Thursday, January 24, 2008
Tribeca: Part 4
"What do you mean my daughter is gone!?!" erupted an overwhelmingly angered Count DaChase.
"Sire..." started the squat servant, a family man drafted to hand serve the Count, doubled over to the floor before DaChase's self-ordered throne; where he sat being attended to by his doctor's. "The chamber maids sent for her as requested but found no trace of her. They found only an empty room. Her balcony doors were flung open and the furniture soiled and turned over."
DaChase showed a mild hesitance and annoyance to his daughter's disappearance. Coldness and bitterness overtook him. He finally let loose of the anger that had been building inside him. Standing from his throne, he pushed the doctor's attending to him away and his servant got a full view of DaChase. Where his right eye once was now had in place a golden ball with gold running along the lines of the scar that was left when Wake cut up DaChase's face. DaChase now had an unblinking, shining golden eye with what could be mistaken for golden roots springing forth from it. The servant was in awe and horror at the same time as he stared at his Count. DaChase moved like air to the servant and ripped out both his windpipe and genitals; showing them to him as the servant fell dead. The Count had also had his hands augmented into golden razor tipped claws. Dropping the servant's parts on the floor and flinging dripping blood across the throne room floor, DaChase admired his new power...looking to the doctors who smiled in approval he ordered them to clean the mess and sat back down on his throne.
"Bring me the See-er and the old Warlock. I need to know the where about of my attackers...and now my daughter."
Ebon exploded out of the forest trying desperately to keep up with Wake's pace and stopped short at what he saw awaiting him. He had been prepped and trained for this since childhood. Memories of blood, sweat, and pain...ever hurting, excruciating, crippling pain experienced during his training all came flooding back to him at once. Ebon remembered Wake talking to him about this moment as he prepared Ebon during his lessons. That this is what was waiting for him at the end. Not the assassination of the Prince, not ruling a kingdom, but this; the test of survival. Ebon looked at Wake now standing before him. Wake was as stoic as ever as he faced Ebon. He said nothing as Ebon approached him. Ebon's body tensed, his senses heightened, ready to act at any movement. Behind Wake awaited the Steridian Forest and further yet behind them, the Azurine Cliffs. Nobody from Tribeca ever dared to travel to either. Those who did were found in pieces around the borders of the land. Body parts hanging from branches or nailed to trees or bloodying the drinking water. It was rumored that crazed bands of men roamed these forests and cliffs located at the edge of the land. Murderers, rapists, and do-ers of any other imaginable action one can take offense to all lived in the forests and cliffs. It was also believed that there was something else in there, otherworldly beasts and grotesque magic-women that none would touch and feared to look at. The kind that could kill you with their bare hands or the wicked mysticism at their command. Then there was the lonely king who lived on the cliffs overlooking the Sea. This king though was not a man of natural forbearance. This King commanded no Army nor had need for one. He could best most armies alone. None survived that could describe what the King looked like. None had lived after making his acquaintance...save one. He alone had bested the King in battle and escaped his clutches to survive and live on. He did not come away unscathed though. He had lost the use of his eyes...
"Wake?" Ebon asked, not taking his eyes off the borders to these unfriendly lands they were now in all while approaching his teacher.
"Why are we here? You told me that you would take me to my mother. I refuse to believe she is somewhere in these lands."
"No. She isn't. But I cannot deliver you to her or tell you of her whereabouts until you finish your training. You will need it in order to survive the journey to find her."
Ebon felt a feeling of hopelessness and frustration overtake him. First DaChase and now Wake? Was everybody going to 'require' something from him in order for him to learn what was his right to know in the first place? The truth of his parentage?.
"I cannot believe this! You also ask of me in selfishness to do something for you? YOU!? Of all people!? How will I ever find my mother or know her if I die during this training?"
"Then do not die. I ask nothing of you. This is something you must do. I have taught you all that I can. The rest is up to you. All you have to do is survive...for 3 days. That's as long as it will take you to travel from the forests to the cliffs. After that, the sea will await you. It will be there that I will be also be waiting for you and we will set sail to your mother's lands. You must do this. You have committed to do this and trained for it since you were a child. Finish it! Trust nothing and no soul inside these lands. Move with haste and exercise extreme caution."
As Wake instructed him, Ebon fought back his frustrations and regained his focus. He did not fear this place and knew he could handle anything or any adversary that he would come across. His frustrations were more because of his impatience. He had waited so long to know of his mother and to have this information so closely within grasp and snatched away twice now caused anger to grow within him. Still he listened intently to Wake's instructions.
"Trust your training and do not shy from exploring your mystic abilities. You will need them. I will gather everything we need for our journey while you complete this task. If you do not complete it and die...I will mourn you and avenge you. I will also find your mother and tell her of you. So that she may know of how you lived and how you died. But don't die. It will anger me to no end to know that I have waited in vain. I leave you no weapons or supplies. Find them on your own...and you will have plenty of opportunity to do so. Sleep light or risk not waking. Stay clear of the Castle on the cliffs. He lives there and he is not your battle. Also...traveling this path eliminates any chance of being followed. DaChase has no man in his army willing to travel Steridian nor Azurine. Now go."
Without word nor Goodbye, Ebon leaped forth into the trees of Sheridian. No man, beast, witch, or magic would keep him from his quest. He welcomed this challenge. Completing it would bring him one step closer to his mother.