The Forsaken Race; Darker Times

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 12 (v.1) - Sanity's Parasite

Submitted: November 20, 2017

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Submitted: November 20, 2017

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The endless morning sky was tinted orange from the sun, which had just barely risen. A layer of dark clouds separated the sky from earth, making the ground invisible to T'Kala as she flew through the air. Her mind drifted, becoming more relaxed at the rhythmic beating of her wings.

Stay focused. You know your job.

The thought of her current mission was set firmly in her head. When she had gone to speak with an ally of both the Ritin and the Zyreans, the Petrif Gargoyles, she found something interesting. The gargoyle leader had nothing to report on sylph behavior, but T'Kala did encounter a smaller group of the gargoyles that were acting suspiciously. She could not help but follow them as they left Petrif territory. 

Right now, a layer of mist just hardly kept T'Kala out of view from the gargoyles, which were just ahead of her.

Keep steady...find out what they're up to.

 

 

\\\\\

 

 

"Are you even listening to me?" Asked Timbur, releasing a heavy sigh of irritation.

No response came from Leiytning, as Timbur followed him through the hallway of the Twin's Eye. 

This was the storm-eye that existed within one of the rooms of the fortress. All of the walls, roof, and floor seemed to be made of dark static clouds, despite being firm. Every fifteen feet, the statuette of a guard-like wolf stood on a stone plinth.

Timbur growled to himself. "Are you ignoring me on purpose?"

"I was trying to," Leiytning muttered, though he was doing a bad job at showing that he was joking. "What are you so worried about?"

"I told you!" Timbur replied, slightly annoyed. "Isn't it strange that Beast and his minions would attack the Silent Meadow?"

"No," said Leiytning. "Beast tries to take our land all the time."

"Yes, but not the meadow," Timbur argued. "He aims for the moors, oblivion knows how or why."

"I suppose you're right about that much," Leiytning agreed. "Although, with everything that's been happening, I can't say that I'm very stunned by this change. It could be a simple change in motive, or he could be replacing Dread's position."

The hallway came to an end, leaving nothing but a black door. In a flash of dark aura, a key appeared in Leiytning's hand, and he opened the door to the room. Timbur followed Leiytning inside, saddened by the sight of Thundur's unconscious body on the bed in the front-left corner. Leiytning set something on his worktable at the back of the room. It was his prosthetic hand, which had been damaged in the battle.

"Things have been off everywhere," said Timbur, "But, as usual, the meadow seems to be the worst. All the nonsense with dragon and behemoth was there, and then Beast. Do you think that something could be drawing them there?"

"That is one possibility," Leiytning replied, not breaking focus from his work. "But it's not just simple creatures like orcs and behemoths that are being affected. Panther reported that the Equus ghouls, a near-primitive race, had recently used firearms and specialized cannons to attack the Leos. Interrogation revealed that the Equus got the weapons through a secret trade system."

"Trade with who?" Asked Timbur.

"Evidence has directed suspicion to the Magma Harpies," Leiytning answered. "Now the question is how the harpies got their hands on it, because they're not advanced enough to build such artillery, either."

Timbur looked little more than confused. "I don't see your point in this."

"Simple," Leiytning responded. "It's not just the lesser creatures that are acting up. From the looks of it, something is going wrong with everyone. Things are beginning to change in the Northern Territories, but I can't tell what this change is, exactly. All I know is that none of it will be good for us."

"Darker times," Timbur muttered, sighing at the thought. "This won't be our first battle. But every time that something's risen against us, we've pulled through. This can't be any different."

"This is nothing like the other times," Leiytning replied. "At least those outcomes were slightly predictable. Here, I'm afraid we know nothing of who wants what, and what they'll do to get it."

"I guess that's true, unfortunately," Timbur agreed. "Although, it almost sounds like these races are bracing for an attack, or trying to raise defenses. For what, though? They have all they desire, there's been no new evolutions or migrations of races, or new wars declared; nothing's changed, at least not reasonably. This just started happening out of nowhere."

That point, sad but true, made Leiytning think to himself, Wait a moment...When did this all begin?

As he thought that, a different, much darker voice began to rattle his skull. 'Why's it matter? Either way, you know the outcome, don't you? ALL of you will-'

"Maybe not out of nowhere..." Leiytning muttered, ignoring the voice.

"What do you mean?" Timbur inquired.

"What and when was the first strange event that you witnessed?" Asked Leiytning.

"I guess it would be the Forest wyvern that came into the Blood Forest," Timbur explained. "That was...about twenty days ago."

"Around when Thundur was downed," said Leiytning. "Isn't it convenient that Thundur's downfall was followed by these odd events? In almost consecutive days, Corelia attacked us with new weapons and armor, and now everything's being thrown out of balance."

"You think the sylphs are behind this?" Timbur suggested.

"It's not impossible, and it makes sense," Leiytning explained. "Corelia has been exploring 'new methods' of combat, and you know how sylphs get their power. Once she saw that her new toy worked so well on Thundur, she'd want more things like that. More similar weapons create a stronger army, and the rest of us would be killed, alongside oblivion knows who else."

Timbur looked unconvinced, crossing his arms. "Still, there's a lot of factors that don't fit into the puzzle. I'm going to inspect this. Maybe I'll find something useful..." He hastily stopped himself before leaving, though. "That is, I'll do this unless there's something else I must attend to?"

"No," Leiytning dismissively answered. "All you are scheduled for is completely optional."

Timbur nodded in assent. "Very well, then."

That being said, Timbur left the room, closing the door behind him. The 'click' indicated that the door locked on its own. Now it was just Thundur, Leiytning, and Nightshade, who was coiled on the perch in front of the bed.

'CRACK!'

Another flurry of sparks flew into the air as Leiytning made more adjustments to his prosthetic hand. Its fingers twitched; the result of moving a wire back into place. While Leiytning worked here, his thoughts began to drift. 

At the very back of his mind, he could feel the small spark that still connected him and Thundur; the spiritual bond that made them blood twins. It was weak, though. The energy, or sort of pulse that it seemed to emit was strained. This only happened when they were far from each other, so in these conditions, it was only proof that despite her body being here, Thundur was still far away.

She could be lost, which would also explain her slow healing.

This made the dark voice, a nasty Hysteric Demon, continue speaking, to Leiytning's further discontent.

'Might as well face it, you fool. You've already lost her.'

Leiytning paid this no attention. Show me proof and I'll be more willing to not completely ignore every lie that goes through your teeth.

'Proof is for cowards. You're just too afraid to admit that I'm right.'

Since when have you ever been right about anything? All you ever do is lie to us in order to get inside our minds.

'What? Little ol' me? Why, I would never, heh heh heh...maybe...'

Bastard.

Leiytning focused his mind on something else in an attempt to silence the Hysteric that taunted him. It was a hopeless attempt, though. The memories all led back to one event that still made him shudder. Even though he was now trying to banish every memory, deafening voices and chilling darkness rattled his skull and the core of his mind.

"Past is dead, past is dead..." he spoke under his breath.

The Hysteric laughed at this. 'We both know that the past is far from dead, heh.'

Shut up!

After more focus, and a bit of Shadow Star's begrudging help, the Hysteric slowly but surely grew silent. Alongside his, any other voice or vision had faded. Leiytning took a deep breath, running his fingers through his black hair.

A different voice, the twisted spirit of Shadow Star, spoke up from his place in the realm beyond the twin's spiritual shrine. He sneered, 'Keep it together, you psychopath.'

Ignoring the spirit, Leiytning thought to himself, I don't know how much of this I can keep up on my ownIt seems to be getting worse than usual.

'To be honest, it is,' Shadow Star muttered. 'Just remember why you do this. Also, keep in mind that if you fail, Thundur automatically gets dragged into whatever hell you raise. Don't let her suffer on your account; she's already done enough for your worthless self.'

Again, Leiytning ignored Shadow Star's last remark. As for why he did this, it was simple and complicated at the same time.

He and Thundur both knew, deep inside, that submitting to this parasite-of-a-demon would end the misery that came with keeping such a frail sanity. The wrong words made it crack and splinter until small pieces began to shatter, and it was their darker memories that fueled the painful breakage. As such, ending it all was extremely tempting. To finally be free of it was a desire that he and Thundur had wanted for a long time.

Every time Leiytning thought of this temptation, he remembered the reason for fighting the demon. That is, the thought of his siblings came to mind. This is why he fought it, no matter what it did to him. It was that loyalty to what little he had left. Because there was one trick in giving up. 

Only a part of him would die. That would be the thing the Hysteric wanted to shatter, none other than the piece of the mind called 'sanity'. With no sanity, a far more sinister being would be unleashed; something the Hysteric created from the pieces of his broken will, long ago. This monster, the thing that was and yet wasn't a part of him, would cause a far worse fate than death to the allys. It would cause explicit pain, and kill any innocent bystander in the most gruesome way possible. All just to satisfy the Hysteric's bloodlust. And the main reason to fight, at least to him, was none other than Thundur. Like several components to the twins' bond, should he lose himself, then so would Thundur.

However, everyone had their limits, and fighting this demon, and its hellish creations, very much pushed theirs. Especially with Thundur on the verge of slipping away, so Leiytning was losing his main reason to fight the demon and himself. No reason, no purpose, no way to fight.

"How crazy am I?" Leiytning muttered.

"Very."

Alerted, Leiytning stirred at the voice.

'SHING!'

This visitor came seconds to death and Leiytning threw his silver dagger so that it missed its head by inches. To the leader's further surprise, Druitt stood in the doorway, only chuckling as his eyes landed on the dagger.

"What good aim," he sarcastically remarked, flicking the blade.

"How the hell did you get here?!" Leiytning impatiently snapped.

"If that's your problem, then you need to work on your security," Druitt answered. 

Seconds after this, Scorch and Timbur appeared behind Druitt, appearing to have been running for a while. Timbur already had a blade drawn, looking very annoyed by the concept of an intruder.

Scorch went on to remark, "For a demon with a crutch, he's surprisingly fast."

Timbur spoke next, "Sorry, Leiytning. He just let himself in, insisting that he speak with you."

"At least it's just Druitt," said Scorch. "It's not like we don't know him, or anything."

"It's the principle of the matter!" Timbur argued. "He can't just barge in and-"

"Quiet, runt," Druitt snapped. "This is important."

Timbur's ear twitched with irritance, glaring at the name. "Not worth it, not worth it..."

Leiytning was clearly annoyed by the intrusion. Not only did Druitt let himself into the fortress, but he let himself into the room where Thundur was. Naturally, Leiytning was defensive of his sister when she was in a vulnerable state.

"What do you want, Druitt?" Asked Leiytning, refraining himself from snapping at the Kaen.

"Show a bit of respect to an elder," Druitt retorted. "Don't talk to me like I'm a nuisance."

"Don't be one," Leiytning growled. "Start talking or get the fuck out."

Druitt snorted irately. "You're lucky that this is important and I need your help. Maybe you'd be more interested in the news about how the Aubades attacked our realm?"

Timbur looked utterly confused, his brows furrowed. "Since when are sylphs interested in the Kaens?"

"You'd be surprised," Druitt responded. "Aubades are aggressive toward anything they share borders with, and if something has demonic roots, then it's an instant threat."

"Did they do any serious damage?" Asked Leiytning.

"We lost six warriors, so nothing too serious," Druitt explained. "It's the story that you're going to be surprised at. See, those damn sylphs are up to no good, because they didn't attack at first. Instead, they came to speak with our leader. Corelia herself was part of the group."

Scorch grunted, negatively shaking his head. "That's not right."

"No it isn't," Druitt agreed. "But that's not all. Corelia wanted to know if we would be interested in establishing trade connections with Sybilius. Naturally, Lydra told Corelia to go away and shove the deal up her ass."

"Who is Lydra?" Asked Scorch.

"The Kaen leader," Druitt answered. "After we refused the deal is when they attacked. We managed to kill half of the group, but Corelia and a few others got away. I have a suspicion of something, and I need you to tell me if what I'm about to say sounds familiar at all."

Leiytning's only response was a glare of suspicion and slight confusion.

Druitt spoke in a more solemn tone, his eyes cast down, "I said there were six victims, and one of those victims was Lydra. We have a proper heir and everything, so there's still minimum damage to us, but it's what Corelia used to kill her."

"Weapons and armor that seemed to be forged in Oblivion?" Leiytning suggested.

"Exactly," Druitt replied. "She fought like a monster. Armor that dramatically improved her speed and strength, when she was already a nightmare on her own, and she used a sword that...that burned its victims, somehow."

"That's what she used to defeat Thundur," said Leiytning.

Druitt glanced at Thundur's motionless vessel. "I see that the attack took its toll on her." He sighed. "What a shame. I actually liked her."

"You say it as if she's dead already," Leiytning responded.

"Well, just look at-"

Scorch hastily interfered before someone said something they'd regret. "Druitt, do you have any idea what that weapon could be, or even where it came from?"

"I think it might've been the average Aubade weaponry, but reinforced with some kind of new magic; holy magic, at that," Druitt explained. "Y'know, like that 'purification' nonsense from the original afterlife customs." He shot Leiytning a glare of suspicion. "I'm surprised that you didn't recognize it. Aren't you familiar with this kind of stuff?"

"It wasn't purification magic," Leiytning replied. "The Aubades would require an afterlife of their own to obtain it. Not to mention, the wards and cursing symbols that Corelia used resembled elven magic, more than anything else, and Thundur even detected a similar aura coming from it. Perhaps a trade with elves is what's happening, though there's no way to tell which kind of elf would be behind this."

Druitt nodded. "Interesting. Also, there's something I need to ask about, while I'm here. Did you ever find anything with the Storm Gargoyles, or was that birdbrain a liar?"

"Actually, we did find that Corelia and Xarin had established a secret trade system. In return for gold, Xarin was supplying the sylphs with magic materials. Naturally, we did fix that problem before it got any worse."

Druitt cackled at the thought. "Never trust gargoyles; I say that too often, but no one listens! Even that 'Savux' fellow agrees, and he is one! Well, I think that's-" Suddenly, he looked alarmed. "Hell, I nearly forgot! I said that I'd require your help."

"With what?" Leiytning interrogated.

"One of the sylphs that we killed was a weak lieutenant," Druitt explained. "She had a map and note with her, and it showed who their other targets were. As usual, they have eyes on you, so you should be careful. Although it seems that they also have eyes on a waterborne gargoyle race."

"The Aquarus tribe?" Timbur suggested. 

"Yes, them," said Druitt. "I would warn them of the danger myself, but the only way to that section of the Siren's River is through the moors, and I can't tread through that damnable swamp with my bad legs. Not to mention, I can't fight anything if there really is trouble."

Leiytning already had the gist in mind. "You want us to warn them about Corelia?"

"Yes," Druitt answered. "Aquarus Gargoyles aren't too fond of any demons, but we shouldn't sit by and watch Corelia obliterate them. That's been happening far too much, already."

Druitt reached behind him, snatching something that he had been holding in the coil of his red tail. It was two pieces of paper stacked together. One was a map that was drawn on with red circles, X's, and question marks. The other was a note, which was written in the confusing, but popular 'Northern' language.

"This is your proof," Druitt explained, giving the papers to Leiytning. "There's no doubt that they won't believe you at first, so convince them by using this."

Timbur snatched the papers, looking at the note with confusion. However, he then looked at the map and saw a problem. When he spoke, it was with a tone of obvious vexation.

"It looks like those gargoyles aren't the only targets. Corelia's marked down the Ritin's territory, and the lair of some Chamber Goblins. Two lighter races, and a darker one."

"I can only translate so much," said Druitt. "I'm a novice at reading Northern, but I can tell that she's very hesitant about working with the Ritin, and the Chamber Goblins are to be used for something else. The Aquarus situation is urgent, though."

"Then we'll do this now," Leiytning spoke. "Timbur, Scorch, both of you are coming with me. Druitt, get out of here and stop letting yourself in without permission."

"Yeah, yeah," Druitt muttered, rolling his eyes. "This was urgent, though. Besides, your fortress doesn't have anything very interesting, so no worries."

Leiytning muttered under his breath, "I don't care about trespassing in the fortress as much as barging into my room."

Druitt cackled, then turned and left as suddenly as he came. He continued to ramble on to himself.

Once Druitt was gone, Timbur spoke, "So? Your plan?"

"I thought it was obvious," Scorch replied. "We need to get to the Aquarus Gargoyles before Corelia does."

"Here we go again," Timbur remarked. "I say we forget the Aquarus. We have enough trouble on our own."

Leiytning shot him a glare. "The Aquarus Gargoyles are a weak little tribe, and would easily lose in a fight against Corelia. We all know what near-extinction is like, so can you safely say that you're alright with having it happen to someone else, even though you have the ability to help prevent it?"

Scorch chimed in, "Nobody but the Aubades deserve that fate."


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