Written by: Epicstu Wyvernwriter
Night fell and Jain became fatigued, “Can we rest?” She begged Edward as she collapsed to her knees, “I can’t walk any further.” She tripped and fell on her face.
Edward rolled his eyes, “I told you to keep up,” he replied as he turned to Jain. “But I suppose it is getting dark,” he looked to the lightning he had been following as it cracked over a mountain’s peak.
“Why are we following that lighting? It’s purple. Is it her’s?” Jain asked as she remembered the Angel who had saved them both.
“It will be another day’s walk from here,” Edward replied. “She really isn’t making this easy for me. We’ll sleep here tonight.”
“You know you really should consider her feelings,” Jain suggested.
“Don’t start,” Edward replied.
“Why not?” Jain pried. “You were clearly outmatched, you could have died! What do you think that would do to her?”
“I am Edward Michael of House Dimir,” he replied with an enraged yet surprisingly calm tone. “Iron Wall of the Northlands,” he continued. “Edward the Immovable, Edward the Defender, The Iron Guard Ram, I can keep going if you don’t get it yet.” Edward stopped and sighed, “I didn’t just risk my life I stared Death in the face so that no one else had to. It’s what I live for, being a wall for others to stand behind. Without that, what am I? She witnessed me do the impossible over and over again. Now even the one I am destined to spend eternity with has lost her faith in me.”
Edward thought for a moment and remembered something he had long forgotten, “hold on, haven’t we…” but when he turned to her, Jain was gone. Suddenly, he was in the middle of nowhere with massive dunes of sand as far as he could see. The Sun was hot and he could feel the cold Hellfire within him begin to go out. “Not again,” As the cold flames of Hell left him they were replaced with Hellfire hotter than the sun that scorched the desert. Edward rolled his shoulder and cracked his neck, “That’s better.” His scarf became cooled as though that was where all the cold Hellfire had gone, “I love this scarf.” He looked up and saw purple lightening about a day’s march through the desert and another day’s climb up a mountain. He was sure it was hers, so he went after it.
The Ram of Hellfire and stone charged Zesrial, launching her across an ocean’s surface covered in a sheet of Heavenlighting. She bounced and slid across it as though it were solid ground. She got up and tried to fly away but the lightening on the ocean’s surface reached out and pulled her back down.
“There is no escape for you, or for him,” the Ram giggled with a voice like a seductive woman.
“What do you mean?” Zesrial questioned with concern for her Fox.
The Ram of Hellfire grinned, “Look down.” Its voice started to change.
Zesrial did and saw Fire deep under the water, it was Edward’s. She tried to go after him but could not penetrate the lightning covering the water. “Let me through,” she demanded, causing thunder to crack all around her.
“I cannot,” the Ram replied. “Heaven itself blocks you from him, just as I, Hell itself, blocks him from you. To save him you must defeat me.”
Zesrial looked upon the Ram and found her claim to be true. This was Hell itself standing before her.
Suddenly, the Ram turned into a Fennec Fox of the Northlands wielding a greatsword as Edward did. “You wouldn’t hurt your precious little Fennec Fox would you?” Hell taunted Zesrial using Edward’s voice. Zesrial froze, what could she do?
It had taken all day but Edward reached the base of the mountain and looked up at the purple lightning striking its peak. He was sure it was her’s but something didn’t feel right. He sunk his six-inch retractable claws into the mountain’s side and was immediately thrown from the mountain by Hellfire stronger than his own.
When he came to, a moment later, there was an old lady standing over him. “The name’s Jain. That was quite the jolt you had there, boy.”
“Did you just call me boy?” Edward replied as he got back up and tried to climb the mountain once more. “I can take it,” he said as he sunk his claws into the mountain’s side a second time. Hellfire scorched him and he was thrown from the mountain again. “Damnit!” He looked to the mountain’s peak, “She’s up there, I know she is.”
“You’ll never get to her,” said the old lady. “You’re better off down here with me, you just aren’t tough enough.” Again and again, Edward was thrown from the mountain by Hellfire he could not match. “Just give up. Why do you persist?”
“I would not expect you or anyone else to understand,” Edward said as he tried again only to be burned again. “Who are you anyway?” He got up slowly from his last attempt.
“Does it matter?” The old lady said with a sad smile. “I’m being replaced anyway.” Then she started to cry.
Edward remembered something then that he had forgotten, but how could he have forgotten her. “Jain?” Before him stood a Northlandish Fennec Vixen, the only women he had ever loved in his old life. She had been killed while Edward was on his first away mission as an Iron Ram. He had forgotten her long before the end of his life. Yet, in that life, there was never another.
“You weren’t there for her.” Jain disappeared as a voice like that of a Demon’s replaced her. “How can you hope to protect Zesrial from yourself.” Edward found himself, fathoms deep under a great ocean with a blanket of Hellfire over its surface, Hellfire he could not break through. He sunk to the bottom, as his body was made of stone as well as Hellfire, and saw lightning above the surface. It was hers, he was sure of it. A knight in blackened armor, wielding Heavenlighting, stood before him. “I am Heaven,” the figure laughed as it became Zesrial. Its voice was Zesrial’s and she even wielded Heavenlightning as Zesrial did. “Hell itself blocks you from her, just as I, Heaven itself, blocks her from you. To save her you must defeat me.”
Edward and Zesrial both realized at once, that neither one could save the other without first saving themselves from each other.