Soaring With Angels
Alternate Ending #4
The end? Or is it?
How about a do-over?
I love the fact that the same event could be interpreted many different ways. That is what inspired to write this story in the first place. And like any good mystery I threw in a few red herrings to hopefully keep the reader off balance. But somewhere in the middle of writing this, my mind started to explore some of those other possibilities.
Have you ever read a story and wished it would go a different direction or thought of a different ending? As a writer I often come up several different scenarios and endings even for my own stories, like a choose your own adventure if you will. I mentioned it to my beta Ellie and she suggested I should write the other endings for this story.
So here goes.
To quote the movie Clue - “That’s how it could have happened. But how about this…”
Summary: Everything in Soaring has happened up to this point. Max’s parents and Maria were killed, Max killed Lonni, Rath, Tess and the Skins, Isabel and Khivar tricked Liz, Michael and Max into going to Antar, the war, Michael is killed, Isabel and Khivar are defeated and captured, Liz goes to visit Isabel and Khivar and they try to convince her that Max is evil. Liz believes that Khivar has done something to Isabel and tries to get Max to spare her, but Max has Khivar and Isabel executed.
This ending starts right after the execution where Liz fainted. I am beginning with a few scenes after that to remind the readers what happened.
When Liz awoke she was in her own bed and Max’s mother Kasha was sitting in a nearby chair. Tears pricked at Liz’s eyes as she realized that Isabel was gone, and then she remembered her dreams.
In her vision Liz had seen Max in his past life again, as Zan. He was in the palace and it was being overrun by Khivar’s men and Zan was fighting valiantly, using his powers and his sword to defend himself. With his left hand Zan used a burst of energy to toss a group of men aside as he beheaded an attacker with his sword on the right. More men rushed into the room and Zan lashed out again, but Liz could feel how tired he was and his powers were waning.
Desperately Zan reached out with his mind to search for the power of the Granolith, hoping to use its energy to bolster his own, but he couldn’t feel it. He used his sword to hack through two more attackers, and sent his shield out around him. The men were pushed off their feet but they got up quickly. They knew Zan was tiring and as a group they used their powers against him.
Surrounding him, the men pushed their energy into his shield, and Liz watched as the green protective ball around Zan got smaller and smaller. He collapsed to his knees, the fatigue overcoming him, and his shield dissolved into nothing. The men rushed him and the sword was knocked from his hand as they wrestled him to the ground, wrapping him in chains.
Then the vision had changed. Once again she was looking down at Max’s bloody body in the bed they shared in the palace. Just like the other times she had witnessed the scene, Max’s throat had been cut and he was dead.
Liz shook her head. How could it be? How could Max still be murdered? Khivar was dead, but something was still wrong. Something was terribly wrong.
Kasha came to sit on the bed when she saw Liz stir. “How are you feeling, my dear?” she asked, cupping Liz’s cheek.
Liz shook her head. “I remember being at the execution and Khivar and Isabel…” she trailed off. “But I don’t remember what happened afterward.”
Kasha took Liz’s hand. “You fainted. Max checked you personally and the healer agreed it was just shock, but Max asked me to keep an eye on you while he is in the Council meeting.”
Fresh tears started in Liz’s eyes. “Kasha, I’m so sorry about Isabel.”
Her mother-in-law patted her hand kindly. “It’s sweet of you to say so, dear, and I can see that you’re still upset by this whole terrible affair.” She sighed tiredly, “And even though Isabel was my daughter, I had become resigned to her death. In her past life Vilondra betrayed her brother, her family, but even then I gave her another chance. I killed her so I could send her to Earth with her brother to be reborn. But she didn’t deserve our love, Liz. Isabel colluded with Khivar again, betrayed her brother again.”
“You killed Vilondra?” Liz gasped.
Kasha smiled kindly. “It had to be done, you understand. It was the only way to save her.”
(Antar date 06.11.71306)
Max paced before his Generals and Jaetus. Last night Liz had told him that she’d had the vision of his death again and he was more upset than he wanted to admit. He didn’t want to die, but that was just a minor worry. Max knew no one would be able to protect Liz if he was gone and it enraged him to think that after everything they had been through she could still be in danger. He’d thought with Khivar and Isabel dead that they would be safe, but obviously he was wrong.
“Liz is still having the visions,” Max said. “That means there are still traitors on the loose and I want you to find them,” he ordered.
One of the Generals spoke up, “But your Majesty, we’re looking everywhere without success. Perhaps the Queen is wrong.”
Max turned on him with a snarl. “Your Queen is never wrong! Every one of her visions has come true, with frightening accuracy. Never question her again!”
The General dropped to his knee, bowing his head. “I’m sorry, your Majesty. Please forgive me.”
“Get up,” Max ordered the General, turning to encompass all the men in his gaze. “Put every available man on the search. Some of Khivar’s supporters are still out there and I want them all,” Max said with quiet fury. “I want every one of the traitors dead, and I don’t care what you have to do, or who you have to torture or kill to accomplish it.”
All morning Liz had been shivering, a sense of foreboding wracking her body. And as the day passed the feeling was growing.
Max was in a meeting and usually she attended with him, but she’d just been too upset to go. She walked slowly through the halls of the palace deep in thought, her arms folded across her chest attempting to curb her shivers. She had been wandering for hours trying to figure out what was wrong, and suddenly a series of flashes assailed her.
The slash of a sword
Shouts of rage
The crack of bone
The sound of blasters and torn flesh
So much blood
It all happened so quickly that it took Liz’s breath away and she stumbled, reaching out for the wall to steady herself.
Instantly Jaetus was at her side, his arm going around her waist to keep her from falling. “Are you well, your Majesty?”
Liz felt faint but she struggled to stand on her own. She shook her head. “I’m fine, I just…” she trailed off as she met his eyes and another flash tore through her mind. She saw Jaetus’ face, covered in blood and twisted in a horrible expression of hatred and insanity.
She gasped but quickly answered him. “I just didn’t get much sleep last night,” she said lamely, disengaging herself from him. “I think I’ll lie down for a while.”
Jaetus bowed. “May I escort you to your quarters?”
“No, thank you,” Liz said. “I’ll be okay.”
A messenger rushed into the room interrupting Max’s meeting. He bowed low. “Your Majesty, we’ve captured three more of Khivar’s men who were trying to sneak into the palace. They appear to be assassins.”
“Finally,” Max growled, his eyes burning with power and rage. “Take me to them.”
Liz walked sedately down the hall and waited until she turned the corner, obscuring her from Jaetus’ sight, then she looked back to make sure he wasn’t following her. When she was satisfied that she was alone, Liz hurried to her suite of rooms.
She was shaking with emotion when she got there, the visions having unnerved her even more because of the sense of foreboding she was experiencing. Liz didn’t like to go through the hall where she had gotten the vision, because she knew it was where Khivar’s troops had overcome the original Zan. But she’d never gotten a vision there before and now she wondered if she’d seen the past or the future.
Maybe it was a portent of things to come, someone else attacking them in the palace. Maybe that was why she’d been feeling so strange.
The vision she had gotten of Jaetus had freaked her out even more. She’d never trusted him completely, feeling instinctively that there was something off about him. But in the vision it’s not like she had seen him colluding against them. What she had seen could be accounted for by the war.
Liz wanted to talk to Max, but when she reached out to him with her mind, she could tell that he was busy and she didn’t think it was important enough to interrupt him. All she really had was a couple of disturbing visions and a bad feeling. Liz took a deep breath trying to calm herself. The last thing they needed was for her to panic. She’d tell Max everything later.
Max entered the room where his men had secured the assassins. The three men were chained against the wall, their hands secured so they couldn’t use their powers. On a nearby table were an assortment of weapons that had been taken from them including an amplifier.
Max reached for the amplifier and held it up before them. “What the hell were you planning to do with this?” he asked them. He turned it on to the setting that blocked powers, letting the prisoners see. Then he used a burst of his shield to overload the amplifier, making it explode in his hand. Max dropped the ashes at their feet. “These don’t affect me,” he mocked.
He saw their eyes widen but they remained silent.
Max shook his head. “I would think you would be better informed before coming here.”
The men still said nothing and Max continued. “But you were obviously ignorant of that fact, so my question is, who sent you and why didn’t they tell you? Was it because they didn’t know, or because they were sending you to your deaths?”
The prisoners still said nothing, angering Max. He built the power inside himself until his eyes glowed with it, and he walked forward, stopping within inches of the captives. They gasped in shock and fear when they saw his eyes and struggled against their bonds, desperate to get away.
Max drew his sword and reached out toward the first man with a smile. “And now you will tell me everything you know.”
Jaetus waited until Liz had disappeared around the corner and then he hurried down the hall in the other direction. He entered a door without knocking and dropped to one knee. “I think the Queen is beginning to suspect that everything isn’t as it appears.”
“Yes,” Kasha agreed. “She could become a problem.”
Max was good at torture. After all of his experience during the year of war he was a lot better at it than wanted to be. But he had to admit that the ability to extract information from prisoners was not only useful but vital. It had saved their lives on more than one occasion and even though Max hated doing it, he knew it was sometimes necessary.
The three assassins chained before him had broken quickly. Their master Khivar was dead and their mission to assassinate him had failed, they had nothing left to fight for. And after a couple of displays of his power the three realized the hopelessness of their position and started talking.
“There is no organized resistance,” the first man admitted.
The second man nodded. “We were a group of ten of Khivar’s soldiers who made a pact to kill you. We knew you were powerful and that we would probably fail, but we had to try.”
“And the others have all failed,” the third man said. “They were captured or killed. We are the last of Khivar’s men. The last who stand against you.”
The first man met Max’s eyes. “When you kill us Antar is yours.”
“It always was!” Max growled. He smiled humorlessly, a combination of anger and relief rushing through him, strengthing his power and making his glowing blue eyes burn with the intensity. The prisoners gasped with fear, recoiling from him.
Max raised his hand before him. He was satisfied that he had all the information the three men possessed, and quickly ended their lives.
Song Playing: Clean by Depeche Mode
Liz sat in her room, reading a book to pass the time as she waited for Max. She was aware of him all of the time through their bond and she could feel his emotions when they were strong. And a short time ago she had started to feel Max’s desire for her. It rapidly grew in strength, building until it almost took her breath away.
A moment later Max burst into their bedroom and Liz dropped the book she was reading when she saw him. He was enflamed with desire and she gasped with the strength of it.
He reached her and kissed her hard, using a single jerk of his hands to rip her dress apart, throwing it aside.
The desire Liz had felt through the connection had instantly stirred her own, and as Max kissed a line down her throat she flushed with arousal. She could feel his power all around them and hers rose to meet it. “What happened?” she gasped.
Max used his powers to divest her of her bra and panties, and his hands roamed over her breasts pushing power into her. He pressed his body against her and backed her into the wall. “We caught the assassins,” he said between hungry kisses. “We’re safe now.”
Liz wanted to ask him about it, but his kisses drove the thoughts from her mind. Feeling his need made her desperate for him, and she wrapped her arms around him.
Max bent to take her breast in his mouth sucking it hard. He didn’t bother with his own clothes. Not wanting to waste a moment, he simply freed his rigid cock.
“Max we need to talk first,” Liz gasped her protest.
“No!” he growled. “I have to have you now!” He lifted her against the wall and surged into her.
Liz moaned her pleasure as he entered her, and arched into him. “Oh Max!”
He started a furious pace within her and despite the anxiety Liz had about the visions her climax built quickly as he pounded into her. Each thrust buried him so deep inside that it rode the edge of pain, but it only made her pleasure even more overwhelming, and it only made her want more of him. She grabbed his shoulders arching into him. “Yes Max, harder!”
Max increased his pace and licked a line down her neck to her breast, and through the connection Liz could feel how much her pleasure enflamed him. His power flowed over her sensitized skin and passed into her, and it was like Max was touching every inch of her at once.
Max surged into her faster and faster, grunting his exertion, and through their connection Liz sensed that he was on the edge. She cried out as she came powerfully, his orgasm triggering hers, and then her tears started.
Max was instantly concerned. He pulled out of her, lowering her to the floor and cupped her face in his hands. “What’s wrong Liz?” he asked, his eyes flicking over her face. “I didn’t hurt you did I?”
Liz shook her head as she wiped at her eyes. “Nothing is wrong. I don’t know why I’m crying. I’ve been really emotional the last few days. Or maybe it’s just the relief that we’re finally safe.”
Max placed a gentle kiss on her forehead. “A lot of terrible things have happened to us and maybe it’s just all catching up with you. But I don’t want you to worry about anything. I promise that I’ll keep you safe. You are my sanctuary, my beautiful, innocent Liz. My angel. You are everything to me.”
More tears started in her eyes. “Oh Max, I love you so much.”
He cupped her face and kissed her tenderly, putting all of his emotion for her into their connection. And in return he could feel Liz’s love for him burning brightly through their bond. But there was also something different.
A strange but somehow familiar sensation was present, and for a moment Max was concerned. He concentrated and quickly searched for the source. It was almost like another presence was in their bond and at first Max suspected one of their enemies. But the presence wasn’t malevolent or evil, it was warm, beautiful, innocent, and unaware.
Max broke their kiss with a gasp. “Liz you’re pregnant!”
“What?” Liz asked incredulously. “How can that be? You’re sure?”
“When could it have happened?” Liz asked.
“It must have been when we were together after you went to see Khivar,” Max said. He held her eyes. “I’m sorry, Liz. It’s my fault. I was so worried about you and I must have forgotten to…”
Liz cut him off. “You’re sorry?” she asked as tears started in her eyes. Her hands went to her flat stomach. “You don’t want the baby?”
“Of course I want the baby,” he assured her, cupping her face. “I can’t think of anything more wonderful than having a baby with you. I’m just sorry that it happened so unexpectedly. I wanted to wait until we were ready.”
He reached down to cover her hands resting on her stomach. “But even though the baby is unexpected it doesn’t mean that it is unwanted or that we’ll love it any less.”
Liz smiled, relieved that Max wanted the baby. “Now isn’t such a bad time, is it?” she asked.
Max shook his head. “The war is over and there’s peace, our enemies are dead and we’re safe.” He smiled. “I’d say it was the perfect time.”
“And you’re happy about the baby?” Liz asked.
Max smiled. “I couldn’t be happier.” He stroked her cheek. “Are you happy?”
Liz nodded. “I love you Max, of course I’m happy to be having your baby.”
Max kissed her tenderly and they both smiled and started laughing with joy. He stroked her cheek. “Liz you’re pregnant!” He lifted her up and spun them around.
Liz giggled but suddenly started to feel sick. “Oh Max, put me down.”
He sat her on the bed and knelt before her taking her head in his hands. “Are you okay?”
She nodded. “I just felt a little dizzy, but I guess that’s normal.”
“Yeah,” Max said softly. “It also explains why you’ve been a bit unsteady and emotional lately and the fainting.” He smiled. “I was worried when I couldn’t find anything wrong with you. I didn’t even think to check if you were pregnant.”
He kissed her again. “And now we have all kinds of plans to make,” he said excitedly, “not to mention choosing a name.”
Liz was glad that he was so excited. “It’s early yet,” she said. “We have time. We don’t even know if it’s a boy or a girl.”
Max nodded. “We also don’t know how long this pregnancy will take,” he reminded her. “I think we should have you checked out tomorrow by Seris, to make sure everything is okay, and then we can start making decisions. Although with our bond I don’t think we’ll be able to keep from knowing the baby’s sex.”
A surprised look crossed Liz’s face. “I didn’t think of that.” She met his eyes. “Do you think we could tell?”
Max shrugged. “I’m not sure. Do you want to know?”
Liz considered for a moment and then smiled and nodded. “Yeah, do you?”
Max smiled. “I do too.”
Reaching for her hand, Max laced their fingers together and placed their hands on her stomach. He sent a small burst of his power through their clasped hands and into her, searching for the baby. It only took a moment before they found the spark of new life within her.
Max, Liz gasped through their bond, he’s so small, so innocent, but he’ll be strong. Can you feel it?
Max smiled. He didn’t think Liz even realized that she had discovered the baby’s sex. I can feel it, he said. Our son will be strong, and we’ll make sure he’s a good man.
Tears started in Liz’s eyes as she met his. “Our son, Max.”
They embraced tightly and Max pressed kisses into Liz’s neck. “I love you so much, and I promise that everything will be okay.”
He kissed her neck again and moved lower, trailing kisses over her naked body, between her breasts and down to her flat stomach. “This baby was conceived from love,” he said, kissing her soft skin. “Everything will be perfect.”
Kissing a line back up to her mouth, Max moved over her, pressing her down onto the bed. He made sweet, slow love to her, worshipping her entire body with his hands and mouth, and Liz had never felt so loved in her life. Afterward he wrapped her in his arms and they fell into a deep contented sleep.
But Liz’s sleep didn’t stay peaceful for long.
Dark, disturbing feelings rushed through her, fear, malice, anger and pure evil.
Images swirled through her mind, Max’s past life as Zan merging with her memories of their time on Earth and the war on Antar.
Once again she saw Zan being attacked in the palace, enemies rushing all around him as he attempted to defend himself. Zan lashed out with his power sending the soldiers flying. He turned quickly to engage another group who rushed into the room and Liz gasped as Zan’s face morphed into Max’s.
Men shot weapons at Max and he raised his shield to divert the blasts and then pushed the glowing green energy out, crushing the men into the wall.
More enemies rushed forward and Liz could feel Max’s despair. His powers were quickly draining and he wouldn’t last much longer. He needed the additional power of the Granolith, but he couldn’t feel it. He tried to get away but fell to the floor, and suddenly changed into Zan again.
And as enemies swarmed over him, Liz screamed.
Soaring With Angels |
Alt End #3 Part 4 - Alt End #4 Part 2
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