Time of the Gospel Chapter 4
Much obliged sir, I thank you. A man in a brown cloak parted from a band of dunemen as they began to set up their shop. He had been blessed. The traders he caught a ride with owned the fasted sea transport he had ever ridden. They had made the cross to Teveth in record time, probably reaching 800 repsol.
Wystave, as always, was bustling with activity. As he walked down a wide, cobblestone street, venders, storekeepers, and many other people that crowded the path continually pestered him. All types of people, and some creatures, attempted to sell him all types of things. The trade city was a beach for everything that the waves of treasure-hunters, scavengers, bargainers, and merchants crashed ashore.
Azule attempted to pass unnoticed, but failed. From behind a temporary, wooden counter, another man called out to him. Sir, excuse me, sir! Would you care to buy anything? Ill even let you give me that old robe as part of your payment. As you can see, I have much finer clothes for you to take. This one here in fact is made of cloth as well as
Dont listen to him. A merchant on the opposite side of the street shouted. Its food you need. All of my produce was picked fresh this morning from our garden outside of town. It is sure to rejuvenate both body and the spirit. The cloaked man continued down the street. Fine then. You sir, this wondrous fruit was grown with only the finest of fertilizer and no? Very well, madam?
Further into the market, his way was blocked by a crowd of people, even denser than the flowing river of potential customers that flooded the main path. They were gathered around two men who had stacked up several crates and were now standing upon them. Me and Vicks kept going, pressing ever onward, downward into the depths. He was a middle-aged man, his clothes worn and torn. A bandana went around his head, holding his hair out of eyes that transfixed the crowd and persuaded them to listen. His smile was the most peculiar, open in a wide grin, it made Azule question the truth of his tale. Then, we finally entered the old wreckage: a small chamber from the mythical Solaris!
Thats right. the other confirmed. Vicks bore the same appearance as the first man, but he was just a tad taller. Unfortunately, a giant sea creature found us too. With huge, gnashing jaws, he bit into my arm. While he spoke, the other used his hands and separated fingers to represent long teeth. The mouth opened as wide as he could stretch his arms and closed down so its teeth fit together. It then bit Vicks in the arm where a long, faded white bandage was wrapped, a blotch of red still showing through. Luckily for me, Piette here came to the rescue with our dolphin guide and beat the monster back.
Inside the black, submerged, capsule, we shone our light around. Vicks placed an old miners hat over his head and turned on the headlamp. Piette continued: Finally, we found what we were looking for. Vicks pointed his light behind them and held a large, wooden chest above his head. It was painted a dark green and had gold plaiting along with a gray padlock. We were unable to open it, so we hooked it to the crane and had Wedge haul it up. Then, we came here to share our wealth.
Next to the chest we found a small vile Piette pulled it out of his pocket. We believe it to be Drive. From seemingly nowhere, another man emerged. Told to increase ones strength tenfold, Wedge will be the determining factor of the truth. Piette handed the man the vile. He took it, and drank.
Whoa, already I feel light I could move the world! I could, I could, break something! Give me that chest. Now, well finally see whats inside here hya! His forehead slammed into the wooden box and crashed through it. Splinters flew everywhere and wooden fragments fell to the ground. When sawdust had cleared, Wedge was holding a wooden board lined with vises, identical to the one he had drunk. Hey, we could sell these!
I dunno Vicks protested. They are ancient relics; we should probably hand them over to The Legion or Ase, maybe even the local government.
Forget them, Vicks. The people have a right to their past. Come on, lets sell the legendary potions for just 200 Gold each
Azule left the scene laughing. What a clever ploy, but false all the more. Further down, the crowds thinned as the promenade met with a white stone wall. It rose up one floor with a scene above quite similar to that of the market. Green plants stretched up the steep rock. There were two, locked doors: one on either side of an arched tunnel in the center. It was much the same shape as a giant keyhole. One step through, it appeared to be an intersection, two of the same styled tunnels reaching to the left and right while just seven sharls ahead was another public square. Lying against the wall were two drunks and standing against it another man. Several places had open entrances cut into the wall that led to enclosed shops that carried regular, and (most of the time) useful items for sale. It was a sign of strength amongst the merchants of Wystave to be located inside, in a permanent facility, for it meant you had accumulated enough wealth to become a stable business man: the goal for most of the street peddlers.
To one side of the tunnel, a staircase overtook it and made its way up. Once at the top, Azule saw that he was on a flat, stone complex that winded through the open markets. He entered a small tower and a Stepping Stone took him to the top. Through a window that stretched 360 degrees around the tower he gazed down at the city below and saw an immediate pattern. The city was roughly divided into nine square regions. Six of the outer sections were free markets surrounded by the thick, white walls that contained shops within. One was a poor residential slum. The eighth was a harbor, half of it exposed to the ocean. The central area was exactly as the six, but it was raised one floor higher and held the richer residents homes underneath.
Back in one divider, Azule questioned one of the drunks on the ground. Where can I get a good zin? It was a scruff voice, not his own, but it was necessary to appear tough when in such a place.
Ugh Ive gotta headache. Stop shouting! I I dunno, hicup! probly at the oth, hic, side of town in th norwes hicup wall. Hic!
Thank you. On his way there, he noticed a small Kibold hop upon a wooden counter and take a small pistol, then run off. Another of the small mice-like creatures stole a small pouch of gold. Azule took out some of his own coins and bought himself a long sword. With it, he cut his outer cloak into two legs as opposed to a robe. He then followed the vermin thieves. In an alley, between two buildings that rose from the base of the square, four Kibolds gathered around a black clad man. Stepping up to him, the knight spoke up: I place you under judgement. Surrender now or face the wrath of God.
The man turned to him, looked him over, and laughed. Hah! What do you think you are, a Pointiff or something? Ha! You had best run before you get hurt! Taking the pistol from one of the mice he fired it at Azule. The bullet flew. The holy warrior reached his fist out and snatched it. The dark man stood, surprised and terror stricken. ~! You really are a Pointiff! Ahh! He turned and ran out of the alley into the vast mass of people.
The wrath of God it is. Not a wise decision. Taking pursuit he too ran into the crowds. So much for not attracting attention. Oh well, I cannot let someone get away after declaring judgement. That would bring disgrace to God
Azule stopped running when he reached the edge of the central region. Slowly, the thief walked to the edge, panting for breath. Ha haha I lost him. Looking down, he saw a sword with the tip to his heart. How how
If you give up I shall only turn you in to local authorities. If not
Ahh! The man slowly backed away, and tripped off of the top of the wall. Flailing arms reached out and grabbed Azules cloak. They both fell off the edge and crashed onto the stone laid floor of the city.
The knight got to his feet, approached the sinner, and drove the blade into him. Upon contact, the tip of the blade broke off. Very well then your execution shall be prolonged. A crowd had gathered and Azule spoke to them. Turn this man in. After that, he was gone.
At the upper market, a vendor turned to take out a spear for another customer. When he glanced again at a wooden table he had set up earlier that morning he saw a sword he had passed off to an earlier sucker. It was broken at the tip, where the super glue had once held it. After the potential buyer saw the shattered blade, the merchant received very few customers for the rest of that day.
You two, secure the ship. Then meet us where ~ are we going?
If I may, sir. Javen began. Five stood on a dock at the harbor of Wystave. Winx Oron, as always clad in fine clothes: a cloak, a clean, white shirt, several gold necklaces, rings, and other accessories. His blond hair, pulled back with chemical hair care supplies, became even brighter under the hot, eastern sun. His strong arms were resting over the shoulders of two amazoness look-alikes. Strips of black leather attracted the sun (as well as the stare of most male traders) to their otherwise bare skin, tanning it even further than it already was. Javen was dressed elegantly, far too much so to blend in with anyone save the few who actually managed to convince someone to buy their products without haggling. Furthermore, his steel arm identified him in any crowd.
Noah on the other hand, became invisible when he merged with the populous. Primarily, he did not enjoy being associated with the rest of his companions and felt no need to appear superior on the outside. Then, there was the fact that it was far easier to defend his companions when the enemy was not aware of a bodyguard. This poster here, Javen pointed. Nailed onto a wall was a painting of a long, coiling serpent rising from waves of the sea. With black letters words were written at the bottom: Follow the tide. Come to the Leviathan to access your magic, or just get drunk off it. Located in the north west wall.
The man said to follow the tide Alright. Winx shouted back to two men tying up the boat. Meet us at the Leviathan.
Walking over the top of a long building that served as a bridge to cross two market squares, the five of them were given free access as people cleared the way for the rich. Children had yet to learn such respect. Two kids playing a game of tag ran in front of them and bumped into Noah. The boy fell back and landed on the ground. Not moved by the collision, Noah instantly had drawn one of his swords and held it above the child, ready to strike. His heart had grown cold over the years of serving under Oron. Then, he saw the boys eyes. There was a look of fear, but also a gaze of innocence. Innocent, just as Sara looked at him. Sheathing his blade, the man extended his hand and helped the boy up. Be careful.
Although most of the items for sale were simply excess luxuries that the group already had plenty of, one thing caught Javens attention. Stepping over to a merchant he asked, What is that youre selling.
Oh, sir, it is a laborer, capable of performing any task you require. The price is based on the task.
Actually, Spinning around, Javen stared intently at the speaking object. It was close to human in shape, yet far from it. Its skin was plated with gold that reflected the suns light. Its head was a golden dome with two green bulbs that appeared to be optical sensors. On its back, the machine was carrying a large, black cylinder with a pipe sprouting up. I am a robot trying to buy the parts necessary to return to my home.
A robot? Who are you?
My serial number is R-66Y, but my friends call me Robo
Robo huh, where do you come from?
Javen, come on. This is important. The sooner, the better.
Yes sir. Not far they went down a flight of stairs and entered a long, man-made tunnel. Hanging from the roof was metal sign with flashing lights that read Leviathan Bar. Next to the sign was an open door that led to a large room. The floor was covered with a mosaic of multi-tented tiles, the ceiling and walls, except for the door and two windows, were made of a mix between brick and iron, an alternation between the two. Around the room were several electric lights that were needed despite the windows. Throughout the bar were several round, wooden tables which were waited on by two girls (though there was enough Ether in the room to float any drink) with a striking resemblance to the two next to Winx. To one side of the room was the actual bar. Behind it was the bartender: a tall, broad man with a round, smooth, bald head. His expression did not appear any friendlier.
Stepping up to the bar, Oron dropped a gold coin into the mans hand and was rewarded with a glass of ail from a keg. After sitting down, Javen and the two girls joined him at a table. Well now what?
Taking a seat at their table, a man broke in. Perhaps I can be of assistance. He was wearing a simple, white robe, a rope tied around his waist, a hood hiding his face. My name is Lomon, and I have been sent by the tides.
At this, Winxs ears perked up and his pistol went back down. Do you know how to activate Gears?
Lomon took a sip of his drink and then nodded. Yes. But you must be patient. Im not just here to give it to you after all. I must see if you are worthy.
Very well, test me.
What do you plan on doing once you can activate Gears?
A mischievous grin came across Orons face. Why, rule the entire world with an iron fist of course. Sure there are many people Id obliterate, King Fatima and all of Ethos for starters, but those are just details.
Youre kidding, right?
Very well. Let me ponder this response. Taking his cup, Lomon soon emptied it into his mouth. The monk then closed his eyes and froze in place, as if under some type of movement restricting spell.
What ~ is he doing? Winx demanded.
Javen waved his hand infront of the still mans face to check for any response. There was none. Personally, Javen began, I think hes insane." The four of them sat there for a while, sipping their own drinks, and waiting for him to wake again.
For almost half of an hour he stayed there. The motionless monk seemed to effect all at the table, each of the four waiting patiently. The effect, however, was unable to reach beyond them, and the rest of the bar bustled with activity. People came in and out (most drunk during the latter, some during the former as well,) waitresses passed around food and drink, and kegs continued to be emptied. Noise filled the room as everyone carried on their own conversations, including a trio of middle aged men: dressed in worn clothes, one holding a white cloth with a faded ketchup stain, the others sifting through fistfuls of coins, each gloating about selling flavored water for 200 gold. Slowly, but finally, Lomon began to regain consciousness and opened his eyes. Yes good.
What was that about?
I will tell you how to resurrect the angels. But I will worn you, it demands some sacrifice on your behalf. Come, I shall demonstrate.
Sitting at another table, Azule kept his radiance concealed by his brown cloak. Occasionally, he would raise an empty mug to his lips to appear to be drinking, but he was highly focused on listening to the others. Sacrifice Yes, I remember something about that when I studied the Gears. Its true then. The shadow shall be able to grow unless the light intervenes. I must inform the archbishop. But first, I should attempt to slay the shadow myself No, that is what caused its strength. But what if I am the light..?
Excuse me. Looking up, he saw a man standing behind him. He was tall, masculine, had long, unkempt, brown hair, slowly turning gray, and a goatee over his lip and around his chin. If you would please step outside with me. A small point, the edge of a blade, poked into the disguised knights unarmored back.
Very well. Slowly, the two made their way out of the bar and into one of the long tunnels. As he stepped through the doorway Azule shouted, Everyone out. In a moment the hall was deserted.
Believe me Pointiff, I do not wish to do this any more than you. But, I cannot allow you to kill Oron. If you did, then well, nevermind. Come on. Noah shoved the knight forward into a thick wall. There, he fell to his knees. Come now, fight! Draw your sword or it wont be honorable to kill you. Ill still do it though. Fine then. The bodyguard took his broad blade and drove it down towards the kneeling knight. Several feet above, he hit something hard and could not press further.
My faith is stronger than your weapon.
Maybe, Pointiff, but my sin is darker than your faith. Darblo Ki! He rose the blade to his forehead, the two edges facing him and his enemy, so that his eyes were on either side. From the hilt of the sword, a small, dark mist began to wrap around the blade, working its way up. The weapon became pitch black, no depth possible to make out, only an outline of black. Soon, Noah and his clothes were consumed by darkness as well. The shadow made quick, fast blows with his sword, a black scar forming on anything he hit. After he had shattered the shield, Azule began to collect black gashes until his whole body was black as Noah. Then, they both regained their color, Azule taking on more red than before the attack as he was covered with his own blood.
Still you do not draw your sword, why!? The knight knelt, panting, pressing his hand against his chest, just under his shoulder, where the largest wound was. Ah, perhaps he has no sword. Very well, I know I will regret this later. Drawing out another blade he tossed it to the Pointiff. And I suppose that last attack was not fair either, not without a chance of defense. Fine then, cure yourself.
I thank you. Bowing his head in prayer, a white light circled around him. When the flash was over he was completely cured. Now, if you must proceed, I warn you I shall take up arms.
Noah, what are you doing!? The two warriors turned and saw Oron leaving the bar.
I er this is an assassin, sir. You are a target, I was doing my job.
Very well, hurry it up though. Winx, Javen, Lomon, and two girls briskly jogged out of the tunnel, leaving the two to battle.
Now must you fight? the knight asked.
No. Noah put his blade in the sheath on his back and knelt before the holy warrior. I am sorry sir, but while Oron is watching, I must attack.
I understand. I forgive you, and with proper ceremonies God shall too.
Perhaps for this. But today has been one of my most holiest.
Any time you can, come to Ethos. Send for me and we shall go through purification.
Thank you, my name is Noah.
And I am Azule. The two clasped hands. I must be off now,
I still cannot let you kill Oron.
Then we again shall meet in battle, but not today.
You are not here to kill
No. I am going to Zion, to discuss this turn of events with the Arch Bishop and Ethos Council. Until we next meet, farewell. After returning the sword, he walked away.
Noah, Oron whos that!?
Turning, Noah saw one of the two guards who had secured the ship. The mans instincts, those of appearing inexpendable: to make sure his daughters life would stay secure, kicked in. Azule, Die! He charged forward and drove the sword back into the knights hand. It appears that day is upon us. He whispered. Drawing out his other sword he lightly, but quickly, slashed at the warrior four times. He then shouted, Ba Fyuje! The man disappeared, then appeared again next to Azule. He brought his sword down, but it met the same that Azule wielded. He was gone again, then another attack to the opposite side. The Pointiff whirled around and defended. The pattern repeated: Noah flickered in and out of sight, each time driving another blow, and each time, it was deflected by Azules sword.
Azule let out a roar of his own, Repent! Ba Fyuje! The knight disappeared, then appeared again next to Noah. He brought his borrowed sword down, but it was parried. The Pointiff went about the exact movements Noah had before, except his strikes were more effective. Finally ceasing the attack, Azule went strait to launch another. After three blows he called out Judgement! and raised the sword to the sky. There was a clap of thunder and a surge of light poured into the edge of the blade. A sphere of white light erupted from the Pointiff, passing through everything except Noah, who it knocked to the ground. Azule then lowered the tip and a continuous bolt of lightning poured into Noahs fallen form until it had completely drained out of the sword.
Ah ~! Noah cursed as he got back to his feet. The man searched his pockets and pulled out a small elixir: an Aquasol S, which he eagerly drank.
Azule, at the other end of the hall, was again bowed in prayer. Quietly he spoke, Your Glory Revealed. From behind him, from the end of the tunnel, a bright light shone forth. Soon, the entire hall was flooded with its brilliance. Both Noah and the Phalanx guard fell back. The light blinded them and struck fear into their hearts. When the tunnel dimmed, the guard fled and Noah sheathed his sword.
I I am sorry I caused you trouble. He apologized. Until we meet again.
Azule looked towards the sky, closed his eyes, and thanked the Lord. He then went back inside the bar and gave the sword to the barkeeper incase Noah would return. Now, I must go to the Holy City. But first I need to return home. Paying for passage aboard another vessel, he left Wystave.
Just outside of the city, up on a hill (part of a range of mountains that bordered Wystaves south) six were made to look minute standing next to a giant robot. The titan was shaped as a human, wearing white steel armor. It had jet engines mounted on its back and a large gun in its hand. Hmm Javen looked over the Gear. About 15 meters tall, probably 25 tons That gun its probably a Kislev model.
What do you think Javen? Oron asked.
This is definitely an old Kislev Gear, but its a piece of ~.
Oron turned to glare at Lomon, still keeping his calm. Why are you showing me how to resurrect ~?
Trust me. The man responded. The same procedure works on any Gear, or most any machine for that matter. He took out a small crystal, a fragment of a Soul-Stone, and placed it before the giant. Now, about your contribution
Noah and the guard climbed up the hill and met the others circled around the Gear. Seeing him, Winx smiled. Uhm Noah, could you, take care of something for us?
What is it? Make it fast.
Could you perhaps, kill him for us? Oron gestured to the man climbing the rocks with him.
Angry now, Winx began to finger the Life-Stone that hung on one of his necklaces. Do it! he then added, And you bad best hurry, hes getting away.
Noah raced back down the hill and soon caught up to the fleeing ex-guard. The man fired his gun, but, still frightened and poor sighted from the astonishing light Azule had summoned, he missed. Noah recovered more quickly and drove his sword through his heart. Dragging the limp body back up the hill, he lay it in front of Lomon. Oron turned to the monk and offered the deceased, Here is the sacrifice.
Thank you. Now Lomon first covered the Soul-Stone with zin. He then raised the sacrifice above his head with both hands and let the guards blood drip onto the fragmented Stone. With each drop, its white grew increasingly darker, until it became black. Dropping the body, the Stone took its place and was raised to the Gear. Slowly, but at an ever-growing speed, the black fragment began to break up into small, round specks. Like fairies, they flew to the heart of giant. Its eyes lit up. The sound of an engine broke the relative silence.
Now what? Javen inquired.
Now ha, ha ha now, we raise hell.
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