For nearly twelve hours Elseron had sat beside Atlas as she laid on her bed, eyes closed, limbs twitching as the fever ravaged her body. Her skin was like fire to the touch, a thin film of sweat covered her forehead and her tattoos were flashing and fading sporadically like warning lights of her ill health. Thirty six hours she'd stood there...thirty six hours! How the hell could you have been so stupid to leave her like that you old fool! He raged to himself renching his hands around his axe handle, knuckles white with the force of his grip. He knew exactly why he didn't come see her before, because he had been angry with her, she'd given him orders like he was just some ordinary guard or soldier...and his foolish pride had been bruised. So I moped like a child while she was in here...all on her own...'Oh my Little Princess...I'm so sorry.' he said reaching over the tiny gap between his chair and her bed, grabbing her sweaty hand as her fingers jumped and shuddered he closed his eyes and, just, prayed. He'd never been a spiritual man.
He'd had too much taken from him and seen too many things on the field of battle to believe that some great all powerful being was looking over them all the time and keeping the world in balance. But he believed in the Spirits, spirits of the long dead ancestors of old Atlantis who had sunk their city to save it from war...the spirits of those you loved who helped guide you through your life when the need required. He needed guidance now...more than anything else in this world he needed to know what to do to help her. 'Please...show me the way.' he said as a lone tear ran down his face. The hours passed. Sun turned to moon and light turned to darkness as he sat beside his Princess, axe in one hand. Her hand in the other. The nurse had come and gone, she didn't know what was happening, saying there was nothing she could do until her fever broke...but Elseron had seen this before. He knew exactly what was happening. 'Be strong my Princess...fight! You never were one to back down...even as a child...fight it Atlas! I know you can.' he didn't know if she could hear him, he didn't care. The words helped him more than anything else. As if he were convincing himself as well as her body.
When the tiny clock of the mantle chimed three o'clock Elseron discovered he'd been sat with her nearly twenty four hours. He hadn't moved. 'Just like you Princess...' he smiled down to her twitching body as she mumbled incoherent words beneath his breath, fighting to remain in control. As the hours passed on snails back he discovered he was hungry, and thirsty, and that his back ached...and his arms. But still he remained in his place. This was his place. At her side, at her back and at her front, he was her Guardian. He didn't belong anywhere else apart from at her side. It had been this way for a hundred years. And he was damn sure it wasn't going to change now on her...'Elseron.' pulling himself from his thought addled stupor he turned to the curtained doorway to see Dante stood holding the cloth door open. Elseron moved to speak but found his voice lost. 'Elseron nobody's seen you in almost a day.' he said trying to sound sympathetic, but it failed horribly. 'Elseron you aren't going to change anything by sitting by her until you starve.'
'I need to be here when she wakes...' he said turning back to her as his voice found itself once again.
'Why?' To apologise, to beg forgiveness for leaving her, for the argument for everything!
'Go get some rest Dante.' Elseron said dismissively. He didn't know exactly when he left, but he must of done because when he regained the use of his eyes he turned to see the curtain over the doorframe, the clock reading five o'clock, or near enough that made no difference. A small fleck of greenish light was piercing the inky velvet night over the tops of the trees, and before he knew it, the new dawn was casting its golden rays into her bedroom, lighting her up in a warm amber glow. By now the idea he had been toying with for the past day was firmly implanted in his mind...I have to. He said to himself bracing himself to stand when a soft female voice said, 'Elseron...' Blinking to clear his vision Elseron turned to see Elv stood beneath the curtain, her face a pained mask of sorrow.
'Elv...' he whispered.
'I wanted to come see you both...' she said moving closer to him and his Princess. For some reason he felt the perverse need to protect her from Elv, but that was ridiculous...that was the exhaustion talking. 'Is she...'
'She's dying Elv...' he said bluntly rising. She doesn't care...she doesn't care.
'Elseron...I'm so so sorry. If there's anything I can do,' she said moving to hug him but he smoothly stepped out of her path and looped his axe through his belt.
'You can help me.' he said running his fingers through his hair. Please let this work this time...I beg you.
'Elseron what are you, ELSERON!' she bellowed as he grabbed the bottom foot rest of Atlas's bed in his hand and broke the wood away from the frame with a sharp crack.
'Help me spin her around; I need her head at this end.' Elv shocked at his vandalism and his commanding tone stood in her place like a statue.
'What are you doing!' She screamed. Frustrated, tired and scared beyond words Elseron quickly turned on her.
'Atlas is dying Elv; the powers she inherited from her family are killing her. She used too much too soon and now enough energy to turn this whole continent to ash is pouring around inside her head untapped and uncontrolled. Now I can help her but you need to help me so do ask I ask!' he yelled as he stripped his tunic and thin linen shirt from his body to reveal his heavily muscled and scarred chest.
'Elseron what are you planning?' she asked as she grabbed Atlas under the armpits and deftly spun her around, so her head was now at the foot of the bed.
'I can help her wall the powers back up,'
'How! You don't have any powers!' she said hysterically.
'No but she does. It's like a door, you can pass through from the inside or outside all that changes is your perspective of where the door is and where you're going.'
'So...you're going to dive into her mind and do what exactly!' gripping his arm Elv locked eyes with him. 'Elseron I'm no fool. If it's killing her walling it back up will kill you!' he looked at her for a long moment, her voice was furious but her eyes were petrified.
'She's more important than me.' he said simply looking down at her twitching form.
'Is she? To who?'
'Who do you think Atlantis needs most? The Queen to sit on its throne or its Guardian to leads its army and protect its people! Elseron please don't do this!' She pleaded as tears rolled down her cheeks and dangled off her chin.
'I have to. Atlantis needs its Queen; I need to know she's alive.' Without giving her chance to change his mind Elseron closed his eyes and tapped into the source of power he could feel emanating from Atlas. It was so primal. So uncontrollable. Taking a small part into his body he felt every muscle scream in protest, it felt like lightning had just been injected into his muscles, it felt so unnatural, yet so amazing.
'Elseron have you ever done this before?' Elv's voice asked through the darkness.
'Once,' he said. His voice undulating with raw power. 'With her.' he didn't even need to hear her say what she was thinking, he could hear it running through her mind as he stood at the foot of his Princess's bed and drew the glowing blood red runes in the air with his hands. The flaming symbols casting a bright red glow into the darkness of his mind's eye. Leaning forward he placed his hands onto the side of Atlas's head, palms over her temples. Opening his eyes he found her amber yellow irises glowing bright orange from the fire in her mind, very slowly he leaned his consciousness forward and dropped into her mind...and into a tornado. The powers of her ancestors was whipping around inside her head like nothing he had ever felt, casting the second set of bright green runes he felt the storm intensify as it rebelled against being contained. But inch by inch he punched it back. Rune by rune. Symbol by symbol. Drawing the final rune he consciousness snapped back into his skull for just long enough to see the umbilical cords of raw energy that connected their eyes and minds together snap.
Falling backwards Elseron felt his heart thunder in his chest, his brain push painfully against his skull...and just as the darkness took him, the last sound he heard, was the huge painful gasp...of Atlas taking breath.