Note: Songs of Tarros: Firesong is a work-in-progress. This means the writing is rough and minimally edited. It’s a follow-up to Songs of Tarros: Heartsong so there will be spoilers. This is not the finished story, but rather me dragging you along as I work on my first draft. Hope you enjoy!
The door opened and staccato footsteps rushed towards him. Muffled voices spoke but their words — like the pain — were muted by the soothing melody that washed over him and promised an escape. Whatever they wanted didn’t matter any more. Everett Sparks let himself drift into the darkness where they could no longer hurt him.
“I’m here, Dad.” Lincon’s voice echoed over the music and shattered time and space.
◊ ◊ ◊
A light, joyful ditty swirled around him, but Rett’s hands trembled as Meli passed him the squalling bundle. Tears blurred his vision as he gazed at the swaddled miracle — his son — and promised to always be there for him.
Reality shifted and the song grew soft and poignant. It was late and Rett knew Meli and Linc would already be in bed. Not wanting to wake them, he left his gear bag by the door and padded across the darkened living room to the liquor cabinet. He didn’t know if he could fully drown the horrors of the mission, but he intended to give it a damn good try. His fingers had just wrapped around the bottle of scotch when something stirred behind him. He tensed and spun to scan the moonlit room just as a tousled, strawberry-blonde head popped up over the back of the couch. The five-year old’s face lit in a sleepy smile, but the smile faded when he saw the sadness in Rett’s eyes. Rett slumped with relief, knelt on the floor, and held out his arms. Without a word, Lincon scrambled over the back of the sofa and ran to give his daddy a hug.
◊ ◊ ◊
The soft, distinctive beep of trauma patches releasing their nanobots cut through the music and memories. Some poor bastard must really be in bad shape.
“Transfusion?” Lincon asked. “It should be me. He’s my father.”
◊ ◊ ◊
The song returned, it’s tone solemn and heavy. Rett sighed and scrubbed a hand over his face as he watched the monitor. Lincon sat in a guardian holding cell, his arms folded across his chest, the epitome of seventeen-year-old bravado. Nobody had been hurt, but the prank that sent the teacher’s car on a five-hour detour was technically kidnapping, and Dawn’s Light — Rett’s own Order — couldn’t overlook such antics from someone with Lincon’s hacking skills and magical talent. They were considering either locking him away or permanently neutralizing his magic.
Another shift and the song became a triumphant march. Seated with the other paladins in the front row of the Assembly Hall, Rett could barely contain himself as Tim Baker, the Head of the Order, stepped onto the stage to begin the ceremony. The doors in the back of the hall swung open and the acolyte candidates filed in with Lincon leading his class. Rett’s vision blurred with tears as he watched the young man reaffirm his oath to protect humanity, declare his intention to pursue his magical training for the good of all people, and receive orders for his first command in Delphinia.
The song changed once more to a gentle lullaby. Rett ran a hand through his hair as he crossed the darkened room. He idly wondered if he would ever sleep again, but even exhaustion couldn’t hold back a tender smile as he reached the crib and the fussy baby. “Shh, Linc,” he soothed as he cradled his son to him. “Daddy’s here.”
◊ ◊ ◊
“We’re taking you home.” Lincon’s voice was strong, confident, but Rett caught a note of fear as well.
The song faded away and Rett’s body exploded with pain as he clawed his way back from the darkness. With a final burst of effort, he opened his eyes and looked at his son. There were so many things he wanted to say. He drifted in and out of lucidity and wasn’t quite sure what was real, what was memory, and what was hallucination, but he knew they were still in danger. There would be time to talk later.