When fate intervenes, a night of fun becomes a journey into A tale of love, redemption, lust, and forces beyond comprehension.
a dark, mystical world, and a new heroine journeys within herself
to find an identity she never knew existed.
When fate intervenes, a night of fun becomes a journey into
A tale of love, redemption, lust, and forces beyond comprehension.
Knight in Tarnished Armor
I sat in my car at the hospital parking lot for a while before getting out and heading to his room. I didn’t know why I waited. It would mean less time with him before I had to say goodbye. But I knew as soon as I saw him, the real pain would begin, and so I stayed.
Finally, I decided to use Teijurzi to steel my nerves and open the door. When I neared the wing of the hospital where Kevin was being monitored, I began to get nervous, and it wasn’t just me. The staff was watching me as I made my way to his room. They were absolutely dizzy with anticipation. Some wore expressions of conjecture while others covered their mouths to hide their whispers from me. It was like they were laughing at me.
“What!?” I finally stopped and asked them.
But an older, stocky nurse with a firm demeanor grabbed my arm and pulled me along. “Come. Come,” she said, amicably.
When we arrived in Kevin’s room, my heart skipped more than a few beats. He was sitting on the edge of his bed. Then he looked up and saw me, and he smiled with a big grin.
I was there, crashing into him in an instant, wind whipping and sheets flying behind me as I passed. I took him in a giant hug that nearly toppled him over, but he was strong and caught me. Then he laughed in his familiar, lighthearted way.
I pulled back from him and looked in his eyes. “Speak to me. Say something! Anything!” I begged him.
“I love you,” he said in perfect speech, smiling widely.
"Oh, I love you, too! I love you so much! You came back to me!"
I started kissing him fiercely and then tried to crush him in another giant hug. “How?” I said, and studied him, looking into him. It must have been Visnau – no natural recovery could have possibly been so complete and sudden – but the dark archon would have surely not acted until he had taken custody of me, or at least had my bound oath.
But what I saw within him was not the residual orange energy I expected to see, but the swirling synthesis of yellow and green light that I knew too well.
It was Wu Lok!
The mad archon had healed him, and brought him back to me, but why? I didn’t ponder it then. I just held him to me and reveled in the moment. I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling, but I soon noticed we had attracted quite an audience. Then the old nurse started shooing everyone out the door and close it for us.
“Tell me what you remember,” I asked him when we were alone. “Do you…” I didn’t finish the thought, wondering if he retained my secret.
“I remember everything. Right up until that truck cut me off. But it was my fault, I should have known better than to ride his blind spot. I just wasn’t thinking…”
“I don’t care about that,” I said. “Tell me what you remember about me.”
He nodded, ponderously.
“And?” I prompted him.
“And I don’t care. Well, okay, I care – it’s a big deal – but I still love you.”
I smiled at him and kissed him and hugged him with wet eyes. We stayed in each other’s embrace until the door creaked open and Sarah came in. A look of profound relief flashed across her face.
“Oh good,” she breathed. “I’m glad I caught you. I need to talk to you, Amber.”
“It’s okay, Sarah, I’m staying. I’m staying here with him,” I said, and no enchantment or Calvin or archon was going to stop me.
Sarah and I were talking quietly in the room, while Kevin rested. Despite being magically healed by Wu Lok, he still needed plenty of sleep to help him recover. When he first dozed off, I used my mana to scan his brain again. Most of his injuries were gone, but a few minor furrows remained that shouldn’t be there. There could be a few issues that would arise, but we would manage. I was happy that he was well again, and Sarah was overjoyed that I wouldn’t have to go live in the Calvin mansion again.
I had to admit I was fond of that notion as well, and briefly wondered how much of that ill-fated decision was from my own need to save Kevin, and how much was imparted to me from Teijurzi’s overly-giving nature. I was also still rather anxious to learn why Kevin was healed by Wu Lok and not Visnau – and what that would mean for us all.
“Excuse me, Sarah, I need to step out a moment,” I said after a while.
“No, I should be going,” she said. “I’ll walk you out.”
She said goodbye to me in the hall, but promised me that she would call soon to check in. As soon as she was gone, I had my phone out. Though I had allowed myself to feel the initial joy of having Kevin back, I had since tempered my hopes until I learned what was going on in that crazy house.
“Amber, I’m glad you called,” he answered.
“What the hell is going on over there?” I hissed. “This better not be some sick game you are playing, you piece of archon shit, or I promise you I’ll hunt you down and find a way to pull you into the very bowels of Hell!”
“Amber, calm down. It is already done,” he answered placidly. His voice was filled with entirely too much kindness.
“Donald?” I asked.
“Yes. It’s me,” he said. “Visnau is no more. I manage to break his hold over me momentarily and made a deal with Wu Lok. He helped me destroy Vinsau for good. There’s no coming back for him.”
“Then it’s true? Wu Lok is free?” I asked nervously.
“No, he remains here with me, still contained, but he agreed to help me just this once if I consented to let go of Visnau and end his existence – by feeding him to Wu Lok and making Wu Lok strong again.”
“Then it was you? You really gave up Visnau to heal my Kevin? Why?” I was blown away.
“Because it would make you happy,” he said.
“Th... Thank you, I think.” I still wasn’t sure how to react or what else to say.
I heard him take a deep breath. “Visnau never intended to heal your boyfriend. The truth is he couldn’t. That level of healing is not in his nature. He merely intended to trick you and enslave you. I couldn’t let that happen, so I paid the price for the healing, and enlisted Wu Lok to help me. You and yours are free, but there is a catch, and I would ask a favor as well,” he said.
“Tell me,” I demanded.
“Brain trauma is a very serious injury, and you already know how difficult healing can be. Working on the mind is the most difficult form of healing and one of the most difficult forms of any metaphysical manipulation. Quite beyond even my level of skill, I’m afraid. I was merely able to give your boyfriend a temporary reprieve. The injuries are healed, but Fate still has a firm grip on him.”
“What are you saying?” I asked fearfully. “He’ll relapse?”
“It’s possible, and if he does, I don’t know when. It could be months or it could be years. If Fate decides to claim him, there is nothing I can do to stop it. I would give it to you if I could.” He spoke sincerely. For some reason I actually believed him.
“And the favor?” I asked then.
“Spend your time with him, for as long as he lives. But after that, I want you to visit me from time to time.”
I thought for a few moments before responding, wondering what he was truly asking. “Why?” I finally asked.
“Because I love you, and I miss you,” he said, shocking me. “I want to see you.”
I couldn’t help but close my eyes and grimace. “I’ll never feel the same way about you,” I told him.
“I know. I don’t care.”
“If I agree to this, there will never be anything sexual or romantic. It will be a business arrangement and nothing more. And I want something else from you. I want to bear children. You took that from me.”
“I can live with that. Without Visnau’s influence on me, in time I think I could come to view you as a daughter instead of a lover. Come by the house, and we’ll settle the details, and I’ll restore your fertility.”
“I have a father, and he’s a better man than you, but I’ll consider your offer,” I said to him.
They released Kevin two days later, calling it the most miraculous recovery they had ever witnessed. The doctors didn’t even know how to document it, so they finally decided that they must have misdiagnosed him upon entry. I also learned from hushed tones between the staff that there was a break in to their records room and computer system, and Kevin’s scans were among the missing files. The only description of the perpetrator was that he was a large blond man, but no one could remember his face.
I drove him home, but Liam and Emmy were both following us and insisted on helping. Everyone kept offering Kevin assistance he didn’t need, including me. Although Mr. Calvin warned me it may be temporary, Kevin had seemed to make a full recovery thanks to the magical healing. But that still didn’t stop us from worrying over him, which he grated against in his proud manner.
Emmy and Liam offered to stay for a few days to help us get settled in, and I graciously accepted. It would be good having them around until Kevin calmed down. Although he was physically healed, he was still mentally rattled by the situation, including the news that had devastated him enough to take that ride in the first place. That was the real reason I wanted my brother and sister to stay.
That first night, I had Kevin alone in our room, soothing him with tender kisses, and was oh so grateful that he seemed at ease with my touch. I was worried that his knowledge of my past would make him feel uneasy with me in an intimate setting. But he still had love in his eyes when he looked at me and responded to my kisses and caresses with his own, though I was sure it must have been on his mind somewhere in there.
When he caught me staring at him intently, he asked, “What? What is it?”
“Nothing, I’m just making sure you are okay,” I assured him. “You’re beautiful.”
He blushed, but then got serious. “Are you using your magic on me, Amber?” he asked.
“Yes,” I admitted. “I’m just making sure the trauma to your brain is really gone.”
It was the third time I had checked since we arrived home. I just had to be sure the healing took and would hold.
“I’m still not really comfortable with that. Are you sure it won’t hurt me?” I could tell he was a little worried about it.
“Kevin, it was the magic that healed you. The doctors couldn’t do anything for you. If it wasn’t for the magic you’d still be in the hospital and in a coma, but look at you now. This is what my magic can really do for people. This is why it’s so important to me.”
He looked at me and then nodded, deep in thought. “I had a feeling it was something like that, but I’m still a little unsure about it. But I really am grateful for it, I guess. It’s just gonna take some getting used to. And I still don’t want you to use it when you don’t have to. Just for important things like this, okay?”
“Okay, I’ll keep it in check while you are around, but will have to keep training with it to get better at it and do more good.”
“I’m still just blown away that it can do so much,” he said shaking his head. “I mean, changing you from… another person that was so different, and then you healed me from such a terrible accident. It’s so unreal.”
I bit my lip at his comment, wondering if I should tell him the truth about who had healed him. I had promised him that I would not keep any more secrets, after all. But I decided that he didn’t need to know right away. He had enough going on at the moment. So I simply kissed him gently and held him as we settled in for the night.
It seemed like I had spent quite a bit of time over the past several days mentally preparing myself for difficult conversations. And there I was again, standing outside his door psyching myself up for another one. But I was ready for that one. I only had one emotional hurdle to surmount and one goal in mind. And I would let nothing stop me.
Julie had unlocked it for me several seconds ago, but I still found it difficult to turn the handle. When at last I entered, I found Mr. Calvin waiting for me. He rose from his desk, and I could immediately tell he had not recovered well from the battle with the archons. His appearance and body were restored for the most part, largely through archonic healing, but I knew him well enough to discern that beneath the surface, he was still in pain and darkly tainted with their foul mark.
It was immediately apparent from his demeanor that Visnau was purged from him, and he was filled with Jornell instead. He seemed forlorn and despondent, despite the slight smile that stretched across his face from the sight of me. Looking closer, I could see the faint violet light within him.
“Welcome, Amber” he said resignedly.
“You look like hell,” I said almost before thinking, yet trying not to sound too harsh. “Are you sure you are okay?”
He managed a small chuckle. “Well enough. Enough to keep Wu Lok and Jornell contained for now.”
“And Visnau is really gone?” I asked hopefully.
“Yes, Wu Lok consumed his essence in exchange for the knowledge and power necessary to heal your boyfriend. But it means Wu Lok has regained a considerable amount of his power. Not enough to escape me, but I will have to keep a close eye on him.”
“And you cannot use him,” I cautioned. “You know that, right? No matter how much you may need him. He’s far too dangerous.”
He nodded. “Yes, it is regrettable, but his mana would drive anyone insane. I am limited to Jornell now, though it is difficult working with violet mana alone.” He shook his head, clearing his thoughts. “You look well, girl. I’m glad you came.”
“You know why I am here.”
He frowned. “I had hoped you would spend some time. It has been a while, and you came a long way.” He moved to his bar and poured us both scotch. “For old times,” he prompted.
“They were not good times for me,” I said.
“Some were,” he insisted. “You enjoyed our talks of the archons. I may have found another.”
“Oh?” I asked. I was prepared to rebuff him, but I had to admit that final statement interested me. Though I hoped he wasn’t talking about Teijurzi.
He moved to his desk and opened a file. “His name is Duarte Ennes, a recluse Brazilian with a veritable fortress in the Imeri mountain range. Unfortunately, gaining information about him is quite difficult.”
We spent about an hour talking about his new discovery, and eventually I broke down, and we discussed what had happened in our lives since my departure from the house. I wisely kept any information about Teijurzi and Liam from him, and he seemed satisfied that I was happy in my new life.
He had apparently spent most of his time rebuilding the house, finding a new personal assistant, and constructing new prisons for the archons. Fortunately, he had planned ahead and built emergency containment cells for them in the basement. But finally, I decided it was time for me to leave.
“I have to be going now, Donald. It is time for you to restore my womb.”
He nodded cordially, but said, “You will have to release me from my bound oath. Otherwise, I cannot perform the task.”
But I shook my head. “I thought of that, but no. Use your mana to show me how to do it, and I’ll work the magic. I kept some of Wu Lok's mana when I left the house and have some still.”
The look of shock on his face was priceless, but he quickly recovered and nodded. “Very well.”
He placed his hand on my belly, and I felt the violet energy rush into me, though it could not truly touch me. That was until I used my own green mana to seize it and manipulate it, allowing it to penetrate me. Mr. Calvin let more of Jornell flow into me and directed it to my uterus where I felt it push upon my green mana. I molded my own mana to its flow so that I could mimic its healing efforts upon my womb. Besides restoring my fertility, it was an extremely informative learning experience – my first complex, higher healing task.
When it was done, and he pulled his hand away, I thanked him for honoring his promise to me.
“Remember your part of the deal,” he reminded me. “When he is gone, I want you to come see me. I expect those meetings will go much like today. It didn’t seem an unpleasant experience for you.”
“No,” I had to agree, “but you have to excuse me for hoping that day will be far, far into the future.”
“Of course,” he replied, but I was sure he didn’t mean it.
As I was leaving, a thought occurred to me, and I had to pause for a few seconds to consider if I should make him an offer. Finally, I decided it was the right thing to do.
“If you have trouble containing the archons, you can call me for help. But only for that,” I told him.
He merely nodded.
“You can reach me through Sarah,” I informed him, but I was sure a man of his resources surely already knew that. I was sure he had half a dozen ways to contact if he really wanted to, but no way to come after me.
I left the room with a hand on my belly and already planning for the future, a small smile gracing my face.
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