Part eleven of Misplaced Fire

They got to the apartment in time to see Isabelle catch fire and Jason extinguish himself.

Nesrin’s lip twitched. “Their first steps and I missed it.”

Ceylan and Aravis hugged tightly. Aravis’s eyes were closed, but Ceylan was making the kind of eye contact with Dinah that only comes from centuries of semi-good-natured sisterly competition and tension. Ceylan tapped Aravis’ nose as they split and they both smirked. Ceylan then crossed the floor to Isabelle.

“Would you mind holding still for a second? I want to find out just who your benefactor is.”

After Isabelle went back to normal she nodded and let Ceylan stare into her eyes. Isabelle saw a green line of light in both eyes that caused her to see her own eye veins. She suddenly remembered she’d experienced it before, when she and Jason applied to sublet the apartment from Nesrin, and that Nesrin had deadened their memories of it. The light stopped when Ceylan broke eye contact.

Ceylan felt a chill run through her fire spirit half. She swallowed. Her eyes were vacant when she turned to Nesrin and Dinah.

“It’s Uncle Patanī.”

Nesrin and Dinah froze.

Aravis, Jason, and Isabelle’s body language asked who that was.

Nesrin clarified, “Mother’s brother. One of the thirteen clones King Harun created of himself.”

Dinah added, “Father and first victim of the Traitor Whose Name We Don’t Use.”

Jason had figured out he could make just his hands fire without the rest of him, so he was looking at his fire hands. His wonder was dampened by hearing a name and now being unable to deny that his new abilities had come from someone. “Are you saying we’re basically possessed?”

Nesrin hummed. “It would be more accurate to say he’s being possessed by you.”

Aravis interjected with, “What does that mean for Uncle Patanī?”

Isabelle slowly ran her hands up and down her sides. “I suppose it means we have to return what’s his.”

“There’s no him to return it to.” Nesrin was shaking her head. “The Traitor used the stone to weaken him till all that was left was just enough of a powerless shell to hold the mind and the spirit, then they destroyed that. Patanī’s gone and all that remains is most of his body and its power, and you’ve got that.”

Aravis held an open palm out. “But if his body’s still mostly alive doesn’t that mean he’s still kind of partly alive?”

Nesrin and Ceylan looked at Dinah.

Dinah leaned on the table. “We don’t know. That’s what nags us.”

Ceylan shifted her gaze to Nesrin. “Mother thinks so; hence she held on to the stone.”

Nesrin’s eyes went reflexively to the balcony door, the hall, and the front door. “I wish these walls were thicker sometimes.”


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