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The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) - Literature (33) - Nairaland

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Boludammie: 7:02am On Jan 16
The unveiling of the great nebud or rather cala.............thank you obehid for this great piece
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by presh654(m): 2:33pm On Jan 16
Great update.
Personally i think that Nebud isn't just the Last Brio.
I think it *Contains The Last Brio*.
Or it is the Last Brio and Contains Something Inside Him.

The something it contains maybe
1. The Voice in Nebuds Head.
Which could be
2. An entity in Nebuds Body.

Possibly
1. A part of Calami its progenitor stored inside Nebud.Or
2. A part of Calam.
3. Or Chuspescip Himself. Stored as an Essence.

Anyways thats just me and my musings.
I could be wrong. Or point blank correct.

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by doctorexcel(m): 3:22pm On Jan 16
presh654:
Great update.
Personally i think that Nebud isn't just the Last Brio.
I think it *Contains The Last Brio*.
Or it is the Last Brio and Contains Something Inside Him.

The something it contains maybe
1. The Voice in Nebuds Head.
Which could be
2. An entity in Nebuds Body.

Possibly
1. A part of Calami its progenitor stored inside Nebud.Or
2. A part of Calam.
3. Or Chuspescip Himself. Stored as an Essence.

Anyways thats just me and my musings.
I could be wrong. Or point blank correct.

Good analysis. We await the master strategist to confirm or disprove this wonderful hypothesis
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:52am On Jan 18
Thanks to everyone who replied to my request for taking the time to help me with this!!! grin

@stevyno1 Yes, that's definitely happening here. I think this kind of completes that missing link of how Nebud became Nebud (even where the name came from self) and how Takabat was involved, plus Gerangi and Isthum. Plus we see that Nebud and Fajahromo's fight is not even new. Another major thing is the revelation that Nebud is the last brio that everyone has been looking for

@HotB thank you for the feedback on clarity. You are clear oh! Thank you grin I'm going to have to figure out a way to make it clearer

@cassbeat I agree

@Fazemood Exactly! Everyone that has been looking for it, even talking about it in front of it, like if you remember Chiboga, anyway that's the major point I wanted to pass along with this update. There were other smaller points, but that's the major one. But, it looks like you missed the update with the wealth of Lahooni. Calam has already revealed to Nebud where the wealth of Lahooni is...No oh! How can it be fake, all that money, even me I'm salivating for it. No, it's not fake. Actually Gerangi's story...it's not finished yet, but I don't know if I'll say Gerangi was against Nebud, more like it was acting for someone else...that's all I'll say about that, I don't want to spoil it wink

@olite93 That's actually a great question! The ring is the key to the last brio...that's all I'll say for now. Is it unlocking something...well, we'll see smiley

@ayshow6102 LOL why do you want to do such violence to Musa? Musa that we don't even know if it's still alive...I guess we will see

@doctorexcel thank you for reading and enjoying and taking the time to flatter me, lol grin

@Boludammie Thank you for reading and seeing the unveiling

@presh654 This your reasoning is FIRE!!! Anyway, I won't say anymore so that I don't spoil it, but weldone sha
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:59am On Jan 18
Part 16
--------

“You can’t be serious.” I exclaimed, as my eyes glared at the offending objects proffered.

Arexon looked amused. “It is your best cover.” It replied.

Again, my gaze trailed the room, moving from Yakubo’s shaking shoulders, to Arexon’s smirking face, to the blank stare of the soldier standing in front of me, and then finally resting on the objects in its hands. I had sworn to myself that I would never wear another earring. Now, Arexon expected me to wear this willingly?

“There has to be a better way.”

“If you are to accompany me, then you must pass as a soldier in my army. The soldiers in my army wear earrings and silver bands.” Its statement was made in such a matter-of-fact tone that I knew I could not argue. Besides, Arexon was coming to my aid. With Yakubo. They’d both decided to accompany me to the heart of Cormeum where Xavier was rumored to be. I should be grateful. And I was, but I did not see why I had to show my gratitude by wearing those things.

Arexon sighed. “You are wasting time that you do not have. Or have you decided that your rescue of the imprisoned imp is no longer critical?”

I shook my head. “I cannot believe I am doing this.” I muttered, as I picked up the earring from the soldier’s hand. I lanced the sharp point of the earring into my ear, and let the weight of the silver rectangles settle. There were three rectangles on the chain, two rectangles more than I’d had the last time I’d worn earrings. I picked the second set up, and placed them onto my ear with the same lack of enthusiasm as I’d had for donning the first. The silver bands went on next. Three on each arm. It was in my mind, I knew this, yet I could not help but feel a particularly unpleasant itching on my skin, underneath the bands of silver.

“Well?” I asked.

“It will do.” Arexon replied dismissively. It turned to stare at the soldier whose adornments I was currently wearing. “Fetch Animaton and take it, with the rest of my personal guard, back to our suites. Yakubo and I will meet you there once our mission is complete.”

The soldier frowned. “Will you not take more guards sirga? At least let me and Juhha accompany you. It is not safe for you to go wandering about on your own.”

I realized then that I had never heard a soldier question Arexon like this before. I could not help but wonder how Arexon would handle it.

“I can protect myself Kiux. Do as I say.” While Arexon’s words did not particularly come out as harsh, they did not leave room for argument.

The soldier saluted, turned, and marched out of the room.

Arexon’s gaze turned to me. “Is there anything you want to take with you?” it asked. I did not need to look around to know my answer. I shook my head. “Very well, let’s go.”

Arexon led the way, I followed behind it, and Yakubo followed behind me.

As soon as we walked out of Animaon’s quarters, I felt the blast of the chilled air. The fine hail fell, immediately coating me with a layer of white powder. I reached for my heard guard and then thought better of it. If the purpose of wearing the earrings was to pass as a soldier, the headguard would hide that. Besides, I did not think it was plausible that a soldier in Arexon’s guard would wear a headguard while Arexon itself wore none. I resigned myself to the chill of the fine fog.

We walked in silence.

I’d been filled in on the relative locations of everything. I knew that Animaton’s quarters was on the same ring as Animaon’s and that they both partially shared a ring with the sovereign. The outer ring of the maze belonged solely to the sovereign. But our destination was inward. If only we knew exactly where Xavier was being held, Arexon could have teleported us there. We didn’t, and so we walked stealthily, resigned to the fact that we would have to kill all the Labyrinth guards who saw us. They could not be left to tell tales of Arexon’s escapades within the mazes of Cormeum.

We walked into a dead end. Arexon led us on a turn in the maze which abruptly ended in a wall of hail. We turned around then. Arexon was going off pieces that it had picked up from the thoughts of guards it had brushed against. Apparently, those pieces were not enough to form a clear picture of the maze. While we did not know Xavier’s exact location, we knew that it was in the heart of Cormeum, which meant that we had to keep going deeper into the maze until we came across a guard who could lead us to the imp.

I tried to focus on the task at hand, but I could not keep my mind from drifting to other things. Checha, most pressingly. Why would the voice in my head think that I could steal the eye of a Kaiser in the plenum? Of all the challenges that the voice had set forth, this was by far the hardest to reconcile. A Kaiser in the plenum? Again, I was made to ponder on the motives of this voice. I did not like to think on this, because it led nowhere. There was no connection that I could see between the uspecs whose eyes I’d been tasked with taking. And the voice in my head? No, I did not know what it was, or why I was unable to ignore it. Was Arexon right? Would this voice lead me to my own death? Was that the purpose of the voice? Surely not. So far I had come out on top.

Arexon sighed. We’d reached another dead end. We made our way back to the bend in the road which had led to this spot.

Arexon. The voice in my head was responsible for this friendship. Without the voice in my head, I would never have gone to Chiboga. I would never have met Arexon or Yakubo. Now here they were, both of them willingly risking their lives to help in my quest to reunite with my imp. Surely this was proof enough that I could trust the voice. Marcinus. I thought of the uspec and cringed inwardly. A friend that I had lost. I wondered if I would ever see it again. While there was a part of me that wished for this, there was another, much smaller part, that wished against it. What would I say to it? Could it ever forgive me for what I’d done?

Musa.

The name rose in my head like a cry, and an answering pang of pain accompanied it. Pink liquid came out of me. I stopped, shocked by its sudden emergence. I pulled it back in, but not before Arexon and Yakubo saw it. They said nothing. I forced my mind back to the present. We walked in loops of soft white hail. There was no guard in sight. I could not tell if we were going further into Cormeum, or out of it.

The imp’s form flashed in my mind. I remembered it as it had been the last time I had seen it. Could what remained truly be called a form? There was a torso, that much I’d seen. But no limbs. No head, no feet, no arms. Only a torso with smudges of goo on the sides where Musa’s limbs had once been. Even then it had been sapping. And now? If the wrath had not found it, it would be gone already. I knew that for a fact. With the rate at which it had been sapped, it would be gone. But if the wrath had found it, then it could be healing now.

“I am sorry Cala, there is no cure. If Calam had one in mind, it carried it to its grave.”

Animaon’s words chose that moment to return to me. No, I shook my head. It could not be. Not after all of this. There had to be a cure. Animaon had to be wrong. I held onto hope, because without it…without it I had nothing. The emptiness I felt whenever I thought of the possibility of Musa being gone, was too deep to countenance. Could I live with that emptiness?

Checha’s eye.

The voice in my head. It was not adamant, not urging as it had been before the worst of the head pain faded, but it was there, present. It did not bid me leave Damejo, but it would not let me remain. It was contradicting, the voice, but as long as it did not stop me, I ignored it, while I still could.

And if Animaon was right?

The question snuck up on me.

“Be warned.” Arexon whispered, thankfully pulling me out of my thoughts before I had to contemplate that question. “Guards are coming.”

“What should we do?” Yakubo whispered back.

“Nothing. We continue on as we are. They know of my presence here, so they will not attack, not without provocation.”

I walked beside Yakubo now, both of us keeping pace only a few steps behind Arexon. Yakubo’s hand, like mine, had gone to the hilt of its cutlass. Arexon’s hands remained casually at its sides. It did not seem bothered by the nearness of the guards.

It was another ten seconds before we saw them. We noticed them before they became aware of us. As soon as our presence registered on them, they rose their hands in the air, seeking to halt us. There were four of them, each dressed in the unflattering black coats of the Labyrinth’s guards. Two of them placed their hands on their cutlasses, the other two did not seem too troubled by our presence. It became obvious as we drew closer to them, that they were aware of Arexon’s identity.

The guards bowed to it. The bow was careless, the sharp jerk of a head, not the deep curtsy expected. In fact, I pondered, as we drew to a stop in front of the guards, they should have genuflected. Arexon was the custodian of a much greater port than Damejo, after all. Alas, the disrespectful bow was all the guards deemed fit.

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:59am On Jan 18
“You are not allowed to be here, high one.” One of the guards stated. “Are you lost?”

“Exploring.” Arexon replied.

“You must turn around.”

“On what authority do you, a commoner, seek to order me about?” Arexon’s tone was deceptively mild.

The guard drew up, standing straighter. It frowned as if it had been deeply insulted. “On the authority of the sovereign of this burg!” it snapped.

“And what authority does the sovereign have to order a custodian?” Again, Arexon’s tone was calm.

“A custodian of another port. The sovereign acts on the orders of the Kaiser of this port, and a Kaiser outranks a custodian.” The guard stated haughtily.

“I see.”

It happened so quickly I was left gaping after it concluded. Where had the blades come from? In a flash, Arexon had two daggers, one in each hand. It slit the throats of the two uspecs closest to it, in a single move, and then it threw its dagger at the one furthest away. The last one made to run, but Yakubo was already behind it, its sword poised over the uspec’s neck. I realized then that I had never actually seen Arexon fight. The battle with Sophian had been too much of a mockery to count as a fight. It wiped the blood off on its dark coat, before turning to the last guard left.

“Please.” The guard begged, its voice shaking, “I do not want to die. You may go wherever you please high one.”

Arexon took a step back. It looked at me, and then jerked its head at the guard. I did not need words to discern its meaning. I walked towards the guard.

“We are looking for an imp.” I said. “A captive named Xavier.” I did my best to describe it, and then concluded by asking if it had seen it.

The uspec shook its head. Its one center eye, and two outer eyes, all darted to the sharp end of the sword Yakubo held underneath its chin. “No.” it replied nervously, “I have not.”

“Pity.” Arexon stated nonchalantly. “That means you are of no help to us.” It nodded at Yakubo and the blade went towards the guard’s neck.

“No! Wait!” It screamed. “I do not know of this imp in particular, but I know of others, of a group of them.”

“Speak.” Yakubo prompted.

It swallowed. “I heard of a group of imps being held in the brig.”

“Where is that?” I asked.

“The outer ring surrounding the core of Cormeum.” It replied.

“Can you lead us there?” Yakubo’s voice was soft.

The guard nodded profusely. “Yes, please, I can, I swear.”

Arexon smiled. “Good. Lead the way.”

The guard only looked at the corpses of its mates once, before it nodded and turned around. This time, Yakubo walked in front, its hand on the guard’s arm. It had its other hand on the sword it kept close to the guard.

We proceeded this way, walking under the falling hail, through the maze that was Cormeum. Until, at last, the guard stopped, right by a T-junction.

“What is it?” Arexon asked.

“The brig is to the left.” The guard replied, its voice shaking.

“Check Yakubo.” Yakubo pushed the guard back, towards me. I caught the uspec in a tight grip, and shook it, when it tried to push me away.

Yakubo went close to the hail wall. It kept its back against the wall as it sidled close to the edge. It turned sharply then. It looked out for a moment or two, and then pulled back. “Curtains sirga.” It replied in a whisper. “Unguarded.”

“Why would the brig be unguarded?” Arexon asked suspiciously.

“It wouldn’t be.” I replied, pulling out my dagger.

“No!” The uspec begged when its eyes caught on my dagger. “It’s the brig. I swear!”

My gaze drifted to Arexon. While the uspec had been staring apprehensively at my dagger, Arexon’s fingers had slightly brushed against it. Arexon pulled its hand back and nodded at me. The uspec was telling the truth.

I released it.

Before it could run away, Arexon created quicksand underneath it. The quicksand sucked the uspec in.

“Where did you send it?” I asked.

“Back to my suite.” It replied. It jerked its head towards the junction and Yakubo moved. I followed behind Yakubo. It did not take us long to reach the set of curtains. For a brig, it was quite open. Yakubo drew the curtains aside, and walked in.

We stopped. It was empty. The room, if it could be called that, was nothing more than a bare space with bowls placed on different parts of it. There were chains on the walls, chains which led to empty manacles in the middle of the room. Those chains were the only signs that the room really was a brig.

“Someone is coming.” Arexon warned, right before it drew back, leaving the room. Yakubo and I waited for the arrival. It was an uspec. It whistled a discordant tune as it drew closer to us. It had no weapons, and its cloak was worn and brown. It was not the cloak that the guards wore. It seemed taken aback when it saw us, but it did not stop its walk.

“Excuse me.” I heard Arexon’s voice.

The uspec frowned at us. It was a small thing. If I had to guess I would say barely ten years old. It had no horns on its head and no outer eyes on its face. Its eye widened when it stopped before us.

It curtsied.

“Rise.” Arexon ordered. The uspec obeyed. “I am Aunti, one of the duke’s in the Custiodian’s entourage. You have heard of the Custodian of Chiboga, have you not?”

The uspec nodded, its eye still wide, but it said nothing.

“Good.” Arexon replied. What game was Arexon playing? It continued. “I am here for my imp. I was told that it was being held for me in the brig. Where is it?”

“Today is cleaning day, great one.” The uspec’s voice was light, filled with the carelessness of youth.

“Cleaning day?”

“When the pious sap the imps they’ve held prisoners. They empty the brig on cleaning day, great one. You only just missed them.”

No. I took a step back. It could not be.

“My imp was to be held for me.” I heard the feigned annoyance in Arexon’s voice.

The young uspec frowned. “If there’s been a mistake the pious will reimburse you great one.”

“Were does the sapping happen? I will stop it if I can.”

The uspec shrugged. “In the pious labs, great one.”

“Where is that?”

The young uspec pointed to the curtains behind us. “To the left, all the way down, and then the first right. It’s in the core of Cormeum, great one, you cannot miss it.”

Arexon offered a piece of merit to the young uspec. From the wide-eyed stare, I knew that this was a lot of money for the uspec. It was a lot of money for most. It bowed. “Thank you, great one.”

I turned then and had to swallow my gasp. Arexon was wearing a headguard. No wonder it felt comfortable exposing itself to the young uspec. The uspec would be unable to identify it. We walked back out to the chill of the maze.

It was easy to find our way to the core, following the young uspec’s instructions. Arexon still wore the headguard.

“Put on your headguards.” It ordered, “we are about to have a lot of company.”

Yakubo and I obeyed. It felt good to be under the headguard and free from the hail. “Why did we not do this from the start?” I wondered aloud to myself.

“We did not know where we were going. We had to question the first set of guards we met. If we’re going to kill them anyway, what’s the point?” Arexon’s words were flat.

I nodded, understanding the logic. It did not take us long to reach a solid contingent of guards. There were ten of them, stationed outside a circular wall of hard fog. We had reached the core of Cormeum. That much was clear. I found it quite revealing that there were more guards protecting the pious labs than there had been around the parts of Cormeum closer to the sovereign’s dwelling.

These guards did not even to try to ask us questions. The moment they saw us, they were on the attack. They ran towards us, with swords drawn.

We made quick work of them.

Really, it would have taken at least five times their number to beat us. I did not think that I could be more stunned by Arexon’s skill if it grew another pair of hands and fought with them. Its grace with the sword reminded me a little too much of Marcinus.

Yakubo pounded against the hard fog.

The fog softened. Before the guards could realize their mistake, Yakubo stabbed one in the stomach, I beheaded the other.

We walked into the pious labs.

I don’t know what I expected a sapping lab to look like, but it wasn’t this. There were stocks of materials piled on different shelves. A familiar cyan metal had my mind darting back to Aurelion and the bonbons the imps mined there. To think that I was back with the same uspecs I’d gone into Aurelion with.

A wall of thick curtains cordoned off the other parts of the room.

We walked towards it.

Arexon stopped us with a raised hand. “Pious.” It mouthed, without giving voice to the words. “Many.”

With my blood-stained cutlass in one hand, and my dagger in the other, I took a deep breath and then released it.

I nodded.

Arexon drew the curtains back.

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 9:30am On Jan 18
Cliffhanger! Oh my God cry
Obehid update o. I am hanging here o grin
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cassbeat(m): 9:35am On Jan 18
Lol... WAR...
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by stevyno1(m): 9:53am On Jan 18
Bring it on.....
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by decoderdgenius(m): 1:10am On Jan 20
Hehe

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by ayshow6102(m): 8:30am On Jan 21
Thanks for the update obehid I am sensing a war of spectra vs panasophy and it is giving me goosebumps
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:19am On Jan 22
Part 17
---------

A calm descended on the room as soon as our presence there became known. It was a heavy calm, one strained by the keen eyes that darted towards us, and the hands that instinctively went to grasp at weapons. In that calm I was able to survey the room.

It was not at all as I had expected, although, come to think of it, I did not know what I expected. I had never been to a base belonging to the order of Annihilation before, and so I could not possibly have had a reference for the layout of a room like this, a room obviously built for the sapping of imps.

The imps were there.

They lay in the middle of the room, on a covered island whose ground was made of a cyan metal, I could easily identify as the pansophy conduit mined in Aurelion. The rest of the island emerged like a blob around the imps. This blob was transparent hard fog, rising from the pansophy conduit at the base, and then taking on amorphous forms as it made its way to the top. That island completely sealed the imps within from the uspecs on the outside.

Through the clear outer walls of the island, I could plainly see gas. The gas was an odd mixture of blue and grey. Within the colored gas, the imps lay unconscious on top of the base of cyan metal.

An open palm pounded against the inner walls of the clear had fog. I could tell by the waning intensity of the pounding that this single remaining conscious imp, was losing its consciousness.

It was Xavier of course. The imp’s eye sockets met mine, as it pounded for the last time, its open palm slapping lightly against the hard fog walls, before its eyelids pulled back, and it collapsed, coming to rest with the other imps on the metal floor.

A sword was pulled out of its scabbard.

I turned my gaze then to quickly take in the uspecs. I realized belatedly, that I should have spent the majority of the time our surprise entrance had afforded us, studying the room and counting the number of uspecs within it. Now, the initial stun was beginning to fade, and more and more uspecs were freeing their swords from the sheaths attached to their belts.

There were twenty. Twenty uspecs in the livery of the guards of the base. It registered on me that there were more guards in this room, than I had seen anywhere else in Cormeum, including the parts of the maze which surrounded the sovereign’s dwellings. And behind the guards, there were more pious than I had thought. Five would have been expected, seven excessive, but thirteen, thirteen pious ones? I shook my head, suddenly at a loss to understand why so many pious ones would be present for a single sapping. Surely this was not such a rarity for their order.

I did not have time to contemplate further on my thoughts. Four guards approached us. Like the guards who’d been outside the room, these ones wasted no time on questioning us. There was nothing spoken, no accusations, no polite orders of dismissal, just the steady approach of battle.

I ducked underneath the swinging blade of a guard to my left, while twisting my dagger into the belly of the one to my right. I rose swiping my cutlass in the air. I was cutting down an uspec to my left as I tore through the neck of one that approached me from behind. More came then. And they died just as quickly as the ones that came before them. They did not have the skill to parry with us.

It was not long before we were standing within a throng of bodies. Blood stained the ground underneath us, pooling at the soles of the footwear we wore as we made our way deeper into the room. Once the last guard was discarded off, the rest of the room became exposed.

I froze.

Swivel stools were revealed. In my initial count of the pious in the room, I had missed a count of those seated. There were four seated, seventeen pious in total.

Curtains were pulled aside. The sound of the material being pulled on the rail filled me with a sense of foreboding which I had never before felt during battle. I turned and the bumps on my flesh rose. Eight novices walked in. The novices had the markings of the order of adjudication. None of the novices had fully filled outer eyes, but what the novices lacked in spectra, the pious ones made up for.

We were outmatched.

There was pansophy in the room, that fact was made obvious by the presence of the pious ones, but I took solace in the fact that pansophy was a contact magic. Although, with so many of them, what chance did we stand?

The novices approached us from the back, while a handful of pious ones closed in on us from the front. They must have realized that ordering a surrender would have been futile, because they made no move to do so. They simply reached for discarded cyan swords and approached us with the weapons in their grasp.

I felt a trickle of fear. The feeling was closely followed by the emergence of fog, rising from the ground, and climbing upwards as if to engulf me. I did not think. There was no strategy in my head as I watched the rising fog begin to circle me, no plan as to what to do and how to do it. There was simply a crashing wave of fear, roiling though me. The fear was real, and it was wholly mine. It was fear of the pious and the magic that they possessed. It was fear of the impossible odds that we faced in this battle against them, and it was fear of death. For the first time in my life, I was faced with a battle I had no chance of winning.

The fear I felt reached out to the fog and a loud bang sounded in the room.

My ears rung.

Moments passed in which I heard nothing but white noise. I watched Arexon throw a dagger and then swing its blade at novices that had surrounded it. I watched Yakubo’s frantic fight as it tried to ward off its attackers, and I saw the uspecs approaching me. I knew that fighting surrounded me. I should have heard the sounds of swords clashing, but I heard nothing other than the ringing in my ears, a consequence of the bang which had sounded when I used the magic gained from my boga eyes, to counteract the magic of another’s boga eyes which had created fog around me.

A blade came towards me.

The blade was long and cyan. Its wielder was a pious, an uspec in the prime of its life. It bore the sword down on me, its double-handed grip fixed on the long hilt of the large blade.

I swung my cutlass up to meet the attack. It came as instinct, my desire to protect myself despite the dismal odds. And it worked, I was able to deflect the blow. I did not hear the sound of my cutlass clashing against the uspec’s long-sword, but I felt the shock of the blow in my body.

I felt weakened, as if I was being robbed of my strength. It came as no surprise to me to find okun underneath my feet. Another uspec’s magic. I knew it. I tried to reach into my pain to communicate with the okun, but as the okun continued to syphon my strength, two more pious ones joined in the attack on me. One of them was unarmed, it reached for me with its hand, no doubt trying to touch me so that it could use its pansophy on me. I swung away, tilting myself away from the uspec’s hand. I brought my sword down at the same time.

My actions were successful in that I was able to cut off the hands of the pious one who’d been reaching for me, but my actions at evading its touch, had sent me into the waiting blade of another pious behind me.

The okun continued to seep my strength.

I felt an abundance of pain from the wound to my back. I could feel the pious one’s blade in me. The okun continued to eat at my strength. I knew that I had to reach through my pain to it, to communicate with the soul as I’d just barely begun to understand. But the uspec with the long sword still stood in front of me, and its blade approached me. There was no time for me to think. I could not tear myself from this battle to focus on the okun and the strength it stole.

I rose my arm to block the long sword again, but nothing happened.

My mind reeled.

Again, I attempted to raise my arm, but it did not move. I tried to move my legs then, but they, like my arm, did not do as I wished. It was then I realized that my motion had been taken. The blade in my side, I guessed, it was probably made of pansophy conduit. How ironic that I had pushed myself towards the blade to avoid the hand which I had been sure approached me with pansophy.

The long sword fell determinedly towards my exposed neck.

Time seemed to slow as the long sword fell. As the sharp blade approached my defenseless paralyzed body, I thought of the life that I had led. The slum flashed in my mind. It had been a simple world filled with sludge. I had yearned for more, yearned to know great uspecs. I’d never thought that I was a great uspec. And by birth, I was. I was great. Cala, my sire had named me, a name derived from its own. I was not de trop as I’d been led to believe, but an imperial, the imperial heir to one of the greatest ports in the entire existence. And this would be my end. Slaughtered in an annihilation base which I had come to in search of Musa’s salvation.

The long sword was only inches from my neck now, and I wished that I had enough motion in me to close my eyes. In the end death comes swiftly. My final thought, the blade was so close now that I could feel the air part from the sharpened end.

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:20am On Jan 22
Then the ground in front of me turned to quicksand, and Arexon burst out of it, rising from the ground like a flapping jeja burst forth from its okun bed. Arexon came with its sword outstretched. It had a dagger held in one hand and its sword in the other. In a single move, Arexon threw the dagger, from one hand, behind me, at the uspec who’d stabbed me, I guessed. As it rose, while and after it threw the dagger, it cut through the uspec whose long sword had only been a breath away from my neck. Arexon’s sword went into the juncture between the uspec’s thighs and rose high, all the way up to the uspec’s neck. And then Arexon pulled the sword out, and the pious one fell to the floor, parted along its middle.

Arexon touched me and motion returned.

The ringing in my ear stopped.

I could hear clearly.

I heard clearly through to the loud scream of pain.

I ran.

With the pious one’s blade in my body, I lurched forth, and cut at the first uspec in my sight. Globs of hail appeared around and me, and a bang sounded. This time I knew who’d destroyed the mejo hails, I knew it had to be Arexon. But I could not turn back, not when the pious had surrounded Yakubo, not when its cries of pain filled my head.

Two swords reached for me. I dodged one and threw my dagger at the neck of the other. I did not stop to see if my dagger hit its target, I could not stop.

They’d formed a circle around Yakubo.

I swung my cutlass at the back of the first uspec in that circle. It turned around to attack and I dodged, intending to sneak beneath its raised hand.

In that exact moment, Yakubo’s cries ended.

A sword pierced into Yakubo’s neck from behind it. Somehow, I could not comprehend this. I was at a loss to explain what was happening. Yakubo’s headguard had been pulled away, revealing its identity. I watched as the sharp point of a pious one’s sword emerged through Yakubo’s throat. The uspec gagged on its own blood.

“NO!” I heard myself yell. I heard myself screaming like a deranged lunatic. There was pain, lots of pain, my pain. I felt it keenly, the pain from my wound, the pain of seeing Yakubo. The pain was blinding. I swung my blade. I could not tell what I swung the blade at, or even if it hit a target. I was deranged.

The sword came free of Yakubo’s neck, and Yakubo fell to the ground. It was dead. I knew it, but I could not bring myself to accept it. I had seen uspecs die. Many of them by my own hand, but I had never seen the death of one I cared for, one that I called friend. I did not have many friends. Pain. It filled me. I tried to reach into that place in me, the place that I had gone to create the lit okun. I wanted to get there, to fill the floor of this filthy base with lit okun and kill every single uspec in it.

“Nebud!”

The call came just in time. I must have been more in tune to the commander’s orders than I’d thought, because as soon as it snapped my name, my mind shifted back into focus, and I saw a ring of pious ones approaching me. As the pious approached, their pansophic swords outstretched, a pool of okun formed underneath me. This okun was not mine, it tried to seep strength from me.

The first pious reached me, just as I managed to deflect the okun. I dodged its blade, as another fell in behind me. They were skilled. Very skilled. I lashed out with my left hand, intending to parry a blow with my dagger, and only belatedly realized that my dagger was not in my hand. I had thrown it at the neck of an uspec. I pulled my hand back, but not in time to avoid a deep gash.

Blood trickled from my arm.

I was cornered, surrounded as Yakubo had been.

I tried not to think of Yakubo. I could not. I could not allow my mind to think of its body, lying dead on the floor just a few paces in front of me. It took all of my focus to deflect the blows I was receiving. I had never been in a fight like this. A fight with pansophy and spectra, combined with much sword-skill. I could not think, could not strategize. All I could do was swing my blade, and move my body as I’d spent so much time training to. They had pansophy so I could not subvert to pugilism. A single touch and I would risk being paralyzed as I’d been before.

Another uspec joined the three goading me.

They were goading me. Not fighting in earnest. They did not need to. Just the teasing flicks of their swords alternated between them with the skill of fighters who’d trained together was proving to be more than I could handle. I was outmatched. Outmatched in magic and in fighting skill. It had never happened to me before. But I could not despair and so I continued swinging my blade. I swung even when all thought fled my head, my body moved by rote. I could not tell how much time had passed. My bleeding arm felt weak from all the blood that it had lost, and my swinging arm felt exhausted from the blows that it parried. My head hurt, my legs felt weak, my entire body felt fatigued. In that moment, I wanted nothing more than for it to end.

And then I was falling.

The ground sucked me in, and darkness descended on me. It was a testament to my complete exhaustion that it did not occur to me where I was, or what had happened. It was not until light poured in through my closed eyelids that I had the chance to stop and think.

I heard the sound of falling okun before I opened my eyes. When I did open my eyes, the first thing I saw, was Yakubo’s body, lying on the floor beside me. I jumped to my feet. My head spun and my vision was blurry. I’d lost too much blood, and I was still bleeding from the wound in my head. I looked around the room. It was familiar, but I would not have recognized it as quickly as I had, if I did not see Arexon standing before me, its face stripped of the headguard it had worn.

“I’m sorry,” it said, “we could not win.”

I knew. I dropped to my knees, in the private cleaning room in Arexon’s quarters, and stared at Yakubo’s corpse. It was all for nothing. Yakubo’s death was for nothing.

“I have to go back!” I yelled. “Send me back!”

Arexon shook its head. “You will die if you go back.”

“Send me back!”

“No!” Arexon snapped. “No.” It turned its back to me, and I saw for the first time the extent of the wounds it had taken in the fight. Its cloak was tattered and bloody. I saw slashes and cuts all over the garment. But none of those wounds seemed great enough to slow the uspec down. “I took the form out of the hard fog covering, releasing the gas and the imps trapped within it. That is the best that I could do. But we cannot go back. It is up to the imp to save itself.”

“Arexon, please.”

Arexon stopped moving. I could tell that it understood what the word had cost me, what it took for me to beg. But I could not let Yakubo’s death be for nothing. I could not abandon Musa, not when I’d come so close to getting Xavier. The imp had been in the gas chamber. I had seen it.

Arexon took a deep breath and then released it. It turned back to face me, its face an unreadable mask. Then it approached me. For a long time Arexon did nothing more than study me. Its eye rolled over me, studying my face, trailing over my skin to the dagger still in my side and the bleeding gash in my arm. Then its gaze fell on Yakubo and its features filled with pain. Then it turned its gaze back to me and its features hardened.

It shook its head.

Fine. If it would not help me, then I would do it myself. I began rising.

“Stop.” It snapped. “You are not strong enough to even attempt it.”

“I am no concern of yours.” I pushed the words out through tight teeth. How could Arexon deny me this? How could it allow Yakubo to die for nothing?

“You cannot fight by yourself. They will kill you.”

A thought crossed through my mind and I said it without thinking. “You have soldiers here, enough soldiers to ensure a victory.”

Arexon glared at me. “I will not risk their lives for your imp.”

I glared back at it. I was on my feet now. We stared at each other. Then I looked away and began to move past Arexon. I did not see it coming. One moment Arexon stood with its hands by its side, the next moment its hand was on my shoulder.

Darkness descended on me and I fell into oblivion.

2 Likes

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Ultimategeneral: 10:26am On Jan 22
am still wondering why its so hard for Nebud to master spectra
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by HotB: 2:00pm On Jan 22
I no gree!
ObehiD, come and finish it. Nebud must finish this fight...haaa

I'm everly captivated. Thumps up
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cassbeat(m): 6:29pm On Jan 22
I was expecting nebud to do more than it did in the fight, but it was still a learner in that fight against magic... I dont blame the uspec tho for its strong headedness cos when u lose, at that moment the loss won't register in ur perception of things...
Nice update as always obehid
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by doctorexcel(m): 9:27pm On Jan 23
Nebud need to do more to really be deserving of the name Cala. Not unless there is a better Cala out there or probably nebud is the 'fake' of the original Cala.
Ride on Obehid
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by ayshow6102(m): 11:22pm On Jan 23
Thanks for the update rasta obehid I think na nehud I go use my whip on now because dat idiot just dey pack eyes up and down like eyeman but he doesn't want to do any serious feats with those eyes and he is an irira kun for dat matter, if I were to be him the moment I saw yakubu dead I would have made sure everyone in that room was doing butterfly strokes in a swimming pool of lit okun
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by eROCK247(m): 5:07pm On Jan 24
I'm finally here! I regret not noticing you much earlier, I'd have loved to read your earlier works. Your storyline is out of this work and really requires a wild imagination. Kudos.

My saving grace is knowing that Nebud is the narrator and as such cannot die if not...I'd have died of heart attack!

Well done ma'am!
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:41am On Jan 25
@Ultimategeneral I don't think it would be normal if Nebud was able to master spectra just like that. I mean, it wasn't so long ago that Nebud found the way to break through to actually use the spectra in the room-vault, and since that happened Nebud has been running around, it hasn't had time to practice the magic. The magic that it knows (emotions) it had years in the pits to learn and practice it. The fighting skills it has took the same amount of time, so it only makes sense that it would not be able to master spectra so quickly.

@HotB lol, I guess we'll soon see what happened. Thank you grin

@cassbeat Thank you for reading, yes oh, Nebud was overwhelmed in that fight

@doctorexcel Lol, abeg I disagree with you on this, I think Nebud tried in this one. Learning spectra isn't magic. If you think about it, Nebud hasn't really had time to practice and train and get good at it, when it's rushing so that it can save Musa. Plus, can you imagine the odds of that battle. Nebud wasn't just focussing on spectra, it had to focus on parrying, and also fighting while trying to prevent the pious ones' pansophic blades from touching it.

@ayshow6102 LOL. If Nebud had released lit okun on everyone in that room, Arexon would have died too. Although, at that point, I don't even think Nebud was thinking about that. Maybe it would have released the lit okun if Arexon had not pulled it out of the fight then, or maybe it would have been so distracted with trying to summon pain that it allowed one of the pious to touch it with their pansophic blades...

@eROCK247 Thank you, I'm very happy that you found us and that you're enjoying the story grin Technically, the narrator can die, all that means is that the story would end lol
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:24am On Jan 25
Part 18
---------

I woke to the pleasant comfort of a soft bed. The air around me was warm and sweet smelling. The environment I found myself in was so pleasant that I allowed my mind to dawdle. I was trapped in a fugue state, not quite unaware of the horrors that plagued me, but not aware enough to know them in any detail. It was a nice moment of peace, for as long as it lasted.

Unfortunately, it did not last long.

Sanity returned, and with it, the cold shock of memories. I remembered the yielders’ room. The fact that we were outmatched had become immediately evident. And that was before I’d seen the full extent of the pious in the room. The fighting came back to me in detail. The pious. The spectra, the pansophy, the sword-skill, and the greater number. Any one of which would have been hard to deal with, but all four together? It had been too much. I groaned aloud as I thought of the battle. There had been okun to drain my strength. I’d had to split my focus between the okun and the soldiers prodding at me with swords and skill in its use. Then there was the dagger. Just the thought of the stab made that part of my body throb. I was too consumed by the memories to pay too much attention to the fact that the wound caused me no pain.

Yakubo’s corpse. What a thing to remember. Yakubo, my friend. It had been my first true friend in Chiboga. I could not help but recall the month that it had spent visiting with me and Musa, and ensuring that we had all that we needed. I had felt caged, so much so that I had never been in a mood good enough to thank the uspec for its continual presence. The battle flashed again in my mind and I saw Yakubo as it had been before its death. I saw the sword thrust into its neck from behind and the look in its eyes the moment it had realized that its life was over.

Other memories of Yakubo filled my mind. Yakubo from the hangar, the first Chiboga uspec that I had spoken to. Yakubo in Aurelion, Yakubo in Chiboga, in the Kaiser’s castle. It had saved my life, and how did I repay it? By costing it its own. The pain. Yakubo was loyal to the end, loyal to me. Died for my cause. And for what? For nothing. Xavier remained under the control of the pious. Arexon had forced our retreat.

A wave of anger coursed through me as I thought of Arexon. In a sane part of my head, I knew that I owed much to Arexon. I had not forgotten the pious that had taken away my motion, and the one that had sought to take advantage of my paralysis and behead me. No, I had not forgotten how Arexon appeared just in time to save my life. But then it had taken me away, it had given up. And when I tried to go back to finish the fight myself, it had taken away my consciousness. Perhaps the time will come when my anger at it abated, but that time was not now.

I seethed.

A sound drew my attention.

I forced my eyes open then, jerking myself up into an upright seated position. My eyes focused on the room I was in, and the parts of my mind which were not stunned speechless, realized that this was the same room that I had woken in when I fainted unknowingly, at Arexon’s feet. And like the last time I had woken in this room, there was an imp awaiting me. Unlike the last time, the imp was seated on the bed, staring at me with a grin on its face.

I gaped in turn at the imp. Surely my mind was playing tricks on me. There was no way that this imp could be here. It was impossible. Yet, I blinked several times, re-orienting myself, and regardless of the number of blinks, when my eyes became fully opened, it was the same sight greeting me.

I could not help myself, I smiled back. “How…” I began.

It cut me off. “Arexon found me.”

I was stunned. It was real. This was no dream, no manifestation of my deepest desires brought to life in front of me. The imp was truly here, sharing my bed.

“Xavier.” The name came out in a breath.

The imp’s grin did not fade. “It is good to see you too Nebud.”

I scoffed. The imp had not changed, although why I would think it would, I could not say. “How did you escape?”

Xavier smiled. It leaned back, its empty eye sockets turning to fully peer at me. “So you want the full story? I will oblige you then. I know now that it was Arexon who purged our chamber of the gas the pious used to rob us of our consciousness. Once that gas was gone, it did not take me long to recover. I was weak, much too weak to go too far, but I had enough strength to flee that cursed room. I collapsed in a corner, my teeth chattering as I had nothing to shield me from the frost of the falling hail. But then Arexon found me and it brought me here. That was two days ago. It says that I have you to thank for my escape?”

I nodded, unable to trust the strength of my own words. Why would Arexon go back for Xavier? Why would it risk its life, without me, for an imp, after it made it clear how little regard it had for their kind?

“I am humbled. I did not know you cared so deeply for me.”

I frowned at the imp. Was it teasing? I could find no trace of humor on the features that stared back at me, or in the words that had been said. Still, I could not help but doubt the sincerity of the imp’s words. “I did not do it for you.” I stated drily.

Xavier’s lips quirked into a smile. “I did not think so.” It seemed about to speak and then it cut itself off, turning instead to look around the room as if in search of something. When its search was at an end, it asked, “Where is Musa?”

“I don’t know.” I tried to shrug the words off, to make myself sound indifferent, but I could not quite manage it. Not now, probably not ever. My thoughts chose that moment to remind me that this could all still have been for nothing. What if Musa was already gone, already sapped to its last sustainable bit?

“Why did you save me Nebud? From what I have seen here, it cost you dearly to do so.”

I knew it spoke of Yakubo. I closed my eyes, and tried my best to force composure on my emotions. Sorrow and pain, it was not a combination I relished. I took a deep breath, and when I was sure I could speak without my voice faltering, I replied. “Musa was bitten by a samu. I took it to the wrath, and you are the fee they demanded for giving Musa aid.”

“I see.”

After that there was silence, neither of us spoke. What was the imp thinking? I decided it was not worth my time to try to decipher its thoughts. I found my mind darting back to Arexon instead. It risked its life for my imp. Twice, and the second time after it had refused my pleading. Why?

“Domina.”

My eyes rose to the curtains. I had not noticed before that the curtains had been drawn and that a soldier had been set to watching it. I thought in passing of why the soldier had been assigned to watch the curtain, but my mind quickly focused on the imp standing by the curtain. It was dressed completely in black.

“Aaliyah.” I had meant to say more. To say that I was sorry for its loss, to say that it was my fault that its master was gone, if Yakubo was even that. Their relationship had been one that I could never understand, but it had been one with real feelings, with mutual compassion and concern. I could tell from the grief on the imp’s face that Yakubo’s death pained it. This was not the same imp that had greeted me with song when I’d woken. This imp lacked all the animation it used to have.

“The master sent me to summon you for Ya…” it sniffed, and a tear fell from its socket. It wiped the tear away hastily, but it was a long time before it could bring itself to finish its missive. “For Yakubo’s obit.” It said finally.

I rose from the bed. Someone had seen to my wounds. The pious one’s dagger was no longer embedded in my body, and the gash I’d taken on my arm was healed. The job was so well done that I could not even feel the effects of the wound. All I felt at that moment was guilt. Yakubo was dead, and it was because of me. I had been stripped of my clothing, and so when I rose, I was unclad.

I closed the distance separating me from the imp and then I followed as it turned immediately to lead the way. It walked in silence, guiding me from the suite of personal rooms to the large entertaining room. As we walked, I contemplated several ways to reach out to the imp. But what would I say? I could hear footsteps behind us. Two distinct sets. The soldiers I could make out easily, but Xavier’s lighter steps were much harder to discern.

As soon as we walked into the entertaining room, a gap was made for us. We made our way to the center, and I came face to face with Yakubo’s corpse. I inhaled sharply, shocked by the reality of it in front of me. Aaliyah fell to her knees, her hands grabbing onto Yakubo’s lifeless one.

It took some time, but I was finally able to bring myself to look at it. I could tell that its body had been preserved somehow, as it did not have the foul stench that accompanied corpses after days of exposure. Was it preserved in a bed of hail perhaps? I could not say. Aaliyah sobbed. Each sob tore at me, yet, I did not begrudge the imp its tears. I had never thought much of the imp before that moment, but in its grief I saw a token of what Yakubo must have seen in it.

The pain!

I wish I could go back in time and refuse to take Yakubo on this mission with us. I wish that I’d gotten to it faster, that I had sensed its pain. Arexon should have saved Yakubo’s life instead of mine. It would have been fitting for me to die. It was my mission after all. It was my imp I’d been trying to save.

“Assiduity!”

The loud cry sounded, and the soldiers immediately saluted. It came to me as an impulse. I found my right-hand darting across my chest and coming to rest on the top left corner of it, before I could really contemplate my actions. But as I stood there in salute, I thought of how apt it was. Yakubo was a soldier. It had gloried in its position. If this was all I could do, then I would. I would pay it respect. My eyes travelled over the earrings in its ears and the golden bands on its arms. It was only then that I remembered the lack of earrings on my own ears. Arexon must have had them removed while I was unconscious.

The uspec strode past me then.

Two soldiers both of the rank of dons, walked behind Arexon, and the imp, Aaliyah’s partner Zane, brought up the rear. They stopped by the table where Yakubo’s corpse had been laid.

“Assiduity!” Arexon called out. Immediately, the three soldiers, Arexon included, turned to face Yakubo’s corpse and saluted.

We all stood like that for a time. How long was it? I could not say, but I did not mind. It seemed a fitting honor for Yakubo. Then Arexon’s hand came down. It walked over to Zane and reached for the box in the imp’s hand. Arexon put its hand into the box, and when it brought its hand out, it had a cobra wrapped around it. The boga frosted beast.

“A great life is ended.” Arexon intoned.

“In fog new ones begin!” The soldiers bellowed in response.

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:25am On Jan 25
It was not a cry I had ever heard before, but I could tell from the soldiers’ responses that it was a common one. Arexon bent, so that its arm was close to Yakubo’s face, and then it rubbed the back of the cobra’s skin against Yakubo. The cobra unwound from Arexon’s arm and then flew, its neck ribs spreading and flapping until the creature hovered in the air. It circled over Yakubo’s body, before descending on it.

Arexon saluted.

No one moved as the cobra bit into Yakubo’s flesh. It worked at Yakubo’s flesh until there was a gaping hole in the side of its face, then the cobra sidled into that hole, and entered Yakubo’s body.

Before my dazzled eyes, Yakubo’s body gave birth to flow fog. The flow fog engulfed and then consumed it, eroding at the flesh until all that was left of Yakubo was a solid form of translucent green fog. I could just make out the form of the white cobra slithering within the flow fog. Then the globs of liquid began to go away and the green flow fog turned into green regular fog. It became light and drifting, moving upwards and then flowing into the room.

“Breathe freely,” Arexon ordered, “and know that you carry a piece of great life within you.”

I took a deep breath once the green fog reached me, and my mind spun. I lost touch with my surroundings. Suddenly, I found myself back in the Kaiser’s castle in Chiboga. I was in Sophila’s pleasure room, the one that I had slaughtered it in. The room was empty, but I remembered what it had been like to see Yakubo there, grasping Aaliyah close to itself, as if to shield the imp from the world.

“I knew you would be the death of me.”

I whirled.

“Yakubo.” Tears filled me eyes. The uspec stood there, in front of the curtains, looking alive and well. It was dressed as it had been the day that I’d cut off Sophila’s head. “Forgive me my friend. I…” I choked.

Yakubo smiled at me. It came closer, close enough that it could grasp me around my forearms. “There is nothing to forgive it said. I died in service to a friend. What more could I ask for?”

“But what if it was for nothing? The samu’s bite is irreversible. Musa is gone.”

Yakubo shook its head. “Your imp lives Nebud, your imp lives in full health.” I could hear Yakubo’s voice fading as sanity returned to me. I was not ready to return, to part from such a sweet memory of Yakubo. “The founder’s grace be with you my friend.” And then it was gone, and I was back in the room.

The green fog had faded, and the cobra was nowhere to be seen. I did not know what I had seen, but I could not help but find a little peace in it. It was most likely the ramblings of my own mind, still, it made a difference to feel as if Yakubo did not die hating me.

Arexon marched out of the room, the dons following behind it. The cries of “In clover!” just faintly reached me in my daze. I don’t know how much time passed as I stood there, my arm frozen in salute, staring at the empty table where Yakubo’s corpse had lain. A thousand thoughts fleeted through my mind, memories of Yakubo and its ways.

“Domina Nebud.” The voice calling out to me was cautious, almost wary.
I turned to find the imp Zane staring up at me. It was tall enough that it did not need to crane its head too far back to meet my gaze. I realized then that a cramp had started to form in my arm. I brought my arm down and focused on the imp.

“The master would like to speak with you.” It said.

I nodded. It led the way, and I followed. It was mindless really. In some part of me I noticed that Xavier no longer followed me. In fact, the imp was nowhere I could see.

Hard fog covered the entrance to the room Arexon had chosen to use as its office. The imp placed its hand against it, and the fog softened and then drifted away. It stood back, waiting for me to precede it. This I did without much thought.

Arexon was seated behind its desk. Its head came up once I walked into the room, and its eyes focused on me. It gestured with a tilt of its head to the stool on the other side of its desk. I sat on that stool without much thought. My eyes scanned the food on the table. Normally they would have been meals which left me salivating for a taste, but I could not quite bring myself to contemplate food at that moment.

Arexon spoke first. “Would you care for something to eat?” it asked.

I shook my head.

Arexon sighed. “I don’t have much of an appetite either.”

There was silence then. It took a few moments, but I managed to shake away the daze that had descended on me in the wake of the green fog and my vision of Yakubo. As soon as the haze faded, I heard myself saying, “I should take my leave.”

Arexon nodded as if it had expected these words from me. Then it turned towards Zane. “Fetch its things and the imp.” It ordered.

“Yes master.” The imp withdrew.

“What will you do with them?” I asked. Why did it suddenly feel so hard to speak? I swallowed, trying to force down the lump in my throat.

“Yakubo’s imps?” Arexon replied with a question of its own. I did not trust my voice and so I simply nodded. “I will care for them as it would have wanted.”

“Is there…” I cleared my throat. “Is there anything I can do? I have wealth, not much with me here, but more in my vault in the Mausoleum. I could give you some of it, to help with their care.”

Arexon’s lips formed into a wry smile. “Gratitude, but I think I can manage.”

“You must let me do something.” I snapped at it.

“Make sure Yakubo’s death is not in vain.”

I nodded. “Why did you go back for Xavier? Was it so that Yakubo’s death would not be for nothing?” I did not know that I had been holding the question in, but once I gave it voice, I felt lighter.

Arexon’s gaze settled on me. It was a look that I found singularly disconcerting, and unable to hold for long. I looked away. “I did it for you.” It said simply.

The lump in my throat doubled. “Gratitude.” My voice felt squeaky. I did not like it. I cleared my throat again.

“Where will you go now?” Arexon asked.

I forced my eyes to rise and meet the uspec’s. “Permafrost.” I replied.

Arexon smiled. “I mean after that. What does the voice in your head command?”

Arexon’s mocking tone eased something in me. The lump in my throat cleared, making it easier for me to speak. I smiled, but even I could tell that the smile was not a happy one. “That I go to Lahooni for Checha’s eye.”

Arexon’s look of shock was so comical that I found myself laughing. It finally managed to govern its surprise. “Is there anything I can say or do to make you change your mind?”

I shook my head.

“That’s what I thought.”

I laughed again, this time at its surly tone. “This is one mission I do not relish sirga.” I confessed. “But I cannot refuse the voice.” A quick study of Arexon’s features showed that it did not understand, but it respected my choice.

“Just try not to get yourself killed.”

I smiled. “I will do my best.” I paused, before asking, “and you? What plans does the Custodian of Chiboga have?”

“To play the fool and deliver Animaton to the plenum.”

“And after that?”

“And after that, we will see.”

It was not willing to make any commitments as to the safety of iriras, and for the first time since I heard of the news, I was not willing to press it. I knew then, that I would always care for this uspec, regardless of the decisions it made. Even if it slaughtered every irira in its port. It was a strange feeling, that which I felt for Arexon. It was more than just gratitude for saving my life and finding Xavier. It was much more, but exactly what it was I could not say. Nevertheless, I knew that if it came to it, I would sacrifice my own life to protect its. Arexon had given me more than any single person had ever given me before. All except for Musa.

How far we’d come from the commander and the serf in Chiboga.

“Master.” Zane’s voice broke into my thoughts. I turned to find Xavier standing behind Zane, in front of the solid fog door.

Arexon nodded and Zane approached me. It placed the new cloak I’d purchased on an empty stool beside me. My headguard was set on the table and my footwear on the floor by my stool. I put the cloak on, noting that the gash from the dagger had been sewn. Zane handed me my belt right as I’d been thinking about it. I strapped that belt onto my waist, beneath the cloak. As soon as the belt was on, I felt the weight of my missing dagger. I’d not been able to retrieve the dagger that I had thrown at the pious one’s neck.

I bent to secure my footwear onto my feet. When I stood, Arexon was standing in front of me.

“I could not retrieve yours,” it stretched its hand out, and I was stunned to see a dagger proffered. “This is one of mine. It is made from metal which conducts no pansophy so you need not worry about that.”

I took the dagger from Arexon. “Gratitude.”

Arexon clasped me tightly on my shoulder. “Just be safe.” It said, before releasing me. It took a step back. “Just be safe.” Then it turned to Xavier. “Put the headguard on.” It ordered. “The Cormeum guards will recognize your face.”

Xavier nodded. I had not noticed the headguard in its hands until it made to put it on. Arexon reached for mine on the table and handed it to me. I took the headguard with shaky hands.

I was not ready to part. I opened my mouth to say…what exactly I did not know, but before the words could form, quicksand appeared underneath me and sucked me away. When the quicksand forced me out, I was standing in an animal den, in a stall facing a big red smoke bear.

Marc! I had gotten so carried away by the craziness that I’d forgotten about Marc. My Marc who’d carried me back, sick and delirious, across Nefastu, and into Cormeum. But Arexon had not forgotten. It had seen to the care of my pet.

A loud trumpet sound filled the stall, and a warm trunk wrapped around me. Mirth filled me. I could not name the cause, or why the animal’s warm greeting would make me feel as I did, but I enjoyed it. I walked over to its side and stroked its fur in apology for my neglect. I made a silent promise then that I would never forget it again. Marc trumpeted, as if it had heard my promise and agreed.

“It’s time to go back.” I said to the bear.

As if it could hear me, it bent low to make it easier for us to climb on. Xavier whistled in shock behind me, but I ignored it. I climbed onto the back of my magnificent beast, and then I put on my headguard, and leaned forward, grabbing onto Marc’s tusks as it began to rise.

We were headed back to Permafrost with Xavier in tow, and I felt a rush of optimism. I knew then, that everything would be alright. Musa would be fine and healed, waiting for me to retrieve it.

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cassbeat(m): 10:23am On Jan 25
Nice update as usual...
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by ayshow6102(m): 12:35pm On Jan 25
Wow thanks for this lovely update obehid I can't wait to jump on musa av really missed talking in him in umani language that nehud doesn't understand
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Madosky112(m): 6:09pm On Jan 26
Always hot,,, thanks obehid
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by eROCK247(m): 2:27pm On Jan 28
obehiD:


@eROCK247 Thank you, I'm very happy that you found us and that you're enjoying the story grin Technically, the narrator can die, all that means is that the story would end lol







So long as the narrator isn't a ghost, he can't die within the story. This story will have to end with Nebud becoming a Kaizer and becoming a progenitor as well
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by movmentish(m): 9:08pm On Jan 28
Obehid.... I've not logged on nairailand for eons.... But I've been following all your works on here and I can't put to words how talented you are. You are amongst the best writers I've met on her. Kudos.... Back to this story, I liked the brute nebud, this nebud that met arexon wont survive the pits of hakute. And I know for a fact that the voice in nebud's head is chuspesip trying to come back through nebud. I'd love a chance to meet you in person anytime youbarevin abuja. And thank you for keeping my Wednesdays and Saturday something to anticipate. I love your imagination, your kids are the most luckiest on earth. And finally.I love you and your works
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 2:37am On Jan 29
@cassbeat thank you smiley

@ayshow6102 lol! It's really the umani language that Nebud doesn't understand...are you sure you understand it? haha

@Madosky112 Thanks for reading

@eROCK247 Touche, I did say that in the start, lol. Wouldn't be an interesting twist if Nebud was only dreaming and it turns out that it is not what it actually said it was in the beginning?

@movmentish LOL, maybe, maybe not. I don't think Nebud is getting enough credit for that fight, but okay. As to the voice in Nebud's head...I guess we'll see. Thanks for reading and enjoying, I appreciate it grin
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 2:48am On Jan 29
Part 19
--------

This time, the journey through Nefastu was thankfully uneventful. There was the familiar feeling of inexplicable loss which I felt upon crossing the boundary from the neighboring port into the cursed road, but that I had expected. And that was the only loss, I was to be subjected to. The coarse hail continued to fall, and I could feel its slight presence in prods against the top of my headguard. I remained indifferent though, unbothered by the sudden unnamed loss, or the frigid chill, or the pelting of the coarse hail. My mood could not be soured, not when I was so close to being reunited with my imp. I thought of the days that I had spent in doubt and wondered exactly when my doubts had been lifted.

Yakubo.

It was after the vision, when Yakubo had told me that Musa lived. That was the moment I’d known, but I had only been willing to accept it when I saw Marc, alive and healthy despite my lack of care. Just the thought of my recent failings in my treatment of the bear had me stroking its fur gently. It let out a low trumpet as it continued on, trotting down the hail path.

Yakubo.

The loss was still there. It was muted now, somehow twisted by Nefastu, but still present. I could not help but see the uspec’s corpse in my mind every time I thought of it. I was grateful for the other memory though, the one that I had been gifted by the green fog created from the cobra, the boga frosted beast. I did not understand the fog, or the hallucination that it had spurred, but I believed in the truth of it. What a strange feeling.

“You care a great deal for Musa.” Xavier’s words were spoken so softly that it was a challenge to hear them, especially with my thoughts in such disarray. I managed however, pulled to the imp’s words by its mention of the one I was so desperate to reunite with. What would I say to Musa when I saw it?

To Xavier I simply nodded in reply. My aversion to this imp had not waned. I did not trust it, and I did not trust the wrath. My mission was simply to get my imp and go as far away from Damejo as I could.

Lahooni.

My home. Or, my supposed home, the home that I should have grown up in. Cala’s home. I had not really had time to think of this fact, that the next place the voice required me to visit was the port which had belonged to my sire. And Checha? How was I to steal the eye of a Kaiser in the plenum? Sophila had been a challenge, and even now, I could see how lucky I had been to escape from that port with my life. If Arexon had not been in that room, cloaked by its lack of appearance, I would be dead. I felt an uncomfortable dryness in my throat as the memory brought to mind all that I owed Arexon.

“There is no cure for a samu’s bite Nebud, you know this don’t you? There is no cure.”

My hands clenched as a sudden wave of fury rocked me. I did not realize that I’d been holding onto Marc’s fur, until the bear moaned. I eased my grip immediately, bending to stroke the bear’s skin and offer platitudes I did not fully know I was saying before I said them. It was strange this, the bond that I shared with Marc. It was not quite that which I would share with a person, but it was still special. I continued to coo gibberish at the animal until its tension eased and it let out a low trumpet of pleasure. I pushed myself up to a sitting position then.

“Don’t touch me!” I snapped at the imp when I felt its fingers inch up as if in a casual graze of my skin. I felt its hand jerk backwards.

“I’m sorry.” Xavier said, “it is instinct. Not that I would have to tell you this, seeing how close you are to Musa.”

I froze. Slowly, I tilted my head backwards so that I could get a better view of the imp’s face. Its eye sockets were trained impassively on me. There was nothing on its face to show guile.

“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked, slowly, enunciating each word. How is it that I could spend so little time with the imp and already want nothing more than to part companies?

Its face took on a look of shocked wonder. “Pansophy. Musa has it. Are you not aware of this?”

What game was it playing? “Of course I am.” I snapped.

Xavier leaned backwards slightly, as if relaxing. “I thought as much. I was referring to the gentle graze. As imps, as slaves, it is in our best interest to get as much of uspecs’ thoughts as we can. We do this to protect ourselves. It was Musa who taught me…” It trailed off, its eyelids pulling upwards as if disturbed by the expression of rage which it could no doubt read on my face. “What is wrong?”

“What do you mean by it was Musa who taught you?”

Xavier frowned. “Musa taught me pansophy. Musa gave me pansophy. Did you not know this? Surely, after we met on the inter port trail, Musa must have told you of our relationship.”

I turned back around, returning my gaze to rest in front of us. My head throbbed and my heart pounded with fury. I clenched my jaw, my teeth gritting together as I struggled to keep my anger from pouring over to the creature beneath me. How dare Musa lie to me? How dare it! I could feel myself shaking.

A hand clamped onto my shivering upper arm.

Immediately, I reached for the dagger which Arexon had gifted to me, and slashed at Xavier’s wrist with it. Xavier pulled its hand back immediately, its sockets turned to stare at the blood dripping from its arm. I knew how easy it would be for the imp to heal itself, how easily it could use its growth to stop the flow of blood and repair the torn skin. Growth which I could not use, because I did not have pansophy. Pansophy which Musa had said was not in its power to give. And I believed it!

I forced my mind to slow, as I reconsidered all that I knew of the magic. Pansophy was a gift given by the pious. I knew that. All of the tomes I’d read had agreed on that fact. But, there was no mention of pious slaves, of imps with pansophy, in those tomes.

“I did not mean to shock you.” Xavier stated placatingly. “I thought that Musa would have told you of how we knew each other.”

“It told me that you were in the wrath and that you had tried to recruit it.” I spoke through gritted teeth.

Of all the responses that I had expected, it was not this.

The imp laughed. It burst out laughing, releasing loud guffaws. I could feel it shaking behind me, and with each shudder of mirth, I felt my anger grow. All the lies, the half-truths, I was so tired of them. I had thought that Musa was the one person I could count on never to lie to me. Whenever I had asked it questions it had been unwilling to answer, the imp had simply said so. It had never led me to believe that it would answer something that it did not deem acceptable to share. So why would it lie to me? When had I ever pushed it for an answer it was truly unwilling to give?

It took a while, but Xavier’s laughter abated. It sighed, a long grating sound, after its bout of hilarity ended, and then it chuckled, before finally, becoming quiet.

Then, just when I’d begun to hope that it was done taunting me with words I had no desire to hear, it said, “I did not recruit Musa for the wrath, it recruited me.”

It recruited me.

I groaned.

As if sensing my mood, Marc halted beneath me.

We remained that way, motionless in the middle of Nefastu, surrounded by the picturesque scene of canopy trees and colored herbs. Xavier’s words continued to echo in my head, and for some reason I could not fathom or explain, I knew that the imp was telling the truth. I just knew it. I could not say exactly why, but something in Xavier’s words stirred a memory which I was not completely sure was my own, and a piece of a puzzle fell into place. Xavier was telling the truth, and Musa had lied to me.

All of this, everything that I had done, the risks that I had taken for an imp who’d lied so thoroughly. What else had it lied about? If it was recruiting for the wrath then was it a member of this resistance group? How well I’d thought of it when it had professed loyalty to my line over loyalty to its own kind. Now I knew the truth. If only I’d known it before I let Yakubo die, all in Musa’s aid.

“Why have we stopped?”

Fast drifting fogs passed by us then. They swept pass, taking drops of coarse hail with them. It felt as if the fogs were throwing stones at my body, and I found the sensation to quite match the raw feeling of my insides. I did not like this, this feeling of betrayal. I did not like it at all.

“Are you giving up on your quest?” Xavier asked. “Musa is gone, Nebud. You have brought me back and I am grateful for that, and so I tell you this in return. Leave me here and go back to the Labyrinths, Permafrost holds nothing for you.”

I contemplated it. My anger and sense of betrayal had grown so acute that I actually contemplated Xavier’s words. Of course, I thought about beheading the imp before I left. It would not end its life, but it would give me satisfaction. That would be the only satisfaction I was likely to get from this whole cursed journey. Abandon Musa. In that moment, I did not care if it lived or died. In fact, I wished that the samu had sapped it to its last sustainable bit, and that it would never be able to regrow.

But I knew that was only my anger speaking. As angry as I was with Musa, I had to make sure that it was fine. I missed it. Even with its betrayal. And there was the matter of Yakubo. I could not let Yakubo, one of the only uspecs I’d ever called friend, have died for nothing.

“Go.” I said in a soft whisper to the warm frosted beast underneath me.
I knew it could not hear me, but something in my gesturing must have urged it forward, because it begun to move then.

“Neb…”

“Silence!” I cut the imp off sharply. “Another word from you and I’ll cut off your head. I was asked to bring you back, not to bring you back whole.”
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 2:49am On Jan 29
Whatever Xavier thought of my words it kept to itself, and the rest of our journey was embarked on in blissful silence. If only I had insisted on silence the moment that Xavier opened its mouth. Ignorance was better. I would have preferred not to know of the extent of Musa’s betrayal, of the reality of Yakubo’s sacrifice. I thought about myself, drudging through the blistering chill of Nefastu in search of the imp. I thought about the injuries that I’d taken, the leg that I’d almost lost. All for Musa, all for an imp who was in league with the wrath, in league with a group of renegade imps trying to take my existence away from my kind.

I thought of what little I’d seen of Permafrost, of the uspecs who bowed to imps. Was that what Musa wanted? Was that the world it secretly worked to bring to pass? It would not happen! I swore it, to myself, to the cursed road, to the punishing coarse hail, to the drifting chilled fogs, to whoever and whatever chose to hear me.

It would not happen.

“Brace yourself.” I heard Xavier say, just before it begun to whistle a tune so achingly familiar, I felt my broken heart break even further. It was the tune that I had heard Musa sing the morning after my first night with it. It was the same tune that I had heard the imp Aaliyah singing, when I’d awoken in Arexon’s suite in Cormeum. I’d heard that tune and immediately thought that it was Musa, without realizing why it had sounded so familiar. Now I knew.

I knew before the ground underneath me softened, pulling me in. I knew before the darkness enveloped me and the quicksand portal teleported me into Permafrost. I knew that the tune the imps shared was a signal for the wrath, a key to gain entrance to Permafrost.

The darkness receded, and I found myself in a cave with hard sludge walls, and soft sludge grounds.

Xavier dismounted, “we call this our hideout.” It stated, conversationally. “There are a number of them throughout the camp. It’s the only way in. Are you coming?”

The imp waited for my response. I saw no need to hasten, and so I simply sat there, staring at the cave. It reminded me of the dwellings built from form cards on the inter-port trail. The walls of this cave were unnaturally smooth, and the ceiling was so far up that I could stand on Marc’s back and still not touch it.

I took my time studying every inch of the walls, before slowly, dismounting, and joining Xavier on the sludge ground. The imp looked amused, but it stayed silent.

“Shall we?” It asked.

I nodded stiffly.

Xavier began walking. I followed behind the imp, watching the walls as if I expected something spectacular to either manifest on them, or to emerge from them. Nothing so intriguing happened. We made our way across the empty sludge cave, until we reached a curtained area. Xavier pushed the curtain aside and walked through, leaving it to fall in my face. I swallowed down my irritation and held the curtain. I waited for Marc to precede me, before I followed behind and let the curtain fall back into place. The room we entered was a portal.

“The hideouts are under ground.” Xavier said by means of explanation.

I shrugged, beyond the point of caring, and stepped onto the hardened quicksand. It waited several seconds after we were all standing on it, before it softened and sucked us in. It deposited us outside, under the falling hail.

Had there been this many imps the last time I’d been here? I could not remember seeing quite so many of them. There was a scattering of uspecs, but the uspecs were far outnumbered by the imps. I could say that I had never seen quite so many imps in a single place before.

Marc trumpeted and the imps turned around to face us. Their eye sockets caught on Marc and their eyelids pulled upwards, widening their view.

“Xavier!” A voice shouted.

The imps’ focus shifted from my bear to the imp.

“Xavier!” Another yelled. Soon the imps were pushing towards us, indifferent to my presence. They gathered around Xavier, eager to lay hands on the imp. I felt so many imps crushed against me, and all of my hackles rose.

I reached for my cutlass and drew it out of my sheath.

The imps drew back immediately. Xavier turned to face me. “There is no need for that.” It counseled.

“Tell them not to touch me.” I seethed in reply.

Xavier’s face looked sad, but it nodded, and then it turned to face the imps and spoke to them in a tongue which I could not understand. A mix of hateful glares and fearful looks were fixed on me then. Some of the imps gave me a wide berth, others called out words in the tongue I could not understand. I could tell from the rebellious looks on their faces that the words they said were taunts. I gripped the hilt of the cutlass tighter.

“I fight am!” A young imp yelled, in broken mejo.

Others seemed to like this, because they cheered the imp on. I was outnumbered, and I could do no mortal damage, but I did not care. I would welcome the chance to share some of my anger with these imps.

Sadly, it was not to be.

A hush descended on the group of imps.

Quickly, a path was made, as imps drew back, mouths hanging open, their eyes fixed in reverent awe at a sight I was not yet at an advantage to see.

It was the uspec I saw first. An uspec with outer eyes completely filled. I knew that I had seen it before, the last time that I’d been here, but I could not quite recall its name, only that it served imps. It wore no weapons. Behind the uspec, I saw an imp. The imp was dressed in a simple robe, with a familiar looking ring on its finger. I had vague memories of Monica kneeling and kissing that ring.

As if driven by my own memories, Xavier walked forward, stopping in front of the robed imp, and then it dropped to its knees on the hail ground. The robed imp extended its hand imperiously to Xavier. Xavier grasped the hand and placed a kiss on that ring, before releasing the hand.

“Rise my son.” The robed imp said.

“Thank you, mother.” Xavier replied, rising to its feet.

The imp smiled at Xavier. “You are back.”

“Yes mother.” I heard the smile in Xavier’s voice.

“Sada is merciful.” The robed imp said.

“Sada is merciful.” Xavier chimed in response.

“Your Sada had nothing to do with Xavier’s return.” I spat out. How dare they accord some other existence god with the rescue that Yakubo had died for?

Several gasps rose from the group of imps which still remained around us. I heard harsh cries and some spitting sounds. I ignored their disdain.

“Is that Nebud?” the robed imp asked. “Will you not take off your headguard so that I may gaze at you?”

“Where is my imp?” I asked in response. I did not want to be in this place for a moment longer than I had to.

“Please,” the robed imp implored, “take off the headguard so that I can look you in your eyes.”

I ignored it. “Musa!” I yelled, bellowing so loud I knew it would hear me wherever it was. “Musa!” When no response came, I turned to the robed imp. “You asked for payment, and I brought it, at a dear cost to myself. Now, it is your turn to satisfy your end of the bargain.”

The robed imp sighed. Its face contorted into a mask of grief and I knew what it was going to say before it said it. Still, I could not get myself to believe it until the words were said.

“I am sorry Nebud, but Musa is gone. We could not find it. We searched over every inch of Nefastu, every single inch was scoured with our jackals, but we found nothing.”

I searched for the lie in the imp’s face, but I found none. No. I shook my head, it was not possible. Yakubo had told me that Musa lived. It had told me! And I trusted Yakubo a lot more than I trusted this imp.

“You lie!” I spat out. “You lie!”

The robed imp shook its head sadly. “I wish that it was a lie. I wish that we had found it. We owe much to Musa. There are a number of imps here who would never have found their way to us without Musa’s aid. A number of imps who would be lost without the knowledge that Musa passed on. Whether you returned with Xavier or not, we would have done everything in our power to find and restore Musa. We mourn its loss.”

No. It was not possible. No after everything, everything, that I’d been through. I could not believe it. I could not believe that Musa was gone, sapped.

I thought then of the inter-port trail, of the day that Musa had told me about pansophy. I remembered the look of fear that had filled its face when it had mentioned yielders and the sapping they performed on imps. I had sworn to it then that it would never be sapped, that I would never allow it to happen. My own sire had made a liar out of me.

I swayed on my feet, thankful for Marc’s presence beside me. If not for the bear’s solid form, I would most likely have fallen.

Musa was gone.

“Shadra.” I heard the robed imp call out the name and then mutter words, but I was too pained to listen.

And to think that only moments ago I had been enraged by the imp’s betrayal. I did not care about the wrath and what it may have done for them. I did not care about any of that! I wanted my imp back, I wanted Musa. How much grief could I take? First Yakubo dies and then Musa? Maybe they were wrong, maybe there are places that they had not thought to look. I had to hold on to hope, I had to keep the fire burning inside me. I could not lose Musa.

“You’ve had a long journey,” I heard the uspec say. Where had it come from? It was standing beside me now, gently leading me and Marc away. “Come and eat, maybe swim in the okun, you will feel better soon.”

It thought that food could make me feel better? I searched around, desperate for…what, I could not say? I found a familiar face in the crowd. Monica. It had only been there for a few moments and then it retreated. It had been the first one to tell me that Musa’s condition was unfixable. Why hadn’t I listened? Yakubo would still be alive if I had.

The uspec led me away, and I let it.

4 Likes

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 10:24am On Jan 29
Yakobo is gone. It is really gone, I grieve for it. Nebud has sacrificed too much to be disappointed. Well this is another harsh reality of life. You don't always get what you desire.

Leave Nebud's disappointment aside.

Musa. It did tell Nebud that it was approached by Xavier with intention to recruit it into the wrath. It lied. It wasn't open as it should be to its master. Why did it have to lie? It knows how Nebud trusted it and is willing to protect it at all cost. It knew the sufferings Nebud went through even becoming a serf just to keep it alive and free. Does it need to lie about Xavier?
All of these questions needs answers, I think Musa must have it's reasons for twisting the story and lying to Nebud instead. I hope to get answers soon (that is if Musa returns, which I hope it does)

Obehid I am grateful for this updates, they're nice . Good morning dear.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by eROCK247(m): 11:16pm On Jan 29
So many twists to this story...

So Musa is not as innocent as portrayed?
Can't wait for the next update.

@obehiD, guessing your storyline is almost impossible. Tight story...I wonder how it would end.

1 Like

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