FanFic - Other
Part 20
by Kath7
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the story. The characters and concept belong to Jason Katims and Melinda Metz. Tarsus of Dernia and all Illyrian characters belong to me. Lyrics by Sarah McLachlan, Phil Collins, Amanda Marshall, Dave Matthews.
Summary: Sequel to "Out of the Woods." I highly recommend reading it before trying this one. It is archived at the Crashdown. Basically, Max is gone, and the others have no idea whether they will ever see him again.
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Jaxon lay on his bed staring at the stone ceiling of his room in the Citadel. Although he was no longer technically a prisoner, he knew that any movement that he tried to make beyond the walls of the Citadel would result in a quick return to that status.

He knew that his mother wanted to trust him, but was still wary.

It had been several days since their original conversation when she had tried to convince him that Tarsus was the traitor, the betrayer...he had seen her a couple of times since, but largely he was left to his own devices.

He guessed that his mother was hoping that if he had time to think about it he would begin to believe.

It had also given her the opportunity to send Liz to him in another dream. He had barely managed the strength to turn away from her that last time...if Tristandor's voice had not intervened when it had - who knew what secrets he would have betrayed to his enemy.

It frightened Jaxon. Somehow he knew that this girl held enormous power over him...he didn't know if he would be able to resist her again. He hoped that his mother had given up on that particular torture.


Just thinking about her made his heart beat faster. She was the most beautiful creature he had ever laid eyes on...and clearly the greatest weapon his mother had in her arsenal. He had to get away.

He was planning to make his escape that night. He had to get back to Tarsus and his REAL followers before his mother's arguments and entreaties started to affect him...before Liz made him turn...

Because he did not doubt that she could do it.

He had a feeling that he would be perfectly willing to give up his entire planet if he ever actually got the chance to feel her lips on his own...they had come so close twice. The third time was bound to be lucky.

Or disasterous depending on your point of view...

Jaxon's thoughts were interrupted abruptly by the door to his room slamming open. Jennetta bounced in, her light brown hair bound in two plaits that reached almost to her waist.

He smiled despite himself. Here was his mother's other greatest weapon, although he was not sure if Milena was aware of it.

It astounded him how quickly he had become attached to his younger half-sister. The fact that she had remained so innocent and good-natured in the face of the long-running conflict that divided his family, that she seemed to love HIM despite the fact that everyone dearest to her were his enemies...he could not help but love her.

And this, Jaxon realized, was his greatest flaw. For no matter that he had told Liz that he didn't know what love was, no matter how hard he tried to pretend that he did not feel emotion, he was weak.

He loved.

"Did you have your dinner?" Jennetta asked him sternly. "Letty tells me that you have not been eating."

"Who is the older sibling here?" Jaxon asked her, amused. "I will eat when I am hungry."

"You are impossible." Jennetta replied, climbing up on the bed beside him and dropping down on her stomach to stare at him, a frown on her small face. Again Jaxon was struck by how much she reminded him of someone. He thought it was had been so long since he had seen his twin, he could not be sure he was remembering her face correctly.

"I am impossible? You're the one who does not know how to knock sweeting." Jaxon replied, tugging on one of her braids affectionately.

"What is wrong with you Jax?" His sister was eyeing him directly, the intelligence of her expression belying the youth of her countenance. "You have been jumpy all day."

Max frowned at her, not really annoyed, but feeling the need to reprimand her slightly. Just because she had the ability to go wandering around in other people's minds did not mean that she did not have to learn that some thoughts were private. "I hope that you have not been intruding where you are unwanted sweeting."

Jennetta looked momentarily guilty, but she quickly tossed her head. "Someone has to take care of you since you refuse to look after yourself."

Someone to take care of him. It had been so long...He remembered when he had been close to his mother, his much he had loved them.

He pushed the thought aside. It was what they wanted him to think was how they were weakening him...

He had to fight it.

"Should you not be in be in bed Jennetta?" Jaxon asked her suddenly, trying to change the subject from HIM and what HE needed.

"Yes." She replied saucily. "So?"

Jaxon rolled his eyes, climbed off the bed hauling her with him. He threw her over his shoulder. "I will tuck you in, but you must promise me that you will go to sleep."

"I want a story." He could tell that she was pouting.

"Fine, one story." Jaxon agreed, not at all displeased. He enjoyed reading to Jennetta. It was one pleasure he allowed himself here. She listened so avidly, her eyes wide, clearly trying to take in as much information as she could. She was like a flower basking in the sun when she listened to him.

He would miss her when he was gone.

He was amazed at the ease with which he was able to slip out of the Citadel.

It was almost as if they WANTED him to go. It actually made him a little he was missing something.

He had had to knock out two guards, but that was it. He was on the road to Dernia before he knew it. It was TOO easy.

Jaxon had been unable to steal transportation, that area of the compound having been too heavily guarded, but he did not worry. It was only a couple of miles to the Dernian border...he would be there in no time. With his cloak wrapped around him and his hood up, he knew that he was unrecognizable. If he stayed in the shadows, it would only be a matter of minutes until he was safe within his own territory.

Jaxon glanced behind himself every few steps or so, sure that he was about to be ambushed at any moment.

The road wound through the Gilded Plain, which separated the two territories. Jaxon waded through the tall yellow grass on the side of the road, ready to hide himself within it at a moment's notice.

And yet nothing happened. He was within sight of the Waylandian Ring before he began to feel truly safe.

The Ring towered above the plain, its immense standing stones reaching towards the moon-dotted sky. Illyria had twelve moons, a couple of which were currently full, lighting up the Gilded Plain so that it shone like a room lit by a thousand lumoglobes.

Only a few more metres and he would be free...

He had to pass directly through the centre of the Ring. It was the only part of the border that was not secure, being the most sacred site on the planet for both the Illyrians and the Dernians. They did not dispute the land on which it sat, neither side yet having the nerve to claim it for their own.

The Ring was a place apart.

No one knew exactly what it had been built for, but both sides revered it. Even the Dernians, with their dedication to progress and emotional detachment, respected the power that seemed to flow within the Ring.

Jaxon was on the Illyrian edge, peering through to his own territory. The heel stone was directly behind him, wreathed in the shadows of the standing stones towering over it.

Sweeping his hood off so that his people would recognize him and would not blast him when he emerged on the far side, Jaxon sped up. He had crossed the centre of the Ring when he heard it.

"JAAAXON!" He refused to look back, to acknowledge the voice. He was almost there! He could almost feel his beloved land beneath his feet...

It came again. "JAAAXON!" He closed his eyes, kept going.

And suddenly behind him, the whole world seemed to explode.

Jaxon was thrown off his feet, landing flat on his stomach slightly beyond the Ring. He spat grass out of his mouth as he struggled to stand. He had become entangled in his cloak and when he had finally managed to tame it, he was surrounded by guards.

The minute his face was reflected by the moons, they all immediately fell to their knees. "Your highness!" One soldier exclaimed, his voice monotone.

Jaxon felt a shiver descend his spine. He was home...but then why did everything feel wrong?

He turned around slowly to stare back into the Ring, to catch a glimpse of what had thrown him off balance. The majority of the soldiers had stopped staring at him and were looking in the same direction as he.

It was as though the entire stone circle had come to life. A brilliant red column of light seemed to be drawing energy from each of the stones. It reached into the star-pocked sky, for what Jaxon could not say. He could not tear his eyes away from the terrifying beauty of it.

And then his world crashed to a halt. For through the beam of light he saw the one person who should not have been anywhere near it...the one person he had left safely tucked into her bed an hour before.


As he watched aghast, she seemed to walk deliberately into the light, seemingly almost in a trance.

"Jennetta!" He yelled, trying to make her stop.

She paused briefly, stared directly at him, appeared to be waiting for something.

He had to go get her. There was no other choice. Jaxon stepped back into the circle, shook off his soldiers who tried to stop him.

"Go get Tarsus!" He heard one of them yell to another, but it was as if it was from a great distance.

"Jennetta. Come away from there sweeting." Jaxon spoke quietly, trying not to frighten her. Her eyes were still disturbingly wide.

He was only a few feet away from her when she did the unthinkable.

She stepped directly into the column of light.

"NOOOO!" Jaxon took a flying leap at her, landed hard on the ground, missing her by inches.

She was gone. She had disapeared completely.

Jaxon climbed to his feet, stared up the column desperately, tried to get a grip on what was happening here.

"Jaxon!" He whipped his head around, saw Tarsus walking towards him, a hand outstretched. "Get away from there my lord. It is most dangerous for you of all people."

Jaxon frowned at his second-in-command. Something in his tone of voice...Tarsus sounded terrified.

He was actually showing emotion.

And Jaxon knew exactly what he had to do. He could not let his small sister go through whatever she was going through by herself.

He had to follow. There was no choice.

He stepped into the light.

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