Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Malkuthe Highwind, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. This is a short story I wrote for English class. It ties in with my "Planes of Shah'Haien" series of short stories, novellas and roleplays. Anyway, it's 25 pages long in Microsoft word... Some kind of short story this is, eh? Well, anyway, happy reading! I hope you like it. I'll post a link to my wiki after the story, in case you want to learn more about my Multiverse.

    A single presence disturbed the swirling eddies of wild magic that flowed through the void. In the space between spaces, the unreality between realities, the nonexistence between existences, the place where neither dream nor imagination made no sense, the Sleeping King made his presence manifest. From the core of his being, an emanation swept all the chaotic energies away as he spoke “Gideon.”

    The summons was carried out through the worlds by a voice that was but a whisper yet at the same time like the sound of a thousand and one trumpets, a voice that spoke with a thousand tongues that each spoke a thousand languages. The word echoed through all reality, bouncing from worlds filled with fire and brimstone to worlds filled with vast oceans without a single speck of land until finally settling in the mind of one so-called Gideon as he slept.

    Gideon screamed as he saw himself being dragged from his body by a great unfathomable force. Without warning, he was swept away to the vast emptiness that constituted the Great Order of Nox’s meeting place. “Gideon” said the voice of the entity that served as their Lord and God, a deity so indescribably powerful, the very sound of his arrival would bring any mundane creature to its knees.

    The fierce general shivered as the words seemed to crawl up his spine, knowing very well that they could have burned him to a crisp had the Great Lord deemed it proper. All defiance, all confidence all sense of self and dignity within him crumbled as he sank to his knees, prostrate before his god.

    “Destroy them” said the voice of a thousand tongues each speaking a thousand languages. The words drilled into his head and he screamed in pain as they burrowed deep into his skull, into his mind. He fell face first onto the nonexistent ground. The guttural, animalistic howl that escaped his clenched jaws echoed for an eternity before finally coming to an end.

    The Sleeping King was silent. The only sound in the void was maniacal mix of laughter and sobbing that came from Gideon as he lay crumpled on the floor. The darkness folded around him and he was gone. The Sleeping King spoke once more, “Let chaos rule!” A thunderous ruckus of applause, shouts, yells, battle cries and exultations arose from the gathered audience. The command had been given. One by one, the members of the order vanished from the void. There was much to be done.


    A girl with auburn hair strode across the torch lit corridors of the manor house. A steady stream of curses streamed from her rose-red perfectly shaped lips. Her forehead glistened with sweat and her stride was angry. The dim light of the torches cast shadows that fell under her cheekbones, making her already fierce features even more feral. The heels of her shoes clacked against the bare marble floor, echoing uninterrupted in the hall that had quickly emptied of servants once they had heard of her arrival.

    “Damned mother, she will not restrain me!” she breathed as she brought her feet down angrily before her chamber doors. She wiped the sweat from her brow and tucked a few wisps of hair behind her ear. She straightened her dress and gathered her hair behind her neck before letting it fall in waves down to the small of her back. No matter what her mother said, she would look good for the gentleman waiting on her bed. Her rosy cheeks flooded with color and her eyes, the color of fallen autumn leaves, sparkled as the thought of what was about to transpire entered her mind.

    The hallways behind her started to come to life as servants returned to do the task that had been given them. Some tended to rubbing out the scratches that the lady’s heels had left in the marble floor, others set to work dusting the countless niches that lined the walls and a few still hid in darkened corners, gossiping about her.

    She glared daggers at them and they shrank back under her gaze. She turned her chin up and strode into the room, her dress billowing behind her. The smooth white wood doors engraved with leaves and trees swung open noiselessly and shut behind her with a dull boom. A cool night breeze drifted from an open window and cooled her glistening forehead. Outside, the night was majestic, a full moon shone its light upon the landscape and the sky was without a single cloud and the stars sparkled as though countless tiny gems that littered the heavens. Yet, to her eyes, none of that compared to the godly Adonis that lay upon her sheets.

    The man got up and strode towards her, muscles of his bare torso rippling as he planted his feet firmly with every step. He smiled warmly. The smile touched his golden eyes and showed perfectly aligned white teeth. The woman closed her eyes and shamelessly placed her hands upon his hard sculpted chest and traced a line up to his strong jaw and ran her fingers through his chocolate brown hair, losing herself in the moment as her digits tangled sensuously in his soft hair.

    She wrapped her arms around his neck and felt his strong arms wind around her waist. She opened her eyes, dispelling a soft sigh as she drew him close for a passionate kiss. She inhaled sharply when she saw his golden eyes change to purple, and his hair turn to inky black. His tanned complexion became milky white and his muscles softened from their highly sculpted form only moments before. “I am Xi’tal and you are mine now…” He whispered as he closed his eyes. She screamed as she felt a thin appendage wrap around her waist as his hands travelled upwards to grip her face. The man had grown a tail, a thin black tail that ended in a triangle.

    She screamed for what seemed was an eternity, her cries rising and falling with the man’s breath as he inhaled every single scrap of her energy. When he was done with her he opened his eyes and for a moment, his purple irises glowed with an inner light and then reverted to their normal state. She crumpled to the ground, drained, pale and lifeless.

    Muttering a few words, color flooded into the corpse and she came back from the dead, opening her eyes that for a moment were purple but quickly reverted. “Rise, puppet” said the man and she did. Quickly he told her what she was to do and in a puff of smoke, vanished into the night.

    Outside, servants that had heard the entire exchange went on with what they were doing, unconcerned. Whatever kind of sordid affair the lady had had that night, to them, was nothing new. There was no new gossip to share amongst themselves so they went on, cleaning and chatting quietly until the bells solemnly tolled midnight.


    It had been three months since Vyllia had suddenly returned to the mountain city. It was another source of distress to the man that stood idly noting injuries and supplies, apart from the constant senseless attacks of the army that camped around the city walls. He had been called down to the healing house to supervise a group of novice healers tending to the injured. The wounds were not serious, after all, the enemy had not done much more than fire logs at the impenetrable stone walls in the three weeks it had been at their gates. It was though they were being taunted, or the enemy simply did not know what it was doing. It bothered him greatly.

    “The answer… the answer…” he mumbled under his breath, his hand falling slack on the small leather-bound book he held that contained all the notes about supplies and injuries. He stood still, eyes transfixed on a faraway point, a blank expression on his face. A few of the healers, done with whatever task he had given to them, stood bored in a corner, talking amongst themselves.

    “He’s more distracted than usual” said one of the healers pointedly with a smirk. His friends nodded in agreement and even the soldier a few paces away shifted uneasily to nod his assent. The boy that had spoken eyed the other healers who were already finishing up. They all wanted to leave, the white woollen robes they were required to wear were hot, heavy and itchy even in the cool autumn breeze that swept through the open windows and doors.

    It was tempting to make a break for freedom, but they all knew, without the man’s dismissal, it would be as easy as wading through molten rock. “You should ask him to dismiss us, Joshua” said the boy, nudging his friend in the side.

    “What?! Why me?” protested the smaller boy. The older boy laughed softly at Joshua and proceeded to pressure the boy into doing it. The entire group shoved and cajoled until he finally gave in. The boy walked towards the man, eyeing his friends nervously. He placed his hand on the man’s shoulder and asked “Gabriel, can we go now?”

    Gabriel stiffened and looked at the hand clutching his shoulder. The book snapped shut in his hands and a snarl formed on his face. He spun around, eyes burning with hate, to face the boy who shrank back in fear. To his eyes, the hand had been covered in onyx black scales with purple talons.

    The very light that streamed through the windows and the door seemed to dim as the temperature plummeted. The wind swept through the door, rising to a howl as the boy was lifted into the air, eyes bulging with fear. He scrabbled at his neck, clawing at an invisible force that was choking him. Gabriel yelled, whatever he said, lost in the noise of the wind.

    The boy flew in an arc across the room, slamming hard into a wall. His eyes followed the trajectory of the unfortunate lad, burning with an angry flame. He blinked. The wind died down and the sun shone brightly again. An utter, shocked silence filled the entire healing house as the healers and wounded stared at him, eyes wide as teacups. Gabriel’s eyes widened as he realized the depth of his folly. He stood dumbstruck, staring at the healer that was a crumpled heap on the floor.

    Loud, dull booms reverberated through the city and the alarm bells began to toll. Gabriel saw it as an opportunity for egress and he slipped away quietly as the other healers gathered around their friend in stunned silence.

    And so, the fury of the wind was made known.


    Gabriel woke and sat up as though electrified. He was panting heavily and a layer of sweat glistened on his bare skin. The sheets were a crumpled mess gathered around his midriff; he rubbed his eyes and stared at his feet. The dream had come again. He took a slow look around; the room was dimly lit by the bluish light of the dawn.

    The light filtered weakly through windows and a cool breeze drifted in, making the curtains billow as though they had a life of their own. The dream deeply disturbed him and he found himself pacing on the cold floor before long. He dragged his feet towards the bath and in front of the sink that was in one corner. He looked at his appearance in the mirror.

    Deep blue eyes gazed back at him, appraising and intelligent. There was something else behind them, though, something darker. His hair was long and unruly, black as coal. The dim light cast shadows under his high cheekbones and in the hollows of his eyes, giving him a gaunt expression. He sighed and washed his face with the ice cold water in the bowl.

    The dreams had been coming more frequently. They were always the same. They always ended the same way. They had begun when he was three years of age and stopped when he was five. He had always thought they were gone like ashes scattered to the breeze, but around the same time Vyllia returned, they had come back as well.

    He hurried to his study and shut the door. He took a book from the shelf and began to read it, trying to distract himself from the thoughts that flooded his mind. The book discussed dreams and what they meant. He soon found himself riffling through the pages of the book he had read a number of times, trying to find an answer to his predicament. Nothing. He moved on to another book, and another, losing himself as page after page flew before his eyes. Still, nothing.

    The sun crossed the sky and when it was finally at its peak, brilliant golden rays flooding through the windows, Juren, Gabriel’s only remaining friend snuck into the study. His green eyes surveyed the room that Gabriel always kept tidy and neat for he hated any sort of mess. He was surprised to see that the man was nowhere to be seen.

    What surprised him even more was the number of books and scrolls strewn across the floor. Among them was a small leather-bound book, the same kind as the one that Gabriel kept his notes in. His eyes widened when he read the contents. The book fell to the floor in a dull thud as Juren broke into a run and barked orders to idle servants to look for Gabriel.

    The hours passed and day waned into night. The brazen beams of light gave way to the twinkling of the stars. The warmth of the day yielded to the coolness of night. Still, Gabriel was nowhere to be found.


    Drip, drip, drip, the echoing sound of liquid falling upon the dark marble floor filled Gabriel’s head and he screamed, sinking to his knees in despair. He clutched his chest as time seemed to slow. For an eternity he felt himself falling, the vibrations of his voice thrumming through his throat at the beat of the beastly howl that came forth from his lips. As he held his hands to his face, he realized that whatever was dripping was blood. His own blood.

    With a gasp, Gabriel sat up on his bed, electrified, the dim bluish light of the dawn flooding through his windows. The curtains billowed, dancing as the early morning breeze drifted into the room. From his brow, he wiped the beads of sweat that glistened on the back of his forearm in the dim light. The hairs on the back of his neck were standing and he could feel goose bumps on his skin. He walked towards the sink in his bath and washed his face, noting that he looked gaunter than before.

    A feverish need engulfed him. He threw on his breeches and shirt and headed into the study, forgetting to bolt the door shut behind him. When the bells tolled the end of breakfast in the castle, a soft rapping came from the door. When whoever was knocking heard no reply, the door swung open noisily toppling a pile of scrolls near it.

    “Gabriel… what are you doing?” said Juren slowly as his eyes took in the scene before him. Gabriel was tearing through a book, flipping the pages at a speed Juren had never seen on him before. When he was done with it, he sighed heavily and threw it at a pile of books in the corner. He had never seen Gabriel mistreat his books, which was a constant source of frustration to him since his friend seemed to care more for books than his lone remaining friend.

    “I must find it… get rid of him!” whispered Gabriel under his breath, still oblivious to the presence of the man standing behind him. Another book joined the unruly pile that was steadily growing in the corner. “Dreams… I need…” Juren decided to take matters into his own hands and shook Gabriel out of his stupor. The man stiffened and for a moment, the light dimmed and the wind howled. When he turned to face Juren, the fire in his eyes died down and he fell back onto his chair. He raised his hands to cover his face and mumbled “Oh no. Not again… Not again!”

    “Gabriel, it’s okay” he said, sympathetically patting his friend on the back, deciding not to press him on his disappearance the previous day. “Maybe you just need some fresh air. Come, let us visit the docks.” Gabriel slowly looked up at Juren and nodded, smiling slightly. Juren helped his friend get his clothes straight and they both headed down to the dock.

    The river flowed out of the mouth of a huge cavern on the side of the mountain, ensuring the city’s supplies in time of a siege. The river wound down the bronze-colored foothills, glimmering like quicksilver in the autumn sun. It twisted and turned before vanishing into the rolling mists that had suddenly come with the attacks on the city.

    The docks were filled with people, in for the day’s trading. However, on one of the farther piers, the crowd thinned out to reveal a still-unloading barge. The deckhands’ tanned bodies and well-toned muscles glistened with sweat in the light of the sun. The barge master alternated from yelling orders to his crew and talking with a man who stood beside him.

    Gabriel sat on the edge of the gray stone dock in the area where there weren’t as many people, his breeches rolled up to his knees and his feet dangling off the edge. The water glittered beneath his toes and the wind caressed his face and lifted his hair up. His deep azure eyes, however, were focused on a distant point. Behind him was Juren, chatting idly to the barge captain. Gabriel knew that Juren was simply gathering information to aid in his catching of the thief he had been commissioned to.

    The wake of a passing barge tickled Gabriel’s feet, snapping him out of his trance. He looked at the barge and for a moment, the deckhand closest to him was a black, scaly thing with a slender tail that waved in the breeze. He shook his head, blinking furiously and the man was a man again.

    Gabriel turned halfway to the side and he caught a part of the conversation between the barge master and Juren. “Has anything strange happened on the other side of the mountains?” Juren inquired. Gabriel knew he was mentally recording everything the deck master said.

    The man wheezed and drew a deep breath. The scent of tobacco drifted Gabriel’s way, making him wrinkle his nose in irritation. “No, there do no be any strange happenings on the other side. But my men do be saying that they hear the sound of a beating heart in the caverns” replied the captain in a thick southerner accent.

    “Oh, I see, were there any damages to your ships?” asked Juren.

    “There do be some damages, but nothing my good ol’ lass can’t handle” said the captain. Gabriel turned away as the conversation took a boring turn. The captain descended into a mindless drivel about sails, decks, rudders, rigging and seafaring whatnot.

    Gabriel shivered when he felt a pair of eyes on his back. He turned as saw the beautiful black creature again, at the far end of the wharf. Its appearance intrigued him, he felt as though he had seen it elsewhere before. He just could not place a note on where.

    He got up from his perch and brushed the dust from his sandals and ran towards the creature, his leather-clad feet slapping against the damp stone wharf. He caught up to it, but when his hand landed on its shoulder, it shimmered and it was revealed to be a sailor who looked askance at him.

    “I’m sorry, I thought you were—“ mumbled Gabriel apologetically. He was cut off abruptly when he saw the creature a few paces from the furthest pier. He ran towards it, elbowing and forcing his way through the throng of people. He muttered apologetically every time obscenities and profanities were yelled his way.

    With a vice-like grip, he grabbed the “creature’s” shoulder who turned out to be an old woman who then looked disdainfully at him, grimacing in discomfort. Before he could utter an apology, the apparition appeared again further down the pier. He pushed the woman and ran towards the creature which turned and then vanished. A wave of realization washed over Gabriel and he knew what this beast was doing. Enraged, he ran across the pier, yelling incoherently.

    Juren noticed the commotion and tried to force his way through the crowd. His attempt ended in vain. His friend’s hands turned into fists white at the knuckle. The color drained from Juren’s face as he realized what was about to happen. “No! Gabriel!” he yelled, knowing that it was an attempt that would not work. Gabriel was glaring at one of the deck hands on the docking barge.

    To Gabriel’s eyes, the deckhand was a beautiful, slender humanoid creature covered in black scales with a slender tail that hung down to its feet. It looked at him and smiled toothily, its eyes betraying its purpose. Its eyes seduced Gabriel with something it knew only he would lust for.

    The boards on the barge began to creak and groan. The sunlight dimmed and a chill settled over the hushed crowd. The river churned, waves breaking into a white spray in the wind that suddenly began to blow. The waves tossed the barges from side to side, from stern to bow, threatening to capsize them into the foaming waters. The strong waves lapped hungrily at the stone docks, spraying the gathered people with millions of tiny droplets.

    The bolts that kept the barge together rattled in their holes and the boards shrieked in protest. The barge began to rise from the water and the terrified men pitched themselves from the wooden vessel into the churning water below. Grain and spices poured from the widening gaps in hull of the ship, raining upon the struggling sailors.

    With a tremendous roar, the ship was tossed to the side, breaking apart when it hit the rocky side of the bank. The splintered boards drifted down the river and were swallowed by the mist as shocked onlookers began to whisper amongst themselves.

    A hush fell and the crowd began to split around a woman who had just arrived in the scene. Her auburn hair was tossed in the gale that was still raging around Gabriel. Juren spotted her and he felt fear clutch his heart. She looked sternly at Gabriel, her chin held high like the noblewoman she was.

    “Is this what you have become, Gabriel? A barge-destroyer? I would have thought better of the second-best student at the academy” jeered the woman at Gabriel. Her scarlet dress was thrown about by the wind and her face quickly became damp from the spray that came from the raging waves. Her eyes, however, were emotionless and dead. No one noticed.

    “No! I didn’t mean…!” he protested, fists still at his side. He was livid with anger yet his eyes betrayed a deeper confusion and inner conflict that was being fought within him.

    “Has your search for the ‘answer’ finally driven you insane, Gabriel?” asked the woman, a smirk on her face.

    “What? The answer? Give it to me!” yelled Gabriel at the woman. Her eyes widened. She reflexively tensed.

    “I don’t have it Gabriel!” retorted the woman. Gabriel didn’t seem to hear it and began to walk towards her.

    “Vyllia! You have it! Give it to me!” he demanded. The red-haired woman shook her head. The rage returned to Gabriel’s eyes and in moments a fireball was whistling towards the woman. She flicked her hand and the flame was deflected, only to explode near the edge of the crowd. The resulting conflagration sent a few running for the water, their clothes and flesh on fire.

    The people began to run, screaming as fireball after fireball was launched and deflected. The bells tolled. Another siege was beginning. As Gabriel looked puzzled in the direction of the sound, Juren walked up to him cautiously and shook him. The boy collapsed into his arms. Vyllia laughed and walked the other way, heels clacking on the stone of the harbor.

    And so was known the rage of water.


    “I have the answer, Gabriel” teased the demon from the shadows. Its tail slithered across the dark marble floor, slender and elegant. It sensuously entwined itself around the boy’s wrist. “I have the answer, Gabriel” it repeated with more strength. Within Gabriel, a war raged between his morality and his need for the answer. The battle was like the surge of the tide, flowing and ebbing, but ultimately, one was winning over the other.

    “Name your price… demon…” whispered Gabriel, trembling in the darkness. His hands were knuckles and he could feel the sweat run down from his brow. The beast had been teasing him for over an hour. With each touch, with each mention of the answer he so desperately craved, he withered a little bit more.

    “What? I am quite hard of hearing, Gabriel. Would you mind repeating that to me?” said the demon. Gabriel bit back the stream of curses that wanted so badly to spring forth from his lips. He could have sworn he saw the whites of the demon’s teeth brilliant in the shadows that hid him.

    “Name your price demon!” He screamed, feeling the tears run hotly down his face. He felt the droplets trace across his skin. He screamed for release from the years of torment. He screamed for the answer that would finally end all his questions.

    “You” said the demon, laughing palpably now. The tail tightened its grip on his wrist and he struggled weakly. No, there was no escape. And so with the sweat fell tears.

    “No” he answered, much to his own surprise. The demon stepped out of the shadow, his eyes boring into Gabriel’s own.

    “Then again we play the game, Gabriel.” The tail uncoiled from his wrist and stabbed right through his chest. A wordless howl escaped Gabriel’s lips. The demon laughed and was gone. Blood flowed freely from the wound. Blood joined tears and sweat.

    Drip, drip, drip, the echoing sound of liquid falling upon the dark marble floor filled Gabriel’s head and he screamed, sinking to his knees in despair. He clutched his chest as time seemed to slow. For an eternity he felt himself falling, the vibrations of his voice thrumming through his throat at the beat of the beastly howl that came forth from his lips. As he held his hands to his face, he realized that whatever was dripping was blood. His own blood.

    With a gasp, Gabriel sat up on his bed, electrified, the dim bluish light of the dawn flooding through his windows. He paid no heed to his surroundings and went to his study, not noticing his state of undress. Fruitlessly he searched for the answer, trying to best the demon. Nothing. There was nothing.

    His fists were clutched to his sides and the air grew hotter and hotter. The torches leapt into life, illuminating the dim room in a flickering orange glow. Scrolls and tomes popped and crackled as ancient parchment dried in a matter of seconds. One by one, they burst into flame. One by one they became a raging inferno that spun around Gabriel, eyes set alight by the fires of hatred. One by one, the useless books, unable to proffer the answer he sought died. One by one, the balances that held Gabriel in equilibrium died.
    He whispered, to no one in particular “yes.”

    And so was known the wrath of fire.


    He had been there to witness the carnage at the docks. He had been there to see the destruction at the study. He paced restlessly outside Gabriel’s room, boots making a dull noise that echoed down the corridor. His mind was filled with questions. Little did he know that one of those questions was the very same one that Gabriel was obsessing over.

    Juren, master thief-catcher, detective extraordinaire, the man who had solved a thousand crimes, none of those titles helped him; he could not find an answer to his friend’s predicament. The sieges had been growing more intense, but they were, as always, just hollowed-out trunks, hurled from the depths of the mist.

    They made a great noise, but other than that, they only splintered against the solid stone walls of the city. He could not find an answer to that either.

    “They caught him clawing at the city gate this morning. He has been interrogated, didn’t you hear?” said a liveried servant that scuttled along the adjoining corridor.

    “I heard, but they say there was nothing he said that made sense” replied the other servant. Juren caught wind of their conversation and hastily made his way to them.

    “What is this talk of a prisoner?” he asked flatly, not wanting to sound too eager to visit the prisoner not wanting the servants to start a different rumor.

    “There was an enemy caught outside the walls this morning. They tried to press something out of him, nothing but verses spouted from his mouth” said the servant that had spoken first, looking at Juren warily.

    “Where can I find him?” he asked.

    “We heard he was in the deepest dungeon” replied the other servant.

    “Very well, be on your way then” he told the servants, ushering them down the corridor. His head swarmed with thoughts as he made his way to the city’s bowels and then even deeper. He descended down to the place where light had no hope of ever coming in from the surface world.

    He asked the guard on duty where the prisoner was. His station granted him access to any and all prisoners. He grabbed a torch and descended the stairs. The air was dank and musty. The metal handrail was corroded in places and in others covered by a layer of slime that Juren dared not touch. The stone steps themselves were moist and the mat of moss that covered parts of it was slippery.

    He finally reached the bottom of the steps and set to lighting all the torches. The roof leaked water and the lonely dripping was punctuated by the screams of the inhabitants of the cells. He could not believe the depth of cruelty and depravity that the King practiced. It nearly broke his heart. They were criminals, but they did not deserve to be treated as less than dirt.

    At the far end of the corridor was a man, his hair was disheveled and his clothes were grimy, as though he had been in the subterranean prison for years. His face was dark, as though he had taken a bath in mud, and his hair stuck to his face in a greasy mat. His unkempt beard was dark with dirt and small twigs were tangled in it. Juren set his torch on the bracket outside the cell and went in to sit beside the man.

    Slowly, the man turned to him and for the first time, he saw the prisoner’s eyes. They were blue, much like Gabriel’s own, but they shone with the wild light of insanity. Juren gulped, starting to think that this was a bad decision. A shadow of recognition flickered across the man’s face and he intoned:

    “A hundred men who never knew war
    A hundred strong men sent to die
    A hundred strong men to mask the sound
    Of they who come through the earth’s rocky bosom
    In the darkness consuming shall first come sweat
    Then sweat shall become tears
    And tears shall become blood
    And even blood shall curdle in his scream
    Made known is the fury of the wind
    Made known is the rage of the water
    Made known is the wrath of fire
    What comes next?
    What comes next in the order of all things?”​

    Juren shivered and stood to leave. He did not understand what the man meant, but they struck in him a deep, deep fear. He began to ponder and as he did, the man laughed and looked directly upward. “There he is, beautiful as the sleeping king himself…” rambled the man.

    “Who ARE you?” asked Juren .

    The man smiled and answered “I was Gideon, I am dead now.” Juren was horrified. He cocked his head at Juren and giggled to himself. He shrugged and went back to reciting his verse.

    “What comes next?
    What comes next in the order of all things?”

    The words echoed in Juren’s mind even as he ascended the steps and stood squinting in the bright sunlight. The words echoed in his mind as he pored over them. The words echoed in his mind even as his head rested upon his bed.

    Deep in his fitful sleep, Gabriel shivered, the cold tingle traveling up his spine, causing him to arch his back in discomfort. Deep below, hundreds of feet beneath, entombed within dirt, rock and stone, the man sang his rhyme, looking up, directly up at the sleeping form of Gabriel.


    Gabriel awoke, feeling different. He knew not what it was, but he felt different. He was no longer Gabriel. He was more. Emotion did not course through him. Frustration did not fill him. Anger did not burn in him. He was more. He could think.

    Vyllia smiled and stood from the chair she sat in. The boy did not know that it was an illusion by the demonic creature known as Xi’tal to make the boy fall into his trap. “I see you are finally… awake” she stated simply. Gabriel nodded, a small smile on his lips.

    “I found my answer, Gabriel” spoke the red-haired woman, her mouth opening in sync with the mouth of the demon hiding in the shadows. “Have you found yours?”

    Gabriel shook his head and looked at Vyllia, his own thoughts unknown to even him. Slowly emotion was seeping into him, a trickle of emotion, but only emotion that Xi’tal chose.
    Lust and desperation.

    “Do you not envy me Gabriel? Will I always be better than you?” said Xi’tal through Vyllia, playing with Gabriel’s emotions.

    “I… do” he said slowly, rolling the words around his mouth. “You will not!” he yelled abruptly.
    “Then all you have to do is pay the price” said Xi’tal.

    “The price is now paid… now my reward is due!” exclaimed Gabriel, all sense of self blocked by his lust for knowledge, by his desperation to find the answer.

    Lust and desperation.

    “Tomorrow, the king will call for you, then, I shall give you your answer.” Vyllia rose and strode from the room.


    Gabriel’s sleep had been easy that night, dreamless and restful. It was the most peaceful sleep he had since his childhood. When the servant came, bearing the king’s summons, he was ready for it.

    Juren gasped when one by one, the pieces of the puzzle fell together. He knew what was going to happen. He knew what the attacks were for. He knew what would come next in the order of all things. He washed the sleep off of his face and made haste for the throne room.

    Gabriel stood before the great doors of the throne room, heavily gilded, carved and set with precious gems. A menagerie of creatures paraded up its sides, walking, crawling, slithering, swimming and flying in all shapes and sizes. In the middle of the door was a carving of wind, water, fire and earth. It was a carving based on an age-old painting called the Order.

    He smiled. On that day, he would fulfill the prophecy the artist had spun into his masterpiece. On that day, he would get his answer. He pushed the doors open, lightly gripping the ivory handles. They swung open on silent hinges.

    Down the length of the throne room paraded a majestic colonnade of marble pillars veined with gold. Carvings of fruits, leaves and vines adorned their crowns, so lifelike that they seemed as though you could pluck them and eat them. Their bases were graced by jewels the size of his fists, testament to the mineral wealth of the kingdom.

    The king sat on his throne, regal and mighty, but on that day, it would be Gabriel to show him regality and might. He began to speak, his voice thundering down the length of the throne room “WHAT HAVE YOU DO—!“ Gabriel waved his hand and the king froze in his tracks, eyes struggling, but limbs unmoving. From the corner of his sight to the right, he saw Vyllia, urging him on, and to the other side, he saw Xi’tal materialize out of the shadow, beaming brightly.

    The door burst open and Juren stormed inside the room. Vyllia was suddenly beside Gabriel and so was Xi’tal. The entire audience gasped. “Today I pay my price” intoned Gabriel. Juren tried to take a step and found out he was immobile too. His eyes pleaded with Gabriel, but he saw nothing but pity in his friend’s eyes.

    “The price is me. The price is my person. But what constitutes a person? A person is the sum of his past, his present and his future. A person is the sum of his experiences, his successes and his failures. A person is the sum of everyone he knew, knows and will ever know. And so I pay my price. I pay my person. I pay everything” he continued. And the ground shook, dust rained upon the servants scuttling through the halls. Dust rained upon the king. Dust rained upon Juren.

    The mountains shook and rifts opened. The maw of the earth gaped and from its bowels escaped beasts of nightmare and dark legend. They were let loose upon the city.

    The ground shook, great ravines opened in the earth, sucking down the mist that surrounded the city. It revealed what Juren suspected and ultimately discovered. The city was under siege by only a hundred men, capable of manning the ballistae that fired the trunks.

    It was all a grand orchestration. As they were swallowed by the earth, they smiled in the fact that they had brought glory to their god. They smiled in the fact that they had brought death and destruction to his enemies.
    Juren looked into Gabriel’s eyes. Nothing. He then knew that all was lost. The ground rumbled and shook beneath his feet, but that did not compare to the sense of betrayal he felt deep in his heart of hearts. Betrayed by a friend. Betrayed by the only friend he had ever known. Betrayed.

    When the pillar finally fell on his prone body, he felt nothing. He felt nothing but anger, anger at a force he could not see. He felt nothing but a seething rage as the cold fingers of death claimed his soul.
    And so was known the ire of the earth.

    “NOW MY REWARD!” demanded Gabriel, oblivious to the death and destruction that lay around him.
    “Intone the question, Gabriel!” exclaimed Xi’tal.

    “Who are you… Who am I?” said Gabriel. His voice boomed across the earth, echoing in the minds of all men who breathed the breath of life. His voice echoed in the minds of all those who lived the life human. At once they understood what he had done. They knew, in the depths of their hearts, that in his place, they would do the same.

    “I am Xi’tal, and you are fallen. You are mine” said the Xi’tal and he let everything return to Gabriel for one blinding moment. The boy looked around and saw everything he loved destroyed by his own hands. He realized that by paying the demon’s price, the true answer had been ultimately lost. He knew that by destroying everything that was dear to him, he became the one thing he now was. A prize. A plaything.

    He wanted to accuse the demon of cheating him, of not telling him the true answer to his question, but he knew in his heart that the demon was truthful. He was fallen. He was Xi’tal’s.

    Within him, something broke, and he fell to his knees, unfeeling. Xi’tal laughed as a fire engulfed Vyllia, burning the empty husk into a crisp. He laid his hands on the boy’s shoulders and they vanished in a puff of darkness. The city had fallen, and with it, another of Destiny’s foes came closer to death.

    The wind blew over the ruins of the city, carrying the dust and ash over the mountains to the other kingdoms. The battle was over. The battle was lost. The angel had fallen.
    In the shadow of the void, another presence stirred beside the Sleeping King. “What have you to gain from all this, Destiny? You’ve already won countless pointless battles!”

    “Sister, this battle was lost” spoke the Sleeping King.

    “What do you mean, lost, Destiny? Another of Oath’s strongholds has fallen into your grasp” said the other voice.

    “Faith, this battle was lost” said the Sleeping King. Faith did not understand. She shook her head and vanished from the void.

    “Gabriel served his purpose, but Juren was the pawn. He failed his task” said Destiny, already adjusting his plans accordingly. The battle had been lost, but the war was just beginning.

    The war was just beginning.

    So, there you go with Fallen. I hope you liked it! :D.

    My wiki, currently temporary as the one on my website is under-development, is here: http://the-many-worlds.wikia.com.

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