Chapter no 13 – ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌ENYA

Nightbane (The Lightlark Saga Book 2)

“I want to continue my training on the Wildling newland,” Isla said.

They had worked together for weeks. She was still far from a master, but she felt in control enough that she wouldn’t be a danger. It had been too long since she had visited her people. She needed to make sure they were taken care of, then she needed to start preparing for the inevitability that Grim was coming for her. He had likely orchestrated the drek attack.

What was next?

“And I need help. I don’t just want to bring them provisions. If it’s possible . . . I would like to see if anyone would volunteer to teach them skills they didn’t need before. How to prepare different types of foods, for example, and a dozen other things I can’t think of. I don’t really . . . I don’t really know—”

“I know someone.” “What?”

“I know someone who will know some of what they will need,” Oro said.

Her brows came together. “Who?” “Do you remember Enya?”

Isla remembered the tall Sunling at the dinner with the dark-red hair and freckles. She hadn’t looked unfriendly but not exactly friendly, either. Appraising, maybe.

“She taught Sunlings how to survive in the dark, after the curses. How to set up systems that allowed for crops to still grow, and life to still happen, even though we couldn’t be outside in the daylight. She’s good at coming up with solutions for problems that don’t even exist yet.”

That person sounded perfect. “It sounds like she has been a great Sunling representative.”

“More than that.”

She raised an eyebrow at him.

“Remember I said I had friends?” Oro said. “It was the shock of my life.”

He gave her a look.

“She’s one of them?” she asked, incredulous. They hadn’t seemed that close at the dinner, but she supposed it had been a serious function.

He nodded. “She’s one of them.”

The Sun Isle castle looked dipped in a pot of gold. Enya sat at the head of a long dining table, with her feet propped up on the chair beside her. Her red hair was tied into a braid. She had an orange peel and a knife in front of her. They had met before, but Isla was suddenly nervous. She hadn’t known that she and Oro had been friends. Would the woman judge her? Did she

know about Oro and Isla’s . . . connection?

He placed a gentle hand against her lower back, as if sensing her nerves. His touch was fire. It was such a simple gesture, but it immediately made her feel better. She looked up at Oro and found him watching her. His fingers flexed against her spine—

“It’s a wonder either of you train at all, with how much you look like you want to bed one another.”

Her eyes snapped back to the woman sitting across the room.

“Enya . . .” Oro said smoothly. “At least give Isla a few minutes before she’s wishing I hadn’t brought her to see you.”

Enya shrugged and swung her legs around. She wore dark-gold—almost brown—leather pants, and a gold metal corset over long-sleeved chain mail. Armor, it looked like, though somehow casual. Her metal-plated boots clanked against the floor as she walked over, beaming.

“Well, you look different,” Enya said. Isla was wearing her training clothing, instead of her usual dresses. Her crown was in her room. Before Isla could say a word, Enya pulled her into a hug. Into her ear, she whispered, “He’s almost intolerable, isn’t he?”

“I can hear you,” Oro said.

“Of course you can, that’s the best part,” Enya said.

“How—how do you know each other?” Isla asked. They bickered like siblings. But no . . . Oro’s entire family was dead.

“Our mothers were best friends,” Enya said. She stepped to stand next to Oro. Her height was impressive, but she was still short enough to lean her head against his shoulder. He did not so much as move a muscle in response. “Whether he liked it or not, that meant I would be by his side forever.”

Oro sighed, but Isla could see fondness there, beneath his frown. “Enya has been one of my Sun Isle representatives since before the curses. She often acts as my proxy, and attends meetings in my stead.”

“Like Soren,” Isla said, almost to herself.

Enya made a gagging noise. “Nothing like him, Isla. But yes, a similar role.” The Sunling got straight to business. “I hear you need help on the Wildling newland. Volunteers. Infrastructure. Some organization?”


“Good. I’ve taken the liberty of, and I hope you don’t mind”—she looked to Isla like she really did care if Isla had an objection to what she was about to say—“rounding up a group already. All of them are respectful of all realms, including Wildling. They don’t know what it’s for, in case you don’t approve, but—”

“Once she gets something in her head, she is relentless,” Oro said. Friendship, for more than five hundred years. Since childhood. Part of

Isla wondered if she should be jealous, but she just . . . wasn’t. Isla was

grateful that Oro had had someone he could count on when he lost his family. Someone he could trust.

Enya shrugged, not even trying to deny it. “I can get obsessive. At least I know that about myself . . .” She shot a wicked grin at Isla, then turned to Oro. “Some people are far less eager to admit their faults.” She led them through the palace to a room that looked like it was used for strategy. There was a circular table inside, decorated like a sun. At its center was what looked like a pile of ash.

“Would you mind sketching the Wildling newland for me? I already have a rough idea of how many people we will need, and where, but it would be helpful to see.”

Isla just stared at the pile. She turned to Oro, and he smoothed the ash into a thin layer. “Here,” he said. He traced lines in the ashes with his finger, and a moment later they hardened, becoming three-dimensional figures. Interesting.

She dipped her finger inside and felt like a painter, with a canvas and paint that both came to life. There was a time when Isla hadn’t known much about her lands, but she had explored them through portaling many times since.

When she was finished, Enya reached over and grabbed the map. It came off in her hands. She looked at it from all angles, then set it down again.

“Very well. We’ll be ready in three days. I’ve organized my schedule so I can stay there for a week, to make sure everything goes smoothly. Does that sound acceptable?”

Acceptable? Isla wanted to bow at the woman’s feet. “It sounds perfect,” Isla said.

“Oro tells me you have a portaling device?” She nodded.

“How many people can it transfer at once?” “I’m not sure. The most I’ve tried is two.”

Enya waved away any worry. “No matter. We will go in small groups.

We’ll make it work.”

Isla believed her. She would believe anything that came out of her mouth.

“Thank you,” Isla said, and, unexplainably, her eyes stung. She felt such gratitude . . . Enya didn’t even know her, and she was helping her. Her people.

“Thank you,” Enya said, and her eyes sparkled mischievously. “For showing us that our dear Oro does indeed still know how to smile.”

Enya had gathered a dozen volunteers. They all stood together on the Mainland, with supplies between them. She quickly explained the usage of the starstick, and the volunteers looked curious, but no one questioned it.

Isla drew her puddle of stars as big as she could, and they all barely fit inside. Then, they were in the Wildling newland.

One of the volunteers was immediately sick. “Sorry,” she said. “I should have warned you about the nausea.”

Isla had portaled them to Wren’s village. The tall Wildling stepped out into the street within minutes. At first, she looked alarmed, but slowly, her

expression calmed. She dropped the hand that had instantly gone to her blade. Isla realized then that she hadn’t properly prepared her people for visitors.

“This is Oro, king of Lightlark,” Isla said. By then, a few Wildlings stood in the streets, watching the volunteers warily.

At once, they bowed their heads.

Isla introduced Enya, then Ciel and Avel, who rarely left her side, then the rest of the volunteers. Her people stared at them with varying levels of wariness.

The volunteers looked a little frightened too. The Skyling to her right was smiling, but her gaze kept darting to the monstrous hammer one of the Wildlings carried on her back.

Isla stepped between her people and the visitors. “We are here to help,” she said. “All of us.”

She worked with the volunteers to hand out supplies from the Mainland castle stock. They would need more for the rest of the newland, but this was a good start. Wren proposed the Wildlings be temporarily consolidated into a few key villages, so help could be centralized. A vote was conducted, and every person agreed to host their neighbors for the time being. Many Wildlings gave up their own homes to the volunteers for the week they planned to stay. Lightlark chefs began teaching Wildlings how to safely prepare meat.

“I’d like to do this for the Starling newland too,” Isla told Oro. “If Enya wouldn’t mind.” She had portaled there a few times, to check on them, in secret. They could use this just as much as the Wildlings.

Isla stayed up until the early morning speaking to her subjects, learning their names, their habits, their lives. She fell asleep on a bench in the middle of the modest village square to the lullaby of laughing, building, and sizzling cooking. Oro must have flown her to bed, because she woke up in her old room a few hours later and startled.

She gasped, tensed. She was back in this prison, this glass cage— “Breathe, Isla.”

Oro was leaning against her doorframe, nearly filling it with his height. His golden hair was slightly damp from rain, like he had only just walked back inside. Something about the sight of him made her feel like she couldn’t breathe properly.

It felt criminal for someone to actually look good with limited sleep.

Had he even slept at all?

She assumed he had just been at the village. “How are they?” she asked, her voice a little strained.

“Good. Enya has a new system for storing water and food and tracking who can wield.”

“Of course she does,” Isla said, not unkindly. She was in awe of the Sunling’s organization.

It was hot and humid in the Wildling newland, and Oro had placed her in bed wearing her clothing from the day before. She began to peel off layers, without really thinking, until she looked up, and found him watching her, eyes slightly wide.

Isla held his gaze as she slowly removed her long-sleeved shirt, leaving her in just the thin sleeveless fabric she wore beneath. It clung to her skin, outlining her every curve.

She could have sworn she felt the room get even warmer, as he lost hold of his Sunling abilities. His control slipped, for just a moment.

Oro stared at her, and she watched him swallow—

He was the one to look away. “Are you ready for training?” he asked the wall.

She sighed. Training was the last thing on her mind at that moment. She wanted him in her bed; it would be so easy to just let the world disappear for an hour—


Her name on his lips made her burn even more, but she said, “Yes.” “Good,” he said. “Today, we’re growing something.”

You'll Also Like