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The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) - Literature (31) - Nairaland

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by ayshow6102(m): 6:42am On Jan 02
Obehid sweetheart thanks for the update and Happy New year
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by olite93: 6:55am On Jan 02
Wow.... Seems nebud had a good jan 1
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by dragonstar14: 7:45am On Jan 04
update ooo sadupdate ooo
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 7:46am On Jan 04
@tunjilomo yes it does smiley

@cassbeat Thank you, same to you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

@ayshow6102 thank you for reading and Happy new year to you too

@olite93 hahaha, yes it did
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 7:46am On Jan 04
Part 12
--------

A silent reverence hung around us. That reverence seemed to punctuate the air. It was made clear in the wide-eyed stares we received and the whispers that immediately followed the stares. No uspecs came close, but all made sure to bow if the high one’s gaze fixed on them.

The high one.

Every time I thought of Arexon’s new title, I found that the thought was quickly followed with a snort of disbelief. But it was true. Arexon’s new title was made evident by the treatment that it received. Commoners fell to their knees in its presence, and nobles bowed. The depth of the bow was directly proportional to the rank of the noble. I took note of all of this with only the mildest interest. As fascinating as Arexon’s new life was, I had no time to dwell on it.

Each day that I’d spent in bed had been one more day away from Musa. It had been an entire day spent without knowledge of Musa’s whereabouts. Had the imps of Permafrost found my imp? Had they been able to restore its growth? Was Musa healed at this moment? Or was it gone? The last thought was one that my mind shrunk away from. It was too hurtful to think it, to even contemplate it. No, Musa could not be gone. Musa could not be sapped beyond the point of reversibility. Musa was strong. It was the strongest imp I had ever seen. Perhaps the samu was enough to best other weaker imps, but not mine. Musa had too much to live for. I was suddenly glad that I’d never told the imp of my bloodline. Musa’s search for the heir to Lahooni would keep it alive. Musa would cling to its lifeforces to find the heir. It had to.

The sound of laughter drew my focus from my frantic thoughts, back to the inn.

I lost count of the days that passed while I healed. True to its word, Arexon had given me growth to help speed up my healing. It had only done this after it received the tale of how I came to be in such a condition. Even now, feelings of irritation mixed with amusement as I thought of Arexon’s visits to me. How easy the growth would have been to give, but not Arexon. It would not give the growth until every detail of the story was told. There were times when I wondered why the uspec did not just take the thoughts from my head, like it had done so many times in Chiboga. Whatever its reasons, Arexon waited to hear the tale of my misfortune from my own lips.

In the end, it kept its word, and it gave me growth. It was only a day ago that the growth had been given, but I was already much improved. I felt no pain in my back, and only the slightest twinges in my leg. But my leg had healed well enough that the healers gave me leave to walk around on it. The first thing I’d done was make use of the cleaning rooms.

Arexon had been given a suite of rooms. The amount of fog in those rooms made it clear that it had been specifically designed for a boga, but I found the cleaning ponds more than adequate. No pond compared to that which I had enjoyed in the Hakute Lastmain. I still dreamt of the falling liquid and the long channel of okun.

Soldiers surrounded us. There were moments when my skills of perception seemed so acute that I wondered what was responsible for the difference. This was one of those times. I remembered what the soldiers had looked like when they guarded Sophian. I recalled the set of their lips, the resignation in their gazes. They bore no love for the uspecs they guarded, and so, they took no joy in their tasks.

It was different with Arexon. The soldiers seemed to stand taller, their chests puffed out slightly. They did not smile with joy, but they did not wear looks of blank resignation. It was obvious from their countenance that they performed this duty with pride. The soldiers, like Arexon, wore earrings. Unlike Arexon they wore the same silver earrings they’d always worn. Those earrings had led me to the mistaken conclusion that they were still serfs. Yakubo corrected me. Arexon’s army was not a serf army. Arexon had given all serfs their freedom. Thanks to Arexon, every serf that Sophila had kept enslaved in every port that it had conquered and annexed to its own, was now free. I asked why they wore the earring and Yakubo said it was a thing of pride to them. They wore the earrings because Arexon wore earrings. These soldiers would follow Arexon even it led them to their deaths. I could not imagine ever commanding the loyalty of so many as effortlessly as Arexon did.

Pansophy, a spiteful voice sang in my head. The voice meant to pacify me, but I knew that it was wrong. It was not pansophy that made me trust Arexon. Arexon had earned my loyalty in a way that no other had. I thought about Marcinus then, and heaved a sigh. Did Marcinus think of me as often as I thought of it? Marcinus and Arexon could not be more different. I recalled Marcinus’ mannerisms, its gentility, its kindness. I could not say that Arexon was particularly kind, or gentle, but it had a strength unlike any other. Perhaps that was what I found so intriguing about the uspec.

Ten soldiers surrounded us. We sat on a table far separated from the other uspecs in the inn. The soldiers were stationed closer to Arexon, and so the gaps between them were wide enough to see through clearly to the front of the room.

I stared at my platter, my mind entwined in the complex decision between eating the nama before what was left of the sea serpent, or completing my meal in the reverse order.

Yakubo laughed.

Our table was shared with two other boga uspecs. These uspecs were not ones that I had seen before. They were bogas who dwelt in the Labryinths. I had distanced myself from the discussion when one of them had decided to compose a poem in honor of Arexon. The other, in an attempt to outdo the first, was singing for the custodian. Arexon regarded both uspecs with an indifference that would have been insulting if it was not Custodian. At least Arexon did not immediately kick them out. They were both nobles, one of them was a majestic, the offspring of a duke, the other was a dignified, the offspring of a sovereign. If I was Arexon, I would have slit their throats. The one that tried to sing had a hoarse voice, and the one reciting poems had the skill of a jackal. Yakubo kept them entertained. It laughed at their jokes and clapped at their recitations.

“Right Nebud?”

The prompting in the words returned my focus to the conversations. Arexon did not speak much around uspecs it did not know. It allowed the boga uspecs to fawn over it, but it did not give them as much as a grunt of approval.

I turned to Yakubo and rose an eyebrow.

“The dignified one was just telling us about its experiences in Hakute. A funny tale of…”

Arexon cleared its throat. That simple sound was enough to stop Yakubo’s flow of words. The boga nobles turned immediately, their adulating eyes fixed on Arexon. I was surprised when Arexon’s eyes locked with theirs. One eye on the left of its face locked on the uspec closest to it, and another eye on the other. This was the first time that I had ever seen Arexon stare so intently at hangers-on.

“Leave us.” It ordered.

I coughed to cover up my laughter. And here I was thinking that Arexon was about to break its rule of not socializing with its noble born adorers. Thankfully Arexon had not changed that much overnight. The nobles hastened to their feet. They curtsied deeply to Arexon, and then they walked away.

“I don’t know how you stand them.” I remarked to Yakubo.

Yakubo chuckled. “They aren’t that bad, and they often have great tales to tell if you give them the chance to share their experiences. The tale that I was going to share with you…”

“Stop.” Arexon cut it off.

“Forgive me sirga.”

Arexon jerked its head at the entrance to the inn. “Our guest of honor has arrived.” It stated flatly.

Guest of honor?

I turned my attention to the door. There was a gathering of uspecs around one. Was that a member of the plenum? The uspec was completely covered. There was a dark veil over the horns on its head. That veil covered its face and the tops of its body. It wore a cloak to cover the remainder of its body. The cloak was so long that it swept the floor, blocking view of the uspec’s feet. It had gloves on its hands. Those gloves covered even its fingers. There was no slimming in the garb that the uspec wore. It was a single voluminous attire designed to thoroughly hide the identity of the uspec within. Even its ailerons had been covered with black sheaths. The covering was one that made it impossible to tell what size the uspec’s ailerons were. Not the plenum. I decided. The plenum had covered most of their body, but their face had been exposed. So, who was this uspec? And why was it Arexon’s guest of honor?

Although I did not know the identity of the uspec, it became clear that others did. As soon as its presence in the inn was revealed, the room stirred to life. Tongues wagged and uspecs rushed to their feet. So many dropped to their knees around this uspec. They knelt in reverence, as if in worship. This was not some royal they felt obligated to pay obeisance to. It almost looked like they were praying to it.

“A pious.” I said, before the thought was fully complete in my head.

“Very good.” Arexon stated dryly.

I turned my attention back to Arexon. The timing of my shift in focus proved to be opportune as the uspec gestured for its guards at that exact moment. The clearing of its throat was all it needed to get their attention. It nodded and eight soldiers saluted and walked away, leaving only two to guard the Custodian.

Now this made more sense. Arexon was not one to walk around with a large troop of soldiers. That was why I’d found it so strange when Arexon had announced that the group would be accompanying us. Now I understood. They had some other mission, something to do with the covered uspec who’d walked in.

“Who is that?” I directed my question at Arexon, as I knew that asking Yakubo would be a waste. If Arexon did not want me to know, Yakubo would not say.

Arexon’s gaze fixed on me. It stared at me for a while, its eyes studying my features as if trying to decipher a puzzle etched into my face. Then, when it was done, it returned its focus to my eyes. “That uspec was as an offspring to your sire. The mighty Calam took it in as a child and acted as patron to it. Calam taught it everything it knows. Now, it is the greatest maker to inhabit this existence since the great boga maker.”

My throat suddenly felt dry. What game was Arexon playing now? And was I involved? “What is its name?”

“Animaton.”

Animaon’s eye.

The voice in my head. It had been so long since I received its prompting that I almost jumped when I heard the voice. “Animaon?” I asked.

Arexon frowned at me. “No, I said Animaton.” It emphasized the ‘t’ this time. “Is the name familiar to you?”
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 7:47am On Jan 04
I shook my head. It was a reflex, really, I did not stop to think. But I saw the frown on Arexon’s face. It did not believe me. The name did have a familiar ring to it. Animaton. Where had I heard of it? It was not the uspec whose eye I had been tasked with taking, but the name was so similar that I could not help but wonder if there was any relationship. And was there a relationship between the eye I had been asked to take, and the similar named uspec who’d served as apprentice to my sire?

“Animaton is known for its great discoveries. It has made many great technologies which combine pansophy and spectra, but it is most known for the…”

“Samu.” I finished for Arexon, finally realizing why the name seemed so familiar. Animaton was the clever maker that Monica had spoken of in Nefastu. I remembered thinking then how striking a similarity the name bore to the name of the uspec I had been sent to Damejo for.

“You have heard of it.”

I nodded. Hatred filled my voice as I replied, “it is the uspec responsible for my imp’s fate.”

“Ah.” Arexon’s gaze narrowed. “I have a proposition for you Nebud. I had worried before that your feelings towards Animaton might bias you against our mission, but if you do not care about the bond it shared with your progenitor, then I could use your help.”

“My help?”

“Yes. You’ve asked several times now what payment the plenum is demanding for the withdrawal of their troops. Animaton is half of it.”

“And the other half?” The question just trickled out of my mouth. It was as expected as an answering greeting of salutations, or a gratitude for services rendered. I did not expect the question to make Yakubo freeze in its chair, or Arexon let out a sigh of pain. Now I was truly curious.

“I suppose there is no harm in me telling you.” Arexon’s words seemed to be chosen carefully, as it paused after several phrasings. “The plenum has demanded the slaughter of all irira in Chiboga and its annexed ports.”

I inhaled sharply. “Will you do it?”

Arexon’s gaze locked with mine. “There are several soldiers that I value who are irira. When I announced myself as Custodian to them, I promised all my soldiers that I would protect them, that their care would be foremost in my mind. The plenum wants Animaton delivered to them, and all iriras killed. I chose to see to the former personally so that I could delay the latter. If I refuse to carry out either of the plenum’s demands they will invade Chiboga. They do not want another Kaiser like Sophila.”

“They want a puppet.” I scoffed.

“Nebud!” Yakubo called my name sharply.

I sighed. “I apologize sirga.”

Arexon shook its head. “You are right, they want a puppet.”

“And will you be that? Will you do what they’ve asked? Are you the kind of ruler who slaughters its own people to secure its hold on power?”

“What do you want it to do? If it refuses the plenum will invade. How many do you think will die when the plenum invades Chiboga? A hundred times more than the number of iriras in the port. Sometimes hard decisions must be made for the greater good.” Yakubo sounded resigned. If Yakubo spoke like this, then Arexon’s mind was made up.

Why did it feel as if Arexon was betraying me? I was not in Chiboga, I would not be one of the iriras who died in the slaughter, but those iriras were my kind. They were Arexon’s subjects. Surely the power of that position came with responsibilities.

“I have not decided what I will do yet.” Arexon stated.

“Have you not?” I asked sarcastically.

Arexon’s eyes caught and held mine. “I have not.” It stated. “I am taking care of their demands one at a time. They want Animaton more than they want the iriras dead.”

“Why?”

“Who knows.” It shrugged. “It could be for its mind. There are many innovations Calam made that the plenum has found no way to replicate or breach.”

“Katsoaru.” I gasped. “Breach. You are talking about Katsoaru are you not?” I demanded. My mind darted to Marcinus again. The uspec probably did not even know the danger that was coming to it.

“Maybe. The plenum does not confide in me. But I do know that the thought bubble which Calam created and installed in Katsoaru is one that the plenum has not been able to remove. Any Kuworyte that enters that port dies. So far they’ve managed to rely on turning Uspecipytes in the port to Kuworytes, but that is proving to not be as effective as they once thought. Once an Uspecipyte turns to Kuworyte the thought bubble kills them if they leave and try to re-enter.”

“Is Manus dead?” A surge of joy filled me at the thought.

Arexon grinned. “No. Manus is of Maraci’s line. In every lock Calam created, it allowed a master key. For the things it made for itself, the master key was the identity of the uspecs of its line. I believe it is the same way for the thought bubble. Maraci’s line is immune to its influence. Maybe even…”

“Me.” I thought.

“It would not surprise me if Calam made its line immune as well.”

“And no one can unlock this?”

Arexon shook its head. “No maker that the plenum has found has been able to undo what Calam did.”

“So they are hoping that Animaton will be able to, since it served Calam?”

“That is my guess.”

“Why is Katsoaru of so much interest to them?”

“Calam bestowed a lot on that port before it died. Pansophic lifeforces, wealth, food. I believe the plenum is planning the final staging to take over all ports. If a stronghold such as Katsoaru remains an impenetrable Uspecipyte port, then the plenum will never have full ownership of this existence, and Katsoaru will always be a threat.”

“But Manus is Kuworyte. Is that not enough?”

“Manus is whatever it needs to be to gain power. It became Kuworyte to gain wealth from the plenum. Now it is heir to Katsoaru, it has no more need for their wealth. It would not surprise me if Manus decided to revert to Uspecipyte.”

I could not stop my lips from twitching at the scornful way Arexon spoke of Manus’ swinging alliances. “You cannot give the plenum Animaton. If it can unlock the bubble to Katsoaru then the Uspecipyte movement is finished.”

“You do not care about the Uspecipyte movement.” Arexon stated flatly.

“Marcinus.”

“Is Manus’ sibling. Manus will protect it. The last I heard there was love between the two.”

I scoffed. “There is not love between them. Marcinus will never bow to the plenum. It would die before it allowed the plenum to own it. Manus would easily slaughter Marcinus if it proved to be a threat.”

Arexon shook its head. “This decision is the easy one Nebud. I will take Animaton from this place and deliver it to the plenum. I am giving you the chance to help me. You are still one of the greatest fighters I know. Animaton is well loved, but more importantly, well-guarded, here. I will have to kill those guards to get to it. I will feel better about my chances if I have you on my team. Fight with me, and I will fight with you.”

I frowned. “Fight with me?”

“I made some inquiries. The imp Xavier, the one you came here in search of, has been captured. It is being held for sapping in the heart of Cormeum. The heart of Cormeum is filled with pious guards, ones with pansophy. If you embark on the mission yourself, you stand a greater chance of being killed, than you do of rescuing the imp.”

I stared agape at Arexon. My disbelieving gaze darted to Yakubo. The uspec could not meet my eyes. These were uspecs I thought of as friends? “Are you saying that if I do not help you deliver an uspec who could be the cause of Marcinus’ death, you will not help me save my imp?”

“I have no love for imps. I do not hate them, but I do not care for them.”

“Aaliyah and Zane!”

“Are Yakubo’s pets.” Arexon spat out. Yakubo did not speak, it kept its gaze on the platter in front of it. “I treasure Yakubo and so I care for its imps. But they are imps, I care far more for my own kind.”

“Like you care for the iriras you will slaughter at the plenum’s behest? Or are we iriras not your kind?”

Arexon’s jaw clenched. It glared at me and I glared back. I had not thought that I needed help to reclaim Xavier, but if I did need help, I had expected these uspecs to offer it. Why? I shook my head, when had I become an uspec who expected the help of others? If I had not expected more from Arexon, I would not feel the betrayal which burdened me, like an ache in my chest.

Arexon sighed. “You fight for one, for an imp. I fight for the lives of so many more. Hundreds of thousands of uspecs in Chiboga and its annexed ports, and I am their only protection. If I fail, the plenum will kill thousands before they decide what to do with whatever is left of Chiboga. I do not have the luxury of being so moral.”

I suddenly felt ill. “I cannot help you.” I said, pushing my stool away from the table, “I will not.”

I rose to my feet.

Arexon stood too. “Stay and finish your meal.” It acquiesced. “We will discuss other things.”

I shook my head. I had my belt, everything that I had come to Arexon with. It was time for me to make my own way. I had to find Xavier. I had to find the imp before it was sapped. If I did not find Xavier, then Musa was lost to me, whether or not it lived.

I took a step back.

“Nebud…” Arexon called.

I turned my attention to the uspec and waited for it to complete its sentence. Whatever it had planned to say, stayed frozen in its throat.

Finally, it spoke. “I wish I could be the strong uspec you envision me as. I admit, I never truly knew what it meant to rule. Now, I understand a bit more of Arigad’s weakness.” It swallowed. “Take care of yourself my friend.”

My friend. I felt as if this should be more momentous, the moment when Arexon called me friend. But how could it? Arexon planned to kidnap a pious one and give it to the plenum. It did not care for the Katsoaru uspecs that would lose their lives if it succeeded. It did not care for Marcinus. A thought flashed through my mind then. What if I saved Animaton? The uspec was responsible for Musa’s current state, but I could not let Arexon give it to the plenum. I could do this for Marcinus. I could ensure the security that my sire tried to grant to Katsoaru.

My vision appeared blurred as I took one last look at Arexon and Yakubo. I stumbled out of the inn. Where was I going? There were so many paths; Cormeum was a maze after all.

Xavier. I had to find the imp before it was sapped.

Animaton. I had to get to it before Arexon did.

“Sirga?” A voice called from behind me. I turned to find one of the uspec’s who’d been guarding Arexon. It was one of the two who’d remained after Arexon’s cryptic nod.

I frowned at it. What did Arexon want?

“The high one sent me to accompany you to the heart of Cormeum. I know the way sirga, I can show you.”

I was shocked at Arexon’s kindness. I nodded before I even fully let my thoughts settle. The uspec bowed and then it began walking. I followed behind it. As we walked, a troubling thought crossed my mind. Did Arexon send this uspec to guide me out of kindness, or did it do so to ensure that I would not interfere with its plans to kidnap Animaton?

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by tunjilomo(m): 8:45am On Jan 04
Arexon is facing the truth of being a ruler. I wonder what the plenum will do if they know of Nebud being Cala.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by olite93: 9:20am On Jan 04
Real twist here.... I hope logic overrules emotions here as nebud is relying on emotions while arexon is thinking with his head.... They both have strong points
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by ayshow6102(m): 11:09am On Jan 04
Hmm thank for the update now I cannot can What is going on again
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by doctorexcel(m): 11:43am On Jan 04
I believe Nebud's position is more reasonably than Arexon because Arematon is only a means to an end. The end could be total destruction of all what Arexon stand for. Arematon is now the ultimate weapon the plenum need.
Aside that Nebud would be a fool to accept a proposal targeting his head (death) as a stamp pad remembering that death to all iriras would not exempt him

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 7:22pm On Jan 04
Arexon is a ruler responsible for many while Nebud is an uspec seeking its own, the difference in thought and view is large and can not be expected to be in close range anytime soon considering the burden on Arexon.

Nebud trying to free Animaton at this time might be beneficial to both it and Arexon. If Nebud can get it to release the formular needed to reverse the effect of the samu's bite,then take its eye and then deliver it to the plenum, that will be solving three problems at a go.

Whatever it takes Musa needs to be found and healed. Also, Arexon needs to meet the major demand of the plenum to secure it's position as the custodian of the chiboga port. It is smart and it can find a way to save the iriras, Nebud needs to assist it to save it's kind.

I think the politics is deep and o my the smart can go around it. Nebud isn't a political uspec but rather a warrior fighter, very two different personalities.

Obehid happy new year to you and to all my fellow readers and ardent supporters of your work.

Thanks

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by maynation(f): 10:40pm On Jan 04
Thank you my Obehid.
May God never stop blessing you. cool
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by OluwabuqqyYOLO(m): 2:25pm On Jan 05
ObehiD, please send me your account number. I have very little to give to you, but I honestly feel the need to appreciate you.

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by HotB: 11:36am On Jan 06
If I know Arexon well, as I think I do, it already weighed its options immediately it saw the wounded Nebud.
It's a master strategist.

@ObehiD, I'm still wowed by your presentation and diction.
How do you think? You sure have a super brain.
Gratitude Mirga (Sirga).

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Claire40: 1:46am On Jan 07
Fantastic work ObehiD. More ink to your pen...

Meanwhile, I have a feeling that you are a lady growing in grace. I started reading Crimson night and so many descriptions are familar. If my hunch is right, I'm swelling with pride. Keep the flag flying. If my hunch is wrong, most of what I have said above will not make sense.

You are an awesome writer.

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 5:02am On Jan 07
@tunjilomo You're right oh, it's now that Arexon has really started to see what it means to be a ruler, to be the one in charge of an entire port. If the plenum found out about Cala...well, that would be interesting

@olite93 Yay! I'm happy you see the twists, my plan is to keep supplying them. Yes, Nebud and Arexon both have strong points and are coming from different places, I guess we'll have to wait to see whose way of thinking wins

@ayshow6102 you cannot can it again? That's sad. I'm just starting to realize how complex it is. What part have you stopped canning? Basically, all that happened in this update is that Arexon and Nebud talked about what's going on in Chiboga. The plenum has told Arexon that they will invade Chiboga unless it brings them Animaton and it slaughters the iriras in Chiboga. Nebud is angry about both of the plenum's demands, but it is especially angry about Animaton, because Arexon told Nebud that Animaton can bring down the thought bubble protecting Katsoaru. But if Animaton brings down that thought bubble, then the plenum can invade that port (Katsoaru) which Nebud is certain would lead to Marcinus death. And that's what their conversation was about. Does that help you to can? Or can you still not can? hahaha grin

@doctorexcel that is a good point. No one knows what the plenum will do if they're able to get a pious one as strong as that. Your second point is also very valid. If the iriras are slaughtered in Chiboga then the killing of iriras could grow more rampant which could eventually lead to Nebud's death. Well, I guess we'll have to wait to see what happens cheesy

@Fazemood But that really isn't solving Nebud's problem of not wanting Animaton to get to the plenum. If Animaton is given to the plenum then Marcinus would be in danger. Plus, I think you're confusing Animaton and Animaon. So the uspec whose eye Nebud came for is Animaon, not Animaton. I agree that Nebud is not political, and Arexon is smart...I just hope it doesn't make the wrong choice sha. Happy new year to you too!

@maynation Thank you for reading!

@OluwabuqqyYOLO Thank you, I really appreciate that you want to support me! Instead of sending me money, you could buy a copy of Awakening when it is released. Thank you!!!

@HotB well, you know Arexon well. I'm sure it has weighed and considered very very many options, let's just hope that it's strategizing works. Thank you for reading and being wowed, I appreciate it grin

@Claire40 shocked shocked shocked My fellow lady growing in grace!!! (Well, I'm assuming that you are also a lady growing in grace? hahaha...I like this your code sha) It's actually funny, I've had someone else tell me that they could identify where I went to school from reading a Marked book, it's like I'm drawing too much inspiration from there. Anyway, yes oh, your hunch is right and I'm very very very happy to see that you're reading Crimson Night and enjoying it (maybe even feeling a little bit nostalgic...?) Thank you, I will try to keep the flag flying to restore our strength (lol, don't blame me oh, I'm just trying to continue with the code you started grin)

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by ayshow6102(m): 7:40am On Jan 07
My lovely obehid if u are using Glo I would be delighted if you can dm me your number so that I can share you with my unlimited data plan dats the least I can think of nlw
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by fashobo(m): 9:24am On Jan 07
ayshow6102:
My lovely obehid if u are using Glo I would be delighted if you can dm me your number so that I can share you with my unlimited data plan dats the least I can think of nlw
my glo number 07057948885
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by ayshow6102(m): 10:21am On Jan 07
fashobo:
my glo number 07057948885
I said obehid jor av done it but I'll unshare u by this tym tomorrow but please u can download anything downloadable but don't use it to download porn in HD

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by fashobo(m): 7:38pm On Jan 07
ayshow6102:

I said obehid jor av done it but I'll unshare u by this tym tomorrow but please u can download anything downloadable but don't use it to download porn in HD
OK Thanks really appreciate,but u can still let me enjoy the glory of God in ur life
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by ayshow6102(m): 3:32am On Jan 08
fashobo:
OK Thanks really appreciate,but u can still let me enjoy the glory of God in ur life
LOL have u started using it to browse
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:13am On Jan 08
ayshow6102:
My lovely obehid if u are using Glo I would be delighted if you can dm me your number so that I can share you with my unlimited data plan dats the least I can think of nlw

Sadly, I don't use glo. Thank you very much for the offer though, I really really appreciate it! grin
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:14am On Jan 08
Part 13
---------

Arexon’s guard led me through a maze. The Labyrinths was so named for the mazelike design of the entire area. This was a fact made especially clear in Cormeum. We walked through a mismatch of tunnels, our path taking us by various inns and several markets. The guard stopped in front of one such market.

I stared puzzled at the guard.

“You will want to purchase a cloak sirga.” It explained. “The journey to the heart of Cormeum travels through uncovered areas, where you will be exposed to hail.”

“There must be portals.” I stated. It had not even occurred to me that I would have to leave the building. We had walked from Arexon’s suite to the inn, and that travel had been through sealed areas. The air, as that here, was warm. It was not unbearably so, but it was certainly warm enough that outer coverings were unnecessary.

The guard shook its head. “There are no portals that lead into Cormeum, sirga. All the portals in Cormeum teleport out of it. The travel into Cormeum must be made on foot. Or with hooni spectra. Although, to use spectra to teleport within Cormeum, one must have advanced knowledge of the terrain. The maze in the heart of Cormeum moves sirga. What is the sovereign’s dwelling on one day, could become a pious’ retreat the next.”

Why was so much precaution taken in such a mundane place? I nodded at the soldier. “And you?”

“The high one has coats reserved for its soldiers at the exit to this base.” It replied.

I walked into the market. It was one made specifically for the purchase of clothing. It did not take me long to identify a coat of interest. I chose one that generated heat, like the cloak which I’d wrapped around Musa.

Musa.

Whenever I thought of the imp, it was as if a fist tightened on my heart. I tried to fight of my fears for its wellbeing, by convincing myself that it could not die. Truly, it was impressive the number of ways that I tried to prove this to myself. At times I tasked an unrealistic level of strength to the imp, other times I counted on its determination to find its heir. I could not allow myself to think that Musa could be gone, sapped beyond the point of reversibility. I could not believe it, I could not accept it, I could not think it. If Musa died, then what would I do? I shook that thought off, turning to my search for acceptable footwear with a determination the attending imp found awing. I picked out acceptable footwear, added that to the heated cloak, and then paid the required fee.

I was just about to walk out of the market when the soldier stopped in front of me. It held out a headguard of some sort, and gloves. “For your head and hands, sirga.”

“You bought it?” I asked, confused, “for me?”

It nodded.

“Why?” My suspicions were beginning to rise. I had known several soldiers in Chiboga, and none of them had gone out of their way to do me any favors. Arexon and Yakubo were the obvious exemptions to that, but I tried not to think of them.

“The high one told me to take good care of you sirga, it would be displeased if you were in any sort of discomfort. The gloves and headguard will shield the rest of your extremities from the chill.”

I grudgingly accepted the garments from it. “What is your name?” I asked, walking through drawn curtains the soldier held open.

It froze, as if shocked by my question, and then it smiled. “Moat sirga.” It replied.

I nodded. “Gratitude Moat.”

It bowed to me, and we continued walking. As we walked away from the market, I added the new headguard and gloves to the rest of the items that I had purchased from the store. The attendant had placed those items in a satchel bag which reminded me of the one that I’d discovered my wealth in. This bag was smaller than that. It felt odd to carry a bag after so long of having my belt as the only weight on me.

It did not take us long to reach the exit to the base. It was obvious that this soldier knew its way around. It did not stop to hesitate at any intersection or look back on any road not taken. There was no equivocation in its countenance as it led the way, only a determination which I could not help but find odd for a visitor.

“Have you been here before, Moat? You have quite the expert knowledge for a visitor.”

Again, the soldier froze at the sound of my voice. It was as if it did not expect to be spoken to. Why would the soldier react this way? Chiboga. I could tell from the bar attached to its earrings, that it was a chief. It would have been at an acceptable rank to guard the former Kaiser and its offspring. I knew them, and neither where the kind to be too familiar with a serf. A sudden surge of satisfaction filled me from the knowledge that they were both dead, and that I had played a major role in their execution.

The soldier turned back to face me. It was of a height with me. All of the soldiers that Arexon had on its personal guard where about the same height as it was, or several inches shorter. None came close to its bulk, but they all had bulk enough to show that they were fighters.

“No sirga, but I have a mind for puzzles. Once I have solved one, I do not forget it. Mazes are in effect puzzles sirga, I only need to travel them once to know my way through. That is why the high one brought me along with it.”

I nodded. The soldier flashed a brief smile before it turned back around. I found it slightly intriguing. Two guards dressed in nothing but belts, which had the sovereign’s sigil on it, stood on either side of thick curtains, made solid with extra form. There was another set of thin curtains to the side of the guard to the left, and long benches in front of the curtains.

Moat turned to face me. “If you will sit here and prepare yourself for the chill, I will go and retrieve my coat.” Then it bowed, and walked away, towards the side curtains.

I found myself staring at the soldier as it walked away. There was something about it, that I found odd. The bowing, I realized as I walked over to the benches. Chiboga soldiers saluted superiors. This soldier knew that I had served in the army, would it not salute me? But then, when I served, I would have been of the same rank as it, so maybe it wouldn’t salute me, but would it bow? Why did I feel as if its bow bore more similarity to a noble than a soldier who’d once been a serf?

I contemplated this as I fastened my footwear onto my feet. This time I had chosen to buy footwear that completely covered my feet. It might not prove necessary for the hail in Cormeum, but I was already thinking ahead, to Nefastu. When I had been on that road I’d mourned the loss of adequate clothing. I remembered thinking then that I should have bought covering for my head…like Moat had bought for me. Why did this connection suddenly feel strange? Perhaps Arexon had gone digging in my head, as it had so many times before, and it had told Moat specifically to buy me appropriate covering. That had to be it, I thought as I rose. I put the heated cloak on then and placed the headguard over my head.

The headguard completely covered my scalp, my ears, my neck, and even my face, to some degree. The material over my face was sheer enough that I could clearly see through. What I would have given to have covering like this my first time around on Nefastu. I placed the gloves on last, before returning the strap of the empty satchel bag to my shoulder.

Moat returned. It walked out in a thick cloak, obviously made of fine velvet. If the cloak did not have the sigil of Sophila’s line, I would have doubted that it belonged to a soldier.

“Fine cloak.” I commented.

Moat bowed. “The high one is very generous to its soldiers. We are fortunate to have it.”

There was something in its voice. The uspec seemed to lack the passion that Arexon’s personal soldiers had whenever they rained praises on it. It was as if the soldier was trying to copy the feelings in the words that it had heard others say. I nodded at it. Was I thinking too much into this soldier’s presence?

We walked over to the hardened curtains. The soldier extended its right arm, showing off the silver bands on its arms. That was the first time I noticed that its cloak was cut exactly, so that the slits in the cloak matched the bands on its arms. That level of precision could not be done for any other purpose than to show off those bands. This seemed to quiet my misgivings about the soldier.

The guard standing to the right pulled out a baton-like instrument from its belt. It glanced past me, before fastening its gaze on the chief. The chief had the three outer eyes specified by its rank, while the guard only had two, just enough to use mejo magic.

“You are only allowed access to certain parts of Cormeum.” It warned. “If you try to go further than you are allowed, the guards will have the right to stop you, and attack you if you resist.”

Moat nodded.

The baton touched the hardened curtains, and the form was removed, making them appear wavy. The other guard pulled at the curtains, parting the set, and granting us access to the rest of Cormeum. As soon as the curtains were drawn, I felt a draft of chill air.

We walked into the hail covered ground. I smiled as I realized that with the combination of the heated cloak and the headguard and gloves, the walk was not only bearable, but quite pleasing.

“Do we have access to the heart of Cormeum?” I asked, walking up to the soldier. I saw no reason to walk behind it anymore.

The corners of its lips twitched with a smile which did not form. “No sirga.” It replied.

“Ahh.” I found myself eyeing the soldier speculatively. “You are ready to fight for me to gain access to this place I seek? You will risk your own life?”

“It is the high one’s desire, sirga. You are valuable to it, and so you are valuable to me. I will guard you with my life.”

Again, there was something slightly off about the inflections in the words the soldier said. I was not entirely sure that it meant it. But why would it lie?

I turned my attention towards the sky. It was strange how the light from the daylight dots still found its way through the falling hail. “Would it not be faster if we flew?” My ailerons twitched with anticipation.

“Faster? Yes sirga. But not safer. It takes skill to fly amongst falling hail. Besides, in its natural form hail is uncouth, the hail only turns fine a few feet above us. We would have to fly beneath the uncouth hail, and flying beneath the uncouth hail is flying low enough that the sentries will see us. The sovereign no doubt has uspecs that it permits to fly in Cormeum, but we are not amongst them.”

“How would they know the difference?”

“The flyers wear special coats sirga, to mark their presence.”

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:15am On Jan 08
I mused on the uspecs words as we walked. The grounds we walked on were wide enough that the slimmest canoes could steer in them. Perhaps it could take three uspecs my size walking side-to-side. Hail walls enclosed the area. There was a beauty to the whiteness around us. The fine hail falling added a splendor which I could admire from within the comfort of my heated cloak. We reached a set of intersections, where we could forge ahead or take a left in the road, and the soldier turned left, without hesitation. How did it know the way to the heart of Cormeum? It said that it remembered mazes whenever it walked through them, but to know the way it must have walked through these mazes before.

“What else is in the heart of Cormeum?” I inquired.

It froze and then studied me for a second longer than I thought a soldier would. There was intelligence in its gaze, as if it understood why I’d asked the question I had. It continued walking. “The sovereign’s dwelling, sirga.”

“And?”

“Several quarters belonging to the pious.”

It was my turn to stop walking. As soon as I stopped, the soldier stopped as well, even though it had not been looking at me while we walked. I found its precise awareness of my motion eerily familiar. But my mind was working on other things, then, making other connections. Why would Arexon’s soldier have been to the heart of Cormeum before?

Several quarters belonging to the pious.

“Are Animaton’s quarters there?” I asked.

A brief smile formed on the uspec’s face. It eyes seemed to study me with a keenness that I found unsettling. It nodded.

I clenched my jaw, and then nodded at the uspec, signaling that it could proceed. With my actions, I made a choice. My eyes shut as I thought of this choice which I’d made. “Would you take me to Animaton’s quarters instead?” I asked, opening my eyes.

It did not even turn to look at me. “Are you asking me to?” it asked in reply.

I did not reply, and we continued along on our path. Moat did not ask for clarifications. It no doubt knew that my decision had been made. I suspected that this was why Arexon sent me its guard. I could not be in two places at the same time. I could not find Xavier and warn Animaton. I had to do one first. I had to choose which of the two was of a higher priority to me. If I decided to warn Animaton, I would risk losing Xavier. Once Xavier was sapped, the chances of me finding the imp was greatly reduced. And if I did not find Xavier, I could not trade it for Musa.

If Musa even lived. My mind chose that moment to remind me of the odds. What were the odds that my imp lived? What were the odds that it had been found by the wrath? What were the odds that the wrath could find a way to reverse the effects of the samu? And if I chose to save Xavier over warning Animaton, then I was ensuring that Arexon would find the pious one, and that it would capture it, and take it to the plenum. If Arexon took Animaton to the plenum, they would have the means to breach the thought bubble guarding Katsoaru and take the port. Marcinus would fight them, that was a certainty. And if Marcinus fought them, it would die. That too was a certainty. And so, if I tried to reclaim Musa, I would be killing Marcinus. But if I went to Animaton first, perhaps there was a chance that Xavier would not yet be sapped by the time I was done warning the pious. Maybe I could save them both?

It was a risk, but it was one I had to take, wasn’t it? Images of Musa flashed in my mind. The imp had always been there for me. Whenever I needed it, it had been there. Teaching me, fighting with me, fighting for me. Would Musa take such a chance with my life? Surely, I could not take a chance with its. But if I did not return Xavier to the wrath what would they do? If they had already found a way to heal Musa, then they would do nothing more than keep it. Musa, enslaved by the wrath? They were its own kind, maybe it would even prefer that. But it would live, whether or not I rescued Xavier. I could not say the same for Marcinus. If I did not warn Animaton, if I did not ensure that Arexon could not kidnap it, then Marcinus was dead.

A pang of sorrow filled me as I thought of a future where Musa lived, but it did not live with me. I shook myself. I owed Marcinus this. I owed it this.

“Marcinus.”

“Sirga?” the uspec turned to face me.

“Take me to Animaton.”

“The high one does not want you to go to Animaton.” It stated.

“What is your price?”

“Sirga?”

“You do not love Arexon the way that the other soldiers do. I can hear it in your voice. You are mimicking words that you’ve heard, but you do not mean them.”

“Very observant.” It said. “How can I love an uspec who would slaughter my own kind?”

“You are irira?”

It nodded. “The only good thing about Chiboga was that it allowed iriras to be free, to walk around without fear of persecution.”

“Then take me to Animaton. If I get to the uspec before Arexon, I can warn it about the danger it faces. If Arexon does not get Animaton, it will fail the plenum.”

It frowned. “You will sabotage your own friend?”

Arexon or Marcinus. Musa or Marcinus. Too many choices. Why did coming to the aid of one have to mean working in opposition to the other? What other choice did I have? Both Arexon and Marcinus had saved my life. I owed something of myself to the both of them. But Arexon had power now, it had other choices. If Animaton brought down the thought bubble, Marcinus would have no other choices. I had already taken away its power, would I allow its life to be forfeit too?

I shook my head. “Arexon is more than it thinks it is.” I replied. “If it fails in getting Animaton, Arexon will see that it has already failed the plenum and that it has no other choice but to fight them. It will not need to kill iriras. I do not know a more capable commander than Arexon. I believe that it can win.”

“That is wishful thinking.” The soldier shook its head. “No one port could win against the plenum. But I will help you. I will take you to Animaton.”

After saying that, the soldier nodded at me, and then it continued walking. I felt at peace with my decision. Marcinus was in the most vulnerable position. Musa would live if the wrath found a way to save it. If I could not spend the rest of my life with the imp, then that was a sacrifice I was willing to make. And if the wrath could not save it? Then Musa was already gone, and it made no sense to risk Marcinus’ life too. Even as I thought it, my heart filled with sorrow. Either way, Musa was lost to me.

A piece of me held onto the hope that Xavier would not be sapped before I could free it. Surely its sapping could wait a day or two? I just needed a few hours to reach Animaton, just a little time to warn it? And Arexon? I had not thought of the ramifications of my actions, on Arexon. If Arexon went back to the plenum without Animaton, it would mean invasion by the plenum. Surely Arexon had plans for this, battle strategies, ways that it could defeat the plenum. Could any one uspec, no matter how skilled, defeat the plenum?

“Prepare yourself sirga.” The soldier prompted, pulling me out of my thoughts.

My eyes went to the surrounding areas. We’d reached a curved open path, which was slightly wider than the area we’d been walking in. Six guards stood at attention in front of a blackened patch of hail wall. A closer inspection showed embroidery in the patch, signs that it was more likely hardened curtains, than hail.

Two of the guards stepped forward. “Turn around!” One of them barked. “You have no business being here.”

“We have reached the limits of our access. They guard the sovereign’s dwelling. We must move past them, to get to the pious Animaton’s quarter.” It whispered to me.

“Excuse me.” Moat rose its voice, as we continued our approach. “I have a question. I think we might be lost.”

“Turn around!” The guard continued to yell. These guards were not as finely dressed as Arexon’s soldiers. They had one outer eye on their sockets. They did not have the magic of mejo eyes, but I could see that Moat did.

We kept moving forward.

As soon as we reached the two guards at the front, Moat pulled out a dagger from its belt and stabbed it into one’s stomach, the other it stabbed in the knee. I drew out my dagger as well. Before the guards could sound an alarm, I threw my dagger at the one furthest from me, and then traded blows with another closer one. It did not take me long to free that uspec from its sword, and cut off its head. Moat made quick work of the last two. It was shocking how skilled the uspec was. Its skill far surpassed its rank. I wondered if Arexon was aware of this.

I watched as the uspec dislodged my dagger from the neck of the uspec I’d thrown it at. “You fight to kill.” It stated flatly.

I looked at the uspecs on the ground. The ones that Moat fought were wounded, but not dead. Mine were another story. “You do not.”

“Why kill uspecs who did nothing wrong?”

I frowned at its words.

It stretched out its hand, extending my dagger to me. As I reached for the dagger, I contemplated its words. When had I ever not fought to kill? When I sparred, when it was obvious that the other party was also not fighting to kill. But when the other party fought to kill, why would I hold back? The soldier’s words made me feel callous. I did not like this feeling.

It was with this thought in my mind that I stretched out my hand to receive the dagger. I had not meant to touch the uspec, but I did. My arm brushed past the pointed protrusions in the chest region of its cloak. Those protrusions appeared to have been made by the spikes of a boga. But when I passed my hand over them, I realized that there were no spikes on this uspecs chest, only the appearance of it. It had to have pansophy.

I pulled back. “You are no boga. All of Arexon’s personal soldiers are boga. You cannot be part of Arexon’s retinue. Who are you?”

It sighed. It happened in the blink of an eye. One second I was staring daggers at the imposter, the next I was frozen in place. It had taken away my motion, I knew this, but I could not believe how quickly it happened. The uspec wiped the blood from the dagger off on its cloak, and then it placed my dagger back into my sheath.

I blinked. I blinked. When Arexon had taken away my motion, I’d been unable to move any part of my body. But with this uspec’s pansophy, I could move my eyes. Did that mean that it was more skilled, or less?

I watched as the uspec reattached the head of the uspec I’d beheaded. The uspec still lay dead, but it was no longer decapitated. Then the imposter went about healing each of the soldiers that it had harmed. It must have taken their consciousness because none of them woke once it was done. Finally, the imposter turned to me.

It said nothing as it made its way back towards me. I felt lighter as the uspec lifted me over its shoulders. Perhaps it took some of my form? I was too bulky for any uspec to carry as easily as this uspec carried me. The only view I had was of the hail ground as we forged ahead, travelling deeper into Cormeum.

When at long last the uspec stopped, it dropped me on the floor in front of hardened curtains manned by three guards. The uspec released its hold of me, and I felt my bulk return. I could do nothing but watch as the guards bowed to the uspec who’d brought me here. I could not see its face, but I could see that its cloak no longer appeared as if it had spikes underneath it. The cloak it wore now was light, and sleeveless. There were no silver bands around its arms and no earrings on its ears.

Then it bent so that I could see its face.

The first thing I noticed was the absence of its center eye. If this was the uspec’s real appearance, then it was shun.

“Take it to my quarters.” It ordered.

“Yes sirga.” The guards replied.

Hands clamped onto my feet and arms. They struggled to lift me off the ground. As they carried me into the dwelling, I was left to wonder who the shun imposter was, and what it wanted with me.

2 Likes

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Smooth278(m): 6:46am On Jan 08
More and more intriguing.... The soldier might just be Animaton....

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by ayshow6102(m): 7:49am On Jan 08
Thanks for the update obehid have nehud lost that ring dat usually notifies him when someone the ring touches has panasphy
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by tunjilomo(m): 7:49am On Jan 08
Possibly a pious one, but only Obehid can tell.

1 Like 1 Share

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Madosky112(m): 7:59am On Jan 08
With that fighting skill could it be marcinus itself ....tnx obehid The great master twister
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by popeshemoo(m): 8:01am On Jan 08
So I have a question...
An uspec's eye sockets are supposed to be filled with imp eyes...nebud has 2 uspec eyes ...
What difference does that add to his control of spectra?
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by fashobo(m): 9:32am On Jan 08
[quote author=ayshow6102 post=85601509]
LOL have u started using it to browse not going again
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cassbeat(m): 9:33am On Jan 08
In davido's voice twisty twisty this update is very twisty....
Waiting for Saturday like
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 9:42am On Jan 08
obehiD:
Part 13
---------


We walked into the hail covered ground. I smiled as I realized that with the combination of the heated cloak and the headguard and gloves, the walk was not only bearable, but quite pleasing.

“Do we have access to the heart of Cormeum?” I asked, walking up to the soldier. I saw no reason to walk behind it anymore.

The corners of its lips twitched with a smile which did not form. “No sirga.” It replied.

“Ahh.” I found myself eyeing the soldier speculatively. “You are ready to fight for me to gain access to this place I seek? You will risk your own life?”

“It is the high one’s desire, sirga. You are valuable to it, and so you are valuable to me. I will guard you with my life.”

Again, there was something slightly off about the inflections in the words the soldier said. I was not entirely sure that it meant it. But why would it lie?

I turned my attention towards the sky. It was strange how the light from the daylight dots still found its way through the falling hail. “Would it not be faster if we flew?” My ailerons twitched with anticipation.

“Faster? Yes sirga. But not safer. It takes skill to fly amongst falling hail. Besides, in its natural form hail is uncouth, the hail only turns fine a few feet above us. We would have to fly beneath the uncouth hail, and flying beneath the uncouth hail is flying low enough that the sentries will see us. The sovereign no doubt has uspecs that it permits to fly in Cormeum, but we are not amongst them.”

“How would they know the difference?”

“The flyers wear special coats sirga, to mark their presence.”
The conversation here is beautiful, I like the smoothness and apt response. Sharp!

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