Requiem of Souls Chapter 9

Hidden Souls

By Artificer Urza

The caravan had at long last arrived at its destination, the City of the Urkan people. The city was enclosed in walls of thick stone, and guards were at every tower. The reappearance of the Guardian Gatz as well as the stranger, Ryu, caught the attention of many. In the case of Gatz it was because he should not have returned, he should be with the people on the Black Ship. In the case of Ryu it was because they had never seen anyone who had not been born in the Urkan city. Ryu had merely observed his surroundings, looking at the towers the people the buildings. He noticed that the houses were all uniform in shape and size, all cubes of beige stone. Except for the well in the center of town, there was another oddity that caught Ryu’s, the pyramid structure at the back of the city. It towered above the other structures and dominated the view; it would be the first thing to draw anyone’s attention as they entered the city.

As Ryu looked at the people around the city; social concepts came easy to him, it was only his personal memories that were not accessible to him. He could recognize the to classes of people: the warriors and the citizens. In truth the citizens appeared to be acolytes of some kind, all of them wore long, beige-colored robes, the same as Jasmine was wearing. The warriors wore the beige kilts and vests, the same as those of Garr and Gaist. He also noticed that there were no gargoyles like Gatz. Ryu had assumed that Gatz was of another species living, co-existing with other humans like Gaist and Garr, but since there was no one else like Gatz, it had to be something else.

“So where do I sign up to be a soldier?” Ryu asked.

“You don’t.” Garr replied.

“Huh??”

“Everyone starts at the bottom as an acolyte. None of us ‘sign up’ for anything. We’re all chosen for our positions, called by the Goddess you could say.” Garr said.

“Which means you’ll start at the bottom like everyone else. Pray you have to do scribe work, because cleaning is a real pain in the ass. Pardon my language, Jasmine.” Gaist replied, smirking.

“Surely it isn’t that bad?” Jasmine said worriedly. “He is only trying to scare Ryu, isn’t he Garr, he’s joking right?”

“Oh no I’m not. I remember when I was an acolyte; I had to scrub each centimeter of the temple with a toothbrush. The Sudama back then was real brutal, a true slave-driver.” Gaist said patting Ryu and Jasmine on the back.

“Surely not a toothbrush!” Garr snorted, unconvinced.

Jasmine clung to Ryu in a protective manner, as though she wished him to protect her and for her to protect him at the same time. Ryu made neither protest nor said anything about the debate, he placed his arm around Jasmine’s shoulder and had the strange sensation that the action itself was right but the person he was holding was wrong.

“I’m serious. You don’t know anything about it because you had scribe duty and Jasmine doesn’t know about it because she was cast as the temple singer from the first. You had nothing to do with... Oh look the welcome wagon.” Gaist said joyously.

A group approached them at the head was an old man. He had a white beard and was bald; his attire was different that the rest of the people in the fact that it was a white robe with gold trim. Three others dressed in similar robes to the Sudama followed him; they wore masks that covered their faces and they made Ryu very nervous. He felt as if those three were staring at him and peeling away layer after layer of his flesh until they could see his very soul. His reverie was interrupted by a brunet who jumped into Gaist’s arms, obviously his girlfriend, Miranda, whom Gaist had mentioned several times.

“Who are these guys?” Ryu asked Garr, referring to the masked ones, seeing as Gaist was busy.

“The large one with the bull mask is Buliarus, the thin wiry one with the snake mask is Serpentarius and the one with the bird mask is Kilanirax; they’re the three High-priests of the goddess, they communicate directly with Her and they are also the only ones who will stay here while the rest of us head towards the Inner Continent.” Garr replied.

“Why do I get the feeling you’d rather be here with them instead of leaving?” Ryu asked Garr mockingly.

Before Garr had a chance to respond, Jasmine dragged Ryu forward to meet the Sudama. The Sudama was an ancient man with squinting eyes; Ryu had the impression that the old man would break if he so much as shook his hand.

“So this our young cast-away.” The Sudama said upon seeing Ryu. His voice was old, but still very powerful, as though he had the authority of heaven in his voice.

“How did you know, elder?” Jasmine asked.

“The Goddess Herself told me we would receive a very special guest. She asked me to make him an acolyte. She said that She had some special plans for him. We will have to wait and see what she means by that.” He replied.

“Can he stay at my apartment, Sudama? He knows no one else an-and I feel the Goddess compels me in this matter.” Jasmine asked tentatively.

“We favor thisssss.” Serpentarius said for the first time.

“If you feel the Goddess compels you, then we cannot object.” Kilanirax said.

“It is the Goddess’ will.” Buliarus said.

“Well then, if they say it is okay then I agree to it as well. Everyone may return to your business.” The Sudama said as he turned to walk toward the temple, the three masked ones following him.

Gaist said nothing as he departed with his girlfriend; Garr mumbled something about hading to the tower for guard duty and Gatz merely flew off, proving his wings were functional. He landed on the top of the tower and kept a silent vigil over the city. As for Jasmine and Ryu, she showed him to her apartment, a small block of a house with several rooms.

“I’ll cook us up something nice, err at least that’s what I hope to do anyway.” Jasmine said as they entered the kitchen.

“You can’t cook?” Ryu asked.

Jasmine shook her head, but Ryu was no longer paying attention. The words he had said, he had said them before and it triggered a memory.

*Memory*

“You can’t cook?” Ryu asked Katt.

“Hey you know me, I’m more of a boar-roasted-over-an-open-fire kinda gal than a homemaker. I usually used the money I won from tournaments to eat out.” The memory Katt replied.

“Hmmm. I guess I’ll make us something then.” The memory Ryu said as he proceeded to the kitchen looking for various ingredients.

“You know how to cook?” The memory Katt asked incredulously.

“Well, I’ve lived with Bow most of my life and lets just say he doesn’t recognize the joy of cooking. I’ve had to teach myself, but yeah, it’s a useful skill. Say, have you ever tried curry?” The memory Ryu asked.

*memory ends*

The memory faded away as he saw that Jasmine was waving her hand in front of his face.

“Hello Ryu? Anybody home?” She asked.

Ryu blinked, trying to remember what he was doing, but nothing came to him. He must have blanked out for a moment or so he figured.

“Hey tell you what, I’ll cook something tonight okay? It’ll be a poor payment for all that you’ve done for me but I’d like to do this.” He said pushing his momentary confusion aside. “Say, have you ever tried curry?”

“Ummm. No I haven’t. Can you cook?” She asked him as he began to gather ingredients.

“Well, there’s only one way to find out.” He replied jovially and set off to cooking.

***********

There was another caravan traveling the desert that night and they were related to the Urkan people, though Sten, Bow and Rand did not know it at the time. It was not really a caravan so much as a moving village; the wagons were small houses complete with rooms. Most of the men traveled outside the wagons, as they were moving slowly enough, they wore white cloaks and face masks to protect themselves from the desert heat and the sand. Rand stayed with Katt in a sort of hospital wagon, as she was cared for. The strange part was that there seemed to be nothing wrong with her, other than a broken leg of course, but that was nearly completely healed thanks to the doctor’s ministrations. The doctor had an explanation, but as he could not speak the language, the best they got was a heavily accented 'her soul walks the halls of death' from the leader, the only one who even remotely knew something about their language.

Sten had been keeping himself busy with his cards. He would have started many a game of poker, but the people here didn't use zenny and they couldn't understand him anyways. After a long and drawn out conversation with the leader, Sten was able to piece a bit of the history of these people: a long time ago, centuries probably, these people lived in a machine city called Caer Xhan, protected by some great deity. Then war came, the people fought amongst themselves instead of their enemy. The people were about to be destroyed, when their deity removed them from the city and sent them to the edge of the continent, lost and alone, and then the deity brought holy destruction upon their enemies. The people began to travel to return to their lost home, to their lost deity, in a desperate attempt to regain their glory and comfort of the technology they had. The large populace traveled in a general northeastern direction, because of the position of the stars and there were many astrologists who knew how to navigate their way to the city. However, after many years of searching, because it takes lots of time to move lots of people, they had arrived before the Mountain Wall, the barrier between the Desert of Death and the rest of the world and it was there that the people split up. Apparently, it was because someone had a dream, given to him by their deity telling him they must stay here and wait for great events, for Her to return. This one convinced a majority of the people to remain in the valley near the Mountain Wall, though the remainder pressed forward, the ancestors of the current group of desert wanderers. They still to this day continued to search for their lost home, their ancestors had been caught in a sandstorm and gotten lost, they were now on the verge of going home again.

***********

Deep within the bowels of the earth beneath the city of Gate, was the gate to hell, Infinity. In its deepest chambers, there was a room called the Gates of Hell. The walls seemed alive, made of flesh, pulsating as though a heart pumped blood through the walls. Every so often the walls would shift, with a muscle-like contraction, there could be seen a face in the walls silently screaming. From the entrance there was a single stone bridge leading to the platform in the center of the room, it did not seem to have any connection to the walls and the platform itself hung over a bottomless abyss. In the center of the platform was a throne of bone and upon that throne there sat an old weak figure. A wasted, ancient old man whose time seemed to be nearly upon him. Indeed, DaethEvan was weak from his battle with Ryu, even two years after the fact his full strength had not returned to him. That had not, however, prevented him from carrying out his plans, but it seemed as though he needed to take a direct hand in matters.

It seemed he needed to 'seed' his conciousness into a mortal host, something he had not done in millennia. He disliked the idea, sharing a body with a mortal mind and a mad one besides, but it was necessary in this case. The throne of bone shifted and changed as he willed it into a suitable place for his immortal body to rest, in this instance it appeared to be a coffin. He lay in the bed he had made and began to will his spirit and conciousness into his chosen mortal vessel, that of his mad pawn Shax.


Authors Note's: This is not the only story I have, check out my other stories at www.icybrian.com/fanfic/ under the author name Artificer Urza and please tell me what you think.


Chapter 10

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