Chapter 8 A dream of work
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Demon continent Alsace in the year 291 after the shattering of the empire

 

The next morning the tents were taken down again, which had served some demons as night camp. So while some are busy taking down their tents, the others are preparing the wagons for the onward journey.

 

From the tent of the healers, the still unconscious priest was taken to his own wagon. In which he was to ride together with a healer and a guard. No one wanted him to be injured by the onward journey and succumb to these, should they not be treated immediately. As much as he and his god were despised, their good reputation and their lives depended on bringing him to Dikili Tash. Of course, he was no longer trusted, so if he woke up, he would be watched at every turn.

 

All this could have been seen by anyone watching the caravan of the Hand Alsace at that moment. And that was exactly what Daemon was doing.

 

Through field glasses he watched the hustle and bustle of the camp below. His god had appeared to him in a dream and had demanded that he take possession of this group. That he led them to his god. What he wanted with these Cikarti, however, was another question. After all, they were Cikarti, which made them no more worthy than a pig. But it was not for him to question the actions of his god. No, he would just act on it, his god would know what he was doing.

 

So he watched the camp for quite a while, he wanted to make sure he didn't miss anything. He didn't want anything to surprise him. If his men should suffer losses, then that was the way it was and Meinoume had judged them. But for himself the whole thing did not apply, he was after all an anointed of Meinoume. Which made him more useful to his master, at least as long as he lived.

 

So he watched as the Cikarti below him packed up their tents and prepared their wagons. Around and through all the hustle and bustle of people patrolled guards ranging from two to four people per patrol. All in light to heavy armor and with different weapons. In all, he counted fifty-eight guards, which appeared to be a third of the entire Cikarti.

 

He would need a plan; that was more people than he had men. He called the coming terrain to mind and went over each point at which he could ambush the group of Cikarti's.

 

For now, however, he would have some of his own scouts keep an eye on the group. He only hoped that they would not alert the Cikarti scouts.

 

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He had not really come closer to a possible answer, but he had noticed something that had escaped him before. His core was completely empty. Where he could feel a puddle in his core yesterday, he could feel a yawning emptiness today.

 

This in connection with his atypical sleepiness could provide an answer. Now he just had to find out why his core was drained. And here he came again into a dead end, because he had no idea what could have emptied his core so. At least it hadn't been a conscious decision on his part and he didn't know of any spell or similar that could have drained him like that, nor had he cast any. So he was at the beginning with more information. He would have to delve into the priest's memory to find an answer. This one, however, was beyond his reach. Another thing he discovered was that his core, which was level one, exceeded the size of his level nine core from his old life by double. This had surprised him so much that he had been lost in his thoughts all morning.

 

His level one core was the size of his level ten core, which was an advantage on one hand. He had more arcane energy at his disposal than other level one users. However, he would also have to expend a corresponding amount of arcane energy to go up a level and do it over and over again. Also, he seemed to have created his core with a high degree of purity. Whereby purity was possibly not the right term.

As he had noticed in this life and also already during his death experience, there was more to wild arcane energy than he had first assumed. An insight, which he had received only thanks to his increased sense perception. Which he had used as a matter of course in his new life. But which should not be accessible to a level one to this extent. Something he had completely overlooked, his years of using these senses had blinded him.

 

He had to remind himself what it was like to be a level one user. Which only showed him that his senses and core exceeded that many times over. Which led him to wonder why he had a level one core the size of a level ten core and the sensory enhancements that came with it? Did he then also have the life expectancy of a level ten user?

 

According to the legends, level ten users were immortal and were halted in their physical development until the end of time or their death by force. They were, of course, harder to kill than a level nine user or a level eight user. But this was basically true for all Arcane Energy users. Which is why a level one user was already difficult to kill for someone who didn't use Arcane Energies. A trend that continued upward. It was increasingly difficult to kill someone one or more levels above your own, not that it was impossible, his death was a good example. There were ways and means by which this could be accomplished.

 

Purifying the Arcane Energies, in which one purified and strengthened one's own body with it, was more a process of making the Arcane Energy one's own and bringing it to order. Where it went from "wild/free" Arcane Energy to your own ordered one. In which your core served as a store, but which also regenerated Arcane Energy, to the degree that you had used the Arcane Energy to create your core.

 

This must lead to the fact that there were differences within the levels and also why some of the demons felt much weaker despite their level three core.

 

All this thinking, however, had exhausted him again, he seemed not yet to have recovered from his emptied core. Which set him up to go back to sleep, not that there was particularly much he could have done to help the group move on.

 

So he was in a stupor when things finally moved on, which he experienced on the bench next to Sappho. The gentle rocking back and forth of the car did the rest and soon he was completely asleep.

 

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She had agreed with Sia that she would drive the car until noon, after which Sia would take over and she could lie down and sleep. When she looked around, they were not the only ones with this arrangement of things.

 

The general nervousness that had spread through the group had not fallen from them even after a night of guarding and reinforcing guards throughout the day. It had the opposite effect, everyone seemed even more nervous and tired. A certain tiredness could be seen in all of them. The incident with the priest and the amulet, however, had made everyone feel as if they were being watched and that danger lurked around every corner.

 

As the sun rose, it became warmer and warmer until it began to shimmer in the distance on the street and sweat ran down everyone's body in streams. The oppressive heat made it even more difficult for some to stay awake and she could see some wagons meandering back and forth until the driver woke up again or one of the guards woke him up.

 

She too had difficulty staying awake, but the constant forward nodding of her head kept waking her up. With occasional glances at Cali, she checked that the little one was doing well. She had already unwrapped her from her blanket, not that she died of a heat stroke.

 

After checking on Cali once again, a hand touched her shoulder, causing her to wince, only barely managing to avoid a cry.

 

"Lie down, I'll take over for you." Sia only said and already climbed forward onto the bench. With a prompting look, she took the reins for the draft animals from her hand and shooed her back with a wave of her hand. With a relieved sigh, she followed Sia's gesture and set about sleeping in the back.

 

It was hard for her to sleep in this heat, everything was sticky with sweat, the air flowing through the wagon was warm and stifling. The rocking back and forth of the wagon, which usually calmed her, now provided the opposite.

 

With increasingly heavy eyelids, however, she drifted off to sleep, a restless sleep, in which she was attacked by shadowy priests and was provided by them with a mark. After that, her free will was taken from her and she had to work herself to death. After that, the whole thing began again and again, until it seemed to her that she knew no other life.

It was hard for her to sleep in this heat, everything was sticky with sweat, the air flowing through the wagon was warm and stifling. The rocking back and forth of the wagon, which usually calmed her, now provided the opposite.

 

With increasingly heavy eyelids, however, she drifted off to sleep, a restless sleep in which she was attacked by shadowy priests and provided by them all at once. After that, her free will was taken from her and she had to work herself to death. After that, the whole thing began again and again, until it seemed to her that she knew no other life.

 

In the beginning, she tried to resist, which only ended in worse dreams. She was in the process of processing some stones into blocks, when the world seemed to rule like a pond, into which a stone had been thrown. Ripples went through the world until it cracked and collapsed.

 

With a jolt she was wide awake and sitting upright, her chest rising and falling as if after a mile-long run. The sweaty clothes stuck to her even wetter body, she felt as if streams were running out of her pants, so much were they soaked. Only a few moments later, a sharp and loud throbbing pain in her head attacked her, making her wince, which only made the whole thing worse. With effort, while she squeezed one eye shut as tightly as she could. Because so it seemed to her, it seemed to pulsate behind it. She tried to get to the bowl so she could create some water.

 

Greedily she gulped down the fresh wet, almost drowning in it, she had to cough, which spread even more water on the floor of the cart.

 

"What's going on in there with you?" Came in the muffled voice of Sia from outside.

 

"Nothing." She croaked in reply. With a practiced wave of her hand and a few words, she made short work of the spilled water. After that she went outside and sat on the bench next to Sia.

 

The latter looked at her questioningly, after she did not answer immediately, she straightened her gaze and waited for her to start talking.

 

"A nightmare about Meinoume and his henchmen and the fate that will befall us should he get his hands on us." Sia just nodded and continued to focus on the road.

 

"Yes, I had dreamed something like that too. I think the others had similar dreams too."She said, then after a while of silence. This statement made her look to her right where Cali lay. She seemed to be looking closely at the New World. Which made her smile, she took Cali in her arms. "And are you curious what all this green stuff is?"

 

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The flora around them was not what had caught his interest. No, it was rather someone's attempt to penetrate his mind and draw him into a kind of dream. It had been a tentative attempt and had he not been adept at using the arcane energy of the mind he would never have noticed it. But so he had noticed it and had entertained it for some time to see what it was and what was wanted of him.

 

It was a dream for the masses with the purpose of conditioning the victims who dreamed it. To a life in the service of a master. This together with the incident with the priest suggested that there was a connection between the two events. Also, all the victims in the dream were marked.

 

This kind of use of arcane energies always left traces that could be followed. At least if you knew what they looked like and your senses were capable of seeing arcane energies. Thus, he had searched for them as far as he could. He had not had to look for them long, from several carriages in front of him had risen a kind of path or root of Arcane Energy. Which had then disappeared into the forest at a twenty degree angle in the direction of travel. How far away he could not say, however. Only that there was someone who wanted to influence the sleeping members of the group. After he had found this out, he had let the dream collapse in itself. This would hopefully eliminate the one who had cast it for a while.

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