The priest looked at the two kids; from the moment they first shared a cot when she cried a couple of days after her arrival at the orphanage there had been no separating them.
When she was crying he would hold her close and she would stop. When he was stomping his feet in a temper tantrum she would take both his hands in hers and he’d calm down. In a very peculiar way they were balancing each other. They also seem to have the uncanny ability to know when the best moments were to cause mischief in the dormitory.
Right now they were seated on the floor and playing with a jigsaw. It seemed as though they knew what the other was going to do for never did their hands cross in ways that would block the other. From the pile of pieces to the picture they were creating. The boy did not take his eyes off as she placed one in the centre and he his own piece right next to hers where it belonged. After they finished, in a move that almost surprised him, the boy placed his second finger on the puzzle and the picture on it changed. The girl squealed with delight and clapped her hands happily before placing a kiss on his cheek. So he was definitely of the power. What of her?
The two children were holding hands looking up to the two couples that had wanted to see them. Neither couple wanted two children but there was no way the two kids would be separated without a drama.
“We don’t want a boy.” One of the women said to her husband.
The boy looked up… could they not see the two kids understood what they were saying? The girl looked at the other woman very intently cocking her head on the side slightly.
“Honey why not them both?” she asked her husband.
“No way darling. We can’t afford two.”
The girl frowned and then turned to the other couple. Suddenly both couple wanted to bring the girl and started to fight. He had to kick them out of the orphanage. They could come back when their temper were in control. But he knew it was her doing. So both were future students of the academy and he needed to speak with the chief of his order.
A few days later two other couples came: two brothers and their wives. One of the ladies was an academy graduate – the power to grow things she said simply – and she recognized the two kids for what they were.
“Do you know which power they have?”
“They have not been tested yet but at least transformation for him and mind power for her.”
“You have seen this?”
The other woman turned to her husband and then his brother. Something passed between them, sadness and understanding. Nadia’s husband nodded.
“We’ll have the girl. Does she have a name yet?”
“Neither of them do.”
“What? But they are at least four years old.”
“She is. He is not quite a year older. But their names are not ours to bestow.”
The woman nodded as her sister-in-law kneeled to be at the same eye level as the two children. She spoke to them as one talks to a much older child, explaining that they would come and live with them, separated and yet not for they would belong the same family. Both children seemed to consider before they also acquiesced. Just like that they became cousins although he knew that they were probably meant to be much more. But he would not live to see it through.
The shower felt so nice on her skin; the scalding hot water was a nice and needed change after the trek in the snow. She grabbed a towel and wrapped her hair in it before covering herself with another one. Walking to her bedroom she listened to her sisters playing with the three puppies and laughing carefree. It brought a smile to her lips.
She jumped barely preventing the scream that wanted to escape her throat. Holding onto the towel that covered her she turned and punched Adrian in the shoulder.
“You scared me you idiot! And how did you get in, my window was locked.”
He had a satisfied smile on his lips and he looked very pleased with himself. She could have a guess; he was starting to control that power too. Good.
“Never stopped me at school. What made you think it would prevent me from seeing you here?”
“My dad will kill you if he sees you here.”
“Your father loves me Eliana.”
“Yes well maybe not to the point of letting you ruin our chances at a future.”
He looked abashed, even remorseful. Sheepishly he said.
“I could not leave without saying good bye. It’s going to be one year before I see you again.”
“I know.” Suddenly she heard her voice break. She did not really want to say farewell either but they had no choice.
“I wanted you to know that I will miss you.”
“I know that Adrian. As will I.”
His hand moved to the knot she’d made with the towel at her breast. She stepped back.
“Adrian. We can’t. Pure is the rule.”
“That you are for sure.” He chuckled. So did she. “But I want to remember every inch of you. Eliana. Please.”
Her breathing became shallow as his hands moved again. How could she tell him she had been dreaming of this for years and knew they could not? She did not prevent him this time and in a moment she was naked in front of him. He moved closer and pulled on the towel on her hair freeing the long dark blond locks, which fell leaving drops on her body and his clothes. He stepped back looking at her as if in awe for a moment. His eyes moved as if drinking her in.
“Adrian.” She whispered.
“Hush.” He slowly unbuttoned his shirt. She shuddered. They should not, it was not allowed. And yet she wanted it more than anything else; lay with him. So when he stepped closer to her she did not move. Taking her in his arms he just held her: her skin against his felt so right she could not explain it. It tingled even. His lips brushed her ears as he whispered. “You will ever be my only one Eliana.” He kissed her brow and moved away before exiting through the window.
“I love you.” She whispered knowing he would not hear her anymore.
Within minutes she was dressed and had braided her hair before she went in the kitchen.
“Lia, Lia… the jam is not nice.” Emily was fighting back tears. She had not succeeded in doing what she wanted.
“How much sugar did you put Emily?”
“She did not put any… Lia she is…”
“Don’t say Elise. That is mean.”
Showing the twins, she salvaged the blackberry jam and prepared some crescents much to their delight. As she took them out of the oven to cool down a bit, she turned to Emily. Her sister had a question she could tell.
“Will Adrian come tonight you think Lia?”
“I don’t know Emily.” It was unlikely, not with what had happened in her room. Neither of them were good enough liars to hide this from their respective parents.
“He likes you, you know.”
She laughed softly.
“I know sweetie. You know we grew up together even before mum and dad brought me here.”
“Yes but that’s not how I mean. He looks at you the same way dad looks at mum sometimes.”
Ah if the girls had noticed that, it was highly possible her parents had too.
“Will you marry him Lia?”
“What she likes him and he likes her!”
“Will you stop you little gossipers?” She said with a laugh. “You know this is forbidden.”
“But what if it was not?”
“I don’t know Emily.”
“You will be away one year. It is a long time Lia. We’ll miss you.”
“I will miss you too.”
And all of a sudden the two girls had put their arms around her.
He had been edgy and excited: one year. It had been the shortest and longest of his life. And now he had gone back to her. Adrian had questioned many things during his twenty-five years in the world – even his age really, no one knew for sure – but one thing he knew for certain. He loved her and wanted to marry her. He did not care what he had to do to convince the Council to give their approval but he would. Over the three weeks preceding his return home he had gone over everything in his mind. What their first meeting would be like, what he would tell her of his year. Should he tell her about the women? There had been a few, part of his training his mentor had said. And he had enjoyed it even though it was not with her, even though he always wished it were with her. Mostly he would tell her he loved her that he wanted to make his life with her and that he did not care if there were rules that said they should not, even though the Council rarely allowed two of the powers to marry. He did not care; they’d leave if they must. And he would make love to her in every way he had learned; the simple thought of her on that day in her room had kept him awake at night too many times to count and he wanted that part of her too. She would trust him too. Always. She had promised. All would be perfect.
Only she had not come back yet; during the first couple of weeks no one had worried. Her final year of apprenticeship took place in one of the more remote areas of the country, beyond the fjord. She must take a sleigh to return and it could take a couple of weeks. Only a month had passed and another one was halfway through and she still had not returned. Finally he had left with the Council’s authorization; they expressed weariness for it was not customary for a mentor to keep an apprentice without advising the Academy. So he was ready to go when Friar Matthew met him: their old teacher looked worried as he gave him a small flask.
“Take this. I hope it will help.”
“What is it?”
“Something to protect you against mind magicians.”
“Eliana?” The old man shrugged. “She will never hurt me.”
“I know, not willingly.”
“I don’t know Adrian. But I don’t like that he has kept her so long. Nathaniel always enjoyed experimenting. She would have been the perfect guinea pig.”
“Could he have hurt her?”
“Maybe, I don’t know.”
He was furious. Why had they sent her to someone who would be cruel? But there was no time; if she was in danger he must hurry. And so he sent the dogs on the way; he had never been where he must go now so he must follow them. The return would be safer and faster. And though the trip did not offer any form of obstacle beyond the crossing of the glaciers and the mountains, he still felt it was too long. Could he be too late? Too late for what?
Flames. She was surrounded; she would burn. What must she do? Time and again she failed; she could not force the flames to stop. She tried but she could not escape them. And then the voice came as it had so many times before. She could not master that exercise. She could not remember what she must do.
“Do you accept defeat?”
She looked up; that face. Always there even in her dreams, even in her nightmares. She nodded. The flames gathered around him and he came placing a hand on her forehead. She squirmed and bit her cheeks that she might not scream. And she fell.
Flames. She was surrounded; she would burn. What must she do? They were familiar. She had been here before. Had she not? She would not escape them. How was she supposed to? No one escaped fire. And suddenly a voice came from beyond the fire. She had heard it before.
“Do you accept defeat?”
She looked up; that face. Always there even in her dreams, even in her nightmares. She nodded. The flames gathered around him and he came placing a hand on her forehead. She screamed in pain.
Flames and pain; always and ever they licked and whipped at her. There was no end to it only when he was with her. Something so wrong. Now and again though an image soothed her; there was Adrian. That was his name and his eyes held something so powerful. Adrian. She knew him. She loved him. Where was he? Was he real? And then there was him his face so close to hers. She flinched at his touch and yet she craved it.
“You are mine.”
Flames and pain. And him. He was here. She knew him. She had dreamed of him before.
“Eliana.” She did not answer. The flames were burning her alive as always. His eyes looked so sad… there were tears. She extended her hand but instead of letting her touch him he pulled her up. Her legs would not move. He gathered her in his arms and he walked away. Except that suddenly he stopped as if unable to move.
“She doesn’t remember you boy. She’s all mine.” That was him. “Come to me girl.”
She pushed herself away from the man’s chest. And fell; it hurt. She stood her ankle rebelling.
“Eliana, it’s me Adrian.” The man’s voice broke. And it broke through the flames; the picture. They had been in a room, her room and he had held her. A shower over the flames.
“Adrian?” She knew him. She loved him. He was not a dream. He was real. So if not a dream what was he?
“He’s no one girl. You are no one.”
She looked at the two of them. She knew them both; one was a dream, the other her reality. She belonged to… Confused she stepped back. And Adrian stepped to grab her; he could move? The room shuddered and suddenly they were somewhere else, covered in white. Snow. Above them blue the sky. But it shuddered again and there were in another place. Another building. When he moved to bring her in she panicked. No! No! No! She did not want to be shackled again; no more flames. He stopped.
“Eliana,” his voice was soft, unlike the other’s that always sounded like a whip cracking. “Girl,” she stopped at that. “We will not hurt you. I will not hurt you.”
She bit her lips. “You were in my room. Why? Who are you?”
Tears gathered in his eyes. “I was. Do you know who you are?”
She shrugged. “I’m girl.” At that he brought her to his chest. He had done that in the room too.
“I’m so sorry.”
“Adrian?” Another voice came. There were two women and an old man. “Eliana?” Who was this Eliana?
He could barely look at his parents, even less his uncle and aunt. He had failed her and there was no way he could help. The nurse sent him here. As usual his mother picked up the tenor of his thoughts though. She was more powerful than she wanted to say.
“How much does she remember Adrian?”
He looked up at her and was almost undone by the understanding and love in her eyes.
He shook his head no. His mother gasped: she knew what it meant.
His mother smiled indulgently.
“That is not specific enough. What is her memory?”
He looked down at his shoes. How could he tell them?
“I came here the day before we left. We did not do anything…”
“Of course you did not. We would have known.”
“I told her she would always be my only one.”
“And was it not true Adrian?”
“It was… but…”
“But you were with other women during your apprenticeship.”
He hung his head in shame.
“Adrian; that is the way of learning. If her year had gone according to the customs, she would have too. This is the way. Didn’t you know?”
No he had not known. Nobody had told him… but he also had not researched it. Eliana obviously had because she had held onto what he told her knowing that they would not learn of the ways of the body with each other.
“Son,” his father asked, “have you fallen off of love with her?”
“Then why are you so ashamed? We have all had adventures before we found love.”
“I had love and I betrayed her.”
“That’s nonsense Adrian. You didn’t know but she did.”
“She knew,” His aunt said. “And she was scared because she wished with all her heart her first time could be with you.”
“How do you know?”
“I’m her mother Adrian. And I know my daughter. The way she looked at you. And you at her.”
His own mother spoke again.
“Regardless… If she only remembers you, you’re the only one who can help her. I only hope she didn’t fight that man too long.”
His mother looked at Eliana’s parents with sadness.
“Because in a mind fight the person who wins takes away memory. If the loser fought hard enough the winner has earned it and the memory cannot be reclaimed unless it is given or taken back. Without a fight the person who stole the memory cannot hold onto it as safely as the ones he earned.”
“And Eliana would have known?”
“Of course, she would. But she is also stubborn so she probably thought she could win back her memories for a while. She does not give up easily.”
“She looked so small, so terrified. She did not look like herself. And she could not sleep so they gave her something.”
“Why would they do that?”
“The nurse said that it was the only way for her to rest.”
“Oh no. Adrian go back… right… now. If she does not remember her name, he owns the whole of her, except you. It means that when her defenses are low, he can enter her mind at will. She will wreck havoc in the academy. Go Now!”
His mother’s voice had reached a pitch she only used when she was extremely angry or scared. He did not wait and within seconds he was back at the academy. It was chaos… the entire building was on fire. Some students with power over water were trying to control it in vain.
Afraid and angry with himself he crossed the rooms to where the fight was coming from. In the main dining hall, the staff surrounded Eliana but they did not seem to be getting close to her. If anything most of them were stepping away. A couple of them were prone figures on the floor screaming as if what they were seeing was awful.
“Adrian!” Friar Matthew called to him.
Eliana paused looking at him somewhat vacantly but flicked her wrist towards the monk casually as he toppled backwards yelling at the top of his lungs. He did not think too much and ran towards her. He jumped before she could lift her hands to defend herself and brought with him on the floor holding her close to his chest. She fought him but he would not let go. He held both her hands with one of his and brought the other to her neck to prevent her from moving.
“Eliana, it’s me Adrian,” he whispered to her. He pulled her against him as he did when they were children, as he did that day in her room. The screams behind him stopped.
“Leave us.” He ordered. “The fire needs containing.”
She was looking at him, completely lost and scared, in pain and sad. It broke his heart.
“I’m so sorry love.” And softly he pushed his lips against hers. She flinched but did not pull away. And for a moment there he had a vision of what she’d been through. The mage had perverted everything; time and again he attacked her mind in a very specific way taking always one memory and that of what he made her go through. She would have tried every time not knowing what he was doing. Raped emotionally and vanquished every time she ended up not fighting and relinquishing every memory one at a time until even her name was taken away. But still she held onto that memory of the two of them in her room; he heard the words she had pronounced after he left that day and he knew what he needed to do. His aunt had been right.
She had given up the fight here too, which was a blessing. Taking her in his arms cradling her against him as one would a child he crossed the school towards her room. So many times he entered it through the windows so that they could talk the night away instead of sleeping. Only this time there would be no talking; there would only be love. It was the thing she’d held on to, he would give it to her. First he sat her on the bed gently; he was not certain whether he could let go of her. What if the dark mage took control again? So he always let a hand hover about her skin while the other slowly unbuttoned the infirmary dress. He pulled it down her arms and off her; in a shy move, she tried to cover herself. Oh he could have cried again; where was the woman who stood beautiful in front of him that day? She had never been shy with him and even that day naked in her room she had not hidden from him.
“It’s alright. I will not hurt you.”
But he did not try to pry her arm open. Instead he placed his hand on her thigh and looked at her. She was still so beautiful even with her hair cropped short, her face gaunt and terrified. She still was Eliana even if she did not remember it. He would remind her with everything he felt for her.
“I told you once, you will ever be my only one. Ever since we were kids.”
Something changed in her eyes; it was the one memory she had. She removed her hands from her breast, but still she trembled. Still touching her skin he removed his own shirt before he sat on the bed with her. Gently he brought her against him, holding her so close that their skins touched. Just like that day, his seemed to tingle at the contact of hers. He desired her so much; she was everything he would ever want. As he kissed her he let his hands untie his pants and pushed them down till he too was naked. Then he pressed her against him once more.
“Is that my name?” she asked softly.
“Yes, yes love it is.”
“I don’t remember. I can only remember you.”
“I know. It’s ok. This will help.”
So she remembered that too. Good. What happened next lasted for what seemed a lifetime. He used all he knew to make this gentle and tender for her. Her body slowly relaxed to his caresses until finally he felt he could love her truly. He covered her with his own body and introduced her to what love was. He never let her look away keeping her with him ever and prying her mind away from the dark man who had destroyed her. She remained with him throughout even until he came into her lovingly and tenderly causing her eyes to widen in surprise. He held her tight as she fell asleep, grateful that she did and yet afraid to lose what he had just built.
(to be continued)
This one has no title yet and is not finished; I have an inkling of where it will go but I don’t have the full outcome yet. And because of that I can’t find a title that sticks in my mind. Ideas? Anyone?
Oh and it also has more mature content; nothing too much – I hope – but rated PG for sure ;-).