Chapter 88 = Reawakening
Disclaimer: 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.
26th of Eira, CD 2159; Anthro’s Village
When Darkmark awoke, he simply didn’t have the patience for the heavy chains that Skafria had put on him, and used the displacement trick he had discovered while fighting his other self to get out of them without any fuss whatsoever, except for the fact that he ended up a foot above the ground and fell back to it abruptly.
He felt a little disorientated even without that, and tried to regain his bearings. Karlo-Shin had taken him to the altar in the church of death, then the Gods did something… he was the fabled one now, whatever that meant. Probably nothing good, but also probably similar to the Saviour’s deal. Then he had been in the psychic’s temple with the other Dark Gods… and then Miyala had shown up, that was it. She’d shown him a few images from the past, what he was fighting to prevent… and then he’d gotten so angry that he’d done something that he couldn’t remember… what was it? The ‘Neoríasár’ transformation; that was what it was called…
But what was that?
Just as the thought passed through his mind, he heard Karlo-Shin speaking to him, something muffled, and fumbled around in his saddlebags until he found the Dark Octagram, holding the black gem upwards.
That will do, that will do. The voice said. You only need to invoke a meeting when you actually want to see me, not just to talk.
“Can you hear me?”
Perfectly. But listen to what I have to say. That transformation is an age-old forbidden power. Only the greatest Psychics can use it, otherwise the lesser ones will be destroyed by it and their souls ripped apart. Had I not bestowed my knowledge to you back there, when you tried to use it, you would have befallen that fate…
“I don’t feel like I know it…”
You don’t consciously know it. But everything I learned about my powers is now embedded deep within your subconscious, and will come to you whenever you need it. Just one thing though…
Don’t try the transformation again. At least, not until you’ve learned a lot more about how to use your normal powers. You might still lose control of it, and the power harnessed from it would be enough to tear the very fabric of time and space if it happened to become unbalanced…
“What does it do, though?”
It increases the power of your psionics dramatically, and in a vicious circle, will continue to charge energy whether you deliberately do it or not. Eventually you can’t hold any more, and the excess sparks off into those aurae you had – the ones around your hands and body. You can manipulate those aurae, as you know, since they are manifestations of psionic energy, but it takes practice. However…
You already know that Magic and Psionics is a bad mix for you. Magic destabilises the chaotic flux of psionic energy, and if you were in that form at the time… well, you would lose control of it, and who knows what would happen then? You certainly wouldn’t survive, that’s the only certainty.
So like I said, don’t use it. Yet. For now, however, you have more pressing tasks at hand. The day of reckoning is coming ever closer…
His voice faded, and Darkmark put away the Octagram. Looking around, he caught sight of himself in a mirror propped against the wall, and stopped dead. He had bright red eyes, now, just like the rest of the Dark Gods, and they shone only slightly, enough to be seen but not enough to light up anything around him.
He gave a small, malicious smirk, but it fell off his face when he saw in the mirror Skafria opening the door and coming in, accompanied by Tsi-Lau. He reached for his sword, but somehow Skafria had taken it from him, probably by only holding the scabbard. He did, however, still have his flail, and he grabbed that instead, holding it in front of him defensively.
Immediately he noticed that it had a reddish aura around it, and almost dropped it in surprise. “Noticed that too, have you?” Skafria quipped. “I tried to grab it but things got a little too hot for my liking.”
“What are you doing here?” Darkmark demanded. “And where am I?”
“Don’t you remember? You killed the Dragon Slayers…”
“What? When did I do that?”
Darkmark strained to remember, but failed to recall anything after he had left the temple. “But anyway, what is she doing here?”
“Don’t worry about her…”
“I’ll worry about her if I want to. She’s tried to kill me any number of times!”
Tsi-Lau coughed. “I’m not now, am I? I could give it a good shot, but no, I’m holding back.”
“I won’t ask why.” Darkmark murmured. “I don’t think I’d believe the answer.”
“You’ll have to.” Skafria murmured. “And this may take awhile…”
Somewhere between the Human cities of Morelva and Telkyte
The sole surviving Dragon Slayer from the expedition to the mountains kept his eyes on the road as he roared onwards, the wind ruffling through his unkempt hair. An extraordinary series of events had gotten him this far and he was riding them out for as long as they lasted…
Firstly after he had finally made his way out of the mountains, he had been able to procure a horse at the traveller’s inn, and rode it into the ground just outside the nearest city along, Morelva. Hearing about an attack by Winged Yoshies, he persuaded those involved to lend him a chariot to speed rapidly back to the capital city of Telkyte to deliver their news, and so here he was, trying to think over the pounding horses’ hooves. At least the snow had let up.
He was wearing only his breastplate, and had the rest of his armour lying in the chariot, giving him more freedom to control the horses as he flew across the empty roads. As he got closer towards the capital the quality of the roads became better, and he stopped only to let his horses graze as he would eat and drink to recover his own stamina. He was pushing himself to the limit, currently going at least a day without sleep, and he knew he’d have to take a long break before he could make it to the capital, or at least once he got inside. He didn’t have to rush any more, he imagined. That freak volcano eruption was far enough away that he didn’t have to worry about it, as were the two vampires that had plagued him. But the capital wasn’t far away now, if only he could just make it to the safety of the fortified walls of Telkyte…
He was giving up the others for dead, and rightly so, though he didn’t know it.
Would they believe him? Probably not. Wild stories like that were rarely believed, particularly if they were all bad news. Nobody liked to hear lots of bad news without any good news. And the Lieutenant didn’t have any good news, nor was he in the state of mind to make any up to cover his ass.
The king would not be happy. But then again, he rarely was, even if his elite troops hadn’t been beaten by those they trained to destroy. It was the law of averages, though. No military group could have a one hundred percent success rate forever. Not that such musings would hold much against a tribunal.
He who fights and runs away, the Lieutenant thought grimly, lives to die another way.
“I don’t think so.” Darkmark replied coldly. “I have no reason to fight you just to boost your confidence. You lost, and I can’t be bothered to prove that fact over and over again; good though you may be, I’m better.”
He adjusted his reclaimed sword by his side, and flexed his wings. “I have more urgent things to do than parry with you. If I ever see you again, I won’t hesitate to banish you. That goes for you too, Skafria.”
“So you’re running away?” Skafria replied, attempting to goad his friend into a rage. “Going to back down from a challenge?”
“No, I’m not going to repeat the inevitable, that’s all.”
“Without any special powers, it’ll all be swordsmanship. You’re nothing without your powers.”
“Not true.” Darkmark snapped. “I’m a fine fighter, but why handicap myself for no reason?”
Tsi-Lau spoke up. “Any good swordsman will tell you that fighting with a handicap improves your skill. It makes you think, it strengthens you beyond what you’d normally have to go with. I’ve done a lot of that in my assassin training. Blindfolds, blunt or oddly weighted swords…”
Darkmark hesitated, but flexed his wings again. “I’ll keep that in mind the next time I’m in training. Until then…”
“Admit it, you’re afraid you’ll lose, so you’re backing down.” Skafria quipped. “Just like with Alziana.”
Apparently this was the right button for the Vampire to press, because Darkmark gritted his teeth angrily and gave Skafria a stare of utter hatred, further amplified by his red eyes. “I… that… you… that was different! It’s a completely different context.”
“Still the same underlying mechanics…”
“Am I missing something?” Tsi-Lau inquired, but her question fell on deaf ear-holes.
“I sorted it out eventually…”
“Yeah, eventually. After you spent months and months complaining and whining and crying to yourself like a little baby fem-”
Darkmark drew his hand back and made a throwing motion, subconsciously using one of Karlo-Shin’s hidden teachings to ultimately hurl a huge chunk of rock out of the ground at Skafria, who staggered back after it hit his Volzia shield and shattered into pieces. Darkmark drew his sword and prepared to run forwards, his hands gripped firmly about the hilt so hard his knuckles were showing, but Tsi-Lau ran into his path and caught his sword on one of hers.
“Well then, now that you’ve changed your mind, I’ll be waiting over there for you.” She whispered, stepping away and over to a large empty space.
Darkmark sheathed his sword, unbuckled it from his side, and dropped it down next to the sprawled Skafria. “One of these days…” he growled, “You’ll push me just that little bit too far and you’ll have an eternity in the underworld to regret it. One of these days, you’ll suffer the same fate that foolish human did, and you’ll have brought it upon yourself.”
Skafria gave no reply, instead attempting to get to his feet, and Darkmark gave him another glare as he took Skafria’s sword from him. “One day, it may just be your last above the surface of Chyrus.”
To be continued…