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Ebony-Yahera, The Battle of Disasterous Catastrophe, Breaking the Heart of Hope

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But as he tried, the thought remained. Building with thoughts of what the elf truly was after. It was true Esben wanted the bounty of his head, to reunite with his brother and sister. Reunite to make them suffer for the righteous acts to sully their name. But he never said what he truly wanted. And he allied with the enemies that wanted to destroy Lyonesse and rebuild it into something unrecognizable.

And though he walked down the path with the elf girl Odessa, he was lost in his own thoughts. In fact, he was so lost that he almost passed the carriage entirely if Odessa didn't pull him along. It brought him out of his thoughts as he apologised once more. The two entered the carriage, it rode off to Farenheit-Abalone to meet with the third key, Abalone.

“What's on your mind?” Odessa asked as the carriage rode on. “You've been quiet since we left the inn and Esben disappeared. You almost walked by the carriage. As if distracted by something horrendous.”

“A lot of things are on my mind. I've seen Lyonesse since the wars forced upon it by Athentha. The Yao Si Ji temple was something to be proud of as it won us that war. It housed the imprisoned demons of Athentha, including the princess, Rinoa. Now, it's destroyed along with our hope.”

Odessa listened as Sayndar spoke. She had read about the Athentha-Lyonesse war as a child, studied everything about it. It was an interesting one to say the least. The Demon King Miach had started it, as he was wanting the people to become sacrifices to keep the islands afloat. Lyonesse, still under Grant Lyon’s control didn't agree. They wanted to keep the demons in check by sealing those who sought power and destruction in the Yao Si Ji temple.

It was a bloodied war that scarred the lands. Both sides lost hundreds of lives, used to help the islands. But in the end Lyonesse won. They kept their island from Miach's control. And the treaty made that day kept Athentha in check.

“Sayndar, did you fight in the war? And what's on your mind? You know you can talk to me, we are the same blood. Not family, but Lyonessian blood runs through us both.” Odessa said as she looked at him. He was pale and quiet. “We need to form a plan as well, we can't go rushing in. Especially if what you say is true about Esben.”

“I did.” Sayndar replied as he found his words to speak. “I fought the Athenthian princess there. Of course, she was more of a monster than princess. But what Esben told me of Rin--it doesn't sit right with me. How can still walk the land if she's dead?” Sayndar shook his head as he sat there. “I don't understand it at all Odessa.”

“The Red Blood Moon Children Organization. It's the only way she can be alive. They take those who've died and rebirth them. Of course as either seeds or children. There are few exceptions.” Odessa replied. “They have a tribal mark to recognise those a part of the organization. But Esben--”

Sayndar rubbed his temples then. It was a terrible matter altogether and he hated talking about it at all. Though they needed to do it anyways, he still hated doing such. Odessa eyed the man. He had gone toe to toe with Rin and won each time. A feat not many could say they did. Of course, her charms never worked on him, which made the feat easier. She wanted to know what he was thinking, why he was so on edge. It wasn't like they lost yet.

He sat back in his seat as the carriage rode on. Lyonesse was in danger, Lyon died wanting to keep it safe. Atlas, his own son, probably was being destroyed so no one could attest Lyonesse's true ownership. And Rin, she was a problem as well. Her plans foiled by this foreigner and his own goals. Yet, her father never told her she’d be a sacrifice to his grand schemes. Sayndar didn't understand any of this as hard as he tried to.  

“Esben is something I cannot figure out. He says he cares not for political movements but he has involved himself many a time. What goals does he have? Why does he want to help us find the keys? It bothers me I cannot figure him out. And that organization--” Sayndar paused as he sighed. Placing his hand to his head again. “I thought it was dead. I didn't know it was being revived.”

Odessa nodded. “It has resurfaced. A year or two ago. People started disappearing again. Others have become corrupted and corroded to the organization. As for Esben, we can figure that out later. We need a plan to face the problem.” She sighed as Sayndar ignored that concern.

“Yes, I was about to address that.” Sayndar said as he looked at her. “My thoughts are scattered so I apologise. We need to find the keys first. If we do that we might have a chance. Then after that, we can figure out Esben, the organization and everything else dealing with Raven and Rin.”

Odessa nodded. That was the best option to take. For now at least. And she had no real plan at the moment herself. Sayndar sat back into his seat once more as he was uptight. He eyed her unsure if she would agree with his plan at all. But he eyed her nodding and was glad she agreed. It took something off his mind at least. One thing at least. Yet in his heart he didn't feel relief, as if these words didn't satisfy him.

Sayndar didn't show it nor voice it, but he was afraid. Terrified to know that the land couldn't be saved. Afraid that all his attempts would lead to nothing in the end. Lyonesse needed its hero, its savior. But in his heart, Sayndar feared it would not be him. Not again, he would fail. But he was a proud man who didn't voice his concerns, his growing fear.

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“Sayndar--” Odessa started before pausing. She tried to approach this delicately. “I found these notes in Farenheit-Abyssal, they explain something horrendous about Esben. About the Red Blood Moon Children Organization and even those involved with them. I have not read them yet, but I wanted to show you them first.”

Sayndar looked up as she pulled the papers of parchment and ink out of her bag. Hestiant to share the information with an already strained and upset man. But her curosity grew as she wanted to know what was written inside. He shakily took the papers from the elf's fingers as he looked at her. How she managed to get these notes astonished and terrfied at the same time. Odessa stared him in the eyes.

“How can you be so brave?” Sayndar asked swallowing the lump forming in his throat. “You've done so much that would get others killed as if it was nothing. How can you be so much while its hero wallows in self doubt and hatred?”

“Lyonesse needs us at its time of need. I do such not out of bravery or recognition. I told you. I want to save Lyonesse no matter the cost. You need to let go of the past, the things you could not do. It’s time to rise up and save her.”

Sayndar shook his head as he listened to her speech. He knew she was right about one thing, Lyonesse needed them to save her. Its citizens needed to rise up and fight the foreigner and his infliction, his disease. But Sayndar also knew that many wouldn't fight or resist due to being fooled. They believed Grant Lyon still lived, breathed in the old castle that took over the temple. That he was holding court with the princess of Athentha, many of the prizes he coveted.

No, the illusion blinded many of Lyonesse's citizens that not many could save it. The resistance was small and barely able to fight a massive scale. And the keys, still in hiding. Odessa and Sayndar were outmatched. Outnumbered, and alone. The carriage rode on as the two sat there. It was a grand scheme that worked so perfectly.

But how? Sayndar unrolled the paper as he eyed the handwriting of the shaman Augustus. How he penned such words of fear. Of doubt. And words to show what happened in Lyonesse before he too went into hiding. His eyes looked upon the words.

 

1680AY, 6 August

Lyonesse has seen its share of what occurred. Grant Lyon still breathes yet gossip says he's dead. I am not sure what to believe at this junction. If he was so ill, as reports stated on 1680AY, 3 March, how can he be alive? I ask myself every night yet I cannot find the answers.

It also seems he is trying to court and coherse the young Athenthian princess, Rinoa. That is something else baffling. Grant Lyon always hated her father and her since the Athentha-Lyonesse war. Now, he's invited her to be his guest.

I fear something terrible has happened. That Grant Lyon has been murdered and someone is disguised as him.

Augustus

Odessa looked at Sayndar as he read, his brows furrowing at Augustus’s words. He knew what happened that night. Something horrendous and terrifying erupted in Lyonesse yet no one else noticed. He looked up for a moment as he then continued to read. These words haunted him.

 

1680AY, 17 August  

Its been a few weeks since the return of Grant Lyon's health. The maids and servants have turned from beautiful elven maidens to ashen hollow beings. They hold nothing in those yellow black eyes of theirs and move about as if their one purpose is to serve Lyon. I've also noticed something horrible.

The young princess has been kept here in Lyonesse against her will, or so I thought at first. But the girl, as I saw her in the moonlight, was not. Her eyes, though only having one, were repaired. And those eyes--those eyes haunted me. They showed that she is being controlled. Enslaved to the man who pretends to be Lyon. It seems the ore was used against her in her wicked game.

I do hope Miach's plan to make her into a monster, a black heart mirror demon King comes to fruitation. Heaven save us. Gods protect us…

Augustus.

That was the end of the writing as Sayndar shook his head. The goals of a madman used his own daughter to create something of the lands ne'er seen. Augustus felt that the things that happened in Lyonesse occurred after Raven appeared. Odessa tilted her head as she wondered what he was thinking. The silence was unbearable.

“Any clue to what Augustus saw? The letters are, seem important enough to have some clue. Unless it’s just empty writings that he wrote.”

“Yes and no.” came Sayndar's shaky voice. “He felt Lyon was being used as a disguise for someone. That the princess of Athentha allowed him to make her a prisoner of Lyonesse. The ore, its played a part in this one too many times. But something else is not right here. It states a Black Heart Mirror Demon King. That can't be possible.”

“I'm afraid it's possible. The Red Blood Moon Children Organization made a child out of the Black Heart Mirror Ore instead of the blood red moon ore. That child was Miach's own daughter. Should anyone place the mirror back into the rightful place of the princess, she'll regain her true memories.” Odessa replied as she looked down. “Of course the mirror has been lost to time--”

“Wait, are you serious? That Rinoa is a product of the organization because Miach wanted to bring forth a legend? You got to be joking. He wouldn't be that fucking stupid.” Sayndar cursed as he sat there. “No one has ever successfully brought that legend to life just like no one's ever brought the Dark Winged Beast to life. It's impossible--fucking impossible to do.”

“I'm serious Sayndar.” Odessa spoke. “And yes. The red blood moon children organization did wonders back in the day. Before their name was destroyed by the first seed. And I fear that what they did to secure their organization, their remnants of the island dealt with Miach.” Odessa looked down at her hands in her lap, she was afraid.

Sayndar didn't speak for a moment. He listened as she spoke of the children and their influences upon the land. They did have many to use upon Absolon and even Miach. But in all his time in Lyonesse, he had never seen a child or seed. And he would have known if he did, by the eyes. Only thing to recognise a child by. Sayndar eyed Odessa, he noticed she was shaking a little. She knew a lot about Athentha and Lyonesse as he would need it to figure all this out.

The carriage made its way up the road as they sat there. It was no where near Farenheit-Abalone so they had time to talk more about these things. As terrible as they seemed. Sayndar wondered if she read so much in her hiding to know about the children. Or did she see it first hand? Would they be able to collect the keys to stop Lyonesse’s downfall?

“I see. So that crazy bastard used his own child to bear a legend to life? I cannot believe it. And here I thought the Dark Winged Beast was a nightmare. Why would he do this? I still don't understand this at all.” Sayndar replied. He was trying to understand everything that happened so far. “Do these keys make something?”

“Yes,” she said. “They create the force to imprison the princess into the new temple being built permanently. The temple being called the new Yao Si Ji temple. The keys form together an artifact like the Black Heart Mirror, except its called the Azure Mirror.” Odessa replied as she looked at Sayndar again as she remembered reading such. “But that's if we have all the keys.”

Another roadblock. They didn't have all the keys. Two had been compromised and they were needed to be reclaimed. Sayndar sighed as he rubbed his temples. Odessa sighed as well for once. At least out of all the temples destroyed, one was being replaced. A new Solstice Temple to replace the broken old one. Of course it was being relocated to Farenheit-Abalone. But nonetheless it was some hope.

Some hope was what they needed. Especially with all the hope being taken away. Odessa looked at Sayndar as he ran his hand through his hair as he wanted to not seem worried. But he was, was worried. They looked at each other as he knew of the resistance. Many were Athenthian, Talian and Allian. Only a few were Lyonesse. And that broke his heart. That the land he lived in believed in such treachery and lies. He wanted to bring hope back into the hearts of the citizens.

He hated feeling so hopeless. A proud man like himself hated these feelings that he couldn't save Lyonesse, that he couldn't be its hero like before. Odessa could understand, as Lyonessians were strong brave people. They fought ferciously for land and home even as they laid dying. And to see its people just allow some man to play Grant Lyon was hurting anyone not swayed--swayed so easily must be killing Sayndar.

“Who's building the new Yao Si Ji temple? If Raven is playing Grant Lyon still, why would he allow the instrument to his downfall? I mean, it wouldn't make sense to have it if he wants to take over Lyonesse.” Sayndar asked as he changed the subject a tiny bit. “He'd want to make sure a temple like that wasn't built at all.”

“I thought about that too. Why build a temple to imprison his new bride to be? Well, Farenheit-Abalone isn't a part of Lyonesse to be honest. It was newly established before Lyon passed on. It has its own ruler and government as its on the tip of Lyonesse, far from anyone's reach.” Odessa said as she nodded. However she knew that things looked bleak even if she could try to ease his mind. “Last I heard, Grant Lyon was making up a deal to acquire Farenheit-Abalone and make it a part of Lyonesse truly. He sent one of his top negotiatiors, Frederick Zane Ashby, to gain it. I'm not sure if he did but if he didn't, then Raven will probably try.”

“I see. Yes, I heard Farenheit-Abalone was newly discovered. That their ruler, Josef Matthias Von Matilda wouldn't agree to Grant Lyon’s deals. Something he didn't like about the man.” Sayndar replied. He hoped that it hadn't been claimed yet. Another hope to have among the bare few he clung to. “Well, it seems we might have a chance to keep a temple then. And a city from Raven. It's something to pray for among the casaulties formed. Though, we won't get through this war unscathed.”

“I hope as well. We need a turning point from all this corruption. But Sayndar, I read something horrible among my research. Absolon founded Athentha, that much is true but another horror came upon it. They called him Serphus Alumna. In fact three cities in Athentha are named after him.” Odessa replied trying to keep calm. It was something she read about the man that upset her so. “Sayndar, he's no ordinary elf like me. He's--he's a dangerous creature.”

Sayndar went silent at that name. He wanted to find out about Esben but not like that. Not many knew the elf's past. But he eyed Odessa, saw the fear that came over her. It was something that she should have been spared from, but H.H Dylan documented everything he could about Athentha and its people. It was the only tool they had to go on when consulting matters such as this. Both looked at each other preparing for what would be said next.

He slid over to Odessa as he placed his arm on her shoulder. It was the first time Sayndar showed compassion or concern to the elf girl. He was not one to easily do such. And he was awkward at it. Odessa smiled softly. It was a nice gesture all the same. And he didn't have to do it but she appreciated it all the same. Sayndar then lowered his arms to his sides as he slumped in his seat. This was turning into a nightmare. Sayndar only came out here to find a way to bring back Vex. He didn't know Esben would disappear before helping. That he would tease the man.

Now, there was nothing to save the demon hunter. And they had no time to train a new one. Sayndar was defeated in his purpose, his hope. Why did Vex have to be so stupid? Or Kogal or anyone else destroyed? Why did this happen when the land was healing? So many unanswered questions.

“I am sure it's not as bad as it seems. I mean Dylan could have lied or exaggerated the truth in his writings. Athenthians tend to do that you know.” Sayndar said, trying to convince himself more than her. “I think it's time you tell me what you found about Esben. It could be useful in case we have to fight him as well as the others.”

“Sayndar, what was written is true. Serphus created the ore and the children. He made the seeds. And the artifacts of the Black Heart Mirror Ore. He wasn't some measly being either, one of the highest ranked magic users of the land. It was him that created the cults of Serphus Aluminium.” Odessa exclaimed in short bursts of information. But she was only getting started. “Sayndar, he turned Absolon against his people, corrupted his core. And Miach--”

“How could that be possible? There's no information about him until Miach's rule. He didn't show up until then, until 1670AY. That's what Dylan wrote.” Sayndar cried in such anger. He hated the cryptic words Athenthians used in their writings. “You must be mistaken. The Red Blood Moon Children Organization made him change. Not Esben.”

“No!” yelled Odessa as she slammed her fists against her lap. “I know what I read. And he was there during Absolon's time. And he created the cursed land of Athentha with all his ore and experiments. The children were a by-product of him, working as what he wanted. He was able to take over Athentha, using Absolon as a puppet so that no one knew it was Serphus leading them.” The elf sighed then in such sadness. She hated how Lyonesse was almost falling into the same path.

Sayndar said nothing as he sat there. How did this man, Serphus Alumna, come and change Athentha when he didn't exist yet? How did he come into the possession of the ore and craft it to be so dangerous? Why did he want Absolon play the King if he cared not for polticial movements? He slammed his fists against the seats of the carriage.

“How?!” yelled Sayndar. “Absolon wouldn't have allowed such a man to enter his land and take over without questioning his motives? His decisions? It doesn't make sense. Athentha as I've known it, was never a push over when it came to his land. Yet--” Sayndar paused shaking his head. “It just doesn't sit right with me. None of this does.”

And it didn't make sense. How could this all happen under Absolon's rule? What did he not know about the island of Athentha? Besides all the other things he had no knoweldge of, and everything he never learned about the land--what did he miss? Sayndar didn't know but it bothered him. And usually Athenthian matters did not matter that much to the man. Odessa sighed as she knew this wouldn't end well.

“It doesn't sit right with me either Sayndar. The things I read have plagued me since I left Farenheit-Kalediscope. Esben has done many things in his lives. And I say lives because he's died more than anyone of the land. As Serphus--” Odessa paused as she looked up at Sayndar as she gathered her courage. “Serphus Alumna was his name at the beginning. But he had dealings with the Red Blood Moon Children Organization. He didn't run it by himself.”

“You mean he's come back after every death? As some form of rebirth? How did he manage that? Do not be afraid to tell me what you have read. It could help us even if it plagues us forever.” Sayndar replied. Though he too was afraid about what she would say. “We need to know how to stop them. Need to know how to destroy the princess. It's her fault this occurred in our land.”

“No, he doesn't run it himself. There's another. A child he gave command to. I forgotten the name but Serphus sent her to Athentha. She commands the elder and all that rule once the elder passes. He experimented on so many lives just to bring back his dead love. At first I was amazed until I remember my readings.”

Odessa pulled out a small book. It held Esben’s writings and words from when he lived and worked in Athentha from 1630AY-1660AY. Before Miach's rule and his death as Oisin. And before his contact with Rin. Her tanned freckled hands grasped and cradled the journal as the carriage continued on. The two would be stopping at an inn for the night. It was called the Azura Star Inn. For their ride would last another day or two. And they still had no idea what to do.

Sayndar looked down as he knew this could be bad. Knew they learned here was not going something easy to swallow. But like everything else, it had to be known. Odessa handed the journal over to Sayndar, the leather binding old and faded. It came off in places. Yet, the book remained intact. He grasped the journal silently as he opened it. The yellow ribbon that held it closed, unwrapped so easily. They were not prepared for what was written upon the old yellowed pages.

Silence filled the carriage, it grew steadily as they read. Eons of trangressions, each molding the elf into something horrendous. Though Odessa could feel the sadness and hate wafting off the handwriting, the very neat penmanship held by Esben. Sayndar shook his head as he closed the book.

“This cannot be true. These words do not make me have sympathy for that man. The many reasons for the actions he took do not give him redemption.” Sayndar sneered as he tossed the book at Odessa. “No, my mind's made up. He will acquire everything he deserves in the end.”

“How can you be so cruel?” Odessa asked as she took the book. “You tell me you wouldn't do the same if that happened to you? Esben did what he did because it was the only option left. You tell me you wouldn't?”

 

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Silence filled the carriage, it grew steadily as they read. Eons of trangressions, each molding the elf into something horrendous. Though Odessa could feel the sadness and hate wafting off the handwriting, the very neat penmanship held by Esben. Sayndar shook his head as he closed the book.

“This cannot be true. These words do not make me have sympathy for that man. The many reasons for the actions he took do not give him redemption.” Sayndar sneered as he tossed the book at Odessa. “No, my mind's made up. He will acquire everything he deserves in the end.”

“How can you be so cruel?” Odessa asked as she took the book. “You tell me you wouldn't do the same if that happened to you? Esben did what he did because it was the only option left. You tell me you wouldn't?”

Odessa had read the words, how Esben came to be. As Serphus he was just an elf trying to create a land differ from Absolon. A land that didn't feed upon greed as humes always did. Serphus knew that Absolon would lead them down a path of ruin. And in his anger and frustration he birthed the creation of the ore. He made the Black Heart Mirror Ore in an attempt to get Absolon to see his side. When that didn't work, he created the Red Blood Moon Children Organization.

By then, Serphus knew he couldn't change Absolon's mind. And so he came up with a new plan, he had the children corrupt the Demon King. With this, he could show the land how dangerous the hume was. He told the children to feed him the ore--the ore of the Black Heart Mirror Ore, the Sunburst Justice ore and the Azura Heart Ore. These three would change Absolon forever.

And it did. Absolon became mad with power. He raged war with his sister, Rowan Athentha-Yazu, who had married Samuel Zachriel Yazu in 1670AY. It was a bloodied war, with most of Rowan's people wiped out. He imprisoned many of Athentha's own citizens to feed to the islands. Even innocents were taken. And the children--the children were ushered off to the organization. Riots happened to save the land, it did nothing. Absolon grew fat with wealth and greed, as he became a monster.

Serphus rose up to fight Absolon one night. Never telling anyone he created the whole thing. The battle was fierce and both parties were killed in 1676AY. Two years before Miach's steps into king. Ra found Serphus’s body laying a pile of rubble. Broken and bruised. She brought back to the Fadar Estate and revived him. That night he became Oisin, the scientist.

“I wouldn't go about it that way. Making the land's leader turn against its people. That couldn't have been the only option. It's just wrong. I just wouldn't do it that way. He still deserves--”

“How heartless. You must really hate Athentha and its people. What cruel thing did it do to you to make you hate them?” Odessa asked as she held the journal, sealing it back up with the ribbon. “I mean, I'm Lyonessian and I don't hate Athentha like that.”

Odessa brought up a good point as the two sat there. The carriage pulling into the Azura Star Inn. Sayndar said nothing as he exited the carriage, Odessa following behind. He needed a drink. The night's conversation didn't sit right with him and he hated that feeling. The elf shaking her head as she felt that he was hiding something from her.

Though she wasn't trying to pry into his life. But she knew it had to be tragic for someone to hate an entire island. Sayndar entered the inn and found the tavern, taking a seat in the back. Odessa sat across from him. He would book a room for the night, one room to bunk in. Sayndar ordered a pitcher of beer and she ordered some blackberry rosé tea.

“You could say that.” Sayndar replied finally breaking the silence after a while. “After all, Athentha and Lyonesse are enemies. But that's not my issue with Esben or Athentha. It's more to do with Rinoa, herself. A reason for my hatred for the land.”

It was here that both remained silent. That Odessa didn't know the man before her as she thought she did. Even with all her reading, the elf had not seen or could possibly know all of Sayndar. He took a long sip of his beer as the silence grew. She wanted to ask but she also didn't want to pry.

“Maybe we can patch up the animosity between them and work towards the lands being peaceful? I know it’s a long shot but it could possibly work. Athentha can't be that resistant to wanting peace.” Odessa replied breaking the silence. “You can't think all they want is war and death.”

“It's possible.” Sayndar said putting down his glass. “It's Athentha after all. They weren't built like us, they were built for battle prowess. Built to hunger for death and war. I don't think Rin wants peace anymore. Maybe one time long ago, but doubt it now. I don't think it's possible for peace unless we seal the princess.”

Seal Rin? Was that a possible option now? Could it still be done in the new Yao Si Ji temple? Neither knew. But that was something they could ask Augustus once they found him. He was a shaman after all and Kogal's mentor. Sayndar shook his head drinking his beer as he eyed Odessa. She barely had touched her tea.

It could have been talking about Athentha made her uncomfortable but he didn't know. Talking about Athentha made him uncomfortable himself. Odessa looked at Sayndar with such a look that made him feel a little guilty. He would blame himself in the end it was his fault. Yet, it wasn't his fault at all. The elf tilted her head at the hume, as they were called. His faults showed more than his accomplishments at the moment and she wondered if all humes went through this. Odessa wanted to ask that too but she refrained from doing so.

It wasn't her place to ask. Not at the moment anyways. Sayndar shook his head as he finished the first glass of beer and was already pouring a second one. Odessa softly smiled hoping he wasn't blaming himself still for what happened in the past. That he thought it was his fault.

“I wanted to ask you something but I waan't sure if it was right to. I don't want to pry into your life but about Rinoa--you said you fought her. Why did you fight? You said she wanted peace once, why did it change?”

Sayndar paused then as he held his glass. It was something he never told anyone after it happened. He had witnessed the era of Miach, of Oisin and the Athentha-Lyonesse war. Odessa shook her head, as she knew there wasn't time to waste yet they were sluggishly moving forward.

“Odessa, it's a bit complicated.” Sayndar said as he nursed his drink. “But I'll give you the short version. Miach sold Rinoa to Oisin, to experiment on her as he sought fit. He created the demoness--the Black Heart Mirror demoness of ruin and despair. And he made it out of Rinoa.” Sayndar replied grimly as he looked at her. “And so, she was made to bring forth sacrifices to keep the islands afloat. And its why we fought, to keep the land of Lyonesse safe. As for peace--”

Sayndar paused again as he looked at her. Odessa had been following along, hoping that he would speak his mind. So far, he did. Yet, it explained why everyone called her the Dark Winged Beast. And why she was sealed so long ago. But now Raven had her--had her to create whatever he desired of her. It was not a good situation.

“Go on.” Odessa said.

“Yes, she did want peace at one time. Until the years passed. The corruption in her heart grew and she regained her memories. Simple as that.”

Sayndar said nothing more, paid for the drinks and carried himself up to his room. Odessa followed as she didn't want to be left alone. Entering the room, she saw the man passed out in the bed.


 

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She sighed, it seemed she was just starting to get to the root of the problem with Sayndar.

“It is more than that though.” came Sayndar's voice from the pillow. “So, it is not simple as I did say. I know that I was short with you. That I did not give you the answers you seek. I am truly sorry; but it is not a simple case.” He sighed sitting up then shaking his head. “I just wish things were different.”

“No need to apologise Sayndar. I shouldn't have been so hard on you. I just want to find a way to make peace between Lyonesse and Athentha. Even the islands. But to do that, I need to know what happened between you and Rin. How she--” Odessa paused sitting down across from Sayndar in a lounge chair. She looked at him not with anger but with pity. “Please, tell me. We need to know how to combat her--or at least negotiate with the princess.”

Sayndar laughed then. Not at her but because she thought negotiations would be possible now. Odessa lifted an eyebrow at him, not sure if the man had gone insane or not. Shaking his head, Sayndar looked up at her with the same seriousness he always had. Odessa didn't get him at all.

“No. We cannot negotiate with her any longer. Not with the ore coursing through her veins, we are at a standstill. Of course, it is that damned elf's ore poisoning even the lad Raven. I figured it is how we are in this mess. Esben was right about that at least.” Sayndar placed his hand to his chin. He tried to get his thoughts together. “What happened between us you ask? Well, that is something terrible that I lived through.”

“Sayndar, you still seem troubled by this all. As if it's your fault. That you're to blame. And you're not.” Odessa replied softly as she didn't want to alarm Sayndar in his drunken words. He was a bit intoxicated still. “Listen, I know this is a mess, but we can fix it. I just need you to think clearly and explain.”

“You think I am drunk? I am not. I am just tired. I have not been sleeping well. I am troubled by this indeed. But the day I met Rinoa, was a day I will never forget. That piercing peering eye of hers staring me down shook me to my core. But I noticed that she was different.” Sayndar spoke as he sighed. “That ore--the Black Heart Mirror Ore is twisted. Oisin really wanted to destroy Miach it seems to turn Rin against him like that.

Odessa, the ore is something we have no idea to combat. It will drive you either to slavery or madness. But in Rin, it was different. The half breed turned into the legend alright--but a different one altogether. That day I almost died, I almost failed.”

Sayndar looked down as he placed his head in his hands. He never wanted to relive a night that somehow to Grant Lyon, made him a hero. Odessa saw how he wrestled this demon, that he still didn't come to terms with it. But now he had to, for the sake of a plan. He was shaking and the alcohol didn't help. But here, in the inn, he could release this demon and move on right? Sayndar didn't know.

Odessa shook her head as she looked at him. She was tired yet knew she couldn't sleep. Sayndar looked up feeling embarrassed and sheepish. In truth, Rin was one thing that scared him, gave him nightmares.

“Rin was consumed by two ores when I met her that day. The Black Heart Mirror Ore and the Azura Heart Ore. A new one Serphus created. And she looked like a demon, a beautiful crafted weapon. Feral yet commanded--controlled. She had turned many of the citizens into sacrifices for the island. Those turned were now either seeds or children. Those turned--turned were made into lesser demons as well.

I came across her in Yral. She had eaten the knight commander Ezra Von Matilda, as she was making her way to Grant Lyon. However, I caught her in time. The battle was fierce, she used old forbidden magic and the ore. I managed to outwit her last attack and take her eye. Vex--Vex was there to seal her with a mantra to calm her down.”

 

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“Ore?” Odessa asked. “I didn't think it was still being made after Absolon's rule. Sayndar, you're saying the ore--no, that's ridiculous. It's not been used in Athentha since 1672AY. You can't be serious.”

“You do not believe me?” Sayndar asked. She nodded slowly. “Well, it is true. It was around Miach's time as well thanks to the Red Blood Moon Children Organization. I am serious. You want to save Athentha, we need to destroy the ore. And if it is in Raven, then we are in more trouble than we thought.”

Odessa sat there in silence. The ore was created by Serphus Alumna. He created four main deadly ones, the Black Heart Mirror Ore, the Azura Heart Ore, the Catastrophe Edge and Horizon and the Farenheit Varuna Ore. A few minor but still deadly ones were the Azura Dusk Ore, the Sunburst Justice Ore and the Jasper Glare Ore--just to name a few. Sayndar laid down on the bed as his eyes closed slowly. However, neither would get any sleep.

“Why?” Odessa asked. “Is it because he's a foreigner?”

Sayndar opened an eye as she settled into the bed to get some sleep. “The ore grants you whatever you desire at the cost of losing something equally precious. However, since he is and is not of the islands, it works different in him. Sithis, seems to be of a darker nature. And because of that, the ore is merged with it. Feeding off it, Raven will gain more power. However--”

“Sayndar?”

“Sorry, where was I? Right, the Sithis boy. I am surprised he was able to turn it against Rin. But nonetheless, he will be the catalyst to fuel the dark beacon on the land. The ore in time will manifest and corrode the mind. He will succumb and change. Should they marry--should they bind together, Rin will be a monster. She will become the black heart mirror again. We need to find the keys.”

Odessa had fallen a bit asleep as he looked at her. It was a lot to take in. He worried about Raven, that he wasn't a bad person. He had just been changed by Rin and the ore. Yet, he felt Raven could be a grand part of the island under different circumstances. However he wondered if Raven even knew about making her the legend her father tried to make or something entirely different.

As he was falling asleep, he heard rustling in the hallway. Sayndar sat up, he knew he had to keep Odessa safe, not knowing how many keys were truly compromised. The rustling kept going and it bothered Sayndar greatly. Standing up, he dressed before opening the door. He eyed the figure standing there. A messenger, staring back at him. The mailbag at his side. His eyes looking at Sayndar with caution.

“Sayndar Lammecoli?” asked the mailman. “Got a letter from a Cid Albert Zechariah. You him?”

“Yea, give it here.”

The mailman nodded, handed the letter over and walked down the quiet inn stairs. Sayndar closed the door looking down at the letter. He didn't awake Odessa, as he figured she needed the sleep. He sat down in a lounge chair and opened the letter as quiet as he could.

Sayndar,

Cid here. You need to know I can't bring the blasted demon hunter back to life. I tried to do it but I don't know Sithis magi. You find the blasted slaver yet? Heard he was headed to Yral, the Yao Si Ji temple exactly. I'm afraid we need to go to plan B. Get back quickly ya hear?

Cid.

Sayndar crumbled up the paper in frustration. He had held his hopes high on bringing back the demon hunter. Since he knew so much about the princess. He hated that every time he almost got an inch ahead something crushed it. Cid relayed what everyone else had been telling him since Vex's death. He just didn't want to accept it. Didn't want to believe that was the end of that hope he needed to survive upon. In the end, he hated himself even more.

As the morning came rising up, Sayndar wondered if anyone knew she was here. The eerie quiet of the inn had bothered the man since they arrived.

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Sayndar crumbled up the paper in frustration. He had held his hopes high on bringing back the demon hunter. Since he knew so much about the princess. He hated that every time he almost got an inch ahead something crushed it. Cid relayed what everyone else had been telling him since Vex's death. He just didn't want to accept it. Didn't want to believe that was the end of that hope he needed to survive upon. In the end, he hated himself even more.

As the morning came rising up, Sayndar wondered if anyone knew she was here. The eerie quiet of the inn had bothered the man since they arrived.

But it bothered him even more as he stood there. Someone had to know they were there. You just don't go walking around with an important key to stopping a momster and not be noticed. Yet as he stood there, he wondered more about Esben as well. He had come and gone so quickly as if he was a spy. Wanting to see if the keys had been awakened but for what point? What purpose? Odessa eyed the puzzled look upon Sayndar knowing he was thinking. She had grown to know that look during the time they were together.

The pair looked at each other even more puzzled. The night before the inn was alive and nosy. Now it was empty except for the bartender that suddenly appeared. That didn't help Sayndar's ever growing suspicions. Wiping down the bar, he waved to the two with a friendly like nature. Odessa didn't seem as suspicious as the man, as the bartender seemed to just be himself. Sayndar didn't move as he stared at the bartender.

“Evenin’ mates,” replied the bartender. “What can I do fer you locals tonight? Been a while since anyone came through these parts.”

“A room for the night would be nice. We have been traveling all day and need a place to rest. Possibly some food and drink as well?”

“Sure lass, it's thirty gold fer a room.”

Sayndar said nothing as he paid for one room to share. He carried his tired form up the stairs as Odessa followed. She wondered about her companion hoping nothing was wrong with him. The elf girl eyed the third room on the left as Sayndar slid the key into the doorknob. Entering the small room that was decorated with one bed, a bedside table, one bathroom and a lamp. Unlike the last inn they stayed at, it only had one chair leaned against the wall next to the oak framed door.

“You holding up alright Odessa?” Sayndar asked as she sat on the bed, he in the chair. “It has been a lot to process, so wanted to make sure you are alright.”

“I am dealing alright with it. Thank you for asking though. There is much more that needs to be read, told.” Odessa replied leaning back against the headboard of the bed. “And it gets worse as it goes. Augustus detailed it all, jotted all his fears and what happened to Platinum-Neptune, Farenheit-Abalone, Farenheit-Kalediscope and Farenheit-Colessus. It is not good.”

“I know. But if Augustus knows anything, it makes the shaman a target. And no one knows where he is hiding. But if he did know anything why did he not tell Kogal, his starry eyed apprentice? Kogal was his successor after all so how did he not--”

“Augustus did not trust Kogal with all his secrets because of his attachment to Rin. And because Augustus wanted to make sure they could seal her without Kogal getting in the way for he held a torch for her.”

“Don't they all?” muttered Sayndar as he sat there shaking his head. “This is just getting worse and worse with each step we take.”

Odessa nodded as she watched him position himself into the chair trying to get comfortable. She had offered the spot next to her on the bed but he refused. He wanted to remained guarding the door in case someone came. Tomorrow they would again ride the carriage to Farenheit-Abalone. Odessa opened the journal to read more of Augustus’s writing. She wasn't tired yet. And she wanted to learn more about Esben and what happened to tue mentioned cities.

‘1681AY, 5 May

It has been a year since Grant Lyon returned from the dead state he had been in. The maids upon the castle aren't the same either. Once vibrant elven maidens of the highest calibur of magical studies--no, arch mage levels even are now nothing at all. Their eyes hold nothing but blank eerie golden yellow eyes of obedience.

Some, are even more vile than others in their servitude according to my spy, Ember. She has seen the horrors of the castle with her own eyes. And I almost lost her to the beast, Rinoa. She has told me that they dance among each other at night only bathed in moonlight.

That--that they are demons now. My hand shakes as I write this. The black heart mirror is spreading her sickness across all those in her path. And Lyon--’

The writing was cut off. Ember, that name was familiar to Odessa. A codename to keep her true idenity safe. But that elf was famous for her spying talents. Augustus trusted her greatly it seemed. The girl had snuck into Yao Si Ji temple like she did, ran into Rin unlike her. She was braver than Odessa and she sighed. The reading bothered the elf though.

Sayndar had fallen asleep so she couldn't share the information with him. And Odessa didn't want to wake him either even though what she read troubled her. She shook her head as her eyes returned to the journal.

‘Lyon has decided to change. The citizens knew it when he ordained a new group of knights different from the top level knights of Plutonium and Farenheit. No, these knights were unholy beings trained in Athenthian styled military ways thanks to the knight commander that stood there. Ember saw her too, a demonic woman who could go toe to toe with any Athenthian or Lyonessian. Hand picked by Grant Lyon himself.

1681AY, 8 May

The knights were christened today as the Knights of Alumnium. Ember told me Rin suggested the name. It bothers me more and more she remained here in Lyonesse. Something I can't put my finger on. He isn't the same yet the citizens are deaf to this man who pretends to be Lyon. Yes, as I write this Grant Lyon is cold stone dead. A pretender has come to kill him as the idiots to protect him have left their posts--abandoned him after years of fighting over his crown like vultures.

My words are scattered as my thoughts I know but I must write this down so someone can be the light to save the islands. I fear that I will soon be found again, tortured and murdered like Kogal. Yes, Rinoa had killed the shaman, a promising pupil. A promising man. I need to write to help those should I suffer the same fate as he.’

As Odessa looked up, the rays of the sun were coming up. How long had she been reading? The elf had lost track of time in her readings. Sayndar noticed the open journal in her lap as he sat up and stretched. He shook his head as she eyed him.

“I do not think you will find anything useful in there. Augustus was always all over the place with his thoughts I am afraid.” Sayndar replied truthfully as he stood up. “You look terrible Odessa, as if you did not sleep. You should go home and leave this to me. Rinoa--”

“Not again with that.” Odessa interjected. “I already made up my mind and I am coming along. End of discussion. As for the other things, I was up all night reading it seems. And yes I know, he seems like he was in a rush. And as for Rin--” Odessa paused as she closed the journal and looked down rubbing her arm. “I want to save her. There has to be a way to undo what has been done.”

“Are you serious?” replied Sayndar as he raised a brow at her. “You cannot be serious Odessa. You want to save a fucking monster after all you have read and seen? I will pretend I did not hear you.” O’ how he fumed, how he despised her kindness to someone who didn't deserve it. No, he was not happy about her words. “You do not want to save her. She needs to die. Needs to be destroyed after all the things she has done to the people of the islands.”

Odessa looked up with such fury. For once she was angry at Sayndar for what he said that she slapped him in the face. He stood there dumbfounded that this just happened yet all he did was rub his cheek. Sayndar believed he deserved the slap. Perhaps he was a bit rash but he wouldn't admit it ever.

The elf girl shook her head as she picked up the journal and stormed out of the room. She decided she would carry on her own way without the hero--some hero he was. Odessa sighed as she knew being alone would be dangerous. Sayndar decided to go home, see if Cid had brought back Vex. He was not the same man as before. He was broken and defeated.

〰〰〰〰〰〰

The carriage rode on towards Farenheit-Abalone as Odessa sat in it, journal in her lap. It was best to part ways since she knew Sayndar needed to home, figure out how to run the resistance and not coming along. His frustration was smothering her and she was glad to be away from it. Though she wasn't alone in the carriage. Ember rode with the elf in silence. Watching the key suspiciously. Odessa shook her head as she opened the journal again to read it.

But she didn't yet. Looking out the window, Odessa sighed softly. Time was wasting away and all she had done so far was bicker and fight with Sayndar. Her mind drifted onto that night she was almost caught by Rinoa. Her eyes were half open. She was utterly exhausted.

Come back little elf….

Odessa shook her head. What just happened? Did she hear a voice from the past? Her hands closed the journal, knowing she’d read it later in the Azura-Dawn estate. But that voice--that voice was so familiar to the elf.

Come back to me my little maid… You desire to lose that pesky will of yours.

“No,” Odessa whispered as she knew whose voice was calling her. “You cannot claim me so easily monster. Leave me alone.” It seemed silly she was talking to no one but her mind. “Find someone else to trick.”

Odessa shook her head as she tried to avoid the whispers of the seductive voice that called to her in her mind. Remembering the night she was in the castle, the old site of the Yao Si Ji temple. Crumbled and rotten to be rebuilt tainted and corrupted. No, no it was not the same temple as before. Yet her mind went back to when she served Rin. That monster, how beautiful she looked.

No. She shook these thoughts from her head. Remembering how she was made to wear those clothes, how small they fit against her medium sized body. How Raven watched her; making sure she didn't break her from his control. Made sure she wasn't a spy for the heroes. She almost let it slip she was twice.

Odessa placed her hands in her lap. She was afraid that she couldn't face either Rinoa nor Raven. That she was weak willed. Odessa wanted to be strong, brave yet her heart knew better. The sins the elf did couldn't just vanish; just disappear. No, she wanted redemption.

“Odessa, are you alright?” Ember asked as she eyed the elf. She noticed she was talking to herself and it bothered the demon. “Do the memories still haunt you? The lingering voice will always call those who get close to the princess. Resisting will be hard but you can do it.”

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“Because you're not the only one to get involved with the princess. I was a spy after all, I came in contact with her many a time.” Ember replied as she shook her head, the black yellow curls bouncing here and there against her shoulders. “And even though I have the trademarks of the princess and her captives, I am not attached to it. In fact,” Ember paused as she looked Odessa straight in the eye. “You want my trust, I'll tell you my true name.”

Odessa raised an eyebrow at her words. Ember knew she didn't trust her. Only because of the way she looked. And she didn't trust Odessa all the way but she would give her name. But her words did hold truth, as she wasn't the only one in and out of Yao Si Ji temple’s origin spot. However, Ember knew Odessa was a key. Someone needed to seal the princess indefinitely yet--yet she was out of hiding so easily.

Ember wondered why an important piece would be in the open so causally. And with Esben running around. Odessa looked down at her own hands then. She was silent for a moment as her courage left her.

“I see. So you have also gone to the Yao Si Ji temple without fear. Well, it no longer the Yao Si Ji temple as it has been reclaimed and destroyed. And you too have been in the throes of the princess without being caught or corrupted.” Odessa replied as she didn't look at Ember still. “But you expect me just to trust you on the whim of giving your name to me? What if that one is a fake too?”

“Little faith you have of me Odessa. If I was going to do something to you I would hae already. You are an important piece of the plan which we need. Why would I waste my time telling you a fake name?” Ember replied as she stared down the elf girl. “I need your trust as much as you need mine. So, we need to work together as that hume, Sayndar was it, falls apart to his demons.”

Odessa said nothing as Ember spoke. She was right about what she said yet the elf was a bit on edge after meeting Esben and reading Augustus’s journal. The demoness could see such since Esben was an imitading creature. The elf girl sighed as she placed her hands into her lap as the carriage brought them closer to Farenheit-Abalone, their destination. Odessa shook her head then as she looked up at Ember with a look of defeat.

“I see. You would say such things and I am just to believe you. After everything I just went through I cannot do such. Esben made me think that after meeting him.” Odessa replied honestly as Ember nodded. It surprised her as the demoness was agreeing with her. “Ember, I fear--I fear that I cannot acquire the strength to fight back against that voice.”

“I don't blame you. Lots of people fall to her as her prey. She was made to be that way. And now that Raven has her, it won't be any better. I heard that we might have a chance to defeat her. I want to be a part of that. I want to see her fall as she took so much from me. My homeland, my family and my knights.” Ember said as the anger rose in her voice. But she calmed herself as she shook her head. And what she said, that name Esben, made her shudder even more. “You've met the infamous slaver? And wasn't enslaved, such a feat.”

Odessa nodded as she sighed. If what Ember just said was true, then the demoness before her was none other than the leader of the city of Ebony-Azura, the small city that lingered among the land of Athentha between Serphus Aluminium and Serphus Alumnus. And that meant Ember was no other than the princess Jasper Roslyn Von Zenith Thames. Named after the gem Jasper Glare.

Yet she used the code name Ember so that no one knew she was the little princess. Especially her targets Raven and Rinoa. Ember sighed as Odessa spoke of Esben, a charismatic man who could charm you into anything. It's how he got his slaves. Odessa wanted to ask but she couldn't summon the courage to ask. Ember smiled softly.

“You got yourself in some mad schemes Jasper. I am surprised you let yourself get close to the Athenthian princess and didn't get captured by either.” Odessa replied as Jasper eyed her. Though it seemed her name was a boy's name implied that her parents wanted a boy and got a girl. “Of course I cannot judge, seeming I have done the same. But why Jasper? I thought it was not a girl's name.”

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And Jasper could feel something was off with the key. She couldn't believe the islands held their hopes in the form of seven keys. That was ridiculous to say the least. Maybe it was something to do with the keys but as always Augustus wrote everything in riddles and clues. Never fully explaining his thoughts and findings in one piece. Odessa sighed softly as the carriage rode to Farenheit-Abalone, journal in her lap. Her eyes looked down at it as she wanted to avoid the questions and read on what the shaman had written.

“Odessa? Avoiding me won't make me just disappear like Sayndar and Esben. You need to figure out how to deal with this if you don't want to become a victim of the princess. You can't hide forever you know. And that book won't hold all the answers.” Jasper said with every bit of honesty she held within. After all, she too was in the throes of Rin. And she saw what the princess could do. “Now, can you answer me? It will be an even longer ride should we have to ride in silence.”

“Yes.” came Odessa's shaky voice as she looked up at the demoness. “Her voice still rings in my ears calling me back to her. And I can still feel her eyes upon me as if she knew I was there stealing away her secrets. Knowing I betrayed her trust and became her enemy. This book has to hold it all. Augustus must know a way to end it all without the keys. Without bloodshed. Without--”

“Killing the princess?” Jasper asked as she raised an eyebrow at Odessa. “Is that why Sayndar abandoned you? The motion of wanting to save Rinoa? Did it upset him that much he abandoned a important piece? It does make sense that I found you alone if that is the case. But it was stupid for him to do such.” Jasper replied before looking down at the journal. A journal that belonged to Augustus. Interesting indeed. “So, you think Augustus would know how to kill a monster like that? Interesting. Yet Kogal did and look where it got him. Dead in the Sol-Morwenna desert.”

Odessa sighed. She knew that this journal might not even help her find a way to stop what was occurring. Odessa had read the stories of the land, that the Umbral Year happened every few years to birth a new leader and to keep the land afloat. Yet, as she sat there, the elf couldn't fathom that there was no real solution. And Esben’s involvement didn't make her feel any better.

“I do hope there is one in here. We need some kind of endless hope that probably doesn't exist.” Odessa replied as she felt melancholy now. This ride didn't comfort her as she thought it would. “Yes, Sayndar seems upset that someone doesn't wish to see bloodshed if it can be helped. But yes, I think we can save the princess, the land--”

“A brave attempt yet a foolish one at best Odessa. Though not impossible to be honest seeing that you are the first person looking for a different solution. I commend you.” Jasper replied as she placed her hands in her lap. The journal of the first and oldest shaman intrigued her greatly. “Humes are easily broken and angered so it makes sense. But in Sayndar's own case, he still must be hurt of what she did. And yes, some of us like using our brains to solve the problem ahead of us.”

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Odessa nodded at this. The two were at least thinking the same thing. Rinoa was someone thrown into a life shaped by those around her, Miach, Oisin, Kogal--even now with Esben and Raven. She was an important figure to Athentha yet she had no say in it. Odessa felt bad for the princess. Jasper wondered about the elf's state of mind. Could she survive Rin again should they meet?

“Odessa, tell me something will you. When you snuck into the castle, were you immediately drawn to the princess? Did you search her out? I know you snuck in to get information but it's possible that you can get sidetracked.” Jasper replied yet it wasn't accusatory but curious. She needed to know since it was important. “Rin has many ways of tainting people. Not just by her or the ore. You could be tainted now and not even know it.”

“Jasper, I wouldn't let her influence me. I know better. I didn't search her out, nor drawn to her. I went there to find Augutus’s journal and Miach's papers.” Odessa muttered. “You really think I'd let her--”

“I do not think anything dear. I just wanted to know. Not many can survive against her. She is a cunning beast using everything to gain her sacrifices. Please understand--”

“You children are so cute.” Rheumial replied as he jumped off Jasper's belt and flipping through the air. Landing in front of the two women. Neither knowing how he did this. “You're wondering how I got here don't you? Well, Jazzy here was in Rin's castle last, finding a journal when I latched onto her. She didn't notice me and I'm here to help unlike the slaver.”

Jasper placed a hand to her head. She was hoping not to run into Rheumy at all. He was a rogue artifact that couldn't be trusted as he let Raven kill Grant Lyon. Whose side was he really on no one really knew. Odessa tilted her head at the artifact as she was amazed. Sitting in the carriage outside Farenheit-Abalone, they were almost finally at their destination.

 

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Rheumial smiled as he eyed the two girls. One an important key, the other another more importance than the elf. Jasper was something even more important than Odessa knew. For now he kept silent on this detail. 

"How much do you know about Augustus and his writings? It seems he knows the way to our victory. As long as Grant Lyon doesn't acquire any of the Farenheit cities we should have a chance." Rheumy replied as he shook his head. 

What a mess. Odessa raised an eyebrow at this as she wondered if they could even trust the artifact. Jasper didn't question him yet eyeing the journal in Odessa's lap again. Would it really help? She had no clue.

"Listen, can we trust you?" Odessa asked as she looked at Rheumial. "And I thought Lyon was dead. How can he acquire land if he's in the ground? And if this journal is to help--"

"We will have to do it for now Odessa. We don't have a choice. Sayndar isn't here and we need all the help we can get." 

Jasper replied as the artifact took a seat. He knew that he couldn't be trusted and it didn't bother him one bit. He was used to it. However, he wondered about Odessa. Could she survive the coming events like him and Jasper? 

The carriage stopped outside the city of Farenheit-Abalone as Odessa had asked a good question. Rheumial sighed as he shook his head. Though it was a good question, he didn't want to answer it at the moment.

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