Dark Angel Chapter 22
Order, and Followers of Chaos
Terisiare, Prison Block
incredible. I never wouldve
thought that a planet under such
circumstances would have a
prison, of all things. Cynewulf
shook his head, somewhat annoyed at his voice as he heard it echo off the
steel walls of the enclosed cell.
It was a tiny room, this cell, with but a rock-hard bed sitting in
one corner across from a rather unsanitary-looking
toilet. There was a door of
some sort, surely theyd come in through one but the room
had been designed in such a way that it was all but impossible to make out
the outline of one, in one corner remote from any piece of
furniture or any sort of hiding place.
Actually, it makes sense. Said
Meryl, sighing as she tried to make herself comfortable on the block of cement
shed mentally tagged a bed for lack of a better
word. She tried as best she
could to concentrate her gaze on the ceiling, so that she wouldnt have
to see Cynewulf pacing back and forth like a rabid dog.
Their weapons had been confiscated, of course
only a fool would have let them hold onto TAGs in a chamber made of
steel and on top of that, Cynewulf had run into a rather disheartening
discovery a moment ago. Through
some process that neither of the Seekers could even dream of, the room had
been designed in such a way as to block all emissions of
Ether. The invisible, immaterial
energy source was nowhere to be found anywhere in the room, in any elemental
Needless to say, the burly man was in a rather
foul mood. Does it?
he asked curtly, coming pointedly to a stop in front of Meryl.
The trader shrugged her shoulders as best
she could, trying to look as though she didnt notice Cynes
gaze. Yes, it
does. Think about
it. Your planets been overridden with lavoid creatures,
with no apparent hope of the situation
improving. Sure, the crime rate
probably plummeted, but mental illness
Skyrocketed. Cynewulf finished,
his tone showing that he was reluctant to concede the
point. Yeah, that makes
sense. Also makes clear the
reasoning behind the ether blocking, though I dont have a clue how
they managed it. He shook his
head. Of course, the
friggin Council should probably be locked up in here by that same
damn, things are screwed up.
Meryl started to respond, but a clanging
from the other side of what they believed was the doorway interrupted
them. The Seekers immediately
turned to the door, wary of attack Meryl actually went so far as to
jump out of the bed and tensed themselves as the door swung open,
On the other side of the doorway stood a
rather nervous-looking guard armed with an energy weapon of some sort, along
with two Hunters Cyne recognized as Mathiu Racnarth and Kayla Narube.
Youve got twenty minutes.
The guard said, looking intensely and the two with his dark
eyes. I shouldnt
even be giving you that, you
know. He waved the two
in, and slammed the door behind them.
The noise echoed through the small chamber for several seconds as
the four stood there, none quite daring to break the silence.
Mathiu was the first
to attempt words, and he very nearly failed at
it. Im sorry. His head was bowed low, but
his voice came across clear and obvious in its
tone. Regret played over the
whole of his features, from how he held his body slouched over to the worried
lines that painted his forehead. And his eyes
their cadmium depths were
dulled. It was obvious that
his confidence had been shattered, at least in partial, by this
He wasnt the only one who was
upset. Next to him, Kayla seemed
lost in her thoughts, almost as though she wasnt fully aware where
she stood. Her red hair was
disheveled and fell haphazardly around her shoulders, and her clothing was
in a similar state of disarray.
Apparently, the two had been up for the full
six to seven hours of the night since Cynewulf and Meryl had been
imprisoned. And even more
apparently, Cyne didnt care in the least.
Yeah, Id think you would be sorry,
Racnarth. Damn, you told us
your Council was paranoid
but you never said theyd gone
insane. The large man shook his head, and appeared disgusted as Mathiu
responded by looking even more upset.
I mean, you must have known
about everything they told
us! About the lavoids, about
he trailed off, shaking his head.
Youre right. Kayla said
after several moments, speaking with great
effort. We should have told
you. But we
didnt. And why
not? There are a million excuses,
Cynewulf. We could tell you
that we thought your arrival would change their perception, that your incredibly
high energy signatures would impress a sense of hope in them. She sighed,
and shook her head. We
were wrong. That cant
be helped at this point.
Cynewulf rolled his one human eye, and made
an effort to look put out. It
didnt take much.
Thank you, Miss Narube, for acknowledging the
problem were having now is the
simple fact that were stuck here, in an etherless prison, at the bottom
of a stronghold thats going to be completely wiped out as soon as the
Shi Kari take a notion to come looking for it. He muttered a curse
under his breath, something strong enough to make even the usually apathetic
Look, Cynewulf. Mathiu said,
interposing himself between Kayla and the threatening form of the Seeker,
We realize that this shouldnt have
happened. Were both incredibly
shocked and sorry that it did happen
not our fault, and its not like
were just going to sit here and do nothing about it!
Oh, youre going to do something
about it, Racnarth? Like
what? I suppose you could just
go talk to your Council and theyd be happy to let us go run along our
merry way, eh? The large
man shook his head again, ignoring Meryls attempts to calm him.
Why the hell do you think were
so shook up? Meryl said, her indigo eyes locking with Cynewulfs
for several long moments.
Because were shocked and surprised that this
happened? God no
I said, we probably shouldve expected
it. Were upset because
of what were almost considering doing here.
Meryls eyebrows furrowed, the woman
not certain she could possibly be understanding what Kayla
Mathiu sighed deeply, ran a hand through
his long flaxen hair, and looked straight at the Seeker
woman. Weve decided
were going to help you escape.
what? Cynewulf was incredulous
for a moment, but he could tell from the young peoples eyes that they
were serious. You
youre joking, right? the two just nodded in response, and
Cynewulfs dour expression, already quivering, crumbled entirely, leaving
a look of complete shock in its place.
If you get caught doing this, theres
no telling what the Hunter Council will do to you! Meryl protested,
grateful for the offer of help, but worried for the two children.
Mathius expression went
grim. Screw the
Council. They arent even
Hunters any more
like I heard you told them, theyre all just
scared children, trying to hide under their blankets from the big bad
wolf. He sighed deeply, and ran a finger over the silvery metal of
the wall with an air of regret. Unfortunately, the wolves are out there, and they
arent going away just because we want them to.
Cynewulf sighed and nodded, and took an uneasy
seat on the concrete slab of a bed.
We both appreciate this gesture, Mathiu
but what do you
have in mind? This whole
chambers ether-free, seems like, and our TAGs are
gone. And whether or not that
guard was willing to do you the favor of saying hi to us, hes
not going to just stand idly by.
Mathiu, his disposition somehwat improved,
smirked suddenly. Ah,
but Ive got a plan, havent I, Kay?
Kayla shook her head, and grinned despite
herself. Of course you
do, Matt. You always have some
sort of thing running around in your head. She
chuckled. Explains why you cant concentrate on the here
The young Hunter rolled his eyes and
shrugged. Yeah, something
like that. Anyway, the point
is that Ive got a plan, and its a good
one. Foolproof, even.
Foolproof? Meryl asked quizzically,
leaning up casually against one wall. I wouldnt say a plan that involves making
use of fools like us is foolproof.
Matt looked at the woman ambivalently for
a moment, saying nothing. Then
let me get started. He
scratched his head, and without a thought sat down on the metal floor of
the cell. Okay, lets
deal with the things impeding escape
first. Most obviously, theres
the deal you mentioned about the anti-ether
field. That one takes the most explanation, but its a fairly
simple thing to get around. You
see, we could
he trailed off as he caught a pointed glance from
Ah, but you want to know how the thing
Basically, the Anti-Ether Field works
on an anti-Order principle, established by a nebula located in the Planetary
Union. You see, it
Mathiu trailed off again, and sighed exasperatedly as he caught the blank
stares of Meryl and Cyne. I
swear, dont you Seekers hear about
anything? What is it you dont
know: Order, anti-Order principles,
the Chaos Nebula?
Start on the first one, and end with
the last one. Meryl said, cocking an eyebrow.
Mathiu covered his eyes with the palm of
one hand, and tried to look put out. He had more trouble pulling it off than Cynewulf had a
few minutes ago. Of course,
we only have fifteen more minutes to pull this all together, and you want
a science lesson. Fine, fine.
He leaned back against the wall, closing his eyes as he tried to pull together
his memories. First off
is Order, I suppose. I really
wouldve thought you two had heard this one
before. Basically, its
the term used to define the force that makes up the winds of magic,
or the Ether fields. It works
as an opposing force to Chaos:
whereas Chaos energy comes from outside the Multiverse, is used in
casting non-elemental for the most part spells, and promotes
a distinct feeling of
Order comes from within the
Multiverse, is used in the casting of all elemental spells, and promotes
a organization, control
order, ya know.
Theres supposed to be a kind
of balance between the two energies throughout the
Multiverse. Like I said, Chaos
energy promotes anarchy, destruction, greed Id imagine you already
knew that, if youre at all familiar the complete transformation a human
goes through once theyre exposed to that energy, even if they arent
being injected with it its dangerous for too much of it to be
present on a planet. Given that
you two have ancestors on Earth, I imagine you know what happens when too
much Chaos permeates.
Cynewulf shook his
head. Your saying Chaos
controls our actions? That
doesnt make sense.
snorted. It makes plenty
of sense, Wulfie. He smirked to see the large Seekers reaction
to that nickname, then went on to prevent the man from saying anything about
it. And its not
really a control, so much as a desire.
The presence of Chaos energy brings out lusts like nothing
else. I mean, God, the only
reason the lavoid race exists is because
of a lust for power in the hearts of the people in control on
Allowing the Seekers to chew on that for
a moment, Mathiu tactfully moved the subject from
Chaos. On the other hand,
a complete permeation of Order, with no Chaos present, can be just as
bad. This leads to the stifling of creativity, the need for
organization to the point that tyrannical dictatorships are formed, and the
persecution of anyone who threatens to think differently than their
peers. In short, on its own,
Order breeds control to the point of decadence, and Chaos breeds ambition
to the point of anarchy.
The young Hunter, after seeing that hed
receive no sort of response on that bit of information, decided to move on
to the next topic. As
for anti-Order principles, theyre just what they sound
like. Its a set of theories
on what conditions will stifle the presence of Order
energy. There are basically
two ways to go about it: if an area becomes too permeated with Chaos energy, the
ability to use Order energy can vanish entirely this is kinda strange,
actually, because up to a point the introduction of unneeded Chaos energy
can increase the strength of ether
magic. The second points
the one that we make use of in the anti-ether field machines
as itd be nuts to try to use that much
Basically, ether energy Order,
to be specific has difficulty traveling through unique points of the
Multiverse. It thrives on redundancy
in the various timelines to move through the dimensions, if you take my
meaning. Thus, in order to create
an Order-dampening field, all you have to do is slightly alter the fundamental
nature of all the molecules in a set
area. Nothing to it,
Meryl cocked one eyebrow, and tried to hold
back an impending headache.
How in the world is such a thing
possible? I mean, if one group of scientists even found a way to
alter the molecules in a given area without killing everyone IN that area,
wouldnt they have counterparts in other dimensions doing the exact
Actually, that was the exact problem
with the theories behind the device. Mathiu
returned. So what they
did was input a program in use by gamblers for
randomizer. Basically, the device
re-balances matter on such a small level the alteration of a single
quark, for example that its easy to change which place the device
alters with no significant damage done, as well as make sure that its
unique to the other dimensions.
Cynewulf blinked, and started to ask a
question. He was cut off before
he could even form the first syllable.
Dont ask how it works,
Cynewulf. Trust me, you dont
want me to go into the formulas required for
And how did you come up with these
theories in the first place? the big man asked
instead. Whats all
this about a nebula?
Kayla sighed deeply, and shrugged her
shoulders. Look, were
running low on time. Lets
just say that theres no ether energy available in a pretty large quadrant
of the Planetary Union, and move on, kay?
Meryl launched a protest to that, but was
silenced by Mathiu. Look,
Kaylas right. If we
dont get these plans straight now, well never be able to carry
them out. Let me tell you what
I had in mind
On the other side of the steel wall that
made up the Seekers prison, a lone Hunter
stood. Hed long since
sent the guard off on break; it wouldnt do for anyone to hear the
conversation he planned on having with Narube and Racnarth.
Sien Taggart enjoyed his privacy, after all.
He was an older man, more than old enough
to have been a Councillor had he so chosen and certainly old enough
to have gained the trust of that motley
group. His hair, once a fine dark black, had been tinged with
silver in a number of places, but it was still thick and ran midway down
his neck. His clothes, though
the standard grey fatigues of the Hunter organizations, were cleanly pressed
and gave him a feeling of sheer presence that men around him (on the rare
occasion that there were men around him)
lacked. Most of the reason for
that was in his eyes, though.
Their pupils were a glimmering, intense red, like flaming hot iron
set in his sockets.
The only visible weapon he carried was a
simple foil an edgeless stabbing sword with no decoration and not
much length. It looked somewhat
out of place on such an extraordinary person.
And he stood there, not even a thought running
through his mind, until Mathiu Racnarth and Kayla Narube gave the knock that
signified they were ready to leave.
Sien was more than happy to oblige them on that score, and with but
a motion of his hand, the door that was across the room swung
open. The two younger Hunters
were obviously surprised as they walked out to see him standing there, but
they hadnt time to form a question before the steel door to the cell
theyd just been in slammed behind them.
As the noise echoed throughout the room,
Sien walked over to the pair. His boots clacked harshly on the tiled floor of the room,
sending chills through Mathiu and Kayla.
As he came within a few feet of the two, he ceased his motion and
regarded them curiously.
Having a pleasant conversation, children?
Matt shrugged his
shoulders. As pleasant
as can be expected right now. As
you could imagine, the Seekers are none too happy with us.
And why should they be? Sien
asked, his flame-red eyes dancing amusedly between the two
children. They have proven
themselves a threat to our organization, and have been foiled in their
They were no threat! Kayla said,
making a sharp motion with her hand. And I can sense, from what little of your dark mind
you make open, that you dont believe that either.
grinned. Oh, thats
right. Youre a
telepath. Its a bit rude
to intrude on others minds, you know. He made a negatory motion
with his hand, resulting in a gasp of pain from the young
Narube. This, in turn, nearly
caused Mathiu to pull out his mace, but his partner stopped
You say I dont think them a
threat? the older Hunter asked.
Perhaps their coming was not intentionally
harmful. But they are still
threatening the organization. They
. Perhaps, his grin disappeared, and he stared angrily
into Racnarths eyes, even treason.
I would think, Matts words
came out between gritted teeth,
very carefully before you accused
me of treason. I have never
lost sight of our goal, of the mission.
You would do well to remember that.
Oh, my. Siens eyes danced
again with amused fire, and he cracked his
knuckles. Is that a threat,
Mathiu looked grimly up at the taller man
and unconsciously moved closer to Kayla.
No. Its a
I shall certainly keep that in mind,
child. Sien smirked.
But it is beginning to grow late, and all little children must
mind their bedtime. I wouldnt
want to to tire you out too much, not with all the plans I suspect you have
for the evening.
What are you implying? Kayla
asked sharply, perhaps with more anxiety than she meant
to. It drew another laugh from
nothing. Just remember that
Ill be keeping an eye on you two. He gave a low, mock bow to
the two, and turned to walk off.
The Council doesnt trust you anymore
with good reason,
it seems. Watch for their eyes
on all sides, and dont do anything stupid. He chuckled a bit,
cold and humorless about it.
The Hunt grows boring
otherwise. With that,
he walked away down a long hallway and up a
staircase. Mathiu noted, with
no small amount of discomfort, that his formerly noisy boots made absolutely
no sound as he walked away.
He and Kayla stood there in silence for several
long moments, until they heard the guard for this particular jail block coming
You want to get something to eat,
Kay? Mathiu asked, rubbing his temples with one
hand. I doubt youre
any hungrier than I am, but I need to sit down and think things out
and who knows when well have opportunity to go to the cafeteria
The young woman
shrugged. We may as
well. I need to think through
all this too
and itd be nice to see everyone one last
The two left the room silently, passing by
a rather confused-looking guard on their way into the long and twisting hallways
that connected the chambers of
Terisiare. Their thoughts ruled
them as they made their way for the cafeteria, unpleasant thoughts.
Can I let Kay do this, even when the stakes are this
high? Matt asked himself,
looking over at the young woman.
If she got hurt, I dont know what Id do
besides never forgiving myself,
anyway. This string of thought
lead into another involving love and things of that nature; one he made very
careful not to let Kayla see.
His mental guard was completely unnecessary;
his partner was too lost in her own thoughts to try to traverse anyone
Are we doing the right
thing? The Council, as crazy
as they might be, has a very real fear
here. If those two
if we get caught by the Shi Kari,
its probably all over for
Terisiare. And theres
nowhere else to hide after
that. She shook her head
and closed her eyes, letting her mind guide her down a hallway shed
walked down many times in her short
life. If we
even make it that far. That
the Council doesnt assign him to just
anything. If hes watching
we may not even make it out of Terisiare
alive. At least that proves
were doing something good
in a day when we have to worry about
getting killed by our own kind.
She sighed deeply, and could have cried as
they reached the cafeteria. It was, as usual, filled with people; all her fellow
Hunters. And yet, all but a
few of their friends were like the Council, like Sien
Taggart. She could almost feel
the distrust in them for each other, for the whole damned
planet. The elders all sat together
on one side of the room, no doubt reminiscing about the times before the
Shi Kari had come. The younger
Hunters all sat across from them, gossiping about their older counterparts
and dreaming of a mission to wipe out the Shi Kari that they knew would never
And Kayla realized they werent really
leaving much behind at all.
It was a day when lavoid hunter fought lavoid hunter much to the amusement of that accursed race. And that shall ever be the problem with exterminating our enemy; humanitys too busy destroying itself to see the real threat. Meryl Sara, Last History of the Seekers.