Chapter 13, The Debt All Men Pay
The sun was rising when the Endotalen leaders began to evacuate their troops from Dyvanor’s strong hold. Both Endi and Othyos were working hard to keep the evacuees hidden from Dyvanor. Endi was able to project an image of a sleeping camp with the occasional Endotalen moving around while Othyos kept the army hidden from site as they left the encampment. The evacuation took up most of the day and it was nearly sunset before the last of the Endotalens were out of harms way. Endi and Othyos were physically drained. Both were barely able to hold themselves upright let alone fight against such a formidable foe such as Dyvanor.
“Endi, please come home with me.” Tandi begged. She was in the last group who were leaving. “You are in no shape to fight.” Tears ran down her cheeks as she begged her mate to leave. Endi placed two fingers under her chin and tilted her face up so he could look into her eyes.
“My whole life has been leading up to this one moment. The Handmaiden of Lunester chose us as her sword against evil. We are Thera’s only hope. Should we fail all life fails with us. I could not condemn our world to darkness just because this battle might kill me.” Endi smiled down at Tandi. “As long as you live, I live. I’m in your heart as a part of you.” He gave his mate a chaste kiss. “If I don’t see you again in this life, know that I will be waiting for you at the door to the afterlife. Until then protect my heart I’m leaving it with you for safe keeping.” Tandi wrapped her arms around Endi one last time before she ran off to catch up with the rest of her group.
Endi stood and watched his mate leave for a long while before he turned back to the men behind him. Junkar, Othyos and Tylander had become a surrogate family to him. He was not yet ready to lose any of them.
“You doing OK Endi?” Tylander asked. He stood about six feet away from Endi. One of the two Endotalen soldiers, Nant, was helping Tylander by tying the Arrainanites’ hands behind his back.
“Yeah I’m OK, Tylander. Just a little worn out. Keeping this projection up isn’t easy.” Endi walked over to examine the binds behind Tylander’s back. “Do you think Dyvanor will buy the whole we caught a spy bit you are planning?”
“Sure hope so.” Tylander smiled up at Endi. “So here goes nothing I guess. ” Nant and his friend Glot helped Tylander navigate his way to Dyvanor’s tent. Othyos kept himself, Endi and Junkar hidden from sight.
Dyvanor’s tent was set up quite a ways from the Endotalen camp. The tent was pitched at the edge of a ravine so that Dyvanor could look down upon his army from on high. Talk about having a god complex. Tylander thought as he moved into position in front of his enemies tent. Nant made a show of pushing Tylander to his knees in front of Dyvanor’s tent. “Lord Dyvanor,” Nant called, “I found a scout I thought you would like to see. It’s an Arrainanite.”
“An Arrainanite, here?” Dyvanor came gliding out of his tent. “Oh this is too good!” Dyvanor laughed as he looked down on his nemesis. “Why Tylander, it’s been so long since I last saw you. Hows the wife?” He made a surprised face. “Whoops I forgot she’s dead. How sad.” Dyvanor’s face belied his real feelings. Tylander sat back on his heals, but said nothing as he waited for Dyvanor to move closer to him. “That will be all my friends.” Dyvanor waved Nant and Glot away. “I can handle this one all by my self. Oh, and let the council know I expect to reach the Asoonadye capital before Dawn.” Nant and Glot nodded their heads as if they were going to follow his orders and left to join the rest of their people in returning to the underground city.
“Tylander. Tylander. Tylander. Do you know how long I’ve waited for this moment?” Dyvanor circled the captain of the royal guard. “That fool Locktos should have named me Captain, but no! He saw something in you. A pity he is not here to see you die.” Tylander kept his eyes on his enemy. “Any last words?” Dyvanor asked as he stepped closer to Tylander.
“Come to think about it. I do have something to say.” Tylander jumped to his feet throwing the rope at Dyvanor’s head. The rope smacked the enraged man with a loud thunk to the face. “Who’s laughing now? Did you really think it would be that easy to get rid of me?” Tylander managed to reach out to Dyvanor and grabbed him by the collar and attempted to lift him into the air. Dyvanor managed to rip himself out of Tylander’s grasp and quickly went on the defensive.
Dyvanor threw magic at him, from every angle as he backed towards the ravine. Fire streaked across the field as Tylander and Dyvanor danced around each other. Tylander was aware of Othyos falling to the ground as one of the blasts hit him full on. Now he, Endi and Junkar were all visible and Dyvanor began to target each of them. Junkar began to launch rocks and any other objects he could find at Dyvanor using his telekinesis to try to push Dyvanor towards the cliff. At the same time he was working his way forward through the fire wind and ice that Dyvanor was now throwing at them.
Tylander noticed Othyos lying lifeless, he appeared dead on the ground not far from Dyvanor’s feet. Enraged by the loss of his friend Tylander charged Dyvanor. Once his skin came into contact with his enemy Tylander opened himself up to Ryanne an Lunester. A bright light shot through Dyvanor while a sharp stabbing pain shot through Tylander. Tylander heard Ryanne in the the back of his mind screaming her denial, but he didn’t have time to think about the pain just yet. He needed to kill Dyvanor. Junkar threw him a sword and he swung it at his most hated enemy.
Time seemed to stop for Dyvanor as the white light shone through him. “Illucious protect me.” He prayed to his god, but unlike every other time he called for her she did not answer. She had abandoned him to Lunester’s knights. The dark goddess knew when to fight and when to flee. This was time for her to flee. “No!” Dyvanor yelled, “Illucious wait, I have been your loyal servant!”
“Not any more you’re not.” Othyos stated. He was no longer on the ground. He was standing less than three feet from Dyvanor. Othyos was already aiming his bow at Dyvanor’s heart at the same time Tylander swung his sword at Dyvanor’s head. His foe managed to dodge Tylander’s blade but not Othyos’ arrow to the heart. Dyvanor smashed into Tylander as he came crashing down. He and his nemesis fell and into the ravine .
“No!” Endi screamed. Junkar roared in rage and Othyos stood stunned, afraid to look over the edge. Afraid that he would see the body of his friend Tylander broken and bleeding next to his enemy.
“Please tell me that didn’t just happen.” Othyos begged. Endi was the first to regain his composure. He made his way to the cliff and looked down, then he looked back at Othyos and Junkar. “He is dead. They both are.” Endi solemnly walked back to his new family. He placed a hand on each of his brothers. “I will climb down and retrieve him. You two should go back to Quinetta. Our kings will need to know what has happened here today. I will gather Tylander and meet you back in the Arrainanite city as soon as I can.” His brothers nodded as tears streamed down each of their faces. “He died honorably in battle. I will make sure my people never forget him and his sacrifice.”
“I never thought I would like an Arrainanite, but was hard not to like that man. He was good and kind. I will miss him.” Othyos sniffled as he attempted to wipe away his tears. “We should go.” The ambassador took several deep breaths as he composed himself.
“We will see you back in Quinetta.” Junkar gave Endi a pat on the shoulder as he and Othyos left.
Endi watched them go for a long while before he began his decent into the ravine to retrieve Tylander’s broken body.
* * *
Back in Quinetta Ryanne lay in Tylander’s bed. She had been awake since Tylander had connected her to Tandi. She had been able to watch through Tylander’s eyes as he fought Dyvanor. She felt the pain of the knife that had sliced into him when Dyvanor struck. It had been a mortal wound that Ryanne could still feel radiating throughout her body. The fall over the cliff had ensured that even a miracle couldn’t bring him back.
Ryanne had felt each of Tylander’s bones break as he repeatedly fell and crashed into the mountainside. The worst wasn’t the pain. It was the broken connection. The feeling that he was with her, even though he was away, was gone. Tears streamed down Ryanne’s cheeks as her loss radiated through her. Suddenly everything in the room reminded her of Tylander. She was in his house surrounded by his things and his children. He was never coming back. Ryanne jumped out of the bed. She had to get out of here. The pain was too real here. She ran out of the house barefoot wearing only one of Tylander’s shirts. She had no idea were she was going or what she was running from, but the pain was so great she just had to get away.
She ran through the city gates, passed the creek the children liked to play in and just kept running. her tears began to blind her and still she ran. She couldn’t breath through the pain. It was too intense. Suddenly Ryanne was flying, or maybe she was falling. She couldn’t tell anymore. Ryanne’s head smashed against a rock as she landed and just as swiftly as the pain began it ended. Everything went dark.
Epilogue : A Walk With Lunester
Ryanne was lying on the ground and a golden haired, green eyed man was standing over her with his hand outstretched. “Come Ryanne. Take a walk with me.” The man said. Ryanne took his hand as he helped her to her feet. As she stood Ryanne looked back down at the ground. Her body was still there, barefoot and wearing Tylander’s shirt. That’s when Ryanne realized that she was dead. “Is Tylander here?” She asked the man. “Yes he’s here somewhere. Unfortunately I can’t bring you to him. You are not yet finished with your life.”
“What do you mean? I’m dead, I think that is as finished as it gets isn’t it?” Ryanne asked.
“Not if you have the God of Light here to help you.” The man smiled at her.
“You are Lunester.”
“Yes, I am and I have been watching you for a long time.” Lunester led Ryanne away from her body. “I’m sure you have many questions. I will answer as many as I can while we walk, but first I’d like to tell you a story.” Lunester was leading Ryanne deeper into the forest.
“About 2000 or so years ago I found myself on the other side of the dimensional curtain. I had stumbled upon Earth. I stood on a mountain top and was looking down when a man approached me. He shouldn’t have been able to see me, but he could.” Lunester helped Ryanne to step over a fallen log before he continued with his story.
“I took a good look at the man on the mountain top and discovered why it was that he could see me. He had a piece of a god inside him. I remember a sense of peace as we stood together. ‘Lunester’ he’d said, ‘You do not belong here. You must return to your world, but before you go I have a gift for you.’ He surprised me. Not only did he know who I was, but he knew what I was searching for. You see I knew that one day Illucious would make her move. To defeat her I would need someone she could not see or manipulate. Someone not of Thera. That man told me that when the time came he would send a soul my way. It would be up to me to convince her to choose to come to my world. He was not about to take away her free will. So that day, on earth, when that truck hit you he passed your soul to me and I was the one who asked you if you would come to my world and you said yes.” Ryanne stopped in her tracks.
“So what are we doing now that I’ve helped you win the fight against the Dark Goddess?” Ryanne asked still perplexed.
“We are walking into the past.” Ryanne looked around her and for the first time noticed that everything was moving backward. The trees were slowly shrinking and even the insects were moving in reverse.
“How far into the past?
“About ten years.”
“Ten Years? Are you telling me that I am Tylander’s dead wife?”
“No, not yet anyway, but you will be.” Lunester laughed “Oh look there he is. He’s waiting for you. Think of this as a gift. You get two years with the man you love.”
“OK.” Ryanne smiled as she looked at Tylander. “I can live with that. So how do we do this?” Ryanne looked up to see Lunester was gone and she was standing alone in the forest wearing a beautiful yellow dress. Tylander was walking towards her with a smile on his face.