My heart skipped a beat. It was a struggle to breathe, like I'd been punched. Thoughts ran helter-skelter through my skull, and the only thing I knew was that this was my father.
Rhaelgyr stiffened, and his growl dropped. Though he didn't challenge my father, he kept me pressed back, standing between us. "Morgan?" the dragon asked softly.
I didn't know what to do. Frozen, indecisive, I merely stared at the man in the portal. I couldn't even meet Rhaelgyr's eyes when he glanced my way.
"Come to me," my father said, extending his hands.
Panic enveloped me. This was the man who'd erased my memories, punishing me for a moment of weakness. And I couldn't remember his name. I couldn't remember my childhood. I couldn't remember if we'd argued before he erased my memories.
I stumbled back, mouthing words my voice refused to form. The dragon stayed with me, backing up as he returned to glaring at the elder Setian.
My father's eyes narrowed as he frowned. "Why so much fear? His hands dropped. "I've been waiting for you."
Scoffing, I finally found words. "After what you've done, you would wait for me?"
His frown deepened. "What have I done?"
"Erased my memories. Banished me to wander."
His face paled, eyes widened. "I did no such thing."
I didn't believe him, but he seemed so sincere. Memories stirred from my subconscious: us arguing; him disappointed, me idealistic; accusations and hatred; judgment from a council.
Maybe he hadn't erased my memories. Maybe he'd been forced to do so. Was it possible he regretted what had happened to me?
I had to know. Touching Rhaelgyr's arm, I stepped around the dragon. "Will you tell me what happened?"
"Of course I will." He smiled. "I'll tell you everything."
I laced me fingers through Rhaelgyr's striding forward. I felt good, my heart light, and looked forward to what my father would reveal.
"Just you. Not the elf." My father's eyes darkened, the brilliance of his smile fading.
Rhaelgyr stiffened, and I gave him a warning squeeze. Warning bells went off in my head. Why couldn't he tell the "elf" was a dragon? "He comes with me."
"You don't need a bodyguard," my father chided. If he'd been waiting for me, wouldn't he be happy to see me no matter what? Or had my affair with Steven been too much?
"I do need him. He's my only friend right now." Rhaelgyr gave me a mental smile.
My father's face went blank. "As you say." He gestured to the portal. "Join me, and I shall explain everything."