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Even though it was difficult, you did a good job Riki! I appreciated your ability to sum up the whole story in the title...it was so catchy and expressive...well, at least I found it that way ...
I also imagined and designed a new Ilmarian...with a more different power...but this is not my novel
Click only if you're curious....
Last edited by Ancy; November 02, 2012 at 06:29 PM.
"¡ʇǝb ı ɹǝɯɹɐʍ ǝɥʇ ʇıs noʎ ɹǝbuo1 ǝɥʇ
¿ʇɐɥʍ ʍouʞ noʎ ʇnq .ʇɐǝs ʇǝ1ıoʇ ɐ sɐ p1oɔ sɐ
.uɐɯoʍ p1oɔ ɐ ɯɐ ı "
There's always fanfic
She looks cool! What is her power? Is it music-based?
Okay, I'm almost done with Ch. 10. Then two more chapters and epilogue left. Man, I've been writing this for almost 7 months now.
Ch. 10: Torryn & Weiss: "Friends are meaningless
Anth 24, 2200
Even with their ability to walk in shadows, the trip back to the swamp was still long as if they travel in the usual way. Sometimes they would have to wait until the shadows touch each other so they can continue their journey. Other times, they have to look around to make sure that they were going in the right way; they have to remember that the trees and plants' shades move based on the sun's position. Finally, they arrived at their destination.
“What do we need to get?” Torryn asked, looking around the swamp. They have put clothes around their noses and mouths to lessen the terrible sulfuric smell that came from the murky water, which was caustic. Likewise, they wore thick gloves to protect their hands from touching anything dangerous.
“Oh, just some more poisonous plants and maybe some venoms,” her brother replied matter-of-factly as he searched for them. Whenever he found something that he wanted, he would pick the plants gingerly and placed them into small jars. Then he placed them into his satchel bag. As for any venomous animals, he would quickly grab the animal behind its head so it couldn't strike back. Then he would gather its poison in the jar by either scrapping the goo from the animal’s back or pressing its teeth against the glass until the venom dripped out. After getting the amount he wanted, he would let the beast go.
Torryn helped out as well though she found the whole thing tedious. Most of the things were for Weiss's usage anyway so why did she have to tagalong? After a few minutes of gathering poisonous mushrooms, she decided that she was going to explore the region. She reasoned to herself that she wasn’t going too far and that she still would be close by anyway. Besides, if she did get lost (which she won’t), she knew just to stay still and wait for her brother to find her. Walking around, she decided that she was going to try to locate the mouth of the deadly water. She has always wanted to search for it since she was little, but her parents and brother would stop her. And since they weren't here and Weiss was preoccupied...
She hummed as she walked along the riverbanks and looked around. Multi-legged insects scurried along the trees and floor while reptiles flicked their tongues. She thought she saw eyes of a potar crocodile staring at her from the swamp, but they disappeared when she blinked. After fifteen or so minutes, she discovered a wall made out of white stone with most of it submerged in the poisonous swamp blocking her way. Phoeey, a dead end, she thought as she started to head back. But then, now that she thought about it, she did need a new sharpening stone for her swords.
Inspecting the rock, she noticed that it was soft around the area that touched the sulfuric water and that she could easily break a piece off. Out of boredom, she rubbed the small rock along her sword edges and observed it left some powdery dust. She was about to wipe it off when she heard Weiss’s voice. “There you were! I’ve been looking all over for you!” he exclaimed as he marched over to her. “Just what on the world were you doing anyway?”
“I was just getting some whetstones for myself,” she replied quickly as she stashed some more rocks into her pouch. “I do need to keep my weapons sharp after all.” Her twin brother just stared at her for a minute before sighing.
“Whatever. I think I gathered enough materials so we should head back and…”
All of a sudden a valeroo sprung up from the water and roared. The giant water snake towered over the two and looked at them menacingly. Torryn felt terrified. She has seen this creature before, but the ones she met were much, much smaller. This one has to be at least as tall as a four-story bulding! Even though very few existed, a valeroo was notorious for dragging its victim into the dangerous water to drown them. Their white scaly skin was also coat with a thick layer of poisonous goo so any animal that was stupid enough to bite it would be poisoned.
“Shit! We have to get out of here!” Weiss cussed, but she felt frozen in place. Staring at the creature's blue eyes, she was almost hyponotized by them. She didn't even realize that the valeroo was coming toward her with its mouth wide open when... the creature suddenly winced and cried out in pain. Torryn snapped out of her stupor and realized that Weiss has shot the creature with his bolts.
“Hurry, Tory, and go!” he shouted as he grabbed another bolt and placed it on his crossbow. “I'll distract it until you're safe.”
“WATCH OUT!” she screamed, but it was too late. As soon as he turned around, the valeroo swiped him off the ground with its tail, which caused him to crash hard against the stone wall and fall unconscious. Seeing her brother slump down on the ground caused her to feel vivid. “Don't you dare hurt my little brother that way!” she shouted, challenging the monster. She pointed her cutlasses at it and quickly charged at it.
The valeroo immediately tried to lunge at her but she used the shadows to dodge it. It became bewildered as it searched for her; the water splashed haphazardly around its body. As soon as its back was toward her, she made her attack. Unfortunately, the beast twisted its body and she only managed to give it a minor cut. Nevertheless it roared a painful cry and collapsed against the bank. Surprised, Torryn halted and looked back to find that as soon as it hit the embankment, its flesh burst into dust that sprinkled the ground like snow.
“What did you do?” She turned around to see a baffled Weiss staring at her. Rushing over to him, she was relieved to find out that he was okay though he would probably have a bump on his head.
“Cut it of course,” she said simply though she couldn’t explain the strange phenomenon. “I don’t know why the valeroo exploded into dust though. Maybe its own venom caused it. After I cut it, maybe some of it seeped into the wound and killed it.” However, her brother shook his head.
“It can’t be. It’s immune to its own venom so it has to be to something else. Wait a minute; didn’t you use that whetstone to sharpen your blades earlier?” She nodded her head and he looked around the area before shooting a small bird. “Use one of your swords and give it a small cut. I have a theory and I want to see this proves it.”
She complied and was amazed to see that the area where she cut the bird slowly dissipated into powder. Before long, the only thing left was its bone. “How did you figure it out?” she asked, impressed. “And why?”
Weiss shrugged and walked over to examine the stone slab. “That’s the only thing that makes sense. As for the cause, I guess that the acid in the water is highly concentrated here and this rock absorbed it. That’s probably how the rock got its corrosive characteristic. I have to admit that this is an unexpected discovery, Tory. Knowing you, you’re going to use it when we launch our attack. Am I right?”
Torryn gave him an innocent look. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, dear brother,” she said sweetly as she swiped some more of those intriguing rocks.
He just smirked and began to disappear into the shadows. “Just make sure to remember where to find this place. Anyway, we’re done here. It’s time to begin our second part of our revenge plan.”
She returned his smile and skipped behind him. “The citizens of Sollum won’t know what hit them,” she gloated. The next few days are going to be fun!
---------- Post added at 11:15 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:12 AM ----------
Dirtha 4, 2200
Panic reigned throughout the Ankan capital. Unexplained murders were happening in Sollum and it mostly occurred in the Merrium District. The people who were killed came from different backgrounds and prominences. Some were minor nobles while others were high-ranking government officials. None have any connections to each other whatsoever. The only thing that they have in common was the way they died.
According to witnesses who saw the victims, who were healthy and full of life, before their deaths, the victims would go into their private study or bedroom after supper. A few minutes later, the witnesses would hear a bloodcurdling scream and they would immediately rush into the room only to find a skeleton in the victim’s clothing. They claimed that they didn’t find anyone else in the room and that the windows were shut. Whoever it was, he or she was very elusive.
Soon the poor living in the Kengen District viewed this mysterious killer as a folk hero of some sort. Whenever they heard news another death, they would cheer (not in public obviously) and celebrate in the tavern. This person, now known as the Shadow Killer, was punishing the rich for their greed and corruption, they decided. Others believed that he or she was avenging Refans Ullium’s death. How ironic that the person they revered was the one who assassinated their savior.
Before long, twenty people were dead and the only person who was involved with the plot began preparation to face his would-be killers.
King Asyras Rothlem finished meetings with some advisors on how to catch this “Shadow Killer” before he or she strikes again. To be honest, he believed that the conferences were pointless. There was no way the guards could easily catch an assassin especially one with that much cunning. Closing the door behind him, he walked outside to his private garden to clear his head. While he was on his stroll, he sensed something amiss and discreetly pulled out his sword. Then he spurned around quickly and blocked an attack by a girl wielding two swords.
Surprised, she leapt back and landed a few meters away. “How did you know?” she demanded as she eyed him warily. He didn’t answer immediately; instead he examined his would-be killer. Like all people of Enkrum, she has tan skin and brown hair. Her brown eyes were alert and shone brightly. She also appeared to be around the age of reaching womanhood. A few years older, she would grow into an elegant but deadly lady.
“Very impressive,” he complimented her. “I wouldn’t have realized that you’re sneaking up behind me except that luckily I have superb hearing. Oh, your friend can come out as well.”
A boy, who seemed to be around the same age as the girl, appeared from the shadow. Asyras also noted the similarities between the two and figured that they must be related. The boy stood next to his sister and glared at him, which amused the king greatly. “You used to be an assassin,” the boy accused him. The ruler or Anka just gave him a slight bow.
“You’re correct. However, I decided to quit that business and focus on controlling the Ankan government instead,” he admitted. “During my time killing power-hungry fools, I realized that I can use my skills to seize power instead and rule with an iron fist. Now enough about me, I want to know more about you. First, your names.”
The two glanced at each other before answering. “My name is Weiss Nadea and this is my twin sister, Torryn,” the boy replied.
The Nadea family? Oh, one of the most famous assassin families! He smiled. “Oh yes, I’ve heard of your family. Emila Fosten and Tomas Ceendan recommended your family to kill that pest, Refans. I should thank you for performing your job beautifully. It was unfortunate that I have to order your deaths.”
As soon as he said those words, Torryn tried to lunge at him but her brother stopped her. “Why did you kill our parents?” she snarled. Her face was distorted with rage and rather unbecoming.
He answered nonchalantly, “To make an example, of course. I realized that my life would always be endangered because there will always be greedy people who want power and will do anything to get it. Already I have three attempts on my life. In order to get rid of that threat, I decided to do something about it.
“I knew that Emila and Tomas were former assassins and blackmailed them along with other retired assassins. As I thought, they were so fearful of losing their positions that they were willing to help me. They provided me names of all current assassins as well as their current locations. Next I have to decide on a target, which was quite easy. Refans Ullium has made himself an easy target with his ludicrous ideas. Then I held a secret meeting with my cohorts to decide who we should hire to do the deed. The immediate consent, which was unanimous, was the Nadea family. Your family was famous and highly regarded by the others for your skills and cunning. As soon as it has been decided, I set my plan in motion.
“After you accomplished your task and returned home, I sent words to Tomas to start the next step of my plan. He then sent his hired men to kill your family and to make sure that there were no traces left. When he completed the job, he sent a message to me. Then I sent messenger pigeons throughout Enkrum to the remaining assassins. My missive informed them of the Nadea family’s deaths and gave them two options: quit your profession and become a member of the Ankan society or face death. In fact, several have accepted my offer already.”
Asyras paused and looked at them thoughtfully. “However, your survival somewhat ruined my plan. But then, you did make my job easier. I was planning to kill my coconspirators eventually just in case one talks, but you did it for me. I’m curious on how you were able to survive the attack against you though.”
Weiss sneered. “As if we tell you!”
“I figured you wouldn’t. It doesn’t matter anyway. I’ll kill you right here and there.”
“How?” Torryn asked derisively. “You’re all alone and you can’t beat the two of us at once!”
“Don’t be so arrogant, child!” the king admonished. “You’re only a pup that believes it’s a full-grown wolf! Unfortunately for both of you, you won’t live to see another day.” He suddenly dissolved into smoke, which alarmed the children as they searched for him in the vicinity.
That was when the boy cussed and warned his sister, “Damnit! He can use magic. His assassination ability was to create doppelgängers! He’s not even here at all, which means that this was a trap!”
As soon as he said that, a volley of arrows shot down at them. The Nadea children somehow managed to dodge the attack and they looked up to find King Asyras looking down at them with his soldiers. “You children are quite skillful and I would hate to lose that talent so I will give you an offer,” he announced. “Surrender now and I will pardon you of all of your crimes. Then I will give a position in which you can be my official assassins, killing anyone who dare defy me. However, if you refuse, I will execute you right here. Think carefully now.”
---------- Post added at 12:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:15 AM ----------
The twins looked at each other and nodded. “We have to politely decline, Your Majesty,” Weiss declared defiantly. “We refuse to work with our parents’ murderer.”
King Asyras gave them a bemused smile. “Very well, it’s your decision. It’s a pity though. You would be excellent additions to my government.”
“We’re not objects that you can use,” Torryn sneered, “and I’m going to make you regret crossing us.”
However, her brother grabbed her arm. “Don’t!” he hissed. “We have to retreat for now. We’re surrounded and we have underestimated him. We need to go back and regroup!”
She stared daggers at him. “I won’t flee!” she snarled. “Not when that murderer standing right in front of me! I’ll kill him right now!” She flung her brother’s hand aside and merged into the shadow in spite of his protest. Asyras and his men were stunned to see the sight.
What power! The king thought to himself. I’ve never seen or heard any assassin with that ability. I thought Emila and Tomas told me that the twins weren’t capable of using magic.
“Keep an eye on the boy,” he ordered his archers as his bodyguards formed a protective circle around him and looked around the area vigilantly. All of a sudden, a part of a shadow separated itself from the shadow on the wall and attacked one of them, killing him. As soon as his body hit the ground, it burst into dust and left only his armor and skeleton behind.
The other men immediately charged, but the shadow easily maneuvered around them before striking them. Finally it stood in front of the king with a sword pointing at his throat. Asyras noted intriguingly that the shadow was in the shape of the girl and smiled. “So that’s how you were able to move around the city easily,” he commented. “I have always wondered how you kill your victim and escape without a trace. Very impressive!”
“Don’t bother trying to butter up to me. It won’t work,” Torryn growled and gave him an arrogant look. “So any last words?”
The king returned her arrogant smile. “Of course, I do. I will bestow you one last lesson – always be aware of your surroundings especially around your blindside.”
Torryn’s eyes widened when Asyras dispersed right in front of her. Shit! Another doppelgänger! Turning around instantly, she found herself facing the king, who promptly stabbed her on her chest. Stunned, she staggered and fell to her knees.
“How interesting! It appears that you’re not invincible even when you’re in your shadow form,” he observed. “I guess you’re not great as you thought you were.”
“You bastard! Wait until I get my han-” She cried out in pain as Asyras twisted his blade. Torryn could feel the blood flew down her dress, and the left arm has a tingling sensation.
“Or what? You’ve been bested by me so admit defeat!” He withdrew his sword and prepared to stab her in her heart. “Now die gracefully like a noble assassin supposed to do.”
Clutching her wound, she glared at him as he thrust his weapon at her. As he was about to kill her, another shadow appeared and grabbed her so that he hit nothing but air. The shadow carried the girl to the ground below and helped Torryn to her feet. Then it turned to look up at the king.
“You may win this round, but we will come back for you,” Weiss informed him. “We won’t make the same mistake again.”
Then both of them disappeared into the surrounding shadows. Alarmed, King Asyras ordered the archers to launch their arrows but it was too late. The two have already escaped into the night.
During the aftermath, Asyras examined the scene intently. In spite of the fact he almost faced death again, he actually felt more alive. Oh, how he missed that feeling after he quit the assassin business! He walked over to the spot where he last saw those two intriguing children and spotted something that caught his eyes. A small patch of ceraphilis flowers glowed in the darkness like a beacon. Curious, he knelt down and touched it.
If he recalled correctly, these flowers are only created wherever a god’s blood fell. Does that mean…? He suddenly grinned. So that’s how those children managed to survive the attack at their home! Now he wanted them more than ever! Standing up, he commanded one of his soldiers, “Find me the best historian in the city. I need to have a chat with him.”
The soldier bowed and went on his way. Feeling excited, he walked back into his palace with one thought in his mind. Once he figured out how those children did it, he will find the key in becoming an immortal and live to reign as King Asyras Rothlem, the eternal ruler of Anka.
I've read up to part IV posted on the dreamwidth site, so I'll give my impressions of chapter 10 up to that point so far:
Spoiler: ch10 show
As previously mentioned to you, one of the things I look forward to with each Ilmarian introduced is how the meet their deaths, meeting their respective gods and how they react to Valendor and Pendance.
I was thoroughly enjoyed the setting of their story and the characters of the twins and the support characters and was caught up in the ambush when their parents lost their fate.
First of all Torryn is quite sadistic during their first mission and character like that always worry me, especially when they are protagonists as karma seem to find a way to catch up and bite them in the ass, so I was dreading a part later in the story where she'd be captured and tortured( I was guessing the torture scene you mentioned would involve the Ilmarian as victim ). But Weiss's level-headedness and cool persona balances out her crazy habits during fights, but towards the scenes where they have their revenge against Uncle Thomas and Aunt Emilia, Weiss becomes very cold hearted and makes me wonder which of the 2 is more dangerous? and I think it's Weiss, because he is more composed and calculating, whereas Torryn seem to just be bloodthirsty and a sadist of sorts.
Man, Thomas' torture scene was fun to read and how they began breaking each bone in his body and the description of their slaughter of his 10 assassins was quite vividly written. The scene at during their revenge against Emilia was kind of awesome to read I have to say lol particularly because of Weiss's sudden change in character, I was skeptical that he could get the job done and use Maky(?) if the situation demanded it, but he didn't let his emotions or Emilia's tactics get to him.
Their abilities really does suit what their skills are and that makes them quite dangerous I think, but how will they fit in with the other Ilmarians? with them being assassins and all. Hoping something happens in the latter parts that leads to some sort of redemption of characters personality.
That's my 2 cents so far .
Well, I'm currently going to write that part soon but the only thing I'll tell is that they won't get along with one Ilmarian especially and I already give you a hint of who. But then, I wouldn't blame him.
---------- Post added November 04, 2012 at 06:22 PM ---------- Previous post was November 03, 2012 at 11:49 AM ----------
Okay, I just need to write the fight and the conclusion and then I'm done.
After the debacle at the palace, the twins left the city and escaped to the safety of the Marden Forest. Glancing around his surrounding, Weiss determined that they were safe and decided to rest. He gently set his sister down and have her lean against a tree. “Are you all right?” he asked her. She nodded.
“Yeah, though I’m feeling a little lightheaded. I think that bastard put some kind of poison on his sword so I need to get some rest.”
“Good idea. Do you want me to stay with you?”
“If you don’t mind,” she said weakly. He sat next to her and held her hand. Reflecting on what has happened, he cussed himself for underestimating their foe. He should have considered that King Asyras used to be an assassin! How else would he be able to secure his reign with ease?
He muttered, “It’s my fault, Tory. I should have paid more attention. If I noticed that he was hiding in the shadows, you wouldn’t get hurt.”
“Don’t blame yourself, Weiss,” she said, shaking her head. “I should have listened to you when you said that we should retreat. I let my anger and pride got the best of me.”
“Then why don’t we each take half the blame?” he offered with a smile. She laughed and agreed. “Anyway, you should take a nap right now. I’ll keep watch just in case Asyras decided to send some of his men to look for us.”
“All right,” she said with a yawn. “Nighty night, Weissy-pooh.”
Dirtha 5, 2200
“How are you feeling today?” Weiss inquired, handing his sister a water pouch. She gulped it thirstily before answering.
“Much better though a little weak.” She looked at him thoughtfully. “So what are we going to do next after I recover?”
He hesitated. King Asyras would definitely expect them to attack him again and he would definitely be prepared especially since he now knew their abilities. And how could they counteract his cloning power if they don’t know which one is the real one?
“I don’t know,” he confessed. “I’m still working on it.”
Torryn nodded understandably. Watching the birds flying by, she abruptly asked, “Umm… I don’t know if it’s just me, but did you notice anything strange when you were killing those people?”
Weiss perked up. “What do you mean ‘strange’?” he asked slowly. He could feel his heart pound very slowly in his chest.
“Well, I noticed something white glowing in their chests except it was blackened like soot covered a light source. At first, I thought I was imagining things but then I saw it in all of them. The only ones that were different were Emila’s family. Theirs were mostly white with a few speck of black. I’m not going crazy, am I?”
“No, you’re not,” he said firmly. “I saw them too… and I think I know why.”
“Remember that strange dream?” She nodded. Of course, who would forget that? “That Duermon called us ‘Child of Darkness’ and that we’re supposed to hunt down other ‘Children of Darkness’, correct? What if those strange glowing things are supposed to be beacons for us so we know who we’re supposed to kill?”
“Are you saying that those things we’re seeing are those people’s souls?” Torryn sat up abruptly. “And that we’re supposed to kill anyone whose soul is black?”
He gave her a confident nod. “I think it represents someone who has become corrupt, and we’re supposed to kill them before they do something terrible.”
After giving that explanation, he felt proud that he finally figured out what that dream meant. Now he knew the reason why he and his sister live in spite of everything that happened and that they have a purpose in life. However, he didn’t expect his sister to look miserable.
She didn’t look at him as she answered softly, “If that is true, then is my soul black as well? Does that mean if we manage to kill all the Children of Darkness, we have to kill each other next?”
Now that she mentioned it, he didn’t pay too much attention at looking at his sister’s soul. Sure enough, her soul was mostly black and glow a pale blue instead of white. Was his soul black and pale blue as well? Why were their souls different? Did it signify that they are immortals?
“I’m not going to kill you!” he admonished, avoiding answering her first question. “We’re family and I would never hurt you.”
“But I killed Mika!” she protested, “and I know that you have feelings toward her. You must hate me for doing it.”
He shook his head. “No, I don’t. When Mika found out our secret, I realized that we could never work out. She would always live in fear around me and one day, she would turn me in. To be honest, I’m glad that you kill her because she won’t live the rest of her life being afraid of shadows and I still care for her so much that the thought of her being with someone else terrified me. That sounds pretty selfish, doesn’t it?”
“A little bit,” she admitted and smiled embarrassingly when her stomach groaned. “I guess I’m getting hungry.”
“I’ll find something to eat then.” Walking away, Weiss waved without looking back. “I’ll be back. It shouldn’t take that long.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t go anywhere,” she shouted back as she leaned against the tree.
Weiss looked around the forest floor as he picked some winter berries from the bushes. After gathering a handful, he carefully placed them into his pouch and walked around some more. Perhaps he should look for a rabbit or pheasant as well. Something hot and meaty would be good and help keep up their energy, he decided. He was about to make a left turn when he suddenly heard a twig snapped behind him. Someone was following him.
Quietly he summoned his crossbow, which has a bolt already attached, from the shadow and turned around to find himself facing three peculiar people – a black haired teenager with an Aerian to the right of him and a young woman, who appeared to be from some noble upbringing, to his left. Did Asyras send them to capture or kill Tory and him? If so, these are an odd bunch. Besides, he has heard rumors that the Aerians have been annihilated over a century ago. I guess I should not believe everything I hear, he thought. Still aiming his weapon at them, he demanded, “Who are you?”
The Aerian stepped forward. “My name is Alethea and these are my colleagues, Zentran and Oraji.” The young man nodded while the other girl curtsied. “We have been looking for you, Weiss Nadea, and want you to come with us.”
Weiss was startled. “How did you know my name?” he asked suspiciously.
“Pendance told us,” she replied simply. “We also know that you have received some strange powers and you must be confused by them. If you come with us, we can explain what they are and what you’re supposed to d-”
“I already know what my role is so I’m not coming with you,” he interrupted. “You will use my sister and me like everyone else. Besides, we can perform our duty on our own. Now go before I decide to kill you at the very spot you stand.”
The angel looked exasperatedly at her comrades, who just shrugged. “You tried, Alethea,” Zentran reassured her, “but some people are just too stubborn. The only way to convince them is to knock some sense to them.”
“Just like Aundra did with you?” Oraji asked curiously. The young man’s face turned red but he refused to answer. Instead he cleared his throat and put on a fighting pose. At the same time, Alethea summoned some sort of golden armor, which materialized from her skin, and aimed her spear at the young assassin. On the other hand, the orange-haired girl stood and watched nervously as she backed away. So she won’t be a threat then. He has to focus on the other two.
Weiss wanted to laugh. “You think you can beat me?” he retorted. Zentran just smiled.
“Then you haven’t challenged a true assassin yet. I’ll make sure you’ll regret it!” He shot his weapon at them, but the Aerian covered her friends with her wings, which protected them. His opponents then quickly performed a counterattack as they charged at him. Weiss couldn’t help but smiled as lightning struck around him. This was going to be interesting.
While this was happening, Torryn was still sitting at the same spot. She was feeling much better and could stand on her own two feet without stumbling. Not to mention she was relieved that her brother didn’t blame her for killing Mika. However, she was feeling a bit restless. After counting the numbers of pebbles the umpteenth times, she decided to take a quick nap. She just closed her eyes when she sensed someone watching her. Opening her eyes quickly, she saw a tan-skinned man with long, black hair standing a few distances away from her.
He wore an olive green coat, black pants, and black boots. A small crown was on top of his head. His brown eyes looked at her sharply as if he already knew that she was dangerous. A grayish-blue bird perched on his shoulder and she felt like it was glaring at her for some reason. Just who was he? Some sort of foreign lord? Did Asyras hire some foreigners just to get or kill them? “You must be Torryn,” he said as he pointed his sword at her.
She placed her hands on the ground. “Yeah so?” she said, scooting her legs up. “What is it to you?”
The stranger just stared at her before he answered, “I’ve come here to pick you up. At this very moment, my colleagues are getting your brother. Now we don’t have to make things difficult so if you come with me without any incident, I’ll be very happy.”
Weiss was endangered? This was not good. However, she pretended to act like she didn’t care. “I guess so. You know my name, but I don’t know yours. Do you think that a tad bit rude?”
He frowned but relented. “You can call me Hessin.”
Hessin? Hessin… Hessin… now why did that sound familiar? Oh well. “Nice to meet you, Hessin,” she said pleasantly as she slowly lifted herself up. She felt the adrenaline flowing through her veins at the thought of defeating another foe. “However, doesn’t your mother teach you any manners? It’s not polite to point!” Before the man reacted, she lunged at him with her two swords.
---------- Post added November 05, 2012 at 08:31 PM ---------- Previous post was November 04, 2012 at 06:22 PM ----------
Zentran watched as Alethea sent a volley of light knives at the boy, who immediately used the darkness to absorb them. He clenched his fists in frustration. So far none of his plans were working. That little squirt was very elusive especially when he escaped into the shadows and back attacked them. Luckily, the Ilmarian of Truth seemed to know where he was and blocked his attacks. Damnit! He knew that the fight was going be difficult but not like this! There has to be a way to beat him!
“Umm… Zen, is there something I can do to help?” He turned around to see Oraji looking at him uncertainly. He hesitated. Honestly, he still didn’t know why Kej allowed the Ilmarian of Nature to come along when she asked. He rather preferred to have Lanskas around because he at least has the animals to help out, but the Ilmarian of Fate stated that she didn’t want any beasts harm. No offense, but Raj was not a fighter and she would most likely get in the way.
“Just stay back and try your best to avoid getting hit by one of his bolts. They’re most likely tipped with some types of poisons,” he decided. “Then try to figure out how to use these plants around us against him. Got it?”
She nodded and hid behind one of the thick trees. “Good luck,” she wished him.
“Thanks! I think I’m going to need it.” He summoned a wind blast, which caused Weiss to stop his attack. The assassin placed his arms in front of his face to block some of the attack as he was pushed back. After the wind settled down, the young boy smirked.
“Was that supposed to hurt me?” he taunted.
“No, but that is.”
Weiss looked confused and looked down to find himself standing on a circle with stained glass design made out of light and darkness. Suddenly small pieces of the shadow in the circle began to disappear. Cussing, the boy jumped out of the way just in time as a pillar of light exploded upward. Even though the blast missed, Zen was still impressed. Alethea’s “light mines” were very powerful; Aundra knew how to utilize her talents all right. Now all they needed to do was to finish the job.
Damn, that was a close one! Weiss thanked his lucky stars that he barely escaped from being burned into smithereens. That attack was dangerous so that meant that he needed to focus on getting rid of the Aerian. While Weiss was in the air, he twisted his body and aimed his weapon at the angel when he felt something wrapped around him. Surprised, he found himself being bound by the vines.
“Nice one, Raj!” the Sendoan shouted as he rushed over to him. Weiss berated himself for forgetting the other girl, who peeked from her hiding spot. She could control plant life!? He has clearly underestimated her.
Zentran walked over to him so that he was right below him; Alethea flied close by though she was still on her guard. “Well? Are you going to give up now?” he asked as he tilted his head cockily.
The young assassin just gave him a warm smile. "No, I haven't even started yet." That was when he merged with his shadow and disappeared from view as the others shouted in disbelief. Now he knew what they could do, he could figure out how to defeat them, starting with that girl.
“Eep!” Oraji shrieked as one of the bolts almost hit her in the head. Luckily for her, she crouched down just in time.
Weiss laughed with glee as he heard Zen shouted at Alethea, “Damnit! He's after Raj. We need to track him down before she gets hurt!”
Too late, he thought to himself. He was about to shot his bolt at the orange-haired girl when a flash of light caught the corner of his eyes. He materialized from the darkness as light struck the very area where he stood. Turning around, he saw the Aerian standing in front of him.
“Don’t bother trying to hide from me,” she warned him as she thrust her spear at him. “I’ll always find you.”
The boy arched his eyebrows. “Is that a challenge? Fine then, let’s see if you can catch up!” Before she could react, he sent a huge wave of shadow at her, which consumed her. “Try to find me now!”
---------- Post added November 08, 2012 at 11:24 PM ---------- Previous post was November 05, 2012 at 08:31 PM ----------
The sound of swords clashing rang throughout the mostly silent forest. Panting, Torryn smiled in spite of herself. For an old man, he was pretty good. Who would have thought he could fight at her level? At this rate, they would be doing this forever. Dodging another attack, she landed in the middle of a small field and gave a slight bow, which surprised her opponent who halted and gave her a wary stare. “Your sword skill isn’t too shabby, gramps,” she praised him. “I thought you wouldn’t be able to keep up with me, but I clearly underestimated you.”
Hessin frowned; no doubt he didn’t like being called “gramps”. “You’re very impressive as well,” he ventured cautiously. “However, don’t expect flattery to win me over. I won’t let you go no matter how hard you try.”
“No, I wasn’t expecting that. I would be disappointed if you did.” She cleared her throat and looked up at the sky. Based on the sun’s location, it was almost noon. Not to mention it was very warm today even though it was still the middle of winter. “It’s just that we’ll be fighting to nighttime at this rate. I don’t know if you can last that long. After all, you need to take a nap, right?”
“Thanks for your concern, but I’ll be fine,” he replied dryly. “However if I were you, I would worry about yourself.”
“Oh?” She gave him a bemused look. “And why is that?”
“Because of this.” He slowly raised his hand and suddenly smashed it toward the ground. At first, she was flabbergasted by his odd move but she saw a bright light shining where she stood a few seconds later.
Shit! She leapt out of the way just in time as massive spikes of light thrust upward, following her every movement. No matter where she went, there they were. There have to be a way to get rid of them! That was when she noticed that they seem to shrink as she came closer to the edge of the forest. She examined her surroundings and realized that the light seemed to be the brightest where there were nothing blocking its way. Could it be that his power depends on the sun itself?
“You can control the light, am I right?” she questioned. He nodded and she gave him a warm smile. “Then you do realize that the brighter it is, the stronger the darkness gets as well!” With a snap of her fingers, she used the shadows from the trees and transformed them into grappling hands. “Let’s see which is stronger – light or darkness!”
Hessin swung his sword, releasing waves of light to slice those squirming hands as they tried to grab him. They also nipped at his feet as he jumped out of their grasps. Those things were so persistent! He debated whether or not he should let Istra, who was perched on a tree branch, get involved but decided against it. Even though it would make the duel much easier, it wouldn’t be the honorable thing to do. Besides, he wanted to defeat the girl using only his strength and talents.
“Watch out, Master! She’s trying to lure you toward the forest so you won’t be able to use your powers effectively!” the water spirit warned him. Doing a quick glance, he realized that she was right and quickly dived forward, soaring over the shadowy hands below. As he was in the air, he discerned that Torryn was studying him. When she noticed that he was looking at her, she winked at him before having the shadows surrounded her and began to swallow her up. She blew him a kiss as she sank into the darkness on the ground.
Alarmed, he created a light javelin and hurled it toward her. Unfortunately, it was too late. It just flew by her head as she disappeared from sight. Blast it, he lost her! “Istra, tell me if you see something unusual,” he ordered while he scanned the area around him.
“Understood.” She flew from her spot and circled the area. Meanwhile, the Ilmarian of Justice made sure that he stayed clear from any shadows on the ground. He needed to find her quickly before the sun goes down. If it does, he would be at a great disadvantage. However, no matter where he looked, she was nowhere to be seen. Did she decide to flee instead? His instinct told him that she wouldn’t be the type, but then looks could be deceiving.
“Where are you?” he mumbled underneath his breaths.
“Right here.” Hessin almost cussed when he felt a blade tip poking his back and the shadows binding his feet in place. That girl must have snuck up behind him and used his own shadow as her hiding place. “It seemed like I won the match though I’m somewhat disappointed that it didn’t last long. I really don’t want to kill you so soon.” She giggled. “I know! While I jab your body repeatedly with my sword, you’ll tell me what I want to know. Don’t worry. I won’t hit any of your vital organs… yet. After all, I need you alive still to keep me entertained.”
A tense Hessin could feel her fingering his back with her sword as she muttered, “Now where should I stab you first? Through your hand or maybe one of your legs? Aha! I think I’ll start with your left knee. That will definitely hurt like hell.” She giggled at that thought. “I think I’ll enjoy hearing you scream, mister.”
He braced himself for the attack but he thought he felt watery mist brushed by his backside. All of a sudden, he heard Torryn cried, “Oomph!” and was surprised to find himself able to move again. Whipping his head around, he saw the girl being hurled by a pillar of water and crashed against the tree, which broke it in half. He turned his head in the opposite direction and saw a very vivid Istra’s glaring at her.
“Don’t you dare lay a finger on my master!” she threatened and sent icicles down at Torryn, who scrambled out of the way.
“Tch! How annoying! Now you have your summon attacking me!” Torryn grumbled. “Well, let’s see how well she will fare once I control her shadow!” The girl then tried to use her powers against the water summon but frowned. Hessin smiled to himself when he saw her befuddled expression. Of course! Istra probably did not have any shadow since she was a spirit. Now he has an idea.
“Istra, distract her a little more while I set my trap.”
She sent another torrent of water at Torryn to show that she understood his command. The young assassin twisted her body and sent dark orbs at Istra as their battle commenced. Then she charged at the aquatic spirit, who launched another water attack. As soon as she did, Torryn leapt over the blast and prepared to attempt a jump attack. “Too slow!” she shouted gleefully as Istra stared at her in shock when she realized that the girl was just above her.
“Now, Istra!” Hessin shouted as he tossed Marika’s ring toward his summon. She immediately heeded his order and glided out of the way. The ring landed on the spot where Istra was and a portal opened up horizontally. Startled, Torryn didn’t have any time to react and she entered the gateway, which led to the former Kahlin’s private world.
No I didn't think it was funny haha because you can feel the tension and anger coming from Weiss especially. Just was an awesome scene to read because of the violence
Oh, I saw the "lol" and was wondering what you meant by that.
Anyway, I'm almost finished with CH. 10; I just need to complete the conclusion and then onward to CH. 11.
The next chapter will take a while because it will involve a lot of time skips since the next Ilmarian is one of four connecting factors to some of the previous chapters. The other ones are Kejuta and Pendance (though he's not really a major factor; you'll find out why in Ch. 12) in case you're wondering. If any of you guys figure out the last one, I'll give the title of Ch. 12 and maybe a snippet of the ending of Ch. 11 since I already written that downl
Chapter 10: Torryn & Weiss - "Friends are meaningless"
Dirtha 4, 2200
Torryn landed gracefully on the invisible floor and stood up to look around at the strange surrounding. The environment was just full of bright and intense light with no beginning and end that she almost thought she would be scorched by it. There was nothing else in the room so that the only shadow was hers. Glancing up, she noticed that the opening has shrunk before disappearing for view. Great, that meant she’s stuck here! Where the hell was she anyway?
“Are you ready to surrender now?”
She spun around and saw another gateway has been opened in the farthest away from her. Hessin stood on the other side with that stupid bird summon on his shoulder. She swore that it was giving her a smug look. “Where am I, you bastard?” she screamed angrily as she charged toward them. Torryn vowed that once she got out of here, she’s going to wring that bird’s neck and shoved its head down his throat!
“You’re in my private quarters, which I have changed temporarily just for this fight,” the man responded simply. “You asked me what was stronger – light or darkness? Well, I have the answer; my light will decimate your darkness before you can reach me.”
“We’ll see about that!” Torryn pointed her one of cutlasses at him as she manipulated her shadow to stretch out and lunged toward her opponent ahead of her. Unfortunately, Hessin expected it. With one snap, he had the light pierced the shadow like tiny needles until the latter dispersed into nothingness. Then he focused his attention on a stunned Torryn.
“This is the end.”
The room suddenly became brighter and she cursed as she tried to do one last attempt. However, it was too late. She was only an arm length away from him when everything exploded in a flash of light.
Coughing, Torryn felt herself falling with a thump on the grassy field. So she must have arrived back in the Marden Forest. Greatly weakened, she, using her swords as supports, climbed up to her knees as she tried her best not to stagger. That explosion has really done her in. Her body felt sore all over and it hurts like hell!
“Are you willing to admit defeat now?” She glared feebly at Hessin, who stood across from her; his face showed a look of determination. Frustration flowed through her veins. No! This was the second time she was defeated. She has tarnished the Nadea family name again but she won’t let that happen.
“Never!” she panted as she willed herself to stand up. She pointed a sword at him and laughed halfheartedly. “I’m not done yet. I haven’t even showed you my true pow-”
Startled, she whipped her head toward the direction of the new voice. A woman wearing a yellow dress walked out of the forest as she carefully walked over the fallen branches. Two more people followed behind her: an Ishan with several rings on her belt and staff and a gray-haired boy with a book in his hand. However, she barely even noticed them because she was staring at the woman.
For some reason, she reminded Torryn of her mother. In fact, she looked almost exactly like her except the stranger has a comely appearance and dressed simply unlike Elegans. She did give out a warm motherly feeling though. That was when she recalled Pendance’s message:
“Be on a lookout for my mother because she will be searching for you. She has strawberry blonde hair, which she braided, and wears a yellow dress.”
Without any warning, she tossed her swords at a flabbergasted Hessin’s feet and raised her hands to surrender. “You’re Pendance’s mother, right?” she inquired. The woman nodded her head slowly and Torryn gave her a warm smile. “I’ve been wondering when you’re going to show up.”
After securing Torryn, Kejuta turned her attention to Hessin. “I told you to wait for us,” she admonished the former king. Even Istra nodded with approval with her.
“I kept nagging him about it as well, Kejuta, but he refused to listen,” she agreed as she spun around him. “My master can be stubborn as a mule and can’t accept the fact that he’s not as young as he thinks he is.”
Hessin scowled. “I know what I was doing. Besides, who knows how she would act? She might attack you and I won’t be able to defend all of you. You saw how dangerous she was.”
He did have a point, but nevertheless… “You still should have listened,” she said firmly and sighed. “Well, what’s done is done. Let’s head back for now. Hopefully, the others are not having any difficulty with the other twin.”
“Knowing my brother, they would,” Torryn piped up, which caused everyone to turn their attention on her. “He’s very smart and probably figured out how to beat them. Not to mention he is more stubborn than I.”
Upon hearing those words, the other Ilmarians gave each other worried looks. “I’m sure that they will be fine,” Brenton offered hopefully.
Looking toward the east, Kejuta muttered as she fidgeted with her chains, “I hope so too.”
While this was happening, the battle between Torryn’s brother and the others continued. After causing the darkness to consume the angel, Weiss smirked. Let’s see how she will get out of there. He felt the hairs on his arms rise and quickly got out of the way as lightning struck where he once stood.
“Don’t you dare lay a finger on her!” Zentran threatened as he sent another lightning attack on him. Weiss just smirked and nimbly dodged the attack. It seemed that he has touched upon the Sendoan’s soft spot. Now that he thought about it, Zen reminded him a little bit of his sister; just do something that ticked him off and he would lose his rationale. He could exploit it somehow.
“Or else what?” he taunted. “I could crush her with just one glance and there’s nothing you can do about it. Now stop your stupid temper tantrum unless you want your friend dead.” The Sendoan’s eyes flashed with anger but he complied begrudgingly. “Man, that was easy! I bet your girlfriend would be so disappointed in you. Some tough guy you are! Giving up so easily just because you’re not strong enough to beat a little kid like me.”
Sure enough, that infuriated the Sendoan. “You little pipsqueak!” Zentran cried out as he charged at him with his electrified gauntlets. As soon as he almost reached Weiss, the boy easily stepped aside and then blasted him with a shadow orb, which increased in size and bound him to the ground.
As he watched Zentran struggled in his binding, Weiss casually grabbed a bolt and placed it in his crossbow. “It looks like I’m the victor so prepare to die,” he bragged and aimed his weapon at the man’s head. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, he heard a small explosion and turned to see Alethea soaring out of void. She must have manipulated a small portion of the darkness to create a tunnel to get out. The first thing she did was to throw a light kunai at him, which forced him to dodge and lost his concentration that Zentran was freed from captivity.
“I told you that I would find you,” she told him as she swung her spear at him. Weiss, in turn, shot his bolt at her but she maneuver out of the way. Then out of the corner of his eyes, he saw Zen charging at him. Tch! He thought he would make the fight easier by getting rid of them one at a time, but things weren’t going as planned. Luckily for Weiss, he was standing on one of the trees’ shades so he immediately immersed himself in it to avoid capture.
While he was scurrying around in the darkness, he overheard Zen cursing. “Dammit! We were so close to capturing him too! Do you know where he is?”
“Not yet,” Alethea replied as she flew around the vicinity. “He has to be nearby though.”
Weiss waited patiently as he watched the two combed through the area thoroughly until their backs were toward him. As soon as that happened, he made his appearance known. Emerging on one of the high branches, he announced, “Still looking for me?” His pursuers spun around when they heard his voice. “I see that you bastards are quite stubborn and are formidable foes. Likewise, I think it’s a bit unfair that it’s two against one so to make things fairer, I’m going to call for some more reinforcements.”
With a quick snap of his fingers, the two’s shadows arose from the ground and began to attack them. “What the-!? He’s controlling our shadows now!?” an alarmed Zen shouted just as he avoided getting punched by his shadow. “Can you stop it, Alethea?”
Ducking an attack from her own shadow, she shook her head. “Unfortunately, this is beyond my expertise.”
“Fuck this! Is there any way to beat these things?”
“Not that I know of. The only thing I could think of is just to beat them into submission since they’re preventing us from reaching the boy,” the Aerian suggested and sent crescent-shaped light and darkness blasts at her shadow.
Zen groaned out of frustration as once again his shadow blocked his way. “At that rate, he’s going to escape. Not to mention the fact that it’s going to be dusk soon.”
“Don’t think that I know that!” she retorted as she avoided another attack. “But this is the only thing we can do for now.”
Watching the battle from his perch, Weiss sneered. While they’re preoccupied, he could take his leave and checked on Torryn. Then they could come back and finish the job, he decided. Pleased with himself, he stood up and hopped to his left. A nanosecond later, some vines struck where he just sat. “Don’t think that I forgot about you,” he said loudly while scanning the area for the orange-haired girl. “That trick won’t work against me again, bitch, so you better think of something better in order to beat me.”
More vines lunged at him, which forced him to jump off the branch and land on the earth below. Sighing to show his annoyance, he groaned, “Is that all you can do?”
That was when he felt something sharp pierced his shoulder and looked to see a tree branch poking through it. Weiss broke the tip and tossed it aside. The wound throbbed but he ignored the pain. “You dumbass!” he shouted in a mocking manner. “You expect to hurt me with a branch? Hell, you didn’t even hit a vital sp-” All of a sudden, he began to felt a little sleepy for some reason. Falling to his knees, he tried to stay awake but to no avail. That damned girl must have poisoned the branch somehow. As he closed his eyes and fell to the ground, Weiss wondered to himself how weakling like her could have beaten a dangerous assassin like himself.
One moment Zen was struggling against his shadow. The next thing he knew, his shadow fell back to the ground and was back to normal. Just to be sure, he stomped on it. He also noticed that Alethea was poking her shadow with her spear. Coming toward her, he asked, “What happened?”
She shrugged. “I have no idea, but I think Oraji managed to beat him,” she said, pointing to the unconscious Weiss on the ground. The Ilmarian of Season let out a great sigh of relief.
“That’s good! I thought we would never beat him. Anyway, are you all right? I mean, you got swallowed up by that huge wave of darkness and umm… did he do anything to you in there? If you’re hurt, just let me know so I can help.”
The Ilmarian of Truth gave him an exasperated look. “I’m fine,” she insisted, “and nothing happened while I was stuck in there. It was just pitch black in there. While I’m glad that you’re concerned with my well-being, I wish you would stop treating me like I’m some fragile object that should be placed on some high pedestal. Just because I’m the last Aerian in the world doesn’t meant that…”
“Did it work?”
Both of them swung their heads around to find Oraji jogging gracefully toward them. Zen thought to himself that it was somewhat amusing that the Ilmarian of Nature could manage to still appear ladylike even when running. He also noticed that she was grasping one of Weiss’s bolts in her hands so tightly that her knuckles were turning white. Was that the one that was aimed at her earlier? “Yeah, he knocked out cold,” he informed her. Alethea had walked away and inspected the unconscious boy. Raj seemed reassured at that news. “What did you do to him anyway?”
“You see,” she began thoughtfully as she spun the bolt in her hands, “I was inspired by this. While I was hiding, I noticed some white dust on the tip and examined it. I realized that the powder came from a poisonous plant that slowly kills the poor victim. That was when it dawned on me that I could find another plant that similar to it and used it against him. It took a while, but I finally found one that was strong enough to knock him unconscious but weak enough not to kill him. Unfortunately, it took longer than expected to grow it because it doesn’t grow in this environment. Anyway, after I manage to grow it, I coated a couple of the branches with its sap and tricked him by using the vines to force him to the ground. Then you know the rest.”
The Ilmarian of Seasons whistled, impressed. “Not bad,” he complimented her. “You did better than I expect you would, Raj.” She gave him a pleased smile and nodded. He went over to Weiss and lugged him over his back; Alethea has already taken his weapon away. “Anyway, we should head back. The others are probably worried about us.”
“You’re probably right,” she agreed and gave the assassin a disapproving look as she tapped the bolt in her hand. “I think I’m going to have a little chat with him after his meeting with Kejuta. The first thing I’m going to do is to teach him some manners.”
---------- Post added November 13, 2012 at 10:54 PM ---------- Previous post was November 12, 2012 at 08:22 PM ----------
Torryn listened attentively while Kejuta explained to her brother and her about their new roles. According to Pendance’s mother, they were in Welvaria, the forum of the gods, and it resided outside of Samara. After their defeat, they were taken to this place where their weapons were seized and their magic temporarily sealed. Likewise a barrier was placed on them to prevent them from escaping. At first, Weiss was bewildered after he woke up until Torryn reassured him that they were in a safe location, which calmed him down. Right now, only four Ilmarians were in the room: Kejuta, Marika, Aundra (who was controlling the shield), and Brenton. The rest were waiting outside.
Finally the Ilmarian of Fate stopped speaking and looked at them straight in the eyes. “Any questions?”
“Yeah, I have one,” Weiss declared and leaned back on the sofa. “First, why do we have to discard our last name? We are not ashamed of the fact that we’re the member of the Nadea family.”
“It’s because that part of your life ceased to exist when you died the first time,” she explained simply. “We also don’t want the people of Samara to believe that we extol one family name over the others. Not to mention the fact that we want everyone to know us in a first-name basis. Does that clear things up?”
“I guess so,” Torryn mumbled, but she still felt dissatisfied. The thought of no longer being known as a member of the famous Nadea family didn’t settle well with her. She gave a side glance at Weiss, who didn’t seemed content either.
He must have realized that she was looking at him because he discreetly signed, “Don’t worry. We will always be proud members of the Nadea family no matter what they say.”
Her brother was right now that she thought about it. Torryn smiled and gave him an appreciative gesture. She won’t dwell too much on the issue anymore. “I have a question as well,” she said and looked at Kejuta curiously. “Since it appears that you’re in charge, does that mean that you’re going to give us the orders on who to kill?”
The woman hesitated and then shrugged. “I supposed I am,” she said slowly. Torryn noted the reluctance in her voice; no doubt she has never done this before and the thought of sentencing a person to death unnerved her.
Aundra cleared her throat to get the twins’ attention. “Based on your descriptions of your dream and powers, you know that you’re supposed to kill any souls that are severely corrupted. However, we don’t wish for you to kill of them immediately so in order to let you know who has high priority, Pendance and I are trying to create a new form of magic, which would place a mark on the person you should kill first. Think of it as a tracking system.”
“I like that idea,” Weiss agreed. “So who would be our first kill then? Is it Asyras Rothlem?”
The others gave each other strange looks before Kejuta answered, “We decided that it’s best if you don’t pursue him any longer.”
Torryn jumped out of her seat. “And why not?” she demanded. “That man planned our parents’ deaths! He deserved to be punished for that reason alone. Not to mention the fact that he humiliated us.”
“It’s because he now knows that you’re immortal and wants to capture you in order to try figure out how to become immortal himself,” the Ilmarian of Fate replied. “At this very moment, he has laid traps all over the palace and waits for your return because he knows that you’ll be coming back for him. I understand that you’re angry but I think you should…”
“YOU DON’T KNOW HOW WE FEEL!” she screamed. She wanted to throw something out of frustration but Weiss grabbed her hand. He shook his head and pulled her back to her seat.
“We know how you feel, but you need to put your plan of revenge aside for now,” Aundra told them firmly. “You two are not the only ones to lose loved ones to tragedies.”
“Oh yeah?” Torryn snapped. “Like who did you lose?”
The Ilmarian of Magic suddenly became silent before admitting, “My siblings.”
Kejuta and Marika looked stunned at that announcement while Brenton didn’t seem bothered by that revelation. He just kept on reading his book, which probably meant that he knew that information already. “I didn’t know you have brothers and sisters,” Kejuta mentioned. Aundra just shrugged.
“You didn’t ask.”
Torryn suddenly became curious; her anger waned. “How did they die?” she asked sympathetically.
“They were killed by a monster,” Aundra said softly. She has a faraway look in her eyes when she said that. “We were a bunch of misfits who sometimes didn’t get along but we still loved each other.”
“I’m sorry,” Weiss’s sister commiserated. He has to admit that Tory could be empathetic especially if it involved family issues.
The Kreesian gave her a warm smile. “It’s all right. I’m sure that they’re watching me no matter where they are. As for Asyras, he’s going to get what coming to him. That I promise.” The twins nodded. Maybe they could get revenge on him in Valendor.
“Now that issue is over with, do you have any more questions?” Kejuta asked. The twins shook their head. “All right then, Marika is going to give you needle rings so you can travel any place in the world and next I’ll introduce you to the others.”
As soon as they exited the room, the others stood up and walked over to them. “This is Torryn and Weiss,” Kejuta introduced them. “They are the twin Ilmarians of Judgment.” Everyone shook their hands though Torryn noted the wary looks. It seemed that their reputation of being assassins preceded them. “Let me introduce you to the others. You already know some of them, but I’ll tell you their names just in case you’ve forgotten. Over here is…”
The newly named female Ilmarian of Judgment gave a polite nod to her new comrades after they were named, but once again, she was bothered by Hessin’s name. Where did she hear that name? She knew it from somewhere, but she couldn’t recall it at the moment. That was going to nag her all day until she figures it out. Torryn saw that Weiss was in deep thoughts as well so that meant that he somewhat recognized that name too. Suddenly, he shot his head up and blurted, “Wait a minute! Is your full name Hessin Soleri Ostrom?”
The man was startled at his outburst but confirmed it. “You’re the one that our ancestor failed to kill!” Of course! That was how she knew his name! The others must have sensed the tension in the room immediately. Some moved forward to separate the three while others backed away from the impending explosion.
Hessin scowled. “How lovely! The descendants of the man who was sent to kill me are now Ilmarians.”
Torryn jabbed her finger at his direction. “You’re the reason the Nadea family name was slightly tarnished! You know how long it took just to bring it back up!?”
“What are you two going to do about it? Kill me now just to bring honor back?” the former Kahlin asked dryly. Istra’s eyes gleamed with determination; she was going to protect her master at all costs.
“What a small world!” Aundra interjected. “Now, now you three can reminisce about the past later, but right now we need to discuss more of your roles.”
“Not to mention we don’t want to make this place a battle zone,” Marika added, giving them a stern look. The three glared at each other one last time before they backed down.
“Fine,” Weiss grumbled. “but I thought we already discussed our roles.”
“There’s more to it though,” Brenton clarified. “Both of you are one of the Three Judges. That means that you thr- I mean, four – need to work together so you two need to cooperate with Hessin and Alethea.”
As soon as he made that statement, the three began to protest loudly.
“There is no way I would work with assassins. I refuse, Kejuta!”
“Why should I work with a self-righteous old fart like him!?”
“We agreed to join you not to work with him!”
“ENOUGH!” Kejuta yelled and everyone became silent again. “You three are going to learn how to work with each other and that’s final! Do you understand?”
“Yes, ma’am,” the twins muttered sulkily. Hessin just nodded but he still looked peeved.
Lanskas gave the Ilmarian of Truth a sympathetic look. “Good luck,” he whispered to her.
She rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it,” she mumbled.
After a lengthy discussion, Kejuta concluded, “If no one else has any questions, this meeting is adjourned. Torryn and Weiss, Brenton and Aundra will begin your lessons tomorrow since you must be still exhausted. Lanskas has offered to give a tour of the place so if you would follow him.”
As the three walked away, she overheard the Ilmarian of Beasts asked, “Do you like animals? One of my wolves just gave birth to some cubs and…” She swore she thought she heard Tory squealed but it might have been her imagination.
Turning to Alethea, she informed the angel “We need to discuss about the last Ilmarian.” The Aerian’s expression became serious and she nodded as she followed Marika and her.
“Umm… if you don’t mind, may I have a word with Marika?” Oraji requested meekly. “It will be quick.”
Marika nodded and turned to the others. “You can start without me,” she said. “Just let me know if I miss anything important.”
“We will,” Kejuta promised. “We’ll see you later.” Then they went on their way.
“What do you wish to talk about?” Marika asked gently. Oraji paused, wondering how to begin.
“Umm… I want to be more useful to the group,” she confessed. The Ilmarian of Worlds arched her eyebrows.
“But aren’t you useful already? Your power is helping Samara flourish again.”
The Ilmarian of Nature shook her head. “It’s not that. It’s just that I wish I could do more to help you locate the other Ilmarians like the others.”
Marika began to smile. “So that’s why you ask Kej to join the expedition.”
She nodded but confessed, “It was scarier than I thought it would be though. Zen was right – I’m not much of a fighter, but I did realize something while I was there.”
Taking a deep breath, she continued, “I may be the Ilmarian of Nature, but I do not know everything about it. I mostly know about flowering and edible plants, but I have no knowledge of medicinal or dangerous kinds. So I’m asking you – may I be your apprentice?”
Marika felt touched. She never has a student before. “I would be honored,” she accepted as she placed her hands on Oraji’s.
“And finally, this is the study room where you mostly spend your lessons,” Lanskas explained as he showed them the room full of books. “Any questions?”
“Yeah, when will we getting our weapons back?” Weiss asked. It felt so weird not having his crossbow and quiver with him; he felt naked without them.
The former priest smiled as he led them out of the room and back to the hallway. “Not today. Aundra needed to put some enchantments on them first and then she will give them back to you.”
Torryn became interested. “What kind of enchantments?”
“From what she informed me, she is making sure that your blades will always be sharpened and that your brother will have an infinite amount of bolt in his quiver.”
“Neato!” Torryn cheered. “Sharpening my blades is so tedious and looking for new whetstones is too much of a hassle. I’m glad that I don’t have to do that anymore.” Weiss wanted to laugh. Knowing his sister, she’s still going to use her “special” whetstones.
“That’s good to hear,” Lanskas replied and then he became serious. “How do you like it here? I know that it’s a rough transition but once you’ll know everyone, things will get easier.”
“I think we’ll manage since we have each other,” Weiss answered, “though it’s hard to imagine being without our parents.”
“That reminds me you said that you were an orphan, right? Do you remember anything about your parents?” his sister wondered.
The Ilmarian of Beasts shook his head. “Unfortunately, I don’t. I was just a young child when I lost them.”
Tory gave him a comforting pat on the back. “That must be tough,” she comforted, “but at least you found another family.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, think about it. Don’t you consider the other Ilmarians as family?” she questioned.
Lanskas thought for a moment. “Now that you mention it, I guess I do. Okay then, do you see us as family too?”
“Of course!” Tory said with a smile. Knowing that smile, Weiss sensed that she was up to something.
“So what are our roles then?” the young man asked curiously.
“Well…” she began, “Kejuta is the mom of the group while her children are our older siblings. Aundra and Marika are the helpful aunts. Zen is the cool brother while Brenton is the carefree one. Alethea and Oraji are the nice big sisters and oh, you’re the helpful older brother. As for Hessin…” Her smirk became more mischievous. “He’s the grouchy old grandpa.”
Lanskas hastily looked around the hallway worriedly and relaxed. “It’s a good thing that he’s not around or else…” he lowered his voiced as he shook his head. No doubt he didn’t want to be caught in the middle of another fight. “Anyway, has Marika showed you how to use her needle ring?” They nodded. “Good! Now she already has assigned a hidden world to you so use your imagination to decide how you want it to look like. If you need anything, just let me know.”
“I have one,” she piped up. “May we see the puppies again?”
The males looked at each other and chuckled. Once she saw the wolf cubs, she was head over heel for them. “Sure,” the Ilmarian of Beast said. “I bet they’ll be thrilled to see you too.”
“So how are we going to do this?” Alethea asked once Kejuta shut the door.
“Unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to be based on luck, Alethea,” she admitted. The angel has requested that everyone called her by her full name because her nickname was a painful reminder of her lost lover, Dalin. In her opinion, the Ilmarian of Truth should have visited him in Valendor when she has the chance, but she was not going to make a big issue about the Aerian’s decision. “Pen has told me that he hasn’t encountered any Duermon that matched our criteria, which means that he most likely became immortal before my son took over Seitha’s place.”
“That’s troublesome indeed,” her colleague commented. “It’s would be so much easier if we know what he looks like or what his powers are.”
Kejuta agreed. “Does Argus, by chance, know anything about this Duermon?”
“He mentioned that he has encountered several Duermons who asked for his service so he may have,” the angel replied. “There are at least two whom he suspects might be the one we’re looking for.”
“Speaking of which, how are Argus and you doing?” Kejuta inquired. They had decided to keep the fact that she has a Parasitic Duermon residing inside her a secret from the others. The only other people who knew were Aundra and Marika.
“We’re… doing well. He does give good advice and he did help me find Weiss’s location during the fight. It still feels odd knowing that there is a Duermon inside me though and there is a slight discomfort once and awhile. However, he is good company so I’m not complaining.”
“I’m glad that you two are getting along. Too bad I can’t say the same for Hessin and the twins. Hopefully, they will learn to…”
A knock on the door interrupted her train of thought. Alethea immediately walked over to the door, allowing Marika to enter.
“Did I miss anything?” she asked. The others shook their heads.
“No, it’s the same old thing. That blasted Duermon is so elusive!” Kejuta griped. “He is probably being extremely cautious after his death to avoid drawing attention to himself.”
Marika offered hopefully, “Perhaps he will make a mistake and reveal himself to us?”
Taking a deep breath, the Ilmarian of Fate nodded. “You’re right, Marika,” she said and fiddled with the chains, which rattled, in her hands. They felt heavy and cold as if they were burden; the fates of so many weighed on her mind sometimes. “He will make a mistake and once he does, we’ll be there to get him.”
Ok so I've finished with chapter 10:
I really enjoyed Hessin and Torryn's fight and the clash between light and darkness. Also the surprise that one of the twins ancestors was the assassin that failed to kill Hessin when was king. Good stuff. .
A question I had in mind about Oraji's presence in capturing the twins was also answered in this final chapter because her power wasn't well suited for combat but I think she did well in using her knowledge and skills to her advantage.
I'll post more as I remember them....
How far are you with chapter 11?
Well, I did give you a hint about the twins' ancestor but then it was a while ago so you probably forgot. LOL
Yeah, I wanted to include her since I felt that she was somewhat neglected. The last part with Oraji and Marika will explain something in CH. 12.
Only two pages and this is only the "introduction". It took me awhile b/c writing the beginning is the hardest part imo.
Anyway, here is the first part of CH. 11. It's going to start out slow and then it will pick up speed, I promise. ^^ Any guess on what his power will be?
Oh, I know that I mentioned that the Duermon's eyes are "gem-like" and this is how I imagined what they look like.
Chapter 11: Shintra - "Love can easily be transformed into hate"
Mazu 10, 1309
Shintra stared at the lizard that was on the dirt street. In return, it stared at him back. Both were frozen in place as if egging each other to make the first move. Finally, after a minute or so, he blinked, which cued his adversary to escape. It scrambled to its burrow where it would be safe. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be.
WHAM! The young Duermon slammed his hand hard on the lizard and barely managed to catch it by its tail. As it was being lifted up, it twisted its body this way and that way as it desperately clawed at the boy’s hand. He didn’t pay any mind to its attempts though.
Instead he examined his catch and determined that it was a bit too small; it was as long as the palm of his hand. Food was still food nevertheless. Cupping the animal gingerly in his hands, he hurried back home, making sure to avoid other Duermons. The first time he caught his meal, he naively showed it to the others and they immediately mugged him for it. He learned his lesson after that and never bragged about his catch.
“Mom, I’m home!” he shouted as he opened the front door. Slamming it so hard that the walls shook, he hurried to her bedroom to proudly share his catch. She was lying in her bed with a pillow covering her head. “Look! I got dinner!”
Magges lifted the pillow off her head and turned to look at him. “Good job, Shin!” she praised him in spite of the tired look in her eyes. The bags under her eyes told him that she didn’t sleep well. “Now fetch a bucket of fresh water so I can boil it. We will have soup tonight.”
He followed his mother’s instruction obediently and grabbed the small pail in the kitchen before heading out again. It took him a while to get the water from the rusty water pump due to the fact that he wasn’t strong enough to push down that stubborn handle. But then, he was only six years old. After ten minutes, he only has one-fourth of the bucket full. It was a good thing that no one else was waiting to get water because they would complain loudly about how slow and weak he was. He often wished that the other would help him, but he knew they wouldn’t. They would just sneer, saying that he’s a Humanistic Duermon unlike them. He doesn’t need their help.
Finally the bucket was close to half full. Shintra walked back home carefully to avoid any spill. If that happens, he has to head back to the water pump and started all over again. Once he was almost to the door when he tripped clumsily over the steps and spilled all of the bucket’s content. He hated that.
Entering the kitchen, he noticed that his mother has already prepared the lizard and put the chopped piece along with some stringy vegetables in a slightly cracked black pot. He poured most of the water into the pot and his mother hung it over the small fire. “Now set up the table,” she instructed, “while I keep an eye on the soup.”
The boy grabbed a short, wooden stool, went over to the cupboard, and carefully got two bowls, cups, and spoons. They were worn from being used; chips could be seen around the edges of the bowls and cups while the spoons were a dull color of silver. When he was finished, he decided to get started on some of his other chores since the soup wasn’t probably done just yet. First, he checked to see if there were enough candles. Shintra noted that they have only five left though two of them were getting very low and made a mental note that he needs to get some more soon. After grabbing the two said candles, he lit them and placed one on top of the kitchen table while he kept the other one.
He then went to his mother’s room and swept the floor until there was no dust left. After all, he wanted her to make a good impression when the “guests” arrived. Next he went out to the back and gathered some sticks that was scattered on the streets. Then he went inside and stacked them neatly next to the fireplace. Magges gave him an appreciative look and patted him on his head. “The soup is ready so make sure to clean your hands,” she reminded him. “There is a wet rag on the counter so you can use to wipe your hands.”
By the time he finished and came to the table, his mother has already poured the soup into the bowls and the leftover water into the cups. As usual, she has given him the larger portion. As soon as he sat down, Magges smiled. “Ready?” He nodded. “Okay then, let’s eat.”
They mostly ate in silence; the only sound that could be heard was the sound of the spoon clanking against the bowls. Shintra slurped his soup but took his time to chew on the meat and vegetables. While the meat was tender, it was a different story for the latter. He tried his best not to gag on those pieces and poked his fingers into his mouth to pull out the stringy parts and toss it aside.
At the end of supper, his mother finally spoke, “Shin, you need to help me get ready for work after we finished washing the dishes. Understand?”
“Understood,” he replied politely. However, he was excited. He loved helping his mother prepare for her job. Quickly eating his last scoop, he gathered all of the dishes and hurried to the kitchen.
---------- Post added November 22, 2012 at 12:26 AM ---------- Previous post was November 18, 2012 at 05:41 PM ----------
“Hand mommy her hairbrush.” Shintra went over to the dresser, grabbed the worn out brush, and rushed back to give it to her. Magges carefully brushed her emerald-colored hair until it became lush and shiny. Then she pinned them with hairpins made out of pearls though some of them were missing.
Stretching her hands out, she asked, “Pass me my earrings.” He complied and presented the matching set. While she putting them on, he helped out by buttoning the back of her ivory dress. Afterward, she put on her makeup because she said that her customers like it when she “prettied” herself for them. They claimed that it made them feel like they’re “special”. During that time, he dabbed some perfume around the nape of her neck. The smell of jasmine was always a pleasant sensation.
Finally she sighed. “I’m not feeling in the mood tonight so get my ‘medicine’ for me.” This was his favorite part. Shintra nodded eagerly and got a small vial, which was hidden inside the top drawer. He carefully twisted the lid open and dipped the tiny needle, which was attached to the bottom of it, into the magenta concoction. Then he pricked his mother near her neck. According to her, it helped her perform her job better. If she didn’t, her customers won’t be happy, which meant that she won’t make enough money to support them.
“Thanks, sweetie,” she said as she kissed his forehead. Examining the bottle, she frowned. “It looks like we’re running out of medicine so you need to see Hevvy tomorrow to get more, okay?” Her son nodded. “Good! Now you better go to your room before the medicine take effect. Before you go to bed, make sure the front door is unlocked. Also remember to close your door and don’t come out no matter what. Okay?”
“Yes, mommy,” he replied and hugged her before he left her room. “Good night!” After following his mother’s instructions, he climbed into his bed and blew the candle.
Instead of going to sleep immediately, he stayed up and listened as the front door creaked opened half an hour later. “Hello, Magges,” he heard a deep, booming voice said. He immediately recognized that voice as Raude, the Possessor Duermon who gave them the place to live and made sure that they were under his protection. “I see that you’ve taken the aphrodisiac again. Not feeling it tonight?”
“Hello, Raude,” his mother just said bluntly. “I see that you finally found a new body.”
“Do you like it? It’s a young Sendoan soldier so I think I’ll be staying in this body for a long time. By the way, where is little Shin?”
“In bed, sound asleep. Or he should be if you’re not talking too loud.”
“Oh, I see. Did you remember to tell him to…” Shintra couldn’t hear any more of the conversation because Raude has lowered his voice. Then silence filled the air but he kept alert, listening intently as he knew what was coming next. Sure enough, he suddenly heard his mother cried out, but it was a happy sound as if she was enjoying something so he knew that everything was okay. He still could recall what happened the last time he ventured out of his room.
When he was three years old, he first heard his mother screamed and became frightened. He rushed over to her room and burst opens the door to find an unfamiliar man on top of his mom. The man swore an oath, angrily stormed up to him, and smacked him so hard that he flew across the room. He could hear his mother screaming furiously at the man and felt her hand patting him on the head. Opening his eyes, he was so confused on why she was naked and realized that the stranger has wrapped the blanket around his waist.
The next thing he knew, Raude and his second-in-command, Laire, were in the room due to commotion. They demanded to know what was going on so a livid Magges told them what happened. She then threatened not to provide them with her service if her son was treated this way. Raude just listened to her tirade before telling her to tuck Shintra back into bed while he and Laire have a chat with her customer. She glared at him but didn’t say a word as she put on her robe. Instead she carried him back to bed and after making sure that he was fine, told him that everything was all right.
She informed him that she was working and that she was screaming because she was feeling “excited”. Nothing bad was going on. However he shouldn’t enter her room because her customers didn’t like their experiences disturbed. That was when Laire appeared at his doorway. He told Magges that Raude has taken care of that man and that he wanted to see her. She nodded and kissed Shintra good night before leaving. Laire stared at him for a few seconds before telling him to go to bed and not to leave his room unless he wanted to get whack again. Then he shut the door.
Shintra flinched, remembering the hard slap across his face and how red his face was afterward. The groans and moans could still be heard from his mother’s bedroom. He wondered to himself how many customers will be visiting his mother tonight. Magges liked to brag that she was considered as the Possessor Duermons’ favorite because she wasn’t awkward in bed like her other coworkers. She said that the reason was that her colleagues were also Possessor Duermons so they’re not used to their bodies, which made things uncomfortable.
Even though he’s happy when she made a lot of money, he sometimes wished that she didn’t have work like that. In the mornings, she would be so exhausted or be in the bad mood. While she lay in her bed, she would occasionally rant about how she wished things turn out differently and that they didn’t deserve this fate. The whole time, he would just rub her back and listened as he ate his breakfast on her bed. Finally she would quiet down after a few minutes and pretend that everything was fine.
Thinking to himself, he wondered if there was a way to make their living conditions better. Perhaps he could ask the other Duermons if he could do some small errands so he could earn some more money. If he makes enough money, then maybe his mom wouldn’t have to work so hard! Raude could probably find something for him to do. Unfortunately, he doubted that anyone was willing to hire him because he was just a child and not to mention, somewhat weak. All that thoughts of figuring out how to earn money and better his family’s living condition tired him out and before he knew it, he was fast asleep.
---------- Post added November 23, 2012 at 10:03 AM ---------- Previous post was November 22, 2012 at 12:26 AM ----------
Mazu 11, 1309
“Morning, mommy! I got breakfast for you,” Shintra announced softly as he gently opened the door to her room. He heard her groan a little bit as she turned around to face him and gave him a sleepy grin.
“Good morning, Shin. Did you sleep well last night?” she asked as she sat up and grabbed the hard roll from his hand.
“Uh huh. Oh, did you make enough money from work?”
Magges just rubbed his green hair mischievously. “Of course, I did and I think I got much more.” She pointed to the top of her dresser, where he could see several small fragments of emeralds and rubies.
His eyes widened at the sight. “That’s a lot!” he exclaimed as he counted them. There were twenty emerald pieces and thirteen rubies shards total. “That’s enough to pay Raude and to buy some food.”
“Not to mention my medicine,” she added. “Don’t forget about that. Take some of the money and tell Hevvy that I say hello.”
He decided that eight emerald pieces were enough and grabbed a ruby shard just in case. “Bye, mommy!” he said, waving goodbye, and headed out the door.
Navigating through the winding streets, he made sure to stay hidden from the Idilarian soldiers who ensured order and stability around the border towns. Besides his mother and himself, the soldiers were the only Humanistic Duermons around. Majority of the inhabitants were Possessor and Parasitic types, who resented the soldiers due to fact that they have their own bodies. Likewise, the soldiers hated being stationed in the borderland because of the lawlessness and the crude behaviors of the citizens.
The reason Shintra avoid the soldiers was that his mother warned him that they were trying to find them in order to kill them. Based on some of his mother’s tirades, he put some bit of pieces together. Apparently his mother was one of Emperor Xengen’s concubines or wives because she kept telling him that he could have become the next ruler of Idilarys. However, she claimed that the other women were jealous of her cunning intelligence that they framed her, which forced her to flee in spite the fact she was pregnant with him.
Luckily for her, Raude found her and after hearing her plight, agreed to help her. In return, she has to work for him if she wanted protection for her baby and her. Not having any other choice, she agreed. That was why she has to work every night for the past six years though she hated it. Shintra has never fully understood what his mother does, but all he knew was that she was supposed to make her customers, male and female, happy.
Anyway, she has told him that the government was still hunting them, which was why they have to stay hidden. If they got caught, they would be executed. The thought of death terrified him and he immediately hid in a dark alley when he saw two soldiers walking by. The young Duermon peeked behind the corner as he kept an eye on them. As soon as their backs were toward him, he immediately ran out of his hiding place and headed to Hevvy’s pharmacy store.
He arrived at Hevvy’s place a few minutes later. However, instead of going to the front, Shintra headed to the back and knocked on the door three times. While the Possessor Duermon was a highly respected and popular apothecary, he secretly was involved in selling illegal substances including his mother’s “medicine”. If it was discovered, he would be stripped of his pharmacy license and be forbidden from selling medicine again. That would be a bad thing according to Hevvy because the royal family was one of his loyal customers. In fact, they actually invited him to stay in the capital of Hinnon, where majority of the Humanistic Duermons reside, but he declined, stating that he wished to stay near the border to improve the lives of those who live there.
“Coming, coming!” Hevvy’s jovial voice could be heard from the other side. Sure enough, the door swung open and an elderly man with playful eyes appeared at the doorway. “Why, hello Shin! What brought you here today?”
Holding out his money, he answered, “My mommy ran out of her ‘medicine’. Is this enough to pay for it?”
The Possessor Duermon smiled. “Of course! It would take a moment since I need to make it so why don’t you wait inside? Besides you can keep me company.” Shin excitedly went inside and followed the man into the storage room, where all of the supplies were stored. “Now then, would you like to help me prepare her medicine?”
“Yes, sir!” he replied enthusiastically and immediately went to work as he followed Hevvy’s instructions. He has always liked the old demon because he was the only person who was nice to him. Likewise he didn’t treat him like he was a dumb kid who gets in everybody’s way and he would answer all of his questions truthfully.
Once he asked the apothecary what his mother’s medicine supposed to do. After all, she didn’t seem to be really sick though she was always tired. Hevvy then explained to him that it’s an aphrodisiac, which was supposed to help her perform her job better. It was supposed to suppress her sexual inhibitions and make her “an animal in bed”. Shintra then asked him what he meant by that, but the old man just laughed before saying that he would understand when he’s older. Then the Possessor Duermon added that the reason his mother seemed to be tired in the morning was because she was up all night doing her job and reminded him not to disturb her since she needed to rest.
“Okay, did you get all of the ingredients?” Hevvy inquired as he got a pot of water boiling.
“Uh huh,” he replied as he pointed to each ingredient. “I found the dried idil leaves, the dried tisome roots, a gredo flower, an entra stem, a krassa root, and ute grass.”
“Good! Now crush them into a fine powder in the mortar and then put them into pot of water. Then we’ll stir the concoction together until it’s well-blended. After that, we’ll have to wait for it to boil again and remove it from the fire to allow it to cool down. Finally, I just have to pour it in the bottle and then we’re done!”
Shintra followed his instructions precisely. While he waited for the medicine to be done, he mentally quizzed himself on what each ingredient was supposed to do. From what Hevvy told him, the idil leaves and tisome roots help increase hormone level while the gredo flower increase the sexual arousal in the person. Likewise, the entra stem supposes to increase the sexual desire as well. Lastly the krassa root and ute grass are supposed to work together; they make the user more susceptible to suggestion. When he asked Hevvy about those last two plants, the pharmacist told him that some of his mother’s customers wanted her to do things that she might not be comfortable doing so those plants made her a more willing participant, which meant a more likely chance she would earn more money.
Speaking of money, he just remembered that he was trying to figure out how to earn more money. He must have looked anxious because Hevvy asked, “Something’s troubling you, boy?”
“Uh huh,” he confessed. “I want to help my mommy make more money, but I don’t know how.”
The old Duermon gave him a warm smile. “What a considerate boy! I wish the other Duermons around here are more like you. Hmmm… though to be honest, I don’t know of any job that would be suitable for you. Most of the work in this area are very dangerous and require a lot of strength, which you currently don’t have right now. Not the mention the fact that your mother doesn’t want you to accidentally reveal yourself to the soldier patrolling the area.”
Disappointment filled Shintra’s heart. Not even old man Hevvy could help him. The apothecary must have sensed his frustration because he continued, “Now that I thought of it, I think I found a perfect job for you.” The boy’s eyes lit up as he anticipated what the Duermon would say next. “You see, I can’t leave the shop because I need to keep an eye on it. The problem is that there are some patients who cannot leave their home whatsoever, which leaves me in a dilemma. So this is my proposal: would you like to run errands for me? You seem to know your way in town so you can deliver the medicines for me. In return, I’ll pay you and give a discount on your mother’s medicine. How does that sound?”
The child Duermon could barely believe what he’s heard. “G-g-great!” he managed to sputter. “When do I begin?”
Handing him the small vial of medicine, Hevvy answered, “How’s about right now? Your first job is to deliver this medicine to your mother and don’t worry about paying for it. It’s on the house.”
---------- Post added November 28, 2012 at 11:39 PM ---------- Previous post was November 23, 2012 at 10:03 AM ----------
Dezmi 14, 1313
“Hey, Errand Boy! Get me more ale!”
“Deliver this message to Ergan for me, Errand Boy! He’s just on the other side of the table.”
“Pass me the salt, Errand Boy!”
Shintra grinded his teeth but did his best to ignore the wisecracks. Ever since the other Possessor and Parasitic Duermon found out that he was working for Hevvy, they would pick on him by asking him to do trivial things for them. They also gave him the nickname, “Errand Boy”, and sometimes tried to trip him when he was doing his job. It was very aggravating but there was nothing he could do about it. After all, he didn’t have any power to boss them around despite the fact he’s a Humanistic Duermon. The only way they would leave him alone was if Raude tells them, which wasn’t often.
Speaking of which, the Possessor Duermon seemed to be in a foul mood today. Shintra tried his best to make himself inconspicuous; whenever Raude was angry, he liked to use him as a punching bag. That was probably why the demon ordered him to go to his headquarters, which was the largest stone building in the city. After all, his mother wasn’t there to protect him since she was asleep back home. Even if she were there, she would be too powerless to help him since she still owed Raude for his protection.
In spite of the fact he despised the demon, Shintra had to admit that he admires how Raude is able to lead the other Possessor and Parasitic Duermons in his gang. If any of his followers dares to defy him, he would have that person be brought before him and have his men beat him up until he begged for mercy. Sometimes he would grant it; other times, he would maim the instigator to teach him a lesson. Shintra recalled one such incident. A group of Duermons plot a mutiny against him but unfortunately got caught.
Shintra was there at the time and he could feel the tension in the room as they were brought into the headquarters; in fact, he still could imagine that feeling even today. The leader of the revolt was brought before Raude, who appeared to be calm and collected. However, he was anything but that. As soon as he saw the man, he immediately walked down from his “throne” and beat him up so severely that the rebel was almost dead. While he was attacking the man, Shintra observed that Raude's face was still expressionless but his eyes were full of fury.
“See what happened if you think of betraying me,” he had said as he glared at the other rebels, who shrunk back in fear. “Now is there anyone else who is willing to defy me? Or would you rather swear your allegiance to me again? I'm feeling rather merciful at the moment so you better decide fast before I change my mind.” Of course, the others knelt down and said the vow quickly.
Shintra could only watch the scene with his mouth agape. He had always wondered why the other Duermons followed Raude even though they badmouthed him behind his back, but now he knew why. He used their fear of him against them. All he had to do was to make a few example of any troublemaker so he could make any idle threats and they would believe him. On that day, the Humanistic Duermon learned that understanding and mercy were signs of weakness; one only needed terror to complement with power.
“What's wrong, boss?” Vasti, a Parasitic Duermon, asked. It seemed like Shintra was not the only one who noticed Raude's distress. The leader scowled.
“Emperor Xengen Cenlyas is dead so you know what that means.” Everyone groaned when they heard the news.
“Another fucking Succession War,” Laire grumbled as he threw a dart at the target hanging on the wall.
The Succession War always occurred after the death of the ruler of Idilarys. Unfortunately, the emperor or empress has numerous spouses and concubines, which meant that he or she has a lot of children. Not the mention the fact that an average Humanistic Duermon could live up to 700 years. The problem was that there could over hundreds and hundreds of princes and princesses living right now, which meant that the war could last for a very long time. Once he heard that one Succession War lasted for over a hundred years because there were 865 participants. Of course, during the war, there were some anarchy but all Duermons enjoyed it since they got to do whatever they want without getting into trouble.
During the week of grieving and mourning, the heirs to the throne would secretly gather supporters to their cause. Traveling to the borderlands, they would campaign their causes by promising Parasitic and Possessor Duermons the best human hosts or making their lives easier. They would also visited Humanistic Duermon lords and ladies, whom they promised positions of power and/or a sibling's hand in marriage. Sometimes they would broker deals with their siblings especially with the ones who are too young to be involved in the war because they knew that they did not have a chance of winning.
After that, they would wage war against each other until only one was left. Those who have enough supporters usually focus their attack on the weaker opponents, killing them and making their supporters to pledge allegiance to the conquerors. Other times, they would force their defeated siblings to marry one of their allies if they were fond of them. Then they would target another rival until there was an elite few left. Finally, after several months or years of fighting, only one would remain to be crowned the next ruler of Idilarys.
Of course, the victor's allies would be rewarded as well. Humanistic Duermons would be given lands and riches while Possessor Duermons would get first dibs on human hosts, which meant that they could have healthy and beautiful bodies. Meanwhile Parasitic Duermons got to fatten themselves on human and animals' souls. Another reward was that they were allowed to stay in the capital of Hinnon and be pampered until the next Succession War. As for the losers who unfortunately picked the wrong side? They just went back home to the borderlands where they have to fend for themselves. That was why many Parasitic and Possessor Duermons think things thoroughly before picking which heir they support.
That would explain Raude's miserable behavior. He always seemed to choose the wrong prince or princess to support, and it frustrated him to no end. For once, he wanted to live a life of luxury but so far, he hasn't been so lucky. It also didn't help that the others would follow along with his decision so he has a lot of gang members depending on him to make the right choice. “Soo... have you decided who to support?” Laire ventured slowly.
“Almost,” the Duermon leader replied. “It's either Princess Xanlyu Por or Prince Celab Lanxu. I think one of them has the best chance of winning.”
Shintra’s ears perked up. Gathering enough courage, he suggested, “Why don’t you support me?”
There was a moment of silence as the others stopped what they were doing and stared at him for the longest time as if it was the first time they saw him. All of a sudden, they burst out laughing. Some slapped their knees while others held their sides as they tried their best from falling onto the floor. “By the gods, I haven’t laughed this much since Faursa got so drunk and got stuck in a barrel,” one of the Possessor Duermon guffawed as she wiped the tears from her eyes.
“Agreed,” Raude smiled. Turning his attention to the young Duermon, whose face was flushed with humiliation, he mocked, “And why should I serve you, ‘Your Majesty’? You can barely support yourself here so how can you support my men and me? In fact, I feel like I’m the one who have to carry the weight here for you. If your mother wasn’t such a pretty good whore and made me promise to protect you, I would have abandoned you on the street to rot. You’re a pathetic little worm who can’t do anything right. In fact, I think I got a new nickname for you – Shintra, the Prince of Whores.”
Shintra felt a flash of anger rose inside him but he suppressed it. He really wanted to lash out at that bastard but didn’t dare. Raude has fast reflexes and was much stronger than he. “What’s wrong?” he heard Laire taunted. “Is the little baby ‘prince’ crying?” He refused to answer and stormed out of the spacious dining hall instead. “That’s right! Run to your mommy! All hail, the Prince of Whores!” Soon everyone in the room raised their cup of ale and cheered.
He ran down the streets without bothering to look where he was going as he bumped into people without giving a damn. One day, he’s going to get his revenge on them, he swore as tears trickled down his cheeks. And when he does, they will regret messing with him.
---------- Post added November 29, 2012 at 06:46 PM ---------- Previous post was November 28, 2012 at 11:39 PM ----------
He arrived at the front door of his house and stopped at an abrupt halt. Shintra wiped the tears and snot off his face with his sleeves. There was no way he was going to let his mom see how upset he was. Hopefully his face wasn’t too puffy and red. Taking a deep breath, he opened the door and shouted, “Mom, I’m home!”
“Welcome home, Shin,” Magges answered from her bedroom. The boy frowned inwardly. Lately she has staying in her bed and refusing to leave. Was she moping because she heard the news about the upcoming Succession War? Gingerly, he crept into her room, where he found her in her usual spot. She looked at him and gave him a warm smile though he detected a bit of sadness to it. “How was work today?”
"It was good. Hevvy gave me a raise today because he said that I'm the best helper he ever has," he replied as he climbed onto her bed and rested his head on her chest. Hearing her heartbeats always comforted him especially whenever he has a rough day. He felt her fingers combed through his long, green hair. He snuggled and thought to himself that he didn't want to let go of her.
"Aren't you his only helper?" his mother teased. "But still, that's good that you're making enough money. At this rate, you'll probably make more than me." Her son frowned at that. Lately, Magges hasn't made enough money due to the fact that she was feeling unwell. Hevvy has informed her that she shouldn't work until she feels much better, Raude refused to listen. He threatened to report her whereabouts to the soldiers if she doesn't provide her service to his men so she reluctantly obeyed his orders.
It saddened him how submissive his mother has become. Long ago, she would have fought back and defiantly disobeyed him. But now she seemed like she was losing hope. Discouraged, Shintra asked Hevvy once if this was the side effect of the aphrodisiac she was taken, but the apothecary just shook his head. The old man answered that he doubted it and that Magges was probably feeling depressed because of the condition that they were living in. He tried to cheer the boy up by saying that she would feel better eventually but to give her time. Hevvy also suggested that Shintra does what she asked him to so not to aggravate her any further.
"What did Raude want from you anyway?" she continued.
"Oh, it was nothing," he lied. He didn't want his mother to know what happened. Otherwise she might feel ashamed that her son was too weak to stand up against that bully. "He was in a bad mood because of the upcoming Succession War though."
As soon as he said that, Shintra regretted opening his big mouth. He felt his mother dug her nails deep into his scalp as she grumbled bitterly, "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..." He flinched but didn't dare move a muscle lest he caught her attention. Sometimes his mother would become irrational and verbally abused him without realizing what she was doing. Afterward, she would hug him and apologized for her actions. Watching her beg for his forgiveness was so pitiful but at the same time, he hated to admit it, he rather enjoyed it. Having someone in his power was exhilarating even if it was his mother.
Finally, she stopped ranting to notice that he was still with her. Taking a deep breath, she put on a brave face and said in a fake cheerful voice, "Why don't you go outside and play for a little bit? I need to rest a little more until it's time for work. Don't forget to come back before dark, okay?"
"Okay, mom," he mumbled softly as he got off her bed and headed to the door. When he reached the doorway, he glanced back to find his mother was staring at the opposite direction. Feeling saddened by this, he quietly shut the door and left the house.
Even though his mother told him to play, Shintra just wandered around the front of his house restlessly. To be honest, there was nothing really exciting to do around here. There were no kids around his age and even if there were, they wouldn't play with him. Not to mention, most of the Duermons around the area were getting drunk or idling around. After a while, he decided to take a stroll around the neighborhood. That would waste a lot of time, right? Stalking through the alleyways, he was about to turn a corner when he heard some interesting gossip.
"Have you decided which heir you're going to support?" he heard a Parasitic Duermon asked his buddies.
"Not yet, but all I know is that I'm not going to support whomever Raude is choosing!" one of them hooted.
"That's true. It always seemed that idiot picked the losing team," another one joked. "He must be some bad luck charm or something."
"Not too loud or he will hear you!" a Possessor Duermon hissed. They immediately became quiet as they listened to make sure no one else was around. Shintra held his breath nervously until they began talking again after making sure the coast was clear. "Anyway, too bad Argus is no longer getting involved. If I know whom he will be supporting, I would immediately follow suit!"
"Oh yeah, I forgot that he 'retired'," the first Duermon mused. "Why did he do it anyway?"
"He said that he was tired of all of the fighting," the third one sneered. "To me, that's the most stupid reason I've ever heard. If I were him, I would gladly volunteer my service to the first Duermon prince or princess who offers."
The others mumbled in agreement. "Too bad they didn't get the memo because I heard that they're still pestering him to join."
"Really? Where is he by the way? I heard that he left living in the cities due to the harassment."
"Hmmm.... last I heard, he was living in one of the mountain caves close to here. Of course, he may have moved again so I may be mistaken."
Shintra perked up. Argus was famous among the Parasitic Duermon as being the best of the best. Even Raude has to admit that he admired him despite the fact that all Possessor Duermons looked down at their Parasitic brethren. Hevvy explained to him that it was because the Parasitic Duermons does not know how to control their hunger and killed off their hosts too quickly while the Possessor ones slowly sustained their hosts to last a lot longer and even extended their host bodies for hundreds of years. Anyway, if what they were saying was true, then maybe he could search for Argus and convinced him to join his cause. He knew the area by heart so he wouldn't get lost. Besides, he would make it back home before it was dark just like he promised his mother. Thinking that it might be his lucky day, he quickly headed out of the city to search for the legendary Parasitic Duermon.
---------- Post added December 01, 2012 at 12:23 AM ---------- Previous post was November 29, 2012 at 06:46 PM ----------
After traveling a long distance, Shintra finally reached his destination. The mountain was full of caverns that he wondered to himself how he was going to find the elusive demon. Walking on the path, he cupped his mouth and bellowed, “Argus, are you here?”
At first only the silence answered him, which caused him to feel discouraged. Rats! It seemed that he left already. He was about to leave when he heard something slithering toward him. The tiny pebbles on the floor made a scrapping noise as they pressed against each other. Turning his heard toward the sound fearfully, he found himself face-to-face with a towering black figure. It took all of his strength not to run away.
The demon’s lower body was of a snake while his upper body looked like a man except he has two pairs of arms, which was covered in a golden armor. His face has hundreds of red eyes, which blinked as they studied the intruder. A golden mask covered his face except for his mouth. “Who are you?” Argus demanded. “And what do you want? No, don’t bother answering the last question. I know why you’re here and the answer is no. Tell that to the prince or princess you serve. Now go away!”
“I’m not a servant!” Shintra shouted indignantly. “I’m a prince!”
The Parasitic Duermon was about to head back to his den but halted when he heard the boy’s claim. Spurning around, he inched closer to the young demon. “You’re a prince!?” he exclaimed as he examined the Humanistic Duermon closely. “Hmm… you sure don’t dress like one. What is your name, child?”
“Shintra, sir,” he gulped. Seeing the legendary Duermon up close was nervewrecking.
“Just Shintra?” Argus gave him a dubious look. “You don’t have a second name?”
“A second name?”
The demon questioned him derisively, “You don’t even know? All who are born in royalty have a second name, which is their mother’s name. Quick – tell me your mother’s name.”
“So your full name would be Shintra Magges then if you really are a prince,” he explained and paused as if he was trying to remember something. “Magges, huh? I’ve never heard of that name before to be honest. Even though I’m no longer involved in the war, I do keep up-to-date with what’s going on with the royal family. One thing’s for sure your mother is not one of the late Emperor Xengen’s wives or concubines.”
Shintra felt insulted. “Maybe she was a secret lover,” he said defensively, but Argus shook his head.
“Why would the emperor keep one relationship a secret unlike the others? Besides, everybody knows that the emperor or empress is allowed to have more than one spouse.”
“Maybe my mom’s special,” he replied though his voice was more deflated. “That’s why we have to live in hiding or else we’ll be killed!”
Argus sneered, “And why would your royal siblings risk breaking the Concade Accord?”
“My, don’t tell me you didn’t even know about that agreement. Your mother hasn’t taught you well.” The Parasitic Duermon sighed. “Fine, I’ll tell you. The Concade Accord is a verbal treaty among the heirs that stated that they won’t attempt to kill each other until after the current ruler’s death. If they did, they would be stripped of their titles and lose their chance of competing against each other in the Succession War. That’s why I found that statement of yours ridiculous. In fact, I found your story to be unbelievable.”
“Listen, kid, I don’t know if your mother is telling you some falsehoods or if you’re delusional, but you’re not a prince,” Argus snapped. “Even if you were, I still would refuse your offer. You can ask my children if you want, but I doubt they would since you have nothing to offer them. Now go or else I’ll break your back in half.”
Shintra opened his mouth to protest but realized that it was a lost cause. Infuriated, he turned around and left without saying another word.
“Is something the matter, Shin?” He looked up from his plate and saw his mother’s concerned face looking at him. “You barely touch anything from your plate and you’ve been playing with your food.”
“It’s nothing,” he mumbled as he stared down at his food again. “I’m just not that hungry. That’s all.” After his meeting with Argus, he has been feeling down in the dumps. He has decided that today was the worst day of his life and didn’t want to discuss it with anyone especially his mother.
He heard a chair scooted back and his mother’s footsteps approaching him. Magges placed her hand on his forehead and breathed a sigh of relief. “Good. You don’t have a fever though you should go to bed early, okay?”
He nodded but asked, “But don’t you need me to help you get ready for work tonight?”
Kissing his forehead, she shook her head. “Not tonight. I don’t want another sick person in the house. Now get ready for bed. Don’t worry about the dishes. I’ll take care of them.”
“Okay, mom.” He jumped out of his seat and started to his room. He hesitated at the doorway, however, and turned around. “Hey, mom?”
He started to ask her about whether or not he was a prince but changed his mind. She didn’t need to feel aggravated right now. “I just wanted to tell you good night,” he lied.
“Night, sweetie. I’ll check on you in the morning.”
As he went into his bed, Shintra felt a sudden feeling of unease. Something terrible is going to happen, but he didn’t know what. Brushing his feeling aside, he closed his eyes and went to sleep.
His mother’s screams woke him up from his slumber. Startled, he sat up in his bed; his heart thumps rapidly in his chest. Don’t be silly, Shintra, he scolded himself. Mom is just working. Nevertheless, he felt unnerved. Another scream alerted him that his mother was not screaming with pleasure – she was crying out for help. Now alarmed, he immediately leapt out of his bed, threw his bedroom door open, and dashed over to his mother’s room.
Opening the door, he was horrified to find one of Raude’s men was strangling his mother, whose eyes were starting to glaze over. “Get off of her!” he screamed and jumped on top of the man to claw at his eyes. The man screamed in pain and let go of Magges’s throat. He tried to grab Shintra, but the boy refused to let go. Instead his mother’s attacker rammed his back against the walls repeatedly; the demonic boy felt the wind knocked out of him but stubbornly held on. Suddenly, he felt someone grabbed him by his shirt and pulled him away as he struggled to break free. Looking up, he realized that Laire was the culprit, which meant…
“What’s going on here?” Raude demanded as he stormed into the room. The others followed behind him. “What is with this racket?”
His follower wiped his eyes and glared at Shintra, who stared back defiantly. “That brat tried to kill me. That’s what!” he screamed.
“You were hurting my mom!” he shouted back and attempted to charge at that man. Laire held onto him tightly though. Meanwhile his boss walked over to Magges’s unconscious body and checked her pulse.
“Well?” Laire questioned. Raude shook his head.
“She’s dead.” He turned his attention to the other Possessor Duermon, who cringed. “Look at what you did, Tinen! Now the best prostitute in the city is dead all because you couldn’t control your temper!”
“It’s not my fault,” he complained sulkily. “She laughed at the size of my penis so I wanted to teach her lesson.”
Furious, Raude walked over and slapped his face. “If you’re so concern about that, I should just cut it off!” he barked and held out his knife. Tinen turned pale and subconsciously covered the front of his pants.
“I’m sorry, boss!” he wailed. “I’ll make it up to you, I promise!”
The Duermon gave him a look of disgust. “Take him away,” he ordered the others. “I’ll deal with him later. You two, carry her body away. We’ll bury her tomorrow.” They complied and did their jobs immediately.
Laire was quiet the whole time but quietly spoke when it was just only three of them left in the room. “And what do we do with him?” he asked as he lifted Shintra up as if he was a sack of grain. His commander sighed.
“I made a promise to his mother that I would protect him, and I don’t want to dishonor a dead woman’s wish,” he began. Shintra felt a moment of relief; at least he won’t have to fend for himself. Maybe just maybe Raude wasn’t a bad guy after all. However that sentiment was fleeting when he saw Raude’s sadistic smile. “After all, I need someone to be used as a punching bag.”
Hey, riki^^ How are those special chapters with notes about the characters going?
What's P4G? XD And that's ok by me, since I need to catch up ><
Bob prolly won't enjoy that info, though xD
Persona 4: Golden. It's a JRPG. ^^
Ehh... if he's impatient for the next part, he'll nag me about it. Of course, I don't have to listen to him.
---------- Post added December 07, 2012 at 12:19 AM ---------- Previous post was December 03, 2012 at 12:11 PM ----------
Shintra: "Love can easily be transformed into hate"
Ceza 6, 1662
Shintra flinched in spite of himself as Raude hurled another glass across the room. “Another motherfucking raid disaster!” he screamed at no one in particular and hurled a plate at some of the whores who were standing close by. The possessed women shrieked when they were hit by the broken pieces of ceramics and scurried away lest they got hit again. Shintra frowned. He figured that the raid didn't go as planned as soon as he saw Raude's foul expression as he entered the room, but he shouldn't vent his frustration on his “ladies”. But then again he wasn't the one being beaten up so he shouldn't be complaining.
He studied his employer. After over three hundred years of possessing the same body, Raude's host body was being to deteriorate. His skin was cracked and crumbly like dead leaves; his skin color was also grayish like a corpse, which meant that his body wasn't going to last any longer soon. That was why he and the others kept heading toward the Sendoan border with hopes of capturing unwitting humans to possess or feed. Unfortunately all of his raids have been unsuccessful so far and some of his best men were killed as well. Of course, Shintra knew who was to blame for that.
“If it hasn't been for those damned Aerians, I would have a fresh body by now!” the Possessor Duermon ranted as he hurled a goblet against the wall. “If they haven't existed, I won't have to worry about sneaking around and I could easily snatch a new body without a care in the world. Those humans would live in fear and be more submissive if it weren't for those winged creatures! Too bad the whole race wasn't annihilated during the Caeculum War. It would make life so much easier!”
Everyone including Shintra who didn't have to worry about such things murmured in agreement. They cussed underneath their breath as they wondered why the gods created those blasted creatures in the first place. Whenever they went on a raid, they have to be on alert for any Aerians who were flying close by and instantly killed them without qualms. Their nemesis didn't care that they needed hosts in order to survive; the angels just called them vermin who love to harass the innocent humans.
“Of course things would be so much easier if I have my own body to begin with.” Shintra immediately felt Raude’s glare on his back. Crap! He remembered him! Sure enough, he felt a plate flew past by his head and hit the column. Luckily he didn’t move a muscle or else the back of his head would be covered with blood. Long ago, he would have but now he knew that it was what Raude expected. He heard the demon cussed because he was upset that he missed.
“Come here, you little brat!” he ordered. “It’s time for your beating!”
Shintra smiled wryly to himself. Even though he has an appearance of a twenty-seven years man, that bastard always viewed him as a child. Normally he would have obliged but today he has enough. “No.”
The room became suddenly quiet. Everyone stared at him with their jaws dropped to the ground because he dared defy Raude; no one has dared oppose that man openly before. In fact, he has a look of astonishment on his face as well. However he quickly composed himself and asked calmly, “What did you say?”
“I said, ‘No,’” Shintra repeated and straightened his posture. “I will no longer be your punching bag and I won’t kneel before you anymore. As a matter of fact, you should be the one being submissive toward me and obey my orders. I’m a Humanistic Duermon after all. I should be the one who lords over you all.”
“If only magic is still around, I would have blast you on the spot for your insubordination,” the Possessor Duermon muttered underneath his breath as he glowered at him; if Shintra remembered correctly, magic disappeared at the end of the Caeculum War. The young demon glared back at him, daring him to do his worst. Instead, Raude smiled and said simply, “All right. You say that you should be the boss around here since you’re a Humanistic Duermon thus superior over us. Very well. I as well as everyone else in this room will serve you under one condition – you must find us new host bodies for us. After all, you are supposed to provide for us if you’re the leader.”
Now it was his turn to drop his mouth open. “What!?” he exclaimed while everyone else snickered. “I won’t be able to go across the border that easily! I don’t know how to fight or how to survive the wilderness. I would be killed!”
“You’ll figure it out,” the demon replied with a smirk on his face. “You’re smart enough to know what to do. Besides your kind is superior to ours, is it not? Now you better get going because you’re wasting time.” He snapped his fingers and two of his goons grabbed Shintra by the shoulders. They dragged him out of the room, through the huge atrium, and to the front hallway while the others followed behind them. As they opened the door, Raude added, “Oh, before I forget, don’t come back until you deliver the goods. If you do, then we will be under your commands without any resistance. Until then, get out of my sight!”
Without any heads-up, Shintra felt himself being pushed out of the door and someone kicked him so that he fell on the muddy ground, which splattered everywhere. As he was standing up, he heard the door slammed and locked behind him. At first, he stood there frozen, not knowing what to do. One thing for sure, he’s not going to pound at the door and beg for mercy! That was what Raude wanted. He could stay at Hevvy’s but he didn’t want to impose on the apothecary, who lived in a tiny place. It looked like he has no choice but try to capture some humans. Wiping the mud off his clothes nonchalantly to show that he didn’t care, he took a deep breath and headed toward the borders.
---------- Post added December 09, 2012 at 09:16 AM ---------- Previous post was December 07, 2012 at 12:19 AM ----------
Ceza 15, 1662
After several days at the Sendoan border, Shintra still hasn’t figured out how to seize new vessels for Raude and his gang. The entire time, he would hide behind some rocks and observed the other Possessor and Parasitic Duermons’ actions. Based on his observations, he deduced that they like to stalk their prey to determine whether or not they were healthy and strong. After determining if the humans fit the criteria, they would decide who will have what bodies and then attack late at night when it was easier to roam around without any suspicion.
One group would distract the person keeping watch while the others would ambush the camp. When they finished subduing the humans, the demons would discard their old bodies and enter their new ones. The newly possessed humans would then seize those that were deemed unfit to be possessed and feed them to the Parasitic Duermons. As soon as everyone has their fill, they would return back to Idilarys, leaving the remains of what happened behind.
Upon seeing this happened several times, Shintra then surmised that his best opportunity was in early morning but he still was stumped on how he was going to capture the humans. Not to mention, he would have to hide them from the other marauders, who would steal them in a heartbeat. He decided that he’ll try to capture a small group of two or three first; it would be impossible for him to go against a crowd after all. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find any group that fit that category until today.
It was a group of three – a man, his wife, and a boy. They appeared to be heading to a nearby village and they seemed to be obvious to the danger lurking in the shadows. But then, they probably thought they were safe because no Duermon would risk exposing himself in the middle of the day except for one, of course. Smirking, he put his hood over his head and slowly headed down them. Fingering the dagger at his waist, he mentally thanked Hevvy for giving him some supplies that lasted him for the journey. He was only a few distances away from them when all of a sudden, he heard a voice growled, “And what do you think you’re doing?”
Startled, he spun around to find some Possessor Duermons glaring at him. Three to be exact. Just his luck! “Nothing,” he lied, hoping his nerves weren’t shown. “I was just taking a little stroll since it’s a nice day and all.”
“Liar,” one of them accused him. “I saw the way you were eyeing those three. You’re planning on stealing them from us!”
“That’s not true!” Shintra felt the sweat rolling down his forehead as the others surrounded him so he couldn’t escape.
Before he could react, one of them pulled his hood down. “He’s not one of us!” she exclaimed. “He’s a Humanistic Duermon. Why is he here!?”
“He must be Raude’s pet, Prussa,” another answered amusingly. “Lein told me that apparently this one sassed that guy so as punishment, he has to bring Raude’s gang new host bodies. That’s probably why he’s here.”
“Is that so?” The first Duermon eyed him strangely that Shintra began to feel panicked. “Well then, he probably wouldn’t mind if we taught this insolent jackass a lesson or two about stealing other demons’ new vessels.”
All of a sudden, he felt someone swung him hard in the face that he lost a tooth. He staggered into the third Duermon who immediately punched him in the stomach. Gasping for air, he only has time to look up to see Prussa, who smiled sadistically at him. “This one’s for you, sweetie!” she said as she kneed him in the groin. He moaned in agony and fell to his knees. “This is what happened if you try to steal another Duermon’s pick.”
He wanted to stand up to fight back but he was so weakened that he couldn’t. Instead, he continued to get plummeted and prayed that he would be able to endure it a little longer until their anger was appeased. “Hey, Jeck,” he heard the third Duermon asked nervously. “Do you think it’s wise for us to beat him to death? I mean, what if Raude finds out?”
“And?” Jeck jeered back. “I doubt that he would ever find out about this. Even if he does, I don’t think he would care. He probably expects this bastard to fail and die in some lonesome place anyway. Why else would he send him on this impossible mission? We’re just speeding up the process, that’s all.”
The other assented and continued to beat him up though it was more intense. They slapped the back of his head so hard that he saw stars, rammed his body to the ground, and kicked him everywhere. The excruciating pain was all over his body; it felt like the time when Raude has whipped him with a thick coil of rope except ten times worse. Shintra felt himself drift in and out of consciousness. His body screamed for him to accept his fate, but his brain urged him not to give up; he’s not going to die today. Unfortunately, it looked like the latter was wrong. This is it, Shintra thought to himself as he lay motionless on the ground and took his last breath.
---------- Post added at 05:02 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:16 AM ----------
He found himself in an unfamiliar place. Opening his eyes, he found himself surrounded by fog that he could barely see the ground below him. Where on earth was he? Unnerved, Shintra ambled around the area with hopes that the fog would disappear after a while, but it still remained wherever he went. What a frightful place! Wherever he was, he wanted to get out of there right now. For some reason, he cried out, “Mother! Are you here?”
That startled him. He has forced himself to forget about her ever since he blamed her for the situation he was in. After her death, he faulted her for the reasons why he was abused by Raude and his men’s hands every day and why none of the other Duermons fear or respect him. If she hasn’t agreed to work for that bastard, he would have had a better life. He was still pondering his actions when a booming voice shouted out of nowhere,
“CHANGE THESE SOULS’ POTENTIAL.”
“What do you mean by that?” Shintra wondered. He didn’t recognize the voice, which sounded masculine and feminine at the same time, at all. It sounded like it was coming above him, but he didn’t see anybody when he looked up. “Who are you? Show yourself!”
There was only silence however. Instead, numerous light blue orbs suddenly glowed around him and filled the empty space. They seemed to stretch miles and miles that he couldn’t count them. Likewise they seemed to beckon him like they wanted him to guide them. Amazed, the Humanistic Duermon whispered, “What are these things?” His eyes widened when realization dawned on him. “Wait a minute… are they supposed to be souls?” Their lights glowed brighter as if affirming his questions.
Recalling the mysterious voice’s command, he asked, “But how am I supposed to change a soul’s potential?” He looked around and decided to pick a soul to try. He walked toward it, which seemed to shine brighter as he approached, and placed his hand above it. As soon as he did that, he noticed that all of the other souls’ radiance was becoming too bright – too dangerous and close to comfort. Alarmed, he removed his hand but it was too late. All of the orbs suddenly exploded that he was blinded by the flash of light.
“Is he dead?”
Shintra slowly opened his eyes and found a human woman who appeared to be in her twenties looking at him concernedly. Her husband was close by. Both of them gasped when they realized that he was awake and was started to get up. Rubbing his head which was covered by his hood, he noticed that he was sitting in a patch of glowing white flowers. It also appeared that the other Duermons have left already, which was a good thing. Based on the sun’s location, it was midday.
“Are you okay, mister?” the man asked worriedly. “It’s not safe to be here near the border especially since-” He suddenly yelped when Shintra looked at him. No doubt he saw the demon’s eyes and knew that he wasn’t human. “It’s a Duermon!” he screamed. “Run, Viya!”
They quickly stood up and scrambled to make their escape. Panicking, Shintra tried to reach for them but they were just out of range. He noticed that there was an orb inside each of them so he grasped them instead. He screamed desperately, “Wait! Don’t be frightened!”
Abruptly they stopped and turned to look back at him. Looks of astonishment were on their face, but they didn’t appear to be scared of him anymore. Shintra was also surprised by their reactions; he didn’t expect this at all. That was when he recalled that strange dream. Was this his newfound powers that the voice told him about? But he thought magic doesn’t exist anymore unless it finally decided to come back right now. He might as well test it out. “Come here,” he ordered and they complied. “You’re worried about me because I was injured. You’re going to tend to my wounds and make sure I’m well taken care of.” Then he added, “Oh, make me something good to eat. I’m starving.”
Just as he thought, they did exactly what he said. They took him back to his camp and ensured that he was pampered. During that time, he touched their souls and was intrigued to find out everything about them – their memories, their emotions, and their personalities. The woman, Viya, was a gentle and good-natured woman who loves to dote on her new husband. Her husband, Rija, was a hardworking young man who is deeply in love with her. In other words, it was very sickening.
In a playful mood, he touched Viya’s soul and commanded, “You love your husband, correct?” She nodded obediently. “Well, that’s going to change. You despise him so much you wanted him dead.” As he said those words, her green eyes glow a bright emerald color before becoming back to normal. She looked at her husband and instead of showing any affection, she gave him a hateful look. How entertaining! It appeared that he could alter anything about them. He quickly changed her back to normal since he didn’t want to waste a new servant. “Love can easily be transformed into hate, huh? Let’s see what else I can do…”
It seemed like his powers allowed him also to modify a person’s personality and memories too. He quickly made the couple into his devoted followers who obeyed his every command without any questions and adored him. Another thing he discovered was that if he toyed with a soul for too long, the person’s appearance would slightly change. It was nothing major; the person’s eye color would become a bit darker. It was very peculiar but he’s not complaining.
“Now listen, you two,” he said as he patted them on the heads. They looked at him with adoration as they eagerly awaited their orders. “I want you to lure more humans to me. Both of you, head north and then go on your separate ways. Viya, go to the east and tell anyone you meet that your husband is hurt. Look pitiful and beg for them to come save him. Rija, go to the west and do the same. Then as soon as you get someone, bring them here to me. I’ll do the rest. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Lord Shintra,” they assented monotonously as they bowed before him. As they headed north, he smiled. He couldn’t wait to see Raude’s expression.
Ceza 21, 1662
Snapping his fingers to create sparks, Raude sat on his “throne” feeling listless. Even though magic has returned to the world, he and his men went on another raid and failed yet again. Right now he wanted to punch someone, but unfortunately, his only punching bag was gone. He somewhat regretted letting that brat go, but his temper got the best of him. But again, he was glad that the Humanistic Duermon was gone because he was a pest. Whenever he saw Shintra, he also felt irritated since it reminded him that he was unfortunate to be born without a permanent body. Since he hasn’t heard anything about that boy, it was most likely that he was…
A loud pounding on the door disrupted his train of thoughts. Everyone in headquarters awoke from their nap and looked at each other, confused. “Someone, answer the damned door!” he roared, annoyed.
A Parasitic Duermon closest to the door quickly stood up and rushed over to it. He peeked through the peephole and yelled in astonishment, “It’s Shintra, boss! And you won’t believe it, but he has at least twenty humans with him!”
Everyone including Raude jumped up abruptly. “What!?” he shouted as he almost choked. “Bring him in immediately. I have to see it to believe it.”
The Duermon obeyed and sure enough, he was correct. An arrogant Shintra sauntered into the atrium with a parade of healthy, able-bodied humans marching behind him. Raude salivated at them and has to stop himself from rushing over to possess one. As soon as they were in the center of the room, Shintra stopped and said, “Well? How did I do?”
“Not bad,” Raude replied slowly. He didn’t want to admit that the demon did better than he expected. “How did you manage to capture all of these humans by the way?”
The Humanistic Duermon just gave him a sweet smile. “It’s a secret. You shouldn’t care anyway since I got you a new body.”
“True, true.” He nodded as he stood up with anticipation. “Now if you excuse me, I need to get acquainted with my new body.”
“Not yet.” Shintra raised his hand to halt him. He gave Raude curious look and mumbled to himself, “Huh, it seemed like I don’t have any effect on you. Maybe my powers need to evolve a little further until I do.” Now what did he mean by that? He continued, unfazed, “Did you forget something? You swore an oath that I would become the new leader of this gang and that you and your men will swear allegiance to me. Didn’t you remember that part?”
Raude cussed underneath his breath. Dammit! He has completely forgotten about that. He glanced at the others, who gave him a questioningly look. For the first time in his life, the Possessor Duermon didn’t know what to do. If he accepted, his men might not look at him the same way anymore. He could order his men to seize the new bodies without making an oath, but then he didn’t know Shintra’s new powers. He looked at Laire, who gave him a solemn nod, and immediately knew what to do. His second-in-command always has a plan, which was why he chose him as his confidant.
“All right, a deal is a deal,” he finally announced much to the others’ surprise. “I swear by my creator, Duermon, that I will follow you wherever you go. Likewise, my men will do the same. Isn’t that right?” He glared at them and they immediately kneeled down to do the same. “Is that good enough for you, boss?” Raude grinded his teeth saying the last word. Oh, how he hated that this brat now lorded over him.
Shintra smirked. No doubt he knew what he was thinking. “Quite,” he said as he walked up to Raude’s former seat and sat on it. Already he appeared to look comfortable in his new role. “And for my first order, you and your men can get your pick on which body to have and enjoy getting adjusted to them. Afterward, let’s the fun begin.”
---------- Post added December 11, 2012 at 06:18 PM ---------- Previous post was December 09, 2012 at 05:02 PM ----------
Enju 13, 1721
It was good to be the leader of his own gang. As he sat at the head of the table, Shintra mused to himself all of the perks that he now has. First, he got first dibs on the ladies. He found that he prefers sleeping with human women who were not possessed because they were flexible and not awkward in bed like the ones who were possessed. Not to mention he could use his magic to “tell” them what to do so they know how to please him and do their best to satisfy his sexual appetite. If he got tired of any of them, he could easily pick another woman to fulfill his whims and the rejected woman wouldn't mind at all.
He also could get the best things in the town for free or at a high discount. All the shopkeepers who used to ignore him now gave him the highest respect. They would greet him warmly and bowed their heads, thanking him for his patronage. They also offered him high-quality items and allowed him to get service first. Some even gave him rare and illegal items; they smuggled things for him without any questions.
Lastly, he got to boss a horde of Duermons around and they have to obey. However, they didn’t seem to mind him at all. It was most likely because he was a nicer leader than Raude, but he has a hunch that it was because he introduced the Ruschabel system. He called the program because “Ruschabel” meant “vessel” in the Duermon language.
In this system, the possessed human adults would mate and a child. If the baby is deemed healthy, he or she would be raised. If he or she is not healthy, the baby would be fed to the Parasitic Duermon. Using his powers, Shintra would impose his will on the ones considered healthy and trained them to become vessels for his men. These Ruschabels would improve their bodies by doing manual labors, which pleased the Duermons since they no longer have to do the work.
When a Possessor Duermon’s host body began to deteriorate, he or she could just pick a replacement person, who would be willing to accept the demon. Likewise, if one of the Ruschabels got severely injured, they would offer their souls to the Parasitic Duermons. After the system was implemented, many of his men were pleased and spread words about it to their friends and family. Soon droves and droves of Parasitic and Possessor Duermons traveled into the city and begged to join his gang. Before he knew it, the entire population in the city was his to command.
Another thing he enjoyed was that he has his own bedroom in the headquarters. The master suite was a large room with the finest furniture and beddings. Since he’s now the head, he also has more access to more rooms in the building. One day, he was exploring one of the rooms and was surprised to find out it was a library full of books that covered the walls. Who would have thought this collection would be there of all places? Based on the piles of dust, Raude hasn’t bothered going in the room, which was probably a good thing since he would burn all of the books. Quietly thanking Hevvy for teaching him how to read, he quickly devoured all of the books and learned two interesting tidbits.
One of them was about the strange, glowing white flowers. Apparently when the gods first created the world, they wanted it to be dependent on them. The world couldn’t thrive unless a god offered a drop of blood to it. To show that they have not abandoned their creations, they created the mysterious flowers, which they called “Latonna”, as a symbol of their covenant. Upon reading that passage, Shintra mused to himself about the possibility that he was given a god status. Did that mean he’s immortal then? If so, that would mean that he would be "ruler" of the town for all eternity. That thought excited him greatly.
Another intriguing information he discovered that the reason the gods created the world was because they were sterile and wanted to have “children” to call their own. Since he’s immortal, does it mean he couldn’t have children as well? It made sense though; it did explain why he doesn’t have any offspring despite not using protection. But then it was probably a good thing since he didn’t have to worry about any of his kids backstabbing him.
Of course, the only question that bothered him was who wrote those books? Was it Duermon himself or an ancient historian who studied the gods? Whoever it was, he or she knew a lot about the gods. Shintra tried to find out more information about them, but he only got information until the time the Goddess of Magic was born. If there were other information, they were lost in time forever.
He was searching for more books about the subject in vain when he heard a knock on the door. Turning around, he saw that a Ruschabel named Dithe because of her jade-colored eyes was waiting at the door. He smiled inwardly since she was one of his lovers at the moment. Her lovemaking skills were highly exceptional! He's going to keep her for a long time. "What is it, Dithe?" he inquired as he climbed down the ladder. She curtsied as soon as he landed on the floor.
"Lord Shintra," she began, "I was checking the medicine storage and noticed that we are running out of some medicines. If you like, I can head over to pharmacy and get them."
"No, that's all right," he said quickly. Since the day he has become leader of Raude's gang, he barely has time to see Hevvy. "I'll go get them. Do you have the list with you?" She nodded and handed him a piece of paper. "Thank you. You may take your leave now."
"Thank you, Lord Shintra," she said as she curtsied again and left the room. She suddenly turned around and reminded him, "Don't forget that you have a meeting in an hour." Glancing at the list, he discovered that most of the medicines were simple ones so he should have plenty of time to go see Hevvy and head back for the meeting. With that determined, he headed out of the room and prepared to see his old friend.
He arrived at Hevvy's door within fifteen minutes. In spite of the fact that he controlled the city, he still has to keep an eye out on the Idilarian guards much to his annoyance. It seemed like his power hasn't evolved enough yet to control other Duermons, but he has a gut feeling that it would happen sooner or later. He knocked on the back door, but the apothecary didn't answer. Shintra frowned. Maybe the old man didn't hear him? He pounded on the door harder but still nothing. After shouting Hevvy's name and knocking on the door for ten minutes, he still didn't get any response.
That was when he began to panic a little bit. Did something terrible happen to Hevvy? Did he get robbed and is now currently unconscious on the floor? Or maybe he finally decided to move to Hinnon after all? If so, Shintra would feel miffed that the pharmacist didn't tell him, but even if he could use his magic on the Possessor Duermon, he wouldn't use it because of the old man's kindness. Just as he was debating whether or not to barge through the door, Hevvy opened it.
"Shintra!" he exclaimed. "What a nice surprise! Sorry for the delay, but I just met a lovely young woman who is also a practicing healer and claims to be from a faraway land. I believe she said that she was from the continent called 'Isha' and she was so nice to give me some new ingredients to try out. In fact, I have some right now and..."
"No time, Hevvy," Shintra interrupted irritably. He just wasted ten minutes because the old man was talking to some imaginary friend. He handed the apothecary the list. "I need these medicines immediately. Make it quick because I have a meeting to attend to."
Hevvy squinted as he read the note. "Hmm... I'll try my best, but it would most likely take me twenty minutes to make all these," he warned his former worker.
The Humanistic Duermon bit the inside of his mouth to prevent himself from screaming. "Make it fifteen minutes," he growled. Hevvy looked at Shintra warily but nodded as he quickly headed inside to work. Shintra was aware that the old man didn't bother asking him to go inside and immediately regretted being so rude to him. After all, he was the only friend he had during that rough time. He should apologize afterward, but his pride prevented him from doing so. If words spread that he, a Humanistic Duermon, apologized to a lowly Possessor Duermon, he would never hear the end of it. Instead, he stood at the doorway and tapped his foot impatiently until Hevvy was done.
---------- Post added December 15, 2012 at 02:51 PM ---------- Previous post was December 11, 2012 at 06:18 PM ----------
Hevvy kept his promise and finished most of the orders so Shintra just told him that he would send someone to collect the remaining ones later. Not caring whether or not he would get caught, he then rushed down the streets back home. Amazingly he arrived back at headquarters with five minutes to spare. “Here,” he said, shoving the bag of medicines into a Ruschabel’s arms. “Put these away for me.” Without waiting for any response, he hurried down the hall and into the meeting room. As soon as he reached the door, he stopped himself and took a deep breath. After all, he wanted to look presentable and ready to lead. Opening the door, he entered the room and was in for a surprise. All his commanders were sitting in their correct seating positions except for one; Raude was sitting at the head of the table - his spot - while Laire stood directly behind him. “What is the meaning of this?” he demanded angrily.
The Possessor Duermon smiled. “Playtime’s over, ‘boss’,” he said sweetly. Suddenly, the door was slammed shut behind him, and a startled Shintra turned around to hear the lock clicked. Looking back, he was alarmed to see that everyone has stood up and walked toward him to surround him.
“All of you were planning this, weren't you?” he accused them.
“Of course,” Raude assented. “We were just waiting for the right moment and finally decided that this was it. Do you know how irritating it was to grovel at your feet or to call you my leader? Though I do have to admit that I like how you install the Ruschabel system for me. Now I don't have to worry about going into raid anymore since I have a host readily made for me. Before I kill you, do you have any last words?”
At first, Shintra wanted to curse at them but he changed his mind. If his theory was correct, Raude and these traitors will be in for a little surprise. Instead, he just returned Raude's smile and replied, “No, I do not.”
His former guardian nodded as he placed his arm on Shintra's shoulder. “Well then, farewell, Shintra. I'll make sure your body will be placed where you exactly belong – in a ditch, forgotten by the world.” Then he plunged his knife into the Humanistic Duermon's stomach. As a dying Shintra collapsed onto the floor, he prayed that his assumption was correct and closed his eyes once more.
He woke up in total darkness. Sitting up, he found himself in a ditch just as Raude has said and realized that it was nighttime. Likewise, it appeared he was still alive so that proves that he was immortal, which caused him to smile. Oh, wait until the others see this; they're going to be in for a rude awakening. He slowly stood up and wiped the dirt out of his clothes. Hmm... He definitely needed to get a new robe because of bloodied tear. Then he walked back to his headquarter with only one purpose in mind – revenge.
As he approached the front door, one of the Possessor Duermons guarding it saw him and began to open his mouth to alert the others. However, Shintra noticed something different. Usually he could see only one soul, which was the human one, but this time, he saw two. Realizing that his power has now evolved to the next level, he smiled and quickly seized control on the unsuspecting Duermon. “Not a word, okay?” he said sweetly to the stunned man, who nodded and allowed him to pass by. Every time he passed another Duermon, he immediately used his magic on them and made them compliant. Before long, he arrived at the meeting room where he found an angry Raude sitting on his throne as he tried to give orders to the Ruschabels, who refused to listen to him. “Stupid humans! I told you to bow before your new master. Why won't you listen to me?” he shouted.
So it appeared that his spell on them were permanent even after his death. Interesting. “It's because you don't have that magic touch,” he answered as he strolled into the room. The looks on the Duermons’ face were priceless. Majority looked at Raude and Shintra confusedly, wondering what was going on. Some stumbled out of their seats while others froze in fear. However, Shintra was most focused on the two men who he hated the most. Raude and Laire's faces were pale as if they saw a ghost and their mouths gaped wide open though no words came out of their mouths. “What’s wrong, Raude? Thought you killed me, didn't you? Well, technically you did, but one can't kill someone who is immortal.”
That woke them out of their stupor. “You're immortal!? Impossible!” Laire sneered as he charged at him with his sword. “I'll make sure you stay dead this time.”
Shintra just stood firmly in his spot and waited for the right opportunity. Then with a flick of hand, he grabbed Laire's soul and placed him in submission. Astonished, the Possessor Duermon gasped, “What the...?”
“That’s just the taste of my power,” he replied simply. “Now you hate your life so much that you’re going to kill yourself.” As his eyes glowed, Laire watched in horror as his arms aimed his weapon toward him and he stabbed himself in the chest. Everyone else screamed in alarm, but before anyone could flee, Shintra seized their souls and forced them to stay put. “I’m so glad everyone decided to stay to see the punishment I’m going to set upon those who tried to betray me. First things first though – I think you’re sitting in my chair, Raude.”
The Possessor Duermon immediately stood up and allowed him to sit down; a mixture of fury and terror was on Raude’s face. Shintra just smirked at him as he sat comfortably on his rightful spot. “I had treated everyone with kindness and this is how you repay me? I see that I need to reevaluate how I should lead you. But first, anyone who has thought of betraying me, please step forward.” Twenty people including Raude complied. Turning his attention to his attentive audience, he continued, “This is what happened to those who dare try to backstab me. You traitors, I forbid you from escaping your host bodies and want you to commit suicides at this very moment.”
Within seconds, all of them did just that. One ripped his throat out while another slit his wrist. Most just stabbed themselves, but Shintra paid no attention to them. He was only focused on one person. He watched with exhilaration as Raude desperately tried to stop himself from slicing his throat. The man who tormented him and made his life miserable was now experiencing what he had to experience – the fear of knowing that he has no control over his own fate. “Farewell, Raude,” he mocked. “I hope hell has a perfect spot for you. I have to thank you for taking care of me and teaching me how to lead. However I won’t miss you at all.” As soon as he said those words, he increased his power on that despised Duermon and broke his resistance. Raude then obediently placed the dagger against the side of his throat and without saying a word, deftly slit it. Shintra watched the entire thing and took a deep breath. The person he swore revenge on so long ago was now dead.
Looking at his captive audience, he gave them a reassuring smile. “Now I know that all of you must be frightened by this, but I can reassure you that you won’t face a similar fate.” He wove a spell on all of them and watched amusingly as their eyes glowed as the magic took hold of them. “Everyone here is important to my plan and I would hate to lose any more of you. Therefore I have cast a spell on you – full obedience so that you only obey my orders and complete loyalty. No thought of betraying me will reach your mind. The only thought you will have is to do your best to please me. Do you understand? If so, kneel down and pledge allegiance to me.”
Immediately everyone in the room did just that. “We serve and obey, Lord Shintra,” they chanted. He chuckled to himself. With his powers, he could do anything. He didn’t need to be kind or merciful after all. All he has to do was use his magic to force blind obedience and endless devotion to get what he wants.
---------- Post added December 17, 2012 at 01:27 PM ---------- Previous post was December 15, 2012 at 02:51 PM ----------
Lunsk 21, 1787
Several years has passed since Shintra has complete control over the now bustling town. His followers have traveled all over the borderlands to spread the words of a wonderful place that more and more Duermons have decided to join his cause not knowing what awaited them. The first thing he did was placed the obedience and loyalty spell on them, which always surprised them but what could they do? His powers were too overpowering for them to resist. Soon they went out to find more unknowing victims to add to his collection.
He could now also roam around freely due to the fact that the Idilarian soldiers stationed there now followed him. After all, why should he live in free in his own home? They also reported to him any interesting tidbits from the capital so he was able to keep up-to-date with what’s happening and used the information to his advantage. If they were planning to pass a new law, he would know ahead of time so he could figure out how to go around it. Likewise he knew what supplies he needed to stock up if the government decided to ban a certain item.
Because he has plenty of free time, he decided to experiment with his power. He has figured out how to prolong a host body to last longer, which meant less waste, and he also learned how to control people subtlety without their realizing it. The best part was that he could do whatever he wants and no one could stop him. If anyone displeases him, he just used his power and forced them to kill themselves. Other times, he would cause a riot just because he was bored. The people of the world were made to entertain him after all, he decided.
One day, he was doing an experiment when two of his men barged into his room. “Sir, we capture a human who has an interesting tale,” one of them said before he could angrily yell at them for disturbing him. The other one shoved a frightened merchant forward and forced him to his knees.
Intrigued, Shintra used his magic to assuage the man’s fear and commanded, “Don’t be frighten. I won’t hurt you. Now tell me your name.”
“It’s Peisin, sir.”
“Well then, Peisin, why don’t you tell me your story that is supposedly interesting to my men?”
The man nodded and began, “I was doing business in this small village when one of the villagers asked me if I wanted to see a special Duermon that they managed to capture and tame. Curious, I agreed and they led me to a pit where I saw a young man, who didn’t appear to look demonic at all. When I asked, they told me that his father was possessed by a Duermon when he impregnated his wife and thus, he was the first Duermon-human hybrid. Alarmed, I asked them why didn’t they kill him, but they said that they couldn’t because he’s immortal. To prove it, they showed me the very spot where he died and I saw a clove of glowing white flowers blooming.
“Then they asked me if I noticed how lovely the weather was and I told them that I have. That was when they informed me that he has the power to control the weather. Amazed, I asked them how they were able to convince him to work for them, and they just said that they beat him into submission until he agreed to help. At first, I didn’t believe them until they asked the boy to make it rain. He just nodded and before I knew it, a light shower occurred, which convinced me. After I finished my business with the village, I left and later encountered your men close by. I thought they were after the boy so I blabbed the story to them, which was why they brought me here to you. I hope my story pleases you, my lord.”
Rubbing his chin thoughtfully, Shintra was intrigued. The very idea that a human boy is a child of a Duermon was preposterous, but the other details in the man’s story were fascinating to say the least. There was a Sendoan boy who is an immortal just like him and has a frightening power as well. He should have figured that he wasn’t the only one blessed by the gods. Of course that would mean there were others out there as well. Then a thought occurred to him; what if he could use his powers to control the boy and make him do his bidding?
“Yes, your story greatly pleases me, Peisin.” The merchant gave him a wide grin, happy that he has made his master day. “Now I have a new task for you. I want you to lead some of the men to this village so that we may ‘save’ this poor boy.” Turning to the Duermons who captured the men, he continued, “Lithu, gather thirty men and go to that village. As soon as you manage to infiltrate the village, I want you to capture the boy and bring him to me. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Lord Shintra,” they said automatically and took their leave. Shintra sat back down in his chair but he couldn’t sit still. The anticipation was too much for him. The thought of having another immortal serving him was too much for him so he decided to take a little break. Walking back to his room, he wondered which girl was waiting for him.
Seera 15, 1787
Lithu and his men came back from their excursion, but their expression on their face told Shintra that things didn’t go exactly as planned. “Sorry, my lord,” the Duermon apologized, “but it seemed that the boy made an escape before we arrived. However, we managed to capture more human hosts and kill any that we deemed weak.”
Before he could open his mouth, one of the prisoners broke free of his bondage and screamed as he fought some of the Duermons, “I’ll never become a host for you maggots! I would rather fight and die before I become an empty husk enslaved by you Duermons!”
Amused, Shintra observed the spectacle before using his power to subdue the man. Walking up to him, he noted that the man has a strong build and was quite young. In other hand, he has a suitable body fit for a Possessor Duermon. Perhaps he would be useful as his bodyguard. “What is your name, child?” he asked.
“Puloog,” he spat. Shintra wanted to laugh; the intense hatred in the young man’s eyes filled him with glee.
“Well, Puloog,” he mocked and used his power on him. “I just want to inform you that you now work for me. Your entire life is to serve and protect me. Do you understand?”
“Yes, I do understand,” Puloog said as he knelt; his eyes were full of feverish adoration. Some of the other villagers immediately cried out in alarm at the sight. Shintra knew what was on their mind: what on earth did that Duermon do to him? “What is your first command?”
“I want you to allow this Duermon to reside in your body.” He pointed to one of his stronger Possessor Duermons. The boy nodded and held out his hands as if to welcome the Duermon. The Duermon readily entered Puloog’s body by going through the boy’s gaping mouth.
After a few minutes of adjusting, the possessed man smiled. “Thanks, boss,” he said with a wicked grin. “I think I’m going to have fun with this body.”
Shintra nodded and turned his attention to the others. “As for the rest of you, I want you to do the same. Your bodies are not yours to do as you please. They are made for my men to use. Surrender yourselves to them and know that you have greatly pleased me.” All of them raised their hands and immediately gave themselves to the waiting Duermons. As he watched, he noticed that one woman was kept separated from the others and walked up to Lithu to question why. From what he’s seen, she was of a weak mind and in poor health.
“It’s because she’s the boy’s mother,” Lithu explained before he could even ask. “I thought you would wish to question her to find out any information on that ‘hybrid’.”
“I see,” Shintra muttered as he glanced at the woman. She shivered and started crying, which irritated him. “You did well, Lithu. I’ll handle things from here. Why don’t you celebrate with the men? I’m sure they want to get used to their new bodies.” Lithu nodded eagerly and immediately ran off. Turning his attention to the woman, he caressed her soul to calm her down. Gasping, she looked up at him with her glowing amber eyes. “What is your name, woman?”
“Huthi Gruong,” she replied meekly.
Putting his arm around her, he led her back to his office. “Well, Huthi, I’m your new master,” he informed her as he showed her into the room. “You may call me ‘Lord Shintra’.” She nodded and immediately took her seat across from him. “Now I have heard an interesting story about your son. What is his name?”
“Zentran, my lord.”
“Zentran, huh?” he smiled as he poured more powers into her. “Now why don’t you tell me everything I need to know about him?”
---------- Post added at 11:09 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:27 PM ----------
Mazu 1, 2107
Several centuries has passed since Shintra seized control of the border town. What was once a crumbling slipshod town was now a bustling city. News of his success caused more Parasitic and Possessor Duermons to come to his city and pledge allegiance to him. Some even forfeited their leadership positions willingly and became his commanders. Of course, Shintra made sure to keep his achievements hidden from the Idilarian government; now it was not a right moment to usurp control.
In spite of everything, he still has one issue to deal with – the Aerians. Every time he sent a group of men on a raid, he always lost a few because of the Aerian attacks. It always annoyed him to no end. Some of those lost were his best fighters too! There has to be a way to get rid of the problem. But how? Those winged fiends were fast and elusive. There was no way he could place his spell on them that easily.
Finally, after another raid disaster, he has enough. “I’m going to join you in your next raid,” he declared. The other Duermons looked at each other in alarm and tried to protest, saying that they didn’t want his safety to be in jeopardy. However he stubbornly refused and they reluctantly agreed. But then they didn’t have a choice in the issue, did they?
It must have been fate that he made that decision because he encountered a solution to his Aerian problem. As they reached the Idilarian border, they encountered a Sendoan military encampment. Why were the humans doing there? None of the humans were that stupid to be so close to the enemy. Shintra immediately motioned his men to halt and he had two of his men followed him to the edge of the campground to investigate.
As soon as they reached the camp, they could easily eavesdrop on the conversation among the Sendoan soldiers. “Stop being so jittery, Kwon! You’re making me nervous,” a night guard admonished his comrade.
“Sorry, Suin, but we’re just near the border so what if we got under attack by some Duermons?” his friend apologized as he glanced around his surroundings anxiously.
“I know how you feel, but you have nothing to worry about,” Suin reassured him. “After all, we have General Fulong’s secret weapon. If any of those monsters dare attack us, they will be in for a nice surprise.”
Kwon laughed softly. “Yeah, a nice explosion that would decimate the Duermon population. You’re right. I guess I was just being paranoid.”
Shintra tuned out the rest of the conversation because he found out what he was looking for. A secret weapon, huh? That definitely got his attention. I guess it’s time for me to meet this General Fulong and find out about this weapon of his, he thought amusingly and stood up to make his appearance known, ignoring his men’s protests.
The two soldiers immediately spotted him, but before they could alert the others, he had them in his power. “Take me to General Fulong,” he commanded and they did. He marched through the camp conspicuously much to the Sendoans’ amazement. Whenever a group of soldiers tried to stop him, he just used his power and they allowed him to pass through.
After passing through several tents, he finally reached his destination, which was a large tent that was twice as big as the others and has more elaborate design. Based on the numbers of banners hanging near the entrance, this General Fulong was full of himself. Smirking, Shintra pulled open the tent flap and let himself in. The general and his top officials spun around when they saw him. Fulong was a slightly plump man with salt-and-pepper hair. Medals decorated the front of his military uniform. “Who are you and what are you doing here?” he demanded; his face was flushed with anger.
Shintra just smiled. “My name is Shintra,” he introduced himself as he casted his influence on the men in the room, “and I’m here to discuss about your secret weapon. Why don’t we have a seat, shall we?”
“My weapon?” Fulong’s face turned pale and the Duermon noted that his eyes were darting back and forth as if he was trying to his best to hide the information.
“Yes, your weapon.” Shintra poured more of his magic into the general. “Now be a good man and tell me about it.”
Swallowing, the man answered, “I have my exorcists create a large exorcism circle that would appear in the sky and blast down to destroy a large amount of area within seconds. With this weapon, we can destroy all of the Duermons without asking for the Aerians’ help every time!”
“Aerians, huh?” The Duermon eyed the general’s soul and casually asked, “And how do you feel about the Aerians, my old friend?”
“The Aerians? Why, they are the Sendoan ally who does everything in their powers to protect us from the vile Duermons and their evildoings!”
“No, I don’t want to hear that propaganda spiel, Fulong. I want to know how you truly feel about them.” Shintra smiled because he already twisted the man’s personality, but he wanted to hear it from the old man himself.
“My true feelings?” Fulong’s face darkened. “They act like they’re better than us, but they’re not! The Aerians just wished for us humans to be dependent on them so that they could feel good about themselves! I wish I could find a way to put them in their place!”
“Oh, but you do,” Shintra pointed out gently and the man gave him a confused look. “You have your weapon, remember?”
Fulong immediately lit up as the idea dawned on him. “Of course, you’re right! We can use that weapon and kill them all! That way we can prove our might against those winged hotshots and forced them to admit our superiority!” All of his men nodded eagerly in agreement.
The Duermon gave him an approvingly smile. “Why don’t you show me your power then?”
“Of course!” Fulong stood up and led him outside. Gathering the exorcists, he ordered them to set up. They nodded and immediately chanted a spell. Soon a magical circle appeared in the sky above a small segment of the Aerian region. Before Shintra even blinks his eyes, a pillar of light shot down and blasted everything below it. By the time the smoke dissipated, there was nothing left but a large crater. A pleased General Fulong looked at Shintra and asked, “Well?”
Shintra couldn’t speak at first. The destruction was better than he has expected. Just the thought of what it could do just excited him. Turning to his new “partner”, he replied, “It’s better than I thought. I think the Aerians won’t know what hit them.”
---------- Post added December 18, 2012 at 11:06 PM ---------- Previous post was December 17, 2012 at 11:09 PM ----------
Keju 7, 2107
For the past few weeks, Shintra watched the spectacle from the roof of his headquarters. Seeing the destructive power of Fulong’s exorcists always filled him with awe and terror. Just think he and his men could have been easily destroyed by that thing if he hasn’t encountered those Sendoans! Now it was the Aerians that face the wrath of Fulong and his men. He could only imagine what they were thinking when the attacks began. Most likely they were in disarray and full of confusion about what was happening to them. But then they deserved it. When the last attack occurred, his men let out a loud cheer as they celebrated the death of their eternal enemy. Now there were no Aerians left to protect the humans.
Suddenly, he felt something wrong and frowning, he looked down at his hands, which held Fulong and his men’s souls. Their souls were… fading. The only time he saw that happened was when some of his men died. That would mean that all of them were killed. What a pity! He was hoping to use them to infiltrate the Sendoan government and… wait a minute – Fulong and all of his men were killed? He would have thought at least one or two would have survive, but whoever it was that attacked them made sure that there were no survivors.
A sudden thought occurred to him – could it be that immortal Sendoan? Based on what the boy’s mother told him, Zentran was a very formidable fighter. His followers couldn’t locate him however even after Huthi provided information about him; it was as if he has disappeared from the face of the earth. Did he finally decide to make his appearance known after so many years? If so, he needed to send a scout group to locate him.
However the thing that surprised him the most was the Idilarian government’s reaction. According to his spies, Emperor Celab Lanxu and his cabinet were in panic mode as soon as they heard the report of the Aerian annihilation. Right now they were scrambling to remedy the mess for some reason. Shintra didn’t know why they should care about what happened to those winged foes. They should have thanked him for his service! It wasn’t until a century later did he find out why.
---------- Post added December 19, 2012 at 03:13 PM ---------- Previous post was December 18, 2012 at 11:06 PM ----------
Farth 10, 2270
Shintra was checking inventory when he got an urgent message from a former Idilarian soldier who used to be stationed in the city and was now a prominent military official. Reading the message, he discovered that Emperor Celab has sent a group of diplomats to secretly meet with some high-ranking Sendoan government officials to offer a truce. A secret meeting, huh? What could it be about? Then another thought occurred to him. If they were sending high-ranking officials, that would mean it’s a very important meeting.
Intrigued, Shintra mused to himself what the Idilarian government was planning when it suddenly dawned on him. If they were trying to solve the Parasitic and Possessor Duermon situation, it would mean that he may lose recruits. He has to stop them no matter what! It seemed like it’s time for him to make his move. Smiling broadly, he thought of how he would enjoy controlling two governments in the shadows.
Farth 15, 2270
Prince Janaam Acesta rode silently as he and twenty of his men traveled through the Idilarian border. He hoped that it wasn’t shown on his face, but he was extremely nervous about this meeting with the Sendoans. To be honest, he was still surprised that his father chosen him out of all of his children to be the representative of Idilarys. It certainly caused a stir in Hinnon. People gossiped to one another as they debated why Emperor Celab picked him instead of another child. After all, Janaam was a son of a concubine not of a high-ranking lady since his name doesn’t have an “X” to it. But then Prince Janaam was very popular among his peers and his siblings seemed to respect him. Not to mention he was a good public speaker and knew how to lead a battalion.
Perhaps the emperor wished to indicate that he favored the boy as his successor? If so, he would be the first ruler whose mother was not of noble blood. If that was true, he wished his father didn’t do that; he didn’t want a target on his back to grow bigger than it already is. Already he felt his siblings’ animosity and jealousy even though they greeted each other warmly whenever they passed by. He has to thank the gods for the Concade Accord or else he would have been a goner.
Looking back, he informed his men, “Let’s rest for a little bit. We don’t want our horses to be exhausted after all. Besides we’ll reach our destination before nightfall.” They nodded with agreement and went off to stretch their wearied legs as he studied them. As agreed, he only brought Humanistic Duermons with him to the meeting. Likewise, the Sendoans were only allowed to bring ten exorcists. Getting off his horse, he walked over to his best friend, Salram, to talk. “How are you handling being outside the capital?”
His friend looked up at him with his blue topaz eyes. “It’s not bad,” he shrugged. “I mean it’s not as luxurious as staying in a nice, warm room but I can manage. How’s about you? You’ve been quiet the entire time. The men thought you fell asleep! Usually you would be cracking jokes or making idle talk.”
“I’m fine, Sal,” he protested but his friend gave him a stern look. He sighed as he brushed his greenish-yellow hair out of his eyes. “Okay, I’m just a tad nervous about this meeting. I mean the last one failed after the Aerians got obliterated from the face of the earth and the Sendoans blamed us for it even though we had nothing to do with it! Only after a hundred years or so did they finally agree to another peace talk. What if this meeting fails again? What if I mess up? Then Father would never look at me the same way because I shame hi-”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” his friend admonished him. “You’re not going to fail. The reason Emperor Celab Lanxu chose you was because you’re a talented negotiator. Remember how you settled the dispute between Lord Hemric and Lady Syphias?” Janaam nodded; they were fighting over land rights if he remembered correctly. “Well, you did a splendid job with it so I’m sure you’ll do the same here. If you do, I would be the first person to let you know. Now why don’t you walk around a bit until you feel better? Don’t worry about the men; I’ll keep an eye on them to make sure they won’t cause any trouble.”
Janaam gave him a grateful smile and went to take a walk. He knew that he could count on Salram to knock some sense into him. To assuage his men’s worry, he smiled and waved at them to indicate that he was fine. As he looked around the scenery, he thought to himself on how he was supposed to help solve the Parasitic and Possessor Duermon dilemma. He recalled a conversation he had with his father when he was little.
While Emperor Celab Lanxu was known to be a great and honest ruler, Janaam would always remember him for always making sure to spend time with his 189 children. During one of his visits, they were walking in the palace garden. Janaam recalled asking his father how the three different Duermons came about. His father just smiled and explained that when Samara was being created, Seitha, the God of Death, and Allaura, the Goddess of Life, handed their siblings inactive souls to place inside the bodies of their creations. Well, after a while, everyone except Duermon was finished forming their creatures and placing the souls inside them. When Allaura asked if everyone was ready, Versen told her that they were.
Before Duermon could stop her, the Goddess of Life activated the souls. While the new creations got used to their new bodies, the souls without bodies woke up to discover that they couldn’t do anything without any physical form. Much to everyone’s amazement, the bodiless souls mutated. Some took forms as insects and beasts while other appeared humanlike though they looked like melting candlewax. It was as if they were trying to create their own bodies.
Enraged, Duermon yelled at his siblings for what they did. Feeling guilty for his action, Versen offered to give up some of the humans he created to appease their creator’s anger, which Duermon quickly accepted, so ten percent of Versen’s creatures were possessed by the first Parasitic and Possessor Duermons. However a displeased Aerius thought her older brother was being too generous with his offer and declared that her people would make sure that humans would be sacrificed for such an atrocious act. That was when she placed the Aerian Oath on them, which ordered them to fight any Duermons that wished to attack the humans.
And that’s how the three types were created and how the Aerians and Duermons became bitter enemies, his father concluded. Janaam recalled being bothered by it so his father asked him what the matter is. He questioned why their creator didn’t just create new bodies for the souls instead of having them possess another. Emperor Celab just shook his head and said that sometimes the best solution is so obvious that people just don’t see it.
After a while, he decided that break time was over. Heading back, he ordered his men to prepare to leave. “Come on, men!” he shouted. “Let’s head to the Sendoan border! We don’t want to keep our hosts waiting!” As he mounted his horse, Prince Janaam Acesta vowed to himself that he was going to make the truce work no matter what the costs.
---------- Post added at 05:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:13 PM ----------
Duchess Cissa Tenya wiped her hands on her cerise and lilac dress for the umpteenth times in the row. She was so nervous about the meeting with the Duermons that she was sure the front of her dress was wet with her sweat due to her wiping. She would have twirled a strand of hair, but her nursemaid slapped her hand, admonishing her for ruining her hair. The duchess looked at the hourglass and sighed. How long are those Duermons going to make her wait? Well, they did arrive a bit early, but still making her wait like this was torturous. When those guests finally arrive, she’s going to let them have it! Finally having enough, she stood up and announced to her alarmed consort that she was going to take a little walk. Before they could stop her, she already walked out of the tent.
Strolling through the rows of tents that set up, she took a deep breath and thought she made a good choice. It was nice to breath in some nice, fresh air. Her soldiers, who wore her insignia of two varia birds circling each other, saluted her as she passed them so she gave them a slight nod to acknowledge them. Normally she would have stopped to talk to them, but right now she wasn’t in the mood. She just wanted to be by herself to think.
Why did her uncle choose her to be the Sendoan envoy to the meeting with the Duermons? She was the sixteenth in line to the throne so he couldn’t possibly believe that she was a threat to him or his heir. That couldn’t be it. Besides King Enlan Tiang and she were very close; she still remembered how she would sit on his lap while he read stories to her cousin and her when they were children. Maybe it was because she was considered headstrong? Even though she was twenty five years old, Cissa has declined many of her suitors’ proposals that many nobles implied that she was destined to be an old maid. Perhaps His Majesty figured that since she was stubborn as a mule, she would be perfect fit to deal with the Duermons. He probably thought she wouldn’t budge until the Duermons agreed to the terms the Sendoans favored. Yes, that must be it.
A sudden shout disrupted her train of thoughts. “They’re here! The Duermons are here!” a soldier announced. Everyone immediately stopped what they were doing and looked at the direction where the soldiers were pointing. Sure enough, a line of twenty horses were marching down a hill toward them; their riders’ jeweled eyes could be seen sparkling from the distance. At least they kept their promise of only allowing Humanistic Duermons to come to the assembly. Cissa stared at the procession for a moment before snapping herself back to reality. Shot! She needed to get ready.
“Everyone, to your positions!” she ordered as she headed back to her tent. She needed to do one last check before she welcomes her Duermon guests. She needed to make a good impression after all. “And remember, don’t do anything foolish! We’re trying to make peace not start a war. If any of you do anything that ruins this chance, I will personally flog you myself! Do you understand?”
“Yes, my lady!” they shouted in unison as they saluted. Nodding with approval, she pulled open her tent flap to finish some last minute preparation.
---------- Post added December 23, 2012 at 12:25 AM ---------- Previous post was December 19, 2012 at 05:57 PM ----------
Oh, I almost forgot to mention something in a previous post and added it. You need to go to my blog and read Part V
Some more parts for Shintra's chapter
Farth 15, 2270
Janaam could see a row of Sendoan soldiers lining up to greet his men and him. He could hear some of his men stir so he turned around to reassure them. “They’re just here to welcome us,” he told them, “so please remove your hands away from your weapons. We don’t want to cause any trouble before we even meet.” They murmured with agreement and reluctantly placed their hands back on their reins. He breathed a sigh of relief and returned his attention to waiting humans.
They didn’t seem to be threatening. Their hands were at their side and their weapons were still in their sheaths. That’s good unless it was a trap. Don’t be ridiculous! he admonished himself. I’m sure they’re thinking the same time about us too. As they moved closer, he then noticed that the soldiers in the middle moved aside to allow a small procession to go through. Most of the newcomers dressed alike except for the petite girl in the middle. From a distance, he could see that she wore a lovely pink and purple dress. She must be the Sendoan envoy then. He would have thought they would send someone older though.
Whispering from the side of his mouth, he informed his men, “Remember that I’m just Lord Janaam Acesta, a minor lord of Idilarys. They don’t need to know that I’m an Idilarian prince. If the peace talk falls through, we don’t want them to use me as ransom. Understood?”
“Yes, sir!” they replied. He smiled. He knew that he could trust his men with his life. Urging his horse to quicken the pace, he hurried to meet his hosts.
Cissa felt her heart thumping faster and faster as the Duermon emissary came closer and closer. She moved her eyes from left to right to left again. Could anyone close by hear her heart pounding so loudly? She swallowed nervously and forced herself to stand up straight as she walked over to greet her guests. The Duermon marching in front must be the representative, she determined. He was the best dressed and has an aura of authority around him. He and three other men has already dismounted from their horses and talked to the captain of her army, who has gone out to get their names.
“Lady Cissa Tenya, this is Lord Janaam Acesta of Idilarys,” the captain of her army announced, “and these are his advisors, Salram, Zyra, and Ilon. Lord Janaam, this is Lady Cissa Tenya, the Duchess of Tiena. Also with her are Vienya, her nursemaid, Lord Putra Neia, and Lady Gusenya Queng.”
They exchanged pleasantries. The young duchess felt her nerves calmed down; the Duermons weren’t as bad as she thought. In fact, they seemed to be like a typical human being except for the eyes and outlandish hair. She smiled at Lord Janaam Acesta warmly, which he returned. His peridot-colored eyes sparkled in the sunlight. He’s somewhat cute, she thought before stopping herself. What was she thinking? She needed to focus on getting the job done, not entertain herself with the thought of how handsome her guest is.
“My lady, my people thank you for agreeing to this peace talk,” Janaam said politely and bowed his head. “As a token of our friendship, we offered you gifts of the best Duermon weaponry.” He nodded his head to his men and they stepped forward with said weapons. “These weapons have been forged in the inactive volcanoes scattered in our homeland and made by the best Idilarian weapon smiths. Our weapons are considered the best of the best. In fact, it is said that all of the gods’ weapons except one were created by my people.”
“We thank you,” she replied warmly and curtsied. As soon as the demons were about to hand them over, her exorcists stepped forward and blocked the transaction. “I’m sorry, but my exorcists want to make sure there are no hidden surprises in them.”
“We’re not offended at all,” the Duermon lord answered though he gave a stern look at his comrades, who bristled at first. After the exorcists examined the gifts and gave her the okay, she walked over and picked up one of the weapons. The dagger has a ruby at the end of the black handle while the blade was a metallic red. It was very impressive all right.
“Thank you again for your gifts,” she said and indicated to them to follow her. “You must be hungry from your long journey. We have dinner prepared for you so if you would please follow us.” As they walked back toward her tent, Cissa thought to herself that everything was going well so far.
Are the changes in the last 2 tags? because I think I read the chapter before it was edited and I don't wanna re-read!
Also how many parts did you say were left of this chapter? and any hints as to what the final chapter of the book holds?
No, I'm too lazy to post it here. You need to click the right-side link and read it there.
Umm... for the blog, I guess two more?
---------- Post added December 24, 2012 at 11:52 AM ---------- Previous post was December 23, 2012 at 09:26 AM ----------
I forgot to answer your last question. >.> Anyway, the last two paragraphs will be the transition to Ch. 12.
Oh, I made some minor edits so yeah.
Shintra: "Love can easily be transformed into hate"
“So what do you think?” Janaam asked the others. They have arrived back at their camp after the dinner.
“I thought dinner was delicious,” Ilon said thoughtfully. “The roast duck was scrumptious though a little dry and the side dishes were delectable! As for the dessert…”
“I doubt that was what he meant,” Zyra interrupted. She looked at the young prince and continued, “Anyway, I believe that we might a chance of finally making peace with the humans. The Sendoan representative seems to be willing to compromise with us and she doesn’t turn her nose up at her.”
Her comrades agreed with that assessment. “Do you think we’ll be able to get the treaty finished quickly then?” the Duermon prince wondered.
“Perhaps,” Salram conceded, “but I think the sticking point will be the Parasitic and Possessor Duermons. I don’t know if the Sendoans will like our solution to that problem. Most likely we’ll be here for days or even weeks!”
“I don’t think Janaam would mind,” Ilon quipped. Everyone turned to stare at the middle-aged plump demon curiously. “Oh, come now, Janaam! You know what I’m talking about. You find that duchess to be cute. I saw how you ogled at her during dinner and you were not looking at her food.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Ilon,” Janaam said defensively. “I wasn’t staring at her. Besides I was having a conversation with her; you can’t expect me to not look at her while I’m talking.”
“Sure, you don’t,” he replied sarcastically then yawned. “Well, I’m off to bed. Now if you would please excuse me…” He gave them a small wave and headed back to his tent. The Duermon prince just shook his head as he watched his father’s friend walked away.
“Ilon has an active imagination. I swear he’s probably here just to tease me. Why the Duermon does he believes I like Duchess Cissa? I mean, she’s lovely but honestly! There is no chance of me being together with a human especially one of high importance!”
“So you only told Ilon that you didn’t like her because you thought you don’t have a chance,” Salram teased. “You are smitten by her. I knew it!” His friend scowled.
“Not you too!” he groaned and turned to his only ally. “Zyra, tell him that he’s just being silly.”
“Oh, stop picking on him, Sal,” she said as she flipped her pale pink ponytail aside. “You know how sensitive he can be.” She looked at Janaam stiffly; he felt like her kunzite-colored eyes burn a hole in his clothes. “Anyway, I’m going off to bed. We’ll have a busy day tomorrow.” Before he could even bide her good night, she spun on her heels and walked away.
Bewildered, he looked at his best friend. “What’s up with that? It’s only nine o’clock; she rarely goes to bed at this time!” Salram just shrugged.
“She’s probably upset, but don’t worry. She’ll calm down by tomorrow morning.”
“It’s because you and Ilon said that I have a crush on the Duchess! You know how Zyra feel about me!”
“She should know that she can’t be jealous. After all, if you become the next ruler Idilarys, she will have to share with the other ladies,” his friend pointed out. He patted Janaam’s back. “We should follow the others’ example. After all, we have a lot of work to do. The sooner we finish this, the sooner we can go back home.”
Sighing, the Duermon prince followed his friend as he wondered if things would go simply as Salram suggested.
Zyra stormed back to her tent with a huff. That Janaam is an idiot sometimes! It was so obvious that he was smitten by that human girl. She immediately sensed it when she saw the way he looked at her. He tried to hide it, but he kept looking at her direction the entire time. The thing that bothered her was that she knew Janaam since childhood, but he never looked at her that way – not once! True, he has promised her that she would be one of his wives if he becomes the next emperor, but it wasn’t the same. What was she – chopped liver?
Stopping at her tent, which was located near the edge of the campsite, she took a deep breath. She was being silly. Of course, Janaam was right; there was no way he and Lady Cissa could be together. It would cause uproar in two kingdoms no matter what. Besides she should know that she won’t be the only one for him. She should apologize to him tomorrow. After making that resolution, she stepped into her tent where she was startled to find a stranger sitting on her bed.
The tent was still dark so she could barely see an outline. However, his green eyes shone in the dark, which meant that he was a Humanistic Duermon. “Who are you? What do you want? How were you able to sneak in here?” she demanded as she slowly pulled out her short sword. “If you don’t state your business soon, I’ll summon the guards.”
“No, you won’t,” the demon said and she suddenly gasped as she felt a strange but wondrous sensation. It was like the time she was swimming underwater when she was young. She was curious about how the Neriads see the world so she opened her eyes to find the things above her looked blurry. Likewise, everything sounded like they coming from faraway even though they were close by. It was like she was having an out-of-body experience.
“Can you hear me?” For some reason, the stranger’s voice was loud and clear unlike the other noises around her. She nodded. “Good. It seemed like my obedience spell has worked. Now come here and tell me your name.”
She felt her body moved on its own as she stood in front of the intruder. “Zyra, my lord,” she responded mechanically. She stared at him and suddenly realized that she wanted to serve him even though she has no idea who he is.
“Well then, Zyra,” he said amusingly. Does he know how she felt somehow? “Why don’t you have a seat and tell me everything that I need to know about the Idilarian envoy?”
Obeying his commands, she instantaneously sat next to him and told him everything. As she talked, she realized that she doesn’t need to serve Janaam. She has a new purpose now. Zyra will serve her new master well and will do her best not to disappoint him.
“So what do you think, Vienya?” Cissa asked as her nursemaid carefully removed the ornate silver and amethyst headdress from her hair. It was almost midnight by the time she went back to her tent after spending several hours talking to her advisors.
The older woman paused to think before answering, “I think it went very well for the first day. However, don’t expect it to go smoothly the next couple of days. We may find some common ground with our enemy, but there are still some issues we have to worry about.”
“The Parasitic and Possessor Duermons, right?” she mused and stopped herself from flinching as Vienya brushed her hair. Her nursemaid could be too rough with her hair; it was as if she was having a battle with it. Cissa sighed. “Hopefully we will settle that issue once and for all. It’s unfortunate that the Aerians aren’t here to help us with negotiation.”
Vienya nodded. “It’s unfortunate all right, but what’s done is done. Anyway, I have to voice my concern. I know you don’t want to hear it, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to flirt with that Duermon lord.” As soon as she heard those words, the duchess spun around.
“What on Samara are you talking about?” she asked; she felt herself blushing with embarrassment. Her nursemaid gave her a knowing look.
“I saw how you look at him,” she said briskly as she waggled the brush at her charge. “You were acting lovey-dovey and I don’t like it! I know that your uncle wants you to get the best results, but I don’t think flirting with the Duermon lord is the best policy. Not to mention how much a scandal it would be if word spread that the Duchess of Tiena is in love with a Duermon! Out of all the love prospects, you have to fall in love with their kind!”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” Cissa admonished as she rolled her eyes though she felt mortified. How does that woman know that she was infatuated with Lord Janaam? “I’m strictly here on business not to find a husband. I think you’re just imagining things, Vienya. I know that you’re hoping that I would settle down, but this is not it. I was just being a good hostess.”
“If you say so,” she replied doubtfully. “Well, if you excuse me, I’m going to take my nightly walk before I go to bed. Make sure you’re warm enough. The nights are terribly cold especially since we’re not staying in a nice, warm palace.”
“I will,” she promised. “Good night, Vienya.” She blew out the candle near her bed and lie down to go to sleep.
Vienya took a deep breath as she breathed in the cool night air. Even though she has lived in the city for several years now, she would always be a country girl. Taking a brisk stroll around the encampment, she reminisced about her childhood. It was a good one, she recalled. Her father taught her how to hunt while her mother taught her the family secret recipe of making sweet rolls. The most important lesson they taught her was to always be on alert whenever she was outside the safety of the village.
The fifty-six years old woman paused and looked around her. Most of the soldiers were asleep though there were a few stragglers. The night patrol circled around the camp as they kept watch. Their camp was located on the plain though there were a forest and a river close by. The Duermon camp was to the south and she could see that a few was still awake based on the number of tents that has the light on. It seemed that Lord Janaam Acesta was still up if he stayed in the biggest tent in their campground. Just thinking of him reminded her of Lady Cissa.
She shook her head as she wondered about that girl. Cissa was always a headstrong girl since she was a baby. Vienya still remembered how her charge would sometimes sneak out of her room so she could grab a bite to eat from the kitchen even though she told the girl to wait until dinner time. Of course, there was a time when she wanted to join the Sendoan military because she wanted to do her part on fighting the Duermon forces. Her late father, of course, forbade it so she reluctantly agreed not to pursue that goal. But now, Cissa was now befriending – no, falling in love with the enemy! Her parents would be rolling in their graves if they knew about it. Didn’t she know what the Duermons did to the Aerians?
Looking at the distance, she could still see the destruction from that devastating attack. According to her grandfather, the Aerian land used to have luscious tall grasses and flowers. The Aerians used to live in tall towers that reached toward the heavens and they would fly in and out. However, that changed when that horrible light struck down throughout the land. Her grandfather recounted how he and the other villagers watched in horror as the light destroyed the land and their only ally. Now there was nothing left except a barren land where no life could exist. The Desolated Lands, the people called it now.
A rustling close by alerted her. Vienya looked at her left and realized that she was close by to the forest. That was when she noticed that the something in bushes was moving. “Hello? Who’s out there?” she shouted nervously as she grabbed a rock that was the size of the palm of her hand. The rustling became noisier and she swallowed her saliva as she got ready to throw her weapon. All of a sudden, an opossum came out. It stared at her for a moment before leaving again. The old woman started to laugh. How paranoid was she! She almost thought a Duermon was going to attack her; she should have known that she was safe especially since the exorcists have placed a protective barrier around the campsite. If Cissa found out about this, she would never hear the end of it!
Feeling relieved, she turned to head back when she bumped into a Duermon. “Oomph!” she exclaimed before jumping back in surprise. He was a tall man with bright, green eyes that twinkled from the moonlight. His clothing was extravagant and appeared to be made of the finest materials. She didn’t recognize him from the Duermon party that they met. Who was he? Was he a member of the Idilarian envoy? It dawned on her suddenly that maybe the peace talk was a ploy and that the Duermons were trying to ambush them.
Alarmed, she was about to scream for help when the Duermon lifted his hand and commanded in a slick voice, “Don’t say a word.” She felt her mouth slammed shut and she confusedly wondered why she did that. “I know you’re frightened, but I can reassure you that I’m here to help you.”
That was when everything except for that Duermon around her appeared to be blurry. It was like she was in a dream and she knew that if she ever wanted to wake up, she needed to follow him. “You’re… here to help me?” she whispered hopefully. For some reason, she trusted him.
The stranger just waved his hand offhandedly. “Of course, but you will have to help me in return,” he informed her. He sounded so warm and kind; it reminded her of her father.
“Anything, my lord.” She looked at him eagerly as she knelt down before him. The Duermons were superior to the humans after all. Her new master smiled.
“Good girl. What is your name by the way?”
“Vienya, my lord.”
“Well, Vienya, I want you to tell me everything I need to know about the Sendoan representative.”
“Lady Cissa Tenya? She’s the Duchess of Tiena and the niece of King Enlan Tiang. She is the sixteenth in line for the throne. The child is a kind and open-minded leader who is beloved by her people though she can be stubborn. However, this is her first time as a negotiator so she is very inexperienced.” She licked her lips anxiously. “Does that information please you, my lord?”
“Quite, Vienya.” He motioned her to stand up so she did. “Now I have some new orders for you. You and another are going to help me sabotage this ‘peace talk’. If we allowed it to pass, it would be detrimental for me. We don’t want that, do we?”
“No, my lord.”
“Good!” he praised her. “Now here is what I want you to do…” She listened intently as he told her his instructions. “Do you understand your orders?”
“Yes, my lord, but I have a question,” she ventured cautiously. He gave her a puzzled look but nodded for her to continue. “What should I call you?”
He gave her a warm smile, which showed his teeth. “You can call me Shintra.”
---------- Post added at 09:14 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:52 AM ----------
Farth 20, 2270
Within a few days, they have already made some progress. They agreed about a trade deal and on a new border. The Aerian Lands would remain untouched and be used to separate the two nations. Just as Salram predicted, they were having trouble settling the issue with the Parasitic and Possessor Duermons. “So you’re suggesting that we send you criminals to be the hosts for them?” Lord Putra asked as he fiddled with his mustache. Janaam and the others nodded.
“Just the dangerous ones like murderers, rapists, and traitors,” Ilon clarified. “It would help you with overcrowding in your prisons. Not to mention, most of them are going to be sentenced to death anyway so why can’t they be useful for us?”
“I understand what you’re saying,” Gusenya admitted, “but what if a person is later discovered to be innocent all along? If that happens, our people would be outraged to say that nicely.”
Janaam nodded. She did have a point. They have to make sure that they’re not sending an innocent man or woman to their doom. He glanced at Lady Cissa and noted that she wore a thoughtful expression as well while she tapped her fingers on the table. She noticed that he was looking at her and gave him a small smile. He returned her smile.
“Isn’t that why you humans have a trial to determine that?” Zyra asked sarcastically. She eyed the humans with contempt especially to the duchess. “From what I’ve heard, you have a jury decide if a person is innocent or not. I think you’re just stalling because you don’t want to deal with us.”
“Zyra!” Janaam admonished as he glared at her. Goodness, what was she thinking? Insulting the people they’re trying to reconcile with was not good diplomacy. Already he could sense the tension in the air. Out of the corner of his eyes, he thought he saw some of the Sendoan soldiers placing their hands on their weapons. This was not good at all.
Turning his attention to his hosts, he bowed his head and apologized, “I’m sorry for my comrade’s behavior. She has been stressed out due to the long talk.” She glowered at him but didn’t say anything. Ilon and Salram gave her a reproachful look; the former leaned over and whispered in Zyra’s ear. He was probably lecturing her because she didn’t seem to be happy.
“Apology accepted,” Cissa said quickly before the others could say anything. “It has been a very long day, and we have been discussing for several hours now. Perhaps we sho-”
A sudden shout was heard outside the tent, which was located between the two camps. Alarmed, everyone came out of the large meeting tent to find soldiers from both sides scuffling with each other. “What is the meaning of this?” Lord Putra said angrily as he went over to stop the fight. Salram and Ilon chased after him to help as well. The others could only watched in disbelief as they wondered what happened. After a few minutes, they finally managed to separate the two groups.
“Now tell me what happened,” Salram said as he glared at the soldiers, who glared at each other.
“They started it!” a Sendoan soldier shouted. “They taunted us, calling us Duermon meat and wishing that we enjoy our bodies before they’re taking away from us.”
“That’s not true!” an Idilarian yelled. “They’re the one provoking us. They were throwing rocks at us. Don’t expect us to stand there and do nothing!”
Before long, they started arguing with each other again. Janaam immediately knew that he has to stop it before it escalates again. He turned to Zyra for help but was shocked to see that she was smiling as if she was pleased with the outcome. Disturbed, he realized that he has to stop it himself.
“ENOUGH!” He was startled to hear Cissa shouted the same time as him. They stared at each other before quickly turning their directions to the now attentive crowd. Out of the corner of his eyes, he noticed that Zyra looked disappointed that the fight was over.
He cleared his throat. “I’m rather disappointed with the lot of you! This is not how an Idilarian soldier acts. I’m going to locate the instigators and punish them accordingly,” he lectured as he walked back and forth in front of his men who looked down sheepishly. “When Emperor Celab Lanxu hears about this, he’s going to be rather displeased and most likely demote you.”
“I’m also disappointed with you,” Cissa said coldly as she glared at her men. Janaam felt a chill came down through his spine. She’s someone not to mess with. “I have expected better from you, which was why I selected you to be in my army. You already know what my punishment would be for causing trouble so don’t expect me to be merciful.” Turning to the Duermon prince, she bowed her head apologetically. “I’m sorry about this. I think it’s a good idea if we stop the peace talk for today and come back refresh tomorrow. We can perform better with cooler heads.”
“I agree,” Janaam nodded. “I also wish to apologize for what happened. I reassure you that I’ll punish the men who started it.”
“Likewise,” she replied. “Well, good bye, Lord Janaam. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.” She curtsied to him before leaving with her men.
As soon as she left, Janaam turned around to his advisors. “Well, things are not going well as expected,” he said wearily.
Salram nodded tiredly. “Tell me about it. I thought we’re going to have an all-out war if you and Lady Cissa didn’t stop them. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with the men. They should know better than get provoked that easily. So what are you going to do now?”
“First, I’m going to find out which idiot started that fight. Then I’m going to try to figure out how fix this mess so we can salvage the peace talk.”
“Don’t worry about these men, Janaam,” Ilon interjected. “I’ll deal with them. Right now I think your top priority is to make the truce works.”
“You’re right. Thank you, Ilon.” The old demon nodded as he patted the prince’s shoulder. He then ordered the men to come with him, which they did reluctantly. Ilon was famous for his punishment.
“I better come along with him,” Zyra said quickly as she started to walk quickly away. Remembering her strange reaction, Janaam chased after her while Salram followed behind.
“Zyra, wait!” She stopped and looked at him irritably.
“What?” she snapped as she folded her arms to show that she was getting impatient.
“Is something wrong? I mean, I never see you this way before and during the meeting, you insulted the humans. The Zyra I know would never act that way. Look, if you’re still upset about th-”
“I’m not mad at you.” She took a deep breath and looked away. “I’m just having a rough day. That’s all.” Janaam felt relieved until he heard her next words. “To be honest, I think this peace talk is worthless and just for show. You know that this will never work. You saw how they look at us with disdain. They think they’re better than us especially that stuck-up nosed duchess! Now if you would excuse me, Prince Janaam, I’m going to help Ilon find the troublemakers.”
As she stormed away, Janaam looked at Salram, who raised his eyebrows. “Now that was odd,” the latter commented as he shook his head. “I’ve never seen Zyra that way before even that time when she was mad at you for that prank you pulled.”
“Do you think something happened to her?” Janaam asked worriedly. Something in his gut warned him that something was amiss. His friend shrugged. “Maybe. It’s unlike her after all. Why?”
“I don’t think you noticed since you were busy stopping the fight, but I saw that she was actually thrilled when the fight was happening. Then, after Lady Cissa and I stopped the fight, she looked very disappointed as if she didn’t want it to end. Zyra would never act that way.”
“That doesn’t sound like her all right,” Salram agreed. “Maybe we should not include her in the peace talk tomorrow. If something or someone did something to her, we don’t want her to sabotage our mission.”
“That’s a good idea, but maybe she was having a bad day as she claimed,” Janaam pointed out. “Let’s just keep an eye on her for now. If she causes any trouble, we’ll just ask her to go back to camp.”
“Sounds good to me. Hopefully things will turn out better tomorrow. Anyway, I’m going to grab something to eat. Want me to get anything for you?” Salram offered, but he declined.
“No thanks. I just want to be left alone so I can think.”
“If you say so. Now if you excuse me…” His best friend walked off toward the kitchen with a happy gait.
As Janaam watched his friend walk away, he has a nagging feeling that the worst has yet to come.
“It was awful, Vienya! They were fighting like animals and I was deathly worried that we were going to have a blown out war.” Cissa shook her head, remembering what happened. Her hands still ached from holding the whip so tightly while she flogged the men who started the whole mess.
“That sounds dreadful!” her nursemaid exclaimed as she carefully unbraided her long, black hair. “To think we could have been killed by those dreadful demons. It was a good thing you managed to stop it.”
“Lord Janaam helped too,” she countered. “Likwise Lord Putra and two of Janaam’s advisors were helpful in stopping the fight.”
However, Vienya looked at her disapprovingly. “If you ask me, I think Lord Janaam intended it to happen. He probably asked his men to start the fight and pretended to stop it just to trick you.”
“That’s not true!” Cissa never felt so upset in her life. “Lord Janaam apologized for what happened and promised that he would punish his men who instigated the fight. He’s not the type to play tricks on people. I can tell that he’s an honorable man who keeps his promises.”
“If you say so…” The old woman just shook her head as she finished her task. “You are so naïve of the world, Cissa. Can’t you see that he just using you? Blah! You’ll never listen to me; you probably think I’m a paranoid old hag who knows nothing in the world. Don’t you remember that the Duermons get rid of our only ally? I’m sure that they’re plotting to get rid of us as well. Mark my words – you’re going to regret it. Well, if you’re not going to listen to me, I’m going to take my walk.”
“Again?” Cissa looked at her strangely. “I thought you took your walk already.”
“You must be imagining it, dear. I’ll be back to check on you later. If you’re asleep by the time I come back, good night, Cissa.” Vienya curtsied and then left her tent.
The Duchess of Tiena sat at her writing table, troubled. Something was off. Her nursemaid never acted that way before. Not to mention the way she kept ranting about Lord Janaam; she knew that Vienya disapproved of him but this? That was too extreme. Not to mention the fact she accused the Duermons for killing the Aerians even though there was a secret finding that a group of renegade exorcists was the cause. Maybe Vienya was right; she probably was imagining things.
Shaking her head, she blew out the candle and went to bed. However, she just lay in her bed, wide awake. Her troubled mind kept her awake so after a few minutes of staring at the ceiling, she got up, put on her robe, grabbed some belongings, and headed out.
The campground was mostly quiet except for a few soldiers who whispered to each other. She looked around and was disturbed not to find Vienya anywhere. Where did that old woman go? Unnerved, she snuck back to the meeting ground. Maybe she went there to get something but for what? There were no important documents; the only things left were the tables and chairs.
She just reached the campsite when she noticed that a light was on inside the tent. A shadow could be seen holding a candle as he examined the room. Alarmed, she slowly pulled out the dagger from her belt and slowly lifted the flap open. Lord Janaam was standing over one of the chairs and looking down at the table. He was so concentrated in his task that he didn’t even notice that she snuck in behind him. “What are you doing?” she asked curiously.
He jumped and turned around with his sword drawn. “Lady Cissa? You startled me,” he said as he put his sword back. He scratched his head sheepishly. “As for my being here… I couldn’t sleep and I decided to investigate something. And you?”
“Same here,” she confessed as she quickly put her dagger away. “I couldn’t sleep so I went out to look for my nursemaid, but I couldn’t find her in camp. I thought she might come over here but no luck.”
“I see…” Janaam looked at her seriously. “If you don’t my asking, but is your nursemaid acting strange?”
Her heart pounded. “Strange? What do you mean?”
“How can I say it? She seems more belligerent and refuses to listen to what others are saying.”
“Now that you mentioned that, she does. Why do you ask?”
“Well, I think one of my colleagues is acting the same way. You probably know whom I’m talking about,” he said wryly. She nodded, remembering how Zyra glared at her throughout the peace talk. “The way she’s acting is bizarre to me. She’s always so supportive and if I ever mess up, she would quietly tell me about it not make any snide comment. I thought if I come here, maybe I could find some clues on why her behavior changes.”
“That makes sense,” she agreed as she walked up to him. “Did you find anything?” He shook his head.
“Unfortunately no, but now that you’re here, I think there is a connection between your nursemaid and Zyra. It can’t be a coincidence that both of them are behaving strangely.”
Cissa gaped, “You don’t think they’re trying to sabotage the peace talk.” He nodded gravely. “But why? What is the purpose for that? I could see how your friend tries to do it, but Vienya? She’s not involved in the process at all.”
“I don’t know why,” he admitted. “As for Vienya, she may not be involved, but has she tried to do anything subtly?”
She thought for a moment. “I remember! She just tried to convince me that you were untrustworthy, and you were trying to trick us so you could ambush us.” Then a thought occurred to her. “Do you think that there is a person in the shadow directing them? There are no way both of them coordinate this plot together especially since they have never met before in their lifetimes.”
“You’re probably right. I bet that person was the one who caused that fight in the afternoon,” Janaam agreed. “But who could it be? I can’t think of anyone in my party who has the power to persuade people to their cause, but then he or she could have hidden it until now. Because of this, I don’t know who to trust.”
“Why don’t we both investigate together?” Cissa offered. “I’ll try to find things on my end and you will search for clues on yours. We can come back here after dark and share our findings.” She held her hand out for him to shake. “Unless you don’t trust me, that is.”
He stared at her hand for the longest time as if he was debating whether or not he could trust her before he decided to shake it. “That sounds like a good plan. Just remember to be careful and keep an eye out on anything odd.”
“I will,” she promised. “We should head back before anyone notice that we’re missing.” She smiled at him sweetly. “Good night, Lord Janaam.”
“Good night, Lady Cissa,” he replied as he led the way. After they exited the tent, they went off in different directions.
Shintra waited patiently in the clearing in the woods. It was a small clearing of grass and dirt. Three boulders of various heights were in the middle and he sat on top of the one. He looked at the full moon and admired its beauty. His agents should be arriving soon. Sure enough, he heard footsteps and looked down to see them walking toward him.
“Lord Shintra,” they murmured as they knelt down before him. Smirking, he jumped down from his perch and walked toward them. He placed his hand on Zyra, who looked up at him adoringly. He smiled to himself as he remembered how he manipulated her memories so she believed that she has served him her entire life and that she was a spy for him. “Zyra, tell me how it is progressing.”
“Very well, my lord,” she replied. “The peace talk has stalled and many of the men are getting agitated. Some of the Idilarians have already secretly talked about getting revenge on the Sendoans for insulting them. I also insulted some of the Sendoan envoy so they are less willing to compromise.”
He nodded approvingly and turned to Vienya. “And you?” “I have spread rumors to the soldiers that the Duermons are planning to use them as hosts for Parasitic and Possessor Duermons, which terrified them greatly. I also implanted doubt into Lady Cissa’s mind so she has misgiving on Prince Janaam’s intentions.”
“Good.” He smiled at the thought of his nephew. He was surprised when Zyra revealed that information to him, but he realized that he could use the boy to further his plans. “Now, did you remember to bring the gift, Vienya?” She nodded and pulled it out of her cloak. “Good job, Vienya. Now give it to Zyra.” The Duermon accepted it and carefully placed it inside her shirt. “Here are your orders…” The two listened carefully as he told them their instructions. “Any questions?”
Zyra frowned. “I don’t know if I could do it. I can’t! I never agreed to do that!” she protested. Great, she was fighting against him. Sighing, he used his power once more and her eyes glow a pale pink. “Remember your oath of loyalty, Zyra! You obey my commands without questioning. Do you understand?”
“Yes, my lord,” she said as she bowed her head shamefully. “Forgive my transgression. I know my orders and obey.”
“All is forgiven,” he said briskly. “Now you two better head back before anyone get suspicious. We’ll meet again tomorrow night around the same time.”
“Understood, Lord Shintra,” they said at the same time and knelt before him one last time. As they headed back to their campgrounds, he smiled to himself. The fight in the camp was only the beginning. Soon he’s going to have full control of both camps and watched as they spiraled into chaos. There would be no peace between the Duermons and the humans. He’ll make sure of it.