Callum was pacing the throne room of the castle when all of a sudden the front doors banged open, a flurry of white and dark blue rushing towards him.
The furious face of Runaan was suddenly all up in his personal space, a hand going to Callum's chest.
Shit, this is it. You've truly fucked up now.
The motion was so fast and so unexpected that it had caught the guards off guard. How ironic. Panic flared in his eyes but he stepped back as Runaan shoved him, an air of madness blazing around him as he narrowed his eyes.
"You had one job. One job," he shouted before bringing his voice back down to a whisper. "Protect Rayla at all costs. Was that such a difficult task?"
Runaan had trained Rayla, practically raised Rayla, since birth. They both knew she was perfectly capable of keeping herself safe. But that wasn't why Runaan had asked Callum to watch her. He asked because he needed to earn the trust of the human prince, test the waters, see for himself what the boy would really do when in the face of death and danger. The story he had been told of Callum jumping off the Spire for his daughter was nice and all, but he hadn't been there, in the moment, panicking, worrying for his baby girl. Runaan hadn't experienced the true fear of a father in that moment. That's why he had set him up to the task.
Callum ducked his head in shame. "I'm sorry, sir."
The guards snapped out of their shock and took action, going in to restrain the assassin, but there was no need, Runaan had already backed off and Callum was signaling for them to stand down. There were several moments of tense silence as the guards did as ordered, the threat having passed. Callum wouldn't meet his eyes. Runaan kept his glued to the ground, head turned away in anger.
"How is she?"
"She's doing better, she can breathe now. It was an allergic reaction to the peanut butter she tried." A scoff from the taller.
"Of course it was. Elves are naturally allergic to peanuts, except for Sunfires and Earthbloods. She wouldn't have known that, though, because most Moonshadows aren't familiar with the nut."
Yet you know about it? He was going to ask dumbly but caught himself at the last moment. Runaan was an assassin, the assassin leader, of course he was familiar with the plant. Heaven (Ethari) knows how many times he's had to travel to the human kingdoms. He wondered how exactly the assassin came upon this knowledge briefly before a more pressing matter intruded his thoughts.
"Wait, I sent that message to Ethari twelve hours ago. How did you get here so fast? And where's Ethari?"
"My husband received your message quickly, seeing as it had been sent using your crow-message system. Ethari attached the message to a hawk-arrow and sent it off to me."
Callum's brows drew together. "You didn't answer my questions."
Runaan looked him in the eyes, a snide remark on the tip of his tongue but reminded himself of where he was and thought better of it. "Traveling. For work purposes."
A shiver went down his spine at the implication behind those words. The guards tensed. Maybe... maybe he had tracked down a dark mage, now that dark magic was illegal and anyone caught practicing it will find a blade to their throat or an arrow to their heart. Yeah. That's it.
Runaan rolled his eyes. Rayla couldn't have chosen someone a little brighter? But he indulged the prince.
"Well, seeing as that I was working, Ethari is on his way from the Silvergrove. Should be here within the next day."
Callum frowned sympathetically. "You two didn't have to come, I didn't mean to cause any trouble."
The elf's brows drew tight together. "And yet here we are." He withheld a sigh. "No matter, she is our daughter." He took a step in the direction of the medical bay, pausing as his shoulder brushed past the human's, face turned sideways as he whispered in the other's ear: "Don't let this happen again. Do I make myself clear?"
A nod and swift yet silent steps later, the assassin leader was gone like a ghost. Callum let out a sigh as his knees nearly gave out from being in the intense presence of the intimidating elf. He wasn't the only one, he noticed as the guards nearly feinted on the spot.
He would have to talk to Soren next to ask for a fresh rotation of guards. Again.