Fallon Meets Kess
He found himself daydreaming about living on a world such as earth… a respite for his weary soul. But he had been committed to make Renaj a safe home world for his people. So many lives depended on him and he had been so close.
Word had recently come to him through his spy who told him that King Baj-rei had struck a deal with the Physician to remove the shield surrounding Tyria, the Nimm home world. As well, the physician would be supplying Dragoon soldiers and that they would be the ones that would put an end to the rule of Rue-don. King Baj-rei would simply oversee the transition. No Beddian lives would be lost. It was a good deal for the King.
What had taken him years to position, and years of toil, labor and lives lost simply because this King had refused him council, would come to Renaj in one strategic coup that would change all things. It was infuriating.
He knew that King Baj-rei considered him to be their wild card and possibly their enemy but he needed to side with the King and because of this his pride was sorely aching. Now it would look as if he had had no other choice. Obey or die.
Again, his anger focused on Kess. His move on Kess would be completely unexpected, and fortunately for him, sanctioned by the one law the Varda always sought to obey... the will of the Maaz-ra-dune... the universal life force that brings all things to bear.
Kess was his lifemate and like it or not the king would have to accept him. His mind was working on how he could let this king know of his true intentions before the battle began and before the shield of Tyria came down. And of course, what he had done to his sons, completely without their knowledge. He feared that there would be no forgiveness for that.
Kess was the answer and his only hope. Through Kess, he could pull this off. He stood from the green grass of the hillside overlooking the ocean. He loved the city of San Francisco. It had the best of all worlds. It was the place that Kess had recently relocated to. He drew in its salty scent and wished he could know it always. But he was wasting time. Azrael had told him that Kess made a habit of frequenting a nightclub in Barcelona, Spain called SDS. Tonight the odds were in his favor that she would show up there, and when she did, he would make his move.
Azrael shifted them back to Barcelona where Fallon put back on his leather overlord attire and prepared to return home with his prize. Azrael popped his bubble by letting him know that his clothing would put Kess on guard. They were made of the skins of the reptiles of Renaj. She would recognize them instantly and would immediately take the offensive... or call to her brothers, neither of which could be allowed.
Fallon’s plan was to get close, then get her alone and drug her quickly. Azrael would then shift them back to Renaj. He slipped back on the levis Azrael had given him, laced up the combat boots, which he had grown quite fond of and buttoned up the silk collarless shirt that was black and suited his mood.
Azrael handed Fallon a wad of earth currency. Currency was something Fallon understood. Azrael spoke in a soft voice. “This is just a suggestion. Take your time. Watch her, flirt with her. If she is your lifemate as you say, she will not be able to resist the bonding pull of Hui-lu-Shai-eia. Buy her a drink and ask her to dance. You can dance?” Fallon didn’t answer. Azrael watched him, assessing him.
He had expected this overlord, this creature that was so feared on Renaj to behave with brutality, but Fallon had a sophisticated stoic persona of power and never gave himself away. Azrael had also expected that due to his life circumstance that he would behave with a certain amount of clumsiness and impatience…that too had never shown itself. The man-creature known as Lord Fallon had behaved admirably and had listened to all of the suggestions made to him and had taken his advice at every turn. Fallon struck Azrael as an intelligent, deliberating gentleman. It was difficult to tell that he was caught in the middle of a crisis of monumental proportions. Azrael cautioned, “Just watch. Emulate the people around you that behave with decorum, no large or fast moves.” He paused momentarily while preparing his next words.
“To hold tight to an agenda might be detrimental to your end goal. However, if by any chance she sees you as unfit and refuses to give you her attention and you cannot get close enough to drug her, I will cloud her mind. She will struggle against it and this will be a temporary distraction that will allow you to make your move.” Fallon agreed. Actually, Azrael’s suggestion bought him a little more time on earth, where oddly, he felt at peace. As well, it would give him some time to watch Kess and to see how she behaved. It was just another excuse to avoid the painful inevitable.
As they walked into SDS, the rhythm of the music undulated over and around the patrons that were more like members of a divine cult. The nightclub was unique in its appearance and gave the word opulence a whole new meaning. Fallon had only seen magnificence like this once before. His spy inside the Fire Rim had smuggled him into Anok-Musadi on Renaj. It was beyond the Fire Rim and under the crusty dome that hid the waters so desperately needed by Renaj. Anok-Musadi was an ancient Sulkar stronghold that had been abandoned long ago. It had only been discovered after the Varda had come to Renaj on a secret mission to rescue Torrein and Taial. Anok-Musadi had been a breathtaking sight beyond his imagination. Not even the Renajian tyrant Rue-don had such spectacular displays of opulence.
The Nightclub was decadence personified. People drank and danced, stood or sat talking openly. It was something Fallon was certain he would never get used to. People wore clothing of outstanding quality and paid what seemed to him as an outrageous price for a sip of intoxication. Fallon walked casually beside Azrael and up to the bar where Azrael ordered two Cokes, tall, with just a little ice. People of earth loved sweet. On the world he came from, only the wealthiest of the Renajians could afford the flavor of sweet. On earth, it flowed freely. Already he knew it would be hard to give it up once he had returned home. A small smile spread over his lips. When he returned home, he would have the sweetest prize of all, the daughter to the King of Beddia and his lifemate.
He wasn’t quite certain how the bonding pull… also known as Hui-lu-Shai-eia worked but he could not wait to rub this arrogant King’s nose in the fact that he would soon own his precious spoiled daughter and according to the law... there would be nothing that the king could do about it. It was a deserved comeuppance.
His plan included getting Kess pregnant as soon as possible and he would use the accelerant so that their child would be full term within three months’ time. King Baj-rei had refused his people the assistance that they desperately needed and now his daughter and grandchild would be among those people. Revenge would be sweet and that is what he would savor once he had returned home.
Fallon stood at the bar sipping sweetness, maybe the last he would ever taste and that is when he felt it. Something was trying to swallow him and it was doing a good job. He felt dizzy, disoriented...vulnerable. The music suddenly felt tangible, touchable. It felt as if he has stood up way to fast while starving, a sensation he knew too well. The room closed in around him and heat flushed his face, his heart began to race and his vision momentarily blurred. His body swayed and he had to put his head down, then, he felt a hand on his arm and heard someone speak close to his ear. “Are you alright? You look pale. I think you need to sit down before you pass out.” He felt his body being nudged onto the barstool and allowed the feminine voice to guide him. A soft chuckle teased his ears and the gentle hand placed on his arm tried to steady him but it felt like a bolt of lightning had just sizzled through him as the woman’s voice cautioned him. “Keep your head down and take a few deep breaths.”
The woman had just run her fingertips over his temple and he almost passed out. Her arm steadied him. He felt ridiculous, foolish, as he straightening his posture, he said. “I will be fine, thank you. I might have gotten a little too much sun today.”
Sun? Oh really? On the world where he was from, he worked in the sun daily, under torturous heat and in horrible windstorms that could strip the flesh from a person. The worst of the temperatures on earth was a day at the beach on Renaj… if they had any beaches…which they did not.
Azrael had warned him that women of earth were very different from the women of Renaj. He had told him that he would be coveted by women for his beauty, his size and his strength. Azrael had carefully explained that women of this world thought nothing about ‘hitting’ on a man...or trying to ‘pick him up.’ A metaphor of course.
Fallon had experienced a whole lot of this already and he had to admit that it felt really good. No woman of Renaj would ever dream of even looking at him. Of course, on Renaj he wore the Mask of the Master. They believed him to be a vicious and vile creature from an off-world and in a way, he was.
He turned to look to put a face to the voice that had spoken to him, the voice that was sexy as hell and the first woman that had actually made bodily contact with him. As his head turned, he saw that Azrael had moved slightly away to make room for her. He was looking straight ahead and into the mirror over the back bar... watching. Suddenly Fallon was staring into deep dark eyes framed by long, thick eyelashes the likes of which he had never before experienced. Her mouth was full, her plump lips smiling at him. He had seen a whole lot of beautiful women on Renaj. But this one was different. This one was...Kess. Kess! His mission flashed before him. He stood suddenly, grasping her wrist as he turned into her to capture her. He heard Azrael’s voice inside his mind order firmly. ‘Stand down. Now is not the time.’ Realizing then that the move he had made was not only overly aggressive and possibly detrimental to his mission but they were standing in an area occupied by hundreds of people. He let go and stepped back and ran into the barstool causing him stumble backwards.
Her hand moved once again to steady him. She was laughing as she asked, “How long have you been here? How much have you had to drink?” At first, he thought she meant... ‘How long have you been on earth’, which stunned him before he realized she meant how long had he been at SDS. As well, she might have implied that she viewed him as intoxicated. Now on the defensive and feeling awkward and for some odd reason he was having difficulty forming words. His entire body stiffened...All, of it. How embarrassing.
This time he watched her chuckle as she dragged his drink towards her, she said. “Okay... let us see what you have in here.” She leaned forward and took a sip, her lips forming around the straw. He watched her suck the sweet liquid into her mouth and his fantasies began to run out of control. She smiled seductively as she said. “How sweet, a neophyte. Most people usually put a little rum or sometimes a little Bourbon in their coke? I’m glad to see that you like it raw. What is your name sweet man?” Sweet man...she called him a sweet man. This was going well. He almost smiled before his brain started analyzing what she meant. Did ‘sweet man’ have some hidden meaning? Azrael cautioned, speaking to his mind. ‘She likes you. Calm yourself and answer her. Relax.’
Looking down into the witchiest eyes he had ever seen, he spoke just above a whisper to say, “Fallon. My name is Fallon.” She was standing really close. He felt a push to his mind as she tried to get a peek inside. The Varda were telepaths and if one was not carefully guarding their thoughts, the Varda would quickly know them. He reinforced the block to his mind and gathered his wits. Well...what was left of them anyway.
Glancing to the bartender she made a gesture with her finger over his drink and the man immediately began concocting a new beverage for him. “Hello Fallon, My name is Kess. Would you like to dance?” Did I happen to mention that she was standing really close? Some kind of strange sensation had already begun a slow, warm journey through his body. His eyes panned the dance floor as he conjectured rather or not he actually could dance. It crossed his mind that he should have at least practiced a bit but he never really saw it coming to this because his plan had been to just grab her and go. He felt her take his hand and begin to lead him towards the dance floor. His eyes caught on her body as well as her attire. Where everyone else seemed to be dressed to impress,
Kess wore dark brown leather pants that looked comfortably aged and worn, a dark blue tee shirt and a brown leather jacket. The boots she wore came to her knees and had about an inch or two of blocked heel. They looked more functional than fashionable and they too were aged and worn. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail which was braided. She wore no makeup except for some lip balm, no perfume, nail polish or jewelry. It had taken him by surprise. He had expected a rich, spoiled royal princess to look, act and dress the part of a rich, spoiled princess.
By the time they arrived at the center of the dance floor a slow song had begun to play. She turned into him, placing one hand on his shoulder, her other hand took his. She asked, “So tell me a little about yourself Fallon. Do you live here in Barcelona or just passing through?” His confidence had begun to return.
“Just passing through.”
“Are you here on business or pleasure?”
“You’re a real talkative guy. What do you do for a living?”
“I operate heavy machinery.” She moved so that both of her arms were wrapped around his neck.
“I figured as much. Your hands have heavy calluses. You must work really hard.”
For a brief moment, he felt bad about his hands. First because he thought they may have been too rough for her and maybe that was why she wrapped her arms around his neck. He suddenly felt insecure about running his hands over her body, which he had intended to do and hopefully soon. Then, he felt a bit awkward because he wasn’t sure where to put his hands. He glanced around to those sharing the dance floor to calculate his options. He opted for her waist. She continued as she stared up into his eyes. “Hard work’s a good thing. It gives us a better perspective on life. If I had tried to get away with some of the stuff that I see some young people doing today, my dad would have kicked my butt... verbally that is. My dad is not a violent person. Trust me when I say, with all my brothers, he has been sorely tested. But all in all, I’m grateful he gave us a sense of values.”
He could feel her breasts against his chest and they were wreaking havoc with his mind. She seemed impervious to his condition and continued. As well, the ‘dad gave us a sense of values’ comment irked him to no end. At this moment in time his preference was to hold a grudge. “Do you have family here in Barcelona? I don’t see a wedding ring, are you single, or are you here fooling around on someone?”
His ears were playing tricks on him. It sounded like she was talking to him through a tunnel. Their thighs kept brushing against each other and his mind could not seem to put away images of her naked body pressed against his. He answered perfunctorily. “I have no family here in Barcelona. I am...single. I have no one.” His words and the manner in which he spoke them struck Kess as very sad. It honestly felt as if he was having trouble just simply relaxing into a single dance and simple conversation. She could absolutely believe everything that he was saying, now if she could only get a look inside his mind.
SDS was in a ‘strange zone’. It was very difficult to read people’s minds in this place and with some people, it was simply impossible. Actually, there were a few strange things about SDS. Years ago her brothers had discovered that SDS had a ‘spider’ type of quality and that resonance fed out around the world. There we six location from where SDS could be accessed. Once inside, there was magic at work. Very few recognized this. She could walk into SDS in San Francisco and be in Barcelona, Spain. However, the door you entered through was the only door you could exit through. Those coming to SDS from New York never knew that they had left New York, same with the locations in Paris, San Francisco, New Orleans, London, and Rio.
On many occasion Meisha, Hiro, Aidan and Reza, as well as herself had tried to meet the mysterious owner of this illusive establishment. All attempts had failed. They had not given up and due to recent events regarding the opening of the temporal rift, it had moved to a higher priority on their list. This was not the only place that employed magic. It had been found to be at work in several places and they too were being watched.
This guy she was dancing with and what he was doing to her senses could certainly be considered magic. Kess had noticed him the moment she had stepped through the door, her eyes drawn to him almost uncontrollably. Her body had begun to tingle and every pour on her body had taken a sharp deep breath and her fingers had gone numb. She had drawn in his scent and there had been a ferocious masculinity to it. But for some reason she couldn’t get a fix on his ancestry. He was magnificent and definitely stood out. Even with a powerful body built for hard work it had been his face that had drawn her to him. He looked tense, almost uncomfortable in the decadent surroundings, but there was something more. He struck her as vulnerable, unconditioned to the life happening all around him.
He had similar coloring to her brother Hiro, who was a Nimm. With his towhead colored hair that reached all the way down to his butt, his cobalt blue eyes and skin that had been kissed by the sun, he was sexy as all get out. In a way, she was glad he hadn’t come onto her with some smarmy pick-up line or pretense of importance.
It was in that moment that the slow dance ended and a fast-paced upbeat tempo began to pound. As she released her arms from around his neck she could almost sense the controlled panic as he looked around to see all the other dancers pick up the pace to match the tempo of the music. For a moment she thought that just maybe this pretty package didn’t know how to dance. For some odd reason, it made sense to her. Taking his hand, she began to guide him back to the bar. As they arrived by at the bar there was a new round of drinks waiting for them. One was hot, black and smelled like coffee.
She winked at the bartender as she picked it up. “Thanks Tony, put these on my tab.” She turned to Fallon, and in a playful gesture, she bowed to say, “And thank you Fallon for the dance but I have to get to work now.” As she downed her espresso, Fallon had begun to panic. It was time to grab her and go.
He glanced to Azrael who, with the slightest of movement was shaking his head ‘No.’ Fallon rallied. “Thank you for the dance and the drink.” Smiling at him in the strangest way she said.
“You are welcome. You’re a bit unusual Fallon. I like that. Would you like to meet me for breakfast when I get off work?” Great... another chance to grab her and a little more time on earth.
Fallon felt himself smile, it was something he didn’t do often. His words still came out fairly perfunctory. “I would like to meet you for breakfast.” Curiosity had already gotten the best of him. He was interested to know what a princess might choose as appropriate work. That she worked at all surprised him.
Reaching to take her hand and before he had even thought it through he found himself asking. “You are on your way to work now, at this hour of the night? Where do you work? What do you do?” Her head tipped back as she laughed and Fallon could have sworn that he had never, in all his long life, seen anything so beautiful or so fresh.
Stating playfully Kess answered. “I am a super hero. I guard the streets in search of monsters that have descended upon this world to prey upon her people. I hunt and kill the beasts of the wyrding. Spiderman and Superman are my side kicks. Why don’t we meet back here about an hour after sun up? There is a little café across the street that has chocolate jalapeno croissants. I know it doesn’t sound that good but it is delicious. They have really great coffee too. How does that sound?”
She was smiling up at him. It was a strange sensation. At five foot ten in bare feet, with her boots on, she was just around six feet tall, the height of many men. With the exception of her brothers, she usually stood eye to eye or looked down on most men of earth. It was a refreshing sensation and suddenly she got it. Women usually gravitated to men that were taller than themselves because they liked the feeling of having a big protector. Sure, she could understand that. But as big as he was, she was the one with the mad skills. She could be his protector.
Fallon’s mind was trying to process her answer. Hunting? Was she serious that she was actually hunting for what had escaped the temporal rift, or the Diabolicon? She had to be kidding. The Diabolicon were the stuff of the darkest, most brutal and vicious legends. Stunned that her father would even allow such a thing, he found himself standing there, scowling. Fallon heard Azrael speak to his mind, cautioning. ‘Smile and say. ‘That sounds great.’
Forcing a smile, he said. “Breakfast sounds great.” Kess was a little baffled. Here was this drop dead gorgeous man who seemed to not have the tiniest clue as to how spectacular he was, who also seemed to have very little ‘man, woman’ social skills. She could almost feel it on him. He was attracted to her but didn’t quite know how to talk to her. It was actually very appealing.
So many times she had entered a club or even the bar of a restaurant and the men would be all over her and all of them seemed to have a pick-up line. This guy was refreshing and maybe, just maybe when she got to know him, she would actually like him because there was defiantly some kind of crazy hot chemistry between them. She had felt it instantly. Moving to give him a small quick kiss on the cheek she felt him lean forward slightly to accept it. He stayed there for a brief moment which was telling to Kess. He wanted more but didn’t reach to pursue it.
Smiling at him she said. “Sweet...see ya’ then.” Turning to walk away, he watched her disappear out the door, but not before she had turned to look at him and wink, all the time his mind was screaming at him that he had allowed her to get away and what if she actually encountered one of the Diabolicon that had escaped from the temporal rift and got herself injured.
Azrael moved over to stand beside him. He said. “I think that we should discuss your demeanor. You do not handle yourself very well with women.” It was a distraction… a diversion from what Azrael knew was coming. If looks could kill…ouch!
Fallon stated firmly and with command. “There is no way I will allow her to hunt for the Diabolicon, or for the creatures that have slipped the rift. Do you know their hunting ground? Where exactly will she be going? We need follow her there now.” Azrael stood accessing him. It would figure that this man would think that he was rushing to the rescue. It was in his profile that he had this disposition.
Azrael knew the Varda, even though they did not know him. If Kess were with the watchers, she would be inside a protective circle of hunters. These hunters not only had exceptional training, they also had exceptional skills and experience. Nothing was going to happen to the Kings only daughter and he didn’t even want to have this conversation but he had to put an end to this before it became an argument.
Azrael warned. “Her brothers and the other watchers will be there. If you make a move in their view you will reveal your bloodline and Kess will be lost to you. If circumstances turn and you are discovered the watchers will rally quickly, they are already on guard and you will be perceived as the enemy… as you are…the enemy.”
He made heavy emphasis to the word ‘enemy’. Azrael was feeling quite human…not a good feeling. It was time to control what could be a fatal mistake. He continued. “It is ten PM here in Barcelona. She hunts in San Francisco so that means it is ten A.M. there. The predators from the rift hunt primarily at night. Her father may have assigned her to hunt in the day so that she would be exposed to fewer possibilities when it comes to running into one of these creatures that have escaped. I am sorry but I must say ‘no’ to this request, Lord Fallon.”
Azrael pointed out. “This woman is no simple girl. First, she is Varda. She has been trained by the Ezdras assassins… the Azsusina herself. Her mother is a Heldekian raised in a Rebbeska and is a witch of considerable skills. You do not know what her mother may have taught her. She may possess skills of the wyrding. You know very little about this woman. She might even be capable of kicking your ass.” Fallon straightened. Well that remark was uncalled for.