Naor ached as he laid beside a river under a small bridge. He had narrowly gotten out of that fight, only getting away at all because his father taught him how to tear through into other worlds. It was dangerous but that situation had called for drastic measures. He’d return to where he was from once he had a good nights sleep and could do it responsibly. He was just about to pass out when a woman approached him. He could tell she meant no harm, not a single one of his senses felt any threat, just compassion “excuse me”
“yes?” he said, trying not to sound so weak. It was night but even in just the dim light the street lamps gave he could tell she was beautiful. He may not be staying here but he still didn’t want such a pretty creature to see him as weak. “I brought you some food. I was going to surprise my roommate but I can never pass a homeless person without giving them at least something and I don’t have any cash” He smiled, having been in other worlds enough to understand. Sweet and beautiful, now he cared even more what she thought of him “thank you but I’m not homeless just to be honest with you. I know my clothes are ripped up and I’m dirty but I’m not homeless”
“then why are you here”
“to escape so I can heal from a fight”
“Oh, I can give you a ride home”
“No thanks, you couldn’t take me home”
“why not?” He wasn’t in the habit of lieing “because I’m not human and I’m not from this world” Now Virginia was wondering if he had been drinking or something but he showed no signs of it “Um…” she wanted to say something but she wasn’t sure what she should say to him.
He let out a pain filled laugh as he struggled to his feet, his hand pressed to the side of the bridge to steady himself. “Don’t worry about it…I should get away from here.” He took a step and his knees buckled. He was in worse shape than he thought.
“Maybe I should take you to the hospital.”
“No, I’m fine.” He just needed to rest, give his body time to heal and his energy to return. “I heal faster than you humans.”
Virginia didn’t want to leave him, but she worried he might be suffering from sort of delusion. Then again, he was injured and couldn’t even get to his feet. She was sure if he tried anything, she could fight him off. “Um…you could come with me.”
He sat back, his body feeling heavy. “You think I’m nuts, I can see it. You should probably leave me here.” Besides, what if he was followed. He might lead his enemies straight to her.
“What I think of what you’re saying doesn’t matter. I still want to help you, please, I wont sleep tonight if I leave you like this. My couch folds out into a bed, it’s not the most amazing bed but it’ll be better than you sleeping here”
“This roommate you have, they wont care if you bring a person you suspect of being crazy home?”
“I wouldn’t live with my roommate if I didn’t bring crazy people home” she smiled as she said it, hoping he got the humor. When he laughed again her smile widened. He took in the area, still not detecting anybody else so he decided to go with her. She was so beautiful, so warm hearted. He’d rather spend the evening with her than all alone out here. Virginia went to help him to his feet but he waved her off “You fell last time” she protested, god was she adorable. He couldn’t remember the last woman to make his heart stutter so easily. He couldn’t fight her off as she tried again to help him “come on” she said sweetly as she began guiding him to her car.
Once he was seated she went to her side and got behind the wheel. She noticed he wasn’t buckling up and asked “do you need help?”
“with your seat belt?” He smiled, a bit of his incubus charm creeping out but he quickly dialed it back. Those abilities were harder to keep in check when he was attracted to someone but he’d rather keep control and actual win people over rather than leaning back on the magic he was born with. She felt it, the sudden rush. Her cheeks actually tinted a bit and she looked ahead of her, wondering what had just happened.
“Sorry.” He said as he buckled himself in.
She wanted to ask for what, but instead she pulled away from the park and headed home. She kept glancing at him, taking him in bit by bit. Even through the blood, dirt, and torn clothes he was incredibly handsome. His eyes moved to her and she quickly looked away, her heart stuttering and a blush creeping up her neck. “So…do you have any family?”
“Oh, should we call him when we get to my place?”
“That won’t be possible. Don’t worry about it.”
“Won’t he be worried.”
He smiled weakly. “You’re very kind, but please don’t worry about it.”
After they parked at the complex she lived in Virginia rushed around to help him again. He hated needing her assistance but he accepted it anyway, supporting himself as much as he could.Virginia was worried about trying to get her keys and him somehow falling so she knocked on the door, happy that her roommate was home to answer “who is this? Is he okay?”
“He says he will be. I already tried to take him to a hospital, he doesn’t want that” Her roommate moved out of the way so Virginia could bring him in “will you pull out the sofa bed?”
“sure” He was surprised Virginas roommate wasn’t being more hesitant about this. “Where did you find him?”
“Under a bridge. I bought us food but you know I can’t resist helping homeless people”
“it’s one of my favorite things about you Virginia”
“anyway, he says he’s from another world and just stopping here to rest” Her roommate made an incredulous face “well dude from another world what’s your name?”
“well Naor, I own a gun and know how to use it so no funny business.”
“Aiya” Virginia reprimanded. “I’m not trying to be hostile. I just feel he ought to know”
Naor chuckled. “I see, well I doubt there will be any funny business, as you can see I’m only walking at all because Virginia refused to let me try on my own. Besides, I wouldn’t hurt her for the world.”
Aiya seemed a little put off by his lack of nervousness and sighed. “Alright, as long as we’re clear then.”
“Alright, be nice. He’s been nothing but polite.” Virginia helped him sit and pulled off his shoes.
“You don’t have to do that.” He said.
“Let me, you can barely move.”
“I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”
She smiled up at him and he felt his heart quicken. For moment it was like he had been hit by a spell, but it was immediately broken when she stood to sit his shoes by the door.“Don’t worry about it, okay? Do you want a bath?”
“Uh…I don’t have clothes.”
“I may have something that fits. I have lots of sweats.
“Alright, thank you.”
Virginia went to her room to look for a few pairs, hoping one would be comfortable on him. He could sense how nervous Aiya was but he understood, she was worried about Virginia getting hurt and despite the fact he hadn’t known her even a full day yet he was already growing protective. Virginia returned with all the clean sweats in her drawers “you can try any of these on when you get out of the bath”
“Thank you, I’d like to try to get to the bathroom and bathe on my own so just hangout with your roommate, maybe eat that food you picked up on the way home”
“I can just help you get to the door”
“Alright, just the door” She helped him up again, getting him into the bathroom then walking away. Virginia went back to the car, getting their food then handing a bag to Aiya “it’s probably cold by now, sorry”
“You have a big heart Virginia, there’s no need to be sorry.”
“Someone really did a number on him, he couldn’t even stand. I’m worried he might have a concussion or something and that’s why he’s a little confused about who he is.”
“If you want I could help you make him go to the hospital.”
Virginia shook her head. “As much as I want him to be seen, I don’t want to force him. He might think we’re trying to hurt him.”
Naor felt relief sweep through his battered body once he settled into the hot water. He let out a sigh as he relaxed and sat there watching the steam curling up around him. He was going to have to repay Virginia for her kindness. He had never met someone so pure of heart, so willing to help a potentially dangerous person just because she couldn’t stand the thought of them being hurt or going hungry. He sighed as he brushed the blood and dirt from his skin and hair. He tried not to linger there too long, not wanting Virginia to worry. He dried and tugged on a pair of sweats then stopped to examine himself in the mirror. He was healing much slower than usual, but at least some of the abrasions and bruises had disappeared.
When he came out the two girls were still sitting at the kitchen table. Virginia got up and asked “do you want some food?”
“I’m really not hungry. I’ll just get some rest. Thank you so much for all of this Virginia”
“I hope you feel better in the morning. We already set a blanket and two pillows on the fold out couch for you” His smile made her heart stutter in her chest. When he laid down they decided to go to their own rooms for the night so they wouldn’t disturb him. Aiya checked her gun, he did seem friendly enough but she wasn’t as easy to trust as Virginia was. She had been through enough growing up to understand that you had to be ready for someone to turn on you and she couldn’t risk losing Virginia, the only real friend she had ever had.
Virginia on the other hand simply texted her mother goodnight then went to sleep peacefully, Naors handsome face on her mind even in her dreams. She woke the next morning hot, embarrassed even though nobody else could possibly know her dreams had been nothing but this wounded stranger in her home. Virginia dressed and came out of her room to find Naor still passed out and Aiya in the kitchen making breakfast “good morning Virginia”
“seems he behaved last night”
“I knew he would”
“Knew I’d be what?” His voice startled both of them and they both turned to look at him, Virginia blushing. They hadn’t even heard him get up or walk into the kitchen. He was leaning against the door frame, his eyes focused on Virginia. She could have applauded herself for how much self control she exerted to keep her eyes from moving over him.
“Good, she knew you’d be good.” Aiya answered.
“Of course, I would never betray her trust.”
“So, how did you sleep?” Virginia asked.
“Good, thank you.”
“Your body, how does it feel?”
“Like I took a beating, but it’s not as bad as it was last night.”
“Good.” She cleared her throat. “Breakfast?”
“Sounds amazing, again, thank you.”
He took a seat at the table, doing his best not to stare at Virginia too much. She was so damn beautiful, he loved those gorgeous strands of blonde hair, he loved the perfect curves of her body, he loved how she seemed the perfect size to hold. She looked like she’d fit perfectly in his arms. He was drawn in by this human woman but he didn’t wan to come across rude or anger her obviously protective roommate by stepping out of place. After breakfast Virginia asked “so, is your memory any better?” He smiled “there’s nothing wrong with it. I know this seems crazy but I’m sure of my memories. I’d take you back with me and show you but things are too dangerous”
He truly did look so certain, like what he remembered absolutely had to be true. Virginia was curious and asked ” so…why were you fighting people then” He felt relief she was leaning toward believing him. He could tell her question wasn’t to humor him, but genuine curiosity. “Not people as you are meaning but beings like me. Well sort of like me. There are a lot of different species but we will get too far off in the story if I try to tell you about all the beings I’m dealing with right now. It’s a long story in general what’s happening in my world but at the moment I was trying to find my brothers. I have two and my cause could really use their help. I hear they are incredibly powerful”
“But the fight”
“sorry, um” he was struggling because this had all been occurring over almost twnety years, he wasn’t sure how to condense it. He knew to her it seemed like an easy question so he supposed he would make it easy instead of trying to add in the why. He guessed he didn’t want her to think of him as violent for no reason or maybe it was his desire for her to believe him that had Naor trying to give her more information. “a few demons and their pet basilisk”
“demons?” Aiya asked incredulously “yes and I’m not human either”
“what are you then?” he swallowed, a lot of humans knew what an Incubus was. Virginia might know about his kind and be less trusting since most of his kind were such slimy assholes. “well I’m mostly Qilin” it wasn’t a lie but he knew it was drastically side stepping in fear. He hated to do it but this beautiful human woman scared him, her rejection scared him. “Qilin?” Virginia asked, genuine curiosity in her voice again. His smile was uneasy “I can show you so you know what I’m saying is real but I’m a bit too big to show you in this apartment. Is there somewhere we could go, somewhere private?”
“My mom and step dad own a pretty large property, they raise animals”
“would they be fine with us coming?”
“I’m always welcome but I’ll still call to be sure they can have the company”
“Virginia, are you sure you also want him to know where your parents live?” Aiya asked in the open. She wasn’t one for whispering or putting on another face to not hurt someones feelings. She didn’t trust him, not fully and she wouldn’t hide that “Aiya, look at him”
“I see him”
“Hes not going to hurt anybody and my mom is pretty bad ass if he does try something”
“I guess” Virginia hugged her friend then stepped into the next room to call her mother.
“If you do anything to her…” Aiya started.
“You’ll kill me?” Naor finished.
Naor nodded. “I understand your suspicion, but I’m not bad and Virginia is the safest person in the world.”
“Oh? Why is that?”
“She just is. I owe her and I’ll pay her back for her kindness before I leave.”
When Virginia returned, his eyes settled on her, his gaze admiring. Her cheeks heated, becoming rosy with embarrassment. He smiled and she realized she had been staring. “They’re not home, but they said we can go over if we want to.”
“Will you feel safe being alone with me there?”
“Of course. If you had wanted to hurt me, you could have done it last night in my car.”
“I promise to behave myself, Virginia. I wouldn’t dream of hurting you. I don’t have a shirt though.”
“I can buy you one.”
“Are you sure?”
“Very well then, thank you.” He turned his attention back to Aiya and Virginia took that moment to catch her breath. “And will you be joining us?”
“Yeah, Besides making sure Virginia is okay I’d like to see you change if you really can”
“I guess we will get in the car and stop at a store. I’ll run in by myself, will you two be fine in the car?”
“I’m sure we will” Naor answered and Aiya nodded. They loaded into Virginias car, Naor giving Aiya the front seat despite the fact he’d love to sit by Virginia. He could sense how much this woman meant to Virginia, how much her opinion must mean. He hoped to be on her good side soon. When they pulled up to the nearest store she looked back at him “I promise to be quick. Are there any colors you don’t like?”
“whatever you get me will be fine” she got out and the two sat there a little awkwardly. Virginia couldn’t understand why she couldn’t find any plain shirts. She saw plain shirts in mens sections all the time. She sighed, not wanting to take too long so she just grabbed a shirt from a show she really liked called Stranger Things. The shirt wouldn’t mean anything to him but hopefully he would like it anyway. All he really needed was something temporary to wear anyway. She grabbed them each a drink for the long ride, also getting him something she liked since she didn’t know anything about his own tastes.
Once back inside the car she handed him his shirt and drink, explaining she wanted to find a plain one and couldn’t then telling him if he didn’t like the drink he wouldn’t hurt her feelings and they could stop somewhere for a different one. He pulled the tags off and slid it on “It’s comfortable, thank you Virginia”
“ah, you got him a Stranger Things shirt. I’m jealous” Virginia nervously laughed “well if I couldn’t get him a plain one I wanted to get him one I thought was cool”
“It’s a really amazing show on Netflix”
“Netflix?” Virginia blushed “ah…dont worry about it”
“Maybe after everything I could watch Stranger Things with you.”
“O…okay” she couldn’t believe she had just stuttered.
“So where are your brothers?” Aiya asked.
“I don’t know. I was heading to my older brother’s last location when I was attacked.”
“Last location? Is he missing?” Virginia asked concerned. “I’m sure I could help you find him or ask my mom to.”
He smiled. “You really are sweet, you know that?”
“It’s true and please don’t worry, my older brother is a bit nomadic. He doesn’t have a reason to stay in one place for too long so he moves often.”
“Oh, I see, sorry.”
“For what? You have such a pure soul, you help no matter what may happen. It’s admirable and I’ve never met anyone like you.”
Virginia couldn’t believe how much his words effected her and she was blushing so hard it almost felt like she had a fever. Her heart was dancing uncontrollably in her chest and she was glad no one could hear it but her.
At least, that’s what she thought since she didn’t fully understand what Naor was or what abilities came with that. When they arrived at her parents property Naor took a second to take it all in “their land is beautiful Virginia, did you grow up here?”
“No, they’ve recently moved out here but Aiya and I come a lot. If my parents are going to be gone long sometimes I even stay to make sure the animals are okay without them”
“well, lets get a ways away from them to be sure I don’t startle them” They walked until Virginia felt the animals wouldn’t get upset and Naor said “please close your eyes. I’ll tell you when”
“close our eyes?” Aiya asked suspiciously “Aiya, come on” she sighed “alright” they both closed their eyes and Naor took off his clothes, being extra careful with the shirt. It meant a lot to him simply because Virginia bought it. When he shifted he let out a gentle sound and they opened their eyes. Aiya grabbed Virginias arm, obviously afraid but Virginia just seemed amazed. Seeing him she didn’t seem to have much more understanding for what he was but he hadn’t expected her to. He wasn’t common even at home, especially since he wasn’t even full breed Qilin. “Holy fuck” Aiya said. Virginia tugged away from her and approached him. She couldn’t believe he had been telling the truth. This made her question so much, she felt completely overloaded but found a certain calm when he gently nuzzled her. She swallowed, moving her hands so she could touch him. Aiya approached, standing just behind Virginia.
“What in the hell is going on?” Aiya asked as she gripped Virginia’s shirt, ready to pull her back and run if they had to.
“I don’t know, but…wow, look at him.”
Naor enjoyed the gentle way her hands slid over him and his heart skipped a beat at the smile of delight that soon pulled at her lips. She pressed her forehead against his, giving a little giggle. He gently nudged her and she raised her head, giving him a questioning look. She soon realized he wanted to shift back and let her fingers brush through his mane before turning away, pulling Aiya with her.
“Alright, it’s safe now.” He couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous himself when she turned back to him and he hated the thought of her possibly fearing him once she came to terms with what she just witnessed. “So, what do you think?”
“I mean, that was…I never expected something like that.”
“I just needed you to know I’m telling the truth”
“I guess there is no questioning it now”
“are you okay?” he had to ask. “Just surprised, really”
“you said mostly though,. what else are you?” Aiya asked. He wished she hadn’t asked but he wasn’t about to start lieing now. “I’m…well…I have some Incubus in me but I don’t use it unless I have to to get out of a bad situation”
“Like a male succubus” she did know, his heart sank “yeah” he looked so ashamed, it made Virginia feel bad for him “Hey, I’m not afraid of you. You’ve been so forthcoming and a good guest. I mean, you’re still hurt yet you wanted to come all the way out here and shift for me. That must have been painful in your condition” Naor gave a small smile “I know I don’t know you well but I know enough about you to really like you Virginia, I hope that we have some sort of friendship after everything I need to take care of at home”
“Can I come help?”
“No, you could get hurt. You need to stay in this world”
“But…I want to come”
“I can’t take you into such a dangerous situation. If anything happened to you…” The thought terrified him and he didn’t know why. “I just can’t.”
“But what if you get hurt again and you don’t have anyone to help you or you can’t get away? Don’t make me stay here, worrying about you. I’d feel so useless.”
He couldn’t keep himself gently taking her hands in his. “You’re far from useless. You’ve done so much for me, Virginia, I just hate the thought of anything happening to you. The people, the creatures, I am fighting would do more than just kill you and I would hate myself if they harmed a single hair on your head.”
“I’m not weak.”
“I know, I can see that, I can sense it.”
“Then let me go, I’ll do whatever you say.”
“I’ll come too, you know I’d die before I let anything touch her. Virginia may as well be my sister” Naor was scared for her to come but he did like the thought of not having to part from her. He just hoped he and Aiya could truly keep her from harm. “If you insist”
“How long until you’re ready to return?”
“One more day, especially if you’re coming I want to be completely recovered.”
“what’re we going to tell your parents Virginia? If you just vanish after asking to bring a stranger to their home they might worry” Aiya asked and Virginia said “well why don’t we invite them? I mean, my mom is pretty amazing and I’m sure given the right situation my step dad would be pretty kickass too. He just doesnt work for the F.B.I like my mom”
“They investigate bigger crimes.”
“I see. How do you think they will react to me?”
“Probably the same way I did, I hope.”
He nodded. “If you feel bringing them will keep you even more safe, then I will let them accompany us.”
“Thank you, I promise not to slow you down.”
Her determination was adorable and before he could stop himself, he had brought her hand to his lips and pressed a kiss to her knuckles. Her skin flushed and he drew back, releasing her. “Sorry.”
“It’s okay, really.”
“I really shouldn’t have…” he cleared his throat. “You should call your parents, let them know we need to meet.”
“Okay um…then maybe I can show you around, if you like.”
“thank you” Their gaze into eachothers eyes lingered a few moments before Aiya cleared her throat and brought Virginia back to earth to call her mother. Once she hungup Virginia began the tour. He enjoyed looking around and had completely relaxed again until he heard a car coming. Virginia had spilled everything over the phone and what made it more stressful was he had two more people to win over. He knew he wasn’t doing particularly well with Aiya and these two would obviously mean more to Virginia than her. “so I’m sorry but I have to see too…I mean, what my daughter told me” Brenda said, looking confused. “close your eyes then mom and dad” Virginia urged and they did. Naor shifted, grateful they had about the same reaction as Virginia.
When he shifted back Brenda was speechless so Aurik spoke “and you want us all to join you in your world”
“well, your daughter wants to come and thought if she went you two would want to go” Finding her voice Brenda said “Of course”
“By tomorrow I’ll be ready, I want to heal a little more”
“Can you all stay here tonight?” Brenda asked and Virginia looked at Naor who said “Hey, I go wherever you want to go Virginia”
“I want to stay, are you staying Aiya? I can always drive you back”
“I still want to stick around, I’ coming to when you all leave”
“Then it’s settled, lets all go in, maybe eat something” It was a nice but still a fairly awkward evening. Naor, as he expected was completely healed in the morning so checked with Virginia again “are you sure you want to come? I promise, if you dont come now I’ll come back for you when it’s safe”
“you said this has been going on for years…you may never be able to come back”
“I don’t think anything could stop me.”
Virginia felt her face heat again and she hated how easily he made her blush. It was ridiculous. She felt like she was back in high school. “Still, I want to make sure.”
“Just promise to stay close and if I tell you to run, then run. I won’t risk you or your loved ones being captured or killed.”
“And if someone does get you, fight and don’t stop fighting, inflict as much damage as possible and know I will come for you.”
Brenda, Aurik, and Aiya all had guns and Brenda handed her extra holster to Virginia. She quickly buckled it around her waist and made sure the gun was secure. “Do you know how to use that?” Naor asked.
“Mmhm, my parents made sure.”
He was relieved she did have some way to defend herself if they became surrounded. Before they left Brenda left a list with all the information her friend would need to take care of their animals while they were gone. Naor lifted Virginia which had her heart bouncing all over the place in her chest “sorry…you all need to touch me and I figured since you were the smallest I’d just hold you…” It was a flimsy excuse but he tried it none the less. Everyone else simply grabbed a hold of him where they could and instantly, he took them back to the chaos that was his home world.
“Holy shit” Aiya expressed in disbelief. Naor set Virginia down who was taking everything in with her family. It was obvious they were in a completely different world and it was absolutely stunning. Virginia was about to say something when a loud sound made her gasp instead. It sounded like a dinosaurs roar to them but Naor knew it for what it was. Brenda and Aurik already had their guns ready but Naor spoke softly “be quiet and absolutely still. They can’t see or smell, they can only hear so just stay still”
They listened and what soon came into view wasn’t a dinosaur at all, Virginia couldn’t even truly compare it to anything she had ever seen in her life but she could tell she didn’t want to make it angry. Even when it was out of sight Naor still cautiously whispered “follow me, we should have landed near my brothers location” Virginia walked closely to Naor and her observant mother was beginning to notice something brewing between her daughter and this…she wasn’t sure what to call him but she’d go with man.
It didn’t sit amazingly with her he was part Incubus but he couldn’t help that any more than Virginia could help being the offspring of her father and she certainly hoped nobody ever judged Virginia harshly because of him. Now that Virginia would be mixed up in all of this he was relieved when he actually saw him, his brother Orvis. “Orvis” he called and the man seemed alarmed “no…you can’t be Naor…”
“You were so little last I saw you”
“I’ve come to ask you something”
“well good, we can exchange questions. These people aren’t from here”
“No they aren’t, I went to another world to heal after a battle and this woman helped me. In return she wanted to come here”
“Here? Why would anybdy want to come here…why are you even back to this hell hole. You can jump worlds”
“This is my home and I wont abandon it just because I can…we can fight this…I want you to help me. I plan to find our other brother too”
“she can’t be stopped, she has too many followers now.”
“she can, anything’s possible”
“Your naive brother, if I were you, I’d leave and never look back”
“I wont and damn it you need to help me” Orvis sighed but gave his brother an approving look “well…I suppose if you insist. I think if anybody can right our world again it’s someone like you that can lead the way…i know where our brother is”
“Then let’s go get him.”
“It’s not so easy, we have to pass through some incredibly dangerous places. He decided to make his home in the middle of the Black Wood.”
“Why? That place was dangerous even before all of this.”
“That was the point. No one can get him in there and the animals don’t seem to bother him, at least as far as I could see last time he brought me through.”
“We have no choice.” Naor was even more determined to find his other brother. “We have to, we’ll just have to be extra careful.”
“What about them, about her?”
Naor’s heart jumped. Had his brother noticed? “They know how to wield a weapon and they won’t take risks.”
Orvis nodded. “Alright, give me a moment and we’ll head out.”
Orvis didn’t make them wait around long before they were on their way to Naor’s eldest brother “so you two look a lot alike” Brenda noted, simply to have something to talk about. “yeah, the three of us could be taken for triplets but we were born years apart and our eldest brother has a different mother than the two of us. Our father has very dominant genes, everything about our father is dominant” Virginia noticed by his voice that like Naor, Orvis didn’t sound like he liked his dad very much. “so your mom, where is she?”
“You’ll meet her after we have my oldest brother, she’s taking care of something else at the moment”
“Could we have a little more back story please” Aurik said, impatient to have more than just snipets of information. “You brought them here without telling them everything? No wonder they came” Orvis said with a hint of judgement to his voice “I told them they shouldn’t come but Virginia insisted”
“Still” Naor sighed, truly unsure of where to begin the story of how their world got completely twisted and evil, how even nature was revolting, twisting their world far away from the beautiful place it once was. “as I understand it, many years before even my eldest brother was born a woman named “Tibetha was brutally raped and left for dead. She survived and was with child from her ordeal. She had been a bright, kind woman before that evening on the road but the rape apparently destroyed her inside. She felt dead as the story goes and ended up killing herself when the child was just getting near their teens. Tibetha, had given birth to a girl, a girl named Bara who sought out the men who attacked her mother to get revenge only to meet a similar fate as her mother since as I’m sure you know rapists are simply rapists. People try to shove blame on the victims from time to time but being a rapist is more of a personality trait. Some people are just that sick and selfish.
They aren’t very good at finishing the job because she too survived and became the most evil thing this world has ever seen, corrupting many others. Out of her evil grew massive power within her, some say she must have made a deal with dark entities to become as powerful as she is since before this dark hole of anger grew within her she had very little magic within her.”
“How sad…” Virginia said, seeming truly heartbroken for her “Her story is a sad one but pitying her isn’t going to stop her”
“Maybe it will, maybe someone just needs to talk to her, to comfort her”
People tried, but were met with resistance and violence, innocent people, people like who she was. Her anger only bred more victims, more anger, and fear.” Orvis explained. “It’s not as if we haven’t talked of trying to save her, but we came to the conclusion that it would be a costly endeavor.”
“But if we just try, even if we fail, we should still try.” Virginia replied and Orvis huffed.
“You’ve found a stubborn woman, little brother.”
Virginia blushed and Naor’s heart gave a nervous stutter and he flashed his brother a look that told him to be quiet. He liked Virginia and didn’t want her jumping to conclusions over his incubus power. “So, the Black Wood.” He said, changing the subject.
“You know Dagr, he’s always been a little more wild than us, the place suits him.”
“yeah, I guess you’re right. Probably has a few things tamed as his pet in there” Naor said then Orvis chuckled “I think so” Virginia was back to just taking everything in when Naor suddenly put himself in front of Virginia, almost causing her to walk right into him. Orvis had stalled too and they both seemed to just be staring at a mountain “what the heck?” Aiya asked, her heart racing after everything the two of them had been talking about. Suddenly the mountain was moving, the two had noticed too late that it wasn’t a mountain at all but a Wyere, a large, wingless dragon whose body resembled a mountain range, especially when they slept. If that wasn’t bad enough what Virginia had thought were simply trees seemed to be running off of the massive creature. Their eyes were yellow, their faces narrow and teeth that were all pointed and now on full displays as they screeched and ran at them.
Naor and Orvis shifted, running toward them as Brenda and Aurik started trying to shoot the trees, They were hitting them in the face, relieved when that actually did anything to them. Naor and his brother were going for the dragon, seeming more interested in getting on it than hurting it. Virginia wished she knew what was going on as she tried to help her parents keep the trees back. It was hard constantly being confused, unsure of how to help in a strange world.
Orvis seemed to bite down on something, followed by Naor. They ripped something out, causing the dragon to cry in pain. Virginias heart was breaking again, to her it may aswell be a wounded puppy back where she was from but she knew they were only trying to protect her. The dragon managed to knock Orvis off, sending him slamming into the earth, creating a small crater and dust cloud.
Virginia started toward him, wanting to make sure he was alright, but he pushed himself up, shaking the dirt from him before charging at the enraged beast. Naor jumped from its back as his brother slammed into the side of its head, knocking it off balance. It took out a large clump of trees and shook the ground as it fell. The tree like creatures shuddered, needles falling from their branches as they shook and then they fell, carpeting the ground with their bodies.
“What in the hell just happened?” Aiya asked as both Naor and Orvis shifted back. Both she and Brenda quickly averted their gazes.
“The beast was corrupted by Bara.” Orvis said.
Virginia just stood there with her hands covering her eyes. “Clothes.” She said. “Then talk.”
Orvis chuckled and Naor looked apologetic and embarrassed as they both quickly dressed. “Sorry, Virginia.” Naor said as he gently pulled her hands away. “I wasn’t thinking.”
“It’s okay, it all happened so fast.”
“Are all women from your world so shy?” Orvis teased.
“Brother, be nice.”
“S…so, it was corrupted?” Virginia asked.
“Yes, one of Bara’s many spells.”
“Is it…did you…”
“It should be fine, wounded, but not dead.” Naor comforted. “These are the kinds of things we’ve been dealing with, I’m sorry if it frightened you.”
“I’m just happy it’s going to be okay. It’s obviously not his fault…or those other things”
“I want to fix everything, I have a plan in place. I just need to get one more brother and if all went well with what our mom is doing we’ll really be set and if you really want to try talking to Bara one more time I’ll work that out”
“I do…I want to give her one more chance to stop…I doubt shes actually evil…just lost to her hurt and anger” Orvis even smiled, kindness was rare in this world now. It was comforting to meet someone so pure of heart. Her parents seemed to be good people too and while Aiya wasn’t particularly friendly so far he could tell it was mostly worry over Virginia. Beyond that it seemed she had her own story. She walked and stood so defensively, like someone who has been hurt too much to trust anybody else.
Things were mostly uneventful as they drew near the Black Wood “do we dare go through it tonight or rest before we enter” Orvis asked and Naor said “being this close we aren’t even safe out here. We’ll get to Dagr’s and rest there” Orvis nodded and they entered, Naor taking Virginias hand protectively. She blushed, as butterfly wings seemed to brush her insides. Naor was too nervous to look at her but was happy she didn’t try to pull away. He couldn’t risk anything happened to her so he needed her as close as possible. “I could hold your hand too” Orvis suggested to Aiya who told him she was fine.He just chuckled, now walking beside her instead of his brother.
You’re far more outspoken than your friend.”
“Not really, she’s just sweeter than me.”
“That’s not true, Aiya.” Virginia chimed in. She knew Aiya appeared abrasive at times and for good reason, but she was one of the most generous people she had ever met.
Aiya kept her eyes off of Orvis. “Didn’t you say this place was dangerous?” He nodded. “Well, we should probably be quiet then, I wouldn’t want to draw anything to us and have Virginia get hurt.”
“Alright, if that’s what you want.”
Naor could see that his brother was amused by Aiya’s attitude and hoped he wouldn’t push her too far. “How far in are we going?” Virginia asked softly.
“It’s a ways in.” Orvis whispered back.
“Are you alright?” Naor asked. “Do you want me to carry you again?”
“No, it’s just a little freaky.” She moved a little closer to Naor and he squeezed her hand.
Brenda nudged Aurik who suppressed a chuckle. They walked on, deep into the Black Wood until he seemed to come out of nowhere, a man whom Virginia guessed right away was the brother they were looking for since he truly did look just like Naor and Orvis. “How’d you know we were coming” a large bird landed on Dagr’s shoulder, providing the answer they sought “I have a lot of pets now”
“I can see that”
“Hurry, lets get to my home. Nothing should bother you while you walk with me but with this lot and how many people you’ve brought it’s best not to take chances” They silently followed Dagr, making it to his home without incident. Once inside he said “what brings both my baby brothers?”
“Our mother and I have hatched a plan to end all this. Well…we’re going to try a different way first because Virginia wants to but if that fails it’s back to our plan”
“Virginia, your mate right?” They both blushed “No…no it’s not like that” Naor said, realizing he was still holing her hand. Dagr laughed “right, not like that. You stand next to her so protectively, beyond that everything about you”
“Dagr” Orvis reprimanded and Dagr shrugged, leaving both Virginia and Naor blood red.
“You do know going up against her may be suicide?”
“You have to try at least.” Virginia said and Dagr’s eyes jumped to her. He was so much more intense than his brothers.
“You’re brave little human. Your way, it’s more passive than ours, you want to talk to her. Do you think she will listen to you?”
“I don’t know, but if I can, I’ll get her to listen. She’s scared and angry and I think she needs someone to listen.”
“If my brother trusts you, then I will too.”
“Keep yourself safe for my brother. I don’t want to see him in pain.”
“I will, I promise. If things go south, I’ll let you guys handle it.”
“Good. You should all eat and rest, we can set out in the morning. Naor, Orvis, you can help me hunt so we can feed our guests. You four are welcome to anything in my home, just don’t wander too far away from the house.”
Virginia nodded and the brothers left. Virginia instantly held her face in her hands, absolutely embarrassed.Her mother walked over and held her daughter “so you like him?”
“I barely know him”
“You can have a little crush without knowing someone”
“He’s…well…I mean he is cute”
“His brothers are cute too aren’t they Aiya” Aiya rolled her eyes and this time Aurik chuckled. Outside Naor was having his own talk with Dagr “why’d you do that…” Dagr knew precisely what he meant ‘She’s your mate, the one you are meant to be with. I just thought you wouldn’t waste any time since you were lucky enough to find yours”
“Come on, you should be more intune with yourself.”
Naor sighed. “It’s not that simple.”
“Maybe for a child like you.” Orvis teased as he threw an arm over his brother’s shoulder.
“I’m not a child.” He glared at Orvis.
“Then what’s the problem?”
“It’s being part incubus. I don’t want her question my intentions or her feelings for me. My gift already slipped out once since meeting her.”
Orvis chuckled and Naor shoved him away. “Oh calm down, that obviously means you like her enough to let go of your control.”
“Orvis is right, little brother. You should be following your instincts instead of running from the truth. It’s in your body language.”
“I…I do like her. Everything about her is so…she’s…”
“Awe, look at him, he’s blushing.”
“I will kill you Orvis.” Naor replied.
“I’m only teasing you. You should be honest with her. We have no idea how things are going to go, so you shouldn’t waste your time worrying.”
He gave a deep sigh “I feel I should at least wait until we handle things with Bara”
“well we dont think so but it’s your call.” Orvis said, eyeing Dagr in such a way as to tell him to not say anything else to Virginia. That evening they all had a good, filling meal and woke early in the morning to continue their quest. Naor couldn’t believe he had come this far, he truly had both his brothers at his side and was heading back. His mother had to have been successful to, she was an incredibly resourceful woman. It took over a week to get where they were headed but they finally made it, all receiving a warm greeting despite the fact nobody knew who these humans were.
“finally” his mom said teasingly once she had hugged all three boys. Dagr may not be biologically hers but she had always treated him like one of her boys when she saw him. “who are these people Naor” he explained everything, even what had happened so far since coming back. She gave Virginia a warm smile, picking up his feelings for her just as quickly as his brother had “welcome to our world Virginia, hopefully it will be a pleasant one soon. Thank you for helping my son when he was in yours, in return I will make sure you are unharmed here, you and your family”
“Thank you…it’s nice to meet you too”
“Do you think you can talk her down, Virginia?” His mother asked.
“I don’t know, but I want to try. I can only imagine what she must be going through. So, please give me a chance.”
She nodded. “Very well, but you know if she tries to hurt you…”
“I trust Naor to keep me safe.”
His mother smiled and Virginia blushed. “I see, then we will try it your way.”
Naor felt embarrassment and nervousness creeping in. His mother could see it too, of course she could. Unlike his brothers, she didn’t say anything, only gave them both a knowing look. “What about your plan?” Naor asked.
“I was able to get everything we’ll need, so if we have to, we can stop her. Virginia dear, I know you want to save her, but please be prepared for a fight. She’s in credibly powerful so you must be on your guard.”
Virginia nodded and after discussing things with everyone else willing to stand up to Bara they were off. When they were close it wasn’t surprising that things were more wild and traps seemed to be everywhere they turned. It made Virginia sadder for this woman, she obviously just wanted to keep everyone away from her. She expressed as much to the group but they didn’t say much in return. Virginia knew she was the only one who truly had hope for this woman. It was no surprise as they drew near that things became more frightening, more dark and crawling with dangerous situations. Naor and his alleys handled it expertly, even while making sure she and her family got through everything alright.
When they finally stood before her fortress Naors mother asked “are you still sure you wish to speak to her first?”
“I’m even more sure now than I was before”
“very well…” They tried knocking and were answered by skeletal guards “we wish to speak with Bara”
“speak with Bara” one repeated then cackled
“yes, thats what I said”
“Speak with Bara.” It said again and Orvis rolled his eyes.
“Let me guess, he’s been programmed to just answer the door and make sure no one comes in.” He took a step forward and the tip of the skeleton’s spear was suddenly in his face.
“Would you please tell Bara we wish to speak to her.”
The other skeleton’s teeth clicked together as it seemed to be processing what Virginia had just said. It turned away, leaving its companion to guard the entrance. Virginia had never thought a skeleton could show such contempt. For being nothing but bones, it was incredibly emotive as it made sure Orvis didn’t take another step forward. “Do you think she’ll actually let us in?” Orvis asked.
“I don’t know, but maybe don’t make it harder on us.” Naor replied.
“Me? He started it.”
“Orvis.” Dagr said.
Surprisingly Bara herself came out, looking as angry as she was portrayed in the stories. “what brings such pathetic creatures to my door. You aren’t welcome” energy was rising in the air , the kind only the darkest of magic could conjure. “I just want to talk to you…please” Baras eyes locked with Virginias “what could we possibly have to talk about. Talking solves nothing”
“It can…I’m sorry about what happened to you…that there are people that evil but you’re not. I know you’re just hurting and can’t handle everything that happened’ Bara laughed bitterly “can’t handle what happened? You can’t be serious. I’m now the most powerful thing in this realm”
“Nobody is immune to emotional pain Bara…please…just let me talk to you”
“what is your name”
“Virginia…you’re naive but I was once naive too. It’s best your life was ended before you have to truly learn what people are really like. You can’t trust anybody, not a damn soul…nothing absolutely nothing is good in the world” It was almost too fast for anybody to pick up but she launched some sort of dark magic at Virginia. Naors mother had seen it in time to block it though not without getting hurt herself “Bara please” she yelled even as she was being lifted by Nebeth. Nebeth took off with Virginia, Virginias family following while the three boys made sure Bara couldn’t. Virginia cried, wishing she would have just spoken to her for even a few more moments.
When they were at a spot Nebeth felt they were safe for now she examined her wound causing Virginia to ask “can I help you with that?”
“No, but thank you. The magic is still strong, I don’t want it hurting you. When your family catches up I’ll leave you a few moments to tend to it.” She had made sure not to completely leave the family behind but she had to be sure his sons mate wouldn’t be harmed. “that looks so painful”
“eh, a little pain has never stopped me before.”
“Thank you” she smiled “You helped my son out when he needed it. I owe you, even still”
“I just really want to help her”
“she’s beyond it”
“I just” she started crying again and Nebeth hugged her, keeping Virginia on the opposite side of her wound. Virginias family soon came panting so Nebeth left her to them, seeming to fish something out of her pocket along the way. “are you hurt?” were the first words out of Aiyas mouth “No, Nebeth took it for me”
“You’re done trying to talk to her right?”
“I guess it wouldn’t be fair to them to keep putting them in danger just because I want to talk to her…who knows how Naor and his brothers are…I hope they come back okay” exhausted from everything Virginia wound up falling asleep.
“You have to be some kind of idiot.” Orvis said from one side of Dagr as he helped him walk.
“I could have moved.” Naor replied from his brother’s other side.
“Not fast enough.” Dagr said and Naor knew he was right. The moment he had seen Virginia was in danger he had lashed out, landing a blow to Bara’s cheek. He hadn’t even thought, it had been reflex. She had retaliated instantly and if not for Dagr’s speed, Naor would have been severely wounded.
“You have a mate, Naor and this will heal.”
When they made it back to the group Nebeth had been talking to Aurik but now she got up to check out her obviously wounded son “Dagr”
“I’ll be alright, Naor over there lost his temper when Bara attempted to kill Virginia and i had to look out for my baby brother”
“Thank you…you’ve always been such a good big brother. Let me look you over and see what I can do”
“are you okay?” Naor asked Nebeth as Dagr sat down and began taking off his shirt “I will be, Virginia is fine as well. I think her needing rest is more emotional. Plus she’s human” he glanced over at Virginia, wishing he could cuddle up to her or at least rest at her side. Instead he ended up sleeping a few peoples worth away, worrying being any closer would be too forward of him so early in their relationship.
Once everyone was down Virginia was between both her parents so he was glad the temptation was gone by morning. “so we go back to our original plan?” Nebeth asked him and Naor said “I guess”
“she seemed to understand we need to but I wouldn’t put it past her to try again anyway if she gets the chance, her heart is truly aching for that girl”
“It’s her heart, she’s so kind and trusting and she believes there is good in everyone. She didn’t even know me, she thought I was delusional, yet she still let me into her home and fed and clothed me. She sees someone in pain and she wants to help.”
“A deadly trait in a human.” Dagr said.
“It’s what makes her who she is and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have never known a being so compassionate.” He sighed.
“Tell her, Naor.” Nebeth said.
“When you feel the time is right, but know that life can end in an instant so try not to wait too long.”
They decided to give it a few days before initiating their original plan. As they thought Virginias heart still felt heavy from the despair that this woman couldn’t be saved, the hate had consumed her too much to be saved. Naor had wanted Virginia to stay behind in one of their homes but she insisted on coming, hoping a second might arise where she could speak to Bara again. She didn’t want to put them all in danger but she wanted to be there just in case there was any scrap of hope left. Naor stayed close to her, even carrying her from time to time as they crept in.
Soon Naor slunk back between a bookshelf and the corner of a wall, still holding Virginia close. Virginia wanted to ask what they were doing but she didn’t want someone to hear her voice and ruin their plan. They were so close, they had to be in such a small space but it didn’t feel cramped to her, it felt comfortable despite their situation. It was the way he held her, she wanted to look up at him, to see his face but she was even afraid to move.
Then it came, the sound of pained screams from things that didn’t sound human, then bullets, her parents had gone in on the other side but she could hear their shots clearly. Suddenly Naor moved but without her, leaving her in that corner as he played his part, easily wiping out the beings coming down the hallway they were in. It surprised her, she had already known he wasn’t human but he had made that all look so easy. Covered in a mixture of blood and guts he took her hand, rushing with her to their next position.
Soon they had dominated her home, all facing Bara whose expression was a mixture of outrage and some other emotion Virginia couldn’t quiet place. It was mere seconds later she gave a bitter laugh “How did you even manage this…how are you here in my room”
“like we’re going to explain” Dagr said impatiently “whatever…I decide my destiny…me…nobody will ever decide what happens to me again” she said in a quiet but rageful voice. In an instant Bara took her own life, dropping to the floor having blown through her own chest with her magic. Virginia was frozen, unable to process what had just happened. She had already seen it but Naor pulled her into his chest so she wouldn’t be looking at her dead body any longer. “did…did she really” Orvis started and Nebeth sighed “I hate this…I’m sorry Virginia and I’m sorry for you too Bara…”
“sorry, for her?” Dagr sounded outraged “she should have never done all the horrible things she did but it was all from a deep pain that none of you could ever understand. We will bury her, respectfully” she commanded of her boys. Dagr lifted the body, seeming to not want to but willing to do what Nebeth wanted. They took the time to build her a casket, placing her in it then gently setting it down in the hold buried. It was just them now, none of the people Nebeth had gathered to help otherthrow her were willing to do this for a woman who had become such a monster. Nebeth took care of saying a few words and Brenda set flowers on the grave before they all finally walked away, stopping about a half hour later “I’m sure these people would like to go home now Naor” Nebeth said.
“I probably should get back to work but…could we come again”
“I’m sure Naor would love that” Nebeth said, a slight tease to her voice. “why don’t you stay and enjoy this place while its calm baby” Brenda suggested to her daughter “Um…I…well where would I stay I mean”
“You offered your home to me…stay in mine” Naor said awkwardly. “really…”
“yeah, please, I’d like to show you around now that my world will go back to what it was. We can take them home real quick and I’ll bring you back”
“well you can’t go taking Aiya home.” Orvis began, his voice becoming playful as he added “she will probably brood herself into poor health wondering what you’re doing with her friend” Aiya blushed and Orvis chuckled before speaking again “she can stay with me so Naor can have alone time with Virginia and Aiya can still check on her”
Naor gave him a death glare and Virginia blushed profusely. “Orvis” Nebeth said warningly and he cut it out. They ate together then Naor took Virginias family home, including Aiya, much to the disappointment of Orvis. “You bring her back a lot”
“Virginia, I love you” they hugged “I love you too Aiya” Virginia wasn’t completely dense so she ended up asking Naor when they arrived back at his home “what were all those jokes about…it…well it sounded like you may…well…be attracted to me”
“would you want to go home if I was”
“I’m not just attracted to you Virginia…you’re…you’re who I’m meant to be with. We know, beings like me, when we meet the one” she felt feverish as she answered “you mean…the one the one…like we should spend our lives together?”
“yes but we can take things as slow as you want and I promise…I’d never use my abilities on you…whatever you feel is what you feel…I accidentally did it for a second when we first met but it was truly an accident” She knew when he was talking about “so thats what that was…”
“I love you Virginia…give me a chance to make you love me”
“Okay” it sounded so lame to answer with a simple okay but it was all she could think to say. “May I kiss you Virginia?” she gave a small nod and he slowly closed the distance between them, tilting her face as if he were terrified she was going to shove him away if he was too quick. He pressed his lips to hers gently, touching her soul with how sweet and reverent the movements of his lips were.
~ The End