Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Book 6, Chapter 5

V

 

The battle outside of the city had begun to die down. With the help of Lucifer’s forces, the Choirs of angels managed to push the Imp armies into full retreat. As the angels dealt with the last remnants of the imp army, Xaphine, Ariel, Roselyn, and the demon Xaphine had met earlier joined Gilles and Morgan on the deck of the Black Vengeance.

The ship sailed as close as they could to Paeles before the wind overwhelmed her sails. Several crewmen wanted to lower longboats and go find their captain, but Xaphine stood in their way, “This is something they have to do alone. This cursed land is too dangerous for humans.”

Though in her own heart, she desired to be there to help them. She still felt responsible for Legion gaining enough power to break out of the underworld and cause so much turmoil. The dishonor of knowing that Adaline’s great-great-granddaughter had to suffer for crimes that she had committed was unacceptable, but she could not interfere, she knew this.

Gilles stood by her side at the railing, “Did you know Gavreel?”

Xaphine turned to look at him, “Excuse me?”

“Gavreel,” he repeated, “Did you know her.”

She nodded, “Yes, Gavreel was a special angel amongst the Choirs. I didn’t know her as well as I would have liked, but from what I’d heard about her, she was very kind hearted.”

Gilles lowered his eyes, “She died protecting me…”

“I know,” Xaphine replied, “I can feel it when one of my troops falls. It is truly a shame, but she died doing the job she loved; protecting people.”

Gilles nodded, “Yes… she said the same thing.”

The demon stood on Xaphine’s other side and spoke with a sarcastic tone, “I have a question for you ‘General,’ if it wouldn’t be too inconvenient?”

Xaphine rolled her eyes, “What is it Baʿal Zəbûb?”

“Legion is one that is many,” he replied, “One consciousness, one voice, but many minds and many forms. How do you intend that one angel should be able to defeat a creature that can take the form of as many creatures it wants?”

Xaphine smiled, “Leave that to the Choirs. Legion can’t hold multiple forms for long. It drains his energy. So we’ll wait for him to revert to single form. Once he does, our agent, Lailah, will signal us. That’s when the Choirs of angels will focus our powers together to lock him in that one form.”

“How long do you think you’ll be able to hold that,” Baʿal Zəbûb asked.

Xaphine shrugged, “Who knows… a few hours maybe? Hopefully it should be enough time for Aralyn to defeat him.”

Baʿal Zəbûb scoffed, “You’re putting an awful lot on the shoulders of a mere half-breed. Do you seriously think that this has any chance of success?”

“She may have the drawbacks of being a mortal,” Xaphine replied, “But she is far more powerful than any other single angel. When her powers manifested themselves, she was able to do incredible things with no training at all.”

Baʿal Zəbûb didn’t say anything in response. He was too deep in thought, contemplating what would happen if she did fail. Xaphine sighed, “You know… I owe you a thank you… if you hadn’t come, we probably wouldn’t be standing here now.”

Baʿal Zəbûb snorted, “I never thought I’d here that from an angel… even one who spent many years on our side.”

Xaphine smiled, “We did have some fun times together.”

“Yes we did,” Baʿal Zəbûb replied, “Before you turned on us.”

“Don’t,” Xaphine shot back, “You of all people know what Lucifer tried to do to me, after everything I sacrificed for him. After everything I did to help him, he still could not even grant one single request on my part. At that point, he proved to be no friend of mine, and I sided with the one person who had shown me unending loyalty.”

Baʿal Zəbûb nodded, “Forgive me Xaphan, I didn’t mean to sound like I was accusing you, far from it. I didn’t agree with your decision, but I understood it. You were always a fine general and I’m glad to see that after everything, the Most High was smart enough to recognize your abilities. “

“Xaphine,” She replied, “My name is Xaphine Lorenzi now.”

“Ah yes,” Baʿal Zəbûb chuckled, “So I heard… Well Xaphine, I must say, after watching you fight, it’s nice to see that your chosen allegiance hasn’t dulled your abilities at all.”

“Or yours,” Xaphine replied, “I think that, when the dust settles, Lucifer and the Most High may have a few things to discuss.”

Baʿal Zəbûb nodded, “Perhaps, once all this is over.”

*

The wind began to blow hard inside of the ruins of Paeles. Each step Aralyn took forward was met with a strong force pushing against her. She held tightly on to Baltazar’s arm as the two pressed on closer and closer. Lailah stood behind them and looked back toward the sea. She couldn’t see anything, but was hoping against hope that her people were winning the day. Overheard, she couldn’t see anymore imps, but for all she knew, they could still be there, the clouds from the whirlwind blocked her view.

Once they reached the edge of the whirlwind, Lailah stopped walking. Aralyn turned back to her, “What’s wrong?”

“This is as far as I dare go,” Lailah replied.

Aralyn shook her head, “What are you talking about, I need you, I can’t take on Legion alone!”

Lailah smiled, “You are not alone, trust me on that. I have to alert the Choirs of your progress.”

“But…” Aralyn began to protest, “I need you…”

“No you don’t,” Lailah replied, “I have already fought Legion and failed. Long have I watched over your family… and you. But you have grown into a strong young woman, and a powerful angel. You don’t need my help anymore. It’s time you stand on your own.”

Aralyn lowered her eyes, “I… I understand…”

Lailah turned to Baltazar, “You are her support now, her protector, and her love. Keep her safe.”

Baltazar nodded as he turned back to face the violent wind. Aralyn grabbed his arm once again and wrapped her own arms around it. She pressed her head against him, “I don’t know if I’m ready for this.”

“I do,” Baltazar replied, “I’ve seen you handle everything else that has been thrown at you, and you have had an unreasonable amount to deal with in a short span of time. Ever after all that, here you are, still standing. If I didn’t think you were ready for this, I never would have let you come this far. I believe in you.”

Quivering, she forced a smile, and nodded, “Then I’ll do my best not to let you down.”

With a renewed sense of confidence, she drew her sword and pointed it at the vortex. The blade responded by glowing green. She looked at the blade for a moment, “You have defended my family for many years… don’t let me down.”

Aralyn sucked in a deep breath, squeezed Baltazar’s hand and stepped through the spinning winds. Baltazar stepped through at the same time and held on tight so that he would not lose her in there.

The pair was instantly surrounded by a gray fog. The wailing of Paeles and the sound of the harsh winds were gone. All that remained was low whisper that sounded muffled. Baltazar turned a couple of times to see if they could make out anything, “So now what’s the plan?”

Aralyn shrugged, “I don’t know, but standing here won’t do us any good.”

She tugged on his arm, “Come on, let’s keep going forward.”

“Okay,” Baltazar agreed hesitantly, “Just don’t let me run into any invisible walls or step off a cliff.”

Aralyn smiled, “No worries.”

She took a step forward onto the unseen surface. When she felt solid ground, she took another step and pulled Baltazar to stay with her. The two walked through what could only be described as oblivion. Their breathing and footsteps echoed as they moved like they were in a large amphitheater.

Moments later, the gray began to clear like fog being lifted. In front of them was a massive cliff that seemed to protrude slightly upward into the vortex. Aralyn and Baltazar walked cautiously out to the edge of the cliff. When Aralyn looked down, she realized that there was no bottom to this whirlwind. Looking up, she realized that there was no top either. It appeared to stretch on endlessly. Aralyn was starting to get impatient and turned to Baltazar, “Stand back.”

Baltazar nodded and moved backwards to where there was more ground underneath him. Once she was convinced he was on stable ground, Aralyn turned her attention back to the vortex. She stared upwards for a few moments before calling out, “Legion!”

Her voice was met by a hollow sigh, but no other response. She waited a second and then tried again, “Legion!”

This time the entire whirlwind shook and a deep voice answered her, “Aralyn!”

An enormous entity that could only be described as a cloud of black smog appeared in front of her. In her right hand, Aralyn’s sword glowed even brighter as she aimed it at the cloud. The entity spoke, “Aralyn… so you have finally come. We must say it took you a little longer than we expected.”

“Happy to disappoint,” Aralyn replied, “Perhaps I can do it again some time?”

The entity laughed, “You are Adaline’s descendant indeed. Unfortunately, there won’t be another time. You will not leave our vortex alive. We have finally restored ourselves to full power and do not even need you now.”

The entity paused a moment and began to shift in shape. It slowly took human form, but it was little more than a black silhouette. A pair of yellow eyes opened on the area where a face would be, “However… we could still benefit from the powers you possess. Join us, and spare yourself unceasing pain and anguish.”

Aralyn’s eyes glowed as she thrust her free hand forward. Hot beams of white light emanated from her fingertips and shot through the air towards Legion. She clenched her teeth as the beams flew, “Never, Legion, die!”

Her attack struck Legion and passed right through him. His laughter echoed through the chamber as the beams of light vanished. Aralyn placed both hands on her sword took a step back. Legion roared, “You are a fool. We tried to be generous with you and this is the insult we receive? We are many and cannot be killed so easily.”

Legion raised his right hand, “Let us show you…”

Instantly, Legion disappeared from view and Aralyn heard Baltazar’s voice behind her, “Lookout!”

She turned to see Legion standing next to her. She was quick enough to be able to deflect his attack and push him away. As quickly as he appeared, he disappeared. Aralyn had a feeling that she knew what was going on and turned around. Sure enough, Legion was standing behind her in a different form and attacked again.

Within seconds, Legion attacked her from all four sides. He would alternate when he would appear in each position and what attack he would use. Baltazar ran to her side, but the moment Legion appeared, he went flying to the back of the ledge. He tried again to reach her, but again was sent flying through the air.

The sword she had given him when they first left the Black Vengeance, glowed brightly, but he had no idea what it meant. As much as he tried, there was no way for him to reach his love and he was forced to watch as she fought through this onslaught. He continued to look for a way to get to her, but could not find a way through this invisible barrier.

Aralyn fought hard, swinging her sword in defense, but she was having a hard time keeping track. Eventually she lost track and turned the wrong way, expecting to be attacked from behind, but Legion wasn’t there. Instead she felt a blunt pain in her side. She gasped as the wind was knocked out of her. She was now unable to deflect any more attacks. Legion hit her in the back, slashed at her leg, and then connected with her cheek. Baltazar threw himself at them as blood sprayed from Aralyn’s nose. Again he was unable to reach her as she fell to the side and her head hit the ground.

Aralyn’s world suddenly went black. She wasn’t unconscious, or at least she didn’t think she was, but her eyes couldn’t detect any sign of anything. She struggled to stand up and called out, “Baltazar… “

The only response came from a blue orb that appeared in front of her. It suddenly became very bright and approached Aralyn. It became so bright that she had to block her eyes to stop the light from blinding her.

“What is this, who are you?” She demanded.

There was a sudden flash and the orb disappeared. In its place was a beautiful young woman with blond hair and blue eyes that matched Aralyn’s. In fact, she looked exactly like her. Aralyn rolled her eyes, “Legion if this is another one of your tricks…”

“Shh…” The figure replied, “I’m not Legion.”

Aralyn looked at her oddly, “Then who are you…”

“I think you know,” the figure said with a smile, “I am a part of you.”

“Then you’re Adaline, my great-great-grandmother.” Aralyn replied.

The figure nodded, “That’s right… “

“What do you want,” Aralyn demanded, “I don’t have time for this.”

Adaline frowned, “I didn’t expect such hostility from my own kin…”

“Hostility?” Aralyn scoffed, “What do you know of hostility? Because of your short-sightedness, I had to grow up trapped behind the walls of an ancient abbey, I had no parents, almost everyone I ever cared for is dead, and now it looks like I might be too! Now I am stuck with your powers and abilities and I never wanted any of this!”

“No one asks for things like this to happen,” Adaline glared back, “Do you think I asked to be kicked out of the Celestial World, or be blinded and tortured to within a mere thread of my life? Do you think I asked to have people fight and die for me and in the end watch the person who loved me the most suffer? When all was said and done, I did what I had to do to be happy and so that your great-great-grandfather would survive. I make no apologies for that and I never would. It may sound selfish, but I love Giovanni and I would have done anything in the world to be with him.”

Aralyn could see a tear in her ancestor’s eye, “I am sorry for what happened to you, but believe me, I had nothing to do with it. I’m not a member of the Choirs of Angels anymore. It was the price I paid for a mortal life. Once that life was over, I would return to the Celestial World, but I would live in paradise as a human, not an angel, so I would have no say in their workings. It was a choice I’d make over and over again.”

“What about your powers,” Aralyn demanded, “How did I get them?”

“There was no way to completely remove the angelic essence from my being,” Adaline responded, “Not even the Most High has that capability. So he removed what he could, leaving just enough to prolong my life as long as my husband lived. We didn’t know until it was too late that the remaining essence would begin to manifest itself in later generations until it manifested itself in my last descendant.”

Aralyn sighed, she didn’t like the response she received, but it was something she would need to live with, “Fine… what about those swords? What is so special about those?”

Adaline smiled, “They originally belonged to a group of Lutheran revolutionaries. We needed them to defeat a terrible threat. So we travelled to the Underworld to coat them with venom from the Eden Serpent.”

“What is an Eden Serpent?” Aralyn asked.

“Not an Eden Serpent,” Adaline replied, “The Eden Serpent, there was only ever one of them. Think back to your studies. This was the serpent that got humankind kicked out of paradise. We hunted it down, killed it, and used its venom to curse our blades. The venom infused itself into the steel and now those swords can kill an immortal as easily as a regular sword can kill a human… they have been passed down in our family, and now they belong to you….”

Adaline touched Aralyn’s chin gently, “I am very sorry this has all been put on your shoulders. If I could take your place, I would.”

“But you can’t,” Aralyn replied, “So where does that leave me, dead?”

Adaline shook her head, “No, not dead… in a perilous situation perhaps, but not dead.”

“What do I do,” Aralyn insisted, “Please, you have to tell me, if I fall, Baltazar, the crew, and the rest of existence die as well!”

Adaline smiled, “Baltazar… quite the handsome rogue you’ve taken as your lover.”

Aralyn rolled her eyes, “What of it?”

“Oh, nothing,” Adaline replied, “Legion won’t be easy to defeat. In addition to being powerful, his consciousness is made up of thousands of minds working together like a bee hive. That is how he is able to move so quickly and seemingly be in more than one place at once.”

“So what do I do?” Aralyn asked.

“If you drain some of his power, he’ll be forced to revert to his true form,” Adaline replied, “Every hive has a queen and so does he. If you can damage him enough to expose his central mind, he will be vulnerable.”

“How am I supposed to do that,” Aralyn asked,  “I couldn’t even hit him.”

“Try something unexpected,” Adaline replied, “And rely on those around you…”

Aralyn rolled her eyes, “More cryptic responses… I need more then that!”

Adaline turned and looked behind her as though someone was coming, “Our time together is at its end. I’m sorry I can’t give you more than that. Just trust the people around you.”

As she began to vanish, Adaline kissed Aralyn on the cheek, “I love you, no matter what happens, you will always be family to me. Good luck!”

Aralyn had tears in her eyes as she watched yet another member of her family vanish from in front of her face, “I… I love you too… grandma…”

Aralyn lowered her eyes as the blackness turned to gray and she suddenly returned to reality. The sharp pains from the injuries she had received at Legions hands suddenly came rushing back. She opened her eyes to see Legion standing over her with a massive black sword in his hand, ready to deliver her a killing blow. She had no way of getting out of the way in time.

Baltazar saw his love hit the floor unconscious. At that moment, he saw that some of her blood had sprayed onto the gun on his belt. Remembering what happened aboard the Black Vengeance when the angels had blessed their cannons, he pulled the pistol from his belt. Lord God in Heaven, make this work, I beg of you… He thought to himself as he performed the sign of the cross over the pistol.

Legion brought his sword down on Aralyn. He was about to deliver the final blow when he suddenly heard a thundering boom. Searing pain ran through is back and he could feel himself getting weaker. He turned to see a smoking pistol in Baltazar’s hand.

Looking down at his hip, Legion could see what looked like gold dust slowly falling from where he’d been shot. He could feel the power draining from his form as he pressed his hand against the injury and solidified his form. Baltazar could see a nose and mouth form on Legions face as his features appeared.

Outside, the whirlwind died down for a brief moment. She felt the dark powers and the malice momentarily disappear and realized that this was their only chance. Her hand glowed white as she thrust it into the air and sent a white bolt of lightning shooting into the clouds.

From the Black Vengeance, Xaphine saw the signal and turned to Ariel and Roselyn, “Move your angels into positions, form a perimeter around the city, and begin focusing your minds. Hurry now, if Legion is able to restore himself, all hope for our friends will be lost.”

The two angels immediately took flight and organized their forces. Within moments, there was a circle of hundreds of angels around Paeles. Once the circle was complete, Xaphine took flight from the deck of the ship, shot through the sky, and landed at the last open position in the circle. She took a deep and placed her right hand on her temple. Her eyes snapped shut as she focused her mind. The ground began to tremble as a low humming sound emanated from her being.

The angels on either side of her mimicked her movements as did the angels next to them. Within moments, the hum became so loud, it could be heard for miles. As their energy manifested itself, the angel’s skin began to glow white and bright beams shot from their foreheads. The energy from their focused minds struck the whirlwind and disappeared into the vortex.

Xaphine sighed, “It’s all up to those two kids now.”

*

Inside the vortex, Legion laughed as he turned his attention to Baltazar, “What were you planning on accomplishing here, boy?”

“Get away from her you freak,” Baltazar replied, “Come try that with me!”

“You,” Legion scoffed, “A simple mortal… we didn’t come all this way to be chastised by an insignificant parasite. You’re in way over your head.”

Baltazar smiled, “Ancient demons, trips to hell, ugly winged beasts… it seems like a normal day for me.”

His words made Legion laugh even harder, “Very well then, if you are so anxious to meet your end, we will oblige you.”

The sword is Legion hand spun like a wheel as he turned and attack Baltazar. Baltazar extended his blade, which was now glowing bright green and struck Legion’s. The two swords impacted with a loud clang and a flash of white light. Legion struck again with an inhuman grunt that sent chills through Baltazar’s body. The blow almost knocked the sword from his hand, but he managed to keep his grip steady.

Legion’s attacks were brutal and relentless. Baltazar could feel the sword begin to buckle under impact. The green aura began to pulse as Legion brought his sword down once more. The blade of Baltazar’s sword shattered and sent shards flying. One shard grazed Legion’s cheek. Gold dust sprinkled out of the injury as Legion quickly pressed it closed with his finger.

Baltazar looked at the remains of his sword and realized that he now had no way to defend himself or Aralyn. Legion’s right fist came around and impacted on Baltazar’s cheek. The blunt force of the impact sent Baltazar flying on his back. Legion smiled and stepped forward with his sword in front of him. Baltazar rubbed his cheek and stood back up. Legion moved closer and pointed the sword at his throat.

Baltazar backed away slowly as Legion moved forward. His feet slid back across the floor until he was right on the edge of the cliff. His eyes never left the yellow burning ones of Legion. Seeing that Baltazar had nowhere else to go, Legion brought his sword back, ready to strike.

Baltazar closed his eyes, certain he was about to die as he waited for the death blow. Legion began to bring his sword down, when he felt a sharp pain in his back. He turned to see that Aralyn had found her feet and managed to sneak up behind him. In solid form, Legion didn’t have the same abilities he’d had as an entity and was unable to sense her.

Aralyn’s eyes burned like blue fire as she glared at Legion. Her sword was glowing and pointed directed at Legion’s chest, “Your fight is with me.”

“So it is,” Legion agreed, “That suites us, we grow tired of dealing with lesser beings.”

Aralyn spread her wings and jumped over Legion, using them to elevate her out of Legion’s reach. She landed between him and Baltazar, keeping her wings spread, “Do not touch him!”

Legion spun around and brought his sword down. Aralyn parried his attack with her own sword which was glowing bright than ever before. She clenched her jaw as the two swords scrapped together. Finally, Legion pulled back a few feet. Aralyn pointed her sword at him again and stepped forward, “You’re going to pay for every single person you have hurt. Papi, Sister Mary, the crew… and my family… give them back to me Legion, give them all back!”

Legion laughed, “So you wish to kill us? That’s not a very angelic reaction.”

“No it’s not,” Aralyn replied, “But I’m not much of an angel anyway. I’m a human being.”

“A human, you say?” Legion scoffed, “The thought that someone would choose the life of a pathetic creature over a superior being… it’s actually quite troubling.”

“Enough,” Aralyn replied, “You have spent too much time in Hell. You speak of things you do not know.”

Legion nodded, “Perhaps, but once we kill you we’ll never have to find out.”

“You can try,” Aralyn replied in a calm voice, “But even if you succeed, the battle is already over and you have lost.”

“Lost huh,” Legion cackled, “Perhaps you refer to imp army that flocked to us? We could care less as to what happened to them. They were mere pawns who have served their purpose.”

Aralyn’s eyes narrowed, “What are you talking about?”

“The imps thinned the Choirs numbers down significantly when they hadn’t even full rebuilt from the celestial wars.” Legion replied, “With their numbers dwindling as much as they are, they won’t be able to stop us. We are Legion…”

“For we are many,” Aralyn interrupted, “Yes I’ve heard that before. It didn’t bother me the first time and it still doesn’t. No matter how many forms you can take, or how many copies you can summon to your control, you still do not scare me.”

“No?” Legion asked, “Let’s find out…”

Legion focused his mind and his eyes turned red. Aralyn brought her sword up in front of her face, ready to defend against Legion’s attack. Suddenly, white lights flickered around Legion, and his eyes returned to their yellow color. He looked around, confused for a moment and tried again. The lights flashed even brighter this time as Legion growled. Aralyn smiled, “The Choirs numbers may have dwindled, but there are still more than enough of them. You have already lost Legion. Surrender and God may yet show you mercy as he did once before.”

Legion shook his head, “Where was the Most High when Lucifer corrupted our lair, where was he when the creatures of Sheol were trapped and brutalized, and where was he when Lucifer brought his damned souls to dwell there? No, the Most High’s mercy doesn’t appeal to us. We know him better than anyone, he will not stop what has happened. ”

“I do not care about what happened in Hell,” Aralyn shouted, “You’re actually using your mad lust to regain the dominance you let slip away as a justification for murder?”

“I’ve heard enough,” Legion spat back, “You die now!”

Legion lunged at her with his sword. She turned to the side and parried his attack. To her surprise, he took to the air and raised himself high above the ledge where Aralyn stood. The whirlwind suddenly vanished as Aralyn flapped her wings and took flight in pursuit.

Baltazar found himself standing only a few feet away from Lailah, “What happened?”

Lailah looked up, “His powers have been diminished. He can no longer maintain his powers. She just needs to keep weakening him!”

Baltazar watched his love give chase above the smashed buildings, “Well, come on, we need to help her! She can’t take him on alone!”

“We can’t help her,” Lailah replied, “Even in his weakened state, he’s more than powerful enough to take on another angel. If we break our hold on him now, he will be able to use his powers to morph into other forms, and we may never be able to defeat him.”

“We have to do something,” Baltazar insisted.

Lailah nodded, “Believe in her and be strong for her. That is what she needs right now.”

Above the city, Aralyn chased Legion around the sky. It appeared that Legion was trying to wear her down. Aralyn did not see this and pressed her wings as hard as she could. Flying was still new to her and she struggled to keep pace. Sweat poured down her body as she increased speed.

When Legion saw that she was gaining on him, he turned around and flew back to the middle of the city. Within moments, he settled over the ledge where they had originally fought and pointed his sword at her again in order as though challenging her to try to attack him.

Aralyn was breathing heavily as she wiped the sweat from her brow. Her sword continued to glow as she charged at Legion with it pointed in front of her. Her wings were sore and she was out of breath. She decided to slow down in order to reserve her remaining strength. Her wings ached as she soared through the cool air, but she eventually reached Legion. Her teeth were clenched as she brought her sword up to strike, “This is the end for you…”

The two enemies crossed swords again. The blades sparked as they struck and slid off of one another. Aralyn realized that she couldn’t do this for too long as she was having enough trouble keeping herself in the air. She performed a somersault over Legion again and tried to stab him from behind. Legion countered her attack and turned upside down to connect his sword with hers.

Aralyn broke away and tried to come at him again with a slashing attack, but this time, Legion was ready for her. When she got close enough, he performed a spin that resulted in his foot striking her on the right cheek. He also brought his sword down on hers, shattering it.

Having no other defense, Aralyn drew upon her remaining energy and blasted Legion with a beam of light from her right hand. The beam grazed Legion shoulder and caused him to jerk backwards. The force of the energy was enough to knock Aralyn from the sky. Using her wings, she was able to slow her fall, but she was unable to stop it. She struck the ground and lie on her stomach for a second stunned. The pain shooting through her body was almost unbearable as she finally struggled to get back to her feet.

Aralyn had been badly beaten and her body was failing her, but she knew that her only choice was to keep fighting. Victory or death, she thought to herself, I won’t be able to live with myself otherwise.

With tears in her eyes, she turned to face Legion as he began a sky dive towards her, ready to deliver a killing strike. Aralyn quickly looked over at Baltazar who running to her as fast as her could, even though it was obvious that he was too far away to get to her in time. She watched her for a moment and mouthed the words ‘I’m sorry, my love.’

Aralyn immediately turned back to Legion with anger, “Die you bastard…”

She drew upon the last drop of strength she had left, outstretched her arms, and thrust both hands towards Legion. White hot beams of light flew from her fingertips and struck Legion, stopping him in his tracks. Legion’s form was thrust backwards slightly and he dropped his sword. The intensity of the blasts held Legion in place and paralyzed him.

Aralyn continued her attack, but was losing energy fast. She stumbled a couple of times, but managed to find her footing enough to keep her standing. She tensed her hands in order to push more energy into the blasts. Shooting pain passed through her hands, legs, wings, and entered her heart. Her wings spread and she screamed, “God, please don’t take me yet, it is not finished. Please, not yet!”

Her nose began bleeding again as she fought through the exhaustion and the pain. Her eyes squinted as she realized that she could not hold her arms up any longer. She began breathing heavily and was almost blinded by sweat dripping into her eyes. Her arms became extremely heavy and were ready to collapse. Aralyn closed her eyes and shook her head, “It’s no good… I’m sorry Baltazar, I can’t do it. I don’t have enough strength left.”

Suddenly, Aralyn felt an arm under her wings press against her back, holding her up and a hand grabbing her right wrist. She opened her eyes to see Baltazar standing next to her, holding her up. She breathed heavily and a look of relief came over her features as Baltazar smiled at her, “You’ve done just fine, now let me help you.”

A second hand grabbed her left wrist and held it tightly in place. Lailah whispered in her ear, “Use my strength, and finish him.”

Aralyn nodded as she drew upon Lailah’s strength and focused it through her hands. The beams of light became twice as strong as they had been before and the energy enveloped Legion in light. Legion screamed out in pain as his entire body began to burn. Aralyn began to breath heavily again and forced the last of her energy through her hands before collapsing in Baltazar’s arms.

Legion’s body had steam pouring off of it, and he was breathing heavily, but a sense of relief came over him and he smiled, “You have lost Aralyn. You are out of strength…. now there is no one to stop us from retaking the underworld…”

Aralyn looked up at Legion weakly, filled with remorse that she was unable to finish the fight. What pained her even more was that now she would have to watch as her friends die. Secretly she hoped that Legion would kill her first, but he was never that kind.

Legion was about to continue speaking when suddenly, he noticed that gold dust was flowing from his body. Unlike before, this time it was flowing upwards into the sky. Legion looked up toward the clouds frantically. His eyes turned to blue as they darted back and forth, “Master… no… You can’t take us! We won’t allow it! Leave us to complete my mission, we beg of you… no!”

Legions form continued to disintegrate into gold dust until his entire body exploded in a magnificent display of light and the remaining dust disappeared into the clouds. Aralyn sighed as she felt her body finally give out. Her eyes closed and she fell unconscious. Concerned, Lailah felt her neck and arm. After a few seconds, she nodded, “Aralyn will be ok, she just needs rest and time to heal.”

“Thank God,” Baltazar replied as he picked her up, “Let’s get her out of here.”

Suddenly, the ground began shaking under their feet. Large towers that were still standing in the city were beginning to collapse as the whirlwind began to pick up again. Baltazar looked at the city as it destroyed itself and turned to Lailah, “We have to get out of here, can you fly us out?”

Lailah shook her head, “I can’t carry two of you at once. We’d never get off the ground.”

Baltazar sighed as he handed Aralyn’s unconscious body to Lailah, “Get her out of here… get her back to the Black Vengeance.

Lailah looked at him and nodded, “Don’t worry, I’ll see to it she is safe, but I’m coming back for you. I promise.”

Baltazar nodded, “Alright, get going!”

The whirlwind became stronger as Lailah flapped her wings hard, struggling to climb into the sky. The wind picked up and grew stronger and stronger until loose stones from the wrecked buildings lifted off the ground and entered the whirlwind. Lailah dove to avoid a building that was collapsing right in front of her as she continued to fly as fast as she could to get out of Paeles.

The wind picked up even more and it felt like Lailah was about to get sucked back into the vortex. Her wings ached as she pushed harder and harder to break away. It took almost all of her energy, but after a few more hard flaps she was able to pull out of the whirlwind and get to the Black Vengeance.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

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:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Book 3, Chapter 1

Book 3

As the Tides Change

I

Deep beneath the ground, in the fiery land of hell, an imp creature approached the entrance to the darkest cave in the Underworld. This cave was the only way to reach Lucifer’s castle by those not capable of flight. Even so, most creatures avoided it. The imp stopped at the entrance and peered in, “Master…”

There was a heavy moan as a black cloud of smoke appeared in front of it, “You had better have a good reason for awakening us!”

“I beg your forgiveness, Lord Legion,” the imp said nervously as he groveled before his master, “but we’ve found her.”

The creature took human form and opened red eyes, “It certainly took you long enough. Where is she?”

The imp lowered its eyes, “Our scouts located someone who matched the description of the girl… it was a young maid living in an abbey in the northern region of France, but we couldn’t be certain it was her. She was either unaware of her powers or unwilling to use them.”

“You begin to bore us, imp.” Legion growled. “Get to the point!”

“We couldn’t move on her until we were certain… that would surely have attracted the attention of the Most High… but surely you felt it, master?” The imp replied nervously. “There was a massive power spike in that region.”

“Yes…” Legion nodded. “Where is she now?”

“We don’t know my lord.” The imp said, stepping backwards. “I took the liberty of dispatching our scouts, but the area that they are supposedly located in is nothing but open ocean and wreckage… however we did find something that may be of interest.”

“And what’s that?” Legion asked.

The imp smiled, “Master, one of the souls that was present in the water spirit has come here. I recognized him almost immediately. I’ve brought him to you.”

The faint ghost stepped out of the shadows. It was in Jaspart’s form, but already looked as though his persona had been corrupted by the trappings of Hell. The spirit bowed to Legion, “Jaspart, at your service milord.”

Legion nodded, “Tell us, what did you see?”

Jaspart sighed, “Had I known, I might never have gone after that man. By what magic does an angel protect him and his crew?”

“You begin to annoy us.” Legion growled. “Tell us what you saw, or proceed to the pit where you belong.”

“Apologies milord…” Jaspart replied as he lowered his eyes. “We were in pursuit of a revolutionary against the crown of Spain. His name is Baltazar Del La Fuente. We had him beat. I had just cut down his first officer and was about to cut him down as well when that… that bitch suddenly appeared. I should have killed her when I had the chance in Granville. It was like she suddenly exploded with power and sent my men flying over the sides of two ships, but it didn’t seem to affect La Fuente’s men. Now I’m here and he has my ship!”

Legion nodded, “She possesses more power than you can ever know, but we need her alive. Did you see where their ship was heading?”

“My ship,” Jaspart replied strongly, resenting Legion’s words, “and I regret that I was already on my way here before the battle ended.”

“Then you are of no further use to us.” Legion hissed as her turned to the imp that was still standing to his side, “Take this condemned soul to his fate.”

The imp nodded and took a step toward the spirit. Jaspart backed away slightly, “No, milord. I can still help you! Please, hear me.”

Legion raised his hand, signaling the imp to stop as he turned back to Jaspart, “And what could you possibly offer us that’s worth saving you from your fate?”

“I know La Fuente.” Jaspart replied. “I’ve been his competition for years. I know his tactics and I know the man. He’s a scoundrel, but he lives by a code of honor. If you go after the girl, no doubt he’ll use everything he knows to protect her.”

“This is pointless,” the imp hissed, shaking its head, “if he tries to interfere, we’ll just kill him.”

Jaspart scoffed, “You think it’s that easy? La Fuente knows how to stay alive in the most dangerous of situations and knows how to weasel his way out of them. Don’t underestimate him.”

“So you would help us outwit him,” Legion mused, “and what would you want in return?”

“To be spared this judgment and allowed to return to my life,” Jaspart replied, “as well as a ship if possible.”

Legion nodded, “Very well, serve us well, and you will have a ship powerful enough to bring you riches beyond compare.”

“My liege,” Jaspart replied with a bow, “I am at your command. What is our plan?”

“We need more information about the girl, how much she knows, how she has lived, and where she’s going.” Legion thought out loud, as he turned back to the imp. “Let us pay a visit to this abbey where we know she’s been. If you find the girl matching her description there, bring her to us.”

A worried look came over the imp’s face, “My lord, won’t that attract the attention of Chiors of Angels?”

Legion nodded, “Probably, but they won’t be anticipating this. Their… leader… knows what I am and wouldn’t dare commit her forces against me unless they were assembled. She’ll cut her losses and assemble her people.”

The imp bowed, “Very well, if you’re certain. Thy will be done my lord.”

Before the creature vanished, Legion pointed an accusing finger at it, “You know the price of failure.”

As the imp disappeared, Jaspart looked at Legion with worry, “What job do you have for me, milord?”

Legion smiled, “Don’t worry; I have special plans for you, ones that involve the use of some of your countrymen.”

**

The crew watched as the ship slowly sank beneath the waves. Gilles stood next to Baltazar, “She was a good ship.”

Baltazar smiled, “With an excellent crew.”

“And the best captain.” Gilles added.

Baltazar shook his head, “If that were true, she wouldn’t be sinking.”

“Ah come on Captain,” Gilles replied, “Ye gave better then you got, and now ye’ve got a better ship.”

“Bigger isn’t always better. “Baltazar said softly. “The Specter was a much smaller target she could easily sneak into port without being noticed. She had a lot of advantages this one might not. So we’re going to need to adjust our strategy.”

“More noticeable perhaps,” Gilles replied, “but faster, better guns, and a stronger hull be a fair trade if ye were to ask me.”

Baltazar nodded, “Fair enough… by the way, have you figured out how this ship was able to repel our attacks so easily?”

“Aye,” Gilles said through a long breath, “but I still kind of find it hard to believe.”

Baltazar narrowed his eyes, “Explain.”

“Aye sir.” Gilles replied. “Most of the caravels built before a certain time were made to be cargo vessels, but this one… this one was built based on the design of the old cargo ships, but the skeleton of the ship is a sophisticated arrangement of crossed beams and a thick support frame. This ship was designed to be able to take a beating.”

“What are you saying?” Baltazar asked.

“She be a hunter-killer.” Gilles replied. “This ship be designed to lure in unsuspecting pirates and then blast them to bits before they know what they be dealing with.”

“Then why is it none of us have seen anything like this before?” Baltazar asked, getting very interested.

Gilles shrugged, “It’s only a guess, Captain, but I’d say the cost of building something so intricate be too high for those even with deeper pockets. I’d be guessing this be a test ship?”

“It makes sense.” Baltazar agreed.

“Excuse me Captain?” A voice appeared from behind.

Baltazar turned to see Morgan standing behind him, “What can I do for you Mr. Morgan?”

“Sir,” Morgan replied, “I be thinking someone is going to come looking for this here boat in no time. I was wondering what course we should set?”

Baltazar thought for a moment, “That’s not an easy question to answer… it basically comes down to what we want to do with the newest member of our family.”

“Aye,” Morgan agreed, “that’s exactly what I be thinking.”

Gilles looked over at Morgan, “What do ye think she be, Captain?”

Baltazar cut them off, “Let’s not start jumping to conclusions just yet. No one knows for certain what we saw.”

He put a hand on Gilles’ shoulder, “For now, you are first mate. Steer us a course west, northwest.”

Gilles nodded, “Aye aye sir.”

“Taking us back to Granville are ye?” Morgan asked.

“Not too far from there.” Baltazar replied. “The people at the abbey no doubt knew something we don’t. Why else would they confine her behind their walls for so many years?”

Baltazar thought about it for a moment. “Meet me in the galley in ten minutes. Gilles and Mr. Clement need to join us as well.”

Morgan saluted as he turned away, “Aye aye sir.”

Baltazar watched the last part of the Specter’s bow disappear below the surface, “Good bye old friend, and thank you.”

He sighed as he turned and headed for his new cabin in the aft castle. The wood working was far more intricate, as were the doors and windows. Baltazar pushed the cabin door opened and saw that Melisande was still sleeping. He sat down next to her and tried to fix her hair, “You saved my life… and that of my true family… I can never repay you for that.”

He let out a deep sigh, “But where ever your journey takes you, where ever you decide to go, I swear to you that you will have a friend in me until the end. I will see to it you find what you are looking for, honor demands no less.”

Baltazar covered her over with a blanket, rested her head on the pillow, and placed her swords next to the bed, “Rest well, you’ve earned it.”

He looked around the room while she slept, this is too much luxury for a sea captain. No wonder Jaspart was getting soft.

He looked down at her. She almost seemed to smile as she slept. There was a strange aura of serenity about her, almost as though she were projecting peaceful feelings throughout the room. Her golden hair gleamed from the sunlight as it came through the window. She’s very beautiful… I hope never to see her unhappy.

A knock came at the door as Baltazar stood up, “Yes?”

Morgan opened the door, “Beggin’ yer pardon, Captain, but the men be waiting for you in the galley.”

“Thank you Mr. Morgan, “Baltazar replied, “I’m coming.”

Morgan nodded, “Aye sir.”

Baltazar left Melisande to sleep and made his way down to the galley where Morgan, Giles, and Papi were waiting for him. The galley was a massive space intended for far more people than Baltazar had under his command. It was far more luxurious then anything they had on the Specter. So far, not many of the features aboard the Black Vengeance impressed him. He had a hard time deciding if this ship was a warship or a luxury yacht. Such things did not fit a respectable pirate.

The three men stood as their captain entered. Baltazar nodded, “Stand easy men.”

He then looked at Papi, “Ah, Mr. Clement, I’m sure it’s been an adjustment getting used to your new kitchen. So I am grateful that you’ve obeyed my orders so quickly.”

Papi nodded, “Sir, may I ask…?”

“No need,” Baltazar said in an assuring tone, “Melisande is fine. My guess is what ever happened, put a strain on her. She’s in the captain’s cabin, resting comfortably.”

“Thank you, sir.” Papi said with a sigh. “That is a relief.”

“Aye.” Morgan agreed. “Once again the girl probably saved our lives.”

Baltazar nodded, “No doubt about it, but the question is, what is she, and what do we do with her now?”

“We should send her back.” Papi replied. “The church obviously hid her for a reason. Please sir, allow me to take her home.”

Baltazar shook his head, “I respect your opinion and we are currently sailing for Mont St. Michel, but I will not just throw her over the side for no reason. She signed on as a member of the crew and she has as much right as any of us.”

Baltazar took in a deep breath as he continued, “Mr. Clement, you’ve known her longer than us, she calls you Papi, and she seems attached to you.”

“She’s like a daughter to me,” he replied, “but really, I don’t know any more than you do.”

“I be finding that impossible to believe.” Morgan said in an accusing tone. “What do ye think yer protecting her from by not telling us?”

Papi sighed, “Okay… I’m telling you the truth when I say I don’t know much, but what I do know is that she was brought to Mont Saint Michel’s as little more than a baby. The Orders were doing everything they could to get her as far away from her home as possible.”

“What were they trying to get her away from?” Baltazar asked.

“That,” Papi replied, “I… do not know, but they would not let her leave the abbey at all. She got so restless that she used to convince guards to let her sneak out. I remember how sad she would get being cooped up there. Everyone hated it… everyone. I always wondered what would happen if she asked me to smuggle her out. I don’t know that I would have refused.”

“Where did she come from?” Morgan asked.

“No one would tell me.” Papi admitted. “All I know is that she is not from this area, and judging by the accent her caretaker, Sister Mary, spoke with… I’d say she was probably from one of the lower kingdoms, possibly either Milan or Florence? Definitely somewhere in the old Papal Alliance.”

“That’s considering she even came from the same region.” Baltazar replied.

“Right exactly…” Papi admitted.

Baltazar looked as though he was in deep thought, “So we don’t know where she’s from…  but can we figure out what she is?”

Gilles looked up nervously, “In my short time at sea, this be the first time that my eyes have laid witness to anything like that. Could she be a witch?”

Papi glared at Gilles, “She spent most of her life in an abbey, where she brightened the locals’ spirits. When she got here, she started healing people after the battle. Even when she turned into… whatever that was, the only people she hurt were the ones attacking us. Does that sound like a witch or a demon to you?”

“Mr. Clement be right,” Morgan added, “she be no witch. Be I the only one who saw the wings appearing on her back?”

“Aye.” Baltazar said as the mental picture returned to him. “They felt like mist when I touched them.”

Papi turned to the captain, “Could she be some sort of an angel?”

“It makes sense…” Morgan replied.

“If that is the case,” Papi said softly, “no doubt she is unaware of her powers.”

“This is all conjecture.” Baltazar added, breaking the air. “We don’t know enough about what we’re dealing with to say one way or the other. Let’s focus on what we do know. This girl snuck out of the abbey after living there for most of her life. She is intelligent, well rounded, adept in the art of healing, and she posses some kind of supernatural powers.”

“Aye,” Morgan agreed, “that be the way of it.”

Baltazar thought about it for a moment, “So what do you men think? Send her back to the abbey, or keep her with us?”

Morgan scratched his beard, “Ye already know my feelings. I was the one who first wanted her off the boat, but she’s become a part of the crew. I be wantin her to stay with us.”

“I agree,” Gilles said, “I still owe her my life. I say she stays!”

Papi sighed, “At this point, I suppose voting to send her home would do little good. At least I’ll still be able to watch over her here.”

Baltazar nodded, “I think she has earned the right to choose, she saved all our lives. So if she decides to stay, we’ll welcome her.”

Gilles nodded, “Aye that be fair.”

“I agree,” Baltazar replied, “but for now, I’d also like to find out more about her, so we’ll hold our course for the abbey.”

Morgan narrowed his eyes, “Are ye wanting to take her on some quest to answer all these questions, Captain? Doubt there be much profit in that.”

“No probably not,” Baltazar nodded, “and I won’t force anyone to go on this journey with me.”

He stood up in front of the crewmen, “We have all agreed that she is a member of this family now. We all agreed that we do not care if she is an angel or a demon. Now I’m asking the three of you, if she decides to stay with us, will you help me repay everything she’s done for us? Every one of us at some point has needed help and the rest of the crew has been there. She’s entitled to the same treatment.”

Gilles stood up, “As I said before, I owe for more than the lot of ye. I’m onboard.”

“Hm…” Morgan thought for a moment. “There be plenty of times for plunder after she has the answers she needs. I be up for an adventure. Count me in.”

Papi smiled, “I’ve wanted to do this for years. Of course I’m in.”

“Alright, it’s settled then,” Baltazar agreed, “but we can’t do this without a crew. I suspect some of the men already had questions they wanted answered before we were attacked.”

He turned to Gilles, “Pipe all hands on deck in ten minutes. I’m going to let them know what’s going on.”

Gilles saluted, “Aye sir.”

The men filed out and made their way to their posts. Baltazar climbed up to the deck and went to his cabin. Once he was in front of the door, he placed his hand on the doorknob and paused for a moment. Am I doing the right thing keeping her here? He thought to himself.

Baltazar put his fears out of his head and opened the door. Melisande was still lying in bed unconscious. He sat down next to her and brushed the hair from her face, “You saved our lives…”

Baltazar had several ports of call out there and double the number of maidens that both hated his guts and loved him, but there was something different about this one. She was more beautiful than the others, but she had an almost mystic innocence about her. Perhaps it was for the best that she stayed aboard. Papi wouldn’t be around forever, so if possible, Baltazar would need to find some way to ensure that she was taken care of.

A knock on the door shattered his thoughts. He stood up and faced the door, “Enter.”

“Pardon the interruption sir.” Morgan said as he entered the room.

Baltazar nodded, “What is it?”

“By yer orders sir,” Morgan replied, “the men be assembled on the main deck and be waiting for ye.”

Baltazar stood up and moved towards the door, “Oh yes. Thank you.”

He followed Morgan out and moved to the quarter deck where he stood in front of his men. Baltazar looked over the rag tag bunch that he had come to call family. He began to wonder if anything was about to change with what he had to tell them.

Baltazar finally decided that there was no point in postponing the inevitable, and addressed his men, “Brave crewmen, you have all served loyally and without question. You have yet to refuse a single order or disappoint me in any way, and for that I am grateful. Because of that, I now feel the need to address some of the questions that have arisen over the last few days… My father is Philip II of Spain… the late king. I am a member of the Habsburg family.”

A voice from the crowd interrupted, “Sir, what about Mel?”

Baltazar nodded, “I was getting to that. I just thought you’d like a full explanation…”

Another voice broke through, “We don’t care what family you come from, sir. Royalty or not, you’re still Captain La Fuente!”

The entire crew cheered, agreeing with the first man. Baltazar was very touched, “I don’t know what to say… thank you men!”

A man in front yelled as he threw an arm in the air, “I’ll follow Captain La Fuente to hell and back!”

The crew looked as though they were getting restless, so Baltazar moved on, “Well then, to answer your question, Melisande is resting comfortably. Whatever happened appears to have drained her of all of her energy, so she’s unconscious.”

A worried look came over the crew. Baltazar shook his head, “Don’t worry men, I assure you that she is alive. She is still breathing and her skin is quite warm. I’m sure she’ll be up and about before we know it.”

As the look of worry faded into relief, Baltazar took in another deep breath, “That is the other reason I have called you here. Men, Melisande has done a lot for us in the short time we’ve been together, but she has no idea where she comes from or who her family is. I intend to take her to find out. This journey may be very dangerous and we may not make any profit at all. At the moment, we’re sailing for Mont Saint Michel. If anyone doesn’t want to be caught up in this, they may be released from service upon our arrival. I won’t blame any man jack who decides to leave.”

The crew all began talking at once. Shouts of annoyance went up from the crew, “What abandon Mel?”

“We ain’t going nowhere!”

“I said before I’d follow Captain La Fuente to hell, and I meant it!”

“Ye ain’t getting rid of us that easy Captain!”

“We owe Mel our lives! Who says we won’t find a prize on the way!”

Baltazar smiled, “Okay, okay, I am sorry I offended your honor. I’m sure Melisande will be very grateful when she wakes up!”

The men cheered as Baltazar looked up at the sails, “Alright then, all hands, full sails, man the braces, and bring us to Mont Saint Michel!”

He then turned to Gilles and Morgan. Gilles returned his glance and nodded, “Holding course east, northeast, sir!”

Baltazar nodded, “Very good. I’ll be in my cabin, hold us steady.”

Gilles saluted, “Aye sir.”

Again Baltazar disappeared through the doors. Melisande hadn’t moved as she slept. He sat down next to her. The sunlight from the window made her hair shine brightly and illuminate the cabin. Seeing her in this light, he couldn’t imagine a more beautiful site. He now knew that he wanted to keep her safe, no matter what it cost him. He leaned in towards her and whispered into her ear, “You needn’t worry, we’ll keep you safe.”

She moved around a little bit and half a smile appeared on her face. He then slowly moved his lips from her ear and pressed them against hers. She slowly began to stir as her eyes remained closed.

In less than a second, Baltazar felt a sharp pain in his throat. He pulled back to see Melisande’s eyes wide open in anger. She grabbed his shirt and held a knife to his throat. He put his hands up, “You’re awake… I’m sorry, you’re right, that wasn’t very chivalrous of me.”

A rambunctious grin formed on her face as she pushed Baltazar back against the cabin door. Baltazar felt his body squeeze as she pressed him against the wood. Suddenly, she brought her lips up and kissed him deeply. Baltazar kept his eyes open, unsure what was going on, but decided to go along with it rather than risk injury to himself.

After a few moments, she pulled her lips away from his, “From now on, you knock before entering!”

With that, Melisande opened the cabin door and, using impressive strength, pushed him out. Baltazar was pushed with so much force that he went flying back across the deck and landed on his back. He sat up to see the door to the cabin slam shut. He stared at the door for a minute shaking his head. Okay, what just happened?

Attempting to save face in front of his men, he got up and straightened out his shirt. That was stupid… He thought to himself as he heard soft laughter behind him. He turned to see three men staring at him, “What are you looking at, back to work!”

After throwing Baltazar out and shutting the door, Melisande bit her lower lip as she smiled nervously. Her heart was racing and she felt strange. She retreated to the back of the cabin and opened one of the windows.

The cool breeze helped calm Melisande as she sorted things out in her head. She still wasn’t sure exactly what happened. Where did that sudden burst of energy come from, why did she pass out, and most importantly, what made Baltazar think that he had earned the right to kiss her?

Melisande wanted answers, so she quickly grabbed some water out of the bowl next to the bed and cleaned herself up. She found some women’s clothing in the cabin that looked like it would fit her. She quickly changed, and made her way to the deck. She opened the cabin door and proceeded to the railing.

The air on the ship noticeably lightened when he presence became known. The crew was happy to see that she was up and about. Even the newer crew that had been victim to her energy waves could see the effect she had on the people she served with.

Morgan and Baltazar looked at each other for a moment. Baltazar nervously shook his head so Morgan decided that it was up to him to talk to her. He climbed down from the quarter deck and approached her as she watched the sea from the starboard railing.

“Top of the morning to ye missy.” He said with a smile.

“Morgan,” she replied as she turned to him, “good morning, what happened… where is the Specter?

“We lost the Specter.” He replied. “She was taking on water and listing badly, we couldn’t save her.”

Melisande lowered her eyes, “I’m sorry… I know you all served on that ship a long time. I thought that if we could end the fight quick enough, there might be a way to save her, but I guess that was a fantasy. I wish I could have done more to help.”

“Ye have nothing to be sorry for.” Morgan said sternly. “Ye saved all of our lives and helped us take control of this mighty ship. Thanks to ye, we be a lot better off than we were.”

“Your words are too kind,” she replied with a half smile, “but I don’t even know what happened.”

“Do ye remember the battle?” He asked.

She nodded, “Yes, I remember everything… but I don’t know what happened.”

Baltazar did the best he could to listen in and decided to risk joining the conversation. He approached the two of them and smiled. Melisande flashed him an evil grim that stopped him right in his path. It took him a moment to calm the chills, but once they were gone, he walked up to her, “What did it feel like?”

Melisande lowered her eyes, “It felt like a raging tide that had been held back by a rickety damn just broke through. It felt like whatever chains were holding me back had been snapped. At least for a little while.”

She looked up at Baltazar with her bright blue eyes, “I don’t know how else to explain it.”

Baltazar smiled, “I think we get it.”

“So wait, if those powers be dormant and ye unleashed them…” Morgan said hesitantly. “Then can ye do that again?”

Melisande shook her head, “I don’t even know what ‘that’ was…”

She lowered her eyes as she continued, “What am I, who am I, what does all of this mean, and what am I supposed to do now?”

“What do you mean?” Baltazar asked.

“You all saw me,” she replied, “I can only imagine what you think now…”

Her eyes turned to a look of fear, “What are you going to do with me?”

“Keep ye.” Morgan replied. “Ye be one of us. Signed and sworn.”

Baltazar nodded, “Not only that, but we’ve spoken to the crew and decided that we’re going to help you find the answers to those questions. I get the feeling that there is too much as stake not to.”

The light in her eyes turned to fire as tears of joy flow from them, “But what about your plunder? I can’t imagine that we’ll have a ton of time for pirating if we’re doing this?”

“Don’t be worrying your pretty head about that,” Morgan replied. “There be plenty of time for that later. Maybe we’ll pick off a ship or two on the way as well.”

“I don’t know what to say,” she replied as her voice began to crack, “I… thank you all so much. I’m not sure how I can ever repay you!”

She grabbed Baltazar and hugged him tightly. Baltazar braced himself for a sharp object to pierce his back, but it never happened. He slowly pressed his hands against her back as she nuzzled into his chest.

Suddenly Melisande’s eyes shot open and she pushed away with a nervous grin. The two of them looked at each other for a few moments in total silence. It was a very awkward moment for them both. Morgan smirked as he turned his attention to the open ocean.

“Just keep me from dying.” Morgan said mercifully breaking the silence. “All I ask.”

Melisande nodded, “Not a problem, Morgan. Thank you.”

She turned back to Baltazar, “So where do we plan to start looking?”

“Mont Saint Michel,” he replied, “we’re going to go talk to this Sister Mary who has cared for you all these years.Mr. Clement believes she may know the truth of your origins.”

“Papi?” She asked. “Where is he…”

“Below in the galley.” Baltazar replied. “You should go see him when you get a chance. He was really worried about you.”

Melisande nodded, “I’m sure… I’ll need to go talk to him.”



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

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:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Chapter 3

III

 

A creaking noise roused Melisande early the next morning. Hoping to avoid a lecture from Sister Mary, she got up and got dressed quickly. Once again, she threw open her windows and peered out. To her amazement, the sun had barely peaked over the horizon. It was earlier than she was used to waking up.

Melisande was about to go back to sleep when she noticed that the tide had receded around the abbey. She didn’t know how much time she had until the bells woke everyone up, so she quickly turned away from the window. Without a thought to the consequences, she opened the door as quietly as she could, and tiptoed down the steps. She moved slowly and noticed that her hands were shaking. She couldn’t understand whether or not it was the fear of getting caught, or just anticipation of being able to finally escape the abbey.

It was not the first time that Melisande had run off and she had never been caught previously, but she still had to be careful. It wasn’t long before she reached the kitchen and took a left turn down another corridor that led her to a familiar tunnel. The ground was damp as she made her way out of the area.

Melisande’s feet carried her quickly along the stone floor. Once she reached the door at the end of the tunnel, she slowly pushed it open and ran outside. She once again found herself in the courtyard.

As the sun came up over the horizon, she ducked down behind a tree and slowly made her way toward the main gate. A series of trees and bushes were her only cover from the watchful eyes of the guards. Sneaking around had dirtied her clothes, but she did not care. This was her one indulgence, and if she was to get in trouble for it, so be it.

Melisande knew exactly when the guard shift change happened and waited until they moved apart. Once the guards were out of sight, she slipped past them and made her way out of the abbey. She was as quiet as possible, as she knew that the guards were ready for anything. The abbey wasn’t a military installation, but the church had become very protective of its grounds following the protestant uprisings.

Melisande found herself standing at the top of the stony hill leading down to the beach. She was only wearing sandals, so she had to be extra careful to mind her footing. She did not want to riskfalling and either getting hurt, or making enough noise for the guards to find her.

It took a short time for Melisande to reach the sand below. Her feet skidded every few moments as small stones gave out underneath her feet. It was a slow and treacherous climb, but her feet finally touched the damp, coarse, soil of the beach. She pulled off her sandals and let her feet dig into the sand. Her toes pressed down hard as though she would float away if she released them.

Melisande looked around for a few moments, enjoying her newfound freedom, and then, without warning, darted out towards the water, running as fast as she could. She turned and ran even faster along the shore line. She didn’t want to stop, but after ten minutes of running, the muscles in her legs began to ache in response to how hard she pushed. Finally, she gave her legs a break, let the waves caress her toes, and took in a deep breath of fresh air. Her eyes watered as the clean air filled her lungs. She was in Heaven.

Smiling, Melisande turned back and looked at the abbey. From outside, it was quite beautiful. The massive castle stood high above the water, completely covering the small island where it had been built. Nature was its main defense as any invading army would need to wait for low tide before trying to enter.

Melisande stood with her back to the ocean for a few more moments as the breeze passed over her skin. Euphoria had almost taken her when a noise in the distance made her jump. She turned quickly and noticed two ships on the horizon. They were miles out at sea and she was unable to tell what was happening. There was another low noise that sounded like distant thunder, and another, and another.

As the ships came closer, Melisande noticed that one of them had been badly damaged. They were both small ships bearing different flags with several colors. One ship had a black flag, while the larger, more damaged, ship appeared to have a white and red flag. Smoke poured from the sides of both ships.

It was at that moment that Melisande realized that the two ships were fighting. She watched as the battle unfolded. Her heart raced in her chest as the larger ship began listing to port.

The ship tried to turn away from her attacker, but it was a useless effort. The smaller ship was faster and more maneuverable. Melisande watched in amazement as a final blast from the smaller ship’s guns struck the larger one’s hull. The shot quickly pierced through a layer of wood and struck the powder magazine. The powder sparked causing the ship burst into flames.

Melisande’s eyes widened as the ship tore itself apart from the inside and large wooden splinters littered the water around it. The massive explosion rocked the coastline as Melisande watched. Her heart was in her throat as she had never seen anything so exciting in her entire life.

Within a few moments of the explosion, there was nothing left of the first ship. Melisande looked on as the second ship picked up cargo and survivors from the water. She lingered for a few minutes to see if anything else would happen before turning away and starting her long walk home. Her feet carried her slowly over the sand towards the castle walls and felt like she was dragging a weight behind her.

Once Melisande was about half way back, she stopped and looked at the ship slowly disappearing on the horizon. Then she turned and looked at the castle again. The morning bells broke the silence and she realized that she would never make it back to her room before Sister Mary. If she went back now, it would mean punishment and demerits.

As Melisande looked over her lifelong home, she was filled with a sense dread. The idea of her having to spend another day living in such monotony was unbearable. She had secretly contemplated running away, but she knew that she’d have the guards on her in no time. Sister Mary would have the entire abbey out looking for her. Her only chance would be if she were to make it to the nearest town and somehow board a ship.

The battle she had just witnessed opened the flood gates to her desire for freedom. Her chest pounded as she thought of her life, and everything she was missing out on. She knew there was more to her story then what the nuns had told her. Her family or whatever was left of their story was out there waiting to be found.

Where is my real family and who were they? Why am I here now? In Melisande’s mind, she knew that these were questions that she’d never be able to answer while living in Mont St. Michael. Still, should she just up and run away? No doubt a lot of people went through considerable effort to shelter her and she still didn’t know why.

Melisande’s mind filled with questions and wrestled back and forth with the idea of leaving. She didn’t want to hurt those who took care of her for so long, and leaving most likely meant never seeing them again. Sister Mary, as strict as she was, did take care of her and Papi was the closest thing she’d ever had to a father.

Thoughts of them worrying about her made Melisande’s heart ache even more. What should I do? She thought to herself. I love them and I don’t want to hurt anyone… but I can’t live like this. I’m not a stable girl, nor am I a maid, that’s not the life I want. I’m certain I’ll die if I have to do this much longer.

Melisande fought through her emotions as she made up her mind. With tears in her eyes, she made her decision, she could not go back. The only way she was going to find out about her past was to escape this life and discover her adventure. The desire for freedom had been seeded in her mind and there was no going back now. It hurts, but I can’t do this any more, it’s not right.

Melisande quickly made her way back to the castle and was able to duck under a large cart delivering supplies while the tide was still low. Once it stopped moving, she wandered out and hid behind a tree, listening to the people nearby. A monk came out to meet the driver, “Peace be with you sir, I see you have brought our supplies.”

The man nodded, “Yes, yes, come on, we need to get these unloaded before the tide starts coming back in, I need to be on the road for Granville well before then.”

Melisande’s heart jumped, Granville is nearby and it’s a port city! If I hurry, I might be able to catch a ride!

She quickly raced up to her room and grabbed a bag. She quickly filled it with everything that she cared about and threw it over her back. She was about to leave when the corner of her eye caught the glimpse of reflected light. She looked up to see that the blade of one of her family’s swords had caught the sunlight. This was odd as the blades had almost no luster left to them. It was very odd, but to her, it almost seemed like the swords were asking to come with her.

How could I forget you? Melisande thought to herself. She quickly grabbed the swords of their wall mounting, wrapped them in a blanket, and placed them under her arm. With her free hand, she grabbed her old cloak, wrapped herself in it, and pulled the hood up.

The moment she was ready to go, Melisande quickly peaked out into the hall to make sure that Sister Mary wasn’t around. This whole adventure would be for nothing if she got caught. Knowing Sister Mary the way she did, she’d probably be locked in her room for days.

Fearing that the carriage was about to leave, or that someone may see her, Melisande raced back down stairs. She was relieved to see that the cart had not left yet. The monks were just finishing loading up the empty barrels from the cargo. She hid behind the bushes and waited for the right moment to jump in.

The hair on the back of the young woman’s neck shot straight up when she heard a familiar voice from behind the monks, “Brother Georgio, have you seen Melisande?”

Melisande jumped as an annoyed-looking Sister Mary appeared on the scene. The monk shook his head, “I’m sorry sister, no.”

The old nun shook her head, “Where could that troublesome girl be? She’s not in her room and no one has seen her.”

“I do not know.” The monk replied.

“Very well, Brother Georgio,” she replied, “if it’s not too much trouble, once you are finished here. Please assist me in locating her. The abbey is too big for me to search on my own.”

“As you wish.” Brother Georgio replied as he got back to unloading the cart.

Once they were done, the driver secured the back of the carriage to keep the barrels from rolling and bowed to the monk, “Thanks for the help, brother. We’ll see you again soon.”

The monk nodded, “Farewell to you sir.”

Melisande saw her chance to escape when the monk turned his back. She darted out quickly and jumped up onto the back of the cart. To prevent being seen, she quickly covered herself over with a leather blanket in the back.

Melisande huddled up next to the barrels and remained perfectly still as the driver cracked the reigns. There was a sudden jolt as the carriage began to move. It was anything but smooth and Melisande found herself getting bounced around as the carriage moved. She grabbed on to one side to steady herself and keep from getting banged up.

Melisande watched quietly as the cart moved away from the abbey. In her heart, she wished that she’d left a letter explaining what she was doing and where she was going, but she’d had no time to write one and she didn’t want to risk tipping them off as to where they could locate her. She decided that it was perhaps best to arrange a letter for them when she figured out where she was going.

The cart began to pick up speed as it departed Mont Saint Michel. Melisande kept getting bounced around and it was hard to keep from hitting against the barrels. It was a rough start, and she was most likely going to see some bruising from the ride, but she was excited to start her new life and had no idea where it would take her.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

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:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Book 6, Chapter 5

V

 

The battle outside of the city had begun to die down. With the help of Lucifer’s forces, the Choirs of angels managed to push the Imp armies into full retreat. As the angels dealt with the last remnants of the imp army, Xaphine, Ariel, Roselyn, and the demon Xaphine had met earlier joined Gilles and Morgan on the deck of the Black Vengeance.

The ship sailed as close as they could to Paeles before the wind overwhelmed her sails. Several crewmen wanted to lower longboats and go find their captain, but Xaphine stood in their way, “This is something they have to do alone. This cursed land is too dangerous for humans.”

Though in her own heart, she desired to be there to help them. She still felt responsible for Legion gaining enough power to break out of the underworld and cause so much turmoil. The dishonor of knowing that Adaline’s great-great-granddaughter had to suffer for crimes that she had committed was unacceptable, but she could not interfere, she knew this.

Gilles stood by her side at the railing, “Did you know Gavreel?”

Xaphine turned to look at him, “Excuse me?”

“Gavreel,” he repeated, “Did you know her.”

She nodded, “Yes, Gavreel was a special angel amongst the Choirs. I didn’t know her as well as I would have liked, but from what I’d heard about her, she was very kind hearted.”

Gilles lowered his eyes, “She died protecting me…”

“I know,” Xaphine replied, “I can feel it when one of my troops falls. It is truly a shame, but she died doing the job she loved; protecting people.”

Gilles nodded, “Yes… she said the same thing.”

The demon stood on Xaphine’s other side and spoke with a sarcastic tone, “I have a question for you ‘General,’ if it wouldn’t be too inconvenient?”

Xaphine rolled her eyes, “What is it Baʿal Zəbûb?”

“Legion is one that is many,” he replied, “One consciousness, one voice, but many minds and many forms. How do you intend that one angel should be able to defeat a creature that can take the form of as many creatures it wants?”

Xaphine smiled, “Leave that to the Choirs. Legion can’t hold multiple forms for long. It drains his energy. So we’ll wait for him to revert to single form. Once he does, our agent, Lailah, will signal us. That’s when the Choirs of angels will focus our powers together to lock him in that one form.”

“How long do you think you’ll be able to hold that,” Baʿal Zəbûb asked.

Xaphine shrugged, “Who knows… a few hours maybe? Hopefully it should be enough time for Aralyn to defeat him.”

Baʿal Zəbûb scoffed, “You’re putting an awful lot on the shoulders of a mere half-breed. Do you seriously think that this has any chance of success?”

“She may have the drawbacks of being a mortal,” Xaphine replied, “But she is far more powerful than any other single angel. When her powers manifested themselves, she was able to do incredible things with no training at all.”

Baʿal Zəbûb didn’t say anything in response. He was too deep in thought, contemplating what would happen if she did fail. Xaphine sighed, “You know… I owe you a thank you… if you hadn’t come, we probably wouldn’t be standing here now.”

Baʿal Zəbûb snorted, “I never thought I’d here that from an angel… even one who spent many years on our side.”

Xaphine smiled, “We did have some fun times together.”

“Yes we did,” Baʿal Zəbûb replied, “Before you turned on us.”

“Don’t,” Xaphine shot back, “You of all people know what Lucifer tried to do to me, after everything I sacrificed for him. After everything I did to help him, he still could not even grant one single request on my part. At that point, he proved to be no friend of mine, and I sided with the one person who had shown me unending loyalty.”

Baʿal Zəbûb nodded, “Forgive me Xaphan, I didn’t mean to sound like I was accusing you, far from it. I didn’t agree with your decision, but I understood it. You were always a fine general and I’m glad to see that after everything, the Most High was smart enough to recognize your abilities. “

“Xaphine,” She replied, “My name is Xaphine Lorenzi now.”

“Ah yes,” Baʿal Zəbûb chuckled, “So I heard… Well Xaphine, I must say, after watching you fight, it’s nice to see that your chosen allegiance hasn’t dulled your abilities at all.”

“Or yours,” Xaphine replied, “I think that, when the dust settles, Lucifer and the Most High may have a few things to discuss.”

Baʿal Zəbûb nodded, “Perhaps, once all this is over.”

*

The wind began to blow hard inside of the ruins of Paeles. Each step Aralyn took forward was met with a strong force pushing against her. She held tightly on to Baltazar’s arm as the two pressed on closer and closer. Lailah stood behind them and looked back toward the sea. She couldn’t see anything, but was hoping against hope that her people were winning the day. Overheard, she couldn’t see anymore imps, but for all she knew, they could still be there, the clouds from the whirlwind blocked her view.

Once they reached the edge of the whirlwind, Lailah stopped walking. Aralyn turned back to her, “What’s wrong?”

“This is as far as I dare go,” Lailah replied.

Aralyn shook her head, “What are you talking about, I need you, I can’t take on Legion alone!”

Lailah smiled, “You are not alone, trust me on that. I have to alert the Choirs of your progress.”

“But…” Aralyn began to protest, “I need you…”

“No you don’t,” Lailah replied, “I have already fought Legion and failed. Long have I watched over your family… and you. But you have grown into a strong young woman, and a powerful angel. You don’t need my help anymore. It’s time you stand on your own.”

Aralyn lowered her eyes, “I… I understand…”

Lailah turned to Baltazar, “You are her support now, her protector, and her love. Keep her safe.”

Baltazar nodded as he turned back to face the violent wind. Aralyn grabbed his arm once again and wrapped her own arms around it. She pressed her head against him, “I don’t know if I’m ready for this.”

“I do,” Baltazar replied, “I’ve seen you handle everything else that has been thrown at you, and you have had an unreasonable amount to deal with in a short span of time. Ever after all that, here you are, still standing. If I didn’t think you were ready for this, I never would have let you come this far. I believe in you.”

Quivering, she forced a smile, and nodded, “Then I’ll do my best not to let you down.”

With a renewed sense of confidence, she drew her sword and pointed it at the vortex. The blade responded by glowing green. She looked at the blade for a moment, “You have defended my family for many years… don’t let me down.”

Aralyn sucked in a deep breath, squeezed Baltazar’s hand and stepped through the spinning winds. Baltazar stepped through at the same time and held on tight so that he would not lose her in there.

The pair was instantly surrounded by a gray fog. The wailing of Paeles and the sound of the harsh winds were gone. All that remained was low whisper that sounded muffled. Baltazar turned a couple of times to see if they could make out anything, “So now what’s the plan?”

Aralyn shrugged, “I don’t know, but standing here won’t do us any good.”

She tugged on his arm, “Come on, let’s keep going forward.”

“Okay,” Baltazar agreed hesitantly, “Just don’t let me run into any invisible walls or step off a cliff.”

Aralyn smiled, “No worries.”

She took a step forward onto the unseen surface. When she felt solid ground, she took another step and pulled Baltazar to stay with her. The two walked through what could only be described as oblivion. Their breathing and footsteps echoed as they moved like they were in a large amphitheater.

Moments later, the gray began to clear like fog being lifted. In front of them was a massive cliff that seemed to protrude slightly upward into the vortex. Aralyn and Baltazar walked cautiously out to the edge of the cliff. When Aralyn looked down, she realized that there was no bottom to this whirlwind. Looking up, she realized that there was no top either. It appeared to stretch on endlessly. Aralyn was starting to get impatient and turned to Baltazar, “Stand back.”

Baltazar nodded and moved backwards to where there was more ground underneath him. Once she was convinced he was on stable ground, Aralyn turned her attention back to the vortex. She stared upwards for a few moments before calling out, “Legion!”

Her voice was met by a hollow sigh, but no other response. She waited a second and then tried again, “Legion!”

This time the entire whirlwind shook and a deep voice answered her, “Aralyn!”

An enormous entity that could only be described as a cloud of black smog appeared in front of her. In her right hand, Aralyn’s sword glowed even brighter as she aimed it at the cloud. The entity spoke, “Aralyn… so you have finally come. We must say it took you a little longer than we expected.”

“Happy to disappoint,” Aralyn replied, “Perhaps I can do it again some time?”

The entity laughed, “You are Adaline’s descendant indeed. Unfortunately, there won’t be another time. You will not leave our vortex alive. We have finally restored ourselves to full power and do not even need you now.”

The entity paused a moment and began to shift in shape. It slowly took human form, but it was little more than a black silhouette. A pair of yellow eyes opened on the area where a face would be, “However… we could still benefit from the powers you possess. Join us, and spare yourself unceasing pain and anguish.”

Aralyn’s eyes glowed as she thrust her free hand forward. Hot beams of white light emanated from her fingertips and shot through the air towards Legion. She clenched her teeth as the beams flew, “Never, Legion, die!”

Her attack struck Legion and passed right through him. His laughter echoed through the chamber as the beams of light vanished. Aralyn placed both hands on her sword took a step back. Legion roared, “You are a fool. We tried to be generous with you and this is the insult we receive? We are many and cannot be killed so easily.”

Legion raised his right hand, “Let us show you…”

Instantly, Legion disappeared from view and Aralyn heard Baltazar’s voice behind her, “Lookout!”

She turned to see Legion standing next to her. She was quick enough to be able to deflect his attack and push him away. As quickly as he appeared, he disappeared. Aralyn had a feeling that she knew what was going on and turned around. Sure enough, Legion was standing behind her in a different form and attacked again.

Within seconds, Legion attacked her from all four sides. He would alternate when he would appear in each position and what attack he would use. Baltazar ran to her side, but the moment Legion appeared, he went flying to the back of the ledge. He tried again to reach her, but again was sent flying through the air.

The sword she had given him when they first left the Black Vengeance, glowed brightly, but he had no idea what it meant. As much as he tried, there was no way for him to reach his love and he was forced to watch as she fought through this onslaught. He continued to look for a way to get to her, but could not find a way through this invisible barrier.

Aralyn fought hard, swinging her sword in defense, but she was having a hard time keeping track. Eventually she lost track and turned the wrong way, expecting to be attacked from behind, but Legion wasn’t there. Instead she felt a blunt pain in her side. She gasped as the wind was knocked out of her. She was now unable to deflect any more attacks. Legion hit her in the back, slashed at her leg, and then connected with her cheek. Baltazar threw himself at them as blood sprayed from Aralyn’s nose. Again he was unable to reach her as she fell to the side and her head hit the ground.

Aralyn’s world suddenly went black. She wasn’t unconscious, or at least she didn’t think she was, but her eyes couldn’t detect any sign of anything. She struggled to stand up and called out, “Baltazar… “

The only response came from a blue orb that appeared in front of her. It suddenly became very bright and approached Aralyn. It became so bright that she had to block her eyes to stop the light from blinding her.

“What is this, who are you?” She demanded.

There was a sudden flash and the orb disappeared. In its place was a beautiful young woman with blond hair and blue eyes that matched Aralyn’s. In fact, she looked exactly like her. Aralyn rolled her eyes, “Legion if this is another one of your tricks…”

“Shh…” The figure replied, “I’m not Legion.”

Aralyn looked at her oddly, “Then who are you…”

“I think you know,” the figure said with a smile, “I am a part of you.”

“Then you’re Adaline, my great-great-grandmother.” Aralyn replied.

The figure nodded, “That’s right… “

“What do you want,” Aralyn demanded, “I don’t have time for this.”

Adaline frowned, “I didn’t expect such hostility from my own kin…”

“Hostility?” Aralyn scoffed, “What do you know of hostility? Because of your short-sightedness, I had to grow up trapped behind the walls of an ancient abbey, I had no parents, almost everyone I ever cared for is dead, and now it looks like I might be too! Now I am stuck with your powers and abilities and I never wanted any of this!”

“No one asks for things like this to happen,” Adaline glared back, “Do you think I asked to be kicked out of the Celestial World, or be blinded and tortured to within a mere thread of my life? Do you think I asked to have people fight and die for me and in the end watch the person who loved me the most suffer? When all was said and done, I did what I had to do to be happy and so that your great-great-grandfather would survive. I make no apologies for that and I never would. It may sound selfish, but I love Giovanni and I would have done anything in the world to be with him.”

Aralyn could see a tear in her ancestor’s eye, “I am sorry for what happened to you, but believe me, I had nothing to do with it. I’m not a member of the Choirs of Angels anymore. It was the price I paid for a mortal life. Once that life was over, I would return to the Celestial World, but I would live in paradise as a human, not an angel, so I would have no say in their workings. It was a choice I’d make over and over again.”

“What about your powers,” Aralyn demanded, “How did I get them?”

“There was no way to completely remove the angelic essence from my being,” Adaline responded, “Not even the Most High has that capability. So he removed what he could, leaving just enough to prolong my life as long as my husband lived. We didn’t know until it was too late that the remaining essence would begin to manifest itself in later generations until it manifested itself in my last descendant.”

Aralyn sighed, she didn’t like the response she received, but it was something she would need to live with, “Fine… what about those swords? What is so special about those?”

Adaline smiled, “They originally belonged to a group of Lutheran revolutionaries. We needed them to defeat a terrible threat. So we travelled to the Underworld to coat them with venom from the Eden Serpent.”

“What is an Eden Serpent?” Aralyn asked.

“Not an Eden Serpent,” Adaline replied, “The Eden Serpent, there was only ever one of them. Think back to your studies. This was the serpent that got humankind kicked out of paradise. We hunted it down, killed it, and used its venom to curse our blades. The venom infused itself into the steel and now those swords can kill an immortal as easily as a regular sword can kill a human… they have been passed down in our family, and now they belong to you….”

Adaline touched Aralyn’s chin gently, “I am very sorry this has all been put on your shoulders. If I could take your place, I would.”

“But you can’t,” Aralyn replied, “So where does that leave me, dead?”

Adaline shook her head, “No, not dead… in a perilous situation perhaps, but not dead.”

“What do I do,” Aralyn insisted, “Please, you have to tell me, if I fall, Baltazar, the crew, and the rest of existence die as well!”

Adaline smiled, “Baltazar… quite the handsome rogue you’ve taken as your lover.”

Aralyn rolled her eyes, “What of it?”

“Oh, nothing,” Adaline replied, “Legion won’t be easy to defeat. In addition to being powerful, his consciousness is made up of thousands of minds working together like a bee hive. That is how he is able to move so quickly and seemingly be in more than one place at once.”

“So what do I do?” Aralyn asked.

“If you drain some of his power, he’ll be forced to revert to his true form,” Adaline replied, “Every hive has a queen and so does he. If you can damage him enough to expose his central mind, he will be vulnerable.”

“How am I supposed to do that,” Aralyn asked,  “I couldn’t even hit him.”

“Try something unexpected,” Adaline replied, “And rely on those around you…”

Aralyn rolled her eyes, “More cryptic responses… I need more then that!”

Adaline turned and looked behind her as though someone was coming, “Our time together is at its end. I’m sorry I can’t give you more than that. Just trust the people around you.”

As she began to vanish, Adaline kissed Aralyn on the cheek, “I love you, no matter what happens, you will always be family to me. Good luck!”

Aralyn had tears in her eyes as she watched yet another member of her family vanish from in front of her face, “I… I love you too… grandma…”

Aralyn lowered her eyes as the blackness turned to gray and she suddenly returned to reality. The sharp pains from the injuries she had received at Legions hands suddenly came rushing back. She opened her eyes to see Legion standing over her with a massive black sword in his hand, ready to deliver her a killing blow. She had no way of getting out of the way in time.

Baltazar saw his love hit the floor unconscious. At that moment, he saw that some of her blood had sprayed onto the gun on his belt. Remembering what happened aboard the Black Vengeance when the angels had blessed their cannons, he pulled the pistol from his belt. Lord God in Heaven, make this work, I beg of you… He thought to himself as he performed the sign of the cross over the pistol.

Legion brought his sword down on Aralyn. He was about to deliver the final blow when he suddenly heard a thundering boom. Searing pain ran through is back and he could feel himself getting weaker. He turned to see a smoking pistol in Baltazar’s hand.

Looking down at his hip, Legion could see what looked like gold dust slowly falling from where he’d been shot. He could feel the power draining from his form as he pressed his hand against the injury and solidified his form. Baltazar could see a nose and mouth form on Legions face as his features appeared.

Outside, the whirlwind died down for a brief moment. She felt the dark powers and the malice momentarily disappear and realized that this was their only chance. Her hand glowed white as she thrust it into the air and sent a white bolt of lightning shooting into the clouds.

From the Black Vengeance, Xaphine saw the signal and turned to Ariel and Roselyn, “Move your angels into positions, form a perimeter around the city, and begin focusing your minds. Hurry now, if Legion is able to restore himself, all hope for our friends will be lost.”

The two angels immediately took flight and organized their forces. Within moments, there was a circle of hundreds of angels around Paeles. Once the circle was complete, Xaphine took flight from the deck of the ship, shot through the sky, and landed at the last open position in the circle. She took a deep and placed her right hand on her temple. Her eyes snapped shut as she focused her mind. The ground began to tremble as a low humming sound emanated from her being.

The angels on either side of her mimicked her movements as did the angels next to them. Within moments, the hum became so loud, it could be heard for miles. As their energy manifested itself, the angel’s skin began to glow white and bright beams shot from their foreheads. The energy from their focused minds struck the whirlwind and disappeared into the vortex.

Xaphine sighed, “It’s all up to those two kids now.”

*

Inside the vortex, Legion laughed as he turned his attention to Baltazar, “What were you planning on accomplishing here, boy?”

“Get away from her you freak,” Baltazar replied, “Come try that with me!”

“You,” Legion scoffed, “A simple mortal… we didn’t come all this way to be chastised by an insignificant parasite. You’re in way over your head.”

Baltazar smiled, “Ancient demons, trips to hell, ugly winged beasts… it seems like a normal day for me.”

His words made Legion laugh even harder, “Very well then, if you are so anxious to meet your end, we will oblige you.”

The sword is Legion hand spun like a wheel as he turned and attack Baltazar. Baltazar extended his blade, which was now glowing bright green and struck Legion’s. The two swords impacted with a loud clang and a flash of white light. Legion struck again with an inhuman grunt that sent chills through Baltazar’s body. The blow almost knocked the sword from his hand, but he managed to keep his grip steady.

Legion’s attacks were brutal and relentless. Baltazar could feel the sword begin to buckle under impact. The green aura began to pulse as Legion brought his sword down once more. The blade of Baltazar’s sword shattered and sent shards flying. One shard grazed Legion’s cheek. Gold dust sprinkled out of the injury as Legion quickly pressed it closed with his finger.

Baltazar looked at the remains of his sword and realized that he now had no way to defend himself or Aralyn. Legion’s right fist came around and impacted on Baltazar’s cheek. The blunt force of the impact sent Baltazar flying on his back. Legion smiled and stepped forward with his sword in front of him. Baltazar rubbed his cheek and stood back up. Legion moved closer and pointed the sword at his throat.

Baltazar backed away slowly as Legion moved forward. His feet slid back across the floor until he was right on the edge of the cliff. His eyes never left the yellow burning ones of Legion. Seeing that Baltazar had nowhere else to go, Legion brought his sword back, ready to strike.

Baltazar closed his eyes, certain he was about to die as he waited for the death blow. Legion began to bring his sword down, when he felt a sharp pain in his back. He turned to see that Aralyn had found her feet and managed to sneak up behind him. In solid form, Legion didn’t have the same abilities he’d had as an entity and was unable to sense her.

Aralyn’s eyes burned like blue fire as she glared at Legion. Her sword was glowing and pointed directed at Legion’s chest, “Your fight is with me.”

“So it is,” Legion agreed, “That suites us, we grow tired of dealing with lesser beings.”

Aralyn spread her wings and jumped over Legion, using them to elevate her out of Legion’s reach. She landed between him and Baltazar, keeping her wings spread, “Do not touch him!”

Legion spun around and brought his sword down. Aralyn parried his attack with her own sword which was glowing bright than ever before. She clenched her jaw as the two swords scrapped together. Finally, Legion pulled back a few feet. Aralyn pointed her sword at him again and stepped forward, “You’re going to pay for every single person you have hurt. Papi, Sister Mary, the crew… and my family… give them back to me Legion, give them all back!”

Legion laughed, “So you wish to kill us? That’s not a very angelic reaction.”

“No it’s not,” Aralyn replied, “But I’m not much of an angel anyway. I’m a human being.”

“A human, you say?” Legion scoffed, “The thought that someone would choose the life of a pathetic creature over a superior being… it’s actually quite troubling.”

“Enough,” Aralyn replied, “You have spent too much time in Hell. You speak of things you do not know.”

Legion nodded, “Perhaps, but once we kill you we’ll never have to find out.”

“You can try,” Aralyn replied in a calm voice, “But even if you succeed, the battle is already over and you have lost.”

“Lost huh,” Legion cackled, “Perhaps you refer to imp army that flocked to us? We could care less as to what happened to them. They were mere pawns who have served their purpose.”

Aralyn’s eyes narrowed, “What are you talking about?”

“The imps thinned the Choirs numbers down significantly when they hadn’t even full rebuilt from the celestial wars.” Legion replied, “With their numbers dwindling as much as they are, they won’t be able to stop us. We are Legion…”

“For we are many,” Aralyn interrupted, “Yes I’ve heard that before. It didn’t bother me the first time and it still doesn’t. No matter how many forms you can take, or how many copies you can summon to your control, you still do not scare me.”

“No?” Legion asked, “Let’s find out…”

Legion focused his mind and his eyes turned red. Aralyn brought her sword up in front of her face, ready to defend against Legion’s attack. Suddenly, white lights flickered around Legion, and his eyes returned to their yellow color. He looked around, confused for a moment and tried again. The lights flashed even brighter this time as Legion growled. Aralyn smiled, “The Choirs numbers may have dwindled, but there are still more than enough of them. You have already lost Legion. Surrender and God may yet show you mercy as he did once before.”

Legion shook his head, “Where was the Most High when Lucifer corrupted our lair, where was he when the creatures of Sheol were trapped and brutalized, and where was he when Lucifer brought his damned souls to dwell there? No, the Most High’s mercy doesn’t appeal to us. We know him better than anyone, he will not stop what has happened. ”

“I do not care about what happened in Hell,” Aralyn shouted, “You’re actually using your mad lust to regain the dominance you let slip away as a justification for murder?”

“I’ve heard enough,” Legion spat back, “You die now!”

Legion lunged at her with his sword. She turned to the side and parried his attack. To her surprise, he took to the air and raised himself high above the ledge where Aralyn stood. The whirlwind suddenly vanished as Aralyn flapped her wings and took flight in pursuit.

Baltazar found himself standing only a few feet away from Lailah, “What happened?”

Lailah looked up, “His powers have been diminished. He can no longer maintain his powers. She just needs to keep weakening him!”

Baltazar watched his love give chase above the smashed buildings, “Well, come on, we need to help her! She can’t take him on alone!”

“We can’t help her,” Lailah replied, “Even in his weakened state, he’s more than powerful enough to take on another angel. If we break our hold on him now, he will be able to use his powers to morph into other forms, and we may never be able to defeat him.”

“We have to do something,” Baltazar insisted.

Lailah nodded, “Believe in her and be strong for her. That is what she needs right now.”

Above the city, Aralyn chased Legion around the sky. It appeared that Legion was trying to wear her down. Aralyn did not see this and pressed her wings as hard as she could. Flying was still new to her and she struggled to keep pace. Sweat poured down her body as she increased speed.

When Legion saw that she was gaining on him, he turned around and flew back to the middle of the city. Within moments, he settled over the ledge where they had originally fought and pointed his sword at her again in order as though challenging her to try to attack him.

Aralyn was breathing heavily as she wiped the sweat from her brow. Her sword continued to glow as she charged at Legion with it pointed in front of her. Her wings were sore and she was out of breath. She decided to slow down in order to reserve her remaining strength. Her wings ached as she soared through the cool air, but she eventually reached Legion. Her teeth were clenched as she brought her sword up to strike, “This is the end for you…”

The two enemies crossed swords again. The blades sparked as they struck and slid off of one another. Aralyn realized that she couldn’t do this for too long as she was having enough trouble keeping herself in the air. She performed a somersault over Legion again and tried to stab him from behind. Legion countered her attack and turned upside down to connect his sword with hers.

Aralyn broke away and tried to come at him again with a slashing attack, but this time, Legion was ready for her. When she got close enough, he performed a spin that resulted in his foot striking her on the right cheek. He also brought his sword down on hers, shattering it.

Having no other defense, Aralyn drew upon her remaining energy and blasted Legion with a beam of light from her right hand. The beam grazed Legion shoulder and caused him to jerk backwards. The force of the energy was enough to knock Aralyn from the sky. Using her wings, she was able to slow her fall, but she was unable to stop it. She struck the ground and lie on her stomach for a second stunned. The pain shooting through her body was almost unbearable as she finally struggled to get back to her feet.

Aralyn had been badly beaten and her body was failing her, but she knew that her only choice was to keep fighting. Victory or death, she thought to herself, I won’t be able to live with myself otherwise.

With tears in her eyes, she turned to face Legion as he began a sky dive towards her, ready to deliver a killing strike. Aralyn quickly looked over at Baltazar who running to her as fast as her could, even though it was obvious that he was too far away to get to her in time. She watched her for a moment and mouthed the words ‘I’m sorry, my love.’

Aralyn immediately turned back to Legion with anger, “Die you bastard…”

She drew upon the last drop of strength she had left, outstretched her arms, and thrust both hands towards Legion. White hot beams of light flew from her fingertips and struck Legion, stopping him in his tracks. Legion’s form was thrust backwards slightly and he dropped his sword. The intensity of the blasts held Legion in place and paralyzed him.

Aralyn continued her attack, but was losing energy fast. She stumbled a couple of times, but managed to find her footing enough to keep her standing. She tensed her hands in order to push more energy into the blasts. Shooting pain passed through her hands, legs, wings, and entered her heart. Her wings spread and she screamed, “God, please don’t take me yet, it is not finished. Please, not yet!”

Her nose began bleeding again as she fought through the exhaustion and the pain. Her eyes squinted as she realized that she could not hold her arms up any longer. She began breathing heavily and was almost blinded by sweat dripping into her eyes. Her arms became extremely heavy and were ready to collapse. Aralyn closed her eyes and shook her head, “It’s no good… I’m sorry Baltazar, I can’t do it. I don’t have enough strength left.”

Suddenly, Aralyn felt an arm under her wings press against her back, holding her up and a hand grabbing her right wrist. She opened her eyes to see Baltazar standing next to her, holding her up. She breathed heavily and a look of relief came over her features as Baltazar smiled at her, “You’ve done just fine, now let me help you.”

A second hand grabbed her left wrist and held it tightly in place. Lailah whispered in her ear, “Use my strength, and finish him.”

Aralyn nodded as she drew upon Lailah’s strength and focused it through her hands. The beams of light became twice as strong as they had been before and the energy enveloped Legion in light. Legion screamed out in pain as his entire body began to burn. Aralyn began to breath heavily again and forced the last of her energy through her hands before collapsing in Baltazar’s arms.

Legion’s body had steam pouring off of it, and he was breathing heavily, but a sense of relief came over him and he smiled, “You have lost Aralyn. You are out of strength…. now there is no one to stop us from retaking the underworld…”

Aralyn looked up at Legion weakly, filled with remorse that she was unable to finish the fight. What pained her even more was that now she would have to watch as her friends die. Secretly she hoped that Legion would kill her first, but he was never that kind.

Legion was about to continue speaking when suddenly, he noticed that gold dust was flowing from his body. Unlike before, this time it was flowing upwards into the sky. Legion looked up toward the clouds frantically. His eyes turned to blue as they darted back and forth, “Master… no… You can’t take us! We won’t allow it! Leave us to complete my mission, we beg of you… no!”

Legions form continued to disintegrate into gold dust until his entire body exploded in a magnificent display of light and the remaining dust disappeared into the clouds. Aralyn sighed as she felt her body finally give out. Her eyes closed and she fell unconscious. Concerned, Lailah felt her neck and arm. After a few seconds, she nodded, “Aralyn will be ok, she just needs rest and time to heal.”

“Thank God,” Baltazar replied as he picked her up, “Let’s get her out of here.”

Suddenly, the ground began shaking under their feet. Large towers that were still standing in the city were beginning to collapse as the whirlwind began to pick up again. Baltazar looked at the city as it destroyed itself and turned to Lailah, “We have to get out of here, can you fly us out?”

Lailah shook her head, “I can’t carry two of you at once. We’d never get off the ground.”

Baltazar sighed as he handed Aralyn’s unconscious body to Lailah, “Get her out of here… get her back to the Black Vengeance.

Lailah looked at him and nodded, “Don’t worry, I’ll see to it she is safe, but I’m coming back for you. I promise.”

Baltazar nodded, “Alright, get going!”

The whirlwind became stronger as Lailah flapped her wings hard, struggling to climb into the sky. The wind picked up and grew stronger and stronger until loose stones from the wrecked buildings lifted off the ground and entered the whirlwind. Lailah dove to avoid a building that was collapsing right in front of her as she continued to fly as fast as she could to get out of Paeles.

The wind picked up even more and it felt like Lailah was about to get sucked back into the vortex. Her wings ached as she pushed harder and harder to break away. It took almost all of her energy, but after a few more hard flaps she was able to pull out of the whirlwind and get to the Black Vengeance.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

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:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Book 3, Chapter 1

Book 3

As the Tides Change

I

Deep beneath the ground, in the fiery land of hell, an imp creature approached the entrance to the darkest cave in the Underworld. This cave was the only way to reach Lucifer’s castle by those not capable of flight. Even so, most creatures avoided it. The imp stopped at the entrance and peered in, “Master…”

There was a heavy moan as a black cloud of smoke appeared in front of it, “You had better have a good reason for awakening us!”

“I beg your forgiveness, Lord Legion,” the imp said nervously as he groveled before his master, “but we’ve found her.”

The creature took human form and opened red eyes, “It certainly took you long enough. Where is she?”

The imp lowered its eyes, “Our scouts located someone who matched the description of the girl… it was a young maid living in an abbey in the northern region of France, but we couldn’t be certain it was her. She was either unaware of her powers or unwilling to use them.”

“You begin to bore us, imp.” Legion growled. “Get to the point!”

“We couldn’t move on her until we were certain… that would surely have attracted the attention of the Most High… but surely you felt it, master?” The imp replied nervously. “There was a massive power spike in that region.”

“Yes…” Legion nodded. “Where is she now?”

“We don’t know my lord.” The imp said, stepping backwards. “I took the liberty of dispatching our scouts, but the area that they are supposedly located in is nothing but open ocean and wreckage… however we did find something that may be of interest.”

“And what’s that?” Legion asked.

The imp smiled, “Master, one of the souls that was present in the water spirit has come here. I recognized him almost immediately. I’ve brought him to you.”

The faint ghost stepped out of the shadows. It was in Jaspart’s form, but already looked as though his persona had been corrupted by the trappings of Hell. The spirit bowed to Legion, “Jaspart, at your service milord.”

Legion nodded, “Tell us, what did you see?”

Jaspart sighed, “Had I known, I might never have gone after that man. By what magic does an angel protect him and his crew?”

“You begin to annoy us.” Legion growled. “Tell us what you saw, or proceed to the pit where you belong.”

“Apologies milord…” Jaspart replied as he lowered his eyes. “We were in pursuit of a revolutionary against the crown of Spain. His name is Baltazar Del La Fuente. We had him beat. I had just cut down his first officer and was about to cut him down as well when that… that bitch suddenly appeared. I should have killed her when I had the chance in Granville. It was like she suddenly exploded with power and sent my men flying over the sides of two ships, but it didn’t seem to affect La Fuente’s men. Now I’m here and he has my ship!”

Legion nodded, “She possesses more power than you can ever know, but we need her alive. Did you see where their ship was heading?”

“My ship,” Jaspart replied strongly, resenting Legion’s words, “and I regret that I was already on my way here before the battle ended.”

“Then you are of no further use to us.” Legion hissed as her turned to the imp that was still standing to his side, “Take this condemned soul to his fate.”

The imp nodded and took a step toward the spirit. Jaspart backed away slightly, “No, milord. I can still help you! Please, hear me.”

Legion raised his hand, signaling the imp to stop as he turned back to Jaspart, “And what could you possibly offer us that’s worth saving you from your fate?”

“I know La Fuente.” Jaspart replied. “I’ve been his competition for years. I know his tactics and I know the man. He’s a scoundrel, but he lives by a code of honor. If you go after the girl, no doubt he’ll use everything he knows to protect her.”

“This is pointless,” the imp hissed, shaking its head, “if he tries to interfere, we’ll just kill him.”

Jaspart scoffed, “You think it’s that easy? La Fuente knows how to stay alive in the most dangerous of situations and knows how to weasel his way out of them. Don’t underestimate him.”

“So you would help us outwit him,” Legion mused, “and what would you want in return?”

“To be spared this judgment and allowed to return to my life,” Jaspart replied, “as well as a ship if possible.”

Legion nodded, “Very well, serve us well, and you will have a ship powerful enough to bring you riches beyond compare.”

“My liege,” Jaspart replied with a bow, “I am at your command. What is our plan?”

“We need more information about the girl, how much she knows, how she has lived, and where she’s going.” Legion thought out loud, as he turned back to the imp. “Let us pay a visit to this abbey where we know she’s been. If you find the girl matching her description there, bring her to us.”

A worried look came over the imp’s face, “My lord, won’t that attract the attention of Chiors of Angels?”

Legion nodded, “Probably, but they won’t be anticipating this. Their… leader… knows what I am and wouldn’t dare commit her forces against me unless they were assembled. She’ll cut her losses and assemble her people.”

The imp bowed, “Very well, if you’re certain. Thy will be done my lord.”

Before the creature vanished, Legion pointed an accusing finger at it, “You know the price of failure.”

As the imp disappeared, Jaspart looked at Legion with worry, “What job do you have for me, milord?”

Legion smiled, “Don’t worry; I have special plans for you, ones that involve the use of some of your countrymen.”

**

The crew watched as the ship slowly sank beneath the waves. Gilles stood next to Baltazar, “She was a good ship.”

Baltazar smiled, “With an excellent crew.”

“And the best captain.” Gilles added.

Baltazar shook his head, “If that were true, she wouldn’t be sinking.”

“Ah come on Captain,” Gilles replied, “Ye gave better then you got, and now ye’ve got a better ship.”

“Bigger isn’t always better. “Baltazar said softly. “The Specter was a much smaller target she could easily sneak into port without being noticed. She had a lot of advantages this one might not. So we’re going to need to adjust our strategy.”

“More noticeable perhaps,” Gilles replied, “but faster, better guns, and a stronger hull be a fair trade if ye were to ask me.”

Baltazar nodded, “Fair enough… by the way, have you figured out how this ship was able to repel our attacks so easily?”

“Aye,” Gilles said through a long breath, “but I still kind of find it hard to believe.”

Baltazar narrowed his eyes, “Explain.”

“Aye sir.” Gilles replied. “Most of the caravels built before a certain time were made to be cargo vessels, but this one… this one was built based on the design of the old cargo ships, but the skeleton of the ship is a sophisticated arrangement of crossed beams and a thick support frame. This ship was designed to be able to take a beating.”

“What are you saying?” Baltazar asked.

“She be a hunter-killer.” Gilles replied. “This ship be designed to lure in unsuspecting pirates and then blast them to bits before they know what they be dealing with.”

“Then why is it none of us have seen anything like this before?” Baltazar asked, getting very interested.

Gilles shrugged, “It’s only a guess, Captain, but I’d say the cost of building something so intricate be too high for those even with deeper pockets. I’d be guessing this be a test ship?”

“It makes sense.” Baltazar agreed.

“Excuse me Captain?” A voice appeared from behind.

Baltazar turned to see Morgan standing behind him, “What can I do for you Mr. Morgan?”

“Sir,” Morgan replied, “I be thinking someone is going to come looking for this here boat in no time. I was wondering what course we should set?”

Baltazar thought for a moment, “That’s not an easy question to answer… it basically comes down to what we want to do with the newest member of our family.”

“Aye,” Morgan agreed, “that’s exactly what I be thinking.”

Gilles looked over at Morgan, “What do ye think she be, Captain?”

Baltazar cut them off, “Let’s not start jumping to conclusions just yet. No one knows for certain what we saw.”

He put a hand on Gilles’ shoulder, “For now, you are first mate. Steer us a course west, northwest.”

Gilles nodded, “Aye aye sir.”

“Taking us back to Granville are ye?” Morgan asked.

“Not too far from there.” Baltazar replied. “The people at the abbey no doubt knew something we don’t. Why else would they confine her behind their walls for so many years?”

Baltazar thought about it for a moment. “Meet me in the galley in ten minutes. Gilles and Mr. Clement need to join us as well.”

Morgan saluted as he turned away, “Aye aye sir.”

Baltazar watched the last part of the Specter’s bow disappear below the surface, “Good bye old friend, and thank you.”

He sighed as he turned and headed for his new cabin in the aft castle. The wood working was far more intricate, as were the doors and windows. Baltazar pushed the cabin door opened and saw that Melisande was still sleeping. He sat down next to her and tried to fix her hair, “You saved my life… and that of my true family… I can never repay you for that.”

He let out a deep sigh, “But where ever your journey takes you, where ever you decide to go, I swear to you that you will have a friend in me until the end. I will see to it you find what you are looking for, honor demands no less.”

Baltazar covered her over with a blanket, rested her head on the pillow, and placed her swords next to the bed, “Rest well, you’ve earned it.”

He looked around the room while she slept, this is too much luxury for a sea captain. No wonder Jaspart was getting soft.

He looked down at her. She almost seemed to smile as she slept. There was a strange aura of serenity about her, almost as though she were projecting peaceful feelings throughout the room. Her golden hair gleamed from the sunlight as it came through the window. She’s very beautiful… I hope never to see her unhappy.

A knock came at the door as Baltazar stood up, “Yes?”

Morgan opened the door, “Beggin’ yer pardon, Captain, but the men be waiting for you in the galley.”

“Thank you Mr. Morgan, “Baltazar replied, “I’m coming.”

Morgan nodded, “Aye sir.”

Baltazar left Melisande to sleep and made his way down to the galley where Morgan, Giles, and Papi were waiting for him. The galley was a massive space intended for far more people than Baltazar had under his command. It was far more luxurious then anything they had on the Specter. So far, not many of the features aboard the Black Vengeance impressed him. He had a hard time deciding if this ship was a warship or a luxury yacht. Such things did not fit a respectable pirate.

The three men stood as their captain entered. Baltazar nodded, “Stand easy men.”

He then looked at Papi, “Ah, Mr. Clement, I’m sure it’s been an adjustment getting used to your new kitchen. So I am grateful that you’ve obeyed my orders so quickly.”

Papi nodded, “Sir, may I ask…?”

“No need,” Baltazar said in an assuring tone, “Melisande is fine. My guess is what ever happened, put a strain on her. She’s in the captain’s cabin, resting comfortably.”

“Thank you, sir.” Papi said with a sigh. “That is a relief.”

“Aye.” Morgan agreed. “Once again the girl probably saved our lives.”

Baltazar nodded, “No doubt about it, but the question is, what is she, and what do we do with her now?”

“We should send her back.” Papi replied. “The church obviously hid her for a reason. Please sir, allow me to take her home.”

Baltazar shook his head, “I respect your opinion and we are currently sailing for Mont St. Michel, but I will not just throw her over the side for no reason. She signed on as a member of the crew and she has as much right as any of us.”

Baltazar took in a deep breath as he continued, “Mr. Clement, you’ve known her longer than us, she calls you Papi, and she seems attached to you.”

“She’s like a daughter to me,” he replied, “but really, I don’t know any more than you do.”

“I be finding that impossible to believe.” Morgan said in an accusing tone. “What do ye think yer protecting her from by not telling us?”

Papi sighed, “Okay… I’m telling you the truth when I say I don’t know much, but what I do know is that she was brought to Mont Saint Michel’s as little more than a baby. The Orders were doing everything they could to get her as far away from her home as possible.”

“What were they trying to get her away from?” Baltazar asked.

“That,” Papi replied, “I… do not know, but they would not let her leave the abbey at all. She got so restless that she used to convince guards to let her sneak out. I remember how sad she would get being cooped up there. Everyone hated it… everyone. I always wondered what would happen if she asked me to smuggle her out. I don’t know that I would have refused.”

“Where did she come from?” Morgan asked.

“No one would tell me.” Papi admitted. “All I know is that she is not from this area, and judging by the accent her caretaker, Sister Mary, spoke with… I’d say she was probably from one of the lower kingdoms, possibly either Milan or Florence? Definitely somewhere in the old Papal Alliance.”

“That’s considering she even came from the same region.” Baltazar replied.

“Right exactly…” Papi admitted.

Baltazar looked as though he was in deep thought, “So we don’t know where she’s from…  but can we figure out what she is?”

Gilles looked up nervously, “In my short time at sea, this be the first time that my eyes have laid witness to anything like that. Could she be a witch?”

Papi glared at Gilles, “She spent most of her life in an abbey, where she brightened the locals’ spirits. When she got here, she started healing people after the battle. Even when she turned into… whatever that was, the only people she hurt were the ones attacking us. Does that sound like a witch or a demon to you?”

“Mr. Clement be right,” Morgan added, “she be no witch. Be I the only one who saw the wings appearing on her back?”

“Aye.” Baltazar said as the mental picture returned to him. “They felt like mist when I touched them.”

Papi turned to the captain, “Could she be some sort of an angel?”

“It makes sense…” Morgan replied.

“If that is the case,” Papi said softly, “no doubt she is unaware of her powers.”

“This is all conjecture.” Baltazar added, breaking the air. “We don’t know enough about what we’re dealing with to say one way or the other. Let’s focus on what we do know. This girl snuck out of the abbey after living there for most of her life. She is intelligent, well rounded, adept in the art of healing, and she posses some kind of supernatural powers.”

“Aye,” Morgan agreed, “that be the way of it.”

Baltazar thought about it for a moment, “So what do you men think? Send her back to the abbey, or keep her with us?”

Morgan scratched his beard, “Ye already know my feelings. I was the one who first wanted her off the boat, but she’s become a part of the crew. I be wantin her to stay with us.”

“I agree,” Gilles said, “I still owe her my life. I say she stays!”

Papi sighed, “At this point, I suppose voting to send her home would do little good. At least I’ll still be able to watch over her here.”

Baltazar nodded, “I think she has earned the right to choose, she saved all our lives. So if she decides to stay, we’ll welcome her.”

Gilles nodded, “Aye that be fair.”

“I agree,” Baltazar replied, “but for now, I’d also like to find out more about her, so we’ll hold our course for the abbey.”

Morgan narrowed his eyes, “Are ye wanting to take her on some quest to answer all these questions, Captain? Doubt there be much profit in that.”

“No probably not,” Baltazar nodded, “and I won’t force anyone to go on this journey with me.”

He stood up in front of the crewmen, “We have all agreed that she is a member of this family now. We all agreed that we do not care if she is an angel or a demon. Now I’m asking the three of you, if she decides to stay with us, will you help me repay everything she’s done for us? Every one of us at some point has needed help and the rest of the crew has been there. She’s entitled to the same treatment.”

Gilles stood up, “As I said before, I owe for more than the lot of ye. I’m onboard.”

“Hm…” Morgan thought for a moment. “There be plenty of times for plunder after she has the answers she needs. I be up for an adventure. Count me in.”

Papi smiled, “I’ve wanted to do this for years. Of course I’m in.”

“Alright, it’s settled then,” Baltazar agreed, “but we can’t do this without a crew. I suspect some of the men already had questions they wanted answered before we were attacked.”

He turned to Gilles, “Pipe all hands on deck in ten minutes. I’m going to let them know what’s going on.”

Gilles saluted, “Aye sir.”

The men filed out and made their way to their posts. Baltazar climbed up to the deck and went to his cabin. Once he was in front of the door, he placed his hand on the doorknob and paused for a moment. Am I doing the right thing keeping her here? He thought to himself.

Baltazar put his fears out of his head and opened the door. Melisande was still lying in bed unconscious. He sat down next to her and brushed the hair from her face, “You saved our lives…”

Baltazar had several ports of call out there and double the number of maidens that both hated his guts and loved him, but there was something different about this one. She was more beautiful than the others, but she had an almost mystic innocence about her. Perhaps it was for the best that she stayed aboard. Papi wouldn’t be around forever, so if possible, Baltazar would need to find some way to ensure that she was taken care of.

A knock on the door shattered his thoughts. He stood up and faced the door, “Enter.”

“Pardon the interruption sir.” Morgan said as he entered the room.

Baltazar nodded, “What is it?”

“By yer orders sir,” Morgan replied, “the men be assembled on the main deck and be waiting for ye.”

Baltazar stood up and moved towards the door, “Oh yes. Thank you.”

He followed Morgan out and moved to the quarter deck where he stood in front of his men. Baltazar looked over the rag tag bunch that he had come to call family. He began to wonder if anything was about to change with what he had to tell them.

Baltazar finally decided that there was no point in postponing the inevitable, and addressed his men, “Brave crewmen, you have all served loyally and without question. You have yet to refuse a single order or disappoint me in any way, and for that I am grateful. Because of that, I now feel the need to address some of the questions that have arisen over the last few days… My father is Philip II of Spain… the late king. I am a member of the Habsburg family.”

A voice from the crowd interrupted, “Sir, what about Mel?”

Baltazar nodded, “I was getting to that. I just thought you’d like a full explanation…”

Another voice broke through, “We don’t care what family you come from, sir. Royalty or not, you’re still Captain La Fuente!”

The entire crew cheered, agreeing with the first man. Baltazar was very touched, “I don’t know what to say… thank you men!”

A man in front yelled as he threw an arm in the air, “I’ll follow Captain La Fuente to hell and back!”

The crew looked as though they were getting restless, so Baltazar moved on, “Well then, to answer your question, Melisande is resting comfortably. Whatever happened appears to have drained her of all of her energy, so she’s unconscious.”

A worried look came over the crew. Baltazar shook his head, “Don’t worry men, I assure you that she is alive. She is still breathing and her skin is quite warm. I’m sure she’ll be up and about before we know it.”

As the look of worry faded into relief, Baltazar took in another deep breath, “That is the other reason I have called you here. Men, Melisande has done a lot for us in the short time we’ve been together, but she has no idea where she comes from or who her family is. I intend to take her to find out. This journey may be very dangerous and we may not make any profit at all. At the moment, we’re sailing for Mont Saint Michel. If anyone doesn’t want to be caught up in this, they may be released from service upon our arrival. I won’t blame any man jack who decides to leave.”

The crew all began talking at once. Shouts of annoyance went up from the crew, “What abandon Mel?”

“We ain’t going nowhere!”

“I said before I’d follow Captain La Fuente to hell, and I meant it!”

“Ye ain’t getting rid of us that easy Captain!”

“We owe Mel our lives! Who says we won’t find a prize on the way!”

Baltazar smiled, “Okay, okay, I am sorry I offended your honor. I’m sure Melisande will be very grateful when she wakes up!”

The men cheered as Baltazar looked up at the sails, “Alright then, all hands, full sails, man the braces, and bring us to Mont Saint Michel!”

He then turned to Gilles and Morgan. Gilles returned his glance and nodded, “Holding course east, northeast, sir!”

Baltazar nodded, “Very good. I’ll be in my cabin, hold us steady.”

Gilles saluted, “Aye sir.”

Again Baltazar disappeared through the doors. Melisande hadn’t moved as she slept. He sat down next to her. The sunlight from the window made her hair shine brightly and illuminate the cabin. Seeing her in this light, he couldn’t imagine a more beautiful site. He now knew that he wanted to keep her safe, no matter what it cost him. He leaned in towards her and whispered into her ear, “You needn’t worry, we’ll keep you safe.”

She moved around a little bit and half a smile appeared on her face. He then slowly moved his lips from her ear and pressed them against hers. She slowly began to stir as her eyes remained closed.

In less than a second, Baltazar felt a sharp pain in his throat. He pulled back to see Melisande’s eyes wide open in anger. She grabbed his shirt and held a knife to his throat. He put his hands up, “You’re awake… I’m sorry, you’re right, that wasn’t very chivalrous of me.”

A rambunctious grin formed on her face as she pushed Baltazar back against the cabin door. Baltazar felt his body squeeze as she pressed him against the wood. Suddenly, she brought her lips up and kissed him deeply. Baltazar kept his eyes open, unsure what was going on, but decided to go along with it rather than risk injury to himself.

After a few moments, she pulled her lips away from his, “From now on, you knock before entering!”

With that, Melisande opened the cabin door and, using impressive strength, pushed him out. Baltazar was pushed with so much force that he went flying back across the deck and landed on his back. He sat up to see the door to the cabin slam shut. He stared at the door for a minute shaking his head. Okay, what just happened?

Attempting to save face in front of his men, he got up and straightened out his shirt. That was stupid… He thought to himself as he heard soft laughter behind him. He turned to see three men staring at him, “What are you looking at, back to work!”

After throwing Baltazar out and shutting the door, Melisande bit her lower lip as she smiled nervously. Her heart was racing and she felt strange. She retreated to the back of the cabin and opened one of the windows.

The cool breeze helped calm Melisande as she sorted things out in her head. She still wasn’t sure exactly what happened. Where did that sudden burst of energy come from, why did she pass out, and most importantly, what made Baltazar think that he had earned the right to kiss her?

Melisande wanted answers, so she quickly grabbed some water out of the bowl next to the bed and cleaned herself up. She found some women’s clothing in the cabin that looked like it would fit her. She quickly changed, and made her way to the deck. She opened the cabin door and proceeded to the railing.

The air on the ship noticeably lightened when he presence became known. The crew was happy to see that she was up and about. Even the newer crew that had been victim to her energy waves could see the effect she had on the people she served with.

Morgan and Baltazar looked at each other for a moment. Baltazar nervously shook his head so Morgan decided that it was up to him to talk to her. He climbed down from the quarter deck and approached her as she watched the sea from the starboard railing.

“Top of the morning to ye missy.” He said with a smile.

“Morgan,” she replied as she turned to him, “good morning, what happened… where is the Specter?

“We lost the Specter.” He replied. “She was taking on water and listing badly, we couldn’t save her.”

Melisande lowered her eyes, “I’m sorry… I know you all served on that ship a long time. I thought that if we could end the fight quick enough, there might be a way to save her, but I guess that was a fantasy. I wish I could have done more to help.”

“Ye have nothing to be sorry for.” Morgan said sternly. “Ye saved all of our lives and helped us take control of this mighty ship. Thanks to ye, we be a lot better off than we were.”

“Your words are too kind,” she replied with a half smile, “but I don’t even know what happened.”

“Do ye remember the battle?” He asked.

She nodded, “Yes, I remember everything… but I don’t know what happened.”

Baltazar did the best he could to listen in and decided to risk joining the conversation. He approached the two of them and smiled. Melisande flashed him an evil grim that stopped him right in his path. It took him a moment to calm the chills, but once they were gone, he walked up to her, “What did it feel like?”

Melisande lowered her eyes, “It felt like a raging tide that had been held back by a rickety damn just broke through. It felt like whatever chains were holding me back had been snapped. At least for a little while.”

She looked up at Baltazar with her bright blue eyes, “I don’t know how else to explain it.”

Baltazar smiled, “I think we get it.”

“So wait, if those powers be dormant and ye unleashed them…” Morgan said hesitantly. “Then can ye do that again?”

Melisande shook her head, “I don’t even know what ‘that’ was…”

She lowered her eyes as she continued, “What am I, who am I, what does all of this mean, and what am I supposed to do now?”

“What do you mean?” Baltazar asked.

“You all saw me,” she replied, “I can only imagine what you think now…”

Her eyes turned to a look of fear, “What are you going to do with me?”

“Keep ye.” Morgan replied. “Ye be one of us. Signed and sworn.”

Baltazar nodded, “Not only that, but we’ve spoken to the crew and decided that we’re going to help you find the answers to those questions. I get the feeling that there is too much as stake not to.”

The light in her eyes turned to fire as tears of joy flow from them, “But what about your plunder? I can’t imagine that we’ll have a ton of time for pirating if we’re doing this?”

“Don’t be worrying your pretty head about that,” Morgan replied. “There be plenty of time for that later. Maybe we’ll pick off a ship or two on the way as well.”

“I don’t know what to say,” she replied as her voice began to crack, “I… thank you all so much. I’m not sure how I can ever repay you!”

She grabbed Baltazar and hugged him tightly. Baltazar braced himself for a sharp object to pierce his back, but it never happened. He slowly pressed his hands against her back as she nuzzled into his chest.

Suddenly Melisande’s eyes shot open and she pushed away with a nervous grin. The two of them looked at each other for a few moments in total silence. It was a very awkward moment for them both. Morgan smirked as he turned his attention to the open ocean.

“Just keep me from dying.” Morgan said mercifully breaking the silence. “All I ask.”

Melisande nodded, “Not a problem, Morgan. Thank you.”

She turned back to Baltazar, “So where do we plan to start looking?”

“Mont Saint Michel,” he replied, “we’re going to go talk to this Sister Mary who has cared for you all these years.Mr. Clement believes she may know the truth of your origins.”

“Papi?” She asked. “Where is he…”

“Below in the galley.” Baltazar replied. “You should go see him when you get a chance. He was really worried about you.”

Melisande nodded, “I’m sure… I’ll need to go talk to him.”



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

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:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Chapter 3

III

 

A creaking noise roused Melisande early the next morning. Hoping to avoid a lecture from Sister Mary, she got up and got dressed quickly. Once again, she threw open her windows and peered out. To her amazement, the sun had barely peaked over the horizon. It was earlier than she was used to waking up.

Melisande was about to go back to sleep when she noticed that the tide had receded around the abbey. She didn’t know how much time she had until the bells woke everyone up, so she quickly turned away from the window. Without a thought to the consequences, she opened the door as quietly as she could, and tiptoed down the steps. She moved slowly and noticed that her hands were shaking. She couldn’t understand whether or not it was the fear of getting caught, or just anticipation of being able to finally escape the abbey.

It was not the first time that Melisande had run off and she had never been caught previously, but she still had to be careful. It wasn’t long before she reached the kitchen and took a left turn down another corridor that led her to a familiar tunnel. The ground was damp as she made her way out of the area.

Melisande’s feet carried her quickly along the stone floor. Once she reached the door at the end of the tunnel, she slowly pushed it open and ran outside. She once again found herself in the courtyard.

As the sun came up over the horizon, she ducked down behind a tree and slowly made her way toward the main gate. A series of trees and bushes were her only cover from the watchful eyes of the guards. Sneaking around had dirtied her clothes, but she did not care. This was her one indulgence, and if she was to get in trouble for it, so be it.

Melisande knew exactly when the guard shift change happened and waited until they moved apart. Once the guards were out of sight, she slipped past them and made her way out of the abbey. She was as quiet as possible, as she knew that the guards were ready for anything. The abbey wasn’t a military installation, but the church had become very protective of its grounds following the protestant uprisings.

Melisande found herself standing at the top of the stony hill leading down to the beach. She was only wearing sandals, so she had to be extra careful to mind her footing. She did not want to riskfalling and either getting hurt, or making enough noise for the guards to find her.

It took a short time for Melisande to reach the sand below. Her feet skidded every few moments as small stones gave out underneath her feet. It was a slow and treacherous climb, but her feet finally touched the damp, coarse, soil of the beach. She pulled off her sandals and let her feet dig into the sand. Her toes pressed down hard as though she would float away if she released them.

Melisande looked around for a few moments, enjoying her newfound freedom, and then, without warning, darted out towards the water, running as fast as she could. She turned and ran even faster along the shore line. She didn’t want to stop, but after ten minutes of running, the muscles in her legs began to ache in response to how hard she pushed. Finally, she gave her legs a break, let the waves caress her toes, and took in a deep breath of fresh air. Her eyes watered as the clean air filled her lungs. She was in Heaven.

Smiling, Melisande turned back and looked at the abbey. From outside, it was quite beautiful. The massive castle stood high above the water, completely covering the small island where it had been built. Nature was its main defense as any invading army would need to wait for low tide before trying to enter.

Melisande stood with her back to the ocean for a few more moments as the breeze passed over her skin. Euphoria had almost taken her when a noise in the distance made her jump. She turned quickly and noticed two ships on the horizon. They were miles out at sea and she was unable to tell what was happening. There was another low noise that sounded like distant thunder, and another, and another.

As the ships came closer, Melisande noticed that one of them had been badly damaged. They were both small ships bearing different flags with several colors. One ship had a black flag, while the larger, more damaged, ship appeared to have a white and red flag. Smoke poured from the sides of both ships.

It was at that moment that Melisande realized that the two ships were fighting. She watched as the battle unfolded. Her heart raced in her chest as the larger ship began listing to port.

The ship tried to turn away from her attacker, but it was a useless effort. The smaller ship was faster and more maneuverable. Melisande watched in amazement as a final blast from the smaller ship’s guns struck the larger one’s hull. The shot quickly pierced through a layer of wood and struck the powder magazine. The powder sparked causing the ship burst into flames.

Melisande’s eyes widened as the ship tore itself apart from the inside and large wooden splinters littered the water around it. The massive explosion rocked the coastline as Melisande watched. Her heart was in her throat as she had never seen anything so exciting in her entire life.

Within a few moments of the explosion, there was nothing left of the first ship. Melisande looked on as the second ship picked up cargo and survivors from the water. She lingered for a few minutes to see if anything else would happen before turning away and starting her long walk home. Her feet carried her slowly over the sand towards the castle walls and felt like she was dragging a weight behind her.

Once Melisande was about half way back, she stopped and looked at the ship slowly disappearing on the horizon. Then she turned and looked at the castle again. The morning bells broke the silence and she realized that she would never make it back to her room before Sister Mary. If she went back now, it would mean punishment and demerits.

As Melisande looked over her lifelong home, she was filled with a sense dread. The idea of her having to spend another day living in such monotony was unbearable. She had secretly contemplated running away, but she knew that she’d have the guards on her in no time. Sister Mary would have the entire abbey out looking for her. Her only chance would be if she were to make it to the nearest town and somehow board a ship.

The battle she had just witnessed opened the flood gates to her desire for freedom. Her chest pounded as she thought of her life, and everything she was missing out on. She knew there was more to her story then what the nuns had told her. Her family or whatever was left of their story was out there waiting to be found.

Where is my real family and who were they? Why am I here now? In Melisande’s mind, she knew that these were questions that she’d never be able to answer while living in Mont St. Michael. Still, should she just up and run away? No doubt a lot of people went through considerable effort to shelter her and she still didn’t know why.

Melisande’s mind filled with questions and wrestled back and forth with the idea of leaving. She didn’t want to hurt those who took care of her for so long, and leaving most likely meant never seeing them again. Sister Mary, as strict as she was, did take care of her and Papi was the closest thing she’d ever had to a father.

Thoughts of them worrying about her made Melisande’s heart ache even more. What should I do? She thought to herself. I love them and I don’t want to hurt anyone… but I can’t live like this. I’m not a stable girl, nor am I a maid, that’s not the life I want. I’m certain I’ll die if I have to do this much longer.

Melisande fought through her emotions as she made up her mind. With tears in her eyes, she made her decision, she could not go back. The only way she was going to find out about her past was to escape this life and discover her adventure. The desire for freedom had been seeded in her mind and there was no going back now. It hurts, but I can’t do this any more, it’s not right.

Melisande quickly made her way back to the castle and was able to duck under a large cart delivering supplies while the tide was still low. Once it stopped moving, she wandered out and hid behind a tree, listening to the people nearby. A monk came out to meet the driver, “Peace be with you sir, I see you have brought our supplies.”

The man nodded, “Yes, yes, come on, we need to get these unloaded before the tide starts coming back in, I need to be on the road for Granville well before then.”

Melisande’s heart jumped, Granville is nearby and it’s a port city! If I hurry, I might be able to catch a ride!

She quickly raced up to her room and grabbed a bag. She quickly filled it with everything that she cared about and threw it over her back. She was about to leave when the corner of her eye caught the glimpse of reflected light. She looked up to see that the blade of one of her family’s swords had caught the sunlight. This was odd as the blades had almost no luster left to them. It was very odd, but to her, it almost seemed like the swords were asking to come with her.

How could I forget you? Melisande thought to herself. She quickly grabbed the swords of their wall mounting, wrapped them in a blanket, and placed them under her arm. With her free hand, she grabbed her old cloak, wrapped herself in it, and pulled the hood up.

The moment she was ready to go, Melisande quickly peaked out into the hall to make sure that Sister Mary wasn’t around. This whole adventure would be for nothing if she got caught. Knowing Sister Mary the way she did, she’d probably be locked in her room for days.

Fearing that the carriage was about to leave, or that someone may see her, Melisande raced back down stairs. She was relieved to see that the cart had not left yet. The monks were just finishing loading up the empty barrels from the cargo. She hid behind the bushes and waited for the right moment to jump in.

The hair on the back of the young woman’s neck shot straight up when she heard a familiar voice from behind the monks, “Brother Georgio, have you seen Melisande?”

Melisande jumped as an annoyed-looking Sister Mary appeared on the scene. The monk shook his head, “I’m sorry sister, no.”

The old nun shook her head, “Where could that troublesome girl be? She’s not in her room and no one has seen her.”

“I do not know.” The monk replied.

“Very well, Brother Georgio,” she replied, “if it’s not too much trouble, once you are finished here. Please assist me in locating her. The abbey is too big for me to search on my own.”

“As you wish.” Brother Georgio replied as he got back to unloading the cart.

Once they were done, the driver secured the back of the carriage to keep the barrels from rolling and bowed to the monk, “Thanks for the help, brother. We’ll see you again soon.”

The monk nodded, “Farewell to you sir.”

Melisande saw her chance to escape when the monk turned his back. She darted out quickly and jumped up onto the back of the cart. To prevent being seen, she quickly covered herself over with a leather blanket in the back.

Melisande huddled up next to the barrels and remained perfectly still as the driver cracked the reigns. There was a sudden jolt as the carriage began to move. It was anything but smooth and Melisande found herself getting bounced around as the carriage moved. She grabbed on to one side to steady herself and keep from getting banged up.

Melisande watched quietly as the cart moved away from the abbey. In her heart, she wished that she’d left a letter explaining what she was doing and where she was going, but she’d had no time to write one and she didn’t want to risk tipping them off as to where they could locate her. She decided that it was perhaps best to arrange a letter for them when she figured out where she was going.

The cart began to pick up speed as it departed Mont Saint Michel. Melisande kept getting bounced around and it was hard to keep from hitting against the barrels. It was a rough start, and she was most likely going to see some bruising from the ride, but she was excited to start her new life and had no idea where it would take her.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

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:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Levying Criticism

So I’ve gotten this question a lot ever since I posted my piece of how to handle criticism. From people wondering how to write criticism without insulting the creator or their work.

The best I can offer in the way of advice is to just be respectful, be constructive, and avoid hyperbole.

For example:

“This book sucks!” <This is not constructive.

“I didn’t care for this book.” <More polite, but still not constructive.

“I didn’t like this book. I felt it was far too drawn out. The story would have been good, but the writer spent too much time on physical descriptions and alteration that it took me right out of the story.” < DING DING DING DING!!! This is exactly what you want.

“I liked the story, but was really turned off when the writer took his main character out of the story to go on a political tirade. It just really didn’t seem like it was part of the story or had any relevance. Had he left this out, it would have been a decent story.” < (Looking at you Marvel) This is also constructive.

So that’s pretty much how to do it. Be courteous, be constructive. Say what you didn’t like, why you didn’t like it, and what you might suggest for future writing .

Jim, I followed your advice and got a very harshly worded response from the creator. 

Ugh, yes this will happen from time to time. Not everyone is going to agree with you or appreciate your opinion. Basically they just want positive comments, they want yes men and nothing else. Honestly, don’t worry about these people. They are the ones with the problem, not you.

Hope this helps. Readers, please let me know below if you think there’s more we can do or if my advice is missing something.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
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:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim