Buried At Sea: Between A Rock And A Dark Place

Being in an endless, lightless space, has its difficulties, for sure.  It’s quiet, not much to look at, and can be frightening as the fear of the unknown; what is really out there – sets in.

For a normal person, that is.

Mejoltman, being the un-normal person she is, has spent enough time inside the darkness, enough so that she has come to realize that while she is trapped inside this ‘hell’, it still abides by certain laws.  For instance, the darkness, as she believes, is the imaginary manifestation of Malakai, or more precise, the darkness that is Malakai.

Spending more and more time in here, she has begun to understand the properties and physics of this place, and has begun to mold it to her own liking, despite Malakai’s attempts at trying to limit what she can and cannot do.  It is a realm of the mind, therefore imagination is key.

The dark passages and lightless world shines a little more brightly now as Mejoltman, working within the said parameters, has opened up an area where she can obtain various memories of them both – mostly Torr as Malakai’s stubbornness has prohibited her from viewing much from his perspective.

Opening her eyes, she looks around at her small, grayish spot in the darkness, and cocks her head to the side as she digests the memory she had just watched.  Bringing up her right hand, it is gripped around a crystalline object, pointed at both ends, a glow radiating from it that illuminates her small alcove just a bit more.

“That one was more recent.”  She absently says, her voice sounding muffled inside this place. “A few days later was the Dreamscape ritual”  Still holding the object, Mejo taps the one side against her chin as she is in deep thought. Without warning, she suddenly plunges the crystal into the darkness like a dagger, using her will – and surprise – to tap in to Malakai’s images before he can sense she is doing so…

“This feeling, it is strange.”  Torr/Malakai says.

“You will feel the discomfort at first, but soon you will get used to sharing the same body.”  A female voice says soothingly. The imagery is foggy and smudged, but Mejo can make out Malakai and the female sitting in what might be perceived as a cave.

“How do I keep control?”  He asks. “How do I shut him out when he tries to come back?”

“Malakai.”  The female says with a chuckle.  “I cannot give you all the answers.  I am bound to not interact in any way.  If I go against that order, I could cease to exist.”  The image begins to fade, but what happens is the female, spreading her dark wings, caresses Malakai’s face before the image fades to darkness…

“Damn you!”  Malakai roars, throwing Mejo out of the memory and back to her current standing.  “The suddenness surprised me, but they are not for your viewing pleasure.”

“But you cannot deny that your idea of keeping me trapped in here is not going as well as you had initially thought.”  Mejo states. “The longer I am stuck down here, the more access I will gain, and then I will find a way back to my own mind where I can inform everyone of what you are doing.”

There is a long moment of silence.  “Mejo, Mejo. Tell me, oh ancient wonder, what do you think I am up to?”

Mejo laughs, bluffing, but not wanting to let it show.  “If I told you, you would just alter accordingly so my attempts will be for naught.”

“Hmmph.”  Malakai, seeming unconvinced, utters…

* * * * *

Ever since that sudden disconnect from Mejoltman, Blue Diamond has had a hard time in figuring out the cause.  She can see Mejo lying on the cot in her scrying attempts, but there is only the shell of the woman there. While alive, yes, her mind is void of anything and that is what has her in a tailspin.  As she tries several sentient options, she is too caught up to notice someone has paid her a little visit.

“My, my, my.”  The visitor states.  “It looks as if, for once, you are the one struggling.”

With a snarl, Blue looks over to see Bladen’Kurst inside her home, the demon queen running her nails along the skulls upon the arm rests of Blue’s throne.  “What do you want?” She snaps.

Looking hurt, and stopping the caressing of the skulls, Bladen’Kurst looks up at Blue.  “Ouch!” She grins, the toothy smile replacing the hurt expression. “Is that any way to treat your sister?”

* * * * *

“Zoey, what, if anything, can you tell me about…  You know…” Ivon prods, the image of Zoey sitting on the same spot she died upon.

“Before I passed over you mean.”  Zoey clarifies.

“Yes.”  Ivon nods slowly.  “We know how your body was found, but we do not know how it got that way.  If you could share anything, any minute detail, we might be able to help you.”

Zoey laughs.  “Ivon, I don’t know how you go about helping a spirit.  I am intangible, you could pass right through me and only get a cold chill for your trouble.  I don’t know what you hope to accomplish in that.”

Ivon concedes the point with a nod.  Instead she changes gears and tries a different approach.  “Then how about you tell us who did it so we can serve justice on whomever is deserving it.”

Zoey laughs again.  “Even if the answer is not one you are going to like?”  She slowly turns to look at Ivon.

“Yes.  I am well beyond the thought of bad news because one of us aboard the ship is the one responsible for your untimely end.”

“I will only tell it to you.”  Zoey says, her head motioning towards Tarnaa still back in the shadows, still silent and still waiting.

“You mean Tarnaa?”  Ivon asks.

Hearing the mention of her name, Tarnaa takes a step closer, her face now barely visible in the dim candle light.  “Yes?”

Ivon thinks it over before she decides to abide by Zoey’s wishes.  She turns to look at Tarnaa. “She wants you to leave before she gives me the information.”

Like being slapped in the face, Tarnaa takes a full step so she can be seen in the light.  “What should that matter?” She asks. “I cannot hear what she has been saying, but by your responses, she appears to be dodging the question.  Just make her tell you. Do that thing you do, and lets leave this place. The odor of death is still present.”

“Tarnaa!”  Ivon, wide eyed, scolds.  “I think I now see why the little girl left when ever you came into the room at the inn.  I can sense much negative energy from you. If the spirit wishes you to leave, I think that is a small request we can fulfill.”

“She is right, you know.”  Zoey interrupts.

“What?”  Ivon asks, shocked and confused.  “About?”

“I don’t have to tell you anything.”  She chuckles, the laughter not as it was before, this one more eerie and strained.  “You are not capable of ordering a spirit to do so. If I do not want you to know an answer you seek, then I can deny you the answer, or…”  She leaves it hanging in the air. “I could simply lie about it all together.”

That thought had not crossed her mind.  While she conversed with the girl in the white dress, she was forthcoming with the answers.  Seeing it as it is now, Minnow had given the information freely and of her own accord. Why then, is Zoey being difficult?

“So, you will not tell us, is that what I am getting from you?”  Ivon asks, feeling the situation change before her.

“Maybe I will.”  Zoey answers cryptically.  “Or maybe I won’t.”

* * * * *

“So these are the scales you need?”  Red asks Royal, the two of them down in Royal’s secret catacombs.  Taking one hell of a risk, Royal had brought her here, blindfolded so to hide the exact entrance, feeling she could use the strong woman as her personal bodyguard.  After all, spells need to be cast some distance away from your foe, now she has something to take care of the close quarters combat. Not that she isn’t good – she is still an assassin after all – but now there is one extra layer of protection.

“Yes.”  Royal answers, looking to the tiled floor, hoping she has done the addition of Red correctly or else…  “I said do not touch anything!”

Red nods and removes her hand from the table holding the floating dragon scales inside the glass vases.  “You said you needed six. Yet if a blue is all you need, then your count is wrong. You will still need another.  What color, then, is left?”

Looking at the scales, Royal grins as Red is a dragon killer, but must not be up to date on their lore.  “You are correct.” Royal begins. “But also wrong.” Royal clarifies as Red turns to her confused. “While, yes, I do need a blue dragon scale to complete my collection, the table does not contain a certain ingredient.  As you see, a black, red, copper, white, and green are all there.”

“But still, your count…”

“A dragon has scales, yes.  And every color, except the blue, is represented.”  Before Red can interrupt her again, Royal adds. “All the living ones, anyway.”  Seeing the puzzled look, Royal grins again. “An undead dragon does not have scales.  They are void of flesh, since the flesh would have rotted away leaving…?”

“Just bone.”

“Correct!”  Royal claps with the word.  “Tezmekilla, the Dragon God you heard of in the shop was – is – an undead, majestic creature.”

“A dead dragon.”  Red begins, trying to keep up with Royal’s logic.  “Brought back to life, will be an un, or would wit just be a normal living dragon?”  She slowly looks up to Royal. “Right?”

“No.”  Royal sighs.  “Tezmekilla is an undead dragon.  It is, and always will be. When I resurrect it, it will still be an undead dragon.”

“Then why the other colored scales?  What are they needed for?” Red asks, looking back at the jars.

“The summoning requires a scale of each dragon.  They give it the opportunity to break through the seals upon this world and allow it to come back to the land of the living.”

“It makes sense now.”  Red agrees. “But you now need a blue scale and, what, a bone of the undead dragon god?  Do you know where to find one of them?”

“Heh!”  Royal boasts and pushes her cloak to the side to reveal a white wand.  “Right here.” Red looks to the wand, then realizes it is different than the real wand on her other hip.

* * * * *

“Sister…”  Blue echoes Bladen’Kurst’s sentiment.  “Again, what are you doing here?”

Bladen’Kurst goes as far as to sit upon Blue’s throne, positioning herself to best feel comfortable.  “I come to you, as an enemy – always – but this time I come to check up on you. Losing Greg hurt you deeper than you will admit and now it appears,”  She leans to the right to view the scrying of Mejoltman lying on the table. “That you have lost another of your allies on your watch.”

Blue, angered that BK is in her throne – sibling or not – feels that lines are being crossed.  “You know, as well as I do, that we cannot physically interfere in this, yet you seem to be pretty smug about all of this.”  She puts her hands on her hips. “Out, now.”

BK grins, re-positions, then laughs.  “Take your chair. It is uncomfortable anyway.”

Glaring at her sister as she returns to her throne, Blue looks to see where her ‘security system’ in the form of her blue dragon has gone and allowed this one to enter inside without a threat.

Sensing her anguish, BK nods.  “Don’t worry. Your pet…”

“Companion.”  Blue counters, that steely gaze on the verge of explosion.  “I do not claim ownership of the dragon.

BK, with her hands up, lets it go.  “I have cast an illusion upon the room.  He is there, but to his eyes, he only sees the empty chamber.”  She leans in closer. “That is if he actually wakes up. Quite a lazy one you have there.”

“Either tell me why you are here, or leave.”  Blue demands, the whole thing taxing her patience.

Leaning against a portion of a stone pillar, BK sighs.  “Always the same with you. ‘Get to the point, or get out of my life.’  Don’t tell me you are still sore over the fact that Greg chose to sail with ME those many, many years ago?”  BK, at any mention of the man, knows it is a dagger in Blue’s back, the twisting only intensifying as the years have gone by.

Still trying to remain calm, Blue takes a jab of her own.  “Yeah, and see where that got him? Dead and forever lost.”

“Not so.”  BK, stealing Blue’s thunder, is quick to put in.

“What do you speak of?”  Blue demands, the single thought that he may be alive somewhere out there, brings her back to the edge of control.

“Tsk, tsk.”  Bladen’Kurst taunts, wagging her finger back and forth.  “Blue, you know me better than that to put all my cards down on the table.  We will save that for another day. What I will share with you, before I take my leave, is there is a storm brewing, Sister.  It would be wise to prepare for it.”

“HA!”  Blue exclaims.  “Whatever plans you and Torrinda, Malakai – whatever he is called, will be thwarted by those you underestimate.”

“Oh?”  BK gasps.  “You?” She chuckles, the ease at which she laughs puts Blue a little off.  “You thought that he was my only piece on the board?”  She laughs again, that wicked, mocking laughter.  “Dear Blue, while you took one under your wing, and it appears she is unable to play, I have several at MY disposal.”

Gritting her teeth, Blue sits there, acting like it is no problem at all.

“What do you know about Tezmekilla, Sis?”  BK asks, grinning as Blue’s eyes widen at the mention of the horrid creature!

* * * * *

“Why are you acting in this manner, Zoey?”  Ivon, feeling Zoey’s demeanor is so much different than she has become accustomed to.  Well, different that the cherub, Minnow anyway. “I figured you would want your killer brought to justice.”

Zoey’s image grins, her teeth turning sharp in the candlelight.  “Ivon, you have a lot to learn before it is all over. I like this game, however, so I will keep you guessing.  I will give you three questions. Will I answer them honestly, or…” She flashes the suddenly evil grin. “Or will I lie?”  Zoey’s form chuckles, the evil tones making Ivon’s spine crawl.

“Fine, spirit of Zoey.”  Ivon says, closing her eyes.  “Did your roommate, Arlynne do it?”

“Ah, ah, ah!”  Zoey plays, shaking her head.  “Ivon, let’s have more imagination than that.  This is all a game anyway. Life is best played with fun.”

Sighing, Ivon begins to feel annoyed, a feeling that bothers her more than she would like to admit.  “Did you feel pain, or was it over before you knew it?”

“Yes.”  Zoey replies.  “And no.” She grins, her eyes growing dark.  “That’s two Ivy, one left.”

“Two!?”  Ivon scoffs.  “I only asked one.”

“The way you structured it.”  Tarnaa suggests. “It was one question, yes, but two equal parts.”  She cannot see or hear Zoey’s conversation, but by the way Ivon is getting worked up over it, it is not going rather well.

A bubbling rage forms inside Ivon, the fact that she has always been calm and collected, purely pure, but this has her over the edge where she has never really been.  With a wild look in her eyes, she focuses in on Zoey. “Zoey, from the heavens above, you WILL answer me!”  Ivon practically yells, her voice tingling as the rage washes over her.  “Tell me now Zoey!”

The image of Zoey nearly recoils as the power behind the words strike a chord inside the spirit.

It feels compelled to answer her!

Tarnaa, squinting at the sight, has to focus as a light outline of a form takes shape beside Ivon, a shape she can only assume is the spirit of Zoey.  Not wanting to ruin what is going on, she remains perfectly still as to not interrupt.

“ZOEY!”  Ivon screams.  “Tell me who killed you!”  There is a hesitance, the spirit trying to shrug off it’s compellment, Zoey’s image cracking apart, the teeth disappearing and the eyes returning to normal.  “NOW!”

“The Queen of Demons!”  Zoey cries out as if she is in pain – and indeed she is and was.  “Bladen’Kurst!” It says, the spirit fading away. Before it does, Ivon catches a glimpse of the pureness of Zoey’s spirit, the young woman smiling and giving a slight nod to Ivon before she passes into the realm of peace.

Ivon, the exertion taking over, falls to one knee, Tarnaa, ever vigilant, there to make sure she is stable.  With what she just saw, all she can do is shake her head at the events before her.

“I don’t even know what to say to that.”  Tarnaa says, feeling Ivon’s labored gasps for air, the moisture from her body felt on Tarnaa’s exposed skin.

Through gulps of air, Ivon, too, is unsure what exactly had happened.  “It was strange.” She manages to say. “I… I felt a white hot anger inside of me.  I… It intensified with the way she was acting, until it could not be held back any longer.”

“Is she,”  Tarnaa looks around, the outlining aura no longer present.  “Gone?”

“I can say, for certain, yes.”  Ivon explains. “At the last minute I could feel, what I thought was an evil creeping in, taking more control of her, and when I was able to break through, I could feel her at peace.”

“Impressive.”

“I don’t know.”  Ivon replies, her shoulders slumping.  “Zoey asked if finding the truth meant knowing the possible horrible outcome, but I did not expect…”

“Bladen’Kurst.”  Tarnaa answers for her, yet confused.  “But, Torrinda. He killed her… Didn’t he?”

“Or so we all were meant to believe.”  Ivon quietly puts in. It doesn’t feel right since she has given her loyalty to him, but she honestly wonders how far down the rabbit hole will these answers take her.

“You don’t think he would be lying to us, to everyone, do you?”  Tarnaa, feeling as bad as Ivon, dares to ask. “Let us say, for hypothetical sake, he is lying to us all.  Does Huff know, or is she in on it as well?” Real fears begin to creep in as the unknown darkness seems to be spreading to each member of the Phoenix Rising in it’s own way.

“Let me see if I can get some more answers.”  Ivon says unexpectedly. “Maybe, now that Zoey is in a better place, she will be more willing to give more information.”

Unsure if she should, after being drained from the last time, Tarnaa wonders if it is a good idea.  What if she overexerts herself and passes on? “Do you think you should, so soon?” She pats Ivon’s shoulder.  “I mean, without resting first?”

Shaking her head before Tarnaa is even finished, Ivon shoots that notion down.  “No. If these items turn out to be true, would you not want to know sooner rather than later, when it is too late to do anything to stop what may come?”

“I’m just worried about your well being.”  Tarnaa explains. “That is all. We can face the darkness together.  My knee feels much better, so bring it on I say!”

“Thank you, my friend.  It is good to count you as an unwavering ally.”  Ivon closes her eyes in preparations for trying to call to Zoey.  “This might not even work.”

“With you, Ivon,”  Tarnaa says proudly.  “I believe it will.”

With a smile and a deep, calming breath, Ivon begins.  “Zoey, if you can hear me, I need to ask you one more question.”  Ivon clears her throat and her mind as she asks one more time. “Zoey, are you there?”

Nothing but the awkward silence.

Then…

“Ivon, Soul and Spirit Cleanser, I am here to answer your last question.”  An angelic voice says, her spirit slowly fading into focus. “Most Holy One, for future reference, you should protect yourself within a Ring of Protection.  Should a being of the Hell’s origin enter this world through your summoning, you will be able to contain it with in the circle.” Her wings spread suddenly as she finishes.  “Now, state that which you seek.”

Choked up by the thought of an angel coming to her, Ivon is at a loss for words, the angel beautiful and flawless, it’s clothing superbly made to flow with the gracefulness of such a heavenly creature.

“Ivon.”  Tarnaa intervenes, the warrior woman feeling the heavenly aura as keenly as Ivon.  Not seeing the angel, she knows she is in the presence of such a holy being. “Ivon, your question.”

“I…  I…”

The angel smiles and looks passed Ivon to Tarnaa, the instant she makes eye contact, the young woman can now see the angel in all her glory.  “Guardian Tarnaa.” She begins, Tarnaa joining Ivon – speechless and in total awe. “You and Ivonelfe, being this close, has been preordained. Your training as a youth back in your village was to prepare you for this task.”  Again the angel smiles as they both can’t seem to make words form in their mouths. “Keep her safe, Tarnaa. Earn your title of Guardian. She will need it in the days ahead. Now, if you would, please ask the question you had intended to ask the one you called Zoey.  And rest easy. The evil has been eradicated from her spirit and she walks above in perfect peace.”

Nudging Ivon, Tarnaa motions for her to ask so they do not waste any more of the angel’s time.  “My apologies.” Ivon bows slightly. “My question is, did Torrinda have anything to do with Zoey’s death?”  She bows again, not really knowing the proper etiquette while in the presence of an angel.

The angel tilts her head, her true self collecting the requested information.  When she come back, she relays her findings. “Yes.”

“I knew it!”  Tarnaa blurts out.  Then, feeling ashamed for cutting off the angel, Tarnaa covers her mouth with her hand.

“And no.”  The angel finishes, paying Tarnaa no mind.  With both women now confused by the proclamation, the angel elaborates.  “The one you call Torrinda, is a tortured soul. While he was physically present, he was not there.”  Fulfilling her answer, the angel nods and takes her leave, the angel simply fading away.

“What..?”  Tarnaa, reeling with everything, tries to form words.  “What did we just witness? An angel! Ivon, you summoned an angel!”

“I feel horrible.”  Ivon replies.

“In being powerful enough to summon a dang angel!?  Ivon, do you-”

“No.”  Ivon cuts in.  “While, yes, the fact that an angel, summoned or not, came to us, proves every fear we have imagined.”  She turns to Tarnaa, on the verge of tears. “Despite her claim upon the both of us, the simple matter of the angels now becoming involved just shows us how dark our path ahead really is.”  Taking a fresh breath of air, she begins to put all the pieces of info that they have received into place.

“Right.”  Ivon states when she has the beginning picture in her mind.  “We know several things now. For starters, Bladen’Kurst was not slain like we were lead to believe.”  Tarnaa nods. “Next, we know that Torr – no, Malakai – has probably put his nose where it doesn’t belong.  I do not know about the upcoming darkness, but I believe we have to alert everyone on what has transpired.”  

“Yes,”  Tarnaa agrees.  “But who else might be involved?  Huff, is a wild card. While she was turned by Malakai, I…  I just don’t know.”

“I think we leave her in the dark with this.”  Ivon states with pursed lips. “If we are wrong and she is involved?”  She shudders at the thought of being a snack. “But if she is not, the very thought could break her.”

“Then who do we start with?”  Tarnaa asks.

“The one person who we know hates Torr enough that it simply cannot be an act.”  Ivon answers. “We must talk with Alex.”

* * * * *

“Tezmekilla!?”  Blue gasps, shaking her head.  “Of course I know of the Dragon God!  I was one of the ones involved that sealed him away!”  She looks at her sister as if she had just dumped a bucket of water upon her own head.  “There is a reason that I, lover of the ancient creatures, chose to end his reign and seal him away.  From where he is, he cannot rampage the lands to his liking.”

“Schooled as I had thought.”  Bladen’Kurst answers with a smirk.  “Of course I know you were one of the people responsible for the Dragon God to be sealed away.”  Turning to make her exit from Blue’s chamber, she grins back at her over her shoulder. “How long do you think it can be kept under your lock and key?  What if I told you that the seal is well under its way of becoming broken?”

“You lie!”  Blue yells. “There were precautions in place to prevent it from being broken.”

“Broken, yes.”  Bladen’Kurst begins to fade from sight, leaving Blue to ponder this last thought.  “But what about simply unlocked?”

Blue stops in her tracks, and nearly falls down.  Images of the devastation and death at the dragon’s hands flash through her ageless mind.  The seal she created long ago was intricate and complex to the point where no one could simply stumble upon it and free the beast.  Gasping for air, the images continue to swirl around in her head, the feeling of the powerful wings beating the ground around her bringing her down to a knee.  Using the throne’s arm rest as support, she replays the moment Tezmekilla was sealed away.

Becoming more calm and feeling as if she will have to seal it away again – if her sister is correct and this is not some ploy to keep her preoccupied – she looks over towards her beautiful companion.  With their connection, will it be strong enough to withstand the commands of a Dragon God? She shakes her head knowing that while she may have a few tricks when and if the time does come, she doesn’t like the fact that she may have to put an end to the blue dragon’s life if it comes to that.

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