As if across the miles the whispers came.
Lift your hair.
She sighed, a bit of fear fell over her as she closed her eyes. Was she ready? She didn't know.
Hands grabbed her hips and turned her. He was now behind her. She felt his fingertips trace the back of her neck and wander to the side. She tilted her head, extending her neck to his tender fingers which drew designs upon it. A pause, to feel her heightened pulse. She knew this would bring a smile upon his face. Fingers flowing down to her shoulders and squeezing, to test the tension. This would cause his eyes to furrow.
He kissed the back of her neck as he held the collar before her eyes. "Do you accept this gift I place upon you and all that comes with it?"
Staring at the collar, her heart felt it was beating out of her chest. A simple design. Several strands of leather. One holding three pearls, another holding an anchor. A rough stone holding the three together. Past, present, and future. Anchored in commitment and love. Knowing, life was not meant to be smooth. Symbols of she had spoken of.
She wasn't ready. She knew it. A simple word escaping her lips would take her into a darkness she feared. It would trigger a path with which she feared she could not escape from. Her fear was aroused. Her curiosity peaked. The choice was her to make.
The word choked her. She simply nodded.
His voice became stern, but gentle. "I didn't hear you."
She struggled but forced the word to escape her lips. "Yes."
Gently the collar was placed upon her neck igniting the ember within. Blue flame flowed through her. Triggered... she had bravely face her fear and forced a trigger. She had given him ample warning, her fear of not being able to control the flame from within. He had accepted the risk. Determined to pursue.
The sound of the clasp clicking, locking the collar in place, seemed to echo in the room.
A call had been made. Escaping her before she could hold it back. Her force was now on full alert.
He watched as they appeared. Warriors from her tribe. Armed with swords and shields. Eyeing him. A growl was heard. They parted to allow the beast to step through. He had her of the legends, the fables spread, but he had never believed these magnificent creatures existed.
Each step shook the ground. Its eyes were a blue flame, blue flame escaped its nostrils. Its soft fur had turned to hard scales. A sign it was ready to attack at one word... hers.
She eyed her loyal army. The quickness of their arrival did not surprise her. Their fierceness and readiness to come to her defense, to join her in her attack was known throughout her land. This land... they were all strangers. This land... did not know of the destruction that could be placed upon them with one word from her lips. A lift of her hand.
She had be subjected to the humiliating ritual of this land. One where she had been paraded in front of an audience, to be selected by men whose desire was to control her. She had laughed at their game. She had played more out of curiosity and boredom. Intrigued by who would deem worthy or dare to collar her. An ancient tradition, even her own people used for centuries. This land was still in its infancy to this sacred ritual. They still had much to learn.
She raised her hand to her army. With a flip of her wrist, they bowed and disappeared. The beast stood its ground. Refusing to leave her. Sniffing in the air, the scent of the man as its eyes locked onto the collar. She stepped forward and gently touched its necked. Whispering into its ear. Its scales softened and returned to fur. She laughed and rubbed behind its ears. "Go my friend. I must do this alone." With that it disappeared.
Turning towards the man, she was in full warrior mode. The first rule, would be hers to break. "If you place one mark or scar upon my body, they will return. It will be you who will fall to your knees in fear."
His head tilted. An eyebrow was raised. His eyes narrowed. This one would not be easy. She didn't defy him or challenge him. She had warned him before he stepped onto this path. He had accepted the risks. He now realized his years of studying her from afar had only scratched the surface. His research of her had lead him to conclude that she would be the one that bore his mark. One that had been placed upon her in another realm. Now he was convinced of it.
She however, clearly didn't remember. It was up to him to carefully remind her. One wrong step and she would once again disappear and he would be left searching the realms for her again.
"Kneel. My queen."
The last words caused a sharp pain in her temple. He noticed how she winced. He now understood. The implant must have been damaged in her transport. This was the reason he no longer could hear her within him.
Cautiously, she knelt. Her hands shaking. Fear enveloped her. She felt weak. She hated feeling weak. She hated feeling out of control. It was this fear that had caused her to agree to the collar. Something deep within had called out to her.
He watched as she continued to lower herself to the ground. Placing her forehead upon the ground and extending her arms and hands towards him. Her thumb and first finger creating a the symbol of an arrow, pointing to him. A compass, that he was who she was lead to follow.
He marveled at her knowledge of the rituals. Though locked away in her mind, they naturally were appearing. It was his duty, to unlock them all.
Gathering her up in his arms, he carried her into his chamber. Her arms gathered around his neck and she buried her head into his chest. He could hear soft sobs escape her lips. Sitting down in his chair, he stroked her hair. Quietly whispering, "Keena, you are safe with me."
Those words opened up a flood of tears. Years of strength to hold them back, melted like ice. She shook. He held her tighter. Her tears wetting his black shirt.
Pulling out a cloth, he tucked it into her hand. "You did well. We will take this slow. There is much you need to learn."
He felt her head nod.
Lifting her head, she honored the rule they had set. She would speak and look into his eyes. She would not divert them in fear or shame. For some reason, this man had not been consumed with her fire. Her army had not immediately, laid him to waste. There was always a pulsing pain in her hidden mark. Placed where no one could see. This pain stopped, when he was near. It became soothing and exciting. Surely, he must be the one.
The one her grandmother had taught her would come, when she was ready. Memories flooded with her time in the meadow under her grandmother's teaching. Learning to control the flame power she held. Being told she was from a rare tribe. She was their last hope. Many had died to protect her and hide her from those who sought to destroy their clan.
He watched the haunting in her eyes appear. The blue flame turning into a blue mist. She was going into a space he had only heard rumors of. Few who entered this space, had returned.
It was as if he was transformed into another dimension. He was in a dark chamber. The walls were made of stone. Blue torches lined the walls with the flames casting dancing shadows that took on the resemblance of demons.
Two torches were lit. He stepped forward and two more torches ignited. Beckoning him to go deeper into the chamber. A light blue mist snaked on the ground and entangled around his feet. The ground no longer could be seen. He would not be able to see if he stepped on a trap that would end his demise.
He raised his foot to step forward. He hesitated and moved his foot to the side. With each step, he reached deep within to be guided. The mist became thicker, yet in his mind he could clearly see the floor and each trap that was placed. He saw skeletons caught in the trap, in various levels of decay. He went to grab a torch, but it flamed higher in warning. He was left to trust the torches would ignite to guide the way through this dark chamber.
The mark place in his hidden space no longer pounded in pain. It began to pulse as if to the heart beat he had felt upon her neck. With each step, the pulsing became louder, as if drums were resonating off the walls.
Turning the corner he saw her. An angel or a demon, he did not know. She stood in a black heavy robe with the hood over her head almost hiding her face. She was as still as a statue, peering down the chamber, awaiting his arrival.
Upon seeing him, she unveiled herself and let the dark robe drop to the floor. Her her cascading down her shoulders and back as it fell loosely on her flowing white gown. She raised her hands in the arrow symbol and ritually lifted the dangling key from her neck.
Extending her arms towards him, her narrow'd finger holding the chain with the dangling key. He could see the intricate carvings of an ancient tribe engraved upon it. The symbols of the royalty that once lead this proud people.
Will be me
There was a pleading in her eyes for him to take her offering. His eyes dropped to her neck. The collar he had placed, remained.
"You have gone further than any other." She whispered. "You instinctively stepped over all the traps by trusting your mark.
Stepping forward, he placed his hands in the arrow symbol and lifted the key from hers. He released his one hand to grasp the key. He tilted his head as in his mind, he watched himself place his left hand upon the door, before entering the key into its lock.
He followed his vision. His left hand felt the beat of the door. His right hand wen to slip the key into the keyhole. The door began to beat softer the closer it came to making contact. He backed away from placing the key into they keyhole. He scanned the door for any signs of another place to enter the key.
With the key tucked into his hands he extended his pointer finger and began to trace the intricate carvings of the door. Words seemed to naturally escape his lips.
To give and
The key heated and cooled. The door beat harder and softer. Together they guided him. An intricately hidden symbol of a key, in this heavily ornate door began to glow when his finger traced it outline.
He positioned the key to match the symbol and pressed it into the door. He could hear gears and locks twist inside and the door slightly opened. A blue light filtered out.
Grasping the door, he stepped inside and feel to his knees consumed in a blinding blue light. The door slammed shut and the chamber darkened.
Gathering her cloak. She gently touched the door.
"Be wise my love. I will await for your return."
Inspired by a dream. Draft of a chapter in my upcoming fiction book. Sphere 369.