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Shifts of Power

Will Battles: Epilogue

By Kristen LeavittPublished about a year ago 13 min read
Returning to Ranteel (photo from Fox News)

Aniah sat beside her mother, watching her chest rise and fall so, so slowly. The bottom half of her body was wrapped in white bandages, hiding the hideous burns. The medics were considering amputating the left leg, unsure if it was salvageable.

Aniah wiped away a traitorous tear as it slipped down her cheek. She had never seen her mother look so frail. No one was even sure if she would ever wake up.

Someone placed a hand on her shoulder. She didn’t look, afraid they would see her red, watery eyes.

“I’m so sorry, An.” It was Joree, as she had expected. She wanted to snap at him to leave, to tell him that this was all his fault and he was the last person she wanted to see. But that would be a lie. She’d made her choice, and she would make it again. And truthfully, she didn’t want to be alone with the haunting figure of her pale, sickly mother.

A small hand wrapped over hers. She turned her head slightly to see Eshi looking at her with wide, innocent eyes.

“I-” the little girl took a deep breath. “I think I can help her.”

Aniah shook her head. “There’s nothing anyone can do. We just have to hope-” Her voice cracked and she couldn’t continue.

“No, really.” That was Horick’s voice. Flames, had they brought a full entourage to witness her grief? “Her gift allows her some limited healing.”

“But she doesn’t have her ‘gift’ anymore,” Aniah said flatly. “You were very clear about that.”

“True, but Joree’s going to fix that.” Eshi sounded so confident, so certain. Aniah felt Joree’s hand grow tense on her shoulder. He was obviously less certain.

“But didn’t you say that her power is Pulse?” Aniah asked. “From what I’ve seen, that doesn’t heal.”

“You people just use it wrong,” Eshi said, looking almost petulant as she pushed out her bottom lip to make a pouty face.

“The Delani use it, not us,” Aniah muttered.

“The Delani are people,” Joree said softly. “They’ve just been…changed.”

Aniah grunted, not wanting to acknowledge or consider that for now. It all sounded ridiculous to her, the nonsense about different realms and gods being stripped of power.

“Well, no time like the present. You ready, Joree?”

Aniah snapped her head around to see Jistan was present as well. Karrin and Narissa stood behind him. Well, why not just invite the whole city? There weren’t that many people around anyway.

“No,” Joree said.

“Too bad,” Horick almost growled. “There’s no way for you to practice, and I’m not in the mood for waiting. Besides,” he paused meaningfully, “I doubt the Highness has much time left.”

Aniah felt her muscles tense, but she didn’t protest. If she was being honest, she thought he was right.

“Fine,” Joree muttered. “But if I blow your niece into the next town, I want full amnesty.”


Joree was sweating. Jistan stood beside him, sending him a gentle but constant stream of Will power. Eshi and Horick stood in front of him, holding hands.

He was going to feel very stupid if he sent Eshi hurtling into the wall. Or if he didn’t, and it turned out Horick was just a madman ranting about some imaginary world that he’d fabricated in his own mind.

He tried to clear his mind, absorbing just a tiny trickle of Will, and sending it towards Eshi. She stumbled back as if pushed by a light force. Joree cursed. He was definitely not doing this right. He closed his eyes, taking deep breaths.

It wasn’t the amount of power that mattered; it was how he used it. Like the difference between carefully inserting a needle into a vein and jabbing a tranquilizer dart into someone’s neck. He needed the needle right now, not the dart.

With that visualization in mind, he took a thread of Will and pushed it forward. This time, he didn’t release it, he guided it, keeping a firm hold. Once it reached Eshi, he every so carefully pushed it into her, careful not to simply push it at her. It seeped into her body, almost greedily, as if it knew it belonged there. Joree intensified the flow of Pulse, guiding it into her. He finally dared open his eyes.

Eshi stood before him, eyes shining and hair resplendent in the sunlight. She looked so alive, her face more clear than he had ever seen. She let out a clear, joyful laugh.

Without hesitation, she rushed over to Arellia and placed a palm on the woman’s chest. Slowly, a tiny bit of color returned to the Highness’s cheeks and her breathing grew more normal. Aniah watched with wide, hopeful eyes.

Eshi pulled her hand away, and Joree noticed a bead of sweat trickling down her forehead. “That’s the best I can do right now,” she said, breathing as if she’d been sprinting.

“Thank you,” Aniah whispered. Joree thought he might faint from shock.

Horick’s smile was one of pure joy. “Time to go home,” he announced, taking Eshi’s hand. He looked at the rest of them. “But first, there are some things I should probably explain. First of all, when we leave, the power in this world will shift. Eshi’s power, which is now reattached to her, will be pulled back through. No one will be able to use Pulse anymore.

“It will also cause a redistribution of excess Will. Anyone who carries any beyond their capacity will go to the vessels the Pulse has vacated.”

Jistan frowned. “So…anyone who is extra powerful will be average?”

Horick shook his head. “No, not exactly. The power fills a vessel to capacity before moving to the next. Some vessels can hold much more than others. In some special cases, the power was forced to cram into the vessel, which caused mental and physical damage.” He smiled slightly at Jistan. “Since you seem to be in perfect control of your faculties, I would assume you’ll maintain your current level of Will.”

“What about me?” Joree asked softly.

Horick studied him. “I have no clue what you even are. Some sort of mutant hybrid, I would guess.” He cast Narissa a sideways glance, clearing his throat uncomfortably. “I have no idea what effect this will have on you. Maybe none. Maybe you’ll only be able to block Will, instead of convert it. I guess you’ll just have to find out.” He shrugged.

“Can we go home now?” Eshi asked, her eyes shining with sudden eagerness. “I want-I want to see Mom.”

“Yes please,” Horick replied, pulling her to him. He paused, giving the rest of them a wry smile. “I’ll try to make sure no more exiled criminals get sent to terrorize you. Oh, and feel free to throw my brother in prison for life.” A flash of light engulfed them, and they vanished from sight.

Silence fell across the group.

Jistan let out a sigh, walked over to his sister, and slapped a handful of coins into her hand.

“Fine,” he growled. “You win.”

She grinned, counting out the coins. “Never bet against the word of a dimension jumping god,” she said. “It’s a universal rule.”


Across the land, the Delani began to change. Anyone watching looked on with horror, thinking this was some sort of demonic transformation. It was, in fact, the opposite.

Stripped of Pulse, their minds returned to them. Their bodies shifted, ever so slightly, to a more normalized state. They remained abnormally tall and thin, but their skin and hair lost its metallic sheen and the females’ willowy frames gained a bit of curve.

Vris woke up and starting screaming in a language no one could understand. He was sedated and put in an isolated cell until a formal trial could be held.


Jistan was certain Lanae was having a seizure. After a good long while of panicking and medics saying there was nothing they could do, she subsided into a fitful sleep.

She didn’t wake for six days.


Aniah gasped as Arellia’s eyelids fluttered open, shut again, and then opened and stayed open.

“Mother?” she whispered, leaning closer. It took a moment for Arellia’s eyes to focus on her daughter.

“Areniah?” she murmured.

“Yes, yes it’s me. I’m here, Mother.”

Arellia drew in a long, shuddering breath. Aniah waited for a stream of questions or demands, about the people, the state of the city and the Mind Scythe, why Aniah wasn’t out helping with repairs.

“I let them all die.”

Aniah felt a chill race up her spine at the unexpected words. “Mother?” she asked hesitantly.

“The Mind Scythe. The palace servants. The children. I let them die.” Her eyes were not hard and cold, as Aniah was so accustomed to. They were full of pain and sorrow. “There was no reason to. I could have just told him where the girl was. But I was convinced that I needed her as a powerful bargaining chip. She seemed so essential to our survival. I couldn’t bring myself to let her go. Not even for-”

Her voice broke off. To her utter shock, Aniah released she was crying. And then Aniah was crying too, because she knew what was coming next.

“Oh, Mother,” she whispered.

“He was your father, you know,” Arellia said softly.

Aniah knew who she meant. She’d never been told, but she’d guessed. The only Fiedon who ever seemed to care about her. Furl.

“They killed him. He never made a sound. Never even grimaced. Just closed his eyes and stood there. I think he was trying to make it easier for me. He didn’t understand,” she let out a half-sob. “It was easy. I never even considered saving him.”

Aniah felt nauseous. She couldn’t meet Arellia’s eyes.

“I feel like…like I’ve been dreaming…” Arellia muttered. When Aniah looked at her again, she had slipped back into unconsciousness.


Joree sat beside Aniah, trying to force down the stale bread from Narissa’s storeroom. Aniah just stared at hers like she blamed it for all her problems.

Lanae, for all her changes, had not lost her appetite. She ate the bread like it was a feast. Jistan watched her, feeling something akin to admiration.

Lanae was not the same person anymore. She had given up her vow of silence and no longer stuck to her single facial expression of bland indifference. The changes were not exclusive to her. Many of the Delani were showing similar transformations, some more extreme than others. In Lanae’s words, “It’s like I’ve woken up from a terrible dream where my body was acting on instinct and my mind couldn’t get control. I was driven solely by what would help me to survive. Things like love or loyalty were only passing thoughts.”

“Are you going to eat that?” Lanae asked, nodding to Aniah’s plate.

“Yes,” Aniah snapped, picking it up and deliberately ripping a piece free with her teeth. Lanae looked disappointed.

“You can have the rest of mine,” Joree said, tossing it to her. She snatched it out of the air and shoved the entire thing into her mouth at once.

“You, my good sir, are wonderful,” she said, mouth still full. Jistan scowled at little at that, wishing he had some bread left to give her. It was a stupid impulse, and he knew it.

“I should be going,” he said, standing. “I need to check on my father.” Sackrin had been found, along with several other Mind Scythe and servants, locked in the tunnels beneath the palace. They were all crammed into the same tiny, filthy room. Not everyone in the room was still alive. Sackrin was very ill and nearly starved, and he had fared better than most.

He strode out the door. Footsteps behind him announced someone else.

“Mind if I come along?” Lanae asked.

He shrugged, feigning nonchalance. “Sure. If you want to.”

They walked in silence until they reached the hospital. At the door, they both paused awkwardly.

Then, in one swift movement, Lanae stood up on tiptoe and kissed Jistan on the cheek. He blinked, shocked, feeling his face turn crimson.

“I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time,” she said, grinning.

“You…have?” he said stupidly.

She shrugged. “Well, no. But I would have, if I’d been in my right mind.”

He blinked several more times before grinning. “Well,” he said. “Um, want to go meet my father?”


Aniah’s entire body was trembling as she walked into Arellia’s rooms in the palace. Joree, sensing her distress, had offered to accompany her. Now, he gave her shaking hand a comforting squeeze.

The Highness was still very ill and weak. Neither her physical strength nor her Will power had ever really recovered, and despite Eshi’s healing, her left leg had been amputated at the knee. And she’d never lost her haunted expression.

Joree postulated that Arellia was one of those people that had been, as he put it, ‘overstuffed with Will to the point of insanity’. Aniah supposed he was probably right. Arellia had been different since Eshi and Horick left. She was no longer the hard, impenetrable fortress Aniah had grown up knowing, and her Will power was barely average. Now, she was merely a husk, broken and wrung out by torture and haunted by her past.

Even with all of this, Aniah didn’t want to admit the truth. She didn’t want to stand in this chamber with her mother, surrounded by the few remaining Fiedons, and face the facts.

Her mother was no longer fit to rule.

But her mother was already saying the words, and Aniah couldn’t stop it. Arellia sounded almost…relieved.

“Heiress Areniah, by the authority granted to me by Highness’s long past, I now pass the mantle of this country to you…”


Narissa watched her son, feeling a great swelling of pride as he tested his new-found uses for his powers. He could help to grow crops and perform minor healings, both of which were in high demand after Kritose’s second invasion. People had trickled back to Ranteel, first as a trickle, then as a flood. Now, everyone was involved in putting it back together.

He’d finally confronted her again about his origins. And she’d explained. His father had been a Delani, not particularly powerful, but still intoxicatingly intriguing to the young Narissa. They’d secretly gotten married and Narissa had become pregnant. It was at that point that Aegon had become obsessed with travel. Narissa had been willing to follow him wherever he went. It took her far too long to realize that he wasn’t just running to the next adventure, he was running away from danger. When Vris finally caught up with them, Joree was a few weeks old. Forced to explain, Aegon had told her of his twin brother’s mad obsession with power and his dangerous research. Vris would stop at nothing to get his hands on Joree, to see what a hybrid of Pulse and Will created. Any attempts at breeding had failed in the past, for many reasons. One day, Vris had come to their house. Aegon had hidden her and Joree in a secret wall space he’d designed ‘just in case’. So she’d gotten to watch her husband die by Vris’s hand.

Joree had taken it all quite well, all things considered. But she knew he was still angry with her for hiding the truth for so long. It would be a while before he could trust her completely again. That broke her heart, but she couldn’t help feeling hopeful. For the first time in what felt like an eternity, Joree was safe. And they had time to rebuild their broken relationship. For now, that was good enough.


About the Creator

Kristen Leavitt

Hey all! I am a recent graduate from BYU in Provo with a masters in PE. I have a passion for the outdoors, physical activity, sports, and health, but I also love writing! I love my husband, parents, and all eleven of my siblings!

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