A Moment Between Worlds
By Violet Day
Date: February 2, 2018
Ch. 1010

Ylo looked at Amien and Tessa. “Who’s this?” he said after a long moment.
“I’m Tessa,” she said. “I’m from…” She wasn’t sure if she should say anything.
“She’s from where Cyran sent me. She’s here to help.”
Ylo looked around. They were in a small courtyard. A little garden of what smelled like fragrant herbs grew by the edge of a large stone building. A few kitchen staff were kneeling in the garden, one of them came to get the boxes of bread by the gate.
“I’ll let you in, brother,” he said. “Follow me.”
Ylo let them into the large stone building, which, predictably, turned out to be the kitchen. It smelled delicious, like roasting meat and spices.
He opened a wooden door and gestured for them to climb the stairs that the open door revealed. “Go, foolish brother. Be careful and do not get yourself killed. You know I support you in this… You know I do. But I hope dearly that you will pledge allegiance to Cyran if he threatens you with death.”
“I promise not to be rash,” Amien said. “But in the hour, Cyran will be removed from power, however it may happen.”
Ylo nearly pushed them through the doorway and shut the door behind them. “Good luck, brother,” Tessa heard him say through the wooden door. Then all she could hear was muffled kitchen sounds.
Amien started up the stone stairs, a few of them at a time.
Tessa followed as best she could, her backpack weighing heavily on her tired shoulders.
They made their way through hallways, courtyards, and more hallways. The windows were made of glittering dark colored glass and the courtyards were full of fruiting trees and lush flowering plants that smelled like honey.
As Tessa followed Amien further, she noticed that the plants of the courtyards they passed were less and less vibrant. The people they passed were wearing the richest clothes she had seen, but looked sickly and pale. The dark colored glass filtered out any joy or luxury in the golden light of the noon sun.
“We are near to the throne room,” Amien said quietly. He stopped in front of two huge, golden doors engraved with images of heroic acts and studded with jewels. Two guards stood in front of it, but they didn’t look strong like Tessa thought guards should. Their skin hung loosely at their faces and one had his eyes shut.
Amien cleared his throat. They both looked at him.
“I am here to see the king,” he said.
“Amien,” the one who had had his eyes shut said. “You are not supposed to be here. You were banished.”
“I was not banished by the king’s word; I have full right to be here.”
As Tessa watched, a little shocked, the man nodded. “That is true. I’m not sure what I was thinking.” The guard sighed. “Go on in.”
And the two guards took hold of huge knockers on the door. They each pulled one door open. Slowly, they creaked apart from each other to reveal the throne room.
As soon as they did, a sickly feeling spread into the hallway. Tessa had the intense feeling that she did not, under any circumstances, want to go into that throne room.
This time she took Amien’s hand. She wouldn’t have been able to follow him into the throne him if she hadn’t.
He strode into the room more confidently than she expected.
The doors shut behind them. The air felt stifling.
The throne room was a long hall, empty of the courtiers Tessa had expected and in shadows. Tapestries hung on the walls and a throne sat on a raised platform at the end of the hall. In that throne was a wizened man, waxen and sinking into his magnificent crimson robes.
Behind the throne stood a man in a long dark embroidered cloak with sharp bones and dark hair that flowed over his shoulders. He did not look young, but there was not a trace of age on his face.
Amien kept walking. Tessa wanted nothing more than to turn back. She didn’t belong in this world. She didn’t belong here. There was nothing she could do. She was useless in this situation.
And yet Amien kept his hand firmly around hers.
They stopped in front of the throne.
Amien bowed, looking polite and gentlemanly as he did so. His pale hair fell around his face. He looked up. “My good King Mathus,” he said solemnly. “I see you are in no good health.”
The kind didn’t reply. He simply looked down at them with glass eyes. Amien’s mouth twisted. He stood.
“Cyran, step forward!” he called, his voice strong and brave. Tessa wondered just how scared he was inside.
The man in the cloak stepped towards them. “Amien,” he said dryly. “I see you have returned. And with a lover from your world of exile. How foolish you truly are. No self-control…”
“Do you see what you have done to the king?” Amien cried. “And to the castle? The sickness of your power seeps outward from this throne room. I swear, it is not enough to ruin one world! You are overstepping your powers by bringing more than one world into this. Truly, this conflict should not leave this throne room.”
“Conflict?” Cyran said, almost sweetly. His voice had the same carefully controlled and smooth nature as his face. “What conflict, my fellow sorcerer?”
“I am here to challenge you,” Amien said.
“I see.” Cyran stepped down to their level. He was only a foot or two away. Tessa almost felt dizzy, like she hadn’t eaten in days. The evil man held his hands together. Between them grew an orb of light. “Amien, if you do not submit yourself to me, I will be forced to end you.”
Amien stared at the light between Cyran’s hands. Tessa remembered him saying how he shouldn’t use magic at all, how he was so weak… How would he be able to battle the most powerful sorcerer in the kingdom?”
He drew his hand through the air and his fingers traced out a sword of pure light, something that reminded Tessa of the pretty light show he had shown her when they first met.
She started to take a step back. She couldn’t help. She didn’t know what do to do.
Gripping the sword of light, Amien swung it at Cyran. Cyran let the orb of light fly from between his hands. It collided with Amien, leaving him on the floor, unmoving.
Cyran turned to Tessa. “And what shall I do with you, pretty one? You don’t belong in this world, but I don’t feel like I should send you back quite yet…”
Tessa felt weak. She fell to her knees. Her backpack fell of her shoulders. She could feel her life energy leaving her. Her eyesight dimmed.
No, this wasn’t how fantasy stories ended. The bad guy never won. That wasn’t how it worked.
Somewhere inside her, she knew what to do. As Cyran’s boots clicked on the floor, nearing her, she unzipped her backpack. She took out her pepper spray and turned towards him. He was leaning towards her, a sickly grin spreading across his face.
She sprayed.
His howls were deafening. He clawed at his eyes, crying and screaming.
Tessa stumbled over to Amien. He was still breathing. In fact, as she shook him, he started to sit up. When he saw Cyran crouched in front of the throne, literally sobbing like a child, he looked at Tessa surprised.
“Just get rid of him,” she said, tired.
Amien pushed himself up and nearly fell towards the evil man. He grasped his shoulders and began to mutter.
As he did, light returned to the room.
The king’s face became animated, his cheeks regaining color.
Tessa felt her strength return.
Soon Amien stood strong, and Cyran was curled up on the floor. Tessa saw that his hair was now thin and gray and his skin wrinkled.
“His magic is gone,” Amien said. “Whatever you did, it left him powerless.”
As he did, Tessa felt a tug at her, like she was being dragged somewhere. She looked around, scared.
A noise like a pile of plates dropping clanged through throne room. A knight in armor and a very confused horse stood in the center of throne room. A split second later a man in a bright fool’s garb stood with them.
“Ah, we’re home!” he cried joyously.
Oh. That’s what was happening.
Tessa grabbed Amien’s hands and pulled him against her. He smelled like the honey flowers that had been growing in the courtyards.
“I’m going to be sent back to earth, right?”
“Yes,” Amien said.
She put her hands around his neck and looked into his eyes. He looked back.
In that moment, Tessa knew she would never, ever meet someone like him again.
She kissed him. She kissed him with the knowledge of just how far apart they really were. She kissed him, trying to fit a lifetime of promise into the way their lips pressed together.
“I wish…” She said, pulling back to take a breath.
“Thank you,” he said, and cut her off with another kiss. “I will never forget you,” he murmured into her ear, his breath hot and warm against her skin.
And then he wasn’t there.
None of it was.
Tessa looked around her living room. The television was still on.
She could still feel a shadow of Amien’s breath on her ear.
Tears in her eyes, she walked to her bookshelf and picked out a fantasy novel to read; one of her favorites from when she was young.

Font size
Font color
Line spacing
Background color