Title: Staying the Blade
Author: Hieiko
Series: Encantadia
Characters: Arman, Odessa
Disclaimer: I don't own Encantadia or any of the characters.
Summary: A son is saved from death by the mother who returned to life.
Notes: Written for team7's Drama Fic challenge. This is a one-shot, meant to begin in Chapter 42 and fill in a scene before Odessa and Arman reappear in Chapter 43.
Warnings: Spoilers for Kabanata 42, "Ang Parusa" (Chapter 42, The Punishment).

The execution block was cold beneath Arman's cheek. He stared blankly ahead and made no sound.

Surrounding him were the members of Sapiro's illustrious Council, and a number of Sapirian soldiers, some of whom he might even have recognized. But at that moment, Arman only saw shadowy figures with no faces. The Council members' too loud voices rang in his ears; each of them was barking orders in preparation for doling out the death sentence.

A small part of Arman wanted to stop them, to make one last effort to proclaim his innocence. But another part of him believed that he was indeed to blame for his adoptive father's death, because King Ybrahim had taken the blow that was meant for him.

So Arman kept still, waiting. He felt a change in the air as the axe was raised. It made him wonder what Death would look like.

But before the blade could touch his neck, a woman's voice cried out his name in protest.

She's beautiful, was Arman's first thought when he saw her, just after a blast of white energy zoomed past him and struck the wielder of the axe. A split second later, his face lit up in recognition. "Mother!"

Odessa barely had time to acknowledge her son, before all hell broke loose.

Renewed strength filled Arman as he turned to face the Sapirian soldiers. They tried to restrain him, but his father's training kicked in. The chains that bound him became his weapon. He struck down any soldier that dared attack his mother, and barely noticed that she was blasting away all the others who tried to assault him from behind.

Only moments later, the Council's leader, with Arman's chains wrapped around his throat, fell lifeless to the ground. Almost all who were left standing fled immediately. One Councilman remained long enough to scream outrage at the death of his leader, before making his escape.

But neither Odessa nor Arman even heard the angry words. They ran to each other, and embraced.

"My son..." whispered Odessa.

"I thought I would never see you again," Arman said in awe. "I didn't know you were still alive. Avria told me that you had been slain by Amang Ybrahim and the Sang'gres."

"Yes, I died. But I was slain by Avria, and not the Sang'gres," Odessa said.

Her words troubled Arman. "Avria? Then she deceived me... She made me believe... "

"I'm afraid so, Arman. But we're fortunate, for with the help of the deity Galatea, I was given the chance to return here. To you."

The boy managed a smile. "I'm truly happy that you're here, Mother. Let's leave this place and go as far away as we can."

Odessa did not agree. "No, Arman. We will not leave. There are still things you must know. About yourself, and about your father."

"I already know that I'm an Etherian," he told her, with a touch of impatience.

"You are only half-Etherian," Odessa said. "Half of your heritage comes from your father, who is Sapirian."

"My father is not an Etherian?" Arman said in surprise. Then he thought of the late King Ybrahim, who had always treated him like a son. "Amang Ybrahim... He is my real father?"

"Yes," was Odessa's reply. "Now come, we must go and visit Alena. I still have a debt to pay."

Mother and son disapparated, leaving columns of swirling white feathers and black flames in their wake.


Odessa and Arman apparated inside the palace of Sapiro, in a storage chamber where dungeon prisoners' belongings were kept. Odessa left to allow her son privacy as he changed into his royal garments. She returned moments later, with a small basin of water and a piece of cloth. Instructing him to sit on a wooden bench nearby, she sat beside him and began dabbing at the remaining dirt on his face with the dampened cloth.

Arman backed away slightly. "Mother, I'm not a child. You don't have to do this for me." He moved to take the cloth from her.

Odessa refused to relinquish the cloth. She sighed. "I know you're not a child anymore, Arman. But won't you allow your mother to take care of you, just this once?"

The longing in her voice made it impossible for Arman to refuse. "Of course. But it feels rather strange."

"Ah, my boy has turned into a young man in so short a time."

"It did happen in only a short time, Mother. Don't you remember?"

Odessa smiled at that. "Indeed, how could I forget?" she said fondly. Then Odessa's face turned serious. "Now you're once more clothed as a Sapirian prince. I believe it's time that we reveal the truth of your parentage."

Arman's eyes widened. "At this very moment? We would cause an upheaval. Should we not wait until a less chaotic time? Sapiro is at war."

"Then more than ever, your kingdom needs you now," she said, grasping her son's hand in both of hers. "It's best to do this as soon as possible, my child."

Arman hesitated.

"Do you not want recognition as your father's son?" Odessa asked softly.

He took a deep breath before he spoke. "You know I do, Mother."

"Then will you come with me now?" Odessa looked relieved when Arman nodded.

White feathers and black flames lingered after them as they disapparated. They appeared in the palace courtyard, where Sapiro's royals and highest officials were gathered.

Neither was aware of the tragedy that awaited them.