Friday, February 24, 2012

Chapter 109 - DANCE WITH DEATH

I don’t remember anything about this time. All I know is what I’ve been told. Larak and Oskan felt my arrival. They told me that if it had been something in the visual range, it would have looked like a meteor strike. Neither one of them had ever seen one, but everyone has seen shooting stars, so they could imagine what it would look like to see one of those balls of fire hit the ground.

They had rushed out to see what it was and saw me standing there. They felt me gathering the last of my magic, and though they didn’t know what it was that I intended, they knew they had to stop me.

My magic reserves were so low at that point that they succeeded, but because of that, the conflict had almost killed me. They confessed to knowing of the risk, but they were willing to risk ‘almost’ as opposed to a certainty. If I had succeeded in throwing myself back into space, I would have died in seconds. Aiming for a known planetary body, even clear across the universe, stood a much better chance of success than searching for a miniscule speck of matter adrift in that same expanse regardless of how narrow the search parameters were. I didn’t stand a chance of finding her.

They carried me into the altar room and placed me beneath the orb. Then they tried to make me connect with it. Normally proximity is enough; sometimes a jumpstart is necessary and in bad cases, a flow of magic is needed to start things like Durmas had done for me after the explosion, and like I had done for Larak. They tried everything they could think of several times and in different combinations, but nothing worked. I had drawn myself into a cocoon too tight for them to penetrate.

They sent for Haines and he tried some more physical means of waking me, to no avail as well. He went back to the house to make some phone calls and found out what had happened. His news of my arrival here surprised everyone, but they were glad to hear that I was alive. At least, I was still breathing – for the moment.

They all fought to keep me alive until I came out of my cocoon enough to allow my magic to take over, but that never happened. The emperor, Connor and my father all came to see if they could do something to help, but the trip would take months. Connor had the idea that worked though, even though they could not be there to see it.

“I wish Miss Patricia were here,” he said. “She could make him do things with his magic. I saw it once; all she had to do was say something and it happened. She would make him do the most fabulous things with his magic; it was almost as if she were doing it herself.”

Haines remembered doing much the same thing a few times, though his commands had been much more practical. He tried it and I must have stirred. When his words alone didn’t work well enough, he slapped me. He hated it; hitting an unconscious man wasn’t something he ever pictured himself doing.

It was those blows that interrupted my beautiful Patricia’s dance. It was his blows that made me remember the blood.

Oskan felt me stir and he prepared to remove Haines from my reach. He had seen me lash out. He had felt my hunger. If I got my hands on Haines, he wouldn’t stand a chance.

Haines hit me again and I heard his voice for the first time. “Draw.”

Draw. It brought to mind some stupid western where the word ‘draw’ meant to draw your gun and shoot. I shot. It wasn’t a bullet, but the result was about the same. Oskan yanked Haines aside and a portion of the chamber roof crashed to the floor. I remember hearing the noise, but I didn’t bother to identify it.

Now that I had ventured out of my cocoon, Oskan didn’t let me withdraw again. He shook my shoulders as if I was a rag doll. “Draw you little twerp. Don’t do this to yourself.”

I felt a jolt and heard a voice cry out. It was my voice I heard; the pain in my throat told my numb brain that.

I sought the blackness and my beautiful Patricia again, but the voice of my captain wouldn’t let me go. “Draw, Liam. Do as I say and reach out,” said Haines in my ear.

I reached out for her to keep her from going away. She was right there in front of me, but she was dressed all wrong. I reached for her. She had always liked to wear her lovely blue gown. I couldn’t stand to see her in the tattered red thing she had on now. I was so hungry for her. I needed her so badly. She spun before me and her soft giggle echoed in my ears as I dressed her in blue, then she reached out to take my hand. I didn’t hear them as they quietly cheered their success. I didn’t see the globe over me began to glow dimly with a soft blue light.

They let me sleep then – they let me have my precious Patricia – they let me dance. There was nothing more to do but wait.

The emperor and a handful of the personal guard arrived as soon as space travel would allow, but he could only wait so long. Connor, however, elected to remain. As my sleep stretched into months, he was the only one to stay.

As soon as my daughter could travel, she was taken to my mother who named her Victoria. Every year my mother brought my daughter here to see me so she would at least know who and what her father was.

On one such visit, after six long years had passed, my daughter slipped away from her watchers and came up to me alone. She took my hand and said, “Daddy, wake up. You can’t sleep forever.”

Her voice was that of a child, but there was a quality in it that echoed of her mother’s voice. I heard it and looked for my Patricia; I opened my eyes and looked at the glowing blue orb above me. “I’m awake,” it was only a whisper, but she heard it.


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