31 | Chapter Thirty One

Start from the beginning
                                          

Tapping his finger along the base of his desk, Michael then said, "I haven't told our father. I'll leave that up to you. So why are you here?"

The eyes of his brother were like pools of gold against the afternoon sunset and his lips were pressed in a hard line. He looked quite intimidating to Connor who couldn't help but gulp nervously. His gaze never met Michael's, downcast at the stony flooring before he realised that this was all for Macey.

He tilted his head up and said, "I want to know about the Braithwaite family."

The corner of Michael's lip curled into a half a smirk and his finger traced along the side of his jawline.

"What is there to know?" sneered Michael, almost leading into a laugh. "They are barbaric traitors who've only thought of nothing but—"

"I'm not talking about the legend!" Connor yelled, enraged that someone would speak about the likes of Macey like that. His heightened voice silenced Michael, making his brother leer sidewards before Connor asked, "I'm talking about Daniel and Izzy Braithwaite."

When all Connor could hear was his own heartbeat and watched his well put together brother begin to wriggle in both discomfort and uncertainty, that's when he realised — Michael had answers.

"How do you..."

"They were the reason for the first rise," began Connor, speaking with a shaky voice. "Or should I say — the twins they birthed. The same ones our father took away from them."

Michael adverted his gaze away from Connor. It was rare to see, but he knew that his brother wasn't able to speak confidently on the pressing matters. However, there wasn't anything stopping Connor from leaving without a shred of answers, demanding, "why were they separated?"

"Connor," mumbled Michael, infuriating him who took his brother's pitiful answer as a joke.

He was dying to know. If it had anything to do with keeping Macey safe or stopping the ones who were the cause and threat, then he wanted to know. In a fit of uncontrollable rage that ravaged his body, crossing out any means of steady thoughts and making Michael finch, Connor rose to his feet and slammed his hands in anger, yelling, "tell me!"

But his threats were futile and had no effect on Michael, who shook his head and laughed. He stroked at his chin and said, "Professor Gilden told me that you had developed a friendship with the moon mage — that deeply bothers me."

Michael then rose to his feet, pursued his way towards the window where he looked out towards the ocean. Connor didn't understand what his own brother was up to. Was he about to tell him Macey's meaning behind all this? Or was he trying to drift him away from his reason for coming in the first place.

Either way, Connor refused to be swindled so easily. And somehow he knew that Michael could tell.

"The moon mage, Macey Russells — your friend — is one half of the Braithwaite twins. Under the guidance of the institute and the protection of the Citadel, she is a essential key towards a grand future for our world. Making her an automatic threat for darkness."

Connor could tell that Michael spoke with great honesty, which was rare to see from his older brother. He watched him pace back and forth, cupping his hands behind his back.

"I don't get..."

"However, while she was under the protection of her summoner foster parents, her brother was lost in a battle two years after they were separated."

Michael looked down toward the ground and sighed, saying, "the job of an overseer of the Citadel is not only to lead the Paladins and give orders to the rest of the masteries but to also make sure these pure born twins don't fall into the wrong hands. We don't seperate just any set of twins born of the sun and moon trait, no. There have been times two sages have been born that have sun and moon and two mages. But it seems that, in rare instances a mage and a sage harbouring these traits are born — and it is extremely dangerous for not only the Citadel but the world."

It never occurred to Connor that there were other sets of twins just like Dante and Macey. Throughout his entire life, he had never met another human with that extraordinary power. He furrowed his brow and curled his lip into a flat line, looking at Michael who couldn't help but grin at the perplexity that must have been across his face.

"You know the legend," said Michael who then sat on the corner of his desk. "The benevolent mage of peace and sage of tranquility. Over the years, many have stolen the twins who have been born with such magic, using their power to desecrate villages — even towns and cities. But, ultimately, they failed."

Connor lowered his head. Although, the thought of having to break a family apart made his stomach turn, he could see why it had to be done.

Michael grinned. "We don't do it because we want to keep our reign over the Citadel nor is it purely for order. We do it for the safety of our people, even if the actions are unjustifiable towards what is right."

It was a hard pill to swallow, but like always, Michael was right. If Connors father didn't do what he had done, would he have met Macey? Would she have lived past the age of five or would she had ended up like her brother — lost somewhere in the world.

Connor sighed a breath of relief, even though his answer felt bittersweet. He muttered his thanks and awkwardly walked towards the door, hearing Michael snicker under his breath before saying, "She must be quite the woman for you to go against being a Heslington."

When Connor looked over his shoulder for a brief second, glaring at Michael's foolish exclamations, he saw a concerned look plastered across his brothers face. It didn't phase him and all he could muster up in a reply was a head shake.

"Connor," hollered Michael. "Perhaps reconsider the road you're treading on. Love is fickle, and can blind a person to do outlandish things."

Connor couldn't help but snicker. "Is that what you said when you choose the success of your mission over Raine?"

A heavy pang of silence surrounded the both of them. He could see how sensitive the subject was for his older brother and knew his heed was that of a warning. Watching Michael press his lips in oppression and seeing him slowly shake his head in reconciliation, Connor took that as offence and headed out the door.

You always have another option, thought Connor, but his thought was contradicted by Michael, who always had to have the very last word.

"Just, don't die for her."

Grendilton: Rise of the Shadows  Where stories live. Discover now