Chapter 1: Drawn

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Erotica  |  House: Booksiesilk Classic Group

Reads: 117

Semper Invictus


Chapter 01: Drawn


by Saddletramp1956

Copyright© 2023 by Saddletramp1956, All rights reserved



After more than 2,100 years, you'd think I'd have a clue when it comes to women. But I guess you'd be wrong. The woman sitting across from me said she wanted to hear my story and know all about me. After what she had just witnessed, I thought she'd be open to what I had to tell her. But now, I'm not so sure.


I just met this woman yesterday – last night, as a matter of fact. I was nursing a drink at a club when she came up to me. I almost did a double-take, as she reminded me very much of someone very dear to me.


“I know we've never met, but I somehow feel drawn to you,” she said. “Almost as if we've known each other all our lives. I'm Noemi Schlager,” she added, holding out her hand.


“Steve Iverson,” I said. “It's a pleasure meeting you, Ms. Schlager,” I told her, seeing no indication of a ring on her finger.


“Please call me Noemi,” she said with a smile. “Listen, I have to run to the ladies' room, but would you mind ordering me a drink when I get back? I'd like to get to know you a bit.”


“Of course,” I said. When she got back, I immediately saw it – there was a subtle change in her eyes and in her mannerisms. I knew right away that she had been occupied by the creature I had been tracking for the last two months.


I knew the thing had come to this club, which is why I was there, but I kept calm and ordered her drink. We talked and danced for a bit before inviting me back to her place. I watched the creature for any indication it would attack the whole time.


I accepted her invitation and went to her condo. She immediately turned and attacked me when we got inside, howling like a banshee. I knew it was the creature that had occupied her body, so I whipped out my sword and made short work of the thing, hoping I didn't inflict any damage on Noemi.


I put her on the couch and considered her carefully. Something about this woman intrigued me, so I pulled a cotton swab from one of my coat pockets and took a sample from inside her cheek while she was still unconscious. Shortly afterward, she came to. She watched, shocked, as I crushed the last vestige of the beast lying on the floor.


“What was that thing?” she asked.


“It occupied your body, Noemi. It attacked me when we got here. Don't worry, it's gone now. It won't bother you again,” I said.


“Occupied my body? You mean, like a demon or something?” she asked, shocked.


“Something,” I said.


“You didn't answer my question,” she said. “What was it? Why did it occupy me?” I knew the answer, but I wasn't sure how to tell this woman that the thing I just killed was related to a 2,100-year-old story.


“It's a long story that goes back many years,” I said. Over two thousand years, to be exact, but I didn't tell her that.


“Well, I want to hear that story,” she said. “I don't care how long or how far back it goes.” I pulled out a card and wrote my address down before handing it to her.


“Be at my place tomorrow evening, and I'll tell you all about it,” I said.


“I'll be there,” she responded, taking my card. Very well, I thought. If she wants to hear a 2,100-year-old story, so be it.


And yes, you read that right – 2,100 years. Before I get too deep into my story, let me explain a little bit. According to the modern calendar, I was born on March 15, 101 BC, in the ancient Celtic kingdom of Noricum, located in the area currently known as Austria.


These days, I'm known as Steve Iverson. My given name no longer matters as that person ceased to exist a long time ago. Nothing remains from that time, not even the language I spoke as a child. My father was a sword maker, like his father before him. My brother and I worked with our father, and together, we made some of, if not THE best, swords in the region.


Not only did we make the swords, but we also knew how to use them. We were damn good at what we did. The three of us also mined much of the ore we used to make swords. That sometimes meant long trips to the southern regions of the kingdom. I hated being away from my young bride and our two sons, but it was necessary. Noricum ore, also known as chalybs Noricus, was quite superior to the Greco-Roman wrought iron and produced excellent blades, which were highly sought after by the Romans.


It was on one such trip that my current story began. My father and brother had already left the area for home, their carts loaded with ore. I thought I would stay and try looking in a different location that hadn't been mined very much, so I went further into the mountains. Sure enough, I found a vein that looked quite promising, so I collected what I could.


While collecting the ore, I spotted a flash of green light between two rocks and went to investigate. I saw a strange orb about 15 feet above the ground, emanating the green light when I got there. I was mesmerized, not knowing what this thing was. My entire body was wrapped in green light the next thing I knew, and I felt an odd tingling sensation.


The light quickly went out, and I fell, face down, on the dirt, unable to move. When I awoke, I noticed the grass was much taller, and the sky was clear. The orb was gone, and I had no idea how long I had been asleep. My head hurt a bit, but not too bad. I wiped my eyes and took inventory.


My horse and cart were no longer there, and I saw no tracks to indicate where they might have gone. I still had my clothing and the bag I carried. I checked and found I still had everything I had brought with me. At least I hadn't been robbed. I stood and realized it was pretty early in the day. If I started now, I could be back in the village in two days, maximum.


I knew the way well, as I had traveled there often with my father and brother, and fortunately, most of the return trip was downhill. I headed out as fast as I could and got back to the village in a little less than two full days. But when I arrived, I got the shock of my life.


The village was destroyed. Much of it was simply gone. What remained were piles of burned lumber covered with moss. It looked like no one had been here for quite some time. I searched but found no sign of life whatsoever.


I found a slag pile near where we used to forge our swords, but it looked like no one had been here for years. I called out for my father, brother, and wife, Noei. But I received no answer. Frantic, I ran from one pile of lumber to another but found nothing. Then I heard a man's voice calling out to me.


“Who goes there?” the man called out in the language of the Romans. Surprised, I turned and looked to see a somewhat older man with a walking stick looking in my direction.


“What happened here? Where is everyone?” I asked. He snickered and held his arms out.


“What does it look like?” he asked. “Everyone is obviously gone. Who are you, anyway?” I told him my name, and he looked at me, funny, almost as if he couldn't make out my name.


“Are you Noric?” he asked.


“Yes,” I said. He nodded his head and motioned for me to follow him. I did as he suggested, and we ended up at a small, rock building full of trinkets and swords laid out on wooden tables. I recognized the swords, as they were ones we had forged. But they looked old, worn, dirty, with signs of rust on the blades. How was this possible?


“By all means, call me Maximo. You look tired and hungry, young Celt,” he said. “Would you like something to eat and drink?”


“Yes, I would like that very much,” I said. “How much?”


“Hmm?” he asked, looking back at me, his eyebrows raised. “Oh, no, think nothing of it. The household gods would not be happy if I took advantage of a lost, hungry traveler. Please, accept my offering.”


“Thank you, sir,” I said, hoping my somewhat limited knowledge of his language didn't show. “Do you know what happened here?”


“Barbarians from the north and the west came through and leveled the place,” Maximo said. “They raided several other villages before they were chased off.”


“How long ago did this happen?” I asked.


“I guess about 35 years ago or thereabouts,” Maximo said.


“That can't be,” I said, shocked. “I was born in this village not more than 25 years ago.” He looked at me funny, then chuckled as he pointed a finger at me.


“Ah, you are trying to make old Maximo laugh,” he said with a smile. “I'm sorry, young Celt. But no one has been born in this place for 35 years.”


“But my wife, my two boys... My father and brother. All my friends... Where did they go? What happened to them?” I asked, panicked. He came to me and put a hand on me to settle me down.


“Shh, calm down,” he said. “Drink this,” he added, handing me a cup of wine. I took a sip and let the liquid calm me down. “I heard that some of the women and children escaped and made their way to Noreia. The men bought them time with their lives.”


That made sense to me. We had discussed what we would do if the village was ever attacked and overrun. And I knew my father and brother would stay with the men and defend the village while the women took the children away.


“Then I need to go to Noreia and find my wife and boys,” I said.


“Perhaps tomorrow, after you have rested and regained your strength. You are welcome to stay with Maximo if you wish,” he said. “Tomorrow, you can select a horse and pack for the trip. First, we eat.”


He placed a wooden bowl filled with savory soup in front of me. It was delicious, filled with tiny bits of meat and vegetables and bits of what he called pasta. I don't remember what he called the soup, but it was tasty and quite filling.


“So, what do you do here, Maximo?” I asked as we ate.


“I collect what I can, clean it up, and sell it to travelers,” he said. “I have been visited by all kinds of people – soldiers, diplomats, couples looking for trinkets. You name it.”


“These swords. Where did you find them?” I asked. “They look rather old.”


“I found them in the dirt throughout the village,” he said. “I cleaned them up as best as I could and offered them for sale. There is one sword, though, that I have not been able to get anyone interested in.”


“Oh?” I asked. “And why is that?”


“It is much longer than anything used by the Romans. And heavier,” he said. “Plus, the markings on it appear to be those of royalty. I'll show you.” He went to a table and brought the large sword back to me.


I instantly recognized this sword. My father designed it specifically for the King, a powerful, large man who preferred to fight on horseback. The blade was meant to be used by a man on horseback and could rend a man in two with a single swipe if swung with enough power. My father hoped to present it as a gift to the King. It seems, though, that he never got the chance.


“I see you recognize it,” Maximo said.


“Yes,” I said. “My father designed it. He wanted to give it to the King.”


“King? That explains the markings. But haven't you heard? Noricum is now a Roman province,” Maximo said.


“I hadn't heard,” I said.


“You say your father made that?” Maximo asked.


“Yes, he did,” I said.


“Then you should keep it. To honor the memory of your father,” the older man said.


“Thank you again, Maximo,” I said, fighting tears. “That means a great deal to me.”


“The shadows are getting long. It is nearly time to start the evening fire. Why don't we relax and get some sleep? Tomorrow, I will help you prepare for your journey,” Maximo said. He started the fire after I helped bring wood into the house, and I watched in silence as he paid homage to his household gods. We then drank another cup of wine and fell asleep in front of the fire.


The next day, he took me out to a pen behind his house, where he kept a couple of horses. Both looked like strong, healthy animals, so I picked one out as Maximo put together a bedroll and a pouch filled with provisions. I offered to pay when we finished, but he refused, citing his gods.


“Please, Maximo,” I said. “You fed me, gave me a place to sleep, and now this,” I added, pointing to the horse and provisions. “At least let me give you a silver piece. To appease my gods.” He thought for a moment, then nodded his head.


“If it appeases your gods, then so be it,” he said. I handed him a silver piece from my pouch, and he looked at it, his brows furrowed.


“This looks to be fairly old,” he said.


“It's still good, though, isn't it?” I asked.


“It is silver,” he said with a smile. “Silver is always good.” He stopped me before I could climb on the horse. “Remember Maximo in your thoughts, young Celt,” he said.


“I will never forget you,” I said. He smiled and nodded his head.


“I hope you find what it is you are looking for,” he said.


“I hope so, too, Maximo,” I said. “Thank you again. For everything.” I climbed on the horse and headed out. It took me two full days to reach Noreia. Fortunately, the provisions Maximo gave me held out.


I sat on my horse and looked at the city walls in disbelief. I had been here once before when I visited the city with my father and brother. At that time, it was a bustling community, the fortress walls standing high above the manicured fields below. But now, it looked to be falling into disrepair. The fields weren't as carefully cultivated as before, and the walls appeared to be crumbling.


I rode into the city and looked around, hoping to catch a glimpse of my former life. Maybe my sons were still here, I thought. I rode around, paying particular attention to the open-air shops. But I saw nothing. Then it happened.


I was just outside a small market selling vegetables. That's where I saw her, a large wooden bowl in her arms filled with vegetables. She looked somewhat older than I remembered, but I could still make out her beautiful round face even through the wrinkles and crow's feet.


Her long beautiful blonde hair had turned gray, but it was still thick and luxurious, and she tied it behind her ears. I saw the family mark on her cheek and knew she had not taken another. It was then that our eyes locked. And I knew without a doubt this was my wife, my Noei.


Her eyes grew wide, and she dropped her bowl, the vegetables rolling hither and yon. I climbed off the horse, tied it to a nearby post, and ran to her. We held each other for dear life, tears streaming down our faces. 


It would appear as though a mother was reunited with her long-lost son to the others who watched. But in reality, it was the embrace of two lovers, two soul mates who pledged each other their lives, their love, and their sacred honor.


“Noei, is that really you?” I asked. She looked at me and nodded her head, hot tears pouring down her face.


“Yes, my husband, it is really me,” she said. “I've missed you so much. No one knew what happened to you. You just... disappeared. Your father and brother looked for you for days but couldn't find you. They returned, and half the men from the village went back. They looked and looked, but there was no sign of you anywhere. What happened?”


“I don't know,” I said. “I was looking for ore when I saw a strange green light. The next thing I know, I'm... here. I went to the village, but it was gone. What happened to you? Where are the boys? Are my father and brother still alive?”


“About five years after you vanished, barbarians attacked the village. They had been raiding villages all along the river for a while. When they came, the women took the children out as we had planned, and the men stayed behind to fight and give cover,” she said. “They were all killed.”


“I should've been there,” I said. She shook her head.


“No. You would've been killed with the rest. There were simply too many of them,” she said, tears running down her face.


“What then?” I asked.


“We came here as we planned. The King took pity on us and let us stay in the palace. I started working in the kitchen, and I still work there,” she said. “I go out every day to buy food, and that's why I'm here.”


“The boys? Where are they?” I asked.


“They're in the Roman Army,” she said. “The last I heard, they went to Carthage and are heading east from there.” I shook my head in disbelief.


“I see you're still wearing my mark,” I said.


“That's right,” she said. “A couple years after you disappeared, your father suggested I take another. I refused. I told him I would not until I saw your dead body. I knew in my heart you were still alive. And I was right. You are the only man I have ever been with. But you don't look like you've changed at all. You look the way you did the last time I saw you.”


“And you're just as beautiful as the day we married,” I told her. She smiled and shook her head.


“No, I'm not,” she said. “I'm old and wrinkled. But you... You still look young.”


“I can't explain it,” I said. “I don't know what happened. I wish I did, but I don't.”


“We have to be careful, though. The prince is on his way here now. I'll tell him you're my sister's child, and he'll probably let you stay with me,” she said.


“Are you sure that's wise? Lying to the prince?” I asked.


“Just... trust me, please,” she said. I nodded my head. I heard a group of horses coming up from behind us and looked. The prince climbed off his horse and walked toward us.


“Noei, are you alright?” he asked. “Is this man bothering you?”


“No, My Prince,” she said. “This is my sister's son. He heard I was here and came to visit. With your permission, I'd like him to stay with me.” The prince looked at me, and I thought I recognized him. But he was much younger when I saw him last.


“Of course, Noei. You look somewhat familiar to me,” he said as he looked at me.


“I visited Noreia with my father when I was much younger, Excellency,” I said. “Perhaps you may have seen me then.”


“Perhaps,” he said. “That is an interesting blade,” he added, looking at the sword now hanging on my horse. “May I?”


“Of course, Excellency,” I said. I pulled out the old sword and handed it to him, hilt first. He took it and examined it closely, his brows furrowing. He looked at me before speaking.


“It looks to be fairly old. Where did you find this?” he asked.


“My father made it,” I said. “It was his desire to present it to the King in honor of his bravery. He died some time ago.” The prince nodded his head. “I just recently recovered it and thought I would present it myself.”


“Your father made this?” he asked.


“Yes. I come from a long line of sword-makers,” I said.


“I see. And you are also a sword-maker?”


“I am, Excellency,” I said.


“Well, I'm afraid you won't be able to present it to the king, as he has already gone to his eternal reward,” the prince said.


“Then perhaps Your Excellency would like to keep it, as a gift,” I said.


“It is a bit heavier than I am used to, but I like the way it feels. And the handiwork is exquisite. Yes, I would very much like to keep it,” he said.


“Thank you,” I said.


“It is I who should thank you, young Celt,” he said. “Perhaps you can stay, make swords for me. Perhaps train my soldiers to use them.”


“I would be honored,” I said.


“Good,” he said. “I'm sure Noei has room in her quarters. You may stay with her if you wish, and that is if she consents.”


“I do,” she said.


“Then it's settled,” the prince said.


“Thank you, Excellency,” I said.



I stopped my narration and looked at the woman sitting across from me. Her eyes were wide, and the color seemed to have drained from her face.


“Are you getting all this?” I asked. “There may be a test later,” I added with a smile. She shook her head and looked at me. “Would you like me to refresh your drink, perhaps?” I asked. She looked at her glass.


“Yes, please,” she said. I poured her another glass of wine and poured some for myself as well. “I'm sorry, I know you warned me, but I wasn't expecting... this.”


“I understand, Noemi,” I said. “But I did say my story would be hard to believe. You promised me an open mind and a fair hearing.”


“I know, but... I just don't know what to think. Did you... sleep with this... I'm sorry, what was her name again?”


“Noei. Very similar to your name, in fact. Yes, I slept with her. She was my wife, and I loved her. But that was all that happened. The spirit was willing, but her body was simply too frail. I was content with holding her in my arms,” I said.


“But she wasn't really all that old, was she?” Noemi asked.


“Around 60, I guess. Maybe a tad bit older,” I said. “You have to remember, though, that in those days, commoners like us didn't live very long. With war, disease, the lack of medical care, clean water, and sanitary facilities, most of us were lucky to live much more than 30 to 35 years or so. Sure, a few lived to be older, and the wealthy often lived to be in their 60s. But those were often the exceptions.”


“How long after that were you two together?” she asked.


“She died a few months after that day,” I said. “After the death ritual, I stayed in Noreia for another 15 years. I made the prince's weapons, trained his soldiers, fought his battles. I was never defeated. Not once. That's how I got the battle cry, 'Semper Invictus.'”


“That sounds like Latin,” she said. “What does it mean?”


“Literally, always undefeated,” I said. “I remained with the prince until he died. He called me to his chamber just before he passed away. He asked me about Noei. 'She wasn't really your mother's sister, was she,' he asked. I couldn't lie to him, and he was in his death bed, after all. So I told him the truth. That she was my wife.”


“How did he take that?” Noemi asked.


“He nodded his head and smiled,” I said. “Told me she had been approached by several eligible men since she arrived – including him – but she refused them all. Said she was keeping herself pure for her husband, who she knew would return to her one day. He told me he asked her how she knew I was still alive, and she said that she could feel it in her spirit.”


“That's so sweet,” Noemi said, wiping a tear from her eye.


“Yes, that describes her perfectly,” I said.


“Did he say anything else?” she asked.


“He mentioned that I hadn't aged since arriving. He wondered if I had been bewitched or punished by the gods. I told him, no, at least not as far as I knew. He suggested the gods had a purpose for me that I was unaware of. A goal that could not be fulfilled in Noreia. He gave me a bag of coins and my father's sword. Then he released me from my duties and said I should go and find my true purpose.


“After his death ritual, I left Noreia, never to return,” I said. “After a major battle with Germanic tribes, it crumbled back into the dust from which it sprang. As far as I know, no one has ever located it.”


“That's sad,” Noemi said. “What about your sons? Did you ever find out what happened to them?”


“No, never,” I said. “I assumed that since they were fighting for the Romans that they had met their fate on the battlefield.”


“Did you ever remarry?” she asked.


“No, never,” I said. “That's not to say I was celibate for 2,000 years. I do have needs, you know.” She smiled at that.


“So, what did you do? Where did you go?” she asked.


“I traveled. I learned. I exposed myself to as much as I could. I learned to use weapons of all kinds. Learned different languages. Mostly, I tried to stay out of history's way. I wasn't always successful, though. History caught up with me more than once,” I said.


“Oh?” she asked. “How so?”


“Well, as a French soldier serving with Count de Rochambeau, I watched Cornwallis surrender to General Washington at Yorktown,” I said.


“Wait, you were a French soldier once? You speak French?” she asked.


Oui, mademoiselle,” I said with a smile. “Along with about 100 other languages. Some of them haven't been spoken in hundreds of years.”


“But how is it that you haven't been discovered? I don't understand,” she said.


“My benefactors – that is, our benefactors – have done a remarkable job in that area,” I said. “Early on, it was pretty easy. But they've had to... adjust over the last couple of centuries. You have to remember, time doesn't work for them the same as it does for us.”


“But what happens if you get hurt or injured? What if someone were to shoot you? Wouldn't you die like anyone else?” I smiled at that and shook my head.


“No,” I said. “Again, you can thank our benefactors for that. You see, about every 80 years or so, I... hibernate if you will. It's almost as if I'm drawn to it, like a bear in winter. It is during that hibernation period that my body is refreshed and updated. That could take anywhere from 10 to 35 years in the early days. The first time took the full 35 years – at least from my point of view. These days, it doesn't take anywhere near that long. A couple months at most. Our benefactors use that time to prepare for my continuation.”


“This is all so incredible,” she said. “Wait, you said, 'our' benefactors. You've used that term more than once. What do you mean by that? Who are they?” I smiled at her. Perhaps now was the best time.


“I'll get to that. But I can tell you have other questions. Why don't you ask them?”


“Okay. First, did you ever learn your purpose?” she asked.


“Yes, I did. It took about 700 years for me to learn and another century to come to grips with it. But I did learn.”


“Are there others like yourself out there?” she asked.


“There are four others like me that I know of,” I said. “And a fifth is about to emerge. Now, why don't you tell me a bit about yourself,” I said.


“If you insist,” she said. “My name, as you already know, is Noemi Schlager. I was named after my grandmother, who was named after her grandmother. My family came here from Austria just after the First World War. My ancestors came from Salzburg, where they lived for many years. My grandfather once told me they had been there since Roman times. I don't know if that's true or not, though.


“There's not much more to tell. I was a cheerleader in high school, then went to college at the University of Texas. After I got my degree, I became a corporate lawyer. And no, there isn't a significant other. Anyway, you know the rest. So, what's this about 'our' benefactors?” she asked.


“Come with me,” I said, standing up. “I want to show you something.” Confused, she followed me down a set of spiral stairs. When we got to the bottom, I punched a code into the panel next to the locked door, then turned to her.


“You must promise that you won't touch anything in this room unless I say otherwise. Understand?”


“Uh, yeah. Sure,” she said. I opened the door and flipped the switch on the wall. When the lights came on, I entered the room, and Noemi followed. Pictures inside wooden frames lined the walls, and display cases sat on the floor under the pictures. We stepped in front of the first picture, and her eyes grew even wider than before. She gasped and covered her mouth with her hands.


“Wh... What is this?” she asked, shocked, as she looked at the ancient drawing in the frame. The drawing was of a young woman – Noei, my wife, and it was obviously very, very old. Moreover, the woman in the picture looked almost identical to the woman standing next to me.


“About 1,000 years ago, I realized that I had developed the ability to draw,” I said. “It was something our benefactors somehow programmed into my DNA. At the time, I didn't understand all that, but I understood the ability to draw. I began making these images about that time. This is the first image I thought was good enough to keep. It's about 850 years old.”


“This... is amazing,” she said as we walked down the corridor. “These are all of your wife?” she asked.


“Yes,” I said. “I could never get her image out of my mind. So I drew it. Over and over again. It became... therapeutic. I've drawn this beautiful face hundreds of times. I know every line, every curve... everything. I got to where I didn't even have to look at the canvas. Of course, the more I drew, the better I got. Notice anything about them?”


“It's almost like looking at myself in a mirror,” she said. “How is this possible?” We got to the end of the corridor, and she nearly fainted when she saw the last portrait.


“I painted this about 10 years ago,” I said. In terms of quality, it was the best of the bunch and almost appeared photographic. It was a picture of a nearly naked Noei, holding a baby at her bare breast. It was erotic, but not pornographic.


“It's so... beautiful,” she said as a tear fell down her face. “You must have really loved her very much.”


“More than life itself,” I told her. “I still love her. And I always will.” Noemi looked down at the display cases.


“And what is all this?” she asked.


“Mementos of a long life,” I said. “This is the sword my father made,” I added, pointing to a long sword that sat in a case by itself. “All of the air has been removed from the case. It hasn't been touched by human hands for over 100 years.”


“And what's this?” she asked, pointing to a piece of old folded cloth sitting inside a plastic bag.


“That's a cloth I used when my wife died,” I said. “She was coughing blood as I held her in my arms. Our benefactors said I should keep it and told me I would need it at some point in the future.”


“And that dark stain on the cloth is her blood?” Noemi asked.


“Yes,” I said. I had been told the blood on the cloth would be used for DNA comparison, but I didn't tell her that. At the time, I was told that I had no idea whose DNA it would be compared to. But now, I knew. She was standing right in front of me. “There's another question I know you want to ask.” She nodded her head as she looked at me.


“What was that thing in my apartment last night? Really?” she asked.


“Thing is a pretty good description,” I said. “That is why our benefactors have spent the last two millennia training me. Some would call it a demon, but it's not. Are you familiar with the theoretical multiverse?”


“I've heard the term, but I can't say I know that much about it,” she said.


“There are theories that say we live in just one of many parallel dimensions, or universes. It turns out those theories are true. But there's more. The dimension we know as reality is occupied by another – one in which the rules of time and space we know do not apply.


“The beast that occupied your body last night is from that dimension, and it is one of many that have found a way to bridge the void between our dimensions,” I told her.


“What?” she asked, shocked. “What kind of creatures are these?”


“Let me put it this way,” I said. “When you were a little girl, did you ever feel like there was something under your bed or hiding in your closet? Like a monster?”


“Yeah,” she said. “But don't all kids go through that?”


“I'm sure they do,” I said. “These beasts are like those imaginary monsters. They're corruptible things, with no sense of morality or right and wrong. They find targets here they can undermine and corrupt. Their goal, simply put, is to seek out and destroy anyone they can.”


“Why can't these benefactors deal with them?” she asked.


“They cannot remain in our dimension for long – only a few minutes at most, and that's why they recruited us. But to adequately deal with these creatures, we have to be prepared. The initial preparation takes over 30 years, and that's why I was gone so long the first time.”


“You never told me. Who ARE these benefactors? Are they... aliens or something?” she asked. I shook my head.


“You mean extra-terrestrials,” I said. “No. They are human, much like us. Only, they have been enhanced. They come from one of the many dimensions in the multiverse. They call themselves the Errnocht. In their language, it means 'guardian.'”


“Guardian of what?” she asked.


“The space-time continuum,” I said. “They work mostly in the void between the dimensions. Their DNA was enhanced to remain in the void, where they could best monitor the other dimensions. As a result, their life-spans were greatly increased. But that came with a price. They can not spend much time in any one dimension – even their own. So they recruited and trained men and women like myself to confront and defeat the creatures.” Just then, my phone buzzed. I looked and read the message: “Analysis complete.”


“Please, come with me,” I told Noemi. I went to a door at the far end of the corridor and placed my hand on the reader. I heard the latch click open and went inside, holding the door open for Noemi to follow.


“What is all this?” she asked, looking around at the strange equipment in the room.


“Equipment provided to me by the Errnocht,” I said. “Most of it is for tracking the creatures, but some is for analysis.” I pulled a sheet of paper lying face down on a printer. I read the report and looked at Noemi. “I have a slight confession to make,” I told her.


“What's that?” she asked, concerned.


“Last night, I took a sample of your DNA while you were unconscious,” I said. “I apologize for intruding upon you like that, but with your resemblance to my wife, I felt it was necessary.”


“I understand,” she said, although her expression said she wasn't too happy. “You could have just asked, though. So, what did you learn?”


“I ran a comparative analysis between the DNA sample I took from you last night and the blood on Noei's cloth,” I said. “You can see for yourself,” I added, handing her the paper, and she took it and read through it twice.


“This says there's a 99.75 percent match between the two samples,” she said. “How is that possible? The blood on that cloth is over 2,000 years old.”


“I cannot fully explain it myself,” I said. “I know the Errnocht engage in DNA manipulation, and that's what they did to me and the others they recruited. But I wasn't aware their work went beyond their recruits.”


“Are you saying I was... genetically altered?” she asked.


“I don't think so,” I said. “It's more likely they somehow introduced various genes into your ancestors over time.”


“To what end?” she asked. I looked at her carefully before speaking. She reminded me so much of the woman I married so long ago, the woman who held my heart and bore my children. If that analysis was correct, the woman in front of me was, for all practical purposes, my Noei.


“Perhaps to eventually reunite me with her,” I said quietly. Just then, I heard a ping from another device and realized it was my communication station. I looked and saw the round monitor light up. Colors swirled on the display, much like the old television picture tubes did when degaussed.


“What's that?” Noemi asked.


“The Errnocht. They wish to communicate,” I said. I knew the DNA analysis had triggered communication, so I wasn't surprised they would contact me. I went to the station and performed the necessary adjustments. Soon, we were looking at a man wearing a gray jumpsuit.


“Svan,” I said, addressing the man by his name. “What can I do for you?”


“It is good to see you, Steve,” Svan said. “Is this her?” he asked, looking in Noemi's direction. I turned to look at her before answering.


“Yes,” I said. Svan nodded his head.


“She looks very much like your Noei, doesn't she?” he asked.


“Yes, she does,” I said. Noemi stepped up to the monitor and spoke up.


“'SHE' is right here, and you can speak to me directly,” Noemi said. “What is the meaning of this report?”


“The report verifies that your DNA is a match to the blood on the cloth once owned by Steve's wife,” Svan said.


“I figured that,” Noemi said. “Was I genetically modified?”


“No,” Svan said. “You are the direct result of a union between your father and mother.”


“How does that possibly explain this?” Noemi asked, holding up the report.


“You appear to be upset,” Svan said. “There is no need. Yes, we introduced individual genomes into your ancestors over the years. Still, as it so happens, both of your parents were in Noei's bloodline, and that made our job much easier.”


“So you knew this would be the outcome?” Noemi asked.


“Yes,” Svan eventually said. “Although, to be honest, we did not expect such a close match to the original for at least another two or three generations. Perhaps that is why the creature Steve tracked targeted you in the first place.”


“You mean, I was targeted by that... thing?” she asked. Svan nodded his head.


“Yes, Noemi,” he said. “It hoped to use you to get to Steve. And others will follow once they learn the first was destroyed.”


“Terrific,” Noemi said. “So now what do I do?”


“Follow Steve's lead,” Svan said. “Or better yet, join with him. You are... drawn to him, are you not?”


“Well, yeah, I guess you could say that,” she said.


“Of course you are,” Svan said. “It's in your DNA, and you cannot help but be drawn to him. And he to you.”


“But, I have a job. A career and I can't have Steve follow me at work,” she said. “No offense,” she said, looking at me.


“None taken,” I said.


“You are a lawyer with McMaster and Howe, is that right?” Svan asked.


“Yes,” she said. “How did you know that?”


“We know a lot about you, Ms. Schlager,” Svan said. “You were turned down for a partnership not too long ago, weren't you?” Noemi looked down at the floor for a moment, her face red.


“Yes,” she finally said.


“Would you care to explain why?” Svan asked. She closed her eyes for a moment and wiped a tear as it fell down her cheek.


“I really don't want to get into that,” she said quietly.


“Isn't it because you refused to have sex with Derek Howe, one of the senior partners?” Svan asked. She looked up, and her face was red with embarrassment.


“Yes,” she said. “How did you know?”


“As I indicated, we know much about you,” he said. “In fact, he laughed when you threatened him with a sexual harassment lawsuit, didn't he?”


“Yes, he did,” she said.


“What did he tell you?” Svan asked.


“He said my career was basically at a dead end,” she said. “Unless, of course, I had a change of heart.”


“And have you?” Svan asked.


“No,” she said.


“In fact, you've been working on getting out of there, haven't you?” Svan asked.


“I have,” she said. “But so far, nothing has worked out.”


“And that's because Derek put the word out about you,” Svan said. “But you've already suspected that, haven't you?” She nodded her head. “So why not just leave? Hand in your resignation and walk out the door.”


“I need a job,” she said. “I have obligations. Bills to pay.”


“So, you would leave if you had a way to take care of your financial obligations?” Svan asked.


“I would,” she said. Svan smiled and gave me a knowing look. After 2,000 years, I knew what he was thinking and needed no explanation. I nodded my head in understanding.


“Then come work for me,” I said. “You can even stay here if you wish.”


“What would I do?” she asked.


“A bit of this, a bit of that,” I said. “Think of it as a career change.”


“Are you sure you can afford me? I make quite a bit,” she said.


“Money is not a problem,” I told her. She looked around the room for a bit as she thought about her options. Then she nodded her head.


“I'll do it,” she said. “When can I start?”


“Right now, if you wish,” I said.


“What the hell,” she said. “I'll do it.”


“Welcome aboard, Noemi,” Svan said with a smile. “Prepare for the adventure of your life. I must go now, Steve. The comm window is closing. We'll be in touch.”


“Very well,” I said as the monitor went dark. I opened a drawer and pulled out a spiral metal armband. Noemi looked at it, her brows furrowed.


“What is that?” she asked.


“A piece of jewelry,” I told her. “It hasn't been worn for 2,000 years. It's been updated with something to protect you from the creatures.” I slid it up her left arm and was amazed that it fit her just like it did Noei. I pressed a symbol etched into the metal and knew the circuitry was active. She ran her fingers over it as she examined it.


“This was worn by her, wasn't it?” she asked. “I saw it in one of your pictures.”


“Yes, it was,” I said. Her eyes suddenly went wide, and she looked at me.


“Your name. It was Artebudz, wasn't it?” she asked. I specifically avoided mentioning that name to her. “That's what your mother called you.”


“How did you know that?” I asked.


“I don't know. It just... came to me,” she said.


“Do you know what it means?” I asked. She looked at my crotch, and a smile began to grow on her face.


“I'm not sure, but I get the impression it has to do with your, um, equipment,” she said with a sly smile. I smiled back. She was close.


“The name roughly translates to 'bear penis' in English,” I said. “My mother said I was quite well-endowed. Even as a little boy.”


“Bear penis?” she asked. “Seriously?”


“Yeah,” I said, somewhat sheepishly. “Not a name I would give a boy in this day and age.”


“I would hope not,” she said.


Over the rest of the weekend, she moved her things into my house and took over one of the upstairs apartments. The following week, she put her condo up for sale and quit her job. Derek demanded to know where she was going.


“Someplace where I'm appreciated,” she told him before walking out of his office. I spent the next month training her on the equipment, and Svan helped her connect her laptop to the network I had set up in the equipment room.


She became pretty good at tracking the creatures, and I found her a tremendous asset while working in the field. I started training her to fight and found her to be a natural. It was almost as if her muscles already knew how to wield a sword. She would certainly have been welcome in my village all those years ago.


More than once, I had to control myself around her. Over the next two months, I found myself quite attracted to her, just as I was drawn to Noei. I had a feeling she was attracted to me as well but wasn't quite sure how to deal with it. More than once, I saw her staring at the images hanging in the gallery, studying every detail.


Svan had told me that over time, her genetic memory would return. He suggested I let her develop independently and not push the issue. He warned me that she would be practically insatiable when her memory came back. I took his suggestions to heart. And I'm glad I did.


I came home from a particularly grueling encounter in San Francisco. I was greeted by something I hadn't seen in, well, 2,000 years. Noemi stood in the main hallway, wearing only a short white robe. The front was open, and I could see the swell of her bare breasts and her hard erect nipples.


She had shaved her pubic region, and her face sported the same blue design I had seen on Noei many times. I was stunned at this vision of loveliness and stood, frozen in place. She walked up to me, removing her robe, and all she wore was the spiral metal armband. She wrapped her arms around me and gave me a scorching hot tongue kiss as she began tearing at my clothes.


Soon, she had me naked and took my growing cock in her hands. She looked at me with lust in her eyes and smiled.


“I've waited 2,000 years for this, my love,” she said as she stroked my hard cock. “And I won't wait another minute. Take me to bed, my husband.” I picked her up and carried her up the stairs to my bedroom. I put her on the bed and covered her beautiful body with kisses.


“Quit teasing,” she hissed. “Take me, my warrior. I need a real man, not some limp-dicked pencil-pushing soy-boy. Make me your woman again.” Who was I to argue? She spread her legs wide and took my hard cock in her hands. “Fuck me with this monster,” she said. “Fuck me, now! And don't ever stop.”


We both gasped as I entered her. She was tight, hot, and wet. So much so that I nearly erupted inside her the moment I was in her. I began fucking her the way Noei liked, and soon, she was matching me thrust for thrust, the way Noei used to do. I heard her moaning in my ear and realized she was speaking in our native language.


Svan was right – this woman was insatiable. It was as if she was trying to make up for 2,000 years in one night. I never felt anything so incredibly satisfying in my life. My wife – my soul mate, the mother of my children – was back! I filled her with my seed, and still, she screamed for more. We continued fucking for what seemed like hours before we finally collapsed in each other's arms.


“Wow,” I said, holding her tight. “What brought all that on?”


“I remembered,” she said quietly. “I remembered everything. The way you used to hold me. The way we made love to each other. I remembered how you held me even though I was old and wrinkled. I remembered telling you that you didn't have to, that I understood. But you said I am your wife, and you love me, no matter what. You held onto me, even as I took my last breath. You have no idea what that means to me.”


She rolled over and looked at me, tears falling down her face.


“I missed you so much all those years you were gone. But I knew in my heart you were still alive. And you proved me right. And I promise I will stand at your side from now on. You are my husband. You always have been, and you always will be,” she said. “For all time.” She rolled on top of me, taking my cock in her hand. She stroked me with her hands until I got hard again.


“There was a day when we struck fear in our enemies,” she said. “And together, we will do so again, my husband.” She positioned herself above my hard cock and lowered herself on me. “Say it with me, Arte,” she said, using the shortened version of my name the way Noei once did. “Declare it to the world!” I knew what she meant.


“SEMPER INVICTUS!” we declared together as we became one flesh.

Submitted: March 17, 2023

© Copyright 2023 Saddletramp1956. All rights reserved.


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