A Moment Between Worlds
By Violet Day
Date: January 26, 2018
Ch. 99

He turned back. He looked at the bed. He looked at her.
“It is not customary,” he said slowly, “for an unmarried man and an unmarried woman to share a bed without a betrothal on record.”
Tessa tried not to laugh. “Amien,” she said. “We’re both exhausted and we could only afford one room with one bed. Let’s go to sleep and not worry about the social consequences. I think your reputation will survive.”
He frowned. “It is not my reputation I am thinking of, it is simply… principle.”
Tessa lay down in the bed, surprised that it was actually passably comfortable. The sheets and blanket felt a little rough against her skin, but otherwise it wasn’t any less desirable than a bed in any of earth’s hotels.
“Can you turn off the lantern? Or blow it out?” she asked. “I’m not sure how and I don’t want to set anything on fire.”
Amien walked over to the lamp burning steadily on the bedside table. He blew it out. “I… I’m going to remove my over clothes,” he said uncomfortably. “But I will still be wearing my underwear.”
“Thanks for letting me know,” Tessa said, trying to act nonchalant. But really, now that the lights were off and she could hear Amien unbuttoning his shirt and throwing it to the ground, all she could think about what how beautiful and slender he must look. She wanted badly to roll over onto her other side so she could sleep facing him.
He lay down in the bed. Tessa was pretty sure he was trying to lie as far away from her side of the bed as possible. She felt a little upset. It would be a fitting end to the day: to have a passionate union with the magical man who had whisked her away to his world.
But it didn’t seem like that was going to happen.
“Hey Amien?”
She could hear him breathing in the silence between their words. She realized all in one sad moment that this was the first time she had shared a bed with a guy in over six months.
“Why did Cyran send you away? I mean, what did you do to piss him off?”
Amien didn’t answer.
“It’s okay if you don’t want to tell me, I was just wondering.”
“No, you should know. It is the root of what brought me to your world and what brings you here now.” His voice seemed tremulous. Tessa wondered if he had told anyone else this story since it had happened. “As I said earlier, Cyran is taking energy from those around him in order to power his magic without it taking a toll on him.” He paused. “My family lives in the court. When my little sister became very ill and began to waste away into nearly a shadow of her former self, I blamed Cyran. When she died…” He paused again, for a long moment. “I took out my grief on Cyran, blaming him in front of the rest of the court sorcerers for causing the deaths of those nearby who were not strong enough to live with much of their life power being drained away. I went past that; I began to call him out for his other corrupt actions such as his blatant magical manipulation of the king. Before I could finish, I found myself in a world of smooth stone and acrid smells –yours.”
Tessa wiped a tear from her eye. She hadn’t expected his story to affect her so strongly. “I’m glad we found each other,” she said. “We’re going to get rid of Cyran tomorrow, okay? Don’t worry.”
She felt Amien’s hand grasp her own underneath the blankets, though they still did not face each other.
“Thank you,” he said, his voice tired.
She realized she had hit on something that was very important to him. He was afraid they wouldn’t be able to do it. She had to make it happen, no matter what.
She was going to get rid of the bad guy and make everything alright for both Amien’s world and her own.

Amien didn’t talk much the next morning. He barely looked at Tessa.
They ate a quick breakfast of some kind of porridge and a round, soft fruit with large seeds that you were apparently supposed to eat with the fruit before leaving the inn.
Amien flagged down a cart and asked the driver if they were heading towards the castle.
“Yes,” the stout man said. “I’ve got a load of freshly baked bread for the kitchens. Would you like a ride?”
“Yes please,” Amien said, hoisting himself onto the back of cart. Tessa sat next to him.
“Is this how everyone gets around here?” she asked.
“I have a horse,” he said. “But she is in the castle stables. Most people don’t seek to go long distances through the city but those who do will often flag down a cart, yes. Cart drivers don’t mind because they can charge.”
“We don’t have any money,” Tessa said.
“I have a little.” Amien took a little silver coin out of his pocket that reminded Tessa a lot of a dime and tossed it to the driver of the cart. “I keep some coins with me at most times.”
“Why didn’t you let me know last night when we needed to pay for a place to stay?”
“I was barely conscious last night,” he said, a little tersely.
“I’m not making fun of you,” Tessa said quickly. The cart went over a bump and jerked. “I was just wondering.”
The rest of the ride to the castle was spent in silence. Tessa just watched the scenery go past as they rode through the city.
The city looked like what she would imagine ancient Rome to look like, but as the cart climbed further up the hill, homes and streets became cleaner and fewer people were in the streets.
Soon the cart stopped. “This is my stop,” the man in the front said. “The main gates are right up there.”
“Thank you,” Amien said, and hopped down from the cart. Tessa followed, her heart beating loudly.
There were so close. There was a high tan wall, made of something that looked like sandstone, but above it Tessa could see a few spired of that beautiful glittering castle she had seen the night before.
“How are we going to get in?” Tessa asked in a hushed voice as they walked away from the cart.
Amien looked around. “Wait a moment.” They stood, just out of sight of the man with the cart, for a few moments.
When he was done unloading his bread at the maintenance gate and exchanging pleasantries with the young page who came to get the bread, he got in his cart and started back down the hill.
Amien took Tessa’s hand and pulled her towards the maintenance gate. “Ylo!” He hissed, waving his other hand to get the page’s attention.
The boy –Ylo? –looked surprised. He let them into the gate and shut it quickly. Amien dropped Tessa’s hand.
“What are you doing here, Amien? I thought you were…” He trailed off.
“I’ve come back to get rid of Cyran,” he said darkly.
The young boy, pale with hair like Amien’s, looked down. “And you want me to let you into the castle.”
“Yes. Please, brother.”

Font size
Font color
Line spacing
Background color