Redemption Chapter 12
By Janet Monstwillo
(It was a field. She was all alone in a field. Poppies and irises grew as wild as dandelions there, and a warm breeze was always blowing.
The Promised Land had been the only place where Riana had been permitted to hold her son. Every time the chance had come to see him on the Planet, the attempts had been thwarted. Riana sighed. Pa'at Rich did not even have a face to call his own. Never in any incarnation had he ever lived to see the light of the star...the star which his bright soul was named for.
A hand was placed on her shoulder. She looked into the eyes of Reiven. "I'm sorry for the last time."
"You are sorry for every time. It saddens me that we have to live the same roles over and over."
"We were told in the beginning that our quest would save the humans on this Planet. We wanted to aid them. And now, it is also for redemption on the joys that she stole from our first lives, so long ago."
"Would you have said yes if you knew you had to be the adversary to the Plan in every incarnation?"
Reiven was quiet. "Would you have said yes if you knew you would never live to see the Son of the Sun born?"
"It must succeed sometime. The Masters would not have begun the Plan otherwise."
"If they would only let you and Kal'od return to the Planet without me next time..."
"They know better than us. And you should know by now that it is not the way. Nothing can remain unchecked. Not even the parents of the anointed child. They must have a foe."
"In this respect, sometimes I think the Masters are fools."
"They just have absolute discrimination. Perhaps they mean to teach the both humans and us, the Cetra, a lesson. I have learned much already."
"What have you learned, Riana? How much pain have you had to bear? They never told you that all the failure would haunt you, even beyond the physical realm."
"I have learned that the prevention of the Plan comes in many shapes and forms. Through lust for power, or even through the times when you have become my lover. We easily become misguided in our shadowy mortal coil."
"I hope we soon learn what form the implementation of this Plan comes in. The next incarnation will be hard. The Masters need us to fulfill the Aniz-Mi'ar prophecy."
"Khazed," Riana murmured. "The beloved sacrifice. So you shall be my lover next time. That makes me happy. I mourn for the lives I spent hating you."
"I mourn for the lives we failed."
"Arguing with the Masters." Reiven shook his head. "I gave that up centuries ago."
"Whatever could he be arguing about this time?"
"He disagrees with their plans to send me first, then him, then you. He thinks we have a better chance of success if he is the eldest in this incarnation."
"We never succeeded when he was or when he wasn't. It matters little what we want, for the Masters set up lives that we ourselves could not plan."
"True." He took her hand. "I go ten years before you this time, and the time fast approaches. Wish me luck, oh mother of the son of the sun?"
"May you fail as my adversary. Let the Plan succeed. For my life from two thousand years ago. For the innocence Jenn o' Vah removed from the Cetra, and removed from all mankind.")
Raieyana stirred on the cot in the medical bay as the Airship landed at Cosmo Canyon. It was time to try and unlock her from her frozen state.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Marlene walked up to the entrance of the Alcor building. Although she was rather disappointed that her visit with her family had been cut short by Raieyana's emergency, she saw her early return as an opportunity to prove herself to the C.E.O., Yorlain Armstrong.
Walking past the security desk towards the elevator, she murmured a greeting to the guard. She didn't need to produce any I.D.; all the guards knew her well by now.
A terse voice barked an order to her. "Walk back here slowly. Keep your hands where I can see them."
"What is the matter? I am Marlene Wallace!" She glared at the guard. "If you hinder me too long, I'll complain to the C.E.O.!"
"The C.E.O. eh?" The guard gave a knowing look to his partner. "I bet this one is on the list."
The guard grabbed her arm and slapped her across the face. "Shut up. Some people have been upset with the wimpy way this company runs. Yorlain was disposed of."
"I found it." The guard with the list looked up. "Marlene Wallace, level 4 employee."
(Damn straight.) "Now will you get your fucking hands off of me?"
The only response she received was the slapping of handcuffs against her wrists. "Level 4. Close to the C.E.O. Our boss needs you honey, for 'observation.'"
Alcor had originally set up shop in the former Shinra building in Junon. Even after the fire damaged the building, they decided to stay there. It was sturdy, after all. The upper levels, including the prison, had always been off-limits, with only Reeve and Reno, later Yorlain, having access to them.
Someone had opened up the prison, obviously, for this was where Marlene was taken. Something had gone wrong at Alcor. Really wrong.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Okay, kids, this is a serious problem. A girl went missing last night. We need to issue a manhunt of all the surrounding area." Legolas looked at the young warriors gathered around him. "We also have reason to believe Patrick may be hiding out in the forest, and we need to bring him here."
"Could you please not call us kids?" asked Benjamin, a skilled archer of twenty years.
"Sorry. It's hard to see Danny sitting there and not say 'kids.'"
Daniel frowned. "Call me Dan, Daniel, or nothing, okay?" He had spent eighteen years of his life fighting off the nickname Danny, he believed.
"Any other demands before I continue?" asked Legolas, amused.
He shook his head. "Why do we need to bring Patrick in?"
Taking a deep breath, Legolas addressed the group. "I suppose I can't keep this from being put out in the open. There was a trespasser at Raieyana's house night before last, and we have reason to believe Patrick was involved in his murder. Now, we're not going to put him on trial, as long as both he and Raieyana can attest to it being a defensive action."
"If he ran away, then it probably wasn't defensive," commented Benjamin.
"The decision for that is not up to you, to just assume, got it? If you find Patrick, we would like for you to ask him to return. If not, cast a status spell on him and drag him back here. Understand?"
"What if he uses force?"
"Then you have permission to subdue him." Legolas peered at the young man. "Is that what you're asking for? A chance to attack him? You will not get it. At least not from the community, Lia, or myself. He is a citizen just like you."
"Child of outsiders," he muttered.
Legolas grabbed him by the shoulder and locked eyes. "If anything serious should happen to him, his blood is on your hands. Get the picture?"
"Whatever." He broke eye contact. "What about the girl?"
Legolas stepped back. "Her name is Azura Valentine. She's about five feet three inches tall, a hundred pounds. Long black hair, gray eyes. She's at least half Wutaian."
"That's Zuri out in the woods by herself?" said Daniel in amazement.
Benjamin yawned and prepared to stand up. "What should we do when we find her corpse?"
"When you find her," said Legolas sternly, "you bring her back here. You know that. Now I have a map here. I divided the terrain into ten parts. Each part has a pair of names on it. The part you scout out has your name on it, obviously."
"Why can't we just go alone?"
"There are many reasons. Having a support for battles is one of them. Another would be for the scenario where Azura is found, but too injured to be moved. One will stay with her and the other would return here. Also, if Patrick becomes aggressive, I would hope two of you grown warriors could subdue the boy."
"Great idea," he said sarcastically.
Legolas looked up. "Are there any questions from those of you with slightly smaller mouths than Ben?"
Eighteen warriors shook their heads.
"So everyone is clear with their assignments?"
A soft chorus of "yes sir's" met his ear. The warriors prepared to head out to their assigned territory.
"After four hours, report back here. You will be given a meal, and if nothing has turned up, return for another patrol after you've rested." Legolas watched them head towards the door. "Oh, and one more thing."
Twenty faces turned back in his direction. "Good luck." They each nodded silently and headed out of the room.
He sat down in one of the chairs, tired. (How did I ever let Lia coerce me into playing 'General' to the troops?)
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