Friday, December 10, 2010

The Spheres of Galia Part 5

Violent skirmishes raged across the Spheres between the supporters of Olslo and the warlords they accused of trying to stifle the revelation of magickal knowledge. There were fires upon the grounds of carefully tended manors and several of the largest squares were littered in glass, metal and blood. Amidst the panic and smoke, the Chamber of Windows lay melting. Once a glory or architecture, it bubbled in a pile of iridescent goo.

Beside the molten walls, wooden stakes had been erected on the scaffolding where condemned criminals had once been humanely vaporized, but now, the heads of councilmen from both the Red Hat and Yellow Hat parties oozed their blood. Smoke rose from the smoldering ruins of the capital city and lines of refugees marched towards the forests of Avin where temporary dwellings were being established.

The Lady Rob, along with other surviving council members found herself sequestered within the safety of the Towers of Ral, the sanctuary of the Kingdom’s most powerful magicians. Many of her fellows were distracted beyond reason. Grown men, including Philip the Old, were reduced to sniveling wretches. Most had not noticed the terrible inconsistencies of the reports that blamed the Lucen Scribes and Vitnutian terrorists for the attack on the Chamber of Windows. The Lady Rob herself had met the resurrected leader of the Lucens, Olslo, and found it impossible to believe that such a person could be responsible for the violent attack. His eyes shone with something alive beyond the simple need for violence. He was not a creature of quick reaction or anger, there was no need in him for sticks or guns. There was something else that reached out to her, coming out through his eyes and into her, something so fierce and wild and wise that it could only turn into itself, becoming soft.

Having been present during the attack, she had seen with her own eyes the strange creatures with shiny black armor that tore the heads from Council members. Her account of the event had already been written off as the results of hysteria, but the Lady Rob knew her mind to be sound.

Exploring her thoughts as she wandered the white halls of the towers, she made her way into the forbidden western tower where the magicians were gathered in the Kingdom’s defense. Here, she overheard the warlords and magicians making preparations to cut off the magickal energy necessary for Olslo's work with the Lucens and others throughout the Three Spheres. Listening, she was filled with a sense of dread.

In many ways, Olslo and his ideals of freedom and equality reminded her of her father and his disgrace. As a young woman, she had been devastated by her family’s loss of status. She had been little moved by her father’s lofty dreams and had worked her whole life to repair his name. Now, picturing Harrold’s head on a stake and remembering with pain her father’s own vaporization on the same lucite platform in front of the Chamber of Windows, she felt her hands begin to tremble. The hot tears she had never shed over her father’s execution fell from her eyes. Her body began to shake, a cold terror began to move through her, starting in her fingers, toes and back, and moving inward, journeying quickly towards her chest and the heart that lay protected. With each falling tear she released the locked thoughts and visions of the kingdom. It was not as pure and true as she had pretended it was, as she had wanted it to be. It had not been her father who had failed so many years ago, it had been her own heart and the heart of The Old Kingdom.

The Lady Rob made her way to one of the public communication portals, tears flowing unabated over her reddened cheeks, hot salty tears dowsing the velveteen fabric of her dress. She established a connection with the Lucen Scribes and relayed to them all that she had learned in the west wing.

Councilman Argus had not been present at the Chamber of Windows. Now a guest in the house of Lord Avin where the King himself was taking refuge, he expressed surprise at the scale of the astral attacks that had targeted major astral compounds of the Kingdom within the last 8 hours. Many high ranking guests of Lord Avin were convened in his dining hall, still dining on game hens and pudding despite the violence.

"It's truly what the scribes would call an astral war. What is happening is just astonishing," Councilman Argus said from behind his dark glasses. Lord Avin shook his head, “they’ve had the power to do this sort of thing all along. This is their response to the attack of our magicians on their Lucen pools.”

“You mean their counter-attack,” Councilman Argus corrected harshly. “They used brute force to destroy our capital city.”

“We have reports coming in from reputable sources that the attack on the capitol was launched by a third party,” Lord Avin said firmly but softly.

“You mean the account of the traitor Lady Rob.” The retired torturer glared, “who is clearly an ally to the Lucens.”

“There are other accounts,” Lord Avin answered softly and the High Priestess entered the dining hall, her purple robe rustling as she bowed before the king.

“A young boy suspected of being involved in the magickal attacks was just captured in the Cold Reefs an hour ago and is currently under interrogation.”

“Will he lead us to Olslo?” Dominious asked.

“It is quite possible,” the High Priestess told him.

“And the Lady Rob?” he pressed, “has she revealed anything about her connection with the scribes?”

“No majesty, but we will continue questioning her.”

“What about our plan, have we been able to shut down the Lucen pools?” Dominious leaned eagerly forward in his chair.

Shaking her head, the High Priestess continued, “Olslo's actions have thrown all magickal operations into disarray. Our magicians are working to restore some of our own astral chambers. When we have recovered these we will resume our attacks on theirs.”

“And our people? Those taking refuge in Avin, are they taken care of?”

“Our Lord Avin has been most gracious in opening his lands to our displaced citizens. Most are already sheltered and their wounds are being tended to. I personally have been amongst them, administering to their spiritual needs and listening to their accounts. Most of them cannot understand what is happening, but they are angry nonetheless. They will be glad when Olslo is brought to justice.”

In the dungeon of the Towers of Ral, Lady Rob collapsed upon the stone floor of her cell where her keepers had left her. Beyond the bars of her cell, she watched them grab hold of the boy and carry him away. She wished to scream, more than anything, she wished to scream, but her tongue was swollen and saliva ran from her mouth onto the cold stone. Completely paralyzed, she lay on the ground floating in a state of near bliss now that an eternity of pain had come to an end. Vaguely, she could recall having done something to have earned her misery, but it was a blur. All that was real was the pain inflicted by The Torturer. That was all that had ever been, all that could ever be now. She wished dimly that the strange boy could be spared the experience. Then she lost consciousness.

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