What's Done in the Light-Aeryn
The Revelating Forest was comprised of ever-shifting trees, as mist-like as the fog that covered so much of the planet. Hence, the name: revelating described unique undulations of the plants in this area. As the sonorous, crystal-clear voices of elvenkind rang from all locations on Middle Earth, Lucian used it to his advantage and built a vortex of sound around us from the song and the movement of the greenery. The six blood moons had risen high in the sky-a rare sight. There was a myth behind the shape they made and while Lucian told his story I realized it may be connected to our present situation. After searching me with the elven handshake he weaved his tale for Razi and me. The six blood moons only occurred once every 5031 years and lasted for 25. Consequently, any bonds forged under them were unbreakable.
Lucian reached into a beam of moonlight and a colorful orb filled his hand. “This is a bola,” he let us know. “A glimpse of a moment captured in light.”
“Like a photograph?” I wondered. It looked an awful lot like ball lightning to me.
“Yes. I imagine it’s similar. Yet this is a natural result of two or more universes passing by one another. This is the fallout: moments from the other universe.”
“Then this moment of Mikassa’s happened in an entirely different universe than my own or this one?” I asked for clarification.
He nodded. “Watch.” He spoke what sounded like German into it. The bola spun, sparked, and then expanded to engulf us within itself. First black clouds and now colorful bolas. Combine that with errant lightning strikes and seizure-inducing oddly-colored trees and nature seemed to get wonky around me. Though it didn’t surprise me in the least, considering my origins. When I’d first touched the Tree I’d remembered being Lilith. Then drinking from that Japanese boy had restored the entirety of my memories. I still had to ask him about how he’d changed from the Tree into a teenaged boy. I’d read the books Razi had given me but they hadn’t reached the part of the story with the actual explanation of what had transpired and why. Naturally, I’d been shocked and momentarily full of existential terror when I discovered I was a fictional character in the mind of that odd woman I’d only seen in my dreams of Mark Blue. I had damn near considered not coming at all. I did wonder why this Author of mine had yet to introduce herself to me. I wasn’t sure I liked her but from what I had read of her I knew she was dealing with her own sort of pain. She had been damaged like all the rest of us. That had made me curious enough to see this through. I wanted to know how this story ended.
The bola had brought us to the last red moon sextuplet in a universe that appeared to move on a similar enough time wavelength for celestial events to sync up. Even the planet appeared identical to Middle Earth. The one called Mikassa-the bastard who set a living virus loose on humanity, the dick who’d tortured me with scenes from my past-was flying around whistling, and his cheeks were rosy. My stomach lurched. I hated being the only vampire who could upchuck. It was an unfortunate side effect of my combined vampiric blood. If only I could aim it at his face, maybe then it would be worth it. I grimaced at his ethereal beauty. It just wasn’t fair. That light feathery brown hair, those amethyst eyes, that chiseled physique, those perfectly symmetrical features. He was undoubtedly the most beautiful creature I’d ever met. Even with those damn pointy ears. Like all of the others I couldn’t really believe that so flawless-looking a person was the darkest, most twisted being other than Ekin to exist. I understood most everyone else I’d read about. Except for this bastard. What the fuck had made him that way? I was even willing to kind of forgive Mark Blue now I understood him better. But this motherfucker…
I knew his emotions the majority of the time were false. I knew he’d spent decades removing even the vestiges of the few feelings he did possess. I knew he could mimic real emotions so well you’d never notice how he’d fooled you. Yet his face inside the bola was irradiated with joy. His energy was full of that exultant happiness. It was pouring and looping off of him in large, gloppy bursts of bright colors. Sickening. What, other than mass murder, could make him genuinely happy? It was creepy to consider anything positive being a part of that. But it was. And then I did throw up. Funny that Mark Ashton actually wasn’t around for it this time. Mikassa floated down in a clearing where a girl in purple waited. The girl that looked like me. The Author. Her shirt and pants were loose and light, billowy to take advantage of the winds blowing through. She wore her hair like I had at my wedding with Sam. Razi gasped in recognition at the ritual they were now performing. Mikassa had set up a silver board with dizzyingly-designed etchings on its surface between them and placed his hands on top of it, waiting for her to do the same. He continued whistling (bizarrely enough in harmony with himself) and their fingers began to dance across the board, to and fro. Confused yet fascinated, my thoughts melted away and I became caught up completely in the unbelievably intricate movements.
The ways their fingers moved were a dead-on imitation of two bodies in motion on a dance floor. I could feel, sense, and see their love flowing towards one another, an intimate exchange that brought the heat to my face. The sheer passion and longing displayed through the hand dance filled the grove around the two and had them both breathless with desire. Finally, Mikassa’s fingers fully threaded hers, establishing a link so deep they both shuddered. I felt inadequate at only finding a sexual equivalent with which to compare it: that of orgasm. If only Joe Ashton were here. He’d have been able to find the words. Jean, too, with his asexual ass. Razi had told me elves learned best tactilely. They didn’t truly know a person until they’d studied their hands. I squirmed uncomfortably as my high sex drive kicked into overtime. Despite whom it was we were watching Razi snickered at me knowingly. I shrugged helplessly.
Mikassa’s eyes fluttered closed as he discovered every crevice of Michón’s hands. She leaned back and he quickly covered her body with his own. I kind of hoped I’d get to watch them have sex but I knew that wouldn’t explain anything. I sighed, shook my head, and focused myself. The moons had risen high in the sky. Gathering her up in his arms, Mikassa began to speak. “Under the hexad, by the light, before the gods I promise you one thing: one wish in order that I be bound to you, unbreaking, throughout the bounds of time and space,” he proclaimed reverently. “Author, do you accept?”
“Yes. You know my wish?” she replied, cooing.
“Yes. I promise you-the debt my immortality if I fail-that you are the source of my love. My love shall be available for you to claim.”
“And when I do your power is mine as well,” Michón reminded him.
“Yes. That is how this works since I am the elf. My power is yours to claim when you wish, all for the honor of loving you.” I was surprised that he had refrained from explicitly sexual behavior for so long. That made this occurrence that much more believable.
“So be it.”
“By the gods so it is.” He threaded his hands through hers once more, utterly delighted. As they kissed, right when it started getting good, the bola shrank and spit us out. “Damn it to hell!” I muttered, disappointed.
“Aeryn, do you know what that was? What that meant?” Razi questioned me, her aqua eyes no longer amused but serious.
“That is the elven bonding ritual. It binds-locks-parties into their contracts. The cost of breaking the pact is the loss of immortality. The bond also opens up elves’ powers to one another,” Lucian helpfully filled in the blanks.
“Hold on. Are you telling me Mikassa and Michón are-”
“Don’t say it aloud. When one recognizes it audibly the involved must be present. I don’t think you’re ready to deal with either of them yet,” Razi warned. “Keep quiet about it until you need it.”
“Right,” I assented. “Thank you, Lucian.”
“Call on me if ever you need me, Lilith.” Lucian bowed before departing.
“Well, that was an event,” I noted to the quiet, tiny woman before me.
“Quite. It makes me wonder…about him and his motives,” she spoke thoughtfully.
“All I get out of it is a possible way to defeat him. That’s all I care about,” I ruled.
“So…this guy, Mitchell. Think he’s ready to meet me again?”
“After being surrounded by singing elves I think he will be. He’s drunk but Damon and I have already spoken with him. Shall I take you to him?” Offering her small hand, she gazed at me warmly, full of admiration.
I stepped closer to her, nipping her lips with mine and then taking her hand. “Where were you the day I cracked the wall?” I asked wistfully.
“By Mikassa’s side, unfortunately.”
“No matter. I’ll free you from him if I must. Not to steal you, mind you. I just can’t stand anyone having control over someone else’s life.”
“Considering what you’ve dealt with I can see why. Shall you be my Utena then?”
“You’d make a hot Anthy,” I flirted as she warped us back onboard the A Seriesen. Mitchell’s room was a fairly decent size for it to belong to the prisoner of a madman. Despite my anger towards him for lying to me I still felt grateful any of them had survived. Originally, I’d assumed Mikassa had killed them all. Yet that wasn’t how he worked. Mikassa was living proof that sometimes life could be so much worse than death. Those he killed were lucky. They’d reincarnate in other places at other times or arrive at the super dimension if they’d reached the end of their cycle. No, the ones Mikassa left alive were for him to personally enjoy beating the energy and will out of. Ptah! And people thought vampires were bad! How had an Other become so rotten? Or was he something more? I’d find out soon enough. After all, that was my purpose. To unveil the truth for all to see. To find out what others couldn’t bear to. To find the truth no matter how long it took or what it cost to do so. It was why I was in this room facing the man I’d once thought was human.
Mitchell lay sprawled out in a hammock, eyes at half-mast, resigned to whatever fate I chose to dole out. He dressed the same as he had on Earth-the chains on his arms and jeans. Short dirty blond hair. The only differences were his eyes and his energy. His eyes were black like Mark’s instead of the green they’d been. They were brighter than his brother’s, though. The energy radiating from him was at once like my Dark Angel’s and not. And like his brother, the perpetual scowl on his face changed shape with his mood. “Mitchell Jones Blue,” I addressed him calmly.
“Aeryn,” he responded as cordially as his rough voice would let him.
“How ever did you keep your true memories from me?” I asked, seating myself by his long legs.
“Useful little talent of mine. I’m unreadable when I want to be. Which tends to be all the time.”
“Must be nice,” I mused.
“Yeah. You here to kill me?” he inquired straight-on.
“No. You’re intriguing to say the least. Were you sent to spy on me?”
A slight shake of his head let me know he hadn’t been. “I share Mark’s blood. It helped you become like us. I can’t control time or anything just so you know. But Mik fixed us up: my brother, sister, and I. We make him stronger.”
“Trés cool. Pleasure to meet the real you.”
“Hey, if you ever need blood or whatever, I’m down. It was cool being your friend.”
“We still are friends. I’ll need your help as well. Only if you’re willing. I know most of the story. I need to meet everyone. And I need your brother to back the fuck off.”
Slowly, Mitchell sat up. “Anything for you, babe.”
“Good. I need rest now. Come to me tomorrow. Both of you. We’ll start planning.”
They both agreed. I retired back to Mark’s room, wondering if I could fix the temporal shifting on my own or whether I’d need his help. A small groan escaped me and I cast a pleading glance at Damon, who was already there waiting for me. His hazel eyes sparkled with humor. “Yes, we do need him,” he read my unspoken thought.
“Darn,” I grumbled.
Suddenly, I felt Mark’s energy preceding him down the hall. He was livid about something. I braced myself as he turned into the room. His dark eyes seemed to meet mine and he dropped to his knees, exhausted. “I don’t have the energy to fight with you tonight, Aeryn.”
“That’s not my intention. I simply want to clear up the energy in here so Stuart and the others can visit. I’m ready to meet them all. Are you up to it?”
“I think I can manage that.” The relief leaking from him was palpable.
I knelt in front of him, reaching my hands up to hold his head. “We can discuss Mikassa after,” I decided. He tilted his head forward to touch mine and closed his eyes. The colors of the energy surrounding the room changed. Together, we felt the strings out and repaired punctured holes, bleeds, and attached points; all the warped bits of time. Barriers were placed around Mark’s experiments. Satisfied that the space was now accessible we broke contact. He sat back on the floor and stretched his legs out. “Thanks,” he said, peering at me.
“What had you so upset?” Damon wanted to know.
“Mik is… I’ve never seen him so shaken. He really hates this place. I have no idea what he’s going to do but I’m terrified because I can’t read his thoughts.”
“I’ll confront him before he decides to act,” I promised. “I need everyone to be on the same page.”
“Aeryn…” Mark looked away from me. “I don’t want you hurt.”
“Oh Mark, don’t you know who I am? Pain is a part of my life. You can’t protect me. No one can. I’m here to help and that’s what I’ll do. He’s already wiped out 92% of Earth’s population, he’s destroyed other worlds as well, and he’s made your lives hell. He must be stopped,” I reasoned.
“What about Karia?” Damon mentioned.
“The plague. The tool. As I said, I’ll talk with everyone first. I’ll speak with Karia alone soon,” I bared my teeth.
“You’ll never believe how bad I feel for having to drag you into this,” Mark said morosely.
“You did your best. There’s nothing I can fault you for.” I touched his elbow briefly but his other hand shot out and seized mine. ”What?”
“Sleep with me. Not, uh, not sex,” he frowned, his version of blushing. “Just lie down with me.” He wouldn’t meet my eye. The request positively surprised me. Something had changed for him since our last meeting. I’d been a bit steamed about the discovery he’d been my first kiss with Mark Ulf. He had laughed and flirted with me until I’d bared my teeth at him. He’d become more serious, stepped up to me, and opened his mouth to speak when Alana poked her head in. Announcing we had arrived on Middle Earth and for no one to look for her, she’d flounced off. Mark had tilted his head, picking up on something I couldn’t sense. He’d grimaced and said he had to leave. Whatever had happened between then and now had made him weary and jumpy. The way his hearts were beating now…his body language suggested he desired comfort from me.
Why me? I felt perplexed. Glancing at Damon, I hoped maybe he’d know. Damon only shrugged. “Why?” I asked the dark man.
“You really want me to fuckin say it?” he groaned. “I respect you, Lilith. This isn’t the easiest shit to deal with. I know you don’t much like me but I like you, damnit. You’ve got spunk like Micala. I saw a lot of your life. You’re a fighter. I don’t think I’ve ever been as unflinching about it as you are.”
“Yes, I happen to have read about your childhood as well. I suppose we’re kindred, like Joey Lawrence and I were.”
“So…” His black eyes managed to meet mine. He was frowning so hard I imagined his lips would fall off.
“You’d better give me back my knife sometime. That way I can chop your hands off if they start roaming. But,” I stressed and elongated the word, “for now I’ll trust Damon to come to my aid if you let your sex drive get the best of you.”
They both laughed, being well-acquainted with Mark’s HSD. “What about yours? Even I’ve never had thousands of lovers,” Mark challenged.
“Get your ass in this bed,” I ordered as I lay back in the bedji.
He hopped up next to me. “You’ll get your knife back tomorrow,” he swore to me.
“Come, Damon,” I gestured to him. How wonderful to feel their warmth beside me. Damon kissed the back of my neck and shoulders repeatedly. His lips were a balm against my skin, calming me after the excitement of today. Mark watched me for the longest while as if he couldn’t quite believe he was holding me. What an odd person. What a messed-up, insane, beautiful person… Fuck, I thought as the sneer came to his face and he pinched one of my nipples. I’d forgotten he could read my mind, too. “Don’t get too comfy,” I warned. “I don’t like you that much.”
“Yet,” he said almost wistfully.
It was strange to be wanted by him. I’d read about him but that had only produced more questions. What was I going to do with him? “Mark Blue who?” I whispered. His eyes were just as curious as mine.