Summary:Phoenix learns of the secret the Yul-Adr have guarded.



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Jek-Kek-Utashi leads Phoenix over, into the more isolated regions of the island's jungle. "I couldst not speak of it in front of the little ones," he says, as if hoping for comprehension from his conversational partner.

willows looks a little less irritated. "Of...course not?"

willows "it's funny that you call them 'little'."

"They be yet young in their incarnation," he says, casually pushing branches out of his way with his four arms. "The mystery of Phestabas doth not apply yet to their being."

"Salustren, thou must understand, is a special place" -- and he gestures broadly to the jungles around him. "The Progenitors didst craft all of the world in blindness, their eyes covered and their hands tied by the chaos that didst rage about them," he says. "Salustren is that place which they didst first lay eyes upon their Creation."

Phoenix` looks around. "Good start."

Phoenix` "Then, there must be some deep wonders hidden here, which the Yul-Adr have guarded for years upon years, one suspects."

"Many and splendorous," he says, as a brilliant ruby-colored bird flits between two trees above. "But as it was the jewel in the eyes of those who brought us all into being, so too was it the site of great destruction, as those who didst harry their steps came first here, to complete their pursuit."

Phoenix` whistles a little tune and collects a small flock of songbirds on her arm. "And what happened then?"

"The first war," he says. "Fought upon this very isle, the blood spilled from it sunk deep, to feed these roots," he says, patting the trunk of a nearby tree lovingly. "Those who had survived their voyage didst stand their ground here, against the Ravens that had cruelly struck at them across the tapestry."

"They didst stand here, and do battle, and cast down their enemies; and from their leader Arcturus, they didst take the heart that cruelly powered him."

Phoenix` "Cruelly powered?"

Phoenix` "And what's this got to do with this thing?" She holds up the clockworks surrounding the mote of darkness.

"What you holdeth in your hands, lo, is that very thing!" he says, gesturing dramatically to it. "Purest earth from their world of origin, infused with that force which didst drive out the Progenitors." He looks at it again. "All His servants are created thus."

Phoenix` 's eyes widen. "You realize this is a treasure beyond all imagination of value?"

Phoenix` "...wait, all His servants? Who?"

Phoenix` takes care to pronounce the capital H.

"The tyrant of the Progenitor's home," he says. "He who didst brand the sign of his identity upon that crooked heart."

Phoenix` "...Oros?"

"....Our Creator didst tell us that never shouldst we speak that name," he says, an aura of melancholy coming over his words briefly.

Phoenix` "Let us not repeat it, then. What next?"

"Your destiny didst call you here that you might take this darkness from us," he says, "for you must have a use for which to put it, or shall have such soon." He sighs from three of his huge mouths. "And I might wishest that you were called here, too, to gaze upon the marvel and wonder of our isle, that which only the Yul-Adr might see in these late days."

Phoenix` "Now that the tides of chaos have once more receded from Creation's shores," Phoenix can't help but pick up the Yul-Adr's portentous diction, "We may once more look upon Salustren at our leisure."

Phoenix` "Are your people bound to remain here, or may you travel?"

Jek-Kek-Utashi stops as if in thought. "We have... never sought to do so," he says. "Always before we have borne the burden of guarding the darkness within." He pauses again, as if considering further. "Perhaps, then, we might thus journey, if it should so please the stars."

Phoenix` "I find that travelling is always worth something."

Jek-Kek-Utashi nods, an odd gesture given his surfeit of heads. "Mayest we giveth though another small token, o Phoenix-of-Ashes, in hope that our kind might someday meet with you again in thy own homeland, where thou mightest return unto us this favor?"

Phoenix` "It would be the greatest honor."

The Yul-Adr reaches up to one of the nearby trees and plucks from it a brilliant sapphire apple, glittering with beautiful facets, and then he raises one of his fingers up to the sky.

After a moment, he draws down one of the beautiful, but eerie, blue lights that Phoenix saw during the night, and places it within the apple. "For you," he says, and hands it to her.

Phoenix` takes it with a smile. "It's so beautiful! Thank you."

Jek-Kek-Utashi's five heads all smile.


After the long and sumptuous feast that the Yul-Adr insist Phoenix partake of, they set her off on her journey, heading off towards her next destination.

Three hours later, in the north of the island, a black boat rows silently through the midnight waters.

Its long oars barely disturbing the water, it pushes its way to a sandy shore, and a figure steps out.

She is tall, even by the standards of men, and thin, like a reedy willow; her purple-black hair hangs down far past her shoulders, and her violet eyes are caked in thick, black kohl that extends out into carefully rendered whorls and curves across her temples.

Her black leather outfit is tight-fitting, with only the slightest metallic trim, and the twinned daggers she holds in her hands seem quite capable of striking if necessary, but at the moment are held loosely, almost ceremonially.

And on her forehead, clear as day, stands the golden circle of the Night caste.

She raises her voice so that those of the island might hear: "I am here," she shouts, "to claim what is destined to me."

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Page last modified on March 16, 2009, at 08:36 PM