072 Encounters · 7

Encounters · 7

hough Squawk demanded not to be left waiting, he and the shadow that awaited Chain down in Deep Root Colony would have to continue waiting. Repelling into the abyss proved too dangerous as giant bats of ash and embers attacked all who tried. There numbers were too great to expend ammunition on them and the nuns refused to use magic to engage the monsters. As they had need to explore the colony themselves and the nāti who Chain had come to rescue was still alive, they still needed to make a way in. The solution they eventually came up with involved a supply entrance large enough for Dolmen to walk through were it not filled with collapsed earth only a few dozen meters into the ground.

- So how did I end up having to clear a path? -

“Because for all of the Dolmens that the Chapel can hold, yours is the only one we have Finch.”

Finch’s complaint was instantly countered by Maye. Lacking an appropriate comeback, all she could do was continue working to remove the debris with her Dolmen, her pot armored machine easily making short work of the blocked passage. She did not need to clear much before some of the smaller nuns who were there to seek out the Lucifalz made their way over the top of the debris and disappeared within the colony. Chain wanted to join them but was held back by Maye.

“You may be handy with a sword heretic, but this is what we do; seek out Lucifalz saplings and reclaim the Light. Your friend will be safe with the Sisters and Daughters who are here for that very purpose.”

“I don’t understand why I should have to wait. Believe it or not, but I spent my whole childhood training for delving into ancient ruins like this.”

Pouting, Chain tried to argue her ability but did not convince Maye to budge in the least.

“Did you not bequest Mother Osprey for our aid heretic? You shall wait until Finch and I can accompany you or the Lucifalz is dealt with before you venture forth.”

“That’s completely unfair. I told Squawk I was going to rescue him and now I have to wait!”

- Sorry Miss Chain. I’m not nearly as good a pilot as you so I can’t clear this rubble any faster. -

Offering an apology as she worked, Finch tried to make Chain feel better. It didn’t particularly work, and Chain pouted even more irritably. Clutching at her left temple she spied her surroundings and the pile of debris that stood between her and the ancient halls of Deep Root Colony. It didn’t particularly stand in her way, as though she was possessed of a fine bosom, she was little more than a well-shaped stick of feminine form and could have easily slipped through the passageways made available to the nuns who had already rushed ahead. It was more that the available openings could fit neither Finch’s twenty-five-meter tall humanoid machine that she piloted, or more immediately, a centaur even if they were too small for an adult to ride her like a horse. It was aggravating and Chain was growing impatient, but even as impatient as she was, she did not fail to notice that three of them were alone within the service entrance by the time she finished looking around and that the pile of debris did not seem to be load bearing. Stepping away from Maye and back towards the surface Chain called out to Finch.

“Hey! Finch! Does the Dolmen say if that is supporting the ceiling

- Hm? Let me see… No Miss Chain. I should actually be able to move faster if I don’t have to be as careful. -

“Hold on for just a moment.”

“What are you planning now, heretic.”

“Heh heh! You’ll have to wait and see.”

Leaving Maye hanging with just her smile and a knowing finger shake Chain turned her attention to Drop who was floating beside her head.

“This is like when we met isn’t it? No life at all around, and spirits fleeing.”

“That is correct.”

“How did it happen again…?”

Taking her right elbow in hand, Chain tilted her head and tapped the side of her nose as she tried to grasp at her scattered memories.

“It was electricity wasn’t it? That the Ambrosial Beast that was eating everyone used.”

“Yes. I can still remember the tingly sensation.”

Drop shuddered and hugged herself as she recalled a feeling she found most unpleasant. Trying her hand at thinking and putting together the puzzle of her thoughts, Chain considered what it was she wanted to do.

“Those were earth and fire spirits outside, right?”

“They were enveloped in the verses of the song of the Children of Icarus.”

“There are verses?”

Chain looked bewildered at her tiny mermaid double as she was faced with knowledge that she never possessed yet the spirit always had. Drop was all too glad to share that information with Chain though as they were one and the same.

“Yes. There are many verses, and not just for the servants of the children, but for the wild ones and the dark ones, and for all living things. The Dark Song that fills this place along with the voices of the Lucifalz are also layered with verses.”

“That’s interesting…”

Pinching her chin, Chain pouted and thought even harder about what she wanted to do. The mental gymnastics and puzzle construction was trying her patience however, and her pout grew more severe by the moment. Groaning with irritation she asked Drop another question.

“I can’t seem to put my lessons back together properly right now. I think I’m too excited and impatient both, so let me ask you; what could drive out both earth and fire?”

“Water could easily do so.”

“No, it won’t work if its water.”

“Oh, I see. With that desire of ours the nature of the song of the servants of the Children of Ocia would be a problem. Though, we can become as one with both.”

“That’s good…”

“If you’re talking about making contracts with other spirits, it is not good, and I absolutely forbid you from considering such.”

Maye stepped up to Chain and pulled the maid from her thoughts with her disdain of what she presumed was Chain’s plan. Chain seemed surprised that she stepped up to her so aggressively and looked up at her curiously. Though Maye was not dressed in her habit, she was still a nun of the Cardinal Church and Chain had not already forgotten why the nuns had joined her in such number. Her realization was naturally shared with Drop and they both provided another answer to Chain’s initial question.



Maye stepped back in confusion as Chain’s voice assaulted her side by side with the simple word. Maye’s reaction was insignificant to Chain, and she smiled as she thanked the centaur.

“Thanks Maye. You really helped me out there. Now I know what incantation to use.”

“Incantation? You don’t mean to tell me that you can cast magic.”

“Hm? You didn’t realize? I thought you saw me wipe out the Skull Leather Bandits. Oh well. Just step back and watch, though you might want to step really far back. I haven’t really had all that much time to practice and how I cast is kind of dangerous.”

“Why do I have a bad feeling about this.”

“Heh heh! Just watch. Drop be ready.”

“Of course.”

Extending her left arm straight out in front of her Chain turned her palm upwards. Not sure what was about to happen Maye slowly backed away watching as Chain closed her hand in preparation to snap her fingers. Without further ceremony she did just that and a distinctive sound filled the air as a tiny mote of light appeared above her palm.

- What just happened? The Dolmen is telling me an Ambrosial Gate just opened nearby. -

“An Ambrosial Gate…? Impossible!”

- Maye? What’s going on? -

Maye did not respond to Finch as she could not pull her eyes away from the light above Chain’s upturned palm. It was a known fact that while all mankind possessed Ambrosial Gates, that their gates, like all living things, were internal and when opened filled the body with Nectar. With the Nectar that filled their body mankind and monsters alike could cast magic, limited only by the amount of Nectar their body could at hold at one time, death being a likely consequence of trying to exceed that limit. Only the most skilled of wizards could expel raw Nectar from there bodies and shape spells beyond there natural limits. Yet Chain with but a snap of her fingers had opened an Ambrosial Gate directly outside of her body. It was unheard of in all the study of Ambrosia, Nectar, and magic. That Chain also seemed to be in total control and that no Nectar was spilling forth with disastrous effects through the open gate seemed equally preposterous. Yet Chain did not seem bothered at all, though as her cape flared into being from her shoulder blades and she closed her eyes she was unquestionably possessed of a greater calm and focus then normal. Then the words fell from her lips and her incantation began, but Chain did not recognize her words as an image of a dragon of Darkness filled her mind and the whispers of the Lucifalz became as one voice.

“~ Oh lord of Darkness, Mother of Dragons who feasts on the Light.
Take this tiny light and smother it.
Open wide the gates to your power as I pledge myself to honor it. ~”

The light flickered and wavered as Chain spoke and a shadow swirled to life within it. Writhing violently, it spread out like spilling blood, consuming the light and overflowing from the gate above Chain’s hand. Chain’s hand could not contain the flowing darkness either and it spilled onto the ground, steam rising up from where it touched. Maye and Finch stared on in horror at the unnatural Darkness, and the strain on Chain’s face as she tried to break away from the incantation she cast terrified them further. Maye nearly moved to try and save Chain from herself but Drop acted before she did and swam about to opposite of Chain from the Darkness consumed Ambrosial Gate. Extending her hands towards the gate, Drop began an incantation of her own.

“~ Servants of the Children of Icarus.
Heed the call of your sister, a Servant of the Children of Ocia.
Come hither to the Darkness that only true Light can pierce.
Feast on this Darkness and test the worthiness of the one who calls it. ~"

At first nothing noticeable was caused by Drop’s incantation, but then motes of golden and crimson light began to drift in from the entrance of the supply corridor. The spirits converged on the Ambrosial gate above Chain’s hand and soon it buried it. The mass of spirits continued to grow until it was large enough to physically touch Drop, and then it vanished leaving no trace of it or the Darkness Chain had summoned. Freed from her incantation Chain fell to her hands and rump gasping for breath. Turning her massive sea gem green orbs onto Drop, she desperately sought an answer.

“What was that That wasn’t the incantation I wanted to use! Why did I feel like that glowing tree was trying to talk through me but was consumed by whatever “that” was

“You’re not telling me you don’t know

Maye scoffed at Chain’s reaction, even as she trembled seeing the terror in Chain’s eyes. Drop put herself between the two maids however with arms spread wide and shook her head fiercely.

“She cannot know. Only the Ambrosial parts of her can understand, and even then, we are so fragmented it is hard to piece it together. Only instinct allowed us to act and the voice of ours held captive by the Lucifalz.”

“What are you talking about you devil…

As terrified of Drop as she was whatever it was that Chain had instigated, Maye pulled her rifle from her back and aimed it at Drop. Drop held her ground and stared at the centaur with the same face that was trying to comprehend what had just happened behind her. Gritting her teeth, the centaur took several uneasy steps back. Shaking her head again, Drop stared down Maye as she spoke.

“This is hard for you because humankind is ignorant today. You cannot pull the trigger though as the nun in white has not said you could. Honor her and also us. Speak of this to no one save the nun in white. This one of us too shall speak with her, but first we must accomplish what we set out to. We have the means to enter now, though it is best that we only cast a spell for this purpose until we have trained more. Our sword and bow will serve us better until then. Unless the source of this song of Darkness finds us.”

Copyright © 2019 Joshua D Tarwater


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