"Just out of pure curiosity, who's your Mother?" Kenric asked.
"A Neverseen member named Noelani. She was their shade, after Tam died," Leandra explained.
"Ah," Kenric said. "You look just like her. The eyes, the face, everything."
"Wait, so you met the Neverseen?" Leandra was confused.
"Met? I lived with them for fifteen years. They just recently let us go, but under one condition. We had to stay hidden from the rest of the elves. They let me sign up for matchmaking, though," Kenric made it seem as if all this was no big deal. Leandra was shocked.
"But you did it under your actual last name? What about using your Father's? Or just a random one? Do you know what kind of shockwaves this would send when all the girls opened their scrolls and saw your name?" Leandra nearly yelled.
"I didn't think about that," Kenric admitted sheepishly. "And anyways, using my father's last name would probably be just as startling."
"What? Who's your father?" Leandra prodded.
"It's-" But the waiter returned, holding their drinks and asking if they'd like any food. After the waiter took their orders and left, Leandra tried to ask again who his father is, but Kenric changed the subject.
"So you know those Alicorns? The ones who've supposedly been missing? They hang around my house all the time. They love my mom," Kenric said nonchalantly.
"What? Why are you so calm about all these revelations? Don't you know how big all this is?" Leandra was furious.
"It's... not that big of a deal... they're just animals..." Kenric was confused.
"THEY'RE THOUGHT TO BE EXTINCT! IT'S A HUGE DEAL!" Leandra was very angry at this point.
"Calm down, Leandra." Kenric looked even more confused.
"HOW? I'M SITTING HERE WITH THE SON OF THE MOST POWERFUL ELF IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, WHO'S TELLING ME THEY WERE HELD BY THE NEVERSEEN FOR NEARLY THIRTY YEARS, AND THAT THE ALICORNS BASICALLY LIVE WITH HIM! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CALM DOWN AFTER THAT?" Leandra yelled. "I've had enough," She muttered as she stood up and walked out of the restaurant.
"Wait! Leandra!" Kenric yelled after her as he ran towards her.
"What do you want?" Leandra was still angry.
"I just wanted to give you this," He handed her a folded-up piece of parchment. "My father's name."
Leandra unfolded the parchment and gasped.