Legend's II: Chronicle's

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Chapter 5

Malice awoke the next morning, to find Kember reading a book about Valkyries. The novel in question had been written over a thousand years ago, by a historian whose name had all but been forgotten.

She couldn’t stop herself, and before she knew it, she was snuggled up to the Witch, taking comfort in her presence as she would have, Rehoboam’s.

She missed him dearly, and the children as well, but he had Nandy and Erona, and they would tend to his every need.

‘Go, and be safe, my love! Know that we are in good hands and good company!’ His words still echoed in her mind, and that kiss.

“Well, hello!” Kember giggled, pulling the blankets up around them both.

“Hello, yourself!” Malice let out with a purr, pawing at the book.

“So, what are we reading? One hundred and one ways to turn a Prince into a toad?” Malice sighed softly as she laid her head on her lover’s shoulder. That’s what they were, right? They were lovers?

Malice, like the rest of the universe, didn’t know anything about Witches really; at least not that she could remember.

They had existed as long as the Valkyrie clans, and throughout their shared history they had always been allies; often acting as advisers to each other’s ruling class. B

ut, that was as far as the information went, and yet, she didn’t mind ‘not knowing’ when it came to this particular Witch.

“Hardly! I’m on the ‘Know your Sword’ chapter!” Kember grinned, and let Malice turn the page as she carried on.

“Do you know that Valkyrie Justicars are supposed to live their lives chastely?” And Malice looked over at the sword she had laid out on the desk across the room.

“Let me guess, Sax has been teaching you our history?” Malice grumbled, and let her long blonde hair fall over her face. “It speaks!” Kember smiled at her. “More than you do!”

“The problem with history, my dear Kember, is that it kind of gets muddled, over time. We may have been chaste once, but we lost that luxury a long while ago.” She glared at the sword she had wielded from out of nowhere; which seemed to be how things words with Sax.

“Well, someone needs to teach the young ones of the old histories.” The sword insisted. Sax wasn’t really an artifact, more of a, family, heirloom.

“Lady Ashlyn gave me to Malice, when she was created. I was supposed to be a guide; but she’s always been such a willful child...” The sword continued in a slightly nasal English accent.

“And when I see her next, I’ll give you back to her! Like I did the last time!” Malice snapped back.

“Yet you summoned me, and you will again, when the time comes!” The sword began to glow, and in a less flashier version of how it had arrived, it disappeared.

“Uh?” Kember let out, and Malice shook her head.

“Temperamental....” But her words faded off, as Kember turned the page.

“Shouldn’t you be reading Navina’s journal?”

“I was!” Kember rolled her eyes, and turned another page. “So, do you always have your wings? Like, you hide them right? Like Nissa?” And she giggled when Malice ruffled her feathers.

“Illusions are easy!” Malice grinned, and with one more flutter, the wings disappeared out of sight. “Cool! I thought maybe, a Valkyrie could remove her wings! But your wings are like his!”

“Hell no!” Malice cocked a brow at her and her wings filled the small room as she rose from the bed wearing nothing but the bracelet that matched Kember’s.

“These right here, these are perfect, right down to the alloys used in their core. Silver tipped and yet so light and airy...” She fluttered them again, “Unbreakable!”

“And Nissa’s?” “Don’t get me wrong, and if you ever tell him, I’ll deny it.” Malice glared at her, and retracted her wings as she climbed back up on the bed, nuzzling against Kember’s calf, and then her thigh.

“His wings are beautiful in their own right! They are a part of him, he was born with them, whereas I was created.”

“For so many, sinfully exquisite purposes!” Kember finished for her, sliding her palms across Malice’s cheeks and guiding her lips upwards

. “Don’t ever forget that, Malice! You are beautiful as well, in ways he could never hope to imagine!” She grinned, and felt Malice’s tongue across her naked nipple.

“You, don’t get to change the rules!” He growled at her, and Navina felt the wave wash over her.

“You said you’d never go anywhere without me!” He had her pinned against the wall, and her body was so hot and ready, if it weren’t for the fact that Malice was waiting.

“It’s a library, Lync!” She pleaded with him. “And it’s Malice, what could go wrong?”

A whole, hell of a lot!” A voice cut in, and Lync growled even louder.

“I don’t like being watched!” He growled at the Demon, and Navina saw that flash in his eyes, and the whip in his dark spiked hair as he looked back at her; damn!

“Well it’s a good thing I wasn’t watching!” Nyx chuckled as he emerged from the shadows.

“Right! Cause Lord Eroch doesn’t have you babysitting my ass?” Lync grumbled and pulled away from Navina.

“You did, kind of assault him! And technically, that shit calls for death, Homie!” Nyx went on as Lync turned to face him.

“And your ass too, if I remember correctly!”

“Alright then! Lync, baby? I need to go!” She leaned in and left a kiss on his cheek.

“Wait, what now?” He grumbled again, “Dammit, Vina!”

But she was already off down the hall. Lucky for her, for she could just imagine the shit storm Nyx was putting up with as she made her way down the staircase and across the throne room floor.

It was just a trip to the library; a place filled with books. Navina liked books, and it would be after hours, on Earth no less. No chance of anything crazy going on; in a library! She couldn’t help but blush at the thought of his being so, over protective as he was, but it got a little suffocating at times, too.

Like now, she and Malice had this chance to bond, maybe, figure a few things out? She wasn’t about to give that up, not when it meant learning more about Marena.

With Kember going over what was already recorded, and no new visions to speak of in the last few weeks, there was nothing else for Navina to do but search for answers; and that Valkyrie was full of them, she was sure of it.

Gods, Marena! Her sister! She hadn’t even known she’d had one, let alone one that had the same long black hair and green eyes as she did. And where did she find her?

Asleep for an undetermined amount of time; trapped, in her own mind, because of.

“Hey? Whats going on?” The voice interrupted her, and she looked up to see Malice’s steely gray eyes.

“Don’t even bother lying, you’re too much like she was, to hide it!”

“Who was?” Navina let out, a little confused, and a whole lot scared.

“Marena!” The Valkyrie smiled.

“She had this little dimple, yup, right there.” Malice lifted her finger to Navina’s cheek.

“She’d try to hide it, but that dimple would always show itself.”

“I, uh...” Navina started, but she really had no idea what to say, that as her hand rose to where Malice had touched her.

She’d never known Marena, or her quirks. Did she always knock three times? Did she write and draw with her right hand, but hold the bat and stick with her left?

Did she confuse her words, never sounding right? Did her heart flutter before the good night’s kiss?

Did she have someone to kiss?

“You and I are going to have a great time!” Malice chuckled, and let Navina towards the large wooden doors.

“You’ve got to be kidding me?” Navina let out as she peered across the rooftops.

“You said a trip to the library, you said nothing about breaking in, or, repelling from the fucking ceiling!”

“Lync said you’d done this before!” Malice cocked a brow at her.

“Lync, forgot to mention that I had had no choice!” Navina rolled her eyes, no longer feeling guilt for leaving his ass behind.

“Well that’s funny, cause you don’t seem to have any good choices here! Stay on the roof and freeze, or get your ass down that rope!”

Malice laughed, throwing her head back into the night and letting the snowflakes drop on the tip of her tongue. Gods, why did it have to be snowing?

Navina hated being cold, and wet! Hot and wet, like in a bath, she was all good with that; but this.... Was she really climbing down there?

“She didn’t like the cold either!” Malice sighed, holding out her hand.

“Seriously, it’s not that hard!” Navina shook her head.

“What else didn’t she like?”

“Questions!” Malice grinned, and waved her hand.

“Really?” Navina cocked a brow at her. “

Questions without answers? What more do you want, I’m hanging by a few threads here? You want to know more, get your ass to the children’s section. It’s story time!”

And with that, the Valkyrie was gone. Nothing but the cold night air and those lonely little flakes against the dark and cloudy skies. Dammit!

“Madrina?” Kember called into her room. Lavish and luxurious, trimmed in white and green with hints of gold. Throw cushions and pillows lined every lounger, and the intricately carved legs of each table, glimmering with fresh polish.

“I’ll be...” Madrina called back, though her voice muffled by the closed door. “Just... almost...”

“Take your time!” Kember told her, finding a not so fashionable couch to sit on. There were just some pieces of furniture that one did not sit on; and Madrina’s private abode was full of them. Why was she here, and not in her office? Madrina was the Warden, she practically lived in that office.

“Kember? Hi!” She announced as she came out of the bathroom. “It is good to see you!”

“Uh, I would normally say the same...” Kember started, taking in the scraggly locks of red and white and the smear of eyeliner that she was trying so carefully to fix.

“Madrina, you look like shit! Big, Mighty Warden. vs. `` Itty Bitty, Cold Bug?”

“Ha ha!” She managed to get out, before the coughing fit began.

“Water?” She gasped, and Kember rushed to fill a glass for her.

“What the hell? Maybe I’ll come back when you’re not contagious!” Kember teased, and turned for the door.

“Shut up!” Madrina glared at her. “You were here for a reason...”

“I thought we could have lunch...” But Kember stopped again when the word ‘lunch’ sent Madrina back to the bathroom.

“Or not!” She called out.

“You okay?” It was a moment more, before Madrina returned, pinning her hair back from her face.

“This shit, has got to go!” She mumbled.

“Where’s Nissa?” Came the croaked addition, as she landed on her bed across the room.

“I think I ate something I shouldn’t have!”

“Like what?” Kember asked, bringing her the glass of water, as well as a blanket to cover her with.

“Don’t know! Whatever was in the stew at the conference... Bloody hell!” She whined, covering her face.

“I can’t even think about it, let alone mention, food! Ugh!”

“Awe, Muffin!” Kember tried not to laugh. “Now you know how the real world feels! Lie back, put your feet up, let the Angel run the roost for a while!”

“Run the roost?” Madrina tried to laugh. “Yeah! Wait...” Kember stopped suddenly, eyeing her up and down.

“You still don’t...” She paused again, cocking a brow at her friend as she sat down beside her.

“With them...?” “No!” Madrina sighed, as if for a moment, she missed the promiscuous lifestyle she had led

. “Nissa, is more than enough for me now!”

“Oh really? Do tell!” Kember grinned, laying her head next to Madrina’s.

“You remember, when we used to do this at the Academy?” Madrina replied instead. “Just laying there, daydreaming.”

“Gods, that was so long ago!” “Almost two hundred years now!” Madrina laughed.

“And from what I hear, it’s still going strong!”

“No one wants to raid a school! Especially one that looks like a run down shopping mall from the outside!” Kember laughed.

“That was one of your best spells, yet! The Professor still uses it! Didn’t your Mother teach you that?” But the moment she spoke, even in her sick state.

“Shit, Kember, I’m sorry!”

“No worries! You’re not the first to bring her up tonight!” Kember sighed, thinking about what she’d read earlier.

“Navina wrote about her, in the book.”

“Oh!” Madrina let out,

“Do I want to know what it said?”

A whole lot of nothing!” She told her. “Something about a house hidden away in the woods, atop a floating island. It was messed up. I mean, my Mother, living in the woods, could you imagine? She’s more goblets and fine wines, dashing males and their fancy abodes! Gods only know who she’s shacked up with now!”

“What about that place you lived, in that forest? That wasn’t all fancied out!”

“It wasn’t on a floating island, either! It was my Father’s home! We stayed there for a time...”

“You don’t have to tell me, I already know!” Madrina sighed, “I just thought, that maybe...” But she stopped short.

“Bloody hell!” She added, tearing from the bed and aiming for the bathroom again. Kember took note of her speed with a giggle and lay back in the bed.

This was exactly how it had been back at the Academy, minus the sickness; and she closed her eyes as the memories returned.

“She what?” Navina let out. “But how did you know?”

Navina went on, following Malice past the books on Ancient Earth Histories, and then through the ever favorite, Romance section; but she wasn’t too concerned with finding any books, only the answers in Malice’s mind.

“Marena was working with the Eno’tai, when I met her. She was a Host, and one of their favorites I gather!”

“And you knew?” Navina inquired, making sure not to disturb anything.

“Not at first, and even when I did find out, I could never have imagined the Eno’tai. They had their hands in everything though, right down to manipulating me into doing their bidding.

They needed coins to fund their endeavors, and since we had all planned on becoming real rich, real fast.”

“They used you both!”

“Yeah, they did! I got that feeling, like there was something up, but I couldn’t quite grasp it. It Would make me sick to my stomach if I thought about it for too long...”

“I get the same feeling, every time I try to remember!” Navina muttered as they hurried across the lobby and up another set of stairs lined with big, red and green balloons.

“It’s like, the answers are right there, all I need to do is reach out and touch them; but each time I do, I feel like I’m falling, and the fear swells up as the ground draws closer.” Navina was shaking, and she wasn’t sure if she was going to make it any further without having a melt down.

“Breathe!” The Valkyrie replied, “Just, breathe!” So it was helping, but she still felt trapped in it all. She had no idea who she was, other than what she had been told, and she had no idea why she had been stripped of her memories in the first place.

“I’m hoping the charts will jog your memory!” Malice smiled, taking her hand and leading her up the final few steps. Down the hall and into a bright colored room lined with shelves and filled with big bean bag chairs.

Navina watched as Malice took to scouring the room, every shelf, every book; feeling the cover, sliding her hands down the spine as she flipped it over in her hands. She continued on like this for a few more shelves, caressing each book before replacing it.

“What are you doing?” Navina sighed after an hour or so.

“Searching!” Malice laughed.

“Searching?”

“Yes! I don’t remember the name, but each story has a smell, and I remember the smell of this one well! It was one of my favorites!”

“What was it about?” Navina inquired, “Maybe I can help?”

Malice grinned at her, and went on feeling and smelling each book once more; but this time, she spoke of a story. A boy lost in time, one who had fallen into a world of the young, a world where anything was possible so long as you had some magic dust and you believed. And he flew, she was adamant to point that out, as that was the best part; the young boy flew, just like she did.

“So he flies, lives in a magical land where no one ever grows old, and he visits the real world to hear stories?” Navina laughed.

“Yeah, that’s right!” Malice joined in, “You know it?” “I think every child knows it, or a version of it!” Navina giggled,

“Here, on Earth, they call it, Peter Pan!”

“Peter Pan? What kind of a name is that? Should be more like Arkias the Leader of The Smalls, or Indominus, The One Who Flew!”

“Indominus?” Navina giggled again. “Peter Pan?” Malice countered, “Seriously, he can’t have the same name as that fat man on the telly!”

“Just search for Peter Pan!” Navina laughed, and realized her anxiety had subsided. It didn’t take long, seeing as how all the books were in impeccable order. Alphabetical, by title and not author, and sitting right where it was supposed to be.

“Nope, not it!” Malice sighed, and shook her head.

“Nice try, though!” “Really? How many other flying boys have you heard of?”

“Not many!” Malice shrugged her shoulders,

“On this world, that is!”

“Try, The Lost Boys!” Navina told her, trying so hard not to fall over from laughing so hard.

“Now, lost boys, I know lots of them!” Malice grinned, scouring the shelves, before a scowl crossed her face.

“It’s not here!”

“The scroll?”

“The book! The Lost Boys, is not, where it was said to be!” Malice cocked a brow at her. “The scrolls aren’t in the book, the way to them is hidden in the book...”

“Um, you lost me!” Navina admitted, “You drew the map inside the book?”

“No, but there was one page, covered in stars, and there was something about a second star to the right, and straight on till morning?”

“Depending on which Verse you want!” Navina laughed, and then her expression changed drastically. “What is that supposed to mean?” Malice inquired. “

I don’t know! It just popped into my head...” Navina told her, continuing to look so confused. “Y

ou said the second star to the right, and I saw four stars, and there was a voice.”

“Okay, but it wasn’t the stars themselves, but something else, in that specific picture.” “Wouldn’t that picture be in the Peter Pan story?” Malice hurried back to the bookshelf, tearing through the tales as she went.

“Here!” She grinned, pulling it from its spot, and skimming through its pages. “It’s a tower of sorts...” “A clock tower?” Navina asked, just as Malice let out a howl.

“Right there!” She slammed her finger down, “The scrolls are in there!”

“That’s Big Ben! In London!” Navina grinned, “That’s clear across the ocean!” Malice’s eyes grew bright and the idea light turned on above her head.

“Have you ever flown before?” She asked, before grabbing hold of Navina and spreading her wings, she sailed up and into the sky.

What a trip that had been, sitting on the arms of the big clock itself; Navina had screamed the whole time, but the view had been worth it, as had their stash grab.

One duffel bag, and a whole lot of ammo later, and they had made their way back to the ship safely. They weren’t going to mention to Lync, or Nyx for that matter, the five armed guards they had had to take out along the way; as well as the three patrol cars they had blasted into kingdom come. They were home, end of story.

“I’ll get these to Madrina...” Navina started, but she felt the wave wash over her, and a moment later she was following the Valkyrie up the stone steps as fast as she could.

“Kember?” Malice shouted through the halls, but there was no answer.

“KEMBER?” She shouted, louder this time, but still nothing.

“Nyx?” “Where is everyone?” Navina asked, still hot on her trail.

“Mia?” Malice called out. “Nissa? Markus?” “It’s so quiet...” Navina added, as the creepy feelings sunk in.

“EROCH?” Malice bellowed with all her might.

“Eroch, where are you?” The ground shook and thunder rang out as the dark mist appeared; and with it, the Lord of Darkness.

“Malice! It is good that you have come!”

“Who?” Malice let out. “Who has fallen?” Her face was so serious as she pulled her hair back and secured it out of her face in a messy bun.

“What?” Navina gasped, looking back and forth between the Valkyrie, and the incredibly tall male before her.

“No one has fallen, yet!” He sighed, “We’re doing all that we can, but the magic is too...”

“Magic?” Malice’s heart dropped, “What magic? Who? Kember? Oh Gods...”

She felt like she was going to pass out. Curse her heart for loving so easily, what had happened?

“Where is she?”

“They’ve taken her to Sanctuary! Ellaria is with her now!”

“Then she is in good hands!” Malice took comfort in that fact.

“What happened?”

“We, uh... don’t know! One minute she was relaxing with Madrina, and the next...” Lord Eroch replied, running a hand through his long prison striped hair.

“Where is Madrina now?” Malice demanded, and Navina sort of hissed in a deep breath, behind her.

“Sanctuary, with Kember, though she too, is ill!”

“Madrina’s no more ill than I am!” Malice growled, and disappeared from sight, leaving Navina with Lord Eroch, completely puzzled.

She had to get to Sanctuary, she had to speak with Madrina, she had to know what happened.

“What happened?” Were the first words out of her mouth as she crossed the white marble floors of the Great Hall.

“I don’t know!” Madrina replied as she paced back and forth, alone and weeping.

“What do you mean, you don’t know? She was with you, was she not?” Malice shot out as she approached her. “I was only gone nine hours.”

“I’m sorry! I only went to the bathroom! I’ve been sick!”

“And then what happened?” Malice inquired, ignoring her sickness.

“I came out after washing my hands, and she was asleep! I crawled back into bed, and I too fell asleep for a time. When Nissa came to wake me...” She stopped, the look of horror on her face.

“She won’t wake up, Malice! I don’t know what happened, I swear! She went to sleep before I came out, and she just...”

“She’s alive, right?” Malice’s heart was thumping fast, threatening to pound right out of her chest.

“She’s alive, but she’s so weak. Mother said it was something to do with the magic, a spell that had backfired.”

“She was caught in it! She wanted them to forget, and they had an asshole who had cast one of his own, and no one had any idea what it was.... Fuck!” Malice shouted. “Just, fuck!”

“Mother is with her now!” Madrina whimpered.

Talk about emotional, Madrina was two steps from going all out insane; but Malice had to give her a little space, as she and Kember had been close.

Not as close as Malice and Kember, she hoped; but they were good friends, sisters even. She never would have intentionally hurt Kember, but Malice’s mind was going a mile a minute.

She wanted to see the Witch. She wanted to make sure she was alright, but she was.... Fuck it, she was afraid of what she would see.

She had been told that Kember was very ill, and wouldn’t wake up though she still drew breath. She hadn’t, actually seen her yet, and that was making everything worse.

“Malice?” The voice came at her from behind, and the Valkyrie spun to face the female in white.

“Ellaria! I’m not in my right mind...” She shook her head and turned away again.

“Madrina? Would you please sit with her?” Her mother inquired, and Malice watched as Madrina nodded her head, kept it hung low, and made her way up the stairs towards Kember’s room.

“Malice?” She started again. “I know it is hard for one such as you, one who loves fast and strong...”

Don’t! Not right now!” Malice sighed, “The only thing I want to hear, is how to fix this!” She let out, turning back around. “After all the centuries of service to you and the others, you can give me that, at least. Tell me how to make this right!”

“She was hit by magic, Malice, and though there are many spells and those who cast them, only a magic of the same kind, can undo what had been done!”

“So, I have to find the asshole that did this to her?” Malice let out, “Cause he’s dead!”

“He cannot be, or she would not be as she is now.” Lady Ellaria sighed. “You must find the one who cast it...” Her words drifted off. “Or?” Malice urged her to continue

. “Or find one, with the abilities to break any spell that has been cast!” Ellaria whispered, looking at the doors as she came closer.

“And there is only one, that I can think of, who bears the blood required...”

The room grew cold, as if an omen were about to be birthed from the deep.

“Who?” Malice inquired through gritted teeth.

“She is a Sovereign among her kind...” Lady Ellaria started, but another voice cut her off.

“She’s also Kember’s Mother.” Navina appeared in the doorway, with Lord Eroch by her side.

“You can’t bring her here!” “With your permission, my love, I would request a short visit?” The Dark Lord let out, and nodded when his Lady smiled in reply.

“Of course!” Lady Ellaria sighed, “Though it is a sad day among the people of Sanctuary! Perhaps your presence here will serve to strengthen their hopes for protection from the enemy!”

“I serve where I can, my love! But the female is right, you cannot bring Kalin into this, she may never forgive you.”

“We may not have a choice, my love!”

“She hates her Mother!” Navina told her. “She will never forgive her for what happened to her Father! You can’t bring Kalin here. You of all people, should know what happened the last time they were together. I was there, I saw it happen!”

“You were there?” Lord Eroch cut in, “That was fifteen years ago.”

“Well one of us, witnessed it, cause I see it clear as day!” Navina shot back, and Malice couldn’t stop giggling.

The female had balls, just like Marena. “And it doesn’t end well!”

“What, happened?” Malice inquired again, “Or do I have to hunt the whore down and ask her myself?”

“You should forget you heard any of this, and pretend, like Kember does, that the female doesn’t exist.” Navina sighed.

“There has to be another way!”

“Okay, this will be the last time I ask, what, the fuck, did she do to her?” Malice had that steely look in her eyes, as she peered at them all through her furrowed brows. “And don’t fucking change the subject.”

“Kember’s parents weren’t exactly, parents. More of a vicious, power hungry psycho and a sperm donor; or at least, that’s what Kalin thought of him. Kember on the other hand, well she loved her Daddy. So much so that when he had had enough of Kalin’s nonsense and left, Kember tried to go with him.” Navina told Malice, though she was choking on her words, the Valkyrie understood.

She understood fully. Kalin would help Kember, and then Kalin would die.

“So Kalin, got pissed? Disowned her?”

“Killed her Father!” Mia’s voice was quiet, but her words rang loud and clear in Malice’s mind.

“In front of her!” She added as she slid from the shadows.

“You’re fucking kidding me?” Malice shot back, and Ellaria shook her head. “

I’m sorry, but moments like this call for a whole slew of profanities; and my filter is broken, so we’re all gonna have to deal with my insanity, just a little longer!”

“It is not your language, nor the anger, as both are justified as you say.”

“Then what is it?” Malice inquired.

“No Mother, should ever have to endure the loss of a child, and on that same note, no child, should ever have to fear her Mother.” Ellaria shook her head again.

Have I told you that I hate it, when you do that cryptic shit of yours, my Lady!” She added, with a curtsy.

“You love your children?” Navina inquired.

“Yes, I know you have children!” She laughed for a moment, and then her serious face returned.

“What kind of question is that? Of course I love my children!” Malice looked insulted. “What Mother doesn’t?”

“Kalin!” Navina let out, and waited for Malice to finish flipping out.

“Kalin loved the idea of Kember, of having another in her blood line, a daughter...”

“Yeah, so she could carry on! Reign in her stead! That’s why most people are young!” Malice shook her head, “Look, cut the shit! What the fuck?”

“Kalin searched for a male of good breeding, and when she found him, she set forth to produce a child...” Lady Ellaria paused, “...a child that would be birthed of magic, and El’terran blood.”

“She didn’t want Kember, for Kember.” Mia cut in, “She wanted the powers Kember had inherited; and she’s tried so many times to claim what she calls hers, its stupid!

So when Kember’s Father caught wind of what she had planned, he tried to leave with Kember, and the bitch gutted him like a pig, right in front of her.” Mia sighed, “She was just a kid!”

Malice’s mind swarmed as she listened to the tales being told.

Appalled, horrified at what they were saying. How could a Mother treat her child like that? How could she give birth to something so innocent, knowing that she would be.

“I will not let that happen!” Malice blurted out, “I will kill her, before she harms Kember!”

“And yet, being who she is...” Mia added on, and Navina started shaking her head.

“You can’t! She’ll kill her the first chance she gets.” She shouted at Mia.

“She’s their bloody Sovereign! She controls all the magic in this Verse, Navina, except our own!” Mia shot back at her.

“If anyone can undo what’s been done to Kember, she can! Even if we have to bleed it out of her.”

“There is one place, her magic will not work!” Lady Ellaria cut in and Lord Eroch frowned.

“To invite her there, my love, it would be chaos!” He told her, but she simply shook her head.

“The Isles are the only place where we can meet on neutral ground.” She replied with a smile.

“But no one has used them in decades, how do you know the bridges still exist?” He inquired with his hands on his hips.

“The Isles are the only place where her magic will not touch Kember, but one of you, will have to bring Kalin there!” Ellaria sighed.

“Where are the Isles?” Malice inquired, “I will bring her there!”

Malice watched as Ellaria made her way to the balcony doors and out on the balcony itself. Malice joined her, taking in the lush green fields and rose gardens, the white marble paths and the incredible sculptures, but she saw no isles, other than those of Ellaria’s own private abode.

“Come!” Ellaria said, holding out her hand, and a moment later, they were both standing on a bridge, so very far off the ground. Ellaria’s temple stood a few feet away, and all around them, lush green foliage hung down around a great waterfall.

“What you see, is what you want to see!” Ellaria started, “But I want you to see more, and to do so, you must feel.”

“Feel, what?” Malice asked, looking out over the edge to the nothingness below. “I can’t feel anything!”

“Just, feel it!” Ellaria laughed, and with one hand on Malice’s shoulder, she pushed the Valkyrie over the edge.

“What the...?” Malice shouted, feeling the air beneath her as she fell, and then the rock hard, something.... What the fuck?

Why wasn’t she falling? In the span of a few heart beats, it all became clear as the bridge took off beneath her, and the islands appeared all around.

“Holy, mother of all...”

“Please, Malice, not here!” Ellaria shook her head again.

“Sorry! But what the hell was that for? Why’d you push me?”

“You needed to feel, before your eyes could see and your mind believed!” The female in the white robes smiled at her.

“These are the Isles, and they are only visible to those who need them; just as we need them now!”

“And how do they work?”

“Each dream, each vision, is masked in layers! Each of these isles represents one of those layers. For one to understand the vision, one must first dig deep within the layers to find the truth; but that is not what we will be using them for. Instead, they will pose as neutral ground, as no powers will work here.”

“So I just bring her here?”

“Yes, but it won’t be as easy as it sounds! Kalin is a vile female, her heart is seeded deep within the realms of the dark magic, she will not come willingly. There will be many layers in your way, and you must examine them all if you are to find the Sovereign hidden in the midst.”

“Even better!” Malice grinned as she looked up. Hundreds of isles, all floating in the sky. Some were connected by bridges, others by ropes and vines.

It was haunting, really, but if this was the only neutral ground, then so be it. Bring on the nightmares, for Malice was ready for a good show!

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