060 those Who Watch the Sky - 60


60 – The Day that Could not be Forgotten or Remembered

Though it was obvious that Elliot intended to seek the Guardian alone, no one had expected him to throw himself from the deck of the airship. His action proved a deft distraction and Hazel escaped below deck slipping through the crew who worked within the vessel. His goal was a row of personal airships that that were at best an aerodynamic horse body placed on a platform that served as a set of wings. As he seated himself upon it and started up the launch arm controls the spirit on his shoulder squeaked angrily at him.

“Sorry, I’m not getting involved. There isn’t anything I can do right now anyway, and Elliot seems to have it in control. Maybe.”

As the launch arm swung wide and brought the aircraft with it, Hazel grabbed a crank wheel on it and spun it for all he was worth. As commanded by the crank a hanger door in the side of the airship opened wide and allowed the launch arm to exit the airship. Before Hazel could launch however a familiar harsh voice called out to him.

“Running away Hazel? What happened to the man who swore he would ‘defend Mote to the end’? And what of this doubt you cast upon the boy.”

“Melrin, you idiot.”

With a heavy sigh Hazel looked back into the airship at the Sa·B·er clad in mechanized red armor. He did not look like he had any intention of stopping Hazel and so Hazel took the opportunity to spell things out for the other icaran man.

“I don’t know what that light is Elliot has, but it isn’t Mote’s and it’s putting a horrible strain on him. If he pushes himself too far I have no idea what will happen except that we’ll all die. It’s not like Mote can save us either…”

“What do you know Hazel?”

“That you weren’t wrong Melrin. I have seen Mote since the Survivors of Lucir abducted her… and the thing is Melrin, since you and the others last saw her, she had a kid and was so proud of that. The smile she wore talking about being free from that terrible power contrasted against the sadness in her eyes for passing it on to her own child… It was something else Melrin.”

“Tell me Hazel, this child, do you know where they are now?”

For his part Bellson kept himself under control quite well. His inquiry of Hazel was delivered coolly, even as the obvious anger rose up in his voice. Hazel offered his former companion a sympathetic smile and answered his query as indirectly as he could.

“What I can tell you Melrin is that they aren’t with Mote. She spoke of that power that awoke that day with such fear and would never want another soul to know the pain that comes with possessing it. If you want to find the child you’re on your own. See you around Melrin.”

Pulling a lever on the side of the launch arm the mechanism dropped his airship and Hazel plummeted into the depths of the central shaft of the Foreigner city. Stepping to the edge of the open hanger Bellson watched him disappear below even as the temple that held the Poltergeist came up to meet them. He had no words for his old companion and turned to return to the deck of the airship. Below him as Hazel started the combustion engine of the personal aircraft, bringing the propeller in each wing to life. Taking full control of the vehicle Hazel turned his head towards the temple as he descended and whispered out a silent order to Elliot within.

“Save my little girl Elliot. I’m leaving her in your hands now and in the future. Keep your promise and be the sword that supports her dreams.”


Falling to his knees as he tried to keep the blood in that burst from his mouth with his left hand, Elliot trembled both with the strain of maintaining Equalizer as well as the convulsions for the damage it inflicted upon him. From above him Feast’s voice floated down with a mocking tone barely hiding his concern.

“I warned you about the strain Elliot. That was your fourth strike and speaks nothing of the toll you put on yourself by granting me the means to conquer this monster with so little blood.”

“But you did conquer it, did you not Feast?”

“Of course.”

An arrogant smile bared Feast’s teeth as he gloated confidently about his victory. Smiling softly himself, Elliot propped himself up on his sword before fully rising to his feet unsteadily. Placing his left hand back upon the head of his scabbard he turned about with a sway and looked up at the ancient Guardian that had become his new Dolmen.

Where once there had been a silver carapace that had resembled if an insect had grown into the form of a sinewy icaran it was now the crimson hue of human blood. The once golden eyes that stared out from under a protruding forehead which looked as though it was the base of a once far too massive horn were empty sockets waiting to be brought back to life. That task fell to Elliot but he would have to give the order to begin the process to Feast who waited on its shoulder with a hand against its neck.

“Then let’s put it to work saving Link.”

“Only after you agree to retrieve a weapon to use until you can get in your fifth strike. I don’t want you dying on me Elliot.”

“Of course.”

Smiling Elliot accepted Feast’s terms and turned his gaze upward and beyond the hall he stood in.

“The only weapon I can trust to do what I need right now is the revolver from the Dolmen I arrived here in. Hopefully I won’t need it and I’ll be able to reach out and awaken Her Eminence, Lady Cardinal’s Light within Link and banish the darkness and slay the Poltergeist. Do you think you can get us there, Feast, where I left it behind after getting shot by the defenses of the city that is?”

“You just leave that to me Elliot. The Artificial Gate Generator in this thing’s chest between its heart and lungs seems to be absolutely astounding.”

“In its chest? Then does it not have a cockpit?”

“It’s a living thing Elliot. We’ve simply replaced its soul with ours. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a cockpit though. Dolmen’s may be complicated machines from ages long lost, but they don’t need a big brain to function.”

“A brain? Wait, this is a head cockpit design?”

“Right above the mouth and a little cramped. The perfect place to make you claustrophobic and violent in the future. For now, it’ll be where you rest and prepare to see if you can save the girl, or kill her.”

Elliot intended to protest but from the back of the Dolmen’s three-meter-tall had a metal cylinder of significant size suddenly spun out with a hiss of hydraulic gasses. Kneeling down the Dolmen grabbed the cylinder with its left hand and lowered it down in front of Elliot. The two ends were threaded and seemed to spin independently of the rest of the cylinder with a large head protecting the exterior end. The thick outer shell suddenly retracted revealing a cockpit within that truly was claustrophobic compared to the spacious chest cavity of the potbellied Dolmen that the Cardinal Church used. Elliot did not concern himself with it and climbed into the ancient and unused compartment, the padding of the seat disintegrating under his touch. Sighing he smiled irritably.

“I guess I’ll have to find a way to afford to have this replaced.”

The only response to Elliot’s voiced concerns was the cockpit sealing shut leaving him in total darkness save the light of his sword. The darkness would persist even after the Dolmen returned the cockpit cylinder to its place within its skull. Remembering how he first engaged his prior Dolmen, Elliot stabbed his sword into the floor of the cockpit between his legs and made sure to grab one control stick before he removed his other hand from his sword. As he grabbed the other control stick the cockpit came alive with light and holographic screens which included a panoramic view of his surroundings leaving Elliot feeling like he was floating in the air. Words from a language well lost to history flashed before Elliot’s eyes distracting him from his surrounding before they took the form of more familiar script. He could feel the Nectar spilling in from Ambrosia from below him and piloting knowledge poured into his head overwhelming him. The sensation only lasted a moment however and Elliot knew the first thing that he had to do.

“~ I stand equal to the task before me
Bathed in the Light of Her Eminence, Lady Cardinal
I rise to face all challenges
Equalizer‼ ~”

The incantation echoing as song all throughout the hall the Dolmen stood in, its sword suddenly cracked and splintered before being blown apart and replaced with an equivalent sized version of Elliot’s own sword of light. The sword was not all that ignited for the Dolmen’s eyes flared to a matching blue glowing light as it once more came to full life. From behind those eyes Elliot gave Feast the final go ahead.

“It’s all yours now Feast. Take me to Link.”

“Do you intend to spare me then Child of Her Light? A decision most unwise with the Guardian slain.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll be sure that you perish this day as well, your hatred lost to time.”

Before further words could be exchanged between Elliot and the Poltergeist, six shadow apparitions like black feathered wings emerged from the back of the Dolmen and it exploded in flight from the temple.


The wind had relented in its battle and now again answered to the commands of the wordless song that Melody sung. For all of the control the red-haired harpy had however she was unable to keep pace with the Foreigner city that the wind had carried far away from. Still, she desperately followed it believing that she could not abandon Link and Elliot within.

“Huh?”

From the bottom of the airship Melody’s superb eyes spotted an airship descend and could barely make out the person aboard the tiny craft. Straining for all she was worth Melody’s eyes widened in realization.

“Oh~! That’s Link’s father! But… He’s by himself… did something happen?”

A concerned look crossed Melody’s face but she promptly shook it off and replaced it with a determined one.

“Instead of asking no one my questions, I should just go ask him.”

Following through with her intentions, Melody attempted to pursue the tiny airship. It was a vain effort though as she was much too far away from the Foreigner city and Hazel was not on a course she could intercept. Attempting to chase after him was as fruitful as chasing after the Foreigner city and she was doing little more than tiring herself out. At such an altitude exhausting herself would be dangerous and would serve her worse than her already vain efforts. Her continued efforts were not unrewarded though as she soon bore witness to the Junk Bird airship that Bird had conscripted also emerge from the bottom of the Foreigner city.

“Ah! It’s a second one, and a lot bigger too.”

Watching it and not recognizing anyone she could see Melody wasn’t sure what she should do. Then she spotted Bird patrolling the deck with a spyglass in hand.

“Uh oh. Looks like he’s probably looking for Link’s father too. Hmm~… What should I do? I guess I should report in. I am kind of a member of Choir too, aren’t I?”

Though her musings were tinged with doubt it seemed a reasonable idea. At the very least the airship would provide her a place to rest if she could catch up to it. That of course would depend on the course it would take leaving the Foreigner city.
Knowing she didn’t have the time to think as it was unlikely that the airship would stay relatively stationary for long, Melody ascended with the idea of gaining altitude to increase her speed in a subsequent dive. Focusing on her ascent, she had to pull her attention away from her planned destination and to the sky above her. Completely undistracted it became possible for her to take in the sight atop the Foreigner city.

“Huh What is that

Emerging from the top of the Foreigner city was an object of Darkness well over two hundred meters in length. As it spiraled up ward it suddenly spun about and a pair of enormous batwings that dwarfed the Darkness unfurled and grabbed the sky. Held aloft by those enormous wings was a creature of darkness that possessed the body of a great cat with talon like feet and a serpent that seemed to have replaced its spine. At the head end of the serpent a sinister head of horns and fangs looked about its surrounding. But it was not the head of the darkness that caught Melody’s attention, for in the light of the setting sun the Darkness was revealed to be incomplete and transparent, revealing what it shadowed within its chest.

“LI~NK‼”

The sight of Link within the creature of Darkness called forth a scream from Melody and the harpy beat her wings fiercely. But again, the wind was afraid, far more so than it had been when it saved Melody from the collapsing Foreigner city around the colossus of blood. Just as then, Melody attempted to fight it but to all of no avail.

“No! Stop it! Link needs my help! LI~NK‼”

Above the Foreigner city, enveloped in Darkness, Link could never hear Melody and the wind would not carry her voice anywhere near the Darkness. Lacking Melody’s vision, Link would never see her even if her voice did reach her. Within the darkness itself though the world was distorted and could not be made out clearly save for the setting sun which hypnotized Link with its warm and inviting light.

“So warm…”

As Link watched the sun the Darkness around her grew deeper, further closing her off from the world beyond it. The light of the sun was dimming as it set and the darkness deepened but another, more brilliant light was rising from directly beneath her. A white-hot star that threatened to consume her.

“Not again! And its even brighter this time! Urgh!”

Turning her attention straight up Link attempted to outrun the rising light and the Darkness flapped its tremendous wings elevating it further above the Foreigner city. Tightening his grip on the control sticks of the Dolmen, Elliot glared at the Darkness with gritted teeth.

“Do you still think you can reach her Elliot. She just keeps fleeing further and further and further away.”

“I’ll save her Feast. I have to. I just need to be able to touch the Light that Her Eminence, Lady Cardinal left with her. I just have to reach!”

Reaching forward towards Link with the Dolmen’s left hand, Elliot reached for her with every ounce of his being as the Dolmen burst into the sky above the Foreigner city in pursuit.

“LI~NK‼”

“Eh Elliot

Coming to a stop as she heard Elliot’s voice echo in her mind, Link looked around desperately. There was no sign of him however, only the rapidly approaching and growing light below her.

“Elliot! Where are you Elliot!”

Elliot could not hear Link’s cries, but he could see what it was he sought at last. Deep within the Darkness beyond the sight of man or any instruments was Cardinal’s Light. It was so small and so dim, but so powerful resolute that its very existence threatened to consume the Darkness that held it.

“Your Eminence, Lady Cardinal, please forgive me for touching this Light you gave to another. I only desire to save her as your Light already has once. So please just this once forgive me.

“Now, Link, please, feel Her Eminence Lady Cardinal’s Light and banish the Darkness that consumes you!”

As Elliot cried out to Link a warmth filled her and she looked down and clutched at her chest.

“What is this? What is it

Curling against it, Link was not sure what it was that she was experiencing. Was it warm or was it hot? Was it comforting or hurtful? Was it hope or was it poison? The sensation filled her with confusion and she opened her eyes, not releasing she had closed them, to look at the light swelling up from within her bosom. Seeing the light consuming her, her eyes widened and she panicked.

“No. No! No! No! No! NO~‼ I don’t want to be consumed! I don’t want to be eaten! Get off of me! GET OFF OF ME‼”

The Beast of Darkness writhed in anguish in time to Link within its breast and thrashed about in desperation. Link’s panic washed back over Elliot and nearly pushed him and his Dolmen both back. Bracing himself against the force rushing out of Link he again tried calling out to her.

“Link, calm down! Please!”

“Elliot Elliot! What’s happening I don’t want to be eaten! I don’t want to!”

Again, Link heard Elliot’s voice and again called out to him. This time though Elliot heard her and as their consciousnesses seemed to meet in a place between light and darkness, a place filled with light and hope, he reached out for her.

“Link. The Light won’t eat you. It is the Light of Her Eminence, Lady Cardinal. It has saved you once and we need its power to save you again.”

“Elliot, what are you talking about? I don’t understand. I’m in a dark place and every light I’ve seen has only tried to hurt me.”

“That’s probably my fault Link. I’m sorry. You’ve been consumed by a Darkness that terrifies even the Poltergeists, and I tried to fight it with the Light that Her Eminence, Lady Cardinal bestowed upon me. Had I known I was hurting you in the process I would have never turned my blade on it and had tried to reach out sooner.”

“You’re not making any sense Elliot. Or maybe it’s me. I should know what you’re saying but it’s like knowing what your saying is somewhere else. My head has been so messed up ever since they started hurting me. Why did they have to hurt me Elliot I didn’t want to hurt them! I just wanted to be an adventurer. I never had to be a Sa·B·er. I never wanted to fight the Foreigners! I just wanted to follow their cities drifting across the sky to whatever adventures I’d find beneath them. Was that so wrong Elliot Was it Elliot Tell me, please!”

Link’s pain was almost unbearable, but Elliot understood it all too well. To be something other than what you were or what the world demanded of you. For the two of them it seemed a fate that tormented them from birth. It was a pain he could never not understand and so he smiled softly, sadly yet comfortingly.

“Link. Your dreams were never wrong. Do remember that we promised that we would become adventurers known across the face of Icarus? That that brought us joy and filled us with the hope we needed to make it through the constant reminders by the world around us of we should be. Do you remember when you presented me with my sword and that I swore it would also be in service to your dreams? That hasn’t changed. I haven’t forgotten my promise to you. You are my world and now Her Eminence, Lady Cardinal’s Light is my sword. That same Light is within you Link. You need simply reach past the Darkness and take hold of it. Listen to the song that rises from it and let my sword free you from your prison.”

“Reach past the Darkness…?”

Lifting her left hand, Link looked down at it and knew the darkness she called upon when she opened an Ambrosial Gate with it. Snapping the fingers of her left hand she called up that darkness and opened the Ambrosial Gate it possessed. The gate glowed in her hand like a soft light and she could feel the darkness that swirled within that she had to force to the side to draw in Nectar. But it was not Nectar that she was looking for, but light buried deep within the darkness. The Light that Elliot spoke of. The Light that would save her.

“A light within the darkness behind the Gate that needs to be reached…”

Bringing up her right hand, Link held the Ambrosial Gate between them. Bringing the middle finger and thumb of her right hand together she prepared to snap her fingers.

“If that’s the case, then I just need to open a second Gate. The Gate that goes to this Light inside of me.”

Embracing her idea, Link envisioned with all of her scattered mind the Light she sought and snapped the fingers of her right hand.


Within the cockpit of his Dolmen, Elliot watched the Beast of Darkness above him as it had grown still and silent. He was not smiling however as he had no way of knowing if Link would succeed before the Darkness became the threat that Hazel feared it would.

“Please Link, I know you can do it.”

Despite Elliot’s faith in Link, nothing seemed to happen for a long time. Then he saw it. A soft light, barely perceptible, began to grow within the heart of the Beast of Darkness.

“Yes… Yes! She did it! She did it! Yes!”

“I wouldn’t be so excited just yet Elliot.”

“What do you mean Feast?’

“Look.”

Feast’s arm rose up next to Elliot’s head and with an extended finger pointed up towards the Light that Elliot had been celebrating the sight of. Following with his eyes, Elliot could not be sure what had gone wrong but the light was not stable. It grew rapidly and trembled violently before suddenly exploding into a column that pierced the night sky and face of Icarus both. Elliot would have been caught in the beam had his instincts not allowed him to pilot the Dolmen out of the way. The Foreigner city was less fortunate and turning back to look at the column of light it was impossible not to recognize the destruction it wrought.

“What just happened…

Staring breathlessly at the last traces of the Darkness and the explosions that tore through the height of the Foreigner city, Elliot questioned what it was he was looking at. Those who had the answers were not present, though they all knew exactly what it was they saw. Balgun, Bellson, and Hazel, were reminded of that day some twenty years ago when a Poltergeist that resembled the Beast of Darkness that held Link was annihilated by a similar beam of light. Watching the light from the deck of the airship, Bellson could not help but breakout laughing even as Bird and the airship crew feared for their lives before that light.

“You fool Hazel. Mote hid her child right under your nose and the boy who wields Cardinal’s Light defends them as you did her. Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha! Ahahahaha! Finally, I’ve found it. The Light of Hope! Now my crusade can begin at–

Bellson stopped short as he noticed that there was something wrong with the column of light. It seemed to be straining and splintering and before he could utter a word in question it exploded into the shape of a great, leafless tree.

Swelling hundreds of fold in size the column of light became as the trunk of a tree of pure light from which thousands of branches arced across the sky and were doubled by roots through the face of Icarus. The light consumed all that it touched. The land itself, the Foreigner city it completely annihilated along with the Poltergeist within, the airship occupied by Bird and Bellson, Balgun and his mobile fortress, the Mouser brothers who watched from the lip of the crater the Foreigner city had rose from, Elliot and his Dolmen, and Melody who screamed in utter anguish and despair at the disappearance of her best friend within the light.

~ We were so naïve.
We followed a Foreigner city to adventure and were thrust into the future unprepared.
We were so ignorant that we tried to wield powers we did not understand.
We didn’t understand what it meant to be Sa·B·ers.
We didn’t understand the terror that Cardinal’s Light brought.
We didn’t understand a thing.
No, we understood that we were there the day that Light became a portent of destruction.
We were there the day the Lucifalz appeared.
Where were you the day it spread its branches across the sky and through the face of Icarus?
Where were you the day after?
Was the world still the world you knew?
Can you honestly remember what happened that day?
Do you still dream as I do of the world as it was before Light changed everything?

Those Who Watch the Sky - End



Copyright © 2019 Joshua D Tarwater

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

025 Those Who Watch the Sky - 25

022 Those Who Watch the Sky - 22

001 Those Who Watch the Sky - 01