Andrew had felt nothing off about the city and it seemed business as usual. Aside from the occasional guard or drunk almost everyone was in bed thanks to the time of the night. Andrew wondered just how frantic the streets would become once the soulless bodies of the Terrans were found.
Instead of Lisbeth's house Andrew soon found himself at the Bat Cave. Well, he hadn't told Insu or Rah'asu about the whole Lisbeth thing. I think I'm going to fall asleep as soon as I sit down.
Shimeirin hopes so.
"Get your friends. We need to move as quickly as possible." The Spider Kin said and moved into the nearest shadow.
I guess not. Andrew yawned and headed inside the Bat Cave.
"Andrew!" Insu hopped up from where he was sitting on the floor. "They brought back Isaac!"
Rah'asu turned towards Andrew but didn't get up from her laying position on the floor. "He still isn't awake."
Andrew lowered his head. "I don't think he's going to wake up. We met Servant just now, and he said something like that."
Insu's face grew dark. "You met the Servant of Lolorai?"
Servant of Lolorai? The name sounded familiar.
One of the Deity. Shimeirin seemed just as confused. They are the Unknown Deity because they have never interacted with Calorin and no one worships them.
"What makes you think he is a Servant of Lolorai? I thought he worked for Melche." Andrew wondered how much Insu knew or if he was just making things up.
Insu's face showed for a moment he hadn't meant to say what he had. "Just a guess?" He laughed awkwardly.
Andrew looked from Insu to Rah'asu. "We're leaving the city now. The Spider Kin are up to something and I don't want to be here to see what."
Rah'asu stood up. "Are you sure?"
"Yes. The Servant also said something would happen and looked very interested. That alone makes me want to leave. I don't trust the Spider Kin, but they have kept their promises so far so I will take up their offer to get us out." Andrew hoped so.
"I agree." Rah'asu began to gather her belongings.
"Me too." Insu followed suit.
"I assume you are ready to go now?" The Spider Kin stepped out from the shadow.
Insu looked unhappy at his appearance. "No, I need more sleep."
You think you're tired? Andrew felt like the walking dead.
Let's get Insu to carry us like he is with Isaac and we sleep on his back.
I know Insu is stronger than he looks but the smell...
"We have no time. If we wait too long, you will be stuck in the city." The Spider Kin began to jog.
Thankfully, the slums had their own gate so it wouldn't take long to get there. After that Andrew planned on finding the nearest grove of trees outside and trying to sleep, or at least hope to see what would happen.
They were just in sight of the street that led to the guardhouse when something fell from the sky and landed on the Spider Kin. It was Eric's girlfriend, Silja.
"Hello again." The woman said and looked directly at Andrew.
The Spider Kin attempted to get up but was grabbed by the neck by Silja and he soon went limp.
"Now what would you be doing out here so late at night, and with several Shifters at that?" She threw the Spider Kin's body hard and his body smacked with a crunch into the wall of a nearby building, leaving a large crack.
"Leaving. I came to see my friends and I'm done with that so I have no reason to stay anymore." It was true.
Silja looked at Isaac's body. "Is that the infamous Isaac?" She squinted. "Hmm, just like Eric."
"Like Eric?" I thought we hid the body.
"It very difficult for a Terran to hide in a city this big, especially when the body isn't well hidden. And I knew Eric would follow you so you were the first person I thought of when I found him."Silja put her hand on her hip, "So what did you do to him?"
Andrew took a step back. "What makes you think I did anything to him?"
"Come on. You were in the forest surrounded by Shifters." Silja looked at Rah'asu and Insu, "and even brought two of them with you. If anyone is working with the Shifters, you are the one I'd pick."
"So are you going to kill us?" Rah'asu growled.
"For doing this to Eric? No. He was only getting in the way and all he talked about was finding and killing you. I almost don't want to kill you just to spite him."
"I like that idea." Insu said and began to walk again.
"That wouldn't be any fun, especially when there are two delicious looking Shifters here to kill." Silja lept into the air and Andrew lost sight of her in the dark sky.
"Run!" Rah'asu yelled as she began to sprint towards the gate.
Andrew hesitated for a moment but was soon running behind Rah'asu and Insu. The gate wasn't far and he could see several men running towards them. I hope those are more Spider Kin.
Silja landed on the wall above the gate. She only looked at Andrew for a moment, a crazy grin on her face, and then leaned over and punched the wall. There was a large crash as pieces of stone flew from the spot she had punched and a large crack formed that bisected the entire wall. Silja punched a second, then a third time before the gate and wall began to collapse.
The men by the gate had turned to see what was happening but most were too shocked to move, with only one running towards Silja. Soon more of the men were rushing at Silja and Andrew saw several magic attacks directed at her. Fire, rock, and ice flew from all around her. It didn't stop her.
Silja jumped from the collapsing gate and began rushing from man to man at inhuman speeds, draining each before tossing the body into nearby structures or rubble. Nothing the men did stopped her and Andrew saw any wounds they gave her healing in seconds. The only casualty was her clothes.
"Can we stop her?" Insu said, in a rare moment of doubt.
Rah'asu gritted her teeth and merely looked at Andrew.
It's the only way. Andrew felt that he could get close to Silja, the question was would she kill him before Shimeirin could do her thing.
Shimeirin hopes Shimeirin can be fast enough.
"Can you distract her?" Andrew shouted to Insu and Rah'asu.
"NO! But I'll still try." Rah'asu said and began to circle around Silja.
Insu turned into his rabbit form and sped ahead.
Insu wasn't the only one who had transformed as all the remaining men had turned into various giant animals. Not just Spider Kin...
Nothing the animals did even slowed Silja down. In moments she had killed at least a dozen men and with each kill she looked right at Andrew.
Insu reached Silja first but instead of attacking her began to lift large pieces of rubble from the destroyed gate and use them to block her path. Several others also took notice and began to corral Silja behind piles of floating stone and debris and it worked. To even move Silja had to break the largest stones but would find that they would soon replace it. That is until she jumped and used her head as a battering ram to push through all the stones above her.
As soon as she landed, the stones would immediately be moved around her again, but not before killing the three men closest to her. She jumped again, but this time the men began to surround themselves with stone. She only killed one more before being surrounded.
This was the last time they stopped her. There were only a handful of the two dozen men left and they weren't able to move the rocks fast enough to stop Silja.
Only a little farther! Andrew had just run past the closest of the men, whom had transformed himself into a cougar, and was only steps away from where Silja was holding her latest victim.
"I'm disappointed I won't be getting a chase out of you." Silja said as she threw her latest victim casually over her shoulder. "You could have at least waited for me to finish my snack!"
Silja lunged but not to Andrew and grabbed the man he had just run past. When she had drained him she threw him at Andrew with such for that it knocked him over and he slid some distance. When Andrew regained his senses, he looked up to see Silja strolling towards him, ignoring the remaining attacks at her. Her eyes looked nearly void of intelligence and only contained a look of hunger and they were focused on Andrew now.
Let's do it! Andrew did his best to push the cougar Kin off of himself and stood up just as Silja stopped next to him.
Mmn! Shimeirin felt both horrified and angry.
Silja laughed and reached for Andrew. "What do Terran's taste like? I've wanted to try for so long!"
Andrew reached towards Silja, "Have you ever fought a ghost army?"
Their hands touched.
Shimeirin was not the first to leave Andrew, and she found Silja's body already filled with several dozen spirits. Silja's spirit was in the usual place, but her bracelet spirit was just next to the boundary between Silja's and Andrew's bodies. Shimeirin then noticed the faint rope of light that connected Silja's spirit, to the bracelet spirit, and finally to the anchor.
"Go Lady Winged!" A nearby spirit 'yelled' "We will hold the demon here."
Silja's bracelet spirit was formless and flashed with a wild but strong energy and Shimeirin could feel confusion and excitement radiating from it. It flickered weakly and Shimeirin felt she only had days left. Despite this, it was flicking around the growing mass of Shimeirin's companions in a confused fashion but was being pushed back.
Shimeirin began to move towards the anchor as fast as she could but stopped at the sight of the bracelet spirit easily breaking through the mass of other spirits and entering Andrew's body. It tempted Shimeirin to follow, but she knew that destroying the anchor was the safest bet at stopping it. The other spirits followed, however.
Andrew was staring Silja straight in the eyes. Silja had gone from a hungry predatory look to a confused and wild-eyed expression.
"The urge, it's gone..." She whispered.
Andrew soon felt something he had gotten used to. The sensation he felt whenever Shimeirin left or entered his body. Usually it was barely noticeable but this time it was very strong. Shimeirin?
YOU ARE MINE! An unfamiliar voice.
Andrew didn't know what to do. Silja's bracelet spirit had entered his body. He was certain Shimeirin was still in Silja's body so the spirit must have ignored her.
Why!? Why can't I take your spirit! The voice howled in his head.
Andrew felt relief. It looked like bracelet spirits couldn't use their ability on other bracelet wielders. Tough luck.
Silja's expression went blank and then, for a moment, she looked filled with relief. Then her eyes lost focus and her body fell slack.
Andrew? Shimeirin's voice came moments later.
I'm fine. The spirit couldn't do anything to me. Andrew slumped to the ground and let go of Silja.
Shimeirin worried when the spirit entered you, but it is good to know. Relief filled Shimeirin but there was still a sense of urgency. Let's find the others and leave.
Good idea. Andrew looked up from the ground and finally noticed that not only were Rah'asu and Insu, in rabbit form, standing beside him, but the remaining four Kin. There was a spider, shaggy fox, wolf, and a different cougar. That was easy.
"We need to hurry." The Spider Kin said.
Andrew nodded and stood up. "Yeah."
Insu looked around and for once looked unsettled. "There's no way that fight didn't wake up half the city."
Andrew turned towards the gate and saw that Silja's punches had collapsed it completely. Well...
Going to climb. Shimeirin felt excited at the thought.
"Come!" The Spider Kin said urgently.
The group followed him to the destroyed gate. None of the Kin broke stride and all but the Spider Kin began deftly climbing up the ruined gate. Only Rah'asu and Andrew would have trouble here from the looks of it.
"I should be able to carry the both of you." The giant spider said.
I don't want to. Shimeirin felt disgusted but not afraid.
Me neither, but... Andrew looked at the city behind them and saw people peering out windows and could also see the outline of a group of men that might be guards running their way.
Rah'asu climbed on the Spider Kin's back without hesitation. There was only enough room on his back for her.
Just as Andrew feared the Spider Kin picked him up, using his middle front legs, and held him close to his body. The hairs on the spider's stomach were hard and prickly.
Noooo. Shimeirin wailed as they began to climb over the wall.
They were over the wall and on the other side in less than a minute. Andrew had hoped the Spider Kin would let them down, but he instead held on just as tight and followed the other surviving Kin.
"Where are you taking us?" Rah'asu said, barely audible.
"Far enough where you won't get caught up in the battle." The Spider Kin said just loud enough for them to hear. "The loss of the gate will complicate things though." The spider glanced at Andrew and gave him an angry look.
It was hard for Andrew to tell where they were heading in the darkness, nor could he tell what was going on around him. He soon found his eyes droop and his exhaustion it was getting harder and harder to resist. Before this happened, the Spider Kin dropped him on the ground.
"You are on your own now." The Spider said and moved into the darkness.
"Are you OK Andrew?" Rah'asu walked next to Andrew and pulled a stiff spider hair out of his cheek.
Insu, still in rabbit form, hopped next to Andrew. "Can you jump around like that crazy Terran too?"
"No." Andrew would have nightmares about tonight's fight for a long time. "The price isn't worth it."
"If you were that kind of person, the Wolf Kin tribe that found you would have killed you." Rah'asu said as she pulled another hair from Andrew's shoulder.
Andrew looked to Rah'asu but the sight of the city in the distance caught his eyes. There were the beginnings of fires on the side of the city opposite to that which they had just left and as he watched more began to appear.
Oh no... Shimeirin began to feel dread.
Looks like our fight was the start of something bigger. Andrew wondered how many had infiltrated the city.
Rah'asu noticed Andrew's gaze and looked to the city. "It's starting."
Insu sat on his haunches and watched the growing fires. "It looks like I... we were too late."
"Too late for what?" Andrew looked to Insu.
Insu was crying. "My master... he has been watching what has been going on here. He knew what it would lead to and asked me to help him stop it. He had hoped stopping the Terrans would be enough... but it's too late." Insu pointed to the north side of the city, to their left.
Andrew looked where he was pointing and couldn't see anything in the weak moonlight.
"It's an army. There must be thousands of Kin." Rah'asu said as she stared.
"An army!?" Andrew strained to see, but it was no use.
The poor people in the city... Shimeirin became sick.
"They will kill all the non Kin." Rah'asu said, her voice cracking. "I'm sorry, Andrew. I've been lying to you from the beginning."
Andrew looked to Rah'asu. "What..."
Rah'asu looked to the ground. "Do you really think the Kin would let you go so easily? I hated you for being a Terran, the whole village did, but the Elders had other plans. They knew that we couldn't kill the Terrans, but maybe another one could. They knew you would trust me the most, so they sent me with you, to get you to sympathise with us."
"Rah'asu..." Andrew knew he should feel betrayed, but after what he had seen he couldn't.
"Why do you think we saw no other Kin in the forest? Most of the tribes in the deep parts of the forest knew, and they avoided us." Rah'asu looked back at the city. She was shaking.
"I just thought you were guiding us around their territory." Andrew sat next to Insu. "So, if that is true why did you take us to the temple of Melche?"
Rah'asu sat down. "Because it didn't take me long to realize you are just as much a victim as we Kin are. Even the Spider Kin of all Kin knew this." Rah'asu laughed lightly. "Despite how they look, the Spider Kin are one of the more kind Kin."
"Well, thanks for trying." Andrew smiled at Rah'asu.
Rah'asu sighed. "I wanted so many times to tell you this, Andrew. Sometimes the only way to stop myself from telling you was to not talk at all."
Andrew saw the first signs of the Kin army as hundreds of shapes poured over the north wall and the north gate.
"I don't want to watch this." Andrew stood up and moved to a nearby tree and lay against it.
What are we going to do? Shimeirin's emotions were a wreck.
I don't think there's anything we can do. Andrew leaned forward and put his face in his palms.
But the people in the city... Can we just sit here?
"Andrew, Rah'asu," Insu stood up, "my master wants to talk to you."
Andrew and Rah'asu glanced around but saw no one.
"Your master?" Rah'asu moved slightly towards Andrew and continued to search around her.
"Hello, Andrew. Hello, Rah'asu." Insu's voice had noticeably changed. It was less pitchy and seemed more somber. "My name is Kel."
Andrew felt that name was familiar. Kel... Kel...
No one names their kids Kel. Unless they are a Disciple of Kel... Shimeirin became confused and frightened.
Andrew finally remembered the name. Kel the Deity of the Dead. The Deity that sorted spirits after death. "You are a Servant or Follower of Kell, Insu?"
Insu shook his head. "No, I am Kell himself."
Rah'asu looked shaken. "Why would Kel be interested in a war between the Kin and humans?"
"Because the cycle of rebirth is being destroyed here. Even now I can feel the souls that reside inside you Andrew." Insu looked at Andrew. "Thanks to you, thousands of trapped souls have been freed." Insu/Kel turned towards the city. "I had hoped to stop the Servant of Lolorai but I have little power on Calorin and my followers are few and cannot be trusted."
"So you want to stop the Servant because he is disrupting the cycle?" Rah'asu asked.
"Not just for that. He is abusing his powers and going against the wishes of his Deity. Lolorai wishes to stay out of the affairs of mortals but is too stricken in his grief for Father and hasn't noticed the abuse of his powers." Insu looked saddened.
"Can't you tell Lolorai?" Andrew asked.
"No, I cannot leave my place. Even talking like this is problematic for me," Insu/Kel looked at the burning city, "especially with so much death happening."
"Maybe we can go for you?" Rah'asu looked very interested.
"I cannot allow my followers to enter the world of another Deity without their permission, nor can I make my Servants help with my duty. My burden is one only I can carry." Insu/Kel looked like it was one he didn't enjoy either.
"So what are you planning on doing?" Andrew was suspicious this Kel would do anything other than watch.
"I cannot do anything, however, my brother Usui might help given enough evidence. There is nothing natural about this and he hates things not of nature, mostly." Insu/Kel gave a wry look at the mention of Usui.
Usui was the Deity of Nature? Andrew had grilled Rah'asu and Shimeirin at length about the Deity of Calorin.
Yes. Shimeirin seemed to want to ask something.
You worried about something?
Yes... Shimeirin wants to ask Kel about the Winged Kin, about Shimeirin's aunt... Shimeirin felt as if she didn't want to hear about it.
"Kel." Andrew's curiosity was piqued. "Shimeirin and I were wondering if you... saw the Winged Kin, specifically Shimeirin's aunt."
Kel thought. "Yes, I will never forget them. Hundreds of souls at once, all confused as to their deaths. Ever since then I have used their memories, and those of the other kin, to find who was responsible." Kel thought for a moment. "I'm sorry. I see so many souls it is hard for me to remember each individual. Forgetting helps more than one can know..."
"I can imagine." Rah'asu looked to the burning city. "Seeing the memories of those who die."
Andrew looked to the ground. I don't think I would last a minute.
Shimeirin felt pity and sympathy. Kel must be a great person.
I think so too.
"What do you plan on doing now?" Kel was looking at Andrew.
"Can you return me to Earth or give Shimeirin a new body?" Andrew doubted it but wanted to ask anyway.
Insu/Kel shook his head. "I only have the power to judge souls. Only Lolorai's Servant or Melche could return you as far as I know. As for Shimeirin, the best I can do is help her reincarnate into a good family."
What do you want to do, Shimeirin? A part of Andrew didn't want to be separated from her. If she reincarnated she would become out of his reach.
Shimeirin wants to stay with Andrew. Shimeirin doesn't want to... forget? Shimeirin appeared to be contemplating something.
If you stay, I'll do all I can to get you a new body. Kel might be able to ask the other Deity for help.
Shimeirin seemed to brighten a bit. Yes. Maybe. Shimeirin thinks it is worth trying.
"Kel. Do you think any of the other Deity could help? Maybe Lolorai or one of their other Servants?" Andrew hoped.
Insu/Kel watched Andrew for a moment. "I will try but Lolorai and all his other Servants stay in their world and none of us Deity want to anger the Deity of Life."
Rah'asu raised her hand. "Wait, so Lolorai can kill the other Deity? Doesn't that make him the most powerful?"
Insu/Kel smiled for the first time. "Lolorai was the kindest and most compassionate of all of us. So much so I could never see him using his gifts to take the life of another. In fact, the only tie he has to the world is the reincarnation cycle. Without him there would be no new children and all life on Calorin would disappear."
Rah'asu's jaw dropped. "Lord Kel... I thought you were responsible for that or it happened on its own."
Insu/Kel smiled again. "Before Lolorai withdrew, he asked me to make others think I was the one that did it or make it seem that it happened on its own. He didn't want others to worship him. He thought none of should take any glory from our Father."
"I promise not to tell anyone." Rah'asu said and bowed to Insu/Kel.
Insu/Kel watched her, nodded, then looked to Andrew. Andrew promised, as did Shimeirin.
"I am sorry you all had to go through this." Insu/Kel looked to Andrew. "It was a pleasure getting to know you through Insu. I can tell you haven't had the best life, even before coming to Calorin, and wish you the best. If I find a way to return you to your home, I will let you know." He turned to Rah'asu. "I have been contemplating whether to tell you, but I think you deserve to know."
Rah'asu looked uncertain. "I... yes, no matter what it is I would rather know than be ignorant."
Insu/Kel game Rah'asu and sympathetic smile. "From the moment I met you, I saw how fragile the connection your spirit to your body is. I would guess you have only a few months before the connection breaks and your life ends."
Rah'asu looked to the ground and began to shake. "I... I see. I had hoped I had just become physically weaker."
Rah'asu... Shimeirin flooded Andrew with sadness so strong that Andrew began to cry.
Andrew wiped the tears from his face, some of which he knew were his own, "I'll stay with you until then."
Rah'asu looked to Insu/Kel. "Could... Could Lolorai help me? He must!" Rah'asu began to shout, her face filled with anger. "He must! It's his fault his Servant has gone rogue! It's his fault my people, so many of the Kin are dead! For doing this to Shimeirin! For taking Andrew from his home!" Rah'asu looked from Andrew to Insu/Kel and then stormed off.
Insu/Kel looked solemn. "Andrew. Be safe. I will do what I can but I am powerless in the worlds outside my own." He smiled wryly. "I'm even powerless much of the time on my own." Insu/Kel looked to the city then to Andrew. "Head to the Winged Kin's city. The Kin... even while we are talking I can see the memories of death happening here and elsewhere on this continent. The Kin... I don't think they will allow any of the non Kin to live. The Spider Kin promised to get us out of the city safely, but I doubt the other Kin will be so kind in their anger."
Andrew clenched his fist and looked at the burning city again. "If I had known they would kill everyone..." Andrew looked to Isaac's lifeless body on the ground nearby. "He wouldn't have wanted me to rescue him if it meant this."
Insu/Kel shook his head. "We made it easier, but I think this would have happened anyway if what Lolorai's Servant said about the other Terrans going out of control."
Andrew looked away. "I guess. I guess."
Neither Andrew nor Insu/Kel spoke anymore and by the time morning arrived Kel had left Insu. The only words anyone said were Andrew saying they were going to the Winged Kin city.
Behind them the smoke that came from the fire of the once great city of Yrye rose into the sky.
Well, this is the last of what I wrote last year. I hope you enjoyed reading it! If I continue this story I will combine it with Salis' story, whose name will be changed to Artifice: Tools of the Gods, as... well you'll have to hope I continue.
Let me know how much you liked this story. No one has really commented on anything so I haven't a clue.