Shadows of Destiny
Big thanks to Madelaine and Ruby for beta-reading this! The italics are flashbacks. Not Bryn dreaming, real flashbacks.
Part 9 ~ Reunions
Who am I now? I don't know. Am I still a little child, scared and alone? Am I that little girl? I don't know. I don't know anymore. I can't remember.
I'm so confused. What's real? I can't tell. I wish I could forget all those memories. I don't want to remember anymore.
Back in the place she was almost used of seeing every day, Maeve sighed. She already missed Caipra. So much had changed since she was a student of Dim Dim, learning the art of magic. It seemed so far away, in another life. But she had changed most of all. The fire or revenge that once burned inside her had faded away. Her fierce temper had cooled down. And she would never have the chance to destroy Rumina and see her brother in his human form again.
Maeve missed him - mostly when Lea was fast asleep and she couldn't find rest. She had no one to talk to, like she used to talk to Dermott in the past. "Dermott," she whispered, eyes closed.
'Do not worry, sister. Everything will be fine.'
Startled, Maeve opened her eyes wide. Did she imagine her brother's voice? Did she miss him so much that she now heard his voice?
'You're not dreaming, sis. It really is me.'
"But how is it possible? I'm not even alive…"
'But you are not completely dead either. Since you left, I've been trying and searching for a way to communicate with you and I finally succeeded.'
Maeve smiled at her brother's determination. "I'm so happy to hear your voice again! I missed you so much!"
'It's not the same without you, sis. I heard your conversation with Caipra and I don't like you being in that horrible place. You don't belong there.'
"At least, I'm not alone…But I'm worried about Lea. She's been complaining lately about how cold it is, but I don't feel it. I fear that she's going to fade away right before my eyes, like we saw happening to an old man some time ago. I'll go crazy all alone here if she disappears! And we've become friends, you know. She's very nice."
'Don't worry. Firouz, Doubar and Rongar are with Shanna right now and I'm sure she'll help you and Lea.'
"I hope you're right brother." Maeve brought her knees up and held them with her arms. She glanced at Lea who was shivering in her sleep. "I really hope you're right."
Dermott remained silent for a moment, understanding his sister's distress. He wished he could be there to comfort her because words could do little compared to a simple presence. 'There is something I'd like to know. What happened when you drowned?'
Maeve sighed. "I-I don't feel like talking about it. Please understand, it only brings back bad memories."
Dermott expected this answer from his sister, but he had to ask. 'I understand.' He was frustrated his sister had to go through so much because of him. If he hadn't been turned into a hawk, none of this would have happened. He was probably more to blame than Rumina.
"Lea and I followed some of your adventures by using our viewing pool. They are your only family now…They'll take good care of you."
Dermott chuckled. 'I'm the one who'll have to take care of them. They seem to invite danger wherever they go and, whatever they do, they always seem to be in trouble.'
Maeve smiled sadly. "That's true. And it's getting worse every time."
The world spun around her and she felt her head would explode. Controlling her ragged breathing, Bryn realized that she was still standing. So, she didn't faint this time. Good. Fainting was for the weak and helpless.
Bryn opened her eyes and the light of the sun blinded her for a moment. Her heart was racing, her head hurt and she was dizzy. Bryn felt sick. 'It's getting worse. I have to stop those damn memories from coming back. Who needs them!'
Her sight returning to normal, she saw Sinbad near her, his eyes full of concern. Disgusted, she took a step back. This was all his fault! Her eyes flashed angrily as she looked at him. If only she could…
But she couldn't.
Sinbad didn't understand what had just happened. One moment Bryn was ready to kill him with her knife and the next instant she had dropped the knife and froze, her eyes staring into the distance. Then her eyes had closed. He had tried to wake her up but she remained like a statue. So he had decided to wait.
And now she was looking at him angrily, but he saw how tired she looked and how pale her skin had become. He wanted to know what had happened to her and why it had happened just when she was about to hit him. He wanted to take her in his arms and tell her everything would turn out fine. But she wouldn't let him. He had to keep his distance now and act as cold toward her as she was acting toward him. He could do that.
"Care to tell me why you suddenly froze?" he asked her, his voice neutral.
Of course, he had to ask questions! Ignoring him wouldn't work. Bryn sighed. "That's none of your concern."
"Maybe I could help…" Sinbad proposed suddenly, forgetting the cold attitude.
Bryn's eyes flashed a moment. "I don't need your help!" she shouted. "I don't need the help of anybody. I'll reach my goals by myself. I shouldn't have listened to you in the first place!"
"I may not be able to cast the spell, but your friend Bryn could," Shanna said, when she saw the defeated faces of Doubar, Rongar and Firouz.
Firouz sighed. "But Bryn won't help us now, she isn't on our side anymore."
"Sinbad will find a way to bring her back," Doubar replied. He had faith in his brother. If anyone could do it, it would be Sinbad. "Maybe he has already succeeded."
"I cannot tell, but if you want the spell to work, it has to be done soon. The day the moon and the sun meet in the sky," Shanna explained. She took a book from the table and showed them the painting next to the ritual, where it showed the sun and moon at the same location in the sky. "That day is coming soon."
"Let's hope Sinbad did it," Firouz only said.
"You need to go back to your captain and sail to Eratia island. You must be there in two weeks. I will meet you there."
"It will takes us days to go back to the island where we left Sinbad, and-"
"I will teleport you to that island," Shanna gently interrupted Doubar.
"Can't you teleport us to Eratia?"
"I am afraid I cannot. There is a magical barrier around the island that protects it."
Rongar nodded in understanding. Shanna's plan sounded almost easy but he knew better. They needed Bryn and if she didn't want to help them, they wouldn't be able to help Maeve and Lea.
"I will bring everything needed for the ritual; you bring Bryn," Shanna continued. "Now follow me."
She lead them into a small, dark room. Except for a circle of rocks in the middle of the room, it was empty. "Go inside the circle and hold hands."
"Wait! How are we supposed to find Sinbad? He could be anywhere on the island, even still in Karpan's castle," Firouz said.
"It isn't Karpan's castle anymore, it's Bryn's," Doubar muttered under his breath.
"You will be transported to within a half mile radius of Sinbad's current position. I will also teleport your ship and the hawk. The ship will be in the same place it was when you went ashore. The hawk will be with you."
"I will now begin. Close your eyes. Remain silent. And do not move." Shanna then began chanting words in a tongue unknown to them. Her delivery was fast but her hands raised slowly.
A strong wind from nowhere started blowing and in a flash of a lightning, they were gone.
Shanna sighed. "Good luck, friends."
A cold wind started to blow and Bryn crossed her arms. She needed to decide what she would do next. She had a world to conquer after all and goody sorcerers to destroy. What a busy schedule she had.
Sadly, she couldn't include Sinbad in her plans. Trying to kill him would only make her condition worse. She understood that now and knew he would never help her. She should have known from the start. It seems that the soft spot she had for Sinbad when she was good never completely went away.
'Soft spot? It was much more than a soft spot! You were crazy about the guy! How many nights did you dream about him sweeping you off your feet? You loved him Bryn. And you still do, even though your heart is now black.'
'Shut up!' Bryn ordered to the annoying voice in her head which was mocking her. 'What you say is a lie! I do not love Sinbad! I could never lower myself to love someone so good. I could never lower myself to love.'
'You can lie to yourself, but you can't lie to me. I know you. I am you. Look at him. His concern for you, it touches you, but you play the act of the annoyed bad girl. But it is just an act.'
Bryn resisted putting her hands on her ears. She could still hear the voice. Besides, Sinbad was still watching her. She had already embarrassed herself enough in front of him by fainting.
'So you do care, Bryn.'
If the voice had a body, Bryn would have killed it by now. Karpan was probably responsible for it. 'You're lucky to be dead, Karpan. So lucky…' Building up walls in her head to block out the voice, Bryn hoped that it would work for at least a couple of hours.
'Now back to my problems.' She then remembered overhearing a conversation between two villagers when she first arrived on the island with the Nomad's crew. They were talking about a certain sorcerer visiting his family in the village…
Bryn smiled and looked at Sinbad. "I've decided to let you live, but if our paths ever cross in the future, know that I will not hesitate to kill you. And don't try to stop me; evil will rule the world eventually; there's nothing you can do to stop us."
Sinbad frowned. Such a sudden change had occurred, he didn't understand where it came from. So his plan had failed; she wasn't trusting him anymore. He had lost his chance to bring her back; she was really gone now.
"I won't let you," he whispered without breaking eye contact. "You can't kill me, but I can kill you and if you try to destroy this world, I will stop you."
Bryn laughed softly. "You can't kill me. You won't be able to." She shook her head. "Such a waste. You should be on our side." Shrugging, she waved her hand. "Too bad! Well, it has been fun, but I must get back to business now. Go back to your ship and crew, find a nice little female to replace me and stay out of my way!"
In a flash, she was gone.
Bryn reappeared at the village entrance. "Where are you, white-magic caster?" Her eyes alit on a small house near the inn. She could feel his power. "There you are!"
She walked toward the house but suddenly her senses went on alert. Rapidly, she turned around and was stunned for a moment. But she recovered quickly from the shock and her eyes hardened. "What a surprise."
The other figure leaning against a wall laughed. "Not happy to see me? I'm sad. I was looking forward so much to our meeting. It has been way too long, sister. Way too long."
Rongar was the first one to open his eyes. He recognized the island immediately; It had a particular smell that tickled his nose. He tapped Doubar's shoulder.
"Huh?" Doubar snapped his eyes open. "We're not in Shanna's house anymore," he observed.
"This is very interesting. I didn't feel anything while we were being transported…One moment we were in Basra and the next, we're here. Amazing. Maybe I could build a machine that does the same thing. It would be a discovery people would talk about for centuries. I need to figure out how-"
"Firouz please! This isn't the time to think about inventing a new thing. We have to search for Sinbad."
Rongar pointed at Dermott who flew off, looking back to see if they were following.
"I think Dermott knows the way," Doubar declared.
They followed him for awhile before they came upon Sinbad.
"Sinbad!" Doubar cried happily, running to his brother.
Startled, Sinbad turned around to see his brother, Firouz and Rongar running toward him, led by Dermott who settled on a nearby tree.
Not giving his brother a chance to speak, Doubar gave him a big hug. "I'm so relieved to see that you're fine."
"Of course I'm fine. You worry too much," Sinbad gently reprimanded him. He glanced at Firouz and Rongar. "Did you see Shanna? Can she help Maeve and Lea?"
"We saw her," Firouz replied. "A very nice lady. And she knows the spell that will help Maeve and Lea. But she isn't powerful enough to cast it."
"Damn. Does she know anyone who can?" Sinbad asked urgently.
Firouz slowly nodded. "Bryn."
"Please tell us she's back, that she isn't evil anymore," Doubar pleaded.
Sinbad sighed heavily. "I could tell you that, but I would be lying. I failed. I was so sure I could change Bryn back, I almost thought I did it." He turned away from his friends. "There's…something in her eyes…like an ongoing battle for control and…" He faced them again, a small smile on his lips. "I'm probably imagining it."
Amazed, Bryn looked at the man's house. She never saw a house so big before! And it was so beautiful!
"You like it?"
Bryn nodded energetically. "It's so beautiful!"
The man smiled. "Come now. There is someone you have to meet." He led her to a library containing books, small bottles with colorful liquids and tons of boxes. There was a table in the middle of the room.
Bryn immediately noticed a small girl around her age sitting on a chair, reading a book. She got up as soon as the man entered in the room.
"You're back, father!" The little girl said, her brown eyes shining with happiness.
"Have you been working hard like I asked you?"
The girl nodded. "Yes I did. You will not be disappointed in me, father!"
"Good! I'm sure I won't." Putting his hands on Bryn's shoulders, he pushed her gently forward.
"Rumina honey, this is Bryn. She's going to live with us now."
Bryn didn't like the look Rumina gave her. She didn't seem happy about the situation. Not happy at all.
"Not long enough," Bryn answered, glancing at her sister. She forgot how alike they looked. Same eyes, same hair. Bryn had always been taller than her and that annoyed Rumina, especially when they reached their teenage years.
"I heard that you're back to your old self. I must admit that I was beyond shocked when I heard that my own sister was traveling with Sinbad!"
"It's crazy the things you do when you're good," Bryn answered dryly.
Rumina walked closer to her and smirked. "But thanks to Karpan, no more good Bryn. I never thought you had the guts to kill him. After all, he had the intention of killing you in the first place."
Bryn narrowed her eyes. "How can you know about that?"
"Dear sister, there's not much that I don't know about." She walked back to the wall she had been leaning against and Bryn followed her. "Thinking that Sinbad would help you was foolish and stupid. His only goal was to destroy the evil within you. Look at you now, you're on your way back to being good."
Bryn eyed her sister angrily. "I am not going there. Who the hell do you think you are? You think you know everything? Well guess what, you don't!"
Rumina laughed. "Sis, I know everything about you. We're linked, don't forget it."
"Stupid link," Bryn grumbled.
"I was the one saying that when we were younger, remember? You thought it was cute. Anyway, that's not what I am here to talk about. Sinbad is what I want to talk about."
"I have no interest in discussing him with you."
"You don't have the choice. You can't kill him."
"It's not like I didn't try! Each time, I get those…flashes. They are getting worse and they're making me sick."
"Dear Karpan messed up badly. He never had the power to give you back your memories fully. He was a fool and he paid the price. But we do have to do something about those flashes."
Bryn laughed angrily. "I'll take care of that myself, you stay out of this. Why do you care anyway? You should be happy about this!"
"Because you and I together, we'd be unstoppable. This is what our father always wanted. And we shall honor his wishes."
Bryn refused to answer, but Rumina didn't care. "Sinbad must die to end those flashes you have. The problem is, you can't kill him. And neither can I."
Startled, Bryn faced her sister. "Why not? You chased him a whole year to kill him!"
"And I never succeeded. Of course, that stupid wench was always in my way! But once you look in his eyes, you can't kill him. Doesn't matter how hard you try. You can hate him, but you won't be able to end his life."
Written: November 16, 2001