Book II Chapter 4: Up in Flames
Four weeks ago
"You've been quiet," Kelan observed as Valdren perched on the edge of the great mountain, his head hung and eyes shut.
The Prince didn't respond.
"Come on... don't tell me you're still so upset about what happened. Everyone explained--"
"...why did you take me away from her when you did, Kelan?"
Kelan's face screwed up in shock. "...what did you just call me?" he gasped breathlessly.
"I've had enough of this. I've... I've had enough of... I've had enough of YOU!" The golden dragon whipped himself around, eyes burning white-hot with rage.
"All my life, Kelan. All my life, I've struggled to meet your standards, to realize your dreams in the hopes that I could be the perfect son I thought you deserved," Valdren growled. "All this time, I've taken my frustration and anger out on Nefirian and his ilk, denouncing them for throwing away so many lives so callously. But just now, I've realized my grave error."
Eyes wide, Kelan began to step closer to the raging beast. "Valdren, I--"
"NO!" the Prince snapped, arching his neck. "You started this mess. You started it the day you decided my own mother was too dangerous for me to be around, and stole me away from her as a whelp. A fucking whelp! You thought you could make up for that empty space all by yourself, but you've failed. Nothing I ever do pleases you. Nothing I ever say is enough to win the love I've scratched and clawed for since this stupid, futile dance began.
"Bastion and Marquise-- one the shameless mate of the one you've blamed everything on, the other his daughter, both of whom who have had more exposure to that accursed rock--" he spat, "than me, thanks to your timely intervention, might I add, not only care a hell of a lot more about me than you ever have, but they also have the good graces to admit that they've been affected by the damn thing!
You? You're a Chapter, Kelan. You got the same dosage of that shit that Bast and Nef did, and you claim to the whole damn world that you're the pure one and you'll save everybody. Hypocrite. Do you really believe the bunk you spout? To me, to the other Firestarters? Not only that we are somehow different from the others, but that we alone can save the world from a fate worse than death? By doing something that you, yourself, are afraid of seeing through to fruition?!"
The chapter sank to his knees, utterly silent. How could he even begin to respond? He knew he'd made a grave mistake in seperating his son and mother, but...
"I did what I thought was best for you then, Valdren. I know now that I was wrong. I never meant to raise you as a tool for my own ambitions. Do you truly believe I left you no other choice, that I wouldn'tve been thrilled to help you pursue any... anything your heart desired?" His throat was raw, his lips dry.
He'd had fights with Valdren in the past, of course, but never anything of this magnitude. Kelan wore his fear and sorrow on his sleeve-- and yet...
"What was it you've said before, father?" Valdren narrowed his eyes. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, something like that? Well... even Nefirian and his band of glorified crooks know how to take care of their own."
He spread his wings, blocking out the light of the moon with them. "It's time I sought out my own path; I've had quite enough of yours.
Before the astonished, heartbroken elf could utter another syllable, the Flarion Prince was gone, soaring out into the night air without hesitation or so much as a final glance back at Aqk's Peak.
"Oh, Valdren," Kelan whispered, his eyes misting over. "I truly have failed you."
Next Chapter: Book II Chapter V
Category: Book II | Story