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Fate Don’t Know You

Fate Don’t Know You


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When the sun rose over the Veil’driel Senate House, it did so on the seat of a very different Republic than it had set on the night before. By now, the shocking new had spread to everyone, the senators most of all, and it was so quiet it felt as if all the Republic was holding its breath. The news had spread that First Consul C.R. Leverette had been arrested, but no one knew the exact details. They did, however, know everything there was to know about Neville Katic who was in a holding cell.

Nearly all of them had a copy of the new Tillian Bren herald that was sitting in front of them from their high spots in curvature bleachers and things that made up this Senate House that had flags and banners from each major city from them, and then over there was represented the various plains of the wilderness that ran all the way to the coast. It was a beautiful room. A legendary room, and now the eyes of all of the Senators were upon him at this crossroads of the Republic, and, it felt to him, all of the ghosts of the great men who shared this room as well.

​He had his arms crossed, each passing moment he did not speaking making them more and more nervous. And then he finally turned toward them all and took them in. The senators straight ahead. The senators to the left and right, and up. And he began to talk, the acoustics of the hallowed chamber giving rise and powerful amplicfication to all around.

​“Senators, there are no magic words I can say at this moment. No measures I can put into effect that will ease the burden or shock of many of you have woken up to today. A day that was going to be shocking enough with the release of Senator Bren’s herald..” paused, nodding to himself. “Made far worse by learning what had happened to First Consul Leverette today.” Now he walked forward to the edge of the stage. “I will not waste time with aggrandizing words. I do not feel the need to sway any of you as to the importance or critical nature of our cause here today with phony words of inspiration, I come here only to say this. The shock we feel today, the truths we must, all of us, face about our current situation as well as our past, will ring through the annals of our history for eternity. A stone was thrown into the waters of our history today that will ripples of which will have an effect for evermore.” He stopped and faced all the Senate. “If we survive.”

​Not a single soul stirred, as if Aleister was the center of the universe. For he was, without a doubt, the beating heart of Veil’driel.
​“Our history runs shamefully deep with half-truths and cover-ups. You all know now what really happened to our beloved heroes,” he hesistated. “My father among them, during the initial Bryce Valley mission. You know what they uncovered there and how they were betrayed by their political liason.” Now he looked around. “Neville Katic was not a singularity. He was the product of a system that made it easy for him to exist and survive. Through red tape and procedure and politics. Through one man’s bigotry, and fear of something he did not understand, he was able to alter the course of history. But there have been many Neville Katics.” He looked up at the wilderness banners, the different colorful weaved dyed pennants of the various plains. “Witness our plains, our wildnerness. We claim control over these lands but who has been there? No one, really? And why? Because there were other Neville Katics who at the time of the Jonathan Terrill expeditions, who didn’t think our people needed to hear about the horrible fate that met that expedition, the truth, like overprotecting parents for far too long. And what happened? It stunted trade and expansion out there. Left it to various settlements, in an otherwise largely unknown area that made it impossible to know. So much so that it gave Artemus Ward an opportunity to full all of us, and launch a grand conspiracy to get our forces out of here and march all the way up to Sindell, leaving us all protected. Turning our very nature against us by doing so, just as he himself was betrayed. It was wilderness we cast him out into. This Council, this senate, decisions made in these very chambers, tarnished the outriders names when the Order launched protest after protest as to how the mission wizards Orinus and Valith mission ended. Tied them up with ropes of bureacurcy. Gagged them with secret threats on their families. Their order held down until they rose to promincence with the events of nearly a year ago in Fairlawn City. All in the name of fear. And out of that wildnerness, this very Senate’s creation, rose this problem.”
​He looked down from the banners.

​“Is this why our people elect us? Elect this senate? To keep secrets from the public, to censor,” he nodded to Tillian Bren. “To outright lie to them?”

​He turned back.

​“Make no mistake about it, honorable senators, Artemus Ward is our creation, our doing, and to think of how this nation could have let down a hero such as that to this point sickens me enough, as it should sicken all of you. Well, now the people will know. They will know with Tillian Bren’s herald. They will know what happened three decades ago and how our outriders were betrayed. They will know that Artemus Ward and Gabriel Foy found refuge with a wizardess who was assigned here to guard this continent even if it takes a long time for them to understand how or why. All of the information this Senate, its highest ranking politicians, this High Council has become privy to is made public knowledge. They’ll know that we knew about wizards and preternatural occurrences in this land far before they did,” now he looked over to the High Council sitting in their special section up on the stage with him. “And they’ll know that the reason is because when we first discovered this realtiy 30 years ago, instead of dealing with it as we should have, we tried to pretend it didn’t exist and forget about, and then punish the entire outrider order when they didn’t want to forget it. They will know the truth, as we know it, and we will trust them.”

​Now one of the High Council members stood up.

​“That is pure insanity!” he said, standing up and looking around. “There will be widescale panic. Drumming up panic. We did what the wizardess told us, did we not? We sent the forces to fight the battle as we were supposed to in Sindell.”

​“Yes, just as Artemus wanted us to, as I have argued to the High Council, as you know Senator Dorsey Trent, for the last few months.”
​“Yet you have brought us no proof. At no point have you ever brought proof before the Council.”
​“Only because all scouting missions were denied, swaying a weak First Consul, and I sent my own.”
​The doors opened and Lucas Reese walked in.
​“I have been scouting secretly for Praetor Ducheyene. An army is on its way. Last night it passed by Bryce Valley and will be on Fairlawn Woods.”
​“When?” a panicked Senator stood up and blurted.
​“A matter of hours,” he said. And there was massive mumbling and talking and panic.
​Aleister patted down the air and they quieted.
​“Mr. Reese is heading back to Fairlawn Woods with all that remains of our law enforcement authorites in all cities.”
​“You are on the verge of causing mass hysteria and now you take away the civil authorities of the cities! There will be riots and they will all burn to the ground.”
​“No,” Aleister said, turning to them. “There won’t be. Have faith in the people. As you should.” Now he took a step closer to Dorsey and while he was bold and still standing, the other members of the High Council did not look near as bold. “The High Council is an antiquated practice, it has long ceased to be a close circle of advisors from the eldest and highest advisors, but that wisest of us has been sacrificed to corruption. Whereas in times of crisis, the Senate is shut out by a small collection of men, no longer subject to election or the will of the people. It becomes an arrogant…” he stopped, hesitated, almost as if he couldn’t believe he was saying the word, or it had some special meaning. “Plutocracy,” he said.
​“Plutocracy, you say!”
​“As my first act as First Consul, I hereby enact a complete and immediate dissolution of the High Council.”
​“You cannot do that! You have not been confirmed! You require two seconds from the Senate, there must be deliberation, in the wake of a crisis of an assassination.
​“I move to confirm the Praetor’s advancement in the wake of this tragedy, then,” Tillian Bren stood up and started looking at him.
​Aleister turned around and watched.
​Joseph Bright, Cleo’s father stood, then another then another in a dramatic fashion until all of the senators were standing, anonoymously, and he looked at the High Council, turning around against the back drop of all the senators standing.
​“Consider this a pardon for any of you who also had a hand in this. And were guilty of things we never knew about. But the time of halftruths and lies are over. You’re dismissed, gentlemen.”

​The get up, look at each other, generations of the families of the highest political ties looking at each other in shock.

​“This is preposterous! We refuse.”

​The doors open and the crimson guard comes in.

​“I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist.”

​Now afraid, they left.

​Aleister turns back to them, to the senators.

​“Had Neville Katic had his way, we would have had a puppet government installed. Our people would have been told the same lies the rest of this continent has to be conquered. The days of isolationism are at an end. The battle of Sindell is only one front of this war, another was right here in the form of corruption, another marches on us from the plains to Fairlawn.” He walked down to the front of the stage. “All members of the Senate are to relocate to Avaleen. The defenses of that structure from the days of old, when it was our capital before we were a world power, will make it able to hold out for quite some time. This will be done in case we are invaded, as long as that city holds, as long as you breathe, you are the legitimate government of the Republic of Veil’driel. The Crimson Guard, all 250 of them are going with you. As advised in the herald, all people of able body are encouraged to fight, all mayors will stand their posts, they will stay in their cities to whatever end. I will stay here. As soon as this session adjourns, your short journey to Avaleen will commence.”

​“And what about you?” someone asked.

​“I will stay here, this is my post, I will stay here to whatever end as well.”

​Now he paused, took a deep breath and wondered if this would be the last time this place would ever convene. If he would be the last First Consul to speak.

​“Make no mistake. We are fighting against enslavement. For our very way of life.”

​He sighed.

​“Senate adjourned.”

​At that moment they all stood up again with massive applause, and he was floored by it, totally unexpected. He kept looking at them, nodding occasionally. Overwhelmed. He looked over at Tillian Bren who was not standing but cool and collected and calm, and reciting stuff to his scribe who was frantically racing to write it all down. He smiled at the First Consul when he looked over when their eyes met, and winked, however.

​Then his eyes moved through the crowd and stopped a second time on Roland and Something Bright. Cleo Bright’s parents. And nodded to them as well. Then he walked over to Lucas Reese who was still standing there, looking at him.

​As the applause continued, he glanced over to Lucas Reese who nodded at him, then turned on his heel and left the Senate Chamber. And with a sigh and looking up at the crescent window that led out into the huge steps of the senate house, leading down, the First Consul caught sight of the bright morning sun.


They had been talking about everything that led up to this point, and then they had circled back around to the Beacon Fleet and the illusion Terrill Silva. She looks better, it was almost like a little color had been returning. There were more plates all over the place and platters and drinks, the room was a mess, and she looked better. Color enough returning to her well Relic imagined she could have gotten up to face the day at any time. But then he knew that was wishful thinking.
“You okay?” she asked him, and there was an awkward little smile splayed across her face.
Relic looked up suddenly, with a start, and realized then that he must have drifted, and was indeed quiet for awhile. When he spoke again, he was resting his chin on his hand, only realizing then that the sun had come up, but he didn’t care. He felt more alive and awake now than he had in recent memory. But her voice brought him back, as this had been a lot of information, even by his standards, but that small pause was all he needed to assimilate what detail he was trying to work out, and when he spoke again he was ready to move on with what everything had led to in his mind.
“Yeah, I’m just wondering where Arkhelan came from. He just appeared?”
“Was chosen,” Hazel corrected.
“To replace your mother. To replace Jaden,” Relic said, fairly certain he was following.
Hazel nodded.
“It was my mother who made the decision to try and have humanity and tears coeixist, my mother who led my father and his point team to Bryce Valley, and through those actions, their secret dwellings in Bryce Valley were destroyed, and many of them were killed. The gemstones that kept it grounded in the physical realm was broken. The powers that be blamed my mother.”
“Powers that be? In that Underwater Empire? See, that’s where you lost me.”
“Lost you?” she said with a smile. Wow. Is there an award for that or something?”
Relic smiled a little as Hazel went on.
“Well, then it seems we’ve rounded back to what I promised we’d talk about that night at Lornda Manor.”
Relic smiled.
“Essentially,” she was sitting up a bit, showing as much energy as she had until this point. “You had the breaking of the Sun Kingdom which was, I understand, essentially heaven.”
“Right,” Relic said.
“It all started with the splitting of the Sun Kingdom, which essentially ended all existence, or heaven or whatever you wanna call it, and created the physical realm as well as the metaphysical.”
“When that happened, the ones who remembered the existence of the heaven existence, known to us as the Sun Kingdom, settled, hidden from the rest of the world which would evolve into humanity with no knowledge of existence beyond their current one. Hidden at the bottom of the ocean, setting up settlements that would form an underwater empire of this group. They were called the shamans.” Hazel held up two hands. “Over time, aeons, some of these shamans,” she shook her right hand. “Landed on Ciridian, which is this continent,” she shook the other, “and Emren, this world’s other continent.”
Relic raised his eyebrows.
“So, what? They can breathe underwater?”
Hazel shook her head.
“Their settlements, the Empire is protected.”
“Protected how?”
Hazel poined out the window.
“Same way as this capital is,” she explained. “That forcefield is a recreation of the magical forcefields that protect that Empire.”
“Which is called what?” Relic pushed.
“I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows, not even my mother,” Hazel said, then thinking on it a little longer, added. “Maybe Arkhelan.” Then she stopped, squinting at Relic.
“You interrupt a lot, has anyone ever told you that?”
Relic leaned back a little in his chair and crossed his arms.
“Yes,” he said with a smirk. “Go on.”
“The shamans from this Underwater Empire settled in Bryce Valley, as far as Emren, I don’t know. I don’ t know much about that continent at all, except my mother would sometimes tell me stories of how humans and tears coexisted peacefully in a faraway land when I was a child. I can only assume she meant there.”
Relic didn’t dare speak, didn’t want to say anything, just listen. He thought he could have listened for the first of his life.
“The shamans existed there in secret for thousands of years, hidden by the illusion magic in the caverns. Before eventually those shamans left there and spread out into the world, living amongst humans, their powers hidden, and all the while the nations of this continent started to form. My mother was among these pioneers who chose to embrace aspects of the physical world, to exist within it, to experience it. She was therefore christened the Illumanite of Ciridian by the original shamans of the Underwater Empire, to preside over all shamans that, like her, spread out to experience life in this form.”
“And those who spread out were called Tears,” Relic said.
“Yes, a term given to them by the shamans they broke away from, as they knew their immediate connection to the Sun Kingdom would be lost the more they took part in the physical realm. That they would weep for what they lost, be Tears,” Hazel nodded. “And my mother was the first of those Tears. She established Lornda Manor, having it built over the portal down to The Tunnels of Armageddon. The Tunnels that connected the entire world, where you could move freely all over not only Ciridian, but over the entire world. It was a hub of unison. Where heads of state from all over the continent, and indeed, the world could meet instantaneously. The communion vaults were set up in every established nation on both Emren and Ciridian for constant communication as well, and my mother frequently visited and communicated with them all. All the nations of this world were united, travel and trade was commonplace.”
Relic nodded.
“Those docks at Lornda Manor.”
“Had all the activity they could hande in their day, believe me,” she said. “The trade routes between Zarponda and the Lornda Manor docks were said to be so busy you could almost walk the distance from deck of one ship to the next. Lornda Manor was considered neutral ground and disputes between various heads of state were decided there, while being entertained in the beautiful Manor, as my mother managed the continent. The Tunnels of Armageddon, which were another construction of the Shamans after they first arrived here, from which every precious stone in this world has come from them or the caverns they lead to. And they lead to caverns all over in the farthest reaches of the world.”
“It sounds wonderful,” Relic said, and by now he was totally absorbed. He had no desire to ask any question at all, and Hazel went on.
“It must have been,” she said, but she was not picturing it, though she had many times to herself at night in her dreams, but now she was concentrating on continuing. “The Tears in Sindell worked with their engineers with the emeralds to create the technology that made their dream of airships a reality. Tears in Mazhira predicted weather patterns that led to the bountiful harvests that fed the people of that nation. Tears with supernatural powers of direction and geography of the lands helped Veil’driel scouts explore new horizons of the continent, which eventually formed the Outrider Order.
“It was at one of these meetings held at Lornda Manor that it was agreed, between forces at Emren and Ciridian to attempt the first physical contact between the two continents.”
“The Beacon Fleet,” Relic said.
Hazel nodded.
“Sindell and Veil’driel would put together the fleet of ships, as the most powerful of the nations on this continent. But Mazhira would send emissaries as well, as well as plants ingigenous to their region, their wines like Orinel Lin, all the nations did the same. The three heads of these nations were all there to see it off, it was the height of the union of this continent, a time of immense promise.”
“Minotaurs weren’t invited, I guess,” Relic said. He was hardly serious but the look on Hazel’s face was.
“The minotaurs are indigenous to this continent,” she said. “They were here before even the breaking of the Sun Kingdom, and the evolution of humankind, and certainly before the first shamans came to these shores.”
“Wow,” Relic said, but he was quickly moving on. “And you said the Beacon Fleet made it. And then, when I was at Lornda Manor, we saw the ballast created the walkway leading up to it. “How did that happened?”
“Nobody knows, but it was the beginning of the end of unison and cooperation between Ciridian.” Relic leaned forward but said nothing. “When the Beacon Fleet left, it was slated to return in one year’s time. But it never did.”
“Never did?”
“No. My mother then started trying to contact the nations of Emren and suddenly began getting no response. All the while, the nation leaders grew evermore restless, wondering what happened to their ships and why they had not returned. My mother assured them all that she would find out, and went to Zarponda, to the Underwater Staircase. One of the means created by the shamans that left the Underwater Empire, and they could only use it to return there, if ever necessary. So my mother went to Bryce Valley, and asked them for permission to use the key, the blue sapphire similar to the golden sapphire that unlocks the fountain in the conservatory. The granted it, giving her the cool name sapphire and she went to Zarponda for the Underwater Staircase and used it to get to the Underwater Kingdom. When she returned, she called a meeting at Lornda Manor to tell them the shocking truth. Emren had broken out in war between the Tears and humankind, unexpectedly, and until it was over the Underwater Kingdom had forbidden travel between the two continents until the crisis was at an end.” She sighed. “The first division, inevitable, since the breaking of the Sun Kingdom. When physical and metaphysical were divided. The brain and the mind became two separate entitites, all was lost in that moment, and that infection of division, spread here to Ciridian. My mother returned, and told them this, but the heads of state grew suspicious, and hearing that on the foreign shores the Tears were attacking humankind, began to expel them all out of their lands. Friendships and familes spanning back generations were split because of fear and mistrust and sent away from each nation. Eventually leading to the bittern and angry wizards like Valith and Orinus and their original followers.”
“Where did they all go?” Relic asked.
“Most retreated peacefully back into Bryce Valley to lead a secret existence, an existence before they branched out from them, returning to the only place they could call home, to return to a mostly metaphysical existence betyond the perception of the people without abilities. But others stayed, bitter, angry, feeling like they gave so much to these nations and this how they betray them. Tears like Valith and Orinus and their followers, which would eventually lead us to where we are now. Even at this time they were making some attacks, enough to feed the nations mistrust of tears, starting to call them wizards. There were even attacks made on Lornda Manor, until finally, the illusory border was have to put in place in Terrill Silva to protect it, another such border was placed around Lornda Manor from the Hezlin Sea, hiding its existence beyond normal perceptions there as well.”
“Then what happened?”
“This continent essentially reset, reverted. The nations started mistrusting each other, not just the tears, and communication all but ceased. Most burying or sealing up their communion vaults, as most tears retreated back into Bryce Valley, they retreated into themselves. Massive parts of histories were rewritten or otherwise forgotten and discarded. New histories were written with all that came before falling into myth or legend. Divided and fractured. My mother, by using the Tunnels of Armegeddon, had the ballast transported here from Emren, along with letters written by those who were on board, telling of how the ships were dismantled but one day they might return, trying to convince the governments for the longest time. But to no avail. They became the walkway to Lornda Manor, hoping that they would one day the spirit that created the Beacon Fleet would find its way back to Lornda Manor as it once did. And centuries passed, with only my mother occasionally visiting each country, but never revealing herself.”
Relic was leaning forward again.
“And yet it couldn’t have been long, because we found so much. So much rare stuff from all over the country that Artemus, when we were there, said were mainly gifts to her.”
“From the prosperous time,” Hazel said. “They stay good forever, because time does not exist in Lornda Manor as it does anywhere else. The books you read in Lornda Manor library some are ancient, and yet as new and strudy as when they were brand new. Food and everything else, even some of those suits of armor in Paladin Hall are ancient, but time can be manipulated there. As it can in Bryce Valley, and was for so many years.”
Relic remembered how at first, when they arrived at Lornda Manor, it seemed dusty and abandon for a long time. And now this made sense to him. It could be fast forwarded and slowed down at will.
“And that was it.”
“Yes. The continent evolved the way it did without the Tears, grew more isolated from each other. There was no contact with Emren at all. It totally ceased. Until centuries later,” she said. “When the outriders, led by my father came to Lornda Manor, in search of Valith and Orinus who had stepped up their attacks and destruction. My mother’s greatest weakness is her hope, and after the way she had worked with the humans of Veil’driel, to so much success with the Shamans in Bryce Valley to push Valith and Orinus out, visions of that prosperous time on Ciridian. The point team she was with, led by my father, stayed in that Valley for months, learning everything I’ve told you, experiencing enlightmenment. It’s how you were transported here without the ill effects of the plague of the tunnels. Because Foy worked so long with the healing Shamans. It was his obsession, and now he can protect any he travels with.”
Relic nodded, understanding.
“But instead of it being the first step of reuniting the continent, the first step down that beacon fleet ballast walkway,” Relic started. “They were all betrayed. By,” he paused, still not believing what she has earlier told him. “Neville Katic,” he said. “If only … if only that never happened,” he said.
“But, you see, Relic, that’s just it. It will always happen. There will always be something in the way, if not Neville’s actions it would have been something else, or something else. There can be no union in this existence. There has to be the Sun Kingdom.”
“No, I don’t believe that,” Relic said. “And I don’t think you completely do, either.”
“Listen to me, Relic. I like you, I do. But I am not on your side in this, and don’t make the mistake of thinking so.”
Relic sighed.
“So what happened? What happened in the wake of that attack on Bryce Valley?”
“What happened? Devastation and mass death is what happened,” she said, angry for the first time. “It’s through the powers in those caverns that they were able to keep their bond to the physical realm and remain ancient. When the attack happened, in that moment they had let down the illusion to experience life with the point team, and the aerial attack came, many were lost to this world forever, the aerial attacks pinpointing exactly the areas they knew where they would have to hit from the intelligence provided by my father’s point team. Most of the shamans ceased to exist in this world as their precious stones were destroyed, the essence of Bryce Valley, and so instantly they showed their true age and appeared as ancient ruins throughout Bryce Valley. Your precious Constable had been up trying to save them when the attacks came, on the upper part of Bryce Valley and returned just in time, in the wake of the attacks, to see Ailmar Ducheyne dead, and my father lying dying beside him. Gabriel Foy standing over them both, disoriented.”
“And then what?”
Now Hazel looked out the window and started to drift.
“I’ve seen it many times in my dreams,” she said softly. “It was the moment his true destiny came into the present. There could be no unity, there could be no peace on the continent. Not in the way that my mother sought or wanted. The destruction of the shamans in Bryce Valley spread throughout the tears that were living amongst the population in secret, and the ancient order of the Illumanar rose up, called upon at moments when the Tears needed protection, in a time of war declared by the Shamans of this continent.”
“But weren’t all the shamans destroyed?”
“No,” Hazel said. “And those that survived sacrificed all their spirtual side so that all that remained of their physical status was what you know as the sky fire units. Those are true shamans. Their life forces tied to the precious stones around their necks. Their final purpose on destruction. Their communication even beyond us, only heard as a series of clicks.”
“So the golden rider rose up.”
“Yes. The moment my mother helped my father to his feet, as he lay dying, he assumed his fatalistic role as the Golden Rider captain. The Illumanar, captain of the Illumanar in service of the Illumanite on this continent, who was my mother. Gabriel returned with them to Lornda Manor. My father did the same, and at my mother’s request, he did not muster the members of the golden riders, not the bulk and so they continued to exist in society, unknown. Mostly in the wilderness, the plains of Veil’driel, but also in the wilderness, the settlements that didn’t draw much attention in all of the other nations as well, idle, quiet, with only a small contigent brought up to be servants and live in Lornda Manor.”
“And then you came along,” Relic said.
“Five years later,” she said.
“I can even remember my first trip,” she looked around the room. “Here. My father and mother planned ways to reunited the continent, helping each other with ideas to restore the continent to its former glory. They eventually decided to do something bold and travel to the Kingdom of Sindell, using the Tunnels to tell the King what really happened in Sindell. The King, William’s father, was gracious and appalled by what happened, by how they were betrayed, and agreed to sanctions placed on by Jaden that took away their firepower, their weapons, and significantly decreased their range. And they continued their good relationship in secret, and we returned to Lornda Manor.”
“And then what changed? What led us here?”
“I was barely a teenager the first time Arkhelan contacted my mother through the communion vault in Lornda Manor. He said that because of her direct actions, Bryce Valley was demolished, and that the Underwater Empire, the original Shamans had named him Luminate over Emren and the world, and that she would no assist him in conquering all of Ciridian, and follow his orders, and that he would be in touch, and then disappeared. In that time, my mother decided to prepare for an attack, warning Sindell and communicating with the King and having him set up this forcefield over his capital city. When it was completed it would be spread to all his other cities, but it never go tto that point, as he died and our attacks started soon after. My father started mustering the Illumanar, the Golden riders, in what my mother thought would be to help bolster the defenses of Ciridian, and told him to do that while she sought out the cool sapphire key lost in the attack on Bryce Valley. We thought it was there, and so Gabriel Foy dedicated himself to moving there, staying there and looking as he was most familiar with the valley, vowing never to leave until he found it. I never saw him again.”
“I guess he never found it,” Relic said.
“No, he did. At least to an extent,” she said. “He found out that the secret to finding it lay in all the point team’s record books. That when they were all put together they all had a part of the puzzle as to where to find it, and this too, was nothing more than fate.”
“Around this time my father started to realize that using the tunnels was making us sick, moreover me, and went from disillusioned to furious. As it was because without the shamans living in Bryce Valley, without that balance, it was poisoning us. Creating a physical infection us, as if a mental illness suddenly started generating physical ailments.”
“That’s when your father turned,” Relic said. “When he knew you were sick.”
She nodded.
“He started communicating with Arkhelan in private. He said he would help him on a few conditions. One, Veil’driel was left unharmed, and together they devised a plan as to how this might be done. A plan you and Jace eventually ruined. And that my mother not be harmed.”
“And when Veil’driel got involved and that part of the plan crumbled,” Relic said. “His stance to protect Jaden soon fell with it.”
“When she tried to get through Bryce Valley to Sindell, she became a real threat, and he had no choice.” She leaned up now. “See, when my mother was trying to bring this continent together, everything she did had the opposite effect, because she was fighting the way things were supposed to be. Fighting fate and so everything went against her. In Bryce Valley she had the very change she sought to prevent happen because of her actions. My father tried to save both her and Veil’driel but it wasn’t meant to be and so fate corrected itself, fought against it and made it impossible. And so the beat goes on and on. The cycle must be broken.”
“My father convinced my mother that it was necessary to muster the entire force of Illumanar, because Arkhelan could be attacking at any time. She agreed, but then secretly my father began using all of his power, his golden riders to lay siege to all the countries in the world, they were all so isolated it was easy, all the tears that had been in hiding were loyal to Arkhelan, not my mother, and the soulless bodies of the sky fire units, tied onlt to this world now by their gemstone necklaces, are loyal to the Illumanar Captain, and they used their ancient shaman powers to enslave the minds of the minotaurs to lure them into our service as well. All the while he was my mother confidant, listening to all of her plans to have a secret resistance and relaying it all to Arkhelan while counteracting all of it. Keeping her pinned in Lornda Manor by saying there were massive armies occupying Ciridian.”
“You conquered the entire continent with deception and lies,” Relic said. “Your mother was the first casualty of that.”
“All in how you look at it,” Hazel said. “Everything always is.”
“And how do you look at it, Hazel? How do you really look at it?”
“Well, I see masses were finally successful. You succeeded in destroying the most beautiful place, that sacred neutral ground on this continent, like my mother erected that illusory border in Terrill Silva to protect and avoid, and yet again, she failed. Just like her entire philosophy is wrong. This continent will not be united, it can’t be, it’s swimming against the current which is why everything happens the opposite way. That’s what happens when you’re on the wrong side of fate. It’s why Lornda Manor, in the end, made the fate it always had to. The place of sacred union and trust burning to the ground.”

“That isn’t how it happened,” Relic said. “You weren’t there, you don’t know. It was either be held prisoner and watch everything we car about fall to ruin, or to try.”

She sighed.

“Well, you are on the other side of things than I am. And we’ll see, Relic. We’ll see, in the end, which of us is right.”

And something struck him, then. A revelation that went beyond any conscious definition but it was there. That Hazel Lien, the daughter of Artemus and Jaden, was literally a child of this ancient cycle. A product, in the purest form, of the quest for the Tears, who remained knowledge of a greater existence, and humankind to unite and coexist. And that … as such a product that seemed so doomed, she was dying. He didn’t know if it was coincidence or simply a perfect representation. But maybe everything was a representation, a representation of something metaphysical, beyond them all. Regardless, the revlelation calmed him, and took his thoughts in a different direction. And he laughed, surprising them both.

“It just dawned on me that you were shooting at me that night. While Jace was on the back of my horse.”

Hazel smiled a little, pulled up the sleeve of her loose comfortable gown, and past the gray scars was a nasty wound where it looked the bone had broken and come through the arm and then healed over.

“Rock hurled by a minotaur,” she said.

But Relic had focused more on her gray scars and she knew it.

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 Chapter Fifteen  (E)
Aleister confronting Leverette
#2190680 by Dan Hiestand
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