Leon, the Mighty Gale Chapter 11

Inside the Tower

By Samara Secor

Note: The song contained in this chapter is composed of lyrics completely of my own devising to the tune of Althena's Song, which is Track 6 on the Lunar Songs 2 CD and Track 17 on the Lunar Eternal Blue Soundtrack CD (No, this is not the one that Working Designs is including with Lunar: Eternal Blue Complete. It's a Japanese import.). I have no idea what the original Japanese lyrics mean, so don't e-mail me telling me that I didn't translate the lyrics right.

As the last rays of sunlight faded, Marina turned away from the window and sat on the edge of her bed. Today had been a bit more interesting than usual. She had felt eyes on her while she practiced her swordsmanship and had looked quickly out the window before ducking out of sight. There had been two people that looked like tiny dolls from such a great distance, one with blond hair and the other with hair that looked almost red, but not quite. Even with her superior vision, it had been too far away to make out exactly what was different. Not that it mattered. That one hadn’t been looking at the tower, but the blond one had. ‘I wonder who he is. He’s got to be something special if he could even see anything at all from so far away. Not that I’ll ever get the chance to find out when I’m stuck in this... prison,’ Marina eased back onto the pillows and stared at the ceiling. ‘Silken comfort or no, it doesn’t change that fact. What I wouldn’t give to go out there... just for a little while. Actually, there’s a lot I wouldn’t give. I’m not that crazy... yet.’

She slipped a small, palm-sized picture out of her pocket and gazed at it silently. It had been taken on the Blue Star only a couple weeks after she’d met Althena. Marius was in the center with one arm around Althena and the other around her. Caldor and Katarina were standing off to the left, their eyes, as always, only for each other. Stadius was on the right, smirking and sticking his tongue out at the cameraman. Marina’s expression became melancholy as it always did when she was reminded that he’d never be able to laugh or pull one of his irreverent practical jokes again. When her eyes settled on the last person in the photograph, a small fairy with a magnetic stare perched on top of her head, her vision blurred and she whispered, “Did things have to be this way? Is there anything I could have done differently that would have avoided such calamity, or... was it fate from the moment we first met Althena?”


Still in human form, Ember crouched at the very edge of Vane and leapt with all his strength. Once he had opened up a little distance between Vane and himself, he changed to full draconic form and spread his wings, pulling up sharply out of his dive. He used the air currents to coast the rest of the way to the Goddess Tower’s entrance, making the journey with hardly a sound.

After making his landing, he changed back and readied his sword. He would have to fight through the tower’s guardians to reach the top floor. It would have been a lot easier to just fly to the top, but Ember wasn’t willing to take a chance on any stargazers in Vane seeing his silhouette against the Blue Star’s light. Not that the guardians would be any problem for him. He let a little bit of his power seep into the blade and smiled as flames flickered along its edge. Then, he charged into the tower’s interior.


At the tower’s apex, Althena was hovering in midair, bathed in a column of white light. Her eyes were tightly shut, and she was using every ounce of her considerable energy to try and perceive the future. Usually, she didn’t have to force such visions as they came quite easily to her. “Something.... Something’s gone horribly wrong. I can’t see anything beyond this tower’s walls! Not even a glimmer! It’s as if my power is being contained by some kind of shield,” she bit back a cry of frustration and concentrated on what she could see.

In a secret room a few floors below her, Marina was stretched out full-length on her bed, trying and failing to get any rest. ‘She’s so unhappy here. If only there was something for her to do outside which would allow her to make good use of her talents and that I could be relatively certain wouldn’t draw the wrong type of attention to her...’ Althena frowned slightly. ‘She’s the one person whose future I never could read, even without this strange barrier. When it comes to her, I can never be completely sure that I’m doing the right thing. It makes me feel so helpless.’

Althena returned to her scan of the tower’s floors and discovered that Ember was making his way up to the top... the hard way. “Now this is something I can deal with,” she said and began to sing:

Open wide the door...
And journey towards the light on the... horizon.
Follow it, and you will see...
That which sets you free.

Even though it’s hard...
To unlock your precious heart, please trust me.
Take my hand. I’ll lead the way.
I’ll help you if I may.

The road is long. The journey seems hard.
But you know, I’ll always be there.
Though all seems dark and full of every fear,
My light will always bring you near.

Follow my light on your journey.
Together we’ll make a way out...
Towards the goal that we have set.
Even now, you’re drawing so near.

Just keep drawing close.
I’ll point the way...
Towards the place where I stay.

The way becomes more clear...
With each step you take up and... onward.
Overcome your weariness.
It’s not much farther now.

Each challenge that you face...
Will only make you grow that much... stronger.
So, renew those special vows...
That you made to see things through.

Worry not. Don’t quicken your pace.
There’s no reason to race.
I’m waiting here. I will not go.
I’ll never leave you alone.

Lift up your eyes, and you’ll see me.
Fasten your mind on that hope.
Of obstacles the way is clear.
Soon, there will also be here.

No distance to...
Separate me from you.
Then, you’ll know that you’ve arrived.

The journey’s at end.
Soon, you’ll see me friend.
And then we can speak face to face.

As Althena’s voice filled the tower, the guardians froze in their tracks. Ember pouted briefly as his spree of destruction came to an abrupt halt, and he resheathed his sword. ‘Man, Althena... You keep taking away all my fun. Oh, well. There’s always next time,’ Ember grinned and continued his way up the tower.


Marina sprang out of bed and fell to her knees on the hard, stone floor. “Ow. That... hurt,” she stood and cocked one ear. “Sound’s like Althena’s not just singing for fun this time. What’s going on?”

Marina’s gaze traveled to the far wall where her armor, identical to that of a Dragonmaster, stood on its stand. A sword similar to that of Althena was also there, although they differed greatly in regards to the type of power they contained. “Should I suit up?” Marina wondered. “Yeah, right. Like she’s ever going to let me out of this place anytime soon. Still, she can’t stop me from taking a stroll on up there to see what’s happening.”


Most dragons would feel at least somewhat humbled upon coming into the presence of the god or goddess that they were supposed to protect, but not Ember. After all, it hadn’t been Althena disciplining him whenever he got into trouble as a young dragon. Still, he knew better than to be too cocky, and he had some serious news to deliver. He bowed and then launched into a somewhat brief account about the various happenings on Lunar, including the theft of the wings and the thief’s admitted intentions of procuring the shield, as well. Finally, he stopped and said, “But you probably already knew all that, didn’t you?”

Althena thought about admitting to Ember that she didn’t know, that there was some kind of shield blocking her vision of the outside world, but Ember had already begun to speak again, “Vane’s going to send out an expedition of four people to retrieve the shield, one of which I get to choose, so I was wondering if you’d let me pick...”

“Marina...” Althena said, her eyes focusing on a point beyond Ember’s shoulder.

Ember turned and saw that Marina was there just a few steps behind him. “Hey, great timing! I was just about to ask Althena whether I could spring you out of here for a week or two. What da ya think of that, hmm?” Ember asked, grinning very much like he had as a little boy whenever he’d brought her a present he was absolutely certain she’d love.

“Hey, save the celebrating until after she says yes... if she does, that is,” Marina said, looking at Althena questioningly.

‘She can tell something’s wrong just by looking at me. She’s just as perceptive as ever, I see. If I allow her not only the two weeks that Ember’s asking, but a longer period as well, perhaps she can find out the cause of this problem as well as its cure.’ Althena smiled and said, “Actually, I was thinking that perhaps you’d enjoy a much longer period away from here than that, Marina. Could I speak to you in private for a moment?”

“Of course,” Marina turned to Ember, “Go ahead and wait for me at the entrance, Ember. This shouldn’t take too long.”


‘A year! One whole year! I can’t believe my ears... and another nineteen if I can get the problem fixed or find someone who can...’ Marina whistled cheerfully as she finished wrapping her sword’s handle with leather. ‘Yes, this is definitely my lucky day.’

Marina stopped whistling and frowned. ‘I shouldn’t be so happy when Lunar’s in such a mess like this, but maybe things will get better after Ember sets somebody on the road to becoming the next Dragonmaster. I don’t know how he’s going to take hearing that Althena’s telling him that it’s his responsibility to find someone suitable for the job.’

Marina permitted herself to take one more longing look at the armor which she didn’t dare take with her, because someone might think that she had stolen it. At least, she had an almost limitless supply of magic to depend on. With that and her sword, she’d probably be able to avoid any ‘fatal’ wounds that would require some sort of explanation when she didn’t die from them.

On that note, she sheathed her sword and hurried down to where Ember was waiting.


Ember had taken the news that he had to be the one to choose the new Dragonmaster rather well. “That’ll give me something to think about when I’m pushing papers around Lark’s desk while he’s out having the time of his life,” he replied.

“Who’s Lark?” Marina asked.

“Didn’t I ever tell you about him? He’s a descendant of Pria Ausa and the current guildmaster of Vane’s Magic Guild. I first met him about nineteen years ago when I was doing a scouting circuit around Lunar to make sure that everything was running smoothly. Together with several other people, we smoothed out most of the minor problems: monster outbreaks, pirates, that type of thing,” Ember explained.

“Other... people? Come on, Ember! You’ve got to give me a better description than that,” Marina said.

“Well, there was this one kid, Blaine, from the Plains Tribe. He’s one of the best shots that I’ve ever seen with a bow and arrow, and he wasn’t too shabby with a sword, either. He went back home after we completed the circuit. And then, there’s Sharra. She was just an apprentice to Althena’s Priesthood at the time, but now, she’s the head of the whole order,” Ember said, ticking off each one on his fingers. “Of course, I can’t forget Chiron, the musician. There wasn’t a treasure chest in the world that he couldn’t open. I had suspicions that he was a member of the Thieves’ Guild, but since he never stole anything while he was with us, I was never able to confirm it. It’s anybody’s guess where he’s at now, but I’m pretty sure that he’s not on this continent. Otherwise, I probably would have bumped into him before now. And last, but not least, there’s...”

Ember swallowed hard and looked up at where the tower still loomed over them. “Ah, can we talk about this somewhere else? Say, in one of the empty schoolrooms or something? I...” Ember’s voice caught, and he turned away.

‘Were those... tears?’ Marina put a hand on Ember’s shoulder and said softly, “Wherever you feel comfortable is fine with me. Let’s just head on over to Vane now, okay?”


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