The Chaos BladebyPhineas©
This is the third installment in the Viconia series (which is a trilogy at present but may continue to grow). My special thanks for this one goes to Kevwe, a man who would not settle for anything less then the best.
She screamed. Mixed in the cry was frustration, exhilaration, pain, and victory. The child slid free of her womb, coming to rest fully in the hands of the midwife that served her. She was Kalista Risingmoon, wife of the brother of the King of the Elves.
The healer chanted and a numbing coolness spread over her, soothing the fires that burned within her. The baby, a boy she noticed immediately, was toweled dry and placed in her arms. She smiled at it, elated in the absence of the pain and the pressure she had endured. The newborn baby looked around curiously, making no noise but clearly aware and healthy.
"Kelnozz," Kalista whispered. "I name you Kelnozz Risingmoon, nephew to the King and son of the mightiest elven warrior Viconia has ever seen."
"I see great things for the babe, Milady," a man said, coming from where he stood nearby. He, Kalista, and her husband, Myragordamar, were old friends. Now he was an advisor to the King as well as herself and Myra. "Many hardships await him, but his future will be filled with greatness if he overcomes them."
Kalista frowned, she wanted no hardships for her firstborn. Nonetheless, great responsibility and great power could not be wielded without proper tempering. "Leave us please, I wish to be alone with my son."
The healer looked at her, surprised at her proclamation. He bowed his head respectfully and gathered up his religious items, leaving the room on the heels of the midwife and her assistant. Narellin waited until they left then looked upon mother and son a final time. He nodded and smiled at her. She knew what to do.
Narellin had only just returned to his offices when his assistant gestured to him anxiously. Smiling, Narellin pulled him aside and inquired as to what had him so exasperated.
"Milord, General Myragordamar has returned! You wanted to be notified when he arrived. His armies rode through the gate an hour ago."
Narellin's dark skin paled as he pondered the news. Finally he smiled and thanked the man, then dismissed him. He turned and rapidly strode out of the room heading towards the gate of the palace to find his long time friend.
News at the gate was of the worst sort for him. He turned rapidly, the messenger already forgotten, and headed briskly towards Kalista's chamber again. He reached up to rap on the door when he heard the angry voice of Myragordamar from within.
"My own wife, betraying her kind! What right do you have to this dishonor?" Myragordamar shouted, his muffled voice easily carrying to Narellin.
Narellin pushed open the door and stepped in. He and Myragordamar had known each other since boyhood, centuries long past, and together had met Kalista. It had been an obvious and instant matching in the partnering of Myragordamar and Kalista, her sorcery augmenting his unmatched prowess with a blade in battle. Off the field of battle they supported each other as well, quickly falling in love and letting the natural tide of things carry them away.
"Peace my friends, what troubles you?" Narellin said, forcing a calm mien.
Myragordamar turned to face him, his expression livid. "You! Do you know of this? I return early to find my wife performing dark rites upon my newborn son! She would turn him into one of the forsaken ones that have turned away from the glory and the brotherhood we have!"
Narellin shook his head and looked at Kalista briefly, meeting her pain filled eyes. He blinked once, and she nodded, knowing the course that they must take. Narellin turned back to Myragordamar and shook his head again, feigning surprise. "I knew nothing of the sort! Are you sure of this? How did the campaign go?" Narellin tried to change the subject long enough for he or Kalista to come up with a possible justification.
The elven general shook his head and looked away out a window over the graceful arches of the palace and the city below. He stared out the window for a long moment before he answered. "The battle went well, if you can call brother slaying brother a good thing. I have battled all things this world can offer, from demons to dragons, yet none leaves the wound in my soul that slaying my kin has done to me. I fear that even should those who have turned to the darker ways be destroyed or return to us, the damage done to many of us is to great to recover from."
"As for her," Myra gestured towards the woman who was wrapped only in sheets and clutching his son on the bed. "Do not forget that whenever one who has been corrupted is found, I am the judge and executioner. From having seen the foulness of their magic countless times I am forever stained. I can not forget, no matter how long I may yet live. Do not doubt what my eyes have seen, Narellin, you know me to well for that."
Narellin nodded. He understood all to well the lure of power that the dark ways promised. He was a wizard, a master of the arcane arts, the very manifestation of power that the rebels sought."I had but one thing to look forward to when I returned... the love of my good wife and the hope that I would arrive in time to witness the birth of my son," he continued. "But what do I find? My son is born and she is consecrating him to the dark powers that the traitors have turned too!"
Myragordamar turned to her and glared at her. "How long has it been? How long have you played me the fool? How many lives have been lost because you knew my heart and my strategies I would take into battle?"
She shook her head, tears glistening on her cheeks. Kelnozz was cradled tightly against her breast. The baby stared alternately at the sources of noise, trying to reach it's first bit of understanding.
"I know this much, I interrupted your dark rites and will spare the child because of it. Your treachery can not be forgiven, however much I wish it otherwise." Myra strode forward to her bed and pulled Kelnozz from her, prying the hands of the woman who had become a stranger to him from the child. Kelnozz still did not cry out, but instead watched the events unfolding about him.
"Narellin, my oldest and truest friend, take the child please. Make it well and see it gets a proper nursemaid."
"What will you do, Myra?" Kalista moved back and forth on her bed, her eyes wildly jumping from one man to the other and then to her son. The sheets, forgotten, fell about her, entangling her.
"The King's law states that any who practices the dark rights is guilty of treachery and must be slain." Myragordamar said, his voice flat and emotionless.
"You would murder your own wife?" Kalista said, staring at him. She knew the penalty for her actions, but the consequences had seemed so unreal.
"My wife has already been murdered by the insurgents that spread the poison and lies of the dark ways. I do not know who you are," he stated just as flatly.
The tears stopped flowing from her eyes then. She nodded slowly, resigned to her fate. "Treat your son well then, Myra, for he has a powerful fate before him."
Myragordamar looked out the window again, clearly upset at the choice forced upon him. It was more then just the King's law, it was his own as well.
"Myra, I have a suggestion."
The elven general turned to the wizard, a brief glimpse of hope crossing his features. "Speak, Narellin, this moment is very bitter to me and I would have light words to sweeten it."
"If it is as you say, that your wife was assassinated long ago, then this women who is before you is no threat. Send her away, exile her to a secret place where she may do no harm and no harm will come to her. Your wife was beloved by the people, let them mourn her loss and let them celebrate and cherish her...your son."
Both husband and wife looked to the wizard, Myra with his face tight with controlled emotion, Kalista with a stunned expression. Finally Myragordamar nodded, his decision reached.
"Go, Narellin, take my son from here. See to it that my personal guard is sent, I have a long journey ahead of me," the elven champion said.
Narellin bowed his head slightly and whisked Kelnozz out of the room, taking the newborn with him to his own chambers. On the way he sent word that Kelnozz's personal guard were to attend him in his wife's chambers, for something fell was amiss. Back in his own offices he locked himself in his room and stared down at the babe in his arms.
"It's too late to finish the spell your mother began, child, but let me see if there is anything I can do to prepare you for your future," he said, smiling triumphantly. "Perhaps some day, when you are grown and see the natural way of things, we can go and find whatever prison your father places your mother in and free her. Oh, and don't worry about your father, he'll be dealt with soon enough."
Narellin talked quietly, for his own benefit more then child's since Kelnozz was far to young to remember or understand the words. Narellin then began chanting, invoking his magic to determine what he might yet do to the babe. Freshly born but strangely quiet and complacent, Kelnozz chose this time to begin to cry. He kicked out and thrashed his arms as best as his infant muscles would let him, visibly and aurally upset at the magic being gathered about him.
Fresh from a battle the young woman glanced around at the strange setting she was in. It was night, but the stars and the full moon shone brightly upon the lagoon she found herself in. Tropical as well, from the feel of it and the silhouette of the palm trees surrounding the beach she was on.
Yamara glanced down at herself. She was a mess. She had no idea how many months or years it had been since she had taken a proper bath. She had always maintained her hygiene as best she was able, but the thought of a quick swim in the nearby water had her warming up inside. Never mind how vulnerable it might leave her, at that moment she did not care. She needed to wash away the stains under her fingernails and under her skin one way or another.
Yamara's armor and clothing was dirty and in need of mending. Her situation was not one that offered such amenities, however, so instead she simply let it fall to the sand unceremoniously. She stood naked on the unknown beach and wondered if she should have felt at least a small amount of trepidation. She shrugged for the benefit of no one other then herself. She was to drained to care what might come after her.
Yamara looked out over the lagoon. The faint light from the cloudless sky painted a faint picture of two islands, one closer and the other further out, but both fairly sizeable. She held no illusions as to her ability to swim out to one of the islands. Even the closer one was several hundred yards distant and she had never been that strong of a swimmer.
Instead she walked forward until the water lapped over her feet. It was warm and refreshing. She found myself sighing softly as she let some of the tensions that had been building up inside of her since my bath flow out of her. She glanced around. It appeared she was the only one in the grotto. Such a beautiful and peaceful place yet she was the only one in it. She shook her head and chuckled. As far as she knew she was the only one on this entire world. A ridiculous thought, but she entertained it anyhow.
Another glance around, wondering if maybe there was somebody hidden spying on her naked body profiled by the moonlight against the darkness. Her modesty was normally nothing so much as a lack thereof, however. Still, she felt a race of excitement at being so exposed in the strange environment. She shook it out of her head and waded into the water, letting the warm waters coax her further and further from shore.
Before she knew it, she was swimming. Powerful strokes that seemed to renew her instead of draining her. The water was salty, but not nearly as much as she had expected it to be. Her buoyancy in it helped keep her arms from tiring, but she soon started fearing she would get herself lost in the near dark.
She swam in place, treading water so she could get her bearings. She glanced around and saw how much closer the island was. Glancing back she did a double take to realize she was at least half the distance to that island. She took a quick stock of her endurance and decided that she had more then enough. She swam on.
Before she knew it her hands dug into the sandy bottom. She put her feet down and walked out of the surf, breathing hard but feeling alive. She stood on the sandy beech of the island and marveled at the distance from the shore of the land that she had swam out from. She could have grown concerned about that, but she was beyond caring at that point.
She had no idea where she was and no idea where she was headed. Yet, in spite of that, Yamara knew where she needed to go. Without weapons, clothing, or armor, she walked silently forward on the pads of her feet into the trees. Her path, as always, lay ahead of her.
She climbed higher and higher on the small island, always going up when a choice presented itself. The light had long since faded behind me but she somehow knew where to step and what not to walk into. Soon she crested the top of a rock and looked around, knowing she could go no higher. She was on a rocky crest overlooking the grotto. The other island was still nearly twice the distance from her as the shore with her worldly possessions on it, and she was more then a little relieved to feel no urge to head there. She settled down on the broad expanse of what felt and looked like weather-beaten rock, sitting in a thoughtful pose and staring into the blackness of the water below.
She fell so deep into her thoughts and memories that she lost track of not only time, but also her whereabouts. She was reliving those final moments again, tears of sadness leaving wet trails down her cheeks. Gone this time was the unrelenting guilt. In its place was only sadness but also a feeling of acceptance. Brina had forgiven her. Brina had confessed herself to her. They had truly understood one another at the last, and as she thought about it, had another fate awaited them there was no telling how messed up things might have become between them.
Then she noticed for the first time the light below her. A single light, glowing softly but steadily, was moving through the trees. She watched intently, feeling certain that it was no threat. She was merely curious. Something made her feel safe in a way that nothing else had ever done. She felt that it was bad for her simply because her senses would grow dulled if she spent to long there.
She heard a woman curse then. It was distant and she could not pick out the words, but the tone left no question as to the gender. She smiled softly and rubbed the tears away from her cheeks. The light moved closer and she had to reposition myself on the edge of her overlook to see it. She was on her hands and knees looking down the thirty feet that was the rock face on that side when suddenly the light changed directions. It started coming straight up towards her.
Yamara's mouth fell open in surprise. The woman rose out of the trees with nothing to propel her and no means of control. A ball of glowing light was held in her open palm, her other hand was at her side. Her feet were as bare as Yamara's, but she wore a loose shirt made of blue silk that fell loosely about her and clung to her curves. Crimson lace about the deeply plunging neckline and the sides completed the shirt, and matched the crimson trim on the black skirts that fell to her ankle. Her hair was as black as her skirt and shimmered in the light.
Yamara's gasp of surprise changed direction then. She was still surprised by the strange woman's magical ascent, but now she was gasping at her beauty. Her wavy black hair framed her nicely tanned face and fell to her shoulders. She smiled at Yamara and stepped forward when she was at her level, putting her feet on the rock and letting her spell dissipate.
"Hi, I'm Alesha," she said, offering Yamara no chance to recover. Her hand was extended. Yamara climbed to her feet quickly and shook her hand, forgetting completely about herself. Alesha's eyes wandering over Yamara's body, examining her in a way that left her feeling vulnerable and mildly turned on at the same time. She blushed slightly under her scrutiny in spite of herself.
"I'm sorry, I've just been alone here for a very long time," she said, noticing Yamara's slight discomfort.
Yamara waved it away and asked, "I was up her looking for some peace and quiet, is there anything I can do for you?"
"Oh, you were? I'm sorry," Alesha said, looking disappointed.
"Wait a minute, you've been alone for a long time? How long?"
Alesha's expression brightened slightly in the pale moonlight. "Many years," she said. "A great many years."
Yamara filed her answer away, ready to think about it later. Then her curiosity get the better of her. "With your magic you can leave this island, can't you? Why make a hermit of yourself."
Alesha smiled sadly. "You have no idea, do you? How did you come here?"
Yamara shook her head, a tinge of sadness dulling the edge of her curiosity.
"Sorry, none of my business I guess," Alesha responded. "To answer your question, this world is dead. I am the only person that lives here. I was imprisoned her a long time ago, that is why I am lonely."
"An entire world with no people on it? No humans, elves, dwarves, or anything else?"
Alesha nodded. Yamara took a deep breath and tried to decide if that was for the best or not. She would be safe from any of the calamities that seemed to befall her around other people, at least. Still, as much as a loner as she was, she was not sure she could survive without others.
"You did not come here of your own volition then?" Alesha tried again, hoping to break through Yamara's defensive mask.
Yamara was having none of it. "Imprisoned, you say?" she asked, Alesha's earlier words suddenly flashing back to her and saving her from reliving her own memories so soon.
Alesha gave her a shrewd look, her smile fading for a second. Then she laughed rather harshly. "Alright, fair enough. Why should you tell me anything if you don't know anything about me. Have a seat and let's do this then."
Alesha sat down on the rock beside her, pulling her skirt up to avoid tearing or snagging it. Yamara watched her and noticed her very faded and worn her clothing was. She was mildly irritated at how she had invited herself to her private moment. Then Yamara let out her pent up breath and sat down facing her, ankles crossed in front of her and her knees on the ground. Yamara made no move to cover myself, trying instead to make Alesha uncomfortable with herself exposed to her so openly. Alesha's smile and wink instead served only to infuriate her.
"So talk," Yamara said gruffly. If she had offended her she showed no notice of it.
"This world is my prison," she explained. "I was put here because this is the only safe place for me, short of killing me. I was a bad girl."
Given how she had found Yamara directly in her hidden spot and used what seemed like powerful magic to do it, Yamara was not inclined to disbelieve her. Still, she seemed harmless enough. Then again, So had Brina before she had been twisted into that hateful thing she had become.
"I sold my soul to the devil," Alesha told her after a moment of introspective thought. She offered a bitter smile and followed it with, "it seemed like a good idea at the time."
She had piqued Yamara's interest there, and the way in which she tried to lighten the conversation the blond woman appreciated. "How did you manage that?" she asked her.
Alesha looked at her, appraising her for a moment. Finally, having made her decision, she plunged on. "I was a fool. Simple enough. I was in over my head and I wanted to help out the men I admired and even loved. The only way I could do it was to accept the candy a stranger offered me."