Things are winding down now. Only two more chapters to go. (Holy shit, what am I going to do then? Nothing like planning ahead or anything.)

If you’re new to the story, here’s where you can read the rest of it thus far: chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3, chapter 4, chapter 5, chapter 6, chapter 7, chapter 8, chapter 9, and chapter 10.

Chapter Eleven

Rado sat by himself, drinking a goblet of wine. Suddenly he stood up, the goblet dropping to the floor. Red wine coursed through the grooves in the floor. He thought, “This cannot be! I feel it–my son is here!” Rado turned around and saw the door opening. He quickly hid himself as two people walked in.

As he looked at them, immense joy flooded through him. One of them was a young man. His hair was the color of spun gold, his eyes a rich blue.

“My son,” Rado thought.

The other was a woman-child. Her hair hung long down her back in a cascade of black curls, and her eyes were also black. When Rado beheld her face, he thought his heart might leap from his chest. Her face was exactly as Dalia’s once had been. The large eyes, full lips, and elfin nose all matched precisely.

“My daughter?” he thought. “But how?”

Adrienne walked quietly through the room, observing every detail. Darien was on the other side of the room, looking at the many wonders displayed there. Suddenly, Adrienne felt a presence in the room and drew her sword. Darien followed suit.

“Come out if you value your life,” he said.

A tall man walked out from behind a screen in the corner of the room. He had black hair and black eyes, and Adrienne noticed he was dressed all in black, just as she was. Realization hit her like a sharp blow.

“He is our father,” she thought and looked at Darien. Darien looked back at her, and she could tell by his eyes that he also knew.

“Welcome, friends,” said Rado in a friendly tone. “Won’t you sit and have some wine with me?”

Darien immediately sheathed his sword and sat down, but Adrienne stood her ground.

Rado looked at her. “Please,” he said, and she knew then that he would not harm them.

After Rado had poured the wine, he said, “You know who I am, do you not?”

“Yes,” replied Darien, “we do.”

“My son–and my daughter, who I did not even know existed. I never thought the day would come when I would see my children.”

Darien gave Rado a cold look and said, “How could anyone as evil as you have been with someone was good as our mother was?”

“I loved your mother more than life!” roared Rado, standing up. “Why do you think I have done all this?” he said, gesturing around him. “To avenge her death! Life dealt me a cruel blow. The only way to ease my pain was to inflict it on others.”

“You disgust me,” said Adrienne. Rado looked at her and then struck her hard across the face.

Darien jumped to his feet with a drawn sword. “How dare you!” he cried.

“No, Darien,” Adrienne said quietly as she stood up. She stared into Rado’s eyes and gathered her power.

It felt as if someone had kicked Rado in the gut, and he stumbled backwards. He straightened and said, “You have the power.”

“It is the only thing I can thank you for, Father,” she said, spitting out the last word like an obscenity.

Adrienne felt Rado putting his power over her. He was very strong, and it felt like someone was crushing her, putting an unbearable amount of pressure on her body. Adrienne pointed her finger at him and flicked a flame toward him. It singed his hand, and he cried out in pain. She felt the pressure immediately subside.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” said Rado, his eyes pleading. “You could stay here with me–my two children. And when I am gone, all of this shall be yours!”

“You cannot bribe us,” said Darien.

“Perhaps,” said Rado, his pleading tone turning darker. “But I can force you.”

Rado reached into his cloak and brought out a golden globe that sparkled in the light.

“The golden sphere,” thought Adrienne. “The ultimate power.” A power unlike anything she had ever felt before ran through her.

Suddenly, Darien lunged at Rado with his sword, and Rado knocked him down with a surge of power from the sphere. Adrienne watched in horror as he hit the ground and struck his head,

“Darien!” she cried.

Darien did not get up, and Adrienne looked at Rado with a new hatred.

“Wither!” she yelled, and Rado fell to his knees, dropping the golden sphere. Adrienne picked it up, and it suddenly glowed brighter. She put it in her cloak and drew her sword. Rado, now recovered, did the same.

“You will pay,” said Rado and lashed at her with his sword.

“Believe me, I already have,” said Adrienne and blocked him.

Father and daughter circled one another, and Rado suddenly jabbed Adrienne in the side. She could feel the pain sear through her. She tried to ignore it and went on.

Rado attempted to strike her again, and they locked swords. Rado pushed her to the ground, but she took him with her. Their swords clattered away to the side, and Adrienne took her dagger from its leg sheath. Rado grabbed her wrist holding the dagger, and Adrienne kneed him sharply in the groin. She swiftly stabbed him in the chest, penetrating his heart.

Rado’s eyes widened, and he looked at her. He put his hands over hers where she held the knife at the hilt and whispered, “My daughter.” Then his eyes were empty.

Adrienne got up and gently folded Rado’s hands on top of his breast. Excruciating grief filled her heart, and she turned away from her father’s dead body. She looked over to where Darien lay, his chest rising and falling with steady breathing.

“Can you forgive my terrible deed, Darien?” she thought. “Can I forgive myself?”

Adrienne took the golden sphere from her cloak and looked at it. “I have fulfilled my purpose,” she thought. She walked over to the window and looked out over the land as her father had so many times before her. She knew nothing would ever be the same again.

Come back next Thursday for chapter 12!