Sin bounded out of the cafeteria, catching up with Moe and Mikaela. “I’ll show you to Lord James.”
While Moe knew the way, he smiled knowingly at Mikaela. She nodded in understanding; Sin needed to be needed. “Thanks Sin! Please, lead the way.”
Lord James held Warrior I in the middle of the garden. He steadied his breath, found his center and moved into Warrior II. Holding his pose, he was not distracted as Moe, Mikaela, and Sin walked up. Lord James moved into Reverse Warrior, then on to Warrior III.
The trio stopped talking and observed Lord James as he finished his sequence. Lord James returned to Mountain pose and broke from his concentration, greeting his guests. “Good morning, Moe and Sin.” Lord James stepped forward toward Mikaela, and leaned toward her, pecking her on the cheek. “Mikaela, it has been years. Nice for you to join us.”
Mikaela thought to herself….she really didn’t have much of a choice. They essentially kidnapped her from home. They always did things oddly here. “Lord James, it is nice to see you.”
As Lord James stepped back, he found her hands and looked at both sets of rings adorning her fingers. “One day, you will choose. Now is not the time however, I know. I hope you choose well.” He released her hands from his grasp and stepped back.
Chills went down Mikaela’s back. Lord James’s words struck her harder than she expected. The tattoo on her pinky began to pulse, glowing through the lacework engraved through the ring. She calmed her heart, breathing, centering herself quietly, and the pulsing subsided.
“Sin, thank you for your help this morning. Can you check with Frank on if he has made any advancements with his research? We’ll need everything he can gather.” Lord James dismissed Sin with a swift nod.
When Sin was out of earshot, Lord James relaxed and let out a sigh. Then he looked over at Moe and Mikaela. A smile crept across his face, followed by a cheery laugh. “Guys, it’s great to see both of you!” Lord James went in for a group hug with Mikaela and Moe.
Mikaela looked at Moe as Lord James hugged them both in. Moe smirked….there was the James he knew.
Lord James released his grasp. “I have to keep up the formal appearance in front of the others, but, damn, you two. You know me. We can relax when we’re in private.
Moe and Mikaela chuckled. The work/friend dynamics exist, even here.
“So, let me fill you both in.” James led them back to the building to a small office. The office was sparsely decorated, a chair, a desk, a sofa, and a small bookcase. His Kindle sat atop the bookcase. “Isn’t it great — all my books are on here now or my phone!” James was not one to go without his books, it was nice to see he kept up with technology. “I fall asleep here most nights with my kindle or my phone falling on my chest.” He looked over at Mikaela, then turned around to look outside.
James continued, “Anyway, Mikaela, we need your help. The portal through the wall closed on us a few weeks ago. With it closed, everyone on this side are not getting the necessary relief from their thoughts, dreams and desires.” James looked up, his eyes suddenly appeared weary. “Have you felt it?”
Mikaela looked down, and thought for a few moments. It would explain why she had felt trapped recently, and the nights of interrupted sleep. She blamed other factors from working too hard to being stuck in a rut. She had even suffered seeing other peoples dreams and nightmares in her own, but being unable to recall them when she woke, except for that one about him. She looked back up at James.
His eyes blazed as he locked in on her gaze. He knew she felt it. But with Moe there, she wouldn’t reveal details. All she could give was a slight shrug, but her downcast eyes revealed her answer was yes. James continued to speak of the situation at hand, catching Mikaela up on a variety of details and the previous attempts to reopen the wall. “We don’t want the wall gone, that would create chaos and disrupt all of human nature, but we need the portal open to release the stress building up in everyone before destruction ensues.”
Mikaela looked at Lord James with a confused expression. “Destruction vs. Chaos? I don’t understand.”
“It’s about balance Mikaela, you know this. I know you do.” James paused in a moment of self-reflection, then continued. “Alright then, you may as well see the results. People cannot find any peace.” Lord James triggered a display on the opposite wall. Images of fighting and discontent flashed across the screen. “Creativity and innovation is suffering as well. We’ve seen a marked decrease in the arts, and de-evolution of knowledge as well.”
Mikaela became overwhelmed by everything he displayed and began to shake. “I can’t do anything to help this. I’m just one person, struggling through it myself.” She took a big breath.
James looked at her. Mikaela always underestimated her abilities, and hated being put on the spot for ailments and decisions beyond her control. He knew where she stood, how she could become frozen, but he needed her to get through this. “You won’t be doing this alone, Mikaela. You see the cost, and I know you want to help fix it. It starts with one step.”
Mikaela turned and walked out of the room, needing to catch her breath. She found her way outside, back to the garden, and sat down, overwhelmed by her responsibilities. The images from James screen continued to flash through her head, along with the images from her nightmare of him. Was he just looking for the distorted, the bad; surely it wasn’t affecting everyone.
She rested her head in her hands as tears flowed down through her fingers and splashed against her tunic. She’d do almost anything she could to bring peace and balance, but she was nervous as to the cost. She looked at both rings on her fingers, hoping for some sort of sign, but there was none at the moment.
Moe stepped up behind her and laid a gentle hand on her shoulder. “I’ll be with you, as will others. But we need you to guide the way and push through.”
She looked at Moe as if she carried the weight of the world on her shoulders, and wiped away her tears. Her mouth quivered as she spoke, “I know. I understand. But, my heart can’t handle it, I fear.”
Moe reached for her hand to help her up. He knew far more than he let on, and decided it was time to show her more. “You need to see what you are fighting for, who you are fighting for.” He guided her to a large field tent in the distant field. “Come with me; this way.”