071 Encounters · 6


Encounters · 6
Lonely Root Colony
Early Autumn ~ Morning, Dust storm
Silence save the howling wind
Lush vegetation torn about
Hints of light both golden and red
The Chapel standing tall over the abyss
No sign of anyone save the nuns of the mobile fortress  
“I



‘m impressed heretic. I was for certain that you would have charged forth blindly in search of the man who brought you here.”

“I’d have to be a pretty dumb adventurer to just charge out like that. I may not be all put together in here, but even I know better than that.”

Pointing at her head as she smiled at Maye, Chain dismissed her cape to prevent the wind tugging at it from pulling her off balance. On her other side, Finch, now dressed in a white button up shirt with puffy red shorts over a pair of black tights, shielded her eyes as the group of nuns joined Chain in crossing the distance from the Chapel to the great abyss that Deep Root Colony was built into. She scanned their surroundings for any signs of life but found none beyond the vegetation.

“This isn’t natural. Nothing seems to be living here.”

“The spirits of earth and fire seem comfortable enough out here. Though even they are avoiding the hole and the dark song it holds.”

Drop’s words drew the attention of the detachment of battle-ready nuns to the motes of light drifting about and the soft humanoid forms the size of a person’s thumb became apparent. Maye did not like the presence of so many and nearly snorted as she kicked the ground in response. Irritable as she was at the presence of the spirits, she was not so immature as to ignore the danger hinted at in Drops words.

“Could it be that an Ambrosial Beast dwells within that pit?”

“Likely. And if there is one it’ll likely be bringing lesser monsters with it out of Ambrosia.”

“Have you fought them before Miss Chain.”

“At least once. I think it was sometime between when I was infected and the church tortured me.”

Looking up, Chain tapped the side of her nose thoughtfully as she tried to recall the events to answer Finch. Her comment on being tortured by the church earned her a disapproving backwards glance from Maye who had been signaling to the other nuns. She completely failed to notice the response from Maye but did not fail to miss that the other nuns were starting to spread out.

“Shouldn’t you two go with them?”

“You have nothing to worry about heretic. As much as Mother Osprey has given you free reign of the Chapel, she is not unwise and gave ear to my concerns about letting you run free here.”

“So, since you brought it up, she assigned you to watch me?”

“Pretty much.”

Although Finch was eyeing the spirits as they passed the distance from which they would draw no closer, she answered Chain’s question and caused Maye to blush.

“It is only natural. After all, no one else has shown any concern for the danger presented by you heretic.”

“That’s not true Maye. Sister Pij did as well. Remember?”

Gritting her teeth and trying to contain her blushing as Finch humiliated her again, Maye harrumphed loudly and dismissively. Finch tried to contain a giggle with her hand irritating Maye further, but Chain’s lack of reaction kept the centaur from admonishing her icaran junior.

“I would appreciate it if you did not ignore me heretic. Especially after you demanded answers from me.”

Chain did not seem to hear Maye at all, and the centaur was about to lose her temper. Finch noticed the warning signs and jumped out in front to get Chain’s attention.

“Miss Chain, are you listening?”

“Sorry. It’s just hard to hear cause it’s so loud.”

“Loud?”

Finch and Maye exchanged curious looks before Finch commented on the wind which she had been subconsciously shouting over.

“It is very windy, but I didn’t think it was that loud.”

“Not the wind, the whispering?”

“Whispering?”

Prompted by Chain’s unexpected response, the two nuns again exchanged looks. Their confusion confused Chain and she pressed them with a question.

“You don’t hear it? It’s so loud though.”

“It’s the voices of the Lucifalz.”

It was Drop who brought some clarity to the situation and surprised everyone with her knowledge. Knowing there were further questions coming, Drop tried to head them off.

“Spirits can hear the song of all things and the Song of the Lucifalz is like the rain of a thousand, thousand whispers. We can hear it as we are one being in our song and the song of the servants of the Children of Ocia.”

“It bothers me to hear a heretical being speak the name of one of the Sister Goddesses in any tone but reverent fear.”

“Why should we fear she who mothers those we serve. Your lack of understanding our place in the world is confusing.”

“Then you claim to serve one of the Sister Goddesses?”

“Is that so hard to believe?”

“Yes.”

“I think it’s time to show off something even more unbelievable. It should even drown out the whispering.”

Interrupting Drop and Maye, Chain placed her left hand on her hip as she arrived at the lip of the abyss that held the Deep Root Colony. Maye was skeptical of Chain’s bold claim and wore her disbelief openly on her face. Finch was less clear on Chain’s meaning and sought clarification.

“Have you been here before Miss Chain? I though this was your first time visiting. Or was it something you read in the library?”

“Never. It is. And wrong. What I’m about to demonstrate is one of the most impressive natural wonders across the whole Face of Icarus. Though…”

Looking up at Maye, Chain noted that the centaur did not share her round icaran ears but had longer pointier ears that rested somewhere between an icaran and a nāti’s in length.

“… you should definitely protect your ears. You have better hearing than the average icaran, right?”

“You would not be wrong, heretic.”

“Then you should definitely cover them. What I’m about to summon has made the ears of the unprepared bleed.”

“Summon?”

Finch was confused but received no clarification as Chain leaned over the abyss and cupped her hands to her mouth. Taking a deep breath, she then shouted as loud as she could into it.

“SQU~AWK! I KNOW YOU’RE DOWN THERE! I BET YOU THOUGHT I WAS DEAD THOUGH, DIDN’T YOU Heh, heh! TOO BAD! I’M HARDER TO KILL THAN THAT AND NOW I’M HERE TO RESCUE YOU SO TELL ME WHERE YOU ARE!”

Leaning back and relaxing Chain, donned a proud smile as she listened to her voice echo down through the abyss. As the echoes faded though there was no response and she began to pout. Maye was not impressed and spoke as such.

“Was that really all? You thought this pit would make your voice louder or something? I must say I’m more disappointed than I expected to be.”

“Maye~…”

Chain was too bothered by the lack of any response to care about Maye’s insults like Finch, to an extent, and leaned back over the edge as she cupped her hands once more to her mouth.

“SQU~AWK! DDON’T IGNORE ME! I REALLY DID COME TO HELP YOU! I HEARD THE DISTRESS MESSAGE AND GOT HERE AS SOON AS I COULD! AND I KNOW YOU’RE NOT DEAD! YOU’RE TOO MUCH OF A COWARD TO HANG AROUND AND LET SOMETHING KILL YOU! I BET THAT’S WHY YOU’RE STAYING QUIET TOO! YOU DON’T WANT TO GIVE AWAY YOUR HIDING SPOT! WELL I CAN’T HELP YOU IF YOU DON’T AND I DON’T WANT TO LOOK OVER THIS WHOLE PIT TO FIND YOU! IT’S WAY TO BIG! HAVE YOU SEEN HOW BIG IT IS WELL IT DOESN’T MATTER! I KNOW JUST HOW TO GET YOU TO RESPOND! BELIEVE IT OR NOT BUT I’M NOT HERE ALONE! THE ONLY THING IS, THE PEOPLE WITH ME DON’T BELIEVE THAT YOU’RE SHOUTING IS ALL THAT IMPRESSIVE! I TRI–!”

“WHA~~~~~T!!!!!”

The shrill voice of a young nāti man cut Chain off as it exploded out of the abyss as though it were the abyss itself that yelled. The very air trembled from the force and Maye reared back in both shock and pain as her eardrums felt as though would not just rupture but burst from out of her skull. She was not the only member of a race with better hearing than the average icaran to recoil from the shout and every nun who joined Chain outside of the Chapel looked upon the abyss with utmost astonishment. Even being prepared for it, Chain had not covered her ears and her eyes watered as she smiled proudly. The voice was not done however as it seemed to be driven on by pride of its own and continued in a disbelieving tone.

“WHAT IDIOT WOULD FAIL TO REALIZE WHO IT IS THAT YOU SPEAK OF?‼ HOW IGNORANT AND OBLIVIOUS COULD THEY BE TO DOUBT THAT WITH MY SKILL I COULD SHAKE THE VERY HEAVENS?‼”

The boasting of the owner of the voice was not without merit as massive chunks of earth were shaken free from the walls of the abyss and the ground itself seemed to tremble as though it would give way at any time from the acoustic assault. Even as the shouting ceased the air and earth both continued to tremble under the force of the echoes that followed it and more than one of the nuns present, Maye included, found that their more sensitive ears were indeed bleeding. Lowering her now bloody hands from her bleeding ears, Maye looked upon Chain with total bewilderment.

“What on the Face of Icarus was that It couldn’t have possibly been human

“Just a friend.”

“That was amazing!”

Whereas Maye was in shock from both the power of the voice and her bleeding ears, Drop and Finch shared in an exclamation of amazement. Drop had more to add though as she did share Chain’s memories and knew she should have been expecting it as well.

“It is one thing to remember it as memories of ours before we were as we are now, but to experience it! It truly is a wonder!”

“Heh heh! I told you, though everyone may want to cover their ears again. He isn’t done.”

Amazement gave way to terror and Drop and Finch wasted no time in protecting their ears with their hands. Even Chain covered her ears and braced herself for the second assault that she knew would be directed at her in particular. The sight of Chain covering her ears made up for Maye not being able to hear her over the ringing in her ears and she wasted no time protecting them. As the other nuns had not taken their eyes off the abyss yet, they saw Chain and the others protecting their ears and followed suit. Then the abyss shouted in rage.

“YOU COLOSSAL IDIOT‼ DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOU’VE DONE?‼THIS IS WHY I CAN’T STAND YOU‼ YOU’RE ALWAYS ON ABOUT SOME MAD ADVENTURE OR ANOTHER REGARDLESS of THE DANGER‼ NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE AND HAVE MADE ME GIVE AWAY MY LOCATION YOU BETTER NOT BE WASTING TIME AND ARE ALREADY ON YOUR WAY‼ AND YOU BETTER BE PREPARED FOR AN EARFUL WHEN YOU GET HERE AND SAVE ME‼ AND I WILL ACCEPT NO EXCUSES‼ NOT EVEN THE ENTRANCES BEING DESTROYED‼ DON’T MAKE ME WAIT ANY LONGER THAN I ALREADY HAVE‼”

As the owner of the voice seemed to have finally finished, Chain lowered her hands from her ears and smiled nervously. Looking around to check on the nuns she laughed apologetically. The nuns were not the only ones put off by what Chain had brought about as down deep in the abyss, the shadow that had slaughtered almost all who had entered Deep Root Colony clutched at his helmeted head as he leaned against a wall hidden from the light of the day. Despite the obvious pain and disorientation he suffered from, he still laughed menacingly.

“Hehehehehe… Worry not little one, you no longer matter. You have served your purpose and the Light is at last here. And so much greater than I could have hoped for. A true Child of Her Light at last. It has been worth it, the torment I have suffered at your hands little one for my reward is the most worthy of prey. Hehehehehe…”



Copyright © 2019 Joshua D Tarwater

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