TO FANFIC LIBRARY
Waiting for the feeling
For that moment when they finally rise above
But it's always in the giving
That gets you to the places that you find love
It is finished, he thought smiling to himself. His hand trembled noticeably, as he laid down the quill and sealed the journal. Taking the locket from around his neck he sealed it into a leather pouch and along with the journal, handed them to his daughter. "I charge thee loved one to keep these safe until the time when they are needed." With that said he died.
He walked over to the table where the mortal sat awaiting further instructions. "It is time you reintroduced yourself to Alexandra Moreau. Jacob, I have planned this with great care. Tread lightly Derek Rayne and the members of the Legacy are not fools. They will be suspicious. We must continued keep a certain distance between ourselves and the journal until we can bend Ms Moreau's will, to our purposes. Inspite of that fool Sloan.He thought deep within himself. "The journal and the locket will bring her to us, and Dr. Derek Rayne and the others will have no choice but to follow."
I understand that we need Alex to find the seal, but once you have it how do you hope to destroy it and your enemies?"
Do not let trivialities worry you. Everything is within my control."
Derek walked away from the wall monitors to answered the telephone in the control room. "Luna Foundation."
"Hello William, how can I help you?"
"I am sending to you a package that will be of interest to Alex and yourself."
"The package is addressed to her."
"How did it come to the London House?"
"One of our members was given the package. No, I should say one of our members found it at a dig in Egypt".
"Is there anything else I should be aware of?"
Sloan paused considering his next words carefully. "No." He did not feel his position firm enough to argue with Derek about how the London house had gained the package or about the deaths surrounding its delivery to the San Francisco house. Even more importantly, he was hesitant to debate with Derek that there was justification in putting Alex at danger.
Derek stared at the package resting on the desk before him, as if willing it to tell him its secret and what it had to do with Alex. His inner voice was telling him that it should be destroyed. But, he knew that to do so without first allowing Alex to know it was here would bring down her rage on his head once again. Lately, their relationship was tenuous at the best of times and to keep this from her might be the straw that broke the camel's back. He smiled to himself, knowing what Alex would say if she knew he had compared her with a camel. With great reluctance he dialed the phone in the library.
"Phillip, is Alex there?"
"Yes, we've just finishing guestimating about that piece the Toronto house sent us."
Guestimation?" Derek queried.
He could hear their laughter. Yes. It's a new term Alex has taught me. I means we're not quite sure what it is we're look for, or at."
"OK," said Derek smiling, envying Phillip his easy relationship with Alex. They were constantly challenging each other with some current vogue. This week it was street slang. The smile disappeared as Derek remember the business at hand.
"Tell Alex I need to see her as soon as you've finished."
As Alex entered the room Derek sensed a change in the essence surrounding the package. He reached out searching harder for its secrets, all he received was the flash of a face he did not recognize.
"You wanted to see me?" Alex asked, sitting on the arm of the chair in front of his desk.
"Yes, this package is for you." He pushed it across the desk to her. "It was forward to us by the London House. One of their members received it at a dig in Egypt."
"Egypt." Alex repeated puzzled. As she reached for the package, an intense feeling of suffocation overcame her and she lost consciousness. When Alex came to herself again, she was sitting in a chair near Derek's desk with her head between her knees. She felt a weight on the back of her neck and began to struggle, stopping when she realized that it was Derek's hand.
"Let me go Derek."
He moved away from her.
"What happened?" She asked rubbing her forehead.
"You started to pick up the package on the desk and you fainted."
Rachel, standing nearby, looked at Derek. Gone was the panic she had heard in his voice earlier. He looked and acted as if what had happened was of no consequence. She knew better.
"Do you remember anything?" Rachel asked, concerned for her friend.
Alex smiled faintly. "I remember the smell of myrrh. The odor was faint at first, then it became sickly overpowering. You know, like when you're in a elevator with fifty women all wearing different perfumes. I could physically feel its weight."
Derek interrupted. "Isn't that fragrance a little old for you to know?"
Alex and Rachel both smiled. Rachel explained. "The scent has become popular. Several major designers are using it. You need to date more, you're getting rusty."
"OK ladies, I'll admit to a slight fashion deficit."
Nick who had just walked in knelt by the chair, to see for himself that she was alright. "Ah, to be in such a situation, so many women and just little ole me."
"Nick you are incurable." Alex said smiling at her young partner.
Rachel motioned for Nick to help Alex up from the chair. "Why don't you go to your room? What you need is some rest." Alex didn't argue, which was noted by the others. At the doorway she stopped and turned to Derek.
"Why don't you and Phillip have a peak. I know you're fit to be tied, not being able to know what's inside."
"Are you sure Alex?"
"Yes. I trust you to let me know what's going on." Her tone of voice warning Derek not to leave her out of any decisions to be made.
This is not right, this is not me, the words echoed in her mind as Alex threaded her hands in her hair, pulling it back painfully. She stood in front of the mirror staring at her reflection. The same features stared back at her, yet she felt so different. As if there was something missing, something waiting to be added to the mixture of restless energy, endless curiosity, warmth and caring that made Alex Moreau who she was. Slowly, her hands traced her face, down the sides of her neck, across her shoulders and down the sides of her breasts, past waist and hips until they rested against her thighs. "I am Alexandra Moreau," she said aloud to the image before her. "This is how I should be," she said the words, refusing to hear the doubt in her voice.
Other memories imprinted themselves on Alex's present. Vague feelings of sorrow, of suffering done for the love of a man, a country, and a people. Of separation from lover and child by time and distance. Unwanted memories uncoiled slowly deep within her psyche.
The dark haired maiden waited anxiously for the servants to bring him to her. She fussed with her dress, she patted the leopard laying near her leg. "Why should I be frightened. He is not worthy of consideration. He is here to serve me." The words she voiced were not the ones her mind believed. She knew from the palace whispers that he had fought bravely and was worthy of much honor. She had heard her cousins speak in awe of others such as he, and just because she was a descendent of the royal house could not lessen the dignity she recognized in the errant knight.
The eunuch dragged him into the large chamber and unceremoniously dumped him to the floor at her feet. The knight stood slowly his face denying the fear that gnawed at his innards. The prayer on his lips was that God would again show his grace and that he was not yet to die in this heathen country.
Looking around he noticed the beauty that surrounded him. Fear was soon replaced by awe. Kandise stared at him . Her women believed him to have hidden beneath his clothing the tail and horns of a demon, and that she was mad to have the pale one so close and unguarded. Where they saw pale flesh and evil she saw strength and beauty.
She also kept her face free of fear, but held her hands buried deep within her robes, to keep their trembling from giving her away. He stood as still as she as they faced each other. Truly opposites, male and female, native and foreigner, friend and foe. Their differences seemingly insurmountable. She called to her ladies who brought food and water. The women brought the items and hurriedly left, their fear of the stranger evident. She nodded for him to join her on the cushions.
Alex nearly screamed at the knock on her door. It took several seconds for her to calm herself enough to answer. She opened the door slowly as if expecting something to jump in at her.
Nick stood against the door frame. "Alex, dinner's waiting."
"Thank you Nick, but I'm not hungry. I could use a hug though." He obliged. This is real, she thought hugging him tighter. Nick stood back wondering at her strange behavior.
"Derek told me to tell you that the package contained a journal. He has Phillip working on the translation."
"Yea. If you need anything call me. Alex?"
The phone woke her from a restless sleep. "Tanya,." She asked, feeling her sister presence over the long miles that separated them. "Why the call? Did Derek or one of the others ask you to check up on me?"
Tanya said nothing for several moments, wary of her sister's temper, when she felt others were making decision for her. "You've got them, worried. And if their worried...then...you know."
"No need," was all Alex said. "So, big sister, what's going on?" They talked of general things, Tanya's new almost beau, who was on a current dig in central Louisiana. He had sought and received funding to search for known burial grounds of freedmen townships from the 1600's to the end of the civil war.
"I hope to meet him soon, sound like you've hit the jackpot. I'll have to ask to Gran'ma Rose though, to get the real news on him. You know she knows everyone."
Tanya laugh. "You know she does. She inspected him from head to toe. She knows him family history past, present and future. Now little sister for the real reason I called. What's going on with you?"
"Someone delivered a package to the house today. There's something not right about it."
"What was in it?"
"A journal. Derek told me it was found Egypt. Do we known anyone in that region, any family or friends?"
"Alex I'm not sure. I do remember great, great grandfather's diary mentioning antecedents who lived in Africa. I'll talk to the old woman and she see what she remembers anyone. And I'll read the diaries again."
Alex laughed. "Rose will have your behind when I tell her what you just called her."
Tanya laughed with her. "Tattle tale. I'll let you know what I find."
"Tell Rose that I'll be calling soon."
"Will do and Alex."
"Don't let your pride get in the way of asking for what you need."
Alex paused a large lump in her throat. Tayna's love for her reached across the distance.
Feeling better Alex, went downstairs to face what she had put off all day. She found everyone in the control room, around a book laying flat on the desk in front of Phillip, who was the first to notice her arrival.
"Feeling better?" He worked to keep his concern from showing in his voice. Alex treated her job as researcher as her reason for living and for her not to have been there when they opened the package disturbed him. Derek had told him about her fainting as well.
"Better, Sir Phillip." Alex did a mock curtsy. She walked over to look over his shoulder. "Is this what was in the package."
"Yes." Phillip closed the journal so that she could look at the cover and bindings.
Nick pulled a piece of paper from a stack near him. "Our scan says between 550 - 1100 AD. I'm sending a specimen to the university for a more precise date."
"How is the translation going?" She asked Phillip.
"It was too easy at first. Much of the beginning pages are written in Arabic and Dutch. But then the author or authors changed languages. I've scanned several pages into the computer." The puzzled expression Phillip wore made his boyish features even more handsome. "Have look at the screen."
Alex walked closer to the large bank of the monitors. Leaving his seat, Derek walked over to where she stood. He gently rubbed her shoulders and the area between her shoulder blades, his hand absorbing the warmth of her beneath the smoothness of her shirt. Impressions trickled into his consciousness, subtle at first, flashes of sounds, smells, textures. His hands gripped her shoulders as they became stronger.
"Derek, Derek." She whispered prying his hands from her shoulders. She did not want to alarm the others, so she said nothing more but stepped away from him. Derek started to apologize, but she shook her head saying none needed. "Did you see something?"
He shook his head no. He had no intention of worrying Alex until he was sure of what he had felt.
Alex patted his arm and spoke louder so that the others could her. "Its ancient Nubian, Phillip."
"Its the journal of a Christian knight who participated in the crusades. He was of Dutch ancestry and lived in England and France for a time. He became the vassal of an English lord, agreeing to military indenture. He was sent to Africa to pay ransom for the Lord's son who was on a crusade in the holy land.
"Why would he willing put himself into that kind of slavery."
Derek turned to answer Nick's question. "In the middle ages, a second or third son had no right to inheritance, and so in order to make a living they oft agreed to indenture themselves for property or monetary gain."
All during the conversation Alex sat quietly, her thoughts far away. That disquieting feeling was back again, that she was two persons. Her mind divided. She focused on the vision. The woman wild and strong, her skin the color of ebony. She sat astride a large horse the color of midnight. He pawed at the ground restlessly, she leaned over his head and gently calling his name to quiet him. Alex could smell his arid breath, her arms tense as if she were holding the stallions reins.
Derek looked over a Alex. He was receiving bits and pieces of the same impressions. He put his hand on her arm in a gesture of comfort, but her muscles tensed. Derek drew away thinking that she was afraid that he would hurt her again. But the eyes that stared back at him did not acknowledge him. He was not there for her, her reality centered on the women and the man who rode swiftly towards her. Alex could hear their laughter, felt their exhilaration as they rode across the arid sands. She stood as witness of this joining of friends and lovers.
Rachel walked over to Alex shaking her to gain her attention. Alex look down at her friend, bewildered. Rachel correctly reading Alex's next reflex, applied a firmer grip to keep her from bolting out of the room. She walked Alex away from the others, giving her room to recover. "We're wondering if you had any idea why the journal was sent to you?"
Alex mouthed thank you. Taking a deep breath, she felt more in control, but she continued to hold on to Rachel. "I didn't known why. I talked to Tanya and asked if we had any relatives or friends in Africa. She's going to asked Gra'ma Rose and research our great great grandfathers diaries. Hopefully, she'll find something." She smiled emphasizing her point by using her fingers in imagined quotes. Eyebrow raised she look at Derek. "She told me to tell you, hello."
Derek waited for her outburst of anger, usually signaled by a flaring of her nostrils. Instead she smiled, "Thanks for caring." Phillip unknowingly broke the tension by suggesting that they'd done enough. "Why don't we finish this tomorrow? " Everyone agreed.
When Phillip arrived Alex was already in the control room, studying the pages Phillip had transcribed the night before. She pointed a large coffee cup in his direction.
"Tis' this coffee or some of that devil's brew you drink? " He asked sniffing at the cup.
She gave him one of her brightest smiles. "Freeze me."
"A good night sleep does wonders, I see." Phillip said as he took the cup from her hand. "I had thought to beat you here."
"You couldn't have, I've been here all night. And don't," she pointed a finger at him, "tell Derek. I don't want... or need him preaching at me."
"Alex do you really think he doesn't know?"
At times the work was tedious, as they had to carefully pry apart pages sealed by age and damage. As they were able to translate more and more, the knight and his lady became a reality to Alex.
Rachel and Derek would pop-in often to check on their progress, wanting to make sure that the two did not over work themselves. Derek watched Alex closely for by mid-afternoon the sleepless night clearly showed on her face. All day he had received flashes of powerful emotions, mostly from her and from... some echo that he hadn't figured out yet. It was not Alex's mental signature so he did not dismiss the feeling, but tabled it, knowing that soon he'd know what it was. The not knowing was enough to keep him on edge, and knowing that Alex was living with the same vagueness, and had said nothing, made him even more cautious.
"Phillip, how much longer?"
"Hail!" Phillip shouted as he jumped in his seat. Derek smiled at the look on Phillip's face. The two had been so engrossed in what they were doing, they had not heard or seen him step in. Derek's tone had been a little curt, but he was worried that Alex was in danger and hoped that once the translation was completed, all other questions would be answered.
"I'm not sure Derek. We have half the journal translated, Alex's been working like a demon. Maybe tomorrow we'll have the remainder. If you like we can discuss what we've gotten so far."
"Good idea. Alex, I'll expect you to join us."
She looked up from the book she was reading. "We'll see," she said dismissing him. Phillip patted Derek's shoulder, "You know how she is when she's really consumed."
Outside the control room Derek stopped Phillip. "There's something going on with her, and it started with the journal. I don't want things to get any further out of hand."
I know, but so far she's able to handle it."
"No Phillip she's not. She's not sleeping or eating."
Phillip took a deep breath, giving himself time to form his response, searching for the words that would do the least damage. "Alex is a strong woman mentally, physically as well as, spiritually. Did you know that Nick has been tutoring her in the martial arts? She has to be strong to withstand the terrors being a member of the Legacy, as well as, the only woman living in a household of men. Rachel comes and goes, she has Kat and her friends in the medical community, a life outside of the Legacy. Alex for the most part has only us and those who become embroiled in Legacy business. And you know as well as I that those are not lasting relationships. Most of the time she's shut up in that control room. Come on Derek, she's kept her sanity, she's confident with who she is, and she is dealing with not having what she most desires..." Phillips voice trailed off, afraid that he had said too much.
"Give the woman a break." He added quickly hoping to cover his blunder. He did not want to face Alex once she'd found out that he had confided to Derek her feelings about him. Phillip walked down the hall hoping Derek would not ask any further questions.
Derek footsteps matched those of his retreating friend. "I'm not as blind as either of you paint me, Phillip."
The others joined Derek and Phillip in the library. "Where is Alex?" Nick asked.
"In the control room. I guess she has decided not to accept Derek's summons." Phillip said ignoring the glare from Derek as he winked at Nick. Nick smiled understanding.
"I've asked Phillip to update us on what he and Alex have learned so far." Derek said suffering the lighthearted joking.
"Later sections of the journal, as Alex said, are Nubian. Basically it's the story of boy meeting girl and falling in love. The boy a captured Christian knight, falls in love with a maiden from Nubian royalty. During 550-1400AD much of Nubia was Christian. When Muslim control was regained, many of the Christian citizens where either murdered or enslaved. And knowing that her husband and their children might..."
"Children?" Rachel asked.
"Yes, three I believe. Knowing that they might be killed, she dissolved her family fortune with the support of the Caliphate and had them smuggled out of Nubia by pirates. There are several sections that we have not been able to translate I believe they have something to do with our mystery, something he, 'the knight, ' chanced upon. The journal also mentions a family secret passed from mother to daughter through several generations. I think they considered it a written record of their heritage. The journal contains notations from other family members."
Derek took Alex a dinner tray and found her asleep at her computer with the journal clasped tightly to her. "Come on Alex it's time you got some rest."
"No, I'm not through yet."
"Yes, you are." He said taking her by the arm and pulling her from behind the console. He followed her to her bedroom door. She stood in the doorway, her anger fueled by tiredness. "You don't want to tuck me in? How about brushing my teeth for me?"
"Go to bed Alex." He said wearily, strain evident on his face and in the set of his shoulders.
Regret as well as another restless night had Alex on edge. And as the day wore on the house became more oppressive.
"We're never going to finish this if you continue to stare at that wall." Phillip said handing her a book from the shelf.
"You're right, Phillip." Alex said as she stood up.
"Where are you going?"
"I need to talk to Derek."
Alex knocked on Derek's office door and entered at his acknowledgment.
"I'd like to talk."
"OK, let me finish this entry."
Nodding her head, she turned away to stare out the window. Their words, their world invaded her weakening reality.
Rachel found Phillip in the control room. "Where's Alex? Kat wanted me to make sure she was OK, she's worried about her."
"Any reason in particular? "
"Nothing Kat could put into words, just a feeling."
"Alex went to talk to Derek. "
Rachel standing next to Phillip read the script from the computer screen. "Why Father Phillip Joseph Callaghan! What is this?" She said feigning mock disapproval. "The desire for her a heat inside me."
"Not my words!" He said quickly. Rachel continued to read over Phillip's shoulder as he continued to input the transcription into the computer.
"I wish Alex were here, she does this so much faster than I, and she doesn't have to put up with snide remarks against her character."
Rachel smiled. "They were in love."
"Yes, I think so too."
Derek felt distressed at look of vulnerability on Alex's face. It was so unlike his young apprentice. He steeled himself, training his face not to show the emotions raging inside him. Finished, he put the ledger away and walked to where she stood waiting. Taking her hand he led her to the sofa.
"Talk to me."
"First, I want to apologize for how I acted last night. I was tired and angry and I took it out on you."
"Derek, I need your help." She said, her fingers flicking across each other, her hands moving in their usual expressive way.
"Ever since the journal arrived, everything has become screwed. My perceptions are off. I'm hearing, seeing even smelling things that are not there. You're always so detached about everything, I thought maybe you could make some sense of the confusion I'm feeling. She paused listening as words inundated her. "She slumbers peacefully in my arms, the nectar of her kisses lingers upon my lips. Remembrance of what has passed between us this night is forever a part of me. She is the flame I cannot live without."
Derek waited until she was ready to speak again. Alex agitated walked to the window again. "Derek, I'm reliving someone elses memories. Haven't you seen?"
"Not seen, but I have sensed...division within you."
Derek sat at the breakfast table staring into an empty coffee cup. Nick sat hunched over his plate stirring the food around with his fork and Phillip, well he watched the others trying to think of a way to ease the silence. Alex walked into the room and for the first time in days there was a smile on her face. She stood behind his chair her arms wrapped tightly around his neck. "Guess what I did? I've found the key to translating the last sections." Phillip bolted from his seat and followed her back to the control room. They were there well into the night.
"She's good." Phillip said walking into Derek's office and handing him the last translations. Derek read the sheaf of papers in his hand.
"Coffee's made." Derek pointed to the small table by his desk. "The knight was captured by Muslim forces who were crossing Christian lands. The Muslim warriors had requested safe passage from the area's precept and the Marshal of Templars posted there. The marshal, Thomas Crowley, decided that attacking the convoy would gain them untold treasures and feed his need for revenge. There had been rumors for months that a great treasure was being moved for safekeeping in Egypt. Though, many of his own knights tried to dissuade him he attached and was routed by the Muslim forces. Many of the knights were killed or captured and held for ransom."
Putting down the slice of cheese and bread he was eating, Phillip walked over to Derek. "I think the key to our mystery is....." Taking the pages from Derek, he searched them until he found the pages he was looking for. "Here, where he mentions a clay tablet called the Tablet of Destinies."
"What are the Tablet of Destinies?"
Alex never look up from the computer screen, when the trio entered the room but tapped several keys on the keyboard and the picture of a stone tablet roughly the size of a clipboard came into sharp focus. "That gentlemen, I believe, is the Tablet of Destinies."
Alex read from her computer terminal, "Babylonian mythology says that the goddess Tiamat give to her champion, Qinqu, the Tablet of Destinies to facilitate his effect in war against her enemies. It was stolen from Qinqu by Marduk, who defeated the goddess and her champion. The myth is that the holder of the tablet is granted supreme power, his desires, and invincibility. The tablet does have what you might call an alter ego, the Seal of Destinies. Whatever the tablet puts into effect the seal makes null. I could find no data on how either would have it found its way onto the African continent."
"I don't get it. What is the connection to the Legacy and/or Alex?" Phillip asked out loud the question on everyone's mind.
Alex lay on the grass reveling in the fresh breezes that blew over her. She closed her eyes listening to the wind stirring the leaves of the trees about her, bringing the scent of roses and mint from the garden around her. She willed her body to relax, releasing the tension.
"In the mood for company?" Nick asked, hunching down beside her.
"I wondered when someone would come looking for me." She stated turning her head in his general direction, but did not open her eyes. "Who sent you, Phillip or Derek?"
Nick lay down on the cool grass next to her, shoulders touching. He reached for her hand and held it tightly. "Phillip, he was worried when he could not find you."
Alex pointed at the sky above them. "What do you see Nick?"
"No, uhha. I'm not letting you off that easy. Use that imagination you claim not to have."
Nick lay there quietly. "I see a calm ocean of azure blue sky, wisps of white clouds moving slowly on tropical breezes. What do you see?"
"I see desert sands moving like water being stirred in a glass. I see a cloudless sky of blood red, where vultures circle. I smell death Nick, and I'm scared that I'm losing my mind."
He pulled her hand to his chest and squeezed it tightly. "No Alex, you're just tired. Soon we'll figured out who the bad guys are and all this will make some..."
"Sense." She finished for him. "What happens Nicholas, if it doesn't?"
"Excuse me," Dominic said to gain their attention. "Ms Moreau this package came for you. And because of events of late, I though you would want to see it as soon as possible."
"When did it arrive?"
"Not more than 5 minutes ago. I verified it through legacy channels and contains all the necessary seals."
"Thank you Dominic. Alex started to open the package but Nick stopped her.
"Another surprise from your secret admirer?"
"I...don't know." She turned the package over in her hands. "No return address, no other ID."
Nick held out his hand, helping Alex to stand. "Let's go see what this is."
After running it through the scans, Nick returned it to her.
"Nothing sinister here Alex. Just a jeweler's box."
It took several tries before Alex finally had it unwrapped. Inside was a medium size cloth covered box. She opened it slowly. "Nick its beautiful," she said gently spilling out into her hand, a lump of gold and glistening shell.
"Its a necklace." Her fingers ran over its smooth edges. It was a crimson colored shell cupped in a bowl of beaten gold, the links a thin ribbon of gold filigree. Held in her hand the shell became incandescence and vibrated just enough to make her wary. She handed it to Nick.
"Did you see."
Maybe I just imaged it moved.
Nick took it from her and placed it in a glass case. Several different beams of light flowed from the ceiling and moved around and through the case. "The computer says that it is what it looks like--a shell. Cowrie, found in the southern part of the Sudan along the Nile River. The gold's real, I'll send a sample to the university for testing." Nick handed it back to her.
She held it again. Its weight felt oddly familiar and ignoring her little voice not to, she fastened the chain about her neck before Nick could stop her. As it lay there against her skin, Alex noticed a section of sediment.
"Nick, hand me your knife."
He handed it to her and stood by as she gently scraped away at the corrosion. Suddenly, the shell separated in her hand.
"Its a locket."
"Strange material for a locket." Nick said suspicious.
As Alex stared at the characters carved within the shell, powerful images literally tore through her mind, sharp, blinding in their clarity. Crowding one on top of another. Intense emotions followed them and she stiffened in her seat.
Nick hurriedly removed the locket. "Alex, I don't think you should do that again until we've had a better chance to examine this further."
"Put it away for me, please." Nick put the locket in the magnetically locked glass cabinet.
"I'm going upstairs." Outside the door Alex leaned against the wall until fighting to catch her breath. she opened her mouth drawing in deep gulps of air. Suddenly, breathing became easier. She wiped at the moisture on her top lip. She stared, numbed by the red stain drying across her fingers.
Nick checked in with Derek explaining what had happened with the arrival of the second package. Derek stood outside Alex's door. He started to knock several times, but each time he stopped himself knowing how much she hated his interference.
He stood in the silent room mesmerized by the shinning object, laying in the protective case. Unlocking it, he held the necklace.
Alex pushed herself up and back against the headboard, sleep beyond her reach. Her thoughts filled with the necklace and the need to have it near her. She gave in. Tying her robe tightly around her, she headed for the control room.
Derek was also having a restless night. He gave a sharp intake of breath as scenes of ancient places and people moved through his mind on a kaleidoscope of colors. The vision blurred and then became clear. Standing before him were two figures in the midst of smoke and fire. One held the necklace, offering it to the second. Derek tried to focus on their faces but they were hidden by the smoke. As one fastened the necklace around the neck of the other, the figures moved closer to each other, joining, to become one. The smoke thinned and the figure turned facing him, it was... Derek pushed the bedcovers away, found his robe and headed for the control room.
Alex picked up the locket and held it before her, watching its colors deepen and glowed, lighting the space around her. She fastened the locket around her neck letting its weight rest comfortably against her chest. Then closing her eyes, her mind reached out. Eyes still closed she sat down with the journal before her, her hand held out just above the pages that began to turn at her silent command until the passage was found. Her voice filled the air. She continued to recite the chant even as the locket resting between her breast began to glow white hot and flesh around it became charred and blackened. "Blood to blood I join with thee, blood to bone I from an original thing am, my name is Kandise, daughter of Nubia, once debts are done shalt I have rest." Once the chant was finished the light disappeared, leaving Alex gasping in pain. Yet, even in pain as the ritual demanded, she gently unhooked the locket and placed it back into the case, to wait, its task completed.
Cradling her damaged body she made her way to the pool. She crawled to the edge, laying their for moments gaining what strength was left in her. A sharp stab of pain hit her as she rolled over the edge into the cooling water.
Derek searched for Alex, fear gripping his insides. First her room, then the control room. When he did not find her, he woke the others. "Nick search the grounds, Rachel upstairs and I'll search the basement.
Nick saw Kat sitting on the stairs. "Why aren't you asleep? Did we wake you?" Kat shook her head no.
"Nick, Alex needs you. She's waiting for you in the pool."
"Rachel!" Nick hollered. He waited with Kat until she arrived. He left Rachel cradling the sleeping girl in her arms.
Nick lowered himself into the pool and swam over to where Alex floated, her eyes glazed in pain. He gently pulled her to the edge and out of the water. Picking her up, he carried her to the library. Derek met up with him at the bottom of the stairway. "Nick, get the chopper and find Rachel." Alex groaned as Nick handed her to Derek.
"God, Nick, be careful."
Nick ignored Derek's harsh tones, understanding his concern.
Alex clutched at the sleeve his dressing gown, burying her face into his chest drowning her sobs. He carefully laid her on the sofa and began to peel her night gown away from the injured area. Alex's hand gripped tighter on his arm. Even in her pain her trust in him showed in her eyes.
"Derek, please don't let me slip away. I'm trying my best to hold on..." She screamed as the pain became overwhelming and she fainted. Rachel pushed Derek out of her way and examined Alex, her face closed and unemotional. Alex needed her as a professional not as a hysterical friend. She had Nick bring her bag and some items from her room and started to dress the damaged body. Alex drew a deep breath and began to struggle, so violently that Rachel needed Nick and Derek's help to hold her down.
As the sedative Rachel gave her began to take affect, Alex stopped struggling, mumbling several words. Derek could only understand a few words. "We must find the seal."
Rachel finished dressing the wound. "I've done the best I can. When she wakes the pain will be excruciating. We've got to get her to the hospital."
Dominic came into the room. "Dr. Rayne the helicopter is here." He moved to help pick her up, but Derek stopped him. "No, I'll carry her."
Rachel followed Derek into the room, she fell onto the sofa, her head back, eyes closed in fatigue. Taking a deep breath she sat up looking at her watch. "4:00 am," she groaned. Kat will be up soon. What do I tell her?"
Derek said nothing but continued to stare at the blood on his hands and shirt.
"I'm glad Nick's with her. Paul said that they would keep her heavily sedated for the remainder of the night. The pain she must have been in. I don't like the look of that burn, there's a lot of tissue damaged. What happened?" Rachel stood her warms folder tightly across her chest.
Derek continue to stared at his hands.
"Derek?" she asked.
He rubbed at Alex's blood on his hands, trying to delete from his mind her screams. "I don't know...Rachel." He rose from the chair and walked out the room, his hands clutched tightly together. "I should wash my hands."
Nick was startle awake by the EKG's shrill whine signaling that Alex's life had ended. He shook her gently, "Alex? Alex?." The emergency room team entered the room and propelled him out the door.
"Daughter of Nubia." The voice called softly to Alex. "Alexandra hear me and do not fear. I am Kandise."Alex stared at the figure before her, her beauty belying the strength mirrored in her face. "Here in this place where our souls meet in communion, I greet thee. Here in this place where souls meet in communion, I join thee. Thine lineage mine also, from thy past have I come. Thine lineage mine also, from my future thou are." Alex tried to speak but Kandise stopped her. "Sleep young Alexandra for awhile longer, sleep."
Dr. Paul Adamczak found Nick pacing in the small waiting room nearby. "Nick, we've gotten Alex stabilized, but she's comatose. We're moving her from emergency to the ICU. Hopefully the coma will be short term." Nick stood up slowly. "I should call the others." He said reaching for the cell phone in his pocket.
Derek sat on the side of his bed clutching at his chest, grunting against the pain seated here. The smell of Alex's perfume surrounded him, filling his senses. He pounded on Rachel's door.
"It's Alex... something is wrong. Get dressed."
Dominic ran up the stairs the phone held in his hand.
"Not now Dominic." Derek said angrily.
"Dr. Rayne it is Mr. Boyle, he says it is urgent." Dominic said pushing the phone into his employers hand.
The look of resignation on Paul Adamczak's face did nothing to assure Rachel or the others standing nearby. "Rachel, Derek, has Nick told you what happened?"
"A little." Derek replied.
"Alex is stable at this time. But she showing no indication of regaining consciousness. What concerns me even more are the discrepancy between what's on her chart and her last physical examination."
"What things?" Rachel asked.
"Her chart indicates that she was admitted with massive 4th degree burns to the upper one-third of her body. When the nurse changed her bandages this afternoon, she found no evidence of the burns only some selective scar tissue."
"Gone, that can't be, I dressed her wounds myself. That kind of damage just doesn't up and disappear." Rachel marched toward Alex's room.
"Rachel, Rachel, wait! Gentlemen excuse me." The doctor said as he hurried to catch up with her.
Rachel walked out of the hospital room dazed. "It's gone, completely gone. But what's left..." Phillip's arrival with Kat interrupted her next comment.
"I know you wanted to tell her about Alex, but she woke asking for her. I couldn't lie to her, Rachel and she wouldn't stay at the castle with Dominic."
"Thanks, Phillip." Rachel said hugging her daughter to her.
"How is Alex?" He asked.
"Still comatose. Paul doesn't know why."
"Alex is sleeping because she's waiting."
Rachel took her daughter's statement seriously. "Waiting for what, Kat?"
Kat shrugged. She felt guilty for keeping a secret from her friends, but it was important.
Derek and Rachel arrived to relieve Nick and Phillip so that they could get some needed rest and take Kat back to the castle. She finally agreed to go with her favorite men after they had agreed to letting her say goodbye to Alex.
Derek stood by Alex's bedside. He touched the side of her face. His fingers seeking her warmth, her presence. It reached out surrounding him with comfort, he waited expecting her to open her eyes. Rachel stood on the other side studying the monitors blinking and beeping near her. "She looks as if nothing is wrong."
Dr. Adamczak arrived to give them an update. "Physically nothing is wrong. All our tests fail to show any evidence of trauma. When did Alex get the tattoos? The last time I saw her for her regular check-up she didn't have them."
"Alex doesn't have a tattoo." Derek stated.
Paul walked over to where Derek stood and pulled the sheet away from Alex's right leg, it was covered by a tattoo from ankle to mid-thigh. "This same tattoo is on her left leg and upper chest."
Derek started to pull her gown aside. "Derek what are you doing?" Rachel asked moving to stop him.
"I...need to see."
"When Alex finds out she's going to kill you." Rachel said.
"I know." Her skin was like satin under his fingers. Expect for the dark marking of the image that lay between her breast. No other imperfections blemished the otherwise smooth skin. Etched into her flesh were two twin fully hooded cobras, facing each other their tail intertwined out of sight beneath her gown.
Derek smoothed the gown across her shoulders. His hand rested there as he pulled his cell phone from his pocket. "Dominic, let me speak to Phillip." He waited it seemed like an age. "Phillip, do you know when Alex got a tattoo?"
Derek's voice rose an octave higher. "Phillip, she tells you everything."
"Well, Derek this is one thing she didn't tell me about." They could hear Phillip's peeved voice.
Derek controlled the anger in voice. "I apologize for raising my voice. Yeah, me too. Phillip, ask Nick if she told or showed him anything and Phillip, thank you."
It was the cold that woke Derek, his eyes searching the room. He focused on the figure that hovered near Alex's bed, its skeleton visible through decayed flesh. Derek rose slowly moving toward the figure. "Who are you?" Derek demanded. It leered at him. "Derek Rayne you, can not stop me. You can not stop me." It moved closer. Derek moved to put himself between it and Alex but the apparition was gone. Derek stood there listening to the sound of her breath, in the stillness. "I can not protect her here, but I can at the castle."
Decision made, Derek lowered the bed rail, sitting on the side of the bed. "Alex I want you to listen to me. Hear me Alexandra Moreau. You're going to be alright. We're going to find our who's doing this and they will pay." His fingers stroked her hair. "There is much we have yet to do. Who will teach Nick patience or me a sense of humor? We need you."
The speaker near Alex's head cracked, a low guttural laugh sounded from it. "How sweet. I need her too and you can not stop me." Derek slapped his hand against the lighted button. When it buzzed again he ignored it. The nurse came into the room. "Dr. Rayne, phone call at the desk."
"Thank you. Could you wait here until I return."
"Yes." She checked the speaker, "is it not working?" Derek only shrugged.
"Dr. Rayne this is Rose. How is my child?"
Derek told her what was going on. And asked if she or Tanya would be coming to San Francisco. "You are welcome to stay with us on the island."
"No. Dr. Rayne we will not be coming there. I feel to do so would put my messanger and myself in danger." The voice speaking to him was no longer the voice of Alex's grandmother, but something reaking of evil.
"Who is this?" Derek asked. He looked around him, up and down the hallway.
"You can not stop me. You can not stop me. You can not stop me." The voice sang.
Derek was busy making calls when Dr. Adamczek arrived. "Good morning Derek."
"Paul." Derek said briskly in no mood for amenities. "Will Alex get any worse if we take her home?"
"I don't believe so. The proper equipment and a full-time nurse can do as much as we would here."
"Good, I'm taking her home. I've made the necessary arrangements."
Derek said goodnight to Paul Adamszeck who was leaving after having talked with the nurse and Rachel about Alex's care. As Derek walked to his study the house's quietness mocked his own riotous thoughts. Dominic placed a tray on the corner of the desk. "I thought this might help."
"Dominic, will you ask Dr. Carrigan to join me?"
"I'm sorry Dr. Rayne but she's in Ms. Moreau's room and said that if you needed her she would be spending the night."
"Very well, thank you."
Derek rubbed the heel of his hands across his eyes then rolled his shoulders to loosen the tension there. Alex's words echoed in his mind. "We must find the seal."
He who has no name sat at Jacob's desk watching the slowly twirling globe in the air above his head. He felt triumphant, he had spooked the great Derek Rayne the whelp of Winston. He had not planned on meeting Rayne so soon but Alex Moreau's accident was delaying his plan.
He had searched the cosmos with all the powers at his disposal and had found no clue as to what mortal or spirit dared to interfere with him. He spoke to the denizens under his control. "I have sent the mortal on an errand. Yes, he may think he is of some importance, but only as long as he does my bidding. Alexandra Moreau will give me all. Power and revenge against the Legacy. She will assist me in fulfilling my destiny. Friends, we must prepare for the next step, soon the members of the Legacy's San Francisco house will be paying us a permanent visit."
Have you found any more about the tablet?" Phillip asked Nick.
"Not much. I did find this in a website on the Internet. Nick said tapping a few buttons and the information appeared on the larger monitor. Derek entered and stood near Phillip. "It's a long poem, I've pulled out the stanzas that pertain to the Tablet."
Assyro-Babylonian Mythology FAQ: version 1.7 html
This long poem was written principally in the twelfth century BCE to celebrate the city of Babylon. It recounts the creation of the universe and the events that lead up to the building of Babylon, home for the gods. It evolved from Sumerian myths and the text that it is taken from is Assyrian, an empire that followed the Sumerian. Poem translated by N.K Sandars.
The Babylonian Creation Epic: Enuma Elish
But still Tiamat lay inert till Apsu, the father of gods, bellowed for that servant who clouds his judgement, his Mummu, "Dear counselor, come with me to Tiamat." They have gone, and in front of Tiamat they sit down and talk together about the young gods, their first-born children; Apsu said, "Their manners revolt me, day and night without remission we suffer. My will is to destroy them, all of their kind, we shall have peace at last and we will sleep again."
Eleven such monsters she made, but she took from among the gods the clumsy laborer KINGU (Qinqu) one of the first generation to be her Captain, War-leader, Assembly-leader,
She gave him the Tables of Fate and fastened them onto his breast, "Now and forever your word is irrevocable, your judgments will last! They will quench the fire and the swinging mace will fail of its power."
Now that MARDUK has heard what it is the gods are saying, he is moved with desire to create a work of consummate art. He told Ea the deep thought in his heart.
Blood to blood I join,
blood to bone I from an original thing,
its name is MAN,
aboriginal man is mine in making.
Ea answered with carefully chosen words, completing the plan for the gods' comfort. He said to MARDUK. "Let one of the kindred be taken; only one need die for the new creation. Bring the gods together in the Great Assembly; there let the guilty die, so the rest may live."
The great Gods answered the Lord of the Universe, the king and counselor of gods, "It was KINGU who instigated rebellion, he stirred up that sea of bitterness and led the battle for her.
They declared him guilty, they bound and held him down in front of Ea, they cut his arteries and from his blood they created man; and Ea imposed his servitude.
"From the pictures Rachel took of the tattoos on Alex." Phillip allowed himself to acknowledge a moment of discomfort. The photos had showed a large amount of Alex's upper body, but the moment was soon gone there was work to be done. "I could distinguish several letters and thinking there had to be more. I searched both the journal and locket and found this inscription." Nick rose from the computer so that Phillip could take his seat. "How long do you think it will take you to translate?" Nick asked from behind him.
"No time a'tall. The inscription is in the knight's journal. Let's see... here. Blood to blood I join, blood to bone I from an original thing, its name is MAN, aboriginal man is mine in making. When thou have found the object for which thou art seeking. When we the gods have allotted to thee, thou portion. Fill your belly with good things, day and night, night and day. For to unlock its secrets, let one of the kindred be taken; only one need die. For it is written, "Now and forever your word is irrevocable, your judgments will last!"
Rachel entered the room, her face somber. "What is it? Some kind of incantation."
"No," Phillip said. "It's more like a clue to a puzzle. Place here to let his decendants know that the Tablet was real."
Nick handed her a sandwich and coffee. She nodded her thanks. "Alex's the same, medically. But physically she is continuing to change. I was checking her pupil reaction and... Phillip what color are Alex's eyes?"
Nick answered for him.
"Let me drown in them Brown."
Rachel smiled one of the few rare ones since bringing Alex home. "Right, Mr. Boyle. At least they were yesterday. A few minutes ago they were green, deep forest green."
"Is that possible?" Nick asked.
Phillip closed the book on the computer station, eyes focused on his precept. "We don't have enough information. We need help, so... Derek?"
Derek turned away to stare out at the lights reflecting on water between the main land and the island. He acknowledge that Phillip was right, they needed help.
"OK Phillip, I'll called Sloan. You call Tanya."
William Sloan stared at Derek from the monitor on his desk. "You look like hell warmed over."
Derek frowned, "I did not call to chit chat, William." Sloan watched Derek for several moments wanting to met the challenge from a posture of strength. He knew this struggle of wills was going to be stormy.
"What new information do you have for me?"
"Very well, Derek. First there are several things I withheld from you when we first spoke." He could see the anger flash in Derek eyes. "Here me out. The journal was not found...it was stolen on my behalf. Several months ago the precept of the Egypt house notified me of several mysterious death of high ranking and notable persons in both Egypt and the Sudan. The house investigated and the journal was mentioned prominently in both legacy and police reports. Also mentioned was Jacob Nia."
Derek flinched at the mention of the name. Bad memories surfacing.
Sloan noted Derek's reaction. "His name had been linked to murders, or rather assignations, in police circles. The persons murdered were linked by either ownership of the journal and/or the locket."
Derek interrupted. "So you sent Alex the necklace."
Sloan did not deny or confirm.
"Why the theft, William?"
"Jacob Nia. I see you remember the name?"
Derek remembered all too well. Jacob had been an exchange student at the university while Derek was teaching. And was accused in the death another student in some type of ritual. Alex had become romantically involved with Nia and it had taken Derek a lot of persuasion to keep Alex from leaving the university when Jacob was expelled. Jacob had disappeared and Alex never heard from or mentioned him again.
Sloan continued. "Nia is now a advisor to some of Egypt's top political figures. His estimated worth is currently three million dollars."
Derek sat up straighter, fingers gripping the chair. "He found the Tablet."
Sloan smiled. "Correct. I had the journal stolen, because legacy reports indicated that there is a way to reverse the tablet's power, and I felt the journal contained that knowledge. Derek you're not going to like this, but Nia is either at the center of it all or working for who is. He not only knows Alex, but he knows her family line is connected to both the journal and the locket. They need her.
The Legacy House in Egypt has Jacob under investigation but have been unable to prove that he killed to get the journal, which led him to the tablet. Besides, you and I both know that only the unstable believe in fairy tales and magic tablets, that promise power and immortality. Along with his sudden accumulation of political influence and wealth he is amassing a large military force along with large amounts of arms.
The only way to stop him and whoever is controlling him is to find to a suitable weapon. The only one who can lead us to it, is Alex."
"And Nia to Alex." Derek finished for him.
Sloan shrugged. "That is the inevitable conclusion we have to face."
"What is your plan to protect Alex?"
Everyone gravitated to Alex's room. Rachel was the first to arrive, while nurse finished brushing her hair.
She laid a dressing gown across the end of the bed. "Such beautiful lingerie. I hope that she had someone special to see her in it." The nurse turned to find Derek standing in the doorway. She blushed bright red. "If you both are going to be here for awhile, I'll take a break. Excuse me." Rachel smiled at her retreating back.
Derek walked over to the bed and fingered the gown. "She's right, Alex deserves someone special in her life. Something besides death and destruction."
Rachel came to sit beside him, cuddling in her lap one of the many dolls laying on the floor around Alex's bed. "I didn't know Alex collected dolls."
Yes, her first one was from her parents at her birth, she calls it her slobber baby. That one there," he pointed to the doll in her arm, "I gave to her when she first joined the legacy." Phillip and Nick joined them.
"We wondered where you two were." Nick sat on the floor at the end of Alex's bed. Phillip pulled up an empty rocker. "The lass has more rocking chairs than a department store."
Nick smiled, "Alex said that being in a rocker reminded her of her childhood at Gran'ma Roses. I thought they'd be here by now."
Derek trembled. Nick's comment bringing to mind the incident in the hospital.
Derek told the others what Sloan had found. "Phillip, were you able to reach Tanya?"
"Yes. She talked to her grandmother and reread her great-great-grandfather's diaries. Alex's family lineage goes back to Central Africa. Before American independence their ancestors were freemen who were supposedly descendants of African explorers. Tanya also talked with a friend who has a friend at the Cairo museum whose interest is in the Crusades." Phillip left the room and returned with a fax.
"Their records indicate that several knights were captured and later reputed to have been redeemed and returned to English or Frankish soil. It was even rumored that some knights married into royal Nubian families. Christian Nubia flourished until Muslin upsergence around 1200 AD. Tanya did not have much more to go on. Her friend said that a lot of Nubian history was lost with the building of the Egyptian Aswan Dam in the 1960's, which flooded much of the Nubian countryside."
Dominic opened the door to an impressive looking black man. "Hello, I'm here to see Ms. Moreau."
"Please wait in the library. Someone will be with you shortly."
Jacob sat patiently, confident in his part of the game. They are so gullible, he thought smiling to himself. Derek arrived to see who was waiting to see Alex, maybe he had some answers.
Jacob stood as he faced his old enemy. His eyes daring Derek to throw him out. They went through this silent tug-of-war for several seconds. Jacob deciding he had made his point relaxed. Derek had trouble controlling his temper, his senses sending off an alarm. Something was improper about this man. "Jacob, what do you want?"
"Alex. I just arrived in town and knew she'd want to know I'm here. We have much to catch up on."
"Why would she want to see you again?" Derek muttered.
"She a forgiving person. Dr Rayne. Not everyone has her talent for understanding a person's short comings."
"I must apologize for not telling you sooner, but Alex is ill. But as soon as she's feeling better, I will tell her you came to see her." Derek walked to the door signaling that the conversation was over.
Jacob never moved, just continued to smile. "I'm sorry to hear that she's ill, please give her my regards will you?" He reached into his pocket. "Here is my card, tell her to call as soon as she's able. I look forward to seeing her again." His smile infuriated Derek.
After Dominic had shown him out Derek turned to Nick. "Check out Mr. Jacob Nia. I want to know who he knows in San Francisco, where he goes, and what he's spending his money on."
"Why?" Phillip asked puzzled.
"There is old history there Phillip. I'll explain later."
Phillip sighed thinking that here was another reason for Alex to be angry with him. "No need, Alex told me about her and Jacob."
"This is not personal Phillip."
"Be very sure Derek, before you ruin your relationship with Alex."
Kandise called to Alex, calling her back from her sleep. Pulling her consciousness to the surface. "Join me Alexandra it is time." Alex stirred.
Kandise sat on the grass with young Alex, the wind blowing around them. My father served the great Caliphate and I was raised as one of the royal household. I was free to learn all that the tutors had to offer of healing, history, art and war. I became proficient with the bow and arrow and horse. During a battle with foreigners my father was killed and one of the captured knight's life was given to me in exchanged for my fathers. I fell in love with the knight. Now young Alexandra thou know whom I am. Now thou should know why I am here.
A difficult task has been placed upon your shoulders. For a powerful man from the lineage of an old evil wants to possess a power that was never meant for mankind. He believes as many mad men do, that it is his destiny to rule the world. His reasoning is faulty, for in his ignorance he shall unleash upon this world horrors and destruction. I wish young one, she said stroking Alex's arm. "That I could tell you that your task will be painless, but you are to suffer much. Know this, that the one true God is merciful and all shall be whole."
"What of my friends?" Alex asked, frightened at thought that they might suffer because of her.
"The choices you are to make are not yours alone, allow thyself to rely on their strengths. Their fates are intertwined with thine own. Guard thyself ay. She had been like this for three weeks now and Rachel had been firm in their understanding that the longer Alex stayed comatose the less likely she was ever to regain consciousness.
The first week, he could feel her will fighting against the darkness. Then there was nothing, just that damn beeping of the monitor. It spilled into his sleep, into the void his dreams had become. Derek took a deep breath his stomach suddenly nervous. He turned slowly staring into the green eyes of a stranger. Kandise looked Derek over, searching his presence. Satisfied she closed Alex's eyes. "Alexandra thou are correct to trust this one." Within herself Kandise cried for the two who hid their love for one another.
When her eyes opened again they were Alex's deep mahogany. She smiled at him and Derek gave her the biggest smile he was capable of. "Alex." He said softly walking towards her. "I...we missed you."
She smiling her understanding. Derek placed a kiss on her forehead. "I'll go tell the others." Outside the door he slumped against the wall, heart filled. He suddenly realized that unconsciously he had come to mirror his humanity in hers. Her warmth and caring his anchor against cold moments within his own character.
Kandise watched Alex as she stood at the closet door, deciding what to wear. Still weak, but determined to be up and about, she faltered and Kandise completed the task for her. She ran Alex's hands over the unfamiliar materials. Though Alex had lost weight during the coma, it only enhanced her beauty. "You should be proud Alexandra, thy beauty is that of the ages, thy soul blameless." Kandise whispered to her young sister.
Alex stood in front of the large bay window taking in the changes spring had brought. Once she been at home here, at peace from the moment she stepped through the front door. Now she was a stranger. Alex searched for Kandise, needing her support, strength to keep from running back to the safety of the room upstairs.
Nick and the others entered the room slowly, not wanting to startle her. Rachel unsuccessfully tried to hold back Kat, who ran passed the adults to hugged Alex tightly. Alex smiled down at the shinning face.
"I missed you Alex."
Alex knelt before the young child and placed her forehead against Kat's small one. Her way of telling the young girl all that she could not speak. "I missed you too. You'll have to tell me about everything you've done, since I've been ill."
"I'd like that." Kat said quietly.
Alex straightened up to greet the others, she had felt their presence before they had entered the room. She could feel their individual auras as brilliant colors, each beautiful and radiant. Derek's shifted between the gold of spirituality and the brilliant blue of love. Nick's glowed a deep yellow of idealism, and Phillip's the bright pink of compassion. She held out her arms to Phillip and Rachel, then to Nick who she kissed on the corner of his mouth. She smiled tracing his new growth, of mustache, "Looks good."
She look pass Nick into Derek's eyes. She yearned to truly tell him what she felt. How much the sight of him made her happy. Instead she merely nodded in his direction and putting her arms through Phillip and Nick, walked away from him, "So what have you two been doing without me?"
Rachel looked back at Derek to see how he took Alex's greeting. He was gone. She later found him in his study, staring at the tips of his shoes. "I've come with an invitation."
"You are invited to a family dinner in the east garden tomorrow at 6:00 p.m."
"This invitation is from whom?"
"Is this a part of Alex' new persona?"
Rachel leaned about the edge of his desk. "I don't know Derek, you know her better than I."
He swung his feet off the desk and onto the floor with a thump, "At least I thought I did."
Rachel phrased her next words carefully. "Derek, Alex maybe a clairvoyant, but don't make the mistake of thinking that she can read your mind about what you feel for her. Sometimes the lady waits for the knight to make the first move."