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The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) - Literature (3) - Nairaland

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THE MARKED - White Sight: The Inbetween -- Sneak Peek / [story] Lost In The Wind – A Novella / Ndidi And The Telekinesis Man (A Fantasy Romance Novella By Kayode Odusanya) (2) (3) (4)

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Nobody: 8:17am On Mar 30, 2019
awesome read

1 Like 1 Share

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 1:54pm On Mar 30, 2019
Nice one Obehid. In as much as I miss Osazele and Nosa, I am enjoying Nebud's story. Please carry on
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Peaceyw(m): 2:22pm On Mar 30, 2019
Speechless...you are sighted obehiD

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by monalicious(f): 8:59pm On Mar 30, 2019
As usual, its never enough. I'm really getting into the story. Nice job obehid
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD(f): 3:55am On Apr 01, 2019
I'm so happy that everyone is enjoying it, because although it started out as a Novella, I don't think it will end that way lol. I'm learning that I don't know how to write Novellas. This is definitely looking like a novel. I don't think it will be as long as the in-between, but it will definitely be as long as the awakening. That being said, I'm really excited about it, it's turning out to be a lot more fun than I originally anticipated...well, at least it's fun to write, I'm counting on y'all to tell me if it remains fun to read grin Thank you!

@elyna thank you! Glad you like it

@Fazemood lol, thank you. To be honest I miss Osezele and Nosa too, but I'm pretty sure that this story will enhance the series (at least I hope so) cheesy

@Peaceyw hehe. I'm taking your speechlessness as a compliment so thank you grin

@monalicious Thanks so much. I'm so glad you're getting into the story, hopefully it hooks you even more as we go on. It's already hooked me grin

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD(f): 3:07am On Apr 06, 2019
Part 6

My stay in the infirmary was cut short after the visit of the pious ones. I did not know how much time I’d spent sleeping before the pious ones arrived, but I was sent from the infirmary the day after their visit. I spent that last day on my sickbed learning how to bring the anger lifeforce out and make it just as permanent as the pain lifeforce had become. It wasn’t too difficult once I figured out exactly how the pain, or rather the lifeforce in it, had come to be my constant companion. The hardest part was recalling how the pain came out.

I had filtered through my memories of the fight to pinpoint the exact moment when the lifeforce had emerged. I remembered Killman aiming blow after blow at my head, and receiving those blows without being able to trigger the appearance of the lifeforce. But then Killman had tried to cut of my tail and the lifeforce had emerged. Though, the lifeforce had not come simply from the pain of Killman sawing off my tail with its horn, it had come after, when I’d twisted free of Killman’s grip and landed on my tail on the hard ground underneath the okun. That landing had pushed my tail into me, directly inserting a part of the feature of the kute spectrum into my body.

The kute spectrum was the pain spectrum, it was the spectrum which was most bound to pain and as such, I imagined that the feature of the spectrum had to be in some way connected to the emotion so closely bound to it. Since the moment that the tail had been forced into me, I hadn’t stopped feeling the lifeforce in my pain. It was a conjecture, a hypothesis based purely on speculation, but as soon as the idea crossed my mind, I decided to test it.

So, I utilized the first moment I was left alone in my sickbed. I reached for one of the scales on my neck and had been momentarily startled to find it much bigger than the previous scales which had grown there. This scale was so large it fit squarely into my palm. Quickly, before another scale could grow to take its place, I cut a straight line into the newly exposed skin of my neck and partially inserted the large scale into it. Then I’d waited, expecting an instant return of the lifeforce in my anger.

It hadn’t worked quite that rapidly.

It had taken the rest of my stay in the infirmary for the scale I inserted to reattach to my neck and for the cut I’d made to form around the scale, becoming as one with it. But after that, after my body and the scale fused, the lifeforce came alive in me, burning with a simmering heat that differentiated it from the lifeforce in the pain.

And with both of my lifeforces burning brightly in me, I felt like a different person. When once I had walked through life with only my perceptive senses to guide me, now I walked with the knowledge gleamed from the lifeforces in me. Suddenly, everyone I encountered was as an open book to me. I could read their pain and anger, I could toy with the emotions, taking the emotions from one person and transferring them to another. In a single moment, a heavy-hearted imp became light as a bird and a stone-faced warden, bent over, howling in pain. An uspec who sneered with anger at me for my sacrilege of allowing myself to be born irira, suddenly became anger-free, staring dazedly at me as if it had suddenly lost the purpose of its existence. They always recovered after I stole their anger and gifted it to someone else, but they were left vulnerable for long moments, moments when a well-placed scale could end their lives for good.

I never killed them, never took advantage of their momentary losses, but I found myself filled with a heady sense of power just knowing all that I was capable of. Slowly, all my grievances went to the background. Fajahromo’s betrayal became a dull memory which had no effect on me. The memory of Maxad and its desire to have me killed faded to an afterthought with as much potency as a bad dream. I felt invincible, the power was drugging. It was so addictive that I spent days in a haze, walking around the areas of the pits I had access to and simply transferring emotions.

During one meal, I had pulled all the pain that each uspec sitting on one side of the room had, and transferred it evenly to two uspecs who’d sneered at me when I walked in. They’d both begun to cry so ghoulishly they became the laughing stock of the pits.

During another meal two uspecs ganged up on a third and beat it. I did not know the cause of the fight, but I could feel the anger of the uspecs doing the beating and the pains of the one being beaten. I decided to turn the tables and so I gave the angers of the attacking uspecs to the other and the pain of the beaten uspec to the aggressors. The aggressors fell to their knees with their heads in their hands and the beaten uspec suddenly became possessed with rage. It had taken the combined efforts of four wardens to pull the suddenly enraged uspec off the two who had attacked it.

It wasn’t until the third day after my release from the infirmary that I focused on the pious one Gerangi’s words in my head. I paid heed to its warning for caution and its advice that I master the emotions. It had told me not to yank an emotion away, but to take in bits. That was an act I had yet to master. So, as I sank into the warm water of the okun in the cleaning room, I contemplated the task.

The cleaning room was a simple one. It was a large square room with a somewhat deep okun in the middle. This okun was not as dirty as the one in the arena, but it was also nowhere near as clean as the one in Fajahromo’s house. The okun was deep enough that I could stand in it and be covered all the way to my waist. For most of the other uspecs, the pink liquid only reached up to their knees.

I relaxed in the okun, my ailerons brushing against the walls of the stream, as I watched another uspec walk into the room. I waited for it to reach me with the carelessness of one who knew it could not be harmed. The uspec walked across the sludge ground and came to a stop standing outside the stream. It had massive scales on its neck, features which showed it was of the hooni spectrum, and all of its outer eye-sockets formed. It turned to me, glanced at me and then looked away emotionless. It was an uspec I had never seen before. I would remember one with scales such as mine.

The uspec jumped into the okun and swam the length of it. It swam from one end to the other three times and then it stopped in the center of the stream. It snapped, saying a word which sounded different in accent and language from the tongue I was used to. It repeated the word and then frowned as if upset. I did not know what it wanted until it stomped over to the imps who stood outside the okun on the side opposite me. It climbed out of the okun and proceeded to give the three imps a thorough beating. It somehow managed to kick or slap or hit all three of the imps at the same time, making it so that none could escape from its anger. When all three imps were reduced to masses of pain laying on the floor it marched out of the room angry.

I took its anger when it was just past the curtain and then gave it to one of the imps. That anger seemed to drive the imp to its feet. It kicked the imp closest to it, while the one furthest away crawled on its arms and knees to get away from the crazed imp. I took the pain of the one that crawled and gave it to the angry one. The imp turned from beating the other imp and ran towards the closest wall in the room and it began to hit its head against the wall. It cried out in pain, but it did not stop banging its head against the wall.

The other two imps stared at it as if they could not believe what they saw.

I reached for the anger and tried to take only a part of it from the imp banging its head against the wall, but all of it responded. I sent it back to the imp and tried again, trying to take only a piece of the anger, but I met with the same result.

I leaned back, deep in thought as I puzzled on how to split the emotions. I knew it had to be possible, because if it wasn’t Gerangi wouldn’t have suggested it. It had to be possible, I just didn’t know how.

When my attention returned to the imp, I noticed that it was still banging its head against the wall. I frowned, puzzled at it. Had the anger not abated? I reached for the anger, expecting it to be much smaller than it had been when I’d given it to the imp. Instead I found it unchanged in size. That didn’t make sense to me. Emotions waned. That was why an uspec could feel angry one moment and not the next, that was just the way of life. So why did this one’s anger not subside?

Again, I reached for the anger, but instead of taking it, I studied it. It took all of my attention and made me unconscious of the rest of the room, as it had when I had studied my pain. I felt as though I was in myself, even though I wasn’t, not really. I could not see my innards, could not see the lifeforces in me. Actually, I did not really see anything at all. Where I was all communication happened by feel. It was like being in a trance where my sight had been glazed over but the lifeforces gave me all the vision I needed.

I examined the imp and found something odd in this anger. The imp’s anger was polluted. It was as if two different strains had mixed to form a new type of anger which could not naturally subside. It was not solely the imp’s anger or solely the uspec’s anger, it was a hybrid. I found the pain was the same.

With a detached curiosity I wondered if this had happened to every uspec whose emotions I had traded and played with. Had I left them different from what they’d been before? Had I made them insane?

I pulled out of myself, releasing my anger from the bond it had formed with the imp to examine its anger. And then I went back into myself. I could feel the lifeforce of my anger and I sensed its intensity. It burned hot, as if I was in a rage. I wondered if I could alter it, if I could somehow dial it back, make it less intense. When I tried to do that, the lifeforce split into two, one anger was at full intensity while the other was only half intense.

I came out of myself and the room came back to focus in my mind. I could feel the separate lifeforces in my anger. I felt the one that burnt at full rage and the one that was only mildly enraged. They were like two different parts of me, like two hands I could use. I reached for the imp’s anger with my mild anger and only parts of its anger came. I transferred that anger evenly to the other imps and the imp stopped banging its head against the wall. It simply fell to its knees and began to weep, screaming and crying as it reached into its hair with its hands and yanked viciously at the strands.

I went quickly into myself and divided the pain as I had the anger. I reached for a part of the imp’s pain and shared it amongst the other imps. Finally, the imp stopped crying. It stood, its head turning from left to right as its empty eye-sockets took in the room. I exhaled as the imp went back to join the other ones and all three seemed to be sane. I could still feel the polluted anger and pain in each of them, but it did not appear to be high enough to make them act crazy.

I smiled, relieved to have freed the imp of the unearned suffering. I did not know what would happen when next it felt anger. Would its anger mix with the polluted anger or would it remain its own and wane as natural anger tended to do? I hoped for the imp’s sake that the anger remained separate from the polluted one I had created in it.

I suddenly felt exhausted and famished. With shaky hands, I pulled myself out of the okun and walked out of the cleaning room, dazed by what I had learnt of my own powers. I knew then how easy it would be to tell if an uspec’s emotions had been tampered with. It would be obvious because the emotion would not abate as others did. Gerangi’s words had a new meaning for me now. I could not continue to win by controlling emotions and I could not continue to yank emotions, I certainly could not simply give them to an uspec who would walk out of the pits, the way I had to the noble one. I shivered as I thought of how close I had come to getting caught. I had to be more careful.

My body felt exhausted. It was hard to believe how exerting splitting the lifeforces had been on me. I was weak, but thankfully not too weak to walk into the eating room and get a bowl of gruel and a few pieces of hard bread. I almost sighed in ecstasy when I was able to sit on a bench and dig into my food.

After consuming a piece of stale bread and half a bowl of gruel, I could feel the strength begin to return to me. My previous lethargy decreased, and my body hummed with excitement as I continued to dwell on my emotions. Not only could I control emotions, I could apparently drive people crazy by polluting the emotions within them. It was a thought that still scared me as much as it had when I saw the imp slamming its head into the wall, but now, with food in my belly and my eyes roaming about a room filled with uspecs who despised me, it was a thought that brought me much comfort. Much indeed.

A smaller uspec appeared in front of me. Well, compared to me the uspec was large, but compared to the other uspecs who fought in the pits, this uspec was small. It was only a few feet taller than I was and was barely any bulkier than me. As the uspec sat, eying me warily, I could feel anger simmering in it.

On an impulse, I reached into my anger and used the lifeforce which was fully enraged, to reach out to the anger in the other uspec. As I reached for the anger, my mind was wary of the repercussions of transferring the uspec’s emotions and potentially polluting another uspec, which could drive it crazy. And so, instead of trying to transfer the emotion, I simply wanted it gone. I communicated with the uspec’s anger through mine and I made my desire for it to leave known.

Suddenly, the uspec slammed its fist on the table and swiped angrily at its bowl, sending the bowl crashing onto the floor and the gruel pouring out of it. After the uspec did this, it smiled, relaxing into its seat. I reached out for the uspec’s anger and there was nothing. It was gone. The uspec had spent it all. I scooped some gruel into my mouth, with my bread, and used the chewing to distract from the smile which had formed on my face from the jolt of power.

Not only could I transfer emotions, I could spend them. It seemed that I could make an uspec use all of its emotions at once, in one big reaction.

“Salutations my friend.”

My head snapped up. I met the uspec’s gaze and was surprised to see it smiling at me. I did not return its smile, I simply stared at it, wondering what it wanted.

Its voice lowered. “I am Uspecipyte my friend.” It said as if sharing a dangerous secret. “Tiyoseriwosin?”

I did not reply. I was tempted to. I had heard the strange words so many times now that I was starting to wonder what they were and why everyone seemed to care so much about them. I wanted to know what it meant to be ‘uspecipyte’ and what the question ‘tiyoseriwosin’ asked. But I didn’t ask. I had no intention of making friends with this uspec. Instead of responding, I took my attention back to my gruel.

“The Kuworytes despise you.” It said conversationally, as if taking my lack of response as a prompt for more discourse. “They hate your guts. An irira killing the best fighters in the pits. If you continue like this, the Uspecipytes will worship you and the Kuworytes will plot to have you killed. Not that they will, mind you, not when the birthplace of Hakute must remain above the chasm. Tell me my friend, how does it feel to bear the sole responsibility of exposing the hypocrisy of this place?”

I stabbed my bread into the bowl, scooped up some more gruel, and stuffed it into my mouth.

The uspec chuckled. “How it must kill them to have to support an irira. The founder’s justice comes for us all, my friend, it comes for us all.”

I rose my head up to meet the uspec’s gaze and the questions almost fizzled out of me. Luckily, I was stopped from indulging in my sudden desire to accept the friendship the uspec offered. Two wardens walked into the eating room holding an imp in their hands. This imp was different from all the other imps I’d seen serving in the pits. Unlike the others, it had both of its eyes, and none of the black streaks on its skin. It looked as it would have in its umani life.

The wardens pushed the imp to the ground and every uspec in the room seemed to freeze.

“Same rules.” A warden announced gruffly. “If you take an eye you keep it. If you have two imp eyes, you gain spectral magic and are free from the pits.”

There was silence. No one moved. All eyes seemed to be fixed on the imp. The imp cast nervous eyes around the room. It made a pathetic choking sound as it begged. It had its hands together, but it spoke in a tongue which I could not understand. Not that I needed to, its gesturing was easy to comprehend.

An uspec sitting across the room stood.

That uspec was followed by another and then another. Until almost every uspec in the room was standing.

All at once they ran towards the imp. They descended on it. They fought each other, grabbing onto ailerons and pulling uspecs away in their hurry to get to the imp. It didn’t take long before I heard the imp screaming. I could feel its pain. It was strong, so strong I was tempted to take it, for no other reason than the joy of transferring the emotion. I refrained.

I watched the mass of uspecs fighting over the imp. The pain emanating from the fight was enticing. I could feel different lifeforces. Some were sharp, some dull. Some felt like the pains associated with a fatal wound, others were mild, the result of innocuous blows.

A small object emerged from the group as if thrown. The object rose up in the air and then landed on our table. I blinked when I saw what it was.

It was one of the imp’s eyes.

My hand moved towards it, drawn to the eye out of an overwhelming desire to once again fill my outer eye-sockets with an imp eye and be one step closer to gaining the understandings that came with the different spectrums.

My hand was just a few paces away from the eye when I felt a bolt of pain. I stared dumbfounded at my hand and the piece of the broken material sticking out of it. I rose my eye to the uspec who’d called me friend.

It didn’t even look at me, not even to offer a token apology for stabbing me. It just grabbed the imp eye from the table and shoved it into one of its outer eye sockets. The imp eye went from white to black and then a very light shade of blue.

Once I saw the color of the eye, I knew what would follow.

The uspec shook forcefully and then it collapsed. Its head fell onto the table. White foam came out of its mouth and blood seeped out of its center eye. The blue imp eye popped out of the socket and turned into dust once it hit the table.

I looked at the dead uspec and shook my head.

I stood up, pulled the shard it had stabbed me with out of my hand, and walked out of the eating room. I remembered then the trader’s warnings against trying to take the wrong imp eye. An imp eye could only be used if the imp’s umani life had either begun or ended in the same plane as the uspec who tried to take it. They had never said that taking the wrong one could kill an uspec. There was a lot that the traders had not said.

I sighed, removing the dead uspec from my mind. I had more important things to focus on. I had emotions to master and fighting to learn.


Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD(f): 3:09am On Apr 06, 2019
Part 7

In the First Metropolis of Lahooni

The years I spent in the pits were transformative. The land outside of the pits was rife with what I later learnt was termed the chasm. And the question, ‘Tiyoseriwosin?’ which I had pondered on, but shrugged off as casual, proved to be much more than just a collection of sounds and letters. Outside of the pits, an uspec’s answer to that question could mean the difference between life and death. But I was as naïve as you would expect one who’d spent the entirety of their lives in an isolated slum to be, and so I did not know what to others was common knowledge. And I had so little regard for the other fighters that I never asked them what it meant. Even with all the time that has passed I am still unsure of the wisdom of my self-imposed isolation from the other fighters. I know enough now to know that they could not all have despised me.

Regret. How the feeling vexes me. Now I find myself thinking of all feelings in terms of the emotions they evoke. Even though much has changed, and the circumstances of my life are not what they once were, I still feel cautious whenever I trigger an emotion outside of my control. I know it is a result of the time I spent after the pits, a result of my exposure to other kun, but I find myself rebelling against any emotion which another uspec could control without my awareness. I am old and experienced enough now to say with all confidence that pain and anger cannot be stolen from me. But I am as vulnerable as any other uspec when it comes to the other three.

Perhaps not quite as vulnerable as the others. Not with my pansophy. But alas I go ahead of myself again.

I will not bore you with the details of the nine years I spent fighting in the pits. I could very easily, and at least in part, truthfully, say that I have forgotten most of the fights except the first few and the last. There was no uspec I faced in the pits who stood even the slightest chance of beating me. I had spectral magic. It was not a well-known, or at least not a well-disseminated understanding, but it was a form of magic and it was one that no other uspec in the pits possessed. By the faith, fights in the pits were to be kept even, the only advantage one uspec was allowed to have over the other was that born of superior strength and skill.

And that was the reason the fighters jumped on the imps with eyes whenever the wardens brought them in, because those eyes were supposedly their ticket out of the pits. It was always a gamble to take an imp’s eyes, one that killed a lot more uspecs than it released. But there were a few uspecs who won the gamble and managed to find two imp eyes from imps who in birth or death shared the same plane as them.

At least that was what the rumors said.

In my nine years in the pits, I never once saw an uspec survive putting an imp’s eye into their outer eye-sockets. Perhaps it was different in the years you spent there. I doubt it though. Now that I have had the time to reflect on my life, I can honestly say that I believe the pious ones used us as some sort of experiment. I believe those eyes were somehow tampered with and the pious ones tested the efficiency of their poison on uspecs foolish enough to risk it.

After the first time when the eye had landed on my table and I had reached for it, I never again attempted to gain an imp eye in the pits. I stayed away from tables close to the center of the room, and after I found the pattern, I stayed away from the eating room altogether on days that imps with eyes were brought in. I do not have to explain this to you my offspring, because you, like every other uspec, have felt the rush that comes with the desire to claim an imp eye. It’s spellbinding, addictive in a way that not many other things are. Once an uspec claps eyes on an imp’s eye free from the imp, the desire to put it into its empty outer eye-socket is drugging. The compulsion goes away once an uspec fills the sockets and while the imp eyes gained are still potent.

I did not know much of this then, I only knew that there was too much risk in the taking of an imp eye. I was not yet that desperate for spectra, not when I had emotions. Of course, at the time I did not know the difference between spectra and emotions, I did not know that there were different forms of spectral magic, different types of understandings which could be gained. I had only heard of pansophy from Maxad, and never again while I fought in the pits. Can you imagine a life without knowledge of pansophy? Even now I shudder to think of just how vulnerable I really was as an uneducated de trop in the life I was forced to live.

But all of that knowledge did not exist while I fought in the pits. The only knowledge I had as a fighter, was the knowledge of emotions. After my time in the infirmary, I did not lay my eye on another begetter – as the pious ones in the order of Procreation are called – until the day my fighting for sport ended. I did not see or hear of Maxad or Gerangi, until the day of my last fight. But Gerangi’s sage words followed me throughout my time in the pits. I would like to say that the words clung to me because I thought it prudent to recall them for my own safety, but I know better. They stayed with me because Gerangi had used pansophy to put them there. And like the polluted emotions which could not leave my victims in those early days in the pits, Gerangi’s pansophy polluted my thoughts and they could not naturally wane with time.

Sometimes I wonder why I survived the pits. Being what I was, not just an irira, but the symbol I became to the Uspecipytes, especially in a port like Hakute, it should have been a death sentence. I should have been killed. I think back on the conversation I overhead and I think, even though I am loath to admit it, that I owe my survival, at least in part, to Takabat. I never laid eyes on the uspec, I only heard it speak that one time in the infirmary, but it had forbidding the use of pansophy to make me more susceptible to losses in the arena. I think Gerangi had set the foundation for my survival by convincing Maxad that I could not die where the Uspecipytes would not see me go down, and Takabat completed it by forbidding the use of pansophy to addle me. And I suppose, if I were to be completely transparent, I would credit Takabat’s interference to its sibling Fajahromo, but even now I find it hard to be so charitable. So, no, I will not give any credit to Fajahromo. I will say that Takabat’s status protected me from pansophy and Gerangi’s words steered me in the right direction to mastering emotions.

But my victories in the pits were all mine.

And what victories they were.

Once I learnt the different ways emotions could be controlled, taking the emotions in bits was easy. In a day I learnt that emotions could be transferred or spent. I also learnt that transferred emotions could be yanked or seeped. It was in the same day that I learnt that spent emotions could be exhausted, but it took me a while longer to learn that they could also be simmered.

Yank, seep, exhaust and simmer, are the four ways that emotions can be controlled. Yanking and seeping are for transferring the emotions. When I yanked an emotion, I took everything that my target had to offer and could either put it all in a single host or share it evenly between a number of hosts. Seeping was much more difficult. To seep, which is to take an emotion away in bits, I had to make a duplicate of my lifeforce in the intensity of which I wanted to take. If I halved the intensity of the anger in my lifeforce, I could take half the anger from my target. But then it got complicated if I was dealing with more than one uspec at a time. What if I wanted to take half of one uspec’s emotion, a quarter of another and three-quarters of a third? That meant that I had to go into myself and create lifeforces of the varying intensities in me. And going into myself in the arena was never an option. It left me distracted and one second of distraction in the arena was all that was needed to get killed.

The fights were random, an uspec never knew when it was going to fight or how many challengers it would have, and so I learnt to create the lifeforces I needed and just keep them separate in preparation for fights. But that was a hassle of its own, because each new lifeforce drained some of my energy, making me much weaker than I could afford to be. And since I never knew when the fight would come, I only allowed myself to maintain four lifeforces two for the pain and two for the anger, one at full intensity and the other at half. With those four I could survive with enough strength to go into the arena whenever the battle called. I came to rely a lot more heavily on spending the emotions that I couldn’t transfer.

Exhausting was the easiest way to spend an emotion. When I exhausted an uspec’s emotions I made it spend it all in a single act. An uspec would have a single fit of anger, which would have the potency of all of its anger combined in one, but after that, the anger would be gone. With pain it was less straightforward. I could spend an uspec’s pain, but if it was pain created from a wound, more pain would be created. Although, I never had reason to exhaust an uspec’s pain. I exhausted anger as it seemed to reduce the drive that the uspecs had to fight, but with pain I found it was easier to simmer.

Simmering is to spending what seeping is to transferring. Where with exhausting I could make an uspec spend all of its emotions at once, with simmering, I could make the emotion fade at whatever rate I wanted. I could make it go faster or slower than it normally would. But simmering was difficult because it required a longer communication with my target’s lifeforce. In transferring or exhausting I simply told the emotion where to go or to burn itself out, but with simmering I had to constantly keep a check on it, telling it just how much to release and at what moment. At first it was grueling because it took too much attention from my fighting and the lessons I was trying to learn from my opponents. But then I stopped using it in the arena and trained myself properly on it outside of the arena. I used it most on the imps in the cleaning room. Simmering was the most difficult to master, but it was worth the effort.

Once I learned the effects of polluting emotions, I made the choice in the arena, to transfer or spend, depending on what I wanted to achieve. Sometimes I combined simmering an opponent’s pain with seeping some foreign pain into it, that way I was sure the pains would mix and the uspec I fought would be driven insane with polluted pain. Once I did that, killing the uspec was easy. It wouldn’t even be able to put up a fight.

Polluting anger has the opposite effect on an uspec’s drive to fight.

During my seventh year in the pits, I was set against ten uspecs. They were all to fight together against me. I think that fight was Maxad’s doing. By that time, I had come to rely a lot more heavily on my actual skill as a fighter rather than my skill with emotions, but that fight had me pulling on everything I’d taught myself. I mildly polluted two uspecs’ angers so that they were not fully insane, but the slightest offense set them off. It was less suspicious than a full-blown hysterical insanity, and it helped to split the fight. The uspecs I had polluted fought two other uspecs and so I only had to fight five at once. Those were much better odds for my skill.

By the end of my first month in the pits all of my outer eye-sockets had formed. By the end of my second, my tail had grown fully, becoming another weapon I could use in the arena. I never used the venom in my tail against my opponents, never stung them with poison which would immobilize them.

Now, the tales I’ve heard of my triumphs in the pits tell of an uspec who was too strong to need to immobilize its opponents. But that is as far from the truth as possible. The truth is that I was not fully aware of the paralyzing powers of my venom. I had only seen a tail used as a weapon once in my slum and by the time I was fighting in the arena, my slum had faded to a distant memory. At that point, the emotions were easier to use than a tail of which’s significance I was unsure. In that same timeframe, my neck had become fully covered with large cyan scales. The scales were the weapons I used to kill during my early years.

It wasn’t till about the fourth or fifth year when I was strong enough to simply snap an uspec’s neck.

With my victories I grew in size, both in height and bulk. I never became as tall as Juwara, the first giant I faced in the pits, but I grew to be much taller and bigger than the warrior uspecs who had flown into my slum. By my seventh year, even the wardens were afraid to look derisively at me. If it bothered anyone that I was an irira, they never let it show. They did not look on me with kindness, and they did not always look at me with fear, but there was always a slight deference. No warden hit the side of my head with a baton, no uspec spat on the floor in disgust at the sight of me. On more than one occasion an opponent fainted when it saw it was to fight me.

And with each battle won, the Uspecipytes sang their fight song and the Kuworytes screamed of my sacrilege. Not that any of that meant anything to me then. As far as I was concerned, the divisions in the pits were done to separate quarreling factions. I did not know that I was witnessing the chasm, I did not know how rare it was to see both factions under the same roof without bloodshed.

I spent nine years in the pits. I had gone in as a child about seventeen years of age, and I emerged an adult, full grown of twenty-six years. And in the nine years that I fought, I was the only irira to call the arena home. Sometimes I wonder what I would have done if another irira had been pitted against me. I am much changed now, so much different from who I was then. I believe that period in my life saw the most of my personality swings. I had been a naïve, un-blooded child when I walked in, and I was a cold-hearted, killer when I left. No, I would not have hesitated to kill an irira. I don’t know if I relished it. I can say with certainty that I never came to like or even indulge in the fanatic applause of the mob. I still hold very little regard for the uspecs who choose to spend their time watching their kind fight. But did I enjoy the kill? My hands were stained with blood more often than I wish to remember, but I never shied away from it.

I took life without pause or concern.

And I must admit that on some level it appealed to me. I went from being the weak de trop who was defenseless and at the mercy of others, to being the irira who set its own fate. People trembled at the sight of me. I was no one’s slave, no one’s puppet. I was strong, I had no master. At least that was what I thought in my last years in the pits. I truly believed that I was the most powerful uspec to exist and that there was no one who could defeat me. Perhaps in some ways I was still a child. Only a child is foolish enough to possess that much hubris.

But in some aspects, I was right. I followed Gerangi’s advice and let the best fighters teach me to fight. I used the emotions to weaken them and then I practiced the moves they used on me, back on them. I fought against so many uspecs from all the different spectrums, that when I left the pits, I was without doubt, in fighting skill alone, one of the best. But this was not were my arrogance lay, I did not believe I was unstoppable because I was a skilled fighter, I believed I was the greatest because I had mastered the magic of two emotions without any formal education. Two emotions out of five. I cannot help but laugh at the ignorance of my youth. And with emotions only one of four forms of spectral magic, I had only mastered a subset of a subset of the spectral magic available.

Luckily, I was only ignorant of the full extent of spectral magic while I fought in the pits. It was after my fighting ended that my education begun. I think of how much time I spent in the pits, and how much I learned there, and feel like it should account for the majority of my story, but it cannot. Because the real adventure of my life only begun after I left the pits.

Of course, the tale of my time in the pits would not be complete without the story of my last month spent there. And so, I return to the story. I take you back to the last day I spent as a fighter in the pits.

Fajahromo had only come to watch me fight twice. It came to watch my second fight, the one against Killman. And it came to watch my last. My last challenger was a mutual acquaintance of ours. I will never forget that fight, it haunts me even while my eyes are open.

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by lukfame(m): 7:53am On Apr 07, 2019
Thanks for the updates Obehid. More ink to your pen dear
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by GeoSilYe(f): 8:02am On Apr 07, 2019
ObehiD if I can't keep up with this part of The Marked books, will it affect my understanding of the next, that is, Osezele and Co?
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by ewawumi(f): 12:59pm On Apr 07, 2019
ObehiD if I can't keep up with this part of The Marked books, will it affect my understanding of the next, that is, Osezele and Co?
My thoughts too, cos I just kept becoming confused

1 Like 1 Share

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD(f): 1:34pm On Apr 07, 2019
@lukfame thanks smiley

@GeoSilYe and @ewawumi I'm sorry that this is so hard to understand, maybe I bit off a little too much when I started this. I wanted to go for a world that was very different from what I had before and that has its advantages, but also its downsides, because I have to set up the stage and explain the way of life before I can actually really get into the story. But, to answer your question NO. I don't want you to feel like you have to keep reading if you're not enjoying it, or if it's just too confusing. This story is part of the series, but also not really part of the series. So, you definitely (I will make sure of this) don't need to read this to understand the human ones that come after. Again, I'm sorry that this is so hard to understand, and I'm really grateful that you've stuck with the story so far, even though you found it so confusing, really, thank you. You don't have to worry about getting notified when I return to the human world, I will mention everyone I mentioned in this topic, when I start the Reckoning. Thanks again, I appreciate it smiley
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 4:04pm On Apr 07, 2019
Who is this last warrior that we are familiar with? HMMM, Obehid guess it's time you start updating twice a week, that is if you can, cus this story is more complex than the other.

Thanks for the update, it was a long read.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD(f): 6:17am On Apr 08, 2019
Who is this last warrior that we are familiar with? HMMM, Obehid guess it's time you start updating twice a week, that is if you can, cus this story is more complex than the other.

Thanks for the update, it was a long read.

Hmm...instead of posting two chapters on the weekend, I could post one on Wednesday and one on Saturday...that's what I'll do. But I don't know how long I'll be able to keep it up. I'm heading into a pretty busy period, so I might have to go back to one chapter/week next week, but this week I should be able to swing two

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Tuhndhay(m): 8:12am On Apr 08, 2019
Am wowed at your thinking ability, tell me what inspired this story or rather where did you draw "don't know what to call it" to start writing a story as this. It will be a crime if you start the next story and not give me a mention.

I like the fact that you went back to the beginning to give a clue or trace into the (ancestral lineage) don't know if that is the right word to use) of Osezele and the twins but this explains how the Kaiser rose and his early beginning, I sense a peep into how the revolution started or how a revolution will start, however I think I might need to visit the earlier story or stories to see if I can get some clues. This your story reminds me of the one a brother attempted writing here, he started but did not finish it...... The Reul story.. If I can find it, maybe I will probably tag you.

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by GeoSilYe(f): 8:21am On Apr 08, 2019
@lukfame thanks smiley

@GeoSilYe and @ewawumi I'm sorry that this is so hard to understand, maybe I bit off a little too much when I started this. I wanted to go for a world that was very different from what I had before and that has its advantages, but also its downsides, because I have to set up the stage and explain the way of life before I can actually really get into the story. But, to answer your question NO. I don't want you to feel like you have to keep reading if you're not enjoying it, or if it's just too confusing. This story is part of the series, but also not really part of the series. So, you definitely (I will make sure of this) don't need to read this to understand the human ones that come after. Again, I'm sorry that this is so hard to understand, and I'm really grateful that you've stuck with the story so far, even though you found it so confusing, really, thank you. You don't have to worry about getting notified when I return to the human world, I will mention everyone I mentioned in this topic, when I start the Reckoning. Thanks again, I appreciate it smiley

Thanks ObehiD
Waiting for The Reckoning smiley
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Tuhndhay(m): 8:31am On Apr 08, 2019
Meneski, Souloho19, queenitee, Apollux, cyber5, cyberrex, Donteanz,
Damibiz, bigbauer, hadampson, creeza, emzyme,
hormobolanle, boffinjay,
slimsky,...... Make unah come chop

ReuEl12, Ironkurtain
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Damibiz(m): 10:00am On Apr 08, 2019
For the first time in 48hrs,i gat a mention,a don janded por here
Meneski, Souloho19, queenitee, Apollux, cyber5, cyberrex, Donteanz,
Damibiz, bigbauer, hadampson, creeza, emzyme,
hormobolanle, boffinjay,
slimsky,...... Make unah come chop

ReuEl12, Ironkurtain

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by queenitee(f): 10:48am On Apr 08, 2019
Meneski, Souloho19, queenitee, Apollux, cyber5, cyberrex, Donteanz,
Damibiz, bigbauer, hadampson, creeza, emzyme,
hormobolanle, boffinjay,
slimsky,...... Make unah come chop

ReuEl12, Ironkurtain
Here I am, thank you smiley smiley

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by HisGrace0000001(m): 11:23am On Apr 08, 2019
Meneski, Souloho19, queenitee, Apollux, cyber5, cyberrex, Donteanz,
Damibiz, bigbauer, hadampson, creeza, emzyme,
hormobolanle, boffinjay,
slimsky,...... Make unah come chop

ReuEl12, Ironkurtain
Thanks for the mention.
Your boy, boffinjay

2 Likes 1 Share

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cyber5(m): 3:24pm On Apr 08, 2019
Meneski, Souloho19, queenitee, Apollux, cyber5, cyberrex, Donteanz,
Damibiz, bigbauer, hadampson, creeza, emzyme,
hormobolanle, boffinjay,
slimsky,...... Make unah come chop

ReuEl12, Ironkurtain

Thanks for the mention... It's like you know what I like
Cyberrex man where are you?

2 Likes 1 Share

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Hadampson(m): 5:13pm On Apr 08, 2019
Meneski, Souloho19, queenitee, Apollux, cyber5, cyberrex, Donteanz,
Damibiz, bigbauer, hadampson, creeza, emzyme,
hormobolanle, boffinjay,
slimsky,...... Make unah come chop

ReuEl12, Ironkurtain

I don land gidigba smiley

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD(f): 2:53am On Apr 09, 2019
@Tuhndhay thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying it grin First off, I'm not a bro, that is I am not a guy, but I guess I'm used to people thinking I am here on NL lol cheesy. I'm not sure what story you're talking about, that is I don't know if you mean what inspired this, or what inspired the human part of the marked? I'll answer both though grin The human part of the marked actually has A LOT of inspirations. The very first inspirations were from tv shows (the Gates and Bitten specifically), and then as the story progressed I pulled inspirations from more shows I'd watched (and crazy things that just appeared in my head haha). This one, in the spectral existence, is inspired by fantasy fiction books that I've read and my desire to make something as different from the norm as those books are. Honestly, I started this book to give my mind some room to play around. There's room for creativity in the human world, but it's paranormal and so, there's only so much crazy I can get away with (at least for now). But here, in the spectral existence, there are no rules and the world is entirely what I say it is. Which is a challenge that I find really exciting. I will definitely mention you when I start the next one. Let me end by saying welcome to the world of the marked, and thanks for the interest, it really means a lot to me smiley

@GeoSilYe great! I'm already working on ways to get Akhere into the Reckoning just for you grin


Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Tuhndhay(m): 7:27am On Apr 09, 2019
My apologies ma'am for the assumption..... Hehehehehehehehe Am on this ride, let me make myself comfortable
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by souloho19(m): 3:30pm On Apr 09, 2019
Meneski, Souloho19, queenitee, Apollux, cyber5, cyberrex, Donteanz,
Damibiz, bigbauer, hadampson, creeza, emzyme,
hormobolanle, boffinjay,
slimsky,...... Make unah come chop

ReuEl12, Ironkurtain

Thanks boss

3 Likes 1 Share

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD(f): 2:25am On Apr 10, 2019
Part 8

In the pits. The third burg in the second metropolis of Hakute

I do not know what woke me. There was a stillness in the air, an unnatural occurrence during a time of night that is normally accompanied by the sounds of wardens. On some nights I would hear them stomping as they marched from corridor to corridor. On other nights I would hear their snores as they slept, derelict in the duties they were supposed to be carrying out. But this night there was nothing.

I only pondered on the silence for a moment. Then I turned around in my bed and shut my eyes, prepared to return to my sleep. But I found myself twisting and turning so much that I decided to get off the bed and satisfy my curiosity. Perhaps if I saw the wardens congregated in the eating room drinking wine, they would never share with us, and partaking of the good meals we could never eat, I would be irritated enough to come back to my bed and salvage the rest of my sleep.

I stood up and walked out of my cell.

The hallway was empty. That was bizarre enough to make me frown. Usually, there were at least two wardens by the fighters’ cells. Not now though. I kept walking, down the long hallway filled on both sides with cells. The curtains leading into each of these cells were closed. I kept walking, grateful for the white light sources fixed on the upper arches of the walls. I walked all the way down the sludge hallway, until I got to the end of the living space. I walked into the circular junction which broke off into the other parts of the pits. To the left was the portal room. It was the room with the quicksand, where we went to be taken into the arena. To the right was the eating room, and the path opposite where I stood led to the cleaning room.

I stood still in the junction just waiting, even though I could not say what I waited for. I simply had a feeling that something was off with the pits this day, and I was determined to find out what it was. I blamed my sudden burst of curiosity on insomnia. If I hadn’t had such a hard time falling back to sleep, I wouldn’t be standing here.

The sound was very light. It was so light I would have missed it if there was any other sound flowing into the junction. But the area was so silent that I heard it. I turned sharply to my right, just in time to see two green feet dragging against the floor and moving into the wall. I frowned, blinking as I tried to clear my eye. My sight must have been failing me, because I knew that I could not see feet moving into a wall. That was preposterous. I kept staring at the wall off to the right, and when nothing else happened, I sighed, chuckling a little at my own stupidity.

I prepared to turn and then I saw an imp emerge from that same wall, as if thrown out. This imp was not like the rest I had seen. The imp was in full possession of both of its eyes and had a streak-less skin. It wore two layers of clothing, one which covered its chest, but not its arms or neck, and another which covered the lower half of its body, stopping at its ankles. The imp had long flowing hair and a light brown skin. In its hands, it held two identical weapons I had never seen before. The middle of the weapon, which it held, seemed to be some sort of grip. One end of the weapon was a cyan horn, and the other end seemed to be a blade forged from large cyan scales.

The imp summersaulted in the air, and I was suddenly reminded of the imps who’d been dancing in Fajahromo’s house. Although that memory made me frown. It had been nine years since I’d seen Fajahromo, it pained me that I still remembered the day we met in such detail.

The imp landed on the ground in a silent squat and then stuck its leg out, sweeping it in a semi-circular pattern on the floor. As it did this, part of the imp’s leg disappeared into the wall. A warden fell back, emerging from the wall as if the imp’s leg had tripped it. Before it could land, the imp lashed out with its hand swiping the blade along the back of the warden’s neck. The imp jumped to its feet and caught the warden before it could land on the ground. The warden’s body was lifted from the ground as if there was someone inside the wall, carrying the half of the warden which hadn’t emerged from the wall. Then the imp moved forward, and it disappeared into the wall with the dead warden.

I looked around me, wondering if anyone else had happened to see the remarkable things which I had just seen. I wasn’t sure which surprised me more, the sight of things moving through walls, or watching an imp kill an uspec warden.

I moved forward, my curiosity aroused beyond reason. I walked down the path which led to the eating room and stopped around where I believed I had seen the imp and warden come out from the wall. Without pausing to contemplate what I could be walking into, I moved towards the wall, going in headfirst. I prepared for an explosion of pain when my head hit the solid surface, because regardless of what I’d seen, I couldn’t believe that my eye wasn’t playing tricks on me.

It wasn’t.

I walked into another world.

Well, that is a bit of an exaggeration. It was not so different from what I was used to in the living areas of the pits, but it was startling to imagine that so much existed here, hidden by walls I had stared at for years. There was an open area in front of me with five short pathways leading away from it. Each of those pathways were so short that standing where I was, I could see to the end of them.

And they were all full of fighting imps and wardens.

It was as though I was watching a revolt, as if the imps had risen up against the uspec wardens. My lips twitched as I watched an imp do an entertaining high jump in the air, kicking a warden in the face as it made its way down to land precisely on its feet, without faltering. That set the warden falling backwards, into the waiting blade of another imp. In a perfect arch, the imp brought its longsword all the way around to cut clean through the warden’s neck. The warden’s head rolled away from the body which collapsed onto the floor.

I turned to another corner where a warden was trying, unsuccessfully, to connect its baton with an imp’s head. With arms behind its back, the imp dodged the warden’s blows seemingly effortlessly. Then it bent to a squat and stuck its leg out, sweeping so that it tripped the warden over. Then it jumped onto the warden, straddling its waist, and stabbed a short dagger into the warden’s chest.

I noted that all of the imp’s were dressed in exactly the same way. They wore two set of clothing made of the same black material, and all had both eyes and a streak-less skin. But they varied in size and color. Some had long hair left flowing, some had hair tied back, some had it in short curls, and some had shaved their head bald. Some had skin as light as cream and some so dark their clothing was almost inseparable from them. Some were short, others tall. And there was so many of them. I counted twenty at least.

I noted that while some of them fought, others carried the bodies of the killed wardens away. I saw them pull the wardens with them into passages which seemed to branch out from the ones that I could see.

One by one the imps killed the wardens until the ten dwindled to five and then the five down to the last one. And as the killings occurred, I found a real wall to lean on and watched the fighting with the avid concentration of a fighter witnessing a new form of combat. I was suddenly filled with the desire to meet the master of these imps, the one who had trained the imps to fight as such and had then sent them off to kill the wardens. I wanted to know how one resisted the urge to simply take the imps’ eyes and instead use the imps as fighters who could battle with such a different technique.

I felt absolutely no pity for the wardens being slaughtered. Perhaps if I thought the imps were acting on their own behest I would have interceded, but I knew that imps could not enter into this place as they had, without the backing of a powerful uspec. I felt no desire to interfere with their uspec master’s wishes. So, I simply watched.

I swerved to the right, pushed by an imp. I grabbed onto the back of the imp’s neck and lifted it off the floor, bringing it up so that’s its face was at an even level with mine. I turned the imp around then and stared at it waiting for it to apologize.

“Put me down!” It snapped instead.

I dropped the imp, ignoring how deftly it landed on its two feet, and slapped it across the face. The imp grew enraged. I could feel its anger and it would have been such a simple thing to exhaust it, but I was curious, I wanted the challenge of a fight with imps that had taken down the wardens. And so I simmered the anger instead, forcing it to wane slower than it naturally would. The imp reached for the weapon at its back and I looked amused at the small dagger. It was a double edged one with a scale blade on one end and a horn on the other.

It reached to stab me with the blade in the stomach, a retribution for slapping it I suppose, but I stopped it easily, with a blow to the side of the head. The imp frowned and then it arched its head to look up at me, and then it fell to the ground and did the sweeping thing with its leg. I laughed. I felt the imps tiny leg making contact with mine and I laughed, at how ineffective it was.

I’d heard that the wardens were former fighters, glorious survivors of the pits who had been promoted. How had the wardens grown so lax that imps like this could kill them? I reached down and grabbed the imp by its neck, then I slammed my head into its, and grinned when I heard the sound of bone breaking. Blood ran down from the imp’s nose and mouth and I stared at the eyes, thinking about how easy it would be to take them and put them into my sockets.

I could feel the imp’s pain. It was enough to send uspecs to their knees, but this imp just stared back defiantly at me, as if it was indifferent to the pain.

“Please domina.” A shrill voice called out from below. I had to look all the way down to take note of this imp. It was so much smaller than the rest. I imagined it was a young one then, a child. It was in pain, but its pain was like nothing I had ever felt before. It was vibrant, filled with an energy I could not begin to imagine.

I released the imp in my hand.

“Thank you.” The young said. “Come mother.” It pulled the imp I had released away, and even though I did not know what the word ‘mother’ meant, I could tell it was spoken with great affection.

“Get Xavier!” A voice snapped.

I looked up. The imps were gone. There was no dead warden in sight. New uspecs came into the area, these uspecs had batons tied to their waists, but they were unfamiliar, I had never seen these new wardens before. They dragged some uspecs behind them as they moved closer towards me.

“Xavier!” The voice boomed.

“I’m coming.” A voice called out close to me. I turned in time to see an imp walk by me. The imp wore the same black clothes the others had worn, but unlike them, it also wore a thick expensive looking coat. It walked right by me, and it passed so silently I wouldn’t have noticed it if I hadn’t felt its emotions. They were polluted, polluted to the point that I could not imagine how it walked around without being driven insane. It had more polluted anger and pain in it than I had ever encountered in any other, uspec or imp. But the polluted emotions didn’t seem to stop it.

The imp stopped in the open area in front of me and said, “well, here I am. What do you want?”

I saw a new warden walk out from a corner in a pathway to my left. It dragged an uspec behind it, pulling the uspec’s body against the sludge, as it walked by me. I frowned when I saw the uspec’s face.

It was Gerangi.

It did not have any of its outer eyes, those had been removed, but I could still identify it. That was when I truly began to worry. Gerangi had blood all over its face, and from the pain coming out of it, I could tell that it had been beaten badly. I could not fathom what could have happened.

“The gate.” The warden pulling Gerangi said to the imp in the coat.

The imp stepped aside, making way for the warden pulling Gerangi, and then it followed behind them. I followed too.

The pathway to the right of where I had been standing had cells built into the sides. Unlike the cells were fighters were kept, these cells had a thick fog, instead of curtains, barring the entrance. The imp put its hand onto the fog and the fog receded. The new warden pulled Gerangi into the cell and then it walked out nodding towards the imp. The imp took its hand away and the fog returned. Then the imp left.

The warden turned its head and our eyes met.

It was taken aback by the sight of me and then its eyes moved down to my neck and I froze, preparing for the silent condemnation I expected to see in its gaze. I was too big and too strong to be openly insulted, but that didn’t stop them from condemning. Yes, they tried to mask it, but I could always tell.

“Irira.” The warden said. Its voice was filled with admiration and I was shocked when I saw the smile on its face. “It is an honor to meet you.” The warden said, bowing a little as it spoke. The top of its head reached my chest, and so I had to look down at it when it moved closer towards me.

“You will fight today.” It said. My scowl deepened, we were never told when the fight would be. “But it will be your last.” I frowned at those words. Did that mean that this warden thought I would be killed? “It has all been planned irira. Go back to your cell and rest. Prepare for the fight.” Then it turned and walked away.

There was something troubling about the warden. It had smiled at me, spoken to me as if I were more than an equal. What had I witnessed? Why had the old wardens been killed? Why was a pious one locked behind a fog cell?

“Pious one?” I whispered, moving closer to the cell. “Pious one.” I increased my voice but there was no response.

“Go to your cell my friend.” The warden’s tone was firm but also placating, as if it did not want to have to force me.

Nine years of living by the rule of wardens had me obeying this one on instinct. And so I turned around and walked back through the fake wall, into the parts of the pits that were home to me. I kept walking to my cell in a daze, all the while wondering what I had seen.

I lay on my bed, but I did not go back to sleep.

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD(f): 2:28am On Apr 10, 2019
NOT PART OF THE STORY ==> READ CRIMSON NIGHT (The first book in the Marked Series) FOR FREE!!!

Sometimes, to appreciate the end, you have to go back to the start.

Before she travelled to other existences, and before she battled monster imps with the power to conjure up her worst fears and failures, Osezele was just a girl. She was shy, insecure and very, very, lonely. She had one friend in the entire school, and the boy she had a crush on was completely unaware of her existence. Then she was caught daydreaming in Mr. Akpan’s class, and she was given a choice: the cane or the head girl’s punishment. Osezele’s choice changed her life.

Read the Crimson Night, rediscover your favorite characters, and get introduced to some characters you’ve heard of but have never seen. Learn who Emeka is and why he is spoken of with so much respect. Meet Ebo and watch his entry into Osezele’s life. Follow Osezele on her first quest to finding true friendships and her discovery of the grim repercussions of having a mark as powerful as hers. Get lost in the Crimson Night and see how it all began.

For a limited time only, you can get the Crimson Night eBook for free. Follow the link to okadabooks and read the start of the marked series absolutely free of charge. Just click the link -> https://okadabooks.com/book/about/crimson_night/25954 <- and start reading. When you’re done, if you’re so moved, please leave a review on okadabooks and share your thoughts on the book. Thank you!!!

And if you’ve already read the book but weren’t able to leave a review on the other platforms, you can put it up on okadabooks instead. Thanks for all the support, I really appreciate it!!!

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 11:16am On Apr 10, 2019
Good Obehid good. I like this part umanis killing uspecs is good.

Waiting for the next scenes on Sunday. Thanks
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD(f): 2:29am On Apr 11, 2019
@Tuhndhay lol, no apologies necessary. I like knowing that my gender isn't obvious in my writing cheesy Hope you enjoy the ride!

@Fazemood hahaha I can see why you would like that lol.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by popeshemoo(m): 6:13am On Apr 11, 2019
I like nebud's story...but I kinda miss osazele and the human world..! nice going obehid

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 9:01pm On Apr 12, 2019
Please Obehid, I have been having difficulty in accessing my okada book account recently. Please can you kindly send me the pdf format on the marked story on my email: zirconfabian@gmail.com? Please?
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD(f): 1:51am On Apr 13, 2019
Hey @popeshemoo glad to see you're still following this story grin I miss Osezele too, but, I think the time away is going to be good for the story wink

@Fazemood Done! Check your inbox smiley

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD(f): 1:54am On Apr 13, 2019
Part 9

Maybe it had only been hours, but I could not imagine how. I was wound tight, like a coiled spring ready to be released. My mind had grown weary from the constant prodding and the repetitious way in which I had replayed the events which I had seen. At the moment, I believed I could rival even the passing traders with my attention to detail if I was ever called upon to tell the story of the things I had witnessed. I had pondered the events over and over while I tossed in my bed, hoping, to no avail, for the release of slumber. Now, as the curtains of my cell were drawn back, I sat up on my bed and wondered just how much time had passed. Rational thought told me that it could not have been more than hours, but my fatigued mind insisted that it had to have been days.

“Come irira.” A soft, uncertain, voice called out.

I rose slowly from my bed, my eye alert as I took in the form of the new warden. It had nothing on save the belt and baton that the old set of wardens had worn, but there was an excited air about it, as if it was truly happy to serve in the position it now had. It was only too clear that this warden was a novice to fighting. It was tall, tall enough that when I stood and walked over to it, its head reached my shoulders. But it had a lean-muscularity, the kind that spoke of a body built from exercise and not the exertions of fighting. This warden, unlike the ones who’d been here before, the ones I had watched getting slaughtered, had never fought in the pits.

I stopped in front of the curtain which it held open for me and smirked at it. This warden would not survive long in the pits. It took hard uspecs to control the fighters and this one looked ready to faint just from being so close to me.

“Am I to fight?” I asked it casually.

The uspec only had its single central eye. In that it was as the old wardens, because it had its outer eye-sockets formed, but none of them filled. Its tail was also fully grown so it could not be as young as it appeared, I thought, counting down the seconds in my head as the uspec simply gawked at me. I was tempted to give it its first real introduction to the barbaric nature of the pits when it shook its head, as if recalling what it was meant to be.

“Yes irira.” It replied. “Shall I take you to the portal room?” It asked, its eye widened and there was something about the way it looked up at me, that left me feeling uneasy. This was the second new warden which was treating me in a manner I did not expect. The old wardens despised me, but these ones seemed to respect me. This warden stared up at me with adulation.

“I know the way.” I snapped, irritated by the warden.

I marched towards the portal room, shaking my head as I heard the hurried steps of the warden running behind me. It panted a little, as if the mere act of keeping up with me was more of an exertion than it was used to. I almost turned around and killed it, just to put it out of its misery. A warden like this wouldn’t last long in the pits. It would cross the wrong fighter and that fighter would kill it.

“The founder’s grace be with you irira!” The warden yelled as I walked into the portal room.

I scoffed at the words no doubt intended to wish me luck. I didn’t need them, I made my own grace.

I stopped in the middle of the room and stood over the hard, light-brown quicksand. It softened underneath me, and I was transported to the arena. As I rose to the surface, I held my breath to keep from swallowing any of the liquid in the okun. My head emerged and as soon as the scales on my neck became visible the mob began to cheer. Half of them belted out their fight song as I continued my slow ascent.

“Hair of horns and a chest of iron. Irira!
Skirt of tails and a neck of scales. Irira!
Not one but all. Not weak but strong.
Say you, ‘Tiyoseriwosin?’
Say I, ‘Uspecipyte’.
I am iron strong, unbreakable, I see you shake.
Standing my ground, while I hear you quake.
Against me you set your best?
Apologies, but to death they are next.
Say you, ‘Tiyoseriwosin?’
Say I, ‘Uspecipyte’.”

By the time my feet rested on the sturdy ground beneath the okun they were still singing the song. I turned, looking first on the frantic mob. It was as it usually was. Half of the uspecs stood and cheered and screamed and sang as if I was the very reason for their existence, as if in my presence they found justification for their meaningless lives. While the other half of the uspecs sat still, their looks of condemnation having absolutely no impact on me. I did not bother with looking at the imps.

Instead, I took my time, slowly letting my gaze travel along the okun all the way to the other side of the arena where my challenger stood. It seemed to be standing as far away from me as it possibly could. It stood with its legs parted slightly so that I could see its tail. I frowned at the sight of the Kute feature. It was forbidding for a kute to fight in the pits so I knew that if one was there, it had to be an irira like me. And so I let my eyes continue their perusal. They rose all the way up the uspec’s body to rest on its head. It had seven horns that I could count coming out of its head. There was something off about the horns, but I couldn’t quite say with certainty what it was.

“Irira!” the mob cried. “Irira!” they screamed, and even though there were two iriras in the arena, we both knew which of us was being cheered.

I began walking towards the other irira and as I got closer, I searched for its emotions. There was pain, so much pain. It was the type of pain that you would expect in one which had been beaten. Most of it came from its head and there was some residual pain from its face and other parts of its body. The unexpected pain was the one which I felt in its ailerons. I had never felt pain emerging from an uspec’s ailerons. There was also anger. The anger was subdued, as if it had burned brightly for a long time but had finally been overwhelmed by the immensity of the pain.

I was surprised when I walked closer to it and the irira did not move. Instead, its anger seemed to be growing, as if my presence was sending it into a rage which rivaled the pain. The pain won out in the end, but the anger was there, lurking beneath the surface.

I stopped in front of the irira and froze.

A cold central eye met mine.

For seconds we both stood there, two enemies assessing each other. Its pain remained constant, but it was the anger which spoke loudly. It rolled, moving like a wave, inflating and then subsiding only to rise up again. But all through this, it simply stared at me, until finally, it said,

“Irira.” There was so much derision in that single word.

But I smiled. My lips formed into an evil smile which I hoped foretold of all that I would do to it as I replied, “Maxad.” Then I turned my focus to its horns, ignoring the gasp it let out at the casual way I mentioned its name, “or perhaps I should call you Irira too.” I mocked.

“You know that I am not Irira.” It snapped.

I looked at the sockets on its face. Some of the sockets were as one of mine was, with white streaks instead of the pure green of an eye-socket which had never been filled. I couldn’t help remembering the first time I had seen it, with its many eyes and the fraise around its neck. Now it was without any of its outer eyes and its neck was bare. I looked up at the horns and I understood why so much of its pain came from its head. There was dried blood surrounding each of the horns. Those horns had been dug into the uspec’s scalp, they were not natural, it was not truly an irira. But if someone had gone through the trouble of doing this to Maxad, then the person wanted Maxad to die in the pits, and had made it appear as an irira to ensure that.

“You cannot touch me!” Maxad snarled. “It would be a sacrilege to harm a pious one.”

There was so much arrogance in its voice that I couldn’t help smiling. Luckily the crowds still screamed my name and so they couldn’t hear the conversation going on between us.

“I see no fraise, so how can you be pious?” I taunted. “All I see are horns and a tail. I see an irira, not a pious one.” Then I dropped my head so that I could be on a more even level with the uspec before continuing. “And like a begetter once told me, iriras must gift their lives to the pits of Hakute.” I had rephrased its words, but I could tell from the widening of its eye that it remembered what it had said to Fajahromo the day it brought me into the pits.

Without giving Maxad a chance to respond, I grabbed onto a fake horn and pulled it with ease from its head. Then I stabbed it into its side and punched the uspec so hard it fell onto the floor.

It began to crawl away from me on its side, and I stalked it, taking my time to exult in its pains. All of the anger was gone now. I imagined it would be feeling fear too, but I did not have fear and so I could not sense it. But I could sense its pain.

I stepped savagely on its ankles and I heard the sounds of bones breaking as the uspec screamed out in pain.

“Please!” Maxad begged. “I will pay you. If you let me live, I will show you the way out of here. Not all fights must end with death. You are so famous that the mob will grant you anything you desire. I will set you free! Please! Please Nebud!”

There was something about hearing my name again that stopped me. I hadn’t thought it knew that name.

Sensing an advantage, Maxad pressed. “I know the way out. I know things that you cannot even imagine. I will give the world to you on a platter. Nebud, I will…”

I hadn’t been sure of how I felt when Maxad had called my name the first time. Now I was sure. I screamed, a hollow pain filled my chest as my name was called in the arena of the pits. I was irira. Irira was responsible for the bloodshed, irira killed and entertained a mob. Irira not Nebud. But having Maxad try to force Nebud and irira to converge as one was an unforgivable offense. It was the last time Maxad would hurt me, I swore as I bent to pick the uspec up.

I wrapped my hand around its neck and lifted it off the floor. My hold on its neck was strong as I punched it, slamming my fist into its face with a mindless frenzy which I had not felt since my first time in the arena.

I don’t know how much time passed, or how many blows I dealt to Maxad’s face, but by the time I finally returned to awareness, there was more red than green on the uspec. I could barely see its central eye. Its nose was broken, its jaw was shifted and if not for the pain I felt emanating from it and the gentle throbbing of its veins against my hand, I would have thought it was dead.

“You are just a tool.” It said. Its voice was so faint I wasn’t sure if I had heard the words or simply made them up. Surely it couldn’t speak with its face so badly beaten. I turned my gaze down and found that it was clinging to me, both of its hands gripped my arm with a strength that fascinated me.

Suddenly, my mind was blank. It was as it had been in the infirmary all those years ago, when Gerangi had put its thoughts into my head. This time, when my thoughts returned, I heard Maxad in my head. Its voice was stronger in my mind than it had been when I heard it before. “It is not your friend.” The voice warned. “It will turn on you just as it turned on its own line. When you are no longer useful you will find yourself where I am, begging an enemy for death.” The voice sighed. “You are kun.” It seemed to laugh weakly. “I should have known. Keep your emotions from it.” Then it sighed. “I have given you a gift, return the favor. Put me out of my misery.”

I could not decipher the words. It was as if Maxad had spoken in riddles. But there was something so desolate in the way it spoked that I found myself doing something I would never have thought possible. I felt sad for Maxad. I felt pity. I wanted to fight the emotion, to beat the uspec more and make it suffer for the life of hell it had sentenced me to. But I could not.

I had sworn to myself that I would kill it, and at the time it had simply being the vengeful ramblings of a child. Now, as I increased the pressure on Maxad’s neck, I felt hollow. For a second, I thought to call out to it and tell it that I was sorry for the beating I’d given it, and in that second when the thought occurred, perhaps I was sorry. But Maxad did not need my apologies, it needed death, and I provided it quickly. Just as the pits had taught me.

Then I let the lifeless uspec drop to the ground.

It died with its eye open.

The screams of “irira” were deafening, and for the first time since I stepped into the pits, I wanted to be away from it. I could not stand the death. Maxad had made me Nebud again. In its final act of cruelty, it had removed the mask I wore to keep myself separate and exposed me to myself.

My eye darted around the pits, as if searching for understanding in the eyes that peered back at me. I don’t know what I was looking for, but I found Fajahromo instead.

Our eyes met.

In a part of my subconscious I noted that the Fajahromo who stared back at me was not the same one I had left nine years ago. Nine years ago I had thought Fajahromo was a great uspec and I had believed this with the naivety of a de trop who didn’t know any better. Now I knew better. I saw the face, completely filled with eye-sockets, the robe that extended from its shoulders and the guards that surrounded it, and I knew that this Fajahromo was truly a great uspec.

It smiled at me the same way it had the first time it had come to watch me fight. And then its eyes moved to Maxad’s dead body lying in the okun beside me. Its face filled with a different type of smile when it looked on Maxad, and I feared that that smile was the first genuine smile I had ever seen on Fajahromo. It was a smile filled with relish.

“You should be more careful of who you make an enemy of.” Fajahromo’s words echoed in my head as the memory of that fateful day nine years ago resurfaced. I remembered Fajahromo’s promise to Maxad. “You may have won this round, but this is not the end.”

Suddenly, I felt sick.

“You are just a tool.” Maxad had said, and I finally understood what it meant. Fajahromo was behind this. Fajahromo had designed this so that Maxad would fight me in the arena, knowing that I would kill it.

I saw the smile on Fajahromo’s face as it stared with triumph at Maxad and I remembered the warden’s words. “You will fight today. But it will be your last.” A chill ran up my spine as I thought of the slaughter I had witnessed, and the beaten Gerangi who’d been dragged into a fog cell. Fajahromo’s gaze rose to meet mine and I had an awful feeling that it was behind all of this. The warden’s words came back to my mind as Fajahromo nodded to me and I feared that killing Maxad was only the beginning of what Fajahromo wanted from me.

It smiled at me one last time and then it turned around to leave, surrounded by guards who reminded me of the warriors who’d flown into my slum all those years ago.

“It is not your friend. It will turn on you just as it turned on its own line. When you are no longer useful you will find yourself where I am, begging an enemy for death.”

As Maxad’s last words echoed in my head, I felt the ground underneath me soften. It sucked me in and teleported me back to the portal room. The warden from earlier on in the day, the one who had told me that this would be my last fight, was standing alone in the portal room, waiting for me.

It smiled.

I don’t think I smiled back, though I may have unconsciously. I was still in too much of a shock to do anything but let my mind reel.

“Come with me irira.” It spoke cheerfully. “Your fighting days are over.”

And then it began walking and I followed in a mindless daze. As I walked, I thought about what all of this might mean for me. Fajahromo had re-appeared in my life and all I felt was sick. It had used me. Granted, I’d wanted to kill Maxad, but it was the way Fajahromo had orchestrated it, that shook me. How did an uspec gain so much power? How had Fajahromo become the kind of uspec who could have one pious one thrown into the pits and another into a cell.

But as the questions rolled around in my head, I remembered the hate. I remembered the first few days I had spent in the pits hungry and praying for death. I remembered the day Fajahromo had come to watch me fight and simply left me there. I remembered that I swore to make it pay. I was no longer the de trop who’d been afraid, I refused to tremble at the sight of any uspec, regardless of how far it had come.

Fajahromo was not the only one who had changed.

The warden stopped in front of me. I stopped too as the warden held open curtains the like of which I had never seen before, leading into a room I had never previously encountered. The warden gestured with its hands for me to go in.

“The grand one awaits you.” It said.

With a frown of confusion, I walked in and stopped dead in my tracks.

Fajahromo stood on the other side of the room with a smile on its face.


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