Requiem of Souls Chapter 19

Soul's Farewell

By Artificer Urza

There wasn't much left after the SkyGarden had fallen upon the dragon city. Many had escaped, but some had not; they were buried beneath the debris, irretrievable. Homes were gone, families broken apart; the remnants of the Dark Dragon Clan in this land were now lost and homeless. Ryu and his friends had spent the remainder of the day attempting to help people as best they could, salvaging what they could of the people's belongings. It seemed a moot point though, as the people had nowhere to go. Night fell and they slept, though many stayed awake wondering what would happen to them now. Bow slept and dreamt of Silvia and of good food and ale, Nina slept and dreamt of being with her family once more, Ryu slept, for the first time in a long time, of exhaustion and he dreamt of nothing and he would be thankful for it upon the morrow, Katt slept, nestled in Ryu's arms and she dreamt of being at home of holding her son her arms, Jean slept and her dreamed of music, of poetry and of painting, describing with those artful tools the events that occurred in this land. Rand and Sten did not sleep; they had volunteered to stand guard and watch for monsters, tired though they were.

"That's it then, I guess." Rand sighed.

"What's it?" Sten asked.

Sten was passing the time witling a piece of wood into a small sculpture; he was now working on the finer details with a small chisel.

"We found Yua, she'll either come with us or not. I guess we're finished here, right?" Rand said.

"I suppose, but what are they going to do? They lost their homes and they have nowhere to go. They seem very reluctant to go to that factory place, even though its pretty close." Sten mused.

"They'll think of something, it isn't our responsibility to help them out... Though I wouldn't mind if we did." Rand replied.

Rand and Sten were not the only ones awake that night, gazing at the stars. Draigan looked at the starry sky; Yua being asleep, perhaps he was attempting to use astrology to predict his people's future, but if that was the case, the stars were being very unresponsive. Gaist had remained to help the people for the Black Ship was not to leave until the following day. He walked up to Draigan and sat down beside him. Gaist had been thinking upon Jasmine's condition. The enchantment upon her had been broken on the secondary target that she had been linked to, that was what had damaged her. At the same time Ryu regained his memory. It was not a coincidence; they must have been magically linked and Ryu regaining his memory had broken it. The question was why would someone want to link them together like that? Who had anything to gain by keeping his memories hidden from him? Now Gaist wanted to distract himself from such thoughts and he hoped speaking with Draigan would do that.

"Why are you here?" Draigan asked. It was a simple question with no malice or anger behind it.

"Everybody needs to be somewhere and here seems to be a good place for me to be." Gaist replied.

"That isn't what I meant. It is your purpose to hunt the Brood isn't it?"

"True, but I have yet to be told what a Brood is and until someone clarifies that I won't attack anyone."

"A technicality. You're letting us go on a technicality."

"I won't tell if you won't." Gaist laughed. "But, have you given anythought as to what you'll do now?"

"We have nowhere to go. The best solution is to move everyone into Kombinat, but they don't want that. They risked disease and death so they didn't have to go there. It doesn't seem as though we have a choice now."

"What if I gave you another option?" Gaist asked.

"Can you? Wouldn't you be punished for helping us?"

"Meh... what they don't know won't hurt me. There's an abandoned city east of here across the mountain range. Under normal circumstances, it might take you a week or so to travel there." Gaist said, looking east.

"How do you know its been abandoned?"

"I used to live there... no one lives there now."

"I'll think about it." Draigan said.

They were not the only ones who were awake that night. Bleu slithered among the ruined city, searching. She came to a small clearing and found that which she had been looking for: the Wanderer's body. There he lay, eyes wide in death; his armour bore no holes so his wounds were not visible. She slithered up to his body and closed his eyes and he looked for all the world as though he were sleeping.

"Good night, my sweet boy. May you find her swiftly." She said with a sad smile, her eyes brimming with tears.

She raised her head as though a noise startled her. This was no noise, rather an encroaching presence. Blue moved to behind some debris from where she could observe the intruder.

A light descended upon the clearing and the goddess Myria appeared. Her body was bathed in light, her wings spread and She looked every inch the divine goddess. She walked to the Wanderer's body, but made no gesture of respect and in fact glared at the body at her feet as though she would burn the body with but a glance. She knelt, not out of respect, and passed Her hand above the corpse, as though She were trying to scoop something away. When Her hand came away empty, She frowned and passed Her hand over the body once more and again She grew frustrated.

"Where is it? Infinity was formed; I know it. It should have remained with its host even after the host died." She muttered to Herself.

"He has a name you know, sister." Bleu said, coming out from behind the debris. "Or is your memory so selective that you don't remember the first mortal to have kicked your ass in a fight?"

"Deis Bleu..." Myria said, utilising Her sister's full name. "Have you come to witness the destruction wrought by your precious monsters?"

"This mess wasn't caused by the dragons, it was caused by your abomination of a son!" Bleu yelled.

Myria did not appear to hear anything Bleu said, She continued to stare down at the Wanderer's body.

"Where is Infinity? Such power should not be in the hands of these misguided children. You know where it is, don't you Deis?" She turned towards Bleu as She spoke.

"And if I did, Myria Tyr?" Bleu said using Myria's full name as a show of hostility.

"You must tell me where it is. To protect these lost children I must remove that which is dangerous to them. Infinity, now that it has been created, must be hidden away lest they destroy themselves with it."

"Well, I don't know and if I did, I still wouldn't tell you." Bleu glared.

Myria said nothing and again She waved her hand above the Wanderer's corpse. His armour, helmet, forearm bracers and sword removed themselves from his body and stood at Her side, as though possessed by some phantom.

"These will be for my champion, a true champion, when the world will need someone to guide it. Chaos will engulf this world and I will ensure that peace and order will reign." Myria said before vanishing with the dragon equipment.

"You arrogant, selfish, self-centred, vain... CHILD!" She screeched after Myria. "And to think, YOU are the elder daughter. What was Father thinking when he had you locked up in the Obelisk? The time you spent there before you were released, alone with no one but Evans and your own dark thoughts has driven you mad."

She looked down on the corpse remaining and sighed. She raised her staff and incanted. The body rose off the ground, levitating, and hovered before her eyes.

"Ahhh, my sweet boy. At least She didn't take you. I don't want to leave you on this foreign soil, but they wouldn't allow you to be buried along side her, now would they?" She smiled sadly.

She took a role of cloth from her small pack and tossed it at the body. The cloth unrolled itself and began to spin about the body, mummifying it. Bleu slithered away, the mummified body hovering in tow.

**********

Upon the dawn, the remaining citizens gathered at the gates of their destroyed home. Ryu and his friends were at the forefront of the throng of people. Yua was concerned, she had woken up and Draigan had not been beside as he had when they had gone to sleep. She had asked Gaist about it before he had left, but he had muttered something about Draigan 'speaking when he was ready'. It hadn't made much sense to her and now he called this meeting.

Katt wasn't overly concerned about this affair; she had been there when Bleu had brought back the Wanderer's body. She had been sick with grief for a small while, she was still holding back tears, even now, but as long as she was with Ryu, the pain wasn't so bad. Her mentor and foster father was in a better place now, Ryu had said to her. Nina was also heartsick at the knowledge of the Wanderer's death, but she could not say why. She now wore the feather amulet around her neck.

Draigan stood before the crowd and motioned for silence. The crowd hushed and the silence seemed deafening.

"My people, we have faced great ordeals in a short time." He began. "Many of our friends and family did not make it, but we still must be thankful that we, at least, are still alive to remember those fallen. We have our clan brother, a dragon of the light, to thank for our lives."

Here he paused and the crowd gave silent thanks to the Wanderer's sacrifice.

"This evening we will have a commemorative service to remember and honour the memories of all our fallen, but that is not why we are speaking here now. Many of you have asked where we shall go now that our homes are gone. I say we still have a home, our home is wherever our family is and our clan is. Houses of wood and stone can be replaced; these bonds of family, of friendship are what make us strong. If we cannot live here, than we shall go somewhere else. To the east, across the mountains there is a city, there is no one there now so we can make it a place for us... We leave upon the morrow, pack what you can, take only what you can carry. Our clan will live again!"

The crowd cheered and hope was born anew. People felt confident, they now had a place to live and Draigan would lead them to it. The crowd dispersed and people went about the business of collecting what meagre possessions they had. Ryu and companions were going to go home using the teleporter; Bleu told them it would take them just outside of Windia, but only them; it would be a single one-way trip.

Yua ran after Draigan, there was something in the way he spoke that she felt meant she was not going with him. She ran and found him in what was once the city square, where Ryu had found Katt and where the Elder Teepo had been killed. He stood, his back to her and he was gazing up towards the sky.

"Hey, I've been worried about you, you weren't there this morning. Is something wrong?" She asked.

"You're not coming with me." He said.

"What?" She said, disbelieving.

"You aren't coming with me, you're going home with your brother."

"What are you saying... Of course I'm going with you." She pressed forward.

He turned, his head was lowered and he had a pained expression on his face.

"You're not coming." He repeated.

"Is...is this a joke?" She demanded.

She couldn't look at him. Looking at his face, full of pain and sorrow, her anger was dissolving, turning into desperation and sorrow. She turned her back to him and tried and failed to hold back tears.

"Why can't I? How do you know I wont just follow you?" She said, her voice controlled and almost inaudibly shaky with emotion.

He walked up to her and held her. She did not turn around and she bit her lip to keep from sobbing as her tears flowed. Draigan kissed the back of her neck and she felt the moisture of his own tears.

"We aren't just going to find a new home..." He said, his voice choking with emotion. "We go to hide from the Goddess. She knows we have broken our part of the agreement and she will come for us. If She can't read our dragon powers, we'll be safe. You aren't the type to hide from anything."

"Wh-what about coming here? I was running away from Ryu, from my father." She said, trying very hard not to let tears and sadness overcome her.

"You may not see it, but you are not the same person you were then. You have changed in the short time I've known you." He said. "And besides..."

His hand drifted down to her abdomen and rubbed it delicately, as though trying to feel the life that would soon be apparent there.

"... You can't think of yourself alone anymore." He finished.

"You know?" She asked, a little surprised. "I only found out a little while ago myself."

"I... know things now. I don't know how I know, I just do." He said.

His bond with Infinity, with Ladon had grown strong, but he only knew what the god would tell him. Too much information could be as bad as too little.

"If I leave... You'll never know your children." She said; it was an almost desperate plee to stay with him.

"I can already see them." He smiled. "In my mind, I can see them."

Without words, she conceded. She would leave with Ryu and Draigan would go to this new city, leading his people. They would be so far apart, but close in spirit, in heart. At least, that's what they hoped.

"I ask you one thing. Name one of them after my father... please." He said.

The implication that she was bearing more than one child didn't even register with her. He was going to pull away but she stopped him.

"Please... just... hold me now." She asked softly.

**************

That night, the Wanderer's body was burned upon a pyre. It was to honour all the fallen, but Ryu and his friends, Bleu in particular mourned the Wanderer's passing.

"Of all the people I've known, he was my sweet boy... He went on his adventure, not to save the world, but to save his sister, Sarah. That kinship is something I've missed with my own family, it's why I loved him best." She had said.

People cried, Katt sobbed as she saw his body burn beneath the stars, but she had said her farewells. People each muttered their own prayers for the fallen, but in the end everyone just said goodbye.

At daybreak people began to leave, travelling east. Ryu and his friends made their way to the teleporter in the city. Ryu was surprised that Draigan had not come to say goodbye.

"We already said our goodbyes." Yua told him.

Ryu let the matter drop and said nothing. Sten looked positively green at the prospect of being teleported again. And in the blink of an eye, in a flash of light, they were gone.

Once there was no one remaining in the city a single robed figure could found sorting through debris and detritus. About this robed figure's belt there was a ring of keys, each with a different design. Suddenly the figure stopped rummaging through the ruins and pulled an object from the rubble: it was a golden key with the symbol for 'Ten' (Sky) etched into the key's head.

"Four down, two more to go." The figure began to laugh maniacally.


Music for this chapter: 'Epitaph of Alan and Cerl' from OC Remix web site.


Epilogue

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