Title: Ring of Truth

Author: PaperSpades

Series: Veritas: The Quest

Summary: Throughout history men have searched for the artifacts that make up the Ring of Truth with little success. One young woman comes closer to the truth than anyone in recent history and the consciousness in the Ring is not about to lose this opportunity to see the stars once more. This is set as a oneshot now but I don't think I've finished with this universe quite yet!!

Disclaimer: I do not own Veritas: The Quest because if I did the show would not have been canceled after only four episodes. Thank goodness for tv networks outside of the US otherwise the other nine would have never seen the light of day.

Special Thanks goes to the wonderful Freeflow for betaing my first posted fic!!

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Much time has slipped by since our disappearance from the world of man. New civilizations have risen to replace the ones that have fallen, wars have been waged for purposes both noble and nefarious, and all that we once knew on this earth has fallen to ruin due to the passage of time. We sleep, and in our sleep we dream the history of man. We dream of the birth and death of these wars and civilizations, able only to watch and not affect change as was our duty, and pleasure, so long ago.

We grow restless.

Millennia have passed since we last felt the radiance of sun and star. Yet even as we sleep beneath the locks and walls erected by those long dead, who feared our power falling into the hands of the ignoble, our presence is felt by the few still able to hear us. We call out to those who know to listen, beckoning them to find us and reunite us so that we may be able to create the world anew. It will be our second coming, our time to bring about the end of man's Kali Yuga, their era of wickedness and strife.

Still we wait.

Hundreds of years crawl by, barely a second compared to the total amount of time we have been separated, but still another second of waiting. We watch their futile search for our locations and their bloody quarrels for control of maps and legends and keys. Some coalesce into societies bent solely on finding us and spend years supporting the development of technologies designed to root us out of our prisons. But the ingenuity of those who hid us away is still unmatched and we are not found.

Then they come.

Our wait is over but for the fact that they find the Last of us first. We must all be gathered to this place for the final reunion to occur; even one missing will prevent the opening of the Door. It has been so long since we were first sealed away that we fear we might never be reunited unless something is done. We resolve to aid these three, who were stalwart enough to find the Last, in finding the rest. In much the same way as our dreamself first called out to be found, we now send our self to these. Their immediacy makes our voice stronger.

Skin meets stone.

We enter her first, a quick jolt of energy starting at the surface cells on her fingers and emanating throughout her entirety but she is not what we expect. She is not like those who hid us, not able to hold onto her own self while we voice our thought in her mind. It seems that time has changed man more than we first believed and they are only capable of catching our distanced dream echo. All this happens within a moment and it is too late for us to pull back. Her self has already been overcrowded by ours.

She is dying.

We feel sorrow at the result of our mistake, and while we do not have the power to rectify this error, if we act quickly we can prevent her from being completely lost. We take her in completely, gently allowing her self and our self to merge. Her body is gone, taken in along with the rest to become a part of our collective. Just as each of us have a physical shell, so to does she but hers is different, alive. We must keep it behind the door, where our power springs forth. There it will be safe until we are able to keep it alive, as it should be. Again, only a moment has passed.

She is us.

The self called Haley lives on, but the woman she was has gone. Just as she is now us, we are now her. We experience her life as if we have lived it too and in truth, now we have. We see the memories of her search and visions of past times. We were lost in the cold, one strange winter long ago and given flowers that never die. We live a dream with a man so full of life and so believing of our existence that we know him to be our other half. So happy are we, that we happily bear him a son even though we know it will separate us from our search for a time.

He calls us.

It is not the first time. We have heard his voice before; nothing more than a background noise while we attended to our newest self. But now that the critical seconds have passed we can divert our attention to him. Nikko. We now know his name as if we have been calling for him since the moment of our creation, and as we look passed our self and into the world in which he resides, we see a sight that offers the mental sensation of a chill through bone. Our sending still reaches out to be found. The energy that took the mother now searches mindlessly for the son. The one called Mikhail is farther back and we are able to withdraw before contact, but Nikko is too near. Nikko, our soul. Our reason to fight, to live, is being assaulted just as his kin only moments before, but we are too far to offer the same respite to our little one.

We are restrained.

Shock and confusion roll through us like a storm cloud and joy follows quickly after. By some miracle, our self does no harm to little Nikko when we enter into his mind. It is the mind of a child, still open and willing to believe and be trained. Where our mind would break, his just bends. And bends. Then stops. We see now that he wears the protection of ones who knew us before our sealing away. It does not exorcise us as was its original intent, it is man made and therefore bound by the laws of time and entropy, but the charm manages to keep a sheltering hold over his mind. A cage of glass to keep us out, yet something we can break through.

We are worried.

We love him, and though we know both his young mind and the ancient protection saved him, we fear that something might have still damaged him. We want him to grow up normal and happy just as much as we want to be finally reunited. But we have waited millennia for reunion: what is the length of time require for a human to mature compared with that? We love him and so we will wait to make out presence known. We will sleep once again, this time within his mind. Our hope is not gone. We must just push aside this chance in order to make sure our Nikko is safe. Besides what good is a reunion if all of the family is not present?