Frame of the Portal

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A sort of prologue to the tale(s) of Black Phoenix Inc. This sets up Katau assuming the role of Quizte, or Leader, of Phoenix and shows a glimpse into the mysterious past of Katau Selthrim.

Submitted: January 06, 2008

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Submitted: January 06, 2008

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He was falling through the mists, swirling grey eddies all around him. He saw the ground looming before him but before the impact could jar him, he was standing comfortabling on it. He looked up reflexively and saw nothing but grey expanse, and likewise in all directions. Except the door. The same door he'd been seeing, a shimmering blue outline around a stout wood door. He reached out for it, and it opened at his slightest touch to reveal.........

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"Honey? Are you ok?"

Katau rolled over, feeling the familiar warmth of his wife next to him in their bed. "Was I doing it again Sierra?"

"Yes, the same. Reaching out for the door, muttering under your breath." Katau ran one of his hands, the offending hand that had just been reaching out, through his hair. The dream'd been bothering him for a while now. Almost every night he'd been having it, especially after he'd been investigating the Armor of the Phoenix. His heirloom from his father Maridonsita Selthrim, and one of the only surviving relics from his fallen homeland of Aurinaliavost, the Armor encompassed magic of the divine, the arcane, and the sheer force of nature. His father cursed the Armor, but so far he had been unable to find it among the other dweormers inheirant into it. Perhaps if he -

"Katau, are you ok?" Sierra asked him, and from her tone, it wasn't the first time. He smiled at her softly and kissed her cheek, brushing away her silver hair.

"Yes, I am fine." He got out of their bed and stretched himself out, feeling the aches of yesterday's training and housework. "I'll get Takua up and we'll start the chores. Feeling up to feeding us when we get back?" he asked his wife. She also got up, drawing her nightrobe a bit tighter around herself and smiled back at him, her hair framing her ebony face.

"That depends. What would you care for?"

"By the time we get back, I'll probably be up to eating even Rohx's cooking." Sierra affectionately bobbed him on the head as she went to tend to their infant daughter Liliana in the next room.

"That's enough out of you. He didn't burn it that bad. Speaking of Vixie and Rohx, we're going with them into town later today for the festival. So keep your oh-so-holy-and-wise comment to yourself."

Katau smiled as his wife went by, marveling as always at her slender and fluid grace. Even for an elf, drow or not withstanding she more floated than walked. Two children and his constant teasing and risky profession had done nothing to take away from her beauty. Katau walked up to his son's room upstairs, ready to rouse him for their prayers and then the housework needed on such a large home. Opening the door and peering into the disaster area of his son's bedroom, he felt a disturbance behind him a split second before a flying something landed on his back and stuch there like a feral dog on a kill.

"I got you Daddy! I got yoooooouuuuuuuuuuuuu!" A small high pitched voice called out in Elven. Katau reared back, trying to shake his ten year old son off of him and spun around once before dashing downstairs and out the door, laughing with his son. Takua's legs were wrapped around his sides as he trotted down to the shed and got the hatchet and training swords from the shed.

"Ready to start our day my fine friend?" Katau asked his son, ruffling his son's golden hair The mixing of Katau's high elf and Sierra's drow heiritage had produced the most wonderous of children. Tanthakun had his father's molten gold hair and almost bronze complexion but with his mother's vivid violet eyes.

"I wanna go fishing Daddy. Can't we skip chores and practice?" Takua said, rubbing the last vestiges of sleep from his eyes.

"You know our routine son. Chop wood for the stove, train in arms, come back for mommy's lovely food and then we have fun. If we skipped all that we'd be hungry and you don't need to be like your daddy was, always cutting his classes. Besides, we're going to the festival with Vixie and Rohx later today. Don't you want to see the fire works?" Takua nodded his head, already coming awake and followed Katau out to the shed on the side of the house. Here they got their adzes to cut the wood for the stove and the training swords, Katau's twin longswords in the house mounted on the wall. After all the work they had to do was done they went out to the fishing hole down the trail leading into town. The glen was secluded and the two began to ply their fishing rods they had carved last summer. Katau's memories washed over that year as he sat with half is mind paying attention to the bobber in the water. Half an hour went by and Takua dozed off sitting up with the pole in his hands, his hair falling over his face.

"We must really trim his hair one of these days Starlight." Katau said, still facing the pond. Sierra's arms wrapped around him from behind.

"You still won't let me sneak up on you anymore laqueesh?" Sierra teased him. Katau smiled and pulled her down beside him, the two soaking up and enjoying the quiet of the moment. Takua mumbled in his sleep and shifted towards the two of them and Sierra pulled him so that all three were together. "Katau? Have you finished with the Armor yet?" Sierra asked him quietly. Katau's content face grew concerned. Rarely did his wife ask about the Armor, despite it being the reason she was still alive. That had been one of the scariest moments of his life, he had almost lost his life, his mind and his love all in that one day.

"No, I'm afraid not. Everytime I follow a thread, it leads to a knot. I try and try and finally untangle it, only to find the thread leads to another knot. Eventually I lose the thread I had to begin with. Why do you ask?" Sierra held him a bit tighter, uncertainty making her speak quietly and slowly.

"It's just.....I've had these feeling of foreboding whenever you're having that dream. Or even when you're out trying to decipher it, like a giant wave about to crash onto shore. Can't you ask if Sunflash can come and help?" His wife's fear of his delving into the Armor was not unfounded. Somedays he narrowly avoided great harm by picking at a snare the wrong way, or working too fast. Sometimes he didn't avoid it. Her mention of Sunflash was something strange though, she had a strict non tolerance stance on dragon kin.

"Sierra, I doubt I'll ever finish unlocking all the secrets of the Armor. For now, it's no where as important," he kissed her on the head and squeezed his sleeping son's hand. "as what I have right here. Now, I do think our noble knight-in-training needs to be brought back and help his mother. I'm going into town and see if they need help setting up for the fair." Sierra smiled and scooped up Takua, telling him it was his turn to cook tonight.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The two diviners watched the idyllic scene through the whorl in front of them. They saw the drow woman carry the young child back towards what they knew was the house. They then settled to watch the true object of their attention, the high elf in the glade who was just now summoning the Armor of the Phoenix to him. The method of doing so he just unlocked two days ago. "So, what's the odds of him getting it right this week?" the younger of the two, a dwarf with a pitch black beard said. His compainion, a bizaare mix of a man and a tiger still gazed at the image in the scrying window. His hands, with the palms inverted so that they faced up off of the back of his hands.

"Last standings were 15 to 1, but personally, I'd move it up to 3 to 1 after that display." the tiger-man said, his voice a low growl. His compainion whistled at the proclamation, stroking his beard pensively.

"Do tell why you think that. I mean, I didn't see anything particularly ominious in that discourse." Black Beard said to Reverse-Palm. The tiger-man tapped a finger to his lips.

"You can't read lips though. Trust me, what he said he's going to regret for the rest of his soon to be unnatural life."

"What did he say?" Reverse-Palm just shook his head, dislodging his mane from the pointy collared robe he was wearing. "Just watch. He's starting to open it."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Katau immersed himself in the Armor, sending his mind soaring to its depths. The threads of power, threads of enchantment, longetivity, evocation, necromancy, and transmutation all around him. Most numerous was the conjuration threads, which meshed with the others in a right mess. He began his usual method of picking apart the threads and trying to sort them out. The world around him moved on, the sun starting to set. After several dead ends and a tange that almost made him dead Katau decided to call it a night. Something grabbed his attention however. The last blast had sent his mental eye reeling up and outwards from the threads into an empty space that would be miles above the individual threads if you could translated into as such. The assumed mess started to make a pattern, looking like part of a chant. More threads stretched into what appeared to be infinity. With inspiration and excitement dancing along his nerves, he soared up more and then attempted to compact the threads. To his surprised, the innumerable and uncountable threads came closer and they did in fact make a semblance of writing! Writing in the language of magic none the less!! Returning part of his awareness to his body, he moved his hands in the motions and began to chant off the words.

"Zier' kanasliskor ululowanpir huruntaimac, qira' i'iliskt muurestand yrtarailishanti pegantuernanich weiralinsanpioz" was the end of the chant, a phrase that after being spoken was burned into his mind. He felt the rush of magic leaving him and the armor he wore, whirling about, creating something. The exact nature alluded him as he recoiled from the shock. He hadn't been the most attentive or natural spell caster but he could recognize a large conjuration in effect, something similar to a calling. Eventually the magic to shape, coalescing into.....the door.

The door from my dreams!!!

The same blue light filtered around the edges of it, even the grain of it was the same as he remembered. He reached out his hand, and despite the trembling, gripped the doorknob. He turned it, and walked into the swirling blue mists of the unknown. In the distance, thunder blasted off of the sea as the slate colored clouds of a storm moved in.

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Katau was greeted by blinding light, teleportation daze, and a great press of bodies, from all around. He heard a great rumble, like an avalanche racing down at him and after his eyes adjusted to his bright surroundings, he decided it was better to be blind. He saw strange, wonderful and horrid things all around him, milling about in what seemed to be a town square, but everything was wrong! Over there, a pair of dwarves conversed with an ogre. A strange furry thing looking like a man and a bear walked about, calling in a deep, resonating voice to what seemed to be elves but for the third eye they had.

"Sweet Pelor defend me!" he whispered, as he saw a balor, one of the most powerful of demons wend its way through the crowd. While everyone gave the monstrosity a great berth, made bigger by its thirty foot wings, no one accousted it. Katau was about to pass out when he heard a voice at his shoulder.

"So th're ye are! We been waiting for ye, ye know. 'Nce word gets out yer here th're's gonna be a lotta gold chang'n hands don't ye doubt!" Katau whipped his head around before he saw the personage addressing him. He let out an audiable sigh seeing it was just a dwarf, though he was dressed differently than any dwarf he had seen. His beard was plaited but a deep, burnished looking brown and sky blue eyes. His tunic, breeches and boots all looked to be immaculate, something not usually seen in dwarven attire unless it was armor. "Well, seems yer right tuckered out! Once ye get te see who ye need te see, we're to be gettin' some food in ye and some strong brew." The dwarf waved him to follow but didn't wait up, pressing his way through the pack of....

Mortals. he said to himself. Even the balor. They're all mortal in the end, some are just harder to kill is all. "Excuse me sir," he said aloud to his apparant host "but I have no clue where I am. Last I knew I was exploring the powers of my father's armor, and I was able to conjure that door. My name's Katau and I'd appre-"

"Katau eh?!" the dwarf said, laughing boisteriously as he guided them down to a less crowded avenue. Over the initial shock, Katau saw the buildings were different than he had ever seen. They all appeared to be made of steel and glass, towering many feet up into the air. Gods, if you took this steel and melted it down you could arm a whole continent! "I be assumin' that ain't yer full name. Ye elves all gotta make a big deal outta a name! Goes to show I suppose." Katau's face was screwed up in consternation, trying to figure out this dwarf. He seemed normal enough but something seemed off. If only he could pin it down. "Anyway, me name's Oren, Oren Firefall. Nice, short, dwarven name. As to here, this be Black Phoenix Incorp'rated, th' biggest interdimensional organization known to mortals. As to how you came here, that's fer 'nother to explain. Wulgreath's good with that type o' stuff. Person'ly," the dwarf went on, putting a hand over his heart and his voice becoming a little less gruff. "Person'ly, I'm a spiritu'l man, a man o' faith and o' action. Rare be the time when I sit aboot when things must be done."

"I see. Pray tell Oren, how long have you served Moradin?" Katau asked, giving the name of the major patron of the dwarves. Oren however snorted, or maybe chuckled to himself. It was hard to tell. "Sorry te burst yer bubble elf, but I dunnot worship the Lord o' th' Mountain. I serve Radiant Pelor, god o' the sun." Katau could've sworn his jaw unhinged itself as it dropped. A dwarf, worshiping the Guiding Light, one of the biggest humans gods?! It was, it was..........

"Pretty unexpected eh?" Oren said, doing his snort-chuckle. "Well, get used to it laddie, it only gets worse from here on out." So said, he pushed Katau through a door and left. Katau had been remotely aware of entering a large structure, but didn't pay complete attention. Looking around, he found himself in a giant library, standing in front of a human leafing through a pile of books, and acolytes bringing him more books every handful of seconds. The human's steel grey eyes flicked at him and then returned to racing across the pages. Katau took this as an 'I shall be with you once I am done' look and gratefully tried to pull himself together in the intervening town. Five minutes later and his composure almost back to normal, the human put aside his book and looked out over him. Katau saw himself reflected in the steely gaze of the man and saw his hands were still trembling a bit. The man looked to be about fortyish, with a shock of white in his impressive black hair. He rested his chin on his hands and surveyed Katau, seemingly scanning his soul like he did his books.

"So, you're going to be the new Avatar." he said at last, his voice soft but carrying well in the quiet shuffling backround noises of the library.

"Excuse me sir, but what do you mean? As far as I can tell, I opened up a gate to this organization. I have no knowledge of any avatar, other than those of my god Pelor."
The human's gaze remained the same. Two parts scholar, one part tutor, and one other part he couldn't identify right away.

"You wear the Armor of the Phoenix, symbol of the Black Phoenix avatar cycle. You used it's power to open and acknowledge your leadership of Black Phoenix Incorporated. You are the Avatar, the thirty sixth avatar in a line stretching back to the Age of Beginnings." Katau's mind reeled again. The Age of Beginnings was just that, when all existance was one, there was no separate planes, and also when good and evil began.

"Sir, are you telling me-"

"Call me Wulgreath. It is my name and I try to see it's used."

"Wulgreath then. You're telling me I've been chosen to be this avatar in an age spanning destiny and lead this monstorous complex?"

"More or less. Anything else you wish to know?" Katau nearly lost it at that. This aging fool was telling him everything about him was a lie? That his choices and struggles had meant nothing?! His thoughts must have been on his face for Wulgreath sighed heavily, as if receiving discouraging news. He had heard that sound come from his own lips when he was a general in an army and heard that no reinforcements were forthcoming. "My time is short, I have much to do. All will be explained in time, but first I say you come and bring your family if you have any here. It will be better if you can all adjust to the transition together. Oren will take you back to Portal Plaza, the square where you arrived, and from there you will return to your family and then to here again. I assure you, we will do everything we can so you understand what is to be expected of you Avatar." Wulgreath waved a hand at the door, and it swung open. Apparantly this human was a mage in addition to a scholar. More reason to be wary of him, scholars had access to many secrets and a mage more so. He left Wulgreath to his studies and saw Oren waiting for him outside the door. He guided Katau back to Portal Plaza, and after a few minutes, found a gate back to Katau's home world.

"How will my family and I get back here? Will I have to open my own portal again?" Oren confirmed this and said he'd be waiting for them to come out. Katau shook his hand and left for home. Part wanted nothing to do with these strange people but another part felt complete in the city he had found. Like remembering something long forgotten, the environs of this intimidating vista were oddly familiar. Upon returning to his home dimension, he was wondering how he'd convince Sierra to come with him and bring Takua and Lilliana with them when it hit him. A sharp, tearing pain in him like someone had taken a sword to him. He looked towards home, hand at his heart when he saw the smoke curling out of the rain drenched sky. At the same moment of the lightning bolt, he also took flight across the sky, his ebony feathered wings propelling him hopefull in the nick of time. It always worked like that.

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Unfortunately, Katauthrean Mathrunui Selthrim was not in time to save his family from the drow assassins seeking revenge for their city. They had attacked his family and set fire to his home. He beat them back, all the grief of a husband and skill of a lifelong fighter coming to bear against them. He went to his wife, lying on their lawn, the grass a trampled, bloody mess. She had tried to hold them off but had been caught unprepared, in the years of peace and child raising she had even stopped preparing her spells. He was able to hold her as she breathed her final time on this world and was unable even to apologize to her before her life faded away. Takua he found huddled in the shed, in total shock of the sight of his mother being cut down. He was unable to save the house before it collapsed with a groan as the schorched supports gave way. He knew with cold certainty that Lilliana had perished in that raging inferno. He brought his son to Phoenix and asked for healers for him. As they tended Takua, Katau returned and buried his wife in the ashes and ruins of their home. He could feel the earth covering up his past and hopes for the future as he laid Sierra to rest. On the return from this brief foray, he found his son had escaped. He had fallen unconcious from the awe that Phoenix Inc. inspired and when he awoke, he merely got up and walked away. The medics and clerics had tried to restrain him but he had made it out onto the streets and escaped. Oren told him that they could find him in minutes but Katau thought this was a sign. If he was to be Avatar, he must have no one. As the true phoenix, he would have no mate, he would be alone. This thought was reinforced by the Oath of Loyalty that he swore on his official initiation into being the leader of Black Phoenix Inc.

It turned out that Oren and Wulgreath were former avatars, and were projections of the current avatar's will. Katau had wished for aid and guidance and he had recieved it. Over the hundreds of years, Katau was always grateful for the help these two had given him. However, in a small corner of his mind, buried underneath all his moral superiority and sense of duty, he cursed the Black Phoenix for taking away his family from him so completely and utterly. Does he still do so, even now you ask? I cannot say. While still mortal, Katau is an enigma and only lets himself open very rarely, but I would like to say he has learned to accept it. If he hasn't.....well, it is not for me to judge, I am just a weaver of tales.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Oath of Loyalty

This is the pledge of the Avatar, a reminder to all for what they stand for.

The Avatar must maintain the Balance.

The Avatar is the model for all to be compared to.

The Avatar owes alligance to all.

The Avatar stands alone against time.

If the Avatar fails, All must be Remade.


© Copyright 2017 Mathru Nui. All rights reserved.

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