Authors: Caris Roane
His roars pressed against her screams as the orgasm spun through her mind. On and on, ecstasy spiraled through her body, flooding her veins with pleasure, and sending her straight into the heavens.
After a full minute of so much sweet sensation, the movement of his hips slowed. The sensual feel-good eased through her veins and caused her legs to finally grow lax.
Duncan shifted them to a more upright position and let his wings shape into parachute mount, rocking them both in place. With her arms now around his neck she kissed him over and over, thanking him for the extraordinary moment.
On the way down, she rested her head against his shoulder, trusting him completely. But the fatigue of the night’s training settled on her and before he touched down outside the mountain home, she’d drifted off.
She awoke only when he was putting her to bed. As Duncan headed into the shower, she realized her nausea had returned, which seemed really strange. She began to wonder if she’d contracted some kind of stomach ailment that shouldn’t really exist on Second Earth. Or maybe it was just a result of the intensive training she’d received.
Whatever the case, she decided she’d seek out a healer’s advice the next night when she returned to HQ. She might even contact Horace whose team tended to the wounds of those who served as either Militia Warriors or a What-Bees.
With the decision made, she fell sound asleep.
The team soars,
When human nature settles its wings.
Collected Proverbs –
Beatrice of Fourth
Duncan awoke before Rachel late in the afternoon. He made a pot of coffee and took a mug out onto the east-facing porch. The sun was well on its way to setting, so he had a clear view of a granite out-cropping, several forested ridges, and a lot of deep blue sky.
Rachel. Sweet Christ, making love with her high in the air had been an amazing experience. He’d never felt so connected to her. He’d been swept into a different reality, one that pointed him toward Third Earth. Yes, he’d serve on the black ops team as long as he was needed. But he also felt a strong call to something else, something more, though he had no idea what. And Rachel was part of it.
He accessed his
power and focused for a moment on the veiled woman the entire team now believed was Merl’s sister, Katlynn. He also held the Third Earth Warriors of the Blood in his mind. Images arrived swiftly of a quiet prison setting, holding steady, and he could breathe easily. He knew for the moment all was well.
But the earlier vision lived in him at the same time, pressing him to stay tight and focused. The hour would come and the black ops team would head for Mexico City Three through the Third Earth darkening grid.
He felt different within himself and with Rachel, stronger. He’d reached a new level of power, as they all had, but he’d also begun staring down the serpent in his gut. He didn’t know how he would make the
work, but he was more committed than ever before.
He was still concerned about Rachel and her stomach sickness. She didn’t seem like herself. She’d resisted becoming a warrior for so long, maybe it was all too much. Yet, he knew she was committed to serving on the team.
He’d just have to keep an eye on her.
Lying on her stomach, Rachel took her time waking up. She felt almost dazed and when she opened her eyes, her surroundings didn’t look familiar. Then she remembered Duncan had brought her to his mountain home.
She blinked and took a deep breath, forcing the veil of sleep away. Fatigue had settled on her in a surprising way. In fact, she could hardly move.
With her cheek pressed into the pillow, she checked out the room. Walnut paneling covered the walls and the bedstead was made of polished tree branches woven together. A painting of a waterfall surrounded by a dense woodland hung above a mahogany chest of drawers.
She smiled because the style really appealed to her.
Rolling onto her side, she glanced at the large picture window. She had a view of treetops, a fading evening sky and a few stars just making an appearance.
She felt drugged out and tried to remember if she’d had anything to drink the night before. But she hadn’t. She’d made love with Duncan high in the air then fallen asleep in his arms as he brought her back to earth.
She smiled happily and put a hand to her chest. She felt full and complete. Her hand drifted to her stomach and she winced. There was only one problem. Her nausea was back and just as her mouth filled with saliva, she pushed herself from bed, sprinted for the arched doorway, and stumbled into the bathroom.
She barely made it to the toilet when she threw up. And not just once, but repeatedly. She finally had to force her body to calm down because there was nothing in her stomach.
Sitting on the tile floor, she leaned against the side of the bathtub. The cast iron was cool against her skin.
She couldn’t remember the last time she’d vomited. The stress of the past month must really be getting to her.
Queasy, faint, sore breasts.
And a vision of a child.
A strange white haze suddenly filled her mind. She didn’t really want to think about anything right now except her need to keep moving forward with the black ops team. But the haze meant something, pointing her toward a couple of facts she didn’t want to ponder.
Like why she’d thrown up.
Or why she’d been dizzy earlier when she’d first arrived at Duncan’s cabin.
Or why her breasts hurt like they were on fire even now, though nothing was touching them.
No, she didn’t want to think about these things. Not now. Not when she’d become a Warrior of the Blood and spent her nights killing death vampires and Third grid wreckers. Not when she served as the black ops team’s shield.
But other realities intruded like the simple fact she now realized she’d missed her period.
She covered her face with her hands.
No, no, no.
This couldn’t be happening, not to her, not in the middle of a war, not when she was about to go on a rescue mission to retrieve Merl’s sister from Yolanthe’s prison.
But her new reality wouldn’t be denied as she recalled the vision of the dark-haired little girl calling Duncan ‘Dad’.
Her hands fell away from her face. She stared at the open shelves opposite, at towels stacked up beside several bars of soap.
She was pregnant.
With Duncan’s child.
And they were having a girl.
She focused on the Paradise Valley master bedroom and on the closet she’d stocked with new clothes. She mentally located jeans, underwear, and a soft violet cashmere sweater. She folded them onto the nearby bed then, while still sitting, she looked down at her tender, swollen breasts.
God help her, she was having a baby.
She rose slowly to her feet. As one in a dream, she turned the shower on and moved beneath a warm stream of water. She once again looked down at her breasts. They were definitely bigger, already preparing to nourish a child.
Moving her hands to her lower abdomen, she splayed her fingers over what would soon become swollen and full.
She was pregnant and she would be a mother, something she’d never expected.
Tears joined the streaming water as she let her emotions flow. She’d ignored the symptoms until now. On some level she must have known, but kept explaining away the nausea and the increased size of her breasts, as well as their painful tenderness.
She also knew a pregnancy would seriously complicate her life, her role on the ops team, and especially her relationship with Duncan.
She’d once asked him whether he ever thought about having children. His response still rang in her ears, sending a shard of fear into her heart. ‘God no,’ he’d said. ‘What kind of father would I make with Carlyon as my example?’
She needed to tell him, though, right away. After getting dressed, she headed into the living area. This was not the kind of news she thought it would be wise to keep secret.
She saw him through the porch window and affection flowed through her in a swift wave. Was it truly possible she and Duncan would make a family together?
she sent, but a strange kind of static returned and she knew something was wrong.
Duncan had his mug to his lips when a vision slammed into him. The heavy cup flew from his hands, bouncing down the steps of the porch. A powerful sense of urgency pummeled him hard and pushed him to his feet before he realized he’d even moved.
He couldn’t see anything except the images in his head, so he threw his arms out to keep his balance.
A battle vision emerged of entering the darkening grid from the portal in Merl’s home. Once inside, he began to run. Less than a minute later, wreckers arrived, at least two dozen of them, blasting through the grid wall.
Oh, God, so many.
The black ops team engaged them in battle. In the vision, they weren’t shielded, though he didn’t know why.
The vision skipped forward and he stood in front of Yolanthe’s portal, part of the team with him, the other still fighting hard at the initial point of battle.
Within the vision, he accessed his wrist scanner and started to punch in the numbers to open Yolanthe’s portal, then hesitated. He even asked Rachel to shield them, but she couldn’t. She was being blocked.
At that point, the vision fell apart as though destroyed from somewhere in the future streams.
This sequence of events was a far cry from the original vision of finding Katlynn in a quiet prison.
He tried to access the vision again but it was shut down by some external force.
The only thing he knew for certain was the black ops team had to be inside the Third Earth darkening grid within the next five minutes or the woman and Merl’s squad of What-Bees would be killed.
With his heart racing, he closed his eyes and contacted Luken telepathically, but there was no response. The seconds dragged by slowly. When Luken finally responded, a half minute had passed.
Who is this?
I didn’t get that. Who? There’s interference of some kind.
Duncan shut the communication down.
Creator help him, what was he supposed to do now? He felt certain a Third Earth entity was disrupting not only the vision, but his ability to use his telepathy.
He calmed himself and thought about Merl and all the recent training. Within a few seconds, he knew what to do, but he had to act fast. He slipped his t-shirt off and ran down the steps of the porch onto a gravel path.
He began swelling his wing-locks and at the same time accessed his
power. Because of all the adrenaline in his system, his wings mounted the moment his
power came online and he was in flight. Somehow, the quick beat of his wings helped him to give full expression to his power.
He flapped hard, quickly breaching the forest canopy. He continued to fly then set his path in a slow circle. He focused on the strong
vibrations. But instead of only reaching out to Luken telepathically, he brought every member of the team fully within his mind, including Rachel. Looking down, he saw that she now stood on the porch watching him.
When he knew he had everyone’s telepathic attention, he sent,
Listen up, team. The vision of the future has changed. An unknown enemy has surfaced in the future streams and somehow impacted our rescue mission. Right now, we’ve got three minutes to get into the grid or we’ll lose Katlynn and all seven of Merl’s Third What-Bee squad. But this will mean battle against wrecker warriors, a lot of them. And Rachel won’t be using her shielding power. And no, I don’t know why except that she’ll be blocked. But by whom or by what, I have no idea. And Merl, I’ll need your wrist scanner. Everyone get to Militia HQ on the double.
He didn’t question for a second that they’d heard him, or that they’d respond to his directive, because he felt it. Closing the telepathy down, he drew his wings into close-mount and shot like a rocket back to the porch. He pulled up at the last second, landed on his feet, then in a smooth, Third-like manner, brought his wings into his locks.
Rachel had already changed into her battle suit, including her new dagger holster. “I’m ready.”
Duncan waved a hand, donning his battle kilt and harness, silver studded wrist guards, battle sandals and shin guards. He put a hand on her shoulder and folded her to the Apache Junction Two landing platforms.
The officer on duty called out, “Luken left instructions. Fold straight to the Ops Cave.”
Duncan dipped his chin, and with his hand on Rachel, folded both of them there.
To his astonishment, the entire team had already gathered, eyes wild with battle fervor. Endelle wore a red, cloud-like skirt with chain-mail beneath, the blade vest, black hip boots, and her horned helmet.
Merl handed him the wrist scanner and he snapped it on.
Merl then gathered everyone into a huddle. “Hands on each other’s shoulders. We’re doing a group fold to my home. I’ve already lit up the portal. Ready?”
Rachel had never felt anything like this in her life. The ramped up tension in the team flowed from person to person. She especially experienced the sensation where she touched Duncan’s shoulder on one side and Luken’s on the other.
“Now,” Merl called out.
The trip through nether-space was a streak of power and a flash of energy. Within a split-second, they arrived in Merl’s living room.
Merl addressed Duncan. “Which weapons did we use in your vision?”
“Wrecking shotguns and unidentified swords. Rachel threw her daggers.”
Merl’s eyes glinted. “You heard the man. Arm up.”
Rachel wasn’t sure why her shielding powers would be blocked, but right now it was more important to trust the vision.
Another blast of energy flowed over Rachel as the team acted as one. Weapons appeared in each hand.
Just as Merl had said, the portal was lit up in a soft glow and open to the grid.
“Inside now,” Merl shouted.
Owen led the way since he was closest, and in the space of a few seconds everyone stood on the darkening grid floor. With a sudden snap, the portal closed.