Suri was playing with her daughters Sonata and Fallon in the kingdom until Suris friend Vitrice and her son Huet came up. “Hey Suri!” Vitrice said happily and very loud “hey Vitrice, how’re you and Huet doing today?”
“very well, I’m so glad I saw you out here. I’m in serious need of adult time. Do you want to bring your two girls over? You and I can talk in the house while they play outside with my son.”
“what do you think girls?”
“sounds fun!” her twin twelve year olds said at once. Huet was excited Sonata and Fallon were coming over. He hoped to impress Sonata with this weird gel like puddle he found a little ways from his home. Huet was thirteen and developing a strong crush on her. He knew she couldn’t date until she was thirteen though so he had one more year before he could say anything. He was happy to wait and hope she liked him too.
When they arrived where Vitrice, Huet and Rivers lived the two woman went inside telling the kids to stay close. The three nodded as their mothers disappeared. “I have somthing to show you girls” Huet said with a smile. Fallon smiled at him knowingly. She often teased Huet and threatened to tell Hern how he was starting to think of Sonata. Huet was terrified of Hern. He was very protective of his girls. He was the only thing Huet feared when it came to asking Sonata out in two years.
They walked out to where Huet had found the strange substance and Sonata looked ta it confused “we’ve been here many times before and this wasn’t here.”
“I know, I couldn’t believe when I saw this. I’m not sure what it is. It looks like a puddle but it doesn’t feel like water. Touch it, its very odd” Sonata and Fallon knelt down and put their hands in the water. “This is very interesting, thank you Huet” Sonata smiled and Fallon laughed “whats so funny Fallon?”
“Nothing” Fallon said shooting a look at Huet who looked annoyed by her teasing. Out the corner of her eye Fallon saw a flash of wings. She stood and looked deep into the trees. “what is it Fallon?” Sonata asked “I think I saw a man but he had beautiful black wings.”
“Men don’t have wings.”
“I know that but I swear I saw a man with black wings and blue hair.”
“You probably just imagined it.”
“Maybe” Fallon said lightly then they all just sat around guessing what the substance could be. Sonata decided she wanted to go out into the meadow closer to Huets house. “I want to stay here and look for that man.” Fallon said “I’ll meet you two in the meadow.” Huet took it as a kind gesture to let him just be with Sonata for awhile. They both said ok and walked off. Fallon walked through the trees hoping to find any trace of him. He about made her heart leap out of her throat when he appeared behind her. “Hello there Fallon.”
“I did see you? Why do you look so different?’ The man smiled “I’m not from here. I’m from another dimension.”
“That’s not possible. My dad has the only way to others locked off.”
“I can make my own. The portal I made to get here is that puddle you three were playing with. I can lock it much like your father does the one you know of. That is why it’s simply a puddle to you three.”
“why are you here?” He smiled again “you see I like to play games. I came here to find someone to play with.”
“what kind of games?”
“Mainly puzzles, it’s hard to find people to play with me. I scare most. Why don’t I scare you? Is it because of that sweet mother of yours?”
“How do you know my mom?”
“well I’ve played some games with your father before. I went to the castle to see if I could get a peek at what he was doing. He wasn’t there but your heavenly mother was. You three seemed to be having fun. I want to play a game with the three of you. Your father is a spoil sport who got very angry with me the last time we played. Do you think you could meet me at my portal later with your sister and mother? Just any time will do. I’m very patient.”
“sure, I love games”
“Don’t tell your father please. He’ll ruin all the fun we’ll have.”
“I wont, my dad can be very uptight. You seem nice too.”
“Thank you. It will be very fun. I hope to see your sister and mother very soon. Maybe you could lead them here after she’s done with Vitrice. I’m sure excitable Sonata would love to show her mother my portal.”
“Thats a great idea! Lifes been boring lately.”
“Lets surprise them ok?”
“Ok, Sonata doesn’t believe I saw you anyways.”
Fallon skipped off, happy to have made a new friend. She ran from the woods, racing to the meadow. She tripped and fell, cutting her knee open. She pressed her hand against it as blood seeped from it. “What are you doing here alone?” A voice asked and a shadow blocked out the sun. She looked up, it was Rain.
“I was just going down to the meadow to play with Sonata and Huet when I tripped. I cut my knee.” She said.
“You shouldn’t be running.” He lifted her into his arms and she blushed. She had the biggest crush on Rain. He was kind and sweet and watched over her family. He was one of her father’s closest friends.
“Running’s not bad. Someday I’ll be faster than you Rain. I just have be steadier on my feet.”
He laughed as he carried her to Vitrice’s house. “I look forward to racing you.” He kicked the door and Vitrice opened it. Suri was right behind her. “Special delivery for the queen. Fallon cut her knee open and since you have taken older Fallon’s place as our greatest healer I thought you would want to close her wound.”
“Thank you so much Rain.” Suri took her daughter and sat her down on the couch. “Move your hand sweety.” Fallon pulled her hand back and Suri placed her hand over the cut, whispering a healing chant. Warmth moved through Fallon and the cut closed. “There you go sweety, thank Rain.”
Fallon jumped up and hugged him. “Thank you Rain.”
“What are you doing out here anyway?” Suri asked.
“Being bored. It’s my day off.”
“Still no luck with the ladies?” He laughed and shook his head.
“Nope, but someday. Anyway, I’ll let you ladies get back to girl time. Have fun.” He turned and left, waving to Sonata and Huet as he past them.
As Rain walked aimlessly he noticed a black feather stuck to his shirt. He guessed it must have come off of Fallon. He had never seen anything like it. He was curious as to what creature it came from. Rain put it in his pocket and decided to just go home. Suri talked with her friend Vetrice awhile longer with Fallon in her lap. Fallon felt a little sad Rain didn’t stay for awhile. She was a little glad she hurt herself and that he was there. He always seemed to be right there when anything happened to her. It was getting late so Suri told her friend bye.
Sonata said bye to Huet then they walked off. “Mom, Huet showed us somthing really cool today. Can we show you?” Sonata got an excited look “yeah mom it’s realy cool”
“It’s getting dark loves. Why don’t we go first thing in the morning after your dad leaves us to teach your brother.”
“When will Ryker be king?”
“Your father and brother have been discussing Ryker taking over about 80% of the time soon. He’s learned well and is smart.”
“wow, good for Ryker”
“Yes, we’re so proud of him. Just like we are proud of you girls and your other brother Nico” They walked home and Hern met them for dinner. He kissed Suri making the girls giggle. It was a silent dinner that night. Hern was tired from the long day he had. He was looking forward to some peace with his wife after tomorrow. He was glad his biggest trouble in the past thirteen years was just long hours. He carried Suri to their room and laid down with her. “what do you want to do after tomorrow?”
“Fine, I’ll surprise you. I’ve had ideas floating in my head of things we could do together.” Suri kissed his chest then laid her head down. “I love you”
“I love you too. Sorry I worked all day”
“Don’t be sorry, you’ve been good at not getting consumed with work. I know today couldn’t be helped” Hern wrapped his arms around Suri then let himself relax. He was so tired and needed rest to work with Ryker tomorrow. He wanted to be sure his son was ready to take on such a work load. Suri fell asleep quickly too. She was curious about what her daughters wanted to show her. They both seemed so excited. She’d have to show Hern when he was free the day after tomorrow.
Hern woke first, turning onto his side to admire his wife’s face. She looked at peace. He brushed some hair off her face and she shifted then woke. Her smile took his breath away, made his heart be so fast. “You are so beautiful.” He said and she gave a little laugh.
“I love you too.” He leaned in and kissed her soft lips. He could not wait until Ryker had full control of the kingdom and he was only there as an advisor. He was going to spend a lot of time making up for being busy. “Do you have to leave right this second?” Suri asked softly.
“I have a little time.”
“Make love to me then.”
“I was planning on it.” He brushed his nose against hers then kissed her as he pulled both of their clothes off. After four children and years of being married to him she was still the most captivating thing he had ever seen. Nothing could diminish her beauty. He slid his hands over her, had missed her warmth and softness. He kissed his way down her chest, biting and licking her nipples so she moaned. He licked and kissed lower, his hands parting her thighs, his mouth covering her. Her fingers tangled in his hair, her loud cry sent a shot of desire through him. He licked and sucked and nibbled, his name slipped past her lips and she pulled at him. He kissed his way back up her and she wrapped her legs around him. He stared into her eyes as he slid himself slowly into her. She gasped as he buried himself deeper, thrusting into her harder each time. Her back arched off the bed and her nails ran across his back as an orgasm tore through her. Her loud cry sent him over the edge and he came hard and fast with an almost animalistic cry of his own. He pressed his forehead against hers, unable to speak.
“I’ve never shut you up before.” She said and he opened his eyes to her satisfied grin.
“Don’t get used to it love. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time for love making. I have to apologize for that, but as soon as I’ve passed on the crown it’s all we’re going to be doing.” He said and kissed her.
She blushed a deep red and swallowed. The idea of him making love to her every day was both arousing and terrifying. “I won’t be able to walk.” She said, her voice suddenly very high.
“Good, then you can just lay beneath me and enjoy what I do to you.”
The look in his crystal blue eyes said he meant every word. She felt a thrill move through her. “I can deny you nothing.” She kissed him, wishing she could stay in bed with him all day, but she had promised to go with the girls to see what Heut had shown them. “We should go bathe Hern then eat breakfast.”
“alright” He said happily. They took a long, slow bath even though Hern should be hurrying. He just couldn’t, He enjoyed his time with Suri far too much to rush it. Especially since he wouldn’t see her again until around dinner. They walked hand in hand to breakfast. The girls were eating excitedly. Hern just grinned at them while he ate. His wife and children were what brought light to his world. Hern was disappointed when his plate and his families were empty. He had to go meet Ryker. He gave Suri a long kiss “I will see you tonight. You and the girls have fun today ok?”
“We will sweetheart” The girls got up and hugged their father tightly “you’re going to be able to play with us soon right dad?” The girls asked simultaneously. “yes, I will have a lot of free time starting tomorrow.”
“good” The girls said with a smile. Hern left, missing them before he even left the dining hall. “alright girls, take me to this place Huet showed you.” The girls each grabbed one of her hands and walked to towards the spot where they found that strange puddle. Fallon was excited about what games they might play. She was thinking of things like tag and hide and seek. She was so happy to have such a different and beautiful friend. His wings were gorgeous. She wished her hair was an odd color like his too. She also was captivated by his eyes. They were red with a small lining of blue. They were creepy but interesting all the same.
She wanted to tell her mother badly but didn’t want to ruin the surprise of whatever game they’d play. Perseus sat in a tree near his gateway into this world waiting for Fallon. He hoped she was coming today with her mother and Sonata. He was going to push them all in the second they were near enough to his portal. It was already open which was why he sat right beside it. He didn’t want anything else coming here. If Hern saw any creature from his world he’d know he came back.
“It should be around here somewhere.” Sonata said excitedly.
“Yeah, it’s so cool.” Fallon added. They finally found the strange puddle and Suri got a bad feeling. A chill creeped up her spine. “Touch it.” Fallon said.
Suri leaned in and ran her fingers through the strange liquid. When she pulled her hand away, her fingers were dry. She had never seen anything like it. She felt a whoosh of air behind her and turned to face the winged man. She knew him, he had visited the castle. Perseus. “Stay back girls.” She said, pushing them behind her.
“But mom, he said he wants to play with us.” Fallon said.
“I’m sure he does. You evil trickster. Get out of my world now.” Perseus just smiled and shoved them, using his powerful wings to keep them back. Suri gripped a tree root, unwilling to go in without a fight. She screamed.
Rain heard a bone chilling scream coming from the woods and ran as fast as he could. It was Suri, he knew that sound anywhere. He burst through the woods as Perseus stomped on her fingers. Her eyes met his for a brief second before she slipped into the blue pool. He rushed Perseus and the winged man turned on him, sending a gust of air at him so he was thrown back onto a tree. His vision swam, but he struggled to his feet anyway. Perseus jumped into the pool and it closed before Rain could follow. He felt like a failure, but he knew he had to get to Hern and Ryker. He ran to the castle, blood sliding down the back of his neck. He stumbled through the courtyard, bursting into the throne room and startling the king and his son.
“My god Rain what happened?” Hern asked and they were oth by his side in an instant.
“Perseus.” He managed to say. “The girls.”
“Ryker I need to run as quickly as possible and fetch Nico. Rain and I will get Loki.” He ordered and his son jumped into action. Hern was enraged, but he had to remain calm. He and Rain went down to the holding cells and told Loki what had happened. He ordered one of the other guards to take over duty and followed his king and Rain. While they waited for Ryker and Nico to return, Hern pulled the bark from Rain’s head wound. “You should really stay here Rain.”
“No my king, I will not. I must help them. I let them down.” Rain replied, wincing as Hern pulled another piece from his scalp.
“Don’t say that. Perseus is very powerful. Suri will be able to protect herself and the girls. Her magic has grown powerful. She can even see into the future like Fallon could. Maybe she’ll find you a wife.”
“you and Suri are always so concerned about that. I’m fine. You didn’t find Suri until you were much older than me.”
“That’s true, I guess this isn’t the time to talk about it either but I dont want to think about whatever games Perseus is planning on playing with them. I just pray he isn’t pulling them into somthing too dangerous or planning to hurt my girls.”¬†Suri¬†and the girls felt like they were struggling to breath. Perseus floated in the air above them “just stay calm, your lungs will adjust to the air here in no time.”¬†Suri¬†fought to speak “How dare you come back into our world”
“Hern told you about our fun then?”
“what you consider fun isn’t fun to anybody else.”
“Oh we’ll have a good time. In fact I’m being nice and waiting for you three to start breathing properly before I begin. There’s so many possibilities of what we can play. I havent had smart toys since Hern. I’ve been playing with animals and demons. I missed the fun of an intelligent being so I came back to your wonderful world. When I saw you and your girls I just had to have you come play with me.”
“I’m sorry mom, he seemed so nice.” Fallon said feeling foolish. “Do not be sorry Fallon, this monster knows he isn’t welcome in our world. He told you not to tell us didn’t he?”
“Don’t be sad Fallon. I am your friend. Your mother and father are just uptight”
“shut up! I thought we were going to have fun”
“Oh we are” he said as he grinned manicly. Their lungs adjusted and the three girls finally didn’t feel like they were suffocating. “I guess he wasn’t imaginary. I’m sorry Fallon for saying he was.”
“enough with this talk.” Perseus said then waved his hand. Suddenly all three were in a maze. “what’re we doing here Perseus?” Suri snapped as she held tight to her girls. “why this is our first game my new toys. All I want you to do is find the middle like good little mice. I will be watching and enjoying the show very much”
Once Ryker arrived back at the castle with Nico they all ran to the cave. Hern closed his eyes and dropped the barrier then drew a symbol in the air in front of the dark opening. “Come on.” He stepped into the darkness, moving as quickly as he could. When they stepped into Perseus’s world the air threatened to suffocate them. “Stay calm and breathe deep.” Hern ordered. They all inhaled as deeply as they could until they became accustomed to the thicker air. The sky was full of pink and orange clouds as if it was caught in a permanent sunset.
“Where do you think he took them father?” Nico asked. He had grown in a very handsome man. He was lean, muscular and even sported a goatee.
“His castle is a days run South. You must all be careful. He is known for his games. He can make you see and feel things that are not real.”
“Yes sir.” They said in unison then sprinted across the green meadow and into the woods.
Suri had her girls hold onto her belt loops so her hands were free. She closed her eyes, whispering to the spirits. “Guide us with your golden light, watch our path ahead.” She pointed forward and a bright glowing orb floated ahead of them. She followed it, keeping it in sight unless there was a corner. She let it go around first and paused briefly then hurried after it when it sent her no vision.
“Mom I’m scared.” Sonata said.
“It’s okay sister, daddy will come for us. Mom says he always comes.” Fallon said and wrapped her free arm around her sister’s shoulders.
“Everything will be alright. We’ll play his little game and then your father will punish him.” Suri said as calmly as she could. A vision of a large can flickered in her head and she froze. It was one of the creatures she had encountered with the Bourhn warriors. “Don’t move.” She said softly. The cat came around the corner shimmering into view for a brief second then disappearing again. The orb stayed close to it, letting Suri know exactly where it was.
When it was far away the orb came back and they continued. Perseus was getting annoyed because of how skillfully Suri was handling the maze. He appeared standing on a wall beside them making Sonata scream. “You’re cheating Suri!”
“I am not.”
“This was the second game I played with Hern and he told you how to find your way through you cheater.”
“You’re just an idiot for picking a game you played with my husband. We’ve been married for many many years. You didn’t think he’d talk in detail about such an ordeal?”
“You’d be wise not to be so quipy with me woman. Fine, we’ll play somthing much more fun. Mictian! Come to me now!” A young boy who looked a little older than the girls appeared ‘yes father?”
“You have a son?” Suri said shocked. “I have a few children, Mictian is the one I favor. I killed his mother when I decided I wanted him to live with me. I’ve had him for five years” Suri felt another chill crawl up her spine. He said it so coolly and normal like it was an every day thing to kill a woman. The boy didn’t even act bothered by his mothers death. Perseus and Mictian just whispered to eachother in another language. Suri felt even more worry for her girls now. She just hoped they’d be alright until Hern found them.
“Very fun my boy. Your mind is why I favor you. You’ve taken so much after me” The boy smiled in a pleased manner. “we have decided to let you choose your own game. You may pick from four. Perseus waved his hand again and they were suddenly facing four doors. There were no other exits. Perseus and Mictian stood at either side of them. “go through a door and it will decide your game. They are all fun. I can’t wait to play” Suri glared at Perseus “Be careful throwing that fire around my beautiful new toy. You may arouse me to the point I have to take you away and let your girls play alone. I like women who don’t fear me. It’s why I’m considering keeping your Fallon. She’d make such a wonderful pet in my castle. My son has expressed great interest in her aswell”
Suri pulled Fallon closer “You will have none of us. Hern is coming.”
“Hern barely escaped me last time. I do not fear him coming after me. I’m a demon and he’s a satyr. It’s obvious who is the stronger.”
“said like someone who didn’t get their ass kicked the last time he was here.” Perseus growled and the blue lining of his eyes left leaving them only red. He appeared in front of Suri and punched her “watch your mouth” Suri smiled as Perseus went back to being at the side of the room. “choose your door while you still can. I’m beginning not to like you so much”
She closed her eyes, using her gift of second sight to see what she would find behind each door. They were all dangerous, but the easiest to get through would be the chess match. She herself was no good at the game, but Fallon was amazing. She played every day with Ryker and Rain and even Nico when he would visit. She was very intelligent and learned quickly. Perseus had not said she alone had to play his games.
“Come on girls.” She walked with them through the third door which slammed behind them. Sitting at the chess table was Mictian. “Fallon, show this boy why the women of our kingdom will never lay down.”
Hern skidded to a halt when he came to a fast moving river. He growled in anger. He stared at the roaring, bubbling cauldron of death, wanting to rip Perseus to pieces. “Rain, Loki I want you two to goe down river and see if you can find a way across. Ryker, Nico, and I will go up river.” He ordered and his two guards bowed then took off. “Nico, up in the trees. Maybe you can see something we don’t from up there.”
“Yes sir.” His son quickly climbed, jumping from tree to tree and keeping pace with his father and brother.
Fallon sat down across from the boy and he grinned at her. He looked like he believed he had already won. He made the first move and she made the second. Piece after piece was taken. She slipped into a calm state, her tongue sticking out the side of her mouth as she thought. Mictian suddenly looked very panicked as she grabbed her queen and slammed it down. “Checkmate.” She said and he stared at the board in disbelief.
“You little brat.” Perseus said as he appeared in the room.
“Father, please. I’m sorry.” Mictian said. Perseus moved threateningly toward him and Suri stepped between them, arms outstretched.
“You will not strike this child.” She said angrily.
“Get out of my way.”
“No. I will endure your little games, but I have a rule of my own. You will not hit a child or I will summon things that will turn you into a pile of dust and feathers.” They glared at each other for what seemed like a long time.
“Fine, we’ll do it your way. The next door leads into an arena. I hope you can fight as well as you talk.” He and his son disappeared and Suri moved on to the door at the back of the room. She took a deep breath and pushed it open, stepping into the large arena. Hern was the real fighter, but she would do what she could.
“You looks cared Suri? Are you all bark?” Perseus said laughing. Fallons triumph at beating Mictian was gone as she once again felt horrible for asking her mother to come to that puddle. Perseus had seemed so friendly and nice. It didn’t cross her mind atall that he had bad intentions. She hoped Rain or her father wouldn’t be disappointed in her. She coudl imagine those looks and felt like crying. Suri stood there listening. She waited for somthing else to enter. Perseus was building her anticipation. He loved how worried she was under that serious face.¬†He finally waved his hand and Suri heard a wail. She suddenly saw a creature she had no name for. Sonata started to tremble behind her mother while Fallon looked on in disbelief at the creature coming.
Perseus and Mictian began to whisper again. Perseus still was wroth with his son about losing at chess. As Suri was distracted with the beast Mictian appeared behind them and grabbed Fallon. He flew high and Sonata screamed “Give me back my sister!” Perseus laughed and Suri panicked. She managed to get on the back of the creature and snap its neck making it collapse to the ground. Perseus actually seemed impressed. “It’s amazing what a moma can do when one of her babies are taken. You women sure get spirit when it comes to your children”
“where is he taking her?”
“He obviously has something to learn from Fallon. They are only going to play chess. That’s all I know, if anything else happens it happens but his purpose is to get better so he doesn’t fail me again”
“If he harms a single hair on my daughters head” Perseus smiled “What delicious fire. Lets see how you fair against this next beast. I want to see that mothers rage again” He snapped and another monster came running out. Fallon hit and cursed at Mictian “Put me down you asshole”
“I will not, if you keep struggling I may drop you and I assure you, from this height you will die if I dont catch you in time so I’d quit trying to push away. You and I are only going to play chess until I can win”
“But my mom, he’s going to hurt her.”
“dont you have any feelings?”
“Feelings or for the weak. Demons cant have emotional attachments. The nearest we get to feelings is sexual attraction. Do not worry though. I only intend to play chess.”
“I’m not worried, I’ll slit your throat if you dare try and touch me” Mictian laughed “you said that so seriously. Such a funny girl. A funny weak little girl. You’re half human half satyr. Nothing scary.” Fallon still kept hitting Mictian and pushing against him. She decided to bite his shoulder and he actually dropped her and he grunted in pain. Fallon screamed as she fell but he swooped down and caught her “you see you stupid little girl! God damnit! You’re better off with me than my father. He would have let you die just now”
“Father, thirty feet ahead is a bridge. The water is washing over it but it should still be fairly easy to cross.” Nico yelled from up above.
“Good job son. Ryker, please run and get the other two before they get to far away.” He nodded and took off as Nico swung down from the tree.
“How is my brother doing with learning how to run a kingdom?”
“He’s doing great, a little frazzled by all that the job entails. I guess he thought I made it look easy.”
Nico laughed. “Mom makes it look easy. Her voice just has this special sound. It always put us to sleep when we were children. I miss her stories and almost came home a few times to listen to her. I do love running my own clan though. It’s been exciting and stressful. I can never thank you enough for giving me the chance to be something.”
“You would have been something no matter what. Your brother probably would have made you captain of the guard.” Ryker came back with Rain and Loki and they crossed the bridge as quickly as possible.
Mictian finally put her down on the balcony of a castle. There was a small garden and a chess board. “I don’t want to play with you.” Fallon said angrily.
“You will play or I’ll make you watch while I hurt your sister.” He snapped. She sat down, arms crossed over her chest in irritation. He made the first move again and they played until she beat him again and again. “I don’t understand. I watch everything you do and you still beat me.” He screamed. “How do you beat me?”
“I don’t know, probably because the people who play with me and teach me actually love me. I’m not a pawn to them.” She replied as she held up one of the chess pieces. “Your father only cares about himself. To him, you are nothing but a means to an end.” He slapped her, but she made no sound, didn’t even clutch her cheek. She just glared at him.
“You can do what you like, but I will not go down without a fight. The women of our kingdom are strong. My father had freely admitted that my mother is stronger than him. She has a way about her that simple minded fools like you and your father will never understand. Your father will die. He will be toppled from his throne just like your king.”
“You will shut up and play me again!”
“Fine but I will be kind enough to give you this bit of advice. You only have three different moves you start with and only one of them is any good. Try somthing else besides just those three.” Mictian looked a bit surprised she offered somthing kind. He just acted like he didn’t hear her but still headed her words. She beta him time and time again. A few games later she asked “what was your mother like?”
“when he killed your mother because he wanted you, you were old enough to know her. What was she like?”
“I dont speak of my mother.”
“why? Because it makes you sad?”
“No, demons dont have feelings.”
“That’s not true. My greatest example being you didn’t let me die. You showed compassion where as your father who truly doesnt feel would have let me die. If you dont feel why did you save me?” Mictian looked frustrated “I need to learn from you. That is all. I do not feel and I do not care for others. I’d be a disgrace as a demon”
“if you truly dont feel it shouldn’t be hard to talk about your mother. Just tell me” He sat back tilting his chair. He looked deep and thought as he examined Fallons face. “if I tell you about my mother will you stop trying to convince me I have feelings?”
“You know good and well you feel. You just dont want to disappoint that monster of a father. I’ll quit if you can tell me about your mother with no emotion”
“what do you want to know about her?”
“what was she like?”
“She was beautiful, she had an amazing voice too. She sang me to sleep every night. She was very kind.”
“wasn’t she a demon?”
“Yes but she was kind because she was a woman. Even female demons are weak and simple minded. They arent as powerful as us men. She might have made me soft if he let me stay with her. I was kind myself then. It was disgusting.”
“you’re still kind” Fallon insisted. Mictian flipped the table and looked as though he had been insulted. “I am not kind. I am an emotionless, vile demon. I am too powerful to have feelings besides that of list or rage. Do not tell me I have feelings!” He grew even more angry when he saw a brief moment of sympathy flash through Fallons face. He hit her again to show how evil he was. Fallon hugged him in return and he pushed her away. “You don’t have to be this way. I bet my father can be reasoned with and we can take you home. You can live somwhere in our world. You have a heart Mictian. I can feel it. Don’t be the demon you were named after. Don’t let your father destroy the good heart your mother gave you.”
Mictian actually felt like crying. He hated Fallon for making him talk about Niyo. He did miss his mother but every day he was able to push out his feelings more and more. Fallon was ruining it. She was pushing those feelings to the surface again. He couldn’t let her ruin him. He called two demons “pick up this chess game so we can play in silence. When this board is set up don’t you dare touch or speak to me. There will be severe consequences.”
Suri was becoming exhausted. The jumping around and using magic taking its toll on her, but she couldn’t stop. She had to protect Sonata and get Fallon back. Perseus laughed at her, seeing that she was about to collapse. “Why don’t you just give up Suri of the human world? Let me have you and your half breed daughters.” He said and she shook her head.
“I would rather die than give up. I will not fail my children like you did your own.” She was breathing heavily as yet another monster was let loose. It was a woman with many tails and grey fox ears poking out of her hair. She raised her hands to the sky, the clouds turning a deep grey and rain starting to fall. Her eyes glowed a bright blue and lighting slammed into the ground, knocking Suri back. She struggled to her feet, throwing up a barrier to protect her and her child. She buried one hand in the ground. A long vine broke through beneath the fox creature, wrapping tightly around her. It threw her against the arena wall then beat the creature in unconsciousness. Suri fell to her knees and Sonata hugged her from behind.
“Mom, you can’t keep going. You’re going to kill yourself.” Sonata said.
“I’m fine baby, my love for my family keeps me going. As long as I have that, I can’t be defeated.” Perseus was suddenly in front of her. He slapped Sonata away and grabbed Suri’s head, forcing himself into her mind.
“I will tear your memories to shreds.” She felt him moving around and then he looked suddenly confused. “Why can’t I destroy your mind?”
She laughed and pressed her palm against his chest. “Big mistake Perseus.” She used her magic to suck the air from his lungs. He dropped her, clutching his throat and choking. His lips turned blue and he collapsed. “Stupid idiot. Don’t fuck with someone who is protected by Noxcal magic and was taught to wield power by the best healer in any world.” She kicked him then grabbed Sonata’s hand and ran across the arena to the only door. When she opened it she could see a dark grey castle in the distance.
Hern and the others started through the woods again, Nico and Ryker both in the trees. Both of the boys screamed they could see the bell tower of a castle. The sun was starting to go down, the sky turning a deep blue with grey clouds. They were al enraged, ready to kill any demon that got in their way. Perseus would be sorry he ever crawled out of his hole and onto their world. He was going to have a binding spell put between their worlds so he could not come back. They heard a loud screaming sound and froze. They waited and it came again.
“Harpies.” Nico whispered from above.
“Prepare yourselves and do not hesitate because they are women. They will tear you to pieces.” Hern said, holding tightly to the dagger in his hand.
The creatures descended on them from the sky, clawed feet trying to grab them and carry them away. Nico shot an arrow, killing one and then another. Ryker launched himself into the air, jumping on the back of one and forcing her to the ground. He buried his sword on her back and then went for another. Hern, Rain, and Loki grabbed them by their legs, pulling them down and killing them until they were covered in blood and feathers. The few that were left finally retreated and the men continued on.
Suris legs only worked out of fear for Fallon. She didn’t know Mictian atall so had no idea what he may do to her daughter. Sonata ran by her mother with worried eyes that she may pass out soon. She hoped her father was near or even knew they were here. The castle barely seemed to get closer as Suri ran. It only made her run faster. She couldn’t leave her daughter alone with the son of that monster. Perseus was trying to move but she had really got him. If he had been any less powerful a demon he may not have gotten up from that but he was in a crouching position now. He was trying with all his might to go after Suri again.
Hew would not let the demon world hear of a human woman defeating him. “Mictian” Fallon spoke “what did I say about talking to me?”
“Please, you really don’t have to be a monster. You very obviously have feelings as much as you try to drown them out for your dad. He doesn’t love you so why hold on to such love for him. Come home with us. We’ll find you a place in our world.”
“My place is here by my fathers side. I am no weakling with feelings of love or compassion. Like I said before, I merely need to learn from you. I woud’ve let you die if I had nothing to gain from your life.”
“That isn’t true, your eyes filled with love when you spoke of your mother. Your voice became softer. You loved your mom and I know deep down you hate your father for killing her.”
“shut up Fallon”
“I will not! You have a heart Mictian, I can see it and feel it” Mictian was annoyed by his rapid heartbeat. The tears once again threatening to come out. The table was once again on the ground and he pinned Fallon down “stop it right now! Do not make me kill you to silence that mouth!”
“Have you ever killed?”
“No but I will”
“I dont think you will. You have too good of a heart”
“stop saying that! Shut up!” Mictian got up and started beating everything around them outside. He destroyed everything in the garden then she actually saw a tear escape his eyes. He stood there ashamed as his mothers face resounded in his head. Soon tears were pouring. He held his face to cover the shameful display. He was a demon, the son of Perseus. This shouldn’t be happening because of some weak, annoying little girl.
Fallon wrapped her arms around him, not wanting him to hurt himself. “It’s okay to cry, everyone cries. Just let it out.” She said softly. He fell to his knees and she dropped down with him.
“I’m a failure like my siblings. They are soft too, especially Lira. She’s just like you.” He choked out.
“Please come with us. We can be friends forever. You’d have people who care about you and wouldn’t hit you. My father would find a place for you in our family.”
“What if they kill me for hitting you?”
“I won’t tell them.” She pulled back and smiled at him. “I’ll just tell them we played a very frustrating game of chess.”
Suri and Sonata finally made it to the castle gates. There were two guards, shocked to see her. She called the vines to grab them and break down the gate. She ran through, screaming her daughter’s name. Other guards attacked and she took them out one by one, feeling enraged. “Fallon where are you?” She called on lighting and it burned a hole through the chest plates of more guards.
Hern and the others made it to the castle and were surprised to find unconscious and dead guards everywhere. They ran into the courtyard and saw both Suri and Sonata, the former killing anything that came her way. “Suri.” Hern called her name and she turned to face him, her eyes softening and tears slipping down her face. She collapsed as he ran to her, lifting her in his arms and kissing her.
“Oh Hern, I knew you would come for us. My boys, my sweet boys. You came too.” Nico and Ryker hugged their mother then Nico lifted Sonata into his arms.
“Hey baby girl, look how beautiful you are.” Nico said and his sister started bawling. “It’s okay now sweety.”
“We have to find Fallon. Perseus’s son has her.” Suri said weakly. They ran through the castle, Ryker, Loki, and Rain killing demon after demon.
Fallon heard her name being called and screamed back. The door to the balcony burst open she nearly cried she was so happy. She ran straight for Rain and he lifted her into a hug. “Are you alright princess?” He asked.
“Yes, I’m fine.” She answered.
“Is this the son of the demon?” Ryker asked angrily. He moved toward the boy and Fallon pushed herself away from Rain and planted herself in front of Mictian the same way Suri had. “Move Fallon.”
“No, leave him alone. He’s not evil. He’s a victim too.” They all stared at her, seeing Suri in her eyes. She was so much like her mother it was cute. “We just played chess. I want him to come home with us. He needs a real family, he deserves a real family.”
“That’s to bad because he’s staying.” They all looked at Perseus standing on the edge of the balcony. Fallon moved around Mictian, shielding him. She backed up, forcing him to move toward her family where he would be safe.
“what have you done to my son Fallon? I thought you’d be fun but you’ve become a thorn in my side. It looks like my son has cried , MY son. You are as big of a disappointment as the rest of your siblings.” Perseus said looking now looking at Mictian. “I will let you redeem yourself if you stop this foolishness at once. You are a great demon, don’t let this little girl soften you and make you just as worthless as she is. I left you with that filthy mother for too long”
“don’t speak of my mother like that” Mictian said angrily and standing before his father. He pulled a purple sword out of the air. Perseus face twisted into deep anger “you dare draw your sword to me boy? Over women?’ Perseus scoffed and pulled his own out of the air. “I will kill you just as I killed your mother. I thought I saw potential in you but i was sorely mistaken.” The two just stared angrily until Mictian spoke “Thank you Fallon for your kindness and making me understand when I didn’t deserve such patience. Run home with your family.”
Before Fallon could speak the two demons flew into the air and started slashing at eachother. Fallon turned to her dad “we can’t leave him. he has such a horrible life here dad. he needs to come home with us. Please don’t leave him”
“You are so much like your mother Fallon. To soften the son of such a beast. We will not leave him but I can’t fight in the air. I can only help him if he survives or brings his father down somhow to where i can help him.” Rain went over to Fallon and she got into his arms. They all ran out to the stretches of grass they could see the two demons fighting over. Mictian managed to stab his father through the stomach. The two fell towards the earth.
Hern sat his wife down and ordered Rain to protect his family as he and the others rushed to the young boys aid. Perseus had his son by the throat and was punching him. “You pathetic little brat. I will show you who is the master of this world.” He picked up his sword and ran his son through. Hern tackled him off the boy and they rolled in the grass. Loki lifted Mictian and carried him back over to the girls and Rain.
“Mictian you must stay awake.” Fallon said as she smoothed back his hair.
“I’m sorry, but I’m so tired.” Rain pressed his hand against the boys stomach, pushing down hard until Mictian was crying out in pain.
“I know it hurts child, but I have to stop the bleeding.” Rain said, putting as much weight as he could on the boy. “The queen is to weak to help you right now so you will have to count on me and Fallon to keep you alive.”
“I should have ran away from home instead of letting him manipulate me. I’m sorry.” Mictian was on the verge of tears.
“There is nothing to apologize for. You are going to love my home. Everyone will love you.” Fallon was so exhausted but she had to keep him awake. “Rain, isn’t there anything else we can do?”
“I’m sorry princess, but no. I am failing you again.” Rain replied.
“Don’t say that. You got my father and brothers and Loki. You came for us, thank you for being so brave.” She gave him a quick hug then went back to talking to Mictian.
Hern and Perseus rolled to their feet, facing each other. Loki, Ryker and Nico stood behind the demon, ready to attack. “He’s mine, but if I should fall do not stop until he is dead.” Hern said, his rage filled eyes threatening to burn a hole right through Perseus. The demon growled and attacked Hern. They moved around each other, blocking and slashing. Hern slashed his dagger across the demon’s chest, tearing him open. He punched him in the face then slashed again, catching him on his other cheek. “No one touches my family.” He screamed.
Mictian coughed up blood and Fallon tore a strip of cloth off her dress and wiped his mouth. Suri moved closer to the boy. She was a healer, it was her duty to save him. “I’m going to close your wound as much as I can. I don’t have much energy, but I have just enough.” She placed her hand over Rain’s and closed her eyes. Rain felt refreshed by the warmth that moved up his arms. It was filled with the very essence of his queen. Healing magic was powered by love and devotion. He could feel her love and capacity for forgiveness washing over him. She gasped and fell down onto the grass, unconscious. The wound was mostly closed and the bleeding had stopped. Rain pulled his hands away and checked the small hole.
“Everything is going to be okay now.” Rain said with a half smile. Fallon wrapped her arms around his neck and sat in his lap, crying.
He soothed Fallon, he hated to hear her cry. He wished he would have been able to keep Perseus from taking her in the first place. As Suri lay unconscious Rains future was playing out in her dreams. A mixture of her own curiosity and him being the last thing she touched before sleeping. She saw her beautiful Fallon grown with Rain asking her to marry him. Suri was happy and knew Hern wouldn’t be disappointed when his daughter grew up and married Rain. She knew she couldn’t tell him. You weren’t allowed to tell of the future when you saw it which was why Suri didn’t look forward often.
It kept playing more as she lay there. Hern, Ryker, Loki and Nico killed Perseus and rushed back over. Hern picked up his wife, Nico grabbed Sonata, Rain stood with Fallon and Ryker picked up Mictian even though he was having a little harder time forgiving the young boy. Ryker couldn’t wait to see Dahlia to calm him from the events. They quickly exited the world and Hern sealed it so nothing could ever come through there again. They all ran for the castle. When they arrived Ryker asked “what do I do with him?”
“just put him in any guest bedroom. Suri will tend to him in the morning. He’s alright for the night.” Hern sighed and continued “I’m taking Suri to our room. Take Fallon and Sonata to the dining hall. I will be there momentarily.” Rain and Nico nodded and walked with the girls into the dining room. When Nico put Sonata down Rain followed suite and put Fallon down. “You stay with the girls Rain. I’ll go tell the cooks to make somthing” Rain nodded and stood beside Fallon.
Hern lay Suri gently down. She was covered in dirt and blood and there was a bruise on her cheek. He got a rag, getting it damp and going back to his wife. She mumbling incoherently, dreaming. He washed her face, arms and hands then pulled her out of her dirty clothes. He covered her and kissed her on the cheek. She was going to be sleeping for quite awhile. He was sure she had used every ounce of magical energy she possessed to defend their daughters. He needed to check on Sonata and Fallon, make sure they would be alright after their ordeal.
Images of the future danced all around Suri. Images of Mictian grown and looking nothing like his father. He was smiling, happy and carefree. He flew through the air, holding tightly to Sonata. Huet would be disappointed, but it was the way things should be. Next came images of Nico, looking sad and lonely. He sat staring at the great wall around the Rapu lake. “Why are you out here alone?” A female voice said and he turned. A human woman with bright green eyes looked back at him. She would wander into their world the same way Suri had. Something would drive her to the cave. Suri gasped, opening her eyes. She was still very exhausted. She reached up and pulled the cord hanging from the ceiling. Five minutes later one of the maids came in.
“Could you please get my husband?” She asked and the maid bowed then left.
Sonata and Fallon ran into Hern’s arms when he walked into the dining hall. They both started crying, clutching tightly to him. “I’m so glad you two survived.” He said softly.
“Mom fought so hard for us.” Sonata said through her tears.
“I know she did baby. She’s very strong.”
“We’re so hungry and tired.” Fallon said as she wiped her face.
“You’ll eat soon. I need to talk to you two on a serious matter though. The next time someone confronts you in the woods or anywhere for that matter, you tell one of us. There are many dangerous creatures. I will show you everyone you can trust.”
“We understand.” They said in unison.
“Excuse me sir,” a maid said as she entered the dining hall, “your wife requests you come to her.” He nodded and gave his daughters each a kiss on the forehead, leaving them to check on Suri. He smiled when he saw her awake.
“Hey beautiful. How are you feeling?” He asked as he brushed his fingers over her cheek.
“I’m tired. I need you to keep the barrier on the cave down for the next two months.” She replied and he arched an eyebrow in question. “I can’t tell you, but it must happen.”
“You were looking into the future. Okay, if the spirits say it must be then I understand. What about the boy?”
“He must live. I know you are not sure if we should trust him, but he is going to play a very important role in our future. He’s a good boy, he just needs love and guidance. We can do that for him. How is he by the way?”
“Sleeping. I’m going to have Sonata help me clean and bandage his wound until you have your energy back.”
She smiled. “Be careful taking his shirt off or you might start him bleeding again.” He leaned in and kissed her.
“Yes ma’am. Now sleep. I will bring you something to eat after we have bandaged our new family member.”
Hern gently rubbed his wifes face until she was once again asleep. By the time Hern got back into the dining hall both girls were eating. Nico and Rain were leaning against the wall talking. “Why don’t you men eat with us?”
“Thank you sir” They both said and sat down as Hern did. “Sonata, when you are done will you help me bandage Mictian? I will need your help until your mom feels better.”
“sure dad I don’t mind. Is he really alright Fallon? I mean he jerked you right from us and flew away with you.”
“It was only because his dad made him. He wasn’t mean to me atall. All we did was play chess”
“did you beat him like the first time?”
“Every time” Sonata laughed “that look on his face when you beat him was so funny”
“he had that same look everytime.”
“I need to get better at chess so i can play with him. He looked good” They finished eating and Hern excused Rain and Loki for the evening. “night guys” the girls called. Rain and Loki smiled saying bye to the girls. “do you need my help dad?”
“No, you may go to bed if you wish.”
“alright dad, goodnight” Fallon went upstairs and changed for bed. She quickly settled in to get some rest. She really needed it after the long day. Mictian was awake when Sonata and Hern walked in. He said hi weakly. “hey” Sonata said giving him a warm smile. Hern and Sonata bandaged him then Sonata asked “want me to read to you. I know it can be hard to sleep in a new place.”
“Only if you really want to”
“I do, just let me go grab a book” He smiled feeling moved just by the small gesture. He hadn’t had any type of love since Perseus killed his mother. Hern left and went to the kitchen to get his wife food. As much as she needed rest, she needed to eat too. He tried to be patient with the cooks but still ended up tapping his foot. He was very concerned over how weak Suri seemed. He just wanted to hold her and help her get the rest she needed.
Suri woke when Hern opened the bedroom door. She struggled to sit up and he quickly put the plate down and helped her, putting pillows behind her back so she was comfortable. “Let me feed you.” He said sweetly. “You don’t look like you’ll be able to cut up your steak.”
“I’m still a little shaky.” She replied. “You eat some too. I can never finish so much food.”
They ate together and talked about everything that had happened. He was very proud of his family for standing up to Perseus and for finding it in their hearts to rescue a very broken young man. “Fallon is going to be just like you. I hope whatever man has the courage to marry her can keep up with her.” He said and took a bite of green beans.
“I’m sure he’ll have no problem.” She replied and he just stared at her a moment.
“You know who it is don’t you?”
“I may or may not. I couldn’t tell you if I did.”
“So not fair. Now I’ll have to keep a look out damn it.”
She laughed and shook her head. “You will do no such thing. You will let things be.”
“Alright, alright fine. I will be as good as I can with two beautiful daughters running around this kingdom. This is the only time in my life that I will hate other men with a passion.”
Sonata sat on the bed next to Mictian reading him a story called The Singing, Soaring Lark. He listened intently, really liking her soft voice. When she finished the story he looked up at her and said, “Why would she follow him for three years? Why didn’t she just turn back and find another?”
“Because she loved him and you don’t turn away from the ones you love. He loved her too.” Sonata answered as she got off the bed. “You need to rest. Tomorrow my mom will come and heal you completely.” She kissed him on the forehead then hurried out of the room. Mictian wondered what would become of him. He wanted to be accepted and be able to spend as much time with Sonata as he could. He knew her brothers, father, and even the two soldiers did not trust him. He told himself he was going to work hard to change their image of him. He finally closed his eyes and drifted off into a peaceful slumber, dreaming of Sonata and his new family. He had not felt a peace like this in a long time.
When Suri woke she felt a million times better. Hern had an arm wrapped around her with his head resting on her shoulder so his breath tickled Suris neck. She moved a little so she could kiss him awake. “how do you feel?”
“Perfect, let me get up so I can finish healing Mictian”
“I’ll carry you” Suri just smiled and agreed. She’d allow him to be fussy for awhile. Atleast it told Suri how much her husband loved her. They quietly opened the door and found him looking at the ceiling. “Good morning Suri and Hern” He said with a polite smile. “Good morning Mictian” Suri said warmly. Hern didn’t speak not knowing if his tone would be friendly. He trusted his wifes and daughters judgment but it would be hard to be friendly at first. Suri went over and placed a hand on him. The wound closed and he thanked her. Suri surprised Mictian when she gave him a tight hug. Affection was a very new thing. He may have had it once but it had been so long.
“come to breakfast. I’ll have some of my sons old clothes brought to you then I’ll make sure new thigns are made for you to wear.”
“Thank you so much”
“There’s no need. You’re a sweet boy. You can’t help who you were born to. Thank you for not harming my daughter” Mictian felt a pang of guilt for the one time he slapped Fallon but they agreed not to mention it. He followed Suri and Hern into the dining hall where Fallon, Sonata, Ryker and Nico were eating. ¬†Nico hadn’t gone back home yet. He was going to stick around a few days to be sure Mictian wasn’t going to cause his family trouble. He knew his sister and mother had big hearts and forgave fast so he was still wary of the man.
“sit by me” Sonata said happily. He smiled, happy she offered and he went over to her. Sonata asked him question after question about many different things. Fallon almost chocked on her food when Sonata asked “are your wings heavy?” Sonata glared at Fallon “what? how is that not a legitimate question?”
“I don’t know, just seemed to be a funny thing to ask” Mictian cleared his throat “no they aren’t I’ve had wings since I was born and they’ve grown with me”
“So your kids will have wings?”
“that’s very likely. Not all my siblings have wings.”
“are you going to miss your siblings?”
“Just my sister but I can’t go back there and she wouldn’t leave her mother.”
“Can you fly me in the air like you did Fallon after we eat?”
“if that’s ok with your parents.” Sonata looked at her mother. “yes that’s fine” Suri said smiling at the two. “just be careful” Hern added. Fallon spoke “please, he held me just fine when I was struggling against him. Sonata will want to be up there, he wont drop her.” Fallon smiled at Mictian to reassure him.
They finished breakfast and Mictian quickly bathed and changed. He caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror, thinking he looked so normal. He hurried out to the courtyard where Sonata waited and held out her hand when he got close. He smiled and wrapped his arms around her waist, launching himself into the air and flying over the castle wall. She squealed with delight and clung to his shoulders. He threw her into the air and she laughed as he caught her. He turned her so her back was to him and fell to earth, pulling up and flying over a set of hot springs so she could dip her fingers in the water. He took her slowly back to earth and set her gently down. She hugged him tightly.
“Thank you so much.” She said, her dark eyes shining with joy.
“Thank you for sharing the experience. I guess I didn’t realize how enjoyable it really was. We can go up every day if you want to.” He smiled shyly.
“I’d love to.” She hugged him again then took his hand and they walked slowly back to the castle. “So how old are you Mictian?”
“Thirteen, I’m the youngest in my family.”
“I’m eleven so we’re not that far apart. When is your birthday?”
“Six months from now.”
“Mine too, how cool. You can have your birthday with me and Fallon. It’ll be fun.”
They walked into the courtyard, passing Rain and Loki who were on their way out. He ducked his head and let go of Sonata’s hand, afraid of what they might do or say. They gave him a passing glance and that was it. Sonata grabbed his hand and pulled him over to sit in the grass next to the round trellis.
“Don’t be afraid of Rain and Loki. If my mom says you are okay then they will leave you alone. It’s that simple.”
“I’m sorry, I’ve never felt this scared of anything. Not even my father. He was abusive and hammered into me to suppress every positive emotion. Having them resurface is frightening. I don’t know what to do or say.”
She squeezed his hand. “You’ll get better. Just stick with me and my sister.” Fallon came running and joined them. They sat and talked about teaching Sonata how to play chess.
Suri and Hern watched from their bedroom window, listening to the excited chatter of the children. Suri knew it was going to take Hern and the others some time to fully trust Mictian, but she had faith in them. They would follow her lead and welcome the boy with open arms even if they were unsure. “What are you thinking about?” Hern asked.
“How wonderful the future is going to be.” She answered and wrapped her arms around his waist.
“I’m glad it’s going to be good.”
“Remind me to write a letter to Akim.”
She held up her wrist. “His bracelet saved my life. Perseus tried to mess with my head, but the bracelet kept me intact and gave me the opening I needed to escape him.”
“Damn Noxcal, now I have to be nice to him.”
Can you two teach me after lunch?”
“Sounds fun” Mictian said happily. The three just stayed out there until lunch time rolled around. The children scarfed down what was on their plates then went to the room where the chess board was. Sonata sat down and Fallon told Mictian to teach her. Fallon would just stay on the side and offer pointers. Sonata knew a little bit so very little had to be explained. They played slowly the first game. Mictian and Fallon practically played for her then they let her do it more and more on her own until she felt confident. Fallon smiled when she noticed they was Mictian looked at Sonata. She saw in his eyes he liked Sonata as more than a friend.
Fallon would prefer him as a future brother over Huet anyway. Mictian was much cooler and had an even better heart to spite his upbringing. She wouldn’t tease him like Huet though. She knew that would have to wait until he was more comfortable. She’d be sure to inform him that they couldn’t date until they were thirteen. They passed the day in that room playing chess, completely unaware that much time passed until Nico found them for dinner. “Did you three have fun today?” Nico asked “Lots!” Sonata said bouncing. Nico smiled “I’m glad, would you come out with me tomorrow Mictian? I would like to get to know you one on one if you’d be ok with that.”
“Good, we’ll leave after lunch and be back around dinner.” Mictian was nervous but was glad Nico was interested in talking to him. Fallon studied her brother and she saw he was genuinely just wanting to get to know Mictian and try to trust him. They ate their dinner then Mictian asked shyly “would you read to me again Sonata?”
“I was hoping you’d want that. We can make it an every night thing. It’s the least I can do since you’re going to take me in the air everyday” Mictian smiled then Sonata continued “come with me to pick a book” He followed her to their library. Suri tried to contain her smile but it only resulted in making her smile more. Hern loved seeing Suri so happy. It never ceased to amaze him how she easily bounced back from things like that. She was truly a brave and strong woman.
Mictian walked with Sonata back to his new room and he settled himself under the covers. Sonata sat next to him and read. He hoped she would do this for as long as they knew each other. He wondered how old she would have to before he could date her. He wanted to everything he could to make her fall in love with him. His mother had wanted him happy, she had wanted him to smile and laugh and love someone. He could do that with Sonata so easily.
“Do I have something on my face?” She asked and he realized he was staring.
“No, sorry, please keep reading.” He answered and looked at the ceiling.
Hern leaned against Fallon’s door as Ryker, Nico, and Fallon sat on the floor listening to Suri tell one of her stories. It was quite a sight seeing his sons sitting there like eager children. He smiled, closing his eyes and listening. He loved his family so much. After she was done and had tucked Fallon in they all left her room. Ryker and Nico headed to bed after receiving a hug and kiss from their mother. Hern lifted her in his arms and carried her to their room. He kissed her as he lay her on the bed, his hand cupping her cheek. He breathed her in, enjoying how wonderfully sweet she smelled. He had been so terrified when Rain had come to them bleeding. He pulled back to look into her eyes, at the love burning there for him. It consumed him, pulled him in and brought him peace.
“I’m happy you are safe. You used far to much energy.” He said and brushed her hair behind her ears.
“I had no choice.” She ran her fingers through his hair.
“I know, but you could have easily killed yourself.”
“Don’t worry so much love. I’m fine and safe.” Hern tugged his boots off and lay next to her. She rested her head on his chest, stroking her fingers over his skin. He was so warm.
“Never head into the woods without one of us again.” He said softly and she let out a little sigh. “I try not to order you around, but I can’t lose you.”
“I know honey, I understand. Poor Rain, he felt like such a failure. Perseus could have killed him.”
“I told him not to blame himself. The only reason I could beat the demon is because I am equally powerful. I spent years in the wild honing my skills.”
“Maybe talk with him tomorrow.” She sounded so tired. “I love you Hern.” She whispered as she drifted off.
“I love you more than you know.” He kissed the top of her head and allowed himself to fall asleep next to her.
Morning came and Hern woke first. He decided to be still until Suri woke. Even if she slept for hours longer he’d stay and just enjoy the closeness. He felt bad for telling her not to go off far on her own anymore but that was a much more dire situation than she knew. Perseus could have killed them all. Taken away what was most precious to him. He felt tears burning his eyes just at the thought of no longer having his wife and two girls. Everybody else met for breakfast and ate happily. Mictian was nervous about going somewhere with Nico after lunch. He hoped Nico would like him. He was sure that would affect greatly if he could win Sonatas heart.
Sonata almost jumped up when she was done eating “are we going to go fly now?” she said excitedly. Mactian nodded happily and followed Sonata outside. Fallon giggled and finished her breakfast. Suri woke a few hours after breakfast. “good morning my sleeping beauty.” Suri could tell by the sun she had slept in. “you could have woken me Hern”
“I wanted to just be with you. After I talk to Rain I’d love nothing more than to lay in this room and hold you.”
“Sounds perfect, hurry and comfort him. I bet you he still feels bad. He cares so much” Hern nodded and kissed his wife before walking out. Suri went to the kitchen to grab some fruit. Rain was talking with Ryker at the desk “Could I have time alone with Rain please my son?”
“Of course dad, I’ll be outside when you’re done”
“yes sir?” Rain said looking nervous Hern would want to speak with him on his day off. “I just wanted to be sure you don’t blame yourself for the girls being taken my Perseus. I could only fight him so well because I honed my skills so much living on my own until Suri came into my life. You did all you could when you came to get me. Please don’t feel guilty over anything that happened. To all my girls you are a hero.”
“Thank you sir, I’ll try not to feel bad. It has been nagging at me. I can’t stand their tears.”
“Me neither, atleast my wife informs me many good thigns are ahead.”
“what do you mean?”
“Well for one she knows who Fallon will marry. I wish she was allowed to tell. Have you seen any boys take a special interest Rain?”
“No but I’ll keep an eye out if you want” Hern just smiled “No, Suri told me not to meddle. I wont if you dont have a clue now as to who she’d end up marrying. I feel for the man though, I hope whoever wants to marry her knows what he’s getting into and can keep up. Suri says he will though which makes me wonder even more who she saw.” Rain did feel a little better after Herns words. Rain had a bad night last night because every time he tried to rest his dreams would be of Fallon crying in his lap again. The sounds wrenching his heart. He hoped Herns reassuring words would make it so that wouldnt repeat tonight.
Sonata stretched her arms out and closed her eyes, feeling like a bird. She laughed and Mactian’s heart gave an excited flutter. He flew higher until they were obscured by the clouds and turned her to face him, just beating his wings to stay in one place. He smiled at her and then fell backwards toward the ground. He stretched out his wings, slowing them so their feet lightly touched the ground.
“I wish I had wings.” She said, her cheeks flushed.
“You do have wings, you have me.” He replied with his shy smile.
“You’re right.” She kissed his cheek. “Here comes Nico.”
He turned to face her brother, his heart hammering fearfully in his chest. “Hey sister dear, can I have some time alone with him?”
“Just be nice, he’s been through a lot.”
“I promise.” She walked happily away, going back to the castle to wait for Mactian.
“Lets walk.” Nico said and Mactian followed him. “So, you like my sister.”
“Well, yes sir I do.” He answered honestly. Nico nodded and tapped his chin with his index finger.
“She seems to like you a lot too. She’s a good girl. She has to wait until she’s thirteen until you two can date so you better not break her heart.”
“Are you giving me your blessing?” Mactian asked nervously.
“Yes I am.” He slapped the boy on the back. “So, I hear we have a lot to teach you. Father will want you to know how to hunt and learning how to play the harp is a good way to win him over. My grandmother played when he was a child and my mom is learning quickly. Sonata can play, maybe she can teach you.”
“Why are you telling me all this?”
“Because I’m not stupid. Mom knows who my sister is going to marry and by the way she keeps smiling at you two, I know it’s supposed to be you. It doesn’t matter if I find out on my own as long as mom says nothing. If you want to earn everyone’s approval then you have to take the right steps. If you want to start wooing my sister when she’s thirteen then make sure you bring her yellow lilies and never hide anything from her. She’s very understanding and full of love.” He smiled down at Mactian and he smiled back.
“Thank you Nico.”
“No need to thank me. I want Sonata to be happy. I am going back to my clan tonight to appoint a temporary leader so I can stay here a few months to teach you how to hunt. Ryker is slower to trust and may be impatient with you since he’s still learning to trust you.”
“Thank you so much”
“Stop thanking me. It’s mostly for my little sister.” They walked and talked about things. Nico wanted to make sure Mictian knew everything about how to make Sonata happy. Nico talked to the young man about his sister until the sun was beginning to fall “we better get home. I hope you remembered all this Mictian”
“every word” They quickly returned to the castle and met the family for dinner. “did you two have fun?” Suri inquired. “Yes, it was very fun.” Mictian said happily. Nico nodded with a smile. “what did you two do?” Asked Sonata curiously “just talked really” Mictian said honestly. Sonata smiled “well I’m glad Nico was nice.”
“I’m always nice” Nico said. Sonata responded with an eye roll making Mictians smile grow wider. After dinner Suri went with the boys and Fallon to their room while Sonata went to read to Mictian again. When all was gone but Nico, Ryker and Hern Nico stood. “I want to stay here and get to know Mictian better. I will go home tonight and be back by dawn to stay a few months. Is that fine with you dad?”
“You knwo we always love it when you’re here. Ryker why don’t you accompany him so he isn’t about at night alone”
“Sounds fun, we havent had much time for eachother anyway.” The boys ran out and Hern smiled. He guessed the barrier being down had something to do with Nico since he would be around for awhile. He really hoped it had something to do with him finding love. There was no greater feeling than being in love and no greater happiness than holding the one you love. He wanted each of his children to have someone special. He wanted them all to live even half as happy of a life as he had being with Suri.
Suri lay in bed waiting for her husband. She couldn’t believe how tired she still was. The door opened and her eyes jumped to his face. They just stared at each other for a moment then he crossed the room, his fingers tangling in her hair and his lips finding hers as he crawled onto the bed. He pulled at her clothes, shocking her with his desperation. He pulled his boots and pants off then lifted her and pressed her against the wall. He slammed into her and she threw her head back and screamed. “Are you okay?” He said against her neck. All she could do was nod. She gripped his shoulders, moaning loudly as he moved in her. Her orgasm had her shaking and her voice coming out in gasps. He pressed his forehead against hers, crying out as he found his own release. He carried her back to the bed and lay on his back with her on top of him.
“Now I’m extremely tired again.” She said with a small laugh.
“Sorry, I just needed you. I got to thinking about how lucky I am to have fallen in love with you. I hope our children are just as happy.” He said and kissed the top of her head.
“They are all going to be very happy and you are going to be surprised.”
“I see plenty of heart attacks in my future.” They laughed together and he massaged her back. “I wish you could tell me who they will be with.”
“What would be the fun in that?
“I love you so much. You always make me feel so amazing. You make sure I run this kingdom with confidence and compassion. I hope our son is able to do the same.”
“He will and that has nothing to do with my visions. I can sense it in him. Plus he has Dahlia. She has a bright soul.”
“Good, I’m glad he’ll be a good leader.” They lay tangled in each other until they fell asleep.
Suri could hear a voice whispering in her head as visions of fire filled her mind. “On the day of your daughters thirteenth birthday the First Mother Vaedra will convince the dragon to attack the kingdom. You must tell your husband to stop her before then or everyone you love will die.” Suri cried in her sleep as visions of her family dead and bloody flashed through her mind.
“No, please no.” She whispered. She gasped and sat up, her skin feeling hot. Hern grabbed her and shook her until she opened her eyes.
“What’s wrong? What happened?” He asked.
“Vaedra.” Was all she could say before falling back into unconsciousness.
Herns heart was hammering in his chest. “Suri please wake up! Please tell me!” He would have shaken her harder but he didn’t want to hurt her. He got up and put pants on so he could get Rain ready for anything Suri told them. He didn’t want to bother Loki because his wife would give him hell if Hern came this late. He may not be able to control it but she gave him hell all the same. Hern ran out the door. He pounded hard when he got to Rains sending the man into a panic. He threw the door open “what’s wrong? Did that boy go crazy?”
“No, it has nothing to do with Mictian. Suris crying in her sleep and it’s somthing about Vaedra. When she wakes up and tells me what she can I want you there to keep watch over my family if I have to go and set that bitch straight.”
“yes sir, go home and I’ll get dressed and meet you there as fast as I can” Rain quickly found pants then ran to the castle. Hern sat by his wife, he wished she’d wake up again. Rain stood beside their door to wait on whatever Hern told him to do. Around six am Suri stirred again. She had nightmares all night about Vaedra. “Oh good, please tell me that you are allowed to speak of what you dreamed.” Suri nodded and began to cry again “they told me that you need to stop Vaedra before the girls upcoming birthday. The morning of their birthday she is planning to convince the dragon to attack the kingdom. If we don’t stop it from happening everyone will die….all our children…us…everybody..” She started crying hard.
Rains heart almost stopped as he stood outside the door. “I’ve already brought Rain here. He is going to stay and watch over you and the children while I run to the mountain we imprisoned Vaedra to. The boys are both gone but will be back somtime today. Don’t upset the girls. I will not allow her to hurt my family.” Hern kissed Suri “would you like me to stay until you quit crying?”
“No, please go and stop this from happening.”
“I’m going to take Mictian with me.”
“It’ll be faster to fly straight to the top than for me to run or climb. He’s a demon so is much stronger than he appears. He will be able to fly me to the top to confront Vaedra.”
“Okay, I’ll get ready for the day so the girls think everything is normal.” He kissed her quickly then ran down the hall and banged on Mictian’s door. The boy opened it looking terrified. “Get dressed I need your help.”
“Yes sir.” He quickly pulled some pants on and then his boots. He decided not to wear a shirt because it was way to complicated with his wings. He was sure Suri would have special ones made to fit around his wings. He went back to his king and Rain.
“What is it you need sir?”
“I need you to fly me and Rain up to the top of a mountain. Come with us and I will show you.”
Mictian followed them out the front gates and Hern pointed out the mountain in the distance. “Why are we going up there?”
“To stop a crazy person and a dragon from killing everyone.” Mictian grabbed one man and then the other and took to the sky. Even with the added weight he could still fly fast which seemed to impress both the king and his guard. They made it to the top of the mountain in three hours. He brought them down slowly and let them reorient themselves. Neither of them had flown before so they were a bit dizzy.
“I must ask you to do something for me.” Mictian said nervously.
“What is that?” Hern stared down at the boy a little impatiently.
“If anything happens, let me take care of the dragon. I can’t be hurt by fire. Plus, you have a family to get back to. I can’t let you be killed.”
“We have a family to get back to, never forget that you are a part of it.” He squeezed Mictian’s shoulder and they made their way to the mouth of the cave. They walked inside and Orloom raised his mighty head, waking from his nap.
“Why have you come son of Azaiah, father of our future king?” He asked in a deep growling voice that was accompanied by plumes of smoke.
“We are here for Vaedra. She is planning on destroying my kingdom.”
Vaedra stepped out from behind the dragon’s tail, smiling wickedly at them. “I have already told him of what you have done to me.”
“You mean you lied to him you psychopath. I will kill you this time Vaedra. You are sentenced to death.” Her snapped angrily.
Orloom roared and spit fire at them. Mictian pulled his sword out of the air and blocked the fire. “You get the bitch, I’ll take care of her pet.”
Hern nodded proudly, he had greatly underestimated Mictian. He knew as a demon he was strong but he was braver and tougher than Hern had thought. Sonata and Fallon were just playing in front of the castle “Stop pouting Sonata. Mom said they’ll be back later. Dad and Rain just wanted to help teach him how to hunt.”
“I know, I just wont get to fly today so I’m sad.”
“He’ll fly you around tomorrow and probably every day he can for the rest of his life” Sonata smiled “I hope so, thank you so much for being brave and making friends with him. I don’t know if I could have been that brave. He seemed scary at first”
“I just could see in his eyes he had a good heart and only did bad things because his father made him.”
“I’m especially happy dads letting him live with us”
“Me too” Suri just happily watched her children with Loki by her side. He whispered to Suri “he could have gotten me.”
“I’m sure he only didn’t to spare you from another tantrum. Your wife is such a hot head when he gets you at night”
“so, she gets over it”
“True, he has Rain and Mictian. He probably wanted a guard here since he didn’t know when Nico and Ryker would get back.”
“True” he said seeming upset “Don’t be upset by your wife or Hern. Your wife gets angry because she loves you and Hern wants you to have a happy family”
“I know my queen.” Ryker and Nico finally ran up panting “we are starving mom. Car if we eat an early lunch?”
“Go right in boys. Loki, go with them and explain the current trip Hern, Rain and Mictian are on” Loki nodded his head and followed the now puzzled boys to the dining hall. Nico made them wait until they had eaten to explain. “Lets go to the office so I can make sure no other ears hear alright?” The two men nodded and went with Loki. When he was doen explining he said “Sonata and Fallon do not know what’s going on. We don’t see the sense in upsetting them. They think Hern and Rain are teaching Mictian to hunt right now.” They nodded, happy their sisters didn’t know. Ryker stayed in the office to complete some work while Nico and Loki went back outside. They walked up to the girls “would you two play hide and seek with us?”
“we’d love to!” They said excitedly “Loki you count first” Fallon said, she was always the leader in everything they did. A miniature Suri in every way.Suri was happy to see them all playing like this and decided to join in on the fun. She hadn’t played hide and seek in a very long time.
Mictian raced through another stream of fire at Orloom, slashing at the dragon. The mighty beast flew straight up, breaking through the ceiling of the cave so debris rained down from above. Mictian followed him, slashing and dodging the dragon’s razor sharp claws. “You will die demon spawn.” Orloom rumbled and spewed more fire. Hern and Rain faced down Vaedra. She held out her hand, a wooden staff appearing in it. They attacked her and she spun, catching Rain in the chest so he was knocked back. She switched direction, hitting Hern in the face. They were back on their feet and at her again.
“All you had to do was love me Hern and this could have been avoided.” She screamed as she knocked them back again. “Instead you chose a human.”
“Your first mate was a human.” Hern yelled.
“Then he left me. He didn’t die like so many think he did, he left for his world after making me swear that I would let our children rule everything. He manipulated me.” She slammed the staff into the ground, sending dirt and stone flying at them.
“Maybe he realized how insane you really were.” Hern blocked the dirt and ran at Vaedra. “What kind of mind would want to murder innocent children?” She swung at him and he grabbed her staff and punched her in the face. She fell and he wrenched the weapon from her hand. He pulled his dagger from his boot, raising it above his head. She suddenly looked like Suri, his beautiful and loving wife. She got to her feet and moved closer to him. He shook his head and stabbed her. She looked at him in disbelief, stepped back to look at the dagger protruding from her solar plexus. Suri’s form melted away and she collapsed.
Orloom slapped Mictian and he careened to award the earth. He righted himself and rushed toward the dragon. Fire washed over him and he kept going, he dodged the dragons claws and tail. Orloom snapped at him and Mictian flew under, cutting through the dragon’s scales. He flew around and sliced through one of Orloom’s wings. The dragon fell from the sky and slammed into the ground so hard that large amounts of dirt and stone spewed forth, a giant crater forming beneath him. Mictian landed next to the gasping beast, his knees giving out.
“No one has ever defeated me.” Orloom said. “To you I leave my riches.”
Hern and Rain found Mictian laying in the grass trying to catch his breath. Hern lifted the boy, proud of him for defeating one of the most powerful creatures in their world. “Good job, you’ll have scars though. It looks like he cut your chest open. They are your badges of honor, remember that.” Hern said and the boy smiled.
“The dragon said he left me his riches. What does that mean?”
“Dragon’s are notorious hoarders of treasure. He probably has a very large stash somewhere in the mountain. We’ll come back to look for it later.”
“I want to give it to the people of this world. Can I do that? Can I divide it up between the clans?”
“It’s your money son, you can do whatever you want with it.”
“Then that’s what i want”
“don’t speak any more until I get you to my wife to shut that wound.” ¬†Hern and Rain ran. They needed to get him help as fast as possible. It would be hours but Hern would keep him tended to. Mictian just thought of Sonatas bright face and smile. It lit up his heart and flushed out all pain he would have felt. Mictian was glad they had some way of knowing if danger was coming. He already couldn’t live without Sonata. He hoped she wouldn’t have to see him wounded like this. ¬†Dinner came and Sonata asked Suri “shouldn’t they be back mom?”
“They are probably just having a lot of fun sweetheart.”
“I guess” Sonata said then ate quietly with her mom, brothers and Loki. Just as Suri had gotten the girls settled for bed Hern and Rain came in with Mictian. Suri ran over, her eyes filled with concern for Mictian. She placed her hands on his chest, a warm glow shut the wound. “Thank you”
“Thank you for your help. You need to get washed off now. Rain will you take him to one of our showers?” he nodded as Hern set Mictian on his feet. He followed Rain as his eyes darted around for Sonata. He was sad he couldn’t see her until morning. “Vaedra and the dragon are dead. Mictian killed it all on his own. I was very impressed. He carried Rain and I to the mountain with no strain. The dragon wore him out but killing it by himself was amazing. He is a powerful boy.” Suri could hear in Herns voice how deeply impressed he was “Has he earned your trust?”
“After that of course. He’ll make a wonderful addition to our family. I’m happy Fallon saw the good in his heart” Suri smiled a little too happily, a twinkle in her eye. Hern got suspicious that Mictian might be marrying one of his daughters in the future. After his efforts today he wouldn’t object. He’d be proud for Mictian to marry Sonata or Fallon. Hern hoped Mictian had won over Rain aswell today. He was very protective of the girls and Suri.
Mictian ached from head to toe. He had never been hit so hard in his life. He had three long scars on his chest and a very big bruise. He didn’t want to have to explain that to Sonata. There was a tap on the door and he pulled back the curtain to look out. It was a young woman with eyes averted and clothes in her arms. “Suri had these made for you.” She said as she sat them down.
“Thanks.” He replied and she left. He got out and dried then dressed. He stuck his head out the door and yelled for the maid. She hurried back. “Sorry, but can you button the back of my shirt?” He turned around and she nervously slipped the buttons in their holes. “Thank you.” He stretched out his wings. The shirt fit perfectly. He was in to much pain to sleep so he went out to the courtyard and lay in the grass. He stared up at the sky, not even hungry. It even hurt to breathe.
“Mictian?” He jumped at his name and sat up, gripping his chest. It was Sonata. “Are you okay?”
“Just fine. You should be sleeping.” He said and she sat down next to him.
“I couldn’t, I was worried.”
“You don’t have to be. I really am fine.”
He lay back in the grass and she pillowed her head on his chest. It hurt, but he couldn’t ask her to move. He listened to her talk as they watched the stars. He really liked her voice. She went on and on until her voice became a whisper and she had drifted off. He picked her up and carried her out of the courtyard. “I take she wasn’t sleepy?” It was Hern and he looked away. “Don’t look so worried. I didn’t think you were doing anything bad.”
“She said she was worried. I just let her talk until she fell asleep. Is it okay if I take her to bed or do you want to do it?”
“Go ahead, but her room is the other way. Third door on the left.”
“Thank you sir.”
Hern smiled as Mictian took his daughter down the hall. He went back to Suri with the glass of water she had asked for and crawled in bed after handing it to her. “That boy really has a good heart.” He said.
“We have his mother to thank for that. If she had not had him first he may have been just like Perseus.” Suri said and sat the cup on the bedside table.
“He is still a demon though, prone to bouts of rage.”
“Don’t worry. He may lose his temper at times, but he cares. He feels guilty for participating in his father’s games.” She kissed his cheek and rested her head on his chest. “He’s going to be a very sweet man.”
“If you say so then we trust you. He’s been through a lot and I just have to give him the chance he deserves.”
“I’m so glad you all came back and Vaedra is dead. That vision was so horrible.” Tears filled her eyes. “I’m just glad you saw it coming. I wish I had the burden of seeing the future and not you.” He rubbed his wifes back until she fell asleep. Hern kissed her head softly “I love you Suri” he said in a whisper then faded off. A little over a month passed with Nico and Hern taking turns teaching Mictian to hunt. Sonata practiced the harp with him occasionally and he was catching on fast. Today was Herns turn, Nico was just walking about taking in the fresh air and enjoying the beautiful day. His mother had suggested he go Rapu Lake. He guessed she could see how sad he was.
He wanted a woman to love so badly, many women had wanted him but none of them were ever what he wanted. it frustrated him more that he never knew why he didn’t care for them. He just sat by the wall of the lake somberly. He hoped he wouldn’t live forever alone. Sonata, Suri, Fallon and Rain were wandering through the woods. Hern was still uptight about the girls going anywhere alone but Rain was always more than happy to accompany the girls where ever they wanted. “why don’t we go swimming” Fallon suggested happily. Sonata and Suri both agreed happily. Rain smiled with a nod and they turned left to head to a lake nearby.
When the water came into view the girls took off running while Rain and Suri walked towards it smiling “Those girls are too much”
“They are just filled with happiness and life. They could make the most depressed person feel happy just with their presence.”
“That’s very true” Suri said smiling at him. “we still aren’t sure what we’re doing for their birthday. Any ideas?”
“No but I can think of some.”
“It will be Mictians birthday too so we need to figure out what he likes. I’m sure we can just ask Sonata”
“Yeah, those two are together a lot.” Suri nodded ‘It’s very sweet.”
Nico sat by the lake staring at the large wall. It was still hard to believe his father had had it built. He felt so alone. he had his family, but sometimes seeing everyone with their other half broke his heart. Juliet stepped out of the darkness and into the bright afternoon light of this strange world. She had only seen the cave once before when she was a child. She had been far to afraid to enter at the time. She had been shocked when she had gone back and it had vanished. Ten years later she had finally found it again. Something had drawn her here, something important. She walked over the azure grass, fascinated by the strangeness of it all. She could see a mountain in the distance and thought she should go there first.
Nico threw rocks at the wooden wall, the sound echoing through the valley. He stopped only when the sound of the Rapu clicking met his ears. “Why are you out here alone?” He turned at the female voice, thinking for sure he would find one of his sisters or one of the women who had a crush on him. He froze when he met the bright green eyes of a human woman. The world seemed to stop and go quiet. His heart stuttered when she smiled at him.
“Who are you?” He asked as he came to his feet.
“My name is Juliet.” She answered.
“How did you get here?”
“The cave, it came back for me.”
“We should talk to my father and my mother. Please come with me.” He held out his hand and she slid hers into his, giving him the most trusting look. It melted his heart.
“Cool antlers. Can I touch them?” Her eyes were so bright and happy. She had not even questioned why she was here.
“Uh sure if you want.” She reached up and ran her fingers over them as they walked.
“My name is Nico by the way.”
“Much better than Juliet.”
Fallon and Sonata splashed each other then Rain picked them both up and tossed them so they went under. They came back up sputtering and laughing. Suri sat on the bank with her toes in the water, enjoying the laughter. She couldn’t wait for Fallon to grow into a very beautiful woman and knock Rain on his butt. Sonata was going to absolutely blow Mactian away. She was going to be his light and her loving nature would keep his temper in check. A strange sensation moved through the ground and she smiled. She was here and with Nico.
Suri stood “Rain, I’m going to walk home. Stay here and let the girls play. If Hern gets mad I walked alone I’ll make sure to tell him I gave you no choice”
“Yes mam, I’ll play with them until they are ready to leave.”
“Thank you Rain”
“It’s not a job” Rain said with a smile. Suri excitedly went home. She was wanted to meet Nicos love badly. Suri had seen so much of their future, it held such happiness and many beautiful children. Suri had only just made it back when Nico came in with Juliet. “Hey mom” Nico said looking happy “This is Juliet, she said our cave appeared to her and let her enter here.”
“Welcome Juliet, It’s very nice to meet you. How’d you find our cave?”
“Well I saw it when I was a little girl and could never find it again until now. I looked for it again because I felt compelled to and I ended up in this land. It’s amazing, you people are like what I’ve read in books. This world is so beautiful and amazing.”
“You should let me son show you around then if you like it here so much. What do you say Nico?” Suri said cheerfully. Nicos jaw almost dropped. He felt an instant connection when he saw Juliet and now he was putting two and two together. His mother so happens to tell him to spend the day somewhere and he ends up meeting a beautiful woman he feels instant care for. His mother had lead him to his future wife.” He kept himself calm though. If he got too excited he coudl scare Juliet away. “I would love to show you around our kingdom Juliet.”
“Yes, I am the queen and Nico my son is a prince. He’s our second born son so isn’t in line for the throne. He rules over a clan a little ways away from here.”
“wow” Juliet smiled at him “You’d show a regular girl like me around here?”
“Of course” He said with a shy smile. “I’m honored” Juliet said with a teasing bow making Nico laugh. Suri smiled brightly as the two walked away. She couldn’t wait for Hern to come at lunch time so she could tell him about Juliet being here. She still couldn’t inform her husband Nico and Juliet would fall in love but she was sure he’d put two and two together after she told him he could reseal the barrier.
“That was close Mictian, but you have to learn to let the world drop away and not get upset. Think of the calmest you have ever been and let it wash over you, let it help you focus. Lets find another deer.” Hern said and started quietly through the woods with Mictian following close behind.
“This so hard because I never had to work for anything. I never went hunting, I just sat around all day learning chess and how to be a dark hearted monster. I’m sorry.” Mictian said softly.
“It’s not your fault.” Hern spotted a large buck and motioned for Mictian to stop and be quiet. He pointed and the boy nodded. He lifted his bow and thought about Sonata. He was most calm when he was with her, especially when they flew together. He could do that forever. The world fell away, the only sound was his breathing. He released the arrow and it flew at the deer. It his it in the side, killing it instantly. He was so shocked that for a moment he just stood and stared.
“I got it, I actually got it.” He said excitedly and Hern slapped him on the back.
“Good job. Come on.” They ran over to the deer and Hern dropped down beside it, apologizing to it and thanking it. “You must always show the proper respect for the creatures of this world that feed us. Death is the greatest sacrifice.”
“I understand sir.”
“Good, never forget.” Hern showed him how to field dress the deer then he threw the animal over Mictian’s shoulders so he would get used to the weight of a dead animal and the smell of the blood close to his nose. He would have him help skin and cut it up for storage. When they arrived back at the castle they took the deer to the kitchen and got to work. Hern would have the hide made into a blanket for the boy as a trophy from his first kill. When they were done they both went to shower and change their clothing. Mictian couldn’t wait to be back with Sonata. He had not had a chance to take her flying since his training had started. Today he didn’t care how tired he was, he was taking her up.
“Hern.” Suri yelled as she ran to walk next to him.
“What is it love?” He asked as he wiped sweat from his forehead.
“A human has come to us, a young woman.”
“Interesting, where is she?”
“With Nico getting a tour.”
“I see.” He smiled. “Let me bathe then I want to meet this woman. What is her name?”
“Juliet dear. Try not to scare her.”
Herns smile widened “I won’t, so I can put the barrier back up?” Suri nodded filling Hern with happiness. His son Nico finally had someone to love. Hern bathed quickly, he was in a hurry to meet Juliet and hopefully already see the two hitting it off. Hern had seen his son start to look more and more forlorn. Finally he might see some sparkle in his youngest sons eyes again. “I’m hungry” Sonata said. Rain replied “It is lunch time, let me get you girls back home” They each took one of Rains hands as he walked them back to the castle.
Mictian sat anxiously at the dining hall table to see Sonata. He inhaled happily as she walked in. Sonata ran to Mictian and hugged him tightly. He spoke with pride in his voice “I made my first kill today”
“That’s great. I knw you’d learn, you’ve been learning the harp so well”
“You’re a great teacher” Sonata smiled and sat down. After they all ate Mictian asked “would you like to fly?”
“are you sure you’re not too tired?”
“Nope, not tired atall. I haven’t taken you up in a long time.”
“I know, I’ve missed it”
“Well lets get outside so we can fly.” Sonata got up quickly and followed Mictian outside. When they were out he wrapped his arms around her waist. His heart stammered as he took off. He felt so relaxed and happy. He hoped now that he had killed somthing they would make him leave Sonata less. He woke every day for her. Mictian flew Sonata around listening to her talk excitedly about everything. He kept going until he absolutely couldn’t make himself fly any longer. He repositioned her so she was facing him then opened his wings as wide as they would go. He fell to the earth watching Sonata smile and giggle.
When they were close he got in a standing position again and lightly set her on her feet once the earth was near enough. Sonata gave him a hug and kissed his cheek “thank you so much!”
“I’m sorry it’s been so long”
“I can understand being tired after hunting.”
“This place is so beautiful.” Juliet said as they walked the perimeter of the castle.
“You don’t seem worried about being here.” Nico replied and she smiled up at him.
“When you search for something strange so long you expect there to be something strange on the other side of it. In my family I’m kind of the black sheep. My aunt and uncle raised me after my mother disappeared. They said she was on drugs and that I was a crack baby so I have some health issues. They treat me like glass.”
“It’s what happens when a drug addict does drugs while pregnant. The drugs are very harmful. I have asthma and a seizure disorder.”
“You seem far to happy to be sick.”
“If I don’t stay happy then I will break down and never get back up again.” He was amazed at how strong she was. They finally came back around to the front of the castle and Nico saw Mictian flying in the air with Sonata. He knew he had to take her to meet his father. He swung her into his arms and she giggled happily.
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Do all the men in your kingdom walk around shirtless?”
“Only when our antlers get to big to slip a shirt over. Our newest family member Mictian wears one too, but that’s just the way he is. The guards also wear armor when on duty.”
Suri saw her son and Juliet come into the courtyard and waved them toward her. “Your father is waiting in the throne room.” She said with a big grin. “Don’t be afraid of him Juliet. He may be the king, but he is very kind unless someone he cares about comes to harm.”
Fallon sat next Rain in the dining room. He was cleaning his sword while she ate. “Can I hold it?” She asked and his eyes jumped to her face, contemplating her request.
“Just be careful, it’s sharp.” He said as she stood and he handed it to her.
“Someday I’m going to be able to beat you. I’ve decided that the only person I’ll marry is the one who can beat me in all things, chess, sword fighting, archery, and running. That’ll keep the boys away.”
“You’ll be single forever Fallon.” Rain laughed.
“Then that’s the way I will stay. We live a long time, so there is always a chance that someone can beat me. When I am eighteen and a man asks for my hand, he better be prepared to fight me for it. Only the man who truly loves me will be able to win.” She smiled bigger and handed his sword back. “Will you train me?”
“If that is what the princess wants then yes.”
Nico felt so much happiness, a warmth in his heart as he held Juliet. He didn’t put her down until they entered the throne room. Hern smiled widely as Juliet was placed on her feet. She immediately approached Hern when he stood. She held out her hand for Hern to shake “I’m Juliet, what’s your name?”
“Hern” He said shaking her hand lightly. He was tempted to pull her into a hug he was so happy but he contained himself. Ryker came in the room with Dahlia and smiled “who’s this?” he said curiously. Suri spoke “A human girl who has wandered into our land. She’s made friends with your brother Nico. Juliet, this is my other son Ryker and his wife Dahlia.” She smiled at them “it’s so nice to meet everybody. When I went looking for that cave again I never expected to meet such wonderful people in such a beautiful place.”
“you went looking for the cave?” Ryker asked “yeah, I saw it when I was a little girl but could never find it again. I just woke up this morning and had a feeling that I should look for it today and there it was. I walked right on through to here and met Nico” Ryker smiled “I hope you’ll stay awhile”
“where would I stay?”
“You could have a room here for as long as you want.” Hern said keeping a calm level tone. “I’d love to stay in this place awhile. I’m sure there’s a lot Nico hasn’t shown me yet and I want to see everything.”
“I’d be happy to show you more” Nico said grinning widely. “Your sister Fallon is in the dining hall with Rain. Why don’t you introduce them aswell?” Suri suggested. Nico nodded “when my sister Sonata comes home with Mictian you must meet them too.”
“How many siblings do you have?”
“Three, one brother and two sisters.”
“well lets meet them” Juliet said walking back over to Nico. She took his hand and they walked out of the throne room to meet Fallon and Rain in the dining hall” They entered making Fallon look immediatly. She ran over “who are you?” she said ina ¬†friendly voice “I’m Juliet”
“I’m Fallon, that man over there is Rain. You’re human like my mother. Did you get here through the cave too?”
“Yes I did”
“Good” Fallon hugged Juliet “it’s great to meet you. I hope Nico has been a gentleman.”
“He has, I really enjoy his company” Rain walked over and shook Juliets hand “Nice to meet you”
“Nice to meet you”
Once Mictian and Sonata came back from a long flight they were introduced to Juliet. Mictian’s shyness took over and Sonata squeezed his hand reassuringly to let him know that it was okay. She was sure he would grow more confident the longer he was with her family. They all sat down to eat and everyone asked her questions about where she was from. Juliet explained that she had been born and raised in Italy, but her aunt and uncle were american. Only Suri understood what that meant and explained she was raised in a different country than her family’s nationality. She also explained that’s why Juliet had a slight accent.
Juliet explained her condition to everyone and Suri decided that she would get to work finding a cure for her. She wanted Nico to have eternity with Juliet, not just a few short years. From what she had seen in her visions she knew she would be successful in finding that cure. Juliet would have many beautiful children. After they were done eating Nico asked if she would like to be taken to a room. He lead her out of the dining hall. “I didn’t want to ask in front of your family, but could I stay with you please?” She seemed a little nervous.
“You look worried.” He replied, suddenly concerned.
“I don’t want to be alone if I have a seizure. I have my meds, but sometimes I have them anyway.”
“Then yes, of course.”¬†He took her into his room and tugged off his boots. She pulled off her shoes and jeans, but kept her t-shirt on. They got in bed together and he held her close to him, feeling happy and content.
Sonata went with Mictian to read him to sleep and Suri took Fallon to bed. She brushed and braided her daughter’s hair then told her a story. Ryker came in to listen too much to Suri’s delight. Rain told Hern he would be back in the morning per Fallon’s request to be trained to fight. Hern just smiled at the thought of his little girl doing battle with Rain. The images in his head were comical and cute. He went to Fallon’s room and leaned against the door frame as Suri finished up her story. Ryker went to bed and Hern carried his wife to their room.
“It’s been a very eventful week.” Hern said as he pulled both of their clothes off. “Nico has found someone to love, Ryker is almost ready to take the throne, Sonata and Mictian have become the best of friends, and my little Fallon is ready to become a warrior woman. I can’t believe how fast they have grown up.”
“I am very happy for them and for the visions I have received. I think I shall be embracing them more. If I had not allowed myself to then our family might be dead.” She snuggled in close to him and he tipped her head back, kissing her softly.
“I love you more than you know my queen. You have brought me so much happiness and have taught me to open my heart. If not for you I would have hated my father for the rest of his life. I would have had many regrets. Thank you for choosing to stay with me. You are so much stronger than me and it is a trait you have passed on to our children. Thank you.”
“Oh Hern my love. I will always be there to hold you, to love you, and to guide you when you need me to. I will forever belong to you and no one else. Everything I am is yours for the taking. I love you so much with all my heart. You are so courageous and strong, willing to walk into the very depths of hell to bring me home. I love you, forever and always.” He kissed her again, her warmth and love washing over him, consuming him and bringing him so much joy. They drifted off together, both of them dreaming of the future and how truly exciting it would be.