26.The True Cursedblood.26
The man rose slowly, his joints snapping into place as he straightened up. His eyes met mine, and I found myself relaxing. He, like Rebecca, seemed normal. In the back of my mind, I was beginning to realize that the Lightbloods had it all wrong.
"She doesn't know who she is, Sven. Not a clue," Rebecca explained as I froze, unable to form coherent words. She stepped forward, partially shielding me from prying eyes as I trembled, truly at a loss. The feathers of my wings were quivering, sensing my distress, and if I couldn't calm myself soon, I had a feeling that whatever defense magic I had would activate itself.
It's okay, I tried to convince myself, trust Rebecca to help you. Find Terrance. Then you can leave.
My breath came out hard, whistling through my teeth as I clenched them together, fingers balling into fists. Pain radiated up my leg as my tail twisted around it, tightening until I wanted to cry out in pain.
Calm down. You don't need to panic. Stop.
My chest heaved and I forget all about Rebecca's and Sven's conversation. Eyes began to find me again as I panted, squeezing my eyes shut as the pain washed over me.
A hand laid on my shoulder, and my eyes popped open. A little boy, with large green eyes and raven hair, stared back at me. Silence had fallen over the Darkbloods as the young boy pulled me down to his level, pushing my shoulder down. I was too dumbfounded to do anything but kneel, coming face to face with the kid.
"Hello," he said, tilting his head, "are you okay?"
With suddenly stable, even, breath, I responded. "I'm fine, thank you."
He smiled, eyes disappearing as his cheeks overtook them. "That's good. My Mum was very worried about you, Miss. She said that you were an important person, but you weren't being taken care of," he rambled, pointing to a young woman on the edge of the crowd. She looked strong, but there was a youth in her that surprised me, and I wondered when she had had her child.
"Tell your mother I said thank you," I whispered, a smiling matching the boy's lighting up my face. He giggled, running back to his shocked mother before waving at me. I waved back, allowing myself a moment of childish happiness, ignoring the staring eyes.
Then my moment was over, and Rebecca took my hand. She turned me around to face Sven, who seemed like the leader of the camp.
"We should speak, if you don't mind."
I shook my head, and we were off.
The camp's main hall was wooden on the outside, but intimidating once you got inside. In the meeting room, one long, granite table stretched from the doors to the other side of the room, allowing just enough space for people to walk around the chairs. It was empty, the room holding a haunting stillness to it. Portraits of past Darkblood legends, cruel beings who's deadly abilities made them the antagonists of Lightblood campfire horror stories and the protagonists of Darkblood heroic tales. Other than that, there were articles and documents posted and organized in shelves.
"Do you use this room a lot?" I wondered, wandering toward one wall. It held multiple portraits, some of which I recognized as people in older Lightblood horror stories.
Sven and Rebecca watched me from the door. "Not really. Whenever we send spies into the Valley, it's usually done on a whim. Or they go just because," the man explained, watching me with narrowing eyes. "We kill because we've been oppressed for too long when we are the stronger blood, and some of us have too much frustration to keep contained. Most Darkbloods frequent the Valley alone or in duos."
I gulped, nodding before turning back to the portrait in front of me. These people hated those I was raised by, so my guard had to be kept up. Whatever was happening might not protect me from that hatred.
"What does Gray One mean?" I asked, my heart pounding in my chest. My imagination fed me images of a ritual where I was the sacrifice or being burned at the stake, causing my stomach to churn and bile to rise in my throat. Rebecca seemed to sense my fear, and she walked forward, taking my hand.
"It is an honor to be the Gray One. That is the name for the Cursedbloods."
I slipped my hand from hers, turning my back on them. "Why Cursedblood?"
"There has been two known cases of a being like you in the past. One Lightblood had the scent of Darkblood. Another Darkblood had a defense magic that didn't allow any blood type hurt him. These two were both honored as powerful leaders in their time, for both bloods. They would've brought peace to the land if they hadn't gone mad from the pressure and if their people hadn't been plotting against them. They both should've been able to rule and bring peace, but their curse stopped them. The curse of misfortune; of never being able to succeed."
"You're a Darkblood raised Lightblood, right?" Rebecca chirped the second Sven was finished his explanation. I turned back to them, swallowing nervously.
"Is that what the lady you mentioned said?"
The werewolf smiled. "Cursedbloods are given the title of Gray One when both sides agree that they carry their blood or their allegiance. A woman unfamiliar to us told us that the true Gray One would be coming for a Lightblood while bearing an angel's wings."
I looked away, staring at the floor. Elijah and the Queen had slowed down my progress, and my mother shunned me while my brothers never stopped her. Despite it being dangerous for them, a part of me wished I'd let them come with me. Another part of me wanted to stay with the Darkbloods, since they seemed to know the answers to my questions.
Sven stepped forward, joining Rebecca in front of me. The tattoos up his arms seemed to move and ripple as he crossed them.
"Why are you the true Gray One, miss? What makes you different?"
My wings drooped in defeat. Nerves tingled up and down my arms as I looked Sven in the eye before glancing at Rebecca.
"My name is Cloud. I belong to both bloods," I said quietly, watching Sven frown.
"I have Lightblood gifts... And Darkblood gifts," I clarified, scratching the back of my neck. "I'm both and neither."
Their eyes widened, and Sven's lips twisted into a small, gentle smile.
"The true Cursedblood. Our Gray One," he murmured, tilting his head in amazement.
I cleared my throat, pushing away my pride as I spotted the awe in their expressions. Fangs pressed into the already dented skin of my lips, pain radiating from the raw spots.
"I need my brother, and I have questions I'd like to have answered."
"Why don't you stay for dinner?"