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Malice had loved, and lost; but the world had not ended. There was so much more to do, so much anger to release. But when a messenger arrives with word of a love returned, after all this time; and carrying a warning that will send ripples across the expanse of space and time, Malice must find the one who holds the key to unlocking the secrets of the enemy, and free Marena from her sweet slumber. Marena, had been captured by the enemy, torn from Malice's grip as her heart broke. She had been everything to Malice, and was still to this day, though Malice had found herself wrapped in the arms of another. But still, Malice could not resist the urge to answer Marena's call, delivered by the lips of a Demon. Her love had been lost, and though found, remained trapped in the prison of her own mind; a mind, the enemy had warped and twisted... Kember had been called many things, but she was, by birth right, of royal blood. A Witch, like her mother, she had ties to the outer worlds, that not even her closest friends had knowledge of. She knew things, knew people, and when word of Marena crossed her path, she knew there was one person, who could help her. Banished from the Order, for breaking their most sacred law and saving the life of another, she remembers nothing; but the visions that plague her. Not even her own, she is forced to witness the lives of others spread out across time,

Fantasy / Erotica
Mark McQuillen
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

Navina was said to be the spitting image of her mother, though she didn’t remember the female, and her grandmother who raised her.

Long, thick, black hair that she kept tied back from her face, standing a good five-foot nothing, and weighing about as much as a drowned rat; but it was those jade green eyes that popped behind the long, charcoal-colored strands that fell about her face.

She had turned many an eye, in fact, some say to cause her ‘wandering’. It had ‘ruined her...’ and ‘... a Traveler has responsibilities, Navina, you can’t just run off as you wish....’ Such harsh words for one so young to hear, and yet words she had needed to hear.

They were Travelers, if that was even an actual name, and they said their stories to hold keys to the past, the keys that would harness what was to become of the future. It was said they had seen it all, that every event, no matter the importance, was witnessed and recorded; from the very beginning of all that was, they had charged the females in her family with this sacred task.

Too bad Navina had yearned for something more. Sure, they had traveled, sure, she had seen some pretty amazing things, but times were changing; people were changing all around them. With each new town, each new moment her grandmother had dragged her too, Navina’s curiosity had grown; not for the moment itself, but what led up to it and what would come after.

The people and places, the relationships they held, the rise and fall of noble families, amidst wars that were said to span decades; and among it all was one rule, do not interfere. As sure as the Gods would strike you down, one did not interfere with the natural progression of life.

It was meant to be born through labor and pain, said to prosper with love and guidance, and parish with hope to be reborn anew. People would come, and they would go.

There would be joy and happiness for some, and pain and sorrow for another; horrifying tragedies and grief were said to be lessons.

No, she was nothing like her grandmother had been, save for her love of the stories; and it was those stories that Navina tried so desperately to remember as she lay in her bed, tossing and turning against the silence that kept her awake.

She had been trying to sleep ever since she’d left Kember and Lync at the bar. Lync. Now that was just what she needed... and there they were!

Right on schedule! Navina lay back and looked up at the ceiling, her mind swarming with thoughts of the male. Six foot two and two hundred and eighty pounds, topped off with blonde hair and gorgeous green eyes that almost matched her own.

But it was his voice that got deep beneath her skin, causing her body to go all sorts of haywire. He was smart, funny, no, scratch that, he was downright hysterical, always pulling pranks and dropping sarcasm all over the place; and yet there was a deep-seated sense of nobility that ran through his veins.

He was loyal to the core; loyal to her. Crap! He’d be here any minute too, and she was supposed to be resting; not to mention he’d be bringing Kember with him. But then, Kember was a witch, and she could help; right? She had to have some magic potions, or something like that, which would knock her out cold. It had been a week already, and all Navina had caught was a nasty head cold. She needed to sleep, but that was when the dreams started.

‘Write it all down in a book.’ Lync had told her once, always trying to help her understand her curse, but not even he could imagine the terror that lurked in the shadows that lingered when she closed her eyes. So much had come and gone, and Navina had done her best to avoid interfering, but sometimes she couldn’t help but get involved; even if it was ‘just a story’ and it couldn’t be real.

They had tossed her out of the Order, the females in her lineage, no longer speaking her name; and for what? Because she saved somebody’s life? Fine, she didn’t want them around anyhow. She had Lync and Kember.

Time all but stood still before you. Seasons flashing before your eyes as the wind whipped past, then replaced by a small, subtle breeze.

This was how time was to pass for all of those who lingered in life as she had, time meant nothing but a trip backwards to glimpse a future past, or forward to a future rippled with choices, all of them tangled like a spider’s web, and all of them leading to the inevitable.

To reach out one’s fingers and grasp at the strings was to peer into a life; so many people, so many faces, thoughts and emotions that without a tether, one would surely get lost. These were the rising hopes and the shattered dreams that spread throughout the universe.

A dark and devious adventure unfolding right before your eyes, or the sinful and seductive couple of two, not yet promised souls. One could see everything, and nothing, all at once; and never, ever could they interfere?

The sudden sound of footsteps, out in the hall, had Navina jumping from where she lay on her bed, and yet when they passed, so too, did the feeling of alarm that had rushed through her. She was still alone in this tiny apartment, just her and an entourage of Lync’s favorite comic books.

‘I like to dive into a different world, Vina!’ He had told her, ’And I don’t trust Dex!” ‘So, you trust me?’ ‘Completely!’ He had grinned at her, right before he’d kissed her goodbye and taken off out the door.

That had been almost ten years ago, and although they had moved so many times, those comic books had always tagged along; just like he had. Lync was the one constant in her life.

The scenery and people may have changed, but Lync had always been there to offer a cheesy, shit-eating grin. Navina was twenty-eight years old, trapped on a hovel of a planet with No I.D., no proper home or job; just Lync.

Not that she’d want it any other way. They were sort of loners. Both of them! Neither had any real friends to speak of, but a list of acquaintances that ran a good hundred miles long. They did odd jobs for people, jumping at the chance to get ‘off world’ but somehow, they always ended up back here; together.

She had done everything she could to get away from her past, even going as far as signing her life away to some company in some drug trial; what a bust that had been! Four weeks of intravenous fluids and some whacked out purple serum, and... Nothing! Not even a hiccup.

So much for being the world’s next best line of defense. Lync had laughed when she’d told him.

'You’re going to be a guinea pig for a big corporation? Only two, in like a hundred, are going to get the actual serum, you know?’

So, he had been right! Three years, and not one special ability; and no follow-up phone call either. Talk about unpleasant business. Crap!

What was she doing? She was supposed to be sleeping, and instead, she was standing at the foot of her bed, in nothing but a pair of barely their panties, and a tank top, shuddering as the wind crept in from the open window.

And that was exactly how Lync found her a few moments later when he came barreling through the door.

“Whoa now!” He called back, halting those he had brought with him in the hall. “I got to take care of some business first!” He chuckled and shut the door on the barrage of complaints. The moment the silence returned, she could feel the change in his mood, his worry registering in those devilish green eyes.

“What’s wrong?” He asked with open arms, and Navina ran towards him.

“I couldn’t sleep!” Navina sighed, sinking in to the warmth that now surrounded her.

“Dreaming again?” His voice was so soft, so smooth as he ran his fingers through her raven black hair.

“I wish I could get to the dreaming part!” She let out with a small laugh.

“So far, it’s get naked, crawl into bed, and ... wait!” “But, you’re not naked!” He pointed out, tugging at the black panties she wore.

“And...?” Navina giggled.

“Well maybe, that’s your problem?” He grinned down at her, and kissed her forehead. “I know I sleep better when you’re naked!”

“You never sleep when I’m naked!” Navina couldn’t help but laugh again, running her fingers across his chest muscles that were hidden beneath his shirt.

“No sense sleeping, when there’s a naked female next to you!” He replied, all matter-of-factly.

“I can take the rowdies somewhere else!” He added, as they both listened to the hooting and hollering from the hallway.

“No, you better let the children in! I don’t think I’ll be sleeping anyhow!” Navina let out with a yawn.

“I could keep you entertained!” He offered, sliding his hand down her back.

“You better behave!” She nipped at his neck and then slid her lips towards his. If he had brought the party home, why the hell not enjoy it? Besides, he could entertain her later.

“I should put some clothes on!” “Just leave more work for me later!” He whined as she pulled away from him and made her way towards the closet.

“I’m sure, you’ll survive!” And with that, she disappeared into the bathroom with a pair of jeans and a clean black tank top.

“Hey, Vina?” The voice called out to her as she made another round of drinks.

“Present!” She laughed in reply. “You know we graduated, like years ago, right?”

Well, Kember may have graduated years ago, from a few different schools in fact. Navina not so much. She’d made it to the second floor of the Academy. But with each level you progressed, the rules got harder and harder to follow. So of course, Navina disappointed her family yet again, by dropping out three weeks shy of her third year. Who really wanted to sit in a classroom all day and study? Not that Navina actually had to study for anything. The information was always just right there, in her head. Came with the whole ‘being a Traveler’ gig; except she wasn’t a Traveler. Never would be, after being disowned and all.

“Lync is setting up for a game of Pong!” There were three constants in Lync’s life. Her, his comic books, and his love for Beer Pong. The male was a maniac when he got that little ball in his hand, and with precision aim, he never lost. Kember was more in to making the ball levitate towards the cup, or making the cups themselves levitate to piss Lync off. With long, black and blue hair, and those mystical, fog filled eyes, Kember was the spitting image of her mother, and though she never talked about her, Navina knew she missed her something fierce. But such was the life of a high priestess. When your Lord came calling, you had to be ready to serve; and serve him, she did. How many sisters did Kember have by now? Seven? Eight? No wonder she never saw her mother, but then, Kember didn’t exactly ‘need’ her mother, having already learned everything there was to know about her kind; and then some.

“Is he using the new balls?” Navina tried to smile, but the music and the commotion all around her was making it hard to think.

“Oh, my Gods!” Kember let out with a howl.

“What?” Navina asked, clearly too tired to concentrate. What had she missed?

“You said balls!” The Witch replied and let out another howl.

“Oh Gods...” She added, wiping away the tears and excess eyeliner from beneath her eyes.

“You kill me!”

“Why? I don’t have balls!” Navina giggled. She knew she shouldn’t encourage the female, but it was so much fun.

“You don’t want balls, they’re weak!” Kember sighed and rolled her eyes.

“Soft and squishy...”

“How much have you had to drink?”

“Before? Or after we left the bar?” The female grinned, “No, wait, you left us at the bar!” Kember went on.

“I needed to get some sleep!” Navina let out her own sigh. “And no, I didn’t get any!”

“Is it because we all showed up?”

“No, I couldn’t even get my eyes to close for over five minutes.”

“Maybe you need some fresh air?” Kember offered some sound advice, though sound advice wasn’t what Navina was going for.

“Yeah, some fresh air, a hot bath and a giant batch of that knock out juice you made for Lync!” Navina whined.

“Cause if not, you’ll be scraping my ass up off the floor come sunrise.”

“Try the fresh air first, and then maybe a good stiff drink!” That was Kember’s answer to a lot of things, when in doubt, get the fool drunk and he’ll not remember it come morning. It worked nine times out of ten, and that tenth.... Most situations figured themselves out when one spent some time away from said situation; so a drink at the bar wasn’t so bad.

“Yes, Mother!” Navina chuckled, and then rubbed at the back of her neck.

“And put a sweater on, it’s chilly out there!” The female added with a smirk before she turned away and made her way towards the party. Fresh air! Sure, she’d try just about anything right now, and since Lync was, um, busy with the balls... But the moment she stepped outside onto the balcony; it was like walking out into a whole another world. Shit!

Time stood still, but for the dark gray clouds that loomed overhead. The air was chilly; the wind whipping past as the silence filled the surrounding void. She knew this place, knew what had happened here, and she knew, even now, why the female in the distance had come. A few hundred feet away, and yet her features shone through clear as day. Long blonde hair and eyes the color of ice, not too tall, nor too short, and the muscles hidden beneath the armor she wore glimmered in what was left of the sunlight, as she wove her way through the dead that littered the ground at her feet. So delicate, so elegant, the way her body moved around the fallen souls, as if searching... But that was what she was doing, was it not? Was she not, in fact, searching?

Hundreds of bodies, and of those, perhaps a handful would be chosen to grace those within the walls of The Great Hall, with their presence; only a few would make it to this specific afterlife. She watched as the moments played out, as it was for every Traveler; there, but not! The female continued on with her search, coming upon an adolescent male that had once been filled with so much life, his body bitter against the harsh winds, his eyes as pale as the moon beneath her gaze. It was comforting, knowing that they had reserved this job for someone of her stature. It was only natural for a warrior to leave the battlefield of life, accompanied by another warrior; if they were to leave at all, right? She watched as the female knelt down beside the male, her hand washing over him, stopping just above his forehead.

So calm and collected, so at ease with the death that surrounded her. The female closed her eyes, and a sort of haze came over the body.

As if the mists themselves had answered her beckoning call, it surrounded the adolescent male, enveloping him as she let out a low hum. She was chanting something in such a beautiful language; old, but exquisite, the words so foreign, it was almost out of her mind’s reach.

It was hard to tell if the female was praying for him, or congratulating him on his entrance to the afterlife and thanking him for fulfilling his duty; either way, what happened next, right before her eyes, were the things that legends were made of. The male took a breath, his chest expanding once more, and again. She had... but it was only for a moment; for then, the male sat up, but it was not really him.

He rose to his feet, not his body, but his... soul? Was that what his people had called it? From laying on the cold, hard ground, lifeless and left for the world to see his woes, to standing, breathing, a manifestation of what was.

It was a miracle. And then she spoke to him in his native tongue, words much younger than those she had used before, before embracing the male.

‘There do I see my father...’ ‘And my mother, sisters and brothers!’ The male replied. ‘There do I see the line of my people.’

Her words carried with them a solace, and as he replied in kind, she embraced him. They had chosen him to rise with her to the Great Hall of his people, but he would not be the only one tonight, for his kin lain slain on the battlefield beside him. A mother and father, a brother and a nephew; all of whom would find a seat in the Great Hall for the honor their lineage given. They were ‘special’ sons of one God or another, giving their lives as a sacrifice in a way more glorious than most. An honorable end for a most honorable family. Here, on a battlefield covered in blood and gore, there was no sorrow for those lost souls, only rejoicing in the battle itself; honoring the lives of those who had fallen, a victory considered. Four of them now walked the path into the distance, so strong and proud with the female by their side.

It was a long and winding trail to the top of the mountain, a lush grove surrounded in thick underbrush and towering trees; but the ultimate destination was worth the extra effort put forth. One more twist, one more turn, and the giant oak doors came in to view, surrounded by massive stone pillars that seemed to stand by themselves. It took only a moment for the female to climb the steps, with one hand out in front of her, she pushed against the mighty doors, and the sunlight let loose from within, creeping through the cracks as their salvation was unlocked and placed before them. Such glorious moments were to be savored, and would have been, save for the blinding light and the need to shield her eyes.

“Vina? You okay out here?” His voice was a welcome addition to her now dire condition. She was beyond exhausted, and that brief trip down memory lane was more than her circuits could handle.

“Just get some fresh air!” Navina groaned and felt her legs go out from under her.

“Whoa now! What was that?” Lync inquired, his arms around her shoulders, letting her lean into his chest as he ran his fingers through her hair.

“What nonsense do you speak of, Vina?”

“Kember, something about fresh air.... Bad idea! So, tired...” She let out.

“I would say nothing, and I love you and all, but you look like hell, my love!” His voice grew quiet and filled with concern. “I don’t enjoy seeing you like this, Vina! It worries me to think of you.”

“I just need....”

“I know, my love, I know!” He hushed her, letting her rest her head with a sigh. She loved it when he spoke like that, and again, would have loved it even more if she could even comprehend most of what was going on around her. She was delirious, her mind unable to process the simplest task, and she mumbled something in reply.

“Let’s get you into bed!” He chuckled and kissed her forehead before his arm came down and lifted her up around to his chest.

“Everyone's gone home, or passed out on the couch.” When there was no reply, he just chuckled again and carried her off inside where he lay her in the bed.

“Sweet dreams, Babe!” He whispered, and kissed her forehead again.

A battlefield was no place for a lady, and yet here she was; here they were. The female had returned, and with her, the male she had woken from his forever sleep. They had returned to this place where his life had been taken, where his blood had been spilled... but why? To give upon those less fortunate, a prayer of safe keeping as they are reborn to fight the fight once more; and to bury the ties to his old life, for the road he traveled now was littered with all the rewards and riches the Great Hall had given. He was smiling; he was happy; and for a moment, so too, was the female.

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