Jolan's Path - Chapter 165
The following story is fictional and is intended for an adult audience. It is not meant to suggest anything about the sexuality of Justin Timberlake or any other celebrities included in this story. This story is fiction, meaning not real. It's all for fun. If you are under age, it is illegal in your country, or you don't like stories about gay sex, please stop reading this now.
Two blue eyes met Justin's blue, Hayden snuggling against his chest.
"Me tired, Poppa." the boy said, Justin kissing his forehead.
"I think you need a nap, my son." he said, his blue eyes looking at Josh.
The two men sat with their sons in their laps, Chace standing beside them.
They'd just returned to the front terrace of the palace, sitting on a stone bench in the late afternoon shade.
All their family and friends had returned with them, everyone having been down on the plains, walking the area where the revealed truth had been shown.
The yellow sun still lay burned within the grass, its surrounding edges covered in the ashes of the armies of Fagin.
The three nations had surrounded it, Justin sensing that the spot would become a shrine to their heritage, and perhaps to the world's gazing eye.
Calen had walked past that spot, his eyes set upon the two blue pools of tiredness staring towards him from the platform above Fagin's dead corpse.
He'd taken Lydia Fontaine into his arms, the woman collapsing against him; Elijah, Vera and Krayos walking up to the man, Elijah's three Archanian brothers joining them on the platform.
Elijah lifted his mother gently into his strong Badenwolf arms from his father's.
Her blue eyes opened, staring into his now showing human form.
Her eyes took in the beauty of his smooth beautiful face, so similar to Calen's.
"I am here, Mother. I am here to love you." the young man said, his green eyes filled with tears.
"Elijah. . .is it really you?. . .it can't... you are so beautiful. . ." she said, closing her eyes, her head going against his smooth chest.
Calen stared at his son, Elijah tearfully smiling at him.
"I have a family now." he said, his father and three brothers smiling at him with love, Vera leaning forward and kissing her daughter's cheek, the woman having slipped into a deep sleep, exhaustion overtaking her.
"Our love is yours again, my Lydia. Forever." she cried, Calen's arm going around her, Krayos helping Elijah carry his mother towards the palace.
The bodies of Brandon Diablo and Nathan Livingstone were treated with dignified respect at Arias' request, the man knowing the love and forgiveness Jolan had shown both at the end of their lives.
They were carried back to the palace in quiet respect.
Justin and everyone had left the three nations surrounding the sun, walking back to the palace.
Here now they sat on the terrace, Lisa moving towards Justin.
"I'll take him to your room, Justin. Rachel and I
will watch over him. I think Logan needs a nap as well."
Logan nodded, Rachel picking him up, Lisa picking up Hayden, both boys yawning.
"Love you, Poppa." Hayden said, Logan saying the same thing.
"I love both of my boys." Justin said standing, kissing both on the cheek, the two women walking towards the palace entrance.
Justin sat quietly back down watching the two boys disappear, his eyes looking around at everyone, seeing the emotional sadness on all their tearful faces.
His blue eyes turned to his left, looking at his best friend, Josh's head lowered, staring into his opened hands.
Justin's hand went to his shoulder, Josh's head raising.
"He. . .he left us, Jus. He. . .his love. . .I need him so much! Why. . .why did he have to sacrifice everything?" Josh sobbed, Justin's arms going around Josh, the man sinking into his chest, sobbing uncontrollably, Justin's blue eyes meeting Chace's, his eyes showing many tears.
"He walked the path that he was chosen to walk, Joshua. The path he knew he had to walk." Justin said, his eyes going around everyone staring at him.
His mother's eyes were filled with tears, her arms and Melina's wrapped around Jennie.
Joel stood beside them, Morgan's arms around him, his big brother totally devoted to his youngest brother's well-being.
Justin looked around, seeing couples joined, their grief held together by the love they showed each other.
"My Jolan was remarkable, is remarkable. He showed so much courage today, so much love. He sacrificed himself to see his family, his friends--and even the world--freed from evil's grasp. I don't think a greater soul of giving love has ever walked this earth. Jolan was total love as he truly showed today, as we truly saw. That radiating light of the center of the plains was centered from his love. His love drew all of us here today, his love today has made the world a more beautiful place. I've never been more proud of him, because I know it wasn't something he wanted to do. He went against his own feelings because his love for everyone was greater. All he ever wanted was to have my love. To have the love of the five of his soul. We are the ones who saw the greatness of that love, who felt all of it. Who felt the real Jolan."
Justin's head lowered, some people beginning to cry.
Josh's head came up, his lips kissing Justin's cheek.
"You're right, Justin. His love was real, is real. I
still feel it in my heart. I'll carry that always. He'll always be a part of me.
Our sons will always have his love and ours."
Justin's head raised, looking into his blue orbs.
'I'm not giving up on our Jolan, Josh. I feel deeply within my heart that this isn't the end of this. His love, his essence we saw and loved. That's what his existence was since the day we met. His soul reached out to me, and drew all of us in. His love drew all of us in. That love is too giving, too great to ever really diminish."
Justin stood up, everyone looking at him.
"Jolan isn't gone. I refuse to believe that."
Chris walked up to his friend, his hand going to his shoulder.
"You've shown so much calmness and courage today, Jus. I'm almost at the end of my emotions. Why are you so calm?" he said, Justin seeing the redness of Chris' eyes, the emotion on his face.
"I'm calm because I have total faith in my Jolan's love." he said, looking around at everyone.
"He made me a promise. That after this day our
lives would be long and wonderful, filled with love and happiness. I intend to
hold him to that promise."
"But. . but Justin! He died! Hell, he died three times! Almost five years ago, then twice today! The man's. . ." Chris stuttered, Justin staring at him.
"The man's not real, Chris? Is that what you wanted
Chris looked at his old friend, both hands going to his shoulders.
"No, Jus. Never. That man's love was real. We all felt it. Hell I thrived on it, and his humor." Chris said, Justin smiling at him.
"The man's more than just the man we've loved. It took me a while to realize that. There's something else going on here, separate from all this path of destiny. I sense it may be the center of all of this. Of Jolan's existence and of his family's truth. Am I correct, Tolmar?" Justin said, everyone's eyes going to the terrace's edge, the three councilors of the One Council having walked up the steps before them.
Belos and Degas were looking at Tolmar, the man's eyes on Justin.
"Destiny has a way of taking on its own life, Justin. I think the end result of that was of your Jolan's making." he said, Justin staring at the man.
"He told me that his life was a path of duality, Tolmar. That the two paths were aligned together. The path of the Sumsarian destiny and the path of the greater destiny. Today we saw both paths revealed. Jolan's Sumsarian brethren are free of the red-crowned evil of King Segas. And the world today may be free of its own evil. Time will relay that truth to us. Those rays of God's love have gone somewhere, as we all saw. But I think Jolan initially had it wrong. I think he discovered a third path, perhaps the more important path in regards to himself." Justin said, Tolmar's blue eyes staring at him.
Justin walked forward, the Dragosan brothers all looking towards Tolmar.
Justin stopped in front of the man, their eyes locked on each other.
"That third path centers around you, doesn't it?" he said, Tolmar's eyes lowering.
"I am sorry, I don't know of what you speak." he softly said, Justin's hand going to the man's shoulder.
"You spoke great words of gentleness and devotion
out there before the three nations, the one joined nation. It was as if you'd
seen the truth in what Jolan's destiny really was. You showed the nation the
truth of Jolan's sacrificing love. You guided them forward to the final
revelation of their healed souls. Your path of guiding love has now ended. You
proved your worthiness of Queen Alveena's request for your being the One Council's
leader. Now I think it's time you focused on the other side of this in regards
to yourself. And what today's
revelations and the past's lost denials mean."
The man's face took on a soft look of emotion, his eyes actually starting to show tears.
He moved, walking to the terrace's edge, staring out into the late afternoon's receding sunshine.
He stared down at the glowing sun upon the plain's field.
"I met with him this morning, in the palace's west
chapel. I went there steeled against his accusations, ready to deny anything he
voiced. I never realized that he'd voice total truth, or that he'd voice total love. He saw through
my facade so easily. He went right for the truth in my heart. And then he made
me see the truth of what I'd done. Of what I'd unknowingly started."
"What you started?" Simus said, the man walking up to Justin's side.
Tolmar's eyes met Simus'; Morgan, Calen and Joel walking up to Simus and Justin as well.
Calen had returned to the group, Vera staying with her daughter upstairs, Henry having tended to her physical condition, reporting that she was exhausted and needed rest.
Elijah had returned with his father, Krayos at the younger man's side, his love showing as the two joined together.
Tolmar's eyes went to Belos and Degas standing together, the two men nodding.
"You four Dragosans are not the only ones who share a brotherhood and an oath of loyalty to one you loved."
The four brothers looked at each other, Tolmar's eyes meeting Justin's, the councilor's hands going together.
"I and my two friends of council swore an oath to our ancient queen. Each of us having our own reasons of devotion to her. Belos was Queen Alveena's most trusted general. He showed his worth by his devotion to her totally. He loved her as more than just his queen." Tolmar said.
Belos' eyes were tearing, the once great general speaking.
"King Athos was a courageous man, and my dearest friend. I loved him and Alveena since I stood at their side on the day they married. I was Athos' best man. After Athos' death I drew to love Alveena even more. I knew that her heart was always his, but she gave me as much love as her loving soul could. It was enough for my devoted soul. I loved her, and I devoted my life to her cause. In the end I couldn't save her from her own heroic stand. I could not save her upon the battle's field." Belos said, his eyes filled with tears, the man lowering his head in reverence.
"After the battle and the ensuing hardships--and grumbling discourse--of the remaining Sumsarian nation, I walked away from everyone. I could not stomach the anger and revenge I saw brewing within my clansmen. And so I walked away, living a life of solitude and reclusive loneliness. But I could not escape my love for her. She came to me in a vision at the end of my reclusive life and offered me a position of devotional guidance to my lost clansmen. It was perhaps the greater battle I would be destined to wager. Her love--and mine for her--guaranteed me my place upon the Council."
Everyone stared at the old soldier, seeing his pride and love for the late Queen.
"And now you, Degas." Tolmar said, the other of the three staring at his fellow councilors.
"I was King Athos' cousin. His father and my own were brothers. Athos was the only one throughout my short life who encouraged me to ascend to my visionary talents. He gave me courage to voice and show my love in my paintings. He stood at my side when I unveiled my first painting in my father's own home. It was a painting of my father and his brother, Athos' father. Both men of warrior courage were there to look upon it. Athos made both of them see the greatness of my gift. My father that day accepted my need to express myself. He allowed his brother--the King--to name me as the court painter. I became lost in my artistic gift. To me it was the mistress of my soul. Athos and Alveena both encouraged me to visually show my love. A short time later Athos' father King Lionus died, Athos ascending to the throne of our small kingdom. He named me as the official court artisan. Through his love and hers--until Athos' death--and then through King Dragos' patronage, I continued to show my visionary love. When Dragos became insane and monstrous in his evil consuming magic, I walked over to Alveena's side, devoting my love and gifts to her. She asked me to do the three portraits that are now hanging at Bloodstone Manor, the three portraits of secret magic." Degas said, Jennie walking up to Justin's side.
"Yes, I--and then Jolan--saw the map that you had painted hidden there." she said, the man smiling at her.
"The paint was laced with Alveena's magic; truly, in a sense, a map weaved with her visual love." he said.
"Your paintings themselves showed a greater love." she said, the man smiling at her.
"For Alveena, I poured my soul into their creation. Her love--and mine--is woven there also." he said, Jennie nodding, looking at Justin, his arm going around her.
"I joined her and Belos in that final battle, receiving a mortal wound myself. I lived long enough after to finish the last painting--the pre-battle scene of Vilos' magical moment--that was devoid of Alveena's presence. When I passed into the light of death she was waiting there for me. She offered me a seat upon the One Council, to join with Belos, her most stalwart warrior, to guide our lost family back onto the path of destiny. I accepted on my love for her and my cousin Athos." the man said, his blue eyes looking at Tolmar.
"And that leaves only you, Tolmar." Justin said, looking at the last councilor.
"Yes, that leaves only me." the man said, looking again out across the plains, seeing the one nation still clustered around the still glowing large sun on the plain's grass.
He lowered his head, his thoughts on the past and on one man's vision of giving love.
He raised his head, his eyes looking up into the late radiating sun.
"I perhaps hold a greater confusion to this joined
council. For I, in a sense, was never destined to be anyone of any greatness. All
I was was a man drawn into a circle of love and ending tragedy. I played a
greater part in all of that, without even realizing it."
Belos moved forward, the older warrior's hand going to the younger man's shoulder.
"She chose you for your singular love, Tolmar. Degas
and I both saw the reasoning behind what you did. The ending result was not of
your doing. That result lays at the man's monstrous son's feet."
Tolmar's eyes looked into the old general's judging eyes, seeing compassion there.
"The love of your youthfulness gave way to his later, misguided ambitions. You were denied its continuation, although it forever remained in your heart." Degas said, Tolmar slowly nodding, his eyes moving around at everyone staring at him.
"It is time the story of your past and destiny was revealed, my friend." Belos said, Tolmar nodding again.
"Yes, my friend. It is time I faced my faults and my coming justice." Tolmar said, a long sigh coming out of him, the man's form rising tall.
"Please sit down, everyone." he said, people moving, Justin returning to Josh's side, Chace joining them both on the bench.
After everyone was settled, their eyes were all drawn to the man standing before the terrace's edge, the Plains of Bladorra behind him.
"To begin this tale you need to know my true identity. Of my relationship to destiny and the house of Sumsare." he said, Chris nodding at him.
"Jolan named you Tolmar Sumsare. You were of the Sumsarian clan, correct?"
Tolmar's eyes met his, the older man's blue pools sparkling with truth.
"Only in the giving love of the name I bore, Christopher. I was never a true Sumsarian. The great queen of the Sumsarian nation loved me for another reason, as did her son." the man said, his hands going to his jacket, removing it and then pulling the black shirt he wore over his head, baring his smooth, tight, muscular chest. All eyes taking in the man's physique, judging the man to be in his late thirties.
On the man's chest, just above his left nipple was a
tattoo of a yellow sun.
"I am older than I looked at the time of this mortal shell's passing. I died at the age of forty-five. This is the vision of me at that time's hour."
The man dropped his jacket and shirt to the floor, standing erect, staring at everyone.
"I was given the name of Sumsare as a gift of love for a person of great beauty and love. Before that recognition I was welcomed into the Sumsarian family because of the Queen's heart of love. She gave great love to me because of another close to her heart. Of one whom she loved deeply. No one of the family knew of my true self except her, and later one other. For to that person I revealed all of myself."
The man moved, his hands extending, everyone's eyes widening as his blue eyes changed, his pools of blueness changing to a soft violet hue.
Behind the man two membrane wings extended, an Archanian warrior of handsome beauty showing itself.
"My true name was Tolmarsa Archania. I was the youngest son of Ravenia Archania, last queen of the Archanian nation. Queen Alveena Sumsare was my loving aunt of concealing truth."
Chris stood up, his fingers pointing at the man.
"You. . .you're Archanian! You're Alveena's nephew!" he stuttered, Joey standing up, slapping his friend on the back of the head, Chris flinching.
"Well duh, Chris! I think what stands before us proves that." Joey said, Chris blushing, sitting back down again.
"I'm sorry, Tolmar. Continue with your story of now showing fascination." Chris said, Britney kissing his cheek, the man nodding at him, Joey sitting down again, his hand going in Lance's.
"Yes, Christopher. I am an Archanian. I was the
youngest son of Queen Ravenia. I was sent by my mother to my Aunt
Alveena's kingdom when I was twelve years old. I was sent there to learn the
customs of the mortal world, of man's ambitions and man's reasoning. My mother
was a woman of high intellect and giving justice. She saw in me a higher intellect
as well, judging me to one day becoming a guiding force in our people's future and in the
world's. Little did she realize that our people would not see the future, other
than my surviving sister Selaria. It was with great love that I came to King Athos' fledgling kingdom.
Even King Athos didn't know of my true identity, Alveena naming me as Tolmar
Sumsare, the nephew of Notaries Sumsare, the Oracle."
Shelly's eyes were staring at the man, her ancestor's name drawing her into the tale.
"The Oracle knew the truth of myself as well, he being the Queen's confidant. It was thought best that no one knew of my own identity, the magic within me a hindrance to the accepting masses of normalcy. I was assigned to the Oracle--my now pretended uncle--to be schooled in the ways of man. I was educated as a man of equal standing as the King's own son, Dragos. The Oracle taught Dragos and myself in the ways of the Sumsarian nation. He and I became young friends, our lives intertwining through our adulthoods.
It was through the Oracle's teaching--and my own
astuteness--that I discovered my own gift. A block of stone always called to me.
In its smooth surface I drew out an inner beauty. I became a great sculptor, architect,
builder, and artisan."
"The Cistern of Tolmarsa, in Brasov! You designed those pools of beauty! Hence your name upon them!" Chris said, everyone looking with surprise at Chris, then Tolmar.
"My son told me of that watered sanctuary being your creation." Joel said, the man nodding around at everyone.
"Yes, Joelius. I was a man of vision. I created that pooled vision in Brasov, it was my first major triumph. The warming waters are in part a flowing of my Archanian magic. That is the magic behind their warming pools."
Everyone nodded, remembering the beautiful, warmed pooled
"Hence also the visions of Archanian statues, of winged angels on display around the pools." Randall said, Tolmar nodding, his eyes looking around the terrace and upwards to the palace's stone walls and gabled towers.
"This palace was also of my creation. Dragos offered its construction to me when we were mere adolescents together. It was a youthful vision of his aspiring intellect. He, at that early age, had a vision of his future kingdom. In the center of that kingdom he wanted a palace of singular beauty and greatness. He deemed me to be worthy of seeing that vision come to fruition. Together we would create the 'center of the sun of my shining love', as he called it."
Tolmar's eyes went down to the sun tattoo on his naked chest.
"We tattooed the sun upon our chests as an aspiration to this place's one day greatness when we were seventeen. Here now it stands, devoid of his shining love, a silent tomb to a once great ideology." Tolmar said, Belos looking at the younger man.
"An ideology based on love, and then madness." the man said, Tolmar nodding.
"Yes, Belos. The madness was the reality of what
King Dragos became. Of the seeping in of the Black Magic that one day consumed
him. The love was what I lost."
Justin stood up, walking slowly up to the man, their eyes meeting, Tolmar's soft violet pools returning to their blueness, his wings disappearing behind him.
"I sense there's an underlying truth in what you just said, Tolmar. " Justin said, the older man nodding.
"Yes, Justin. That underlying truth was the first
original path. It was a path I had hoped would forever continue. But he was lost
on that path, or rather he walked away from it."
Justin's hand went to the man's naked shoulder, their eyes meeting.
"The original path was Dragos', wasn't it? He left
that path of love, consumed by evil."
Tolmar's eyes showed a glistening softness.
"No, Justin. That original path was his and mine. King Dragos Sumsare was the love of my life. I loved him with all of my soul." Tolmar said, a tremble going through him.
Justin pulled the man forward against him, everyone staring in stunned silence.
"A path of love destroyed by evil. I see now why Jolan wanted to correct it." Justin said, the man in his arms beginning to sob, his head burying into Justin's chest.
"I loved him so much! He tore the soul out of me. He walked away from my love, into her lair of evil! I loved him so much!" the man sobbed, the terrace bathed in silence, a man lost in time sobbing for his lost love.
"You. . .you and King Dragos were lovers?" Simus said, Justin's blue eyes going to his grey.
"Yes, Simus. Tolmarsa Archania was King Dragos' lover. They were two of giving love. Queen Alveena revealed that to Belos and myself when we walked the path to our second lives." Degas said, Tolmar's head raising, staring at the other councilors.
"She felt we needed to understand the reasoning behind her naming you as our leader." Belos said, Tolmar's head lowering.
"Her love was unending. You, most of all, have sensed that, Tolmarsa." Degas said, the man's head raising again.
His head moved, staring out across the plains again, his eyes lowering.
"I met him in the chapel this morning, the man's
soul of reasoning truth drawing me to a familiar spot of lost memories."
Justin's hand went to the man's shoulder, their eyes meeting.
"You were given the name Sumsare not by Queen Alveena, but by King Dragos. The two of you were married there?"
Tolmar's eyes took on a look of shimmering wetness.
"You must understand the times then, everyone. Our marrying would have been an abomination to the royal household. It was more a bonding of our souls, Justin. Dragos, that day, promised me his eternal love, I voicing the same resolve and love. We--in the sight of God--joined each other's souls that day. We made a promise to each other to love each other forever." Tolmar said, his head lowering.
"That promise was broken, wasn't it?" Justin said, the man nodding.
"I gave him my soul, Justin. I thought that it was
enough, that my love was enough. And then she came into the picture. She and her
"Dragos' future wife. The daughter of King Cleminus of Carpathia, Queen Alveena's once spurned lover?"
"Yes, Justin. Valeria Cleminus, a woman of dark evil, and beguiling magic. She somehow drew my Dragos away from me. Dragos walked away from my love to join with her, to see the continuation of the Sumsarian royal dynasty. For he was a king, who needed an heir. And that woman gave him that son on her deathbed. From her evil spawned a creature of greater evil, and the destruction of Dragos' own soul. And then the laced continuing evil of the Sumsarian clan."
"It must have been hard for you to lose his love, Tolmar. To watch him seduced by so much evil." Chris said, the man's eyes meeting Chris', Chris seeing the emotion there.
"Hard, Christopher? It was all-consuming. I couldn't
get past his betrayal. It destroyed my heart. I never loved another as I loved
him. There could never be another in my soul that could replace his love. I
never blamed him. It was the Black Magic, the evil of his monstrous wife and her
father. Her father sought the Sumsarian Treasure, his daughter sought the
power of a Queen's rule. My aunt stood by and saw her son consumed by that
woman's enticing evil. And then that woman of evil showed him the Black Book of Magic. It--and
then immortality--consumed him."
Tolmar's eyes moved out onto the plains again, his face lost in old memories.
"It was because of that evil possession that I was forced to do what I did. I could not allow my Dragos to find the answer to his evil dreams. It was I that guided Queen Alveena into this palace that night, the night your father was created, Dragosan brothers." Tolmar said, his blue eyes looking into the four grey sets of staring quietness.
His blue eyes scanned upwards, taking in the silent palace windows above them.
"I knew every silent passage, every concealed pathway of secluded entry. My Dragos installed in this palace intricate hidden pathways of quick seclusion. Easy ways for him to enter and leave the palace. But he had forgotten that I also knew of their existence. On that cold dark night I guided my aunt into his bedchambers, she and her followers having the element of surprise. It was I myself who subdued then tied him up, binding him in his bed, his eyes staring into mine. On that night I saw the hatred he held in his dark eyes for me. His words of hatred and lost evil destroyed the last of my soul. I had truly lost my Dragos to the consuming evil. We left him bound and gagged in that chamber, freeing your father from his evil designs." Tolmar said, his blue eyes showing tearful acceptance.
Calen's hand went to the man's bare shoulder.
"It took great courage--and yes, greater love--to free Vilos from his evil grasp, Tolmar. On that night you set the path for our father's freedom. We now see how much we owe you. Our family owes you our existence." Calen said, the councilor's eyes raising, their blueness meeting.
"I did not do it for your father's freedom, Calen. Or for my Queen's destiny. I did it for him. I. . .I thought that maybe I could talk to him, maybe I could reason with him, make him see the path he was walking. I never got that chance. I saw easily that the evil had possessed him. I had lost the man I loved. And that night I decided on a greater action. On an action that I didn't realize would one day reveal all that we've seen, and all that we haven't seen."
Everyone's eyes were on the councilor, Tolmar's blue eyes showing a sense of awed quietness.
"What we haven't seen?" Simus said, looking at the man.
Tolmar's eyes went to Justin's blue, then to another's.
"Justin is correct. This day's truth holds another hidden existence. For I've sensed it within these palace walls. This day's truths I truly believe aren't finished." the man said, Jennie walking up to him.
"I have sensed him as well, Tolmar. A sense of someone watching in the shadows, of someone shadowing us."
Justin's eyes widened, Jennie's blue meeting his.
"I think a Shadower of Man is here." she said, everyone standing up, their eyes moving everywhere.
"One. . .one of the ancient beings?" Joel said, his eyes on his daughter.
Jennie's eyes looked into Justin's blue.
"No, Father. I sense this shadow is the one true ancient being."
Everyone's eyes were on the young woman, her eyes looking towards two stone pillars, a closed doorway standing between them.
"And part of that true being is an essence of love. I think the one true Shadower of Man is our Jolan."
Pope Benedict XVI sat in silence, staring out at the red-covered men standing before him, and the massive audience filling the inside of St. Peter's Basilica.
Surrounding that audience was the gathering media of the world's watching eye.
It was early evening in Rome, the day's revelations having sunken into the world's soul.
His blue eyes stared into so many faces of awed emotion, of glorified devotion.
The afternoon skies of flashing rays had stunned the world.
Across the world people of evil had been incinerated by those flying rays, others of lesser evil brought to their knees in seeking forgiveness.
Tyrants, despots and men of crushing evil had been vaporized before their cringing subjects.
Nations were freed from tyranny, their masters brought to justice in the flash of the Light of God.
Adulterers, thieves, people of ill means, and other less stellar individuals had been all marked by the red crown of evil shortly before the lights of the heavens had entered them.
And those sin-cleansing rays made sinners seek forgiveness, the nations of the world taking in the cleansing of the red-crowned evildoers.
People flocked to places of worship, the day's shining rays showing the truth of God's presence on the earth.
The media empires of many nations were in full mode, video capturing the amazing lights and their chosen targets.
All over the world the day of truth opened everyone's eyes to the revealing evil.
The pontiff rose from his seat, his cardinals going to their knees in front of the altar, the full house of devoted believers joining them.
The pope stared down at his red-covered bishops of faith.
Several of his friends. and former scholastic colleagues, were missing.
Evil had infiltrated even the church of faith.
Eleven of the cardinals had been lost in the rays' disintegrating truths, evil revealed in their hearts, their evil sure to be opened for public scrutiny.
The Light of God played no favorites.
The pope stood upon the altar of the Basilica of Peter's truth.
"I walk as you all walk, with the light of God's
love in my soul. That falling light of truth today spared my soul, spared all of
our souls. We are the children of his truth, of his forever giving love. They of
evil were marked with red crowns, the remaining untouched now must look into
their own souls. For God today has given them their justice and us our faith.
God's justice has chosen no favorites, for even men of his church have been
called to justice. Evil walked upon this earth in many forms, in many hidden
pacts. Today God exposed all of it. From this day forward the world has been
given a second chance. A chance to walk forward on a new path of hope. Of
hope and faith."
The man looked out at everyone, tears on many faces.
"God is just! God is loving!" they shouted, the pontiff folding his hands before him.
"Word has not reached us yet of how this day came
unto us, but I am certain it was a scene of unbelievable radiating love. God
came upon this earth today and sent his justice to those of evil, and we that
remain have been given our faith. Our faith in God's love, and in life's love."
The congregation wept, the pontiff turning, going to his knees before the altar of the Basilica.
"The messenger gave us our path, gave us our faith. I hope that God has given him his love. Blessed are we to have seen this day, blessed are we of faith." the pontiff said, raising his head.
In the old man of religious doctrine, a heart of unending faith pumped with new vigor, his mind lost in his own thoughts of opening faith.
I shall walk the last of my days with your love in my heart, young man of giving love.
I shall guide them forward to his love.
Today our true faith begins.
The pope began a benediction, those of faith behind him following his path of new faith.
The congregation as one lowered their heads in joining faith.
All eyes upon the terrace were staring at Jennie with silent wonder.
"Jennica. . .that. . .that isn't possible!" Joel said, staring at his daughter.
"The Shadowers of Man are beings of ancient mythical existence, Jennica. They have walked this earth since time began. No one knows of their true existence. Jolan himself said that Queen Alveena called Erasmus Sogard one herself." Calen said, his knowledge of history voicing that truth.
"Yes, I know that, Uncle. But I truly believe that my brother was--and still is--a shadow of watching love." she said, her eyes turning to Tolmar.
"What did my brother show you in that chapel this morning, Tolmar?"
Tolmar's blue eyes met Jennie's, the young woman watching him with quiet love.
"He. . .he showed me the lost memories of my soul, Jennica. He showed me a vision of what I've lost. I wept at its vanishing truth." he said, lowering his eyes, Jennie walking up to him.
Her hand went to his shoulder, his head raising, tears showing in his eyes.
"He showed you a vision of your lost love, of the
man who always remained in your heart. He showed you your Dragos as he once was.
As the man you fell in love with."
The man sobbed, Jennie's hand rubbing his shoulder.
"My. . .my Dragos! He was so beautiful, so filled with life! Why did evil have to consume him. . .why did I have to lose him??" he said, Jennie smiling at him.
"I think you've lost sight of what Jolan gave you, Tolmar. He gave you a vision of your reflecting soul, and a vision of his."
The man's eyes stared into her blue pools of magical love.
"Of his soul?" Tolmar said, Jennie nodding.
The young woman's eyes moved around, meeting everyone's, lastly meeting Justin's.
"And what of you, Justin? We have all seen your calming, giving, courageous love all day. Ever since you'd awakened from your fainting spell after Jolan's first death."
Justin nodded, their eyes meeting, Jennie smiling at him.
"You have your brother's love and giving soul,
"And you have his calming love, Justin."
Justin smiled, his eyes going to everyone.
"That truly wasn't a fainting spell, I believe. I
think it was a conduit into my Jolan's soul."
Chris looked confused, staring at Justin.
"What do you mean, Jus?"
"I mean that I was drawn away from all of you to see something, to be told something. I think my Jolan needed me to be strong this day. And he found a clever way to give me that strength. For through a child he gave me hope. And he made me see the truth of someone's existence. A truth I sense you've reasoned out as well, Jennie."
Jennie nodded, smiling at Justin.
"How found you the true Sun Child?"
Everyone's eyes widened in confusion, Justin smiling at Jennie, his eyes focusing on everyone, his blue pools meeting Tolmar's blue.
"When I fainted I was drawn to this same spot, but I
believe on a different plane, or dimension. When I awoke this palace was lost in
its old ancient beauty. And that door across from us was open." Justin said,
pointing towards the two pillars, everyone's eyes on the closed door.
"What. . .what was in that room?" Chris said, his eyes staring at the door with quiet awe.
"Behind that door is a passageway. A way into the hidden heart of this palace. Into the Chamber of Ascendancy, King Dragos' lost chamber of kingly worship." Justin said, looking at Tolmar.
"You have been in that room before, Tolmar." Justin said, the man nodding.
"Yes, Justin. It was the central room of this place.
Where Dragos held his annual audiences of devotional love. A chamber to ascend
to his greatness. Queen Alveena called it his room of egotism, he called it his
room of love."
"And what was it for you, Tolmar?" Calen said, the man's eyes meeting his.
"It was a room of a young man's glorifying need. Dragos had always needed to feel great. He was a man of encouraging vanity. He always wanted to be held high in everyone's regard. He did truly have a large ego."
Justin nodded, looking at Jennie.
"And what did you find in that room, Justin?" she said, Justin smiling at her.
"I found my Jolan."
Everyone gasped, Justin looking around.
"I'm sorry, I should have said that I found a version of my Jolan." he said, Josh walking up to him, Chace at their sides as well.
"A version of him?" Josh said, Justin kissing his cheek.
"Yes, my Josh. A younger, more innocent but revealing version of him. I saw our Jolan as we once did, as the seven-year-old child."
Shelly looked at Justin in shock, Justin smiling at her.
"Yes, Shelly. The same child who stood at your door that day so long ago. The same Jolan who came to you seeking help. But I truly believe it wasn't help he was seeking that day." Justin said, Joel and Melina walking to Jennie's side, all three looking at Justin.
"What. . .what was my son seeking, Justin?" Melina said, Justin smiling at all three.
"He was seeking the start."
"The start? The start of what, Justin?" Henry said, his arm around Shelly.
Justin smiled at everyone, his eyes looking out into the dying day's sunshine.
"The start of the path, everyone. The path that he himself created."
"You're not making sense, Justin. How can a child of seven create a path of destiny?" Tolmar said, Justin staring at him.
"How can a man lost of love create a path of destiny, Tolmar? How can love create so many paths?" Justin said, the man's head lowering.
Justin's eyes met Joel's, the man staring at him with a dawning truth showing in his eyes.
"Our son wasn't our son." he said softly, Melina looking at her husband.
Jennie's eyes met both, then Justin's.
"Your son was your son, Joel. He just wasn't only that." Justin said, the three staring at him.
"I think the easiest way to understand it is to see
what our Jolan really was. Or what he was a part of."
Melina walked up to Justin, Justin staring at her with love.
"He was my son, Justin. I refuse to believe anything
Justin smiled, kissing her cheek.
"He was that, and he was my Jolan. I refuse to believe anything else
She smiled, nodding and kissing him back.
"Jolan was--as he himself stated to all of us many times--love. He said that often and I truly believe he truly mean it. And I truly believe he is love. But he's a love of destined truth. I think his love is the greater truth of all of this. That love congealed into a being we all loved, and still love. We fell in love and came to love the essence of love. And that essence still exists. And I think I know how to bring him back."
Chris walked up to Justin, his hand going to his younger friend's shoulder.
"So you're saying that Jolan is the by-product of a
path of destiny? That that path created him? That he is the love created on that
"In a sense yes, Chris." Justin smiled.
"Then let's bring him back. I can't exist
without him, none of us can."
Everyone smiled at Chris' honest words, Chris blushing softly.
"I loved. . .I still love the guy. We all do."
Justin smiled, nodding his head.
"I know, Chris. And he knows." Justin said, Chris nodding.
"The easiest way to understand it as I said is to
accept that Jolan is love. He created himself to show and give all of us love.
The love of a beautiful child in a mother's arms. The love of a young growing
man of love and courage in his father's eyes. The protective love of a big
brother in his sister's eyes."
The three of Jolan's family showed tears in their blue and grey eyes.
"And the love of a giving friend and relative, of a giving soul." Justin said, everyone standing around the terrace feeling the continuing love of their lost friend and relation.
"Jolan existed as love, and is love. And I and my Josh and Chace felt the realness of that love. The center of it. It still remains in our hearts. That's what has calmed me this day. His love remains in my heart, and I truly believe it can come back to life."
Jennie smiled, walking up to Justin, the man wrapping his arms around her.
"I believe that too, Justin. As I believe I've pieced out our Jolan's true soul. Of why he's here." she said, Justin smiling.
"He always said you had the intellect, our little sister."
She smiled, her eyes meeting his.
"I can open the room, Justin. He left that truth in our connection." she said, everyone around them staring in awe.
"Can. . .can you still talk to him. . .communicate with him?" Chris said, Jennie shaking her head no.
"No, Chris. He's there, in the shadows of my mind. I just can't reach the trueness of his soul. I think he's gone back into the shadows as he long has."
"The shadows?" Chris said, Jennie nodding, looking at him.
"His existence mirrors two dimensions, Chris. This one and the one of magic. The magic that created him." she said, Justin releasing her, Jennie walking up to Tolmar.
"You said that you guided Queen Alveena to her rescuing of Vilos from Dragos' evil madness. There is a greater guilt within your soul, Tolmar. What else did you do?" she said, staring into his blue eyes, the tears still showing.
The man's head lowered, unable to look into Jennie's blue pools of judging love.
"I. . .I sealed the doom of our love. I destroyed him
to send him into God's love."
Her hand went forward, raising his chin, the man staring into her blue pools.
"You did what your heart needed to do. You released
him from the evil and you started the one true path."
Tolmar's eyes showed confusion, Jennie leaning forward and kissing his cheek, the man feeling so much love in that kiss.
"All those of Sumsarian worth, of Archanian
existence, of Badenwolf courage, and of Dragosan magic, all they exist because
of your love for him. And his love of seeking forgiveness."
"What. . .what do you mean, Jennica?" Calen said, he and his brothers showing confusion.
"It's very simple when you think upon it. It stared
all of us in the face and we didn't see it. But Jolan saw it. He saw it almost
fifteen years ago at the tender age of seven. When his mother of worried love
slipped a golden ring upon his finger. When the magic in that ring sought him
out on the path of the ring's destiny. On the great path of the ring's truth.
Jolan himself said it not long ago. I didn't realize his words' truth either
"What words, Jennica?" Joel said looking at his daughter.
"Words of giving truth, of hidden meaning. I know wherein those words lie." she said, her eyes going back to Justin.
"It's been a long day, everyone. I think we all need to freshen up, seek sustenance and get cleaned up." she said, walking over to the two pillars, staring at the door standing shut between them.
"At the hour of nine we shall all meet here again.
And the final walk on this long path can end. The answer lays behind this door.
For that truth I'll give what Jolan asks of me." she said, Jonathan walking up
to her, his arm going around her.
Everyone's eyes were on the young couple, Justin looking around at everyone.
"Until nine, everyone. Let's go see our boys, Josh and Chace." he said, Josh's and Chace's arms going around him.
Jennie smiled at all three, she and Jonathan following the three men into the palace through the front entrance.
Everyone stood on the terrace, their eyes showing their confusion and simmering need for truth.
Justin pulled his shirt off, two sets of hands running across his smooth body.
Chace's hands were on Justin's belt, opening it, his pants slinking to the floor, Justin stepping out of them.
His blue eyes were on the left mattress, two small boys sleeping together, their arms wrapped around each other.
"They are with their father in their dreams." Justin said, Josh's lips on Justin's neck, his hands rubbing his shoulders.
Chace's fingers were on Justin's chest rubbing his abs.
"You need clean clothes, Jus." he said, Josh walking over to their suitcases, pulling off his own shirt, picking out clothes for all three of them.
"I need Jolan, Chacey. That's what we all need."
Josh smiled at his husband, Chace kissing Justin's lips.
"We'll have him back in our arms soon, Jus. I truly believe that now. I think you're right. I feel him close. He isn't totally gone." Josh said, walking up to them, setting their new clothes down on a chair, his arms wrapping around both men.
"Let's lie down for a bit, I feel so tired." Justin said, Josh and Chace guiding him down onto the other mattress, Chace pulling off his shirt, the three joining together, Justin in the middle of the two others of their joined soul of four.
"I feel your love, my angels. I feel his." Justin said, his head going against Chace's chest, Josh's head snuggling into the crook of Justin's neck.
"We feel him and your love, Jus. We're still four of love." Josh said, kissing Justin's neck.
Justin nodded, kissing Chace's warm chest.
"He showed me love, guys. That child showed me my Jolan's true love." he softly said, Josh's and Chace's eyes meeting.
"Is it greater than the love he always showed us?" Chace said, his soul needing to know that truth.
"His love is the greatest we'll ever have, my angels. The true Jolan will take your breath away. He's close and he'll be with us soon. We just have to get past the truth, to the essence of him. I think the man will make the right choice."
Josh and Chace looked confused, Justin snuggling more into Chace.
"We have an hour or so. I'm going to take a short nap." Justin said, his eyes closing, a soft smile crossing his face, that smile showing so much love.
Chace's blue eyes met Josh's, the two leaning forward and kissing each other, then smiled down at Justin, his breathing now relaxed, the man having fallen instantly asleep.
"He's so filled with love, Chace. I sense Jolan's here, too." Josh said, Chace smiling at him, his blue eyes sparkling with love.
"He's here, Josh. I sense him, too." Chace said, kissing Josh's soft lips again.
"Close your eyes, my love. I'll watch over all four of you." Chace said, Josh closing his eyes, Chace's eyes going to the two sleeping boys.
Chace smiled, moving, Justin snuggling into Josh, the man pulling him against him.
Chace moved out of the bed, picking up the two boys, gently setting them down on top of their fathers, the two men wrapping their arms around the boys in their sleep, Chace sitting back on the mattress' edge, staring at all four.
"Sleep for a bit, my angels. His love comes. We all need it so much." Chace said, another voice in the room turning his head.
"As he needs yours."
Chace smiled, going to his feet, staring into two blue eyes.
Arms enveloped him, Chace lost in the returning love.
At ten minutes to nine a group of individuals had gathered on the terrace's square, assembled before the pillars.
The door remained closed behind the pillars, the group awaiting Jennie and Justin's return.
All eyes had gone out onto the plains, the area now darkened by the early night's darkness.
A blazing star stood upon the center of the plains, the glowing embers of the sun still ignited.
That in itself was sensed as divine magic, the glow of God's love still burning.
The reporters had walked among the people, hearing from them the stories of the day's reality, the reporters having seen all of it as well, their cameras and video recorders having captured it all.
The awaiting world will soon see the truth of the day's truth.
Already satellite phones had relayed the first signs of that truth, the outside world awakening to God's day of truth.
Calen, Arias and Reinhardt had relayed to their clans the need for the palace's secrets to be revealed.
The three clans would not enter the palace until after their leaders were finished with the upcoming truth.
The family and friends of Jolan Dragos would seek out that truth shortly.
They remained alone in the palace's square, awaiting Jennie's forthcoming truths.
Calen stood with his brothers, their soulmates at their sides.
Lydia had awoken, feeling refreshed, joining Calen, her mother and her son, the three having a moment of joining love.
Krayos was introduced to Lydia, she seeing the deep love on Elijah's face for the beautiful Dragosan.
"The Dragosan beauty draws into our hearts, Elijah." she'd said, her eyes meeting Calen's, Vera smiling at both.
She saw easily their lost love again ignited, she feeling deep love in her own heart for both of them.
Dominoso Sumsare had walked up to all of them, Vera smiling at him, her hand going into his.
Everyone on the terrace and square had looked at the two, Dominoso leaning forward and kissing her lips.
"May I be welcomed into this circle of love?" he said, Vera smiling at him.
Calen smiled at the older man, then laughed.
"About time you revealed what we've all seen. Who
says love is for only the young?"
Domo laughed, Vera smiling.
Daphne and Rachel walked up to them, Daphne's arms going around her grandfather.
"She's a loving soul, Grandfather. I welcome her as
my new grandmother."
Vera had teared up, Rachel and Daphne both kissing both of them.
At that moment Justin, Josh and Chace had walked out onto the square, smiling at the group standing together.
Hayden and Logan were in Justin's and Josh's arms, the two boys smiling
"I see our Jolan's love has made you reveal yours." Justin said, Domo smiling at him and his great-grandson in Justin's arms.
"My grandson's love drew us together. I know somehow
he destined that for us."
"I'm sure of that too, Grandfather." Justin said, kissing both of the newly revealed couple's cheeks, Hayden kissing both as well.
"I. . .I will have him at my side when I marry her, Justin." Domo said, his eyes turning back to Vera, her eyes widened with surprise.
"We have our families back with us, Vera. Jolan's returning love will make us all complete. And then I shall marry you right here, Vera. Will you marry me?" Domo said, going to one knee, all those surrounding them smiling with happiness.
Everyone in the last few days had clued in to their revealing love.
"Oh, Domo! Yes, yes I shall marry you!" Vera cried, Domo rising, sweeping her into his arms, the two kissing deeply, those surrounding them smiling and tearfully watching.
Lydia smiled at her mother, Calen's arm tightening around her, their eyes meeting.
Everyone surrounding them saw another revealing love showing.
"A double wedding would be most beautiful." Calen said, her eyes widening in dawning truth.
"I never stopped loving you, Lydia. From the moment
you walked into my life after Lenora's death I saw a greater love showing before
me. I fell in love with you, not as a mirroring love of my lost Lenora, but as a
different love of giving beauty. You didn't have to walk away from me. I would
have loved you and our son, as I love you this day."
Elijah was in tears, Krayos' arms around him.
"Calen. . .I. . .you were the only one I ever loved. I. . .I am sorry I left. . .that I let that man capture me. . .and that he. . .he. . ."
Calen pulled her against her, his lips meeting hers, his love silencing her blossoming emotions of doubt.
They broke their kiss, everyone staring at their uniting love.
"The past is the past, Lydia. A past of pain and hurt. Today begins our future of love." Calen said, going to one knee, Lydia tearfully staring at him.
"I love you, Lydia. I love the Badenwolf soul of
your giving love. Will you marry me? Will you accept my love, your son's and
Lenora's sons' joining love? We are--and were always--destined to be one family of
Lydia cried, nodding her head.
"I love you, Calen. Yes, I'll marry you. And yes
I'll give my love to my four new sons."
The three Archanian youths and Elijah smiled, looking at each other.
"Brothers forever." Athos said, the four joining with their crying parents, everyone staring at their joining love with happiness.
Chris smiled, shaking his head.
"He's not even here but I feel his ever-giving love. It's joined a family of love before us. Jolan, you are a remarkable man." he said, another voice breaking the moment of love.
"My brother was--and is always--love."
Everyone's eyes turned, Jennie standing on the terrace alone, Jonathan looking at her from his parents' arms.
Justin smiled at her, the young woman's eyes going out into the darkness, staring towards the glowing sun etched into the darkened plains, seeing forms walking and kneeling around it.
"The one clan warms itself before the glowing sun of love. It is time we warmed ourselves with truth." she said, her blue eyes going back to those before her in the square.
She walked forward, joining all those assembled by the pillars, her blue eyes taking in the joined visions of new love showing.
"Jolan's love worked in the background of all your joining hearts. His love was joining love, his love guiding all of you--including myself-- to our hearts' needs. How can we ever thank him for that? For the love we now have. I sensed the answer within my heart. We can't thank him. For he gave that love freely. It wasn't for thanks, for recognition or for greater happiness. It was for all of us. He wanted all of us to be loved. And now we all truly are. I see so many joined souls of happiness and love. Jolan's love exists in all of us. I think it's time we drew him back into this real world. I think it's time Jolan Dragos became the man he's truly earned a right to be."
Everyone quietly stared at Jennie, the young woman showing a dawning light of maturity and truth.
Her eyes met Justin's, the man smiling at her.
"He's close, Justin. The true Jolan's close. I think he'll surprise all of us. It's time I gave my sacrifice. For his love, I'd give all."
"Sacrifice? What. . .what do you mean? I won't let you be hurt!" Melina said, her arm going around her daughter, Jennie smiling at her.
"I won't be hurt, Mom. Jolan's love would never hurt me, or any of us. This sacrifice comes from within my own heart." she said, the young woman looking down upon her breast, her hand going to the yellow sunray brooch upon it.
"He gave me the conduit of magic, the conduit of love that opens this door. That silences the magic of Queen Alveena's love."
She took the brooch off her chest, staring at it in her hand.
"This brooch was given to Queen Alveena by her son, Dragos Sumsare, the lost king of madness and evil. A gift of love showing a son's love for his mother. She wore it with pride, even after he became lost to the world in his stoned tomb of death. Somehow it filtered down through the generations until it fell into Jolan's guiding hands. Here now it unlocks the protective barrier Queen Alveena created to protect her son's shrine of egotism. That shrine, I believe, holds a greater truth. And one man can show that truth."
Tolmar's eyes stared at the brooch, remembering the pride Queen Alveena showed every time she wore it, and the love Dragos showed every time he saw her wearing it.
"It was a gift of love." he softly said, Jennie smiling at him.
"As was his love for her, Tolmar." Jennie said, the young woman walking forward, Jonathan's hand going in hers, Jennie stopping.
"I'll walk with you, Jennie." he said, showing his love for her.
She leaned forward, kissing his lips.
"Your love is in my heart, Jon. It will remain, but another goes."
The young woman nodded, Melina's arm going around her daughter again.
"What. . .what do you mean, Jennica?" she said, Jennie's blue eyes of mature intellect staring at her.
"I mean Jolan's protective love, that love I've held
within my heart since the day he gave it to me in the back of the truck heading
for that cottage of horror that night long ago. That night he drew me into his
love, so that I'd never experience the pain of my tortured existence after that
night. He gave me back myself that day in the back of that van at the
hospital when he saved me from that horrible existence. Jolan was a part of me
then and always. That part of him I shall have to sacrifice to open this door.
Jolan, as always sacrifices his love, for all of us. For truth and for the greater
Justin walked up to the young woman, Hayden smiling at her.
"Not hurts, Aunt Jennie. Dada's love needs to go back."
Jennie smiled, leaning forward and kissing the child's cheek.
"Yes, Hay. Dada's love comes back." she said, her eyes meeting Justin's.
"You won't be hurt?"
She shook her head no, her eyes meeting Jonathan's and her mother's.
The two released their holds on Jennie, the young woman walking between the pillars, the brooch held in her hand ahead of her.
The instant she walked between the pillars a bright light erupted between them, Jennie consumed by it for a moment, then the light blinked out, Jennie going to her knees, Jonathan rushing forward, regardless of any danger ahead.
He went to his knees, pulling her into his arms, Jennie's blue eyes opening.
They glowed soft grey for a moment, then returned to their usual blue.
"He. . .he's gone. I feel him not within my soul. The. . .the final piece of his soul roams free." she softly said, Jonathan helping her to her feet, others now surrounding them, Melina's arm around her daughter again.
Jennie looked forward, the large wooden door slowly moving outward, everyone stepping back as the door opened.
Everyone's eyes widened, staring at a revealed image before them.
A loud bark brought them back to reality.
"Sparty? What's you doing here?" Hayden said, smiling at his dog.
The dog barked again, moving backwards, rushing off into the darkness of the room's entrance.
"We follows Sparty, Poppa! We finds Dada!"
Justin nodded, he and his son moving forward, the others slowly following, Jennie and Jonathan at Justin's side.
The group as one walked towards the final truth.
End of Chapter 165
What a place to stop!
What lays behind that door in regards to the final truth?
Seems our Jennie--and Justin--know what's going on.
As does the author, lol.
I'll guide you forward.
Not much time left on the path.
It's been quite the trip.
Onwards to its finish, and the continuation of love.
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