Whoa! Long time no see! I know I've been busy I will try and try to update more. I've been crazy busy. And I left you at a cliff hanger last time I saw you guys! Wow I'm a jerk! Anyway got to get this nonsense done! Enjoy!
The teacher and the master stared at each other for the longest time. She didn't know what to say. Her brain was wheeling with questions, so many questions.
"How are you… alive?" she muttered in disbelief. "I… held your dying body… you spoke your last words to me… I… I… cried over you." She fell to her knees unable to hold herself up any longer. It was too much to handle. She felt like she was going into shock. How was any of this possible?
"Have you not been listening to Col, Artemis?" he asked her. "I'm not technically even a real person. I can't die not unless my other half goes with me."
"But… but he did," she told him firmly. "I killed him."
"Too late, I'm afraid," Gwydion replied. "I was already reborn. The deaths must be within a certain time span of each other."
"I'm afraid… he is still alive," Gwydion replied. Artemis shook her head.
"I… I did everything to stop him… I died trying my hardest to kill him!"
"I know," he told me quietly. "I'm sorry, Artemis."
"Then… then we have to stop him!" she said scrambling to her feet.
"You are in no state to do anything of the sort," Gwydion told her. "You are on the brink of an important moment of your life. One step the wrong way and it's all over for you."
"What do I do?" Artemis muttered.
"Nothing," Gwydion said shaking his head, "we hope it's not time and this passes."
"Does that happen often?" she asked him.
"Yes," Gwydion replied. "Sometimes, we feel on the brink of that moment, but it never comes. As long as you don't scratch at it, you should be fine."
"What about Ambrose!?" She shouted standing and pacing. "I died to kill him! Does that mean nothing!?"
"It does," Gwydion said sadly.
"I will take care of it," Col said suddenly. She turned his attention to him, "but you… I have been struggling to keep myself whole for a long time, but you have a chance to avoid it."
"How? What do I do?" she asked him finally slumping down on the ground across from Gwydion.
"Stop using magic," he told her. "Don't get into heated battles. Keep those who keep you in the light near. Keep your emotions steady. Rest. Above all, make sure your mirror never lands in anyone's hands not even your own."
"You don't have to worry about that," Artemis told him. "I don't even know where it is. Arthur hid it after Nimueh got her hands on it a few years back."
"Good," Gwydion replied.
"What do I do if it starts?"
"You won't know when it starts," Col told her. He looked a little upset. "It strikes you like lightning. Suddenly, you realized something you did wasn't something you would usually do whether it be kill a man or just unusual judgment. The other day it struck me, and I nearly killed Arthur. He was pretty oblivious about it." Artemis huddled her knees to her chest and took a deep breath in. The idea of her doing something like nearly killing Arthur or Merlin or Ava… it terrified her.
"I… I don't know… I'm scared," she admitted.
"You have a right to be," Col told her gently taking her hand. She squeezed his hand.
"You have to do something Gwydion," she said with a breath.
"Me?" her teacher replied. "I am fragile, Artemis. I can do nothing. The dark side is stronger than I am. I don't know where he got such power, but it's nothing I can defeat."
"What about Erus?"
"Erus is strong, but she isn't strong enough to do what needs to be done," Gwydion replied.
"Then who is?" Artemis asked him.
"There is only one person who can reverse this all, and kill Ambrose once and for all."
"The person who caused this in the first place, Hestia."
"Where can I find her?" she asked quickly as she stood. "I will find her as soon as I possibly can."
"There is a portal in the Pool of Nemhain," he told her. "It leads to a dark place, Artemis, but a place where you can find Hestia. She will tell you the answers you seek."
"Then that's where I'm headed," Artemis replied standing.
"I'll go with you," Col said.
"No," Artemis replied with a sigh. "I need to you to ride back to Camelot, and make an excuse for me. Tell Merlin and Arthur that I… went to Ealdor to visit my mother on a whim. I'll be back as soon as I can."
"You're dominant hand is useless, and you're going to try and do this alone! Are you mad!?"
"Completely," she replied. "I'll be back. I promise," she told Gwydion.
"Slow down child," Gwydion said. "You will need this." He held out a coin to her. Artemis took it from him. "Toss it into the water, and swim to the bottom. The world will reverse, and you will found yourself swim up instead of down."
"Swimming isn't exactly my strong point," she reminded him with a sigh.
"I believe you will do fine, Artemis," he told her. Artemis nodded.
"I'll return," she said with a nod. She started to walk out of the caves. Col was at her heels.
"You can't do this!" he shouted after her.
"I am," she told him before turning around to face him, "and if you try and stop me I will knock you out."
"Like you could," he told her sharply.
"Don't start with me Col. All it is a journey. I'm not fighting; I'm just looking for someone. I will be fine," she told him. He looked down to her and sighed.
"Very well, but do not bite off more than you can chew, Artemis." She nodded. "Be careful," Col muttered gently. She nodded before turning on her heels and leaving the cave. She was quick and wasted no time in getting on her horse and riding off.
She had to admit that on some level Col was right. Her dominate hand was as useless as Arthur thought Merlin was. If it came down to a fight, she would lose, and she knew that. In fact, at the moment, she couldn't even lift her arm let alone hold a sword properly, and yet she did not want Col to accompany her. She couldn't explain why, but she felt she had to do this alone.
It would take two days time to get to the Pool of Nemhain unless she rode fast, and she had decided that riding fast was the best thing to do.
"Libera," she whispered to her horse, "I need you to get me to the Pool of Nemhain as fast as you can carry me. Do you understand?" The horse shifted on the ground before she started off fast. Artemis clung to her, and Libera, being the loyal, quick, did not stop in the night, and by morning the next day they had arrived at the Pool of Nemhain. Artemis slid down from Libera as she drank from the pools.
Artemis approached the pool and pulled off her cloak before she stepped into the Pool of Nemhain. She tossed the coin into the pool and waited. She wasn't sure what she was waiting for, but she was waiting for some kind of signal that the gate was open. When there was no sign, she decided to dive in any way. She swam toward the bottom with a struggle. Her arm was stinging in pain, and just when she felt like she was going nowhere, she was swimming toward the surface.
She broke through the surface of the water. The land was plain, and there was no sun hanging in the sky. It was a barren, wasted place. She knew this place. This was the sunless lands. This was Death's land. Why was she here?
Artemis pulled herself ashore. She looked across the way to see a glittering land. It was beautiful and hypnotizing.
"That's the Land of Avalon."
"Where the souls of warriors go after death?" Artemis asked Death hearing that name in many stories. Death looked down at her and Artemis back up at her.
"Indeed," she said. "Why are you here? And so strangely? You are the living in the land of the dead."
"I did not know the Pool of Nemhain would bring me here," she admitted standing. "Gwydion sent me."
"Gwydion…? I haven't heard that name in many years," she said quietly.
"You know him?"
"I do." It clicked in Artemis's mind suddenly. Death knew Gwydion. Artemis knew she did something in the past that caused her to be cursed as Death. She came here for a woman who caused Gwydion to go mad and destroy the balance of the world.
"Are you… Hestia?"
"Hestia," she mumbled letting the familiar name fall off her lips. "How many centuries has it been since I was last called that?"
"I need your help," Artemis told her.
"Defeating Ambrose once and for all. Master Gwydion said that only you could help me," Artemis told her. Death looked away from Artemis as she thought for a moment.
"I cannot defeat him," she admitted.
"I know what Gwydion said," Death assured her, "and he is right. I know how to defeat him, but it is not my destiny to do so. It is yours."
"Mine?" Artemis questioned. "How? Tell me how."
"The Servants taught you how to draw a circle that can keep anything that steps into it trapped?"
"You must trap Ambrose in a circle within this circle, and you will have to step in. Once you are in this circle you must accept him into your body as you once accepted me. Do you remember?"
"But accepting him comes with a price. It'll be at that moment your own soul will shatter and your two halves will fight within your body, and the dark has an unfair advantage. You must overcome that darkness or you will doomed to live in the dark forever. Darkness will reign over you, and your darkness will reign over this world. You will be our doom." Artemis was silent as she took it all in. "Are you ready for this?"
"Yes," she finally said. "I can do this."
"Be careful," Death told her. That was a bit ironic. Artemis nodded.
"How do I get back to the land of the living?" she asked. Death reached out a hand, and with a flash of light Artemis was standing just outside Camelot. Artemis knew what she had to do. She just needed to wait for the ideal moment to put her plan in motion.