Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Faerie Tale VIII

Arthur sat at the front end of the small boat, head tilted to stare at the dark cloud filled sky, to avoid looking at the depressing scenery they as they flowed past. His stomach was one big knot, and the color had yet to return to flesh that felt cold and clammy. It seemed the more he fought the vision of Baalial’s blood pouring from the wound, the vibrations that ran up the sword into his hands as it struck bone, the more these things pressed all else out of his mind. He had killed. Taken a life.

On the opposite end, Merlyn sat watching the boy. He had known that he gave him the best advice he could, but deep inside, he did not expect the fight to go that smoothly. Pulling that sword from the stone meant Arthur had a destiny, but was no guarantee it would be fulfilled. Fortunately, Baalial was too proud, had become too dependent on his magic, and very much afraid of that sword.

Leaning forward, he spoke as calmly as he could. “There are things you should know about that man you killed.”

“He was your brother.” Arthur’s eyes remained on the sky above.

“Yes. My half-brother. We share the same father. My mother was human however, his, like our father, was a daemon. He is not dead though. Baalial that is. You killed his willing host, a man so corrupt he chose to be possessed by something so evil. Baalial’s tie to this world has been forcibly severed, his power greatly diminished for a long time to come.”

“Still, I took a life.”

“And probably saved millions with that same stroke of your sword. At least gave them a much greater chance for survival. Baalial is not just a daemon, he is a ruler of daemons, and an army of other creatures just as twisted inside. Baalial is First of the Nine, a group that all share the same father as I. They kill for the sake of killing. Torture and slaughter innocents for fun. They ruin all that is good, try and transform all things to be like them or destroy them. They work solely for the purpose of bringing my father into power over all of existence.

“The Nine have turned their attention fully on the Kingdom of the Fae. They have always longed to conquer it, have been planning for this time carefully for ages. Removing Baalial from the picture most likely will not alter what they have already set in motion, but it removes a very powerful weapon from their arsenal.”
Arthur finally lowered his gaze, now staring Merlyn directly in the eyes. “Kingdom of the Fae? Faeries and demons… has the world gone mad, or is it just I?”

“I know, it is a lot to take in. I forbid Sir Ector from teaching you of these things as real, though he knows well that they are. It was really your only chance of winning against Baalial.”

“How is this?”

“His favorite means of attack is illusion. There are few who can control such magic nearly as well as he. But to truly work in the manner he uses it, he needs two things from the victim. Fear and belief. You did not know enough to be afraid of him so he could not use that and turn it against you. And your mind was not open to the possibility of what he was trying to do. You kept it focused. Amazingly so. Also, it did not hurt that he is terrified of that sword, and was surprised to see it in your hands.”

“But there is no magic in this blade. You said so. Why would he fear it more than any other?”

“It was forged to fight daemons, with Baalial specifically in the mind of the master dwarf who forged it.”

“A dwarven sword then?”

“Indeed. It may look of steel, but it is mithril. Your father once aided the dwarves, when he was young and they under attack from the servants of the Nine. Baalial took the defeat personally, as he was in command of the army. He swore vengeance on your father. So the dwarves made that sword as a gift for him, to help protect him, and hopefully that he would kill Baalial with it. That is the only dwarven weapon ever made not imbued with any magic of any kind. Baalial can easily turn any magic against the wielder. That is why I could not face him, I do not know how to counter that.

“But that is another thing you should know about the man you killed. He was the one who tried to kill you on the night of your birth, taking your mother instead. He exploited your father’s weaknesses until he had destroyed all that your father built, and then killed your father. It was with his last few breaths, knowing he was about to die, that Uther drove the sword into the stone. As he did so, he uttered a curse against Baalial, and a promise for his ruined kingdom. Whoever withdrew the sword would take care of both for him.”

“So, in dying, my father gifted me with his burden.”

“So it seems, yes. But only if you choose to accept it. You could have walked away from fighting Baalial, and left me to it. You did not have to come with me at all, but the thought of helping others guided you here. You could walk away now if you wish, go home and be a squire to Kay, and perhaps one day be a knight yourself, and find someone worth serving. Even destiny is a choice. So what have you now, young Arthur? Return home, or come with me and discover how best we might try and save a faerie kingdom?”

“Where exactly are we going now, Merlyn, I need a good night’s sleep if I must fight. And some armor.”

Merlyn laid back as best he could in such cramped quarters and smiled a bit. No hesitation in Arthur’s response. The boy’s mind may question, but his heart knows no doubt. “You will get the best of both soon, Arthur. The best of both. This little boat takes us to Avalon.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

necessary code


A Faerie Tale VII

It was once called the Great Forrest. Trees of every kind grew here, and flourished to amazing heights. Animals lived in abundance, as there were no predators, only herbivores with an endless variety of sustenance. The trees were still there, those same ancient plants, yet no longer quite flourishing. No longer quite trees. And the animals that lived among them were scarce, and not anything anyone wished to come across.

It was still technically named the Great Forrest. Only no one called it anything. It was not a place many cared to think about, much less speak of. The vegetation no longer fed off sun and rain, the magic that had long ago assailed this place transformed all, mutilating what was. The plants now were twisted, vampyric flora that drained the life force of any who got too near. The native wildlife did not survive long. What moved in to take their place were such creatures that had no life force to feed off.

They had walked through this place for nearly two full days now, only stopping for the young man to get a little sleep. The old man looked haggard and close to collapse. He longed for sleep, longed to close his eyes and drift away. But that would be the end of both of them. It was only by force of his will that the wood could not make prey of them. Such force was hard to sustain under such pressure, even for one such as him.

“So why is this sword so special, Merlin?” The boy, either out of his own desire for contemplation, or intuiting that his elder wished not to converse, had spoken little since they entered the Great Forrest. Perhaps he felt the oppressive nature of the environment pulling on him as well. It was hard to miss.

“Do not tell me you have not heard the stories?” He slowed his step slightly so that the boy was walking next to him, instead of slightly behind.

“Yes, of course. I mean, I know it was my father’s, and that it is said whoever pulled it from the stone would unite the people of Britain. But, why this sword? It is beautiful, and feels like it was made for my hand, but still… it is just a sword. People prayed to God for the day someone would claim it. Is there some sort of magic in it I am missing?”

“No. There is not. It is never the sword, Arthur, but the man who wields it. The heart and mind of that man. The sword represents hope to a people who have little else, not the sword for the sake of the sword, but for the man who could claim it. It is said that man will be a king who bows to his subjects. One who knows the meaning of equality and justice.

“That sword you carry does have an intriguing history. It was not by accident that your father chose to leave it for you out in the open, where no one else could get it. As a gift for you, and a sign to the people. Soon I will tell you that story. But now we approach the first of our destinations. I must prepare you now. Do you know any scripture?”

“Yes, sir. Do you think Sir Ector would not make certain of that?”

“Good. Choose your favorite passage, and start repeating it in your mind, slowly. Focus on it. Be fully aware of each word as you think of it.”



“And what else. That is my preparation?”


Arthur fell silent at this, and Merlin quickened his pace once again. They would be at the clearing in moments, and the boy would face his first true test in life. If only so much were not riding on it. If only he were not so young. Perhaps he should be told what was about to happen, and the cost of failure. Would it help?
And then they were there. No time to second guess things.
It was a small clearing, a perfect circle in which nothing grew, barely twenty feet in diameter. On the far side stood a smiling youth dressed in loose fitting black clothes, dark brown hair set in two braids, one falling over each shoulder, coming to a rest near his waist. His right hand upon his hip, the left hanging onto the hilt of a long sword.

“So you have finally decided to not only reveal yourself again, but to challenge me to a duel, eh, Lyardaan. Foolish of you. But good for me, it will be nice to finally have you out of the way. And father will be pleased, he’s very angry at the way you turned out, after showing so much promise for so long. I see you brought a second? Unexpected, but I guess I must allow it. Just tell him not to interfere, or I have to kill him too. Those are the rules after all, are they not?” The voice did not match the soft smiling youthfulness of the speaker, it was hard and deep and full of mocking malice.

“No, you are mistaken, Baalial. I am his second. He is your challenger. Prepare for your end, brother.” Arthur almost flinched at this, but his higher awareness commanded him to be steady. He did not know exactly what was going on here, but he did not go through all that training to not behave as a soldier.
“Hah, this boy? Well that is depressing. Kind of a waste of a trip really. I came for a battle, not a slaughter. But killing is killing, and all in good fun. Let’s get this over with. There is a certain prince wondering about alone, I need to go put an end to that.”

The old man turned to Arthur and placed a hand on each of his shoulders, staring him directly in the eyes. “Sorry, I will explain all this when it is over. You must fight him. You must win. Are you still holding that passage clearly in your mind?” Arthur nodded slowly, not breaking eye contact. “Good. Think of nothing else. Draw your sword and hold it in front of you. Make sure he sees it clearly. Keep your own eyes on it. Do not look at him directly, when you are ready, just strike. End it with that strike. Understand?” Once again the boy nodded slowly. Merlin, Lyardaan, started moving backward while gently turning Arthur towards Baalial.

Arthur felt in over his head. Very much so. But he pushed that feeling aside, because he also felt following Merlin’s advice would get him through this. He drew his sword and held it before him, his eyes settling and then focusing on the tip. Through his mind slowly crept the words, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

Baalial was feeling very annoyed. Lyardaan came as the boy’s second, if he did not interfere, he could not be harmed. Yet. That day would come though. Soon. For now he focused on the energy flowing through him, pushing it outward to cover the world around him, and make it appear as he wished. And he had some very dark wishes. For this boy, he wouldn’t bother with his sword. It was more fun to use illusion to toy with simple prey. Then his mind fully registered what his sight was showing him. That sword. It’s not possible… and a slight gasp escaped from between his lips.

His opponent did not miss that slight sound. To Arthur it was as if it were a thunderclap that shook the earth and commanded him to move, strike now. He met no resistance until his steel met Baalial’s neck coming down at an angle, slicing through all but the collar bone, which it shattered. Baalial’s body dropped to the ground. Arthur dropped his sword, turned around, placed his hands on his knees, and vomited onto the barren ground.

A Faerie Tale VI

Aelysia sat pressed as close to the bed as she could without being on top of it. Clasped tightly between both of her hands was that of the pale figure who slept fitfully before her. She wore her finest dress, and had her hair pulled up with only two curly parts of her bangs hanging loose. Orindain had once, long ago, made a somewhat positive comment about both the dress and hairstyle. Now she sat impatiently waiting for him to awaken, see her, and smile. It was a love so deep, no power in existence could ever force her to see that it was unrequited.

For his part, Orin's awareness was far removed from that room, that faerie princess who adored him, his own sweat drenched body. In his mind he dreamt of a nameless face, one that he had only seen for a few moments before collapsing after pouring every bit of his life that he could into that lovely creature. Though barely conscious and covered in her own blood, her beauty was a fire that burned away all desire in him for anything but her. He longer to hold her. To kiss her. To possess her.

Far above the room, in his chambers atop the central tower, Eleison sat with head in hands. He knew what was transpiring in that room below, saw with clarity and certainty how these two conflicting passions held by Aelysia and Orindain would end. Awareness was his curse. As was silence. The past remained ever present to him. He alone of all the Elder Fae, those who were there at their beginnings, knew what happened then. How they lost what they were to become what they are. And why. He could not speak of it. No matter how hard he tried, were he to attempt to mention such things, his mouth would not open.

The future as well was laid out completely before him. But again, if he tried to speak of such things, the words would not come out. It was forbidden by one with the power to seal his mouth. It was not a punishment, though at times it seemed as such. This was a willing sacrifice he had chosen, for the sake of the Fae. At the moment, it was pure torture. He could not warn his king. He could not say the words he knew would stop the prince. He could not save the princess from this course she was on.

He had no need for hope to sustain him, he knew absolutely that the conclusion of these events would lead to what he longed for. What all the Fae longed for, though they knew it not. But the getting there… why did he have to know what it would take to get there?

A Faerie Tale V

They sat at opposite sides of the large red stone fireplace, chairs angled slightly towards each other, mainly towards the warmth of the flame. Each held a flagon of mead they sipped intermittently in the silence. One was a firmly built man now past his prime, wearing very fine clothes that had also passed theirs. The other looked old and tired, yet radiated with vitality. His long flowing white hair and beard stood in stark contrast to the deep black robe that covered him.

Finally the younger of the two could not take the silence any longer. “You never told me who his parents were. But I am no fool, wizard. I lived and fought by his father’s side for so long, he was my lord and my dearest friend. His son had grown entirely in his image. I understand why his identity had to be hidden, and feel blessed that I was able to perform this service for my lord, and raise his son. But I do not understand why you come now to take him. He is like a son to me now. I’ve raised him from an infant. My wife suckled him, sharing the milk that was meant for my own son. I have no desire to turn him over to you. Why? Tell me why now, why at all do you return here for him? I have always respected you, been in awe of your wisdom and abilities. But danger surrounds you, haunts your every step, why should I allow this?”

“You have no choice. He may be young, but by his age you had already sworn allegiance to his father, and fought your first battles. The decision is his. But really, he has no choice. He is needed, and he will respond to that need, because he is who he is. I had hoped not to be a part of his life, that he could grow into a man and claim his destiny without my interference. Yes, I take him into great danger, which my kill us both before long. But he is bound to this path. I will do all I can to protect him, Sir Ector, I swear. Let me speak with him, let him decide now for himself, but I assure you, he is bound to this path, he will come with me.”
“Perhaps, perhaps not. But you are correct; he is of an age to decide such things for himself. And though I raised him as my son, he is not. I cannot pretend to be able to command one such as him any longer. His lineage is beyond my station. I will awaken him, and send him to you. If he chooses to go, when must you leave?”

“Immediately. Too much has happened already.” As the aging knight rose to awaken his young charge, the old man halted him. “One more thing, Sir Ector. Honestly, how well does he work a blade?”

Sir Ector sighed and shook his head. There was only one reason for such a question. “Brilliantly,” he replied. “Like few others I have ever seen. Even so young, he would give his father in his prime a tough fight, if not win.”


Sir Ector was not mistaken when he said the boy had grown entirely in the image of his father. So many ghosts of the past flittered through his mind when he laid eyes upon him for the first time in seventeen years. The hair, the eyes, the nose the jaw line and chin, all his father’s. He walked like his father, stood proud and erect beside the old man’s chair in the same manner his father would stand. The boy was a bit more muscular, had a slightly fuller face, but in every other way looked every part his father’s son.

“Do you know who I am?”

“Yes, sir. Sir Ector told me your name. I have heard many stories of you.”

“Do you know why I am here?”

“No, sir. Sir Ector said you would explain.”

“Please, sit down. There are some things we must discuss, important decisions to make.” The young man sat himself down cross legged on the floor. “Please, I think we would both be more comfortable were you to take that chair there.”

“But that is Sir Ector’s seat, sir. He does not like others in it.”

“I assure you, he will not mind, this once.” Obviously reluctant, the youth moved to the will of his elder, and placed himself now in the open chair. Once settled, the old man asked, “Who are you, Arthur?”

“Who am I? I am the adopted son of Sir Ector, squire to his son, Kay.”

“No. No longer. The truth of who you are forbids it. You never knew your father, he died soon after your birth. But you know of him, as you know of me. The Pendragon.”

“Uther? Sorry, sir, but if you woke me so late in the night to make bad jokes, I think I shall return to bed.”

“This is no joke. Your mother was Lady Ingraine. She died giving birth to you. I was there in the room. It was not an accident, or a complication of labor. She was killed by one who sought to kill you, the seed of the Pendragon. I saved you, but was not strong enough to save her as well. Though I tried, I swear that to you. Your father was long since on a path of self destruction. His choices made his fate inevitable, though the end for him came much sooner than I had feared.

“I convinced the midwife that you did not survive. And I brought you here, to be raised by the kindest most honest man I knew of. To hide you. Your father’s enemies are your enemies, and if they find you, they will try to destroy you as they did him.”

“Then tell me, sir, why now? Why do you come to me now with this? Your eyes tell me you need something from me. What is it?”

“Honestly? I have friends that are in desperate need of help. An entire race of… people, who are on the verge of catastrophe, and about to enter a war they have little hope of winning as things stand now. There are things about you that you have yet to learn, that you may never learn, as your father did not. There is a good chance that you can help my friends in ways I cannot begin to explain to you now. As there is a good chance you may fail, and we both die.

“So I come to ask you to take this chance. To risk your life, our lives, for something greater than yourself. Whether you accept what I said about your father is not important, though I am certain that none of the stories you have heard of me claim that I am a liar. What is important is that there are those who are in need
of aide. Your aide. Will you help them?”

“Yes.” No hesitation. Not the slightest sign of fear or weakness in that reply. He had his father’s heart, to go along with his father’s looks and bearing. Would he prove to have his father’s weakness as well?

A Faerie Tale IV

The air was lighter, a freshness began encroaching on its staleness. The darkness not so complete. Soon he would be out in the open air. He could already sense the cliff-side opening and the vast space beyond. Memories of the sea breeze, the cries of the gulls, the feel of the sun danced through his mind. Then a vision arose, shoving his recollections to the side. There was a figure, standing alone at the mouth of the cave, facing out towards the sea. He did not need to see his face to know who this was. Silver hair pulled back into a pony tail, a thin flowing silver cloak over silver armor. The silverish light that emanated from within him. Oberon.

This was unexpected.


It was not a joyful reunion of friends here under cliff and beside sea. Of all the Fae, Oberon alone would never welcome Lyardaan into his presence. Of all the Fae, Oberon alone held his past against him. But then again, Oberon was not simply just another faerie. They had once been on opposite sides of an ancient war, when Oberon was a dwarf, and Lyardaan lived among the Drow. Perhaps a faerie now, but the enmity of a dwarf remained, and was difficult to overcome. Impossible perhaps, for him.

“You are slow, Diruunnen, time is not a luxury for us anymore.” Diruunnen, the name the dwarves called him back in those dark times. To translate, it roughly means pig shit that has come to life and kills without mercy. It was a fitting description of who he once was. Especially when it came to the dwarfs. And the wood elves. And anyone else who stood against the Drow, or had what they wanted.

“Lord Oberon, I am surprised to see an envoy of the Fae here to greet me, much less one such as yourself.”

“Daemon born, I ask that you not speak unless it is to ask questions pertinent to you being able to help my people. I was nearby, on my way to Thaeron’s Castle, when Eleison asked me to come here and apprise you of our situation. He thought it might save you time and travel, as your understanding of our plight would send you elsewhere anyway. You know my thoughts for you, if we did not need you, I would not care to be near you. I still do not care much for it. So sit and listen and let us be done with this.”

Daemon born? Daemon spawn perhaps, but he was actually born of a human woman. But he found a large semi-flat rock near enough to hear clearly, and sat down none the less.

“King Thaeron is not alive, but not dead. No one is certain what happened, other than Eleison, but as you know, there is much he cannot speak of. One moment my King was fine and healthy, the next… he is lost to us. Who is responsible is obvious enough, as the armies of the Nine began preparations for war just prior. But how they managed to reach Thaeron, and what they did to him, we do not know.”

“Death magic,” whispered Lyardaan to himself, “it has to be.”

“Speak up and explain yourself or stay silent.”

“Death magic. The Nine know of it, I just never thought they would use it. Well, they have used it, but this is of a different kind. It is the only way their work could have been powerful enough to penetrate the Wall, and reach Thaeron. One of the Nine was killed in the casting of this spell, along with many innocents I would assume. That one then merged with the spell in death, sustaining it and guiding it from within, while the others add their power to it. Because he wears the crown, Thaeron cannot die, so instead they use the spell to imprison his life force. Unless the Nine have grown that much stronger over the years, this is the only way…”

“How do we counter such magic?”

“At least one of the Nine must at all times be focused on the spell, to serve as an anchor in this world for the dead. Kill the anchor, or at least distract him long enough to completely lose focus, and the one within the spell will be lost.”

“How do you know of such things? Never mind. I will carry this news to Eleison, if it is correct, it will hopefully loosen his tongue, and he will be able to advise us. But now I must continue. The Prince flew into a rage when this happened to his father, and demanded immediate retribution. We were not, still are not, prepared to rush into war. So he gathered his closest friends, and went to find vengeance on his own.”


“Was in my kingdom at the time. He seeks the Prince, but is not with him, no. We have had some word of the Prince since he left. He seems to be hunting down and killing every dark creature he can find. Vengeance with no true focus. At least two of his friends are no longer with him, no longer with us… The High Queen remains strong, but her heart is torn, it is difficult for her to think clearly at times.

“The Nine are trying to destroy the Kingdom from within, and without. They must be stopped Lyardaan. And soon, because they are succeeding. Whatever help you can be to us, please be it. I go to prepare the Fae for war. The Fae… at war! What horrible times are these when faeries begin dressing for battle.
“Just outside, something has been left for you. Use it well this time.” Oberon turned and walked out of the cave, his form dissolving into what was left of the sunlight.

What horrible times indeed, when faeries dress for battle, when an ancient half-breed like himself must turn to a child to hopefully tip the balance. He feared this day would come, longed to never need to interfere in that boy’s life. Finally stepping into the open air again, he did not notice any of the wonders of nature around him. He only saw, leaning against the side of the cliff, a sword he had walked away from long ago, and sighed.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

a faerie tale III

So was this what death was, she wondered, unconsciously rubbing the silver cross that hung from the silver chain around her neck between thumb and forefinger. Am I dead? She lifted her left arm and stared at the wrist. No scar. No open wound. Nothing. Was all of that a dream? If so, what was this room she had awoken into? Where?

The bed she lay on was so soft it was like air, yet so firm at the same time. The deep violet velvety sheet that covered her had a wondrous texture like she had never felt before. Looking around she noticed the stone blocks that made up the floor and walls was naturally white, not covered with coats of paint to make them appear that way. Other than herself, the bed, and the dark brown wooden door on the wall opposite her, there was nothing else in this small room.

She attempted to raise herself up onto her elbows, but dizziness assailed her viciously, and she was forced to lie back down. Closing her eyes she breathed deeply through her nostrils until the vertigo passed. Even that slight exertion made her feel incredibly weakened. She began to drift helplessly into sleep.

The sound of wood on stone close to her brought her mind quickly back. Opening her eyes she was greeted by the sight of a small man seating himself in a chair by her bedside. Head down, his long straight blond hair fell forward, completely blocking his face from view, as the light blue cloak concealed his body. Firmly seated he lifted his gaze to her and pushed his hair aside. Momentarily her dizziness returned as her mind attempted to gauge his age. He looked so young and youthful, yet ancient at the same time. And his eyes, his bright blue eyes were filled with what seemed catastrophic depths and unbearable light. When he spoke his voice was as soft and firm as the bed she lay upon.

“I am sorry to disturb you, child. You need to rest. I merely wished to introduce myself, and I know you have questions, which I will answer as I may. My name is Eleison, might I inquire yours?” He asked, already knowing the answer.
“I’m Christina,” she replied weakly. “Where… what is this place? Am I… dead?”
“No, no, not dead, child. You nearly were, very nearly. But now you are, how shall I say this, I am not certain you will believe it. You are in a castle. The Castle of Thaeron, High King of the Fae.”



“Are you a faerie then?” He nodded slowly. “Where are your wings then? Faeries are tiny creatures with wings.”

“In your land, we are naturally small, though not always so. But now you are in ours. As for wings, yes, I do. But they exist only as I wish them to. They are not necessary here and now, so they are not here, yet when I want them, there they are. I am sorry, that response was a bit confusing, eh?”

“No, I think I understand. How, how did I get here?”

“Well, child, er Christina, you were found in a field with wounds on your wrist there, with very little life left in you. The hows and whys of that situation I think best left for another day, but so that you know, if you wish to talk, I wish to listen” Visions of her past erupted into her mind as she breathed out a thank you. His voice caught her though, the sound of it soothing her, and bringing her back to the present.

“A group of our kind found you. One of them, Orindain, took it upon himself to help you. It is difficult to explain what transpired there. He used his will to heal your wound, and then transferred some of his life into you, that you might be strong enough to recover. The others brought you here, so you may be looked after.”
“Orindain? He saved my life? Saved by a faerie? Brought to their castle. I just… how can this be real? Faeries are things to dream about, to make songs and stories of, they don’t, they don’t save your life and take you to their castles.” It just wasn’t real. It could not be. This was just her mind, comforting itself as it went to sleep, knowing it would never awaken.

“I am sorry, child. Christina. I thought to comfort you, but I see in your eyes that I did not.” He knew he would not, but still he made the attempt. His heart would not let him do otherwise. “Here, drink this; it will help relax your mind that you may sleep peacefully.” A slender delicate hand moved out from under his cloak, holding a vial of clear liquid.

“What is it?”

“Water, mostly. It will not harm you at all, I promise.” She took it from him and held it up, staring at it intently. If this was not real, if it were all in her mind, then there was no danger, as she was already dying. If not, then what did it matter still? If this were poison, death was what she longed for anyway, wasn’t it? And if it did what Eleison said…

She removed the top and drank it in one swallow. She was unprepared for the fact that as soon as it hit her stomach it would go straight to her head. Dizziness assailed her again, only this time it seemed to wrap her mind in a warm blanket and kiss her on the forehead. Sleep had her before she even realized it was on its way. Only the quick reflexes of Eleison kept the vial from falling to the floor.