DrezEarth: A Tale of Destiny
The Child of Tears
Novas stared down at the city of Arcalan. The mages of the city were fast asleep, except for those on watch. The city was peaceful on this night, except for the guards walking along the edges of the city, attempting to keep out the nightmares of the world. She pulled the newborn infant to her chest beneath her cloak.
The guards and mages on watch would not see them if they did not want them to, and it was not time for them to see the child. The moon was not quite full. They needed the full moon for this all to go as planned, the timing had to be perfect for them to place the baby, if only Dammar would stop his insipid fretting. He was beginning to agitate her nerves.
"Are you sure this is the right thing to do? She will never be accepted here."
"That is the point, my dear. If she was accepted, then she would never leave, and therefore she would never fulfill her potential. She will never know just what is planned for her, and in that ignorance, she will go along with all that we have planned," said Novas.
The baby in her arms began to rouse awake at the sound of her voice. Novas looked down at the child. She looked nothing different from the rest of mankind. She was still pink stained from her birth just a few hours before, her eyes closed in slumber, and her fists clenched tightly, as if she was angry with the world. Nothing special to the outside observer, but to the two guarding her right now, she would help determine the end of the world.
"How can you be sure they will allow her to becme a magic user? Eight hundred years have gone by, but they have still kept all of C'boaath's decendants from wielding any type of magic. They have too much fear of his family in this city to let her out of their control," fretted Dammar.
At the mention of C'boaath, Novas stared to the north from her perch on the Wall of Tears, the southern wall of Arcalan. After eight-hundred years of abandonment, the tower should have been falling to ruin, but the tower looked as it must have looked the day it was completed. Just barely through the fog around the tower, she could see the flicker of light in the windows of the upper battlements of his tower, and wondered if that was the room where C'boaath had been slain, betrayed by the very same people he had helped save, because of a rumor that was never proven or disproven.
"They will allow her to use magic as a form of control over her. They will watch her carefully, and they will dictate over what kinds of magic she will learn. They will do their best to keep her here, but one day someone or something will come along that will cause her to leave. The council will object, her guardians will try to stop her, but she will have spent her whole life searching for the pieces of herself that are missing, and when the time comes nothing will stop her from leaving Arcalan, or Fuurthok," she assured Dammar.
They both looked out at the slumbering capital city, wondering how it had survived in it's present state. The guards were lazy and barely attentive. The only saving grace of this society are it's schools, the same schools that had saved these humans in the war so long ago.
"So what now, Novas? What becomes of the child when we leave her here?" asked Dammar.
"Well, first they will call a meeting of all of the council. It will probally take a day or two for them to all get here, and then they will cast the proper spells to get the answers they desire. Of course they will only know what we want them to know, and this little babe will know even less," Novas said as she exposed the baby's throat on which lay an ornate amulet. She placed the amulet in her hand and it glowed a faint blue-white.
"How much longer must we wait here? The moon is almost risen, and the guard will be by soon. It will seem odd to them if a child floats down into this nesting of rock under the crying face. They will ask more questions than needs be if that happens," Dammar said as he began placing blankets under the woman's face that is seen to cry on the Wall of Tears.
"Not much longer before it will all begin. In twenty-five years this babe will come back to this place to find who she is and the gears will already be set into place, she will just be one piece in our little puzzle. The only problem we might have is her own free will, but there are always ways around that," said Novas.
"Novas, what part in all of this do we actually play. I mean, I know we have to place this child here, so that the mages here will take her in, but what must we do after this?" Dammar seemed extremely careful in his wording and interest in this question.
"Well dear, we must protect her as long as she can not protect herself. We must protect our investment in all of this, so for the next twenty-five years we will watch and influence what we can, as often as we can. We will appear to be 'imaginary friends' up until around her tenth birthday, in which time her powers will have reached a safe level, a state in which she will be able to protect herself. At this time we will explain to her why we must leave, but we will not leave, just vanish from her sight. And if someone starts asking questions, and getting too close to answers we want hidden, well then we will hide them deeper. She will remain a mystery to these people, and that will make them fear her and protect her. She will have few attachments and even fewer friends. She will leave here and return and all the things that have been hundred of years in planning will come to pass." As Novas finished speaking she placed the baby into the cradle of blankets that Dammar had arranged directly under the eyes of the Wall of Tears. With the moon finally risen, the glow radiated upon the face and tears began to flow softly unto her face, causing her to begin crying. With a few mumbled words the shadows lifted off of the baby and left her exposed to the Guards' attention. The guards' look of fear and amazment was almost comical to Dammar, seeing that Novas clamped a hand tightly on his mouth to keep him quiet. They may be invisible, but sometimes they are not quite silent. The Guards gathered up the child, careful not to touch the amulet around her throat, and began to take her to the High Precept's home, Castle Crystalblaze. They knew they would never be able to satisfactorily explain how the infant had just appeared on the wall they were posted to watch, but they also knew that delaying the explanations they did have would only make it worse for them. As soon as the guards were out of earshot Novas let go of Dammar. They both stared out at the guards walking away with one piece of a very large puzzle with trepidation and amazement. They had done it, they had set into motion events that one way of another would change the world. Words formed in their minds as the baby was slowly disappearing into the city. "Good night Siobhan. It begins," they said in a voice eerily not their own, but the same.
* * * *
"One thousand years into the distant past of all life on this planet, in an age of wonderment for all humans, magic was first introduced into our society. A knowledge held at a distance in the hands of Elvish society was for the first time seen by human eyes, and held within human hands, only to be denied to us. The Elven empire felt that they must keep magic from the Fuurthokian empire, and all humans in general. Their decision erupted into the greatest feud in all of DrezEarthian history. Our ancestors stole the knowledge and began to use and perfect it. The Elves retaliated by declaring war.
"For hundreds of years the battle would go on, sometimes the humans would find a foothold and be ahead, and at other times the Elven Empire would have us beaten back into our own homes. Thousands died on both sides of the debate over control of the magical arts.
"No one stood out amongst the masses of the dead nor living for hundreds of years in the unwavering battle between elves and humans, until admist the faceless man arose one so powerful, so enigmatic, the world was forever changed.
"Within the ranks of the Arcalanian nobilty arose the greatest battlemage ever to exist. The mage C'Boaath, by his power alone, nearly destroyed the Elvin empire, but he was murdered on the ramparts of his tower eight hundred years ago. Legend has it that C'Boaath acquired his power through a pact with a demon and when his "treachery" was discovered he was slain within his own home. After the last of his "murderers" had left the tower, the bridges leading to the door crumbled and no one has been able to set foot upon his home since. Those of his bloodline have been barred from the use of magic and most had left Fuurthok in pusuit of some semblance of peace that history would not give them.
"For the next six hundred years the war over magic was just as the first two hundred, the climax being the death of C'Boaath, leading into where we find ourselves today. For the past two hundred years an uneasy peace has settled down around us only because we have neither the desire to fight nor to concede. Communication between the two empires is not encouraged and is highly frowned upon by our council."
to Etiquette and Furthookian History 101
* * * *
The nightmares were becoming fewer. As she woke up from the latest one images and sounds flashed before her eyes. Cold black metal armor, Mech's mischievous grin as he completed fixing the broken pieces, the way his eyes looked that last day, and the sounds of his screams as the armor took over. Siobhan shook these images from her mind as she pulled herself out of bed and began her daily ritual.
The water had been laid out for her hours ago, but with the students gone at practice, there was no need for her to awaken, as she normally would have. The water was cool against her hot face and mingled with her drying tears. She stared up ather face while drying the water. Her eyes flashed a deep sapphire blue and reflected her conflicting emotions. She had not loved Mech in any traditional sense, but she mourned the loss of him with a deep unnerving pain. He was the last and only chance she had to find out where she came from and who she truly was. The only key to the secrets surrounding her was an amulet she wore at all times hidden within her clothing. The amulet burned against her skin and she absentmindly pulled it out. It was beautifully crafted in a long forgotten metal that Mech had barely begun to explain to her. It resembled an open catseye, except the iris looked more like a teardrop with an inner flame. Mech had noticed it the day they met because the metal was of a type and fashion long since extinct from her society. So she had left her hometown and lead Mech to his "death" here in Wells Schafer.
Months had passed since Mech had "died" and she had been here teaching at the Academy long enough. She looked toward her desk at the unrolled scrolls there. The one on top bearing the broken seal of the man who had offered her the job here as a way to work through her grief, while he left with the rest of the group. Griffon was a good man, and was probably at one time an amazing mage, until Jack bit his arm off. A small smile touched her lips at the thought of those two. They fought like old rivals, but she had a feeling that there was a deep connection between them. She had become friends with Griffon when she had talked him down from a fight with Jack, in which Jack would have surely killed him, if given the opportunity. She had also told Griffon where he would be able to go to learn to use magic again. Fuurthok, her homeland, a place so ingrained in her blood that she could not believe she was not there, and yet a place very alien to her.
She looked back at her reflection in the mirror, her morning ritual over. The intricate twisting and braiding of her hair, which if worn down would reach well past her hips, would have taken anyone else hours to fashion, but she had been doing it since her hair was past shoulder length. It was the manner in which she was raised, though seemingly formal and stiff, she was actually very comfortable in this manner. She needed to finish getting back there, her mourning had stayed beyond it's welcome, and it was time for her to go. The summons from Griffon provided a chance to find a direction in her life again, it would give her something to do for the next year and a half before she would return to Fuurthok and her twenty-fifth birthday would come, and hopefully with it a key to herself.
* * * *
Siobhan took a deep breath at the door to Mara's study. Though their friendship had begun on very rocking terms (due to a small mishap in which Siobhan had called her and Jack's daughter a demon spawn, a name of affection from her parents, but not acceptable for others to say), they had begun to be very close and Siobhan felt a true sense of loyalty and respect for the women who more or less ran the Academy. Telling her she was leaving today was going to be a hard thing to do. The dark haired mage set down her bags outside of the door and knocked gently. A soft voice bide her enter from within.
Mara's study was never what one would expect of a young headmistress of an Academy, nor was it the kind of room one would expect a young mother would go to unwind. The windows on one wall opened up to the bathhouse and gardens, if the curtains were ever pulled apart. There was always a small fire burning in the fireplace, which always seemed to be at the same level of fire and heat. The whole room was a kind of organized chaos that was baffling to Siobhan, but whenever Mara was asked for something, she could find it in mere seconds. Mixed into the magical implements were various weapons, books of all sorts were held in the shelves and you could see several child toys strewn about, though no one could ever remember seeing Christina with a single toy.
The blond telepath sat behind her desk, buried up to her eyes in papers, and she looked in a foul mood. It seemed ironic that she would have to say goodbye to Mara in the same mood she had seemed to have with Siobhan for the most of her stay. Keeping her mind as blank as possible, Siobhan moved up to the desk, and silently slid Griffon's summons onto the stack of papers Mara was reading from. Without even a glance at Siobhan she began to read, her clear blue eyes growing clouded as she read Griffon's words. Mara seemed to scan over the correspondence a few times as Siobhan looked on. When Mara finally began tospeak, her voice seemed empty.
"So you will be leaving us then?" the blond telepath said without looking up at Siobhan, her mind trying to probe into Siobhan's.
"Yes. It is time for me to move on with my life. I don't have a lot of time left before I need to return home, and I have a lot of unanswered questions left before me. I appreciate all that you and Jack have done for me, letting me stay here and grieve, but staying here is not helping me move on," Siobhan said breathlessly, trying to get all of the words out of her head as soon as possible, so Mara could not find her way in. She did not need to know that the nightmares were still there and getting worse because she would try to keep her there, and she really had to go.
Mara's eyes narrowed as she finally looked up at Siobhan. "There is something you are trying to keep from me about all of this and you are usually a lot less obvious about it. You know you have an obligation here until the end of the semester. You have students and staff who are counting on you." Mara realized her error even before the last words were out of her mouth.
Siobhan straightened up to her full 6' 2", with ice in her eyes as she stared down at the telepath, her Fuurthokian pride in all its glory. She threw down the walls in her mind and let Mara feel the full weight of her mistake. And even before words came out of her mouth Mara winced.
"That was really the wrong road to take here Mara. My loyalty to this Academy is unquestionable, and you know it. You also know that my position was offered to me by Griffon, the same man who has just there in that letter reassigned me to take him his belongings. I expected you to be upset, maybe because we have begun to be friends. But I also expected more of you then these silly little games." Siobhan's anger burned into her words and out from her mind at the telepath.
"Okay, I admit I went the wrong way with this, but you kind of threw this at me out of the blue. I was not ready for you to up and leave like this."
"I know you did not expect it to happen today, but you knew it would happen soon. You know my circumstances and what I need to do. You knew I was not going to stay here forever. You do not need me right now with the students gone on break, and that also gives you enough time to find my replacement. But I have to go, and you know it."
"Oh, stop being so sensible. You and your damned Fuurthokian pride are going to make me old, fast," Mara said with exasperation. "I take it you are already packed, and that Griffon's things have as well been prepared then?"
"Yes, but you knew that already."
"Yes, but you threw me for a loop, I am just trying to catch up. I will take it that you are leaving now, so you can get away from the unpleasant business of saying goodbye to everyone. And I will also take it that I can not change your mind."
"Yes I am leaving now. And no, there is nothing you can say to change my mind. I need to move on from here, but I trust you to keep in touch and let me know how things are here and with you. And I will keep in contact as well, if you would like." Siobhan knew that was a blatant fumbling around stupidly for confirmation of their friendship, but she needed to test the waters here.
Mara stood up from behind her desk and walked around to the mage and placed her hand outward in the customary welcome of the Academy teachers. Siobhan grasped her arm and they smiled at each other.
"Whatever happens out there, always remember, you have friends here, and a job if you ever want or need another one. We will keep your rooms for you, just in case you happen by this way again and need a free room. Now get out of here, I have work to do, and I do not want you to see me get sappy," Mara said, her normal commanding nature back in full swing.
Siobhan smiled at the telepath, a sad and thoughtful grin, and then reached into an inner pocket of her cloak to pull out two pieces of folded parchment with her seal on them.
"Please give Christina the one with her name on it, after I leave, and hold onto the other, just in case something happens to me. I need someone I can trust to hold onto my last will and testament. If I change it, I also need to know I can send it to you, and you will take care of the things I ask. Promise me Mara," Siobhan said, steel in her backbone and voice.
"I promise," Mara said. And with that Siobhan spun around and walked gracefully out of the room.
When she got out of her room and into the hallway, she collected herself and held back her tears. She took up her bags and walked out the door of the Academy. The caravan she was to oversee was waiting outside for her as she exited the Academy. She took up her horse and told them to go. And she rode out of Wells Schafer, not looking back once.
design ©2001 by Cindy Rosenthal
DrezEarth: A Tale of Destiny © 2001 by Umbra
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