I waited, trembling, for them to call my name. After what I’d done, I knew they would. I felt the sweat on the backs of my knees as I stared at my hands, watching them vibrate like tuning forks. “Breathe.” I forced myself to inhale deeply. “Just breathe.” I exhaled. “Fear is just a feeling. Nothing more.”
Thoughts raced through my mind as it created one scenario after another, one punishment after another. They could put me outside the shield where I’d eventually be crushed by the weight of the ocean as my body armor gradually failed. I could be sent on a suicide mission in Challenger Deep, fight the Kraken. No one ever returned from that. There was always the coliseum where I’d fight, as a gladiator, until I lost a fight, and died, as a gladiator. Gladiators were undefeated and alive, or defeated and dead. There was nothing else.
“Breathe,” I told myself. “You have no way of knowing that which has not happened yet. All you have is fear of the unknown.” I inhaled deeply, and slowly exhaled. I knew my thoughts were only expressions of my fear. “Fear is just a feeling. Nothing more.”
But there are times fear is a very powerful feeling.
As I waited, I reviewed the events of the past few hours that had led me to this point. How I’d found Bakula, tied to her bed, her hands and feet bound to the bed posts. Naked. A gash in her chest where her heart had been. Her blood soaked the sheets. Sacrificed by one of the religions. It happened all the time. To men, and women.
Bakula had been my mate. To find her with her heart cut out, and gone was too much. I pulled on my armor, pulled my swords from the wall, and did what only a fool would do. I hunted down those that sacrificed my love. Tradition be damned. Religion be damned. Rules be damned. Laws be damned.
They’d taken my love, my life, from me. I took theirs from them.
Bakula was a member of the sect of the Kraken. It was the season of prayer for protection from the monster of the deep. The season always started with the sacrifice of a member. No one volunteered. The Priest of the Kraken controlled the sacrifice. He chose the victim. He’d chosen Bakula.
I’d left a trail of blood behind me as I carved a path through his house guards, to his sanctuary. I’d extracted my vengeance, taking his heart for hers.
Justice was mine. Vengeance was mine.
But the past was past, and I could not undo it. Even if I could, I would not. I would answer when called. I would face what the future held for me. Knowing on the other side of my future, I would be reunited with my love. My Bakula. She who waited for me beyond the veil of life.