(Continues from Redamancy’s Quest)
Love was everywhere–floating on the clouds, in the grass blades reaching toward the sun but not in his heart. Istan body-slammed the last nightmare and its horsey face dissolved as he ejected it. Finally, it was his mind again–his exclusive territory with no interlopers.
He surveyed the surrounding area with a start. Someone had relegated the ice spires of his mental fortress to the background and dropped a seaside meadow in the foreground.
Had the Nightmares done this? But if those horrors had redecorated, why did they add such a cheerful scene? They were Nightmares, the bitch goddess’ foulest creations. Auntie Daesira gave them one purpose–destroy the rest and sanity of their victims.
And his cousin’s claim the creatures had escaped seemed a bit thin. His aunt could have set those monsters on him but why? What would she gain by it? She had to know he’d defeat them. They were constructs, and he was god-born. It made no sense no matter how he examined it.
A woman appeared backlit by the sun. She approached him, her stride determined and her gaze fixed on him. What had he done now?
Her blue and white frock billowed in the breeze. She’d worn the same gown their wedding day. Years ago, she’d left him. Her lust for power had destroyed any love she’d felt for him then. Laying his hand on his heart, he traced the wedding ring she’d discarded. It hung entwined with his on a thin silver chain.
But his questing finger only found one ring. He lifted the chain over his head and examined it. Inscribed inside the silver band was a promise, one she’d broken. Love conquers all. Until times’ ending, yours always Irene.
No doubt she approached him now to complain about his highhandedness. And he deserved it. Let her rant and rail at him. He’d done the right thing. He’d yanked her consciousness in here to protect her mind from the nightmares’ insatiable hunger. And it galled her. Well, maybe now she’d take his advice seriously and build some psychic defenses. Then she could protect herself.
All these arguments and more lined up on his tongue ready to be dealt out the instant she gave him an opening. Let her restart hostilities. He preferred a cold war. Folding his arms over his chest, he waited with his wedding ring clutched in his left hand.
She stopped an arm’s length away, and her dark eyes drank him in. No angry words passed her lips. She remained silent, but her eyes caught his, and his arms unfolded as she stepped in close. Her eyes were books shut tight to hide their secrets. He could read her mind, but he chose not to.
“I’m sorry. I broke my vow to you. I let something come between us and it led me astray.” She held up a ring, the twin of his. Only the inscription differed because he was immortal. “I don’t deserve this or your love or your trust. But I will earn all three back. So, my love, you’re going to tell me what this quest you’re on is, and we’ll see it done together. That’s my promise.”
Istan stood mouth agape at her offer. In the two hundred years since she’d left him, he’d never dared to dream of ever hearing such a promise pass her lips. But his heart had hungered it. Love for an immortal was a forever kind of thing. It had no off switch. Creator damn him, he still loved her and always would.
To be continued …
For more of Istan and Irene’s epic adventure here’s a list of previous scenes:
A Stormy Quest, Emperor’s Quest Part 1, Emperor’s Quest Part 2, Hierophant’s Quest, Nightmares’ Quest, Nightmares’ Quest Part 2, Hierophant’s Quest Part 2, Hierophant’s Quest Part 3, Hierophant’s Quest Part 4, Hierophant’s Quest Part 5, Hijacked Quest, Quest to Mind’s Spires, Mine to Possess, Friend Nightmare, Scheming Goddesses, Falling for You, Caught in Mind, Redamancy’s Quest