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The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) - Literature (6) - Nairaland

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:18am On May 22
@cassbeat thank you! I have more so come and eat grin

@spixytinxy lol, thank you! I don't know if this is very long, but it's what I had time to write. Hope you enjoy it
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:19am On May 22
VOLUME THREE
================

~~~

KUTE

(A Spectral existence word which represents one of the five spectrums in the spectral existence. This word refers to the people of this spectrum, that is the uspecs of the Kute spectrum who have a tail as their distinctive feature. The uspecs in the Kute spectrum are sometimes called okun people as they are so tightly bound to the okuns in the spectral existence. As such, kute eyes give an uspec the magic of the okuns, which allows them to use the okuns to harvest the power needed for spectra from any creature. The uspecs in the Kute spectrum are also bound to the pain emotion.)

~~~

Part 1
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Outside the pits. The third burg in the second metropolis of Hakute
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A half-Unclad imp, with streaked skin and empty eye-sockets, sat on a wooden platform a few paces in front of me. The imp’s arms moved in a somewhat circular motion as it moved the oar, using it to displace the liquid in the okun, and propel the open-top canoe forward.

My eye stared emotionlessly at the ripples in the pink liquid made from the moving paddle. Occasionally, another vessel would come into our path and the imp driving it would nod in a passing greeting at the imp driving ours. Then the vessel would move away, out of my field of view, and I would continue to stare at the pink liquid.

In a part of my mind, I registered that the world I now inhabited was so much different from the world that I had spent my first years in. That world, the world of my slum, was a world filled with sludge and hovels. This world, outside the pits, had okuns everywhere. I could not recall how many days had passed since we’d left the pits. I did not remember how we happened upon this canoe, and I did not know where I was being taken. All I knew was a depression that had stolen my ability to care.

I heard feet shuffling behind me and interpreted the sound as one coming from another uspec’s pacing. I knew who it was that shared the canoe with me, but even if I hadn’t, I would not turn around to find out who the uspec was.

Gone were the instincts that I had been forced to learn in the pits. Gone were the days when the sound of the unknown would have me leaping to my feet and preparing to face the coming threat. Now I was a fragmented mind trapped in a carcass. It seemed so long ago since I had last moved my feet, I could no longer recall how, and I had no desire to find out. My hands remained immobile, resting on the arms of the wheel-stool in which I sat. My head did not turn to take in the new sites in which I passed and the marvelous world of okuns and the burg built around them. The only part of my body I still controlled where my eyes. I knew I could shut them when I pleased, and that I could open them when the fear of the darkness pushed me to.

Fear, had there been a life before it? I could not remember. But it was the only stimulation I now knew, the only thing that made my heart race. Every glance from a strange uspec reminded me of Fajahromo’s cunning eyes, and every loud sound reminded me of its jarring laughter. I saw Fajahromo everywhere I went, and I remembered how easily it had manipulated me. I knew that it would find me, and I knew that it would kill me, it was only a matter of time.

But not even the fear could make me rise to my feet and take control of my fate. Because everywhere the fear went, the sorrow accompanied it. I remembered Fajanux as it died with its eye open, staring into mine as if demanding answers it deserved from the one who gave it life. I recalled the first day I had seen it as an uspec, the day that Fajahromo had brought it into my cell. It had done to me what I had done so carelessly to so many others. It had infested me with polluted emotions and then it had looked up for approval from Fajahromo.

I think I would cry if I had enough feeling to shed tears. I mourned an offspring who loathed me and was responsible for the state I was currently in, one where the sorrow in me was so deep and so overwhelming that I could not summon the will to move my own body. I felt a hand on my shoulder and I simply continued to stare ahead, not able to turn my own head around and meet the eye of the uspec behind who touched me. The uspec let out a deep sigh of sorrow and then its hand left my shoulder. I heard it move backwards, away from me, and all I could do was continue to stare ahead, at the wide end of the oar displacing the pink liquid.

As the canoe continued to rock in the vast okun, I shut my eye and simply waited in darkness for the fear to override my desire to escape the sights in front of me. It never happened instantly. Sometimes the fear was so slow to build that I could keep my eye shut for minutes, but then it would bear down on me, and become so imposing that I would have no choice but to open my eye and reassure myself that I was not back in the pits, hanging from shackles in the wall. I had not slept since I left the pits, but I knew, from the changing lighting in the environment I inhabited, that several days had passed. Although I had not slept, I had many moments of detachment, when my sorrow, the depression, overrode my fear to such a degree that just staying cognitive in my mind was too much of a burden. And so, with my eye open, all thoughts would cease and I would simply exist, if it could even be called that. That was the closest I got to resting. In those moments, I longed for the use of my limbs so that I could give myself the eternal release of death. If I had enough strength to move my limbs, I would have ended my life a long time ago, regardless of Gerangi’s presence.

It took me a while to realize that the canoe had stopped moving. Perhaps I had gone to that phase where my mind was too exhausted to keep thinking and had simply stopped. I do not know. But when the fear rose up, coursing through me like a violent wave, I opened my eye, and watched the imp jump down into the pink liquid of the okun. It bent, doing some work below the level of the canoe. When it rose, the canoe was secured to a wooden post.

The sound was slightly startling. I was still positioned with my eye staring into the okun, and although I could see the post which our canoe was secured to, I could not see anything else. But I knew there had to be a platform of sorts somewhere close, from the faint sounds I heard.

Suddenly, a green body appeared in my line of sight. The uspec cast a pitying glance my way, before turning to the imp still standing in the okun.

“How do we get to the island?” Gerangi asked.

“Where?” the imp asked. “Coulda been go Hamlet Kook?” the imp’s voice was scratchy, and it spoke a broken Kute tongue which I could barely decipher. It was obvious that this imp had not been in a Kute port for long. “Or coulda been go Hamlet Asha?”

“Kook.” Gerangi replied.

The imp nodded. Then it climbed to the top of the wooden post and balanced itself on one leg. Perhaps if I cared enough to be impressed, I would have been astonished at the imp’s expert ability to keep balance while standing in such a precarious position. But I did not care and so I simply stared emotionlessly at it all.

The imp placed both of its hands around its mouth, and when it spoke again, its voice sounded much louder. “Ahhh! Kooka-kooka-kooka!” it repeated its bellow a number of times before I heard a voice from further off reply,

“See me.”

“Come!” the imp yelled, before jumping down from the top of the post into the canoe.

Gerangi turned sideways and I could see that it was staring at something. Then the corner of its lip tipped upward in a smile of satisfaction before it turned its back on me. “How much?” it asked.

“Only three pieces of merit.” The imp replied.

“Only?” Gerangi scuffed. “One for your master, and two for yourself, eh? Do I look like a fool?”

What followed was pointless haggling that I quickly allowed my mind to escape. A part of me remembered our money. It had been so long since I’d seen the white square pieces. I knew that one piece of merit was a lot of money. And so, I imagined we must have been on this canoe for a long time if the cost was only payable with merit, as opposed to value, which was our lowest denomination. Worth was the highest, but a single piece of worth could buy a tract of land. I doubted I would ever see that much money.

“Greetings!” A cheerful voice called out. The voice came from my side, and since I would not crane my neck to see the owner, I could not tell what it was.

“Greetings domina.” The voice spoke again. This time, Gerangi turned. It grumbled at been ripped off, but then it pulled out two white pieces from the sachet bag it had carried out of the pits and gave them to the imp who’d driven the canoe. The imp was all smiles and gratitude as it accepted it.

“Help me canoe boy.” The new voice called out. The imp who’d driven the canoe, quickly hid its money in its trouser pockets and then it walked over to me. The imp walked out of my line of sight and a few moments later, I was lifted out of the crater in the canoe where my wheel-stool had been placed to keep me from rolling around in the canoe, and was carried off our canoe, onto a wooden platform. Then I was carried up a slight ramp by the two struggling imps and left to rest on another platform.

I stared ahead as I heard more feet climbing unto the platform. The sound of the feet was followed by the bang of wood against wood. Then more feet shuffling. I felt my stool move a little, and after a while it stopped moving. It was held faster than it had been in the canoe.

“What is this?” Gerangi asked.

“A mobile domina. It is a platform that moves. It’s used all around Hamlet Kook domina.”

Both voices came from behind me.

Suddenly, the platform lurched, and we were moving. Gerangi let out a low sound of shock. As we moved, we got closer to the source of the sound that I had heard. I could faintly make out an end to the okun, and solid ground with people milling about.

“Fascinating. Where are these mobiles from?” Gerangi asked.

“They are made in Lahooni domina.”

“What are you?”

“Me domina?”

“Yes, you. Who owns you?”

“Oh!” the imp chuckled. Although I was still yet to see it, as it had not once entered my line of sight, I could tell from the way it spoke to Gerangi that it was an imp. “I belong to the Hamlet domina. I am a runner.”

“Do you have a name?” Gerangi’s voice sounded amused.

“You may call me whatever you please domina.”

Gerangi’s laughter was dry. “What were you called in your umani life?” it asked.

Silence followed the question.

“I don’t mean to pry.” Gerangi’s voice was cautious.

“Oh no, it’s nothing domina. It has just been so long since my umani life ended that I must think to recall the name. It may have been Promise.”

“Have you been in Kook the whole time?”

The imp laughed. “No domina, I cannot stay in any one place for so long. I have been in Kook for ten years though.”

“Who owns you Promise?” Gerangi asked again.

The imp laughed. “You are very perceptive domina.”

“No slave can come and go as they please.”

“I was owned once. I was a slave for my first fifty years in the spectral existence, but then my master died, and I could not serve its offspring. So, I ran away.”

“How much do you charge for your services then?”

The imp gasped in shock. “You will pay me even knowing that I am a runaway?”

“Slavery is such a terrible institution. There is more than enough wealth in the spectral existence for all imps to be employed and paid for their time. But for a twist of luck, I could have been born umani and you uspec.” Gerangi sighed. “I will pay you Promise, and I will pay you well.”

“Thank you domina. I will take whatever you give me.” The imp’s voice was filled with awe.

A few moments passed in silence before Gerangi spoke up again. “Tell me Promise, have you ever heard of ‘The Isle of Brio’?”

“No domina. It cannot be in Kook, I know everywhere in Kook.”

“Perhaps not in Kook, but very close to it. Are there any imps in Kook who’ve been here for centuries?”

“Only one I know of domina. Her name is Mel and she owns the border motel Last Chance. It will cost you to speak to her though.”

“The imp is free?”

“She served the most prominent Kook line for over a century and in return they gave her freedom, a home, and a source of income.”

“All she had to do was remain a slave for over a century.” Gerangi’s voice was thick with sarcasm.

The imp laughed.

The platform stopped moving and moments later, I felt my stool move underneath me.

It was as if we had docked at a market. I heard a cacophony of voices, none of which held any particular meaning to me. The platform had stopped by a plankway which extended from the land I had seen. I was rolled onto the plankway and then to the land, where I saw uspecs and imps brushing past each other, running from one spot to the other. I watched emotionlessly as other canoes and some platforms docked by different plankways, and their inhabitants walked off their modes of transportations and came to a stop, where I was stopped at.

It was only then that I noticed that there were barriers cordoning off the section I was in, where the arriving platforms and canoes had docked, from the rest of the hamlet. As we got closer to those barriers, we were formed into lines.

I was only a few people away from the front of the line when I heard a familiar question.

“Tiyoseriwosin?”

I could not hear the answer, but it was followed by a large uspec picking up an axe with a cyan blade and swiping it in the air. I watched detachedly as four uspec heads were cut off from their bodies and the heads rolled on the soft ground. One of those heads stopped in front of me.

I got my first view of the imp Promise, when it walked around and stopped in front of me, bent, picked up the head, and then tossed it aside, as if it was trash. Then the imp walked back behind me and my stool rolled forward.

My gaze remained ahead, and I was suddenly staring at wispy green legs, and blood-stained cyan axes. We were next in line, and an uspec asked, “Tiyoseriwosin?”

2 Likes

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by spixytinxy(f): 11:29am On May 22
Yes I enjoyed it but today's update is too short oooo. Hope u r good sha
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 8:04pm On May 22
I must confess Obehid, i am enjoying every bit of this. Nebud now a lettuce? This is sad. I wonder what will happen next. I just can't wait for Saturday.

I hope you are well? Your replies are somewhat down. Be well for us oh?
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Tuhndhay(m): 6:43pm On May 24
OBEHID....... Thanks for taking time to keep up with the updates.
Trust you are doing great..... To think Nebud is in that state leaves me "speechless" now I think I smell a twist somewhere
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 9:04am On May 25
Where is Obehid?? embarassed *in panic mode* embarassed
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cassbeat(m): 10:44am On May 25
Where at thou obehid
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 1:15pm On May 25
Sorry everyone, i was really busy earlier, so I couldn't post this update on time, I'm really sorry for that. I'm just going to go through it again, and then I'll post it soon. Sorry again, and thanks for the patience smiley

@spixytinxy Yes, I am okay... too short shocked well, this one is longer grin

@Fazemood I'm happy that you're enjoying it. I'm okay. I've been really busy, but I'm doing my best to stay on top of the posts.

@Tuhndhay thank you! Well, I don't know if there's a twist coming up, but there is definitely something grin

@cassbeat I'm here, sorry, update coming soon

2 Likes

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 1:39pm On May 25
Part 2
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“Tiyoseriwosin?” The question was repeated. I heard the impatience in the voice, and wondered if perhaps the cyan axe would swing before the inquirer deigned to repeat its question. In a part of my mind a little spark ignited my subconscious and a very small part of me, the part that could summon up the energy to care, hoped that the question would remain unanswered and that the axe would swing. I would finally get the release I had been searching for. But then the spark died, and the indifference took complete control of me.

A throat cleared. Out of the corner of my impassive eyes, I saw green legs walk beside my wheel-stool. They stopped just in front of me and stood to the side.

“What is the meaning of this?” Gerangi’s voice rang imperial, with an air of authority which I had never heard before.

There was silence, for a moment or two, following Gerangi’s question. Then the cyan axe swung forward lightly, as if its bearer was getting a better hold on it.

“Tiyoseriwosin?” The question was repeated, with more emphasis put on each syllable.

The cyan axe swung a little closer towards me, and again that spark was ignited. I hoped then that Gerangi would give the wrong answer to the question and that we would be both die. Suddenly, I was filled with a certain urge to speak, to scream. I felt strength course through my body, stealing my vitality from the polluted sorrow which had robbed me of it. I felt I could stand then, that I could jump to my feet and take the axe from the uspec who held it. I thought, finally, I could give myself the release that I craved.

The polluted emotions within me made a liar out of me. The fire which had been lit in me burned out, as if doused, and I was suddenly back to the empty shell I had become. Not even a finger twitch. I had not even had enough strength to raise one of my fingers before the depression returned and I could do nothing but observe. There would be no more sparks, from me. I knew that. The polluted sorrow within me would ensure it.

“On whose authority do you dare question the pious?” Gerangi’s voice came out again, and again it was filled with that undeniable note of authority.

Silence followed Gerangi’s words for the second time. This silence was different. This silence felt like it was echoed throughout the dock, not just in the space that surrounded us.

The feet planted on the ground in front of me moved backwards slightly as if uncertain. Then someone scuffed. The scuff was followed by the sound of an uspec spitting onto the ground. “You are no pious.” A sneering voice said. “If you are pious then I am magistrate.”

That statement spurred a round of laughter. The sounds associated with the bustle of the docks resumed.

The green legs standing beside me moved forward slightly. I would not raise my eyes and so I did not see exactly what happened. But a moment later, the cyan axe dropped to the floor, followed quickly by an uspec dropping to its knees. It was now on a level where I could see its face. It had two eyes, one in the center of its face, the other to the side. Both of those eyes were glazed over. “It is pious.” The uspec muttered. It repeated the words hauntingly. “It is pious. It is pious. It is pious.” It intoned like a mantra.

There was more silence, then, “forgive us pious one.”

The green legs in front of me cleared and my stool was moving again. The wooden barrier which I had seen from afar, lifted before we approached it. We proceeded undisturbed into the Hamlet.

As we made our way across the soft road, my eye took note of the passersby. A few people shared the soft road with us. Some uspecs walked towards us, hurriedly approaching the market docks we had just left, others walked by us going deeper into the Hamlet.

“There are no houses.” Gerangi’s voice was dry. “Where are all the people?”

“Kookas don’t live close to the docks domina. The only dwellings you’ll find around here belong to the touts who manage the docks.”

“Touts indeed. When did the chasm reach this far south?”

It paused a moment before continuing. “They’ve been asking those questions for months now domina. They say Kook has to be kept pure.”

“On whose orders?”

“Who knows? Some say it’s on the order of the most prominent Kook line. Some say it came down from the duke of the Second metropolis. It’s the chasm domina, it spreads.”

A scuff. “How far is it to this Mel’s place?”

“Oh, we can’t walk it domina, it’ll take an hour at least, just to get to the Kooka dwellings. Mel’s place is a half a day walk from there.”

“You can’t walk for a day?”

“I can domina, I just didn’t think it would be fitting for a pious one.”

Laughter. “What other option is there then?”

“If you have a piece of value to part with, we can use the portals.”

There was more silence, and then finally, “the portals it is.”

We continued the rest of the journey in silence. Perhaps if I had full control of my mind, or at least a bit of the curiosity I had become used to in the pits, I would have looked around to see the dwellings we no doubt passed. But I could not summon the desire to care, and so I remained as I was, paralyzed by the polluted sorrow which filled me. My wheel-stool was rolled further down the road. I could tell from the sounds which lowered in intensity, that we were moving further away from the docks.

I closed my eye, eager to escape the orange hue of the day and the green legs which sporadically appeared in my line of sight.

The sound of loud voices broke into my mind, stealing away the little peace I had found in the darkness. I heard them all around me, they surrounded me, digging into me. My polluted fear spiked. I felt the sticky wetness of sweat trailing down my back, between my ailerons. My heart pounded within the confines of its cage and my traitorous mind chose that moment to remind me of the shackles Fajahromo had used to bind me and all the things it would do to me when it found me. I could hear its voice amongst the cacophony of sound pouring into my ear. I heard its laughter and I could feel myself shake.

It took several moments for me to realize that I was shaking, actually shaking. I heard the chatter of my teeth hammering against each other and felt the brush of my thighs against the stool. Fajahromo’s laughter grew louder, and louder. It wanted me to open my eye, it wanted me to see how it would kill me, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t open my eye, I couldn’t face my fears. Instead I cowered, praying for it to end quickly.

I felt hands on my shoulder. Those hands shook me, they shook me even harder than I shook myself from the fear. They shook me so hard that my ailerons collided forcefully against the handles of the wheel-stool. But I would not open my eye, I could not face Fajahromo. I knew it would kill me, I knew that I was nothing compared to it.

“Open your eye my friend.” A familiar voice stole into my mind. The voice was steady. It firmly forced its way through my worst fears, ensuring that I would hear it. “It is just me my friend. We are far from the pits, Fajahromo is not here. Open your eye.”

“Lie!” I wanted to scream it, but I could not. I could not move my lips, I could not make my teeth stop their chattering. My body was no longer my own.

“It is no lie.” The voice in my head said. “I speak no lie.”

I sensed something in that voice, a calm assurance which somehow had the power to chase the worst of the fear away. The sound of teeth chattering faded and I opened my eye.

My head was tilted upwards, forcing my gaze to lock with Gerangi’s face. It had a frown on its face, but then the severe frown lines gentled and it said, “No monsters here, my friend. Just me.” It spoke cajolingly, as if to a child.

Seconds passed when my head remained tilted up, until finally Gerangi released me and my head moved of its own accord to rest as it had since we left the pits.

“Is it sane?” a cautious voice asked. “Kook is no place for a crazy uspec.”

There were curtains in front of me. The curtains were a light shade of blue.

“It is no concern of yours.” Gerangi’s voice held a note of chastisement.

Gerangi’s words were followed by the distinct sound of a person grumbling and then the blue curtains were pulled open. My wheel-stool moved forward into an empty room floored with hardened quicksand. I was rolled to the center of the room. Moments passed before the ground underneath my stool softened and I was sucked into a portal.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 1:40pm On May 25
Our destination was a room just like the one we had left. My wheel stool lurched forward as I was moved towards another set of light blue curtains. A streaked hand reached over me to push the curtain aside as my wheel-stool was rolled out of the portal room.

The pulled back curtains revealed sludge ground. The sight of the sludge sent a shiver up my spine. It reminded me of the room Fajahromo had kept me in, and the shackles it had used to bind me. I dared not close my eye. My wheel-stool was steered towards the right and then pushed forward.

“Oh, forgive me domina, I should have mentioned that the ground here is sludge. But Mel’s servers will take care of you. They have scented liquid for cleaning domina, I’ve heard it’s the best in Kook.”

“The best?” Gerangi’s voice held more than a bit of doubt.

“Yes domina. Only the best in Mel’s.”

There was no response to the imp’s words as I was moved forward. I rocked in my stool as beneath me, the sludge ground gave way to a wooden plankway. A few steps in front of us, there was a thick, rich curtain, and two imps seated on stools in front of it.

“Amara!” The imp behind me yelled as we approached the ones seating in front of us. Those imps startled. They cut off their conversation and turned to face us. The imps wore lose tunics. After jumping to their feet, one of them rushed towards us with a bowl and the other pulled the curtains open.

The one with the bowl knelt beside me. I could hear the imp wringing a piece of cloth from the bowl.

“Greetings domina.” The imp standing by the curtains said. “Will it just be two sharing this fine meal?”

The imp kneeling beside me stood up and walked back to its stool in front of the curtains.

“Yes.” Gerangi’s voice was surprisingly curt.

“Very well domina.” The imp bowed. It turned to walk inside, but Gerangi’s voice stopped it.

“And I desire a word with the owner, the imp Mel.”

The imp frowned. “Mel does not…”

“If I were you, I would tell her that a pious one demands her presence and then wait for her response. I would not so callously put words into another’s mouth.”

The imp’s lips parted as if it prepared to speak. The imp sitting on the stool cleared its throat. That sound drew the other’s attention. The imp on the stool tipped its head to the side and the imp standing nodded.

“Of course, domina, it will be done as you wish. Please follow me.”

My stool rolled forward and I was led into a room with empty circular tables. Instantly, I was reminded of the warden’s meal room and the novice who had fetched me from it. That thought led me back to Fajahromo and how easily it had defeated me. I shivered a little, but I did not close my eye, I did not give the fear leave to take root in me.

The imp led the way to a table at the far end of the room. As we moved, my nostrils filled with the smell of pastries. But not even the pleasing aroma could enliven my stomach enough to demand food. During our journey on the canoe, Gerangi had occasionally tried to push food into my mouth. Without the will to chew or spit, the morsels had remained in my mouth until they dissolved and either trickled down my throat or escaped the corners of my mouth as saliva.

The imp stopped at a table. It pulled aside one short bench and my stool was rolled to take the place of that bench. Gerangi sat opposite me.

“If you’d excuse me domina, I will tell Mel that you wish to see her.” The imp that ushered us in said. Gerangi nodded, and the imp left.

After the imp disappeared from my line of sight, Gerangi asked, “who is this Mel that she will not see a guest?” there was the slight undercurrent of anger in Gerangi’s voice.

“The imps speak for her domina. She would not speak as such.” Promise reassured.

“Then who are these imps?”

“Freed imps who despise slavery and the uspec race who enslaved them.”

Gerangi’s voice held a note of censure. “Behavior like that could get this place closed down and all the imps returned to slavery. If the wrong uspec were to witness it, that is.”

“Uspecs rarely come here domina, and the ones who do despise slavery as much as the imps.”

Gerangi’s lips pursed. The frown lines did not leave its face, but it nodded at Promise before looking away. Its eye met mine. An avalanche of emotions marred Gerangi’s face in the moment that our eyes met. There were too many emotions for me to read, too many for me to care about. So, I simply stared back, lifeless behind the eye that observed so much. Gerangi shook its head and then looked away.

The silence that followed was interrupted by the sound of wood scraping against wood. Next, I heard feet shuffling against the floor and a voice from further behind me say, “go back outside Amara.”

Gerangi’s head snapped to the side, and its eye seemed to focus on something out of my line sight. It wasn’t long till the sound of feet shuffling against the hardwood ground grew closer. The streaked skin of the imp Promise, moved further away, taking the imp out of my line of sight. A bench was moved in to fill the spot where Promise had stood, and another imp sat on that bench. I could not make out the distinct features on the imp’s face as it sat where only my peripheral vision could pick up traces of it. But I could see enough to know that it was clothed, and that its skin was streak-less.

“Greetings domina.” The imp’s voice chimed as its head turned to face Gerangi.

Gerangi nodded. “You are Mel?”

“Yes domina. How may I be of service to you?”

Gerangi’s gaze flitted over the room behind me before moving back to rest on the imp Mel. Its voice lowered as it asked, “how long have you been in Kook?”

“For centuries domina. I am the oldest living thing here.” The imp chuckled as if its words had been a joke.

Gerangi’s responding laughter was dry. “Perhaps you can help me then, I am looking for a place. Promise says that it is no longer in Kook, but I know that once, it was.”

“What place is it you speak of domina?” Mel asked, its voice soft.

“The Isle of Brio.” Gerangi replied.

A moment of silence greeted Gerangi’s words.

Out of the side of my eye I could make out the jerks of Mel’s shaking head. “I have never heard of such a place. Perhaps your information is wrong domina.”

Gerangi shook its head. “It was here. A century ago, it was here.”

“Hmmm. If you don’t mind my asking domina, my server tells me that you are a pious one. Is this true?”

Gerangi’s face suddenly grew wary. “Yes.”

“Well then, maybe there is another way you can find this place you are certain once existed in Kook. You see, I am old, and I have been around for a very long time. It is possible that perhaps once, a long time ago, such a place existed here. But if it did, I have no recollection of it. However, since you are pious, you must have pansophy, yes domina?”

Gerangi’s confirming nod was hesitant.

“Well then, if you have pansophy, you can filter through my memories and find what you seek.” The imp paused. “For a price of course.”

Gerangi scuffed. “Of course. And how much would it cost?”

“Oh, nothing a pious one couldn’t afford. Just one piece of worth.”

Somewhere, buried deep down in my rotting mind, I felt a burst of shock. A piece of worth? It was more money than I had ever laid eyes on, much more money than I had known any trader imp to own. A piece of worth could buy a very good plot of land, it could buy an imp with magic. It could buy…the outrage receded, as the energy for such thoughts ebbed, stolen away by the polluted sorrow which told me that I was too sad to care about such things as money, and the polluted fear which told me that no amount of money would save me from Fajahromo’s wrath. I shivered at the thought of the name, and almost pulled my eyelid down, desperate for an escape from the tiresome world of people and talk.

Gerangi’s voice stopped me. Its voice was so cold and so dangerously low that it forced me to keep my eye open. Better to see that the voice belonged to Gerangi than to close my eye and convince myself that it was Fajahromo’s. “A piece of worth?”

“There is much in my head domina, too much to get too little from giving another permission to tinker with it.”

Gerangi’s jaw clenched. “Fifty pieces of merit.” It spat out.

“No domina, I’m afraid I will not barter over this. A piece of worth is the fee. You may either take it, or leave.”

Gerangi jumped to its feet with so much force that the bench it had been sitting on was pushed backwards, landing hard on the wooden floor. It stretched out its hand, but Mel was already on its feet too. “I have been around for too long domina, too long to be caught unawares by an uspec with pansophy.” Was that derision in its voice?

Gerangi’s arm fell back to its side. “And if I find nothing in your memories relating back to what I search for?”

“Then I will return half the value of the price you paid.”

“Fine.” Gerangi spat the words out. “But you may come to regret this bargain imp Mel. Truly you may.”

“That is a risk I can live with.”

Gerangi reached into the sachet bag it had brought with him from the pits and pulled out a white piece. It dropped it onto the table and I barely had a moment to see the golden embellishments on the white piece before it was scooped up by the imp Mel.

“We can go to my office.” It offered. “Perhaps we can have food brought for your friend?”

“No.” Gerangi replied curtly.

“If it’s the paralysis you worry about, then don’t. We have ways of getting food into the bodies of ones who cannot actively take it. Your friend looks like it needs the nourishment domina.”

“I said no.”

“As you wish. Please follow me.” The imp led the way, and they both disappeared, moving out of my line of sight.

The imp Promise moved back into view. It righted the bench Gerangi had been seated on and walked back to stand by the side of the table where Mel had sat.

I waited for Gerangi’s return in a state of thoughtlessness. A part of me was compelled to recall the words that Gerangi had shared with Mel and the actions which had accompanied them. But that part of me was faint. It was just a small voice in a mind already clouded with fear and sorrow. Even if I had the desire to listen to the voice, I had no energy to perform the actions it wanted. And so, I waited, staring at nothing but the wall which Gerangi’s body had covered.

I could not say how much time passed before Gerangi returned with imp Mel. I marked their return with the same level of interest as their departure. This time, I heard Gerangi’s voice coming from behind me, as Mel stood in front of me, behind the bench Gerangi had sat on.

“Will you not stay for the night at least. Our accommodations are very restful.”

“No.”

“Then for a meal. Your friend may not be tempted by our meals, but surely you are. We make the best meatpies in all of Kute, right here, at Mel’s place. It is like nothing you’ve ever tasted.”

“Save your words Mel, I have no hunger for food. But I should thank you, however reluctantly, for the information you shared. Now I crave nothing more than the joy of reaching my destination. I fear I will not stop for food or rest until my journey is complete. Still, I thank you for your generosity.” The last word sounded strained.

A puzzled expression appeared on Mel’s face. “As you please.” She said finally.

“For you Promise.” Gerangi said. The imp stretched out its hand and I saw a white piece fill that palm before the hand was covered quickly.

“Thank you domina.” Promise sounded surprised. “You are too kind to me.”

My wheel-stool rolled backwards and then I was maneuvered to the side, and then back around, facing the curtains we had come in through.

“I can help you domina, I can push the wheel-stool to wherever you need to go.” Promise’s words were filled with hope.

“No.” Gerangi replied. “This part of the journey we must face alone.”

Then my wheel-stool was moved forward to the curtains. The curtains were drawn open from the outside and Gerangi pushed me through. The orange hue of the day had gone, leaving the lighting of the red clouds to take its place. We moved back through the wooden plankway to the sludge ground.

When we were back on the sludge, Gerangi exhaled. “Finally, it whispered behind me, finally, we go to the Isle of Brio and the riches it hides. Finally, my oath to the plenum will be complete. Power, Nebud, power awaits me. Fajahromo will pay for the crimes it committed. It will pay dearly.”

I felt the brush of cool fingers against the back of my head. “But even you must not know the way to where we go. Only I can.” Gerangi said. “Only I must. Sleep now.” It commanded.

If I had any strength left, I would have screamed NO. Gerangi did not know the demons that awaited me when my eye closed. It did not know the monsters in my dreams. I could not sleep. I could not, but Gerangi’s command echoed through my mind, stealing away whatever mangled bit of consciousness I had left.

Darkness descended on me, and with it, the overwhelming fear of the death I knew was soon to come.

2 Likes

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cassbeat(m): 2:07pm On May 25
Hmmmm!!!! Thats all I can say for now
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 3:08pm On May 25
Brilliant! Where is gerangi taking our friend to? I hope it's where Nebud can get treatment, this is getting more interesting! Wow!

Welcome back and thanks for the update Obehid.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Tuhndhay(m): 8:26pm On May 26
What's Gerangi up to "" Finally, my oath to the plenum will be complete. Power, Nebud, power awaits me. Fajahromo will pay for the crimes it committed. It will pay dearly.”........ What power is it talking about??
This is where it gets more interesting


I felt the brush of cool fingers against the back of my head. “But even you must not know the way to where we go. Only I can.” Gerangi said. “Only I must. Sleep now.” It commanded.

Why prevent Nebud from knowing the way?. Is it for Nebud's safety or is it a act of dishonesty refusing to disclose the location to Nebud

And I think it is from here that Nebud wrote the letter it wrote and trained to protect the twins and "Osaz"... Let me hold it in here a little and wait for next update.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 7:27pm On May 27
@cassbeat hmmmm...I understand the feeling, lol

@Fazemood Thank you! That's a good question, where is Gerangi taking Nebud... grin

@Tuhndhay That's the question what power is Gerangi talking about....
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Ultimategeneral: 9:36am On May 28
Tuhndhay:
What's Gerangi up to "" Finally, my oath to the plenum will be complete. Power, Nebud, power awaits me. Fajahromo will pay for the crimes it committed. It will pay dearly.”........ What power is it talking about??
This is where it gets more interesting


I felt the brush of cool fingers against the back of my head. “But even you must not know the way to where we go. Only I can.” Gerangi said. “Only I must. Sleep now.” It commanded.

Why prevent Nebud from knowing the way?. Is it for Nebud's safety or is it a act of dishonesty refusing to disclose the location to Nebud

And I think it is from here that Nebud wrote the letter it wrote and trained to protect the twins and "Osaz"... Let me hold it in here a little and wait for next update.
bro, I think you are mistaken.he (Nebud) never trained to protect the twins and osazele. rather he sent the imp to bring osazele's head. and if you could remember from the volume one he was running for his life. now the question who is chasinghim?

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Ultimategeneral: 9:41am On May 28
only obehid has the answers to my questions on her head. so many things don't add up but I do leave it for another day in between @Obehid you are too much. sorry I hardly comment to compliment your work but I do follow up.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by spixytinxy(f): 10:20am On May 28
For how long will nehbud be in this state? Me I don't trust gerangi
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Peaceyw(m): 9:53pm On May 28
finally, after been away for too long, I finally caught up. I've missed a lot but I will start following again. Now I am more interested than ever before. And I want to know what kind of power those plenum have
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 5:29am On May 29
@Ultimategeneral that's okay, glad you're enjoying it

@spixytinxy lol...well, let's see how it goes grin

@Peaceyw I was wondering where you were. Welcome back, hope you enjoy catching up
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 5:29am On May 29
Part 3
--------

“You have to die.” Fajahromo said. “It cannot be helped. You were born for this, to die right here, to die for the new world that we will usher in. The plenum will be so pleased.” Fajahromo sounded satisfied. Its voice was laden with a completion that I had never heard from it before. It sounded as if, in killing me, it had satisfied every goal it had ever set for itself.

I shivered at that thought.

“Open your eye Nebud. I do not know if you must be awake for this, but I would rather you faced your death as the brave fighter you are.”

I shook my head, at least I tried to, but my head would not move, it no longer belonged to me. I felt the firm hold of fingers on my eyelids. The fingers tried to pull them apart, to force my eye open. For a moment they succeeded, my eye opened and I could make out an eerie green light. But then the fingers left and my eyelids fell back into place, shielding me from Fajahromo and the death it promised.

“It is not Fajahromo.” Fajahromo sounded disgusted. “How many times do I have to tell you that we have left the pits? It is me, it is Gerangi, now open your eye!”

“Liar.” I thought. Gerangi was my friend. Why would Gerangi speak of death and the plenum? What did Gerangi care about the plenum? No, it was Fajahromo, it had to be.

“It is me my friend. Listen to my voice.”

No. I did not believe it. I could almost see the gloating expression on Fajahromo’s face as it bent closer towards me with its cyan blade. I knew what it would do with that blade, I knew all the ways that it would cut me, all the pain that it would cause. All before it killed me. I saw myself bleeding to death just as my offspring had. My offspring? Had I really had an offspring? Could so much pain truly exist? But there was something refreshing in the pain I felt. It was in the torrent of heart wrenching grief-induced pain that descended over me, that I finally found myself. The pain pushed the fear aside for long enough that I could truly examine the voice that spoke to me.

It was Gerangi.

“Open your eye my friend.”

The fear raced back, shoving the pain aside, as if it were an insignificant nuisance. Just before it could get a hold of me, I forced my open.

A transparent green fog swirled around me. Within it, Gerangi crouched, lowering its head so that it was on a level with mine. Its face held a smile that was somehow as relaxing as it was threatening. Behind Gerangi, was a sight that if I had the energy to care, would have made my eye widen and stolen my breath away. It was an opaque cyan fog, but it was composed in a way which made it resemble a drawn curtain with embroidered pleats.

“Ah, my friend, finally you’ve opened your eye. It is much better this way.” It promised. Something in its tone sent a shiver up my spine. Gerangi bent before me, but I saw the shadow of Fajahromo’s face in its own.

“You know, when you exerted all the anger and pain you had, in freeing that imp Xavier, I was enraged. I began to wonder how I would accomplish this; how could I possibly bring you here as an invalid? And the fact that you did this to yourself…pitiful. But then I bought the wheel-stool and I realized with each meal you rejected, that you were actually doing me a favor. The old Nebud would not have come to its death so placidly. No, the fighter would have demanded to know where we were going. You would have fought me my friend, you would have fought with every iota of will you possess. Bless the founder’s grace, you were delivered to me in exactly the form I needed. Our trials sometimes turn into triumphs, don’t they my friend?” Gerangi concluded its little speech with a reserved laughter. I could feel its glee, I could feel the smug satisfaction permeating out of its skin. It looked like an uspec satisfied with a job well done.

And what did I feel.

Joy of my own.

It did not show. I did not smile as Gerangi did, neither did my eye fill up with the awestruck look of jubilation. All I could do was finally, internally, give up whatever fight I had done with the polluted emotions. I felt the sorrow sink even deeper into me, the fear rushing after it. I did not think that I could feel any worse than I had since we left the pits, but I realized then that I had not truly been feeling. There must have been some anger and pain left in me, some fire of emotions I kept burning to keep the sorrow and fear from completely devouring me. But now the fire was out and I felt the true terror of the polluted emotions which my offspring had gifted me.

I shook. I shook so violently Gerangi jumped backwards. It frowned down at me, but I did not care. I was beyond caring, beyond observing, beyond living.

“I tried my pansophy on the fog.” Gerangi’s voice sounded slightly alarmed. “It did not work. But you have the answer, don’t you? Is that why you shake as you do? Does the fog speak to you? So much power wasted on a de trop irira from the slums.”

Gerangi’s voice faded as the sorrow sucked me in. The sorrow forced me to close my eye to escape the harsh reality of the world. Each time I succumbed to the tiresome prodding of my sorrow, the fear forced me to re-evaluate. My eye opened and closed sporadically, as my body spasmed on the wooden stool. I could feel the stool shaking underneath me. A few more shivers and I would fall.

The stool was tipped forward, and I was sent flying into the opaque cyan fog. The only thought in my mind as my body entered into the fog, was the blissful joy of escape that I would feel. I would be free. Finally, I would be free.

Then I landed on my side on a sludge ground.

The tremors grew even more violent. Sometime, between the vigorous blinking of my eye, I watched Gerangi walk into the cyan fog which had turned translucent. As soon as it walked in, it began to shake. It convulsed with a ferocity that overshadowed mine. Trapped in my shaking body, I watched blood trail down Gerangi’s nose. Its mouth was parted, as if stuck in the process of speech. Crack lines grew in Gerangi’s center eye, and before my twitching eyelids, I watched its eye pop out of its socket. Gerangi’s neck snapped, and it dropped to the green ground with a thud.

I knew that it was dead.

The jealousy that filled me was almost enough to steal strength from the polluted emotions in flux within me. I was the one that death had been promised to, yet I lived. I had accepted the polluted sorrow to die, I had given up the fight to gain my final release. But even that Gerangi had stolen from me.

With my blinking eye, I caught glimpses of Gerangi’s body swelling. It filled as if pumped full of gas, and like a tight skin filled with too much liquid, it burst. Instead of liquid, green dust rose in the air. It filled everything, rising from the green sludge in the ground to float all around me.

The dust particles floated towards me. They filled me, travelling up my nostrils and into my system. As soon as the dust entered me, it was as if I had been given a strong dose of energy. My body stopped its incessant shaking, my eyelids stopped their fluttering and I simply lay on the sludge ground, exhausted.

Somehow, I found the energy to pull myself up. I placed my hands flat on the ground and pulled myself up to a sitting position. My ailerons met with a hard, coarse, surface. Before I could turn around to explore the thing I leaned on, I saw an image in the dust.

The green dust particles swirled in the air, and I saw the green sludge ground underneath undulate. For a moment, I was tempted to stop to consider this, the fact that the sludge was green, a thing I had never before seen, but then I saw a form in the swirling dust. It was as if the green sludge was pushing out a body, but the body had no sturdiness, it was just a shape that I could barely make out. It was as if it was the front half of a thing that lived. I could not tell though, if it was an imp, an uspec, or a type of uspec-like animal which I had never before seen.

The form moved with the dust closer towards me. I wondered then if I should fear this thing which had no bones, no structure to hold it up. Was it a ghost? Should such be feared then. It wasn’t till that moment when I questioned the fear, that I realized that the polluted emotions which had filled me were gone.

I gasped.

Slowly I rose my hands in the air, and to my surprise, my hands followed the movements. Streaks of green sludge were stuck to the palms which I lifted, and I moved those hands closer to my face. Then I bent my legs, and like my hands, they obeyed my command.

My paralysis was gone. There was no sorrow, no fear. In fact, the memory of such an overwhelming fear felt so distant, and so uncharacteristic that I began to believe that it had all been a dream. It must have been. Why else would I feel fear to the degree to which I believed I had. I was Nebud, what would I fear as such? But then I remembered the grief of my offspring dying, but even that was just a small pang, an unpleasant taste in my mouth. I disowned that uspec in that moment and swore never to think of it again. An uspec that tried to kill me, I spat onto the sludge ground, it was no offspring of mine.

The fog of dust drew even closer and with it, the form hidden within. I placed my hand on the cloth which covered my neck and ripped it off. Then I peeled off one of the smaller scales on the side of my neck and held it firmly in my hand. Whatever this form was, I would fight it.

I tried to push myself to my feet, and suddenly found that I was drowsy. I remembered then that I had not eaten. My stomach felt empty, my body drained. I fell back to a sitting position on the sludge ground.

Finally, the form reached me.

A wraith hand moved towards me.

I lifted my hand in return, raising the sharp scale which I had peeled from my neck. I swiped through the air, slashing at the hand which reached for me. But my scale simply moved through unobstructed.

I pulled my hand back, but before I could try for another attack, the wraith hand was on me. I saw the green ghost hand move to cup my cheek but felt nothing. The green dust moved even closer towards me. It swirled around me then as the form moved. It was now in front of me, so close that if it was a person, I would feel its nose brushing against mine. The head bent to the side, one side and then the other, as if observing me. Then another hand appeared and that one cupped the other side of my face.

The green dust was suddenly suffocating.

I pulled back, trying to get away from this ghost and the dust that choked me. But I was imprisoned by the solid object behind me. I tried to turn then to see what the object was and if I could move it away, but I could not move my head. It was as if the ghost hands which I could not feel, held my head fast.

The feeling of suffocation grew. I could no longer breathe. It was as if the dust had formed a blockage in my nose, preventing any air from coming in. My eyes teared as I struggled with what little strength I had left to breathe. All through my agonizing battle for life, the head of the ghost continued its tilting from side to side as though it still could not find the best angle from which to observe me.

I grew lightheaded. I could already feel myself begin to lose consciousness.

I opened my mouth in an attempt to breathe in what little air I could. Instead of the air I craved, the ghost filled my mouth. It happened so quickly, and it was so unexpected that I could do nothing but shake as the green form flowed into me. With the form, came all the dust which had filled the room.

Suddenly, the room was empty. There was just the opaque cyan fog barring entrance and the empty sludge ground.

Gerangi’s body was gone.

I felt another spike of energy.

Then my arms rose of their own accord. I watched, an observer in my skin, as my hands rose again, and settled on the sludge ground beside me. Those hands began to dig. I could not tell what they dug for, and I felt a sudden desire not to find whatever it was. I was possessed, I realized, possessed by whatever had lived in the green dust fog. Was it Gerangi? Had Gerangi’s ghost come back to complete the mission it had brought us here for?

I did not know, and in that moment I did not care. I wanted nothing more than my body back, and so I fought. With every fiber of strength I still possessed, I pushed back against whatever it was that now possessed me. In my mind, I had pushed as if with my hands, and made as much progress as an uspec pushing against a mountain. It would not budge.

But I kept pushing, and in an instant, the mountain moved, and then it slid, and I was back in control of my body. My hands were raised from the sludge ground and pushed against the air in front of me.

Before I could luxuriate in my victory, I felt the force regain control of my body. This time my head jerked backwards. The back of my head slammed against the hard, unforgiving, wall behind me, and that blow knocked me into oblivion.

3 Likes

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cassbeat(m): 11:12am On May 29
Jeez obehid u will not kill sombori. .. Nice update
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 12:00pm On May 29
Glad Nebud has found himself again. Nice update Obehid
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by tunjilomo(m): 11:48am On May 30
This update small o. Where is Obehid to give us more.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by spixytinxy(f): 1:58pm On May 30
Hmmmm! Am short of words
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Peaceyw(m): 11:10pm On May 30
Nebud is just going from one problem to another. No time to rest at all.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 2:49am On May 31
@cassbeat hahaha no, I will not lol. Thank you!

@Fazemood Yes oh! It was actually surprisingly hard to write Nebud as not-Nebud. There was so much that it should have been seeing as it traveled through the Hamlet, and like every time I started describing some hovel or something different about the Hamlet, I realized that Nebud could not actually see it, or that it just didn't care, and so I had to consider everything I wrote... so, I am very happy to have Nebud back!

@tunjilomo sometimes it's small, sometimes it's big, the next one will be longer grin

@spixytinxy Hahaha, thank you!

@Peaceyw as in...and in fact, it hasn't even started yet. I almost feel bad for Nebud but...let me not spoil it for you wink

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:48am On Jun 01
Part 4
--------

When I regained consciousness, I was sitting in a warm liquid with my back resting against what seemed to be the coarse surface of a tree bark. My center eye opened slowly. I shut my eye, wary of the bright streams of orange light which broke in. I took a deep breath, steeled myself for the influx of light, and then pulled my eye open.

I was in a swamp. Tall trees surrounded me. My legs were completely covered by the murky pink liquid in the okun, but I could tell from the solidness of the ground on which I sat, that the okun was shallow. It was not as shallow as the okun in the arena in the pits, but it was shallow enough that I could easily walk in it.

I rose to my feet then. As soon as I stood, I felt a throbbing pain in my head. My vision blurred, as the ground underneath me swayed. I shook my head. No, I knew that couldn’t be. I was the one swaying. I tried to force myself to stand still, but that seemed to take up too much mental effort. The more effort I exerted, the more painful the throbbing in my head became. I tried to move, and instead slid. My right foot slid on the ground underneath the okun, and my left followed it.

I landed inside the okun. The liquid in the okun was deep enough that when I landed on my back in it, my body was completely covered by the murky pink liquid. The fall was so unexpected that I found myself heaving, struggling to breathe in the liquid, and by my actions imbibing mouthfuls of the pink liquid. I pressed my lips together and dug my fingers into the malleable ground. I pushed, with all the strength I could muster, and was able to get my head above the liquid.

I inhaled, panting in my attempt to fill my lungs with as much air as I could gather. It wasn’t till the throbbing in my head subsided that I was able to open my eye again and reacquaint myself with my surroundings. That was when I felt the smooth brush of weeds in my right hand. I pulled, digging the weed out, and rose my right hand out of the body of liquid. Then, I pulled my fingers up, opening my palm up to inspect the weed.

A sigh of relief escaped my lips at the sight of the black fruit hidden within the intertwined leaves of the weed. I could just barely remember Xavier feeding me a black fruit just like this one, and the boost of energy I had felt after eating it. I threw it into my mouth, weed and fruit together, and chewed as if my life depended on it. Partially crawling with my hands and the sides of my feet, I pushed my way back to the tree I had been leaning on. I rested my back against that tree and swallowed the remnants of the chewed morsel. Then, I waited for the fruit to take effect.

I was not disappointed.

The jolt of energy was almost instantaneous. In that moment, I felt as though I could rip out the bulky tree behind me, with nothing but my own two hands. Even my ears felt more sensitive. I heard the flapping of the okun-creatures swimming in the liquid. This time, when I rose to my feet, there was no weariness, no swaying of the ground underneath me, and no blurring of my vision.

Whistling sounds filled the air, distracting from the small natural chimes I had heard, like the sounds of the creatures swimming in the okun. Mindlessly, I walked towards the source of the whistling sound. I did not know exactly what I wanted, or why I was suddenly so desperate to find it. All I knew was a compulsion which forced me to search out the whistler.

My search was short.

Behind a giant tree, only a few paces ahead of the tree that I had leaned on, there was a Unclad imp kneeling in the okun. The imp knelt with its back facing me. It was bent over, its shoulders moving as its arms extended out in front of it. It had its hands underneath the surface of the liquid. The closer I got to the kneeling imp, the more aware I became of the action it performed. Buried by the sharp tune of the song it whistled, was the sound of a garment being hand-washed.

I took another step closer to this imp and became aware of a fact that should have been glaringly obvious the moment I laid my eye on it. The imp’s skin was streak-less. The absence of the black lines on the imp’s skin meant that it had no siphoned magic.

It also meant that the imp had its eyes.

Suddenly, a force drove me forward. In a way, I was cognizant of the actions I took and understood, to a degree at least, why I did them. But in that moment, as I made a mad dive towards the kneeling imp, it was as if my body belonged to a foreign thing, an insane entity that was capable of anything and would do with me whatever it pleased. Even though the desire that filled me was foreign, I knew that I was the insane entity. If indeed, there was something that took hold of me and forced me to act as I did, that thing was me, it had become so thoroughly intertwined with my consciousness that I could not say with certainty that there was anything in me, that wasn’t me. The thoughts and feelings perplexed me, was there a foreign being in me, or was I the architect of my own actions?

Was my sudden urge to posses this imp’s eyes a drive propelled by a foreign entity within me, or was it a longing that I had always possessed?

I grabbed onto the imp’s shoulders and forced it around. The garments dropped from its startled hands as it turned to face me. Its skin was pale, it was white with skin that was almost porcelain. The imp screamed out in shock when it saw me, and then it latched onto my hands on its shoulders trying desperately to break free.

I was as unaffected by the imp’s futile efforts to fight me, as I was by the trees above and the light fog around.

The imp’s legs kicked against mine as my hand encircled its throat. I pulled the imp up and out of the okun with my hold on its throat, then I slammed it against a nearby tree.

That knocked the fight right out of it.

Tears trailed down the imp’s face as its lips moved, forming words which I could not understand.

I tore out a cyan scale from my neck and stuck the scale into the crying imp’s eye-sockets. Blood filled the imp’s face as the eyeballs dangled from their sockets. I flung the cyan scale into the okun and reached with a single hand for both eyes. It took very little effort to rip the veins which connected them to the sockets, and cut them free of the imp.

Once I had both eyes in my hand, I let the imp go. It dropped to its knees in the liquid, and then fell below the surface. I turned my back on the imp without a second thought.

Perhaps I should have stopped to contemplate the lessons I had learnt of imp eyes and the folly in simply taking them from an imp whose origins were unknown. I should have thought back on the day in the pits when an uspec had put incompatible imp eyes into its eye-sockets and had lost its life as a reward.

But I didn’t stop to contemplate any of this. I knew, just as surely as I’d known that I’d had to take the imp’s eyes, that these eyes were meant for me. The degree of my certainty made no sense, perhaps that was why I chose not to ponder on it. Instead, I placed the imp eyes into empty sockets in my face. The first I put in my previously filled socket, and the second’s socket I chose arbitrarily.

As soon as the eyes entered my sockets, I saw a blinding white light fill my center eye. Pain exploded in my head. I only had the moment before I lost consciousness to wonder at what had caused my sudden thirst for imp eyes. Seconds later, my body fell into the liquid in the okun and my mind went blank.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:49am On Jun 01
Our horses rested on the flat top of a hill. From our position, we had a good view of the battle taking place below. Two different tribes of the indigenous kingdom fought over a plot of land. One group of warriors tied white wrappers around their waists and had their chests open. These warriors were all men. The other group had a yellow wrapper tied around their waists. I could see from the exposed breasts that there were a good number of female fighters amongst them. A thought crossed my mind then, on the sight of the breasts and the different sexes, but I shook it off. I had no time for such.

The land on which they fought had been previously chosen. It was empty land with clay soil and devoid of any civilians. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a small form, hiding behind a big stone. It looked like a child. I turned, seeking out the rock and the child I had seen.

Marcus stopped my search. “Mistress.” The slave called out in a hushed tone.

I turned to my side, the child I almost saw, momentarily forgotten. “What is it?” I asked.

Marcus pointed at the ground underneath us. That area was separated from the fighting grounds, by a hill, much wider than the one we were on. I turned my horse and led it a few steps so that we were closer to Marcus and his horse. Then I looked down.

I sighed.

Just a day ago those grounds had belonged to us. They had been filled with quicksand and remained one of the existing portals through which uspecs could easily navigate to the standard existence. Now instead of the quicksand which had once filled the area, the grounds were covered with a black mist. I watched in pained anger as the last bit of brown became covered by black.

“Another victory for the fourth existence.” I said. I approved of my voice. It did not shake, it did not reveal any of the anger I felt. The slave was not mine, it belonged to an umani, I mentally shook myself, human, and it was loyal to the one who owned it. I could let nothing slip.

“Will there be a great war then?” the slave was not as good as I was in keeping my feelings hidden.

I turned to face him.

Perched atop the horse, he sat with his back straight and his bearing aristocratic. His skin was the dark shade of the indigenous people. I remembered his story, he had been the prince of one indigenous kingdom or another, before they had fallen to the Egyptians and now he served the pharaoh. It was a common enough story. He was dressed in the formal attire of a high ranked royal slave.

I turned back to stare into the black mist. “We won’t let it get to that.” I lied.

He exhaled, but the fear was evident in his voice as he spoke. “My master will be pleased to hear that. You must understand our fears mistress, we live in the middle ground. To reach the fourth existence an uspec must pass through ours, and that goes for all the other existences. If a war is fought between the three existences, it will be fought in the standard, and humans will die.” He stopped speaking and then his voice filled with hope. “Perhaps my master can arrange a meeting for peace talks between you three? Surely, the great war can be avoided, I…”

“I just said that it will not come to that.” I snapped, cutting him off. “And I do not need your master to arrange anything for me. I am more than capable of making those arrangements myself if I choose to.”

“Of course, mistress.” He bowed atop his horse. “I did not mean to displease…”

I rose up my hand cutting him off. Again, I was drawn to that black mist. A part of me wished to jump off my horse and into the mist. I knew that I could stop it, in this one instance, at this point in time, I could stop it. But what then? They would only find another. I couldn’t help the nagging thought that the supreme existence was in on it, that they colluded with the fourth. This time, our portal was taken over by mist, the last time, it had been taken over by an endless crystal blue sea, a supreme existence portal.

I sighed. The one thing I just couldn’t understand was how they found the location of our portals.

“Musa! No! He’s just a boy!” The loud cry broke into my mind, stealing me from my thoughts.

I pulled sharply on the reins in my hand and led my horse around. The child that I had glimpsed hiding behind the large rock was now in the arms of the group of warrior men in the white wrapper. The child was held by one man in particular. That man had his arm wrapped around the boy’s body, holding him close, and the other hand held a sharp cutlass to the boy’s throat.

“Let us through or we’ll kill him.” The man in white replied.

I knew a lot about warriors, enough at least to know that they would not surrender to save one boy’s life. His fear reached out to me, and I was driven forward, spurred by nothing more than the desire to free the child. This was what disgusted me most about humans, how little regard they could have for ones so precious. The human child was the rarest gem that existed in all of the existences. Its emotions were pure, its motives honest. It was the one single creature on all existences that I would give my life for, over and over again.

“Let the child go. We will not let you pass regardless of what you do, so you might as well release him.” The voice that responded was firm.

No. I thought as I spurred my horse on.

“Mistress.” Marcus called out from behind me. “Stop mistress!”

But I did not. I could not, not when a child was in danger. I raced towards it, desperate to save it from its own kind.

I was halfway there when I felt the foulness of the child’s pain. That feeling was followed by a voice crying out in pain and the sound of the boy’s body falling onto the ground. They had cut his throat. I could see the blood pooling around his body. Still, I urged my horse on, moving faster and faster.

I was so driven, that I barely registered the cutlasses aimed at me as I rode into the thick of the battle. I pulled my sword free of its sheath and cut through the humans in my way. I tore through them in my race to get to the boy, but when I reached him, he was already dead.

Why did I pick him up? Why did I yank the anger away from the warriors, leaving them stunned and unable to continue their war? If I was so enraged, why didn’t I kill all the human warriors in that moment? It would have been easy. I could have at least polluted their emotions. They were not as strong as my kind, they would not survive the polluted emotions. It would have been just punishment for the crime of ending a life so innocent. But I did not. Why? Simply because they were not mine to punish.

The boy was dead, and the fight for his spirit had begun. If he went to the fourth, they would turn him into a wraith, a slave creature they made to bend to their wills. And if he went to the supreme, he would become part of the elements. But in both he would lose himself. He would lose the memories that made him him, and the purity that made him a child. Not in the spectral, in the spectral he would remain intact, and he would be mine. I swore it. I would protect him.

I let my horse fly into the black mist and as I found the remnants of quicksand, I forced the black mist back, and reclaimed this ground as a spectral portal. But it was pointless. I knew they would return after I left and that they would take the portal back for the fourth. Still, in that moment, I did the futile deed and won that small battle for the spectral. Marcus and his master were right, we were on the precipice of the great war, and it was the humans who would suffer the repercussions. There was nothing I could do about that, just then, all I could do was force the boy’s spirit to remain with me and guide him safely to the spectral existence.



I woke up shivering. My head throbbed as the liquid in the okun surrounded me. I could not remember where I had been. It felt as if I had just woken from a bad dream, and I had forgotten all the details of the dream. The only thing I remembered was an umani young. Had I seen it? And what was this Musa word which floated around in my head?

“Nebud!” I jumped, my body rising out of the liquid. My eyes remained closed as if there was something binding the eyelids shut. “Nebud!” the voice was loud, it was deep and light, it was a combination I had never heard before. It scared me. It scared me in a way that was real, not like the polluted fear had, but in a more visceral way. It was as if I was in the presence of death. “You belong to me Nebud.” I felt as if I could hear the voice, as if the words were spoken into my ears, but at the same time, it was as if the words came from within me.

“What do you want?” Did I voice the words or were they simply thought?

“An eye. Go to Katsoaru and take Marcinus’s eye. You are mine Nebud! You are mine.”

The voice left then, and my eyes opened.

So much had changed yet everything appeared to be the same. The swamp looked just as it had appeared before I felt the overwhelming urge to take the imp’s eyes. I realized then that I could see more. So much more. It was as if my field of view had suddenly expanded. I could see things off to my side that would have been impossible to see before. I could see trees behind me, and I could see details off to my sides which I had previously missed.

Like the black bag leaning against the tree which I had awoken resting against. I became as aware of that bag as I had been of the imp. I knew with certainty that the bag belonged to me. That I had brought it with me from the mysterious place with the green sludge where Gerangi had taken me. But what was that place and how had I left? I didn’t know.

As I walked towards the bag, I felt an aura of energy surround me. I could not quite put my fingers on it, but I knew that it existed, and that I was somehow soaking it up. It was more than just the energy that one would get from eating a good meal, it was primal, a sort of energy which felt like it could cause more than just movement. The energy was almost magical.

I reached the black bag just as it dawned on me what the energy I felt was.

I dropped to my knees in the okun and stared down, into the murky liquid. The pink liquid wasn’t pure, but it was reflective enough for me to see the two extra eyes I had gained. The eyes were on either side of my face. Spectra. The word rose in me unbidden, gently spoken in Gerangi’s voice. Spectra. I had gained spectra. By taking the imp’s eyes I had unlocked the magic of the Kute eyes I was born with. It was a magic which allowed an uspec to drain another creature, and get the power needed for other forms of spectra from the okuns.

Spectra.

I could not believe it. I looked at my reflection in the murky pink liquid, and the three eyes staring back at me, almost took my breath away. Suddenly, I was filled with the desire to return to the pits and kill Fajahromo. I smiled, yes, it was time. It was time for me to get my vengeance. I had spectra, I could return…

‘Katsoaru.’

The voice in my head was unbending. And just as surely as I had known that I had to take the imp’s eyes, and that the black bag in front of me belonged to me, I knew that I had to go to Katsoaru. I did not know why, and I did not know who Marcinus was, but I knew that I had to meet this uspec and take its eye. I could no more disobey the voice as I could stop my heart from beating.

‘You belong to me.’

The thought sent a shiver up my spine. I picked up the black satchel bag from the stump of the tree which it been set on. Curiously, I opened the bag, and found several pieces of cloth in it, and countless sachet bags like the one Gerangi had taken with it from the pits.

I picked up the cloth first. It was a grey cloth made of very soft material. The cloth was circular, like a band…or a neckcloth to cover my scales. I lifted the cloth up and on it, I saw a sigil that I could not quite place. But it was a sigil, which meant that the cloth belonged to a banneret of the line of Kaisers. Bannerets were special guards entrusted with the safety of those of the line of Kaisers, it was a position of great honor, one that could only be filled by a noble.

My fingers trailed over the smooth material as I thought of the genius of the cloth. Not only was it a great way to hide my neck scales, and the fact that I was irira, it told the world that I was a noble, which meant that I would be treated to automatic respect wherever I went.

I didn’t even hesitate before placing the cloth on my neck.

Then I pulled out one of the sachet bags and drew it open. I gasped, so shocked that I almost turned the sachet bag over. It was filled with money, not just any money, but pieces of worth. From the weight and feel of it, there were at least fifty pieces in it. Fifty pieces of worth! That was more than enough money to establish myself as a noble. I looked in the bag and ran my eyes over the other sachets. The amount of wealth in this one black bag was unimaginable to a de trop. Had it all really come from that mysterious room with the green sludge? Was this the riches that Gerangi had alluded to? I had so many questions and they all seemed to revolve around that mysterious place and the things that had happened after I lost consciousness. How had I gotten here?

‘Katsoaru.’

I sighed, irritated at the insistent voice in my head. I placed the sachet back into the bag and let the top fall back in place. Then I turned around and began walking.

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cassbeat(m): 11:36am On Jun 01
Hmm Nebud on a mission to katsoaru... Lets see what awaits it there
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by HotB: 11:48am On Jun 01
This piece is simply out of this world. Damn! So good
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Peaceyw(m): 4:39pm On Jun 01
I am confused right now, that war in this chapter just turned my brain upside down. I wonder how it fits into the story.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 10:08am On Jun 02
This is amazing! Nebud has gained spectra, that means he can challenge Faja...bla bla bla... (That name I find hard to pronounce lol) and win. Thanks obehid for this wonderful update.

Pls kindly remind me what existence there are and what each existence represent.

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