"Wars of Light and Darkness"
By: Jade Lightning, a.k.a. ReverseTheEclipse
Verse Twenty-Four: “The Promise”
Morning blew in warm and welcoming to banish back the unusually chilly summer night. Though it was simply a part of nature, to those with no knowledge of how it worked, one could look at the scene that unfolded on the banks of Lake Vala and make the assumption that the beauty that had unfolded here all throughout the night was what returned the true warmth of summer back to the world.
The evening that started so innocently had stretched into hours. The security, the knowing and the feeling that what was about to happen was not only accepted, but desired, had allowed it to blossom into more than either teenager could have ever dreamed beforehand.
It was a story that had played out before, all too similarly over two-thousand years ago. Arandor and Hailamei, young, in love, and perhaps somewhat naïve, came together in the same place, in almost the same way. Arandor bonded himself to her partially to protect her, passing what little Light remained to him to her, where it bonded and eventually resulted in their daughter, who was able to receive the perfect Light her father had long lost. It was out of necessity, to a degree, but Arandor, as young as he was, wasn’t much different from the male descendent he had led to this moment.
This entire moment, wasn’t much different from the time before. It was beautiful. It was like a dream. It was still plagued with a shadow of dread, something that threatened it, ready to call it out and accuse it of being nothing less than sacrilege.
Arandor and Hailamei had Urlumin and Kulfos to fear. The young lovers here, Armundae and Aerealei, faced the disapproval of all of their people, for what they had committed in the night.
Yet like Arandor and Hailamei, neither of them were in a position to care; not yet, and even in the face of this scorn and adversity, likely never.
Aerealei wrinkled her nose gently after a bead of dew dropped down from one of the tendrils high above her. Her dress had slipped, leaving her almost completely exposed, and as she woke up slowly she could feel the damp touch of the morning weighing her fur down. She instinctively reached to pull her dress up like a blanket, still not fully awake. She became aware that it was stuck on something, making it impossible for her to pull it up to cover her completely. After one more gentle tug she felt movement beside her.
This was enough to convince her to open her eyes. She felt sand in them but left over adrenaline from the night before allowed her to regain her senses a bit quicker, and there was no doubt the sight she saw before her only did more to arouse her senses from their slumber.
Her eyes had gone to locate the source of what had snagged her dress, and that’s when she saw him. He must have rolled on the end of it during the night, for he now lay on his front, his arm under his head. She noticed now that his other one was draped across her waist, perhaps after he had stretched her gown over her body for warmth, before dropping back off to sleep. She wondered for a moment how he had managed to stay so comfortable. Tilting her head curiously her fingers brushed along the fur on his arm. She could feel the dampness that hers had, but almost immediately she ran into a luxuriously soft coat of down fur underneath the longer, coarser strands on top.
Over the years the two tribes of echidnas had changed, somewhat. Deannalee’s people had lost their warmer undercoat of fur to adapt to the island setting. Thaileon’s people, living high in the sky and receiving snow each winter, had kept their undercoats. Aerealei had never felt one so warm though. She smiled. She was glad he hadn’t been shivering all night long.
Of course, perhaps neither of them did. She felt damp yes, but she realized then how warm and comfortable she felt. The need to free her dress from where Armundae had rolled on it wasn’t as urgent a concern anymore. From simply touching his arm she was flooded with warmth, both from his body heat and from the good feelings that remained of the night before. Rubbing her eye gently she laid back down slowly, only inching her way closer to him this time, curling up so her head was nestled near the crook of his head and shoulder.
As she closed her eyes, she felt his arm tighten around her instinctively. She didn’t think he was awake, and perhaps he wasn’t; perhaps it was still just what came naturally to them.
Her cheeks burned gently as she remembered all of the things they did the night before. She knew that she was his first, and he was very clearly hers. She only knew what little her mother and grandmother had explained to her, the basics on how intercourse worked, what her part in it would be, and his as well. Experiencing it was another thing entirely.
She was told that one day, the male would know what to do. He would be taught in the same way about his part in it and what to expect. Though he came from another place far away from her village, it was clear this was something universal among young teens. All of them eventually learned how it worked. Armundae was two years older than her, and she felt that difference for the first time last night. Until then, she had felt like they were both just kids. During their time together, she recognized his presence. She felt his maturity.
Maybe it was because she felt grown up herself, like a woman, for the first time.
Her ears twitched. She heard him breathe in, through his mouth. She could tell it by the sound he made, a small click as his tongue lifted slightly from the movement of air. Opening her eyes she looked up again. With so many thoughts rushing through her head it was hard to focus on one for very long.
Surely a fourteen year old girl wouldn’t be this relaxed. Surely she would panic.
She smiled, and simply kissed his cheek gently. She wouldn’t panic, and she was more relaxed than she had ever been. Armundae was her security. She knew as long as they had each other everything would be alright, and after last night, he made it clear he wanted to be with her forever; just as she had made it clear she couldn’t have wanted things to be any different.
His head moved a little in response to her touch. Aerealei curled up tightly like a kitten spying on its littermate, holding back a giggle. She watched as her kiss brought him to life, causing his muscles to flex and his breathing to deepen, his body craving more oxygen as it woke up from slumber. He shifted to his side, facing her, and his arm tightened around her closer. She did all she could to repress a squeak as her head was pressed against his chest. Her smaller body fit perfectly against him like fingers laced together in the embrace of held hands.
She closed her eyes again as she felt him wake up. She could feel the beat of his heart where her head was pressed up to him. She focused on it intently, forgetting about the rest of the world for awhile. She wondered about the life he had led from the moment his heart first started beating within his mother’s womb, and all that had brought her love to be with her at this moment. She was lost in all that he was.
Armundae finally opened his eyes slowly. He had felt movement but that last gesture was like lightening speeding through his body, tickling his senses, giving him no choice but to wake up from his dreams. She was there in his dreams, and he was immediately aware that she was here as well. His eyes adjusted, but had to drop down when he realized she wasn’t exactly where he last saw her lying. He saw her dress barely covering her, only draped across her waist tangled up around one of his legs. He grinned sheepishly but smiled. He loved how she looked curled up beside him, tucked into the warmth of his body. He knew it wasn’t about warmth though, because she did not shiver, and if anything she only made him feel warmer and more comfortable.
Still, he felt badly seeing her having to lay there exposed, as beautiful as she was. He remembered one of the last times he spoke with his father; he told Armundae he’d know the day when he had found his true love. He would know it, because there would be no room left for doubt, and everything would feel like it belonged.
His father told him that spirits know each other before birth, and the process of living was to enjoy the world that was created for them, but also to find their way back to the one they were separated from. When this occurred, the true beauty and miracle that was life and the world they lived in would be realized. No matter the struggle or threat of doom, everything would still appear shiny and proper, perfect and just. He said he felt that way when he found Armundae’s mother. That’s how he knew he had found her again at long last.
Until that night, even during the weeks he was with her, Armundae wasn’t completely sure he had found what his father had. Laying there, his purple eyes taking in this beautiful angel nestled up beside him, the sounds and feeling of the world around them evoking dreams and illusions of heaven, he felt it now. He finally grasped what his father had said. He was finally able to feel it for himself.
He was right; all of the struggles and nightmares of the past, present, future, and forever, no longer meant a thing to him.
Gently he pulled her dress up as high as he could to cover her, and he leaned his head forward to kiss her head gently. She squeaked softly, being awoken from her wondering and the sound of his heartbeat. Looking up at him she saw him pull back, before opening his eyes. There was a pause, one that seemed obligatory so the lovers would have a precious moment to take in each other’s gaze. Aerealei smiled. She had always thought he was handsome. He only appeared even more so now.
It wasn’t until that brief moment that she realized why. For the first time, when she looked at him, she thought not only of him, but how handsome his babies would be, and how she wanted to be the one to carry them inside of her.
In the same way Armundae’s father explained to him how he’d know he had found his twin soul, Aerealei’s mother had told her something similar to what she was feeling now. As a young girl witnessing births scared Aerealei due to the screaming and pain that the mother would feel. To comfort her daughter, her mother explained that once Aerealei found the right man, she would know, because she would know without a doubt she wanted to have his children, and thinking about that pain would do nothing to scare her anymore.
She had thought about how handsome his babies would be, and how she wanted to be the one to carry them inside of her. She remembered seeing the pain those new mothers felt. She knew it would mean feeling it for herself. Staring into his eyes, her lips curled to mirror his smile. Thinking about it did nothing to scare her. It only made her want to realize this desire even stronger.
The intercourse they shared suddenly had even fewer consequences.
Aerealei placed her hand on his cheek and his eyes closed. It was as if she could tell he was feeling the same. Armundae felt his pulse quicken. For the first time in at least a few weeks he remembered exactly why he had journeyed. He was meant to find a woman to bear his children. He had found so much more than that. By some miracle, he found his twin soul; the girl he wanted to share everything with for all that was his life, forever and always.
As a male he’d never feel the pain of childbirth, and while he felt a pang in his heart for the brief second he thought about Aerealei hurting so much, he knew he would be right there beside her, and he couldn’t imagine trusting something as precious as the spirits of his children with anyone else.
He had found her. They had found each other.
Placing his hand on hers he opened his eyes, grinning. She smiled still. Somehow their hearts and minds had connected, and their smiles said it all for them. They were of like mind; they were one. Neither of them knew what the morning would bring after the passion they had shared, but now they did, and it was beautiful.
“Good morning,” she said at last, blushing gently. Her eyes glanced at his cheek. She saw his eyes do the same, his fingers running along hers, tracing the curves of the joints and bones in her hand, feeling the touch of her soft fur and skin. She giggled softly as she watched him.
“Good morning,” he replied slowly, not glancing back. He watched the movements of his fingers curiously, and then glanced at her, grinning. “Although good seems to…fall short…”
“I know,” she offered before he could finish, “I had to, pause a moment and, try and separate what had really happened, from the dream.” She closed her eyes breathing deeply. “I know this sounds outrageous but…I’ve never, ever…”
“Been this happy before,” Armundae finished. She opened her eyes. “I know, because I feel the same. It doesn’t sound outrageous at all. …The funny thing is not but a few months ago Thaileon said something similar in regards to Laryllia. I don’t think they’ve gotten this close,” he grinned sheepishly, “But he’s connected with her on some level, and me I, chalked it up to being a lovesick badger if nothing else.” He took Aerealei’s hand in his own rubbing it gently. “Now, I feel it in my own heart. He wasn’t a lovesick badger.” He looked at her. “I had simply yet to taste and feel something so beautiful. I have and now I will proudly be the lovesick one,” he grinned, “No matter how many raised eyebrows or snickers get pointed in my direction. I am proud and more than happy to be the recipient of them now. I hope I am forever, even from my own children.”
She looked at him. There was the goofy and cheeky humor of a teenager mixed in with the romantic and sweet words of a man mature beyond his years. He had grown and blossomed so; she had seen him change. She wondered if she had as well.
She wondered how anything could possibly go wrong now. Maybe she was still a young, naïve teenager after all, but if she was, he must have felt the same.
Leaning forward slowly she kissed his cheek gently. “Mmm, with an attitude like that I’m certain you will be, Armundae,” she giggled softly. She felt his hand press against her back gently, and then she looked up at him, seeing him grinning.
“I am happy to know I will forever be the goofy, lovesick badger, because no matter what, I know I will always be yours, Aerealei.”
She blushed still, her cheeks getting pinker and her giggle muffled as he leaned in and kissed her lips. She scooted into his lap wrapping her arms around his neck, enjoying every moment she could be folded into his embrace. Every little sound and movement he made, she reciprocated. He felt shivers go down and up his spine. Despite having touched every inch of her body, any little touch filled him with electricity. He couldn’t imagine going back to a life without it.
Still, as euphoric as he was, his other senses weren’t completely dulled out. He sensed a change in the air. He heard the tiniest of changes in the world around them. Perhaps it was just deep-seeded instinct, but it caused him to pull back, his eyes immediately glancing around. Aerealei was a little caught off guard, not expecting the kiss to end so soon. “Armundae?” she asked.
“Shh,” he pressed a finger to her lips gently. He pushed some of the tendrils aside gently and peered out to get a better look at the world beyond them. He blinked, seeing a yellow furred hedgehog with similar appearance to Aerealei walking along the edge of the lake. She looked older, perhaps too old to be her mother. His eyes widened some as he gestured in that direction. With a lowered and more serious voice, he whispered, “We have company.”
Suddenly reality came back to the teenagers like a slap in the face. They were again aware of the scorn they would face were they discovered. While they did not fear this belittlement, they did know being discovered would likely separate them forever, and Armundae might even be killed, Aerealei forever ostracized and declared unfit for marriage after laying with an echidna male.
All the love and bliss they had been feeling that night and these brief tender moments under the gray morning light could be lost forever in a matter of seconds if they were seen by the wrong eyes now.
Taking a deep breath Aerealei summoned up all of her courage, feeling Armundae’s secure arms around her. “If someone sees us…Armundae,” she glanced at him, “You take me in your arms, and you run the other way…as fast as you can. I don’t care about anything else, I just know,” she placed a hand on his cheek, “I won’t let them take you away from me.”
He smiled at her some, a nod his only other reply. Seeing this, she nodded too. As long as they’d stay together, she knew they’d be alright. At last she turned and peered out of the tendrils, spotting the same woman Armundae saw before, only she was much closer now, appearing to be looking around carefully for something, or someone.
Aerealei covered her mouth to mask a gasp that was already soft enough. Armundae looked at her, tightening his arms around her as though preparing to take flight. “What? Who is it?”
She looked back at him shaking her head. She smiled. “It is my grandmother. I have told her about you, and she seems alright with it…it’s just…”
“This old woman had no idea just how close you were.”
Aerealei squeaked, and Armundae snapped his eyes up to see the woman standing there, outside of the tendrils but more than able to see them there, Aerealei sitting in Armundae’s lap covering him, and a combination of her hair, Armundae’s hair, and her dress keeping her covered as well. Aerealei flushed red immediately while Armundae simply bowed his head lowering his eyes. This caused the old woman to grin.
“Really Aerealei I think you’d give your grandma a bit more credit than that. I’ve long known this is one of your favorite places to go,” she said slowly.
Armundae raised his head slowly, quite certain it wasn’t his turn to speak, yet as he smirked his thoughts couldn’t help but escape him. “You took us to your favorite place that your grandmother knew about?”
Aerealei squeaked, caught between her grandmother and her lover. She fiddled with her hair shyly, stammering a bit. “I-I wasn’t thinking Armundae I…I wanted it to be special, for us.” She looked at him. “I was just…so lost in the happiness I…I…”
He chuckled. “Ah…I was merely teasing you,” patting her hand he added, “It’s alright now.”
The old woman looked at them. She knew how taboo and reviled this relationship would be, but personally she embraced the stories of old, being skeptical of Valordian’s hatred of the floating island and her inhabitants, and keeping her faith that they were still good people. Aerealei’s stories that Armundae had told her of what they had endured only confirmed her suspicions, and already she could tell Armundae was a good man, and he would take good care of her granddaughter.
However that wasn’t the only thing that struck a chord in her that morning. Another thing she knew was another reason why this particular location was so special, and just how deep the threads were that bound Valordian and Angel Island, no matter how much the hedgehogs here wanted to sever that connection forever.
She smiled as Armundae rubbed Aerealei’s hand, glancing back out at the lake. She knew most in the village no longer disturbed this place. Perhaps she could tell them this safely. Looking back she spoke up. “Kids, if you’d like to make yourselves decent there is, something I would like to tell you. Perhaps…I can get better acquainted with the echidna as well.” She grinned.
Aerealei looked up blushing deeply still. Even Armundae’s cheeks went pink slightly as he rubbed the back of his head. “Yes ma’am,” he looked up, “I apologize for this I know it’s a bit, awkward.”
Shaking her head she replied, “No need, only, I am happy it was me who found you and not someone else.” She turned and sat down outside of the tendrils with her back facing them. “I know you’re needing to head home soon, and I can only surmise my little Aerealei plans on going with you. If that’s the case, then there are things I would like to tell you both first.”
Aerealei started pulling her undergarments back on, tilting her head slightly. “Things Grandma? Even, things you’ve never told me before?”
“Yes my child. After seeing what I just saw here, and where I saw it, I think it’s time you know now especially, before you start this new chapter in your life.” She glanced back at them. “But this is for his ears as well. I’d like to tell you, both of you, exactly where this is, and why it, and the both of you and your love, are so special.”
“Words spoken in a moment,
Passionate and secure,
Meant to last for ages,
And changes to endure.
The promise made that day,
Lingers where it grew,
And though so much has come and gone,
That promise has held true.”
The love and warmth Armundae and Aerealei now shared was the complete antithesis of the tragedy unfolding on Spirit Island. It was a silent one, the more deadly kind that nobody notices until it’s too late to stop it. The storm only continued to build up and become more deadly. It was like a hurricane with nothing but an ocean of warm water to feed it and no land to rid the turbulence of its power.
That hurricane was Teikaru, dragging the former Guardian Queen Casselina along for the ride, as they ravaged and abused Deannalee, their own wife and daughter respectively. It had been over six months since Deannalee’s first child, her son Baralai, had been born, and already she was being worn down by the wrath of the child’s father.
Night after night, Teikaru would brutally attack Deannalee, Casselina masking the sound of her screams and Baralai’s cries as he laid helplessly watching in his cradle. By this point Teikaru was clearly the aggressor; Casselina helped out of scorn for Deannalee and her choice of trying to change her partner to the echidna Kashkie, but feeling far less venom for her than Teikaru did.
She was simply being controlled by Mukot’s darkness like a puppet. It was starting to get to the point where she would have lucid moments, and before too much longer she might have one that lasted long enough to confront Teikaru and stop him. Until then, Teikaru had little competition. Kashkie was there, but Deannalee hid her pain and sorrow in order to protect Baralai, and also out of guilt for the suffering she had put him through. Still, he made her smile every day by being friendly, helping her watch Baralai, and by being so forgiving and still willing to be her friend.
Still, that wasn’t the only thing keeping Deannalee going. Teikaru noticed that she would stop crying much sooner than he felt she should after he was done attacking her every night. It was almost as if someone was there to comfort her and lull her to sleep. He couldn’t see anyone, or sense anything, and he couldn’t stop what he couldn’t see. He also couldn’t stop Kashkie; for some reason now whenever he tried to get close to the golden echidna, it stung at him painfully. He knew about Arandor and Kashoku yes, but that was only because of Mukot’s darkness making him hyper aware of things he wouldn’t normally know. Kashkie harboring Arandor’s spirit was still a secret even to him, and that was precisely what kept Teikaru from getting close enough to kill him, or trying to harm him in any way.
It should have protected Deannalee as well, but in this fragile state, Arandor’s spirit only possessed so much presence and power.
An unseen force, an annoying golden echidna that he couldn’t get rid of, and his own son, Baralai. Though Teikaru threatened to kill Baralai to scare Deannalee into submission, killing his own son was the last thing he wanted to do. Still, he had to do something to cut a leg out from under Deannalee. He had to weaken her more, so she would be easier to break. He had to before she became pregnant again, most likely with the child that would be the Master of the Elements Kashkie was waiting for.
It didn’t come to him until one summer afternoon, around the same time Armundae and Aerealei were spending their last days together, leading up to their night on the shores of Lake Vala. As he walked through the village, he spotted Deannalee sitting and smiling. Though she was attacked the night before, she looked truly happy and strong, and worse yet, hopeful. He eyeballed her sneering, and then he noticed something. She had Baralai with her. The baby giggled as he was bounced up and down on the knee of his grandfather, Renaldo.
Renaldo had no idea of any of what was happening to his daughter. He knew Casselina was troubled, and did his best to comfort her. He even got gentle and loving moments out of her still, moments where the haze the darkness submersed her in caused her to forget she had harmed her daughter indirectly, and she felt truly happy. The effect Renaldo had on both women was clear, and at the same time damning. Teikaru saw Casselina sit beside Renaldo smiling at baby Baralai. Deannalee smiled as well; she was not aware of her mother’s involvement in what had been happening, or if she was, she had forgiven her mother for it.
That was it. Renaldo. He was the leg that would be cut away. It would take away the support and comfort Casselina had from her husband, leaving her all alone to be influenced by Teikaru’s venom, and taking away Deannalee’s beloved father. Surely this would shake her, when she realized just how violent and hurtful Teikaru would be if she didn’t obey his every word.
The board was set. Pieces were moving.
Later that evening Renaldo was helping pile wood after dinner. He was in a joyful mood, since Casselina had been in good spirits, and a day spent with his dear daughter and grandson was always a blessing. He grinned waving at people walking by, carrying on his work uncomplaining. However as he put the last bit of wood on the pile he paused, glancing into the brush. For a brief moment, he felt he had seen something, perhaps a whisper of black smoke, and yet there was nothing.
Curiosity got the better of him. He walked over to the brush and looked around. Still he saw nothing, and so he walked ahead even further.
Unbeknownst to him he walked right past what he was looking for, and it watched him as he walked straight in to what brought this presence here in the first place.
Cloaked in a black mist that was sickness, death, and misery incarnate, a dark figure with messy black hair, an ashen gray face, and menacing red eyes watched him. The darkness hissed softly, his eyes not leaving the echidna as he moved further into the woods. He was a witness to what was about to happen. He was drawn to the misfortune, and bound by sacred law to not interfere.
And then Renaldo walked into the open arms of disaster.
It happened faster than the bite of a cornered snake. Ice blasted Renaldo’s feet, pinning him where he stood. He immediately summoned fire but water and air slammed into his hand extinguishing it. He sneered, growling but trying to keep his cool and free himself with his own control over wind, only to be struck by spears of ice. He let out a yelp of pain, but an air bubble appeared around him to muffle it. It swirled violently, but it did not suffocate him.
His attacker had decided he was worth more to him alive than dead.
Teikaru stepped out eyeing Renaldo. He grinned wickedly when he saw Renaldo’s eyes widen in anger. “Teikaru!” he hissed, realizing immediately he couldn’t be heard. He struggled in vain to try and free himself as the ice slowly climbed up his body.
Waving his finger Teikaru shook his head. “Tsk tsk Renaldo. You should thank me. Your loud screaming might have woken up your grandbaby. That wouldn’t have been nice now would it?” Renaldo sneered, while Teikaru chortled to himself. “Ah…come let’s go talk somewhere…nicer. I’ll explain to you why I need to…have you disappear, for now.”
Using the wind, Teikaru floated Renaldo along as the ice continued to slowly incase him. Though Renaldo struggled, Teikaru easily kept control, his ice spears having hit Renaldo in a way that paralyzed his ability to wield the elements. As they walked Teikaru explained what he had been doing to Deannalee, causing Renaldo’s face to grow increasingly pale and grim, to the point where he looked ready to weep one minute, and ready to lash out and kill Teikaru with a swift blow to his head the next.
It was torture, mental and emotional torture. Teikaru did it knowing what he had planned for Renaldo, knowing that Renaldo would have nothing to do but remain trapped to be consumed by the nightmares of his wife and daughter suffering, and the feeling of failure at being unable to do anything to save them. It was almost more cruel than what the women were going through already.
It was enough to cause the dark figure from before to follow them and continue to watch. Foolish mortals. They could be the most cruel beings creation would ever know. They kept him busy, that much was certain.
The procession lasted until they reached the deep interior caverns of the dead volcano that rose up out of the middle of the island. Finding a corner of the caves, Teikaru set Renaldo down, now incased up to his neck in solid ice. He was already beginning to break down, now silent and no longer growling and hissing at Teikaru, and certainly no longer able to move.
Teikaru paused, grinning to himself when he realized he had almost completely broken Deannalee’s father already. He was going to enjoy telling her this while he raped her that night. It would be nice having Casselina back on his side again without Renaldo keeping love and light in her heart.
“Ah…Renaldo, how does it feel knowing that losing to me now has damned both of the women you love,” he smirked. “Perhaps I’ll come free you once the final damage has been done, and no amount of your love will be able to save either of them.”
A tear fell from Renaldo’s eye. It was filled with enough warmth that not even Teikaru’s ice could freeze it, and as it trickled down it created a groove in the surface of the ice. Looking up Renaldo eyed him. “My girls, my wife, my daughter, they are stronger than you. I’m not talking to Teikaru. I’m talking to some demon that has squatted inside of you and you’re both now a hybrid of one another. You may trap me in ice until the sky falls down and all the world ends. You may attack them both and wound them, but damn you to hell Teikaru, and you will go there. My girls will be angels. They’ll rise above this. They’ll rise above you. With or without me, your life will mean nothing, and you will beg for death before then end, and then realize that there is no end anymore, only hell, and eternity!”
There was silence for several moments. If what Renaldo said bothered Teikaru he quickly buried it, either forcing himself to laugh or in his twisted insanity he genuinely enjoy the threats. Regardless he did chuckle, leaning towards a dramatic side by pretending to wipe a tear. “Ah Renaldo, defiant and stubborn until the end,” he looked up at him, “Isn’t that what we all are really? Stubborn echidnas? Hmm, who knows, perhaps if you can survive living in this ice for awhile maybe…Casselina and Deannalee will survive long enough to say goodbye to you. Just know…,” he paused, his eyes gleaming, “I’m going to do all that I can to make that impossible.”
Renaldo sneered; defiant until the end. All he could think about was trying to save Casselina, Deannalee, Baralai, his entire people, and yet there was nothing he could do. The sickening realization was that Teikaru was right. All Renaldo could hope to do was gather his strength to stay alive until he was discovered, could be freed, and rescue his family.
It was like a rock sitting in his stomach. Despite being incased in ice, such a deep level of pain had not left him, not yet. It wouldn’t last much longer. He hung his head slightly glancing up. This time, he saw it. That figure with the darkness around him like a cloud; those menacing red eyes, the expressionless and emotionless face. He had never seen anyone like that before, and yet the only thing that registered in his mind as his consciousness started to fade, was one thing.
Sickness, sadness; depression, danger; death…dying. Oblivion…
Only he wouldn’t die, not yet, and that, perhaps, was what was the most terrifying of all.
His head snapped up suddenly as if in one final attempt to fight. Though this startled Teikaru, in this deep state of madness, he feared nothing. Instead he grinned. Raising his hand he said only this. “I’ll take care of your girls for you, Daddy.”
A blast of ice flew from his hand swirling around Renaldo’s head, immediately bonding with the chunk below it fusing into a solid piece. Silence. There was no more movement. Renaldo was now incased in the ice, his eyes open, still staring in the direction where he saw the figure. He wasn’t dead, but there would be no getting out of that ice, not unless someone freed him.
Casselina and Deannalee had now lost one of the few lights they had left.
Feeling satisfied Teikaru yawned, stretching. “Do enjoy your tomb Renaldo. I’ll come visit you now and then. Ta-ta.” He waved his fingers, walking out of the cave into the night.
Though now paralyzed by the ice, Renaldo’s eyes slowly closed behind it. His consciousness fluttered back to him intermittently, and when it did he searched desperately for something to hold on to. He knew not how long he would be trapped there, only that any amount of time was unacceptable.
Desperate, alone, and truly afraid, all he could do was pray for someone to save his family, his beloved girls, his grandson, his people. Who knew, perhaps if there was someone as dark as that bringer of death existing in the world, angels did exist, and one, perhaps one with a sympathetic enough heart, could save them all.
Yet that was no sure thing. As his consciousness faded again, the one thing he was certain of was this.
There was a promise of doom, he felt it, and this was one promise, deep in his heart, that he knew there was no chance of being broken.