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Chapter 9 *Last Chapter*

 
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Ravenwing
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 12:10 am    Post subject: Chapter 9 *Last Chapter* Reply with quote

Story So Far:
Desmond has been through so much since leaving his home village those several months ago. And within those same months, he met a shape changing assassin, found his mentor, made friends, and learned what it is like to be a page in the Capital. Being framed for double murder, and meeting a mysterious girl can be added to Desmond's list of adventures. But the central theme that ties all these events together is his search for the truth, the truth that connects him, his half-brother, and the Gift of the Goddess in an everwinding cycle.


CHAPTER 9

“We’re going through this one,” Desmond decided, grabbing Sanae’s wrist with his free hand.

Sanae tugged on his arm urgently as he dragged her through the eerie passage. “Are you sure about this?” She shivered as the torch’s light bounced across the walls, revealing the decorative artwork.

Desmond stopped in mid-stride. Their steps echoed along the walls. Desmond cupped his ear for a moment. There! Faint screams were coming down the passageway, he was certain. Tightening his grip on her wrist, Desmond began to run toward the source of the painful sounding screams. As they ran, he said resolutely to Sanae, “I am damn sure of this, whether you like it or not.” Sanae stared at he handprints in the tunnel, and then glanced at her own guiltily.

The bloody handprints were blurs to Desmond’s eyes as he rushed towards the end of the tunnel. Light appeared in the distance. Desmond and Sanae blinked furiously as they adjusted their eyes to the sudden change in light after they broke through the bright barrier. Sanae blew back an errant strand of her auburn hair from her face as she took in the new scenery.

What is he trying to do with this? She thought silently to herself as she scanned the area.

It felt like it was an Eden. Everything looked green and healthy. Trees towered over the soft grass. Colorful buds decorated the forest floor as they broke through the soil. Sanae caught sight of a brightly feathered bird breaking through the treetops as it took flight. A familiar sight made her still a moment. A little mountain spring had broken through a rock allowing the water to pool into a deep depression below. Sanae brought crossed her arms as goosebumps appeared on her skin. The air was warm, and not a cloud covered the sky though.

“What is this place?” Desmond had let go of Sanae’s wrist and was reaching for a fruit hanging on one of the trees. Sanae laughed silently at the innocent comment. If Desmond knew who was the master here, he would know this place was a dream, a fantasy, where nothing was what it seemed unless you knew what to look for.

“My haven,” a voice answered coolly.

Desmond quickly swerved around, dropping the fruit he had plucked off the tree’s branches when the stranger appeared from behind the tree. He could have sworn he heard a quiet shriek when he took the fruit, but he just brushed the idea off. Fruit do not make sounds of pain.

Shock spread through Desmond’s body as he took in the appearance of the newcomer. Icrius smirked. He exuded confidence in his tall, lean build, covered by the dark clothing of man, who loved the shadows. Compared to Desmond’s midnight colored hair, Icrius was blonde, close to white nearly if it was seen under the sun’s rays. He and Desmond were night and day in more ways than one. A seven-year difference certainly showed between the two of them. Only their green eyes were the similarity between them out of all the other characteristics.

Icrius’s eyes hardened, and his lip turned upward in a cruel smile. No one would be the same as me once I kill him.

“Who are you?” Desmond choked on his words, when he caught sight of the man’s scarred face.

Icrius’s put a hand over his heart mockingly. “I am pained that you do not recognize me, little brother. Has it really been that long since we last saw each other that fateful day?” His words did not reach his eyes. “Do sit down,” Icrius waved a hand negligently, and a table and two chairs appeared. “Make yourself comfortable because soon enough we will have no more opportunities to talk to each other.”

Icrius bent down and picked up the fruit that had fallen from Desmond’s hand upon his sudden appearance. Desmond stared at the fruit in his brother’s hand. It looked so innocent, and its color appealed to the eye so much that he found himself salivating slightly. As he reached forward to take offered fruit, a small hole appeared as if an animal had dug its way from its inside. A black substance oozed from the hole, giving off a putrid smell as it spilled out onto the hand. The alluring color of the fruit from before was fading, and gradually the fruit collapsed, leaving behind only its seeds in Icrius’s hand.

“Amazing, right, little brother?” Icrius asked smugly as he bounced the seeds in his hands. He threw the seeds into the grass, and upon touching the ground the pair sprouted a sapling immediately at the spot. He snapped his fingers, and an apple appeared in his hand.

Ignoring his brother’s taunting voice, Desmond asked grimly, “What is this place, elder brother?” Seeing the little exhibition with the piece of fruit persuaded Desmond that maybe he should avoid consumption anything in this place. This ‘haven’ did not seem to be what it implied. He wouldn’t put it past Icrius to mark his ‘haven’ in a more sadistic setting.

Icrius leaned back in his chair. “My realm since I am the ruler. My residency since I live in this place. Your tomb.” As he enunciated his last words, Icrius leaned forward to stare into Desmond’s matching green eyes.

Desmond’s courage wavered under the words slightly, but he quickly reminded himself of his parents. “This place may not only be my tomb, elder brother.” Icrius burst out laughing upon hearing Desmond’s daring words.

“We are not alone, little brother.” Icrius waved a casual hand behind him. “My dear, I must congratulate you on your success,” he commented with a smile as Sanae approached him. So much better than all my previous minions’ attempts. And only a woman too.” Suddenly, Icrius’s face hardened, and he raised his hand making a stinging sound against Sanae’s cheek. “But I told you not to lead him here.”

Sanae held her reddening cheek as she quickly brought herself upon her knees in front of Icrius. “I tried my best, master, but I couldn’t break his determination to go through that tunnel. I beg your forgiveness, master.”

Icrius turned his attention away from the bent figure in front of him to look at Desmond. “Stubbornness seems to run in the family.”

Desmond tried his best to harden himself against the barbs by reminding himself of why he was not running away to cry. This was for his parents more than anything else. He had waited so long for this meeting, and now this may be his only opportunity. He glanced at the bent form of the girl he knew as Sanae. Then he stared at Icrius, their similar green eyes trying to force the other matching pair away.

Desmond gritted his teeth as the minutes passed. “Who is she?” He jerked his toward the still figure. He hoped that by making conversation Icrius might reveal some information while at the same time breaking the staring contest.

Icrius leaned back in his chair as if he saw Desmond’s purpose for conversation. “I found her in the streets in the port town of Calio. She was a begging girl. Poor pitiful thing. But I only saw the greatness in her. She wouldn’t be who she is now without me.” Desmond heard a sob come from Sanae upon hearing Icrius’s careless words.

“You made her into a killer,” Desmond said accusingly. “You made her kill the emperor and his heir. And then you made her try and kill me, which she failed at when she left that flower.”

Icrius shrugged nonchalantly. “She did what she was told, that is all I ask of her. You can name what she became whatever you want. But to me she is a servant, a servant at my command.”

Desmond jumped from his chair, his fists tightly clenched and his knuckles white. “She doesn’t deserve to be treated in such a way.”

Icrius sneered coldly. “You don’t know that though, Desmond. You don’t know her as well as I do.” He turned to Sanae, who was still in the same position. “My dear, do you like it here?”

Sanae raised her head. “Yes, master.” Icrius turned to Desmond, a glint in his eye as if to say ‘See, I told you.’ Desmond returned to his chair resignedly.

The bright, rebellious girl that he first associated with the girl named Sanae was only a character, an act. “Is Sanae even her real name?”

The smile that had begun to appear on Icrius’s face only widened. “Her birth father graced her with the name Alauha, light of his eye. I met her father, nice man, I believe you would know him very well for he was your teacher from what I hear from my sources.”

The realization hit Desmond as if he were to be bashed against a rock a thousand times. Lord Renef. As he mentally put together the images of Sanae/Alauha and his mentor next to each other, the only similarity he saw was in their smiles. They were small smiles, ones that gave them each a little dimple at the corner of their mouth as if they knew something you didn’t.

“He was trying to get her back from you through Skadu,” Desmond muttered to himself. “But you hid so well, didn’t you, brother? You put a glamour over Alauha, so that her father wouldn’t recognize her. And through her you were able to spy on Renef all those years after you were exiled from the Capital. Was he that close to finding you out?”

“He was damn close when Skadu was stupid enough to hand you that box, and that message. And you had to tell Lord Renef, didn’t you?” Icrius snarled angrily. “I would have achieved my greatest wish then if it weren’t for you and that meddling prick.”

Icrius picked up the empty plate on the table and hurled it toward Desmond, who ducked just in time. The plate sailed over his head, and broke into little pieces when it collided against the trunk of a nearby tree. This time Desmond was certain he heard a voice come from the tree.

Desmond ignored the barbs spouted at him. Icrius’s mention of achieving his greatest wish caught his ear though. Once he was certain that nothing will come his way quite yet, Desmond popped his head back up to look at Icrius. “You found the Gift, didn’t you?”

Icrius’s eyes gleamed cruelly. “Oh I found it, there is no doubt about it. I was already using it when you were in the Capital.”
Desmond eyed his brother suspiciously. “There is something you aren’t telling me, isn’t there? And it has to do with Sanae.” Icrius raised an eyebrow. “I meant Alauha,” Desmond spate out irritably, “I thought you had a brain.”

“I have a brain, but no heart,” Icrius answered smoothly. “The girl is the key to the power. She IS that power.”

His brother’s words were in a riddle to Desmond. He skimmed through all he knew about the supposed Gift the goddess graced the village. There was something about purity. “The girl has been gifted?” Desmond asked incredulously. “I have never seen her in my life.”

“Sanae, excuse me, Alauha, please explain to my doubting brother your past,” Icrius asked smoothly. “It is an interesting tale, brother. It took me a while to get it out of her. Torture is such a nice technique if you want something down right, don’t you agree?” Icrius settled in his chair as if he were a magistrate waiting to hear another plebian plead for his life.

Desmond ignored the mindless words of his brother, and turned to the girl. She had risen from her bowed state, and sat on the grass, her knees bent beneath her. He got from his chair, and kneeled before her.

“Your mother came from the village didn’t she? That is how you know of Calio. She met Renef in the port city when he came down under the orders of the emperor to check up on the blockade down there. But when she found out she was pregnant, instead of returning to the village, she went with the desert people. And that is where you grew up,” Desmond murmured as he pieced together the past of a girl, who was graced with greatest power, yet was not ready for it.

Alauha burst into tears. “I met Papa again when there was another blockade down there. He didn’t know who I was, but I knew it was him. And then I met him,” she swerved her head in Icrius's direction. "He promised that he would unite me with Papa. But his promises were lies. I don't know how Papa knew of existence."

Icrius must have whispered to Renef of seeing a girl that looked similar to him. Desmond did know what to do, and awkwardly sat next to Alauha as she wept. The shuffling of a chair interrupted the tender moment.

“So Desmond, do you want it?” Desmond looked up to see Icrius starring down at him. He had a knowing grin on his face. Desmond glanced at the girl, then the ground. He did not know what he wanted now. The truth he sought, he had found.

Grabbing Alauha by the arm, Icrius threw her toward the bubbling spring. “You’re going to kill my brother. I don’t care how you do it, just do it. I will even give you the perfect setting,” he whispered to her. Alauha nodded fearfully as she tried to ignore the pain throbbing in her head.

Icrius snapped his fingers. The Eden from before was gone. In its place was the original rock wall, and the spring that had sprouted through the rock. Desmond looked up to see that where the trees once were, stood frozen figures of all those who had failed his brother in their mission to kill him.

The assassin Skadu looked ready to kill with his duel blades unsheathed, but must have been too late. The bumbling pair of disguise artists were in an interesting position of a man hugging a pig. Another curious feature of the decorative statues decorating the hall was that a few of the rock figures were missing limbs.

“Each time a fruit is picked off the tree, the figure it replaces loses a limb,” Icrius answered the unasked question. “It was one of my better ideas. And of course you know the fruit/limb dies when split from its parent.” A cruel, gleeful grin covered his face. “Now I do believe I shall add you to my collection of relics, brother dearest. I granted you your wish. Finding the truth and all, but now my gratuity is done. You know all, but you won’t live to know tell all.” Without a preamble, he ordered quietly, “Kill him.”

Desmond turned to find Alauha with her eyes red rushing toward him with a knife. The blade looked familiar. He quickly checked the boot, where he normally kept the knife he had brought with him when he first started his journey. It was not there. Now he was sure it was his knife Alauha held in the killing stroke.

So this what her victims saw. A red eyed demon, Desmond thought to himself as the girl shortened the distance between them. He did not fear death. He knew it would come upon him sooner or later.

As Desmond felt his soul beginning to rise toward the heavens, where he would soon be reunited with his parents, and all those he had seen die at the hand of his brother, he heard another scream. The only difference was that this was a scream of agony, a scream that opened the gates to the hellish world below.

That day the Goddess made the decision that two brothers connected only by name, and similar colored eyes would die together. As for the girl, her dearest wish was granted.


Desmond's tale is finally at a end. I would like to first thank all who have read this story from start to finish. I wouldn't have continued this story if it were not for all the comments, especially during a lot of the rough spots in the plot.
Second, I would like to thank whoever voted for this story in November 2004 to be part of the main storygames. And lastly, Key for dealing with the slowness of this storygame.

~Rave

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clapping

Well done Ravey! Congratulations!

Cheers
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Woo! Another completed storygame. Key will be pleased!

Congrats Rave Clapping . Well done for sticking with it Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A whirlwind ending - congratulations Rave! One for the Hall of Legends!
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thumbs Up Good job on completing your storygame. I'll have to read through again when time permits, and make more comment. But wanted to send congrats already on a job well-done.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Rave Very Happy

It does seem a rather quick end though Confused Given more time would this have been longer, or has it ended as planned?

I know the length of time it has gone on for was an issue to you, so I just wondered if it has been finished so you can start something fresh *hint* Wink

Happy Writing. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



I think it ended the way I wanted. I knew I didn't want to give Desmond a glorious, climatic ending.

Also I sort of felt this story just needed closure soon. I probably should have made this chapter longer, so we could all see the nature of Icrius a bit better, and why he is the way is. But I didn't that as an end to close. I wanted to leave it open to the reader.

So yeah, you were right on many points, but also because the middle sank somewhat, and I couldnt' get myself out of that hole very well. I think the only reason it sounded rushed is because the middle chapters were weak. I think there was some sort of sinking in the middle probably due to all the detail I shouldn't have added. With the added detail meant I had a lot of loose ends to tie, and I didn't want to drag the story through the dirt.

If I did rewrite this whole tale, I think I would reorganize it better, so the flow would be smoother. Add a few necessary elements, and cut out a lot. At the present moment, it's a bit disorganized and cluttered I would say.

Also I do have another story in mind. Cool A mystery to be exact, but I still don't have time to write it, even though I finished this tale.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. Well done, Rave.

Ravenwing wrote:
...the middle chapters were weak.


I wouldn't say they were weak, exactly, but the first chapters, and especially this last one, were a lot stronger.

~sunny
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ravenwing wrote:
Also I do have another story in mind. Cool A mystery to be exact, but I still don't have time to write it, even though I finished this tale.


Sounds like it should be fun reading when you get the time Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Suneila wrote:
Wow. Well done, Rave.

Ravenwing wrote:
...the middle chapters were weak.


I wouldn't say they were weak, exactly, but the first chapters, and especially this last one, were a lot stronger.

~sunny


Thanks. But I have to be hard on myself or else I won't get anywhere. Us writers are our worst critics you know. Cool

As for the new story, maybe it will be out in April...I have work on that and two research papers, AND study for APs. Bleh.

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