Chapter 5: Their Blood

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 87



"Four have mercy, four above, have mercy..."

Seyber couldn't stop muttering as she anxiously paced back and forth. Instead of the river, she was now in the twins' room, with the four from earlier nearby. Naturally, everyone was concerned after seeing their sister suddenly collapsed on the riverside, although Seyber was taking that concern to a new extreme.

Scorch rested a hand on her shoulder. "Seyber, calm down. We don't even know what's wrong, much less if it's really that severe. She just passed out; that happens to us all the time."

"That could go the other way," Seyber argued. "What if it's worse than what we're thinking?"

"And how high are those chances?" Zin responded. "If there's anything we've learned by now, it's that anything you suggest should be half as bad."

Seyber's eyes narrowed. "Stop it. You're making me sound paranoid."

Jem arched one brow. "Zin got burned by a stray flame and you mistook it for a skin-rotting disease. I got hit by a pebble and you thought I was amnesiac for the next few days. To this day, you can't tell scars from fresh wounds, and should we not go into that incident with the garter snake?"

Kita whispered, "What was the garter snake incident?"

Scorch chuckled. "Timbur got bit by a tiny garter snake, which was literally just a pinprick. He kept going just fine, but then Seyber tackled him in the middle of some old catacombs just to give him an antivenom serum we use on basilisk bites. Poor T was dazed and high for the next couple of hours."

Seyber crossed her arms. "Sorry I care about you. And how do you know that snake wasn't poisonous? What if you were amnesiac but couldn't remember getting that way? What if that burn did get infected?"

"Again, what tiny possibility exists that would let that happen?" Zin argued.

"You never know, anymore!" Seyber retorted. "My point is that for all we know, our sister could be dea-!"

"Not dead."

All five of them flinched, but Seyber had to hold in a scream when she realized there was something just behind her.

Thankfully, it was just Leiytning. He had Thundur's limp body in his arms, while his apprentice was trailing behind, hardly bothered at all.

"Stop doing that!" Seyber snapped. "You scared the life out of me!"

Leiytning looked irritated. "I still don't know what you're talking about, but for now it should be disregarded. Unless you want to keep scaring everyone with your psychotic fantasies?"

"Don't sass me," Seyber muttered, crossing her arms.

Kita stepped forward. "Leiytning, what's wrong with Thundur? Why is she unconscious, and why would she pass out so randomly?"

Leiytning spoke as he set down Thundur on the bed. "First off, none of you should be worrying as much as you are, especially Seyber. This is just a vision."

"So she'll be alright?" Scorch inquired.

"Of course she will," Leiytning replied. "However, time works much differently between each realm and reality; two minutes out there could easily be two hours here. Between that and the fact that she was already exhausted, it will take some time for her to regain consciousness."

Seyber sighed, "I thought it may have to do with spiritual matters."

"Does this happen very often?" Asked Jem.

"I'm not surprised," said Leiytning, "Although I'd be lying if I said this wasn't uncommon or unpredictable. This is just strange because spirits typically can't force spirit-walkers into unconscious states. Of course, this also could've been caused by a mistake with potions or magic, or -worst case scenario- a sudden relapse from her trauma."

"That's just stupid," Zin argued.

Leiytning rolled his eye. "The point being, she's fine, she just needs time to wake up." He started leaving. "Timbur, please get things organized."

"Of course, Leiytning," Timbur obediently replied. He turned to the others. "To clear this up for good, some of you can check around the place we found Thundur. Maybe you'll find something that could've caused her vision. As Leiytning explained, it could've been because of magic, potions, or even trauma, so make sure we can cross any of those off the list. Other than that, the patrols will proceed as you heard this morning."

Zin saluted mockingly. "Yes, sir, lord-boss, sir, we'll get on that, sir!"

Timbur's ear twitched. "Zin, I will destroy you."

Zin just chuckled, refusing another response.

Timbur glanced at a nearby clock. "Four dammit. Alright, I need to check the moors. All of you, get to work!"

Timbur shifted to wolf form and shot off, while the others, some very begrudgingly, started to shove off. Zin was headstrong on the way out, clearly happy to leave the room where he knew a snake was hiding.

By the time the group had left the small storm-eye, and the tunnel beyond, they found themselves back into the forest, on the north-east side. Kita could tell that much by the sound of the river; it was just through the trees to their left.

After that, I can't help but wonder...

As Kita inspected the group, she noticed that they split up. Scorch and Zin were heading toward the place they found Thundur, but Seyber and Jem vanished.

Where did Seyber go? Well, if I can't find her, I may as well go with the first idea.

With that, Kita already knew exactly where to go. She started running toward the other side of the forest. Naturally, it would be faster to use wolf form, but even after getting used to it prior to now, she much preferred her two legs and opposable thumbs.

A useful Zyrean perk, but not for me.

For now, Kita continued onward, through yet another one of the many tunnels in the fortress. This one led to an overlook, but before she could pass by it, she had to stop.

Strangely, as she looked down, she felt a strange sensation of dizziness. 

"What?" She murmured. 

Though confused, she shook herself off and kept running. She didn't stop again as she descended along the stone path in the wall, going deeper into this foggy cavern.

This was none other than the Oculus Cavern, the only place in the main fortress that almost everybody hated. Here, at the bottom, the stone ground became rough and uneven, and large sharpened stones protruded from the ground at random. It looked impossible to navigate, but the place wasn't very big, so finding a way out wouldn't be impossible, merely aggravating.

It doesn't help that I haven't been down here since I was locked in that cell, my first month here.

Kita spent her time wandering, trying to find who she was looking for.

Eventually, she called out, "Leiytning! Leiyt-!"


Kita froze entirely. There was no more growling, but there was the sound of heavy breathing. She very slowly, carefully started to look around until she saw a black mass out of the corner of her eye, to her left.

As she turned to face the threat, she realized it was the beast that dwelled down here, but it was still unnerving. The oculus was very large, ten or twelve feet in height, with a pelt of blackened glass shards. Its eyes were glowing white, its claws sparked as they drug against the ground, and its long whip-like tail lashed back and forth.

Sadly, this also meant she was somewhat obstructed. Leiytning was nearby, leaning against a boulder as he read through some letters and scrolls; probably something from informants or other leaders.

To the oculus, Kita smiled nervously. "You again."

"Echo," said Leiytning.

"Right..." Kita felt dizzy again, blinking hard. It wouldn't stop, but she tried her best to hide it and keep speaking.

"Sorry if I'm disturbing anything. That thing- I mean, Echo isn't going to attack me if I move, is he?"

"Of course not," Leiytning responded. "Keep in mind that you look like an Aubade, so he's not going to be friendly, but he won't actually attack. Especially not while I'm here."

"Interesting," Kita murmured. 

As she tried to get closer, Echo suddenly launched forward, lowering himself and baring his huge, sharp fangs. Kita quickly stepped back, nervous.

Leiytning, however, looked irate. "Stop being dramatic."

The oculus looked at him desperately, nudging him. Leiytning shoved its snout down, and the beast suddenly collapsed. Now he looked like a very large dog, and much calmer than before. Kita found it strange, considering how wise and independent these frightful beasts were meant to be.

Kita arched one brow. "Is that all it takes?"

"Pretty much," Leiytning responded. "Even though he's smart enough to understand most language and differentiate people, he responds to the simplest training methods. You can approach, he won't do anything right now."

Kita obeyed, warily stepping closer. As she got within ten or so feet, Echo growled, but stopped quickly. She kept going until she was right in front of him.

"It's incredible that a beast can have glass scales," Kita remarked. "Or a glass pelt? Either way, I never would've guessed it."

"Strange, indeed," Leiytning agreed. "But it's just another evolution that nobody understands, as it is with many beasts and races."

Entranced, Kita steadily reached her hand out, slowly getting closer. Her fingers were inches from one of the glass scales. Echo eyed her with an unreadable look in his bleak white eyes. At the last moment, she became too nervous and retreated. However, Leiytning guided her right back, and as she made contact, the shards of the beast's pelt smoothed down, sparing her any cuts or discomfort. The glass was smooth yet rigid, like a fine-cut gemstone, and was cold to the touch.

Suddenly, Echo squeaked and flopped on his back, which caused a small tremor in the surrounding area.

Kita burst out laughing, "Are we sure this is the same beast everyone is so scared of?" She tilted her head to meet Echo's stare. "I won't lie, you look menacing, but you act cuter than a dog."

Echo suddenly stuck his ash-colored tongue out, letting it hang out the side of his mouth.

"Now that's just pathetic," Leiytning muttered.

Echo snorted, smacking him with his tail. Kita was clearly finding much amusement in this all.

"I wouldn't come down here alone," she remarked, "But I'm definitely much less scared of him after this."

"You're probably the first," said Leiytning. "Either way, I doubt the oculus is the reason you're here, am I wrong?"

"Ah, right." Kita recollected herself. "I just wanted to ask about Thundur's vision. Not only did it worry me a little, but did you mean a vision like-"

"Like the ones you had prior to the incident with Coro?"

"Exactly," said Kita.

"It's very likely," Leiytning explained. "Even so, just as I said back there, it's not very surprising despite not happening often. Spirit-walkers get these visions all the time; it's their job. We can start worrying when it's given to other people, namely those such as yourself. Otherwise, it's just more of the usual."

"What would she see, though?" Kita inquired.

"Oblivion knows. It can be anywhere from some random spirit's plea to a new prophecy from our gods. I won't lie, it's probably strong considering it was able to force Thundur into unconsciousness. Typically, they have to wait for her to call out, or enter spirit form. One able to force it is no ordinary spirit. Regardless, we can only wait and see what she says, but nobody should be concerned in the meantime."

"Alright, then," said Kita.

"And while on the topic of visions, have you had any since Coro?"

Kita shook her head. "Nothing. Sometimes I'll have some random nightmares, and I can't wake up, but it's probably completely normal. I've just seen some things I can't get out of my head, you know?"

"I know exactly," Leiytning muttered. "Is that all you wanted to ask?"

"Yes," Kita replied. "I'll let you get back to whatever this is."

Leiytning just grunted, reading another letter. As Kita moved away, she noticed Echo getting back to his feet, shaking himself off. Instead of seeing him as a very menacing creature, however, Kita found herself surprised to notice its majesty and grace for once.

It's not a bad creature, after all. And now that I think about it...Looks dark and evil, has a very bad reputation, but is really just misunderstood. Sounds all too familiar. I guess it really does make sense for Leiytning to appreciate such a monster.

Reassured, Kita was about to run off, but the dizziness worsened. When she took a step, she stumbled a bit, and the world swayed around her. Masking it, she moved away from Leiytning to where she could kneel without being questioned. It slowly returned to a tolerable point.

She murmured, "What the hell is wrong with me? It...It must be the fog in this place, making it hard to breathe. I just need some fresh air."

Before she could contradict herself, she decided to retreat to her own chambers and deal with it there. She fled the Oculus Cavern easier than expected, proceeding through the fortress's forest, and eventually the Hex Den. 

However, as she passed through the entrance tunnel, she stalled on the Dead Beach.

As soon as she stepped outside, Kita was greeted with the light blinding her brutally. Sure, the fortress was somewhat dark, and moving from dark to light would make anyone a bit blurry-eyed. But now her eyes were burning, and she started to feel lightheaded.

"This is annoying," she muttered. "Maybe it's sleep deprivation? But that hasn't been bothering for a long time."

Moving slower, Kita proceeded to the one-room shack that was her home. As soon as she opened the door, she felt even worse. 

Her vision blurred greatly, barely able to see herself close the door. The world felt like it was rocking. She heard high-pitched rambling and a faint, strange growl, and even though she knew it was just Stud and Caligo, she found their sounds oddly sickening; so loud that, combined with her lightheadedness, it was nauseating.

Kita tripped, falling to her knees.

"S-Stud? I think something's wrong..."

She felt the tiny dog jumping up on her arm, trying to get her attention, but she suddenly couldn't move enough to look.

What's happening?!

Just like that, every part of her went limp; she collapsed entirely. 

As soon as her head hit the floor, the whole world turned black and reality slipped away.




The darkness held dominion, leaving her in the cold embrace of nothingness. She couldn't feel her own body, like she was torn away from it entirely. But Kita was hardly used to it. This was a sign that a very bad dream was about to plague her. 

Why, though? That was all she could think. After all, she didn't lie; it really had been a very long time since dreams or nightmares had been a problem for her.

Either way, she soon began to hear a distant voice.

"Your quest to unlock your own power was complete, child of sylph and demon."

Kita finally felt feeling return to her. She couldn't see, nor could she feel the ground beneath her, but she could move her stiff limbs.

"Be that as it may, your destiny is far from complete, and your fate all but sealed. Another quest, be you the leader or a simple bystander, awaits you. This one is far darker than the last."

Then, it finally clicked. Kita had no idea who this voice belonged to! It was certainly not the reaper, which was really one of the Zyrean gods. It was a voice so distorted that not only could she barely understand it, but she couldn't even place a gender to it.

"Wh..." Kita could barely speak. "Who are you?"

"Focus. I am not the enemy, nor am I the solution. All I can do is reveal the path you have yet to travel. It's up to you to take, avoid, or change it entirely..."

Before Kita could ask, she suddenly felt herself hit solid ground. She realized her eyes were open, but they served no purpose when she couldn't see so much as an inch in front of her. She walked around a little, trying to see if it would change, but nothing did.

"Hello?" Kita called. "Who are you? What are you?"

Seconds later, as she turned around, she was faced with black double-doors set in a section of smooth stone wall. Rustic gold trim bordered the entrance. While nothing about it looked offputting, Kita couldn't help the sudden feeling of dread that came over her. A dark presence was waiting on the opposite side, she just knew it.

"Go, hybrid. Swallow your fear. See what lay beyond these doors."

Kita wanted to refuse, but all it took was one glance behind her to realize there was nowhere else to go. She hesitantly reached for the knobs, grabbing hold, but froze. She took some deep breaths, trying to build up her strength. Her arms became very stiff and shaky because of it. 

She inhaled deeply, then finally shoved the doors open.

A dim room lay beyond. Kita waited, watching for a moment. Nothing moved, nor could she hear a peep. 

She entered slowly, searching high and low for signs of danger. It still looked empty, with no other escape routes. The rubble and dust suggested that the place was some kind of ruin. It was vaguely familiar, but she couldn't place a finger to the place's name.

Suddenly, though, the lights flickered.

Black faded in and out, and Kita stopped moving again. The doors slammed shut behind her.

As the lights were restored, the sight left her stricken.

Kita gasped, her eyes shrunken to dots. "No..."

She looked around, but there was no escape. It was everywhere. It was a horror worse than any she experienced yet, in reality or her nightmares. She tried to back away, but as she felt the remnants spilling on her, she broke down entirely.

"No! Stop it! You twisted monster, I'll kill you before this happens! I'll kill you myself, you hear me?! Stay away!"

Kita started hyperventilating as she shed uncontrollable tears, looking mad with fear.

She whispered weakly, "Don't..."

"Do not place the blame on me. To point fingers before you understand is a move only the purest of cowards would make."

"Call me a coward!" Kita snapped. "I am scared of this!"

"Good. Let the image haunt you. Let the slightest thought bring this overwhelming stench of death, and let the memory of this massacre be your curse. Let it torture you every time. Do not forget anything you see."

"Who are you?!" Kita interrogated. "Tell me, now!"

"Do not forget..."

The voice went silent, leaving Kita alone. She curled into a helpless ball, quite literally trapped in the worst nightmare she would have yet.


Submitted: September 15, 2019

© Copyright 2021 Raven Akuma. All rights reserved.


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