OMG OMG I updated again… -my characters must hate me… -and readers too I guess…- Well enjoy this update, and review plz!
Chapter Ten: Picking up the Shards
I just laid there, staring at the ceiling as if it would solve everything, every little problem that, just there, occurred to me. What had happened to me? I used to be so sure of everything. This wasn't the person I was.
Her memory filled my head, killing me from the inside out. They should call this the mental suicide; that's what it was literally. But the thought that she may never be back killed me the most. The fact that I would never know really what had happened, and if really it was what I thought, or just what I imagined.
"Do you believe it is over?"
I answered the fluid words easily. "I wish it weren't."
I then froze, realizing with a jolt that the words weren't mine. It was a voice I had longer to hear every second since she had left. It had become so familiar to me, haunting my very existence, one I thought I would never hear again.
Slowly, I turned onto my side, pushing myself up with my right arm.
She sat on the rail of my balcony, several meters away. Her gaze wasn't on me, but rather it was focused on the stars above us, watching and waiting. Strands of her silver hair fell gently over her gentle cheeks, the smooth skin glowing and illuminated in the moonlight. As I watched her, it registered to me how beautiful she was, sitting there, that just that would remain the same. I drew a small breath. She was my miracle.
She closed her eyes, the pendant I had given to her still hanging around her neck. Silver feathers lay around her, dancing with the small breeze.
I slid out of my bed, my feet touching the ground almost without a sound. Effortlessly but slowly, I walked across the tiled floor onto the balcony, coming to a halt a few footsteps from her, debating on what words to say. She opened her eyes again, and slid from her seat on the balcony.
Her feet touched the balcony gracefully and she straightened, looking me straight in the eye. Another inch and her body would have been flush with mine, but that was as close as she got, her gaze keeping mine, the deep blue orbs showing and telling nothing, but I couldn't help but get lost in them again. I knew I could be there forever, just lost there, and I'd be content with that.
Then I knew it. I had fallen for her without knowing it. No matter who she had been, it would have happened. People would think it funny though, the way this happened, a prince falling for a princess. Ironic as they say, but I didn't, and would never, care.
She slowly reached up, touching my cheek. A shock went through me, something I couldn't identify by instinct. I reached up with the opposite hand and gripped her hand and let my fingers curl into hers, then pulling her into a comforting hug, our hands against our chests the only the thing between us.
"Guess this is the memory where we decide right? We'll always look back and ask if we made the right decision. We will either always know the answer to that or always wonder what would have happened if we had picked differently. Do you know your answer?" She whispered to me, her other free hand resting across my shoulder.
My fingers tightened around hers. "I know my answer... what about you Vera?"
She paused for a moment, seeming to consider something. She let go of me suddenly, the warmth gone. A playful smile was on her face, one that I thought I'd never see again. With that last final glance at me, she jumped onto the rail, her toes curling around the round edge and she threw herself off.
"Vera!" The word tore itself from my lips, so many emotions echoing through that one word. I leaped towards the rail, leaning over, my heart in my throat.
In the next split second she was there, her face a picture a mirror of silent scolding. I silently hoped I hadn't woken anyone with that panicked yell.
Soft, white wings stretched across, keeping her from plummeting. She grinned and reached towards me, with a gentle finger raising my chin.
"I would die for you. Your reaction was the answer."
I stared at her in shock. That was not how I expected things to turn out, but however, they turned out well, so it was fine. I let out a huge breath I had been holding.
"Don't scare me like that Vera."
Her eyes narrowed playfully. "Is that an order?"
I let out a fake indignant scoff. "Yes, it is. And you better listen."
"Ha, let's see what you say after this." Her face lit up evilly. She grabbed my forearms roughly, and pulled me up over my balcony easily. Her wings forced us through the air like a bullet, though I was sure she wouldn't on purpose let go of me, I had to hope that she wouldn't in any case.
Her nose scrunched up slightly, the scowl on her face almost cute. "You're heavy Prince."
At this point I was sure we were at least a mile from the castle, but still soaring relatively low over the land. My eyes were beginning to water slightly from the speed at which we were going. "You better not drop me."
A grin lit up on her face. "All the more reason for me to. But not this time, I won't let go."
Just as the reassurance reached my ears, her long white wings folded and we both took a freefall through the air. We hit water unexpectedly, the chilled water flowing around us and soaking both of us instantly to the bone.
I fought my way to the surface, then trying to find Vera. I came up sputtering, finding my own footing, and I had to blow something off my face. The white feather blew off, drifting as if it had never touched my wet skin and landed a ways away. All over, white feathers among small lilies were scattered across a small lake, seeming perfect and undisturbed.
Warm arms circled me from behind, her chin resting against my shoulder. I leaned slightly back and rested my head against hers, savoring the moment.
It was a long time before she spoke again. "Do you believe in fate?"
I considered this. "Somewhat, I guess. Why do you ask?"
"Just thinking," she whispered.
I grinned, sending her a smile. "Tell me."
A wave of calmness struck me. It seemed I could never rid myself of our link. Now that it had been opened it would always be there. But who was I to complain.
"It's just that... everything must happen for a reason. If I hadn't been sent here, I would have never known you... well I would have met you eventually, but things wouldn't have been the same. The war would have kept us apart. And what if my brother had managed to convince my father not to make me go with the embassy? I would have never set foot here period. Just where the war will be. That's it. I don't know whether to believe in it or not, because I still believe we can write our own fates, you know, destinies."
I gripped her fingers in one motion. "In that case, I believe. I adore it more like, love it."
She let out a light laugh and circled around, facing me. "And if I kissed you now?"
"I wouldn't stop you."
"You wouldn't turn into a vampire and suck me into a dry corpse?" She asked with a playful grin.
"Oh, of course. I just couldn't resist. How did you know my evil plans?" I replied grinning, holding up her smaller form.
She winked. "Just a guess." Her eyes searched mine for a hint, some kind of answer. I just smiled once, and her eyes softened a bit.
Her lips touched mine, but she pulled back not even a second later, her eyes unsure, just waiting for me to react. I let my heart take over and my lips found hers. I felt her smile through the kiss, and somehow with that everything seemed to fall in place.
I groaned and sat up, scanning my surroundings. So it hadn't been a dream, for there'd be no way I'd voluntarily sleep on the couch without a reason, versus the bed. The couch for sure wasn't as comfortable as the bed, but I couldn't help that. Those were sure made just for looks.
It was quite a bit later now, and I had gotten a few precious hours of sleep. I turned partially, finding Vera's form curled in my bed. I had to smile to myself, remembering.
Shrugging off a light sheet of exhaustion I forced myself up and over to where she slept. I knelt by her and leaned over, letting my lips graze hers.
She stirred lightly, though her eyes didn't open. "Rurik..."
"Hey," I responded softly.
She blinked, shaking her head to clear the haze of weariness. Then, she let out a long breath and collapsed back onto one of the pillows. "Morning I suppose," was her muffled response.
"Ha, not much of a morning person?" I asked poking her in the stomach lightly.
She giggled, shifting away. I poked her again with the same reaction. "Well, I have bad days and good days. Today I feel as if the world could just melt away... and quit poking me! It's not amusing at all Rurik!" She said, laughing whilst trying to protect her stomach.
I grinned and began really tickling her. She shrieked and caught just my one hand with one of her own, obviously waking enough to attack me with a pillow with the other.
Still in fits of hysterics, she backed herself to the farthest point on the bed, wrapping herself in the covers with a pout and a glare that clearly said I-didn't-appreciate-that. I grinned and let her go, standing. "Fine. I won't. It was amusing while it lasted though."
She raised a slim eyebrow, seeming humored. She reached up and grabbed my right hand, dragging me down. "Gah, come here."
I scoffed in a way that made it sound as if I wouldn't, but then slid onto the bed next to her, pulling her slim form against mine. I buried my head in her hair, taking in her scent. We lay there for a bit, and the playful atmosphere dissipated as if never there. I could predict her next words before she said them.
"What's going to happen to us?" She asked with a slight quiver in her voice.
Smiling reassuringly, I took her hand, my thumb running over the silky smooth skin. "I won't let you go unless you tell me to, Vera. Remember that for me, okay?"
She turned around in my arms, closing her eyes and resting her forehead against mine. After a moment, she sighed. "I really like you Rurik."
Though slightly taken my surprise, I knew then she felt the same as I did. "I like you too, and that will never change."
For a moment we stayed like that, our breaths and heartbeats in sync. A sudden knock at the door broke us out of our trance. I groaned, "Must I?"
Vera seemed distracted but gave an absentminded nod. Something had caught her attention, and it wasn't the rapping on my bedroom door.
I walked to the door, though finally realizing that I was still dressed in my night robe. I was sure my hair was in a disarray, as it always looked after it dried after a shower, or in this case, just getting wet.
Opening the door partly, enough for me to see out easily, but small enough for my form to block any view in. Razim stood there with a suspicious look, his arms crossed and his stance stubbornly defiant.
His eyes narrowed as he looked me over, taking in the unusual messy look I was wearing. "I thought I heard voices. Is this a bad time, man?"
Shutting away any annoyance that could have possibly escaped, I cast him a tired grin. I couldn't let him know about Vera yet. Not yet, even if he was my best friend. "Nah, you must have heard me crashing onto the floor. Wouldn't be surprised if I woke the whole hall. What's up, considering that you had to come here to get me?"
He finally let his suspicion drop, casting a bored glance in my direction. "The angels are back... you won't believe it Rurik. Something provoked them. Their army is here. Not a tiny little embassy. A whole army, Rurik! An army!" He practically yelled.
My eyes widened. Might as well make sure, though he had said the word 'army' a whole three times... meaning two more times than necessary. "Are you sure?"
"Hell yeah. Glittering armor and everything. They're going to barge though our gates at any second."
I gritted my teeth, debating. Was this what Vera had sensed? What was I going to tell her... but how was I going to get rid or Razim?
Razim, looking slightly panicked, took a few steps down the hall before turning. "I'm going to go get Laven. You better hurry up."
With that cryptic farewell, I shut the door, expecting Vera wanting to know what was going on. She wasn't one to listen in, so I knew she didn't know. But nothing.
I scanned the room expectantly again.
She was gone.
My eyes were drawn to the open window. The curtain blew out with the slight breeze, gently flowing. The wind died again, and curtain settled, before seconds later being blown out again. But that time, a bird, its ice blue eyes calm and collected, sat there on the golden rimmed edge, watching and waiting, knowing what was to come. It let out a call that seemed as though it would arouse the dead, unsettling the immortal spirits of Hell, but it was a final warning.
Then I knew, the blunt truth echoing within my mind like it would never leave. The war against the Vengeance had truly started.
With a gloved hand, I hesitantly pushed open the door to the main hall. It opened with ease, though I had few times before even touched the door, but for now the guards and servants had all gone to observe the Adritin army in all its magnificent glory from the upper balcony, where they couldn't be reached by arrows.
How little they knew about magic.
I was still trying to catch my breath, having run from my room. I closed my eyes for a moment, letting the daylight rays fall on my face.
Then I opened them again, and I left my old self behind. This day I knew would shape me forever.
As I had expected, many of the upper nobles were gathered in the hall, behind a wall of spell casters, and I noted the archers on the upper reaches of the railing. I wondered about how the Adritins would take this lack of hospitality.
I searched through the men and women until I found Razim and Laven, and moved to stand next to both of them a few feet away from my brother and father. Laven looked as if she had been pulled from a good dream, for a scowl of annoyance was plastered on her face. Both were dressed in formal attire, with gold plating much of what they wore. It would be slaughter if the Adritin army decided to fight us right then. The meager spell casters and archers would be nothing against them if they had others anything like Vera.
Both nodded to me, their eyes not moving away from the gates.
As if on cue, the doors blasted apart, slamming into the opposite walls. A few of the hinges broke off from the sudden force, but it still barely stood.
The Adritin army flowed in. The tension instantly escalated.
I took a moment to watch them, purely awed. At the head was a blonde haired male in full battle attire, an annoyed smirk stretched across his lips. He wore no armor, and just carried a sword, but he glowed in an inhuman way that gave it away that he was no ordinary angel.
Behind him was a small portion of the army, or the supposed army, around a hundred strong, all men. Most of them were dressed like their leader, and had the same inhuman auras.
It hit me with a jolt. This was a portion of the Ancients that guarded Adritin. I knew instantly that if a battle started, Ganshen would fall easily.
The young male leader raised his hand, and it jerked slightly to the right in a formal way, his blue orbs dangerous. He uttered not a word, but the row of spell casters that guarded all the nobles fell over, unconscious.
A silver haired male beside him whipped his arm around and the archers were blown off the railing and against the wall behind them, also knocking them unconscious.
The other male that stood a step behind the blond on his other side cocked his head in amusement, his black hair falling over his eyes. He began to raise his arm, his dark eyes glimmering with amusement, but a voice stopped him.
"Verex dear, no need to immobilize them. They are no threat."
The sea of Ancients parted and a lone figure passed through them. Her footsteps were silent and light, falling in rhythm with the next. I knew who it was before I even turned my gaze in her direction. Vera met my eyes, the dark blue eyes carrying an unmasked irritation from the situation. She was almost unrecognizable, stunning to the point where you knew that she had not a mortal's beauty. Golden bands lined her form, and her slim dress hugged her body smoothly. She didn't care to hide who she was now, and she drove any mortal to speechlessness.
Her expression was almost arrogant, yet held a calm playful look to it. She rolled her eyes, placing her hands on her hips, holding her head proudly. A large golden bow was balanced over her shoulder, but there were no arrows.
The man that had been named pouted. "But, Princess, what if they run?"
Then she smirked, a cruel smile lacing itself across her face. "Then you can shoot them. That is their warning." She turned to the blonde. "Well, if it isn't Dravin dragging half of Adritin's guardians down here."
"Well wasn't it you that said we had to fight?" Replied the man with an identical smirk.
Then I remembered, as I stared from one to the other. Dravin. It was her brother, the twin she had always talked about. Looking at them now, I saw the resemblances. The blonde hair and the shocking blue eyes, the fine facial features, dark eyelashes that framed their eyes, and graceful lips. I hadn't recognized him because his wing had settled over his face, covering what I would have recognized.
I felt guilty, so damn guilty, just then. It had been my entire fault for the misunderstanding. I just hoped I wouldn't screw it up again.
Vera and Dravin turned to the crowd gathered in the hall.
"You are nobles, as we are. Spirits of the fallen Ancients and many of the fallen themselves, if you know what they are, are coming to retake these lands. They plan to take Ganshen, then Adritin, adding to their domain," Dravin began, his voice completely controlled.
Vera then spoke, her voice falling over us, willing us to listen no matter how ridiculous this would sound to some mortals. "We will defend Ganshen the best we can, but I advise that if you don't fight with us, you stay out of the way. We fight, and others that get in the way are removed from the path. This is our warning, so take your mortal guards and take your men and hide the farthest and highest you can get in the castle. The spirits and men of the fallen hate heights, so you should be safe if you follow those directions."
The moment her voice stopped, the words released us and panic again returned in many. Mortals scattered, rushing to their rooms, and gathering their more precious belongings.
The King himself grabbed the Prince, who had tried to run with everyone else, and forced him to stay. His anger was obvious, but his pride wouldn't allow for him to let it go and save himself. "We're staying. Nothing of this myth of yours exists. You just want to rule Ganshen for yourself."
Dravin studied the King for a moment. Turning away, he scoffed with a roll of his eyes. "Adritin seeks no resistance from you. But if you chose not to listen, you can die with all the terrors of the cold death these creatures will bring."
I turned my attention to Razim, who was trying to convince Laven to leave. His hands were gripping her shoulders, flexing, and worry emanated from him.
"You have to go Laven!"
"I won't leave you," she stubbornly snapped back.
"God put me on earth to accomplish a certain... amount of things. I, however, see no downside to this because, thanks to your stubbornness, and at the rate we're going, I'll live forever... which doesn't sound all that bad really... please, don't make me worry about you too!"
I watched the two bicker in amazement. I had to raise an eyebrow. What the hell was going on with those two?
A slim female slid in next to me as I ran my hand through my hair, the strands falling back over my eyes. She shook her head with a sigh, obviously knowing something I didn't know.
"I won't go. If I go, I'll just kill myself worrying over you!"
"Well, at least you'd be safe."
"So what? It wouldn't help with anything."
"My..." she suddenly trailed off, blushing a few shades of red.
Vera stepped in then, her eyes flashing with authority. "Laven," she started quietly, "for all our sakes, please go. Razim will be fine. If he even has more than scratch, you can vent on me, all right? I just need you safe."
Laven stood, in the hold of Razim still. She trembled, but managed to reply. "Fine," came the short whisper. That short answer was laced with so many years of torture and hidden love, and then I realized, for today I guess was such a day of dawning, that Laven really did like Razim.
Then Razim did the unexpected. His lips slammed onto hers.
I glanced at Vera, who glanced away from the pair. So much for privacy for this kind of stuff.
They pulled apart, Razim's eyes flashing with surprise at himself.
Laven's eyes were blurred with tears, and she wheeled around and ran. Soon she had disappeared down the halls.
Vera looked at Razim curiously, touching his shoulder briefly. "Razim?"
"Why did I do that Vera?" He asked, completely shocked.
"Because you like her more than you think. And you just wanted to tell her what you felt before this... truthfully, few of those who stand here right now will survive."
I found it surprising that Vera had so flat out told him the reasons for his actions, but Razim looked as if he needed it. He nodded once after a moment, regaining his previous composure. "I guess. Thanks Vera."
I knew the fact that Laven was going to be married mattered nothing to anyone right now. It was just two souls, no restriction, no rules.
Vera looked at me quickly, grabbing my arm, and then Ra's as well, dragging us over to where her brother stood with an amused grin on his face.
The man crossed his arms and shook his head. "I don't think I'll ask about that one Vera. Looked a bit too involved for my type of story."
"You wouldn't listen to me on a regular day anyway... even if I was talking about you, of all things."
"Come on, I do listen to you," she glared at him disbelievingly, her eyes narrowing, "on occasion," he finished lamely.
"Right." She crossed her arms, fingering her necklace with one hand. If took a second for me to realize that it was the small pendant I had given her. When she saw me staring at her, a small smile began to tug at her lips.
Her brother coughed, drawing our attention back to the others. Vera's expression didn't change, and neither did mine. No reason to be embarrassed with the truth.
"Yeah, yeah." Vera shoved her brother slightly, and he caught her in an embrace. She glared hopelessly, and gave up, sighing. "This oaf is Dravin, and to the right is Verex, to the left Rhai." The two indicated nodded once. "Crown prince, Rurik," I wasn't to snap at her for the obvious formality. She grinned at me though, knowing my irritation. "And that is Razim. And alas, here we are gathered as Ancients."
Dravin scanned his surroundings, loosening slightly at the presence of his little sister. "Nice castle. Never been here myself, and it doesn't look that bad."
The black haired male raised an eyebrow. "Dravin, this is a palace. You expect it to be infested with rats or something?"
Vera's brother just shrugged, not replying to that comment.
Rhai looked around, brushing back a lock of silver hair that fell in his line of sight. "The section of Ancients that we picked earlier should be near sealing up the upper portions of the castle, right Dravin?"
The crown prince of Adritin looked thoughtful for a moment, and then answered, "Should. Give them at least 10 minutes and pray nothing attacks or they'll be able to take out everything they've been working on since they started."
Razim looked a bit shaken. "You were lying about them being safe in the upper portions of the tower?"
Rhai crossed his arms, his look dangerous. "No, we weren't lying about this. They are somewhat afraid, by instinct, but it can be overcome. We had some of our stronger magic weavers pull up shields that only Ganshen men and women can get through. Nothing can get out until the battles' over... or till when we declare it is over. Don't worry. That girl will be safe."
Verex nodded in agreement, trying to reassure my best friend who looked about ready to go into a full-fledged panic attack. "If we had said there was a possibility that they might get hurt, they wouldn't have gone. We did the easiest thing. If it works, they'll be grateful, with their lives intact."
"Laven will be fine Ra," I said, hoping he'd stop worrying now.
"Yeah... I hope..." He mumbled trailing off.
"Prince, there is something you need to see," came the voice from one of the officers, whose tone betrayed worry.
Dravin let go of his sister and instantly ascended the steps to where the officer was standing, keeping an eye on the sky. As we followed the prince, we also noticed what was bothering the officer.
The line on the horizon was increasing, a huge line of black that threatened to stain the sky. Dravin narrowed his eyes, glancing at Verex, whose creepily mischievous smile suddenly showed itself again. "Do the honors Verex?"
All men around Verex stepped back, though Ra and I were confused by this. The man's eyes glowed black, the cores turning silver instead. His arms burned with flames, and he brought his arms in front of him, and the flame seemed to materialize, growing at a rapid rate. Soon, he had a colossal blue fireball summoned, radiating immense heat in every possible direction. A huge wave of scorching heat hit my face as Verex pulled his arm back, then thrust it forward as quickly as he could, and the fireball sped off. Verex grinned, looking pleased.
Then horror seemed to grow on his face.
We all turned to the scene, where the fireball was seemingly being enveloped by the darkness. A few gasps were heard from the crowd.
Dravin cursed lightly. "Rhai, reinforce the barriers with more spell casters... less normal archers. I don't think they will be much of any help. Keep the Adorian light archers in the back. We'll need them for massive massacre after... after we pull back." Verex shook his head once, disbelief emanated from him like candlelight shining in a dark room. "No, Verex. You saw what your fireball did. Nothing. And remember this; you're one of the best Ancients I have on my side. Only close contact will be good in this battle, and our Adorian light archers, since they use holy magic instead of arrows. You know that as well as I."
Verex glared at the sky, almost willing the darkness to vanish. "Yeah. All right. How many Ganshen Ancients are there though?"
Dravin glanced at me and when I shrugged indicating that I didn't know, he scanned the crowd. "About half the amount we have here right now. With all the wars the Ganshen King is forcing them to fight, I'm not surprised at the numbers."
Unlike what other people would have done, he didn't bother apologizing for the rude mentioning of my father. In fact, he didn't seem to care. Just like Vera hadn't. Siblings. Looked the same and acted the same.
Suddenly, there was a small gasp, a short yell following. We all half turned, recognizing the voice. Vera stood where we had been talking earlier; apparently she hadn't moved since her brother let go of her.
Her mouth was open slightly, as if to speak. Black smoke surrounded her, hardly visible from where we stood. Her eyes caught mine, and the blue orbs were filled with dread and an almost dead coldness.
I felt myself beginning to move, running towards her. I knew I wouldn't reach her in time as I saw her eyes close and her knees give out, the darkness that had been reaching for her engulfing her. Out of the corner of my senses, I noticed a portal in the ceiling open.
What happened flashed as if I were watching still life scenes, watching the winged Ancient fall through the portal and land beside the fallen angel, a dark look on his chiseled facial features as he began to pick up the lifeless princess.
Dravin, his voice filled with anguish and anger, called to him. "Gabriel, don't!"
The man's eyes turned to the prince, cold and unmoved. "Burn in hell."
With a last crooked smile, his dark wings spread and pushed him into the air, carrying him though the portal. Instinct took over, and I reached up to follow him, not thinking that I'd fall right after.
But I didn't.
I sped through the air, getting momentum with every passing second. Realization hit me on what had happened the instant I hit the closing portal. Wings.
Then I was hit by a cold blackness as the world the portals took us through changed.
One thought, just one, entered my mind.
Here are the review replies… OMG, I hate how I forgot XD.
Thanks first of all tooooooo…
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Nickletastic: HP? That's an interesting comparison. Never thought of that comparison myself.
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