25. Destiny

Kyra and the other Vittra instantly let go of Loki, and he collapsed on the ground. They both held their heads, clutching at them, and at first, I didn’t understand.

I couldn’t really think or feel anything, except that I had been ripped in two. It felt as if Oren had torn my heart from my chest, and I had never felt such consuming pain or anger as I did then.

Blackness surged through me with an intense heat. I didn’t even really know what was happening around me. Everything felt like a hazy blur.

Then I saw Oren, squinting and touching his own head, and I remembered.

I could do something with my mind when I was frightened or angry. I’d done it to Tove when he tried to wake me, and I’d even done it on a smaller scale when Elora had been torturing Loki.

That act – that intense fear or anger – unlocked a power inside me. I did something to people inside their heads, causing great agony. It usually only lasted a few seconds, but I had never been as pissed off before.

As soon as I realized what I was doing, I harnessed it and directed it toward Oren. At first, he looked confused and simply started backing up. He kept squinting and tilting his head, as if he were staring at a very bright light.

In the back of my mind, I knew my body should hurt, but I felt nothing. I walked toward Oren, and he began to hold his head. He fell to his knees. He was moaning and begging but I couldn’t understand anything he was saying.

Both Kyra and the other Vittra were curled up on the ground, and Kyra was actually sobbing. I went over to Loki, refusing to let myself actually see him, to really believe he was dead, and I pulled the sword from his chest.

I walked over to where my father was slumped on his knees, bent forward. His hands were clamped to his ears. He was muttering at first, but when I raised the sword over my head, I heard him begin to shout.

“Make it stop!” Oren yelled. “Please! Make the pain stop!”

“I’ll put you out of your misery,” I said, and I swung the sword down, slicing through his neck.

I turned away so I didn’t have to see it, but I heard his head fall to the ground.

I stood there, still holding the sword, and looked around the room. The haze had faded away, and pain returned to my body. My body screamed in agony, and my legs threatened to give out underneath me. Kyra and the other Vittra had stopped writhing and they both sat up.

“Go,” I said, struggling to catch my breath. “Tell them the King is dead.”

Kyra looked at Oren’s corpse with widened eyes, and she didn’t question my orders. She and the other Vittra scrambled to their feet and ran out of the room, leaving me alone with Loki.

I dropped the sword and rushed to his side as quickly as my body would let me. I knelt next to him, and pulled his head onto my lap, but it lolled to the side. Blood stained the front of his chest, and I put my hand over the wound, trying to press the life back into him.

“No, Loki, please,” I said as tears streamed down my face. “Loki, stay with me. Please. I love you. You can’t leave me like this.”

But he didn’t move. He didn’t breathe. I bent down, kissing his forehead as I sobbed, and I didn’t even have words for the pain I felt. With nothing else to do, I began to wail.

“My god, I’m too late,” someone said, and I turned to see Sara standing in the doorway. She looked at the dead King, her husband.

Loki had saved her life once, and she was a healer. She would be the only chance I would have at saving him.

“Help me,” I begged her and tried to hold Loki up to her. “Please. You have to help him.”

“I…” Sara didn’t answer for a second, and then she ran over to us, kneeling on the other side of Loki. “I don’t know that I can. He might already be gone.”

“Please,” I cried. “You have to try.” She took a deep breath and nodded.

“Do you have any energy left?” Sara asked.

“I don’t know,” I admitted. I felt weak and drained. Hurting Oren had taken most everything out of me.

“Well, help me, if you can,” she said. She put her hand on top of mine, the one that covered the hole in Loki’s chest. “Give me any energy you have. I need all I can get.”

I nodded and closed my eyes, focusing on her and Loki. A warm tingling went through my hand, a sensation I was familiar with from being healed before. But something else happened. I felt it in my veins, flowing through me, being pulled from me. Like hot liquid escaping out through my fingertips.

Then I heard it. Loki gasped loudly, and I opened my eyes.

He took deep breaths, and tears of relief slid down my cheeks. Sara’s hand was still over mine, and her skin had become wrinkled and pinched. Her hair suddenly had gray in it, and her face had aged noticeably. She’d given Loki a lot of her life force to save him.

“Loki,” I said.

“Hey, Princess.” He smiled dazedly as he looked up at me. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” I smiled and shook my head. “Not anymore.”

“What’s this?” He took my hair and held it out so I could see. A curl near the front had gone completely silver. “I take a nap, and you go gray?”

“You didn’t take a nap,” I laughed. “Don’t you remember what happened?”

He furrowed his brow, trying to remember, and understanding flashed in his eyes.

“I remember…” Loki touched my face. “I remember that I love you.” I bent down, kissing him full on the mouth, and he held me to him.

Sara had been drained too much to use any healing on me, but Loki was as good as new. He lifted me up, carrying me out of the King’s chambers. Sara walked with us, and we went out to see what damage had been done to the palace.

Kyra apparently had told the other Vittra what I’d said, and when they heard the King was dead, they scattered. What few were left bowed before Sara. She was their Queen, their reigning monarch, and she declared a ceasefire.

Not all of the Trylle survived. We lost a few, but only a few. Duncan broke his arm, but he did much better than I thought he would. Finn probably had a concussion, but he would live. Tove hadn’t been hurt at all, and Willa was proud of the battle wounds she sustained.

Despite the losses, and the damage to everything, I felt good. We had done what we set out to do. We’d freed ourselves, and the Vittra people, from Oren’s oppressive rule. We were free.