Please note that this story is adult in nature.
© Copyright Mari Byrne, 2002.
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave, Inc.
Aranak, June 2001
The identical twin brothers strode into the room with a purpose.
Identical in looks, except for the color of their eyes; one
brother had green, the other brown. In almost everything else
they were the opposite of each other.
They were also next in line for the throne.
Or rather their bride would be. And their bride was the reason
they were now attending a private audience before the Queen,
who also happened to be their mother.
Without preliminaries, the brothers started a discussion, which
covered an on-going disagreement they had with their mother
over where to find a bride. The brothers started out with what
they thought were valid reasons to look beyond Aranak. However,
their mother didn’t feel the same and the discussion rapidly
turned into the same arguments that had been bandied about many
Even while they listened to the Queen’s side of the argument,
they were already agreeing to leave Aranak. They agreed to listen
to her points of view, and waited for her to finish her reasoning.
“You shame our people by suggesting there is not one
single woman good enough to be your bride in our entire world.”
The Queen made the statement with an abrupt movement that sent
her flowing gown twirling as she turned sharply in her angered
“Why must you go to the mortal world? There are plenty
here in Aranak who would give their daughters to the both of
Mitch looked toward their mother and listened as he leaned
against a pillar with his arms casually crossed over his chest.
His brother Kristain stood in front of their pacing mother
and tried to reason with her about their decision to find a
bride elsewhere, but wasn’t having any success.
“Mother. We’ve had this conversation before,”
Kristain started out calmly. “This family, this Monarchy,
needs new blood.” He paused in his defenses and gave her
a disgusted look. “Hell, for that matter, this World
needs new blood and well you know it. We will lose what little
ground Father had gained before his death. You must see this
is the only way.”
Kristain turned to Mitch and asked him to stand beside him.
Mitch lazily straightened from his lounging position and strolled
leisurely over to stand at his brother’s side. I don’t
care if she can hear us or not. We’re going, and in this,
she has no say.
As carefully as he could, Kristain used the telepathic link
every twin on Aranak is born with.
For reasons beyond Kristain’s understanding, their mother
couldn’t always read her own children. This was something
she should have been able to do, if not because she was their
mother, then certainly because she was the Queen. The reading
of all her people’s mind should have come with her acceptance
of the crown.
Kristain had thought on more than one occasion about her only
occasionally being able to read them, but now was not the time
to ponder it. He pushed the thought aside for later.
Right now, he was trying to communicate the passion he felt
over the decision Mitch and he had finally come to. Their world
would wither and die if they soon weren’t able to bring
new blood into the family.
One corner of Mitch’s upper lip twitched as he fought
not to show his smile.
Brother mine, Mitch answered back sarcastically, you
preach to the converted. You need to tell your Queen, not I.
Mitch continued to look forward and watched as his mother came
to an abrupt stop. She turned around and looked from one to
the other giving them a look of quiet menace. When she finally
spoke, words shot from her lips as if they were shards of chipped
“You have already made your choice and nothing I say
will change your mind.” She waited impatiently for some
kind of response, and when none was forthcoming, she continued
“So be it. The consequences are yours to bear.”
With those last words she went to the door, which stood mostly
hidden behind her throne and stormed through it, slamming it
Kristain stared after their retreating mother for a moment,
then turned to Mitch.
“Well that went well. Shall we go then?”
Mitch patted his brother on the back consolingly and turned
him toward the door. “And here I thought you were going
to be the one to convince her.” He chuckled softly and
grew serious. “But now I see the only way we will ever
convince Queen Sara is when we bring our bride to her.”
Kristain sighed heavily, “I thought perhaps she would
be more amenable to the idea if we gave her time.” He
started walking toward the door. “Now I see it is the
only way.” He paused to look into his brother’s
eyes, “And we will find our bride there.”
Mitch nodded his head in agreement. “So it is written,
so it will be done.”
With that mantra running through their heads in an echo, the
brothers went to prepare for their journey.
Mitch stood with Kristain, their backs to the portal that would
soon take them to the world where their bride lived. He slowly
turned his head from the left to the right taking in the view
Aranak before him.
“I will miss it.” Kristain said from beside him.
Mitch continued to survey the scene before him and drew in
a breath of the sweet air before he answered.
“I suppose I will.” He said as he turned to face
his brother. “But for now, I am looking forward to the
journey before us. There should be one or two delights in this
other world we wouldn’t be able to find here.”
Turning Mitch gave his brother an easy shove and sent them
both through the misty portal.
So, this is Earth? Mitch looked around him as he and
Kristain made their way toward the building structures they
could see ahead of them in the distance.
Not so different as Aranak. Kristain turned as he
let his thoughts flow to his brother. In fact, I think there
might be even less difference than we previously thought. I
don’t think it will take very long for us to find our
bride and return home.
Mitch turned his gaze away from an intriguing woman who had
caught his eye and eyed his brother skeptically. Let us hope
so. I don’t want to spend more time away than I have to
from home. The laws Mother could implement while we’re
gone stagger my imagination.
Kristain nodded his agreement and seemed to square his shoulders,
readying himself for the search to come. He agreed with his
brother. Queen Sara could indeed make trouble for their future
bride and Queen with very little thought. They would look night
and day for the woman who would be their bride and finally set
the Queendom of Aranak to rights.
“Defy me, will they! They think I’m so out of
touch with my people I don’t know what is said? Damn ungrateful
frechie twins! Those two have absolutely no respect
for their mother!” The Queen strode in half circles around
the luxuriously appointed suite of rooms, taking things at will
and dashing them against the farthest wall she could reach.
“My own flesh and blood defies me at every turn!”
Sara shrieked. “Their father Dain was the same. I don’t
care how the people suffer! They were put here for ME! They
serve at MY pleasure!” Picking up a priceless ornamental
treasure belonging to the ruling Queen for as long as there
had been one, Sara cocked her arm back and threw it as hard
as she could. The object shattered against the door mere seconds
before it opened.
Huffing in fury, Sara let out an ear-splitting screech the
new arrival ignored.
“Temper, temper, QUEEN Sara.” The thin voice chided.
“Where is the stunning beauty with grace, poise, and infinite
patience I crowned so long ago?” The new arrival shuffled
her way toward Queen Sara as once again she reached out for
the nearest object around her. Her choice was indeed poor, for
she picked up a thin glass bell, which should surely shatter
at her slightest touch.
“Don’t even think it.” Sara froze in her
tracks as the voice laced with fury and warning bellowed…