Monday, June 02, 2014

AIDEN has been published!!

Your wait is over! Aiden Romany has published his book!

You can get it here! The ebook will also be coming to Amazon soon.


Paperback from Createspace
Paperback from Amazon

Autographed Copy - Please email me at!

As the oldest of nine siblings, Aiden was their self-appointed protector. All that changed in a shocking moment when their ‘guardian’ banished them from their childhood home and forbid any contact. His family betrayed him by letting it happen, but by not fighting to keep them together, his betrayal was far worse.  With no destination in mind or skills beyond that of his array of weapon, he travels as a warrior for hire and works for anyone willing to pay. His ultimate goal is to attain the skills needed to kill their guardian and bring together his banished family. This alone will redeem his betrayal, but will the path he chose cost him his very soul?

Keep up with all the happenings at my Facebook and blog! Enjoy Aiden's story! Don't forget to let me know what you think! I love talking to my readers!

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

You can now connect to the Romany Epistles on Facebook. Talk to the writers (some of them) and see what they have been doing over the years. You can encourage those who are still finishing their stories. Also, you can discuss your favorite characters or fun bits from different siblings' stories. Come, stop by, and join in.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hello Faithful Aiden Readers!
A quick update on Aiden. He finished his first edit and is now going through the changes that requires. Once finished, he will begin his longer story edit. In the meantime...
Many of you followed Aiden faithfully and now I offer you the chance to follow yet another character on his journey of self-finding. If you have read my book The Guardian Star's True Mark, this is a character you will well be familiar with. His name is Justin and when we left him at the end of that book he was all of sixteen, a new captain of a remarkable ship, and ready to find his way in the world. It is now time for him to do just that. Of course, the story also follows Dabria, Kiliki's little sister.
If you have not read The Guardian Star's True Mark, I would encourage you do to so, however, you will be able to enjoy this story regardless. If you would like to purchase it or others I have written, simply click here.
I will post chapters of Justin's story, titled The Guardian Star's True Captain, on my Dream Mountain Press site and you are welcome to comment as you like! I love to hear your opinions. I have through chapter 10 already written and after that I am working on some editing as I write in new chapters. I will attempt to post every week on Monday. On weeks I cannot I will attempt to let you know about the delay. I have already posted the first chapter there, so please enjoy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hi Everyone! Thank you so much for all your great encouragement on Aiden. I'm so glad you loved this book! Remember, when it is published the final two chapters will be included! So, you will have to buy the book and read the true ending.
I wanted to let you know that if you would like to buy another book by myself you can purchase it at my bookstore. I currently have three available. The first is a three in one fantasy trilogy with castles, dragons, and heroes and heroines. The second is a story of Robin Hood with a LEGO and second world twist. Finally, there is a novel of pirates, high seas, action, adventure, and that touch of romance, called "The Guardian Star's True Mark." If you purchase and read, let me know what you think!
Also, if you would like to take a look at my newest book, I have posted the first chapter on my xanga site for comments. Sorry, Katie, it's not my Liberty series, but a much shorter book. Still, I hope you enjoy!
Thank you again for all your faithfulness to Aiden!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Hello All!

Thank you so much for following Aiden through his journey. I hope that you learned as Aiden did about Deus, love, life, family, and friendship. As you may have guessed, Aiden's story is still lacking some parts. For instance, what is next for Travon, Magnar, and Kristalyn? What else does Aiden need to discover about himself and Deus? And of course, this story could not be complete without Aiden seeing the family he fought so hard for return to their home, including Zoe. Yet, as I know you've noticed, none of these things have happened yet... Nor will they here.

I'm sorry. But if you would like to read the true ending of Aiden's story and his final two chapters, you will have to wait until the book comes out. However, if you would like to see one side of Aiden's welcoming a sibling home, you can check out Zoe's story. I believe she is posting her finale online. Aiden's story contains to much that has yet to be written for the other siblings to share it just yet. But I promise you, when you buy the book, it will be worth your wait. In the meantime, enjoy the other siblings stories and keep in touch. You never know what surprises Aiden might have in store.

From Aiden and my heart to yours, thank you for faithful reading and remember the next story is always waiting.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hi All!
I'm trying to post this before my computer dies, so I hope you all enjoy!
Here now is the pretty much the end of Aiden's journey.

I was up on the roof patching a hole we had discovered the other night in a downpour. The rain had come hard and fast, forcing everyone inside early in the day. It had almost been like the cabin again, except that the horses were in the stable and Duard was in the house with us. Egan had managed to get a fire started, despite the fact that all the wood was now wet. With all the repairs I had been doing, it was the one chore I had neglected and now we would be using wet wood until Travon and I could hunt up some dry stuff. Meanwhile, a not so small hole in the roof had made the night even more miserable.
“Aiden!” Kristalyn’s voice called from below.
I moved to the side of the roof and glanced down at her.
“I think I just used the last of the meat. At least, I can’t find anymore.”
I sighed. We had enough to last us for days. “Magnar must have needed a snack. What do you want me to do about it now?”
She looked at me, green eyes sparkling in the sunlight. “Well, getting more would be a good idea.”
Grumbling, I made my way down. The hole was almost fixed anyway. I landed next to Kristalyn, who gave me a smile.
“Thank you.”
I shook my head at her. “You enjoy this way too much.”
“And you don’t enjoy things enough. I haven’t seen you smile since the night before we got here. What happened to the Aiden who was telling us stories of the family he loves so much?” Her voice was soft, but her eyes penetrating.
I sighed. “He grew up.”
She watched me for a moment then spoke gently, “He was already grown. He just knew how to laugh as well as carry a heavy burden. Now, instead of releasing the burden, you’re carrying it tighter. Why?”
“I know it. It’s what comes next that I’m not sure of.” I glanced at the house. “He’s still alive. I failed in that. So, do I dare call my siblings home? What of Arnan?”
“Did you fail, Aiden? Or did you find a different way to succeed?” She asked pointedly, before turning and reentering the house, where I could hear Duard beginning to groan. I had yet to even speak to the man.
A different way to succeed? What did she mean by that? Duard still held power over us. I hadn’t beaten him as I though, so didn’t mean I had failed? How could I succeed and he still be alive?
The thoughts danced in my mind as I gathered my gear and headed into the woods, but not before I called Magnar and made him head the opposite direction. My mind flickered back to the subject at hand.
I could have killed Duard and we both knew it. It was only Deus voice that had saved him, not my mercy. Deus had said that by killing Duard I would become him, someone I wanted to murder. That was what had caused me to pause and ultimately the sword had plunged into the ground instead of Duard’s throat. I hadn’t taken that path of revenge, but what path had I taken?
Aquila’s river was now in front of me. It was quite here, and just downriver I could see a bridge going across. Instantly, I decided to cross and try my luck on the other side. The water was calm here, but down stream it would enter into the larger river and become quite violent. Between there and where I now stood, was a good place to find some larger prey.
It wasn’t the path of peace. I had felt no such thing since I had allowed Duard to live. It was as if my very soul cried out for something that I had failed to give it, but no matter how much I search my mind and heart, I could not find that answer and I could not find the peace that Wren talked about.
I slowed down as I heard voices up ahead. Slowly, I moved in closer and shook my head at what I saw. Two men, who looked very much like the Wild Men from the north, were standing having a rather heated discussion, while a woman was seated on the ground, watching. None of them seemed happy, but neither did the woman sound like she was in danger. I backed away silently and headed back to my hunting. Whoever they were, didn’t concern me unless they came to the clearing. I would dispatch them then if I had too.
I kept moving until a flash of brown to my left caused me to pause. Whatever it was, had to be large and that meant good food for a few days at least, providing Magnar got his own meat for a change. I crouched lower and made my way towards our soon to be meal. As I moved though, another site caused me to take a step back and freeze in a shock that shook my whole body.
Squatting down, behind a bush, was a man only slightly smaller than me. His brown hair was longish. His bow and arrow were at the ready. Obviously, he hadn’t seen or heard me yet. It had been so long, almost three years now, but I would know his form anywhere. Crouching in front of me, oblivious to my presence was my brother Taerith.
I hadn’t head from him in all this time, yet he had been my other half in so much during our younger years. It was us together that had stood between our family and Duard and it had been us that had raised the family with Daelia. I had no idea who he was now or how he would react to who I had become. But this was my brother. My brother had come home.
I reached out to him and had to stop my hand from trembling before I placed it on his shoulder. My mind now blank, except of the knowledge that my brother had come home.
He turned fast, his bow out and ready to release and then his eyes met mine and he froze. I watched as the recognition dawned on his face. A face that was older and had seen more than it should have in the three years of separation. Yet, his consistent calm and thoughtfulness was still well maintained in his eyes.
“You look well, Taerith,” I spoke first.
“You look awful,” Taerith replied, visibly still trying to process what was happening. He always had thought things through longer than anyone else.
I laughed at his comment, but it sounded hollow even to me. I could well imagine why I looked awful. Kristalyn had said almost the same thing earlier. I had been this way since I had failed. Out loud, I answered, “I should. I failed our family again.”
“Why are you here?” Taerith asked.
He couldn’t guess? “Why else? I’m here to kill Duard,” I paused then added, “and I failed.”
He was quiet for a moment, processing as usual. “You went home?”
“If you can call it that,” I answered, thinking of all the work that still had to be done and Duard being tended in the front room.
His next words stopped my thoughts. “I’m not alone.”
I looked back and studied him for a moment. So, I wasn’t the only one to bring people back with me. Well, that was interesting. It appeared we had much to catch up on and we hadn’t even said hello yet. The thought amused me for some reason.
“This is one strange way to talk for two brothers together again. Hello, Taerith. It’s good to see you.”
Taerith smiled and we clasped arms in the typical warrior fashion.
“Tell me,” I asked, suddenly remembering the people I had passed, “it’s not those other three you brought with you. You have more sense than to attach yourself to that.”
Taerith opened his mouth to answer, when his eyes snapped, “Who?”
“Wild men,” I replied, not liking the look in his eyes. “Warriors; they smell like trouble.”
The words hadn’t left my mouth, before Taerith was gone. It would take much time to get things all sorted out. Taerith had brought more than just people with him, but also the problems of his three year past. As he and the woman, the same one I had seen earlier, worked together, I left Taerith with instructions how to get to the bridge and then left for home. Kristalyn would want to know of my brother’s arrival and I had some things to think through.
I arrived back and paused to take a good look around. Travon had been working to clear all the foliage that had grown wild and the pathways between the buildings could now be clearly seen. The roofs were no longer leaking water and the doorways were sound again. Wild vines had grown up all over, but in most places it didn’t really look bad. Sam’s garden was still a mess, but I had no idea how to fix that. Almost all of the work now was on the inside of the main building. It didn’t look perfect, but it was ready to Taerith and our other siblings to see.
I moved to the door of the main house and stepped in. Kristalyn was sitting beside Duard’s bed as usual. Kurioden beside her. Both looked up at my entry and I walked over to them. Duard lay still and pale on the bed. His wounds from our fight had all been dressed, but were slow in healing. I looked to Kristalyn.
“Taerith is here.”
She looked at me in surprise. “Taerith? Isn’t that one of your brothers?”
“Yes, second after me.”
“Why has he returned?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t speak to him very long before things got rather confusing.” I shook my head as I remembered the scene. “He had some things to take care off, but he should be here in the morning.”
She glanced down at her self and then up at me. “Are you ready for that?”
I studied her for a moment. Her movements pretreated nothing, but I could see a slight nervousness in her eyes. Why would she be nervous now of all times? “Kristalyn, you don’t have to worry. Taerith is a good man. He’s brought back some people with him as well. I think he’s gotten married and had a kid.”
She smiled and relaxed some. “Okay.”
I nodded then glanced at Duard. “You hear that, Duard? Taerith came home! You didn’t stop up.”
But the old man didn’t move.
“He’s been silent all morning. Not even a single hateful word or order.”
“You’re being too good to him,” I muttered. If he said anything to hurt her and I found out, I’d finish the job I’d started.
She laughed softly. “I’m fine, Aiden. You have other things to think about besides me.”
“You don’t want me to think about you?” I asked, for a moment enjoying teasing her again. It had been a while.
Her eyes jumped at the familiar teasing, but she answered seriously. “You can think about me all you want, as soon as you’ve figured out everything else cluttering up your thoughts right now.”
I shook my head at her. Leave it to her to remind me I still hadn’t forgiven the man on the bed. “I’ll be close if you need me.”
“I’ll be here,” she responded, smiling at me. I hadn’t realized I’d missed it so much.
I nodded and exited the door. I could still get some work done before Taerith showed up.
I stayed close to the house the next morning. Inside, I could here Kristalyn talking to Kurio about all different things. Her voice was low and had a familiar humming to it that I had long ago grown use too. Occasionally, I could hear Duard giving orders or calling out something nasty. It took all my strength not to barge in and wring his neck. But Kristalyn always managed to silence him with only a word or two and so I didn’t intervene.
Taerith would see him for the first time in three years today. Of our whole family, it had always been the two of us who had stood between them and Duard and we had done it again on that day so long ago. Somehow it was fitting that the two of us had come back first. Taerith would want to talk to him, but I had already said everything I intended to say to that monster. Except for the one thing Kristalyn and Deus were waiting for.
I simply couldn’t forgive the man for all he had done.
Taerith and his following appeared at the edge of the clearing. I watched Taerith approach slowly, his eyes fixed on me as I leaned against the doorway, arms crossed. I wondered briefly what he saw as he studied me or if he really saw me at all. After all, Duard was who he had come to challenge.
“He’s inside,” I informed Taerith as he drew closer. “She’s with him…Kristalyn.”
Taerith nodded and moved past me. I heard the door open to his hand, but didn’t turn around. I couldn’t make myself face whatever would happen inside that room. I could hear the low murmurs of conversation, but I didn’t try to discern the words. Instead, I closed my eyes and allowed my thoughts to return to my larger problem.
My stubbornness in refusing to forgive him was hurting her. I could see it in her eyes and hear it in her voice. That was why she tended to him. She was giving me more time. She wanted me to take Deus path, but just as Deus, she couldn’t force me. I had to choice to do it, to give up what I had worked these last three years for. I had to choice to give up my need for revenge.
Taerith left the house and glanced around. When he saw me, he took a step forward and said in a quite, but firm voice, “No vengeance, Aiden. It’s over now.”
I felt myself nodding to his words, as if I was giving my agreement not to take revenge, to betray my family again. Taerith’s words ‘no vengeance’ sank into my spirit and I knew I would not be taking my revenge, no matter how much I wanted it. “I know.”
Taerith slapped me on the back and then moved past me, towards the garden. I watched for a moment then turned to face the house again, frustration building inside of me. I would not be taking my revenge. I would not be killing Duard. What good was I? How could I call myself an older brother to my siblings when I couldn’t even fulfill my job to bring them home and guard them from this man who could still, even in a weakened state, hold such power over me?
I raced my fist and smashed it against the stone wall of the house. Inside, I heard something crash to the ground. Turning, I moved quickly away. Behind me, I heard Kristalyn calling my name, but I didn’t stop and I didn’t slow down. I moved past the buildings and into the forest, my mind too full to form thoughts and only my feet knew where they took me. It wasn’t until I recognized the tree in front of me that I pulled to a stop. I stared at the it.
It was older and wider than two arm lengths now. But up and down its trunk were deep scars. Some larger and some smaller, but most had the look of fury. It was the tree Ilara had taken out her anger on when we were told we would be separated in three days. Slowly, I made my way to it and my hand felt the deep grooves. Some of the bark broke free at my touch. It was hard and rigid.
A squawk sounded above me and then Magnar landed next to me. A moment later, Kristalyn broke through the trees.
“Thank you, Magnar,” she said.
“Welcome,” Magnar spoke, but his voice said he was looking at me. Suddenly, the wind picked up and I knew Magnar had taken off once again.
Kristalyn stood somewhere behind me and I waited for her to speak, but she stayed silent.
“This was Ilara’s tree,” I finally spoke. “She took her anger out on it that day.”
“When you were told you would be separated,” Kristalyn clarified and I nodded. “What did you think that day?”
“That I had to watch them. I had to make sure they got off okay.” I dropped the bark in my hand and touched the tree again.
“Were you the last person they saw?”
“Yes. I said goodbye to each of them the final morning.”
“And did they hate you then?” The question was asked in a gentle low voice, but it still surprised me.
I thought back to that moment. The sadness and uneasiness was easy to remember, but I could not recall any hatred, except perhaps my own for Duard. Finally, I answered, “No. They only wanted my reassurance.”
“And did you give it?”
“As best I could,” I answered.
“Taerith said something to Duard I think you should know about, Aiden. It was the end that really surprised me. Despite Duard’s rib to take vengeance, Taerith told him, ‘we release and forgive you and you’ll have to find a way to deal with that.’ He made it your decision as well as his to release and forgive Duard and put an end to the cycle of vengeance.”
I sighed. “I won’t be killing Duard in his sleep if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“But have you given up your thirst for revenge? Have you forgiven him?” Kristalyn focused on my face and I couldn’t look away.
I didn’t answer for a moment, searching inside me for the thirst that had fed me for so many years. It shocked no one more than me when I realized I couldn’t find it. When I had told Taerith no vengeance I had meant it and the feelings had slipped away. But where did that leave me? I felt weak with the knowledge that a portion of my life, my reason for life, was gone.
“Aiden?” Kristalyn’s voice was filled with concern.
I answered slowly. “I won’t take revenge on him, Kristalyn, it is over. But I don’t know how to forgive him.”
A smile gently appeared, making her face even more beautiful. “One day at a time, Aiden. You have to ask Deus to help you.”
I shook my head. “If I forgive him, I’m left with nothing.”
“I don’t understand. What do you mean?”
I turned back to Ilara’s tree and put my hand on its angry marks once again. “All my life I have hated him for what he’s done to my family. For the past three years, I have fought to learn how to take him down and correct my mistake, my betrayal. You and your Deus are asking me to give all of that up.”
“No, Aiden,” Kristalyn whispered, coming to stand directly behind me. She placed a hand on my shoulder and I felt her lean her head between my shoulder blades. “We are asking that you follow a different path and leave justice to Deus. Your life has never been worthless. You’ve done so much since you’ve been gone, including freeing an entire nation. You chose a different path when you didn’t kill Duard. Now, take the next step on that path and forgive him.”
I turned to face her and caught her arms in my hands. “And where will this path lead? Will my family be able to come home or will Deus require I give that up as well?”
She lifted her chin to stare into my eyes and for a moment, their green depths captured me and I had to force myself to focus on her words. “Taerith is already home, Aiden. And he chose forgiveness. Deus is giving you everything you need to trust him. You have to open your eyes and see it.” She paused and raised her hand to stroke it along my scuffed face. “If you had killed Duard, we would have lost you, Aiden. But now when you family comes home, they will know the big brother they love. Walk the path. Deus will help you.”
With that she took a step back and my hands fell from her shoulders. The look she gave me was one I had only caught briefly once before, right before I had entered my fight with Duard. But now, instead of fear it held hope… and love. Her eyes spoke of it so clearly, whether she was attempting to hide it or not, I couldn’t tell, but it didn’t matter. If I had doubted it before, and I had, there was no doubt now.
I turned away as she walked back to the clearing. Even if she did love me, I still wasn’t worthy of her and she would not be with me because Deus was not first. I had no illusions. Deus was the most important one to her and would always come before me. And I could not even ask his help to forgive, let alone to put him first above my family. Was I so destined to lose everything I cared about?
I knocked my fist against the tree and felt the flash of pain as the rough bark drove into it.
Why, Deus? Why do you require everything? I shouted, but only in my mind.
Why should I require less, my son?
I AM here, Aiden, as always.
Why, Deus? Why have you been chasing me?
You already know the answer to that, my child. You gave it to your siblings long ago.
How could a God of love allow all this?
Could you have done better then, Aiden? Could you take every single thread that has occurred here and make it into a masterpiece that works for everyone’s best?
No. But so many have been hurt. I cried out with all the pain I felt inside.
I know, my son. You have been hurt greatly and so have others. But in that pain you have all grown, learned, and done things that otherwise would never have been possible.
Wasn’t there a better way?
Only if I had taken away your power to make your own choices. That you would have hated above all else.
And still you require more. I thought bitterly.
Yes. I require it all.
Why? Why should I follow a God who allows such thing and gives excuses for that?
Aiden, you are so sure of yourself. So sure that you alone know the outcome of all your choices. Have I not already proven you wrong on that? Or have you forgotten Little Emma?
Emma. Her name and face flashed through my mind. I had killed her older brother while she watched. I had left her alone in the world with no one to care what happened to her. I had known that something was wrong with the job, but I had done it anyway. It had been because of her that I had decided I could no longer do jobs the same way.
Is she okay?
Do you care, Aiden?
It was you who put her there, your choice.
I made a mistake.
No excuses, no comfort, just the cold fact. I had put her there. It had been the wrong choice and I had known that, but I had chosen to do it anyway. Because of my choice, she would forever be without her brother.
Yes, Aiden, because of your choice. I told you it was wrong, but you ignored Me.
You were there?
I’m always there, Aiden, and always watching.
I’m sorry, Deus. I didn’t want her to be alone.
You didn’t bother to check, Aiden. You thought only of yourself and your so called mission. You are sorry, but do you want forgiveness?
Just like that? You would forgive me?
I AM forgiveness, Aiden, just as I am perfect Justice.
Justice? What happened because of Emma?
Find her and you will see what has become of her. As for your justice, Aiden, when you ask for forgiveness I will pay with my own Son’s blood for all your sins. More immediately, it was because My justice that you took on both Travon and Magnar. You have not failed either of them.
You planned that?
Man is always planning his own path. But it is I who direct his steps.
Mine led me back here.
But I didn’t kill Duard. I failed in that.
Why do you believe that?
I became strong so that I could defeat him! I let my family down, Deus. I failed them again.
Aiden, my stubborn child, do you not see? Answer this, did you become strong enough to kill Duard or strong enough not to kill him?
Strong enough not too…. I don’t understand.
There is more than one type of strength. You sought to make yourself physically strong and to grow in your hatred. That path can only lead to destruction for all involved. Yes, even your family and you, Aiden. But there is a second type of strength. The strength you and your brother have shown, to end it all without the need for vengeance. You have allowed me to deal justice to Duard and I will. But for you one more step is still needed.
Why do I have to forgive him, Deus?
Because until you do, he will always hold power over you. No matter whether he lives or dies, he will lead your emotions to bitterness. Only by forgiving him can you give that up and open yourself to the love you now push aside.
I sank to the ground, the weight of the two options pushing on my shoulders. I could feel Ilara’s tree behind me and in my mind I could see the angry marks she had left behind. The tree would forever bear those marks. They were a part of it now. Was it the same with me? Would my hatred and refusal to forgive Duard mark me in such a disfigured way?
I didn’t have to ask Deus. I knew the answer, but I couldn’t just let go either.
“I can’t forgive him on my own.” I spoke out loud now.
“I need your help.”
“To get your help, I have to give it all up though, don’t I?”
I require all of you, yes.
“Even my family?”
Especially your family, Aiden. You must trust their future to me.
“What if something happens to them?”
Like Kristalyn, you must follow what I tell you and trust that I will take care of them because of my love for you all.
“That’s not easy, Deus.”
If it was, Aiden, there would be no reason for you to trust me. Come to me, Aiden. I AM peace and I will give you rest. When your trials come, I will help you through them. I have never left you, Aiden, and I will never forsake you. But you must humble yourself and ask for that help.
Deus had been hounding me from the very first and I could run no longer. I was so tired, tired of fighting, of failing, and of trying. I wanted to rest and I wanted the peace that Wren said she had discovered. But I had one last objection.
“I’m not worthy, Deus.” I whispered. “I’m a failure.”
Nothing I created is worthless, Aiden, and certainly not you. I will make you worthy. This is my promise to you.
I felt the wetness in my eyes again. “I’ve done so much wrong. I’ve killed so many. I don’t deserve your help, Deus. But I can’t forgive Duard without you and I can’t fight anymore. What can you possibly want from someone as broken as me?”
Only you, Aiden. I want you to follow me and what I ask of you. Ask me for help and for peace. Ask me for forgiveness. It is yours for the asking, my son.
My hands came up to my face and I rubbed it hard. That sounded good. I was broken and beaten, but Deus still wanted me to follow him. He had no illusions. He knew exactly what I was and what I had done. Yet, it would seem His love was unconditional and more than anything in the world, it was all I had left.
“I’m asking, Deus.” I whispered. “Take and heal me, Deus.” And my voice got stronger. “Forgive me of everything I have done. Help me to make it right!” I raised my fists in the air and I could feel them shaking. “Forgive me!” I screamed into the air and then collapsed to the ground, breathing hard.
Slowly, my breathing become steady and the muscles in my neck loosened. My shoulders feel gently down and a warm took over my body. A relaxing stream flowed over me and as I lay half collapsed on the ground, for the first time in my memory I felt peace.
And it was good.
I will never know how long I spent on that woods’ floor. I only know that when I finally stood, a new peace and a new strength flowed through my blood and mind. For the first time, I felt free.
As I walked into the clearing, even my home looked as if it was new. There were people and animals there now, both those that Taerith had brought with him and those that had returned with me. The rest of our family was still missing, but Deus would bring them home when it was time. I had only to fulfill the last of my part.
I looked neither to the right nor the left as I moved towards the house, though I could feel Travon and Magnar’s eyes on me. Stepping inside, I could see Egan resting on a shelf, Kurioden under him. Both looked up at my entrance then settled down again, Egan with a small bit of smoke. Kristalyn wasn’t in the room, but Taerith looked up at me from Duard’s bed side. I glanced at him and he nodded then headed for the door.
I stepped to Daurd’s bed and took Taerith’s place. Duard looked so old and far too weak to live much longer. Yet, when his eyes met mine, the same black coldness from years of hatred remained alive and well. Those eyes froze me.
Deus! I can’t! My mind called for the only One who could save me.
I will help you, Aiden. Just as I promised. He cannot hurt you. Speak, for I am with you.
I felt myself nodding and Duard gave me a strange look.
“You are forgiven, Duard, for everything you have done,” I spoke the words firmly.
Duard tried to laugh, but he didn’t quite manage it. “You forgive me?” He wheezed. “Your eyes lie. You want vengeance.”
I looked at him for a moment as I searched inside myself, but I could find only Deus’ promised peace and I smiled. “You’re wrong. You only want to keep me under you, Duard. But you’ve lost. Your power over me is broken. I suggest you make your own peace with Deus. You’ll be meeting him soon.”
“By your hand!” Duard spat.
“In Deus timing,” I replied calmly and stood to leave.
“You’ll never be free of me, Aiden!” Duard called one last threat, but even he didn’t sound as if he believed his words.
I knew he was wrong. Any time I felt the old hatred and anger, I had only to call on Deus. It was with that knowledge that my reply was strong.
“I already am.”
“Aiden! Aiden!” Taerith’s hand shaking my shoulder raised me from my sleep early the next morning.
“What is it?” I asked, coming alert.
“He’s dead. Duard is finally dead.”
The news took a moment to sink into my mind.
It was over. He was finally gone.
“We need to burn the body.”
I nodded and got up.
Together, we wrapped the body and took it out into the woods. Working quickly, a space was cleared and a small funeral pyre was built. As the body burned, the smoke rose in a circle ever higher.
“He blessed us all just before he died,” Taerith muttered as we watched.
“Did he? Maybe he found some peace then,” I answered quietly.
“And if he did?” Taerith asked, looking at me.
“Deus can worry about that. I do not care either way. My peace was made already.”
Taerith nodded. “As was mine.”
We finished watching in silence until the fire burned low. Taerith left then, but I waited until it was completely out.
It was finally over. It was almost an overwhelming feeling and yet almost a let down. After so long, a life time of torture and three years of separation and hate, it was all finally over. No more could Duard hurt us, unless we let him. I was glad I had given that fight to Deus as well. And I could almost feel Deus’ smile.
I walked back to the house with a feeling of deep relief on my chest. Taerith met me outside the main house.
“I need to send this.” He held out a piece of paper to me.
“Egan can probably get it to wherever it needs to go as long as we get Kristalyn to ask him,” I replied, taking the small note.
When I read it, a smile broke out over my face and I clapped Taerith on the back.
My dear brothers and sisters, Come home. Taerith

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hi All! I'm so sorry this lovely post is once again not formatting. I'm not sure why I can't get it to format properly when I switch it over. Hopefully, this chapter will make up for the formatting issues and you won't have a problem reading it. Thanks for the encouraging words last time. I'm glad it came off well.
Enjoy Aiden's revenge now!


Feelings of displacement and familiarness overwhelmed my senses as I moved through the home I had grown up in. Sam’s garden had grown wild, just as he said it would so long ago. I glanced to my left. The shed and stable stood there and further down I could see the woodshed. All looked to be in need of great repair. It was in front of that very stable that I had said goodbye to so many of my siblings. They had all been so desperate to hear me tell them things would be all right. I had floundered, trying to encourage them and build them up. Each had left in desperation, but strong as well. Maybe soon I would be welcoming them home instead. But in order for that to happen, I had to face the one intruder that still occupied our home.
There was no smoke coming from Duard’s chimney as there was on the day I had left, but I could smell his stench in the air and feel the presence I had dreaded so much as a child. He was here.
In front of me, was our main house, which consisted of three chambers, the main chamber, the kitchen, and Duard’s room. He was probably in there. The door was in the front. I’d have to go around. I swallowed. Now that I was here, was I ready? The last time I had entered his chamber he had dismissed me with only a word. But I was stronger now. Surely that wouldn’t happen again. I started forward.
“So, you’ve arrived at last,” the voice was old and craggy with an underlining power that I would know anywhere.
My blood stopped and my heart froze as I turned slowly to look to my left. There coming towards me from Ilara’s woodshop was Duard.
Why was he in Ilara’s shop? He had no right to be there! And just that quickly I felt old emotions from years ago rise to the surface and claim me.
Duard continued to walk towards me. His steps were slightly uneven, but his back straight. His face was just as I remembered it. I saw there the same arrogance, confidence, and evil disgust that had filled my nightmares as a child.
My siblings screams tore through me as I heard them once again being tortured by the man who now stood only a few feet from me. Anger, hatred, fury, pain, and so much more boiled inside of me, clenching my fists and tightening every muscle in my body.
“Duard,” I managed.
“Three years have not helped your intelligence,” the dark robed man stated.
“It helped my strength,” I replied, pulling my sword from its place at my side.
He laughed, but it was a harsh sound that held no joy. “So, you think you are ready to face me?”
“I am. You won’t stop me this time. I’m going to take you out for what you’ve done to my family.” I spoke through clenched teeth.
A sneer crossed his face. “What family? You never had one. You were a bunch of helpless, hopeless babies. You were lucky I took you in.”
“Took us in? You took us over!” I spouted angrily.
“You owe me your pathetic lives,” he said nastily.
“We owe you nothing!” I shouted, raising my sword and charging blindly forward.
“Fool!” Duard snorted. Beneath his rope, he pulled out a sword of his own and blocked my strike, forcing me backwards.
I looked at him stunned. I had never seen him use a weapon before, I had just assumed he could, but to see the truth was disturbing.
He laughed. “Well, Boy, come on then. Let us see if you have learned anything at all.”
He was mocking me just has he had my whole life! I was younger, more powerful, and had more skill and still he mocked me as if I was the child who had cowered in his room. My grip tightened. I would not be mocked!
I charged again, coming in low this time. But Duard blocked again, using my own momentum to push me past him. As I moved past, my vision and fury cleared some. He wasn’t that powerful. I turned to look back at Duard, who was watching me with those same eyes. He was using my own power against me. He was purposefully making me angry and using that to cloud my mind, just as he had my whole life.
“You’re not going to win this, Duard,” I growled.
“Really? I haven’t seen anything impressive so far.” Duard dismissed me.
I tightened my grip. His tone was the exact same it had been all those years ago and they still haunted me. But he wouldn’t stop me, not this time.
Our blades crashed together and sprang apart in a furious manner. Duard was older, but he could still fight. I channeled my anger into my blade allowing it to scream my frustration and rage at all this man had done to my family, but keeping my mind focused and calm. I had no idea what attacks were possible with Duard. He had ruled over my family through absolute fear and despite our current fight, I could still feel it in the back of my mind. Suddenly, his guard slipped on the left and I struck pushing in hard. He blocked at the final second stopping the blow from cutting too deeply. Still, blood seeped through his robe.
“Bah!” Duard pushed my sword away from his body.
I breathed heavily. “So, you are mortal after all.”
“Ah, so your motives are revealed. Have you come to kill me then, Boy?” Duard spoke, eyes and voice not faltering. “Does this small wound give you confidence? Do you have what it will take?”
“I do,” I answered, for the first time my voice was deadly calm. I had trained for this and I was ready.
“Really? You are not impressive to me. You are still a weak little boy searching for what you think you want.” Duard laughed, despite his wound.
“No, I’m not!” I heard myself protest.
“Yes, you are. You’re still small and worthless. You could never protect your so called family. Where are they now? Hmm?” Duard mocked in a low hauntingly familiar voice, before shouting, “Nowhere! They are not here! You are alone! Just as you’ve always been. You are a weak fool.”
No! My mind screamed in denial. It wasn’t true. It wasn’t. I had become stronger and I could defeat him. Why did I feel like he was right? Why was I letting him get to me? My grip on my sword slackened. No, this was wrong!
“Aiden!” A voice I had forgotten called out to me. “Aiden! He’s messing with your mind. Aiden, don’t listen to him! You have me. We are all behind you!” A screech from above and a cat’s roar filled my head. “Aiden! Aiden!” Kristalyn’s voice called my name over and over and I heard her.
I did have people behind me. I hadn’t even wanted them to come, but they had. They followed me, cared what happened to me. I wasn’t alone. He was wrong. He was manipulating me, just as he use too. And I was letting him. No more.
Duard turned to look at Kristalyn.
“Who are you, mite? Quite down.” He turned back to me. “A girl? You brought a wench? Can she protect you?”
“She is not a wench!” I spoke, angry that he would even consider calling Kristalyn something indecent. “We are finishing this. Enough of your words and manipulations, Duard. They will not save you this time.”
“You have no idea, Boy. But come, fight me if you think you can,” he sneered.
“I already have,” I answered, and our dance of revenge began again.
We moved all over the yard I had played on as a youth. Now, it would become a field of blood, Duard’s blood. He would not leave here alive. He would finally pay for what he had done to my family. Finally, I could be free to bring them home. At last, my blade found another opening and I struck at his chest. The blood flowed freely, but as I moved back Duard threw something at me. It exploded in my eyes and the dust covered everywhere. I screamed and grabbed my eyes. The pain was like nothing I had ever felt. In the darkness, I could hear Duard’s sick laughter. I screamed again and tried to rub it out, but it was in a cloud all around me and I couldn’t escape it.
Duard coughed from somewhere outside the black cloud and then his malicious voice penetrated it. “You’ve lost, Boy. You are alone. Your family is gone! You can’t defeat me now and you couldn’t then, remember? You let them all go. They hate you!”
The voice seemed to come from all around me, sinister and hateful. “No, they don’t!” I called into the blackness. I hacked, the black dust getting into my throat now. But I knew it wasn’t true! “We wrote! They’ll come home!”
“You didn’t hear from all of them. Some never wrote!” His voice mocked from everywhere at once. How could he know? “They do hate you. You are worthless to them. They won’t come, Aiden. You’ve failed.”
Failed? No! I had tried so hard! My whole life had been for this! I had to win! I couldn’t fail! I couldn’t betray them again! I had to win. This was all I had left and all I knew. If I failed… no, it wasn’t an option! I couldn’t face them! Suddenly, surrounding me in that black cloud where their faces, laughing, mocking, and crying. Zoe was crying. I’d made my sister cry.
No! I wanted to shout at them. It’s not over! I haven’t failed you yet. Don’t cry! I can do this! Please!
“Ahhh!” The scream tore from somewhere deep inside of me and I lashed out wildly with my sword. I didn’t know where he was. I still couldn’t see! But I could hear him mocking me. I could hear my sisters’ tears and my brothers’ calling my name. Abruptly, the flat of my sword hit something hard. I stumbled to the side and a burst of sudden wind cleared the area of the black cloud. In front of me, Duard was wavering and holding the side of his head. I lunged and drove my sword threw his shoulder, yanking it quickly back out, twisting it as I did so.
Somewhere behind me, I heard Kristalyn’s voice call out, “Good job, Magnar. No! Stay back now!” But it only barely registered as Duard, hit the ground rolling on his side, groaning.
“No more! We’re free!” I screamed at him, lifting my sword high above his head as his suddenly fear filled eyes met mine. I would not betray my family! I would finish this!
Aiden, I am here.
I had not expected the Voice. It filled me and froze my movements.
Deus? Deus, I want to kill him!
I will not stop you. The choice is yours. But it that what you truly desire, my son?
I looked down at the hated face, lying in the dirt and dust. He was the one who had ruined everything I loved! I wanted him dead! I wanted to finish it and kill him!
He deserves to die!
Yes, but not by your hand. It is the path you chose now that will determine your fate.
I want to kill him! I want him to suffer as we have!
Then chose, Aiden. Your fate is decided here.
What do you mean?
If you take this path, I will not stop you, but for taking justice into your own hands, you will become the man you hate. You will become the man you now want to murder.
And if I don’t?
I have limitless possibilities for you.
What does that mean?
I have always had a special solution in mind for you, Aiden. It is not this path.
That again! Why won’t you just tell me?
You must trust me, Aiden. Trust the path I would choose for you.
But Duard!
This is not his story, but yours. Trust me, Aiden. Hear me and follow.
The scream ripped from my core and though my entire body. The pain, hurt, and anger over-flowing in the primitive urge to act my vengeance. The sword in my hand plunged into the ground below.
“Aiden!” Kristalyn’s scream tour through my riddled mind.
I opened my eyes to see Duard’s terrified face, the sword buried deep a mere inch from his skull. I had missed. And I had done it on purpose.
My breath came in harsh ragged spasms. Duard eyes locked onto mine and then rolled back and closed. I couldn’t move. Behind me some commotion arose and then Kristalyn and Kurioden were beside me and Magnar had landed next to us.
Kristalyn looked at me and then knelt down next to Duard.
“He’s still alive,” she announced quietly.
“I know,” I whispered.
She stood and put her arms on my shoulders to twist me to face her. “Are you okay?”
I nodded, but didn’t speak again. Images of Duard lying before me mixing with images of my family assaulted my mind and I still couldn’t breath right.
“Can you help me get him inside?” She asked softly.
“What?” I turned to her, all other images fleeing.
“We need to get him inside and treat him. We can’t do it all out here.”
“I’m not treating him! He can die there for all I care!” I spouted in disbelief that she would even suggest it.
She shook her head. “Why did you spare him, Aiden?”
“I don’t know,” I answered honestly, though now I could hear Deus voice in my head once again.
I have always had a special solution in mind for you, Aiden. It is not this path. Trust me.
I wasn’t ready to tell her that. I wasn’t even sure why I had listened to the Voice myself. Every fiber of who I was called for this man’s death. Why did I not finish it? Had I failed yet again?
“You’ll figure it out, Aiden. But we can’t leave him here.”
I glanced down at the unconscious body.
“Yes, we can.”
Kristalyn sighed. “You have to forgive him, Aiden. Until you can do that, he’ll always have power over you.”
“His power is as broken as he is,” I replied firmly. “And I will not help that thing. Not now or ever. Do what you want.”
With that, I walked away.
Was it over? Had I finally finished it? At the moment, Duard was still alive. I hadn’t killed him. I hadn’t completed the job I had set out to do. Yet, I was right. He and his power were broken. So, was it finished? Could my family come home? Would they? Or was part of Duard’s taunting right? Did some of them hate me for letting then be banished? How had he known that some of them had never written me? Taerith, Ilara, Sam, Arnan, even my Little Firebrand, I had heard from none of them. Were they alive? Did they hate me for what I had done to them? Could Firebrand hate me?
The thought was too much. My mind was tired, so tired, as was I. The punch in the gut, the twist of the knife, the sting of Duard’s mixture, that was what caused the wetness on my cheeks. Because Zoe couldn’t hate me, she simply couldn’t.
“Here, Aiden, I am,” Magnar’s low voice said from next to me and I felt his warm body come close to mine.
I couldn’t turn to see him though. The wetness was still in my eyes.
“Could he be right, Magnar? Could my siblings hate me? Could Zoe?” I whispered the question that brought more torture to my soul then I had ever known.
“Believe Duard, do you?” Magnar asked, instead of answering.
“I don’t know. I don’t want too,” I answered slowly.
“Then believe him, do not,” Magnar spoke, but it still wasn’t an answer.
“I’ve thought about it before, you know.” I said, as I somehow put one foot in front of the other. “The man I became to get them back together. I’ve hated him. I’ve hated me. They should too. Maybe somewhere they already know. What if he wasn’t lying and they really do hate me? I couldn’t blame them, Magnar. It would be right.”
“To darkness and fear hate leads. Of this, Duard knows. Planted hate long ago Duard did in you. Watered it Aiden did. Now, forces to grow Duard can,” Magnar spoke with the wisdom of griffins past.
“You may be right, Magnar. If so, than he is manipulating me again and his power is not broken as I thought. I did fail.” The realization swept through me and made me weak, almost driving me to the ground.
Magnar bumped against me and held me up, staying with me and silent until I was on my feet again. Then, gently, he nudged me forward to keep me walking. Only then did he ask the question he must have been thinking about, “True is it that hate himself Aiden does?”
I shook my head. “I don’t know, Magnar. I guess it is. I’m not proud of all I have done. And I am certain my family would not be proud either.” Portions of Daelia and Wren’s letters flashed through my mind.
“Hate Aiden, I do not,” Magnar stated.
I scoffed. “You don’t know all I’ve done.”
“Magnar knows,” came the quite reply.
I looked down at him, walking steadily be my side, in amazement and confusion. He couldn’t know everything. It wasn’t possible. “Then you know that I…”
I couldn’t finish it, but Magnar nodded his great eagle head anyway. “Since almost beginning known I have. Cling to you their smell of death. Grew and learned I did. Killer of my parents you were.”
“But… Then… How could you stay with me?”
“Forgave you, Aiden, I did. Your asking required I did not. Long ago.”
“Inside someone griffins can see. In you, one I wanted to know there was. Change and become more I knew you would. Proud I am of what you have done. Even today.” Magnar spoke slowly, maybe to make sure I understood.
I blinked, trying to think of what to say. “Why?”
He laughed. “My friend you are. Your heart you follow, even when believe it you do not. In worst times, right decision you make. Know not now, but the same your family will feel.”
“I hope you are right, Magnar. But I can’t believe that yet.”
“Time it will take. Heal you will.”
“Just as Duard does?” I asked bitterly.
Magnar was silent for a moment. “Take care of him Kristalyn and Kurio must. Forgive him, Aiden must.”
There it was again, the forgiveness, but I couldn’t. That required more strength than I would ever possess. Oh, I knew now where that strength could come from and I knew he wanted me to take his path, his solution, to trust him. I couldn’t deny any of that, but I also didn’t know how to do any of that or, despite my actions, if I truly wanted too. At least, that’s what I kept telling myself, but even to me the argument was getting ever so surely weaker.
“Aiden! You’re okay!” Travon raced at me then stopped short. “You are okay, right?”
“I’m not hurt. Get the horses and I’ll take you back to my home,” I replied wearily.
“What about Duard?” Travon asked the logical question, but I didn’t have to like it.
“Kristalyn and Kurio are tending him.”
Confusion scrunched up the youth’s face. “Then you didn’t kill him?”
“No,” I answered shortly.
No. I hadn’t and the thought still sent a knife of failure through me.
I plunged the rake down to the ground and pulled back hard, yanking all the muck out of the stall with it. Duard had done nothing to take care of our home since he had claimed it from us and filth and grim was everywhere, not to mention all the repairs that were now needed. Kristalyn and Kurio had set Duard up in the main room of the house. Every time I walked in the front door, he was right there, laying on his makeshift bed by the fire. The sight was a constant reminder of my failure to kill him, though I’m sure to Kristalyn it was a reminder that I still had to forgive him. So, I avoided the house. Instead, I busied myself all around the other buildings, cleaning and repairing them. One day, my family would be here. They didn’t deserve to see Duard’s mess. I had let him stay for so long. It was my job to repair it all. Magnar and Travon helped, but for the most part I was left alone with my thoughts and perhaps of everything I was dealing with at the moment that was the very worst part.
I had been racked with so many emotions and thoughts, that my mind and body felt weak and desperate for a break that I was unable to receive. Even at night, when I laid down my head, thoughts of everything or anything ran through my mind, making sleep an illusion I couldn’t make into a reality. It only added to my frustration and to my failure.
That was what everything came down too. In the darkest of nights, and the lonely days, I could hear Duard’s voice whispering my failures to me. But I didn’t need his voice to remind me. I could list them without any help. I had failed my family by failing to give them their home back, I had failed myself by failing to kill Duard, I had failed Kristalyn by failing to forgive Duard, and I had even failed Deus by not finding the correct path. Was there anyone in my life I had not failed?
“I,” Magnar’s voice came from beside me.
I turned to see the griffin sitting there calmly, his great lion tail twitching from side to side behind him.
“Can you read me mind?” I asked.
Magnar shook his eagle head. “No.”
“Then how can you always answer my questions?”
“Your face, see I can. Talk out loud you sometimes do,” he replied calmly.
“Oh.” I couldn’t think of anything else to say, so I went back to his earlier reply. “I did fail you. I killed your parents and I used you. I did the same to Travon.”
“No, you didn’t.” Travon entered the stables.
Was there a conspiracy to spy on me that I didn’t know about?
“How do you figure that?” I finally asked, letting the rake drop to the ground and turning to face the youth.
“What you did was wrong, killing Gidryon, but you did it under orders. You didn’t help to kill the rest of the village. The same with Magnar’s family. You couldn’t really say no to Ricald.”
“I did with the Hunter.”
Travon shrugged. “You were braver then.”
“Oh,” I answered, not really agreeing.
“Anyway, that’s not what matters. You took care of us, Aiden. Me and Magnar. You helped us grow up, you made us strong, and you gave us something and someone to fight for.” Travon walked over and picked up the rake I’d dropped. “I’d have been a slave if you hadn’t said you’d teach me. And Magnar might be dead.” He turned and continued with my job, but kept speaking. “You didn’t want too or have too, but you still did it.”
Magnar nodded. “Why help you now, we want too.”
“You give me too much credit,” I muttered.
Both shook their heads.
“It wasn’t easy forgiving you at first, Aiden, but you helped us lots. I didn’t know Deus was helping us too, but He was.” Travon paused in his raking to look at me. “He’d help you too, if you’d let Him. He really does help, Aiden,” Travon spoke softly, as if he was saying something he didn’t think I’d want to hear, but that he had to say anyway. He was right.
I sighed and turned to the stable door, looking out it to the main house where Kristalyn was tending to a dying Duard.
“I don’t have the strength to forgive him,” I thought out loud.
“No,” Travon agreed from behind me, “but Deus does.”
Deus. It always returned to Him.
I AM. I am the Truth, The Way, and the Life, Aiden. I AM who you are seeking. If you take this path, I will not stop you, but you will become the man you hate. You will become the man you now want to murder. I have limitless possibilities for you. I have always had a special solution in mind for you, Aiden. It is not this path. You must trust me, Aiden. Trust the path I would choose for you. You have fought me, true, but I have never left you. I take the unworthy and I make them worthy. I can do all things. Through Me, nothing is impossible – even forgiveness.
His words floated back to me and I knew he was speaking them again. Each one an arrow meant to hit its mark.
And they hit.
Over the next week I struggled with Deus’ words as well as Kristalyn, Travon, and Magnar’s. As I finished the stable and the workshop, and moved on to the kitchen and main house, their voice moved through my head, answering my questions and even protests as I made them. And from beyond them, my own voice as I taught my siblings about the god I did not believe in, but knew our parents did.
“No, Ilara, Deus doesn’t hate you. ‘Member, he always loves you. He loves all of us, even when we don’t feel it.”
“Yes, Arnan, Deus is angry when you are mean to Wren! You know mother and father would be upset….No, you can’t go play! You have to apologize…. Oh, come on! It would make Deus happy and Wren would smile again.”
“I know it hurts, Daelia… Yes, it hurts Deus too. He doesn’t like it when we cry…. Well, cuz’ he loves us….Yes, Daelia, if you trust Deus, he’ll make it better.”
“Deus even cares for your garden, Sam. He’ll help you.... Yep, He’ll always help you, just ask.”
I hadn’t believed any of it. But they had. Maybe I should have. Maybe I still could. Only one thing stopped me. In order to do any of that, to believe in any of it, I had to forgive Duard of everything he had ever done to my siblings. I had to let it all go and ask Deus for his promised help.