|The Elven Warrior
Author: Alex Goodlive PM
Fifth and darkest so far of the Elven series. A death very close to Lantlas Anduril leaves him vulnerable and desperate for an outlet.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Drama - Chapters: 14 - Words: 54,070 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 10-11-08 - Published: 05-11-08 - Status: Complete - id: 2516182
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Her empty crystal eyes stared lifelessly back at me as I cradled her in my arms, trying to comprehend the motivation of Fate to bring everything to this point.
The innocent flower, the light of my life, the one to whom I held everything dear, now has been taken away from me, her life cut short ever so unfairly. I once believed she had been brought back from death itself, and Kieran had returned her to me. Now, as I laid her to rest in the river of Cathdesalantis, slowly watching her disappear for the last time, the anger within me was too much to handle.
Reaching my gloved hand into the sheath, I removed my warrior's sword and brought it close to my face. Slowly breathing in the energy it had consumed ever since being in my presence, the last few years flashed through my memory as if credits to a dream. The eyes of Devon, Terry, Jade, Emerald, all who had loved me but found their ways to deepen the rifts in my broken heart, Fate's method to madness truly escaped me. Why couldn't Fate have simply taken me, and spared the bright lives of Emily DuPrae and my beautiful little girl Emerald? Haven't I interfered with enough human lives and brought about enough pain that my death would've done some positive in the world?
Instead here I remain, almost everyone that I've ever known on an intimate level either dead or otherwise involved. Devon had disappeared again, and this time I believed it was for good. What point in returning was there, truly? I'd returned a broken being from the alternate world, and I feared that forever on I would be damaged goods. It had been over a month since this had taken place, and pain and anger had become apathy. The world itself had no longer seemed relevant, and I questioned if it was worth saving. Perhaps the humans needed to be left to their own fate, to decide their own journey of destruction, because my influence and presence was quite obviously helping no one.
My sword reacted to a noise in the darkness, and quickly sprung through a tree near me. With a clean slice, the trunk tipped and crashed to the ground. "How appropriate," I mused under my breath. Bringing the lighter from my pocket, I set one of the leaves ablaze, and watched the cycle of nature take place before my very eyes in an ironic fashion. "Crash and burn, how I know all too well," I thought out loud. There was a point in time where I would've quickly disposed of the growing embers, but I no longer saw the point. What was there left to save of this earth, this forest, or of myself?
The wrestling industry had become obsolete to me. I'd made my title defense, but that as well no longer appealed to my senses, for better or worse. What had I left to prove in that world? I'd made my return, I'd become the world champion, I'd gone undefeated, but it still couldn't heal any of the wounds that existed within me. Where once, the competition helped salvage such despair, now it was merely a temporary distraction, and not even a very good one. The wounds from Jade, Christine, and now Emerald were far too deep for some entertainment and barbaric bloodsport to soothe. It seemed that a different method of action was in order, but even in the despairing silence, nothing would come to my mind.
Everything seemed endless, a blank trail of darkness forever leading me through the same cold vicious cycle. Even the birthgiver, the Earth itself, had somehow found its way into taking my Emerald from me by letting her drown in the river, so truly, for what was I fighting? To save the Earth? To save humanity? To save humanity from the Earth? To save the Earth from humanity? Perhaps had the Elven race not spawned, things would've worked out as they should've. Maybe we truly are the enemy, and we've interfered with fate for too long.
What would my wrestling colleagues have done had I never existed? How many hungry young athletes had I denied a championship reign or a moment of glory by being there myself? How many dreams had I crushed by slapping down their best attempt at immortality while my own heart hadn't even been in the struggle? What kind of fair being was I to be the destructor of the dreams of others? I had the dream and I couldn't even appreciate, and the dreams after which I sought were taken away from me by death, by lust, or by simple ignorance. The far cry of my life being the saving presence of the world now seemed more like the pen of the death certificates I'd caused in one way or another. Truly, life was not meant to happen this way.
"Lantlas," a familiar voice rang out of the darkness.
"Not now, Adrienne," I responded hastily. "I truly am no longer in need of hopeful philosophy."
Devon Drake appeared in the silhouette of the flames. "Ah, but philosophy is not what we are here to give, my dear Lantlas."
"Then what is it?" I demanded. "Truly, I no longer understand your methods."
"These are not our methods," another familiar voice rang in. Chances appeared to the left of Adrienne, who joined in the silhouette of the burning tree with Devon. "It is simply the trials in which you needed to survive."
"Have I truly survived?" I questioned. "Seriously, can you call my present being alive? I was taught that love was the most powerful force in the universe, and the stronger I loved; the more they were taken from the world. I was driven to believe that the words from all three of you would bring happiness and life, and instead they've brought nothing but destruction and death!"
Chances giggled a little bit, which seemed rather inappropriate, considering the topic of my response. "For all you believe you know, you really know nothing, my dear Lantlas."
"Cryptic vague prophecies, great," I muttered sarcastically. "Just what I needed in this hour of despair. Thanks, but I'd rather find my own answers."
"Lantlas, shut the hell up and listen for two goddamn seconds," Devon ordered.
"Where the hell have you been?" I snapped back. "I figure you would've run off and gotten married to that boytoy of yours by now."
"How little you truly know about me," Devon growled, and then she laughed heartily. "Human men are nothing but toys to me, and let's just say a bathtub and battery acid can quickly provide a way out of those annoying situations where they become too attached. But the point is, each one of us has been involved with your life for reasons we previously have not been able to explain."
"Why not? Why is it that everything has to be hidden from me?"
"If we had just given you the answers in the beginning, would you really have believed us?" Adrienne questioned.
"I don't know, Adrienne, because I don't KNOW the answers!"
"Well sit back, shut the hell up, and listen!" Devon screamed. "You're getting them now."
"Your tasks have all been completed, Lantlas," Chances explained. "No more prophecies, no more explanations, no more loss. It all comes to an end now, I promise."
"I don't exactly have a lot left to lose," I responded.
"You're right, you don't," Adrienne answered. "Outside of the three of us, and some casual friends through your place of business, you really wouldn't be leaving anyone behind, would you?"
"No, everyone I've ever loved is either in this circle, committed to someone else, or in another world by death or existence. This world no longer has any meaning to me."
"It never did," Devon countered.
That stopped me dead in my tracks. After all the stories about how my presence in the world was to prevent something terrible from happening, that truly did not make a lot of sense. I wanted to question what she had said, but I figured that would only delay a further explanation.
"The Devon that existed in this world from birth was killed trying to help Emerald escape from a band of snuff artists," Devon told me.
"And that is me," Chances added. "After my death in this world, I still had to fulfill my destiny of helping you reach your ultimate objective, and by doing so, I became Chances. When we first met in the alternate world, I was there to guide you, though I couldn't explain exactly what was going on. Same as when I met with Emily."
"I was brought from that world to complete Devon's tasks," Devon continued. "The original Devon, Chances, never even got to see you until you came to that world in the confused state. Had her death never happened, the deception you had to incur would've never taken place."
"Yes, Lantlas," Devon cut me off. "Because I was not the original one to guide and protect you, I could not complete that part of the timeline drawn out for her. Kieran would not allow it to happen, but please understand that had it not depended on our lives, it never would've taken place. You must know that."
"Kieran… What is her role in all of this?" I asked.
"To make sure everything happened the way it was supposed to," Adrienne replied.
"Without Kieran, none of this would've happened," Chances added.
"Sometimes you liked what she did, sometimes you didn't," Devon explained, "but in the end, she had to do what was necessary to bring us to this point."
The three looked at each other, exchanging knowing looks and nods, and finally Chances stepped forth in front of the two, her chilly palm gently grazing my cheek as she looked deeply in my eyes. I somehow felt a wave of comfort, something I hadn't known in quite some time. Adrienne and Devon looked on, a relieved but saddened expression on their faces, as I sensed something pivotal was about to unfold.
"Lantlas," Chances began, "the reason everything has seemed to go wrong in your life is because it wasn't meant to take place here."
"Here as in this area?"
"Here as in this world," Chances corrected. "The illusions of others, the reason there is no recorded history of what transpired between the Elvens and the early settlers of this continent is because it didn't happen in this world, Lantlas. It happened in the one that you thought was an illusion."
"Wait, so the world with Christine and everything…"
"Is the world in which you actually were meant to exist," Chances finished my sentence.
"How can that be? Silas, Jason, all of them who held the connections with my past and I…"
"Remember, the universes are almost parallel, Lantlas," Chances continued. "Every soul that exists in this world exists in the alternate one as well. The only difference between the events that happened at Cathdesalantis here and there is that those who suffered, those who survived, and the events that transpired did not involve the Elven race. The Elven race only existed in the world you believed to be an alternate reality."
"Why couldn't I have been informed of this so much sooner?" I questioned. "Wouldn't it have saved everyone a tremendous amount of pain?"
"Lantlas, while the Elves haven't any effect from fate, humans do. Once Eldarin wished to be reincarnated, and you were mistakenly reborn in this world instead of your home one, it was the destiny of all those involved to come in contact with you and be affected the way they were. Sadly, most of it was tragic, but as are all things involving humans and the way of the world. The Elves wouldn't even exist without the tragedy of humans."
"So, the reason Devon needed to find me, to guide me…"
"Was to bring you back to the world from which you came, Lantlas," Devon interjected. "If things had gone according to plan, the one in front of you would've brought you to the world in which you were supposed to exist, but plans aren't set in stone. She was killed, but still had to fulfill her duty to come to that world as Chances, while the Devon in that world had to be brought to replace her. Now that her duty is done, she will go home."
"Back to the other world?"
"Back to your world, Lantlas," Chances stated.
"But wasn't I not really Elven in that world? Wasn't everything I thought I knew inspired by pictures, books, and events surrounding me, like I saw in my room with Christine?"
"Of course not," Adrienne laughed, "but in that world, you certainly couldn't parade around your immortal status. With the spirits and vampires and such wandering around, most of the immortals stay secluded and find human stories to fall under when they commit to a mortal."
"Don't you think it's odd that someone in a seemingly false reality had such an effect on you, Lantlas?" Devon asked.
"You only spent a little time there, but you still found yourself wishing to return to your wife, to the life you had in that world…" Chances mused. "It's because she really is your wife, and that really is your home. Yes, you are the last of the Elven Warriors. Yes, you are Lantlas Anduril, the product of Eldarin's transition, and the bearer of the Elven Emblem, the Son of the Immortal, the Child of the Earth…"
"Just not this Earth," Adrienne finished.
"However, you have had such a profound impact on everyone you've met," Devon piped in. "Myself included, Lantlas. You may not see it through your grief, but you raised an orphan from a young age that carried the spirit of Eldarin's daughter Ellie. You touched so many lives with your kindness, your generosity, and yes, even your profession. No one that you've ever met in the world of wrestling is ever going to forget you, Lantlas. The high points of your profession have brought you respect, admiration, and countless other positive adjectives that I think would just be adding to the same point."
"You've done good, Lantlas," Chances smiled.
"Don't you mean done well?"
"No, I don't," Chances responded. "You've done so much good, despite your pain. Many would've faltered long before the objective you reached, and you are to be commended for that. Despite all your suffering, despite what you feel inside of you right now, in the end I promise you, it was all worth it."
"Well Lantlas, in reaching this world, in another coincidental twist of fate, you did come in contact with your true soulmate," Adrienne replied.
"No, of course not," Devon laughed. "You think that skank was your soulmate, after what she did to you?"
"She was my wife in that world," I countered.
"Yeah, and look how seriously she took that vow," Chances muttered sarcastically. "No soulmate would've done such a thing to you, and I know that for a fact."
"Look inside yourself," Devon instructed, "you already know the answer to that question."
Devon walked up to me slowly, wrapped her arms around me, and whispered in my ear. "Don't let this get out, but I have and will always love you. Thank you for taking me home."
"Home?" I asked nervously.
"Lose the glove and grasp your sword, Lantlas," she continued. "Let's go home."
Doing as instructed, I very carefully removed my glove and took one last look at the world around me, the world in which I was never meant to be. While most of it had been a trail of painful memories, quite a bit of good had come from it. My final title defense would be taken care of, as management had been informed that this would be my final contest, and I couldn't have been more grateful to EPW for affording me that opportunity. All of my other loose ends had been tied in one way or another, and I could only hope the PCW boys and Silas Wormwood would carry on as I knew they could. It was their time to shine, and my time to walk away, to finally find peace.
Through the fog, I heard a familiar voice, but swore I must've been mistaken. Seeming like it came from a distant scene from a memory, I heard a faint whisper; "I'll be waiting... here for you."
When the fogginess in the darkness faded, I found myself on a familiar street corner in a familiar town. The three ladies had disappeared, but I knew they had come with me. "Finally," I thought out loud, "we're finally home."
As the crimson sunrise hinted its presence on the horizon, the sound of clicking heels echoed throughout the quiet street. A shadowed figure walked in my direction, and something inside of me told me exactly who it was going to be. In my heart, in my head, and in my mind, I knew this was to what Devon was referring when she told me that I already knew the answer.
The small beams of light illuminated the sidewalk enough to bless my heart with the approaching Emily DuPrae. She stopped several feet away from me and stared at me for several seconds, her facial expression not changing a single bit. Internally, I was extremely frightened that it would be the same bitter, distant Emily DuPrae I had met in this world the first time around, and I didn't want to experience that same kind of disappointment once more.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, a smile broke across her beautiful face, and she wrapped her arms around me. I was overwhelmed with emotion, and I could feel the rifts in my soul finally beginning to fade away as bliss overtook the moment, for which I was most gracious. I heard a little voice in my ear several seconds later.
"I told you I'd find you again one day."
I didn't even need to remove the embrace to know just how beautiful the smile that accompanied that statement really was.