From below, Ethaniel and Shalise watched as the high blue sky disappeared behind the descending chaos. Dakken hovered nearby, a silent shadow beneath the long barren branches of the ancient elm tree. The children sat in the dust near a dilapidated car, rusted nearly to only strip metal and bolts. They held hands and kept their eyes closed tight, as if in deep prayer and meditation.
A reckoning was upon them all. Elder gods do not die, they are only reborn darker and more powerful.
Ethan and Shay moved closer and pressed their shoulders together. The pale skin of Ethan’s broad shoulder pushed into the warm flesh of Shay’s slim brown one. On instinct, they touched hands and held tight to each other. Electrified chaos began gathering all around them. But they had defeated the dark once before. Together . As one force, united. And they could do it again.
Her thoughts touched his mind and he jerked.
The sudden burst of movement sent a stab of pain through every inch of Ethan’s broad frame.
He was unimaginably stronger – physically, psychically, and kinetically – than any other being under this roof, yet now he was suspended mid-air and helpless. They had beaten him first and then cast their spells to bind him in chains forged in titanium. As added punishment for his insolence, and to ensure his suffering was as excruciating as possible, Mother and Father – his handlers – had tied him in an unnatural position, with his arms and legs twisted and bent, criss-crossing each other in unusual ways, and stretching his tendons, muscles, and joints to their extreme limits.
Until this moment he had been absolutely still, summoning the mental focus to pause even his breaths to bare minimum so as not to raise his chest wall too much. A breath taken too deeply would squeeze the chains even tighter around his ribs, nearly to the point of his suffocation.
Where are you? Her ability to speak to him through their mental tie came easily to her now, and he was pleased with how fast her newfound senses were awakening, sharpening.
He wondered. Did his presence trigger the gifts buried deep within her to bloom? Or were they destined to do so on their own? She was of age, so maybe he had not been the catalyst to her awakening as she had been for his reawakening.
Within the timeless dark void of the chamber, he had thought of nothing else but her. And now she had come.
He had done away with a kingsmen to protect her, and now he was bearing the fullest consequences. Battered and bruised from brow to toe, lungs collapsing, and eyes swollen shut. And he would do it all again, without hesitation.
He would always save her.
And she would always return to him.
Their bond was unbreakable now. Her appearance here had proved this to him. He saw the sequence of events after he had been taken from the room, and she could have used her abilities to escape and left him behind, never to be thought of again. But she had not. Instead, she was risking her life to come to his rescue this time.
Through his agony, he called out to her. Silent thoughts seeking out the only soul who could comfort him. And she had responded without delay.
I can’t see anything in here, she spoke to him in silence, moving her thoughts from her being into his mind, I can’t even hear you breathing. She paused, still as the midnight. Are you still alive?
She asked the question, but he knew that she already sensed the answered before the words were even formed.
He, on the other hand, knew exactly where she stood.
Three feet away and to his right.
He couldn’t risk injuring himself any further – after all, he was only half immortal, for now – so he sent only the smallest energy pulse toward her. Like a drowning man, using the last of his strength, to signal a passerby, hoping against all hope that they would spot the plea and drag his weak and withered body from the depths of the ocean waves or from the exhausting flow of the rushing stream and back toward the calm stillness of the shoreline.
Shay was Ethan’s lifeline, and he urged her, gently, to hurry and come nearer.
He felt her mind tug and recoil. It was mostly from fear. She did not understand what he was trying to do.
Don’t be afraid, love, his mind whispered to hers. We don’t have much time.
Reluctantly, at first, then more willingly with each tick of the universal pulse that surrounded them all, she dropped her guard and edged forward. Closer and closer still, until they were within a breath of one another.
His upside down coolness drawn into the warmth she pushed down on him from her right side up position.
They told the guards to take me back upstairs, to the room. He didn’t need her to retell the story, he had already read the path of events directly from her memory, but allowed her to continue. She needed to work through what had happened. She needed to understand how powerful she would be become, especially now that they were united. I knew they were going to kill me, eventually. I was prepared for that…, she stuttered, but I…I didn’t want them to keep hurting you…, he sensed the moisture gathering at the corner of her eyes. You saved me….again. You knew this would happen, and you did it anyway. And they hurt you so badly because of what you did for me.
She paused, her mind went silent and he nearly panicked at the absence of her awareness.
Then he knew why she had shut down. Her story had almost ended has horribly.
He was walking me upstairs, she continued, right beside me, so close that his skin was brushing mine. That chill! Her hands flew to her mouth as she muted what nearly became a frantic screech. I knew, I knew, I knew. I saw it in my mind…what he was going to do…to me…once we were back at that room, she held in the sob but he knew her lips were quivering. I don’t know what happened next. I freaked out…I was going to try to run, but then I saw your face. I…felt your presence…standing nearby, but when I looked around, you weren’t really there. And then it all just made sense…I wasn’t scared anymore. I knew what to do next…it was a like an impulse, an instinct. I stopped and I just…I just turned to him and said the words. Take me to him. Then this feeling, like an electric shock ripped through me, but it didn’t hurt me. It hurt him though, I could tell, I could see the change. His eyes went gray and shiny but his stare was blank and dumb. Then he turned around and walked me down here.
Ethan’s mind roamed toward the door and finally moved beyond it. He sensed the guard there. Shay’s grip on him was loosening. They had to move. But even if they escaped this room, there was no escaping the true darkness that was beyond, surrounding them in all directions.
At the moment, it didn’t matter. He would think of their next move once he was free and they were moving toward somewhere, anywhere away from this torture chamber. This would be his last time ever entering this room.
Shay, he spoke silently to her once more, lean down.
And she did, eagerly following his thought-words.
She could do this, he knew she could. The power was already overflowing from within her.
Touch your head to mind, like this. He showed her a vision of how she had to lay her brow against his. And she did.
Her warmth stirred a strange lust and an even stranger comfort within him. The kind of hypnotic, pleasurable strangeness that would become an addiction in no time at all.
Then he showed her how to move her energy into him. He was weak and his internal bleeding was heavy. He needed her to heal him, and maybe then he could break the chains that immobilized him.
After her first try failed, he touched her thoughts with an invisible kiss – soft and reassuring. He promised her that if she could not do this, he would not be mad. Instead, even if it was his time to seep into the depths of the unknown beyond, he would go happier than he had ever been before this night. No one else had ever filled him with as much peace and hope. Not even Tiffany.
With that last thought, a feral wave bubbled forward from Shay. Full, hot, quick and powerful, filling him with a burst of strength. His muscles swelled once more, the blood that had been pooling around his organs dispersed and returned to where it was needed most for healing.
He was reborn within the strength she had blessed to him.
And with one giant pulse-wave and one spoken command – UNBOUND – Ethan flexed his full frame and the titanium shackles that held him broke.
Just before tumbling to the floor, he quickly rotated his body and landed with his feet planted on the floor, crouching and filled with renewed purpose and bursting with pure energy.
No time to waste. They had to run. Far and fast, before anyone knew they were gone.
Ethan grabbed Shay by her thin wrist and pulled her forward toward the door.
Before his fingers touched the knob, the chamber flooded with blinding light. From high over head a voice – still cruel, still intoxicated with dark influence and still dripping with mennace – boomed down on them.
“Very good, my son.” Father said, with pleasure in his tone. “Excellent, my new daughter.
I see what all the fuss has been about.” An unseen smerk filled his spoken words. “She is truly the missing piece to this puzzle. And we are so very glad that you have found her for ussss.” He hissed the last word, allowing his natural being to leach out. A momentary slip that he quickly corrected. “Now the initiation of the darkest dawn can begin.”
The door to the chamber swung open. Shay’s glimmer was fully broken, and the guard had returned to awareness.
“Take them both for cleaning and dressing. Feed them as well. We need them beautiful and strong, so that the rite can move forward as foretold.”
There was a drawn out pause, not even the air dared to move.
“Dear son,” Father continued. Ethan had always hated being called that. This warlock was never a father to him, nor was the witch his real mother. Captors at best, torturers at worst. Seeping darkness into him, until Shay returned the possibility of reigniting his light. “Did you think she escaped on her own? We had to see what she was capable of. We had to see what you were capable of together.”
They had used him as bait in order to force Shay to evolve without delay.
But now they would regret the fruit of the seeds they had sown.
Without thinking, the couple clasped their hands together, and intertwined their fingers tightly. Their bodies pushed together, interlocking their energies as well. Waves moved around them, first invisible to human eye and then brightening with each pulse into a flaming gold barrier that shimmered and flared.
Show no fear, love, he whispered calmly into her thoughts.
I never do, she replied into his mind.
A half grin touched his mouth as he squeezed her hand tighter. She was a woman after his own heart and filled with his same fierceness.
Ethan balled his free hand into a tight fist. Crimson energy waves first sputtered and then sparked into a full illuminated glow. Shay followed his lead and did the same with hers, releasing a flame of indigo blue of equal size and power.
The color of their eyes shifted – his from pale blue and hers from hazel – into the most brilliant and glowing gold hue.
Alone, they each only had half the potential to ascend.
Together, they would become celestial. Brighter, more radiant and more powerful than the nuclear energy flowing through a thousand yellow suns.
Starting at this moment, they would become the light piercing the darkening world, awakening it from its slumber.
Shay and Ethan flexed their energies in unison, and the stone walls of the chamber shook.
As their unified power rose, this ancient castle would eventually fall.
End Part Two
Copyright 2018 Lenise Lee Pubn
Ruin and rumble.
On all sides. In all directions.
That was all the pair could see.
They stood, surveying the carnage which they had created.
But that was now.
A moment ago they were huddled together beneath the heap of heavy rocks and dust that had once been a dark castle on a black hill. They were protected from the immense weight of the pile by the energy bubble they had forged at the very last moment.
The moment when they, in unison – as they would always be from this point forward – realized that they were more powerful together than apart.
When the great revelation finally came upon them, and then manifested itself.
Shalise and Ethaniel were the most powerful beings in this universe. They always had been and always would be, but only when they were One.
Hands still clasped together, fingers interwoven – her cocoa ones twining through his pale ones – they breathed, again as a single force, slow…deep…purposeful breaths.
This was not a victory. It was only a beginning.
They had ended the dark reign of those who had dwelled within the walls now laid flat. Yet there was so much more to do. Ethan’s father and mother were not dead. They had merely removed themselves from danger. He could sense that – very clearly – and, by default, so could Shay. They were not near. The sinister force that had once haunted this ground had been forcefully swept far away, but not so far that their heavy presence had been completely muted. They were in hiding. Probably had taken a chosen few of their minions and gone to think, regroup, and plot their next phase. There was no doubt in Ethan’s mind – nor Shay’s – that they would resurface, eventually.
“What now?” Shay’s voice was soft, unusually soft, and its subtle texture pulled at his heart, causing Ethan to squeeze her hand slightly, tenderly.
He turned his blue eyes from the wreckage surrounding them and placed a tender, warmer gaze into her hazel stare. He loved her so much. It was an overwhelming swell in the center of his chest, a feeling of complete rapture that he had never known before and would experience only in her presence. He wanted to run away with her to the furthest corners of creation and wrap her so completely in his love, so that no force would ever be able to touch her luminous spirit or harm her perfect flesh again. Would that be terribly selfish to actually do that?
Just as quickly as the thought silked his mind, another tug called it back to the here and now.
Ethan’s eyes reluctantly looked away and back toward the coming dawn.
This time, for the first time in many years, he did not fear the rising of the new sun. The permeation of a once-feared dose of heavy daylight, instead, heralded a new sensation, which he welcomed.
It no longer burned to feel the ember waves of sunlight flowing over his skin. It was a warm caress. A revitalizing pulse of energy, renewing his purpose and setting his solemn vows into sacred places.
Ethan closed his eyes, tilted his sharp chip upward, locked his jaw tight, and breathed deeply of the new day and of the morning dew. Where once darkness had been his bondage, Ethaniel was, now and forever, reborn in Light. With his queen, his love, the other half of his soul, Shalise, by his side.
Dipping his face down and out toward the eerily silent city in the valley below, he knew there was much work to be done. Nothing stirred there. It was time to wake up others and bring them into this journey. They would need much help with what was to come.
“Now we fight.” He said, voice low and husky, filled with passion and purpose. “We hold the dark. Push it back, starting here and then move that front in all directions. This is zero ground. It will soon become sacred again.”
Shay moved her gaze in the direction that his eyes pointed toward.
She held tighter to his hand, and the glow at the center of their grasp pulsed again.
“We fight,” she repeated his oath, “We hold the dark. We push it back, as far as we can in all directions… Together.”
“Together,” he affirmed, as the couple began to move forward on strengthen legs.
Theia nodded. She was finally satisfied.
“Now we help them,” the goddess said as she began to transform her energy and descend into the human realm. “This ending is the world’s new and much-needed beginning.”
“Agreed,” her celestial husband, Hyperion, noted in an energy pulse, as he also moved toward the lower world of mankind.
In a thought, they were both removed from their watchful post behind the curtain of creation and walking among the mortal beings.
They would not be recognized. At least not until they were ready to be so.
As they moved toward the edge of the muted and dirty city, the silhouette of a couple pierced the light of dawn spilling over the hill on the eastern horizon.
“There,” Theia said, “coming over that hill.”
“I see them,” Hyperion replied, “shall we introduce ourselves?”
“No,” her answer was sharp and low. “Let them find us first. This will be the first of many tests. We must prepare them in all areas for what is to come.”
And with that, like smoke and fog, the two were gone into the air.
BEGIN PART THREE
©Lenise Lee Pubn. All Rights Reserved.
“Shall we assist them?”
They spoke, but not in a manner that any human could fully comprehend, and not in a language that any human could completely understand or speak fluently.
They existed, but not on a frequency that mankind could dwell within for more than a flash of a moment, or what they perceived to be a moment.
They constantly observed, with the children of men having only the slightest sensation of their presence.
They battled and waged great wars amongst one another and on scales so immense that the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve were only signaled of their occurence by way of unpredicted and grand celestial events.
They also loved, more tenderly than any mother or father toward a newborn, and more passionately than a lover with a newfound kindred spirit.
Yet now, through all they had witnessed over the eons, since the dawning of all things, this moment had caught their fullest attention.
Great members of the House of the Pantheons stood on alert, contemplating if intervention was needed – not only to save mankind but, more importantly, to save themselves.
Man would continually evolve and regress and then return to a thinking, contemplating species only to tumble downward once more, as was his destiny, but the celestials were created to overcome such a barbaric cycle.
However, here and now, this perceived moment could potentially be the beginning of the undoing of the many layers and ribbons that enfolded the fabric of reality itself.
Hyperion, mighty king of Sol, looked, more like motioned his celestial energy toward, Theia, his wife, mother of Luna and Gaia.
She acknowledged him by casting forward a rippling wave of light energy of her own to touch the source of his being.
If they were to manifest into tender flesh, he would be in the appearance of a kind and jolly father, handsome and robust for his age; and she would be a startling beauty, too vibrant to be thought of as a mother and too enigmatic to be anything other than adored by all.
“We will wait,” was her quiet, calm reply. “They must prove themselves worthy of our help.”
She was correct, as always.
His wife was the more rationale one, and he, the more radical of the pair.
Where she was meditative and strategic, he was quick to action with pure emotion.
Still, Hyperion could not shake the feeling that on this particular point, she could be – dare he think it – wrong.
Perhaps not assisting the humans in this particular struggle could prove to be a mistake.
These two were different.
They were more like gods than humans.
Demi-gods, of course, but that was only a play on words and concepts most of the time.
Quickly, he returned his attention to the seriousness of the situation at hand.
Every timeline from this point forward played out before him.
The pair were victorious in none.
And in the process of losing, they would destroy half of the earth and most of the lifeforms that dwelled upon her, by accident, time and time again.
They were too inexperienced in this form of combat, and had very little knowledge as to how to truly harness, focus, and control the power that swirled erratically and chaotically within their genes.
Now bonded, they were like a nuclear inferno, with all of the correct fusions reacting all at once.
Poised to blow in all directions, consuming all things in its path.
“No, dearest,” he spoke to her in a loving wave, “you are incorrect. This bonded pair has already proven much.” He continued as his memory replayed the couple’s individual lifelines. “We have seen it, since their births, how they have already overcome many trials, traps, and adversities, and are still pulsing with a wonderfully bright beacon of purest light.”
He paused, awaiting a stern objection, but none came.
“Husband,” Theia replied, turning her glorious being in his direction. To Hyperion’s shock, she was smiling, or what a human would describe as smiling, if ever a human could see her true face without being consumed. “Finally. You see beyond passion. You see true reason. You see true purpose. And yes, I agree. My initial judgement was in err… on purpose,” she quickly added. “We will intervene…but not just yet.”
Copyright 2018 Lenise Lee Pubn
As they reached the bottom of the hill, bright yellow sunlight spilled over their shoulders.
At the edge of town, the pair instinctively began to scan the area.
Shay glided on lean, graceful legs to the left. Ethan walked with strong purposeful strides toward the right.
Two pairs of sharp eyes surveyed the area ahead, watching for any sign of life. The dark city was silent before them. Nothing stirred.
The people hidden behind the dusty, broken windows and battered, barricaded doors were dead to the world awakening all around them. A world on the verge of bursting to life.
The daylight trailing behind the couple’s footsteps was restless to bring new revelations and miracles to the sleeping town. To push back the dark veil that had held them in bondage for far too long.
“Something is awake.” The tops of Ethan’s ears perked up. His eyes narrowed and followed a sound no ordinary human would have noticed. “Do you hear it?”
Shay crouched down, her fingertips digging into the thin layer of dry topsoil that had blown over and now covered a once-paved main road.
“That way.” The creatures’ energy was still vibrating, and the pulse of their essence flowed up into her palms. She pointed her chin further inward toward the center of town. She had lived here most of her life yet this place had become like a strange land in the short time she had been gone, transforming from Ethan’s captive to his beloved. Every corner was foreign and filled with a hint of danger.
She pushed herself up and motioned to move forward, but Ethan was by her side and touching her elbow before a human eye could catch his quick movements.
“Together,” he reminded her, his blue eyes locked with her hazel ones.
Forward they went, listening, watching and knowing they were being watched as dark shadows crept alongside just out of sight, as they walked down the main road toward the center of town.
Light was coming and the dark would not be forced back without a struggle.
Copyright Lenise Lee Pbn. All Rights Reserved.
I began this journey in a dark place, and now I have taken chances toward a better, brighter one.
Once, not long ago, we – he and I – traveled only by moonlight. We lived only in its silvery halo.
Our paths began asunder, yet were destined to merge within the crown of the sun.
There are moments when I block out the world and stare at the core of myself.
In those moments, I realize it is I who has created that space and that energy, so that I can discover and fulfill my calling. So that I can hear and feel and be embraced by the True Name by which I must be called.
I know I must continue forward. Ever onward. Because there is no past. The present is only a mirage. Only the future is certain.
~From the Thought Diary of Shay
Copyright 2019 Lenise Lee Pubn. All Rights Reserved
“The queen is missing.”
I awake to whispers from a fading dream haunting my thoughts. Remnants of that other reality ripple through my body. The howls of the beasts roaming outside these thin walls have startled me from my sleep, but the world that I have just departed from beckons me to return to the comforts of its enchanted realm. When I finally recall where I am and that the horrid world that I truly belong to surrounds me on all sides, my breath becomes ragged and my heart nearly fails me. Heavy, deep sobs and sighs burst from within the tightness of my lungs. Silent screams were the worst to bear, so I allow the dark depths of my loneliness and agony to fill the air all around me. My cries are silenced by the sound of heavy banging from the other side of the wall behind me. My neighbor must have become annoyed with listening to my strangled tears. As soon as I grew quiet, so did he.