Suri & Hern 5

Chapter One

Things have been really peaceful for about three years. Ryker was learning fast and well from his father and Nico was doing well with his clan. A far off rivalry was going on between the Bourhns and Noxcals. Bourhns we’re fearsome and powerful beasts while Noxcals we’re cunning and could manipulate the mind. What they were bets known for is trapping people in their own heads. They could lock memories away making you lose as many years as they chose.

The Bourhns had asked Hern for help to defeat them. Their brawn was proving no match for the cleverness of the Noxcals. He sent many different clans in the aid of the Bourhns once they proved to him thier side was the right cause. Hern getting others to help the Bourhns infuriated the Noxcals when they started to lose. They decided to throw the wise king off his game.

They planned to seek out Suri to lock away all memories she had before coming into their world. It was well known she was what he held dearest. If she didn’t love him he would fall apart and wouldn’t be able to guide the Bourhns and other clans in their defeat. They knew in just a few days she was going out with Fallon one last time before Fallon retired into the mountains. It would be the perfect time to get her alone and lock away her memories taking her back to 24.

“I’m going to miss you Fallon.” Suri said as she walked beside the older woman.

“I’ll miss you too dear and those beautiful boys of yours and even your stubborn husband.” Fallon smiled and Suri laughed.

“I know they’ll all miss you too. Especially after all you’ve done for us.”

“I almost for got. I made you something.” She reached into the satchel she carried and pulled out a necklace with a green stone at the end. She handed it to her and Suri slipped it around her neck. Carved into the back was her name, Hern’s name, and the name of her sons.

“Thank you very much. It’s beautiful. After years of training with you, I know that everything you give me has meaning.”

“Yes it does.”

“You’re not going to tell me what it is?”

“No, I’m not allowed too reveal the future to you. It’s your choice to make it what you will. I can only subtlety influence it. Just remember that it’s important.” They walked a little while longer until Fallon said she was tired. Suri walked her home, not realizing she was being watched. She started home, smiling at being back with Hern. She heard footsteps behind her and turned around, thinking Fallon had remembered something else. She froze at the black eyes staring back at her from a pale, narrow face. She knew what it was. Noxcals looked human, but were not. She started backing slowly away and it attacked her. She screamed as it pinned her to the ground.

It managed to bring it’s legs up on her arms wrapping it’s hands around her head. It spoke in a language she couldn’t understand. She kicked it as hard and as much as she could until her head started hurting so massively she couldn’t think. It felt like her brain was going to explode, like there was an intense weight on it. It released her and she gasped for air. She passed out and it picked her up carrying her towards the cave she entered this land from.

She woke up and looked up at the creature terrified. “Hey you!” It looked down and she jabbed it in the eyes. The Noxcal dropped her and screamed. She looked around afraid. Last thing she remembered she was fighting with her mother on the phone. Now she was in front of this strange looking man. It glared at her “I was only taking you home Suri. Don’t you want to go home?”

“where I am?”

“In a very dangerous land my dear. It would be best if you let me take you back to your cave so you can return to your peaceful land.”

“I dont remember any cave. Why should I trust you?”

“What choice do you have? You’re lost aren’t you?”

“where’s my phone? I was just fighting with my mother.”

“It’s back at your home.” A guard from the castle had just come back from visiting family when he saw Suri with a Noxal and he panicked. He ran up to them and pulled Suri behind him. Suri got mad “why does everybody think it’s ok to touch me! Who the hell are you?” The guard got a shocked look on his face while the Noxcal laughed. This had been one of the guards that went with Suri and Hern on their honeymoon.

“Ma’am, I am you guard and this fiend is nothing but a liar and a manipulator. Get out of here and away from the queen before I gut you.” The Noxcal laughed again and he drew his sword, moving threateningly towards it. The creature fled, still laughing. He turned back to Suri who was approaching the barrier covering the cave. He grabbed her arm and pulled her back. “Don’t touch that. It could kill you.”

“Let go of me.” She screamed. “I just want to go home. I have to be dreaming.” She grabbed her head as pain spiked throu her. “My head hurts so much.” She started crying and fell to the ground.

“Suri, please calm down. Come with me and I’ll take you home. We have to ask the King to lower the barrier.” She looked up at him fearfully. He smiled and held out his hand. She took it and he pulled her to her feet. He lifted her into his arms and ran back to the castle.

Hern saw the guard from his window. He was carrying Suri. His heart hammered fearfully in his chest. Something had happened. He ran from the throne room, meeting them in the courtyard. The guard lowered her to her feet and Hern pulled her into a hug. She started struggling and pushed him away. “Stop touching me.” She snapped.

“Suri love, it’s me.” He was confused and hurt.

“Sir, she was in the company of a Noxcal. I believe he may have done something to her. She does not know me either.” Hern shook his head in disbelief.

“Go now and get Fallon. She won’t be leaving until tomorrow anyway. Bring her here. Suri, I want you to stay here with me. We can sit right here in the courtyard while we wait.” The guard gave a bow and ran from the castle.

“Who’s Fallon?” Suri asked as she sat down on a bench.

“She’s a doctor of sorts.”

“What’s your name?”

“It’s Hern my love.” She grabbed her head and started crying again. She felt like she had lost something important. He sat down next to her and wrapped his arms around her. This time she let him. She cried into his chest, her heart feeling broken. Hern was glad the boys were gone. Ryker had gone to visit Nico for a few days. Ryker needed a break from all the training. “Everything’s going to be alright, Suri.”

She pushed Hern away again as she sat up. “sorry about that, my head really hurts and you all just seem to make it worse. You’re going to let me go home aren’t you? I just had a fight with my mom and the sooner I apologize the less of a bitch she’ll be afterwards. She really wants me to get married but I’m only twenty four so I don’t see the rush.” Hern was having to hold back tears. Each word she spoke breaking his heart a little more.

“why do you look so sad Hern? Is it my fault?”

“No it’s not your fault Suri.” He was anxious for Fallon to get here. Hern worried this may not be reversible. It was almost unheard of for somebody to regain their memories when a Noxcal locked them away.They had taken her back to right before she met him. What would he tell the boys. More importantly how could he make her stay long enough to get her memory back or atleast make her love him again. Fallon would know what to do.

Suri felt a bit more secure sitting with Hern. She didn’t know him but he felt familiar and safe. Hern about leapt up when Fallon was coming. She sat in front of Suri “How old are you honey?”

“twenty four”

“I’m sure you figured it out just sitting with her but the Noxcal the guard was telling me about locked away her memories. She really believes she’s twenty four.”

“well I am” Suri interupted. Fallon sighed sadly and continued “I can try to draw them back out but it may only bring her a few memories and it’ll be painful”

“You all are just crazy. That man over there said he would help me get home. I don’t care for remembering whatever it is you want me to supposedly remember.”

“Suri look at me.” Her grabbed her shoulders. She struggled and he gave her a slight shake. She stared up at him, looking terrified. “You have to do this, please.” She didn’t know if it was the look in his eyes or his heartfelt plea, but she nodded. She found herself cupping his cheek and he leaned into her touch. She found herself wanting to hold him and kiss him. He smiled sadly and she pulled away.

“I guess I can stay deer man and let her do whatever it is she has to do.” She buried her face in her hands. “Go ahead.” Fallon dug around in her satchel and pulled out a vial of green liquid.

“I need you to drink this dear.” Suri grabbed the vial and downed the bitter contents. She had to cover her mouth to keep from throwing up. “I must apologize for this hurting.” Fallon grabbed her head in her hands and closed her eyes, chanting. She felt heat moving from the woman’s hands into her head, pain spiked through her and she screamed. Hern held her from behind, his head next to hers as he whispered that he loved her. Something flashed in her mind. Two boys, one with her eyes and hair, the other with his. Another memory of her playing with a kitten while the guard who had brought her to the castle stood close by. There was another man, but she couldn’t see his face. She started crying, her fingers gripping Fallon’s wrists. The last memory that broke through was of her walking through a cave and into this place. She remembered music. Fallon let her go, almost collapsing with exhaustion.

“It’s okay just take a deep breath.” Hern said softly and she forced air into her lungs.

“She needs to rest now. She’s going to have a horrible headache and she may be tired for a couple of days.” Fallon said.

“Thank you, please relax here in the castle until you feel up to going home.” Hern lifted Suri in his arms and carried her to their room. He lay her gently down and covered her. He kissed her forehead and left to give her some time. He called the guard who had brought her home. “I need you to take a few men and hunt down the Noxcal that did this to her. Bring him back here alive. Ask Fallon to supply you with something to protect your minds. If he will not come willingly then tell his leader that I will wipe them out. I have held back because I wanted to give them a chance, but if they refuse to listen to reason then they will be no more.” The guard nodded and hurried away. Hern needed to do something before he went on a rampage. He decided to play his harp. It always soothed him.

Hern found his harp and sat outside in the garden surrounded by Suris favorite flowers. His music was filled with all the sadness he felt. It was nearly unbearable for  Hern that Suri did not recognize him. His heart was so heavy. She almost crushed it when she pushed him away and told him not to touch her. He felt anger surging through him. He tried to push it back but he wanted to kill the Noxcal that did this to Suri.

Fallon made them each drink a potion and them gave extras. “Hopefully you’ll find the creature quickly but make sure you drink one every twenty four hours. To keep your minds fully protected.” They thanked Fallon and went off. Fallon sighed hating the situation. There were many ways this all could turn out and Fallon only liked one. She had faith though everything would be fine. Hern loved Suri with every bit of himself. He wouldn’t stop until she remembered.

The men ran scanning all around them to find the Noxcal. They were all worried about Suri. She was still just like a sister to them. They were happy Hern planned to punish this creature greatly. They hoped Hern would let them help. The men grew more and more agitated looking for the creature. They were fast but didn’t have a lot of stamina so couldn’t have made it home yet. When they messed with peoples minds it took a lot out of them. This one had taken away so many years it would be a wonder if the Noxcal wasn’t asleep somewhere.

Suri woke to the sound of music. She climbed out of bed and followed the sound. She found him sitting in the garden with his back to her. The music was so sad, a lilting plea that drew her closer. She stepped on a twig and it snapped. She froze and he stopped playing and looked at her. An image wrestled it’s way to the surface. She had done this before. They just stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. He held out a hand to her and she swallowed as her hand moved of its own accord into his. He pulled her into his lap so the harp sat between both of their knees. “Let me show you how to play. I never took the time before.” He placed his fingers on the strings. “Put your hands over mine.” She did and he slowly plucked the strings.

The guards found foot prints disappearing into the woods. The Noxcal was heading back home. They had to catch up with him. It would take everything they had not to rip the creature apart. The sun was starting to go down which would make it extremely hard to track him. It was frustrating that they had not even catches a glimpse of him yet.

Suri laughed as she accidentally made him pluck the wrong string. He kissed her cheek and she blushed. She swallowed nervously and dropped her hands. Her heart was beating so fast that she thought it might explode. “I need to go home.” She said softly.

“You will soon, I promise. Just stay a little while longer.” He wrapped his arms around her and she felt tears soak into her hair. She felt very sad again, wanted to cry.

“Okay, I can do that.”

“are you hungry Suri? It’s getting late.” Hern asked when the sun went down. The fact that she let him hold her for awhile gave him hope. “Yeah” Hern picked her up again and her heart started pounding. She almost stuttered when she said “I should walk. Let me follow you” A deep look of disappointment was on Herns face as he stood Suri on her feet. she grabbed his hand to comfort him. She couldn’t stand that look. “I wouldn’t want to get lost.” As the words left her lips her head hurt again.

Her second day with Hern flashed in her head. It was when he took her to that waterfall at Mt Dreken. The very same moment when she grabbed his hand because she was afraid because something happened yesterday. The man was still blurry but she felt like it was Hern. She came back to reality hearing Hern ask her if she was ok over and over again. “I’m fine” she said weakly. “You should sleep after we eat.”

“I think so too.” Suri said giving him a smile. He gave her the best smile he could. Hern held Suris hand tightly until they sat down. Soon food came out to them and Suri quickly started eating. She felt like she hadn’t eaten anything in weeks. Hern ate as much as he could. Between the anger and sadness his appetite wasn’t much. “You’ll stay with me until I go home right Hern?” He looked up at her about to start crying again “Of course I will. Why do you ask Suri?”

“You make me feel safe. I don’t feel as out of place when I’m with you.”

The men made camp when it was too dark to see. They made a circle around the fire, facing out so nothing could sneak up on them. They all wanted desperately to keep going. They didn’t want to get behind. They hoped the Noxcal would also set up camp. They knew the creature had too be far more exhausted than they were. They stared out into the darkness, angry that they had not been able to protect their queen.

Suri yawned and Hern lifted her into his arms. He carried her to their room and lay her down. He started to leave and she grabbed his arm. “Please stay here.” She said, her eyes looking almost panicked. She pulled him back and he lay next to her. She pillowed her head on his chest and placed her hand over his heart. She ran her fingers over the scar on his chest. It went all the way down and touched his abdomen. “Did this hurt?” She asked.

“Yes, very much.” He answered and laced his fingers through hers. “You have scars too.”

“What do you mean?”

“Set up.” She did as she was told and he pulled the top of her shirt aside so she could see her shoulder. There were four long scars.

“How did I get these?”

“You were attacked for being here with me. It was a long time ago. I almost lost you twice that day.”

Chapter Two

She looked at the scars in disblief. She didn’t know this place or him but she also had scars she didn’t remember getting, had explainable feelings for Hern. Her head started to throb again. Hern pulled her against him sliding his hand up and down her back as she held her head. “I love you so much Suri” He whispered. When the pain in her head let up she wrapped her arms around Hern “I’m so confused.” She said in a tortured voice.

“I know Suri, I’m going to make it better. I will find a way to fix this. I wont give up until I do.” Suri just clung to him until she fell asleep. Hern sat there holding her tightly. When he was sure she was really asleep he kissed her head. He wanted to give her kisses before but outside when he kissed her cheek it made Suri pull away and Hern didn’t know if he would be able to force himself to let her go again so for the sake of not freaking her out Hern had kept himself from kissing Suri.

Hern laid back enjoying her being so close. He hoped she’d allow him to show her a bit more affection tomorrow. In just a few hours he felt he had some progress with Suri. She went from pushing him away to allowing him to sleep in the same bed with her. Herns dreams played through many happy memories they shared. It was so wonderful he forgot what was happening in reality.

Suri woke feeling scared. She sat up and looked around the room, for a moment feeling like she knew this place. She shook her head and found herself staring at the man next to her. He mumbled something incoherent in his sleep and then his face twisted with anguish. He was having a nightmare. She gripped his shoulders and shook him. “Hern wake up, please.” She shook him again and his eyes snapped open. He looked confused at first, his vision still clouded with whatever he had been seeing. His eyes settled on her and she suddenly found herself beneath him. His mouth found hers, hungry and desperate. It was shocking and she tried telling herself to push him off, but her body and heart refused to listen. She tangled her fingers in his hair, deepening the kiss until she was left breathless. His lips drifted over her neck and down to her shoulder. She shook her head. She couldn’t do this right now, not when she was so confused and conflicted. “Hern we have to stop, please.” She whispered.

“Why? I love you so much Suri.” He said, raising his head too look at her.

“I know, I can feel it, but I’m so scared and confused. I need to think, I need to breathe.” He looked so hurt in that moment. He pulled away, his eyes filling with tears. He stood and walked out of the room. She almost screamed at him to come back. She stared at the bedroom door, her heart breaking for him. She got up and followed him. He was sitting in the courtyard, his face buried in his hands as he cried. She crossed over to him, reaching for him and he raised his hand to stop her.

“If you touch me, you’ll only regret it. I don’t want you to regret anything. I love you far too much for that. You should go on a walk, give us both some breathing room.” He said and looked up at her.

“Hern please, I’m sorry. I don’t know what to say or do. I have little flashes of things. It hurts my head and just makes me more confused. Please don’t be mad at me.” She laced her fingers through his and he pulled her close, resting his head against her stomach and wrapping his arms tightly around her hips. She stroked his hair, trying to calm him.

“I could never be angry with you. I love and need you. I crave you. You are my life, my air, my everything. Without you I would die. You have no idea what you do to me.” Suri felt herself wanting to cry again. She wanted to remember everything just to wipe that look of sorrow off his face. She had little snippets of memory. They were like scattered pieces of a puzzle that she was working to put back together. Every time she tried to remember, her head hurt.

“I’m trying really hard, I promise. You make me feel so safe and protected. I just need that for now.”

Hern just kept holding her and crying. Getting that kiss from her only deepened his pain. He needed his wife back, needed to make love to her, needed her to look at him the way she did before. Hern felt like he was dieing inside. When the men woke up they began hunting the Noxal again. Running faster than they had the day before. One of the men said “wait listen” the guards looked around and listened to the woods. They heard a Noxcal eating fruit and giggling. They started towards the noise silently.

They were well trained on how to flit through the woods without a sound. The got up in the trees then look at the guard who had found Suri for confirmation this was the right one. He held up a finger to let them know he wanted a second to be sure. It kept giggling and talking to himself. It started laughing hard as it said “Hern will think twice before messing with us” He nodded to the men and they surrounded the Noxcal. It angrily got up and glared at them screeching loudly to hurt their ears. One of the mens eardrums burst.

It got by the one with the burst eardrum laughing as it ran. The Noxcal was rested from the night and had plenty of energy in him. The guards wouldn’t let him escape. Not after what he had done to their queen. Rain managed to get to the side of the Noxcal and slash it arm. It screeched again in agony as Loki and Fredrick tussled with the Noxcal on the ground. Rain yelled ‘we need it alive! Be careful”

“what do you need me alive for? You know I can’t reverse what I’ve done to that girl.”

“Nobody was speaking to you” Rain said, his voice was full of contempt for the creature. It started laughing again as they started to drag him along. The Noxcal enjoyed causing anger and pain. “This really works out well for me. It’s one thing if Suri doesn’t know him here but oh the fun of if she goes back home. I’ll be able to speak to her again I’m sure. I’ll make her think Hern is scary and off she”ll run” It started to cackle. “Shut up!” Rain yelled again.

“You need me alive apparently. What will you do if I dont quit talking?”

“You can still live without a tongue.” Rain gripped him by his hair and shoved a dagger in his mouth threateningly. “I will cut it out and enjoy your pain.” He knew the other men were ready to hold the Noxcal down. It shut up, but grinned manically. He ordered his remaining standing soldier to help the man with burst eardrums. Rain remembered what Fallon had said and ordered his men to drink their potions. They stopped at noon to eat and drink. The soldier with burst eardrums was in real pain. He had dry blood on the side of his head. They finished and started walking again. They would have to walk all night until noon the next day if they wanted to get back quickly.

“Can I take you somewhere?” Hern asked, finally cried out.

“If it makes you happy.” Suri leaned back and smiled at him.

“It would make me very happy.” He stood and took her hand, leading her across the courtyard and out the front gate. He led her down to the hot springs that she always loved. He stopped, bending down and slipping her shoes off. There was a flat stone that hung over the spring and he sat on the edge then pulled her down between his knees so she could dangle her toes in the warm water. “You used to love this place.” He said softly as he moved her hair to the side and rested his chin on her shoulder. “I didn’t come here with you enough.”

“It seems so peaceful.” She leaned into him as she enjoyed the warm water.

He kissed her cheek and noticed the stone dangling around her neck. “Where did you get that?” He lifted the stone by the leather cord.

“I don’t know.” She grabbed the beautiful polished stone and looked it over. On the back were four names. Her name, then Hern’s and two others Ryker and Nico. She knew those names. She closed her eyes and grabbed her head as pain shot through her. Her wrapped her in his arms and rocked her as she remembered. A flash of two teenaged boys ran through her mind. They were the same ones she had seen earlier. Her children, her sons. One had platinum hair and blue eyes while the other had dark hair and deep brown eyes. They looked a lot like Hern. She started crying again and clung to him.

“what was going through your head” Hern asked hoping talking about it would help her remember better. Yours and my name are on this along with two boys names. When I read them I see these two handsome young men. They both look like you. One more so than the other.”

“Those are our sons Suri” Hern could see the absolute shock in her face. He worried saying that may have been too much. “suri?” He said repeating it when she didn’t respond. “I couldn’t have sons that old. I’m only twenty four.”

“You aren’t Suri you’re forty one.” The thought was too much for her and she started trying to get away from Hern again. Herns heart was crumbling.He had dealt with a lot of pain in his life but if this lasted much longer he felt like he was going to break. The reason he woke up in the mornings didn’t remember anything about the 17 years she had been with him. She didn’t remember their children. The pain of his regrets only made it worse. This happening made him think of all the time he could’ve taught her to play the harp or gone to do things with her more. He made time for her but not as much as he could.

He took his amazing wife for granted while he was in his fairytail and now things may never be the same again. Suri just stood there beside the hotspring looking very upset and confused. “I think I need to rest again Hern.”

“Ok Suri, I’m sorry I said too much”

“I’m sorry I’m torturing you”

“You’re not”

“Dont lie Hern. I can see it in your face.”

“You stop right now, I mean it.” His voice shook, his entire being shook. He stood, feeling hurt. “Every day I wake up so I can see this face, so I can kiss these lips, and make love to you. You are my reason for everything I do. I need you so much right now. You have no idea.” He tangled his fingers in her hair, his face mere inches from hers. “Please remember for me, I need you to remember.” He brushed his lips over hers and she gasped. She found herself clinging to him, tears running down her face. He lifted her and she wrapped her legs around his waist. He carried her over to the grass and lay her down. She opened her mouth to speak and he pressed a finger against her lips. “Please just give me this time with you. If I never get you back, I want our last moments together to be happy.” She just nodded, unable to bear that look in his eyes.

Rain glanced back at the Noxcal, wanting desperately too kill the thing. When they got home he would have the injured soldier taken to Fallon if she was still there and then he would drag this disgusting beast to Hern. He would also ask to gather all the men and attack the entire clan. They had attacked a woman they saw as family. She was the greatest thing that had happened to their world. They would gladly do anything for her. If she wanted apples for a pie they gather her baskets full, if she wanted cross a river they would build her a bridge. Even though Hern was the face of their kingdom, she was the heart. They would all be devastated if she left.

The noxcal moaned and Rain said “shut up”

“My eyes hurt and my arm thanks to you and that little bitch” Rain lost him temper jumping on top of the Noxcal “You will not talk about Suri like that. This is your last warning before I cut your damn tongue out. I only keep it in as a favor to Hern. I know he’ll be wanting to speak with you. What does she have to do with any pain you may be feeling.”

“She jabbed me in the eyes with her fingers right before you came along earlier.” It looked at Rain like rain was scum but the look was mutual. “I’m glad she did.” Hern was still over Suri kissing her and feeling her soft, warm body. Suri found herself loving every second. He filled her with so much happiness and warmth. His touch giving her goosebumps everywhere. Flashes of their wedding started going through her head. Hern was smiling and looked more handsome than normal. A man was walking her down the aisle who looked like Hern but much older. She actually remembered the whole day. When he paused to just look at the eyes he adored so much she whispered “I’m married to you. I really am I think”

Hern thought his ears were playing tricks on him, making him hear what he wanted to hear. “did you say you’re married to me Suri?” Her head was hurting again so she gritted her teeth. It was like whatever the Noxcal had done to her was trying desperately not to let her remember. She tried to think through the pain. Suri felt like if she stopped the memory would fade completely. She was starting to lose it but she begged her mind to let her remember. She needed to for this man. She could see and feel all the love he had for her.

“Yes, for a long time. I got pregnant after and your father told me they were twins. He died didn’t he? I miss him so much. He never go to see the babies.” She started crying, holding tightly to him. “I remember you crying and being upset about something.”

“I wasn’t spending enough time with you and the boys. I was neglecting you. You never complained, not once.” He brushed her hair away from her face.

“Ryker told you didn’t he? I told him not too, but he’s such a loving boy and Nico is so brave. Oh my sweet boys.” Her head pounded. She couldn’t say anymore she was crying too hard. Hern just held her and wiped the tears away. He kissed her lips, his hands slid under her shirt to stroke her soft skin. “I love you so much, how could I forget that.” She whispered. She ran her hands over his chest, tracing the long scar. Her words were a breath of fresh air, bring new life and light. He pulled her shirt up and over her head. Her bra followed then her jeans and panties. He stood, pulling his own clothes off. He blanketed her body with his and she wrapped her legs tightly around him. He stared into her eyes as he thrust in her, her cry filling him full of joy. He kissed her as he made love to her slowly, wanting her to always remember this day.

Rain gripped the hilt of his sword as the Noxcal started talking again. He was shaking with his anger. It was going to a long night listening to the things manic and depraved chatter. He thought if how disappointed Hern and Suri would be and it was the only thing that stayed his hand. He heard one of his men tell the creature to shut his trap, but it just laughed. Rain halted and cut a couple of strips off the Noxcal’s shirt. He stuffed one in the monster’s mouth and tied the other one around the lower part of his face, effectively silencing him.

He smirked at how angry it made the Noxcal. Rain and the other men layed there happily on the ground. Suri could barely keep her eyes open after all the strain and the orgasms Hern gave her. He picked Suri up kissing her then walked back to their home to put her to bed. She fell asleep before they even got back which worried Hern. He woke her up when thye got to the room. “what is it Hern?”

“You can’t sleep”

“I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. Why can’t I?”

“What if you forget again while you sleep?” Suri could see tears welling up at the thought. “I can’t stay awake forever” Suri said drifting off again. He layed her down unable to shake his worry. Atleast she remembered getting married and the boys. He could make her remember the rest. Especially because now she wouldn’t just be wanting to go home. Hern got under the covers with her pressing her hard into him. Hern whispered to Suri “Please remember me in the morning my love. You’re my life and if you go back to your world there will be nothing left of me.” Hern quietly cried. It was a mixture of happiness over getting to make love to his wife and sadness because he couldn’t quit worrying that she’d wake up and wouldn’t know him.

Hern ended up crying himself to sleep with his arms around Suri. Hern woke up later that night noticing Suri wasn’t in his arms. He lookd out the window and it was still night. Herns heart started thundering in his chest. “Suri!” He flung open their door and yelled for her again. Suri heard him yelling and came back to the room. When he saw her walking down the hall back to him he ran to her “what’re you doing?” She looked at the floor embarrassed. “what were you doing Suri?” She looked at him holding back a laugh. Hern was just confused “I need to use the bathroom and I dont remember where it is.”

“Oh my god, wake me up before you go looking for anything.” He hugged her “You scared me so badly but that’s simple come with me”

“You don’t have to worry you know. I’m not leaving you. I love you.” She said as he led her down another hall.

“Do you really?” He asked as he stopped in front of a door.

“Yes, I do. I love you very much. I remembered more in my sleep. I’ll tell you when I get out of the bathroom. Can you wait here so I don’t get lost again?”

“Of course.” She smiled that bright warm smile that melted his heart and disappeared into the bathroom.

He waited patiently, actually smiling at the thought of her being herself again. His heart still ached a little, but not as bad. She came back out and grabbed his hand, pulling him back down the hall and outside to the courtyard. She smiled up at him and left him standing in the grass. She went over to the circular lattice and turned to him, smiling. “I remember this and the way you looked at me that day. Like I was already your everything. You didn’t look so sad though, but you weren’t smiling either you were so serious. Except for your eyes. You kept watching me.” She smiled and closed the distance between them and wrapped her arms around his waist. “I really want to remember everything. I want to remember every moment of our life. It hurts to remember, but it hurts not to remember.”

“It’s alright. Rain and the boys are bringing the creature back that did this too you.” He kissed her forehead.

“Do you think it will help?”

“Not willingly.”

Chapter Three

“You can’t make it.”

“I can and I will. It will do it or die.” His words absolutely serious. “Hern.”

“Suri no, you almost left me. You could’ve left me. It’s all that monsters fault and he will pay. I show mercy often because you ask me to but in this I can’t. You are my sun, moon, air, life and passion. I will not spare the creature that almost took my everything away.” Hern lifted Suri into a hug. It was mainly to calm down. Thinking about it made him so angry. Suri was kind and loving, to go after her when it was really angry at him was despicable and it would have to explain itself. Hern was going to make sure Suri wasn’t around so he wouldn’t have to hold back on the beast. He only wanted Suri in the room if it could help her.

He went back to their room with her. They got under the covers together as Hern propped him self up on his hand to stare at Suri. She looked up at him as he gently slid his other hand across her stomach. “I love the way you look at me Hern”

“I’m glad, I love that you have quit looking at me like I’m a stranger. Go to sleep again please. You need your rest my love.” Hern hoped sleep would bring back more memories. It was pitch black outside so Hern knew it was still many hours until morning. He didn’t plan on sleeping though. He felt rested enough and needed to be close to Suri. His heart was still hurting and he coudln’t help but worry still she might relapse and leave. Hern was going to enjoy being close to Suri while she was letting him and he didn’t have to deal with the pain of what he treasured most pushing him away.

He also had to calm down from the fright of her not being there when he woke up. Hern repostioned himself lifting Suris shirt. He started covering her stomach with feather light kisses just enjoying the way she tasted and smelled. Her scent was so sweet. He layed his head down still rubbing her. He couldn’t get enough of the way it felt when his hand was sliding across her skin. Hern went to his fathers grave multiple times every year to thank him again for Suri. It somtimes brought him to tears thinking about how even though Hern hated his dad at the time he still searched everywhere, in multiple worlds to find somone perfect for him. He was right in choosing Suri.It would’ve been a shame if he had known because his father was right. Hern wouldn’t have givin Suri a second look if he knew his dad set them up. Hern thought of what a fool he would’ve been. His life couldn’t be happier and this time he wasn’t ever going to let himself take it for granted. He’d make sure to remind himself of this often.

Suri stood in darkness. She was alone and it was cold. She heard a voice whispering around her. She covered her ears, but it did not muffle the sound. The whispers became louder and louder until she was on her knees. “Please stop, stop.” She screamed. She heard laughter, a psychotic chuckle that sent a shiver up her spine.

“Forget him, forget the children, forget and go away. I’ll leave if you leave. Just forget.” The voice whispered.

“No, I love them. I won’t forget.” Pain lanced through her and she gripped her head. “I refuse too be used to hurt him. He is my husband, the love of my life, my everything.” She was angry and it gave her strength. She got to her feet and she dropped her arms. “Get out of my head you son of a bitch.” The whispering stopped and her eyes snapped open. It was early morning. Hern shifted in his sleep and she looked up at his face. He still looked sad. She brushed her fingers over his chest and he opened his eyes, looking scared.

“Is everything alright?” He asked.

“You look so sad in your sleep. Tell me what’s wrong.”

“I’m afraid this won’t last, that your memories will go away again and you’ll leave. It broke my heart when you wouldn’t let me touch you before, when you pulled away from me. I thought my world had come to an end.”

“I’m sorry love. I need to ask you something and you must promise to say yes.”

He arched an eyebrow at her. “How can I say yes when I don’t know what it is?”

“Because you love me and trust me.” She said with a smile.

“That’s not fair.”

“Love is never fair.” He shook his head, but said yes.

“I need you to let me stay with you when they bring the monster back. It’s important Hern. I know you don’t want too, I can see it in your eyes, but you have to do this for me.”

“Oh please no Suri, don’t make me have you in there.”

“I don’t know why but I need to be Hern. Please” Her eyes started pleading with him. He sighed, those eyes could make him do anything. “If you must be” He said obviously really upset. “don’t be so upset Hern.”

“I’m trying not to be my love.”

“Will you show me around our home to help me remember things until they get here Hern?”

“Anything for you Suri” Hern was very tired but nothing would please him more than more memories coming back to his wife. The more she had the less afraid he had to be. “One condition”

“Yes?”

“You have to let me carry you from room to room. I just need you close to me Suri. The last two days were so hard. Now that I can touch you without upsetting you I want to hold you as much as I can.”

“That’s fine with me” She said giving him a bright smile. Her face was glowing with her beauty. “Why do you have to be so breath takingly beautiful Suri?”

“It’s your imagination Hern. I look terrible when I wake up” Hern lifted Suri in his arms giving her a long kiss. When Hern pulled back he said “I will not tolerate you speaking such lies. You’re always beautiful.” He walked Suri around only putting her down when she absolutely insisted. He’d talk to her about things in each room. Hern took her to their sons room “O my gosh, this is Rykers room”

“You recognize it?” Suri started to cry “Oh please don’t Suri, I was just starting to feel happy.”

“I’m sorry, I just feel so bad. How could I let that thing take away my memories of you guys?” He hugged Suri hating the beast even more. Every tear and painful moment Suri had to endure filled him with more hatred. “Lets go back to our room Suri. I think that’s enough for now. I’d like to just cuddle with you anyway.” He went back to the room and put her down. He got on the bed with his legs open and told Suri to sit with him. Suri leaned back into his chest resting her head on his shoulder. Hern wrapped his arms around Suri and took a deep breath in and out. “I love you with all that I am Suri.”

“I love you too Hern.”

They sat together until Suri said she was hungry. Hern carried her to the dining room and sat her down at the table. He went to the kitchen, wanting to make her something himself. He had never done any cooking other than at the cottage and he found himself feeling very inadequate. He pulled the cook aside and told her his dilemma. “Don’t worry sir, I can show you how to make breakfast.” She said with a smile.

“Thank you.” He helped the cook chop green onions and watched as she beat eggs and put them in a pan. She put sausage in another pan and she told him how long it had to be cooked. He watched intently. When the eggs were done she tossed some sausage in wi the green onions and some cheese and folded it. She did the same thing again and put the second omelet on another plate.

“Easy as pie.” She handed him the plates. “Next time I’ll teach you pancakes.” He thanked her again and headed into the dining room.

“This smells so good.” She said with a smile.

“I helped. I hope it’s okay.” She took a bite and smiled. He was so happy that she liked the food. He knew he had only chopped one thing, but he hoped his inability to cook hadn’t messed it up.

“You are so amazing.”

“I’m going to learn to make some things so I can cook for you sometimes.”

“That’s really sweet.” Hern was overjoyed at the way his wife was looking at him. Hern wanted to kiss Suri again but decided to let her eat first. The second Suri swallowed her last bite he pulled her into a kiss. Hern couldn’t kiss her enough. Not after what happened, what was really still happening. Hern pulled back and just stared at Suri as he tucked some of her hair behind her ear. “You’re just so magnificent Suri.”

The men were moving quickly with the Noxcal. They were tired of dealing with it and knew if they didn’t get it back soon they’d  kill it. The Noxcal couldn’t speak now but merely looking at it pissed them off. The earliest they could possibly get back was lunch time today. Rain prayed Hern had helped Suri remember more. He thought of all the times she made him laugh or stopped Hern from taking his head off. All the kind things Suri has done for many people. Every life Suri touched was better for it.

Rain needed to control his rage before he did something he would regret. He pulled out his flute and started playing a song he and Suri made together when Hern was with Nico at his clan helping him for a few days. Suri got really sad so they decided to make a song together to pass time until she could see her husband again. The song even relaxed the other men. They hadn’t heard Rain play this one before. The melody filled the air around them. The song only annoyed the Noxcal. He lived for causing pain and didn’t like the guards being at ease.

“When are the boys coming home?” Suri asked as they walked the perimeter of the castle.

“Nico spends his time in between here and Lucas’s old clan. He’s their leader now. Ryker’s spending time with his brother and should be back in a week.” Hern answered with a smile.

“I guess it’s good that they’re both gone. I would hate for them to see me like this. I don’t want to make them suffer the way you have.”

“Love is sometimes about suffering for each other. I would put myself through the most excruciating pain for you.” That made her smile. She felt the same. She wrapped her arm around his waist and kissed his chest. She truly hoped she could get answers from the creature who had done this to her. She wanted to be herself again.

“Can we go back to the hot spring, I want to go swimming.”

“Of course.” He swung her into his arms and carried her all the way to the hot spring. They stripped down and waded in. She floated on her back and closed her eyes while Hern sat on a flat stone under the water. He watched her, admiring her beauty as she drifted. She was the epitome of peace. He wondered what was going on in her mind. She floated close and he grabbed her wrist, pulling her into his lap.

She laughed and then smiled at Hern. He smiled back rubbing his nose against hers. “What are you thinking about Suri?” She grabbed his face holding it in her hands. “You, I love you so much. I could feel that I loved you even when I remembered nothing. I was just confused and upset. I’m so happy to be with you.” Hern tugged her up and into a hug. He almost had his Suri back. She was really there and loved him. All fear of her forgetting again was completely abolished by that moment.

His only torment was having that creature around Suri again. He desperately didn’t want her in the same room with it. He didn’t want the Noxcal to ever lay eyes on his Suri again except to fix what he had done. There was no saying no to Suri though so he had to let her enter with him when the guards brought him in. “Are you sure you want to be in the same room with that creature again Suri?”

“I’m very sure Hern don’t worry.”

“I’m not really, it will have to kill me and the men to get to you.” Suri smiled then asked “would you really have let me go back to my old world?”

“I would’ve kept stalling you until you remembered. I need you Suri. If you were gone I’d fall into a deep depression I couldn’t escape from. It may have hurt for you not to know me but I refuse to lose you to anything. If it took the rest of my life I was going to get you to remember me and the wonderful life you’ve given me and our boys. You make every day a gift. Even the guards and servants adore you. Especially Rain and Loki, you’d think the three of you were siblings.

Rain moved doubly fast when he saw the castle. He ordered his men to pick up the pace, forcing the Noxcal too keep up. He hoped Suri had not made her way back to the human world. He was determined too get there in time. They made there way quickly to Fallon’s and dropped off the injured man. Fallon assured them his hearing would be fully restored and they left. They came to the front gate and were quickly let in. Rain asked the steward too tell Hern of their arrival. They dragged the Noxcal into the throne room and waited patiently.

Hern heard fast approaching footsteps and moved in front of Suri as the steward crested the hill leading down to the hot spring. The man quickly covered his eyes when he came to a stop on the bank. “Sorry to interrupt sir, but Rain and his men have arrived back with a prisoner in tow.” He said.

“Thank you, please return to the castle.” Hern ordered and the man bowed before turning away. They waited until he was out of sight before getting out and pulling their clothes on. Hern lifted her in his arms and took off at a sprint. Suri had to close her eyes because the world was moving by so fast. When they arrived at the castle Hern sat her on her feet outside the throne room. “Please stay here. I don’t want you too see me lose my temper.” He pleaded.

“I have too do this with you.” There was a finality to her tone, one that said she would not argue.

He sighed and pushed open the door. He made his way to the throne, all the soldiers saluting him and Suri. She followed him up and he pulled her onto his lap instead of letting her sit next to him. He needed the contact and too show the Noxcal the he had not won. Suri looked at the man bound and gagged, almost feeling bad for him. “Please take his gag off.” She said softly and Rain did so without questioning her.

“So the pretty bitch queen remembers.” She felt Hern tense beneath her. “But not everything, look how despairingly lost you look. How delicious you pain is.”

“Quiet fiend.” Hern snapped.

“Did I hit a nerve human lover. Show her your dark side oh mighty king. Slit my throat, cut out my tongue.” He laughed and Suri could feel the rage move through him. She stood, moving slowly toward the creature. She felt a calmness settle over, a cool collectedness that seemed too fill the whole room. She leaned in close to the creature, her hands framing his face.

“You must be a truly sad little monster too try and use such low blows. Does torturing people fill that void or make it bigger?” The Noxcal became silent, his eyes wide with fear. “Do I make you uncomfortable? I remember a few things Fallon taught me. She is well versed in both light and dark magic. I want my memories back beast or I will rip them from your mind and leave you an empty shell.” The soft, calm way she spoke made the Noxcal shake. He wanted desperately to run screaming from her. He would rather die than spend another moment staring into her emotionless gaze.

“I don’t know if I can”

“Try”

“I can’t even try unless I can touch you. I doubt these brutes would allow that.”

“They want me to remember too.” Suri heard Hern get up and come up behind her. Hern was nervous about Suri being so close to the creature and about it just making her memory worse if she allowed it to touch her again. “I will unbind you for this Noxcal but I promise you will deeply regret it if you run or worsen my wifes memory.” The creature smiled seeing his worry then nodded “I understand.” Hern grabbed Suri from behind holding her. She could feel how hard his heart was pounding.

Rain and the other men weren’t sure about this either but she may never get all her memory if the Noxcal didn’t give it back. Rain glared at the creature as he took a deep breath to cut its binds. It spoke when it’s hands were free. “Now don’t you go blaming me if she passes out for a few days or gets a pretty nasty nose bleed. It’s riskier and harder work to put memories back than to take them away. Especially so many years.” Hern held Suri tighter as the Noxcal placed his hands on Suris head the same way he did when he took away her years.

Her mind was burning and throbbing again. The pain only got more intense as the Noxcal chanted. Rain and Loki watched nervously. They hated the pained look on Suris face, she was taking it well but they could tell how much pain she was going through. Just as the beast warned blood started to trickle down her face. The Noxcal didn’t notice it until it got pretty bad but once it did it took his hands off of her. Suri just held her head, the pain was immense and it felt like her brain might just explode. “I have to give her mind a break, that is unless you’d like her brain to turn to mush at the force I put on it. Get her bleeding under control and then let Suri rest.”

Rain came back over binding it again “I helped her” the creature snapped. “Doesn’t change what you did to our queen. We can’t risk you running away until you’ve givin her back everything you took away.” Rain said looking at the Noxcal with eyes full of disgust for the creature. Lokie and a few other men came to help Rain take him to their prison. Hern took Suri to the bathroom to wash her face. She wasn’t speaking atall. Just holding her head. The throbbing wouldn’t let up, it was so intense she couldn’t even tell yet if he had really given her anything.

“Suri you are really scaring me. Please say anything.”

“My head just hurts” she managed to force out. “I’m sorry sweetheart, do you remember more?”

“I dont know yet, I can’t think” Hern picked Suri up after he finally got the bleeding to stop then carried her to their room. He gently ran his fingers through her hair against her scalp to help relax her. Suri was grateful for it. After all that pain when he finally did make her relax she found herself sleeping again. Hern pulled Suri onto his chest then kept rubbing her head praying that this was mostly over with and she’d have most of her memories when she was done sleeping. He wanted the Noxcal out of his home. He really wanted it dead but doubted Suri would let him kill the thing. She had so much compassion.

Suri woke a few hours later, her head throbbing and burning. She rubbed her eyes and sat up. Her stomach was in knots. She found herself jumping out of bed and running to the bathroom to throw up. It just made her head hurt worse. She felt hands pulling back her hair and massaging her shoulders. She started crying and he handed her a cup of water she swooshed some around in her mouth and spit it out then took a long drink. He pulled her to her feet and carried her back to their room where he propped her up in their bed. “Better now?” He asked as he smooth back her hair.

“Yes, I’m fine thank you.” She smiled and closed her eyes for a moment.

“Do you need me to get Fallon? She can make you something for the pain.”

“No, please leave her alone. We’ve already given her enough to worry about and delayed her trip.” Her eyes widened and she looked at him. “I remember she was supposed to be leaving. It was the same day I was attacked. I remember the Noxcal jumping on me and then nothing.”

“How much more do you remember?”

“I know the layout of the castle. I remember the cottage and the lake where Rain watched over me while I played with a kitten. My memories are coming back. I still have gaps though. I think one more session with my attacker would do me some good.”

Hern ran his fingers through his hair. “We need too discuss what to do with him afterwards.”

“I know that look love. We can’t kill him.”

“You would forgive him after all he has done, after all the pain and suffering he put us through?”

“Yes, I would.” She grabbed his hand between hers and kissed his fingers. “Forgiveness is more powerful than intimidation. Hurting and killing people will only go so far. Forgiveness has a far larger effect that ripples and expands. It’s the second most powerful force in the world.”

“What’s the first?” He brushed his thumb over her knuckles.

“Love. It has given us so much. It can change the hearts and minds of even the darkest of monsters.”

Chapter Four

Hern smiled “You’re so amazing Suri. I love you with all my heart. You are always so open to forgiveness you must think I’m horrible. It’s just that I really could’ve lost you. He made it to where you didn’t know me and wanted to go home. I’ve never gone through such gut wrenching pain my love. If you left my universe would crumble.”

“You don’t have to explain yourself Hern.” Suri hugged him and he sighed with relief. “why are you so tense Hern? I remember so much now and he can help me with the rest.”

“I was worried about you while you slept. I’ve spent the whole time in a constant state of worry hopeing you were ok. I’m worried about letting him help you remember again. I helped you remember some things before the Noxcal got here. Maybe we could send him away now and then I’ll just help you with the rest so you can remember with no danger of you being hurt.” Suri pulled back from the hug and just looked at his face. He looked so beaten down with sadness and worry. Hern had been through so much these past few days. Honestly he had been through more than her. She simply was scared because she didn’t know where she was. He had to deal with his wife pushing him away and treating him like she had no idea who he was.

Suri gave Hern a loving kiss, she hoped he could feel all the love she was pouring into it. Hern just slid a hand in Suris hair enjoying every second. When she went to pull back he didn’t let go. Suri smiled and continued kissing him. When Hern let Suri go she said “I’d really like to remember everything before Ryker is home. You’ve been through so much, I’m really sorry. Just let him help me one more time. I’m sure it’ll only take one more try.”

“Don’t say you’re sorry. None of this is your fault.”

“I think Fallon tried to warn me so in a way I feel it’s slightly my fault.”

“What’re you talking about?”

“She handed me this necklace and told me she made it. That she couldn’t change the future but she could subtly influence it. She knew this was going to happen and couldn’t tell me. She did the best way she could. This necklace really did help and I must thank her. I just feel I should’ve been ready since she did give me the best warning she could.”

“You couldn’t have known Suri.” Hern held her close. “Lets go speak to the Noxcal if you really feel up to it.” Suri nodded and Hern lifted her in his arms. They went to the dungeon where the Noxcal was being held. Rain was guarding it’s door “How’re you feeling Suri?” Rain asked hoping she was ok. He had been worried too. “I’m fine Rain” She smiled and Rain said “The Noxcal is sleeping. He wouldn’t even wake up to eat. If you must speak with him I’ll get him up.”

“No it’s fine, I guess it can wait until tomorrow.”

“You don’t have to be so courteous to this creature Suri.”

“Everybody deserves common courtesy Rain” Her words made him feel like an ass “I’m sorry Suri”

“Don’t be, you’re such a good friend. I know you and Hern are only being this way because you worried about me leaving so much.”

Rain smiled and wrapped her in a hug. He had missed her patience and kindness. He had never understood the power she wielded over everyone. With one word, with one look she could shame you or make you smile. He let her go and she gave him her brightest smile. “We’ll be here bright and early.” She said as Hern scooped her up and carried her away. He wanted too keep her all to himself for awhile. He needed time too get over almost losing her. He knew he would become overprotective. He hoped she would not be angered by it.

“You look sad again.” She said and he found himself staring into the dark depths of her eyes. He crossed the courtyard and could see the stars shining in them. He was drowning in those eyes and didn’t think he’d ever want too come up for air.

“You have no idea what you do too me do you?” He asked, sounding breathless.

“Drive you crazy?”

“Oh yes, absolutely mad with how much I love and need you. I may become an overprotective ass for awhile and I am so afraid of upsetting you. I have to have you to myself for awhile.” He made it to their room and carried her inside. He sat on the bed, holding her tightly to him. He was crushing her, but she didn’t say a word. She knew he needed her closeness, her warmth and understanding. She combed her fingers gently through his hair and sang a lullaby that she used to sing to Ryker and Nico.

She could tell it was relaxing him because he loosened his grip slightly. He was still holding her tightly just not so tight it hurt. When the song was over Suri said “I love you Hern.” Hern looked into Suris eyes and responded “I love you too, so much.” He layed Suri on the bed then began to give her a hicky on her neck. He started taking off Suris pants as he bit and licked her neck. Once they were off he had the rest of her clothes and his off in an instant.

He made love to her like he never had before. They spent hours wrapped in eachothers passion. Only stopping when Hern just needed to hold Suri. Suri was exhausted from her orgasms. She just layed on his chest absolutely motionless besides her deep breaths. “I really want to make a point to do more things with you honey.” Hern said as he lightly ran his fingers up and down her back. “Would you like to learn how to play the harp?”

“It would be fun. I love making music.”

“You love making music? You know how to play somthing?”

“mhm the flute. Last time you were gone there was nothing that could make me happy. I missed you so much it hurt. Rain taught me how to play his flute and then we made a song together to pass the time. I was going to have him play it for you when you got back but then you just didn’t have the time. Because you had been gone you were behind on a lot of stuff.” Hern tightened his grip on Suri like he had when they first entered the room. “I’m sorry you felt you couldn’t get my time to show me. You come first Suri. I will drop everything I’m doing even if you just want me to come lay with you. Please, if you want my time take it.”

Hern couldn’t help but feel the slightest pang of jealousy that she had created a song with Rain. The only thing that kept him from being upset was knowing Rain had good intentions. Rain had just wanted to make Suri happy until he got back. He was also sure in the fact Rain thought of Suri as his sister and nothing more. Suri slowly drifted to sleep to the sound of her husbands heart.

There was a light tapping on their door that woke both of them instantly. They jumped up and quickly dressed. It looked like the sun had been up for a couple of hours. Hern pulled open the door and Suri smiled at Loki. “Sorry, but Rain asked me to come and get you. I guess he got worried when you didn’t show up.” Loki said and rubbed his neck.

“Don’t look so nervous. I’m glad he had you wake us. We would have slept the day away.” Suri said and he smiled, visibly relaxing. They followed Loki back to the dungeon, walking hand in hand. Rain was still standing guard and looked exhausted. She wondered if he had slept at all. “Rain dear, you should take a nap.”

“I will as soon as everything is as it should be.” He replied with a small smile. He unlocked and opened the cell door and Suri stepped inside with Hern close behind. The Noxcal stood, looking paler than normal.

“You need to eat something.”

“I do not want your food queen. I just want to get this over and done with.” He said, trying for angry, but only managing to sound weak.

“Loki please bring some fresh fruit and water for our guest.” Suri ordered softly and Loki bowed then ran off. They waited in silence, staring at each other. Loki returned and Suri took the plate and cup from him. She turned to the Noxcal with a smile and sat them on the end of the small cot. “Please eat something.” The Noxcal eyed the food suspiciously for a moment, but sat down and ate anyway. “May I ask your name?” She asked as he swallowed.

He paused and looked up at her face. “It’s Akim.” He quickly finished eating and gulped down the entire cup of water. “Are you ready?” He stood and moved closer to her.

“As ready as I’ll ever be.” His hands framed her face and she closed her eyes. He started to chant and the sharp pain took her breath away. She felt her knees shaking and Hern wrapped his arms around her to keep her upright. She felt blood trickle from her nose and drip off her chin. Tears sprang to her eyes and slipped down her cheeks. The Noxcal pulled back and she opened her eyes in time to see him flop down on the cot. Hern scooped her up and carried her back to their room where she washed her face and changed clothes. Her shirt had blood down the front. She rinsed it off and wrung it out then draped it over the edge of the sink.

“Are you alright?” Hern asked as he held her close.

“Yes, I’m fine. We have to let him go now. You should tell Loki and Rain to get him supplies and a horse so he can go home. He’s been here long enough.”

“are you going to sleep again Suri?”

“Yes, My head hurts so badly.”

“Will you let me wait until you fall asleep? Please, I just want to hold you. He’s probably too tired to leave at this moment anyway”

“Ok” Suri said as Hern layed down pulling her onto his chest. Hern was glad it would all soon be over soon. He hated seeing his wife in so much pain. Hern just wanted their life to get back to normal. He would still need to figure out what to do with the Noxcals. The war with them and the Bourhns was hadn’t stopped and if he took back his help now it wold only put Suri in more danger. It would tell clans that all they had to do to control Hern was hurt Suri. As much as he wanted to just spend all day every day with his wife for awhile he had to see their defeat through. Had to find a conclusion to the war between them.

When Suri was out again Hern reluctantly got up. He kissed her cheek then quietly left the room. He wished he could lock her in there to make sure nothing else got in. He was having a hard time handling Suri not being in his sight as he walked to find Rain and Loki. As he approached the dungeon he heard Rains flute. It was a beautiful sound. Hern wondered if it was the song his wife helped him create. When Hern could finally see Rain the man looked like he was about to fall over.

“Akim doesn’t have to stay here any longer Rain. I need you and Loki to find him a horse and get him a bag ready for his journey home.”

“You’re really just letting him leave after what he has done?”

“It’s what she wants and we could learn more compassion from her. I am struggling with this too believe me but Suri is right. Forgiveness goes further than anger and death. See to it he’s gone as soon as he’s ready.”

“Yes sir” Loki spoke “You just get to bed Rain, I’ll get everything ready for the Noxcal.”

“You sure? You did more work than I bringing it here.”

“Well you kept us all calm with your music. Without you the Noxcal wouldn’t have made it back alive.” Rain smiled “well the songs really Suris not mine so that was her doing aswell. Thank you Loki. I will see you after I rest as long as you’re ok with just Loki taking care of it my king.”

“Of course, rest up.” Hern said and left the men. He didn’t want to hover and make them think he didn’t trust them. He went back upstairs and peeked in his room. Suri was still sleeping, her breathing even, her face calm. He signed and found his harp. He carried the instrument out to the courtyard and sat down. He pulled it between his knees and played.

Suri woke to the sound of soft music. She smiled and slid quietly out of bed. She followed the sound the courtyard and walked over to the bench Hern sat on and sat next to him. She rested her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes. She loved his music. It was how she had happened upon him the first time she stepped foot in his world. He stopped playing and wrapped her in a hug. “When this is all over, I’m going to show you how to play.” He said softly and kissed her cheek.

“I would love that.” She smiled up at him. They heard footsteps and turned to see Loki walking the Noxcal to the front gate. Sure got up and followed them out. The Noxcal swung himself onto the back of the brown mare who had a pack of food strapped to her. “Please be safe on your journey.” She said to him. He looked a bit embarrassed, but gave her a small smile.

“Thank you for showing me mercy. I must apologize for hurting you.” He said.

“All is forgiven.” He smiled again and kicked the mare into movement.

When Akim was out of sight Hern stopped Loki from leaving “Yes sir?”

“Have you rested?”

“Yes your highness, I slept while Rain kept guard of the Noxcal.” Loki said a little embarrassed “Good, I trust you and Rain more than any of my men so I’d prefer you rather than sending someone else.”

“Thank you sir, what do you need of me?”

“The leader of the Bourhns is staying in a cabin near here to be close for us to easily discuss things. I want to bring my wife with me but I’d like more than just I to go in case something happens. I want you to accompany us to see him. I would prefer Rain aswell but he does need rest.”

“It’s a job protecting Suri sir, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind getting up or if you just wait a few hours then we can get him.”

“Just you will be fine. It isn’t far. Rain has done much and needs rest.” Loki bowed to Hern and Suri then said I am ready the second you two need me.”

“We’ll leave after Suri eats somthing. You are welcome to join us Loki.”

“Thank you sir” Hern picked up Suri kissing her. He started back to the castle with Loki walking close behind. Suri smiled as she laid her head on Herns shoulder. The men were all so comfortable with her, especially Rain and Loki but they all feared Hern. The way they acted around him always made her want to laugh. They’d go from fun and silly to ridiculously serious and reverent. Suri just enjoyed being able to remember that. Recalling anything was now a gift to her. It was horrible not remembering a single thing. To forget this world was just terrible. She couldn’t imagine only knowing the human world where she was miserable.

Hern sat Suri down sitting next to her. Loki sat in front of them. He was sitting very straight with that serious look on his face. They ate quickly then got ready to leave. Hern asked Suri “You feel up to going my love? I don’t want you to go if you don’t feel well.”

“I want to, don’t worry. I feel great.” Hern picked his wife up and they walked outside. He kissed her forehead and said “Close your eyes my love.” He didn’t want Suri to get sick. She had gotten better at dealing with how fast he ran and he couldn’t even run his fastest with Loki but after all she went through he didn’t want to chance it. Suri closed her eyes then pressed her face into his shoulder. The wind actually felt nice against her. It was slightly disappointing when Hern came to a stop about ten minuets later.

Suri had never seen a Bourhn before so had to control the shock on her face when she saw the huge fearsome looking creature. Hern had talked about them before but she didn’t imagine anything like what she saw before her. “Welcome Hern. Is this the wife I’ve been hearing about?”

“Yes, this is my Suri.”

“She is very beautiful.” When Hern set her down inside Etri said “It’s very nice to meet you Suri. You are the only other thing Hern talks about besides business.” Etri smiled making Suri not see him as a huge beast any longer. She shook Etris hand and Hern cleared his throat. “We really need to end this between you and the Noxcals. Can we talk in your office?”

“Yes we may, make yourself at home Suri and?”

“Loki” The guard smiled. “Make yourself at home Suri and Loki”

“Thank you sir.” Suri said with a bright smile that gave the creature pause. He sat down in a large chair in front of a desk covered with papers. He suddenly looked embarrassed by the mess and quickly scooped the papers into a pile.

“You are very welcome. Now, may I ask what this business with the Noxcal is?”

“One of them attacked my wife.” Hern said, trying not too sound angry.

“The only thing I can suggest is wiping them out.” He replied.

“You can’t do that.” Suri said. “You can’t murder an entire people.”

“You presume too tell me what to do? I know you are the Queen, but with or without you we will do what we must.”

“I do not come to you as your Queen, but as another living, breathing being with a heart and soul. I come here looking for a peaceful solution.”

Etri shook his head. “There can be no peace with those disgusting memory thieves. They must be gotten rid of.”

“Blood begets blood Etri. If you kill them then someone will want to kill you as revenge. Whether it be what little survivors there are or an ally. More blood will be spilled and then more after that until the world is covered in it. I have forgiven the man who hurt me and I made my husband release him. My gesture will do more in years than your acts of violence.” She stood and went around the desk. He stood, looking down at her. “Please let it go. Find a peaceful solution. Do not drag my husband into a war, do not redden his hands with blood and death because you are too stubborn to find any other way.” A look of shame passed over his face.

“How can you resist this woman?” Etri asked as he looked at Hern.

“I cannot.” He smiled proudly. “No one can.”

“we think of another solution then.” Etri smiled then continued “they just seem to only want violence so I’m not sure what we could do. My people also seek revenge and how could the Noxcals atone for what they’ve done?”

“This is all because they erased the minds of some of your people and took them into their clan to make them slaves right?”

“Yes, they wont even attempt to give them back their memories and we’ve only gotten two back so far. They still have five people doing their bidding. The Noxcals don’t see why they’re so wrong. You must have a truly big heart to not want to see such terrible creatures be slain.”

“You like me don’t you?” Etri laughed “very much, I see why your husband is so in love with you in just this little bit you’ve been here.”

“well nobody likes humans because most are bad and nobody wanted me here because I was a terrible creature. I’m sure not every single Noxcal is bad and they shouldn’t all be killed because the majority is bad.” Herns mouth actually dropped a little. He never thought of it like that before. When Suri first came here he was disgusted at how she was first received. He thought it was ridiculous to dislike her simply because she was human but now here he was wanting to kill off all the Noxcals like so many creatures had wanted to kill Suri.

“please forgive me Suri, I know how had it was for you when you first came here. I heard many stories about you before I asked your husband for help. What do you think we should do?”

“I should talk to the Noxcal leader and try to make him understand” Hern almost jumped out of his chair “You will not be going around those creatures Suri”

“Hern you and Loki will be with me.”

“Absolutely not, I almost lost you and will not have you walking right into their land. They will be all around you.”

“If it would make you feel better we can go back home and bring Rain.” Etri added “I’ll send some of my best men with her too Hern. You know the Noxcal leader will not leave his clan. She must go to him to speak and your wife has a knack for making people listen.” Hern looked really upset but Suri could tell he knew it’s what needed to be done.He finally got up saying “Fine, we’ll go tomorrow morning if your men can make it there in time.”

“I will make sure of it Hern.”

“He picked up Suri. We will head out for the Noxcals as soon as your men arrive and are ready to leave again tomorrow.” Etri got up to walk them out. They said their byes then suri closed her eyes laying her head on Hern again. The whole way home Herns heart was heavy. He was absolutely terrified of Suri forgetting him again. He wasn’t sure if his heart could bare her looking at him like that again, pushing him away. When they arrived back Hern told Loki to go rest but make sure hw as there at sunrise. Bourhns were very punctual creatures. “Hern I’ll be ok” Suri said as he walked down the hall to their bedroom. Hern didn’t answer, he didn’t speak atall until he was sitting on there bed holding Suri crushingly tight again. “I can’t lose you again. I can’t have you wanting to get away from me” She felt tears falling on her. “Oh Hern, You’ll be there with Rain, Loki and the Bourhn warriors. I’ll be ok”

“You look hungry.” Her said as she was starting to drift off.

“I am, very much. Starving actually. I want something light to eat.” She replied and kissed his cheek.

“How about a nice fruit salad. I could make it for you.”

“I would like that.”

He carried her from their room to the kitchen where the cook and her assistants were preparing lunch. She smiled at her King and Queen. “Can I make you something?” She asked.

“Actually I wanted to make Suri some fruit salad.” Hern said.

“Knives are over there and we have baskets of fruit in the pantry.”

“Thank you.” He sat Suri down on a stool and went into the pantry. He came out with some strawberries, a pineapple, a couple of apples and a peach. She smiled as he sat them down on the large island and picked up a knife. He chopped up the fruit and dropped it all in a bowl.

“Would you like some fresh whipped cream for that?” The cook asked and Suri nodded. She grabbed a bowl and handed it to Hern. “Use as much as you like.” She smiled and went back to work.

“How much?” Hern asked.

“Lots since you made a bowl big enough for us to share.”

They went out to the courtyard and he fed her. He got a small dot of cream on her chin and licked it off as she giggled. He smiled and took a bite. The fruit was incredibly fresh. His father had planted orchard upon orchard of every fruit known to man and beast. Suri had been so delighted when she could easily get fruit for free. “So what do you think we should do about the Noxcal?” He asked as he popped the last piece of strawberry in her mouth.

“I’m just going to talk. Everyone seems to believe I have this super power. I don’t understand it, but I hope it works on the Noxcal leader.” She answered.

“I don’t understand how you do what you do either. It’s like you crawl into someone’s heart and mind and bring them a measure of peace and understanding. You do it without intimidation or anger of any kind.”

Chapter Five

“I’m glad I can. I like as little violence as possible”

“I just wish you didn’t have to go.”

“You’re too worried. You really believe something is going to get near me with you, Rain and Loki by my side?”

“That is true” Hern smiled. Suri was happy to see it. She hated how many tears he had shed because of everything. She had never seen him cry so much before. It was a pleasant reminder though of just how much she was loved by her husband. When they finished Hern asked “What would you like to do until we leave tomorrow?”

“You’ll actually let me leave that room? I’m shocked. It’s the first place you keep taking me” Suri teased getting a laugh out of Hern “You’ve just worried me a lot over the past couple days. You can’t blame me.”

“I don’t, I’m happy you love me so much.”

“You’re my everything Suri.”

“How is it that he’ll be able to get men here by tomorrow? Isn’t their clan a three to four day trip?”

“He has some that have been staying near here also incase of the Noxcals coming after him. They will have no problem getting here in the morning.”

“That’s good”

“Now back to what’s important, what would you like to do?” Suri thought, she mainly liked to go on walk or into the woods but they would be doing a lot of walking soon. “You could go ahead and start teaching me the harp. I’m very excited to learn.” Hern looked so happy to hear Suri say that. She was glad that was what she decided on. “That’s a perfect idea” Hern said getting up and holding out his hand “You’re just going to our room to get it. I’ll be fine a few moments by myself Hern.”

“Please, I won’t be like this forever I promise. I just really can’t handle you being out of my sight for now. Will you humor me?” Suri smiled grabbing his hand. They walked beside eachother to their bedroom grabbing his harp to play it outside in the courtyard. Hern sat down asking Suri to sit like she had the last time. “I want to practice with you more this way for now. It’ll make it easier for you to learn. It helped me a lot when my mother started doing it.”

“Your mother taught you to play?”

“Yes, it’s one of my favorite memories of her.”

“That’s sweet”

“I’m sorry you’ve been here seventeen years and I’m just now teaching you.”

“Don’t be”

“No, I need to be. You’re my world and I should’ve taught you sooner. I’ve thought about it but you seemed so content just listening I wasn’t sure if you wanted to learn.”

“I love music and this is fun. We could make a song together once I learn.” Hern smiled again “That would be wonderful, I heard the song you and Rain made. It’s absolutely beautiful just like you.”

“How’d you hear it?”

“He was playing it when I went to tell them to let the Noxcal Akim go home.”

“I’m happy you liked it. You and I can make a much prettier song together though. The harp has a much more exquisite sound than the flute. I’m glad you knwo how to play this rather than that.”

They played together until dinner time. The cook brought them dinner herself and they thanked her. They ate quickly and then went back to playing. She messed up a lot, but it left her happy wrather than disappointed. They laughed together and then lay in the grass, staring up at the stars. He held her close and kissed her forehead. He was still afraid to go to sleep, afraid that when he opened his eyes that she would be gone. He had never been so afraid of being alone. Before her he didn’t care much about women. He had been in his own world, always mourning his mother and avoiding his father. She had changed all that in the blink of an eye. Now he couldn’t imagine life without her.

She started singing, startling him because he thought she had fallen asleep. “Oh why you look so sad, the tears are in your eyes come on and come to me now. Don’t be ashamed to cry, let me see you through cause I’ve seen the dark side too. When the night falls on you, you don’t know what to do nothing you confess, could make me love you less. I’ll stand by you, I’ll stand by you. Won’t let nobody hurt you, I’ll stand by you.” She smiled up at him and he looked at her in wonder. His heart gave a flip flop and he kissed her. He tangled his fingers in her hair and she wrapped her arms tightly around his neck.

“I love you so much.” He said softly, his voice shaking a little.

“I love you too. We need to rest now. Tomorrow we have such a long day and I promise I will do everything I can to make it the last time we are attacked by the Noxcals.”

“Yeah, we need to be at our best for the trip.” Hern picked Suri up and went to their room.  when they were undressed Hern laid on his side pulling Suri against him. He wanted to be able to look at her until he was able to fall asleep. Hern slid his fingers gently up and down Suris back to get her to sleep faster. He adored how peaceful and happy Suri looked as she fell asleep. He could stay up a bit longer without being too tired for tomorrow. He had to just enjoy being with his wife in the comfort of their room before they had to spend a couple nights outside where he’d be paranoid constantly.

There were many uncivilized monsters along the way. Some of the ones closer to where the Bourhns live could become invisible to everybody but the Bourhns. He was glad their leader was sending some of his men too so that if one did attack them while invisible atleast the Bourhn soldiers would know it was coming.It wasn’t long before he convinced himself to rest. He didn’t want somthing to happen along the way and him be tired.

Hern woke to knocking on the door. He quickly looked down and a smile went across his face at his sleeping wife. He answered seeing Loki and Rain standing there. “Breakfast is ready sir, we need to eat so we can go. Is Suri up?”

“No but I’ll get her and we’ll meet you in the dining room”

“Yes sir” They said simultaneously. Hern kissed Suri on the lips waking her. “It’s time to eat so we can go my love.” Suri sighed and Hern handed her something to wear. They got dressed and went to breakfast holding hands. “Letting me walk today?”

“For now.” He winked. A maid came over to Suri “I packed you two a bag so don’t worry about it”

“Thank you so much” Suri said as she hugged the girl “Not a problem. You be safe Suri” She said genuinly concerned. “I will, I’ll be with my husband and brothers.” They finished making their way to breakfast and sat down with Loki and Rain. Almost the second they were done eating three Bourhns entered the hall. “Welcome” Hern said standing to greet them. They bowed and Suri, Loki and Rain stood up. “You all are ready?” The bourhns asked. Suri walked up “Only after you tell me your names.” They looked shocked Suri cared what their names were. The one in the center answered pointing to each one of them as he said their names calling his own last “Falcetto, Callisto and I’m Targe.”

“It’s wonderful to meet you” Suri smiled. Hern grabbed the little bag and Suris hand as they left the castle. His heart alreayd pumping a little faster than normal. Taking Suri away from the protection of their home was really hard but this is what had to be done. She was his queen and as such this was part of her job. Even if it wasn’t Suri would demand to help. She’d help anybody in need if she could. Callisto and Falcetto walked behind them while Targe walked in front. Rain and Loki stood at each side of Suri and Hern.

Suri enjoyed the warm sun playing over her face. She closed her eyes, smiling as she walked. She inhaled the fresh air, happy too be going somewhere. Hern slipped his hand in hers and she opened her eyes and smiled up at him. “Why re you smiling love?” He asked.

“Because I’m happy.” She answered.

“Even though we may be walking into certain death?”

“I would wrather spend my last moments happy and with you than worrying about something bad happening. I can’t live in fear.”

“You make me feel so inadequate.”

“You should never feel that way. You are very brave and kind and full of love.” She brushed a quick kiss against his cheek.

“I can be extremely abrasive.” He rubbed his neck.

“I love you, rough edges and all.”

Everyone in the group smiled at her dedication. The Bourhn had never seen anything like her, a human with such compassion and understanding. She had fire in her heart, a fire that wouldn’t allow her to back down. They could listen to her voice all day. It had such a beautiful musical sound that caught and held ones attention. Suri went back to enjoying the sun. She couldn’t wait until this was all over. She was going to ask Hern to take her away for awhile. They could leave the castle in Ryker’s hands for a few days. She believed he was ready for more responsibility. She couldn’t wait to see her beautiful boys again. They would have to make a trip to see Nico. She wondered if he had found a young woman too love. Hern called for them to break for lunch and they all sat down. Suri handed each of the Bourhn an apple. They thanked her and ate in silence.

“You know you three are allowed to talk to me.” She said happily as they started walking again.

“Yes, of course. We don’t know what too talk about.” Targe said.

“Do you like too sing?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Please sing for me. You must have beautiful songs.” They all smiled and started singing. They had the most amazingly deep voices. She joined in and Rain played his flute. Hern wrapped and arm around her shoulders and just enjoyed the music with Loki.

As worried as Hern was he still had a smile on his face. Suri had managed to make this trip fun. If it had just been him they all would’ve most likely walked in silence a majority of the way unless he could somhow bring Suri up. He liked to talk about Suri when he had to be away from her. It helped him not be so sad. When the Bourhn stopped Falcetto said “You are really amazing Suri. All the good things I’ve heard about you are true.”

“You’ve heard about me?”

“Yes, I like to travel around in my spare time and I’ve heard a thing or two about you. I’ve never heard anything bad atall so don’t worry. I’ve even met your son Nico. He seems like a very nice young man.”

“How’d you meet my son?”

“I ended up in his domain and he gave me a place to sleep. He’s who I’ve heard the most from. He mentioned his brother and father but he mainly spoke of you and things you two used to always do together.”

“I’m hoping to visit Nico soon.”

“Good, he seemed to miss you. As much as a grown man will let on he misses his mother anyway.” Falcetto said in a slight laugh. “aw, well I’m glad the singing broke the ice. I dislike walking in silence. Speaking of which have you and your wife made up Loki?”

“Yes, I said I was sorry and she got over it.”

“Good, you should be more patient with her. She’s six months pregnant and miserable.”

“I know, that’s why I swallowed my pride and apologized even though I was not in the wrong.” Rain jumped in “see Suri, it’s good I don’t have anybody. There isn’t a soul to fight with if you are alone.” Suri laughed “So i guess your date didn’t go well?”

“She was ok, just not what I’m looking for.”

“You are too picky Rain!” Loki yelled. “He can be as picky as he wants Loki. If he just settles for somthing less than he wants he’ll never truly be happy. Just imagine if I settled for Howard.” Loki and Rain laughed. Rain managed to speak “Howard is a ridiculous name.”

“Yeah, I’m glad you rejected the man your mother sent to your home so you could find Hern. Where would we be without our sister?” Loki added then smiled. “Howard?” Targe asked. “My mother was always trying to get me married off. She’d always be sending men to my door. The last one was persistent. Howard wouldn’t leave me alone. He’s mainly the reason my mother and I were fighting the last time I spoke with her.”

“You haven’t spoken to her since?”

“No I don’t go back to the human world. I never got along with her and I hadn’t seen my dad since I was a young teenager.”

“What happened to your dad?”

“My mother drove him away and he found a new family. When he left my mother he left me too pretty much.”

“That’s such a shame.” Targe said sounding sad. “Don’t feel bad Targe. I don’t care. I’m really happy now.”

“That’s good, I just don’t see how a father could just abandon their child.”

“It’s actually sort of common in my world.”

The rest of the walk was spent asking Suri questions about her world. She explained that even though there was a lot of darkness there were still bright lights that pushed the darkness away. There were many good people in the world, some who had not even been born yet. She let them know that she did not regret the world she had been born in and she wished she sometimes she wished she could go back to show as much kindness as she could. She told them that she used to be angry at her mother, but she had long forgiven the woman and let the anger go. A peace had settled over her after she had let her anger go. They told her they believed it was her love of all things big and small that made her so easy to agree with. The assured it wasn’t her beauty although it had the ability to easily turn heads, but it was her very soul that shined through and washed over everyone. It reverberated in her words and actions, causing ripples in the water that was the world. They came to the Noxcal strong hold and were stopped at the front gate.

“Please, let us through.” Suri said with a warm smile. “We need to talk to your leader. It is very important.” The Noxcal guards were taken back. They both swallowed nervously and let them all in. She thanked them and she thought she saw them blush. A steward met them and led the to the throne room. The man sitting there was older with the same plae skin as his brothers and sisters.

“What business do you have here?” He asked and Hern felt his muscles tighten in anticipation of an attack. Suri laid a calming hand on him and approached the throne.

“You sent one of your men to attack me. He wiped away my memories, but I managed to gain them back.” Suri said.

“Yes, Akim spoke highly of you. I must know how you could possibly convince me not to fight a war with your husband and these creatures.”

“Because I was once in the same situation as you. I had many in this world against me, ready to kill me and if it had not been for my husband they would have succeeded. My sons were attacked and hurt, but they are strong and never stopped living. I never stopped even though my life was threatened. I was once the creature everyone feared. I was the monster that parents told their children about. I know how it feels to be hated and feared, but I also know how it feels to be loved and needed.” She said, her voice warm and so full of kindness. “My husband has given me so much. He has accepted me and helped me bring two beautiful boys into this world. These two men, Rain and Loki have done nothing but respect and honor me. These men are my family, my boys are my family and even during the darkest of times they love me for who I am. Everyone can learn to love you too. You are not monsters to me, just misunderstood creatures who need a chance to prove your worth. Please make peace with the Bourhns, let them see that you are all brothers and sisters in this world, that you just want to live and be accepted for who you are.”

The Noxcal leader was left speechless by Suris words. He looked at her thoughtfully. Hern, Loki and Rain were all very tense and had been since they entered the gate. The noxcal started staring intently into Suris eyes. She looked back not averting her gaze for a moment. Hern was surprised when he saw the Noxcal smile. “I see my queen has a very good heart. Bourhn men, tell your leader I will atone how ever it is he wants me to. I will restore the memories of the few Bourhns I still have here and let them go back. I am better at it than Akim, in fact Suri you are the first one he’s ever restored. I’m grateful he didn’t kill you. It’s tricky playing with the brain so sometimes when A noxcal is new at it bad things happen. I wont have the energy to do them all today but if you all want to go home I promise all Bourhns that are here will be sent back atleast by tomorrow.”

The Falcetto, Targe and Callisto nodded. “Just send them straight home please.” Suri started to walk away when the Noxcal leader spoke “I hope you and Hern will come back Suri. You have a truly beautiful mind and I’d like to get to know you.” With eye contact experienced Noxcals could look into your memories and thoughts. Suri had fetl him looking around but allowed it when she was looking back at him.

Hern couldn’t grab her hand fast enough when Suri got back over to him. Rain and Loki just wanted to hug her. They had been worried he would reach over and clear her head again. The Noxcal leader could do it in a matter of seconds. As soon as they were out of the gate again each of the Bourhns took turns thanking and hugging Suri. Loki and Rain seized the opportunity to hug Suri too before Hern swept her off her feet. He held her tightly like he was giving her a constant hug. His heart was in pain from it beating so fast constantly. It threatened to beat out of his chest when they walked in the midst of the Noxcals. They all looked at Suri as they passed through to see their leader.

Hern hoped the trip home would be as uneventful as the trip there.  He could tell by Loki and Rain they were hoping the same thing. They seemed to worry about Suri almost as much as he did. Especially Rain, Loki had a wife and child with another on the way. Lokis family was really close by so he spent a lot of time with them. Rain on the other hand still hadn’t even chosen a mate and his family was pretty far so he saw them rarely. Suri was really the only family he had close by that he saw frequently.

Hern hoped Rain found whatever it was he was looking for in a wife. They walked until the sun was almost gone then set up to sleep. They hadn’t made it all the way out of the Bourhn and Noxcal territory like Hern had hoped but they couldn’t keep going in the dark. They ate then all layed down to sleep. Suri pillowed her head in her husbands chest while Hern just held her.

“Are you okay?” She asked.

“I will be once we are home. I need you safe.” He said and gave her a squeeze.

“I’m perfectly safe. I’m not going anywhere or letting anyone take me.”

He didn’t say anything else. He just held her until he heard her breathing slow and felt her body relax completely against his. He finally allowed himself to drift off. He found himself waking every now and then too make sure she was still there and real. He didn’t know if he would ever get over the fear of losing her. The next morning he woke to someone calling his name. He opened his eyes and smiled up at his beautiful wife. “Come on silly, it’s time to go home.” She said as he got to his feet. She handed him a peach. “Everyone else already ate. I told them to let you sleep. I know you’ve had a really stressful week.”

“Thank you.” He ate as they walked hand in hand. The three Bourhn suddenly stopped. Suri just about ran into the one in front of her.

“What’s wrong?” She asked.

“Please be quiet and don’t move. Look ahead of us and don’t blink.” Targe said. She stared at the road ahead and she saw something shimmer into view. She saw a flash of grey fur and black stripes and then it was invisible again. “Be very still, it’s coming closer.” She felt Hern’s grip tighten on her hand. She felt warm air on her face and it shimmered into view again. The face reminded her of an African lion. It even had a black shaggy mane. Yellow eyes stared at her and it was invisible again. She felt her bag moved and watched it push open. She watched a piece of jerky float out of her bag and the creature appeared again as it ran off.

The biggest relief of it running off was Hern loosening his grip on her hand. He almost crushed it. “very good Suri, those aren’t normally a problem if you stay still. It’s when they are allowing themselves to be visible to all that they are a real problem.”

“It was a very pretty creature.” Loki smiled “You are the only person who would be able to say such a thing. I was pretty nervous. By the look of Hern and Rain they were more terrified than the rest of us combined. Suri looked at her husband and then Rain. They looked nearly white. “You two worry too much.” Hern picked Suri up and gave her a quick kiss. “You will get tired faster Hern if you carry her.” Targe said with a slight tease to his tone. “I’ll be fine.” Hern said over seriously. Suri hated Hern being so tense. She hoped he would go back to himself while they took some time off together. Hern was holding her like she could slip away at any second.

He carried her until they stopped for lunch. “You should let me walk the rest of the way Hern. You really will get too tired. Nothing happend and nothing will happen ok?” He just looked at her with sad and worried eyes that tugged at her heart. She quickly finished eating so she could give her husband a hug. Once everybody was done and rested they started off again. Hern wanted to carry Suri but settled for holding her hand. He didn’t want to be tired if something happened.

The rest of the day and that night were peaceful. They took off the second day with Hern much more at ease. “we’ll be out of our territory in a few hours so ease up guys. You know we wont let anything happen to the queen” Targe said trying to make Hern and Rain relax more. Loki decided he wanted to play eye spy to lighten the mood. “Suri” She looked over at Loki who smiled saying “brown” Suri smiled back glad he thought of that. Suri looked around then said “Tree bark”

“Correct my lady.” Falcetto looked confused so Rain said “It’s eye spy. It’s a game they play on the human world. Suri taught it to us. It’s pretty fun. She’s taught us many human games.”

“You spend a lot of time with Suri?”

“Yes she’s like our sister. When Hern is free of course she spends all her time with him but when he is too busy for Suri we hangout with her. It keeps her safe and it’s fun. Win win. You all can play. Anybody can guess if they think they have what I’m looking at. It’s her turn though since she guessed it.” They played until they ran out of things to spy. It was now only an hour before they’d be out of the most dangerous part of their journey. Hern and Rain looked almost totally at ease.

That was until Callisto shot his arrow right by Suri making Hern jerk her. They heard a creature screech. Another one they couldn’t see. Targe shot at it again as Falcetto drew a knife jumping on it and stabbing it in the center of the head. Once it started to die it appeared. It reminded her of a really huge centipede. It was so long she could barely make out where it ended. “That one was fast.” Callisto said surprised. “Yeah, I didn’t see it coming until you shot it.”

“It was in the trees at first. i didn’t notice it until it came down to take Suri.” Hern once again was about to break her hand. “Hern” Suri said cringing,he loosened. “Sorry my love.”

“It’s ok” They picked up the pace until they were finally out. There would be no more surprises for Hern, Loki and Rain. Anything beyond here couldn’t cloak themselves so they couldn’t see. Hern took a deep breath in and out glad of not being there any longer. The rest of the day crawled for Hern as Suri talked to everybody. He wanted her home so badly.

The castle appeared in the distance and Suri nearly jumped with joy. She was so excited to finally be back. She took off running, holding Hern’s hand and leaving the others behind. He lifted her into his arms as they slowed at the front gate. She made him wait for the others and he stood there impatiently. He wanted to order then to hurry, but her bright smile made him hold his tongue. She jumped down and hugged her new friends then Rain and Loki. “You all look so tired. You should eat and rest.” She said and they all let out a happy sigh.

“We have to get back to Etri dear one, but thank you.” Targe said and hugged her again. “We will visit soon. I am sure Etri will wish to speak with both of you.”

“Thank you for coming with us and protecting us. You three are amazing.” The three Bourhn continued on their way. Hern scooped her back up and carried her inside. He took her straight to their room where he lay with her on the bed. He breathed in her scent and let his fingers drift over her soft skin.

“Never leave me.” He said.

“I won’t I promise.”

He lifted his head to look at her lovely face. “Did you mean it when you said you wished you could go back to your world some times?”

“Yes, I did. I want to help people. I don’t want to stay there, I promise. This is my home. I love being here with you with all my heart. You could come with me. I’m sure Fallone has a spell or potion she could teach me to help you blend in.”

“I haven’t left this place in a long time. The last time I did a group of hunters saw me and started calling me The Lord of the Hunt. I stopped going outside this place.”

“You must have been in England and it must have been a long time ago. This place slows everyone’s aging even though day and night pass as usual. It’s extraordinary. I want to show you some of the amazing things from my world like movie theaters and airplanes and scuba diving. You’ve shared so much with me and now it’s my turn. We don’t have to go now, we just got home and I want to spend a little while just relaxing, but some day I want to take you through the cave.”

He smiled at her and brushed her hair behind her ear. “We can do whatever you want my dearest Suri.”

Chapter Six

All the fear and worry in his eyes was now replaced with adoration and happiness as he looked into his wifes eyes. He leaned down and kissed her. It was filled with ardor Suri was breathless. After kissing her for a very long time he pulled back placing a hand on her cheek sliding his thumb back and forth. “I love you so much Suri, more than you could ever understand. I’ve never loved another like this. I didn’t even notice women before you walked through that cave and into my life. Being married and running the kingdom was far from my thoughts. I wanted to be alone in nature the rest of my life.”

He was kissing Suri again before she could respond. Her whole body was tingling and her heart sang with joy. Suri was glad this world slowed time so much. If he was around when people in England would’ve called him Lord Of The Hunt he’d be dead by now if things went by normal time. She knew she hadn’t aged atall since being there but she didn’t realize just how slow it was in this land. She wondered how old Herns father must have been.

When Hern decided Suri probably needed a little time to breath without his mouth on hers he wrapped his body around her and sighed with contentment. Everything was done and he could keep Suri safe and just enjoy being with her. The second Ryker was home Hern would have him take over things for a good long time. Ryker was already very smart and very good at handling things. Hern had absolute faith in his son. Was more proud of him than the boy probably knew.

“We should probably eat something Suri.” Hern whispered in her ear as it grew dark. “Yeah lets go.” Hern got lifting his wife then walking into their dining room. They just grabbed some fruit so they could eat outside. Suri sat across his lap in the courtyard under the stars. Hern started looking at her with dreamy eyes. She smiled slightly blushing when she noticed. “You are the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen my love.” Hern said softly. Suri hugged him “You are so sweet.”

“It’s the truth. You will always be the most gorgeous woman in any world. No one can out shine you. I was thinking while we made our way home.”

“Uh oh, that’s never good.” She said and he smiled.

“Trust me, this is good I promise. I want to have more children.” Her eyes widened and then her smile broadened.

“Do you really? I’ve been meaning to ask now that the boys are all grown up, but you’ve been busy and stressed.”

“You should never worry about asking me something. I will drop everything if it means listening to you.”

“You really know how too sweet talk a girl.” He laughed and wrapped her in a tight hug.

“So that’s a yes?”

“Definitely. I wonder what the boys will think having a little brother or sister running around, always pulling on their shirts and asking questions?”

“They will love it. I bet we have twins again. Maybe a little girl this time.” He kissed her softly and ran his fingers lovingly  through her hair.

“Not two girls? Are you afraid of having to chase every little boys away? I doubt you’ll ever have to worry with Ryker, Nico, Rain and Loki around. Oh and lets not forget about all the other soldiers and Craygen. Fallon would easily find the time to turn them into something bad.” She smiled and laughed and he just enjoyed the sound. She was so bright and beautiful he just wanted to sit under the stars all night and watch her. “I think when we go back to my world I’m going to get you a camera and a printer and a laptop. You watch me so much I think you’d like having a bunch of pictures hanging on the walls of your office.”

“A camera huh?”

“Yes, you can have as many pictures as you want of me and the boys or of any landscape or plant. You’ll love it. I’ll even get you a really expensive one that you can plug straight in to the computer or printer or if you want we can go old fashioned and you can develope your own.”

“It would be so nice for when I have to work to have pictures of you and our children. We definitly need to make a trip to your world after I’ve had some time to get over all that’s happened.  I hope Ryker gets back here soon so you and i can just have free time together.”

“Me too, I was hoping we could use a little of it to visit Nico. I miss him so much.”

“Ok, just give me a few days here with you first. Seeing him would mean traveling with you.” Suri kissed Hern then they went inside to get some rest. “we should go ahead and start trying for our girls.” Hern said as he entered their room. “So you’ve just decided they will be girls?” He smiled “Yep” Hern set her down and took her clothes off then his. He let his tongue play in Suris belly button causing her to take deep breaths. He trailed his tongue up her stomach to her breasts. He licked and sucked at each one. Suri began to moan as she gripped his back and shoulders.

Hern sat up bringing Suri with him pushing into her. He pushed her up and down going between kissing her and just looking to her eys. Hern relished looking into Suris eyes when he made love to her. The sound of her loud moans plus the look in her eyes drove him crazy. Especially now that he had to deal with her not knowing him. He actually almost cried because of how happy he was in that moment. He didn’t want to ruin their sex so he kept the tears in.

They finished together then layed down. Hern wrapped himself around Suri giving her a few kisses on the cheek and shoulder. “I love you Hern. I hope we do have two little girls or atleast one.”

“They would be blessed with such beauty with you as their mother.” Hern whispered into her ear. “You’re too much Hern”

“No, I’m not enough. You’re so perfect and deserve perfection from me.” Suri kissed Hern. “You are amazing. I’m so happy as your wife. I love how my life is and I’m glad aging is so slow here so I can be with you a really long time.” They fell asleep wrapped in one another and woke to a maid knocking at their door. Hern was annoyed and answered the door showing it. “Sorry sir but your son is home and he wants to see his mother.”

“Rykers home!” Suri exclaimed excitedly grabbing her clothes to get dressed. Hern smiled and told the maid they’d be out soon. He got dressed too and they walked out to see their son. Ryker ran when he saw his mother coming “Mom!” He almost knocked her over when he glomped her. “I missed you son”

“I missed you too.”

“Where’s Dahlia? Didn’t she go with you?”

“She went home to see her parents. She’s coming back over tomorrow.” Ryker then hugged his father “I missed you too dad”

“I’ve got somthing important for you to do for me son.” Ryker looked excited. He lived to impress his father. The only persons opinion he cared about more was Dahlias. “Could you take care of the kingdom for me so I can spend some time with your mother?” His eyes lit up “are you serious dad?”

“Very, can you do it?” He hugged his dad again but then got serious “Yes sir I can. Take all the time you two want. Mom deserves it anyway. You’ve been busy alot.”

“I’ve got some stuff to show you and tell you before I leave you alone to run things ok?”

“alright”

“Suri please stay in the castle or very close to it. I’d prefer you stay in though.” Suri smiled “I’ll go eat breakfast. I love you”

“I love you too.” Hern said then walked away with Ryker

Suri sat picking at her food. She felt an odd sensation move through her mind and suddenly had a very pressing need too go outside the castle walls. She stood, feeling confused, but going anyway. She smiled at the guards as she passed through the front gate. She walked along the castle wall until she came to a cherry tree she had asked Hern to plant for her. She loved this side of the castle because she could watch the sun set. There was a man standing beneath the tree, his back against the trunk. “Akim?” She asked and he smiled as he stood up straight and tall.

“Sorry, I wanted too thank you again, but I thought the guards or your husband might kill me on sight.” He said, looking nervous.

“You are very welcome.” He opened his mouth and then closed it again. “You have more?”

“Yes.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a bracelet made of three rows of rose quartz. “I made this after I returned home. If this treaty goes through there may be some of my kind that will be less than happy with you. Quartz is a very powerful stone. It promotes mental clarity and will protect you against our powers. If anything happens to your mind this will hold onto your memories and restore them when needed.” She held out her wist and he put it on for her. It fit snug, but was not uncomfortable. “Always wear it when you go out.” He smiled and she hugged him. She heard someone clear their throat behind her and she turned to see Hern. He looked angry.

“What is he doing here and why are you with him?” He sounded so calm, but she could see the rage boiling in his eyes.

“He came to thank me again and he gave me a gift to protect me. Just calm down.” She said softly. “Akim, you should go.”

“Yes ma’am. If you should ever have need just call my name.” He took off at a sprint.

“Hern, don’t be angry. He wasn’t here to hurt me I promise.” She held out her hand and he took it, moving closer to her. She wrapped her arms around his waist and rested her head against his chest. “Just breathe love. I’m safe and he was very sincere.”

“I was so afraid when I couldn’t find you.” He finally said.

“I’m right here, safe and sound. Not a single hair on my head has been disturbed. He feels horrible for hurting me. I could see it in his eyes.”

“I’m sorry I’m being so paranoid. I just don’t know what to expect around you. The way you can put yourself in a potentially harmful situation and come out unscathed is so shocking. It scares me how you can talk down the darkest of creatures.” He sighed and she felt him relax. “What does the bracelet do anyway?”

“Protects my mind and memories. He said to wear it when I go out and nothing will be able to mess with my head.”

“You are so brave and forgiving. You give me strength when I have none. When you set with me in the throne room no one argues. We all get along and understand each other. You bring clarity and peace. I love you for that.” He tipped her head back and kissed her. He savor the sweetness of her lips and the softness of her skin. He inhaled her flowery scent and smiled against her lips. “You have such power over me you know that? With one word you could make or break me. I love you so much.”

“Behind every man there is a woman pushing him to be great. I will always push you. I will never let you fall or fail. I will hold you when you cry and find joy in your accomplishments. You are my everything and I love you with all my heart.” They stood there, smiling at each other until noon. They walked back inside and ate lunch, chatting happily with Ryker who was excited about getting a chance to watch the kingdom. After lunch they sat in the courtyard, playing his harp. The sun fell and Suri yawned. He carried her to their room and they stared into each others eyes. They fell asleep in each others arms, their hearts beating as one. They were forever tied together as one and nothing could tear them apart.

THE END 🙂

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