Chapter 55 = The Blessing
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.
“Well, well, well, you’ve got guts. Or maybe it’s sheer bloody-mindedness. Either way, you’ve got some nerve coming here…”
Laryshka’s form came into focus in front of Darkmark, along with the stone platform and the vastness of Chaos behind her, which did not frighten Darkmark quite as much this time as it did before, partly because he could not hear it. Somehow he was still holding Karlo-Shin’s sword, even more inexplicably still lodged in the platform as it had been moments before, and he drew it from the stone and held it up, inspecting the edge for damage.
“That sword you hold was enchanted by me once before… the edge will never dull, and it can cut through any non-metallic material. It is also sufficiently light that any Yoshi may wield it, but should anyone less than a saviour touch it, the weight enchantment will be momentarily reversed, making it as heavy as a tonne of lead.”
“And thus, as I can pick it up, it should prove to you -and me- that I am the sixth saviour. No doubts any more, this is the proof…”
Laryshka nodded slowly. “We detected your exorcism moments before… perhaps you are ready now, ready to begin fulfilling your destiny and to begin writing the next legend of Octotheism…”
Darkmark held out the sword, handle first, to Laryshka. “You told me that if I were to bring you a silver sword, you would enchant it for me. Here is the sword… enchant it.”
“Saviour though you may be, I don’t like you very much.” Laryshka took the sword from him, snatching it out of his hands in an indignant show of her disapproval at the tone of his demand, before throwing it up into the air where it stayed. The sword began to rotate slowly, and Laryshka started to wave her arms in an intricate fashion, tracing out symbols Darkmark did not recognise, before giving a final loud cry in an ancient language. A bolt of lightning came down out of the Chaos above them and struck the point of the sword, which was enveloped in a blinding light for a few moments before it fell and clattered to the floor in front of Darkmark.
As he reached out to pick it up, she told him, “An enchantment has now been lain upon that blade… powerful enough to forever banish any undead creature to the Underworld, powerless and reduced to nothing. Use it wisely, o saviour, and keep it with you at all times.”
“My thanks to thee, Goddess.” Darkmark snarled curtly as he closed his fingers around the silver handle. As he held it firm in his hand, the blade began to glow with a pale white light, and Darkmark felt something come over him… for but a single moment, he felt peaceful, all his hatred and anger dissipated, his evil thoughts vanished… but then they returned, just as powerful as before.
“Go now, saviour, and bring light to the darkened lands…”
The light faded, and Manny opened his eyes to see Darkmark in the same position as before, only the sword he was holding now shone with a faint white light, and his bleeding hands had been healed. Darkmark drew the sword from the stone platform and picked up the scabbard, attaching it to the left side of his saddle, just like Manny’s, and sheathed the sword in it. He then put the octagram back in his saddlebags, and beckoned for Manny to follow him, but one of the priests quickly stepped forwards.
“Saviour, give us your blessing.” He quickly uttered, looking into Darkmark’s eyes. The other two also came forwards, and stood there expectantly, waiting as Darkmark tried to recall what he was supposed to do…
* * *
Vachez dipped the thin brush into the inkwell and held Marcus’s arm with his other hand as he began the conversion ceremony. Holding the brush just above Marcus’s arm, he asked, “Do you accept all I have told you, of all that exists in this world?”
“Yes, I accept.” Marcus replied, and Vachez painted a circle on Marcus’s skin, being careful to keep the shape correct. “Do you accept what you have learned, all of the knowledge and wisdom you gained this day?”
“I accept.” Marcus repeated, and Vachez drew a second circle, then a line connecting the two, starting on a larger circle. One circle for each deity, one circle for every belief they symbolised…
“Do you accept what you have been taught, of all time and space?”
“I accept.” Another circle, another line.
“Do you accept what you have been told, of your fate and the fate of us all?”
“Do you accept all I have said, of your individual power?”
“Do you accept all you have been taught, of the teachings of love and compassion?”
Marcus closed his eyes. “I accept.”
“Do you accept our beliefs, and the hope and courage they provide?”
Vachez moved his hand, ready to paint the final circle onto Marcus’s arm. “Do you accept the existence of the forces of death and destruction, the forces which you must never give in to?”
The images of his future self that he had been shown flashed through Marcus’s head… of great power at his fingertips with which he could destroy anything he wished… of power with which he could return the pain he had been given…
“Do you accept this?”
Marcus sighed and thought, I will never turn evil as long as Shiala lives, for it would sadden her…
Vachez painted on the final circle and the lines connecting it to the others. Putting down the brush, he held his right hand over his chest, then placed it upon Marcus’s. “I bless you, Marcus Charris, for you are now one of the Octotheists, one of the believers of the religion of the Yoshies.”
Marcus put his right hand over Vachez’s. “I accept your blessing, and that of the church.”
Vachez took his hand away and smiled. “I am happy to have been here for you, to have given you what you asked for. May the gods favour you this day…”
* * *
Darkmark took a deep breath, and placed his right hand over his heart. After all they had done for him, if this was all that they asked for, he might as well give it to them and make them happy…
He placed his hand upon the white chest of the first clergyman, who put his hand over Darkmark’s and thanked him in Yoshian, before releasing Darkmark’s hand and allowing him to move on to the next minister. After giving his blessing to the third, they stepped back and gave him a farewell wave as he and Manny began to leave. “May Karshina smile upon you and your friend.” One of them called, and Darkmark nodded to himself as he and Manny walked back out into the open air of Sansata city, ready to end the journey they had begun, to finish their quest for vengeance against the dark wizard Foryo…
To be continued…