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                             By: Alexander Duncan and

                                  Danae Conrad

Blue fought his way through the choking mist to no avail. His thoughts were disordered and out of sequence. He couldn't remember!

Visions of Randolf snatching Taft's tiara floated through his mind. Randolf was laughing and the Belt around his waist glistened in the light. The Belt! that was Adena's! Suddenly, events ordered themselves and Blue screamed as the horror came again.

Taft walked into the courtroom and laughed in his face. The judge and jury seemed oddly familiar in their cruelty. Adena rested her damp hand in his. She looked peaked and exhausted from her days in jail. Taft began an illogical prosecution but the judge accepted it, refused Blue's defense and prepared to sentence Adena. Both were crying and Adena apparently was at the edge of her nerves.

Blue had sought out Taft trying to get him to change his mind but it had been in vain. However, the worst had still been to come. When they reentered the court, the judge was ready to throw the book at his wife, but another witness had been called.

What was she saying? Blue was shocked. It was a lie! a sham! all of it! All of the trial and Taft's vicious laughter had been nothing compared to the pain Blue had felt when Adena drew away from him. Her shock and rage was written on her face as in a page of a book. He had tried to reason with her.

"Adena, you know that. I'm not capable of that! I love you as I will always! You know I couldn't - wouldn't - have done this!" Her eyes showed nothing but contempt and distaste.

Still, the other woman went on spinning her lie and pulling Blue farther from Adena.

"Adena, I have never seen this woman in my life! Adena, please," his voice dropped to an imploring, urgent whisper.

"You! expect me to believe you!" was her response, as cold and harsh as the ice dagger that had started this whole trial.

The judge had commanded him to be silenced and had freed Adena. With the dignity of wounded pride, Adena had stood to collect her possessions. Blue had reached out to her and she walked on as if he was invisible. A final biting comment to the other, "He isn't as he appears," and she walked out of the courtroom and his life.

"Adena, I didn't do it, Adena!!" He screamed as her fading figure didn't even favor him with a second glance. "No, No,..." his voice faded into hysterical sobs and the images of the trial returned to the miasma of confusion running through him.

Trying to catch her breath, Adena let her head hang downward momentarily. He was fighting even harder now, perhaps that was a good sign. She turned to the man at her side, "He seems to be fighting more, that's a positive omen, isn't it?" she asked hopefully.

"It could be," he responded. "It could also be worsening." Adena dropped her head as tears began to form once again. "M'lady," he continued, "I must speak. You have done all you can as have I. Time will be the best physician now. You must get some rest."

Adena wearily looked up, "Perhaps."

"M'lady, his immunity system was at a low ebb from his extended period in suspended animation. He caught a virus and the fever is combatting it. However, the fever brings on these delusions."

"I don't know what he could be dreaming that is so horrid. Or is it pain?"

"Probably some of both, m'lady." He looked at his patient - no change. "Now will you please take my advice and get some rest?"

She kept her eyes on the recumbent figure, but addressed the doctor, "Please. Just a little longer. I want to be here when ..." her words were ended with a choked sob.

The doctor put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "A little longer then. Have faith, m'lady, good will come of this." He went to the door to leave. Turning, he looked at the couple and felt tears welling in his eyes. Sentimental fool, he admonished himself, but the tears were there and they were real.

Adena stood up and walked around the room to stretch her cramped muscles. This room had been her constant home since her marriage. He had taken sick so quickly and now - she glanced back at the bed - he had been reduced to this. She was exhausted because she had not slept at all these past days and her meals had been eaten irregularly.

Gingerly, she eased herself back onto the bed at his side. His hair was darker than usual with the sweat that beaded his brow, and she brushed it out of his eyes. Then he cried out again as he had so many times.

"Adena! I didn't do it! It's a plot! Please!"

This proved too much for her. She grabbed his hand and held it until his voice had died off into a coarse whisper. She felt the exhaustion creeping upon her and she couldn't shake it. She tried to get to her feet but collapsed with her head landing near Blue's arm and she fell to sleep.

Morning came but its shining glory did nothing to lift the pervasive doom that hovered over the royal house of Phire. The morning zephyrs wafted through the open window to the bedchamber. Adena's tousled hair stirred with the gentle gusts and Blue's face dried as the air circulated throughout the room.

His voice suddenly became lucid and strong, "I lost the ... case and my wife." He clenched his fist in anger which suddenly turned to hope as he felt something soft. He painfully turned his head and relief filled him when he saw Adena. He opened his fist over her hair that was spilling over the covers, "You're safe," he whispered to the resting figure, I must be crazy!" He kept his hand in her hair and rested back on his pillow.

The sun's rays struck Adena in the face. "I can't face this again," she moaned quietly to herself.

"Face what?" He regretted startling her so bad for her shriek of mingled suprise and relief was sure to have woken the entire household.

"Archimedes?" she asked as if to confirm what her senses were telling her. "You're alive!" She threw herself into his open arms and he hugged her as her tears started.

"I should be saying the same," he started.

She pulled back slightly, "You've been hallucinating. Everything has just been a bad dream and it's alright now."

"You're real, right?'" he asked, "Of course, there's only one way to find out..." With that, he drew her to him.

The doctor threw open the door expecting to find the worst from the sound of the scream. Instead, he found Adena and Blue locked in a kiss of love and relief. He cleared his throat quietly. Gently, Blue drew Adena away and grinned at the physician, "Morning. You best screen your nurses better; this one's too involved with her patients."

The doctor shooed Adena out of the way as he checked Blue. Then he was able to proclaim happily, "The worst is over. However, to prevent this from recurring I am going to give you an immunity shot."

Blue grimaced, "Terrific, I wake up and first thing he sticks me with a needle." The doctor slipped the hypodermic into his arm muscle and Blue winced.

The doctor winked at Adena, "Another one will put him out, if he becomes any trouble."

"I think I can handle him just fine," Adena smiled her thanks. The doctor excused himself and Adena went back to her husband. "Hi."

"Hi." He smiled at her lovingly. "Love, I've realized that though our marriage is our strength, it's also our weakness. We must protect ourselves, our unity and...make sure we've not offended anyone."

"I agree." She nodded as she spoke, then teasingly, "But you sure know how to spoil a romantic mood fast."

"You want romance?" he questioned with a glint in his eye.

Adena recognized his game, "Let's take care of this first."

The first order of business was composing a note to a dear friend:

Dearest Iffley,

Don't think us brash for writing this. We are aware that our decision seemed quite abrupt and we pray that you forgive us any offense that we caused you. You are a dear friend to us as well as to your friends of Alarius.

We, and they, trust your guidance and advice. Please do not condemn us or our actions. Know that you and yours are welcome always in the Kingdom of Phire and that of Furanose.

Your friends,

Archimedes and Adena

Secondly, they decided to elaborate on Blue's suggestion of protection. Pledging once again to always love one another, they harmonized the power of their three keys. The power began to hum, inaudibly at first, but soon it rose in a crescendo to the song of true and undeniable love. As the powers played, Archimedes and Adena stood hand-in-hand, fascinated. The power wove a protection, a shield, for their love -as Wisdym and Ozino had long ago and theirs had lasted through all.

The keys suddenly fell to a whispered hush, then they silenced. Blue put an arm around Adena who looked at him with smiling eyes. "Now," he said, "the business is over. Race you to the beach!"

"Archimedes!" Adena called to the empty air. She quickly activated the amulet and passed through time to arrive at the beach where he was waiting for her.

"Now, about that romance," he said as he closed her in his arms and she lifted her face to his.

 © 1984, 

L. Charles, D. Conrad, A. Duncan, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft

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