Tuesday, December 1, 2015
My muscles were aching pleasantly after the knife-throwing workout as I was sitting in the bus on my way home. I was lost in thought. I did not dare ask Lena about Rob’s letters she promised to upload onto my mentabook, yet I was bursting with impatience. Rob going 4,000 years back in Terra time… of course, I knew about his adventures involving time-traveling to the past ages of Earth, but it still sounded like fantasy to me.
I got off the bus and walked the small distance from the stop to Rob’s house where I have been living after his departure. The twilight was chilly, covering the city and the river with a sheer violet veil. I stopped in front of the house… and tensed. My hand reached out for the knives, but I knew I would better muster myself for wielding The Weapons of Mind, Sarol Hannas. With a sixth sense, I could feel Vortexian presence. Someone broke into my home, but was it friend or foe?
Just in case, I unsheathed one of my three knives and approached the door stealthily. My nostrils flared.
Well, you won’t know what’s hit you, I thought as I felt the rage building up in me. I kicked the half-open door with my right foot.
‘What the hell are you doing here?’ I snarled.
There were three Emissaries, and I was already experienced enough to see that two of them were D’Rakols in heavy Guises imitating human faces, covering their black scales and hairless skulls. But as they saw me, their black irises started dilating to the point where they covered the entire eyeball, and the pupils shone red. They were standing up, on each side of… a warlord.
The only warlord I ever met was K’Ramol, and trust me, it was more than enough to realize that this kind of Spawn should be avoided at all cost. Yet the tall person clad in an elegant black suit was not Lord K’Ramol.
As he got up – he was sitting on my couch as if he were in his own parlor, the bastard! – and gave me a cold smile, I could see he was tall and thin, yet for all that something about his posture hinted at great physical strength. His eyes were a pale, icy blue, his skin a dead off-white fish-belly tone with a hint of scaly structure barely visible to the human eye.
Yet I was no mere Human. I was the creator of the Vortex, and these were my subjects. From the dark side, yes, but my own nevertheless.
Three middle fingers on the handle, thumb on direct opposite side, pinkie hanging off. I grasped the knife and asked, ‘Who are you?’
‘Lord K’Rizhut.’ He did not waste words on false polite formulas as K’Ramol would have done. ‘Put down that knife. You do not presume you can attack the three of us with that pitiful bit of metal, do you?’
‘Actually, I do presume I can wipe the floor with you,’ I hissed as I thrust my left shoulder forward.
‘Oh yes, you are a wielder of Sarol Hannas, I know,’ he sneered. ‘Yet there is a shield against every weapon…’
‘What do you want?’ I interrupted.
‘Please sit down. We are here to negotiate.’
The Spawn had the nerve to invite me to sit down in my own home! I did not change my poise.
‘Your involvement in the upcoming war.’
‘I thought you are always at war with Luminites…’
‘It does not concern the Children of Light. I am talking about the invasion of KADE to Terra. We need you to act as mediator between us and the Human governments. We do want to establish our rule here – even with one sun, Earth is an incredibly rich resource for us, and we do not want to shed too much blood of our future slaves.’
I felt the skin on my neck and arms crawl. Future slaves?
‘But if you, a Human woman,’ Lord K’Rizhut continued calmly, ‘will help us negotiate a peaceful surrender, you will be able to save millions of lives…’
‘Only to make them your slaves, your… human batteries!’ I exclaimed, outraged. ‘I’ll see you in the thirteenth hell before I agree!’
‘Trust me,’ said K’Rizhut with a sneer that made my blood freeze in my veins, ‘the Thirteenth Hell will seem a picnic to you after we are done with the conquest. My people is not what you’d call merciful when it comes to war. I am sure most Humans will agree to play the role of our… ah… batteries in exchange for, say, a sapphire slab from the walls of Wilvarin… which we will conquer next, what with new energy units from Humans… you must understand that merciless slaughter is not in our interests, and thus our interests coincide.’
My eyes narrowed. So they would attack the Vortex next? For the first time in eight thousand years, after the Skydwellers cast out the KADE planet out of the Vortex, there will be a full-fledged war instead of small raids and skirmishes?
‘My answer is no, Lord K’Rizhut,’ I said officially.
‘Did you think well? After all, we the dwellers of KADE are your children as well. By your will we live in semidarkness on meager energy units we are able to steal or capture from outside the Vortex… did you know our children are born smooth-skinned and grow scales only because they don’t have enough energy units to feed their systems?’
I felt my eyes widen. ‘No,’ I said quietly, ‘I did not know that.’
‘Of course. Your Luminite friends just told you we were the bad guys, down to the last woman and child,’ Lord K’Rizhut sighed. ‘For eight thousand years, we pay for our mistakes.’
‘It was not a mistake. It was a thousand years of slavery for the Luminites before the Skydwellers’ Last Battle. Your souls are dark, my lord. So why do you crave light so much? To turn it into money,’ I finished with a scoff. “Energy units are money in the Vortex…’
‘Not only money,’ he interrupted. ‘E-units are our lifeblood, our source of existence...’
‘And now you want to strip my home world of its lifeblood? And you want me to play on your side in this?’ I shook my head. ‘You must be mad. This conversation is over. Leave, or else I will make you leave.’
One of the D’Rakols hissed and I saw his Guise melt, uncovering the black scaly monster underneath. ‘Listen to the mighty warlord, Human.’
‘It will be over when I will have you convinced… by force if necessary.’
It was so outrageous I laughed. ‘Do you think it is so easy to capture me?’
‘Not easy at all,’ came a voice from the entrance door.
It was a familiar voice. Familiar but somewhat new to my ear, its silvery notes having given way to velvet and thunder. I felt a shudder ripple through my entire body. It couldn’t be. It was a dream.
I turned sharply, forgetting about the enemy in front of me, and saw a blue-white energy lance shining bright in the meager gray light. It was larger, thicker than before, with multiple forks and ramifications… one helluva energy lance! Its light obscured the face of its wielder, but I already knew who it was. My heart was fluttering with exultation and unbearable joy. He was back, and at the right moment as usual.
‘Hello Rob,’ I said casually. ‘So nice of you to join the party.’
I put out my right arm and summoned my own energy blade, one of the Sarol Hannas that only I, the Goddess of the Vortex, could wield. It was an opalescent beam of light, sharp at the end, protruding out of my palm. Of course, it was only visible to Vortexians and to me, as it was a mere creation of my imagination, but as past events proved, I could use it to a tangible effect. Like killing Spawn.
‘My Goddess,’ came Rob’s reply from behind the blue-and-white energy beam. ‘Shall we proceed to liquidating them?’
He did not have time to respond. K’Rizhut cried something in a language unknown to me, took out of his pocket something that looked horribly like blood in a large glass vial, threw its contents into the air, and to my horror, a Link opened right in the middle of my living room. Yet it was not the familiar frame shining blue. Its borders were a horrible blood-red, a lighter red film stretched inside it. The three men stepped through it, and in the blink of an eye both the Spawn and the Link vanished.
‘Whoa,’ I exhaled, turning to face Rob. ‘What was this?’
‘I don’t know. But it’s obvious they wanted to drag you through this… portal. It’s not a Link. Links open only…’
‘… in the mountains where the air is rarefied, I know,’ I added. ‘How was this possible? And… what are you doing here?’
Rob finally extinguished his blue-white energy lance and I could see him properly. And as I beheld him, I gasped.
He seemed even taller than he was, his body rippling with muscles visible even through his clothes. His hair was shorter than before and he was sporting a close-cropped well-groomed beard. Only his eyes remained unchanged – bright blue, blazing with bloodlust… and obvious desire for me.
Before I could spew out more questions, he approached me and held me in his arms. I threw my arms up to hug his neck and drowned in the blueness of his eyes.
‘Is that a way to welcome home a warrior? With “what are you doing here?”’ he whispered in my ear as he was squeezing me harder and harder in his powerful arms. The contact of his beard with my cheek made my entire body erupt in pleasure.
‘I already figured out the answer – you are here to save my ass as usual,’ I responded in a whisper.
‘No. I am back because I can no longer pretend I can live without you, Gate.’ And he kissed me.
The pleasure was bewildering, sweeping through me like a hurricane. I moaned against his lips, as the energy emanating from his skin was conquering my senses. He was back. My love returned to me.
‘Immortality is worth nothing without you, my love,’ he whispered in my ear as we broke the kiss. I stared into his eyes, elated, my insides squirming with desire.
‘I want you, Nolementar mine. Here, now,’ I replied in a hoarse whisper, barely recognizing my own voice. We tore at each other’s clothes. He stepped behind me to cup my breasts and kiss the nape of my neck. I shuddered with the first attack of supreme pleasure, and cried out his name.
We made love right there in the middle of the living room, on the white fluffy carpet, taking each other to the summit again and again, rediscovering the way our bodies reacted to each other. The danger – after all, the Emissaries could reopen a portal in our living room again at any time – made it even more intense. All that time, my eyes were open. I was drinking him in hungrily, afraid to close my eyes, still fearing to believe the reality of it all, and the blue fire in his eyes was burning its way straight into the depths of my soul…
‘I never stopped thinking about you,’ he said finally, as we were cooling down in each other arms. My head was on his chest, and I was listening to his heart beating in unison with my own. ‘All these eighteen months, you were always on my mind…’
I blushed. How could I tell him I was thinking about him, too, even when I was in bed with Austin, drunk like a skunk? Deep shame was taking over me. How could I tell him? I could not bear the mere idea of the fire in his blue eyes turning into ice. I could not lose him again, this time because of my own stupidity and weakness.
‘I never hoped you would return,’ I said finally.
‘I know. That is why I do not hold anything against you, nor do I blame you for anything,’ he replied, and I realized he knew about Austin and me.
‘I am yours. Only yours.’
‘I know, Anarinya nin…’ he said, and he kissed me again.
‘What does it mean?’ I asked, as we both broke the kiss, gasping for air.
‘My little sun.’ And he got up, gloriously beautiful in his nudity. I started at him, feeling renewed desire pooling up again in the pit of my stomach, but he took my hand and pulled me to my feet.
‘Come on. We can’t stay here.’
‘What? Why?’ There were no thoughts in my head, just burning desire to drag him to the bedroom and do it all over again.
‘It’s not safe.’ His hands were running up and down my naked back, making my skin crawl with sparks of glorious desire. ‘If the Emissaries could open a link here in our living room, they can do it again at any moment. Get dressed.’
I pouted. ‘I want…’
‘I want you, too,’ he interrupted. ‘But we need to get out of here.’
‘Where are we going?’ I asked, my nerves burning with disappointment. ‘And how is this possible, a Link in the middle of our house?’
‘I don’t know,’ Rob answered, frowning in frustration. ‘Unless they discovered new technomagy for traveling in the mosaic time structure, this is unexplainable.’ He was already dressed by now in his black jeans, navy blue shirt and leather jacket. ‘Come on. Although I enjoy looking at you in the altogether,’ – and we both smiled as he remembered this old adage of ours – ‘we need to get going.’
‘Did you notice the Link borders were shining red instead of blue?’ I asked, as I fumbled with the clasp of my bra. His fingers covered mine and he clasped it into place deftly. New waves of desire washed through me. If I felt so aroused as he was dressing me, what would I feel when he would undress me again?
‘I did. I believe there is some sort of blood technomagy involved,’ he replied. ‘Damn. If they killed a Human for this…’
‘I should have stopped them from escaping through this Link,’ I said bitterly. ‘I shouldn’t have even talked to them, but use Sarol Hannas and just wipe the floor with them.’
He embraced me and held my head to his chest. ‘Don’t blame yourself, love. You against a warlord and two high-level D’Rakols? I’m glad you didn’t make the first move – I shudder to think of what would have happened if…’
‘You still don’t see me as a warrior,’ I interrupted peevishly. ‘I could have wiped the floor with them, it’s just… they are my children, too. My own dark side.’
‘Yes, my Goddess,’ said Rob, and I could hear notes of the old reverence in his voice. ‘You did the right thing. Now let’s go.’
As I went out to the porch, I expected to see the familiar black car with Sy in the driver’s seat, but it wasn’t there. Instead, a huge black motorcycle was parked on the driveway.
‘Damn, I only have one helmet,’ said Rob. ‘O.K., come here.’ He took the helmet and placed it on my head. Then he mounted the motorcycle and, rummaging in his pocked, put on a pair of Ray Bans.
‘Maybe you should wear it, you’re driving,’ I replied, climbing on the passenger seat and hugging his muscular torso.
He turned, breaking the embrace gently, and stared deeply into my eyes. ‘Please, love. Don’t you know by now that protecting you is one of my strongest instincts?’
‘Don’t you know I feel the same about you?’
He lifted the visor, kissed me briefly, then lowered it back in place. ‘Hold on tight, little sun. We’re going to a safe place… where I will make love to you all night.’ And the engine roared in the chilly dusk.
Lakeshore Avenue zoomed past quickly, and we flew to the highway smoothly. I was holding him from behind, the speed thrilling me, and felt alive. For the first time in eighteen months, I felt truly alive. He was here. He was here with me.