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Oh, you silly goo goo.
Anyway, I'm almost done with CH. 11. Don't ask how long it is. >.>
Before I forget, credit goes to goldb for helping me write the letter.
Shintra - "Love can easily be transformed into hate
Farth 21, 2270
Janaam felt someone shaking his shoulder, which disturb his slumber. Great, who’s trying to wake him in this ungodly hour? He just finally fell asleep too after lying in bed for hours. Annoyed, he turned his body away. Hopefully the person would take that as a hint that he didn’t want to be disturbed. Nevertheless, the shaking still continued. “Wake up, Jannam!” Salram said; his voice sounded urgent. “Ilon is dead!”
He opened his eyes and immediately sat up. “Ilon is dead?” he asked in disbelief. His friend nodded gravely. “But how?”
“He was murdered.” Salram looked around cautiously before he whispered, “Some of the men went to his tent to wake him up, but he found Ilon dead. He was stabbed through a chest with this.”
He opened satchel and showed the prince a dagger. Janaam gingerly picked the murder weapon and examined it. Its long, thin blade was stained with Ilon’s blood. Whoever did the deed must have really hated the man. One thing for sure, it wasn’t a Duermon weapon. “It’s a Sendoan weapon, isn’t it?” His heart stopped as he realized what that meant.
“Unfortunately yes,” his friend replied. “To be honest, I have no idea how a Sendoan soldier managed to sneak into camp to do the deed. The night patrol didn’t notice anything suspicious.”
“Do the others know?”
“Not yet. The only people who know so far are the soldiers who went to wake him up and us,” Salram said. “I have isolated Ilon’s tent and posted some guards to prevent anyone from entering. I’m on way to inform Zyra though.”
“Don’t tell her just yet,” the prince decided.
His friend looked at him incredulously. “Don’t tell me you suspect she’s the culprit!” he exclaimed. “You know how Zyra always views Ilon like a second father.”
“I know, but…” he hesitated. Could he trust Salram? What if his best friend was corrupted as well? “Just tell her that Ilon is dead but don’t reveal to her the murder weapon. We don’t want her to be agitated especially since she’s not keen about the Sendoans. Likewise do the same when you informed the others. We don’t want another fight to happen again.”
Salram nodded. “I understand, but what are you going to do now? If there is someone is trying to kill us, we better prepare.”
“I think it’s best if we sleep in different tents every night. That way the killer won’t be able to find us that easily,” he determined. “I also think it’s a good idea if we don’t know where we’re staying just in case the killer finds one of us. That way we won’t be able to reveal each other’s location accidentally.”
“I guess that makes sense.” His friend looked at him strangely. Did Salram sense that he didn’t trust him completely? “I’ll tell Zyra the plan too since she’s part of the envoy. That reminds me – what are we going to do with the meeting today? I don’t think it’s a good idea to have it especially since emotions will be too high. Not to mention we need to bury Ilon and investigate his death.”
Prince Janaam nodded. “I’ll write a letter informing Lady Cissa that the meeting is going to be cancelled today and have a messenger deliver it to her. She’ll understand.”
“I hope so. Anyway, I’m off.” With that, Salram strolled out of his tent. The Idilarian prince stared at the entrance. Ilon was murdered and most likely in his sleep. Whoever did it was able to sneak in without alarming the guards.
Even though he didn’t want to accept it, he has a feeling that Zyra did the deed. But why? Has she desired the truce between the Duermons and the Sendoans to not work so much to kill a friend? Shaken, he immediately searched for a piece of parchment and his pen to warn Cissa about the danger.
Cissa was getting ready to head to the meeting when a soldier informed her that there was a message for her. Curious, she summoned the young Duermon messenger, who handed her the letter. Recognizing Lord Janaam’s seal, she quickly opened the letter and read it.
To the honorable Lady Cissa Tenya,
Due to a rather unforeseen event that has befallen us, we have had no choice but to postpone today's meeting. Please accept our most sincere apologies for the inconvenience this may cause, we hope to resume all peace talks on the morrow.
Lord Janaam Acesta
PS. Please be vigilant tonight, I fear for your safety and well-being.
She reread the message to make sure she read it correctly. A terrible incident? That didn’t bode well. “Do you know what happened in your camp?” she asked the Duermon, who shook his head.
“No, my lady,” was his reply. He moved closer to her and whispered, “However, there is confusion in camp. Many believed that something terrible happened to Ilon since no one has seen him, but Lord Janaam and the others won’t say anything. When Lord Janaam handed me the letter, he seems quite troubled.”
“I see.” She sat down at her writing table and began writing a response. When she finished, she sealed the letter and handed it to the Duermon messenger. He bowed and took his leave. As soon as he left, she immediately set out to inform the others. They were on their horses waiting for her when she told them the bad news.
“It got cancelled?” Lady Gusenya sniffed. “Maybe the rumors are true and they don’t wish for peace.”
“I highly doubt it. They have more to lose than us. Besides, my sources have told me that the Duermons didn’t seem like they’re preparing for war in their camp.” Lord Putra looked at Cissa concernedly. “Did Lord Janaam tell you why the meeting was postponed?” She shook her head so he sighed. “I see. Well then, what should we do then?”
“We’ll prepare for the meeting tomorrow,” she decided. “Look things over and figure out what we can concede and what issues we need to push. Oh, heighten security as well. If something bad has happened in the Duermon camp, we most likely face something similar soon.”
Everyone nodded and went off to their separate ways. Lord Putra set off to give orders to the soldiers while Lady Gusenya went off with some of the men to inspect the camp border. Cissa watched approvingly as everyone helped out. She was about to head back to her tent to look through some important documents when she sensed someone was watching her. Turning her head toward the source of unease, she was surprised to find it to be her nursemaid. Normally she wouldn’t have thought too much about it, but the way Vienya was staring at her troubled her. It was similar to how a cat stared at a mouse; the old woman was staring at her hungrily as if she was anticipating the chance of catching her.
Feeling suddenly apprehensive, Cissa quickened her pace and headed to her tent. As she flipped through her papers, she realized that her hands were trembling with fright. Likewise she couldn’t concentrate at all and kept looking at the hourglass anxiously. Based on what Janaam wrote in his letter, he still wanted to meet with her tonight. Cissa prayed that nothing bad will happen until then.
Janaam sat on the table as he waited anxiously for Cissa’s arrival in the dimly lit tent. Hopefully nothing bad happened to her. After thirty minutes, he was beginning to worry when he heard a stick snapping outside the tent. He slowly drew out his sword just in case when he heard the duchess’s voice whispering, “It’s me!”
Relaxed, he put his weapon back in its sheath and let her in. “Sorry I was late,” she apologized as she removed her hood. Her wide hazel eyes stared at him. “Vienya kept delaying me by telling me more of her outlandish claims. For once, I’m glad that she left to take her nightly walks because she’s making me skittish.” She exhaled. “Sorry, but I wanted to vent. She’s getting more volatile and it’s starting to get to me. Anyway, what happened in your camp that you were not willing to tell me in your letter?”
“Ilon was murdered.” He studied her stunned reaction and determined that she was genuine.
She covered her mouth with her hands as she slowly sat down in one of the chairs. “He’s dead? But how?” He picked up the murder weapon from the table and unwrapped it from its covering before handing it to her. Her eyes widened when she recognized it. “A Sendoan dagger? Surely, you don’t believe one of my men did the deed!?”
He shook his head. “No, I know that if it was Sendoan assassin, he wouldn’t be stupid enough to use his own weapon. He would most likely use another weapon to try to throw us off. My theory is that someone is trying to set you up with hopes that I would cut off the peace talks entirely and head back home.”
“Who do you think did it?” She looked at him fearfully as if she knew what he was thinking. “And if so, do you think she and Vienya are succeeding?”
“I don’t know,” he answered truthfully. “I didn’t reveal how Ilon died to my men, but already rumors are spreading. I have to punish several of my men because they talked about getting revenge. I really wanted this to work out, but it seemed like whenever we’re about to reach an understanding, something happened and we have to start all over again. It’s so aggravating and sometimes I think fate is working against us!”
Cissa went over and sat next to him. “That’s how I feel sometimes too,” she commiserated, “but I refuse to give up. My uncle works so hard to convince the other government officials to have this meeting and I don’t want to disappoint him if I fail. I know we can achieve our goals, but we just need to find a way.”
“I know what you mean. I was chosen by my… emperor too.” He almost revealed his secret to her but luckily caught himself on time.
“Speaking of your emperor, I’m always curious about how you run your government,” she admitted. He smiled at the change of topic and told her everything including the Succession War. She frowned at that one. “That sounds rather barbaric to me. Why in the world would the ruler of Idilarys have so many lovers to produce so many children? In Sendoa and elsewhere, the rulers have only one spouse to bear an heir.”
“It does sound strange, but we like to have a ruler who we know to be strong and has great leadership quality,” he informed her. “And that’s the best policy for us. Speaking of which, why don’t you tell me about yours?” He listened as she told him about her kingdom and shook his head. “Yours sounds more complicated to me.”
She laughed. “It’s not too bad. If we have an issue with another country, we sometimes agree to an arranged marriage or have a secret meeting to settle the issues…” Cissa jumped up suddenly, which startled Janaam. “That’s it! I think I know how to salvage the peace talk!”
“Really? How?” He stood up next to her and looked at her curiously. She smiled slyly.
“Why don’t we discuss the truce right now? There is no distraction and we can discuss any issues without any interruption. Then we can offer solutions in the meeting the next day. If we have some unforeseen problems, we can meet here later tonight to fix them. What do you think?”
He thought for a moment and grinned. “It could work. Maybe we’ll be able to get something done then. If we did, I suspect the culprit won’t be expecting it and may accidentally reveal himself or herself.”
“Then it settled.” She held out her hand, which he shook. “Let’s get this done and prove to whomever that person is that we’re not going to give up.”
---------- Post added December 30, 2012 at 10:23 PM ---------- Previous post was December 28, 2012 at 04:27 PM ----------
Farth 24, 2270
Shintra listened as his spies revealed to him what was happening in their camp. So far everything was going according to plan. Both camps were in disarray and chaos especially in the Duermon side. Ever since Ilon’s death, the tension between the two sides have increased drastically and more scuffles have occurred, which forced the envoys to shorten the meeting. Sooner or later, they would have to give up and return home. That was when he’s going to step in.
He’ll appear before the Duermons and make his presence known. Before they could react, he would use his power to bend them to his will. With his nephew under his control, he would force them to attack the Sendoans and capture any survivors especially Lady Cissa. After using his magic on the Sendoans, he would send both of the parties on their merry little ways. When they arrived back to their respective capitals, he would have both claimed that the other side ambushed them, which would any chance of peace irretrievable. With both Prince Janaam and Duchess Cissa in his pocket, he could easily manipulate both governments to benefit him as well. Of course, he could have just showed up at the meeting and put them under his spell just like he did with Fulong, but what’s the fun in that?
“My lord, what are my new orders?” He woke up from his daydream and looked at Zyra. Ever since he forced her to kill her old friend, she has become more earnest in her duty. It was as if the minute part of her that resisted him gave up and completely embraced his hold on her. He didn’t have to worry about that with Vienya, who did everything he asked without questions. It was strange, but he’s not going to dwell on it.
“Continue spreading rumors,” he told her. “I have a feeling the peace talk is going to be broken soon. When it does, I want you to inform me so I can get ready. Then I want you to make sure that Janaam and the others didn’t leave so soon until I get there. The same goes to you, Vienya. Make sure that your charge doesn’t do anything foolish. I don’t want Lady Cissa harm.”
Zyra bristled when she heard the name and Shintra felt a pang of jealousy flowing from her. Tsk, tsk. Doesn’t she know that expression was unbecoming of her? He slowly decreased that emotion until her face became calm again.
“Understood, my lord,” Vienya replied, obvious to what happened. “I will perform my duty with the utmost importance.”
“I will as well,” the girl Duermon said and saluted him. Smiling, she continued as she turned to leave, “Soon you will have control all of Illica with no one ever suspecting it.”
As he headed back to his men, who were hiding on the other side of the river, Shintra mused about Zyra’s words. Ruling the continent did have a nice ring to it. He could manipulate the Sendoan government to bring down more soldiers to the border, where his men can ambush them. The same could be said about Idilarys. He would help Prince Janaam become emperor and used him as a puppet to create laws that were to his advantage. Thinking of all of the possibilities, he smiled.
Farth 25, 2270
“It seemed like we have reached an impasse,” Lord Putra said wearily. Everyone reluctantly agreed. So far no one was willing to compromise about the Parasitic and Possessor Duermon issue because both sides didn’t wish to be viewed as caving in.
“It looks that way,” Janaam agreed as he shiftily glanced at Cissa. She gave him a small smile and quickly hid it so no one would suspect anything.
Salram patted him on the back. “Oh, looks on the bright side, Janaam,” he said as he tried to cheer him up. “At least we agreed on the other issues.”
“He’s right,” Zyra agreed. “It’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t agree on everything.”
You didn’t help either, Cissa thought dryly. Even though the she sounded upset about it, the duchess felt that the Duermon was gloating. Her friend, Gusenya, nodded. “Very unfortunate indeed,” she sighed. “Oh well, nothing we can do about it. Let’s just signed the treaty for now and hopefully we can meet again to settle the remaining issue.”
As everyone signed the piece of document, Cissa felt the butterflies in her stomach. Hopefully no one read through the long text thoroughly or else they would notice the addendum that she and Janaam have written secretly last night. When the last person finished signing, she breathed a sigh of relief. Good, no one paid attention. She handed the copies of the treaties to the messengers, who left to deliver them to their respective rulers. After everyone congratulated each other for the progress they made, she decided to announce the news.
“Are we finished then?” Her voice sounded so shaky now that she knew it was time to reveal the big surprise. “Well then, I better get packing if I wish to join Lord Janaam and his company as they head back to Idilarys.”
Just as she thought, everyone was in an uproar. “What is the meaning of this!?” Putra demanded; his face was purple with anger. But then everyone’s expression was similar to his. They ranged from shock to disbelief.
Taking a deep breath, she continued but with a more determined voice, “Lord Janaam and I felt that the reason we can’t work on some of the issues is because we don’t have a clear understanding of each other. To improve our countries’ relationship with each other, we have agreed to have an arranged marriage. I will be staying with my new husband in his homeland and hope to learn more about his culture. While I’m staying in Idilarys, I will also teach the emperor and the other government officials about Sendoan customs. It has been written down in the treaty, which has already been signed by all of you.”
“This is outrageous!” Gusenya exclaimed. “And what’s about your position as Duchess of Tiena?”
“I’ll step down of course,” she replied calmly. “I know this is sudden, but I’m sure you can handle things back home, Gusenya.”
Her friend sighed. “All right, but I only agree because I know how stubborn you are. However, I don’t think your uncle will be thrilled that his favorite niece is going to leave him.”
Putra was less appeased. “Are you sure you haven’t been bewitched, Lady Cissa? Or perhaps possessed?”
“I’m sure, Putra,” she said very politely. “If you don’t believe me, you can have one of the exorcists to examine me.”
“But what’s about after you arrive there? I’m sure there are several Possessor and Parasitic Duermons who would love to have you!”
“Don’t worry about them, Lord Putra,” Janaam intervened. “Lady Cissa will be allowed to wear a talisman that would prevent such things. I promise by my father’s name that I won’t let anything terrible happens to her.”
The older man started to open his mouth to protest but decided against it. “Gusenya is right, isn’t she?” He glanced at Cissa resignedly. “You’ve already made up your mind and no one is going to convince you otherwise.
On the other hand, Salram was amused. “This isn’t what I anticipated from this!” he chortled as he leaned back on his chair. “So when did you two lovebirds plan this out?”
“A couple nights ago,” the Duermon lord admitted. “We were secretly meeting each other to work out the unresolved issue. We tried every other idea, but that was the best one we can think of. I know most of you are displeased by this revelation but please understand that we have both countries’ interests in mind.”
“You’ve gone too far, Janaam,” Zyra warned; her eyes were full of rage. “I’ve never heard anything this ridiculous!”
“I know you’re upset, Zyra, but it’s official.” Janaam reached over to hold her hands, but she swapped it away. “We can have peace with the Sendoans, but it will take time.”
“You don’t want peace,” she snarled. “You just wish to coddle favors from your father!” Before he could stop her, she stormed out of the tent. Cissa stared at him curiously but he just gave her a sheepish look.
“I better go after her,” he said. She nodded so he ran after Zyra. Salram bowed apologetically and followed behind as well, which left her with her advisors.
She cleared her throat. “Ahem… I think we have a lot of excitement for today. Let’s head back to camp and pack up. We’ll leave tomorrow.” As they slowly left the tent one by one, she prayed that Janaam and her strategy were going according to plan.
“So when were you going to tell me?” Janaam looked up from packing and saw an amused Salram standing in the doorway. He could see from the opening that it was evening.
“At the meeting,” he confessed as he stuffed his clothes into his bag. “Lady Cissa and I wanted it to be a surprise since we knew if any of you found out, you would have stopped us.”
His friend raised his hands innocently. “You know I wouldn’t. To be honest, I thought it was a nice prank.” He narrowed his eyes as he studied the young prince. “It is a joke, right?”
“Of course not!” Janaam said indignantly. “Why would we be joking about a serious matter?” However, Salram did have a point. When they formulated the plan, they did it out of desperation. Did they actually intend to follow that part of the agreement? He was pondering that question when something caught his eyes.
Zyra was poking her head out of her tent and looking around as if she was making sure no one was paying attention to her. As soon as she knew the coast was clear, she snuck out of the camp. Now was his move. After grabbing his sword, he gently pushed his friend aside and chased after her as he shouted back, “Oh, I think I forgot something from the meeting area. I’ll be right back! Keep an eye on the camp and don’t forget to pack your belongings!” Salram was notorious for being a procrastinator.
“Hm? Okay, but you owe me.” The Duermon prince just shook his head. He’ll worry about what his friend meant by that later. Right now he needed to catch up to Zyra and find out whom she working for. At first, he lost sight of her but later spotted entering the forest from the corner of his eyes. He immediately followed her though he made sure to keep a safe distance. Luckily for him, it seemed like she didn’t notice. As he proceeded cautiously, Janaam hoped that his impudence doesn’t cost him.
“Of all of the foolish things that you’ve done, this is the worst! What will the people thing when they hear that the Duchess of Tiena is going to live with the Duermons!? Do you actually believe that your uncle will allow it?” Cissa listened as her nursemaid scolded her and tried her best not to roll her eyes. Instead, she continued gathering her belongings and packing them in her luggage. She needed to pack light for the journey, but she couldn’t decide on what to bring. Hmm… what else should she pack? She’s heard that the weather was much warmer in Idilarys so should she just leave her winter clothing behind? She wished wistfully that Janaam was there because he would tell her the answers.
“Are you even listening to me!?” Finally having enough of Vienya’s tirade, she turned around and faced the old woman.
Smiling sweetly, she replied, “Of course, Vienya. You’ve been saying the same old thing for the past fifteen minutes.”
The other woman glared at her for the longest time before turning away and muttering underneath her breaths. Cissa thought she heard the words “disrespectful” and “stubborn” though she pretended she didn’t hear anything. Unfortunately, she still has trouble concentrating on her task. “If you’re still going to rant, would you please go outside? It’s hard to focus and I need to get ready tomorrow.”
Vienya suddenly stopped pacing and stared at her. “Do you expect Lord Putra or Lady Gusenya to readily agree with your crazy plans?” she sneered. “They just pretended to agree with you at the meeting, but they’re not going to follow through with it. They would hate to be the ones trying to explain to your uncle why his favorite niece left with the Duermons. Already they have placed guards at your tent to keep an eye on you and prevent you from leaving.”
“I figure that they would do that, but they’re not going to stop me.” Cissa was planning to leave that night by sneaking through the back. “I’ve already made my decision and no one is going to prevent me from leaving with Janaam.”
Vienya’s expression darkened and the duchess felt a sudden chill in the air. Before she could even blink, her nursemaid flew toward her and pressed a knife against her waist. “If you won’t listen to reason, maybe he will convince you.”
---------- Post added January 02, 2013 at 12:32 AM ---------- Previous post was December 30, 2012 at 10:23 PM ----------
Janaam hesitated. He has lost sight of Zyra while he was venturing through the woods. It was difficult navigating through the forest due to the twisted roots and lack of light and now he didn’t know where to go. Unfortunately, he was so intent on following his friend that he didn’t pay attention to where he was going, which meant that he was lost. Great. Now what should he do?
Snap! He heard a stick snapping behind him so he immediately withdrew his sword and spun around swiftly. Imagine his surprise to find his blade pointing at a startled Zyra’s throat. She was planning a sneak attack on him based on the fact that her right hand has almost reached the hilt of her weapon. The Duermon prince calmed himself down and quietly told her, “You know that I’m faster than you, Zyra. I thought you would have remembered from all the time we spar with each other. Now remove your belt and toss your weapon out of reach.”
She complied though she was sneering at him. “So you caught me; now what are you going to do?” she taunted. He looked at her sadly. She has changed drastically from the childhood friend he once knew. She used to be reasonable and calm; she would tease him and offer support whenever he needs it. The Zyra he was confronting right now was volatile and dangerous. What could have happened in the past few days to do that to her?
“Simple,” he answered. “Now you’re going to lead me to the person who’s pulling the strings. Keep your hands raise up and no funny business. Now let’s go.”
As she walked past by him, she gave him a smirk as if she knew that he has no idea what he was dealing with. He mentally reminded himself to be on alert as he glanced around his surroundings. However, they didn’t encounter any other creatures in the woods and the only noise was from the nocturnal animals that were out and about. After a while, he began to wonder if Zyra was just tricking him until she announced, “We’re here.”
He found himself in a clearing, which was brightly lit by the moonlight. It was mostly just grass, which started to turn brown and three boulders of various sizes that stretched to the heavens. At first he didn’t see anyone until he heard a male voice called out, “What is the meaning of this, Zyra? I thought I told you to be careful. Not to mention you’re late.”
Startled, Janaam looked up to find a fellow Duermon sitting on the tallest boulder and staring down at them. He has dark green, long hair and eyes that gleamed dangerously off the moonlight. He wore a black coat with ornate jewels decorating the front, black pants, and black boots. However, he appeared not to have any weapon on him and didn’t seem to be strong, which Janaam didn’t expect at all.
“I’m sorry, Lord Shintra, but I didn’t know he was following me until it was too late,” Zyra replied matter-of-factly. “I should have been more careful.”
Lord Shintra? He has never heard a nobleman with that name before. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even remembering seeing this stranger at any royal functions. So how did Zyra know him? Feeling wary, he pressed his sword against Zyra’s throat threateningly. “Who are you?” he demanded. “How did you know Zyra and why are you so intent on preventing peace between the Sendoans and us?”
The mysterious Duermon just smiled at him and jumped down to the ground casually. “Forgive my manners, but I should have introduced myself beforehand,” he apologized. “But first, let me get my other guests so I don’t have to say my introduction twice. Vienya!” Vienya appeared from behind the boulders and she was dragging someone with her. It was…
“Cissa!?” The Duchess of Tiena looked at him with alarm. Her hair, which was usually neat and tidy, was in disarray. Her riding dress was torn as well. Vienya has grabbed her left wrist so tightly that it was turning white. They stopped right next to Shintra, who turned his attention to Janaam and Zyra.
“Now if you don’t want Lady Cissa to be harmed, I recommend that you surrender,” he said with a slight threat in his voice. Seeing that he didn’t have any choice, he reluctantly dropped his weapon, which Zyra grabbed readily and used against him. “Good choice, but I should know that since intelligence does run in our family. Am I right, Prince Janaam Acesta?"
Shintra wanted to laugh at his two prisoners’ astonished reactions though they were for different reasons. Lady Cissa stopped struggling and stared at his nephew in amazement. “You’re one of Emperor Celab’s sons!?” she exclaimed. However, Prince Janaam didn’t pay any attention to her. Instead the young Duermon looked at him in disbelief.
“Wait a minute! What do you mean by ‘our family’? I’ve never seen you before in my life!” he demanded. He would have rushed toward him, but Zyra pressed his sword at his back to remind him of his place so he stopped reluctantly. Shintra didn’t answer immediately and why should he? He has managed to capture two prominent leaders and from what he has discerned from this situation, no one else knew where they were. At first, he was flustered when he heard about their marriage proposal since he didn’t expect it, but now that he thought more about it, he realized that he could use it to his advantage.
Sitting down, he turned his attention to the Duchess of Tiena and stroked her hair as a sign of affection. She was a lovely young woman and she would be a nice addition to his collection of women he sleeps with. In fact, he was about to use his magic on her when he heard Zyra and Janaam’s arrival. However, since his nephew’s arrival, he decided to use it on both of them later; he wanted to see their reactions especially Janaam’s when he revealed his identity to them first.
“Of course, we’re family, Janaam,” he began as he raised his hands as if it was very obvious. “My name is Shintra, and I’m your uncle though you never heard of me since I was in hiding until now. I bet even your father didn’t know that I existed.”
The young prince still looked at him skeptically. “I don’t believe you. Your name isn’t in the family archives. Why would you be in hiding anyway? If you’re really my uncle, then you should have known about the Concade Accord.”
“I know about that,” Shintra jeered, “but it was because my mother’s life was in danger. If it wasn’t, then I wouldn’t be staying with the Parasitic and Possessor Duermons.”
His nephew paused as he pondered what he has said. Finally he asked, “Who was your mother?”
“Magges.” Shintra gave him a haughty look as his nephew looked at him, startled. “She was probably one of your grandfather’s concubines so you probably didn’t know about it.” However Prince Janaam shook his head.
“You’re wrong,” he said. “She’s not one of my grandfather’s concubines; she was a wanted criminal – a traitor, to be precise.”
“She was a traitor,” Janaam repeated calmly. “According to the records, your mother worked in the palace kitchen and her husband, Zygas (your real father), worked as a steward. For the past year or so, they plotted to poison the late Emperor Xengen Cenlyas and his family with hopes that in the chaos, they can seize control of the government. Unfortunately for them, Zygas was notorious for his love of alcohol. One night, he had a bit too many and blabbed his plans to the patrons in the bar. Some of the customers were the royal guards who immediately arrested him.
“However, when they came to arrest your mother at her home, she was on her way to work when she heard wind about it. Realizing her plans were foiled, she escaped the capital. Meanwhile, your father was questioned but he refused to reveal where his wife might be hiding. He went to trial and found guilty of treason, which was punishable by death. Your father was immediately executed within a month. During that time, an order was given to find your mother. In spite of the fact that every soldiers and citizens in the country were looking for her, Magges seemed to disappear from the face of the earth
“No one knows that she was pregnant so we wouldn’t have known about your existence,” he concluded and looked at him strangely. “The odd thing is that the crime happened over 1000 years ago. Your mother is definitely dead, but why do you look like you’re around the same age as me? You should be around the same age as my father. Why is that?”
However, Shintra wasn’t listening to what Prince Janaam was saying. He was still stunned about the revelation about his birth. That brat was lying just to make him look like a fool! That must be it. A part of him knew that the young Duermon was telling the truth though. Now that he thought about it, his mother’s rants made sense.
“If that man hasn't opened his stupid mouth, you would have been emperor of all of Idilarys. I knew that I shouldn't have trusted that drunkard...” Her words rang through his head. Was the drunkard his father then? Likewise, he recalled what Argus said. The Parasitic Duermon was right then; he wasn’t a prince. He was just a delusional fool who didn’t want to accept reality.
He didn’t know he was laughing until he heard Vienya asked hesitantly, “My lord, are you all right?”
Shintra looked up and noticed that everyone was staring at him nervously. It seemed like they thought he has snapped and might do something reckless. They were somewhat right. Taking a deep breath, he regained his composure and gave Janaam a cold smile. “If I remember correctly, you wanted to know how I was able to convince your friend to join my cause. Instead of explaining it to you, why don’t I just show you?”
Before Janaam could react, Shintra grabbed his soul. The prince gasped out in pain as he fell to his knees and clutched his chest. He stared at the older Duermon in alarm; his eyes burned a bright green as he struggled for control. “What are you doing to him!?” Cissa cried out as she struggled to break free so she could help the prince. Without even a glance at her, Shintra seized control of her soul. He could hear her cried out in surprise.
“Stay put, Lady Cissa,” he informed her. “I’ll deal with you after I finish with your fiancé.” Walking toward the prince, he continued, “At first, I thought of using you to be my pawn so I could rule Idilarys behind the shadows. I change my mind though; I don’t need you at all. I have Zyra and she could help me pull the strings within your government. Instead I’m going to make you kill yourself. I’ll manipulate Lady Cissa into rejecting the treaty at the last second so you feel ashamed that you disappointed your father. Not willing to face him, you will commit suicide by stabbing yourself with your sword. Zyra will discover your body and report it to your men.
“Meanwhile, Lady Cissa will announce that she has decided not to marry you and live in Idilarys. Everyone would put two-and-two together and just assume that you two were meeting secretly for the last time. They would believe that she has second thoughts and that you tried your best to convince her but failed. When your men made that conclusion, they would blame her for your death. With your death, there is no way your people will have peace with the Sendoans. Now be a good boy and die.”
---------- Post added January 03, 2013 at 12:43 AM ---------- Previous post was January 02, 2013 at 12:32 AM ----------
Janaam felt like he was battling a storm. A wave of what he assumed to be Shintra’s power kept pounding into him as he struggled to fight for control. “Be a good boy and die.” That sentence kept repeating in his head like a mantra as if it won’t stop until he did the deed. He suddenly heard a soft thump right next to him and realized that Zyra must have tossed his sword so he could complete the task. As he reached out for his sword, he heard Cissa cried out, “Why are you doing this to us?”
“Why?” Shintra pondered that question. “Mostly I like the status quo since it really benefits me. However, making all of you my playthings is quite entertaining as well. I think I’m going to enjoy my time with you. I never sleep with a duchess before, but I’m sure that it will be rather pleasant. But for now, let’s watch as your lover boy kills himself. This will be your last time to see him alive.”
Something snapped inside him. How dare that bastard toy with them! After all that time they worked so hard to achieve peace, that blasted Duermon acted like it was some sort of game. He’s going to stop Shintra if that was the last thing he’ll do. Now full of determination and anger, he grabbed his sword. Instead of aiming his weapon at himself, Janaam pointed it at Shintra. “Hm? And what do you think you’re doing, Janaam?” Shintra mused. “I thought I convince you to kill yourself not to point that blade at me. Now do it.”
The prince felt a new wave of magic tried to overwhelm like a boulder was being placed on his shoulders. However, he refused to cave in and continued aiming the sword at the man. Shintra’s expression changed from being cocky to bewilderment. “What the…? Why isn’t my power working on you?” he said, baffled. “Do I need to use more of it to control you? That must be it.”
That was when Janaam felt like he was being engulfed by Shintra’s power, but he continued to defy him. Nevertheless, he knew that he won’t be able to hold it off and eventually he would be under that Duermon’s control. He needed to make a move now, but he was having difficulty forcing his body to move. It was already a struggle pointing his weapon at that man so how could he forced himself to swing his sword? Just as he felt desperation fill inside him, something flew past him and hit Shintra in the shoulder.
Shintra felt a pang in his right shoulder and was stunned to find an arrow sticking out from it. He yanked it out and searched for the location of the shooter. Based on the trajectory, the arrow came from… there. Light blue glowing eyes stared back at him from a distance. Based on Zyra’s description, that must be Salram. What a fool! He’ll make that archer regret hitting him. Shintra went to grab his soul and was shocked to discover that he couldn’t reach it for some reason. Frowning, he tried again but failed. During that time, another arrow almost hit him but luckily, Zyra jumped in the way and got hit instead though it was just a minor wound.
“Run, my lord!” she cried as she held her hand over her injury. “I’ll try to delay them until you escape.” However, he just stood there, frozen. He knew that he was panicking. Why wasn’t his magic working on Salram? Now that he thought about it, why didn’t it work on Janaam? Has he used it too much that it no longer become effective? All of a sudden, he felt a sharp pain between his shoulder blades, which caused him to stagger.
Looking back, he saw an unconscious Vienya, whose head was bleeding, was on the ground. Lady Cissa was standing above him blood as she gripped the Duermon dagger shakily; her hands were covered with his. Dammit, he was so distracted by what was happening that he lost control over her so she managed to break free to stab him in the back. He’s going to make that bitch pay for her insolence.
He was about to grab her soul when he saw a metallic blue blade flashed across his face. “Don’t even think about it, Shintra,” Janaam warned though he didn’t seem to have enough strength to even hold his sword. “Surrender now and your punishment might be less severe.”
A flustered Shintra just stood there without saying a word. His whole empire, which he has spent centuries building, was collapsing before his eyes. How could it happen? He was immortal – no, invincible. He wasn’t supposed to be defeated like this – defeated by mere mortals. He was superior to them and shouldn’t be ordered around like a lowly servant.
“Janaam!” Cissa’s scream woke him from his stupor. Prince Janaam has collapsed and the duchess has run over to tend to him. Realizing that they were distracted, he quickly made his escape. He has no qualms leaving Vienya and Zyra behind though. They have failed him and were no longer useful to him. As he stumbled through the woods, he thought he heard Cissa shouted that he was escaping. Shit! He needed to get away fast or else he’ll get captured. Unfortunately, he was losing strength due to his wounds. With every ounce of strength left in his body, he forced himself to press on.
“Janaam, please wake up!” He felt someone slapping his face so he opened his eyes to see who it was. The first thing he saw was Cissa’s relieved face. That was when he realized that she has placed his head on her lap and that she has lovingly brushed his hair off his eyes. She looked toward her left and shouted, “Salram, he’s awake!”
He heard footsteps and a few seconds later, Salram’s face appeared into view. “Thanks the gods!” he breathed. “I was worried that I arrived too late. Really, Janaam! You know how to make your men worry.”
“What happened?” he asked as he slowly sat up and looked around. Vienya was still unconscious while Zyra was being treated by a medic. Both were tied up and were guarded by Sendoan and Duermon soldiers. He was also surprised to find Lord Putra and Lady Gusenya mingling around both races as they gave out orders. “How did you find us anyway?”
Salram gave him a smug look. “Zyra wasn’t the only one acting suspicious,” he explained. “I suspected that you were up to something so I followed you one night and saw that you two lovebirds were secretly meeting each other.” He laughed at their surprised reactions. “You know, you would make a horrible spy, Janaam. At first, I thought you two were the ones spreading those horrible rumors, but that wouldn’t make sense. I was still stumped about your plan until you announced your sudden engagement today. That was very clever, I have to admit. No one would have thought of that.
“Anyway, as soon as you left tonight, I gather a small group of men to follow you though we kept a great distance. I saw you and Zyra meeting with that strange Duermon; then I saw Lady Cissa and her nursemaid appeared behind those rocks. I wasn’t sure if this was another of your secret rendezvous until I heard Cissa shouting with fear. That was when I realized that you were in danger so I shot at that bastard. Whatever he was doing to you, he stopped especially after Lady Cissa stopped him in the back.” He turned his attention toward her and nodded approvingly. “I have to say that I’m rather impressed, my lady. Lord Janaam will have to make sure not to anger you.”
“Thank you, Salram, but I was panicking.” She blushed. “It was a good thing they didn’t search underneath my skirt or else they would have found my dagger.” She cleared her throat and turned her attention to Lady Gusenya and Lord Putra, who were approaching the three. “Anyway how did you two find us? Were you spying on us just like Salram?”
They shook their heads. “No, we didn’t,” Lady Gusenya admitted. “I went to check on you tonight and noticed that both Vienya and you were missing. I immediately alerted Putra and we led a search party to look for you. To be honest, we thought you have run off due to the note you left in your tent and went to stop you. However, we bumped into Salram, who told us the situation. It was very fortunate that we were here in time to save you two. Who knows what would happen if both of you were killed?”
“Indeed,” Lord Putra agreed as he gave Janaam and Cissa a disapproving look, which reminded the prince of the time he got in trouble with his tutor. “We would be in great trouble with both rulers if they find out something terrible happened to their envoys especially your father, Prince Janaam. And yes, we know about your secret so don’t give us that look; Salram told us.”
He sighed; he should have known that sooner or later, they would have discovered his true identity. Standing up gingerly, he used Cissa and Salram as support as he bowed his head to show his appreciation. “Thank you for your help,” he told them. Turning to the prisoners, he asked, “And what should we do with them?”
As soon as she noticed he was looking at her, Zyra became agitated and began shouting about how “Lord Shintra” would be back to save her and that they should better watch out. Salram shook his head. “We’ll take Zyra back with us while Lord Putra and Lady Gusenya agreed to take Vienya back with them. Hopefully our respective magicians can figure out how to reverse what that monster did to them.”
“I hope so,” Cissa said as she shivered. “It was a terrifying experience, that’s for sure. It was like he was tempting me to forget everything about myself and let him take over my life. To think that Vienya and Zyra experienced that and eventually succumbed to his power…” She shuddered again. Janaam knew what she was thinking; they were lucky.
“Anyway, have we managed to catch the fugitive?” he inquired. The others shook their heads. “We need to catch him before he gets away! Remember to be careful around him though since his magic can turn the most loyal men into his personal servants.”
“Understood, but…” Salram hesitated and Janaam noticed that the human nobles were giving each other nervous looks. He signaled his friend to go on. “… I don’t know how to say it, but we can easily track him down since he left a trial. However…” He shook his head. “Why don’t I show it to you? It’s easier to see it than to explain it.”
He led them to edge of the woods and both of them were amazed to see ceraphilis flowers blooming. “The gods’ flower?” Janaam gasped. “I thought only the gods were the only ones able to create that flower. How could Shintra be able to produce the ceraphilis flower? He’s a mortal like us!”
“Perhaps, but maybe he’s not a mortal,” his friend suggested.
“But his parents are mortal! He even told me his mother’s name!”
Salram shrugged. “Who knows? The gods work in mysterious ways after all. We can solve that mystery after we capture him. Right now, Lady Cissa and you should get some rest. We do have a busy day tomorrow.”
The prince wanted to protest, but he felt a hand on his shoulder. “He’s right, Janaam,” Cissa told him. “We need enough rest so we have enough energy to head home. After all, I’ve heard that the journey to Hinnon is quite long.”
He looked at her incredulously. “You’re coming with us!?”
“Of course,” she said matter-of-factly. “It is part of the agreement, right? Or did you think I change my mind?”
“N-n-not at all!” he stammered. “It’s just that I thought you have a change of heart especially after what Shintra said.”
She gave him a cold stare, which caused him to step back. “As if I would let that lowlife tell me what to do!” she growled. “I’m going with you and that’s final. Besides…” She took a deep breath and looked down at the ground embarrassingly. “… when he was trying to force you to kill yourself, I realize that I didn’t want to lose you.”
Janaam suddenly felt that his face was hot and he looked down, embarrassed as well. “Okay, you two,” an upbeat Salram said as he wrapped his arms around them and led them away. “You can discuss your feelings with each other another time. Right now, it’s bedtime! Lord Putra and Lady Gusenya can handle things from here, right?”
“You can count on us,” Lord Putra promised and he turned to Lady Cissa. “Good night, Lady Cissa. I’ll deliver your letter to your uncle though I don’t know if he would be pleased to read it. Hopefully I can convince him that you’ll be in safe hands. As for you, Prince Janaam, you better take good care of her. If King Enlan Tiang finds out something terrible happens to her, you better pray that you were dead before he hunts you down.”
“Understood, sir.” Janaam gulped. The Sendoans actually meant business. He heard Cissa giggled quietly and he has to smile. Holding her hand, he realized that nothing would ever come between them.
While that was happening, Shintra was still busy trying to evade his pursuers. He thought he heard some shouting close by. Dammit! They were getting closer. How irritating especially since he almost has reached the river! Just a few more steps and he could reunite with his men. All of a sudden, he tripped over an uprooted root and fell flat on his face. As he slowly stood up, a wave of dizziness fell upon him. He was losing blood especially after that blasted girl stabbed him in the back. Already he felt the energy ebbing from his body. He knew that sensation; he was going to die again. Weakened, he forced himself to continued walking until finally he collapsed.
He woke up to find himself in a strange land. He was on a platform with strange glowing orbs fluttering around him. Below him were numerous amount of souls; some of which he has manipulated when they were alive. In fact, he saw a large quantity of them were Aerians. Was he in the fabled land of Valendor, the Land of the Dead?
“So you finally make your presence known, Duermon.” Startled, he turned around to find himself face-to-face with a young man. He wore a black robe with gold trimming, which has ancient writing on them. He also carried a lantern staff with him as he casually walked up to him. If he remembered his reading, the robe and the staff belonged to Seitha. Why did this young pup have them now?
“Who are you?” he demanded.
The boy halted and answered, “I should be the one who ask you that question. My mother has been searching for you for a long time, and she would be glad to find out that you’re finally here.”
“Don’t toy with me, boy,” Shintra warned. “I am superior over you so if you refuse to answer me, then I’ll force you to do so.” He reached out to grab the boy’s soul and was shock to discover that he couldn’t see nor grab it.
The young man arched his eyebrow. “Are you finished? If so, please tell me your name, but then it doesn’t matter if you don’t. I’ve already informed the others about you and provided a detailed description so there is no way they can lose you now.”
Shintra was teeming mad. What on earth was going on with his power? First it was Janaam and Cissa; now this brat? Maybe he should use another soul. He pointed at some gnarly men close by and ordered, “You three, seize him! I command you!” However, they stared at him blankly before continuing their business. Impossible! Was his power worthless here?
“So that’s what you been doing!” the boy said angrily. “I was wondering why some of the souls seem out of sorts. You’ve been altering their souls. Do you know how much damage you cause? It took the wisps and me forever to figure out how to cleanse their souls!”
“Cleanse their souls”? Wait a minute; did this boy take over Seitha’s place? “So what if I did?” he asked defiantly. “You can’t do anything about it because I’m immortal.”
“True,” the boy conceded but suddenly smiled. “I may not be able to do anything to you, but the others can. I’ll make sure to tell Alethea to make you suffer though I bet I don’t need to tell her that. I think she was planning to do that anyway.”
“What do you mean by ‘the others’?” Shintra demanded. He knew about the Sendoans but there were more? “How many of us are there?”
“You’ll see soon enough,” Seitha’s successor said simply. That was when Shintra felt himself floating away and Valendor began to fade away. “Oh, before I forget my manners, my name is Pendance, and this is my domain.”
He woke up with a gasp. Looking around, he realized that when he died, he must have fallen down a slope. Shintra stood up and immediately wiped the mud off his clothes. How long was he dead? Based on the sky, it was still night time so he was dead for an hour or more. He listened carefully, but it seemed like his pursuers have given up the search for him. That’s good, but he still recalled that boy – Pendance, was it? – saying that the others were looking for him. Dammit, he better hurried back to his men before he get caught. There was no way in hell he would be a prisoner.
Fortunately for him, he could hear the sound of water. That meant that he was close to the river. Maybe his luck was improving after that debacle with Prince Janaam and Duchess Cissa. Feeling his self-confidence increase, he immediately set off. Sure enough, he could see the river after walking for half an hour. When he saw it, he quickened his pace. He could see his men waiting for him in the far distance as he just exited the forest. Just a few more steps…
All of a sudden, a burst of light exploded right in front of him so he had to place his arms in front of his eyes. Coughing, he moved his arms down and was astonished to see three women standing in front of him. Where did they come from? They definitely weren’t Sendoans; one has reddish-blonde hair while the other was dark-skinned. The one that flabbergasted him the most was the last one – an Aerian. He thought he got rid of all of them. How could he miss one?
“Stay back, Kejuta,” she said simply as she withdrew her spear and her armor seemed to grow from within her body. What kind of Aerian magic was that? He’s never heard or read about that form of magic before. She stared at him intently as if she was trying to figure out how much pain she could cause him. “I’ll take care of him.”
“All right, but be careful, Alethea,” the pale-skinned woman replied as she and the other stood back. “My son has already told you about him.”
“I know, but it seemed like he’s not the fighting type so it should be quick.” Before he could even make a move, she flew toward him. He panicked at first, but he then remembered his power. He’ll just grab her soul and… he gaped when he realized that he couldn't grasp her soul. What was going on?
A shadow fell upon him and he realized that she was right above him. When did that happen? Her armor glistened in the moonlight. “You should pay more attention to your opponent, Duermon,” she said and shoved her spear at him. She hit him with the blunt part of her weapon in the stomach, which knocked the wind out of him. As he lay on the muddy shore, he could see men watching him. His last thought before he fell unconscious was that he was ashamed that he got beaten up so easily right in front of them.
---------- Post added at 08:22 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:43 AM ----------
“Are you finally going to talk, Duermon?” Kejuta asked as she circled around the last Ilmarian. He was currently sitting on a chair in the middle of the room; Aundra has placed a seal underneath him to ensure that he couldn’t escape. Besides Aundra and herself, Alethea, Brenton, and Marika were in the room. While the Aerian was there to guard the prisoner, the others were supposed to help interrogate him and make some observation. Unfortunately, they haven’t made any progress even after they introduced themselves and explained why the gods appointed them as their successors.
The Duermon cocked his head toward her; his emerald eyes sparkled off from the light in the room. “Perhaps,” he answered haughtily. “It will depend on the questions though.”
She sighed, but at least she’s slowly making progress. “First of all, what is your name?”
“Well then, Shintra, when did you die?”
“Hmmm… I guess it should be over 600 years ago; 608 years to be exact. Not that I kept count anyway.”
Huh, so that meant that he died around the same time Aundra woke up from her coma and the time when she has that second dream. That was also the same time that Thesben died. She shook her head. No, she’s not going to think about that now. Right now, it’s business. “When you died the first time, you experienced a dream. Why don’t you describe it to us?”
Shintra crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair. “And why should I?”
Kejuta grinded her teeth but calmly replied, “It’s so that we can figure out what role the gods want you to have and what kind of magic was bestow upon you.”
“I see…” He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “It wasn’t much except I was just surrounded in darkness. Then I heard a strange voice, but unfortunately I can’t recall what it said.”
“He’s lying, Kejuta!” Alethea declared as she tightened her grip on what the Ilmarian of Fate assumed to be a Thread of Lie. Shintra winced in pain but refused to say a word. The Aerian glared at the Duermon and continued, “He does remember what happened but he refuses to tell us for some reason.”
She thought so. Kejuta studied the Duermon, but he just looked at her defiantly as if daring her to do her worst on him. “Stand down, Alethea,” she told the Ilmarian of Truth, who reluctantly obliged. Turning to the others, she noticed that Aundra gave her a slight nod, which meant she has determined how Shintra’s magic works, and decided, “I think we have enough for now. Alethea, continue keeping an eye on him while I will discuss with the others on what to do with him.”
“Understood.” As she walked by the Aerian, Alethea muttered underneath her breath, “Be careful, Kejuta. From what Argus told me, he’s very dangerous and seems like the type who bides his time to strike.”
The Ilmarian of Fate nodded; her instinct has told her that the Duermon was dangerous. After Marika created a portal to Welvaria, she and the others departed. She was about to step through the portal when she stopped herself and turned around. “I hope you’ll be more agreeable by the time we get back, Shintra,” she informed him. “It will make thing much easier for the both of us.” With that said, she left.
Shintra watched amusingly as his kidnappers disappeared through that hole in the air. Hmm… so there were exactly fourteen immortals total; four more than the original creators of the world. Interesting. Not to mention the fact that each of them was given a role, which supposedly help make sure the world would run smoothly. However, calling themselves “Ilmarians” were laughable! They are gods; why should they call themselves another name besides that?
Though they didn’t explain why his magic couldn’t work on them while their magic was still effective on him. Maybe he needed to test it out on one of them. He turned his attention to the only “Ilmarian” in the room. The Aerian – her name was Alethea if he recalled correctly – watched him warily, which was how it was supposed to be. Based on her appearance, she would be considered a youngster when she was killed. Smiling, he said smugly, “If I have known that one of the Aerians was destined to be an immortal, I would have General Fulong capture you and bring you to me first before ordering your people’s annihilation.”
Anger flashed in her eyes and before he could say another word, she slammed him and his chair against the floor. As she placed her knee on his chest, she created a curved dagger out of light and darkness and placed it against his throat. “So it was you,” she snarled. “You’re the reason my people are dead and my home is gone.”
He laughed. “And what are you going to do about it, Aerian?” he taunted though he flinched when she pressed her weapon further into his throat. “Kill me to exact revenge? You know that you can’t.” Hmm… just like he thought; he couldn’t see or locate her soul inside her body at all. There must be some sort of interference blocking his magic.
She glared at him but didn’t say anything. Nevertheless it seemed like she was having a conversation with herself. Finally she caused her weapon to disperse and said flatly, “I’ll think of something, but I’ll make sure you’ll regret what you did.”
As she was about to stand up, he suddenly grabbed her by the arms and drew her closer to him. “My feelings exactly,” he whispered in her ear. “I’m going to make sure you regret what you did to me earlier. You will pay for humiliating me in front of everyone.”
Alethea sniffed as she yanked herself free and stood up. “And how are you going to do that?” she asked dryly.
He paused for a moment before answering with a smile, “I’ll think of something.”
“So how did it go?” Hessin asked as soon as Kejuta and the others came in. The others were sitting around while they waited for them to come back from the interrogation. She shook her head.
“Unfortunately, he refused to answer any of our questions except for the basic ones,” she told them. “Luckily for us, Aundra has figured out how his magic works.” She turned her attention to the Ilmarian of Magic and let her have the floor.
“Based on what Pendance has told us, we know that Shintra’s power is the ability to alter a person’s soul,” Aundra began as she sat down. “That meant that he can change a person’s memories, personality… in other words, everything. Apparently he was abusing his power and making people into his personal slaves.”
“So you’re telling us he could manipulate a person to do his bidding?” Zentran asked incredulously and she nodded. His face turned pale. No doubt he realized how lucky he was when he escaped from his village.
“That is frightening all right,” Oraji agreed. “Why would the gods give him such intimidating powers?”
“Don’t worry. It’s not as all-powerful as he makes it sounds,” the Ilmarian of Magic reassured them. Kejuta and the others perked up. “Based on what Brenton observed in his book, I have made some conclusions. First of all, it seemed like it doesn’t work in Valendor so Pendance doesn’t have to worry about any uprising. Second, it doesn’t work on you if you are at a far distance. Lastly, if you have a strong mental barrier, you can prevent yourself from being controlled.”
“Mental barrier? What do you mean by that?” Marika inquired.
Aundra shrugged. “How should I explain it? If you have a strong will, determination, or just plain old stubbornness, you may be strong enough to spurn him. However, your mental barrier may break since it depend how strong your will is.”
“I see,” Kejuta said. She has sometimes thought her powers were dangerous and worried that she may abuse it. On the other hand, Shintra seemed to have no qualms using his. “I’ll make sure to tell Alethea about this revelation. Thank you, Aundra.”
“Now that cleared up, what are we going to do with him?” Weiss asked. “If he is dangerous as you make it sound, should Aundra use the Gods’ Blessing on him? If she did, there is no way we can stop him from causing trouble. Kejuta, you can use your powers to keep on him, right?”
“Don’t forget about Marika’s needle ring,” his twin added. “Would it be a good idea to hand him one? He could use it to travel around Samara and make everyone his slaves.”
The Ilmarian of Fate glanced at Aundra, Marika, and Brenton for advice. “What would you recommend?”
Brenton, who has aged himself into a young man, answered first, “To be honest, I don’t know. From what I’ve seen in my book, if you tried to use your powers on him, he’ll try to find a way around it. He’s going to use his powers on a lot more people to cause more chaos in Samara so you would be distracted. Then he could do whatever he wants.”
“Maybe we can imprison him in one of the hidden worlds?” Lanskas suggested. “That way he won’t cause any trouble.” However the Ilmarian of Time shook his head.
“No good. In one of my versions, he somehow managed to escape and disappear to who-knows-where.”
“So you’re saying that he’s going to a pain in the ass no matter what?” Torryn gripped. “How annoying!”
“Why don’t we give him a trial basis?” Marika proposed. “We won’t place the Gods’ Blessing on him or give him a needle ring until he’s proven himself that he can be trusted. We’ll have someone to keep an eye on him the entire time. After a month, we can determine if he is reliable. If he is, we will give him the protection spell and the ring. If not, we’ll continue the trial basis. What do you think?”
Everyone muttered and nodded in agreement. “Sounds good to me,” Zentran agreed. “I’m willing to guard him, and I’m sure that Hessin, the twins, and definitely Alethea share my sentiment.”
“Since it looks like everyone agrees to that plan, let begin it immediately,” Kejuta said. “I’ll inform Alethea about it.”
“Don’t worry about that, Kej,” the Ilmarian of Seasons objected. “You must be exhausted from your journey. I’ll tell her instead.”
“He’s right,” Marika added. “You haven’t been sleeping well ever since your hunt for that Duermon. Besides, your children will be here soon and you don’t want them to be worry about your health.”
She wanted to protest, but she realized that they were right. She was starting to feel a little tired. “All right,” she conceded. “Just don’t forget we’re going to have a big meeting tomorrow. This will be the first time all of the Ilmarians will be together to discuss our next course of action. Well then, meeting adjourned.”
Farth 26, 2270
After the meeting, Kejuta went back to her room and relaxed. Finally! After several centuries, she has finished her quest and gathered all of the Ilmarians. Now they have to do was to decide what the next step should be. Since it was midnight, the Yuzema Festival has begun so Adia and Pendance have arrived early. It was nice to see them and as their mother, she was impressed on how much they have grown maturely every year. Unfortunately, it's hard for her to accept that they were no longer her little babies anymore.
Sighing, she felt sleepy for some reason. Maybe it was because the whole ordeal was over and exhaustion has finally caught up with her. A little nap wouldn't hurt, right? She altered the room temporarily and made herself a nice, comfortable bed. Then she lay down on it and fell fast asleep immediately.
Kejuta opened her eyes and saw that she was in a place that she has never seen before. Luscious green willows, tiny white flowers, and a gentle stream of cold, pure water welcomed her and beckoned her to sit near the bank of the stream, which she did. Where was she? She didn't recognize this place at all. Whatever. Wherever this place was, it was very relaxing and beautiful.
“Enjoying your respite?”
Startled, she looked around to try to locate the speaker. That was when she noticed a shadow standing under one of the willows. He moved the leaves aside and stepped forward. The man appeared to be in his forties and has grayish-brown hair. He wore a blue buttoned shirt, which he left unbuttoned, and khaki pants. For some reason, he was barefooted. The stranger seemed to be friendly and acted like he knew her. However, she couldn't recall meeting anyone like him in her life.
She finally asked him, “Who are you?”
“Isn't it obvious?” He raised his hands in a playful manner; his grayish-blue eyes twinkled with amusement. “I'm Resphyr, the Ilmarian of Dreams.”
Okay, Ch. 11 is now finished! I won't post Ch. 12's title just yet since it's spoilerish until I post the first post. ^^
Ok so I've read part IX and the surprise at the end though quite surprising in the end, I wasn't shocked and it makes sense.
I think the Ilmarians are being quite naive in the way they want to handle Shintra; they severely underestimate his ability and attitiude. I think it'll be interesting to see hoe Shintra betrays them, because I'm sure he willl....
That wasn't what you told me in your PM
True, but they wanted to give him a second chance. Not to mention they knew that the gods want them to work together.
Anyway, here is the first snippet of Ch. 12. It will start slow but end fast. ^^
Chapter 12: Resphyr - "In dreams, no one dies"
Farth 26, 2270
“Resphyr, the Ilmarian of Dreams?” The man nodded and looked at expectantly as if he knew what her next reaction would be. That was when it suddenly dawned on her. “So you’re the one who send those dreams to us!” Kejuta exclaimed. “Pendance’s dream of meeting his father in the Land of the Dead, Adia’s dream of that strange tree, and the others’ were all of your doing! But why?”
He just chuckled as he pulled a strand of hair behind his ear. “Did you enjoy your dream I sent you?” he asked thoughtfully as he gazed into the water. “I was worried that my subtle hints wouldn’t be noticed and that you would have no idea where to go or what to do.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Well, I was supposed to tell you and the others clues about what your powers are and the roles you are supposed to play.”
“But I remembered seeing thirteen flames in my dream so I thought there were thirteen Ilmarians total,” she insisted.
He gave her a strange look. “I thought I made it obvious that there are fourteen Ilmarians in the world. Why on earth would the gods ask you to find yourself?”
“Oh, I guess that makes sense.” Kejuta felt very foolish indeed. “And how do you know all about them?” the Ilmarian of Fate wondered. What he was telling her was incredible but it made sense. What did he know that she wasn’t aware of?
He paused before answering, “It’s hard to explain exactly so I probably should explain it from the very beginning. Do you mind if I sit next to you?”
“Not at all.”
“Good, because it’s a long story to be honest and I don’t want to stand the whole time.” He sat down close to her and began, “It began over 600 years ago when I was a sailor living at Port Beldever. I was just recently married to my beloved, Belthi, and we were planning to build a house near the harbor. However, something fateful happened one day and I still can remember that day vividly.”
“I just arrived back home at Port Beldever after a long journey. My shipmates and I were relaxing in the local pub when an old friend of mine arrived and wished to talk to me. He told me that his son and his friends wanted to travel outside the port and visit a nearby sea village. Since they didn’t have much experience, he wondered if I was interested in joining them just to make sure they stay out of trouble. He believed that I was very trustworthy and reliable enough to entrust his son and friends’ safety. Not to mention they viewed me favorably since I helped teach them how to sail. I was reluctant, however, since I just got home and I really wanted to see my fiancé so I just told him that I would need to discuss it with Belthi. He agreed and asked me to let him know of my decision tomorrow.
“As I thought, she opposed it vehemently. She reminded me that I promised her that I was going to retire from sailing to start a family and that my friend was being selfish. ‘Why couldn’t he do it?’ I remembered her asking, but I informed her that he suffered an injury, which prevented him from doing so. That was when I promised her that this would be my last sailing experience and that I would quit once I came back home. At first, Belthi didn’t like that idea and said that she has a feeling that something terrible is going to happen if I did. Curious, I asked her to elaborate and she explained that she saw a sign while she was walking on the beach. She found an albatross dead near the shore and believed that it was sign from Fuera that the journey would end in tragedy. However, I just laughed it off, saying that it was an old wives’ tale, and pointed out that not all of her predictions came true. Besides, it was only a short trip. Finally, after hours of arguing, she caved in and agreed to let me go sailing one last time.
“I told my friend the good news the next day and he was relieved. He told me that he’ll inform his son, who will meet with me later to discuss more of the journey. I later met his son at the harbor and he gave me a basic gist of the itinerary. He also told me that they were going to set sail tomorrow at dawn so I should get some rest beforehand. That night, Belthi and I spend time together; who would have thought that it would be my last? Anyway, she still has a bad foreboding about it, but she knew that I wouldn’t change my mind especially since I always keep my promise. Because of that, she wanted to give me a good luck charm, which was her shell necklace, which she wrapped around my wrist.”
He stopped and showed Kejuta the string of pinkish-white shells that adorned his left wrist. Wiping his tears, he continued, “I thanked her and promised her that I would be back. Erm... I’ll just skip what happened after that. A few hours later, I arrived at the designated meeting place where I met the others. After we loaded up the ship, we bid farewell to our loved ones and set sail.”
“It was smooth sailing at first and everyone was in a good mood. After several hours, they told me that I should rest while they kept watch. Feeling exhausted, I agreed and just told them to stay close to the coast before heading down to rest. I felt refreshed after that long nap and I went up on dock to find quite a surprise. There was water everywhere with no land in sight. Alarmed, I searched for my friend’s son and demanded an explanation. He was reluctant to say anything until I threatened to throw him overboard. That was when he made his confession.
“They wished to venture out into the Sea of Storms. Apparently they wanted to be the first ones to ‘defeat’ it and reach the fabled island paradise. I told him... politely that they were off their bonkers for wanting to do that and demanded if their parents knew about it. He admitted that they didn’t since they knew their parents would stop them, which was why they lied about their intention. Of course, the villagers would probably find out by now since one of their friends has a change of heart and agreed to reveal their scheme after they left. Unfortunately, he didn’t expect his father asking me to join in the journey and when he found out, he panicked. He wanted to tell me his plans, but he knew that I would put a stop to it so he kept up his charade.
“Apologizing for his action, he begged me to let them continue their suicide mission. However, I was so furious that I refused to talk to him and stormed downstairs to calm down. They probably knew how enrage I was because no one bothered going below deck until I came back upstairs. When I did, I tried to convince them to reconsider, but they obstinately refused to listen to reason. They desperately wanted to be the first ones to cross the Sea of Storms and knew that this might be their only chance. Besides they believed that nothing bad will happen since we didn’t experience any storm yet. ‘You should know how these youths think they’re invincible,’ I remembered thinking. ‘You were like that when you were their age.’ Realizing that it was a losing cause, I finally agreed to help them with their quest much to their relief. They promised that I wouldn’t regret it, but I already did.”
---------- Post added January 08, 2013 at 10:08 PM ---------- Previous post was January 04, 2013 at 08:45 PM ----------
“The rest of the journey was pretty mundane and the weather was quite calm the next couple of days. I actually thought that maybe just maybe we might actually reach the fabled island. In fact, everyone was in high spirit and talked about how famous they would be after words spread about their adventure. As a matter of fact, even I was caught up in the moment and felt confident that we could do it. Well, our confidence was significantly boosted when one of the boys spotted a distant island. When we heard that, we started celebrating. After several weeks of seeing nothing but water, we thought that we did it – we actually cross the Sea of Storms safely. Feeling excited, we went to bed that night though we have trouble sleeping.
“Our feeling changed the next day however. First the winds began to pick up in the early morning. Soon the waves crashed violently against the ship, which rocked back-and-forth so badly that we had trouble keeping our balance. The entire time, we spent our time trying to keep the ship afloat. One thing for sure, we were all praying to the gods to have mercy on us.
“Then the storm hit at dawn. I could never forget it. The winds became more violent as lightning and thunder bellowed above. Huge waves as big as mountains crashed against the ship as if it was nothing but glass. Some of the men were swept away while the rest quickly tied themselves down with ropes. However, that didn’t help much because an enormous wave hit the ship and knocked it over. Everyone struggled to stay afloat in the turbulent water. Most cling onto the broken pieces of the ship and tried their best to reach the others, who swam toward them. It was all in vain though.
“Another wave overwhelmed us and knocked us deep into the ocean. I could still see the dead bodies of those young men all around me as I tried desperately swam to the surface. I was so exhausted and weak that I finally gave up and surrendered by letting myself sink further down in the sea. As I closed my eyes, I apologized to Belthi for not listening to her and mentally made a note of the day of my death – Farth 4, 1647.”
“Farth 4, 1647? Wait a minute – that’s the same day that I died!” Kejuta exclaimed. Resphyr nodded. “That can’t be coincidence!”
“You’re probably right,” he admitted. “The gods probably planned our deaths to be on the same day but at different times. I did ask them, but they wouldn’t say.”
Kejuta’s mouth dropped. “You actually met them!?”
“Well… some of them anyway. I better continue my story to explain myself.” He cleared his throat before he began.
“I first felt a warm, comforting light. Opening my eyes, I found myself in a strange room. I was sitting on a cushioned bench made out of marble. Right in front of me was a small circular pool full of a foggy liquid. I looked around and noticed the walls were covered with tapestries. Someone’s clearing his throat interrupted my reverie. Startled, I turned around and found myself face-to-face with strangers. A black-haired Aerian who wore blue-and-gold armor, a young man with beads in his teal hair, a white-haired man who wore a white and green robe, a grayish-redheaded woman who wore a white dress, and a gray-haired man wearing a black-and-gold robe sat across of me. Before I could even say a word, the man in the middle spoke.
“‘Greeting, Resphyr,’ he said. ‘I’m sure that you’re very confused at the moment, and I don’t blame you. Yes, you’re dead but at the same time, you’re not. Before I can explain that answer, allow me to introduce who we are. I am Versen and these are my siblings, Aerius, Fuera, Allaura, and Seitha. Right now, you’re in Welvaria, the meeting place of the gods. I should clarify; this is a replica of Welvaria. This is actually Pascifita, the World of Dreams.’
“Well, as soon as I heard that, I fell out of my seat and started prostrating before them. ‘I’m just a humble servant,’ I said. ‘Please have mercy on my soul.’
“Imagine my surprise when an embarrassed Versen told me to stand up. ‘There is no need for that now,’ he informed me hastily. ‘We won’t be here any longer. In fact, I think Aerius, Fuera, and my times are up soon.’
“Startled, I asked him what he meant by that and he explained that his siblings and he were mortally wounded during the Caeculum Wars due to their hubris. That was why the others weren’t there to greet him – they have already passed on. However, they knew that when they died, the world that they lovingly created would wither and die since it depends on their blood for survival. To prevent that from happening, they have decided to appoint fourteen individuals as their successors and one of them was me.
“Let’s just say that I was stunned by that revelation and it took me a long time to finally say a word. The first thing I asked was the reason that I was chosen, and he calmly stated that it was a random act so they wouldn’t know who the selected few were. Next I asked how they did it. Our creator simply said that they gave up a part of their soul and merged it with a mortal one. While some have only one god’s soul like Puria’s, others have a mixture. The reason was that each of them has a role to fulfill for all eternity.”
“That was when it dawned on me that I was immortal so I questioned him about it. He confirmed it and then asked me if I’m curious about my role. I nodded so he proceeded. Versen explained that my job was mostly to inform the others their tasks and their powers through messages that the gods left for them. Likewise I’m supposed to provide suggestions to the people in Samara by implanting them in their dreams. Unfortunately, my powers only worked when I’m asleep. After his explanation, he stopped and asked if I have any question so I asked how I was supposed to do that with my power. He smiled and said, ‘Instead of explaining it, why don’t I teach you?’
“He pointed to the fountain so I looked down and saw you lying unconscious on the empty ground. He explained that you are just like me – an immortal successor. However, you couldn’t meet them since you don’t have the power to travel around Pascifita so I have to deliver their message to you. I questioned him how and he said that he’ll show me. First, he’s going to describe the beach of Kreesia and he wanted me to recreate it with my imagination. I listened to his vivid description carefully and the next thing I knew, you appeared on the beach of Kreesia. Then while you were exploring your surroundings, he instructed me to create thirteen flames and repeat the words he said. And well, you know the rest.”
“So the voice I heard was yours?” Kejuta questioned. He nodded.
“More or less. I altered my voice a little bit to sound more ‘godlike’,” he confessed. “Shall I continue then? After you woke up and disappeared from Pascifita, Versen told me that I did quite well for my first lesson and that he’s positive that I can handle it by myself. He then said that he and others will now pass along their messages to me. Aerius was the first one; she handed me a scroll made out of pure magic. As soon as she did, she announced in a business-like manner, ‘If there’s nothing else for me to do, then I’ll be heading out then.’ With that, she just faded away.
“‘Oh, don’t mind her. She’s always so professional even in death,’ Fuera explained, waving his hand as if dismissing her demeanor. ‘Anyway, here’s my message.’ He delivered his message and said, ‘Thank you. It’s unfortunate that we have to meet each other this way, but there’s nothing we can do about it. Well then, farewell.’ Just like Aerius, he vanished as well.
“Last and not least, Versen gave me seven scrolls to me. ‘These are from my siblings who passed away already,’ he explained. ‘Unfortunately, they just left you what they wanted to say and didn’t specify how to convey it so you’re on your own. I’m sure you’ll do fine though if you still need some advice, Allaura and Seitha will still be around to help you. Farewell, Resphyr. May you fare well in your journey.’ He bowed his head and disappeared as well, leaving me with Allaura and Seitha.”
“I stared at the empty spots where the three disappearing gods used to sit before I remembered that my body was probably at the bottom of the sea. Panicking, I asked the remaining gods about it, but they reassured me that it was fine. Apparently, Neria has informed the Neriads before her death to look for a man whose arm is wrapped with shells and carried his body to shore. Before I asked another question, they started to fade away so I thought they were dying as well. However, they said that they were just waking up. In fact, they are the only ones left with a physical body since they still have a job to do. They promised that they will be back and provided me with any assistance.
“During the time they were away, I tested my powers and found out that I can enter people’s dreams. I immediately went inside Belthi’s dream.” He paused for a moment before he continued, “She was looking out our bedroom window as if she was waiting for my return home. Realizing that there was no way of knowing about my death, I decided to tell her so she could move on. I walked toward her and gently touched her shoulder. Startled, she turned around and quickly embraced me as soon as she realized it was me. She wondered aloud if she was dreaming and I confirmed that she was. My wife then asked me if I was all right; ever since the villagers found out about the boys’ foolishness, they were sick with worry. I couldn’t answer her question; to tell her that those boys and I were dead would devastate her.
“Instead, I just hugged her tightly and told her that I would always love her. I also wished her to be happy and to live on. Her eyes bulged when she comprehended what I was saying. Collapsing into my arms, she wailed as she bemoaned the fact that she would never see me again. I consoled her and told her that I would always be there for her no matter what. I reminded her how strong-willed she was and that I needed to depend on her to inform the others. Otherwise, they would spend the rest of their lives wondering what happened to their sons. She nodded but she requested that I stayed with her a little longer. I agreed and I spent the whole time with her until she woke up.”
“Afterward, I spent the rest of the time wandering Pascifita and testing more of my magic. While I was in the dreams, I could provide suggestions to the dreamers by making slight changes in their dreams or imitating their loved ones’ voices to give them advice. I was amazed by my powers but at the same time, I was aware that I should use it wisely.
“By the time I got back, Allaura and Seitha were already back. ‘Welcome back,’ the Goddess of Life greeted with a smile. ‘Did you enjoy exploring your new powers?’
“I told them that I was starting to get a hang of it, but I was curious on why I was given this power and not another. Likewise, I wanted to know why I was the first one to die Seitha reiterated that while I was picked randomly, my powers were already decided and that I was chosen to be the first successor to be awakened because of it. My role was to be the harbinger since I was supposed to deliver the gods’ messages to their successors to prepare them. In order for me to fulfill that role, they are going to train me.
“Our business relationship continued like this for several years until one day, they pointed out that Allaura’s successor has arrived. Imagine my horror to see a girl – your daughter – lying on the ground, unconscious. Perplexed, I questioned why they would have a child as one of their successors, but he admitted that while he determined the amount of people who will die on a day, he doesn’t know who will die. The same goes to Allaura. However, the Goddess of Life interrupted our conversation and asked me how I was going to convey her message to the child. I asked why she couldn’t do it since she’s in the dream world at the moment, but she confessed that she’s too weak. Unlike Seitha, she has only enough strength to see me only and then repeated her question again.
“I thought Adia (that’s her name, right) would be frightened when she wakes up so I thought of maybe being comforted by an image of Allaura. Unfortunately my power of imitating another living creature wasn’t perfected as yet so I couldn’t do that. That was when she suggested that I showed your daughter the hidden world of Corawell. I agreed with that idea and immediately recreated it using her description. Just as I made the last touches, your daughter began to stir. Rubbing her eyes, she sat up, agape of her surroundings. Seeing her smile made me realize how my powers can bring happiness and that was the first time I actually felt grateful for my magic. Allaura broke up my reverie to inform me that I needed to deliver her message so I imitated her voice and told your daughter her message before she returned back to Samara.
“Afterward, I realized how old the twin gods appeared. Their hairs were greyer and wrinkles covered their faces. They also appeared to be in constant pain. Concerned, I asked them if they were all right and urged them not to push themselves too hard. They admitted that they were, but they didn’t have any choice. Unlike their siblings, they have to stay to ensure that the life cycle continues until their successors arrived. They tried to be optimistic though by telling that it was a good thing that their wounds weren’t as severe as the others’.”
“That reminds me of a question that has been bothering me,” Kejuta said quietly. “Did they ever tell you what killed them?” Resphyr shook his head.
“They just kept telling me that it was their hubris and that they have taken care of it,” he replied. “They didn’t seem like talking more on that issue so I decided to drop it. Anyway, let continue then. My training under them continued though sometimes I noticed that Seitha disappeared now and then. I wondered about it but didn’t want to be too nosy. One day, he arrived in the middle of my lessons. With a triumphant look on his face, he announced, ‘I finally convinced that stubborn sister of ours to bring back magic to the world!’
“Allaura seemed to be thrilled by it while I was confused. ‘I thought you two were the only ones left,’ I remembered saying.
“‘Actually, our sister, the Goddess of Magic, is still around as well,’” she explained. ‘Unfortunately, she can be stubborn and throws a hissy fit like Puria. But then she’s quite young considered the rest of us so she’s easily impressionable.’
“However, I was more befuddled. ‘Why then I haven’t met her at all during my exploration of this place?’ I inquired. ‘You would think that I might have bumped into her at least once!’
“The God of the Dead just shook his head. ‘She sealed herself away from the rest of the world because she didn’t want to be disturbed. Unfortunately she still begrudged the world for what happened to us and would only allow my siblings and me to see her. That’s why I kept disappearing from here. I was trying my best to convince her to forgive the world and give magic back to them. It took a while, but I finally knocked some sense into her.’”
“Is that when Aundra visited Clarise?” Kejuta wondered. “She did mention that she was in a coma and met with her predecessor in her dream.”
“That’s probably it since she’s the only one that I didn’t provide a dream to,” the Ilmarian of Dreams agreed. “Anyway, while I was talking to them, I noticed your lifeless body again, which confused me greatly. I asked them why you were brought back since you already died and they explained that it was probably because this time, I needed to inform you about your gifts. After I did that, they told me that my training was almost completed. Realizing what that meant, I asked them how long they have left for this world and they said most likely fifty years. However, that was more than enough time to teach me my last ability.”
“And what was that?” Kejuta has inkling what it was, but she wanted a confirmation just to make sure.
He smiled as he reminisced his past. “We were just sitting around making idle talk when Seitha suddenly said that he wanted to make a request. He wanted to personally meet his heir but I asked him how it was possible? Amused by my ignorance, he said that in the dream world, I can transfer a person in the dream to another location. For my last lesson, Allaura and he are going to teach me how to do that. However, I must pay very close attention because if I messed up, a person may be trapped in Pascifita forever. Just as he said that, your son appeared.
“Seitha gave me a step-by-step instruction on what to do and before I knew it, I have transferred his consciousness to Valendor. The God of the Dead thanked me and left to meet your son. During that time, Allaura informed me that was another task for me. Once I revealed the others’ powers, I was to send them to Valendor so that your son can inform you about them. And with that, she declared that I was completely ready to handle things on my own.
“So that was what I have been doing for the past centuries,” Resphyr concluded as he stretched. “Any questions?”
“A couple,” the Ilmarian of Fate admitted. “First, when did the last two gods disappear from the world?”
“Hmm… it was around the time that plague hit Marika’s village.”
She nodded. “Okay then, since your magic only works if you’re asleep, does that you mean you’re sleeping right now?”
“That’s correct. The gods told me that they have cast a spell on me so that I won’t be awake the entire time until I wish for it.”
“I see. Another question: in some Ilmarians’ dreams, they didn’t see the god or goddess’s face but in others, they did. Is it because you see them in person and knew what they look like? Also in Hessin’s dream, Versen called him by his name. How did you know who he was? You have been asleep the entire time after all.”
“That’s correct. As for Hessin, I deduced who he was based on other people’s dreams.” He smiled slyly. “You can’t imagine how many ladies dreams about marrying a king and what they will do to him.”
Kejuta blushed suddenly. “Um… let’s go to the next question. How did you know we call ourselves the Ilmarians? No one else did.”
“Remember what my powers can do? Well, Allaura thought it was a good name for their successor so she asked me to implant that idea in Brenton’s mind. Do you have another question?”
“Yes, I know that the gods gave us powers to fulfill a certain role. Did Allaura and Seitha explain them to you? I’m curious because I want to know what roles do Shintra, you, and I play in this.”
He then looked up and explained, “Yes, they have. Your son and daughter are in charge of guiding and purifying souls so that they’re ready for their rebirth. Aundra, Brenton, and Marika’s task is to make sure the world keeps running. I’m sure that Aundra has mentioned to you earlier, but she is the personification of this world’s magic. Without her, no magic would exist. Brenton is in charge of making sure that the time flow is going accordingly without any mishaps. Marika is supposed to observe the world and alert the others if there is any major crisis going on. If there is, she can use her power to easily teleport you to that place so you can stop it from escalating.
“Lanskas, Oraji, and Zentran are supposed to monitor the natural actions in the world. Alethea, Hessin, and the twins are supposed to judge humans’ actions to ensure that the world is in balance. But we, on the other hands, are different.
“We are manipulators, Shintra, you and I," Resphyr continued. “We influenced people to do the things we wanted them to do by using our powers. You can see the different chains of fate that a person can choose and by decreasing the choices given to him, you force them to pick the chain that you prefer. Likewise, Shintra uses his ability to alter a person’s souls so that they do something that they may not do otherwise. As for me, I give people hints in their dreams so when they wake up, they are willing to follow my suggestions.”
“But why?” the Ilmarian of Fate asked in disbelief. “What are the gods planning with that?”
Resphyr just shrugged. “I don’t know, and the gods didn’t say when I asked. It was if they want to keep it a secret for some reason. Now do you have any more questions?”
“Just one: why won’t you meet us in person?" Kejuta demanded suspiciously. “If you are a manipulator as you so blatantly proclaimed yourself to be, I have a strong reason not to trust you. After all, you only showed yourself now after all these years and putting ideas in our dreams. You might be hiding something from your fellow Ilmarians so that you can use us for your own schemes.”
Resphyr just smiled sadly. “That’s true. However, my intention is similar to yours – I want to make the world a better place for everyone. If you still insist on seeing me though, I’ll show you my location then. After the Neriads found my body, they placed it here.” Waving his hand, the scenery changed from a calm and soothing environment to a murky and damp cave that led out to the ocean. The only light came from the moon since it was night out at the moment. A few patches of moss grew here and there on the black rock floor.
Kejuta memorized the location and thanked him. “I’ll tell the others about you so we can look for you.”
“Aundra and Brenton will probably be the best ones to know since they live in this island.” Sighing dejectedly, he admitted, “To be honest, I have a feeling that my role is going to end soon if I leave this world. It’s just that I have a nagging feeling that as soon as I wake up from my long slumber, I’ll be dead.”
“Why do you say that?” she asked curiously but he just shook his head.
“I don’t know, but it was something that Seitha told me before he disappeared. Never mind, I might be overthinking it.” He gave her a big grin to hide his worry. “Anyway, dawn is approaching so you better wake up soon. You don’t want to be late for the meeting, right? If you’re still interested in finding me, you know where you can find me.”
Before she could say a word, he and the world disappeared in a flash of light.
---------- Post added January 10, 2013 at 11:33 PM ---------- Previous post was January 08, 2013 at 10:08 PM ----------
Kejuta arrived at Welvaria in the late morning and found it already busy with activities. Torryn was teaching a traditional Ankan song to Adia while Hessin was showing Lanskas something he found back in Samara. Pendance and Oraji sat closely next to each other and it seemed like they were deep in conversation. The Ilmarian of Fate smiled in spite of herself; she has approved the young woman due to her kind and gentle nature. If they decided to become a couple, she wouldn’t mind at all.
Aundra and Brenton were hiding in the corner as the former was whispering something in the boy’s ears. It seemed like she was trying to reassure him since he appeared troubled over something. Meanwhile, Marika and Alethea were nearby her as the Aerian was describing her people’s medical practice to the Ishan healer. Kejuta smiled to herself, seeing this sight. If everyone could get along with each other so well, they can work together to improve the world and ensure that another Caeculum War never happens.
Another portal appeared which caused everyone to stop talking all of a sudden. Zentran and Weiss walked into the room with a handcuffed Shintra in tow. Most of the Ilmarians stared at him warily since they were aware of his power, but the Duermon looked back at them defiantly until they turned away. However, he gave his most hateful glare at the Ilmarian of Truth, who gave him a level stare. Kejuta made a mental note to make sure those two weren’t alone with each other especially after what Zentran has told her.
When he came to deliver her message to Alethea, he was surprised to find the usually calm angel furious. Before he could ask her what’s wrong, she immediately informed him that Shintra was the reason her people was dead and that she wanted retribution. He had to calm her down before she explained fully what happened. Upon hearing what happened, he admitted that he lost control and nearly beat up the Duermon until Alethea had to stop him. However, what bothered her was that Shintra has promised to get revenge on the Aerian after his humiliating defeat. Based on what she has seen of him so far, he seemed like the type who would bide his time to strike.
After he was seated, Marika turned to her and asked, “Are you ready to begin then?” She nodded so the Ilmarian of Worlds announced, “Everyone, please have a seat. The meeting will begin now.”
“Before we can begin, I have something important to tell you.” Kejuta took a deep breath and continued, “There is another Ilmarian out there and we need to look for him.” After waking up, she spent a couple of hours in her room, debating whether or not she should reveal his identity to the others. Based on what he said, he seemed reluctant about being found but at the same time, he appeared to be resigned to the fact that it was necessary. She was so indecisive on what to do until now.
Everyone reacted in disbelief as soon as they heard that revelation. “Another one?” Pendance asked, astonished. “But you saw thirteen flames in your dream. How is that possible?”
“How did you know that there is another one anyway?” Hessin wondered. The others shouted similar questions that she could barely have time to respond until Marika banged her staff on the floor.
“Silence!” she shouted. “Everyone, please quiet down so she can answer.”
“Thank you, Marika,” she said graciously. “I know all of you are confused so I’ll try my best to explain…” She described her meeting with Resphyr and his powers. However, she decided not to reveal the information about what he said about the manipulator roles Shintra, he, and she played. She concluded with the description of his location.
Everyone became silent as they absorbed what they’ve heard. Finally Aundra spoke up, “That is most likely the Neriads’ cove, which is located on the west side of the island. Those sly mermaids! I’m going to let them have it for not telling me.”
“So based on what I’m hearing, the last Ilmarian was right under your very nose and you didn’t know it,” Shintra sneered. “I thought you would have known more about your home, Lady Aundra.”
“Shut up, you!” Zentran warned and zapped him. However the Ilmarian of Magic didn’t seem offended at all.
“The Neriads are notorious for being secretive and clever,” she said as she leaned forward and smiled sweetly at him. However, her eyes have a dangerous glint to them. “Most likely even if I did know about this Resphyr, they would refuse to tell me anything about him. But never mind; what is your next move, Kej?”
“I want you and Marika to go to his location first,” she decided. Aundra was necessary since she could cast the Gods’ Blessing on him before Shintra can use his magic on him while the latter could check on his physical heath.
The two nodded, knowing what she was thinking. “He would most likely be weak since he has been in that coma for several centuries,” Marika surmised. “We probably can’t move him here until he’s much stronger. Should we delay our meeting to another time? Of course, that would mean your children can’t attend.”
Kejuta shook her head. “No, we’ll join you a few minutes later. We’ll just have our meeting there.”
Everyone walked gingerly as they tried their best not to slip on the slippery rocks. They have arrived at the scene once they received Aundra’s message, which stated that she has released the sleeping spell on him and that she has blessed him with the protection spell. Likewise, Marika has determined that he was healthy though still weak.
Pendance led the way while Adia, Brenton, Oraji, and she followed him. Hessin led the second group, which included Lanskas, Shintra, Zentran, and Alethea; Hessin and Lanskas walked in front of the Duermon while the other two guarded him from behind. Lastly, the twins took the rear.
“Watch your steps, mom. The rocks are slippery over here,” Pendance warned as he offered his hand to help her step down to the rocky floor below.
“Thank you,” she said. “By the way, how are the wisps doing?”
He sighed. “They’re fine, but knowing them, they’re probably drunk right now.” She nodded, remembering the first time they experienced the Yuzema Festival. Pendance had a bewildered expression on his face when he came to visit her. Apparently, the wisps has a secret stash of alcohol, which was made from Seitha’s secret recipe, hidden somewhere in Valendor and they drink only on their day-off. Kejuta was surprised to find that out since the wisps didn’t have any corpulent bodies at all. How on earth could they drink? Apparently, they offered a sip to her son though they warned him that it has a kick to it, but he declined since he was stupefied by the fact.
“I don’t blame them,” Adia commented as her brother helped her down. “This is the only day where they can relax so they’re probably letting out some steam.”
What her daughter was saying was true, she has to admit. Looking back, she noticed that the others except Shintra were talking quietly to each other. The Duermon seemed to be deep in thoughts especially after Aundra’s letter appeared. The Ilmarian’s of Magic way of communicating was very nifty. The message came in shape as a songbird and as soon as it lands on a flat surface, it will transform into the letter, which lay on top of the plane. Perhaps he was impressed by what she did, but that couldn’t be it.
“I can see them,” Pendance suddenly announced. Sure enough, she saw three distinct people in the distance. Marika was kneeling down as she was checking a man with grayish-brown hair, whom she assumed to be Resphyr. On the other hand, Aundra was standing a few steps away, but she was looking away. She was staring down at the ground though Kejuta has no idea why until she came closer. There was a tunnel going deep into the earth. Perhaps it led to the center of the world or to the abyss itself. Unfortunately she couldn’t tell where it goes since the tunnel was so dark and the walls were so smooth that there was no way anyone could climb up or down. Not to mention the fact that her main focus should be elsewhere.
She turned her attention to Resphyr, who looked just the same as he was in her dreams. “Hello, Resphyr,” she greeted him warmly. “Did you enjoy your long rest?”
He chuckled. “I suppose so though I’m very eager to move my legs around. After all, it has been several years now since I move about.” Before Marika could stop him, he stood up and stretched though he was somewhat wobbly.
“Easy now,” the Ilmarian of World admonished him. “You have been lying on the ground for a while so don’t overstrain yourself.”
“I’ll be careful. Besides, I like to introduce myself to the others.” The Ilmarian of Dreams looked at the others and nodded. “Hello, my name is Resphyr and it’s nice to meet you all.”
Everyone, in turn, said their names and he returned their warm welcomes. He was also friendly to Shintra though he looked at the Duermon for the longest time as if he was uncertain about him. After everyone finished, Kejuta announced, “Well then, since everyone is here, let’s begin our meeting.”
---------- Post added January 13, 2013 at 12:18 AM ---------- Previous post was January 10, 2013 at 11:33 PM ----------
After everyone found a comfortable spot, Kejuta started the meeting. “To begin our meeting, I think it would be a good idea if Brenton come up and gave a brief summary of how we awakened to our powers and reunited as a group.”
Brenton nodded solemnly and strolled up to the center of the room. As he walked, he slowly aged until he was in his sixties; he always did that whenever he has to deliver an important speech. He cleared his throat and was about to open his mouth to speak when Aundra interrupted him. “Remember, dear, the key word is ‘brief’,” she reminded him. He blushed with embarrassment and turned to Kejuta questionably.
“Oh, where should I start? Should I go in order of awakening or in order of joining the group?”
“Start in order of joining the group,” she decided.
“All right then.” He opened his book to a page and began, “On Farth 4, 1647, Kejuta was sacrificed as an offering to Merzak to replenish the land. That was when she discovered her role to locate other Ilmarians and later learned that she can control people’s fate. Nine years later, her daughter, Adia, was used as a sacrifice and was discovered to be immortal as well.” Tears built up in Kejuta’s eyes as she remembered that terrible night, but she composed herself. “Pendance was killed on Farth 24, 1679 and awakened to his powers. Her children have inherited the roles of controlling life and death. Three years later, they escaped from slavery and searched for Aundra.
“After arriving in Kreesia, they met Aundra and me in which we explained more about what happened to the original gods and our new roles. Aundra’s role is to be personification of magic while mine was to control the flow of time. We encountered Marika thirty-seven years later, and she offered her service in our search by transporting us to different places around the world. Fifty years later, we encountered the priest-in-training, Lanskas, who was Merzak’s successor. Then on Seera 23, 1784, Oraji and Zentran joined our group. I still remembered how stubborn Zen was when we first met him.” Those who were there chuckled; even the Ilmarian of Seasons smiled and shook his head as he recalled what happened. “Anyway, we found out that Oraji inherited Puria’s powers while Zentran can control the weather.
“Sixty years later, we discovered our next Ilmarian, Hessin. Based on what he told us, we was able to infer that he and the next two Ilmarians’ powers were based on the ancient children story, ‘The Three Judges’. Thus we were able to deduce that we should search for an Aerian and a child next. Our theory turned out to be correct – Alethea and the twins, Torryn and Weiss, became the latest members. As ones who will pass judgment on the people of Samara, they were given varied powers of light and darkness. While Hessin has full control of light, the twins can only use darkness. On the other hand, Alethea has the ability to use both though it is not as powerful like her peers’.
“After 486 years of searching, we finally were about to track the Duermon Ilmarian, Shintra, whose ability is to change a person’s soul. Then, today we got our final recruit, Resphyr, who died 623 years ago but hasn’t revealed himself until now. He can use his ability to enter dreams and make changes in them so he could leave suggestions. That is how everyone awakened to their powers and we came together to fulfill our roles as the gods’ successors.”
“Thank you, Brenton,” Kejuta said. The Ilmarian of Time nodded and headed back to his seat as he slowly became younger again until he reached the age of twelve. She gazed around the room and noticed that everyone was looking at her patiently as they waited for her to speak. Even though she has practiced her speech in her head several times, she could still feel the butterflies in her stomach. “Now that everyone is here, we can now begin the next step and determine how we can lead Samara to become a better place.”
“And how will you do that?” The Ilmarian of Fate was surprised to discover that it was Shintra who asked that question. He gave her a look as if he was challenging her authority. Grinding her teeth, she chose to ignore it.
Instead she answered his question, “We will introduce ourselves to the citizens of Samara and offer our service to them. Already some of us have made our presence known and provided help to the people.”
“Isn’t that reckless?” he asked dryly. “Why on earth should we do that? We’ll be targeted because of our gifts. Wouldn’t it be better if we rule in the shadows?”
“Our predecessors tried that and it backfired against them. The people thought that they didn’t care for them and view them as playthings,” she replied. She mustered enough patience as she could possibly hold, but right now she was tempted to use her powers on him.
“But if someone try to control us and manipulate us to do his or her bidding? You know that someone will try to exploit us.”
Just like yourself? she thought dryly. “We don’t to worry about that scenario.”
“Oh? So you do have some sort of protection spell then? If so, why won’t you place it on me then?” Shintra challenged. Dammit! She accidentally hinted about the Gods’ Blessing. Kejuta grinded her teeth and she noticed that the others seemed to look uncomfortable as they shifted uneasily in their seats. “Not answering my question, huh? Well then, I have some more. Why should we help them? What is in it for us?”
Before she could answer, Zentran stood up and defended her. “Shut your trap, Duermon! You don’t have the right to question her especially after all of the troubles that you did while running around freely.”
The Duermon turned his attention to the young Sendoan. “So you’re agreeing with her then? Does that mean you are willing to save a group of people similar to the people in your village? Don’t act surprised. I knew what they did to you. Calling you a monster, treating you like dirt, making you live in that horrible pit…”
A lightning bolt hit close to Shintra’s feet. “They deserved what happened to them!” Zen snarled.
“Then you aren’t in complete agreement with Kejuta’s plan, I assume?” He chortled at the young man’s expression when the Ilmarian of Seasons realized that the Duermon has struck a nerve. Grimacing, he sat down immediately and didn’t say anymore.
“You kept criticizing Kejuta’s plans, but you haven’t brought up any solutions,” Hessin commented. “What would you do differently, Duermon?”
“Why bothering telling the lot of you? You already have decided to oppose me because of my race. Not once you refuse to call me by my name. If I were an Aerian or a human, you would be more willing to listen to me and acknowledge me.” Shintra smiled as everyone glanced at each other uneasily. “See? I proved my point, but since I’m in a good mood, I’ll tell you. Since you’re so insistent on making yourselves public, I propose that we make our intentions loud and clear to the people – obey our wishes and we will be keen to helping them. Oppose us and we will annihilate them from the face of the earth.”
“Just like you did to my people?” Alethea retorted.
He waved his hands unapologetically. “It’s true that I caused your people’s death, but I shouldn’t have the full blame.”
She narrowed her eyes. “What do you mean?”
“While I was the one who ‘convinced’ Fulong to kill the Aerians, have you ever thought of who was the one brought him to me?” He gazed at Kejuta and she immediately realized what he was trying to do. “Her power is to control people’s fate, correct? What if she used that to force the general to move his forces near the border where I could meet him? That way it would make things easier for her when she searched for you.” He then focused his attention to Resphyr. “The same goes to him. What if he placed a suggestion of trying his new weapon in Fulong’s dream? Maybe before placing the blame all on me, you should consider other possibilities. Am I right?”
The Aerian opened her mouth to counter his point but closed it uncertainly. Instead, she crossed her arms and muttered to herself as if arguing with herself. In fact, everyone else seemed to be troubled as well as they whispered to each other. Kejuta began to panic. After all of her efforts, was her attempt of bringing everyone together falling apart? That bastard Duermon has placed doubts in everyone including herself and there was nothing she could do about it. While she tried to figure out how to salvage this meeting, Lanskas asked abruptly, “Wait – do you hear something?”
Everyone became quiet and a distinct scratching noise could be heard. It was soft at first, but it was getting louder and louder. Where could it come from? “It’s from there,” Resphyr declared as he walked over to that pit and looked down. “Yep, I was right. It seems like someone or something is trying to claw his way up. Unfortunately, I can’t see anything since it is so pitch dark down there.”
“Maybe I can send down a light orb?” Hessin suggested and drew from the sunlight reflecting from the water. He formed it into a sphere and sent it down into the tunnel.
“Thanks, it helped a lot,” the Ilmarian of Dreams acknowledged him. “By the gods! There is a young man down here. Quick, does anyone have a rope?”
Everyone except Brenton stood up and rushed over to gather around the gaping opening. “I can make a rope using a vine, but it will take some time,” Oraji offered and quickly went to work. Resphyr nodded.
Turning to the boy, he shouted, “Oi! Hang in there! Help is on the way.”
Kejuta observed the scene and noticed that almost everyone’s faces were full of concern but at the same time, relief. No doubt they were happy that something was distracting them from the debate between Shintra and herself. However, Brenton still has a worried face.
“Why does this look familiar?” he mumbled as he turned the pages in his book frantically. “Something about that tunnel is bothering me. I know I saw it somewhere…”
“Okay, the rope is done!” She turned her attention back to the group as the Ilmarian of Nature offered Resphyr a rope made out of two sturdy vines that were entwined together. “I hope it’s good enough.”
“It’s perfect,” he reassured her. He tossed the rope down and urged the stranger, “Grab the rope and we’ll pull you up, okay?” Turning to Hessin and Zentran, he requested, “Help me pull him up.” They nodded so they stood behind him, grabbed the vine, and began pulling as everyone watched and waited.
After several minutes, the Ilmarian of Dreams announced, “I can see him! Here, grab my hand!” He knelt down and stretched his hand down into the pit. Everyone gasped as they first saw a bloodied hand grasping Resphyr’s arm; his fingernails were nearly gone because he tried to claw his way out. Soon his head and then his upper body appeared. Finally, he was about to crawl out and he plopped down on the ground as he gasped for air.
“He’s exhausted and most likely dehydrated,” Marika decided as she inspected him. “Resphyr, have him lean against the wall and stay with him. Someone needs to get him some water. Oraji, come with me. We probably need some help so we have to go to a different location to grow them. As for everyone else, please leave some space. When he wakes up, he will most likely be confused and we don’t want to scare him.”
Everyone obeyed her order and sat back down. Lanskas got some fresh water from his and handed the water pouch to Resphyr, who gently pour it in the boy’s mouth, before joining the others. During that time, Kejuta studied the stranger, whose head was slumped against his chest, curiously. He appeared to be around her son’s age and was very lanky. The mysterious boy has tan skin and light brown hair, which were common features from Enkrum. Strange, how could a boy from that land arrive here? Did the Neriads save him as well but why did they dump in in that dreadful pit? Another strange thing was that she didn’t recognize his clothes at all. It appeared to be a military uniform of some sort and the style seemed archaic. Who was he?
Marika’s reappearance distracted her. Oraji and she arrived back in the cave as they carried a bundle of herbs and some medical supplies. “Mix these herbs together while I check on our patient,” she instructed the young woman, who immediately went to work. As she headed toward Resphyr, she asked him, “How is he?”
“Still the same,” he replied, “but he seems to be responsive…” All of a sudden, the young man began to stir and rubbed his head as if he has a headache. Resphyr placed his hands on his shoulders. “Hey, are you okay? Marika, he is about to wake up!”
Upon hearing that news, she quickened her pace. She was only a short distance away when an alarmed Brenton looked up from his book and shouted, “Stay away from him! He’s dangerous!”
Startled, everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at the Ilmarian of Time, whose face was pale as a ghost. “What do you mean, Brenton?” Resphyr asked confusedly as he looked back and forth from Brenton and the stranger.
That was Kejuta saw it. The strange boy suddenly looked up and his eyes were glassy and vacant. However his face was distorted with pain and rage, which frightened her. Before Brenton could say anything, the young man placed his hand on a surprised Resphyr’s chest and blasted him with a magical burst, which passed through his chest.
---------- Post added January 14, 2013 at 10:51 PM ---------- Previous post was January 13, 2013 at 12:18 AM ----------
Time seemed to slow down. Kejuta could only watched in horror as a stunned Resphyr gingerly touched his wound before slumping down onto the ground. His killer – no, he’s not dead; he couldn’t be since he’s immortal – slowly stood up and glared at each and every Ilmarian angrily as if deciding which one would be next to face his wrath. He finally stopped at Marika, who was the closest to him, and lifted his hand. The Ilmarian of Worlds stood, frozen, as she realized that her “death” was imminent. A glowing light of multiple colors appeared in front of his hand and it grew larger and larger until it was as big as the palm of his hand.
She has to do something, Kejuta realized. That was when she saw it; a Chain of Destiny was dangling from his body. If she could grasp it, then she could… Her mouth dropped in horror when her hand grabbed nothing but air. What on earth!? Why was his chain transparent? Was her power useless against this unknown enemy? For the fifth time in her life, she felt helpless; everyone was going to die and there was nothing she could do to prevent it. It was her fault. If she hasn’t insisted of searching for Resphyr… if she didn’t have the meeting here… none of them would have…
A gust of wind unexpectedly blew past her and blasted the stranger through the cave opening before he could release his attack. “Come on,” Zentran shouted, rallying the others, as he chased after him. “We have to stop him before he causes any more damage!”
The others yelled in agreement and most of them followed him outside to battle their opponent. The only ones who remained were Kejuta, Marika, Oraji, Brenton, an unconscious Resphyr, and surprisingly Aundra. Why wasn’t the Ilmarian of Magic helping the others defeat the enemy? Everyone didn’t move at first as they realized how lucky they were from being severely injured. However, the silence was broken when Marika snapped out of her daze and began to bark orders, “Oraji, I need you to grow some herbs that will help me stop the bleeding. Kej, help me keep him awake by talking to him. Aundra, Brenton must be in shock right now so you need to tend to him. Well then, don’t just stand there! Hop, hop!”
They immediately went back to work. Oraji immediately opened a portal to a field and started growing some medicinal plants as she followed Marika’s instructions. Meanwhile, Aundra gently led a still shocked Brenton, who still has his book opened, and has him sit down. Kejuta watched them work as she carefully placed Resphyr’s head on her lap. “Resphyr,” she whispered as she softly tapped his face. “I know you want to fall asleep, but I need you to be alert.” His eyelids fluttered at the sound of her voice and he slowly opened his eyes. He was staring at her but he has a faraway look in his eyes. She also didn’t like the sounds of his shallow breathings either.
“Come on, Resphyr. Focus,” she urged him. He lifted his bloodied hand weakly and she held it to comfort him. A thought suddenly occurred to her: he was going to die. It was impossible, but somehow she knew that it was true. Panicking, she looked up and screamed, “Marika, hurry! He’s dying!”
Aundra numbly has Brenton leaned back against the wall and closed his book. He still has a stunned expression on his face, but she didn’t blame him. After all, who would have expected that he would show up? “Shh! Don’t blame yourself, Brenton. Even I wouldn’t have known that monster was still alive,” she said in a soothing voice as she brushed the hair away from his eyes.
Now that she thought about it, she was surprised to see that thing running around loose in the world. Didn’t her siblings tell her so long ago that the threat against the gods was sealed away, never to be seen again, and reassure her that the world was safe from destruction? But then, how was he able to free himself unless…
The Ilmarian of Magic was suddenly aware to discover that she was smiling. For some odd reason, she wasn’t scared at all. Instead, she felt calm and composed. Giving Brenton a tight squeeze on his shoulder, she stood up and walked away until she was able to view the battlefield. She has to see the fight, she realized, or else how was she supposed to know who she’s up against?
Zentran quickly pursued his opponent as he ran along the sandy border to exit the cave. He could hear the others following behind him in the distance and noticed that Alethea was flying next to him from the corner of his eyes. After blasting that stranger away, he was hoping that Resphyr’s attacker was drowning in the ocean. What he saw caused him to stop however. The man was standing on the water. What on earth was he? He was definitely not an ordinary human, that’s for sure. Was he an Ilmarian like them? Or something else, something more dangerous?
That was when the stranger looked up abruptly at him and Zen noticed that he has a crazed look in his eyes. Then he slowly raised his hand and built up power. Oh crap, he’s going to use that spell again. Acting quickly, Zen summoned huge hailstones and hurled them at him. Before his attack could hit, the enemy stopped them in midair and shattered them into dust. Without skipping a beat, he shot his magic at the Ilmarian of Seasons before he could have a chance to react. Luckily for him, Alethea grabbed him and jumped out of the way.
“Are you all right?” she asked as she hastily got off of him while keeping a wary eye on their opponent. He noticed that she has gotten her armor on; once he questioned her about it, but she claimed that it was a secret Aerian trick.
“Yeah, I’m all right. Thanks,” he said as he stood up. He noticed that the others have finally joined in the battle. Different magic assaults appeared everywhere as everyone tried to defeat the adversary.
The Ilmarian of Truth nodded and flew up in the air. “I’ll try to distract him,” she told him. “Once you see an opening, strike.” Without waiting for an answer, she charged at the mysterious man.
Glancing back at the spot where he was standing, Zentran was surprised to see that the attack created a hole in the rocky wall, which opened to a hidden world. It took him only a few seconds for him to recognize it as the place where Shintra was being held prisoner. He recalled Brenton’s words about how the Duermon would escape in one of his visions. If he was powerful enough to destroy the barrier between worlds, did that mean he could easily beat them up? Zentran looked back at the man, who effortlessly deflected another attack, and whispered, “Who or what are you?”
“Do you sense anything different about him?” Argus lazily opened his eyes at his host’s question. It has been 163 years since he has agreed to reside in the Aerian’s body. He was glad that he did; he has a limitless supply of food, and at the same time, he was able to keep his oath of not fighting anymore. Instead his main job now was to protect, which he found more enjoyable. Not to mention if he hasn’t, he would either be dead or… he shuddered at the thought of becoming Shintra’s slave especially after he heard what his power was. Why on earth would the gods allow such dangerous power to exist?
He shouldn’t dwell on it though since he was safe. Right now, he needed to focus on keeping his host safe. Noticing how tense she was, he decided to calm her down by quipping, “Well, for one, he’s definitely not an ordinary human.”
“Obviously,” she replied sarcastically and dodged another magic burst. The Duermon wanted to sigh; that girl was too serious for her own good sometimes. Alethea was also very guarded around him in spite of the many years they spent together. It was like pulling teeth when he asked her questions about herself. Hell, he was opened about his past with her.
“Argus…Is he an Ilmarian like me?” This time he could sense her concern. She was probably thinking that if he was one of them, then he would be harder to control than Shintra.
“No, he isn’t,” he reassured her. “The smell is different.”
“What do you mean?”
He hesitated. That was the problem. That person’s scent was bothering him. “While the others and your soul smell sweet, his smells sweet and savory at the same time,” he replied.
“Sweet and savory?” Alethea asked incredulously. “Are you sure you never smell that scent before in your life?”
“I’m positive. This is my first time,” he insisted. That wasn’t true though. He recognized that smell from a long time ago. In fact, he thought he would never breathe it again. As he watched his host hurled another magic attack, he has only one thought: Why did he smell like Duermon?
---------- Post added January 19, 2013 at 12:08 AM ---------- Previous post was January 14, 2013 at 10:51 PM ----------
“Do you notice something strange about him?” Weiss signed to his sister as they got ready for another attack.
Torryn nodded. “You’re talking about his soul color, right? Yeah, I noticed.”
It was really strange. His soul’s color wasn’t that of a typical soul that was pale blue with black specks; neither was it gold like theirs. Instead it was white with an aura of multiple colors. She couldn’t remember seeing anything like that before in her life. She was glad that she wasn't the only one who noticed and wondered if Kejuta's children saw it as well. While she figured Pendance to join in the battle, she didn't expect little Adia to participate as well. But lo and behold, there was the Ilmarian of Life doing her best. Even though she never fought before in her life, she would gather some rocks to hurl at that beast. Heh, that girl has spunk.
That reminded her – where the hell was Aundra? The Ilmarian of Magic would be a big help in this fight, but she hasn’t shown up at all. That woman didn’t seem like the type who would run away from battle. Besides Torryn has seen her fight before during Weiss and her training and boy, Aundra could be scary especially if you pissed her off.
“So what’s the plan?” she asked her brother. She needed to focus on the task at hand. If not, she would be killed many times over by now. That was another thing that was bugging her. Normally she would be able to concentrate at the task at hand and was giddy about confronting a challenging opponent. But when she looked at her opponent, she felt terrified as if she knew one mistake will cost her life. Has she become soft?
Unlike her, Weiss seemed to be full of determination. “Notice how Lanskas is using the animals to try to distract him? When one of those giant whales is close to him, use its shadow to engulf him. Then we can crush him until he’s nothing but a pile of broken bones.”
She nodded with approval. Not a bad plan. “Gotcha.” She immediately jumped up to a higher ledge so she could have a better view. Their enemy still stood on the ocean as if it was just solid ground despite the waves roaring around him. Whenever one of the other Ilmarians launch a magical attack at him, he just raised his hand and dissipated it before it could hit him. Torryn whistled, impressed. Whoever he was, he's pretty good. Too bad he's on the opposite side. Now that she thought about it, no one has dared to confront him straight on; they were all attacking him from afar by using their powers. Not that she blamed them. It would be a suicide mission trying to fight that thing using only a weapon, which he probably could break easily. Weiss could probably shot a bolt at him, but seeing how fast their opponent was, he would probably miss.
Speaking of which, she noticed that her twin brother was standing on the opposite ledge. He winked at her as if reassuring her that they got this and then pointed at something in the water. Sure enough, she could see a silhouette of a whale just below the water surface. It was only a few meters away, but it moved slowly closer to the enemy. Come on, just a little closer, she urged the animal mentally. When the whale was just below him, it sprouted water from its blowhole, which forced the enemy to jump out of the way.
“Now.” That was all she needed. Weiss and she quickly seized control of the whale's shadow and pulled it right out of the sea. They quickly grabbed their opponent by his feet before he could escape and pulled him into the shadow until he was completely engulfed. A loud cheer could be heard below after they captured him. Torryn felt herself smiling. They did it! Now all they needed to do is finish the job. Her brother and she began to squeeze the bundle when it suddenly started vibrating violently. He was trying to escape, but that has to be impossible. There was no way he could do it; the only ones with that possibility were Alethea and that self-righteous immortal king. What a foolish little pest! she thought to herself amusingly. We'll end your struggle soon enough.
They continued crushing the shadow, but the shaking increased in speed, which caused the water to ripple, so they increased their force. However, the bundle refused to be crushed but it expanded like a balloon. She began to worry; that's not good. Everyone became silent when they realized that something was amiss. Panicking, she tried one last attempt to kill him, but the shadow that wrapped around their prey exploded. The shockwave blasted everyone to the ground with a large thump. When they look up, they were horrified to see the man standing on the water and there were no scratches on him at all. He looked more furious and he was aiming his glare at her. Oh crap. That was definitely not good at all.
Before she could even blink, he charged at her. She barely has time to raise her swords to block his attack when he slammed her against the wall, which caused her to drop her weapons. Dazed, she didn’t have the energy to stop him as he began to strangle her. His dead-like eyes were full of rage and she could feel his breathing down on her. He’s insane, she realized as she tried to claw his arms. He doesn’t know what he's doing right now. All he knows is to attack.
She could hear her brother's roaring with anger as he tried to protect his older sister, but the enemy easily blasted the ledge he was on while still glaring at her. This was it. Amazingly, she actually felt calm for some reason unlike the last time when she confronted King Rothlem Asyras. Maybe that was what Uncle Tobias meant when he said that he was going to die honorably like an assassin. She swallowed her saliva as she embraced her impending doom when she noticed that he was no longer looking at her. Instead, his head was turned to the left and he quickly dodge a light attack by jumping off of the cliff.
“Are you all right?” She stared at Hessin with bewilderment and nodded slowly. Who would have thought the old fart would be the one to save her?
“Good. Now don't just stand there like an idiot. You're a trained assassin, aren't you? Then act like one!” he admonished. “I'll try to distract him while you and your brother think of another plan.” Before she could even thank him, he jumped down with his sword drawn.
Hessin cursed himself as he regretted not taking Istra with him to the meeting. If she were here, then it would make things easier for him. He sent a row of light spike toward his opponent, but the young man just cut them in half like they were pieces of paper. How irritating! Meanwhile, Zentran tried to strike him with lightning, but that failed as well. The twins attempted to restrain him with their power, but the enemy destroyed the shadowy restraints with ease. Alethea used one of her light mines; unfortunately he jumped out of the way before it exploded. He also saw Lanskas giving directions to some sea hawks as they attacked. However, the Ilmarian of Beasts was being cautious since he didn’t want to risk his animal friends' lives.
Out of the corner of his eyes, he noticed Shintra hiding behind some rocks. Shot! He totally forgot about that Duermon. It seemed like he didn’t realize that he was spotted because he was still focused on the enemy. That was when it occurred to him that Shintra was trying to control the stranger. If he did, the Duermon would use him to blackmail them to agree to his terms. Hessin knew that he has to stop him so he ran toward him. However, he suddenly saw that the Duermon frowned slightly and looked at his hand, confused. The Ilmarian of Justice smiled. It seemed like his magic didn’t work on the man, which was fortunate. Nevertheless, it was still dangerous allowing the demon to roam freely.
Standing in front of him, the former Kahlin warned, “Don’t even think about it, Duermon.” He quickly trapped him between light spikes and added, “It may be a little uncomfortable, but you’ll thank me. This should be a safe location so you won’t get targeted. By the way, I wouldn’t move an inch if I were you because if you do, I’ll cut your head off.”
“You little…! Let me go or else I…” Hessin kept walking away as Shintra screamed curses at him. Now that issue was taken care of, he could focus on the other one. His opponent was quite strong and he easily dispelled all of their magic attacks. At the same time, he acted sporadically. He would attack the closet Ilmarian before pursuing another. It was as if he didn’t care who he’s attacking as long as he get to fight someone. How could he and the others defeat this one?
He frowned suddenly when he saw several blurry images behind the enemy as they called out to him. It seemed like this person has killed before. It happened quickly but he immediately recognized one of them. “This is our hubris,” Versen declared before disappearing. “You must defeat him or else the world is doomed to destruction.” The gods’ hubris? He thought that Resphyr told Kejuta that it has been dealt with already. If the gods couldn’t stop that monster, how could they?
Oraji quietly poured out the dirty water onto the rocks and went off to get some fresh new one. She entered her world, which was a garden full of different variety of plants. In the center of it was a fountain, where she could sit on the edge to contemplate. Dipping the bowl into the water, she wondered how the others were faring. Hopefully everyone was doing well and none was wounded badly. She worried especially about Pendance. After Zentran shouted to them to pursue Resphyr’s attacker, he just ran off head first without saying a word. She never saw him act recklessly before.
She sighed. Right now she needed to focus on helping Marika take care of Resphyr. Picking up the bowl, she headed back. Everything was still the same. The injured man was still lying on Kejuta’s lap while she held his hand and whispered comforting words to him. During that time, Marika has placed some ointment on his wound as she tried to stop the bleeding. In the distance, she could see Brenton still leaning against the wall; he was still in shock over what happened. The Ilmarian of Nature pitied him. What did he see that scared him so? However, what surprised her most was that Aundra was just standing near the entrance and watching the battle. Why didn’t she get involved?
“Oh, good, you’re back, Raj.” She turned around to see Marika was talking to her. “I need some wet towels. He has a fever and we need to cool his head down.” Oraji nodded and quickly went back to work. As she gently placed the damp towel on his forehead, she prayed that everyone especially Resphyr would be okay.
Marika muttered an oath as she has to replace another bandage. No matter what she did, the bleeding just wouldn’t stop. It didn’t happen the last time when she tended Alethea’s injuries. “Raj, I need you to grow some nura grass and plyre tuber,” she instructed the young Bisahan. “And be quick about it!” Oraji nodded and quickly rushed over to get more supplies.
Turning her attention back to her patient, she removed the bloodied bandages and cleaned his wound with a clean, wet towel. The wound seemed to be pulsing as if it was taunting her and her medical skills. She shook her head. Now that was silly; she must be exhausted from the whole ordeal. It was already late in the afternoon and she has been tending Resphyr for hours now.
“Will he be okay?” Kejuta asked concernedly. Her dress and arms were covered with his blood. She also looked exhausted, but her eyes were alert.
Marika shook her head. “I’m not sure,” she confessed. “None of my ointments have worked so far so I’m hoping another salve will be more effective.”
“I hope so too. Listen, I’m sorry if I alarmed you earlier with my screaming. I panicked and didn’t know how to get your attention,” the Ilmarian of Fate apologized.
“It’s all right, Kej. To be honest, this is the first time that I…”
Resphyr stirred again and began to mumble something underneath his breath. “Belthi, I’m sorry… I should have listened to you…” he moaned. The women looked at each other, disturbed.
“He’s delirious,” the Ilmarian of Worlds breathed. “That’s not a good sign. Kejuta, I need you to help me since Oraji is occupied right now. Understand?” Her friend nodded as she quickly went back to work. Don’t you dare die on me, Resphyr! Marika mentally urged him. I won’t lose another patient.
Kejuta listened to Resphyr’s rambling nervously. At first, he was talking to his dead wife and friends. However, it seemed like he was talking to someone else now. “What do you mean by that? Why is it necessary I reveal myself to Kejuta on that date? How come my role will end as soon as I did?” he asked weakly. He must be talking to Seitha and Allaura now. She didn’t say anything, but continued to hold his hand.
Oraji has come back with the newly-grown plants and was making a paste out of them while Marika continued to monitor his vitals. The Ilmarian of Fate tried her best to avoid looking at that gaping hole in Resphyr’s chest. Otherwise, she would most likely faint.
“I’m finished,” the Ilmarian of Nature said as she handed the mixture to the Ishan healer, who immediately slathered it over the wound. The former sailor trashed slightly from the stinging medicine, but Marika and Oraji managed to hold him down. Once he settled down, they rewrapped him with clean, new bandages.
“Did it work?” she asked hopefully.
“Hopefully it did…” Marika’s voice trailed off as she watched with dismay that he was still bleeding. “No! Why isn’t any of my medicine working? That was my last option too! If only we could move him from this place to a grassy area, then maybe his blood could create the ceraphilis flowers and heal him…”
“That wouldn’t work.” Startled, everyone turned to look at Aundra, who still kept watching the body.
“What do you mean?” Oraji finally questioned as she looked back at Resphyr worriedly.
“That wound can’t be healed at all. He’s dying and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.”
Kejuta was suddenly filled with rage. While everyone was doing their best, that vile woman just stood there, doing nothing but watch. Why didn’t she join the battle with the others? Hell, even Adia, her own daughter, left to help out in the fight even though she never has any fighting experience before. She didn’t blame Brenton since he was currently incapacitated, but Aundra didn’t have that excuse. The sounds of the battle could be heard through the wall and based on how loud it was, it wouldn’t end anytime soon.
“Why are you just standing there!?” she yelled angrily. “Why aren’t you fighting with the others? They would greatly benefit from your powers and the battle would probably be over quicker if you fucking participate! Maybe that monster would be defeated already by now!”
The Ilmarian of Magic suddenly spun her head around and Kejuta felt her heart stopped. While Aundra wore an icy cold expression, her eyes were full of fire. If look could kill, the Ilmarian of Fate would be dead. “It’s because my powers wouldn’t work against him,” she replied coolly. Then she turned her attention back to the battle without saying another word.
At first, Kejuta stared at the Kreesian in stunned silence. What did she mean by that? Her powers wouldn’t work against that boy? That was when it dawned on her what Aundra was implying. She quickly sent a mental warning to the others. “Magic is ineffective against him! You have to use physical force in order to defeat him!”
So I've read part III. It seems like such a hopeless fight and I was quite pissed off at Aundra for what she was doing until she explained her reasons; which in tun explained why things weren't working. Why is Brenton so affected by the latest developments? I mean yes, it's shocking but for him to be incapacitated as he is...
I'll explain soon...
What? So impatient!
sue me ~♪ goldb
Maybe I will
insolence, how rude! *tickles* ~♪ goldb
look at the mess you've made here, you happy? ~♪ goldb
---------- Post added January 20, 2013 at 10:28 PM ---------- Previous post was January 19, 2013 at 09:08 AM ----------
Resphyr: "In dreams, no one dies" - Part II
“Magic is ineffective against him!”
As soon as Zentran heard those words, he cussed. No wonder Aundra didn’t bother to participate in this fight. Dammit! That meant he has no choice but to face the enemy head-on, which was what he really didn’t want to do. Looks like he didn’t have a choice in the matters though. Grinding his teeth, he charged at his enemy and punched him. He wanted to scream with joy when the young man staggered back with a startled expression; he didn’t expect that attack. Angry, he tried to lunge at the Ilmarian of Seasons, but a bolt hit him on the side of the shoulder.
“Good job, Weiss!” he cheered as he prepared another punch. His opponent snarled as he charged up another magical blast but he cried out in pain as he stumbled to the ground. Alethea has swooped down from the sky and attacked him from behind before flying away. Before he could even get up, Zentran quickly punched him in the face. The Ilmarian of Seasons wanted to cheer. For once, they were making progress and were actually winning. The stalemate has finally been broken and not a moment too soon. Everyone including himself was getting exhausted; on the other hand, their opponent seemed to be still full of energy. After Kejuta’s heads-up, it looked like they have upper hand in the fight since it seemed like the enemy didn’t know how to react from the sudden change of tactic as they hit him with the rapid attacks.
The Ilmarian of Seasons wanted to laugh as the enemy appeared to be befuddled when little Adia threw rocks at him. Distracted, he didn’t notice Pendance coming up from behind and whacking him on the head with his staff. One by one, everyone attacked him before he could make a counterattack. “Tory, stab him with your swords!” Weiss shouted. “There is no way he can survive the poison.”
“Got it!” She rushed toward their adversary as she prepared to attack. She jumped into the air and was about to swing her swords at him when Zentran noticed that his expression has changed. The enemy was no longer confounded; he was now determined.
Alethea became more alert when she heard Zentran cried out in alarm, “Watch out, Tory!” She could only watched in horror as the startled assassin quickly lowered her swords barely in time as their foe blasted her. She was sent flying but luckily Alethea managed to catch her.
“She’s all right,” she said as she gently placed the young Ankan to the ground. “Unfortunately, she’s unconscious so she can’t fight, but she’s not seriously…” Before she could even finish her sentence, the enemy appeared right in front of her. He looked down at her as if he was furious that she intervened. The bad part was that her body was frozen with fear and she couldn’t move it no matter how hard she tried. The Aerian could see the others running toward them, but she knew that they wouldn’t be able to arrive there on time.
Shit, I’m going to die. It was funny. Long ago, she would have embraced death after losing Dalin, but now she wanted to live. She can’t die just yet. Come on, she urged herself as the enemy prepared to blast her. She could hear Argus yelling at her to stop acting like a rookie soldier and do something. Move.
That was when it happened; her wings moved. It was just a little bit, but it was enough to do what she needed to do. She quickly grabbed the unconscious Torryn and used her wings to shield both of them as they got hit. The barrier managed to block most of the attack, but it shattered due to the pressure. Alethea could feel the impact as both she and Torryn was slammed hard against the stone wall. She thought she heard Argus called out her name when she hit her head. “I’m sorry, Argus,” she apologized as she succumbed to the darkness.
Lanskas could only observe the battle in disbelief. Due to his weak physical strength, he stayed away from the battle and just directed the animals to where to attack. How could this happen? After they finally figured out how to defeat that mysterious man, two of his colleagues were now out of the battle. Alethea lie crumpled on the ground while her armor slowly submerged back into her body; Torryn was right next to her.
“Alethea!” Zentran screamed and glared at the man angrily. “You bastard, I’ll make sure you regret it!”
“Zentran, don’t!” he yelled, but the Ilmarian of Seasons refused to listen. He lunged at the man, who easily dodged the attack and prepared to counter.
This isn’t good. Zen is going to get killed, the former priest realized. I need to do something.
He immediately sent orders to a sea hawk, which flew down and scratched the man’s face. Instead of trying to hit Zentran, he aimed his magic spell at the bird, which barely dodged the attack as it flew away. Lanskas breathed a sigh of relief. Thanks goodness, it worked. Roaring out in anger, the opponent jumped out of the way before the others could hit him. Lanskas noticed that he was frantically searching the area until he finally stopped when he spotted what he was looking for. That was when he realized that the enemy was staring at him.
How was that possible that he could be spotted from that far of a distance? This wasn’t good. He needed to get away fast. Already the Ilmarian of Beasts could see that he was building power to create a magical orb as big as his head. Panicking, Lanskas sprinted out of the way as he hurled the orb. The former priest squeezed his eyes shut as he waited for the impact but was surprised to hear the explosion above him. Startled, he stopped and looked up to see several boulders falling toward him.
Oraji shrieked while the cave shook violently. Rocks fell off the ceiling and shattered on the floor. Dirt dispersed in the air, which caused everyone to cough. Water rippled and splashed against the shore. During that violent ordeal, Marika and she immediately covered Resphyr with their bodies out of instinct. Finally the trembling stopped and she slowly opened her eyes. Broken rocks were scattered all over the floor and everyone was covered with dust. Worried, she checked on the patient and was relieved to see that his condition was still the same.
“Dammit! This isn’t good,” Aundra muttered as she quickly made a portal.
“What’s wrong, Aundra?” she asked.
“That last attack has broken the seals on the Shuvyrals so I need to go their locations and quickly seal them away before they cause any chaos.”
Alarmed, Kejuta offered, “Let me come with you. It would be quicker if there are two of us to perform that job.”
“I’ll come as well.” Oraji began to stand up when the Ilmarian of Magic raised her hand.
“It’s all right. You need to stay here just in case something happens.”
“But you have to travel to ten locations!” the Ilmarian of Fate protested. “Let us help you.”
Aundra just gave her a reassuring smile. “Thanks for your concern, but I’ll be all right. Right now, you should focus on making Resphyr comfortable. Don’t worry about me; I’ll be back in a jiffy!” And with that, she left.
Kejuta stared at the empty space before griping, “That infuriating woman! One day I’m going to teach her a lesson.”
“I know you’re irritated, but don’t let her aggravate you,” Marika said firmly. “Anyway, we should make sure Resphyr and Brenton are all right.” Kejuta just sighed and shifted her sitting position. Meanwhile, Oraji went over to Brenton and found him to be fine. It seemed like he was slowly waking up from his stupor as well.
Afterward she walked back and sat next to Kejuta. Deciding to start a conversation to liven the silence, she asked, “Do you think the others are doing well?”
The older woman hesitated as she fidgeted with her fingers. Oraji recognized that she was trying to use her power to view what was happening. Shaking her head, Kejuta replied, “I’m not sure, but the intensity of the last attack has me worried.”
The Ilmarian of Nature nodded with agreement. “I’m sure they’re fine; they are some of the finest warriors after all. At least we’re safe here for now,” she said as she looked around the cave. Suddenly her eyes widened with realization. “Kej, where’s Shintra?”
---------- Post added January 21, 2013 at 02:39 PM ---------- Previous post was January 20, 2013 at 10:28 PM ----------
Shintra struggled in his bindings. If that damned king hasn’t restrained him, he would have escaped and be far away from this dangerous battle. For now, he has no choice but to watch what happened. He has to admit that he was rather impressed by the interloper’s power; he has managed to defeat three “Ilmarians” easily without even breaking a sweat. When he heard that woman’s revelation that their powers didn’t work on him, he wanted to curse. If only his magic could only work on that boy, he would definitely force those other immortals especially that Aerian to bend on their knees!
Suddenly the light spikes that held him hostage faded away. Surprised, he saw Hessin collapsed to the ground after the stranger punched him in the stomach; his sword lay a few feet away from him. Smirking, he peeked out of his hiding spot and examined what happened. Four down, four to go, he thought to himself. In the distance, he could see the Sendoan and the boy twin trying their best to distract the enemy from Kejuta’s children, who stood close by to the Ilmarian of Justice, who slumped against the stone wall; Pendance stood in front of his older sister to protect her. It seemed like they were too distracted to notice his presence.
Walking quietly, he ignored the rock pile, where the Doranian priest lay underneath. Instead he approached the two unconscious women. Bending down, he searched Alethea until he found her needle ring. Hmm… if he remembered correctly, Marika just pricked her finger on the sharp point and toss it in the air. The Duermon glanced around and was pleased to see that the others were still distracted. Now was his chance to escape! He looked down at the angel and decided to bring her along as well. Every time he sees her, he felt aggravated because he didn’t fulfill his promise of annihilating all Aerians to his men. But then they would probably enjoy having an Aerian around to torture and the best part was that since she was immortal, she would be tormented for all eternity. Yes, that would her punishment for making him look like a fool.
He was about to prick his finger when another idea occurred to him. Looking at the foolish humans, he realized that he needed to build up their trust first. If he escaped now, they would surely find him and capture him again. Based on Kejuta’s slip-up, he was definitely positive that the others have a protection spell of some sort that prevented his type of magic from being effective. Since that woman’s power was similar to his, it would mean her magic wouldn’t work on him when he got that protection. “You will have to wait,” he whispered mockingly to Alethea as he put back her needle ring. “I’ll get my revenge on you another time. But first…”
Standing up, he walked toward the battlefield. “Dammit! Where did he go?” Zentran shouted as he and Weiss looked around at the surroundings.
“I don’t know,” the young Ankan replied worriedly. “Do you think he went after Adia and Pendance?”
“No, they seemed to be all right. Keep looking. I still need to give that guy a whooping for what he did to Alethea.”
Shintra tuned out the rest of the conversation because he spotted what he was looking for. His target was hiding behind a boulder right above them and was slowly building power. Clever boy. He’s going to ambush them, he thought. Now was the time to win those two Ilmarians over.
Without hesitation, he jumped in front of them and shouted, “He’s right above you!”
Startled, they looked up to see their opponent plummeting down toward them. “Shit! Get down!” Shintra felt Zentran tackled him down as they just avoided getting hit. Unfortunately, they got caught in the shockwave and they crashed against the cliff. As he lost consciousness, the Duermon began to smile because he knew everything was going according to plan.
Adia gasped when Shintra, Weiss, and Zentran were slammed against the cliffs. She could see the attack as it was happening, but she could only watch helplessly since she knew that there was nothing she could do to prevent it. “This is not good, Adia,” her brother said as he put on a defensive stance. “We’re the only ones left. Once we’re out, he will probably go after Mother and the others.”
Peeking from behind him, she could see that their opponent was now studying them. Scared, she grasped her brother’s robe tightly. “Are we going to die?” she whispered. She left her brother shifted as he got ready for the impending attack.
“No, we’re not going to die, sis,” he reassured her. “Just stay behind me no matter what happens. I’ll protect you.” Adia nodded and exhaled deeply. “Dammit, here he comes. Brace yourself, Adia.”
She squeezed her eyes shut and did as she was told. The Ilmarian of Life could hear her brother grunting as he used his lantern staff to block the attack. Opening her eyes, she could see Pendance tried to fend off the enemy, who was nearly on top of him. Both of them were grappling over the staff as they tried to push the other away. Adia could see the sweat dripping from her brother’s forehead during the struggle and noticed that he was being pushed back. Wanting to help, she was about to step out when Pendance shouted, “No, Adia! Stay back!” Reluctantly, she listened though she wished she could be a better help.
The enigma abruptly let go of the staff, which caused her brother to stumble. Before he could even get up, the stranger nonchalantly swiped him in the side as if he was an annoying gnat. “Pendance!” she screamed as her baby brother went flying and hit the wall with a loud slam. She could see the cracks on the wall where her brother hit. Luckily it seemed like he was still conscious though very weak; he was on all fours and was gasping for air.
However, a shadow looming above her reminded her of her current situation. Adia looked up to see the man staring down at her. I’m the only one left, she realized with horror and immediately backed away from the threat. Unfortunately, he kept up with her pace. He was like a cat toying with his prey as if he knew that there was no way she could escape. So frightened she was that she didn’t notice where she was going and accidentally tripped over a rock.
“Ow!” she cried out as she rubbed her sprained ankle. Adia sensed magic being used and realized that this was it. Teardrops dripped down on her face as she looked pleadingly at her killer, who looked down at her expressionlessly. His right hand was covered with a magical aura, which reminded her of a giant flame. Swallowing her fear, she closed her eyes to embrace her death when something odd happened.
The magic around her disappeared. Confused, she opened her eyes to find that her would-be killer has extinguished his spell and was rubbing his head. When he opened his eyes again, she noticed that he now wore a bewildered expression; that killer look was long gone. “Wh-what is this?” he asked disconcertedly; she was surprised to hear that he has a gentle voice. “Where am I? Who are you?”
Before she could answer, someone stabbed the young man through the chest. Stunned, he stared at his wound and turned around to see who did it. A panting Pendance glared back at him as he withdrew Hessin’s sword out of his body. “Don’t you dare touch my big sister!” he snarled. Adia noticed that the stranger became berserk again, but before he could do anything, he collapsed to the ground. Staring at his soul, she knew that the threat was now dead and was relieved. Nevertheless, she felt disturbed about what she just saw.
Pendance quickly rushed over to his sister. “Are you all right?” he asked. She nodded though she seemed bothered by something. “Did he do something to you?”
“No, it’s not that. It’s just…” She trailed off and pointed at the dead man’s body with alarm. “Look!”
Turning around, he thought Resphyr’s attacker has come back to life and was about to attack them. Instead his body changed into a bright light and slowly dissipated in the air; it reminded him of the ceraphilis flowers for some reason. He and Adia just stared with awe at the sight until they heard shouting.
“Grab his soul!” Weiss screamed, pointing at it as it floated away. Shintra and Zentran were beginning to stir as well. “Capture it and crush it before he can come back!”
If they crushed that man’s soul, it would ensure that he would never be reborn to haunt them. Since they’re the only ones who can destroy a soul, it looked the job was up to them. Determined, they quickly tried to grab it only to find a horrifying discovery.
“What are you doing!?” Shintra shouted angrily. “Just capture it already!”
“We can’t grab it!” Adia cried out as she did another attempt but failed.
“WHAT!?” Zentran exclaimed in disbelief. “What do you mean by that?”
“I don’t know how to explain it, but we can’t touch his soul no matter how hard we tried!” Pendance replied. He wanted to scream with frustration as his hand once again went through the multi-colored orb. “His soul is intangible for some reason!”
“You got to be kidding me! What on earth is he!?” Weiss wondered as he watched the soul slowly disappeared. He quickly grabbed his crossbow and aimed a bolt at it. However, it went through the soul without damaging it. In the end, they could only watch helplessly as the stranger’s soul lifted into the air and flew off to parts unknown.
They stood there in stunned silence until they heard their comrades began to wake up. “We’ll worry about him later,” Pendance decided. “Right now, we need to check on the others and make sure they’re okay. After that, let’s head back and tell my mother what happened.”
Everyone nodded and went straight to work. Zentran and Shintra rushed over to the rock pile and began removing the rocks to rescue Lanskas. Meanwhile, Weiss and Adiea checked on Alethea and Torryn, who seemed to be all right though shaken. Walking over to Hessin, Pendance stopped and wiped the blood off the king’s sword before handing it back to him.
“Sorry for taking it away from you while you were unconscious,” he said apologetically. The Ilmarian of Justice waved his hand to show that he didn’t mind.
“It’s all right, Pendance,” he answered as he slowly stood up and put his sword back in its scabbard. “You did what you needed to do. Besides, you got rid of the threat before he could do any more damage. Now we’re safe.”
Looking up toward the direction where the enemy’s soul fled, the Ilmarian of Death whispered, “Are you sure?”
Kejuta spotted a portal opening and expected to see a smirking Aundra come out of the portal. Instead she was surprised to see her children and the others; all of them looked exhausted and disheveled. The most astonishing one was that Shintra came back; she has expected the Duermon to run away. Why did he come back? “What happened?” Oraji asked worriedly as she ran over to meet them. “Is everyone all right?”
“We’re fine,” Hessin replied as he wearily sat down. “None of us are seriously injured.”
“Just our pride,” Torryn grumbled and leaned back against the wall. Everyone nodded with agreement with that assessment.
Lanskas glanced over at Resphyr and asked, “How is he?”
“He’s… still the same,” Marika answered after hesitating for a moment. The Ilmarian of Fate understood why. The healer was still bothered by Aundra’s declaration that it was too late to save him. The others must have sensed something was amiss because they didn’t bother asking any more questions and stared at the now-calm water pouring into the cave.
Deciding to change the topic, Kejuta asked, “So what happened to that man?”
“He’s dead,” Zentran replied and crossed his arms thoughtfully. “Your son killed him, but there was something strange about him.”
Before she could ask him to clarify, she felt Resphyr’s grip on her hand tightened. Alarmed, she looked down to see him looking at her intently. His eyes were now alert as if he wanted to tell her something urgent. “What is it, Resphyr?” she asked. She could hear the others shuffled onto their feet when they realized that the Ilmarian of Dreams was awake.
“I’m sorry… but this is it,” he said weakly. “Before I go…. I have one… last message… from the gods. You… must ch-”
He suddenly cried out in pain and let go of her hand. “Resphyr!?” she shouted with alarm. “What do you mean by that? I must what? Hang in there! Talk to me!”
However, his eyes became unfocused again and she could sense that life was ebbing away from his body. Marika quickly rushed over to try to help him, but it was too late. He took his last breath and his body became slack. The Ilmarian of Worlds checked his pulse and sadly shook her head. Resphyr, the Ilmarian of Dreams, was now dead.
---------- Post added at 11:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:39 PM ----------
“He’s dead,” Marika confirmed sadly as she stood up. A distraught Oraji immediately started weeping so Pendance put his arms around her to comfort her. Meanwhile Kejuta closed his eyes and said a silent prayer. Those who fought in the battle glanced at each other in alarm when they heard the news and watched the spectacle.
“What do you mean he’s dead?” Kejuta’s son demanded. “He’s coming back, isn’t he?”
Of course, they wouldn’t have known about Aundra’s revelation. Now that she thought about it, how did that woman know about it? Not the mention the fact that she knew his attacker was immune to magic. The Ilmarian of Magic knew a lot more than she’s letting on. How many secrets are you keeping from us, Aundra? she wondered.
She was about to tell them what she learned when a huge earthquake occurred. “Now what?” Zentran exclaimed while everyone grabbed something to keep themselves balance.
“What’s happening?” Torryn cried as the earth shook violently below them. “First strange nutcase, then Resphyr’s death, and now this? What on the world is going on?”
Torryn was right; it couldn’t be coincidence. What was the connection? All of a sudden, another portal appeared and everyone could see Aundra standing on the other side. A newly-sealed Shuvyral was right behind her. Even though the ground was shaking all around her, she appeared to be relatively calm. “What are you all doing!?” she screamed as she pointed to the sky. What Marika saw alarmed her; the sky was cracking like an egg. Massive-sized cracks were all over the atmosphere. “All of you need to find a spot and offer your blood to the land! Hurry or else Samara will be no more!”
That was when Marika noticed that the Ilmarian of Magic has slit the palm of her hand and let the drops of blood fall to the earth. How did she kn-
“You heard what she said! Everyone, use your needle rings and find a place to offer your blood!” Kejuta ordered as she stood up and gently placed Resphyr’s body to the ground. Everyone nodded and immediately went to a different location throughout the world. Marika noticed that Shintra went with Zentran as they hurried to a remote location in Sendoa. As for her, she decided to head back to the Loredan Desert, her homeland. Unfortunately, she didn’t have bladed weapon with her so she was stumped on what to do until she remembered her needle rings.
She stabbed the palm of her hand with the sharp edge and deftly moved the ring downward. Her hand throbbed from the pain but she chose to ignore it. Instead she squeezed her hand to increase the blood flow and watched as her blood dripped onto the ground. While the ceraphilis flowers sprouted from the earth, she noted that the shaking has lessened and the cracks in the sky were slowly disappearing. Before long, everything turned back to normal. It seemed like Aundra’s method was working. Relieved, she headed back.
By the time she got back, everyone else was there. Out of habit, she checked on her patient. She half-expected to see Resphyr sitting up and laughing at them for believing Aundra. Unfortunately, he still was on the ground, dead. She felt a lump in her throat; this was her second biggest failure as a healer. Someone placed his arm around her shoulder and she was startled to see Hessin comforting her. “Don’t blame yourself, Marika,” he told her softly. “You did the best that you could.”
“He’s right,” Kejuta said, walking toward them wearily. The bags under her eyes told Marika that her friend was fatigued from the ordeal. “Right now we need to figure out who his killer is, how he arrived here, and his connection to what happened just now.”
“He is the Lashival – ‘The one who destroys’.” Kejuta and everyone spurned around to face Brenton, who walked unsteadily toward them. His face was still pale but he wore a determined look. Aundra immediately went over to him and helped him keep his balance.
“The Lashival? What do you know about him?” she asked.
He gulped and answered, “You all know about the Caeculum War, correct? Well, the gods were getting wearied of fighting their creations so they decided to create the ultimate weapon – the Lashival. However, their last creature went berserk and mortally wounded them. Weakened, they managed to seal him away before he could cause any more damages and the location of his imprisonment was… here. It appeared that the seal held strong throughout the centuries until today. The Lashival must have finally managed to destroy or weaken the seal so much to escape.
“As for the earthquake, remember that Samara depends on the blood of the gods to survive. If even one god falls, the earth would sunder to announce his death until it is appeased with a blood offering. So on the last day of the Caeculum War, the gods sacrificed themselves one last time to ensure that the world will continue running until their successors – us – awakened.”
There was a moment of silence as everyone contemplated what they have heard. Finally Hessin asked, “I have a question – do you know how this Lashival come about?”
“I think it’s best if I explain it,” Aundra interrupted. “Remember how Resphyr explained to us how we received our immortality and powers? Each of us received a part of a god’s soul, correct? Have you ever wondered why there are fifteen – no, fourteen now – of us instead of one? When the gods created the Lashival, all of them offered a little bit of their souls to him without realizing that putting too much power in one body would have terrible consequences.”
“What do you mean?” Marika inquired.
“Hmm… how should I say it? Imagine you have a small pot and you wanted to make soup. You filled it up with boiling water and added your ingredients. Unfortunately, you got greedy and put in too much. What do you think happened?”
“The soup will boil over,” Lanskas replied.
“Correct. The same analogy could describe the Lashival. The gods’ powers overwhelmed him that he lost sense of himself and went berserk.”
“But that didn’t explain how he was able to kill the gods and Resphyr,” Torryn pointed out.
“I was about to get there,” Aundra replied. “This was supposed to be a secret, but the gods’ powers were supposed to counterbalance each other. That means that none of them are more or less powerful than the others. It was to ensure that no god would dare try to subjugate another. Unfortunately, since the Lashival has all of their powers, he was able to kill them with ease.”
Alethea shuddered. “That’s terrifying! That would explain why our magic didn’t work against him, but it doesn’t explain why Pendance was able to kill him with Hessin’s sword.”
“I’m not sure either,” she admitted. “I would need to study him a little more to understand why.”
“Wait, since he’s dead and it seemed like he hasn’t come back, does it mean he’s finally defeated and won’t bother us anymore?” Lanskas wondered hopefully.
Before she could reply, Adia gasped while Pendance wore a grim expression. “What’s wrong?” Kejuta asked.
“He’s being reborn,” was all she said.
“What do you mean ‘he’s being reborn’!?” Zentran demanded.
Pendance answered, “It’s what she said. That monster is being reincarnated somewhere into the world at this very moment and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.”
Oraji sat down helplessly at the news. “So that means he would come back to pursue us down again?”
“Not really. It seems like he’s being reborn as a baby without any of his previous memories,” Adia clarified. “It’s like a normal life cycle except my brother and I have no control over him.”
Aundra became thoughtful. “Hmm… I see what happened. It appeared that every time you kill him, he will be reborn into the world. However, he will be as innocent as baby and experience life like a normal human except that he has that uncontrollable power inside him.”
“Hold on. Are you telling us that we can’t kill him completely!?” Weiss exclaimed and she nodded seriously.
“Does that mean once he has awakened his power, he can kill us?”
“Unfortunately yes,” Brenton said but added, “but it seems like his power will not be awakened immediately so right now he’ll be harmless.”
“I have a question as well,” Kejuta finally said as she narrowed her eyes suspiciously at the two. “How do you know about him and why didn’t you inform us?”
Brenton turned paler and glanced hesitantly at Aundra, who just gave him an encouraging look. “After I told Aundra what my powers were, she immediately gave me this book and told me that it was supposed to help me control my powers. She also warned me not to use it to investigate what happened to the gods since it may be too dangerous. Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to her. Curious, I went back to the past to the last day of the Caeculum War. That was how I knew what happened. The thing was… I didn’t expect the Lashival to be that powerful.”
“What do you mean?”
He gulped and continued, “Normally whenever I go to the past, I can observe what’s happening without being seen. That time, however, was different. The Lashival saw me and immediately tried to kill me. I panicked and I couldn’t force myself to leave no matter how hard I tried. Luckily for me, Aundra was there in the nick of time and closed the book before I was dead.”
“I remembered that,” the Ilmarian of Magic said dryly and looked at him disapprovingly. “It was a really close call. It would be bad if we lose another Ilmarian. As for me, Clarise told me a little about the Lashival, but she reassured me that he was no longer a threat. That was why I didn’t tell anyone. I guess the gods were greatly mistaken on that part.”
Kejuta sighed. “Well, what’s done is done. Now we have to figure out what to do next.”
“Isn’t it obvious?” Torryn declared; a dangerous glint appeared in her eyes. “We need to kill him before he uses his powers to create more mayhem.”
The Ilmarian of Nature looked uneasy about that. “Is that the right thing to do? If what Adia and Pendance say is true, why do we need to punish a child for something he did in his past life?”
“And risk having him awakens his power and killing us?” Weiss retorted. “My sister is right; we need to hunt him down and kill him.”
“I hate to admit it but, I have to agree with that assessment,” Hessin conceded. “If he managed to kill one of us, we will experience another disaster like the one we have now. It’s better to kill one man than put the entire world in jeopardy.”
Everyone looked at Kejuta expectantly to see if she has the answers. Unfortunately, she couldn’t see what the Lashival’s future holds. After several minutes of thinking of what to do, she made her decision. “Hessin and the twins are right. We need to kill him before he awakens his powers,” she determined. “I’ll assign the Three Judges to that role.”
They nodded though she noticed that Alethea seemed worried, but then she wasn’t used to the idea of killing a human due to the Aerian Oath. Everyone else seemed to agree with her, but Lanskas and Oraji didn’t seem happy about it. However, they didn’t protest at all.
“If you don’t mind, I would like to help out as well.” The Ilmarian of Fate turned around to see Shintra raising his hand to volunteer.
She looked at him warily. “And why would you like to do that?”
“Like you, I don’t want to see my world destroyed,” he said innocently. “After seeing what that monster can do, I know that he’s a threat.”
“How can we trust you, Duermon?” Alethea asked him dubiously.
Shintra gave her a withering smirk. “Trust me? How’s about this as proof? I could have escaped when all of you were preoccupied with the Lashival but I remained. Likewise, I was able to warn Zentran and Weiss about his ambush and thus, saved them.”
They looked at the two young men and the Sendoan grumbled, “That’s true.”
“But what is your intention with the Lashival?” Hessin demanded. “I saw you tried to use your magic on him in order to control him. Luckily for us, it didn’t work on him. Are you hoping that now that he’s reborn as a baby without his power, he would be powerless against your magic and easily controlled?”
“Oh, he shouldn’t be that cocky,” Aundra said sarcastically. “It appeared that the Lashival has a protection spell of some sort to prevent himself from being manipulated.”
“What a pity.” Kejuta thought she detected a disappointment in his voice. “However, I don’t wish to control him especially since I can’t use my power on him; I want to defeat him because he’s deadly. Please believe me and my intention.”
She glanced at Alethea, who didn’t seem pleased. “He’s telling the truth,” she grumbled. Shintra gave the Ilmarian of Fate a condescending look, which irritated her.
“All right,” she conceded, “but to make sure you won’t cause any trouble, I’m going to assign you to another Ilmarian. Likewise Aundra will seal your power to ensure that you won’t abuse it. Until you proven yourself completely trustworthy, you won’t receive your own needle ring. Do you understand?”
“Of course,” he said with a bow. “Just one thing – will I have the protection spell that you so willing to give to the others but not to me? It would be bad if a mere mortal manages to control me while I’m off traveling in Samara defenselessly.”
Kejuta scowled. He did have a point. “Looks like we have no choice,” she muttered. “All right, put the Gods’ Blessing on him, Aundra.”
As soon as she saw his triumphant grin, she began to regret her decision. If she wasn’t so exhausted, then maybe she would be more attentive and wouldn’t give him the protection spell. Unfortunately it was too late now. After Aundra was finished casting the spell, Kejuta looked at Resphyr’s body and said, “Before we head back home to recuperate, I think we should find a suitable place to bury him.”
Everyone nodded with agreement. “Where should we place his grave?” Marika asked.
Remembering the comfortable place in her dreams, she answered, “I think I know of a place.”
Once she arrived back to her room, Kejuta immediately imagined a bed and plopped on top of it. Closing her eyes, she hoped that her intuition was right and fell fast asleep. Once again, she found herself in the familiar place of willow trees and flowers. Instead of sitting down to relax, she started running as she searched for her friend. “Resphyr!” she yelled, cupping her hands over her mouth. “Resphyr, where are you?”
There was no response and after several minutes, she stopped to rest. Leaning against one of the willow trees, she wondered if the Ilmarian of Dreams blamed her for his death and refused to meet with her. She was about to give up when she heard his voice behind her. “Sorry I was late. It took me awhile to find you.”
Turning around, she found herself face-to-face with him and was relieved to find him unharmed. “Resphyr!” she said and embraced him. “I thought you would never come!”
He gave her a quizzical look. “Of course I would come. Why wouldn't I?”
“Well, I thought you would blame me for what happened to you. If I haven’t insisted that you reveal yourself, you wouldn’t have died!”
“Nonsense, Kejuta,” he reassured her. “I already knew that I was going to die and it would have happened even if I didn’t tell you my location.”
“What do you mean?”
He laughed bitterly. “Remember when I told you Seitha left me a message before he died? Well this was what he told me: ‘As soon as you wake up, your role as Harbinger will be over. When it does, we would like you to join us when we travel in our next journey in life.’ When I heard that, I knew immediately that I drew the short end of the stick. That was where I prefer this place. After all, in dreams, no one dies. But then, because of my death, all of you are now aware of the Lashival.”
The Ilmarian of Fate looked at him with alarm. “Does that mean you can’t be reborn in the world again?” Resphyr shook his head.
“Unfortunately I can’t. According to Seitha, once we have been gifted with immortality, we can no longer be reborn since we live a long enough life. It’s a pity because I was hoping to be reunited with the reincarnation of Belthi one day.”
“I see.” She was disappointed with that fact. The thought of not seeing the Ilmarian of Dreams again saddened her. In spite of the fact she only just met him recently, she felt like she knew him for a very long time. “Oh, what were you trying to tell me before you die? You were telling me that I have to do something. What was it?”
“Oh, that.” He gave her a considerate look. “The gods must have suspected that the Lashival was going to escape one day and told me to give you a message, which will help you defeat him. It’s this: ‘You must chain the beast.’ If you do that, you will be victorious.”
“Chain the beast?” she asked in disbelief. “How can I do that? I couldn’t grab his Chain of Destiny no matter how hard I tried!”
He shrugged. “Look, I’m just the messenger so I don’t know why they say that.” He gave her an encouraging smile. “However, I’m sure you’ll think of something. I know you can do it.” All of a sudden, a bright light appeared behind him and seemed to engulf him. “It seemed like I should be going soon.”
“Already?” Kejuta exclaimed as she eyed the light apprehensively. “Why do you have to go? It’s not right that you have to die because you wanted to help the Lashival out of that pit without realizing who he was.”
She was surprised to find the Ilmarian of Dreams hugging her. “Unfortunately, life isn’t fair. I’m not happy about this either, but I learned to accept it. I only regret not revealing myself sooner. However, I know that everyone especially you will do well in their duties.”
Upon hearing those words, she felt calm again. “Thank you,” she told him. “You’re right. I need to be strong if we’re going to go against the Lashival.”
Resphyr added, “Keep an eye on Shintra as well. That Duermon is up to something and will cause trouble in the future.”
“I figure,” she muttered. “Don’t worry about him. I’ll handle him.”
“That’s good.” He abruptly looked down at his feet and Kejuta noticed that he was slowly disappearing. “I guess it’s my time to leave.”
She nodded sadly and held out her hand, which he accepted with a warm handshake. “Farewell, Resphyr. Even though we only know each other briefly, I’m glad that I met you. May you have a safe journey into the next life.”
“Farewell, Kejuta. Thank you for burying my body in this place. I always love the gardens in Bisaha; they always seem so peaceful,” Resphyr said as he slowly faded away into the light. “Don’t forget that you must chain the beast in order to defeat him.” And with that, he was gone.
Chapter 12 is now finished! The epilogue is mostly finished though I need to do some editing.
When I finished the epilogue, I finally finished my first book
Finished the book!
The ending was quite bittersweet with the passing of Resphyr, though it was nice moment between him and Kajuta. I really enjoyed their brief acquaintance. I really feared that Shintra would take Thea with him and worried about her, though his sticking around makes me even more uncomfortable; as if he's just trying to gain time and turn them against each other.
I think once the book is done, it may be a good idea to go back and proofread everything. Just making sure the dates and details match up, especially seeing how Shintra's story takes place before Kejuta's chronologically. I think you already have this planned . Anyway, congratas on finishing your first book, can't wait to read the epilogue and book 2.
Yeah, that's my plan. ^^
Here is the first half of the epilogue. ^^
Epilogue: "It has begun"
Farth 26, 2270
Kejuta woke up from her slumber when she heard the bell chimed, indicating that she has a guest. “Come in!” she shouted as she changed her world back to her usual design and dissolved the spell which locked the gateway.
Alethea entered through the portal and said as she bowed her head, “I hope I’m not intruding on anything.”
“Oh, not at all,” she replied hastily. She somehow expected – no, dreaded– that the Ilmarian of Truth would show up. “Come, have a seat. I have some jasmine tea already made if you want one.” She move over to make space for the Aerian, but the latter declined.
“You have an impressive room,” she commented as she looked around the room. Kejuta has to admit that it was true. It was a dim-lighted circular room covered with red velvet drapes. In the center was a stone well and a circular cream-colored sofa with maroon throw pillows surrounded it. However, the most impressive “decoration” was the numerous chains that appeared from the ceiling and looped down into the well.
“Thank you,” Kejuta replied. Glancing over her cup of tea at the angel, she continued, “but I doubt you’re here to compliment my décor. Is something bothering you?”
The Ilmarian of Truth hesitated and finally confessed, “It's about Shintra. According to Argus, he saw the Duermon taking my needle ring while I was knocked out and planning to escape with me as his captive. Then he changed his mind for some reason and decided to stay.” Her face became very serious. “When he placed back my ring, he whispered that he will eventually get revenge on me.”
Kejuta grew concern as she remembered Resphyr's final warning. “I knew that Duermon was up to something with his spiel,” she muttered. “How do you think he's going to do that?”
“He's planning to use the Lashival. I'm positive on that. Why else would he be so willing to volunteer his service? I fear that the Duermon is planning to use that weapon against us. Even Argus echoed my worries and told me that he has a hunch that Shintra covets that destructive power for himself.”
Kejuta bit her lips in thought. It was true that Shintra’s declaration of belief that they should control every aspects of Samaran life was very unnerving. Not to mention the fact that Resphyr warned her to be careful of that Duermon. Nevertheless, how would Shintra plan to control the Lashival? During the battle, she learned that his power was not even effective against him just like the others’.
“I doubt we would have any issue with Shintra’s attempt on controlling the Lashival if Aundra said was true,” she decided. “However, I agree that he is a problem. He is going to cause so much trouble.” Shaking her head, she admitted, “To be honest, I now regret that I let him have Gods’ Blessing. If I were able to see what he’s planning, then maybe we won’t have this issue at all. Anyway, what do you suggest on how to deal with him, Alethea?”
“Unfortunately, the only thing I can think of is to spy on him and observe his actions,” Alethea noted. “Since I have the ability to camouflage myself, I can do it. Besides, he doesn't know that is one of my abilities. If I notice anything suspicious, I can report it back to you.”
Giving her an approving look, the Ilmarian of Fate noted, “We should set up a secret line so no one can intercept it.”
“Agreed,” the Ilmarian of Truth said. “Now that concern is dealt with, I better take my leave and get ready for my shift.”
As she walked away, a bothered Kejuta said aloud, “Are you disturbed by Shintra’s accusation that I send the general to him?”
The angel stopped abruptly and asked, “Did you?”
This time, Kejuta hesitated and confessed, “I don’t know. There were so many people whose chains I pulled that I may or may not have done so. If I did, I’m sorry.”
Alethea didn’t respond but continued walking to the portal. Finally she turned around and said stoically, “I better go. Weiss hates it when I’m late.”
With that being said, she left Kejuta alone in her thoughts. The Lashival’s translucent chain seemed to be taunting her as if it knew that she couldn’t grasp it at all. How could she possibly “chain the beast” if he doesn't want to be chained? Looking at the other chains, the Ilmarian of Fate wondered to herself which ones will be useful for the battle to come.
“Was her answer satisfactory?” Argus inquired as they exited Kejuta's room.
Alethea paused for a moment before answering, “No, it wasn't.”
“So what are you going to do then?” The Duermon’s curious voice echoed in her head. “Confront her about it? Punish her for causing the genocide of your people?”
She shook her head. “Nothing… for now anyway,” she determined. “I still can’t decide whether or not she did it intentionally or not.”
“She might have,” Argus countered. “If I recall correctly, didn’t that boy mention that he knew that one of the Ilmarians will be an Aerian? You did say that you were always careful during your mission so maybe she got impatient and decide to kill all of the Aerians just to find you.”
The Ilmarian of Truth frowned. He did have a point; she thought she could hear the parasitic Duermon tapping his claws thoughtfully. “We will deal with that issue later,” she said to change the subject. “Right now, we need to find that Lashival and destroy him. Didn’t you mention that his smell was different?”
“He smelled sweet and savory at the same time,” he replied. “It was a bothersome smell. Why do you ask?”
“I think you can help me find him,” Alethea explained. “During our search, I will look out for him while you can use your nose to track down his scent.”
Argus’s amused voice answered, “I see. Very well then, I’ll help you. I don’t like the idea of my world being destroyed right in front of my eyes. But are you ready to kill him especially since he’s a human?”
Closing her eyes, the Ilmarian of Truth took a deep breath and nodded. “I don’t a choice, do I?” she said. “Anyway, I better get going. If you notice Shintra doing anything suspicious, let me know, okay?”
“Understood.” As she walked toward Shintra’s prison, she worried about what the Duermon was planning.
Hessin sat in his throne room – well, a replica of his throne room anyway. He always found being in that place was a great way for him to think. Tap, tippity-tap, tap. Subconsciously, he tapped his sword upon the granite floor as he thought of Kejuta’s order. There was also the matter with Shintra and Kejuta’s opposing views of how to deal with the citizens of Samara, but he already decided what side he picked so he let that thought slide.
“How are we supposed to kill a thing that even the old gods have trouble dealing with?” he asked aloud. He suddenly felt cool, soft hands massaging his shoulders. Looking up, he smiled when he saw Istra gave him a comforting look.
“What’s the matter?” the water spirit asked worriedly. “You’ve been having that blank stare for a long time. You’re making me worried.”
The former Kahlin patted her hand and explained, “Kejuta wanted the Three Judges to hunt the Lashival down and kill him.”
Istra hissed angrily; he has told her what happened at the Kreesian cove. “What!?” she exclaimed. “Send you to a suicide mission!? What is she thinking?”
“That is one of my duties as the Ilmarian of Justice,” Hessin reminded her gently. “Besides, we can’t just leave him roaming around Samara and wait for him to suddenly attack the citizens.”
She opened her mouth to protest but closed it again when she realized that he did have a point. “Fine,” she pouted, “but I’m going to come along too. You most likely need some help dealing with him and I do know some healing spells.”
Standing up from his throne, he turned around and offered his hand to her. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he grinned.
“Okay, back to ‘prison’ you go!” Weiss announced as he and Zentran returned Shintra to his cell. After making sure that he was chained up and his seal was still on him, the Ilmarian of Judgment return to the edge of the room and kept an eye on the prisoner’s every movement. To be honest, he didn't understand why he and Tory were volunteered by the Ilmarian of Seasons to do this task, which was beneath their assassin stature. Keeping an eye on a prisoner who just sat there doing nothing was very boring and tedious. Not to mention he really wanted to get out of this jail duty and hurried back to his sister so they could begin their hunt for their target.
Shintra watched his guards for a moment and then smiled widely. “So how do you two join Kejuta’s merry little group?” he asked.
Weiss and Zentran looked at each other with raised eyebrows before returning their attention on him. “Why do you ask?” he finally replied. He was still wary of the Duermon in spite of his allegiance of wanting to kill the Lashival.
The demon raised his hands innocently. “Just morbid curiosity and to keep this deadening silence from driving me insane,” he stated. “So are you going to tell me?”
Sighing, Weiss decided to go first. At least this would keep him occupied until his shift was over. “Fine, I'll tell you,” he said. “After my sister and I failed in our attempt to assassinate our parents' murderer, we went to the Marden Forest to recuperate. We got separated and encountered two separate groups of Ilmarians. My sister fought with Hessin while I battled with Zentran and his group. Unfortunately we were defeated and were brought here, where Kejuta explained our roles.”
“I see.” Shintra rubbed his chin thoughtfully and looked at the Ilmarian of Seasons. “Your turn now.”
Zentran scowled. “I don't wish to talk about it,” he muttered.
“Why not? Is it too embarrassing?” The Sendoan's face flushed with anger, but he calmed himself down.
“Let's just say that I lost a bet.” He narrowed his eyes at the Duermon. “Why are you interested in that anyway?”
“Oh, I was wondering if there was a connection and I think I found one,” he said simply.
“Oh?” Weiss hated to admit it, but he was actually curious. Out of the corner of his eyes, he noticed that Zentran has the same expression as well.
“All three of us were captured and forced to join Kejuta’s group even if we didn't wish for it,” Shintra commented. “Once she has us, we have no choice but to follow her every command.”
Weiss frowned at that accusation. “But that doesn't explain the others,” he countered. “They joined Kejuta willingly from what they told me.”
“Who can say that? By the way, when did you receive this ‘Gods’ Blessing’ spell? Was it after you agreed to join her?” The Duermon gave them a condescending smile after they nodded. “Wouldn’t it mean that she was able to influence your decision with her power?”
“What are you saying?” the Ilmarian of Seasons questioned softly.
“I’m saying that Kejuta was manipulating everyone to make all of you her little pawns. She used her magic to make you agreeable to her plans. Not to mention the fact that she most likely decided the outcome of your fates to ensure that you two would be defeated and brought here. I’m surprised you two didn't think about that, but then she may make sure that you wouldn't have.”
Weiss felt unnerved after Shintra pointed that out. He hated to admit it, but what the Duermon said made sense. If Kejuta used her Chain of Destinies to force her will on them, then they were being used by her. The thought of being used as a puppet troubled him. “If what you are saying is true, what are you going to do about it?” he asked.
“Why don’t we join forces?” Shintra suggested. “All three – well, four if your sister is interested – can work together in secret to sabotage whatever Kejuta’s plotting. Then when the time is right, we can subdue her and this time, force her to obey us.”
“Interesting plan, but I have a couple of questions,” Zentran said as he crossed his arms. “First of all, how are you going to do that? Second, what’s about the others? You know that they won’t let that happen? Lastly, why us? Of all of the Ilmarians, you decided to ask us to join you.”
Shintra paused for a moment to think. “To answer your first question, I need to work out some kinks before I can reveal my plan to you,” he finally answered. “However, I won’t tell you yet until you prove yourself to be loyal to me. As for the others, they don’t need to be concerned about this until later. I think there are some who would be willing to join our efforts, but it will take some time to persuade them. For your last question, the reason I chose you is because both of you seemed to have issues with Kejuta’s ideals.”
“We never said that we disagreed with them!” Weiss retorted though he seemed uncomfortable. Zen wanted to kick the young assassin in the shins. “Dammit, don’t let him get to you!” he wanted to shout, but he remained oddly silent.
“So you’re saying that you agree to be everyone’s servant? That would include your enemies such as your parents’ killer. If you join me, I would help you get revenge,” Shintra smirked when he saw Weiss’s face darkened and turned to Zentran. “Have you forgotten how your village mistreated you? They saw you as a dangerous freak that deserved to be locked up? Like I said during the meeting, do they deserve to be helped?”
Remembering his treatment, he winced. “Who say that we agree to help you?” Zen responded with a frown on his face.
Shintra raised his eyebrows. “Oh, I must be mistaken then. By the way you seem to be agreeing with me, I thought you decided to join me,” he apologized. “Don't tell me now that you sided with Kejuta and her ideals!”
“No, I haven't,” the young man said defensively and took a deep breath before adding, “but I don’t trust you!”
The Duermon seemed hurt. “You don't trust me because I'm a Duermon,” he said with a pained look on his face though the Ilmarian of Seasons felt like he was mocking him, “Even after I saved your life.”
Zen grunted as he remembered how the Ilmarian of Self has warned them of the Lashival's ambush. “So now we owe you?” he replied scornfully. Weiss has become silent though he wore a thoughtful expression. Don’t tell him that the Ankan assassin was actually thinking of accepting Shintra’s offer!? That Duermon was very persuasive. Hell, a part of him was convinced by the demon’s words though he hated to admit it.
“Not at all, but I felt like you should consider what I’m saying before discarding it.”
The Ilmarian of Seasons scowled. Dammit, why were Alethea and Hessin taking too long to show up? “We just... need more time to think, okay? Right now, there are a bunch of things going through our mind and we need to think about what to do,” he lied to stall for time; Weiss nodded with agreement. “Besides, what are your intentions with the Lashival? I know you’re after him especially after you learned about his past. Even if you are able to control everyone, you know your power is worthless facing him!”
The last statement must have been insulting to Shintra because he was sneering when he heard it. It seems like I hit a touchy subject, Zen thought amusingly. He must be still upset that he couldn't control that monster or else he might have used him against us.
“He’s a threat so I just want him dead,” the Duermon snapped; his usually calm demeanor was replaced by an irritated one. “I don’t want something dangerous to ex-”
He paused when he noticed a portal was being formed. “It seemed like it’s time for the changing of the guards. I guess we can discuss more about this later and let me know of your decision.” He then added sarcastically, “Oh, wait! I almost forgot that you need a little bit of time to think on what to do! I better leave you alone so you'll have a chance to think about your decision.”
“Wait!” Zentran demanded and the other man looked up at him curiously. “How would you know we won't tell Kejuta about our conversation?”
Shintra just gave them a confident smirk. “It's because I know you won't,” was his reply. With that, he leaned back in his chair and relaxed, leaving a troubled Zen alone with his thoughts.
Shintra closed his eyes and listened as an unaware Alethea and Hessin with his summon entered the room. “Finally!” Weiss muttered, relieved, and quickly ran out of the door without waiting for them to move aside. The newcomers stared at the young assassin with bewilderment.
“What on the world was that?” the Aerian asked incredulously and turned to subdued Zentran. “Is something wrong, Zen?”
He shook his head. “It’s nothing,” he reassured her. Shintra wanted to smile; he knew those two would keep what he said a secret. “We’re just exhausted from the battle. Don’t worry about it. We’ll be fine after we rest. Anyway, I better go.” He then left without saying any words.
“What was that all about?” Hessin muttered. “I’ve never seen him that distracted before in my life. Did you by chance have anything to do with it?”
The Duermon opened his eyes and noticed that they were looking at him now. Sitting up, he gave them an innocent look. “Not at all,” he just said. They stared at him suspiciously but didn’t say anything. After a few minutes, they just shook his head and began their duty.
Unlike the other two, he didn’t bother trying to convince them to join his cause. Alethea was definitely a lost cause due to the fact that they are ancient enemies. As for Hessin, he seemed like the type who has a certain view of the world and that view conflicted with his. Besides he rather enjoyed the silence at the moment. It helped him think about the next step in his plan.
He was glad that he decided to stay behind and not escaped. Because of that, he got the protection spell and learned valuable information about the gods’ ultimate weapon. The Lashival… He wanted that weapon so desperately! If only his power works on him, then he would be able to easily defeat the other immortals. Shintra vowed to himself that he will find a method to control that monster one way or another. Once he does, he couldn’t wait to see the Aerian’s face when she faces her doom.
“What’s so funny?” Alethea asked warily and he realized that he was laughing softly.
Clearing his throat, he replied, “I just remembered a funny joke. Do you want to hear it?” She glowered at him but said nothing. “That’s too bad. It was pretty hilarious.”
Another reason for his good mood was that the Aerian didn’t see through his charade. When Brenton mentioned the story of the Three Judges, he immediately deduced what one of her powers was. It seemed like that she could detect if someone was lying; he cringed as he recalled that sharp pain in his chest after he lied about forgetting his dream. However her magic seemed like it didn’t work if he thought of the lie but not say it. After all, he was being truthful about wanting to defeat the Lashival, but he didn’t mention the fact that he wished to have the weapon for himself.
He was about to lean back again when something suddenly caught his eyes. He discreetly looked around the room and observed that his guards didn’t seem to notice. Good, it looked his men were able to deliver messages to him secretly. After he observed Aundra’s message being delivered to Kejuta, he figured out how she did it and altered it so only he and his men were the only ones who could see it. During the battle against the Lashival, he sent his message to his men, informing them that he was alive and well. He also told them about the others and their abilities. Shintra was thankful that he sent his message just before Hessin caught him. Otherwise everything would have turned out differently.
He quickly read their message and smiled inwardly. It seemed like they understood his situation and eagerly waited for his orders. Placing his hands behind his head, he leaned back and pretended to fall asleep. However, he was actually writing a letter to his men telling them about a powerful weapon that he wanted them to locate.
---------- Post added January 25, 2013 at 06:31 PM ---------- Previous post was January 23, 2013 at 06:24 PM ----------
“I figure you would be here.” Torryn jumped slightly when she heard her brother’s voice. She was back in the Marden Forest to train after that miserable battle against that creature. The next time she faced the Lashival, she will make sure that he regrets humiliating her!
Glowering, she warned him, “Next time, give me a heads-up before startling me like that. I could have cut your head off, you know.”
Weiss just shrugged. “You wouldn’t. Besides you know it would be me since I’m the only one who knows about this place. Mind if I join you?”
She still glared at him but nodded. Grabbing his crossbows, he jumped from the tree where he was sitting and joined his sister. They practiced without saying anything until she finally broke the silence. Torryn has immediately noticed that her brother looked troubled about something. “What’s wrong?” she asked. “Is it about the Lashival?”
“No, it’s not that…” He hesitated and looked around carefully. Then speaking in their secret twin language, he whispered, “It’s about Kejuta…”
She listened in disbelief at Shintra’s accusation. Was it true that Kejuta manipulated everyone to join her? “It can’t be…” she breathed. She has always liked that woman, who seemed so kind.
Weiss looked at her grimly. “I don’t want it to be true either, but I can’t deny the fact that he does have a point. Remember when she forbade us from going after King Rothlem? Why would be so readily to accept that order even if that meant letting that man get away with murder?”
“Are you implying that she used her power on us?” Torryn exclaimed. It made sense now that she thought about it. Normally she would have ignored such order and hunt that man down. Thinking about that angered her. “So what are we going to do about it? Confront her?”
“No, I think it’s best if she doesn’t suspect anything,” he replied. “Shintra did offer to help us though.”
“Are you thinking of joining his alliance then?” She gave him a doubtful look. “Wouldn’t that be the same like joining Kejuta’s group?”
“Not really. This time we have a choice in the matters though dammit, we’re just tools no matter what we choose,” a frustrated Weiss cursed. “Anyway, he’s going to give us some time to think things through so we can discuss more about it later. Right now, we should search for the Lashival. Since the other two are on guard duty, we have a head start.”
Without warning, he aimed an arrow at her and shot it. Before it could hit her, she cut it cleanly in half with her twin swords. The broken pieces fell to the ground as she walked away. Quietly she opened a portal to a bustling city. “We better hurry then,” she said as she turned her head back to look at her bemused brother. “We don’t want the others to have first jab at it. After all, we are the Ilmarians of Judgment; we’re the one who should decide his fate.”
“Are you sure that Resphyr isn’t here?” Oraji asked Pendance. After the meeting, she headed down to Valendor, where she hoped to see the Ilmarian of Dreams. They were currently the only ones in the Land of the Dead; it was usually noisy whenever she visited him. The spirits and the wisps were still celebrating the Yuzema Festival though the day was almost over.
Pendance nodded. “I’m positive,” he replied. “Besides Mother told me that he appeared in her dreams and informed her that his soul couldn’t be born in this world again.”
“I see.” She was disappointed by the news. She was hoping to see him to apologize about not being able to save his life. “I guess I should be heading back now. It’s been a long day.”
She was about to leave when Pendance said aloud, “That’s not the only reason why you’re here, wasn’t it?” Oraji halted and looked back. The Guardian of the Dead looked at her seriously. “You’re here about the Lashival as well.”
There was no point of denying it so she nodded her head. “It’s just… I don’t think it’s right that we should kill him,” the Ilmarian of Nature confessed. “There has to be another way! I’m sure of it.”
“Dammit, Raj! My mom has to make a difficult decision. What could she do? That man is too dangerous! You saw what he did to Resphyr! If I didn’t kill him, Adia would’ve been killed!” he shouted. “Do you think I enjoy doing that? I’ve never killed a person before in my entire life and I never want to do that again.”
“I know that, but it’s not right that a child should be punished for something that he has no control of!” she argued.
“So you’re saying that we should risk having the world be destroyed just because he’s going to be a harmless child!?”
Oraji’s face flushed with anger at that accusation. “Stop twisting my words! I’m not saying that at all. Besides, Aundra said that he was berserk when he killed Resphyr. I’m sure if he was sane, he wouldn’t have hurt anyone.”
“That’s the problem with you, Raj. You’re too naïve. You always want to see the goodness in everyone’s heart that you are blind to the fact that not everyone has good intentions,” he snapped. “But then you’re probably that way because you’ve been living a sheltered life because your father locked you in your house for most of your life.”
Upon hearing those words, Oraji felt like someone slapped her in the face. How dare he insult her father! Izzac Xenus Tashuni may have been an overprotective father, but she still loved him. Pendance must have realized what he just said because he quickly apologized, “I’m sorry, Raj. I didn’t mean that; I was so frustrated and…”
“I know,” she said coolly though she was feeling furious inside. He tried to hold her hand, but she slapped it away. “Anyway, I should get going then. You’re going to have a busy day and I don’t want to distract you from your job.”
She quietly created a portal and stormed out of Valendor. She wasn’t surprised that Pendance didn’t bother to stop her.
Lanskas turned around to see Oraji's approaching him. She seemed upset about something; her face was still red and puffy from crying over their colleague’s death. After the ordeal he just experienced, he has escaped back to the Kallian Forest to meditate. “Yeah,” he replied. He tapped the spot to the left of him since Qualis, one of Seif's descendants, was sitting on the other side. “Want a seat?”
She nodded thankfully and sat next to him. They did not bother to talk to each other; both wanted to alone with their thoughts at the moment. Lanskas was still in shock over what had happened; Resphyr was dead. Someone who was immortal actually got killed and will never come back again. That revelation was still unbelievable to him even though he saw it firsthand. The Lashival was truly a formidable and deadly opponent.
“I can’t believe he’s dead,” he said quietly. The Ilmarian of Nature turned to face him and studied his face for a minute or so.
“Me too,” she agreed. “I don’t think I will ever get that image out of my head. All that blood...” She closed her eyes and shook her head slightly as if she was trying to get rid of the vision of Resphyr's dead body with a huge gap where his heart used to be just lying on the cavern floor. Seeing that she was troubled, the Ilmarian of Beasts patted her back soothingly. Exhaling deeply, she thanked him. “Thank you, Lanskas. I needed that.”
He smiled and chuckled when Qualis placed her head on his lap. “I guess we all do,” he admitted, but then his face became serious. “But what are we going to do with him? You saw how easily the Lashival defeated us; it was as if we were mere leaves trying desperately to cling onto a branch during a wild windstorm!”
“I know,” she replied sadly, “but is killing him the only option?”
“Is that why you’re upset?” She nodded and let out a deep breath. The Ilmarian of Beasts gave her a concerned look. “Do you want to talk about it?”
The Ilmarian of Nature became silent for a few minutes before finally speaking. “I tried telling Pendance that I didn’t like the idea of killing him, but he refused to listen to me. He said that I was too naïve for thinking that we can reach out to the Lashival. Am I wrong?”
Lanskas pondered her words for a moment. “To be honest, I feel the same way too. Killing a person for something that he didn’t have control over is wrong, but I can see where Kejuta is coming from. It's either letting him run loose with a risk that he kills us, which in turn endangers the world, or killing him, which will save the world. I understand why she did that, but killing a baby? I think Alethea and Hessin will be troubled by it though the twins probably won't have any qualms if I know them correctly.”
That was when Oraji wore a thoughtful expression on her face. “What if we find a way to ensure that the Lashival won’t go berserk again? Since Aundra mentioned that his powers won’t be fully awakened when he is reborn, maybe we can befriend him. Maybe Aundra can teach him how to control his powers like she did with the rest of us.”
“It’s an interesting proposal, but do you think it will actually work?” he asked doubtfully. “It will be tough trying to find him because he’s living somewhere in Samara, and our powers won’t help us locate him. Not to mention, I’m not quite sure if Aundra would be willing to teach him any magic that might be used to kill us.”
“I guess you’re right. It was a nice thought though,” she sighed. “Maybe Pendance was right. I’m too ignorant about people so I shouldn’t bother trying.”
Lanskas gave her a stern look. “Don’t think that way, Raj. Believing in others even if no one else does is a good quality. Besides I think it’s a good thing that we have an optimist in the group; otherwise, it would be very boring if everyone is a cynic.”
The Ilmarian of Nature smiled and hugged him gratefully. “Thanks, Lanskas,” she said. “I needed that.” Standing up, she continued, “It’s getting late so I’m going to bed. Are you going to stay here a little longer?”
“Yeah, I need some time to think,” he admitted.
“I see. Well, good night.” She waved goodbye to him before heading back to her room.
Lanskas thought about what she said about the Lashival. Could there be a chance that they could manage to save him without causing any bloodshed? Another thing he worried about was Shintra. There was something that bothered him about that Duermon; it was as if he enjoyed causing trouble. Why of all people did that demon have that terrifying power and for what purpose?
He didn’t notice that he was daydreaming until Qualis nudged her nose under his arm. Laughing, he petted the wolf. “Feeling restless, huh? I guess a small walk in the woods won’t be bad right now.” As he strolled through the peaceful forest, he prayed that the world would be safe.
Marika entered her private world, which consisted mostly of calm waters that overlapped a few shale rocks, and sat down near a small pool. Waving her staff over it, she called forth a map of Samara and knelt down. Examining it, she wondered to herself where the Lashival may be hiding. “Where are you?” she said aloud as her eyes went back and forth among the continents.
She has always remembered the stories that her grandmother told her about the Caeculum War, but she did not expect to meet anyone from that era especially the very thing that killed the gods themselves.
The Lashival was nothing like she has expected based on what her grandmother told her. Who would have thought that a boy who just barely reached manhood was capable of such destruction? Why did the gods pick him to be their ultimate weapon? Brenton would probably know the answer, but he was still shaken up after he admitted seeing that thing in the past that she decided not to bother him about it.
Besides, she has another issue to worry about. During the meeting, Kejuta and Shintra had a debate on what the gods meant when they appointed the Ilmarians as the caretaker of the citizens of Samara. While the former has believed it to be meaning that they should provide guidance to the people, the latter felt that they should show their might to them just to prove that they are not something to think lightly of. The Ilmarian of the Worlds could see both sides of the issues though.
Yes, they need to show the citizens that they are not a threat to them, but at the same time, they should not be considered as someone easy to be fooled. She vowed to herself that she will find a way to peacefully resolve the issue between those two. Unfortunately, she needed to do that quickly because she feared that division was being made already among the group members.
Looking at Isha, her homeland, she wondered to herself how much the world will be changed due to the Lashival and the fight between the two Ilmarians. Murmuring a silent prayer, she hoped that no harm will come to anyone in the process.
Brenton reread the Seitha’s letter to Aundra before handing it back to her. “Is that why there are three Ilmarians with manipulative powers?” he questioned. “Well, two now since Resphyr is now dead.”
“You’re right. The gods intended for those powers to exist to determine what their creations truly want; do they want to live peacefully with the newly appointed gods or start another Caeculum War? In other words, do they seek cooperation or destruction?” She nodded but added, “The remaining two manipulators will decide the world’s fate. Do they want to have free will with a few limitations or give complete control to us?”
As the young man listened, he walked around the room and examined it. They were meeting in Aundra’s room aka hidden world, which she designed to her own tastes. A canopy bed with sheer curtains was placed in the middle of the three-walled room; the open wall has three large intricate arches which lead to a balcony. On the wall shelves were several trinkets including a music box and a rag doll, which was a gift from her siblings according to Aundra.
“Kejuta and Shintra are unknowingly preparing for war, which means that the other Ilmarians will get involved whether they like it or not,” he mentioned casually as he went to sit next to her on the fluffy bed. “What side would you be on? You know I will follow you on whatever you decided.”
Aundra answered his question without hesitation, “None. I’m going to follow Seitha’s order and observe them to see what will happen. Besides I’m not interested in their squabble though I pity the citizens of Samara since they’re going to be used as chess pieces in their silly squabble. There is something else that I want to focus on right now.”
“It’s the Lashival, isn’t it?” Brenton surmised. The Ilmarian of Magic nodded and patted her lap to indicate that she wanted him to place his head there so he did.
Playing his hair, she said, “It’s going to be difficult to capture him unfortunately. It appears that he ‘exists’ outside of the world but at the same time, he does. That is the only theory on why Adia and Pendance weren’t able to stop him from being reincarnated or destroy his soul.”
“He’s also dangerous,” the Ilmarian of Time warned. “We barely survived his attacks, and we lost Resphyr because of him. It was lucky that we managed to kill him because he was able to repeal all of our powers.”
“We were,” Aundra agreed. “That is why we have to proceed carefully for now on. We don’t know how he would react if he see us again even though it looks like he is reborn as a baby. Does he retain his memories or lose them just like a typical soul? If he is able to remember everything, he may unleash his power and destroy the world in a heartbeat.”
“Is that why you’re going to let the others deal with him first? To see what will happen?” Brenton inquired. “You’re waiting for the right moment to strike. Am I right?”
She tilted his head so he could look at her. Her blue eyes seemed to be gleamed like icy fire. “You’re correct, my dear,” she said softly. “The Lashival is MINE. I will be the one to deal with him.”
Pendance was sitting on his throne as he absentmindedly watched the wisps and spirits as they came slowly back from the celebration. Even though he knew that he needed to get ready for the busy and hectic day tomorrow, he was still in a daze on what happened. He barely even knew Resphyr but he felt sadden by the sailor's death. He still found it quite amazing actually that the Ilmarian of Dreams was able to hide himself from the others for so long. However, the one thing that troubled him was how it seemed like the man somehow knew that he was going to die according to what his mother said.
Not to mention the fact that he knew that Oraji was furious at him. Why did she have to mention about the Lashival? Why couldn’t she understand that his mother has to make a tough decision about that monster’s fate? Dammit, both he and his mom abhor unnecessary bloodshed. As soon as he insulted her father, he knew that he made a grave mistake. He rubbed his hand as he remembered how she slapped it away and sighed. He was an idiot and should apologize to her for it.
“Pen, are you there?” Adia's nervous voice rang through his head. He sat up and touched his forehead gently.
“Yes, I'm here, Adia,” he replied. “What's wrong? Is something the matter?” A sudden dreadful thought crossed his mind that maybe the Lashival has managed to break through the barrier that separate Corawell and Samara. If that happened, then...
“No, it's not that!” Adia reassured him as if she read his mind. “It's just... I just wanted to hear your voice. After what happened today, I just want someone to tell me that everything will be okay.”
Pendance smiled to himself. He could imagine Adia sitting under the tree as she enjoyed the shade it provided. “Don't worry, Adia,” he told her. “Mother will know what to do. She will be able to handle the Lashival situation and get rid of that threat.”
“No, it's not that,” his older sister replied; he could imagine her shaking her head. “There is something odd about him. I don't know if you noticed, but when he was about to kill me, he hesitated. I saw that the berserk look in his eyes has changed to confusion as if he didn’t know where he was.”
Now it was his turn to frown. “Wait a minute,” he asked his sister, “are you saying that for that moment, he became a normal human being? But why couldn't we destroy his soul or prevent his reincarnation?” The scene of Adia and his attempts of grabbing the Lashival's soul replayed in his mind. It frustrated him to no end.
The Ilmarian of Life hesitated before saying, “I don't know. Whatever the gods did, they have created an ultimate weapon that can kill us and destroy the world. I confess that I believe that there is nothing we can do about it. I tried to be positive, but after everyone almost killed, I just can't. Not to mention, Mother and Shintra...”
“Yeah, I know,” Pendance sighed. “I'm sure that they will clear up their differences, but why must they be fighting right now? We should be united against the threat! Yes, I know, Adia, that Mother told him that they will talk about the issue later, but knowing Shintra, he's going to use this opportunity to plot something against us. He doesn't seem like the type who is willing to compromise.”
“Agreed,” Adia answered. “However, I wish there is some way we reach Shintra and convince him that his beliefs are wrong. If we managed to do that, we can focus our attention on defeating the Lashival!”
The Ilmarian of Death smiled wryly. “I wish I could share that optimism of yours,” he said ruefully as he watched more of the spirits trotted down the steep slope. Seeing them made him wish that his father was still around to give him some advice. Unfortunately, his father's soul has been reincarnated countless times now that Pen wasn't sure which of those wandering souls his father’s was. “Well, it looks like a new day has come, Adia. We should get ready to head back to work.”
“You're right,” Adia replied. “Well, good bye, Pendance. I'm sure that everything will turn out to be okay.”
Her last sentence echoed in his head and he muttered to himself, "Everything will turn out to be okay, huh?" Facing the wisps, he gave them a warm smile and began his duty anew.
Adia was so deep in thought that she didn’t notice Ume was floating right in front of her face. “Are you all right, Lady Adia? You seem troubled,” the wisp mentioned.
“I’m all right, Ume. I was just thinking about something. You can go back to making sure the other wisps are doing their job,” she reassured her. The Ilmarian of Life admonished herself for not focusing on her duty. There were a lot of souls waiting to be reborn to the world.
As she looked up at the souls hanging from the tree, she thought of the Lashival’s soul and how she couldn’t grab it. Suddenly she remembered that the wisps were around since the beginning of time. Maybe they know something about him. “Ume, wait! I have a question.” The Head Wisp stopped and returned to her with a curious look. “Do you know anything about the Lashival?”
“The Lashival?” Ume gave her a confused look. “No, I never heard about it.”
Now it was Adia’s turn to be confused. Why did the gods keep their deaths a secret? “Lady Allaura and Lord Seitha never told you how they died or who killed them?”
The wisp shook her head. “No, they didn’t. They didn’t wish to talk about it so we didn’t bother asking. All they told us was that they weren’t going to last long in the world and that we should prepare for their successors. Why? Is this ‘Lashival’ responsible for their deaths?”
“He is, and I was hoping that you know something about him so we can figure out a way to defeat,” Adia told her. “However, since you don’t…”
“I’m sorry that I wasn’t much of a help,” Ume apologized profusely. “I wish that there was more that I can do to aid you with your search.”
“It’s okay, Ume. I’m sure we’ll find something. Anyway, we better get back to work or else Pen would worry about me since I haven’t rung my bell yet.” The wisp nodded with that assessment and immediately went after a wisp that seemed to be suffering hangover.
Picking up a soul, she wondered where the Lashival was. Right now a young mother was holding him in her arms without realizing how big of a threat he was. She shuddered at that thought, but at the same time, the image of his bewildered expression when he temporarily regained his sanity played in her mind. Maybe Aundra was right and he was going to be a normal human. If so, then he won’t go after them just yet so they have time to prepare. With that hope in her heart, she sent the soul into the world slowly rang her bell.
After bidding Aundra good night, Brenton headed back to his room. While her room was extravagant, his was rather simple. It was just a rocky ground with stone pillars of various heights and sizes reaching toward the starry sky. He jumped up on one of the pillars and laid his book next to him. Stretching his arms, he flopped down and stared at the stars shining above him.
He reflected on his discussion with the Ilmarian of Magic. They have talked about their plans the entire time. Both would stay neutral during Kejuta and Shintra’s argument. Aundra was confident that it won’t be an all-out war and he agreed with her. Instead both sides would most likely use sabotage and discretion to try to fool the other. While this was happening, they would focus on obtaining more information on the Lashival so they can determine their next move.
Unlike Aundra, who didn’t seem to be bothered by the division among the Ilmarians, he was. If there is any in-fighting, they won’t able to achieve their goal of protecting Samara. The idea that the Ilmarian of Fate and Shintra would use the citizens of Samara as pawns sickened him too. Touching his book, he tried to visualize the future but all he could see was static. Why did the gods prevent him from seeing the future? Is it because they don’t want him to influence it because they fear he would favor one side over the other?
Likewise, he felt uneasy about the Lashival. It was unnerving seeing that weapon of destruction right in front of him. It was just like the time when he witnessed the gods’ deaths when he used the book. Even then, the Lashival seemed to know that he was watching from the future and tried to attack him. Shuddering, he thought to himself that he was lucky to survive. He hoped that Aundra’s reason for seeking the Lashival won’t kill them both.
In spite of his uneasiness, he still would follow her no matter what because she saved his life. She was also willing to have him tagalong with her due to the same reason. They have been together for so long that they seem to know each other’s thoughts and secrets. While the others might have some misconceptions on Aundra, he was the only one who knew everything about her and understood why she acts the way she does.
Staring up at the sky, he said aloud to no one in particular, “It looks like it has begun, huh? I hope that everything will turn out all right, but I fear that there will be a lot of casualties in the coming future. May the best side win, I suppose, and may the gods help us if it didn't.”
Okay, the first book is officially done! The next book is located here.
I know that this might sound stupid, but, is there a pdf version of it? Every time I want to catch up with it, I forget which page/line/chapter I was at...which is very unhandy. Either I need to highlight passages in pdf or print the whole thing out and use a classic bookmark (which is not good for the environment but it's best for my eyes )
"Take off your mask
And you will see
The freak in you
The freak in me! "
I'm currently making it right now and it may take some time.
---------- Post added at 07:21 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:11 PM ----------
How's about this: tell me what chapters you need to read and I'll PM the pdf files. ^^
can't you send me the whole book?? I forgot which chapter I was at...I'm reading three books at the moment...plus at least 5 ongoing manga...this makes me forget things especially if I don't bookmark
"Take off your mask
And you will see
The freak in you
The freak in me! "