Part 1- The War of Ages
“Calm yourself, Ethan,” the plump, elderly man urged.
The lean, dark-haired boy scowled at him and seized his pacing. His piercing, deep brown eyes narrowed slightly, making him look slightly more intimidating. “They’re out there,” he snarled. “My own younger brother is out there, fighting off those filthy soul eaters, and you’re telling me to ‘calm’ myself?”
The old man sighed and stroked his long, snow white beard. “Caleb is a splendid warrior,” he insisted soothingly. He took a small sip from his tea cup and slid his sightless eyes shut. Ethan’s restless pacing resumed. “Hael is right, Ethan,” the young woman said and took a seat next to their grandfather. He patted her leg gently. “I am certain that Caleb shall return from this battle with the others.” She leaned forward and reached for a tea of hot Jasmine tea. “You have trained him well.”
“He is still just a child, Oasis,” Ethan snapped. “He may know how to wield a sword like a true swordsman, but he is still but seventeen. He is still a child.” Oasis nodded grimly and sipped her tea. Hael sighed and reached for his ‘walking stick’, a thick wooden cane with a hidden blade inside. Oasis gasped and set her cup down. “Do you require help, grandfather?” she asked sternly.
Hael waved her away. “I can manage, young one,” he assured his anxious granddaughter. Ethan sighed and returned to the crackling, red-orange fire. The warm light danced off his agitated, anxious face. Oasis gripped his hand tightly and he squeezed back immediately. “He will return,” she coaxed him. Ethan nodded at her sister’s words echoed through his mind. “Caleb is a strong warrior. He shall return. The others along with him. They will not let harm come to him.”
Hael nodded in agreement. Ethan sighed and shifted his gaze to the raging, warm fire in front of him.
Oasis climbed to her booted feet and wandered over the blocked entrance of the cave. The air before her shimmered and produced a dull, blue-white light. She touched it and then jerked her hand away. The skin of her fingertips hissed from the mild burn. Her eyes, as clear as glass and as silver as the moon above her, searched the sky, as if the answers to their troubles were hidden in the stars. Thousands of bright stars twinkled in the ink black sky like diamonds. The moon hung almost directly above her, its pure light bathing the thick, black forest in white light. Oasis sighed and folded her arms around her frail body.
The dull pain in her chest had intensified and spread to her stomach. Her heart gave a painful squeeze, but she dared not wince for Ethan was watching her. She could feel his dark eyes burn holes into her back. Oasis sighed again and rubbed her gloved hands up and down her chilled arms as a gentle, cool breeze blew past, whipping through her long, brown-black hair and kissing her soft, pale skin.
The night was quiet except for the crackling wood of the fire.
“It’s beautiful out, isn’t it?” asked Ethan, wobbling up behind her on one wooden crutch.
Oasis smiled up at him and turned back to her grandfather, who sat quietly sipping his tea. “Would you like to join us, grandfather?” she asked. Ethan frowned and his jaw clenched. His relationship with his grandfather was not as strong as hers. She sighed and wrapped an arm around her brother’s waist.
I am fine where I sit, young one,” he replied and sipped his tea again. Oasis nodded and turned back to the moon. “Are you sure that no Dragoons can get past this barrier, Ethan?” she asked warily. Ethan rolled his eyes and pulled her closer. “I can assure you,” he said calmly. “That Pong’s magic is strong. She assured me that no foul beast can enter this cave. The ruins on the walls are there in case this barrier is ever to collapse.”
Oasis nodded again and leaned her head against her brother’s side, for she was too short to reach his shoulder. “How long do you think they’ve been out there?” she inquired. Ethan looked down at her. “Maybe a little over midnight,” he guessed. Oasis nodded. “I wish-”
She gasped and lurched forward, panting and grabbing at her violently beating heart. The skin of her arm made contact with the barrier and scorched her skin. She screamed in shock and pain. Ethan jerked her backward. The crutch wobbled under her weight. Crimson blood poured from Oasis’s open mouth like water from a fountain.
She fell back into her brother’s trembling arms.
Hael rose to his feet and scampered over to his thrashing, screaming granddaughter’s side. “Oasis!” he shouted. Ethan held her arms tightly in his hand. Pain began to spread through his healing left leg. Oasis screamed and grabbed at her chest again, her nails clawing at the thin material of her blouse. Ethan cried out in anxiety. “Do something, Grandfather, please,” he pleaded. Hael reached into the breast pocket of his tattered, thin robe and fished out a glass statue of a praying angel.
“Prayers?” Ethan snapped. “You’re going to pray?”
“Hush,” Hael retorted heatedly and unscrewed the angel’s head from the statue. Oasis screamed again and her arms and legs flailed wildly in the air. Ethan grabbed her and crushed her to his heaving chest. The pain in his leg intensified. “Christ,” he growled as Oasis’s eyes rolled back into her head, only showing the whites. Blood gurgled from her mouth.
“Nosaukumā augstu debesīs virs,” Hael chanted in a low whispered. He tipped the headless angel’s body over and poured the glowing, silver liquid into his granddaughter’s mouth. Ethan held her head still with one hand and gripped his sister’s wrists in the other.
“Es aicinu jūs, varens eņģelis, saglabājiet šo jauno un nemierīgiem dvēseli no šis ellišķīgs mokas tā cieš cauri. Uz dievišķo nosaukumu Angel, atbrīvot šo dvēseli no šim nepanesamajam ciešanas.”
Immediately, Oasis went limp and her pale eyelids fluttered shut. Hael sighed and brushed a lock of her dark brown hair out of her face. Her features smoothed over into a peaceful, expressionless mask. Ethan heaved a sigh of relief. He regarded Hael with no found respect. “Grandfather….” Hael screwed the head of the angel back on the statue and returned it to its place in his pocket. He smiled wearily and patted Ethan on the shoulder.
“Angel’s Tears,” he said and smiled warmly.
Ethan stared in awe. Hael stroked his granddaughter’s pallid cheek. “What was happening?” he whispered. He scooped Oasis up in his arms and gingerly rose to his feet. His crutch wobbled and his leg buckled under him. Hael caught his grandchildren in his arms.
“I’ll take Oasis,” he offered. “You must attend to your leg.”
Ethan nodded and bent down to retrieve his wooden crutch. “Yes, wise as always, Grandfather,” Ethan breathed and handed Oasis over to Hael. Hael smiled. “Moonset is to end soon. We shoulder prepare for your brother’s arrival.” Ethan nodded and hobbled away after Hael deeper into the dimly lit cave.