“Why did we have to move again,” Darian whines.
“Because I’m not attached to anywhere. I don’t like being idle. It’s boring.” I hang the curtains that she stitched together from old clothing several months back. I smile at them, amazed at how nice she can make a piece of patchwork look.
“Yeah, well,” she stops her dusting and crosses her arms, “I like being idle. I like being attached. Just once, I would be happy with once.”
“It’s the people I don’t like becoming close with. It results in hurt.”
She stares at me with her round blue eyes and whispers, “Do you not like being close to me?”
I wrap my arms around her waist and pull her in for a kiss. “You, my dear, are an exception. A beautiful, wonderful exception.”
Darian smiles her shy smile as she tucks a piece of her coppery brown hair out of her face. Every time I look at her I’m always astounded by how perfectly beautiful she is. How was I lucky enough to stumble across the prettiest lady in all of our land?
I place a quick kiss on her forehead and ask, “You’re not too mad that we’ve moved again, are you?”
She sighs. “I guess not. I could have said no at any point to you. Somehow you’re arguments are always very persuasive.” There’s a playfulness in her voice that causes a smile to play across my lips without my decision to let it happen. She’s the only person I’ve ever loved outside of my family.
Darian walks away to continue dusting our small wooden cottage. It really isn’t much, but it’s the best I could do. I truly wonder how she’s stayed with me all this time without despising me.
“So what made you choose to come to Demark of all places?”
I run my tongue over my teeth as I consider my answer. I don’t have a good one this time. Normally when I move, it’s because of trade reasons. This time…nothing. I don’t have an answer that is easily put to words.
“I don’t know. I’ve been feeling…pulled here for years. I just haven’t really done anything about it.”
For several years I’ve always felt the need to be in Demark. It’s not like I was born here or ever lived here, so I don’t know why. But something has been pulling at me. It feels like when I use my magic. There’s been a physical feeling of my body being tugged.
“Hopefully this lasts more than a few months,” Darian mutters.
I really hate that I’ve taken her from her home for this life. We aren’t even married, which goes against everything for the most part. Then again…me having my magic goes against everything.
“Let’s go for a walk,” I suggest.
“But we have so much to do still,” she says.
I close my eyes and focus on using my energy to pull her close to me.
“Jaxon, don’t you dare.”
Without looking at her, I smirk. By now she knows what me closing my eyes means. It almost always means that I’m trying to use my magic.
“Jaxon,” she squeals with laughter.
In less than another second, I feel her body against mine so I open my eyes. I smile down at her.
“Why hello there, gorgeous.” My arms wrap around her body as I hold her close.
She smacks my chest with her petite hands. It doesn’t hold a lot of weight since she’s laughing at me.
“So this walk…” she says.
“C’mon. I think I saw a little lake when I was walking through here this morning.”
She takes my hand and we walk out of our new home together. She cranes her head around to view the new settings. This is something quite different than Nighes.
“Do you think we can stay here this time?” Darian suddenly asks.
“Dar, I don’t know. You know how I feel—”
“But why?” She rips her hand out of mine in frustration.
I hate when she gets like this. I’m always afraid that she’ll come to her senses and leave me. I would never be mad. I would never blame her. All of the moving I do isn’t exactly the ideal life.
“I don’t get attached. We’ve been over this.”
“Stop letting your past run your life,” she says with exasperation.
“You don’t understand,” I say. “You have your family. I have nothing.”
I shake my head at remembering the day I lost everything. My hand travels to my pocket instinctively. I always carry my little sisters doll with me. Always. It’s the only thing I have left besides memories.
“Oh, so I’m nothing to you now?”
Darian turns to walk away from me. I grab her arm. If she decides to leave me, I won’t let her do it without trying to stop her. I refuse to let her go without a fight.
“That’s not what I meant.”
If she truly believes that those are my feelings, I’ve failed her. I’ve failed in the worst kind of way. Someone like her deserves to know how valued and loved she is.
“I know,” she whispers. “I’m sorry.”
She walks closer to me and grabs my other hand. She bites her thin lip before saying, “I just—I just wish I was enough to keep you happy.”
Her eyes turn away from mine as if she were ashamed at what she just said.
“Hey,” I say softly, “you are my everything. If it will make you happy, we will stay here as long as possible.”
She looks back at me with a light in her eyes that makes me smile.
“Really?” I nod and she throws her arms around my neck. “Thank you.”
My lips land on the top of her head.
“I love you,” I whisper.
The sun is starting to go down and it paints the sky in all kinds of orange. An idea sparks in my mind.
“Let’s just lay here and watch the sky.”
“What?” she giggles, looking at me with confusion.
My shoulders lift and fall. “Let’s watch the sky. Let’s just stay here and watch.”
“I will gladly do anything with you.”
I sit on the cold earth and pull her into my lap. She leans back into my chest and I breathe in her hair. I don’t know what I’d do if I ever lost her. I think she’s the only reason I ever stay sane.
Stars begin to peak out and light the sky.
“They’re so amazing,” Darian sighs. “I could stare at a night sky for hours.”
There’s a rustle in the weeds not far from where we’re sitting. For reasons I can’t explain, the noise puts me on edge. The wind is too still for that to be the cause. I haven’t seen any animals so far…
“Dar,” I whisper quietly.
“What is it?” Concern is laced through her soft words.
“Stay put and stay low.”
The rustling sounded entirely too unnatural for me to be comfortable. I’m not going to let myself fall asleep and get some sort of ambush placed on Darian and myself.
As quietly as I can manage, I stand and make my way towards the noise.
“It’s him!” a man shouts.
A group of at least thirty men emerge from all the weeds. This is bad.
I turn to face Darian and quietly say, “Run.”
The men all come running towards me. I notice that they all have tattoos that cover nearly every inch of their skin.
“Crap,” I whisper. Asphans. They are a crossbreed almost. The tattoos somehow allow them to channel any magical power that they want. They’re part of Vaxon’s army.
I focus my energy and shift the gravity so I can push them back. Some of them hit the trees and let out a loud grunt.
I will not let them take me. They can’t do this. I won’t leave Darian.
Suddenly I can’t see a thing. Darn bastards are blinding me! I can’t win this fight alone and I certainly can’t win it blind.
I try to throw off the gravity as much as I can, but with my sight gone, I cannot bring myself to focus. My body is restricted by many arms. I thrash against their hold on me.
I’m lifted off the ground and I can’t tell if it’s because they lifted me or because they’re also using gravity. Either way, I’m completely out of luck.
I land on what feels to be wood and I hear a door shut. My vision now returns and I’m greeted with a new blackness. I can feel bodies all around me, though no one speaks. I would bet that we all have our magic.
The cart takes off and travels for several moments before stopping. There’s a ruckus and the sounds of a girls screams before the wagon door opens and she’s thrown in.
I hear her sobbing next to me.
“Hey, are you alright?” I ask her.
I feel her body tense up. I don’t she knew I was here. The poor girl has probably had enough scare for one day.
“They burned my home. My family…” She doesn’t finish speaking. I know how she feels. I know what it’s like to lose your family. Though I’m not sure why she thinks they’re killing her family. It doesn’t sound like there is any more ruckus.
I reach out to console her. When our skin touches images flash before me. They’re the images of war. I see my family. I see the doll in my pocket. What does this mean?
She screams and backs away from me. So she saw it too.
“Woah,” I say. That was very bizarre.
“They’re killing my family,” she whispers. I can feel her body rocking.
“If you don’t mind my asking, what makes you think that?” If they were burning things, surely I would see the orange glow coming through the cracks.
“The fires…my house…how didn’t you notice it?” She asks through her violent sobs. My heart aches for this girl. She sounds so young and innocent.
“It wasn’t real. Vaxon had an Asphan impair your vision and make you see things,” I tell her. She needs to know that none of this was real.
“Asphans. They’re his personal guards that cover themselves in tattoos.”
She doesn’t need all the facts. Just a simple explanation should do. I doubt she cares to know the technical stuff anyway.
“It all looked so real.”
“I know it did. But it’s okay. At least, for your family it is.”
Bells sound out. I have no doubt that it’s part of their defense system. They’re too late though. They didn’t ring in time.
The only thoughts running through my mind are ones of Darian and her blue eyes and happy smile. I hope she’s safe.