The End

Krisella watched from her balcony as her warriors and servants cleaned the front yard. The safe house was all but ruins after the attack only minutes ago. Her protective shields were down. They would have to move.

The damage wasn’t what saddened the powerful witch. It was the sadness of her people. They mourned silently for the loss of their loved ones, but their sadness filled the air around her. The only thing that comforted her was the thought that it would all be over soon. They wouldn’t have to suffer much longer.

Thunder rumbled across the sky, and Krisella eyed the coming storm wearily. Lightning cracked wickedly in the distance. A powerful wind whipped her fire red hair around her shoulders. He was taunting her, flaunting his powers.

“Mistress Krisella, the yard is cleared, but the manor is still damaged severely.”

She turned to face her warrior, Cara. “We have to move, my friend. My spells over the manor have been broken.”

“I know, Mistress, but some are reluctant to leave.”

Krisella nodded. “Tell everyone to meet in the library in five minutes.”

Cara bowed to her superior before she went back into the manor. She kept her back straight and her head held high but couldn’t stop the trembling of her hands.

The fire roared to life when Krisella entered the library. All the men and women turned to face her obediently; trying to hide their sadness for fear that she would see it as a weakness. They could only be described as grey. Their usual colorful eyes and hair had faded to a pale grey or dull black.

“Please, have a seat.”

Only the warriors remained standing behind the servants of the manor. They tried to stay strong and brave, but their mistress could still sense their fear and sorrow. Only one person could ever truly hide his feelings from her. And he used that to his advantage.

“I know most of you are reluctant to leave, but the manor isn’t safe anymore. The protective spells are broken.”

“But Mistress, this is our home,” one of the youngest maids whispered hesitantly.

Krisella looked to her calmly. “I know, but it is half-destroyed, and we don’t have time to repair it properly.”

Lionel, her right hand man, stepped forward. “Mistress, if I may?” He waited for her nod of consent before continuing. “Perhaps those who wish to stay should be left behind while the warriors move to a more secure location. Surely the enemy will not care much for simple human servants?”

“If you all wish to stay that much, I suppose it is your decision. I don’t want to put you through anymore hardship,” Krisella said softly.

All the servants nodded slowly, but the stable boy spoke hurriedly. “It’s not that we don’t enjoy serving you, Mistress. We just don’t want to leave our home.”

“I know,” she assured him, even managing a slight smile. “You are all like family to me. You deserve what little happiness I can leave to you.” She looked to her warriors. “We will leave at night fall.”

Krisella moved over and stared into the fire as her family slowly dispersed. The flames danced across her glistening, golden eyes while she struggled to control the tears that tried to fall. They couldn’t see her cry. She had to be strong for them. They would be safer if they remained at the manor while the rest moved on to face their fate.

The bright fire suddenly flickered out, as if it were a candle blown out by a soft wind. Krisella stood alone in the darkness and just closed her eyes. A single silver tear slid down her pale cheek.

?


Jeremiah drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly while his body glowed faintly. He flexed his fingers and rotated his head with a soft smile on his dark lips. The prisoners lay at his feet –white skinned and blank faced, completely drained of their magic. Their power now surged through his veins. He had never felt stronger.

“Sir, Isaiah has returned with news of the enemy,” Ramon, his lead warrior, said from the doorway.

His gleaming red eyes opened. “I don’t need to hear from him. I’ll just take a look myself.”

Roman watched his master’s whole form glow with power. A strange surge seemed to vibrate through the air. He held his ground, but his heart beat increased slightly.

Jeremiah opened his eyes again, the image of her single silver tear still burned into his mind. “She certainly received the message. The humans are remaining in the damaged manor while she and her warriors are moving to a safer location.”

“Should we attack the manor? Or prevent them from leaving?”

“No, leave them be. I have everything planned perfectly. This war is nowhere near finished.”

“As you wish, Sir. Would you like me to dispose of those bodies for you?”

Jeremiah looked back to the lifeless forms at his feet. He tilted his head slightly, the angle making his silver hair gleam and the dark streaks look even darker. Then he flicked his hand at them, fingers splayed. White lightning shot from his finger tips and burned the bodies instantly, leaving only the faintest smell of smoke and a dust of ashes on the floor.

Ramon couldn’t stop the nervous flutter of his heart. “Very good, Sir.”

“Tell the others to rest for now and wait for my instructions in the courtyard at dawn.”

The inferior warlock bowed deeply. “As you wish,” he repeated softly before retreating from the room.

Jeremiah waited until his warrior was gone. Then he closed his eyes and shifted forms. The jet black falcon flew straight up out of the tower and into the thundering sky. The cold wind ruffled his feathers. His keen red eyes watched the barren ground fly by below him. The world was such a cold place from their battles, and he planned to end it all.

?


Krisella spun around quickly when the falcon flew into the room. Her heart pounded against her chest as it stared at her from its perch on the chair. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to compose herself. When she looked up again, Jeremiah sat in the chair before her.

“Please, don’t scream. We wouldn’t want your servants catching us together, would we?”

Her eyes narrowed into a glare. “I am not afraid of you.”

He rose, as graceful as a cat, and moved so that he was merely inches from her. “I never said you were. You have no reason to fear me.” His voice was soft, his breath caressing her skin as he spoke.

“But after what you’ve done to my people, I do have every right to hate you,” she hissed.

Jeremiah cupped her chin in his hand and tilted her face upwards, but she looked away from him quickly. “I had hoped that you could understand my motives where no one else has.”

The fingers of his free hand slowly followed the chain around her neck and pulled out the pendant that she kept hidden under her shirt. The small metal sun charm glowed in the darkness, for it contained the source of all her powers. His moon pendant, also hidden beneath his shirt, glowed brighter in response.

“Remember when we bought these for each other?” he whispered, his eyes staring intently into her face. “We put a piece of ourselves into them as well, not just our power source.”

She jerked away from his grasp. “You should go.”

He caught her by the wrists, drawing her closer. “Please, Krisella, just give me a chance to explain.”

“You won’t break me! Just leave!”

They stared into each other’s eyes intensely for a moment. Krisella watched the cold strength slowly return to those red eyes, banishing the brief moment of vulnerability. Jeremiah released his grip on her and stepped back. He transformed into the falcon again in a flash of bright light. Thunder rumbled loudly and more lightning struck as she watched him disappear into the sky once again.

I will not give in to him. I will not break. Krisella repeated those two key statements to herself constantly even though it felt as if all was lost. Chances were all her people would be killed in the coming battle, and then she would be the only one left. She didn’t know if she truly had the will to kill him, let alone the power.

“Mistress, we are ready to leave.”

Krisella nodded to Lionel, tucked her necklace back under her shirt, and followed him outside the house. Her warriors and servants said their goodbyes amongst themselves softly. Then all the servants turned to her. Each face was full of love and respect, and it made her heart ache. They all bowed to her deeply as one.

“I will never forget any of you,” the witch promised. Then she turned to her warriors and disappeared into the night with them.

The other manor that Krisella owned was far less luxurious as her home, but it was still protected heavily by her charms and perfectly comfortable. It was mostly underground in the middle of a thick forest, so no one could see it from any direction unless they knew where to look. She and her warriors passed through the invisible barrier around the house easily and dispersed to get settled into their rooms.

Cara came to her lady’s room when they had all settled a bit. “Mistress, could you come to the living room for a moment? There is something we would all like to discuss with you.”

“All right,” Krisella said with a nod.

The warriors were gathered in a half circle in the middle of the living room carpet. Krisella never ceased to be amazed by their strength. She knew they felt great pain from their losses just as she did, but they were always so strong to the end. That is why she did her best to never show her pain in front of them, to be as strong as they were.

“We know the strength of Jeremiah is great,” Lionel began as Cara joined the group. “And we know that you doubt your own power. So, to help you in the coming battle, we have all agreed to give you some of our power, to give you more confidence and more strength to defeat our enemy.”

Krisella could only stare at them in shock for a moment. “I couldn’t take any of your power away from you! There are many to fight, and you will all need your strength as well.”

“It is not considered taking if we are offering it to you,” Cara said softly. “Please, Lady Krisella, let us give at least some of our strength to you. You will need it more than us.”

Krisella finally nodded slowly. They moved in to form a circle around her and gripped each other’s hands. Lionel and Cara each took one of her hands and smiled at her. All the warriors began to glow, and a low hum filled the air. A silver light drifted from the warriors to form a cloud above them. Then it descended in a straight streak down onto Krisella. She tilted her head back and closed her eyes as the power flooded into her body, filling her with great pleasure. When it was all within her, her heart raced with new strength.

“Thank you, all of you,” she whispered.

The warriors all bowed to their newly-powered Mistress.

“No matter what happens in this battle, know that I have and always will think of you as my family. You have been with me for years, through thick and thin, and I will never forget that.”

Krisella moved over to the window. Rain poured down in dense sheets, and thunder still rumbled darkly. She concentrated for only a moment, and the storm completely dissolved to reveal the bright sun. A smirk found its way to her lips at the strength of her new power.

One final flash of lightning in the distance made her laugh softly. Jeremiah knew of her power now, and he clearly wasn’t happy about it, for he had surely realized her power had grown to match his at the very least.

“Get some rest,” Krisella said as she turned back to her warriors. “We will make plans when the sun sets.”

The ground began to shudder, and the sunlight was completely consumed by dark clouds once again. Krisella stared out in the window in shock as the tornado began to drop down right next to the house. She reached down quickly and pulled up the trap door that led to the tunnels under the house. Her warriors hurried down the ladder as the windows shattered. Krisella had just closed the door behind her when the tornado came crashing through the house.

“I angered him,” she said into the darkness and silence that surrounded them. “He wants to battle sooner now that he knows my strength.”

“We are ready,” Cara said firmly next to her.

A small white orb formed in Krisella’s hand and cast light across each of the warriors’ faces. Their faces were hard with determination, but their eyes were soft with loyalty. She could feel their powers mingling in the air, humming with energy.

“Yes, I believe we are,” Krisella said with renewed hope.

“We should take the fight to him!” Lionel said boldly. His lust for vengeance practically vibrated through his body.

“But we can’t just go to his house and attack,” Cara pointed out quickly. “Then he would have the home advantage.”

“I know. I have a plan,” Krisella said. “Just wait here.”

Cara began to protest, but her mistress disappeared before they could stop her.

Krisella transformed herself into the form of a white wolf for the journey to Jeremiah’s manor. She would be faster in this form, and it wouldn’t take as much energy as just transporting herself all the way there. And she would need all the power she could handle just in case things went wrong.

The wolf stopped at the iron gate before the manor. Krisella changed back into her human form and touched the cold metal cautiously. When no magical boundaries forced her back, she pushed the gate open. She walked straight up to the grand oak door and entered the mansion.

Footsteps echoed across the polished hall to her right, and she turned toward the sound calmly. Jeremiah took his time approaching her, his body almost glowing in the dim light. Her heart still quickened slightly in her chest no matter how hard she tried to keep it steady.

He stopped mere inches from her. “I knew you would come,” he whispered.

“We need to talk.” Her voice came out in a breathless whisper.

His hand moved toward hers on instinct. But he stopped himself quickly and turned back the way he had come. They walked through the manor in silence, but Krisella’s heart was still pounding in her chest from anxiety and –no matter how much she tried to deny it- excitement.

Jeremiah led her all the way up to the roof. The sky was dark again, and lightning still flashed every so often. Krisella watched the darkness swirling over them for a moment and gathered her thoughts before looking to him.

“I’m giving you one chance to explain yourself. You said I should understand your motives, so this is your chance to win me over.”

His red eyes stared into her golden ones for a fairly long time. “Why should I trust you?”

She stared right back at him steadily. “What can I do to you? Even with the strength from my warriors, you’re still more powerful than I’ll ever be. I just want to see your side of all this. After everything we’ve been through, I owe you that.”

He searched her face for another moment. Then he lifted his hand between them. A dark orbed formed from his palm, and images started forming in the smoke that filled it. Krisella gasped as she saw several of the warriors and servants she had lost. But their faces were lit up with happiness instead of pain or sorrow. And she caught glimpses of some of his men as well.

“What is that?” she whispered when he dropped his hand.

“I can never quite make out where they are, but it’s clearly paradise for the dead,” Jeremiah said softly. His eyes shined with a gleam of hope. “There’s a better place for us after this life. I just know it.”

“You can’t know exactly what waits for us when we die,” Krisella said, looking away from his stunning face. “Those images could be false, a ruse to lead us to hell.”

“This planet is hell!” he snapped suddenly, turning her roughly to face him and gripping her tightly by the shoulders. “Don’t you see? This world is already dead! All the warlock wars have killed the human population. We’re all that’s left! We should join all our brethren on the other side!”

She stared into his flaming eyes as her body trembled at his touch. “I don’t want to die.”

His heavy breaths swept over her face as he continued to stare at her. Then he crushed his lips down on hers. Her eyes widened in shock, and she remained perfectly still as she processed her response. He kept his lips hard on hers and held her tight so she couldn’t break away. But she didn’t want to pull away.

Krisella gave in to him with a soft sound of contentment and closed her eyes. She slid her arms up around Jeremiah’s neck, and his arms snaked around her waist. Their bodies pressed together as they both trembled with the pleasure of finally touching again. The pendants around their necks glowed brilliantly from the intimacy.

Slowly, very slowly, Krisella moved her fingers closer to the clasp that held the necklace around his neck. Just a flick of her fingers and it would be off.

Jeremiah caught her hand and moved back, holding her hand so tightly that it hurt. His eyes were dark as night with fury. But she could also see the pain of betrayal that he was trying to hide.

An agonizing pain swept through Krisella suddenly, and she fell to her knees. Jeremiah stared in shock, afraid he had hurt her accidentally. But Krisella knew the pain. She felt it every time she had lost one of her warriors. And this was the worst pain she had ever felt.

“What is it?” Jeremiah whispered quickly as he knelt down before her, taking her face in his hands. “Did I hurt you?”

“My warriors,” Krisella said in a trembling voice.

The door burst open, and several of Jeremiah’s servants ran in. They stopped when they saw the couple and stared in shock. But Ramon still moved forward, his excitement still intact.

“The enemy warriors are dead, my lord.”

“What?!” Jeremiah snapped at them. “You acted without my consent?!”

The slap came hard and fast, making his head snap to the side. Krisella stood up, her eyes burning with fury as he stared up at her in shock.

“You did this,” she hissed. “You killed them all!”

“No! Krisella, I swear I never dreamed of killing your warriors as brutally as they clearly were! You know they were like family to me once! Please, you must know I would not kill them,” Jeremiah pleaded.

The witch transformed into her wolf self and slashed at him in her rage. Her sharp claws sliced across his face, and he fell back in pain. The wolf jumped out the window before his warriors could attack and disappeared into the night.

“What should we do about her, Sir?” Ramon asked.

Jeremiah rose slowly, blood dripping down his face. Three long streaks started from the left side of his forehead and cut across his eye. Even with the eye bleeding, it was easy to see the complete fury smoldering in them.

“You disobeyed me,” he growled, his anger practically filling the air.

The warriors moved back, eyes wide with fear as their master attacked.

?



Krisella stared at the crater where her house used to be. All that was left of her warriors were mangled pieces and blood. Silver tears streamed down her cheeks, and her body shook with intensity of her loss.

“I swear I will make them pay,” she promised to them. “Your deaths will not be in vain. I will end this.”

She clenche her fists tight at her sides and closed her eyes. Concentrating, she absorbed as much of the lingering power as she could manage. Then she shifted into her wolf form and began to run once again.

Krisella came to a sudden stop when she reached the manor. Jeremiah stood only a couple yards away from her, his face hidden in shadows. His manor was ablaze behind him.

“I killed them,” he whispered once she had changed back to her natural form. “I killed all of them.”

Krisella moved toward him cautiously, her anger momentarily subdued by her surprise. His eyes slowly lifted to hers. Black tears fell from his haunted, red eyes slowly. She was stumped into silence again from the shock of actually seeing him cry.

“No matter what, you have to know I did not give the order to have them killed. I would never do that.” He stepped up close to her. “But I know you still want to kill me. So go ahead. Take all your anger out on me. I won’t fight back.”

The witch hesitated for only a moment. Then the brutal deaths of her warriors came rushing back to her, and she struck at him with all she had. Lightning shot from her finger tips and sent him flying through the air. He landed in the fire of his burning house, getting burned even more. But he didn’t even try to get up.

“Get up, you cold-blooded snake!” she yelled at him, outraged by his vulnerability.

Jeremiah rose slowly and walked out of the flames. His skin was black in several places, but his face was still as perfect as ever. He took a few wobbly steps and collapsed to his knees before her. His fingers trembled as he reached up and unclasped the necklace around his neck. He looked up at her sadly and held the necklace out to her.

Krisella stared at him in complete shock. No witch or warlock ever removed their source of power unless they were really ready to die. The charm protected them from the clutches of death. She stared into the eyes of her former love, searching for a hint that he might be playing a trick on her. But all she saw was pain and desperation.

She slid down to her knees so their eyes were level. Her hand closed around his necklace carefully, and he let her take it. Then she removed her own necklace and held it out to him. His eyes widened as they flickered from her face to the necklace.

“You will join me?” he whispered. “You will come with me to the other side?”

She closed his hand around her necklace as a small smile found its way onto her lips. “Then we can be together forever with all our loved ones –and each other.”

Jeremiah looked at the sun charm in the center of his palm before looking back into her eyes. “You know I have never stopped loving you.”

“As I have never stopped loving you.”

They grasped each other’s hands, holding the charms between their palms. Bright light leaked from between their fingers, and the necklaces disappeared. Their gazes never left each other as their bodies slowly began to age and wither. Soon there was nothing but ashes, and the wind swept them away.

The clouds gave way to the brilliant sun and blue sky, and a single rose bloomed in the place where the lovers had vanished.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback