‘What are you doing here?’
He was scaling a wall, what did it look like? He didn’t have time for questions, nor did he have any answers to give. Uh, I’m looking for my target! Yeah, that would go over so well.
‘I said, what are you doing here?’
‘Working!’ He replied and made for the next brick.
Grabbing hold of it, he hoisted himself up even higher, careful not to look down at the death drop below. Three hundred and seventeen feet in the air, hanging by his own two hands and desperately trying to scale the remaining ten feet so he could finally breath on solid ground.
‘This is a forbidden world, and you are not, Human!’ She reminded him as she slid down the rope beside him. ‘I could kill you now and chalk it up to an accident.’ She grinned. ‘He slipped, my Lady! I could not catch him!’
‘You do that, and my contact up top will likely kill you for it!’ He chuckled back, trying to ignore her natter.
The last thing he needed was to lose his grip and plummet all that way to the rocky shores below. This wasn’t a game. That shit, would fucking hurt; but the truth of it was, it wouldn’t kill him. Perhaps slow him down a little, but he was an Einherjar. Cocky as shit and fresh out of the Academy. He’d left everything behind for this, everyone.
‘What is your name?’
‘Ahlex!’ He huffed, taking hold of the next grip.
‘Huh! And you are to meet with someone above?’ She repeated herself and he finally turned to look at her.
Was she fucking serious? He was dangling on the side of a fucking mountain, and she wanted to chat? Long, dark hair greeted him, whipping past a face of ivory and narrow, honey colored eyes. No wait, they were...
Whoa! They were changing color right before him. A honeyed yellow to a deep green, then red and finally black. So quickly, the display of colors changed, and he couldn’t help but stare. She was beautiful, but a moment later she was gone. She’d let go of her ropes and the horror filled him from top to bottom as he watched the fog swallow her whole.
‘Fuck!’ He shouted, so close to the top he could smell the fragrant meadows that lined the estate.
She was done for. There was no way any mortal could have survived that and so he climbed higher, his heart still racing like a freight train.
“Ahlex?” He heard her voice, but it was different somehow.
The cliffs were gone, so too was the wind that whipped at his face and arms, but the fear remained in his chest. Opening his eyes for but a moment, he felt the pain seer in his gut. He was healing, slowly, and it hurt like hell.
“Ahlex, you must drink!” He heard her again, and then another.
“Hold his head!”
It was a male’s voice, and then he glimpsed a dark figure standing above him and cool hands upon his neck.
“Raise him!” She ordered and the male complied, as gently as if he lifted a child. “There, that’s it!” She whispered and Ahlexander felt the cool liquid run across his lips, bearing with it a hint of sweetness.
Sleep followed quickly and before he knew it, he was returned to his dream; though now he stood at the doors to the estate, awaiting the Lady’s attention.
‘This way!’ One of the house guards let out, draped in a black cloak and equipped with sword and shield, Ahlexander followed him through the doors and across the front hall.
Up a set of stairs and along a balcony that allowed one to view the podiums below. Where he was going, he did not know, but he could already see this place was massive and full of wonders. Elegant landscapes draped the walls and silk banners depicted mighty victories across said lands. Chandeliers hung from the ceiling with hundreds of candles casting light into the deepest shadowed nooks. Statues and carvings, needlework and more, a treasure trove to gaze upon; lost works of art in a place to be adored.
‘Through here!’ The guard called to him and he answered with a nod as he followed him out into a courtyard lined with pillows.
In the center, lay two, rather larger beasts. Felines, white with black stripes. Tigers, he believed they were called, but he’d never heard of them getting that big. They were massive, compared to the cub he found lying in the center. A family? Perhaps pets?
To his amazement, despite thinking he’d seen it all, he watched that little cub change before his eyes, and in its place lay the female from before.
‘May I present, Lady Maisura, protector of the Forbidden Zone.’ The guard announced and then fell to one knee, pulling Ahlexander with him.
“Hello again!” She called to him. ‘Now, my Lex, come and sit with me, tell me why you have come to see me!’
She was so beautiful, so entirely, not dead; but how could that be?