Mystical Companions

Early the next morning, the great Lords and Generals took leave from the Citadel to discuss critical strategic plans. They also shifted back into their celestial forms to travel at infinite velocity through the vastly enormous woods of mystical whispering willows. The vociferously chattering willows concealed any communication between them. In a flash, the multi-stoned clans of legionnaires were entrenched in the thick of the woods and meticulous deliberations.
Lord Bilal continued at a brisk pace in front of the unit before halting at a peculiar location. With heaviness in his voice, he began, “This recent turn of events has put the entire Emerald Kingdom in jeopardy. It is imperative at this moment that we align as many allies as possible. If you will not support our efforts, surely your Kingdom shall fall prey to the ruthless, unscrupulous enemies. What say you?” he demanded.
Lord Chimique was known for his glamorous appearances (with the present human form being his most extravagant). He inherited the status of Lordship over all the Diamond clan territories because of his ferocity on the battlefield. His beauty was a combination of intellect, calmness, and savagery. With a cool condescension, he teased, “Perhaps the Emerald clan should have chosen stronger alliances with superior beings, to begin with, and none of this would be happening.”
Lord Bilal roared back, “Our allies in Luab are perfectly skilled at war. They simply over-estimated their own strength!”
Vadiim passionately interjected, “A messenger should have been released at the first sign of being overtaken. My soldiers would have been dispatched without hesitation to terminate the vermin properly. We only come to you after the fact, not as a necessity.”
As rapid tension sifted in, General Aysha diplomatically joined the conversation before the entities brawled. “Your allies also under-estimated the tactics of an enemy who only recently upon attack became known to them. It is difficult to conquer an opponent that has not been thoroughly investigated successfully.”
“I must admit, it was quite a wretched scheme of the cursed Yellow Toad Ogres to affiliate themselves with our ancient rivaled Sapphire clan. Their poisonous secretions could melt through the thickest iron, let alone any entity in direct contact. I tremble to think of all who lost lives on this account,” Lord Chimique acknowledged. 
“We could not save them at all when we could not even defend ourselves,” Vadiim replied.
“In all the ages, the Sapphire clan has never stooped so low as to enlist a necromancer to wield weapons coated with particles of the Crystallization stones. Lord Bilal is correct; we are all in dire straits if there is no final resolution,” General Aysha whispered.
“The despicable works of the treacherous Sapphire clan must end,” Lord Bilal raged.
Vadiim became reinvigorated and rallied further. “Let us annihilate this troublesome bunch for once and for all.”
General Aysha also felt compelled to continue to persuade Lord Chimique. “It has been over 3,000 moons since the Diamond and Emerald clans joined forces to drive out the Sapphire clan. Our success brought on eras of longevity and fruitfulness for both clans that are unparalleled with any other living beings. The Emerald Kingdom’s discovery and adoption of the magnificent Princess Keinah has thrust their kinsmen into the dawn of new beings. How can we ever compare if we forfeit on the technicality that we are all obliterated?”
Lord Chimique had long remained restless over the ages, knowing full well that the Diamond clan ranked a close 2nd to the Emerald clan because of General Vadiiamonial. The solace was that General Aysha was the only celestial being to manage a near victory over Vadiim in a duel that ended in a draw during one of the last tournaments held by the imperial Diamond twins. The revelation of Princess Keinah’s legend drove Lord Chimique to utter madness because nothing could ever match to such a rare find.
Lord Chimique swallowed his pride to ensure that his kinsmen would survive this perceived apocalypse and held a slither of hope that there could be more humans like Keinah that the Diamond clan could possess for their own Kingdom. “It seems that this matter is settled, then. Generals; prepare to launch a full-scale attack on the region of Preluab where our enemies dwell,” he declared.
After the deliberations were over, the unit returned to the Citadel that evening. Keinah waited at the main entrance. None of her radiance had diminished since the night of their arrival. Lords Bilal and Chimique were doubled over in awe at her brilliant glow. Lord Chimique was unaccustomed to entertaining any other being more beautiful than him, but he could not compete with Princess Keinah’s subtle indifference to her appearance. General Aysha immediately took a knee to bow at Keinah’s feet humbly, and the rest followed suit.
Vadiim escorted Keinah back to the lavish royal chambers where she rested. Her illuminated glow caused the luxurious articles in the room seemed to dolefully pale compared to an entity of her stature. Once Vadiim closed the doors behind him, they stood silently, glowering at each other for several moments. The trance was broken when a foot soldier gently tapped on the door to announce that mealtime would be served in the great hall. Just as Vadiim was about to exit the room, Keinah called out his name with a heavy sigh of grief. Her voice coldly stopped him in his tracks, and he reluctantly turned to witness the pain in her eyes as she trembled. “What is it?” he asked calmly.
“Can you no longer stand the sight of me?” she belted between stifled tears.
Vadiim was shocked by her accusation and even more alarmed by her sense of panic. He remembered Queen Ordessa’s discerning report of Keinah’s traumatic life and death, so he chose his words carefully. “There is not one living being who could ever deny the splendor of your extraordinary transformation since the beginning of our relations. For Celestials, time passes slowly, and everything remains consistent over multiple centuries. It is beyond our stream of consciousness to fathom your precipitous butterfly-like existence. For me, this experience is baffling, amazing, and terrifying, all at once. I know you must be within the throes of an unbearable uncertainty as you continue to come to terms with the state of your afterlife. I commend you for taking it all in with a graceful stride. You have my unwavering allegiance and undying love to cover you,” he assured her.
Keinah rushed over to him and buried her face in his chest as she loudly wept. He gripped her and caressed her coiled black hair long after she finished crying. She looked into his eyes with certainty as he gently swept away the few remaining tears from her cheeks. Then he removed the amulet bangles from her wrists and feet, as they had been rendered useless since the attack at Luab. Keinah took this as a sign of good faith that her husband gave his full support and truly accepted who she had become. As she walked behind him towards the main hall, she whispered an incantation to serve as an oath to protect Vadiim and their bond above all else.

The Far Side of Hereafter, Ch. 19


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