Link to Part 1
Link to Part 2
By R.T. Drake
Bolting upright Lynette’s hands came up preparing to fend off his attack. Any second their bodies would collide, and she would be forced to endure his cold touch again. The very thought of it repulsed her, making her want to do everything possible to not let it happen again. But nothing came. No bone jarring collision, no cold, no anything.
“My Lady, are you alright?” came a familiar voice from beside her.
Relief flooded through her at hearing her Guardian’s voice. It let her know in that instant that she was safe. It also amazed her at how easily referring to him as ‘Her Guardian’ came.
“I am fine Guardian. Please just give me a moment.”
“Of course, My Lady.”
Sitting there she felt her chest rise and fall with each breath she took. She focused on it, used it to calm her while she gathered her composure. As the blurriness receded from her eyes things got clearer. She saw she was in a bed, in a room, though where she had no idea.
Turning to her side she saw Aidan’s face, full of concern and worry as he knelt beside her. Seeing him reinforced her safety, reassured her that Lasair was no longer around.
More at ease she went to say something when she felt the familiar sensation of her nipples tightening. Wondering why she looked down, only to discover that she was bare and exposed. A green satin sheet was at her waist, leaving her breasts out there for anyone, including him, to see.
Snatching up a handful of the sheet she covered herself, looking back to him. Her mind reeling as his gaze held her own.
“What the hell is going on? Where am I?”
“You are in your personnel chambers, My Lady.” He replied, standing up and backing slightly away.
“And you’re here why?” realizing after she said it she already knew the answer.
“I am your Guardian, My Lady. It is the last part of the Binding Ritual.” he said in a ‘you should know’ kind of tone.
“I know what part of it we are in.” she snapped in frustration. “And though yes you may be my Guardian, it does not give you the right to see me without clothes.”
“Actually it does, My Lady. If I choose and deem it necessary for your safety, but I assure you I would make it as, impersonal, as possible.” His voice deliberately steady while his face unreadable.
Flabbergasted and outraged by his comment she found herself speaking before she knew it.
“Who do you think you are?”
Before anything could be said further a loud clap filled the room, bringing with it an immediate silence. A commanding yet compassionate filled voice followed.
“You know perfectly well who he is, My Lady. You chose him after all.”
Turning towards the voice Lynette’s eyes fell upon a small elderly woman sitting in a high back chair. Her features were soft but her eyes were steady and unyielding. She had long white hair in a braid that all but glowed against her bright red and orange robes.
In her gnarled yet strong looking hand was a highly black polished walking staff. Runes were scrawled everywhere upon its surface and it was topped with a green gem the size of a softball. If Lynette did not know better she would swear it was an emerald having the same dark green hew as some she had seen.
The woman’s look was one of curiosity and enjoyment as a second later she turned here attention to Aidan and nodded. Aidan nodded in return and then came over to her. A moment later he was assisting her out of the chair and escorting her closer.
The woman’s frame though small, especially when standing next to Aidan, did not seem at all a weakness. In fact her very presence was one of complete confidence, rivaling even Aidan’s.
As they walked over Lynette noted there were two other ladies in the room, both dressed in green flowing dresses and both with their hands clasped before them. Casting a glance over to them they both returned it and bowed slightly to her.
Both were of fair complexion while the taller of the two had long black hair. Some held together on top with a small green clasp while the rest cascaded down behind her. Her gown was long sleeved, connecting to a ring on each of her middle fingers. The other one was shorter and had blonde hair in a pixie cut which matched the almost sleeveless gown she wore. Both their faces were pleasant and full of happiness.
Looking back to Aidan and the elderly woman, they were before her as the woman withdrew herself from Aidan, wasting no time in speaking.
“I am old, My Lady. Much older than you would guess, and trust me when I say that. You may call me Eurade. I am also what your mythology calls an Oracle, though like most things in the mortal version of mythology they did not get it quite right. I am one of the last and one day soon even I will be gone. As such I can dispense with pleasantries where others cannot.”
Using her staff she leaned in slightly more before continuing to speak, emphasizing what she was about to say.
“We both know exactly why you chose Aidan. And though your decision remains yours alone, one day you will admit it openly and freely. Until then, rest assured we have other more pressing matters to attend to, namely Lasair, or as you know him properly now, the Fallen Guardian. You screamed his name upon waking from the Binding Ritual, why?”
An involuntary shiver ran through her as she recalled what had happened. The lingering feelings and thoughts of what she had seen first hand still with her.
“He was there.”
An audible gasp could be heard from the ladies in green. While Aidan’s voice thundered out.
“That is impossible. The Celtic Fire can only be entered by a queen.”
The only one who remained unaffected was the old woman, though she raised her head slightly as she spoke.
“So it is true then. Tell me, My Lady, did he say anything? Lasair always was one for posturing.”
“He made mention of using Dark Banshee.” offered Lynette somewhat confused. She also noted the deep pain and regret that filled Aidan’s eyes.
Eurade nodded her head up and down.
“So he has learned how to use his Dark Banshee’s abilities. This is troublesome but not unforeseen, especially given who we are dealing with.”
“How can it be possible Eurade?” asked Aidan, his voice restrained.
“Dark Banshee’s are still queens, no different then Lady Lynette. Even in their current state they are still linked to the Celtic Fire, just like any other banshee or queen. Until now Lasair never had a reason to us them for their abilities.”
“Is no where safe then?” asked Aidan, Lynette picking up on the tone of failure that was there.
“The Celtic Fire is still safe Aidan. We are safe here, thanks to you and the Guardsmen. Yes Lasair can reach her in the Celtic Fire, but at most he might be able to try to bind with her which can not happen as she bound herself to you.” Pausing she looked directly at Lynette before continuing. “Is that what happened My Lady? Did he try to bind himself to you, like you did with Aidan?”
“He tried, and I remember it was cold, so very cold and painful.”
“How did you escape?” asked Aidan
“I….I screamed and it hurt him, severed his link. He cursed me, called me a….a witch. And then he said something about learning…” she stopped, searching and trying to remember what he said.
“The Queens Scream?” asked Eurade.
“Yes. Yes that’s what he called it, the Queens Scream.”
“How did you implore it?”
“I thought of Aidan, My Guardian, and then it came out.”
“Interesting.” Eurade said as she shifted her gaze to Aidan whose eyes were once again steady and unreadable.
“Did you feel anything Aidan?”
“No, nothing.” He said simply.
“Nothing at all?” asked Eurade.
“As I said Eurade, I felt nothing.”
Desiring more answers, Lynette spoke up, interrupting the two’s staring contest.
“What is the Queens Scream?”
Eurade looked to her and breathed in a long breath, using the time to think on the matter.
“The Queens Scream is what happens when a Queen, who is mortal, calls upon the power of the Celtic Fire to come to their defense. It is a very rare occurrence, so much in fact that only one other queen has ever possessed the ability to do so. As such we do not know a lot about it as until she used it, it was unheard of.’
‘We know it exists when there is a very unique and extremely strong bond between a Guardian and a Queen. Somehow during their binding process the connection is made stronger than usual. But as far as its exact source or what causes the bond to be so strong we do not know.’
‘We know that unlike a Banshees scream, which is incapable of killing, a Queens Scream can literally tear things apart. I am convinced that emotions play some part of it, but even then I have not much to go on. Mother Earth and I have debated it at length. I am curious, My Lady, what caused you to call upon it?”
Narrowing her eyes in confusion Lynette ignored the question while she pondered on what she had just heard.
“Did you just say Mother Earth and you have debated it at length?”
“I did, My Lady, you will meet her in a few days. Now if you please, what caused it?”
Oh sure, Lynette snarked in her mind, just answer the question. Cause its every day that I hear someone debates a Queens Scream, which can tear things apart, with Mother Earth of all people. Easily a dozen memes for the occasion ran through her head as she gathered her thoughts, remembering her time and what had happened with Lasair within the Celtic Fire.
“I was surrounded by the coldness that Lasair’s touch brought. I thought of Aidan, and then I felt a small bit of warmth against the vast coldness that was inside me. I focused on it and as I did it became stronger and bigger until finally…. I just screamed.”
Eurade settled back on her heels as Lynette, still curious about the matter continued on.
“So, why can’t a Banshee’s scream kill yet a Queen’s can?”
“Because you are mortal, My Lady, where as Banshee are not.” broke in Aidan all but ignoring Eurade as she regarded him. “They once were, but they are in service to you and the Celtic Fire. This means they no longer are confined to this world, like a mortal Queen is.”
“I don’t get what you are saying.”
Glancing back to her Eurade took over from Aidan.
“As I said, My Lady, I believe part of the
Queens scream comes
from emotions. The reason being is that Banshees only know one set of emotions.
They are the epitome of everything that is good such as joy, happiness, and
love. To look upon one directly one experiences levels of these emotions unheard
of. Hence when they call upon their
scream it is never deadly, harmful perhaps, but never deadly as it goes against
who they are.’
‘Because you are mortal, you are still subject to emotions like rage, anger, helplessness. So when you implore it, as Queen, the Celtic Fire responds to you and your emotions accordingly. Use it in anger you kill. Like wise use it with love and in theory you can heal. Though as I said this is all based off of conjecture from some of the little experimenting I was able to do with the one queen who possessed it before you.”
“Who was that?”
Aidan physically stiffened at her words while Eurade smiled politely.
“I think that is a conversation for another time, My Lady. One in which we can focus on the subject as a whole. I am sure you are beyond hungry and would no doubt enjoy a hot shower. You have much to learn, much to do, and doing so on an empty stomach is not wise.”
Before Lynette could say anything, Eurade paused only long enough to gesture towards the two ladies who came forward immediately. Lynette knew she was being brushed off though the mention of food did make it less of an impact. She would no doubt find out soon enough, she thought, as Eurade introduced the two ladies who had remained silent and vigil until now.
“This is Agata,” she said indicating the tall dark haired one, “and this is Ainsley. They are your Ladies in waiting, they are your personnel confidants and they will eventually be your best friends. I know this as I have seen it. I am after all an Oracle.’
‘Since you have chosen to be our new Queen of the Banshee you will need your own personal advisors in many ways besides your Guardian. They will assist you in many aspects over the next few days and the years to come. When you are ready, they and Aidan will escort you to me where we can continue our conversations and prepare you for your coronation.”
Eurade bowed and made her way towards a massive set of double wrought iron and wooded doors. They sat along the right side of the room built into the stone looking wall. On either side sat large rose colored crystal looking sconces.
Aidan approached the door first and opened it for Eurade. When she was halfway through Lynette spoke up.
“Yes My Lady.” She said stopping and turning.
“How do you know I accepted the charge to be Queen?”
“That is easy, My Lady. I’m an Oracle. I foresaw it many centuries ago. I admit I am not always dead on with how I interrupt my visions, but I have never been wrong with how they turn out. Besides had you not chosen to be our Queen, you would not have woken up here and all that you experienced would have seemed simply a dream.”
Starting to turn back around she stopped halfway and pointed her finger directly at Aidan.
“To you, I will say this. Do not fight it, Aidan. This is one battle you will lose. I promise.”
Aidan rocked back at what he was told, then nodded deeply in return. A moment later Eurade was gone from eye sight and Aidan closed the door. Facing towards her he folded his hands across his large chest, his face blank as he regarded her.
Once again curiosity got the better of Lynette
“What did she mean when she said that to you?”
“Nothing that needs to be mentioned now, My Lady.” shrugging his shoulders.
Lynette had a strong feeling there might be more to it than he was letting on, but at the same time she was willing to let it drop as she turned her attention towards the other two in the room.
“Ladies in waiting, Huh?”
“Aye, My Lady.” replied Agata, her accent the same as Lasair’s and Aidan’s.
Lynette shook her head up and down as she looked about the room, trying to figure out where she was. Her vision came to rest immediately upon an oversized stone fireplace that shared the same wall as the double set of doors. Like the bed post it was intricately carved with flames over every inch. A Celtic Symbol, large and almost imposing, stuck out from the over mantel.
Staring at it she recognized the symbol was the same as the one on Aidan’s weapon and gauntlet when he had saved her from Lasair, who as well had displayed the same symbol. She knew now what the symbol meant, fire, which given what she now knew, made sense.
Panning the room further a high back reading chair sat before the fire place. Behind it was a small work area complete with a wooden desk, another high back chair, and several shelves of books along a stone wall that had spider webbed veins of glowing quartz in it. Looking at it closer she saw the quart was pink in color, matching the sconces and that it was actually giving off a soft light.
“Well that’s cool.” She said out loud as the two ladies followed her gaze.
“How does it do that?”
“Quartz and crystal can hold and use many types of energy My Lady. In fact for centuries vast amounts have been stored this way. To use it one must simply interact with it.”
“Interact with it?”
“Allow me to show you.” said Ainsley as she walked over to one of the sconces by the door.
Touching it the sconce dimmed until it went out. Ainsley removed her hand for a second then put it back on. After which the crystal began to glow until she had it returned it to how it was.
“How do you do that?” asked Lynette.
“Simply ask Lirald and she will do as you say.”
“Aye, My Lady.”
“What is Lirald?”
“This place is Lirald, My Lady.”
“I gathered that, but what is Lirald?”
“It is the last of the great Celtic Strongholds from the old world, built in the new, before the betrayal.” Ainsley stopped suddenly looking as if she had said to much.
“The betrayal, what is the betrayal?” Lynette inquired.
“It is something that can be explained at a later time, My Lady.” Aidan’s voice broke in. “Now is the time to get dressed. One does not keep an Oracle waiting, even one as patient as Eurade.”
Looking directly to him she did not bother hiding the annoyance or the irritation she felt.
“You know you can go catch up with her if you want. I’m sure Agata and Ainsley here can get me there just as easily as you can.”
“I am afraid I cannot do that, My Lady.”
“I am your Guardian, My Lady?”
“That means you have to be with me at all times?”
From the corner of her eye she saw both ladies purse their lips and cast their eyes somewhere else.
“Yes it does, My Lady.”
“Yes, My Lady.”
“That wasn’t a question.” She all but snapped.
“I know, My Lady.” his sly smirk raising her frustration level.
“So you’re just going to stand there then, while I get dressed? Figure since you’ve seen half of me naked might as well see all of me, is that it?”
His eyes shifted guiltily to the side. Seeing him do it so made her stop and think of something she had not before. She was naked, how had she gotten that way. When their eyes locked again she saw the answer there, her mouth coming open in realization. Before she could speak he was talking.
“You were in the Binding Ritual, My Lady. As such I needed to be sure you had no other injuries as my brother can be very devious. As I could not undress you out in the open, and as upon returning here neither of your ladies in waiting was available, I took it upon myself to disrobe you and make certain you were in fact free of further harm. Both your Ladies in waiting arrived shortly after.’
‘Besides, My Lady, there is no harm in me seeing you naked. I am, after all, your Guardian.”
Never in her life had she wished or desired to have something, anything, to throw so much. Had she the strength, the bed would have done perfectly.