Time of the Gospel Chapter 3
Call me Elly.
Alright Elly. Solus repeated Rachels new nickname as he took her down from the tree.
Taran was already helping himself and so both he and Elly, saw Jinn at the same time.
Youre the one that stole the Stone from the Ethos monastery! Taran realized.
The ninja nodded.
Youre the one I was supposed to meet here! Elly exclaimed.
She nodded again.
This is Jinn. Solus introduced her. She spared out lives, and wants our help.
Jinn didnt admit to the last part. Im headin to Tiber. I spose Ill hitch a ride with you three.
Good. Elly confirmed. I have explicit orders to see to it that you arrive safely in Tiber. With the Soulstone.
You mean youre the one who paid her? Taran demanded.
My government did, yes.
Alright, Lt. Jacob announced. Now that we accomplished what we came for, Jinn and I must return to Tiber. She gazed at Solus and smiled. Would you mind giving us a ride? There was something of seduction in her voice.
Not at all. Solus began walking towards the clearing where he had left Gabe, and the other three followed close behind. When they stepped into the clearing, Elly was awestruck. The black steel titan stay motionless, like a giant statue someone had built. She knew Phalanx was in possession of an army of Gears, but she had never actually seen one. Though it was kneeling and hunched over, it rose well above any trees. Its black metallic plating glimmered in the sun. When Solus approached, its head lit up, its posture became strait, and an engine geared up.
Its about time you arrived. The voice came from a man stepping from behind Gabe. He was wore a black cloak that fell down to his ankles with the Ethos symbol torn away so that white was seen through it. In his hand was a broad sword. His hair was short, but just long enough to be matted and almost wild atop his head. His eyebrows were perfectly level, two black lines over his similarly blank expression. A thin line of a small hair ran vertically from under his lip to the top of his flat chin. His lips were close to smiling, but not quite. His eyes glared at each of them individually before he spoke. His voice held assurance in himself. I am Pointiff Knight Eliab of the Ethos, and you shall return the Soul Stone you have taken.
~ you! Jinn spat.
Very well you shall face the wrath of The knight was cut off as the ninja drew out a pistol and fired it at him. He raised his sword not one instant too soon. The bullet ricocheted off the cold steel. The Pointiff relaxed from his defensive stance and jumped forward. Taran met him in the air drove his knee into the knights stomach.
Solus climbed into Gabes cockpit, Elly crawled in after him. Designed for one, it was a tight squeeze. The Pointiff was up again and had thrown Taran into a nearby tree. Solus quickly went to work on the controls and Gabes large fist punched the knight, sending him crashing back into the forest. Having to work around Elly, one arm on each side, he was slow to turn on the rockets. The engine was cold and took a minute to fire up. Finally, the heavy machine began to lift itself into the air. Jinn held tightly to one opened hand, Taran to the other. Gabe rose higher. The Pointiff was running after them.
Taran stood up on the Gears hand, finding it difficult to balance. Nonetheless he stood and focused. A glow formed between his hands. He closed them tighter together and the shine grew denser. His platform was ever moving as Gabe came out of the clearing. Taran released, a ball of energy flew at their pursuer.
The Pointiff sliced it with his sword and it dissipated. He jumped high into the air and caught a hold of Jinns leg. The Ethos knight began to hoist himself up. A black panther-like animal burst into the clearing, ran after them, leapt even higher than the knight had, and landed with its four clawed paws on the Pointiffs back. The knight fell down to earth and the lygir took its place by Jinn. The ninja pat the lygirs head. Good girl, Stealth, good girl.
The ninja and her pet held on for life to the Gears hand, though trying to appear relaxed at the same time. Taran attempted the same on the opposite hand. Gabes arms were held back, so that the Gear was like an arrow pointing in the direction it flew, in order to cut down on wind resistance at the hands, but still the air currents beat heavily upon Taran. His guard jacket, though tucked under his belt and two straps that secured shoulder pads, flapped madly behind his back. His hair was also tossed about in the wind. At first he knelt, then as he gained confidence, shifted one foot to rest flat on the metal palm. Slowly, he began to stand. He raised his two arms into the air with victory and shouted at the top of his lungs.
Elly watched him through the cockpit and laughed. Sharing a seat with Solus wasnt so bad. Not bad at all Set course to Tiber. She ordered. His arms worked under hers as he set the controls. Together they, all four of them, flew away from the sun.
A man knelt before an altar, head bowed in solemn prayer. His body was clad in gold armor, marking him as Pointiff to all of the others around him also seeking Gods guidance. As Pointiff, he usually received more vivid answers. Though his eyes were closed, the vision he saw before him was quite clear. A shadow of a man stood before him. By nature, the knight drew his blade and dashed forward, slicing the darkness in two with a piercing streak of white light. Then, the two halves retreated into a black void, and emerged ten, twenty times larger, stronger, and more powerful. Again, the knight struck the shadow, this time the swords light dimmed and became one with the darkness. Now, it was the knights turn to retreat. Looking behind him, he saw the past, saw himself slice the shadow in half. As it ran to the void, a shining figure tackled it to the floor and it was vanquished in the brightness. Gazing ahead again, he saw the goliath shadow vanquished as well. Soon, it all faded away to darkness.
Another light flashed down the horizon, splitting the black in half. The light grew, forcing the darkness back to the top and bottom until it was completely gone and the knights eyes were completely open. Replacing the vision was his white armor, his black cloak that fell behind him, and a red carpet that led up to the altar. Standing, he was greeted by two large statues: an animus and anima: two one winged angels, hands clasped, helping each other to survive in this new world that they had been thrown into. Turning, he was greeted by his own animus. They clasped hands and walked down the carpet, past the mass of people bowed in prayer, to the other side of the sanctuary. Once outside of the cathedral, it was no longer considered defilement or sinful to kiss, and so they did.
In the sanctuary, the rays of dawn had shone down through a stained glass
window and smiled upon the couple. Outside, the iridescent light did the
same. Reflecting off of Nisans crystal lake, it sparkled and glimmered,
creating quite an effect. Crystal, nayrys a dah esah y. The knight
Crystal, I have had a vision.*
Crystal, like a clear lake surrounding the cathedral, was always calm on the outside, peaceful, but within contained an immeasurable deepness. With hair falling to her neck the color of the moon: almost white with a touch of faint yellow, in the shape of a crescent, with watery eyes an azure to match the waters, and with skin like smooth marble surrounding it, she was often compared to the lake itself. Another? she asked. Azule, are you sure? But it was not for beauty that Azule loved her. It was pureness in her heart, kindness in her touch, caring in her caress, it was her picture of innocence, it was her soul.
The Ethos knight nodded. Positive.
You have to tell father.
No, theres no time to see the Arch Bishop. Arch Bishop of Ethos: Crystals father, naturally, he would have it no other way than for her daughter to enter the ministry. Since birth she was raised in priestess clothes, and followed the path of God. Another reason for her knight in shining armor. Tell your father that I went off to stop the shadows.
The shadows? You mean the Legion? Again, Azule nodded. No, its too dangerous. Take someone with you. She held tightly to his hand so that he could not get away, could not again risk his life.
He kissed her again. I will return, I promise. Before she could do anything, he was halfway across a white stone bridge that split the lake, connecting church and city.
Walking down winding streets of Nisan, under bridges, through maze-like gardens, he passed by the people that he had sworn to protect. It was his duty, and he would adhere to it. Shadows threatened the very light that was life. That is how it had always been since the new beginning, the dark ones always lurking, waiting for their chance. Azule had seen visions before, but none as disturbing as this one. To him, the translation was simple. He was called upon to slay the shadow. If I succeeded, good. If I fail then the shadow will consume us
His thoughts were interrupted as he stood before the door of a tailor shop. Azules gauntlet, which he had placed over his hand after leaving Crystal, sent a loud thud throughout a small house as he knocked against its wooden door. On the other side was an old man. Good evening sir, what may I do for you? he asked politely.
This isnt official business, Gara, please set aside the titles.
Well then Azule, come in, come in. The old shopkeeper ushered him in. What brings you here, and at this hour? Assured that his store was in good hands, Gara headed down into the basement as he called out to Azule.
I need a cloak, Gara. Preferably simple. I dont want to attract attention.
Going off on another one of Gods reconnaissance missions? he asked as he emerged from below, carrying with him a brown cloth.
Yes, He told me that Phalanx is on the move.
Well then, you had better hurry. You know how efficient they are.
Yes I do. He clenched his fist beneath a golden glove.
Calm down there. I thought you gave that grudge up long ago. Dont worry, they wont be attacking here any time soon. Ill make sure of that.
I know, thank you, friend.
Here, try this on. The knight was handed a long, brown cloak. Standing before a mirror, he looked over himself. His short, brown hair combed down, his blue eyes, his black cloak with purple embroidery, and gold armor, all traded for a simple, brown robe. Even his embroidered scabbard and sword, he handed to Gara.
Hold onto these for me, you know what to do with them.
Aze, Phalanx is not going to attack, he reassured him, not tonight anyway.
I know, but someday soon, they will. I want you to be ready. Until then friend, farewell. The morning air sent a chill through Azules bones; he felt naked without his armor or his sword. But, if they symbolize the cause of the shadows growth, I shall not bare them. Approaching a harbor, he boarded a sand cruiser heading for Bledavik. After half an hour as a stowaway in a cargo hold, he opened a small portal and jumped out. He crashed onto the desert bed, rolled a couple of times, and then got to his feet. Already he had sand in his hair and clothes.
It was barely day, only an hour passed dawn. The past darkness however, clashed against the daytime heat and cooled the sand. And yet now that the sun had come, most desert creatures had retreated back to their holes to escape. Azule walked, heading to the heart of the desert. When the Pointiff reached his destination, he sat down. There he stayed. It was quiet in the desert. After easily killing a large, lost, predatory beast, no one, human or otherwise, was there to intervene with his communion with God. Another hour of his time was spent waiting for a sign, anything that might point him in the right direction, anything that might steer him onto the path that he needed to walk.
He looked around, another vision. It was day, Azule was standing at the top of a hill, overlooking the shore. Making his way down, he came to a lake. After kneeling down and washing his face, he realized it was not water, but a pool of zin. Instantly he spat it out and dried his face with his cloak. After its initial use, zin did nothing but act as exponentially stronger liquor. This is enough zin to activate an entire armys Ethers When the knight opened his eyes again, he saw before him a long dragon, a sea serpent. Its mouth was open, a fountain of zin that fell into the pool swelling with its magic. The skies grew dark. Azule turned around and saw the shadow from his previous vision descend the hill. It crossed the pool and stood face to face with the dragon. A small coin appeared in its hand and he dropped it infront of the water demon. Another gush of zin came flowing from its mouth. Looking down into the pool, he saw a scene, as if it was set up on the bank of the lake and this was the reflection. A man stood, finely dressed, a Life-Stone around his neck, a symbolic ring on his finger, and dropped a coin as did the shadow. When the shadow was granted a flow of zin, the man was rewarded with a glass. Entering the pool next was a man, a monk, dressed in traditional robes. He and the first man embraced.
He looked around, the vision gone. It was day, Azule was sitting in the desert. Thank you Lord. From the distance, the sound of an approaching multitude spanned the vast sands. Climbing to the top of a dune, Azule scanned the horizon and found another cruiser, and another. A large caravan of sand transports was coming towards him. At the front, several upright, brown-scaled creatures scouted a clean path for the others to follow. Next, several more were dragging a wide machine that toppled sand dunes and leveled the terrain. Behind the unique Aveh-bred Sand Hoppers was a rather large vessel: Its sides were slanted in, but then came together flat. The front sloped down with a large control chamber. The width was uniform all the way across. It rested on several sets of large wheels wrapped in chains that rolled over the sands. Directly following were several more of the same type of cargo ships accompanied by several more Hoppers off to the sides, one of which stopped directly infront of the sand hill Azule was upon.
A wood and brown tarp umbrella was tied onto the Hopper, providing shade for both the beast and a typical duneman who rode it. His body was covered from head to toe in loose clothes: a dark jacket, the color of sandstone, a tight hat, of the same color, with a thick veil falling down the back, a cloth mask over his mouth and nose, and wide legged, brown pants. A dark yellow, leather belt hung over his shoulder. It held a round canteen, which matched an old pistol strapped to the other side of his waist, and several tools. Also over his shoulder was a long bola, which he undoubtedly used as a weapon against sand beasts. From over his eyes he removed a pair of night goggles and placed them over his headgear. His revealed skin was also a color of the desert: years of traveling across Aveh under its bright sun having tanned his face. Wanna lift?
I would be much obliged. To where are you headed?
Gemiea. From there, Wystave
Sara, I have to leave again.
Again daddy? Why does Winx always make you go?
I dont know Sara, I dont know. Ill be back in two days, I promise. The man embraced his daughter and held on tight. It was always like this. He was always having to leave. It made her seem more precious to him. As he wrapped his thick arms around her young, small body, he felt the gem studded collar around her neck. Silently, he cursed Winx and swore he would find a way to free his little girl, before she changed into a young lady. Winx had stolen her freedom; he would not steal her innocence too.
Kneeling to let Sara back on the floor again, he touched her shoulder, Be good now After going into another room, he began to prepare his arsenal: two pistols at his side, two broad swords crossed on his back, forcing him to stand erect. Opening a door, he stepped into a long hall. Turning around, he double locked his door, keeping his daughter safe from any perverted soldiers that might lurk this block of quarters. He was on the highest floor, along with the generals, so seldom would any of the lower ranking officers have any access to his home anyway. But just in case His large form took up more than half the hallway, most people stepped out of his way.
He soon came out of the soldiers block and crossed a bridge. He stopped and looked up at the sky. It was dusk. He sighed and continued over to a tall tower. Two guards nodded as he entered through a revolving glass door. Noah hated this building. Always people were rushing about, soldiers, business men, scientists, janitors There was one door, however, that most stayed away from. Two large, heavily armored sentries stood like statues before it. They moved when Noah approached. The door opened, he stepped in, they shut again. It was an elevator. He slid a small key card through a slot. The elevator began to rise. He could only guess that he was being scanned at every floor he passed. Orons extremely paranoid.
The elevator stopped and two walls opened up, one on each side. Two men, no different than those Noah previously encountered, held guns pointed directly at him. They looked him over: tall and strong, long, unkempt, brown hair, slowly turning gray, a goatee, a surly, aging face, and a gold ring on his middle finger. Its Noah, sir. One of the guards spoke into a receiver. The door in front of Noah opened and he stepped through. Ignoring two beasts at his side, he approached the black desk.
Winx Oron was sitting on the edge of his desk, drink in hand. On his lap sat a young lady, barely clad, and behind him another: arms wrapped gently about his neck, sickly with her tongue to his ear. Upon seeing his guest, Winx bent down and kissed one of them. Watch out girls, Sara might be taking your place pretty soon.
Noah clinched his fist and touched the handle of one of his guns.
Quickly drawing it out, he pulled the trigger and fired it at the mans head and heart. Blood splashed out from Orons body like water from a swimming pool when someone does a cannonball. Blood ran down his clothes and his torso fell limp. Next, the two girls were fired upon as Noah walked towards his victim. Turning and killing the two guards first, he drew one of his blades and drove it into Winxs back. No, that would break the Life-Stone about his neck. Then Sara would die. Noah shook the idea to the back of his mind and returned from his dream.
Looking up at Winx he asked, What is it?
Youre always so impatient. Have a drink. But, you are right, we had best be going. Just a few minutes ago, Noah, someone barged in here, shot my guards, disposed of Javen, you remember the man from Ase, and nearly killed me!
Im begging to like him. Noah smirked.
Dont forget our deal Noah, your service for your daughters life, and for a time, her virginity. Now, as I was saying The mans words never made it to Noah as he was too busy thinking of the most painful ways he could kill Oron. So, Javen, we found him out cold in the lobby fountain, he suggested that we get in a boat and let the waves take us to wherever were supposed to go. I believe there may be a little danger, so youll fulfill your role as bodyguard as usual. Well, were off. Girls, clothes. Come on, down to the docks.
Noah led the group into the elevator, followed by Javen, then Winx and the two girls. It took them down below the first floor. Walking down a long, steel plated dock, the five came to a very small, ironclad submarine. Although it was small, the interior was luxurious. Taking a seat at the controls, Noah steered the ship down a metal, halfway water filled tunnel, right up to a steel wall. A thick plate of iron locked into place behind them. The room flooded with ocean water as the front panel opened. From there, Noah took the vessel out into the ocean, a good ways from the city, up to the surface, and cut propulsion. Now its up to the tide Oron muttered.
Instantly, a tsunami bashed against the hull of the vessel and pushed it east. Continually, giant waves carried the ship further toward the night. After the sea had forced them through the dark for a good while, Winx became board with their status quo. Javen, where are we going?
Based on our current path, we should be soon approaching Teveth. By then we would most likely meet the day there the tide shifted and we would, most likely, without wind, be stuck there at Wystave.
3 canteen, 4 Aquasol. Thats 280 gold.
Thank you. Solus paid a shopkeeper and slid the bag of supplies over his shoulder. Could you tell me where I could find parts for a Gear?
What do you need Gear parts for? Anyway, you might try that crazy cook up north. A long time ago, he stole a Gebler experimental military Gear from the capital and was headed to Kislev. That was when they all broke down. Since then hes built a small fort around his Gear to protect it, and has been touching it up ever since. Hes a great mechanic, but just a tad crazy. Be careful. No one really knows how hes lived this long. You should find him just a thousand meters or so to the northwest. He should have what youre looking for.
Alright. Thank you very much.
Solus walked down a dusty street in Dazil. It was late, most merchants had already closed shop and left. He passed through Dazils gates and walked across Aveh desert. Soon, as he came up and over a dune, he found their camp. Gabe was kneeling down, all power turned off. Taran and Elly were laughing next to a fire. Solus didnt see Jinn, but he saw a lygirs tail twitching behind the Gear. He went down toward the fire and dropped the supplies.
Elly looked up at him. Good, youre back. Weve got a long day ahead, lets get some sleep. Jinn can take the first watch.
Taran pulled off his shirt, wadded it up, and placed it under his head as he stretched out flat on the sand. Gnight Ms. Elly.
Good night Taran. Good night Solus.
Good night Elly, Taran. Solus walked over toward his Gear, then around to Jinn. She was sitting, leaning against Gabes back, her head down. She looked over at him as he came near.
When you go, can I come with you?
I need help. And well Taran and Elly are nice but I need
Jinn where I go you cannot follow. We each have our own paths to follow. Dont worry though. I can assure you that our paths will cross again.
I I am Mara, once an assassin of Teveth Shadow Blade. Yes, it exists. After failing to kill my target, I became the target. Being of such credentials, and yet no longer having strong ties to the order, Phalanx hired me individually to steal one of Ethos Soul-Stones in return for protection.
Well, all the details were not as clear, but you are dressed as a ninja, and that necklace youre wearing is certainly Shadow Blades insignia. As for the Soul-Stone, I pieced that together with my talk with Elly.
And you didnt say anything? Solus did not say anything again. I I dont want that any more though. I need something better. I want to get away from all of it. And I think I know you can take me there.
He nodded. I can. You continue your life. Ill continue mine. And when God sees it fit, I will come back for you.
I I dont know what to say. I
Go to sleep Jinn. I will wake you for your watch.
Lance, come in please.
Immediately the man was through the door and standing by a bed. Kyrin lay on it, eyes closed so peacefully. How is she?
Lance, we did everything we could. Zetasols and all the other medicines had no effect. Ether didnt work either. She was just beaten too bad. There was nothing we could do.
What are you sayin doc?
We tried out best. Weve been over her every minute since she came in. I myself am gonna need a dozen shots of zin just to get a spark of magic back in me
Lance grabbed the man by the collar and lifted him into the air. Whatre you sayin!
Shes Kyrin will die.
Well, I think things are progressing nicely. Got some more characters involved, so things should be heating up soon. Chapter fours pretty cool, at least I think so. What do YOU think? Why dont you tell me (hint hint) email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep reading for a little visit from some of our close friends from the world of Chrono Trigger (no, this is not going to turn into a cross-over.)
Thanks for reading
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