Caius watched with mixed feelings as Kara lay over Tania’s broken body sobbing. On one hand this was his brother who lay on the cold hard earth covered in blood. On the other Kara was now free to be his. It sounded cold and uncaring, but their entire existence had been one cold and uncaring moment after the next. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. There were some moments where there had been warmth and laughter. Moments when the light out weighted the dark and Kara loved him as much as she loved his brother. But even then it had ended in tragedy. Instead of Kara leaning over Tanis’s cooling dead corpse, it had been his, and it was Tanis who had comforted Kara.
The thought of Kara in his brother’s arms did not bring the wave of jealousy that usually followed. Instead it only brought a sort of sadness that seeped into Caius’s bones and settled deep inside. This was not the first time they were at this time and space, and the Gods help them, it would not be the last. In fact, it was the Gods that had cursed them with this life. Life and death. Birth and rebirth. Over and over until one life blurred into another and they had lost count how many centuries had passed since the beginning of their existence. All so the universe could stay in existence and the inhabitants could continue their evolution until time itself had no meaning.
They had come to the end of this lifetime. One of them no longer existed, and the two that were left only had a finite amount of time to do what needed to be done before the others found them and started the cycle all over again. The hardest deaths were when it was Kara lying there. Though that had only happened once, that Caius could remember, once was enough. The black lash of that catastrophe had sent them millenniums back in time. There were still worlds in the outer regions that were still reeling from it.
Kara was the glue that kept everything together. The reason Tanis and Caius fought to own her heart. And once that fight was ended, the unrelenting jealousy that spurned them on disappeared. Jealousy, hatred, love, all rolled into one confusing emotion. How can one hate their brother as much as they loved them?
That was a discussion for another time. Now they had no time. Not if they wanted to end this vicious cycle of live and death they were trapped in.
“Kara,” he called softly, kneeling down beside her and gently placing his hand on her back. “We need to leave or there won’t be enough time.”
Lifting her head, she turned her blue eyes to Caius. The anguish in them tore at his heart. Forever in the middle, Kara was the one who suffered the most. It was the reason Caius was desperate to get her away from here. If they stayed too long, there would only be more misery to heap onto what was already burying them.
Intricate braids held her long brown hair away from her face. The rest cascaded down her back in thick curls. Her leather battle gear was splattered with the blood of Caius’s army and Tanis’s. She had fought bravely, but the exhaustion from the battle and the weight of their burden made her frightfully pale.
“Why?” she asked, her voice hoarse with her tears. “They will only find us and it will be far worse than if we just stay and wait for the enviable.”
“That is not true and you know it,” Caius snapped in frustration.
“Isn’t it? We have battled for our very existence, for the universes existence since the beginning of time. I for one am tired. Let them come. Then maybe I can sleep.”
Her voice and expression were so defeated that it frightened Caius. This was not the brave warrior that Caius knew Kara to be. Had the elders finally broken her? If they had, Caius would reign down his own kind of hell upon their heads for daring to hurt what he loved.
“You don’t meant that….”
Kara jumped to there feet and backed away from him. Anger and the horror of their lives rolling off her in waves.
“I can’t do this anymore!” she yelled. “Let them have me! I won’t play their sick game any longer!” Raising her arms to her sides and turning in a slow circle, she screamed to the heavens, “You hear me you cowards! I won’t fight your battles anymore!”
The sky grew dark. Thunder shook the ground beneath them as lightening streaked through the sky. The gods apparently did not appreciate being called cowards.
Caius jumped up and wrapped his arms round Kara, holding her close. “Kara! Shush!” he hissed.
“No!” she screamed struggling to get free of him, but Caius would not let go. “I will not stay quiet any longer!”
Another clap of thunder as a bolt of lightening struck right beside them, sending Caius and Kara flying through the air.
The sudden silence was deafening.
When Caius came to, the skies were filled with dark clouds and a light rain was falling, beginning the cleaning of the battle field. The sound of carrion fighting over corpses in growls, yips, squawks and screams that all blended in his mind spurring the headache into something epic. Every part of his body ached, the smell of burnt flesh permeated his senses, and yet for some reason he was still alive. What the hell had happened?
Among all the chaos, one thought broke through the pain and agony and sent his heart racing. Where was Kara?
After searching what seemed like an eternity, he found her lying in the mud at the edge of the battle field. Her clothes and skin were burnt along her back where the lightening bolt had struck. It was then that Caius realized that she had taken the brunt of the strike. It was the only explanation as to why he was still alive and she stared lifelessly into the sky.
Tears streaming down his face, Caius closed Kara’s eyes then gently picked her lifeless body and carried her to where Tanis lay. Lying her down next to his brother, he brushed the hair from her face, memorizing every feature to hold him over for what was to come. Leaning down he kissed her forehead before resting his cheek against hers.
“I promise you I will fix this,” he whispered in her ear. “When I see you again, I will fix this.”
With one last kiss, Caius, step back and disappeared from the field to a cave on a small planet that those who controlled their lives could not find him. Here would begin a quest that would lead him to places he never thought he would travel so he could save the one woman who owned his heart and the brother that owned hers. What he did not expect was how long it would take, and the demon he would awaken that wanted to destroy them all.
Copyright 2016 Heidi Barnes