Kaidan: Shades of Grey

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


A boy forsakes duty to try and save the one he loves, bringing disaster upon himself. Setting out to fix the wrongs he caused, he swears to bring the corrupted hierarchy of Arcadia to justice while
exposing their lies. Heavily focused on love, lose and how the Nobelist intentions can corrupt us.

Submitted: August 01, 2018

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Submitted: August 01, 2018

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Mortals are unlike the gods, full of emotion and driven by a passion that is tempered with the knowledge that it is all so fleeting. They live their lives the way they wish, seeing the constant reminder of it’s futility every single day; yet the live one.

They form families with the ones they love and find a way to give living a purpose. Then they leave it to their children to carry on. Dynasties and Kingdoms had risen this way.

But, what if the gods preordained your destiny? Unlike your fellow man you were doomed to live a life of regret and grief, your only love having been taken by them to fulfill a means alien to you?

What would a mortal give to be able to stand against the very forces that control the world; against forces beyond their comprehension just to chase the one they love?  

And what if accomplishing your goal means dooming the rest of the world? Would you trade your own happiness and the life of another to save them? If it truly freedom if you only exist at the mercy of other beings that care note for you?

In the end, would it even matter?

 

Prologue: The Knight of Betrayal

“Today, you become the White Shield of Lady Eran,” a figure clad in shimmering mail said, holding a blade of white horizontally before him. He stood at the head of a large altar room; an 8-year-old boy crouched before him, and row upon row of seated onlookers watching their every move.

“You life shall become one with hers, to serve and give when the time calls. You shall do no harm, nor think ill upon your charge, instead, you shall protect her as if she is your own beating heart, outside your body and even more dear.”

The boy listened to it all, the honor of the position blinding him from its reality. He wanted to be a knight, and becoming a White Shield was the highest honor one could receive, naïve he would later learn. Responsibility isn’t all it is made out to be, and something you can’t control that which you desire.

“You shall lay down your life before her, never letting harm befall her as long a your shield is in your hand, and your blade is unbroken. Even after your weapons have shattered and your armor rent, you shall give your body and your blood to defend her, until, atlas, the day of the Ritual of the Valkyr takes her, or death wisp you away.”

He gazed at his mentor with honor as the blade was placed in his awaiting hands, stealing a glance to the side at the priestess Eran. His crystal blue eyes met with her emerald ones, both sharing in the excitement of the moment. From that day on, they were inseparable.

 

13 years later

Village of Solik; Holy City

The small village of Solik sat nestled in a deep crag torn into the flesh of the earth. It was renown for its market, benefiting from several small rivers that ran though the crevices as well as the bay only a few miles away. There was a saying in Arcadia, “If you can find it, it will be in Solik”.

The village was large, several recent expansions being carved into the cave complexes that riddled the crags. A central plaza dominated the heart of the village, a large white cathedral rising above the others, its spires gleaming gold in the daylight. Hundreds of painted glass motifs decorated its expansive sides, showing a craftsmanship long lost to the people of the land.

One could see the entirety of the settlement from a perch atop a single jutting crag, known as Dulan’s Peak. It hung over the village, with several zip lines leading from it into a dozen or so caves.

Atop it sat two individuals, watching the last fleeting moments of day. One was woman, wearing the white robes of the clergy, the symbol of a yellow sun set over a caste emblazed boldly on her torso. Her hair was a light brown, fashioned into a single braid that fell down her back, a few loose strands teasing her emerald eyes. Eran, High Priestess of the Searing Light, and the chosen Valkyr.

The other was a man, clad in light chain mail with a set of silver greaves, a black cloak wrapped around his frame. His black hair hung around his silvers like the mane of some great savannah cat, crystal blue eyes always watching the world around him. Rown, Eran’s selected White Shield, a knight of little renown but impressive skill.

“It is beautiful,” the girl said at last, the sun had slipped beyond a veil of clouds on the horizon, leaving the world in its orange wake.

“You will miss it,” he replied flatly, hiding all emotion from his voice.

They fell into silence once more, neither wanting to approach the topic. In three days Eran would perform the Ritual of Ascension, and become a Valkyr, divine warriors that protected the land and reported directly to the Gods that lived within Arcadia’s Kolob.

“It is my destiny,” she replied at length, rising to her feet, “I must go. I have a busy day tomorrow.”

She bid him good night and left the boy in silence on the cliff, never looking back to see his sapphire eyes following her descent. They had spent every day together for 13 years, traveling the kingdom and helping the folk in need. She had even followed him into battle on several occasions when they had lost their way on the eastern coast; although the church had been furious to hear of it.

Rown had spent the majority of his life as a White Shield, becoming the youngest member of the elite group of knights. Since he was 8 he had trained with the blade, day in and day out, all for the purpose of following the church’s orders. They gave him a purpose and allowed him to live comfortably as long as he followed orders without question.

How he hated them…

 

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Rown stood before Eran as she read from the Holy Scriptures in the fading candlelight. Another clergymen, one of the upper circles of Solik, known as Jagh, tutored her in the meaning of the words she read and the purpose behind them. He found himself having to divert his gaze numerous times, hiding the fact he was rolling his eyes at the teachings.

“It is the will of the First Light that all Valkyr bath in the veil that flows from the Kolob,” the man says, his head balding and his skin sagging with age. Rown couldn’t help but notice that he looked at the girl like a piece of meat, and not someone of great respect.

“The First Light?” Eran asked. She had heard the term numerous times, it referred to the very first ruler of Arcadia, the one that had saved them during the dark ages and brought the Kolob into existence, the warrior chosen by the gods to bath the land in the Searing Light.

Still, it was unusual to hear anyone speak of him outside of the stories.

“Yes, the First Light left these scriptures to teach us how to appease the gods and rejoice in their power. Without them the Veil would have fallen long ago and the shadows have overcome us…like it has so many others…” Jagh seemed saddened as he spoke, although the knight thought t for show. They always spoke of the other lands that fell, yet not once were they taught about them.

“What…what must I do?” Eran asked, a little scared of the idea of “bathing” in front of anyone.

“Ah, you simply wear a ceremonial gown sewn by the High Priestess before you, adding you own addition to the garment before you step into the column of light below the Kolob. The light will wash over you, purifying you of your mortality and ascending you to a Valkyr to live amongst them.”

“…Is it…is it public?”

“Oh no madam, the light collects and pools within the inner chamber of the Grand Cathedral of Arcadia. It is secret to all but the highest six members of the council and the king. And, so rumor speaks, a single god attends the meeting, blessing you once you are done.”

Eran’s eyes brightened at the idea of meeting a god. Rown knew she believed she had once before, as a child when her home village had been raided, however, he had his doubts. None had seen them, outside of the church supposedly.

The hours continued to roll by, Eran repeating thousands of verses from the scriptures. Jagh guided her, step by step, both seemingly forgetting the knight that had joined them in the chamber, neither noticing as he slipped out the back of the room.

 

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The streets of Solik were bustling with activity, a great festival was just getting underway, attracting visitors from the farthest reaches of the land. Everyone bowed to Rown as he marched throughout the village with Eran and Jadh, listening to the civilians thank her for what she was doing.

He paid no mind to the discussions, pushing it out of thought. He just wanted this day to be over with.

From dawn to dusk that traversed the town, informing all that today would be the last day of her tutelage; tonight she would ascend and become a Valkyr. Several vendors handed them free good or gifts, trying to appease her.

He found humor in the fact that they already treated her like a god. Why would one want to ascend and be forgotten by the people when they could just live here and be lavished with everything they could imagine? He preferred it this way, for he wanted nothing to do with the ritual. He didn’t understand its purpose or what the “gods” accomplished by it.

“Rown, did you hear me?”

He jumped as he realized they had come to a stop before the central Cathedral. The passage of time had been lost on him.

“Sorry…what?”

“I…I want you to go and enjoy the festival,” she replied, averting her gaze, “I need time to prepare myself for this. And you shouldn’t have to suffer this boredom.”

 

“You may leave my side. Take the night for yourself,” Eran said softly, clasping his hands in her own. He felt something small and round slide into his palms as she did so, “Tomorrow…I will be a Valkyr. I thank you for your service these past years, you were most faithful and I couldn’t have asked for a better guard or friend.”

Rown bit his lip, fighting back the tears that had started to form in his eyes. He refused to meet her gaze as he pulled away, his heart pounding in his chest. He felt his lips part and the sound of his voice escape before his brain could force reason upon him.

“You don’t have to do this Eran, there are others who could become the Valkyr.”

A strange silence fell upon them. Jagh looked like he would burst a blood vessel, a vein in his forehead bulging dangerously. All the while Eran kept her back turned to him, although he thought she hung her head at his words.

“SILENCE!” Jagh interjected, positioning himself between the woman and her knight, “that is heresy! You should be flogged for just speaking such vile rhetoric!”

Rown shied away not in the least.

“The Gods can not just choose who they take from use! How many have they taken as a promise to cleanse the miasma to this day? How many? Where is the proof this even works?”

Jagh stared at the boy, fuming. Anger poured from his body as he raised the emblem worn around his neck, “Without them BOY, you would have died in the outlands long ago. It was only by their grace we found you before they devoured you.”

The clergymen turned to leave, ushering Eran before him, “all you outlanders should thank the gods and their mercy for letting you cross the veil…”

The mans words were silenced as a mailed fist slammed into his jaw. Jagh staggered backwards, sputtering blood threw broken teeth as he tried to fathom what was happening. No one would strike a clergymen, it would be a death sentence.

“Shut your damn mouth,” Rown growled, taking a step forth, “Eran and I came from the same village. We both know how you ‘Arcadians’ look down upon us Outlanders. Is that why you choose her to be a Valkyr? For it would just be an Outsider taken and not one of your own?”

Rown heard the footsteps of approaching guards but cared not. He wanted nothing more then to wring the man’s neck, to make him choke on the vile words he spoke about them…about Eran.

His path become blocked by a dozen guards, fully clad in armor, their spears leveled his way. The clergymen cursed at him, the guards slowly encircling Rown, a few of them recognizing him as one of their own. None spoke, each knowing what had transgressed, and a few of them secretly admired the man for doing what he had.

“STOP!” Eran screamed, pushing his way past the guards and blocking the path to Rown, “…Rown, You must understand…I want to do this. It will cleanse our realm of the Miasma; it will give us “outlanders” a sense of pride and standing in the city…do you not understand? If I was to refuse…”

Her words trailed off as she leaned in close, pressing her head against his chest. He heard her whisper to him, the words digging deeper then any blade possibly could.

“…I dare not think what they would do…please…please leave…”

“Rown…do not come to the ceremony, you are relieved of your duty and forbidden from approaching the High Priestess hence forth!” Jagh declared as the guards pulled he woman away from the disgraced knight. Hurriedly they led her up the flight of stairs to the Cathedral Jagh throwing him venomous glares as they went.

He watched her depart, her head held low. Just for a moment he could have sworn he saw a tear on her cheek.

 

Something slammed into the back of his head, his world spinning out of control before being consumed by darkness. He never felt the stone as it rushed upwards to meet him, or the metal shackles as they clamped around his wrist.

 

He awoke with a start, the cold stone floor uncomfortable against his bare back. Shaking off the last of the fog in his mind he looked around the cell, recognizing it as one of the churches. He had been arrested and placed within the lower dungeons, unsurprising really for what he had done.

“I must say…striking a clergymen, and one as high standing as Jagh takes real nerve,” a figure laughed stepping into view before his metal barred down. He wore a black leather corset, pants of some unknown fabric, and firm fitting boots. His hair was tied back into a ponytail, a handband keeping a few stray hairs out of his face. Metal bracers adorned his arms, while his gloves were fingerless with a metal plate on the knuckles. All in all, he looked pretty bizarre, Rown thought, before noticing his ebony skin.

“You jest.”

“Oh no my dear friend,” the man continued, “I simply wish to see the church toppled, and that brings our goals into alignment at the moment.”

The being slipped a single hand into the room, a key held fast between two fingers. 

“I have a way for you to get revenge on Jadh and to save your friend,” the man continued, “However, we must be fast. You only have until tonight, when the moon is fully obscured, what say you?”

“It is impossible…”

“For a mortal maybe but what if you could temporarily borrow the power to oppose this?”

Rown glared at the man, not thinking for a minute about any other possibility as he took the key into his own hands.

 

*************************************************************************************************************

He stood before the stone cathedral; it’s twin wood doors shut firmly before him. He recognized the two cards before him from earlier, both silhouetted in the fading sunlight. They crossed their halberds at his approach, demanding him to surrender.

The cathedral was massive, being both the central church the Searing Light faith and the castle of the royal family (which just so happened to be the Holy Family as well). Its stone was of the purest white marble, and reflected the last light of the day better then any mirror. Its size alone dwarfed most villages, and the amount of soldiers patrolling the parapet would drive several smaller countries to envy.

With a sigh he started forward, his cloaking trailing behind him. The cloak was as black as a raven’s feathers (which it seemed to be made of), and her wore the hood low, hiding his face from the guards. Whether he didn’t want to be seen or he wanted a means of removing himself from the task before him was unknown, yet his determination was apparent.

He was slim and agile, dodging the crossed thrust of the trained guards with ease, hoping onto the weapons at the point of contact, a slim black sword appearing in his right hand.

“I am sorry friends…but I must do this,” he choked back tears as he spoke, his blade opening up the throat of one guard, while he kicked upwards with his other foot, smashing the nose of the other, sending the cartilage into his brain. Both feel back against the stone, motionless.

A strange hunger tore at him as he saw the blood; urging him to kill.

 

 

“Rown…. you must end this here,” a man in silver mail demanded as the twin doors before him opened. He faced the youth, clad in the silver mail of the White Shields, his helm fashioned in the likeness of a lion. He drew his long sword with a practiced ease, while his hawk like eyes never left the intruder. In his opposite arm he held a spear, it’s tip splitting into three at the end.

“I am afraid I can’t…I thank you for the years you spent teaching me master. I will not forget you…” the boy replied, his shoulder length black hair falling free of his hood. He almost looked like a bird of prey with its wings spread wide, the last orange light of day framing him in an eerie light. 

“Rown, this is your last warning. You cannot interfere with the gods. You will be killed on the spot. Turn back now…. it was her choice…”

“Don’t you dare spew that bullshit to me Eric,” Rown growled, suddenly racing forth across the room. He covered the distance in a matter of seconds, faster then anyone normally should have been capable of.

Rown felt a new strength within him; but knew it would be fleeting as well. He had to end this.

Eric raised his blade at the last moment, the hilt of his spear pressed into the blunt end of the weapon to reinforce it against the strike. The soldier was glad he did as he felt his pupils sword collide with his own, the deafening ring of metal on metal echoing throughout the hall. His knees almost buckled from the force, sending a shiver down his spine as he gazed into Rown’s crystal blue eyes.

Eric pushed the boy back, fear almost overtaking him as he saw the youth’s left eye cloud over and turn a strange yellow, the pupil becoming a cat like slit.

“What have you done boy?” the man asked, readying himself to face the youth, “…what have you forsaken in your pursuit to defy the gods? Have you turned your back on us all…on all you have done for this kingdom? What would she think?”

“Shut up! You don’t know a damn thing about it!” Rown screamed continuing his assault. He gripped his blade in both hands and leapt forth, thrusting the blade towards the man’s chest.

Eric easily parried the move, pulling his left arm back slightly to position the spear. He would take the youth’s life quickly, for his own sake and to spare them both the pain. Fondly he recalled the youth’s first days in his tutelage, a bumbling fool that showed promise, who quickly became his favorite through his sheer determination.

He thrust the weapon forth, locking his eyes with Rown’s as the shimmering tip plunged into the boy’s chest. Rown suddenly left go of his blade with his right arm, his own weapon being thrown out wide as he grabbed the spear by the wooden shaft.

Eric was in disbelief as the shaft cracked and splintered in the boy’s grip, several cracks running the entire length of the weapon. Dropping it, he pulled his sword back towards himself, reinforcing the weapon with his free hand. Rown might have stolen his spear, but the youth had left him open to a deadly counter attack that would decide the battle.

Rown stared into the man’s eye as the blade came back diagonally at him, a perfect slash that would open him gut to throat. A finishing blow to a battle neither wanted to have.

Like his master, Rown thought to the years they had spent training. The years Eric had taught him what it meant to be a knight, to serve the people and not the church. He had drilled it into him that to truly be good, one must help others without thought of one’s own desires.

Eric had led him into his first battle, saving his life dozens of times as they battled the eastern tribes. In the north they both had held off the barbarian invasion at Helskar, even receiving commendations after slaying several clan leaders, they had a massive feast in celebration of the victory.

The blade tore into flesh, ripping muscle from bone, shredding organs as it went through. Blood flowed freely down the weapon, pooling on the floor between them, neither blinking as they stared into the eyes of the other. Neither hated the other, and neither wanted to fight, yet both would stand by their principles to the end, and thus they had. The blade tore free, leaving a gapping wound that separated the lower arm from his chest, a wave of blood washing over his clothing and splashing onto the floor below.

A hunger gnawed at him, driving him to consume the world that opposes him.

 

“You are a fool…” Rown wept as he spoke, dropping his blade to the ground as he caught the falling man, “…you could have ended it all…why? WHY?”

Eric looked to the youth, hearing nothing and seeing only the vague outline of a being before him. He couldn’t do it. At the last second he had stopped his blade, allowing his pupil’s own spinning thrust to pass his guard and steal his life.

He opened his mouth to speak, only for his words to be lost in a splatter of blood. One arm hung by nothing more then a few tendrils of flesh, while one lung was cut in half, he knew his life was gone the moment the attack had struck…but he preferred it this way.

He wouldn’t kill a pupil. That was something he had decided long ago. Not as long as the pupil followed his teachings, for if he did, he would be killing a part of himself.

Darkness consumed the figure before him, the pain in his right side dissipating into nothingness. He heard and felt nothing as he embraced the darkness beyond, the light of a world not his own welcoming him.

 

Rown closed his mentor’s eyes, rising to his feet as he wiped the blood from his blade. He refused to look at the man whose life he had taken, even now, he was afraid his heart would tear itself from his chest. He had let to many die for this, and he was determined to make it all come to an end. One way or another, he would stop it all that night.

He felt a stirring within him, something hungering for blood. He tried to ignore the sensation as he cross the altar room, ascending the small stage at the far end. A large silver door, shaped like an arch bearing the holy regalia of the Searing Light on its surface. It was a sign that only the uppermost caste of the church was allowed inside…

Rown took visible pleasure kicking the door in, knocking it clean from its hinges and sending it several feet into the connected room. Several figures in white robes turned to face him, older men and women of the church that he knew as the “inner circle”, a group that chose the next high-priestess. 

Two other figures where in the room as well. Directly across from him, leaning backwards on a stone dais was Eran, her eyes unfocused and glossed over, unblinking as they stared at the ceiling above.

The other was a tall figure, easily over seven feet, wearing a gown of white fur, its skin a strange pale white. Its arms were longer then a humans, and its features more angular, almost avian in nature. Its ovoid black eyes stared at him unlinking, a dozen little stars flickering within. It let out a shrill screech from its beak like mouth as it turned, if you could call it that, to regard him more closely.

Its screech brought excruciating pain to those around it, several falling over backwards to clutch their skulls, blood pouring from their eyes and ears. Rown staggered but remained to stay upright, thanking himself silently that he hadn’t raced into the room as he had originally planned.

Beyond the dais rose a stone arch, strange runes carved onto its surface, glowing in an unnatural light that he couldn’t explain. He had seen it a few times in the church, divine magic of the gods, or so they claimed. A dark mist had gathered in the arch, spiraling inward, forming what might have been a door of some sort.

 

“Leave her alone,” Rown demanded, his right hand instinctively falling to the hilt of his blade. He could barely pry his eyes away from the priestess, Eran, she hadn’t moved at all in the chaos, even now, blood seeped from her ears and eyes and yet she didn’t flinch in the slightest.

He took note of the things ling spindly fingers dangling over her frail form; its dagger like nails tracing the veins beneath the skin.

The “god” cocked its head as it continued to regard the newcomer, as if it couldn’t understand what was happening before it. Rown got the unsettling sensation he was being viewed as a potential meal by a predator on the prowl, drawing several beads of sweat on his brow.

It tilted its head back and forth, its beak like mouth clicking repeatedly, letting out a serious of calls that he could not fathom. Each sent a new wave of pain and fear racing through his mind.

 

“I said back off!” Rown yelled as the god turned once more to Eran, it’s hand reaching for her throat. With another scream the boy leaped into the room. The strange yearning for blood grew within him, threatening to overtake him as he felt his right arm grow numb.

His eyes must have been playing tricks on him. One second the “god” had stood over her, and then suddenly it was before him, it’s hand closing tightly around his own, holding his blade harmlessly out wide.

It peered at him, its eyes unblinking and as alien as could be. He recognized no emotions within them, nothing more then a primal hunger that any predator would possess when staring at its favorite meal.

Rown saw images of the beast, dozens of them, devouring clergymen and women over the years. He felt each of them being torn apart, their limbs snapping and twisting in the creature’s beaks, their blood being lapped from open wounds, as their fingers flayed them alive. They were helpless, paralyzed and unable to fend for themselves as they were devoured, the creatures ate them without remorse, relishing in the pain and fear their prey felt.

Rown shook his head, clearing his mind, the room coming back to him. He hadn’t known what they would do to Eran…only that he had to stop them. Now he felt sick, feeble and powerless before the creature. It would devour them all like it had for a hundred years, thousands even.

“NO! I won’t allow it!” Rown screamed as the creature dropped him to the floor and started back towards Eran. It paid him no heed, although he wasn’t sure it understood his language any better then he did its.

He saw its beak dart forward, razor tip poised to tear the throat from its dinner. He never felt his arms push him from the floor or his legs propel himself forward. He never felt himself jump and didn’t reaching for the creature’s neck.

He never laid a hand on the beast…

 

With otherworldly grace it caught him midair, its dagger like fingers tearing through his ribs, cutting bone like it was paper. Rown ignored the world around him, flailing at the creature with all he had; however it was for naught.

The beast caught one arm in its beak and quickly snipped the limb from his body. He felt the blood pour down his side as it slammed him into the arch, his skull cracking against the stone. His vision blurred as he felt spindly fingers enclose his heart, literally crushing the life from him.

Feebly he struck the beast with his left hand, only to feel his arm snap between its fingers, nails digging beneath the flesh to flay it from his bones. A strange ringing filled his ears as he head struck the stone again and again.

Pain subsided into nothingness as the beast mangled him. Repeatedly it beat him into the arch until his skull cracked open letting out the precious contents within. It snapped both his legs with its beak, tearing strips of flesh from each and quickly devouring them before going back for more.

He was pathetic, so small and twisted, his body being ravaged by the unholy creature that his family worshipped. He started slipping into oblivion, unable to breath through liquid filled lungs, a river of blood flowing from his mouth and ears.

He struggled to lift broken limbs to defend him, only for them to be snipped away and devoured. His gaze swirled into nothing as a strange ringing tune took away his hearing. He felt nothing anymore, not even the moment the creature tear his beating heart from his body, throwing him casually aside to devour the prize it had found within.

The last image his eyes saw was Eran peering at him, unblinking for the dais, his blood splattered across her face and chest. She seemed not to care; to smile even as he passed through the gate, darkness consuming him…

 

He was dead. He knew it. There was no lying. No senses or even thought. Just darkness that consumed everything; no longer did he feel his heart being crushed, the brains pouring from his skull, or the shattered bones that protruded from the stumps that had been his limbs. None of it matter, only the abyssal void beyond…

Yet, an intense hunger tore at him. He felt it pressuring him to let it in. Images of the god thorn asunder in his hands flashed before him, teasing him of a future that would not come.

Yet, he reached for it. A limb not his own touched the image, the strange mirage dissipating as it did so. Warmth flooded his body, the darkness collecting itself before him as a circular piece of stone formed beneath his feet.

Let me guide you. Let me take your form and lead you to the secrets they wish to hide. Together, we can break them, tear their world apart and destroy that which they hold dear. Take me into your being; accept my reality and the power to punish those “gods” shall be yours.

Rown looked at the darkness before him, which was now taking on the form of a swirling vortex around him, a hulking figure silhouetted beyond. His mind drifted back to the being that let him out of his ceil, but the thought was fleeting, leaving his struggling to remember what it was at all.

We can save her….

Rown plunged into the darkness, screaming in defiance as the darkness seeped into every pore and orifice he had. He felt life return to his limbs, as the world solidified around him once more.

 

He stood over Eran, his hands still clutching the blade that was impaled into her chest. His eyes seemed to be locked with hers, still tear filled and full of fear, their inner light stolen by the one who had promised to protect her.

Rown screamed, unable to believe the world around him, droplets of rain falling upon his bare arms. The Cathedral was no more, blown apart and sent crashing throughout the village, taking the lives of hundreds and injuring twice of many. Meanwhile the council lay around him, their bodies violently hacked apart, blood mingling with the falling rain to form little rivers.

Above the god watched the youth. Never before had a mortal scared it, nor intrigued it like the boy below. He had done the impossible, fallen into the Nether and returned. It wanted to dissect him, to learn his secrets, but the moon had already passed the peak of the eclipse, and thus it had to return to the Kolob. Still, it made note of Rown, and the strange limbs that had grown in place of the ones it had torn away.

The creature took to the skies, a veil of bluish light rising forth from the slain and trailing behind him in the night sky, forming a beautiful rainbow before the moon. Its skin reflected the light strangely across the ground, leaving an sense of dread in its wake.

 

 


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