(\/) Book of Destruction (Odessa)
Notes: Here is the second half of the tale, the prologue to the "Book of Destruction." Once again, Odessa refers to herself in third-person. My encounters with the spirit of Miyoko have filled in only a few specific details. ~Kiyone
Miyoko had been the son of wealthy parents, and he was well-educated, yet turned to a life of banditry and murder. As the Kingdom's society declined he became the leader of the most vicious group of bandits around. [Edit: They were known as the Harlqeuins because they enjoyed playing with their victims.]
Miyoko's right-hand man in the Harlequins was a brutal and cold young orphan named Graej. Graej had been taken in by Miyoko and quickly worked his way up through the Harlequins, becoming Miyoko's right-hand man. [Edit: Miyoko also taught him to read.]
In the Forever City that night, as Odessa and Miyoko fell in love, neither knew that from across the bar, Graej watched with fury in his eyes. For Miyoko to do something so irresponsible before a raid displeased him. For Miyoko to yield his heart, his emotions, his thoughts, to anyone but Graej ignited a flame deep within him of resentment and jealousy.
The big draw of the town as far as these thieves were concerned was a rumored tome being compiled at the Muse Guild: the Book of Destruction. This book would contain among the most powerful and destructive spells and rituals known to anyone -- things that had long been passed down among the Muses. It was a prize fit only for the Harlequins. The raid was due to take place in a week, and Graej was given the task of planning every detail, so did Miyoko trust him. Miyoko spent the nights of the week seeing his beloved Odessa, who appeared at the tavern after a long day of working out her duties. Neither spoke much of what they did, Odessa due to her practicality and the gravity of her current assignment, Miyoko out of what was perhaps shame.
Jealous Graej spoke to the bartender, who was indebted to the Harlequin Syndicate, to find out about Odessa. Upon learning that she was a Muse, he studied her habits and discovered where her room was in the campus of the Guild, as well as what times she would be there. He arranged the entire offensive, with Miyoko's unknowing approval, to engulf the Guild in flames and death, to murder Odessa before Miyoko could find out the truth. As Odessa and Miyoko made love, Graej planned to obliterate her at the first moment of the raid.
However, the barkeep loved Odessa as he did his own daughters, and could not bear to see her meet such a fate. The night before the raid was due to take place, he insisted she remain and play her lyre, and sing her songs; he gave her free moon wine to keep her at the tavern despite the curious abscence of Miyoko. By the time she had resolved to go, it was far too late for her to catch a boat across the river, but there was an extra room available at the tavern and the barkeep offered it up for free. The next morning, as she awoke early to get a quick departure to the Guild, he caught her on her way out and begged her to sing for his children. She could not resist.
At the conclusion of one of her songs, a tremendous explosion rocked the city and Odessa rushed outside to see her Guild in flames, across the river. Still clutching her lyre, she jumped in a nearby boat and rowed herself across to help her fellow Muses, as the morning was punctuated by wails through the city.
When she arrived at the gates of the Muse campus, the elaborately carved fountains of the Nine Muse sisters overflowed with the tremendous amount of blood now added to the water. The Elders and Masters of her guild lay slaughtered throughout the garden with her brothers and sisters as the compund burned.
A sudden arrow found its way to her chest and was stopped just short of her heart by the lyre on her back. As the arrow shattered and Odessa spun around, Graej launched a volley of flames and arrows in her direction.
He would not rest until she was dead.
What Miyoko and Graej did not know was that the treasure they sought was not there. The Book of Destruction (and also the Book of Forever, of which they were not even aware) had been the project of Master Muse Odessa, and she was more than aware of every ritual, charm, and spell she had documented. As Graej moved to hurl his dagger at Odessa's heart, she moved quickly and used one of the most destructive rituals she had compiled; a spell that erases one's entire existence from all history.
The top of the building exploded in fire and from the balcony flew the Supreme Elder of Odessa's guild, landing in a pulply, charred mess in front of her. Miyoko calmly walked out onto the balcony, and saw his love in the courtyard. The expression on his face was one of pale, uncorrupted horror, just as the look on her face at seeing her kindred slaughtered. Odessa looked up at him, tears in her eyes, and performed the same ritual on Miyoko.
Odessa cursed them both without saying a word; the intensity of her emotions cursed them and therefore, they were not erased from all history. So they are written here, and so they met a fate worse than simply never existing; they were banished to their own spirits, their own minds, in a state of perpetual void.
The fire at the Muse Guild spread and hopped the river on a boat.
The Forever City burned to the ground.