Archives for posts with tag: fantasy


Valhalla sat in the chair in his penthouse watching the news from a large monitor on the wall, Director Biyase stood silently with his arms crossed in front of him, he stood in front of Valhalla’s office desk. After the news went off about Hiro, Valhalla laughed a hearty laugh standing up clapping his hands, the monitor shut off. 

“Sacred? Overwatch Prime is sending Sacred to bring down H2O?” He clapped his hands once excitedly while walking around his desk toward the director. “This will be a full out test for H2O, let’s see if he comes into the realization of his true power. I need some damn popcorn for this battle!” He patted Director Biyase on the shoulder, Biyase did not seem amused. It was a strange friendship between the two indeed. 

“So everything is going according to your plans then?” Biyase said looking at Valhalla blankly. 

“I honestly won’t know yet. But this battle? H2O has true power, and I think he is more than a match for Sacred, but he just has to come into his power before then! A true battle of the gods indeed!” Valhalla giggled like a little boy, Biyase just stared at him with almost debatable disgust, Valhalla took notice. He calmed himself, the smile wiped from his face, the laughter now gone from his voice. Valhalla walked over to the viewing window looking out over the city. “You don’t understand all of this my friend, but it is all necessity. I have seen things that maybe I’ll tell you one day, maybe even today.”

“And what if I do not really care to know?” Biyase said coldly. Valhalla turned looking at Biyase with a half smile.

“If someone knew the day of your death, would you want to know the day you died and how, so you could avoid it?” The two men stared at one another in silence upon Valhalla’s question. Finally the director spoke.

“It would not be important to know, what is meant, is meant.” Biyase said with calm conviction.

“Oh come now, you don’t really believe that bullshit do you? You make it sound as if you believe in fate. But you’re a humanite, your kind don’t believe in such things. But then again, Sacred believes in God so who knows?” 

“A belief is an opinion, what I know to be factual is that one can not stop what is meant to be!” Biyase said it firmly. Valhalla turned back around looking out of the viewing window crossing his arms. He chose not to bicker over this, there were more important things to speak of.

“I stand corrected. One can not debate facts? But maybe one would stand a better chance if he understood the facts!” Valhalla said. 

“And what is there to understand if you see the truth before you?” Biyase asked, now it was Valhalla’s turn to be silent for a moment before speaking.

“Excuse me, I misquoted. Let me rephrase.” Valhalla turned facing the director again, he placed both hands into the pockets of his suit pants, he was very serious looking. “If someone knew the day that most of the people on this planet died, would you want to know how so you could avoid the end of mostly all life on this planet?” Valhalla’s eyes went serious, and for the first time Biyase showed the emotion of curiosity. Valhalla’s words had drawn him in. 

“What is it that you know?” Biyase asked very seriously, he knew that for Valhalla to say what he did he had good reason. 

“Oh, so now I have your attention? Maybe after we see how this ordeal with H2O turns out I will tell you.” Valhalla walked away, Biyase did not try to stop him, or ask anymore questions. He knew there would be another time. 

An unlikely pair Hiro and Luana. But they will need one another more than either suspects. Hiro finds himself falling in love with Luana, but what secrects is she hiding that makes her push Hiro away? 


Renzo Oda sat nervously with his five year old son waiting in the examining room. The little boy sat shirtless on the examination table in a pair of blue raggedy shorts that came down to his knees. A pair of dirty old white tennis shoes were upon his feet. Little Hiro Oda was oblivious to how much stress this moment brought to his father. He merely sat there looking at the television as it played cartoons, he never had that luxury because his father was too poor to afford a tv. Hiro started to swing his legs as they dangled off of the edge of the table, the motion annoyed his father who gently tapped his sons knee and with a nod of his head caused Hiro to stop. At age five all Japanese children who resided in the United States had to under an exam to see if they carried high, low, or no amounts of chemical poison. The great black out of 2089 that caused all electrical power including back up generators to fail brought Japan to its knees. Japan had several powerful nuclear power plants that shut down. A few hours later the largest tsunami to ever strike Japan decimated the population and its cities. To make matters worse the power plants all went critical which brought even more death and destruction. The Tsunami raged on as wave after wave that came five minutes apart swept through the land. This continued for over an hour. The survivors were better off dead as they all became contaminated by the nuclear poison that was carried by waters throughout the lands. The UN decreed Japan a disaster zone, and unsafe for anyone to go in and give aid due to the massive amounts of radiation, Japan was then quarantined from the rest of the world. Even after one hundred years and clean up efforts the people had massive amounts of chemical poisoning that caused birth defects in their offspring. Between the ravaged lands and what the rest of the world considered a tainted people, the Japanese were looked down upon by other countries. Even those of Japanese decent that lived in other parts of the world that never even lived or set foot in Japan were considered tainted. Over time Japan was divided between warlords who fought for more power, supplies and women. Any that did not join a faction stayed out of the cities. Greed eventually brought American companies to Japan in the year 2283. They came looking for cheap labor. Warlords made millions as they forced citizens to work for the companies for just food and water which they had to share with the warlords. Shuttles would come in the morning and pick up workers and then fly to America. At the end of the work day they would be brought back. When the government got wind of it they put a stop to this slave trade. It wasn’t until 2307 that The United States allowed American companies to go in search of workers in Japan, but there were stipulations. Small neighborhoods off shore man made Islands had to be made for the Japanese workers who also had to apply for work visas. The pay was better, but no Japanese citizen was allowed to go outside the factories or the slums that were created for them to live in while they were employed. Eiichi Sato a Japanese civil rights leader fought for more rights of Japanese migrant workers and succeeded in having Japanese citizens apply for full American citizenship. 

In 2339 he won his civil case for the Japanese migrant workers but it came of course with more stipulations. All Japanese children must be tested by the age of five for any chemical poisons. If any were found they would not be able to marry a non Japanese citizen, and they would have to remain in the offshore slums. The only places of employment for those children who tested positive once they became adults would be factory work. They would also not be allowed to venture out of those slum areas. Since 2339 to the current date of 2467 was only a little over four hundred Japanese tested negative. This small group went on to live normal lives. But for many it was never a normal life. No one wanted to marry a Japanese for fear of having children with birth defects, and the jobs that most of the Japanese got although were not as bad as the factory jobs but still not what average Americans would have. To Renzo though it was better than his current life, his son would go on to better things. The door slid open catching Renzo’s attention, it was the doctor with the test results. He stood up ready to hear what the doctor told him. 

It was then Hiro woke from his dream. How long he had slept he did not know. He had escaped from the VCI detention and observation building, it was stationed in the protected Wild lands of Kentucky and owned by VCI. The Wild lands was a private forest reserve that spanned over forty miles long. Hiro had been sleeping out in an open field, he had already used up his power to escape and needed to recharge, sleeping with the sun beating down on him just sapped whatever power was left save for him being able to open his eyes, and even that was fading. Hiro was on his back when his eyes opened, the brightness of the sun stung but he was too weak to raise his arm to shield his face. He’d never felt so weak in his life, his heart was beating erratically and felt as if it would explode from his chest, he needed water to replenish. Closing his eyes he took slow deep breaths reaching out, searching for the closest presence of water. He discovered that he could sense water no mater how close or far, this was a valuable tool. As he reached out to seek a water source he heard the soft hum of a vehicle flying across the sky toward him at a high rate of speed. He knew that it could only be VCI coming to take him back to his prison. Hiro desperately tried to stand, he found that he could not even sit up. A small shiny black two passenger flyer came into view streaking across the sky. Single or two passenger flyers resembled old world motorcycles, and they were driven pretty much the same way with the driver riding on top at the vehicles center, the passenger would be seated right behind the driver. The only difference between the old world motorcycle and the two passenger was was a shatter proof tinted window above that covered from the area of where the handle grips for controlling the flyer, back to where the passenger sat. There was a few inches of headroom above and the window that flipped open like a hatch from the front end. On both sides and on the back and front of the flyer were it’s license numbers in gold. The flyer slowed hovering above Hiro who opened his eyes seeing the flyer ascending before landing a few feet from him. The engine quieted, the hatch opened revealing a curly haired light skinned woman. Hiro was stunned by her blue eyes and wild frizzy hair. She was wearing a dark blue VCI employee jump suit and black work boots. Hiro was so taken by the woman’s beauty that he had almost forgotten that she was there to take him back. Cursing under his breath his eyes closed, he was too weak to keep them open. It was then he felt cold water splash on his face, his skin instantly drinking not wasting any of the water that made contact with his face. His eyes opened once more staring at the VCI employee, she now stood beside where he lay.

“Hiro Oda?” She asked him, the two stared at one another. It had been so long since he heard his name he didn’t respond to it. “The H2O?” She followed. Hiro noticed that she had a gallon of water in her hand. He realized that although she was in a VCI jumpsuit she was not wearing security clothes. 
“You are here to take me back? Where is your help? Are you security? Who are you?” He asked confused. The woman kneeled down beside him.

“I will keep this short and sweet. Can you help me escape the reserve or not?” Her face was serious, her voice desperate. Hiro was starting to get a better idea now of the situation. Raising his head he eyed the gallon of water hungrily before looking back at the female.

“Yes.” He said his head hitting the ground hard, he needed more water, the splash upon his face gave him momentary strength that was now gone.

“Open your mouth.” She said urgently. Hiro did not have to be told twice. He opened his mouth. The woman took the container putting the opening at his mouth letting the water flow down allowing Hiro to digest it quickly. She looked around nervously as Hiro drank. Upon finishing Hiro slowly sat up some of his energy returned. He stared at the woman’s bright blue eyes in awe.

“Who are you?” He asked. 

“My name is Luana, that is all you need to know.” Her voice was shaky, her comment short and defensive. The sound of an engine came from the distance in the sky, Luana stood up quickly staring off in the direction of the sound. “We have to go, they have found us!” She turned running back toward the flyer before she reached the flyer it exploded, she was knocked back by the explosion but when she hit the ground she quickly rolled to her feet to Hiro’s surprise. Luana had hacked into the flyers security system in order to steal it, VCI had regained control of the bike and self detonated it to make sure the vehicle could not be used for escape. Hiro ran up to her grabbing her arm leading her into the forest, the cover would help them some from the approaching ship. He was not ready for an all out battle with VCI security but he felt he was strong enough to handle them if he was smart about it. But the goal was to not be detected. As they ran Hiro could feel that he needed more water, the gallon helped rejuvenate him some but his muscles felt laggy and he was far from full strength. The two ducked and cut through thick brush coming to a small cave, Hiro took a moment to stop and think of how best they would escape. The hum of the ship neared and slowed hovering, the trees where too thick for them to see the ship. 

“Stay here, I will do what I can against the security guards. While they are distracted with me take that as your opportunity to escape.” Hiro said. Luana shook her head in disagreement.

“These are not security guards, they are Black Squad. Over Watch Prime-

 (*For more information on Over Watch Prime please read: Issue #1-Rebirth.) 
-sent them to capture you, and if they can not bring you into custody, they have orders to kill you!” She said whispering loudly. Hiro was not aware who the Black Squad was, but from hearing Luana speak he knew they must be dangerous and his guess would be right. The Black Squad was a team of lower level humanities that were trained to track down and apprehend, or even kill if ordered any that were considered too dangerous for local law enforcement to handle. Black Squad with the high tech weapons donated by none other than Marc Vega-
 (See Issue #2- Midnight Blue) 
-of Velocity. Black Squads training combined with the unparalleled high tech weaponry made them dangerous enough to even hunt elite non humans. Over Watch Prime decided since they did not have enough information to go on, they would send Black Squad to bring Hiro into custody. If the squad could not apprehend, then they were to terminate. At this time Hiro did not seem much of a threat to The Twelve, Black Squad should be enough to bring Hiro down or so they thought. The information that VCI gave to local law enforcement on Hiro was that he escaped the facility, and that he killed several security guards to break out. VCI said that Hiro was no more than a lower level mutate and that Hiro gave permission for studies to be done on him so that humans could better understand mutates. Records did show and back up VCI’s story.  
Hiro tried reaching out, to search for more water, he would need it to be at full strength. He found that his power could not reach too far, it was frustrating. He cursed under his breath in the form of mumbling. 

“I’m not exactly the weak type. Sure I need your help escaping this place, but I for damn sure won’t be the damsel who sits on her ass letting a man do all the work.” Luana pulled out a small silver gun from her jumpsuit. “You need more water, there’s a pond a half mile west from here.” She cautiously walked out from cover. “Follow me.” She said taking off at full sprint, Hiro didn’t hesitate, he took off behind her.

The Black Squads ship slowly moved above the trees, a five man unit had already landed unnoticed on the ground below and silently headed toward Hiro and Luana. The squad was moving at a casual jog their motion completely silent thanks to the sound dampeners in their suits that swallowed up all noise in a radius around their bodies, those positions would not be heard, most of their prey never even saw them coming. The squad blended in with the surroundings of the forest, their suits quickly changed colors smoothly as their suits came into contact with trees, branches, or anything they passed. The squad was camouflaged to perfection. Not even a trained eyes would catch their motion. They were gaining on their two targets, in the minds of the Black Squad there was only one objective, victory. 

TRIBULATIONS 
Be’loi and Eyah ate and rested and had been jogging for the duration of the day after their nap but made sure to stay close to the river for a double use. They used the river as a marker. Elu, Ongaro, and then Hu’Ru told them that the river would lead them to the Chanu Canyons. Then secondly once the sun set and if by some chance the horde caught up the pack would have the safety of the river to use as cover as they did the night before. Be’loi ran alongside Eyah, he shot a quick glance over at his brother debating to hold conversation with a mute. 

“I’m amazed that I am not sore, my muscles no longer ache as they did this morning.” Be’loi said to Eyah. “The sleep did me some good, how about you?” He asked, Eyah nodded his head yes. Be’loi’s bare feet crushed the high grass beneath his heels, it was therapeutic in a way, it reminded him of when he was a boy running along similar grasslands in his birthplace of Zhannu. He grew up in the kingdom not out in the villages, his father was a blacksmith who specialized in making weapons, he was one of the inventors class. But the crowded kingdom was not where Be’loi enjoyed being. When his father would take him out in the wild for hunting excursions, it was out there that put his mind at ease, he would take off his sandals letting his toes touch the green grass. Running barefoot in the grass as a youth was his greatest joy, even though his peers would find it uncivilized. He found it fortuitous that such joyous emotions flooded him at a grave time as now. He did not think that his body would have healed so quickly, he had not anticipated that the magic that flowed through him would work so fast. And yet here he was feeling better than ever jogging with his pack brother on an unknown perilous journey. They had taken small breaks here and there to eat and briefly rest through the day, he looked up seeing that the sun was starting to set, he told himself to be ready this time. To fight whatever came at him, if it was the will of Eyahvah that he should live so be it, but if he should die fighting? Then he was fine with that as well. Be’loi swore that before he died he would take as many of the Dipur’ah with him as a gift for his fallen brothers Zutsi and Lemangra. Eyah slowed and and quickly tapped Be’loi on the shoulder, he had been in such deep thought he had not been paying attention allowing Eyah to lead the pace and direction. Off in the distance there was a great forest that spanned across the river spreading out to the south, east, and west. Eyah tapped Be’loi on the shoulder again before lowering to the ground. Sticking his finger in the soft moist earth he drew something, Be’loi watched intently until he finished and instantly recognized what the drawing was. Eyah stood up pointing off in the direction of the forest then back down at the drawing before making a few hand motions, then Be’loi understood. Looking toward the forest his eyes lit up.

“When we get to the forest you want us to make a boat.” He said it without questioning. He smiled with realization then began laughing. “We can make better time going down the speedy currents of the Trinity River! And still be under its protection!” He looked at Eyah who looked back at him with complete adulation. They began laughing like little boys jumping about. Then after getting their fill of laughter they both set off to get closer to their goal before sunset. 

The cell reeked of urine and fences, the stench magnified by the afternoons blazing sun that beat down upon the cage. The wave of heat danced about mercilessly reminding Pu’sotep that he was the tormented and the heat his tormentor. Yet through all of this a smile was upon the face of the high priest for he knew that his God was with him. It was not just a belief, for him it was a sound truth. The master mage Hu’Ru had come to him the night before telling him what must be said to King Raies, that the king must bow and show repentance and then and only then would he and his kingdom be spared. After the message was delivered Hu’Ru left but not before leaving a parting gift of a large bowl of fruit which seemed to remain in his belly throughout the afternoon. Through all that was abhorrent in his present situation there was a great joy that filled his heart. No matter what he suffered his wife and baby were far out of the city safe from harm. He smiled remembering how bewildered King Raies looked upon seeing that his threats did not make him shudder. Leaning back against the rough off white wall of his cell he laughed aloud thinking how outraged the king would have been upon finding out that Pu’sotep’s wife and child could not be found. He began humming a holy song from the temple feeling that only the best of outcomes will occur for him regardless whatever King Raies threw at him. He closed his eyes humming loudly. 

“Hmm, hmm, hmmm.” 

“Glorious Light I do believe that hym is?” Pu’sotep was startled looking over at the bars seeing that it was Ahnkuth. The politician seemed reborn after last nights events of being belittled by the high priests unbreakable spirit. Pu’sotep was even more so surprised that the head of the politicians class knew what song the high priest was humming after only a few notes, Ahnkuth showed a brief crooked smile upon seeing how surprised Pu’sotep was. He knew the surprise was not that he was back at his cell, but merely for the knowing of a song that only a true worshipper of Eyahvah would know. “Without a doubt you are startled by my knowledge of the song you hum, but do not become excited in thinking that I am a changed man seeking the way of your God.” Ahnkuth leaned against the bars crossing his arms. “My mother used to sing that song to me, she was a follower of your God. She would go to the temple of light daily to pray. And she would read to my younger brother and I the holy text.” 

“Your mother, she was a good woman then. You should have learned from her example politician.” 

Ahnkuth scoffed at the words. “My brother had become very ill when he was four cycles old. He came down with something horrid. He could not keep any food down, and all he did was vomit blood. My mother went to the temple of light and she prayed for my brother day in, day out.” 

“She was a woman of faith, blessed be her heart. For Eyahvah hears the prayers of the faithful.” 

“Funny you should say such things priest.” He scratched his nose with irritation. “My brother died four days after the sickness came. My mother was devastated. She went to the pond up on the hill near the temple, do you know of it priest?” 

“Yes, I know of it.” 

“Well she went there thinking that your God had turned his back upon her, she felt that she was unworthy of Eyahvah’s aid. She had lost her youngest son, this was good enough reason to believe what she felt. My mother’s prayers had not been heard, her precious innocent son had been lost. She walked into that pond into the deepest part of it, her heart broken, her mind destroyed.” Ahnkuth sigh just briefly before continuing. “She was found floating on its surface hours later. My father who now had to deal with the loss of his son and beloved wife took me to his brother for he could not bear the loss of her or my brother; it was my uncle and his wife who took care of me as one of their own after that. I never saw my father again.” Pu’sotep looked up at the politician with pity but said nothing. “Ah so there are no verses to quote?” Ahnkuth’s eyes were watered with the remembrance of the pain from his past, his eyes fumed with anger. “Now that there are no quotes to make your God look worthy you remain silent!”

“You blame The Almighty for what this world has done.”

“And you praise your God for what he has not!” For a moment it seemed Ahnkuth was going to lose his temper again, he closed his eyes briefly taking a deep breath he opened them again forcing a smile. He did not want this to be as it was last night. “But let us talk of other matters shall we?” 

Pu’sotep did not look up. “There is nothing to talk about, last night I think you said what you had to and even then it was too much.” 

“Even if it pertains to the safety of your wife and child?” He grinned wickedly. Pu’sotep stiffened before looking over at the politician.

“My God will protect them.” He said firmly. 

“Like He protected my little brother so long ago? Let us see.” He paused gathering his words. “They were caught trying to flee the city by the kings elite guard you know, your wife and child is who of I speak. King Raies intends on bringing them here to visit you tonight to dangle them above your head as reminder of what you must do!” 

Pu’sotep quickly stood up at hearing what Ahnkuth said, he was angry. “You lie!” His voice seemed to crack slightly, Ahnkuth detected slight fear in the high priests tones, this was good. He had his full attention.

“Do I priest? I saw them this morning being taken away. Of course I bribed one of the guards with gold to confirm my suspicions! It is true what I say!” 

Pu’sotep realized that his heart was beating too fast, he had let his emotions run away from him. Now it was his turn to control what he was feeling, he sat back down lowering his head between his legs. “I know what you’re trying to do politician, take your forked tongue elsewhere!” His voice was more controlled now. Ahnkuth brought his face close to the bars, he gripped them with both hands while looking down at Pu’sotep.

“I can promise you that King Raies has your family! And we shall see if the king breaks your will! My mother was a faithful servant of a dead God, and she only realized this after the loss of her beloved son! She lost all hope of Eyahvah then. Let us see how you will be once you lose your family! All because you refuse to bow to the new gods!” 

“And what have the new gods blessed you with Ahnkuth?” Pu’sotep asked. He kept his head lowered, he all of a sudden sounded tired which made Ahnkuth feel quite elated that he was starting to wear him down. 

“I am the head of my social class! I am one of the most wealthy and powerful men in this kingdom! Re and Luma have blessed me with much! Eyahvah has only taken from me! How can you be such a fool not to notice this?” 

“All that you have, you have aspired for on your own. Had it been divinely given you would not have to lie, steal, and cheat your way through it all to attain it!” He looked up at Ahnkuth. “Tell me who really is the fool to not see that? Re and Luma are merely stone idols, there is no life within stone! But the One True God is a Living God! His promises are real!” He lowered his head again telling himself to speak no more with the politician, but Ahnkuth was not finished. 

“You know, I could care less of what happens to you, but your wife and child are as innocent as my mother was. Do you know what King Raies did when the Kulu brought them to him?” He paused waiting for a response but got none. “Your child was sent to the kings slave quarters, to be taken care of by one of the slaves. The child will grow up to be a slave sadly, there is no life in that. And your wife?” He paused again seeing Pu’sotep’s body slightly shaking. “He sent her off to the whore house. But he knew how superstitious people can be, who would have relations with the wife of the high priest? He had a grain bag tied around her head, and offers her to the lower clients for pleasure…” 

Pu’sotep stood up bolting at the bars reaching out for Ahnkuth who was barely able to get out of reach. It startled him briefly before he laughed. “Oh my! Look at you screaming like a man demon possessed. Is it only now that you see your God does not protect what is dear to your heart?” He began laughing finally seeing Pu’sotep uncontrolled in rage screaming loudly, tears flowing from his eyes trying desperately to reach beyond the bars to grab hold of the politician. “Look at you now, pray to your God to soothe your pain priest!” He said mockingly making sure that his voice could be heard over the yelling of Pu’sotep. He gave a final glance before walking away feeling better this time than the last meeting that was had between them. 


CONTINUE ONWARD

The pack had floated through the night down the river with the ever present threat of the horde who followed them down in hopes that one of the pack if not all of them could be plucked out of the river until the rapids took the pack faster than the demons could move. Ongaro pulled himself from the water upon the rise of the morning sun. Now that the sun was rising the demons would stop their pursuit and be called back. The sun was protection that would destroy the horde. The sun meant there was time to recharge before the pack pressed on. Ongaro slowly made his way to the bank of the river, as he exited he felt the weight and fatigue of his muscles from the battle that was mere hours ago. Feeling the warmth of the morning sun he dropped to his knees falling into the muddy shore. Be’loi and Eyah came up behind him emerging from the waters. It was now more than ever that the pack felt the seriousness of what they had to do and how dangerous it would be to do it. Be’loi looked up to the sky staring briefly at the rising sun, his eyes were deeply soddened river water and tear blended together.    

“We lost two brothers last night.” Be’loi said in a heavy voice. “Brothers that we had known longer than any family that we were born into. May Eyahvah welcome brothers Zutsi and Lemangra with open arms!” As Be’loi spoke Eyah was silent as usual but his eyes spoke volumes with the tears that flowed freely. Eyah raised his fist to the sky shaking it in remembrance of his brothers that had fallen the night before. 

“And now you know the magnitude of what is taking place.” Hu’Ru said, none of them were surprised by his appearance, they were all too tired. Hu’Ru sat cross legged levitating above the ground. Be’loi looked at Hu’Ru with exhausted eyes.   

“We failed at understanding this at first, but we only now understand after great loss!” Be’loi said sadly, his voice weighted with trouble. Hu’Ru had no emotion but spoke with understanding. 

“You all have a long journey ahead filled with peril, but it is for the greater good.” He waved his arm and various types of food appeared below where he hovered. “Eat and rest. By midday wake and you should be rested enough to carry on.” 

“But where are we to go?” Be’loi asked, he was tired and humbled from the nights events to be sure, Hu’Ru took notice of this.

“Follow the river south until you reach the Chanu Canyons as Elu instructed.” Hu’Ru replied. Be’loi lowered his head.

“Elu has fallen along with Lemangra and Zutsi.” Be’loi said in a deeply saddened voice. 

“Elu has not fallen, he has merely been displaced. He will rejoin the pack as you near the canyons I am certain.” Hu’Ru commented. Be’loi looked surprised. 

“Elu is alive? What do you mean by displaced?” He asked. Hu’Ru kept a calm face.

“A dark spell keeps him from coming to where you all are, I can not break the spell at the moment so I countered it to at least keep the pack from being tracked.” 

“We were being tracked?” Be’loi did not like this.

“Yes.” Hu’Ru said.

“And you can not break this evil spell?” 

“No, my magic needs to recharge. I had to escape the wrath of Boka last night, he is a powerful dark lord and it took all of my power to do so. All of the dark magic at work has drained my own magic. I barely recovered from the initial attack on Ki Citadel when my brother was slain. Each confrontation has weakened me since I have had no time to rest.”  

Ongaro was listening the entire time but he remained on all fours sunk in the mud on the embankment. As Be’loi talked with Hu’Ru Ongaro began to wonder if he was meant to do any of this. The guilt of what Lemangra said to him blaming him for what happened to Zutsi by the hands of Orgah. Ongaro did freeze up against the Sentinel, it was his first true encounter with such demonic power, that hesitation cost Zutsi his life and Ongaro had to live with that. He also struggled with the fact that Lemangra stayed behind choosing to die by Zutsi’s side. Like a sharp knife the guilty thoughts dug into his head, his fingers gripped the mud, he closed his eyes trying to fight the feelings off. 

“Ongaro will be departing with me, we will be heading north.” Hu’Ru said, Ongaro did not respond to his words. Be’loi however was surprised. 

“You seek to split the pack? This will only weaken us more!” Be’loi protested. Hu’Ru’s eyes darkened, his brow lowered, his face seemed to silently fume.  

“I have need of Ongaro and he shall go with me! Again you lose faith in the outcome of things! Do not question me further!” Hu’Ru’s raised voice shut down an already fatigued Be’loi who lowered his head in acknowledgement. Hu’Ru looked down at Ongaro who remained on all fours he was visibly broken. “Get up Ongaro of T’oku!” His voice was firm, he had no time to show pity. Ongaro slid back sitting on his feet, his body hunched over, his eyes fixed on the ground. 

“I am tired…” he said weakly. Hu’Ru laughed briefly.

“You are tired? We are all tired but we must keep going for the good of mankind! Quit sulking like a child and stand up! You are needed elsewhere!”  

“Needed elsewhere? I told you I am tired.” He said. Ongaro remained hunched over, he brought his hands between his legs intertwining his fingers. Hu’Ru broke from his cross legged position his feet touched the ground. His face showed disgust and anger as he stared at Ongaro. Be’loi made sure to back away from Ongaro as Hu’Ru approached him sensing his anger. Hu’Ru stood in front of Ongaro looking down at the broken man. 

“I would leave you here to die if I did not have need of you! We will take up this conversation elsewhere!” Hu’Ru reached down just as Ongaro looked up, he was about to protest but Hu’Ru’s hand touched his forehead then the two men vanished. Be’loi sighed heavily then looked at Eyah who had already started eating. Eyah stopped a moment looking up at Be’loi Eyah’s mouth chewing slowly. He grabbed a loaf of bread raising up in Be’loi’s direction. 

REALIZATION 

The wind blew touching the side of Onrago’s face causing him to wake. He was lying on a white marble floor out on a balcony. When his eyes opened he saw blue sky above him. The scent of water was on the air, he knew it all too well growing up in the sea side village of Bontu that was located in the north of T’oku. His village harvested most of their food and livelihood from the Dav’n Sea. Ongaro’s keen senses of living by the ocean told him the water that was below could not be the ocean, it smelled like fresh water. He could hear the gentle crashing of water of waves striking rock but not sand. He lay there taking in the peaceful moment. A flock of birds flew overhead calling out to one another. Upon noticing the birds were Lelo he realized that he must be in T’oku. The Lelo bird was mainly found in the kingdom of T’oku near the ocean or around vast bodies of water like the Lake of Eyahvah in the south, the Lelo bird was a national treasure of the kingdom. Admired for it’s beauty and fierce spirit. Sitting up slowly he rested his weight on his arms that were behind him, his shoulders shrugged his head cocked slightly back, his legs stretched out in front of him while taking in his surroundings. He faced an open room that was round with vaulted ceilings, he sat near the door entrance that was wide, four men standing side by side could easily walk through it together. An incredibly large circular bed sat at the center of the room white marble walls surrounded it, a round blue stain glassed window was directly above the bed on the ceiling, Ongaro just took notice of the white thin see through curtains that blew carelessly by the wind at the doorway. 

“You seem well rested now. This place has put your mind at ease as I thought it would.” Hu’Ru said, his voice came behind Ongaro who turned his head seeing the mage standing at the balcony’s edge both hands resting on solid gold railing that seemed to be in the chaotic design of the wind that gently blew his bright blue robe about. Hu’Ru kept his gaze out on the horizon. 

“I was at ease until I heard you speak.” Ongaro remarked. Hu’Ru decided not to be confrontational, at least not yet. 

“Do you know where we are?” Hu’Ru asked staring outward. Ongaro looked up at the sky seeing another flock of Lelo fly past before diving below. The environment did put him at ease, he might have spoken vindictively but his spirit had calmed some, the rest did him some good.

“I would not know for sure, but my educated guess would be the Lake Of Eyahvah. Lelo birds do not flock in such numbers near the ocean where they tend to pair off with their mate. But by the Lake Of Eyahvah as I child I have been there several times with my father and saw the Lelo flock in greater numbers.” He crunched forward resting his arms on his knees remaining seated on the floor. Hu’Ru smiled.

“You would be wrong of course on our location, we are further south of the Lake in the western part of Zhannu.” 

Hu’Ru’s comment caught Ongaro’s attention, he stood up walking over to where Hu’Ru stood looking outward. He quickly took notice that they were on a small island that was surrounded by a large body of water that stretched out as far as his eyes could see in all directions. 

“I had heard of a vast lake that the Lake Of Eyahvah’s waters flowed to via a tributary that was said to go into Zhannu. A smaller lake that paled in comparison to the Lake Of Eyavah but was none the less magnificent. My father said that no man had ever laid eyes on it though. I heard from others that the lake was cursed and this was why human eyes had never seen it.” 

“Half truths shrouded in folklore.” Hu’Ru said amused. “The lake was never named to add to the mystery of it all. Sure some came and discovered it, but those few who came to discover it had their memory wiped of it’s existence once human eyes detected it, then they were sent on their way oblivious. You see, my brother cast a spell on this island to protect it from mankind long ago. We had use for it. As for the land, the Keep we now stand in, well this is the island of Kappu.” 

Ongaro looked down at the water that crashed against the rocks below. “And you or your brother did not give this Keep or the lake a name?”

“No, to be honest other endeavors caught our attention at the time that were more important. Maybe you could name the lake, and this Keep?” Hu’Ru looked over at Ongaro laughing. Ongaro did not laugh and studied Hu’Ru’s face to see if he was really serious before looking back out on the horizon. Hu’Ru continued to speak. “This Keep is protected by magic and has strong defenses against dark magic, but in the next few hours that magic will fail.” 

“Why is that?” Ongaro asked. 

“Because I must go into a deep sleep that will help recharge my magic. The magic that protects this Keep will be needed to help that process along. In one full days time you and I will set foot in T’oku. I will confront Boka and attempt to give you time to get Pu’sotep the high priest of the temple of Eyahvah out of the kingdom before it is flooded.” 

Ongaro’s eyes squinted, he fought down the sadness of hearing that the kingdom of his birth would be destroyed. “There is nothing you can do in all of your power to protect the kingdom from destruction?” 

“The people had the power to stop what will happen to them for some time. But they have lost faith in the Father Of Creation. Those that have remained vigilant in their faith have already been alerted to leave the kingdom and they have.” 

“And why has this priest Pu’sotep not been escorted out of the city? I am sure that you could have easily whisked him away.”  

“Because we all must be tested now. I am no exception. And we have jobs that we have been given. This is not so hard to understand Ongaro of Bontu.” Hu’Ru paused realizing something. “Your village is far from the Palace Of Kings, and the statue of Luma, or the statue of Re that was built out in the valley. Bontu will be spared along with many other villages in T’oku, but the palace must fall! From the palace all the way to the Lake Of Eyahvah will be under a watery grave, and it will take five hundred years for the water to recede. Then the land will be cleansed and be claimed by sand.” 

“Cleansed? So there is great evil there?” 

“More than you realize, but you will sense it once we enter the city.”

Ongaro lowered his head. “I don’t know if I am ready. I failed my brother Zutsi and Lemangra when they needed me most.” 

Hu’Ru shook his head in disappointment. “You have no choice but to be ready! You call yourself Kulu, yet you let insecurities creep into your mind! Have you forgotten what is at stake? Clear your mind and prepare! For after our conversation I will go and rest, at which point the Keep as well and myself will be defenseless, the spell that keeps me hidden from evil will be lifted. Boka will sense this and he will have an assassin come in an attempt to slay me, I have foreseen it in a vision.” 

Ongaro turned his body to Hu’Ru who kept his gaze outward. 

“An assassin? A General like the one Elu encountered will come to Kappu island?” 

“I did not say a General, I said an assassin! A dark warrior as equally skilled as you or any Kulu! Boka saw how useful the true Kulu were to the cause of Eyahvah in the early days of their inception. So he created his own demented version of warriors and recruited them from mankind. Just as a true Kulu had been touched by light magic, a Jintu has been touched by dark magic. And unlike the Kulu who have been wiped out by the horde leaving only a few, the Jintu’s numbers are slowly rising.” 

Ongaro took a moment to digest what was being said before speaking. “Boka, I have only heard this name spoken from my father as he read the Holy Text to me when I was a boy. The Book Of Sorrows if I recall. Would this Boka be the same from the Holy Text?” 

“Yes… One in the same. The half blood bastard son of Ev, the mother of us all.” 

“Which means Boka’s father is the Nameless One!” Ongaro said in realization. 

“And now you see the source of Boka’s great power. His power is even greater than my own, it would take the power of my brother Ta’Ru and I both to be even stand a chance, yet I do not question rising against him alone! We are here to serve the greater good, do not forget your oath!” 

Ongaro lowered his head in reflection, Hu’Ru turned walking away from him. “I go to rest now.” A table appeared out of thin air beside Ongaro, various delicious foods sat upon it. “Eat and thereafter meditate and prepare. Tonight your skill will be greatly tested when the Jintu comes to Kappu Island. For both our sakes I hope that you do not fail!” Hu’Ru disappeared. Ongaro turned seeing that Hu’Ru had gone. He reached down plucking grapes from a batch on the table then tossed them him into his mouth. He looked out onto the surface of the lake watching the Lelo diving for fish. So much to think about. He would eat then practice his combat forms before meditating. He looked up at the sun seeing that he had six hours before the sun would fall. 


A MORNING WELCOME 

King Raies causally walked with two guards in front of him, and two walking behind him. They were Kulu warriors, his elite personal guard. Granted the bodyguards were not the true Kulu, none had been touched by magic, and their allegiance was to the king, not to Eyahvah. But they still were the most skilled of any warrior class in all four kingdoms. King Raies even trained with them for his own skill elevation he wanted to truly be a warrior king, he trained daily with the highest rank among the Kulu to ensure that he learned properly. Behind the king was a servant carrying a concealed tray of hot food. King Raies was feeling better than usual. Everything was going his way. They walked down a corridor that opened into the confined prisoner area. As the king neared Pu’sotep’s cell he smiled. Upon standing in front of the cell King Raies saw the high priest sitting crossed legged his eyes were closed, he did not sense that Pu’sotep was shaken in any way. He waited a few seconds to see if Pu’sotep would open his eyes but the high priest did not so he decided to speak. 

“Have you had time in your tiny cell to rethink my offer?” King Raies said. Pu’sotep opened his eyes slowly then looked up at the king. King Raies waved for the servant who quickly walked up with the silver tray. King Raies ordered the servant to take the lid off of the tray, once he did the area was filled with the aroma of delicious food. “I was told that this is your favorite feast for breakfast. I had Dumala my personal chef cook it for you. I can tell you he is the best chef from the agricultures class!” His voice was falsely upbeat. Pu’sotep averted his eyes to the ground. King Raies stared at Pu’sotep a moment taking notice, his eyes had detected something that he did not say out loud. Closing the lid on the dish his face frowned momentarily, he waved for the servant to leave. The king stepped closely to the bars eyeing Pu’sotep closely. The high priest surprised him by looking up, the two locked eyes. 

“Turn away from destruction King Raies. Seek forgiveness from Eyahvah and he will spare this land.” Pu’sotep said with a firm voice. King Raies kept his eyes locked on Pu’sotep. 

“Destruction gives way to rebirth! Chaos gives way to new direction! Your riddle speech has no meaning!” He waited for Pu’sotep to retort. The high priest did not lower his head or avert his eyes, no fear came from him. The visit from Hu’Ru the night before had renewed his strength.   

“I speak directly, there is no riddle in my words. Seek forgiveness, avoid destruction.” He maintained strength in his voice that irked King Raies, the king fought it down so as not to show weakness. 

“You still do not reveal the source of your words! If it is truth you speak, then release what it is that motivates you!” King Raies did not hide his anger, his voice boomed through the tunnel echoing down the hallway. The two men remained locked on one another. Pu’sotep finally decided to stand up, he walked over to the prison bars his eyes still on the king. 

“A dark mage sits out on the Dav’n Sea due North. He awaits the command of his master to bring down this kingdom! Only repentance will protect you from this certain doom! Drop to your knees and cry out to your Creator for forgiveness, call to your humbler nature before it is too late!”   

“A dark mage?” King Raies said condescending. “How will this dark mage bring down my kingdom?”There was a smile on his face, the guards took a moment to laugh, the king looked back at them lightheartedly urging them on. Pu’sotep found no humor in any of it, his face remained serious. 

“The dark mage will call forth a tidal wave that will flood this area putting your palace, the statue of Luma, and all of the people under a watery grave.” Pu’sotep waited for a response as the men laughed even louder at what he just said. “My job is done, I have warned you as I was asked.” 

“As you were asked?” King Raies voice boomed in anger by Pu’sotep’s comment, his eyes twitched and his nostrils flared. He ordered the cell gate opened then he stormed inside toward the high priest. King Raies ordered one of the guards to strip Pu’sotep of his clothing before the high priest was shoved to the ground and kicked in the face by King Raies. Seeing the high priest nude and humbled did his heart good, he smiled. “Ask your God to clothe you, and to protect you from the death that comes for you if you fail to welcome the worshipers and Re and Luma into your fold. Your family and remaining priests will also be killed. Let the heat of the day strengthen the stench of your cell that will come from your own waste, the sun will drive your thirst but you will find no relief, nor will there be any mercy!” 

King Raies turned storming out of the cell. Pu’sotep lowered his head, he took a moment to get his emotions under control after what just happened to him. Scooting on the floor he laid his back against the wall. He knew King Raies would not change his mind, the fall of T’oku had begun. He prayed for strength for what was to come to him and to all of T’oku. 
 


THE FIGHT FOR THE RIVER

The pack fought relentlessly inching their way slowly to the river, it took three hours to make it just mere feet to the river itself. Burning scrapes and bite marks from the demons littered their skin. The pack was tiring, the demons knew it. At times the horde would engulf the pack only to be cut to ash then quickly regroup around the pack once more. The horde swarmed from the river side flowing in great numbers to push the Kulu warriors back from the waters edge. Eyah yelled out his battlecry fiercely swinging his spear in a three hundred sixty degree angle all around him and the pack cutting into the horde that fell to ash. For a brief moment the river could be seen, all of the pack eyed it. 

“Go!” Eyah yelled out. None needed to be told twice. Ongaro pushed his tired legs springing into the air countless Dipur’ah already leapt after him reaching out to desperately hold him from the salvation of the river. One demon latched onto his back biting into his shoulder before both were submerged. It was then the strong current of the Trinity River took hold. The Dipur’ah lost its hold of him being greatly weakened. Two things were a weakness to a demon, sunlight and being submerged in water. Ongaro spun as he fought to stay above water, he saw Be’loi grab Eyah’s arm as he jumped into the river; Ongaro gave a sigh of relief. The horde did not stop, even with knowing the water would weaken them they jumped into the river in pursuit of the pack. Ongaro was no longer concerned with the demons he saw them struggle in the rapids as their strength was sapped, they were carried down stream to their doom. The battle now was to keep in the center of the river as the water rushed the pack down stream, the Dipur’ah reached out trying to pluck them from the water when they drifted too close to the waters edge. 

SUNRISE

Two portals opened near the still burning body of General Thorn, two new Generals walked through them standing by the fallen General’s corpse.


 Kra’gah walked up alongside Thorns burning frame. Raising her hand she flicked her wrist the flames ceased leaving charred remains. The wind gently blew showing scarlet red hair. Her eyes were blue, her skin very pale. Unlike the other Generals Kra’gah was half human. Her father was one of the original people of Urn, the king of his people but still considered a cave man as the civilized world called it. She was the first halfbreed to be born of Urn and human blood mix. Her mother was of the albinos who had been evicted from their motherland of Eyahvah Shi merely because her skin was pale, her hair blond, her eyes of pinkish color. After Kra’gah’s birth many of the Urn took human wives mating with them. Human males did not find Urn women attractive, they were much larger and far more hair than needed all over the body and face. But the Urn male was also much larger like the female and hairier, that made a human woman feel more protected. Human women were appealing to an Urn male. They were more feminine, and a lot less hair over the body which was different to them. Kra’gah took her body frame from her mother, she was much thinner than an Urn woman but took her height from her father being much taller than a human woman standing six feet eight inches. Her red hair came from her father. The Urn had coal black hair, brown, blond, and red hair, her pale skin came from both parents as the Urn also were considered albino to the people of the four kingdoms.  Her blue eyes and red hair was a mutation came from her father and his people. She grew up hearing the stories about the land of her mother and how the albinos were sent away from warmer climates, banished forever. She could hear in her mothers voice how much she missed Eyahvah Shi but could never return. Kra’gah resented the four kingdoms and swore revenge for her mother, but how? She gained an idea once her father told her a story about a great and powerful demon that lived further north high in the Gorn Mountains. As the story went, this nameless demon was banished from heaven and imprisoned there. She was warned to stay clear of the shadow realm for only demons lurked there protecting the trail leading to the Gorn Mountains. Over time her father wanted her to marry his brothers son, Kra’gah would have none of it. She wanted to remain single, to be her own leader, a woman was already a second class citizen to human and Urn males alike; but once a woman married she became a slave. Her status as daughter of a king made no difference. Her father demanded that she marry so she decided to leave in search of something greater, something that would keep her free. That something would be power. The power to keep any man from making her his slave. That same power would bring down any fool of the four kingdoms that crossed her path. She detested the dark skin bastards, they would all pay for sending her mother away. It was their fault her mother was nothing more than a sex slave to the Urn king. 

Her thin pale fingers traced the burnt wing of Thorn showing black finger nails. “You fool, you poor fool, how did you not see?” She looked down at the burnt remains, there was no pity in her voice only dark humor. 


Ve’ta walked up behind her his hooded shroud glowing showing the trace of a head and glowing eyes beneath. He detested Kra’gah she was not created by dark energy she was flesh and blood, she was not of the demonic fold. She came to the shadow realm in search of the Gorn Mountains seeking out the lord of the demons. Boka had seen her, to Kra’gah’s fortune. For had it not been for him the shadow demons that guarded the shadow realm would have torn her apart. Unlike the shadow demons who saw her flesh as vial, his half human side saw her flesh and it appealed to him. She stood almost as tall as him and she looked like him save for her pale skin and red straight hair, he inherited his mothers brown skin and curly black hair. Unlike other brown skinned people Boka did not care for what her skin looked like, there was a passion to know her intimately inside of him that could not be controlled. It was not love, only lust; Boka was not born to know love and he cared little to ever try. She pleaded to him to give her the power that she saw in him, to learn the dark arts. Instead he took her to the Gorn Mountains and made her his sex slave, ironically that was what she was trying to escape. For many years she begged to learn from him how to become a dark mage but all she learned was how to please Boka sexually. It was the dark Prince himself who reached out to her eventually. He asked for her complete devotion and if she gave it he would baptize her in dark magic, he told her that she would be more powerful than any of his demons save for his son, this offer was what she wanted all along. She reached out claiming her devotion, then she was given the power she craved. 

Ve’ta despised that she was more powerful than him more than anything else. He remained silent about it.

“Thorn was arrogant, even had he known that the mage was more powerful he would have still persisted!” His voice was dark and deep. He hated that he had to follow orders from a human, his only joy was that maybe the mage Elu or Hu’Ru would kill her. He was tempted to even help them when the time came, this is how much he despised her. Kra’gah kept her gaze on the corpse studying it ignoring Ve’ta’s jealous energy for the moment.

“Thorn was not sent to perish by the hands of the human mage because of his arrogance. Thorn lacked ambition, this was why he was sacrificed. No demon can truly serve our lord yet have no ambition to aspire to be more.” 

“He aspired to the level of General did he not?” Ve’ta said coldly. Kra’gah caught the vindictive tone in his voice, she turned facing him no longer ignoring.

“He aspired no further. I am half human yet I took the reigns of head General, do you not see the foolishness in your comment?” Her voice sounded challenging, Ve’ta knew that she wanted to kill him on the spot for his hatred, she was no fool, he could sense it. She decided to give him a chance to live merely for the sport of it. She need not risk her title and position, there were other ways that Ve’ta could meet his demise. 

“There was no foolishness, only truth in what I spoke lord Kra’gah.” Ve’ta knew that Kra’gah would be a fool to strike him down without just cause. Detesting her humanity was not enough of an excuse, she would be greatly punished for such a crime. 

“I have blocked the mage from reaching the Kulu quickly by putting a blinding spell around them before they fled. He will have to search harder if he wishes to reunite with them.” 

“If you were able to place such a spell then it can only mean you were here when the battle took place. You could have ended this.” 

“Do you question me Ve’ta? Do you want my rank and power?” She stood defiant. “Then come and take it…” It was an outright challenge, it would be the only way that she could kill Ve’ta if he chose to accept. He was wise not to., he remained silent. “Good.” She said. 

“The sun is rising, my purity will not allow the rays of the sun to touch me without perishing.” He said evenly.

“That would be a sight, wouldn’t it?” She said with dark joy, there was no need for them to hide from one another their dislike for each other. “Go then and cower in the darkness Ve’ta. Upon the next sunset seek out the Kulu and end them!” 

Ve’ta disappeared without a word. The sun slowly started to rise behind Kra’gah, she pulled her cloak over her face to keep it’s rays off of her face. She had no weakness to the suns rays like the demons, but she hated it just the same, she had lived in the dark world of demons for so long it was just instinct. She vanished in the blink of an eye returning to the Gorn Mountains to find comfort in the dark halls of Vela, the grand castle of The Nameless One, the place of his imprisonment.