Crime of Passion

“You have brought shame and dishonor to our clan! Tell me, comrade, how does one go from a state of taking pity on a deadly creature to thoroughly ravaging her body at your discretion?!” Lord Bilal raged.

“If it is the will that is at stake, then mine could not be bent away from hers. She was a helpless flower planted in a garden of destitution. I only meant for her to flourish elsewhere. My love came to manifest over time as I saw her demise was indubitable in the living world. I did not wish to see her suffer!” Vadiim proclaimed.

Lord Bilal sat at his marble desk and put his hands over his face and said, “You are not her overseer! You became over-indulgent and allowed her plight to guide you into a doomed fairytale. There is no romance in death. For you to meddle as if to be a savior is ludicrous. The fact is, your paths might not even cross after she takes her final breath. Take stock of the entirety in this situation; you lie in wait for her to expire from her living existence like a ghoulish stalker. You are not The Reaper. Therefore, you cannot claim possession of her soul once it has been released. You have violated many spiritual taboos. The verity that you love her is of no consequence.”

“I will take the brunt of the fallout of my actions! All I ask is that you allow me the opportunity to set this right.” Vadiim indignantly stated.

“You are mighty bold, expecting me to allow you anything. The only way to make this right is to end your tawdry affair with the human girl this instant. Is that what you intend to do?” Lord Bilal chuckled.

“It is not. If I leave her now, she will only suffer more at the cruel hands of her human counterparts. Her life has always remained between there and the spiritual realm. She can successfully pass over to the other side. Even if she is not to be with me as my lover, it would be far better for her to dwell in peace.” Vadiim retorted.

Lord Bilal stood to his feet. “Are you then going to contend with The Reaper to take her life away?” He asked.

Vadiim paused before speaking. “No, I would never make such a heinous mistake. I will wait as I always have. The time is coming for her to choose her own. Whatever has kept her bound to that feeble body must be loosening its grip. She has visited me more frequently in the past few days than ever in the decade since we met.”

Lord Bilal placed his hands on Vadiim’s shoulders. “Tell me this; if you wallow with her in true blissful love, why have you never revealed your real self?”

Vadiim also placed his hands around Lord Bilal’s shoulders. “Keinah has lived a condemned existence. She was never afforded the pleasures of stability, happiness, or love. Her world is consumed with despair, cruelty, and lack. In all of that, her heart has never been hardened. She freely accepted my offer of companionship without question. Not one time has she ever asked anything of me other than to see me again. It is almost as if it has never occurred to her to ask for a better life. As you said, there is no romance in death. I do not want to burden her knowing that our encounters are only because of her dances with death.”

Lord Bilal looked in amazement, “In all this time, has the Reaper been nearby to reproach you?”

“Never once have I sensed any other entity when we are together, nor has she,” Vadiim replied.

“I still cannot understand how you could dare to touch her, even if you say you love her.” Lord Bilal snapped at him while releasing their embrace.

“She has always been beautiful to me; her soul is so pure. That rag doll of a child became an exotic young woman. She freely gave herself to me, and I could not deny my desire for her. Our lovemaking is quite exquisite. Nothing can compare to my feelings for her.” Vadiim softly revealed.

Lord Bilal huffed, “Nothing you say; with all the scores of species you have known, this lowly human girl is the one you want to take the sword for?” 

Vadiim reminiscently spoke, “From the beginning, I was overwhelmed by her virtuous soul. I watched her from afar until the moment she crossed the first threshold of life and death. It seemed like a good time to take her with me then, but alas, I could not. I knew she would be back sooner than later. Her condition continued to deteriorate with each encounter. She was the first to declare her love for me. I had never imagined such an interaction. I was drawn in by her promise of love until before long, I was enthralled to the point of no return. Tell me, old friend; with all the species that you have known, have you ever realized such a thing as love itself?”

Lord Bilal thoughtfully replied, “I cannot say that I have. I have heard the word thrown around on occasions by the humans, of course. It never seemed to resonate with my stream of consciousness. To love this or that; it just causes a lot of commotion.”

Vadiim chuckled, “That, my friend, can only be because you have never loved or been loved. Keinah is that opportunity for me, as I am for her. That bond that ties us together is miraculous.”

Lord Bilal took a more serious tone. “What will you do if The Reaper decides you must part ways?”

“I cannot know for sure that will happen. If it does, I will have to return to my original state and love her from afar. It pains me to think such things, but grieves me even more than her suffering has not yet end.” Vadiim painstakingly replied.

Lord Bilal sighed with exhaustion, “Entangling yourself with humans only seems to bring calamity and despair. Ah, but what of it? Ultimately, you may find pleasure in your eternal existence.”

“Does this mean you will help me?” Vadiim asked with excitement.

“I must be going soft. In any matter, you have intrigued me with your delight at this human girl. I am not one to stand in the way of good success. I will not turn you into the Celestial Triad guards. However, you must reveal your identity to your lover so that she can plead her case to The Reaper if she deems to do so. That way, it will be settled whether she will choose life or death, love or not.” Lord Bilal asserted.

“Then let it be so. Thank you for this gift.” Vadiim said with gratitude.

Lord Bilal shook Vadiim’s hand with a smirk and said, “Do not thank me now. We will see if fortune and mercy are in your favor.”

Lord Bilal had drawn his conclusion that Vadiim had no intention of revealing his true identity to Keinah, nor would he sever their ties. He kept them apart by tricking Vadiim into taking an assignment that sent him far away into the vast wastelands of a realm outside Imuiir. Reportedly, there was a host of rebel bandits from the Sapphire clan planning to attack their city. Vadiim was stuck in the trenches of this mission for approximately three years in human terms.

The Far Side of Hereafter, Ch. 5

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