Lilith stepped back, the anger rising in her.
“Why the hell not? I can make her cooperate. I know I can.” She yelled back at Dichune. “I will have what’s mine!”
“Calm yourself my dear,” Dichune said. “All in good time. We must do this right or it will not work at all.”
“Fine” Lilith huffed.
Payton was grateful for Dichune’s interference. She did not have the strength to deal with Lilith right now.
Orkat pushed her toward a small door at the far end of the entrance hall. He opened it and pushed her through. Steps. A spiral of stone steps, seemingly endless. Payton started down the steps, occasionally stumbling. She heard Orkat’s snicker every time she stumbled. Finally, the last step.
Ahead was a long hallway, cells lining both sides. They were small cells with thick wrought rot-iron bars for doors. The bars were all intertwined with the vine. At the end of the hallway of cells was a larger one. Payton knew in her mind, it was meant for her. Orkat yanked the vine again. Payton fell to her knees. He walked around her, opened the vine-covered door, and shoved her in. She fell, face in the dirt. Orkat removed the vines from her wrists, backed out and slammed the cell door shut.
Payton lay on the dirt floor, not moving for hours. She was exhausted. She didn’t have the energy to move. The sores around her wrists were just starting to heal. She could still feel the sting of those thorns.
She pushed herself up, slowly. It was cold in the cell. She moved toward the cell bars wanting to grab them, shake them. The vines. She couldn’t do it. Instead, she turned toward the stone wall. Feeling her way in the darkness, her knee bumped a hard object. She felt it with her hands. It was another stone bench.
Payton didn’t care. She just wanted to sit and rest. She could vaguely see some of the stone and dirt on the wall opposite of her. Slowly, her eyes adjusted. It was just that; a deep, dark cave. Cold, damp, and filthy. She thought she could hear rats scurrying around. Great!
She heard a noise from the far end of the hall. Voices! They’re coming back – she thought. She didn’t bother to look as Orkat and Lyradis approached the cell.
“Get up!” Orkat ordered.
“Now, now, Orkat,” Lyradis said. “We must be more gentle with her.”
Orkat sneered. Lyradis turned toward Payton, “Come Payton, and don’t bother to fight us. You are not strong enough. If you cooperate, you will remain unharmed.” ‘For now’ Lyradis thought.
Aronon rushed into the meeting room, frantic and out of breath.
“Liesson!” he shouted.
Liesson ran to him. “What is it, Aronon?” He asked.
“Payton,” Aronon gasped, “they have Payton!” Ardaria approached him. “Aronon, you’re sure of this?” Sshe asked, her voice filled with fear. He nodded.
“Terran,” he continued, “he’s told me Payton flashed before he could stop her. He followed as fast as he could, but was too late. He ran into Aurel. Aurel told Terran what happened and now they’re both going after her. Alone!”
“We have to help them, Liesson,” Ardaria said.
“We don’t have time,” Liesson replied. “The battle is soon upon us and we cannot spare any of the others. We need all thirteen of us.”
“Liesson!” Ardaria yelled. “We must!”
“No!” He shouted.
Ardaria’s heart sank. Payton, she couldn’t just leave her alone with them. Terran and Aurel awere not enough against the Anords. Tears were welling up in her eyes.
Liesson put his arms around Ardaria and hugged her tightly.
“Don’t worry Ardaria,” he said, “they will not harm her; they can’t at this point. They will, however, bring her to the battle. Of this, I am sure.”
Liesson turned his attention to the rest of the gods gathered around them.
“Know this!” he spoke loudly. “The Anords will attempt to use Payton as a distraction. Don’t let them. Be alert. Be vigilant and be victorious. When any of us have the opportunity to rescue Payton, take it.”
All agreed to Liesson’s plan, and headed for the exit.
Aronon took Elrani’s hand. She gripped it tightly. They followed the others; Liesson and Ardaria the last in line.
Liesson’s thoughts moved to Aurel. Why would he bother to get involved? He was an immortal, yes, but not a god. Aurel wasn’t one to take sides. Aurel only did what ‘Aurel’ wanted. He was neither good nor evil. Always neutral. Curious.
All the Guardians were gathered in front of their fortress. All armed. All ready for battle.
Liesson spoke again. “Remember the battle of Trinity. One god lost. Yet to be replaced. The Anords are drunk with the thought of absolute power. We must not let them win. Human kind will depend on it; on us.”
On the battlefield of Trinity, again, Liesson scanned the area. He was the first to arrive. Then the flashes. Guardians, one-by-one, were arriving. As the last gGuardian was in place, there were and … flashes in the distance. Anords. They’re here. Liesson watched as the last Anord flashed in. Dichune. Liesson stepped forward to meet Dichune in the centre of the field.
“Ah, the mighty Liesson,” Dichune said as he met up with him.
“Dichune,” Liesson replied.
“Slayer of Koris,” Dichune continued. “Today it will be you who dies.”
“Dichune, we don’t have to do this,” Liesson said. “We could be as we were, in harmony, equals. Restore balance.”
“How can we be in harmony when we are one short Liesson? We are not balanced. You’ve seen to that.” Dichune said.
“There is a way.” Liesson argued. “You know this, and yet you resist. Why?”
“You think your lovely daughter can restore all in the universe?” Dichune laughed. “I think we should see what she thinks, shall we?” Dichune waved. Flash!
Two wrought rot-iron cages appeared; large cages with vines wrapped all around them. Through the vines, Liesson could see Payton. Her hands bound by the same vine of thorns. In the other cage, Lilith. Liesson knew it. Lilith wouldn’t be a threat to the Anords. She was evil – pure evil.
Dichune then said, “I am keeping Lilith in a cage for now. She has a great yearn to touch Payton. We both know we can’t let that happen.”
“You cannot change fate.” Liesson growled.
“But Liesson, I think I can. You see, we are gods; we decide fate and if we can control fate in the human world, we can in our world.” Dichune said. “Enough talk – Anords!”
The Anords attacked. The Guardians met them in full force. God against Ggod. Payton watched helplessly. She saw the blades flying through the air, each god using their own power to try to gain the advantage over their opponent. She could see the cuts, the bruises on both sides. They healed quickly.
Payton needed to get out. She struggled against the vine holding her. They tightened. It didn’t matter. She managed to reach the small knife in her boot. She drew it out, flipped it over and started slicing at the vine. It was working. She could feel it loosen. The vine fell from her wrists. Payton stood in the cage. The fighting was worse. She could see her father, face-to-face with Vladok, Liesson wielding his sword, swinging at Vladok. Vladok threw a small silver object that met the blade. Explosion. Payton’s eyes grew wider. No! Liesson was ready for it. He saw the silver come and brought up his shield to protect himself. Just in time too. Vladok threw another straight at the shield. Another explosion. Liesson stood up, his shield burnt a little, but still intact.
Payton thought ‘I have to do something!’ Her mind racing, ‘but what?’ She was watching her parents and the rest of the Guardians fight for their lives, for hers. Then she saw him – Aronon. What was he doing here? He’s not a god! He hasn’t got a chance! He’ll be killed!
She saw Lyradis approach Aronon from behind. Her darkness was starting to encircle him. Payton knew that within seconds, he’d be dead. She couldn’t let that happen. Lyradis closed in on Aronon. Payton r
Terakas, Guardian, god of fire and warmth, was closest to the cages. He flashed to the one cage Payton was in. He grabbed one of the bars, carefully avoiding the thorns. Flash! He was gone. The cage was gone too.
The Anords flashed, all of them, taking the remaining cage with them.
The Guardians were left alone on the battlefield.
“Everyone – back to the fortress” Liesson ordered. In a flash, the field was empty.
Terran trudged along behind Aurel, still wondering why Aurel wanted to help him, help Payton. Aurel just met Payton. They’d known each other only minutes and yet he’s putting himself on the line for her. “Why?” He had to ask.
“Why are you doing this?” Terran asked.
Aurel knew Terran was fishing for more than he was willing to tell.
“What’s in it for you?” Terran asked again.
“I find this Payton … intriguing. She’s different from any woman I have ever met before in my years. She compels me.” He answered. He knew Terran wouldn’t want to hear it. Aurel couldn’t help himself. It just came out and he wasn’t sorry he’d said it.
Terran was quiet. He knew exactly what Aurel meant. He wants her. He wants my wife! Bastard! There’s no way he’s laying a hand on her. Terran was seething. Thinking up ways to rid himself of this, this rival. Terran froze.
‘Terran?’ – It was his father. ‘The battle was cut short. We’re not sure why, but we’ve managed to rescue Payton. She’s here, at our fortress. Terran – she’s home. You must come now. We have to plan.’
‘Yes, father.’ Terran replied. The vision faded from Terran’s mind.
“I have to go.” Terran told Aurel. Aurel stopped, turned to face Terran.
“Go where?” He asked.
“Home. I have to go home.” My father told me they’ve rescued her. My Payton is home.” Terran answered.
“May I accompany you?” Aurel asked.
“I go on my own.” Terran answered.
“Perhaps, I may still be of service to you and the … Guardians.” said Aurel. Terran knew what Aurel wanted, but he also knew that Aurel could probably help, in his own way. Terran wasn’t going to make it easy for Aurel.
“I go alone.” Terran said again. “But, if you can find the Guardian fortress, I will meet you, and introduce you to them. It will be their decision whether you stay or go.”
“Understood.” Aurel replied, and then asked “Where is this fortress?”
“Northern Ireland.” Terran answered. “I trust you can find it on your own.” With that, Terran flashed. Aurel was alone.
Aurel smiled. ‘I will meet you in Northern Ireland, young Terran.’ He thought. ‘It will take a little longer, a couple of days or so, but I will see you again. I will see my compelling Payton.’”
The Guardians were back at their fortress. They gathered in the courtyard, surrounding the cage.
“Terakas, the vines,” Liesson said loudly. With that, Terakas drew his sword and started slicing through the vines. They fell away easily, revealing Payton inside. She stood motionless, her head hung down. Her appearance shocked the gods. Ardaria raced to the cage, grabbed the iron door and ripped it off its hinges. A mother’s power was infinite when it came to their children.
Ardaria ran to her. Her arms wrapped around her only child.
“How could they do this to her? Monsters!”
Payton was so dirty; clothes in rags, barely hanging on to her. Her hair was mussed and matted in places.
“Payton,” Ardaria’s tears were welling up, “are you hurt? What did they do to you?”
Payton slowly wrapped her arms around her mother, “I’m okay mother, really.” She answered. “Their accommodations for me were, to say the least, filthy,” she tried to laugh.
“Let me have a look at you,” her mother tried to lift her daughter’s chin.
“Mother … please. I’m so tired. I need to rest. Take me to my room, please.” Payton said.
“Ardaria, let our daughter rest.” Liesson intervened. “She can fill us in after she’s rested.” Liesson hugged Payton. He released her, took her by the hand, and started for the entrance back into the fortress.
“Payton!” Terran was back. He ran for her, scooped her up in his arms. “Payton, you’re safe!” Terran’s happiness to see his wife was unmistakable. He kissed her face all over and finally a long, lingering kiss on the lips. Payton smiled slightly. Terran hugged her tightly. “Don’t ever leave me again, my love,” Terran whispered to her. She could hear his voice crack a little.
“I won’t … my love,” she whispered back. She smiled half-heartedly.
They walked back inside the fortress, hand-in-hand.
“Dichune, you have taken a great gamble on this plan of yours,” Lyradis said.
“I know,” he replied.
“And how do you know this plan of yours will work?” Asked Siresha, god of disease and despair, “she is unstable, volatile. We don’t know if we can trust her.”
“She is a god,” Dichune replied, “or at least half … whatever. The point is, we have no choice but to put our trust in her, however unstable she may be. We have prepared her the best way we can. Now it is up to her.”
Eleven sets of eyes rested on Dichune. Skeptical glares. Dichune knew they were wary of the plan he devised. Hell, he wasn’t sure himself if she could pull it off.
“Look,” Dichune said, “we had to get her near Terran. He is the only one who knows the final code word. If she can fool him into thinking she is the real Payton, we will find out all those bloody code words and the most important one – the one word that must be said to Payton when the time is right.”
“When the planets align in thirty days, at the twelfth hour, we must make it happen. If we fail, we will forever be resigned to working in unison with the Guardians. ‘Peace and harmony, in balance.’” Dichune shuddttered at those horrible words.
“Lilith must succeed. She knows what’s at stake.”
“In the meantime, what are we to do with our precious cargo in the dungeon? Hmmm?” Lis asked, arms folded, left brow arched.
“Aurel. Lis, find him. Bring him here. I feel he has an attraction for our ‘precious.’. She compels him, for some reason. Perhaps we can persuade him to help us.” Dichune said, a slight smile on his face.
The only one who couldcan reveal the code words to Payton, was the one she loved completely … perhaps Aurel could divert her………………
Find me at:
Trinity by CJ Bolyne / Fantasy have rating 3.2 out of 5 / Based on16 votes