At the twinkle of starlight, the lovers nestled naked together, feeling satisfied and relished the euphoria. Alëxios used faerie magic to cast a dream weaver spell over the rest of the camp. All was calm. The presence of such powerful peace was in stark contrast with the hell they endured with the previous days.
Malaykah yawned and stretched her arms to embrace her new husband closer. Her mind was blown away in awe that not only was she married, but also the queen of his kingdom. To think that an ordinary woman could accomplish so much in such a short span. She thought about the citizens of Phëläniciä and how they might perceive her taking such a significant stake in their lives.
Alëxios removed the strains of her that covered her face and kissed her. Her eyes revealed confusion and curiosity, which made him smile.
“Fret not, my love. I promised you a kingdom of adoring subjects, yet it was you who won their hearts to love you. None can dispute that your bravery and compassion are unrivaled. No queen throughout this entire realm has ever displayed such measures of sacrifice and selflessness. You did not falter or run away during distressing times. For that, your name will always be held in high acclaim. There is no decree I could have invoked on my own to make it so,” he said.
Malaykah blushed at his praise but then sulked and pulled a satin sheet over her head. This surprised Alëxios at first. He playfully tugged at the corner of the sheet and said calmly, “Your thoughts are safe with me. The level of intimacy we share is sacred, and I would never betray that vulnerability or trust.”
Malaykah heard his words from within and knew he did not say them aloud. Their divine powers included telepathic communication, among many other attributes. She instantly became accustomed to the sound of his heartbeat but somehow could not resolve, knowing her thoughts could betray them both.
She got up and walked over to a basin to wash her face. The brisk air felt cool on her skin. When she turned around, he sat upon the bed, looking vexed. Malaykah poured water from a pitcher and gulped it from her glass vial as if to be severely dehydrated. The deafening silence made them both nervous.
Alëxios stood up after several minutes with his arms stretched towards her and said, “Malaykah, you are a goddess. Your divinity is protected and cannot be challenged. It may be hard for you to grasp at this very moment, but you have the ability and right to protect yourself at any and all costs. You have the power to block me or any other deity from knowing your thoughts. In this instance, you feel threatened and have naturally blocked my pathway inside your stream of consciousness. Please forgive me if you feel that I have imposed myself on you. I meant no harm.”
Malaykah gasped and pressed her thumb firmly against her lips. It had not occurred to her in all this time how her powers were naturally accessible, and his empathetic understanding of it all allowed her guard to slowly evaporate. She looked at him in amazement but did not speak. Alëxios put his arms down and sat back on the bed, patiently in silence.
With her eyes closed, she searched her thoughts to get to the bottom of what caused her such alarm. Her core was struck to realize exactly what she had been afraid for him to know. She purposefully unleashed the veil to her thoughts, so she would not have to say what she considered an awful trespass against her husband.
“Alëxios, you are a War-God and have the divine ability to protect yourself at all costs as well. So why did you allow the Tengu clan to destroy your kingdom instead of extinguishing them onsite?” she asked with her lips pursed tightly together.
Alëxios smirked at her question but intentionally withdrew his smile as to not cause more tension. Even Governor Cläuveous hinted towards dissatisfaction over how the siege was handled but dared not word his displeasure to directly take aim at the king. Without a word, he left the bed and tied a dry garment around his waist.
When Malaykah opened her eyes, he stood in front of her. She covered her mouth with both hands and flinched at his attempt to cloak her with a golden shawl. His eyes revealed anguish at her apprehension, which gave her remorse. They both sat on the lounge chair, staring at each other. There was no stitch of hostility or distrust between them.
He gently stroked her cheek and used telepathy to communicate.
“In truth, I am a War-God with limitations in this realm. Not one living being from any realm is without restrictions.” He looked towards the tent ceiling, which had an opening to let some moonlight shine through. “The marriage rituals performed in the Valley of Lilies bound us to unbreakable seal. During the siege, I used my divine senses to detect your whereabouts. You may not yet realize by now; my emotions have always been directly connected to and dependent on your well-being. Had you become one of the thousands of innocent casualties in the fray, there is no telling what amount of chaos my wrath would cause.”
Malaykah shuddered at his words but did not interrupt.
He continued out loud, “The kind of destruction I am capable of would be considered blasphemous to the Ultimate Creator, Chrëst. Though realm dominance has been callously sought after among every species through the ages, it is forbidden to permanently destroy any aspect of the realm. The penalty for such a crime would be eternal torment and damnation.”
Malaykah began to weep with her head on his chest.
“You were protecting me back then by shielding off the Tengu clan until we could all evacuate the tunnel,” she sobbed.
He lifted her head so their eyes could meet.
“A new kingdom can and will be constructed. However, I will never find another queen like you. Believe me when I say that I have searched far and long. There is no other for me but you. I suppose this is what provoked Titanëa to poison me and conspire with the Tengu clan to overthrow Phëläniciä,” he said.
Malaykah glanced at him in disbelief. Then, she quickly sat up and wiped her face.
“Do you believe the rumors to be true? I met nearly every one of your consorts, and Titanëa seemed harmless.”
Alëxios studied her face and thoughts as she allowed him. They both arrived at the same conclusion that it was impossible to deny Titanëa’s motives and actions caused her to appear to be the guilty culprit. Yet, her demeanor was likable and made them sad over the whole affair. Malaykah returned to rest her head on his chest. She closed her eyes and began to think about her daughter, Shannon.
Within a few moments, she heard bawling and the sound of a monitor beeping. She opened her eyes to see Shannon lying across her chest.
“Mama, I’m so sorry. If you come back, I promise never to disobey you again,” the girl cried.
Malaykah lifted an arm and stroked the back of his daughter’s head. This alarmed Shannon, and she began screaming for help. After a few short minutes, and young nurse with blonde hair cut in a bob entered the room. She calmly sent Shannon out and began to examine Malaykah with a stethoscope.
“Ms. Malcolm, do you know where you are?” the nurse asked.
Malaykah shook her head in confusion.
“Ms. Malcolm, I am nurse McKinley, and you are at Verene Memorial hospital,” the nurse replied.
“Hosp—it—al?” Is all Malaykah could muster up through her dry, raspy voice.
The nurse smiled with empathy. “Yes, ma’am. After that nasty scuffle with the young man, who is now in police custody, you suffered a seizure. Once we reviewed your MRI results, we found a walnut-sized tumor on your brain. The tumor was benign, but you went into a coma during surgery. You’ve been unconscious for seven weeks,” she said.
~Ch. 15, The Realm Beyond the Stars and Sea~