Chapter 43 - Emmalyn
Emmalyn trusted the wolf once more, and it led her to an incline hidden from view. Before it had a chance to run off, she approached it. She could hear the men shouting at her, obviously worried for her safety, but she tuned them out. The wolf was wary, but it stayed where it was until she was close. Tentatively, Emmalyn raised her hand and placed it on top of the wolf’s head.
“Thank you for helping me. You are a beautiful creature. I will never forget you,” she promised.
The minute she removed her hand the wolf took off, but when it reached the tree line it stopped. She watched as the beast threw back its head and gave one last long howl, then it slipped into the trees and disappeared from sight.
The minute it did, Emmalyn was hurrying down the incline, desperate to reach Kell. The men followed and seemed just as eager as her. They made a racket slipping and sliding down the bank, but no one cared. They all knew time was of the essence.
Emmalyn cried out when she got her first look at Kell. His limbs were resting at odd angles, his head was bleeding, and blood was trickling from his mouth. She stopped short, as pain ripped through her heart. He looked dead. There was no way her husband was still alive.
Then Oryn was there, pulling her into his arms as Torin dropped to his knees beside Kell. She could only watch, frozen in place, as Torin checked for a pulse. It seemed to take forever, but finally he turned pain-filled eyes her way.
“He’s alive,” Torin confirmed. “But he hasn’t long. From the bleeding I suspect internal injuries, injuries that cannot be repaired. You need to say goodbye while he can still hear you.”
Torin then leaned close and whispered something in Kell’s ear. Emmalyn couldn’t hear him, but she could guess he was saying his own goodbye. When he was finished, Oryn transferred her to Torin’s arms and did the same. It killed her to see such strong men break, but both were obviously hurting. Tears wet their cheeks as they stepped away and gave her space.
Immediately she sank to her knees in the hard packed dirt. Tears hit Kell’s cheek as she leaned over him and stared at his handsome face. His skin was an odd grey colour and there was a raspy noise coming from his chest. It took every ounce of strength she had to reach down and kiss the tear away. She wanted to break apart, but she knew if she did, she’d never get this chance again.
“Don’t cry, my wee warrior,” Kell whispered in a voice that she hardly recognized. It was deeper than usual and scratchy. Then he slowly opened his eyes and looked up at her.
“Kell,” Emmalyn sobbed, as her heart soared, thankful she’d get this last minute with him awake.
“You found me. You must have heard my call?” he asked with a small pain filled smile.
“I did. Is it you that has been scaring everyone with the lightning,” Emmalyn returned with a small smile of her own.
“No,” Kell denied. “I can only assume it is the elements themselves.”
Emmalyn was surprised, but then she didn’t call the wolf either and it helped her. Kell coughed then, and more blood slipped from his mouth. Tenderly, Emmalyn raised her arm and used the sleeve of her dress to wipe it away. More of her tears fell, and she had no desire to stop them.
“I’m sorry,” Kell whispered. “I didn’t get to spend the time with you I had wanted.”
“It may not have been long,” Emmalyn whispered back, desperate to hold her sobs. “But it was everything to me. You showed me a love I never knew existed. You brought me to a world I have fallen in love with. And you gave me a family I thought was lost to me. You have shown me kindness, patience, and you gave me your heart. I will cherish it until we are united again.”
Then she reached down and tore the chain from her neck. It broke from the force she used and the ring fell into her hand. Immediately she slipped it back on her finger. Then as carefully as she could, she lifted Kell’s head and slipped the chain from around his neck. It took a minute for her shaking fingers to undo the clasp, but she finally got it. Surprisingly his left arm wasn’t hurt, so she was able to lift it without causing him pain and slip the ring on his finger.
“My wife,” Kell rasped, as his breathing began to slow.
“My husband,” Emmalyn returned, watching his bright eyes fade.
“Kiss me one last time,” Kell ordered, as his hand slackened in hers.
Emmalyn didn’t want to do that, because she knew it would be their last kiss. But she couldn’t deny him. As carefully as possible, she leaned down, so they were chest to chest, and placed her lips against his. His were chilled, but they still moved gently against hers. She relished the kiss and poured all the love she had into it. When she finally pulled away, it was to see him smiling.
“Love you,” Kell weakly breathed against her lips.
“Love you,” Emmalyn whispered back, returning the breath.
Then Kell’s eyes closed and his hand slipped from hers. His whole body relaxed as his breathing finally stopped. The sob she’d been holding broke free, and she collapsed on top of him. It felt like she was dying right along with him. All the light in her world was because of him, it felt like the darkness was sleeping in and suffocating her.
Then strong arms wrapped around her and lifted her away. She had no fight left, and she went without complaint. The tears flowed fast and furious, and her whole trembled.
“The lightning stopped,” Abrielle whispered, and all eyes turned to her. When Emmalyn looked up, it was to see the sky had turned completely black. There was no moon, no stars, no clouds, nothing at all.
“Maybe it was meant to be,” Torin huffed, and she looked his way in horrified surprise. He was wiping at his face, and his expression was broken. “Maybe there just wasn’t meant to be an Elemental Prince. Kell was the first in over a hundred years.”
Emmalyn didn’t like his words and her whole body locked. Something inside her shifted, and it felt like a fire was raging through her blood. She tore from Oryn’s arms and turned furious eyes on Torin.
“How dare you,” she shouted. “Kell was meant to be.” She looked at Kell’s still body then turned angry eyes to the sky. “You mourn his death, but you did nothing to stop it. He’s the Elemental Prince, yet you never gave him the chance to use his full powers. When he needed you most you abandoned him,” Emmalyn hissed.
“Sweetheart,” Darrow soothed as he placed his hand on her shoulder, but she shrugged him off.
“He was a good man. He was a strong man. And he deserved those powers. He knew exactly how precious they were, and he thanked you every time,” Emmalyn continued, railing at the sky.
Then she turned once more to Kell, and her anger left her. He was gone, and she couldn’t accept it. She needed him. His entire Kingdom needed him. It wasn’t right that he left. He was a warrior. He should be fighting. He should be rallying his men and taking back his Kingdom. He should be King.
Emmalyn threw herself on him and clung to his chilled frame. Her tears soaked his neck, but she barely noticed. She grabbed his hand and held it tight, needing the connection. She heard the men cursing and arguing behind her, but she didn’t pay them any mind. After a minute she lifted her face and stared down into Kell’s pale one.
“You are my life,” Emmalyn whispered. She placed her free hand on his cheek. “You are my everything. I can’t go on without you. I won’t go on without you. I need you by my side. I need you to come back to me.”
Then she lay back down and wrapped her small body around his. She rested her cheek on his heart and thought about their time together. She remembered the first time she saw him. He had jumped through the portal and had no idea she was the princess. She had surprised him with her fighting skills. She remembered the time he took her to the stream and she saw the rainbow fish for the first time. She remembered making love to him in the tiny oasis. And she remembered saying her vows in front of her parents. She’d been happier than she could ever imagine.
“Come back to me Kell,” Emmalyn ordered.
She concentrated hard, and willed him to wake up. She imagined all her strength leaving her body and going into his.
“Come back to me Kell,” Emmalyn repeated, more forcefully this time.
She held him even tighter and made sure there wasn’t even a whisper of space between them. She imagined his body bathed in warmth. She willed his heart to beat again.
“Come back to me Kell,” Emmalyn raged, pouring her soul into her words.
Then her body started to heat, and a bright light lit the area all around them. Tiny sparks flew into the air and the men jumped back.
“Come back to me Kell,” Emmalyn shouted, as a gust of wind swirled all around them.
Then everything stopped. The wind disappeared, the sparks flew away, and the light extinguished. Emmalyn held her breath as she willed herself to remain completely still.
Then she heard it. A faint beating under her cheek. Tears fell, but she remained unmoving. The beating slowly picked up, and the sound grew louder. Kell’s hand twitched. Once, twice, three times, then his fingers tightened around hers. She felt his breath as it stirred the hair resting on his face. Then his broken arm straightened and wrapped around her. His legs moved too and entwined with hers.
“I’ll never leave you,” Kell vowed, in a voice that sounded strong and sure. “You’re my wee warrior. We are meant to be together.”
That’s when she lost it once more, but it was for a different reason this time. Kell was back. He was holding her. He was talking to her. He was whispering words she needed to hear.
Then she was smothered, as Oryn, Torin and Darrow all fell on top of her. It seemed she wasn’t the only one happy to have the Elemental Prince back.