It was quiet in her head for the first time in a very long while and she didn’t like it. Even though Riona was physically not alone, there wasn’t the feel of her love in her head, and that bothered her; she couldn’t feel Aleksandr at all. They shared a Lifebond with each other, a strong mental connection that transcended love…and being this deep underground somehow silenced that connection. Riona couldn’t hear him and neither could his twin brother, Stavin. He did his best to console each her, but in the end Riona shut herself off; he just wasn’t Aleksandr. She brushed her long brown hair out of her vivid blue eyes and tried to smile despite the loneliness and kept up with her companions. She was tiring fast and her flowing pink dress had seen better days, yet she had to push on.
The Companions of Silver were following a horde of giants from the capitol city of Gutesuegan, all the way to the dwarven caves of Angmar and they were finally gaining on them. If they didn’t catch them soon, the giants would ambush the dwarves deep in the mines, where they would be defenseless and the carnage would be almost total. Riona ran along behind her companions and almost stumbled when it happened. They came out of the deep cavern, after chasing the giants upwards for miles, and she could feel him again! It felt like an explosion in her lonely mind as his smell, his thoughts, and even his face flooded her mind. With a shout of exaltation, Riona and the companions finally gained ground and with a burst of speed, they hit the giants hard from behind, giving the dwarves time to fall back and brace themselves.
Riona knew that Aleksandr had traveled through the corridors of magic to try and reach the dwarves in time, but she wasn’t sure he had made it…until now. She heard him now, over the din of battle, yelling her name in relief.
“Riona! Riona my love!” he called out as his sword slashed another giant across the tendons, felling the great beast. He stood out among the fighting, his white leathers and rose colored cape a beacon for his forces. Aleksandr’s short black hair was matted with sweat and his grey eyes seemed to flash as he fought his way to her.
After days being underground, thoughts of urgency flooded her mind. She needed to hold him, to feel him in her arms keeping her safe, yet she still couldn’t get to him. There were giants everywhere and Grym, the dwarven King, was yelling commands at his dwarven forces. As if fate thrust her hand down at the couple, they both noticed a group of dwarves shielding the young dwarven miners with their lives; dropping valiantly to save the huddling workers from the giant clubs. Aleksandr changed direction and fought to the alcove, his skill and grace taking her breath away as she followed. Riona rushed in and dropped giant after giant with blasts of pure psychic energy. She had to be close to crush their minds like this, but seeing her love gave her the courage to risk herself for the helpless dwarves. The rest of the companions hit the giants like the hammer of god and soon they had all but the last few down and backed to a deep ravine…then it happened.
The last of the giants were not going to surrender or flee, their backs to the bottomless cavern deep below the dwarven mines. The remaining beasts grabbed some of the companions and leapt to their deaths, holding the struggling heroes with their last breath. The Warpriest Albrecht, the druid Cinella and Stavin hurtled down into the deep gorge, their cries lost among the cheering dwarves that hadn’t seen the desperate maneuver. Aleksandr locked eyes with Riona and smiled, running towards the cliff, his speed and agility taking him across the cavern like the wind. Fear gripped Riona’s heart as she knew what he wanted, no, needed to do. Aleksandr was going to use his powers to switch places with his twin! She closed her eyes as she cried silent tears, knowing that she couldn’t let that happen; couldn’t lose him again. She couldn’t let Aleksandr couldn’t go without knowing what she had to tell him. Riona tried to run—even though she knew he was faster— but knew that she wasn’t going to catch him in time. If he got to the edge before her, he would switch; he had to be as close as possible. Riona had no other choice but to mentally block his powers, even though it would kill her to do it. After not being connected to him for so long, it took all she had to block him. Aleksandr was strong, but not strong enough to stop a true Psion like her.
Aleksandr dropped to the ground, mid-step, as he crumbled near the edge of the gorge. He was moaning over and over.”Please, please.” In her mind though, she could hear the desperation in his soul, the savage fear as he thrashed against her mental block with everything he had.
Please! Please Riona you’re killing him! Aleksandr screamed and thrashed against her mind, heedless of the damage he was causing to both of them.
Blood was coming out of her ears, but Riona held on. She shut him out, but it was tearing her apart to do it. She couldn’t lose him. Riona got to Aleksandr, the Hearldmage hollow and broken at her feet. Then he looked up at her, his eyes going wide with pain and shock…they could both feel the bond between him and his twin snap; the death registering in his very soul. She dropped down beside him, her arms enfolding his body as he wept, sobs wracking his frame.
Since she was still connected to his mind, she could feel all of his pain and anguish; it was worse though because she had caused it. Riona sobs and rocks him, whispering into his ear as she floods him with healing. “I’m so sorry, my love,” she says over and over. “I couldn’t let you go; our child needs her father…” Riona could feel that Aleksandr never heard the last part. She could sense something missing in him, a part of him gone, empty. She had never felt like this, so in love with another, so deep. Lifebonds were powerful, but she had always heard that twins shared something even beyond that. So Riona made her choice, then and there.
She gathered up the tattered remains of her mind and gently inserted it into his. Not to damage him, like she usually did, but to occupy it like Staven had. Aleksandr’s eyes snapped open as he felt her push through. Riona was in his mind like she never had been in any other mind since she came into her powers; the feeling was vast. Aleksandr smiles at her and she can feel his emotions welling up, but also another part that she had never felt; never could. His deepest feelings for her were bared to her mind, and tears stream down her face. She was scared that he would hate her for stopping him, yet his love shines like a beacon in the dark cavern for only her to witness. Aleksandr’s love for her fills her heart, almost to overflowing. She wanted to get home, to tell him about their daughter…to just hold him…to…
“Sounds good, my love, but I’ll probably do more than that to you,” Aleksandr said as he hugs her weakly, trying to stand.”Oh, and a daughter?” His eyes brim with tears of joy, “I’ll have to be gentle then.” The hearldmage helps her up, still thinking about the death of his twin. Staven died valiantly and he will always have some part of him, yet the deep sadness is recedingquickly, the void replaced with her love for him.
Riona smiled and stood with him. She can feel his happiness—Gods above she can feel everything—yet she can also feel a calm.She smiles at him and can’t help but imagine what their time in bed could be like now…
“Riona, you dirty little minx,” Aleksandr says, laughing, and guides her upwards, towards the light, and life together.