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The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) - Literature (12) - Nairaland

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cassbeat(m): 11:19am On Jul 26
@obehid yea I remember the song and I am glad my username reminds u of something... I do know the song it was sang by kassanova I no know where that kind person dey nowadays... By the by waiting pon tomorrow like.......
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 2:00pm On Jul 26
Obehid I am looking forward to a big fight between Nebud and Fajarhomo. It is obvious there will be one because one have hurt the other badly and that other will like to revenge. That revenge will definitely is expected to be bloody.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Dranoid: 3:52pm On Jul 26
obehiD:


@Dranoid cry cry cry Are you back?! Where have you been? I've missed seeing your comments for so looooooooong. Please tell me you're back grin

Yeah I am, but I missed the entire book 3! *sigh* ,I was about to start reading it when the topic got removed, what's happening? It happened to the book 2 too
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Dathypebruv(m): 12:35am On Jul 27
Where art thou ObehiD ��
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:41am On Jul 27
@cassbeat lol, yeah, that song was a 'jam' back in my secondary school days, hahaha. The wait is over, tomorrow has come

@Fazemood Well, I agree that we definitely have not seen the last of the beef between Nebud and Fajahromo... wink

@Dranoid yes oh, I had those topics taken down because I've started the process of getting the Marked series published! It's very exciting, but it also means that I can no longer make those books available, until they are published

@Dathypebruv Thou art here lol!

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:42am On Jul 27
Part 3
-------

I was woken by an irritating screeching sound. I could not have been sleeping long, in fact it felt as if I had only just gone to bed. Maybe I had gotten an hour of sleep, probably less I mused as the screeching continued. Stifling a sigh, I lifted my ailerons out of the comfortable net, and rose to a sitting position on the bed.

The room was dark, so although I could still hear the sound, I could not see its source. A snap of my finger quickly solved that problem. The expensive suite, which I had rented from a lodging in the wealthy merchant’s section of the Katsoaru Acropolis, had walls made from clouds. The clouds had been given hearing so that when I snapped my fingers, the light in them switched states. Now red light poured from the walls, filling the room with an unusual glow.

With the lighting I could finally see the source of the screeching sound which had so abruptly cut off my rest.

“Musa.” I chided, jumping off my bed and walking to the imp kneeling on the floor in front of the hard fog door which led into the room. It held on fast to one of the swan’s legs with one hand, while its other arm was suspended in the air, attempting to shield its face from the scratching of another of the swan’s legs. The creature’s last two legs scraped against the hard fog door.

With a sigh, I took the precious creature from the imp, smiling when it flew in the air and chose to drape itself over my shoulder. It wound its long neck around mine, and scraped softly against the skin on my neck, above my scales, with its beak.

“Master.” Musa said, rising to its feet. It had a frown on its face as it stared down at its lacerated arm. Then I watched as the cut skin healed, with pansophy I surmised. Its injuries now seen to, Musa turned the full burn of its angry face on me, and then on the swan on my shoulder as it pointed at the creature. “That thing…” Musa began.

I tsked at it, cutting it off before it could insult such a noble beast. “I don’t think I like that tone.” I warned.

Musa gasped. “It was trying to escape!” Musa yelled in outrage.

I shook my head at the imp, turning my focus to the swan instead. With my fingers, I stroked the soft white skin of the swan’s head cooing to it as I asked, “Is that true?”

“Is that true?” Musa snorted. “After everything that we’ve been through, you would take an animal’s word over mine?” The shock was so evident in its voice and on the lines in its face that I found myself chuckling at its outrage. In all the time we had been together, I had never seen the imp so distraught.

“Of course not.” I replied, still stroking the swan. “Tell me your side of the story.” I said agreeably.

“My side?” It shook its head, its mouth hanging open, as if it was too stupefied to speak. “Honestly master, I am…I am…offended. That…”

I narrowed my eyes in warning when I suspected the imp was about to hurl another unflattering name at the swan.

Musa threw its hands up in the air. “Fine. You sleep with it!” It snapped. “I don’t like those creatures, still I slept by it. And when I heard it trying to leave, what did I do? Say good riddance and let it leave? No, I woke up and went to try my best to restrain it. I even used pansophy to try to take away its motion so that it wouldn’t…” It cut itself short as the words fizzled to a stop.

With an indulgent smile on my face, I asked. “And what did you do wrong?”

Musa shook its head at me and then it laughed. “I suppose I was a little groggy after I woke and found the swan by the door. I forgot that frosted beasts are immune to magic, that they can sense its use. That was probably why the swan became aggressive.”

“Well done.” I praised, laughing out when the imp just shook its head even more, the smile on its face now morphed into a grin. “Sit.” I said, pointing to the much higher bed which I had slept on.

Warily, the imp perched on the bed. It had a single eyebrow raised as it stared up at me. With a smile on my face, I reached for the swan now resting on my shoulder. Once Musa became aware of my intentions, it jumped off the bed and backed away.

“Master,” it said, taking a step back. “I do not like the swan.”

I stopped moving, transferred the swan to one hand, and pointed the other back at the bed. “Sit.” I repeated.

“Master…”

It was my turn to raise an eyebrow. With a heavy sigh and drooping shoulders, Musa slumped onto the bed. It drew back slightly as I gently placed the swan in its lap.

“Master!” Musa cried, when the swan immediately began to scratch its beak along Musa’s chest, tearing the skin. The swan’s clawed feet also moved rapidly, shredding Musa’s trousers.

“Relax.” I said. “Let out your pain.”

“What?” it asked, its voice raising when the swan showed no sign of abating in its assault.

“You tried to use pansophy on the swan Musa, it does not know why, it simply sees you as the enemy now. You have been hiding your pain, but you need to let it out. It is the only language that the swan speaks. Let out your pain and the swan will understand that you mean it no harm.”

Musa’s brows furrowed in disbelief. Still, after a few seconds passed, it let out the emotion it had been hiding. As soon as the pain was uncovered, I felt it. I felt the beauty of it, not nearly as overwhelming as the swan’s, but still awing. Slowly, the swan’s feet stopped moving, its beak stopped its scratching, as its head stroked against Musa’s slightly abraded skin.

I backed away then, leaving the both of them to get better acquainted. As soon as my back touched the fog door, the form left it. I walked out of the room, and the fog hardened behind me. The rest of the suite was as dark as my room had been when I first woke. A simple snap of my fingers fixed that problem.

The suite was broken into four compartments. There was the single sleeping room which I shared with Musa, an open space with smaller net-less lounging beds for entertaining, a cooking room to the left of the open space, and a cleaning room to the right. I walked over to the cleaning room. Compared to the one in the resort, this one was quite underwhelming, but there was a much larger public one in the lodging, so it was acceptable.

There was a tunnel leading into the cleaning area, that tunnel was filled with a combination of cloud and hail-seeds. Hail, like the other souls of the spectrums, had spectra in it. With the right eyes, hail could be used to drain any creature of its heat or cool. I had read a particular story in one of my tomes, of uspecs who used hail to create an inferno. It was a feat of magic I could not wait to try. The hail-seeds in the tunnel heated the moisture in the clouds. Those seeds had been coated with cleaning salts so that the salts soaked into my skin as I walked through the tunnel. Now that I had more experience with them, the salts were quite bearable.

I emerged from the tunnel to a small okun pond. Although it was quite unimpressive, not nearly large enough to swim in, it was the largest pond in any suite in the entire lodging. Soaru uspecs truly did not feel as we did about okuns. I stepped into the okun and let the dark salts push off the cleaning ones. I dunked in, bending at the knee so that all of my body was submerged in the liquid. Then I pulled myself out of the okun and walked back through the tunnel.

When I walked back into the room, I was greeted to a stirring scene. Musa had relaxed. It cradled the swan in its hands, stroking its skin as the swan’s neck curled around Musa’s arm. They were both so ensconced in each other that neither noticed me until I sat beside Musa on the bed. Its head snapped to the side then, its empty sockets staring at me. There was a smile of contentment on its face.

“It is beautiful master.” Musa’s soft voice sounded pleased.

The swan’s wings flapped then, it rose in the air, lifting itself off Musa’s lap and coming to rest on my shoulder. It wrapped its neck around my neck. I felt the depths of its pain then. There was something compelling about the pain, an enthralling piece that drew me in, urging me to examine it further. I reached for the swan’s pain through the lifeforce in mine, and I let it speak to me.

The swan showed me a dwelling. This dwelling reminded me of the ones I had seen while walking along the merchant’s block, coming to the place where we had found acceptable lodging. A sign hanging from the entrance to the dwelling showed that it was an inn, a high class one. From the swan’s pain, I could tell that the swan felt that the inn was home. It wanted to go there, that was why it had been scratching against the fog door.

“Tomorrow.” I said aloud.

The lighting in my mind was emphasized. I became more aware of the red glow of the clouds, as if the swan wanted me to note it. I realized then that it did not want to wait till the next day, it wanted to return that very night. As soon as I came to this realization, the swan pulled back, and I felt my vision clear, the glow of the room filling my eyes. There was a part of me that wanted to deny the swan’s request, a part of me that did not want to part with it. This was the second swan that I had encountered, the second one which had been drawn to me, surely that was a sign? But swans were frosted beasts, noble creatures, and I would be just as wrong as the criminals who’d caged it, if I refused to take it where it so desperately wanted to go.

“We are going out.” I stated, my voice sharper than intended. I should not be feeling the impending loss so keenly, but I could not help my reaction.

Musa rose. “Where to master?” it asked with a frown of puzzlement miring its face.

“To return the swan.” I replied.

“What?” it gasped. “Now? But it is still night master. Perhaps we can go in the morning.”

I shook my head. “The swan wants to return tonight.”

Musa’s shoulders drooped as it nodded. I could tell from its countenance that it would also be missing the swan. We dressed in relative silence. I walked over to the cupboard, turning my back on the imp as I garbed myself in the proper attire of my banneret rank. When I turned back around, Musa had changed its torn trousers and now had on a long-sleeved green shirt. It tucked the ends of its shirt into its trousers as I checked to make sure that my dagger, sword and bag of merit were in their right positions in my belt. Then we left the suite. Musa wore the key to our coffer and our room on the handy string around its neck.

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:43am On Jul 27
We exited the suite and emerged in the cloudy night. Unlike the scattering of clouds which had filled the commoners’ area, the merchants’ block was covered with cloud. It raised the degree of humidity to an altogether different level. Luckily, the clouds were mostly translucent, so even though it was difficult to see through them, it was not impossible. As soon as the percolation of pink liquid formed on my skin, I was itching to find new cover. I could not imagine how the soaru uspecs could live like this. Why would they bring the clouds down and have them fill the entire burg? It was unimaginable.

The swan wrapped its neck around me again, and I found myself drifting into and out of cognizance with the world. Through its pain, the swan was able to guide me to the inn it had showed me in its mind. Somehow, Musa was able to see clearly through the clouds and so we made it to the blue lit walls of the inn in less than an hour. As soon as the walls of the inn appeared, the light emerging from them, heralding its presence, the swan flew off my shoulder. Flapping its wings, the swan flew in circles in the slightly thicker clouds a few feet above our heads. I found it so hard to see through these clouds that once the swan rose to a high enough distance, it was completely lost to me.

So, I reached the entrance to the inn and simply stood there, waiting to see if the swan would return, or if it was already gone. A minute or two passed before I heard the flapping of wings, and then the swan returned, perching comfortably on my shoulder. It inclined its head, jutting its beak out towards the entrance. Nodding, I acquiesced to the creature’s wishes, and put my palm against the blue fog entrance.

As soon as I did this, the entire front wall covering the inn became translucent. It was simply magnificent. With this unobstructed view, I could see the glass tables and the chairs surrounding them. These chairs like all others where backless, basically curved stools with hands. A group of imps sat on a raised stage at the front of the room, I could tell from the way their mouths moved that they were singing. They all had eyes, all had streak-less skin and all wore expensive looking robes. Some of the imps played instruments. The back of the room had dark opaque fog which I watched eyeless imps walk out through, rolling carts laden with food. Right in front of the entrance, I saw a cyan counter, and two dressed uspecs standing behind it. The uspecs wore long white leather gowns and stood with their backs to me, their gazes on a part of the room which I could not see from the outside.

Insistent flapping of wings pulled my attention back to the swan. I could tell from the way it shuffled around on my shoulder that it was impatient to go in. So, I walked in through the transparent fog and watched it turn hard and opaque behind me. As soon as I walked in, my ears filled with the sounds of light conversation, gentle laughter, and sonorous voices accompanied by melodious instruments. This was unlike any inn that I had ever been in, but I had read of inns like this, expensive ones which boasted only the best of uspecs as their clientele. I wondered how much a good meal would cost in a place like this.

“Salutations noble one.” One of the uspecs standing behind the counter greeted. The uspec had two outer eyes on its face, but none of those eyes were imp eyes, which meant that this uspec like all the others which I had seen since coming here, had no spectra. “May I…” it stopped speaking as its eyes zoomed over to stare in alarm at the swan on my shoulder. The uspec reached for the other. It pinched the other’s dress between its fingers to get its attention. Once the uspec turned around, it pointed at the swan on my shoulder and said, “is that…”

A loud booming voice cut the uspec’s words off. “Mara!” the voice yelled.

Immediately, the swan flew off my shoulder. I turned to watch as my swan, the noble creature of the kute spectrum, flew to its master, a soaru uspec. I had never been more affronted in my life. If I had known that its master, its home, was with a soaru uspec, I would never have brought the swan here! Even as the words floated in my head, a voice cautioned me to be reasonable. Frosted beasts chose noble masers. They rarely ever chose to live outside their homes, but when they did, it was because they had found one deserving of the honor. I had hoped that this swan would choose to stay with me, that it would find in me the nobility required of a master of a frosted beast. It would have been the highest honor to own such a noble creature. I certainly wouldn’t have allowed it to get captured.

The soaru uspec which the swan had flown to hugged it tight. “Oh Mara,” it said, stroking the swan’s skin as the swan’s neck curled around the uspec, “is that really you? I searched everywhere for you. I missed you tata.”

The uspec was strangely dressed. It had on a maroon robe which seemed to be made of a mixture of fur and leather. The fringes of the coat were decorated with silver, to match the silver buttons running down the middle. The coat was buttoned up completely so that I could see nothing, not even the tentacles underneath it. On the uspec’s feet, it wore a strange cyan sole. Three uspecs stood behind it. Two of those uspecs where bannerets like me. They had silver neckcloths around their necks, silver belts around their waists, and silver sleeves covering each of their tentacles. Unlike me, they wore clothes made out of silver leather, shirts which fully covered their arms and trousers which covered their legs. The last uspec was a noble. It had two golden bands around each of its arms and had a black belt around its waist. It wore a simple sleeveless black leather robe which covered the rest of it. I noted that each of three uspecs had four of their outer eyes filled. None of them had imp eyes, which also meant that none of them had spectra. I found this very puzzling.

“Salutations my friend!” The same loud voice called out. Its reunion with the swan complete, it transferred the creature to its left hand, while it stretched out its right hand to me.

I looked suspiciously at the hand. I told myself that I would not shake it because it was foolish to touch an obviously wealthy uspec when it could have pansophy. But the truth was that I brimmed with jealousy that a soaru uspec had claimed ownership of a kute frosted beast.

With a frown on my face, I turned my open glare from the outstretched hand, to the uspec who’d offered it, in a clear sign that I had no intention of shaking its hand. For some reason, my response was met by outraged gasps. All three of the uspecs standing behind the one with the swan, put their hands on the hilt of their swords and began pulling it out. The one in front, obviously the leader of the group, pulled its hand back and rose it in the air, halting the warriors behind it.

“That’s fair enough banneret.” The uspec said, its voice still friendly, though it did not call me ‘my friend’ again. It had a wide smile on its face, and I noticed for the first time, that this uspec had all of its eyes filled. “Where did you find my pet?” It asked.

“In a kennel,” I replied, my words dripping with disdain. I ignored the gasps and the frowns on the faces of the uspec warriors. “It was set to fight against kares.”

The smile faded from the uspec’s face. With a frown of concern, it tightened its hold on the swan. “Do you mean it?” it asked, its gaze rising to meet mine. “In a kennel?”

I nodded, not even slightly sympathetic to the worry I heard in the uspec’s voice. If it was truly concerned about the swan, it would not have let it get caged. What if I had been late? What if I had left without walking into the fight-room? Those fools would have set the swan against hounds and the noble creature would be lost.

The uspec’s shoulders squared. “I owe you a debt of gratitude my friend. Tell me what you want as payment. Name it, and it will be yours.”

“Take better care of your swan. It is an honor when a frosted beast chooses you as its owner. You have been chosen by a noble kute creature, do not insult the trust it has placed in you. And I am no friend of yours.” I added that last part purely out of spite. I would make a much better owner. The uspec appeared to be about the same height as I was, but I could tell from the arms hidden by its sleeves that I was bulkier. Though, I grudgingly accepted, the uspec had some bulk to it.

Again, the warriors reached for the hilt of their weapons and again the uspec stopped them. The uspec bowed slightly to me. “I am aware of this honor, and I will take better care of Mara. Thank you banneret, I am truly in your debt.” It stopped speaking and stared at me. It studied me carefully, scrutinizing every inch of my body with a level of detail which I found unnerving. Its eyes met mine and we simply stared at each other. The longer the stare lasted, the more aware I became of the eyes on its face and what those eyes meant in terms of the magic which it possessed.

Then, the seriousness in the uspec’s expression lightened. It smiled at me and nodded. “Have a good night banneret.” It said, before walking out of the inn, taking the swan with it. The swan’s beak scraped against my arm as it passed, a goodbye gesture which I felt in its pain.

It wasn’t till all four of the uspecs left, that I felt Musa’s elbow poke into my side. I turned to stare at the imp and watched as it inclined its head to the counter. It was then that I saw the uspecs rise from their knees. I had been so occupied by my anger at the soaru uspec’s ownership of a swan, that I had not noticed that the uspecs’ who’d been standing behind the counter had fallen on their knees.

An odd sensation filled me as I turned to the uspecs to ask, “who was that?”

“You don’t know?” one asked.

The other spoke over it. “That was the imperial, Marcinus, second imperial in the line of the Kaisers of Katsoaru.”

Marcinus, I thought with a frown on my face, that was the uspec I had come to Katsoaru for, the one whose eye I had been tasked with stealing.

Interpreting the frown on my face as a lack of understanding, the uspec clarified. “It is Marcinus, noble one, the second offspring of the Kaiser of Katsoaru.”

2 Likes

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by tunjilomo(m): 9:09am On Jul 27
Can't wait for the showdown, and the mystery behind Nebud's mission.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cassbeat(m): 9:36am On Jul 27
Adonbilivit... Nice episode though
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by ayshow6102(m): 12:38pm On Jul 27
Thanks for the update waiting to see what will turn out of this sucide mission that it has embarked on
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Botaflica(m): 1:28am On Jul 28
Oh shoot, I knew it will play out like this. But how will he play along to get the eyes of Marcinus. Something crazy about to play out
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:29am On Jul 29
@tunjilomo lol, yes oh, it's going to be a real showdown grin

@cassbeat thank you, but what don't you believe?

@ayshow6102 thanks for reading the update smiley! Hahahahaha! I love that, it's really 'suicide mission' lol!

@Botaflica Yes oh, how indeed? I agree with you, something crazy is indeed about to play out cheesy
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by HotB: 3:39pm On Jul 30
Eyes from an uspec must have some significance then...

By the way, am always wowed by ur choice of diction and construction. Weh done work!
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:55am On Jul 31
HotB:
Eyes from an uspec must have some significance then...

By the way, am always wowed by ur choice of diction and construction. Weh done work!

Thank you!!! grin

And yes, uspec eyes give spectra, which is a kind of spectral existence magic.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:56am On Jul 31
Part 4
--------

The pounding of a fist against the suite door pulled me out of slumber. Soft orange light streamed in through a hole in the ceiling of the room. The hole was covered with a material which only allowed daylight to come in. At night, the lighting from the clouds were blocked out, allowing complete darkness in the room. I snapped my fingers, and the red glow emerged from the walls, almost overpowering the orange. The daylight was persistent though, making itself known in the tinting of the wall’s light.

The pounding stopped. As I stepped out of my bed, I heard the light undertones of voices. Musa’s voice was familiar, the other was not. Soon silence filled the apartment. There was a wooden bucket in the corner of the room. I walked over to it, pleased to see that Musa had thoughtfully filled it with okun. A cloth was draped over the side of the bucket. I put that cloth into the bucket and then pulled it out and slapped the wet material over my face. By the time I returned the cloth to its previous position, I caught sight of Musa out of my side eye.

I turned to face the imp. I frowned when the look of concern it had on its face registered on me. What had the imp so worried? “What is it Musa?”

Musa sighed. Its shoulders drooped and its head hung. “It is time to pay the piper master.” It said.

The frown on my face deepened as I continued to stare at the imp. “What are you talking about?”

“There are royal imps waiting outside our door master, they are here to take you to the Kaiser’s Chateau. The imperial one, Marcinus, sent for you.”

I groaned. I suppose it had been too much to wish that the events of the night before had all been part of a bad dream. Marcinus. There was a part of me that was still annoyed at the uspec. I hated that it had been so reckless with a creature so pure. Yet, every time I replayed the events of our run-in at the inn, I scolded myself for my behavior. The uspec had been repentant. That was the real befuddlement, it had even appeared somewhat deferential. I had met few nobles, and the only thing they all had in common was that they never allowed an uspec of a lower rank to speak down to them. As I had done to a Kaiser’s offspring. Well, its behavior the night before must have been a charade, it obviously meant to make me pay now.

My mind darted to the eye. Marcinus’ eye, the thing that had brought me to Katsoaru. But Marcinus had all of its eye sockets filled, so which one was I supposed to take. I laughed at my own optimism. As if I would get the opportunity. The uspec had all of its eyes, which meant that it had spectra, the full range of it. It could kill me before I even had the chance to reach for its eye. So how was I supposed to take it? Couldn’t the voice in my head have sent me after an easier uspec? Perhaps one without spectra, one that was not an imperial.

“I suppose we cannot turn down the invitation?” I asked, only mildly joking.

Musa gasped. “Master!” It exclaimed, obviously missing the teasing undertones in my voice. “It is an imperial one. We cannot dare. We must hurry master, after the events of last night, it will not look kindly on us if we keep it waiting.”

I nodded, walking over to the wardrobe to retrieve my adornments. Different questions floated around in my mind as I thought of the uspec Marcinus. What kind of noble was it? I fastened the neckcloth over the scales on my neck. A slight tug on my tail, had me spinning around immediately. Apparently, I was not moving fast enough for Musa. The imp had grabbed the silver sleeve itself and was now pulling it over my tail. I snickered at the agitated way in which it dressed me.

Musa grabbed my belt, and fixed it around my waist. I felt the weight of the merit-pouch in the pocket, and the dagger in its sheath. As Musa handed the cyan cutlass to me, it began speaking. “You remember the nobles master? And the way you greet them?” it asked. Then it forged ahead without giving me the chance to reply. “The Kaiser is the most powerful noble in any port, they alone wear five golden armbands around their arms. As a noble, you are to genuflect and bow your head in deference. The imperials are of the same status as the dukes of a metropolis, both of which wear four golden armbands. In their presence you must curtsy deeply. You bow at the waist to the majestics and the burg sovereigns, both of which wear three golden bands. The wellborn nobles descended of the previously mentioned nobles, wear two golden bands, and are greeted with a neck bow. The one armband nobles are the wellborn ones descended of made nobles. As a made noble you are not required to greet them with any body gesture, but you must be respectful. As a banneret, you are one of the three made nobles, the lowest on the rung of nobles. Master!” Musa cried out when it looked up and found me staring down at it with twitching lips. I couldn’t help myself when I saw the flabbergasted look on its face. I burst out laughing.

“Master.” Musa scolded. “You deeply offended the imperial one the last time you saw it. It would have been within its rights to have you punished for your treatment, right then and there. It was probably too overcome by the return of its pet to deal with the formalities, but it obviously remembered your insult, because it chose to summon you first thing in the morning. Remember that you cannot let yourself slip master, you cannot give them cause to suspect you. Please take this seriously master, and please hold on to your temper.”

The imp’s words had its desired effect on me. I nodded at it. “I did not know that it was imperial. Honestly, I did not even know that it was noble. There were no signs of golden bands underneath its robe.”

Musa nodded, its flattened lips bending into an understanding smile. “Of course master, just make sure you point that out. Perhaps the imperial one will take pity on us. We should go master.”

Pity, I did not like the word, but I could not argue against the imp’s usage of it. I thought of how much I hated to be at another’s mercy, not after Fajahromo – just the thought of the name had anger coursing through me. If I left the port now, I would not have to deal with Marcinus and its world of nobles. I would be under no one.

“Take Marcinus’s eye. You are mine Nebud! You are mine.”

Even before the idea had fully formed in my head, the insistent voice returned. It prodded, it pushed, it screamed, it compelled. I could no more disobey it than I could force my heart to stop beating. I grabbed the cyan cutlass from the imp’s outstretched hand, and angrily stuck it into my sheath. Then I stormed out of the room, my mood blackened as I headed towards the suite door.

“Master please!” Musa implored as it ran after me. It did not have to complete its pleading, I knew what it was asking. It did not want me to offend the imperial one. I took a deep breath and forced the air out of me. Then, I placed my hand against the hard fog door of the entrance. This door, unlike the others in the suite, was made to grant entrance only to me and Musa.

There were two imps standing on the other side of the door. Both imps were eyeless and dressed in a fine-looking long-sleeved tunic. The ends of the grey material were fringed with gold. Both imps bowed deeply when they saw me. “Greetings domina.” They intoned, speaking together as if they were trained to. Their voices complemented each other, given off the air of a single person speaking, instead of the overlap expected from two. “Shall we lead you to the Chateau?” they asked.

I nodded curtly.

“Very well domina.” They replied.

Then the imps turned around and began walking through the light humid clouds. I wondered if I would ever get used to this place. In that moment though, I was grateful for the distraction of the percolation the clouds provided. It was due to that distraction that my mind did not dwell on the imperial one who had summoned me, or what awaited me. Was I expected to beg for the imperial one’s mercy? Would I do it? Never. Marcinus’s eye. I shook my head, my body physically trying to expel the aggravating voice.

It wasn’t long till we reached another building. For a dwelling in the wealthy part of the port, this one was rather low quality. It had painted sludge walls and a curtain entrance. Two guards stood in front of the entrance, but they stepped aside at the sight of us. We walked into a portal room.

In silence, we stepped into the hardened quicksand in the middle of the room and were transported to a bubble. It was a cloud bubble lift, one which I had seen pictures of in a tome, but this was my first time actually standing in it. The bubble hovered over the burg. I could see a good view of the different parts of the burg from the elevated position of the lift. I knew why the lift was necessary, I knew that the soaru Kaisers tended to build their Chateaus in the clouds. They were not built as high as the inter port trail – nothing was permitted to be that high – but they were built high enough that it would be a hardship to climb up to them.

Looking around, I counted ten uspecs standing around the bubble, none of them nobles. Suddenly, a darkness filled the bubble. It only lasted for an instant, and then we were standing in another red transparent cloud bubble. This one appeared different though, the walls seemed to be made up of firmer material. I could not see to the end of the bubble, but guards lined the walls of it. I saw more weapons than I had ever seen accumulated in a single place. It was a variety, from spears to hammers, from swords to hoes, axes and clubs, they were all there. The imps led us to the right of the bubble, past the unending lines of armed guards. Then, at long last, we reached the end of the bubble. The imps kept walking, into the fog, and so I followed after them.

I was essentially blind.

It was the thickest clouds that I had ever seen. I saw red light, but I could make out nothing through the red smog. I felt a hand clamp onto my right arm and immediately tried to pull myself free. What if the person touching me had pansophy, what if they were sifting through my thoughts? I panicked, tugging at my arm to free myself. Even if I got free where would I go. There was nothing but red around me, I could not even see my own body.

“Master, it is me.” I heard Musa’s whisper. It must have been close to me then, I thought, close enough that I could hear though it spoke so softly. “The clouds are so thick master, it is impossible to see through without extra sight. I have the sight master, I can see, I will guide you.”

“What is this?” I asked, hating the weakness the blindness brought.

“Some sort of security check I think. There is a counter in front of us master, and there are armed guards behind the counter. There is also a line of uspecs in front of the counter, some of them noble.” Musa stopped talking and I focused all of my attention on staying in step with it. I concentrated on it and on my arm, letting it guide me through the haze. “The royal imps are leading us around the line master.”

I nodded. “How does anyone see through this?” I demanded, trying to suppress the bitterness in my voice. I was a fighter, I had to be aware of my surroundings, especially when danger lurked at all corners. What if someone attacked me? Was this the imperial one’s punishment?

“They must have aqua-sight, it is a liquid with sight given to it. A drop in the eyes lasts for an hour. Forgive me master, I did not think to buy it.”

“What are we doing now?” I asked, wondering why I had not come across this detail in my tomes. I had read that the Kaisers built their palaces in the clouds, but I had thought it would be like the inter-port trail, not this.

“We are walking around the table master.” Musa’s hand dropped from around my arm and I was made even more aware of my lack of sight. I stopped walking, desperate to find out why the imp had abandoned me.

Before I could call out the imp’s name, I heard voices in front of me. “Salutations noble one.” I heard one say. “Please take out your weapons.”

This was too much. The loss of sight coupled with the loss of Musa’s guidance was more than I could bear. I placed my hand on the hilt of my cutlass, ready to pull it out and attack.

I felt the slight brush of a hand scraping against my ailerons.

Suddenly, I could see. I saw the guard standing in front of me, all three of its eyes staring questioningly at my hand on my cutlass. I saw the other guards standing behind the counter and the line of uspecs standing behind me. Musa stood to my right, its head bowed, its hands crossed behind it. The imps who had been sent to get me stood in front of me. They too stood with their hands behind their backs. Unlike Musa, their empty eye sockets seemed to be fixed on my hand gripping the hilt of my cutlass so tightly.

“Noble one.” The guard repeated. “Only guards serving the line of the Kaisers of Katsoaru can walk into the Chateau with their weapons.”

Of course, I thought, that made sense. My sight and sanity returned, I pulled out my cutlass and dagger, and handed them both over to the guard. The guard nodded. It turned around and I watched it take the weapons to an opaque wall of fog behind it. It put the weapons in, and its hands emerged with a metal tag. It brought that tag over to me. “To retrieve your weapons when you leave noble one.” It said, handing the tag over to me.

I took the tag and nodded to the guard. Placing the tag in a pocket in my belt, I followed the imps through an opening, into a walkway.

“Forgive me master.” Musa whispered once we walked a good distance away from the check-in. “I promised never to use pansophy on you without your permission, but I had no time to ask for it.”

I frowned at the imp’s words. It took longer than it should have for its words to make sense to me. “You gave me sight.” I stated. The imp nodded. “Thank you.”

Musa smiled at me, and then it nodded again.

The royal imps led us past blocks of rooms cordoned off by high red walls. We’d past about three of those rooms when one of the imps turned to the left and placed its hand on a hard wall of red fog. The fog went away, revealing a rectangular hole through which we could walk in.

The lack of humidity in this new room, told me that we were finally out of the maze of thick fogs.

“Banneret!” I heard the voice from the night before call. The time had come for me to ‘pay the piper’ as Musa had put it.

2 Likes

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by phoenixchap: 8:19pm On Jul 31
Nebud is still clueless as always, didn't see it coming after all the tome he has read and not to know of the mercinus and Kaiser's abode is lame, I pity his pitiful soul.. Good work ObehiD seriously you have done beyond expectations and you don't seem like you're resting on you hoaxes. Kudos
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by enamored1: 4:10am On Aug 01
I feel Marcinus should be a good fellow, at least since the frosted beast chose to be its pet. This really gives me the chills about the whoever it is that placed this instructions in Nebud's head.

'You are mine, Nebud. You are mine.'

Shudders!
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by ayshow6102(m): 7:38am On Aug 01
Thanks obehid for the update
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by phoenixchap: 8:51pm On Aug 02
@ObehiD this is unlike you, your updates has always been timely and consistent, hope all is well with u. Waiting for update since morning
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 2:35am On Aug 03
@phoenixchap thank you, I'm happy to see that you're seeing the hoaxes!!! As to Nebud, it couldn't have learnt everything possible after reading a couple of books over a number of months na, but hopefully it learnt enough to survive cheesy. As to the matter of updates, I've been updating every Wednesday and Saturday morning. I think you got it mixed up, it's been Saturday not Friday. I saw your comment and I even went to check my calendar cause I was thinking that I'd mixed up the days, lol. So yeah, it's Wednesday and Saturday mornings grin. And thanks for your continuous support and interest, it really means a lot to me grin

@enamored1 I won't say anything, but you're about to read it in the update. I'll let you decide about Marcinus and the voice in Nebud's head after reading wink But I must say, I like the way you put things together with this story...you're keeping me on my toes...thank you

@ayshow6102 thank you for thanking me grin and thanks for reading, I appreciate it!
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 2:36am On Aug 03
Part 5
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In Arigad’s last tome, before the annexation of its port, the Kaiser drew sketches for a gymnasium, a sporting room it planned to build. Unfortunately, neither the Kaiser nor its port had lived long enough to see that plan reach fruition. Looking around the room, I recognized some of the implements from drawings in Arigad’s tome. Several pillars of varying heights lined the room. These pillars defined a running course, for an uspec to run around the room by jumping from the head of one post to the next. The tallest pillar stopped about ten feet below the base of an inner balcony which ran along the right side of the room. Punching bags and sword mannequins appeared sporadically. As a kute, I was quick to note, and appreciate, the pond of okun in the furthest corner of the room.

I shivered a little, my body reacting to the chill in the room before my mind did. My eyes, all working in parallel, noted several things at once. I caught glances of the three uspecs standing by the sides of the room. One periodically struck a swinging bag, another ran the course of the pillars, and the last sat on a highchair in the left of the room, picking at the contents of a bowl.

The imps who’d led me to this room now stood further ahead of me, separated by a gap wide enough for three uspecs to walk through.

Marcinus walked through this gap.

The uspec strode calmly towards me, the corners of its mouth tipped upwards in a smile. It wore nothing but the golden armbands around each of its arms. The four bands proclaimed the status that I had failed to acknowledge when we first met. The uspec stopped in front of me, and Musa fell on its knees, bending forward so that its forehead touched the ground. It was a pose that suddenly made me aware of my lack of decorum.

I curtsied immediately, my left leg extending far behind me as my head dropped in a bow.

“There’s no need for that banneret,” the uspec stated, its tone deceptively congenial, “please rise.”

I rose. Standing so close to the uspec, I was forced to re-examine my previous summations of its bulk. It appeared as a fighter would. My eyes caught the gold on its arm, and I remembered myself.

I bowed slightly. “Please forgive me for last night imperial one, I did not know that you were, imperial.”

Marcinus laughed. I found something truly troubling about the rich sound. When I rose my head, I noticed the remnants of the laughter in the smile on the uspec’s face. “There is nothing to forgive.” It lied.

With a sigh I resigned myself to the slippery slope. This was another noble like Fajahromo then, one who pretended to be one thing but was underneath something else entirely. Those were the only nobles who smiled and acted as though they were not offended by insults. I preferred the ones that let you know immediately how insufferable they really were.

“My name is Marcinus.” It said, the smile still on its face. “What is yours?”

“Nebud,” I replied.

It nodded. Then it stretched out its hand. It wanted me to shake it, I assumed. It probably had pansophy, why else would it want me to shake its hand? I studied that hand with a frown. Was this the punishment then? If I refused to shake its hand what would it do to me.

“I do not have pansophy.” Marcinus stated simply. “You need not worry.”

I wanted to refuse, but could I? A part of me wanted to push this uspec. If I refused to shake its hand, would its real colors come out? I exhaled and stretched out my hand. Our palms met, and our fingers curled around the backs of our hands. I waited for the magic, for Marcinus to pull my thoughts and then order my arrest.

Marcinus stretched out its other hand and patted me on the shoulder, before releasing my hand. “It is a pleasure to be properly introduced.”

I pulled my hand back, my eyes scouring the uspec’s face for signs of awareness. Had it not seen my truth? Did it truly not have pansophy?

“From where do you hale?” it asked casually.

“The forgotten kingdom of Murekute.” I replied.

Marcinus exhaled deeply, a look of sadness falling on its face. “Please accept my condolences. It is really a tragedy what happened there.”

I nodded, trying my best to put on a mask of grief, all the while wondering if this was a type of trick? Was I being quizzed, tested to see where I would fail? “Gratitude imperial one.” I said.

“Just Marcinus is fine.” The uspec stated, the sadness lifting from its face as it smiled. “What brings you to Katsoaru?” It asked.

I had to stifle the urge to question its inquisition. If it had sent for me to punish my rudeness, then why didn’t it just do that? “Curiosity, imperial one.” I replied, careful to put a strain on the title. We were not friends, and I would not call it by its name. I would never allow another noble to fool me the way Fajahromo had. “I wanted to visit a soaru port and Katsoaru seemed like the most interesting.”

“Marcinus.” It repeated, before asking, “how have you found our port so far?”

I was tempted to make a casual reference to the kennel I had gone to and the swan I had found imprisoned there, due to its owner’s carelessness. I refrained, saying instead, “the humidity is difficult, imperial one.”

Marcinus frowned at me. “You will not call me by my name then? Even though I ask it of you?”

“I would feel as if I were insulting you.” I lied. As soon as the words were out, I congratulated myself on how smooth they’d been.

Marcinus chuckled. “You are stubborn.” Then it grinned. “I like that. What is your imp’s name?” It asked the question so casually, I almost forgot to be cautious.

My lips parted, and then I pulled them back together. This was it. Somehow this uspec had found out about my bond with my imp and it was going to use this against me. It was going to punish me by punishing my slave. With gritted teeth, I swore that the uspec and its entire guard would have to go through me before they laid a hand on Musa.

“Nebud?” Marcinus prompted, a frown forming on its face.

“Musa.” I spat out.

Marcinus’ frown did not waver. Two of its eyebrows furrowed as it stared at me, then it pulled half of its eyes from me, focusing them on the kneeling slave instead. “Rise Musa.” It said. “You do not need to drop to your knees on my behalf. Save that kind of reverence for my progenitor and older sibling.” It said the words with a trace of humor, so I wasn’t surprised when I heard answering snickers.

My shock came from realizing that it wasn’t uspecs laughing, but imps, the imps standing in front of us. They turned back to stare at Marcinus as they laughed, and Marcinus turned around and winked at them. Thankfully I had enough self-control to keep from gaping like a fool.

“Thank you domina.” Musa said, bowing with its hands behind its back.

Marcinus nodded at the imp. Then its focus turned back to me. I was still trying to figure out what game it was playing when it started speaking. “You are probably wondering why I asked for the honor of your presence.” It smiled slightly after it spoke, then it forged on without pausing for a response. “Well, Mara wanted to see you.” It said. It whistled after it said those words and moments later, I heard wings flapping.

“I was not aware that frosted beasts could speak imperial one.”

Marcinus laughed. “You are right Nebud.” It said smiling, “I assumed that was how Mara felt. I know that if it was I who had been saved from sure death, I would want to see my rescuer again. I apologize, I was too overcome by my relief at seeing it, that I forgot my manners and did not allow the two of you time to say a proper farewell.” The swan landed on Marcinus’ shoulder after it was done speaking. Marcinus extended its hand towards me, and the swan flew off its shoulder and onto mine.

I could not hide my joy at the return of the familiar weight. The swan wound its neck around mine, and I lifted my hand, bringing it down against the swan’s skin. I stroked the creature as I savored the feel of its pain.

With a nod, Marcinus walked away from us and headed towards the open center of the room. The imps moved behind it. I watched them take seats on highchairs in the room. They talked amongst themselves, laughing so loudly that their voices floated towards me. Only the uspec seated on the other side of the room seemed to be affected by this. It frowned at the imps, but it said nothing. Marcinus picked up a sword and thrust the weapon into the air.

“The imperial one is very kind master.” Musa whispered to me. I heard the relief in its voice.

“There is no such thing as a kind noble.” I stated.

Musa’s frowning face turned to study me. “But you are a kind noble master.” It said.

If we were alone, I would have reminded it that I was not a noble. As we were not, I simply said, “I am not kind.”

Musa snorted its disbelief. “I know better.” It said.

I chose to ignore the imp’s words, clinging to my knowledge that the Marcinus I was being presented to was nothing but a show. The real Marcinus would come out and then I would see why I had to take its eye. Perhaps I would also see how I could take the eye. I took my time studying my surroundings for the second time. I had not noticed the paintings which lined the walls. The drawings seemed to tell a story. There was something so familiar about the shadings, the contours, the way that the edges of the traces seemed to be imperfect. It almost looked like a hand-drawing, as if someone had taken a pen to the wall, and traced each line, colored in each shape. It was impossible though, hand-drawing a wall like this would take years.

My gaze turned back to Marcinus. I found my feet moving forward, closer to the uspec. It was practicing sword-fighting. The thrusts of the sharp end of its sword appeared perfect. The uspec moved with a skill that I could not fault. It sliced through the air as if cutting down an imaginary opponent, and I could tell from its moves that it was familiar with its technique. This was not an uspec playing with swords, this was one that actually knew what it was doing.

I scoffed then, laughing at my own foolishness. Any uspec could vanquish air. It did not take much skill to look like a good fighter. I stopped beside a long cyan counter. It had fruits, meats and great-looking pastries on it. It also had several goblets and decanters with varying colored liquids in them.

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 2:37am On Aug 03
I found my eyes drifting back to the uspec. The swan’s beak scraped against my neck and I thought again of how unfair it was that a soaru would own a kute frosted beast. Spurred partly by resentment, I heard myself saying, “you look quite skilled imperial one. I wonder, how good are you when there is someone fighting back?”

Marcinus stopped its fighting and stood tall. It turned to stare at me. “Are you offering?” it asked.

I came so close to saying yes. What better way to learn how difficult it would be to take its eye than to fight it? Then I remembered myself. I was still just a ‘banneret’ and it the offspring of a Kaiser. “No, imperial one. Forgive me.”

The uspec chuckled. “Tammy, get a sword for Nebud.” It ordered.

“Yes master.” One of the imps stood from its chair and walked over to retrieve a sword from the rack.

I watched the imp’s approach with barely concealed joy. My heart pounded in my chest when the imp stopped in front of me and offered me the weapon. I took it from its hand. “Really, imperial one, I did not mean to imply…” I said, putting up a token reluctance.

Marcinus cut me off. “Are you afraid that I will win?”

With my free hand, I took the swan off my shoulder and put it in Musa’s eager arms. Then I walked into the fighting ground more than pleased with the coming fight.

“Sit Musa.” I heard Marcinus say before I reached it. “Eat if you want, there is no need to be so formal. Take your lead from my imps.”

I turned around then, in time to catch Musa staring at me. To the others, it probably looked like the imp was asking my permission, but I could tell from the slightly raised eyebrow that it was actually saying ‘I told you so’. Still, I nodded, and the imp sat on a highchair beside the two imps. I could not help noticing how quickly they included it in their conversation.

Pulling my attention away from the imp, I turned to face Marcinus. Its smug smile oozed with confidence. I could not wait to wipe the smile off its face.

Marcinus attacked first. It lunged, its sword striking out at me. I deflected the blow easily, and then Marcinus swiped at me from the right. The blow came so quickly that I found myself jerking my hand back faster than anticipated. It wasn’t fast enough. Marcinus hit my right arm with the flat surface of its sword. Shocked, I stared at the uspec and found that it was chuckling, laughing at me.

Anger sprouted in me, the emotion spurring on my pounding heart. I attacked Marcinus first and it deflected the blow easily, knocking my sword down. I attacked again, going for the other side, but its sword was there, waiting before mine was. The uspec’s movements were fluid, made effortlessly. It was infuriating.

Marcinus attacked me. I dodged its blow, and expected another unbelievably quick attack, probably this time lancing me in the side, as it had proven itself capable of doing. Instead, its new attack was slow. It wasn’t so slow that I could attack before it reached me, but slow enough that I could actually get my sword out in time to deflect the attack. The rest of our fight carried on that way. Our swords clashed as we parried. I moved to one side, attacked and Marcinus was there, hitting my sword away, and then putting in an attack of its own. We moved as the fighting continued. I found myself retreating, my feet shuffling backwards as Marcinus’ continuous attacks forced me to focus on its sword and not the area behind me. I felt my ailerons brush against a pillar just as Marcinus retreated a step. The uspec could have kept pushing forward, which would have forced me to run into the pillar. Instead it stopped, giving me a chance to advance on it.

The longer we fought, the more obvious it became that I was clearly outmatched. Marcinus was a great fighter, better with the sword than I was. It was a fact that frustrated me, angering me so much that I found myself lashing out with my sword. I had more bulk and so I threw my weight behind each blow I landed. I was so careless with the blows in fact that any of them could easily have done serious damage to the uspec if it was not such a skilled fighter. Ten careless blows in, Marcinus pushed my sword up in the air with its, and then it twirled its sword, somehow using its skill to force my sword out of my hand.

My sword fell on the floor. I stared dumbly at the sword, my brain too slow to understand how it had been freed from my hand. The feel of metal on my shoulder pulled my gaze back to Marcinus. It tapped me twice on the shoulder with its sword, before pulling the sword down.

“That was a good fight Nebud, you are quite skilled.” It said.

I heard condescension in its voice and so I could not help replying with, “I am much better at pugilism.”

“Are you really?” Marcinus asked, bending to pick my sword. “Tammy.” It called. I watched it hand over the swords to the imp, before returning to meet my gaze. “I am not as skilled a pugilist, but I am more than willing to go a round. There are not many skilled pugilists in our Acropolis.”

I smiled.

I lashed out with my right hand, my fist aimed at the uspec’s face. It dodged the blow, and swung its left hand, catching me in the side. I saw its tentacles rise then, fanning around the uspec’s waist and revealing the legs they had partially hidden. As it swung with its fists, its tentacles came towards me. I slapped the tentacles away, even as my fists struck gold, pounding twice into the uspec’s belly. Its pain did not register in its face as it continued its fight. It aimed at my head, a blow I easily deflected. When it wrapped its tentacles around my legs, I used those tentacles to pull the uspec closer. I punched it in the face twice before it had the good sense to release its hold on me and withdraw.

It was my turn to grin. Marcinus came at me. I saw its tentacles rise up again. This time they rose high in the air, to the level of my arms. My gaze shifted to the position of the uspec’s tentacles, distracting me for long enough for Marcinus to land a heavy blow to the side of my face. Before the uspec could withdraw, I grabbed onto its arm and pulled it closer.

Then I reigned down blows repeatedly on its face. I punched it five times in quick succession, before I heard the snap of a nose breaking. My fist was going in for the seventh successive blow when the blood registered on me and the haze of battle cleared from my eyes. I realized that I was not in the pits and this was not a fight to the death. I was in the Chateau of a Kaiser and I was fighting with its offspring.

Immediately, I dropped my hand, releasing my grip on the uspec’s arm. Marcinus fell to its knee on the floor. It spat out blood, as its hand rose to realign its nose.

I looked around the room then. The two uspecs who’d been exercising had stopped. They were now standing only a few feet away from me. I felt the anger coming off them. It would have been an easy thing to pull that anger away, but I thought better of it. These were nobles, they may know about emotions and if I used it on them, they would know I was irira. Both large uspecs glared at me. But I noticed that neither made any move towards me.

I extended my hand to the uspec I had beaten, fully expecting it to get knocked away. This was when it would reveal itself. Finally, I would see the real ‘kindness’ of this noble. I almost pulled my hand back when I felt Marcinus grab onto it. To my surprise, it let me pull it up. I could tell from the way it stayed on its feet and the strength I felt in it, that this uspec had not needed my help to get up. So why had it stayed down?

Marcinus patted me on the shoulder. Then it turned to the two uspecs standing to the side. Waving them away it said, “I’ve taken worse from you two and you both know it.”

“We mean you no harm Marcinus.”

Marcinus laughed. “Neither does Nebud. It was a friendly fight Jubar.” It tightened its grip on the arm I had offered to help it up, pulling their attention to it, before pulling its arm away. I could see the reluctance on the guards’ faces, but they nodded and then they backed away, returning to their exercise.

Marcinus smiled at me. “They are overprotective.” It explained. “You are a good pugilist Nebud, the best I have ever seen. I look forward to fighting with you again. Perhaps I could even learn a thing or two from you.” After saying that, it inclined its head to the side, to the table I had stood beside.

As I walked towards the table with Marcinus, I caught glimpses of green and gold on the balcony above us.

Marcinus filled two goblets with a dark green liquid. “Fruit wine,” it said, offering a goblet to me.

I took a sip of the wine. I could not place the fruit. Whatever it was, it wasn’t something I’d come across. That didn’t stop me from enjoying it. My gaze fixed on the wall in front of me as I contemplated apologizing. I should not have let the fight with the imperial one go as far as it had. Why did I? It was true that I wanted to force the uspec to reveal its true colors, but the extent of the beating I had given it... I thought of what Fajahromo would have done in Marcinus’ place. Fajahromo was my only real reference for how nobles should behave and so I found myself comparing Marcinus to it. I knew one thing. Fajahromo would never have allowed me to fight it the way Marcinus had, and it certainly wouldn’t have let me win, not in front of other uspecs. It would not allow itself to look weak in that way. It would have used spectra. Why hadn’t Marcinus? Was Musa right, could a noble, not just any noble but the offspring of a Kaiser, I reminded myself. Well then could an imperial one be kind? And if it was, then why would the voice in my head want me to attack it, to take its eye. What did the voice in my head want?

“The drawings are fabulous are they not?” Marcinus asked, pulling me out of my thoughts.

“Yes, imperial one,” I agreed, “they almost look hand-drawn.”

“Good eye.” Marcinus praised. “It took a renowned artist three years to finish this job. Most artists just do a sketch on paper and then have it transferred to the wall with pansophy, or they hire a crew to paint it with brushes. Neither look quite as good as this.”

“Three years.” I whistled. “The uspec must really admire you to do such a job.”

Marcinus shook its head. “Not me,” it stated, a tender smile on its face, “mater. The Kaiser of Katsoaru inspires the most awing loyalty in those it meets.”

Mater. It was a word I knew but had never heard in use. ‘Pater’ was how an offspring spoke of its progenitor when they had the natural bond induced by the birthing in the hatch. Mater was another thing entirely. It was a term used when the bond between progenitor and offspring went beyond that which was filial, it was a rich endearment, one built on love. Love. Did such a thing truly exist?

“Forgive me for interrupting master Marcinus. Your sibling, master Manus, asked me to bring you this drink.”

An imp dressed in the same way as the ones who had led us here, stood beside the table holding a tray in its hand. The tray had a single glass in it, a glass filled with a pure white liquid. Marcinus frowned at the imp and the imp inclined its head upwards. I tipped my head back, in time to catch a glimpse of an uspec, standing on the balcony. It had four golden armbands around each of its arms, and was dressed in a sleeveless golden and maroon robe.

“Gratitude Manus.” Marcinus called out.

Manus nodded. It stared at me for only a second before turning around and walking out of sight. Marcinus took the drink from the tray. When it turned to face me, I noticed that its previous levity was gone. It flashed a smile at me but even that smile seemed strained. “I’m afraid I must cut our visit short Nebud. Thank you for coming.” It said.

Hearing the dismissal in Marcinus’ voice, I bowed. “Farewell imperial one.”

Musa and I had just reached the entrance to the room, when I heard glass shattering. I turned to see Marcinus sway, and then catch itself with a hand on the table. It suddenly looked so unsteady, as if it needed its hold on the table for support.

I found that strange. What would suddenly make the uspec sway? Not even my beating had affected its composure. There was so much strange about my meeting with this uspec, but the strangest thing was the new feeling I couldn’t shake, the one that told me that Marcinus was that rare breed, a ‘kind noble’. So why was I here to take its eye?

3 Likes

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by phoenixchap: 7:47am On Aug 03
Wow didn't see this coming, Manus killing Mercinus that's how and why Nevus was present to take it eyes and also get vengeance for Mercinus and itself. Thanks ObehiD everything is starting to make sense.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 10:13pm On Aug 03
phoenixchap:
Wow didn't see this coming, Manus killing Mercinus that's how and why Nevus was present to take it eyes and also get vengeance for Mercinus and itself. Thanks ObehiD everything is starting to make sense.

Interesting analysis....that's all I'm going to say at this point grin
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 11:27pm On Aug 03
Nebud was right to be suspicious of Marcinus, after all its common for nobles to be impatient. It was quite funny though, the way he carried that in mind.

Also Marcinus unstableness might be that he has been poisoned. I hope I am wrong. It is actually the first Uspec I have come to like from the first meet.


Obehid I noticed you never described Marcinus as a 'it' like you do the rest, why? Just being curious.


Nice update. Thanks alot
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by ayshow6102(m): 1:58am On Aug 04
I think it has been poisoned and before dying it will give nehud it's eyes but not before it makes nehud promise it to avenge it
Thanks for the update obehid
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:16am On Aug 05
@Fazemood I described Marcinus as it just like the rest. They're all its cheesy Thanks for reading, I'm happy you enjoyed it

@ayshow6102 thank you for reading. As to your thoughts on this new part...well, I won't say anything yet grin
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by GeoSilYe(f): 12:05pm On Aug 05
ObehiD when will you take me back to Osezele's world naw?!!!

I'm missing Victor and Mimi!
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:10am On Aug 06
GeoSilYe:
ObehiD when will you take me back to Osezele's world naw?!!!

I'm missing Victor and Mimi!

Lol, I'm missing them too, but I don't think I'll be done with this one till closer to the end of the year.

Although, with the way things are going, it's looking like I might not be able to post the last white sight book (the Reckoning) on Nairaland. So, I don't want to make any announcements till I'm more sure about this, which is why I wasn't going to say anything until much later. But I'm in serious talks with a publishing house, to get the marked series published, and part of those discussions is that I can't have any of the white sight books available online, until they publish it. So, if I finalize that agreement with them, then I won't be posting any more marked related stories on Nairaland (for sometime at least). This would be the last one.

But again, none of this is final final. We're still talking. I think by the time I'm done with this book, I'll know for sure and then I'll let you know.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Dathypebruv(m): 7:05am On Aug 06
obehiD:


Lol, I'm missing them too, but I don't think I'll be done with this one till closer to the end of the year.

Although, with the way things are going, it's looking like I might not be able to post the last white sight book (the Reckoning) on Nairaland. So, I don't want to make any announcements till I'm more sure about this, which is why I wasn't going to say anything until much later. But I'm in serious talks with a publishing house, to get the marked series published, and part of those discussions is that I can't have any of the white sight books available online, until they publish it. So, if I finalize that agreement with them, then I won't be posting any more marked related stories on Nairaland (for sometime at least). This would be the last one.

But again, none of this is final final. We're still talking. I think by the time I'm done with this book, I'll know for sure and then I'll let you know.
Eyyy God !!!
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by GeoSilYe(f): 9:08am On Aug 06
obehiD:


Lol, I'm missing them too, but I don't think I'll be done with this one till closer to the end of the year.

Although, with the way things are going, it's looking like I might not be able to post the last white sight book (the Reckoning) on Nairaland. So, I don't want to make any announcements till I'm more sure about this, which is why I wasn't going to say anything until much later. But I'm in serious talks with a publishing house, to get the marked series published, and part of those discussions is that I can't have any of the white sight books available online, until they publish it. So, if I finalize that agreement with them, then I won't be posting any more marked related stories on Nairaland (for sometime at least). This would be the last one.

But again, none of this is final final. We're still talking. I think by the time I'm done with this book, I'll know for sure and then I'll let you know.

No wahala Ma'am
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Dathypebruv(m): 1:54am On Aug 07
ObehiD where art thou with the much needed updates oh.....

I stayed up all night for you

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