As they sped off towards the rock from the city of Amber, the sounds of the battle fading off into the distance, Terridus watched Schala go ahead of him and his brother. A tingle of worry threatens to over take the calm that usually covers the Praetor. It wasn't the battle behind him that worried him, but the battle ahead of him. He didn't know why his cousin was speeding ahead of him, maybe she was just as excited as he was. Maybe she just wanted to show off. Maybe she had the same thought he had in the back of his mind, saving Renee may end the war. But, the thought that worried him the most was if she was going to stop him.
Terridus had been planning all of this for years now. His machine, his research... All of it. He could plan most of this out, but the only unknown in the plot was the other members of his family. A lot of it was Stephen. Renee was his mother, Terridus needed to work with him to save her. He didn't blame Stephen, Terridus would be just as protective as him if something had happened like that to Elmdor. Stephen had demanded that if he were to try his machine on Renee he would first have to try it out on Virgil.
Terridus wasn't sure about that prospect. Just what was Stephen's angle on that. Did he task him with fixing Virgil just to test the machine or was it to test Terridus's resolve? Just to see if the Praetor could wrangle the mad man. Stephen had just told him he wanted his friend back... If that was true, was his task of fixing Virgil actually a vote of confidence in Terridus's intelligence? Ideally, if Stephen had left his 'friend' in my care, it could him thinking highly of me.
Terridus didn't pretend to fully understand the other members of my family, and that is why Schala rushing off ahead was bothering him so much. He looked over to his brother Lises and felt a small measure of comfort in knowing that his brother was near by. The two of them together could take out Schala if she threatened to hamper the project. He knew he could count on his brother for most thing. His drive to protect life was a noble one indeed and for the first time in decades, the two of them were not at each other's throats.
To Terridus's surprise and relief; when he arrived at the rock, Schala was waiting for him with Renee.
"Good, just simply paranoia, Schala was trust worthy."
Terridus thought to himself as he saw the small frame of Renee draped in his cousin's arms. In the last few hours he had learned more about Schala than he had in the all the time he had known her before. Her mind was filled with darkness. A darkness not like the madness of Virgil of the oppression of his own, but a painful, stabbing darkness that unsettled his brother and himself.
He looked his cousin over and landed next to her. In just a few seconds however, he found that Schala had found one of the fake Renees that Terridus had gifted to Stephen in an effort to keep the real Renee safe. Much like when made his army of zombies of the shadows of himself, Terridus had sought out shadows of Renee which he then wiped their minds so that they would be prefect copies of the current Renee.
Terridus motioned to have the fake Renee returned and sought out the real one. He found her down in the basement, the last place some one would think a loving son would hide their mother. But again, Terridus was not quick to jump to conclusions. Did Stephen hide the real one down here to protect her? Or was he ashamed of her and hid her away as best he could? A long conversation with Stephen was coming but now there was more important work to do.
Terridus started to carefully look over the body of Renee and gently wrapped her in a near by blanket. His hands were delicate, his hands were steady. It had been eight long years since he had last seen her and she was just a beautiful as he remembered her. The Rose of May would bloom again.
"Why are you stalling? Why are you taking so long?"
Terridus went stiff and turned back to see his cousin and brother both looking at him. They didn't understand just how important she was. Terridus slowly removed his mask and gave the two of them a stern look.
"I'm not stalling. I am taking my time. I've spent years building that machine in Tenebrae, I've tracked down shadows of this woman to protect her, I've traveled across shadow, I've gone into the head of a mad man, I've gone against the word of Oberion and the actions of my father and I've even now witnessed the beginning of existence as we know it. Nothing I've done, nothing either of you has ever done, is more important than what we're doing right now in this moment. Hundreds of thousands of lives depend on this one woman and that's just the corner of a much larger picture. I'm not stalling, I'm doing what needs to be done, and I'm doing it right."
Terridus said and turned back to Renee and gently traced a finger around the edge of her face. He put his mask back on and picked her up, cradling her in his arms. They made their way back out onto the rock and onto a boat. They had to get back to Tenebrae and they needed to get there now.
If someone had told Terridus 100 years ago he'd be sitting on the throne of Amber, he would have laughed.
If someone had told Terridus 50 years ago that his father would be so ok with turning the title over to Renee, he would have argued with them.
If someone had told Terridus anything about the eagle ever, maybe he would be able to help...