Chapter 22

This New World

One week. One whole week of uneventful travel and three days of non stop downpour. The small band of four warriors were waterlogged and tired. Kel was starting to become irritable and quite often the rain that fell on her evaporated in a sizzle. As it was Kel was sitting next to the fire sizzling and smoking and sulking.

"Joren. How far is it to this 'exit' of yours?" Alaric asked casting a wary eye at Kel.

The blonde warrior threw another stick into the fire "Maybe a week, ten days at the most if we keep at this pace," Joren said and unfurled his sleeping blanket, he was noticeably ignoring the smoking girl not five feet away from him.

"We should have been going faster but this rain is making it very difficult," Joren scowled and sat on a log he dragged by the fire, "If it lets up though, more demons and immortals come out, it's been awhile. They're all going to be very hungry."

Kel cast him a withering glance, "Are you saying that either way, rain or no, it's bad for us?"

He nodded stared quietly into the flame, he knew Kel was upset about having to leave the Queen and Lealith, not to mention she was more that a little peeved at being stuck doing nothing. She was hoping they'd encounter a monster or two or at the very least, a village where they could talk to locals. She was social like that. However, Joren, never one to be known as the life of a party, was intentionally avoiding all the villages he knew would be there. His justification, travel is always quickest in a straight line. He picked a straight line that ran past all villages but one or two where they could pick up supplies. Tomorrow they should be passing an elven village known for their remarkable way with nature's herbs. They should be able to pick up food there and perhaps even spend a night indoors... hopefully.

Kel stood suddenly and picked her glaive, she walked over to the far corner and began a series of complex kata's. Joren watched almost mesmerized as she swung the glaive around her body. Her body bent in almost impossible angles that made his muscle hurt just watching. Joren, never one to be a watcher, picked up his own sword. Perhaps they could work out their issues and for the first time since they set out, Kel would talk to him reasonably.

Kel swung down hard with her glaive and was shocked out of her daze when the sharp sound of metal on metal reverberated through the cave and in her bones. She looked up and brushed a stray of red hair from her eyes, "Joren?"

Joren took a fighting stance and waited for Kel to start the fight. She looked up into his face and sighed, "Why don't you allow yourself to love me?"

The blond half-fey gave a faltered breath, "What? Kel please don't start."

"Joren, I know you love me, or at least like me. Why don't you let yourself? Is this still about Art? Or is it because I'm the Phoenix? I believe I deserve an answer at the very least," Kel said, one hand on her hip.

Joren closed his eyes, why? He was afraid. Yes, he admitted it, Joren was afraid that after this fight Kel would leave and he would be a heart-broken mortal doomed to forever long for his immortal love. He took a ragged breath and ran a hand through his pale blonde locks and gave a small shiver at the idea.

"You wouldn't understand," Joren said turning his face away but Kel was there cupping his face, "Help me understand. I'm tired of this Joren. I'm tired of all this dancing around and lying. Please Joren, the least you can do for me is tell me the truth."

"You're immortal Kel, you're going to leave and be a Goddess somewhere and I'll never see you again. I'll live and die all alone and missing you if I let myself love you," Joren said, his eyes were clear ice blue (thank you Blueberry) and pierced her heart like an icicle.

Kel let her hand drift down his arm and she rested her head on his chest, from up above Joren heard her chuckle.

"I hardly think this is funny," Joren said disdainfully.

"I do. I think it's funny. Joren, you'll live and miss me to the end of your days. I'll live and miss you for eternity, but I'm still willing to chance it. I know we can be together eventually Joren, on the other side. I'll find you in Death and bring you to the world of the Gods. I'll love you even as I go on doing Goddessy things. Joren, can't you trust me?" Kel said, her eyes shining with belief.

Joren breathed deeply and ran a loving finger down the side of her face. "Kel I-"

"Joren if you're going to apologize don't. Do you really think I want to hear an apology after all this time?" Kel asked, a tentative smile spreading across her face.

He cupped her face and met her eyes "I was going to say 'I love you,'" he said and laughed lightly.

Kel laughed and wrapped her arms around his torso, "Oh you are such a liar!"

Joren's smile faded, "Do you think this is the right thing to do?"

"Try to be together? I think it's about damn time we were. What? We slept together nearly a years ago and we never even kissed since," Kel said burying her face in his chest and nuzzling the exposed flesh in the V of his shirt.

Joren gasped and pushed her away and motioned to Aari and Alaric who were poorly pretending that they couldn't hear a word from where they were sitting by the fire.

Aari threw a stick into the fire and glanced at them from the corner of his eye, "You think we should leave alone?" he asked silently to his burly friend. In response Alaric picked up his sword and spoke loudly, "You want to go practice our sword fighting outside Aari?"

Well that wasn't what he had in mind, he figured they'd just go and gather firewood but Aari brushed a hand over the Immortal Blood, feeling the swords blood lust. It was calmer than usual, it seemed almost asleep- Aari would be able to control it. "Sure."

They both stood and gave a cheerful wave to the couple and strode out of the cave and into the downpour, maybe now Kel wouldn't be so uptight. If she and Joren finally got over their pride and stupid fear then maybe things would be calm.


Alaric and Aari took a place far from cave and Aari breathed deeply, here he went. He disliked drawing Immortal blood, he didn't like the surge of euphoria that came with its naked blade. He disliked the bloodlust that he had to fight whenever he drew it and most of all, he disliked the berserker that came when the blade's been drawn too long.

The giant knight drew his own sword and grinned, "Have at it Pirate."

Aari, breathed deeply and brushed a hand over the sheath, testing its strength, then confident, he grasped the hilt and drew the deadly sword. Almost at once he knew it was a mistake, it blazed to life and took Aari's mind almost too easily.

His companion halted and stared, Aari's sword was bathed in a black light, and the runes ran like blood in the black blade. Aari was grey with effort, he opened his eyes, "Get away! Run!"

The foolish black haired giant, aka Alaric, stood in his place, his eyes narrowing, "What's wrong Aari?"

Aari shook his head jerkily and screamed "NO! Go Alaric. It will make me kill you!"

"What makes you think you can kill me stupid?" he said tauntingly- a bead of wetness that wasn't the rain coursed down his forehead.

Aari charged, his sword raised, with the Immortal Blood fuelling his movements, the ten paces they had stood apart was covered in less than a second. Alaric had no choice but to parry the smaller man's blow. He felt pain shoot up his arm as the blow connected, Aari was unnaturally strong.

"Alaric, get out of here," Aari growled as the young man fought his urge to kill his friend. "Take Keladry and Joren-get out of here! LEAVE ME!"

"NO!" Alaric shouted and pushed Aari off him, the knight suddenly remembered his companions. Ignoring the little voice that told him that he didn't want to disturb Kel and Joren at this moment- he cried out "KEL! JOREN! Get you butts out here NOW!"

Aari attacked him again and Alaric swiftly parried and tripped the pirate as he zoomed past.

Keladry came out first dressed in her armour and leggings but Alaric noted that her green tunic and boots were missing. "Alaric? What is it?" She brandished her glaive and looked about her to see if there was an intruder.

Joren himself game out a few second after her wearing only his leggings, boots and belt while brandishing a naked sword looking every bit a barbarian. "This had better be good Knight!" He held his sword down beside his thigh and looked around as well.

It hurt Aari to note, that neither looked at Aari who was getting up a few feet away. The evil in him saw Keladry the second she stepped outside the cave and was practically salivating to taste her blood. Her immortal blood. Aari felt himself look at Kel and hunger for taste of her rich blood, to feel the power as her soul left her body and meld into the sword. He felt his anticipation to see her betrayed face as he killed her as only Immortal Blood could kill.

Alaric trained his eyes to Aari, the figure in black stood like a nightmare with his pale skin and red eyes. His sword was raised to the ready position and Kel gasped in surprise; the last time she saw the sword, it was a radiant moonlight with glowing golden runes. "What's going on Aari? What's wrong with your sword?"

Aari closed his eyes and he grinned, a throaty laugh bubbled out- effectively freaking out everyone in his party. Suddenly, as quickly as it started, his laughter died and he opened his eyes, and jumped at Kel- sword poised for a killing blow.

Kel's eyes widened as she blocked with her glaive. Joren jumped into action and threw his side into Aari and knocked him aside. "Shit Aari. What the hell was that? What do you think you're doing?"

"I'm going to kill the Phoenix," Aari purred and floated eerily off the ground.

Kel readied her stance- "You're not Aari. Who are you?"

"I am Immortal Blood and I've been waiting to kill you for months," Aari said taking a step towards them, they all took a step back and Aari laughed, "Oh this will be fun!"

"Why do you want to kill me?" Kel asked, her voice wary.

"Why not?" he said and shrugged, "I'm thirsty."

"Touch her and die!" Joren screamed and moved in front of Kel, much to her annoyance and moved to her left so he wasn't blocking her.

Alaric looked alarmed, "No Joren! It's the sword! It's cursed, as soon as he drew it took over him. He was telling me leave, he told me to grab you guys and run for it. Don't kill him!"

"Well how are we supposed to get that sword off him genius?" Joren shot back and took a moment to glare at the knight before reverting his gaze back to Aari/Immortal Blood.

Keladry took a step to her left and watched as Aari mimicked her through the veil of rain. "Aari- can you hear me?"

"Aari's not home right now, can I take a message?" Immortal laughed and pretended to lunge, he laughed again when he saw her flinch. "Ah Goddess, you sure are jumpy. You act like someone's trying to kill you."

Kel looked at him with determination in her eyes "No! Aari, what do we do?"

Aari closed his eyes and didn't reply, this was his fight, and he had to quell its bloodlust. For too long it had not drawn blood, for too long it had hungered.

Immortal Blood raged with him, beneath his eyelids it laughed at his attempt.

Aari... Aari Aari Aari, no no. We've danced this dance before, you will not win it taunted him.

He had to win, for the sake of Keladry, for the sake of those who needed her. He had to win!

You won't win Immortal Blood sang mockingly into his ear.

Aari's eyes opened, "Knock me unconscious! Sheath the blade!"

He screamed in pain as Immortal Blood ravaged his body.

Kel edged around until she was in plain view, with her left hand she signalled for Alaric to go around Aari. Joren stood and took his place beside Keladry, "I won't let it kill you."

She smiled, "Of course not. It's your job isn't it?"

Even now she had time to make a joke, Joren rolled his eyes before training his eyes and attention to the man he thought of as a friend.

"Immortal Blood!" Keladry called out, "You will not take my life or Aari's!"

Immortal Blood opened his eyes and laughed at her, his eyes a maniacal red, "I don't see how you'll stop me Keladry. Aari's already gone!"

"He's lying," Kel said to herself, he has to be.

Kel charged him and swept the blade aside before swinging the blunt end around to connect with his temple. Immortal ducked and swung the sword to slice her stomach open. Quick as a flash, Joren was beside her deflecting the blow away.

"Two on one? No fair!" Immortal whined.

With a swift wave of his arm Immortal pushed them back a dew feet. Kel's eye's narrowed, she summoned the Phoenix's strength and attacked him again though this time, she was quick as lightning and as strong as a Tsunami. Immortal flew back and barely caught his feet under him to stop.

"Hn, powerful. You'll be tasty," Immortal flew at them again but Keladry was ready, with a flare of power she blinded Immortal Blood.

"Now!" Alaric came from behind and dealt a swift blow to his head, knocking the man unconscious.

Immortal screamed with rage as he felt the body he used become lifeless, he was useless without a host, he needed a stronger body! He could feel the Demon King call out to him, he could feel the man's want for the power he could give.

'Soon I will have a worthy host, soon I will have power and shape of mine own' Immortal thought as he felt the sheath that kept him caged wrap itself around him 'Soon...'


"They are coming milord," said the black figure that stood over a silver orb. He was a being created by the man he called Lord, created from a piece of the night sky. Within his skin were stars and universes long dead, black yet laced with dark blue and deep blood red from stardust. His eyes were twin moons and his hair was a comet tail hanging down in a flowing and rippling blue white fire to his hips.

A dark shadow stirred on the blood wrought throne, "Do they? The queen and her army? How about the ones we need?"

The General glanced up at his Lord "They travel away from us, they have been warned by the Queen."

"Hmm… send out someone, bring to me at once. Time is running out. If the Phoenix ascends then she will warn the Gods. We cannot loose that advantage. Go Fenris."


A/N TaDa! The next chapter! Woohoo! Yay! Right. Add me to your alert list! Any who. Questions questions. This is supposed to be a romance and so: pairings? Ideas?

Aari- Jez

Aari- Lealith

Alaric- Lealith

Lealith- Dark General (Fenris) -just recently introduced.

Sneak Peek: The next chapter has a lot to do with Fenris.

Shout out to those who've been loyal followers and lovers of this story: Honestly I would never have gotten this far without you guys:

Mystic Moon Empress (Go Escaflowne)

Narwhal Girl



Ecks88 (I'm beyond flattered- thank you)



And to everyone else! Thanks so much and keep reading! The end is drawing near… sort of. Um… The Battle is drawing near!!