Open Missing: Ian Zaniah Caldera

The abduction of Shiress's son

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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Missing: Ian Zaniah Caldera

Postby Shiress on January 4th, 2023, 6:22 pm


Looking into Tazrae's face, seeing the genuine concern for her son there and the actual confusion motivating her question, Shiress knew she'd have to answer her friend's query and be honest when she did so. A sudden wave of weariness washed over the doctor, and before her knees could buckle, she slowly stepped to the couch and lowered herself down. Shiress folded her hands in her lap, looking around as if someone could save her from the admission she was about to make, or perhaps her flitting gaze held a plea for those who were her friends to remain so after her story was told. Taking a breath, she pushed emotion aside and attempted to speak to those surrounding her without sobbing.

"One night, when I was pregnant with Ian, I went to bed at home and woke up in a strange place with three other people. There was a woman there who called herself The Voice. She was a sort of stand-in for Rhysol. A consort, I think," Shiress paused, brushing hair back from her damp face, "I don't remember a lot of what happened, but I do remember that we were told we were special, that each of one us were descendants of the caretakers of shrines or portals or...whatever. The Voice said they were destroyed in the Valterrien but that they were becoming active again. They needed us to go on a quest to find out why since we were descendants of these caretakers and could travel through some sort of portal to these places. Rhysol himself was there, and I didn't feel as if I had much of a choice whether or not I would go on this quest. I was pregnant with my son and..."

Shiress's voice broke as tears welled in her eyes, but she cleared her throat and continued, voice quivering, "I asked Rhysol if he would protect my unborn baby while I did this quest for him, and he agreed that he would." Drawing in a breath, the doctor steeled herself, "After the quest was done, not three days before I gave birth to Ian, there was a package outside my door with a note and the stuffed monkey. The note explained that it was a gift from Rhysol and that the monkey, Eenie, was a sort of guardian for Ian." Shiress shook her head, "I never liked the monkey because it gave me a weird feeling every time I looked at it. So, I put it up somewhere, but when Ian was old enough, he found it, and it became his favorite toy."

Shiress's words trailed off as she wondered if she should tell this next part, but for them to understand, they needed to know. "When we got to Syka in Spring, something with the monkey changed. It changed. Anytime Ian was threatened or endangered, the monkey would physically appear as an oddly colored Capuchin monkey, but if Eenie felt threatened or felt the need to fight for Ian, it would morph into this hideous beast and...attack. It would only stop if Ian told it to."

Shiress thought back to the time Eenie had attacked Shade and shuddered.

"I've tried to hide it, destroy it, burn it, cut it up, and bury it, but it keeps coming back! Tonight, though, that woman, Isobella.." again, the doctor had to bite back a sob, "Eenie obeyed Isobella and let her take Ian!"

Shiress finally lost the battle and dropped her head in her hands, crying quietly. Now, everyone around her could judge her adequately and know this was her fault. Maybe Shade was right. Perhaps she didn't deserve to be Ian's mother, and Ian would be safer, nowhere near her. No doubt he would say so if he were here.

Sometime later, Shiress didn't know how long she had been lost in grief, a gentle hand pressed against her arm. Looking up, Kami smiled down at her, holding a folded shirt out for her to take. Shiress took it and, after pulling off the tattered remains of the shirt she had been wearing, slipped it over her head just as Tazrae reentered the bungalow and began speaking. Shiress hadn't even realized her friend had left but was on her feet before the innkeeper finished speaking.

"Yes! Yes, that has to be them! We should go now so we can catch them!"

Before Shiress had taken two steps, Ialari spoke up in her accented common, halting the doctor's movement. It became apparent shortly thereafter that this female possessed an extraordinary gift or perhaps talent that, when Shiress fully understood Ialari's explanation, made the doctor feel quite self-conscious that there were those out there that could...smell? taste? her moon cycle. What else could Ialari...taste?

Knowing that there was a chance of getting to where Isobella and her son were going ahead of them lifted such a weight from Shiress's shoulders she swayed where she stood. But that also meant there would be a confrontation that Shiress knew would likely end in a fight to get her son back.

Shiress turned to Tazrae, "Would you come, also? If there ends up being a...I don't know how to fight, Taz. I have a dagger and don't even know how to use it. I..I hate to even ask this of you, for you to risk your life, but Ian," Shiress covered her mouth to style a cry of despair, "I have to get him back, Taz."

Everything that Shiress was would fight that fight, but that didn't mean worry didn't swamp her thoughts as she followed the Isur out of the bungalow.

Shiress thought her heart would burst from pounding so hard in her chest. Could it be this easy? Show up and surprise the Ebonstryfe soldier and steal her son back? No, Shiress wasn't that naive to think so, but it was a fortunate advantage that did give her hope. One she was earnestly grateful for.

They reached Ialari's home and entered, Shiress stopping just inside the entrance of the darkened space, fidgeting in place as the woman lit a lantern. A warm glow grew, illuminating the area they stood, and Shiress drew in a sharp breath. The room looked more like a mage's lair than a living room. By her side, Shiress's hand reached out, seeking comfort more than offering. The sight was both intriguing and disturbing at the same time. A place of power and mystery just next door to where she called home. Shiress felt small standing in such an intimidating space.

A red glow pulled the doctor's gaze around, looking on wide-eyed as a shape of a doorway gave way to a window. Shiress rushed forward to peer through, a mixture of relief rushing her, seeing that they had beaten them there but also disappointment that she didn't see her son.

Shiress turned at Ialari's words, surprised to find herself standing so close to the other female. On impulse, the doctor threw her arms around the Isur, squeezing her shoulders with gratitude. "I don't even know you, but I do trust you," stepping back, she released the female with a watery smile, "thank you." Shiress climbed through the opening into the cave.

A dank dimness greeted Shiress as she straightened herself inside the cavern. The sound of water dripping and distant waves crashing against the shoreline echoed loudly inside the cool walls. Moving from Ialari's warmer home into this much cooler space caused Shiress to shiver. Wrapping her arms around herself, she turned toward the magical doorway, a mix of anticipation and trepidation warring for dominance of her thoughts as she waited for the others to join her.

Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

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