Chronicles of Thera: Crossing Over, Chapter 10

Chapter 10 Preparing for the Journey

As Ryanne began to wake the first thing she noticed was how warm she was. In fact she was a little too warm. Ryanne opened her eyes to find herself back in Tylander’s bedroom. He was wrapped around her like a clinging vine and he wasn’t the only one. Pressed to her other side were both Gabriela and Issac. The little girl had her head on Ryanne’s shoulder while Isaac was using her calf as a pillow. She was completely pinned down. “Um Tylander,” Ryanne spoke hoping to wake him, but not the kids. “Hey wake up.” She tried again.

“Mmmm yes,” Tylander press his face against the side of her neck and started kissing her there.

“Tylander, your children are in bed with us.” Ryanne giggled.

“What?” Tylander finally sat up and looked around the bed. “Oh sorry, they are used to crawling in bed with me when they wake up in the middle of the night.” Tylander, dressed only in a pair of loose boxer shorts, got out of bed. He came around to Ryanne’s side and gently lifted Gabriela and left the room. Tylander returned and then removed Isaac as well.

“Now that we are alone,” Tylander got back in bed with Ryanne. “How about we finish what I started.” Tylander pulled Ryanne to him and kissed her like their was no tomorrow. He explored every inch of her mouth and continued to kiss her until he was so starved for air he had no other choice but to surface.

“That was…. Wow… Tylander..That was..” Ryanne stuttered as she panted, trying to catch her breath.

“Ahem!” A voice called from the bedroom door way. “I do not believe I have cleared Ryanne for strenuous activity yet.” Tylander had forgotten that the healer Anetti was staying with them. She was the healer who lost Ryanne eight years ago. Anetti, like Tylander, was not taking any chances on losing her patient a second time.

“Anetti, we were just kissing.” Tylander said sheepishly.

“Well no more! You got her heart rate up higher than I’d like it to be right now.” The healer was a very tiny woman with light green hair and eyes. While she was barely taller than Gabriela, she had an aura of power around her that gave off a “Don’t mess with me” vibe. Ryanne had no doubt that this woman was in charge and no one dare to cross her.

“Now if you don’t mind Tylander I’d like to examine my patient.” Anetti moved to sit next to Ryanne. “Give us a little privacy Tylander. Why don’t you go get Ryanne something to eat? I’m sure she is hungry.” Anetti said dismissing Tylander from the room. Begrudgingly, Tylander got back out of bed and pulled on a pair of trousers. Before he left the room Tylander leaned over the bed and gave Ryanne a quick passionate kiss. As he walked away Tylander could feel Ryanne’s eyes following him out of the room as he went.

“Oh I’ve seen that look before,” Anetti laughed. “You can make up for lost time later. I need to take a look at you.” The healer took Ryanne’s hand and closed her eyes. Anetti felt for her center and pushed out a wave of healing magic towards Ryanne. Anetti felt Ryanne’s body absorb the wave before it was reflected back to the healer. The reflected wave brought back information about Ryanne’s health, similar to a full body medical scan. Anetti opened her eyes’s and smiled. “I think you are suffering from exhaustion mixed with stress and dehydration. You should be just fine in a day or two. Drink lots of water. Stay in bed for today and no strenuous activities for at least twenty four hours.” Anetti leaned forward and gave Ryanne a big hug. “I really missed you Ryanne and as soon as you are feeling better you and I are going to catch up. We used to be such good friends.” The healer brushed a single tear away from her eyes before she got up. “Get some rest. I’ll be back in a few hours to check on you.” Anetti waved as she exited the room.

Following the healers instructions, Ryanne spent the next twenty four hours in bed. Tylander and the kids waited on her hand and foot and entertained her. The twins were slowly stealing Ryanne’s heart with their antics. Anetti came by several times to check on her throughout the day. Each time she was happy to report Ryanne’s condition was improving. By the next morning Ryanne was feeling much better. All her aches and pains from traveling the countryside on foot were gone. She had never felt better in her whole life. So when King Locktos summoned her and Tylander, Ryanne was excited to try gifting Junkar with a blessing.

Tylander on the other hand was not happy. He wanted to keep Ryanne tucked away somewhere safe so no one could find, or hurt, her ever again. He tried to convince Ryanne not to go, but she was just as suborn as he remembered. Once she got an idea in her head she was unstoppable. That’s how they found themselves back in the throne room surrounded by all three kings, Junkar, Endi and Othyos.

King Locktos was happy to see Ryanne on her feet again. He got right down to the business at hand. “Ryanne, Endi was able to connect with the spirit of his mother, an Oracle. Apparently, the only way to defeat Dyvanor and Illucious is by sending a team of blessed ones, a single man from each nation. Endi assures us that he, Junkar, and Othyos as well as an Arrainanite are the chosen ones.

“Who is the Arrainanite?” Ryanne asked

“Tylander. Just before you passed out we saw you transfer power into him.” King Locktos stated. He looked at Tylander. “Have you noticed any new abilities?” Tylander looked away as he internally debated with himself.

“Tylander, did I give you a blessing?” Ryanne looked up at Tylander with curiosity in her eyes.

“Yes, you did but I’m not sure it’s a very useful gift.” Tylander smiled down at his wife. “I can connect my mind with yours. I can see your memories and I think I can give you mine, but I haven’t tried yet.”

“OK” Ryanne was nodding her head, “Lets try it.”  Tylander took Ryanne’s hand and closed his eyes. He remembered his wedding day and pushed the memory towards her.

“Did it work?” Tylander asked .

Ryanne saw a vision of herself dressed in a bright yellow dress, looking up at someone. “Yeah it did, but I think you can do more than that.” Ryanne stated a little confused, “I’m not sure how I know but, I want you to try something. Tylander, put your hand on Endi and try to connect with him.” Tylander did as she asked.

“OK, I can see into Endi’s memories now what?”

“Without touching me, I want you to try to connect me to Endi. “Ryanne waited to feel the connection. Then she was there, inside Endi’s mind. She could feel his excitement.

“Oh Wow!” Endi exclaimed, “This is incredible! I can feel more than just Ryanne through Tylander, I can feel Lunester’s hand on them. I feel a profound truth emanating from them.” Endi looked to Ryanne. “This is exactly what we will need to convince the council that they have been lied to.” Ryanne saw an image of a group of Endotalen women in the forefront of Endi’s mind just before Tylander broke the connection.

“Then that settles it Tylander. You will be leading this quest to find the Endotalen Army.” King Locktos stated as he patted Tylander on the back. “Now Ryanne, if you are feeling up to it, can you try to bestow a blessing onto Junkar?” King Locktos was watching her closely as he didn’t want to overtax her again.

“Yes, I think I can. I’m feeling much better today.” Ryanne stated as she took a step towards Junkar. She took his hands in hers, and as she did so Tylander took up a position directly behind her resting his hands on her hips. Ryanne look at him curiously.

“I’m just here in case you need a little extra physical support. I don’t want to chance you hitting your head.” Tylander explained as he pulled her back flush up against his chest. Ryanne shook her head but said nothing. Their was no point in arguing, he wasn’t moving. Ryanne closed her eyes and forced herself to focus on the Nilactin in front of her rather than the Arrainanite behind her.

Once she found her center Ryanne allowed her mind to reach outward “Lunester, please bestow your blessings upon Junkar so that he might use your blessings to end this war.” Ryanne was starting to get familiar with the streaks of lightning running through her blood stream. This time it wasn’t so unpleasant. Ryanne was starting to get the hang of blessing others. She was able to direct the power transfer into Junkar. With a thought and a flash it was done and Ryanne was still standing. To her that was quite the accomplishment.

“I think I’d like to try that again.” Ryanne proclaimed as she reached out her hand for Endi.

“Oh, no, no, no,” Tylander was already pulling Ryanne back away from the Endotalen. “Last time you ended up unconscious. You scared the hell out of me. We are not doing that again.” Tylander had lifted Ryanne off the ground and was making his way out of the throne room.

“Tylander. Put. Me. Down!” Ryanne’s tone was more serious than he had ever heard before. Tylander stopped and careful placed Ryanne’s feet on the ground. “You do not get to dictate what I can or can’t do. I need to give them blessings so we can stop innocent people from dying. I am going to do this and you can either stand with me in support or you can leave. Those are your only options, because I’m staying right here.”

Tylander couldn’t help but smile. “I should have known you were going to say that. I never could stop you when you got like this. You are the most stubborn and infuriating woman I’ve ever known.”

“Then why are you smiling?”

“Because it’s that stubborn streak of yours that made me fall in love with you.” Tylander bent down and placed a chaste kiss on Ryanne’s lips. He then took his wife’s hand and led her back to the Kings so that she could continue gifting his traveling companions with blessings from Lunester.

At the end of the day each man had been gifted a different ability. Endi was able to shield himself and others from magical attacks. Othyos had stealth abilities and could make himself and others invisible. Junkar was gifted with telekinesis, the ability to move objects with his mind. While Ryanne was warn out after blessing all three of Tylander’s traveling companions, she was feeling confident in her new found power.

After a brief planning session it was decided that the blessed ones needed time to prepare and get used to their new abilities before heading out to find the Endotalen army. In two days time the four men would embark on the journey that only two would return from.

Tylander and Ryanne returned home. That night he made love to her. He had been dying to since the first time he realized she had returned to him. He worshiped her body all night and well into the next morning. He wanted to make sure she knew how much he loved her. Just in case he was not able to come back to her.

For the next two days Tylander and his companions spent their days preparing for the journey ahead. Tylander spent his last nights entangled in his wife’s arms praying to Lunester that he make it safely back to her once this was all over.

 Read Chapter 11

Chronicles of Thera: Crossing Over Chapter 9

Chapter 9 The Blessed Ones

“We’ve been at this all day, Yelillya. I’m exhausted.” Ryanne pleaded with the high Priestess as they stood before the three kings of Thera. The kings were extremely excited when they got the news that Ryanne was able to bless Rosheeta with fire abilities. King Chenji insisted that they try to bless Junkar with an ability as well, but Ryanne had nothing left to give. Her whole body shook. She was having to make a conscious effort just to remain on her feet. Their was just no way she could bless anyone with any abilities without some recuperation time.

“Please Ryanne, Just try one more time,” Yelillya gently pushed

Ryanne took Junkar’s hands once again and tried to center herself as she had done with Rosheeta. Only this time she felt herself slowly start to crumble as she tried to feel for Junkar’s heartbeat. Ryanne was going to fall and she didn’t even have enough strength to ask for help. Suddenly Ryanne’s lungs were filled with Tylander’s scent and a wave of euphoria washed through her body.

Tylander had entered the thrown room just as Ryanne began to sway on her feet. No one else in the room seemed worried that she looked like she was about to collapse. Tylander ran to his wife and pulled her away from Junkar. “Can you not see she is ill?” Tylander shouted at Locktos. “My wife is in obvious distress and still you make her perform for you?” Tylander was shaking with anger. After watching her die once he was not about to stand by while others pushed Ryanne to the point of hurting herself ever again, not even his King.

“Tylander,” Ryanne whispered as she looked up at him. He thought he saw love in her eyes for the first time since she had returned. “My hero, always trying to protect me. You are such a blessing in my life.” with her words came a jolt of lighting that crashed through Ryanne and into Tylander. Then Ryanne’s body went limp in his arms.

“Oh Gods no, Ryanne!” Tylander screamed panicking. Those were the same words she uttered to him as she slipped away eight years ago. “Don’t be dead please Ryanne. Don’t do this to me again!” Tylander was in full freak out mode as Yelillya tried to pull Ryanne out of his arms.

“Tylander you must calm down. Please let me check her?” Yelillya pleaded with Tylander, but he was not hearing her. He was lost in his own pain.

Junkar jumped in and tried to pry Tylander away from Ryanne, but even he was not able to restrain the grieving Arrainanite. It took the full effort of both Junkar and Endi to finally pry him away from Ryanne’s body so the Priestess could examine her.

Yelillya was fairly adept at using healing magic. She was determined to help Ryanne as best she could, but just in case she couldn’t she knew someone who could. “Call Anetti let her know we need her here immediately” Anetti was the master of Quinetta’s Healers Guild. If she could not help Ryanne then no one could. The high priestess placed her hands over Ryanne’s heart as she centered herself. Closing her eyes Yelillya sent a wave of healing energy into Ryanne. Tylander’s wife’s body absorbed the energy and sent back a wave of information to the High Priestess. Yelillya stood up and walked to Tylander. He was no longer fighting against Endi and Junkar. He looked broken and slumped over. Endi and Junkar were the only things holding him up. “Tylander, I need you to listen to me.” Yelillya spoke firmly as she wanted him to really hear her. “She’s not dead. Do you hear me, she’s not dead.” Tylander looked up into Yelillya’s eyes. “She is tired and very weak, but she will recover. I need you to take her home and make sure she stays in bed until Anetti gives her the OK to get up. Can you do that for me Tylander?” Yelillya asked. when she saw the wave of relief hit Tylander’s face she knew he finally heard her.

“She’s going to be OK?” Tylander asked again as Junkar and Endi finally released him.

“Yes she will be OK.” Yelillya stated although she was still shaking a little herself, “I’m sorry Tylander you were right we should not have pushed her so far so fast. Her abilities are not nearly as strong as they were before. I’m not sure why.” Yelillya was truly baffled. Ten years ago Ryanne would have been able to do this in her sleep. Her gifts were so strong that even those who had no magic could feel her connection to Lunester.

Tylander picked up Ryanne and left the thrown room without a backwards glance. He was mad as hell. They could have done far worse damage to her had he not intervened.

King Locktos watched as Tylander walked away. He wasn’t sure if he was the only one to notice that Ryanne had in fact completed her task before she passed out. “Yelillya,” King Locktos called to the high priestess.

“Yes my King.” She answered formally. Yelillya was always careful to never get to comfortable with the King. They had a history that was best not repeated. Locktos looked annoyed at her continued attempts to distance herself from him.

“Did you see what I saw when Ryanne touched Tylander’s face?”

“Yes my king, I believe she was able to complete a power transfer to Tylander. However with his current emotional state I’d say it would be a good idea to wait and address that with him after Ryanne has recovered.” Yelillya kept her eyes on his feet as she spoke.

“Wait, so now two Arrainanites have been given powers?” King Thealos asked obviously upset.  “This needs to be fair no more Arrainanites should get powers until the Asoonadye and Nilactins have been given equitable abilities.”

Endi looked down on the Asoonadye king. “This isn’t a contest or a quest to see how powerful one nation can get over the other. If the Hand Maiden has bestowed a gift to Tylander then that is how Lunester has destined it to be. He does not make mistakes.” King Thealos had to take several steps back just to be able to look up at Endi. When he did, he noticed that while the Endotalen was a frightening creature to behold, he did not seem to be trying to intimidate him, he was merely stating a fact.

“Yes, of course I understand that, but if one nation becomes more powerful than the others we leave ourselves open to corruption. We cannot maintain this peace between out nations unless we ensure equality of power. At least as many Asoonadye and Nilactins need to be blessed to ensure that balance. Certainly Lunester would agree? Isn’t that right High Priestess Yelillya?” King Thealos asked directing his question to Lunester’s Priestess

“Unfortunately, King Thealos my connection to Lunester does not work that way.” Yelillya answered, “I will however meditate on your questions and see if he is willing to give you an answer. Although I must warn you, most times that I have asked for a answer from Lunester I often get either ‘You will know in time my child’ or simply ‘No’.” Yelillya answered the Asoonadye king.

“I may be able to get an answer for you.” Endi stated. “My connection to the spirit realm far stronger than that of the priestess. I, like the Hand Maiden, carry a piece of the afterlife in me. My family discovered many millennia ago that when one journeys to the spirit world and returns they are blessed with certain gifts not of this world, those gifts become part of our DNA and are passed down to their children. While I myself have not died at least four of my direct ancestors returned and those abilities were passed down to me. These abilities are also why I am an outcast among my people. They fear my unnatural abilities.” Endi hung his head at that last statement. He looked sad and lost for a moment.

“Your power makes you an outcast?” King Chenji asked baffled. “Among the Nilactins such power would be celebrated. Were you Nilactin I would fear my people would force you to challenge me so you could become our next king.” Junkar nodded his head in agreement and laughed with his king.  King Thealos took another couple of steps back and really looked at Endi. The giant seemed to find the Nilactin King funny, but the sadness was still present.

“Endi when this is all over what will you do?” King Thealos asked.

“I haven’t thought about that yet. I’m not sure if returning with my people to our subterranean cities is the right thing for me anymore.”He answered. The three kings of Thera looked to each other and seemed to communicate silently.

“You are welcome to call Quinetta your home.” King Locktos offered.

“My Castle can be your home as well if you wish it. You will always be accepted among my people.” King Thealos stated firmly.

“My people would also love to have you. Just imagine how much fun it would be to spar up against some of the best warriors on the planet.” King Chenji extended his offer to Endi. “Why anyone would keep such a valuable asset as yourself up on a shelf is beyond me.”

Endi was overwhelmed by the offers from these three kingdoms. His people would have referred to them as primitive beings, yet over the course of 24 hours they have been more accepting of his and each others differences than Endi’s people could ever hope to be. They would be his family now.

“If you give me a moment my kings,” Endi stated as he sat down on the floor and crossed his legs. “I will try to get what information I can.” Endi closed his eyes and centered himself. Taking a long breath in and holding it Endi’s essence left his body and entered the realm between the living and the dead. To go fully into the afterlife was way to dangerous on his own, but to simply stand near the entrance was relatively safe. Endi just had to be careful not to stay for too long. His body could not breath while his essence was here. “Endi my son, I thought we talked about this?”  Endi looked up into a familiar pair of large green eyes.

“Mom, I’ve missed you. You left me all alone. Even my mate does not want me.” Endi took a step towards the afterlife and his mother.

“You are not alone anymore. I see you have found yourself a new family. But still you should not have come. It is to dangerous.”

“I need help. I need to know if we are on the right path. The lives of my new family and that of all the Endotalen people are at stake. You are an oracle you can look to the future. Please tell me what you see?” Endi begged his mother taking another step towards the afterlife he was running out of air.

“I will tell you, but the price to defeat Illucious will be great.”

“I will pay it.” Endi stated emphatically.

“No, you won’t, but one you care for will. The Hand Maiden will bless four men one from each nation. Those men must go and find Dyvanor’s army. They must use their gifts to get in to see the Counsel. Tylander’s gift will break the spell Dyvanor has placed on our people. The gifted ones must kill Dyvanor. During the battle one of the Gifted will fall to his death. He will be followed into the afterlife by a second. Leaving the final two to make the journey home with heavy hearts. Now Endi! You must go now! Before it is to late.” Endi’s Mother pushed his essence away from the spirit realm and back into his body.  Endi jerked forward as he reentered his body and took a deep breath.

“I know what we have to do.” Endi stated. “I don’t think any of you are going to like it.”

Endi told the kings about his conversation with his mother wishing he could leave out the part about how two of the four men would not be returning. He had a feeling he knew who the other three blessed ones would be. He looked around the room at his friends. Othyos, Junkar and himself would be making that journey with Tylander and only two of them would return home.

Read Chapter 10

Chronicles of Thera: Crossing Over, Chapter 8

Chapter 8 Becoming the Handmaiden

Ryanne woke with a start when something crashed into her side. “Ouch! What the hell?” Ryanne yelled as she flinched away from the pain.

“Oh I’m sorry, Mommy.” Those soft feminine words came from a tiny little brunette who was still bouncing up and down on the bed. Ryanne looked around the room and had no idea were she was.

“It’s OK, sweetie. Mommy is still a little sore from her trip.” Tylander stated as he sat up in the bed next to Ryanne. Wait Mommy? Ryanne’s brain started spinning, I’m no one’s Mommy. “Um Tylander, I think we need to talk before you speak with your children.” Ryanne tried to sound calm afraid she would upset this little girl.

“I missed you so much, Mommy.” The little girl was up on her feet and she threw her arms around Ryanne’s neck and held her tight. Ryanne couldn’t believe Tylander was going to make her tell his kids that she wasn’t their long lost mother. “Gabriela dear, Mommy has had a long trip you need to be gentle with her.” Tylander stated as he leaned over and made eye contact with Ryanne. She was giving him a look that could kill. He didn’t know what he had done wrong but she was clearly unhappy with him.

“Can I see mommy too?” A very soft voice came from the doorway. Ryanne looked up to see a little boy who was the spitting image of her little brother Isaac back home.

“Of course you can Isaac.” Tylander said to the boy. His name is also Isaac. Ryanne thought, she was too stunned to reply. The small boy entered the room and gently got up on the bed with his parents. After pushing past his sister Isaac wrapped his arms around Ryanne. “I missed you so much mommy, but I knew you’d come back. Lunester told me you would.” Isaac whispered in Ryanne’s ear. This isn’t happening Ryanne was going to lose it again, but this time Tylander seemed notice that she was upset. “Hey kids why don’t you head downstairs and see if Surietta has breakfast ready.” Tylander escorted the kids out of the room and turned back to Ryanne. She had tears streaming down her face.

“What’s wrong, baby?” Tylander asked as he rushed to her side. The look on Ryanne’s face changed from upset to angry in a instant.

“What’s wrong? You ask. How can you not know. Are you really that dense?” Ryanne yelled. Tylander froze, he had only seen Ryanne this angry once and that time it wasn’t directed at him. This time it was. Tylander tried to think about what he could have possibly done but he came up blank.

“I’m sorry, Baby. I really don’t know, but if you tell me I will do my best to make it up to you.”

“So you see nothing wrong with telling your children that I’m their dead mother brought back to life? Even if that were possible, I have already told you, and everyone else here, repeatedly that I’m not your wife come back to save you all. Why the hell won’t you people listen to me?” Ryanne’s rant ended with another flood of tears.

Tylander was speechless, how could he possibly make this better for her. She was not accepting anything they were telling her. They were as certain that she was the Ryanne they knew as much as she was certain that she was not. Tylander did the only thing he could think of to comfort her. He crawled up into bed with her and held her while she cried. “Look I know this is tough on you and I’m going to do everything I can to help you through it. I wish I could make it all better.” The one thing he couldn’t give her was the only thing she wanted. To have someone to believe she was not his. He would die before he gave her up again.

*       *       *

Several hours had passed. Tylander was forced to leave Ryanne in bed as his duties called him away. Now Yelillya stood at the foot of Ryanne’s bed. She did not look happy. “Get out of bed, Ryanne. Right now. We have much to do and I will not let you delude yourself any longer.” Yelillya pulled the covers off Ryanne and started throwing various cloths in her direction. “Surietta has the kids, and we are needed at the temple. You need to reacquire the skills you lost while you were away. Their is no time to dawdle.”

The startled Ryanne began to dress as the hurricane that was Yelillya blew through the room shouting commands. The High Priestess was not used to anyone telling her no, and she was not about to let Ryanne be the first to start. With no other option open to her Ryanne finished dressing and followed Yelillya back to the Temple of Lunester.

Once again they were seated in Yelillya’s office. “OK, Ryanne, Endi tells me that he believes you are the Handmaiden of Lunester. Based on his information and my knowledge of you I’d say he is correct. I have seen you grant gifts from Lunester on several occasions. While I’m not entirely sure how you did it I think I know enough to at least guide you in the right direction.” Yelillya stated, once again holding the rock the other Ryanne had given her.

“I’m only going to say this one more time so I’ll make this as clear as I can. I AM NOT THE HANDMAIDEN. I am also not the ‘Saint Ryanne’ that all you people loved and adored. Do you understand me?” Ryanne stated speaking very clearly to ensure that the High Priestess fully understood what she was saying.

“I hear you and I understand you perfectly. Let me just say I’m so happy you are putting this to rest, we most certainly no longer need to talk about who you are not. Now we can get back to the mater at hand with out all this ‘I’m not the woman you knew’ junk and get back to restoring your lost skills. As the Hand Maiden we have so much we need to do to get you ready.” Yelillya said purposefully misunderstanding Ryanne’s statements. Ryanne sat their staring at Yelillya in complete disbelief. The High Priestess continued as if they were both now on the same page.

“Wait. Yelillya. I just said I’m not the Hand Maiden.”

“I know I heard you. I also thought we were done with this.” Yelillya gave Ryanne an amused smile, “I’ll tell you what, I’ll make a deal with you. You work with me today to try to unlock your abilities. If we discover you have no abilities I will help convince everyone that you are not the Hand Maiden of Lunester. However if we do discover that you have gifts from Lunester, you will have to admit that you are not only the the Hand Maiden but that you are also Tylander’s wife even if you don’t believe it.  Do we have a deal?” Yelillya was grinning like a Cheshire Cat as she laid out her deal to Ryanne.

“OK, Yelillya you have a deal.” Ryanne knew she was making a mistake, but Yelillya was offering her a deal she could not refuse. In less than an hour Ryanne was already regretting making her deal with The High Priestess.

*       *       *

“Your not trying hard enough.” Yelillya scolded. Ryanne was standing in front of a tiny pink haired priestess named Rosheeta.

“I am trying. Its not working” Ryanne was exhausted they had been at this for several hours and her head was pounding.

“Lets try this again. Ryanne I want you to take Rosheeta’s hand and close you eyes.” When Yelillya was certain Ryanne was following her instructions she continued. “Now I want you to clear your mind of everything except Rosheeta. Feel her heartbeat through her fingers. Focus on her heartbeat as if it was your own. Can you feel it.” Yelillya  was now standing directly behind Ryanne as she whispered in Ryanne’s ear.

“Yes I feel it.”

“Now ask for Lunester to bless Rosheeta so that she can bring his blessings to others.” Yelillya’s whisper helped the words appear in Ryanne’s head with crystal like clarity. Just before Ryanne could ask for Lunester’s blessings on Rosheeta a wave of dizziness washed over her.

“Lunester,” Ryanne started as she swayed slightly but was able to stay on her feet. “Please bestow your blessings upon Rosheeta so that she might share your blessings with the world.” The dizziness inside Ryanne morphed into invisible streaks of lightning running up and down her whole body. Then suddenly the lightning streaks shot out through Ryanne’s fingertips and into Rosheeta. Once the transfer of power was complete Ryanne let go of Rosheeta’s hand and promptly passed out. Yelillya was barely able to keep her from hitting her head as Ryanne went down.

Yelillya sat on the floor holding Ryanne as she turned her face up to speak to Rosheeta. “So did it work?” She asked. Rosheeta smiled down at the High Priestess. “I think so.” The tiny pink haired woman said. “I feel different. I feel really warm inside.” Rosheeta closed her eyes and searched inside herself for what was different. Suddenly she smiled, and snapped her fingers and opened her palm. Hovering just above her hand was a small ball of flames. “I can create and control fire. I’ve never been able to use fire magic before.” Rosheeta informed Yelillya just as Ryanne opened her eyes.

Yelillya looked down into Ryanne’s eyes. “You know what this mean don’t you?” Yelillya asked Ryanne.

“I means that I’m the Hand Maiden of Lunester.” Ryanne admitted grudgingly.

“And?” Yelillya prompted. Ryanne gave her a dirty look and shook her head in disbelief.

“I guess regardless of what I believe I’m also now Tylander’s wife.” Ryanne buried her face in her hands. She wasn’t sure if she was upset or elated with how this turned out. Yelillya had just gifted her with a reason to stop fighting her attraction to the man claiming to be her husband.

Yelillya helped Ryanne up off the floor before the three of them left the temple to deliver the news to the King.

Read Chapter 9

Chronicles of Thera: Crossing Over, Chapter 7

Chapter 7 The High Priestess, the Endotalen, and The Handmaiden

Ryanne stood in awe of Yelillya. She was taller than Ryanne by several inches, but the High Priestess was paper thin. She didn’t look like she could stand up to a strong wind. Yet, she had this inner strength that Ryanne felt could move mountains. She was also stubborn as hell. No matter what Ryanne said she could not convince this woman that she was not Ryanne Leafgather. She was simply Ryanne Smith, a small town girl who got caught up in the crazy place. All she wanted to do was stay alive long enough to get home.

They were seated in Yelillya’s office inside the Temple of Lunester. “You are home, Ryanne.” Yelillya stated firmly for the third time. “I will prove it to you.” Yelillya took, what Ryanne could only describe as a wand, off of her desk. “Close your eyes,” The priestess said as she stood and came towards Ryanne.

“Why?” Ryanne asked.

“I’m going to see if I can help you to remember. With a little magic and some help from Lunester perhaps we can find out what has happened to your memory,” Yelillya stated. Now standing in front of Ryanne, Yelillya raised her wand. “Close you eyes and just try to think back to the last thing you remember before you got here.” Ryanne, not feeling she had much of a choice, closed her eyes and tried to remember everything that she could about her last moments on earth.

“I was in my car,” Ryanne stated, “Traffic wasn’t bad for once, then suddenly I hit something big. I remember being tossed around a bit. It was all very loud. I opened my eyes and a red truck was coming at me.” Ryanne opened her eyes and looked at Yelillya. “See, nothing about Tylander or any of you people. I was in a car accident then I was here.” Ryanne tried not to sound smug. Yelillya looked down on her like she was a petulant child. “Close your eyes. What happened after the red truck hit you.?”

“I woke up here.” Ryanne stated, but Yelillya wasn’t buying it.

“Try again, close your eyes. The red truck had hit you then what? I want you to really concentrate.” Ryanne took a deep breath and concentrated.

“I’m floating, I see images, I can’t quite make them out. I’m being asked something. ‘Come to my world’ I think. Then, I’m waking up with Tylander three days ago.” Ryanne has confused not only herself, but the Priestess as well.

“I could see your thoughts as you were describing them. They are surprising to me. I’m finding no memories of Quinetta in you at all. You are Ryanne, of that I have no doubt, but for some reason Lunester has taken your memories. I’m not sure for what reason.”

“Wouldn’t it be more plausible that I just bare a striking resemblance to the Ryanne that came before me?” Ryanne asked clearly not understanding why the priestess and the other Arrainanites refuse to believe her.

“Be honest with me Ryanne, when you are with Tylander how do you feel?” Yelillya asked.

“I feel fine. He’s a nice enough guy.” Ryanne said a little too casually.

“Your a bad Liar. Do you know why I’m so certain you are Tylander’s Mate? Tylander is an Arrainanite. When they mate they do so for life, Tylander could not mistake you. He is addicted to your scent. He had terrible withdrawals after you died. Not enough to kill him, but enough to crave you endlessly for the rest of his life. If he says you are his mate, then you are.” Yelillya walked back to her desk and sat down. “I suspect that you are feeling the same affects of the addiction as he is. You are just not ready to admit it.”

“I don’t know what your talking about.” Ryanne lied. She wasn’t sure why this was happening to her or why this scent addiction had transferred to her. At this point she didn’t care. She just needed to get the hell out of here.

“Running isn’t going to help you.” Yelillya stated as if she was reading Ryanne’s mind. “Your face gave it away. Remember I know you.”

“No you don’t.” Ryanne stated firmly. Yelillya laughed out loud. It was a delicate tinkling sound that for some reason made Ryanne smile despite herself.

“Let me tell you a story.” Yelillya began after her giggles had ceased. ” I am the youngest woman to ever take the oath. I was barely 200 when I became a priestess. I worked my way up through the ranks very quickly. Before I was even 500 years old I was a High Priestess. Fast Forward one thousand years, I had become jaded. I used to see the beauty in everything but for nearly 400 years I was just going through the motions. Nothing was beautiful anymore. I could fake it when I needed to, but my life was a dismal grey.” Yelillya picked up a small stone from off of her desk. “Then one day about ten years ago, I was sitting rite here in this chair. I heard a soft knock on my door and before I could even answer the beautiful woman with long Brown Hair and Dark skin was standing before me. It was you.” Yelillya paused for a moment as if she were letting herself enjoy the memory. “You introduced yourself. I quickly tried to dismiss you, but you were persistent. You said you would just take a few moments of my time then you handed me a small box. Proclaiming it was a gift from Lunester.” Yelillya held up the stone. “This was what I found in the box.”

“What does it do?” Ryanne asked. Yelillya let out another tinkling laugh.

“Nothing it’s just a rock.” She smiled, “The true gift came from your hand. You took my hand and said ‘Lunester’s blessing has always been upon you. Look with new eyes and see it.” Yelillya closed her eyes for a moment. When they opened they were filled with tears. “From that moment on I could feel Lunester here in the room with me. I could feel his love and his influence. I could hear his call for the first time in four hundred years. You gave that to me. For two years we worked together you were my best friend and when you gave your life for us you broke all our hearts.” Yelillya had a steady stream of tears flowing down her cheeks. ” I prayed for five years straight for Lunester to send you back to us and always the answer was no.” Yelillya smiled through her tears. “I guess I shouldn’t have given up so quickly. He obviously has a plan for you.”

A knock sounded on the office door. “Come in,” Yelillya answered. Tylander opened the door. “Hello Ladies,” Tylander smiled. “Can I steal my wife back from you. We need her back at the palace.” He spoke directly to Yelillya, then he turned to Ryanne. “We are bringing Endi in to meet the kings. He asked that you be there too.”

“Sure,” Ryanne answered, ecstatic to be back in Tylander’s company. “If it will make Endi more comfortable.” She wasn’t willing to examine her excitement to carefully yet.

*       *       *

The sun was just starting to set as Tylander led Ryanne through the city. This time, while they walked, Ryanne noticed that many of the Arrainanite people stopped to stare at her. They were stopped several times by people wanting to hug Ryanne and marvel at her return. Luckily Tylander was good at deflecting people and they were able to make it back to the castle in relatively good time. Ryanne was beginning to feel like this other Ryanne must have been some kind of saint for the people of this city to fawn over her this much.

This time when they reached the palace they were greeted by Junkar, Othyos and Endi. The three men stood just outside the main entrance to the palace. “Ryanne, thank you for coming.” Endi stated. “I was afraid to meet the Kings without your presence. As the handmaiden, your being here should keep everyone calm enough to listen to what I say.”

“We’ve been over this Endi, I’m not a handmaiden,” Ryanne stated. She was really being pushed passed her limits today. Ryanne looked up at Endi then at the doorway into the palace. “Um Endi, How do you plan to get inside?” Ryanne asked. The door way was a good four feet too short for the giant to enter. “Maybe we should have King Locktos come out here.”

“That won’t be necessary,” Endi stated calmly. Then his body began to change right before Ryanne’s eyes. His bones seem to break apart and travel beneath his skin. As they did his tight skin stretched like rubber. Endi was slowly becoming shorter and wider. He retained his emaciated look because of how his skin stretched over him, but his bones appeared thicker and wider. It was like where he had one thin bone he now had two bones pressed tightly together making one thick bone.

“Wow, Endi that’s so cool!” Ryanne gasped. “Hey did you guys know he could shape-shift?”

“Yeah, we’ve seen others of his kind do it.” Othyos stated. He did not seem as delighted as Ryanne over Endi’s talent.

“So all your people have that ability?” Ryanne asked as they all entered the palace. Endi simply nodded. He seemed more concerned with Othyos’ reaction then Ryanne’s

Janos met the group at the entrance to the throne room. “Are the kings all here?” Tylander asked him.

“Yes I will announce you now.” Janos turned and made the announcement before returning. “Go on in,” Janos motioned to the group. Ryanne noticed that Endi was looking a really nervous.

“Hey it’s okay,” Ryanne took Endi’s hand with her free hand, as Tylander seemed to have permanent custody of the other one. “I’ve met King Locktos. He seems like a good guy, and I’m here. So you know everyone will get along, right? That whole ridiculous handmaiden thing you believe in should keep you safe.” Endi laughed at Ryanne’s attempts to calm him, they worked. Endi felt a great deal more comfortable standing before the three kings of the surface dwelling nations with Ryanne by his side.

Tylander introduced Ryanne to the other kings, King Chenji and King Thealos, then he introduced Endi to all three kings. The kings were very interested in everything Endi had to say. Ryanne could see them leaning closer to him as he retold the story of how his people came to attack the Asoonadye. King Thealos was visibly upset when Endi told him about the destroyed Endotalen City. “He told you we slaughtered your people?” King Thealos’ stunned statement caused Endi to pause in his story telling.

“Yes, he did.” Endi clarified for the king.

“That shows how little you truly know about us. My people are merchants and farmers. We have never been aggressive. The very idea of burning someone’s crops is almost sacrilegious to us. We know the importance of the harvest.” King Thealos’ words were heartfelt and real. In that moment Endi realized the Endotalen people did not do them selves any favors by isolating themselves. These surface dwellers were showing far more reverence for life than he ever expected. Perhaps when this is all over I will stay on the surface. These people seem to be far more accepting than my own. Endi thought to himself

Endi finished his story. Then, to Ryanne’s surprise, started another one. He told the kings of the Prophecy about the Handmaiden. Ryanne released Endi’s hand. “No, no, no Endi. They don’t need to hear about that,” Ryanne was adamant.

“I’m sorry Ryanne, they must know.” Endi tried to gentle his voice in a effort to not upset her. “We must find out how to use your power so we can stop Dyvanor.” Endi watched as Ryanne shook her head. Tears flowed down her cheeks like he had just betrayed her. Endi watched Tylander wrap his arm over her shoulder and pull her close. He motioned for Endi to continue speaking.

“The Handmaiden of Lunester is a catalyst. Her being here will trigger events that will either, end in death for us all, or a complete salvation and peace that will last a millennium. She has the ability to bless others with special gifts from Lunester. The prophecy doesn’t tell how she does this or what they are, but we will need them to go up against Dyvanor.”

“You think this woman, Ryanne, is this handmaiden?” King Chenji asked.

“Yes, I have no doubt. I have seen into her soul. She bares the mark of Lunester.” Endi looked back down at Ryanne. “She needs to learn, from your high priestess, how to use her abilities. We cannot go up against Dyvanor until she does.” All three kings looked directly at Ryanne like she was their savior. It was the last straw that pushed Ryanne over the edge. Instead of going off like she thought she would, Ryanne passed out instead.

Read Chapter 8

Chronicles of Thera: Crossing Over, Chapter 6

Chapter 6 Happy Homecomming

The rest of their journey back to Quinetta wasn’t as hard on Ryanne as that first day had been. Shortly after waking that second day, they came upon one of the evacuated Asoonadye settlements. There Ryanne found a pair of shoes more conducive for walking. As the men and Ryanne traveled, they began to form a tight nit bond. Ryanne continued to believed that Tylander suffered from some mental health issues that caused him to believe she was his dead wife. Still, she found herself craving him. The physical need to be near him became more intense with each passing day. Every time she got a whiff of his scent, she felt safe and loved. Ryanne was quickly becoming addicted to that scent and the euphoric feeling that came with it..

Each night Tylander would hold Ryanne in his arms. He would whisper in her ear telling Ryanne stories. Some of these stories were about their life together while others were about his children. He did not make any sexual advances towards her, and aside from several steamy kisses, he was the perfect gentleman. It was becoming difficult for Ryanne to isolate herself emotionally from him. With each day she spent with Tylander, Ryanne was falling more deeply in love with him. She had to keep reminding herself that she wasn’t really his wife. If Ryanne were to go along with Tylander and pretend to be his wife, he would never love her for herself. He would still be in love with his dead wife. She would just be a surrogate. I can’t believe I’m jealous of a dead woman. Ryanne thought to herself as she lay in Tylander’s arms. It was the last night of their journey. She found herself wishing the night would never end and she could stay here with him forever.

     *       *       *

The City of Quinetta was unlike anything Ryanne had ever seen before. Ryanne stood next to Endi atop a hill as they both looked down upon the city for the first time. Quinetta’s city walls were made of solid white marble with veins of  gold and silver running through it. Quinetta was comprised of a mixture of man-made structures and tree like buildings. Trees that rivaled skyscrapers back on earth littered the city. They seemed quite the opposite of the man made marble spiral structures that seemed to reach for the sky. At the heart of the city stood what Ryanne could only assume was the palace. It was a mixture of both tree and Marble. It appeared as if the palace had once been made of solid white marble just like the city walls. Then the trees grew and wound around the the structure adding more rooms and towers to an already gigantic building. Ryanne was awed by Quinetta’s beauty, and she wasn’t alone. Endi stood speechless for several minutes as he took everything in.

“If I hadn’t seen it with my own eye’s, I would not have believed that surface dwellers were capable of crafting a city with such beauty.” Endi finally stated.

“So beautiful.” Ryanne agreed.

“I’m glad you like it.” Tylander wrapped his arms around Ryanne from behind. “You can see my home right over there.” Tylander pointed to one of the tree’s. His tree was not quite as large as the other’s.  “It’s been in my family for five generations. I can’t wait to show it to you.” Tylander pressed a kiss to the top of Ryanne’s head.

“So are we just going to stare at it?” Junkar asked. “Cause I’m getting a little hungry and my wife is down there waiting for me. Can we get a move on?” The big indigo cat pushed past his companions towards the city. Tylander took Ryanne’s hand and followed Junkar towards Quinetta.

“Is it wise for me to approach your city unannounced?” Endi asks walking along side Tylander and Ryanne. “I have no desire to get killed before I have a chance to speak with your kings.”

“Yeah, you have a point.” Tylander replied. “Why don’t you hang out here until I can speak with King Locktos, Chenji and Thealos so they know what to expect. Then we’ll come back and escort you into the city.” As he spoke, Tylander looked around. “Over that way is the small creek my kids and I like to visit. It’s out of the way. No one should bother you there.” Tylander pointed to a grove of trees. Endi nodded his head before he changed his direction towards the creek. The rest of the group entered the city gates and made their way to the palace. Junkar and Othyos broke away from Tylander and Ryanne to find their kings.

Conscious of her attire (one of Tylander’s shirts as a dress), Ryanne was quite nervous as she was lead into the palace.  Tylander had taken them into the palace via a small side door that opened into what looked like an office. Sitting at the only desk in the room was a very tall skinny man with very long white blond hair. “Hi Janos.” Tylander addressed the man.

“Hi Tylander welcome back.” Janos stated before looking up. When he did look up, Janos’ eyes grew wide like he’d seen a ghost. “Oh great Lunester, is that Ryanne?” The tall man asked Tylander. Janos stood up but he looked a little unsteady as he made his way over to Tylander’s wife. “Is it really you, Ryanne?”

“Yes it’s really her, Janos–Lunester gave her back to us.” Tylander smiled as he wraped an arm around Ryanne’s waist.

“Uh No, no I’m not.” Ryanne replied trying to move out of Tylander’s grasp, but she couldn’t budge. “Yes, my name is Ryanne, but I’m not the same Ryanne who was married to Tylander. We share a name. That’s it.” Ryanne stated vehemently. Janos smiled down at her.

“Yep, that’s her alright.” Janos laughed as he patted Tylander on the back before he giving  Ryanne a gentle hug.  “You have been very missed. Have you told King Locktos yet?” he asked Tylander.

“Not yet. I was hoping you could do me a small favor first.” Tylander motioned to Ryanne. “Could you go to my home and have Surietta pull out one of Ryanne’s old dresses? I don’t think it is appropriate for her to meet the king wearing only my shirt.”

“Certainly,” Janos replied. “I’ll run out right now. Why don’t you two get cleaned up and fed. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Janos took off quickly leaving Tylander and Ryanne in his office.

“Follow me,” Tylander said as he took Ryanne’s hand once again. Ryanne had gotten so used to Tylander taking her hand she didn’t even notice it anymore. He lead her through a bedroom to a rather large bathroom. There Tylander drew her a bath. Thank god indoor plumbing! Ryanne thinks to herself as she watched Tylander add some kind of bath salts to the claw foot bath tub. Once the tub was full, Tylander gave Ryanne a peck on the cheek. “Enjoy your bath. I’ll bring you some towels and your clothes when Janos returns.” Tylander left the bathroom, so Ryanne could bathe while he freshened up in another bathroom.

    *       *       *

The dress that formerly belonged to Tylander’s dead wife, fit Ryanne like it was made for her. It was a dress that any Renaissance Fair wench would have loved to own. It was a deep shade of green with a laced up corset and incredibly delicate belled lace sleeves. It made Ryanne feel like a princess. Shortly after Ryanne finished dressing, Tylander arrived to escort her to the throne room.

Janos was standing just outside the throne room when they arrived. “Go ahead and announce me, Janos, but don’t mention Ryanne yet I’d like to surprise Locktos.” Tylander smiled at the tall skinny man. He smiled back and entered the throne room. When Janos returned he motioned them to enter.

The throne room was ginormous. They could fit my entire apartment in here several times over, Ryanne thought to herself as she looked around the room. On the far end of the room stood a throne or a raised platform. A blond man who was nearly as tall as Tylander and just as wide sat upon the throne. He had his head in his hands like he was trying to compose himself before he had to deal with Tylander.

“King Locktos.” Tylander spoke. The king looked up from his hands. His reaction was very similar to Janos’.

“Ryanne?” He asked standing and moving closer to her and Tylander. “It is you, isn’t it?” He exclaimed placing one hand on her cheek. “It’s been so long.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t know you.” Ryanne said as she stepped back from the king and gave him a small curtsy. (She was meeting a king for the first time after all). King Locktos laughed at her gesture.

“Wow, that’s incredible. Did you see that Tylander?” King Locktos’ smile radiated through his whole face. He looked to Tylander briefly before turning back to Ryanne. “When we first met about ten years ago you did that same thing. You called it a curtsy.” The king laughed again. “What’s this about her not remembering me?” he asked.

“Don’t take it personally. She doesn’t remember me either.” Tylander responded. “I’m hoping Yelillya might be able to help her get her memory back. Spending eight years in the afterlife may have wiped out her memory.” Tylander shared.

“Hey guys, I’m standing right here. Can you not talk about me as if I’m not.” Ryanne said getting frustrated with the fact that no one believed her. “And, just for the record. I’m not Tylander’s wife. Yes I share a name with her, but that’s it.” Ryanne was past the point of caring about the fact that she was scolding a king. If someone didn’t start listening to her soon she would go crazy.

Her rant didn’t seem to faze Tylander or the king. They just smiled down at her and kept talking. “I had Janos send for Yelillya a while ago–she should be here shortly.” Tylander told his king.

Just then the door to the throne room opened and Janos announced the  High Priestess Yelillya Whiteleaf. The most beautiful woman Ryanne had ever seen entered the room shortly after Janos left. She was very tall for an Arrainanite female nearly 5’9″ with long wavy lavender hair with deep lavender eyes to match. Her skin is as white as snow. She was an ethereal vision, which made Ryanne think of angels from heaven. As she moved across the room she made eye contact with Ryanne. Suddenly the angel that was Yelillya began to cry. “Ryanne,” as she ran toward Ryanne. She wrapped her arms around her long lost friend and began to sob in earnest. “You came back, I can’t believe it.” She sobbed into Ryanne’s neck. “I missed you so much. Thank you Lunester!” Yelillya cried.

It took Ryanne a few minutes before she was able to pry herself out of Yelillya’s arms. “Look, I’m sorry you miss your friend and all, but I’m not her.” Ryanne said gently as Yelillya turned to Tylander confused.

“Oh it’s her alright. She’s lost her memory somehow.” Tylander said to Yelillya. This statement seemed to clear thing up for the priestess. “I was hoping you could help her with her memory while I give my report to the king.”

“Of course, I’ll try,” Yelillya responded looking at King Locktos and giving him a respectful bow. “Come with me Ryanne,” she whispered. Then turning to the King and Tylander as she lead Ryanne away from the throne room, she announced, “We will be in the temple should you need us.”

“You know Yelillya I haven’t lost my memory. I can remember everything about my life before I got here. I’m really not who you all think I am.” Ryanne stated trying to get the priestess to listen to her. Yelillya just smiled and kept walking. She didn’t believe Ryanne either. Is this whole city suffering a shared delusion? Ryanne thought to herself as she followed the High Priestess out of the palace and into the night.

Read Chapter 7

Chronicles of Thera: Crossing Over, Chapter 5

Chapter 5 Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Endi looked down at the tiny screaming woman. He didn’t not quite know what to do with her. His size always seemed to intimidate people, even his own kind, so he knelt down and tried to make himself less imposing. “Shhh it’s ok, I didn’t mean to scare you.” Endi said trying to make his rough voice sound as soothing as possible. It worked. The woman stopped screaming. Instead she started yelling at him.

“You scared the hell out of me. I’m not used all this shit. God what kind of a world is this? Giants, walking talking cats, egg men, and a probably mentally ill man who thinks I’m his dead wife. I just can’t take this, it’s too much all at once.” Endi had no idea what she was talking about. But he chalked that up with the fact that she was a surface dweller. They were known to be not quite rite in the head. When the woman finally ran out of steam Endi decided to introduce himself. “I am Endiondantious of the House of Liononosis, but most call me Endi.”

“I’m Ryanne..” The woman stated as three strange men burst through the treeline.

“Back away from her beast!” The tall Arrainanite man yelled throwing himself in front of Ryanne. He was armed with a long sword aimed at Endi. His two companions took up positions on either side of the Arainanite. They were armed as well. The Nilactin wielded a large knife while the Asoonadye had a bow with an arrow cocked and ready.

Endi was not afraid. Instead he was rather curious. He had been told that the three warring nations of surface dwellers would never work together.  Clearly these three were friends all hell bent on protecting the female. We have been lied to, Endi thought as he examined the three strangers in front of him..

Endi slowly moved back away from the female. “I ment her no harm. I was simply enjoying the stream when she came upon me.” Endi sat back on his haunches as he examined the people before him.  “It’s ok Tylander. He didn’t hurt me just startled me is all.” Ryanne placed her hand on the Arrainanite’s shoulder. Tylander looked up at the garrish looking greenish grey giant. He was by far larger than those he saw in the destroyed Asoonadye village. The Giant was not acting aggressive and appeared to be unarmed. Tylander lowered his weapon and motioned for his companions to do the same. They were reluctant but followed his lead anyway. “What exactly are you, and where did you come from?” Tylander asked the beast.

“I am an Endotalen. I go by the name Endi. We have been on this world far longer than any of your species. We were the first of Lunester’s children.” Endi looked back and forth between the three men still not quite believing they were together. “As your kind began to develop my people decided that we wanted nothing to do with your warring ways. We retreated to the ground, living in subterranean cities in peaceful isolation for over a millennium”. Endi looked pointedly at the men in front of him. “That is until a few weeks ago when a strange man, an Arrainanite, found his way to our capital city. He called himself Lord Dyvanor.” Tylander’s head shot up sharply with Dyvanor’s name. ” You know of him.” Endi said. It was a statement not a question. Tylander answered anyway.

“He is a trader, and an evil man who fled our city before he could be punished for his crimes.” Tylander took Ryanne’s hand as he remembered the last time he saw Dyvanor. He had arrived at the castle just in time to see Dyvanor mortally wound Ryanne.  “Dyvanor was working with Illucious the Dark Goddess to kill our king. We also know he is the one leading an army of your kind against the Asoonadye.” Endi nodded his head.

“I am aware of the attacks. He came to our city. He was taken to the ruling council where he told them a very convincing story.” Endi took a breath then he did something he hadn’t done in years. He opened himself to the power that ran through his blood and took a good look at the beings in front of him. The House of Liononosis was known for their incredible magical abilities, powers so strong they were feared and ostracized by their own people. Endi was able to see past the physical and into the spiritual. He didn’t know who to trust and he couldn’t afford to make a mistake. If Dyvanore was truly an Emissary of Illucious than his people were in great danger.

Endi took a good look into the men before him. He needed to see into the heart of each man. The Nilactin, Junkar, was strong and brave. He had a warrior’s heart. He was also kind and generous, but didn’t want anyone to know. The indigo cat genuinely liked his two companions. These species were supposedly at war with each other, but Endi could find no hint of malice in the warriors before him.

The Asoonadye Othyos was scared, but also determined to do whatever it took to help his people. He did not have the hate in him that had Endi expected. The Endotalens had destroyed his village, yet he was more concerned with saving lives than killing Endotalens.

To Endi the Arrainanite, Tylander, was the most interesting of the men. He was noble and brave, a warrior who wanted peace. He was also in love. Endi could clearly see the threads connecting him to his wife. The threads fascinated him as they were similar to what Endotalens developed when they mated. He did not believe that his kind had anything in common with the barbaric surface dwellers. Tylander was more curious than afraid of the Endotalen. Although Endi could tell if he so much as made a move towards Tylander’s mate the Arainanite wouldn’t hesitate to kill him. He could respect that.

The woman, Ryanne, was a conundrum. Endi assumed that she was a strange dark skinned Arrainanite, but she was something altogether different. He had no idea what her ancestry was, but what he did see was mind blowing. She has been to the afterlife. Endotalen’s were the first to journey to the afterlife and return. It was dangerous, very dangerous. Any one who survived the trip ended up taking a piece of the afterlife back with them. It gave them abilities that were not meant for this world. But what left Endi breathless was the fact that she held the mark of Lunester over her heart.

Endi dropped to his knees in supplication to Ryanne. The Endotalen’s had a  prophecy of the Favored Handmaiden of Lunester. Her presents alone will trigger events that will lead to all the Nations of Thera to uniting under one flag. She would be a being not of their world. She will have walked into the afterlife and returned bringing with her the power to grant Lunester’s gifts to those who choose to fight the Dark Goddess Illucious. The dark time the prophecy spoke of, was at hand. Illucious has sent her Emissary to destroy every nation. She would stop at nothing get her revenge against Lunester. Her Emissary, Dyvanor would, will, use Illucious’s power to control the Endotalen army. He will wipe out all life and bringing darkness to every corner of Thera, unless the warring nations could come together as one.

This was something that could not happen without divine intervention. That was why the Handmaiden was needed. She could do something no other being could. Looking at the men standing next to Ryanne, Endi could already see for himself that it was working. “Favored Handmaiden of Lunester, my people have been lied to by the Emissary of Illucious. Do not judge them too harshly ” Endi pressed his head to the ground.

Endi felt a small hand on his shoulder. “Endi, what are you doing?” Ryanne asked. Endi lifted his head to meet her eyes.

“I have seen inside you. You bare the mark of Lunester’s Handmaiden. You are the one we have been waiting for.” Ryanne looked confused.

“I’m not anyone’s handmaiden. I don’t even know who this Lunester person is Ok! I’m just a girl stuck in a place I don’t belong. So please, get up. Your making me very uncomfortable right now.” Ryanne looked back at Tylander “Lets head back to camp. I’m tired and hungry and by the look of our new friend here he could use a meal or two.” Tylander nodded as he took Ryanne’s hand and help her hobble back to their camp site. Tylander was more than a little concerned that she didn’t know who Lunester was.

Endi stood up slowly and followed after the men he consider to be her guard. That’s when Endi decided that he too wished to have a place at Ryanne’s side. It made sense to Endi that she would have a protector from each nation to guard her. Lunester obviously placed him by that stream for a reason.

*

Once back at camp the group quickly finished setting up the tent and got their evening meal prepared. Sitting around the campfire eating reconstituted meat and a potato like root vegetable, Tylander began to interrogate Endi. “You said earlier that Dyvanor told your council a convincing story. Do you know what he told them?”

Endi looked up from is too small bowl. “He said he came to warn us. That the Asoonadye had discovered one of our settlements closer to the surface. They believe us to be vermin, carrying disease. To be wiped out before we could infect the surface dwellers. Dyvanor said the Asoonadye came to the settlement with an army and killed all those in it. Everything was burned, all the bodies, the buildings, even our crops. To ensure no germs or disease could spread and infect the surface. The council sent soldiers to verify Dyvanor’s story. The entire settlement was destroyed, burned to ash. No survivors.”

Endi placed his bowl on the ground before he continued. “The council assembled all our people and allowed Dyvanor to speak. As he told his story to our people something did not seem right to me. I had the ability to sense lies, but I could not sense one way or the other with him. What I could sense was lye beneight his words. It was a compulsion of sorts. I could feel a push along with his words as if he was trying to hypnotize my people with his voice. I am not susceptible to that type of power. I tried to tell my people that we should proceed cautiously but, as an outcast among my people, they would not listen to me. When they left for the surface I followed so I could seek the truth for myself. I refused to condemn an entire species on the word of one man.”

“Your people believe that they are protecting themselves.” Ryanne stated placing her uneaten meal on the ground. The conversation was not conducive to her appetite.

“Yes, they do. Dyvanor is not just poisoning my people against the Asoonadye. I have heard him speaking to the council. He is telling them that the Arrainanites and Nilactins know of our existence now. Making them a threat to the Endotalen people as well. Dyvanor intends to use my people to go after all of your nations.” Endi looked down at his hands. “I am sorry Handmaiden for not forcing my people to see what I felt in my heart was true. Lord Dyvanor was a deceiver. I should have forced my people to listen to me.”

“Ok, enough with the Handmaiden bullshit. My name is Ryanne! I’m not a Handmaiden of Lunester. Just I’m a woman, who doesn’t belong here. ” Ryanne stated matter of factly.

“Actually, I’d like to hear more about this Favored Handmaiden. Who is she and why is she important to your people.” Tylander asked as he pulled Ryanne closer to him. So close she was nearly in his lap. He was trying to tell her without words that she did in fact belong here, with him.

“I came from the once Royal house of Liononosis. My great great great Grandmother was the last monarch of the Endotalen nation. She was also the keeper of our histories. As the last of my line that duty has fallen to me.” Endi’s eye became sad as he spoke of his family. “My many times great grandmother was an oracle. She wrote several prophecies and every one of them has come to pass except one.” Endi looked at Ryanne. “It spoke of the Favored Handmaiden of Lunester. She is not of this world, will bare the mark of Lunester over her heart, and she will have traveled to the afterlife returning with a piece of the spirit world within her. Her presence alone will cause a chain reaction that will unite all four of Thera’s nations under one flag. Thus stopping Illucious’ from destroying life as we know it. When I saw the three of you working together I began to remember the prophecy, but it wasn’t until I looked inside your wife’s soul, Tylander, that I realized I was in the presence of the Handmaiden.”

“What mark are you talking about?” Ryanne asked.

“The mark of the God Lunester keeper of the light, is a sunburst symbol. I didn’t see the physical mark but I could see the spiritual one. You do possess a mark just over your heart, don’t you?” Endi asked giving Ryanne a knowing look.

“She does.” Tylander answered for her. “I have seen it myself. I believe you called it a tattoo. I asked you about it when we first got married.” Ryanne had no words. She remembered getting the stupid tattoo on her chest when she was 18. She was drawn to this really cool sunburst image as a child. It decorated her walls, notebooks and just about every other surface Ryanne could draw on. When she decided to get a tattoo it had to be that image she permanently etched on her body.

“If your people are hypnotized into believing Dyvanor’s lies how can we stop it?” Junkar asked Endi. Saving Ryanne by changing the subject. “I’d prefer a way to end this with as little bloodshed as possible. Your people are just as innocent as the Asoonadye they attacked. The only one who needs to die is Dyvanor.”

“Their may be a way.” Endi stated as he looked at Ryanne. “If it is Illuciuos’ power behind Dyvanor’s voice. Then someone who has been blessed by Lunesters Handmaiden will be able to make my people see the truth.”

“The High Priestess Yelillya should be able to help us with that. Her connection to Lunester should help her provide us with answers.” Tylander offered.

“We need to make haste back to Quinetta. All of our kings need to hear what Endi has to say.” Othyos stated. “Get some rest. We need to leave before first light.” With that he got up and climbed into his sleeping roll. Dinner was over and they had a great deal to think about. with all these thoughts weighing on their minds, they all fitfully slept. They were all anxious to get back to the Arrainanite city, to their kings, and to Yelillya. Tylander worried about Ryanne especially if the High Priestess didn’t have a way to get the answers they needed to stop Dyvanor. If Ryanne is truly this Handmaiden, and Tylander believed she is, she will be a threat to Dyvanor and, therefore, the first person he will come after.

Read Chapter 6

Chronicles of Thera: Crossing Over, Chapter 4

Chapter 4 Not in Kansas Anymore

Ryanne snuggled deeper into the warmth in front of her. Oh I love this dream, Ryanne thought to herself. The dream was so vivid that she could literally feel the strong arms of her dream lover wrapped around her like steel bands. “Are you awake, my love,” The dream man whispered into her ear. Ryanne nodded afraid if she opened her eyes or spoke that she would wake up and lose this incredible dream. Then he was kissing her, and sparks ignited in her bloodstream. Oh, this was going down in the Hall of fames, Best dreams ever, Ryanne mused.

“Hey Tylander, you coming out? Breakfast is ready. You better hurry before Junkar eats everything in sight.” A high pitched voice called out. “Still don’t understand why he put that tent up last night.” The voice trailed off. Ryanne’s dream man stopped kissing her to respond, “Yeah, I hear you. We will be out shortly.” Tylander began to get out of the makeshift bed they were in.

“We? Who’s We Tylander?” A giant dark purple cat poked his head into the tent. Tylander grabbed the covers to shield Ryanne from Junkar’s sight. Oh God this isn’t a dream is it?Ryanne thought mortified at her behavior.

“Get out of here, Junkar!” Tylander yelled. “My wife isn’t dressed yet, I’ll bring her out in a minute and you can meet her.”

Wife, did I hear him correctly, Ryanne asked herself, now that she was fully awake. Looking around she realized she was laying on a makeshift bed in the center of a round tent. It seemed to be tall enough to stand up in, but not much bigger around than their bed.

“Your wife? How the hell did she get here? Isn’t she de..” Junkar didn’t get the chance to finish his sentence before Tylander shouted at him again.

“Not now Junkar.” Shaking his head Tylander smiled down at his wife. Her eyes were wide and full of fear. “It’s ok, that’s just Junkar. He’s a little bit of an acquired taste, but I think if you give him a chance you’ll like him.” Tylander expected the fear to leave Ryanne’s eyes, but his explanation seemed to do the opposite. “What’s wrong baby? Are you hurt?” Fear suddenly filled Tylander’s stomach. What if she is more injured than he thought? “Are you in pain? What is it baby? You have to tell me. I can’t help you if you won’t talk to me.” Tylander took both Ryanne’s hands in his. His eyes filled with worry.

“Who-o-o ar-r-r-e y-y-you?” Ryanne stuttered as she looked up at the most handsome man she had ever seen. He had shoulder length golden sun kissed hair, deep sea blue eyes, and very pale white skin.

“I’m your husband, Tylander.” He searched her eyes looking for some sign of recognition, but found none. He had no doubt who she was. Her scent called to him, that addictive pheromone that made him feel happy, peaceful and loved. He had been craving that scent for eight long years and the memory didn’t do it justice.

“No, I would have remembered getting married,” Especially to a guy who looked like you. Ryanne didn’t say that last part out loud.

Maybe it’s a side effect from crossing over into the afterlife and returning. Tylander thought as he made a mental note to speak with the high priestess, Yelillya. She would know. Very few people ever manage to return from the afterlife, but it does happen. Perhaps staying in the after life for eight years has had some severe side effects on Ryanne. Tylander needed to get Ryanne back to Quinnetta as soon as possible.

“Yes, you are my wife. It’s no mistake, you will just have to trust me. Don’t worry we will get it all straightened out. I’m sure once we are back in Quinnetta, Yelillya should be able to help you to remember. Come on, we should get dressed. We have a long way to travel today.” Tylander said as he released Ryanne and got out of the sleeping bag. He was bare chested but wore a snug fitting pair of soft tan leather pants. That was when Ryanne noticed her clothes or lack thereof. “Ack! What the hell! Why am I naked?”

“Your clothes were ripped, and covered in both mud and blood when I found you. I tried to clean them but they were beyond repair.” Tylander stood up and walked over to his bag to pull out one of his extra shirts. “You will have to use one of my shirts as a dress for now. Hopefully we will be able to find you something more suitable on our way home.” Tylander tossed a large white cotton shirt with long sleeves at Ryanne and she quickly pulled it over her head.

“Why was I covered in blood and mud?” Ryanne asked as she stood up. The shirt Tylander had given her was long enough to be a dress. It reached well past mid-calf on her.

“What is the last thing you remember?” Tylander asked as he tried to deflect Ryanne’s question with one of his own.

“I’m not sure, I think I was in my car, driving home.” Ryanne closed her eyes and concentrated hard trying to remember what had happened to her. The image of the red truck coming at her passed before her eyes. “I think I might have been in an accident,”

“It is no accident that you are here.” Tylander said taking Ryanne’s hands and pulling her to him. “You knew I needed you and you returned.” Tylander gave her a quick kiss on the lips before he moved away and began to dress himself. “Oh I was able to save your shoes.” Tylander picked up a pair of high heel shoes, “Although I’m not sure how you managed to walk in these things. We might want to get you a new pair of shoes if we get a chance. It’s a good three days walk back to Quinetta.”

Ryanne looked at what had been her most comfortable pair of heels. She doubted that they would still be comfortable in three days time. Tylander handed Ryanne an extra belt to cinch in her shirt dress. While this made the outfit a little more appropriate, walking for three days without a bra or underwear would be more than just uncomfortable, it would be embarrassing.

Although Ryanne was short in stature, she had an hourglass figure that required foundation garments just to be comfortable. “You weren’t able to save any of my garments?” Ryanne asked again as she watched Tylander lace up his black leather boots.

“You can see for yourself.” Tylander said pointing to what looked like a pile of rags off to one side of the tent. Ryanne hurried over to the pile. While most of the clothes were in fact far beyond repair she did find her undergarments. They were in surprisingly good condition considering what she had apparently been through. Ryanne looked over to see that Tylander had his back to her as he packed up their bed. She removed the belt and quickly shimmied into her panties and pulled on her bra. She managed to get herself decent before Tylander turned toward her again.

Tylander smiled to himself as he packed up his tent. He was not greatly concerned that his wife didn’t remember him, he could work with that. In fact, he was looking forward to making her fall in love with him all over again. She was alive and this time he was going to ensure she stayed that way. Nothing or no one would take her from his this time.

Once everything was packed up, Tylander took Ryann’s hand and led her out of the tent. While waking up in a tent with a strange man had been startling to her, the sight that greeted Ryanne outside the tent was by far more so. The large Purple cat from earlier sat indian style on the ground near the fire. He was eating what looked like porridge from a bowl with a spoon. The Second man looked more like a cross between a turtle and an egg than a man and was seated on a log directly across from the Catman. Both stopped eating and looked up at her and Tylander.

“Ryanne, that is Junkar,” Tylander motioned to the Catman “He’s the Nilactin Captain of the Guard.” Then he pointing at the Egg man, “And that is the Ambassador Ren Othyos of the Asoonadye.” Tylander took a deep breath as if gearing up for something unpleasant. “Guys, this is my wife, Ryanne.” Tylander cleared his throat, “She, um, has been with Lunester for a while, but now she is back. Ok, lets get packed up to so we can leave. She needs to get back to Quinetta as quickly as possible” Tylander spoke quickly, hoping to move on to packing without answering any questions. The only people who have ever come back from the dead have all been Arrainanites. Tylander was not sure how his traveling companions would react to Ryanne returning from the afterlife.

“Tylander,” Othyos looked up at the Arrainanite, “Your wife died eight years ago. This woman can’t be your wife”

Finally someone making since, Ryanne though before the full meaning of what Othyos was saying sunk in.  His wife is dead. Ryanne suddenly felt very sorry for Tylander he must be in a great deal of pain to think she was his wife. Wait! What if he’s having a psychotic break down? Could I be in danger? Now, Ryanne didn’t know what to think==things just kept getting weirder and weirder.

“She is my wife.” Tylander released Ryanne’s hand as he approached Othyos.  “I would know her anywhere.” Tylander was now talking through his teeth while coming face to face with the Ambassador. “Yes, she died, sacrificing herself to save countless others but she was blessed by Lunester. He has finally decided to give her back to me. You will not doubt that a second time. Are we clear?” Othyos nodded. He was quite surprised by Tylander’s outburst, as was Ryanne.

“Serves you right!” Junkar laughed as he approached the Asoonadye. “Even I know not to speak ill of an Arrainanite’s mate. That’s a sure fire way to end up dead.” Junkar joked as he moved closer to Othyos in case Tylander decided to use more than words to scold the Ambassador. “I’m sure he didn’t mean any harm Tylander.” Junkar said trying to sooth the Arrananite. Tylander noticed the big cat’s movements and realized he was overreacting.

“No. I’m sorry. I overreacted.” Tylander said as he stepped back and retook Ryanne’s hand. “I’m just a little protective of her is all.” He knew what life was like without her in it and would rather die himself than go back to that.

“It’s nice to meet both of you,” Ryanne said finally finding her voice. That seemed to cut the tension. Junkar handed Tylander’s bowl of porridge to Ryanne,  “Nice to meet you too Ryanne. Here have some breakfast while we break camp.” With that the three men seemed to fall back into their normal routine of packing up camp. By the time Ryanne finished her porridge everything was packed and they were ready to move out.

They traveled off and on throughout the day. They had to stop far more often then the three men would have liked due to Ryanne’s very insensible shoes. “I have an idea,” Junkar announced when they had to stop for the third time in two hours. “Why don’t we have Ryanne ride me. I can walk on all fours just as easily as two. What do you think?” Junkar smiled proud of himself. Ryanne seemed to consider it. “Absolutely not!” Tylander growled. The idea of another man touching his wife was more than he could handle. “No, my wife will not be riding you. If she needs to be carried I will carry her.” With that, Tylander swept Ryanne off her feet. Ryanne grabbed Tylander around the neck to stabilize herself. “Tylander, put me down. I can walk.”

“I think we’ve already decided that you can’t–at least not in those shoes. Just relax you don’t weigh enough to slow me down. This way we can keep moving and you still get to rest your feet. We might even make it back to Quinnetta in three days instead of the ten it would take us if we keep going at your pace.” Completely out of arguments, Ryanne decided to go with the flow and allow Tylander to carry her back to Quinnetta–at least for the day.

They traveled like this until the sun began to set. “This is a good place to camp.” Junkar stated as he dropped his bags to the ground. Sniffing the air Junkar pointed towards a tree line a few yards to his left.”I can smell water just on the other side of those bushes.”

“Yes this is as good a spot as any.” Tylander put Ryanne down gently. “Why don’t you head over and get washed up in the creek while we get camp set up.” Ryanne nodded her head and hobbled towards the water. She was utterly exhausted, but the idea of soaking her feet in the water was too much to pass up.

Ryanne sat down by the water and removed her shoes, before she gingerly placed her feet in the freezing water. “Ohh, that feels so good,” Ryanne said out loud to no one in particular.

“Yes, it does doesn’t it.” A strongly accented voice, Ryanne had never heard before, came out of nowhere. Startled Ryanne stood up. “Who is that?” She called out. That’s when she saw it. A giant greenish grey beast stood not three feet from her. Ryanne was so terrified that everything seemed to freeze. Suddenly, she heard someone screaming. It took her a moment to realise that the someone screaming was her.

Back at camp Tylander heard Ryanne’s terrified screams. He dropped everything and ran for the stream. Junkar and Othyos were hot on his tail. Please don’t let me be to late, Tylander prayed as he ran. He couldn’t lose her again.

Read Chapter 5