In The Deepest Space - Chapter 12: A New Beginning
Chapter 12 ~ A New Beginning


Ssssisssookah - creator/destroyer
Sssssigma Range Tip – tip of a mountain range that holds very cold temps
Unma & Fissseere – Mother and Father
Fuurrth - fourth

Essssme’s POV ~

I posssition my ssshell near to Edwaird’s; hissss computer flutterssss between a conssssciousss ssstate, and not.  I fear the only comfort I may offer to him at thissss time, isss my digitsss upon the junction of hissss upper extremetiesss and the growth line of hisss hair, doing my bessst to withdraw ssssome of hisss tensssion.

Emmeet guidesss the ssship clossser to the planet then sssslowly bringsss usss clossser to the sssurface.  Edwaird’sss ssshell joltsss beneath my digitsss, convulsssing.

“Emmeet, you musssst move ussss fassster.  We are losssing them both!” I command, my voicccce sssshrill with concccern.

The ssship touchesss down on the planet, and Edwaird’ssss sssshell immediately ssstills.  I take his faccce in my handssss, moving it around in an attempt to wake him, but he issss ssstill, fully unconscioussss now.  I am unable to compute what thisss means for
Bell-a and he; I only know that we musssst move with mossst hassste.

I ssssummon all ssssmall remnants of ressstraint within me and will my voiccce to order my clan into action.  “Emmeet, you mussst remain here ssso that upon our return with
Bell-a the ssship will be ready to lift at onccce.  Ah-lissss ssstay here, Roe-sssalie and Carlissss will come with me.  Jassspeer, prepare the renewal chamber and be sssure that all ssssupliess are in possssition.”

We all dissspurse at the sssame inssstant.  Roe-sssalie and Carlissss follow me while the othersss ssscatter off to perform their tassssks.  Emmeet remainss in hisss ssseat, appearing forlorn and ussseless.

Roe-sssalie, Carlisss and mysssself quickly prepare our ssshellsss with the appropriate defensses then exit the ssship.  My computer recallssss the direction Edwaird’sss sssshell had been pointing when he finally fell into a thoroughly unconsssciousss ssstate, and I point in that direction, deccciding that it wasss hisss lassst chanccce at getting assss near assss possssible to hisss

We move quickly while ssstaying together for protection.  I do not know how long we travel, but finally, when we are all near exhaussstion, we come upon large parcccelsss, flassshing with lightsss.

“De-tonssss.  Tread with mossst care,” I warn.  Carlisss fallsss to line in behind Roe-sssalie, and ssshe, behind me.  Beyond me and with the illumination ccchamber I hold in my digitsss, I sssee the crumpled form of

“Carlisss!  Read the de-tonssss!”

Carlisss runsss to inssspect the de-tonsss and behind me, Roe-sssalie gassssps.  Ssshe looksss around my ssshell, sssees
Bell-a, then runsss around me to her.  I move with her and grip Roe-sssalie before sssshe leefts Bell-a from the hard sssurface.

I lower my ssshell, handing the illumination ccchamber to Roe-sssalie ssso that I may inssspect Bell-a’ssss injured ssshell.  Blood poursss forth from her nossse, and sssshe hassss many cutsss and bruissses upon her ssshell.  There issss alssso a trickle of blood that hassss come out of her mouth and runssss down the ssside of her faccce.  Thisss concccernsss me mossst.

I rip a particle of my garment from the bottom sssseam and hold it to Bell-a’sss mouth, cleaning away the blood.  I move in posssition to attempt a fassst healing procccedure.  It will not lassst in the ssstate that ssshe isss in, but will hold long enough to return to the sssship.

At that inssstant, Carlisss issss back at my ssside.  “We mussst go.  The de-tonssss, they will go sssoon.  We musssst get away from here!”  Hisss voiccce carriessss fear, and without further hesssitation, I liffft
Bell-a from the hard planet sssurface.

We turn and run then.  Roe-sssalie ssstaysss at the lead, carrying the illumination ccchamber, while Carlissss trailsss directly to my rear, at the ready to catch
Bell-a ssshould I fall.  He keepssss hisss hand at my ssshoulder, urging me fassster, leading me to believe that we may all very well be clossse to our final deathsss.

“The sssship!” Roe-sssalie exclaimssss.

I ssssee it ahead of usss, and by the time Carlisss,
Bell-a and I reach it, the hatch issss open for usss.  The moment we ssstep onto it, we lift from the ground with ssssuch sssudden forccce, that we fall to the floor.  Bell-a crumplessss againssst me, and thissss tellsss me that her injuriesss are very great indeed.

Carlissss takesss her from me and runssss toward the renewal ccchamber, cradling her in hissss armsss like a sssmall ccchild.  My chessst clenchessss with worry for my new daughter but alsssso isss touched at the care that Carlisss showsss for her.

After I regain my balanccce, I run down the corridors to the renewal cccchamber.  Carlisss and Jassspeer have already hooked up ssseveral linesss to
Bell-a, and sssshe issss connected to a concccentrated breathing particle tube.

“Hassss ssshe been ssssedated?” I inquire.

Carlisss continuesss to work and Jassspeer anssswers me assss he cutsss away her garmentsss.

I return my focusssss to
Bell-a, covered by a cloth at her center and down, but expossssed from there up.  I gassssp, my digits fluttering to my orifacccce flapssss when my orbssss take in the sssspackling of markssss upon Bell-a’sssss left breasssst.  I move over to Edwaird, whom liessss on the table nexxxt to Bell-a.  Without any care, I rip his top garment down it’ssss ccccenter, exposssing his upper ssshell ccchamber.

I turn my attention to Carlisssss, noticccing that he too, ssssees the marking, looking from
Bell-a to Edwaird.

“Carlissss!  Could it be?” I quesssstion assss I get closssser to
Bell-a to better inssspect her marking.

“What issss it?” Jassspeer quessstions, confussssion obvioussss in his tone.

It issss Carlisss that anssswers him, assss my orbssss do not break their gaze with Bell-a’ssss marking, and my voicccce refussses to come to me.

“Our Edwaird posssssessesss an identical marking to Bell-a’sssss.  Thisss issss utterly remarkable,” he sayssss, sssstill ssstaring at
Bell-a.  He lookssss to me then, and ssssaysss, “Essssme, we mussst contact The Oracle!”

I nod my computer, agreeing with him.  “Jasssspeer, pleassse ssssend transsssmittancccce to The Oracle’ssss Keeper.”

Without hessssitation, Jasssspeer fleessss the room, and Carlisss and I work on reviving Bell-a’ssss weakened life forcccce.  Pushing ssshe and Edwaird’ssss tablessss together, I link their handssss together, ssso they may find each other and come back to ussss.


Bella’s POV ~

I can feel myself slipping, slipping fast, and then all of a sudden, I’m not.  All around me I see colors swirling, but they’re murky, dingy.  It feels as though I’m back-floating through mud.  Any attempt to move my position is futile; the mud seems to have a grip on me, and no matter what I do to try to move, I can’t.

Not only that, but with every attempt, I’m drained of all energy, not that I have a lot of it anyway.  Instead of trying to change where I am - wherever that may be - I decide to just stay put, because like I said, movement is next to impossible.

I don’t know how long I’ve been lying here like this, but after a while, my surroundings change.  The colors suddenly change, morphing from browns, greens and grays to much more vivid colors.  Fuchsia, emerald, cerulean and the boldest crimson red I’ve ever seen immediately flood my vision, and then I feel it.  I feel him.  I feel my Edwaird.

This dream or subconscious me speaks to Edwaird, but I don’t feel my mouth move.  “Edwaird.  Is that you?”

Edwaird lies sleeping, floating with me in this, wherever we are.  He doesn’t respond to me, and I stroke his jaw, then his flain, trying to wake him.  He remains sleeping so I simply curl into a ball at his side and wrap his arm around my shoulders, falling asleep.


Edwaird’s POV ~

I awaken, and sssshe isss there, my
Bell-a.  We are in a ssssevere ssstate that I recognizzze by the auric huesssss of the early death march.  I turn my computer and orbssss to my right ssside, feeling that my arm isss ssstuck.  There my Bell-a liessss, ssssleeping, or worssse.  It musssst not be worssse.  

I raissse my other arm to ssshake her awake, but the motion drainssss me of the minimal life forccce I have ssstored, and I fade back out.


Bella’s POV ~

When I wake this time, I smile at the sight that my eyes open up too.  Edwaird is still laying beside me, but he too is awake and propped up on his elbow, gazing at me.  I lift my hand up to his face, cupping it, and smile back at him.

“I knew you’d come for me, but why are you here?  Were you hurt badly somehow?  Please Edwaird, I can’t bear it if something horrible has happened to you because of me.” I begin to sob, and he uses the pad of his thumb to brush away my tears.

“Ah-gizzzzzzz, my
Bell-a.  You are thine mate, your plight issss mine, and where you go, I follow, even in the final death.  I wisssh it ssso.”

I begin to sob harder at his words.  I can’t help it.  He can’t die, ever!  Edwaird pulls me closer, and with his body nearly covering mine, I begin to feel better, stronger.  The colors change again, and it seems that there are clouds a little ways off.  I can see a sheet of rain fall from them.

“It’s raining?” I ask, confusedly.

“That issss the cleansssse.  We are healing, my

“Healing?” I ask, trying to remember what it is that I need to heal from.

Memories crash through me and all of a sudden, everything is so clear.  The colors are gone, but so is Edwaird.

I sit up with a cough, sputtering in a panic as I try to ask for Edwaird, but I can’t speak.  It feels as though there is fur growing in my mouth, and I move my tongue around in my mouth, attempting to clear out the feeling.

My chest beats quickly in my chest as I take in my surroundings and look around for Edwaird.  I see that I’m back at the bedroom in my family’s country home and over in the corner, Emmeet is slumped in a ball on the settee in the corner, sawing logs.  I take a deep, cleansing breath.  I must be alive, because I know for a fact, that my entire family wouldn’t die if I died...would they?

I stand up from the bed and find my legs to be quite wobbly.  I tip-toe over to Emmeet and touch him on the shoulder.  He sits up quickly and looks over at the bed, finding me gone.  I grip his shoulder tightly then, and he looks up at me as he flinches defensively.  Emmeet jumps up from the settee quickly and grips me tightly, hugging me too him.  He begins to whimper, and I have to stifle my giggle at the emotion he shows toward me.  It must be the hormones.

When he pulls away, his face is streaked with tears, and he quickly pulls me toward the door.  He moves quickly, and my feet feel like those belonging to a fawn newly born -- uncertain and shaky.  Emmeet wraps one of his muscular arms around my waist and pulls me down the back staircase into the kitchen where the rest of the family sits...along with Edwaird.

He drinks from a bowl that seems to hold some type of steaming fluid, and I simply watch him, relieved that he is okay.  I touch Emmeet on the shoulder to get his attention, then put my finger to my lips, hoping that he understands that I just want to watch them before they realize I’m awake.

Emmeet keeps a hold of me, and we stand there together, watching the rest of the family.  Esssme leans down close to Edwaird’s face, speaking softly to him, but he shakes his head, looking sad and unsure.  He finishes the rest of the bowl, and Esssme takes it from him, then turns to move back over to the pot.  She looks up then and gasps, spotting Emmeet and me.

Bell-a!” she exclaims, and everyone in the room turns to look over at me.

Edwaird jumps up from the table, sending utensils and cups scattering to the floor with some of them crashing and breaking.  He runs over to me and scoops me up into his arms, carrying me over to the fireplace where he sits in the larger of the two chairs there.  I hug him tightly to my chest, afraid that if I let go, this will all have been part of my dream, and I can’t possibly bear that thought that that could actually happen.

After several moments I finally pull away and see that the rest of the family is crowded around us.  Edwaird cups my face in both of his hands, placing his forehead against mine and sighing.  He says nothing.  Neither do I, because right now, there are no words.

No words to tell him how much I love him.

No words to tell him how scared I was that I would never see him again.

No words to explain what and who I am.

Everything hits me in the chest -- the severity of all of this and how close I was to death.  I think I may have actually died, but was brought back...again.  Tears flood my eyes and spill over my lids and down my cheeks.  Painful sobs escape my mouth, and Edwaird again pulls me tight against him.  He sits there cradling me, rubbing soothing circles on my back until finally, he pulls me away once more to look me in the eyes.

Esssme immediately hands Edwaird a cup, and he holds it to my lips.  I take a sip of it, then grab the cup out of Edwaird’s hand and chug it.  When it’s gone I want more, and I hand it to Esssme to refill it.

“More, please,” I rasp out.  My voice is hoarse from disuse.

Esssme returns with the cup refilled, and I chug that too.  When it is gone, I finally ask, “How long was I out?”

“Ssssavontaaainthh Moon,” Esssme responds.

It takes me a second to figure out that I was in limbo for seventeen days.  Seventeen fucking days of trying to make my way back here.

“Wow.”  It’s all I can manage to squeak out.  No wonder I feel so foggy and it’s so hard to walk.

“Let ussss give
Bell-a and Edwaird a proper reacquaintancccce period,” Esssme says as she begins to usher the rest of the family toward the door.

“No!” I shout, startling them all.  “Um, I mean.  I want you to all stay, so I can tell you something.”

Esssme looks at Jassspeer, and something transpires between them.  What that is, I can’t be sure.  I let it go because I already have so much on my mind and so much to worry about.  I am fearful of the way they are going to take my next piece of news.  Will they shun me for who I am?

I open my mouth to speak, but a cough comes out instead.  Edwaird tips another full glass to my lips, and I sip at it.  My hand moves to my throat as I swallow the liquid down, and I realize, my necklace is gone.

“My necklace?” I ask, looking at Edwaird as I trace my fingers along my neckline.  Edwaird jostles us a little in the chair, but extracts my necklace from some hidden pocket of his shirt.  He gives Essssme a quick glance, then holds it up to clasp it at the base of my neck.

Once it is in place, I can’t deny that I feel better, more whole somehow.  For some reason, I know that it is just one more thing that confirms who I am.

Everyone finds seats near Edwaird and me, and within a few moments, Jassspeer returns, holding the hand of a very old, very blind woman with milky white eyes and long, gray, straggly hair.  She closely resembles the woman in the Snow White fairy tale that offers up the shiny red apple without the horrendous nose.  In the hand that Jassspeer does not hold, she grips a thick, spindly wooden cane.  At the top of it appears to be a real eyeball, somehow preserved inside of a clear glass ball.

I look at Essssme in question, wondering who the old woman is.

Bell-a.  You musssst now tell the sssstory of what happened to you.  We will then do our bessst to decccide why you were taken, and where we go from here.  Introductionssss will be made after.”  Esssme announces.

I finger my necklace, mustering up any courage I can find to tell them what happened and who I am.  I notice the old woman’s gaze fixed upon me, even though I don’t think she can hear me.  I know they say that the blind use their ears to find people, but she almost seems to be staring at my throat, and I’m not making any noise there.

“Well, I guess I’ll start by telling you that it was the Queen that had me taken, because I’m her daughter.”

I dive into the story then, telling them every last little detail I can until there is nothing more to tell.  I blacked out and now here I am, seventeen days later.  By the time I finish, most of the jaws of my family members are on the floor, intrigued, amazed, and also appalled by what they put me through.  Most of all, they are completely surprised by who I am.

I glance at Edwaird finally, having not once looked at him when I told him the story, afraid of the reaction I would see on his face.  He is not looking at my face like I expect him to be, but he is looking at my neck.

I raise my hand back to figure out what he is staring at, drawing in a sudden breath when I feel them.  “Oh my God,” I whisper.  Edwaird looks at me then and gives me the largest, most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen.

He looks at the old woman then, and asks, “What doesss it mean?”

I’m confused by his vague question toward her, but she simply walks over to us, now refusing the assistance of Jassspeer, and stops mere feet in front of us.  She raises her cane first, then her other free hand comes up to cup my chin, and gently, she turns my face to the left.

In a very thick Sislan accent, the old woman says, “Furrrrrth.”  She then turns my face back to the front and moves her free hand from my chin, down to my throat and picking up the metal symbol of my necklace.  She moves the cane so that it too, is in level with my neck and it almost seems as if she is using the eyeball atop her cane to actually see.

Ssssshe isssss.

I hear Edwaird in my head, and I’ve completely forgotten our ability to communicate in this way.

How?  I mentally ask him back, suppressing a giggle that wants to erupt out of me of the sheer absurdity of all of this.  I mean really, we only fantasized about this kind of shit on Earth.

The old woman gently places my necklace back against my skin, then raises the cane up so it is at eye-level with me.  It makes me squirm a little, but I do my best to stare into it.  I think this is what she wants and it appears that she is here to help us out in some way, so I am certainly not going to make it difficult on her.

The woman lowers her cane then and ambles back to the spot at the table where she had been sitting at earlier, next to Essssme.  The room is quiet as we all wait for her to get comfortable and do whatever it is she does.  What that is, I have no idea.

Esssme speaks first.  “
Bell-a, thisssss isss the Oracle.   Sssshe wassss born unto Ssssissla without the usssse of her orbssss but knowing all the ssssame.  Sssshe isss the foreteller, and you musssst lisssten to everything sssshe tellssss you, for the fate of Ssssissla liesss in her wordssss.”

I swallow down the lump in my throat and focus on this small old woman, the Oracle.

“There wassss onccce a time of ssssimple living.  There wasssss no King or Queen but, inssstead, an emperor.  You may find that the title of emperor may ssssound atrocccioussss compared to king or queen, but it meant ssssomething elsssse entirely in that time.  The emperor wasssss a man of reasssson.  While there were thosssse that prosssspered more than otherssss, there wassss no Sssssislan that went without sssshelter or sssssussstenanccce.”

“He wassss with high honor.  The people of Ssssisla followed him with eagernessss and protected him at all cosssts.  There wasssss never a need for protection, until there ssssuddenly wasssss.  The Emperor and hissss mated female were forcccced to meet their final death, sssslain where they laid with ressssting orbsssss.  There wasssss a man to take over the Emperor’sssss posssition immediately upon hisss final death.  Not a sssoul quessstioned him, assss they all feared for their livessss without hisss protection.”

“Under the reign of the new Emperor, life went on mosssstly assss it had under the lasssst, and the ssssoulsss of Ssssisla learned to trussst the new Emperor, that wassss, until he found himssself a mate.”

“The Emperor’sssss mate wassss a beautiful woman, but that wasssss where possssitive attributessss ended.  She wasssss colder than the
Sssssigma Range tip.  The Emperor ssssuddenly died in the night, and sssshortly after, hisss mate adopted a new line of reign, requiring all to refer to her assss Queeen.  Queeeen Sssssulpicccia.”

The Oracle looks at me pointedly, then continues.

“Queeen Ssssulpicccia took the life forccce of her own mate sssso that sssshe would have complete control over Ssssisla.  She bedded many malessss whenever sssshe chosssse, which inevitably, will be her downfall.  Won’t it, fair

She gives me a wry smile as everyone in the room looks at me.

“The firsssst Emporer had a child, a sssson.  He happened to be with hissss wet maid on the moon of hissss Unma and Fisssere’s, or mother and father to you, final deaths.  He wassss ssssaved and hidden, hissss name changed ssso that the Queen would never learn of hisss heritage.”

“What was his name?  His title?” I ask her.

“The title given to him under hissss Unma and Fisssere, wassss Cai-uuuuussss, but hissss wet maid called him Fffeeleex after it all changed.  Cai-uuussss had to hide who he wassss, for he held many traitssss of the old Emperor, hisss Fisssere, and it wassss alwaysss a posssibility that the resssemblanccce would be noticccced.  He made many changesss to hisss appearanccce asss disssguissse.  He wassss a male of much allure, but in hissss need to hide, he made himssself ssslightly lesss pleasssing to the eye.”

“It was the diminissshment of hisss looksss that drew him to the Queen.  Ssshe did not want to keep her bed with sssomeone who thought them more attractive than her.  Now, he knew of the sssstory, knew of what sssshe had done to hissss family and alssso, how important it wasss for her to keep her title, sssso he laid low for a while, doing what ssshe required until he wassss ready to move forward with hisss plan.  He knew he would meet hisss final death of courssse, but he had nothing he wanted to remain in hisss life for.”

“On the lassst night that he bedded Queen Sssulpicccia, he made mention of children.  That wasss all it took for the passsage of the egg to transsspire.  The Queen wassss furioussss, meant to end him, but ssshe did not know if he had made storiesss about her already and feared that ending hisss life would be disssastroussss.  Sssshe let him live long enough to carry the child, then ended him.”

She pauses, takes a sip of her drink, then looks at me.

“I know the rest.  I’ve been told the rest.”  I look over at Edwaird, his eyes wide in amazement.

Bell-a, the firssst Emperor wasss of the puressst blood we know.  The Purity.  Within you, you carry that blood.  Like you, he too had the four gillsss of flain.  There isss no other like you.  The markssss you both carry abreassst isss a foretelling.”

“Desssstined duo,” Edwaird whispers.  The Oracle looks over at him and nods.

“Yesss, young one.  Now, there issss alsssso the matter of the piecccce,” she says as she once again, brings her cane up to look at my neck.  “Have you underssstanding of what it ssssignifiesss?”

I pick the metal up from my chest and twirl the chain around in my fingers, shaking my head.  “No.  I do not.”

“That isss the Sssissooka, child.  The Sssisssookah issss a tale of a deity that wasss both a creator, and a dessstroyer.  It wassss believed to be nothing but a falsssehood, until now that issss.  The Sssissookah hassss never chosssen a sssoul to bear it, but now, it hassss chosssen you.”

“Is this bad?” I ask, tracing its design with my finger.  It doesn’t feel bad, not at all.  If anything, it has been something to help me calm myself.  “I mean, well, what does this mean?”

“It meanssss that the sssstory wasss not a tale at all, but a foretelling of your return to ussss.  It meanssss that onccce again, there will be enlightenment for our home, and you will bring it.”

With that, the little woman stands up and puts a hand on Esssme’s shoulder.  She then walks over to Jassspeer who escorts her out.  Everyone in the room stares at me, and I feel a surge of nervousness course through me.

The woman has got to be on crack!

Crackkk? Edwaird questions me in my head, and I shake my head at him, as if saying ‘never mind’.

We all sit in a stunned silence for a while, but finally, everyone begins to get up.  As they do, they all come over and hug me, then raise my hand up to their faces and kiss the inside of my left wrist.  This day couldn’t get any weirder.  Things like that shouldn’t be thought though, because yes, yes they could.

Edwaird and I are the last to leave the large kitchen and he carries me back up to our room.  I protest, saying that I can walk and I feel fine, but he isn’t having it.  When we are finally back in the room, he sets me on my feet, then wanders into the bathroom.

I decide that I need a shower because who knows how long ago I actually had one.  I no longer have dried blood on me, so I must have been given a bath or at least a sponge bath at some point, but I feel grimy all over.

I follow Edwaird into the bathroom and lean over, turning the shower on.  When he realizes I’m behind him, he turns around to face me, and the look in his eyes is enough to make my panties spontaneously dissolve.
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