An Awakening from Dreams of an Ancient Time

"Yes." Eden gasps, gazing at Aurora with her own green eyes. "The Phoenix said she would be here. But she is not… and where are the others?"

"Aurora, there are at least four beasts outside." Julian says from closer to the great double doors of the vault. "They are waiting in ambush."

"Daemon." Kadmon croaks, scenting the air. "I had hoped we had seen the last of them…"

The black silk robes are accepted and employed, though Kadmon and Eden both prove to possess the Shapeshifter indifference toward such things.

Aurora hovers by the couple a moment more. "Grandmere is onboard The Fury. There is reason to believe she is suffering from a Pattern curse. I do not know which 'others' you are referring to."

"Your brothers and sisters." Eden says, her expression crumpling slightly. Aurora bites her lip. Now is not the time to go into it.

"The Horn can heal the Curses born of Blood and Death." Kadmon says calmly.

She looks back over her shoulder at Julian even as her robe morphs back into fatigues and a tshirt. "I left my blasters outside. We need to get past whatever is out there, collect Morgenstern, Ghostwheel and the Bird Clan and get to our shuttle while hoping the Scorpion Clan isn't hiding outside the tower to ambush us. We have people scattered all over, we're in the nexus and not our proper universe, and we lost contact with Aunna."

"What should we do, husband?"

"Husband?" Eden says, her green eyes widening slightly. Kadmon frowns.

"We need a diversion. Is there any way you can wake the Ghostwheel up from here?" Julian murmurs after considering her question. Still facing the doorway with an arrow knocked in his bow.

"I can try."

Aurora turns briefly back to her parents. "I will explain everything as soon as we get out of this. I will be wanting the same."

She puts herself between Julian and her parents. Not to protect his back from them so much as to put herself out of harm's way. Julian would have just stepped in front of her anyway. Aurora focuses on the mental link provided by the bracelet she rarely takes off.

Ghostwheel!

Aurora. Though swift, the reply is faint, as though it is coming from far, far away.

Are you awake enough to give us a distraction? We are in a spot of trouble.

Affirmative. Advice: Fury is attempting to re-establish communications.
Synchronicity will be established shortly.

Excellent. Please stand by while I confer with Julian.

"I have communications with Ghostwheel," Aurora informs her husband. "He says the Fury is attempting to re-establish the communications link and we will be synched with them again. What sort of distraction would you like? Remember we have the Bird Clan peoples with Ghost, as well as Morgenstern."

"A defensive distraction." Julian says. "If they drop that shield of theirs, but stay well back from the door. I have line of sight to that doorway."

Aurora nods and relays his request to her AI. Then she turned back to her parents, resisting the urge to forget it all and just hug the pair.

"Will you be able to move quickly when the time comes?" Then her eyes fell on the horn again and she hesitates. "Do I need to carry that, or should one of you?"

"We will manage, daughter." Kadmon says gravely. At this reminder, Eden turns back toward the black section of the floor where the horn now rests. She walks over there, and folds part of the floor out, over, covering the horn from sight. A box of black crystal detaches from the floor.

The Shaman agrees. Please let me know precisely when you want the distraction. The Ghostwheel replies.

Aurora turns from watching her mother and looks expectantly at Julian. "Just say when, husband."

"When." Julian says, his blue gaze yet riveted on the door, though a smile curves the corner of his mouth….

She snorts softly even as the command is given Now. Aurora brings her hands up and calls up her magic for defensive purposes, violet lightening dancing over her fingertips. Sure she could do it without the special effects. But she had cultivated the effect when she was a High Priestess on Shadow Earth, and it had long been habit by the time of her separation from the others.

As she gives the mental command, Julian waits patiently beside the door, and moments later the glow of the Shaman's shields ceases in the vaulted chamber outside. Almost immediately, Julian is firing, arrows arcing outward with swift efficiency. There are two screams, two silent explosions of white-gold flames, and then there is silence. "How many of these creatures are there?" Julian asks tensely, addressing Kadmon directly for the first time.

"There were seven left when we went into regenerative stasis." Kadmon says,remaining beside his wife and their long-lost daughter, violet lightning crackling about her fingertips. "They have the stasis enchantment too."

"Let me see of Ghostwheel can recon," Aurora offers.

Ghostwheel. I need you to look around carefully. We need to know if there are any other beings out in the hallway or black crystal cocoons in the other infirmary. If you are not fully charged enough to do so and be able to defend yourself, do what you can.

Affirmative. The construct replied through the bracelet that binds them. Scanning… scanning… four cracked cocoons located in infirmary. Assessment: at least two hostiles remain at large.

"Ghostwheel counts four cracked cocoons," she informs the others lowly. "If Julian's arrows took out two, there will be two more at large."

Can you sense them?

Negative.

"Perhaps they have fled the scene." Julian says, his tone and face yet tense as he stands in the doorway and peers out. "This bow bears strange enchantments…"

"Ghost cannot sense them," Aurora says as she moves behind Julian to the door. "And I wish to look at your bow and the horn more thoroughly once we have the opportunity."

"All of you, stay close." Julian says before he strides out of the door and into the chamber on the other side.

Aurora is still not used to all this male protectiveness after all this time of being on her own. She rolls her eyes slightly as she follows him.

"Let me know if I can do anything," she murmurs to him.

"If you see anything dangerous, blast it with lightnings." Julian murmurs helpfully as he stays close to one wall and navigates the chamber toward the infirmary. Two piles of ash are passed as he leads the way there, and there they find the Shaman, his two warriors, and Zuithnel. The two warriors are tense and alert. Zuithnel has remained in her humanshape. The Shaman is still holding the alien device he employed to create the shielding wards.

Aurora almost looks disappointed when she doesn't see anything to blow up. She pulls back her power, but a close examination of her hand will show there still remains tiny flashes around her nails. She bows to the Shaman.

"Honored Elder. I present you and your warriors to the Lord and the Lady." She steps to one side to reveal her parents to the bird people. "Mother, Father; the Bird-Clan have been unwavering in their edicts given to them by you."

The eyes of the Shaman widen, and then he prostrates himself on the dark stone floor, as do his two warriors.

Zuithnel remains on her feet.

"Rise, honoured Clan of the Bird." Kadmon says. "We must swiftly go forth from this place."

Eden remains silent but smiles.

As this occurs, Julian quietly whispers to Aurora. "Roll your eyes all you like, I will protect you." Says he, firmly.

The Ghostwheel hovers in the doorway behind them all, assuming again his role of Guardian, alert to any sign of incoming hostiles.

Aurora smiles lovingly at her mate. "I know," she says quietly. "But over the centuries of our separation, I did not have you, and so had to learn to fend for myself. Do not be offended if I sometimes chafe at your desire to protect me as you once did."

Julian returns her smile. "Do not be offended if you suddenly find yourself over my shoulder or on Morgenstern's saddle as we run for our lives." Murmurs he.

She gives him a sly smile. "Still trying to kidnap me, are you, my Lord Huntingdon?"

"The thought had occurred to me." Julian replies. "Though I am yet… a trifle weary."

He moves to stand beside the only door of this infirmary chamber, stern blue eyes peering out into the darkness beyond it.

The Shaman has been raised to his feet by Kadmon as these murmurs occur.

"Alert: Fury reports strange activity in the rainbow Dome that connects these spheres." Ghostwheel says. "The Dome is expanding to contain a larger Logrus."

Aurora snaps her head around to look at her AI. Then she turns to her mother.

"I think we should evacuate, post haste."

"There is one of the shuttles at the top of the tower below the sun sphere." Eve says. "It should still work if the stasis field holds."

"Ghostwheel. Where is the cocoon containing my son?"

"My final scans returned data without logical sense, Aurora." The Ghostwheel reports. "The cocoon appeared to be moving backwards in time."

She sighs, pushing her riot of curls back from her face. "A goddess took him; that he goes backwards is not a surprise."

Aurora looks at the rest. "Follow close and keep your eyes open," she says first in ancient Thari for Bird Clan. She repeats it to her bound companion still will them - and for Morgenstern, she supposes.

Taking a moment to shift her robe back into fatigues, she moves over to Julian's position. "There is a shuttle on top of the tower. Get directions from my… my mother." Aurora sniffs quietly, as it all starts to suddenly hit her at once.

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