Part 3 of The Berylian Key
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Twenty years later...
Summer, 2632 R.T.
Amarie, wake up!
Her eyes shot open, and she gasped in a breath of musty air. Vivid streaks of violet washed through her sight before fading to a pale green. Motes of light buzzed above, following the curves of roots within the dirt ceiling.
Beside her, on a stone bed, a man coughed as he struggled upright. A lock of chestnut brown hair fell over his brow as he hunched over the edge of the altar.
Amarie touched the surface she laid on, finding similar roughness as she sat up. “Who are you?” Her own voice echoed with a foreign tone, not matching the voice that had woken her.
The man rubbed his face, a stubbled dark beard along his jaw. In the dim light, his steel-blue eyes still shone. “I…” His voice echoed like hers through the chamber. “I don’t know.” He reached towards the twist of roots that dangled over the stone bed he’d been laying on, his fingers hovering curiously beneath them.
A flash of the green light surged through the space, and he recoiled as she blinked the specks from her vision.
Furrowing her brow, Amarie slid off the stone to her feet, her boots quiet on the dirt floor.
“Where are we?” The man stood slowly, thick black fabric swaying around his ankles as his cloak settled into place.
“I don’t know.” Amarie shook her head, staring at her hands.
Why can’t I remember anything?
Circling the rectangular stone platform, she paused near the head and trailed a fingertip over an inscription in the stone, written in Aueric.
Wake if necessary.
The man flinched as he touched his forehead, a low hiss escaping his mouth. “Gods, it feels like a dire wolf is digging into my head.” His cloak drifted to the side as he rubbed, exposing the hilt of a dagger in his belt. Its black, glass-like surface reflected the green motes.
She glanced down at herself for a weapon but found none. Her veins heated, calming her nerves with a reassuring rise of power.
I have the Art.
“You don’t have a headache?” He squinted at her, scratching his right forearm through his tunic.
Amarie shook her head. Her eyes wandered to the inscribed stone at the head of his altar. “Mine says my name. What does yours say?”
He hissed again, shuffling to the end of his stone bed. Blinking, he touched the plaque akin to hers. “I guess it’s a name. Kinronsilis? Gods, who would name their kid that?” He crouched to get a closer look. “I don’t think this is a language I can read.”
Gritting her teeth, Amarie approached and waited for him to step aside so she could read it. “Kinronsilis Parnell. 2611 R.T. Wake upon direction from Damien Lanoret.”
He glanced from the text to her, a sideways smile on his handsome face. “Any idea what that means?” He shifted back onto his heels, looking up at the dirt ceiling, roots woven into patterns to support the odd light.
“No.” Amarie shivered. “But I want to get out of here. This place doesn’t feel right.”
Kinronsilis grunted in agreement, looking behind her towards the open doorway. “Maybe we’ll find answers to why I remember things like dire wolves and you can read that language, but not our own names.” Walking forward, he brushed past her, but paused and turned back, holding out a hand to her. “Shall we go together?”
Amarie looked at his hand, her heart quickening. She swallowed, ignoring the swell of pressure in her chest as she took his warm hand. “What if we’re enemies but don’t know it?” Her gaze lifted to meet his.
His fingers slid comfortably between hers, and he squeezed. “Maybe without our memories, this is our chance to start over, even if we once were.” That oddly charming crooked smirk crossed his lips again. “What’s your name?”
Stepping with him, she resisted the strange inclination to touch the scar on his temple. “Amarie. My name is Amarie Xylata.”