Chapter 26 = The Goddess of Luck and Fate
Disclaimer: Although all characters here are of my own invention, the original idea of Yoshies, Birdos, etcetera, are copyright of Nintendo, and I make no money from writing this.
As the light faded, Marcus found himself standing, still holding the small object he had picked up, but once again in the strange place he had thrice met Sorsoy in; he was standing on a cold granite floor, illuminated in a little circle of light like a spotlight with no visible source. He heard a low chuckle from behind him and whirled around to find another Yoshi goddess, but it was not Sorsoy; the Yoshi was a dark purple and had fairly short eyelashes, also illuminated in a slightly larger circle of light. As well as red eye outlines, she had a tanned orange chest, and dark cream-coloured talons, all markings of a feral Yoshi. Like Sorsoy, she was hovering a few inches above the ground with her feet tipped back a bit, and in one hand she held a pair of dice carved from what appeared to be wood.
Racking his brains to try and remember who it was, he finally remembered what Manny had once told him, and identified the feral in front of him as Karshina, the Goddess of Luck and Fate. Holding up her hand, she held the dice in her palm and somehow made them levitate slightly, spinning slowly an inch or two above her hand and casting small shadows on her palm.
“Marcus.” She said, speaking in Yoshian, “As you may well be aware, I am the Goddess of Luck and Fate, whether you are a follower of the octotheist religion or not.” Octotheist, Marcus recalled, literally meant eight gods, just like monotheist meant one god and polytheist meant many gods. “Take a look at what you have found…”
Holding up his right hand, he found that he had picked up a small, golden octagram with empty spaces at the points. The gold was shiny and fairly pure, but not so pure that it was still soft and malleable in his hands, and as he watched Marcus could swear he saw it glinting, even though his hands were not moving. There were so many connecting lines between all the points that Marcus couldn’t hope to count all of them without a leaf of vaell and a writing knife, and the empty spaces looked like they were meant to hold something in them.
“You are very lucky to find one of these, Marcus… so you have me to thank for that. I cannot tell you everything about it, for you must work it out yourself, but I’m sure it’s within your capabilities to figure out what it is…”
“Wait, why are you doing this to me?” Marcus asked.
“This is the second time one of you has come into my mind… and I’m still an atheist, so why do you bother? I mean, I could just be imagining this, and that’s what I believe, but even if you are real, why would you pick me, of all people, to torment and play games with?”
Karshina smirked and gave another low chuckle, before replying, “You think we are playing games with you? You are naïve… even more naïve not to believe in us when the proof is right in front of you. You also forget, Marcus, that Miyala and the God of Death can both predict the future quite accurately…”
“So? I don’t intend to do anything incredible if and when I get older… all I want to do is just achieve vengeance for what has been done to me, and then settle down somewhere to a quiet life with Manny and Shiala and any other friends we make.”
“Have you ever put any consideration into this? Foryo is a powerful wizard… there are more powerful ones, yes, but he is still adept at the magical arts… but he is still influential, and if you were to kill him, it could change a lot of things, you know.”
“So what, are you saying I should just forget the whole thing ever happened? No way! I would rather die than let him get away with what he did! He destroyed an entire village full of Yoshies, some my friends, some my relatives, one my beloved girlfriend.”
“And why do you think he did that?”
“He’s a maniac! He’s a human! Humans don’t like Yoshies, so he probably levelled it for sport or just to be malicious…”
“No, no, think about it. If that was it, why would he have destroyed the houses just to make sure everyone and everything was dead? He was after someone… who did you know who wasn’t from that village?”
“Well…” Marcus said, counting people off on his fingers, “Manny’s relatives, the Sennets, and A-…Alziana’s family, the Leyiras, were from there… Karin’s family, the Sonnas, weren’t… there were a couple others who weren’t…”
“The Charris’s weren’t.”
“I never heard of them… but then again there were a few people there I never met…”
Karshina gave an exasperated sigh and said, “Your family wasn’t.”
“My father wasn’t, but my mother was. They told me about that… my father was from Lince city, and had a brother who died from a prematurely weakened immune system… when that happened, he went to the Shoreside village. But that’s not really important, is it?”
“Everything is important in its own little way…” Karshina said mystically.
“Stop being vague and give me a definite answer.” Marcus snapped.
“Pushy, aren’t we? Remember who you’re messing with, here. Besides, it spoils all my fun if I can’t confuse the unbelievers… consider yourself for a moment.”
“What? Are you talking about my eyes?”
“Yes, well done. Who’s the only family member you haven’t got any record of?”
“What does this have to do with Foryo?”
“More than you think. Much as you might like to think otherwise, Foryo’s not the end, either…”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“You will find out, Marcus, I guarantee you that much…”
Her voice began to fade, as did Marcus’s body and hers, and he blacked out again, coming back to consciousness a moment later with somebody shaking him.
“Marcus… come on… wake up…”
Suddenly weary and tired, Marcus groaned as he forced himself to open his eyes, catching sight of Shiala kneeling over him as he lay on his back. She gave a broad smile as she saw his eyes open, and helped him up to a sitting position, from which he could see her backpack lying on the floor over near the others.
“What happened?” Marcus mumbled, and Shiala pulled him into a tight hug.
She replied, “There was this flash… I thought it was the lightning at first but then realised it had come from behind me… and you were just lying there on your side… you didn’t even have a pulse but I was sure that you were still alive… I thought for a moment that…”
“It’s okay…” he muttered, hugging her back with one arm. “How long was I out for?”
“Not very long… about five minutes… I was starting to give up hope…”
Silence fell over the two for a moment, until Marcus held up the octagram with his free hand and noticed something different, muttering, “Huh?” absent-mindedly. He could see that in two adjacent holes there were now gems; he couldn’t quite work out what type they were, but one of them was a bright, sky blue, and the other was a pure, dark purple. Shiala let go of him and spotted the octagram as she leant back, putting one hand on it first and waiting for Marcus to nod before taking it out of his grip.
“Marcus… where did you get this?”
“I found it just before I blacked out.” He replied truthfully. “I could see it shining when the lightning flashed, and I went to pick it up. When I did, though, I lost consciousness, and-…”
“What happened? Did you see anything?”
“No.” Marcus lied, spotting Manny listening in on their conversation over Shiala’s shoulder. “It was dark… and cold… I was all alone there, and I wondered if I’d ever see you again…”
She smiled, but as Manny looked away in disgust Marcus quickly dropped his voice to a whisper. “Actually, that’s not the whole truth, but I’ll tell you when nobody else is likely to overhear, okay?”
After a moment, Shiala nodded, handing the octagram back to him. She stood up, and Marcus got up off the floor, putting the octagram in a saddlebag for safekeeping, before the two of them went and walked over to where the others were sitting.
“…that reminds me,” Dave said, continuing a conversation they’d been left out of, “How come there are so many of you Yoshies? I mean, looking at you, I can’t even see how you make more Yosh-”
“Stop right there.” Visali commanded.
“No, Dave, don’t touch that conversation with a ten-foot pole. I’m serious. You don’t want to know. You won’t find us cute any more.”
There was some mirth among the other Yoshies, and Dave muttered “Fine, fine… well, I still don’t quite get it. I mean, you Yoshies lay an egg rather painlessly and it hatches after two weeks, with the Yoshi already able to walk or at least crawl, and you live for hundreds of years…”
Manny nodded and replied, “And yet, human women have to carry a baby around inside them for months and months, go through hours of agony to get it out, then it takes twelve years for the child to be much use to anyone, they can’t even move for the first few months of their life, and live for less than a hundred years!”
“It just doesn’t make any sense.” Dave concurred. “You’d think that the one with the longer gestation time would be the smarter one, but I guess not…”
Visali interjected, “Hey, think about whales; they’re freaking huge and gestate for… Miyala only knows how long, and they’re not smarter than us.”
“Good point.” Dave said, nodding in agreement. “I suppose it’s all down to evolution… Yoshies were around before humans were, I think, but…”
“Hey,” Visali said suddenly, cutting in and pointing at Marcus, “You’re bleeding.” Letting go of Shiala to gently touch his arm in the dark, Marcus felt a stab of pain as he ran his fingers over a wound; the slash the Koopa had dealt to him was oozing blood, but not at a serious rate. He was prepared to let it go, but Shiala got up and moved around him, sitting down on his left, gently taking his arm and holding it in her gentle grip. She gave it a few gentle licks, soothing the stinging sensation that first came from her touch, cleaning the wound for him and making him relax a little. Although his eyes had adjusted to the dark, Marcus found it very hard to tell the other Yoshies apart just by looking at them, except for Xenly, whose white colour was distinguishable even in the darkness.
Visali stretched out before yawning and lying on his side, with Dave following suit soon after. Marcus felt like lying down to sleep, too, but Shiala reached into her backpack and pulled out a green watermelon, handing it to him and whispering, “You should eat something… it ought to make you feel a bit better.”
Slurping up the melon with one flick of his tongue, Marcus savoured the taste for a moment before thanking her as she gave a bit of food to the others, shaking Visali and Dave from the edges of slumber to give them a little food to eat, which they took and ate graciously. After that, everyone except Marcus and Shiala stretched out to go to sleep, but Shiala seemed rather insistent that Marcus stay awake, shaking him every time he started to doze off. Eventually, slightly annoyed, he whispered, “What?” irritably.
“I don’t think they’re listening… care to tell me about the octagram?”
Marcus quickly told her about his vision, and what Karshina had said, also mentioning that Sorsoy had spoken to him previously and made him appear dead to his companions. She took the octagram from him again to look at it in the darkness, running her fingers over the two gems, before handing it back to him.
“Well?” he asked, and she was hesitant to reply.
“Marcus… it…” she sighed and started again. “The octagram is a holy sign of the Octotheist Religion… and these… ones made with holes in them… they’re very hard to come by, you know. If someone finds one, they… they’ve been chosen by the gods to… to do something important… the last person who found one of those became a great and powerful lord who led the Yoshian army against Kl-… the God of Death, and killed him with his own hands… and those two gems… you’ve seen two gods already… if you see the other six… well, who knows what will happen…”
“Wait a moment,” Marcus said, “If Klashkna wasn’t a god at the time, why was it still an octagram?”
“The eighth god was undecided then… it was foretold there’d be eight, though, by Miyala and the oracles. But the God of Death became immortal, and all immortals become gods… they say that one day, another Yoshi will defeat the God of Death himself, obtain immortality and become the true eighth god… according to legends, a Yoshi called Sévar will be that true god.”
Marcus gave a shrug as he took the octagram back. “Well, thanks for letting me know all that… I don’t know if I’ll need to know it, but thanks anyway.”
Shiala nodded and gave a loud yawn, before putting her arms around Marcus as they lay down together to go to sleep. Even though he was lying on a cold stone floor, Shiala’s touch brought Marcus comfort and he fell asleep shortly thereafter, with the various riddling things Karshina had said floating through his mind…
You are naïve… even more naïve not to believe in us when the proof is right in front of you…
Everything is important in its own little way…
Foryo’s not the end, either…
Marcus gave a quiet little snort of indignation. Stupid hallucinations… he thought to himself as he fell asleep, just figments of my imagination…
To be continued…