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When Tears Fall

Chapter 2

Rothen felt Sonea's small trembling body sag against his own seconds after his words to the Highlord. He glanced down at her and his old heart clenched again at the sight of her tear stained face and the way that her cheek was slowly swelling and the skin surrounding her eye was beginning to darken.

Her body slowly curled into his until she was pressed against his chest, her small hands gripping his tunic for dear life as he held her in the circle of his arms.

Guilt consumed him. He should have done more to protect her. He knew that the other novices were making her life hard and that she was struggling to gain their acceptance but he had never dreamt that they would take their petty views of her so far as to openly attack her. He should have done something! Anything!

She shivered and pushed herself closer to him and the usually peaceful magician felt his anger boil in his need for vengeance against those that has hurt her. He wanted to kill every novice who had been standing watching as she was attacked - and he would feel no guilt over his actions either, no matter what the consequences with the Houses. He spat the name in his head. The Houses. Those who prided themselves on their blood lines and family honour. Honour! These children had no honour.

"I will take you home little one," he whispered to her, pressing a quick kiss to her head in an attempt to reassure and calm – whither himself or her he didn't know.

Rothen glanced up at the four magicians - the healer the administrator, the fighter and the Highlord and gestured with his head for one of the other magicians to come and take Sonea from him almost laughing at himself. Before Sonea he would have quickly established communication through his mind without a second thought, but now he had began to revert to physical movements – the little things that Sonea did rubbing off on him.

He had left his athletic days far behind him and though he was still healthy he knew there was some things he was not capable of and standing up while keeping hold of Sonea was one of them.

Much to his surprise it was the Highlord who approached and bent down to take the trembling girl from him. Rothen did not trust the other magician but he knew that he needed him - he needed him to take care of those who had attacked his ward...his daughter. So keeping his mind carefully blank he handed her over to the higher magician. Her small hands did not let up their death grip on his tunic however and it took both the combined effort of himself and the Highlord to unfasten her freezing cold grip from his clothing.

Finally able to stand Rothen felt the blood rush back into his starved limbs and wondered just how long he had been sitting on the floor. As he waited for his circulation to return to normal he watched in shock as the Highlord enfolded the shivering Sonea in his arms and stroked her hair gently as she shivered and whimpered against his chest. Sonea had always given of such an air of confidence Rothen had never realised just how small and fragile she was and seeing her so broken made him realise that. Compared to the Highlord she was tiny in his arms as he enfolded her in the loose folds of his own midnight black robe.

He turned to the healer and she placed a hand on his shoulder, squeezing gently.

"Was she..." he couldn't even voice the words as his voice trailed off weakly.

The healer smiled sadly but shook her head.

"I do not believe so Lord Rothen but this will have affected her deeply, the boy's intentions were clear and he intended to humiliate her as much as possible during the process," she spat the last words softly, obviously trying to keep quiet so as not to disturb the young girl.

"He will be dealt with," Lord Yikmo growled savagely.

"They will all be dealt with," Rothen hissed.

"They were all more than willing to witness the assault and none of them willing to prevent it," Lady Vinara nodded her head, the disappointment in some of her pupils evident in her voice.

Akkarin held the trembling girl close to him as he shivering refused to stop. He did the only thing he could think of to calm her and stroked her hair as gently as he could.

Those who had been a part of this would be dealt with and swiftly but in order to be he needed to see what had happened. So he did the only thing he could think of.

He entered her mind.

He found himself standing in a room that reminded him of the main room of Rothen's chambers. Bookshelves lined the walls and a desk and a chair sat by a window. It was there that he found Sonea, huddled into the window seat.

"Sonea?" he approached carefully, not wanting to frighten her in anyway – knowing that she was already terrified.

"What are you doing here?" she asked him, breathing out the words and gulping in great breaths of air as she tried to stop the tears.

"I need you to show me what happened," he told her as softly as he could manage and sat down in front of her.

He didn't touch her but she curled her knees closer to her chest and curled tighter into herself shaking her head as she rested her forehead into the tops of her knees.

Akkarin had felt Rothan's anger blaze only minutes before and now he felt his own spark to life as he recalled all of the images that he had picked out if the young thief's mind some months before. He had seen the girl's whole life through the boy's eyes – a strong willed, clever, faithful and talented young women and she had been reduced to this. The novice's involved would be dealt with and not mercifully either.

"You have to tell me Sonea," he told her firmly yet still trying to keep his tone gentle. He did not want to force the memories from her not after what had happened but he needed to see, and the sooner the better for those responsible to be punished.

She shook her head again and whimpered into her knees her whole body now taking up the shivering.

Akkarin was aware of holding her tighter to his body's chest and continuing to stroke her hair trying in some way to comfort her.

Despising the idea of what he had to do he grabbed her roughly by the shoulders and dragged her from the window seat. She screamed in terror and struggled as he shook her.

"Show me,"

She continued to struggle and scream and he continued to shake her.

"Show me!" he demanded again.

She finally broke down, slamming at his chest with small fists and screaming at the top of her lungs, the word coming out hoarse and broken.

"No, you can't make me. I can't...I cant," she wept as her legs seemed to give out and she slid to the floor.

He quickly followed as she collapsed into him and cried into his chest.

"Let me see little one," he said softly now and suddenly the room they were in shattered like panes of glass, flying out in all directions until they were no longer in the dusty book filled room but in a gloomy corridor – the same corridor their bodies were standing in that very moment.

He held her tightly as she sobbed and phantom figures began to enter the corridor. He saw her walking away from the torments and then he saw her small body slammed into the unforgiving wall and the boy pushed his body to her. He saw and felt the fear that she was hiding from those surrounding her but she couldn't hide it from him.

He listened to the words that the boys sneered at her about herself and her guardian and watched as she struggled only for it to come out all the worse for her. He saw her being hit savagely across the face and knocked to the ground quickly followed by the boy.

"Enough little one," he whispered to her and the images faded away until he had slowly untangled himself from her mind and was once again in his body.

"Thank you Sonea," he whispered into her ear, knowing that the others present would no doubt we wondering what he was saying but it didn't matter. He was the Highlord and as such he was not to be questioned.

Rothen approached them carefully and went to steer the girl's slight body away from Akkarin only for the girl to finally collapse. Moving quickly Akkarin swept her into his arms bridal style before she could hit the solid floor.

"Sonea child," the old magician panicked as Sonea's head lolled against the Highlord's shoulder.

"Perhaps you should ead the way my Lord Rothen," Akkarin announced.

Hi everyone.

Thank you so much for the wonderful reviews. I hope you all enjoy this chapter and that it makes sense. I was writing it at breaks from an essay paper I was writing so hopefully it flows ok...

I hope I got all of the characters names right and didn't get them confused with others ;)

Please let me know if you like or not.

Keep safe.

:)