Vesik meets someone. Abilities are tested with deadly efficiency. The guys level with each other. Fal ends up on the wrong side of torture. All ends well … Vesik changes.
Several months passed and the tribulations of becoming a Sentry were coming to a close. In just several hours the graduation ceremony would take place, and of course Vesik would be the best man to graduate from his class.
His abilities had manifested in magnificent ways and his sense of self-confidence had grown rapidly. He wasn’t without a sense of self-awareness though and could see his attitude as arrogant at times. However, that realization did nothing to stem his cocky attitude when he displayed it for he knew that he had ample reason to hold himself so high; he could do things that men only dreamed of. He wondered if the fabled wizards had possessed such power, although nothing solid actually proved their existence.
Vesik was forced to go through the same mock scenario he had utterly failed at before and of course Bors made sure to be the general coordinating that one. Bors called for the situation to commence and Vesik told the man playing villain to stop and drop to the floor.
This scenario was supposed to go one of two ways: either the man acting as the villain was supposed to lunge for the helpless civilian or rush the would-be Sentry. This time however, the man actually dropped the blade and fell on his face, trembling. An evil sort of anger flooded Bors but so did another emotion, awe and fear at not understanding what had just transpired. Vesik felt the man’s fear dripping off him. Subconsciously, he now read the rhythm of beating hearts and determined a person’s feelings. Bors’ threw off pulses of red light rapidly as it thrummed against his chest much faster than normal.
Similar events made Vesik a wonder, but also a pariah. He could tell that people were scared of him. He would have to fix that when he became a Sentry if he was to get a woman to carry his child.
The hours passed and Vesik walked through the procession of old generals of the Watch, crushing their hands with his grip. He came to Bors and the man almost whimpered as the bones in his hand came terribly close to crunching. Vesik accepted his diploma and rushed over to his family. Although he knew that he no longer needed his family, not even for their love, he still cherished them.
His father looked at his son with disbelieving eyes, whether because his son had become a Sentry or because he seemed so different now, not even Vesik could decipher. His mother cast away all doubt and hugged her son with nothing but love and pride.
The three had dinner together and Vesik departed to his new barracks that he would be sharing with three others. As he left, Vesik couldn’t help but notice the lines etched into his father’s face that now seemed even deeper than before. He felt a pang of sadness at leaving his family to be forced to work themselves until they were laid into a grave but he clung to the words his father once told him. He decided that he would return once he obtained the power he sought and use it to afford his parents carefree and luxurious last few years.
Almost every night Vesik prowled through taverns looking for a woman to bed and marry. He got plenty of the former but because of that same fact, he could not trust those women with his child. Vesik was torn in two by this. His new-found abilities made it a simple feat to charm a woman into a bed, but he needed more than that. He needed a woman that would want him and want his child.
After another day patrolling the streets of Cavia and apprehending multiple criminals himself, Vesik found his way to another tavern, one that he rarely found himself attracted to. This particular tavern was defined by its ill reputation. Its name was the Tankard Half Full. It was a haven for whores to do their business and addicts to openly inhale and inject illegal drugs.
Oddly enough, the barkeep made sure to keep himself looking much out of place in the shoddy environment, with his neatly trimmed and styled mustache and an ornate green vest buttoned over a finely woven cotton shirt with a neat collar. This man paid the right people to keep his establishment drawing in the scum of Cavia and profited a good deal from it.
Vesik glided over to the bar and ordered a drink, an exotic and definitely expensive one with flavored juices mixed in with the top-of-the-shelf alcohol. The drink was more about taste than effect but the young man wasn’t here to indulge in a night of carefree drunkenness.
The barkeep quickly responded with the price of the drink while he stared nonchalantly into a glass he was cleaning with a rag. His tone insisted that he was expecting Vesik to fully disagree with the price and instead ask for a different drink. Coins clattered onto the table and the barkeeper seemed paralyzed once his eyes met and counted them out.
His smile was tucked away behind his large mustache but noticeable nonetheless. The air of indifference drained from the man quickly and he proffered a genuine look of friendliness towards Vesik. The coins disappeared and the barkeep said through his smiling mouth, “Been thinking of axing the drink altogether. It’s been so long since last I’ve made one of them that the product was beginning to go bad.”
The man seemed to mentally berate himself as a frustrated look claimed his features. He covered with, “Of course, all the juices are new and completely fine. My knowledge of the drink hasn’t wavered either, friend. Erm, be just a moment.” This last piece he said as he rummaged through cupboards so swiftly that Vesik thought the man could open one with the items he sought and pass right over them.
Vesik nodded although he knew the man wouldn’t see him then turned back to survey the crowd. Pitiful, he thought. He now remembered why he didn’t stray to this tavern. It seemed as though half the denizens here were so doped up that they were either already sleeping, or on the borders of unconsciousness. He watched as several of these people were robbed, and without the slightest thought to stealth as they were furiously rubbed down and patted. The drug-induced stupor made sure that resistance would be pathetic or nonexistent.
Serving girls made rare appearances and seemed all too eager to get back to the shelter of the kitchen. The hired muscle seemed content to play their roles more as statues than anything else as they kept their eyes averted from most of the activity taking place. Music would have been pointless, and the barkeeper must have figured as much, due to the immense ruckus.
Vesik turned back to the bar, on the verge of taking his order back and walking out the door when the short man slammed a tall glass down and began pouring colorful liquids from several bottles. “Shaken or stirred, my good fellow?”
“Whichever you prefer.”
The barkeeper nodded at that then, after adding a scant amount of clear liquid to the drink, poured the concoction into a shaker then poured it back once he had jiggled it in his hand several times. He looked at the drink, then up at Vesik as if his drink was being judged by some expert. “Ah, what the hell.” He picked up the bottle of alcohol and poured a drip more into it, seeming immensely proud of what he must have thought was an act of great generosity.
Vesik thanked the man then took the clear-blue drink to, by some miracle, the only empty table in the place and sipped it before he sat down. The liquid tumbled down his throat beautifully, kissing those taste buds that registered sweetness with an affection akin to two long lost lovers. A slight burn let him know that the alcohol in the drink wasn’t completely masked.
His lips puckered at the sweetness of the drink then he looked over his shoulder at the barkeep who had been gauging his reaction and nodded, his lips curling into a smile of satisfaction. The barkeeper smiled back then moved on to some other task.
Vesik waited in his seat with an appraising eye for a few minutes before a serving wench approached him. Wench might have been the wrong term for this one, he thought. Crisp, blue eyes stared out beneath stray strands of hair that had wiggled loose of the bond holding the rest of her auburn hair up in a ponytail. Below those orbs extended a small and perfectly straight nose. Full lips dominated the area beneath that and Vesik saw within them, a huge, world-encompassing smile just waiting to be freed from the bonds of an oppressive environment.
Regardless of what he saw, pure indifference and even a hint of annoyance emanated from her. She was going to ask him one question, and depending on the outcome, either briskly turn and leave, or ask at most two, maybe three more.
“Food?” was all she said.
Vesik wasn’t hungry but an answer of ‘no’ would send her walking out of his life. He feigned interest as he asked, “What is it you have?”
“Mutton and stew. Stew has mutton in it also, so mostly just mutton.” This conversational outburst was a huge leap for this girl compared to what she replied with earlier. Vesik’s charm was already working on her.
Vesik smiled at that and the girl blushed for a moment.
“Hmm.” Vesik insincerely pondered. “I’ll have to pass miss …”
“Oh. Um. Suemaira.”
“Beautiful name if ever I’ve heard one. It suits you well.” And truly it did. A slender almost ghostly-white neck led, tantalizingly down to a perky body with slight curves, enough to suggest an ample amount of femininity.
Suemaira smiled but remained quiet. Vesik believed that she was trying to keep herself from taking any interest in him. He liked to think she wasn’t winning that battle.
He said, “I’m going to be quite blunt with you. I’d rather enjoy it if you’d agree to accompany me for the evening tomorrow. Somewhere more classy, so to say.”
Vesik decided not to lend his words any magical sway as he had learned he was able to now. Instead he decided to rely on his smooth words; he had become quite comfortable with situations such as these lately.
“Oh. Um.” That apprehensiveness again. “I normally don’t date people who come in here. I’d rather not be here myself.”
“And I share the same notion. I’m an undercover spy though, for the King. Just making sure nothing too outlandish is transpiring behind these walls.” He winked to lend his story an aura of playfulness and it seemed to take effect just as well as any magic would have as Suemaira seemed to slide into a comfortable place.
“Yeah, um, I work during the day tomorrow so that should be fine.”
“Okay, wonderful.” Vesik stood as he spoke. “What time should I be here to meet you?”
Sleep brought nothing but revitalization now. The dreams, if that ever was what they were, ceased to whisk Vesik away to an alternate reality. Fits of anxiety plagued the young man as they did now. The plan he was set on required at least a year of patience, an almost impossible feat if ever there was one, Vesik thought.
His thoughts quickly shifted to those with an attitude more positive. He turned his mind’s eye outward and surveyed the world around him instead of the one being constructed in his head. He walked the same path as yesterday toward the tavern Suemaira was to be leaving in just a few minutes.
The door to the tavern burst outward as Vesik moved to shove it open. Without consciously thinking about it, Vesik flung himself backward with supernatural speed and fixed his eyes on those beautiful blues.
She looked flustered so Vesik skipped a greeting and said, “Everything okay, Suemaira?”
She seemed frozen with her hand still holding the door open for a moment before blinking rapidly and saying, “Oh, yes. I just make sure to get out of this place as quick as I can, before my boss tries to keep me longer or one of the men inside get a chance to try anything. Let’s walk.”
Without waiting for a reply, Suemaira took off and Vesik took long strides to get by her side. “You don’t seem to particularly like this line of work.”
“I hate it, to be blunt. But it’s a job.”
“Hmm. There are plenty more than this. Why not find another?”
She said her next words with practiced confidence, “Well, it’s only temporary. I’m a student at the college. I needed some money to pay some of my debts and keep from starving. I heard about some openings here before knowing the reputation of the place, Simon had us go in through the back so we didn’t get a look at what the work would be like. He said he would have offered me the job before I even went through the interview. Looks, he said. Besides, I get a lot of work here. It may not be what I want, but it keeps me in school until I find something better.”
“Well I definitely understand where he’s coming from.” He flashed a toothy smile at her. “And you as well. I was in a line of work that I wasn’t quite fond of.”
“What, if you don’t mind my asking?” She showed genuine curiosity, not the bullshit small talk people were forced to indulge in when they were unfamiliar to one another and had nothing else to do.
“I was a clerk for a senior officer of the Watch.” She looked at him with an odd face. It read, well what’s wrong with that? Vesik countered with, “I trained to be a Sentry but screwed it up the first time and the man I worked for loved seeing me flounder. The job was infuriating. I quickly outgrew it and needed to do something else.”
“I’m a Sentry.” Vesik smiled big as he looked forward and felt Suemaira’s eyes on him.
“Wow, I’m surprised that you didn’t try cracking some skulls yesterday.”
“Your boss, Simon, he’s paid the right people the right amounts. I try anything and no amount of me doing right by anyone or anything will protect me. Plus, I was off duty.”
Suemaira lightly giggled and Vesik enjoyed the cute noises emanating from her. She seemed to be a sweet woman but also strong enough to withstand the hardships life threw at her. Vesik found himself quite fond of Suemaira although he barely knew her.
A group of passerby seemed to notice her laughing as they eyed her hungrily. Their appearance gave the impression that they were headed to the tavern Suemaira had just left.
Vesik hoped that they would be content to just look, partly. The empowered part of him hoped they would try something so he could tear through them.
A screwy looking man towards the back of the small group had his eyes full and the rest of him was getting jealous. He said, “The wench at the tavern right? The Tankard Half Full? Ah, honey, don’t be skippin’ out so soon.”
The group had stopped and were waiting for Suemaira’s reply. She brushed by them without a word in a manner that told Vesik she was accustomed to encounters such as these.
A burly man slapped the scrawny one on the shoulder with force enough to almost knock his compatriot to his knees. “She ain’t got eyes for ya. Looks like the pretty one’ll be enjoyin’ what’s between her legs tonight. C’mon, there’s more whores in the tavern.”
Suemaira was completely content with letting the comments slide away from her memory and continuing on but Vesik was not. Not now.
He turned and said to their backs, “Apologize to the lady.”
Suemaira stopped, stunned, then slowly turned and fixed him with a gaze that pleaded, “Why?”
Vesik fell into the mindset he usually adopted when coming upon a heated situation while working. He counted the men. He ran through several scenarios in the blink of an eye, all ended with him standing amidst four broken bodies clinging to life by threads. Before coming into his new power, Vesik would have instead been looking for a way out.
The big man turned around with a huge smile splitting his face. “What was that now, chap?”
“I said, apologize to the lady. Both of you.” He flipped a hand at the screwy man.
The big guy said, “Esh, ya gonna say you’re sorry and make nice?”
“Cut my dick off before I do that.”
Vesik said, “I’ve got a knife.”
The burly man snickered. “That makes up the lot of us, boy. Only ours are probably bigger.”
The scrawny man reached into his coat and Vesik exploded into action. Vesik was no master of the martial arts but he knew how to throw a right cross. His speed and strength being augmented by his newfound abilities ensured that the punch caught the man flush and took him out of the fight. His jaw crunched and he crumpled into the dirt.
A knife flashed past Vesik as he sidestepped the stab, then ducked a swipe aimed at his head. The burly man was dead on when he had said his last bit. The knives leaping at Vesik were about as long as his forearm, about the longest blades that could be concealed beneath a coat without nullifying the whole concealed part.
Vesik didn’t want to pull a knife on these men though, too much paperwork and interviewing would be involved. He just wanted to bust some skulls then take Suemaira out for a lovely evening.
The big man had yet to add anything to the scuffle. He was moving around his two companions who had their backs to the wall of a building. Vesik danced to his left so that the group was before him in a curvy line. The man nearest him was going to wait for Vesik to make a move or for his friends to circle around him.
Vesik decided on the former. He rushed forward and his enemy pulled his arm back to slash at Vesik’s chest but he didn’t anticipate how quickly Vesik would move in at him. Vesik snapped his arm out and caught his opponent’s forearm with his own. He balled his right fist and sent it sailing up the man’s chest and into the underside of his jaw. Again, the strike lacked technical proficiency but the strength was abundant. A series of cracks sounded.
The man’s head snapped back and he was lifted off his feet to crash down into the dirt. The two remaining moved around his prone form but kept their distance until they had Vesik against the wall.
They both began to cautiously approach Vesik on their toes, closing the distance between each other to afford Vesik as little wiggle room as possible.
Vesik decided that it would be best if he didn’t allow that. The ground against the building walls here was dirt, unlike the cobbled stone that Vesik’s two attackers advanced towards him on. He bent low and snatched a handful of the loose earth then flung it at the man to his left.
The man’s hands batted at the air to block the dirt from finding his eyes but Vesik did not wait to see whether or not he had actually blinded the man. He stepped towards the big man to his right and made to twist to the side as his enemy cocked his arm back for a viscous stab.
Only the stab didn’t come.
It was a feint and Vesik was already lifting his foot off the ground to kick the man in the knee when he realized that he’d been duped. Vesik’s side was ripped open by the big man’s slash but his shin found his mark.
The man’s knee buckled and he fell to the ground.
Vesik clutched at his side and his hand came away stained in blood. The thug on the ground clutched his knee with quivering hands and slightly whimpered at the dislocated joint.
The last of Vesik’s enemies saw the blood dripping off him and a foolhardy sense of courage overwhelmed him. His strike was so blatant that even had Vesik not had any combat training he would have seen it coming.
The overhand chop, really a ridiculous strike to attempt with a blade not even as long as a short sword, whizzed past Vesik as he sidestepped and again, his shin found its target.
He was lifted off the ground and squealed as Vesik’s shin travelled up the distance between the middle of his legs and collided with his groin.
Vesik looked around at the destruction he had wrought. The first man he’d taken out was just barely waking from his unconsciousness and the other who he had hit with his fist was still out. The burly man cursed the condition of his knee and the man who had crushed it. The last thug openly sobbed as his trembling hands groped his testicles in a vain attempt at relief from the terrible pain afflicting him.
Suemaira tugged at Vesik’s sleeve and he turned to look into her eyes. Those eyes couldn’t have belonged to the same cute girl he’d met yesterday. Anger burst from those pools of blue so obviously that fire may as well spewed from them. Vesik felt a pang of sorrow and believed that he had completely pissed on any chance of getting anywhere with Suemaira.
No smooth words would roll off his lips to ease her so he only stared into her eyes. Vesik was glad when she broke her gaze away to look at his side. Vesik lifted his arm to allow her to see the wound and she hissed.
“Bad?” he asked her, relieved that she hadn’t ran off already.
“Yes. Goes in about a full knuckle length at the deepest point. Nothing serious is hit though. Still, we need to get you stitched up.”
Vesik sensed that she was only being so nice because he was hurt and that she would verbally assault him later. He noticed that the world around him seemed awfully quiet, besides the groans from the men he had beaten, and surveyed the area to see many dozens of people staring at the scene in utter silence.
The sound of feet scuffling drew his attention to his right and he strained to see what was making the commotion behind the crowd. With just a thought the bodies in his line of sight became incorporeal, ghostly shells with bright red lights beating in their chests. The sensation was enough to cause Vesik to feel intoxicated by power but he didn’t allow the feeling to overwhelm him.
Through the crowd he saw several shells moving, the outline of leather armor protecting the pulsing, red light. Two were small and the other large. Shit, he thought.
His vision returned to normal as Fal, Alitor, and Koe broke through the line of people and laid their eyes on the scene. Fal stopped his stride and gaped at what was before him, finding pieces to the scene and collecting them into a coherent picture.
Suddenly he turned to the crowd and shouted, “Get out of here or I’ll take the lot of you in for interfering with official Watch business!”
Most of the crowd began shuffling away but a few stragglers grouped together and apparently thought Fal’s words had no meaning to them. Alitor began striding towards them with a purpose written plainly on his face and they scattered. He turned back with a smile and the group approached Vesik and Suemaira.
Fal stopped next to Vesik and surveyed the writhing thugs. Vesik felt odd staring at Fal so he turned his head to look also. The two men stared as if admiring a painting which caused some hidden meaning to prance around their hearts and minds but would not allow itself to be caught and known.
Finally, Fal said, “How are you, friend?”
Vesik didn’t miss a beat as he said, “Good, great actually. And you guys?”
“Ah, you know. The daily bullshit. So what happened here? Your lady friend here save your ass or something?”
“Nope. All me this time.”
Now Fal did turn to regard Vesik. “You? Four armed men and you?” Fal’s look betrayed all of the extreme disbelief his tone suggested. He sighed, then said, “It’s been too long, friend. We need to have a drink again. Later though. We’ll take care of things here and you go to a station and have a med fix you up.”
“Thanks, guys. Alitor, Koe, was good seeing you.”
Koe said, “Likewise,” although he showed his discomfort well.
With that Vesik and Suemaira walked away.
Vesik noticed as Fal, Alitor, and Koe exchanged glances, although Koe never kept Fal’s gaze for long. Their faces all read the same thing. “That’s not the man we know.”
The events of the night before played through Vesik’s head constantly. Even when he attempted to put all his concentration towards a single task, his efforts were made futile within moments as his date with Suemaira invaded his mind.
After getting his wound stitched closed, they had resumed their date, although Vesik did have to endure a tongue-lashing that lasted a few minutes. Suemaira had become accustomed to behavior akin to what the four men had done last night and was content to ignore their remarks and glances. She also feared that she might lose her job at the tavern. Vesik felt a true pang of regret and apologized as he knew he should.
Last night had been much different than any other night before. Vesik and Suemaira had a wonderful evening together but it had ended at her door. They ate dinner together and walked around the classier part of Cavia, through green courtyards and between lovely statues. They even indulged in a liberal amount of wine with their dinner and yet when Vesik asked to come in, she had refused, which of course made Vesik happier than if she would have agreed.
Exuberance had claimed Vesik when he decided that he’d finally found the woman he needed, the one he wanted. He could save a world with their love then use his power to help his own. He could be whatever he wanted to be after the bargain he’d made was complete.
Maybe that’s why he didn’t outright deny Koe’s request when he asked him to meet at a bar with Fal and Alitor. Perhaps he just no longer took such issue with the terrible deeds of the men. Power did, in every scenario, only come with some kind of sacrifice.
He felt them before he saw them, their souls a subtle presence at his back. A hand patted his shoulder and he quickly turned around, feigning surprise. Koe was there, with a smile on his face that betrayed his nervousness. Next came Fal, a hearty laugh leading his arrival. Vesik twisted the other way in his seat to look upon him. Fal grinned ear to ear then bowed. Alitor was behind Fal, standing inert.
“Gentlemen, come sit with me.”
They accepted Vesik’s offer, Koe sitting to his left and Fal and Alitor to his right. The barkeeper quickly appeared and everyone ordered ale, even Vesik who had a mug half full before him still.
It was too natural a thing for Vesik to read the functions of the three men’s hearts. He had discerned that all three of them were excited by the quick beat of that red light in their chests. He now looked at them with normal sight and could only tell that Koe was nervous as he failed to conceal the feeling.
Fal said, “Vesik, you alright after yesterday?”
“Yeah, just some stitches. It hurts but nothing to lay me up. How have you all been? It’s been a few months since I’ve seen any of you.” Vesik turned and winked at Koe, making him clearly uncomfortable as he dropped his eyes.
Fal’s voice turned him back around, “We’ve been good actually. We haven’t been promoted yet but we’ve received pay increases.”
“Oh, yeah! I heard about you guys helping the Watch catch an entire gang. And to think they had moved into the Vine’s Thorn to work their pull operation from there.”
Fal nodded but was uncharacteristically silent in the face of praise.
“Guys, I told Vesik what we did.” Koe’s sudden outburst surprised Vesik enough that he choked on the ale sliding down his throat.
Whatever had caused Koe to finally tell was an enigma to Vesik. He could still tell that it affected him now though. Vesik turned to see Fal leaning over the bar to get his scornful gaze upon the black man. Alitor stared at them indifferently, as if he had known the whole time.
Fal finally growled, “What the fuck, Koe? You haven’t told us that in the four months since! Why wouldn’t you think that should be shared with us?”
Alitor huffed. He thought the answer was apparent. Koe must have taken issue with it for he turned with blazing eyes and said, “What we did was wrong. Alitor, don’t act like you have me pegged. You might think I’m weak for what I did but I’m strong for actually being a human. You two are my brothers and that’s the only reason why I’m still with you guys. You made me do things that will haunt me forever and have ever since that night. You didn’t see what I saw. I hated both of you for a while. But when I got some sense into both of you that night, I knew that you were both still good people that had just fucked up.”
Vesik nodded then said, “He’s right, Fal. Both of you made him do something he never should have done. I was ready to write all three of you off, but people screw up. I haven’t seen any of you since then and that’s been by choice. But Koe wouldn’t be here now if you two hadn’t acted straight since then. Keep doing what’s right. Maybe think of how important life is and how it shouldn’t be taken so quickly.”
“I’ve talked to them enough, Vesik. They’re good men, and they’re my brothers. But it’s about you today.” Koe’s words turned Vesik around, confounded yet again by the black man. “What’s going on with you?”
“What are you talking about?”
Fal said, “Not even Alitor could have taken down all those guys by himself, Vesik. And he came out the womb knowing how to crack skulls. That wound in your side wasn’t just a scratch. It’d have put any man down. You fought right through it like it wasn’t there, and now you look damn skippy to me.”
Alitor added, “You’ve changed so much in the time we’ve known you, Vesik. And I don’t think anyone else has pointed a thing out to you. Four months training as a Sentry doesn’t turn you from what you used to be into what you are now. We knew who you were before.”
It was true that Vesik’s side had been slashed open deeply. Thankfully, the others didn’t know about his hand. He had broken it during the fight as well. Only, the bones had snapped back together and mended within hours. The deep cut on his side was sealed shut and new pink flesh had grown there.
“Guys, I just got lucky is all. Yeah, I am different. I’m no longer some weak, victim at the mercy of any thug or Bors or anything. So what, I have a spine now. You’re going to bring it up like something is wrong with me?”
“That’s not it and you know it, Vesik. I remember how much work I thought you’d need to ever be a Sentry. And I heard of how easily you passed this time. Actually I heard that things happened that should not ever have happened.”
Could he tell them? Could Vesik share his time in the dream world, the man atop the monolith, the terrible fate that was sure to befall that wondrous place, the fact that he’d have to impregnate a woman then give up his daughter to the man? Would they believe him at all?
“Please, believe me, nothing is wrong. And you’re right, odd things may have been happening, or it may look that way, but it’s all coincidence. Why don’t we just say that we’ve all changed a bit?”
Fal said, “Well that certainly is the truth. Life is tough and this world can look like one terrible place, but it’ll be a whole lot easier and better even if we just keep our heads up and stick to what’s right. That goes for all of us, yeah?”
Vesik watched everyone nod, even Alitor. Then they all looked at him. Why did they need his consent? He wasn’t doing anything wrong. What he was going to do was give up his child to save an entire planet. Where was the wrong in that? But, just to smooth the tension building, Vesik nodded and raised his mug. They all clacked their drinks together and took a gulp of ale.
Fal sighed then said, “Well, now that all the mushy shit is over. Vesik, you messed those guys up, man. The Watch must have done good with you this time.”
Koe said, “We couldn’t find the club you used on them. Stick it up your ass before you left? You know that’d be illegal.”
They all shared a laugh.
Fal slapped the countertop with both palms then said, “I need to piss. You ladies wait here and order me another ale, Vesik. I’m sure you owe me for something I did for you at some point.” He winked and Vesik realized that he felt good. He’d spent so much of his time searching for the right woman, obsessing about the power of the monolith and what he’d been given so far, and proving to everyone that he could become a Sentry that he’d forgotten about the joy of camaraderie.
Vesik raised his arm and ordered a round of ale for him and his friends, then sat back to drink and laugh with them.
Rancid clouds of smoke engulfed Fal then spit him out as he moved through the tavern and out the door. He turned down an alley and tried to hold his breath against the smell of piss and shit. He thought of the irony of adding to that dank smell despite his resentment for it as he relieved himself. Several sets of footsteps sounded from behind Fal and he turned. An arm wrapped his neck and the figure choking him was at his back. Two more men were in front of Fal, avoiding the stream of urine still coming from him but still managing to grasp his hands and hold them still.
Fal gagged as he fought but soon a pressure began to build in his head. He struggled against unconsciousness, forbidding it to encompass him. But soon, blackness began to creep in until it finally swallowed him whole.
Fal awoke as hands were groping him. He immediately began to flail his arms and legs against the probing hands but was held firmly. Men grunted and one growled at the others to keep him still. Fal realized then that a blindfold wrapped his eyes.
“Get off me, you whoresons. Why don’t one of you spineless whips let me go and fight me on my feet?”
“Henkel, why would I go and do that now? I have you right where you belong.”
Time did nothing to create uncertainty about the bearer of that voice. His identity was quickly given away, although Fal wasn’t sure if he wanted it hidden anyway. Besides, only one person would call him Henkel.
Fal was silent as ropes bound his legs and arms to a chair. He pulled against his bonds to find that they were tight and the chair strong enough not to break.
Suddenly, a vision came to Fal. He saw a blonde man, Sarah, and three other men and two women that he didn’t know. Fal realized that the blindfold had been removed and that the blonde man was real, as was Sarah. Sarah nodded, then said, “That’s him.”
The blonde man said, “Good. You can go. I’ll be seeing you around, Sarah.”
Fal looked at her with a pang of regret and hurt. He never should have believed that what they had was anything different than a whore’s relationship with a client. She locked eyes with Fal for a moment, blinked, then turned and walked away, leaving through a door in the back wall. The blonde man locked the door after she left and then placed a thick wooden beam across it.
“Ya know, you were right; what you did to me wasn’t so bad, it all grew back.” The blonde man held his hand up to show fingers with short nails growing on them. Then he pulled back the sleeve of his other arm to show a large scar of pink flesh. “What you didn’t do to me but what still happened, was much worse. We were never actually introduced. My name is Paytus, and I now know that you are Fal. Henkel told me all about you. He didn’t ask a single question when I sought information about you.”
Paytus walked slowly to the side of Fal as he spoke, never losing eye contact. Fal hoped that he could prod the man into a longwinded conversation that would buy him time. He hoped that he just needed enough time for Koe, Alitor, and Vesik to find him.
“What I’ve realized is that everything in this city is a gang. The Watch tried to take out mine, came pretty godsdamn close, but enough of us survived and now look where I am. The Watch itself is a gang. You idiots sell each other out for gold, you go behind each others’ backs, piss on the laws you’re supposed to protect. Politicians do the same fucking thing. King Elbert does whatever the hell he wants. And you did this to me so that you could get your bag of gold.
“Fal, I’m going to say this once.” Paytus had walked behind Fal but he quickly pivoted around and was nose to nose with him. Fal saw yellow teeth, a porous nose, and pockmarked cheeks and smelled the sour stench of stale ale, pipe weed, and rot. “You shouldn’t have left me alive. You should have stuck me and sat there to watch me die. The things I’m going to take from you will not grow back. You won’t be okay after today. Just like I wasn’t okay after what happened to me. Did your black friend tell you how he found me? I bet he did. Let’s start with this.”
Sweat poured down Fal’s temples and his heart slammed against his chest, surely breaking his bones. “What do you want to know? Just talk, Paytus. Just keep talking.” Fal was normally calm under stressful situations, but even he heard the tension in his voice. The look in Paytus’ eyes was too unsettling. He was dead set on this path. He was going to hurt Fal in ways he didn’t want to think about, and the intensity in his eyes showed it.
Paytus shook his head and smiled. Fal gulped and suddenly felt something cold on his finger. His eyes shot down to look upon a cigar cutter held in Paytus’s hand and now circling his pinky finger of his left hand. He began to struggle but his hand was bound tightly to the armrest of the chair. Also, the cutter made moving too much painful as Paytus pushed the blade down slightly.
“Stop moving or this won’t be clean. Also, it might break. Then we move on to more creative tortures.”
Fal stopped moving but his breath still escaped from him like a bellows. His whole body shook and he looked into Paytus’ eyes. That’s when the pain came. Paytus only smiled as he slammed the cutter shut, cutting through flesh, sinew and muscle cleanly. Fal screamed and thrashed and Paytus laughed aloud. He then caught Fal’s flailing hand in a fierce grip and Fal hollered at him. Screaming at him to stop. But he knew that Paytus wouldn’t stop, not until Fal was mutilated and dead.
“He’s been gone for at least ten minutes.” Koe scanned the bar as he spoke. “This just isn’t like him. He would have at least come back in to down the ale you bought him, Vesik. Even if he was going off with a whore. What should we do?”
Vesik found himself genuinely concerned for Fal, although before today he didn’t much care for either of the three men. But he felt as if they had just mended and with that came a strong bond, even if it would turn out temporary.
The walls became incorporeal and every living thing began pulsing with red light in their chest. Vesik bypassed those in the bar and looked outside of it. He couldn’t see many souls out there. And those he did see moved as if walking down the street, the outline of their bodies not resembling Fal. He was gone.
“We need to go look for him. Who knows what could have happened,” said Vesik.
Alitor said, “Could have been picked up by someone. Maybe someone had a vendetta against him.” The way Alitor said this and the look he gave Koe was enough to suggest that it was the blonde man they’d let live. Vesik wasn’t allowed to ever forget about that, Koe’s terror from his actions had been too apparent to not place a stain on Vesik’s very memory.
Koe bristled then said, “Let’s remember what we just talked about, Alitor. Come on.”
Vesik left a gold coin on the counter that the barkeeper saw and snatched immediately, calling at them to come back some other night. The trio found their way onto the street and Vesik noticed as his companions thumbed the hilts of their swords. Vesik began questioning people they passed, asking if they’d seen a man of Fal’s stature and eastern descent. Not a single positive answer came his way for five minutes.
Vesik was searching through the walls of buildings for signs of life when Koe said, “How do we know we’re going the right way? He could have been taken anywhere. Godsdammit!”
Surprisingly, Alitor placed a hand on Koe’s shoulder and said, “It’ll be alright.”
Perhaps Alitor had the time to think about his words and felt remorse for them. Koe was distraught, mulling over the possibility that his mercy had killed his brother. Vesik glanced at his face and saw his pain.
A woman came walking down the street, wiping tears from her eyes. Vesik didn’t need to look into her body to tell her disturbed state. He asked her, “Miss, have you seen a man slightly shorter than I and little stockier. He is from the east with short, pointed hair.”
Something showed on her face as she stopped crying for a moment and looked hopeful even. But then she shook her head and said, “No. I don’t know who you’re talking about.” She made to brush past but Vesik stepped back and got in front of her.
“Please, we’re his friends. We’re trying to find him. His name is Fal.”
Koe raised a finger to her and said, “You, you’re Sarah, aren’t you?”
The woman stopped moving and slowly turned around. She suddenly began sobbing anew. “Paytus is going to hurt him so bad. He’ll kill him too.”
Alitor gripped her shoulders and said, “Where, woman? We need to find him. Tell us where.”
“They’ll come after me next. I can’t help you. I’m so sorry.”
Sarah pulled away from Alitor’s grip but Vesik said, “Take us to Fal!”
She suddenly stopped, turned, then began jogging back where she had come from. Vesik said, “Come on,” and took off after her. Koe and Alitor threw him odd looks then followed suit. Just several minutes passed before Sarah stopped and then put her hand on a door to a building at the end of an alley. She suddenly snapped free of the compulsion Vesik had put her under and then stumbled backwards.
Through the door and walls, Vesik saw several throbbing, red lights. One was beating so terribly fast that Vesik thought the owner of that body must be in the throes of some terrible attack, tearing itself apart from the inside. And he was certain that was Fal. At the very least, he could take solace in the fact that he was still alive for now.
All three men had steel in their hands, Vesik with a long sword, Koe with two curved daggers, and Alitor with a two handed grip on his falchion. Alitor tried the door quietly but it was locked. He stepped back and said, “We need to do this right. We won’t do any good to anyone if we just run in there and die.”
Vesik saw that Koe was on the verge of losing it. He growled and tears swam at the corners of his eyes. He was angry and didn’t want to waste any time while his brother was dying on the other side of the door.
“Stay here. Don’t come in until a few seconds pass.” Without waiting for a reply, Vesik turned and slammed his foot into the door. The wood splintered and exploded, an enormously loud crack sounded as a beam on the other side of the door shattered. Vesik stood in the door for a moment and that’s all it took for two bolts to slam into his chest and sink into his flesh.
Prowling towards Vesik, was four attackers. One other was reloading a crossbow. He growled and ripped the bolts out of his chest. The wounds still bled badly and Vesik knew they wouldn’t close for some time. He was about to dart forward when he heard Fal’s screaming voice.
A broken man with a tear and blood smeared face sat tied to a chair. Blood streamed from Fal’s left hand, barren of all fingers. The mutilated hand terrified Vesik but he quickly staunched his fear with anger. One of the thugs was on him while another came at his side.
Vesik moved in faster than his enemy anticipated and tore his blade down the man’s chest. The blade cut through bone and organs as if through water. Ripping and cracking noises came from the man’s ruined torso and he yelped then collapsed.
The woman to Vesik’s side lunged and stabbed at his ribs. He stepped to the side, trapped the woman’s outstretched arm between his side and arm, then slammed the top of his head into her face. Bones shattered and she collapsed, a corpse with a ruined brain.
Vesik screamed as a sharp pain lanced through his chest. He tried to turn around but the blade sticking in him was held by the man at his back. He roared and twisted hard, ripping the blade from the grip of his attacker. The man now before him stared at Vesik in disbelief.
Vesik’s vision was blurry and his legs and arms felt weak for a moment. He bellowed again, willing strength to fill his body. His senses came back quickly and his strength returned, intensified beyond anything ever before.
Without seeing the threat, Vesik felt a man rushing at his side. He leaned back as a blade flashed before his face and arced down to the floorboards. A blade still sticking out of his back, Vesik kicked the back of the man’s knee. The thug’s leg snapped and he slammed down on the back of his neck. Before he could even let out a scream, Vesik stomped down on his throat, crushing it.
The thug that had stabbed him was inert, obviously scared beyond movement. A twang sounded and Vesik threw himself backwards with supernatural speed. A bolt sped past the area his head had just occupied. Vesik turned to see a woman with an empty crossbow.
Koe and Alitor had come in and were on her then. Vesik realized that they must have seen his work and were stalled. But now, they were moving quickly. Alitor bashed the woman in the temple with the flat of his blade, putting her down. Koe squared off with the blonde man, standing behind Fal’s semiconscious body.
Motion to Vesik’s side caught his attention and he turned to see the thug who’d stabbed him running. He was trying to get passed Vesik and out the door. Vesik skipped towards the man, closing the distance between them, lifted his lead leg high, then thrust it at the thug. His heel slammed into the man’s shoulder and launched him sideways into the wall.
The man writhed on the ground, gripping his shattered shoulder. Vesik turned as he heard a man scream, “Alright. Alright. I’m done. I’m putting my blade down.”
The blonde man lowered his sword but Koe kept menacing the man with those curved blades. Vesik walked over to them as Alitor began helping Fal from the chair.
Koe’s eyes blazed with anger and he gritted his teeth. He said, “I gave you a new chance. You made the wrong choice.” Koe leapt forward and drove one of his blades into the man’s stomach and the other into his neck. Koe growled into the wide expression of the dying man. The thug died on Koe’s blades then slipped off of them.
Alitor said, “Vesik, no more bullshit. We need help now.”
Both Vesik and Koe turned around and moved to Fal. His fingers were all chopped off at the first knuckle, leaving a stump instead of a hand. The blood around his mouth didn’t seem to have come from any cuts. Fal’s eyes alternated between squinting and drooping halfway open. Suddenly, a loud burp came from Fal and he vomited. Within the puke, was a fingertip.
Vesik felt himself begin to gag but then a sharp pain shot through his back. He reached back and found the blade still sticking from him. Alitor and Koe followed his hand to behold the blade. They both seemed to forget about Fal.
Alitor said, “Vesik, that’s a fucking sword in your back.”
“Yeah. Koe, just pull it out.” The black man looked at Vesik as if he were insane. “Yeah, I am different. We can talk about it later. Just get it out of my back.”
Koe slowly dropped his blades and gripped the hilt of the sword in his back. He took too long to pull and Vesik said, “Do it!” Koe pulled and the blade slid out, searing pain erupting across his back. He hissed but knew that he’d heal.
Vesik turned to see a rapier, three inches of the tip covered in his own blood, held in Koe’s hand. “Nothing too bad I think. I don’t feel like it hit anything vital. But godsdamn does it hurt. Let’s see what we can do for Fal. Alitor, what all has been done to him?”
Alitor looked away from the spectacle that was Vesik and regarded Fal. A woman’s quivering voice came from their backs, “Fal. Oh, gods, is he alive?”
The trio turned to see Sarah slowly moving her way towards them all. Koe moved to intercept her. Vesik was sure that she would have bolted once his compulsion over her had worn. What care would a whore have for Fal?
Alitor’s voice pulled Vesik back around, “It looks like they had just gotten started. It’s just the fingers. Can you fix them, Vesik?”
The yearning to fix Fal was there, but Vesik was so unsure of his abilities. He’d never tried to heal anyone, not even himself. His power just seemed to mend his wounds of its own accord.
“Do we have his fingers?”
Alitor shook his head. “We have three … and a half. Don’t worry about trying to put him back together, Vesik. Just try to stop the bleeding. He’s been like this for at least ten minutes.”
Vesik nodded his head grimly. He reached out and clasped Fal’s ruined hand, eliciting a string of gibbering words from Fal. As Vesik tried to channel his power into mending the open wounds, Fal began to wake up. He twitched and his eyes fluttered until he locked eyes with Alitor. Then, he sighed from the pain in his hand and tried to pull it away, only the ropes still held it fast.
Fal said, “What are you doing? What’s happening?”
Before anyone could respond, Fal saw his hand and heaved. A torrent of vomit spewed from Fal and pieces of fingers were in it. He began to cough and shake.
Vesik turned to look at Alitor and instead looked past the bald man to Koe and Sarah. Koe felt guilty and showed it in the tears that fell from his eyes. Sarah’s face was slack, seemingly void of life as she stared at the broken man.
Power flooded through Vesik, a presence in his gut and chest that told him he was capable of extraordinary things. The power that came from the monolith and through him fled into Fal’s hand. Fal hissed but when Vesik removed his hands, his wounds were closed and sealed by new flesh. Fal gasped then looked up to Vesik with admiration and wonder.
“I’ll explain it all later. You need to rest. You lost a lot of blood.”
Fal looked confused but Alitor said, “No, I think he’s okay, Vesik. He must have passed out from choking on the uh …”
Torment seemed to grip Fal as he looked away and clenched his teeth. He said, “Did they all come out?”
Alitor began cutting Fal’s bonds as he said, “No. We’re still missing the thumb.”
The rope wrapping Fal’s wrist gave way and he brought his hand up before his face. The fingerless thing looked so ugly in Vesik’s eyes; he wondered how disgusting it must look to Fal. Tears swam down Fal’s cheeks and he tried to move the fingers that were no longer there, the tendons that would have been connected to them shifting beneath his skin.
Through his tears, Fal said, “It doesn’t hurt at all. But gods is it not right. It looks so wrong. What am I ever going to use this for? I’m crippled, I’ll always be a damn freak.” The room was silent until the man who Vesik had kicked against the wall stirred and whimpered. Fal’s head snapped around like a cat’s and he suddenly seemed to realize he was free of his bonds. He stood up with ample strength, stomping on the pieces of his fingers.
Fal strode across the room, brushing past Vesik, Alitor, Koe, and Sarah without shooting them a single glance. He scooped a blade from the floor with his good hand and continued on. The man saw him coming and began to scream.
With a shout, Fal fell on the man, posting the palm of his mutilated hand on the floor for support. He stabbed downwards and his blade sank into the man’s shoulder. He wasn’t able to hold himself up on his fingerless hand and he fell on the man who began to struggle and twist.
Fal lifted up then dropped his skull down on the man’s nose, shattering it. He then arched back and grabbed the hilt of the blade and twisted it back and forth, shredding flesh and muscle into a large hole. His victim screeched and fought against Fal as best he could.
A fist caught Fal’s chin but it seemed to only fuel his anger as he dropped an elbow onto the man’s chest. He grunted loud with the strike then began dropping them over and over again, each time his grunt becoming louder and higher in pitch. Finally, he lifted himself up onto his knees, pulled the blade from the barely conscious man, then stabbed it downwards into his chest. Fal continued on several more times until he was screaming and sobbing each time he struck. His strength then seemed to suddenly drain from him as he stopped stabbing and just sobbed atop the dead man.
Sarah broke away from Koe and went to place her hands on his back. Fal leaned into her chest and she cradled his blood-splattered head with tender care, crying with him.
After a minute, Alitor said, “We need to leave. Someone will be coming.”
Vesik nodded but didn’t move.
Koe squeezed Vesik’s shoulder then said, “Are you okay? You shouldn’t be standing right now, Vesik.”
“I shouldn’t be able to do a lot of things. Let’s just leave, I’ll explain it all to everyone later. Fal isn’t alright though. We need to do what we can for him.”
Ten months had come and gone. Vesik was going to be the daddy of a child capable of saving an entire world at any time now. He wasn’t sure why he craved his daughter’s birth more: because of his need for power, or the idea of saving his dream world.
Just days after impregnating Suemaira, Vesik’s powers had waned. He knew he still retained some of it, but he wasn’t the immortal being he had felt like he had been before. Regaining that power was important enough to make him give up anything in his life if it was required.
The night that Fal had lost his fingers, Vesik had divulged everything to them. They had sat in silence for most of it, until the end where Fal cracked jokes, failing to hide his internal pain, and Alitor did his best to connect the dream world to religion. But with the proof he’d shown them, no one disbelieved him. They were intrigued more than anything else and likely joyous that Vesik was their friend. Fal and Alitor would certainly look at Vesik as an asset. And Vesik was alright with that. That’s just the way they were.
Fal was able to continue working as a Sentry although with some difficulty. However, explaining the missing fingers and the immediate healing would have been impossible. Fal had disappeared with Sarah for three months then came back, feigning as if he’d been taken by a merchant and his entourage after finding a store of illegal items aboard his caravan. He, of course, had a heroic story to explain his escape and return back to his beloved city.
Henkel hadn’t told an important person other than Paytus about Fal. Alitor had discovered that Henkel hadn’t ever put the pieces to the puzzle together. He still didn’t know that Fal had used his name to cover his own ass. Both Alitor and Koe decided not to speak to Henkel about the matter further.
Currently, Vesik held the hand of his wife while watching a crackling fire. He worried constantly over the outcome of his child’s birth and that he hadn’t had any contact with the man atop the monolith. Now was no different.
Suemaira’s voice broke him from his pondering, “Vesik, I’m feeling tired. Can we go to bed?”
“Already, hun? It’s barely night.”
“I’m just feeling very tired and a little queasy. Please?”
“Of course.” Vesik threw the blanket off of them and then helped her sit up.
Suemaira was sitting up when she suddenly said, “Stop!” Vesik ceased moving her and listened as her water broke.
“Oh shit. Sorry. I’m sorry, Suemaira, I didn’t mean that. It’s happening? Our baby is coming?”
“Yes.” Suemaira began breathing deeply, whether from what the midwife had told her to do or because of her own panic. “Go get the midwife, Vesik.”
“Okay. I’ll send Nerid over. He said that he’d help if we needed it. You’ll be alright until I get back?”
“Unless you take too long. Please, Vesik, go.”
Vesik kissed his wife’s head, helped her stand, then put her on the bed. He then turned and bolted from their two bedroom home they’d moved into just months ago.
Vesik sat in awe and fear as his wife pushed for the final time and their daughter began crying in the arms of the midwife. She cleaned the babe then handed her, swaddled in a bloody blanket, to Vesik. He looked down on his daughter and could do nothing other than smile. Her small eyes opened for a brief moment and Vesik saw red and silver. The smile was wiped from him and he was terrified of the baby he held for a moment. But then her eyes flashed open once more and what stared back at him was white, blue and black.
“What is it, Vesik?”
“A girl. She’s our daughter.” Suddenly, Vesik felt the bonds that were tying him to his daughter fray and snap. He’d have to relinquish her eventually and had already been warned about becoming attached to her. He gingerly gave her to Suemaira who nestled the babe against her chest and cooed lightly.
“What should we call her, Vesik?”
Blinking away his troubling thoughts, Vesik said, “I don’t know yet, Suemaira. Let’s talk about that another time. Just rest.”
Several weeks passed before Suemaira was well enough to move around without difficulty. She had asked Vesik to name their daughter over and over until he finally relented. He felt as though it shouldn’t be his right to do so given what would inevitably come to pass.
Morning shafts of light streaked through the open shutters of their window, warming his cheeks as he crossed them. He was getting ready for a day of work as he moved through their small home. Some odd feeling compelled him to hold Suemaira in a tight grip before he left, to kiss her deeply and passionately as he had done when they had first confessed their love.
Vesik then moved to his sleeping daughter, and leaned down into her crib to look at her. He whispered, “I love you, Rilaena. Sleep well, babe.” He planted a light kiss on her forehead and smiled as she remained deep in sleep. He looked at his wife one more time, then stepped out of his doorway.
A vast wind pulled at Vesik, pushing him several steps forwards and ripping at his leather armor. The man from the monolith stood before him in a clearing of tall grass. Rolling plains extended in all directions and the heat of the atmosphere was not how Cavia should have felt.
The man’s face was showing, his styled hair shining in the sun and his pointed beard whipping in the wind. “You’ve done it, Vesik. Now it is your turn to receive your gift from me.”
Fire and ice suddenly exploded under Vesik’s skin, rampaging through his veins and organs. He screamed and floundered, rolling amidst the long grass whipping in the wind. Terrible things filled his mind, knowledge of how the world truly worked and of what had already happened to his wife and child. He began pounding his fists against the ground as his blood roiled as if trying to escape through his skin.
In horror, Vesik watched as his skin turned black and talons grew from his hands. He felt himself dying then being reborn. His normal sight began to spin and twist in a nauseating maelstrom until it finally snapped back, only he could no longer see things as they should be, only their outlines and the red lights of those living things.
Vesik screamed until his voice became a harrowing roar. The sound was nothing ever heard before by Vesik. The skin on his back split and he felt the odd sensation of things leaping from his skin. It felt as though some being hidden within him had decided to rip his flesh open and spring from his back. But then he could control the protrusions and soon saw tentacles wavering before him in his altered vision.
Recognition came with more pain as his muscles and bones expanded, tearing and snapping to reform.
And just as it had begun, it suddenly stopped, as did the pain. Vesik looked to the man before him, seeing an immense red light within the man’s chest that beat furiously. He knew that he was the thing that he had seen in the monolith and wanted to weep. He knew that his daughter had been whisked away just as he had been when he had walked out of his house. He knew that his wife was alone and forsaken.
The man said, “You have your power, Vesik. You’re different now though, and this is how it should be. Your daughter will survive without you or your wife, I will make sure of this.”
Vesik felt amazing power flowing through him. He reached out and willed the man’s bones to snap and explode. Although it should have worked, the man only sneered. “That won’t work with me, Vesik. I still need you. You must enslave this entire world for me and do to it what I ask of you. You’ll never be accepted here again in that form. You must force them to obey you, and you can with the power you now have.”
Speaking was more like thinking for Vesik now as he wasn’t sure if his mouth moved. He said, “What have you done to me? You’ve made me into a monster!”
“I’ve filled you with the power you’ve always wanted. You’re upset and you won’t be useful for some time. I know what you want for Zepzier and you can have it, but you are my pawn now. Create a place for yourself within another dimension. Look down upon your world until you need it so much that nothing will keep you from coming back to it. Only then, will you be able to complete the ritual and come back to be ruler of it all.”
Vesik was quiet as his sadness and fear ruled him. He thought of his friends, parents, wife, and child. He despaired at the horrid nature of his new form. He looked around and saw only a place without life, a place without beauty. Not even the red light beating before him showed beauty and he knew that his existence would forever lack substance as he’d lost his eyes for love.
Vesik found himself capable of probing alternate places, pockets of extra existence that sat in every space in the universe. The knowledge of the ritual he needed to complete filled him and he despaired yet again. Zepzier’s plains could no longer harbor Vesik, the entire world seemed repulsed by him. He wanted to turn back time so badly, to stop himself from becoming this monster. But he couldn’t.
The grim truth of Vesik’s predicament surfaced and he knew there was only one option. He couldn’t try to come back to his old life ever again. But he could live amongst his people again, but only if he completed the ritual.
Vesik felt as though he was suffocating as he stood on the world he loved, knowing that it hated him with its entirety. He opened a space in another dimension and with a thought, created a living environment for him to retire to. A pit of cold grew in Vesik as he left Zepzier and was whisked away, remorse his only companion and his return his only reason for existing.
TO BE CONTINUED …