One of the reasons he chose to be a Gate Keeper was because he loved the challenges it presented. In his case, identifying people with ascension symptoms like Karina’s were something he looked forward to. Not every individual needed to be transported to the mid-fourth dimension, a plane between the lower and higher fourth dimension. Meetings were always serendipitous, the location and situation varied, and people came from all walks of life.
The tools of his trade: intuition, objectivity, discernment, and his extended senses. It had taken him a few years to see a behavioral pattern with the people he met. Arturion began to typecast them, making it easier for him to know which approach he would use to accomplish his goal. Then, he would decide whether they were ready to transfer to the next dimensional plane and offer his proposition to help them; or leave them in the third dimension, checking on them from time to time.
In his entire career, Arturion considered his latest mission the most trying. He had been unprepared when his duties and obligations collided with his personal life. Arturion’s friendship with a human had turned into a full-fledged mission. Then, his assignment had run away from him, where he could not reach her.
An emissary from Kelor-dan’s palace had been sent to Sara’s home bearing a message of Karina’s imminent return. There would be an escort, as promised. She had specifically requested for Arturion and Kala’s presence in the meeting. The prince’s missive also warned them of their Liyanna’s physical constitution.
The meeting took place at twilight in Umandir, where Pellinor had retrieved his horse six nights ago. A group of Devatas appeared flanking a dark slender woman on a white mare, dressed in the shimmering and flowing Devarian Court gown. Her skin glowed with the rest of the Forest Folk. Hers was not the golden to brown tones the Davatas of this area preferred, but the pearlescent quality of the moon. Karina’s appearance had changed so much. She looked ethereal, ready to float away if the Devarian noble at her side had not held her hand as she dismounted.
There were thirteen of the Forest Folk assembled to Arturion’s group of four. The Council of Elders had not yet known that Karina had been acknowledged by the Devatas as Liyanna. Sara had insisted on keeping the knowledge secret for the time being. The council members would understand, considering that Kelor-dan had requested it to be a small private affair for Liyanna’s sake.
The riders – Sentries, judging by their uniforms and Pellinor’s presence, fell back as Karina and the Devata neared Arturion’s party.
The high priestess encouraged Arturion and Kala to step forward. They were close enough to hear the exchange between Karina and her companion. His words were the deep rumble of the earth and the whisper of trees. He brought her fingers to his lips. Smiling, she responded in their language.
The intimate moment passed when Karina’s gaze fell on Kala and Arturion. The two women embraced each other. Kristina – Karina – Liyanna, smiled at him with tenderness.
The corner of his mouth curled upward and hope kindled in his heart. She was alright. Karina had forgiven him.
He broke contact as the Devata greeted him formally in the Merleinan manner. Arturion touched his mouth and chest with his index and middle fingers and extended his palm upward.
“Well met, Arturion,” the Devata spoke in Merleinan.
“I would honor you, but I am at a disadvantage.”
“I am Kelor-dan. I have heard many things about you and more from Liyanna. It is my hope that friendship between our races will grow stronger now that she with us.”
“As do I.”
The prince excused himself and spoke with Sola and the high priestess. From their lack of surprise in seeing him, Kelor-dan’s presence had been expected.
The Merleinans had not seen the Devarian prince after the Shifters, a collective consisting of Devatas, priests and priestesses and the first Liyanna had shifted a third of the Earth’s nations to the fourth dimension to escape the destruction Atlantis had wrought upon the Earth.
Many of those who had helped in the Shift lost their lives. The Liyanna had perished. She had paid the ultimate price for saving her people by becoming the channeler and energizer to the Shifters. The people knew there was no chance of survival. The onslaught of energies would burn out anyone, even as powerful as she. The country had been divided into two factions. Pragmatists were willing to sacrifice the few for the many. The other, the Idealists wanted to spare the lives of the Shifters and their Liyanna by proposing to look for an alternative solution. In the end, Atlantis sank earlier than they had predicted and the Liyanna led the Shifters to proceed with the plan. In honor of the Liyanna’s and the Shifters’ sacrifice, the Merleinans and the Forest Folk strove to work together in harmony ever since.
It was possible that Sara had foreseen that Kelor-dan would be more visibly active in Merleina after Karina’s participation in the Forest Folk’s feast and the unprecedented status of Liyanna bestowed on her.
The talks ended, the prince returned to his horse. The Sentries standing in ceremony saluted Karina in unison, an act that Kelor-dan seemed to approve. They climbed onto the backs of their horses in one fluid motion and soundlessly retreated a few strides, before vanishing from their sight.
Arturion’s eyes lingered at the vacated space until a blur of movement at the edge of his vision broke the spell.
“Karina!” Kala was on her knees beside the crumpled figure on the ground.
Teleporting from one place to another within walking distance in Merleina was unheard of and frowned upon by the older population. It was bad practice and implied that the practitioner is either lazy or inclined to abuse one’s gifts. Special situations, however, are exempt from the rule.
Karina’s attire would reveal her position among Kelor-dan’s people. The trees may whisper to their Merleinan friends of a living Liyanna. But if they were seen, the whispers would cease to be rumors, and would no doubt reach the Council. The Elders would descend on them demanding why they had kept Karina’s identity from their people.
It was Kala’s suggestion to let Karina sleep in his mother’s house. It was far from the bustle of the community and farther from where they stood. Kala had explained Karina’s preference for the odd bed than their regular ones. They quickly agreed to prevent their patient’s condition from getting worse.
Arturion teleported with Karina to the house and the rest followed in a different fashion. The three rode a flying carpet with Karina’s chest, which materialized right after the Devatas left. It was one of the easiest means of transportation. An orb similar to the glow globes functioned as its power source for levitation and enabled the user to navigate the carpet.
He was maneuvering the stairs with Karina in his arms when she came to. She wanted him to put her down. Arturion tried to dissuade her but she had threatened; either both of them would fall down the stairs or he would release her. Her eyes were glassy with fever but the flush in her cheeks was that of anger. He obeyed, following behind; ready to catch her if she stumbled.
She managed the staircase and the corridor slowly until they reached his mother’s quarters.
“I’m going to change.” Karina glared at him warningly.
Arturion contented himself in listening to the sounds of movement by the doorway.
“You can come in now,” she said wearily.
The window curtains were closed and the lights had been dimmed. She lay on her side facing him. Karina’s face was partially covered with her hand.
“There wouldn’t be any aspirin lying around here, would it?” Her voice came out muffled. Her mouth curled into a grimace instead of the smile he knew she was striving for.
A tear betrayed her. It dripped from the corner of her eye making its path across the bridge of her nose.
“I’ll go check the kitchen. See if I can make a brew for your headache,” he said, hearing her release a shaky breath as he left the room.
He returned shortly with two steaming cups. He offered Karina hers. She took a sip and put it down.
“Don’t you have something less…sweet?” Arturion’s gaze dropped to her cup. He had added a teaspoon of sugar to blunt the bitter edge of the tea. He exchanged her cup with his own unadulterated brew.
She frowned at the taste and finished half of it. Arturion wondered at the acuity of her physical senses but kept it to himself.
By the time their company arrived, Karina had fallen asleep. Sara took charge of caring for her and planned for what needed to be done in the morning.
The tinkle of glass beads from the threshold brought two pairs of eyes to the high priestess’ tired face. Sara had stayed the night with Karina to watch over her. Silently, she communicated with Sola; then, motioned for Arturion to follow her a few paces from where Karina slept.
“Her fever has not gone down,” Sara said. “She is in no condition to release the excess energies in her body by herself. She is in too much pain, Karina barely responds to my instructions.”
“Is there no other way?”
“There is.” She bobbed her head. “How is your relationship with Karina?”
He shrugged in uncertainty.
Sara gave him a sidelong glance. “I suppose it wouldn’t matter when she’s unconscious. It isn’t just the surplus of energies I’m concerned with. She’s suffering from an imbalance. Her female energy is overwhelming its male counterpart.” Every human being possesses both male and female energies – the left (rational) and right (emotional) aspects of the human psyche. Energetically, too much of one aspect would disrupt the human body’s equilibrium causing harmful effects to the physical and mental state of an individual.
“I’ll do it.”
“You are the closest she has for a friend. I would not have asked you if she has male relations or friends to provide for what she needs.”
“I understand.” His brow furrowed. Sara habitually talked in riddles, especially when a particularly potent vision gripped her.
“You are young, Arturion.” The high priestess cupped his cheek. “I have not lived for five centuries blind to what human emotions can do to people. You are your mother’s son and your father’s. Karina’s presence has awakened your human side.”
“You speak of it as if it’s a bad thing.”
“On the contrary, I am glad of it. There is nothing wrong with being human.” Her brow lifted. “They are a remarkable race. Your father was a wonderful man.”
Arturion was reminded of his mother’s memoirs. It could contain memories of his mortal father.
“I better see to Karina.”
Sara grabbed his arm as moved past her.
“Arturion, your self-control is admirable. However, it would not hurt to heed my advice.” She paused for emphasis. “Take care that your relationship with Karina remains platonic. Her condition is unstable. If it grows beyond friendship, at best she would suffer a spike in her aura accelerating her ascension further. The worst possible result, she might not come out of this alive if the body cannot cope with the powerful energies flowing through her.”
The bed had been repositioned to take advantage of the sunlight streaming through the window. Its warmth touched Karina’s frail form. Nevertheless, her blanket was drawn up to the chin.
He sat beside her, taking her hand in both of his. In a gradual cycle, he absorbed Karina’s energy and replaced it with his male energy. His weight had pulled down the blanket, exposing the pulse on her throat. It beat rapidly like the wings of a bird in flight. Her skin was too hot and sickly pale. A voice within him urged him to do more. Instinctively, Arturion’s hands moved to her sides and rubbed it up and down; then, massaged her limbs. He took time pressing the acupoints of her hands and feet.
His feeling of rightness dissipated as Karina’s face, previously bloated from energy overload, slimmed and her color returned. Her temperature lowered several degrees. Visibly, she relaxed. Her right arm lifted to rest on her forehead. Her knuckles kneaded clumsily at her sinuses and temples.
Arturion gently pushed away her hand and took over. Her breathing deepened as she slipped into a restful sleep. He drank in Karina’s features: the wide forehead, the thick lashes, the small pointed nose, the fever-induced flush of her cheeks, and her full lips.
Relief of what had passed and anxiety of what has yet to come mingled within him. He brushed his lips lightly on Karina’s temple and reluctantly left the sickroom.
Wattpad code: 58366003
©MC Babasa 2014
A/N: Feel free to post your feedback as this is the first book. Your comments and suggestions may influence the story as it progresses up to the second book.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.