Hey Fellow Writers,
I thought that in honor of Valentine’s Day, I would upload the final chapters of my book. I am currently editing, so these chapters are super rough and raw because, they haven’t been edited yet. However, I am not one the kind of writer who waits until their work is perfect to share. Yes, it’s wordy and there are probably major grammatical errors, but I’m gonna share it anyway because, a work in progress will always be a work in progress to the author who wrote the words long after it is published. So, happy Valentine’s Day!
Dane and I went exploring through all of the rooms in the suite, and we learned rather quickly that, nothing was quite as it seemed in this place. For instance, all the rooms were not rooms in the traditional sense of the word; we had our honeymoon suite and there was a kitchen, but all the other rooms; seemed to be exotic portals to other worlds in the galaxy. Now, we understood just what the Star Breather meant by; this place holding all of our wants and needs—and He could have easily added our dreams and desires. We were currently in a world far beyond our honeymoon suite, a world that possessed all the cold dimness of the moon; with the sky still holding onto some vague brush strokes of the sun, almost like dawn or dusk—the sun and moon were holding each other—neither form of illumination; completely giving up its light for the other one to take dominance. This world was complete paradise.
The beach was unlike any that I had ever seen before, the waters were aquamarine and full of moon crystals—golden sun dust also filled the waters. There was no one around for miles and miles; so, Dane and I swam until our hearts were content—with the ethereal cloak of moon light covering us. The water was the perfect temperature, as we held each other close; letting the waves beat against us.
“What are you thinking, right now?” He whispered, as he enveloped me in his strong embrace. I could feel his sculpted muscle against me, and I wrapped my arms around his broad shoulders so that I could melt against him, and feel the strong beat of his heart against mine.
“Do you not know, my lord, can you not read it in the windows to my soul?” I smiled, and he chortled softly letting his lips caress mine.
“Yes, I suppose that I could; but I would much rather hear you speak it to me, love. I do so yearn to hear you speak, gift me the words of your mouth.” He looked deeply into my eyes; the blue was dazzling as star light shot across their passionate sapphire brilliance.
One of my brother Allius’s poems immediately came to mind; it was perfect to describe this moment. So, I decided to recite it for my dear sweet husband; it had been many sun lightings since Allius had recited it to me, but I could quote every word in my sleep. I so, loved his lovely words, and my heart ached because I would never again hear him recite them; at least, not on this side of the Celestial Kingdom. I put my lips gently to his ears, and began reciting.
“Woe viscous hate, oh burning love. Orbs eclipse in the skies above. Ripping and tearing at each other, for dominance of the skies. Oh the tears of the Star Breather’s eyes. Sun melt into the glorious moon, moon into the glorious sun. In the bosom of love, may all hatred be undone. Both equally beautiful, both equally beloved. Cry no more boiling tears, scream no more glowing fears. Let love in, oh radiant sun glow into the dazzling moon.” When I was done, I could feel the tears spilling down my face; he brought my eyes back to his, and let the pad of his thumb caress against my cheek.
“I have never heard that, where did you get it?” Tears filled his eyes too.
“Allius.” I breathed his name out in pain. “He once had love in his heart for a moon maiden, but the love was silenced; she chose to honor her Mandatory Nuptial Contract to a man of the moon—it broke Allius, he never stopped loving her.” I buried my face in his stone chest to hide my soft sobs, but he took my face in his hands once again.
“That will never be us, my love, never. I will fight to keep you, you will never belong to Barongard, that is my solemn vow.” He let his lips lightly fall on mine. “I am strong enough to bear a lot of things, but this love lost; is too much for me to bear.” He placed his forehead to mine, and I have tried time and time again to explain what happened next, but words still failed me. I saw our destinies entwined, and the vision was not one of happily ever after; it was one of doom and destruction. My Destiny Sight had never come on so violently before.
We only broke the union of our hands for a moment, and then everything plunged into utter darkness. People, of both the sun and the moon were dying all around us; swallowed whole by the Dark Force and a barrage of his dark escorts. The Dark Force rode toward me on his opaque steed, the steed looked at me with the very fires of the Netherworld present in its eyes; and as Dane fought against the dark escorts valiantly—the Dark Force took me up on his steed, and I was gone. All I heard ringing in my ears, was the anguished cry of pain from my beloved’s lips.
Unfortunately, this was not the end of the horrible vision; Dane came all the way to the Netherworld, and he stormed the gates; in an attempt to take me from the clutches of the Dark Force. When he was there, he unsheathed his sword and engaged the Dark Force in all of his bravery, and just when I thought that Dane would win the fight—the Dark Force took his burnt black sword and plunged it right into Dane’s heart. I could feel him dying, I pulled against the iron chains that had me bound, but they refused to give way. The Dark Force looked at me—with pure evil in his eyes, and spoke in a demonic whisper.
“Your puny love is not strong enough to defeat me.” And then his lips turned up into a malicious smirk, as he brought the sword—stained with Dane’s blood—to his mouth, and begin to let his tongue caress the sword; savoring the taste of my lover’s blood.
Dane had completely stopped struggling against death, and he lay on the ground completely still; I screamed out in pain and the Dark Force threw back his head, and laughed hilariously at our calamity.
With the vision’s end, I fought against my body’s desire to collapse against the horror, that it had just witnessed; but Dane held me steadfast in his arms. When I looked into his horror filled eyes; I knew that he had been gazing into the depths of my soul, and had seen his own destiny in my visions. Maybe, he would let me go, now. Maybe this would give both of us the courage that we needed to just walk away. I knew that he could not possibly want me now. Our love was bitter gall that was never meant to be consumed. I pushed against Dane, as the dark vision fully melted away. Nevertheless, he foolishly struggled to hold onto what he should have so easily let go.
“Solarias, please do not do this to me, I need you.” There was a soft cry in his voice, as he lulled softly into my ear.
His resolve to keep me, made me furious; how could he still love me when he had seen perfectly well that I was his doom?
“I will cause your death, Dane, you have seen it. Why can you not accept that we can never be together?” My eyes pierced his. “I am your doom, walk away; pretend that you never met me. Marry Brynyana as your contract dictates, live.” I pleaded.
“I cannot.” My words were breaking him. “Not when there is still hope.” He rested his forehead gently against mine.
“What hope was there in my vision, you saw your demise. There is no hope.” I shouted with tears in my eyes.
“Your Destiny Sight is not 100% certain, your visions pour from a glass darkly; they do not take into account the specks of illumination, the hope that still exists in the situation. They only reveal half the story, my love.”
I succeeded at breaking away from him, and I just looked at the disgusting hope that was present in his tranquil blue eyes.
“I am poison to you, and I will separate myself from you; if that will save your life.” I held up my hands as he tried to approach, and he stopped where he stood. “Your death is not worth our love.” I closed my eyes against the pain of those words; I did not even hear his steps in the water—as he closed the space between us—I just felt myself gently enveloped in his embrace once again.
“You underestimate just how deeply, I am tied to you.” He brought my eyes to his, and smiled. “We must be together, you heard the words of the Star Breather; our union cannot be undone without destroying both of our worlds. Our destiny, whatever it may be; is bigger than the both of us.” He brushed the pad of his thumb against my cheek. “If you sever your heart from mine, the Dark Force would not have a chance to murder me, because you would have done the job for him.”
I could not help myself, gentle sobs tore through my body at his words; and I buried my face in his stone chest. He swayed me back and forth in his arms, saying nothing. His silent strength was soothing.
“Why must our love always accompany such pain?” I whispered through broken sobs, holding onto him for dear life.
When he brought my eyes back to his, his blue eyes were illuminated by the brightness of his smile.
“Funny,” He lulled softly. “All I see is the pleasure.” And then his lips gently danced with mine; making me forget the reason why I started sobbing in the first place. I broke myself away, so that I could clear my head, but he grabbed me to him again and kissed me breathless.
I had to be sensible, but how could I be; when his mint flavored tongue was decorating my mouth delicately. I had to be witty, but how could I when the gentle caresses of his hands were stealing all of my wit from me. I had to have the courage to leave his side, and never return, but how could I when all I wanted to be was by his side. His strong heartbeat drummed with mine, we were much too woven into each other to separate; far too tangled to untie—this love was much too deep to deny. We belonged to each other, destiny and doom. There was nothing either of us could do.
Back in our bed, we lay interwoven in each other; soft moon glow mixed with sunlight illuminated the room, almost like it was ablaze with candlelight but with the collective sweet scent of our passions combined—we did not require the dulcet aroma of scented candles to permeate the room. Dane mindlessly strummed my backbone—trying to catch his breath—while I rested against his perfectly sculpted chest; trying to get my heartbeat to slow. I giggled softly, and he brought my eyes to his with a smile.
“What is going on in that intoxicating mind of yours, my queen?” He spoke the words through labored breath.
“Are we so foolish that our love blinds us to anything else?” I let my fingers trace the perfect planes of his chest.
“One can only hope.” He softly traced my lips with his fingertip, before gingerly placing a kiss there.
“Should not a person require their wits, even when love is involved?” I could feel my face scrunch with my inquiry, and Dane let out an uproarious laugh.
“Absolutely not, my beautiful sun maiden; too many wits only serve one purpose, and that is to drown out passion.” He sat up then, and brought me deeper into his side. “Grant it, wits do serve their purpose; I suppose I would not have fallen in love with you if you were not as witty as you are, but I have seen what too many wits do to passion. In our worlds, our people have designed Mandatory Nuptial Contracts, to pick suitable mates, and look where that has gotten us. Look at our parents’ marriages for example, would you say that they loved each other?”
“In their way, yes, I would.” The adamant nature of my voice only made him smile.
“In their way,” The words were like acid in his mouth. “There is only one way to love Solarias, and that is with everything within you.” His eyes drank mine in. “Our parents knew no other way to love, so they clung to what their traditions told them love was. Their brand of love, was only merely one of convenience; whether or not my spouse is suitable or appropriate enough for the throne, but they have never felt what we have felt. They have never felt breathless in each other’s arms, or ache when they are apart, or experience rapturous joy when they are together. Their love was lawfully thrust upon them. We chose each other, we listened to the Star Breather’s beckoning to our hearts; they ignored it; thus forfeiting any chance at real love. I would not for all the world, choose a love of wits.” His countenance twisted in disgust.
“When did you choose me Dane; when did you know that I would be your wife?” I wanted to know when the Star Breather had called to his heart, was it the same time that He had called to mine.
He looked at me with great depth, and smiled.
“Allius and I were playing some silly game in the Lighted Valley, you know the place where showers of the sun stream down at noonday,” I nodded my head in concurrence. “And I will never forget when a beautiful ray of sunshine came barreling into the middle of the valley—lighting it even brighter with her radiance. The many hues of the sun, bounced off the golden specks of sun dust embedded in your skin,” He caressed his fingers against my forearm as he reminisced. “And I was completely in awe, my heart was gone from that very moment; stolen by some little maiden of the sun.” His dimples grew deep in his cheeks, as his smile struck his eyes a rich sapphire. “I felt a tugging in my heart, like I had never felt before; I knew then that no Mandatory Nuptial Contract would ever bring happiness or love to my life. I knew after laying my eyes on the most perfect creature in any galaxy that, I had to have you. No tradition or edict would choose my wife for me; I had no other choice but to listen to the nagging ache in my heart.”
“But I was a complete mess that day, curls everywhere; gown torn and dirty,” He placed a kiss on my neck gently, ignoring all of my words. “And then there was the horrid way that, I spoke to my big brother.” His eyes were fixed on mine, and then he smiled as if all the words that I had just spoken were irrelevant.
“You were such a beautiful mess.” And then he gently lay me down again, and looked down at me passionately. “I want to tell them, I want all of them to know that you are mine.”
“Dane,” I wove my fingers into his hair, as he decorated my neck with kisses making me forget all of my thoughts. “We could cause trouble, we must not do it until the time is right.”
“I want you to take your place beside me on the throne of Luniris.” I gasped at his words, he was talking sheer insanity; there was no way that the people of Luniris would ever accept me as their queen.
I pushed him away, and he looked at me sobering from his passions.
“What is it?” He asked with his worried expression, answering my horrified one.
“Dane, your people will never allow you to coronate me as your queen; there are still laws of your land, as well as mine. We knew that this marriage would be difficult, we knew that it would be impossible; we knew that it would not be acknowledged under the law. How could you even suggest such a thing? We could both be executed for treason, as it is, but to make our marriage public. You would be signing both of our death scrolls.” I could feel myself plunging into panic.
But as always, Dane’s demeanor was unmoved from its carefree state; for him to be so calm was maddening.
“What the Star Breather has joined together, let no man put asunder; you are correct when you say that our marriage is not lawful to our people, but our people did not join us—the Star Breather Himself has joined us.” He smoothed the pad of his thumb against my cheek. “They could not break that with a thousand edicts.”
“But that does not mean that, they will not try; my heart. You know how fiercely they hate each other; they will never let us be together without retribution. We would be their excuse to continue their war.”
He ignored my warnings of peril and took me into his arms again, and gently caressed my womb.
“If we were to produce an heir,” He pumped his eyebrows seductively, and smiled; I was completely mortified. “They could not contest the viability of our marriage; younglings have a way of ending the bitterest of wars.
“Or make them worse,” I gasped. “Danolian Fwynshool Hiyanartay,” I rarely used his given name, and this sobered him a little. “We could never bring a youngling in the middle of this, they would fight to destroy our seed, and you know it.”
“Not as long as I draw breath,” His words were menacing. “Solarias, if we cannot tell them of our union; why did we get married in the first place. I did not make you my wife just to keep you hidden, I made you my wife because I could not bear to be without you any longer. Bedding you every once in awhile is not a marriage, a whore could give me physical connection; I want more than that. I want us.” He entwined his fingers with mine. “I want younglings, a complete home; I have never had that. I have always had a house, but never a home; I have had people that share my same blood, but never family; I have had some form of affection, but never real love.” He ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. “I want a life together.” He lulled in a broken whisper.
How could I deny him what he asked? All I wanted to do was keep us both safe, but this love had never been safe; we both knew that from the start. In fact, the Star Breather had made us understand that when He married us. This marriage would be harder to keep together than all others, because it went against our traditional laws, but for this man I would break all of our laws. All the things that, he said that he had just been missing were all the things that I had been missing as well. We both were the square pegs in our family, because we were not meant for our families; we did not fit into them—the only place we truly fit was with each other.
I cupped his face in my hands; both of his jaws were tensed.
“I want to make a life with you too.” I sighed deeply when he embraced me tightly. “As soon as the Star Breather wakes up our families, we shall tell them of our nuptials, and whatever will come will come.” I steeled myself against all other emotions that threatened to rip apart my courage; now was not the time for fear. It was time for me to put my love on the line, to feel the passion was not enough; it was time to act on.
THE MOON KING
I could feel her heartbeat against me, sure and courageous as we both slept; I could hear her breathing—feel her warm breath against my neck. And that is when I heard His voice call to me, it refused to let my soul rest. Could she hear Him too, feel His pull, His beckoning? If she did, she gave no indication; as she gently exhaled and inhaled—deep within the land of her own dreams. Nevertheless, the voice called to me; it stirred in my spirit, awakened my heart, moved violently within the depths of my soul; I could not sleep restfully, there was no peace. So, I gently, placed my beloved on the pillow and lightly hurried from the bed. One of the doors, to one of the rooms swung open; one that Solarias and I had not yet visited. I looked back at Solarias only briefly, and she stirred slightly and fell back into tranquil slumber.
I smiled, and the voice became more insistent. So, I focused my attention on the open room door once again. The room at first glance appeared black as pitch, until I approached and then a bright light spilled forth from it. When I stepped inside; the door slammed behind me. I saw nothing, from the brightness of the light; I closed my eyes quickly—fearing that the great light would burn a hole clean through my retinas. That is when the floor beneath me disappeared, and then I started to fall at speeds that should have ripped my entire body asunder; I had no idea how long the fall would last—it seemed that I had been falling for an eternity through utter blackness, when I finally landed, but I did not fall on a solid surface; it was more like falling on a gathering of pillows. I stood to my feet immediately, and I was ready for anything; even though I had no weapon—I had prepared myself to fight until I could fight no more. The blood of the warrior pumped through my veins, awakening the spirit of the lion in me. I relished this feeling, it made me feel alive in ways that Solarias could not, and I could not explain how much I needed this feeling to revive me sometimes; how much I needed to feel like a warrior.
Suddenly, I found myself out of the blackness; my eyes adjusted to the dimly light room, and I saw nothing for what seemed like miles and miles. While the pitch had gone away—drowned out by the light—I still felt as if I were in a lighted void of nothingness. What was this place, and why had the enigmatic voice beckoned me here.
“Hello,” I shouted into the chasm. “Where exactly am I? Hello. Is anyone there?”
“Come to me.” The voice thundered through my spirit, and I could feel my feet propel forward, but to where exactly I do not know.
I walked until my bare feet were sore. Where was I going? This had to be a dream, a very detailed dream. I could feel the rising flames of my ire, as I became more and more annoyed.
“Listen to me, I am King of Luniris and I demand to know what is going on here,” I shouted into deaf ears, and still the voice did not respond. “Where am I going, I do not appreciate being made a fool of.” I demanded, and still nothing.
That is when I saw it; I had been walking all this way toward another door.
“Is this some kind of joke?” I folded my arms about my chest, and refused to turn the knob to go inside, but it would seem that I had no choice, because the door opened and I was pushed inside—by an invisible force—without a word.
The force was so strong that, it pushed me over face forward on the ground; when I collected myself from the ground and looked back toward the direction of the door—I found that it was not there anymore. However, I no longer wanted to leave; the beauty of the place intrigued me—it was so lush and green, and had the tallest fruit trees that I had ever seen. In fact, the fruit was so ripe that, I could taste its juicy sweetness on my tongue. Everything was so vibrant and alive, the sky held the exact same blue as my eyes and there was not a cloud present in it. The mountains in the far distance; were ablaze with what looked like fire, but the fire seemed to be trapped on the tops of the mountain—the blaze ventured nowhere else. All of my attention was held captive by the fiery mountain, until I heard the most beautiful birdsong, but not like the native birds of lands that I had travelled before; these birds sang new songs that I had never heard.
I was captivated by the bright red markings that, each of the birds carried on their bodies; no matter what other colors that their feathers possessed—all of them bore the same red markings. And as if this were not odd enough, the birds began to gather just above my head; so many of them until the blue of the sky was blotted out by the swarm of birds. I tried to evade them, but they swooped down toward me, and all of them attached themselves to a piece of my clothing; before I knew it my feet were up off the guard, and the birds were flying with me—wherever the enigmatic voice had directed them to take me. I no longer struggled against their flight, because I did not want to be dropped back down to the ground. So, I had no other choice but to enjoy the wind carelessly blowing against me.
The eerie flight did not take long, before I knew it; the birds had come to a complete stop over the flaming mountains. Surely, the birds had no intention of dropping me here; I would be burned alive.
“You cannot be serious.” I yelled at the birds. “Fly on, you cannot possibly be considering dropping me in the flames.”
But before I knew it, I felt the birds letting me go one by one; and then I began to descend downward—faster than a sinking stone—to meet my fiery death. I closed my eyes, but when I hit the flaming mountain; I did not even smell the smell of searing flesh. I slowly opened my eyes, and while the flames were surrounding me; I was not engulfed in them, I was not even being burned. What was going on here, it certainly was real fire; because I could feel the heat, but the flames just were not effecting me as real fire should.
“You are on Holy ground, young king,” And when His soothing voice touched the ears of the mountain; the flames were immediately drawn into His body and extinguished. “I apologize for the flame, but the impurities within you; needed to be burned out before I share the gifts with you.”
He was different than I had seen Him before; for one thing, He looked taller and greater in body mass, and for another the curls of His dark hair had become pure white like snow, and were wild and unruly—not tame and coifed as I had seen them previously; His amber eyes were now blazing with the fire that He had just consumed, and His feet were like burnt brass. All of His splendor and awesomeness nearly drew all the life out of me. I could not speak, words just refused to form in my mouth.
“Come now, my young king; you know me well. I am still the Star Breather; it is just that I have decided to reveal myself to you in my glorified form.” His laughter was like many babbling brooks.
I fell to my knees, not being able to handle all the weight of His glory. He came to me, and placed His hand gently on my shoulder; the heat from His hand burned straight into my soul.
“Arise, my son; so that I may bless you with your gifts.” The light in His face was like a million suns, shining in all of their brilliance. I knew that I would never be the same again; I could feel the weight of His presence changing me from the inside out. I could feel the power coursing from Him to me, and I was slightly weakened by it; but despite this, my legs gained great strength and I stood—a little wobbly at first—but I eventually found confidence in my stance.
“Why me, Sire, I am not worthy of any of your gifts,” I had to let my eyes rest from staring into his brilliant face. “I am just an ordinary man, I was not even meant to be king.”
“You were meant to be king, young one; it was your destiny,” He coaxed my eyes to His. “The softness of your heart, is what makes you king; it has very little to do with how you wear power, it is more about how you wear grace and mercy. I have watched you from your youth, and I have always seen greatness in you; a greatness that is often hidden from others. You are great now, young king, but I shall make you mighty.” He smiled then, the crinkles around His ageless eyes responding to His mirth.
He held in his hands seven stars fragments, and they were more beautiful than I had ever seen; the light of the small balls of light were radiant and blinding, but at the same time they were as clear as glass.
“My essence and power is in these star fragments, young king; and now I shall pass all that I am onto you. My power is your power, my strength is your strength, my authority is your authority, my righteousness is your righteousness. If you so choose to accept it; it shall be yours.”
“I shall accept it, with honor; my Sovereign.” I bowed my head, and the Star Breather burned the star fragments into my right arm; I felt a slight scorching sensation on my skin, and when I looked at my right arm—the seven stars were in a circle seared into my flesh; spilling their power into my entire being.
“Now stand back, and be amazed; young sire.” He smiled, and when I stepped away from Him; the Star Breather opened His mouth wider than I had ever seen a being open their mouth, and out of His mouth came two swords. Both were breathtakingly beautiful, and lethal; they would put Leonus’ sword to shame. “Pick them up, young king; they belong to you and your lady. They are the weapons of my warfare, and I am entrusting them to both of you. Use them well, guard them with your lives; for in the wrong hands they have the potential to be dangerous.”
Standing in His presence, I had forgotten all about Solarias; I wondered whether or not she was still sleeping.
“She still sleeps, my king.” He smiled, reading my thoughts. “You must return to her, she will be awake soon; and I am planning on waking up your families momentarily, so both of you must make ready—the honeymoon has come to an end.” His voice was a calming river.
“How long has it been, my Lord; I know that you do not work on time such as we do. So, I need to know; how long have Solarias and I been in the suite?” My curiosity seemed to run wild in His presence, because He was such a mystery.
“It has seemed but a phase of the moon, has it not?” He smiled.
“Yes.” I concurred.
“Well, it has been ten phases of the moon.”
“Ten?” I was astonished that we had been together that long.
The Star Breather laughed, and nodded his assent.
“You and your lady will need great power to face your families, with the news of your nuptials. So, I implore you; to pass my essence along to your lady, fill her with power such as I have given you. Prepare yourselves for all the obstacles and trials that are to come.” He placed His hand gently on my shoulder, like a beloved father. “Love her such as I have loved you, and be ever ready to give your life for hers. If you are able to promise me this, then nothing can break you or your lady.”
“I promise you, from the depths of my heart; that I will love her.” I shuddered at the truth that I had spoken, because I knew for certain that I would give my life for Solarias without question.
“Now, go, the time has come.”
“But how do I…” And before I could ask, how to descend the mountain; I was back in my honeymoon suite, holding the two swords in my hand. The Star Breather’s words echoed in my spirit.
“Be prepared, be vigilant, be sober; for your Enemy lurks.” His voice spoke on the winds of my soul.
I took His words to heart, and gently sat the swords on the table; then I walked over to our marriage bed where Solarias was still sound asleep. I lay down next to her, and placed a kiss on her bare shoulder; and when I had done this, her beautiful caramel eyes opened and she smiled. She sat straight up, astonished by my presence; being in the Star Breather’s company must have altered my appearance somehow.
“My king, why does your face glow so brightly; it is almost blinding?” She cupped my face in her hands, as if she were surveying me; then almost as if a hidden knowledge had been revealed to her—she gasped. “You have been with Him, what has He spoken to you?”
“Many things.” I smiled into her amazed eyes. “And I will share them all with you, but first; I must fill you with His essence as He has filled me.” I took her hands in mine, and eclipsed my mouth over hers; it was amazing how she never asked any questions—she just received all of it with her childlike faith. And I gently blew the Star Breather’s essence into her lungs, I could tell when I was finished, because now we both held the glow of the Star Breather upon our faces. She tried to catch her breath; when I had finished. “Are you alright, love?” I smoothed the pad of my thumb against her cheek.
She touched her hand to mine, and smiled with her flaming eyes.
“Yes, I am better than alright.”
“Good.” And then I jumped off of the bed in a flash. “Because we have no time to waste, the Star Breather is planning to wake our families; here, take this,” I tossed one of the Star Breather’s swords over to her, and she caught it without hesitation. “Another gift from the Star Breather.”
She admired the sword in awe.
“It is quite exquisite, even more beautiful than Leonus’s.” She ran her fingers carefully along the golden blade.
I approached her again, and let my fingertips caress her cheek softly.
“We must protect the swords with our lives, love. If they were to ever get into the wrong hands; they could be dangerous.” I cautioned, and she nodded her understanding.
“I am ready, to face our families, and our people.” She jumped out of the bed, ready for anything; as she held her sword in hand she was a fiercer warrior than I could ever hope to be.
I approached her, and embraced her with my one free arm; as I held my sword in the other. I let my eyes caress her beautiful face; she was my equal in every single way.
“I love you.” I breathed, and she smiled.
“And I you, my Moon King.” She gave me a tender kiss that, reached all the way down into my soul. It was not intensely passionate really; I had shared those kisses with her before, it was one of submission, she was honoring my position in her life—honoring me as her husband, her protector, her warrior, her hero. And when I looked into her eyes again, tears were escaping down her face. I wiped them away with the pad of my thumb.
“What is it, love?” I whispered never breaking my gaze from hers.
“I honor all that you are to me, my King,” She put her sword down on the bed, and did the same with mine; and I immediately took her into my full embrace—speechless and amazed at the words that she had just spoken. “I give you my heart and my life, to protect and to hold; I submit and commit myself to you and your leading. By the Star Breather’s name, I will do all that I can to help you; I cannot imagine walking through this life at anyone else’s side.” Her cheeks colored crimson, and she took her eyes away from mine; at her words, a passion rose up in me like never before—I felt like a king and warrior all at once, and the feeling was inebriating. To have one so strong, relinquish her position to me was arousing. I struggled for breath as I brought her eyes back to mine.
“How could you yield so much trust to me? I am completely untested with your heart, my lady.” I smiled into her eyes, as she draped her arms around my shoulders and let her body melt against mine.
“You could not be more wrong, my lord; when you stood before all of our people and declared your love, no matter the consequences—you took my heart in your hand, and you can hold it forever.”
I could not help myself, she had to be kissed; and this time the kiss was intense, so intense that it sent a tremor through my entire being. I could actually feel her soul dance with mine, and for the first time in my life—I knew I was home. When we had wearied of the kiss, I placed my forehead upon hers.
“I will hold your heart, my lady, ever so carefully. And it is my solemn vow that, it shall never be shattered in my grasp.” I looked into her eyes with a smile, and rested my chin on top of her head. “Shall we go, and face the rest of the world?”
“We shall.” She tilted her head up to look into my eyes, and smiled; I grew stronger at the complete trust that I read in her soul language. I was completely captivated by her faith in me.
I would be the man that she believed me to be, or die trying.
All of our kingdoms were gathered in the Star Breather’s grand dining hall; where they had assumed that, they had just enjoyed a wonderful dinner, while in truth their dinner had actually been several moon phases ago—Solarias and I were the only two abreast to this fact. My heart beat a little faster when we were about to step over the threshold to reveal ourselves, hand in hand. I pulled her back to me with gentle force, and she smiled and wrapped her arms around my shoulders; as all the noise from the dining hall wafted out to us.
“Together?” I wanted to confirm that she was ready for this.
She lightly brushed my lips with her own.
“Together.” She confirmed.
And then she loosened herself from my grasp, and wrapped her arms around mine—she gave my bicep a gentle squeeze of encouragement that propelled my feet forward. We were not even looking at them; we were far too preoccupied with looking into each other’s eyes—we did not even realize that the entire room had become completely devoid of chatter at our entrance. A wall of hateful soul language made my entire being quake.
When we finally looked at them, all I saw was a room full of people with twisted countenances—none were friend to our entwining.
“What is the meaning of this?” Leonus thundered, as he stood up from his chair knocking it backward.
I felt Solarias shudder against me with fear, and this brought my anger to the surface; I wrapped my arm around her in protection—pulling her closer to me.
“She is my wife Leonus, there has been no impropriety here; I have acted out my feelings in a gentlemanly manner, I love her,” I elevated my voice passionately, and the whole room gasped at my confession. “Therefore, I have done what my heart has compelled me to do.”
“And what was that exactly, to treat my naïve baby sister like a whore? You forget little king; you needed my permission to wed her. I have signed no agreement with you, you have paid no bride price, and you are not her betrothed. How do you think that your nuptials are even legal? I do not recognize them, and never shall; you have made yourself no more than a thief and the last time I checked, my laws give me grounds to execute you for your thievery.”
“I do not need your permission to act out the intentions of my heart Leonus.” I shot back, I could feel myself losing control; I had to fight hard to keep my composure, after all he was still my brother-in-law whether or not his hatred would allow him to admit it.
“Guards, seize the Moon King.” He commanded, and I drew my sword in response to his command. Everyone gasped at my having a weapon, because this was against the Star Breather’s rules for this particular celebration. There were some who were wishing that they too had brought weapons, I could see the visions of how the Solarians desired to kill me in their soul thoughts.
But before the sun guards could move, the Star Breather stood up from His throne; having been listening and watching the events unfold.
“All of the kingdoms will take their seats, and simmer down; I do not wish to tarnish this celebration of peace with war. Young Moon King, sheath your weapon.” I immediately did as the Star Breather bid. “I have married the two young ones, because their hearts ached to be joined together, and the union that I have bound together cannot be broken.” He looked to Leonus with narrowed eyes. “Not by a thousand edicts, Leonus. The young Sun Princess, shall be the Moon King’s queen; you might as well let the papers be drawn, because I have already ordained their nuptials and my word cannot be reversed.”
I heard whispers throughout the kingdoms, my mother and brother were shooting daggers at me with their eyes. And then Barongard stood up, slamming his hand against the mahogany table. I rolled my eyes at his emotional outburst.
“Sire, would you rob me of my right?” His eyes were shooting stars, as he addressed the Star Breather.
“Sit down, Barongard, and please do not attempt to convey emotions for the sun maiden that, you do not have. I see all, and I know that you have not been faithful to her; your affection for her goes no further than the power that her crown would have afforded you. You only wish to be elevated by her position at court, nothing more. You are a duke of the Lower Star Realms; if you do not take your seat right this minute, I shall strip you of that title as well.”
He sat down shame faced, and there were ripples of laughter throughout the hall; I tried to stifle my own.
“Leonus, will you show your people your heart as their king; sign the nuptial agreement between these two young ones, release your sister to the hands of the young Moon King so that he may protect and love her for all time.” The Star Breather’s tone was pleading, but this did not quelch Leonus’s hatred. “Bring peace among your lands, once again.”
“Never,” His words were acid. “Never will I release my sister, a maiden of the sun; into the hands of a dirty thief of the moon.” He looked directly at me, and let his words find their purchase in my heart. If he could have murdered me with his words, I would be lying on the floor covered in blood.
All of the men of the sun, beat their fists against the table in agreement with the hatred of their king; especially his two younger brothers, whom hung onto his every word. The beings of the moon kingdom began to hurl insults back at the people of the sun. I could feel Solarias sadness, and her sadness was my sadness.
“Silence,” The Star Breather beat His golden scepter against the floor, and the whole room quieted instantaneously. “I see that, there is no reasoning with you feuding kingdoms; so hear this, I have joined the Sun Princess to the Moon King in Holy matrimony and none can break that covenant. Whether you beings agree is irrelevant, they will stay bound in their union for all eternity and there is nothing that any of you can do about. So, I suggest that you find a way to deal with it. Or if not, your hatred will destroy you.” He sat back upon his throne, and all was still silent.
A mischievous glint hit my eye, and Solarias shook her head reading the mischief in me; she did not want me to provoke anyone further but I could not resist.
“Sire,” I addressed the Star Breather. “If I may, I would like some private time alone with my wife.” I glanced directly at Leonus, and Solarias’s other brothers; purposely provoking their ire.
“I grant your petition, young lord.” He extended His scepter to me, and I bowed.
“You black hearted fiend, you will pay for this Danolian; mock my words. You will pay.” He stood with warrior’s rage flashing in his eyes, as he stabbed his finger in my direction.
“Again with the threats, Leonus; we can go right now if you so wish.” I stretched out my arms for him to come and get me, when he made a move to do so the Star Breather stood up again.
“Enough!” His voice boomed. “Leonus take your seat, I do not want to have to humiliate you in front of your kingdom, and make you to sit.” Leonus marched back to his seat, with fumes seeping out of his ears, and then the Star Breather looked at me with narrowed eyes. “Young king, please learn to pick your battles; it is not wise to provoke a man so. Now, take your young bride and go.” He sighed deeply, and sat back down in his throne.
I entwined my fingers with Solarias’s and towed her out of the dining hall; the noises of lively chatter had began again—no doubt gossiping about Solarias and I, and our forbidden nuptials. Both of our kingdoms, and the Lower Star Realms would be talking about this for a great while. When we were out of the hall, Solarias snatched her hand from mine, and the cinnamon stirring of her ire was greatly apparent—she stabbed daggers into me with her eyes.
“What were you doing in there?” She shouted in a whisper so that, the kingdoms would not hear us arguing.
“Are you mad at me, really Solarias?” My ire was being stirred by hers.
“You could have showed a little more humility.” She walked away from me then, and I approached her and gingerly turned her to face me.
“Humility, to those racist bigots, we call family?” I drew her into me. “We are both equals, neither one more royal than the other; yet they act as if our color puts us on different sides.” I calmed my voice, and smoothed my hand against her cheek. “I am sorry, love, but they make me sick to my stomach with their behavior. Both kingdoms were created by the same Star Breather, as were the people in it; yet, we act as if we have a right to hate each other; when the very nature of the Star Breather is love.” I rested my forehead on hers, as the cinnamon essence of her ire dulled; which was a sign that her anger was waning. “I do not want to fight with you, my sun maiden; all I want to do is love you—without being told that it is wrong. They just make me so crazy sometimes.”
I felt her pull herself closer to me, and she cupped my face in her hands.
“Shushia tayo.” The dulcet fragrance of her cinnamon was one of passion now, and I was astounded at my understanding of her words in the sun language; she told me to make love to her.
“Kilatahi mhidraya tana.” I lulled softly in her, if that is your wish; hearing the words in the depths of my soul, we were so connected now that we could speak in any language that we wanted to, and understand it fully.
I kissed her then, a kiss so passionate that it had the power to rock all of the planets in the universe; I was drunk on the sweetness of her. Nevertheless, it might not have been best for me to take her in the hallway; somewhere more private was in order. I broke our kiss and smiled.
“Gija.” I spoke in my own tongue, through labored breath; I told her to come.
“En hidyai.” She responded; with the words: you lead in the language of the moon, as she wove her fingers through my hair.
I entwined my fingers with hers, and took off running; she followed close behind.
The day of my coronation had finally arrived, and all of Luniris was abuzz with it. For the most part, the beings of this kingdom hated me, and wanted to see me fall flat on my face. All of them had expected Brynyana to be crowned queen, and if I was being completely honest with myself; I thought that she looked a lot more equipped than me to rule the beings of Luniris. She and Dane were two halves of the same coin; I on the other hand was the colored stocking in a chest full of dull plain ones—how I long to be a dull plain stocking, so that I could blend into the crowd—right now I stuck out like a sore thumb. If I did not feel as if I fit into the royal family in Solarian, I certainly did not feel like I fit in here. How could I possibly; when everyone here had porcelain skin, and mine bore the coloring of honey.
And another pain in my heart, was the fact that, my family or any other member of the Solarian kingdom would venture over for the ceremony. My brother—the Solarians’s king—had condemned it, thus it was marked for doom and none of the beings dared to touch it. The only individual of my kingdom that; would not leave my side was my faithful lady in waiting, Baylin. She would stay with me no matter where I roamed, just as she had from my birth. It was heartbreaking that, my own mother; the woman that actually gave birth to me—refused to utter my name anymore. In her eyes, it was as if I had never been born.
“Mistress, you must let me know if this hurts you any.” Her voice was like the clanging of temple bells, as she blew her breath on the hot comb that she held; so that she and Baylin could take turns ironing out my hair.
Eloin, was one of the servants in the palace, and one of the only beings of Luniris that would address me or look me in the face. She had long shining auburn hair that, blazed like fire and she always wore it in a loose braid that travelled down past her waist; her eyes were a pale green—not emerald like Barongard’s—nonetheless they were full of kindness, even if they lacked vibrancy; she was a slight maiden, and looked to be many sun lightings younger than me. She was also small in stature, but she had more strength than individuals gave her credit for.
“I shall Eloin.” I tried to smile as I sat looking at myself in the mirror; I wanted to cry, I wanted to run. I missed my cottage; so quiet, so unassuming, so free of any expectation. How had I gotten here? And then his face flashed across my memory; the flawless face of my Moon King, who had pledged his life to me, and risked giving up his throne, just to have me seated at his side. If I could just look into his eyes tonight; and his eyes only, I would be just fine. If I could only hang onto his words of love; I would be able to withstand anything. I was going through all these torturous beauty rituals just for him, I would have been far more satisfied in one of my leisure gowns, with my hair braided in my usual one braid going down my back—to keep my unruly curls tame. Nevertheless, here I was allowing these women to practically burn my hair out of my scalp; in order to achieve the look of the moon maidens.
I had even let them put powder on my face, in hopes of lightening my skin a little; so that its tawny hue would not offend. He deserved to get some of his dignity back, and I was not going to be selfish enough to deny him that. If had to go through a million beauty rituals to make that happen; I would without delay.
“You flinched a little, my queen, are you alright?” Her round eyes, held worry as the hot comb shook in her hands. I had not even realized that I had flinched when the heat of the comb hit my neck; I had my feelings and emotions turned off, I was trying to numb myself in preparation for the events ahead.
Before I could speak, Baylin took the hot comb out of her hands and commenced to finishing the job herself.
“Eloin, she is fine, my darling. Why do you not go to the wardrobe, and prepare your lady’s gown for the evening? I shall finish up here.” Baylin smiled as the little siren flitted over to the wardrobe, and when the maiden was out of earshot; she commenced to talking about her. I had no other choice, but to smile at Baylin’s backbiting ways. Her gift to be as sweet as moon fern fruit to your face; and as poisonous as a sun dart behind your back was astounding.
“By the Star Breather’s name, could that youngling be anymore incompetent?” She combed the hot comb through my hair without mercy, and put it back atop the blazing hot stone of the fire place.
“Baylin, she is trying; you cannot blame her if she is not accustomed to our barbaric rituals.” I smirked to myself.
“Barbaric ritual, my lady, please do not be so dramatic; you know that we have to straighten every strand or it will all be for naught.” She took the hot comb from the hot stone, and mercilessly pulled through my wild curls; I flinched only slightly. “There now that shall do.” She said as she wiped her brow, as if straightening my hair was such a task.
“My lady, you have the most beauteous hair!” She exclaimed, as she practically pushed Baylin out of the way to get to it. “May I brush it Baylin, please.” Her eyes were so big, almost like a youngling’s; Baylin rolled her eyes.
“You might as well, all the work has been done; I shall go and bring the gown over, so that my lady can dress.” She went over to my bed; where Eloin had sat the gown out, to make sure that all was in order.
As Eloin brushed my hair, all I heard were gentle coos of pleasure.
“My lady, it is as soft as the garments spun from moon bug larvae; how in the High Star Realms do you get it so soft?” She breathed out her astonishment.
“I drink lots and lots of Sun Tea.” I grinned having a little fun with her.
“And what do you put on it, to produce that heavenly smell?” She closed her eyes as she inhaled my strands.
“Well, that cannot be brought or sold; little one,” I brought her around to face me, and I took the brush from her and placed it on my vanity mirror; as I took her hands in mine. “The cinnamon pulses through my veins, and permeates my entire body with that essence. You can buy cinnamon in Solarian, but there is none quite like the actual essence that our body produces naturally.”
“You are so kind, my queen, how can these people not love you as I do?” She said averting her eyes from mine shyly.
I brought her eyes back up to mine.
“Love is hard to feel, when your heart is so clouded with hate; let us thank the Star Breather that we are not that way.” I touched her cheek softly, and she nodded vehemently in agreement.
“Yes, my queen.” There were tears in her eyes.
“Alright, you two; we do have a coronation to make ready for.” She tried to act as if tears were not clouding her throat, but I could hear them. “Eloin, would you help me dress our lady?”
“Yes, it shall be an honor.” She wiped the tears away from her eyes quickly.
So, that she and Baylin could help me put my gown on; I stood in front of my floor length mirror, but unlike my mirror at home—the border was not golden; it was instead engraved with moon crystals. When they pulled the gown all the way down, so that I could see myself completely dressed; I had to admit that all of the torturous beauty rituals were worth it. Baylin helped me to put my hair up in a lose bun; which is how most of the Luniris royals word their hair for important ceremonies. I was sure that Dane would be pleased.
“My queen, you are completely stunning.” She sighed as she looked at me.
“Baylin, what do you think?” I asked with a smile, knowing full well that she would not give me a straight forward complement.
“You will do.” She said wiping the tears from her eyes.
Just as soon as I thought of him, he came into the room; and when he saw me in full dress—his eyes were not pleasured or pleased—in his eyes I read disappointment and I could sense slight ire burning through him. Why was he angry? I thought that he would be pleased with my new look.
Eloin bounced over to him in her jittery way.
“Sire, what do you think of my lady, is she not stunning?” She cooed.
His eyes never left mine, as he spoke to Eloin in a subdued voice.
“Eloin and Baylin, would you leave us; I need to speak with the queen alone.”
“Yes my lord.” They bowed to us both, and left the room; they seemed as bewildered by Dane’s response to my appearance as I was.
When they had taken their leave, I was almost frightened at what Dane would say in their absence. At first, he said absolutely nothing; there was just stone silence between us, and then he started circling me as if he were appraising my attire—I did not like the feeling that this was creating in me. I wanted to crawl in a deep hole and hide. He finally stopped circling, and looked directly into the depths of my soul, and for the longest time he just stood there staring.
“Solarias,” He opened his thoughts to me, at last. “At any time, have I ever given you the impression that, I do not love exactly who you are?” His words were not spoken in malice; I could hear tinges of hurt in his voice, but why was he so hurt?
“No, my lord.” I lowered my eyes from his, and tears began to fall down my cheeks taking some of the white powder with them.
“Then why, have you done this to yourself?” He took the pad of his thumb, and began to wipe the tears from my face; I could see the white powder residue on his thumb. “If I wanted to marry a maiden of the moon; I would have chosen one to marry, but,” He took me into his embrace. “My heart chose you, I wanted you, I married you; not some watered down version of you. I did not bring you here to disappear into my world, I brought you here to stand out in it.” He smiled at me then. “Solarias Morsiat Hummony Garyius, Princess of Solarian, Queen of Luniris; I want everything that you are: your almond colored skin, freckled with the golden dust of the sun,” He let his fingertips gently caress my arm. “Your full lips, so much sweeter than any honey that I have ever tasted,” He kissed my lips gently and passionately. “The cinnamon essence of your skin,” He brought me close, and let his nose roam my neck; as if he were appreciating the aroma of a bouquet of flowers. “And the soft unruly curls of your hair,” He released my hair from the loose bun, and ran his fingers through the silky smooth tresses as if he were missing the unruly curls. “Please, my queen; I want to present you tonight, I want to celebrate you, I want to honor you.”
“I thought that this would make your people comfortable, if I were more like them; maybe they would love me.” I looked into his blue eyes, and they were full of mirth and amusement.
“But the king already loves you, my sweet, and his opinion is the only one that matters.” He pecked my lips softly, and walked over to my wardrobe; and pulled out my favorite gown—the one that held every hue of the sun—and brought it over to me. “I would like to see you in this one, my love.”
“But I will stick out, especially when everyone else will be dressed in the white, grays or powdered blues of the many faces of the moon.” I was horrified at the idea of all eyes being glued to me.
“Yes, that is the objective; this is your night and you deserve to be revered.” He kissed me on my cheek softly, and lulled in my ear. “Oh and would you please wash that garish white powder off of your beautiful skin, it hides your sun kissed glow; and please bring back my soft unruly curls, I do so love to tangle my fingers up in them, my maiden of the sun.” He looked at me deeply. “Never be afraid of who you are, that maiden is the maiden I love. And it does not matter whether my subjects love you or not, they will respect you; or by the Star Breather’s name they will pay for their insolence.” He took me in his embrace again. “Know this Solarias, I will always protect you, you are my queen now.” He kissed me one last time. “Hurry, I will be waiting for you.”
And then he was gone; leaving me and my ladies to undo all of the hard work that had already been done. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I had to acknowledge that what my kind husband spoke was true; I did look ridiculous trying to hide who I was. I was a Princess of the Sun, soon to be Queen of the Moon; married to my beloved and I would show his people all that I was—at his gracious request.
The Moon Palace was made entirely out of blue moon stone; and it had miles long windows, so that the ethereal glow of moonlight could peek in whenever it desired to do so, no other light was required, because the bright moon beams spilled through the throne room illuminating everything with its silvery streams. As I expected, every being in the moon kingdom; wore their finest attire in different shades of the moon’s face—even my husband wore a powder blue tunic, as he waited for me standing atop the throne platform with a smile upon his perfectly chiseled face. He looked so regal wearing his pure white circlet—with blue moon stones engraved in it—upon his head, and his white cape to match; the light of the moon struck his eyes to a radiant blue that sparkled.
I could hear whispers as I made my descent down the aisle; to meet my husband at the throne, and I could sense disdain for my very presence. I must have looked like a bright flame of fire—to them—set in their midst to destroy all that they held dear, but I kept my focus on my dear husband and all others faded. I walked to him alone, as far as I was concerned no one else was in the room; he was the only one that I had to please, him and no other. When I finally made it to him, my lungs were screaming in protest—I had not realized that I had been holding my breath. He extended his pure white scepter to me, and I calmly released my breath; and touched the blue moon stone, that sat at its tip.
“Kneel, my lady.” He tried to stifle a smile of joy, but I could still hear it in his voice.
My heart must have swollen twice its size in my chest, as I prayed silently that I would not fall face forward, and make a fool of myself. He held his scepter up right, so that it touched the ground; and with his other hand he gently guided me down on the pure white pillow that was sitting on the ground waiting for me. I took his hand, and he squeezed it in encouragement and gave me a small wink of his eye as he guided me to kneel.
“Lady Solarias Morsiat Hummony Garyius, Princess of the Solarian people; it is my great honor and privilege to offer you a place by my side on the throne of Luniris as my queen. All that I am, I extend to you; all that is mine is now yours.” He took his scepter and gently bounced it on both of my shoulders; the burden of the transference of his power was extremely heavy. “Do you solemnly vow to be loyal, true and loving to the King of Luniris and his subjects?” He said placing his scepter back upright at his side.
“I do my lord.” I bowed my head in all sincerity, but he smiled; I heard a ripple of whispers through the room; at what the beings of Luniris must have viewed as, their king’s unkingly behavior at such a somber ceremony.
He ignored them all, and kept smiling into my eyes; the royal crown barrier then took his place beside the Moon King, and the crown that was upon the royal pillow was breathtaking; it looked exactly like Dane’s circlet but instead of being white it was made of pure blue moon stone. He broke his stare from mine—momentarily—to take the crown from the pillow, and when he had done so, the royal crown barrier scurried away.
“Then by all the powers vested in me, I pronounce you Queen Solarias of Luniris.” He placed the crown on my head, and offered me his hand; I graciously accepted and he helped me to stand from kneeling. He then, brought me up to his level on the throne and turned me to face the people. “Long live the queen.” His voice resonated off of the moon stone walls in the room.
And the people mechanically repeated his words, but there was no happiness or cheers at my being crowned their leader; I do not know what I expected. I just hoped that perhaps I would get a better reception once I was their queen, but none of them would still look me in the eye and I could sense their feelings of disdain and disgust at my being crowned their queen. All of a sudden I sensed my Moon King’s emotions above all others, he was planning mischief and what happened next I never saw coming—as he pulled me into his arms and kissed me more passionately, then should have been done in public sight. I forgot that anyone else was present, as I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and succumbed to the kiss. His overwhelming emotion was one of joy, his goal was to make them as uncomfortable as possible; he knew not one would dare leave without being dismissed.
When he had satiated his thirst for my kiss, he placed his forehead on mine and smiled.
“You are wanted and beloved my queen, far more beautiful than any creature that I have ever beheld; I cannot believe that you chose me and if these hateful people cannot see your true worth, they are all fools.” He turned back to his people, and chortled softly; all of his words audible enough for all of them to hear. “Reception in the Great Hall, and all are required to come; if any decide to make themselves absent—I assure you that a day or two in the stocks will teach you to respect your queen.” He smiled right into his mother’s eyes—who happened to be standing right next to Brynyana—and then he looked back to me, and offered me his arm. “My lady, shall we; I am starved. “
“We shall.” I took his arm, and we descended the throne to make our way to the Great Hall before anyone else. I could feel daggers in my back, but I did not care; I was flying far above the High Star Realms all the way into the Celestial Kingdom as I walked arm in arm with my protector husband.
The reception was wondrously delightful, nothing had changed from the coronation ceremony; as usual my only two sources of conversation were Eloin and Baylin, but I did not exactly view this as a bad thing, I hated social gatherings of this magnitude—I would much rather entertain a small handful of friends, because the setting was more intimate. My Moon King, held my hand for the entire reception; as if we could not be separated—it was amazing how we could be engaged in our very own conversations, but still be so completely together. He would give my hand a delighted squeeze from time to time; to let me know I was still wholly on his mind.
My conversation was interrupted almost immediately, when the orchestra abandoned their fast paced music; for a piece of music that was so unlike anything that I had ever heard before—this music was light and airy, almost as if it had been written for the Celestial Kingdom specifically. As the beings of the moon kingdom took to the dance floor, my breath was taken away by the grace and beauty of their dance.
“Does my lady fancy the Moon Dance?” My Moon King lulled into my ear, just adding to the hypnotic effect of the music.
I could only nod acknowledging my pleasure of the dance. He stood from his seat, and took leave of his cape as he held out his hand for mine.
“Would you care to dance, my Queen?” He smiled, I almost declined; until he took my hand in his and entwined his fingers with mine. “Please, my lady; show them how it is done. Your grace would put them all to shame.”
I smiled, and allowed him to lead me out of my seat.
When we were on the dance floor, I let him lead me in the dance; because of the natural rhythm in my body—I was a quick study and was soon able to keep up with him. The moon painted us in its otherworldly glow, as our bodies swayed in oneness to the music. My Moon King let his eyes caresses my face gently, before he spoke again.
“Must you take my breath away, in everything you do?” His hushed words, were honey in my ears. And then he kissed me softly; not paying attention to any of the looks of revulsion that we received.
He rested his forehead gently on mine, and closed his eyes savoring the moment; that is until his older brother ruined the moment by whispering something into his ear. Dane parted with me immediately, there was worry present in his azure eyes; he came back to me and held both of my hands in his—his look was full of contrition.
“Forgive me love, I must go and take care of some trouble at the Protective Mist.” I could tell that it brought him no pleasure to part ways with me, but when I looked into his brothers eyes; all I saw was a dark twisted lust that started to grow. And then he gave me a malicious smirk, I could sense the Dark Force’s presence in his heart and I shuddered—ripping my eyes away from his immediately.
“You must go, please be careful.” I touched his cheek softly. “And please, try to talk peace to the problem; there has been far too much war already.”
He took me in his arms and kissed me.
“I would not dream of harming my brothers of the sun, they are my family as much as they are yours; I will do my best not to shed their blood,” He smiled into my eyes. “For it is now like shedding my own.”
“Thank-you, Sire; I shall wait up for you.” I whispered.
“Please do.” He took both of my hands in his, and kissed them both. “I shall return.” He caressed my cheek one last time, and then he was gone.
No sooner than Dane had departed; I felt a strong breeze of cold air, so cold until it chilled me to the bone—and when my eyes surveyed the crowd; I saw him, the Dark Force and he was smiling at me with wicked glee. Did anyone else see him? Everyone else continued in the dance—oblivious to such evil among them. Could they not feel him? Clearly, their hatred was blinding them to his malicious presence. I shuddered once more, and then he disappeared. I was determined to tell Dane of his appearing later, maybe we could put our heads together and figure out what he was doing here. Alas, deep in my heart of hearts; I knew why he was here—to wreak havoc and destroy all that was good. How would we stop him from making a mess of things this time?
I was not much company after seeing the Dark Force among the oblivious moon court, Eloin and Baylin had stopped trying to engage me in conversation long ago; and instead were now cheerfully talking to each other. I was already anxious enough from seeing the Dark Force, but further piling onto my anxiety, was my Moon King’s ongoing absence—he still had not returned from the Protective Mist border—and my imagination was working overtime. Had the Dark Force given me that sadistic smirk, because he had caused, my love, harm? My whole body began to tremble just thinking about it; I had to get my mind on something else.
That is when my eyes roamed to Queen Mahaliquin and Brynyana—at the end of the moon stone table—laughing heartily and enjoying each other’s company, as they sipped of their honey wine and ate of the grand feast. It might have been foolish of me, but I decided right then to get up, and go over and engage the both of them in conversation—in order to build a peaceful bridge between us; she was after all Dane’s mother, and now she was my mother as well. I meant her no ill will, and maybe she would come to love me, because of my love for her son. Perhaps, if she knew how much I loved him; she would come to accept our marriage, and maybe even accept me as her queen. I went to her in such hope and faith, I do not know if I still would have gone; if I knew that my hopes would just be dashed.
When I approached them, their laughter stopped abruptly; in fact all the people around them stopped their conversations to hear what I had to say to their former and almost future queens—even the orchestra had stopped playing. I could sense their anger, hatred, prejudice and bigotry; it was like a hot iron scorching my flesh—I slightly winced away from it. Despite the hostility, I was determined to be the better woman. So, I put on a smile, and tried to hide the pain of the people’s obvious disdain of me.
“My lady,” I bowed to her in humility, and her countenance twisted darkly; then I looked to Brynyana and offered her the same humble greeting, but she refused to even look at me. “Brynyana, how are you both enjoying the festivities?”
There was a long pause of silence, until the queen put on a sweet as honey smile; I did not know that the smile masked the deadly venom of a viper.
“Better if Brynyana had taken her rightful place tonight.” She sipped her honey wine, and Brynyana giggled a little; my heart writhed painfully in my chest. Nevertheless, I was not one to cry easily; I held my head up high and played with the hilt of my sword—imagining a thousand different ways to kill the former queen. I suddenly asked the Star Breather’s forgiveness; for letting such dark images take residence in my head, he had not given me this gift for the purpose of killing a petty queen. I shook them away, and narrowed my eyes.
“Well, my being crowned proves that, the king does not share your opinion; my lady.” I smirked a little at my retort.
The entire moon court gasped at my comments to their queen, but the queen was unmoved; she simply glowered at me—dreaming up something more vicious and hurtful to say, and when her glower gave way to that faux smile; I knew that she had come up with another dagger to stick into my heart.
“Stand up my sweet,” She directed Brynyana, and Brynyana did as she was bid. I had to admit that she was beautiful, but no more than I; we were the same in stature, the only differences lie in our race—other than this we were equal in every way. If the queen’s motivation behind doing this; was to show me up or intimidate me, she had failed miserably. I crossed my arms about my chest, as Brynyana sized me up with her eyes; and visually discarded me as no competition for her. “Now this is a queen.”
The people in the moon court nodded their assent, all this served to do was fan my ire; I would not speak until I could calm myself, because I feared if I did—something nasty would come out. The queen smiled; enjoying the fact that I was becoming unhinged, I am sure that she could smell my cinnamon—signaling that I was becoming frustrated.
“Well, what do you have to say to that, sun maiden?” She snarled.
I decided to take the high road; the Dark Force would love nothing more than for me to start verbally slashing this ignorant woman with my tongue.
“I mean you no ill will, Lady Mahaliquin; in fact, I mean no ill will to any of you.” I looked to the whole moon court. “I love your king, and I would love nothing more than the opportunity to be your queen. No, we are not all the same, but the Star Breather formed and shaped us all; we should be embracing our differences, not tearing each other down because of them. You may not believe me, but the people of Luniris need the people of Solarian; just like the people of Solarian need the people of Luniris. None of us can live the way that we are supposed to, apart from one another.” I could sense that the people were not accepting of my words, because their queen had a look of mockery on her face; in response to every word that I spoke. “Love cannot be picked and chosen like clothing from a wardrobe, it is something that is felt deep in the heart; and once felt it cannot be rescinded. Love knows no bounds, no race, no station, no law; it simply is. The very nature of the Star Breather is love, and to deny this is to deny him.”
My emotions did a full 360 degree turn; my speech had only moved me to tears, because none of the people in the moon court could feel it. Well, almost no one, when I looked down to my end of the table tears were escaping Eloin’s eyes—Baylin was begging me to sit down with every expression on her face. The queen stood up with a cold expression, and looked to Brynyana silently commanding her to take her seat—Brynyana once again did as she was bid.
“You will not sit on the throne of Luniris long, mock my words sun maiden.” She too wore her sword about her person; if she had taken the time to get to know me, perhaps our love of sword play could have been something that we could have bonded over. Nevertheless, she was making it perfectly clear that we would never bond. “My son has a tainted itch for you, but I can assure you; when he has fully scratched that itch, his mind will be clear and more focused to see reason. Your being crowned is merely a farce, a mockery of the traditions of this land; he is doing this to rebel. All the young ones are prodigals, but soon he will come home to Brynyana and the old traditions.” She narrowed her eyes at me, as her voice deepened darkly; and the shadow of the Dark Force passed through her countenance, once again everyone was oblivious. “You might as well go home now, sun maiden, so as not to embarrass yourself any further.” She sat back down, and turned back to Brynyana.
“Thank-you Madam, for making me feel so welcome.” I bowed to her, while holding my tongue so that I would not say anything hateful back to her. She would not even look at me, I began walking with my head held high to exit the Great Hall—Eloin and Baylin tried to get up to follow me, but I held my hand up, and motioned for them to sit back down. I did not want company right now; I wanted to be alone, they reluctantly did as they were bid. There was not so much as a whisper as I exited, but when I finally reached the outside of the Great Hall; I could hear the orchestra start up again and people talking about the dramatic scene. I felt tears prickle in my eyes, but I still refused to cry them. Queen Mahaliquin would not get to me; she would not taint the love that I held in my heart for Dane—she would not make it ugly.
THE MOON KING
THE PEACE TREATY
She was part of me, I could not separate from her. She was breath to me, without her I could not hope to breathe. She was all that I craved, no physical sustenance would ever be enough. She was all that I thirsted for, no amount of drink would ever satiate it. Why could people not see past the different colors that, the Star Breather had so beautifully painted us? Every time I touched her, I was reminded of every single exquisite wonder of this endless galaxy. I hated this war with every fiber of my being; the hatred in these people that we called family was nauseating.
Why would Leonus lead his troops into the mist on a mission to ruin the coronation? Why did we have to talk with our swords drawn? Did these people not understand that, Solarias and I were trying to join them into the same precious love that we shared? We no longer had to fight, we could find peace. By the Star Breather’s heart, I wanted to find peace, and the only way to do that was to activate Tranquil Negotiations with Solarias’s brother Leonus, the King of the Solarian people. Nevertheless how could you engage someone in peaceful conversation, when they would have just as easily taken off your head and stuck it on a pole for all to see? I did not care at this point, I had to try it; for her, for us. I had to risk going to Leonus, there was no other way; I had to end this. As long as that Protective Mist divided us, there would be room for mistrust and hatred; the only way to end the war was to end the divide. However, pulling back the veil of mist would not mend divided hearts.
“Star Breather, please, help me. I cannot do this on my own.” I pleaded with the Creator of the Galaxy, and got only silence; as I went through the palace searching for my lost queen. The hour was between night and dawn, the festivities of the evening had long since ended. Had she not returned to her chambers all night?
I wanted to kill my mother for the hateful words that; she had spoken to her in front of the entire moon court. I should have thrown her in the stocks for her insolence; but I settled upon restricting her to her chambers for a fortnight instead—at least I would not have to deal with hearing her wretched voice for fourteen moon phases. I had to find my love, I had to speak with her and hear her wise thoughts on my desire to propose peace to the King of Solarian—by way of a treaty. I always felt so much stronger as a king when she was near; she made me feel as if I could do anything. I so wanted to be the man that, I saw in her soul thoughts, but the truth was that at this particular moment I was lacking in confidence.
Where could my love possibly be, when I had first arrived home from the Protective Mist border; I assumed that she would be safely tucked in her bed—sleeping away in her chambers—but instead I only found her ladies in her chambers, fighting to keep awake to await their mistress’s return; and they regaled me with the tale of my mother’s assault on my love’s character, and after going to deal with my shrew of a mother; I proceeded to look for my love about the palace and its grounds.
At first I tried the gardens, we had a beautiful collection of herbs and flowers in the gardens; so, I assumed that she would be there picking herbs to ward off the stress and humiliation of my mother’s assault, but she was not there. Next, I tried the gymnasium, I assumed that she would be working out some steam by wielding her sword, but she was not there either. After searching several more places, it had hit me that she might have been in the temple; I had forgotten that, while she valued the protection that her sword could give—she valued one weapon above all others—her penchant for praise and worship of the glorious Star Breather. No matter what happened in her life, her faith would forever be her lifeline.
I ran to the temple, and as I suspected; she was there kneeled before the alter—with the book of Sacred Texts in her lap—this should have been the first place that I looked. She was so beautiful as the moon light bathed her in its silvery glow, as she prayed; I almost hated to disturb her—she had been through so much tonight, but I needed her now. I paid homage to the Star Breather before I crossed over onto holy and sacred ground; I released all of my rage from warring and crossed over into a tranquil river. When I approached her, she looked up instantly—with tears streaming down her face—I fought hard in that moment, not to hate my mother for what she had done to her.
“My King!” She tried to get up, and embrace me, but before she could I joined her on the floor and pulled her into my embrace. “Where have you been?” She looked into my eyes, as if I had been gone a great while.”
“It has not been that long since we last saw each other, my lady.” I smiled, taking my thumb and clearing her cheek from some of her tears. Was she crying for me, did she think that something had happened to me?
“I thought you dead, Dane.” She looked as if she were going to cry again, as she rested her head on my shoulder.
“I am here, my love, I am not going anywhere; I promise.” I lulled.
Suddenly her smooth caramel eyes licked to flame, as she looked at me; and then she punched me hard in my arm.
“Oh, Dane I could murder you; do you not know how I have suffered; do not ever do that to me again.” She pushed away from me.
I was confused, and while the punch did not hurt much; it still hurt.
“Ouch, what did I do?” I asked rubbing my arm.
“You have been gone all night, without word; that is what you have done.” She gathered up her book of Sacred Texts, and was preparing to get up from the floor, but I grabbed her hand in mine and refused to let her go—until she explained herself.
“I told you that we were having problems at the border, my lady; negotiations became quite hostile. The fighting lasted a good while; until my brothers of the sun decided to retreat. I did not mean to cause you worry; I thought that you understood that it could take some time. Please forgive me.” I pulled her into me, and she relaxed against me. “Do you forgive me?”
“I am sorry Dane, but I saw him tonight; I thought that he had hurt you, killed you—he gave me the most malicious look.” She shuddered against me, and I pulled her closer in an attempt to protect her from some unseen enemy.
“Who, love, who do you speak of?” I whispered.
“The Dark Force.” She breathed out in fear.
I turned her to face me.
“He was here?” I cupped her face in my hands.
She nodded her assent, because she was unable to speak words. That would explain everything, including my mother’s behavior; the Enemy would try to tear us apart by way of our families. I had to reassure her that, not even the evil creature from the depths could keep us apart—I had to make her understand that I was hers and she was mine, for all eternity. He would have to try a lot harder than using our families to separate us.
“United we stand,” I smiled into her worried eyes. “Remember?” I asked smoothing my fingertips against her cheek. “Divided all fall,” I whispered. “Nothing can break us, we will fight against him with all that we have. I told you before, my queen; I will never give you up.” She turned and rested against me, her heart quieted to a slow hum; as she took me at my word. Was it so easy to convince her of my love and protection? My whole being grew a lot stronger with her faith in me.
She felt safe in my arms, so safe that she closed her eyes as she relaxed her head against my shoulder; I let my lips gently caresses her neck and she grinned and sighed at the sensual contact.
“My love,” I let my breath blow gently into her ear, and her body trembled slightly; I smiled. “I am so sorry about my mother,” I entwined my fingers with hers, but she was far too hypnotized by the closeness of her bodies to hear me; I chortled softly. “You have no need to worry; she has been properly reprimanded and punished.”
Her eyes popped open immediately, and she looked directly at me; the sensual spell had been broken.
“Dane, you were not too hard on her; were you?” She was mortified at the idea, and I was shocked; with the way she had treated her—she should have been crying for her death or at the very least her banishment. “I am not saying that what she did was right, in fact it was incredibly hateful, and I worked out my frustrations at the gymnasium by wielding my sword—before coming here, but Dane, she is still your mother.” She let her fingertips, gently caress my tensed jaw. I was so irrevocably in love with this woman; her goodness, kindness and compassion were a wonder.
I kissed her softly, and she so easily submitted to the kiss; before falling back to rest against me again.
“Tell me what to do with her, my queen; I would do whatever you asked me to do.” I caressed her eardrum with my words, and she giggled her delicious giggle. “Do you desire her head, I would willingly give it to you on a golden platter; do you desire her banishment into the far corners of the Netherworld, I would have her sent there directly; do you desire her publicly whipped for your pleasure, that could be arranged.” She was laughing uncontrollably now. “Just tell me, what my lady desires; I am your servant—your wish is my command.”
“You are simply awful, my Moon King.” She smiled with her eyes still closed. “What shall you really be punishing her for, being an overprotective mother? She loves you, even if she may not be able to show it correctly. I know that she must, please be gentle with your punishment.”
“And I was all prepared to make her suffer.” I whispered into her ear with faux disappointment. “I was furious, when I found out from your ladies how she had assaulted your character in public, but my cooler head prevailed in the end. I gave her a fortnight’s confinement to her chambers for her insolence. Is that gentle enough for you, my lady?”
“That will do.” She smiled, and her smile was infectious.
“Now, that the issues with my mother have been discussed and resolved; there is something very serious that I would like to discuss with you,” I had to broach the subject tentatively, because I had no idea how she would react. “I need your help in figuring some things out, your wisdom is unparalleled, my queen and I must invoke it now.”
She looked into my eyes furrowing her brow slightly.
“What is it, my lord?”
“I wish to go to your brother, and propose a peace treaty between our two lands.”
Her face twisted in pain, and it was abundantly obvious what her answer would be; she got up from resting against me quickly, and shook her head vehemently before she spoke.
“Are you mad?” Her eyes were cloaked in fear, my countenance remained blank. “If you are not mad, you obviously have death wish. Have you forgotten that, this is the same man that nearly ran you through with a sword—without mercy, without grace? And you sit here proposing to me that, you just waltz over there and propose a peace treaty, just like that; with no forethought of the dangers that await? Well, it should be obvious to you that, my answer is no.” She brought down her blustering, and came close to me and cupped my face in her hands. “Please, do not risk your life, please.” There were tears in her eyes.
I placed my forehead to hers.
“We must try, love. You have no idea what it does to me, when I have to fight against your people; it is almost as if I am fighting against you.” I smoothed the pad of my thumb against her cheek. “I cannot do it anymore, we must unite; or the Dark Force will just tear us apart all over again.” I brought her closer to me. “Do you not see, the only way out is peace; and someone has to take the first step.”
She rested her head on my shoulder, and sighed in resolve to my proposal.
“But must that person always be you?” She looked into my eyes again, but this time she was smiling.
“So, I take it that you are giving me your blessing?”
She turned back around, and lay against me again; I enveloped her in my embrace with a smile.
“Yes, I am giving you my blessing to walk into the very bowels of death,” She opened her eyes, and looked at me in awe; and I saw myself in her soul once more, I was her champion, her hero, her warrior. The image of myself through her soul, was intoxicating. “Please do be careful.” She gently let her index finger trace my tensed jaw.
“I do so love you, my queen.” She grinned at my confession, and I let my lips gently fall on hers; the kiss found rhythm quickly, she broke apart first and just looked at me with those warm caramel eyes of hers.
“You better come back to me.” She brought her hand to my cheek, and smiled.
“Nothing will keep me from you, nothing.” I lulled.
I held my whole world in my arms, and I swore to myself then and there that, I would never do anything to jeopardize the paradise that I had found with her; but it was always a proven fact that, anytime anything was too perfect something would always happen to shift the balance of that perfection, and our perfect world was about to experience a crumbling blow. Could it withstand; could it possibly survive?
I stood on the Solarian side of the Mist—unarmed—fear should have tore my entire body apart, but I was at peace; I was determined to do this. I had to do this, mine and Solarias’s happiness depended upon it. My soldiers called me foolish not to take deputies, but there was no doubt that the King of Solarian would have viewed that as a threat. So, I told all of my soldiers to allow me to do this on my own. I would approach the King, alone with no aid to help me if a fight broke out. Was it insane, perhaps, but I was not thinking in those terms. My mission made sense to me, and I would see it through as I saw fit. None of my people expected to see me again, but Solarias had faith in me, and that was all that I needed. I could sense eyes looking at me, and I knew then that King Leonus’s scouts in the wood had spotted me; I quickly put my hands up in surrender.
“I come bearing no ill will, as you can see; I am unarmed.” I stood waiting for them to jump out of their hiding places; about ten jumped out from various spots and surrounded me—some even jumped down from trees that they were hiding in. They forced me to the ground, and tied my hands behind my back.
“Give us one good reason, why we should not kill you right now; King of Luniris.” The leader spoke, as he stomped his foot into my back; the rest of the soldiers laughed.
“It would be unjust for you to slay an unarmed man, besides I have no wish to fight you; I come to request an audience with your king.” I tried to keep my voice leveled, the pain of the soldier’s foot in my back was becoming blinding, but I refused to fight back.
All the men laughed; obviously I had amused them with my words, although I did not hear anything amusing in my request.
“And why in the Netherworld, should we take you to our king, you slew our last one; maybe you are here on some clandestine mission to slay this one.” He kicked me in my back hard, and the pain shot through my entire being, but I refused to cry out. They sought to humiliate me, but I refused to cower beneath their mockery.
“The only clandestine mission that, I am on, is to propose a peace treaty between our two kingdoms.” I tried to keep the pain out of my voice.
The men were stone silent; they said nothing for a long time, until the leader finally grabbed me up off of the ground to standing.
“Get up, you dog, we will take you to present this nonsense before the king; this should offer him a hearty laugh for the day.” He gave an uproarious laugh, and his men followed suit; as the leader pushed me along up to the palace.
As we passed Solarias’s old cottage, memories flooded my mind; everything seemed so simple inside of its walls—including our love. If we never had to leave the little simplistic hovel of hope; things would have been so effortlessly tranquil. I longed to be inside of its walls now.
“Move along you dog, we do not have all day for you to lag behind.” He pushed me forward, almost causing me to trip; I wanted to knock him to the ground, and give him a taste of the dirt in his mouth and see how he liked it. Nevertheless, I was not here for a petty fight—I was here to make peace. And I was going to make peace, or die trying.
When we got to the palace, all of the courtiers were in shock and awe; some of them spat at me, and some of them gawked with evil stares, while others broke out with gossipy whispers. Once we got past the general population of courtiers; the leader pushed me along what had to be the longest corridor in history, until we got to the very end; we were standing outside a closed sturdy wooden door when the leader knocked as hard as he possibly could.
“Enter.” Leonus’s voice came from the other side of the door, and the leader pushed me in; and made me get on my knees.
Leonus seemed to be in a war council meeting, two burly soldiers stood up and unsheathed their swords ready to take off my head if need be. I knew them well Garlius and Palius, twin brothers; whom I had bested in open combat before, I smiled at the thought. They would like nothing more than to make mince meat out of me, fortunately for them; they would have an easy go at it—seeing as how I was tied up and all.
“This dog,” The leader kicked me in my back again. “Claims that he wants to petition you about a peace treaty.”
All of the men, except Leonus laughed; he just looked at me intrigued.
“Quiet, all of you!” Leonus thundered. “Garlius, Palius sheath your swords!” He commanded, and they did as they were bid. He looked at me again, through narrowed eyes. “Leave us,” The king shouted, never letting his eyes leave mine; the men refused to be moved they just stood there as if they were astonished at his command. “All of you.” He ordered.
And they slowly began to move out of the room; the king refused to speak until the last man was gone, and the heavy wooden door closed behind them—leaving us alone. We just stared at each other for the longest time, and then Leonus finally spoke.
“Stand up, I refuse to speak with a man that is not standing on my level.” He approached me then, as I got to my feet, and pulled a dagger from his belt; and went behind me—I naturally assumed that he would have attempted to stab me in the back, but he instead cut the ropes from my wrists. I stood rubbing them, against the painful rawness of them being tied so tightly. We stood at eye level now, but there was a chasm of space between us; there was an awkward beat of silence until the king spoke again. “Are you really this foolish, to come to my kingdom unarmed; and demand anything from me?” His voice was tight, but I could hear the poison in it.
“I did not come to demand anything of you, King of Solarian; I came to merely make a suggestion. I did not think it wise to arm myself; while doing so, I supposed that you would have viewed it as a threat. Why would I bring weapons to discuss the prospect of peace?” I spoke with confidence, not letting my fears in anyway betray me.
“Peace.” He spoke the word as if it were detestable to him. “We tried your people’s so called peace before.” He said through gritted teeth. “And you, young king; betrayed that trust by killing my father.” His voice elevated, and his hard caramel eyes licked to flame.
“Only because your father, killed mine.” I shouted back, and pursed my lips quickly; so that I would not say anymore.
“So, a life for a life then?” He retorted darkly.
I said nothing.
“I should have killed her, when I found out that she helped your worthless hide, maybe it would have saved us all of this agony.” He spat the acidic words at me, and my eyes must have grown wide at his words, because he smiled—not out of mirth, but out of pure amusement of my obvious surprise of his confession. “What, did you think that I was stupid? I knew that my dear sweet little sister helped you, because she has always been in love with you.” My heart beat a little faster, and he chortled with amusement; obviously sensing out my feelings. “Yes, she would muse through this very palace; dreaming of being your wife. I told her many times that, whatever she was feeling was not possible; everyone tried to talk sense into her.” He turned his back to me, and sighed deeply. “Why, King of Luniris, why did you have to go and defy the law and marry her? You did not have to marry her, to bed her; you moon men have taken pleasure with the maidens of the sun, since the moon’s first phase and that is all. Why break edicts that keep both of our worlds balanced?”
“Balanced, there has never been anything balanced about the way we live.” My tongue loosened, because his words were just too nauseating for me to keep my tongue silent. “We have always lived on our own sides, that infernal wall has just solidified how we have been all along, and those Mandatory Nuptial Contracts, of which our ancestors call tradition; have just served as hateful reminders that we are to stay on our own sides.”I could feel my throat tighten with emotion. “Leonus, have you never had a desire to let your heart do the choosing, and not some contract that has been placed on you from birth?” We both said nothing else for a long time; I finally spoke up; breaking the silence between us. “Do you not feel that it is time Leonus, to end the fighting; to unite as one people again? I am not speaking of how we were before, divided in our hearts; we can really unite this time, and be much better than we were before.” My tone was pleading, and when Leonus turned back around to face me; I could tell that he was considering it.
“We have always been too different to unite, completely; everything must have its limits, young king of the moon.” His answer to me was solemn.
“Separate but equal, right; tolerance to a point, right; friendship is fine with the opposite sex if they are of a different race, just so long as you do not fall in love, right?” My tone was all sarcasm, and Leonus’s eyes licked to ire in response.
“I did not make the rules.” He thundered.
“But are you any better than the people who did; if you just sit by and allow the unjust rules to continue? Look around you Leonus; we are rulers of our kingdoms now—not our ancestors or their faulty traditions. We can make our worlds better, by changing all of the rules that they held so sacred and dear. We are all the Star Breather’s creations, he made the different tones of our skin; and I do not believe that it was to keep us separate from each other. He loves variety, you have stepped into the lower portion of his Kingdom; you have seen it with your own eyes.” I dared to approach him, closing up some of the space between us; and I extended my hand to his. “Brother, we must make peace; not for ourselves but for our children after us. Ignorance and hatred does not have to continue, just because that is the way things have always been done; is it not time to try really loving each other with no boundaries?”
He looked at me with inquisitive wonder.
“Why do this, moon king; what is in it for you?”
“There is nothing I gain, but the freedom to love her; with all of my heart, soul, and spirit.” I steadily held my hand out for his. “She is a part of me, Leonus; everything about her is beautiful—there is nothing about her that I would change. My heart chose her, and all we want is peace. You are her family, and that makes you my family as well; you have no idea how torn I have been—fighting against you is like fighting against myself. I cannot continue, brother; please be the king that I know you are, and join our lands.”
He struggled within himself, for several long moments; and then he tentatively grabbed my hand in his.
“Let the peace treaty be drawn,” He spoke in reluctance, but his faith in me and my people would get stronger with time. “I am not saying that, I trust you; but for the good of future generations—we must try to unify.”
We broke apart shaking hands, and he sat down at his desk; and took out a blank piece of paper and his quill.
“Come sit, young king; we have much to discuss. And I trust you will join me in celebration; after the treaty is drafted, we shall remove the Protective Mist immediately.”
I sat on the opposite side of the desk with a smile, as he put quill to paper—preparing to write out the treaty of peace.
“I like the way your mind works great king, Cierion shall rise again.” My heart held gladness like it never had before, but as soon as Leonus and I joined in shaking hands; I felt the darkness in the atmosphere shift—as if the Dark Force was setting up all of his defenses against the treaty. He had broken us asunder before; it would not be too difficult for him to do it again. Whether or not Leonus had felt the shift, was uncertain; but one thing was certain—the Dark Force was coming and we needed to be prepared for the fight he was going to bring.
THE QUEEN DISHONORED
I had spent most of the day in the temple, praying for my king’s safe return. His going to my brother, and making a petition for peace was admirable and heroic; but it was also foolish and risky. Dane always seemed to have trouble distancing himself from adventure; when we were younglings, his passion for wild adventure was what made me fall in love with him. Nevertheless, we were no longer younglings, and his taste for wild adventure; was somewhat of an annoying flaw in his character—to me now. I supposed that a man could have far worse flaws, then an addiction to being a hero and warrior. His need to protect me at all costs was rather endearing, yes, I would keep him; I would keep him forever.
I was out in the garden with my ladies, picking herbs; awaiting my love’s return to hear what my brother had to say in reference to the treaty. I did not expect much there; in fact, I expected my king to fail miserably in trying to persuade my brother to make peace. However, this was Dane that I was talking about here; he could do anything. I had viewed his destiny with my Destiny Sight and I saw greatness in him; if there was anything that I knew the man would not give up, until he succeeded. There was an odd feeling on the wind, a cold dark chill in the air; I could not explain it, but something was terribly wrong. It was as if the bowels of the Netherworld had opened, and released some invisible cloak of evil; the Dark Force was on the move—I did not know where he was—but I could feel his presence near.
I should have paid more attention, to the eerie feeling; and I should have left with my ladies when they tried to get me to go inside, but I just wanted to be in the garden—drawing in all the lovely fragrances. My every sense had been heightened by the recent changes in me; Baylin, had confirmed it this morning—I was with child—a week and a half along. Baylin knew it when she came into my chambers later in the sun’s early turnings, because I was over my chamber pot regurgitating the delicious meal from the night before.
“My lady, I was with your mother with all of her pregnancies; after delivering so many babies, your mother used to say that I could smell when a woman was with child,” She spoke smiling. “And my darling, you are with child.”
I held my womb with both hands, and I closed my eyes imagining the blood of Dane and I mingling together to form new life. I imagined my belly protruding out with possibility, and I laughed joyously to myself; I could not wait to tell him that we would be expecting our first heir. I knew that he would be beyond pleased; even more so, if I produced a son—for him to train in his wild adventurous ways.
“My lady,” Eloin called to me with her angelic voice. “Baylin says that, we should be getting inside; she told me to tell you that you do not want to overexert yourself.” She smiled down at my womb, and clapped her hands as if she were playing with the baby already. “I cannot wait until the little one can run around in the garden with us, will that not be nice, my lady?”
“Wonderful.” I touched my hand to her, smooth snow white skin. “You and Baylin can go in, if you like; I will catch up.”
“Are you sure, my lady?” She sounded reluctant to leave me.
“I shall be safe, what harm can come to me in the garden?” As I said the words, a ripple of warning ran through my entire being; a warning that I ignored and should not have. It was as if the Star Breather was ringing a silent alarm inside of my heart; and I failed to take heed. How I wished that I would have taken heed.
“You will not be long?”
“No, not at all Eloin; I will be along momentarily.”
“Yes, my lady.” She walked away from me, leaving me alone in the spot where I stood; but she kept looking back as if she did not want to leave me. Had she gotten the same warning that I had received? She disappeared through the garden, and the only thing I heard was the drumming of my own heartbeat before he entered the garden.
Kantono, was my brother-in-law; when we were younglings I hardly ever saw him. He would venture over to the Solarian side only a couple of times a season; to go hunting with my brothers, but he never seemed to really associate himself with the Solarians like Dane had. He understood the lines of propriety and he did not cross them. When I was a young maiden; he would watch me, with the same look in his eyes that he had at the reception last eventide. Almost as if he were mentally undressing me, I always had a tendency to cover myself whenever he was around. He made my skin crawl with the way his eyes filled with lust every time he was near me; I almost slapped him for the dirty thoughts that I could only imagine were running through his mind about me.
“My lady, you are quite beautiful in the shifting sun,” He whispered in my ear; so unlike a brother-in-law should. “I can see why he fancies you.” His eyes drew me in with dark delight, his twisted craving coming awake and alive in his heightened cucumber mint scent.
“Thank-you, sire, but I must be going; my ladies are waiting.” I stumbled over my words, because his attention was making me unnerved.
He blocked my way.
“You will never guess what I heard, your love was actually able to bring the King of Solarian to some sort of agreement.” His voice slithered out of his mouth darkly. “And he will be gone for most of this eventide; celebrating the peace treaty with the Solarian people.”
My heart was full of rapturous joy at Kantono’s news.
“I cannot believe that he did it, I am so proud of him.”
His countenance twisted darkly.
“So, what shall we do this eventide, my lady?” He started to approach me closely, and I drew my sword.
“Do not come any closer, my lord.” I narrowed my eyes, in no mood to continue Kantono’s depraved game. “Trust me, when I say that I am not some helpless female; I do know how to use this sword, my lord, and if you come any closer I will make you rue the day that you ever stepped foot into this garden. Now back away slowly.” I held my sword steady and sure.
“Do you think that I fear you, little sun wench?” He smirked maliciously. “You see my brother made a monumental error in breaking the rules; bed you, he most certainly should have, but marry you, now that was his fatal downfall,” He made a quick thinking strategic move, one that he must have used on the battle field numerous times; and I was a beat too late to counter it. Before I knew it; he had unarmed me, and my sword was sticking straight up in the ground as he approached me with his dark intentions clear in the shooting stars of his eyes. “Oh I know that, you are most certainly sweet; you would have to be to entice my stupid little brother to go into the enemy’s camp to beg for peace. What dark arts did you perform on him, maiden of the sun; to make him do your bidding?” He pulled me into him, and brushed his lips against my neck—I wanted to die.
I struggled against him, but he was much too strong; my striving against him just made him more determined to fulfill his dark purpose. He kissed me violently, letting his tongue roam my mouth like a savage; none of his caresses were sweet or gentle. When I finally got my hands free, I slapped his face as hard as I could; this knocked him into reality for a moment.
“I am a servant of the Star Breather, and I do not act in the dark arts; what your brother has done, he has done out of love. I did not force him, all I want is to love him; please just let me go.” I took my eyes away from his, and it was obvious that my words had no bearing over him, when he forced my face up to his again; as I looked at the Dark Force’s presence come alive in Kantono’s dark countenance I knew that no amount of pleading would change his mind.
“I want you Solarias, and I will have you.” He snarled viciously into my ear.
I tried to push him away again, as he painted my neck with kisses.
“Please,” I decided to try to appeal to his conscience once more, but my pleas were falling on deaf ears; as his mouth covered mine again. “Your brother will kill you if you dishonor me this way.” I cried, tears flowing down my cheeks.
He stopped kissing me, and chortled menacingly.
“You cannot dishonor a whore.” He started to undo his pants. “You made me do this, Princess of the Sun; with that alluring cinnamon scent of yours, you have bewitched my out of my better sense—this is the only way that I can get you out of my head.”
I kneed him in his groin, and made an attempt to run, but he grabbed me by the curls of my hair and threw me to the ground. Before I knew it, he had me pinned to the ground and he was on top of me; I begged him to stop over and over again as he tore my dress. And then my mind travelled to a place far away, all I could see is my Moon King’s precious face; as his brother violently entered and desecrated my most cherished garden—a garden that was only meant for my lover’s entrance. He moaned and groaned in pleasure, as he satiated his thirst for me again and again—in no ways was it gentle; in all ways it was painful. Nevertheless, I refused to let him penetrate my soul, my heart or my spirit. I was a ghost, a wraith as I stood outside of my own body; watching. I gently sobbed, as I thought about the unborn youngling inside of me. Did he hurt the youngling?
I watched the sun completely die in the sky, giving place to the moon; before his lust was finally fulfilled. And he rolled off of me, and smirked evilly.
“And you love him that good every night?” He gave me one final kiss on my neck. “How does he leave you alone, my lady?”
I said nothing, and sat straight up; and collected my bloodied and dirty dress together—as I stood on my own two feet—I took up my sword, and started to walk away from him. He got up, and ran to me pulling me to him. His countenance was pure darkness itself.
“I have not dismissed you, wench.” He growled.
I snatched my arm away from him, and held my head high.
“I am the Queen of Luniris, I do not wait to be dismissed; I do the dismissing.” It was my turn to smirk at him. “You have stopped nothing, I love him still; and will continue to love him until the day that I die. Your vile acts on this eventide will soon be forgotten, and when I reveal you dishonor to him; I will look on you decaying corpse and smile.”
He stood in the garden, looking after me astonished that I still had fire in me; after he had tried to break me. I laughed and cried to myself as I struggled to walk away, because of the severe pain; I could feel sticky dried blood between my legs as I walked, and I knew that he had killed the youngling that was growing inside of me—the prevailing emotion in that moment was not pain, but vengeance.
When I got to my chambers, my ladies were waiting; just as soon as I closed my door—I collapsed on the floor—I no longer had to make a show of strength, and the metal of my sword clanged loudly on the stone floor where; I had dropped it beside me. My ladies rushed to me, I assumed that my body had reached its threshold for pain—both emotional and physical—because I completely lost consciousness. The last thing I remembered; was my ladies asking me what had happened, before they both disappeared into a sea of blackness.
The sun was high in the sky, when I awakened again; and there he was—he looked as if he had not slept for days. How long had I been unconscious?
“Star Breather be praised.” He breathed out, with relief; I sat straight up and threw my arms around his big strong shoulders, and he pulled me into him. “Sweet love, you have been asleep for three phases of the moon; I thought that you would never wake. Please forgive me, I should have…”
I put my fingertips softly to his lips to quiet him.
“Do not blame yourself, my king.” I was just so glad to see him, as he held me; I felt as if I was being mended of all of my wounds.
“Leonus agreed to a peace treaty, I could not wait to get right home and tell you the good news; but when I arrived your ladies told me that, they believed that you miscarried.” He brought me closer. “Love, I am so sorry.” I could hear the heart break in his voice, as he whispered into my ear. “We shall try again, my queen; I promise.” He smoothed the pad of his thumb against my cheek, gently.
The truth was I did not miscarry on my own; Kantono had killed our youngling with his brutal attack against me. And I had every intention of telling Dane as much, until Kantono slithered out of the shadows of my chambers; like the villainous snake that he was.
“Remember, Solarias, you collapsed in the garden; I found you there and led you up to your chambers.” A sly smirk slithered across his lips, as he had so easily settled into the convenient truth that he had spun himself.
I was speechless, as I narrowed my eyes at him; I refused to confirm his lies. He just continued to smile.
“I am so happy to see you awake, my lady.” He approached me, and I found myself moving further into Dane; he enveloped me even tighter and gave me a gentle kiss on my forehead.
“Would you all; please leave us, my wife needs rest.” Eloin and Baylin disappeared from the room first; and Kantono followed them, until Dane called to him. “Brother,” He spoke gently, as Kantono looked into his eyes. “Thank-you.”
He bowed his head in faux humility, and grinned a grin of poison at me.
“I hope you get well soon, my lady.” And then he was gone, taking his dark presence with him; I relaxed into the arms of the sunlight and was about to tell him of the injustice that his brother had done me, but when he spoke next; I could not find the heart to tell him.
“You know, I am so happy to see this peace treaty working already; I never thought that I would see Kantono save my wife’s life.” He looked into my eyes, with such naiveté that, I just could not bring myself to throw refuse all over his beautiful dream.
I was not the first woman in history to be used ill, and unfortunately I would not be the last; Kantono could keep his torrid little secret, because my heart always has and always will belong to this man and this man alone. I brushed my lips gently against his, and he put some space in between us; and smoothed the pad of his thumb against my cheek.
“Love, I want you to heal, first.” He entwined his fingers with mine. “You have been through quite an ordeal, we lost our youngling; I do not feel like you are emotionally ready to be with me in that way.” He smiled his dashing dimpled smile. “I told you before that, your body is not enough for me; I want to love all of you and I cannot do that when your heart is still nursing loss. Believe me, I understand, I do. I need time to grieve as well.” He took me back into his arms, and rocked me back and forth. “I do so love you, my queen.”
I was crying tears of joy, at the sheer magnificence of this man.
“And I you, my Moon King.”
While it was true that I loved him with my entire being; it just hurt too much to look at him anymore, and it was true that his arms were healing to me, but they were also constant reminders that we would never be the same again. In his embrace, the precious intimacy that we had once shared had been callously stolen. I would never in a million years admit it to Kantono, but something inside of me broke when he raped me; something that so wholly belonged to my beloved. Would I ever get it back?
THE MOON KING
THE VENGEANCE OF A KING
I missed her, so much that it hurt; which was silly because I saw her all the time—we had been together every moon phase since she miscarried, but even though we were side by side we were not really together. Something changed in her after she miscarried, something that I could not fully understand. She never really looked me in the eyes now, she would flinch away every time I tried to touch her, and she barely spoke two words to me anymore. It had been 90 changes of the moon since the loss of our youngling, and still my queen had not returned to her vibrant self. She had shut off all of her feelings, she had pushed me so far away from her that, I could not reach her. Her body had long since healed, but her spirit, heart and soul still seemed to be wounded.
Would she let me close enough to help her heal? I had tried many moon phases past, but she would always put on a faux smile and tell me that she was okay. I did not have to be a Healer of the Mind to know that, everything was not alright; and I could forget looking into the windows to her soul for answers, because she had long ago shut those veiled curtains so I could not peer in. I longed to hold her in my arms, I missed the gentle collision of our bodies; I wanted to be one again—I wanted to feel her heart beat against me. I had been as patient as any husband could be, I needed answers. I wanted to know if she still wanted me, as I still wanted and desired her. I felt so all alone. I could scarcely breathe without her. By the Star Breather’s Infinite name, I ached for her.
On the positive side, the peace treaty between the two kingdoms seemed to be holding. In fact, all the kingdom of Solarian had been invited to a feast this eventide; Solarias had tried to make an excuse to take dinner in her chambers again tonight, because she did not want to be around a big crowd of people, but I told her that I needed her by my side. She simply gave me a blank stare, and nodded her assent. Why was she acting this way? I was determined to find out. I waited in the shadows, right outside of her chambers; I waited for her dismiss her ladies, so, that I could sneak in and talk to her before the Solarian people arrived.
These were her people, her blood, her family coming this eventide; it was not as if she did not know them, it was not as if they were strangers. She should have felt more comforted by their arrival, she should have been more excited—we were after all one kingdom again—even though we had not yet abandoned the separate names; I was hoping and praying that we would once again be Cierion—one united kingdom. Nevertheless, how could I ever hope to unite our kingdoms; when my wife and I were not even united at the moment? Her ladies had just exited her chambers, it was now or never. When I entered her chambers; she was staring blankly into her floor length mirror, she was such a vision in a gown colored with the subtle pinks of the dawn—her unruly curls were thrown up into a loose bun—I fell in love with her all over again. Almost out of nowhere, soft sobs rose up from somewhere deep inside of her. How often did she cry like this?
When I saw my love cry, it ripped me apart; I did not think, I just acted—I approached her and enveloped her in my embrace. She stopped crying immediately and tried to separate herself from me.
“I am fine, my king.” She lied, as she tried to calm her sobs.
I refused to let her go, seeing her so sad was killing me.
“No, you are not love; tell me, please. I cannot take you being so sad; it is killing me that I cannot help you.” I turned her to face me, and her face was completely devoid of any emotion. She had cut them off, in an effort to dull the pain. “Do not do that to me Solarias, you cannot shut me out; tell me what has you in so much pain. Please.” My voice elevated with passion.
“We will be late, my king.” She broke away from me, and tried to go to the door; but I blocked her way.
“No, we are not leaving these chambers; until you tell me why you were crying. Is it still the miscarriage? Are you still grieving the loss of our youngling? Tell me what it is, love, and I will do all that I can to help you, but if you shut me out—I am lost.” I approached her, and smoothed the pad of my thumb against her cheek. “I need you, Solarias, please stop shutting me out.” I begged.
Her face twisted in pain, and she tentatively melted against me; I could finally feel the beating of her heart against my own, and I closed my eyes delighting in its strong beat.
“Something is not right, queen of my heart; do you not think that I feel it. I feel it.” I brought her warm caramel eyes to mine, but she still had her soul veiled. “There is a deep pain within you, a pain that you have locked away; a pain that you are keeping from me. You should not bear it alone. Please let me share the load.”
She draped her arms around my shoulders.
“Come to me later, my lord, and we shall talk; there is much to say. There is so much that I need to tell you.” Her eyes were cloaked in tears.
I brought her closer to me.
“We do not have to do the feast this eventide, I will cancel; if you need me my queen, just give me the word and we can stay right here and talk all night if that is what you wish.”I lulled softly, and for the first time in 90 moon phases; I could feel her response to me and smell the inebriating cinnamon of her passion. My presence was breaking down her walls; I could feel oneness between us once more.
I would not force anything; I kissed her forehead softly, and separated myself from her but she gently came close to me again, and pulled my arms gently around her. My heart was beating so hard that, I thought it would pound right through my chest. She draped her arms around my shoulders again, melting her body against mine; I wanted so desperately to kiss her but I waited for her to make the first move, and she made it by gently brushing her sweet lips against mine—I was losing my mind at her closeness. I softly kissed her lips, and she did not flinch away. Could it be possible that she still wanted me? I backed away slightly; trying to ascertain her feelings, I did not want to take advantage of her vulnerability. She smiled, not a faux smile; but a real smile as if a heavy weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
“We should go, my queen; the Solarians will be here any minute.” I returned her smile, but she refused to let me separate myself from her.
“Do you not want to kiss me, my lord?” She was looking into the depths of my soul, which was not fair; considering that she would not let me look into her soul. Perhaps, later she would unveil her soul for me to view.
“Until I am feverish, but we have company coming; and we simply do not have the time for me to kiss you as deeply as I would like to.” I tasted her lips lightly, not allowing myself to kiss her too deeply or I knew that I would not be able to stop myself.
“Well, there is always later, my king.” She cupped my face in her hands.
“I would not dream of being anywhere else.” I lulled softly to her, and she closed her eyes at my closeness. “Now, shall we go to meet our guests?”
“Yes, my Moon King; I am ready.”
I held my arm out to her, and she wrapped her arms around it.
“Thank-you for being so patient with my, my king; I know that it has not been easy.”
I stopped, and brought her eyes to mine.
“Always, we are one my queen; my life is bound to yours in every way possible. I will always fight for you, that was my solemn vow when I took you to myself. Marriage is definitely for warriors.” I grinned at her, and she returned the grin. “And warriors do not give up.”
I continued to walk, and she rested her head on my shoulder with a sigh. I could feel a change happening in her; slowly but surely what was broken was being renewed again, what was dead was being raised to life right before my eyes. I remembered thinking then, that we had a chance of surviving the worst between us. However, I did not expect the truth to be so viciously ugly; I had not prepared for what was really plaguing my wife. Maybe if I had been spiritually prepared, I would have been able to handle the truth a lot better, but that is the thing about life—we can only learn from our mistakes, character is built through tribulation. And the best inventions come out of some of the worst trials and errors.
The feast had gone well, as could be expected; the food was wonderful, the orchestra played extraordinarily well and the people seemed to be getting along with one another—of course, there would always be those people who chose to stay on their own side. My brother and mother, were simply unprepared to accept the treaty; Solarias’s mother elected not to show up at all and the Elders of the Board on both sides were simply waiting for the whole thing to implode on itself. However, Leonus and I remained hopeful, and as long as the kings were in agreement—nothing could stand in our way. I tried to ignore, the evil forebodings that kept creeping up in my mind; something was terribly amiss, and a cloak of darkness hung over these festivities as if the Dark Force was just close enough to touch. However, I had not seen hide nor hair of him; since Solarias had claimed to have seen him on the eve of her coronation reception.
I just could not shake that, something terrible was about to happen; my mother and brother had been talking in hushed whispers all evening, and for some strange reason this unnerved me, but Solarias’s vibrancy made me blind to everything else and I simply pushed it to the back of my mind. When Solarias whispered to me that, she had to excuse herself to handle personal matters; I thought nothing of it, because I thought that she would be right back. I did not even think that it was odd that, my brother got up and excused himself around the same time. I simply was much too euphoric about the festivities going off without a hitch that, I did not have my eyes opened; as a warrior I should have known better than this—the first rule on the battlefield is to always keep your eyes open—but I never saw what happened next, coming; I was blindsided by it, and it was those moments that caused individuals to act irrationally.
Solarias had been gone far too long, I supposed that I could have sent her ladies to look for her; but I wanted to find her myself. Leonus decided to come with me, so, that we could share more pleasant conversation, after we had searched for quite some time; we found Solarias with my brother in the Sacred Hall, and my brother was holding my wife in his arms—while she was struggling against him. They were having a heated discussion, Leonus and I did not interrupt—we were stunned into silence by the whole scene. So, we watched to see how it would unfold.
“I thought that, you would have told him by now; my little sun wench. Why did you not tell him, did you feel the same thing I felt when we connected that eventide?” He tried to kiss her, and she slapped him; this only made him more violent and angry. “Why should you tell him, you wanted it; you little whore. And you liked it that is, why you did not tell him. You wanted me, as I wanted you.” He planted a kiss on her neck, and I felt a rage rise up inside of me that I could taste. They were having an affair, is that why she had been so distant? “You know, I still cannot get you out of my head; no maiden can compare with how you made me feel. I must have you again, he does not have to know. It will be our little secret, my lady.”
“No, please stop, do not hurt me again.” She sobbed. “I swear, I will not tell him, just let me go.” She was struggling against him.
When Leonus and I entered the room, Kantono released Solarias immediately; and Solarias ran directly into my arms. I could see it so clearly now, my brother had raped my wife. How could I have been so blind and stupid?
“So, this is what you people do? You have been passing around my sister like a whore.” Leonus’s countenance twisted in fury. The Dark Force had entered the room; I could feel his presence as he entered into Leonus; tainting everything that he had just heard.
“You have it all wrong, King of Solarian; I had no knowledge of my brother’s crimes against my wife. If I had…” I tried to explain, but he put up his hand to stop me.
“I will not honor a treaty, with a perverse kingdom such as this.” He looked to Solarias. “Solarias, my sister, come with me; you will not stay here another moon, you should be with your own people. Both of these beasts have used you ill. Do you not see what you are to them now? You are nothing more than a whore, a bed wench to be passed around and used at their pleasure.” He thundered.
“That is not how it happened brother, you do not understand at all.” Solarias was pleading with him, but he could not see past his own hatred. “Dane is innocent in all of this, he had no idea about the vile things that, Kantono did to me; I did not tell him because I was ashamed.”
“Are you coming home or not sister?” He boomed, discarding her explanation as if it were nothing more than trash.
“I am home, brother.” She entwined her fingers with mine; and refused to leave my side.
“Mock my words, King of Luniris; I will have justice for you and your brother’s actions.” He pointed at me in disgust, and narrowed his eyes at Solarias. “Stay here sister, and be destroyed with all the rest of these abominable moon people; for we attack at dawn.” He left the hall, there was no doubt that he would gather up his people when he got back to the dining area.
I turned to my brother, in a fit of rage, but Solarias refused to let me go over to him when I was so angry; she held me fast. I heard the Dark Force’s malicious laughter, in the air just above my head.
“Why did you not tell me, love, why did you allow me to believe that he saved your life; when all he did was take life from you?” My stomach turned in disgust. “Why, Solarias, why did you carry all of this pain by yourself? I could have had him executed for his crimes.” I could see tears in my eyes.
“He is your brother, one of your people; your loyalty should be to him.” She shouted. “I am not of your blood, I am just your wife; he is of your blood, do you not owe him your loyalty?” Her words cut me to my heart.
I brought her into me, and looked deeply into her eyes.
“Do you not know, how special you are to me; here,” I placed her hand to my heart. “He is of my blood, he is my brother, but I no longer owe him my loyalty; not when he has bought desecration and dishonor to my love. You are my wife, and now I must take my rights as a husband for his crimes.” I unsheathed my sword, and turned to my brother. “Draw brother, for I will not fight an unarmed man.”
I could feel the spirit of the Dark Force weighing me down, and taking control of me; this was not about mercy or grace—this was about vengeance and getting my own brand of justice. Right now, I did not care whether he lived or died; a black mass eclipsed my heart and no light could be found in it. I knew that, it was unlawful for me to do this without first consulting with the Elders of the Board, but I no longer cared. Kantono unsheathed his sword with a smile.
“As you wish.”
“Do you deny your crimes against my beloved?” I asked when I approached him, with the warrior’s rage boiling in my blood.
“Come now, Danolian; you know that putting a crown on a whore’s head; never made her a lady.” He mocked me, I swung in a fit of rage and he countered it. “Slow down now brother, you are beginning to fight brashly like those sun demons that you love so much.” He laughed, and I swung again; slicing him across his arm, he stepped away from me quickly so he would not get hit again.
“You raped her!” I snarled.
“She wanted it brother, you should have heard her scream; when I was inside of her.” He sliced me across the left side of my face, and I maneuvered to the right so; he could not get me again. “Over and over and over again.”
I lunged at him with the power of the Star Breather’s sword, and mixed with the dark powers of the Dark Force that, I was letting permeate inside of me—the sword turned completely black, and when I stabbed the sword in my brother’s shoulder; it seared inside of him, and he screamed out in excruciating pain, as he dropped his sword and fell to the ground. I kicked the sword away from him; he was completely defenseless.
“On your knees, brother.” I growled, my voice sounding foreign in my own ears.
He struggled to get up on his knees, while holding his shoulder in pain; this was when I was supposed to turn him over to the elders for them to pass judgment and sentencing, but he did not deserve a fair trial. He had raped my wife, and in so doing; he had murdered our youngling—he did not deserve to live. Solarias was screaming at me to stop, but I could no longer hear her, the Star Breather tried to push light and peace back into my spirit but I blocked it out—the only voice that I could hear was the Dark Force, and he was repeatedly growling in my ear; death, death, death. And my flesh craved his blood, this would be the only thing that appeased my flesh.
“As the King of Luniris, I now sentence you to death; for your crimes of dishonor against the queen.” I was seeing through a film of dark haze. “How do you plead, brother?”
Kantono just stared at me through narrowed eyes, and when he took too long to speak; I jabbed my sword into his other shoulder and he fell back as he cried out in pain.
“On your knees, you filthy animal.” I snarled in a demonic voice that, was wholly not my own.
“Please Dane, not this way.” Solarias’s voice broke through, only briefly before I shut it out.
Kantono struggled to his knees again.
“How do you plead, dog?” I screeched.
“Guilty.” His voice was as demonic as mine.
I readied my sword, and with one graceful swipe; my brother’s head was gone, but when the haze cleared and the Dark Force left me I realized what I had done—I had let my rage get the best of me and in so doing; I had taken another life.
“No,” I screamed, falling down beside the decapitated body of my brother; and I began to cry uncontrollably. Solarias knelt down beside me, and hugged me to her. I wept, because I had used the Star Breather’s precious gift to do the Dark Force’s bidding. None of my tears were for the brother that, I had just murdered; I could not gather the right type of feelings for my brother’s death, there was just no sadness in me. There was no doubt in my mind that, he deserved all the pain that he received in recompense for the agony that he had heaped upon Solarias, if not much more. Nevertheless, I was almost certain that, the Elders of Luniris would not view my actions as those of justice; but rather vengeance, not only could I be forcibly abdicated—I could even be executed for my passing the judgment of execution upon my brother without first giving him a proper trial. I slowly brought my eyes to mingle with Solarias’s, and I saw tears streaming down her cheeks; obviously sharing in my pain. I smoothed my fingertips against her cheek, and sat straight up; and pulled her into my strengthened embrace. She did not need my frailty right now, she needed my strength.
“I am sorry for the unjust way in which it was done, but I am not sorry that I killed him,” I lulled softly into her ear. “He deserved to die for his crimes against you. I do not regret his death; I only regret that I raised the Star Breather’s sword with the Dark Force’s hatred clouding my heart. I swore that I would never kill another man with such blind hatred and malice in my heart again.” I felt her melt deeper into me; as if she were holding onto me for dear life. Did she still see me as her warrior; her protector? I needed to feel her faith in me right now. I brought her eyes to rest on mine again. “Please, let me see inside of you, love, I must know what you are thinking.”
She said nothing, as she lifted the veil to her soul; and I saw all so clearly. He attacked her without mercy, he treated her like a common whore; not the classy queen that she was—he held her captive for hours as he ravaged her again and again. I thought I would be sick, but I would not close my eyes or turn from it. If she could bear it to be done; I would be man enough to share her pain, and through this maybe we could find healing together. When his brutal attack had concluded; she walked from the garden with her head held high to prove that he had not taken her dignity. The visions of her soul then quieted, and she looked deeply into my eyes and cupped her hand to my cheek.
“Thank-you, my king, for avenging me.” She hugged her arms around me, and rested her head on my shoulder; she sobbed softly. “He can cause me pain, no longer.”
To hear from my wife’s own lips that, I had acted as her hero brought strength to my heart; in that moment I could have conquered the world all at once.
“If I could kill him, everyday for the rest of my life, it still would not be enough—to make amends for your pains. You are such a warrior,” I had to look into her eyes when I said it. “My beloved,” I grinned at her in amazement. “How in the High Star Realms did you ever keep all of that, inside of you? You never should have felt as if you handle that alone.” All I could do was take her in my arms, I never wanted to let her go again. I only wanted to mend her delicate soul from the tears that, had been placed there by one that was supposed to be my greatest ally. “What can I do for you love? I will do anything.”
She looked at me and smiled.
“Would you keep looking at me, the way you are now?” She blushed crimson, and my heart did funny things inside my chest.
“And how is that love; I always look at you this way.” I returned her smile.
“Precisely,” I feel so wanted, so loved, so cherished when you look at me the way you do.” She took her eyes away from mine. “I was so scared, I thought that you would not want me anymore; I thought that your love would change. I thought that…” I brought her eyes back to mine, and she quieted.
“Nothing has changed; my heart still longs for you, like it always has.” I looked at her delicious lips then; Star Breather help me, but I wanted to kiss her until I could no longer breathe, however, we were still on the floor beside my dead brother’s body—my kissing her here might be a bit much. So, with quickness; I got up from the floor and held out my hand for hers and when I lifted her up we were standing face to face. I was so close to her, closer to her than I had been in quite some time; I forgot how easily her cinnamon essence affected me—I was drunk on it immediately. I shook off the urge to kiss her with much difficulty. “Come.” And I took her hand in mine, and towed her with me toward the door.
When we got to the door, she pulled me back to her as if she did not want to leave just yet.
“My love, the others are waiting; I am sure that they have questions about Leonus’s outburst—we must…” I stopped speaking when I noticed the, come hither look that was present in her seductive caramel eyes. “Love, let us be away.” But before I had a chance to try to leave again; she came dangerously close and through her arms around my shoulders.
“Am I not sweet to you anymore, my king?” She lulled, and my joyous nostrils accepted the sweetness of her breath.
Was she kidding? She was all I thought about during these past long and lonely moon phases. I wanted her so much that, it hurt. Nevertheless, whenever it got too much; I knew how to turn that particular emotion off—so that the pain of not having her body against mine—would not consume me. I had to do it now, because holding her in my arms was fanning some serious flames of desire. I dared to gently caress her lips with the pad of my thumb.
“You are so sweet, my lady, that, you consume my every waking thought and you permeate my sweetest dream.” I held her at her waist. “I can scarcely breathe when you are near me.” I whispered into her ear, and this ignited her into flame; the spicy smell of cinnamon was beginning to overtake me.
“Then why will you not touch me?” She brought her body closer to mine, and we were one.
I was losing my fight to resist her, but because I loved her; I had to make sure that she was alright. I did not want my touch to threaten to stir painful memories of my villainous brother’s brutal attack against her. I forced some space in between us, and looked into her eyes.
“Love, I do not want to hurt you.” I spoke through labored breath, and she smiled a seductive smile; and closed in the space between us.
“I know that you will not.” She lulled hypnotically, as she caressed her lips gently against mine.
I could not resist her anymore, I fastened her to me; and made the kiss more insistent—I was a thirsty man, quenching his thirst. My hands gently explored her, and she groaned in pleasure; as she threw her arms around my shoulders and entangled her fingers in my hair a passionate snarl escaped me. Star Breather be praised, she was so much sweeter than I remembered. Suddenly, the passionate storm was interrupted by a small mob entering the room. Solarias and I stopped with their entrance; quite embarrassed at their surprise and inconvenient visit.
All of the elders poured into the room, as did my mother, Brynyana, Baylin, Eloin and some of my loyal subjects. While many of them were looking at us with ridiculous smirks on their faces, I heard some gossipy whispers in the crowd, and saw stern reproachful countenances of the elders. All I could do was smile, and pull Solarias close to me, I was unashamed—there was nothing wrong with a husband loving his wife. I would never apologize for taking pleasure with her. In my passionate cloud of joy, I had forgotten all about my dead brother lying on the floor.
Ramadin, the leader of all the elders—noticed Kantono’s headless corpse first, and did not hesitate to call everyone’s attention to his lifeless form.
“Who has done this vile evil?” He said pointing his cane over toward my brother’s direction.
Just then there were gasps, and cries of horror; my mother pushed her way through the crowd and ran over to him—Brynyana followed and tried to console her, but Kantono was my mother’s favorite son; therefore none of Brynyana’s soothing words could console her.
“Those sun demons shall pay for this!” She screeched out in pain.
And the whole crowd agreed, as they gave Solarias evil looks; I would have to diffuse the situation before the accusations went any further.
“The Solarian people had nothing to do with Kantono’s death,” I resonated, but the bloodthirsty crowd was so busy planning their quest for flesh that, they completely ignored me. So, as their king I would have to make myself clearer than I had before. “Silence!” I shouted, and everyone obeyed; the only sound was my mother’s uncontrollable sniffling. “The Solarian people had nothing to do with Kantono’s death; I as your king, passed the judgment of execution against Kantono for his crimes against our queen.”
There were whispers among the crowd, and then my mother stood up and tried to run over to Solarias—I shielded Solarias with my body.
“You vicious little wench, what did he do to you? Whatever she said that he did; the dark skinned whore is lying.” She pointed her finger at her, and I pushed my mother back.
“I have seen it in her soul mother, Kantono viciously attacked my wife; therefore he had to be punished. You have no idea of the pains that, he has caused her mother; she was with child and because of his vile acts—he killed out youngling.” My eyes narrowed at her, as I tried to control my rage.
“You do not see how the little wench threw herself at him, she made him do it.” She hurled the accusation at Solarias like a deadly poison, but I had heard enough.
“Brynyana, take your mistress to her chambers; I will hear no more of her bitter tongue this eventide. She is dismissed.” I crossed my arms, and then she slapped me across my face as hard as she could.
“You insolent fool, is the black tramp that much to you? Do you choose her over your own brother?”
I stood, unmoved by her slap; I refused to show any weakness to her—I was her king after all.
“When he decided to put his filthy hands on my wife, he forfeited any bloodlines to me; and if you continue to talk against my wife, mother, it shall be the same with you.” I looked toward the guards that, had just arrived. “I have heard enough of your insolence for one eventide, mother; guards,” They approached me awaiting my orders. “Take my mother to her chambers, she is retiring for the evening.”
The guards dragged her off kicking and screaming, and Brynyana followed them—giving Solarias an evil glare as she went.
“All of you are dismissed; I will talk to the Elders alone.” I addressed the crowd, and they reluctantly dispersed; Solarias tried to leave with them, but I pulled her back to me with a smile. “Not you love, I will have you stay; I need you.”
When the room had cleared, I had a seat upon my throne; with my beautiful sun maiden at my side. It felt so good to have her so close, so near.
“Gentleman, have a sit down.” I directed them to sit at the table; where we had held so many meetings, and they did as instructed. “We have much to discuss.”
Ramadin stood first, and pointed his cane directly at me; all the elders wore the same reproachful, disdained and disappointed look upon their faces. I could tell that whatever sentence that, they were about to lay down was not going to be good.
“I would say that we do, young king; we have dealt with your outright defiance of this board, we have sat quiet and accepted your insolence toward our decisions and we have kept close watch on how you continuously disregard tradition. This will no longer do.” The old man had to put his cane back on the ground, just to stand up straight; and then his eyes were filled with indignation toward me. “What have you done, young king; your brother’s blood cries out to us from the ground—it cries out demanding justice for his unjust death. And we must act accordingly.” The other five elders banged their fists on the table in assent.
I was disgusted by their blinding hatred, and I stood up from my throne as my anger kindled against them.
“So, you will ignore everything that I have told you that he did; to bring about his own demise?” I shouted.
“We do not deny that a crime was committed on Kantono’s part, but he has already paid for his crimes at your unlawful hand; now, you must pay for your crimes against him.” He had gained enough strength in his legs; to point his cane my way again.
“My crimes?” I snarled.” He raped my wife, and killed our unborn youngling; the courts would have surely found him guilty, and would have executed him anyway.” I put tension in my jaw.
“We will never know, will we young king; because he was never given a fair trial.” He retorted, and all the other elders nodded their heads. “We are charging you with disgrace to the crown, mismanagement of power and the unlawful execution of your brother. Your trial will commence at dawn, and unlike you, young king; we shall let the people decide your fate.”
I heard Solarias let out a gasp of pain, and out of my puerperal vision; I saw her put both of her hands to her chest. I wanted to run to her and comfort her, but I was much too angry right now.
“Guards,” Ramadin called, and about four of them came as soon as they had been summoned. “Take the young king down to the dungeon to await his trail.”
The guards looked confused at first, because I was not giving the order.
“Did you not hear me,” Ramadin reiterated himself. “The young king, has committed a crime, and therefore must be punished accordingly—no being is above the law.” And then he sat in his seat, callously; as the guards moved toward me slowly.
“You racist cowards!” I spat the words at them like acid, as the guards approached me to take me away. “This has nothing to do with my rightfully executing Kantono; you are trying to make me pay for my marriage to Solarias, because it went against your traditions and edicts of bigotry.”
Ramadin and the elders turned away from me, it was as if I were speaking to deaf ears. The guards put my hands behind my back; to ensure that I would not try to hit any of the men, and they unsheathed my sword and confiscated it, so that I would not lash out and kill any of them. I saw Solarias get up from her throne, run to the Elders’ table, and bow at Ramadin’s feet; I wanted to go over and gently grab her away from groveling before him—he moved away from her in disgust.
“Please, do not do this Elder Ramadin; he was only avenging my honor, against the vile evil that his brother had done me. You must pardon him; he was only acting out of love.” She was sobbing.
Ramadin looked at her coldly.
“No man is above the law, my young sun maiden.” He refused to even acknowledge her as queen.
I fought against the guards, and momentarily broke free; and I went over to Solarias and pulled her up from Ramadin’s feet and held her in my arms.
“You look down to no one, my love; you grovel at no man’s feet—you are the Queen of Luniris and you should demand respect.”
“You were protecting me, you were only protecting me; we have to make them understand.”
“All these fools understand is their own twisted justice.”
And then I blacked out, one of the guards must have hit me over the head; because when I next woke—I was in the palace dungeons like a common criminal.
When I was a young maiden, Baylin used to love to tell me a story from the new version of the Sacred Texts. It spoke of the Star Breather, and how he had once died and was raised again; it spoke of his betrayal into the hands of death. Even though, no one could prove Him guilty of any crime, but the crime of love; He was still executed. The story made me cry each and every single time, because I remembered thinking how unfair it was that, He had to be put through a trial in the first place for nothing more than His love. The death was beyond painful, but He endured it all for love; every ounce of His blood drained from His broken and bruised body. I shuddered to think of Dane’s death; I could not watch my Moon King endure any sort of suffering, or pain for nothing more than His love for me. I could not stand by and watch him die.
I had tried to appeal to the council of Luniris Elders for hours after the guards had knocked Dane out, and taken him away, but none of them would even look at me—let alone talk to me. After a while, they got tired of my begging and pleading and one by one they got up and left me in the Sacred Hall—alone—to cry my body dry of all my tears. After I could cry no more, I got up from the stone floor; and decided to walk to the dungeon to see Dane—it was the peak of eventide—no longer night, but not yet morning. I had to be strong for him, he did not need to see my tears right now; he did not need to see that I was falling apart. He needed to see my strength and resilience, and I was going to show him every single ounce of it. No matter what I had to do, my love was not going to be sentenced to death tomorrow; even if I had to put myself in his place.
The dungeons were dark and dank, and provided very little illumination of moon glow; I was surprised that the guards could even see to work down there. Nevertheless, I was determined to see him before I would have to watch him being tried in a crowded court room; I needed to see him alone. I needed to feel like us again, before we were split asunder from each other—perhaps forever. As I approached the guards that, were guarding his cell; they gave me lust filled looks but I refused to acknowledge their depraved appraisal of me—I was after all their queen; they were my subjects, they were bound by the laws of Luniris to obey my every command. So, I held my head high, and ordered them to do my bidding.
“I want to see the King of Luniris.”
“A conjugal visit is it, my lady?” The wise mouthed guard; slapped the other one on the back while pumping his eyebrows.
“I will thank-you to keep your vile comments to yourself, and just let me pass.” I narrowed my eyes at him, and his countenance turned dark.
“Who do you think you are, you little sun wench?” He growled. “Do I have to finish what Prince Kantono started; to teach you a lesson?”
I unsheathed my sword, and held it to his throat; and in one quick maneuver I disarmed the other guard—while never moving the sword from his throat.
“You are certainly, welcome to try.” My voice was pure venom. “Now if you do not mind, I wish to see my husband; and you do not have to keep watch—I will call you back when I need you.”
I held the sword to his throat, as he unlocked the door with shaky hands. When the door to his cell was opened; he was doing push-ups on his knuckles, like a true warrior; he was keeping fighting fit. He jumped up on his feet; when he saw the dull moon glow stream in—he was not wearing his tunic top, and his beautiful muscles were dripping sweat from the exercise. His eyes caressed every inch of me, and I blushed under his intimate appraisal. I stepped into his room, and the guards closed the door behind me—I waited until their shadows disappeared from around the door before I attempted to speak to him.
He approached me, with no words; I could sense his intense passion as he took me into his strong embrace. I could feel every one of his strong muscles against me; the sweat on his body, along with his heightened desire for me, just made his delicious cucumber mint scent so potent and dizzying. I could hardly breathe him in; the stare of his cerulean eyes was mesmerizing as he penetrated into my soul, slowly and completely. I was perfectly still in his arms, as he released my hair from the loose bun that it was in; he grinned as he let his fingers get lost in my unruly curls. And then he tentatively let his lips find mine; I was captivated by his kiss, as he perfectly massaged his lips into mine. Nothing was done quickly or urgently, as he softly explored my mouth with his. Every part of me was on fire, cinnamon; cucumber and mint permeated the cell. He let his lips decorate softly against my neck, and I sighed in euphoric pleasure; at my only beloved’s sensual touch.
“Where have you been?” He lulled, giving his lips a rest, as he let his breath gently caress my ear drum; I could barely control my breathing and he chortled softly.
“Have you been expecting me?” I spoke through labored breath.
“All night, I could not sleep,” He let his hands gently curve around my bottom, and I naturally drew closer to him; our bodies were one and then his mouth found mine again. I draped my arms around his shoulders, and tangled my fingers in his hair. He separated his lips from mine to catch breath, as he trailed kisses behind my ear lobe. “Daydoda muara linsya.” He spoke in the language of the sun; he told me that I haunted his dreams.
I could not take it anymore; my body was screaming to be entwined with his.
“Sisan hiolop, luncrownia.” I looked deeply into his eyes, as I told him to touch me in the language of the moon people.
With his hands gently and firmly on my bottom, he lifted me up off of my feet; my legs straddled him as he took me over to his bed. When we were there, he placed my feet on solid ground, and looked into my eyes once more; as if trying to ascertain whether or not it was okay. I put his hands gently on me; I would withhold my body from him no longer, his brother would not tarnish our love—I was his and he was mine. I slowly guided him in undressing me, and when my gown fell to the ground—he loved me with his eyes. I smiled, as I brushed my lips against his; and then I helped release him from his tunic pants. We were both bare; in heart, soul, and spirit—the dim moonlight painted us in celestial robes. Tears escaped my eyes, as he grabbed me to him. He brushed them away with the pad of his thumb.
“Are you alright, my love?” He lulled, as he cuddled me in his strong embrace.
“I feel so connected to you right now, like when we were in the High Star Realms; and I gave you myself for the first time.” I smiled, and his eyes filled with tears.
“I have missed you so much Solarias, I have missed us.” He kissed me tenderly, as he lovingly lowered me down on his bed.
He let his hands gently caress me, and then he ever so lightly wove himself into me; I could barely breathe—I thought that I would break into a million pieces of love. He was in stark contrast to his brother in every way; he did not ravage me, he carefully made love to me. He played on my heartstrings like a fine and exquisite instrument. He entwined his fingers with mine, and when our wedding bands touched; an electric current flowed through both of us—binding us into one being. Our breaths were in unison, as the highest peak of our pleasure was reached—I lay cuddled into his side with his arms around me; when our desire was fully satiated.
“I would die a thousand deaths, just to feel that; live in this moment.” He looked into my eyes, and caressed my cheek with his fingertips. “I regret nothing, no matter what they decide; if I knew that this was how it would end up—when I first set eyes on you. I would still choose you.” He whispered. “Always.”
“I do not believe that, you shall die tomorrow love.” I put my palm to his, the same palm that held our ring fingers; and when the rings touched we could feel the slight shock. “The Star Breather placed us together for a very specific purpose, my Moon King; and it was not to face the agony of defeat—it was to face the triumph of victory.”
“Do you really believe that, I mean look at us Solarias; he put us together in the High Star Realms, but to what end? Our people still hate each other, and they are ready to destroy each other; meanwhile He sits far above our heads—doing nothing to intervene.” He was frustrated with the Star Breather’s inactivity; I brought his face to mine.
“You must have faith.” I smiled into his troubled eyes. Baylin always used to say that, when He is silent; He is doing some of His greatest movement.”
“Let us hope that Baylin is correct.” He kissed me softly, the moonlight had so quickly turned to sunlight. “You should go, the guards will be here any minute, to collect me for my trial.”
“No love, it cannot be dawn already; I am sure that the moon is still high in the sky. I am sure that the sun has not taken its place yet, I want to stay and share more love.” I pouted, and Dane laughed.
“What happened to that faith you were speaking of a few moments ago? Have faith love; I believe that we shall have many, many more nights just like this one.” He took my hand and placed a tender kiss on it. “Now go, I will see you at court in a little.”
The trial was to take place, on the platform outside of the palace; the platform was only reserved for executions. So, it was obvious that the Elders had already condemned him to death in their hearts, and this farce of a trial was only a formality to humiliate him. I bit down on my bottom lip to the point of pain, as the guards brought him out to stand before the Elders of Luniris; to be judged and sentenced. A hush fell over—the once rowdy crowd—when their king was brought out before them. I wore a wrap over my head to keep the burning sun from scorching me, because the sun was especially blazing today. Eloin held my hand, trying to offer me some comfort; as she stood beside me—Baylin was silent.
I was mystified by the fact that, the Elders had obviously ordered the guards to bring Dane his best kingly attire, because he was wearing his best royal apparel—from head to toe—to include his crown and the royal robes. What was the point when they were planning to put him on the chopping block anyway; but the answer to that question was abundantly clear, the elders were all about appearances. The thrones were positioned on the platform for the royals to sit on, but I chose not to take my position. I would not give the elders the satisfaction of making a spectacle out of me. Although, it was obvious, that his mother and Brynyana did not mind; because they were seated upon their thrones, so, that they could have a front row seat to the grisly decapitation. Queen Mahaliquin looked as if she were relishing the fact that, her son was about to be beheaded, and Brynyana’s sentiments seemed to follow those of her cold mistress.
I had no regrets about not taking my position on the throne; save one, my heart squeezed inside of my chest, when Dane gazed at my empty throne, and a sudden surge of panic crossed his blue eyes—when he did not see me seated upon it; his eyes roamed the crowd, and when he finally found me—he smiled, my pulse quickened. He seemed to strengthen at my presence; the spell between our gazes was shattered when, the first Elder of Luniris, Ramadin banged his gavel against the stone table that, he and the other five elders were seated at. The trial had begun.
“Danolian Fwynshool Hiyanartay, King of Luniris, Knight of the Four Armies, Lord of the Outer Star Realms,” Dane rolled his eyes at Ramadin having to mention all of his titles; as if he did not know him from birth. “You have been charged withdisgrace to the crown, mismanagement of power and the unlawful execution of your brother, how do you plead young sire?”
Dane made no hesitation before he answered; he narrowed his eyes at each and every one of them before he shouted his plea loudly for the whole crowd to hear it well.
“Guilty.” He annunciated, and ripples of gossipy whispers spread through the crowd like wildfire. “Without question, I am guilty on all charges.” He snarled.
“You do realize, young king that, this opens you up to the harshest form of judgment before this board?” As Ramadin pointed his cane at Dane with disdainful eyes; I could feel the Dark Force’s presence began to lurk.
“Would it be better for me, if I groveled to you of my innocence; would that really change anything Ramadin? You and the Elders have already condemned me to death, do not persist in acting as if you are giving me a fair chance here; this farce of a trial is merely a formality.” His words were dripping with sarcasm; I do so wish that, he would tread lightly and not try to provoke them. Had he forgotten that his life was in their hands?
He folded his arms about his chest, as his pride swelled; and he threw the elders a condescending smile.
“Do you accuse the board of performing to the crowd, with this trial, young king?” Ramadin sputtered angrily.
“Like a court jester.” He retorted with a smirk, and the entire crowd burst into uproarious laughter; I tried to hold the laugh in, because none of this was a laughing matter. What was Dane doing?
Ramadin’s face grew beet red, and he struggled to stand up and used his cane for balance.
“You mock our justice proceedings, boy?” His countenance took on a film of darkness, and his voice was cloaked in malice.
“Careful, old man; I am still your king.” His eyes narrowed indignantly. “You call this justice, this whole trial is the very definition of injustice; you name the crimes of which you claim I am being charged with, while you are charging me for something entirely different. Do you think I would be standing before you, if Kantono had raped and dishonored a moon maiden, and I elected to take his life to avenge her?” He spat the words out of his mouth like poison. “I will not stand here, and let you make a mockery of my love; this whole trial is being used as an instrument of your own prejudice and bigotry. So, please spare me your speech on justice.”
The crowd began to get rowdy with Dane’s speech, and Ramadin had to bang the gavel several times to settle the crowd back down.
“None of your words have anything to do with your crimes, my king; you must be punished for your crimes—nothing more. Do not make this a bleeding heart attempt to justify your preposterous marriage.” The Dark Force had entered him, and made him speak such words; Dane lunged for him, but the guards held him where he stood.
“She is your queen,” He thundered, still struggling against the guards. “I will have no other.”
“Such insolence, I will here no more,” He banged his gavel, and addressed the crowd then. “By the powers vested in me, as a member of the Elders of Luniris—I find you guilty of your crimes as charged. Your sentence, shall be death by the executioner’s ax.”
The crowd went absolutely insane, I screamed out in pain above them all; and I lost myself—I tore my hand away from Eloin’s and ran up to the platform—Baylin tried to catch me and hold me fast, but I outmaneuvered her. I ran straight into my king’s arms, and refused to let go.
“I will not live, if you must die; my lord.” I sobbed uncontrollably, and I could see the heartbreak in his blue eyes; the guards did not have the heart to keep their king captive. They let him go, and he embraced me with all of his strength.
“You will live, my queen; Luniris is yours,” He lulled to me. “You must make it into the kingdom that, we always dreamed it could be; please,” He smoothed his hand against my face; the crowd was hushed. I could see pure hatred in the eyes of Queen Mahaliquinand Brynyana; and while I could sense sympathy from the crowd gathered—I also felt daggers of hatred thrown at me. The ground quaked below us; our sweet display of love was unsettling the Netherworld. “Will you do this for me? Will you take care of my kingdom? Will you be the change that they all are seeking?”
“I cannot my lord, no one has ever loved me as you do; please, let me go with you.” I buried my face in his stone chest, and he brought my eyes back to his.
“Solarias,” He spoke my name with such love that, I thought I would faint in his arms. “I married a warrior, you are strong; you can accomplish what needs to be accomplished here, I trust you, I believe in you. You will turn the hatred into love.” He was crying now. “I love you so much, what we share is so beautiful; never let anyone trample it under foot.” And then he kissed me, and all of the Netherworld roared at the complete love that broke forth from our contact; the Dark Force’s kingdom fought against it violently—the ground split in two—releasing every vile member of the Dark Force’s army, when they had all come from the depths; the ground closed itself back up. Dane pushed me behind him; to shield me with his body, as we watched the supernatural scene unfold. I had never witnessed creatures so entirely ugly, as the Dark Force’s army. People broke out into a panic, and some tried to run; but the Dark Force froze them all captive with a wave of his hand.
The sun had been shining just moments ago; but was now blocked by the cloak of the Dark Force’s presence. He ascended the platform where Dane and I stood, with a wicked glee shining in his eyes—a smirked slithered across his face as he stood before Dane.
“You never cease to amaze me, young king; your love for this woman is quite unbelievable.” He clapped his hands with sarcasm. “I mean look at you,” He mocked Dane as he stood up straight, mimicking his kingly walk. “So, self-righteous,” He laughed heartily. “It has all been quite entertaining to watch really, to hear all of your speeches of righteousness and love; when you, young king are capable of such explosive acts of hatred. You can address these good elders, so impudently; when you yourself are as hateful as they are.”
I unsheathed my sword, and stood in between him and Dane; I was tired of his accusations toward my love, Dane tried to shove me back behind him but I refuse to be moved.
“Why do you not just go back to the Netherworld, you are not welcomed here,” I could not fight the boldness that holding the sword of the Star Breather gave me; I felt such power course through my veins and I could feel the Dark Force shudder from the sword’s powerful light. “You cannot even comprehend the depths of this man’s love; or our love together; that is why you are here is it not because you fear that love?” I narrowed my eyes at him.
“I fear nothing, little queen.” He said getting close to my face; his breath smelled of sulfur and brimstone, and the heat from it singed my nose hairs but I refused to let him intimidate me. He looked to Dane again. “My, my, my but she is delectable; young king, I can see why you chose her.” He touched my face with his fingertips, and I slapped his hand down with the sword; when the sword made contact with his skin it burned him. And he backed away from me holding his hand in pain.
“Take yourself, and your evil escorts and leave this kingdom; dark lord or I will be forced to send you there.” I said taking my warrior’s stance.
The Dark Force and his entire army laughed hysterically.
“You and what army, little queen?” He approached me again, I held out my sword so that he would not get too close.
“That will be far enough, creature.” I commanded.
“Well, I have just come to warn you all that, the people of Solarian are on their way over here this very minute; you see in the young king’s haste to make peace with the King of Solarian, he let his heart get a bit too soft.” He chortled darkly. “Both kings forgot to put the Protective Mist back into place, so your kingdom is no longer divided; the entire Solarian army will have access to wipe you all out.” He hunched his shoulders while smirking. “You see all I have to do now, is sit back and let you destroy yourselves; I will be here until the last youngling is dead in the massacre.” He clapped his hands together, as the warning bell sounded; and soldiers came running into town from the border. “And here we go.”
Right after the soldiers of Luniris came running up, the Solarian soldiers came right behind them on horseback, and Dane was once again face to face with my brother Leonus, the King of the Solarians but this time there would be no talks of peace, because my brother was dressed in full battle armor—ready for war.
THE MOON KING
TO THE NETHERWORLD AND BEYOND
I was paralyzed by the Dark Force’s accusations, they just unloosened something inside of me; and for the first time I saw myself. While it may have been through a glass darkly cloaked; his words had hit their mark. Could his accusations be in anyway, truthful? If I were being completely honest with myself; I would have to say yes. I talked of love, I even practiced it in some ways, however, when it was difficult to love—I often retreated into darkness. It was so easy for me to give into anger, when I should have loved harder—even when the person was difficult to love. I was no different than the Elders of Luniris, I was a bit self-righteous in my own beliefs; every bit as self-righteous as they were in their old ways and traditions. When faced with my true self, I did not like what I saw; what I saw was a monstrous man who was responsible for the deaths of two men.
“Solarias, sheath your sword, my love; we shall not fight today.” My words hurt coming out, I saw the Dark Force chortle a little; Solarias was completely bewildered as she did what I told her to do, and then she returned to my side, the warriors of Solarian were utterly flabbergasted by my willingness to just let them kill me. The rest of my kingdom remained frozen in the Dark Force’s invisible hold on them. I sighed deeply, how wrong I had been about everything. Love was meant to be practiced wholly; half way simply was not enough. The kind of love that the Star Breather exhibited was entirely sacrificial, and if I were honest I had made no real sacrifice. “We cannot bring an end to violence, by violence; we cannot continue to fight each other and expect anything to change.”
“Where is that foul brother of yours,” Leonus yelled in anger. “He will pay for his crimes against my sister.”
“He has already paid, at my hand.” I tried to control my emotions, I did not want to elicit anger with an angry tone of voice; especially when a soft answer had the ability to turn away wrath. The Solarian warriors were silenced by my confession. “Yes, I killed my brother; for his crimes against my wife—I cannot undo what I have done, which is why I beg of you now brothers, do not make me kill anymore of my family.” I started to move off the platform to stand amongst them, Solarias gripped my arm tightly—refusing to let me go. I gently released her hands, and smiled at her; then I continued my descent. I held up my hands to them in surrender. I looked at the Dark Force’s face, and he was frightened by my actions. “I have had malice and hatred in my heart brothers, and I do not wish it to remain. We will win nothing today by fighting each other; all we will succeed at doing is wiping each other out. No, kingdom will stand victorious.”
“Justice must be served!” One of Leonus’s brothers shouted, but Leonus looked at him with narrowed eyes.
“Peace,Patrius.” Leonus quieted him. “Let him speak,” He jumped down from his horse, so that he could stand at eye level with me.
“Brother,” I extended my hand out for his, and he tentatively took it. “I apologize for the death of your father at my hand, I should have made amends long ago; his death was senseless and it was done out of pure hatred. There is no excuse that will ever justify my actions. Will you forgive me?”
There were tears in Leonus’s eyes, as he looked at me in awe and amazement; he could not move his lips to speak. He was becoming overcome by emotion; his cinnamon fragrance gave his emotional breakdown away.
“That was a terrible night, so much bloodshed; so many lives lost,” His voice was trembling. “But you lost someone that night too, King of Luniris—you lost your father as well, and for that I apologize.” One lone tear fell down his cheek. “Where do we go from here, brother?”
And then I was overcome by emotion.
“I wish your sister’s hand in marriage; I wish to ask your permission as it should have been done long ago,” I looked to her, and tears were escaping her eyes. “I love her Leonus, with all of myself; loving her redeems me in so many ways. We cannot help how the Star Breather decided to paint us, but I do not believe that those differences have to divide us; I believe that they should unify us. We all need each other, there are things that both of our kingdoms can contribute to each other. No more separate but equal, all of us should be equal.”
“You are wise beyond your years, little brother,” He looked to his sister, then. “You may have her hand, with my permission and my blessing; her heart is yours to protect and hold forever.” He addressed his warriors. “What say you brothers, are you in agreement; can we be done with this senseless war?”
The men cheered their assent, and they all jumped down from their horses to offer their hands to me. The ground quaked violently, because the Dark Force knew that he had been defeated.
“You are all weak!” He snarled. “How can these ridiculous sentiments of love, erase all that has happened between you? Love means nothing, when put up against pain and suffering.”
I ascended the podium again, and addressed the people; who were now becoming unfrozen from their poses, because the Dark Force could not hold them fast and have a tantrum too.
“Good people, for too long we have been under this foul dog’s boot; for too long we have listened to his vicious lies. What say you to driving him back to the Netherworld where he belongs?” I shouted, and everyone cheered. “What say you, to freeing ourselves from his tyranny?” They cheered louder. “Then let us fight him, with all that we have, for love, for honor, for freedom, for justice, for unity.” The cheers shook both of our kingdoms, and then a Mighty trumpet sounded; and the sky cracked wide open.
The Star Breather rode the air down, on Arogun’s back, and He was not alone—He brought His own army—all the way from the Celestial Kingdom. All the men were on white horses, and wore golden battle armor; they were fully armed ready to war. And when the Star Breather, and his army landed; they immediately jumped down from their horses and took their warrior stance. The Star Breather climbed the podium steps, and gave me a bright smile.
“I have been waiting for this moment, King of Luniris; waiting for the love to return to your lands and now that it has—I am here to do all that I can to ensure that you win this war.” He held out another sword to me. “I think that you will be needing this.” I was in awe of how much more superior it was to the other sword that, He had first given me.
“But Sire, you have already gifted me a sword.”
“Yes, but you have grown; therefore your sword grows with you—every mighty king—needs a mighty sword.” I took it from His hands, and felt the power as soon as my fist clamped around the hilt.
“Young king, this shall not be an easy fight, it will be to the death; only one side will win—good against evil.” He placed His Mighty hand on my shoulder. “Lead them good king, you have my essence inside of you; my stamp to empower you. There is nothing that you cannot accomplish; nothing that you cannot do. I am on your side, I am here to guide you; follow my path always and you will not go wrong.”
“Yes Sire.” I bowed to Him, and then I turned back to Solarias. “My love, would you make sure that the maidens, younglings and elders get to someplace safe?”
“But my lord, could I not stay with you and help?” She was pouting, I loved it when she pouted; her lips look so delicious but I could not focus on that right now—I had greater things to worry about.
“I will not be able to fight with a clear head, if you are near.” I smiled into her warm caramel eyes. “Can I trust you with this mission?”
“Certainly, sire.” She smiled, but I could see some disappointment in the smile. “You better be careful.”
I could not help myself; I pulled her close and kissed her quickly, and then she was gone to complete her mission—making sure that the maidens, younglings and elders got to some place safe. When they were at a safe distance, I turned back to my battle ready warriors.
And then I threw off my kingly robes; and held the sword up. “It is time to battle!” I shouted loudly, and every single warrior began to war against the Dark Force and his wicked army. The Dark Force proved himself to be a worthy opponent; as he summoned his dark sword from the Netherworld—he and his army began to kill without mercy. War was war, and while I hated it because of all the bloodshed, and innocent lives lost; there was no place that I would rather be, than here right now fighting alongside my sun brothers. We were now truly one kingdom united, as we fought valiantly fought to push the Dark Force out of our lands.
The battle lasted two full suns, and while I had started with so much energy; my energy was now waning fast. Leonus never left my side, and the Star Breather was not too far away either; after putting my sword through another demon knight, I nearly fell backward with exhaustion—when a Mighty trumpet blast from somewhere up in the Celestial Kingdom signaled—to the soldiers fighting—that the war had been won; the Dark Force and his dark army were retreating. Nevertheless, as the disheveled Dark Force jumped onto the back of one of his evil army’s horses; he gave me a small smirk, which was to say that, he still had some more of his malicious tricks up his sleeve. He had been obviously beaten, but he was not crawling back to the Netherworld quietly.
When he disappeared into a puff of black smoke, I could not shake the look on his face; something deep within my core told me that Solarias was gone. However, before I could go check on her; Leonus grabbed me up in a big bear hug.
“We won brother, we must celebrate.” He laughed heartily, placing me back down on the ground; and his smile quickly faded when he noticed the worried look on my face. “What is it brother, I thought that you would have been happier about our victory.”
“I am overjoyed, but there is something wrong; I feel it within my spirit—something is just not right.” I could feel my eyebrow furrowing. “I have to go.” I ran into the palace quickly, I had to see Solarias to calm my worries, Leonus was close behind.
“I will come with you.”
The first place we went was the temple, Solarias loved that place; and I was sure that there is exactly where she would have taken the people for safe keeping. When Leonus and I entered the temple, everyone was safe but they certainly were not sound; the temple was in disarray as if a fight had ensued, and when I scanned the room I could not find Solarias—Eloin and Baylin came running up to me as soon as I entered. Eloin had tears in her eyes when she spoke, Baylin looked as if she had seen a ghost—she was eerily silent.
“My lord,” She cried. “He took her.” She sobbed.
I took her by her arms firmly.
“Who took her Eloin?” But she seemed to be too overcome with grief to answer me, so I shook her in my attempt to get the answer out of her. “Who?” I screamed.
Leonus gently placed his hand to my shoulder.
“Little brother, you will hurt her.”
I realized what I had been doing, and I stopped immediately; contrition washed over me for my treatment of Eloin.
“I am sorry Eloin,” I placed my hand to her cheek. “Please tell me.” But she just kept crying, so, I looked to Baylin with a silent plea in my eyes.
“An agent of the Dark Force.” She breathed out quietly. “She was singing to the younglings, when he came in; she fought so valiantly like any warrior of Luniris or Solarian, the elders tried to help but he was just too strong; my lord. I am so sorry,” Tears spilled from her eyes. “I should have been protecting her.”
I took her hands in mine.
“Do not fear Baylin, I shall bring her home; if he wants me, he shall have me,” I snarled. “I shall settle this once and for all.”
I stormed out of the temple, and Leonus followed.
“Little brother,” He called to me in inquisition, but I was deaf to him because I was so focused on my logical strategy to save Solarias. “Little brother,” He spun me around to face him. “What are you planning to do?” He looked worried.
“Go after her, of course.” The words spilled from my lips without hesitation.
“You mean to the Netherworld?” I could hear the fear in his voice.
“If that is where my love is, that is where I shall go.” I said with a determined air.
Leonus sighed, and placed his hand to my shoulder.
“You do realize that you are riding to your death?” His voice was cloaked in warning. “No man has ever gone into the Netherworld, and lived to tell the tale, little brother. Let us put our heads together and think about this.”
I smiled trying to lighten the mood, or I would go crazy.
“I thought I was supposed to be the logical one here.”
“Little brother, it seems that I am the cooler head this time, so let my wisdom prevail.”
“There is no time for wisdom Leonus, wisdom will get her killed; he would kill her just to break me—he knows what she means to me Leonus. I cannot stand by and do nothing.” I felt tears prickling my eyes.
Leonus sighed deeply.
“Well, if you are going to go into the very bowels of death; you know that I am not about to let you go alone.” He smiled and held out his hand for mine. “To the death?”
I took his hand and grinned.
“To the death.”
The Star Breather blessed Leonus and I before we took off for our quest, but I had a feeling that the Star Breather wanted me to defeat the Dark Force without Him being physically present, because this was a true test of my faith and spiritual strength. If I could do this, then I would finally be able to step into my true destiny as the Moon King; I had never quite fit into my position and had been lamenting my place as king since my father passed the title onto me upon his death. I had never wanted to be king, because it was a lot easier to just hide in someone else’s shadow, but maybe now it was time for me to step into the light.
After riding three whole phases of the moon, with one stop because Leonus wanted to make sure that the horses were well rested and watered; we had reached the precipice of all kingdoms; we were at the edge of all light—one jump into the void would put us into the depths of darkness. When we leapt off of our horses, and took a look into the deep; my heart twisted inside of my chest, the fear in me became so overwhelming that I could actually taste it filling up in my mouth. I wanted to turn back, but I had come too far to turn back. Solarias was worth leaping into unknown danger for; I would not leave her here, I could not leave her here. Leonus looked over at me, and slapped me on my shoulder.
“I am with you, little brother.” He smiled.
“You ready?” I spoke through the lump of fear clogging my throat.
“Whenever you are.”
And then we jumped over the precipice; our horses looked at us take the deep, dark descent, and when they could no longer see us—they stepped back from the edge neighing. We were falling so quickly that, the precipice opening now seemed like a million miles away. Smoke, sulfur and brimstone filled my lungs the deeper we went into the void. I could hear the rattling of chains, and the sound of tortured and torment voices; these were the voices of the eternally condemned. I thought that we would never reach the bottom, until we finally did. Leonus and I got up on our feet quickly, and unsheathed our swords; making ourselves ready for anything that might be lurking.
Our soft landing was due to our landing on black sand, in fact, the entire Netherworld looked like an endless desert but Leonus and I could barely walk upon it because it was so hot. Both of our eyes had to adjust to the dim light, and we had to move extremely fast because the sand seemed to shoot up geysers of fire at will—we never knew when the next geyser would shoot up. So, we had to watch our steps. When we looked in the distance, we saw a charcoal colored palace; it had to be the home of the Dark Force himself.
On our way to the dark palace, there were many surprises in the hellish desert. For one, the tortured souls of all beings in the galaxy would reach out and grab at us from beneath the sand; begging us to have mercy on them and give them a drop of water for their parched tongues—before the sands of the desert would suck them back in like quick sand, for two, there were poisonous vipers that were birthed from the flame geysers that would spout up, for three there were certain spots in the sand that would consume a person if they were not careful—I almost lost Leonus to the sand more than once, before pulling him to safety, and he did the same for me when I nearly fell in. The place was an endless gauntlet of surprises, a gauntlet that I was determined to beat so that I could bring my love home.
We were nearly to the palace, we could almost touch the gate; that is when four of the Dark Force’s escorts attacked us. We fought them back valiantly, and every last one of them were turned back into the black sand; when they were fatally wounded—only to be rejuvenated again if the Dark Force decided to use them for another mission. We had made it through the gate without anymore incidents, but we kept our swords drawn just in case we ran into anymore trouble.
The doors to the palace creaked open, as if they were rusty from not being properly maintained. The place was ablaze with flame that, never seemed to run out—there was no need for candles because the palace itself seemed to be the source of the flame. The voices of the tormented were a lot louder in the palace; which meant that the dungeons must be burning with everlasting flame, and the people below were the ones denied access to the Celestial Kingdom for their denial of the Star Breather’s precious gift of love. Over the voices I could hear the beautiful sound of an organ playing; which was like an oasis in this place of infinite suffering.
Leonus and I walked down a long corridor—following the sound of the sweet music, and when we had finally reached the musician; we were both shocked to see that it was none other than the Dark Force himself. We did not go into his chambers immediately, we just stood outside of the door surveying the place; I nearly barreled into the room—when I saw my beloved trapped inside what looked like a rainbow bubble. She did not see me; she just sat inside waiting, as if she knew I would come for her. Did this woman have the capacity to doubt me? A playful smirk crossed the Dark Force’s lips, he had sensed our presence; he knew that we were here.
“Gentleman, do come in and join us,” I looked at Solarias, as Leonus and I walked into the room—with our swords drawn—she stood up immediately and smiled at me, my heart melted inside my chest. “It would seem as if you have denied me my victory, little king, and I would like the chance to earn it back; if you would be ever so kind.” He stopped playing his burnt mahogany organ.
“I denied you nothing, creature; you and your dark army were conquered fair and square. Now, if you relinquish your hold on, my love; I will walk away and leave you in solitude, but if you will not—I will be more than happy to give you the fight that you so crave.” I took my warrior’s stance.
“Excellent.” He spoke getting up from sitting up at his organ, and then he summoned his sword; which flew to him from some unknown place. “I would have expected nothing less, but this will be a fight between just you and I,” He lifted Leonus up off of the ground, and relieved him of his sword; it was almost as if Leonus was in suspended animation—unable to move. “Now, if you best me; you and your friends may go free, but if you do not, little king, you all belong to me.” His voice was a demonic growl.
Why did I feel as if I were stepping into a trap; then it dawned on me exactly why I felt this way—Solarias had had a vision of me in this very situation. This situation had to happen, because it was a vital part of my destiny, but would I survive it? In her Destiny Sight, I died; I could not make that part of the vision come true. I had to stay alive for her; we still had so much life to live together. I looked at her once more, and she was crying; obviously remembering her Destiny Sight vision as well. I encouraged her with my eyes.
“I accept your challenge, creature.” I spoke with narrowed eyes.
“As you wish.” He smirked darkly.
When he spoke, we were no longer in his chambers in the dark palace; we were somewhere else—in another part of the desert that was lit up with the orange of the dawning sun. I knew that the Dark Force was a master at manipulating time and space, but why the change of venue—I could have fought him right in his chambers just as easily.
“I brought your precious Star Breather to a similar place, once upon a time,” He answered my silent questions, by reading my bewildered face. “Here is where little boys, are made into men; little king.”
“Well are we going to get on with the contest, or are we going to talk all day?” I narrowed my eyes at him, as I readied my sword.
He snickered darkly.
“I like you, little king; it is unfortunate that I must destroy you.” He swung his sword to take off my head, but I blocked the blow. “My but you are quick, little king, but are you quick enough?” He swung again, this time slicing me across my arm; the sword seared into my skin—its bite was excrutiating—more painful than anything that I had ever felt, but I refused to give him the satisfaction of crying out.
“You will have to do better than that, creature.” I swung my sword, in the logical and strategic way of my people, and the blow landed exactly where I had intended it to land—right across his shoulder. I could see the pain in his dark soul, when I looked into his eyes and I grinned.
Blow for blow we battled, light against dark; neither man giving an inch. I could see the frustration in the Dark Force’s eyes, because he was not expecting me to be such a worthy opponent; he assumed that I would just fall down and die. Well, I was sorry to disappoint him, but I was not about to just lie down as easy prey. His countenance twisted to reveal his true likeness; in truth he was no more attractive than his demon army. All of a sudden, gone were the lawful rules of engagement; when he rammed against me as hard as he could—knocking me to the ground, then he was standing over me; with his sword ready to strike—I rolled before he could fatally wound me by plunging his sword through my heart. I recovered my sword where it had fallen out of my hand, and I swung quickly getting him across the face.
He cursed in the language of the dark realms, a language that I was not familiar with; and never hoped to be. Suddenly, he started to chuckle heinously; as I felt him rummaging around in my brain, when he had wormed his way inside—he started speaking to me telepathically. I knew then that we were engaging in a higher form of combat now, the battlefield was now in my mind. Could I fight him on this level, a level that left my sword useless?
“I have given you the power,” The Star Breather thundered through my soul. “Use it, young warrior; use it!”
I looked directly at him, and wormed my way into his brain; in the same manner as he had done me. We were now, ready to war telepathically.
“I will always come for you, little king; you shall never be safe,” He growled. “You shall be forever hunted, by my dark presence.” He threw the first blow, and I could feel the jab against my physical body.
I recovered quickly, and countered his claims.
“But the Star Breather, shall never abandon me; bring the fight, Dark Lord and I will war against you every single time.” My words pinned him to the ground, he snarled and was back up on his feet in an instant.
“You are struck down!” His words upper cut me, and I could taste the blood in my mouth; I spit it out on the ground and smiled.
“But you cannot destroy me.” I gave him a right cross, and he fell backward; with each spiritual blow that I threw—I got stronger—but so did he.
When he was up on his feet again, he raised me from the ground—by my neck—without even touching me.
“You are a weak king, useless and inadequate; the honor should have gone to your brother.” He laughed as he chocked me out with his words. “All of Luniris knows it, I know it, and you know it; do you not little king?” His hold became tighter and tighter, I could not respond; I could not breathe—I was losing consciousness. His words had found their mark—I felt myself slipping away; I could not lose this battle.
Just then, Solarias came crashing into the lighted desert; breaking through as if the whole scene was an elaborate piece of glass—the whole scene shattered to the ground—and we were back in the Dark Force’s chambers; we had never left. The Dark Force was certainly a master at painting pretty pictures, literally. He turned and lost focus on me, and dropped me to the ground; I struggled for breath as I picked up my sword. His focus was now wholly on Solarias, but she evaded him and ran to stand in front of me—as if shielding me—I tried to move her behind my body so that I could shield her, but she would not be moved. Meanwhile, the Dark Force ran in our direction at full force; with his sword pointed at us, ready to strike.
“Do you trust me?” She whispered, with a carefree air in her smile.
“Of course.” I answered bewildered by her question.
“Then drop your sword, my love, and wrap me in your arms; my Moon King.” Her eyes seared into mine, was she insane; we would both be run through? I had a tough decision to make, would I drop our only source of protection; to prove my trust in her? She continued to smile, and I was captured in her smoldering eyes; I did as she told me to do. And as the sword clanked to the burnt stone below, I enveloped her in my arms as her back rested gently against me; and she entwined her fingers with mine—our two rings met each other, and as the Dark Force came close to us—with every intention to impale us with his dark sword—he was blasted back and reduced to a pile of cinders and ash.
I did not know what had happened, until after the miraculous deed was done; I just held her in my arms—staring into her eyes. Was our love really that powerful?
“You keep saving my life.” I smiled into her eyes.
“Yes, well you are my one and only true love; I cannot very well have you die on me can I?” She joked playfully.
I turned her to face me, and kissed her until we were both breathless; the whole kingdom of the Netherworld shook in response. Leonus cleared his throat, to remind us that he was in the room.
“I do so hate to end this little love fest, but we are still in the bowels of the Netherworld; and you know that he is not going to remain as cinders and ash forever,” He rolled his eyes playfully. “I really would like for us to be gone, when he rejuvenates.”
We all laughed, as I walked over to Leonus; and held out my hand to release him, a great light passed from my palm and surrounded him in pure light—he fell to the ground when the light broke through the darkness. I had no idea how I had done it, I just knew that I could; the Star Breather’s mark upon me was making me more spiritually aware of things. I just wanted to go higher, and grow more in the gifts that he had given me. Solarias, brought my sword to me and as soon as Leonus recovered himself; we were on our way out of the depths of the Netherworld. We made our way back to the place, where Leonus and I had originally jumped in—I could see a small crack of light far above our heads—where the precipice was waiting for our return.
I touched Solarias’s shoulder, and then I touched Leonus’s shoulder and we became light on our feet as the Star Breather’s light surrounded us—we began to sail upward far away from the realm of the Netherworld. Before we knew it, we were back upon the precipice; looking over into the great chasm that we had just come from, our horses had not travelled to far, they stood a few feet away from the precipice awaiting our return. Leonus looked at me in amazement.
“There is a great light in you, little brother; I hope to one day understand it.” He patted me on the shoulder, and I just smiled.
Then I looked to Solarias, who had mounted my horse; she was just sitting there grinning at our brotherly display of affection.
“If you boys are ready, I think that we should be getting home.”
“Quite, right, my love.” I jumped up behind her, and gave my horse the order to carry us all the way home.
Leonus came up behind us a short time later, and as we rode toward a new horizon; I could feel new hope for the future bursting forth in me—a whole new era of peace—where the only Enemy that the people of Luniris and Solarian fought against was the Dark Force.
I had wed him before, in the High Star Realms, but we were to wed again; this time in my home kingdom of Solarian. I do not know why I was so nervous, I knew that I loved him; there was no question in my mind about that—it was just my intense hatred for public events that caused me to be frazzled. I would not classify myself as shy really, but I was definitely introverted; I would rather a small intimate affair then this big flamboyant display. I hated to be all feathered up, and presented before court; for the whole kingdom of Cierion to judge like a prized peacock. I was no longer in the lower levels of my maturation, but still; I did not believe that this part of myself would ever change. On the good side of things, Leonus and I had completely repaired our relationship and my other brothers followed suit—they could not help it, because they looked up to him so much. My mother and I were a different story entirely; we were steadily working on it, but there had been such fractures in our bond that it would take some time. I was sure that, there would come a day when we could talk like actual mother and daughter—but until then we would work on it. She would be at the wedding today, along with the rest of my people—joined under one banner with the people of Luniris—my fears were eased by this factor a little. However, it still helped minutely in dealing with my nerves.
There were butterflies eating butterflies in my stomach, and this particular grand event; made me a little more nauseous than any event ever had before. I wanted to put my head inside of my chamber pot, and never bring it back up again. While anxiety over public events often made me nauseated, this was something else; something entirely different—I really did not feel well. Baylin came over to me, where I was staring at myself in my vanity mirror; and she had a ridiculous smile on her face.
“What is it Baylin?” I spoke out of frustration, because I was feeling so poorly.
“Star Breather, be praised; my lady,” She rested her chin on the top of my head. “You are with child, my girl.”
I turned to face her with wide eyes.
“Are you sure?” I could not help but smile myself.
She sniffed in my direction.
“You have that smell about you.”
I jumped up and hugged Baylin with joy, Eloin bounced into the room; and joined in the hug.
“What are we happy about?” She chimed, as if she needed a reason to be happy.
“Our lady is with child.” Baylin blurted out happily.
“Oh, that is wonderful; the king will be out of this galaxy with happiness.” She jumped up and down clapping her hands.
“Not a word of this to anyone.” I swore them to secrecy. “Not even the other servants at court, news travels like wildfire; I want to tell the king myself.”
“I will not tell a soul, my lady.” Baylin vowed, and then we both looked at Eloin.
“You are not suggesting that, I would say anything?” Her eyes gleamed, but she looked hurt.
I hugged her close to me.
“Awww, I was not suggesting that you would tell anyone on purpose Eloin, but you get so excited.” I giggled. “Could you try to keep your excitement down, just this once; until I have a chance to talk to the king—myself?”
She looked into my eyes with her pale green orbs widening.
“Of course, my lady; you can count on me.” She held up her hand, as if vowing.
“Thank-you,” I kissed her forehead, lightly. “Now, I must finish getting prepared for the wedding; will you help me?”
“Most certainly, my lady.” She skipped over to my wardrobe, to get my dress out.
And Eloin and Baylin began the tortuous beauty rituals that I hated so much, but I knew that they would be so worth it; when my Moon King set eyes on me.
When all was complete, and I was nearly prepared to make my grand entrance; I stood staring into my floor length mirror—imagining the swelling of my womb—I did not care about presenting myself before court today, because that would mean that it would be closer to the time when I could tell my Moon King that we were going to have a youngling. I closed my eyes, feeling the joy consume me. A whole new kingdom, a whole new life, a fresh start; if I were dreaming I did not want to ever wake again. And then I could sense him, the smell of cucumber and mint played in my nostrils; sending my heart in flight. My Moon King had come to my chambers, and he probably stood aloof in the shadows watching me. I smiled—opening my eyes—with the complete knowledge that he was there.
“Does my Moon King wish me to pretend that I do not know that he is here?” I coquettishly whispered, and he came out of the shadows with a smile; and enveloped me in his arms—he moved my hair to one side and placed a tender kiss on the back of my neck.
“I knew that you would sense my presence, why pretend; I just thought I would sneak in, and get a peek of the most beautiful bride in all of the planets.” He turned me to face him, and caressed my lips softly with his. His hair looked more golden; in contrast to the white that it was when he did not get enough sun, and his skin had taken on a more bronzed look as well. I always thought that the sun loved my Moon King, as much as I did; how his body craved it and how it did him such justice.
I swooned in his arms, and smiled when he steadied me; there was worry present in his eyes.
“Are you okay love?” He looked deeply into my eyes. “You do not look well.”
“Oh really?” I spoke with faux offense.
He chortled softly.
“You know what I mean.” He placed his forehead to mine. “You have been a little moody these past few sun turnings, not to mention; I have been hearing you vomit in the chamber pots in the early dawn.”
I did not know that he was awake, and I would always clean the chamber pot before he did wake, so, that he would not have to see my slops in the risen sun. Well, it turns out that I was not fooling him at all.
“And here I was thinking that, you had not noticed.” I tried to lighten the mood, but Dane’s face was serious.
“No, love, I am not jesting; if there is something wrong,” He lowered his eyes from mine, as his voice caught in pain. “You would not keep it from me would you?”
I brought his eyes back to rest on mine.
“I am not terminally ill, you silly man.” I smiled.
“Star Breather be praised,” He sighed in relief. “Then what is it then?”
I took his hands from around me, and placed them gently on my womb; he smiled instantly and brought me back into him.
“Really?” He lulled.
“Really, my Moon King.” I draped my arms around his shoulders. “In a little over 273 moon phases, and 273 sun lightings; I shall give you a most precious gift.” I melted against him. “Are you happy, my love?”
He brought my eyes to his, and there were tears in them.
“So, happy.” He said smoothing the pad of his thumb against my cheek.
And then I brought his lips down to mine, and we kissed until we were both drunk on each other’s inebriating scents. We did not care that the people were waiting for us, let them wait; we were in love and we knew now that love conquered absolutely everything.
THE MOON KING
THE OUTER STAR REALMS
I was exhausted; the crown was not as heavy as it used to be; seeing as how I was sharing the responsibility with Leonus. However, being on a board of kings, was hardly favorable when the ancient elders were always trying to undermine your authority. Leonus and I would attempt to pass a law and the Board of Elders would insist on vetoing it, citing tradition as the reasoning behind their vote. Removing the Protective Mist permanently, was a law that was easily passed, but the abolishing of the Mandatory Nuptial Contracts was a law that refused to die as easily; while, things were changing prejudice and bigotry still existed in the kingdoms—it was due in part to the fact that the Star Breather was the only one that could completely destroy the Dark Force.
The armies of Cierion would fight him back into his territory in the Dark Realms of the Netherworld, but he would never fully go away, especially when there were pockets of resistance in the kingdoms. When it was brought to my attention that, my mother was consorting with the Dark Force about kingdom business—she was charged with treason, and sent into banishment in the Lower Star Realms—the place of her birth, Brynyana followed her like an obedient pet. I fear that, mother never could reconcile with me after I killed Kantono; he was after all her favorite son. I needed a rest, my soul was weary and I needed rejuvenation. Along with my responsibilities as king, came my duties as husband and father as well.
Solarias and I; had five rambunctions boys; and all of them just as devious and mischievious as I was at their maturation levels. I loved every single one of my younglings, but parenthood had a way of really testing your patience and medal. I thought that being a king and a warrior was hard, being a father was harder. It was completely easy for me to leave my little monsters behind, but Solarias had to be coaxed into coming on our adventure into the Outer Star Realms—with my responsibilities as king; I had never had the opportunity to bring her to the lands that, I had inherited at my father’s death. The lands were a part of my mother’s bride price to my father; therefore, he was able to pass them along to me when he died. The place was complete tranquil solitude—there was no one present for miles, and I relished the silence. It was almost like being on a smaller version of the Star Breather’s High Star Realms, of course, my lands could not compare with the Star Breather’s but they were pretty close.
I watched her on the balcony as I lie in bed, and she was still so breathtaking. I would never get tired of the way she made my heart pound, hard against my ribs; or the way she possessed my soul with one simple glance; or the way she made me breathless when I kissed her dulcet lips. I still wanted her to the point of pain, still felt love for her that, crossed all boundaries, still craved the gentle collision of her body against mine. I never could and never would love another. She turned back to come into the room, and gasped when she saw my eyes opened; as if my being awake frightened her—her smile was blinding.
It was as if she brought the sun in with her, because it trailed behind her as if it longed to be in her presence.
“You are awake.” She sat on the bed, and I let my eyes just caress every inch of her face; I was in awe—she blushed. “Are you hungry?”
I surveyed her flawless form—through her sheer night gown; spun from star dust—with my eyes, and she blushed a deeper crimson.
“For food I mean.” She rolled her eyes with a playful giggle, and I gently brought her to rest on top of me; positioning her legs to hug my hips and I seductively raised her night dress and wove myself into her. She exhaled in bliss as our bodies tenderly collided, and then I eclipsed her and smiled. Our intimate moments were as natural for us as breathing, a loving conversation that; never seemed to end. Star Breather be praised, she was so beautiful.
“You are the only thing I crave right now.” I spread kisses on her neck, and she could hardly breathe; I chortled softly.
“Dane,” I loved it when she called me by her nickname for me. “Do you plan on adoring me like this, for the entirety of the sun?”
I stopped and looked into her caramel eyes that, held flames of passion within them; the cinnamon scent of her passion was making me dizzy.
“No, the entirety of the sun is not nearly long enough; I want you for the entirety of infinite suns.” I lulled, and she giggled. “And even that is far too short.”
She smoothed the pad of her thumb against my cheek.
“I love you, my Moon King.” There were tears of joy in her eyes.
“And I you, my Princess of the Sun, my Queen of the Moon.” And then I gently tasted the sweetness of her mouth, her tongue held many pleasurable spices.
Our intimate conversation started all over again, our love was boundless; there was no planet big enough to contain it or hold it. We belonged together; moon spilling into sun, sun spilling into moon. Our love was an infinite well that never ran dry.