Chapter 86 = Unsealed Power
Disclaimer: With one exception, all characters here are of my own invention, but the original idea of Yoshies, Birdos, etcetera, are copyright of Nintendo, and I make no money from writing this.
High among the mountaintops, inside the winged Yoshies’ aerie, Karva quietly stepped inside the room that served as the Octotheist shrine, and greeted the priestess there, who had been reading from the Fayen to her child, a small pinkish Yoshi with wings that were starting to develop to the point where she would be able to fly.
She smiled as Karva entered, pausing in her reading. “Hello, Karva. May the gods be with you…”
“And may their blessings be yours.” He replied, smiling back.
She gently shut the book and put it back on the shelf, giving Butterfly a loving hug before sending her on her way back to her room, leaving her alone with Karva. “You look the happiest I’ve seen you for quite some time.” She observed.
“I… I’ve had my hope renewed, Márynn.” He said softly, stepping up to her as she got up from her chair. Softly he put his hand to his chest and clenched it, before moving it over to hers, and spreading his fingers across her skin. “Blessings from my heart to yours.” He whispered.
She put one hand over his and copied the gesture, saying, “And blessings to thee, my friend…”
After a moment’s hesitation, Karva leant forwards and pulled her towards him gently with his other hand, rubbing noses with her before sliding his arms around her as he kissed her gently, taking his head away almost immediately. “Márynn, I want to say…”
“No need, Karva.” She replied, taking hold of him. “After your wife died, you always came to me for comfort… initially, I’m sure, because I’m a priestess, but I know that you developed feelings for me that you repressed because you were in mourning…”
His smile broadened. “I think I might still love her, but I cannot keep loving a mere memory… I have to try to move on. I’ve done all I can… we will be reunited in the afterlife, and I have mourned long enough…”
She flared her wings as she pulled him closer, a pinkish tint showing in her cheeks. “It is only the duty of an Octotheist to stay loyal for as long as their partner lives, for they will be able to meet again in the afterlife…” she whispered.
He nuzzled up to her. “Thank you… it must have been just as hard for you, losing your husband…”
She blushed a little more. “Yes… and thank you… we need hope up here… when the saviour comes, our patience will be rewarded…”
Karva kept quiet and kissed her again. “We have to hold onto our hopes…”
“Some day…” she breathed, “Some day, they will become reality…”
They moved closer for a deeper kiss, but the ground shook beneath them and they stopped, looking about to make sure the cave wasn’t going to collapse. “That was the biggest one there has been so far…” Karva whispered.
“Should we go outside, do you think?” Márynn asked, shifting nervously from foot to foot. “I don’t want Butterfly to be in any danger…”
Another tremor shook the ground, and they both left abruptly, stopping by to get Márynn’s daughter as they headed along with many of the others for the exit, standing on the plateau just outside the aerie. The tremor went on for some time and then subsided, but they stayed outside awhile with the others, holding close for comfort and warmth…
It happened just as Karva looked up into the distance. The ground shook once more, sending the eagles flying high into the air, circling above the valleys below them. One of the mountains in the distance suddenly gave off a steady column of smoke, before the top of it exploded in a rush of molten magma, lighting up the sky and filling the air with a horrendous sound. Ash billowed into the air, and the winged Yoshies watched in horror as an ancient volcano blew, turning the horizon red…
After Darkmark had fallen through the altar it had become solid again, and Yoshata watched and waited, unsure what to do. Perhaps it would be best if she left him, and set off on her own way again, but she was worried what he might do if left completely to his own devices…
It wasn’t that she was afraid of what he might do if he caught her again, but that she wasn’t entirely sure where she was, or where to go. She was just a traveller and had been following Darkmark, seeing where he’d take her, but she hadn’t counted on the developments that had taken place…
When the tremors reached Yoshata, she moved cautiously to the doorway, watching the altar all the time. The second one drove her out to the open ground, and when the loud roar in the distance sounded, she watched in amazement as the temple faded out again, and the broken door to her right re-formed, hiding the empty pedestal behind it.
From behind her there was a loud rumble, and the obelisks around the underworld entrance began to glow faintly, before the barrier they were creating temporarily faded out. Darkmark flew up out of it while it did so, and landed next to Yoshata as it went back as it was before, without any signs to show what had happened.
When Yoshata turned to Darkmark, she stepped back in shock. His eyes were a deep black, with red pupils glowing out of the darkness, staring into her like a knife. Psionic energy buzzed all around him, and a large fiery black aura surrounded him, bits of it sparking off as it burned. Similar purple aurae surrounded his hands, which were solid purple from the charge of psi energy, and when he spoke his voice seemed to rumble and growl all around her.
“This is it…” he snarled, breathing heavily. “The power I wanted… the power I needed… so powerful… that they called it Neoríasár… god-like…”
He ran forwards and leapt into the air at great speed, and after a moment of hesitation Yoshata went after him, flying behind him as she followed the black aura in the skies, looking away only to watch the distant volcano erupting…
The winged anthro came to before Skafria, shaking her head. She started when she saw him and crawled away, and felt her neck nervously.
“Like I said… not that you’ll remember… it won’t turn you into a vampire. I just need food.”
“Don’t ever do that again.” She said, though she knew she couldn’t stop him if she tried.
“Sorry, but I need to eat too. Now that that’s out of the way, though, would you care to tell me your name?”
“Salína.” She replied curtly.
“I’m Skafria. Pleased to meet you.”
She began to check her clothing for any tears, and Skafria gave a sigh. “I haven’t done anything else to you. I’m not that low.”
“Look, you still really… freak me out… where’s your friend? Why don’t you go see her?”
“Fine, fine, I know when I’m not wanted.” Skafria murmured, leaving with a sigh. “Just so you know, you tasted great!”
Tsi-Lau’s search was ultimately very fruitful. Initially she had only found things of mild interest in her sensei’s bedroom – her diary, dated from roughly seven years ago, told her all she needed to know regarding Taráya’s feelings for other females. There were a few books about chi, and some scruffy notes in Taráya’s handwriting on chi and fighting techniques, incredibly simple compared to what Tsi-Lau knew, but quite advanced for a non-assassin. A couple of books about weapons, a few scribbles about chi and weapons together, and then she had found them.
Evidently they were the first prototypes of Taráya’s chi-blades, but only some of them actually worked. There was an entire drawer of them, some more useful than others, each one dated and numbered, with attached notes on how each one worked, and what made it. It seemed that each one contained a small chi-crystal, which had the power to amplify and channel any chi put into it, but directing it was the main problem. It involved various other magical items, and a brightly-coloured piece of paper attached to a pair painted with an ornate pattern showed the most recent model, exactly the same as the ones she had used in her fight against Darkmark and Skafria.
Tsi-Lau practised with them, keeping the slip of paper in case she needed it, before looking around a little more. The only other thing of interest she found was the note she had left to her parents when she fled the village, telling them that she was sorry that they couldn’t accept her, and she was going to try to make her way in the city, sending them some money if she could…
The first time the ground shook beneath her, a single book fell from the shelves, one of the ones Tsi-Lau had already looked at, and she put it back before leaving abruptly. She got out of the front door before the second tremor, and bumped into Skafria in the middle of the village just as the volcano erupted in the distance, filling the air with a roar they couldn’t hear anything through. Salína ran out of her house and flew up into the air, coming back down once the sound had abated and declared that it was too far away to be any threat to them.
But then another call sounded from one end of the village, from the end that Skafria and Tsi-Lau hadn’t come from, and they rushed to investigate, spotting the line of twenty Dragon Slayers rushing forwards, swords drawn, about to eradicate the last of the anthros…
Skafria swore loudly as they ran closer. “I don’t believe this. There are more of them! Why do they do this? Why do they want to kill everyone who’s different from themselves?”
“It’s what happens when your faith in your religion is blind.” Tsi-Lau replied calmly as she fiddled with the chi-blades, finally forming two long, shining blades from the handles, preparing to attack. “You end up thinking that everyone else is wrong, without trying to prove yourself right first. And in order to prevent anyone else saying that you might be wrong, or possibly proving you wrong, you silence them…”
Skafria disagreed, thinking that there was more to it than that, but there were more pressing matters at hand. Tsi-Lau held her newly acquired chi-blades in front of her, and Skafria brandished his sword, running between the two watchtowers that formed up the gate, to meet the elite soldiers in their advance. They rushed for each other, each side letting out battle cries in their native tongue, but there was barely thirty feet between them when suddenly, out of nowhere, a huge purple lightning bolt slammed into the ground between them, knocking them all back. Snow and dirt went flying into the air and showered both groups, and they waited as the dust cleared in a sudden, cold silence…
Darkmark was on one knee, his head dipped, the black aura pulsating around his body. Slowly he got to his feet, and he looked up at the group of Dragon Slayers, standing tall, folding his wings back as they stared in awe. Sparing a glance over his shoulder, Darkmark gave the two vampires a hateful glare, but turned his attention back to the Dragon Slayers, who were about to make a move.
“I guess the Lieutenant wasn’t lying…” one of them said. “No matter. We can still win! Onwards!”
Darkmark said nothing, holding his empty hands out to the sides of him. His aura began to break off and form balls of energy in the air around him, and with a single gesture one turned into a bolt of energy and struck an armoured Dragon Slayer full in the chest, knocking him back.
The remainder made a scattering charge, breaking their formation as they rushed forwards. Continuously pointing and firing the balls of energy, Darkmark cut them down to roughly half before they reached him, whereupon he brought his arms together and the balls re-formed his aura, drawing his flail rather than his sword and doing his best to dodge the onslaught of attacks, stumbling back.
Putting aside their differences, the two vampires rushed to Darkmark’s aid as he drew his sword, aided by Salína and her pike as well as a few of the anthros who had weapons of their own. Having lost the element of surprise, the initiative, half of their number, and with the other half of their pincer attack on the village being non-existent, the attackers were readily beaten back, though their heavy armour stopped all of the physical attacks that were made. Tsi-Lau’s chi blades chi through one of them with repeated attacks, but they were proving tough to handle…
Yoshata caught up to them and tried to help, hovering above them all and knocking back the soldiers with her electrical bolts, though they were only enough to stun them for a few moments. Darkmark grabbed one with a psionic cable and attempted to throw him into the chasm the anthro village was situated next to, but he was too heavy, and Darkmark had to dodge another attack before he could put more energy into it…
“Get back, get back!” Darkmark roared, and the rumbling tone of his voice gave all the encouragement they needed. He stood between them and the humans, edging forwards, pushing them back with a translucent shield of energy. Tsi-Lau cast some kind of chi spell from behind him and stunned them momentarily, allowing Darkmark to finish them off…
He put his hands together with a gap between them of a few inches, energy sparking between his palms. It began to grow into a ball of energy, chaotic and fluctuating, and the buzz of electricity filled the air as it grew until it was about the size of a fist. Darkmark raised it up, but Tsi-Lau ran forwards at that moment to take him out, swinging her chi-blades as she ran for him…
She was intercepted at the last moment by Yoshata, who slammed into her and knocked her away, then fell back behind a large boulder. Darkmark threw the ball of energy at the group of Dragon Slayers as they got to their feet, and it passed harmlessly by them until Darkmark waved his hand upwards, snarling…
It exploded in a wave of energy, engulfing all of the soldiers, Tsi-Lau, Yoshata, and Darkmark. The blinding flash made the air seem to turn white, and it was a few minutes before Skafria and the others could see again, and observe what had happened as the dust cleared again…
Tsi-Lau was lying on her back, panting, her chi-blades gripped tightly in her hands but showing no activity, and Skafria ran over to her first. Darkmark had collapsed onto his front with his wings twitching, but neither Yoshata nor the rock she had taken shelter behind was anywhere to be seen, and there was nothing left of the Dragon Slayers who had been at the epicentre of the explosion.
The anthros circled around the two remaining ones, and Salína rolled Darkmark onto his front. His aurae had vanished, and his eyes were now white with red pupils, glowing faintly in the light of early evening. His breaths were shallow and uneven, but they were there nonetheless, and Skafria bent over the body of his old friend, putting a hand on his chest.
“Darkmark… Marcus… is this what it all came to…?”
Groaning and rubbing her head, Yoshata heaved herself up off of the ground, moving everything she could to check if she had any injuries. The top of her hair and the bottoms of her boots were a little singed, but otherwise she seemed fine, blown clear in the explosion. She looked around, but it was nighttime, and she couldn’t make out anything in the darkness. At least it was warm wherever she had landed, and she set off in the darkness with her hands engulfed in fire to try and find someone who could tell her where she was…
To be continued…