Rebels of Darkness II, Chapter 28

Bernadette, Cody, and Rebekah watched as Emorick shakily walked across the cavern floor with Riley ready to catch him if he fell, and everyone but Gwynivara applauded when he nearly made it to the rocky hall that led to the front entrance. Gwynivara sat with her back turned against everybody else as she stared longingly at the light emanating from the setting sun, and while she could hear everything that went on, she had no reaction to it. At this point, she didn’t really believe that she would see Kierram’s shadow approaching their headquarters any time soon, but she had no desire to look anything else right then! Her mind seemed unable to focus on any other facet of her life except willing him to come back! Even as Emorick requested a break and sat close behind her, she couldn’t acknowledge that any other events occurred around her, not until he returned!

Riley directed Bernadette, “Okay, you’re next!”

“Me? I don’t need any kind of rehab!” Bernadette objected.

“You went through a lot of energy producing all of those incantations yesterday! And you never really fully recovered from the last time you battled like that, so should do this!” Riley insisted.

Bernadette still denied his argument, “I’m fine! I don’t need-!” She tried to stand up, but she got dizzy and tumbled down. Cody and Rebekah giggled, and Bernadette sheepishly admitted, “Okay, I guess I could use a bit of work!”

Rebekah stood up and held out her arms for her. “Let me help you up!” Bernadette accepted her offer, and Rebekah attentively assisted her as made her way around the room. When she made it back to her original position, the others clapped.

“Okay, you’re up next,” Cody invited Gwynivara.

“What?” Gwynivara glanced up at him as if it surprised her to get included in these exercises. “Oh, not today, thanks!” Her body shot back to her previous fixation.

Cody attempted to persuade her, “Ah, come on! You’ll need your strength to run into Kierram’s arms when he comes back!”

This concept made her heart break all over again! She wanted to do that more than anything, but the longer she had to wait for it, the less optimistic she became about it actually happening! She buried her head between her knees and tried to prevent herself from crying again, she certainly didnt’ want another emotional upheaval to create a beast once again! Cody backed away, although his feelings appeared to have been somewhat hurt by her rejection of his supportive gesture, he obviously understood it wasn’t personal against him. He faced the others and shrugged. Emorick suggested to them, “Why don’t you guys go see if you can find out why the others are taking so long?”

Cody moaned, “Aw! I was hoping that you were gonna tell us to go find dinner since the canvassers are so late! I’m so hungry, I-!”

Bernadette interrupted him, “We can do that too! Let’s just go!” She discretely nodded her head towards Emorick and Gwynivara, which made Cody comprehend their intentions and leave without any more of a fuss.

Gwynivara didn’t make eye contact with Emorick. She knew he wanted to give her a pep talk about the whole situation, and in this instance, she didn’t want to hear it! She had no desire to hear that it would all work out in the end since she had no way to certify the accuracy of that thought, and she definitely didn’t want to hear how it wasn’t her fault that he took off! She went over that night a thousand times in her mind already, and while she could tell the tragedy that they endured yesterday made her touchier than normal, she still kicked herself for losing her temper and jumping to conclusions with him! She knew she was to blame for that fight, and all of a sudden, it dawned on her that maybe Emorick blamed her too! She remembered when Emorick learned that they became a couple that he warned them not to let their romance interfere with the Rebellion’s efforts, and she started to think that perhaps Emorick wanted a private chat to remove her from the organization! She couldn’t blame him if he had wanted to do that! None of her plans had really panned out, in fact, they seemed to cause more damage if anything! Coupling that with causing his son to leave, she imagined that Emorick had grown furious with her! She didn’t want to stop him, but her fragile state wouldn’t have been able to handle his intense ire, so she tried to soften it a little by apologizing, “I’m sorry!”

“You’re sorry?” Emorick echoed back as if she had caught him off guard.

“Yeah!” Gwynivara sniffled as she confirmed this. “You told us not to let any lovers’ quarrels get in the way of progress, and I broke that promise! Plus, I-!”

Emorick corrected her, “You didn’t promise anything. He did. Besides, I didn’t really intend that for you. Kierram’s always had a hot temper. I had hoped that he could keep it under control ’til after we defeated Rafeneita, but this behavior isn’t abnormal for him, so it doesn’t shock me that he did what he did. Oh, don’t worry- he doesn’t fly off the handle all the time, he’s just very passionate and goes a tad overboard once in a while! Nialla always blamed it on him being a Taurus, I dunno if you’re into that kind of stuff…”

Gwynivara’s status hadn’t changed until her curiosity got roused by that last part. “Who’s Nialla?” she asked.

“She’s my wife. Well, she was,” he answered in a bittersweet tone. “She died about a year and a half ago.”

“I’m sorry!” Gwynivara had just said those words, but she now conveyed a different meaning behind it. With her attention ebbing back and forth between Kierram and her current surroundings, she recalled Kierram mentioning something else happening around that time frame. “Kierram got Venenatus Sanguis about a year and a half ago! Wow, that must’ve been quite a year for you to lose your wife and then your son getting sick with… Wait, you were on the run when this happened. I guess you didn’t find out ’til later, huh?”

Emorick surmised, “Kierram didn’t tell you then! Well…. it all started with a newspaper… One of the reasons I could pinpoint the origin of the virus to Great Dismal Falls is that Nialla and I grew up there. No matter where the Marine Corps moved us, we’d always keep tabs on what went in Great Dismal Falls. It became more important when I saw people in my hometown dying mysteriously! After I left my post and formed the Rebellion, I read several newspapers from all over the country to gain intelligence on the progression of this disease, and even though I still hovered around Great Dismal Falls, I included the local paper in that mix. I actually gleaned a lot from it! Then one day, I saw that Nialla’s parents were hosting her funeral there!” Gwynivara could see signs of him getting choked up over this loss, but he mostly stifled it and moved on, “I hadn’t seen my family for years to keep them safe, but I couldn’t help it- I had to go see her one more time! I had to say goodbye!”

Gwynivara inquired, “You really loved her, didn’t you?”

“I did, well, I still do!” He pulled out his wallet and showed her the first picture he had in there, which depicted a young Emorick in his dress uniform and a woman in a simple white gown and a crown of flowers in her hair. Her appearance threw her off a little just because she had always envisioned him with a more traditional housewife type and this woman had a more bohemian style. At first glance, the two of them didn’t seem like a match, and her face must have gave her initial impression away since Emorick explained, “I know, we’re kind of a mismatched pair, but we were crazy about each other regardless! She intrigued me from the minute I saw her! She was just so different than the other girls! I was nursing an injury, and she just happened to be volunteering at the hospital I stayed at. Some of the guys were laughing at her ’cause she offered them some flowery tea to help them heal, so I offered to try some. To this day, I don’t know if it worked, but it got her to talk to me! We became inseparable ever since! I never understood why such a gentle soul wanted to deal with a lunk like me, but she said she could sense a kindness in me and that the Marines needed my altruistic spirit to watch over them! No matter what ugliness I dealt with for my job, I’d come home to see her beauty, and it made everything feel alright! She always gave me hope when I needed it! Leaving her was the hardest thing I ever had to do! I loved her too much to see her go through what they would do to her if they knew she helped me…”

“I know what you mean! That’s why I sent my parents away,” Gwynivara related.

Emorick continued, “Well, anyway, I had to talk to her one more time, so I went to visit her grave. Little did I know my son decided to visit her at the same time! I was already upset over her death, but then my encounter with Kierram just made things worse1 I couldn’t blame him for getting mad over my absence, but I couldn’t handle it when he blamed everything else on me! He told me that she changed after I was gone, and she kept criticizing him for renewing his contract with the Marines. He blamed me for convincing him to join in the first place, and I guess she blamed the military for my departure. According to Kierram, the stress over possibly losing her son after losing me gave her the heart condition that killed her! That cut deep, I wouldd have never to that to Nialla if I could have helped it! I have pretty control over my Venenatus Sanguis, but with everything going on right then, I lost it! I created a beast, and that beast bit Kierram.”

Gwynivara deduced, “You gave Kierram Venenatus Sanguis?”

“That’s why you saw him resent me so much when you first joined the Rebellion,” Emorick verified this. “I made him an Officer ’cause I knew what he was capable of, but he didn’t really want to participate in our efforts ’til you came along. Your desire to save the world made him see the bigger picture, and you made him feel like he had hope when he had none! So, if he could forgive me for all that transpired between the two of us, then he’ll get over a little spat between the two of you!” He smiled genially at Gwynivara, and she felt warm inside at the sentiments behind that thought… until another thought came to her…

“He forgave you ’cause you almost died!” Gwynivara differed with him. “I don’t wanna risk my life just so he’ll forgive me! What if I don’t luck out again? You probably won’t be able save me a second time!”

Emorick’s brows furrowed at her last sentence. “What do you mean? Are you talking about when I helped you defeat that giant beast? You had a pretty good handle on it , you weren’t really that close to dying…”

Gwynivara cringed for letting that slip out! She didn’t intend to keep it secret forever, but she didn’t want to have this discussion in such an abrupt manner! She also kind of hoped she had a better grasp of why it played out the way it did before they had this talk! She didn’t want this mystifying phenomenon to freak him out, but since she accidentally leaked a piece of it out, now she had to fill him on the whole thing! She took a deep breath and confessed, “When we were battling Rafeneita, I almost got killed. But you appeared in the orb, and you woke me up! It was one thing when you came to us to give us some encouragement, we could have manifested your image somehow, but you were actually there! I don’t know how! I got so much energy from you that you’re still recovering from performing that incantation! I don’t know how it happened, but I’m sorry I put you in position like that!”

Gwynivara expected him to be irritated that she caused him to get into such a weakened condition, but she also considered that he would grow scared about having some kind of out of body experience. It shocked her when he rested his chin on his fist and gave the subject serious contemplation. After a few seconds, he murmured, “Where did Nialla say she got that again…?”

“Got what?” His response perplexed her enough that she abandoned her anxiety of how he might behave once he learned the truth!

“The orb.” Emorick pulled it out of his pocket and displayed it so that they could both see it. “Nialla gave it to me before I went to Europe in World War Two. She said it’s supposed to give you a way to see things that are very far away. I didn’t really believe that it worked, but whenever I was far away from her, I kept it by me to remind me of her. After I contracted Venenatus Sanguis, I figured out that I could use it to help channel my incantations. I didn’t know it could get used to channel someone’s essence when they were far away! Or maybe it was just a coincidence. But if it wasn’t, it would be a helpful tool for all the others to have too!” He placed the orb into her hand. “Keep it.” Before Gwynivara could say no, he affirmed, “You need it more than I do! We’re just at the beginning of learning all that Venenatus Sanguis is capable of, so I can’t explain why it came through for you like that, but if it came through for you once, I can’t risk taking it away from you! Yes, I mean it! If we end up confronting Rafeneita soon, I’m in no shape to fight right now! I made you number two in command for a reason! Well, partly two reasons since Kierram and Bernadette said no, but you have the drive and fortitude to lead our troops into battle, so you need all the tools you can get to make that happen! Keep it! If Nialla were here, I’m positive she would want to keep you protected!”

A flurry of emotions cascaded inside of her from his decision and the motivation behind it! It flattered her to know that someone she held in high regard held such a strong opinion of her, but she did not feel worthy of this praise! She didn’t know how to react right then, at least not until she heard a raucous commotion coming from the pathway up the rocky crag…

6 thoughts on “Rebels of Darkness II, Chapter 28

  1. Jen says:

    Your Bernadette is a lot nicer than my Bernadette. lol

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