Chapter 93 = Sweet Nothings
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.
28th of Eira, CD 2159; Chaos Dimension
“Just so you know, the calling of a meeting at any time works both ways.”
“Thank you for telling me after I’d already found out.” Darkmark replied.
He and Eirsir were hovering in a black void – the foremost Yoshi god had seen fit to hide the sight of Chaos from Darkmark’s eyes, which he was fairly grateful for.
“I always wondered who might be the one to know the truth.” Eirsir said, musing. He had his arms folded and floated up and down in the blackness.
“Truth?” Darkmark asked, though he felt he had been prompted.
“My truth.” Eirsir answered. “Who I am. Where I come from.”
“I thought you didn’t know.”
“You thought incorrectly.” The god chided him. “While it is important never to mistake wishes for the truth, sometimes lies are preferable.”
Darkmark raised one of his illusion-borne eyebrows. “Lies? How many?”
The green god shook his head. “Very few. They are of little consequence, I think. I would hope to believe so. They are only about me.”
“What are they?”
“Now, now.” Eirsir raised a hand and silenced the brown Yoshi. “If it were that simple I would make it common knowledge. No, not even Tivaro knows, though he has often asked. You know of the saviours?”
“Five, before me.” Darkmark recalled. “The first two became gods. The third and fourth legends. The fifth was Sévar. And the sixth…” he gestured to himself.
“There will be seven. Sévar will come again. But that is not important. The two who were legends, do you know their names?”
Darkmark paused in contemplation, racking his memory. “No… but one must be Karlo-Shin.”
“That’s correct. He was the third. The fourth one, I thought, would be the one to tell the truth to. She seemed intelligent. Mitski Denníya, she was called. Her trials were quite perilous and fateful. I thought she was up to it.”
“What happened to her?”
“She went insane.” Eirsir replied flatly. “The truth was too much for her. She couldn’t take it and fled into the Crelata Forests in nearly blind psychosis. I thought she would cope at first, but she lost most of her mind and her soul started to separate away. I killed her before her spirit would fragment to save her the fate of non-existance, but she still was quite unbalanced and I had to remove it from her memory. In some irony, she was the only person ever to find the Marble Altar, but her mind was too far gone to understand her discovery…”
Darkmark felt a chill. “All that from the truth?”
Eirsir nodded. “The question here, O Fabled One… is whether or not you can handle the truth.”
Darkmark went silent, and Eirsir closed his eyes, thinking back. I am from another place, perhaps another universe. I am not entirely sure where, but there are others like me… in different shapes, different forms. I was given this one. Along with my sword. The seven gemstones set into it contained all of the energy sources I might need… the four elements, and the three essences…
Contrary to belief… my sword does not create something from nothing. It uses the powers of those elements and essences to bring into existence what I wish for. And when it destroys, what it destroys returns to the elements and essences. Those elements and essences are used in creation, gain their power from what has been created, and when it is destroyed…
What am I? Apparently immortal. I exist upon this other plane where time does not pass. My body has no need of food or nourishment, warmth or comfort. I can see my creation, and the star-filled sky… the signs of the creations of all my brethren. I used to be able to interact with my creation, with Chyrus… but Klashkna, he is not a mortal. His body is mortal, perhaps… but something has taken him. Another one of my brethren? I cannot say for sure…
Creations in my image, that’s all you are. And there are powers higher than I. A grand experiment, nothing more than something I did because I felt an instinct… where did that come from? And your destinies? Is there such a thing as destiny…?
I gave you part of myself, part of my life force, when I created you… your belief in me, your prayers and thoughts and feelings, all of these give power back to me, or at least they used to… you keep me alive, in existence, but without the sword, I cannot do anything to give back to you…
There are forces not my brethren that I cannot control. There is no god or goddess of nature, for that is a force beyond my control. Nature is almost a god unto itself… it can create, it can destroy. It can give, it can take, it can bring life, it can bring death. It can create things as harmless and beautiful as the aurorae, or as deadly and devastating as its own destruction…
Darkmark interrupted his thoughts. “No.” He said quietly. “I know of many with stronger minds than mine. I couldn’t take the truth. I do not want to know. Not yet.”
“I understand.” Eirsir replied. “Sometimes I wish that I did not.”
After a few more tender moments, Skafria had fallen asleep next to Tsi-Lau, who had gently gotten loose and slipped away, putting her equipment back on and trying to make herself look respectable. It had been a long time, far too long, since she had last felt such feelings, since she had last mated…
She shook her head. Assassins needed clear minds even on their days off. You never knew when an errant attack might come your way. But still… different though Skafria was from Vick, she felt attracted to him, felt the beginnings of something forming.
Similar differences… she thought, smiling to herself. Of course, as a vampire, who knows what parts of me have been affected besides my blood and mouth? If only I knew where we came from…
She blinked as she adjusted to the bright sunlight outside, feeling a little tired and drained despite getting a few hours’ sleep. I must not be drinking enough… she thought, shielding her eyes and finding somewhere shaded.
So, what now? She wondered, thinking to herself as a cool breeze blew around her. What’s my purpose? What do I do? What’s my next goal in life?
At least hunting Darkmark gave me something to do. But now I’m back here, I don’t know what to do. I need the break, I suppose, and Skafria’s helping me relax… Manny, I mean… perhaps I should tell him my real name… I feel I can trust him, that I can… start again…
“Hey.” Came Skafria’s voice from beside her. She turned towards him and embraced him in a hug, releasing him quickly.
“Hello.” She replied. “Do you mind if I call you Manny from now on?”
He smiled a little, bearing his fangs in a way that she found slightly cute. “Not at all, just not in public. Can I call you Xenly?”
“You may, but that’s not my real name.” She said softly, putting a hand on his shoulder. “When we’re alone you can call me Valina from now on.”
“Valina… that’s a nice name.”
She smiled a little and stepped close to him. “We have the rest of the day to ourselves… shall we go back inside and spend it together? Tomorrow I must return to work…”
“Of course.” He whispered to her, touching noses with her. As they walked back inside, Skafria sighed, looking over to her.
“What is it?” she inquired.
“Doesn’t your job ever bother you? You kill people for money…”
“We’re trained to deliver killing strokes.” She said simply. “We are not trained to inflict pain, or to torture. Just to kill as quickly and efficiently as possible. Laryshka set up the first guild to train fighters who were skilled with killing blows, knowing weapon techniques, and eventually Chi, that could kill instantly. It’s changed a little since then, but that’s still the basic premise.”
Skafria nodded slowly. “I couldn’t do that. I don’t kill the people I bite… I don’t think I could bring myself to do it, and there isn’t any need. I fight, yes… but when it comes to it, even if I kill, I don’t like it.”
“And yet, we both died.” She mused. “Only to return again…”
Ruins of Khílhórensol
“What happened here?”
The black Yoshi did not reply, his voice gone, his mind in tatters.
“Please, tell me…”
Nor did he make any movement to show his acknowledgement, save for clutching his wife’s body closer to him.
“It looks like a massacre… who did this?”
There was still no reply from the lone survivor, and so the visitor gave up and stood back a few paces. He was a young green Yoshi wearing a soft fabric cloak, covering his saddle and saddlebags as well as his back. His stud-soled hiking boots were caked with mud and grass, and he carried no weapons designed for combat. He had a small flute by his side and a lyre strapped to his back, though the bard was proficient with other instruments that he didn’t carry with him.
Taking out the lyre, he strummed his fingers across the strings a few times before picking a melody and playing it, slowly and carefully. The sad, mournful tune crept over the black Yoshi and his low crying became louder sobs and eventually a wail of despair.
Oops. The bard thought to himself, noting the power of his music. It may fit the mood here, but it’s not helping any…
He transitioned the tune into a more hopeful, uplifting one, but keeping it to a reasonable amount of enthusiasm, with a comparatively slow pace. While it stopped the Yoshi from crying, he didn’t get up and stayed where he was, sniffling to himself. Humming a few bars as he finished a verse, the Yoshi started to sing in a high, clear voice, Yoshian words filling the air to match the tone, though he dropped the occasional note trying to keep his attention on his companion.
The song itself was not a hymn, but still sang of the goddess Sorsoy, and was an old wartime ballad used to inspire warriors to fight against the Koopas, though in more recent times modifications had been made to change the race in question to the Humans. For some reason the bard did not quite understand, the black Yoshi’s sad expression turned to one of hatred, and he let go of the female’s body he was holding, gripping his blood-splattered scarf tightly.
He muttered something and looked up at the musician, opening his eyes at last. He had a cut on his chest that was bleeding onto his scarf, as well as one on his arm and a few on his tail. Tears welled in his eyes and streaked down his cheeks as he reached for the sword the lone fallen knight had dropped.
“Why…” he murmured, kneeling and holding the bloodied sword in front of him. “Why did… why did they do this? It was… supposed to be… a happy day. And now… look at what’s happened…”
He turned the blade and held his arms out so the point was pressed to his chest. The bard took a step forwards, but the black Yoshi glared at him and made him stop.
“Tell me who did this.”
The black Yoshi ignored him. “Gods, forgive me… for what I must do… but rather than endure pain, I would choose death… judge me fairly and send my spirit to the afterlife…”
He looked over to the bard. “The… the humans… did this.” He said weakly. “They have… no mercy.”
Closing his eyes, he plunged the sword into his chest up to the hilt. It speared through his heart and sprayed blood from the exit wound, but he remained silent, his face contorted into a grimace of agony. He gasped a final call to his wife, then fell over onto his side and was still.
The young musician did nothing to stop him, though he swallowed heavily and felt a tear come to his eye, and knelt by the body to say a prayer for the dead priest. He touched his fingers to the nose of the deceased Yoshi at the end of the prayer and stood up, looking about the scene of death and destruction. Words and music came to him, and he began to hurriedly write them down, stopping occasionally and looking at the priest, sighing sadly.
I must spread the news of this. He thought as he hastily scrawled notes and lyrics on sheets of vaell. I must have it known… for whatever reason it happened, it cannot be ignored and unknown…
To be continued…