Presence Returned:Sequel(AU,M/L,ADULT)Epilogue*10/5*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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magikhands
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Presence Returned:Sequel(AU,M/L,ADULT)Epilogue*10/5*Complete

Post by magikhands » Fri Aug 06, 2004 6:23 am

Title: Presence Returned
Author: magikhands and Stawbehrry Shortcake
Rating: ADULT (of course)
Disclaimer: I own nothing of Roswell
Summary: This is the sequel to The Gift. Occurs 19 years after Max and Liz's joining. They decide to head to Antar to right some wrongs.

Feedback is appreciated. This is my first next generation fic so be patient...

Also a great big thanks and hugs to for
Strawbehrry Shortcake encouraging me to write this and all the help!


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Presence Returned

Chapter 1

“Dad. Tell Claudia that I don’t need a mate.” Jorlen pleaded as he walked out onto the patio with his sister following close behind. This was where they often found their parents after dinner, their dad always embracing their mother lovingly as they looked up to the stars in the sky. “Just because she’s six minutes older and Queen now, she thinks she can boss me around, run my life.”

“Well son, technically…” Max began, trying to hide his amused smile.

“Max.” Liz warned when she heard her son growl. He was too much like his father.

Max let a smile grace his lips as he looked up at his son and daughter. Where had all the time gone? They’d grown up so fast, it was hard to believe that they were now 18 years of age and Claudia had been Queen for 6 months now. Looking at his twin children Max was still amazed at how his life had turned out. With the exception of the first two weeks, his life in Pathia had been filled with love and happiness and he felt complete contentment. Something he’d never felt before coming here almost 19 years before.

“We’ve discussed this Claudia. Did we not decide that Jorlen could choose his mate when he felt the time was right? You’ve decided not to choose until after you turn 21 so what is the problem with your brother doing the same?” Max asked as he watched Claudia sit in a nearby chair. She was so beautiful like her mother. She had long dark hair and favored her mother but she had his golden eyes.

“I think a good woman will calm him down, Dad. He’s just too wild. Do you know what he and Lucas did to Elder Kassandra’s cat?”

Max looked over at his son who was looking very interested in his shoe. He could see that Jorlen was blushing.

“That was you and Lucas?” Max asked. Liz had told him about Elder Kassandra finding her cat last week with all of its hair shaved off but no one knew who did it.

Jorlen looked up at his father and hated seeing the look of disappointment in his eyes. “I’m sorry dad, it was really an accident.”

“How is it an accident to shave an entire cat?”

“Well, Lucas and I were out at the edge of the woods. He was keeping watch for me as I practiced and well…the cat walked in the way and its hair turned pink. I tried, really I did, but I couldn’t get it back to its normal color and soon it was the color of a rainbow so…well, it was Lucas’s idea to shave the hair. I just hope that it grows back normal.”

Max heard a chuckle come from Liz and he could not help but smile at the thought of a rainbow colored cat walking around Pathia.

“Alright Jorlen, but please be more careful in the future.”

Jorlen nodded and smiled at his father then turned to Claudia and stuck his tongue out at her. She responded by doing the same.

“Children.” Liz said sternly, gaining their attention. How could these two be Queen and Prince to a great kingdom and act so…childish sometimes? Watching them through the years, Liz often wished that she’d had siblings to grow up with. But then, she’d had Isabel, Maria and Alex and if she remembered correctly, they acted much like Claudia and Jorlen. “Claudia, don’t you have to meet with the High Priestess tonight? And Jorlen, you promised Uncle Michael that you’d help him, right?”

They both realized the time and quickly rushed off after saying their goodnights and giving kisses to their parents.

Max and Liz’s children, Claudia and Jorlen were very special. They were the first twins born to the Royal line along with the first male heir born. But since Claudia was born first, she had the right to the throne. Another thing that made them so special was that somehow they had acquired some sort of powers. They were not great exploding ones, or at least they hoped not, but they were able to change an object’s structure and it seemed they were empathetic. It was public knowledge that Claudia claimed these gifts but not Jorlen.

This was still a world ran by women but things had improved for men over the years thanks to Max. With small, slow changes done the right way, Pathia was made a better place for his son to grow up in. Max had not been able to rid Pathia of slaves but made sure that none were mistreated. The status of men had also gained some ground since Max had become Liz’s mate. The ones chosen as mates and born in Pathia had more career options.

Take Michael and his family for example. Within a couple of years of Max joining with Liz, Michael was able to assist Maria and Tess in their roles of Healer, setting the path for his grandson, who was now following his mother and grandmothers footsteps and learning the art of Healing along with his sister.

“How do you do that?” Max asked his mate, pulling her closer to him.

“Do what?”

“Get them to go away when my craving for you has reached its high.” Max nibbled at her ear, sending shivers down her spine and warmth to her core.

Liz moved and straddled his hips. Even after all these years, Max made her feel as no man had ever done. He made her feel like a nervous virgin, her stomach knotting in anticipation of his touch, the feel of him inside of her.

“Maybe they can sense when you want me and decide that the thought of their parents doing this disturbs them.” Liz reached down and untied Max’s pants, letting his erection spring free.

“Hmmm, then that would be constantly because I haven’t stopped wanting you since the first time you touched me.”

Liz chuckled remembering how she felt the first time Max was presented to her as a gift from her dear friend Isabel. She lifted, and then settled snugly upon her mate’s cock, both groaning at the sensations that ran deep in them.

“Max, don’t ever stop wanting me.” Liz gasped as she began her movements.

His hands cupped her ass, helping with her motion, his love and desire for this woman filling him. “Never.” He gasped as he felt her tighten her muscles around him, bringing him closer to release.

Liz felt Max swell within her and knew that he was getting close. She relaxed her muscles and slowed her motions, making his wait more prolonged. She loved to torture him, to hear his whimpers of desperation as raw passion overtook him and he lost his control. Liz knew how to please him, what drove him to mindless ecstasy. She’d had years of practice. His strong lips took hers, demanding release.

Liz tightened the grip she had on his cock and her pace quickened. She rode him hard, their breathing quick and erratic as they both approached the edge. Liz came first, her walls gripping tightly on Max who swelled more before releasing his seed deep into her.

Their skin was damp from their play as they clung to each other. They never tired of the feel of being in each other’s arms. Liz sighed then heard a deep rumble in Max’s chest.

“We didn’t make it inside tonight. I wonder which guard won the bet tonight.”

Liz chuckled, still reluctant to lift from Max’s chest. “Zoe’s always been good at reading our moods.” For years, the guards often bet on where she and Max made love around the Palace. It was all in good fun and they made it known through the years how much they loved and desired each other.

Max stood, Liz cradled in his arms. Using one hand he fixed his pants then carried his mate inside. “I guess we’ll find out in the morning. But for now, I think I need more of your sweet desserts tonight.”

TBC....

Let me know what you think...
Last edited by magikhands on Wed Oct 05, 2005 2:54 pm, edited 41 times in total.
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Chapter 2

Post by magikhands » Fri Aug 20, 2004 4:58 am

Chapter 2

Claudia rushed into the bathing room calling out. “Lucas. We need to hurry today, no time to play. Your mother and sister are returning and I want to be there when they arrive.”

Claudia slipped off her robe, letting it fall to the floor and stepped down into the bathing pool. Lucas, one of her best friends, also Isabel and Alex’s son, was her Bather. He had followed in his father’s footsteps, putting another generation in the books of Royal Bathers. Her stubborn brother was content bathing himself, only allowing Lucas to do his job on special occasions, but Claudia liked having a Bather. Lucas had a natural talent and was extremely good at his profession.

“Yes Majesty.” Was his reply. Claudia froze and turned around.

Lucas never spoke to her that way unless there were important people around, as he slipped into his role of being a submissive male in the Queen’s presence. Sometimes it cracked her up at how good he was at impressing people. He and Jorlen have hung around Michael way too long, picking up his skills of tricking people into thinking that they are something that they really aren’t. Submissive males.

Lucas stood near the shelves, bottles in hand ready to help with her bath but next to him was a tall, blonde young man a couple of years older than she. He was a sight to observe and made her mouth water. She had to consciously remind herself to keep her mouth closed else she embarrass herself with drool pouring out.

“Majesty. You remember Wesley, Zoe’s nephew. The High Priestess has sent him over to train as a Royal Bather.”

Claudia smiled and stepped out of the pool. She had her mother’s boldness as she approached the young man, mindless of her nude state. She could see that Wesley was affected by her appearance as his tongue nervously wet his lips and he shifted from one foot to another. He still had some training to do she saw. She loved inciting such a reaction from men. She saw Lucas just roll his eyes at her. He was well immune to her charms and got a kick out of her brazen behavior.

She now remembered this man. He’d been around her, Jorlen, Lyssa and Lucas when they were younger. This was the one who always pestered and teased her. Perhaps she could get some payback now.

Claudia circled the young man, appraising him. She knew that her parents had hoped for either her or Jorlen to hook up with Lucas or Lyssa, one of Isabel and Alex’s children but they all believed that they were too close for such a union. Claudia and Lyssa loved publicly displaying any attraction they felt to a man in front of their brothers. It was just so much fun to see their reactions.

Claudia stood before Wesley again and smiled sweetly. She would definitely thank the High Priestess for this. Wesley was of a muscular build, his abs tight and sculptured. The muscles in his arms and legs toned under their sun kissed skin. He also had stunning blue eyes.

Wesley bowed before Claudia. “My Queen.”

‘Damn he’s cute.’ Claudia thought to herself. “First rule to being my royal Bather. While here alone in my presence, the formal mumbo jumbo does not apply. Being a Bather is an intimate thing and I can’t have someone constantly bowing before me and kissing my ass.”

Lucas snorted and Claudia shot him a look. He immediately wiped the smirk off his face and glared back. He was not afraid of Claudia though she could easily have him punished for his actions. She loved him too much to see harm done to him. Besides, he’d learned long ago that she would get back at him in other ways.

Claudia looked back to Wesley. “Second, listen to Lucas and learn all you can from him. He’s the best, well, aside from his father.” She shot Lucas a grin and saw his disgruntled look. He was proud of his skill and liked to think that he was better than his father. It was definitely his male ego talking.

“You may call me Claudia while we are alone but when there are elders and at the appropriate times you are to address me correctly. Understood?”

Wesley looked at the Queen, a little confused at the feelings that ran through him. Was this the same rough girl who when he had pulled her hair, she’d turned and threw him to the ground. That had happened when she was five, he eight. Shortly after that, he’d only seen her at formal functions that his Aunt insisted that he attend. He never got close to her since that day and had watched her grow into a beautiful woman from afar. She still had that regal air about her, constantly in control of any situation. An image of Claudia losing her control at his hands entered his head and he quickly shoved it out.

“Yes Claudia.” Wesley smiled charmingly at her and thought he saw a twinkle in her eye.

“Good, now, like I said, I don’t have a lot of time to waste today.” Claudia turned and entered the pool, followed by Wesley then Lucas.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Claudia stood at the top of the gate looking anxiously out to the forest. The slight breeze brushed her long hair from her face. She knew that the caravan her Aunt Isabel and Lyssa led was to make an appearance at any moment. This was a yearly occurrence since she was 14 years of age. She would wait eagerly for her best friend to return from her trip to the slave trader. Afterward, she and Lyssa would sit and Claudia would live vicariously through her friend’s adventures into the other world. Lyssa was proudly following in her mother’s footsteps as Captain of the Guards with Zoe and Isabel as her advisors. This would be the last year that Isabel went on the long trip while Zoe has said she’d continue for a couple of more years until Lyssa was comfortable to lead it alone.

Claudia bubbled with excitement when she saw the beginnings of the caravan emerge from the forest. She ran down to the front gate and watched as wagons and horses passed by. Then came the slaves that had been bought. She eyed them knowing that she would go through the list that Lyssa would have for her so that she could place them where they were needed. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Isabel pull apart from the group with a man and lead him to the Palace. She was about to ask someone where Isabel was going when Lyssa came up to her.

“Majesty. My mother requests an audience with you in your mother’s chambers.”

Claudia knew from the tone of Lyssa voice that something was up. She was all business. Her adventures would have to wait. Claudia nodded and walked next to her friend.

“What is this about?”

Lyssa glanced at Claudia. “We have acquired a slave who says that he’s from Antar.”

“Antar?” Claudia asked surprised and suddenly feeling darkness cover her world.

TBC...
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Chapter 3

Post by magikhands » Fri Aug 20, 2004 5:00 am

Chapter 3

Claudia entered her mother and father’s room to find him pacing the floor. Her mother was sitting in the chair watching him as he rubbed the back of his neck. Claudia could feel her father’s nervousness and anticipation, her mother was calmer but there was still concern, especially for her mate.

Claudia knew about her father. He was from Antar where he was King but his twin brother Khivar betrayed him and made it look like her father had died in a fire. But really he was sent across the world on the slave trader’s boat and her Aunt Isabel bought him as a gift for her mother. That was 19 years ago and never had they heard word or seen anyone from Antar since he’d come to Pathia. To Claudia, her parents’ story was like a fairy tale with them all living happily ever after but she had a feeling that all would not be well after today.

“Would you stop with the pacing Maxwell? You’re making me sick just watching you.” Michael grumbled as he leaned against the wall, arms crossed and a foot propped on the wall. With Max’s position in Pathia, there were very few people that could talk to him so bluntly and Michael made sure that he was one of them.

Max sighed and sat on the arm of Liz’s chair. “Sorry. But why isn’t he here yet?”

“Max, do you not remember what a long journey it is to get here. I’m sure Isabel wanted him presentable if he is who he says he is.” Liz reasoned. Max nodded knowing he was being impatient.

The door opened and Maria walked in with Jorlen and Lucas by the ears. “You don’t want to know where I found these two but Max, you need to have a serious talk to them about staying away from certain areas of the Palace. Mainly, the guards living quarters. They are not women to be messed with.”

Maria released the two young men who just looked down at the floor and everyone could see the blush that lit their cheeks. Claudia and Lyssa covered their mouths keeping their giggles in. They could just picture what one of the guards would do to them if they were caught peeping in on them. And it would not matter that one was Isabel’s son and the other the former Queen’s son.

“We will discuss that later.” Max looked at the boys gaining their attention. He never dreamed that raising a son would be so challenging but this was Pathia, not Antar.

At the thought of Antar, the door opened again allowing a man who looked to be in his thirties enter with Isabel and Alex trailing. Alex closed the door behind them for privacy. The newcomer to Pathia glanced around the room at all the people gathered and had to wonder why he’d been brought into the Palace while the others had been taken elsewhere. His eyes landed on a man sitting on the arm of a chair. Suddenly he felt his blood run cold and could feel himself visibly pale as he watched the man stand.

“King Max. The Heavens!” The man whispered then fell to the floor bowing before Max.

Max looked down at the man. It had been a long time since anyone had bowed to him specifically and felt a little awkward because of it. He wanted to jerk the man up and demand answers to all the questions that had roamed his mind for the last twenty years but he knew that he could not. He had to be patient and make sure this man was from where he claimed to be from.

“Please rise.” Max said and watched as the man rose to stand before him but his head remaining down. “I am not King but just the former Queen’s mate. You are now in Pathia where you will bow only before Queen Claudia. You now belong to Pathia, essentially belonging to the Queen.”

The man looked confused at his former King but Max had accepted his role in this life a long time ago and was happy with it. He remembered how confusing and strange it felt in this strange land when he first arrived so he could understand the man’s confusion.

“Show your Queen respect.” Max encouraged, indicating his daughter who had come to stand near them.

The man looked at the young girl then back at Max. The girl was beautiful and looked much like the woman sitting in the chair but then he looked closer. She had the eyes. The golden eyes that his former King and the present King had. The man knew immediately that this young woman who he said was Queen was Max’s daughter.

The man once again bowed down but this time in front of Claudia. “My Queen.” The man was not all that happy to be here but he also knew when to choose his battles.

“Rise.” Claudia said simply, her voice carrying the kindness that lived in her heart.

The man stood. Claudia stepped away from her father and nodded slightly to him. This was about him so she was giving him the floor, the freedom to lead this.

“What is your name?” Max asked.

The man opened his mouth then saw movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned slightly and saw a young man that stopped his speech. He looked so much like Max but his eyes were not the golden hue but a light brown, unique in it’s own hue. The man cleared his throat then turned back to Max.

“My name is Quincy.”

“Where are you from Quincy?”

“Antar, sir.”

Max spent the next 10 minutes asking questions that an Antarian would know. He wanted to be positive that this man was really from Antar before proceeding with any other questioning. Jorlen came up to his father and whispered into his ear. Max nodded then looked to Michael who brought a chair behind Quincy. Quincy sat but looked nervously around at the people of the room.

“Call me Max and this is my family.” Max said wanting to make the other man more comfortable. Quincy had answered all of his questions correctly and Jorlen had confirmed that he felt that the man was telling the truth. Max began with the introductions.

“This is my mate Liz, the former Queen. Jorlen my son, Claudia my daughter, also the Queen. You already know Isabel and Alex. Lucas and Lyssa, are their children then Maria and Michael. Now with that out of the way, why don’t you tell us your story and how you came to be on the slave ship.”

Quincy felt overwhelmed for a moment taking it all in. The King of Antar was not dead but was a Queen’s mate across the world. The people in the room were staring at him, waiting for him to begin. He cleared his throat and began his tale.

“I remember you. I was but ten when you became King. My father was a farmer and I remember him being so happy that you were crowned after your father’s death. I still remember the ceremony just as I remember the one after you were thought of as dead.” Quincy looked at Max and saw the pained looked that quickly crossed his features. After all these years, Quincy could see that the betrayal of his brother still ran deep.

“I grew up under Khivar’s reign. Antar is a war zone now. The first ten years were not so bad. There was a steady decline in the city’s wealth and glory and Khivar used his power to dominate the people. He also took over Queen Ava’s kingdom when her father died. He ruled both places with an iron fist. He took and taxed the people what he could. He built an army that would plunder villages because they were bored then take the spoils that they did not keep to Khivar.

“A group of villagers rose up against Khivar and became known as the Resistance. I was part of that group. I hated seeing Antar and Mantinga in ruins. Khivar struck back at our rebellion inciting wars across the country. On a recent attempt to gather information, several of my friends and I were captured. We were tortured but we would not reveal any information on our comrades. The older ones were killed while those of us who were still young, healthy and strong were sold as slaves. Khivar had found that he could get rid of us fairly quickly and make money that way.”

Max nodded knowing exactly where Khivar got that idea. Now that Quincy had told them his basic story, Max had questions. He just wasn’t sure which to broach first. He knew the one he really wanted to ask but was unsure. He looked to Liz. She gave him a slight smile and nodded in encouragement. She knew what he wanted to know.

“Quincy. Tell me about Queen Ava.” Max had long ago quit thinking of her as Tessa. “Is she still alive?”

Quincy smiled. “Yes. Queen Ava lives. She married Khivar soon after you were gone and is still married to him. She has a daughter, Maximilliana. They refer to her as Maxie. Five years later, Ava gave birth to a son but he was stillborn. Before being captured I know that Khivar was looking for someone to wed Maxie. She is quite a stubborn woman. She and Ava are about the only persons that I know to stand up to Khivar. She refuses to marry and Ava helps out the best she can with Khivar’s temper.

“Khivar wants an heir bad. Maxie can’t rule, as you know because she is a female and with you gone and his son dead as is all other male relatives, well he’s becoming desperate. Making him do something stupid, knowing him.”

Max sat there stunned with all the information Quincy sprouted out. Ava was still alive. His heart jumped. But he could only imagine what Khivar has put her through. He felt proud of her. She had never let Khivar push her around growing up so he knew that she wouldn’t now. Max’s stomach flopped as he thought about her having a daughter and did she name her so that it was a reminder of him? Then sadness crept in at the thought of her losing a child. The pain she must have suffered. Was there anyone around she could trust to comfort her in her time of need? So many emotions ran through him, he couldn’t quite contain them. Max stood and went to the window and looked out.

“Thank you Quincy. You will be our guest here tonight and we will talk again soon. Lucas and Jorlen will take you to your room and make sure you are taken care of.” Max said, his voice was filled with emotion.

Quincy rose and bowed his head toward Max though he could not see him then turned to Claudia. “Majesty.” He said softly as he followed the two young men out of the door. The rest followed leaving Max to comprehend what he was told. They would all speak later.

Liz went to Max. She leaned upon his back as her arms wrapped around his waist. Max turned and pulled her into his embrace and let his emotions go. He shed tears of joy and sadness, all the years of questions he had were mostly answered and now he did not know how to deal with the feelings the answers gave him.

Liz comforted him the best she could, her hands reaching up and gently threading them through his hair. That always settled him when he was upset. She slowly eased him to their sleeping chamber and sat with him on the bed as he released his pent up emotions. Max had a sensitive soul and sometimes held everything in only to explode when it was too much for him to handle.

Max looked at Liz and cupped her face in his hands. “How did I get so blessed to have someone like you?”

Liz just smiled and kissed him. She had no answer for she had often asked the same of him. Her kiss was to be a comforting one but he immediately deepened it. He needed to feel her, to taste her, to possess her. Max’s hands went to her dress and worked to undo the strings and buttons. Liz read what Max wanted and let her hands go to his pants. Together, they quickly undressed each other without their lips being away from each other for more than a few seconds.

Liz felt Max’s need. This was how he would comfort himself and release his emotions. He would put it all into his desire for her. She let him roll them over so that he was above her. He broke their kiss and she looked up at him. Nineteen years, and he was still just as handsome as the day she first saw him.

“Max, please. Love me.”

Max growled. “Always Liz. Always.” Max kissed Liz again at the same moment that he thrust deep into her. They both groaned at the sensations that rocked their bodies. Max made love to his mate, his love, pouring all of his emotions into their love.

Liz’s body began to shudder as she climaxed bringing Max with her. Together they lay on their bed, the sun high in the sky, in each other’s arms. They both felt it. Today was the beginning of a new chapter of their lives.

TBC...
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Chapter 4

Post by magikhands » Fri Aug 20, 2004 5:08 am

Chapter 4

Later that night, everyone met at Michael and Maria’s home. Maria sat on Michael’s lap in a chair across from where Max and Liz sat side by side on the couch. Claudia was sitting on the other side of her father with Lyssa sitting on the arm next to Claudia. Isabel and Alex occupied a smaller couch while petite Timberlyn, Maria and Michael’s 13-year-old daughter, sat on the floor in front of them. Zoe made sure she stood near the door. Lucas and Jorlen stood behind Max and Liz, leaning against the wall, in identical stances, arms crossed over their chest.

Jorlen’s brows drew together as he listened to everyone have their say about their new ‘guest’. He finally stepped away from the wall and moved to stand in front of his mother and father. This action caught everyone’s attention and they all quieted down.

“I want to go to Antar.” Jorlen announced.

“Jorlen.” Max’s voice stern.

“No Dad. Hear me out.” Jorlen said looking his father in the eye. “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking today. I feel this is the right thing to do. Admit it Dad. I will never rule Pathia. You’ve made things better here for men but if something should happen to Claudia before an heir is born I will not be the next in line. I would not inherit the throne. It will revert back to Mom or finally go to some other female line.

“I am the true and rightful heir to Antar. Maxie is unable to rule due to her sex, as I am unable to here. I want to go. I want to make Antar right again. To preserve your father’s memory and yours. A Prince has an obligation to his people does he not?”

“Son, you are not prepared for that world. It is so different.” Max insisted.

“I know but all I am here is just Claudia’s brother, an anomaly. Just some freak thing that happened to the line. I can’t even be me here. No one outside of this group even knows about my powers and I can’t let them know for the trouble it would cause.”

“You are my son, our son. You know that you are just as important as Claudia.” Liz said getting upset that her son was thinking of himself that way.

Jorlen opened his mouth but a knock sounded at the door.

Michael got up and jerked the door open, scowling and about to bark at the person interrupting them. His face suddenly relaxed at the presence before him and bowed his head in respect.

“High Priestess.”

“Good evening Michael.” She and Michael had a special bond; one based on respect and had grown into a strange friendship through the years.

Michael opened the door wide. “Please come in.” Upon seeing the visitor the others stood.

“High Priestess. To what do we owe the honor of your presence?” Maria asked.

“The same reason you are all gathered together.” She knew of the closeness of this group. Since Liz was a child and befriended Alex, she was fascinated by Liz’s choice of companions and loved ones. Never before had someone had so many males in their circle. It was this that made the High Priestess look carefully into the old prophecies.

“Well, then maybe you can talk some sense into my son. He’s wanting to go to Antar to claim the throne.”

“Mom…” Jorlen began, ready to defend his actions.

“He’s right.” The High Priestess said. Everyone’s head turned to her surprised, including Jorlen’s. “Liz, when you chose Max as your mate, the prophecy began. Two lands are to be joined by a great power, a Queen and King to forever be connected. The line of Sunova will continue and grow. Your joining brought about the great power in Claudia and Jorlen. It is through them that the prophecy shall be fulfilled. It did no end with your joining but began with it.”

When Liz had been told of this prophecy she had taken it at its surface. Max was a King, she a Queen. Their joining had brought about a connection to the outside world. Now she was seeing that she was just a vessel. Her children were the real subjects of the prophecy.

“Jorlen can’t possibly go out there alone. He is ill prepared. Especially for Khivar.” Max argued.

“He will not be alone.” The High Priestess looked to Lucas. He pushed off the wall and looked confused.

“You mean for me to go?”

The High Priestess smiled. “Do you not crave adventure, for something different from this life? Do you not feel that you could do more with your life? Be more than what Pathia has to offer? You and Jorlen are kindred spirits and he will need protection and someone to trust in a strange land.”

“That is why you sent the new bather? To replace Lucas.” Claudia said.

The High Priestess just nodded but held Lucas’s gaze. “You have the gentle hands of your father but the warrior soul of your mother.”

Lucas had trained alongside Lyssa, Claudia and Jorlen through the years in the art of fighting and war. Isabel and Zoe often discussed Lucas’s natural grace and agility he used to perform maneuvers and techniques. He was truly the best they’d ever seen but the women were never allowed to say it out loud. Isabel was very proud of her son just as much as her daughter.

Lucas stood straighter, realizing that he was being given an opportunity to make his own way in the world. He walked over to Jorlen.

“If he so wishes, I shall go.”

Jorlen smiled at his best friend, his brother in arms and mischief. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“This has to do with my brother so I’m going with them.” Max announced. “Khivar and I have a…an argument that is long overdo to be settled.”

Liz went to Max’s side. “Where Max goes, I go.” She smiled up at her mate.

At first Max frowned at her statement but as he looked into her eyes, he saw that there was no way he’d talk her into staying here. He smiled, in his heart, he knew that he didn’t want to do this without her.

“Liz is not going anywhere without me.” Isabel stepped up.

Liz looked to her dear friend. “Isabel, I couldn’t ask you to leave your home, your family.”

“Is our son not going? Are you not our family also?” Alex asked. Liz nodded knowing that they were right.

“You are not leaving us behind. I can’t deal with all these women alone.” Michael said looking at Alex and Max. They were his best friends and there was no way they were abandoning him without a fight. Maria nodded, tears filling her eyes.

Timberlyn smiled though she was very scared inside. She had her father’s rebellious ways and really wanted to explore more. She was sure that with her being so young, her parents would not dare to leave her. Poor Tess. As much as she loved her sister, Timberlyn could be quite trying on her at times. Tess was a calm soul but Timberlyn got the grit of her parents.

The High Priestess looked at the group, nine in total and nodded her approval. This was how she’d seen it.

“Excuse me.” Claudia whispered, her voice choked as she left the house.

A room of silent people watched her go. Liz and Lyssa took steps to follow her but Zoe held up her hand, stopping them.

“Let me.” She said.

Zoe found Claudia sitting on a bench nearby. She sat next to the young Queen saying nothing. She had been unable to have children and being so close to the Royals as she was, she thought of the children they had as her own. They often came to her for advice when they felt uncomfortable going to their parents. All of their lives, she’s watched over the twins along with Isabel’s. She loved them as much as she would have her own.

“Claudia.” She finally said breaking the silence, trying to encourage the girl.

Claudia turned; tears ran freely down her cheeks. “Zoe, everyone is leaving. I’m losing my family.” Claudia knew that she was being selfish but the sorrow she felt dug deep into her heart. As each person spoke up that they were going to Antar, her grief became heavier.

“We all have a path in life and whether we like it or not, it calls to us and eventually we must follow. Mine was made clear when your father came here to Pathia. Now it takes them in a different direction.” She reached out and hugged Claudia close to her. “Everyone is not leaving either. You will still have family here. Lyssa is here, the High Priestess, Tess and her family, the elders will help and of course you have me.” Zoe smiled.

Claudia wiped at her eyes. “I know I’m being silly. But suddenly I felt all alone. I’ve never been without my parents or Jorlen.”

“And you won’t ever be.” A male voice sounded.

Zoe and Claudia looked up to find Jorlen standing under a tree. Zoe nodded, kissed Claudia’s cheek and left brother and sister alone. Jorlen sat in the space Zoe vacated.

“I will always be with you Claudia.”

She shook her head and tears choked her words. “You’re leaving.”

Jorlen placed his hand over her heart. {I’m always here.} Claudia placed her hand over his and they gave off a blue glow. {And here.} He said inside her head again filling her mind with images of their childhood.

“But how do you know we’ll be able to do this with you so far away?”

Jorlen smiled. “I just know.” Claudia smiled back and nodded, trusting in her brother. “Mom’s upset. Let’s go set her mind at ease. You know she won’t leave if she knows that you are upset.”

“I’ll be upset, but I promise not to let her know.” She said truthfully.

They walked hand in hand back to Maria’s house, comforted that they will always be with each other.

TBC...
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Chapter 5

Post by magikhands » Tue Aug 31, 2004 9:40 pm

Sorry it's taken so long for an update but RL has gone crazy. I'm hoping to get on a writing schedule soon and make it all easier for everyone.

Chapter 5

It took four weeks to arrange the group’s departure for Antar. Isabel was able to acquire a ship for their long journey across the sea from one of her long time contacts outside of Pathia. There of course was much for the nine to tie up before they could leave. Max, Liz, Lyssa and Claudia spent many days in meetings with the elders making sure all was in place for Claudia’s complete reign as Queen. Isabel, Zoe, and the High Priestess did the same concerning the welfare and safety of the people. Jorlen and Lucas actually stayed out of trouble and helped with the packing while Max and Quincy taught them as much as they could about Antar and its politics, including allies and enemies. Lucas also finished training Wesley to be Claudia’s Official Bather. Maria and Michael secured their patients and transferred everyone over to Tess and her children, confident that they would be in safe hands.

The day of departure was a sad one for Pathia. The entire kingdom mourned as key members of society made to leave. Wisely, they had not announced the news of their trip until a few days before their leave. The people were told the truth, how it was time for Jorlen to take his rightful place as King in Antar. The kingdom was not happy that their former Queen would leave them but Liz explained her need to be with her mate and son and to act as an advisor to him. A celebration was held in honor of Liz, Max and the others. It lasted two days and enabled the people to say their farewells and give their best wishes to their beloved former Queen and her family.

The kingdom also readily supported Claudia, making them all feel more comfortable with their decision to leave. Liz knew that she was leaving Pathia, her home, in the best hands possible. Those of her daughter.



The sun had yet to rise when ten stood at Pathia’s gate saying their good-byes. It was a small affair with only the High Priestess, Claudia, Lyssa, Zoe, Keegan, Tess, and her children to say good-bye. Tears flowed freely showing that their loved ones would be greatly missed.

Lucas and Lyssa stood in front of each other, Lucas just an inch taller than his sister. Lyssa reached down and took her brother’s hands in hers.

“You have a very important job to do now Lucas. You must keep Jorlen safe at any cost.”

Lucas nodded at his baby sister. “Of course I will.” He paused and glanced over at Claudia where she stood with Jorlen. “She’ll need you now more than she’s ever needed you.”

“I know. Don’t worry. I will take good care of her. She will be fine. We all will.”

Lucas caught Lyssa’s eye and their gaze locked. “Thank you Lyssa.”

“For what?”

“For always believing in me when the world we grew up in didn’t. You’ve always encouraged me to be myself and to be better than what everyone thought of me.”

Lyssa took her hands and raised them to his face. “You’re my big brother. I love you and I know you. You are meant for great things just as Jorlen is. I always knew that together you would leave here. I give you my blessings Lucas, as the Lieutenant, one day Captain, of Pathia’s Royal Guard. Go, and make us all proud.”

Lucas embraced his sister and let the tears flow knowing that he would miss her greatly. ‘Maybe one day…’ he thought. ‘Maybe we will see each other again.’


Jorlen stood before Claudia. He had to wonder briefly if he could really leave her. This was his sister, the other half of his person. Never had they been separated and it weighed heavy on his heart just as he felt it weighed heavily on hers. He placed his hand over her heart. Her hand covered his and they began to glow.

“I’m always here.” He leaned in and kissed her forehead. {And here.}

{Forever.} She answered him and he nodded.

“Forever.”

Claudia let her tears fall as she looked into her brother’s eyes. Could she really let him go? She was Queen, she could order him to stay but she knew in her heart that this was meant to be. Jorlen had to find his place in this world and that was in Antar, to rule, just as hers was here in Pathia. Claudia embraced her brother and held on tightly to him.

“Be careful little brother.” Her voice was choked.

“You too.” He gasped almost unable to handle the intense feelings that swirled inside of him. Jorlen pulled away and turned to his other best friend.

Lyssa looked at Jorlen with tears running down her cheeks. She did not wipe at them or pretend that they were not flowing. She tried to smile but it did not turn out like she wanted to as her lips quivered.

When a girl turns the age of 16 years, it is a custom in Pathia for that girl to go through a Rite of Passage, one that would bring her into womanhood. The girl was to choose a male, one that was brave, strong, and worthy of the girl’s innocence, and she would lose her virginity on the night she turned 16, making her a woman. Lyssa had chosen Jorlen for this passage in her life. This had also brought a special bond between the two and made them closer.

“Take care of her Lyssa and yourself.”

Lyssa nodded and took Jorlen in her arms. The night before, they’d spent it with each other, comforting each other physically and saying everything that needed to be said. Jorlen kissed Lyssa and went to his horse, head down, as he tried to take control of the sorrow that filled his being.

Lucas had gone to Claudia when Jorlen left her side. He looked down into her beautiful face. Claudia had chosen Lucas for her Rite of Passage and they have been intimate since that night. They loved each other but they both knew that there was someone out there waiting for them. They each had their own destiny in life.

Claudia looked Lucas in the eye. “Take care of Jorlen. He needs you.”

“With my life my Queen.” His voice was soft and husky as he tried to hold back the tears welling in his eyes.

“You know, Jorlen will be your King once this is all settled. Are you ready to take orders from him?” she let a small smile grace her lips. She refused to say ‘if it all works out’.

Lucas chuckled. “He may be King but I can still kick his ass.”

Claudia laughed. Lucas leaned forward and pulled Claudia into an intimate kiss. When he broke apart he embraced her.

“Wesley is a good man Claudia. Give him a chance.” He pulled back and looked into her golden eyes. “I’ll miss you.” He saw the surprised look on her face but she slowly nodded and watched as Lucas left her and mounted his horse.

The group climbed onto their horses and was led away by a squadron of Royal Guards. Liz looked back, the sun was now rising, and let out a sob. Max was instantly beside her, pulling his horse next to her. He looked back and saw his daughter sobbing in Lyssa’s arms.

“Liz…”

“No Max.” Liz took a shaky breath and sat a little straighter. “We’ve discussed this. I’m going with you and that is it. End of discussion.”

Max leaned over and scooped Liz from her horse to sit on his with him. His horse skittered a step but then calmed, adjusting to the extra weight. A guard took Liz’s reigns and moved the horse off to the side. Max buried his nose in her hair and pulled her back against him.

“She’ll be alright. She’s our daughter after all.”

“I know.” Liz leaned back against him and relaxed.

Max looked back and watched as Isabel tried hard not to shed more tears, but he saw that she kept looking over her shoulder, and Alex was doing the same, holding tightly to Isabel’s hand. He also clearly heard Maria sobbing while Michael tried to comfort her. Max looked at his ‘family’ and could only hope that this trip would be worth the sacrifices that they all had to make.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

It took four days for the small caravan to reach the port where their ship waited for departure. They were all grateful that the trip was uneventful. The group of ten boarded the ship and made themselves comfortable. It was not to set sail until the morning. Everyone was nervous yet excited at the adventure that was sure to come.




Liz walked out on deck and immediately found the silhouette she sought standing in the dark. She walked over to where he stood and leaned against the railing. The ship rocked slightly and she heard the waves bouncing off the hull.

“Liz, I’m scared.” Max said in a whisper. He did not look at her but straight out over the dark water. Liz put her hand over his that set on the railing, giving him comfort.

“I’ve been gone for so long. Things have changed. People have changed. Hell, I’ve changed. I’m not the same man that I was when I left Antar. I’m afraid that there will no longer be a place for me there.” He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “I don’t know if I can do this. To help lead these people back on the right track. To finish things with Khivar.”

“Max, how can you doubt yourself? Yes, you have been gone a long time and yes you are not the same man that you once were. But, like me, you were raised to rule. You are a born leader and just because you have not always been in Antar ruling does not mean that you haven’t ruled. It was you that helped me rule my people, our people.”

“I know but Jorlen…”

“No buts Max. You have raised Jorlen just as you yourself were raised. With your help, he shall do well.”

Max turned to Liz and gathered her into his arms. “How is it that you always know what to say to make me feel better?”

Liz smiled and kissed his lips. Max leaned down and pulled her closer while deepening their kiss. Her scent enveloped him, called to him. His hands rose from her thin waist and began roaming her body. Liz moaned into his mouth before breaking apart from him.

“Let’s take this back to our cabin.” She said. She did not have to see Max’s face to know that his amber eyes had darkened with desire. He bent and picked her up and carried her back to their cabin as he captured her lips to his again.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Lucas went to the front of the ship where he found Jorlen looking out at the sea and the setting sun. They had been sailing toward Antar for nine days and often Lucas found Jorlen out here in the early evenings.

“Is Claudia alright?” He asked knowing that this was the time Jorlen would contact his sister through their connection.

“Yes. She’s fine and says that she misses you but…” he drifted off.

Lucas’s heart raced. “What do you mean but…” Lucas asked. Was there something thing wrong? Did something happen to Claudia? He wanted to curse Jorlen and for the thousandth time wished that he had that kind of connection with Claudia.

“Well apparently someone has taken your place as the best Royal Bather in the kingdom.” Jorlen turned to his friend and smiled.

Lucas visibly relaxed but then his brows scrunched together. “No one is better than I am.”

“She says you’ve been replaced.”

Lucas narrowed his eyes then his face relaxed and he smiled. “Wesley.”

Jorlen nodded. “She’s quite taken with him though she won’t talk about it but I can feel her emotions. He is taking extra special care of her in your absence.”

Lucas crossed his arms and grunted but inside he was very happy for Claudia. He had gotten to know Wesley and could see how he looked and acted around Claudia. Of course he also gave Wesley the ‘You hurt her and I’ll come and kill you’ speech at which time Wesley swore an oath to all he held dear that he could never do that to her.

Lucas looked to Jorlen whose eyes had glazed over as he looked out at nothing again. “Still there?”

Jorlen blinked several times and seemed to come out of his trance. “Yes. The closer we get to Antar, the stronger the call is. Today she is filled with sadness and…anger. She is very upset about something.”

“How do you know it’s a she? Do you know who it is?”

Jorlen shook his head. “I just know. Her feelings, well they are too much like Claudia’s. No man would have such moody, bouncy thoughts.”

“Hmmm. Could it be Maxie? She is blood to you, your uncle’s daughter.”

“That’s possible. Because of my gifts, I may be able to sense her like Claudia only she can’t return it to me.”

“Or it could be that special love who is waiting out there somewhere for you to come and rescue her from the evil tyrant.”

Jorlen chuckled and shook his head. “I may be the romantic, but saving damsels from distress is your job, oh great warrior.”

“Ah, and that I will most certainly do, especially the young pretty ones.”

The two men leaned against the railing and continued their light banter, trying to relieve the tension that was building as they drew closer to Antar, for once they hit land, they were unsure what to expect.

TBC...
Last edited by magikhands on Wed Sep 01, 2004 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Chapter 6

Post by magikhands » Sun Sep 12, 2004 8:24 pm

Sorry about the wait guys! I had this ready last week but got hit by Frances and was without power for the week so here it is...

Chapter 6

Their ship docked after 25 days at sea. The group had been very lucky and blessed that they did not run into any extremely bad weather that made the hard journey swifter than normal. Max and Michael had to laugh at Maria as they stepped off the ship. They watched as she fell to her knees and laid her head on the ground. She was the one who’d had the worst reaction to the sea. The ship’s constant movements and sway had caused her to be sick the entire trip and absolutely miserable. Maria heard the laughter and gave the men a glare that could melt stone if she were able. The men quickly sobered and turned to begin the unloading process.

Once the supplies and horses were unloaded, Quincy led them through the night to a nearby safe house, as he called it. Apparently, the Resistance had many of these hidden cottages throughout the wooded area that surrounded the Kingdom of Antar. They were often used to house fugitives from Khivar. Only certain high-ranking officers of the Resistance knew of their existence.

This one was empty and Quincy advised everyone to rest then he’d take them to meet with the leader of the Resistance who he said was named Jason. When everyone was settled in, the men took two-hour shifts, keeping watch. They still felt unsure of Quincy and wanted to make sure that the women were protected. Isabel balked a little at first at not being included in the shifts. She swore that she could handle herself and any man that came at them. The others agreed but it was Liz who reminded her friend that they were not in Pathia any more. They were in a man’s world and that she needed to let the men do what felt natural to them.

Liz had observed a change in both Michael and Max after leaving Pathia. Though they had never been totally submissive, they realized their roles in Liz’s homeland. But here, as they came closer to Antar, she saw that they both grew in confidence, their ability to lead and protect their family with them. They were becoming more dominant as they realized that it was up to them to lead their family in this world so new to the others. Liz also noticed that Lucas and Jorlen was following suit and even her soft, gentle Alex had taken a more aggressive stance toward Isabel when danger seemed present, determined to protect her. If she was truly honest with herself, she would have to admit that she liked being taken care of, to relinquish some of the responsibility that she’d always had to someone else, and who else was capable but her own mate and family?

After the group got some rest, it was decided that it would be Lucas and Michael to accompany Quincy to meet with Jason first. They all agreed that it would be too much of a risk for Max and Jorlen to show up until it could be determined if the Resistance would accept Max and would be able to help wit their cause.

Quincy, Lucas and Michael rode toward Antar then turned to the mountains that were just outside the kingdom. Quincy told them that it was called Missing Point.

“Long ago, a legend was started saying that people who went to the mountain would disappear and never be heard from again.” Quincy said. “Of course there were lots of stories that came with the legend and there was no way to tell which were true or made up. Some say that a wild beast lived in the mountain, others say that an evil spell was placed upon it when a witch’s child fell from a cliff.”

“So why are we headed toward it then if it’s an evil place?” Michael asked.

Quincy smiled and looked to what he thought of as a haven. “Missing Point is home. That mountain is filled with caves, caverns, and tunnels that go underground. That is where the Resistance resides. It’s safe and most of the people of Antar are scared of the place, that fear keeps them away.”

“What about the legends?” Lucas asked.

“They are stories. If someone disappeared, it’s because they got lost or hurt but you have no worries. We’ve made the place livable and actually quite comfortable.”

As the trio approached the bottom of the mountain they were suddenly surrounded by a troop of guards. Quincy quickly identified himself and one of the guards recognized him. Quincy told them that he needed to meet with Jason and it was of great urgency that he do so. The guards all eyed Lucas and Michael with suspicion seeing that they were strangers but Quincy assured them that they were with him. After taking the weapons from the three men, two of the guards led the trio through a series of tunnels from a secret entrance then shown to a room to wait for Jason.

Michael turned around in the room and whistled. “When you said that you guys had made this place livable, I never dreamed that it would look like this.”

The room was a medium sized cave but there was lighting that lined the walls around the room. A large rug covered the stone floor and furniture was placed around the room. There was even a large shelf holding books and a small desk. It looked like any other room except the walls, ceiling and floor were made of rock.

“Wow.” Lucas said.

Quincy nodded. “Yes, it is quite livable. We have some brilliant scientists who developed the lighting technology and the heating system. It’s really comfortable here once you get used to the lack of windows.”

They did not have to wait long. The door opened and a tall red haired man rushed in, embracing Quincy.

“Quincy! We thought you to be dead.”

Quincy embraced his friend back. “No, old friend. I have been watched.”

The man let go of Quincy and took notice to the two men who stood near. “Are these the ones responsible for your return to us?”

Quincy glanced at Michael and Lucas. “Yes, well, not really. This is Lucas and Michael.” He indicated to the men. “Sit and let me tell you my adventure and how I’ve come to be back home.”

Quincy took the next 45 minutes and told this man Jason, the leader of the Resistance, his story. From the failed mission to the time they landed back near Antar. Lucas had paid close attention to the details of Quincy’s recount of events and found that it was the same as he’d told back in Pathia. He also found Jason’s questions to Quincy interesting and informative.

When Quincy finished his story, Jason stood and introduced himself to Michael and Lucas.

“I am Jason Kyles. Most say that I’m the leader of this little ban of rebels. Quincy tells me that my former King, Maxwell Evans, is alive and well with the rest of your family.”

Jason believed Quincy, they were old and dear friends having grown up together but he had to distrust these two strangers. Though Quincy seems to trust them, Jason had his own reasons, some very personal, to doubt these men.

Lucas stepped forward. “Yes, that is correct. I am Lucas Whitman Deluca of Pathia. This is Michael Guerin Deluca, Pathia’s Healer. He has sent us to you requesting an audience with you. He and his son, the rightful heir to Antar.”

Jason nodded. “Of course. I will be more than willing to see for myself that King Maxwell is alive. Please bring them here and I will welcome them.”

Maxwell is alive. The words echoed in Jason’s mind. And he has a son. His stomach tightened at the thought of his former king returning and what that would mean to him personally and his family.

Jason looked between the two men. The young one, Lucas, was tall like the other but that were all the similarities he noted.

“I noticed your names are the same sirs. How are you two related if I may ask?” Jason was curious. Obviously, these two men were important to Max or he would not have sent them.

“Michael is my Uncle.” Lucas answered. “His mate is my mother’s sister.”

Jason nodded and made a mental note of Lucas’s use of the word mate instead of wife. He’d heard the stories of Pathia, how women ruled and men were mere vessels for their use. He had to wonder how Maxwell had fared or if this was some sort of scheme to overthrow the traditional monarchy.

Lucas saw that this seemed to appease Jason so he continued with his business.

“I shall take Quincy with me and will return with Max and his family. Michael shall stay here.”

Jason looked at the young man who could not be much older than 18 but was impressed with the control, authority and confidence that he conveyed. Jason agreed and bid them farewell escorted with only one guard. He turned back and looked to the one who had yet to speak. The one named Michael. They each saw the doubt and distrust in the other’s eyes. They were both weary of the other, on the look out for a trap or danger to the ones that they loved. Jason took a breath and decided to be the first to offer peace. The only way to earn trust is to give it.

“Michael, Lucas calls you a Healer. That means you are a doctor of sorts?”

Michael nodded his head slightly. “Yes. My mate and I, as is our daughter and her children.”

“Well then, would you care to see our medical facility?”

Michael looked to Jason. He saw that the other man was offering something to him, a stranger. He allowed his stern face to relax slightly but still remained watchful.

“Yes. I would like that.” Michael answered then followed Jason out of the room.

+++++++++++++++++++

Lucas and Quincy returned by the evening, bringing the others with them. Michael and the guard, who was in charge of keeping watch over him, met them near the entrance. Michael was all smiles as he embraced Maria and his daughter.

“Later, I have to show you their medical facility Maria. You’ll love it.”

Maria smiled at her mate’s excitement. She grabbed his arm and followed the others to the room to await Jason.

Within minutes of their arrival, Jason made his way to the room he’d met with Quincy in earlier. He entered the room followed by his right hand man, Tyler. He was surprised to find the room so filled with people. He had not expected the number of people he saw. He took notice also of the age range of the ones who claimed to be part of Maxwell’s family.

Jason sought out Lucas who stood beside a tall, older woman. There was no mistaking that the woman was Lucas’s mother for they had similar stances and appearances. Behind the two were two tall figures wearing cloaks with hoods that covered their features.

“Who is that?” Lucas asked indicating the man who had entered with Jason. Lucas looked weary at the other man. He was a little younger than Jason with light blonde hair and bright blue eyes.

“This is Tyler, my second in command.” Jason introduced the man next to him.

“It’s alright.” One of the hooded figures said as he moved forward and pushed back the hood, standing tall before Jason.

Jason’s breath caught. Before him stood the king that he’d remembered as a teenage boy. He had never doubted Quincy but to see the man thought to be dead for the last 20 years right before you is a bit overwhelming. He looked like he did all those years ago, except older like them all and some grays littered his dark hair.

Just then the other cloaked figure stepped forward and pushed the hood from his face. This time Jason’s reaction was seen physically as he gasped and his eyes widened. The young man before him looked like his father had 20 years before except for the eyes. Instead of Maxwell’s golden hue, the young man bore a soft brown hue.

“I am Jorlen Evans Parker, the true heir of Antar”

Jason bowed his head in acknowledgement of Jorlen but then turned to Max. “Sire, begging your pardon but I must see the proof that you are who you say you are before continuing this conversation.”

Max took no offense but simply turned and moved his hair aside, showing the royal mark. Jason inspected it closely and found it to be genuine.

“King Maxwell.” Jason said and bowed before Max. “Welcome back from the dead.”

“Please rise Jason. I have something to show you.” Max said and went to Jorlen, brushing the hair form his son’s neck and showing it to Jason and Tyler.

“I do not wish to resume the role of King. I have helped my mate rule for 19 years and would rather help my son rise to his proper position.”

Jason looked to where Max was directing his attention and saw the Royal Mark. At first it looked the same as Maxwell’s but upon further inspection he saw that it was slightly different in that it began to glow silver. Jason was speechless, his jaw opening and closing but no noise came out.

Max shrugged at Jason’s obvious confusion. “We are not sure how it has happened but Jorlen and his sister were born with the mark instead of it being applied at birth. This is why I believe that my son is the true heir. My time has passed, his is just beginning.”

.”I’m here to set things right, to undo the harm that my Uncle has done to the kingdom.” Jorlen said, his voice filled with confidence.

“I see. Please have a seat.” Jason looked around the room. “We have much to discuss.”

Introductions were made and Max’s story was told and information was exchanged.

Jorlen could feel a hesitation coming from Jason, as if he was hiding something. There was a lack of trust coming from both sides. He knew that this would be difficult and only time would tell how it would end and allow the two groups to gain the trust of the other. Jorlen was especially thankful that it was decided to not tell Jason of Jorlen’s powers yet. This allowed him to sit back and observe freely.

TBC...
Last edited by magikhands on Tue Dec 28, 2004 6:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Chapter 7

Post by magikhands » Thu Sep 30, 2004 7:13 am

I've survived yet again another hurrican hit to Florida. Hopefully this is the last! Thank you to all the loyal readers out there for hanging in there for this. I know that the updates are going slow but just to let you know, it's because I am trying to finish up another one of fics so that I can put more time and energy into this one.

I know some have expressed a concern for Jason. Yes he is hiding something but definately not what you think :)

Also just a special thanks to
Strawbehrry Shortcake for all her help with keeping on track with this and all the grammer help :D . You're great girl!!!OK, enough of my babble, here's the next part...

Chapter 7

Liz walked down the dim halls of the Resistance’s home. Their meeting with Jason and Tyler had ended a couple of hours ago and they had been settled into their own quarters. Jason invited Max and his family to stay as their guests while things were discussed and decided about Antar’s future. They were given the freedom to roam the upper levels of the mountain that housed them for the moment.

Each couple had been given a room with Jorlen and Lucas sharing one. Liz had tried to lie down and rest but she’d been unable to. Her mind was racing with all that was happening. During the journey here to Antar, she had been able to divert her thoughts from any unpleasantness as she took care of everyone, especially Max and Jorlen but now that they were here, she had to face her fears head on.

Liz was surprised when Jason had informed Max that Ava was a large part of the Resistance. It was she that helped the villagers in the beginning. She did it risking her safety and life knowing that Khivar could find out about her but she still did it. She did not like how Khivar was ruling Antar or her homeland. The people had appointed her and Jason in charge. They begged her to come into hiding with them but Ava had believed that she could do more staying where she was.

Jason told them that Ava would be sent for and this made Liz nervous. She was going to meet Max’s wife in a matter of hours. Liz shook her head trying to take back the word wife. Max was dead to her and had been for 20 years and she was married to his brother so she had no claim on Max, right? Liz sighed as she continued her walk.

Liz did not doubt the love that Max had for her. She knew that Max would die for her and loved her always, but she could not help the jealousy that crept into her soul. The thought of her mate reuniting with a love from his past made her stomach tie up into knots. Would Ava want him back? Would he rediscover the feelings that he had for her? Liz scolded herself for those thoughts. Max had told her about Ava, about his feelings for her, how they were more like friends than a true married couple. He’d even admitted to not sleeping with her after their marriage.

Liz had told Max that she was going for a walk, maybe to find Maria who had gone with Michael to look at the Medical facility that had him so excited earlier. Max had offered to go with her but she refused, saying that she needed some time alone to think. He let her go. She was aimlessly roaming the halls, her mind deep in thought with the what ifs…of life and what was to come. She rounded a corner not really paying much attention when she bumped into someone.

“Oh, I am so sorry.” Liz began then looked up at the person she’d hit. “Dear Sunova!” she gasped.

She looked up into a beautiful face that she’d seen everyday for the past 19 years, only this one was more feminine, less chiseled and belonged to a female. This girl also had the most striking blue eyes that called attention to them immediately. Liz’s eyes took a swift look over the young woman and found that she was not but several inches taller than herself and had long hair just a shade lighter than the color of her mate’s. It was pulled back into a ponytail and she could not be mistaken where the young one had received her unique ears.

Liz felt her stomach tighten as her throat constricted but she squeaked out the name of the young woman. “Maximilliana.”

The young woman smiled at the older lady pleasantly. The woman’s eyes had widened upon looking up at her and Maxie had to wonder if she had something wrong with her.

“Yes. Do I know you?” Maxie asked softly trying to be patient. She’d been on her way to seek out Jason after hearing that her mother was being summoned to come. She wanted to reiterate how dangerous it was for her mother to come here at this time, especially since she’d left the palace and Khivar was in a fit of rage over it. She wanted to find out the exact reason for putting her mother’s safety on the line.

Liz shook her head and opened her mouth when she heard someone calling for her. She turned just as her son came up to her. He still wore the cloak until it was spread that Max and his son were there. They did not want to startle everyone just yet.

“Mother, Dad told me…” Jorlen stopped and turned to the young woman standing with his mother. “It’s you!” he said.

“Excuse me?” She asked looking between the two strangers. They apparently know her but she hadn’t a clue who they were. She watched as the one in the cloak pulled back the hood and revealed himself. She could not withhold the gasp that escaped her lips.

“It was you that I’ve been feeling.” Jorlen said staring at the young woman that looked so much like his father with the exception of those blue eyes. Her emotions of confusion, fear, and anxiety began to overwhelm his senses.

“Uhhh, OK…” she said her eyes looking around to see which way she could go to get away from these people but her feet would not move and her eyes kept going back to the tall figure that looked so familiar.

“Maximilliana, right? Maxie.” Jorlen asked, his voice calmer and held a softer tone. He wanted to sooth her, put her more at ease as he felt her urge to flee. It was amazing how strongly he felt her. Only Claudia had he been able to feel this much power from.

Maxie nodded and looked into the soft brown eyes. She saw several flecks of gold in the unusual hue and suddenly felt her panicked emotions ease some. Her eyes then moved to the older woman then back to the young man. Standing next to each other, she was able to see a small resemblance between the two. She’d also heard him call her mother.

“So you two know who I am but who are you?” she was still on guard. She’s always felt safe here but right now, she was not so sure.

“My name is Liz and this is my son Jorlen. “ Liz smiled at the young woman. “And I believe there is a person who is quite eager to meet you Maxie.”

“Mother, are you sure now is the time for this?” Jorlen asked a little concerned of his father’s reaction to his niece. If he could see it, surely his father would be able to.

“Yes it is. He will be furious if he finds out that we did not try to get her to meet him.”

Jorlen held his hand out to Maxie. “Will you come with us?”

Maxie looked down at the offered hand then back up to those eyes. Normally, she would not trust this man and hightail it the other direction for her trust was not given easily but there was something about this boy or rather man that told her that she could trust him. That she’d be safe with him. Slowly, she took his hand and as their skin touched, she felt the slightest jolt of energy through her body. It did not disturb her but gave her comfort. She then allowed him to lead her back the way he’d come with Liz following them.


Jorlen opened the door and gently pulled Maxie in when she seemed to hesitate. Liz closed the door behind them.

“Liz?” a male voice called out from the other chamber. Max walked out into the sitting room with just his pants on and a towel in hand drying his hair. “Did you…?” He froze when he was greeted by three figures near the door. But his eyes were not drawn to his son or mate but to the young woman who held his son’s hand. What caught his attention were her eyes. That color, he had not seen them in so many years. After his shock subsided a little Max tore his gaze from the blue eyes and looked at all of her. He was amazed at how much she looked like his son. Another shock.

“Dad.” Jorlen said drawing his father’s attention. “This is Maxie, your niece.”

Max was not the only one in shock. Maxie looked at the man before her. He had the same eyes as Khivar. She did not think of him as her father even though everyone says he is. She looked very little like him and he had never had anything to do with her until recently when he wanted to marry her off. She knew that he was disappointed that she was a girl and not a boy to carry on the throne.

She pulled her eyes from his and let them roam him. He looked like the picture her mother had of her uncle up in her room. That was when Jorlen’s words sank in. He’d used the word niece. This was her Uncle Max. The one that was to have died over 20 years ago. But how? How was he alive and why was he here now? Why did he not come back to her mother sooner? And now he had a son. She looked over at Jorlen and suddenly felt her Royal responsibilities lifted from her shoulders. He had a son, making him the true heir.

Maxie now took the time to look at her Uncle. Khivar’s twin. She saw that they looked little alike. What she saw gave her a start. Littered on his chest were scars, some wrapping around to his back. Most had faded through the years and could barely be seen but others were still more visible. She also noticed a large thick scar that seared one side of his abs. Surely, she thought, a testament to a harsh life outside of Antar. She did not know that those were the reminders he saw everyday of Khivar’s betrayal. Maxie gasped and took a step back but her hand was still in Jorlen’s and he held on tight.

“Maxie?” Max finally said, his voice cracking.

“You’re supposed to be dead. Mother told me you died before I was born.”

Max took a step toward her now that his initial shock had worn off. He looked closer and his mind finally caught up with his eyes.

“Shit. It’s not possible.” He muttered, his lips going tight.

“Max?” Liz stepped up to her mate concerned by his sudden change of reaction.

“Your mother, Queen Ava, is she here yet?” he almost demanded.

Maxie shook her head becoming a bit frightened by this man and his sudden anger that filled his body and voice. Was he really her Uncle Maxwell? Or some imposter wanting Khivar’s throne? Her intuition told her that this was her relative but a little voice in the far reaches of her mind screamed that he was more than an uncle but she pushed it back further. She was not ready to deal with that.

Jorlen felt the fear and confusion coming from Maxie and his father’s sudden anger. “Dad? Everything alright?”

Max looked at his son and realized that he was probably sensing the entire room’s emotions. He smiled and pushed back the anger.

“Fine Jorlen. There’s just so much happening.” He turned to his ‘niece’. “I’m sorry. I knew that Ava had a daughter but I was a bit surprised to see you so soon.” He smiled slightly at her. “You have her eyes.”

Maxie seemed to relax a little and found that his voice was smooth and comforting, like Jorlen’s. Nothing like his brother’s harsh demanding voice. It was a trait that Khivar had been denied.

“Thank you. I am surprised also. My mother is on her way. I believe the three of us all need to talk once she gets here.”

Max nodded knowing that she knew all was not right with his arrival. “That would be a good idea.”

“Well, I think I should go and meet her.” She turned to leave; Jorlen finally let go of her hand.

“Maxie.” She turned to Max, her namesake. “I’d like to get to know you.”

Maxie put a smile on her lips. “Me too.”

“May I come with you?” Jorlen asked. He knew his parents needed to talk but he wanted to get to know Maxie also. Of course he already felt as if he already knew her but she was his family and he knew that she would be important in his life.

Maxie nodded liking Jorlen already and led the way out.

Once they were alone, Liz saw Max’s eyes harden again.

“She’s your daughter.” Liz simply stated, her voice empty of emotion.

Max turned to his mate; the words being said made the realization hit home. He suddenly softened and went to embrace his love, but she stepped away.

“Isn’t she?” This time is was a question. Liz hoped that he would deny it.

Max sighed and began to pace. “She looks nothing like Khivar but…” he paused and turned to Liz. “I don’t know how. Ava and I…we never…” He didn’t finish as he watched tears form in her eyes and threatened to spill. “Liz, I’m telling you the truth. I’ve never lied to you.”

“Yet you have a child with another woman. Your wife, who you claim you never had sex with. There’s no doubt, she’s yours, just look at her, especially when she stands next to Jorlen. They are siblings, you can’t deny her.” Tears began to fall from her eyes. She’d held her tongue and feelings inside the entire time that Maxie was here but she no longer could.

Max bowed his head in defeat. “You’re right. She can’t be any other’s child. I don’t know how it happened…” He looked Liz right in the eye. “But I never had sex with Ava.”

The tears kept coming. She couldn’t stop them. She’d known when she first saw Maxie that she was her mate’s offspring. She needed to think, to be alone, away from Max. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe him, just her emotions were running high and she needed to process everything. She just couldn’t do it with Max around. Liz did not say a word but turned and walked to the door.

“Liz.” Max called out when she opened the door. His feet were frozen to the floor. His eyes blurred with his own tears. He saw the hurt, distrust, and pain in her eyes. “I love you.” That was all he could say. It was the only thing he knew to be true at the moment.

“I love you too Max but I need some time.”

He nodded and watched her leave. When the door closed, he threw the towel still in his hand across the room and cursed falling to his knees and let his tears run their course.

TBC...
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Chapter 8

Post by magikhands » Thu Oct 07, 2004 12:56 pm

Thanks for the feedback:
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This is a little out of the writing style and genre I've been doing as of late so having all of you leave fb really encourages us to continue. I know this explains little about how Maxie came about but the next chapter will answer all your questions about her.


Chapter 8

Jorlen and Maxie sat near the entrance of the Resistance’s encampment, waiting for her mother to come. They sat next to each other in silence, neither really knowing yet what to say. Finally, Maxie broke the silence.

“What did you mean when you said that you could feel me?”

Jorlen looked at Maxie. He looked into her bright blue eyes and searched deep into her. He felt her confusion at the situation but deep down, he could feel her relief. He knew that of all the people here in this strange, new land, he would be able to trust her the most. He chalked it up to intuition or maybe because they shared blood. Either way, Maxie was an allie for life.

“My sister and I…well we…” Jorlen began.

“Wait. You have a sister also?”

Jorlen nodded. “Yes, Claudia. She’s my twin.”

“Is she here also?” Maxie asked very interested in his sibling.

“No, she is back in Pathia. She is the Queen so she could not come with me.”

“Does she look like you?” she asked filled with curiosity.

Jorlen shook his head, a little amused by Maxie’s reaction. “No. She looks more like our mother but she does have the amber eyes.”

“Oh.” Maxie sounded disappointed but still looked at Jorlen. “I’m sorry, continue please.”

“My sister and I have these…abilities. We can do a few things that others can’t. Also, I seem to be able to read people. The best I can explain it is that I can feel some of their feelings.”

“So, you felt me when you came here?”

“No, I felt you once our ship started toward Antar. Besides Claudia, you are the only other person that I’ve felt so strongly. Normally, I have to be near the person, at least in the same room but you. You I felt your anger strongly from a far distance.”

“Hhmmm. Sounds like it was about the time Khivar announced that he was going to wed me to some overbearing, power hungry minion of his. That is why I am here. Hiding out from him and that…well, I really don’t want to be unlady like on our first day knowing each other.”

Jorlen chuckled. “I understand. Don’t worry. If I’m able to accomplish my goal here, you will not have to marry for any reason other than love.”

Maxie smiled. “Well then I will surely help you on your mission. So tell me of Pathia.”

They sat there while Jorlen took the time and told her all about Pathia, Claudia, Lyssa and how his father had come to be there.

“Wow.” Maxie said, “That is amazing. I’m so happy for Max, that he could make the best out of something that started out bad.”

“Yes, he did that.”

“You think I could ever go to Pathia? It sounds like a place I would love. And I would love to meet our sister.”

Jorlen was about to respond when her words sank in. His mouth moved but no noise came out. This made Maxie laugh. Jorlen cleared his throat and found his voice.

“Our sister? Umm, what makes you say that?”

“Jorlen, I’m not blind. I saw the reactions that I got from the three of you. And just look at me. There is no way that I’m not Max’s daughter. And it all makes sense now.”

“What do you mean?”

“Khivar is not my father. He’s never been a father to me. I always thought that it was because I was born a girl. Not the male heir that he wanted. But now, after meeting Max, I can see why Khivar never wanted me around. I was a reminder of Max and maybe what he’d done.”

“I’m so sorry Maxie.”

Maxie smiled at Jorlen. “It’s alright. I got past all those inadequate feelings a long time ago.”

Jorlen looked at his newfound sister and saw that she was right. He could feel that the relief was more prominent in her. He nodded. “I’m sure we will all get some answers when your mother shows up but in the meanwhile, tell me about Antar.”

Just when Maxie started talking, a blur of motion swirled up to them. Maxie stood and was suddenly gathered into a small woman’s arms.

“Oh, Maxie, what is wrong? Are you hurt? What happened?”

“I’m fine Mother.”

“Dravan? Is Dravan hurt?” The woman held Maxie at arms length, her hands clenching to Maxie’s biceps.

“Mother. Calm down. Dravan is fine.”

“Oh god, it’s Jason isn’t it? Something happened to him.” The woman’s eyes began to tear.

“Mother.” Maxie said a little louder. “Calm down. Everyone is fine.”

The woman looked confused. “Then why was I summoned here so urgently?”

At that moment the woman saw movement behind her daughter. Her eyes went searching for the source and watched as a figure stood and moved out of the shadows. She gasped, her hand flying to her mouth. She took a step back and shook her head.

“No. It’s not possible. You’re dead.” She muttered softly. “You’ve been dead for years.”

“Mother.” Maxie said softly and wrapped her arms around her. “It alright. I’d like for you to meet Jorlen Parker. Jorlen, this is my mother, Ava.”

Ava took a step toward Jorlen and looked up at him with a now curious look. She looked closer at the young man that stood tall before her. She could see now that he did not have the golden eyes that she was expecting nor were his ears quite the right shape.

Jorlen let Ava have a minute to inspect him, knowing that though he looked much like his father, there were several differences between them, before he took a proper bow. “It is a pleasure to finally meet you Queen Ava.” He said formally. “My father has told me much about you through the years.”

When Jorlen straightened Ava moved to stand right in front of him. Her trembling hands reached up and cupped his face. Tears formed in her eyes. She could not believe what she was seeing. Max had a son. He’d lived long enough to sire a child.

“You’re really…Max’s son.” It was a statement and her voice soft as if in awe.

“He’s here Mother.” Maxie had moved up behind Ava.

Ava turned her head to look at her daughter. The beautiful girl who had not let the image of Max fade from her memory. “What do you mean?” she asked. She turned back to Jorlen, still mesmerized by him.

“Max. He’s here. He’s alive and has come home.”

Ava’s breath stilled. Her heart started pounding as her body became rigid. Surely Maxie did not say what she thought she heard. Ava’s hands fell from Jorlen as she turned her body to Maxie.

“Max? Here?”

“Yes. That is why Jason summoned you. He’s waiting for you in…”

“Take me to him.”

“Mother, you know your way to…”

Ava shook her head and took her daughter’s hand. “No. Take me to Max.”

“But Jason…”

“Maxie.” Ava’s voice grew stern. Her daughter was telling her that her best friend, who she believed was dead for the past 20 years, was alive and within this mountain. Jason would have to wait. If Max had seen her daughter already, she knew that he would have questions and if Max was still the Max she’d grown up with, he’d want them answered now. “I must speak with Max. I have to explain.”

Maxie nodded, hating to see the tears in her eyes. “Alright. I will take you to him.” She looked over at Jorlen who just nodded.

“I’ve got to go and find Lucas.” He had watched Ava, the woman that his father married before Khivar betrayed him. She was petite much like his mother but there were few other similarities. Where Liz was dark haired and dark eyed, Ava had blonde hair and the same blue eyes that Maxie held. He felt her concern and confusion as soon as she’d come in. She was scared for the ones that she was close to, her fear now turning to anxiety with the prospect of facing Max again. He knew that she and his parents were about to start down a trail that they have been dreading for many years. “He’ll want to see her.”

“Thank you Jorlen.” Maxie said as she went to him and kissed him on the cheek. “We will finish our talk later.” Jorlen nodded and looked down at the Queen.

“Jorlen. It was a pleasure to meet you and I would like to see you again before I leave if it is possible.”

Jorlen bowed his head. “Of course My Queen.” He was unsure exactly how to address her. He was here to take the throne so he did not know how she would respond to that so he just kept it formal.

“Please, call me Ava.”

Jorlen nodded and watched as Maxie took her mother to meet his father. He sighed and rubbed at the back of his neck. He knew that this would be hard on everyone, but the recent turn of events had been incredible. He was still reeling with the fact that he had a sister. Well, at least another one. He walked off into the tunnels, his mind whirling with thoughts of what was to happen next.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

“Your sister!” Lucas exclaimed.

Jorlen nodded and smiled. “Can you believe it? I never dreamed of coming here and finding more family.”

Jorlen had gone in search of Lucas after Maxie took Ava to his father. He had found him with Isabel, Alex and Timberlyn. Lucas showed his relief when he saw Jorlen find them. On the way back to their room, Lucas had thanked him for tearing him away from Isabel, having had to endure an hour lecture on security and things he already knew and already spoken with Tyler about.

Lucas looked at his best friend. He knew that look. “Jorlen, I know that look. I know I don’t have your gift but how can you be so trusting so quickly? From what I recall, Uncle Max never consummated his marriage to Ava, how could he father a child if that is true. And I have a tendency to believe him over a bunch of strangers.”

“I can’t explain it either Lucas. But when you see her, you will see that only my dad could sire her.” Jorlen paced the room feeling his friend’s dismay and distrust. “The way that I feel her inside, it’s strong like Claudia. We share blood. I’m not wrong in this.”

Lucas gave a loud audible sigh and looked at Jorlen unencouragingly.

“Do you trust me Lucas?”

Surprise filled Lucas’ face. “You shouldn’t have to ask that. Of course I trust you Jorlen. With my life.”

“Well then trust me when I say that of all the people that we’ve met so far, you can trust in Maxie.”

Lucas resigned the argument knowing that he would not change Jorlen’s mind in this. His only response was to nod and this appeased Jorlen. He would rely on Jorlen, but that did not mean, that he, himself, had to put his trust into someone he knew nothing about.

“I know you’ve already been exploring this encampment while I was otherwise busy. Tell me, did you find any pretty women we could set our sights upon.”

Lucas smiled at Jorlen’s words, letting his tense, unease fall from his body for the moment. “I believe that I may have found a treasure for the both of us.” Lucas said settling in his chair to tell Jorlen of his excursion through the mountain


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

After leaving their room, Liz once again roamed aimlessly around the corridors. Her heart felt heavy and mind filled with images that she did not want. She could not wrap her mind around how Max could have a child. She knew that Max loved Ava, that they had grown up together and had a strong relationship. She was ready to confront her deep fears that Max may want to be with Ava again. But she had felt special. Had felt that her connection with Max would continue through their children that they made out of love, together. Now, he has another child. One not from her, but his wife.

Wife. She hated that word. They did not use that word in Pathia. When two people joined together, they were mates. But here, outside of Pathia, they were husband and wife. Ava was Max’s wife. Yes, he was thought to be dead, and out of duty to her kingdom, Ava had married the successor to the throne, Max’s brother, Khivar. The dilemma was that Max is not dead. He is very much alive and well. What does Antarian law say about that? Are they still married or has he been gone to long to consider the marriage still intact?

Slowly drawn out of her thoughts Liz heard her name being called. She turned and found Alex approaching her.

“Liz. Are you ok?” He asked as he saw her red rimmed eyes and the tears that still filled them hovering on the edge.

Liz shook her head.

“Come on. Let’s find a place and we will talk.” Alex took her arm and guided her down the hall. He could see that Liz was upset about something.

“Where’s Isabel?” Liz asked, her voice hitched slightly as she fought the tears that stung her eyes. She was trying not to show how upset she was.

“She and Timberlyn are getting the grand tour of the place from Tyler. Here, let’s sit.” Alex guided her to a bench made of stone in a long dark corridor that appeared to be empty. “Now tell me what happened. Is Max alright?”

Liz nodded and took a shaky breath. “I met her.”

Alex’s brows scrunched together in bewilderment. “Who is her?”

“Maxie. I ran into her in the hall. Then I took her to Max to meet.”

“That should be a good thing shouldn’t it?” Alex asked still confused at why Liz was acting so.

“Khivar is not the father of Maxie. Max is.”

This information shocked Alex. “What? How do you know that? Wait, didn’t he tell us…”

Liz nodded. “Yes. I believe what he says. I don’t know how it was possible, but Max is definitely her father. She looks just like him.”

Alex gathered his friend into his arms and embraced her tightly. “Oh Liz. I don’t know what to say.” They sat that way in silence for several minutes, Alex’s shirt becoming wet as Liz finally let her tears flow. “What does Max say to all of this?” Alex asked after Liz’s sobs slowed.

Liz lifted from his arms. “He wants to speak with Ava who is on the way here. Jorlen and Maxie are waiting for her arrival now.”

“Jorlen was with you also? Does he know?”

“I don’t know.” Liz shrugged her shoulder. “Knowing Jorlen, he knows more than we do but he did not say anything to us.”

“Liz, this will be fine. Max loves you. He’d never do anything to hurt you. Even after all these years, he still looks at you with the love and desire that filled his eyes when he first came to us.”

Liz smiled knowing that what Alex said was true. She just wished that her brain would give in and agree with her heart. “I know. I love him so much. I guess that I’m just scared of losing him.”

“You won’t. Come on. Let’s go and have a talk with Max. I’ll be right here with you and you can tell him how you feel. You guys have never not talked about your feelings.”

She nodded and clasped his hand tightly. “Thank you Alex.” She leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Thank you for always being my level headed friend.” She smiled warmly at him.

“Anytime.” Alex answered her smile. He rose and drew her to stand also. “Just another duty that I perform to keep my Queen happy.”

This made Liz chuckled and finally looked around. “Do you know where we are?”

“No but I’m sure if we keep going, we’ll find someone who does know.”

TBC...
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Chapter 9

Post by magikhands » Wed Oct 13, 2004 6:57 pm

I'm sorry it's taken so long to get this new part out. My mother was in the hospital for a couple of days (she's ok and home now) and general RL crud, it took me a bit longer to get this out. Thanks for your patience and I hope that this part answers your questions about Maxie. Thanks to all who left fb! :)

Chapter 9


Max heard the main door to his room open then close softly. He walked out of the bedroom.

“Liz. Baby, I’m sor…” He froze. Before him stood the woman he’d resolved years ago that he’d never see again. “Ava.” He choked out, taking a step forward. She was still petite in form and as beautiful as ever. Her blonde hair was cropped at her shoulders and flowing free. Her bright blue eyes glistened with tears. He had the urge to gather her into his arms to sooth her like he did when they were growing up. He wanted to assure her that everything was all right and that he was sorry for leaving her alone for so many years. But then an image of Maxie flashed before his eyes and a hardness covered his heart.

Ava watched the string of emotions cross Max’s face, until his eyes grew cold and hardened. She saw that he looked much like he did all those years ago when he became King. His stance was tall and strong but now as she looked closer, she could see that his features were harsher, his eyes wiser, holding a knowledge she’d never know, and pain, a deep hurtful pain.

“Jorlen looks so much like you.” She said, not quite knowing how to begin this unexpected reunion.

“You saw my son?” His eyes narrowed.

“Yes, he and Maxie…” When Ava said her daughter’s name, she saw Max’s jaw twitch.

“While we are on the subject, please tell me how I could father a child. We were never intimate Ava, there is no way that she is mine but from what I’ve seen…she is.” His tone was harsh but she could hear the anguish behind his words.

“Max, I can explain.” She took a step forward but he retreated a step. Her face fell, knowing that he was not happy with her. She looked around the room. “Let’s sit.” She said going to a couch and sitting upon it.

“I’ll stand.”

Ava nodded and let out a loud sigh. She looked at Max and tried desperately to find her Max. The one who always had a smile for her, who would go out his way to cheer her up, the man who had once loved her. She could not find that man. All she saw was a stranger in a familiar face that held hurt and a coldness in his demeanor toward her.

“I never dreamed I’d have to explain this to you. You were thought to be dead. It took me years to come to that conclusion. Years to accept that I’d never see you again.” She began, a deep sorrow filling her voice. “Do you remember Brody?”

Max nodded remembering the young man that was Ava’s father’s advisor’s son. He had always doted on Ava as much as he did. Max always thought that he was in love with Ava but he knew that he could never have her. She was destined to be Queen, so he settled to be one of her best friends.

“He came to me the night before I was to marry Khivar. He told me that I would never have children by Khivar, that he was sterile. At first that made me happy. I didn’t want to be with Khivar, I wanted you. His touch made me squirm and that smile he always gave me made chills run up my spine. You know that I never really liked him but it was my duty and my father had given my no choice in the matter.

“When Brody saw my reaction, he pointed out that having no heir would leave Mantinga and Antar free for the strongest conqueror. Our enemies would see this as a weakness. I could not do that to our kingdoms. I knew that you would want me to do what was right so I resolved myself to be with Khivar. However Brody had a plan, one that would assure that the rightful heir would be born.”

“Does Khivar know of his condition?”

Ava shook her head. ‘No, he was never told. Apparently that riding accident that occurred when he was 14 years old rendered him so. Under your father’s orders, he was never told. He had faith that it would be you who supplied Antar’s next heir.”

“How is it that Brody knew all of this? And why was he telling you at that time?” Max asked as he began to pace the room.

“Remember when you complained about all the tests that they subjected you and Khivar to when you were 16 then 18?”

Max nodded.

“The samples and results were kept at Mantinga. Instead of becoming an advisor like his father, Brody became one of Mantinga’s best medical officers. As he rose in rank, he was privy to the most secret things that our kingdom hid from its subjects along with all the medical research my country has been doing under my father’s direction for years. One of which, being our fathers’ plan to unite our kingdoms, no matter the cost. That was when I also learned that they had my test samples too.”

Max stopped pacing and looked at Ava. He didn’t say anything but she could see the questions in his face.

“Yes, I went through some testing about the same age as you. They took samples of my eggs and saved them.” Ava said sadly. “That night was not a good night for me. Brody and I argued during most of it. He was throwing out all of this information at me and then started insisting that I go through with his plan so that our kingdoms would be safe.”

“What a minute. You said something earlier also about a plan. What was this plan?”

“To have the rightful heir of Antar and Mantinga conceived.”

“By using our samples.” Max stated suddenly understanding what she was saying and realizing how it was possible for Maxie to have been born.

Ava nodded. “It was the only way at the time. If news of Khivar’s weakness reached our enemies, then our kingdoms would have been lost. As long as there was an heir, it would keep them at bay.”

Max turned and sat in a chair. He ran his hands over his face. He knew that Ava would have gone through a lot being with Khivar but he never imagined that she’d have so much upon her shoulders. He knew Ava would do what was right for her home and for his and now he knew exactly the types of sacrifices she had to make to keep them safe. Max was angry with himself, for allowing Khivar to trick him as he’d done, for allowing himself to be weak and for not coming back here sooner.

“Max.” Ava’s voice broke through his thoughts of beating himself up. “Quit blaming yourself. There was nothing you could have done. We thought you to be dead and there was no other way. I did not even learn of what Khivar did until months after he and I wed. I overheard a conversation he was having with Nicholas but by then I was already pregnant with Maxie and knew that it would be dangerous to confront Khivar.”

Max nodded knowing that she would keep the safety of her child, their child, as number one. “I understand Ava.” He looked up at her. “You gave your virginity to Khivar then.”

“Yes.” Ava said sadly. “I wanted Brody to do it before I wed Khivar.” Max gave her a startled look. “No Max. There is a medical way he could do it without actually being intimate with me.” She couldn’t help but smile a little at his reaction. Maybe her Max was under there somewhere after all. “But he decided it was best for me to stay a virgin. That way, there would be no doubt that Maxie was his.”

“I can’t believe all that you went through to keep this from Khivar and to have Maxie.” Max said, his posture slumping as he rested his elbows upon his knees.

“I wanted more than anything to have your child Max. At least this way, I would always have a piece of you. You’d always be with me. But one thing did backfire a little. I was hoping she would look more like me.”

Max chuckled and shook his head. “She does look a little like me, doesn’t she?”

“That’s an understatement. I think that’s why Khivar has had very little to do with her in her life.”

“He’s ignored her?”

“In a sense, yes but it’s for the best. You can’t imagine the man your brother has become.”

“Yes I can. I have the scars to prove it.” Max’s voice was quiet as he remembered the crack of the whip while he was with the slave trader. “Wesley told me that you had another child. A son. If Khivar is sterile, was that one mine also?”

“No. Along the way, I finally fell in love Max. It was his child that I carried and gave birth to, but alas, I was cursed again for the child looked too much like his father for me to raise him in the Palace. I also didn’t want Khivar to get his hands upon my son and corrupt him to hate me.”

“So your son lives? How? Where is he? And who is this man that has finally stolen you heart?” Max was now curious of Ava’s secret life. It appears that he was not the only one to have a family and to find some happiness in their life despite the vile blackness that Khivar spreads.

“My son is Dravan? (last name for Jason?). He’s now almost 15 and you have already met his father. Jason.”

Max was surprised. Jason, the tall red haired man just did not seem to be Ava’s type. But a lot has changed and their lives have turned out a lot different than they originally planned.

“Luckily Khivar was gone when I went into labor with Dravan. Brody was there along with Serena, Tyler’s wife, who I had as my maid during my pregnancy. They were the only two to attend me during the birth. It was a quick one unlike Maxie’s but immediately we saw the strawberry blonde hair on his head and knew that we could not pass him off as Khivar’s.

“We came up with a plan. Serena is unable to have children and wanted to join her husband back here so we told everyone that the baby had died. Serena brought him back here where she, Tyler, and Jason has raised him. We told Khivar that we cremated his son due to health concerns for he did not return until a week after Dravan was born.”

“You have not raised your own son?” Max could not imagine not being a part of Claudia and Jorlen’s life. He loved every minute of it, including all the stinky, messy things that came with having children. The revelation of Maxie being his child had not completely sunk in but he knew that once it did, he’d regret not being there for her while she grew up.

“It’s alright. We’ve explained it to him and he’s had wonderful loving family around him all the time.”

Max saw that what she was saying may be true but she was not feeling it. He could tell the she hated being out of his life so much but she had to make sacrifices even though they hurt her. He knew that Khivar would have killed the child if he found out that she was with someone else. He was very possessive over anything that he thought of as his.

“I’m sorry Ava. I wish that it hadn’t had to happen the way it has. I’m sorry for not being here for you, for our kingdoms, our daughter.” His voice was tired and weary. So much had happened that day and now this was something else added to the seemingly ever growing list.

“Max, don’t. You can’t control what has happened. The only one to blame is Khivar. He was the one who sent you off and demanded that I wed him. It was he that turned this kingdom and mine into a poor wreck; the people frightened, the fear of doing something wrong and then die for it. We’ve both made the best life we could with our circumstances. You have a wonderful son. He seems to be so much like you.”

Max huffed. “That’s what his mother says also.”

Suddenly the thought of another woman in Max’s life bursted into her mind. Here she was, not thinking how it was possible for Jorlen to be born, her only thoughts were of Max.

“Your wife must be someone very special for you to have settled down and had a child.” Ava said, hoping that he’d tell her more about his life since he’d left Antar.

“She is. In Pathia, they use the term mate and Jorlen has a twin sister, Claudia. She’s now the Queen of Pathia.”

“Queen? Does that mean that your….mate was a Queen?” Ava suddenly felt a little jealous. She must be beautiful and very pampered to come from the mythical city of Pathia. Like the men, she’d heard the stories of the place and could only wonder the things that Max may have experienced there.

“Yes. I’m very proud of her. That is also one reason that we have returned. It is time for Jorlen to claim the throne as its rightful owner. To make our kingdoms great again and a place our people want to raise their families.”

“You are not going to take the throne?” Ava was a little surprised by this. He had been raised to rule Antar. That was his calling.

Max shook his head. “No, I’m too old and I helped Liz rule Pathia for 18 years. I will act as Jorlen’s advisor for a while but I have matters to settle with Khivar first.”

They sat in silence for several minutes as they ingested all that had been said. Ava rose from her seat and stood in front of Max who stood and looked down at her.

“I’m glad you’re home Max.” her eyes filled with tears, genuinely happy that he was back. As she looked up into his golden eyes, she could see that they were softening and she saw the glimpse of her Max. The boy who was happy though he held a lot of responsibility. The boy who could see the good side of the worst problems. The boy who always seemed to fix her life.

“I’ve missed you Tessa.” He said quietly but warmly, tears filling up in his eyes as well. He bent down and embraced her tightly. She returned his hug just as tight, as they both released the pent up tears and sorrow for their lost years, letting them slide down their faces.



Liz and Alex stood outside the door and said a grateful thank you to the man who showed them back to Liz’s room.

“Are you ready to talk to Max now?” Alex asked.

Liz nodded and took a deep breath. She grasped the doorknob and turned it. Pushing the door open, she opened her mouth to call out to Max but nothing came out and she stopped just inside the door. Alex practically ran into her back since she’d stopped so quickly. He looked up and saw what had caused her reaction. They both watched as Max stood there tightly embracing a petite woman.

+++++++++++++++++++++

Larek walked into Khivar’s study. He had ignored the guards at the door insisting that he was in a meeting. He went to the desk where Khivar stood talking with Nicholas and kneeled down on one knee, bowing his head.

“Majesty. I have news of the Queen and my betrothed.”

TBC...
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magikhands
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Chapter 10

Post by magikhands » Thu Oct 28, 2004 10:04 pm

Just a special thanks to those who left fb (and to those who haven't :wink: ) Thanks for being so patient:
FSUMSW94
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Michelle17
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Mar!!! I hope you are having fun with 311Image
BehrObsession
VeronicB
rigel


Also to Strawbehrry Shortcake. Without you girl, this story would not have even been written

Chapter 10

Maxie stopped in front of the door and lifted a hand to knock but before she could the door swung open.

“Maxie. Everything ok?” Jorlen asked standing in front of her.

She was about to ask how he knew she was at the door when she remembered what he’d said earlier about feeling people. Especially her.

“I guess I’ve just got to get used to that ‘feeling’ thing, huh?”

Jorlen blushed slightly, forgetting that she was yet used to his ways. “Sorry.”

“No, don’t apologize.” Maxie said shaking her head. She didn’t want to offend her newfound brother. “Don’t change just for me, but I guess we both have some things to get used to.” She smiled reassuringly at him.

Jorlen smiled in return. “Yes we do. Please come in.” He moved out of the doorway so that she may enter.

Maxie entered the room and stopped in her tracks. Just inside the door, she encountered a tall, built man that took her breath away. Never had she seen such a man who possessed such beauty. His structure was lean but strong. She could see the outline of his bicep muscles that tightened the shirt he wore. She was close enough to see that his eyes were a dark shade of brown and his lips moist from a fresh lick of his tongue. His sandy colored hair was worn longer than most Antarians and the shine seemed to beg for her fingers to run through the soft looking strands. Her stomach quivered as she looked upon this handsome man.

Lucas in turn scowled at the young woman who’d just entered. But his insides were doing flip flops as his mind tried to register how he could be in total wonder of a female who looked like Max and his best friend. His eyes made a quick trip up and down her feminine form, taking in her luscious curves and bright blue eyes. His eyes locked upon her red plump lips that gapped open a little. He watched, fascinated as her pink tongue slid out between the slit and wet her lips. He felt the blood rush to his neither region and unconsciously fidgeted.

Jorlen stood between Maxie and Lucas was suddenly bombarded with an overwhelming emotion of desire. It swept through his body so quickly that he gasped. This brought their attention to him and the desire calmed and Jorlen’s body was able to relax. Sometimes he really hated his abilities.

Jorlen cleared his throat and acted as if he’d felt nothing. “Maxie…this is my friend Lucas.”

Maxie suddenly eyed Lucas with weariness as she stepped further into the room. She didn’t want Lucas knowing how much his presence was affecting her. She nodded her head at the other man, scared to touch him while her feelings were racing out of control. She composed herself enough and spoke a greeting.

“Jorlen has told me about you.” She was very pleased that her voice did not hold the tremble that her body did.

Lucas bowed his head in respect. “Princess.” His voice was deep and almost a growl.

“Maxie.” Jorlen turned to his sister feeling the tension between the two heighten again. “I did not expect to see you so soon. Is something wrong?”

Maxie tore her eyes from Lucas and looked at Jorlen. “Well, I’m trying to find my brother Dravan. Mother wants to see him before she leaves but I am unable to find him. He is supposed to be with a girl that came with you. I was hoping that you would come with me to look for them.”

“Oh, um…well…” Jorlen said as he felt Lucas’s emotion change a little. It felt almost like jealousy. “I was just on my way out to consult with Tyler about something. But Lucas would be more than happy to help. Dravan is probably with Timberlyn. When you find them, he can escort her back to her parents.”

“I will?” “He will?” Sounded simultaneously.

Jorlen bit back a smile. From what he has learned of Maxie, and what he knew of Lucas, and how their feelings just overwhelmed him, he thought that Maxie was just what his best friend needed. The challenge that Jorlen knew he ached for.

“Yes. You will.” Jorlen said as he was suddenly pushing the two out the door and into the hall.

Lucas and Maxie stood stunned out in the hall looking at the closed door. They were both wondering what had just happened. Maxie finally risked a look at Lucas and found that same scowl upon his face but instead of the door, he was looking at her.

She sighed. “Well, I guess we should get going. I don’t know how long my mother will be able to stay.” She turned and started walking down the hall. She felt his eyes glued to her back but she chose to ignore him.

Lucas stood for a moment still shocked at what Jorlen had just managed to pull. He watched Maxie walk away and was suddenly mesmerized by the sway of her hips and the thought of what they would feel like under his hands. He took a deep breath and let it out in the form of a growl. He was going to get Jorlen for this.

Lucas caught up with Maxie easily and they walked in silence, checking rooms and halls through out the floor before moving to the next level.

Finally Maxie broke the strained silence. “Why are you doing this?”

“I’m looking for Timberlyn. Jorlen was busy so he sent me.” Came his clipped answer. His body was filled with tightness and tension.

“No, I mean why are you here with me? You could easily go in another direction to look for them.” She looked over at him as they continued down a dim hall. “It’s apparent that you don’t like me or trust me.”

Lucas sighed. “I admit that I don’t trust you but I never said that I didn’t like you. I don’t even know you.”

“You don’t have to say a word. I can see it.”

“Oh, so now you are all seeing and can tell me what I’m feeling? I believe that there is only one person here that can honestly do that.” He said through gritted teeth, anger surging through his body. How dare she assume what his feelings were. In fact, dislike was the last thing he was feeling for this dark haired beauty at that moment. Granted, he was against Jorlen getting so close to her too fast. They knew nothing about her and being in a strange land, Lucas was not going to trust anyone but his family for now.

Maxie stopped walking and turned to Lucas. “Do you not think I know the look of dislike when I see it?” She seethed. “I’ve spent my entire life looking into the eyes of a person who is suppose to love me unconditionally only to see cold, emotionless orbs. When on occasion he did show any emotion, it was one of disgust. The person that was supposed to be my father hates me every time he lays eyes upon me because I reminded him of someone he wanted to forget. No matter how hard I tried, what I accomplished, or how good I was at a skill, nothing has changed his opinion of me.”

“Do you think that you are the only one privy to know those things?” Lucas growled. “Do you think that you’re the only one whose life has been filled with despise and controversy? You’re wrong. Yes, I’ve had two loving, wonderful caring parents and a supportive family. However, the view of most of the kingdom was entirely different. I watched how people looked at me while I grew up. In some of these eyes, I saw that cold indifference, the same as you. I went day to day looking at those who gave me those cold glares in the eye, knowing that they thought me inferior to them because I had an extra organ dangling between my legs. No matter how I excelled, they still only humored me because of who sired me. I learned a long time ago, life is not all fun and roses but one has to go with what’s been handed to them. So don’t give me a ‘pity the unloved Princess’ routine. I’m not buying it.”

Electrically charged silence hung in the air as they glared at one another. Their bodies rigid and filled with anger, but it was not really aimed at each other, but at the conflicts their lives had to deal with. Lucas had moved to stand just inches from Maxie as he spoke to her. She was several inches shorter so he looked down upon her.

Simultaniously, Maxie reached up to Lucas while he reached out and pulled her near. Their lips met in a hard, savage kiss. Their tongues dueled fiercely as desire replaced the anger that they felt. Their bodies pressed close together and Lucas was surprised by how well they fit together. Her 5’7” frame seemed to form perfectly to his own 6’1” frame. His hands slid from Maxie’s waist until they cupped her ass and pulled her closer, making his desire for her known. She in turn gasped but continued the kiss, her hands threading themselves into his hair.

After several moments they broke apart, panting and their eyes glazed with desire. Maxie looked up at the man who held her in his arms and she froze. Never had she had these feelings for a person. She knew where they led and she didn’t want to do this. Not here, not now. She wasn’t ready, let alone with some stranger from another land, no matter how breath taking he was. Her hands slid out of the soft texture of his hair until they stopped on his chest. His hard, strong chest. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, resisting the urge to let her hands roam across the muscles. Taking all the strength she could muster, she pushed Lucas away from her and steeled herself from him.

Lucas looked at her and watched the emotions that drifted across her face. He watched fascinated as her bright blue eyes went from a soft, deep blue to a colder, harsher shade.

“Don’t ever do that again.” Maxie said, her voice cold. She turned and started walking off down the hall.

Lucas stared after her stunned. He wondered what the hell had just happened. One minute they were passionately embraced, the next, she was pushing him away and blaming him for the kiss they’d just shared. Frustration bit at his heels as he took off after her. Catching up with Maxie, he took hold of her arm and swung her around, stopping their motions.

“What the hell was…?” Lucas started only to have Maxie shush him, placing her fingers over his lips. He felt the urge to kiss and lick her fingers but the anger at what just happened overrode those feelings.

“Sshhhh…” She said then cocked her head to listen.

Lucas suddenly heard what she was trying to listen for. It was the sound of a piano playing and then it stopped and there was a giggle. Lucas knew that giggle anywhere. Timberlyn was near.

“This way.” Maxie said as she turned and started down the hall again leaving Lucas behind again.

Lucas caught up with her just as she rounded a corner and he heard the piano music louder. He followed Maxie a little further until they came to a door. She slid it open and they both stepped inside. What they saw made them both smile.

The room they walked into was not very large but in the middle was a large black piano. Sitting on the bench were Timberlyn and who Lucas had to assume was Dravan, Maxie’s brother. They were both playing, one on each side of the keys. The music was in time to each other and they were both smiling and laughing. The only thing that bothered Lucas was the closeness that the two sat. Timberlyn didn’t have an older brother to keep watch over her so he and Jorlen had long ago taken up that role. They loved her like a sister and at times, she had them wrapped around her finger and were willing to do just about anything to see her smile.

Maxie was also pleased at what she saw. So much lately, her brother rarely let a smile or even a laugh come to his lips. He was 15 and he seemed angry at the world. Since leaving the Palace, Maxie had tried repeatedly to get Dravan to talk to her but he refused to talk about why he was always so moppy and down. Jason was beginning to worry about him and so were Maxie and their mother.

The two noticed that they had an audience and they stopped. Timberlyn’s eyes widened when she saw Lucas’s scowl that resembled her father’s. She quickly got up off the bench and stepped several feet away from Dravan.

“Lucas.” She said. Her voice was low and she felt as if she’d been caught doing something wrong.

Dravan saw Timberlyn’s reaction and stood also but he went and stood next to her, eyeing the man who’d dared to interrupt them.

“Lucas. This is my brother Dravan.” Maxie said seeing the tension between the three.

At the sound of an unfamiliar female voice, Timberlyn looked over at Maxie. She gasped and covered her mouth with her hand.

“You…you look…” She stuttered, shocked.

Lucas went over to her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “She looks like Uncle Max. We know, Kiddo. This is Maxie.” His voice was not harsh but held humor in it at her reaction to Maxie. “Come on, I need to take you to your parents then it’s time for dinner.”

“Can Dravan come with us?” Timberlyn asked. It had been a long time since she’d had a friend her own age. In Pathia, she was always around Lucas, Claudia, and the others. She also really liked Dravan. She was coming up upon her 16th year and it worried her that she would not be able to do her rite of passage here in Antar. She still wasn’t sure if it would be permitted but she felt that she and Dravan really connected with each other. Dravan had told her about his sister and who his mother and father were. They had only met that day but he’d really opened up to her.

“I’m sorry Timberlyn but Dravan must go and see our mother before she leaves.” Maxie said. She saw Dravan’s eyes darken and a scowl etched his face. Lately, every time their mother visited or was even mentioned, Dravan tried his hardest not to see her or talk about her.

“Oh, well, then maybe afterward he can come and meet the rest of my family.” Hope filled her voice as she looked at Maxie.

Maxie smiled at Timberlyn. Just from seeing the smile and hearing her brother’s laughter, she knew that Timberlyn would be good for Dravan. “Sure.”

This brightened Timberlyn’s face. “Ok…well, I’ll see you later Dravan.”

Dravan and Maxie left leaving Lucas to lead Timberlyn back to their family’s rooms. They walked in silence for several minutes before Timberlyn broke it.

“Don’t give him a hard time Lucas. He’s a good guy.”

“Timber…”

“No. I’m almost 16 years old. You can play ‘big brother’ all you want, but don’t you dare try to scare Dravan off.” She looked up at Lucas, her face stern, and her voice hard.

Lucas raised both hands in surrender. “Ok, I get the message, just don’t blame me for what Jorlen does.”

Timberlyn chuckled. “Don’t worry about Jorlen. I’ll take care of him.”

Lucas looked down at the girl who he saw as a sister. She had spunk much like her mother and a stubborn streak like her father. He shook his head and didn’t say a word. He’d let Jorlen deal with her.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Max looked up and found Liz and Alex standing at the door. He saw her stiff, rigid stance and realized that she’d just found him with another female in what he assumed to look like an intimate embrace. He gently eased away from Ava.

“Liz.” His voice was soft and filled with mixed emotions but he somehow kept it even. His love for her grew even more than he could ever believe at that moment. He had known for a long time that Liz was the only woman he ever wanted, and somehow this exact moment seemed to really seal it into place. He had to admit that she was beautiful when her jealousy shined.

Ava turned to the door when she saw that Max’s attention was away from her. Her lips turned down slightly. Silently she observed the one that had claimed Max’s heart, the woman who’d bore his children. Except for their height, they were complete opposites. Ava’s light hair and skin tone paled in comparison to her darkness. Ava decided to hold off any judgment on this woman. Max seemed very happy with her and had had a good life so she would wait and see if she could get to know this foreign Queen.

Liz looked upon her mate’s wife, the woman who her conscious mind was extremely weary of, and noted the closeness between them. She wanted to hate the woman but when she saw the look in Max’s eyes as he looked between the two, she knew that she would probably not be able to hold such a strong emotion toward someone that he held dear. Inwardly she sighed and felt so tired. All she wanted to do was to curl up with Max and fall asleep while he held her close.

“Ava, this is my beautiful Liz.” Max finally broke the silence that filled the room. He could literally feel the air become heavy as the two women gazed upon each other for the first time. He knew that they saw the other as a competitor over his affection but he swore to himself that he would not be put in that position.

Liz bowed her head slightly to the other woman. “Queen Ava.” Her voice was polite but all in the room heard the edge that laced it.

Ava bowed her head addressing another Royal. “Queen Liz.” Her voice was also polite. They both knew the rules enough not to be disrespectful.

Ava turned to Max. “I must go see Jason now. I will see you again when I can.”

Max nodded and smiled. His eyes then turned to Liz and their gazes locked. He did not watch Ava as she left. The room was filled with a tense silence as the two kept their gazes locked, daring the other to be the first to break it.

“Alex, if you would excuse us.” Max said, not taking his eyes from Liz.

Alex cleared his throat and looked back and forth between the two. He was undecided whether he should stay and try to mediate things between them. “Liz?”

“It’s alright Alex. We will see you at dinner.” Liz said dismissing her friend.

They continued to look at each other until they heard the door shut behind Alex. Max was the first to break their gaze. He sighed and ran a hand through his hair.

“Liz I’m sorry about earlier.” Max began. He was now talking to Liz’s back as he watched her turn from him. He saw her shoulders give a little tremble and he knew that she was trying hard not to cry. “I was insensitive about your feelings on this matter. I was so wrapped up in my own shock and surprise that I couldn’t comprehend that others around me are being affected also.”

“It’s alright Max.” Liz said but he could hear the shakiness in her voice. “Ava is your wife. You haven’t seen her in years and just found out you have a daughter.”

Max rushed to her and turned her around. It broke his heart to look down into her dark eyes as tears ran freely from them. Reaching a hand to her face, he used his thumb to wipe away some of her tears.

“Ava is not my wife. You are. You were always meant to be and always will be.” Liz opened her mouth to say something but he continued. “I love you Liz. It is you that holds my heart and my soul. I am nothing without you. Can’t you see that? Haven’t I shown you that in the past twenty years?”

Liz looked at Max, her mate, her love. Tears now ran from his eyes. Guilt filled her nerves. She could kick herself for the doubt she was having. She knew without a doubt that Max loved her. He could have left Pathia years ago but he decided to stay. With her. They were going to grow old together, and see their grandchildren born. They came here to help their son, not because of Max.

“I’m sorry Max. I’ve let my insecurities rule my actions. I should have been here for you to help you through this. Please forgive me.”

Max looked into her pleading eyes and he saw that they had both made mistakes. It wasn’t the first nor would it be the last, but this has just reminded them that the only way that they can get through the trials that are to come is together.

“Let’s just call it even and move on. I don’t want to do any of this alone. Not without you by my side.”

Liz nodded then felt Max’s lips descend upon hers. Their tears mingle as their cheeks met and the kiss deepened. Max drew Liz into his arms and held her close. Liz sighed into their kiss and let her body relax against his. She let the perfect feel of their bodies together push out all other thoughts. Right now, it was Max and Liz. Lovers. Mates. Forever.

Liz felt herself being lifted from the ground and cradled in Max’s arms. She threw her head back as his lips slid down her neck. Gently he laid her on the bed but his embrace never left her. Liz’s hands went to his shirt and began to unbutton it, yearning to feel his skin next to her. She was so engrossed in the feel of his lips and her task of undressing him that she barely realized that she too was becoming unclothed. Within minutes, thanks to years of practice, the two were lying pressed against each other, skin to skin, the heat of their passion engulfing them.

Max turned Liz onto her back and rose above her. She instinctively spread her legs, giving him complete, unobstructive entrance. He kissed her lightly on the lips, his tongue gently sweeping over her lips as he placed the head of his cock right at her opening.

“Max.” Liz pleaded. Her body felt as if it was on fire and if she didn’t have him in her soon, she would explode. Her legs were wrapped around his waist but still he delayed.

Max bent his head and took her mouth in a heated, possessive kiss. He pulled away, leaving her breathless and flushed.

“Mine.” He growled as he thrust deep and hard into her. He grunted as she surrounded him and she let out a pleasure filled cry.

Max’s movements were neither gentle nor slow. He pounded into her with wild abandon as lust, desire, passion, and love all combined. Liz whimpered as pleasure and her own desire flared through her body. Her nails found Max’s back and ran down his scarred skin, leaving a red, welted trail.

“Yes….Max…I…love you…”

“Urgghh…Liz…my…heart…” Max grunted.

Together they climaxed, both crying out as their hunger became sated. Max drew Liz into his arms and held her close and tight.

“I’m never going to let go.” He whispered in her ear as sleep threatened to overtake them.

“Never.” She answered, letting her eyes close and the comfort of Max’s body lead her to sleep.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

“Thank you Larek.” Khivar said to the man sitting across from him. “With this information that you’ve given us, you will have your bride by your side in no time. You are dismissed.”

Larek smiled and rose from the chair. He bowed in respect and left the room. His lips curved into an evil smile as he thought of the power he would wield once he wed and bedded Maximilliana.

Once Larek was gone, Khivar turned to his General, Nicholas. “It’s time to activate our friend in the Resistance. I have the perfect plan to bring my dear Maxie back to us.” He his laugh echoed in the room and an evil glint shone in his eyes.

TBC...
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