It didn’t take long before the trembling that started in my fingertips seized my entire body. The tragic scene that had just played through Marc’s consciousness contorted everything inside my soul. Pure dread shot through my entire system, but it was not my own. Marc’s feelings echoed into my mind causing such an abundant amount of pain that I was unsure if my own was even present.
The power that once consumed me was far greater than I could have ever imagined. The amount of skill that Marc had while trying to fight to keep a hold her was unreal. Then to watch and feel her just dominate the whole situation without a second thought was surreal.
I watched the, Ashley that I was, pull herself out of Marc’s grasp and while fixing him in place she stepped back over the edge. I could feel Marc use all the power within just to push himself towards her. Every second that passed I could feel him getting stronger. As she plunged further into her death the fear of losing her caused Marc’s power to grow deeper than her.
The further she tumbled caused Marc to cry out in agony until he was finally released from her powers. Within moments he was gripping her tightly in the same embrace that she had just stolen herself away from. As the wind was created around them Marc tried with all his might to pull her to some semblance of safety. She fought him even harder than before and I could feel her forcing him away. Marc braced himself for the end as the ground below them quickly approached. There was no letting go of her now he feared. He was ready for the world that lay stretched out before them. If this was the end she wished for he was willing to go with her.
Fear shook my entire being so much that I could no longer hold onto the memory. It was clear that we had both survived such an incident, but I was unable to hold on long enough to discover how.
My trembling grew into uncontrollable shaking until I heard Marc cry out for me to breath. When I opened my eyes he was over top of me trying to bring my body back to life. When he realized that I was finally breathing on my own and was awake he collapsed into the sand next to me. It wasn’t until I had returned completely to my senses that I could understand what he was truly saying.
“That never happened. How could you? What did you?” Finally he turned over on his side and faced me, “Are you alright?”
I nodded knowing that I was going to be alright at some point. My heart felt like it was about ready to beat through my chest and my breathing was slightly labored. Apparently my body had just died while my mind was still catching up to that fact. All in all, I believe, I was doing quite well.
“You must know, Ash that never happened. I don’t know how you did it, but,” Marc’s words trailed off as though he had just got caught into a deep thought. He was silent for some time before he sat up and questioned me. “Ashley, did you break that crystal?”
I was unsure of how to answer. If I nodded saying that it was broke he would no doubt blame me for the misfortune that just occurred. However, if I said no, then he would sit there in complete agony trying to construe what happened. I knew though that since that thing had been broken by Anthony I continue to see visions and I kept dying.
“Ashley,” Marc pulled me from my thoughts, “Is the crystal broken?”
A sense of guilt went through me as I finally nodded. I felt as though I had broken it myself, but perhaps it was because I had allowed it to be broken made me feel this way. It was clear that it was not a good thing especially for my health that it was. Something was trapped inside and Anthony released it causing only death.
When I looked to Marcus again he was staring out into the night sky that was approaching over the ocean. He seemed deep inside of his own thoughts when he spoke, “Is that what it is like for you? You have no control over it?”
He never looked back at me for an answer. Instead he kept his eyes on the horizon while circling all the information around in his mind. It gave me the peace that I needed to gather myself together.
I laid there listening to the wave roll in around us, and it was such a familiar calming noise that I was sure would put me right to sleep. I was quite right because before I knew it my peaceful slumber was cruelly taken from me with Marc’s shouting. He paced back and forth along the shoreline just babbling loudly to himself. Finally he fell to his knees as if he was praying. His voice fell down, but he was still talking to himself it seemed.
With the sound of only the ocean surround us I heard it. Closing my eyes I could hear it screaming deep inside of me. The words were completely inaudible until I really began focusing, pushing the reality around me away. All the sounds including Marc faded away leaving only the sound of the voice inside of myself. There was no way to describe this voice because it came from inside of me. There was no way to discern the gender or where inside of me it was coming from. It was not a voice, maybe, just thoughts surfacing. No, it was something other than myself speaking.
“Ashley.” It called my name over and over again, until finally I answered it. “Come to me.”
I gathered my feet beneath me while Marc continued to pray. Searching the open beach I found no one other than us there. I did notice a path leading away from the beach not so far from where we first appeared. Once I laid my eyes upon it my feet carried me towards it. The pull was more than I could fight at the moment. It was calling me.
The path found its way beneath me as my fingers instinctively reached out for the leaves surrounding me. As I disappeared into the brush I could hear Marc calling out for me. His voice was lost inside of the moments that were now finding their way back into me. As my fingertips reached out to the surrounding forest a brief moment of the past that was forgotten found its way back.
I closed my eyes and let the moments guide me to the mysterious voice calling for me. With each moment another followed bringing full memories back into my mind. There were moments that still remained shadowed, but I knew the further that I went I would find them. My feet continued but it felt as though I was floating into each memory. They carried me one by one through the branches reaching out towards me.
The forest surrounded and engulfed me with visions of what seemed like a thousand lifetimes gone past. I found forgotten pains, but more so I found those I loved. Each of their faces echoed inside my soul leaving me content knowing that in each way they had all loved me the same. For each moment of affection that they had shown me it cast over each torment they all put me through. My love for them pushed me forward hoping to feel more.
The first love that had ever entered into me was that which I held for Matt. Pure innocence was such an affection that pulled us together. It was fated that our paths would cross and we would gravitate towards one another. Our innocent outlook on the world brought us together, but the tragedy stuck making reality sink into us. We were never meant to be more than such an unintentional adoration of each other. I still love him.
Then there was attraction that drawn me towards Michael. How our lives were thrown together and respect of power attracted each one to the other. In this life, our love was pushed to the brink and kept there just waiting to be found. It wasn’t until the end that he saw what I feared. We were the same, each with our own grievances and strengths matching the others. We were a match that was never supposed to be more. An attraction of mutual veneration kept us in touch throughout the years. I still love him.
Unsure of how it truly happened, but Blythe was a love that I tried so hard no to fall into. His majestic way of being hollowed me to the core and it pushed me away from him. Somehow, he pulled me in, creating an unspoken bond between us. He placed his trust in me to keep everything around him safe, and I had failed him. He confided within me the safe keeping of all that he loved in this world, and I lost everything. Even though he may never love me, I still love him.
A soul created through a bond was a love that I could never deny. Anthony was by far the greatest love of my life. Nothing compared to the fear that he had placed inside my soul, but I had tried so hard to overcome it. His little heart crept into mine and I knew that I could never let anything happen to harm my little love. It killed me more than I wish to admit, but I saw what he was to become. Within everything inside of my power as a mother, I changed him. His power was never to end the world as my visions led me to believe, but to create a better world for those he loves so much. I still love my son, even if in the end he may kill us all.
The connection between Marcus and I was not as clear as the others. Years of torment drew us together and we needed each other just to survive. A sense of life kept us together and the love just grew. It was not unrequited; it was just a love that could never be. A forbidden love is what I held for Marcus. I knew that his soul grabbed mine and held it close. Our love was never fated to last. Our love meant our deaths were close at hand. Yet, there is no denying, I still love him.
My love for all of them is what continued my life through all these years. Nothing pushed me further into these years than those men. Each love pushed me to endure all the pain. I would have never suffered as I had unless they were each there beside me. They were my family, and there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for them. They were my life, my loves.
“Here she comes, my little phoenix.” The voice once again called out inside my soul. “I have been waiting for so long, my darling little Lilith.”
When my eyes adjusted to the darkness surrounding me, I knew this was the end. It was an end that I had been searching for my entire life. The void below me cried out to save my soul like my ancestors. It was just as Marc had seen in his vision. Bowerstone cliff had finally called out to me, bringing me to my fate that I had been destined for. Staring out over the edge into the darkness there was no bottom to be found.
“Ashley!” Marcus cried out fighting his way through the trees. Holding out my hand I stopped him. He halted immediately as the light grew before me, just over the edge of the cliff.
I turned to face whatever fate had greeted me here. The light began fading as the voice started once more inside of me. Her hair was of pure gold and covered all that she was. Her eyes such a deep blue embraced me with a coldness that I did not understand. Light surrounded her and engulfed her being as she remained suspended within it. Wings that remained still fell down from behind her allowing me just a glimpse of them.
“My dearest little phoenix, you have risen from the flame, but this is not the true form that I believe you to be. You have failed me therefore I know you not to be the Lilith that we, as a family need.” Her voice came through me, not through the form that she was, gracefully flying freely in the dead night air. An urge came through me to ask who she was, but I could not find a way. She sensed it coming through me, I think, as she answered, “My dear little phoenix, I watch over all my children. My dearest Asmodeus being my first born, the second born king, I observe the life he lives very closely. As for you my dear little phoenix, it took us a long time to find you. Through several trials we sent, you so far are the closest that I believe you may become my Lilith, although you are not quite her yet.
You see my dearest Asmodeus came to search for his queen, our little Lilith, but he became so caught up in these things termed emotions. For his life and soul had become split apart in this world that he lost sense of what he truly was. When he casted the son that I had borne, the king, into that tiny little ball to I almost thought he would be lost forever.
Then through the thickest of battles within himself, you just walk in and take what was left. There was no denying it then, your souls were meant to be bound together. You took his soul and kept it within you for so long that for anyone else it would have meant certain death. Not for you my dearest little phoenix, no not for you, his soul completed you.
They came without warning, as children do, to rise up against their father, my dearest Asmodeus. After digging their way into your life, finding your biggest weakness, they destroyed you. Taking everything that you were, your powers, your memories, they stripped you down until nothing was left but a barren shell. That is when I knew you were not my little Lilith.
You were so close, my dearest little phoenix to becoming everything we all hoped you would be. I stole back your memories from those evil little children of mine to see all that you saw, to know what you know, but it wasn’t until I just looked inside of you that I saw what we all needed. The power of seeing the future is not a curse as you would believe. It is a gift given to all my true born daughters. In that one second sight, a glimpse, I saw it, the box that held the key proving that you are my little Lilith.
After freeing my son from that cursed little orb, you save all of us. In opening that box you proved yourself to be, the queen that will rule beside my dearest Asmodeus. But you are not her just yet. Something is missing from you. Something is lacking therefore you are not yet my true little Lilith just yet. Perhaps, you are not lacking, but have too much of something barring you from what you are meant to be. Whatever it may be you must find her within yourself. You must become the goddess that will rule alongside my dearest Asmodeus. You are the one that will bring him back to his standing. Your souls are meant to be bound together as equals.
My son may have sent his chosen one to find you for a single purpose, and you may believe as you wish. I know the true reason why you must live so many lives. I alone gave him the sons that shall never die. They were sent to find you, the one who has the true soul to be the queen. You were not created to serve their purpose. You were born as a goddess to rule them all.
Before I leave you must remember who you are and who you are not. You are not their friend. You are not their lover, although you are more than welcome to fornicate with whoever you desire because it is not within us to curb that which we desire, but do not love them. They are those to worship and love you so do not ground yourself onto that level. We, my dearest little phoenix, are their caretakers. We must watch over and guide them, which is why you have such a gift as the second sight. The futures that you are to see are not your own, but theirs. We are here to guide our children and protect them.
When your powers are given back there are several tasks for you to complete. First you must become my little Lilith that we all so dearly need. After that, everything, I am quite sure that you will figure out on your own. It will not be such a difficult task for one such as you, my dearest phoenix.
If you do not believe yourself to be my little Lilith please feel free to turn around and go about the simple life that you may live with my child behind you. I will hold your powers until you are reborn once more into another life and your trials will begin again. However, if you do believe in yourself as I believe in you, step over and into the flames my dearest phoenix. The choice is yours alone.
You have until the dawn spreads beyond this valley. Choose wisely for everything depends upon you. My dearest phoenix, I believe in you.”
As soon as she finished speaking I saw the flames open up below me at the bottom of the cliff. They began consuming everything around them and seemed to spread for miles beneath me. Her image disappeared into the night air as the moon came from behind the clouds lighting the area around me. I turned to find Marcus still frozen in the forest behind me.
My choices were laid out clearly before me, but the decision wasn’t an easy one to make. Slowly my feet carried me towards Marcus while he found his way quickly towards me once he was free to move again. I glanced back at the edge and watched the flames continue to spread. I wondered how far they might spread if I did not jump. Would they eventually die out once my choice was made or would they continue until the whole world was consumed?
Once Marcus was near me my hand went up halting him from embracing me. Turning and being face to face with him I looked him over for what might be the last time. His golden hair had turned white in the glow of the moonlight, but his eyes were still a brilliant ember. Laying my hand against his pale skin I felt the age growing on him. Desolation spread through him as if he had already understood which fate I would choose.
Suddenly while starring into a future that we could have together I realized that this was not a true life within me. The world all seem to make sense just in a singular moment. It was clear through his eyes just as it was when I was inside of his vision of the future falling over the cliff. She had told me, but it wasn’t until this moment that I realized that this was not a true life. This was just a future that Marcus had placed within me. The futures that I have seen are theirs not my own. I have only seen until my death, but it was their fates that I was watching not my own. This was a projection of Marcus’ future that he was watching.
I found my voice inside and projected it, “Please do not continue to find a future for our love. Not one truly exists, Marcus. We will never find peace no matter how far you search for it because I fear what she says is true. Our paths are meant to cross, but they were never destined to travel together. You must let me go and never search for me. I will find you when the time right for us to meet once more.
Please go back to when you started this nightmare and remain there. I recommend that you do not enter the realm of futures, those powers that you have stolen are not your own. I must thank you for brining me here to secure my fate, but this is the end for us. This is to be the last future that you look upon because if I find you in one more I do not know if I could permit you to live once more after it is over.
I do love you, Marcus, but this is my end as the woman that you love. My true fate is just beyond the depths of those flames. Nothing will remain the same once this fate is over. Go back now and allow me to find what I am truly to become.”
Without warning Marcus took me into his arms and held me. Never in this future of us together had we ever embraced like this. As we parted I pushed him from me and gradually backed myself towards the edge. “Remember my warning, Marcus. Do not search for me. I will find you when the time is willing for our paths to cross.”
Quickly I turned to face my fate. There was no turning back especially now that I knew that this was nothing more than a future that Marcus had entered into at some point before our true first meeting. I was just as she said still entering into the trials to become what I was meant to be. This was nothing more than an assessment of my being before I truly broke into reality of what I was to become.
Looking out into the void over the edge the flames welcomed me. I knew everything was just beyond and it was calling out. Nothing took me as I bounded into the air. Death never took me as I thought it would. The flames grabbed ahold of me embracing me as though a love I had never felt before. Comforting me with contentment the world danced rapidly. Pain never once rang through, instead a birth was waiting. I could feel being reborn again into a future that I had never entered into before. This was my fate, but where it began I wasn’t sure.