[The Turning Tide] Unravelling The Puzzle

Aerian had listened to Hades and Jade as they had laid out the events of Jades conversation with her mother, it bothered her a little but, her mother refusing to acknowledge her existence was actually barely something new. Aerian knew she was loved but sometimes an inconvenience or problem to be dealt with at another time was largely her mother’s belief.
“You should speak with her, but be careful, and,” Aerian said to Virra gently after they had left “Let her talk, my mother does enjoy the sound of her own voice,”
Virra looked to Aerian, nodding slowly. “I will see what I can come up with…if anything different.” She stood and leaned down to kiss Aerian gently. Though left the cottage and made her way to the dungeon. Once outside the gates, she gave the word that Hades approved it. Stepping in when the cell opened.
Ascondia glanced up at the new comer to her cell, he eyes drank in the form of the young woman before she looked back to the floor, “Another tainted soul come to torture me?”
Virra leaned against the wall nearest the door, folding her arms across her chest with a leg bent. “No. Something tells me in secret you’d get off on it. I’m here to listen to your story.” She said calmly, but her words were on the frigid side.
“My story?” Ascondia replied softly “I went to bed last night and the next thing I know I’m being dragged here and you’re hitting me in the head, I’m then locked up and told things are not as I think they are and no one will let me speak with my husband, though I am curious as to where I’m being held, and of course why”
“You are being held because there is a war. This is for your protection and others, not JUST including Kane.” Virra stated still with a voice of indifference. “Z’ress really messed with your head.”
“Yes so I have been told, but you have a taint, you share the burden of the seer, which is rare in this realm, and yet I see Elcarus blood but you are no child of ours, perhaps if you let me go I can return to Elvera and we can sort things out, I’m sure Kane would reward you well,” Ascondia spoke gentle and yet there was an air of confidence in her words, an order from the Queen, after all, couldn’t be refused.
“Not going to happen. You asked where we are and right now you are in the Elcarus estate in Dentarius. There is no sense in returning to the castle since Kane is here.”
“Then why is he not here, getting me out of this cell?!” Ascondia snapped back angrily now “And how have my powers been sealed?”
Ascondia looked flustered as she glared at Virra “I can open a portal to cross the bloody realm, reverse time if I so choose and yet here I am stuck in a cell because apparently, I cannot do either, my powers are out, and they weren’t until I arrived here!”
“Ah, yes that. Well, it wouldn’t be a dungeon with the ability to utilize spells, now would it?” Virra pushed from the wall, straightening. “What is the last thing you remember before arriving here? Think hard.”
“Making love with husband, speaking of having children, then I went to sleep, the next thing I’m been dragged through the underground by a thief and a dress maker, ordered to open a portal here,” Ascondia replied darkly
Virra tilted her head at her words. “What events had taken place in Everlands at that point? It seems you are in a time loop, one that is fixed in your mind…Do you remember the Dragon Wars?”
“There haven’t been dragons in The Everlands in generations girl, and they are a little difficult to hide? Ceremon tried to take the throne and was killed by Kane, Hades apparently has had an attitude change but the last I saw him, we had sex and were discovered resulting in him stabbing Kane and fleeing, the High Council have declared The Everlands a free realm, travel to the human dimensions have been permanently suspended due to them trying to kill us at a given notice, Kane an I have been married for around a year now, so we created him around seven years ago, The Everlands is a much safer place than it once was,” Ascondia stated quickly as she tried to answer the question.
“That’s not the truth of it right now. You know it by the way you spoke in a rushed tone, you doubt. Think harder, close your eyes and sink deeper.” Virra in her calm, detached voice.
“You asked for recent events, those are ones I can remember” Ascondia snapped back
“You’re hopeless…when you said Kane was created, what did you mean? Who created him and for what purpose? Surely not to be a fuck toy.”
“Of course not, that was pure accident, we created Kane to balance a power vacuum in the realm, Ceremon was building power and we had no counter, we came across a formula to create a warrior to counter his forces, and so we created a vessel to hold that power, we created Kane. It turns out he came with things such as emotion and understanding too, he was kind and caring, soft not like Hades, who was deemed a failure apparently infusing our souls with a human one just isn’t a smart idea, but Kane, he was so much more complete, I couldn’t help but love him, he trained our armies and we were able to push Ceremon back and defeat most of his forces, the rest scattered to the out lands.” Ascondia replied
“I thought it was Ceremon that created Hades and Kane…even Hareover.” She appeared unimpressed, it was a guise to her actual surprise. “It seems to me, that you won’t speak honestly to anyone but Kane.”
“Ceremon? Why would he want to create someone to rival his own power?” Ascondia replied “If Kane were here he would tell you all this and get me out of this,”
“Oh, he is here. I’ll get him for you.” Virra grinned wickedly, turning to leave the cell and gather, Kane. By this time and Aishani’s condition, he would be in their room.
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Kane was at the desk in their room as he was pouring through various scriptures and historical records, his mind still turning over the information from Hades. As he would turn to watch his wife for a moment before returning to his work.
There was a knock on the door that spliced through the silence of the room, this caused Aishani to stir but otherwise remained asleep.
Kane made his way to the door opening just a little to see Virra on the other side, he slid the door open a little further and slid through.
“Evening Virra, how went your chat with our guest? Or should I prepare for more questions than we have answers for?” His words were fraught with frustration and a lack of answers, something he was far from used to.
“Her memories are scrambled, Kane. She does not have any recollection of the Dragon Wars, in fact, she still believes the two of you are married. Aishani is not going to be very tolerant of that fact…” She glanced down the hall then back to him. “To her Ceremon is dead. I didn’t know you were created by her and the High Council…the last she remembers was when you caught her and Hades amidst an act…something about stabbing then finishing making love to you and speaking of children. The next was the arrival of Zia and Elsa dragging her through the dungeons forcing her to open a portal here. For as much as I hate to say it, you are the only one she really wants to talk to…”
Kane looked down the hall then back toward the bedroom door before finally back to Virra.
“I wasn’t created, but the incident she speaks of was a long time ago, Ascondia was originally with Hades but he let slip of mine and our brothers existence and so Ascondia reached out to us for help, when I arrived in Elvera Hades flew into a fit of rage and stabbed me twice, had he not been a lousy aim, or sub consciously aware we are family, I should have been dead. I survived but in doing so Ascondia and the High Council chose that time to wipe my head clean, implant it with false memories of being created to serve,” Kane kept his voice low as he explained the history of the his coming to her “And I did for a long time, however between Aerian being born and having to protect the two of them, Ascondia being sent to the human realm to hide her pregnancy and the clone somehow the magics binding my memories began to fade, and in time I became aware of my true heritage, when the real Ascondia returned to Elvera, Aerian and I left,”
“None of that matters now, Kane. What does is the fact that we have to screw Ascondia’s head in straight. She is such in the past, Aerian maybe too much of a shock for her. But the key is you. You have to talk to her.” Virra glanced to the door. “Else I fear the emotions of Aishani may kill Ascondia. She is stable but the wolf and pregnancy make her…unpredictable.”
“Especially with Ascondia claiming me as hers,” Kane rubbed his jaw before he nodded, “I will leave Aishani a message and we will go speak with the crazy Queen in our dungeon”
Kane slid back into the bedroom to leave his ‘Speaking to Ascondia seems things are a little complicated, but I will inform you all this once I have spoken with her, Love Always Kane’
As he returned with his cloak he nodded to Virra “I trust you will accompany me, there are things even I would rather not do alone,”
“Kane Elcarus…afraid to do something alone. I wouldn’t miss it.” She teased with a smirk.
“Have you met the woman” Kane chuckled in reply as they made their way back to the cells, the guard nodded and let them through as they made their way to the cell.
The door opened and Ascondia smiled as she leapt at Kane “Where the hell have you been baby?! God, I’ve been going crazy waiting for you, why have you got me locked up?” Ascondia tried to kiss Kane only for him to extract himself from the embrace.
“Like a rabbit…” Virra muttered, in fact, the display was sickening to her. Seeing Ascondia and Aishani, it was disgusting to her at the contrast. “I brought him, as I said.”
“So you did, a tainted soul who can do something,” Ascondia replied almost as a thought that directly to Virra, “So Kane when can I get out of here?”
“Not anytime soon, Ascondia something is off, you and I was a long time ago, and I also am well aware of the truth in how we actually found each other, you were taken, prisoner and we suspect a drow named Z’ress has somehow messed with your head,” He was unsure of his words, or even what was actually going on at this point “We need to find out what, you also need to stop pissing off my family, Virra here is engaged to,” he stopped and looked to Virra, not even sure if he should be telling her Aerian was a live flesh and blood woman.
“You may as well. But she is not going to meet with her…I get the feeling this is what Z’ress wanted…”
“It’s a lot of memory to remove, but I suspect if she saw Aerian, well we know where that ends up,” Kane settled back against the door as Ascondia kicked at the ground and stormed back to seat herself on the cot.
“You’re supposed to love me” She spat angrily
“I haven’t loved you in a long time Ascondia, I’m sorry but there it is, I am married and trying to stop our realm from being destroyed, unfortunately I have a better chance of doing that if we can unscramble your damn head,” Kane sighed deeply as he looked to Virra “Unless there’s something else at play, we know she wants to kill Aerian, remove our ability to see ahead, but what if they are trying to remove someone else from the equation as well?”
Kane didn’t even wait as the thought hit him, he locked the cell door and took off back into the mansion, arriving at his office and beginning to search for something among the paper work.
When he returned to the office, Kane knew it before he even entered, Aishani was awake and sitting in his office chair. She stood with a hand on her swollen belly, no expression in her face but acknowledged him with a glance of her smoldering golden eyes. She was nearing her wolf state.
Virra had followed him from the cell, as stealthy and soundless as a cat. She was in the room but stopped at the door at the presence of Aishani. “What are you looking for?”
Kane smiled softly to his wife “Feeling any better my love?” before he carried on searching, his eyes glancing over paper titles and scroll names until he dropped one on the desk and unravelled it.
“Ascondia is one of the most powerful people in the realm, but not the most powerful, only one has that and that would be our healer, whatever they have done will take a lot to undo and they are likely counting on us bringing Stacy out of hiding, we cannot of course, but long ago Sarantha gave me something should we ever need it, it’s just a little bit more of a gamble than I’d like, still we seem to have a few of these in this war so what’s one more,”
Kane stated quickly as he began reading the piece of paper before him, “Most of the pieces we have in storage, the rest is fairly simple to come by with the right contacts”
Aishani remained silent while her hand was resting on the side of her swollen belly, Kane, would he look could see the form of her fangs beneath the surface of her lips. Her golden eyes were fixed on him and then flickered every so often down to the movement of papers, as the final one was set on the desk, she moved over to his side with gaze down.
Virra then entered the room more fully, to stand at Kane’s opposite side, looking to the scroll. “Stacy is out of the question,” Aishani spoke and her tone was a very sensual purr, saturated into a primal depth. Virra glanced to Aishani, distracted for a moment, then down again. “What do we need then that we don’t have, my love?”
“Time is the thing we need and don’t have” Kane replied before he looked over the page, “We have everything just not in one place, I will reach out to those lines for the other ingredients, but it is going to take time, Aerian should then be able to put it together,”
“You know how Aerian hates being told what to do…so why don’t you ask her?” Virra added idly, while Aishani slipped to sit on the edge of the desk.
“You can do the convincing,” Aishani said calmly. “What exactly is she to do? Do not forget that our fiery daughter is tied to Virra.”
“Oh I wasn’t planning on telling her to do it, but she is by far better gifted at this than I am, she will require Virras help because of that link my love, they will need to the mix the potion in a dose enough to undo Z’ress’ block, we then have to convince Ascondia to drink it,” Kane replied gently “Though part of me would rather just let you force her my love, it seems somewhat over kill”
“Don’t suppose you have an illegal chemist contact tucked away Virra?” Kane smiled darkly “I know your fathers trade wasn’t just slavery and mercenary work, we need to reach out to them and have them bring what we need, they have this immunity against any retribution from us on this occasion, even I know we need to bend the rules now and again, Death root isn’t to come by nor is it generally used,”
“Well…I had a personal contact, one that never went through my Pops. Even she wouldn’t speak to him, an elder in a perilous part of the forests…None enter that haven’t had her blessing. Though, I can wager that she would allow for myself and Aerian to enter since we share the same bond. I can gather Aerian and we can leave at once.” Virra stated, by the words it was clear this old woman in the forest was dangerous though also was the closest being she had to a mother.
“Oh, I would love to force it down her throat…” Aishani growled softly with a flash in her golden eyes and a sharpness to her wolfish grin.
Kane chuckled softly as he took Aishanis hand “I know you would, but we must play nice, as much as it annoys the living hell out of me,”
“As for Aerian and yourself Virra, be careful out there, Ceremon will have his spies out and we know Aerian is a target, you are her partner and they are aware of that which makes you dangerous to them, they may want to take Aerian but I wouldn’t discount them wanting to kill you,” His words were sincere and gentle “So I want you both to come home to us, am I clear?”
“You worry too much, Old Man.” Virra chuckled with a wink. “I’ll go to Aerian and we will leave immediately.” She turned and briskly left the room.
Aishani sighed softly after the door closed. “Jade could slip the tonic into Ascondia’s tea. I’m sure she could make something to relax and mall the taste and odour.”
“One step at a time my love,” Kane placed the paper back into his desk before turning to her “So how are you feeling?”
“I am going to send Shadow to watch after our daughter and Virra.” Until now, Kane hadn’t realized crumpled in one hand was the note he left earlier, Aishani moved to then look out the window. “Speaking to Ascondia seems things are a little complicated, but I will inform you all this once I have spoken to her…” Clearly, this note had done more damage then good, by the subtle growl from her throat. “So, speak. What has happened, besides the fact that her brain is scrambled due to Z’ress. I sense you are avoiding speaking to me on something, what is it?”
“Scrambled is one word, wiped would be more accurate, as far as we can tell,” Kane spoke softly, but had no intention of hiding the details from his wife, now or anytime after that fact, “The last details she remember are shortly during or after our first anniversary, she remembers nothing of me since I was under her thrall and we were wed, even before Aerian was born,”
Her back was to Kane, though, he noted the tension in her shoulders at his words. “So…in essence, she believes that you are hers?” There was no denying of the possessiveness that tickled the growl in her voice. “Aerian, should not see her, this is bait in my mind.”
“I made no bones in correcting her of that fact, and that I have in fact long since moved on from been her plaything,” Kane replied quickly “And I would agree that Aerian is still a catalyst in all this, they seek to blind us, both removing Aerians power from our hands and of course our daughter from our lives, neither an outcome I am willing to allow to come to fruition,”
“Oh, for fucksake, Kane. You may have corrected her in words, though, we are speaking of Ascondia lost in the past. I am sure she is still stubborn as now and spoiled.” Aishani closed her eyes while watching him in the reflection of the window. “I get the feeling that decisions will need to be made, sacrifices as well. But, in all this, there is a plan that Z’ress has and the seed is planted…” From outside the window, Kane saw the skitter of Shadow across the courtyard in the direction of Aerian and Virra’s cottage. “As much as I despise this, perhaps, you should spend more time with Ascondia. Learn what portions of her memory are manipulated or absent.”
“I’d rather not,” Kane sighed darkly “I am still very much unable to forgive for her taking so much of my life, even our daughter is detached and refuses to give her mother credit more than being the one who brought her into this world, I see no reason in trying to piece her head together, I see no point in fixing her either but the fact is we could do with the power boost she’d provide”
Aishani closed her eyes, turning now too have Kane. “We need this power. I, unfortunately, ask not of this realm or the magics such possess. My heart is here and with you. I don’t like this one bit…though one thing I’m concerned with is my sisters. If Z’ress brought one or both, they are out for blood…unless. Are we positive we even have Ascondia? One of my sisters is an expert illusionist…”
Kane looked to Aishani “Illusionist?” There was a genuine surprise in his voice, an option he had actually failed to consider. “Then could she be in our cells?”
“It could be possible…Do you know for a fact that Ascondia is whom she says she is?” Aishani looked to him with an enigmatic expression. “The eldest is Xull’jra. Any one of my sisters would love just for the chance to destroy me….”
“Her memories seem intact, but to take out such a huge gap I cannot figure the logic, except to draw out Stacy,” Kane scratched his head for a moment “But she is correct in the details of how I was controlled all those years ago, I guess we could press her as only the real Ascondia knows how it was done”
“We? Are you sure that’s wise, my love?” She held a hand on her belly. “I’m not sure that Ceremon or Z’ress are aware of my current state…”
“You are the best person to challenge her perception of the realm, and if it’s your sister, I wouldn’t know” Kane replied softly “We just need to determine if the risk is worth it?”
“I’m not sure, I trust myself, my love. My emotions are very high strung right now with the children in my womb…I was actually very possessive of you when I read the note.” Aishani lowered her gaze to hide the shame. “I trust you, my love. But, there is a way, I had a brother. He was sacrificed. You see in Drow society it was common to kill the males in the house if they were weak…mostly it was up to the Matriarch to do such. His name was K’yorl, you would see recognition in her expression if such was mentioned, a twinge of hatred.”
“We will handle it, my love, I will speak her when Jade next pays her a visit, for the moment we have a lot in place and we should take time to assess those facts,” Kane leant to kiss her cheek gently “Just another day in Dentarius”
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[The Turning Tide] The Past Will Always Confront The Present

Ascondia stirred slowly as her eyes adjusted the dimness of the cell, she looked to the door, before slowly making her way to her feet. Peering through the bars she could dimly make out the walls beyond. It didn’t help the thudding in her head, as she slammed her hand on the door.
“I am not in Elvera?” She muttered darkly
The door to the dungeon creaked open, moaning in agony of the cold moisture that clung to the weight of the hinges. A soft light was shown and very light, soft steps began to walk in the direction of the very cell of Ascondia. The warmth of cherry blossom’s wafted in the mildew aroma of the cell, a peek out would deliver the exotic sight of a female with her dark hair up in a beautiful bun and wrapped in silk of a kimono, holding a tray of snacks and a tea pot with a cup, with her arm carrying a garment. Though behind her was Hades, a basin in his arms and towel tossed over his shoulder.
“Good evening, Lady Ascondia…I…I am Jade. Your head must hurt from the events leading up to this, allow us to enter and I have prepared a tea for such a thing.”
Ascondia raised her eyes to look Jade over her, before looking to Hades behind.
“Where is my husband, and why are we not home?”
“Your husband?” Jade enquired, glancing to Hades in order for him to unlock the cell for them to enter.
Ascondia looked flustered as she glared at Hades, meanwhile, Hades slid the key into the lock to open the door.
“Step back, don’t make this awkward,” He stated firmly.
“Mmm not your usual line, so where is he?” Ascondia replied
“I actually have no clue what you are rambling about, now step back from the door,” Hades repeated firmly.
Ascondia muttered something before retreating to her bed and seating herself on her cot. She kept her eyes on Jade now as the two entered the small cell.
“So which house does the little Kitsune work for?” There was a self-satisfaction her words now.
Jade was momentarily surprised by Ascondia’s words at her true nature, though entered and moved to place down the tray. “Lady Ascondia, who is your husband?” Calmly she poured the tea into a cup while offering it to her.
Ascondia watched Jade before looking up to Hades and then back, “Very well seeing as we are all avoiding questions it seems, I am married to Commander of the Everlandian Army, Kane Elcarus, which Hades you know as he’s your brother”
Jade looked to Hades then, returning her gaze to Ascondia. “I was to be turned over to Hareover as a slave. But as you know slavery is forbidden in Dentarius. My caravan was turned over as a payment for free passage. This leaving me here.” Though she offered the cup to Ascondia. “You are no longer married to Kane, Lady. You were a prisoner to Ceremon and Z’ress…”
“Ceremon is dead, Kane killed him less than a month ago,” Ascondia stated flatly “And last I heard you were locked in some cave, with your brothers’ blood on your hands,”
“Yea, just how hard did Virra hit you?” Hades stated “A lot has changed, even you have changed, or apparently not, excuse us a moment,” Hades took Jade’s hand leading her from the cell and closing the door.
“Either this is one hell of an act or Z’ress has screwed her head up far worse than we could have predicted, we need to tread carefully darling she isn’t going to trust me for a second, she is correct in terms of what she is saying the last time she saw me I stabbed Kane and left him for dead, thus giving her and the High Council chance to wipe his mind and fill it full of all kinds of nonsense, I’m going to put four guards on the door and go speak with Kane, if she is telling the truth she is less of a threat, if she isn’t well two of the guards are mages that pack a punch, if that is OK with you?”
She set down the cup on the desk and left the cell with Hades. Listening to him silently but glanced to the cell door then too him. “I agree. Speak to Kane. I ask going to tend to her and get her cleaned up. I will do my best to keep conversation minimal. Though is it that obvious, that I am a kitsune?”
“In honesty it doesn’t surprise she knows, she like Aerian can pick up on certain others don’t, it is far from obvious but she is Queen of the Everlands so it stands to reason she would know” Hades smiled softly taking her hands gently “Let her talk, answer her questions unless it relates to our future plans, in which case avoid as best you can, I will be back as quickly as I can, but perhaps she will trust you and we will have a few more pieces of this puzzle by the time I am, and remember I love you,”
She offered him that beautiful smile and lifted his hands to press her lips against him. “I never forget. As I love you as well.” But after she returned to the cell. “Lady, allow me to cleanse you and I have taken liberty to bring clothing.”
“You can’t trust him you know, he will turn the first chance he gets,” Ascondia softly there was a strange sense of concern to her words, “You are such a pretty young thing, so be careful with him,”
Jade offered Ascondia a warm smile. “Thank you for your concern, Lady. Though the ring on my finger states his heart.” She began to undress the once proud Queen to begin to ritualistically bathe and dress her in a beautiful gown.
Ascondia didn’t fight the attempt to clean and dress her, nor did she speak much further for a while, as she watched the young Kitsune.
“Kane cannot be away from me for long, it isn’t good for him,” She said finally, “The magicks that keep him alive are carefully balanced, without me they will collapse and he will die,”
“I’m far from fragile, Hades knows this,” Jade said softly. “Of course, as you should. Though now, I’m the last of my kind. It is a sad tale but a truth that is undeniable.”
“That is sad, but you and I have something in common, though I am here by accident or design depending whom you ask,” Ascondia replied softly “We each have our gifts, and our purpose, it seems yours is to serve as mine was to lead,”
She looked to Ascondia for a moment. “Mine was simply to carry on the kitsune line…but I ask the last. Our culture is that men are the stronger and more dominant. Though here in Dentarius my life has changed, as well as my view thanks to Hades. I tended to him initially not quite grasping the concept of freedom…of choice or mind. But things changed, he would have died. Though now as you can see, he thrives…” Jades words were soft and gentle, displaying her love for Hades.
“Is he still good? Does he make you squeal? He was always so aggressive, I made sure we toned that down with Kane, he could get a little intense, made it hard to walk sometimes,” Ascondia chuckled darkly at her words, there was nothing more than a little of her creeping through if only for a moment a statement for a reaction, one she wondered on for a moment.
Jade looked suddenly to Ascondia surprised. “You…and…and Hades? You mean while you were married…?”
Ascondia laughed softly and nodded “A time or two yes, sometimes you just need more than you are getting, but for the most part, he was before Kane, why else do you think he stabbed his brother and left him to die. If not for the fact Kane stole the woman he owned? Or so he liked to believe,”
Jade looked down to the tray that had been eaten. “As far as your question…it is truthfully none of your business, Lady Ascondia. Though, Hades and I are engaged.” She moved to gather the tray and clothing. “The tea should help you sleep, Lady. Speak to the guards outside the door should you have need of me. I will return for breakfast otherwise.”
“Forgive me, my dear, I did not mean to offend, I’m not used to being locked up you see, as Queen this is quite the violation of our laws, I’m just curious as to whom will be losing their head over this? And of course where is my husband?” Ascondia stated calmly her voice now back to the same calm tone of before.
“In due time, Lady. You know how to call me for…excuse me.” Jade said, her words wavered for a moment by emotion and knocked on the door to be released from the cell. She offered a small nod to the guards, though moved quickly from the dungeon to drop the tray into the kitchen and the clothing to the laundry. But then went to the garden, sitting down staring at the fountain.
It didn’t take long before she felt the familiar presence, as Hades sat on the grass before her, slowly he looked up catching her eyes.
“The guard said you left pretty quickly, dare I ask what she did?”
She looked to Hades while her chest rose and fell rapidly from the weight of emotion. “You…and her? Tell me, was it while Kane was wed to her? She said…sometimes you need more then you are getting…”
Hades felt the wind ripped from him as he looked at her, even if he had wanted to, the look in his eye was all too clear, as he let his gaze return to the ground.
“We had our moments, and yes those were while she was with Kane, but Jade I was a very different person back in those days, everything I did then was to hurt Kane, I wanted him to feel it, but he never did, you can’t feel what your magically bound not to, I do regret those days Jade, truthfully I was blinded by hate and anger, with both of them”
Jade slipped from the bench to style with her ankles tucked beneath her bottom, lifting his chin to meet her exotic almond slanted warm brown eyes. “She says I pretend to be fragile for you…do you believe that?”
“I think that considering my history I am fortunate to have found anyone who will put up with me, or even waste their time trying to understand me, but here you are and for that I am thankful Jade, every single day” Hades’ words were soft though an obvious attempt to duck the question, in truth he was unsure of his own answer, he loved her with all he was, but there was a side he kept buried deep down, much like Kane’s vampiric half, Hades had been left with a demon that would drive him crazy at times.
She offered him a small shy smile, caressing his cheek. “Hades, I am much more then I seem…as I know that you are. Please, if there is anything, you wish to tell me. Now is the time. I’d prefer to hear it from you instead of a woman…from your past. I love you. Nothing or no one can change that, but do not ever let me doubt myself.”
“There are parts of me even I’m afraid of Jade,” Hades replied softly
Jade took his hands into hers, purposefully displaying the ring he had presented her. “No. You are allowing this fear to rule. Instead, take control. I…I can help be your rock. I’m not afraid because I know you won’t hurt me.”
“I don’t doubt you’d take anything I did and more, but that side Jade he would hurt you for the pure fact he enjoys it, morality isn’t part of that side, it is simple pleasure by any and all means, a side I have subdued in favour of remaining in control, of rebuilding my reputation, in favour of finding love,”
His thumb ran over the ring gently “You may not be afraid Jade, but I am, that’s why I was so dangerous all those years ago, I wasn’t afraid of the demon I learned long after I had to be”
She curled her hands in his arms pressed each knuckle to her lips, looking to him. “Perhaps…perhaps that is why we found each other. To some, a kitsune is a demon. When in fact, it is a spirit, in the beginning, I fought against such and if I let it consume me without fear…I could combustion or become a Nogitsune. A dark kitsune…it can be summoned but once done such cannot be controlled. This Oni created chaos…revels in it…I can help. Let me teach you to control your Thai Chi.”
“I think that may help, though please if there ever comes a time he gets loose, you need to put me down, that is the agreement I have with Kane, I don’t want to harm you Jade in any way” There was wry smile in his words “Unless you ask really nicely,”
She stared at him in disbelief, shaking her head. “I can’t…I wouldn’t. Because no matter the circumstances I would be with you through anything. I have been through much…you possibly couldn’t understand. Nothing would kill me, but kill you.”
Hades smiled softly nodded “I thought you may say that just then be aware Kane may not hesitate, or you may be the one to bring me back, and I pray it’s the latter truly I do,”
Jade appeared ready to spill tears. “Hades, please. Don’t say that…it seems as though when it happens that you are going to give up. Don’t…don’t please…” Those eyes were large in panic. “I struggled with my kitsune…but I never gave up. You can’t!”
Hades smiled softly as he wiped the tears gently “Forgive me, look at me being all self-centred and miserable, I haven’t given up, I wouldn’t there are too many people I love to leave, and of course, I have no plans to leave the only woman who has made me see sense”
He placed his hands on her thighs gently now looking into her eyes “Kane always said my ability to be miserable was my worst trait, I have not given up, only warning you ahead of time, I wouldn’t just lie down and let it happen, I fight every day because this realm deserves to be protected and you are part of this realm and I would protect you to the ends of it and back,”
She nodded to him, though the tears continued to fall and dropped down her cheeks to her chin and plopped on his hands against her thigh. “I don’t ever want to hear you say that, my love. You have so much to fight for, not just in this war. I will teach you, Thai Chi, it will help you control and find that centre. Such helped me when the darkness threatened.”
“Sounds like a plan, so did our dear Queen speak anything else of use?” Hades smiled now diverting things back to the task at hand “Kane seems to suspect we do not have all the pieces, as usual,”
She sighed softly. “She kept referring to Kane as her husband. That there was hell to pay for whom locked her up. It seems in this past she’s living, Aerian has yet to exist…”
“Hmmm, so how would that translate to her trying to kill her daughter,” Hades mused for a moment, “And why would she still believe her and Kane are married, I get making me look bad, with truths, but to believe something that hasn’t been for some time, not sure of the purpose on that one,”
“Perhaps, they were not finished with Ascondia when we took her?” Jade suggested.
Hades rubbed the back of his neck and sighed deeply his own interactions with Z’ress had not been fun in the least bit.
“She made a mess of me, you saw that, so whatever she has done to Ascondia, we aren’t going to know, we should see if Virra can speak with her, if we get no sense then it will be down to Kane and we pray Aishani doesn’t kill her in the meantime, she will not be happy with someone claiming Kane their own,”
Jade nodded to Hades. “I agree. Shall we then go talk to them?” She adjusted to stand the tears had ceased falling but the remnants remained in her face.

[The Turning Tide] Always an Angle

There was loud crack that rattled the very foundations of the mansion, as it brought everyone running, Aerian and Virra arrived first to see the portal erupt into the air between them and the mansion, it hung in the air swirling mass of energy.

Aerian felt the power as it prickled across her flesh, she drew her bow and knocked and arrow aiming dead centre. There were enemies that came through thrown from the other side, and quickly dispatched either by them or the guards. A few moments passed and Zia tumbled through covered in blood and injured, before she was followed by Ascondia, there was something hollow in her eyes as she stalked the injured Zia.

Aerian swallowed before she let an arrow loose hitting her mother in the shoulder stumbling her back “Bring her down Virra!” Aerian called as she shot to put herself between Zia and Ascondia.

Virra didn’t need any more words, when the arrow flew through the air, her body collided with Ascondia just as the blunt end of her dagger was slammed against Ascondia’s temple to render the woman unconscious. 

After she panted and glances to Aerian. “Lock her up. Come I need help.”

Another moment after Elsa also tumbled through and the vortex collapsed in on itself with a roar. She looked flustered as she hoisted Zia to her feet and looked to Virra and Aerian.

“Well then ladies, let’s get these two locked up shall we”

Aerian looked stunned at the dress maker now decked in more roguish garbs, twin swords at her back.

“What are you doing here”

“It’s a war for the realm my dear, can’t let you and your family have all the fun now can we? A little bird told me there was a plan to extract the queen and I suspected an unexpected twist would be required,” Elsa replied with a wry smile.

They made their way to the cells, which had been cleaned since the previous occurrences, Elsa shoved Zia in and closed the door.

“You still owe me baby!” Zia called at Aerian, who merely rolled her shoulders and went to help Virra. Elsa cut her off with a hand, and made her way to Virra to aid with locking up the Queen.

Virra set Ascondia on a cot in the corner and thanked Elsa for the assistance as the cell door was slammed closed with a sigh. “Seems it is a natural reaction to knock out your bloodline.” Virra chuckled but looked to Elsa with a grin. “Nice look. Thanks for the help. Seems Zia needed it. Firefly, we need to find your Pops. He needs to know that we have a guest.”

Aerian smiled and nodded as she waited for Virra before taking her hand. They made their way to the main hall, where Kane and Aishani were now, he looked up to see Aerian and Virra followed by Elsa which caused him to raise a brow.

“Oh do come now Kane, you know I am as capable in combat as anyone else, and you needed someone you could trust to make sure Ascondia made it back alive” Elsa stated with a smile “Pleasure to see you and the lil ones Lady Aishani”

“Intrigued to know how you found out,” Kane replied with a smile

“Lady Aishani sent Shadow, Shadow informed the Unicorns and the Dires and they in turn sent for me,” She shrugged softly “It would seems they didn’t trust your thief”

Aishani simply chuckled to Elsa’s words, rising with a hand on her swollen belly and back. “Shadow knows what is at stake, I’m glad she took the initiative.” She moved over to Elsa and embraced her, as best possible with the size of her stomach, just then one of the unborn kicked, causing her to grimace. “It seems, the little ones are happy to hear you too. I should have known that you were a fighter, impressive.” Aishani winked to her. Virra stood stiffly with an arm around Aerian’s waist. “Both of which are locked in the dungeon. Though, I have a feeling that our…little thief will call for her reward.”

Aishani grinned, the newly extended canines giving her a wolfish presence. “Then we must see what it is that she requires. I am not entirely too sure of her crime to begin with. After all, she proved her worth but not always is it enough to trust one such as her.”

“She has a reputation for taking things that don’t belong to her, the last of consequence being a large shipment of mythril” Kane replied “It would fall under lesser crimes, but considering our issues with mythril before Emerald City,”

“Which is strange as your daughter has the same problem” Hades smirked now entering the room “I heard the commotion outside, I take it our guests have arrived”

“Yea but I took ancient and misplaced treasures, not things that were needed or deemed essential at any given time” Aerian tried to sound hurt by her Uncles words but she just laughed “I was well paid too, besides Zia got hurt, we should at least make sure she doesn’t end up dead”

“Did she try anything other than getting Ascondia out?” Kane looked up to Elsa.

“She has an agenda, what this is I cannot say, she got us in, as we were making our way out Ascondia caused a scene and caught the guards attention, she was caught by one of them that’s when I believe she was hurt, still she was able to ensure Ascondia opened the portal and brought us here, I covered their escape and here we are, whatever her angle I suspect it has to do with her predicament here as opposed to anything else, I may be wrong” Elsa quickly laid out the details of their escapades.

“She did as we asked, there is no reason not to honour our agreement” Aerian added

Aishani exchanged a glance with Kane briefly, then looked to Aerian. “Yes, I agree, though, it depends on what she wants. I believe freedom should be at her fingertips providing she is willing to work for it. Indeed, this did help but in it there was an ulterior motive. I will speak to her upon it with Kane present as well as her injuries. I have little…tolerance as of late with my hormones. Jade you are to create meals for Ascondia, I think it only fitting that you tend to her, begin that now.”

Jade bowed gracefully to Aishani, casting one glance to Hades before she slipped from the room to begin her instructions. Virra chuckled now. “Listen to you, Aishani. Pregnant and bossy as ever.” Aishani grinned wolfishly to Virra. “I have to embrace my place in this realm regardless of my current physical technicality.”

“Aerian you go nowhere near your mother,” Kane added firmly

“Yea I have no intent to end up dead,” Aerian replied solemnly “But Jade and Virra need to be careful around her, and Jade certainly shouldn’t go in with her alone”

“She won’t be,” Hades smiled “I’ll be with her, I trust our other Queen will be speaking with her at some point?”

“Of course. But, first, to neglect a thief is not a good thing. She needs to know that she is as important as Ascondia. That is why I chose her first, from one a thief to another…it may be best.” She moved to place a hand upon Hades’ shoulder, then glanced to Kane. “See to it that Elsa is comfortable, Hades. I’m sure she is exhausted.”

“Oh don’t trouble yourself over me dear,” Elsa smiled softly

“You heard her,” Hades smiled softly “Let’s get you to a room, relax, there’s more to be done yet,” Hades stated softly.

He led her off as Aerian watched them leave, before sliding against Virra. Kane led the group down toward the cells, they talked small talk and plans ahead, they had in truth won with the retrieval of Ascondia, and with Stacy out of reach it would at least slow Ceremon and Z’ress’ plans.

Kane unlocked the door to Zia’s cell, she had her hand pressed to her side as she was stemming the blood flow.

In part, Aishani and Kane fed, the blood really wouldn’t affect them. She gave instruction to Kane in order to gather some medical supplies, including a needle and thread, would he hesitate, Aishani would growl at him in the deep guttural sound. Once he had left to gather the requested items, Aishani turned to face Zia. “Lay down. This is going to hurt…a lot, but, you already know that.” She stated simply, moving to begin cutting Zia’s tunic in order to expose the wound, though tore a portion of her jacket to press against the wound. “I know you have an angle, any decent thief does. To save us and you the trouble, don’t talk riddles. Out with it.”

“Always, but,” She squealed as Aishani applied pressure, “Shit that hurts, my angle here has always been the same, Aerian,” She sighed softly then squirmed against the pain that ripped at her from the injuries, two very deep lacerations inflicted by blades. “She was the best of our group, smart, fierce, beautiful, but her contacts ran deeper than anyone, she could find work when things were bad, our group misses her leadership, I want her back,”

“As you can see, she has a fire that returned to her. I cannot make that decision for Aerian, though, we have bigger things to be concerned with, Zia. Virra is her strength now and the two are bound by promising words, this you will have to take up with her after things are secured in the realm. Right now it is chaos, keep that in mind.” Aishani kept the pressure on Zia, pressing a knee into the fabric and injury, holding the position until Kane arrived with the required items.

Zia cried out as she felt the knee on her wounds “What’s Virras deal anyway? She looks so stern and mean, not the kind whom I would have pictured Aery with, oh shit!! That hurts!”

“Open wounds tend to do that,” Kane stated as he made his way in placing things down on the bed beside Aishani “Do I need to keep you locked up, or is there a chance you’re going to play nice? You can handle yourself, we need that right now, but you know how I work, trust with me if very thin and it wouldn’t be the first time that’s come back to bite me with you,”

“You don’t know her. My suggestion is get to know her, before you cast that dagger in her direction. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you are jealous of Virra.” Aishani suggested, glancing back to Kane, gathering the alcohol while removing the pressure of the wound and pouring it upon Zia’s wound then offering her the bottle. “You act as though never being hurt before.” She muttered beginning to clean the wound and then sterilise the needle and thread, instructing Kane to help hold the flesh together in order for her to begin to stitch her. “Hold, fucking, still…” She hissed, beginning to stitch the flesh together, but, in the end after a few hours, it was mended together and a gauze and bandage was being wrapped tightly around her torso and side. “Now. Look me in the eyes. Can we trust you?”

Zia was not quiet as Aishani worked, her screams echoed through the jail, tears ran down her cheek. She looked at Aishani as she finished her eyes staring blank for a moment, before she looked at her wounds now stitched “It’s not like I can leave right now, and out there is getting worse, so I’ll behave myself,”

Aishani handed back the bottle of liquor, rising and patting Zia’s shoulder. “Kane, may just lock you up again for such acts. But, I will not be so kind…” She leaned down and gathered the bloodied basin water. “I’ll let Aerian know, she will ultimately decide, your fate in the end so I suggest you play nice with Virra, if your goal is to get her back on your team that is the way to do it.”

Zia inclined her head in agreement.

Kane aided in cleaning up before he eyed Zia in thought “I’ll have them escort you to one of the guest rooms, then as Aishani has said, what happens next is Aerian and Virras call,”

As they walked back to the main hall of the Mansion Kane watched Aishani “Everything alright my love?”

She held the basin of bloodied water, walking in silence then glanced to Kane with a smirk. “Zia, loves, Aerian. It is not perhaps, a pure love like Virra but such that is a need. It is strange, the girl is jealous of Virra. Imagine, two women in love with your daughter.” Aishani chuckled darkly, as they went into the kitchen to dump the water down the drain. “I do not wish to say it, needless to think on it…but, Kane, my love. Ascondia may need you to fix her mind correctly, I know that the part that was born from your love is Aerian. I am standing on the outside of such. I suggest you speak to Jade and Hades. They may need you. I need to stay clear from Ascondia. She was your wife, I fear my hormones are going out of hand at the moment.” Her hands curled on the edge of the sink, while looking down.

“Aerian has quite an effect on women it seems, still she is old enough to know what she wants, and I suspect if Zia treads to far upon the wrong nerves, we may end having to prevent Virra killing her, as for my former wife, we don’t know what Z’ress did, or if Aerian is the only target. We need to let Jade and Hades assess things, then we will take the action we need to” Kanes words were soft and yet full of the evident ‘I don’t want to talk to her until she has her head on straight’

Gently he slid his arm around her waist before guiding her back to the main room and the couch in front the fire “Let’s just take some time, it’s been a busy day, and you should rest,’

[The Turning Tide] A Passionate Hunt

Kane slid into the room as silent as ever, is eyes settled on Aishani as he smiled softly. He made his way across the room to begin undressing, his intent to remain as silent as possible.

His intent nearly fell short when a buckle chimed, Aishani stirred beneath the covers though otherwise remained still with the even breathing that he had begun to recognize as deep sleep of his wife.  

He slid into bed sliding close letting his arm wrap over Aishani’s stomach and the children within.

She crooned softly with the familiar presence of her husband, though he felt the shifting of the babes in her womb. Indeed they were restless, but more then that appeared to be playing. 

“Everything is taken care of” Kane whispered softly kissing the back of her neck. “We can rest easy for tonight,”

She muttered something incomprehensible, but blindly sought for his hand amidst her sleep and placed the linked hands over her belly. 

Kane settled in feeling his grasp of consciousness slide, the darkness of sleep closing gin and taking him for the night.

********************************************************************

There was a warmth that rained in through the high windows, a freshness in the air that signalled the arrival of summer. Kane stirred slowly feeling various bones crack in reply to the stretch.

As he woke it was not only to the sounds of summer, it was the fact that Aishani was absent from his side. Her presence only lingered in a haunt, but he recognized that her belongings along side his were still in place.  

A few moments later the door opened and that is when he smelled it. Pungent. Metallic. Blood. Though it was faint, perhaps carried on breath. Yet, it was masked by the heavenly scent of breakfast; sweet rolls, bacon, eggs and crisp fruit, even the robust smell of coffee. 

Aishani was carrying a tray, turning she closed the door softly. 

The scent of blood spun his senses but for a moment before his eyes and stomach settled on the content of the tray, and the coffee.

“You know how to make an entrance my love, and the way to a mans heart as well,” Kane stated with a curled smile.

She considered him a moment, settling in the edge of the bed with the test in her lap. “I found the way to your heart.” Aishani learned forward to press her lips against his, that is when he smelt the strength of blood in her breath. 

Kane smiled and nodded as he melted against the kiss lost both in her and the blood as he felt twinge deep within. As was his usual way he pushed it aside as he leant back, “But you brought breakfast, which is always appreciated”

“Of course. It’s beautiful outside, summer is here.” Aishani said softly, now it was more noted that she had changed and appeared cleaned. Though she arranged the tray in Kane’s lap and stood to open the curtains. 

“I did note the sun, it’s good, something like this ahead of what we face, still today is not a day to worry on such things” Kane smiled “I think today we should find a room for the children?”

“Oh. Yes. I’d like that. I would prefer closest to us.” She kicked her lips for a moment then grinned but sobered suddenly. “When is the last time you have drank? I think that may help loosen you up.”

“Before we wed,” Kane replied with a shrug “I’ll be fine for a little while, we really shouldn’t lower your defence in any way, we do not how that will affect you or the children, I promise if it becomes a problem you’ll be the first to know,”

“The room across the hall, also known as your former room is vacant? The one beside this and the same across the hall, 130 rooms in this place and maybe a quarter are full from staff or guests, so we have plenty of space.” He grinned, “We could put a hole through the wall over there and it would back the childrens onto ours more?”

She watched him in silence for a time then glanced to the indicated wall. “Yes, you will come hunting with me.” Aishani stated calmly. “That is a good idea. To have a conjoined room besides odd for the nursery.”

“Shouldn’t be too hard to punch through the wall,” Kane replied as he began to eat “The room will take some work though, it’s been empty for a while”

“Whose room was it? You make it sound as though it had, some point important.” She watched him eat for a few moments, then gathered the knife to prick her finger. That ruby droplet formed on the tip. “You have been fighting it, I can tell. A small dose before we hunt, Hm?” She waved it before his gave to taunt him.

“It was Aerians when she was much younger, when she first returned to Dentarius as a child after I broke free of Ascondias mind grip” Kane replied softly, he leant forward to lick the droplet of blood with soft moan. “After she left an angry child I locked it and haven’t been in since, so a while,”

“I would like to honour her with a request for us to use the room and her to help. You know she’ll need a distraction once Ascondia is here, it might help if she is a part of it.” Aishani licked her finger but grimaced and set her hand in her stomach. “Be still, it was for your father. You can’t be selfish.” 

“We will be sure to ask her,” Kane replied with a smile, before he released her hand to kiss her stomach “So lively, it’s going to be fun when when you arrive that’s for sure”

She chuckled while stroking Kane’s crown and run her fingers through his hair. “Don’t encourage them. It’s bad enough they are picky eaters…breaking my diet and all.” 

“Mmm how are you coping with yesterday?” Kane asked cautiously but there was a genuine softness and caring in his voice “It’s not always easy dealing with such shifts in who you are”

“It was planned. He was too much of a liability in the end. He pushed a button, though direct blood contact the poison is more deadly.” She commented slowly as though considering her words carefully. “It has not been easy. But giving into the need of the children makes it simpler. I apologise for not taking you on my hunts. I had to be sure I wouldn’t turn on you…” 

“It’s fine my love, it’s been a process for you, been part wolf as well as the children,” Kane smiled softly as he finished his breakfast “And you are correct Bryant was always going to be a liability, and to look at you as toy was maddening to say the least, yet another attempt to interject doubt between us”

“Yes. It’s been hard to say the least, but I will manage. Do not worry about that. You on the other hand appear very tense. So long as you drink from me, in small increments it will be safe. But I think a hint is what you need to not be concerned about harming me or our children.” 

“We are in the middle of a war whereby the rules keep changing, it’s difficult to relax when I am unsure where the next emergency will come from,” Kane sighed softly “And I worry for our family, all of us, a good distraction is all I need, for the moment I am truly fine my love, it’s more the realm around us that has my back up than my vampire half”

She watched him for a moment then smirked. “I see. Well it is a weight on your shoulders but remember you don’t bare it alone. You and I are not used to sharing a burden.” 

“I can safely admit not having to do this alone has helped a great deal, even Hades has gotten himself out of his own selfishness, we are in a better position than the last time our realm went to war” Kane replied with a soft smile, “But you and I are leaders, by choice or otherwise, we do it because we must, but at least we do it together”

“Mhm. This is very true. First things first, shall we head down to the springs to clean up, though I can not submerge as to not boil our children…but it will still relax you. Then to hunt. Which would you prefer first?” 

“I think things would be more sense in reverse? Hunt then clean?” There was smile in the way he said clean as he watched her “I think that would make it far more fun?”

Kane dressed light, his usual choice or loose pants and a shirt which would not restrict his movement. He pulled on his boots and taking his shorter daggers tucking them at his hips made his way down the stairs. Crossing through the main hall and out into the courtyard beyond.

He gave his usual array of orders to guards ensuring they kept their eye for anything off, it would remain quiet he knew that deep down, but it was always better to stay safe.

Aishani stood off to the side as Kane have his orders, offering a brief nod to them as they passed to leave the courtyard. But once they were in the forest she glanced to him with a wicked smirk, but he saw those incisors lengthen. “Keep up.” She challenged him, but tipped up her chin, then licked her lips as though catching prey. Then she was off, surprisingly fast for her condition, easily dodging shrubs and vaulting and swinging from low tree limbs. He hadn’t seen her this carefree in sometime, glancing over her shoulder to him with that wolfish smirk. 

Kane shook his head gently then took off through the under brush, it was with ease he slid from one to the next, vaulting a low branch before circling through, his mind cleared from the stress focused only on the motion from tree to tree, right until his attention missed the branch ahead, he heard the crack right before his feet went from under him and he wound up sprawled in the dirt of the forest floor with a clatter.

“Should have seen that coming” he groaned as he rolled onto his back.

Aishani was at his side helping him up with a smirk, though, he could feel the strain on her body to support his weight in the stand. “Oh, stop it. Come, the scent is close.” She indicated with her finger lifted to indicate on being silent, though, took his hand and lead him quietly through the woods as soon they stopped near a tree by a small thicket. Amidst the grasses was a female doe, two fawn and one buck. Now, this male deer looked strong and stunning, Kane could see by her eyes that this was the target. A far better challenge then the doe whom would flee and the two fawn that would follow the mother, but, the buck would remain to protect them and allow them to escape. 

Her eyes had grown into two twin golden pools, as her tongue flicked across her lips, then glanced to Kane with a nod. Her muscles tensed, preparing to spring into action, when she leapt it was at the fawns first, this startled the mother deer and the male turned in her direction with antlers down preparing to ram her but that is when Kane felt the draw of the air and she disappeared to blink just upon the buck’s back, sinking in her fangs to the neck with arms wrapped around the thickness. 

Kane followed suit, he closed upon the buck his own fangs sinking into its throat, the combined weight of himself and Aishani bringing the animal down to the floor. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d fed upon animal blood but the fact remained it was quickly restoring the strengths that had wavered over the last month.

Aishani growled as though an animal with a freshly caught prey, gripping the massive antlers of the buck, latched to the flesh of the deer’s throat. That is when he saw the claws extend and the mouth retract with a lick upon the bloodstained lips and face, glistening black upon her skin, though, she rounded to dip and rip out ribbons of flesh with her mouth and tearing into the skin with claws. Feasting on the animal while Kane fed and she dined. This moment, appeared to cause a bond within them to strengthen, it was a deeper level and a more primal level, animalistic. 

She finally leaned back with a gasp, as Kane felt the heart stopping the pumping of blood through the body. Aishani’s eyes, both eyes, hummed with the brilliant golden hues, smouldering in the light of the day but she looked like an exotic creature now. Transformed from just the pregnant Drow, but, now a magnificent creature. Carrying children of half-breed, wolf and vampire, herself a wolf. 

As Kane looked up taking in the sight he felt the blood rush, his mind primal, dark as he slid back there was a threat in his motion, the scent of blood and his wife mixed among the scent of fresh air forest, the cold of hunter having struck prey kept sense and right buried deep within. Slowly he circled her watching her feed, it was strange to him to have no sense of control only need.

He now moved as if assessing a threat, a wolf he knew could rip him apart the moment he struck but Kane didn’t care only caring for what he wanted what was beyond that threat, the female, Kane continued to wait, waiting for her to pay attention to him, Kanes own eyes were dark and glazed from his fed but also a primal darkness that rested within each man, he wanted Aishani right here among the trees to mark his territory, he didn’t even bother suppressing down those darkest of desires, he was lost among his own needs much as Aishani was in hers.

She stopped her dining on the flesh of the buck, licking her lips, though, those brilliant golden eyes fixed on him. Aishani in her primal state had acknowledged Kane in his dark demeanour. Those plush lips glistening with blood curled in a guttural growl, though, her clothing was thin on this summer day, he immediately saw the dark buds beneath her shirt perk at the arousal of his hungry eyes. Before he could advance, she darted from the deer, a challenge for him to give chase and catch his succulent prey. She was like a gazelle amongst the trees, grass and limbs. Pausing every so often to see if he was giving chase, a wicked and taunting smirk upon her bloodstained lips and face. 

Kane growled softly, then took off himself through the under growth, this time watching his footing as he hoisted himself into the trees, he could taste her in the air, that primal scent drove him. He waited until he was over her before launching down at her, his hands catching her shoulder, one arm directing her against a tree and pinning her, his lips searching for her hungrily, the taste of blood only making him hotter with each moment.

His plan went perfectly, now her scent was enveloping him and it was as his lips clapped upon hers with the metallic taste upon the surface that drive him wild with desire. A guttural growl emanated from her throat and he felt the scraps of his slick tool against her canines. 

He kissed hungrily as his hands went to work separating her from her clothing, his hands roaming her flesh before stripping her. Despite the primal force at which he worked his control took account of her condition as he drew them to the ground, not caring for who may discover only that he wanted her in that moment.

His kisses now slid from her mouth and over her shoulders, his hands raking and stroking her flesh as he worked his way across her body.

She was truly stunning in her state, the swollen belly and burning golden eyes, her claws made quick escape of his own clothing and we’re unforgiving on his flesh. But those songs she made were unparalleled to anything he had experienced. Suddenly she shifted her position and mounted him, the feeling of her tight passage was incredible. Though Aishani didn’t hesitate on rocking her hips leaning against him while he was gifted with rush after rush of her juices, her dark buds were glistening from the dew of milk. 

Kane growled hungrily as she mounted him, his hands instinctively searching out her breasts, before reaching up to pull her down into another deep kiss, it was raw and dark, the thrill of the hunt driving the thrill of their passion. Each time she sank down against him he would snap his hips back against him driving himself deeper within her swollen passage, a growl with each sting of hips meeting.

To the administer of his hands to her breasts, the milk squirted and trickled down his hands while her lips hungrily crushed against his. Each growl. And each moan were swallowed in the depth of the kiss, her hips sped against his as the first witnessed the carnal song of flesh against flesh. 

He shifted, it was sudden and yet controlled as he landed her on dirt beneath them, his hands raising her legs to his shoulder before driving down into her with repeated force, as concern was momentary quickly replaced with the lust and want, each thrust intent on sending himself deep into her.

A few minutes and he shifted her again, this time urging her into position, as he knelt behind her he growled hungrily before biting the flesh of her ass with force, then sliding back to his height he pushed himself back into her returning to the same hurried forceful rhythm of before.

She was lost on this carnal lust the deeper he sunk the louder her sounds became. Aishani clawed at his back, urging him deeper within her ripe passage. He felt her juices rush again only adding to the lubrication, in his transition a growl parted her lips with a glance back to the bite upon her half moons. Aishani lifted her hips to present herself in the claim he took, buckling back against him. The two were wild with the most primal need to mate, to be claimed and claim. 

Each thrust was with more force than the last, his hands raking the flesh of her back before he lunged forward to grab at her hair, pulling her hair back as he drove into her harder and deeper, his own growls now carnal and guttural echoing around the forest and themselves.

Passion was lost to the sheer lust that drove them, the wetter she got the harder he drove into her, before he drew back removing from her before watching his grip on her hair loosened just slightly as he smiled darkly before targeting the tightness of her back passage easing into her using her own wetness to help his penetration.

The valley between her cheeks offered him the new target as a delicate starlet, but her hands lurched forward claws digging into the grass and dirt just as the plop of his entry was announced. As he would pause to give her body moment to adjust it wasn’t going as Aishani bucked back and he sunk fully into her with a howl of delight. 

He growled as she swallowed him deep within her back passage. His hand landed hard against her ass with a smack before he drew back, the first few thrusts were slow but deep thrusting with force. A few more as she surrendered around he quickened rhythm with another resounding smack on the opposite cheek marking her with angry red hand prints.

To each violent assault on her half moons they jiggled against the speed he took her. Sinking his tool deep with the dark flesh was a beautiful contrast, while he seemed her need for him only increase. She was howling and screaming in sheer ecstasy now, as the depth was molten, he felt her juices flow more and saw her digging more into the grass. 

He growled against her now quickening his rhythm as his lust met force his hands forcing her hips back into him with each thrust. He was growling with the pleasure that ran through him, the more pleasure the deeper he plunged himself, before sliding a hand beneath to dip his fingers into her, feeling the heat of her juices as they spilt onto his invading fingers.

She seemed to spread her legs more to accommodate the appearance of his digits to her dripping flower. He felt her quiver as a smooth rush of juice saturated his hand and Aishani stirred with new vigor. Ripping out soil and grass to attain a new platform, the back pipe tightened and her flower began to throb, this was a new height as she was reaching a point to be overstimulated. Growing, moaning and howling in pleasure this was a new best to reach of them. Surrendering to their nature. 

He grunted and tensed as his nails bit into the flesh of her hips a low deep growl of lust cut from him as he felt himself twitch before erupting deep into her. He was shuddering from the sheer height they were in that single moment, his whole body prickled with a deep intense lust to remain in that moment as he slowly slid from her crawling toward her drawing her back to the ground and searching for her lips.

After the powerful moment that left him lounging to remain in that moment Aishani collapsed in pants and crooning, she was trembling as their lips met in a tender and passionate kiss lingering in the aftermath of their carnal selves being lost. It was the two of them now, shreds of clothing strewn about them. But she curled against him kissing him every so tenderly, quivering. In the glow of the previous event, she seemed even more fragile with her swollen belly and bosom with buds glistening from milk. “I love you, Kane.” 

Kane felt the haze clearing as her words filtered he smiled softly “And I love you Aishani, more with each day we are together, I think you are the only woman I have ever allowed to see these darker corner and know you both understand and welcome it”

He kissed her cheek softly letting his hand rest on her stomach gently “Another of the reasons I limit my hunts, I get a little …” His voice trailed off as he searched for the word “Well the vampire gets free of my control” Kane found looking back for a moment he couldn’t find a moment he felt so fulfilled from a hunt.

She smirked to him with a playful nip to him. “You realize…we will have fun entering the estate without clothing.” Aishani laughed and the way she did so, Kane saw her fangs receding to be tucked away beneath the gums of her mouth though they were a little longer then before. 

He watched her for a moment, with a smile, still half covered in blood, she was still the most beautiful creature he had ever seen.

“Fortunate for us there is more than one route into the Mansions lower areas, we can use the caves that the pools feed” He reached back to take her hand before leading her into the forest, and down through the river. And into the caves that were oddly warm from the spring waters below.

Quietly the walked and then he led her down a little moved, as he tapped the water it shimmered and vanished, as the stepped through it was replaced. Beyond now the hot springs they knew so well.

She chuckled, while moving through the forest to the pond. As the water disappeared a smirk curled in her lips. “This place never ceases to amaze me.” 

Though once they were in the hot springs, Aishani settled in the edge with her legs in the water and cupped water to begin to wash her face. It was true the heat of the water was not good for a female in her condition to submerge in. 

Kane watched for a moment before he made his way to sit beside her. For a moment he watched then slid into the water before her, and he sunk beneath the surface before emerging.

“Thank you, I think I needed this, more than I realised”

Aishani offered him a smirk as he re-emerged, curling her legs around him to bring Kane close. “We both needed to do this together, my love. I apologize I can’t join you in the water but it is far too warm.” 

Kane looked up with a grin “That can be fixed you know, one of the benefits of these pools being heated mostly by magic”

“Oh, really now?” She chuckled. 

Kane smiled as his hands slid to her hips, his motion motion coaxing her into the water with him, the water warm but far cooler than usual, his eyes met hers as his lips also found hers.

“How’s that?” He whispered gently

She didn’t refuse his guide into the waters, while still warm but not too hot. A smirk coiled on her lips after the kiss parted, hands in his shoulders. “Much better. I remember…our first time here…”  

“As do I,” A smile curled his lips “Hard to believe that was a year ago my love,” Kane replied “It’s been a busy year for us both,”

She cupped some water in her hand, while allowing for it to drop on his shoulders, watching the flow silently. The surface of the water concealed her swollen belly though her milk filled bosom was much larger barely containing the endowment. “Yes. Very much. Admittedly, I wake during the night…wondering if this was all a dream and I’d be on my own again. Good with the bad, I am happy.” She chuckled lifting one hand to her belly and caressed it. “I know…I’m not Ascondia, not Stacy in another world…Do you regret anything?” 

Kane looked up as he raised a brow, before he returned to washing himself down “This last year has allowed me to reflect on much, see things change for the better, Ascondia and I were built on lies, the feelings may have been real, but she was in my head, had me believe I was created,” Kane spoke soft yet there was a tremor in his voice “It was never going to last, I will do what I can to watch her back, keep her alive, try to rebuild the bridges she so spectacularly burned down with our daughter, as for Stacy and I, that was another world entirely, a time line that never happened, and honestly I’m glad of that, everything that has happened I am truly grateful for, I can say with hand on my heart, I regret nothing, except the pain and discomfort that being pregnant causes you”

He slid behind her his hands now working to wash her down, taking his time, “How about you, you left home to avoid politics, found a man who is constantly embroiled in them, despite not wanting to be, bit by a wolf, married and then pregnant with twins, oh and Queen of the Drow here, thrown through time by a would be betrayer for their own reasons, see busy year”

She caught his hands in hers and lifted them to her lips. “Never. Never say that. Our children are a gift. Yes, it can be hard at times. Though what pregnancy is a breeze? I am blessed each day. I love you and our children. I will continue to fight to make not only our realm but my kingdom safe. I ran not from politics but from the blind view of my mother trying to kill me for gifts. Gifts that are not prosecuted here.” 

“We are all different in some way,” Kane shrugged softly “What you do with your gift is what defines you, the realm encourages you to be who you want to be, and if needed it helps you along the way,”

Aishani proceeded to begin cleaning him, a few times her belly bumped him and she chuckled. Then when finished she pressed her cheek against his chest. “My beloved…you do want this? Our family?” 

“My family is what I want my love, and you are part of that, as will these two come to be,” His hand ran gently over stomach, gently he leant to place a kiss “I’d just rather this not be in the middle of a war with so many volatile elements, still we are strong and we will survive,” this was the first time in some time that Aishani would hear the conviction in his words, a reset to Kanes resolution.

She chuckled as his hands roamed over her belly but Kane could feel the tiny hands that pressed against his, almost as though acknowledging his words. “War or no war there will always be issues being as whom we are. I’m glad to hear that tone in your voice again. No matter the circumstances do not lose it.” 

“I never lose it my love, just ignore more than I should” He smiled before drawing her close into a deep longing kiss.

[The Turning Tide] The Pieces We Have

Kane knocked upon the door of the grounds cottage, the home of his daughter and her partner. The air was cool but not as he let his mind work through the events of the evening. Again his stomach growled a reminder of blood, and his need for it, again he pushed it aside, now was not the time to be distracted.

He knocked again and waited.

A few more knocks and he heard Virra’s voice shout to him from the other side. “Keep your pants on!” Just then the door opened and she stood there in just ask oversized tunic. “Oh. Hey! Firefly! It’s your Pops!” She stepped back to let him in and closed the door behind him. 

Aerian sat looking as Kane made his way in to their front room “You’ve made it a home here, I’m impressed” he started softly.

“What’s going on, you’re here at this hour?” Aerian replied firmly, she knew better than to let her father avoid an issue all too long.

“You’re father is dead Virra, seems his last attempt at freedom was an attempt to bed my wife” Kanes words were measured hiding the boiling frustration beneath them “She extracted information and then, well she bit him” It was still odd to Kane in her actions, strangely even as he understood them.

Virra remained frozen though her eyes flashed dangerously, while she moved to Aerian’s side with a hand set on her shoulder. “I do hope the information was worth it. You did not just come here to tell me that Aishani killed my father, what else was learned.” 

“Things we already knew or suspected,” Kane replied as Aerian slid her hand into Virras gently, “When Ascondia arrives, Aerian please stay away, she is a direct threat you, you already know that, but even removing her from Elvera does not negate the threat, I’m sure anything you need from her Virra can retrieve, ask, speak to on your behalf”

Aerian remained quiet as she watched her father there was a strange air about him, something was troubling him deeply that she was certain of.

“Their end game is to tip the balance of power, drain Aerian and Ascondias powers and deliver them to Z’ress”

Aerian interjected her opinion now as the threat was suddenly revealed “They want to draw out Stacy, they know she’d have to act, she’d be weak, alone, and they would have direct control of the realm”

“Only if you’re dead or they are able to retrieve Ascondia from us” Kane replied softly

“Mom can open portals clear across the realm dad, it wouldn’t be that hard if that witch is in her head, kinda aware of that remember, Virra had to knock me out just to get me away, you then had to lock me up for over a month to break her hold, and I’m still not certain we have,” there was panic coursing through Aerian now, “This war just got a whole lot worse,”

Virra glanced from Kane to Aerian, offering her a squeeze at their laced hands. “Z’ress does not know whom she is dealing with. If I have to, I’ll knock you out again, Firefly. I am not going to have you leave my side. Besides, with the split of powers and the cushion I offer, it will be both of us.” She inhaled deeply. “Perhaps, we should go to the Emerald City to join Stacy.” Virra tugged Aerian up from her seat and settled down to pull her back into her lap, this was an offer of support and strength. 

Aerian settled into Virra as she watched her father “So what are you holding out on us?” It wasn’t a question so much as an observation, she knew Kane well enough to note the unusual tenseness in him.

“We should for the moment stay together, our best chance is to remain together, we have the power advantage here for the moment, the dragons will ensure we are well protected from external threats. They don’t know where Stacy is and right now that works better for us, and even if they do Aishani has sealed all external access to Emerald City until this is over” Kane replied softly

“Your hiding something, so out with it, you promised Virra her dad would see a court for his actions and he hasn’t so now we should know why Aishani chose to murder him instead” Aerian replied firmly “And Virra is right for her to take my power she’ll have to kill both of us now, something else they are unaware of”

“Which would explain why Haunted had you do the ritual, even the afterlife is covering its own ass, fine, Aishani is also included in their plans, we just don’t know how, most of the Billote gang were killed in the attack on the Mansion, the rest I would assume scattered to the winds, there may need occasion for Aishani to look like she is not with us, we need to support those actions”

“She’s pregnant Dad, you should know better” Aerian snapped

“And she is far from vulnerable, just as you had your head scrambled and were still as dangerous as ever, we don’t stop fighting because it’s inconvenient Aerian you know that” Kane stopped “I don’t like, but we can’t beat all this unless we are united,”

Virra was silent listening to Aerian and Kane, though placed a hand on the thigh of Aerian in more a protective manner. “I do not fault Aishani for her actions, he had it coming and to be executed is a fail of honour to being as we are. Though, the fact that you are asking us to sit back while Aishani puts her neck out for us…Though, I see no need for Aishani to fight this alone. Pops was the only one besides us that know what she did, he won’t be speaking anytime soon. So it is safe to say that she doesn’t need to do more, considering her current…state. I suggest you keep her close, Kane. I know she isn’t vulnerable, though, regardless, Aishani is pregnant we can not discredit that. Even you said, you do not know the reason that she bit him…” 

“Admittedly that’s a concern, and I will keep her close, but we all know she wont just sit by and let us fight without her, we will do what we need as the need arises,”

“Is it her wolf, or the childrens vampire? Or both? Is she OK about it?” Aerian spat the ring of questions quicker than she’d meant to as Kane looked up, the answer was simply he didn’t know, something which troubled him deeply “Wolf, Vampire hybrids are insanely rare it’s often been one way or the other, but they have existed, most of those bit by both go insane and tend not to survive long, these are born of a natural order so we will see, but as for how that ultimately affects Aishani? Only she knows” his words were pain filled and slow as his shoulders slumped.

“Stop it, Kane. Straighten those shoulders. Aishani knows that she loves those children. Wolf. Vampire. Hybrids. She is a strong woman, though, her downfall is she is far too strong for her own good. To me she doesn’t ask for help or wish to be viewed as anything but a capable woman.” Virra rubbed Aerian’s legs a slight. “Consider that we all have this war to deal with, yet, doesn’t want to put any extra weight upon you, Kane. I know, she wants this, I can see the way she holds herself and her belly. She is a tough cookie that won’t break. You have questions…you need to come out and talk to her. I think she is struggling but doesn’t want to bring more of a burden.” 

“I think you might be right” Kane replied softly, I should let you two get on with things, I still need to speak with Hades on things, “But thank you, both of you,” He smiled softly and made his way to the door as Aerian kissed Virras neck gently.

Virra watched as Kane left, though, looked up to Aerian. “Trouble in paradise? Or hormones?” 

————————————————————————————————————————–

Jade sat with Hades upon the roof, a hand on his thigh, while her cheek leant against his shoulder. It was a moment of peace and savouring each other’s company since it had been rare in this day and age with the war. Her legs were folded over his lap as her bottom sat on the roof. “Things are tense….” She murmured.

“We’ll be OK, we always are” Replied Hades with a smile, as he curled his arms around her drawing her toward him.

“Bryant is dead” Kane stated firmly as he reached the roof “Aishani got what we needed then bit him”

Jade nodded to Hades, lifting her cheek from his shoulder to close in on a kiss, though, the moment was interrupted by Kane’s appearance. She returned her cheek to his shoulder and looked to Kane with a warm smile, though, it was his words that troubled her. “What do you mean…she bit him?” 

“I mean here wolf got the better of her temper and she kill him” Kane replied the same troubled tone “At least that’s my understanding, between her transformation to wolf, the pregnancy and such I think she is out of sorts, and him trying to bed her may have hurt his case more than he realised,”

“It was always a risk, you knew that Kane, she is part of our world now, just remember that, but more importantly did she get what we needed?” Hades replied his tone pointed to keep Kane focused now

Jade straightened from Kane’s tone, but, tilted her head to watch him. “She did it seems…though, Kane is troubled by something. Kane what is it?”

“Nothing more than we already knew or were able to surmise, for the most part. I just wonder if all this is pushing her too hard, she should be resting, and we barely have time to do that” Kane shrugged softly “I’m worrying, and over protective, and possibly over tired at this point, he deserved his death”

“You don’t think it should have been on her, just like with Hareavor and Aerian, Kane you can’t take every death upon yourself, he made his bed, he made his choices, now the others will deal with him and we will deal with the living world” Hades firmly stated replying to Kanes thoughts.

“Kane, you have done nothing wrong.” Jade assured him. “She is a strong and resilient woman. Just physically be there for her and talk to her. I think, the two of you have so much that you are trying to not place on each others shoulders that it is weighing each of you down. You are both going to be parents soon, whether you are ready or not, even the world. So we all need to make sure it is ready when the bundles of joy arrive.” She glanced to Hades, then to Kane. “What exactly was it that Z’ress has planned for Aishani?” 

“That part we don’t know, only that Aishani is part of Z’ress’ grand plan” Kane replied softly “And that Ascondia is likely to try and kill Aerian, another thing we must keep our eye on when she arrives”

“Ascondia trying to kill one of us, cos that’s new” Hades replied with a laugh “Admittedly Aerian is a new twist, you think she would?”

“Aerian killed a man she’d known since she was a child becuase her head was scrambled by Z’ress, so yes I think it’s more than possible” Kane replied firmly

Jade nodded solely. “I have heard of the hold Z’ress had upon Aerian…What is to say that it has been vanquished? Furthermore, should we let Ascondia should Z’ress not have broken her down?” 

“Which is why we will have her under heavy guard and Aerian is to go nowhere near her, at least until we have broken the hold” Kane replied softly “We don’t need to take chances with any of our lives, especially with so much at stake”

“If Z’ress got hold of Ascondias power we’d be in enough trouble, it’s better she’s in our hands” Hades added as he held Jade tightly “We should keep Jade away, the less they know the better”

Kane simply nodded in agreement “Sounds fair”

“Keep me away? I don’t understand. Is it because of my abilities?” Jade looked between both brothers in confusion. “While I do agree, yet, at this point it may be inevitable of knowledge. You can’t keep me locked up in a room.”

“Handcuffed to the bed maybe” Hades reply with a smile “But I’d rather not give away too many of our advantages, I know you much like Aishani aren’t some weak pet, but that’s not to say I have intent to put another target on our backs, Kitsune are extremely rare, you already know that Jade, it’s for our good as much as your own”

Jade inhaled deeply, though nodded. “I know…it’s just I want to help. I can’t hide the fact that I’m who I am. But I would not like feeling restrained either. I understand and will do my best. It does however make things easier to know what is going on. Promise me, the two of you will not keep me in the dark.” 

“We know you want to help Jade, and you will as you have,” Kane smiled softly “We will keep you informed you are part of our family now, the burden we carry is yours as well, and you can not do that without all the information, besides your husband to be wouldn’t allow it”

Hades looked up at Kane “How the hell?”

“I’m not blind Hades, congratulations to you both of course,” There was a smile from Kane that even at their darkest hours there was a light that would inevitably guide them. “I would appreciate that perhaps Jade prepares Ascondias meals, there are enough people in the realm with an axe to grind, and the Queen dying in our custody wouldn’t sit well for any of us, if you are agreeable to such things of course”

“Me?” She appeared shocked but then nodded slowly with a blush on her cheeks that beautifully accented the exotic allure of her features. “Oh, I’d be honoured, given the circumstances and reasons behind such. I hope she will eat what I make…I may be able to create a tea to help soften the bond to Z’ress.” 

“It makes the most sense, you’re the only one of us without an ulterior motive against our dear Queen” Hades smiled softly “Which means he trusts you the most out of all of us, which is probably the smartest decision he’s made in a while,”

“I will instruct the guards, only you or Virra are allowed in there, aside from Hades and I of course,” Kane added softly

“Aw come on I don’t wanna talk to her,” Hades groaned

“You mean me to be alone with the Queen? Thank you, Kane for trusting me this much. I will not let you down.” Jade laughed in the sweet silver chime and playfully jabbed him. “Oh come now.” 

“I don’t doubt that for a moment Jade, now I must get myself back to Aishani” He bowed gently and extracted himself from the rooftop.

“He still seemed tense…” Hades remarked quietly

“It can’t be easy for him. He has a wife that is a werewolf now, plus two children with the blood of both. I worry for Aishani…my fear and I’m sure it is his as well…will she live through the pregnancy?” 

“Stacy won’t let her die, but she has had a lot to deal with in such a short space, she has proved she belongs here, despite not been of our world. She is strong, and with Kanes strength at her side they will both pull through. We will of course do what we can in the meantime” Hades smiled gently.

Jade watched the last location Kane disappeared from sight, though cast a sideways glance to Hades with a smile. “Oh really now? I wonder whatever that could mean…” 

“Well now,” Hades smirked softly before kissing her deeply.

[The Turning Tide] Playing Games

Bryant Billote had always been smart enough to avoid involving himself in affairs that were unprofitable. He had used his daughter in the worst ways for the best profit. The slave trade had been good to him, it had afforded him a life he enjoyed.

That all ended when he was forced into hiding and in turn to work with Lord Ceremon, kidnapping his grand daughter had set in motion a downward spiral. Now he found himself alone in a cell of Elcarus Mansion. It was cold, and bitter, and he knew in his heart no one was coming to save him, not even his daughter who now slept in the bed of Aerian, the self same grand daughter of Lord Ceremon he had kidnapped raped and tortured to insanity for nothing but fun.

He lay himself down with a groan feeling the cold as it penetrated his ageing joints “Where of where did I go so wrong” he murmured darkly.

Just then a voice spoke from the shadows, calm and in a rolling purr outside the cell. “Keep your friends close but enemies closer. That is where you went wrong.” That is when he caught the smell of hot food, since all he had eaten was cold slop. 

The growl of his stomach would likely be heard by anyone close enough, as he raised his head slightly “My biggest enemy was my daughter, how much closer could I have kept her?”

“Ah, but you treated her as nothing. From what I gather, her betrayal was because she was constantly having to prove herself to you. But that is neither here nor there.” She stepped forward with a steaming bowl of stew, her silken dreads blending into the shadows and the golden and white eye held in contrast. “You are hungry.” Aishani moved with the bowl and set it down within the space adequate for such. “Hurry and eat. I have to take the dishes back.” It was a struggle for her to rise up but she managed. 

He looked at the bowl, his eyes then looking to her “So I die by poison? Seems a little weak for the Elcarus’. Cowardly even.” He sighed as he watched her, he kept his place, while he knew she was struggling to move he also had enough sense to know attacking her was a very bad idea.

“It is you that is the fool. Assuming makes you an ass. I have no reason to poison you. In my mind, your daughter is an ungrateful brat. I don’t stand for betrayal of any kind. Yet, you think I wanted to be in this position? Pregnant and on the wrong side of this war?” She watched him silently. “Push the bowl back. I’ll eat some to prove to you that it is not poisoned.” 

Bryant watched for a moment, before he finally gave in sinking the spoon into the food and eating. “Even you are not cold enough to kill a child,” He smiled darkly “But it’s nice to see you have your senses about you, though from where I sit your family holds all the cards, you have the power, though Ceremon has the numbers, it would be best to let them fight it out and pick up the pieces.”

He ate quietly for a moment “How did he managed to bed someone so damn pretty, never fails to impress” his words were a thought out loud than an actual statement now.

Aishani chuckled with a smirk, he had accepted the food, it was a step in the right direction. He was tentatively eating from her hands so to speak. “I have my reasons. A wild card in this that could tip the scale. Why is it you say the Elcarus hold the cards?” 

“Because they are methodical, Ceremon and Z’ress are rash, over confident, and out only to subdue, good will always win in the end” He shrugged softly before placing his spoon in the now empty bowl. “They have each other, while Ceremon and Z’ress seek only to further their own agendas”

“You seem to not favor the fact of their own personal goals. I could be wrong, though given an opportunity to take down the Elcarus foundation…would you take it?” 

“You seem to be forgetting my current plight?” He pointed at the cell door with a shrug “They wont just let me walk out now will they, and while I’m sure death is my end. I’d rather not risk it coming earlier than needed.” His eyes settled on her now as he watched “Why exactly are you here, if not to kill me, or for my traitorous daughter?  Why waste your time on me?”

She chuckled now at his words. “You are right. They mean to kill you…but me on the other hand…I am a fellow business woman much like yourself. Right now, I have two insurances that I am safe.” Aishani displayed her ring and caressed her swollen belly. “What do you have? Think wisely before you speak.” 

“I watched your husband cut down his brother in cold blood, but you are safe and I have very little safety and certainly no way of saving myself this time” He let his shoulders slump “I am resigned to my fate, so I wonder if you’d pass something to your husband, and ask if I may have his wife for the evening, last wish of a dying of man” he smirked darkly his eyes on hers as watched her reaction.

“Hm. I’m not sure I’d want to spend the evening with a man that has given up. I don’t surround myself with weakness. Right now you ooze such…give me something that may have me reconsider. Because as I view it, you are a dead man of course unless, I can convince him otherwise. You know, if you prove useful to them, you would not met such an end. Consider it delaying the inevitable, Hm?” 

“I know enough to know that nothing I give them will be enough to save my own hide. I haven’t given up, just resigned to the fact I have no more aces to play. As a slaver I was always in control, always that girl to play to get me out of trouble, though I do know what Lady Z’ress plans with our dear Queen”

“Interesting. That Queen…is nothing but a spoiled brat that was born with a golden spoon in her mouth. I got gratification of doing that which she could not. Bare two children.” She motioned for the bowl to be placed at the slot. “I came of my own free will, after all we are of like mind. I do as I please. As for my presence this evening are you willing to exchange information? I hold your get out of jail card, so it would be wise for you think this over. No one knows I’m here.” 

“I’ve already named my price, you, but admittedly I wouldn’t mind getting out here, disappearing among the night” He mused softly “Perhaps when this is done we’ll both need to disappear, Elcarus’ don’t take too kindly to traitors in their midst, just ask Heart,”

“Fair enough. Your price will be answered by the toll of midnight. I will see you then.” She leaned down with a soft grunt to gather the bowl and melted into the shadows one again. 

*********************************************************************************************

Kane was pacing the hallway, Hades and Jade presumably departed to their room. The prickle through Kane was one of nervousness, something he hadn’t felt in some time.

Despite it been his own plan, placing his wife near a criminal was not sitting well with Kane at all.

Aishani dropped the dishes in the sink of the kitchen before returning back to Kane’s scent was strong. 

“I have him believing I am against the Elcarus. The price I have to pay for information on Ascondia and what Z’ress has planned…is to spend an evening with him. Not what I would like but a small price to pay in the larger picture.” Aishani stated upon entering.

There was surge that boiled deep within Kane, a dark anger “I should have killed him along with Hareavor, the idea of him …” He steeled himself “I can not Aishani, even for the right reasons” he growled in frustration before settling himself once “Why can’t he just want to escape like the usual head cases we lock up”

Aishani watched Kane in silence before moving to gather his hand to place upon the swell of her belly, as though to remind him this was for the future of the realm. “The taste in my mouth is rotten from this. Though he is a man that believed he is walking dead, holding information that could break the plan of Ceremon and Z’ress. Trust me. I can handle myself.”  

“I don’t doubt that for a moment my love, and as our options are limited it doesn’t sit well. But the situation at hand, and all things considered I trust you, completely, but he cannot think it is anything other than how it presents itself, kind of bothers me” Kane kissed her head gently “I’ve never doubted you for a moment, be rather foolish to start now” He stroked her stomach with a soft smile “But if you need me, I’ll be close by at all times”

Aishani nodded to him and inhaled sharply as Kane felt a kick from one of the children. “I will need a bottle of liquor and dinner to take to him. Though I have to make a truth serum in order to place within. I have to spend time with him…I’m intending to make it count. But I have time before I appear.” 

“I’ll ensure the kitchens are aware, I’m sure there’s a few bottles of something around, it’s not like we don’t have a whole bar or anything” He smiled softly “Though I wouldn’t be surprised if he changes the rules as he goes along, just be careful with him”

“I’m well aware. Though a man such as him would like a drink that is were the serum takes hold.” 

“Remind me never to get on the wrong side of you” Kane chuckled softly before kissing her hungrily “You are my everything, even though I know you can handle yourself, losing you scares the living daylights out of me, I’m just being overly cautious”

She chuckled to his words with a smirk, one hand in his chest. “That you never have to worry about, my love. I’m by your side always.” 

*********************************************************************************************

The cells were oddly warm that night as Bryant sat listening to the sounds, it was oddly very quiet. Even the critters that normally ran through the rooms beyond were quiet, he was admittedly nervous now.

That is when he freely a presence, it wasn’t in the cell but just outside. First it was that heavenly smell of spiced meat and cooked vegetables that pierced his senses, then he saw the golden eye that was like a smouldering ember in the darkness. She stepped forward in a thick robe, tied just beneath her swollen bosom with milk and bump of her belly. Balanced in one hand was a tray that garnished not only food but a bottle and glass. Quietly she placed it down and knelt to methodically pick the lock in order to enter. 

He waited silent and patient, the fact he was about to get a second decent meal was strange to him, it had been some time since he had had the luxury to eat so well.

She grunted softly in her rise after the lock clicked and the door opened, adorning the tray. Quietly she entered the cell and set the tray down at his side, opening the bottle to put the contents. “I can’t have you eat that slop. I’ve taken food and liquor for you. Unless you are going to complain?” 

“Of course not, just surprised you returned” He shrugged softly feeling his mouth moisten as his senses were drowned by the scents of food.

“I told you that I would.” She stated simply, gathering to the food. “Eat and drink. I figured you haven’t indulged in liquor.”

“I don’t tend to drink, makes the senses a little foggy” He shrugged softly as he drew the plate toward him,”So exactly how do we plan to get out together? Would expect the guards to be heavy been a war and all that, and you leaving with a prisoner isn’t going to look too good”

His eyes strayed over her body slowly, shifting slightly as his mind wandered for a moment, before he snapped it back to eating.

“Right now. No. It is not wise. The guards are thick. But I do know if you prove that you turned sides, then it would give you a window of trust.” 

Bryant remained quiet for a moment before he looked at her “You give me reason to believe you’re on my side and I will reveal something, though I’m curious to know why your so interested in what I know if you only serve your own agenda”

“You look good by the way, even with your current problem, you look good, your beauty goes understated around the realm” He shrugged and returned to eating.

“You are correct. Trust is earned not given. Though unfortunately I have nothing but being here than with my husband…” She crinkled her nose at the word. Aishani lowered her gaze to her swollen belly pronounced by the tether of her robe, which clearly gave away she wore a night gown beneath. 

“Well I would ask you to kill your husband, but that would put us both in a predicament worse than the one I’m in now,” He words were pointed and devoid of emotion, a complete truth in them “So I’ll settle for something I haven’t had in a long time, a view of a woman I actually wish to see naked, don’t worry I promise to keep my hands off you”

He watched her reaction silent the same dark void of emotion “For now at least”

“Trust is earned and never given, such is the same with you. Terms and agreements. I’m not a woman to allow such things, it is distasteful. I will grant you such a reveal if you keep your hands to yourself during and after.” She gestured to the drink. “I went through much to bring that to you. One drink would not fog your mind too much, besides it will compliment the food.” 

He looked for a moment thoughtfully “Perhaps you are right, though you did agree to spend the evening with me, you will help me out of this hole, so the thought of a drink with a beautiful woman isn’t a bad idea”

He picked the cup up before taking a drink a soft smile curling his lips “Well now that is good, and not the cheap kind most inns serve, you are spoiling Miss Elcarus, spoiling me indeed”

She chuckled with a smirk while watching him lift the glass but then looked around the cell idly. “You do indeed know how to flatter, Bryant. Of course, as I said, I went through a lot if trouble to get the bottle to you. It is chilly down here, so I’ll remove my robe. The fabric of my night gown is anything but concealing. I do hope you understand.” 

“Well it’s a sight warmer than it has been down here, I would take it that’s your doing,” He replied softly “I am grateful for the company and the willingness to play in our little game,”

“Oh. I enjoy playing games.” She said calmly, though stood. Aishani began to methodically remove her robe. It was true, the night gown she wore was very transparent against her ashen skin. This revealed her bosom, swollen of milk with pert buds at the ready to be feasted upon. Her hips had widened to accommodate her large belly, as her legs remained to be lean and petted from the high slits. It was true, she was a stunning beauty, even as a mother. 

“Damn,” He murmured softly “Well I suppose I should return a little favour, your mother has an eye for power and seemingly has found a way to take what she wants from others, much like Ceremon has done over the years,” he stopped looking to her then the drink “Apparently that is finer liqueur than I gave credit for, your turn why do care if you serve only your fine sexual self?”

Aishani sat next to him, picking at a vegetable to eat, after a moment of silence she sighed in a partial lean back, this recline exposed her belly and swollen breasts a slight more. “Yes, well. Z’ress is my mother after all. Like all children we want to please a parent. Make them proud. Simple. Yet, I saw an opportunity by watching Kane to jump at the chance to make nice with someone that doesn’t abide by the rules. Ceremon is far too insane and doesn’t garner the consequences.” 

“Half of Ceremons problem is his need to destroy his sons, the other half is he only wants power for himself, he doesn’t care for those of us in the firing lines of others” He shrugged softly admiring her body, his eyes taking her in slowly “I never wanted to please my father, he ran a slavers trade for a generation like his father before him and I after, we made good money. Until your husband began to change the laws, outlawed it here in Dentarius. Despite the fact he has a house full of servants and claims to dislike slavery? Then goes and knocks up his wife making her slave to children, very selfish of him”

He pushed the plate toward Aishani as it now only had a few remaining vegetables “Thank you for that, best meal I’ve had in probably seven or eight years,” he shrugged softly as he moved a little toward her “Ceremon offered me almost 750 thousand gold for my daughter to marry Hareavor, I planned to take the money and leave, she wouldn’t have survived that monster. It’s no secret the realm is better off without him. Just like it would be better off without the Elcarus’ ever being part of the equation, they control everything, even the bloody Queen bows to his every demand, the High Council tried to rule with fairness and for sight and he undermined every chance he got. If you ask me Kane is the real danger to the realm”

She accepted the plate, while plucking the last of the vegetables from the plate, though, leaned forward to set the empty dish on the tray. Aishani glanced to him now as he moved closer to her, though, made not move herself. “Yes, though, you told me that you had information on Z’ress and the plans for the Queen. I believe you are skirting the terms we agreed upon, you see, I need to understand the motivation in order to proceed on my end to benefit that of my mother.” Aishani hesitated then added with a chuckle. “You know, you could always denounce your allegiance to Ceremon and give shift to the tides and be on this side with me. It would save your head from the Elcarus’ but I can not promise from your daughter.” 

“I could, but I’ve long been an enemy of this land, long before I sided with Ceremon, I’m wanted for slave trading, rape, assault, murder and more” He shrugged softly “I would not sit well as a pet of your husband, I don’t like sharing my women, and he has a woman I would like to make my own”

“I can see the conflict. Though, have you learnt nothing? Keep your friends close and enemies closer…you are in a ripe position to turn the tides and release the hold upon your head. As I have seen, Kane will not change his mind without a little persuasion, of course.” She inclined a brow glanced to him from the corner of her eye. “Let me get one thing straight, Bryant. I am not a possession. To you, nor to him. Lest you forget, I am a Queen of the Emerald City.” By now, the truth serum would have kicked in. “Tell me more of my mother’s plans, I want to work my own into that of hers so she can understand my standing. I’d give nothing more then to slit that red head Queen Ascondia’s throat. Such a spoilt brat…” 

“Ah so the rumours are true? Our dear Queen was rather mad at that, as it seems is your mother, she plans to take Ascondias powers from her, as soon as Ascondia is done ripping her daughters from her, which is why the trap has been set” He smiled darkly “They know sooner or later you’ll try to break her out and Z’ress plans to have Ascondia murder Aerian and take her soul, then give all that power to your dear mother”

He shuddered at his words “She would have absolute power”

“Yes. Such is the truth. She means to destroy both…? Interesting but Z’ress had forgotten that she had literally melted Aerian into a puddle of confusion…why bait her?” 

“Because only Ascondia can cause the transference, Aerian will never allow it, she like’s being different, which is a teenagers way of saying she thinks she is more important than the will of the realm” He shrugged darkly now

“Tell me, Bryant. What is in this all for you, hm?” Aishani turned to face him, allowing for her figure to distract from the actual depth of the question, when she knew full well that the truth serum was in his veins. “Do not say, me. Because, that did not arise until recently.” 

“Revenge” He replied firmly “Your husband took my daughter, and cost me the price of her contract, so I planned to ensure he lost his daughter, and any one else we could take out with him, you on the other hand I planned to sell back to your mother for quite a price”

“She has grand plans for you my dear, grand plans indeed”

Aishani tilted her head with a brow inclined, otherwise her expression showed nothing, though, beneath she was raging at his words. “Hm. Here I thought, you wanted me for yourself. Little difficult with Z’ress in control of such magnificent power. Truth is, she wants nothing but to torture me herself, I am an abomination to the Drow goddess Lloth in her eyes. Yet, I am quite the opposite.” Though, she leaned forward with a wicked smirk. “Tell me the things…careful, for a female such as I, I do enjoy torture…I get wet just thinking about it.” 

“And I would enjoy making you wet, incredibly wet and feeling like the world was only us” He scratched the back of his neck his mind in a battle between the truth serum and his own plan “You get all the details and I still lose my head and a chance at that very fine body of yours, I don’t see you as a possession but you are a prize, possibly one of the most prized in the realm, it would be foolish of me to let my own fall by the way side? I’ve had experience with truth serums though this one is among the better, but in doing so I have a tolerance for them, to some degree having already revealed more than half my information of use, and you have all that and me harder than a man should be left with”

“Sounds like, it is not only the serum but your masculinity.” Aishani stood to lean down and gather her robe, offering him the angle of her bottom. “You are a man after all. No, you should have stuck to your goals and ideals. I do have my own motive, though, the truth behind it, you will never know, dear Byrant.” She folded the robe over her forearm, lifting the tray and leaning down to press her lips against his before drawing back the skin to bite viciously upon his neck to inject the venom of not only her werewolf but also that of a potion that held a poison into the wound that was hidden in a pocket of her robe. “I would not wish for any other to tamper with this moment. I am giving you your dignity, Bryant. Your death will be quick as the conflict of poison and wolf swim through your veins.” She cradled his head against her bosom, caressing his hair. “This you are not tolerant of…I should know, I am the only one that knows it. Sweet dreams.” She then turned to leave the cell, closing the door behind her, while watching him silently from the other side. 

He looked stunned in the moment, the clouding of his mind sudden and quick as she left he knew he’d lost as his eyes closed the darkness drowning him now.

********************************************************************************************

The scent of blood clouded Kane feeling the deep growl in his stomach he shoved it down with frustration as he forced his way through the door, looking to Aishani then knowing what was in the cell beyond, he smiled softly.

“Had me worried for a moment, scent of blood threw me a little”

She remained still, looking into the cell, even as Kane appeared. Now, in just her night gown, it was clear by the dimness of the dungeon that Aishani was cold, slowly she turned to face him with a smirk on her lips stained with blood on the front of her night gown, staining the white fabric. “Come…we need to have this cleaned up. His blood tasted horrible, rotten. We have somethings we need to discuss.” She led the way from the dungeon, struggling a slight on the stairs and to the kitchen. But, once within, she went to a meat locker and began to shuffle around within. This was unlike her and perhaps the craving for blood was too grand now with the demand from their unborn children. 

Kane waited as he tracked down a bowl and hot water to help clean her up, his mind still drown in the scent of blood for a moment. As she returned he took the cloth beginning to clean the blood gently.

“Hungry my love?”

She left the locker, stopped by Kane, whom began to clean her neck and face, though the dangerous dip of her neckline offered him the spillage of the crimson upon her swollen bosom that was perched on her large belly. But, she didn’t speak only tore into the raw steak, closing her eyes and moaning softly, Kane saw her begin to tremble and even the fangs that extended to her indulgence of the bloody meat. 

Kane dropped the cloth into the bowl with absence that splashed water across her, he knelt before her.

“Are you OK? He didn’t harm you?” Kane knew better but the question came all the same, the scenarios in his head hadn’t helped as he’d paced that hallway waiting on her “You know I’m here always”

She blinked to him suddenly, while licking her fingertips from the blood, tilting her head as though his splash of the water and words of concern brought her back to the present. Then she dropped the meat and backed away, turning her back to him, while trembling. “I’ve been…fighting the urge…to feed…I just…I apologize, my love. The taste of blood…and…I just couldn’t contain myself any longer…” Aishani was referring to her vegetarian diet, that now was no longer. 

He slid his hands against her shoulders gently “It’s fine my love, something you will in time, is to find a balance for, if you need to.” He absently referred to his own needs and the fight to find a way to control things that weren’t always possible “The wolf, it’s going to send you crazy if you don’t,”

He kissed the back of her neck gently a reminder he was always with her “I take it our prisoner pushed his luck too far?”

She crooned softly as his lips touched the back of her neck, as the sweetness of her flesh taunted him, though a hand lifted to place upon his and Aishani turned to face him. “I now, know, what it is that Z’ress has planned with Ascondia. Under no circumstance is Aerian to go after Ascondia. It is a death trap, not just for our daughter but for the entire realm as we know it. Z’ress means to draw Aerian by using her mother, then transfer the soul of each into her….thus giving her incredible power. Such should not be done in one individual it is too unstable…” She licked her fingers again. “Z’ress has plans for me, apparently so much so that Bryant was going to monopolize on capturing me to sell to her at a high bid. I know that wouldn’t happen, it isn’t a concern but he was a liability and knew too much. This way, we can still be involved in this. I am not done fighting.” 

He smiled as she refereed to Aerian as their child, a reminder she was indeed part of their family completely “I never thought you were, but” he paused for a moment his grip on her shoulder tightened ever so slightly before he spoke again “She intends to throw the balance, Ceremon knows an act like that would force Stacy to act, draw her into the open and well we can assume they seek her power as well, she is barely even part of the realm, with her soul the realm would think Z’ress the healer”

It wouldn’t be difficult to detect the shudder that pulled through “Damn, we’d be wiped from existance, and without even able to defend what would come. Sadly for Bryant he was unaware we already knew what awaited Aerian in Elvera, hence we are here and our plan to remove Ascondia from them already in motion. But we should keep them apart, there is no telling the damage Z’ress has already done, our daughter will not fall to them.”

She nodded solemnly to him, curling her hand within his and guiding him from the kitchen. “Yes, I did not like the way he talked to me…like a piece of meat. I wanted to strike him down then and there but I had to wait it out.” Aishani chuckled, giving Kane’s hand a squeeze. “I am not exactly sure how, you can find me being in this state attractive…I do understand that my breasts have increased in size…full of milk now.” Though entered their bedchambers. “He wanted to see me naked…tasteless. But, he is dead and will no longer breath again. I do know, that I am definitely part of Z’ress’ plans, this may include our children. In either case, I am exhausted, my love. Will you meet with the others? I can not…” 

“Try not to worry on things, we will handle each as it comes together as we always have” He kissed her gently as he helped her into bed, he leant over her “And to me you are as a beautiful as the day we met, nothing will change that”

She adjusted until she was comfortable, lifting a hand to caress his cheek, a small smirk on her lips. “I could never allow anyone to touch me…only you, my husband.” Aishani grimaced, buckling and lifting her hand to her swollen belly. “I think they liked the blood…” 

“They have wolf in their DNA, and Vampire, they are not going to be easy to teach” Kane smiled softly “But we also can’t forget you have your own ways so again we need to find a balance, but for the moment rest my love.” He kissed her gently before heading out of the door closing it behind him.

[The Turning Tide] Always A Plan

As Virra, Aerian and Zia entered the main hall, Kane and Hades were deep in conversation, Aishani and Jade were still sat by the fire. The moment caught sight of Zia he was across the hall toward her only to have his path blocked by Aerian.

“We need her,” Aerian snapped, there was a force in her voice that she wasn’t in the mood to be second guessed.

“She did pick his pocket,” Kane laughed darkly before intervening and forcing Hades to stand down, “But let’s hear it all the same,”

Aishani glanced from Jade to the entrance of the three women. “Someone pick pocketed Hades? That’s impressive.” She chuckled rising with the help of Jade to move over to slip into Kane’s lap. Jade took position near Hades a hand placed on his shoulder. To the tone in Aerian’s voice, Aishani looked to the red head. “You have something to share?” 

“We need to get mom out of Elvera, and non of us can go,” Aerian began “Zia can get in, and out she has all the skills needed, she’s as good as I am, she can do this. I need her to,”

Aishani considered this in silence, while those mismatched eyes fixed on Virra. “You believe if any of the Elcarus go it will be a trap.”

“I know if we go one or more of us will die,” Aerian replied softly “Virra saw it too, but we can’t leave mom in their hands, Z’ress messed me up, with mom’s power they could cause all kinds of hell, if they get mom on their side even the dragons wont save us,”

“She has a point, between the power to bend time and the fact she is Queen, that power alone could lose us this war,” Kane nodded in thought.

“So we just throw Stacy at them, no one in the Everlands has more power, Stacy can bend the very realm itself,” Hades bit back darkly

“She isn’t a warrior, and the Healer has always been impartial, we cannot allow that change for the sake of a war, it would damage her position, and ultimately the realm itself, Aerian is right we need to remove Ascondia from their arsenal, and before you even suggest it Hades we’re not killing her, she is Aerians mother.” Kane’s words came quickly only to met with a growl of frustration by Hades.

“Then it is settled. I do hope you can be as reliable as Aerian deems you. Because I will tear you from loin to strum should you betray us in any form? Mark my words, this is not a threat but a promise.” Aishani stated calmly, darkly, eyes fixed on Zia.

“Oh another Elcarus, with yet another threat, you girls are just trying to make me wet now,” Zia smirked in reply before she flexed her hands “I got this covered, I’ll get her back, but then I want guarentees my demands will be met, I promise I’ll keep them small.”

Kane looked up his eyes settled on Zias for a moment “Just get her clear of the dungeons, she can get you back much quicker, bring her back alive and safe, then we will talk,”

Aishani remained silent while a hand rested upon her swollen belly but any that knew her would recognise the calculation. Jade remained beside Hades while Virra kept still but protective neat Aerian.

“I will alert the spiders. Who will make the dires, unicorns, and dragons aware of safe passage.” She said calmly, while a shadow moved in the room and Shadow revealed herself. Aishani stood and moved over to the spider, there appeared to be an understanding as the creature lifted a leg to pat at her belly. “She is ready.”

Zia eyed Shadow for a moment before she nodded, with a soft smile “Alright, guess I should get my fine behind on the road,” and with that, she was out of the room.

Aerian sighed softly before looking to Virra “I’m going to lay down, apparently I don’t feel so good”

Kane looked to Aerian, concerned now in his eyes, Aerian smiled softly taking Virras hand and leading her from the room, leaving just the four of them.

“Something in all this isn’t going to end well Kane,” Hades remarked darkly.

“I know,” was all Kane had in reply.

Virra looked to Aerian now, while nodding and leaving the room with her after Zia and Shadow left. 

“There is only one reason that Aerian wouldn’t go herself,” Jade commented idly, Aishani nodded in agreement. 

“She didn’t say it, but I have a feeling that she had a premonition…” Aishani fraud from Kane’s lap. 

“I would guess so, one enough to stumble her resolve, which means it’s one of the women in our lives or her that was to fall ill of death. She is trying to protect everyone and that’s no easy task as we all know,” Kane sighed softly

“Agreed. By the way, she acted and Virra standing by her side. It seems to be Aerian. But only time will tell.” She caressed her belly calmly. “The children stirred more to that and they can only feel the shift in the realm…”

“Let’s hope there is a realm left for them after this” Hades muttered softly before he let his eyes settle on the flames of the fire.

“We need to take them apart piece by piece, remove any big pieces of their plan and the rest will fall” Kane replied softly

“Don’t talk like that, my love…” Jade scolded Hades. “We have only just begun to fight. Don’t throw the towel in before it has started.”  

Aishani nodded while creasing her swollen belly. “You are right, Kane. we need to take a look at the map and positioning to better are chances of this goal. Do either if you know what exactly Ceremon could be after? The one thing he lacks.” 

“It’s always power with Ceremon, more since Z’ress arrived” Kane replied softly “The throne has always been his end game, complete control as our family allegedly once had, generations ago”

“When our family was a bunch of murderous psychopaths?” Hades sighed softly “Hard to lose that label with Ceremon still alive and kicking, and yet neither of us can seem to find the want to kill him,”

“He’s still our father, as much as that fact is a pain in the ass it’s a truth, even killing Hareavor, doesn’t sit will, only that it had to be done, for Aerians sake, that’s blood she doesn’t need on her hands.” Kane stood as looked at the map that now spread on the table, real time created in magic.

“Our best choice is to drive them back in Elvera, then attack, once we have Ascondia of course,” Hades pointed over the outer cities and towns.

Aishani slipped from Kane’s lap in his rise, moving to stand at his side to inspect the map. A hand possessively upon the swell of her belly while going over the map then nodding to Kane. “Hades has a point. Yes, the only thing standing in his way is us. I imagine he would do anything to break us. In that, we have to be smart. We need a plan B. Always the second plan.” 

“Plan B is always the same, we fight until we fall” Kane replied “Hopefully it wont come to that, though I wonder how easily Z’ress will give up such power, we can force Ceremons hands, at least under ordinary circumstances,”

“How does she feel about dragons,” Hades smiled darkly, “I say plan B is we burn Elvera to the ground if we have to”

“Z’ress and dragons don’t mix. She hates the creatures, as well as unicorns. Perhaps that is why Ceremon hasnt involved them. Quite honestly, she prefers the dead being a necromantic healer. There is always a price to pay for her.” Aishani smirked to him. “I think we need more information from Virra’s father. He must need some…persuasion…” 

“Perhaps, but Ceremon has a legion of Necromancers, as well as his own ability to bring forth the dead, that is what will be waiting for us, though they tend not to do so well under flame,” Kane shook his head with a sigh “And which female do we send in to persuade him? Virra would sooner cut his throat than speak to him, the damage he has done to Virra is enough of a reason for Aerian to end him,”

“Jade is out of the question, he is far too dangerous to allow him that close to my lover” There was a force in Hades voice that was seldom there about much else.

“And you’re pregnant, and the only person I would trust not to kill him on a whim, but that is not really reason enough now is it?”

Aishani glanced to Kane with a furrow of her brow. “I’m not fragile, my love. But what option do we have? I can make them believe that I didn’t want the children…Z’ress would melt into the thought of bending unborn to her will after birth. She is well beings the ability to give birth herself…though, there are my sister’s. Granted they envied me in the beginning…” 

“I wasn’t planning on turning you over that far, but that does not say that you couldn’t pry into Virras father, Elcarus children he could sell, I’m sure that could get his attention, a hot girl just waiting for the right moment to stab her husband in the back,” Kane sounded unsure in his words the thought of offering the woman he loved to some one was truly troubling him “I know you’re far from fragile my love, but that doesn’t change how I feel about you, we would, in the end, have to stay out of the entire scenario”

“It’s all well and good but he has the whole problem of the fact once this is over he’ll be losing his head, so he isn’t going to be too co-operative in that is he?” Hades reminded them.

Kane looked to Hades then to Jade before back to Aishani “Then he has to believe he has a chance and that you have indeed turned things to your own advantage as was the plan all along,”

Aishani glanced to Kane, then inhaled deeply standing with her had on her swollen belly. “It had to be done. Though I ask every one of you to trust me no matter what you hear…or see. Can you do that? Extreme times call for extreme measures.”