Born Immortal Chapter 22

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Astyr stood on the balcony outside of her bedroom staring out at the river that could just be seen through the trees behind the Georgian mansion that she had been living in for the last two weeks. It had been two very interesting weeks for Astyr and she couldn't help but think that it had been two of the best weeks she had ever had. She had spent most of her time with her father, talking with him and getting to know all about him. Tyr was very generous about answering her questions and she had come to find that she really respected him and loved him.

The rest of the time that she hadn't been in school had been spent with Grima who was trying to find out if Astyr was more Alfar or Aesir and what exactly that meant in terms of her ability to process energy. Grima had devised several tests that measured both how much Astyr could absorb and how much she could discharge at one shot. Astyr wasn't sure if she was doing well or not because Grima wasn't sharing the results with her and she always had a worried look on her face when they finished. But Astyr knew that Grima had her best interests at heart so tried not to worry herself over what was going on.

Things at school had gotten back to normal once Astyr had gone back. She and Gunnar had resumed their easy friendship and still spent most of their time together, but Gunnar had quit flirting with her and treated her more like a sister now. Astyr didn't know if it was because she lived at his house now or because her father lived there with them but she had a feeling that it was more because he knew that as a second son, Astyr wouldn't be allowed to even consider having a relationship with him. She really hoped that it was one of the first two reasons because she still felt that the tradition of firstborns only being allowed to marry other firstborns was just too old-fashioned to be taken seriously. She still wasn't used to Aesir society and spent a lot of time asking her father a lot of questions about it.

Hakon still treated her the same as he always had and this meant that most of the kids at school assumed that he was Astyr's boyfriend. She had been very surprised when she returned to school to find that Gwen didn't seem to mind. In fact, Gwen was treating her very strangely; strangely for Gwen anyway. The head cheerleader was acting like they were best friends and hadn't even once mentioned the homecoming dance. Even more weird was that Gwen had shifted her attentions from Hakon to Dean of all people. Sure, he was a football player and he even looked good beside Gwen, but he wasn't the brightest star in the sky and he had the manners of a gorilla, and not one of the nice gorillas that you see in the zoo, either. But Gwen seemed to be happy with him and she wasn't angry at Astyr about Hakon. It was so convenient that Astyr couldn't help asking Hakon if he had done something to bring about the change in her attitude.

Hakon kept his eyes firmly on the road ahead of him as he was driving home the day Astyr asked him about Gwen. "I really don't know what you're talking about." He said with a straight face. Astyr just rolled her eyes. "Look, Hakon, I saw you that night at the dance when you took her out to the gazebo and I know that Aesir can put ideas into people's heads if they really want to so don't try to tell me that Gwen's new niceness and her sudden infatuation with Dean is all natural." Hakon gave a small chuckle but had otherwise refused to comment on Astyr's suspicions.

Of course, just because everyone thought that Hakon and Astyr were together didn't mean that they were. Astyr was very careful to keep him at arm's length because she didn't have it in her to get close to someone after what had happened with Randy. She still felt sad whenever she thought of him and she often found her thoughts drifting to the time they had spent together. Astyr didn't like to think that she could have been so naïve and trusting. How could she not have noticed that all of his feelings for her were just an act? Was she so desperate for love that she had blindly accepted his affection as real when he was just using her? She steeled herself whenever she came to this part of her internal dialogue. It didn't matter now, her father was here and he wouldn't let her fall for something like that again. Also, Hakon was a real friend to her and treated her with respect and kindness; he never tried to push her into being his girlfriend.

She was pulled from her thoughts by Gunnar; he opened the door to the balcony from the game room to tell her that his father was back. This was good news; Frey had gone to talk to Astyr's grandmother, Elianna, the Queen of the Alfar. Astyr's parents had seriously broken Alfar law by getting married and having a child together and the usual punishment for breaking that law was death to the child; the Alfar considered half-breeds to be a corruption and didn't tolerate what they saw as a weakness to their race. The fact that Queen Elianna hadn't been able to kill Astyr had put a whole new spin on the situation. Frey had gone to ensure that the Alfar wouldn't try again and that they wouldn't declare war on the Aesir for Tyr's actions.

She went through the game room and downstairs with Gunnar to welcome Frey back home and to find out what had happened. Everyone was meeting in the formal living room and the issue was so important that they didn't even give him a chance to sit down before they started questioning him. Tyr started first and asked him simply what Elianna had decided. Frey took a seat and a deep breath before answering. "Queen Elianna said that Astyr has clearly demonstrated that she is Alfar." He looked up into Tyr's eyes as he continued, "She declared that since you took her heiress away from her, you will have to give Astyr to her to take her mother's place."

There was a stunned silence broken by Tyr swearing violently and taking to his feet. He started pacing in agitation and said to the rest of them, "I am not going to hand over my daughter to that woman. Elianna must be out of her mind to even suggest such a thing!" Grima voiced her agreement with him and Astyr looked around nervously.

Frey tried to calm him down by adding to what he had said, "Don't worry about that. I explained to her about Astyr being a foster child and that she wouldn't be able to move anywhere until she graduates from high school." Tyr saw that Frey had a good point so he sat back down. "Fine, but what will we do then?" Grima spoke up then, "I haven't finished testing her, yet. It could be that Astyr really isn't as close to the Alfar as Queen Elianna thinks." Astyr thought that was a good point but apparently the Queen had been told about Grima's theories and had decided not to put much faith in Grima or her tests. Frey said, "Queen Elianna has accepted that Astyr cannot be moved but she isn't willing to leave her alone with us for the next two years."

Tyr got a dark look on his face hearing this and asked Frey to explain himself. Frey sighed before going on. "She has sent two Alfar to do their own tests on Astyr and report back on their findings." Grima replied in outraged indignation, "Not only is that ridiculous, but Astyr has too much to do already." Frey just shook his head and replied, "We don't have a choice about this, and they're not just going to be testing her; Queen Elianna wants Astyr to learn about the Alfar and about her own abilities properly before her birthday."

Tyr thought about it for a few moments before giving his thoughts, "It's not a bad idea for Astyr to learn from someone who knows more about what she could be able to do than we do. We just can't leave her alone with them." Everyone agreed with this and Frey added, "Plus, if we put up with these two, Queen Elianna won't declare war for now. It may be inconvenient but hopefully it will be worth it."

The two new additions to the already overflowing household were due to arrive the following day and so Astyr and Gunnar helped Hakon spend the rest of the evening moving into Gunnar's room with his brother so that the Alfar could have the apartment over the garage.

Astyr went to bed tired that night from the work but nervous about what tomorrow would bring.


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