The surrounding forest fell quiet as a dark figure moved quickly through the early dawn. He had been sent to make sure the security precautions that had been set up around the small county over twenty years ago were still in place. The Emperor did not want to chance enemies from the past finding them after all the trouble he had gone through to keep his secret.
A secret that would change everything.
Aden broke through the tree line and stopped. Before him the Llassar farmhouse and barn stood silent in early morning dawn, its occupants unaware their lives were once again about to be turn upside down. The last time he was here he took something from them. Something precious. Although he was not here to return their precious gem, he did want to warn them of what was to come. He was also here to fulfill a promise he had made six years ago.
Closing his eyes, Aden concentrated for a moment, looking for one Llassar in particular. He found him in the barn loft along with the two children. Aden’s mind flashed back to the last time he had been here. The young man who was far older than his years informing his father that the love of his life was not his alone. In some ways Chris had been right. Kara belonged to the fate of the universe and the two men who helped balanced it, kept it steadily moving forward, until now. Now she also belonged to him, a gift Aden thanked the Gods for each and every day.
Aden opened his eyes and looked at the farm with a sense of profound failure. No matter how hard he tried, or how many times he promised to protect her, Caius had managed to prove that neither he or Tanis were a match for the power the demi-god possessed. Not when he also held the power of a demon inside him.
When Aden returned five days after Caius sent him to torture the sorcerous queen, Commander Wells had warned him to stay away from Kara. That the emperor was in a foul mood because he had been unable to break Tanis. Not in the way he wanted. Some…one powerful had interfered. The captain did not know who it was, but when the emperor had come from the room he was torturing Kara, he was mumbling something about impertinent, self-serving Gods needing to keep their noses out of his business. When the emperor’s captain went into the cell to take the prisoners back to their room they were already gone. Confused, he went looking for them and found them their room, asleep and untouched.
Then he told Aden how the emperor’s appearance had changed. How the aging of his face and body had reversed themselves. Aden had not believed him, knowing there was no force in the universe that could undo two thousand years of aging. It was impossible. Aden was to find how wrong he was.
When he walked into the throne room, the amount of power filling it staggered him. When he saw Caius, his youthful timeless face, the young well-toned body, the godlike aura that surrounded him, Aden could only gape. Listening with growing dread as Caius confirmed everything that Aden had read in the prophecy as truth. About his, Kara’s and Tanis’s roles in the continuation of the universe. That there was some truth in the legends passed on from generation except for one crucial part. That he and Tanis had never fought for Kara’s affection, but that the three of them live fairly harmoniously together, protecting each other from those who hunted them. How the very gods who Aden and every other sentient creature had worshiped in one way or another were involved. However, those revelations were not what had completely stunned Aden. No. It was that he had been created for the sole purpose to end the vicious cycle of life, death and rebirth they were all trapped in. He was the Key to the end.
Closing his eyes, Aden took a deep breath of cold air and let it out slowly, trying to expel his emotions with the fog that surrounded his head as the warm air from his lungs hit the cold. Now was not the time to worry about what he could not fight today. First he had to keep a promise and relive the horrors that he could not change. In order to do that he needed to lock up his emotions deep down inside, otherwise he would lose what little sanity he had left.
Keeping to the shadows, Aden silently stole through the yard. The stillness of the night telling. Those that live in the shadows knew when a predatory was amongst them, and they did not want to be found. With a wave of his hand the side door into the barn quietly swung open. Aden climbed the stairs into loft that had been converted into Brynn and his family’s home. Soundlessly, he slipped down the hall until he reached Chris’s open door. Staring down at the sleeping young man, Aden finally understood the terror in Chris’s eyes when he had felt Caius power. Even at his young age, Chris knew what Caius had become. Knew how his mother would suffer these last six years. Aden wondered if Chris knew who his mother really was. It was a question he would have to ask later. He was not here to see the twenty-one year old, and he did not have much time.
With stealth a panther would envy, Aden swept into Brynn’s room. His long duster gently swinging around his ankles, he looked down at the sleeping man for a few moments before putting his hand out over Brynn’s forehead. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath and delved into Brynn’s dreams.
Copyright © 2019 Heidi Barnes
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