Anima: Legends of Gaia

Yi Ling
- In between.

Where am I, what is this?… 

I woke up floating in perfect darkness, sounds? only the ones I made myself. All muffled.. and a strange echo.. 

then out of the darkness an oval window formed, and I could see myself playing at the temple where i grew up.. by my self, and then he was there… He was the only one of the other students that hadn't mocked me, the only girl to enter into martial training in 50 years.. 

the window blurrs and a new image emerges.

I'm 16 and graduating well ahead of any other students my age.. I am so proud.. and so in love, the fool that I am.. Image fades and a new one appears

it's a stormy night i'm 20, my love, rival in martial arts, and my closest friend, didn't show up for the meeting.. I waited for 6 hours in the pouring rain..

image fades and a new one appears.

It's early morning, and we're eating when I'm called to the grand master's audience chamber.. when I get there I sense something is off.. the atmosphere is extremely tense, and there are members of the imperial guard present. along with 9 of my seniors. the grand master tells us that last night a member of our order tried to assassinate the emperor.. and without letting himself be interrupted by the imperial messenger asks us in as mild a manner as he always speaks, if any of us knows anything about this.. naturally we all shake our head.. and he then nods at the dean who presents each of us with a Katana, and instructs us on our mission to retrieve the supposed assassin, by force if nessecary, and if he proves himself guilty, he is to fall on the sword, and be beheaded straight after.. IF he comes quietly, he is to be returned to the temple and face an inquiry.. and first after careful deliberation, handed over to the imperial court.

Image Blurrs and a new one appears.

i'm in my room crying my lunges out.. when i hear a light tap on the door, and the grand master enters.. he's been like a father to me, for as long as I can remember….. he knows my heart maybe better than I myself do.. and he informs me of the importance that I be part of the search.. namely that the others are more inclined to kill him rather than bring him back..
the old man is sly as ever, but also kind, wise and just.

image blurs and a new one appears.

I'm in the south, I've just bought a slave and am trying desperately to teach him about the meaning of free will..

Image blurs and new one appears.

I'm at a border check point heading north following a lead, when some girl bumps into me and smiles while scurrying off, when i check my pockets i find a small package, right when the border guards call me over.. i freeze for less than a split second, and aproach.. they ask if i'm carrying anything taxable, I shake my head.. they let me and Zahur pass, without too much fuzz.. on the other side I spot the girl aproaching me and she sees that I see her.. she walks off but after a while I catch up, and descretely hands her the package, and we begin to talk, I learn that she's heading north to make a delivery, and we more or less agree to travel together..

Image blurs and a new one appears.

I'm in the north asking around town for a Shivatan man matching a certain description when a burly rather big guy approaches me, saying that he's seen a man matching the description.. he is carrying a large sword.. of primitive design yet flawlessly crafted.. he tells me that he was moving south the last time he saw him.. 

image blurs and a new one appears.

on the way south we see a lone wanderer flanked by a small group of highwaymen and decide to help him out, after we sent two of them to meet their respective makers the others take flight.. he introduces himself as whistler and although he pretends to be blind, he does seem to be well aware of his surroundings.

image blurs and a new one appears.

we arrive at Americh, then a house on fire, and me jumping through the flames, next us on the road fighting for our lives, then a pursuit through the forest. then old ruins, skeletons fighting, getting hurt, walking, helping the others cross obstacles, fighting a Undine, starting the fight with a fire elemental-ish demon then nothing.. the window closes and I am left in Darkness again.

then I hear a voice.. calling, gently, it's my old master… and I feel a warmth so warm so gentle, and then I wake up..

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Book I - Interlude IIX
Silence in Heaven

Rah descended the long dark stairs that went down into the depths of the earth. His vision was clouded by pain and fatigue, but he knew each corner of those steps by heart, every stone of that put his bloody hand on the circular panel. He could even walk down with his eyes shut.

When he reached the bottom, he stopped staring the enormous metal doors. Despite the protections they had, he felt the extraordinary power that crackled inside. Very slowly he removed a gauntlet and put his bloody hand on the circular panel.

“Opening the first six seals.”

With a dull thud, the entire metal surface began filling with bright symbols, forming a scintillating cabalistic tree with seven sephirots. When it completed itself, the mystical metal layers of the door began to separate one after another and Rah entered the very heart of Tol Rauko.

Utnapishtim.

Before him stretched a vast machinery for miles beneath the earth, digging into the very roots of existence. Hundreds of floating panels surrounded his body, full of quantum and supernatural formulas. The Lord of Judas observed everything meticulously while he moved through the colossal room. Millions of souls of both gods and mortals had accumulated in those metal ramifications, a power just beyond mankind’s grasp. When  he passed through the center he could not help but outline a sardonic smile when he noticed the thirty black metal pieces located in the central panel but, without stopping, continued on to his destination.

There was an enormous crystal cylinder full of tubes in the center of the room, inside of which was a suspended woman in a deep slumber. She was beautiful in a way hard to explain, so much to force the poets to stop dreaming. Watching her, Rah’s expression changed slightly and his eyes filled with a certain melancholy.

“I am sorry. Though you are not yet prepared, I have nothing left.”

With tenderness, he ran his bloody hand over the crystal, leaving four long red streaks. For the first time in a while, sadness overcame him.

“Perhaps this is a mistake. Somebody once told me that we must never lose hope, but it’s strange…those words are now hollow to me.”

“You know? I would have liked to teach you about many things, both good and bad. A sunset, a crying child, a mother’s pain in childbirth. Now we can no longer do this together.”

“Sometimes I wonder… When did we lose our history? How did we lose control of our own destiny? Perhaps… it was never ours? Maybe the world I was going to create was much worse.”

“But it would have been ours.”

Rah’s hand slowly fell on the central Control Panel of Utnapishtim. Dozens of wires burrowed into his flesh, ripping through sinews and veins until it fused to his nervous system in his spine. The pain was unbearable.

“Opening the seventh seal. Let there be silence in heaven.”

Suddenly, one after another, all the panels in the room went out simultaneously while a colossal sephirotic tree began to form; first throughout all Tol Rauko, through the Inner Sea, and shortly after, everywhere in the world. The cabalistic structure was so titanic that it could be seen from the stratosphere.

And while his body and soul were torn by the insane power he had triggered, the voice of Rah echoed for the last time in all creation. His words were imbued with a sad and solemn tone, like that of someone bringing bad news.

“And your name will be Elhazzared, meaning ‘The Lost Paradise’”.

And then the world shattered.

And from its pieces was only silence.

-Beyond the Dreams. Vol. 1

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Book 1 - Interlude VII
The power of Mortals

Rah stopped and began to examine the air, unsure of what he had felt. Suddenly, reality deformed behind him; a gigantic scythe appeared out of nowhere and swung towards his head inhumanly fast. However, as if he sensed the attack at the last moment, The Lord of Judas flinched from the blade’s trajectory, harmlessly grazing the right side of his face. Rah instantly turned, but there was no sign of his unknown assailant.

He very calmly traced his fingers along the open wound on his cheek and looked at the blood with some disdain.

“A surprise attack… how futile,” he commented somewhat indifferently. “This is all that you could come up with to kill me?”

In one fluid movement, he drew his huge sword and dragged it along the ground with sparks jumping all around him.

“Show yourselves! I do not have all day for games.”

In response to these words, the tiles of the hall began to form bright red runes preceded by heart wrenching screams; it was as if all reality began to cry. One after another, three strange creatures manifested loudly in the room, while all the candles lit up with a bluish hue. The first of these beings was a proudlooking angel with six ash-colored wings stained with blood and an enormous black scythe in his hands. The second was an obese and deformed imitation of a man whose huge mouth full of sharpened teeth could even be seen in pitch-black darkness.

Lastly, undoubtedly the most frightening of the trio, was a beast whose body was made up of flesh, metal and fire.

“Pride, Gluttony and Wrath; The Three Demon Princes. To send lap dogs rather than act directly… So concerned are they in remaining hidden that they do not even send their own agents? I cannot say that I am very impressed with the choices. You are not even gods.”

“But we are, ‘O King of Men,’” responded the gray angel with a melodic voice and certain irony. “I no longer remember the last time a human survived one of my attacks.”

WHY WASTE TIME WITH EXPLANATIONS, PRIDE? HE IS NOTHING MORE THAN FLESHFLESH!” Roared the incandescent beast rushing towards Rah.

The Lord of Judas was prepared for the onslaught, but still found it difficult not to be overwhelmed by the monstrous speed of Wrath. Gathering his energies, he managed to distance himself from the path of the mass of metal and fire while at the same time lashing it with his sword. The Demonic Prince, confused by his enemy’s maneuvering and the pain he felt because of the thrust, was unable to stop his momentum and went through the wall behind Rah destroying it.

“All seven of you should have come,” Rah declared. “You might have stood a chance.”

Pride’s expression became gloomy.

“Too much arrogance for a mere mortal, be he a pauper or a king.” The praise had ended.

As soon as those words left his lips, he rushed him hoisting up the dark scythe. With equally surprising speed, Rah raised his own sword and blocked the gray angel’s attack, creating a powerful gale the moment that both blades met. After a few moments of silence where the contestants tried to measure each other’s strength, a cruel grin spread across the face of Pride as he began to attack his rival. His movements were so fast that his body split leaving a trail behind himself, which gradually forced Rah to retreat while the columns of the room flew past them. Suddenly, two powerful bolts of supernatural energy flew towards The Lord of Judas, who could see from the corner of his eye how Gluttony was gesturing arcane symbols with longing expressions. Making an incredible display of martial prowess, Rah disengaged Pride with a two handed thrust and prepared for both hits. Surprisingly, the power of the spell was less than what he had assumed, although the resulting explosion sent him flying towards one of the walls of the room after hitting his weapon. Without wasting a moment, he raised his head waiting for the next attack of Pride and Gluttony, but to his surprise neither of them launched themselves after him; they remained quietly in opposite corners of the great hall.

By the time he understood what was happening, it was already too late.

The wall behind him exploded as the burning metallic mass of Wrath broke through it. Just as he did before, Rah tried to distance himself from the impact of the beast, but this time he didn’t have time and was attacked from the side. His body went through one wall after another, crushed by the demon that never stopped laughing. Even for somebody of Rah’s fortitude, the punishment was more than he could bear. His ribs cracked and blood began to drip from the corner of his mouth. Seeing his prey severely damaged, Wrath stopped cold and used his momentum to throw him back towards the great hall, where Gluttony caught him in mid-flight. Those strong arms held him fast as if he were merely a toy. The pressure was so intense that, had it not been for his armor and the energy instilled in him, he would have been snapped in two like a twig. Slowly, Gluttony began to pull him towards his enormous open maw, and even The Lord of Judas felt a chill when looking into the endless void in there.

“You look… so… tas… tasty…” The obese demon stuttered with some anxiety.

As if those words had broken him from a trance, Rah gathered his remaining energy and raised the blade that he still had in his hands slicing the arms off his captor. The moment his feet hit the ground, he spun around making an enormous arc with his sword and striking the monster with all the power that he could muster. The impact would have cleaved a mountain in half. Gluttony’s head rolled cleanly across the ground, but Rah had faced too many higher entities to think that this would be enough to kill a creature whose power was equal to that of a fallen god. Without giving him time to recover, he looked for the spiritual core in the greasy body that stood before him and pierced it with his hand. The sensation was repulsive, even through the heavy metal gloves, but he continued pushing until he felt the creature’s essence between his fingers. Realizing the danger he was in, Gluttony became truly frightened and tried to escape to another plane, but before he could The Lord of Judas squashed his soul, completely destroying the demon lord. Very slowly, turning back to the remaining princes, Rah removed his bloody hand and raised it high.

“One,” he said with his usual flat tone.

“I WILL DEVOUR YOUR SOUL FOR THAT!” The heart wrenching voice of the flaming beast resonated as it ran back towards the great hall. “YOU WILL SCREAM!”

With unusual composure, Rah faced Wrath holding his Lawgiver with both hands. His whole body tightened while accumulating his Ki, letting it flow outward. For a moment, the energy emanating from him was so intense that powerful bluish lightning began to surge and crackle through the air around him. The demon carefully observed him, bewildered by such power in a mortal being, but this confusion only intensified the burning rage boiling inside of him. Without pause, it pounced a third time waiting to see which way the little human would dodge, prepared to change his trajectory on the fly and dismember him.

But this time Rah had no intention of distancing himself. His feet were deeply nailed to the ground producing cracks below them, and met the beast mid- flight with his sword. He put all his skill into that attack; power and soul.

It was enough.

The blade cleanly cleaved the body and essence of the Demonic Prince. The remains of Wrath fell heavily to both sides of Rah and shattered like broken glass. This time he didn’t bother finding his spiritual core; there was nothing left.

“Two,” he declared.

But the fight was far from over. Rah knew that Pride was by far the most dangerous of the three, and he was very concerned that he did not openly participate in the fight. The possibility that he had fled hadn’t even crossed his mind; it would be foolish to think that of an entity that embodied men’s pride.

But no matter how hard he looked for him, he found no sign of his presence. Suddenly, Rah felt a queasy sensation, something that impelled him to look upwards when it was already too late.

Pride was suspended above the vault of the great hall, with his blood-covered wings splayed open and his arms stretched over a sphere of crackling energy. His two companions had given him more than enough time to prepare the final spell and, with it, the absolute destruction of Rah.

“Go to heaven or hell. Whatever most pleases you.”

The arcane spell was completely unleashed in center of the room and the entire fortress began to shake. Any other place without the incredible technomagical protections of Judas would have been completely destroyed for dozens of miles around, but even so, many rooms of the fortress were eventually blow up. The floor caved in; rubble and debris peppered the ground floors. Pride looked down amused while he waited for the smoke to dissipate. And then, for the first time in his almost eternal existence, the demon felt something similar to surprise.

Maybe even fear.

Among the cloud of ash a figure stood quietly, shaking off the dust and blood that almost completely covered him.

“Impossible! You cannot still be standing… nothing could still be standing!”

Mastering the strange emotions that overcame him, the Demonic Prince raised his scythe and without losing a moment launched headfirst towards his opponent. Rah was still wobbly, but hoisted his sword up and silently countered the savage blows one after another.

“Fall! Fall! Fall!” The demon shouted time and time again, moving back and forth at the speed of thought splitting existence with his dark scythe.

Actually, Pride was much faster and stronger than Rah. Not because he had more skill or experience, but because it simply had always been so. When he wanted to attack somebody he didn’t waste time looking for openings in his rival’s defense or was bother studying his style; he only thought about killing him and his scythe was already splitting him in two. Pride, who had even crushed the souls of gods, knew that breaking his adversary was just a matter of time. After all, to the Demonic Prince, Rah was nothing more than a man.

That would be his doom.

At the moment in which Pride dealt what should have been the killing blow, The Lord of Judas caught the scythe between his fingers and, with a simple thrust, returned the attack. The Demonic Prince wanted to block the sword, but somehow the blade managed to sneak past his guard clipping one of his arms.

As if part of the same movement, Rah began dealing countless blows throughout his entire body alternating from one side to another with Pride watching helplessly. More than just attacking, the coordination and passion of his blows gave the strange impression that he was doing some kind of dance. Finally, he drew a circle in the air with his arms and placed the palm of his hand on the demon’s chest.

For one eternal second in time, both contenders looked into each other’s eyes.

“Three.”

Then, without Rah’s hand moving an inch, Pride’s body was launched through the entire room crashing through one column after another until finally imbedded on the opposite wall. Then The Lord of Judas’ sword flew through the air, pinning Pride even closer to the wall.

But to the demon’s surprise, he still lived. Rah had deliberately avoided hitting his spiritual core and the creature, not yet realizing why, became aware of it.

Slowly, with remarkable calm, Rah began crossing the room while his impotent adversary writhed on the wall trying to get free. When they were face to face, in a final flourish of who he was, he arrogantly raised his head with the bearing of a sovereign, waiting for what should have been the fatal blow.

Rah simply pulled his sword out of the wall, letting his impaled body fall to the ground. The Lord of Judas, covered completely in blood, watched the arrogant creature crawl to his feet with chilling serenity. He turned his back to the demon and walked towards the stairs but, upon reaching the threshold, he stopped for a moment without turning around.

“Run demon. Run as far as you can and tell this to your masters: ‘Today a new age begins.’”

Those words were not laden with irony or anger. Neither joy nor pain.

They were simply the truth.

- Beyond the Dreams, vol. 1

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Book 1 - Interlude VI
The begining of the end

“It can not end this way.” As he spoke, his tears mixed with the rain drops streaming across his face.

Rah contemplated the dark horizon from atop of the tower of the tribute. Around him, as far as the eye could see, only the agitated sea extended, illuminated periodically by rays of lightning. He could not see them yet, but he felt them approach inexorably. In a few hours the boats and citadels would reach the coasts of Tol Rauko and not even he could stop them all.

During several long minutes he remained thus, soaked in the middle of the rain like a black spot that split the gray firmament in two. He had the cape surrounding him completely, which gave him the aspect of a bird of bad omen between grotesque metal gargoyles. Through his head, thousands of plans still spun, desperate plays that could upset all of this and give him back control, although he knew that he was only lying to himself. The Brotherhood no longer existed. His armies, were devastated. He had lost the war and the world escaped inevitably from his hands without anything that he could do to return it. For someone who tried to destroy destiny, what awaited him in the future was becoming very clear before his eyes.

The dream cracked like fragile crystal.

Wandering in his thoughts, he would have remained thus for hours if not for a sensation that removed him from his lethargy. Even in the distance, hundreds of miles away, he could perceive a different presence from the others and an ironic smile was drawn on his face.

“Zhorne Giovanni…” He murmured between half closed eyes with certain melancholy. “After all this time, we will finally be able to meet.”

“It’s strange, you know? You and I look much alike, more than what either of us would be willing to admit. Both of us have fought against an unknown adversary and have lost everything. Comrades, friends, the people whom we loved…”

“What keeps you going, my enemy? What is it that makes you keep advancing towards me in the middle of all the chaos and the storm? Is it hatred? Hope, perhaps? Or is it possible that you are just like me…that simply, you no longer have anything else left…”

As if he had just finished waking from a bad dream, Rah raised his head slowly and watched the skies with arrogance, which answered him with a challenging powerful thunderclap.

“Thus you think that you have won again…that in the end, as always, everything happens just as you have planned it. I suppose that this will not have seemed to you more than a mere game. A stupid boy trying to do something too great for him.”

“You will probably never worry about anything I did. Or perhaps… Or perhaps you will? Not for what I am, nor why I have been. But because of what I represent.”

Distracted by that thought, Rah lowered his head while he adopted a burlesque expression.

“Tell me. Did you fear me? Me? A simple man? Do not worry, I will still give you many reasons to do so by far.”

And then, already on the brink of desperation and madness, he laughed, but his bitter outburst was dragged away by the strong storm winds.

He was not going to give up.

In his soul he knew what he had to do.

In fact, he always knew.

- Beyond the Dreams. Vol. 1

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Book 1 Chapter 6
into the depths

after a near fatal encounter with half a dozen skeletons, followed by a visit by a High Inquisitor, we rested a bit, before venturing forth, the path revealed a massive cave system, with an underground river, we ended up on a plateau with the river going into a tunnel, with a pathway on the opposite side of the wall from us… 
I had little trouble getting around, but it almost proved too much of a challenge for Orn, and the others, with a bit of ingenuity, we managed to get everyone across though.. 

while the others rested a bit, I scouted ahead, I found another massive cave, and a stair leading down to another plateau, but I could hear some voices speaking in a guttural tongue.. I went back to the others and rested a  bit as well, and shared what I'd learned.

after a few hours we continued and got to the opening, speaking very hushed we communicated between each other that the creatures we saw, were not hostile by nature, so we approached them carefully, while making sure none of us seemed threatening. the two "guards" turned to us, spoke quickly and then one of them jumped into the water, and appeared on the far side, near some old buildings. moments later 5 or 6 others jumped into the water and emerged on the plateau we were standing on.

one looked to be different, his skin a distinct darker tone.. it seemed to be in charge. Whistler talked to them in a calm voice for a while, and it became clear to me that they understood him.

whistler asked if they'd let us pass their territory, but the dark toned one insisted that we provided a gift of appeasal, we tried a few different things, but in the end, it was Whistlers Flute music that was the key.. he played… and his play.. and if the Kamis could hear it.. they too would weep a tear of joy, at having lived to hear it.. it was a piece of such beauty that it transcended mortal ken… from that moment on there was no doubt in my mind, Whistler was the ever chosen, and I'd give up my life to protect him.

however enough of my thoughts.. the dark toned one, was clearly as moved as we were..
he granted us safe passage, and allowed us to rest in their village, we accepted as we were all very tired, in their town we saw a statue of what Whistler told us was a young female Undine, a powerful and sentient water elemental. It was holding a Blue pearl, judging from Whistlers facial expression it contained Magic, on par with the two pearls we already possess… the High Inquisitor told us to gather 5 pearls, and if he is to be believed this is what we came here for.

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Book 1 - Interlude V
Too many questions

Nero didn't know what was down there in the darkness. But he knew that no-one could remember if anyone had ever returned from the Vaults of Memory.

Maybe this time it would be different. Maybe this time the Ever Born would choose the path of light, and not end up as puppet of Evil like the last time. Maybe the world would be a better place if the Ever Born could keep the balance. Maybe they would all die down there in the darkness.

Too many questions and so few answers.

Far, far below the surface, a young girl was crying alone in the cold and empty void beneath the world. All she remembered was a glimpse of a gray-haired middle-aged man with eyes of infinite melancholy. Looking at her and uttering the first words she ever heard, and the last ones he would ever say.

“And your name will be Elhazzared, meaning ‘The Lost Paradise’”

And then silence and darkness.

She looked at her hands. They where being illuminated by the cold blue electrical light of the generators powering the machine. 

Who…am I?

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Book 1 Chapter 5
A light in the dark.

slowly but securely the rest… meaning Analise, Whistler and Zahur joined me in the deep dark.. in the search for Orn, we spread out as much as our light sources allowed us, and started searching. after a few minutes we found a door, once in a while some of us could hear a feint echo of Orn..

we tried wrestling with the door, but it was Analise who managed to force it open..

on the other side we were met with a dread gaze, Orn Badly wounded, was holding his own against half a dozen skeletons… the undead, By Amaterasu! both Zahur and I as well as Whistlers little fire Salamander rushed in to help Orn, though he fell… for the first time since i left the monastery I lost my sense of cool, pushing and smacking the skeletons, little did it help, and it wasn't soon after that I too lost consciousness, only to wake up with the skeletons defeated, both whistler and Zahur where covered in blood. It was then, Neo entered the room behind us, shining a light in the darkest of places, if it wasn't because i knew how his order had treated people in the past I'd almost be convinced that he brought hope to us.. as he drew his sword, he began to speak, i remember little of that encounter truth be told, I was almost paralyzed because I knew that if he attacked, we wouldn't last a second… we might last 10 seconds in top condition, but half of us were exhausted, on the brink of collapse. All I remember is some of the words that came out of his mouth, – "so far you've proven to be walking the path of evil, this is your last chance ever born, turn to the light or I will hunt you down again, and next time I will not spare you, any of you"… as he turned to leave I regained my composure, and ushered the others through the door and closed it…

what are we going to find in the depths… and will we survive? I have to survive.. of that I am certain!

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Book 1 Chapter 4
The Hunt

we'd just arisen from a night of uneasy sleep a good few hundred yards into the thicket, on the far side of a hill on the borders of the forest, away from the road..

Something made snow uneasy, and he barred his fangs, so Whistler asked Analise to climb a tree to have a look at the road.

it didn't take long for Analise to confirm Whistlers concern, we were being followed by a small band of armed people..

we readied our selves, with Zahur and Analise hidden for a surprise attack in case "Diplomacy" failed.. we waited, and when the people rounded the top of the hill, they came to a halt,  and after a brief exchange of pleasentries the one on horse back (clearly their leader) ordered them to open fire, so I stormed up the hill and incapacitated one of them, with a clean punch to the throat. before i knew it, Zahur was standing next to me, ferociously attacking one of the others.. and Snow had jumped a 3rd man tearing out the poor man's throat colouring it's otherwise white fur with the colour of blood.. and Orn Cleaved the leader's horse in two, and sent the leader to the ground with his sword sticking straight through the chest.., Snow jumped another and started another feast. Analise paralyzed a few of the men and before half a minute had passed the battle was over and the only two remaining was on the run, but both Zahur and I were in persuit, as we came close to catching up, I noticed another group of "soldiers" approaching,  i'm a good fighter, but even I know when it's time to cut short and call it a tie.. as I turned around I told Zahur that it was time to run, my words seemed to snap him out of the blood rush he was in, and he turned with me and we headed back double time, readying the horses, and packing up our camp somewhat rushed, and headed deeper into the forest, we travelled in a rushed pase, for a few hours, until we hit a small creek and went with it, to try and loose our pursuers, with more or less success.

 

before we knew it, we couldn't hear our pursuers any more, and we when we stopped to breathe, we were standing in some very very very old ruins, Orn went behind a wall to relieve himself, but shortly after we heard a creak and a crack, and then Orn's voice as he fell into the darkness.. we looked at the hole, and then lit a torch as I climped down the passage, when I reached the buttom the ground was shifting beneath my feet, and i saw a glimpse of Orn as he went through a door and closed it behind him.. the ground.. was littered with human bones, a battle had been fought here, a bloody one.. and it was a very long time ago anyone… anyone living had been here…

 

my only hope is that Orn isn't lost to us..
As much as I want to find my quarry I cannot leave Orn to die in a place like this..

May Amaterasu watch over us… this place shouldn't be disturbed…

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Book I - Interlude IV
The Harbringer and the Angel

Supreme Archon Matthew Gaul, Lord of Togarini and former Lord of War, walked with unimaginable grace down the hall. Accompanied by the two Azur Arbiters known as The Hands of Gaul. To the left walked Karlagne, and to the right walked Alzen. Both of them were wearing masks that covered their face attached with devices that slightly altered their voice – as was all Abiters.

Matthew glanced sideways at Alzen. “Is everything in place?”

“Yes, my Lord” answered Alzen, “The divination platform is ready, and he has already contacted us”.

Matthew looked slightly annoyed. “He is too early. This does not bode well”.

The three entered a small room where a small platform showed a blueish figure standing in a calm pose.

“So, how is Americh and have you completed your task?”, Matthew didn’t try to hide his apparent annoyance.

“No, Master. There has been a turn of events. It seem that the Ever-Born is already in possession of two of the Pearls of Essence…..and the Church has been alerted.”

Matthew took a few seconds to recover from that particular piece of information. “This is most inconvenient. Mumei, see to it that both The Order of Yehudha and Samael gets the information. They will probably try to destroy each other in an attempt to get the Ever-Born on their side. Who has the 13th Cardinal sent to do the job?”.

Mumei visibly hesitated, “The Hand of Azrael – High Inquisitor Nero, Master.”

So, the Church meant business. The Hand of Azrael was one of the most proficient warriors in all of Gaia, and known for his general lack of ability to see anything other than in terms of black and white. Azrael, Queen Of Swords, had chosen her champion well.

“You have done well, Mumei. Keep me informed.”. The image flickered and disappeared.

The Supreme Archon stared into the darkness. Soon it would be time. 


Somewhere deep below the surface of Gaia, a small red light pulsed gently in the darkness.

At the same time somewhere on the surface of the planet two small pearls – one black, and one white – touches each other. A seemingly insignificant event.

The small red light stops pulsing.

A dim steady green light takes its place, and a small screen lights up the darkness.

BOOT SEQUENCE INITIATED

ELHAZZARED PROTOCOL ACTIVATED

A small spark shows in the darkness, and for the first time in over 700 years, the slow hum of starting generators, and the ambient buzz of high-powered electrical circuits filled the large dome.

Somewhere in the darkness, there is a sharp intake of breath, followed by a heart-scattering scream that echoes through the entire dome. The screams of a young girl waking form her worst nightmare.

A single tear runs down her chin.

It has begun.

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Book I - Interlude III
The enemy of my enemy is my friend

The smoke was still visible from the tower of the Americh cathedral. From his chambers Nero observed the site and the highway leading south with interest.

Farther Menoran spoke with a hint of genuine concern “Are you sure it was the Ever-Born, my lord?”

“Yes, Farther. I am sure”, Nero replied without turning away from the window.

“And you are absolutely certain that we should let it leave the city?”. Farther Menoran didn’t seem disturbed by the fact that he was addressing a High Inquisitor.

So far everything had worked out as Nero had expected, except the fact that the Ever-Born had tried to flee form the fire. Getting the White pearl to the Ever-Born had been quite tricky, but gold could buy you anything here – including impossible favors. The one thing he hadn’t anticipated was, that the old enemy would move as fast as they did. The appearance of the Black pearl had shown one thing. They too knew that the Ever-born had come. He had expected the Magus order of Yehudah to find out eventually, but this open move was unexpected.

He knew that Samael had one of their primary meeting places deep in the Darkness, and they would most certainly be informed by now. What would their move be? Would they protect or kill the Ever-Born? Could they afford another apocalypse?

“I will go after them myself, Father. There is too much at stake to take any chances. Inform the 13th Cardinal that we need to move fast and with extreme care, and don’t let anyone here know that I have left”

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