Legends: Volume 3: Majik
Written by Dritz
Every sunrise, everyday, I am reborn, more powerful then ever. I have killed, pillaged and rained chaos upon the masses and I enjoyed every minute of it. My heart remains black and tainted and memories of these moments still fill me with pride. Through my trials I have emerged unscathed and more powerful then the gods my father hated so much. Now here I stand a member of the face less masses, a symbol for good. The journey to reach this point has become legend and now I have come to share it with you.
I was horrified when the dwarf led us to Malchan. It seemed my few hours away had taken their toll. His skin had became much paler and he seemed to breath in much longer intervals. I crossed my fingers as Asenka stood before him gently whispering an incantation. Once again an aura of purple flowed from him and encased Malchan. For a second his eyes opened only to be quickly closed once again.
'I am afraid there is little I can do,' muttered Asenka, 'I am sorry I can't help any more but I have given him all that I can. We must go now for I have only been able to give him seven days.'
The representative revealed to us that through his contacts he had determined that Umbria was coming to the end of her journey across Entasa desert. Her goal was the sea side town of Ebantro, were she felt the crystal containing the deities of legends was.
To catch up with her would require great speed and much luck. It seemed risky to go into the uncharted Entasa desert but we were left with little choice. Asenka seemed whole heartedly up to the challenge, however the representative was unsure about the whole thing. He believed that Asenka's knowledge of the world would entrap him within illusions of the mortal coil. In short it meant that Asenka may give me false perceptions of the dangers of the world.
We were now dealing with things not of the world and Asenka as he had said before only knew of such things by word of mouth. Try as I might I could not convince him not to come and ultimately decided that his healing abilities may come in handy should we come in contact with a god. They were already hunting me, I could feel it and the desert was no place I wanted to be.
A few years ago my father had a run in with the desert god Antik. He was a strange god in that he possessed unfathomable powers but held little worshippers. The theory that a god draws it's power from it's religious sects went against this in every way possible. My father was sent to research the depths of his powers and came back with half his immortality drained.
In the end my brothers fate was still in my hands and I was the only one capable of crossing the desert. Although I hated to say it my power at that time had grown even greater then my fathers. This gave me a little more confidence knowing that the gods power could have only dwindled since that fateful encounter.
We stood on the outskirts of the vast desert and even then a feeling of horror loomed over me. Upon seeing it the deserted seemed to promise only death. I took my first step into the stingingly hot sand and gradually we made our journey across the desert.
I'm not one to complain but traveling through the desert seemed so strange to me. For one thing I had never experienced the feeling of thirst and it was driving me utterly crazy. We passed by a few oases as we went on but mere minutes after passing the thirst got me again. Asenka however seemed perfectly adept at copping with the thirst. I suppose since he was once a world traveler such things could never bother him.
The blazing heat also seemed to cut through me, weakening every part of my body. I felt defenseless as the sun endlessly beat down on me. Carefully I thought about the sun realizing that the one thing that gives me life also possessed the power to take it away.
One thing I had not expected was that the heat could possibly go away but it did and in a big way. As the sun set I felt a small breeze graze my shoulders. I shuddered at the sudden rush of cold, thinking perhaps it was a momentary sensation. However as the minutes passed I slowly realized that it was to be cold all night.
Even Asenka seemed gripped by the cold, he tried to continue on but finally the cold got the better of him. 'It looks like it's going to be one of those nights,' he mumbled.
'What do you mean?'
'Well every so often an easterly wind comes through the desert and reaches all the way to Trantam. On such nights the people can do nothing but enclose themselves deep within their dwellings. Last time I crossed the desert I was lucky enough not to be caught in it and I wasn't even sure whether it even came through here. I guess, I was unfortunately wrong. It is however strange considering that the next frost in Trantam wasn't due until a month from now.'
'A month?' I gulped.
'Yes... Is there something wrong?'
'I have a bad feeling about this. It can't be coincidence that just as we make our journey such cold sweeps the land. I fear it is the work of a wind god.'
'A wind god you say? Which one do you think it may be?'
'I don't think you have fully grasped the concept of what you have gotten yourself into yet Asenka. Your wisdom is far superior to my own but you have some very foolish misconceptions. Contrary to popular belief gods are seldom work alone. We have started a war and for all I know all the gods could be combining their powers to fight us. In matters such as this religion doesn't matter thus it can be any number of wind gods from any number of religions.'
'Such a complicated answer for such a simple question,' laughed Asenka, 'I suppose there are things that I still must learn about.'
'Don't get to over anxious. No one can know everything and no one should try. Creatures fear the unknown and if they know everything then they can not be afraid, making the line between good and evil indistinguishable. Do you think if one fully understood the consequences of every possible action that they would follow the path fate gave them. Although the power to manipulate one's fate is apparent in every creature it is never done through knowledge. Know what you need to know to survive and that is all.'
'Interesting words but I still believe that knowledge is my power and without it I am nothing.'
'I have heard of such things in my life but pay little attention to it and regard it as an impossibility. One's existence can't be based solely on knowledge. Knowledge isn't reality it is what you are trained to believe thus it can easily lead to misconceptions and ultimately bends your view of reality. This leads you to a false world controlled by your own physical, spiritual, emotional and mental laws. For instance one day someone tells you that the earth is not the center of the universe then your belief system will change based on whether subsequent facts prove such a theory however one who believes they know everything will not except the true reality. Therefore it is actually more or less impossible for you to ever know everything.'
'Say what you want Ekera you can't change me.'
'Is that so then perhaps we should go further into my example for it is true,' Asenka began to say something but quickly retracted his movement. 'The earth is not the center of the universe, far from it in fact. I know this because it is what I was taught and through analysis of the movements of the universe it has been excepted as a solid theory throughout the Celestial Gardens. However as it stands only gods and immortals possess this knowledge and it will be some time before humans ever realize the truth about it. Even through gods are viewed as all knowing they still learn the same way everyone else does, they are taught and they study. For instance another excepted theory states there is no center of the universe. One day this theory created by the gods could be torn apart due to some small inconsequential piece of evidence. I started this lecture by saying no one can know everything and no one should try. Believe me it is true.
'But through gaining knowledge I can use it to study and create new theories. You give me little credit, I can except your words on the earth and I can change my own views.'
'I must insist you not lie Asenka, you are truly confused by my words. You have built up a solid belief system on such matters already. I would have to present all the evidence to you for you to even consider the fact that your precious planet isn't the center of the universe.'
'Still in time I could except it.'
'You underestimate the power of pride. If you ever reach the level of knowledge you strive for now then believe me nothing I say could change your mind.'
Asenka for the first time we met seemed speechless. It took some time but finally he managed to compose himself, 'I suppose that you may be right young one but I'm afraid my wisdom is all I have left in the world. I will continue to strive towards knowing all there is to know. Now I suggest we get a fire started this desert airs turning us against each other.
Our little argument had certainly annoyed me and every so often I brought up more points. However Asenka seemed to have little use for them and continued with his foolish point of view. I suppose I shouldn't have even bothered to try and change his mind as the fact remained that I was right and he could not do anything about it. Neither immortal nor mortal could truly know all there is to know, even the gods themselves were incapable of knowing more than a common man.
None the less eventually the whole disagreement died down. After a some trouble finding fire wood we managed to create quite an impressive inferno. Soon after I found myself drifting into a deep sleep while the weight of the tremendous task I had set out to complete, bore down on my mind. I was the only one capable of saving my brother and only with this wise man could I even hope to accomplish the goal.
My dreams were plagued with nightmarish visions of Antik. I must have seen a thousand images of what Antik may possibly look like that night. However I had no way of ever knowing his true form or the extent of his powers.
It seemed that when I finally found peace that I was awoken by a disturbance. Carefully I opened my eyes to see three figures. It didn't take me long to figure out that these were wolves, but from my knowledge they shouldn't even be in the desert. Slightly intrigued I began to rise up hoping the beasts wouldn't notice me.
However I wasn't so lucky, what I believed to be a slow maneuver the wolves picked up my movement instantly. Before I could even fully stand up they moved in to attack. I readied myself but it was too late, with a mighty leap all three lunged at me. Falling to the ground I desperately searched for my sword as they jumped from atop of me to my opposite side. At last I was able to pull my sword from it's halter and began to engage the beasts.
They easily dodged my every move with supernatural agility. No normal creature could dodge my attacks, these were something special. I swiped at one and effortlessly it leaped out of the way as another came up behind me. Before I was able to swing around the wolf came down on my face and I felt a sharp sting as blood dribbled down my face.
The wolves showed no sign of exhaustion and continued to fend of my every attack. Getting tired of the game I leaped back from them. As quick as I could I held my hands up to my face and they began there next attack. I waited patiently for them to come closer. Not a moment before they would come in contact I released my hands and a blue aurora entrapped the creatures and sent them flying to the far side of the camp.
I looked towards Asenka surprised the old man had not been awakened by the battle. I didn't have the time to figure him out and quickly brought my mind back to the task at hand. Finally the wolves were at a safe enough distance for me to show my full fury. Well they recovered from my previous blow I struggled to clear my mind and concentrate my energy. Slowly the energy traced it's way to my hands.
Sensing the wolves were ready to attack again I opened my eyes. The creatures were smarter this time and began to circle. Slowly I mumbled the words, 'Atrapa, kata, danto'. From my hands a web of energy sprung the dogs leapt back as several tiny strings of energy rushed towards them. Even for the agile creatures it was to much one by one my energy web wrapped around them.
Fuelled by the encounter I felt myself begin to finish them off. A part of me seemed to encourage the action but still I knew it was wrong. The creatures had no way of knowing what they were doing and giving into such cold blooded urges would send me down my fathers path. Still I wondered what it would be like and without knowing it I tightened my grip on the helpless dogs. If not for Asenka I suppose I would have killed them but the cleric seemed intent on keeping me on the right path. Looking towards him I realized he was silently watching what I was doing and I felt a tinge of remorse. Our previous argument may have caused even more resentment towards the man but still I knew he was right about one thing. I must create a destiny worth living for, giving into darkness would only cause pain and suffering such as that my father went through.
I still kept the wolves in my energy web but carefully loosened my grip until I could barely constrict them at all. Asenka began to stand.
'I know it hurts Ekera but you have made the right decision. These creatures merely ventured into our camp there is no need to take their lives.'
'You weren't the one fighting them, they are no ordinary beasts. They are of supernatural origin, if I don't exterminate them now they will give message to whatever god sent them. Listen there is one thing I have not told you about. There is a desert god named Antik who claims to rule all deserts. Although he has relatively no followers he remains extremely powerful. It is either him or whoever gave us these foul winds who sent these wolves.'
'It would do you could to be less paranoid, they are merely dogs scavenging for food. This Antik you speak of I have heard of him and despite what you think of my knowledge I believe his power is supported by some ancient relic of the Apocalypse Wars.'
I carefully considered his words and dismissed them as preposterous. It seemed to me whenever humans couldn't explain something they just tied it in with the Apocalypse Wars. I had my own reasons behind Antik's power but tried to keep them out of my thoughts.
'Anyways that it of little consequence as I have observed the actions of all creatures through my years and these creatures have acted as any others would. Now release themselves when I say.' Asenka entered into a trance and mumbled a small incantation. 'Let them go.' The wolves dropped to the ground and just sat before us. 'Now go you mangy mongrels...' the beasts merely sat their try desperately not to listen to the old man. 'What?' he mumbled.
'Is something wrong?' I questioned obviously not understanding how he could expect to merely command them to go.
'Yes they should listen to me. I've used a powerful mind control spell on them. I learned it during my stay within the Nexus. It is called fascinate, once it infects an animal I should have no problem controlling them.'
I looked towards the wolves and could have sworn I saw one grin and then a flash. When the light cleared two men and a woman stood before me.
'You seem surprised cleric and even you immortal,' Laughed the woman. 'You should open your mind, cleric. Ha! You even knew what we were and you still backed down immortal.'
'My name is Ekera don't forget it.'
'Yes of course it is, who else could it be. I suppose this is Asenka then? Just as I thought but do you know who I am?'
'Some kind of sorceress no doubt,' retorted Asenka.
'Not quite wise man. I am a spirit child, one who has been touched by the gods. I follow the ways of Sila the wind deity.'
'Call yourself what you want but you are merely errand runners,' I laughed.
'You should not be so disrespectful. Thanks to your foolishness in letting us go do you really think you can defeat us. Most of your energy was spent on that last attack and Asenka's foolish fascinate incarnation drained his as well.'
'I wouldn't be so sure of yourself, I'm surprised you do not realize that I drained a significant amount of energy from you with my web. So as it stands you and your cronies should run back to Antik or whatever second rate god you were sent by.'
'Second rate you say? I am older than I look, I was turned centuries ago by Omega himself. As it stands I have no business in your dispute with the gods. However someone with your influence I thought may have knowledge of were the deities crystal lies. Sila made me what I am and I have awaited her release all my life.'
'I am afraid that I don't know any more then you. Quite frankly it is none of my business in today's world the deities have been reduced to low class soldiers. What seemed like unbelievable power during the Apocalypse Wars is nothing compared to the gods of today.'
'Fool the deities are fueled by belief the same as the gods. Do you even realize the influence they now hold over the world? The sheer amount of their believers rivals that of Omega and Mantalister. If they were to be released the world would be at their command.'
'Believe what you want but as we speak my brother is being drawn towards death. I must find Umbria and not you or your precious Sila can stop me from my goal.'
'So it is true Malchan is dieing? Ha! I couldn't bring myself to believe it even when I saw the statue myself I couldn't believe that Hachan had been defeated either. I suppose you're proof of booth situations.'
'I... I'm afraid my fathers situation has remained unknown to me.'
'Is that so? Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news but your father has fallen. The mighty Hachan finally fought his last battle. Beaten by a mere mortal I hear.'
'I doubt it whoever defeated him is much more than a mortal. Now please leave me and let us go on with our business. If you want to cause trouble then I will gladly show you what an immortal is truly capable of.' Warily I looked towards the other two fighters wondering what kind of problems they could cause.
'Sorry Ekera but your destined to fail. I can not allow you to find Umbria, it will in the end undoubtedly cause more troubles for me then it's worth.'
Annoyed by the spirit child's defiance I griped my sword preparing for battle. She let out a small laugh cueing me to began our battle anew. I lunged towards her bringing my blade inches from her torso. Before I could make contact she jumped into the air leaping behind me. A quick motion from her hands caused the seemingly stone warriors to life. Instantly they began to attack.
I was able to keep them at bay the best I could. It was much easier fighting such bulky fighters compared to the agile wolves. Leaving my guard down for a moment allowed one of them to slip behind me. With one on each side I struggled to block attacks from both directions. Soon I found it hard to keep up with both of them. The one behind me once again tried to attack, I ducked missing the attack by a hair. I spun around to face him blocking another impeding attack. I brought my sword down across my back to stop another swipe.
Seeing an opening the one in front ferociously came at me. Rather clumsily I retrieved my dagger from my belt, in time to intercept him. I stood there one hand behind my back barely holding out as the warrior pushed against and using the rest of my strength to use my rather small dagger to keep the other one at bay. They continued to bare down on me testing my strength but I managed to keep them from breaking the lock.
I decided the only way I could finish them would be with one merciless strike. With all my strength I pushed against their weapons forcing them to jump away, breaking the lock that held us together. Not realizing the danger they readied themselves to attack again. I wouldn't give them the chance however. With a scream of 'Ma~Sak~Rae' my dagger and sword glowed with dark power. They attempted to jump on me but my attack began and with a hurricane of blades they were sent flying to the ground.
For the first time their expressions seemed to change from that of one who feels they are in complete control of the situation to one who feels the exact opposite. Despite Asenka's protests with a mighty leap I came down on one of them, thrust my sword deep into his heart. The sword glowed with dark energy sapping the life force of the fallen fighter. In seconds he completely dissolved sending him to whatever god he wished. The second combatant horrified by the development attempted to attack well my back was turned. Spinning around I sliced straight through the defenseless spirit child. His upper body flew several meters away from his dismembered body. I looked towards his faced surprised to see him still holding on. As you would guess I thought the only humane thing to do would be to finish him off. I rushed towards him and once again plunged my sword deep into his body, effectively taking his energy too.
'Ekera! How could you, they were following orders. Can you really ruthlessly take away their lives.'
'You better get these foolish ideas of peace without war out of your mind cleric! You can try and change me but I know the truth just as my father did. Like it our not we are in a war and that demands causalities.'
The remaining spirit child broke out into hysterical laughter at that point, 'you know he's right don't you Asenka? I'm afraid your picture perfect world doesn't exist. I sense a past far different then your current self that may make you believe that death should never be a result of a battle but people like me and Ekera know it's merely an illusion. However if I may so your so valued peace is an even bigger illusion, there can never be peace.'
'Whatever either of you think doesn't matter to me,' I retorted, 'but I can guarantee you one thing spirit child that even if I am wrong I have the power to bring you to peace just as I have done to your comrades. But believe me you can't win I have added their power to my own, although miniscule it is more then enough to lay you to rest.'
'Your very sure of yourself aren't you Ekera? Your power now may be more then I can handle but I assure you we will meet again and I'll gladly except your challenge.'
Abruptly the wind began to kick up blowing sand across the far reaches of the desert. Soon the lone woman was encased within a cyclone. Shortly there after the dust settled and she was no where to be seen.
Slightly stirred by the previous meeting I decided it would be best that we moved on. Asenka surprisingly enough agreed. As we began our journey across the sands again, it remained eerily quiet. Lost in his thoughts Asenka said not a word to me but I could sense what he was thinking. He was wrong, there were other 'things' out there that even he did not know about. In a way I felt sorry but I hoped that he had learned a lesson and would continue to guide me in this strange world.
His knowledge was nothing to scoff at. What he did know was sequential to our survival. It seemed every few steps he would casually motion me into a new direction. I would then look back to see all manners of beasts and hazards in the path I had intended to take.
The wind still blew mightily obstructing my vision to the point were I could not see my own two hands. In a momentary gap in the swirling sand I caught a glimpse of a flag pole. Cautiously Asenka beckoned me to approach it.
Sitting down for a small rest at it's base he began to speak. 'This is a trade marker. At one point a caravan passed by here and left this for other travelers to follow. Sometimes a trader may be left behind at the marker giving up on his comrades to set up shop in whatever desolate parts he may be in. It puts them in a rather comfortable position to sell outrageous prices for those foolish enough to find the marker. The blue flag on the marker signifies that such a person has set up shop here.' He pointed towards the small blue flap atop the pole being tossed around in the wind. 'Although I don't like the idea of staying here any longer I would think it be best that we wait here for him or her. It is doubtful that we will survive the rest of the desert without more provisions. From here on out oasis's get pretty scarce so we will have to buy some water.'
'Sure whatever.' I said unsure of my surroundings. 'I hope you know what you're doing, I'm getting a bad feeling.'
Asenka hesitated to answer my question. I was sure he thought there was no danger but after the incident at our last camp I could understand how he might doubt is own senses. He merely told me that we had little choice but to wait.
Gradually the wind began to howl more viciously and it's furious gust were beginning to become unbearable. An ominous feeling of fear began to pass over me. Something was coming.
Another break in the wind gave me a glimpse of her. The spirit child had returned and she was watching, waiting, for something. Not sure of her intentions I readied for battle but her presence did not ease my suspicious mind. There was still something coming.
Asenka had not seen her, he just sat there lost in his thoughts. He was not afraid of the wind, he had survived much worse. However I the all powerful Ekera was scared this world offered some many mysteries, I had never lived outside the Celestial Gardens comforting walls. Knowing no danger I always believed that as long as I trained hard and long I would be invincible. Even if I was superior to what was coming a certain element of fear and danger still presided over me.
Finally Asenka seemed to have taken all he could. He stood up into the eye of the storm. Holding his arms out he once again began uttering an incantation. His body began to glow the purest form of purple spreading across the ground from his feet. The storms mighty flurries could not penetrate his aurora. He began to scream out ancient dialect expanding his power further. Soon my ears began to bleed and still he grew louder forever creating a larger barrier. All at once he stopped shouting and the barrier burst into a haze of purple flame.
I watched as billions of particles of sand froze in the air and one by one fell harmlessly back towards the ground. Asenka having spent all of his energy dropped to his knees.
'What's going on?' I shouted.
'Something is coming I feel it to. It's power is unimaginable, I didn't want to believe such things existed I thought gods were in their believers control but this is different. It's a hurricane of death. It was coming through the storm I had to stop it.'
Quickly I remembered the spirit child. I snapped my head back desperately searching for her. Soon I caught sight of her lying in the sand. I rushed to her aid with Asenka weakly following in my wake.
'What is she doing here?' He questioned.
'I don't know I think she was challenging the storm. It was to much for her we... we... have to help her.'
'Why she seems to disregard everything as much as yourself, why does she deserve to live.'
'I don't know... but we can not just let her die. I can't believe you would go against your morals like that. I have only known you for two days and you have had a profound impact on my life. You can't turn your back on what you believe in or I am a lost cause.'
'But what about the warriors back at camp. You killed them.'
'And they would have killed us. You must accept reality but that is all, in many ways you are right but death is sometimes the only answer. I may have been too ruthless in dispatching them but in time I know I can tame my thirst for blood.'
I couldn't believe what I was saying. Just a few days ago I felt the plants wrapping around every inch of my mind. I believed the death of all those seeking war was the only answer to achieving true peace. I had now in an instance developed a philosophy directly between Malchan's beliefs and Asenka's. Their was no way that no life could be lost in achieving a goal of peace but my battles must be chosen I couldn't just rain chaos on the world.
Asenka was obviously affected by the events in the desert but I knew he wouldn't give up his beliefs because of one occurrence. He would still seek unattainable knowledge and he would still try to turn me to total pacifism. It seemed that he had come to a decision on the beautiful spirit child. He knelt down and with the rest of his energy he began to cast a healing spell upon her.
Slowly she opened her eyes and instantly screamed in agony. 'Keep her away from me!'
We spent the next few hours helping her recover. She seemed quite shocked from the whole ordeal. Whatever happened to her seemed unbelievable. I thought she had perhaps fought with Antik but dismissed the thought due to whatever Asenka sensed. I guessed that it must have been whatever wind god brought the cursed storm upon us.
I struggled to guess what god I knew of that could possibly hold so power. It was no second rate god like Antik it had to be a high class god. To cause such a storm suggested that whoever it was had mastery of not only the winds. Many wind gods only have power over the winds which restricts them from creating any serious storms.
When it finally came time to question the frightened sprit child, she seemed hesitant as if even then she was being watched. I decided it would be best to start slow, 'So what is your name anyways? Or shall I keep calling you spirit child?'
'My name... is Silko.'
'Who attacked you,' I attempted to venture further into her mind.
'It was Coatrischie, goddesses of storms, floods, and winds...' She seemed scared of even mentioning the goddesses name. I could understand why, Coatrischie wasn't exactly well known for her kindness. She had no respect for any other gods and with her tremendous power she crushed what little believers any other wind god had. Obviously she had felt threatened by Silko's devotion to Sila. She probably was sent to destroy me but when she caught site of Silko, she just couldn't resist.
'Coatrischie... this isn't good. There's no way we can stand up to her.'
'No you're wrong she can be beaten. In legend Sila crushed her in the Apocalypse Wars.'
'That is very good to know but how can we compete with Sila's power.' Asenka mentioned nervously.
'Well as Ekera was so quick to point out when we first met. Sila's power is very inconsequential in today's world. I believe that if Ekera and I combine our strength she can be beaten.'
'Hopefully it doesn't come to that,' I mused, 'if we can get out of the desert before she regains her strength we can probably escape her wraith. Surely she wouldn't risk fighting us in a more populated area.
Silko sighed, 'I am afraid it may come to that. I have come to realize that you're right we are on the verge of a war. But it is closer than you think. The gods want to strike now but they must do anything to eliminate you, therefore killing any chance of your brothers survival.' I started to speak but she was quick to silence me. 'You don't have to say anything Ekera I have known the whole time that is Malchan and not you who has the power to summon the dark army. Only with their help can we win the war.'
'So you think it would be best we face Coatrischie now?' Asked Asenka surprisingly.
'It is the only way unfortunately, Antik must be killed as well.'
'That is a bit of a high order...' I mumbled.
'Yes but his power is not as great as you're lead to believe. It saddens me to be the one to tell you this but in actual fact this war started many years ago when Hachan was sent to fight Antik. The gods effectively sent him to his death bed. They granted Antik's unsurpassable power, however they were surprised when your father returned. It was worse then they had thought, the immortals were gaining power at a phenomenal rate. They sought to find a way to exploit your only weakness, the dawn. After you stopped their plan, they have moved to a much more aggressive strategy. Now you have gained enough power that with the right allies even Antik will fall to your feet.'
The wind began to pick up once again. The now confident Silko couldn't help but shiver at what it meant. I held my hand out towards the sky, seconds later a small raindrop fell upon it. After that a complete downpour descended on us. Now the wind was once again tossing sand around and in the sky a face formed. The face depicted that of a beautiful women swaying gently into the wind. Lighting tore through the figure hitting the ground inches away from me.
A brilliant array of light came from the spot, a young women emerged shrouded in the light. She spoke elegantly and could be heard only in my thoughts. 'You are Ekera,' the voice echoed, 'excellent...'
The light seemed to strip away from her skin and the full extent of her beauty could be seen. Blue hair flowed behind her like a graceful river. Her skin was perfect in every way gleaming as the birdlike sand softly graced it. Her eyes were like nothing I had ever seen, a hurricane mightier than those of legends seemed to blow furiously in her eyes. Her clothes also seemed more like a river than any fabric I ever saw. It continuously shifted on her shapely body teasing any poor soul lucky enough to see it.
She held her hand out towards me, gracefully saying, 'it is time.' Electricity erupted from her fingernails forming a flawless ball. I tried to move but her power held me in place. There was nothing I could do but wait for the impending attack. The orb slowly left her hand and rushed towards me.
I felt my body tensing up, I screamed as a purple barrier burst out from within me. I looked over thankfully at Asenka who managed to cast a spell just in time. The orb hit the barrier and exploded into a brilliant haze of electricity. Some of which shoot through the barrier and straight through my armor. I screamed in agony as it surged through my body. Several small holes were created throughout my body. Strangely not a single drop of blood flowed from my wounds. I tried my best to maintain my composure but the pain was far to much for my body to handle.
Asenka desperately hurried to try and heal me. I was soon engulfed in a purple flame, I looked down to see the holes slowly healing.
Coatrischie laughed at our petty attempts. She held out her free hand towards the sky sending another orb up into the clouds. Soon a myriad of lightning bolts struck the ground, one hitting Asenka squarely in the chest.
I was still not healed in full and the stinging pain of the remaining holes gripped me once again. As I looked back towards the mighty god I was horrified to see another orb being formed. Once again she launched it towards me but Asenka couldn't save me that time. I screeched in pain as the thing struck me. It was strange, it felt as though my own power was growing outside of the limits of my body. At that time I could have very well held more power then Coatrischie herself.
Quickly I thought of how to use her own attack to my advantage. I had to hurry she was forming yet another orb and if struck my body would explode in a hail of energy. With all my will I began to gather the energy in my body. A small bubble formed outlining my body and began to grow as I collected more and more of the stolen energy. Using it's power I lifted myself from the ground just in time to dodge yet another of Coatrischie's viscous bulbs.
She seemed surprised but the moment passed. Easily she maintained her composer and held her hand up in some sort of signal. I looked behind me horrified to see the lightning orb stop and turn towards me. Thinking of nothing better I held my hands out in hopes of somehow catching the ball.
When it struck every bone in my body began to shake but I kept it from being absorbed into me. With much effort I held it up and with all my might hurled it towards Coatrischie. She surrounded herself with her own barrier of light and the orb harmlessly split in half and crashed to the ground behind her exploding into a fantastic array of light.
Now fueled by confidence I launched myself towards her and looked towards Silko hoping for some form of support. My sword harmlessly hit Coatrischie's flawless skin, she deflected every attack with just her arms. Upon seeing my efforts I think Silko began to grow more courageous. It was not long before she joined me in the fight.
Her first hit seemed to catch Coatrischie of guard. Silko kicked her squarely in the head sending her flying to the ground. Using the opportunity, I concentrate some energy into my sword and desperately thrust it into Coatrischie's skin. It managed to pierce it but barely, as soon as she realized what was happening a burst of energy encircled my sword and sent it flying from my hands.
I rushed towards it but in front of me a wall of energy erupted from the earth. Coatrischie trapped both me and Silko within the electric sphere and I could do little but look hopelessly towards my sword. Forgetting about it I returned to aid Silko.
As I ran towards them I began gather some dark energy in my hand. Silko moved from my path and I once again engaged in the battle, still holding the small portion of energy. I was never a much of high class fighter I preferred the way of the sword but I managed to hold my own. Using what little agility I could muster, I leaped behind her back. Quickly I grabbed onto her shoulder, sending my dark energy surging through her body.
This briefly incapacitated the mighty god and Silko wasted no time forming an energy arrow. Before Coatrischie could do anything she launched the arrow through her body. Light began to emit from the point of entry momentarily blinding me.
Coatrischie screamed in pain and holding out both hands a wave of electricity struck us. Her cage of energy fell before the tremendous wave. Soon it died down and I fell helplessly to the ground, right beside my sword.
Finally the god had lost control of the situation, with no power left she could only attack and catapulted towards me. Quickly I rolled over grabbing my sword and leapt from the ground. I held my sword out in desperation and swung. Coatrischie screeched as my sword struck her.
The force of impact between my sword and sent her flying. She then laid powerless on the ground. I was unsure whether it was necessary to finish her off and I was even more unsure whether I could do so. My last blow should have cut straight through her and I could do little else in my current situation. I scanned the landscape for Silko wondering what her next move would be. Strangely I could find not a trace of her.
Finally I decided that the only way to guarantee my survival was to finish her off. Limping I struggled to reach Coatrischie's motionless body. Finally I stood over her holding my sword up to the sky. The moment was indescribable, against all odds I stood there as a champion but I could not do it. I mercilessly killed Silko's companions just hours ago yet I couldn't destroy one of the greatest threats to my race.
Once again her voice surrounded every corner of my mind. 'You are a brave one indeed Ekera. You can't possibly know what this means, I will return and I will defeat you. It seems you have finally come to terms with your self and know what you must do to survive. Well maybe you do... I will give you one last chance to finish me off. I shan't be so nice next time we meet.'
'You have been defeated that is good enough for me. Do not fool yourself, it is I who won't be so nice upon our next meeting. I suggest you leave this plain and return to your precious gardens. Tell your god that we can not be defeated and their war will end with their blood.'
'So that is your reason. I knew you couldn't really caste away your dark desires. You only let me live so I can deliver some message for you.'
I realized the truthfulness of her words, I had not changed, I had just become wiser. I merely replied, 'yes something like that. I can not believe you would think of any other reason. You are a scourge on this planet and like other such things you will be exterminated in time. No one can make me see the world any differently, evil must be wiped from the earth instead of being given mercy. Go now I have little time for you.'
The goddess laughed at my foolish beliefs but I knew she was scared for her life. Another bolt of lightning separated the clouds and embraced her. Slowly her limp body rose up into the clouds. Soon the desert became calm once again, wind no longer tore across it's surface, the lightning no longer ravaged it and it once again became devoid of any water.
After meeting Coatrischie my mission seemed to take on a whole new importance. It was vital that I save Malchan for the sake of all immortals. However the desert was an unforgiving place and even without the wind it managed to ware me down bit by bit. Asenka was a little shaken by the encounter but he still managed to keep control of the situation.
Desperately I tried to break the silence and addressed Silko, 'One thing still confuses me why do even want to help us Silko.'
'I thought that it was clear that I had no interest in another Apocalypse War.'
'Yes but once you help us restore Malchan's power, won't you once again try to free Sila?'
'I am bound by my devotion to her I must do all I can to free her.'
'But... You can't seriously believe that war won't erupt once the four deities are freed? They will attack the Celestial Garden.'
'You just answered your own question Ekera. If the immortals were to engage the gods it would most undoubtedly take place right here on good ol' earth. The deities made that mistake again and the hold the power to create a new battleground the Celestial Gardens. In the resting place of the gods untouched by the mortal coil no harm will befall this world.'
'So essentially you want to exterminate the gods above all else.'
'They have no use to us anymore, there must be a new age ruled by the deities.'
'Many religions have no mention of anything like the Celestial Gardens. Those gods would still remain untouched.'
'Belief is a powerful thing but despite that every gods power is attached to the plants. Control the gardens and you control the gods themselves.'
I couldn't help but laugh at her last comment, 'you are very knowledgeable of otherworldly things Silko but you can't possibly understand the nature of the plants. No matter who controls the gardens the plants will find some way to wrap around their minds.'
'So you are saying even you have felt the pull of the plants?'
'Yes even now I feel it. Ever since my father's defeat they have gotten a tighter grip but I can still fight it. With help I believe I can sever my attachment to them.'
'So you admit that they can be overcome.'
Asenka seemed to have snapped out of his trance like state, 'err if I may I think I can answer that one. I am above all else a pacifist although I don't believe conflict and death is unnecessary I do believe there is a time and place for it. Ekera was enraged by his father's death and began to lose his battle against the plants. For the first time he began to seek out power and came to believe that he knew what was best for the world.
Once you start to have such an out look on life then the plants will gain complete control of your life. I have tried my best to bring Ekera to the right path and in exchange he has shared with me knowledge I never thought possible. The veil over his heart is slowly being lifted even now and the plants are losing their fight for this to happen he is abandoning his delusions of power. You see once the deities control the world the plants will easily penetrate their defenses. Only by going against their instincts and letting go of that control can they be untouched by the plant's influence. I suppose the easiest way to say this is that to control the world they to must be controlled.'
I was amazed at what Asenka had learned from me and finally understood why he so desperately wished to accompany me. Silko was taken back by the remarks and fell silent. Once again the silence echoed through my head as we continued across the desert.
The journey across the desert wasn't easy but we were finally coming to the end of journey across the wasteland. It felt as though we went through so much but I couldn't help but be surprised at how easy it was. I knew Antik was out there but even if he were to confront us I knew that somehow we would find a way to win.
But that moment never came I stood at the border of the immense desert looking out towards the rolling grasslands. Asenka revealed that it wouldn't be too long before reaching Ebantro. The gentle breeze of the grasslands was a pleasant sensation after the searing heat of the desert. It wasn't long at all before we reached Ebantro but it was a little disheartening knowing that it had already been four days since we left Malchan on his death bed.
Simply looking around the kingdom give me little confidence. It was much larger than any previous place I had visited. The kingdom had been built on a giant hill and atop it a very large exquisite castle could be seen. Although it was far from meeting the expectations I had for a castle it was still quite impressive.
Although there were a few small shops the markets were relatively small and interspersed between dense residential areas. Every so often we came across a large shop selling all matters of things. Silko looked around the town nervously still unsure about accompanying us. I wish I could have said I was confident in her motives but every step of the way I made a note of watching her every move.
Although I felt all my concentration should have been on finding Umbria there was another thing taking my attention. As we made are way through the weaving streets I caught small glimpses of the ocean and marveled at it's pure magnificence. It was truly a wonder to behold'
Asenka noticed my obvious naiveness towards the heavenly body of water and assured me it was only natural. He to had once been new to the world and gazed upon it's wonders in pure astonishment. Although it reassured me, I still harbored resentment towards my introduction to the world. Here I was still a baby learning the ways that everyone around me had know for years. Even though he meant well I know Asenka had know idea what I was feeling. Somehow every gentle ripple in the water held some divine meaning to me. It amazed me and I didn't even know why.
As much as I concentrated I couldn't even find a mere hint of where Umbria could be. A moment of dread passed by me, I couldn't sense the crystal as well and thought perhaps Umbria may have left the kingdom already to search elsewhere. Surprisingly it was Silko who reassured me.
'I can sense your anxiousness Ekera but please don't worry yourself. She is here but her majikal energy is protecting her from detection. Her sole purpose is to remain inconspicuous but she can't hide what every creature is blessed with...'
'Dare I ask what that is,' shivered Asenka.
'Stench,' her nostrils flailed.
'Well that's unpleasant,' Asenka gulped. I laughed a little at his apprehensiveness and quickly thought better of it as in truth she disturbed me to. As she had just demonstrated her talents were quite unique and matched that of the animal she choose to embody.
We had been traveling for several hours passing through a few places twice as Silko struggled to trace Umbria's movements. We were steadily getting closer to the castle and I began to believe that she might be there. As soon as the thought occurred to me I looked to my left and saw a large intricately carved door. A mystical aura surrounded it and seemed to beckon me towards it.
'Well this has to be the place,' Silko mumbled.
'Yes it's certainly a umm very large door. It must be about twice the size of any normal door.' Asenka remarked.
'It is a gateway...' I shuddered.
'A gateway to where?' Asenka questioned.
'I don't know but if Umbria's in there then we have to check.'
Carefully I grasped the handle and the door creaked open.
Within the entryway we found ourselves in a very curious room. Antiques were strewn chaotically throughout and a scarce amount of wood could be seen through various papers scattered across the floor. The papers began to move and small sparks of color radiated off the various artifacts.
A door at the back of the room opened and laugher could be heard. A faun walked in with it's back to us, 'I will see what it is don't worry.' it called back to it's companion, 'it's probably just some bug.' The faun turned to face us and stopped dead in it's tracks and seemed amazed at the three people standing before him.
'Now what's this how did you get in here. Whatever you want were not buying.'
'Sorry sir but we were looking for someone.'
'Well turn back, whoever you want is not here. Damn door must be broken letting all sorts of people in.'
'No there's nothing wrong with your door,' I replied a little annoyed by the faun's apprehensiveness.
'Well then how did you... hey wait you look familiar, do I know you?'
'My name is Ekera.'
'Good heavens it is you. Thank the gods you're alive! Now what brings you to these remote parts and who are your companions?'
'Well my name is Asenka and this is Silko and--'
'What Silko how can you bring her here do you even realize who it is that is staying with me?'
'I think I can guess,' I managed to blurt out.
'Umbria the legendary Sorceress, if anyone is as well known as you are Ekera it's her. Now I must insist that she leave.' He pointed towards Silko with distain in his words.
'I know it's hard to believe but she has helped us come this far and it is Umbria that I seek.'
'What? You lost me aren't you aware of the looming war? You should be preparing to summon the dark army.'
'Yes well that is why I am here. You see I can't summon the army only my brother can but he's been wounded in battle and only Umbria can save him.'
'So it is true Malchan has fallen,' he shook his head disheartened by the news.
'Err if I may,' Asenka chimed in, 'but you are undoubtedly the faun representative, am I right?'
'Well yes the one and only. My name is Tuak.'
'But then wouldn't you already know of Ekera's mission?' Silko questioned.
'No if I had I would have sent Umbria to you. Hmm would I be right to assume you already met a representative during your stay here, Ekera?' I nodded me head, 'Well despite popular opinion we are not all knowing. I am quite the opposite actually, ever since the gods declared war on the immortals I created a portal and sealed myself inside. Every so often I go out and hear about things which is how I stumbled upon Umbria. I don't mind being left in the dark on some matters I find that sometimes it's better to be ignorant of the troubles of the world and hope they work themselves out. I guess my particular lifestyle has done more harm then good in this case. How much time does he have left?'
'Three days,' I sighed.
'Hmm that's doable...'
'Tuak what are you doing?' Umbria barged in. I looked over to her and was instantly stricken, her black hair gently flowed behind her. Her eyes and everything about her seemed so perfect yet they retained a level of humanity. She looked towards me and seemed equally amazed by me.
'Hello, who is this,' she whistled.
'M-my name is Ekera.'
'It is true you are here-'
'Yes, yes we've gone through this already. The other two are Asenka and Silko.' Umbria began to say something, 'I know you are going to say something about that but don't worry she is helping them to find you to help Ekera's brother who has the power to summon the dark army and fight the gods. Why do they need you? That's a good question, they need you because Malchan has been mortally wounded and can't recovered without your majik.' Tuak took in a deep breath of air and motioned towards me, 'is there anything I've forgotten.'
'No,' I said barely conscious of the rush of information he said.
'What are you ok?'
'Huh? Yes sorry I was just err. Well we should go as soon as possible. So let's go.'
'Well that's kind of forward,' mumbled Tuak, 'no good byes or anything just lets go?' Asenka and Silko reached over and gently tightened his lips. What seemed to have passed right over the faun's head seemed crystal clear to both of them. I wondered if Umbria to could see through me or if by some miracle she didn't notice me acting like a total fool.
'Well you are right I suppose,' she said, each word a elegant assembly of syllables.
Tuak pushed the hands away from him angrily, 'AS I WAS SAYING, there's no need to worry I can easily create a portal to anywhere you need to go provided that there's someone to open the door from the other side. It will only take a day so you might as well stick around a little longer. My good what is wrong with you two,' he shook his head at Asenka and Silko who were amazed that he still hadn't caught on. 'Now there are more than enough rooms for all of us so I suggest you three get what's probably the best sleep you've had in a few days.'
'Yes that would be best. I look forward to getting to know you a little better Ekera,' she winked at me.
Tuak's dwelling was particular to say the least. As he lead us to through the corridors up seemed to become down and left was right. After a few minutes trying to figure it out I gave up and obediently followed him.
'Now you can stay here Silko and I suggest you stay here all night as we wouldn't want you to get lost,' he scowled. A few moments later we came to another door and he graciously lead Asenka to his room.
'Now Ekera are you going to sleep now or would you care to talk a little?' Umbria questioned.
'I suppose so, I don't sleep much anyways.'
'Good to hear it I have some questions for you,' Tuak said excitedly.
We came to another door which was particularly unimpressive. It was if the corridors were designed for the sole purpose to trap anyone who dare enter them. No door had the slightest difference from another, they were all perfectly imperfect. The room itself was rather nice with three couches surrounding a single expertly carved table. The craftsmanship was undeniable and I couldn't help but marvel at it's design.
'I see you like the table,' Tuak sat down, 'it was a bargain, an imp gave it to me for three pence's I couldn't believe.
'Yes,' I said barely conscious watching Umbria sit down across from me. 'So is there anything you want to talk about.'
'Why are you here?' Umbria stuttered.
'Well I came because of the eternal night.'
'No that's not what I meant that is what your father came for, I asked why you were here.'
'How could you choose to leave the Celestial Gardens, did you really believe you could stop the gods?'
'I suppose I did but I also could not resist seeing this world first hand. All my life I only knew of the Celestial Gardens.'
'This battle is foolish you can't win...'
'Umbria! Be nice to our guest. If anyone is capable of winning the war it's him. It's all well and good for us to run and hide but someone has to stand up for the immortals.'
'It's ok Tuak, some people still harbor foolish misconceptions about the gods.'
'And what's that supposed to mean?'
'It means that you think the gods are all powerful when they are just as weak as you or I. Even the most powerful gods can be beaten alone.'
'Well I wouldn't go that far...' mumbled Tuak.
'Tell that to Coatrischie. Even a god as powerful as her fell to my feet.'
'What, huh?' Tuak stuttered in disbelief.
'So you are as powerful as they say but that was one fight, one god. You weren't there during the Apocalypse Wars, I was. I fought Mantalister and I know what he is capable of. Don't you understand that you can never win.'
'You- You're worried about me,' I smiled, 'you don't want me to fight because you're afraid of what might happen.'
'I am not!' she retracted, 'it is just that... umm. I worry about all people after the horrors I have seen I wouldn't wish that upon anyone.'
'Right...' I laughed, 'don't worry about me, I'm fighting for my peoples right to live and I'm aware of the risks. I have confidence but if I should die at least it will be for a good cause.
Tuak clapped, 'Well said Ekera. See that settles it, seriously Umbria it was what he was born to do. He is a hero and it is his destiny-'
'I'm no hero...'
'Right sure you aren't, I believe you,' he muttered. 'Yet you're still going to save us,' I heard him whisper.
'Anyways let's move on to a new topic,' I suggested, 'I hear we have a mutual friend Umbria.'
'Well I was told by the dwarf representative that you traveled with Eleusis for a short while.'
'Ah so he's the one who sent you here, I should have known,' Tuak interrupted.
'Yes I was with him for awhile but he had his own destiny to fulfill. I had to find the crystal.'
'Yes about that why aren't you searching for it now.'
'Truthfully? I'm scared of the gods I have seen their power and if the Apocalypse Wars begin anew then I want no part in it...'
'You will save Malchan won't you,' I said horrified.
'Yes but only for you and your cause. But then I will return here to safety.'
'But your power is unbelievable you can help. I can protect you..'
I thought about my last statement a bit. Did I really believe I was capable of assuring her safety I had already failed to save my father.
'Well I have no more questions,' mumbled Tuak obviously annoyed that we weren't paying attention to him. 'I think we should get some sleep tomorrow's a big day and I have to begin work on crafting the portal.'
We slowly left the room and I looked back towards Umbria who seemed to be struggling with something in her mind. I held the door open for her and as she passed by gently I whispered, 'I will protect you.'