flickered and waned, flashes of Y’Roden’s memories. Faces… his
children, his family… and his voice… the low, gravely baritone running
the gambit of emotion as moments rolled by.
The fall ended in a jolting halt, the darkness rippling away to reveal a
coniferous forest surrounding a rough cabin on the edge of a lake. There was
no one anywhere to be seen, even Ghet’s guide had disappeared. Only the
lake seemed alive, and within its depths a thousand faces roiled and
screamed. They bore the marks of torture and death, expressions twisted
forever in horror and pain…
Among them, head bowed so his could not be seen, was Y’Roden D’Riel,
suspended a foot beneath the surface. His body was laced with wounds, blood
staining the water red, and he was not moving.
Ghet staggered to her feet, disoriented, her head still spinning from those
awful words. It took her a moment to work out where she was, and then she
screamed, horror so deep that, back in the crypt, her weakening body
screamed too. Her eyes searched the lake, frantic, "Y'Roden!
She knew where he had to be, she knew. The tie of soul that bound her to her
body rippled, over-stretched, fraying, but she hardly felt it. Clothing and
weapons melted from her body as she pushed forward, into the lake and the
depths of the madness she'd been staving off for hours. Weeks. Her mind
pounded with panic, the fire in her soul flaring sickly and flickering. She
slipped smoothly beneath the surface, not fighting, screams and whispers,
untold horrors sliding over her and through her. The only thing she had left
was her absolute determination to find Ro. The touch on her body was foul,
like rancid oily hands in her hair, on her skin, between her legs, but she
had to find Ro.
She broke the surface and dove, again and again. Then she found blood in the
water and followed it, hands closing on his body before she really saw it.
Something dragged at her, pulling her backwards, away from him. She clung to
him hard, fighting with all her strength, holding nothing back. She kissed
his mouth, flooding him with her desperation and her love. Rodi! Come
The half-elf’s body jerked, heavy arms instinctively wrapping around
Ghet’s waist, holding her fast in stubborn resistance to the force tugging
at her. Emerald eyes cracked open, staring, unseeing for several heartbeats.
”Ghettie? What are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here.”
He kissed her back, hard, before it dawned on him that it was wrong. Ghet
wasn’t his… she hadn’t been for a very long time. Pulling back he
kicked upwards, their heads breaking the surface, “Go back,” the
words were full of anguish, “there is nothing left for me there Ghet. I
only put those I love at risk.”
Relief flooded through her, but the look she gave him was ferocious, a feral
aggression very few had ever seen in her. He was one of them. "No. I
won't go back without you. I mean that. I'm not leaving you." She
kissed him again, deliberately, her arms locked around his neck to stop them
being parted. "Not ever again. You're safe if you're with me."
Confusion hazed his eyes and the half-elf shook his head. “I… I don’t
understand. What are you saying? There is no way for us to be together
Ghettie. I didn’t think you wanted us to be together.”
Ghet shook her head, smiling. It was a hell of a gamble she was taking, and
no matter what happened, she would lose something hugely valuable. The die
was cast now, though, there was no point in fretting. "I couldn't come
in here after you with nothing to offer. You need a reason. And there is
nothing I wouldn't do to get you out of here. Nothing is impossible. You
know I've always loved you." She reached up to stroke his hair. This
had to be the least romantic venue ever. "Marry me."
Shock flickered across Ro’s features and he simply stared at her for a
moment, closing his eyes as she touched his hair. “Ghet… Ghettie… I
love you, but I can’t. I can’t share you anymore. I love you too damn
much. Being without you even half of the time… it killed me then, it’d
kill me now.” It was all so strangely surreal… “I’m an all or
nothing sort of guy my Lisse Nwalme, it just took me a long time to
"I'm not asking you to." Securing her grasp with her right hand,
she held the left up between them. Back in the real world, her wedding ring
was in the pocket of her dress. "I'm not asking you to share, Rodi, I
know you wouldn't. I'm offering you everything." Her expression
flickered, exhaustion passing over her. She was at her limit. "A whole
life. Mine. Ro, I left. Rhagi's back at Silver Dragon Ridge, waiting for us.
Please. I knew you wouldn't settle for anything less. I'll be yours, just
yours. Tell me you want that. Tell me it's enough to live for."
The S’Hean’s expression softened to a quiet, unbelieving awe, eyes
focused on her bare ring finger. They shifted slowly to denim blues, the
depths of emerald gems sparking with a soft light. “You left… for me?”
Ro’s hand slid to the back of Ghet’s head, holding her immobile as he
kissed her, rough with pent up emotion. Tearing away, he let his forehead
rest against hers, breathing heavily, “It's more than enough Ghet… I
want it… I want you, more than anything.” Heavy muscled arms
crushed her to him, “I want to come back… I want to live.”
The lake screamed with a chorus of voices and white light exploded around
them, searing hot and cleansing. There was a drop, then a painful jolt, and
the world went glimmering green. Lungs burned as they struggled to draw in
air and for the briefest moment, emerald met denim through the casket. A
memory… it was fading, and he was trying desperately to cling to it. So
important… more important than air.