Aralyn awoke as the sunlight poured through her window. She sat up and stretched as she opened her eyes. At first, her eyes were extremely blurry, but they began to clear as she rubbed them and blinked. An unfamiliar room appeared in front of her and she looked around in shock. Where was she, and more importantly, why did this room seem oddly familiar to her.
Aralyn placed her bare feet on the floor and pushed herself into a standing position. It took her a few moments to find her balance as her head cleared, but when she was ready, she left the room and proceeded down a small flight of wooden stairs. Sounds of activity aroused her senses as she made her way down to the first floor.
The sounds got louder and she could hear familiar voices as she reached the first floor and pushed the door to the kitchen open. On the other side Gilles was tending to a hot stove, while Baltazar and Lailah worked on cleaning the utensils they had used. It appeared as though Morgan had gone into town and picked up some fresh food to cook. It was be the first decent meal any of them had enjoyed since Papi died.
Morgan stood behind the door sharpening a knife as she came in the room. He looked up and dropped the knife, “Well hello there!” He said in a cheerful voice, “Hey everybody, look who’s finally awake!”
The group turned to see her. Baltazar dropped what he was doing, walked over to her and hugged her tightly, “Good morning, I’m so relieved to see you up and about.”
Gilles and Lailah stopped their work and joined the rest of the group. Aralyn looked at Lailah nervously, “Did we do it? Did we… win?”
Lailah smiled, “Oh yes, we won. The imp army was completely destroyed and Paeles has been reclaimed by the land. No one will ever be tortured by those haunted souls again.”
“What about Legion,” she asked in an insisting tone, “I saw his body dissolve and float away into the clouds. What happened?”
“Relax,” Lailah replied, “Legion will never harm another person ever again. He has been reclaimed by the Most High. Legion has become a part of him again.”
A look of concern came over Aralyn’s face, “But if the Most High reclaimed him, won’t that mean that God has a dark side again?”
“Yes,” Lailah admitted, “But you mustn’t worry. Humans have the same darkness inside of them. The Most High will adjust and learn to live with his as easily as you have. In that way, Legion will be trapped within the Most High forever.”
Aralyn closed her eyes and breathed a sigh of relief, “All is well again?”
“Better than that,” Baltazar replied grabbing her hand, “Come on!”
He led Aralyn out of the kitchen and out the front door. Aralyn looked at him oddly, “Baltazar where are we going, what has you so…”
Upon seeing the house from the outside, she finally realized where she was, “Oh my…”
Baltazar spread his arms, presenting her home to her, “Welcome home!”
Aralyn looked around with wide eyes, “How… how did you do this?”
“I can do many things,” Baltazar replied, “But you did this.”
“How…” Aralyn asked, astonished.
Lailah came up behind her, “When your powers restored the Black Vengeance after she sank, you also restored Mont Saint Michel and your home here.”
She quickly turned around, “So then… Sister Mary?”
Lailah frowned and shook her head, “She was already dying. She was very sick and had only a limited time left. The Most High allowed her to avoid the pain of a second death and allowed her to remain.”
Aralyn lowered her eyes, “I… I didn’t even know that…”
“You couldn’t have,” Lailah replied, “She hid it well, but don’t worry, she is well cared for and happy now.”
“So this… is my home.” Aralyn whispered in a state of shock.
“One of them,” Baltazar replied as he pointed at the Black Vengeance, anchored off shore, “You still have a place with us.”
Aralyn nodded, “And I wouldn’t trade that for anything. That is always first and foremost my home.”
At that moment, Aralyn noticed the boat moored on the dock attached to her house, “Is that… it can’t be!”
She took off down the dock and climbed the ramp leading to the small ship. Without another thought, she entered and explored the cabin, and then the hold. Baltazar and their friends followed her down the dock as fast as they could, but she had long since disappeared below deck. They waited on the dock for her to reappear. When she finally did, her eyes looked mystified, “This… this is where it all started. This is the Patrisi fishing boat.”
Baltazar nodded as he looked it over, “It’s an older design to be sure, even older than the Black Vengeance, but it appears to have been updated at some point.”
Aralyn nodded as she walked back down the ramp and joined the group. She was about to say something to Baltazar when her eyes suddenly went wide with a look of both happiness and fear. Baltazar turned to see three angels standing behind him, “Xaphine, Ariel, Roselyn, good to see you!”
Xaphine smiled and bowed, “Very good to see you as well. You both did wonderfully.”
Aralyn curtseyed, “Thank you, you honor me.”
“You honor me,” Xaphine replied, “Because of you, the events that started eighty years ago have come full circle. All loose ends have been tied up and the last hints of damage that Michael had caused have been swept away.”
“What of the forces of Lucifer?” Morgan asked, “We never would have succeeded without them.”
Xaphine nodded, “No… No we wouldn’t have. The Most High and Lucifer have reached an understanding. They are no longer at war with one another. Lucifer will be made part of a new council of angels that includes the archangels. They will assist the Most High as the ruling body. This should prevent the Most High from getting so fatigued from dealing with the wars humankind brings upon itself. Officially, Lucifer still rules the underworld, but he will now answer to the Most High in all things.”
Gilles frowned, “Do you think that is for the best?”
“Only time will tell,” Ariel replied, “Many angels weren’t happy with this decision, but a lot of good may come from it.”
Xaphine nodded and turned back to face Aralyn, “Now it’s time for you to claim your place amongst the Choirs.”
She reached out her hand to Aralyn, “Don’t be afraid.”
Aralyn placed her fingers in Xaphine’s hand. Suddenly her body began to glow. Aralyn watched as her skin began to emanate a bright golden aura. Suddenly a new sense of clarity and a feeling of satisfaction came over her. Her wings began to shimmer as though they had been covered in gold dust and she lifted herself off the ground to feel the wind blow through them.
Baltazar watched and feared her knew what this meant. After a few moments, she lowered herself back to the ground, “This… this is incredible.”
Xaphine smiled, “Just wait until you see the Celestial World.”
Aralyn looked at her oddly, “What do you mean?”
“You have proven yourself worthy to pick up your ancestor’s legacy,” Roselyn replied, “You can now come with us and help us do the Most High’s bidding.”
The smile disappeared from Aralyn’s face, “No…”
Xaphine looked at her oddly, “What is it?”
“I’m not going,” Aralyn replied, “I have friends and a family here, I will not go…”
“You don’t have a choice, sister,” Xaphine insisted, “You’re one of us, you belong with your own people.”
“These are my people!” Aralyn shot back, “Just because the blood of an angel courses through my veins, it does not make me any less an angel. My mother way human, my father was human, and so am I. I’m not leaving…”
Aralyn exchanged glances with Baltazar. More than anything, she wanted to reassure him that she wasn’t going anywhere. He nodded to her as she turned to face Xaphine. Roselyn saw Baltazar’s expression and understood what was going on, “You love this man, don’t you?”
Aralyn nodded, “He stood by me, cared for me, and loved me. I gave him my heart and I will not leave him.”
Xaphine shook her head, “I have heard enough of this…”
“And I have heard this before,” Roselyn’s voice appeared from behind.
Xaphine turned to see her smiling at Aralyn. She stepped out from behind Xaphine and touched Aralyn’s chin, “You are so much like Adaline… it’s incredible. She made the same argument you are now.”
Aralyn moved closer to Roselyn to the point where their cheeks almost touched, “Please don’t take me away from him…”
Roselyn stepped back, smiled, and nodded. She then turned to Xaphine, “General, we can’t take her.”
“What madness is this?” Xaphine shouted, “The Most High has commanded that she return with us. It’s out of my hands.”
“Is it really,” Ariel chimed in, “General, since when do you put so much stock in the rules. The Most High is God above all others, but you command his armies. Come on Xaphine…”
Xaphine crossed her arms and sighed, “The Most High will have my wings for this…”
“Maybe,” Lailah chimed in, “But most likely not, as long as the work gets done, the Most High rarely cares how or who does it.”
Xaphine looked like she was deep in thought as her lips twisted. Lailah smiled, “Tell me General, how is Piero these days?”
Xaphine’s eyes opened wide and she glared at Lailah as though telling her to hold her tongue. Finally, she shook her head and turned to Aralyn, “You are correct, you are human, but only part. You are angelic as well…”
She paused for a moment to let out a deep sigh, “Okay, here is what I’m offering… Given the fact that our numbers were hit very hard by the war with Legion, we need all the help we can get. So I can’t just let you stay here full time, but as you are part human, you may spend part of your time here, and the rest of your time with us… let’s make it an even six months a piece. You may break that time up however you see fit; six months here, six months in our world or a week in our world and a week here. Frankly, I don’t care as long as your obligations are fulfilled.”
“It’s a high price,” Roselyn added, “But it is fair.”
Xaphine nodded, “There is one downside however… you have to spend the first six months with us. You need to get used to being in both worlds, which takes considerable training.”
Aralyn lowered her eyes, “Must it be this way?”
Xaphine’s lips twisted, “I know it seems unfair, but it’s the only way I’ll be able to convince the Most High to allow this.”
“I understand,” Aralyn replied, “Thank you, Xaphine. I know what you’ve done may cause you trouble. I appreciate you going out on a limb for me.”
Xaphine smiled, “You aren’t the only one who chose to mate with a human. Trust me, I understand better than think.”
“May I have a moment to say goodbye,” Aralyn asked.
“Take your time,” Xaphine replied, “There is no rush, you’ve earned this much.”
She turned to face Baltazar and stepped toward him. As she passed by Lailah, she smiled, “Thank you for everything… I don’t know where I’d be right now without your help.”
“You would have done just fine,” Lailah replied, “Of that, I am certain. For what it’s worth, I would have made the same decision you did about staying here.”
Aralyn nodded, “Thanks for that… just seeing Xaphine’s reaction made me worry that I was being selfish. I hope I made the right choice.”
“After everything you went through,” Lailah replied, “You’ve earned the right to be a little selfish.”
“But how do I know I’m doing the right thing,” Aralyn asked.
“Trust your heart,” Lailah replied, “Let destiny decide what’s right.”
Aralyn smiled and nodded, “I will.”
She turned and continued to Baltazar, his face had lost all of its color and a look of sadness had become apparent. Aralyn smiled, “Please don’t look at me like that. I love you, more than anything else in this world… I love you.”
“I love you,” Baltazar replied, “But this is so unfair, after everything you’ve been through.”
“I know,” she replied, “But it’s only six months, we’ll make it work.”
Baltazar looked away with a dismal expression. Aralyn looked at her love with worry in her eyes, “Won’t we? Baltazar, can we not make half of the time work until you join me above the clouds?”
Baltazar looked into her beautiful blue eyes, “Yes… yes we can. I’m sorry, Aralyn. It just seems like we’re once again asked to pay a heavy price for victory. I mean, we literally saved the world.”
“Yes we did,” Aralyn replied, “And we’re going to keep saving it.”
“How,” Baltazar asked.
Xaphine stepped forward, “The Spanish Empire has only begun to realize the effect piracy will have on their interests. Eventually, their numbers will dwindle, and their holds in the Caribbean will be fighting for freedom. Within the next two hundred years, Spain’s power will be gone and they will be no threat to anyone anymore. The powers of England, France, and the like will rise to end the Spanish oppression… and the Habsburgs will cease to exist.”
Baltazar smiled, “Then I will continue going after their ships.”
“And I will be by your side,” Aralyn replied, “Either in spirit, or by healing your crew when they are injured.”
“Yes,” Baltazar said softly, “We’ll save the world together.”
Xaphine cleared her throat to get Aralyn’s attention, “It’s time…”
Aralyn threw her arms around Baltazar, “I love you… I promise you we’ll see each other in six months, okay?”
Baltazar nodded, “Where should we meet?”
“Here,” She replied as her body began to face, “Six months from today, meet me here, I’ll be waiting for you!”
The other angels also began to fade. Baltazar turned to Lailah, “It was nice knowing you.”
Lailah nodded, “The pleasure was mine, we’ll see each other again someday, count on it.”
Baltazar smiled and watched as his love disappeared. Just before she completely vanished, a tear fell from her eye and landed on the dock. It splashed and formed into a small golden feather. Baltazar picked it up and put it in his pocket. Morgan placed his hand on Baltazar’s shoulder, “Ye okay Captain?”
“Yes, “Baltazar replied, “I’ll be fine…”
He took a deep breath and turned to face his men, “Come on boys, we’ve got six months of work to do before we can come back here! To the Black Vengeance, sail for Spain, and pirate glory!”
Gilles and Morgan saluted and headed for the boat, “Aye sir!”
Six months had passed for Aralyn, just as she was promised it would. When she was ready to return to Earth, there was a flicker of light and she appeared in front of the Patrisi home. Her wings were gone to help her pass as a human without incident, but her eyes were still glowing. The light blurred her eyes and made it impossible for her to see anything. She rubbed quickly trying to clear her vision.
When it finally returned, she let out a disappointed sigh. The Black Vengeance was nowhere in sight. Would he have abandoned me? She thought to herself, no, he wouldn’t do such a thing.
As though answering her question, a ship appeared from the other side of the harbor. Her sails veiled in a red sunset, Aralyn could tell that her love had finally arrived. The ship gracefully slowed to a halt as the sails were drawn and the anchored was dropped. She waited patiently as the longboat was lowered and began rowing for the shore. Anticipation built up inside of her as she waited for it to touch the shore.
The Sun slowly disappeared but the lamps all along the house took over illuminating the beach as the boat approached. Once it was within a few feet of the beach, Baltazar jumped over the side and ran through the wave to her. Aralyn ran down the beach to meet him half way, but she ran faster than he could. The two came together just a foot into the surf. They held each other tightly as the waves gently caressed their feet.
Gilles and Morgan pulled the boat up on land and watched from a few feet away. Aralyn released Baltazar from her grip, “My love… I have missed you.”
“And I missed you,” Baltazar replied.
The two brought their faces together and their lips connected in a deep kiss. Suddenly, four stars overheard began to twinkle brightly and colorful explosions went off in the night sky. All four of them turned to watch as the sky became illuminated in green, blue, red, and yellow colors. Baltazar smiled, “It’s amazing…”
“My sisters,” Aralyn replied, “I should have guessed they’d pull something like this.”
“Did you find all the answers you were looking for up there?” Baltazar asked.
Aralyn nodded, “Yes… I got to speak to Adaline, Giovanni… and my parents.”
Baltazar pressed her closer, “How are they?”
“They’re all happy…” Aralyn replied as she bit her lip. That’s what matters most. Although I should warn you, my father is very suspicious of you.”
“Is that so,” Baltazar chuckled, “Well I’ll just have to work even harder to prove my love for you.”
“That I would love to see,” Aralyn said laughing.
Suddenly, Baltazar pulled a beautiful jeweled necklace with a massive pearl on the end of it from his pocket. Aralyn gasped and placed a hand on over her mouth, “Baltazar… It’s beautiful…”
“Aztec,” he replied, “It was on its way to Spain from the new world. I… liberated it for you.”
“You are a pirate aren’t you?” Aralyn said jokingly.
“Among many other things,” Baltazar replied.
He quickly placed the necklace on her and rubbed her shoulders. She placed her right hand on his left one, “I can’t wait for us to start our life together.”
“It should be quite an adventure.” Baltazar replied.
“Really,” Aralyn asked, “I thought our big adventure was over. All the loose ends have been tied up.”
“Never,” Baltazar insisted, “All life can be an adventure if we choose to make it so.”
A look of excitement came over Aralyn’s face, “Yes, then let’s make it one.”
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.
I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.
Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:
Catch you on the flip side!