The Gift of Love - AU M/L TEEN [COMPLETE]

Finished stories set in an alternate universe to that introduced in the show, or which alter events from the show significantly, but which include the Roswell characters. Aliens play a role in these fics. All complete stories on the main AU with Aliens board will eventually be moved here.

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woodwinds
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The Gift of Love - AU M/L TEEN [COMPLETE]

Post by woodwinds » Sun Feb 23, 2003 5:14 pm

Author: Woodwinds
Category: M/L, AU
Rating: YTEEN… maybe a little more later, but nothing more than TEEN so get your heads out of the gutter!
Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing. Nothing, you hear! The idea came from a book I had to read for my Children’s Literature class at school. It’s called Ella Enchanted. The idea comes from the book, but the twist belongs to me. Also, all of the Roswell characters don’t belong to be. They belong to Jason Katims and Melinda Metz.
Summary: Once upon a time in a far away planet, there was a young maiden was given a most extraordinary gift upon her birth. The gift was meant to be a blessing, but would eventually turn into a curse. Liz Parker fights a constant battle between doing what she wants and what others demand that she do. Max is son of the King of Antar, Isabel is his sister. Liz Parker does have several friends, but even they do not know the extent of her secret. How will Liz Parker live through her “gift?”


Part 1

Once upon a time…

That was how all of the stories started right? That was the beginning that always implied a happy ending. That was the start of a promise for a wonderful story filled with adventure and love and triumph. But for one young girl, this was not the case. Once upon a time brought a curse upon her. Once upon a time did not imply in any way that there would be a happy ending. For her, it was the beginning of a nightmare that was meant to be a blessing.

Liz Parker had been given a “gift” from the oracles when she was born. She was the daughter of the most prominent physician on the planet. She was of a wealthy family, a courtier, and approaching the age of eligibility.

One of the oracles had come in disguise to her birth, acting as one of the midwives unknown to everyone there, including her mother.

The birth of Liz was celebrated throughout the county as the physician and his wife had been trying to have a child for several years. This little one, Liz, was the biggest blessing in their lives. She was the answer to all of their prayers.

Little baby Liz had been crying upon her birth, as most babies do. Yet this time it upset the oracle greatly. The baby just didn’t understand how special she was and how joyous an occasion this was. This was no time to be crying. So the oracle walked quietly up to the cradle, tiptoeing so as not to startle the already upset child.

“Hush, my precious. Hush. You must not cry any more. Happiness is what I wish for you and your family. My beloved child, you must always be obedient. Now hush your crying.”

The infant ceased her boisterous outcries immediately.

And that was how it happened. The “gift” had been given and Liz Parker was doomed to a life of always being obedient.

The “gift” had never really bothered her until her sixth birthday. Liz’s father had decided to throw a great party in honor of his daughter’s big day.

Liz had always been loved more than life itself by her parents. Her mother was dearer to her than any other person in the world. After several little mishaps with her gift when she was younger, her mother had become aware of Liz’s problem. Of course, this greatly troubled her and she shared it with her husband.

At Liz’s party, a local baker had made the most wonderful, beautiful, and extravagant cake in her honor. Liz was served a small piece just her size and enjoyed every moment of it. When her friend Michael had seen that she had finished her cake, he asked her if she had enjoyed it. The answer was obviously that she had. What six year old would not enjoy their birthday cake?

But it was after that things had gone downhill.

“Why don’t you have some more?” Michael asked innocently.

“Nah, I’m good.” She smiled back at him.

“No really, I insist. Have more.”

Liz went to bed with the world’s worst stomachache that night. She had eaten more cake than she had room for. She just ate and ate and ate and ate… Until her mother happened to notice the sickly green look that was coming over her daughter’s face.

After scanning the room to see what could be the cause for her daughter’s sudden illness, she noticed that the majority of the cake had been eaten, when just a little while ago it had been mostly all there.

“Liz! Don’t eat any more!” She shouted quickly without another thought.

Liz meanwhile, was more than relieved. Finally! A direct order! By this point, she never wanted to have another birthday party or birthday cake ever again.

After that moment, Liz’s mother had ordered Liz to never reveal to anyone that she had such a unique ‘gift.’ If someone with evil intentions found out, or even someone who knew but just decided to tease her with it, Liz would spend many more nights ill in bed. Or worse. Someone could order her to her death without even realizing it!

Liz went to bed that evening with a new goal in life. She didn’t care about what she became in life, or what her status was in life; she was going to find a way to break the curse. She had to, or eventually it would become her death sentence…


TBC

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woodwinds
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Part 2

Post by woodwinds » Sun Feb 23, 2003 5:15 pm

Part 2

The years rolled by and things never got any easier for Liz. Her mother had done a great job when she could, but she couldn’t always be around. So Liz had grown up with no tutors, but instead was home schooled. There was always the fear that a tutor, unknown to them, might order her to do something. That normally wouldn’t be such a big problem except that once ordered, Liz would never stop unless ordered to stop.

For the most part, she led a pretty secluded life, never venturing out much, for fear of her life. But life in her house was becoming redundant and boring. She yearned for something more. Something a little more daring than the life she had known her whole life. Sure, she knew the risks that she was taking, but so far nothing had gone wrong, and she promised herself that the moment anything did, she would take a break, or maybe try somewhere else.

Her daring spirit led her to take walks through a nearby park. What harm could that ever bring? Her mother had ordered her to always stay near home so she had to obey that, but the gardens weren’t constituted as far away. She found herself walking in them everyday.

The gardens were huge, with several different themes flowing through them depending on which section she was in. They never grew old, well, so far. The section she was in right now happened to be full of enormous maple trees. Someone had found the tree on a visit to earth and brought it back to Antar as an experiment. The colors during the fall were amazingly beautiful.

There was a swing tied onto one of the trees, and Liz found that this was one of her favorite spots in the entire garden. There was usually no one else around, which was a relief and yet lonely at the same time. There was no fear of her life being endangered; she could just sit on the swing, going back and forth… The wind played through her hair long hair, released from its usual confines and her skirt fluffed from the air. She was in her own little heaven, a haven from the worries of her life. There was no one there to order her not to swing, deeming her behavior and her appearance ‘not proper.’ And visa versa. There was no one to tell her to keep swinging, destroying anything wonderful about the activity for her. She was free here in the gardens.

She quickly made her way over to the swing, while ridding herself of her shoes, her tied up hair, and all of her cares.

She closed her eyes and imagined herself in a perfect world, where she hadn’t been ‘cursed’ with the ‘blessing.’ She was normal just like everyone else around her. She had powers just like everyone else, and most of all, she didn’t have to do anything someone ordered her to.

After a few hours of sitting on the swing and wandering around the white rose gardens, Liz made her way back home before supper. She wanted to make sure that no one would miss her. After all, she was sneaking out into the ‘unsafe world’ as her mother deemed it.

Supper went well, and with no mishaps. At home those were becoming few and far between. And once again Liz was safe, trapped in her world always longing for a way out. There just had to be a way.

Maybe she could contact the oracles and ask them to lift their ‘gift’ from her. But would it be wise to ask them to do such a thing? After all, they had thought they had done something good for her and for all of Antar.

Yet, it had done nothing but make her miserable. Here she was, of an eligible age, and she had not one beau. Not one boy pursuing her. No one interesting. No one even knew that she was of age. No one ever saw her.

She would always be a burden and a disgrace to her parents forever. She would never marry, she would never fall in love, she would never have children of her own, she would always live at home, and she would always be in danger of being ordered to do something that she didn’t want to.

More than anything, the thought of always being alone haunted her everything thought.

As she laid her head down on her pillow, after being ordered to go to bed, she thought of her dream man. He was the one that would waltz through her head during the wee hours of the morning, leaving her all warm and tingly inside when she awoke in the morning.

He was talk, dark, and handsome, just like out of one of the fairytales she had read a million times. Maybe someday he might actually enter her life, but with her luck he would already be betrothed, or even married, and she would be old and gray.

************************************************************************
Liz ran to the gardens on this day. The skies were gray and foreboding, threatening anyone who might step out and oppose them, but she was determined to retreat into her haven. Today was special. The weather seemed to be reading her thoughts and her mood and reflected them. Thunder and rain often made people gloomy and sad, but for Liz, it was the perfect opportunity to wander outdoors and the rest of the world ran inside.

If she had been free before in her garden, then this must have been utopia for her. Her shoes were off and her hair hung limply down her back, and some stuck to her face from the pouring rain. Her skirts were wet and muddy from jumping and splashing in puddles along the way.

She ran over a long grass lawn, skipping and swirling with her arms raised towards the heavens. A smile as bright as other days was plastered on her face. She yelled and screamed into the sky, ordering the rain to never stop, but instead to continue as if she was in control of it.

She ran to the top of the grassy hills, skirts in hand, hiked up to around her knees. If anyone saw her she would be considered highly scandalous, but she didn’t care. Nothing and no one was going to stop her. Today was for her.

A few more steps and she would be there. She inhaled deeply and closed her eyes, trying to catch her breath from her brisk run in soaking wet clothes. They must have gained ten pounds!

Only a few more steps, when suddenly her foot slipped out from underneath her and her ankle twisted before she made contact with the ground. The pain shot through as a bolt of lightening ripped across the sky, illuminating the entire gardens. Her hands broke her fall, and Liz found herself simply lying, face down on the soggy ground. And yet she was laughing.

“Is that all that you have? Is that the best that you can do?” She screamed at the heavens once again, but this time with anger in her voice. Of course something had to come and shoot her down every time she experienced something wonderful. They just had to destroy her utopia. She was just a pawn in the oracles hands. A little plaything that they could do whatever they wanted with.

There was no such thing as choosing her destiny. The oracles did that. And they had cursed hers from the very beginning.

She was a puppet, made to make them laugh.

She flipped herself over so that she was lying on her back, the rain pelting her in the face. Her right arm rested across her forehead, and her left hand rested on her stomach. She stared straight into the heart of the darkest cloud overhead, sending it an angry, yet determined glare.

“Well, it won’t work! I won’t let it work! I am going to be happy! I am going to live my life, you just wait and see!”

She was silent for a second, closing her eyes to just listen to the sounds of nature all around her. There was an order to all of nature, therefore she must fall somewhere in that. There had to be a reason for her being the way she was. The oracles must have had a reason for giving her that ‘gift.’ Surely it couldn’t just be stupidity.

“You just wait and see,” she whispered to herself.

“See what?” A masculine voice answered her unexpectedly.

Liz shot up like a rocket to a sitting position and turned around to find out who had been intruding on her privacy.

Her had rose to her mouth as she gasped at the sight in front of her. It was him! It was her dream! He was there in front of her.

“Um, nothing. You’re not here. You are just a figment of my imagination. I must have hit my head on my way down.”

The stranger reached out his hand to touch her left hand, which rested on the moist ground. She recoiled immediately.

“No, no, no, no, no,” she mumbled to herself. There was no way that any of this could be real. He couldn’t be real. It was the rain and her fall. She had to be seeing things.

“My lady, are you all right? I saw you lying up here and I thought there might be something wrong.” He reached his hand out to run over her head and then cupped her cheek. “I thought maybe you were hurt.”

Liz stared awkwardly at the stranger in front of her. He had the most beautiful amber eyes she had ever seen. She could see his entire soul through his eyes, and it was the most honest and caring soul she had ever met. And she didn’t even know his name!

‘No, Liz! Stop thinking like that! He is either an apparition or he is too good to be true. Maybe he is another cruel joke from the oracle!’

“I’m all right. Yes, I’m fine.” Yet she couldn’t manage to pull her head away from his gentle touch.

The thunder clapped overhead and snapped her back to reality. Here she was, completely not presentable and inappropriate in front of what obviously was a person of noble birth. She would be punished severely for this if anyone ever found out. Or if he ever found out whom she was.

“I… I have to go.”

Liz stood suddenly and turned to walk away from him. She started to run quickly, but quickly found that her ankle was a little too sore to run on, let alone walk.

‘Darn me for being so careless!’ She scolded herself. What a predicament she had gotten herself into this time.

She collapsed once more to cold, wet ground. It was no longer welcoming her, but condemning her, mocking her…

She heard him walking up behind her, coming to her aid. ‘Darn him for being so wonderful!’

“Are you all right? You seem to be favoring your ankle? Where in the world are your shoes? Does anyone know you are out here?”

“I’m fine. I’m not. I don’t have them with me. And no.” She answered defiantly, refusing to turn and look at him.

“I just felt like sitting down… right here.” Boy, that was horrible! She felt like shooting herself right there. At least then she would be put out of her misery.

He chuckled a little at her show of defiance before reaching down and taking her hand to help her to her feet once more. She sunk a little when she stood on her right foot due to the injury.

Liz’s arm grabbed onto the stranger for support without even thinking about it. It was better than falling to the muddy earth once again. But her actions soon registered in her mind again, her stubborn streak rearing its ugly head.

“No, I’m just fine. Let me go.”

She took one step forward and started to sink again. This time, the stranger’s arm reached out to secure her and keep her from falling.

“Let me help you.”

Those four words were all she needed to make her day just a little worse. Everything had been going so smoothly. There was not supposed to be anyone else out in the gardens today. It was rainy and cold. Everyone was supposed to stay indoors. Everyone except her, that is.

It was an order. She had to let him help her. She suddenly became completely compliant with his wish to aid her and he helped her hobble down the grassy hill.

“What in the world are you doing out in this downpour? You could catch you death out here?”

“I could say the same to you, you know. And if you must know, I was going for a walk. And I wouldn’t have caught my death. The rain has never hurt anyone.”

He giggled a little at her last words, for there she was hobbling along, only supported by his strong arm around her waist.

“Never hurt anyone, huh?” He motioned down to her ankle that was swelling more and more by the minute.

“Well, it hasn’t killed anyone at least.”

Liz pushed away from him again, tired of his taunting and his questions. But a sharp pain soon invaded her head, forcing her to grab her head and give a yelp of pain. The gift. She had to let him help her. She was trapped. Stuck. Completely dependent upon him.

“Miss! I don’t think you are all right, and for all we know, you may have already caught your death.”

He made a silly little gesture with his finger tapping his cheek as he thought of what he could do.

“I’ve got it! No more walking for you today!” And with that his muscular arms enveloped her and held her close. He had one arm under her knees and the other supported her back.

Liz turned her head to look him in the eyes, planning on giving him the death look of the century, but instead she found herself lost in his warm eyes once again. She had no defense against his eyes.

And she couldn’t get done from his arms. Number one because he had ordered her not to walk any more that day, which was probably a good thing considering the condition of her ankle. Number two because there was no way that his strong arms were going to let her feet touch the ground again.

And number three, because she no longer wanted him to let her go. Here she was in her dream man’s arms. And she was most definitely awake. The pain in her ankle let her know that. And his touch was too real. She couldn’t confuse that for a dream.

She found herself leaning her head against his chest and he walked them back towards town. She described how to reach her monstrous house and he walked straight there, carrying her the entire time, never breaking a sweat.

He marched her right up to her front door, and then opening it, with her permission, carried her inside and up to her room.

A fire was burning in her fireplace, and the warmth immediately penetrated the suddenly cold clothing that clung to her body.

He set her down in a chair by the fire and grabbed a blanket from her bed to wrap her in before kneeling in front of her to tuck her in.

Neither one of them spoke a word for fear of disturbing the moment. There was some kind of instant connection between the two of them, whether Liz wanted to admit it or not.

His voice broke the silence in a reverent whisper.

“Tell me your name.”

An order.

“Liz,” she whispered back, never losing contact with his eyes.

His hand rose to her face and brushed back a stray wet hair from her cheek, before cupping it and rubbing his thumb back and forth.

“Liz,” he whispered as if the name was one of an angel or some other heavenly being.

“Liz!” The shrill cry shattered the silence and forced the two back to earth.

They both turned their heads to look at Liz’s mother as she came rushing into the room with a great swishing of her skirts.

“My darling! You are soaked to the bone! Are you all right? We have to get you dried off right away. Oh, dear. Oh, dear.”

Her mother rushed her, with the help of a servant for she could not walk, out of the chair and across the room to the chambers next door. Several maids came flying through the doors creating quite a chaotic scene.

The stranger remained kneeling on the floor by the chair. Perhaps this was a good time for him to make his way out of the room before anyone noticed him.

He almost made it to the door before Liz’s mother came rushing back into the room.

“Young man!” Her voice rang out, echoing through the hall.

He froze in his tracks and waited for the scolding that was probably coming his way as well. After all, he had gone a little further than common curtsey allowed. He was in this young maiden’s room, alone…

“I thank you deeply for returning my foolish daughter to me, but I must ask what in the world you were thinking by bringing her into her room. You should have called for me at the door. What if you had been caught by someone, or seen by anyone else. If my husband had been the one to enter this room…”

But Mrs. Parker soon found that her previous words had left her when the stranger turned around.

She immediately fell into a deep courtesy and uttered the words, “You’re majesty!”

TBC

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woodwinds
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Part 3

Post by woodwinds » Sun Feb 23, 2003 5:18 pm

Part 3

Li continued to meet her mystery man every time it rained, but eventually the weather became annoying. She longed to be outdoors on a day when it would be sunny. She wanted to feel the warmth on her face; she wanted to snuggle under the shade of a tree with him holding her in his arms. But that would never happen. She couldn’t risk having that many people around. But the thought of that moment continued to dominate her thoughts.

Maybe she would give it a trial run. She could go out during the day once when she hadn’t arranged to meet with him and ‘test the waters’ so to speak.

Her mother had seemed unusually clammed up since the whole ordeal of finding them in her room, and she had no idea why.

All Liz knew is that she couldn’t get her mystery man out of her mind, especially since he was now a reality and no longer only a dream. And she had finally learned a name: Max. It was the perfect name. They had the perfect relationship. They really didn’t tell each other too much about themselves. No more than absolutely necessary. Either that or they would make up some other world for themselves. Liz would be some peasant in need of rescuing and Max would be her knight in shining armor. It was all so wonderful.

The feeling of being completely enclosed in his arms sent shivers down her back. He had been perfect, absolutely perfect. But they had to do something. Catching colds every time they got together wasn’t really an option.

Liz had been forced to tell her mother about her little escapades into the nearby garden after the whole incident and had basically been put under house arrest.

Her mother never revealed the true identity of the dark and handsome stranger though. She figured her daughter would never see the man again, so it would never matter. And she never ordered her daughter to never see him… Her mother did place her under a type of house arrest while she was home, though. She claimed that Liz had been extremely lucky that such a nice gentleman had been the one to find her.

But Liz was starting to get really stir-crazy sitting in the house all day. They only owned so many books and only had so many rooms to sit it. The stale air of the indoors was starting to get to her. And her mother hadn’t ‘ordered’ her to stay indoors, it was merely recommended. Which was really just a nice was of not ordering Liz to do something when it was not absolutely necessary.

Liz started to formulate a plan in her mind about how she would escape from her walls and make it back out to her garden. She wasn’t going to wait for another rainy day because that would be too obvious. Her mother would be expecting it this time.

After a few more days had passed, while her mother was overseeing a thorough scrubbing of the front entryway, Liz made her escape.

She made sure to leave her shoes on and hair up this time since she was going in the daylight and midday. There was no way that she was going to take the chance of being caught again. What if it hadn’t been her mystery man that found her on that day! She would have been found scandalous and disgraced her entire family. It was all right for a child to wander around like that, they didn’t know any better, but for an eligible lady, it was not heard of.

And Liz also had not been ordered to do anything horrible to herself. Max had not put her life into any danger. Yes, he ordered things of her, but they were things that she needed to be ordered to do. They were… sincere orders, not selfish ones.

Liz ran faster than she had ever run before, determined to make it to the garden without being recognized or stopped.

The familiar trees soon surrounded her and the swing came into sight. There were no people around and she made a b-line for the lonely swing.

Once seated she gently started to pump back and forth until she was swinging nicely, the breeze flowing past her, soothing all of her worries.

She suddenly felt hands around her waist pushing her on the swing. She let out a small yelp of surprise at the sudden invasion of her private moment. Plus the sudden onslaught of unexpected and unwanted hands caught her off guard.

“Excuse me!” She exclaimed at the trespassing hands.

“Madame, you are the most beautiful angel I have ever seen. Tell me your name.”

The voice was nothing familiar and had an almost evil hint to it. Everything within her told her not to answer, to just get up and leave before the man had a chance to do anything more to her.

She stood quickly and started to walk away, but the familiar sharp pain in her head caused her to collapse in pain. She desperately tried to get to her feet, but the pain had her grounded.

A hand grabbed her arm and forced her to her feet.

“Tell me your name, pretty lady.” The voiced ordered her again, this time even more demanding.

She grabbed her head in her hands and fought the pain with everything within her. But she felt herself start to lose consciousness. She couldn’t disobey for much longer, or it would literally kill her!

She had to obey his order. She had to reveal who she was. She had to… had to… had… to… fight… had to tell…

“Liz.” She half screamed and half cried out, desperate for the pain to dissipate. It left immediately, but her body felt exhausted from the extreme exertion of pain and energy.

“Turn around,” the voice demanded.

Liz turned around, though reluctantly.

“Look at me.”

Liz tried to keep her head lowered, but the pain started to build up again.

Look at me!” He yelled at her. He grabbed her chin in his hand and yanked her head upwards to look him in the face. After a minute he turned her head to the left and then to the right as if inspecting a piece of merchandise. It was sickening.

He sneered and gave her an evil grin.

“Yes, yes. You must be here. But there should be one more test. Yes, one more test.” He released his death grip on her chin before grabbing her arms forcefully and pulling her closer to him.

“Kiss me.”

“No.” She whispered out. She had to fight this. He was going to take advantage of her and there was nothing she could do to stop him. She couldn’t fight back like any other girl would do. Why did all his words have to be orders? Did he know about her situation?

“Don’t fight it, Liz. I know you have to do everything I order you to. I have my ways and my connections.” He squeezed her arms a little harder pulling her flush with his body.

“Now, kiss me.”

Everything within Liz was screaming for someone to come and rescue her. She didn’t care who it was. She would give anything; pay any sum for someone to save her.

She closed her eyes and braced herself for this latest violation. She didn’t want to die, but she also didn’t want to kiss him. How could any person or oracle think that her gift was a blessing? It was moments like this that turned it into a curse!

The kiss was horrible. It was like her entire being became tainted with the touching of their lips.

She pulled away immediately, fulfilling her end of the deal. He had ordered her to kiss him, but not intimately.

“There! Now leave me alone! Please!” Liz pleaded with everything within her. Why did she have to come to the gardens today? She knew better than to go out while it was sunny, while there was a chance that she might run into too many people. Or simply a single person like this man. She knew the dangers, and yet she stupidly walked straight into them.

“Be here tomorrow, same time, because I am taking you away.”

She gave him a confused look.

“Kidnapping you! Holding you for ransom. Gaining you as collateral. Dangling you as bait. Look, just be here.”

With that he turned to walk away from her leaving her shaken and violated.

“Wait!” Liz shouted at him. At least if she had to go with this man she had the right to know his name.

“If you are demanding all of these things of me, at least grant me one answer about yourself. Tell me your name.”

She stood tall and defiantly in front of him, trying to make herself as intimidating as possible.

The man took a step towards Liz and then bowed deeply.

“Khivar.”

“One more question. How do you… how did you find out about me?”

“Ah, it was simple, my dear. You see, I am the ruler of the fourth planet. Maxwell, the crowned prince of Antar, which you know is the first planet, and the home of the royal family, has been on cloud nine since meeting this illusive “Liz” in the royal gardens one day. See, it turns out that he has been negotiating with his father to take you as his bride. And you see, I cannot allow him to do that. I need to crush him, destroy his heart… I was meant to be ruler and if he believes that you are the one that will rule best by his side, if you are his heart, then you are my ticket to the throne. It will break him down to the point where I can squish him like the annoying bug that he is.

“Lucky for me, he described you perfectly. So it was only a matter of time until I found you. I waited in for days, weeks, until you finally returned. Good thing ole princey has such a good memory of you.

“I’ve heard rumors for years from the lazy townsfolk of the physician’s daughter’s little predicament. It was hard to learn what it was, but after a few puny spies, and a couple weeks later, voila! Here you are, doing everything that I order you to.

“Together, we can rule the planet. We will overthrow that incapable king and his lovesick son. We will be wonderful together. Me creating chaos throughout the land, you having to do everything I order you to do. It will be wonderful”

“Never.” She spoke through her teeth. If she spoke any other way, she might say something she would regret. And no matter how horrible this man might be, and no matter how much he deserved whatever she really wanted to say to him, she didn’t want to make things worse for herself. If she was going to marry him tomorrow she didn’t want to do anything to upset him even more. With his evil mind, who knew what he might do as a repercussion.

“See, but Liz, you don’t have a choice. I know that, and you know that.”

He grabbed her hand and then brought it up to his lips, placing a rough kiss up on it.

“Until tomorrow.”

“I’d rather die.”

“That can be arranged…”

After Khivar had lift, Liz stood shell-shocked in the gardens. What was she going to do? There was no way that she was going to marry him! She couldn’t! Maybe she would die tomorrow. Maybe this was the end for her.

And what was that about her mystery man, her Max, being the prince? Did she hear him correctly, or was that just another lie, another deceitful thing in his long plan of torture.

And there was the whole thing about negotiating with his father, the king about their marriage. Did that mean that he wasn’t already engaged? And why in the world would he choose her? She had never been to court of anything. Why did he take notice of her out of all eligible ladies on all five of the planets? Surely there had to be someone that would be a wiser political move to marry. Or someone without any gifts? Someone normal…

There was no way that her mystery man was the prince. And yet, he never did reveal his name to her…

There was no possible way that her Max was actually Maxwell, Prince of Antar and the five planets.

Was there?

************************************************************************
Liz awoke the next morning with tears already streaming down her face. How in the world was she going to get out of this one? This was almost worse that someone ordering her to her death. Actually, it was like someone ordering her to her death.

She was being forced to marry a madman and destroy the one she loved. And no one other than she knew about it. No one could help her. No one could save her.

She had spent years determined to find a way to make the oracles remove their gift from upon her. She had traveled with her mother across the lands in search of where the oracles might strike next.

Liz kept an ear out for any births among the nobles of the village, wondering if maybe they might just show up to bestow another gift upon some innocent child. But all of their efforts had been in vain. The oracles were nowhere to be found, and even more frustrating was the well-known fact that they had not bestowed any more gifts upon any children.

So what made them want to do that to her? What was the thinking and reasoning behind that decision? Was there any thinking or reasoning involved? That was the real question.

Liz was forced to simply spend time at home praying that someone would heed her prayers and release her from her invisible prison.

No answers ever came.

And now the gift was coming full circle into a curse. She was being forced, against her will to marry a madman. Perhaps the positive side was that… well… she couldn’t really think of a positive side.

She was in love with a man… the prince… Max, and she would never able to love him again.

After she had finished dressing, she walked down the hallway, down the grand staircase and then towards the parlor. If she was never going to return home again, then she at least wanted to tell her parents that she loved them one more time. And more than likely for the final time.

Liz tugged, nervously at her necklace and bit her bottom lip as she entered the parlor.

“Mom. Dad.”

“Honey, how are you today?” Her mother answered, looking up from her sewing.

“Any beaus after you yet?” Her father asked from behind his morning paper.

Nancy looked over at her husband with a scolding glance.

“Jeffrey!”

“What? I’m just teasing her!” He then retreated back into his paper. There was no way he would will this battle. After years and years of marriage he knew that he would win some and lose a lot. This was definitely one he would lose if he pushed it any further.

“Well, that isn’t something you tease about, especially with your daughter.” Nancy turned to face her daughter. It struck her just how beautiful she had become. When had her little baby girl gone and got all grown up like that. Poor thing. She should have had a string of beaus attached to her arm by now. But she would never have that. She never could. Life was too dangerous for her daughter, and not just because she was an overprotective mother. That was simply the truth for her beautiful daughter.

“Liz, honey, really, how are you doing this morning?”

Liz flew from her position in the door and kneeled at her mother’s feet, placing her head in her mother’s lap.

“Oh, mom, I just wanted to tell you, and dad, that I love you so much. Thank you for doing all you have done for me. I couldn’t have asked for better parents.”

She kissed her mother’s hand and then rose to go kiss her father on the cheek before exiting the room in a rush.

Without looking up from his morning paper Jeffrey comment on how strange that was, but then decided that it wasn’t too strange. Liz had always been special. In more ways than one.


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woodwinds
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Part 4

Post by woodwinds » Sun Feb 23, 2003 5:19 pm

Part 4

Liz left the house with just enough time to get to the gardens. She didn’t want to be late. Khivar had ordered her to be there at the same time and she had to obey.

She glanced up towards the sky and stared at the dark gray clouds overhead. At least the sun wasn’t going to shine on a day that held so much sadness for her. It would serve Khivar right if a sudden downpour of rain fell on him. At least then he wouldn’t get to remember this day as a joyous occasion. Maybe it would even clue him in as to what was in store for him if he took her.

How absolutely, perfectly ironic.

The first few drops of rain began to fall as the entered the garden of tall trees. She spotted the swing just ahead, and there he was, sitting on it, waiting for her. An evil smirk was on his face. He rose to his feet when he saw her coming across the gravel path towards him.

He reached out his right hand to take hers, and then placed a rough kiss upon it.

She pulled her hand away quickly.

“You will never get away with this,” she growled.

“Ah, my dear, just on time and such a wonderful mood. And isn’t the weather lovely? Perfect forecast of what is in store for the royal family, don’t you think?” He laughed evilly before grabbing her hand again. But this time he held it tightly and began to pull her away in the opposite direction of her house.

“Come with me.”

“Please, don’t do this. There have to be other ways to go about… to go about… your business besides taking me hostage.” The pain in her head started to build about halfway through her argument. She couldn’t fight this for long.

“Want to come with me.”

An order. A dooming order.

Liz suddenly quit stalling and pulling back. Her hand rested gently within his large, calloused hand and she looked at him through the eyes of an innocent child, completely enthralled by him. Her entire demeanor changed with his last order.

She found herself giggling at the thought of not wanting to go with this man. Of course she should go with this man! It wasn’t even a question or should or could… she would! She wanted to go with Khivar, even if it was to the ends of the earth.

Khivar started to walk again, this time with a willing Liz in tow, her hand still firmly grasped in his own, just incase.

“Liz!”

The call of her name came from across the garden. But it wasn’t far away. Liz turned her head around to see who in the world was calling her name. Who knew that she would be in the garden? And in the rain too!

“Liz!” He called again. Max was running towards her. And who was that man with her? Where was he taking her?

“Max?”

“Hey princey.”

Max adjusted his gaze to look Khivar dead in the eyes. Anger was written all over both of their faces.

“Khivar, where are you taking her? Why her?”

“Her?” he said gesturing towards Liz.

“Yes, her.”

“Oh, well, see I was out here going for a walk and she just started following me saying that she would come with me wherever I went. This little lady here loves me, I guess. Too bad for you.”

Khivar turned to leave, this time dropping Liz’s hand as a final act of defiance towards the prince. It would rip Max’s heart out when he saw that Liz would follow him of her own free will.

Sure enough, just after Khivar turned, Liz turned to follow him again, running a little to catch up.

“Liz, where are you going?”

“Oh Max, I’m sorry. I want to go with him.” She said in a dreamlike way. Her eyes were all glossy and she looked upon Khivar with wonder.

“Liz, why do you want to go with him?” Max asked in defense.

“I just want to go with him,” she answered a little frustrated. Why couldn’t Max understand that she really, really wanted to go with Khivar? It wasn’t like it was a complicated issue.

Liz shrugged her shoulders then turned to go catch up with Khivar one more time.

Max stood and watched her go, not understanding what had suddenly come over the love of his life. She was running away with his greatest enemy. He couldn’t let her do this. Khivar didn’t deserve her. Something was most definitely amiss.

“Liz! Stop!”

Liz stopped dead in her tracks.

“Liz, you don’t want to go with him. Don’t go with him. Stay with me. Please. Liz, you have my soul, I need you.”

Liz started to blink rapidly as her eyes started to water. She glanced around her. Why in the world was she running away from Max and towards Khivar?

“Max?”

She turned around to face him with a large smile upon her face. She picked up the front of her dress and began running full speed towards the love of her life.

It all made sense now! She could remember everything that had happened. And of course Max was there! It was raining! They always met in the park when it was raining.

Her knight in shining armor had come to save her, just as she had always dreamed and hoped he would.

“Oh, Max! Thank goodness you are here!” She flung herself into his waiting arms and buried her head into the crook of his neck.

Max’s hand rose to stroke the back of her head, gently trying to calm her back down and reassure her that he was there. And he wasn’t going to leave her again.

“Liz, my love. What is going on? Why were going with him?”

“Max, I don’t want to go with him. Max, he has this plan to overthrow the King and… and you. He wants to take over the throne. Somehow he found out about us and decided that I was your weakness. If he had control of me, then he would have control of you. Oh, Max. He almost had me, but you ordered me back. Max, you saved me.”

A cold sneer came from behind her.

“Well, technically he hasn’t saved you yet. After all, I’m still here, a little detail you forgot to remember. And Liz…”

“No! Go away!” she cried out towards him.

“Just leave me alone,” she whispered before burying her head back into Max’s shoulder. Her hands clung to his shirt like there was no tomorrow.

“Liz… dear. You see, I just cannot do that. Why you may wonder? Well, that’s because I know the truth. I know your little secret.”

Khivar began to slowly circle Max and Liz while he spoke.

“You mean you haven’t informed princey here of our little escapades in this garden? You haven’t told him that you love me?” The last three words were spoken with more emphasis than all of the rest.

Khivar stopped his circling and stood parallel to Liz.

Her head slowly lifted off of Max’s shoulder and turned to face Khivar.

Liz felt a sudden change within her.

“I love… you?”

“Yes, Liz, you love me.”

“Oh, all right,” she answered trance-like. How could she have been so silly? She loved Khivar, not this silly little boy who held her in his arms. A large smile spread across her face as she looked over at Khivar. Her heart started to beat faster as she looked at his face.

Yes, she loved him. With every fiber of her being she loved him. And she wanted to be held in his arms for all eternity, not Max’s. She had to rid herself of Max.

She began to pull away from Max, but at the last minute he grabbed her hand and pulled her back to face him.

“Liz, what are you doing? Are you crazy? What has gotten into you? You don’t love him!” Tears started to form in his eyes as he pleaded for the love of his life.

Khivar must have had some kind of spell over her to make her act this way. He knew Liz, and he knew that she didn’t love Khivar. There was something really fishy about this whole thing, and he wasn’t about to surrender his soul.

And Liz owned his soul. She was the air in his lungs… his reason for living. And he knew she felt the same way.

Liz tried to pull away from Max again, heading for Khivar’s waiting arms.

“Liz, please listen to me. Liz… I… I love you. Please come back to me.”

Liz ceased her struggle and turned to face Max, love filling her eyes. Yes, she loved Max, not Khivar.

“No Liz, you love me. You want me.”

She turned to start walking back towards Khivar.

“Liz! Liz, I won’t tell you that you love me. But I have seen into you soul and you are beautiful and I love you more than life itself. Please come with me.”

She turned to start walking back towards Max.

“Liz, come with me.”

She turned towards Khivar.

“Liz, I love you. Please, don’t go with him. Return to me. Please.”

She turned towards Max.

“Liz.”

Khivar.

“Liz.”

Max.

Khivar.

Orders.

Max.

Khivar.

Max.

A pain sharper than any she had ever felt before shot through her head. Too many orders. She couldn’t take it anymore. Who was she supposed to obey? She couldn’t remember what was happening, but she could hear the two men calling out to her. One was demanding, the other sincere and full of love.

Khivar.

Max.

Khivar.

Max.

Orders.

She began to feel herself losing consciousness once again, too weak to fight the oncoming blackness for much longer. She dug down deep within her, to her soul searching for something to remember, searching for something to save her.

And that’s when she saw him. It was almost like seeing a light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. He was calling to her, beckoning for her to come and be held in his strong arms. She couldn’t remember a name or any other information. All she could remember was that she loved this man and she would never get the chance to tell him that.

Tears began to stream down her face at the thought. Why couldn’t she remember his name?

The darkness was closing in.

It was on the tip of her tongue. If she could only remember it, maybe she could at least die with the memory of the man she loved on her mind.

It started with an N… no not an N. That didn’t feel correct. An M! It was an M! Now what was the rest of it?

Liz dug as deep as she could within herself. She knew she only had a few moments remaining…

“Mmm…” She managed to get out. Maybe sounding it out would help.

“Liz?” Max glanced over at Liz who suddenly sank to her knees, clutching her head, and then fell to lie flat on the ground. He rushed over to her side and picked up her head, placing it on his lap. He stroked her feather soft hair back off of her face.

“Liz? Liz, please come back to me. Liz?” He called to her again and again, but she didn’t respond.

“Mmmm…” she muttered once again. Why could she get it? It was like it was just out of reach. She had to try harder. She had to remember. She wanted to remember more than anything.

The darkness started to cave in all around her, squeezing out any of the remaining light. Time was running out.

“Max!” She cried out loudly. That was his name! That was whom she loved! She remembered.

The world went black.


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woodwinds
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Part 5

Post by woodwinds » Sun Feb 23, 2003 5:20 pm

Part 5

Max felt the life slowly slipping from Liz. He begged over and over for her to open her eyes and return to him, but she was completely non-responsive.

She inhaled suddenly, opened her eyes and called his name before falling limp in his arms. Her chest ceased its gentle rise and fall and her hand slip from its tight grip on her shirt, hitting the ground with a sickening thud.

“No,” he whispered towards her.

He buried his head in her chest, tears flowing freely. He had been too late. Too late. She was surrounded in his arms, clutched to him in a death grip.

“No!” He screamed out to the dark sky, rain pelting him in the face.

A cold snicker came from behind him, causing Max’s head to snap in that direction. Anger suddenly began to consume his every thought. The monster standing in front of him had murdered an innocent woman, and all to get to him. He should have known better than to involve Liz, but from the moment he first laid eyes on her, he knew she was special.

“So sad,” Khivar sighed while cleaning out his nails.

“You,” he growled. “You did this. She was completely innocent. If it was me you wanted, then why were you not man enough to deal with me?”

Max’s hand rose out in a defensive attack position towards Khivar. With one more glance towards the sky he prayed that the Lord would forgive him for what he was about to do. But he could control his anger no longer. If there was nothing that he could do to bring back the woman he had fallen in love with, then at least he could honor her by doing away with the source of her pain. He could finish her battle for her. He had to. No, he wanted to at this point. If he didn’t finish it, then it would go on. Some other innocent person would be hurt someday. Another person like Liz.

Never again.

It may have just been him, but Max could have sworn that the clouds were getting darker, and the thunder actually sounded angry. But his thoughts were quickly brought back to his task.

This had turned out to be his destiny, and he had to go through with it. A murderous crazy man like Khivar could never change. And Max would never forgive him.

A bolt of energy stronger than any ever used before shot from his hand. And at the same moment, the heavens heard his plea. A similar bolt of lightening burst out of the heavens and struck the earth.

Both forces of energy had a similar target, and both hit the bull’s eye.

After releasing the sudden bolt of energy, Max shielded his eyes from the bright light that was still coming down from the sky. It filled him with terror and awe at the same time. But it lasted so long that the loss of his energy eventually caught up with him and he sunk to the ground, cowering from the light’s magnificence.

After what seemed like an eternity, the light disappeared as quickly as it had appeared leaving Max alone on the ground. There was no sign of Khivar anywhere. Had he gotten away? Had he somehow created that light just long enough for him to grab Liz and run away?

He sat up quickly from his position on the ground, doing a quick scan of the proximity to see if Liz was still there.

His heart leaped and the shattered at the same time when his eyes came to rest upon her lifeless form lying about twenty feet away? When had he moved twenty feet? He had no memory of moving other than standing to defend himself against Khivar.

Max got to his feet and then ran to her side, before collapsing onto his knees once in front of her. She looked so pale and so helpless. There was no sign of life left in her. He checked her pulse and watch for any sign of breathing. But her chest was still, and no light throb came from her wrist or neck.

He repositioned himself so that he could hold her lifeless body cradled in his lap. He just wanted one more moment with her before he was forced to say goodbye for all eternity.

He cradled her head in his right arm and pushed the wet hair off of her face, like he had done so many times before, with his left hand.

She was still beautiful. It was like she was merely sleeping and all her had to do was wait until she awoke. And then they would kiss, and he would take her away to the castle where he would quickly marry her and protect her for the rest of their lives.

But now he was the one dreaming.

He looked into her face, his soul screaming in pain.

“Come back to me, Liz. Please come back to me.” A lonely tear ran down his cheek.

“I love you, Liz. I did from the moment I first saw you dancing in the rain. I will love you for all eternity.”

He grabbed her hand inside his own; it was still warm. He brought it up the chest level, clutching it to him.

“So beautiful.” He whispered.

He placed a feather soft kiss upon her hand before resting it on her chest once again.

“I love you.”

Her hand suddenly left its resting place and grabbed onto his hand, forcing a connection between the two of them. Max had no time to react or register what was happening before he was pulled into another place.

************************************************************************
She sat in the back recesses of her mind, the darkness completely surrounding her. She was tucked in a corner somewhere, her knees hugged by her arms and her head buried in her arms. Sobs wracked her body as she cried for the life she would have no longer.

She was not really sure where she was; all she was sure of was that she was dead. Her parents would never know the truth behind what happened to her and she would never see her mystery man again.

It was over. The gift had come full circle into a curse. And the curse had killed her.

Maybe she was just waiting for an angel to come and take her away from this dark place. Maybe she was still passing over to the other side.

But she knew what the darkness meant; she could feel it in her soul.

The air around her was completely silent, almost eerie with its lack of everyday sounds. The true sound of silence sent chills through her already tear wracked body. Or was it a body? She couldn’t even see herself. For all she knew, she was just a thought floating through time. Waiting for someone to remember her…

But who would ever find her here? No one knew where she was. She was lost. Forever.

As the tears continued to flow she raised her head up towards, well, whatever was up in the darkness. Anger filled her tear soaked eyes.

“Why?” She screamed into the darkness. “Why me? Why did you have to give me this gift? Don’t you realize what you have done to me? I should be happy. I should be normal, but you took that from me before I ever had a chance.”

She paused to listen to the darkness around here. There was no reply.

“What? Are you ashamed of what you have done? Is that why you won’t face me? Is that why you won’t fix this?”

Still, there was no answer.

“Answer me!” She screamed again. But no reply came.

Her head sank back into her hands as she whispered through her sobs, “answer me.”

She had no sense of time in the black void. She simply sat huddled in the darkness, wishing for the end to come, for all consciousness to disappear. She did not want to go on any longer. Her life had been nothing but painful. Maybe God was being kind to her for allowing her to die. Maybe that was the plan all along.

For all she knew, hours or days passed before anything changed in her dark land.

It was a sudden breeze that caused her to sit up straight where she was. Where in the world had that just come from? Was this the end? She didn’t know whether to be terrified or absolutely relieved. There was nowhere that she could run. She could not see anything and in this black place there was nowhere to hide other than by remaining still.

The breeze stopped and the eerie silence set in once again. Perhaps the whole thing had been her imagination, she began to wonder.

************************************************************************
Max was standing in a black void. But some primal sense within him told him that he was not alone in this place. He stood still trying to figure out what in the world had just happened to him. He had been in the park waiting for Liz, just like on any other rainy day.

Oh yes! Khivar and the fight. The light… Liz.

Liz! His last memory of her flew through his head. She was gone. And yet somehow he felt as if she was still nearby. Maybe he had just fainted in her arms or something. And yet, something told him that was wrong. Yes, he was still with her, and yet he was in this strange blackness as well. And she was nearby.

He heard a sniffling noise coming from somewhere in the darkness, though all sense of direction was completely lost to him. Was there someone in this place with him? Was it possible, in some miracle, that it was Liz?

He had a quick debate with himself as to whether he should reveal his presence or not but decided that he would never get anywhere, nor get any answers if he did not.

“Hello?” He called out into the darkness. He kept his voice lower so that incase there was anything dangerous around; he wouldn’t be in too much trouble.

But no answer came his way. Simply silence.

He thought he might have heard someone shifting off to his right and he turned abruptly to face what he thought was the correct direction.

“Hello?” He dared again, this time a little louder. “Is there someone here?”

This time he heard a definite gasp coming from somewhere in front of him. It wasn’t too far away either. So whoever was there with him wasn’t expecting him.

He cautiously started walking towards where the sound had come from, he defenses always ready for anything.

************************************************************************
Liz sat silently huddled in the darkness, using it to hide in. She could feel another presence in this place but she couldn’t tell who or what it was.

It was quiet for a long time, long enough for her to wonder if her imagination was getting the best of her again when she heard his voice.

“Hello?”

It was quiet, but it most definitely proved that there was someone else there with her.

“Hello? Is there someone here?”

She gasped quite loudly before she even had time to register that she had done it.

‘Great,’ she thought, ‘that was just great.’

The shuffling sound of footsteps soon followed her gasp. And they were coming closer to her. Where could she run? Was there anywhere to run to?

“Hello? Liz, is that you?”

He knew who she was. And why did that voice sound so familiar? It almost sounded like… no, it couldn’t be. Why would he be here in this null void with her? Had Khivar killed him as well?

What if Khivar had? It was all her fault! Her gift truly was a curse and had caused harm to someone other than herself. She could have dealt with it only affecting her, but harming Max as well? That was going too far.

“Max?” She called into the darkness. She rose to her feet so that just incase she had to make a run for it, to where she had no idea, but just incase, she would be able to.

“Liz?” The voice rang through the darkness.

“Max!” It was him. She was sure of it. But how in the world were they going to find each other in the dark? She couldn’t even see one inch in front of her. What if they just walked right by each other and never found each other?

“Liz! Where are you? I can’t see anything?”

Her relief shined through her voice.

“I don’t know. Max, please find me. Please.” Maybe he could help her out of here. Maybe they could do it together.

“Liz, just keep talking to me and our voices will lead us to each other.”

“Max, I’m so sorry you are here too. I didn’t know that any of this would happen or I would have never allowed things to go so far between us. I’m so sorry. Now we will never see the light together again.”

He could hear her start to cry again. Why in the world did she feel so guilty? What had she done? She was completely innocent in his mind. The most perfect angel ever created.

“Liz, what are you talking about? This isn’t your fault. Khivar did this to you and now we just need to find each other and help you out of here.”

“But Max, I don’t think you understand, I’m dead. Well, at least I think I am. It’s better this way, really. But I am glad that you are here for just a little while. At least we are together for just a little longer.”

He suddenly bumped into a solid, warm form.

“Oomph!”

She threw her arms around the love of her life, as short as it may have been.

“Max.”

The tears flowed freely down her face as she reveled in the feeling of being in Max’s arms once again. Max showered her face with kisses. He had found her. He had no idea how, but he had and that was all that mattered. They were together now. And there was no way he was going to let her leave him again.

“Liz, my love. I thought I had lost you. I thought I had lost you for good. But then you brought me here. And now I have you again. I’ll never let you leave my side again.”

“Max, I didn’t bring you here. What are you talking about? I died. I think… And you must have died too.” Tears ran anew down her face. “I’m so sorry. It’s all my fault.”

“No, no, Liz. Don’t ever think that. I’m not dead, and somehow I don’t think you are either. All I remember is holding you in my arms in the park. Then you grabbed my hand, though you were not conscious, and then I was here. Liz, I think you were reaching out for me somehow. But, Liz, where is here? Where are we?”

His thumb ran over her check wiping away a stray tear.

“I… I’m not really sure. I just woke and found myself here.”

“I can answer you questions.”

The voice came from behind them both. A light, no larger than a match pierced through the darkness, illuminating the figure that spoke to them.

Max threw his arms around Liz, pushing her slightly behind him in order to protect her.

“Who are you? How did you get here?” Max asked sharply.

“I am an oracle. I am everywhere.” The voce was feminine and flowy. Each word was obviously very deliberate and thought out. She spoke with an air of authority, demanding that you heed every word that she said.

An oracle! Now Liz could say the words on her mind that she had been wanted to say for so many years.

“You. You did this to me? Why? All I want to know is why you did this to me? Please tell me there was a reason and that I wasn’t just some mistake. Why have you made me suffer so? Please, a truthful answer is all that I want and then I will never speak of it again. I just must know for my own peace of mind. Please.”

Well, those weren’t the exact words that Liz really wanted to say, but face to face with an oracle, that was all she was able to get out. And deep down, her words really were the truth. She was past being angry. There was nothing that she could do about it now, so what would being angry accomplish?

“Liz, my beloved child. It was all for a reason. The oracles do not make a mistake, though it may appear so to the mortal eye. You cannot see the future and you destiny. Every cause has an effect, though sometimes the effect is difficult to see.”

“I understand, but I still don’t see how that applies to me.”

Max stood behind Liz with holding onto her arms to support her. He was totally lost as to what they could be speaking about. What answers did Liz need? Was she wondering why the thing with Khivar had happened? Or was it about being trapped here in the darkness?

“Liz, there has always been a purpose in your life… A reason why you were the way you were.”

So she was dead, Liz thought.

“I have watched over you all these years to make sure that no harm came your way.”

Max stepped up defensively. “Well, then you didn’t do a very good job. Where were you just a little while ago?”

“Patience, young prince. Time will tell all.”

She turned back to Liz and continued.

“You were chosen even before your existence to bear our gift. Just think for a moment on the events that have passed. Without your gift you would never have gone to the park. Max would have never met you. You never would have met your other half. Prince Maxwell’s bitter enemy would have never been reveal. Death would have come his way at an early age. The ruin of the entire planet could have been possible. Liz, you have changed the future for the better. Without you, without your gift, all would have been lost. Cause and effect. Everything has a reason. Especially you.”

“All that was prevented because of me? But why me? All these years nothing has ever made sense at all to me. My life was one big mess. But then Max stepped into my life and the sun began to shine for me.”

She turned to look her other half in the eyes. She saw into his soul, and it radiated his love for her.

“Are you ready to return to the life you were destined to live? Return to the world where you both belong and be happy. Be happy and content, and in love, for the rest of you lives.”

The small light suddenly began to grow larger and brighter right before their eyes. Liz and Max continued to hold onto each other as the glanced back at the oracle. She was smiling at them with this gleam of wisdom in her eyes. She had seen the future and knew that it was good.

The light increased until it became almost too painful for Liz and Max to bear. The squeezed their eyes shut, but refused to lose contact with each other, so their hands remained firmly clasped together.

Once the light had faded, Max chanced opening one of his eyes to see if the coast was clear. To his surprise, he found that he was back in the park, as if he had never left. He was lying on the ground with Liz snuggled in his arms. The rain was barely coming down and the clouds seemed to be moving away, the sun chasing them.

“Liz?” Was she all right? Was she going to return to him, or had he seen the last of her? And what was that whole conversation she had with the oracle about? What gift did Liz possess?

“Hmmm?” A moaned reply came his way. “Where are we?” Liz turned in his arms so that they were now face to face.

A giddy smile broke on his face as he gazed into her chocolate eyes. His hand automatically rose to her cheek to brush a stray hair behind her shoulder. It caressed her
cheek taking in and memorizing the feel of her.

“You came back to me. My soul mate. My other half. Come with me.”

He helped her to her feet before wrapping his arm around her waist. They walked slowly over the grass lawn, away from the forest of trees and the memories that dwelled there.

They did not get far before he stopped them and then turned to face Liz once again. He took both of her hands in his own and stared into her eyes.

“Liz. There is something that I want to ask you. Something I would like, no love for you to do.”

He gave her hands a gentle squeeze and then looked her straight in the eye pouring his love for her into them.

“Liz, marry me. Make me the happiest man alive. Be my queen for all eternity.”

Liz’s heart just about crashed right there. How could she say no? And yet she had to. If she married him then she would have to tell him about her gift. And if others found out about her gift, then his life would potentially be put into danger once again. She could not allow that to happen. Not if she had any say in the matter.

“Max, I love you more than you will ever know, but my gift, it would be your downfall someday. I can’t marry you. You just don’t understand. Please don’t do this to me. Don’t do this to yourself.”

“Liz, I don’t understand why you won’t tell me what is so horrible about yourself. Liz, you are the one for me. Even the oracle said that. Liz, you complete me. You are my other half. Tell me what it is that holds you back so that I can understand. I want to understand.”

“Max, I cannot tell you. Don’t you see, if I did and the information fell into the wrong hands, it could bring imminent danger into your life… into our lives.”

“Please, help me to understand. I will protect you with my life if I have to. Liz, without you, I cannot live. You are the air that I breathe. We were meant for each other.”

“Max, I can’t. Don’t you…” Liz stopped in mid sentence when the thought suddenly struck her. She didn’t have any headaches. She was deciding not to do something…

And she had been ordered to do them.

Marry me. Tell me. Be my queen.

Every one of them an order, and she had turned them all down without any struggle.

Could it ever be possible?

“Max. Order me to do something. Tell me to do something absolutely ridiculous. Please.”

Max was completely taken aback from this sudden turn in mood. What had just happened? Had he missed something?

“”Max, please.” She begged one more time.

“All right. Go… ummm… Go home and do all the chores.

A radiant smile broke out across her face.

“No!” She screamed joyfully.

“No! I don’t want to!”

She was. She was cured. Healed. Whatever she wanted to label it, it was true. The gift had been lifted.

She was free.

And it was her love for Max, his love for her, which freed her. If he had not come into her life… if Khivar had never attacked her because she knew the prince… she would have lived with the gift for all eternity.

“Max, my gift is gone. We will never have to worry about it again. Let me tell you what it was.”

She proceeded to tell him the story of her life and the things she had been forced to endure. She told him of the oracle and her gift. She told him about what had happened with Khivar. And to tell him felt like lifting the weight of the world off of her shoulders. Her mother had forbid her years ago to tell anyone of her gift in fear that in the wrong hands it would be abused.

But now Liz was free.

Free.

“Max, you had a question for me a little while back. Would you mind asking it again?”

A smile broke out across both of their faces and they embraced once more.

************************************************************************
The wedding took place several months later. It was the biggest and most grand celebration in the history of the planet.

Max and Liz lived out the rest of their lives regarded as the wisest rulers to ever have the throne. Their love radiated through every one of their decisions and happiness found its way into every home, both near and far.

Liz was free to turn down an order or a suggestion, which she did frequently just for fun. But she never was able to turn down a request from her husband.

And they lived happily ever after. Just like in a fairy tale.


THE END

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