Hello, everyone! Herewith the catch up episodes in one :)
TKC 150 and 151 and 152
Our souls, according to what Lyra saw and heard, and all Horin reveals, are the food the Glonu inside Arc require to go on with their mission. This is where it gets complicated, for me anyway, for apparently those who came to this world first, fleeing the Ilfin after a battle out there, are somewhat different from those who joined them after.
The reason, Horin says, we cannot today tell a Glonu apart from any other in the wider world of Massin, point of fact, is because we look generally the same, whether here or out there in space. The inhabited worlds we discuss are of the kind we all exist on … because we have the same genesis. That source of life is now so long ago no one even remembers an ancient, encompassing race name, though.
“The ones who came here had already achieved the light mask of longevity out there,” Horin murmurs, looking at me. “They came already transcended, which is their term for their ethereal bodies, while new arrivals were as we are. Here, inside Arc, the transcended are now known as the true Glonu.”
Kay, chewing on rabbit stew, says, “It occurs to me, it’s likely no one outside of Arc gives a crap about that past anymore. Until the asteroid threat, no one came near Arc and all were content to go on with normal lives, no matter where we originally came from.”
I nod, for the same thought has settled into my gut. “Kay has a point. West, east, highlands or lowlands, we were living without thought to what brought us here. Differences in our genetics did not feature.”
Horin glances at the others at the table enjoying the stew Joseph and Hanna prepared for us, and slowly inclines his head. “It is now true that we are today one people on Massin. Everyone ignores Arc, for no one cares about ancient battles anymore.”
“But?” I prompt.
“Arc, Damin, is the problem. The Glonu here definitely care about the past and they still desire to live forever. Thus, anyone foolhardy enough to enter here is considered a means to an end. This is why the legend of this place being a haven is kept alive.”
“They trap anyone who enters?” Lyra murmurs. “Including the Glonu who have not transcended?”
“Yes, but they too eventually become light beings and therefore part of the problem,” Horin says. He makes a sign with his hand … and the three forms materialise. “Look at them. Look beyond their dress. What do you see?”
Silence descends then, marked only with the occasional chew and swallow sound, as we gaze upon the three ghosts. Their dress, in fact, is not that different from what soldiers don today, and thus it is easier to see to the men beyond.
“I see nothing out of the ordinary,” Joseph finally states, speaking for all.
“Exactly,” Horin says. “Two are Ilfin and one is Massinian, and all were trapped here. These three entered, as I did, with a small host and among us were Glonu who no longer cared for slavery. All Glonu who were with us and were of stout heart and sound mind became light beings. Against their will, to be sure, but it happened and they are now enemies.”
“What is you point?” Kay demands.
“Look again. Am I correct in assuming you see them as ghosts?”
“Oh,” Lyra whispers in an enlightened tone. “They are light beings also.”
Horin dips his head. “They are, but there is a difference between them and the transcended. Can you see it? Study them well, so that you may see this and use it later to tell a Glonu from other ghosts here.”
This time the silence is unbroken. Kay narrows his eyes, while Lyra’s appear to expand as if to let more light in, and Siri leans forward, elbows on table. Joseph purses his lips, eyes flicking up and down, and Hanna stares fixedly at each ghostly face in turn.
Horin, I realise, is watching me. He expects I will find the answer sooner than the others. Frowning, I gaze upon them also, but nothing seems to set them apart. I glance towards Horin … and peripherally notice something.
One of the three materialised forms turns its head and I see it has no skull. A chill chases through my blood. Oh. Suddenly I understand. “They have no dimension; they are flat. They are not ghosts; they are manifestations of ghosts …”
“Manifestations of souls, actually,” Horin murmurs. He waves then, and the three slowly turn … and vanish. Well, not vanish as in absence; vanish as in they have no depth of form. Shadows now confront us. Slowly they turn again, and their features take on presence once more. “The light mask keeps all of a Glonu in place. When a Glonu moves, you see a complete form.”
“Manifestations of souls?” Hanna snaps. “You are a soul, right? You were here, you said. You lost and they returned to you your sword. How did you escape Arc?”
“The shield can be shifted through,” Horin says. “You heard them say there is a way out.”
Kay folds his arms. “How?”
“Choice. Some must choose to remain so that others may leave.”
I lean in to glare at the man. “Sacrifice?”
“Indeed. If three agree to stay, one may leave, but the agreement, the choice, must be strong, without doubt. These three,” and Horin bows to the ethereal forms, “opened a doorway for my soul to escape, born of the certainty that some of us needed to keep the true tale alive.”