Friday, July 15, 2016

The King's Challenge (ILFIN OF ARC) #360 and #361

TKC 360 and 361

With my hands flat on the cold, exposed rock, I initiate the first words of chant. It is not about volume and thus I murmur on the edge of hearing, not that anyone can hear with the tumult we are at the centre of. Ethereal beings have no voice, but they are loud in other ways.

It is not about tone either, although tone is an aid. Keeping all emotion at bay, I choose a slow and serene intonation. It calms me; hopefully it will calm the host also. They may not hear me, but they will feel the effects.

The words are all-important. The words are not, however, for them; they are to focus my intention. Seeking the words that will bolster me, I utter them one by one. Strength. Courage. Will. Life. Innocence. Massin. Ilfin. Restore. Strength … courage … will … life …

The words are all-important, but not in the manner a novice believes. The words are important to me; the words are not the magic. Instead, by focusing on what I seek to achieve, using my words, I focus my mind. I prepare myself to unleash my gift.

This is how I am rooted.

Ignoring Coltern when he grunts in his effort to stop Enris plummeting to the faraway ice field, and setting aside the scream I sense building inside Enris, I repeat my words. Calm invades my mind; serenity overcomes my body and tranquillity grows in my soul. A Soul Keeper deals in life and therefore is all life precious. To give it is a blessing and all blessings require a state of calm.

I am ready.

Whatever happens next, it cannot undo my state of calm and preparation.

Inhaling, I look up. Enris’ entire being is overtaken by another. A female form hovers over him, in his space, an outward projection of the soul inside, using his limbs to build upon. It is akin to seeing a man wearing the ghostly skin of a woman. Almost the sight undoes my resolve, for it is freakish and eerily otherworldly. No wonder Enris desires to unleash the horror escalating inside him. I swiftly shove my own horror into a dark recess and restore my serenity.

The host swirls around us, arms flailing, legs jerking, mouths moving, eyes huge and accusing. All stare at the ‘woman’ Enris is; she gestures in a circular motion repeatedly and every time she does so more ethereal beings appear. By the sands, how many Massinians did the damn orb collect? It did not merely snuff Massinians, though, did it? Every Ilfin and every Glonu on this continent was gathered also.

Mirlin!” Coltern screeches. “What are you waiting for?”

What am I waiting for, he asks? There are Glonu in this mix! What am I supposed to do about them?

Enris screams then.

It is a wail of sadness and horror, rage and fear. Sustained. Shattering. A soul crying out for release, for succour, for hope.

The Glonu too will now arise, for I have not the time to separate the deserving from the undeserving. To do so will result in Enris’ mind flying into an otherworld from where there is no return, ever.

Lifting my hands from the rock, I throw them up, palms on display, at the swirling, begging host. “COME!” I roar at the spaces.

The tiny orb erupts from Enris’ clothes, scattering threads in the violence of its escape from wherever he shoved it earlier, and hurtles at me. Smacking into my chest, it flattens to a disc. I do not see this; I feel it. The device then absorbs into my flesh. “NOW!”

Emerald light explodes from my palms, great beams akin to multiple searchlights. The green flood of light explodes again, this time into a million tiny glows. Every emerald firefly then activates and becomes independent, and each seeks out a target. One ‘firefly’ for every ethereal being; I hope my calculations are correct.

Still screaming, Enris falls to his knees. Swearing his fear, Coltern nonetheless grabs the man and hauls him from the edge. I see that peripherally only, for my attention is riveted to the bizarre event enacting in the air.

The ethereal beings light up from within to become green ghosts. The instant it happens, all wild gyrations cease. One after the other, men, women and children then proceed to drop to the rocky outcrop and the instant they touch the realness of Massin’s cold mountain, the green evaporates to leave them shivering and moaning … and real.

“There isn’t enough space for all of them!” Coltern shouts.

No, there is no space at all. While I now understand why Enris insisted on following my advice about height for a summons, this result does not suit his foresight, if he even thought this through. Men, women and children will soon be falling to their deaths, and for those deaths I have no cure.

“Iliri!” Enris Makar screams then, causing me to doubt my sanity. Iliri?

The woman surrounding him stands, leaving his body kneeling upon the pitted rock. She screams, but there is no sound. All there is, is a wide gaping mouth in a face that is no face.

Men, women and children continue to fall; they land upon a platform of transparent ice. Gaping, I see how the ice from below lifts in sheets, hurtles upward to gather and knit together off the edge of the outcrop, and safely accepts the tangible host. The woman has power; frightening power.

When the last man has landed, I whisper, “Done.”

Thousands of points of glowing green light dance into the air, to swirl, to dance, to gather, until a mighty beam curls towards me. Throwing my arms wide and my chest out, I summon it to me.

Agony takes me then. And darkness.

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