|Aether: The Arbiter's Tears
Author: freakofTheMesa PM
In the world the Raven left behind, a teenage boy must sacrifice his life to save the planet he loves. But amid this tale of tragedy, there are uncomfortable questions about to be answered... Rated T for occasional cursing, and controversial themes.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 7 - Words: 46,467 - Reviews: 3 - Updated: 04-03-12 - Published: 08-22-11 - id: 7313576
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
-OUTER FORESTS AND HILLS OF SOUTHERN LAMAROU-
A beautifully bright dawn was rising over Lamarou, with the sun peeking out over the horizon to offer its early light against the stone buildings of the urban kingdom. And as the waters majestically tumbled down onto rocky pools, the life of the nature in the area known as the Southern Hills started to shake off its latest night-time. The South-East was the only one of the city's four regions that contained hills and fields that pressed against the fortifying walls: areas where the nature had been allowed to be maintained without urban or commercial interference. That was the one of the best things about the smallest region and those that lived there: this was a beautiful area to get away from it all if needed. It was a narrow yet 2-and-a-half-mile long stretch of plateaus and rugged terrain: almost like a series of miniature, green downs. Those who were well travelled often mused that these areas were ripped from the highlands of Northern Gremii.
And it was against this mountainous, romantic backdrop that Somor traversed a small satchel on his back. Having spent the last twenty-five minutes making the trek from his new home from Copel Road, and raided every cupboard he could find in that house - all he wanted to find was an open space among the scenery that he could practice his new found powers, and really get used more to the strange new powers that he had to implement. He had spent much of yesterday, before the final stand-off at Kolbinera House, in the Academico Square Library near there, reading up on the skills that the Arbiter of Truth was supposed to possess, and how they implemented them. The Arbiter's weapon was telekinesis - picturing powers and their effects in their crystal-clear minds, and then picturing the word 'ACTIVATE' which would unleash those powers into the material world. And through clearly picturing the word 'CANCEL', the latest power used would be cancelled. And through vigorous cranial discipline - the Arbiter could imagine, activate, implement and cancel a command in the space of just five seconds. But there was still the risk of such powers not being used correctly, and being abused. But providing the Arbiter had a great sense of creativity - it would make them an unstoppable force against the powers of Dark Aether that they were there to dispel.
And that was what Somor was going to truly test today. Finally, after his trek, Somor found an area that he believed he could use to test his abilities. It was past the rocky ground, and was now within a thickly-wooded area with a ground made up of brown dirt and fallen leaves, with a lone stump sat in the middle of a patch of dawn sun streaming through a gap in the trees. Finding a flat row of land onto the intense incline, Somor bent down and pulled the satchel off his back. Pulling away the cream-coloured string that kept the contents from spilling out - he randomly pulled out one of a random assortment of household objects he stole from Denash's house - an old tin can that used to house vegetable stock. Standing up again, and keeping the tin in his right hand, he plonked it on the tree stump then moved back to his original position. This was it. It was time for Somor to test whether he had those powers or not. He lifted his right arm up, centre fighter outstretched; he pictured a narrow white beam with jagged lightning being released out of its perimeter, being released out of his finger and crashing into the can, destroying it: leaving just a few pieces of metal shards on the stump. Somor was deliberately trying to picture various intricate details of the impact of what would happen. He then thought of that word in his head.
A second later, Somor's cognitive proposal came true. A narrow, yet almost watery-looking white beam with jagged lightning bolts shooting out of the sides crashed into the can, destroying it, leaving only three shards remaining on the floor.
Shouting the word CANCEL in his head, the beam vanished and Somor's body returned to normal. So he now he knew was able to destroy. But could he repair? The Arbiter was able to do both. Now, to test his theories further: Somor walked over to the remains of that poor innocent vegetable stock tin, and using the skills he already mastered: he generated a softer, yellow beam that saw the other pieces of the tin, previously disintegrated by the first blast, reappear: and the pieces slotted back together, with the can looking regenerated yet untouched: as if it had never been broken beforehand. Somor then took another breath. He really did have the powers of the Arbiter of Truth. But it no longer fazed him. It actually made him feel better as it felt no longer like a massive joke.
Which most of his life had now been up to this point.
Somor thought now that one final thing had to be done - he had to be slightly more... grandiose. Repacking the can into the satchel, and re-tying it back and re-acquainting it with his back, Somor began to make his way down the steep incline. But as he walked, he could not see any additional area to practise his new powers - so it gradually sunk in as the minutes passed that there was only one option left: making his way out of the region's walls and entering the field of Lamarou: which was about the closest he got to leaving the kingdom in the last four years (some Lamarouish citizens never even left the walls in their lifetime). And finally - to confirm that the area he was walking down was an intended pathway, he reached the bottom of the hill - and greeting him was a tall, imposing wall of impregnable stone, but with a small crawl-able hole that penetrated the defence. With little effort, his military-learnt skills coming to the element again: Somor found himself on the outside of Lamarou's walls, with the sprawling green, grassy plateaus of the huge, sprawling Field Of Alaunus: that formed the borders of the little field towns and the main kingdoms. It was the most welcome sight to the traveller to see the expanses blow against the soft winds against an early morning sun. But that was not what Somor was thinking about right now. Walking for a further three minutes north into the fields - Somor finally stopped, and felt satisfied that he finally had enough space to try something bigger. But then he spotted something to his right - a small orange butterfly gliding beautifully over a range of purple flowers. And then he remembered. He couldn't afford to not take consideration of the feelings of the animals. Nothing that affected the field, he thought. OK.
Somor pictured sparkling red beams in his mind being fired from both his fists that would generate quiet-sounding and small fireworks in the air. It could create quite a show. Pointing both of his wrists up into the sky, he fired a beam out of each fist, and true to his predictions, they quickly hit an altitude where they appeared to take their place among the Alaunian sky - and against the light of the sky as the dawn had not yet decided to end, it was quite a beautiful sight. Realising it had worked: Somor felt that soothing instinct inside, telling him to have fun. Knowing what it meant - over the next five minutes, Somor leapt through the masses of grass, firing different fireworks into the air, of all different colours - with various multicoloured shapes being dissipated from the fireworks. And true to what his instinct was telling him, Somor was enjoying himself, enjoying the way in which he was practising his powers. But five minutes later, he was telling himself he had enough, and cancelled all his powers. For a few, precious seconds, he stood in the field feeling the gentle winds blow past him, experiencing the enlightenment and joy washing over him having done what he had just done. But then, that silence was interrupted.
Somor thought he heard something from behind him, and thinking about it in his mind, he reasoned it sounded like an arrow. Rapidly turning behind him, he then saw an unexpected sight. A rider on a brown horse, with that particular arrow in his side, his body going floppy, falling off the horse.
Go to him. Somor. Go to him.
An alert Somor sprang into action and ran towards where the rider had fallen. Reaching him ten seconds later, with his satchel on his back, he knelt down beside the rider. He was still breathing, but it was erratic and heavy: he was going to have a heart attack very soon. He was a fairly well-built figure, and large in height, definitely that of a soldier. He had light skin, and barely any hair on his head: it must have been totally shaved off. Saying nothing, Somor observed where the arrow had hit him - just beneath his right breast. "Please..." the young man's voice murmured. Somor noticed his pleading word, and thought it might adversely affect his heartbeat.
"Calm down... just calm yourself... OK?" Somor spoke in a very slow, yet soothing tone - remarkably replicating the one that he often felt deep in his heart sometimes.
Suddenly, Somor imagined all the arteries and veins in his wound possibly severed by the arrow being repaired by a beam of soft orange light. Somor unbuttoned the jacket that the young man was wearing, revealing the wound that had pierced his white shirt and his skin. His mind recognised the uniform - Kenatrian Military. Activating the spell within his head, Somor held his right palm over the man's open, blood red wound, and the soft orange beam filtered within. The patient, lying on the grass, was glowing a soft orange, yet he was not fighting the mysterious force entering his body: he had hardly any strength to fight it. Noticing the flow of blood out of his body had now slowed down and had eventually stopped: Somor cancelled the spell. Then, he began to look around him, wondering what to do next. And then, almost miraculously, one of the two trees on the right hand side of where they were contained a health-giving herb: morsogosa. And that was something that Somor learnt how to use when he was in the K.Y.M. Academy as a child. "Wait here" Somor stood up and began running towards the tree: not feeling a particular sense of urgency despite the knowledge of the urgency in this situation - he had faced this sort of thing before, it was innate knowledge to Somor. Pulling a few leaves of the small, stalkless, comb-shaped green herbs: and cupping them between his hands to stop them blowing away in the wind, he found himself near Somor again: and tipped them onto the young man's wound. The man was still delirious. His body still wasn't pumping enough blood around the body to his brain for him to really get a strong grip on his surroundings. Soon however: the morsogosa worked its magic.
Morsogosa's healing properties came from the way in which they reacted with blood cells and blood in general. Their reaction resulted in Morsogosa's biological matter decreasing the volatile nature of blood, but only if they properly dissolved first. So the morsogosa felt against the blood on the soldier's shirt first, and promptly began to break down into almost miniscule fragments, and sank into his body. They would then fall into his bloodstream - and would decrease the volatility of blood flow within, preventing the chance of a blood clot or heart attack. The heart would then feel less of a temptation to be niche about where it would pump blood into the body, stopping the soldier from dying and maintaining activity in the brain stem. True to Somor's interpretation of the theory, the healing process worked relatively well: and he saw the soldier's eyes begin to flicker open initially, and his breathing rate began to return to a steady pace. A degree of colour returned to his face. Somor was relieved and smiled in his mind: he had saved his life. Somor proceeded to move over to him again, as he laid regaining consciousness: he buttoned up his jacket. He then slowly moved away and started to watch him recover, but the soldier noticed him. "Thank you", he murmured, with a smile, but without evident happiness in his voice.
"It was nothing" Somor replied. "But I wouldn't move though - your wound's still open"
"Sigh... bloody flesh wounds..." the irritated soldier muttered, though lying back on the ground with a smile. Somor laughed at his remark.
"Your emblem - Kenatrian army, right?"
"You recognise it?" the soldier muttered.
"I could just tell. Uniform wasn't washed" Somor joked. Somor remembered that in-joke about Kenatrian military uniforms. He didn't bother to think of how amazing it was that he remembered so much about it still, for it formed a large part of his upbringing, and was almost innate to him now.
"I washed it yesterday!" retorted the soldier, tones of laughter and happiness returning to his voice, amid the irritability of the pain.
"Ha-ha. Where?" Somor's patient was gradually easing into conversation with him, possibly recognising the attitude of a military man.
"Arnola, I was riding back from there till that stupid arrow..." Somor sensed that he was getting uncomfortable at the thought of continuing that sentence.
"Hey, losing a couple of disused arteries never hurt anyone" Somor bantered, prompting the soldier to snort.
"Disused? I need all my fucking arteries to be a soldier, mate!" Both males were now laughing. In Somor's mind, he observed that the person he was talking to was perhaps someone who was prematurely aged: a soldier still in his teenage years that had fought in many battles. But as he tried to contemplate on that further in the windswept silence surrounding him and his former patient, the soldier's eyes began to become misty as he looked up at him. "Can I just say mate... thank you for doing that. I... I'm amazed... you're an angel, you are an angel..." Somor nodded, taking the change of emotion in his stride. Whoa, Somor thought to himself. He let out a small laugh, indicating his flattery.
"I guess if everything hadn't had gone white I never would have been called that?" the Citsituan replied back.
"Huh, what does it matter? You saved my life, buddy, that ain't no mean feat!"
Suddenly, Somor hurt trotting of horses against the still-pleasant winds blowing from their left. He looked up and squinted slightly against the now risen sun, and recognised them. They were dressed in Kenatrian Military uniforms. "There he is, sir!" one of the riders shouted. Somor now knew it was time to speak, as that leader, a thin, middle-aged man with blonde hair and moustache, walked towards Somor and the soldier, taking off his helmet.
"He's cured, but his wound's still open. He needs further treatment" The man walked up, and nodded at Somor in acknowledgement.
"Thank you, sir. Are you Lamarouish?"
"No... I'm Somor, I'm Citsituan and have lived in Lamarou for the last four years" The man's eyes widened, first looking at the teenager and then at him. The soldier did not hear Somor mentioning his name through the noises of the other talking officers.
"Big target then, aren't you?" Somor smiled.
"I guess so. I'll leave soon"
"You could come back with us you know, we've got a horse free... a man short" Somor noticed the invitation in his voice. A return home to the army.
"I spent enough years in the KJM as it is. You want to kill me or something?" The middle-aged man gave a slight laugh.
"Really? I'll tell the generals back home, see if they remember you"
"Thank you. Now, OK, let's get you up" Somor moved to the tall and burly soldier and with the help of the officer, got him to his feet: slowly guiding him to the fleet of horses.
"He's a fine one Darom - only fifteen but you wouldn't know"
Somor's heart jumped. He had not heard the name 'Darom' in a long time. He was not even aware that the human being that name belonged to was still alive. Immediately, the mentality he carried with him jumped into action: he was in the middle of a conversation with an officer. An important one at that. He could not let his emotions overwhelm him. In three short seconds, Somor made the decision in his head to briefly suppress the discovery of Darom and continue onwards. A brief pause was still evident in the conversation, but not enough to unmask anything.
"He's learnt well to age in the way he has", Somor spoke up, not letting his speech show evidence of that short but taxing period of thought.
"Indeed" The officer smiled. He definitely was a member of the Kenatrian Military.
Soon, Somor watched the group of riders, with Darom with them, as they begun to negotiate their horses into the Eastern Horizon, and with happiness into his heart, turned back around. But as he did, he heard the voice that was Darom, shouting "I'LL REPAY YOU ONE DAY, ANGEL!"
Somor blocked out the thought of Darom in his mind.
Seeing the kingdom of Lamarou some minutes into the distance: he reasoned in his head that it was now time for him to head back through where he'd come.
Go back, Somor. Go back to Citadel Hill.
-CORU PORT, EASTERN PARGUI, LINVERIA-
The two robbers, enclothed entirely in grey, with hoods clouding their heads and almost their faces - silently skittered along the back alleys of the yellow-chalked and brown-stoned alleys of the Linverian capital of Pargui. The plan was clearly laid out in their minds as to what they would do: using the weapons they had in their right-hand side pockets, they and the fruit of their efforts (the jewels they had robbed from a treasury sub-sector) bundled in side satchels on their left-hand side pockets would infiltrate the nearby Coru Port and escape through a hidden city channel to their base there. On paper, it just seemed like they were just attempting to be glory hunters, but it was the only tactical way they could reach the base from their current location: which was in the east of Pargui.
The Linverians had no knowledge of the existence of the parallel kingdom of Alaunus, but if they did: they would realise their capital city was in many ways different to that of the Alaunian city of Lamarou. Pargui was situated in the centre of the kingdom, but was in the middle of a large desert expanse called the Linverian Sands, and the city itself was made from buildings mainly made of chalk and sandstone: with many streets being littered with palm tree plants, with some streets actually receiving helpful shade from the heat that often plagued Pargui in the summer from giant palm trees allowed to grow in random spots of ground within Pargui, as well as the ever helpful street lights. But the Parguian streets consisting of narrow buildings that lacking in width made up for in height - some ordinary houses being as tall as having six floors. But even though it was somewhat of a desert city, it was not to say it was a complete desert: for it had rocky cliffs rising out of the sand at certain locations, as well as docks and trading ports - which could actually filter into the Linverian Sands and into the Merchant Islands to reach other kingdoms. So whilst there were undoubted differences between the two cities - there was one great similarity. Pargui was a centre of culture and commerce, and offered many, possibly a little more of the recreational attractions within its walls that Lamarou offered. It was ultimately towered to its north by the gargantuan Royal Palace: which was placed at such an altitude that when one looked from its balconies - you could not only see the span of the whole city, but the horizon of the Linverian Sands themselves. A truly astonishing sight.
Unless you lived in Kenatria and experienced that similar sort of viewpoint anyway on a daily basis.
The two thieves, whose clothing hid them from description, now ran down one of those familiar alleyways, and now began to slope downwards to a right hand turn, its end signified by a stone ridge at the top.
The thieves stopped in their tracks, shocked and feeling the need to defend themselves. Looking to their right, the one behind the other saw the arrow had bounced off the stone walls and was now lying on at the ground at the side of their feet.
Another arrow fired, and both saw it traverse the air this time. It had just missed the front-thief's face, zipping past his nose, and again bounced off the wall. Now knowing they were somehow under attack, the thieves knew they had to escape and ran, with new urgency, into Coru Port: a large, expansive, stone dock with wooden piers stretching out to where several fishing boats were anchored, residential boats were docked, and large galleons being prepared for their voyages were being moored as construction work was carried out on them. But the thieves bore right to the East-most section of this Eastern dock: housing the large open fishing boats. The leading runner instantly spotted the one they wanted: and pointed to his comrade the one that they intended to grab - an oval shaped object, grey in colour. But noticing it was guarded by an employee of the dock, recognised by his blue dress, the thief gave the brown-haired blue-eyed worker a complimentary punch to the head, that sent him slamming to the ground, before the front runner of the two thieves jumped into the boat, distributing a non-verbal instruction to his comrade to unmoor the boat. Finally, once the boat had been unmoored, the thief at the back (the un-moorer), pointed his right finger at the back of the boat and began to mutter a spell. Purple smoke shot out and the boat started moving: with the magic at the back providing a driving fuel for its movement. No one had to even turn on the mechanisms at the sides of the craft that would make it move naturally: for if they ever needed to change direction, a spell would be used to modify the nature of the magic itself. But in their hurry to get away, the thieves did not notice that the employer they had punched had now gotten up, and was displaying a hand signal to be seen by the other side of the dock.
For the next three minutes: the two thieves careered their boat in a straight line, traversing the inner Parguian seas, coloured a delightful turquoise. The waves gently crashed against the boat as they found themselves pressed together, and for the thieves - it was appearing to be a smooth getaway. But as the fourth minute began, the thief at the front of the boat began to sense that something was wrong. The boat itself was not making a noise from its machinery, but making a slight, almost ticking noise as a result of the magic careering it from behind. But it had gradually increased in volume over time, and there was no reason why it should have done. He turned around to make the enquiry to his colleague, but then underneath his hood, his eyes expanded in shock. They were being pursued. Followed. By two people in the same type of boat as them, the same type of magic being used to steer their boat, and the same sense of urgency. On that boat behind: Hanso and Morda knew they were nearing their target, and it was time for communications to begin. "How far away from them are we?" Hanso cried over the noise of the magic.
"Closer!" Morda replied. Hanso's mind rolled its eyes. Thanks Morda, not very helpful. But Morda could not maintain her humour for very long. For looking ahead at the boat they were chasing, she noticed that the thief directly facing their position was starting to reach into the back of his robe. Morda knew that could only be trouble. "LOOK OUT!" she shouted, and seconds later, she was proven right. The thief had taken out a bow and arrow, and was starting to shoot arrows at the two girls. Hanso, at the front of the boat, was having to watch the way in which the thief was going to fire the arrow and think of where it would land, and then fire a magic spell backwards into the magic fire at the back of the boat. It was an extremely difficult manoeuvre that would have to be attempted by the teenager. One second miscalculated could result in one or both of them being killed and the thieves getting away with their spoils. But the daring feat Hanso was going to try to accomplish could easily be achieved through the military knowledge and precision she had developed over time. The thief attempted to shoot no less than seven arrows that the teenagers, with their boat weaving wildly from side to side in order to avoid falling foul of the thieves' attempted tricks. And when the thief put down his arrow, the girls thought that he was about to surrender. But they could not be more wrong.
The shooting of the arrows was meant to be a temporary distraction - and the battle to avoid the arrows had been raging so much that the 'good guys' in pursuit of the thieves did not notice that they were heading in the direction of the Parguian cliffs that pointed out towards the ocean beyond. The thieves had managed to gain sufficient ground on their chasers to veer out of the way of the stoic, soaked brown rocks. But the girls would not be so lucky. "SHIT!" Morda yelled, seeing the danger. Hanso's mouth opened in anger and fright.
"PULL IT RIGHT!" She ordered. The boat was now steering its way towards the rocks: they would soon be just like the gentle waves crashing against those tall, imposing structures coming out of the water - except the ending would probably not be so gentle. Desperately - Morda turned around to face the purple flame of magic sparking out of the back of the craft, and desperately shot a spell consisting of a green lightning beam at the fire to change the nature of the spell, and five seconds later - just when the boat was almost ready to crash into the formed constellation, the boat changed direction and manoeuvred right, away from the rocks. Hanso let out a big sigh of relief, and flicked away the sweat, despite the knowledge that the chase was still going on, and was about to get tougher. About two minutes ahead, the thieves, having gained further ground away from their attempted captors, now found themselves on the last leg of their journey - what were known in Pargui as the Tube Canals: narrow canals that weaved throughout the outer parts of Pargui, which, despite containing the occasional bridge between two separate streets, were so narrow in fact that only narrow fishing boats were able to fit through. It was theorized by residents that gondolas, like the ones used in Sarpesia, could also be used if they were available to hand. But authorities in Pargui also knew that the canals were often used as a trade route for smugglers and other ne'er-do-wells in the city trying to escape them: and the thieves that Hanso and Morda were now chasing were no exception.
Having added to the ferocity of their magical fuel, the girls were now gaining ground by the time that the thieves entered the Tube Canals. A slight sense of relief entered Morda's mind as they knew that the pursuit could not last much longer - but then Hanso's shout made her jump. "MINES!" Morda, for a second, did not know what to do. But then, as the rushing winds of the Parguian seas began to die down as their craft re-entered the city, Morda turned around and yet again modified the spell: which would make the boat jump over mines. She would fire the Jokova charm (the jumping charm) at that strange powering fire every time Hanso gave the order. But now, concern was entering Hanso's head. This was a narrow canal, hardly any room to move, and now they had to jump to avoid special mines that the thieves had somehow got hold of, and were throwing them into the canals? It was almost too much. But she knew she had to keep her head, and shouted back to Morda, now fully in charge of the ship's fuelling property. "MAKE IT GO TILTING AFTER YOU JUMP, GIRL!" Hanso cried out to her, and a sighing Morda understood the order. And for four long minutes - this saga continued. The thieves became increasingly more frustrated as they threw mine after mine (of which they had a large supply - they had picked them up at a black market just in case they did get chased), but their opponents matched their every move, jumping and weaving out of the way of an explosive death. But looking ahead, the thief stationed at the top of the craft in front smiled under his dull, grey, hood: one of Pargui's greatest landmarks - the Canal Zenith, was about to be passed under. The Canal Zenith was a large, imposing gothic structure stretched over 40 feet into the air, and served as an architectural masterpiece as the Tube Canals began to run into a larger body of water within Pargui. To the bad crowd who moved through this structure: it was almost like a finish line with a nearby water statue serving as the chequered flag. For once they passed it, they would jump down a small waterfall into the bigger lake, and would then negotiate their way through a secret section of wall in the bottom left hand corner of the area: allowing them to access the unknown underground routes that they used to get back to their secret base.
But Hanso and Morda knew that too. And knowing that the chase was about to end - Hanso knew it was time to take action.
As the Canal Zenith, in its full glory, began to come into view, and it was now clear the Tube Canal they were now on was heading straight down towards the ending waterfall: the cloaked figure at the back of the thieves' boat tossed one last mine in the direction of their attempted crushers. But Hanso got to the front of the craft and leant forward - successfully catching the mine with both hands. She recognised the design as being that of a Timed Mine, so it would not explode on contact with the first thing that touched it (which was partially what she feared at the beginning, but had got to understand the design of the mines they were using about halfway down the canals). And now, spotting the Zenith, she knew it was time to get desperate. Hanso, with all her strength, and letting out a feral scream as she did so - chucked the mine forward towards the architecture ahead. The thieves briefly looked on in confusion, but then knew what was going to happen.
The mine exploded on impact: and a crack instantly appeared at the top of the Zenith. It was not strong enough for the whole grandiose piece to come crashing down, but it was enough for a jaggy slice of gothic rock to come sliding off the centre of the very top, and it fell towards the waters of Pargui. The Mercenaries didn't have time to notice they were in the firing line, and six seconds later, the rock made its invited entrance, slicing the thieves' boat in two, sinking it: with an added garnish of red indicating the mortal capture of the thieves. And as Morda slowed the boat down, Hanso also noticed there were survivors of the terrible scene - namely, the small wrapped bags floating in the water, some among the small lake of blood, and a few pressing against the rock, almost wanting to climb up onto it to avoid the waters, which would soon soak them through.
"HEY!" The girls turned around, and saw Medav, still dressed in his worker's uniform, standing on a nearby, white-coloured dockside. Golan and Larex were standing alongside.
"No need to shout, mate, we can hear you!" Morda retorted. Medav laughed.
"Girls can't hear that well" Medav replied.
"Enough. Gather up the jewels guys, we'll be back at base by sundown" Larex nodded without looking at Golan. But he spoke again. "Larex, you did a great job today - scaring them to the docks" Larex smiled."
"I've been practising. I didn't want a repeat of what happened at Druanus"
"That won't happen again. And it didn't happen today"
As Hanso and Morda manoeuvred their boat to scoop up the sacks of stolen jewels against the no-longer romantic looking scenery of the Parguian Canals, Larex's mind took a smile. She was glad to get appreciation from her boss, especially as it meant she didn't have to go home.
Jemla's intentions and route were clear in her mind. As the urban buildings of Lamarou fell away from behind her and she prepared herself for the descent of the unforgiving green hillsides that lead to that place she loved, Citadel Hill, she felt certain in her head that Somor had to be up here. And they had to find him. Not for any reason of worry at all, she just needed to see if she was alright. And behind her - Denash and Eamin kept pace with Jemla, letting her take the lead. Despite being ejected from home, Eamin was enjoying this new outdoorsy life she was living - for every day she would now do the sort of things she enjoyed doing the most; one of which was just running around feeling free.
A ten minute hike past the blowing trees and beautiful songs of insects, and Denash tripping over a mound of earth and nearly twisting her ankle - and the three girls reached that familiar spot, and there was Somor, standing, almost dramatically, in the middle of the rocky space where they had sat just two days earlier when Somor had first become the Arbiter. Confusion began to enter the girls' hearts: just what was going on now?
"Somy?" Jemla enquired, wondering what the latest chronicle was in Somor's emotional decline. Denash's mind resolved itself.
"Somy, are you alright?" she asked, taking a slight step forwards.
Somor heard her words, and upon hearing them, turned his head to the sky, and saw that tiny black circle towards the north-east of his vision of the sky: just sitting there, not doing anything - but he knew it had to be slightly bigger now than it was last night. But then, Somor felt himself, and his mind, going out of control. The world was falling away from his senses... but he felt that familiar, soothing, instinct - deep down inside him, rising to take control. But after that, he could not notice. His limbs were stretching out, just as they had done in the Castle Of Lamarou, in fact, it was an almost identical scene. Except now, such an event was happening outdoors. "SOMOR!" Eamin shouted, reaching to head over to Somor, but Jemla thrust her arms round Eamin's shoulders to pull her back.
"Don't girl, it's too dangerous!" Jemla replied in a half shout, and Eamin could only stand there, scared, wondering what was happening to her friend. But then this, strange, event proceeded to become even stranger: as a large, audible voice began to resonate from Somor's possessed body, with the intention of communication. The auras were so bright that the girls put their hands in front of their eyes to shade them from the seemingly blinding light.
Jemla... Denash... Eamin... can you hear me? There is no need to be dazzled by my light...
The three young women should have been scared by this new phenomenon. They should have been. But there was something about the magical voice that spoke from those deadly-looking golden auras possessing Somor that was somewhat... calming. It gently, with its mysterious tone, tempted the three of them into listening - lowering their hands serving as shields. They no longer felt any insecurity about Somor, nor about this new unfolding supernatural experience. It was almost as if those thoughts had been gently removed from their minds.
The object in the sky is known as the Dark Moon. It has been conjured by the dark lord called Larazak, and will crash into this planet in two weeks time... prematurely ending the Second Age of this world...
Jemla felt a sudden surge of confidence, feeling brave enough to ask a question. "But why are you telling us this? What can we do?"
The only way to destroy the Dark Object is by accessing the Cosmic Chamber in the Temple Of The Ancients. But as the Arbiter, only Somor can do so. Larazak is aware of this and has stolen the four circular keys that act as a method of entry to the Chamber. You must help Somor to retrieve the four ancient keys, required to unlock the White Door.
"You mean, help him save the world?" Eamin blurted out.
You are his friends, aren't you?
"Course he is. So now what?" Denash angrily replied, defiance evident in her tone.
The first element is in Gremii. The area you are searching for is one called the Poisoned Woods. But thankfully, destiny will lead you in there. I will keep in touch with you... help... Somor...
There was a last note of desperation and love when the voice muttered its last word, inconsistent with the mysterious soothing nature that had blanketed the disembodied orator. But then the rays shot back into Somor, and eyes widened, recovering from the shock, Somor returned to the world of the living. Whilst he didn't feel or hear that voice's words, he knew beforehand what he had to do. And seeing the looks of determination in his friends' faces, he reasoned they had just been informed. But beginning to pace around the rocky environment, as he did in times of stress, Somor began to speak as he did so.
"I'm sorry... it's just - everything is so sudden. Everything has happened so suddenly. I can't handle the thought of you suffering for what I have to go through..."
"We're coming with you" Somor turned around. It was Denash who made the interjection.
"You don't have to obey; I can do this on my own if I want to... I can defy-"
"You can't defy The Deity, Somor" Eamin replied, once again being cut off.
"Somy, we've been given orders. And... no matter how this ends, we'll be there. We'll do this together" Somor felt himself being touched by his friend's words, and knew there was no more sense in trying to argue whatever points he had left to argue. And he felt himself slowly nodding.
"Besides, we could do a bit of adventure, right, girls? It's great getting out" Denash replied with a smile. Jemla turned around to face her friend.
"It's sorted, Somor. We know what we are doing, right?"
"Yeah. So we'll leave tomorrow" Somor said.
"Yep... we'll make the decisions tonight of how we'll get to Gremii" Jemla nodded in agreement.
And so, the beginning of the end of Somor's life had commenced.
TO BE CONTINUED...