Land of Elves-Alana
I ignored everyone but Mikassa until we arrived on Middle Earth. I had no care for the utter stupidity and insanity taking over the ship these last few weeks. I hadn’t yet seen this Queen Aeryn, or Lilith, or whatever her fucking name was. She wasn’t in my catalog; I had long ago stopped associating with Michón in real life. After finding out she’d had a crush on me long ago, I’d kept my distance. And then she’d grown up and become a total bitch. In fact, I wondered why the me in the story still existed at all. What if she kept me here to try to woo me? What if she makes me one of her whores like everyone else seems to have become? I steeled myself as bile began to take up residence in my throat. Never, I swore to myself. I staunchly refused. I had only remained for Stuart’s sake. And now he’d betrayed me. Perhaps I should take my leave after this one last visit. There’s no reason for me to stay anymore.
I donned my cape over my flowing fairy dress. It’s not as if Saje exactly needed clothes now so I’d boosted it from her old closets. Tossing my hair back I marched out onto land soft as felt. Maybe I should live out my days here, I thought wistfully, heading for the town of Legolind. I could hear the flutes already.
*Mitchell’s point of view
The damn planet was so green it hurt my eyes. But it was still loads better than being cooped up on that dingy-ass ship for much longer. Mikassa’s foul ass mood had twisted most of the wall patterns into hideous grey streaks with dark green blobs. I’d have beat him senseless if he wasn’t immortal. Instead I decided to bear it and enjoy a bit of freedom. Even Mark wandered out of his lab, where Aeryn had been staying. So far I’d only heard the stories from Stuart and Damon. Stuart was scared of seeing her again and Damon had been in and out of there on the regular for weeks. Allishuan’s aura was hella bright, too. I don’t know what this chick was made of but there was no place on board the lot of us couldn’t feel her presence. I had taken special care to mask myself. She’d recognize me as her “human” donor during her trek to and subsequent life in Italy. And then we’d have some explaining to do. I figured she already had enough to deal with at the moment, having learned the final tally for life on Earth. Plus, I’d heard her laying into Mark a few times and had already witnessed how she dealt with liars back on Earth.
Let’s just say I didn’t want to be reunited with her anytime soon.
Mark remained behind today, debating whether or not to finally release her. Mikassa had been uncharacteristically silent and absent. If he knew she was here (and how could he not feel her energy?) he’d kept that knowledge to himself. Tentatively the rest of us made our way out of the ship and across Middle Earth, enjoying the best hot springs this side of the galaxy, soaking up the freshest energy from the purest sources, and stocking up on goods. Ariel seemed like she belonged here, ethereal as fuck among the large willows, redwoods, and misty ferns. Lofty, dreamy fog drifted a few steps from her at all times. It was much too adorable for me.
The first thing I did was post up at the best bar. Unfortunately elves were lightweights so their strongest drink barely slid me sideways past sober. I would just have to sit there until it got me good and hammered. Maybe then I could face Aeryn’s wrath.
“Would you like to go out today, my queen?” I asked, kneeling before the caramel goddess. She glowed in golden highlights and drops of purple. She lounged regally in the chair sporting a split maxi dress. Voluptuous and gently muscled, she didn’t have to move to make her power known.
Her brown eyes glinted as she examined me, taking time to weigh the options before answering. “Where are we?”
“On the planet Middle Earth. The planet of the elves. It’s where bedjis are made,” I supplied.
“That odd thing over there?” She nodded towards the one across the room with a touch of suspicion.
My lips quirked up. “Yes.”
“Will Mark let me go freely?” she inquired, leaning forward and extending one long, elegant finger to stroke the space beneath my ear.
“I’ll check with him right now,” I addressed her implied order. There were few people that actually impressed me and she absolutely and totally did. It didn’t hurt that she looked a lot like Michón, either. Stuart had run yet I’d stayed willingly by her side, fulfilling her desires for blood and sex. I knew I’d have to check on Disami soon to ensure Josh hadn’t terrorized her too much. It pained me to see the crew suffering so when I knew I could have put an end to it at any time. I kept the reason I couldn’t at the fore of my mind, knowing this was the kindest option. Focusing on the task at hand, I mentally reached out to the man of my dreams, the father of my son, the one that got away: Mark Blue. I petitioned him on behalf of Aeryn. He gave me the go-ahead and promised to meet us later, as he was keeping tabs on Mikassa. Delivering the good news to Aeryn, I broke the seal and led her out into a gorgeous meadow.
She knelt down, sifting the soft dirt through her fingers, soaking up this new planet with curiosity and joy. “Elves. I’ve never really met any,” she revealed.
“Would you like to?”
“Maybe later. I’d like to run.” She assumed a take-off stance, waiting to see if I would join her.
*Razi’s point of view
Graceful as the elves that skipped and strutted around in these enchanted forests, Lilith reveled in the clear air. Damon trailed behind her, as loyal as he’d been to Saje yet with actual purpose this time. It pleased me greatly. I believe it also served to ease the burden he carried from not saving us from Mikassa. Only Stuart, Mark, and I understood why he couldn’t bring himself to disable Mikassa. What prices we must pay to do the right thing. Or even just the best of horrible options. Fixing my eyes on Lilith’s form flitting amongst the trees, I knew she was definitely the best option. She was magnificent instead of horrible. Her actions would rebound throughout every universe and heal the worlds that had been ripped apart. Simply being in her presence was intoxicating. I hadn’t yet approached her. Mostly I didn’t want to step on Mark’s toes or risk making him any angrier at me. I had yet to know if he’d be able to trust me again. After monitoring Lilith, he’d posted up near Mik’s quarters. If it were anyone else I’d have mistaken his behavior for avoidance. I knew better, luckily. When time travelling he made sure to make moves with the utmost care. He still played a few pranks if time allowed for it yet he ensured that there were as few ripples as possible caused by his actions.
Now he had let her out; a signal that the rest of the crew could approach her without fear of dying. I cradled my gift in my hands, waiting for her to rest or simply get bored of running. Leaning back on the nearest tree I gazed up at the sherbet-colored sky. Like everyone else I wondered how such a twisted person could have originated in such a peaceful place. Or perhaps that was the problem in itself. My body relaxed as I let the topic go for the moment. Instead, I focused on the energy signature of an elf coming nearer. As he came around the bend in the path I enjoyed the way the light played in his luxurious golden locks. His eyes were as blue as the water of my origin planet. The lines and planes of his face were pleasing. From his dress I pegged him as an archer, though he carried no bow and quiver at present. He was rather tall and willowy, deceptively beautiful. Pure elven blood ran in this one. Briefly, I pondered how tall Hazel would have grown if he were still with us. Handsome Hazel, the lost Prince Eulia of Saturn. With some sadness I held out my hand in greeting to the newcomer.
“Welcome to Middle Earth.” He grasped my hand and threaded his fingers over and through mine. Though I’d never seen Mik or Eulia do this, I knew it was how elves gained information from others. They fondled, stroked, and gently pressed every nook and cranny of your hand to gauge such things as power levels, whether your hands were roughened by heavy labor or art, even dreams and weakness. Not everything at first, yet a few seconds were enough to determine: friend or foe, useful or no. The more time they spent studying your hands, the more they knew about you. Suffice it to say it was one hell of a handshake.
“Thank you. I’m Razi.”
“I’m Lucian. I understand you have Mikassa Ahmed Shekran aboard your vessel?”
He smiled sympathetically. “Maybe I can assist you Travelers.”
Ears perking up, I replied with a simple, “Oh?”
“There is an unknown floating amongst the Lights. One he would rather no one ever discover,” he revealed.
“Do you know what it is or how to find out?”
He nodded, a movement alive with sensuality and magic. “Bring the Old One to the Revelating Forest at Singing Time,” he instructed me, holding my shoulder.
“Yes, Lucian,” I addressed him with his name, the elven custom for ending a conversation. Off he bounded, light and airy, into the mist. Now I had two gifts to grant my queen. Looking to and fro I searched for signs of her and Damon. They hadn’t gone too far; they’d sensed me and I could feel her curiosity. “May I speak with you, my queen?” I requested.
She came nearer, peering at me with interest. My heart fluttered. Her large brown eyes were weighted, powerful, and crushing. Any lesser being, anyone who’d dare to be Soulless, would evaporate like earthworms on a sidewalk from the pressure in those eyes. I stared steadily back, extending my arms to reveal the present fully to her. Her gaze flitted over it and then travelled from my feet to my face in a more measured, slower fashion. Lilith approved of what she saw. A quirk came to her lips as our eyes met and she held out her hand to me as she came within personal space distance. “This is for me?” she nodded at the books in my hand.
“Yes. It is your series and ours. Things, events, will make a bit more sense after you’ve looked these over. It…explains some things.”
“From where did you procure these tales of our adventures?” Her eyebrows rose as she gave the books another once-over.
“These I received from Damon,” I gestured to him, standing a short ways from us to let us speak without interruption. “He has many more in his possession.”
“How have these come to be in the first place?” she questioned.
“You have to read them to fully understand. When you’ve finished, I happen to have made the acquaintance of one who knows a devastating secret about Mikassa,” I explained.
“You bring me knowledge. I definitely like you.” Her smile was large and bright.
“Thank you, Lilith.”
“Call me Aeryn. I like it a bit better. Not so many of the negative connotations surrounding it,” she chittered.
“Aeryn. My name is Razi Lachelle.”
“Ah yes.” Her eyes widened in recognition. “Stuart and Damon both carry such lovely memories about you. ‘Even the name gets me hot’,” she chuckled. “I shall keep you by my side if you don’t mind.”
“I’d be honored,” I gushed, hardly able to believe my fortune. My entire body tingled at the thought.
“You say there is someone who knows an unknown about Mikassa?”
“Yes. He wishes to meet at Singing Time in the Revelating Forest,” I supplied.
She gave a quick, decisive nod. “I’ll meet you there. Thank you.” She lifted my hand and kissed it gently. “For now, let me take a refreshing bath!” Her laugh was genuine and surprisingly light. She gave a nod to Damon, who gave a slight bow, and flitted off with the books in hand.
“Think she’ll be willing to help when she learns the truth?” Damon asked me.
I shrugged. “It’ll be her choice. The choice none of us ever had,” I sighed.
“So…I suppose we have time to talk now,” he spoke gently, as if I’d run.
I sprawled out in front of the tree. “Go on.”
He moved closer to kneel by me. “I’m not angry with you in the least. In fact, I’m only happy that we have another chance. That your feelings for me are still so beautiful.”
He certainly had a way with words. “They’ve only grown,” I admitted.
“Part of me simply wants to jump you this instant. Guess I picked that up from Mark,” he shared in a dry tone. “I guess I’ll just take my lead from you.” He shifted, slightly nervous.
“Hm. Mark’s way makes sense sometimes. Anyway, let’s simply do whatever we feel. I don’t take too kindly to rules in any event. I can’t proscribe any because I don’t believe you and I need any.”
“In that case…” Leaning down, he kissed my temple, my cheek, and then my lips. Pulling me into his body he cradled me, giving me a melting hug that was surely the best I’d ever had. “You’ve been hiding. I can’t imagine what that’s like for you and Mark.”
“It’s not easy but we both knew it was necessary,” I replied.
“The future. You both see it to some extent. Will we be okay?” He rubbed his face against my hair, taking pleasure in it.
“I see certain events. He has a much greater role to play. I don’t envy him. It’s going to be very ugly,” I sighed.
“There may be. That’s where you come in. Michón is going to require your help very soon. You’ll get to have a lot of time with her. It must hold her for the endless torment that’s to follow. Give her beautiful memories, for all our sakes,” I urged.
He gulped. “I think I’m up to the task,” he chuckled. “I remember chasing after her for years, retreating in fear when she stalked me, and then wondering why there was this barrier between us. Then I understood. It wasn’t her; it was me. I was so bound up in the image of being Saje’s destined. Until I could let that idea go and truly be myself I’d never see anyone else as equal. Saje was on a pedestal and I crushed myself beneath her. How could I ever have been fair to Michón then?”
“I think she also enjoyed the chase. Even if she’d never appreciate anyone truly running after her. She enjoys making a mockery of normative behavior,” I shared.
“Mm. It only makes her sexier, in my opinion. She’ll accept nothing less than totality.”
“After you guys cracked my mind she stayed by my side. She just let me be, without judgment or prodding. She waited until I put my mind back together before reminding me I still had a job to do. She’d helped me protect the knowledge of my impending mission to ensure Lilith came here. That’s why she was there. Although…I don’t think she likes Aeryn too much. That should be an interesting meeting,” I mentioned in a pleased tone.
“I’m glad she was there for you. Heh, she’s already made stink faces at me about the time I spend with Aeryn. She hardly comes to visit Rafael anymore.”
“Hm, I bet. At least she still wants you.”
“I’m so happy she and I will have some time. Mark’s been a bit of an ass lately,” Damon made an annoyed sound.
“He feels it coming, is all. He’s got a ways to go learning how to healthily deal with his emotions,” I pointed out.
“I still love him. I mean, I understand where he’s coming from. Still doesn’t mean I like or accept it. Hell, I might even be a little selfish and spirit her away for a while.”
I snorted. “You are evil, Allishuan. Do you know how angry he’d be?”
He shrugged. “Ah, he’s always pranked everyone else. Let him know how it feels for once,” he defended himself.
“I wish you luck with that. I’m staying out of it. I’ve already ticked him off plenty.”
“That’s fine, Razi.”
“Let’s go find Mitchell,” I suggested. “See if he’s tired of elves yet. It must be driving him insane.” I jumped to my feet and pulled him up to standing. The planet’s surface was damn near as smooth and soothing as water and I trembled with joy as we dashed off. I could get used to this.