" it you..I thought I would never.."  Breaking into sobs, Layna buried her face into his chest. After reaching for her hand, he had pulled her through the Darkness and into his arms. The doorway in the fire sealed shut and the flames died down, leaving no trace of their existence. 

"I am here, love." They stood there for what felt like an eternity, neither of them wanting to let go of the other. Only now did Adrastos realize her clothing was different and the faint scent of vampire lingered on her. Anger began to creep through him as he loosened his embrace. He lifted her chin to meet his gaze.

"What did that monster do to you? I will rip him apart, piece by piece.."

"I must have fainted when he pulled me into the Darkness. When I woke, I was wearing this. He did nothing more then touch my face after I awoke. I would have rather died then to let him do more." The tremble in her voice and the tears in her eyes pushed back his rage, replacing it with a deep need to protect her. He knew that he would need to face Naris again. The vampire was most certainly mad with rage at what Adrastos had done in both rescuing Layna and destroying so many of the creatures that descended upon them when she was taken.  As she continued, that need grew immensely.

"He has no soul, no heart, Adrastos. There is no mercy or empathy for anything. I understand now why fear flashed in my mother's eyes at the mere mention of vampire. When he took me, I thought it was the end. How did you..I mean, that power? I have never felt such a thing. No one has ever reached into the Darkness."

Adrastos was honestly as surprised with what he did as Layna. He could only tell her the truth. "They called to me, the ones I hear in my dreams. They told me to call upon the Fire and it would return you to me. It just took over like my body and mind had always known how to use it. I don't know, it was…"

Before he could finish his sentence, he collapsed at her feet. Every ounce of strength he had seemed to drain away at that moment. "Adrastos!" Dropping to her knees, lifted his head, cradling it in her lap.

"I think it..was too much. I just need to rest, love." His voice wavered as he tried to speak, not wanting her to worry.

"I will stay right here then, until your strength returns." After attempting to make him comfortable, she rid herself of the gown Naris had dressed her in. Thankfully she had spare clothing in a bag left behind when he took her. She sat back against a nearby tree, placing his head in her lap once again. They shared his cloak for what little warmth it had and soon both were lost to their dreams. 

They stepped out of the trees and onto the banks of a lake of infinite size. In the distance sat an island with a great mountain, it's top crowned with a ring of dark menacing clouds. Both Dragen continued, treading lightly into the water as a bridge of rock rose from the water before them. It stretched forward towards the mountain as they walked, disappearing back into the murky depths behind them just after their feet left the stones. Something called to them, pushing them onward, guiding them to the mountaintop. The clouds rolled overhead and the lightening danced across the skies, illuminating a large temple before them. Adrastos and Layna knew in that moment that they were home. The lightening ceased and the clouds began to settle while whispers began to float through the air. 

"A Dark one with ravenous armies

driven to madness by lust, blood and power

will turn flame to darkness.

Two will rise from the shadows

brought to each by destiny, held by love

to cast in light the realm of Dark."

The whispers quieted and Layna and Adrastos looked at each other, sharing without words, the same thoughts. The time of the Dragen, the Fire, was returning.

The End

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