Monday, December 17, 2012

Deadsponcelling Chapter 16


By Carly Robb and James Clair Lewis

Deadsponcelling Chapter 16

Kether left the valley with Malcuth, wondering if he would have to kill him, before he caught up with any of the others. He flew towards the lenticular cloud he had arrived from, and searched carefully for the vortex he was looking for. The pink thread gave it away. These were more rare than even the black threads, but had their own special qualities. It seemed like the vortex lasted forever before they emerged over the violet plains of this world.

Malcuth asked Kether, "What the hell is this place, Kether, and who are those people?" Malcuth squinted trying to get a better view of the people gathered in the field. "Those aren't them I don't think, Kether, but, no, look, is that Tara?" Kether bellowed with laughter and landed near the others.

Tara recognized Kether the moment he emerged from the cloud. Upon noticing that he had a rider she felt her stomach clench, thinking, 'I hope he's come to his senses.' She stood up and told the others, "That looks like Kether, and Malcuth, his rider. I met them while traveling with Semaj and the rest." She walked to where they had landed, ready to strike Malcuth dead, if he made the wrong move. "I see you are well, Malcuth? I hope your stay in California wasn't too horrible."

He glared at her for a second, and let out an exasperated sigh. "I know you didn't have anything to do with what happened there. I also realize that it was for my own good. Another thing I have realized is that I owe you an apology for treating you like shit when you saved my life." He looked around. "Who are these people, Tara?"

"They're friends. It's a long story, perhaps I'll tell it later." She proceeded to introduce the members of Kali's wing.

Ganymede took a sip of the wine, and passed the bottle along. "So Tara, where do you know Malcuth from?"

"After Nemeth, when I fled to save the lives and sanity of the people there, well, also in part because you kept coming. We came out over a desert, and saw him flying away from us pretty quickly. Semaj caught up with him and convinced him, that we meant him no harm. For reasons I will leave to him to decide to tell or not, we had been separated from him only a few hours after meeting him. I had hoped he was ok. Even though he was nothing more than a snotty bastard the few hours I spent with him. It seems he has come to his senses though."

Malcuth rolled his eyes, "That's it, Tara, make me sound like an utter ass. I know I was. But I hadn't been myself at all. A few days before I met up with you, I had witnessed a massacre. A dozen or so people in black robes were circling a village on their dragons, laughing maniacally as their dragons spewed flame on everything in the village. I figured the safest thing was to get out of there as quickly as possible. Before I could make my escape though, one of the dragonriders broke from the formation and attacked me. It was sheer luck that I survived, much less killed him. I took his head and directed Kether into a cloud and we went into a vortex. It had a black thread in it. When we came out I wasn't myself anymore. When I killed I did it merely to watch the blood. In the recesses of my mind I yelled at myself that I was wasting knowledge and making slow kills. But I didn't care. I wanted suffering and pain. The blood was all that mattered. Thankfully Kether knocked some sense into me."

After a day so of swimming, fishing, foraging and talking of old times on Arjuna's Island, Qlippoth and the other dragons came to Semaj, Arjuna, Daath and Sephera. They said that it was time to leave, that there was a place that they needed to go to.

So they mounted their dragons and proceeded to the lenticular cloud. They passed through several different clouds by the silver thread network, until they came to one with a glowing pink vortex. It was an interminably long journey through this vortex, but when they emerged from the other side, they found themselves in a Reality where all the colors were reversed. Below them on a purple meadow were a group of dragons and riders. This is where their dragons chose to land.

Tara smiled, "Well look here. I guess I won't have to figure out how to find them. They seem to have found us. Here come your 'Rogues', Kali." Tara chuckled a bit and made her way back to where the dragons had landed.

"Sephera, you were wrong, Nemeth still stands, although I know not for how much longer." She grinned, "And the Rogues may not be who you suspect them to be. Come, join us, sit down, I think there may still be some wine left, if you're lucky."

Kali Yuga came running, and threw herself into Sepheroth Daath's arms hugging him. "Daath! OH, Daath!" She began to cry as she hugged him.

Sephera took in the scene before her, and commented, "I take it that you finally figured out that the Judges themselves, are the Rogues."

"I see you already know each other." Tara stated flatly. "Yes. As for the Judges, I started having my doubts about them, but if it weren't for this young Sponcellor here," she motioned towards Aleph, "I don't think they would ever have believed it. Aleph, come over here, I hope you didn't finish off the wine, seems you've had it for a while. This is Sephera Tippereth, Semaj, and Sepheroth Daath."

Arjuna smiled at Tara, "You must be Tara. Semaj has been telling me about you. I am Wing Commander Arjuna, formerly of the Order, before the Judges framed me for their crimes when I discovered them." He noticed Europa in the crowd, "Hey, Europa! You were but a slip of a girl when I left the Order. Now I see that you are just wearing a slip." Europs blushed.

Tara smiled, "What kind of vile lies have they told you about me, I swear, none of it's true. No, really, they announced that we had committed the massacre that Aleph witnessed when we found out and started our escape. If it weren't for the dragons and the threaded vortexes we'd probably be dead by now. All of those blind Followers chasing us. I don't know how they never realized, it would take more than a small group to cause all the damage that was done to those towns."

Arjuna nodded, "Well, my Wing was large enough to do that, if we had wanted to. Semaj and I go back a long ways. He was one of the original Judges of the Tribunal. A mirror master, we called him. It was Semaj who origianally discovered how to block mirrors."

Out of the cloud more groups of dragons and riders began to emerge. They circled, and then began to land in the meadow. Looking up at them, Arjuna exclaimed, "Well, I shouldn't be surprised by anything now. We are being joined by my Wing. I had split them up into squads, but now I see that the dragons are bringing us all together."

Tara pouted slightly, "I don't think I have enough wine for everyone anymore. Semaj was a Judge? If tha's truth, which you've given me no reason to doubt your word, what the hell happened to the other Judges to call him Rogue? Just power hungry or what?"

Ganymede reassured her, "Luckily, I'm always prepared with a few bottles of wine handy, but with this other Wing arriving, I hope some of them brought some, too."

When, after some minutes, all of Arjuna's Wing had arrived, the dragons began to sing together in their own language. It was a haunting song, atonal, yet melodic. The dragons had arranged themselves into groups, each singing a separate part, weaving melodies around fantastically complex chords. The dragonriders could only sit in wonder of it, pass around bottles of wine. Some began cooking meals about community fires while old comrades from the two wings were reunited. It was what the song was all about.

Tara sat back and took in everything going on around her, wondering how all the dragons knew to come here. It seemed the more she learned, the more questions she had. But she knew that no one would be forthcoming with answers to those questions. What was it that Sepheroth had told her? 'Better to figure things out on your own than have them told to you?' Something like that. Sure, she had figured out some things, but at what cost?

After Kali Yuga could finally disentangle herself from Daath, she approached Semaj, Sephera, and Arjuna, "We have to talk. So much has happened, and we have to make plans for the future. How are we going to free the Order from the Judges? How are we going to survive with most of the nexus cities closed to us?"

Not knowing or even trusting any of the people here, Malcuth joined the only person he knew he could trust. "Tara, you didn't know me, or like me, and you definitely didn't trust me, why did you save my life?"

Tara looked at him as if he were an idiot. "A life's a life, Malcuth, and I had seen enough lives lost that day. Also you would have been no use to the cause if you had been dead. I really don't think I was saving you in particluar that day. I think I was just saving someone who I was able to save. If you had seen what had happened in Nemeth I think if you had been sane you'd understand what I am saying."

Aleph joined them, "Tara, I don't really know anybody here, and I sure don't understand what's going on. Could you fill me in?"

Malcuth added, "I'd appreciate that too, Tara, I don't know anyone either."

Tara stretched and said, "Well, it's a long story and I don't really know all of it either, but if that's what you two want, here I go. About 10 years ago I first passed through the mirror, both of you know about that much. Killing people who I thought were merely dreams for needed knowledge. If I had known at that point that it was not a dream it wouldn't have happened. One morning though I woke up and still had the taste of the brain that I had eaten the night before still in my mouth..." She proceeded to tell them about the woman coming through the mirror, being rescued by Sepheroth, the Harpies, meeting Sephera and Semaj, Nemeth, everything. "And that's what I know. I don't even know that I know that much though. It seems the more I learn the less I know."

Malcuth nodded, "I had a feeling it wasn't really a dream when the people in the black robes gave chase, or, those are what some people are calling the Judges, but others are calling the Rogues, who's right?"

"You didn't listen to all of my story, Malcuth, they are both. They have let their Power get to their heads, the Protectors of the Order think that they work for the good of the Worlds, but really they blindly follow the Judges, who take what they want from who they want it from, and if they don't get it, they kill those who would stand in their way or have the truth be known."

Aleph looked at Malcuth, "I was shown a picture of the one they call the Supreme Judge, and it was the same black robed man leading the others toward the village that was wiped out when I came back."

Malcuth thought he grasped the concept, "So according to the Judges and the Protectors, everyone here is a Rogue, but in reality, it's the Judges who are the Rogues? Sounds a bit confusing to me. What evidence do these Judges have that point to us being the Rogues?"

Tara shrugged, "None whatsoever that I know of, just the fact that we won't blindly follow them and we know the truth."

Aleph's shoulders slumped, "Just the other day I was a college student who had strange dreams that helped me ace my classes. Now I've got armies of dragonriders hunting me, because I saw something they think I shouldn't have."

Tara said, "What I wonder is what does everyone back home think happened to me? I probably have all kinds of junk mail just piling up, but what if there's something important going on back home? I could probably go back and let everyone know what's going on, but they'd have me put in the looney bin. Not that I couldn't get out, but still. You gotta admit though, Aleph, this is surely more exciting than everyday life, I just hope it doesn't get too much more exciting for a while."

Tara stood up to stretch her legs and back, and caught movement out of the corner of her eye. She couldn't place what it was, although she knew she should know. She told Aleph and Malcuth to stand ready in case it was not a good thing approaching. Finally what it was hit her. A lone injured dragon and rider approached the field on foot. As they got closer, Tara could see that the dragon was riddled with arrows, and the rider was slumped over its neck.

Ylrac knew that she could find help in this realm if she could make it, and somehow managed to fly to the correct vortex and land safely, but could not summon enough energy to get back off the ground. Instinct told her that there was already a large group of dragons with their riders here and they were not associated with those who attacked her, so she slowly, painfully made her way to the meeting field. There was a secret to this place, one that served the dragons well. As she got near the hill where three of the humans were gathered she collapsed from pain and fatigue.

Semaj spotted the injured dragon and rider, and immediately rushed over to use his healing spells. "I'm going to need some help here. Who is our surgeon?"

Metis approached and grimaced, "I'm a doctor, but I'm going to need help with all those arrows"

Kether rushed to the injured dragon and rumbled lowly before grasping an arrow in his teeth and pulling it out.

"Holy crap. Look at this," Tara gently lifted the rider's head. "She's no more than a child. Maybe late teens, but I really don't think she's even old enough to buy her own cigarettes. Cool hair though, I remember considering going violet before, but decided against it. Seems to me she's just passed out from pain, only one arrow, unless she broke others off, but I don't see any blood other than here on her shoulder where this one is." She considered pulling out the offending projectile, but figured she might do more harm than good, so she waited for someone who knew what they were doing to decide the best course of action. "Looks to me like they've given up on us and are going for anyone on a dragon who's not associated with the Order."

Metis looked at Kether, "Careful there, dragon. You don't want to break any of those off inside."

Malcuth made his way down the hill and just stood there gaping at the grounded dragon. Wanting to count the arrows, but knowing he would just get in the way. He thought to himself, 'How could anything live through that, much less make it to safety?'

Kether laughed as he extracted the arrow, with not so much as a splinter missing from the shaft. "I think I might know what I'm doing here." He burst into another fit of laughing before starting on the next arrow.

Shadowdeath began assisting the other dragons in pulling out the arrows. Qlippoth, Semaj's dragon, locked eyes with him, and tendrils of power began to flow between through the injured dragon and rider.

Returning with a bucket of water, Sephera announced, "There's a stream over there behind me, we're going to need more of this."

The injured rider sat up and screamed, "NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! I need to pass this test!!!! That's all I'm trying to do!!!!!" and clutched at the arrow protruding from her shoulder. The fact that there was anyone other than her dragon present hadn't hit her yet."Ylrac! Ylrac? No, look at you, Ylrac, I can still feel you breathing. Wake up, Love, you've got to wake...... Who are you people?"

Kali Yuga looked at the girl, "You'll be safe with us. Now get off your dragon, so we can tend to both of you. I am Kali Yuga. Europa! Help me with this girl, she's going to faint again, I think."

Amaris clung to Ylrac's neck looking like a kitten cornered by wolves, and painfully drew her sword. "I'm Amaris, and if I am harmed by you I will... I will take your head." The fear and doubt in her voice was so evident a deaf person could have heard it. Gingerly she climbed down off her dragon and sat down on the purple grass. "Damn this place looks funny."

Tara sat down next to Amaris with the remains of a bottle of wine. "Wish I still had my vodka. But I suppose wine will work just as well. This may sting a bit, Amaris, but it should kill off any bacteria, I hope."

Amaris pulled back and asked, "Can I at least drink some of it first then? It might dull the pain."

Tara smiled, "How about this, let me do what I'm doing first and you can have whatever's left." She proceeded to pour some of the wine over where the arrow entered Amaris's shoulder, and handed her the remaining wine. "Don't get drunk on us though, Amaris, we may need to ask you some questions once your wounds are tended to."

Materializing in the air above the meadow, the largest dragon any of them had ever seen, landed behind the injured dragon. All of the dragons immediately bowed before him, except for Qlippoth. The dragon locked one eye on Qlippoth, and the other upon Semaj. Waves of energy began to ripple out from him to them and back, washing through the injured dragon.

Kether glanced around at the humans wondering why they were not showing their respect, and remembered that the last time humans had been here only remained in the memories of the dragons. He sighed inaudibly, staying motionless unless given word by Yggdrazl.

Ganymede blurted out, "Who is that dragon?"

Kether wondered just how naive humans really were, and said in a low growl, "Silence, human, if you're lucky, your question may be answered. Or if you merely pay attention you might figure it out for yourself, if you have half a mind."

Yggdrazl continued the healing work on the injured dragon with Qlippoth and his human, Semaj. Sephera Tippereth, Daath, and Arjuna prostrated themselves on the ground with the other dragons. Metis and Europa continued tending wounds. Kali Yuga just stared at the Great Dragon in utter awe and amazement. Finally she stirred out of her shock, "Everyone! Bow down! Prostrate yourselves! This is the Most Ancient One! Yggdrazl!" She bowed down to the ground, and within moments, the entire camp did likewise.

Tara wondered what all powers came with that title as she prostrated herself. She had known that this world had something about it, but wasn't sure if this was the only thing or not. So many questions, and no straight answers forthcoming if she asked, she knew this already.

Shadowdeath joined the other dragons in a mantra. AUM! Tara thought to herself, 'When in Rome...' and joined the dragons in their mantra.

Yggdrazl gathered the energy from the dragons and from all of the chanting humans. He put it forth into the healing of the injured dragon, and noted that Semaj was holding up his end of the healing triangle like a dragon.

Ylrac stood and prostrated herself in front of Yggdrazl. "I am in the greatest of your Debt, Great One, your Will is mine."

With the magical part of the healing complete, Semaj collapsed from exhaustion. Sephera Tippereth was there, and caught him as he fell.

Ylrac looked over to where Amaris was starting to panic with all the people around her and laughed. She thought to herself about how much fun it was to confuse them with the obvious, and laid down to rest.

Chapter 1

Chapter 15

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