Elements – Chapter Nine

Elements – Chapter Nine
Alexa

The people in the room stopped talking when Bet and I walked in. Some were sitting on the sofas, while others stood in groups. From what I could see, seven people occupied the room. My mother and father sat on one sofa, his hand holding hers, their attention now on me. On the opposite sofa, a man and woman I did not know sat apart, their postures stiff. Aidan and Elron stood in front of the patio doors. They were in deep conversation that stopped when they saw us enter. The only person alone was a woman who stood by the fireplace, her eyes appraising me.

Bet walked to join Aidan, stopping to stand between him and Elron. My eyes briefly met Aidan’s. His knowing grin forced me to look away. Walking further into the room, I took a seat on an empty sofa, one where my back was to Aidan. His presence unnerved me. Having my back to him gave me some control over the anger threatening to surface. As the silence stretched, I looked towards my mother, but it was the woman sitting in front of her that finally spoke.

“Alexa, I am sure you have questions, but I would like to first give you a brief history of why we are here today.” I felt waves of disapproval coming from her. Who was this woman? Why was she judging me? My mother was looking at her with a strange look on her face. Even Rider was startled by her tone. From behind me, I heard Aidan take a step towards me before stopping. He was angry again. Barely contained fury flowed from him. Only Bet, holding onto his arm, stopped him from coming closer. I looked at this stranger in the eye, not flinching from her stare.

“And who are you exactly?” I put all my resentment in my words. The man next to her touched the woman’s arm. Her eyes drifted to him briefly before returning her attention to me. She attempted a smile that did not reach her eyes. I felt Aidan behind me narrow his eyes, not trusting her. I tried to pull my awareness back to her, still feeling him behind me.

“My name is Eliana.” She finally offered. “I am Aidan and Bet’s mother. This is Asher, their father.” She pointed to the man sitting next to her.

“You have already met Elron. The woman over there is Vanya. She is my trusted adviser.” She continued, pointing to the silent woman by the fireplace.

“I don’t mean to be rude, but what am I doing here? What does any of this have to do with me?” I did not feel like giving an inch to this woman, who was looking at me like I was her inferior.

“In order to understand that, you need to know about us. We have waited centuries for this. Let me continue without interruption, please.” Even her please sounded like a command.

“Please, do go on.” I sarcastically replied, eliciting a small smile from my mother. From behind me I heard Aidan stifle a laugh by coughing instead. Eliana’s eyes narrowed at my response. I stared back at her unflinchingly.

“This story goes back one thousand years. Pay attention.” Her haughty manner was back.

I sat back on the sofa, making myself comfortable. Bet came to sit beside me. I was grateful for her presence. Aidan walked around to stand behind his mother. He leaned against the wall casually, his arms folded across his chest. He winked at me, a grin on his face. I rolled my eyes at him.

“A long time ago our people lived peacefully in our realm, separate from the human world. Our race goes back thousands of years. We lived happily, until one of our own betrayed us, that is.” Her words made me think she was crazy. Only looking at Aidan, whose face showed no signs he thought his mother had lost it, made me sit still. I listened as she continued her history lesson.

“The one who betrayed us was imprisoned for one thousand years. He was then released having served his sentence. His name is Elsam. Once he was free, his treachery continued. While pretending he reformed his way of thinking, he continued with his plans for revenge. The enchanted crystal, the Kaemorra, that protected our world was spelled to disappear, to hide it from Elsam. The Kaemorra was the only thing guarding our land. Without it, the protection of invisibility that safeguarded us fell, humans became aware of us and their fear made them think of us as enemies. In order not to destroy your world, to let humans live in peace, we abandoned our lands, hiding ourselves on earth while living among them. Our life has been spent trying to find the Kaemorra and return it to its rightful place so we can go home.”

“Do you know where it is?” I asked her, going along with her for the moment.

“No, no one does. There is a prophecy one will come to lead my people to it. When Elsam first had the Kaemorra interfered with, he used an earth woman to do his bidding. This woman was a powerful witch, who placed her own spell on it. Elsam confided in her that the reason he was bent on earth’s destruction was humans had murdered the woman he loved and his child. He had fallen in love with a human woman, and fathered a child with her. The woman was arrested after being accused of witchcraft. After a trial she was sentenced to death. Elsam thought his child was dead as well. He set a chain of events in motion never realizing his son still lived. The witch knew the truth, as she was a seer. She cast a spell that a descendant of hers, as well as one of ours, would have children who would be able to right his wrongs.”

Absorbing what she told me, I wondered what this meant for me. How did I fit into this fantastical tale? Who were these people?

“What does this have to do with me?” I could tell this was a simplified story she was feeding me. She was holding a lot back.

“You are directly descended from Meredith, the witch who cast the spell. Your father is from our race.”

Were these people all on drugs? Some cult following? My eyes sought Aidan, his face held no emotion. I felt nothing from him. He was holding his emotions in check. Playing along with her delusions, I asked her a question I thought she may not answer.

“Who are you? What race are you talking about?”

“We are from a race called the Sidhe?” Aidan answered for her. I looked at him, surprised he was going along with this.

“You mean like fairies?” I could not help but let out a laugh at the ridiculous notion.

“Not exactly like fairies, but close enough.” Eliana interrupted what Aidan was going to say.

“I think that is enough for now. We can finish this later. I’m sure you need time to absorb this.” My father broke into the conversation.

“No, I want all of it. There’s more, isn’t there?” So far they told me what they were doing here. I was still waiting to find out why I was brought here.

“Meredith said her descendant and one with royal blood would join together to forge a new path. Do you remember when you found me and Elron this morning? Did you feel anything different about where we were?” Aidan asked me.

“No.” I thought back to this morning. Was it still the same day? “I’m not sure. It felt peaceful, like nothing would harm me there.” I answered Aidan, ignoring my mother’s startled look.

“Alexa, Elron and I were not on earth. We were practicing in a place known only to our kind. It is a place in between this world and ours. It is a place that the Sidhe can enter, but humans cannot. It is called Deis-dé in our language.”

Stunned, I looked at him trying to understand what he was saying. If he was there, then he was saying he was not human. How was I able to get there if only they could? What did that make me? Everyone was staring me, just as bewildered as I was.

“Your powers should not be apparent yet. On the day you turn nineteen, you should start to show the strength and abilities of your father, as well as those of your mother. The fact you were able to pass through to the other side is remarkable. I don’t know what to make of it.” Aidan explained.

“What about my mother?” I looked at her. She could not be one of them.

“We will talk about that later.” Her response came quickly, cutting off Eliana who was about to speak. She inclined her head towards my mother, agreeing.

“I’m not sure I believe anything you said. It all sounds too out there. Who are you really?” I looked at Eliana. Everyone was letting her do all the talking, like she was in charge. Her commanding presence, her domineering force were both plainly evident. From her straight posture, the way she spoke, to her pristine high-collared dress, she exuded strength.

“I am Eliana, the queen to my people.” She said, raising an eyebrow at me. “Asher is our king.”

The man next to her bowed his head slightly towards me. He was dressed as formally as she was. In a pin-striped, navy blue, single-breasted suit, the white starched collar of his shirt had left a rash along his neck. He looked uncomfortable. Shaking my head, I wished I was anywhere but in the room with these people.

End of Elements by Nia Markos – Chapter Nine

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Elements – Chapter Eight

Elements – Chapter Eight
Aidan

Aidan removed himself once he knew Bet had calmed Alexa. On his way to the gym, Alexa’s sobs tore at him. He felt her anguish, her pain. He knew his presence would only confuse or maybe infuriate her, so he entered Bet’s room asking her to go see Alexa. Bet was unsure she would be welcome. She agreed to go after he told her Alexa was distressed. Bet was surprised he was so aware of Alexa’s mood, but did not question him. For that he was thankful. He had no idea how to explain anyway.

In his room, he stripped off his clothes to shower. The sweat from the sparring with Elron was still coating him. Under the spray of the shower, he stood, his hand against the wall, letting the water run off him. He lost track of time, finally relaxing from the day’s turmoil. The cooling of the water snapped him aware of the time passing. He finished his shower, drying himself quickly. In his bedroom, he found a clean T-shirt and pulled it on. He was zipping up his jeans when the door opened, his mother entering.

“You could knock.” He admonished her, finishing dressing.

“You were presentable.” She responded.

Aidan retreated to the bathroom to comb his hair. He knew she would wait as long as she felt like it before giving any indication why she was in his room. He was not feeling particularly patient nor willing to put up with her at that moment. She would just have to wait.

When he came back into his bedroom, he found her sitting on the chair next to his writing desk. Her eyes followed him around the room as he sat to put his boots on. Blocking her feelings from him was a habit. Even now, being close to her, he sensed no emotions coming from her.

“Do you think she will be ready?” Her words broke the silence.

Aidan lifted his head, his eyes suspiciously meeting hers. She wasted no time in getting right to the point. He controlled the anger that rose at her mentioning Alexa. She did not need to know what was happening to him. Breaking eye contact with her, he calmed himself before answering.

“She has no idea what is going on. How can she be ready?” He finally answered her.

“Her mother should have better handled the situation. We are now at a disadvantage. You have to take over.” Her statement made it clear what she wanted of him. He bristled at her tone, the way she ordered him to follow her directives. If she told him all she knew maybe he would know what to do. The fact she held back made him wary.

He studied her, trying to understand why she was that way. She stared back at him unblinking. To get her to leave him in peace he responded in the only way he knew would get her to leave.

“I’m always at your service, Mother.”

Her eyes narrowed suspiciously trying to see what he was feeling. Satisfied, she stood, smoothing her tailored, linen, dusty-rose empire dress as she walked to the door.  He saw not one wrinkle from her having sat on the chair. Impeccable as always, her hand rested on the doorknob, her back to him, she spoke a final time before leaving him alone.

“I’ll see you downstairs.”

End of Elements by Nia Markos – Chapter Eight

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Elements – Chapter Seven

Elements – Chapter Seven
    Alexa

I managed to make it to my room with no one seeing me. Running by the living room, I heard my mom’s voice. Knowing I was not ready to see her yet, I took the stairs two at a time; reaching my bedroom I closed the door behind me. I had too many questions that needed answering. Fear of what I would find out, made me want to run away, hide in blissful ignorance. Leaning with my back against the door, I felt churning emotions take control of me. Anger took hold of me, my jaw clenching from how strong it was. Instinctively, I knew it was not my emotion. I tried to identify who it was coming from. Closing my eyes, Aidan’s face came into my mind, his tense face showing it was his emotion gripping me.

How was that possible? Breathing unsteadily, I opened my eyes and walked over to the bed. Sitting on the edge, I focused on relaxing, forcing the turbulent feeling to ebb. Was I losing my mind? What was wrong with me? Tears sprang to my eyes. I lay down on the bed, curled into a fetal position, and let them flow freely. Sobs racked my body. Grabbing the pillow, I pressed it to my mouth to muffle the sounds coming from me. I had not cried so much in a long time. The memories of that time were still fresh in my mind. They were from the time when my mother first moved us. The loss of friends, of being ripped from the safety of all I knew was when all that started. What more was coming my way?

I lay like that for a while, trying to understand what I had learned so far. The anger from Aidan was fading. His presence was still there, but muted. The way he looked at me, like I was ready to fall all over him. Did he really mean to kiss me, back there in the forest? The guy was most assuredly spoiled. Women probably fell for his act all the time. Well, not this one! It made no difference I could feel his emotions. I must be going crazy. What else could explain what was going on? Why was I here? What did these people want of me? How did my mother figure into all this?

Sitting up, I resolved to get answers, whether these people wanted to give them or not. I knew I was stronger than this. My emotions under control, I understood that I needed to come up with a plan. There was not much I could do yet, but they would answer my questions and then I would make decisions.

A soft knock on the door brought me out of my thoughts. I wiped the tears from my eyes, resolving to face things head on. There was no point in avoiding things any longer. A fleeting thought it might be Aidan made me want to tell him to get lost. I stopped, sensing, feeling, and then knew it was not him. I did not know how, but I was sure I would have felt him. The person on the other side of the door was Bet. Her soft knock came again.

“Come in, Bet.” I called out to her.

The door opened slowly, her head poking in. She had a puzzled look on her face as she stood in the doorway. We faced each other for the first time since she dragged me into this mess. I had come to see her as a sister. How much of it was a lie?

“Alexa, is it all right if I come in?” She asked me hesitantly. “Aidan was worried about you.”

I started at his name. Why would he be worried about me? I could sense him standing somewhere outside in the hallway. I could feel his energy, his anxiousness from where he was. Bet waited for me to reply, seeing my reaction to his name.

“I’m fine.” I stammered, trying to get control of his and my own emotions. It angered me anew that he was able to affect me. Bet glanced behind her into the hallway. Only a slight move of her head indicated I was right. Aidan was standing near her. She quickly shut the door, walking up to me and wrapping her arms around me. 

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to lie to you.” She whispered, as I stiffened in response. Feeling fresh tears forming, I pulled away from her, walking to the window. These waterworks needed to stop. I took a deep breath, turning to face her.

“Were you ever my friend?” I accused her, hurt she was a part of this.

“Always!” Bet forcefully told me. “From the start.”

From out of nowhere, I felt her anguish, her wish I would accept what she said as the truth. The waves of remorse coming from her were real. They crashed into me, staggering me with their intensity. My legs gave out from under me as the onslaught of emotions hit me. What was happening to me? I landed on my knees. Her worried expression slowly brought me back as her emotions calmed. As much as I felt betrayed, I also knew she was not lying. She was honestly sorry over her part in the deception. Offering me a slight smile, she took my hand, pulling me up to sit with her on the bed.

Aidan’s presence had disappeared. He was no longer standing outside in the hallway. I did not know how to feel about his absence. Why was I so attuned to him? I was desperate to understand these sudden emotions that were overwhelming me. 

“What’s going on, Bet? What is happening to me?” I was seriously thinking I was losing my mind.

“I know you need answers. They’ve called a meeting in an hour from now. My mom will be here also. She will answer all your questions.” Bet let me know, holding onto my hands.

Did I really want to know? Maybe I could leave, get lost somewhere where no one could find me. Was that even possible? Could I cut myself off from my mother, from my newfound father forever? I had no answers. All I could do was wait and see what they were going to say.

“I’ll wait with you if it’s all right.” Bet offered.

“Yes, please, I don’t want to be alone.”

End of Elements by Nia Markos – Chapter Seven

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Elements – Chapter Six

Elements – Chapter Six
Aidan

Aidan was at a loss to understand what just happened. He was astounded at the intense feeling that seized him. He watched Alexa sprint to the house, leaving the remnants of her anger behind. She entered the house, disappearing from his sight. For a moment he heard her thoughts, felt the emotions that made her run away. She was doing things she should not be able to do. How was this possible? It should not be, she had not yet reached her maturity. Even then, she was not related to him, it should be impossible to have such a strong sense of her. He laughed aloud again at what she thought of him. Did he really come across so full of himself? A smile continued to rest on his lips at the idea he irritated her so completely.

Elron appeared beside him, the same question was on his mind. How did she find them? Aidan had no answer to give.

“She should not have been able to see us.” Elron voiced aloud.

“Yes. It’s puzzling. She is stronger than we thought.” Aidan worried about her. The protectiveness he felt was also getting out of control. He could sense her standing in the entranceway of the house, her anger at him still inflaming her. She did not know what to make of him. They had that in common. He did not know why she was affecting him either.

“Are we going to stand out here for much longer?” Elron smirked at Aidan.

Aidan returned Elron’s smirk. He started walking down the path with his friend following. They entered the house finding Thalia and Rider in the main room. They were both sitting close, whispering softly. They broke apart when he entered with Elron.

“Aidan, have you seen Alexa?” Thalia nervously asked him.

“I think you need to explain to me fully what she is.” Aidan was tired of things being kept from him. His own mother was withholding information. If he was to fulfill his part, he needed to know what he was facing.

“So, it has started.” She focused on him, her statement making no sense to him. “I can’t tell you until your mother arrives. A little more time, Aidan, that’s all I’m asking for.”

“We are running out of time.” Aidan ran his hand through his hair, frustrated at being put off again.

Thalia walked slowly to stand in front of Aidan. She placed her hand on his arm, her eyes studying his face, searching for something. Aidan felt her power flow through him. Whatever she was doing, he felt his emotions come back under control.

“Was she very upset?” Thalia asked him, removing her hand from his arm.

“I gather you told her Rider is her father. How do you think she is feeling?” Aidan looked from her to Rider, who came to join them.

“Yes, I’ve already been put to task by Rider, so don’t start as well. What I did was the only thing I could think of. Your mother had her part in it as well. We need to focus on the now.” Thalia returned to sit on one of the chairs.

Aidan followed her, taking a seat as well. She was right. There was nothing they could do about the way things had been handled. All they could do was look forward and make sure things did not get out of control. Elron advanced further into the room, balancing his sword against his chair.

“I think you should tell them where we found her.” Elron said to Aidan. Thalia looked curious at the statement.

“What do you mean? Where was she?” Rider asked in Thalia’s place. Rider came nearer, now just as puzzled at Elron’s remark.

Aidan was not sure he should let them know Alexa found her way there. He glanced at Elron, silencing him with a look. Elron raised his eyebrow, understanding Aidan wanted to keep that quiet for now.

“Elron, can you please check on Bet? I haven’t heard from her today.” Aidan asked him. Elron sighed, stood and picked up his sword. Hoping Aidan knew what he was doing, he gave a slight bow to them before leaving the room.

“Where was she?” Thalia insisted on knowing.

Aidan came to the decision this may be something to keep to himself for now. He thought of what to say before answering. It might be a good thing if no one was aware of Alexa’s abilities. The need to protect her was part of the reason. He was also not sure who to trust.

“In the forest. She seemed to be lost.” Aidan finally answered.

From the look she gave him, he knew she did not believe him. There was nothing he could do about that. Looking to change the subject, he asked a question of his own.

“Is there any way to get Alexa’s abilities to start early?”

Thalia looked at him strangely for a moment. She turned to Rider, where they seemed to be having a private conversation of sorts. With a puzzled look, she faced Aidan again. There was something she was trying to hide from him.

“Not that I am aware of. Is there something you want to share with us?” Thalia was avoiding his eyes as she asked.

Aidan was sure she was aware of what was going on with Alexa. His senses buzzed with warnings to tread carefully. Taking his senses into consideration, he answered her, hiding what he knew.

“I only wondered if it was something we could force.” Aidan paid attention to her face, waiting to see if she would give anything away.

Thalia rose from her chair and faced Rider who came to stand beside her. They both looked apprehensive. Aidan wondered what had them so worried. His mother told him Alexa would only come into her powers on her birthday. Was that another lie? From Thalia’s reaction, he felt there was more to it. He stood as well, drawing their attention.

“Aidan, we need to know, did you see anything that indicates Alexa has used her powers?” Rider asked.

Aidan sighed, wishing he knew how to answer. He did not see Alexa do anything. The fact she was able to get to where they were practicing should not have been possible. He was now worried as well.

“I did not see her do anything, but is it possible she started the change already? Is there any reason to think that?” Aidan was beginning to realize she had.

“Aidan, it’s not possible, unless…” Thalia seemed to come to some realization. Her eyes met Aidan’s.

“What? Unless what?” Aidan pressed for an answer.

“It shouldn’t be possible. Aidan, I need to see Alexa to be sure.” Thalia started to walk to the door.

“Wait. Not yet. She’s already upset enough. Don’t bother her yet.” Aidan stopped Thalia from leaving the room.

Thalia turned and gave him a look. Yes, he knew exactly what Alexa was doing. She was still upset. His need to watch out for her was just as strong as earlier. Thalia knew he could sense Alexa. Her expression was one of surprise, but also understanding. Someone needed to explain to him why he was experiencing these feelings for her.

“Aidan, just give us till your mother gets here. Both you and Alexa need to be told at the same time. We can’t hide this from either of you anymore. Your survival depends on it.” Rider was the one who spoke.

“You have all been deceiving us, haven’t you?” Aidan replied harshly. “Know this; my only concern is Alexa right now. If she is harmed you will answer to me!”

His response stunned them all, including Aidan himself. Where did that come from? He needed to reign in his emotions. Growling in frustration, he strode out of the room, bypassing Thalia who tried to reach out to him. There was only one place he could go to vent his anger. He needed to blow off some steam by punching something. The gym would do.

End of Elements by Nia Markos – Chapter Six

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Elements – Chapter Five

Elements – Chapter Five
Alexa

I woke up with a start, almost falling out of the chair I was sleeping in. Bright sunlight was filtering through the window. The events of the previous day rushed back to me. I swung my legs to the floor and stood stretching my aching muscles. A nagging feeling I was dreaming something important followed me into the bathroom where I stared at my reflection. How can I look rested on the little sleep I was able to get? Deciding to take a shower, I turned the water on to warm. I stripped off the wrinkled clothes I slept in and stepped into the bath. The feel of the hot spray soothed the remaining kinks from my body. I quickly washed my hair, turned the water off after rinsing and wrapped myself in the large bath towel that hung from a peg on the wall. Having no other clothes with me, I dressed in the same clothes from the day before. Towel drying my hair, I combed it out, leaving it damp.

Bracing myself for what lay outside the room, I walked to the door hesitantly, listening for any sounds from the other side. I cracked the door open slowly, stuck my head out, scanning the hallway. Seeing no one I stepped outside my room. From somewhere below, I could hear voices. Following the sounds, I made my way down the stairs, stopping at the last step as the voices became recognizable. My mother had arrived. She was in the living room with Rider. I approached the doorway soundlessly.

“It wasn’t time.” She was saying. “I wanted so much for her to have a normal life.”

“You should have prepared her, Thalia. Her life was almost lost yesterday.” The angry voice of Rider answered her back.

“I know that, Rider. Don’t think I haven’t been second guessing myself since she took off. Don’t assume that you care more for her than I do.” My mom’s voice broke.

Why would Rider care about me? Their conversation came to a stop when they saw me standing in the doorway. My mom looked from Rider to me and back again. She had a guarded look in her eye. Rider took a step towards me, but my mom’s hand touched his arm, holding him back. Walking towards me, she stopped in front of me, taking my face in her hands studying me. Pulling me into her arms, she hugged me as I felt a deep sigh escape her lips. My arms wrapped around her holding her tight. It felt like she did not want to let me go. Looking over her shoulder at Rider, he was looking at us with tears in his eyes.

I reluctantly pulled myself out of her arms sensing I was not going to like what they had to say. My mom took my hand, pulling me further into the room as Rider stepped out of our way. He seemed about to say something before he glanced at my mom, who shook her head at him. Rider lowered his head and walked to stand in front of the patio doors giving us space. Mom sat on one of the couches, her head indicating she wanted me to sit next to her.

“How are you?” She asked me, as I sat down beside her.

“What’s going on, Mom? Why are we here and who are these people?” I asked, instead of answering her question.

For a second, I thought she might not answer me. She looked at Rider, who simply stood waiting to see what she would say.

“Mom, answer me. What is going on?”

“I have much to tell you. It may not all make sense, but hear me out first. I’ll answer all your questions after. How much do you remember from before you were ten?” Her question surprised me.

“Ten.” I looked at her perplexed. “Not much. Only it was the first time we moved.”

“Yes, it was. There was a reason we moved and continued moving. It was to keep you safe.”

I tried to get up, but her hand reached out, forcing me to sit back down. She wanted to discuss this now. When I asked her questions before, she avoided giving me answers. Why was this important now?

“Listen to me. Please. When you were ten, there was an incident at your school. There was an explosion similar to what happened yesterday. Your dad and I tried to get to you, but you had vanished. We searched for you everywhere, but no one had seen you.”

“Wait.” I interrupted her. “My dad? You told me my dad left when I was three.”

“He didn’t. Let me finish. As we searched for you, your father felt you were still alive. He followed your essence to the basement of the school where he found you hiding under a desk. The room was completely destroyed, but you were safe under all the rubble. We took you out with no one seeing you. Everyone thought you died along with all the other children. We let them think that. As soon as we could, we moved away. Your father, to protect us, stayed away from us. We blocked your memories of your father, replacing them with new ones, ones where you believed you never knew him. So we moved on with our lives. I tried to do the best I could to keep you safe. Now we have no choice. They’ve found out you’re still alive and they will be coming back to finish what they started. It is time for you to know who you are, where you come from.”

As she finished speaking, she looked at Rider again. He approached us, and then knelt in front of me. Taking my hands in his he looked at me with a slight smile on his face. I could feel what they were going to say. I did not know if I was ready for it.

“Alexa.” Rider said looking into my eyes. “I’m your father.”

I looked at my mom and saw her acknowledgment. Looking back at Rider, his expression willing me to believe him, I pulled my hands away from his. Rising from the couch, I bolted from the room. I ran as I heard my mom telling him to give me time. Not knowing where to go to get away from them, I ran to the front door, pulling it open. My feet continued to carry me outside, making for the trees surrounding the house. I kept running until I was out of breath. Stopping, I let myself fall to the ground as tears ran down my face. My whole life was a lie. My dad was alive, but a stranger to me. My mom was someone I did not know. How could they do this to me? What would my memories of him have been? Were they happy?I felt violated. I wanted all the memories back. Every single memory they stole from me.

Lying down on the soft grass surrounded by the trees, I thought back to what she told me. The explosion yesterday was because of me. I thought of all the people who may have lost their lives. The children from my old school died because of me. Was I responsible for all those deaths? If I had known, would I have been able to stop it from happening? Why was I being protected, and from what? Nothing made sense. I stayed there as my tears dried, not ready to go back. The sun rose high in the sky as I tried to make sense of things. Slowly sounds entered my senses. The clanging of metal reached my ears. I lifted my head trying to make out where the noise was coming from. I stood, walking quietly towards the sound. The soft grass under my feet muffled my approach to a clearing.

In the center of a field two men were fighting. I could hear them teasing, laughing with each other as they made moves and counter moves. Their bare chests shone with sweat as they used gleaming swords to strike at each other. I sat down near the clearing watching the flow of their movements. The man facing me was tall and fluid in his attempts to disarm the other. Long blond hair tied at his nape had come loose. Wet tendrils lashed at his eyes as he moved to avoid a jab from his rival. He let out a laugh as he avoided another parry from the other man. His height and build could easily outmatch his opponent, but the other man was quicker on his feet.

As they flipped around I saw that the other man was Aidan. Without his being aware of me, I was able to freely look at him for the first time. His strong arms easily fended off the strikes sent his way. Like a dancer he glided through his moves. Low hugging jeans lay loosely below his ripped abs, riding low beneath his waist. The material stretched across his muscled thighs as they flexed. Sweat dripped down his broad-shouldered back. He was easily the better of the two at swordplay. I caught my breath when in one flick of his wrist he disarmed the man, sending the sword flying high into the air. It landed, sticking into the earth in front of me, as they both stopped, noticing me sitting there. They stood glistening in the sun staring at me, their expressions shocked. Aidan was the first to speak.

“Hi Alexa, how did you get here?” He looked surprised to see me.

Trying to find my words, I could only stare back at him. He walked casually towards me, each step accentuating the way his leg muscles filled his jeans. My throat went dry as I watched him approach. My eyes landed on his naked chest taking in his incredibly taut stomach. I cleared my throat, forcing my eyes back to his. His penetrating gaze searched my face, as a bewildered expression came over his face. Standing up, I faced both of them not understanding why they were looking at me strangely.

“I didn’t mean to interrupt you. I heard the sound of the swords and followed it here.” I stammered.

“Really?” The other man said. “That’s incredible.”

Aidan was looking at me with disbelief. Not knowing what was causing their reaction, I stepped back thinking I should head back to the house. When I turned around, all I saw was a thick blanket of white fog surrounding me. The forest had vanished. I turned back to look at Aidan and the other man. Aidan came closer to me, putting his hand on my shoulder.

“Don’t be scared. I’ll get you back.”

“Where am I?” I asked confused, not liking the effect his hand touching me was causing.

“Come, let’s go back. Elron, thank-you for the practice.” He said to the other man.

Aidan put his hand on my lower back, gently pushing me forward. He led me through the smoky cloud, the forest materialized in front of us out of nowhere. Guiding me through the dense woods, we reached the path leading to the house. I turned to thank him, but my words caught in my throat. His green eyes flashed at me with an intense emotion I could not name. A slow smile pulled on the corner of his lips. One of his eyebrows rose as I stared at him. He seemed to lean towards me, the distance between us becoming smaller. For some reason, his action brought out instant anger in me. I was astounded at his ego. He was good looking. So what! I was not interested. Taking a step back, I mumbled a quick thank-you and took off in a run back to the house. His laugh followed me all the way back.

End of Elements by Nia Markos – Chapter Five

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