Chapter 7: Speak my name.
The ground shook and the earth trembled underneath Lumire as she stirred back to the land of the living. A warm hand touched her cheek and she saw a beautiful radiant being standing before her. She was tall and lithe wearing indigo robes with sapphire rimming and golden trim. She had luminescent and flawless aqua skin with hip length silver hair. Her face was reminiscent of an angel's face, as it possessed a warm smile upon it. "Be still, little one," She spoke in a heavenly honey-tone voice, "My son will take care of you, but if he should need more help, speak my name." She smiled as she stepped aside to reveal an image of Sevish standing between her and a beast that resembled Ifrit. His eyes were powerful and his hands pointed, palms out, at Ifrit. He was covered in a suit of ivory colored plate armor that had a strange name engraved in arcane symbols on its back. Suddenly, an eruption of light plowed skyward from the ground underneath Ifrit, engulfing it and blinding Lumire.
Lumire was in the medical ward of the castle, she had been sleeping, it seemed, and was completely safe for the moment. Her father stood over as if he had been watching her for the full of the night. "Father?"
"Shhh," the king quieted, "you were eaten; I would prefer you rest longer."
Lumire panned the room, "Where is Sevish?"
"He's is in the next room."
"How is he?"
"He saved your life."
"How is he?" Lumire questioned forcefully.
"He is in a Coma; he was apparently too unskilled to conjure the holy spell while maintaining his invincibility. To think that he was bold enough to try his father's trademark…" the King trailed off.
"I want to see him," Lumire exploded, "I want to see him, now!" She tried to get up from the bed despite her protesting muscles. King Orslan pushed down on her shoulders and held her in bed.
"I will bind you to this bed if need be." Orslan growled, "You will heal fully before getting up. Besides, the ninja girl is currently at his side and I don't think she will suffer your presence for long."
"Then remove her!"
"She is closer to him than you. You would lose if you made him choose now." Lumire relaxed as the reality settled in. She had not even contemplated there would be another woman in Sevish's life. After all, didn't Paladin segregate upon gender lines while training? "Listen, daughter, there is something you need to know about Vyse Wil Sevish of the Bastok Paladin."
The next room over was a much different story, Kaze had spent the last three days at Sevish's side. Sleep took her several times in the process, but always awoke to a still unconscious Sevish lying on a down bed. It was time she said something to him, "You jerk," She whispered, "Why you can't just say no once in a while is beyond me. Why do you have to help everyone? This isn't the first time you've been lying in a bed, on the verge of death. Will you ever learn?" the Mana potion I.V. drip plopped into the bag that lead to the artery in Sevish's wrist. "Your father would have been proud of you."
"Jeez," Sevish squeaked feebly, "do you ever shut up?" a weak Cheshire grin spread across his face.
"How long, you jerk?"
"You were about to kiss me in my sleep." Sevish's Cheshire grin grew wider only to have Kaze's fist to collide with his shoulder (the only unexhausted part on his body.) It wasn't a hard punch but it still caused its share of pain.
"Do you know how worried I was?"
"I could tell. I had to, Kaz, maybe because you're a ninja you might not understand. I have a duty to all life to protect it as best I can."
"And I have pledged to protect you. Which, I can't do if you won't let me."
"I let you."
"By ditching me to go hunting by yourself? Your father would be proud of you, but my mother is not proud of me."
"That's a lie. You deserve freedom, Kaz, not being chained to me."
"Did it ever occur to you that I might want to be near you?" the conversation paused awkwardly. This was definitely something he had not expected to hear from his childhood friend.
Suddenly, a loud explosion rocked the palace; startling both Kaze and Sevish out of their predicament. They both rose to their feet (gingerly in Sevish's case) and move out of the room. Rydon was barking orders to passing guards as he seemed to be reinforcing the room the Princess was recovering in. "Hume!" Rydon called, "defend my Princess and I will change my opinion of your kind."
"Rydon, What's going on?"
"We've been attacked, a horde of beast men the likes of which has never been organized before. I need to get to the defense room, Sevish, can you guard the Princess?"
"He's still too weak." Kaze interrupted.
"I'll help, Rydon, anyway I can." Sevish responded with a stern look at Kaze who shot one right back at him.
"Go, Castine is with Lumire; she will know the way." Rydon removed the barricade long enough for Kaze and Sevish to slip inside the room.
Sevish winced in pain as he stepped into the small room; he looked around the room and found its two occupants. Lumire was clothed in an armored robe made with blue satin cloth and light mithril plating covering every vital point she possessed. Castine was a different story; however, her armor resembled the servant's uniform. It resembled Sevish' s own ceremonial armor only instead of a servants knee length skirt there was only a micro mini leather piece meant only for modesty's sake. Her upper body was covered in adamant heavy armor that resembled a lizard's sacles and moved as such. The adamant armor covered every ounce of skin on her body so that only two places were open to the air: Castine's head and thighs. "Sevish, you came. I was worried that we would be on our own."
"Not if I have anything to say about it." Their surroundings began to rumble louder than before and massive explosions rocked the castle walls. It seemed the beast men had learned how to construct siege devices.
"We must leave this place." Stated Kaze
"Agreed, Sevish your armor is in that corner," hastened Castine, "We must leave now."
"Their actions will not be rewarded," spat Lumire as she stood and grabbed a majesticly ornate staff as it pulsed with power.
"Please, mistress, we must leave now." Castine called out to her monarch. Sevish had only managed to pull on his gauntlets, greaves and boots before the wall of the room collapsed. Castine pushed a loose brick in the wall and the wall slid open.
"This way! Hurry!" Shouted Castine as everyone followed (Sevish, after he grabbed Curtana).
Sevish had been expecting a stairwell, or maybe a hallway, however, he was presented with a chute. A slippery chute that he almost cracked his head against, as his feet jumped out from underneath him. The Chute twisted and turned as it wound around, what seemed to be, the full of the castle grounds. With in seconds all four people crashed out onto the front court and onto each other. Without hesitation Sevish, Kaze and Castine drew their weapons (Sevish drew Curtana, Kaze drew her dual short blades, and Castine her marksman's bow.) It seemed that the courtyard had been overrun with beast men. "Over there!" yelled Castine as she placed several well aimed arrows into the jugulars of several beast men that were blocking a stairwell thirty yards to their left. The small group of fighters moved across the embattled courtyard and onto the steps leading up. However, they soon found themselves blocked by a familiar face.
Maureen had been standing there watching the battle rage on almost as if frozen in place, "Maureen, come with us," Castine turned to fire off a few arrows in the encroaching surge as Kaze and Sevish formed a barrier between her and Lumire. With a tooth gnashing screech of metal against metal, everything became quiet. Castine lowered her bow and reached behind her; there was a dagger lodged in Castine's back. "Maureen?" wheezed Castine as she slumped forward; caught by Lumire who gently guided her to the ground.
"Why!?!" yelled Sevish as he pointed his blade at Maureen's throat with every intention of giving her another mouth if she did not have a good answer.
Maureen turned to Lumire (who was now holding a mortally wounded Castine in her arms) and said, "All Castine as ever done is perpetuate the status quo. Aren't tired of living under someone's thumb just because you are of a different gender?"
"This is not the way things change, Maureen." Lumire yelled with tears in her eyes.
"Quite the contrary, revolution is always the way things change."
"Are they yours?" wondered Kaze with the same intentions of killing the blonde mithra if given the slightest chance.
"Indeed, aren't they beautiful?"
"So you burn the Grove to cinders, what then? Do you think anyone left will follow you?" screeched Lumire as she tried desperately to stop Castine's bleeding.
"You have it wrong, I don't want to rule. I want my sisters to be free. I want everyone in the grove to be able to make their own decisions. Bloodshed be damned." Maureen rambled on,
"It was you," a wave of realization washed over Sevish as the hair stood on the back of Sevish's neck, "you did something to Ifrit."
"Bomb's Ash, I put it in your hammock while you were trying not to look at me."
"Bomb's Ash, you were trying to drive the old guy in to a blind rage!" Kaze remembered that bomb's ash had a very potent effect. It intoxicated humes and was used as a recreational substance despite it being illegal, "Ifrit's nose is so powerful that just being near it would have confused and intoxicated him."
"And you were all too stu… (gargle)" an arrow lodged itself in Maureen's throat.
"Oh Shut up." Castine spit, she had pulled a small cross bow from her hip. With that Castine fell limp; Sevish knew that her time was limited. He had to act now or Castine would die. Sevish, leaned down and took Castine from Lumire.
"I think killing her was a bad idea." Kaze yelled as the horde began approaching. It seemed that Maureen was the only thing keeping them at bay. Kaze began fighting them with everything she had. She was doing good but they still were gaining ground. Lumire stood and moved to Kaze's side smashing the monsters as they got too close and blasting them with every arcane and black spell she knew.
"Go," Castine swore at Sevish, "She needs your help now."
"I can save you!"
Castine grabbed Sevish by the collar and pulled him face to face with her, "Save her!" she wheezed feebly.
Sevish was torn between saving the injured Castine and helping Kaze and Lumire fend off the encroaching horde. Lumire could feel it radiating off of him. She knew that they going to be overwhelmed eventually and knew that that they could not do it on their own. It looked as if they were going to die either way. Then, as if slowing the very nature of time itself a whisper found its way into Lumire's heart, "Speak my name…"
Lumire's heart strengthened and she spoke the only name that she could think of, "Eden…"
With a gush of wind to rival seven tornados, all of the beast men were blown outside of harming distance and a magic circle appeared beneath Lumire's feet. The arcane symbols in the circles moved and aligned as if opening a lock. Once aligned completely, a barrier shot from around the circle and parted the clouds above them. From the newly formed break in the clouds came an etheric maiden just as she appeared in Lumire's dream. The long silver hair whipping wildly behind her the radiant woman paused inches from the ground in the middle of the circle and raised her hand. With a single wave, each beast man and monster that laid siege to the grove blew away as if so many grains of sand in the wind.
Sevish laid eyes on the being that had descended from the sky, and nearly swallowed his tongue, Lumire saw this and looked at the being she had summoned (and by doing so formed a contract with as a summoner) and knew what her father had told her was true. Sevish's mother was an Aeon.