posted on 2-Nov-2001 6:26:39 PM
RETURN OF THE KING: THE ANTARIAN SAGA

AUTHOR: Melissa (aka Angel Kisses)
RATING: NC-17 (though most of story is PG-13, I gotta have M/L nookie!)
CATEGORY: M/L (main focus), M/M, A/I, K/T
DISCLAIMER: I know I don’t own, so please don’t sue. I’m just borrowing the characters for my own amusement and make no money from this. However, I do own the characters, Alexander Parker Evans (Zan) and Cassandra Elizabeth Guerin (Cassie). They were born from my imagination and I’d like to keep them for now. Thanks!

SUMMARY: The aliens and the humans have discovered their destiny. They are now bonded and with their combined powers managed to go up against the Skins and win. Max and Liz are married and have a son, named Alexander Parker Evans, or Zan for short. After
killing Nicholas (who was attempting to murder Baby Zan,) the teens decide to leave Roswell in order to keep Zan safe until the Light is ready to call them back. Jim and Amy stay behind in Roswell to be their informants, while Philip and Diane go with the kids to help keep them safe.

AUTHOR’S NOTES: This is the second part of my trilogy. The first story is called, Destiny’s Child: The Prophecy Chronicles, and can be read in its entirety here viewthread?forum=repost-fan-fiction&id=724. I suggest you read that one first so you’ll understand my version of the alien mythology, otherwise, you’re going to be lost. *happy*

The song, Dante's Prayer is by Loreena McKennitt and is found on her album, The Book of Secrets. I highly recommend it to everyone.


*************************


PROLOGUE


July 2007
Somewhere in northern Mexico


“Cassie?” yelled five year-old Zan Evans. His voice drifted through the foothills of the Sierra Madre.

They’d come out here with their fathers to look at a near-by cave. But, Cassie had refused to go inside, so Zan had stayed outside with her while their fathers explored.

Except, while he’d been watching a lizard scurry under a rock, Cassie had disappeared. “Cassie?” He climbed the next ridge and stopped.

Cassandra Guerin stood staring up at the bright, blue Mexican sky. She didn’t move or speak. The only movement he could see were the golden curls that covered her head bouncing in the hot, July breeze.

“Cassie, what are you doing?” he asked, walking up behind her.

She didn't respond.

He squinted at the sky and tried to see what held her attention. “Cassie, what are you looking at?”

She continued staring, a look of wonder and fright on her small pixie-like face.

Glancing down at her, he didn’t think her hazel eyes could get any bigger. He laid his hand on her shoulder. “Cassie, are you--”

“See?” she whispered and pointed.

He turned his head, and his own brown eyes widened in amazement at the sight before him. There were hundreds of them--streaks of silver falling from the sky. “What are they?” he asked softly.

“The Dark,” she replied, finally turning her gaze from the sky to stare up at him. “It's time.”

He nodded in understanding.

********************

Liz sat with Maria in the cramped kitchen of the house that she, Max and Zan shared with her in-laws. The two women were alone in the house, since Philip and Diane had gone back across the border on a small shopping excursion. Next week would be Zan’s sixth birthday and they wanted to get him a bicycle.

Max and Michael had gone off and taken the kids with them. Max had discovered some strange markings near the entrance of a near-by cave the other day, and Michael wanted to explore them more thoroughly. Which was why Maria was sitting at the Evans’ kitchen table this morning.

“Maybe we should just move again?” Maria asked, her brow furrowing with worry. “It could be Skins.”

“Max will tell us if we’re in danger. Besides, he wouldn’t have agreed to take Zan and Cassie with them if he thought it might be dangerous. It’s probably some more markings like the ones we found in South and Central America,” Liz reassured, sipping on her tea.

“I suppose. It’s just that I’ve had this bad vibe all day long. Something’s coming Liz. I know it.”

“I’m sure--.”


She was in the white void again.

“No! Not yet! It can’t be time. He’s only a child!” she screamed into the vast whiteness.

“It has begun. The Darkness has arrived. Return to the Granilith. The One will know what to do.”

She fell to her knees. “Please....”

“It cannot be changed. It has been written in the stars since time began.”



“Zan...,” Liz whispered, staring blankly at Maria.

“Liz! What happened? Is Zan okay? What’s wrong?” Maria asked frantically, worried by her best friend’s pale face and drab aura.

She focused on Maria’s face, her eyes filling with tears. “It’s time.”

***************

“Look Maxwell,” Michael said, pointing to a particular set of markings on the cave wall. “These are like the ones we found in the ruins in Bolivia. They also look like the ones in Roswell. What do you think?”

Max studied the designs thoughtfully. For the last six years, they’d traveled through South and Central America, searching for clues to their past. While Liz had been able to recall some of their first lifetime, they still didn’t know all of it. All they knew for sure was that the Antarians had been on Earth once before--long before the '47 crash.

Michael had read every book he could find in the past six years on the lost civilizations of mankind. He’d interviewed every scholar and field expert they’d come across, carefully making notations in a journal. Max had been amazed at Michael’s dedication to this quest, much to Liz’s amusement.

"Why are you surprised at his obsessiveness?” she’d asked, chuckling softly. That was the day they’d been inspecting the Gateway of the Sun in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia. “Remember the geodome?”

“But that had to do with our origins for this lifetime,” he’d replied.

“So? This has to do with our origins for our first lifetime,” she’d said before jogging off to help Michael jot down some more notations.

Now, Max sighed. “This is definitely a trail marker. Antarians have been here before, but these are too old to be from ‘47. See how worn they are,” he said, pointing at a familiar swirl mark.

“I agree. This is like the ninth set of markings we’ve found in the last six years. I think they were marking a trail. Remember the legend of Viracocha? It said that he sent his followers out into the world. What if Viracocha was an Antarian, and his followers were Antarians?”

“But, we know for a fact that the ones in Roswell are from 1947.”

“True, but there are markings at the Anasazi ruins in the southwestern United States. It’s possible they’re linked to all of this too. After all, didn’t Liz tell us she died near the pod chamber. What if the Antarians were attempting to populate the Earth back then?”

“Humans were very primitive then. Why would technologically-advanced Antarians just stop their migration and leave?”

Michael shrugged. “Maybe they had no choice. Maybe there was a conflict or war....”

“Between the Light and the Darkness,” Max whispered.

Michael nodded.

Suddenly, Max fell to his knees, clutching his head.

Michael rushed to his side. “Maxwell, what happened?”

He rubbed his temples as he opened his eyes. “It’s Liz. We have to get home. Get the kids.”

As Michael rushed out to find Zan and Cassie, Max stood up and stared at the markings. A feeling of foreboding welled up in the pit of his stomach, and not just from Liz’s frantic plea to hurry home.

“Max! Get out here, now!”

He rushed outside to where Michael stood with the kids. They were looking up at the clear, summer sky. He frowned. “What is it?”

Michael looked at him. and pointed to the sky. “Touch Cassie and look.”

Max laid a hand on Cassie’s soft, curly head and looked to where Michael pointed. He gasped.

“What is it?” Michael asked.

Max closed his eyes as a brief memory surfaced in his mind’s eye. He’d seen this before. He was sure of it. The night his beloved had died so long ago....


They were under attack.

He could hear her people screaming for their loved ones. All that he’d done to help her people was being destroyed.

She was dead, as was their child.

He was powerless.

Without her, he couldn’t stop the Darkness.



Max opened his eyes to look at his son.

Zan clutched Cassie’s hand tightly in his own, a look of determined protectiveness on his young face. Feeling Max’s gaze on him, he turned his attention from the sight in the sky to his father’s look of concern. “It has begun,” he said bravely, no tremor of fear in his child’s
voice. “I am ready.”


*****************************************

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 2-Nov-2001 6:41:03 PM ]
posted on 2-Nov-2001 7:13:55 PM
CHAPTER ONE


July 2007
Roswell, New Mexico


“Jim, could you please pick up some milk on your way home from work today?” Amy Valenti asked. “Sam drank the last of it for breakfast, and I have to make a run to my supplier in Lubbock today.”

Jim Valenti walked into the living room and smiled. Amy was attempting to chase down their four year-old son, Sam, and get him dressed for pre-school. “Hey partner, are you giving Mommy a hard time?” he asked, laughing as Sam ran up to him and hid behind his legs.

“Don’t wanna go. I stay with you,” Sam pleaded, looking at his father with a determined expression. “Help catch bad guys.”

He squatted down to look Sam in the eye. “I know Sam. You’re a great deputy, but you have to go to school. What about your friends? Won’t they miss you?”

“No. They make fun of me,” he replied, pouting.

He glanced at Amy with concern. “They make fun of you? What do they say?”

“They call me an alien freak.”

“Why do they call you that sweetheart?” Amy asked softly.

“’Cause I talked to the man from the UFO place.”

Jim relaxed. “You were talking to Milton.”

Sam shook his head. “No, the new guy.”

“What new guy?” He looked at Amy.

She shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know any new guy. When I dropped off the T-shirts Monday, Milton was the only one there.”

“Sam, where did you see this man?”

“At school. I was swinging and he came over and talked to me. He knows Kyle and Maria. He says they coming back soon.”

“What else did he say?”

“Nothing. Teacher came over, and he left.”

“Sam, I want you to promise me that you won’t talk to anyone Mommy or I don’t know, okay?”

“Okay. But, he wasn’t a stranger. He knows Maria and Kyle,” Sam insisted, finally allowing Amy to dress him in his jean shorts and navy dinosaur T-shirt.

“I know Sam, but did he say he knew me or Mommy?”

Sam looked at his feet. “No.”

“Then he’s still a stranger.” Jim ruffled Sam’s hair. “Now, you be a good boy in school today, and don’t let anything your friends call you bother you, okay?”

“Okay,” Sam agreed solemnly. Then he looked up at Amy and smiled brightly. “Can I have a Twinkie in my lunch box?”

“Yes, you may,” she replied, smiling as Sam ran off to the kitchen.

Jim pulled his wife into his arms and kissed her on the cheek. “Don’t worry darlin’. I’ll check out this new guy today at lunch. I’ll keep all of our kids safe.”

“I know. I just wish I knew where they were and how they’re doing. I miss them so much.”

“So do I, darlin’. So do I.”

**********************

Liz hurriedly packed Zan’s clothes and toys. There weren’t many since they always had to travel light. They never knew when they’d have to pick up and leave at a moments notice, like now. She glanced at her watch. The others would be back in a few minutes.

“Mommy?” Zan asked, placing Woobie in his little red backpack.

She gazed at the love-worn, blue and white, star-printed blanket sticking up out of his bag. She remembered when Max had brought it home for Zan on the day he was born. Suddenly, she felt her eyes well up with tears. “Yes, sweetie?”

“Don’t be scared. I’ll be okay.”

“I know baby,” she replied, crouching down to hug him. “I’m just worried about everyone.”

He leaned back and placed his hand on her cheek, patting it softly. “The Light will protect us. It always does.”

She smiled through her tears as she stared into brown eyes so like his father’s. “I know that too.”

"Liz? Zan?"

“In here Daddy!” Zan yelled, scooting away from Liz to zip his backpack shut.

Max walked into the bedroom and smiled at his family. “Hey Zan. Uncle Michael and Aunt Maria are outside with Cassie. I think she’s a little scared. Why don’t you go out and see if you can make her feel better.”

“Okay.” Zan looked at his mother. “You going to be okay?”

Liz nodded, and Zan slung his bag over his shoulder and trotted out of the bedroom.

“Everything ready to go?” Max asked.

“Yeah,” she replied softly. “This is the last of it. Did Isabelle get a hold of your parents?”

“Yes. They said they’d meet us in Roswell at the pod chamber, later this evening.”

“Good,” she replied, gazing sadly once more around Zan’s small room.

Max pulled her into his arms and kissed the top of her head. "It’s going to be okay. We’re stronger together."

She hugged him closer. "I know.... It’s just that he’s so young. I thought we’d have more time."

"So did I, Liz. So did I...."

***************************************

“Hello?” Jim called out, as he descended the steps into the UFO Museum proper. “Milton? You down here?”

He was met by the flurry of uniformed workers moving boxes, crates and pallets back and forth. Scanning the room, he raised his eyebrows in surprise at all of the new computers and electronic surveillance equipment being installed throughout the main room of the museum.

“Can I help you?”

He looked down at an unfamiliar man, who stood at the bottom of the stairs.

The stranger was wearing a gray, pin-striped suit, white dress shirt and gray, silk tie. He was immaculately groomed as his light brown hair barely skimmed the top of his collar. He held a stainless steel clipboard in his left hand.

From the man’s attire and bearing, Jim felt like he was about to address royalty. “Yeah, I’m looking for Milton. He around here?”

“And you are...?”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said, walking down the last few steps and extending his hand in greeting, “I’m Jim Valenti. I’m the sheriff in Roswell.”

The man stared arrogantly at Jim. “Milton no longer works here. I am the new owner of this establishment. So the answer to your question, Sheriff, is no.”

He withdrew his hand and narrowed his eyes. “This is Milton’s life work. Why would he sell?”

“Perhaps because he got an offer he could not refuse,” the man replied cryptically.

“Okay...then may I speak to the man in charge.”

“You are speaking to him.”

He narrowed his eyes again. “And, you would be...?”

“Mr. Larek Davis, business philanthropist and amateur UFO researcher.”

“Larek? Why does that name sound so familiar?”

“I do not know. Perhaps you read about me in the business news. I dabble in computers and technology--IBM, HP, Microsoft.”

He frowned thoughtfully. “No...I don’t think so....”

“Well, if you will excuse me Sheriff, I have business to get back to.” Larek Davis turned on his heel and headed towards the back office.

Suddenly, Jim knew where he’d heard that name before. “The kids!” Quickly, he followed Larek into the office.

“Excuse me, Sheriff, but I do not recall inviting you in?”

“Yeah, well that’s funny, but I don’t recall you asking if you could talk to my son, Sam, on the playground at his pre-school. Not only that, but I believe we have some mutual acquaintances.”

Larek stared at him silently, then raised his hand.

He started to reach for his sidearm, then relaxed when he heard the office door slam shut.

Larek sighed and sat down behind his desk. “Do you know where they are?”

He shook his head. “How long have you been here?”

“My people and I arrived on Earth two years ago. We landed in a remote, northwest area of your country, called Montana. It took us a while to adjust, learn and assimilate.”

“How long have you been in Roswell?”

“We arrived yesterday. We have set up camp near Frazier Woods. We call ourselves The Children of the Light. Your people will think we are nothing more than a harmless religious commune.”

“Why were you talking to Sam?” he asked.

Larek smiled. “He looks like his sister--Rath’s mate. I wished to get a message to you.”

“Why didn’t you just come find me?”

“I did not want our enemies to know that I was trying to contact you and the Royal Four.”

“So you put my son in danger? I don’t think so. If you need to get a hold of me, then you come and find me at the station. Understand?” he said angrily.

Larek nodded.

“So what’s the message?”

“The first wave of the Darkness has arrived. It is time for the King and his court to return.”

“The kids are coming home?”

“Yes. I would not be surprised if they show up back in Roswell by tomorrow morning.”

Jim thought for a moment. “What’s this first wave of Darkness?”

“Kivar’s followers--part of his elite forces.”

“Anything else I should know?”

Larek shook his head and stood. “Now, if you will pardon me Sheriff, I have a lot of work that must get done this afternoon before the movers are finished.”

He turned to leave, then glanced back at Larek. “Thanks for the heads up. But remember, what I said about Sam.”

“I understand Sheriff. I will remember.”

As he left the UFO museum and walked over to his vehicle, Jim glanced over at the rebuilt Crashdown Cafe across the street that he and Amy owned. Briefly, he thought about the fire that had devastated the original cafe six years ago, killing Liz’s parents, Jeff and Nancy Parker. He wondered what Liz would think about the new restaurant when she returned.

Sliding behind the wheel of his Bronco, he looked back over at the museum and spotted Larek come out, look around, then climb into a white Lexus and drive off.

“Now, where are you off to in such a hurry?” he wondered aloud. Deciding to follow his gut, he started the Bronco and drove off after the Lexus.

**************************

“Hey Ape, how’s it going?” Michael asked Zan as he trotted out of the Evans’ house.

“Mommy’s sad again, Uncle Michael,” Zan replied solemnly, walking over to Cassie and grasping her tiny hand in his own. “Daddy’s making her feel better.”

Michael rolled his eyes. “Oh jeez....”

“Michael Guerin, get your mind out of the gutter! Max knows we don’t have time for that,” Maria snapped, smacking him on the arm. “I swear, why I put up with you....”

“Cause I’m a sexy, sexy man,” Michael replied, grinning as his wife became even more flustered.

Before Maria could reply, Tess, Kyle, Alex and Isabelle pulled up in the SUV.

“Where’s the King and Queen?” Kyle asked, stepping out of the vehicle and glancing at the Evans’ house.

“Mommy’s sad,” Zan answered, as Alex, Isabelle and Tess came up to stand by Kyle. “Daddy’s making her happy.”

Kyle and Alex began to laugh.

Tess rolled her eyes.

Isabelle began to swear.

“Hey, there are little ears present,” Maria snapped at the adults. “I swear you all are a bunch of perverts.”

“Aunt Maria, what’s a pervert?”

The men laughed harder.

“Um, you’ll have to ask your Daddy, Zan. Okay?”

“Okay,” Zan replied, even more confused. Ignoring the adults who were now arguing and joking with one another, he led Cassie over to the front of the Jeep to sit on the ground.

Tossing his backpack on the ground next to him, he squeezed her hand. “Don’t be scared.”

She looked at him with frightened, tear-filled eyes. “The Dark is so bad. I see it when I sleep. It wants to hurt us.”

“I know Cassie, but it can’t. Not really. We have the Light on our side. It will protect us.”

She began to cry softly.

He frowned in concern for his best friend. He hated to see her cry. It always made his heart hurt. Then, he spotted his backpack. Quickly, he opened it and pulled out his blanket.

“Here Cassie, you take Woobie. It will keep you safe and make you not so scared.”

A look of adoration crossed her pixie-like features as she gazed first at his prized blanket, then at him. “Really?”

He nodded with a princely air that would have made his Aunt Isabelle proud. “Yeah, I’m a big boy now. My job is to protect you and make you feel safe, and when I can’t, Woobie will do it for me.”

She hugged the soft, blue and white material to her chest and rubbed her dimpled cheek against it. Smiling, she suddenly threw her chubby little arms around his neck. “Thank you, Zan. I’ll take good care of it. I promise. Cross my heart.”

He smiled brightly as she kissed him on the cheek then leaned back against his side to cuddle Woobie. He sat up straighter with pride as he realized he’d made her happy.
"Just like Daddy makes Mommy happy!"

**************************

“I cannot believe he sent me to this rock!”

The young servant girl glanced at her mistress and attempted to stay out of her way.

“I am his sister! I am not some lackey like that toad, Nicholas. I am the ruler of Tollan!”

“Yes, my Lady,” the servant mumbled in reply, laying out her mistress’ clothes, while watching her from the corner of her eye. “Will that be all, my Lady?”

“Do you think I am pretty, Lara?”

Lara froze in mid-task and looked nervously at her mistress, who stood admiring herself in a full-length mirror.

“Did he at least make me what these humans would consider beautiful?”

Lara nodded, quickly skimming her gaze over her mistress’ flawless, caramel-colored skin, her long, ebony hair and her bright, emerald green eyes. “You’re quite beautiful, my Lady.”

“But is it enough to turn King Zan’s head?”

“I think so my Lady. He’d have to be blind not to desire you.”

Her mistress turned from the mirror and smiled at her. “Hand me my gown. I wish to be ready when he arrives.”

After helping her into a green silk dress that complemented her eyes, Lara quickly styled her mistress’ softly curling hair into a carefree, yet alluring upsweep. Then, she gathered the discarded clothes from the floor and carried them into the closet.

As she straightened and re-hung the rejected clothing, she heard a familiar male voice from the bedroom.

“Kathana, my dear, you are as lovely as ever. A vast improvement over that human you possessed when you were off world. How do you do it?”

Kathana laughed. “Superior bloodlines and royal connections. I may not be able to shapeshift my appearance at will like you, my dear Larek, but I do know how to get the best looking husk available. I really must thank you again for the ride. It was very generous
of you to let me tag along with your people.”

“As I told your brother, my people acknowledge his right to rule, so how could I possibly refuse his sister transport to our new home world?

“Tell me, have my forces arrived?”

“Yes, they arrived this morning in a remote area of Mexico in the Sierra Madre.”

“Excellent. Soon, I will have King Zan at my feet and nothing will stand in the way of my brother’s ascension to power.”

“What about Zan’s Queen?”

“Avaria? She is weak and mewling.”

“Not her. The human, Liz Parker.”

“What about her? As I stated quite clearly at the Summit seven years ago, she is no queen.”

“Zan believes her to be the Seer of Wisdom foretold in the ancient texts...and so does your brother.”

Kathana snorted. “If Kivar believed that, he would have come to Earth himself instead of sending me. He knows who the true Seer for his Dark Empire is--me.”

In the closet, Lara shivered with fear and prayed silently to the Light for the safety of the First and his Seer.


**************************************
posted on 2-Nov-2001 7:21:06 PM
CHAPTER 2


Just like that night they’d left nearly six years ago, Roswell slept peacefully when the survivors of the ‘47 crash returned to town under the welcoming cover of darkness. No one witnessed a battered, gray Jeep, a black SUV or a dark blue Grand Am pull into the driveway of the dimly lit Evans house. Nor, did anyone see the huddled figures of ten adults and two children make their way to the side entrance of the house and slip inside.

As the weary travelers entered the kitchen, they were met by the enthusiastic greetings of Jim, Amy and Sam Valenti.

“Oh Maria, my baby! Look at you!” Amy squealed, enveloping her daughter in a hug, then pulling back to look her over. “It looks like married life definitely agrees with you.”

“Thanks Mom. I could say the same for you,” Maria replied, chuckling.

“And, how is my favorite son-in-law?” Amy asked, looking over at Michael, who stood just inside the door way.

“Fine Mrs. Valenti,” he replied, shifting the small, covered bundle in his arms.

“Now Michael, you’ve been married to Maria for five years. I think it’s okay to call me Amy now.”

“Okay...Amy,” he said smiling at her teasing.

Just then, Cassie lifted her head from Michael’s shoulder, the blanket falling away, so that her curls glistened like spun gold in the kitchen lights.

“Oh my God,” Amy gasped, and took a step toward Michael.

Cassie, her hazel eyes sleep heavy, looked over at her grandmother. Yawning, she reached a small hand towards her. “Hello Nana Amy. I missed you. Did you bake me gingerbread?”

Amy laughed and scooped Cassie from Michael’s arms. She felt tears welling up as the emotion of physically holding her granddaughter for the first time hit her. Sure, Isabelle had dream walked her once a month so she could see Maria, Michael and Cassie, but it wasn’t the same as them actually being with her in the waking world. “Yes, my little pixie girl, I did, but it’s at my house. Would you and Mommy and Daddy, and Uncle Kyle and Aunt Tess like to go there with Pop, Sam and me tonight and stay with us?”

Cassie nodded eagerly. Then looked at her parents. “Can we Mommy? Daddy?”

Maria smiled. “Of course we can and will.”

Kyle squatted down in front of his little brother, who clung tightly to their father’s leg. “Hey partner, I didn’t think I’d get to see you in person until you were in school.”

Sam, who’d been staring shyly at everyone, suddenly let go of his father’s leg, put his hands on his hips and scowled. “I’m in school. I’m a big boy now. I’m four!”

“Whoa! Four? Man, I bet you help Dad catch the bad guys now, don’t you?”

Sam smiled brightly. “Yep! I’m good too! Even Mommy says so.”

Tess, her blue eyes sparkling, bent down next to Kyle and smiled. “Wow! The Mommy seal-of-approval. I’m surprised you’re not sheriff yet!”

Sam giggled. “I can’t be sheriff Tess! Daddy wouldn’t have nothing to do, but drive Mommy up a wall. Isn’t that right Mommy?”

Amy looked at Sam and nodded.

“Amy Valenti,” Jim said jokingly, “Have you been telling stories about me again to our son?”

“Only the one about the time you were suspended over that misunderstanding with the Mayor. I swear to you Kyle, your Dad made enough bats to outfit both Roswell Little League teams. I’m still vacuuming sawdust out of the living room carpet!”

“So that’s where you get it from,” Tess said knowingly to Kyle. She looked at Jim. “When we were in Peru, Kyle didn’t have any work to do, so he started carving little wooden Buddha statues out of some old, dead tree limbs he’d found. Eventually, we had so many, I told him he either had to start selling some of them off to the locals, or he needed to move to Tibet and become a monk.”

“And did he sell them off?” Jim asked, chuckling.

“Only after he sat down on one that was half-finished and put a giant splinter in his ass. I didn’t think Alex would ever stop laughing over that one.”

“Hey, the boy had a Buddha stuck in his butt cheek!” Alex replied, grinning. “By the way Kyle, you never did tell me, can you reach Nirvana that way?”

Kyle scowled at Alex.

Isabelle elbowed her husband in the arm. “Alex, stop being tacky. Really! There are children present.”

“I seem to recall you laughing just as hard Bella,” Alex teased. “In fact weren’t you the one who wondered about Kyle’s personal enlightenment to me later that evening?”

Isabelle flushed and raised her nose in the air, sniffing delicately. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Amy laughed and looked over at the Evanses. Diane and Philip both greeted her with a hug and thanks for watching the house while they were gone.

“Don’t mention it, Diane. I consider you all family. Tomorrow, we’ll go get the rest of your things out of storage.”

“Did you have any problems with the renters while we were gone?” Philip asked Jim.

“Not a bit. I think it helped that they knew the sheriff was their landlord. Kind of kept everyone above board, if you know what I mean,” Jim replied winking.

Philip nodded and laughed in understanding.

“Oh Liz. Max. You both look wonderful,” Amy said putting Cassie down and hugging them both. “And is this handsome young man, Zan?”

Zan, who stood between his parents looked up at her and smiled. “Yes ma’am.”

Amy bent down and gave him a hug. “You have gotten so big. The last time I saw you in person, you were only a couple of weeks old. I want to thank you for taking such good care of my granddaughter for me.”

Zan smiled at Cassie.

Suddenly, both children yawned.

“How about we tuck the young ones into bed, and let you guys get settled. Then, we’ll talk. I have a few things I need to discuss with you,” Jim said.

“Come on, Zan. Cassie,” Isabelle said, taking their hands. “You guys can sleep in my old room. How does that sound?”

“But, I thought we were going to Nana and Pop’s?” Cassie protested sleepily.

“We will pixie,” Jim said to his granddaughter. “But after the grown-ups finish talking. I promise.”

“Okay. Come on Sam,” Cassie ordered, grabbing the youngest Valenti by the arm. “You have to do what I say, cause I’m your niece.”

Sam looked up at his father. “Is that true?”

Amy tried to hide her smile as her husband answered.

“Well, yes, she is your niece, but that doesn’t mean she’s allowed to boss you around. Is that understood Cassie?”

“Yes Pop....”

As the tired children followed Jim and Isabelle down the hall, Amy looked at Maria and began to chuckle.

“What?” Maria asked suspiciously.

“Reminds me of you at that age. Bossy and self-assured.”

“I am not bossy!”

Michael wrapped an arm around her waist and kissed her on the cheek. "Yes, you are. But, it’s a good kind of bossy."

"Nice save Space Boy."

"I’m learning...."

By the time Jim and Isabelle returned from the bedroom, the others had settled in the living room. Isabelle sat down on the couch next to Alex, and snuggled close.

Jim looked somberly at Max. “I have news. Larek and his people have come to Roswell. They’re living out in a commune near Frazier Woods, calling themselves The Children of the Light. The townspeople think they’re some sort of religious cult. However, they don’t see them as threatening, so I don’t foresee any problems there.”

Max nodded. “That’s good. We’ll need all the allies we can get in the coming months.”

Jim nodded. “Yes, you will. When I talked to Larek at the UFO museum before lunch today, he told me that the first wave of the Darkness had arrived. Said they’re followers of Kivar and part of his elite troops.”

“That’s what we must have seen yesterday, Maxwell--the transport ships arriving,” Michael said.

“Why wouldn’t the military have picked up on them?” Maria asked.

Liz chewed thoughtfully on her lower lip and looked over at Max. “They probably have technology that can cloak them from the radar systems. Didn’t you say you and Michael couldn’t physically see them, until after you touched Cassie?”

Max nodded.

“Cassie could see them?” Amy asked with confusion.

“Yes, Mom,” Maria replied. “It seems Cassie has the gift of second sight...kind of. She sees the true nature of things that others can’t. She literally sees the evil or the truth within a person or event.”

“Can anyone else do that?” Jim asked with interest.

“No, it’s unique only to her. I can see people’s auras and read their moods, but nowhere near the way Cassie can. I think it has to do with the alien half of her physiology.”

“What about Liz? Isn’t she the Seer?”

“Yes, but I’m really more like a direct link to the Light. Sometimes, when I touch people or things, I pick up impressions or memories from them, but Cassie sees everything,” Liz replied.

“Wow.”

“Do you think she may be able to take a look at Larek for me?” Jim asked.

“Larek? Why?” Max asked.

Jim scratched his head. “Well, it seems Larek has bought the UFO museum from Milton and is moving all sorts of electronic equipment into it. And today, when I left, he said he had a lot of work to do there in his office, but after I left, he drove off.”

“Where’d he go?” Michael asked, frowning.

“To the old Miller place. You know, that big old Victorian ranch house that sits on the northeast side of town. He was in there for quite a while.”

“I thought that place was abandoned,” Diane murmured.

“It was until about six months ago when some lady bought it. She paid cash for it and renovated it. She keeps to herself mostly. The deed at the courthouse stated her name as Katherine Tollan.”

“Tollan?” Max asked. “Why does that name sound familiar?”

“Because it’s the name of one of the five planets,” Tess said, cryptically.

“You said her name is Katherine?” Isabelle asked Jim.

He nodded.

Isabelle looked at her brother. “You don’t suppose it’s Kathana?”

“It’s possible. What does she look like?”

“Black hair, green eyes, olive skin and tall. Very exotic looking.”

“Well it can’t be her,” Kyle said, “Kathana’s a red head, with brown eyes and short.”

Tess rolled her eyes. “That was the human she was possessing, not her, remember?”

Kyle grinned sheepishly. “Oh yeah. I forgot there for a minute.”

“I can’t believe Larek would turn traitor,” Max said adamantly.

“People change Max. Maybe, Kathana is forcing him or something,” Alex suggested.

“Max, when I touched him at the Summit, I felt no animosity towards you, only love and friendship. And, he helped us,” Liz reminded Max softly, gently caressing the frown line from his forehead.

Max looked at the others. “We wait and see. I’ll go to the UFO museum tomorrow and talk with Larek.”

“Not by yourself, you’re not.”

“Yes, Michael, I am going alone. I have my full powers now. I can protect myself against Larek. Besides, I need you to go out to Frazier Woods with Tess tomorrow and check out the commune.”

“Fine.”

“Kyle, Alex, and Isabelle, help Mom and Dad get our stuff out of storage. Liz and Maria will stay here and watch Cassie and Zan.”

“What about Zan?” Tess asked. “If Kivar’s forces have come to town, they’ll know that he’s your son. And then it will get back to Kivar that the One has been brought forth.”

“We’ll decide tomorrow night. I need a little time to discuss it with Liz. Okay?”

Liz nodded.

“I want all of us to meet back here after dinner tomorrow around eight,” Max stated, looking at each member of his extended family.

They all nodded their heads in agreement.

*************************

Lara looked around nervously. She hated the dark. Bad things happened in the dark. Did she not have the scars to prove it?

Shoving an errant strand of vibrant, red hair behind her ear, she spun around at the sound of a twig snapping behind her. No one was there. She wondered what kind of animals lurked in this place the local humans called Frazier Woods.

Anxiously, she clenched and unclenched her hands. "How did I get myself into this? What did I do in this life to find myself, at this moment, out in the middle of
nowhere?"


“Lara.”

She spun around and instinctively struck a defensive stance.

Larek stepped from the shadows of the trees.

“By the Light, would you stop blocking me and then sneaking up on me!”

Larek laughed softly and drew her into his embrace. “What has you so jumpy tonight? You act like Kivar himself is going to accost you, not your husband.”

Lara arched a perfectly-shaped eyebrow at him. “A husband who will find himself sleeping alone for the rest of his nights if he does not stop trying to scare his wife into an early grave.”

He bent down and kissed her softly. "But if I stopped, then I would not have the pleasure of kissing your fears away."

She sighed and leaned in to press as much of his body against her as she could. After a few minutes, she reluctantly pulled away. “Larek, my love, what are we going to do? The Darkness has begun, and the One is but a small boy. How will he be able to defeat it?”

Larek stared up at the stars overhead, then looked at her. “The prophecy says “a child will lead them,” and so shall it be. The way it was written when time began.”

“I shall try harder to trust in the Light’s infinite wisdom. I have been praying for the First and his Seer since I heard you talking with Kathana this afternoon. This next turn in the prophecy will not be easy for them.”

Larek nodded, an expression of great sadness on his face. “It will be most difficult, but there is no other way. There must be an act of great power that will make the
non-believers into true believers.”

“But they don’t know about that part of the prophecy. Why can we not tell them?”

“Because, the act has to be one of selfless love. If they knew in advance, they would try to change it or stop it all together.”

Sighing, she rested her head on his chest and listened to the beating of his heart. “And what if it destroys them completely?”

They both shivered as the same thought ran through their minds. "Then the Darkness wins."

“I have to get back,” she whispered, “before Kathana wakes up and discovers me gone.”

“How goes it for you?”

Lara rolled her eyes in disgust. “She is as vain as ever and in love with her own reflection. And you, stroking her ego yesterday, only made matters worse.”

“Do I detect a hint of jealousy?” he asked, smiling.

“Of that bitch? I think not,” she snorted. “I just wish I did not have to look like this in front of her when you are around....”

Lara began to glow brightly. When the light faded, the sad and twisted form of Lara, the lowly servant for Kathana of Tollan, stood before him. Her vibrant red hair was now faded and lackluster, and her sparkling, cornflower blue eyes were a flat, pale gray. The once,
smooth ivory skin was now brown and scarred, and her proud and regal bearing--timid and stooped.

As Larek looked upon the true incarnation of his beloved, his heart cried.

“Don’t, my love,” she whispered, dropping the affluent speech of a royal for the common speech of a servant. She could feel the sorrow he was attempting to hide from her. “This really is the perfect disguise. Who’d suspect such an ugly creature of being a spy?”

“Do not say that,” he whispered, and pulled her to him, kissing her desperately.

Lara smiled as she felt his lips upon her cheeks, her hair and her eyes. "I love you."

He pulled back and looked at her. It always amazed him when she smiled--no matter what “face” she wore. With that smile, I do not understand how anyone cannot call you the most beautiful creature in the universe...."

Smiling wider, she kissed him. "Now, I remember what I did in this life...."

**************************

The next evening, Zan’s delighted laughter rang out as a dinner roll floated across the table and settled onto his grandmother’s plate. “Uncle Alex! You’re so silly. Do it again!”

Alex chuckled and winked at his nephew as another roll levitated out of the bread basket and over to Isabelle’s plate.

Isabelle shook her head and sighed. “How is Zan supposed to learn proper table manners if you keep floating the food all over the place?”

Alex looked at his wife and smiled mischievously. “He has great table manners. You said please when you asked for the bread, didn’t you Ape?” he said looking at Zan with a silly grin.

“Yes, and the next time he’s out somewhere, and he has to pass a roll to someone, he’s going to think it’s perfectly fine to float it to them!”

“Aunt Izzy, you’re funny,” Zan giggled. “I’m almost six! I know when I’m around other people, I’m supposed to HAND them the food.”

“Yes Isabelle, my grandson has beautiful manners,” Diane said, as she picked up the roll Alex had “passed” to her and began to butter it. “Reminds me of his Daddy when he was a child--a very polite, little gentleman.”

Max rolled his eyes at his mother’s sentimental comment and felt Liz’s hand squeeze his right knee.

"Ah, if she only knew how “polite” you are now...especially in the bed."

Max felt his ears get hot, and he shifted uncomfortably in his chair as his body responded to the suggestive picture Liz was sending him through their connection.

Suddenly, there was a loud knock at the front door, startling everyone, but Zan, who was concentrating on levitating a green bean into his mouth.

“I wonder who that can be? It’s not time for the others to show up yet,” Philip said as he went to answer the door.

Max snatched Zan’s green bean out of the air.

"Daddy!"

Max shook his head at his son.

Zan immediately tensed and looked towards the doorway.

“Um, Max--” Philip said, as he walked into the dining room.

“We need to talk,” a well-dressed man said, barging into the dining room past Philip.

“Who are you?” Max asked warily, gazing at the immaculately groomed stranger standing next to his chair.

“Forgive me. I forgot. You do not recognize me in this body,” the man said, apologetically.

Before everyone’s astonished eyes, the man began to glow. When the glow faded, a familiar face stood before them.

“Larek!” Max said, standing to greet his cousin. “I tried to visit you at the UFO museum today, but you weren’t there. Jim said you and your people arrived on Earth two years ago. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to welcome you.”

“Quite alright. You and the others had an important job to do,” Larek said, staring pointedly at Zan.

Zan quietly stared back, his gaze unwavering.

Frowning suspiciously, Max looked over at his son, then back at Larek. “And that would be?”

“Protecting the One. But now, the Darkness has arrived and you and the others must begin the fight. For his own safety, it is time for your son to join with the Light.”


***************************
posted on 3-Nov-2001 12:35:09 AM
CHAPTER 3


“No,” Liz whispered, her face paling. She stood up and shook her head. “No, he can’t. Not yet. He’s just a little boy!”

Larek looked at her, kindness in his expression. “I am sorry, but it is true, and you know it. Did the Light not tell you to return to the Granilith?”

Her eyes filled with tears. “I didn’t think it meant I’d have to give up my son!”

Max stood and hugged her to him. The pain he felt from her through their connection mirrored his own. He looked at his cousin. “Why does he need to go now?”

“Because he is a child,” Larek said, looking Max directly in the eye. “His innocence is what will make him powerful. He has not been exposed to those corrupted by life yet. He still sees only the truth in this world.”

“What will happen to him during this joining?” Liz asked brokenly.

“He will obtain the full knowledge that he needs to combat the Darkness and lead the children back. The powers he has now, will grow and mature fully. He will be completely safe. This separation will not last forever.”

“How long will he be gone?” Max asked.

“To him, it will only seem like a day. For us, I do not know. It could be weeks, months or even years.”

Liz began to sob, her face buried in Max’s chest.

Max stroked her back. "I am so sorry. If--"

"Don’t you dare say this is all your fault. It’s not, Maxwell Evans. This is the way it’s supposed to be. It’s just hard."

“Mommy?” Zan asked softly. No one had noticed that he’d gotten up from the table and gone to stand by his parents.

“What baby?” she asked, wiping the tears from her eyes.

“Please don’t cry. It will be okay. I’m not afraid. I want to do this,” he said solemnly.

“Zan, you realize this means you’ll be gone from Mommy and me for possibly a long time. Won’t you miss us and be sad?”

Zan shook his head. “I’ll still be able to visit you in dreams.”

“How do you know this baby?” Liz asked.

Zan shrugged his shoulders. “I just do.”

Max and Liz both looked over at Larek.

“He is the One,” Larek replied, smiling.

Max looked at Liz and brushed her hair off her face. "Well?"

Liz looked at Larek. “Zan may go, but not tonight. Tomorrow is his sixth birthday, and we’re having a family celebration in the afternoon. After the party, we’ll take him to the Granilith.”

Larek nodded in acceptance.

***********************************

“You’re going to do what tomorrow night?” Michael demanded later that evening in the Evans’ living room.

Max rolled his eyes. "At least he waited until Liz left to tuck Zan into bed," he thought. He looked at his second and best friend. “We’re going to take Zan to the Granilith, so he can join the Light.”

“And you’re just going to take his word that this has to be done?” Michael asked, glaring at Larek.

“Liz saw this in a vision before we left Mexico. We know it’s supposed to happen.”

“How can you trust him?” Jim Valenti asked, wishing silently that Cassie hadn’t stayed home with Amy and Sam. “What about his little visit to the Miller place yesterday?”

“Yeah, what about that Tollan chick?” Kyle asked.

“Chick?” Larek asked, confused.

“He means Katherine Tollan, the woman who owns the Miller place,” Jim said.

“But you probably know her better as Kathana of Tollan,” Tess said knowingly.

Larek nodded. “Yes, what about Kathana?”

“Why did you go to her place, when you told me you had things to do around your office?” Jim asked.

“You are mistaken, Sheriff. I never said I had things to do around my office. I said I had things to do before the movers were finished.”

“I don’t care who said what,” Michael said angrily. “I want to know why you were with Kathana. The last time we saw her, she had no great love for Max or Liz. And the last time we saw you, you said she’d allied herself with Kivar.”

Larek nodded. “That is true. I expect no less from Kivar’s sister.”

“Sister?” Maria squeaked.

“Half sister actually. They share the same Antarian mother. I believe you remember her Max--Lady Danira.”

Max nodded remembering the ‘Farin fiasco’ in the council chamber from his childhood. “She was married to Kivar’s father, Chancellor Maris. She acted as regent after Maris
died, holding the seat for Kivar.”

Larek nodded. “Correct. Kivar took over the dhancellorship in your father’s council when he came of age, and Lady Danira was free to marry Tollan’s ruler, Prince Kath. Danira bore him a daughter--Kathana.

"Unfortunately for us, Kathana’s parents died when she was but a baby. Kivar took over her raising and basically molded her into his image. He was the one who got Kathana her planet back when she was fifteen. Once installed on the throne, she was basically a figurehead--a
puppet for Kivar’s little power plays.”

“But, didn’t they fight one another in the war?” Isabel asked. “I vaguely remember Kivar complaining about Kathana’s deviousness.”

“All an act,” Larek stated. “Make no mistake, Kathana is as deadly as her brother.”

“How did you learn all of this?” Michael asked, suspiciously.

“Some of it I learned from Kathana during our journey to Earth--”

“You brought her here! What were you thinking?” Maria snapped.

“Because I have a spy in Kathana’s employ.” Larek held up his hands to halt Michael’s next outburst. “And, most of the information I just told you was obtained through said spy.”

“How do you know this spy isn’t a fake?” Alex asked.

“Because this spy would die for me--literally. She is my wife.”

“What else have you learned?” Max asked, silencing the others with a look.

“Kathana’s mission is to seduce you and bring you to your knees,” Larek replied. “Since she now has a new look with the husk she must wear here on Earth, Kivar thinks she will be able to easily get close to you. In turn, she will weaken the bond between you and your Queen, thus making it easier for Kivar to come to Earth and assume power.”

“However, we’re on to her. Why don’t we just confront her and tell her the plan won’t work?” Kyle asked. “There’s no way Max would ever look at another woman, much less sleep with one. He’s too wrapped up in Liz.”

Tess frowned thoughtfully. “She has something to help her doesn’t she?”

Larek nodded. “A powerful drug from the Antarian homeworld. It is what humans refer to as an aphrodisiac. Very powerful. It drives the person who ingests it into an animalistic mating frenzy, similar to the one that occurs between bond mates.”

Max nodded, remembering his own reaction to Liz when they’d attempted to put off consummating their bond. All he’d been able to think of was mating with her until he was sure she was pregnant with Zan. He’d lost complete control, much to his embarrassment after the fact when Kyle and Alex had teased him unmercifully during the final trimester of Liz’s pregnancy.

“So, how does Max fight it?” Michael asked.

“He cannot,” Larek replied. “Max must be careful about ingesting food while Kathana is around. Because whatever female is around when the drug takes affect, will be the object of his desire.”

“Well then,” Liz said matter-of-factly as she entered the living room, “I guess I’ll have to make sure I’m the only female around if Max accidentally ingests some of this drug.”

Max smiled at his wife. Barely 24, she still looked as young as she did at 17 when they’d escaped Roswell. Her beautiful brown hair now hung in a flattering, shoulder-length bob, framing her creamy skin and beautiful, chocolate brown eyes.

"Why do you always think of chocolate when you look at my eyes?"

He grinned at her as she sat down in his lap. "I can’t help it. I’m addicted to the stuff. Kind of like I’m addicted to you."

“So what’s the plan?” Alex asked. “What are we supposed to do about Kathana and this army of Kivar’s elite forces?”

“Max has to let Kathana think her plan is working,” Larek said. “Otherwise, I am afraid she will have the army attack Roswell. We do not have the resources in place yet to combat that kind of fire power and skill. The UFO museum will be our base of spy operations. The compound by Frazier Woods will be our training grounds. Once our numbers and abilities have grown, then we can expose Kathana for the evil that she is.”

Max nodded. “I agree. For now, we play it cool. Go about life as normally as possible, but keep your guard up. You never know when one of the Skins might try to gain information by kidnapping one of us. Since, Zan will be at the Granilith for the joining tomorrow, we won’t
have to worry about the enemy learning of his existence for the moment.”

“When is Zan leaving?” Isabelle asked softly.

“Tomorrow evening, after his birthday party,” Liz answered softly, and buried her face in Max’s shoulder.

Max looked at his family with a resigned sadness. “We all go together. Zan will need our help."

**************************

The whiteness of the void beckoned to her.

“The eight shall become one, the One shall come to the Light,” the voice said.

“How?” she asked. “We’re working on blind faith. Please, give me some direction so I’ll know that Zan will be okay.”

“That is all you need to guide you,” the voice answered.

“What?”

“Follow your heart, honey bear, it will never lead you astray. Remember?”

She looked over at the shimmering image of her Grandma Claudia. Slowly, she nodded. Grandma faded back into the whiteness.



Liz jerked awake.

Max looked over at her from the driver’s seat of the Jeep as she glanced around at their night-shrouded surroundings. "We’re almost there, love."

She peered over her shoulder at Zan sleeping in the back seat curled protectively next to Cassie. Their heads were pillowed by his faded blue Woobie, and he clutched one of Cassie’s hands in his own, holding it against his chest. Suddenly, she had a flash.


He was a grown man. As handsome as his father, almost a carbon copy, down to his ears. Yet there was an air of ease about him. He was happy.

Standing next to him, was a petite young woman with blonde, curly hair and soft, hazel eyes. She was looking at him with absolute love as he gently took one of her hands, brought it up to his lips and softly kissed the palm.

“Beloved. What do you see?”

The young woman closed her eyes.



Liz gasped.

“What is it?”

“I saw Zan. He was a grown man. And...I saw Cassie too...I think. He called her Beloved. He was so happy Max,” she replied, tears in her eyes.

“What do you think it means?”

“That bringing Zan to the Granilith is the right thing. That all of this is meant to be. I think we’re on the right path.”

He nodded, and they drove the rest of the way to the pod chamber in silence.

When they arrived at the chamber, Max told his parents and the Valentis to wait at the base of the cliffs with Cassie. They had to do this by themselves, so as not to disturb the focus of the power they would need to generate.

Once inside, Liz stared in awe at the Granilith. It had been so long since she’d last seen it in person. She could hear it’s steady thrum, and felt something deep inside of her recognize and answer the call.

“Everyone needs to join hands," she said. "Form a circle around Zan, similar to when we brought Alex back. Max, lay your hand on the Granilith. I’ll do the same.”

While Michael, Maria, Isabel, Alex, Kyle and Tess did as they were told, Zan looked into his mother’s eyes. “Don’t be afraid, Mommy. I’ll be back soon. I promise.”

Liz nodded tearfully, and hugged him to her tightly.

Then he went to his father. “Tell Cassie I’ll visit her in her dreams, and when I’m not there, that Woobie will protect her. She’s scared.”

“I will,” Max replied, struck by the seriousness of his son’s demeanor. “I love you. So does Mommy and everyone else here.”

“I know,” Zan replied, then walked to the center of the circle.

“Okay everyone, just like last time,” Liz commanded.

Everyone, except Max and Liz, closed their eyes. The Granilith began to glow. Liz could feel the power coursing through her and into the Granilith. She remained silent as she watched Zan walk towards them and stretch out a hand.

Suddenly, there was a blinding flash of white light. When Max’s vision began to clear, he was amazed to see that the Granilith was now completely white and iridescent. And, inside the Granilith was Zan.

Liz gasped and fell to her knees as the connection between her and the Granilith suddenly stopped. The others also gasped and fell to their knees. The only one left standing was Max, his hand glowing and still touching the Granilith.

"Thank you."

Max stared at his son and felt tears start to form in his eyes. He blinked rapidly to keep his vision clear. "We’ll be here waiting for your return my son. I love you."

"Be careful Zan. And Daddy’s right. We’ll be here when you come back. I love you." Liz stared at the mysterious structure that held her son, a look of stunned sadness on her face.

"I love you Mommy. I love you Daddy. Don’t be sad. Okay?"

Max and Liz nodded slowly.

Then the Granilith began to glow brighter until neither one of them could look at it anymore. Suddenly, there was a huge power surge. When they opened their eyes, the Granilith was once again an opaque black and Zan was gone.

Max walked over to Liz, knelt down and held her in his arms. He silently rocked her back and forth while she cried. When the emotions coming from her overwhelmed their connection and his own feelings about Zan’s disappearance, Max Evans--King of Antar and the Five Planets--lost his infamous control and wept openly.

**************************

“He looked so small,” Liz sobbed, sinking down onto their bed in the Evans’ house, two hours later. “I miss him so much. It feels as if part of my heart is missing.”

Max sat down beside her and drew her onto his lap. He softly stroked her back, placing kisses on her anguished brow. "I know, my love. I feel it. My heart also feels
incomplete."


“What if we’ve made a mistake? What if this isn’t the way it’s meant to be?” she asked, suddenly frantic.

“Liz, it was the right thing. The Light told you this is how it’s supposed to be. Zan will be safe from our enemies for the time being until he has the capability to defend himself. And that’s what we’ve always wanted for him, correct?” he whispered in her ear, fighting back the panic in his own emotions.

She nodded reluctantly, staring off into space.

He watched her as various emotions shifted across her face, mentally wading through the emotional maelstrom flooding their connection. He knew she was having a vision. Suddenly, she focused back in on her surroundings and on him.

She sighed with relief. “He’s safe Max. I saw him. He’s with the Light. He says he’ll dreamwalk us later tonight, and tell us all about what he’s learned.”

He smiled. “See, nothing to worry about. Now dry those beautiful brown eyes and let me see that smile that still melts my heart after all these years.”

She stared at him, looking deep into his eyes--the same eyes their son had. She wondered briefly if all their children would have their father’s eyes.

“I don’t know,” he replied to her thought, “but there’s only one way to find out.”

She stared at him in amazement. “But...I thought we agreed no more children until after we’ve dealt with our enemies.”

“I have a right to change my mind. After all, I am the King,” he said, grinning that lopsided smile that made her weak in the knees.

“Yes Max! Yes!” she said, smiling and throwing her arms around his neck. “Zan will be so surprised when he returns and finds that he has a baby brother or sister on the way. Remember how badly he wanted one for Christmas last year? It nearly broke my heart when I tried to explain to him why he couldn’t have one.”

“Shall we try for a girl this time? One who is as lovely as her mother?”

“If you don’t mind having to beat the boys off with a stick when she gets to be a teenager....”

“Won’t have to. Just use a little ‘alien voodoo’ as Kyle likes to say, and those horny teenage boys won’t want to come with in a hundred yards of her,” he stated confidently.

Liz giggled. “Yes, and the first time she looks at you, rolls her eyes and says ‘Dad’ like a typical teenager, you won’t be feeling so cocky then.”

“Fine. Just as long as she doesn’t bring home any weird ones,” he said, sighing in mock defeat.

“Why not? I brought home an alien. That’s pretty weird according to some people.”

He growled. “Oh yeah? I don’t remember you calling it weird when I kissed you senseless and made you all weak in the knees.”

“That’s because we’re soulmates. There’s no such thing as weird when you’re destined to be together,” she replied, smiling.

Max felt his heart skip at the love that filled her eyes as she stared at him. His body began to harden as he watched her eyes darken, and her lips part slightly. He couldn’t resist the invitation.

He captured her mouth with his own. He felt her arch towards him, passionately answering his sudden possession of her--a soft, needy whimper escaping from the back of her throat. Needing no other prompting, he began to unbutton her shirt, reveling in the softness of
her skin underneath his fingertips.

Her own hands tugged on his T-shirt, pulling it from the waistband of his jeans. Once free, she ran her hands up under the shirt to feel the smooth, hard planes of his chest, delighting in the fact that he belonged only to her.

"And no one else...."

She broke away from their kiss and looked at him with a hint of sadness in her eyes. "I want you now Max. No slow and tender tonight. I want hard and fast. Make me forget for a little while. Please...."

He groaned as the picture of exactly what she wanted him to do to her flashed through his mind. He quickly stood and shed the rest of his clothing.

She licked her lips as he stood before her, hard and ready. The muscles of his taut body rippling with barely restrained passion. She stood up, peeled off her shirt and quickly unclasped her bra.

"Oh God love...."

She smiled seductively at Max’s reaction to the sudden exposure of her breasts. Even after almost seven years of sexual intimacy, he still looked at her with lust, much to her delighted satisfaction. She unzipped her jeans and pushed them, along with her panties, over her hips before sitting on the bed and removing them the rest of the way.

He grabbed her by the shoulders to help her stand. Placing a hand on either side of her waist, he lifted her up.

She quickly wrapped her legs around his waist, causing her lower body to grind intimately against him.

He groaned as her wetness caressed the tip of him. Hungrily, he captured the rosy nipple of her left breast, sucking her into his mouth, long and hard. He felt her fingers in his hair pressing him tighter to her.

She reveled in the feelings of passion that his talented hands and tongue stirred inside of her. Closing her eyes, she threw her head back, panting. She briefly registered the fact that he was walking, not realizing how far until she felt the hard coolness of tile against her backside. She quickly opened her eyes and discovered they were in their bathroom’s shower stall. "The shower?"

"I want to hear you...not just inside my head. After all...this is our favorite fantasy...."

She smiled knowingly as she watched him use his powers to turn the water on.

He gasped as ice cold water hit his back, causing him to thrust his hips forward and sheathe himself fully inside her warm passage.

She moaned at the suddenness of his possession and clamped down in welcome relief. She wiggled her bottom against the tile. "Max! Please...."

“Beg for it...out loud,” he whispered in her ear as steam from the now hot water began to envelop them.

She shook her head in playful defiance.

He pressed her hard against the shower wall, allowing him to release his hold on her waist and capture her wrists instead. He pulled her arms from around his neck, causing her to grip him tighter with her legs. He grinned wickedly at her as he brought her arms up over her head and held them firmly by the wrists with one hand against the cool tile. His other hand moved to caress her breasts.

She tried to move, but found herself effectively captured.

“All you have to do is beg, my love,” he whispered, quickly rolling her left nipple between his thumb and forefinger. “You know you want to.”

She gasped as he punctuated his last comment with a hard, upward thrust. “Oh God! Please, don’t tease. I can’t take it.”

He pulled out and thrust forward again. He gritted his teeth to retain control. "I want to hear you scream."

“Max! Please! Fuck me!” she yelled, conceding defeat allowing their connection to open fully.

“Your wish is my command, my Queen,” he whispered triumphantly, releasing her wrists to grab her hips, and began a hard and fast rhythm.

“That’s it,” she panted, the building sensation rising fast and furious inside of her. “Harder... Oh God, I’m--” Suddenly, she arched into him, grabbing his shoulders for
support, and yelled as her orgasm crashed through her.

Shuddering as her sensations flooded their connection, Max answered her with his own shout, climaxing deep inside the throbbing, wet warmth of her body.

“Max?” she whispered a few minutes later.

“Hmm?”

“I love you. But, if you want to do this again later, you’re going to have to move. Otherwise, I’m going to end up permanently imbedded in the tile.”

He looked at her with a sated grin and wiggled his eyebrows. “Are you sure you want me to move?”

She giggled as she felt him stir slightly inside her. “Let’s at least wash up first. Then, we’ll talk.”

“But I don’t want to talk....”

She playfully swatted him on the arm and laughed as he turned them so that she was suddenly under the warm spray of water. “Maxwell Evans!” she shrieked.

“Love me?” he asked, smiling as she wiped the water from her face.

She looked into his beautiful eyes. "Always."

***********************

“Are they going to be in there all night?” Isabelle asked grumpily, beating her pillow in frustration. “Some people are trying to get some sleep.”

Alex watched her with amusement, arching an eyebrow when her face suddenly reddened as another shout came from the other side of the bedroom wall.

“Oh God,” she mumbled, “There are just some things I don’t want to know about Max and Liz.”

“It sounds like he’s trying to distract her from what happened at the Granilith tonight,” Alex replied, softly running a hand down her bare arm.

“Yeah, but does he have to do it in the bathroom? What’s the matter with their bed?”

“They’ll run out of hot water soon, Bella. Until then, I bet I can think of something to drown out the sounds and keep your mind off the royal couple....”

She looked at him with shock. “Alex Whitman! How can you possibly want to have sex when we can hear everything my brother is doing in the next room?”

He looked at her with narrowed eyes and whispered in a low voice, “I don’t want to have sex. I want to make love to my beautiful wife--the Princess of my Soul.”

She smiled and snuggled closer. “Alex, you say the sweetest things....”

“I try my dear. I try....”


****************************************
posted on 3-Nov-2001 12:42:54 AM
CHAPTER 4


Max settled himself into the familiar booth inside the new Crashdown. He glanced over at the small gift shop area that Amy had added when she’d rebuilt the restaurant. Liz and Maria were ducking into the office to watch him on the video surveillance equipment that Alex had installed. Normally, the camera was to watch for shoplifters and people who jumped their tab, but Amy was letting them use it to observe Kathana’s interaction with Max and see what they could learn.

After almost a month of these “trysts,” Max was getting frustrated. They hadn’t really learned anything of importance except that Kathana was extremely vain.

"And slutty. Don’t forget slutty. Maria’s comment, not mine."

Max smiled. "I would’ve said clueless myself, but then, look who I get to compare her to."

"You’re such a hopeless romantic."

"Only for you, my love."

“Hello Max.”

Max startled from his thoughts to find himself staring into a feminine pair of emerald green eyes. “Oh, hi Katherine. Sorry, I was lost in thought there for a minute.”

Kathana smiled seductively, flipping a strand of ebony hair behind her back to show off a smooth expanse of shoulder and cleavage. She was wearing her favorite green sundress, knowing that it enhanced every thing about her husk’s assets. “I hope those thoughts were
about me,” she purred, sliding into the booth next to Max.

Max stared at the woman and smiled. “How can they not be, especially in that dress. You look beautiful.”

Kathana smiled and rubbed herself against his side. “Why, thank you. I am glad you like it. I wore it especially for you.”

Max swallowed, attempting to control his disgust. He really hated doing this, but Liz insisted it was the only way to keep Kathana from figuring out that they were on to her. “It brings out the color of your eyes, as well as other assets of yours that I admire.”

Kathana reached for Max’s hand and held it in her lap, allowing his fingertips to brush her silk-covered thigh. “I was starting to think you did not like my assets. All you have done is kiss me since we started seeing each other.”

“My mother always told me that it wasn’t polite to touch a lady without her permission.”

“Well, you have my permission to touch me anywhere you want to Max,” she whispered in his ear. “Or, do anything you want to....”

Max shivered as he remembered Liz had said the exact same thing to him last night when they’d gone to bed for the evening. He felt himself harden at the memory of just where he had touched and what he had done to his beautiful wife.

"Max! Keep your mind on what you’re doing. You’re going to make her suspicious of you keep spacing out!"

"Sorry." Max glanced at Kathana. She seemed pleased with his body’s reaction to her comment. "Of course, she doesn’t realize it’s the thought of all the places my wife allows me to touch that’s making me hard...."

"Max...."

He smiled.

Kathana stared down at the obvious bulge in Max’s jeans. "Maybe I should keep him around for a while to play with," she thought hungrily. "After all, Kivar is getting his precious Sera. I deserve some fun too."

*******************

“Chica, you are way stronger than I would be,” Maria said, watching Max and Kathana on the monitor. “Cause, I’d have been out there five seconds ago, pulling her skanky butt out of that booth and dusting her.”

Liz laughed. “Yes, well, I know exactly why Max is responding so well to her cheap overtures.”

“Okay, let’s not go there,” Isabelle interrupted, glancing away from the monitor. “It’s bad enough I can hear you through the wall of my bedroom at night when you two decide to scrub each others backs. I really don’t need a mental picture to go along with that experience.”

Maria chuckled, as Liz blushed. “Oh my God, Isabelle. I am so sorry. You too Alex. We had no idea. We thought it would be more private--”

“Whatever,” Isabelle said, shifting her gaze back to the couple on the screen, “Now, you know.”

“Actually, don’t worry too much about it, Liz. I’ve found a way to distract her from the noise with some of our own.”

“Alex Whitman!”

Maria laughed louder.

“Would you be quiet,” Michael hissed. “Do you want Kathana to figure out what’s going on?”

“Oh please Michael,” Maria said, “Are you even watching the monitor? She practically has her hands down Max’s pants. Do you really think she’s going to notice my laughter coming from Mom’s office? I don’t think so.”

Kyle looked at Tess and shook his head. "What is it with those two and close quarters? Every time they get in here, they start arguing."

Tess patted his hand and kept watching the monitor as a waitress delivered Max and Kathana their drinks. "It’s their form of foreplay dear. Just ignore them."

"Um, ew.... She’s like my sister."

Tess suddenly sat up in her chair. “Hey, what did she just do?”

Alex looked at her with confusion. “What? I didn’t see anything.”

“She did something to Max’s drink.”

"Max, don’t drink your soda. Tess thinks Kathana did something to it."

"Okay."

“It’s alright. I told Max. Do you think maybe it was the drug Larek mentioned?”

Michael shrugged. “Maybe. I didn’t see her do anything though. Are you sure Tess?”

Tess nodded. “The image rippled for a second or two. I think she did a mind warp.”

“Crud. Think she’s on to us?” Kyle asked anxiously. It had been awhile since he’d been in a good fight with a Skin. He could stand to do a little dusting instead of all this waiting.

“That’s not a very Buddhist thought there, sweetie.”

“Hey, all this waiting around would try the patience of a saint. I’m wishin’ for some action.”

Maria watched the screen. “Well, you know what they say about wishes, don’t you brother dear?”

“What?”

“If they were horses, beggars would ride. Look. She’s leaving.”

***********************************

“I’ll see you later tonight Max. I promise, you’ll love the surprise I have for you.” Kathana leaned down and placed a kiss on Max’s mouth.

Max had to remind himself not to push her away, especially when she plunged her tongue into his mouth. "Think of Liz. Think of Liz. Think of Liz."

Kathana pulled back, and smiled with satisfaction at the dark, smoldering look in Max’s eyes. Then, turning on her heel, she walked out the door.

As soon as the bell on the front door stopped jingling, Max jumped up from the booth and headed for the office.

Liz opened the office door, only to be grabbed and kissed soundly. She quickly melted into Max’s embrace.

When Max pulled away, Liz’s eyes reflected the same dark passion as his. Scooping her up, he kept his eyes fixed on hers and walked to the kitchen door and out of the dining area.

The last thing the rest of them heard was a surprised shriek from one of the waitresses and the slamming of the back door.

“Well, that was certainly...interesting,” Kyle said dryly. “You think he got a hold of some of that funky drug?”

Maria looked at him and rolled her eyes. “How could you tell? It’s Max and Liz. I mean really Kyle, how long have you been a part of this group?”

***************************

As Kathana walked up the stairs to her room, she hummed happily to herself. Everything was going according to plan. Max was panting after her if the look in his eyes and the size of the bulge in his pants this afternoon were any indication. "Soon, he will be in my bed, and poor Liz will be left all alone and vulnerable. Too easy," she thought with satisfaction.

“Lara!” she called out, walking into her bedroom. “Lara? Where is that girl? I swear if she is--.”

“Having trouble with the servants Kathana?”

Kathana whirled around to find a tall, blond man leaning against the door frame she’d just passed through. Her eyes widened with recognition at the handsome and imposing figure. “Kivar! What? How? This is an outrage! No one informed me of your arrival. If I had known, I would have had things prepared for you in the style you deserve.”

“Would you?” Kivar asked, raising an eyebrow at his half-sister. “Or, would you have used that information to stab me in the back?”

She flinched in fear. “Why would you say that to me? I have always been loyal to you. I have done everything you have ever asked of me. I am your Seer and your sister. I love you!”

“You are pathetic when you grovel, little sister,” he sneered, entering the room and glancing around. He slammed and locked the bedroom door with a careless flick of his wrist. “Have I not taught you better than that? Why have you not managed to seduce that pathetic excuse for a king, Zan?”

“But I have! We are meeting tonight, and I know it will happen. He wants me!”

Kivar laughed. “He does not want you! He is playing you for a fool. Zan maybe pathetic, but he is not stupid. He knows who you are. Why do you think I gave you the drug?”

She looked at him with confusion. “But how? I have a different face, and a different body than the one I had at the Summit.”

“He has a spy in your midst, my lovely, little airhead.”

“What! Who? How dare he!”

“Oh, calm down. It is not as bad as you think. I know who it is. And, believe me, the spy will pay dearly. But for now, it is better if they think they have one over on us. It is to our advantage.”

“I don’t understand?”

“While Zan and his band of little followers are busy trying to sneak up on us, they will miss us sneaking up on them. I will snatch his Seer away right out from under his nose.”

“And how do you plan to do that, brother dear?” she asked with false bravado.

Kivar walked over to her and caressed her cheek. “Very simple. I become the thing the Seer trusts the most.”

A bright light engulfed Kivar and when it faded, the image of Max Evans, King Zan of Antar, stood before her. Kathana gasped, then smiled evilly. “Why your Highness, you could fool Zan’s own mother--if she were alive.”

Inside the cavernous walk-in closet, huddled behind some of Kathana’s gowns, Lara trembled in fear.

****************************

Liz smiled as she felt soft kisses being placed along her shoulder. Opening her eyes, she stretched and turned over to look into Max’s face. She would never tire of waking up to those beautiful eyes.

“I’ll never grow tired of waking you up,” Max whispered, caressing her cheek. “You’re too irresistible.”

She laughed, slipping her leg between Max’s legs and slowly running her foot along his naked calf. “Is that why you dragged me out of the Crashdown this morning? Because I’m so irresistible?”

“That and the pictures you were putting in my head while Kathana was mauling me,” he said. “Very effective.”

“Well, I wanted to make sure she believed that her lame attempts at seduction were working. We can’t afford to blow your cover.”

He ran his hand up her side to gently cup her breast, and lightly rubbed the nipple with his thumb. He smiled as it hardened in response to his touch. “You are the only woman who can seduce me, my love. All the rest don’t even begin to register.”

“That’s good,” she whispered, wrapping her arms around his neck, “because I’m feeling a bit....” She pulled his head down, and softly kissed him, running the tip of her tongue along the edge of his lips.

He shivered. "Tease...."

She pulled away and smiled seductively, her eyes narrowing. “You think that’s teasing? I’ll show you teasing.”

He tensed as she immediately moved down his body and began kissing his stomach and stroking his thighs with her soft little hands. She touched him everywhere but where he really wanted her to. Groaning, he closed his eyes. “Please Liz, no more. I give.”

Smiling, at his admission, she relented and began to stroke him with her hand, while gently swirling her tongue around the tip.

His hips bucked off the bed as she covered him with her hot mouth, sucking slowly. "Liz...please...love.... Aah...."

"Like that do you? How about this?"

He gasped and opened his eyes as she suddenly deep throated him and caressed his sac. Entangling his fingers into her silky hair, he began to gently thrust upwards.

She pulled away, smiling at the whimper that escaped the back of his throat. "Don’t fret, my love. I think you’ll like this better." She straddled his hips, and slowly lowered herself down onto him.

He hissed softly at the sensation of being enveloped slowly by her intoxicatingly warm, wetness.

Pleased with his reaction, she tightened her muscles and began to rock her hips slowly. Closing her eyes, she threw her head back and enjoyed the feeling of him deep inside her.

He watched her ride him, his arousal growing as he reached up to caress her breasts. He loved the feel of her skin beneath his fingertips, the heaviness of them in his palms. He gently stroked the hard nipples with his thumbs, smiling when she whimpered in response. Grabbing her hips, he rose up slightly and pulled her closer so he could taste her.

Her eyes flew open as she felt his mouth suckle and lap at her left breast. She tightened and thrust her hips harder against him. "How do you do that?"

“Do what love?” he whispered, turning his attention to her other breast.

“Turn the tables,” she panted. “Making me the seduced, instead of the seducer.”

He smiled, pulling her flush against his hard, muscular body, and rolled them over. Gazing down at her, he began to thrust slowly inside of her.

She moaned, pulling her legs up and wrapping them tightly against his backside. "God...I love the feel of you...can’t get...close enough...."

He allowed their connection to open fully and began to thrust faster.

She gasped as her mind flooded with images of how close he intended to get with her, and she began to tremble. “Yes, Max...faster...harder....”

Feeling her begin to shatter, he allowed his own desire full reign. With a hoarse shout, he filled her with everything he had left to give, losing himself in the sensation of her own spasms of pleasure.

She stroked the hair off his forehead, as they lay there, his head resting beside hers on the pillow. This was her favorite part--the afterglow. Of course, in their case, it was kind of literal. She loved looking at him when his face was peaceful and content. This is how it should always be for him.

“Thank you,” he whispered, opening his eyes to stare into hers.

“For what?” she whispered back.

“For being my haven. For loving me.”

She smiled softly with love and understanding. “Always.”

****************************

Lara waited anxiously along the edge of the woods. Spotting Larek’s familiar form, she rushed to meet him and threw herself, sobbing, into his embrace.

“Shh! It is okay,” Larek whispered, stroking her hair.

She shook her head and pulled away. “No, it is not okay! Kivar is here on Earth!”

“What?”

“It is true. I heard him myself. His voice is burned into my brain after what he did to me for all those years. It was no mistake,” she said, shuddering.

“Did he see you?” Larek asked her.

“No. I was in the closet when he confronted Kathana in her bedroom. They did not know I was there. But, he does know that there is a spy in Kathana’s midst!”

Larek hugged her tightly to him. “You will not go back there again. It is too dangerous for you. I will not lose you.”

Lara nodded with relief, sinking into the comfort of his embrace.

“I must tell Max about this latest development,” he said.

She pulled away suddenly, panic on her face. “No! There’s no time. Max is supposed to meet Kathana in the park tonight. Kivar wants her to drug him and take him back to the house. Then he will take Max’s place and kidnap Liz, while the real Max is otherwise occupied with
Kathana!”

“When is this supposed to happen?”

“Soon, in about two hours, after sunset, around 7:30. Larek, we have to protect him! Kivar will kill him once he has Liz!”

“Do not worry, my love,” he whispered, pulling her to him. “I will keep that from happening. Meet me at the commune in one hour. I will tell you what the plan is then. Okay?”

Lara nodded.

“I promised you that I would keep him safe. And I will. The next phase of the prophecy has begun. We just have to make sure, Max stays alive to complete it.”

*********************

”Listen well my child.”

Liz blinked at the brightness of the Light.

“A trial is coming. You must trust your heart when it begins, and not your eyes, for they can be deceived.”

“What trial? What do you mean? For Max?”

“The heart will never lie. Keep strong in your faith, and you will be protected always.”



Liz jerked awake. She quickly glanced around and realized that she was alone. Glancing at the alarm clock, she saw that it was 6:15.

Getting out of bed, she padded into the bathroom and turned on the shower. She smiled as she felt Max’s presence in their connection as he told her he was on his way to pick up Tess for his backup for the meeting with Kathana.

"Oh well, I guess I get to shower alone then...."

"Minx. I left you the Jeep in case you want to go visit Maria tonight."

She smiled as she stepped into the shower. "Thanks. I love you."

"I love you."

Liz quickly washed her hair with her favorite strawberry-scented shampoo and smiled, remembering how the smell bothered her when she was pregnant with Zan. Running her hands over her flat stomach, she briefly wondered if this afternoon’s lovemaking would result in the child they’d talked about over a month ago. She’d just finished having a period almost two weeks ago, so she should be getting ready to ovulate. Maybe....

Suddenly, a searing pain shot through her entire being, causing her to fall to her knees, gasping. Instinctively, she knew that it had come from Max. Something was wrong. "Max? Max! Answer me...please!"


*******************************
posted on 4-Nov-2001 11:44:44 PM
CHAPTER 5


Liz slammed open the back door of the Crashdown, oblivious to Agnes’ shriek of surprise. “Michael! Maria!”

Maria walked through the door to the dining room while Michael walked out of the kitchen area to see what the commotion in the break room was about.

“Michael,” Liz cried, grabbing him by the arms, “Something’s happened to Max. We’ve gotta help him!”

“When? Where?”

“I don’t know. I was in the shower when I felt Max in terrible pain, and then nothing. I can’t feel anything from him Michael! He won’t answer me! Please, we’ve got to find him!”

“Shh, chica. It’s okay. We’ll find him. Calm down. Do you know where he was going?” Maria asked, placing her arms around her friend.

“He was on his way to get Tess for his meeting with Kathana tonight. She’s supposed to be his backup.”

“Maybe the Jeep broke down,” Michael said, concern etching his face.

Liz shook her head. “He’s on foot. He left me the Jeep so I could come visit Maria tonight.”

“Shit!” Michael said angrily. “Why didn’t he call me! I would have backed him up. I’ll call Tess and see if he made it over there.”

As Michael left to make the phone call, Liz broke down and began to sob in fear. She felt so empty. She couldn’t lose both Zan and Max.

Maria stroked Liz’s hair and murmured softly to her, trying to comfort her like a mother comforts a frightened child. “It’ll be okay, chica. You’ll see. Max will be fine. He always comes back for you, doesn’t he?”

Michael walked back into the break room, dreading the conversation he was about to have. “Um, Liz? I just talked to Tess. Max never came by the house. In fact, she just called over to your house, and Diane told her that Max had left over an hour and a half ago.”

“It’s 7:45. He was supposed to meet Kathana at the park at 7:30. Maybe, they’re still there,” Liz said glancing at the clock on the wall of the break room.

“Look, I’ll go check the park. You stay here with Maria in case Max comes here or calls. I’m sure there’s a perfectly acceptable explanation why your connection to Max isn’t working,” Michael said, attempting to reassure her.

Liz nodded.

Giving Maria a quick kiss, he grabbed the keys to his bike from his front pocket and raced out the door.

“It’ll be okay, Liz. Honest. Michael will find him.”

Again, Liz nodded mutely.

“Do you want something to drink? Coffee or tea, perhaps?”

Staring at the clock, Liz shook her head. She had to concentrate on contacting Max.

“Mommy! Mommy!”

Maria looked up to see Cassie running down the steps of the upstairs apartment they were living in.

“Uncle Max is hurt!” Cassie sobbed. “The bad lady has him!”

“Shh, baby. It’s okay,” Maria said, bending down to pick up her crying daughter. “Why do you think Uncle Max is in trouble?”

“I saw him Mommy. He’s afraid. He can’t find Aunt Liz.”

“Cassie, when did you see Uncle Max? Do you know where he is?” Liz asked, looking into the little girl’s tear-filled hazel eyes.

“Just now. I was coloring. He’s in a dark place Aunt Liz.”

Liz sucked in her breath as her stomach plummeted. “Maria, it’s too late. We’ve got to get to Kathana’s and rescue him,” she whispered, her brown eyes filled with fear.

“I’ll tell Michael--”

“There’s no time. I’m leaving!” Liz cried, running out the back door, as Amy walked down the stairs.

“Maria, what’s going on? I went to get some milk and cookies for Cassie, and she disappeared. Was that Liz?”

“Yeah Mom, it was. Look, I need you to keep an eye on Cassie. No time to explain,” she replied hurriedly. Giving Cassie a quick hug and kiss, Maria rushed out the door after Liz.

Spotting Liz in the Jeep getting ready to pull out of the alley and on to the main road, Maria yelled for her to wait. But Liz didn’t hear her, and peeled out.

Spotting the Jetta parked in the alleyway, Maria quickly climbed in and grabbed the keys from the visor. “Thank you God for small favors even if it is the Jetta.” Then Maria peeled out and headed for the old Miller place to catch up with Liz.

***************************

Lara sat alone in the deserted hallway. Wringing her hands in nervousness, she strained to listen for any noise coming from the other side of the metal door she was sitting next to. Hearing only silence, she began rocking back and forth.

“This is the will of the Light.... This is the will of the Light...,” she whispered.

As her thoughts drifted to the man that lay on the other side of the door, she began to softly sing a long-remembered Antarian lullaby in her native tongue.

"Hush my sweet baby, Mother is here.
You’re safe in my arms, there’s nothing to fear.
The stars shine above for your innocent delight,
They’ll guard you and keep you, all through the night.
Hush my sweet baby, there’s nothing to fear.
You’re safe in my heart, I will always be near.”


Wiping the tears from her cheeks, she turned to touch the locked door. "I am trying to have faith Larek, but it is hard. Is there no other way?"

"No my love, I am afraid not. This is the way it has to be...."

“Please,” she whispered brokenly in prayer to the Light, “please, do not let this destroy them. They have waited so long to be together again.”

**********************************

“Couldn’t you wait for me to make sure Mom could watch Cassie,” Maria hissed as she snuck up behind Liz.

Liz jumped at the sound of Maria’s voice and glanced at her best friend. “I’m sorry. It’s just that, there’s no time. If Kathana has already given Max that drug....”

“Yes, well, I understand. Just remember to wait for your backup next time.”

Liz nodded. “Okay, the house seems pretty low on security for a place that Kivar’s sister resides in. I should be able to sneak in the side door over there and get inside the main house.”

“Whoa, wait a minute. What’s this ‘I’ stuff? Don’t you mean ‘we’?”

“Maria--”

“No, we go into together, or not at all. I’m your protector when Max isn’t around, remember? Now let me do my job.”

“Fine. Let’s go.”

Quickly making their way to the side door, they slipped silently inside and discovered they were in the kitchen. Peering around, they listened carefully and quietly snuck into the next room.

Glancing around the deserted living room, Liz spotted a familiar, black leather jacket lying on the back of the couch. Snatching it up, she was again literally knocked to her knees by the vision that assaulted her mind.


Max walked along the street towards the Valentis’ wishing he were in the shower with her. He could hear Liz’s thoughts about the baby they both wanted so desperately. He smiled at the thought of a daughter with beautiful eyes and hair.

Suddenly, pain exploded in the back of his head and the world went dark.

Meeting Kathana in the park.

Coming back to her place.

Removing the jacket as he returned Kathana’s kiss.



“Liz,” Maria whispered, “Are you okay?”

She nodded and struggled to her feet. Clutching the jacket to her chest, she ran out of the living room and into the hallway.

“Liz!”

Ignoring Maria’s hiss of surprise, she ran up the stairs. She had to find him. He was somewhere at the top of the stairs. She could feel the darkness that permeated this house, and she had to get him away from it. Stopping at the door at the end of the hallway, she briefly recognized the sound of Maria running behind her to catch up.

Throwing open the door, Liz burst into the room and froze in her tracks. All the color suddenly drained from her face, and she felt her world begin to spin.

There, on the king-sized bed in front of her, lying among the silken sheets, was a very naked Kathana. Her left leg was rubbing intimately against Max’s equally naked leg. Max, oblivious to Liz’s intrusion, was kissing Kathana’s neck and caressing her breast.

“Oh my God!” Maria squeaked, coming to a stop behind Liz.

Kathana opened her eyes and stared directly at Liz.

The evil smugness in Kathana’s eyes shook Liz to the core.

"A trial is coming...trust your heart...and not your eyes, for they can be deceived.... The heart will never lie.... Keep strong in your faith...."

Liz widened her eyes in understanding. She spun around and shoved Maria back towards the bedroom door. “Run Maria! It’s a trap!”

Heading back down the hall, they stopped as three very large, very mean looking male Skins appeared at the top of the stairs.

“Go back to the bedroom,” Liz ordered. “We’ll escape out the balcony.”

“You don’t have to tell me twice!” Maria replied, already turning to head back towards the bedroom.

Ignoring the couple still entwined on the bed, Liz and Maria raced to the balcony doors, threw them open and ran outside. Glancing down and seeing no one waiting for them, Liz helped Maria over the railing, before climbing over and following.

Landing on the grassy area beneath the balcony, Liz dropped and rolled to keep from breaking any bones. As she got up, she swore. At least a half a dozen Skins had suddenly appeared from the shadows.

Maria grabbed a garden rake that was lying near by, and swung it at the nearest Skin. Hitting it squarely upside the head, the Skin fell over, and she quickly delivered a swift blow to the small of its back. It exploded in a shower of dust.

Meanwhile, Liz dodged a clumsy punch from another Skin. Thinking quickly, she threw Max’s jacket into the Skin’s face and kicked him in the groin. As the Skin doubled over in agony, she slammed her elbow down into its back and saw it disintegrate in a cloud of dust.

“Don’t fight them hand to hand!” Kathana screamed from the balcony. “Use your powers! Knock them out! They’re only puny little humans!”

One of the Skins raised his hand, and shot a blast of energy at Maria as she turned to run. The blast hit her squarely in the back, and Maria went down without a sound.

“Maria!” Liz screamed. “Get away from her, you overgrown pieces of dandruff!” Gathering what energy she could from Maria’s unconscious form, she combined it with her own and shot a returning blast of energy from her hand, hitting the Skin closest to Maria, squarely in the chest. The Skin went flying backwards into the bushes.

Turning to take care of the one sneaking up on her left, she missed the figure in the shadows behind her. A blast of crackling energy suddenly engulfed her slight frame, and she crumpled to the ground.

Kivar stepped from the shadows and smiled down at the unconscious woman lying at his feet. "At last my Sera, I have you again," he murmured.

****************************

Max opened his eyes and groaned at the pain the simple action caused him. It felt as if a bomb had exploded behind his eyes. Placing his hands on his head, he began to concentrate on healing the lump on the back of his head.

Suddenly, he pulled his hands away and looked at them with confusion. His powers had never failed him before. Why weren’t they working now?

Wincing from the pain that was now a dull throb, he sat up and looked around at his surroundings. Besides the cot he was sitting on, only a small sink, and a toilet were the only other things in the dimly lit room. There was no window, only a single, flickering light bulb set high in the ceiling above his head. The only way in or out was an ominous looking, gray metal door.

"Where in the hell am I? I was on my way to pick up Tess.... Damn, someone jumped me from behind!"

Getting up as fast as the throbbing in his head would allow, he gingerly walked to the door to see if it was locked. It was.

He tried to unlock it with his powers. Again, it didn’t work.

"Don’t panic Evans, Tess will wonder what happened to you when you don’t show. And, I can contact Liz through our connection!"

Closing his eyes, he concentrated on Liz’s golden warmth that resided constantly in the back of his mind. He frowned and opened his eyes. She was gone! He couldn’t feel her presence, and he was struck with the horrifying realization that part of his soul suddenly felt incomplete.

Frantically, Max began to pound on the metal door. “Liz! Whoever is outside this door, let me out! Liz!”

On the other side of the door, Lara cried silently. Resting her palm against the door, she listened to Max’s anguished cries, her heart breaking every time he called out for Liz. He was so alone, and she feared that it was destroying him.

“I am so sorry,” she whispered to him, knowing that he couldn’t really hear her. “Please forgive me Zan. I did not want this for you, but it is the only way.”


*************************
posted on 4-Nov-2001 11:57:57 PM
CHAPTER 6


Liz groaned, and slowly opened her eyes. "Why is the world so fuzzy?"

“Damn. Did anybody get the license of the truck that hit me,” Maria grumbled, rubbing her head. “Liz?”

“I’m here, but I think I had a run in with that same truck.”

As Maria focused in on their surroundings, she gasped. “Um, Liz. I think I found our truck.”

She turned her head and stiffened as she recognized Kathana’s bedroom. They were being stared at by a semi-clothed Kathana and a fully dressed, blond man. Glancing over at the bed, she saw that "Max” was still naked, only now he was staring at Kathana with a look of
pure adoration and desire on his face.

“Liz,” Maria whispered, turning her head so that Kathana and the ominous looking stranger couldn’t see or hear, “That’s not Max.”

Tearing her gaze from the bed, she looked at her friend. “I know,” she mouthed back silently.

“Well, well, well. What do we have here?” Kathana said with delighted glee. “Can it be? The human female who dares to call herself the Seer of Wisdom and a queen? Not so high and mighty now, are you?”

“I never called myself that,” Liz replied calmly. “Max did.”

Kathana smiled and walked over to the bed to look tt “Max,” allowing him to take her hand and kiss it. “Yes, well, it seems Max has found himself a new queen. He is very talented I must say. The things he can do with his hands and mouth....”

Liz ignored her and stared intently at the blond man standing in front of the balcony doors. “What do you want with me? You have Max. What do you need me for?”

The man lifted an eyebrow at Liz’s question, but remained silent.

“To torture, of course," Kathana hissed. "After all, those who would dare to falsely call themselves Queen, deserve everything they get."

“Well then, you should be having a house fall on you any minute now,” Maria said, flippantly.

Kathana strode angrily over to the chair where Maria was sitting. “Shut up, you insignificant, talking ape!”

“I’m rubber and you’re glue. Whatever you say, bounces off me and sticks to you,” Maria chanted and stuck her tongue out at the angry woman.

Kathana back-handed Maria across the face, splitting her lip open.

Liz gasped angrily, but Maria just turned to look at Kathana with indifference. “That’s the best you can do? Woo.”

“Maria!” Liz hissed, “Are you trying to get yourself killed?”

“She can’t kill me. Why that slap wouldn’t have killed a fly.”

“That is it!” Kathana screamed in outrage, “Your little flunky here just signed Max’s death warrant.”

Liz watched in horror as Kathana turned toward the unsuspecting man in the bed and fired a blast of energy into his chest.

“Max” flew off the bed, landing in a heap on the floor. When he struggled to get up, Kathana hit him with another blast that ripped through his lower abdomen. He crumpled to the ground, slowly bleeding out. His eyes stared blankly at Liz.

Liz shuddered as she watched the light dim in the man’s eyes--eyes that were an exact copy of Max’s. Turning away from the nauseating sight, she focused back on Kathana. “So, now what? Are you going to kill me too?”

“As much as I would like to, I cannot. You and your flunky are being transported out. The others will soon figure out that you came here, and we cannot afford to have them come charging in to rescue you. I need my men to finish off the rest of the Antarian rebels.”

"But, I thought you were the one in charge?" Maria asked maliciously. "Sounds like you’re nothing but a flunky yourself."

Kathana narrowed her eyes and glared at the two women sitting in the chairs before her. “You will not be so cocky once Kivar gets through with you. In fact, he is very anxious to meet you, Seer,” she sneered, practically spitting on Liz in her excitement. “I believe the
two of you have some unfinished business to take care of.”

*************************

Michael roared through the gates of the Antarian compound. For being late in the evening, there were still quite a few people milling around.

They stared at him as he brought his bike to a halt and quickly jumped off. Ignoring the spectators, he ran up the steps to Larek’s house and pounded on the door. “Larek? Larek? It’s Michael Guerin!”

When he’d arrived at the park, there’d been no trace of Max or any signs of struggle. Deciding that Max probably changed his mind about using Tess as his backup, he'd
reasoned that Max may have decided to use Larek instead. So, he'd decided to come out and check for himself. Besides, if Max wasn’t here, they we’re going to need Larek’s help to find him.

“Larek!” Michael yelled again, pounding harder on the door.

“Excuse me.”

Michael turned around to find a slight, nervous-looking man standing at the bottom of the porch steps. “Yes?”

“Larek's not in there,” the man offered timidly.

“Then do you know where he might be? It’s an emergency. It concerns the King.”

“The King? Oh, why yes, I do. I saw Larek headed for the building on the far side of the compound.”

“Thanks,” Michael replied, jumping off the porch. As he kick started his bike, he looked at the anxious little man. “Is there some way I can identify which building it is?”

“Oh yes, quite easily. It is the only one out there. It is standing off by itself. Very isolated.”

“Okay, thanks, uh...?”

“Gideon.”

“Thanks Gideon. I’ll make sure to tell the King how helpful you were.”

“It is an honor to be of service to the King and his beautiful Queen,” Gideon said, bowing.

“Uh-huh,” Michael grunted, and roared off, leaving Gideon coughing in the dust.

It took him a couple of minutes before he finally found the building Gideon had been talking about. As he headed towards the it, he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was terribly wrong. His “spider sense,” as Maria liked to call it, was tingling big time.

Unsure of what he’d find when he got inside, Michael checked the building's parameters, then approached the front door with caution. Raising his hand in case of a sudden attack, he threw open the door and yelled for Larek.

Michael stopped short when he spotted a haggard, young woman. She was sitting in front of a closed door, tears streaming down her face. He cocked his head, listening. What was that? Was she singing?

“Let me out of here, damn it!”

“Max?” Michael yelled, advancing towards the woman with his hand raised and glancing at the closed door. “Maxwell? Is that you?”

“Michael? Get me out of here! I can’t feel Liz! I think she’s in trouble!”

“She’s safe. She’s back at the Crashdown with Maria,” Michael yelled through the door. Turning his attention to the despondent woman at his feet, Michael glared angrily at her. “Where’s Larek? Why is Max locked up? And who in the hell are you?”

Lara glanced up at the angry young man. She brushed the tears from her face and stood up. “I am Lara, Larek’s wife.”

“You’re the spy he had working for Kathana.”

“Yes, that is why Max is here. We are trying to protect him. I overheard some important information that is a definite threat to Max’s life.”

“And that would be...?”

“Kivar is on Earth.”

*************************

“Maria?” Liz whispered, trying not to fall over as the van they were riding in hit another bump. “Try and contact Michael. Let him know what’s going on.”

“I’ve been trying, but I can’t get a response from him. That usual buzz I feel in the back of my head is gone. Whatever is effecting your connection to Max, is also effecting mine to Michael.”

“How about Cassie? Can you contact her?”

Maria closed her eyes, but opened them again a few seconds later. “Nope, can’t get through to her either.”

Liz chewed her lower lip, deep in thought. “I wonder....”

“What?”

“It might be possible that the Skins have some sort of device that suppresses our powers. I mean think about it. The Antarians, as well as the rest of the races, have the capability to do very powerful things with their minds. Wouldn’t you develop a technology to suppress
that ability so you could defeat your enemy, or to keep him prisoner?”

“Makes sense to me,” Maria sighed. “I just wish I’d thought of contacting Michael sooner, before we went to Kathana’s. Then maybe, we wouldn’t be stuck in a van with a bunch of evil aliens headed for God knows where.”

“It’s okay, Maria. Don’t blame yourself. After all, I’m the one who ran off half-cocked trying to rescue Max, instead of enlisting the help of the others. They're going to be so pissed when they find out, especially Max.”

“So you’re starting to think Max is all right?”

“Yes. I just wish I knew who that was impersonating him, and how he came to have Max’s jacket,” she said softly, hugging the jacket tighter around herself. “Maria?”

“Yeah?”

“How’d you know that wasn’t Max?”

“His aura. It was all wrong. Max’s aura is like a deep, royal purple, which is fitting I suppose since he’s like the king and all. Whoever that was in Kathana’s room, his aura was a lot lighter, almost a lavender color.”

“How did you know that the lighter color wasn’t a possible side effect of the drug that Larek mentioned?”

Maria pulled her knees to her chest. “Remember, when Kyle had to have his wisdom teeth pulled a couple of years ago?”

Liz nodded.

“Well, the narcotics they used to dull the pain and put him under, made his aura appear flat, instead of shimmering, but it was still his original color. The guy at Kathana’s had a flat-looking aura, but it was his true color. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it before. I just can’t remember where.”

“How about that blond man in Kathana’s bedroom? What color was his aura?” Liz asked, reluctantly.

“Black,” Maria replied, shivering at the memory. “It was as black as the night, only without the stars.”

“That’s what I was afraid you were going to say.”

*****************************

“Kivar is here on Earth, and you and Larek decided to take it upon yourself to protect Max by kidnapping him? Who in the hell do you think you are? We’re his protectors! Why didn’t you come and tell us about this new development?”

“Th-there was no time,” Lara stammered. “Believe me, I did not want to do this, but it was the only way. It is imperative that Max stays alive, or--.”

Michael looked at Lara suspiciously. “Or what?”

Lara looked away. “Or, the prophecy will not be fulfilled and the Darkness will win.”

“Wait a minute,” he said, “I thought we already covered all of that prophecy crap. The One has been brought forth, and as we speak, he’s spirited away in some funky astral plane, learning from the Light.”

“I cannot tell you. If I did, it would change everything. I have to let this play out as it will,” she said, a hint of guilt in her voice.

“Fine. You don’t want to tell me, I’ll make Larek tell me. But first, open the door.”

Lara looked at him silently with sadness and shook her head.

“Open the damn door!” Michael yelled, “Or, I swear, I don’t care whose wife you are, I’ll blast you to the far corners of the galaxy!”

Lara drew herself up to her full height. “I cannot.”

Growling, Michael turned and raised his hand at the locked door. Nothing happened. “What the--?”

“This entire building is a suppression chamber. Your powers will not work here. Larek has specifically attuned it to hinder the powers of the Royal Four. The lock for the door will only recognize Larek’s hand signature, and I do not know when he will return. All we can do is wait.”


************************
posted on 5-Nov-2001 12:03:04 AM
CHAPTER 7


“Cassie, please stop crying. How about a slice of Nana Amy’s famous Men in Blackberry pie? I know you love that.”

Cassie shook her head vehemently. “I want my Mommy!”

“Well honey, Mommy had an emergency with Aunt Liz to take care of, but I’m sure she’ll be back as soon as she can,” Amy said, rocking the little girl who reminded her so much of her Maria.

“Hey, how are my two best favorite girls?”

Amy looked up. “Oh thank God, Jim. I can’t get her to calm down. I’m so afraid she’ll make herself sick.”

Jim squatted down in front of the chair Amy was sitting in. “Hey pixie, what’s the matter? You know you can tell Pop anything, and I’ll try to make it all better.”

Cassie looked at him with huge, tear-filled eyes, and threw herself into her grandfather’s arms. “Oh Pop! Mommy is gone!”

Jim looked at Amy quizzically.

She shrugged. “I don’t know exactly. She was here when Maria rushed out of here with Liz, and Cassie was fine. She’d been crying, but she was calm and wanting to eat her milk and cookies. Then about an hour ago, she started crying uncontrollably and calling for Maria.”

“Cassie, darlin’, I’m sure Mommy’s fine. She’s out with Aunt Liz--”

“Aunt Liz is gone too.”

Jim felt a chill settle over him. “Where have they gone?” he asked slowly.

Cassie sniffled. “To help Uncle Max. The bad, bad lady has them. She wants to give them to the bad man.”

“What bad man?”

“The man who likes the Dark,” she hiccuped.

“Okay pixie, I tell you what. Since I’m sheriff here, I’m going to go help Mommy, Aunt Liz and Uncle Max. Okay?”

Cassie nodded.

Handing her back to Amy, he ruffled her golden curls. “Now why don’t you let Nana fix you some pie and a tall glass of milk.”

“Okay. Can I have Tabasco sauce on my pie, Nana?”

Amy smiled and nodded. “I’ll fix it special, just the way you like it.”

“I’m going to call the others,” Jim said somberly. “If what I think has happened has, I’m going to need all the help I can get to get them out of there.”

“Be careful,” Amy said, and kissed his cheek. “Be safe.”

He caressed her cheek, then left to use the phone in her office.

***************************

“Any luck yet?” Maria asked, watching Liz trying to concentrate.

Liz opened her eyes and shook her head. “However, I think we’re headed into the mountains.”

“Why do you say that?”

“The incline of the car. The sharp turns. Also, the air seems thinner to me. How about you?”

“Well, now that you mention it....”

“Maria, I want you to promise me something.”

“Sure chica, anything.”

Liz stared intently at Maria. “If there’s an opportunity for you to get away, I want you to take it. Even if it means leaving me behind.”

“No way Liz, I’m--”

“Maria, listen to me. It’s me Kivar wants. If I can’t get away, I want you to run and get help.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Because Kathana says Kivar has unfinished business with me. That I’m the perfect bait for Max. I’m afraid if you stay with me, or I try to escape alone, they’ll kill you.”

“But--”

“No Maria, promise me.”

Maria stared at her and sighed. “I promise.”

“Swear on Cassie’s life, Maria.”

“Okay...I swear on my daughter’s life that if I get a chance to escape, I’ll take it. With or without you.”

“Thank you,” she whispered, and held tightly to Maria’s hand.

*****************************

“Are you sure they’re in there Dad?”

“Cassie said the bad lady had them. This is the only bad lady I can think of, son,” Jim replied.

Kyle sighed. “Well then, I guess we’re going to be dusting some Skins tonight.”

“It looks pretty deserted to me, Sheriff,” Isabelle whispered. “What if Tess and I go in first. Since we have the fire power to stop these Skins the quickest--.”

“I don’t think so Bella,” Alex interrupted. “We all go in together or not at all. We’re stronger together. Remember?”

“He’s got a point, Iz,” Tess said, grasping onto Kyle’s hand as if she were afraid to let go.

“Fine, we go together. Come on,” Isabelle commanded.

The five of them crept quietly up to the side of the house. Peering into the downstairs windows, they saw no one.

“You know, I’m startin’ to get a bad feeling about this,” Kyle mumbled as they entered the dark house.

Isabelle created a ball of light in her hand and they continued on their way through the house.

When they got upstairs, they found it as empty as the first floor. As they peered around the final bedroom.

“Hmm, nice sheets,” Tess commented on the rumpled, scarlet red, satin sheets. “Can we say slutty?”

“Hey I resemble that remark,” Alex quipped, as he opened the closet door. “I happen to like-- Ahh!”

Everyone turned to look at Alex, as a body came crashing down on top of him.

“Get it off! Get it off!” he cried, frantically trying to scurrying out from underneath the dead weight.

“Whus,” Kyle said, using his powers to throw the body off Alex. “All you had to do was levitate it.”

“Excuse me for panicking slightly. I’ve never been one for dead bodies to fall on top of me.”

“I told you those scary movies would catch up with you,” Isabelle scolded, as she gave him a quick pat on the arm.

“Um guys, you might want to come take a look at this,” Tess said.

Jim flipped on the overhead lights as he walked into the room, causing Isabelle, Kyle and Alex to jump. “The house is empty.”

“Not quite Dad,” Kyle said, pointing to the body that Tess was crouching over.

“Oh my God!” Isabelle whispered. “It’s Larek!”

“Larek! Can you hear me?” Jim asked loudly, checking for a pulse. “He’s not breathing.”

“Isabelle,” Tess said, crouching down beside Larek’s prone body. “Help me. Together, we maybe able to do something.”

Isabelle nodded and placed her hands over Larek’s wounds. Tess did as well, and closed her eyes in concentration. As the three men watched, Isabelle and Tess’ hands began to glow.

“Kyle, Alex,” Tess said a few seconds later without opening her eyes, “Help us. Alex add your energy to Isabelle’s. Kyle you do the same for me.”

Jim watched with fascination as Kyle and Alex doing as they were told, placed their hands on their respective wives and began to glow. A minute later, all four of them collapsed, breathing hard as if they’d just run a mile.

“Are you all right?” Jim asked with concern.

Tess nodded. “I don’t know how long the repairs to Larek’s body will hold. His alien physiology is much more complex and difficult to repair....”

“Larek?” Jim said, touching him gently on the shoulder. “Can you hear me?”

Larek opened his eyes and gasped. He looked at the five people crowded around him. “H-help...M-max.... C-com...pound....”

“Max is at the compound? The one by Frazier Woods?” Jim asked.

Larek nodded slightly.

“What happened here tonight Larek? Did you betray my brother to Kathana?” Isabelle demanded

Larek shook his head. “No...s-save him....”

“From whom?” Jim asked.

“K-Kivar....”

“Kivar is on Earth?” Tess asked, panic creeping into her voice.

Larek nodded.

“Where will we find Max at the compound?” Jim asked.

“S-suppression ch-chamber... N-need my...hand....” Larek closed his eyes.

“Need your hand?” Isabelle asked angrily. “What the hell does that mean?”

“His handprint Bella,” Alex said gently. “We need his handprint to open the chamber. Is that right Larek?”

Larek nodded and shook his head. “T-turn off ch-chamber.... Switch in...box...outside....”

“We have to turn off the suppression unit before we can get to Max?”

Larek nodded and opened his eyes. “Liz....”

“What about Liz?” Jim asked. “Where is she?”

“K-Kivar...has....” Larek wheezed and coughed. Dark-colored blood bubbled at his lips. “P-prophecy....”

“Prophecy?” Tess asked anxiously. “What about it?”

“Next...turn...has...begun....”

“No,” Tess whispered as Larek closed his eyes, gave one last shuddering breath and then breathed no more. “No, it can’t....”

“What can’t?” Kyle asked her gently.

Tess jumped up. “Come on! We don’t have any time to spare. We have to go get Max. He’s the only one who can find Liz!”

***********************

“What if we try to combine our powers?” Michael yelled through the door. “Maybe then, we can blast this thing open.”

Max sighed in frustration. “We’ve already tried that. It didn’t work, remember.”

“Well I have to try something damn it. Just sitting here waiting is getting absolutely nothing accomplished.”

“Michael, calm down. I’m sure Larek will be here soon,” Max ordered.

Michael rolled his eyes and glared at Lara. “You know, this is your fault. If you had just come to us and told us about Kivar being here, we could have done something.”

Lara stared silently back at him.

“Well? Aren’t you going to say anything?”

“What do you want me to say? Larek is convinced this is the only way to make sure Max remains alive and safe.”

“To hell with Larek,” Michael growled in frustration and tried again to throw an energy blast at the locked door. No one was more surprised than he when it actually worked.

Max appeared in the smoking, but now open doorway. “Damn Michael. Next time you do that, give me a little warning. I think you singed my backside.”

“Sorry Maxwell. I’ll try and remember to yell ‘Fire in the hole,’ the next time I have to rescue your sorry butt.”

Suddenly, the door burst open and Isabelle rushed in, followed closely by Alex, Jim, Kyle and Tess.

“Max!” Isabelle cried, throwing her arms around her brother, “Oh thank God, you’re okay!

Max hugged his sister and looked at the others. “Izzy...where’s Liz?”

“Yeah, and where’s Maria?” Michael demanded. “Why can’t I feel her buzzing around in the back of my head?”

Tess stepped forward; tears in her blue eyes. “We think they’ve been captured...by Kivar.”

“What!” Max cried.

“You mean, Kivar just walked into the Crashdown and took Liz and Maria?”

Alex shook his head. “No. It looks like they tried to rescue Max over at Kathana’s place.”

"But I wasn’t at Kathana’s...,” Max said, realization dawning.

“But Larek was,” Lara whispered.

Everyone turned to look at the sad and forgotten figure that sat huddled against the wall of the hallway.

“What do you know about this Lara?” Michael growled.

“Larek took Max’s place tonight. We knew Kathana was going to drug Max and hand him over to Kivar. With his shape-shifting abilities, she would never know that it wasn’t the real Max.”

“And in the process get Liz and Maria captured by a mad man!” Max yelled.

“It wasn’t our intention--.”

"What did you think would happen when Liz realized she could no longer feel Max through their connection?” Michael demanded angrily. “That she wouldn’t panic and try to rescue him?”

Lara shook her head. “I’m so sorry, Max. We thought she would be safe with her protectors.”

“Where’s Larek?” Max demanded, looking at his rescuers. “I want some answers from him, now!”

Jim stepped forward. “Larek’s dead Max. He took your place because he knew Kivar would kill you. He died protecting you.”

“No!” Lara screamed, standing up. “He can’t be dead! I would know! I’m his wife!”

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” Jim replied, “but we think Kivar killed him.”

“No. Not again,” she said with an eerie calmness. “I will not allow this to happen again. By the Light, he will pay. He’ll not kill another member of my family!” Burying her face in her hands, she began to cry.

Isabelle walked over to the sobbing young woman, tears in her own eyes. “I’m sorry,” she whispered, reaching out to touch the grieving widow. “We tried to save him. But we weren’t strong enough. Max is the only one who--.”


A beautiful blonde woman gazed happily at her two babies as she rocked them in their cradles. She was singing to them.

“The stars shine above for your innocent delight,
They’ll guard you and keep you, all through the night.
Hush my sweet babies, there’s nothing to fear.
You’re safe in my heart, I will always be near.”

[center]***[/center]

The same woman, only a little older, watched her son and daughter play hide-and-seek among the exotic flowers in her private garden.

“Momma! Zan is not playing fair,” accused a little fair-haired girl.

“Am too,” replied a dark-haired boy. “Lonnie is just being a big baby because she is losing.”

“Am not!”

“Enough my children. I think it is time to take a break and have a treat,” the woman said gently. “How about some of Cook’s Starberry Cake?”

“Yeah!” the children agreed, jumping around excitedly.

[center]***[/center]

The woman, much older now and weeping, cradled the body of her dead daughter in her arms. “Zan...please, help her,” she begged her son.

“Lonnie?” Zan said placing his hand over the wound in his sister’s torso. “You have to look at me. I can help you."

[center]***[/center]

The woman cried silently as she watched the spaceship leave. “Will I ever see my children again, Larek?”

“In time my Queen. Have faith in the Light. We will see my cousins again.

[center]***[/center]

The woman lay bloody and broken on the cold floor. She’d been tortured to the point of death. She had refused to tell him anything, or give him the satisfaction of hearing her scream. She glared at the dangerous-looking man standing above her.

“You will never find them. My children are safe. My death means nothing in the grand scheme of things. I have escaped you, Kivar, and you did not even know it.”

“I will find them, old woman,” Kivar whispered, bending down and placing a hand on her head. “And when I do, they will die the same horrible death as you are going to, right now.”

The woman began to convulse. She could feel him ripping through her mind, searching for the answers to his questions, then everything went dark.



Isabelle jerked away from Lara and turned to Max, grabbing his hand. Her face was ashen.

“Isabelle?” Max asked with concern.

“Oh God, Max,” she whispered in shock. “She’s our mother!”


***************************
posted on 5-Nov-2001 12:06:59 AM
CHAPTER 8


“Liz, I think we’re stopping,” Maria whispered. “What are we going to do?”

“Grab my hand and get ready,” Liz whispered. “When they open the door, we’ll jump out, and I’ll combine our energies. We’ll see if I can’t blast our way out of here.”

Maria nodded, as the backdoor of the van opened.

As they leapt from the van, Liz suddenly felt the familiar surge of power as Maria’s energy began to combine with her own. She also felt the reassuring presence of Max in the back of her mind, but there was no time to contact him.

Quickly, she shot an energy blast at the nearest Skin, while Maria kicked at the one closest to her. Liz nodded with satisfaction as the first Skin disintegrated, and she turned their energy on the next one. She felt Maria’s hand slip from hers, just as the second Skin took a hit and crumbled to dust.

“Not another blast, Seer. Or your friend, will meet an untimely and very ugly death.”

She turned with arm raised to see Maria being held by the neck by the blond man from earlier. His hand was pressed firmly against the side of Maria’s head.

“Run Liz!” Maria screamed, but she refused to budge and lowered her arm. Maria’s eyes welled-up with tears.

“Smart choice, Seer,” sneered the man. “Grab her and take her inside.”

Two large Skins, now unafraid, grabbed her roughly by the arms and began to drag her inside a large, metal building.

“Gently, please. I don’t want her bruised...yet,” the man admonished, then lowered his head to whisper loudly in Maria’s ear. “You, my dear, get to stay in our special ‘hospitality’ room.”

Maria’s eyes widened in fear. "Michael! Now would be a good time to ride to the rescue! Then, she too was dragged into the building.

*************************


“Our mother?” Max asked in shock, staring at Lara. “No, she can’t be. It’s a trick. She’s probably working for Kivar. After all, we’ve never actually met Larek’s wife.”

Lara laughed nervously. “That is right, I cannot be your mother. I am too young! Besides, does this face look like it belongs to the mother of a king?

“But, I am Larek’s wife. I could never work for Kivar. I hate him! He took everything from me: my parents, my husband, my face, my chil--.” Lara looked away abruptly to stare at the ceiling.

“Your children,” Isabelle whispered, grabbing Max by the arm.

Max looked at his sister. “You don’t believe this do you, Izzy?”

Isabelle looked at Max with tears in her eyes. “Max...I saw her. I saw us--as babies, as children, as adults. I saw her death at Kivar’s hands.... Max, I’ve never been wrong about things like this before.”

Max looked at Lara, slowly studying her. He reached out a hand to touch her, but she shrank away from him.

“Do not,” she begged.

“You’re our mother, aren’t you?” Isabelle asked, pleadingly.

Tears ran silently down Lara’s cheeks as she looked between Max and Isabelle, then nodded silently.

Max stared at the scarred, young woman before him. “What happened?”

“Kivar happened.” Lara replied, with a harsh laugh. “He captured me about a month after I had managed to smuggle you off-world. He tortured me for weeks, but I refused to give him any information about where I had sent you. You were my children. I would die for you. And, I did.

“What I did not know was that Larek had obtained through a spy he had in the prison, some of my essence before my Antarian body disintegrated. He created a human hybrid with all of my thoughts and memories, so that I could be smuggled off world and join my children and protect them. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned,” she said, sighing.

“The ship I was supposed to be on was destroyed and I was stranded. So Larek had me podded and secretly hidden away. When I emerged several years later, I was the age of a human six year old. Larek took me to a childless Antarian couple that he knew, who could raise me and keep me safe.

“When I was thirteen, I was in the market with my parents when Kivar spotted me. I looked nothing like I had before, but something about me intrigued him. That night, he sent men to kill my parents and bring me to the palace. He raped me, and when I tried to fight him, he tortured me. He enjoyed it, until he had scarred me so badly that he no longer wanted me. So he gave me to his sister as a chambermaid. He never realized that I was a hybrid, since he never connected with me. I think that was the only thing that saved my sanity,” she said, tears in her eyes as she remembered the pain during her time with Kivar.

“When I met Larek again, I was sixteen in human years. He was so kind to me--the poor, little, scarred thing who could not mask her ugliness. He realized who I was when he touched me. After that, we had secret meetings, where he helped me to remember my past, and strengthen my powers. Eventually, I learned to mask the scars, but I am not strong enough to hold the illusion for long periods of time since I am a hybrid.”

“How did you end up married to him?” Isabelle asked.

“We fell in love. But, we did not get married until Larek’s ships left to come to Earth, and then it was in secret so as not to reveal my status as a spy.”

“Wait a minute,” Alex asked. “Wasn’t Larek a cousin?”

“Only by marriage. He was related to Zan and Vilandra’s father. "Besides, he was a second cousin, once removed.”

“Maria!” Michael suddenly cried out.

Everyone turned their attention from Lara to Michael, who leaned against the wall clutching his head.

Suddenly, Max also fell against the wall. “Liz,” he whispered, quickly trying to project across the connection, searching for her. He was abruptly stopped when her presence suddenly disappeared again. “No!” he cried out, shaking.

Michael also began to shake. Opening his eyes he stared at Max. “They need us now! They’re in deep trouble.”

Max looked at Lara. “Where are they? You’re supposed to be the spy. Do you know where Kivar has taken them?”

She shook her head. “I am sorry. I did not get a chance to learn the location of his base.”

“How could you and Larek let this happen?” he demanded.

Lara’s eyes filled with tears. “I am so sorry Max. This was not part of Larek’s plan for her to be captured. There just was not enough time to warn you. We miscalculated her reaction.”

“Come on Maxwell, we don’t have time to stand around and place blame. We’ve got to get out there and find them,” Michael urged.

“I will help you look,” Lara offered.

“No. You stay here. I think you’ve done enough damage already...Mother,” Max snapped angrily and walked out of the building without backwards glance.

**********************

Liz struggled to see where the other guards were taking Maria, but instead found herself being shoved through a door, which the guards quickly slammed and locked.

Quickly scanning the room, she realized that it was someone’s very plush-looking bedroom. Spotting a window, she rushed to it, pulled back the curtain, only to discover a force field blocking access to it. With a yell of frustration, she tried the door again. Finding it locked,
she used her power to try and open the lock, but nothing happened. She was effectively trapped.

Sinking into one of the room’s chairs, she desperately tried to connect to Max, only to discover the connection was gone again. Wrapping her arms around herself, she tried to quell the sudden swell of fear and panic building inside of her. "Please Max! Please hear me!" She bit her lip to keep from crying and began to rock back and forth.

Suddenly, the door opened. She jumped up to face the intruder, but backed away as the handsome blond man from earlier walked into the room. She couldn’t help but stare at his eyes, they were as mesmerizing as Max’s, except instead of a warm, amber brown, this man’s eyes were a cold, steel gray. And where she could see Max’s soul in his eyes, this man’s looked empty, as if there was no soul to house. She took another step back.

“Ah, at last,” the man said, “we some time alone, my beautiful Seer.”

“Who in the hell are you?”

The man looked hurt for a second, then smiled coldly. “You do not remember me, my beloved?”

“Don’t call me that!” she snapped, her anger overriding her fear. “Only my husband may call me that.”

He reached out a hand and began to advance towards her. “But, I am your husband.”

Liz laughed, backing away. “In your dreams. Believe me, I’d have remembered marrying you,” she sneered.

“Ah, there’s the rub. I was supposed to be your husband the first time. And, you do know me. You just need a little help to remember,” he said softly and grabbed her as she backed into the edge of the bed.

“Get your hands off of me!” she yelled, struggling as he pulled her hard against him.

He held the back of her head in an iron grip, causing tears to leak from the corners of her eyes and forcing her to look into his eyes. “You will remember.”

She screamed as he mentally forced his way into her mind and ripped away the veil of time, bringing forth memories buried deep inside--the memories of that very first life long ago. Unable to fight it, her eyes rolled up into her head, and she fell into the darkness of the memories.


******************
posted on 5-Nov-2001 12:13:47 AM
CHAPTER NINE


Liz had never experienced such visions as the ones that were being unleashed inside her mind. The past was opening up and she hurtled head long into it until she stopped abruptly. Focusing, she absorbed the image in her head. It looked so real.

She was seeing through the eyes of another woman. One who lived on Earth long ago. Looking around, she recognized her surroundings. She was in the Mayan ruins, but they weren’t ruins.

Her name was Sera. She was a princess and a Seer--a link for her people to the gods. They’d been waiting for the promised god from the stars to come, and that day had finally arrived...

She looked at the man before her. He was golden like the sun and he glowed. He was extremely handsome. He said his name was Virococcha and he was making his way north. “This man is a the god we’ve been waiting for,” her father declared. “As token of our loyalty, you shall have my daughter, Sera, to wife. She is a powerful Seer and is worthy only to one such as yourself.”

The man looked at her with possessiveness and she shivered. Something inside of her was crying out that this was not the god they’d been waiting for.

[center]***[/center]

She was swimming in the sacred spring. Cleansing herself for her wedding tomorrow. The gods kept telling her that Virococcha was not the man he claimed to be. But her father would not hear of it. They had all witnessed Virococcha’s great powers.

Suddenly she stopped swimming. Tilting her head, she listened carefully, and then gasped as a strange man stumbled from the underbrush and out onto the banks of the spring.

She stared at him in fascination as he bent down to drink from the water. He was so handsome. There was something about this man. She couldn’t put her finger on it....

He looked up and locked gazes with hers, and she knew.

He smiled shyly, blushed and looked away as if suddenly realized he was staring at a naked woman swimming in his drinking water.

Stepping from the spring, she grabbed her clothes and put them on. Then she walked over to him and touched him gently on the arm. “I’m Sera. Are you lost?”

The jolt of recognition that came from her touch surprised them both. Her soul sang and he smiled. “Not anymore,” he answered, “I’m Zan.

[center]***[/center]

She brought Zan to her father. Virococcha sat near by, a look of utter rage on his face.

“This is Zan, the one we’ve been waiting for. He is the promised one.”

Zan showed her father his powers.

Her father wasn’t convinced. Virococcha seemed pleased.

Suddenly, a distraught woman ran into the room, a small boy cradled in her arms. There’d been an accident. The boy had been mauled by one of the great cats that roamed the jungles. He was mortally wounded. His mother, holding his broken body, pleaded to Virococcha to spare her child.

He refused.

Zan stepped forward. Laying his hands on the boy’s wounds, he commanded the boy to look at him. The crowd, that had followed the mother into the chamber, gasped when Zan’s hands began to glow. After a minute, Zan dropped his hands, and stepped back as if in pain.

The small boy stirred in his mother’s arms and sat up. His wounds were gone. He’d been brought back from the brink of death.

Suddenly, the crowd began to chant Zan’s name. Sera had been right. This was the promised one.

Her father stepped forward to hush the crowd. “Zan, you have proven yourself to be the promised one. As of this moment, my daughter will no longer be given to Virococcha, but to you. Take her to wife and have many strong sons.”

Sera smiled happily at Zan. He was her beloved.

“No!” Virococcha yelled. “She’s mine! He cannot have her!”

“You may have your pick of any of the other women in the city,” her father said, attempting to appease the angry god.

“I don’t want any other woman. Only Sera. If she marries Zan, this entire city will feel my wrath,” Virococcha warned. “You have two days to decide.”

[center]***[/center]

They’d run away in secret to spare the city and its people. They went north to her mother’s people. They were welcomed with open arms by the tribe, who proclaimed Zan as their ruler and Sera as their Queen.

A few days later, Zan’s family and friends arrived. Rath, Vilandra and Avaria were also welcomed with open arms, and paired off with prominent members of the tribe: Leotie, the oracle/seer for the tribe, was mated to Rath; Payat, a powerful medicine man was mated to Vilandra; Sahen, the top warrior of the tribe, was mated to Avaria.

With the help of these gods from the stars, the tribe prospered and became a people of power and influence.

[center]***[/center]

She was pregnant. Zan was away on an expedition. Then she saw it. The silver fire. They’d been found. And Virococcha was going to make them pay.



Liz fought her way from the darkness and back to the light of consciousness. When she opened her eyes, she found herself staring into the familiar cold, gray eyes of Virococcha. But it wasn’t.

“Kivar,” she whispered in horror, then bent over and threw up.

***********************

“Where in the hell are they?” Michael demanded. He and Max had gone back to the Miller place to see if they could find a clue to the girls’ whereabouts. The place was clean. The others had split up into groups to search Roswell and the outlying areas around the town. Any place where a group of Skins might hide out.

Max stared at the morning sky, looking towards the west at the mountains. He struggled to hold back tears as the empty feeling inside him seemed to swell. "Where are you beloved?"

“People just don’t vanish. They’re here somewhere. My connection with Maria was too strong.”

“How far apart can you guys get before it fades?” Max asked.

“About thirty, forty miles tops. Of course when we’re that far apart, it’s really weak.”

“Okay, so we know they’re less than forty miles from us. Let’s go back to the commune, get reinforcements and call the others. We’ll spread out a search party,” Max said, walking back towards Michael’s bike.

“But they need us now!”

“It’s the only lead we’ve got Michael. Kivar has managed to cut the connections, and Larek is dead. The only thing I can tell you to do, is pray. Pray that the girls can hold out for a little longer.”

***************************

Kivar leaned forward and smiled. It did not reach his eyes. “Poor Zan. He was devastated. I think he went a little mad when he saw your body tumble down that cliff and into the ravine below. He tried to go after you. But, Rath stopped him. Told him that they had to retreat. To leave.”

Liz shivered as the scene of her death replayed in her mind. She felt so cold.

“I followed him of course. I had to kill him and stop him from being reborn. I could not have him coming back for you in another lifetime and fulfilling the prophecy of the One. I could not have him stealing you away from me again.”

“I’ve never been yours, Kivar.”

“Oh, but you are, my beautiful Sera.”

“My name’s Liz,” she said, staring at him defiantly.

“Your name is Sera,” Kivar said angrily. “You were a princess of legendary beauty, and I was a prince from the stars. The legends of Antar foretold of us. But you, you refused me, and gave yourself to one who was unworthy...Zan!”

Liz watched him pace in front of her, mumbling.

“But I was too late. Zan died before I got to him. His grief killed him, or so I was told. His soul was already in the process of being reborn. I didn’t know what he would look like, so I waited. I could afford to. The Age of Separation had begun, so you would not reunite for
several lifetimes. I knew some day, he would be reborn with the face that I knew him as.”

Kivar grinned. “And, I was right. He was reborn as the future king of Antar. He even had the same name. Is that not ironic?”

Liz just stared at him, refusing to show any emotion.

“But, he had no queen. So a marriage was arranged, between him and Avaria, to unite the people so they could fight us.

“They were no match for us. Without the other four, they were incomplete and weak. I took great pleasure in watching him die, and then I sat on his throne. I had finally won. After all this time, I had stopped the Destiny.”

She raised an eyebrow. “But, not for long. He was reborn.”

Kivar narrowed his eyes and he stopped pacing to stare at her. She could see unfathomable rage in their cold, silvery depths.

“Yes, damn him. I underestimated his bitch of a mother. She knew about the prophecy, and had a rebel band of scientists engineer their essence with human DNA, re-create them as hybrids, and send them back to Earth. When I learned where they had been sent, I realized the Age was coming to an end, and he would try to find you.”

“So you sent Nicholas and Vanessa and the rest of the Skins to find them and eliminate them. You didn’t count on them being podded for so long, did you?”

“No, but it did not matter. We knew that eventually they would try to contact home. And, I was right. But I also gained an unexpected bonus, you.

“When Nicholas described you and your abilities, I knew you were the Seer. Zan connected to you the day he saved your life, but neither one of you understood what the connection meant.

“And now,” he said, with a smile that could freeze fire, “I have you.”

She began to laugh.

“Why are you laughing? Stop it!” He back-handed her across the face.

She gingerly touched her bloody lip. “You just don’t get it, Kivar. You will never have me, because Max and I are soulmates. We’ve been bonded since time began. There never has and there never will be anyone else for me.”

He grabbed her by the arm. “No, you are mine. I gave myself to the Darkness for you. In exchange, I was granted great power so that I could kill Zan and have you.”

“His name is Max. And no matter what you do, he and I will always find one another, no matter how many times you kill him or me.”

“I am not going to kill you, Sera. You are too important. You are the Seer of Wisdom, and the key in the battle between the Darkness and the Light. For whoever has the key, has the power to destroy the other.”

“I don’t understand?”

“A child of yours will be very powerful, more so if the father is a First. Why do you think they wrote a prophecy about it? Your child will have absolute control over the Granilith.”

“The One Who Shall Lead....”

“Correct. However, what they did not know was that if the father was a First for the Darkness, then the Darkness could use the Granilith to rip open a portal and have physical access to this plane of existence. So you see, my beloved, now that I have you, the true prophecy will be fulfilled. You will bear me a child, and I will rule unchallenged.”

***************************

Max and Michael sat in Larek’s house at the commune. It was deathly quiet as each man thought about his missing wife and her safety.

Max had dispatched the Antarians to search the countryside for their Queen, which they had done without protest. Max smiled, remembering Liz’s many visits out here. She'd taken an immediate interest in his people, wanting to help them settle in and get to know the children. He knew she missed Zan terribly, and that the youngest Antarians helped her to forget for a little while that her own son was separated from her.

The Antarians had fallen in love with Liz as rapidly as he had all those years ago. They adored her, and bent over backwards to get her anything she might need. Her kindness and thoughtfulness impressed them, and when they’d heard she been taken by Kivar, the entire commune’s population had become upset. They would find their Queen, and fight for her to the death if necessary.

Max and Michael had stayed behind to wait for Isabelle, Alex, Kyle and Tess to come back. They were going to attempt a dreamwalk to see if Isabelle could locate Liz and Maria. Neither man heard Lara enter the living room.

“Max,” she said cautiously. She felt her heart break as she looked at the haunted expression in her son’s eyes as he looked up to stare blankly at her. “Max. Do not give up. Liz is strong. If anyone can hold their own against Kivar, it is Liz.”

“Why does he want her so badly?” Max asked hoarsely. “Nicholas mentioned something about two sides of the prophecy....”

Lara sat down in the chair opposite from him. “Max, this started a long time ago. Millennia in fact. In your first lifetime.”

Michael stared at Lara, barely controlled rage shimmering in his eyes. “What do you know about that first lifetime. We know how we died. Liz saw that, but she has never been able to see more than that, for the most part.”

Lara looked at her son. “Max, what had Liz remembered exactly?”

“Just bits and pieces. Our marriage, her people, conceiving our son, dying at the hands of Kivar’s people.”

“When our people discovered that the sun in our system was dying, we sent out expeditions to find a new planet suitable to our physiology. One of those planets, was Earth, and Kivar was one of the explorers. He and his expedition party landed in what is today South America. Slowly, they made their way north, trying to establish societies that our people could integrate themselves into.

“However, the primitive humans thought Kivar was a god. They called him Virococcha. He did nothing to discourage these beliefs. In fact, he used them to his advantage, especially when he reached the ancient Mayans. There he met Sera, the beautiful daughter of their king. Sera was also a Seer, the Seer of Wisdom to be exact.” Glancing at the two men on the couch, she was glad to see she had their full attention and continued.

“This is where you come in, Max,” she said softly. “Zan, your first incarnation that is, was the Crown Prince of Antar. He craved adventure and excitement, so against his father’s wishes, he smuggled himself aboard an expedition ship commanded by his best friend, Rath. Unwilling to let her brother have all the fun, Vilandra snuck aboard too, as did Rath’s young sister, Avaria, who had a bit of a crush on the Crown Prince.”

“Wait a minute,” Michael interrupted. “We all had the same names as in our last lifetime?”

“Yes. They are family names, passed down from generation to generation. A verbal family tree if you will,” she replied.

“Oh.... Go on.”

She nodded. “When Zan and his band arrived on Earth, they followed Kivar’s markings until they reached Sera’s village. The moment Zan and Sera saw one another, they fell in love, as the souls recognized their mate. Kivar was extremely upset when Sera was given to Zan in marriage, but he had to defer to Zan since he was his superior.

“Desperate to get Sera back, legend says Kivar sold his soul to the Darkness, in order to gain the powers of a First. However, by the time he had gained the power to take Sera from Zan by force, the lovers were gone. They had escaped to her mother’s people who would become the forefathers of the Anasazi. It was here that Sera and Zan married and conceived their child.”

“And this is where she died,” Max said softly. “I can’t let this happen again. I refuse too.”

“Max, Kivar doesn’t want her dead,” Lara stated reluctantly, as the others walked through the front door. “He wants her pregnant with his child--a child that will be the antithesis of everything that Zan is.”

Tess gasped, as she heard what Lara had just said. “Oh God, Larek was right! It’s begun!”

Max jumped up from the couch at the sight of Tess’ face losing all color. “What’s begun Tess? What do you know about this?”

Her blues eyes filled with tears. “I’m sorry, Max. I thought once the One was brought forth, that Liz was safe. At least, that’s how I understood Ava’s memories.”

“Safe? Safe from what?” he demanded, every muscle in his body tensing.

“It’s the turning of the prophecy,” she whispered. “The Trial has begun.”


***********************
posted on 5-Nov-2001 12:19:05 AM
CHAPTER 10


Maria struggled briefly at the ropes that held her to the cold, metal chair in which she sat. She winced as the ropes cut into her wrists, but continued to work at loosening them.

She startled as the door of the small cell she was in, opened. Stilling her movements, she was surprised to see Kathana enter.

“Struggle all you want human,” Kathana sneered. “It will not help. There are some questions I want to ask you.”

She tensed as Kathana approached her. “All I’m giving you is my name, rank and serial number.”

“I think you will give me much more than that,” she whispered in her ear, laying a hand on her shoulder. “I can be very persuasive.”

Maria screamed as she felt an intense burning sensation in her left shoulder. It would be the first of many.

**************************

“What trial has begun?” Max asked Tess. “What are you talking about?”

“A test of love, a trial of Faith.” Tess wrung her hands. “It’s a passage from the Book of the Light, in the Seer’s chapter. I thought it referred to all the stuff you guys went through those first two and half years. I didn’t believe it was actually a part of the prophecy. I thought it was more of a way to identify the Seer....”

Tess stared at Max anxiously. “Kivar is the First for the Darkness, as you know. If he had managed to have a child with the Seer, before you did, that child would have been the antithesis of everything that Zan is. It would have allowed the Darkness to control the Granilith and rip a hole into this existence.”

“But he didn’t. Zan is here,” Max replied.

“But Kivar doesn’t know that. You killed Nicholas before he could inform Kivar. And Zan has been safely ensconced with the Light for the past month. The fact that he took Liz and hasn’t demanded anything from you yet, makes me think Lara is right. He will try to impregnate her.”

Max blanched. “What if she tells him that Zan exists?”

“He’ll probably kill her.”

“A test of love, a trial of Faith...,” Lara murmured. “The turning of the prophecy.”

Michael glared at Lara. “What do you know? What’s a ‘turning’?”

“It must be allowed to play out. We cannot stop it,” Lara whispered, ignoring Michael’s question.

“Tess?”

“It means the next phase has begun. Zan has joined with the Light, and now, there will be a test to see if the Children who turned away from the Light will recognize the One.”

“How can they recognize the One if he isn’t even here?” Isabelle demanded.

Tess shrugged, her eyes filled with tears. “The Book only says it will be an act of selfless love. Other than that, I don’t know....”

***************

“You’re nuts, if you think I’m going to let you touch me,” Liz whispered in horror, staring at Kivar. “I’d die first.”

Kivar raised an eyebrow. “Oh, but you will let me. Because if you do not, I will kill everyone and everything you love, starting with your little friend in the other room.”

“Don’t you dare touch Maria!”

“Only if you agree to stay with me willingly and give me what I want.”

Before she could answer, the door of the room slid open, and a large man entered.

“What is it?” Kivar snapped. “I told you, I did not wish to be disturbed.”

“Gideon has reported in. He says that King Zan is alive. He saw him not more than two hours ago at the Antarian compound. He has sent out search parties for the Seer.”

“What! I watched Kathana kill him with my own eyes--.” Kivar suddenly stopped and turned towards Liz. “You knew that. You knew that was not Max. Who was it?”

"I don’t know,” she replied, secretly thanking the Light that Max was okay.

“Larek! Damn him! He switched places, it had to be him. At least I got that spy out of my way,” Kivar sneered. “However, I think it is time to have a little talk with my dear sister.”

Kivar stormed out of the room, followed closely by the guard.

*************************

Maria screamed hoarsely as Kathana forced the images of Cassie’s violent death on her. She’d been trying to block Kathana’s mind rape by focusing on her daughter, but instead Kathana had turned it against her. She tried to tell herself that it was all an alien illusion, but the sight of Cassie’s broken body lying in a pool of blood made her heart and mind shatter.

Kathana laughed at Maria’s sobbing capitulation. “Now, let me see what secrets you have locked away in your weak little mind, human.”

She moaned in pain, as Kathana placed her hands on her head and the memories began to flash through fast and furious.


Liz being shot in the Crashdown.

Maria faking an alien encounter to throw Valenti off the trail.

Finding the geodome in Marathon, Texas.

Michael killing Pierce.

Liz telling her about the orbs and the Destiny.

Watching Isabelle blow Whitaker to bits.

Max running out of the barn in Copper Summit, carrying Liz.

Seeing the Granilith for the first time with Max, Liz and Michael.

Learning about the prophecy of the One.

Finding Liz and Max in the pod chamber Thanksgiving weekend.

Ava’s funeral after the Skins’ attack.



Suddenly, the connection was broken. Opening her eyes, Maria saw Kivar storm into the chamber. The blackness of his aura frightened her, and she whimpered at the thought of what he could do to her and looked away.

But Kivar wasn’t interested in Maria. “Kathana!” he yelled, striding over to his sister, before backhanding her and sending her flying across the room.

Kathana looked up from her position on the floor, her tongue licking the blood from the corner of her mouth. “What the hell--.”

“You have failed me for the last time, Kathana. I have you do one simple job, and you blow it.”

“What?” she asked in frightened confusion. “I do not understand. I am loyal to you--.”

"I am talking about Max Evans! Zan, the once and future king of Antar. Sound familiar?”

“He is dead. I killed him for you--”

“No, he is not dead. Gideon has just informed my guard that Max is very much alive and well. In fact, he has sent out a search for the Seer!”

Kathana blanched. “But...who?”

“Larek! I am sure of it. He was the spy I told you about. He must have switched places with him.”

As Kathana, ran the scenario through her mind, she remembered that Max hadn’t seemed as attentive to her as he had been lately. Her eyes widened at the realization. Kivar was going to kill her.

“Prepare to die, sister dear,” he sneered as his hands began to glow.

“No!” Kathana screamed, throwing up her hands to block the coming energy blast. “I have discovered valuable information for you. I can fix this.”

Kivar paused. “What information?”

“I know where the Granilith is. I saw it in her memories,” Kathana said, pointing at Maria.

************************

Liz ran to the door and was surprised to see it slide open. Peering cautiously out into the hallway, she discovered that the guard had followed Kivar and that she was alone. "Time to get the heck out of here," she thought.

Quickly sneaking down the hall, she stopped when she spotted the open doorway off to her left. Peering inside, she gasped at the sight that met her eyes. Maria was tied to a chair, her head hanging limply over her chest. If Liz hadn’t seen her flinch at Kathana’s statement, she would have sworn she was dead.

Kivar whirled around and locked eyes with Liz.

Unsure of whether she should run or try and rescue Maria, she hesitated too long, and found herself grabbed by the arm and pulled into the room.

“Where is it?” Kivar screamed. “Where is the Granilith?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, “ she replied, trying to yank away from him.

“Oh, but I think you do. It seems your little friend has revealed to my sister that you do know where it is.”

Maria moaned, raising her head up.

Liz looked at her, gasping at the sight that used to be Maria’s beautiful face. Her eyes were almost swollen shut and her lips were cracked and crusted with dried blood. Her nose looked to Liz like it had been broken in a couple of places.

“Oh my God, what did you do to her, you bitch!” she screamed at Kathana, who stood cowering in the far corner.

“Nothing I would not love to do to you,” Kathana spat, then cringed as Kivar turned his attention on her.

“You will not touch Sera! Is that understood? I will kill you if you so much as look at her funny,” he growled angrily.

Kathana nodded meekly.

“Let go of me,” Liz demanded, trying to break his grip. “I need to check on Maria.”

“I do not think so. You will tell me where the Granilith is, or I will finish what my sister started on your friend.”

She thought briefly of Zan and the last time she’d seen the Granilith. She couldn’t tell him where it was, not while it was her only way to get her son back.

“It’s hidden away where you will never find it,” she replied, defiantly. “In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Max hasn’t already had it moved.”

“Fine. I will get the information from your friend,” Kivar snapped, throwing her into the waiting arms of the guards.

She struggled against the guards, as Kivar walked over to Maria and stroked her bruised cheek.

Maria whimpered softly in pain.

“Yes, a little mind probing should do the trick. Unfortunately, once I am done, she will be dead. For some reason, you humans do not do very well against a mind rape.”

“Get your hands off of her!” Kivar looked at Liz, and she shuddered. His gray eyes held no soul, and she knew he was going to do it.

He stared directly into her eyes, capturing her gaze, and calmly placed his hands on either side of Maria’s head. As his hands began to glow, Maria’s body arched away from the chair as far as her bonds would allow. But it was the unearthly scream she emitted that broke her resolve.

“Stop it! Stop it!” she sobbed, frantically. “I’ll do it.”

Kivar released Maria, who slumped forward, unconscious. “Do what Sera?”

“I will bear you a child,” she whispered brokenly.

“What is that? I could not hear you very well. A little louder please,” he said, cupping his hand to his ear.

“I will have your baby!” she yelled. “I will stay here and I will be the mother of your child.”

“You will give yourself to me willingly?”

“Only on one condition: you stop hurting Maria and let her go. Then, once the baby is born, I will tell you where the Granilith is.”

Kivar stared at her.

“Do not listen to her brother,” Kathana hissed. “It is a lie. She will betray you in the end.”

“Shut up, you jealous hag!” Kivar shouted, “And get out of here while you can still do so under your own power.”

Kathana scrambled out the door.

Kivar turned his attention back to Liz. “I will agree to your condition, but I have one of my own. While I am anxious to start our new life together, I need a guarantee you will hold to your promise. So, your friend will stay here as my guest until I am positive you are with
child.”

*************************

Max paced nervously back and forth in front of the counter inside the closed Crashdown, a steely expression on his face. They'd taken a short break from the UFO Center and the search to try and eat. He hadn’t slept more than a few minutes at a time since Kivar had
captured Liz four days ago. He kept waking up reaching for her, and only finding empty space. The search hadn't turned up anything.

Isabelle, Alex, Kyle and Tess were trying to comfort a distraught Michael. If Maria could see him now, her heart would break. His hair was a mess and his eyes had deep, dark circles underneath them. He looked like a man about to breakdown completely at any moment--a man who’d lost his center.

If it hadn’t been for Cassie, they were sure that Michael would have gone over the edge long before this moment. She was a miniature reminder for him of her mother, a woman he’d tried to protect by pushing her away all those years ago.

“She’s coming,” Cassie yelled, slamming open the door to the kitchen and running into the dining room. “Daddy, she’s coming!”

Michael jumped out of the booth to bend down and look her straight in the eye. “Who’s coming pixie?” he whispered hoarsely.

Suddenly, the front door of the Crashdown burst open, and a battered Maria staggered through the door, dropping to her knees in exhaustion.

Michael rushed to her and cradled her in his arms. The others gathered round to watch as he gently healed the minor abrasions on her face. “Oh God, Maria!” he sobbed, checking her over, “I thought I’d lost you, forever!”

She sobbed and hugged him tightly. "Not a chance Space Boy," she mumbled.

Max bent down to heal her more extensive cuts, bruises and a couple of broken bones. When he was done, he looked at her, tears shining in his soulful, brown eyes. “Maria?” he whispered, choking on the words, “Maria, where’s Liz?”

She turned her head to stare at him. Tears filled her own hazel eyes. “I’m sorry, Max. I don’t know.... I don’t know....”


*******************
posted on 5-Nov-2001 12:26:09 AM
CHAPTER 11


It had been three months since Liz had seen Max. She could feel him through their connection trying to find her, but she refused to let him in. She silently cursed Kivar for dropping the suppression shield. It was so much easier to remain here when she didn’t have to feel Max. But now....

"No!" she thought angrily, "You can’t let yourself weaken! That’s just what Kivar wants. He wants you to lead Max here so he can kill him."

She glanced down at her stomach and sighed. She was starting to show. With Zan, she’d been so tiny, that for the first five months it was hard to believe she’d been pregnant. But now...her body was changing and showing much quicker.

She rubbed a hand across the slight swell, and felt the familiar flutter as the baby moved against her hand--reaching out for her. She watched in amazement as her stomach began to glow with a soft, white light where her hand rested. “Hello little one,” she whispered,
remembering the moment she’d discovered she was pregnant.


She stood in the shower and sobbed as the hot water beat down on her body. Grabbing the soap, she scrubbed until her skin felt raw. But she could still feel his touch on her. "I’ll never be clean again. What have I done?"

Bending over, she threw up until there was nothing left in her stomach. When the spasms stopped she curled up in the corner of the shower and shivered. The water was getting cold, but she didn’t care.

“I wish I were dead...,” she whispered brokenly. “Max...I’m so sorry...so sorry.”

Suddenly, she felt a warmth spreading through her body. Glancing down, she gasped at the soft, white glow emanating from her lower abdomen where her hands were resting.

“Oh God!” she whispered, recognizing the glow. It had happened only once before in her lifetime--when she’d been pregnant with Zan.

She felt the connection between her and the baby flare to life. "A girl. I’m going to have a daughter."



Staring out the window of her room, she gazed down at the night-shrouded desert valley far below. Somewhere out there, he was searching for her--trying to rescue her. She felt tears begin to form. She fought against them. She was so tired of crying. So tired of being used as a pawn in Kivar’s sick little war.

When she’d agreed to this devil’s bargain, she’d just wanted to save Maria’s life. To protect Zan from Kivar. She thought she’d have more time. She hadn’t expected Kivar to grab her right there in Maria’s cell and drag her back to his room. She hadn’t realized just how obsessed he was with her.

She closed her eyes and blocked the rest of the memory of what happened that day. If she thought about it, she’d break.

“I’m pregnant.”

Kivar looked at her doubtfully. He was dressed only in a pair of jeans.

“Really? After one night? I highly doubt that.”

“I am pregnant,” she said and placed her hands over her abdomen.

Kivar’s eyes widened when it began to glow.

“Let Maria go. You gave your word.”

“Not so fast, my beautiful Seer. How do I know this is not some sort of trick? I will check for myself.” He got up from the bed, and walked over to her. He placed his hand over her abdomen.

She shuddered inside, but remained calm on the outside.

Suddenly, he back-handed her and she went flying into the wall. “You lying bitch,” he roared. “You think you can trick me?”

Dazed and confused, she struggled to sit up and protect herself. “I’m not lying. I’m pregnant. I’ve connected to the baby--”

“Stop lying to me!” He pulled back to kick her.

Closing her eyes, she braced herself for the blow. When it didn’t occur, she opened her eyes and gasped. She was enveloped by a green protective shield.

He paced angrily in front of her. “Let down the shield and I promise not to hit you again.”

She shook her head. “I’m not lying. If you don’t believe me, I’ll take a pregnancy test. Have a doctor check me out.”

“If you are pregnant, why does the baby not respond to my touch? Why can I not feel it?”

“M-maybe it’s because I’m human, but a doctor can confirm what I’m saying. If I was lying to you, why would I even suggest such a thing.”

“Fine. Drop the shield. Get dressed. You are taking a test.”

She nodded, and the shield disappeared. She flinched as he grabbed her by the arms and pulled her up.

He stared directly into her eyes. “If you are pregnant, you will know what the child is.”

Staring back, she looked at him with no emotion. “It’s a boy. You’re going to have your son, Kivar.”

He smiled coldly. “We shall see, Sera. We shall see.”



She stared up at the stars, and chewed worriedly on her bottom lip. Now, Kivar wanted her to have a sonogram at the end of the week. "He’ll know I’ve been lying to him. How am I going to get out of this?" she thought desparately.

She knew Kivar’s patience was growing thin. She’d managed to convince him that since they didn’t know what effect sex would have on an alien/human pregnancy, that anymore “conjugal visits” were stopped. sing his desire for a son and the fear that it might die
before it was born, kept him from doing anything more than kissing her.

And she’d managed to convince him that she needed her own room because the pregnancy was making sleeping difficult. Playing on his desire to please her, she demanded her own bed so she could sleep comfortably...alone. But when it came to the sonogram, he wouldn’t budge. Since he couldn’t connect to the baby or to her, he was convinced this was the next best thing. He wanted to see his son.

“So, any ideas little one how we’re going to get out of this?” The baby kicked, and Liz smiled sadly. “I want to go home, but Kivar has destroyed any chance of that ever happening again. If Max learns about what Kivar has done, he will hunt him down to the ends of the universe to destroy him. And that will only get Max killed. I can’t lose him again, little one.”

Staring out the window, she rubbed her belly and felt Max’s pull on their connection. She sighed, wanting to reach out for just a second to feel his love, to reassure herself that as long as she still had that, she could survive anything Kivar put her through. "I love you.
Always."


Slamming the connection closed again, before Max could respond, she hugged herself and wept silently. Turning away from the window, she walked to her bed and lay down. Sleep would help. Maybe Zan would visit her dreams again tonight, like he had last night. If she couldn’t have Max in her head, at least she had their son to remind her why she’d made this choice.

********************

“Okay Maria, this has got to stop,” Michael sighed with frustration. “It’s been three months, and you won’t let me in. You won’t let me touch you? I’ve tried giving you space and time, but enough is enough. Tell me what happened to you when Kivar captured you and Liz.”

Maria lay curled up in the middle of their bed, watching Michael pace. She knew he was hurt by her “rejection,” but how could she let him see? It was because of her that Liz had sacrificed her happiness with Max. If Michael found out....

“I don’t remember, Michael,” she whispered.

“That’s bull, and you know it DeLuca. Please,” he said, kneeling down to look her in the eye, “We promised to never keep secrets or lie to one another ever again. Please....”

She looked at him, tears in his eyes and his hand laying on the mattress, pleading with her for one small touch. “Michael,” she whispered, choking on her tears, “if I show you, it could destroy everything....”

“Kivar, did he hurt you?”

“No,” she quickly reassured him. “Kivar only touched me once. Very briefly when Liz and I attempted to escape. It’s just that, what I show you could hurt Max. He’s on the edge as it is. This will send him over.”

“Whatever it is, baby, I promise not to tell Max.”

She nodded, grabbed his hand and pulled him onto the bed with her.

He wrapped his arms around her, and she kissed him. That’s when he saw it all. He gasped as the images of the torture Maria had gone through at the hands of Kathana. He felt her anguish at the mind warp of Cassie’s broken body lying on the ground before her, and
finally he felt her despair as Kivar whispered in her ear to “run home and tell your pathetic King that I have his Queen--who is pregnant with MY child and heir.”

He pulled away and stared at her.

“She sacrificed herself for me, Michael. She made a deal with Kivar--she’d have his child if he let me go. It’s my fault Liz won’t let Max find her. She doesn’t want him to know about the baby. She made me promise not to tell either.”

“You’re right,” he agreed, “We can’t tell Max. He’s bad enough as it is running around thinking that Kivar will try to get Liz pregnant--”

“What? How does he know that?”

“Tess and Lara. Something about a turning in the prophecy. I don’t quite understand it myself. They basically told Max, that since Kivar doesn’t know about Zan, he’ll want Liz to have his child so he can gain control of the Granilith. But now, to have it confirmed....”

She sighed sadly. “She did it to save us all. She knew about this. I’d bet my last nickel. If Kivar finds out about Zan, especially while he’s still gone, she knows Kivar will mind rape her to get the location of the Granilith.”

“Which Kivar would promptly destroy and any chance of Zan returning,” he said in awe. “She stopped the end of the world.”

She nodded and snuggled into his embrace. “She saved the One. Why does the Light always demand her to sacrifice everything?”

He kissed the top of her head. “That’s just who Liz is, baby. She’d sacrifice her life if it meant someone else could live. I have a feeling she’s been that way throughout time.”

*******************

He’d felt her. Just briefly, and then she was gone.

"I love you. Always."

Max growled in frustration at Liz’s stubbornness to let him in. She was blocking him. He could feel it. He’d been trying for the last twenty-four hours to reach her, but she wouldn’t open up. And now, that brief connection before it had been deliberately slammed shut, confirmed it.

"Damn it, Liz! Let me in. Let me find you. Please...."

Tired of pacing, he sat down on his bed. Unable to sleep at his parents’ house in the bed he and Liz had shared, he’d moved out to the Antarian compound two and half months ago. Here he could direct the search and know immediately if anything was found.

He ran his hands through his thick, black hair, which was now several inches longer than he usually wore it--almost touching the top of his shoulders. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had it cut. Isabelle kept nagging him to at least use his powers to shorten it back
up, but he just ignored her. When he wanted it out of his face, he just pulled it back.

Rubbing his face with fatigue, his fingertips scraped over the stubble that was there. He remembered how Liz use to tease him about his five o’clock shadow if he didn’t shave everyday. She’d whisper huskily into his ear and say, “Someone’s feeling dark and dangerous today,” and then give him her come hither look. What he wouldn’t give, to see that grin in person right now.

He laid back on the bed, and stared at the ceiling. He knew the others were concerned about his health, both mentally and physically. He knew they thought he was going to snap at any minute if he didn’t find her soon. And in a way, he supposed they were right. How long could a person last with half of his heart and soul missing?

Closing his eyes, he allowed himself a few minutes of sleep before he had to get up and continue the search.


“Daddy?”

Max opened his eyes to the white void. “Zan?” he whispered. Zan threw himself into his arms. He hugged his son as if he let him go, he’d lose him forever.

“Daddy,’ Zan said, giggling, “Daddy, you’re squishing me.”

“Sorry,” he mumbled, releasing his grip. “It’s just that I miss you so much.”

“I know. Mommy misses me too.”

“You’ve talked to Mommy?”

Zan nodded. “She’s so sad, Daddy. Why haven’t you gone to her and made her happy?”

“I can’t find her, Zan. Mommy won’t let me see her. Do you know where she is?”

“She’s trapped by the Darkness. The Light is protecting her, but you must help her, now. The bad man will hurt when he finds out she lied to him. Go to the mountains on the west side of the desert, past the Granilith. That’s where she is.”

“Did Mommy show you this?”

Zan looked down at his feet and shook his head. “I was snooping. When Mommy thought I’d left, I stayed to see her dreams and saw. I’m sorry.”

He smiled. “It’s okay, Zan. You did a good thing, because you found out where Mommy is, and that helps me so I can go and make her happy again.”

“You have to hurry Daddy. Kivar is going to hurt her. Help Mommy. Help Brianna.”

He looked at his son with confusion. “Who’s Brianna?”

Zan looked at him with wide, brown eyes and smiled. “My baby sister.”



Max jerked awake, shivering from the chill of the room on his sweat-soaked body.

"Thank you Zan. I will save your mother...and Brianna."

Grabbing the phone from the table, he quickly began to punch in Michael’s phone number. "I've found her. Call the others.”


**************************

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Nov-2001 12:07:39 PM ]
posted on 5-Nov-2001 12:05:34 PM
CHAPTER 12


“Okay Max, we’re all here, now what exactly have you found out about Liz?” Alex asked, as Tess and Kyle walked into the main hall of the commune.

“She’s in the mountains, west of the desert, past the Granilith. It’s where Kivar has established his base of operations,” he replied, pacing back and forth. “Zan came into my dream tonight and told me he’d found her.”

“Is he absolutely sure?” Michael asked.

He nodded. “He discovered it in her dream. He showed me what she sees when she looks out her window. I recognize the mountains from when Iz and I would go camping with our parents.”

“Shit!” Isabelle said loudly. “Of course! Why didn’t I remember this before? Kivar always told Vilandra that he preferred to have his back to the mountains whenever he was in battle. It made for a natural defense.”

Everyone stared at her in disbelief.

“What?” she asked, staring back.

“You couldn’t remember that fact three months ago?” Michael snapped.

“Hey, don’t yell at Bella,” Alex replied angrily, circling his arm around his wife’s shoulders. “She’s having a hard time of it right now remembering what she had for dinner last night. The pregnancy hormones are effecting her memory at the moment.”

“Alex...,” she admonished, blushing.

“Well I’m sorry, but he has no right to blame you for something you have no control over.”

“You’re pregnant?” Max asked softly.

She looked at the strange expression on her brother’s face, and nodded. “A little over three months.”

Kyle raised his hand. “Um...so is Tess.”

Everyone looked at Tess.

“How far along are you?” Max asked.

“A little over three months,” she whispered.

“And neither one of you could’ve bothered to tell us this two months ago?” Michael asked in exasperation. “You realize we’re this close to going to war, right?”

“Stop it Michael,” Maria demanded. “It does no use to yell at them now. It’s not like they planned it. Right guys?”

Isabelle and Tess nodded.

“See,” Maria said, smacking Michael in the arm. “Now, apologize.”

He glared at his wife.

“Max, what’s wrong?” Isabelle asked, noticing the expression on her his face.

“Liz is pregnant too,” he replied.

“How did you find out?” Maria asked in surprise.

“Maria!” Michael hissed.

Max stared at Maria. She shifted uncomfortably under his intense gaze. “You already knew that, didn’t you?” he said. “How long have you known?”

She looked at Michael, then back at Max.

“Tell me!” Max yelled angrily.

“Since the day I returned...,” she whispered, unable to meet his eyes. “She should be about three months along by now.”

Max turned his back on the group, his shoulders shaking.

Maria looked at Michael. He nodded and held her hand. “Liz made a deal with Kivar to willingly have his child in exchange for my freedom. When he was sure she was pregnant, he let me go. He told me to tell you that the baby is his.

“However, before I left, Liz was able to talk to me briefly. She said that Kivar can’t make a connection with the baby, not like you could with Zan. She wants to believe that the baby is yours, but she can’t be absolutely sure....”

The others sat silently, horrified by Maria’s story. Then they turned their gaze back to Max, realizing that he was being too quiet about Maria’s confirmation of Kivar’s plan.

Suddenly, Max turned around and nodded. “I see,” he said, no emotion in his voice. He looked at Michael. “Prepare the team. We leave at dawn.”

**********************

“Mommy?”

Liz opened her eyes to the familiarity of the white void. “Zan?”

“Here Mommy!” Zan replied, giggling.

She felt his small arms circle her hips and his head rest against her belly. She smiled down at him when he pressed his ear close as if listening to the baby that was growing inside.

He looked up at her and smiled. “I saw Daddy tonight. He’s coming for you, to make you happy again. He won’t let the bad man hurt my little sister.”

“No!” she said, horrified. “Daddy mustn’t come here. That’s what the bad man wants to happen. He will kill Daddy. Zan, you have to go back and tell him that!”

Zan pulled away and shook his head stubbornly. “No. You must have faith in the Light. It protects you. It protects Brianna. It protects Daddy too.”



She awoke to see Kivar leaning over her. She screamed.

Kivar grabbed a hold of her arms. “What did you see? Tell me!” he demanded angrily.

She remembered what Zan had said. The Light was protecting her. She decided she’d had enough. “I didn’t see anything, Kivar,” she said defiantly. “I was dreaming about the love of my life, my husband, Max!”

He pulled away from her startled by the look of contempt in her eyes. “What?”

“Did you really think that just because I’m pregnant with your child, that I would stop loving Max? Never! We are soulmates! You will never, ever have my love!” she screamed at him.

With a roar of rage, he lunged at her. “You are mine! You have always been mine. I will not let him steal you away from me again!”

She scrambled away from him, trying not to get tangled in the bedclothes.

He gave chase. “This time I will kill him and make sure that he can never be reborn. I will sever the tie between you permanently! But first, I am going to make you forget you ever heard of Max Evans,” he hissed.

She managed to make it to the door when he grabbed her. “Don’t you touch me!” she screamed, turning to face him. “Max will hunt you down--.”

His smile was one of pure evil. “That is what I am hoping for. And when he finds me, I will crush him, especially when I show him just what I have done to his beloved Queen!”

Feeling his hands pressing against the sides of her head, she realized what he was about to do.

She could feel Max searching for her, and Kivar latching onto the connection. She watched in her mind’s eye as Kivar’s energy surged towards Max’s unguarded mind. She couldn’t let him use her to destroy Max. "I’m so sorry my love. He’s too strong."

Tears slipping silently down her face, she visualized her connection to Max as a golden cord. Once the visual was solid in her mind, she mentally severed it, slicing cleanly. As the darkness came rushing back at her, she did the only thing she could do: she gathered all of her secrets and memories and retreated into the welcoming arms of the abyss.

***********************

Max stared at the house where he grew up. He remembered how as a child when ever he was hurt or upset, he would rush through the front door and throw himself into the comforting arms of his mother.

But he wasn’t a little boy anymore. And now, there were two women in the house who called themselves his mother. Making a decision, he went up to Isabelle’s old bedroom window and rapped on the glass.

A few seconds later, Lara appeared at the window, a look of surprise on her face. Quickly she opened the window, and let him in.

“We’re going to rescue Liz from Kivar’s compound tomorrow,” he said, no emotion in his voice. “We leave at dawn.”

“You’ve found her? That’s wonderful Max,” she said, a small smile on her face. “You don’t seem to happy about this....”

“Liz is pregnant.”

“I see.”

He looked at her angrily. “Do you? Do you really see...Mother?”

She studied him calmly, refusing to flinch.

He began to pace. “Liz made a deal with Kivar in exchange for Maria’s freedom. She’s three months along. It could be mine, or it could be Kivar’s.”

“So, why are you here? What are you searching for Max?”

“This is your fault!” he growled. “You and Larek let this happen when you didn’t tell us about Kivar. Because of that, my wife had to use her body as a bargaining chip for the life of her best friend!”

“This is all part of the Trial, my son--”

“Screw the trial! Screw the prophecy! I am not your son! Not anymore!” He suddenly sat down on the bed and began to sob. “How can she love me? After all I’ve put her through since that day in the Crashdown. Because of me, she’s been shot at, kidnapped, orphaned,
almost killed and now violated. I have been responsible for so much pain in her short life.”

Lara sat down beside him and pulled him into her embrace, rocking him as he cried the tears he hadn’t allowed himself to shed for the last three months. “Max, it will be okay,” she soothed. “Liz will survive this too, because she loves you. I don’t believe she blames you.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“How can you not? If you had not saved her that day, she would be dead, and Zan would never have existed. From what Philip and Diane have told me about Liz, you and Zan are her whole world.”

“But she won’t let me in. What if she’s scared that I won’t love her anymore if I discover that the baby she’s carrying isn’t mine?”

“Will you?”

“Will I what?”

“Will you stop loving her?”

“No,” he whispered, “She’s my everything. I will love her always.”

“Liz knows this. Why would you think differently? Is your faith in the love between the two of you so weak that it could be destroyed by another man’s child? Because, that is what you are implying.”

“I...I don’t mean to,” he whispered brokenly.

“The two of you are eternal mates. She believes in you. She willingly sacrificed eternity for you once. Sacrificing her dignity and her virtue to protect her loved ones is but a small thing to her after all that has come before.”

He wiped his eyes and pulled away. “Then why won’t she let me in?”

“Because she's trying to protect you. She knows you cannot face Kivar yet. The power he wields is too strong.”

“What if the eight of us join together like we’ve done in the past?”

She shook her head. “Not while Liz is possibly pregnant with Kivar’s child. The dark energy would corrupt the connection and kill all of you. You will have to wait until Zan returns.”

“If that’s true, then the rescue mission will fail. Should I just leave her there?”

“No. You must rescue her when Kivar is not around. If she stays, and the child she carries turns out to be yours, he will kill them both in a misguided attempt to begin the Second Age of Separation.”

“What--ahhh!” he yelled, sliding off the bed and onto the floor.

“Max! What is it?” she asked, frightened at the sight of him writhing in pain.

He clutched his head with both hands and attempted to push the darkness from his mind. Gasping, he began to shake. He’d never felt such evil before. Not even when he battled Nicholas so long ago. Then as quickly as it had begun, it ended.

Lara helped him off the floor into a standing position. “What happened?”

He leaned heavily on her as he tried to get his bearings straight and his thoughts in order. “I-I saw him. He was in my head.”

“Saw who?” she asked. “Who did you see, Max?”

He stared into her concerned, blue eyes. “Kivar. He’s broken into Liz’s mind. He was too strong. He tried to use our connection to get to me.”

“How did you get him out?”

“I didn’t. Liz did it. I think she severed our connection. I-I can’t feel her,” he said softly, tears shimmering in his eyes. “She’s gone.”


******************************************
posted on 5-Nov-2001 12:14:01 PM
CHAPTER 13


“Well, this is a surprise,” Kathana said, entering the dining room for breakfast. “Not eating with your precious Sera this morning?”

“She is not feeling well,” Kivar said.

“Really. Maybe the little brat is killing her,” she replied cattily.

“You will not say things like that about my son,” he demanded. “He is the future of our people.”

“I thought my son was supposed to be the future of our people?”

“Not likely. What would be so special about a child of yours?”

She frowned. “I am your Seer. I have been completely faithful to you, doing everything that you have ever asked of me. I love only you, unlike that faithless bitch you have breeding back there,” she snapped, motioning towards the hallway to the sleeping quarters.

He reached over and slapped her. “You will show your Queen proper respect.”

She cradled her red cheek, angry tears in her eyes. “She is not my queen. And she is not yours, either. Or have you forgotten that she already has a husband?”

“I am her husband in every sense of the word. Max Evans is of no consequence. She is having my child, and the power I will gain will crush him and his pathetic band of followers into dust.”

“What about us? What about your promise to me? You said we would rule the universe together. I gave you everything including my innocence.”

He snorted. “You have never been innocent, sister dear.”

“But you said--”

“You were a pale substitute. I lied. I told you what I wanted you to think. There is no Dark Seer. There can only be one Seer of Wisdom. She is the one who has access to either the Light or the Dark. Why do you think Sera receives flashes when she touches people? Only
her child can access the power of the Granilith for the Light or the Dark.”

He turned to leave, but paused to laugh cruelly at her. “You, my sweet sister, were merely a means to an end.”

Kathana stood in the middle of the empty dining room with tears streaming down her cheeks. “But you made me love you...,” she whispered brokenly.

***********************

Max, Michael, Maria, Tess, Kyle, Alex and Isabelle watched the compound from their hiding spot. As they looked down at the Skins who patrolled the perimeter, they began to formulate their rescue plan.

“Tess, can you keep up your mindwarp from here, or do we need to be closer?” Max asked.

Tess nodded. “It shouldn’t be too much of a strain. Since I’ve learned how to anchor my mind to someone else’s mind, I’ll be able to see what you see and know who and what to warp.”

“Good. Isabelle, you stay here with Alex and Kyle. You guys are our back up team,” he said, indicating Michael, Maria and himself.

“Max, what if you need more fire power?” Isabelle protested.

He smiled at his sister. “I know your worried. But you need to stay out of range. Both you and Tess have an obligation to keep your babies safe. I’m sure your husband would agree with me.”

Alex nodded.

“Don’t worry. Tess will know when we’re in trouble. Remember, we’re all much stronger than we were seven years ago. We’ve had a chance to practice and obtain full maturity of our gifts,” he reassured her.

“Fine. But the first sign of trouble, I’m coming in there after you,” Isabelle conceded.

“Maxwell,” Michael whispered. “Liz, at one o’clock.”

He looked down at the compound’s courtyard area and felt his heart skip a beat. There she was standing in the morning sunlight, her hair was longer and it shimmered more. She was standing sideways to them, and he could make out the slight bulge of her tummy.

"She’s showing faster than she did with Zan,” Maria murmured.

Max just stared hungrily at his petite wife. She looked so lost and alone. It took all of his will power not to rush down there and scoop her up.

“Who’s that with her?” Kyle whispered, as they observed a petite blonde female standing beside Liz.

"Probably a servant,” Tess whispered.

“Hey!” Maria hissed, pointing at the blond-haired man that was approaching Liz. “There he is! There’s Kivar!”

Max tore his gaze away from Liz to study his enemy. His eyes darkened with hate.

“How can you be sure?” Alex asked.

Maria looked at her friend and snorted. “Believe me, I never forget the faces of people who torture or kidnap me and my friends. It’s him. I’d recognize that aura of his
anywhere.”

Michael squeezed Maria’s hand in reassurance as he felt a shudder run through her body. "It’s okay, love. I’ll never let him hurt you again."

"I know. I love you, Space Boy."

“I’m going to kill him,” Max growled as he watched Kivar reach out and caress Liz’s cheek.

Michael grabbed Max by the arm to keep him from bolting. “No, Maxwell. You’re not strong enough to fight him alone. And we can’t do it without Liz or Zan. We have to sit tight. He has to leave sometime.”

Max glared at his best friend, then nodded. “I know.”

“I don’t believe it!” Isabelle gasped. “He’s leaving!”

Everyone turned their attention back to the courtyard in time to see Kivar walk away from Liz towards a black Suburban with dark-tinted windows. They watched as he said something to a man, who from his build was obviously a guard, then get into the passenger side of the Suburban and shut the door.

“Okay, it looks like we’re moving now,” Max said, as soon as Kivar’s vehicle was out of sight. “Michael. Maria. Tess. Ready to form the connection?”

Nodding, they and joined hands.

Staring into Michael’s eyes, Max pushed with his mind, and soon found himself inside Michael’s head. He could hear Maria’s “buzz” and smiled.

"I know, I know. She goes on like this for hours. The only way I can shut her up is to kiss her."

"Like you complain, Space Boy. Really Max, don’t listen to a word he says."

"Can you two shush long enough for Tess to get in?"

"Already in. You guys are good to go."

“Did it work?” Kyle asked anxiously, staring at his wife’s blank expression.

Max blinked and focused back in on the others. “It worked. She’s anchored. And the three of us can hear each other perfectly. If we aren’t back in thirty minutes, get the hell out of here.”

“No,” Alex said firmly. “The only way we leave without you guys is if Tess says to leave. She’ll let us know. It might take you a little longer than expected to find her. Remember, you’re going in there blind. You can’t feel her here like you could in Copper Summit.”

He nodded. “Fine. You and Kyle keep your eyes peeled. We can’t afford to have you guys ambushed. Isabelle, you’re the fire power. Tess will be too occupied to help. Can you handle it?”

She glared at her brother. “Of course. What kind of question is that?”

He smiled. “Sorry, forgot who I was talking to there for a minute.”

“Max, she’s going back inside,” Kyle said softly. “It looks like the guard detail is thinning out. If you’re planning on going through that side door, you’re going to have at least two Skins to take care of before you can get in there.”

Max nodded. "Ready?"

Michael and Maria nodded.

"Then let’s go."

*************************

The first two guards were easily taken down. Michael knocked one of them unconscious long enough to copy his hand print before dusting him. Quickly, he opened the door. "Well, at least we know Tess’ mindwarp is working."

As they crept along the hallway, Maria poked Michael in the arm. "Isn’t that the servant we saw with Liz earlier?"

Michael and Max both looked at where she pointed, and nodded.

"She might know where Liz is being kept. Grab her." Max ordered Michael.

Michael double-checked the hallway, then hurried behind the young woman and grabbed her, cupping his hand over her mouth.

The blonde struggled briefly, but stopped when she saw Max standing before her.

“Do you know who I am?” Max whispered.

The woman nodded.

“Then you also know why I'm here. Where is she? Where’s Liz?”

The woman looked at him in confusion.

“The petite, brunette woman that Kivar is keeping here. She’s pregnant. Very pretty,” Maria elaborated softly. “Sometimes referred to as the Seer.”

The woman’s eyes widened in recognition.

“If you scream,” Michael warned, “You’re dust. Understand?”

The woman nodded, and Michael removed his hand from her mouth. “You want to know where Sera is?” she asked.

Max nodded.

“She’s in her quarters eating breakfast.”

“Which way? Take us there,” Michael demanded.

The woman looked at them in fear. “She is to be Kivar’s queen when the child is born. He will be angry if you take her. Surely you can find another human to mate with.”

Max’s eyes narrowed in anger. “It will be extremely difficult for Kivar to take her as his queen, when she already has a husband, me!” he growled. “I want my wife back. Michael, dust her.”

The woman trembled. “No wait! I will help you. Her room is this way.”

Max nodded, his face showing no emotion.

*******************

Kathana opened the door to Liz’s room and peeked in. Spotting Liz sitting on the bed with her back to her, she looked around to see if they were alone. Satisfied that they were, she entered and locked the door behind her.

“Tsk, tsk,” Kathana purred, advancing slowly on Liz. “How careless of Kivar to leave you unattended. Something bad could happen to you and that brat you carry.”

Liz didn’t move or turn to acknowledge Kathana’s presence.

Kathana frowned angrily and grabbed her by the arm. “You will look at me when I talk to you, human,” she sneered angrily, turning Liz to face her.

She released her grip suddenly as she was met with a blank stare. She waved her hands in front of Liz’s face, but her brown eyes remained blank and unseeing. “What the hell?” she murmured and placed a hand on Liz’s head.

Probing quickly, she discovered the reason behind her adversary’s unresponsiveness--the essence that made Liz, Liz, was gone. She’d been mind raped and left nothing but an empty shell. All her memories and thoughts were gone.

Taking a step back, Kathana stared at her, smiling coldly as her gaze rested on the slight swell of Liz’s abdomen. “So, you are going to be the mother of the One,” she said, her voice like ice. “I do not think so.”

Kathana’s eyes suddenly filled with tears. “I was supposed to be the mother of the One. He promised me. He said he loved me,” she whispered brokenly, lost in memories.

Suddenly, she blinked and her expression went from sadness to one of pure evil. “I can still be his Seer. If you and your brat are dead, he will have to turn back to me.”

Seeing the knife laying on Liz’s food tray, she snatched it up and lightly ran the blade against Liz’s cheek, leaving a thin, red, seeping line of blood in the knife’s wake.

Liz didn't even flinch.

“Yes, this will do nicely. If I use my powers, he will know that I killed you. And we cannot have that, can we?" she murmured, raising the knife above her shoulder. “See you in the next life, Seer.”

****************************

Max, Michael and Maria followed the directions the female Skin gave them. Michael kept a firm grip on her arm as they wound their way through the corridors of Kivar’s compound.

“Is this it?” Max demanded, when they stopped in front of a door.

The woman nodded.

Michael looked at Maria. "Is she lying?"

She looked at the Skin and shook her head. "Nope. Her aura is still clear. This is it."

Max nodded and looked at Michael.

“Thank you for your help,” Michael said to the servant girl. “But, we can’t have you warning the others.”

The woman’s eyes widened with fear just before she disintegrated into dust.

Michael looked up at Maria. "Why did you do that? I was just going to knock her unconscious."

She looked at him without emotion. "This is war Michael. How many times have you told me that in the last seven years? One less Skin to worry about and no loose ends."

Max motioned at Liz’s bedroom door. "Maria’s right. Now let’s go."

They burst into the room just in time to see Kathana plunge the knife into Liz.

“No!” Max screamed in horror as he watched Liz slump over on the bed.

Michael shot a powerful blast of energy at Kathana when she raised the knife again. Kathana flew backwards, slamming into the wall.

Max and Maria rushed over to Liz.

Kathana stood up, throwing her own energy blast at Michael.

Michael was thrown backwards and over the couch.

Seeing Kathana’s aura brighten as her power surged, Maria did the only thing she could do. She picked up the heavy brass lamp from the bedside table and threw it at Kathana.

Kathana staggered from the force of the lamp connecting with the side of her head. Righting herself, she glared at Maria. “I guess you did not learn your lesson from the last time, you stupid ape. Now, I will kill you!”

As soon as her attention turned towards Maria, Michael stood up and sent all of his energy in one powerful blast at Kathana. “No one tortures my wife or threatens my daughter and lives,” he growled.

Kathana screamed as she realized her mistake and felt his energy envelop her. “No!”

Michael grunted in satisfaction as she exploded into a cloud of flaky dust, then winced as he realized that at least one of his ribs was broken. He glanced at Max. “Hurry up, Maxwell. Do your mojo and let’s get the hell out of here.”

“I can’t connect with her,” Max said frantically, his heart breaking as he realized why he couldn't get into Liz's mind. “There’s so much blood.”

Maria inspected Liz’s wound. “It looks like when we burst in, we threw off the bitch’s aim. She stabbed Liz in the upper left quadrant of her chest. We need something to help stop the blood flow until we can get her home.”

Max took off the black T-shirt he was wearing and ripped it in half to form a bandage.

Maria quickly wrapped Liz’s wound, fastening it tightly. “There that should hold her.”

“Hurry up guys,” Michael urged, peering out the door. “I think the guards have been alerted to our presence. We’re going to have to go out the window.”

Max scooped up Liz’s limp form, as Michael used his powers to blast out the window.

Michael went first, helping Maria through, then taking Liz from Max.

As Max climbed out the window, he felt a blast of energy hit the wall close to his head. He threw up his shield and slipped out. “Run!” he yelled at Michael and Maria. “I’ll hold them off. Get Liz out of here.”

“Maxwell--”

“Don’t argue with me Michael. That’s an order!”

“Come on Michael. Max will be fine,” Maria urged her husband.

“Fine, but if you don’t show up at the designated spot in two minutes, I’m coming back for you.”

“Don’t bother,” Max said, “If I don’t show in two minutes, I’ll be dead. Now go!”

****************************

“Where’s Max?” Isabelle demanded frantically as Michael and Maria burst through the underbrush.

“He got a little detained,” Michael said, handing Liz’s unconscious body to Kyle. “He’ll be here.”

“You left him behind!” she screeched.

“He ordered us to get Liz to safety,” Maria said, checking Michael’s side. “We didn’t really have time to argue. Michael’s hurt. One of his ribs is broken. He needs you to fix it.”

“Max said if he wasn’t back in two minutes, we’re to leave,” Michael gasped as Isabelle thrust her hand over his tender ribs, and began to heal the break.

“No, we don’t leave here until everyone is back,” Isabelle hissed. “Understood, Michael?”

“Like I would leave him behind.”

“Where’s Alex?” Maria asked suddenly, looking around.

Isabelle and Michael stopped arguing to realize what Maria had just asked.

“Oh my God!” Isabelle gasped as she searched her connection with her husband, “He’s gone after Max!”

“Shit! He’s going to get himself killed,” Michael growled and began to go after Alex.

“Oh that’s just what I want to hear!” Isabelle snapped.

“Would you two cut it out!” Maria hissed. “You’re shouting is going to give our hiding spot away. Besides, I think Alex has everything under control. Look.”

Down below them, they spotted Max trapped between two sets of Skins. He was being bombarded with energy blasts, and they could see that his energy shield was beginning to weaken. Suddenly, the Skins behind Max went flying in opposite directions like marionettes being yanked by their strings. Max took the opportunity to run towards their hiding spot, meeting Alex halfway.

Enveloping Alex inside his shield, the two men continued running for their lives.

Alex glanced over his shoulder at the group following them and sent two of them flying backwards, knocking over the rest of their pursuers, allowing them to duck into the underbrush.

“Everyone to the cars!” Tess yelled, as she came out of the mindwarp.

Michael stayed behind to watch as Max and Alex came crashing through the underbrush.

“Help me get him to the car,” Alex said, supporting Max. “He used a lot of energy.”

As Michael and Alex shoved him into Tess’ SUV, Max spotted Liz lying in the back seat. He quickly cradled her to him, pressing his lips into her hair. He laid his hand on her belly to see if the baby was okay.

There was no response from the baby. Not even a flutter. He couldn’t make a connection. There was no glow.

“It’ll be okay, my love,” he vowed, murmuring softly in her ear, and hoping that she could hear him. “The baby will be fine. You’ll be okay. I won’t let Kivar destroy us. Never again.”


***************************************
posted on 5-Nov-2001 12:20:56 PM
CHAPTER 14


It had been three days since he and the others had rescued Liz from Kivar’s compound, and still, there’d been no change in her condition.

Her stab wound was healing nicely after a doctor, who Jim knew could be discreet, had cleaned and stitched it up. Yet, there was no sign of her coming out of the catatonia any time soon. She just sat silently staring at nothing. She ate when he fed her, she slept when tired, but it was as if she were just an automaton going through the motions of living.

During those three days, he refused to leave her side. He had Michael keep him apprised of all pertinent information concerning Kivar. So far, they’d not heard from the evil alien leader or his followers, but that could change at any moment. To make retaliation more difficult, he’d ordered everyone, including their parents, moved immediately to the compound for protection.

In between updates from Michael, he sat with Liz, talked to her, held her and took care of her. Occasionally, he’d place his hand over her abdomen to check on the baby, but still, he couldn't get a response. The lack of a connection like he’d had with Zan, frustrated and scared the hell out of him at the same time. He knew the baby was fine, because the doctor that had fixed Liz’s shoulder, had also checked on the baby. He’d said the
heartbeat was strong and steady, but he wouldn’t be completely satisfied until he could feel for himself.

*********************

Standing in the doorway of Max and Liz’s bedroom, it broke Lara’s heart to watch her son with his wife. He was lying on top of the bed beside Liz, gently stroking her arm and watching her sleep. She knew he was hoping that Liz would just wake up and be her old self, but after observing her for the last three days, Lara knew differently. Liz would never come back.

Dreading what she was about to tell him, Lara walked into the bedroom. “Max,” she said softly, walking over to the bed.

He didn’t respond.

“I know you blame me for Liz’s condition, Max--”

He glared up at her. “Blame you? Hell yes, I blame you,” he hissed angrily. “If you and Larek had told me the truth to begin with, I could’ve prevented this from happening to her.”

Her eyes misted over, but she steeled herself and continued. “Max, she will never return to you.”

He stared at her, contempt and despair warring in his gaze. “Yes, she will. We’re eternal soulmates. She’ll never leave me. She’ll come back. You’ll see.”

“No Max, she will not. She cannot. Kivar mind raped her. He stripped her of her memories and her thoughts, leaving behind only the shell you see before you.”

“What do you know?” he asked with contempt.

“I know, because I have seen this before. It is why you cannot form a connection with her. The essence that made her your beloved Liz, is gone.”

“I refuse to believe it,” he whispered, turning his gaze back to Liz. He reached out and softly stroked her cheek. “She’s in there. I felt HER deliberately sever our connection, not Kivar. She can come back.”

She looked at Liz thoughtfully. “Then she may have a chance, but there is nothing anyone here can do for her. If what you say is true, and she did this to herself, then only your love and the power of the Light can bring her back. Take her to the Granilith.”

*******************

He watched closely as the people, both younger and older, who’d become his family over the last eight years, enter the bedroom. Their expressions of sadness as they looked at Liz lying curled up on the bed, made him angry. "Why does everyone think it’s hopeless?"

Once everyone was settled, he began to speak. “I’m taking Liz to the Granilith. And, I’m going alone.”

“No way, Maxwell,” Michael said, crossing his arms. “It’s too dangerous.”

“Your objection is noted, but overruled,” he replied. “I am going. I didn’t call everyone in here to debate this, but to tell you of my decision. Lara has informed me that if Liz has deliberately put herself in this state, then I’m the only one who can bring her out of it.”

“But why can’t you do it here with us?” Isabelle asked. “Surely, the seven of us can reach her together.”

He shook his head. “I’m her soulmate. I’m the only one she’ll recognize on the next plane of existence.”

“What?” Alex asked in confusion.

“If what Lara has told me is true, Liz’s essence maybe trapped in an existence between the physical plane, and the spiritual plane. I believe it’s the void where the First was banished to before the Age of Separation.”

“The reason why her aura is gone, but she’s still alive,” Maria whispered in understanding.

“What?” Michael asked.

“According to the one of the ancient texts,” Tess spoke up, “there have been cases where a person has deliberately severed their essence from their physical body in an attempt to escape great pain, or to try to reach a higher understanding of the Light.”

“Like astral projection,” Amy Valenti said, shifting a sleeping Sam in her arms.”

Tess nodded. “Yes. But, there were never any cases where the person was able to come back from it. Their bodies continued to live and grow old, but their essence was gone. It was as if they had no anchor so they could find their way back.”

“But Liz has an anchor,” Kyle spoke up. “Max. She always finds her way back to Max.”

“But why go to the Granilith, Max?” Jim asked.

“Because, it’s the only way I can access the plane she’s trapped in,” he replied. “It’s the only thing that has the power to take me there.”

“Then you must go,” Diane Evans said softly.

Everyone looked at her in surprise.

Diane stared at the man her son had grown into, and tears filled her eyes at the pain he was in. “Liz is everything to you, and to this family. She is our center. And if there is anyway you can bring her back, I, for one, support your decision.”

“Me too, son,” Philip agreed, clasping his wife’s small hand within his large one.

He looked at the others, and one by one they nodded. When he finally came to Michael, he looked at him warily. “What would you do if it were Maria?” he asked quietly.

Michael looked down at Maria, who sat on the edge of the bed, holding Cassie. “Anything possible,” he replied. “I won’t stop you.”

He looked at his best friend with gratitude. “Thank you.”

Michael grunted and hugged Maria to him.

Suddenly, Cassie wiggled out of her mother’s lap and onto the bed. She crawled over to Liz, and patted her softly on the cheek. “Poor Aunt Liz,” she whispered, and quickly hugged Zan’s blanket that she carried everywhere. “You keep Woobie. No be scared,” she said,
laying the faded-blue blanket over Liz’s prone form, before crawling back into Maria’s lap.

Cassie stared up at Maria, her hazel eyes wide and knowledgeable. “Aunt Liz is scared of the Dark. Woobie will protect her until Uncle Max can help her.”

*********************

Inside the cold, barren chamber, he cradled Liz in his arms and stared up at the humming Granilith. He remembered the first time that they’d seen the Granilith and the memories of his former life on Antar that had surfaced that day. He also remembered the day they’d all come together to use the Granilith to save Alex’s life and literally bring him back from the dead. And, finally, he remembered the night he and Liz had conceived their son in this very room, and the day they’d let him go to meet his destiny.

Gently, he kissed the top of her head, and whispered into her ear. “I love you, Liz. I have loved you since time began, and I will love you long after it ends. We are connected across the ages. No one can end that connection, not even you. I will find you. Always.”

Taking a deep breath, he drew Zan’s Woobie tighter around her body and touched the Granilith. “Please Liz, come back to me.”


He was in the void, but he was alone in the whiteness.

“Liz!” he called out, panic setting in.

“She’s not here, Daddy.”

He turned to find Zan standing behind him.

“Zan! Where is she? Where’s Mommy?” he asked, bending down to look him in the eye.

Zan stared at him, a solemn expression on his young face. “She’s lost in the Darkness. She’s afraid, Daddy. Help her find her way back.”

“I will Zan. I promise. Can you show me where the Darkness is?”

Zan nodded and grabbed his father’s hand. “This way.”

Together, they traveled through the white starkness of the void. He didn’t know how long they walked, and he couldn’t tell if they were actually making any progress, but he had faith. Faith in Liz and her love, in Zan and his destiny and most of all, faith in the Light that this time around, he and Liz would be together forever.

Suddenly, they were standing at the edge of the Darkness.

Zan looked up at his father. “You must go alone. I can’t cross over yet. It isn’t time. But, I will light the way.” Zan produced a small glowing orb in his hands. “As you get closer to Mommy, this light will grow brighter.”

He took the orb from his son.

“Hurry Daddy. The Dark is closing in on her. It’s drawn to her light and wants to consume her. She fights, but she’s getting weaker.”

“I will Zan. I’ll find Mommy and bring her back to both of us.” Taking a deep breath, he stepped into the Dark.

He found himself immediately surrounded by an inky blackness. The orb he held in his hands glowed steadily and cut a path for him through the nothingness. He held it out and scanned the areas in front of him. When he saw a slight surge in the light’s intensity, he followed it.

He didn’t know how far he’d traveled through the blackness, when he finally spotted her. She lay huddled in a small pool of white light, silent and trembling. “Liz!”

“Go away,” she mumbled, refusing to make eye contact. “You’re not real.”

“But I am,” he said, falling to his knees in front of her.

“No, you’re not! You’re just an illusion that Kivar created. It won’t work. I will not give up my soul or my love to him. It belongs only to Max...my Max.”

He felt his heart contract at her declaration. “Kivar isn’t here Liz. You got away. Michael, Maria, Alex, Isabelle, Kyle, Tess and I came and rescued you from him. You’re safe. You can come back with me.”

Liz shook her head, whimpered and closed her eyes.

He noticed that the Darkness was creeping closer. “Please beloved, you have to look at me, so I can connect with you. Then you’ll know that what I’m saying is true. We all need you to come back.”

“No.”

“Elizabeth Parker Evans, you look at me, now! You have to fight it. If you don’t, the Darkness wins, and I’ll lose you forever,” he demanded, tears running down his face.

“I’m so tired of fighting. Max will be so disappointed in me. When he learns about the baby and what I’ve done....”

“That isn’t true,” he said, trying to gather her trembling form into his embrace. “I know what you did to save Maria. I know about Brianna. I love you. I love our daughter. Please, come back to me, to us.”

Liz looked up into his eyes, and he felt her pain as he suddenly found himself drowning in her chocolate brown eyes.

"Why do you always think of chocolate when you look at my eyes?"

He smiled down at her through his tears. "I can’t help it. I’m addicted to the stuff. Kind of like I’m addicted to you."

“Max?” she whispered, reaching up to touch his cheek. “It’s really you.”

“Yes beloved, it’s me,” he said, and handed her Zan’s light orb. “Hold tightly on to this. We need it to get out of here before the Darkness closes in on us completely.”

She stared at the orb in wonder, then back at him. “You found me,” she whispered in amazement.

Cradling her against his chest, he quickly carried her back the way he’d come. “I’ll always find you. You should know that by now. I’m your anchor, and you’re mine. Now, concentrate on the orb. It’s Zan’s. He’ll help lead us out of this fathomless hell.”

She nodded and together, they watched as the orb grew brighter, driving back the darkness until they were in a tunnel of white light.

At the end of the tunnel, stood Zan, jumping up and down, and grinning from ear to ear.

“Zan!” she cried out as they reached him, stepping safely back into the white void.

He set her down, so she could hug their son. His heart felt so full at the sight of the two people he loved most in the world.

“Zan, my beautiful boy, I’ve missed you. Do you get to come home with us now?” she asked hopefully.

Zan shook his head. “Not yet, but soon.”

“When?” she asked, trying not to cry with her disappointment.

“When Brianna is born.”

“Then I will be waiting outside the Granilith for you,” Max said, picking Zan up and hugging him.

When he was set back down, Zan peeked up at Liz from underneath his bangs. “Are you mad that I told, Mommy?”

Smiling, she shook her head. “No baby, I’m not mad. Thank you. Because of you, Daddy was able to bring me home safely.”

Zan reached out and touched her tummy, grinning when it began to glow. “My sister is happy to be away from the Dark. She didn’t like that man. He was mean to you.” Zan removed his hand, and the glow faded.

Seeing the sadness in Liz’s expression, Max reached down and placed his hand on the slight bulge of her stomach. Leaning in, he murmured in her ear, “It doesn’t matter to me who her biological father is. Brianna is my daughter. I will love her as much as I love Zan, just
because she’s yours.”

She looked at him, her eyes shimmering with tears. She quickly looked down, in an attempt to hide them from him. “Max!” she gasped.

He looked down and stared in amazement as her abdomen began to glow faintly. As they watched, the light grew brighter until it shone with a beautiful lavender glow.

Liz looked at Zan, who stood before them a big smile plastered across his face. “How?” she asked.

“The Light was protecting you. Kivar couldn’t find out. Brianna is too important. Now that you’re safe, her true light can shine through.”



Max opened his eyes and discovered that he was sitting on the floor with Liz curled up in his arms. His right hand was resting on her stomach, glowing brightly. Smiling, he looked back up and found himself staring into Liz’s joy-filled eyes.

“She’s mine, Liz,” he whispered in awe. “Brianna is our daughter.”

***********************

They talked inside the Granilith Chamber until the wee hours of the morning. Telling each other of all that they’d been through in the three long months that they’d been separated. He held her tightly as he “saw” all of the pain and degradation Kivar had put her through.
She tried to pull away.

“No,” he told her, “Don’t ever pull away from me again. When you severed our connection, it felt as if half of me had died. I don’t ever want to feel that way again. Don’t ever block me again either, no matter how painful it maybe for me. Promise me.”

She looked at him, tears in her eyes. “I’m sorry I hurt you Max. I’m sorry I did what I did. But if I had to do it over again, I would. To save you. To save everyone.”

He held her close and kissed the top of her head. “Well, you’ll never have to because I won’t let Kivar near you ever again.”

She smiled and looked deep into his eyes. "Make love to me Max."

"Oh, I intend to, the moment I get you back home."

She shook her head. “No. Now. Here. Where we first made love. Help me erase the memory of what Kivar did. I need to remember what it feels like to be touched by love.”

“But there’s no bed this time, just a hard, cold floor--”

“It doesn’t matter. Please.”

He looked into her pleading eyes and was lost. Capturing her mouth with his, he felt his body tighten in welcome anticipation of what it had been longing for in the last three months. But he didn’t want to rush this. He would take his time. He pulled away.

She looked at him in confusion.

"I want you, love. Just relax and enjoy what I do to you. It’s been too long. I need to do this slowly. I want to do this slowly."

She shivered in anticipation as she saw and felt through their connection exactly what he wanted to do to her. Sighing, she rubbed her cheek against the palm of his hand. "I’ve missed this so much, Max. To feel you, inside my head. To know what you’re thinking and
feeling."


"I know." He began to kiss her softly along her jaw to her ear where he gently suckled her earlobe.

She whimpered, and he smiled. Cupping the back of her head with one hand so he could concentrate on nibbling her neck, his used his other hand to unbutton the shirt she was wearing. Slowly, he slipped her shirt from her shoulders and continued kissing her neck, working his way to her collarbone, then to the swell of her breasts.

She ran her hands through his thick, black hair reveling in the silky feel of it between her fingers. She gasped as the cool air in the Granilith room hit her suddenly naked breasts, then sighed as she felt his hands and mouth begin to work their magic.

He loved the feel of her beneath his hands. She was as soft and as sweet as he remembered, if not more so. He glanced down at the slight swell of her abdomen and
smiled.

She felt his male pride at the thought of his child was growing inside of her, and she chuckled mentally.

"What?"

"Nothing. Just enjoying your maleness."

"Uh-huh. Stand up."

She did as he asked, trembling when he undid the drawstring of her pants and pulled them down over her hips, allowing the soft, linen material to puddle at her feet.

He sucked in his breath as he stared at her bathed in the glow from the Granilith. He ran his hands over every inch of her skin as she stood there staring into his eyes. Responding to the love he saw shining there, he quickly pulled off his charcoal gray pullover to reveal his firmly-muscled, upper body. Unzipping his jeans, he paused and lightly sniffed the air. The familiar and heady musk of her arousal assaulted his senses. Growling softly, he quickly discarded his jeans and boxers to stand proudly before her.

She stared at him hungrily, before stepping forward to press her bare flesh against his own, enjoying the feel of his hardness against her softness. She shivered again.

"Cold?"

“Hardly,” she whispered. “Now, Max.”

Nodding, he lifted her up so that she could wrap her legs around his waist. As he lowered himself to his knees, he let her slide down his body so that just the tip of him was encased by her silken heat. He groaned as he sat back on his heels and felt her slide down the rest of his length. He bit his lower lip and buried his face in her neck to keep from going over the edge. "Too long."

Nodding, she began to rock her hips against him, gasping at the sensations as their connection opened to its fullest. She couldn’t tell where she ended and he began. They were one. They were complete. The cry that tore from her throat as she came, was quickly echoed by his own.

It was several minutes before either one moved. They sat there clinging to each other, listening to the sound of their breathing and the steady hum of the Granilith.

"I love you, Liz. Always."

"Always, Max. Always."


************************
posted on 5-Nov-2001 12:25:45 PM
CHAPTER 15


They returned to the Antarian compound after daybreak. As the sun began to warm the air around them, and he watched its light caress Liz’s features making her seem to glow, Max felt a peace that he hadn’t felt since before they’d returned to Roswell.

Liz, hearing his thoughts, smiled at him and squeezed his hand.

Walking through the gates, they were greeted by their family, friends and subjects.

“Liz!” Maria squealed, throwing her arms around her best friend. “I was so afraid you were gone forever. Don’t ever do that to me again. Okay, chica?”

She smiled and hugged Maria back. “I missed you too. Are you okay? Did Kathana hurt you badly?”

Maria shook her head, tears in her eyes. “No, and we won’t have to worry about that bitch ever again. Michael dusted her.”

Liz looked at Michael, who was standing off to the side with Cassie. Michael nodded at her, saying thank you for her sacrifice in order to save Maria in his silent way.

She nodded back, then looked at Cassie. “Hey pixie! I believe I have something that belongs to you,” she said, taking Zan’s Woobie from Max.

Cassie squealed in delight and quickly ran forward to hug her and reclaim the special blanket. “Oh Aunt Liz, I knew you’d come back. Did you see Zan?”

She laughed, hugging Cassie. “I did pixie, and he says hello and wanted me to tell you that he’ll be back when the baby is born.”

Isabelle, Alex, Tess and Kyle quickly hugged Liz also, and expressed their gratitude that she was back with them safe and sound.

Liz eyed Isabelle and Tess and their swelling bellies. “Well, it looks like you two are going to have your hands full in a few months. Was it something in the water?” she asked rubbing her own slight protrusion.

Maria laughed. “No, otherwise, I’d have caught it too.”

Suddenly, the crowd of well-wishers went silent, and Michael raised his hand at something outside the gates, behind them.

Max and Liz turned as one to stare at the slight, nervous-looking man standing a few feet behind them.

“Your Highness,” the man stuttered, sweating profusely. “You are to consider this a formal summons to attend a summit that His Majesty, Kivar, has called for. It will be held in the desert between the mountains and the town of Roswell two days from now.”

Max studied the quaking Skin, then smiled coldly. “You can go back and tell your “Majesty” that there will be no summit, because he has no power. I am the king. He is nothing more than a pretender to the throne. There is nothing to discuss. And, if Kivar dares to show his face around here, I will kill him and all who follow him. Is that understood?”

“But--”

“No buts. Inform Kivar that a price has been placed upon his head for treasonous acts against the Queen and endangerment of my child’s life.”

“I beg to differ with you. Your “Queen” is faithless, and the child she carries belongs to His Majesty, Kivar. He insists that she be returned to him."

“Insists? Insists?” Max asked with a quiet intensity that made the hapless Skin before him tremble. “He can insist all he wants, but it will be a cold day in hell before Kivar gets anywhere near my wife, ever again. Now leave, or you won’t live to give Kivar my reply.”

The little man stared at the angry crowd of Antarians and humans, and backed away, slowly. “You will regret not backing Kivar,” he stammered pointing a finger at the crowd. “He is the father of the One. For your foolishness, you will all die.”

***********************

“Is this not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?” Maria squealed holding up the tiny pink and white gingham dress. “She’ll look darling in it.”

Liz took the dress from her best friend and studied it. In her mind’s eye, she could see Brianna wearing the dress, a tiny pink bow in her shock of dark, wavy hair. She smiled at the adorable picture. “I think that makes care of Brianna,” she said, adding the dress to the small pile of clothes in her arms. “Now what about you two?”

Isabelle and Tess looked at the baby clothes they were carrying.

“They’re just so cute,” Tess sighed. “I want to buy them all.”

“Yeah, but there are only seven days in the week. And if your kids are like Cassie and Zan were, they’re going to spend a lot of time in a T-shirt and diaper,” Maria said.

“Not to mention they grow so fast that they’ll only wear them for a short time,” Liz added, remembering how fast Zan had changed during the first year of his life.

“I know,” Isabelle sighed, and put four of her least favorite outfits back on the rack. “There. You think half a dozen will work?”

Maria and Liz looked at one another, grinned and nodded.

“What about car seats and strollers?” Maria asked, eyeing the baby furniture and accessories part of the store.

“Mom said she’d buy the stroller,” Isabelle replied, “And Daddy said he’d take care of the other.”

“Jim and Amy are buying those for us too,” Tess replied, and headed toward the cash register.

As the four women left the shop, they decided to go have some lunch at the little outdoor cafe across the street before heading back to the compound.

“So, do you think Kivar will try anything?” Maria asked, looking at Isabelle, after the waitress had given them their food and left. “It’s been a week since our visitor to the compound.”

Isabelle sighed and glanced at Liz. “From what I can remember, he doesn’t take no for an answer. When he sets his mind to something, he’ll keep after it until it’s his. He was that way with Vilandra.”

She pushed the salad around on her plate. “He won’t give in. He’s obsessed. He thinks the baby is his...the One. I just hope we’re strong enough to hold him off until Zan returns.”

“You don’t think the eight of us can defeat him before then?” Maria asked.

She shook her head. “The power he wields is unbelievably strong. Zan will be the only one who can match him in strength.”

“Liz is right. All we can do is take care of the other Skins and try to keep Kivar in a stalemate,” Tess agreed.

“Are you guys done?” Liz asked looking over her shoulder at the parking lot across the street. “I think we need to get back to the compound ASAP. I think we’re being watched.”

“What? Where?” Maria asked.

“I’m not sure,” she replied as she gathered her bags. “I’ve been getting twinges all day, but I just thought it was paranoia from before. Now though, someone’s definitely there, and they’re not friendly.”

Quickly the others gathered up their bags and left money on the table for their meals. As they left the restaurant, Maria spotted their spy.

“Skins at three o’clock. I can tell by their auras.”

“They’re going to try and get Liz,” Tess said. “Come on, we have to hurry.”

"Liz! What’s wrong?"

"We’re be followed, Max. We’re on First and Main, across the street from The Baby Boutique.”

"We’re on our way. Take cover in one of the stores. Stick together. They’re less likely to try anything in a public place."


“The bookstore,” Liz said, and the others nodded in agreement.

The girls entered the large store and discovered it was busy with the Storytime crowd and their parents. The four of them went to the Childcare section and waited.

“Oh my God!” Maria whispered, ducking back behind the bookshelf. “Four Skins coming through the front door.”

"Max, four male Skins just walked in."

"We’re on the road. Stay out of sight."


“Well?” Isabelle said, looking at them with a pissed off expression. “I’m not cowering between the shelves, no matter what Alex says. I think we can handle four little Skins by ourselves.”

“Tess create a mindwarp,” Liz said, peeking around the corner. “They’re splitting up. Two of them are headed in this direction. When they walk past, they’re dust.”

The others nodded.

“Okay, that was easy,” Maria said, brushing Skin dust out of her hair.

“What about Twiddledee and Twiddledum?”

“Best defense is a good offense,” Isabelle whispered, a deadly gleam in her eye. “Come on Tess. We’ll go take care of them. Meet you guys up by the registers.”

As Liz and Maria walked off in the other direction, they turned a corner and ran right into two more men.

“Aw shit,” Maria said, noticing their auras, “Where’d you two come from?”

“Kivar wishes for you to return. Now,” one of the men said, grabbing Liz by the arm.

“I suggest neither one of you make any noise, or I’ll be forced to use this,” the other one threatened, showing them the gun tucked inside his jacket.

Liz and Maria looked at one another than back at the Skins. “Whatever,” they replied in unison, and let themselves be led towards the registers where Tess and Isabelle were already waiting.

Suddenly, the guards stopped and looked around in confusion. Their prisoners had disappeared. It was their last thought before they too met the same fate as their four compatriots.

“Nice warp, Tess.”

“Thanks Maria. Now, let’s get out of here before more of them decide to show up.”

******************

Max stood at the front of the Gathering Hall observing the Antarians as they took their seats. His expression was grave. The incident in town today had been too close.

True...Liz, Maria, Isabelle and Tess had managed to defend themselves before he and the guys had gotten there, but it still had been too close for his liking. Kivar was bold, determined and obsessed. A dangerous combination to Liz and their child.

He stepped forward and the room quieted. All eyes were on him. “As many of you have heard by now,” Max said, his voice clear and commanding, “Kivar attempted to kidnap the Queen again today. His obsession with her and the child she carries is making him desperate. Until he can be captured and brought to justice, we must all work together to protect her.

“All members of the Royal family will have an armed escort at all times in and outside the compound. The Queen, to help cut down on outside attacks and possible loss of valuable Antarian lives, has agreed to remain sequestered in the compound.

“From this day forward, the entire compound is on red alert. We must be ready for anything. Kivar will stop at nothing until he has destroyed everything you’ve worked so diligently for when you sent myself, my sister, my second-in-command and my bride to this planet all those years ago. What is happening has been foretold for millennia in our culture. Prepare yourselves. Be ready.” He stared intently at his people. “The war is coming.”


***********************
posted on 5-Nov-2001 12:36:09 PM
CHAPTER 16


Liz was going insane. There was no other way to describe her emotions after four months of being cooped up in the Antarian compound. Kivar had remained strangely silent, and no other instances were reported. When Max, Michael and some of the soldiers had gone to
Kivar’s hideout, it was empty. Kivar and the other Skins had simply vanished. But she knew it was only a matter of time before he made his move. He wanted his “son.”

Absent-mindedly, she rubbed her belly as she stared out across the desert. She could feel his eyes on her whenever she was outside like this. It set her nerves on edge, and it made her angry. She was tired of being a pawn in this stupid war. She wanted her life back.

She glanced down at her belly as Brianna kicked and shifted. She smiled. "Yes, little one, I know Daddy will protect us. But no one will be truly safe until Kivar is gone, permanently. And, that won’t happen until your brother comes home."

She began walking back towards the quarters where she and the others were living now. She wanted something to happen. Anything to break the monotony of the waiting.

"I’ll be home soon, I promise my love. And I’ll help break up some of your boredom."

She smiled. "Max...listening in again?"

"Sorry, but you’re hard not to hear. Brianna really amplifies the connection now. Besides, I like listening to you. Especially after all of those months of silence...."

"I know Max...and I don’t mind. It feels good to know that you’re there watching over me. I love you."

She could feel his love and hugged herself. No, there was no way Kivar was going to destroy this again. This time, they were going to win.

“Liz!”

She looked up to see Maria running towards her. “What’s wrong? What is it?”

“It’s Tess and Isabelle. The babies...it’s time. They need our help,” Maria replied between breaths.

“Well, I guess I got my distraction,” she murmured, hurrying as fast as her body would allow her towards their quarters.

“Distraction?”

“Nothing. Just thinking out loud. Are Kyle and Alex still over in Hondo?”

“No. According to Tess, those two are about ten minutes away. They’ll be here soon.”

“Good. I suppose you’ve told Michael what’s happening?”

“Um...no. I kind of had other things on my mind like finding you,” Maria said sheepishly.

"Max!"

"We’re on our way. I heard you loud and clear."

"Well, be careful getting here. These are first babies so they could take awhile."

"Like you did with Zan?"

She laughed. "Point taken."

*****************

Kyle Valenti looked like he was about to be sick. His face was pale, and he kept licking his lips. Whenever Maria was sure he couldn’t get any whiter, Tess would have another contraction, and he’d prove her wrong.

Maria bit her lip to keep from laughing. Tess was doing extremely well and taking everything in stride. In fact, the contractions didn’t seem to be bothering her all that
much. She looked down and checked the baby’s progress. “Okay Tess, you’re ready to push with the next contraction. And...push.”

Tess groaned as she bore down. Kyle swayed slightly.

“And stop. Okay, I can see the top of the head.” Maria glanced over at Michael, who was standing near by. "Be ready to catch him, Michael. He looks like he’s going to pass out at any second."

“I swear Tess, I will never touch you again,” Kyle stammered, wiping the sweat from his brow. “I am so sorry.”

Tess growled. “Will you quit apologizing! I’m trying to bring your son into the world. Now excuse me Buddha Boy, but I have to push again.”

Once the contraction was over, Maria looked up at Tess and smiled. “Okay, here come the shoulders. This will be the worst part, okay?”

Tess nodded silently and pushed.

Maria grinned from ear to ear as Kyle and Tess’ son entered the world and into her hands. She quickly cleaned out his mouth, chuckling to herself as the newest Valenti let the world know that he was here, and he was mad. She clamped the cord and cut it, then wrapped him in a towel and handed him to Michael to finish cleaning off.

“Hey Valenti, sounds just like you. Full of hot air,” Michael said as he waved his hands over the baby.

Maria turned back to Tess. “Ready to do this again?”

Tess nodded.

Kyle looked at them. “Again?” he squeaked.

“Yes, Kyle. Twins. Remember?”

Kyle paled and sat down in the chair next to the bed. “Oh Buddha, I am so not ever doing this again.”

Tess frowned. “Kyle Valenti if you never touch me again, I will never forgive you. This is all a part of life. Now shut up, take our son from Michael and be quiet while I bring our daughter into the world.”

****************

Jim Valenti paced anxiously in the living area. As he heard the angry cry of a baby coming from Tess and Kyle’s room, he smiled. “Thank you God,” he shouted, and turned to face the bedroom door.

Amy smiled at her husband. He was certainly taking these births a lot better than he had Sam’s. At least he still had his color...and he was upright. Chuckling, she wondered if Kyle was doing better.

The bedroom door opened, and Michael stepped out. He looked at Jim and Amy. “You guys can come in and see them now.”

As Jim and Amy entered the room, Maria smiled at them and whispered, “Hey there Grandma and Grandpa.”

“Hey Dad,” Kyle said, looking up from the pink bundle in his arms. “Come meet the newest Valentis. This is Kaitlin.”

“And this greedy one,” Tess said softly from the bed where she lay nursing their son, “Is Gregory.”

*****************

Alex Whitman calmly ducked as another pillow flew across the room, missing his head by less than an inch. He bent over, picked it up, and carried it back to the bed where Isabelle lay panting loudly.

“I told you not to come near me ever again!” Isabelle hissed as another contraction subsided. “When this is over, so are we!”

“Yes dear,” he replied somberly, laying the small throw pillow next to her. Turning to go back to his position over on the other side of the room, he glanced down at Liz and rolled his eyes.

“I heard that Alex!” Isabelle screeched. She looked at Max, who was sitting beside her. “Why does this hurt? I’m an alien and a Princess for crying out loud! I should be able to make the pain go away.”

“Do you want me to--” Max offered.

“No! I’m going to do this the same way Liz and Maria did. I’m not about to be out done by a human,” she growled. She looked over at Alex and began to cry. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me....”

Alex responded immediately standing on the other side of the bed. He clasped her hand in his and kissed it. “Shh, it’s okay, Bella. I’m not taking anything you say to heart right now. You’re doing beautifully, my love. You’re being much stronger than I could ever possibly be.”

Max looked over at Liz. "Why is this taking so long? It’s been hours. What’s wrong?"

Liz placed her hands on Isabelle’s stomach and frowned slightly. "They’ve turned themselves sideways. They can’t get out. Max, you’re going to have to do a C-section. It’s the only way."

He nodded and stood up.

Isabelle grabbed his hand. “What’s happening Max? Where are you going?”

“Isabelle,” Liz said calmly,looking her sister-in-law straight in the eye, “The babies are laying sideways in your pelvis and refuse to turn. Max is going to do a C-section on you.”

“No,” she replied, tears in her eyes. “Are you sure? I know I can have these babies the right way.”

Alex squeezed Isabelle’s hand to get her attention. “Bella, you’ve done everything right, it’s just that the children are being uncooperative. Max will get them out safely.”

Tearfully, Isabelle looked at Alex and nodded.

Max moved the sheet aside and held his hands over Isabelle’s stomach. “I promise this won’t hurt. I’m going to give you a spinal block.”

She nodded.

His hands began to glow. He moved them slowly over her lower abdomen, leaving an incision as he did so. Once the incision was made, Liz, who’d moved to the opposite side of the bed, reached inside and pulled out a pink, chubby baby girl. She quickly handed her to Max to
clean-up.

As Liz pulled out a squirming, baby boy, Alex chose that moment to faint. Liz looked down in surprise, then back at Isabelle.

“Blood. You know he can’t stand the sight of it,” Isabelle said, matter-of-factly. “I’m surprised he made it as far as he did.”

Liz smiled and nodded, then proceeded to clean up her nephew as Max quickly closed Isabelle’s incision, healing any signs of trauma.

Once he was certain that his sister was okay, Max went around to the other side of the bed to help Alex.

“Wh-what happened?” Alex stammered. “Why am I on the floor? Oh God! I fainted, didn’t I? I can’t believe this!”

Max grinned. “Cheer up, Alex. If what Isabelle said earlier is true, you’ll never have to go through this experience again.”

“Ha, ha,” Alex replied dusting himself off. “Bella, I am so sorry.”

Isabelle shrugged. “It’s okay dear. I’m very proud of you. Now, come say hello to Hayley and Ian.”

**************

Max and Liz opened the door and motioned for Max’s parents to come in and meet their newest grandchildren. Liz rubbed her lower back and walked into the living room as Max lingered to quiety close the door to Alex and Isabelle’s room.

Sitting down on the couch, she grinned at Michael and Maria, who were sound asleep on the other couch; Sam and Cassie curled up in sleep between them. Yawning, she glanced at her watch and wondered briefly how Kyle and Tess were doing with their new brood.

“A girl and a boy, right?”

She startled and glanced over at the chair in the corner.

Lara smiled apologetically. “I am sorry. I did not mean to scare you.”

“No, that’s okay. I didn’t realize you were there, that’s all. Why aren’t you in there with Diane and Philip greeting you’re new grandchildren?”

“I do not wish to intrude,” she replied quietly, as Max sat down beside Liz. “I have no claim. I am just curious.”

“Nonsense,” she said, “Isabelle would be thrilled if you went in there.”

Lara looked warily at Max, who ignored her.

Liz glanced at Max, then looked at Lara with reassurance. “Trust me. I know.”

Getting up from the chair, Lara began to make her way towards the bedroom.

“Lara,” Liz said softly. “How did you know that Isabelle had a boy and a girl? She didn’t tell Diane and Philip that she was having twins.”

“Just a hunch. I was not sure if it would be true for a hybrid or not,” she replied, “Antarian women always release two eggs during their cycles, thus twins.”

“And they’re always a boy and a girl?”

“Yes. That is right,” Lara said and walked down the hall.

**************

“When Max? When is this going to be over?” Liz whispered later that night.

Max stared at the ceiling above them as they lay in their bed. One hand absently stroked her hair, while the other one rested on her swollen stomach. “When Kivar is dead.”

“I’m not talking about Kivar,” she replied, kicking him lightly in the shin. “I’m talking about this anger you have with Lara. You ignore her, or you treat her as if she were just another one of your subjects. Why?”

He grunted in pain, then looked at his angry wife. “It’s complicated.”

“Only if you make it, Max.”

He sighed. “She put you in danger. Because of her and Larek, you had to go through what you did with Kivar. If they’d told us the truth to begin with--.”

“Well, I don’t blame her. I didn’t have to run off after you. I could’ve waited for Michael to get back. Are you going to blame me too?"

“No...that’s different. You were trying to protect me.”

“And Lara was trying to protect you to. We both made errors in judgement. And we both paid the consequences.”

“I--”

“If anything, I feel sorry for her,” she continued, interrupting his reply. “Kivar put her through hell in two lifetimes! What he did to her was far worse than what he did to me. He murdered her children. No mother should have to see that.”

“But--”

“No Max. No more. You have to talk to her. She sacrificed everything in order for you, Isabelle, Michael and Tess to be here on Earth. If she hadn’t done what she did, you and I wouldn’t be together now. You know it...deep down inside. I can feel it. You want her to be your mother again, but you keep pushing the feeling down. Why does it scare you?”

He stared up at the ceiling.

She sighed. “Okay, I’ll leave it alone. But don’t let it fester too long. I want her to be a part of Zan and Brianna’s lives. They deserve to know both of their grandmothers.”

**************

“Well, what have you to report?”

Gideon looked at Kivar nervously. “Ava and Vilandra had their babies, my Lord. Twins.”

“And this is important to me how?”

“The prophecy...the protectors....”

“Will be of no use. The One is my son, and these brats are of no consequence,” Kivar growled, his gaze still trained on the Antarian compound below him.

“But, what if--” Gideon stammered, then stopped as Kivar’s cold, gray eyes turned to stare at him.

“Kill them if you’re so worried about these mewling abominations.”

Gideon swallowed. “How my Lord?”

“They’re defenseless. Human babies die unexpectedly all the time. Smother them with a pillow, break their necks...I don’t care.”

Gideon nodded and left.

Kivar turned back and stared at the compound. She was down there somewhere in one of the buildings with that ineffective excuse for a king, Zan.

He tightened his hands into fists. Zan. The destroyer of his dreams. He would pay the most. "He won’t get away with stealing what is mine. Soon, my Sera. You and our son will return to me. He cannot keep us apart forever."

****************

“It is almost time.”

Liz looked around inside the white void. “No, not yet.”

“Yes, Seer, you know it to be true.”

Max appeared beside her. “Liz?”

She looked at him with sadness.

“What? What is it?” he asked, fear creeping into his voice.

“A death for a life. A life after death,” the voice said. “Brianna is the end. The sacrifice will be made. The test will begin.”



Max jerked awake in a cold sweat. He looked over at Liz, but she was sleeping peacefully on her side, her arm cradled protectively around her stomach. As he watched, the soft lavender glow of their daughter’s presence shone brightly in the darkness of the room.


***********************
posted on 5-Nov-2001 12:40:03 PM
CHAPTER 17


Max checked the shield once more. As a barrage of energy blasts hit it, he nodded in satisfaction. It would hold. “That’s enough!” he yelled, and immediately, the shield dropped.

Michael wiped the sweat from his brow and looked at Max. “You think this will hold Kivar?”

“It has to,” Alex said, rubbing Isabelle’s shoulders. “Until Zan returns, it’s all we can do.”

“We’re all much stronger than we were seven years ago,” Tess added. “We’re a seamless unit now. The power of the eight will keep him contained until then.”

“It’ll hold Michael,” Liz said, as she rubbed her lower back. “We’re stronger together than we are apart.”

“And if we’re apart?” Maria asked uneasily.

“Our connections are so strong now that we should be able to contact each other and be able to transport back in a matter of minutes,” Isabelle said. “Why do you think we’ve been training so hard these last few months? We’re preparing for every type of emergency.”

“Besides, judging from Liz’s size, Brianna will be born any day now, which means Zan will be back soon,” Kyle added, before Tess elbowed him in the ribs.

Liz glared at Kyle. “Thank you Buddha Boy,” she growled.

"You’re beautiful."

She smiled up at Max. "I feel like a whale, but thank you anyway."

He reached out and rubbed her belly. "I love you."

"Always."

“Would you two cut it out,” Michael snapped. “I’m serious. Kivar’s out there watching us. Waiting for us to slip up. We need to know if this plan is going to work.”

“What can I say,” Max replied. “No plan is fool-proof until it’s tested. And there’s just no way to test it accurately until Kivar attacks. His power is different than a regular Skin’s or Antarian’s. We’re just going to have to have faith in the Light that it will.”

Lara walked up to the small group. “The energy shield around the compound is fully functional. It should slow down the Skins if they attack. How is your containment field working?”

“It’s ready. Once we’ve captured Kivar, the rest of the Skins should fall quickly,” Max answered.

Lara nodded. “And what about the children? Where will they be during the fighting?”

“We’re going to transport them and our parents to the safe house in Roswell,” Maria replied, holding up the data-link they'd each been carrying since Kivar had tried to snatch Liz that afternoon in Roswell.

“Good,” she said, nodding.

Liz poked Max in the ribs. "Talk to her, now!"

He scowled. "Alright, fine." He cleared his throat and looked at the others. “Why don’t you guys take a break. Let your energy build back up for a little while. We’ll meet back here in an hour for another practice.”

The others nodded, and went their separate ways. Liz gave him a reassuring smile and waddled back to their quarters.

“Lara, wait,” he said, stopping the young woman in her tracks.

She looked at him warily, and with something else.

Was that hope, he saw in her eyes? He cleared his throat. “I want to talk with you.”

“Yes...?”

“I want to apologize for the way I’ve been treating you. I was wrong to blame you for what happened with Liz. You have been Kivar’s victim as much as she has, if not more so.”

Her eyes widened in surprise. Unconsciously, she began wringing her hands. “There’s nothing to forgive, your Majesty--.”

“Max. My name is Max...Mother,” he said softly.

Her eyes shimmered with tears and she shook her head. “No, I am not your mother, not anymore. Diane Evans is your mother now, and I am a different person.”

He grabbed her small hands, and held them to his chest, making her look up into his eyes. “I can have two mothers and love you both. I have enough room in my heart...in my life...for both of you.

“I’m different now too, Mother. I’m not the same as I was before.”

“Oh but you are,” she cried. “You love and you hurt as deeply as you always have. You always took everything upon yourself, even when you were not too blame.”

“But I am different, because I have Liz. And she makes me human. She keeps me balanced. Her love helps me to see the other sides of things. She is the reason why I have the courage to do this now. Please, Mother. Forgive me?”

She sobbed and threw her arms around him. “Always, Max. I will always forgive. Because...because I am your mother.”

He hugged her back.

Liz stood on the porch of their home and watched Max and Lara. She smiled, and rubbed her hand over her belly. Brianna's answering glow made her smile. “Yes, little one,” she whispered. “A mother’s love is unbreakable. Even mine for you and your brother.”

*******************

”Mommy.”

Liz opened her eyes to see Zan standing before her, his young face smiling brightly.

“Mommy, it’s time. Brianna wants to be born.”

She looked down at her stomach and saw that it was glowing. She looked back at Zan. “You’re coming home.”

He nodded. “Tell Daddy.” He faded back into the whiteness.

“Will I see him again?” she said aloud to the emptiness.

“You shall. Are you ready?” the voice replied.

She nodded slowly. “A death for a life. A life after death,” she whispered. “Let the sacrifice be made, and the test begin.”

“So shall it be....”



Liz opened her eyes and sat up, her nightgown soaked with shimmering amniotic fluid. She reached over and poked Max.

“Hmm?” he said sleepily.

“Max, it’s time.”

“That’s good.” He rolled over.

She waited patiently.

He rolled back over, his eyes wide open. “Time for what?”

“To get Zan from the Granilith chamber,” she said, smiling. “Our daughter is anxious to be born, and her big brother will want to be here to see her arrival.”

******************

Kivar chuckled to himself, sending shivers down the spines of the Skins on either side of him. Lowering his binoculars, he looked down at Gideon. “So, the King is leaving with his second, leaving Sera unprotected. Your information on the energy shield will be most helpful.”

He looked at his guards. “Prepare the others. It is time to take back the Queen.”

******************

Liz lay in her bed, panting heavily as another contraction racked her tiny frame. She squeezed Maria’s hand and tried to focus on her breathing. The contractions were coming hard and fast. She knew she was going to have to push soon.

Suddenly, the sound of an explosion tore through the camp.

Isabelle rushed to the window and peeked out. She gasped at the sight that met her eyes.

“What?” Liz gasped as the contraction subsided. “It’s Kivar, isn’t it? He’s coming for me.”

Isabelle watched the shield shimmer as barrage after barrage of energy hit it. The Antarians were attempting to reinforce it, but she knew it wouldn’t do any good without all eight of them there to help. It would only be a matter of minutes before it fell, and the Skins would be in.

“What was hit?” Liz demanded, as another contraction began.

Isabelle turned and tried to hide her worry. “One of the ammo sheds. The shield is holding just like Max said it would.”

“How long?” she asked through gritted teeth.

“I don’t know. Hopefully until the others get back....”

She nodded and looked over at Diane and Lara. “We need to get the children ott of here. Gather them up quickly and transport to the safe house.”

Lara nodded. “What about you?”

“I can’t. It’s too risky now that the baby’s coming.” She looked at Tess at the foot of the bed. “I need to push.”

Tess checked her and shook her head. “Not yet...but very soon. Okay?”

She nodded. “Maria. Isabelle. Go help Alex and Kyle reinforce that shield. Don’t argue, just go. That’s an order as your Queen.”

“Be safe, chica,” Maria murmured, getting up to follow Isabelle out the door.

Another explosion rocked the camp.

Tess chewed on her lower lip. "Kyle? What was that?"

"They punched a hole in the shield. We’re getting weaker. We need the others."

"They’re on their way."

“Tess?” Liz whispered. “Tess?”

“Yes?”

“Promise...promise me,” she said between breaths, “Take Brianna away. Protect her.”

“Take her where?” she asked, suddenly frightened by the look in Liz’s eyes. “Why can’t you protect her?”

“If Kivar gets through, I’ll slow you down,” she replied. “He’ll kill her. The prophecy.... You have to promise me!”

She nodded. “I would give my life for Max’s children. I would give my life for you too.”

Liz looked at her and smiled. “Thank you.”

Again, an explosion rocked the camp, and this time they could hear screaming. The Skins had broken through.

Tess looked down and checked Liz. “Okay Liz. Push.”

She bore down and yelled, working frantically to expel her daughter before Kivar could find them.

*****************

Max and Michael waited anxiously inside the Granilith chamber. The air in the small room literally hummed with energy. They quickly took a step back in anticipation.

A bright flash of white light flooded the room. Once their eyes had adjusted, they saw the small portal that had opened in the middle of the room next to the Granilith.

Holding his breath, Max peered into it.

Zan emerged from the portal as he’d entered it: a small six year-old boy. He grinned at his father and uncle, showing the space where he’d lost his front tooth a few days before entering the Granilith.

In fact, Max noted that everything about Zan was still the same physically. But there was something different.

The energy in the air crackled around Zan. He realized that it was power. Power that his son now controlled completely.

Zan turned and closed the portal with a wave of his hand, returning the chamber to its semi-dark state. Then, he ran to his father and wrapped his arms around his neck.

Max hugged his son. He breathed deeply, letting the scent that was uniquely Zan’s go through him. His son was home!

Suddenly, Zan pulled away. “Daddy, we have to go. My sister is coming, but so is the Darkness. We must hurry.”

Max nodded, but then doubled over in pain.

“Max!” Michael said with alarm. “What is it?”

“It’s Liz. Something’s gone terribly wrong. We have to get back to the camp, now!”


***********************
posted on 5-Nov-2001 12:44:43 PM
CHAPTER 18


Before Michael could activate the data-link, he, Max and Zan were standing in the middle of the Antarian compound behind the Gathering Hall. He and Max looked around with disbelief as they saw Antarians fighting Skins in hand to hand combat.

Max turned to Zan. “How?”

Zan smiled rather pleased with himself. “Think it, and it shall be,” he said simply.

“Max! Michael!”

They turned to see Isabelle dust a Skin and run towards them.

“Thank God,” she said, breathing hard. “We need to get the others now! Liz is in labor, and Kivar has managed to punch through. I don’t know how he did it, but the shield should have held longer than it did.”

“Where is she?” Max asked frantically.

“In your quarters. Tess is with her. But we need to get the others if we’re going to stop Kivar,” she answered.

“Max,” Michael said, “Maria’s hurt. We need to help her. She’s over by the main gate.”

“You go, I’ll be right behind you.”

Michael nodded and rushed off.

Max looked down at Zan. “I want you to go to the safe house in Roswell where Grandma and Grandpa are, okay? Can you find them?”

Zan nodded. “But Daddy--.”

“Don’t argue with me about this. I need to keep them safe. Daddy and everyone else can take care of Kivar.”

Zan nodded reluctantly.

Isabelle gasped with amazement as Zan disappeared in a quick flash of white light. “When did he learn that neat little trick?”

“I have a feeling he has a lot more tricks now, than he did before,” Max replied. “You go get Alex and Kyle. I’m going to go help Maria.”

Isabelle nodded and ran off in the opposite direction, dodging energy blasts and taking down any Skin that got in her way.

Max scanned the battle scene for any signs of Kivar, but it was becoming to smoky to see clearly. Turning on his heel, he ran to go take care of Maria.

******************

Liz sobbed with relief as she felt her daughter slip from her body and into the world. Shaking from exhaustion, she listened to Brianna’s angry cries as Tess cut the cord, cleaned her up, and carried her back to the bed.

She looked at her daughter, safe in Tess’ arms. Reaching out, she touched the shock of dark hair on Brianna’s little head.

Brianna opened her eyes and looked at her.

Liz smiled and felt tears begin to well up in her eyes. ”Oh Max...she’s so beautiful....”

The sound of pounding on the front door of their quarters snapped Liz out of her emotional reverie, and back to the seriousness of what was happening.

She turned her gaze to Tess. “Take her and go. They’ll be through any moment.”

“But, I still need to deliver the placenta,” Tess protested.

“There’s no time!” she replied, as the sound of the front door giving way reverberated through the room.

“But Max is here! We can fight him--”

“He won’t make it in time.” She stared deep into Tess’ blue eyes. “You promised me.”

Seeing the truth in Liz’s eyes, Tess bit her lip and nodded reluctantly. Quickly, she took Brianna, wrapped her in a blanket and pulled out her data-link. They disappeared in the transport light.

Kivar burst through the bedroom door. Scanning the room, he noted the bloody sheets and lack of people, save for Liz.

He strode over to the bed and stared down at her. “Where is my son?” he demanded.

She glared defiantly at him. “Go to Hell, Kivar.”

He grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her. “You will not speak to me like that. And you will not keep my son from me.”

She laughed hysterically. “You stupid, self-righteous bastard! We’ve won! There is no son. At least not yours,” she spat.

He narrowed his eyes.

“I was already pregnant when you had me,” she continued, glad to finally let the truth be known. “My daughter is safe with her older brother. You might know him as the One Who Shall Lead.”

The color drained from Kivar’s face.

“Zan has returned, and he possesses all of the power he will ever need to defeat you and the Darkness. So you see, we still win....” She smiled triumphantly at him.

His expression contorted with rage. He slapped her across the face, breaking her bottom lip open.

She licked gingerly at the blood, but refused to show fear. He could no longer hurt the others. They were safe.

“I will kill you,” he screamed. “You have betrayed me for the last time, Sera!” He grabbed her by the head.

She felt the mind-searing pain as he pushed mentally into her mind. She felt him tear the truth of Zan’s identity from her memories. She felt his rage at the truth. But, she also felt something else--her life’s blood flowing rapidly flowing from her body.

Gathering the last of her energy together, she pushed back at him.

He tried to recoil from her power, but couldn’t. She’d latched onto his energy. She was pulling him back in. ”How is this possible?” Terrified, he stared into her eyes, helpless to stop her from turning his energy back onto himself.

She smiled triumphantly as she manipulated his energy. Then using the last of her strength, she allowed it all to come rushing back into hers. ”The Light makes anything possible Kivar...especially if you do it out of love....”

********************

Max ran desperately through the compound towards his quarters. He didn’t see the Skins, who retreated or the Antarians who chased them. He didn’t hear Michael or Maria as they yelled at him to wait. He didn’t feel anything, but empty.

Pounding up the steps, and through the broken front door, he screamed for her. “Liz!” He tore down the hallway and into their bedroom, coming to an abrupt halt at the sight that met his terrified gaze.

She lay in the middle of their bed, pale and still. Her gown twisted up around her middle, exposing her semi-flat stomach and the blood-soaked sheets beneath her.

He lunged for her, grabbing her limp form to him. He stared down into open, chocolate brown eyes. He tried to make a connection, willing her to see so that he could heal her. ”Liz...come on.... Beloved, let me in....”

“Where do you think you’re going?” Michael said angrily.

Max looked up, tears shimmering in his eyes, to see Kivar standing in the doorway, trying to sneak out. Michael and Maria stood directly in Kivar’s path.

“You did this,” Max growled.

Kivar backed away from the door. Reaching into his pocket, he looked at Max and sneered. “I am not done yet. This is far from over. I will take great pleasure in destroying all of you, especially your son.”

Michael slowly advanced into the room; Maria right behind him. “So, you know about Zan?” he said. “Then, I’m sure you also know, his existence means your time on this earth is limited.”

Kivar pulled out a data-link and activated it. “Not if I get to him first,” he taunted as the transport light engulfed him.

Michael shot off a blast of energy. It blasted harmlessly into the wall where Kivar had been standing. He cursed silently to himself.

”It’s okay, Space Boy. You’ll get him next time.”

Michael hugged her to him and stared at the bed where Max held Liz. He swallowed the lump in his throat. ”If there is a next time....”

******************

At the safe house in Roswell, chaos reigned as Diane, Philip, Amy, Jim, Tess and Lara tried to take care of five babies and three young children. The babies had begun to wail loudly and no amount of consoling by the adults would help. Sam and Cassie sat in a corner quietly, their eyes wide with fright. The only one who seemed to do any good with them was Zan. Soon, he had all five babies, sitting around him in their carriers, sleeping quietly, as well as Sam and Cassie.

Five minutes later, Cassie woke up crying and wouldn’t stop.

“What is it pixie?” Jim asked, squatting down to pick her up. She shook her head, and pushed him away. Instead, she threw her arms around Zan. “The Dark took Aunt Liz,” she wailed, heartbreaking sobs shaking her tiny body.

What do mean?” Jim asked, a shiver of apprehension descending over him.

Suddenly, the front door opened quietly, and the adults turned to look.

Maria and Michael walked through, both of them red-eyed. Maria saw Amy, and ran to her, throwing her arms around her, hugging her for dear life.

Kyle walked in next, his face tear-streaked. He went to his Dad and Tess, giving both of them hugs. His shoulders shook as he began to sob.

Alex walked in holding Isabelle, who seemed to be in some sort of shock. He helped her to sit down on one of the sofas. Sitting beside her, he began to quietly stroke her hair, murmuring unintelligible words in her ear.

“What happened?” Diane demanded, as she took in their appearances.

Zan looked up from consoling Cassie. “The Queen has been sacrificed,” he said solemnly.

All eyes turned back to the doorway as Max appeared, bloody and battle-worn. His eyes were flat and devoid of any emotion. He walked in and shut the door.

As everyone stared at him in quiet disbelief and grief, Lara walked up to him. In her arms, lay a small, pink bundle. “Max, someone here wants to see you,” she said softly, and handed him the blanketed bundle.

He automatically took it, blinked and looked at his daughter for the very first time.

Brianna woke up and amber-brown stared solemnly into amber-brown. A miniature version of her mother, but her eyes...her eyes were his.

”...I wonder if all of our children will have eyes like yours...amber-brown and soul-filled?...”

His shoulders began to shake.

”...A death for a life. A life after death....”

He clutched Brianna to him, stroking her plump, little cheek.

”...the Light makes anything possible...especially if you do it out of love....”

“The Queen is dead,” murmured Zan in a voice not his own. “The Princess lives. The One has returned, and now, the King will go to war. So shall it be....”


*************************
posted on 5-Nov-2001 12:49:25 PM
CHAPTER 19


“Max--”

“No, Michael. I will not change my mind. Tell the Skins, three days from now, on the morning I light the fire of the Queen’s funeral pyre, the battle will begin.”

“Without Liz, it’s suicide.”

“Kivar will be destroyed. We have the One.”

*************

The morning of the third day dawned, cold and gray. In the desert, between the cliffs of the pod chamber and the western mountains, a solitary, wooden funeral pyre stood humbly.

Along the edge of the western mountains, Kivar, his army and followers stood silently, watching and waiting.

Beneath the cliffs of the pod chamber, the Children of the Light gathered silently around the tent that held their King and his family. They wept openly in their grief for the Queen they’d come to love and call their own.

Inside, Liz rested on a cot, enclosed within a stasis field. Tiny white rosebuds were intertwined in her flowing, dark brown hair, and she was dressed in the traditional, white,
Antarian burial robe for Royalty. Her tiny hands lay clasped over her abdomen where just days before Brianna had rested peacefully. Her wedding ring seemed to glow, catching the pale light of the stasis field.

Holding Zan’s small hand, Max stood beside her. Raising his other hand, he moved it slowly over her, removing the stasis field. Silently, he gazed down at her, his beloved...his eternal soulmate. ”Even in death, you are still beautiful.”

Behind him, he could hear his family trying to comfort one another.

*****************

“She can’t be gone,” Kyle mumbled brokenly to Tess. “She’s the heart of our family. Without her, what will happen to the rest of us?”

Isabelle stood in Alex’s embrace weeping. “It’s not fair. Why did she have to sacrifice so much for our stupid war?”

“She did it for love, Bella,” Alex whispered.

Holding Cassie in his arms, Michael silently watched Maria standing away from the others, at the foot of Liz’s cot. To him, she looked so lost and alone, staring at her best friend, patiently waiting for Max’s signal.

Cassie clutched Woobie to her chest and chewed on her bottom lip. She saw her father’s tears and frowned with concern. Gently, she wiped his cheeks with her chubby, little hands. “Don’t cry Daddy. It will be okay. Aunt Liz is with the Light.”

Maria refused to look at her husband, because if she looked at him, she’d start to cry again and never stop. She had to be strong. Strong so she could sing for her fallen friend.

*******************

Slowly, Max raised his gaze from his wife to lock with Maria’s determined one. He nodded slightly at her, his expression stoic and commanding.

Maria stepped forward, and everyone grew silent.

“Liz told me once, that when she died, she wished to be cremated and have her ashes scattered to the four winds,” she said softly. “That way, her friends and family would see her in everything around them, from the wind to the desert sands, and remember. So, at her request, there will be no eulogy, only this song that she loved so much. She said it was perfect in describing how she wanted to be remembered.”

As Maria’s haunting voice began to sing, Max let the words of the song wash over him and through him. And, he remembered....

"When the dark wood fell before me,
And all the paths were overgrown,”


He saw her. The sunlight from the desert sun made her glow. She was so beautiful. Truly this was a goddess.

“I will love you. Always,” he said.

“Always..,” she whispered back, smiling. Entangling her fingers with his, she leaned in and kissed him softly.


"When the priests of pride say there is no other way,
I tilled the sorrows of stone.”


He watched her, swollen with his child...his son. She glowed with an inner peace and wisdom that he’d never witnessed before. She was truly a child of the Light.

He watched her die. And with her, their son. He felt his heart stop beating. He screamed at the sky and attempted to go after her, but Rath stopped him.


"I did not believe because I could not see,”

He was lost in the Dark. He turned his back on the Light. His anger knew no bounds. They’d been betrayed by the Light. He hoped the Darkness would win. He wanted everyone to feel the hopelessness and despair that had settled in his soul.

"Though you came to me in the night.
When the dawn seemed forever lost,”


“I cannot go on without you. I refuse too,” her soul whispered to him in the void. She smiled sadly at him. “We are one, bonded since time began. When you turned your back, I was shattered.”

“No, please,” he begged, “I will save you. There has to be a way.”


"You showed me your love in the light of the stars.”

“You must live among the stars while she remains here. One day, you will be reunited. And the One shall be brought forth.”

He fell to his knees in awe before the Light, as he realized Sera’s faith was strong enough for both of them. He vowed that he would not let his faith ever waver again.


"Cast your eyes on the ocean.
Cast your soul to the sea.”


He stepped off the school bus, and there she was. Long brown pigtails and a red dress. She turned to look at him, and as he stared into her smiling eyes, something inside of him awoke and rejoiced.

"When the dark night seems endless,
Please remember me”


“...if I don’t go right now, things are gonna to change,” he said, staring into her deep, chocolate brown eyes.

“Change how?” she asked, unconsciously taking a step closer to him.

Slowly, he reached for her. “I’m gonna have to touch your hair, cause it’s so soft.... And, I’d have to tell you that...no matter what we go through, it’s all worthwhile for me because we’re together.”

She licked her lips. “And then?”

He leaned in and whispered, “And then, I’d have to do this....” He kissed her softly on the lips.

Suddenly, it felt as if something deep inside of him clicked and demanded that he claim her. He deepened the kiss; his tongue plundering the sweet, warm depths of her mouth.

She responded with a whimper and pressed herself tighter to him.


"Then the mountain rose before me
By the deep well of desire,”


He froze when he saw her. She was clad in nothing more than what looked to be strategically placed white scarves. He couldn’t take his eyes off her.

“You’re breathtaking.”

All he could see was Liz. So sensual...so primal...so enchanting.

All he could hear was the rhythmic hum of the Granilith and the beating of his heart.

He licked his lips as she smiled slowly and began to walk toward him, reaching up to remove the combs from her hair. He watched, mesmerized as her hair tumbled down around her shoulders, the end of one lock curving slightly to caress the edge of her right breast.


"From the fountain of forgiveness
Beyond the ice and the fire.”


“Liz, look at me,” he whispered hoarsely.

Her passion-filled gaze met his. He felt their connection flood wide open.

“Now.”


"Cast your eyes on the ocean.
Cast your soul to the sea.”


He looked down at the shell that had housed the soul of his beloved. He released Zan’s hand, bent down and scooped her up into his arms. Tenderly, he cradled her to his chest, turned and walked toward the entrance of the tent.

"When the dark night seems endless,
Please remember me.”


Stepping out into the cold, gray morning, his army, the Children of the Light, bowed in reverence to him and their fallen Queen. Then, they parted, making a path to the funeral pyre they’d built, and slowly, he began his journey.

Zan walked solemnly beside him, while the rest of their family followed respectfully behind them. When they came to the edge of the gathering, they all stopped to stay behind, so that he could continue the last leg alone to the resting place for his beloved.

"Though we share this humble path, alone,”

He stopped in front of the wooden pyre, and laid her gently upon it. Gazing down at her, he stroked her cheek.

"How fragile is the heart.”

He drank in the sight of her pale, but beautiful face, memorizing it for eternity. Then, bending down, he gently kissed her.

"Oh give these clay feet wings to fly,
To touch the face of the stars.”


Straightening, he felt the emptiness inside of him where she had dwelled. It felt as if his heart had shattered.

In the distance, the skies begin to rumble.

"Breathe life into this feeble heart,
Lift this mortal veil of fear.”


Throwing his head back, he stared up at the angry sky. He felt wetness on his cheeks.

"Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears.
We’ll rise above these earthly cares.”


***************

The crowd gasped as the heart-chilling sound of a soul, broken and grief-stricken, erupted from Max.

Isabelle sobbed harder, and Tess hugged closer to Kyle. Alex’s eyes shimmered with tears, while Michael held desperately onto Cassie.

Maria never faltered in her singing. Her voice mingled with Max’s cry and echoed across the desert to Kivar’s army.

The haunting melody intertwined with the anguish of Max’s scream, made them shiver with fear.

******************

"Cast your eyes on the ocean.”

Zan watched his father from the edge of the crowd, feeling his pain through their connection. It harmonized with the emptiness inside his own self where his mother had been.

"Cast your soul to the sea.”

He scanned the western ridge where Kivar and his army stood ready to attack them once his father lit the fire to the wood his mother’s body lay on.

”Stop this Zan.”

He jerked his head towards the voice. Everyone was watching his father say good-bye to his mother.

”Not everyone.”

He looked up at his Uncle Michael. From the safety of her father’s arms, Cassie sat there staring down at him. He felt himself being drawn into her unwavering, hazel gaze.

"When the dark night seems endless,”

Suddenly, he tore his gaze from Cassie, quickly shrugging off his grandfather’s hand when he tried to stop him, and ran towards his parents.

"Please remember me.”

Desperately, he grabbed onto his father’s hand.

"Please remember me.”

Max, startled, looked down into Zan’s anxious face.

"Please remember me."

Turning from his father’s gaze, Zan reached up and laid his other hand on his mother’s head. Closing his eyes, he remembered.

"Please remember me.
Please remember me...."



*************************

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Nov-2001 1:04:45 PM ]
posted on 5-Nov-2001 1:09:07 PM
CHAPTER 20


“What the hell is Zan doing?” Michael demanded, handing Cassie to Amy, in order to run after Zan. “Is he trying to get himself killed?”

Tess shook her head, and grabbed Michael’s arm. “No, he’s saving us.”

“Saving us?” Isabelle asked tearfully.

“Watch.” Tess whispered, her gaze glued on the scene in front of them.

All eyes watched as Zan grabbed Max’s hand, then Liz’s. Gasping, they watched in awe as Zan began to glow.

******************

"Please remember me."

“Ma-ma.”

“That’s right Zan,” Mommy said, smiling, “You’re such a smart baby. I’m Mommy, and this is Daddy. Can you say Da-da?”

He looked at Daddy’s expectant face and grinned. Giggling, he threw himself off balance and tumbled over.

“Hey, champ? Where do you think you’re going?” Daddy asked.

Rolling over and up onto his hands and knees, he rocked back and forth, repeating, “Ma-ma! Ma-Ma! Ma-ma!”

Daddy picked him up and held him high in the air. “No, Zan. Da-da.”

He smiled down at Daddy. “Ma-Ma!” he squealed, then spit up.

Mommy laughed, taking him from Daddy, and wiped him clean.

“Okay, I see how it is,” Daddy said, wiping himself off. “I guess he’s as smitten with you as I am.”

Mommy smiled and kissed Daddy on the cheek.

Daddy smiled and ruffled his hair. "You have great taste in women, champ.”

***

“Prize Mommy!”

Mommy laughed and kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you sweetie. I can’t believe you did this for me.”

“Daddy helped. He baked the cake. I wrapped the presents.”

“And you did a beautiful job, sweetie.” She hugged him, then stood and kissed Daddy. He liked watching Daddy kiss Mommy. They couldn’t see it, but he could. They glowed. Pretty white light.

“Come on champ, let’s sing Happy Birthday to Mommy.”

***

“Mommy?”

“Yes, Zan?” Mommy looked up from mending Woobie.

“Can I have a baby sister for Christmas?”

Mommy looked sad. “I don’t think so sweetie.”

“Why not?”

Mommy ruffled his hair. “Because Santa doesn’t brings those. It takes a long time to have a baby.”

“Oh. Then can I have a video game?”

“We’ll see. But you have to be a good boy,” Mommy said, smiling softly.

“I’m always good, aren’t I Mommy?”

“Yes, Zan. You’re always good.”

***

“Daddy?”

“Yes, champ?”

“You’ll watch my bike while I’m gone, right? Cause Cassie will try to ride it and she could get hurt.”

Daddy smiled. “Have you been peeking at your presents?”

He shook his head. “I heard Uncle Michael, Uncle Alex, Uncle Kyle and Grandpa talking about it. They were fighting about how to put it together.”

“Yes, champ, I’ll keep an eye on your bike.” Daddy ruffled his hair and laughed.

He chewed his lower lip. “Take care of Mommy. She’ll be sad.”

Daddy nodded. “Always. You know that champ.”

“Daddy? When will I have my baby sister? Mommy’s heart hurts because she’s not here.”

“How do you know that Zan?”

He shrugged. “The Light tells me things.”

“What kind of things, Zan?”

“All kinds. It visits me in my dreams....”

***

He opened his eyes. The Light was all around him, like when Daddy kissed Mommy.

”The sacrifice has been made. Why are you here?”

“Daddy’s sad. Everyone is. I’m going to fix it.”

”You think you can? What do you bring me?”

He nodded. “I bring love...Daddy’s love,” he said solemnly.

Daddy appeared beside him in the Light. “Zan?”

“It’s okay, Daddy. I’m going to make you happy again. So that you and Mommy will glow with the pretty light again.”

“I don’t--.”

He turned his gaze away from his Daddy and smiled at the bright light that appeared before them and began to take shape. “Mommy!” he cried and threw himself into her arms.

“Zan, what have you done?” Mommy asked, tears shimmering in her eyes.

“Don’t cry Mommy. I’ve brought you back. Daddy needs you. Brianna needs you. Everyone needs you. They’re so sad. I will take your place.”

“No Zan, you can’t,” Mommy said.

“I already have.”

”An act of selfless love. The test has been passed. Prophecy fulfilled is your reward. So shall it be....”


*****************

Liz opened her eyes and gasped, dragging a long breath deep into her lungs. She looked around wildly, turning her head to stare into two sets of smiling, soul-filled, amber brown eyes.

“Zan,” she whispered, reaching out to touch her son’s tear-streaked cheek. “Max.”

Max smiled down at her. “A death for a life,” he whispered. “A life after death.”

Sitting up, she launched herself into her family’s waiting embrace.

***************

Kivar narrowed his eyes, watching Zan and Max glow brightly with a white light. Growling softly, he watched the light flow from Zan into his Sera’s body.

Suddenly, he saw movement on the funeral pyre. The white light had dissipated. Zan and Max were smiling, staring down at Sera. “No...it cannot be?” he thought. “This cannot be the test!”

His Sera sat up and threw herself into Max’s arms. Deep in the pit of his stomach, he felt burning hate build into a roiling boil. “He will not win again!” he vowed silently. “I will destroy them all!”

He looked around at the faces of his army. Witnessing the looks of recrimination and horror they threw in his direction, he began to panic. “What are you doing? Do not just stand there and gawk...Max is vulnerable. Kill him! Attack!” he screamed.

His men backed away from him, including Gideon, who’d been hovering close to his side all morning.

He honed in on the hapless, Antarian traitor. “You! Where do you think you are going?”

“M-m-master,” Gideon stammered, “the One Who Shall Lead is here! The Light has won.”

He curled his lips in disgust. “You think so?”

“He can raise the dead! It is he!” Gideon whispered with awed fear.

“Then let us see if he can raise you!” In the blink of an eye, he pulled out a semi-automatic pistol from the back of his waistband, pointed it at Gideon and fired.

Gideon never had a chance to throw up his shield. His body jerked with the impact of the bullets as they slammed into his torso. He fell to the ground, whimpering in pain and fear.

Kivar walked calmly up to the bleeding Antarian and emptied the rest of the clip into him. Coldly, he let the empty clip drop out of his gun and into the bloody mess that had once been Gideon’s head, before looking up and staring at the rest of his army. “Anyone else want to believe?” he asked, loading a new clip.

“I do,” said a familiar voice from behind him.

He spun around, pointing his gun. All color drained from his face.

Max raised an eyebrow at the weapon. “A little primitive for us, don’t you think, Kivar? That's not going to work against me. You’re going to have to use your powers to kill me.”

He didn’t answer. Instead he just stood there, shaking, as he locked gazes with Sera.

Holding Max and Zan’s hands, she stared knowingly back at him. “Except, he’s having a little problem with his powers. Aren’t you Kivar?”


*********************

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Nov-2001 1:11:08 PM ]
posted on 5-Nov-2001 1:16:47 PM
CHAPTER 21


Max looked at his wife. “What do you mean he’s having trouble with his powers?”

She looked down at Zan. “Sweetie, I want you to go and get the others, okay?”

“Yes, Mommy,” Zan said and orbed out.

Looking up, she smiled coldly at Kivar. “Do you want to tell him, or shall I? I’m sure your followers would love to hear just how far their great leader has fallen.”

Kivar remained silent.

She turned her gaze from Kivar to him. “I was hemorrhaging. I knew I was dying, and I refused to do so without stopping his evil from touching you, Zan or Brianna in anyway, ever again. I changed him.”

“How?”

“When he began to mind rape me, I used my mind to grab hold of his energy and reverse the connection. I flooded his energy with mine, and corrupted it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough left to kill him. But, I was able to effect his abilities. He can no longer shape-shift, fire energy blasts or raise a shield. All of his physical, offensive powers are gone.”

He looked at Kivar with sudden realization. “That’s why you didn’t blast me in the compound. She’s rendered you impotent, so to speak.”

Kivar shook with anger. “You traitorous bitch!” he hissed, and fired his gun, the shot echoing throughout the silent desert.

“And, I seem to have acquired them,” she said, raising an eyebrow. Calmly, she dropped her hand, allowing the green energy shield to reabsorb into her body. Then, with a flick of her wrist, his gun flew from his hand to land harmlessly several yards away.

“Seems you’ve been checkmated by my Queen,” Max said, smiling with satisfaction. “Give it up, Kivar. You’ve lost.”

“I do not think so,” Kivar said with a sneer, and pulled a small black box from his jacket. “From my perspective, it is only check.”

A blast of energy radiated from the box in Kivar’s hand, knocking everyone within a 250 yard radius off their feet.

Quickly, Max got back up, helping Liz to her feet. ”Are you okay?”

She nodded. ”What was that? I feel odd.”

Kivar smiled triumphantly at them, waving the mysterious box. “This is a suppression blaster. Now, I am not the only one unable to use their powers.”

Liz looked at Max, her brown eyes widening with the knowledge that she was indeed powerless.

Max tried to call to her inside his mind, but the only answer was silence.

“Unfortunately,” Kivar continued, “the effects only last for about an hour or two. Fortunately for me, that will be more than enough time for my army to kill you and Sera.”

“I’d like to see them try,” Max said, moving to stand protectively in front of Liz. Raising his chin, he threw back his head and yelled “Dak’tar!”

A murmur rose through the crowd of Skins.

Kivar paled slightly and licked his lips. “Wh-what did you say?”

He stared at Kivar. “Dak’tar!” he demanded, his voice like cold steel.

“Where did you hear that?” Kivar stammered. “You don’t even know what that means.”

“From the last time...on Antar. When I tried to avenge Vilandra’s murder and regain her honor,” he said, piercing Kivar with his gaze. “A one-on-one, hand-to-hand fight to the death, no outside interference. Except...last time, you cheated, and had Nicholas shoot me in the back.”

The murmur among Kivar’s army began to grow louder.

“You cannot prove that I had anything to do with that,” Kivar replied, looking at the shocked faces of his army. “Nicholas acted on his own, without permission from me.”

Max shrugged. “Fine. If you say so. But this is now. I fight to avenge your violation of my Queen, and restore her honor.”

“The Dak’tar has been called,” said an older-looking, female Skin from the front of the crowd. “It is a legitimate challenge, Kivar. You will honor it, or you will die by the hands of your people, as decreed by our law, millennia ago.”

Kivar looked at the sea of deadly serious faces, then turned back to Max. “Dak’tar it is then,” he said, tossing the suppression blaster to the female who’d spoken. “Just
remember, no outside help.” He looked pointedly at Liz.

“I didn’t need it last time, I won’t need it now,” Max replied, stripping off his jacket and shirt. He quickly removed his boots and socks and added them to the small pile.

“Max--” Liz said, touching him on the shoulder.

He touched his fingers to her lips and looked deep into her beautiful, concerned eyes. “Have faith,” he whispered. “The Light protects us.”

Silently, she nodded and stepped back.

Kivar stripped off his own jacket and shirt. “Of course,” he said, removing his shoes and socks. “After I kill you, I think I will have a go at Sera again. One last time before I kill her, since she was so good the last time I fucked her.”

Growling, Max lunged at Kivar, tackling him to the ground.

*********************

“Where in the hell did they go?” Michael demanded, scanning the desert terrain for Max, Liz and Zan.

“Something’s happening over in Kivar’s camp,” Isabelle said, peering through the binoculars one of the Antarians had handed her. “It looks like some sort of fight.... Oh my God! It’s Kivar and Max!”

“How’d they get over there?” Alex asked.

“My guess, Zan,” Maria replied. “That little orb trick of his is--Ahh!”

Everyone turned towards Maria at the sound of her shriek.

“Zan!” Cassie cried, throwing her arms around her best friend.

“What’s going on Zan?” Michael demanded, looking down at the young boy who looked so much like his father. “Why didn’t you bring your parents back here?”

“It’s time, Uncle Michael. It’s time for the eight to come together. I have to take you back with me.”

“Back?” Kyle asked. “Back where?”

“To Kivar’s camp.”

Tess looked at Michael. “Tell the others to head towards the western ridge, and to fire only if fired upon first. If what I think is about to happen, we just might be able to end this fight with very little bloodshed.

Michael nodded. “Jim, take Cassie, Diane, Amy and Philip and transport to the safe house where Lara is with the babies. If you don’t hear from us in an hour, take the kids and get the hell out of Roswell. Understood?”

Jim nodded. “Good luck.”

*************************

Max doubled over as Kivar’s fist impacted with his stomach. Reacting quickly, he slammed his body into Kivar’s ribs, knocking the blond-haired Antarian back a few feet. A feral smile spread across his face. He’d heard Kivar’s ribs crack.

Liz kept her gaze glued on the fight. Even though it had only been going on for a couple of minutes, Kivar was tiring and looked the worst for wear. But, she still felt anxious. She didn’t trust Kivar and prayed that Max would end this soon.

Max stalked over to a winded Kivar and threw a punch, connecting with the man’s nose. He smiled in satisfaction at the sound of breaking bone and the feel of warm blood spurting against his knuckles.

Kivar staggered back, landing on his backside near Liz’s feet.

Max came at Kivar, ready to kick him in the ribs and do more damage, when Kivar grabbed his other foot and yanked it out from underneath him. He too went sprawling.

While Max tried to catch his breath, Kivar glanced up at Liz.

Liz saw the glimmer in the madman’s eyes, and tried to move out of the way, but Kivar was faster than he looked.

Jumping up, he grabbed her by the hair and yanked her back into his chest. “I will snap her neck!” he screamed, as Max, his expression one of deadly intent, stood up.

“I knew you couldn’t fight me without resorting to cheating,” he growled, his gaze flickering to Liz’s face.

She nodded slightly.

He smiled. “But, I’m still going to win, Kivar.”

“So what?” Kivar screamed desparately. “At least your precious Queen will be dead.”

“Want to bet?” Liz said, and stomped down hard with the heel of her boot on to the top of Kivar’s barefoot, breaking it.

He quickly released her, doubling over in pain.

Spinning around, she planted a foot squarely in Kivar’s chest, kicking him backwards into the crowd.

The Skin army parted like the Red Sea, letting their leader fall helplessly to the ground.

”You okay?” Max asked worriedly.

She smiled at him. ”I’m fine, Max. Let’s just get this over with, so I can go home and see our daughter.”

Kissing her quickly, he stalked over to where Kivar lay bleeding and breathless. He stopped short as Kivar, grinning, raised his found gun and fired.

*********************

They heard the first gunshot as they materialized inside the Skin camp.

“Oh my God, Michael,” Maria gasped.

“This way,” Isabelle said, pointing towards the large crowd of Skins.

They quickly pushed themselves through, Alex and Kyle using their powers to push the unresisting Skins out of the way.

They reached the edge of the clearing at the center just in time to see Kivar point a gun at Max and pull the trigger.


************************
posted on 5-Nov-2001 1:21:24 PM
CHAPTER 22


Max stared in amazement at the bullet that hung suspended in mid-air, just millimeters from his heart. A moment before, he’d known in his heart that he was a dead man, and now...he wasn’t.

“How?” Kivar demanded angrily, watching the bullet begin to glow with a bright, white light. He looked around and spotted Zan standing at the edge of the crowd. The boy stared straight at him, his eyes an unearthly gold color. Suddenly, Zan raised his left hand
at his father, and with a flick of his wrist, the bullet flashed out of existence.

“Enough Kivar,” Zan said, in a voice not his own. “You have been judged and have been found wanting. The Darkness will not win today. The Light has prevailed.”

“You may have won today, Max,” Kivar growled. “But, I will win the war. You and everyone you love will be destroyed.”

“You know, your rhetoric is getting old” Maria said, stepping forward, “And I think it’s time we shut you up.” She grabbed Michael’s hand, who in turned grabbed Isabelle’s. Alex, who'd already been holding Isabelle’s other hand, grabbed Tess’ hand, and Tess grabbed
Kyle’s.

The air around the six began to hum as their gazes focused on Kivar. One by one their energy began to manifest physically. Orange-colored energy mixed with red. Yellow joined with green, and blue with indigo. Finally, all of the energy mixed together.

Kivar fell to his knees as he was encased by their combined energy. He laughed weakly. “Pathetic. You six are not strong enough to vanquish me. All you are doing is wasting energy.”

“Unless you add Max and I, then we can,” Liz said, walking up to Max and clasping his hand in hers.

“You two are as helpless as me right now. Remember the suppression blaster?”

She grabbed Michael’s hand. “And you’ve forgotten, the Light makes anything possible if you do it out of love.”

Max’s purple-colored energy suddenly shot forth, combining with rest.

The energy around Kivar changed to a pure, shimmering white. “No!” he yelled.

“Yes,” Liz replied, and added her own golden energy to the mix.

Kivar screamed as the combined energy of the eight spread through his body. Writhing in pain, he tried to push back with his own dark energy. He looked directly at Liz, his soulless, gray eyes, filled with hate. “This is far from over! Death is only the beginning!”

She looked down at Zan. “Now!” she yelled.

Zan nodded and stared at Kivar. “Be gone,” he said, lifting his hands towards the man who embodied all that was dark and evil.

The ball of energy surged, then blew apart, engulfing all who watched, in a blinding blast of pure white light.

***************

They stood in the white void, all eight of them and Zan.

“Are we dead?” Michael asked.

Zan shook his head. “No.”

“Where’s Kivar?” Kyle asked, looking around.

“He has been defeated...for now,” said the disembodied voice

“He is dead, isn’t he?” Maria asked nervously.

“As long as there are my Children who are still lost, the Darkness will still exist. The one you called Kivar is dead, but his essence will be reborn.”

“I guess that’s what he meant by 'Death is only the beginning,’” Alex said. “I thought he was just doing a bad imitation of The Mummy.”

“This is no time for jokes, Alex,” Isabelle hissed.

“Who’s joking? I was serious.”

“You mean this will never end?” Max asked, frowning.

“One day, when all of my Children have been found and brought back, then the Darkness will be vanquished permanently.”

“But what about Zan?” Tess asked, her blue eyes filled with tears. “What about the prophecy...your promise?”

“He will fulfill it. Have faith. He is the One Who Shall Lead. The Great Battle will be fought. He will bring my Children home, and the Golden Age will begin.”

“The Great Battle,” Liz murmured, then raised her chin. “We will be ready.”

“So shall it be,” Zan said, softly, and closed his eyes.


*****************

They found themselves back in the desert, surrounded by Antarians and the defeated Skin army.

Max looked at Liz. She nodded, and he stepped forward, raising his hands to address the crowd of humans, aliens and hybrids. “Kivar, the First of the Darkness, has been defeated today, but not vanquished. He will return, stronger than ever.

“However, we can still win. If all of us, Antarian, Skin, and Human, work together...if we have faith in the Light...if we have enough love, we will prevail, and the Golden Age will begin. Be ready.”

A low murmur broke through the crowd.

Max looked questioningly at Liz. She shrugged.

Soon, the murmur became a roar.

“Listen to that Maxwell,” Michael said grinning.

“Are they saying what I think they’re saying?” Kyle asked.

Tess nodded and grinned. “Yes, they are. It seems Max has fulfilled his Destiny after all.”

“Long live the King! Long live the King!” chanted the crowd.

Max looked down at Liz, his expression stunned.

She smiled at his amazement, then reached up and kissed him.

He melted into her kiss. ”It’s good to know I was right about one thing.”

”What was that?”

”To get you in my life. To love you. Always.”

She pulled away and smiled. ”Always.”

“So what do we do now, Max?” Isabelle asked.

Max looked down at his son, then picked him up. Zan smiled sweetly, his amber-brown eyes, wide and innocent.

“We go home...to Roswell,” Max replied, smiling at his son, then at the rest of his family. “We live our lives and raise our children. No more hiding.”

“And next time?” Michael asked, hugging Maria to him tightly.

“We’ll be ready.”

**********************

That evening, Max stared down at his sleeping son.

“Amazing,” Liz whispered, cradling a sleeping Brianna in her arms, as she walked up behind Max. “He doesn’t seem to remember anything that’s happened.”

“I know,” he whispered. “I talked to Michael and Jim. Both, Cassie and Sam, are the same way. I think the Light is letting them have their childhood for just a little longer.”

“Good,” she replied, kissing the top of Brianna’s soft, little head. “Let them have this time of innocence...this time to grow into the people they’re supposed to be. Because they’ll need it when the Darkness returns.”

Max looked at her. “I know you didn’t bargain on this that day I healed you in The Crashdown....”

She placed a finger on his lips. “I wouldn’t have it any other way, Max. Because it means we’re together. We have Zan and Brianna. No more regrets, Max.”

He looked down at his sleeping daughter, and smiled. “No more regrets. No more apologies. Only gratitude.”

Liz laid Brianna in her crib, then turned back to him. “Now, if you’re finished being ‘Serious King Guy,’ maybe we can go have a little ‘growing’ time of our own,” she said, wiggling her eyebrows.

He chuckled, “Why Elizabeth Parker Evans, I’m shocked at your suggestion.” He scooped her up into his arms and carried her out of their children’s bedroom. “But, I’ll get over it.”

She giggled. ”Max?”

“Yes, my beloved, naughty Queen?”

“Being out in the desert tends to make one a little dirty....”


He grinned. “One shower, coming right up.”



FADE TO BLACK
THE END


*******************

Hope you enjoyed the second book in my trilogy. The third book is entitled, JIHAD: The Book of Zan and can be found over on the regular board here: viewthread?forum=dreamer-fanfiction&id=22902

Thank you again for taking the time to experience my version of the Roswell world.

Mel*angel*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Nov-2001 1:31:52 PM ]