Chapter 19: Countess Permer and the Last God
The intruders tried to escape by following the secret passages of the castle; they had to return back at all costs, together with the stolen items. The soldiers pursued them following the underground passages which were ending at the edge of the city, leading to the forest. The robbers ran as fast as they could without looking behind, while a huge thunder made the sky completely dark, the sign of anger was clear to them.
“Alright everyone! Let’s do the laundry!” and Monica carried the baskets, full of clothes to the river. After three weeks of continuing traveling they had reached the boundaries between Nevol’s territory and the Independent Feuds; a part of Denmor which survived from the expansionary of the King and it was ruled by the remains of the old aristocracy. Some of them were Darvil, others were from Denmor; even so they were cooperating in order to maintain their independence at all costs. Darth thought that part of the land as a great hideout until Lily and the others could be able to move again. But that was not his only problem; the children, which were traveling with them, were a pain on his head. They would always mess with their rooms, sneak into the storage, playing with his cargo, and still when Lily or Monica was near they would behave with the highest respect. Now, he was calculating the remaining products that he could sell but the truth was that he needed new in a short time. He got out of the wagon and went to the river; everyone were cleaning their clothes trying not to get to wet themselves but Limon had already splashed water on Monica and they were fighting into the water together with the kids. Some of the girls were helping Lily to carry the fresh washed clothes back to the river’s bank and he helped them carry them out.
“Are you feeling better?”
“Much better and I thought I could help you with the kids” and Lily smiled
“Seriously we can’t have them with us for a long time. They will soon have to stay behind, you know the danger we are facing” and he suffused the clothes on the ropes they had tied on the trees.
“By the way where is Dings?”
“He is sitting over there” and Lily pointed to the direction she could feel the sad Heart Light. Dings was sitting on the rock near the water daydreaming quietly. Since they left the Forest he barely was eating but he was giving his best entertaining the children. Darth advised Lily to let him stay like this; eventually he would be his old self
“Besides” he continued “you saved Lefenia. I am sure he will see her again”
“Do you believe that?”
“Trust me, a Darvil’s lifespan overcomes that of a simple human” and he took the baskets from her hands and walked to the wagon. He placed them near the wheels and sat on the fallen trunk near the river. Lily followed him from his steps and sat beside him.
“Tell me Lily, how old are you?”
“I am seventeen” she answered sincerely
“I will be seven hundred and thirty two next month” and Lily almost fell from the trunk from her surprise
“You are kidding me right?
“No, a Darvil can even touch eternity if he wants but in the end we will die just like everyone else.”
“Who will die?” Monica said behind them when she overheard their conversation while drying herself with a towel.
“Don’t tell me that you are talking about age Darth” Limon said behind Monica
“Why? How old do you think he is?” Monica asked puzzled and when Lily answered her question she turned to Limon asking his age.
“Don’t be rude to me Monica! I am younger then him!” the dragon said with flamboyance
“How much younger?” the girls asked with one voice
“I will be six hundred on the following three months” he said with pride and the twins lowered their heads
“Let’s not speak about ages anymore” Monica said and everyone agreed. They heard the kids fighting over the food they had already prepared and they went to the dining table, eating together with everyone. That night Lily was sitting outside the wagon near the fire, trying to contact Elder Fin through the Mirror. Monica found her covered with the blanket sitting outside and sat near her.
“It’s been a while since we were like alone like this” and hugged her from the shoulder”
“Indeed” and she put the Mirror on the table
“No the Mirror is not responding, as if Elder Fin is not with us anymore” and he voice sounded full of worry
“Lily, he is a stubborn old man, I am sure he will be fine no matter where he is”
“WHO ARE YOU CALLING AN OLD MAN?” an angry voice came from the Mirror and Monica grabbed it quickly looking at its surface. Fin looked angry at first but when he saw Monica his expression relaxed and greeted her with kindness.
“Where have you been Fin? We were worried about you!”
“I apologize for my delay my Ladies but many things happened”
“So did here” Lily answered and Fin understood the hardships they’ve been through.
“Well now at least I have good news for you! We will meet soon enough, so Monica go and bring me that brat. I need him.” and Monica rushed into the wagon.
“Fin did you find anything regarding the last God?”
“Everything on their time my Lady, please be patient”
“Finally! And I had started to wonder where you have been old man!” Darth came out from the wagon wearing his night cape quickly.
“Same goes to you! And I have been really busy for your information! But now I need you to cast a teleportation spell”
“There is a friend of ours that wants to meet the Priestess” and Darth’s expression changed completely from surprise
“Her? Don’t tell me that you are with her?” and he quickly went into the wagon
“To whom are you referring and what does she wants with Lily?” Monica asked Fin. But Darth returned quickly, followed by Limon and Dings who were still sleepy, holding three tree brunches. When Monica saw them the memory came back to her and when Lily felt the radiance of their power she hands started to shiver. Darth created a circle with his sword and placed the three Ebu branches on the ground. He turned to the others and advised them not to move as they teleport and started to whisper something non-understandable. The branches bloomed quickly and the pink petals covered everything making them disappear from their location. For a moment it was like floating into the air until they felt again the ground under their feet. They were standing in front of a huge garden with all kinds of flowers blooming around them, each one with a different color and a different fragrance, making the scenery look like a painting. Someone was running towards them and they realized that Fin was coming to them. They greeted him happily and he bowed before Lily, hugged Monica and helped them to move to the huge mansion that was spreading after the garden. It was a mansion consisted from four different buildings all connected by corridors, small gardens and bridges that were crossing small ponds, decorated with water lilies. They passed the long corridor, after leaving the wagon and the children in the care of the women who greeted them, and entered thought the gate into the hall and after that into the main auditorioum. They saw a woman, around thirty, sitting on a throne in front of them surrounded from her ladies of honor. She stood up and she smiled:
“I welcome you to the Third Independent Feud. I am Countess Permer de la Darviliana and this is my home and my land. I welcome you Lady Lily, the future Priestess of our land”
“Thank you for your warm welcoming Countess Permer.” Lily said as she walked closer to her, feeling the gentle light of her Heart Stone at the color of the rose quartz. “May I ask why you have called us?”
“I have found where the last God is Lady Lily” and everyone remained speechless from their surprise. “I understand that you have been through a lot and that’s why you will be my guests. I will protect you as long as I rule these lands and everything you will need, don’t hesitate to ask.” And she clapped her hands calling her servants. “Take them to their rooms, help them have a bath and change into new clothes. We shall dinner into the main dinner hall and there I shall answer all your questions”
“Thank you Countess Permer for your hospitality” and together with Monica left Darth and the others, following Permer’s servants into their rooms deep into the mansion.
“You are looking well all of you. I must tell that your adventures are told all around Denmor”
“It’s been a while Countess, and I must tell time has been good with you” Darth said while bowing with respect. Permer walked to him and touched his shoulder. She took Dings on her arms patting the puppy’s head and bowed to Limon.
“Please rest in here, I will explain the details on the dinner” and they moved to the other building following her attendants.
After a nice bath and a relaxing massage with herbal plants, aromatic herbal oils and an arrangement on their hair, the girls were now heading to the dining hall guided by their attendants. Dressed with light dresses made of soft silk, which was leaning their shoulders open, and wearing beautiful earrings and necklaces, all made from precious stones, amethyst and topaz for Monica, amber and sapphire for Lily they entered the main dining Hall and they found Limon and Dings already on the table waiting for the others. Limon made a compliment for Monica’s dress but she sat on her chair without answering or looking at him. Lily laughed and she heard footsteps as Lady Permer entered the dining Hall followed by Darth and Fin. She sat on the top of the table, having Lily on her right and Darth on her left and they began their meal. Fin then stood up making a toast wishing the best luck and he sat again. When they finished their lunch and the desert was served together with tea, Permer began:
“The children who came with you will be staying from now on with me, I will take good care of them and teach them everything the need to know in order to survive” and Dings thanked her with relief “Now Elder Fin if you wish” and she gave him the right to speak.
“I would like to announce something. Three days ago there was a robbery at the Royal Palace of Selemir”
“What? How did they get in?”
“No if they managed to get in how did they get out?” Darth asked correcting Limon at the same time.
“What did the steal?” Monica asked him
“The Selemir Records” and everyone almost got drown with their tea. Lily remembered Fin referring to the Selemir Records as information about the Priestess’s role and the Gods when they were on Namur, before everything begins.
“But isn’t that strange? Why Nevol allowed something so dangerous and precious to him get stolen?” Dings said with skepticism.
“The robbers were no ordinary people but Rebels of the Northern Mountains. The news of your success has reached them and they took action on preparing the path for an open attack after Lady Lily requires the last God. I personally sent Mimi to write down everything she can find by studying the Records and she sent back her results through the teleportation spell. I would like to discuss them with you Lily tomorrow”
“Of course Elder Fin, but why did you leave the Library? I thought that there was your home” Lily asked and Fin’s expression became dark, making him look older than he really was.
“The Library was closed by Semer under the order of investigation. They believe that I gave information to the Northern Rebels about the Palace and its secret passages” and everyone heard his words astonished
“Luckily he contacted me and from that time he is my guest” Permer said smiling and Fin thanked her for her hospitality. Lily asked Permer how did she knew Darth and the others and she said that they helped her a long time ago with a personal problem of hers
“And that’s how I open the next important topic: the location of the last God. Thanks to Fin’s investigation and through the studies of the ancient texts we found that the God’s name is Menfor the Fire Emperor. He has the power to create volcanoes at will even whole continents. His Temple used to be the Black Volcano at the North but now he has disappeared.”
“Truly the most frightening of them all” Lily said while she could hear the voices of Azure, Clomin, and Bener on her head telling her stories about their brother.
“And if his residing place is gone then where is he?” Darth asked and everyone looked Permer waiting for her response.
“Marciant, Duke of the Fourth Feud, is an amazing weapon smith, his talent overcomes that of any human or Darvil. His weapons sell really high on the Imperial Army and he has the favor of the King. He says that his talent is a gift given from the Fire God; and I wonder how he got that talent, what do you think?”
“He made a pact with God Menfor!” Lily said realizing her thoughts and everyone turned to her
“Exactly Lady Lily, that’s what I thought too. Marciant owns a precious stone, a ruby that has the color of blood. He boasts about being a family memento from the Old Times but I think that this stone is the God himself!”
“Then what are we waiting for? Let’s steal it!” Limon said but Permer moved her head disagreeing with him
“Unfortunately he carries it with him all the time, I have seen that stone too. Besides I don’t think that the God himself would be touched by anyone except the Priestess”
“Then what should we do?” Monica said summarizing everything she heard until now. Taking Lily to see that Duke was impossible since he had the King’s favor and also if she obtained the stone his business would get down.
“There is one opportunity to meet Duke Marciant. There will be a gala on his mansion hosting all the Lords and Ladies on the Independent Feuds and I will be going.”
“And? How would that help us” Dings asked
“We will sneak into the mansion, create a fuss. While Lily will take the Stone” Darth said continuing Permer’s idea
“That’s the plan generally. I shall present Lily as a gift for Marciant while Darth and Limon will keep an eye on her and create a difficult situation in order for her to escape.
“Wait a second! Present her as a gift? Like slaves or, even worse, concubine?” That’s insane Monica said protested on their plan
“Of course she will not be given away! She will just have to present a talent amusing the guest, and when the chance allows it, she will steal the Stone” Permer answered to Monica.
Lily stood up and looked at everyone’s Heart Lights gathering their feelings and thoughts. She turned to Permer and smiled to her “Then I shall present them the only talent I have: my dance”
Monica lied near Lily on their bed; she was angry with her sister, angry because she accepted that dangerous plan.
“Don’t be angry Monica, your Light becomes really bothering” Lily said already covered with her blanket and with her eyes closed
“Why wouldn’t I? You decided that yourself, without even thinking. Also Darth protested that idea, insisting that it would be better if we just steal that Stone from that Duke”
“And then what? Marciant would call the Army and we would be pursued again, leaving behind someone who would die defending us. Monica Lady Permer is already in danger only by providing us the means to operate that plan. I don’t want any more human losses” and she hugged her sister crying quietly on her arms as they slept together under that hazy night.
Chapter 20: The dancing Lily under the Red Moonlight
I spent the following days learning all the ways of seducing men. Lady Permer said that she would present me as a dancer from the Northern islands, so my manners, speech and movements had to be like I truly was from there. Monica helped me a lot by correcting my mistakes and listening to Permer’s advises. What made me most worried was the meeting with Elder Fin that happened two days ago. I still remember that when I got out from the room the two of us had discussed I felt really weak and I wanted to forget everything he said; also I begged him never to reveal anything to the others. Now Lady Permer said that she wanted to meet her at her room. Together with Monica we entered her room and sat to the couch she had prepared. I heard the sound of the cutlery as fresh juice was served and the smell of the fresh baked cookies made me hungry. I heard Monica asking Lady Permer about her life and how she came to be the Countess of her Feoud.
“That’s an old story, but I would be happy to tell you” and with a voice that was full of the sadness for the past and the love for someone forgotten she began recounting about her life.
Permer was born into the glorious city of Athens at the 5th century BC. At that time she was not called Permer but Nausicaa, daughter of Euagora, one of the richest merchants in the Aegean Sea. As the society demanded that time she learned from a young age everything a woman should know: doing the house chores, educated on music, writing and reading Homer (that’s how she got her name from) and preparing for the time she would be married and bring honor to her family. Then the city prepared to celebrate the most important religious festival, Panathinaia, and she was also prepared with her family to attend the procession of the maidens which would lead to Parthenon. When she was waiting for her parents to come she noticed a strange tree on their garden she had never seen before; when she touched it the Ebu tree teleported to Denmor dropping her in front of the mansion of Count Jahor Darvilian, aristocrat and Ruler over his land. At that time Nevol had already been a king for one hundred years and he was fighting the Northern Rebels. Jahor saw Nausicaa appearing in front of him and fascinated by the Outsider beautiful girl with the curly brown hair and eyes he took her in and helped her overcome the difficulties of the loss of her home and family. He taught her how to write and read as also the ways and the history of this world. The sympathy became friendship and friendship became love. They got married and she became Countess Permer de la Darviliana and together with Jahor they lived happily for thirty years. But the good times didn’t last as General Semer found through investigation that Count Jahor was helping the Northern Rebels against the King. He was taken away leaving Permer alone for ten days. Semer personally returned him; his head inside a silver box as he was beheaded like a traitor. After that Permer inherited the Feud and lived grieving for her love for a long time. That’s when she discovered his research about the Priestess of the Four Gods and then she met Elder Fin as also Darth, Limon and Dings.
“And that’s how my life was” she concluded while Monica was crying near me.
“If you lived at the 5th century BC that means that you are at least 2000 years old!”
“How can be so young yet so old?” Monica asked surprised after me.
“That is something my husband taught me before he dies. The Spell of Willpower; when one person has a purpose or someone he or she wants to protect, the will can become so strong that can also be transformed into life-force” I heard her saying, thinking at the same time Darth’s and Limon’s ages. Willpower to life-force, what an incredible magic! And she lived that long waiting for the Priestess to come. I “saw” her Heart Light changing slowly, as if she wanted to reveal something. I heard her standing up and walking and again walking towards me.
“Monica, I want you to hold Lily still” and I felt Monica’s hands holding my shoulders. Fingers held my eyelids open and something wet fell on my eyes; I shouted from pain as my eyes were burning and then I felt really strange. Slowly but steady the darkness disappeared revealing an image full of many new to me things. I closed my eyes because of the strong light and I reopened them; I heard Monica calling me and I turned seeing a girl sitting near me.
“Monica… is that you?” I said surprised and she hugged me laughing and crying at the same time
“The drops were tears of a dragon. They can provide the sense of sight even to the blind” the woman in front of me said “but only for a short time; I would say around 48 hours”
Two days! For two days I would be able to see! And I laughed from joy.
Lily and Monica followed Lady Permer to her beautician; they had to change her hair into that of an island girl which means that she had to cut her blond hair short and dye them black. But before that Lily saw for the first time herself into a mirror memorizing every detail of her face; her eyes were now red and her blond hair were falling on her shoulders. After three hours her hair was short, close to the base of her cheeks and black, she had been completely transformed. Permer instructed them not to get out from the mansion before the day of the gala comes and leaded them back to their room. Lily was watching everything around her, every detail, color and shape touching things that she could only imagine before. At the dinner time Darth, Limon and Dings didn’t appear; they went to scout Marciant’s mansion looking for many ways to enter secretly and they would return later. When the girls returned to their room Monica slept right away while Lily sat near the window watching enchanted the night sky, full of many stars but from time to time she could see some of them fall.
I walked out from the room without being noticed and headed toward the main Hall. The fireplace was still burning and as I was looking for him; I wanted to see him after all this time I had spent with everyone. I sat in the couch and watched the flames as they were dancing burning the wood. Suddenly I heard voices coming from the outside and went to the gate which was leading outside, opening the left door a little. Something small and black was sitting on the ground barking loudly
“I am hungry! Why didn’t they leave anything for us?” Dings said whining around the golden beast near him
“Stop already Dings, I am sure Darth will find something in the kitchen for us” the dragon said as I recognized Limon’s voice which sounded tired. Suddenly I heard footsteps behind me and I hid behind the columns near the gate. I saw a boy walking to the exit holding a plate with food. He had black short hair and red eyes sparkling into the mid-dark room. He stopped walking and put his left hand on his chest taking out a necklace, kissing it softly. I recognized the silver butterfly I gave Darth back then and I held my breath as I hid behind the column trying to remain as quieter as I could until I heard the door closing. Quickly I ran back to my room and closed the door behind me feeling my heart beating fast.
The day of the gala finally came. Lily was already dressed with the local clothes of a dancer and was waiting patiently in her room together with Monica as the last details on her makeup were over. A red dress which was really revealing on some parts, dance flat shoes and many precious stones on her hair and her neck were making her appearance really exotic to everyone. Lady Permer came into their room repeating again the parts of their plan: Lily would draw attention and try to acquire Marcient’s stone while Darth, Limon and Dings would try to find more information about the Duke’s actions with the King and also keep an eye on her; Monica would be one of Permer’s ladies of honor and so she was also dressed as one of them. They moved to the exit ready to get on their coach when a man’s voice made them stop “Darth!” Permer said and turned to him discussing the final details. Monica looked at him and then she turned to Lily. Her face was covered but her eyes, although they were red, were betraying her feelings. She was surprised and at the same time relieved seeing the tall man with his hair tied back and his red eyes glimmering in the dark.
“I didn’t know that he could transform too” Monica said to her sister and Lily explained her about the red moon
“He is still cute” and she smiled moving to the coach and getting in.
Lily also got ready to get in but she tripped and she felt strong hands grabbing her waist and lifting her again
“Are you alright?” he asked her and she turned to him. Darth took off the face covering and looked at her without speaking. Lily was looking at him straightly: the lines of his face, his forehead and the red eyes wanting to touch his face again like she did back then at the day she found out about his true form.
“Yes I am” she answered and he put her face cover back, helping her get on the coach.
“Good luck to all of you” and the driver began taking them away from the mansion. Lily looked at him as they were moving further and further until she couldn’t see him anymore and sat back on her seat.
They arrived at the mansion of Duke Marciant after a half hour driving. His servants led them into the big dining hall which was decorated with diamond chandeliers and the tables were scattered around the huge room leaving the central Hall open.
“Countess Permer! It is an honor having you tonight with us!” Duke Marciant greeted her kissing gently her hand
“The honor is mine Duke. And to thank you for your hospitality tonight I have for you and exotic gift” and she introduced to him Lily, who bowed without looking at him but at the same time sensing the radiance of God Menfor coming from his decorated necklace, and he looked at her with interest.
“Where is she from?”
“From the Northern Islands; I found a great talent on her and I would be delighted if I could show her to the guests tonight”
“Of course Lady Permer! She will amuse us after the dinner!” and he left welcoming the other guests.
“Until now everything’s fine” she murmured and guided the girls into their own table telling them to wait here until their time would come and she left to her own table. Lily was looking at the people who were coming into the dining Hall enchanted from their dresses, their wealth and their aristocratic ways. But her “insight vision” was telling her the truth: jealousy, evil thoughts and even hate were the feelings of the most guests for their surroundings. She didn’t realize that the time had passed when Monica told her that it was time for her to move. She got up and with slow movements she walked to the central dance Hall, together with Lady Permer. She introduced to everyone as the “dancing flower” and the music began. Lily closed her eyes and let the music become one with her; the feet, the arms and her mind were one under the sweet melody which filled her body. She moved in circles covering with her movements the entire dancing floor, without caring about her surroundings, like she was dancing for the eyes of one person only. When the music was over she opened her eyes again and accepted the appluse of everyone, bowing to them with grace. Marciant got up from his seat and moved towards her
“Excellent performance “dancing flower”! Tell me what you want as a reward for your amazing dancing. You can ask anything you want!”
“Anything I want my Lord?” Lily said moving her eyes with innocence
“Then I wish for that beautiful stone on your neck my Lord” she said with determination
“That’s the only thing you will not have!” a loud voice came from behind and everyone bowed immediately as the guard was announcing the entrance of King Nevol into the dining Hall.