Part XIII Seeing Things For The First Time
Yunomi and Kane found themselves on the Dark Side, a short distance from Yunomi’s house. “Was that
real?” she asked. Already the memory of the Gray Realm was fading.
Sandia was following her regular routine, smoking dope with her headset on, laying on her couch. Kane had been gone almost a year, and Yunomi had been dead for nearly as long. Reaper spent most of his time in the Human Realm, and Sandia avoided him, even though she kept tabs on him for Yunomi’s sake. Suddenly, through her self-induced haze, Sandia heard a familiar voice in her head. “Kane!” she shrieked, and jumped up to open the door. Kane stood there, unmasked and smiling. Sandia leaped on him, wrapping her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist, smothering him with kisses. She clung to him, crying and laughing.
Then she noticed the tall, red haired woman behind him. Sandia released Kane and stared at the smiling
woman. “Yunomi?’ she whispered. Yunomi nodded and opened her arms for a hug. “How?” Sandia asked,
hugging her friend.
Reaper walked toward el Camino. He had returned to the Dark Side recently to renew himself, and decided to see what was going on. Just inside the bar, he stopped. Bob had a very strange look on his face, and familiar laughter was coming from the upstairs pool room. Reaper went straight to the stairs, and climbed up.
Sandia and a tall woman were mock fighting, threatening and bumping into each other, then laughing. A huge man with his face half in shadow lounged on the red couch, laughing at the women’s antics. Reaper stared at the man. It was almost like looking in a mirror. Kane!
Sandia had noticed Reaper at the top of the stairs, and nodded in his direction. The tall woman spun
around. “Hello, Reaper,” Yunomi said quietly. He took a step back. Kane got up off the couch and stood behind
Yunomi. Reaper looked from one to the other, then locked his stare on the woman.
Yunomi felt tears coming behind her eyes, but hardened her face. She was Lady Yunomi now, Reaper
would never again make her cry. Sandia put her arm around Yunomi. “Stay with us, girl. We’ve got room.”
Kane appeared at the ruins of Yunomi’s house shortly before dusk. Together they retrieved the mace from
it’s hiding place. “This is a formal affair,” Kane said, assuming his Fire Lord aspect.
They arrived at the place of destruction, a circle of standing stones on a blasted, forbidding plain. In the
center was a flat stone with a carved shallow depression. Cracks ran through the bottom of the depression into the
stone itself. Reaper was already there, in his Lord of Darkness aspect. He met them outside the circle. Kane took
the mace out of it’s shroud and held it out to Reaper. Yunomi stood at Kane’s side, but Reaper had not even
glanced at her, his full attention held by the mace. He ran his hands over it, touching the jewel on it’s crown, then
Kane and Reaper carried the mace into the circle side by side, with Yunomi a step behind. They laid the
mace on the altar stone, then retreated. Kane raised both fists in the air, then brought them together in front of his
chest, arms extended. A stream of flame shot from his fists into the depression that held the mace. He kept the
flame on the mace for several minutes, then stopped. Reaper stepped to the altar. A pool of molten bronze was
seeping into the cracks of the stone. The jewel lay in the center of the pool, unharmed.
Kane had been swaying on his feet, and now staggered. He had used all of his strength to destroy the mace. Yunomi caught him, and helped him out of the circle. They were about to return to Sandia’s when Reaper called out. “Yunomi!” She turned to him. “I would speak with you,” he said.
Yunomi glanced at Kane. He was very weak. “Later,” she replied. “At your house.” She and Kane disappeared. Reaper stood staring after them, then shrugged and turned to the altar stone. All of the bronze had seeped into the stone, leaving the jewel cool enough to touch. Reaper picked it up and examined it, then vanished into the dusk.
A short while later, Yunomi approached Reaper’s house. She had changed into tight jeans and a Rob
Zombie tee-shirt with the sleeves and hem cut off. Her hair was loose, and framed her face. She was barefoot, a
habit she’d picked up somewhere recently, she couldn’t remember. Reaper sat on the top step of the porch,
watching her walk up. Yunomi stopped a few feet in front of him. They stayed like that, staring at each other,
She sighed, knowing she might never get a straight answer out of him. But he knew she couldn’t resist him, either. She took his hand, and they went inside.
Reaper stretched out on his bed, watching Yunomi undress. She was indeed very different. He noted her jewelry, and the three long scars across her stomach. She moved with an elegance and grace that seemed familiar. Yunomi came over and began to kiss him teasingly. Reaper grabbed her and pulled her onto the bed.
But she was bigger, faster and stronger than he remembered, and soon they were engaged in a savage
round of sex. Reaper finally had Yunomi pinned and was leaning into her hard when she yelped in pain. He
stopped, and released her. They had always played rough, but he had never hurt her unintentionally.
Curious, Reaper passed his hand over her thigh and hip until he found the injury. He rested his hand on it,
concentrating. “Whoever healed this did all that can be done. It will cause you pain for a long time. What
Reaper shrugged and continued less roughly. Much later, he was watching Yunomi sleep. He reached out and traced her branded armband, feeling the raised scars and knowing who had given it to her. Yunomi growled in her sleep and pulled away from him, turning over out of reach. Reaper stared at her back for a while. She had never before pulled away from him, and he was angry. Finally, he turned his back on her and went to sleep himself.
When Reaper awoke, Yunomi was not there. He sleepily wondered if he had imagined her return as he
went downstairs. She was in the kitchen, leaning on the back door frame, drinking coffee and staring out at the
Badlands. She was dressed in her old familiar drawstring pants and tank top. Gazing out over the landscape, she
serenely sipped from her cup.
Yunomi made no comment. She finished her coffee, then rinsed her cup out in the sink and left it on the drain board. “I have some business to take care of,” she said, picking up her pack and sword. “See you later.” She stepped out the back door and was gone before Reaper could say anything. His gaze landed on the hole in the kitchen wall where he had once thrown a beer bottle after her for doing the same thing. Damn it, why does she have to be that way? he thought for the first time in a long time. Then it struck him with crystal clarity. Because she is Yunomi. That’s the way she is. And he wanted her in spite of it, or maybe because of it. She’ll come back to me, he thought. Eventually.
Yunomi came in to Casino el Camino looking for Laura. “Hey, Yunomi! How are things?” her friend asked. Bob pretended that he didn’t see Yunomi. She made him uneasy now. Yunomi thought it was interesting that her female friends had no problem with her changed appearance, but her male friends could not accept her.
Except Kane, of course.
“It’s all good, Laura, but I need a favor. I’m looking for a place to live here in the City.”
Bob frowned as Laura and Yunomi left by the back door and headed down the alley. In the middle of the
next block, Laura led Yunomi up an outside steel staircase to the second floor of an old brick building.
Yunomi set about changing the locks and cleaning the place up. Over the next few days the empty loft became her home and dojo. The back third of the space by the alley door was her living area, and the front two thirds was turned into her dojo and workout space. Her furnishings were spare and simple-a futon, two low tables and a huge, grotesquely carved armoire in the sleeping area; a large marble topped pine table with six mismatched chairs; and a screen made of three ornate church doors hinged together that separated the sleeping area from the dojo. She had scrounged most of her furniture from the Human Realm, as well as her dishes and utensils. The place was coming together well.
In the dojo she had her sword altar under the middle window, free weights, a speed bag and a heavy bag. Yunomi put spells on the windows so she could stand at them unseen and watch the street. An extra futon was folded into a couch along the brick wall separating the kitchen.
One day there was a knock at the door, and Laura entered quickly, looking nervous. “Reaper’s looking for
you,” she said. “He’s at the bar now.”
Laura looked dubious, but left for the bar. A few minutes later, there was a heavy knock on her door.
Yunomi opened it to a frowning Reaper. “Hey, come on in,” she offered.
She opened two beers and handed Reaper one, then sat on the futon next to him. “So, you were looking for
Not necessarily, she thought, but kept it to herself. She still had said nothing, but she regarded Reaper
carefully. He was serious. “You’re willing to accept the changes in me?”
Jumbled images rushed at Reaper. He stood his ground, trying to sort them out. He saw the journey
trough Carnivean’s tunnels, the battle in the Light Realm and the descent into Hell. He watched the horrific climb
to the Temple of the Mace, and the final battle on the cliffs of the Styx. He saw Yunomi’s body lying broken on the
rocks. Then it got really weird. Reaper didn’t see so much as feel-confusion, pain, fear. He felt abandonment,
bitterness, betrayal, and a growing sense of power. He felt the elation of discovering new strengths and skills, then
restlessness, anger, and Surprise!, stubbornness. Yunomi had apparently stood up to some mysterious power and
caused it to back down. It was all very unclear. More confused than enlightened, Reaper restored the link, then
backed out of Yunomi’s mind. He leaned back on the futon, a strange expression on his face.
Yunomi was silent. Her love for him was undiminished, but her awareness of the cost of that love made
At sunset, Yunomi arrived at Reaper’s house. He greeted her solemnly and led her upstairs. Pulling an old key from his pocket, he opened the door to the only other room upstairs, the one Yunomi had never been in. He lit a candle that was just inside the door, and they entered. The room was empty except for a strange stone altar and a mystic circle drawn on the floor. Reaper went to the altar and lit the candles on it with his, then stepped into the circle. He held his hands out to Yunomi, and she stepped in to grasp them. His eyes glowed white, and he started an arcane chant in a language Yunomi didn’t know. She felt herself moving through space and time, more intense than Dark Side travel.
When she became aware of where they were, Yunomi smiled. She and Reaper stood in an old Victorian cemetery. She thought back to her wild, early years with Reaper, when they haunted the cemeteries of the Human Realm, harassing occultists, or just enjoying the solitude. The graves here were ornate, with much statuary and heavily carved stones.
Yunomi then realized she was dressed only in her jewelry and a long violet cloak with a silver clasp at the throat. Reaper was dressed the same, except his cloak was black. Around his neck was a silver chain that Yunomi had often seen him wear, and greatly admired. The links were small, beautifully made silver skulls.
Reaper took her by the hand and led her toward the center of the graveyard. As they went along, the graves became older, as if they were walking back through time. Ancient, crumbling stones lined the path. They came to a circle of huge, bare trees surrounding another circle of standing stones. Reaper stopped, and gestured at the circles. “This is where I come from. These are my people.”
Yunomi realized that each standing stone marked a grave. She did not recognize the symbols or the
writing on the stones, but she was absorbed by the power of the place, and the importance of Reaper’s sharing it
Yunomi and Reaper stood at the foot of the flat stone, facing each other. They reached out and undid the silver clasps at each other’s throats. The cloaks fell away and they stood naked in the moonless dark. Yunomi lay on her back on the stone, and Reaper knelt beside her. He ran his hands slowly over her body. Electricity flowed through his fingers, and his eyes glowed unnaturally. He parted her legs and knelt between them. Yunomi reached out and caressed him, seeing that lightning flowed from her fingers also. Within seconds they were both ready. Reaper leaned forward and kissed her deeply, then entered her. As he did, the wind arose, thrashing the bare tree limbs with howling force.
Yunomi was transported. Once again she was the trembling acolyte, lying with her Lord for the first time. He was not gentle, and she felt again the pain and ecstasy of that night. Then she rushed forward, feeling the pain and ecstasy of her entire relationship with him. She felt every betrayal, every abuse he had ever given her. And all the while, voices swirled around her. “Are you sure, Yunomi? Are you sure? Are you sure?” The voices of the dead, she knew. His dead. “Are you sure?” She saw him with the Demi-Demons, f*cking them so hard that they fled from him. She saw his myriad Human lovers, some of whom had tried to take out their jealousy on her. “Are you sure?” She saw him burn and imprison his brother. She saw him terrify Sandia. “Are you sure?” Still she clung to him. “Yes!” she screamed. “I’m sure!”
Reaper was going through the same torment. He felt Yunomi’s love for him, and every betrayal he had
ever heaped on her. He saw her becoming stronger, more independent, needing him less. He understood that she
would never be able to trust him, and that her love was the only thing that bound her to him. Then he saw Kane and
Yunomi together, making sweet, gentle love, the kind of love he couldn’t give her. “Are you sure, Dark Lord? Are
A cold, dark voice sounded in his mind, calling him by his long-lost Human name. “She will be your
brother’s lover also. She is fated to love you both. Can you accept that? If not, it will destroy you all.”
At last they rose, and knelt facing each other. Reaper unclasped the skull chain from his neck, and placed it around Yunomi’s. He laid the palm of his hand against her cheek. “My Lady,” he said simply.
Yunomi placed her hand on his cheek. “Beloved,” she answered. He knew she would never call him ‘Lord’ again, but it didn’t matter. They were one now, they shared the same dark heart. They were in Union.
End of Book II
Yunomi Book Two, first page.
Yunomi Book Two, second page.
Yunomi Book Two, third page.
Yunomi Book Two, fourth page.
Yunomi Book Two, fifth page.
Yunomi Book Two, sixth page.
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