The shock on his features mirrored my own as we stood for a heart beat taking each other in. There were others, on the small stage, and when I realized a stage was what it was I turned, painfully slow… His entire Legion was seated in their great hall; some had all ready risen to their feet while others sat, in various states of shock and surprise. It was so quiet, unnaturally silent, and then someone shouted, the silence shattered and chaos reigned supreme. I raised my shield barely in time to deflect an arrow and barked a prayer and felt myself infuse with vitality. Elethor shouted, and leapt for me wrapping me in his arms and lifting me, spinning me away from the crowd, as his magical wards went up. He put his back to his people shielding me with his body, his wards doing their work, deflecting their spells and arrows.
A man shouted to him, a string of language I couldn’t understand, but he was too close and right now everything was a threat. My attention diverted to him while Elethor’s attention was elsewhere, my mind, fueled with a surge of adrenaline quickly identified him as one who had been standing to the left and a little behind Elethor as he stood at the podium, addressing his Legion. It marked him as a Centurion, and I raked my eyes over him taking him in and assessing what threat he posed to us now. His skin was a dusty purple and his eyes deep and soulful, were colored a ghostly silver and striking, framed by long auburn hair. His jewel was set to spinning between his hands and a great earth spirit rose up behind him, coming around the man and moving towards us. I screamed for Elethor to look out, but he was unconcerned as he intoned a spell near my ear. I watched in horror as the Earth Spirit drew closer to us and struggled in Elethor’s grasp to raise my shield in our defense, trying to get Elethor and my self both behind it. A mighty crack, near deafening went off and Elethor’s sorcerer’s gate opened before us, the man continued advancing on us, just behind his elemental and was just outside of too close, he dove for us just as Elethor shoved me through the gate. I went through, sprawling into the paved street beyond, Elethor followed and before I could scream at him to close the gate down his Legionary came through… though his Earth Spirit remained on the other side, facing away from the gate… at the churning mass of angry Asmodians bent on my destruction.
It wasn’t over; even as the gate dissolved and collapsed I sprung to my feet, mace out shield up and put myself between the spirit master and Elethor, who was bent double behind me. I kept my eyes on the stranger as I carefully uttered a healing prayer for the man I loved… He straightened and held out his hand, beseeching the other man to stop, speaking furiously in Asmodian. The man straightened out of his battle stance, and dropped his hands to his side, his jewel returning to its resting place at his wrist. I cautiously let down my shield, and mace, trusting in Elethor that this man was safe.
Elethor looked around us and said something to the man who jumped almost startled and took in our surroundings as well, which of course caused me to look. I blinked surprised; we were on a vast causeway in a very large city. Aion had blessed us, for the street was empty but with the size and complexity of design I was sure it was a heavily populated place and the street would not remain empty for long. I quickly opened my cube and shoved my shield and mace away trusting in Elethor and his trust in this man. I withdrew the cloak from all those many months ago and slung it over my chain armor, drawing the hood over my face. Elethor smiled at me thinly, he seemed pleased, though with Elethor no one could ever be sure. The spirit master’s eyes widened in surprise at the production of the Legion cloak bearing the stylized ‘p’ in flame done on the velvet black. He looked at Elethor and asked something, but Elethor simply shook his head and took my elbow leading me toward a darkened alley.
We retreated from the view of the street and momentarily safe I let my guard down enough to look up at Elethor, drinking in his features, still shocked that I stood here with him. He bent carefully; his motions guarded and tentatively brushed his lips against mine in the barest whisper of a touch, so quick I almost wondered if it had happened… I closed my eyes and swallowed the tears that threatened, relieved that my feelings for him had been felt in kind.
“How is this real?” he asked, wonder in his voice, “How did you get here?” I opened my eyes. He brushed my cheek with the backs of his knuckles in a gentle caress and my heart seized, I took his hand between both of my own and kissed his fingers softly.
“I don’t know…” I answered honestly. “I was in a battle at the Western Shard, one moment I am trying to heal, the next I was pulled into the fray and a Templar’s sword was in my back. I fell, and as I was pulled through the aether to my bind point, I found myself with you instead.”
I looked at him, and he pulled me against his chest, holding me tight. He relayed what I said to the spirit master over my head and I think explained who I was as he held me, trembling faintly as we stood there, drawing back to look at me when he was through. He was as unreadable as always.
The spirit master spoke and I locked eyes with him. He stopped mid-sentance, whatever he was saying dying on his lips and tilted his head, looking at me curiously. Elethor tightened his hold on me imperceptibly and asked something. The spirit master shook himself as if waking from a dream and looked at his Brigade General before making a statement. Gesticulating with a negligent wave of his hand at my face, I frowned at him and he laughed softly, continuing to speak to Elethor who relaxed, letting me go to step back and lean against the alley wall.
“What did he just say?” I asked. Elethor considered me a moment.
“When you looked at him?” I nodded. “Billy said he had always wondered why my favorite color was deep blue, and now he knows, it’s the color of your eyes.” I blushed to the roots of my hair, heat creeping in a wash up my face. The spirit master – Billy, laughed softly at me and I averted my gaze to the flagstones. Elethor inclined his head a ghost of a smile tracing his lips and took my arm leading me further into the alley. He unclasped the cloak at my throat when he deemed it safe and draped it over his arm.
“You have to go back.” He said at last. I looked passed his shoulder. Billy had wandered to the mouth of the alley and looked out into the city beyond, attempting to give us the illusion of privacy, even though it seemed he could not understand the Old Daevic language we spoke. Elethor brought out an envelope of thick ivory parchment; I caught a glimpse of his Legion crest done in blue wax as the seal as he tucked it carefully into the chest of my chain armor near my skin.
“Kiss me?” I asked softly. He nodded and bent, carefully laying his lips against mine in another chaste kiss before tearing away and turning his back, shoulders squared and tense. I bowed my head in sorrow and began the incantation for the spell of return. I felt myself phase out of the physical world in Asmodae, one moment gone, the next I was standing in Teminon behind my beloved Aalairius who was shouting at Moia, the fortress soul healer, Toxemia standing beside him, arms crossed not interfering but not amused either. I bit back my tears at having to leave Elethor so quickly, and took a deep breath stepping forward to end my beloved’s distress…