In Serein

1-9-1 Illusion, Fantasy & Control

Part 9 - Lightning

It is true, I have always had an obsessive streak within me, a force of need to understand that which attracts my interest, though there has been precious little to attract my interest in my time. This force would have me go to the limits of what can be known and I would delve with single-minded passion until the attraction had passed.

It is true, I am not the man that once I was.

I would have liked to place the blame squarely in one place so that I could then destroy that one place and everyone concerned could be absolved.

I would have liked to place the blame on myself. In the past this was easily done and easily accepted and it only became an unworkable strategy when my crimes exceeded my capabilities for punishment.

I would have liked to be able to place the blame entirely on that – creature – that little witch – a sorcerer’s apprentice indeed; only she mistook me for the sorcerer.

But in truth, I never really could quite look upon her at all.

She was the crowning weakness in a dozen lifetime’s worth of failure.

There she sat, and there she spoke and moved her hands around in her child’s world of rights and wrongs, tightly packed illusions dense and deep to protect her like all the others from …

I wondered what their great fear was; I had many theories across the years but none seem to explain their desperation to hang on to a fantasy when reality was already tearing away at their very faces with vulture’s claws and the tiny chomping jaws of a hundred thousand clean fat maggots.

She saw me as a king, and herself as the queen and princess all rolled into one, playing one role now and another then, oblivious to my conduct or even my approval.

She decided for us both that I was to be her one true love and acted out her heroic illusions, nurtured by the fairy tales and fairy songs she heard around the hearths of her people when she was but a child.

So beautifully crafted and precise her illusions, so intensely fired by her will and passions, so real did they become that sometimes I would be too tired to resist her games. To be sure, there is a comfort in illusion, a soft nest with feather filled coverings when the night storms howl for you to curl up and pretend you’re in your mother’s womb. To be sure, there was a time when I used to stand in forests dark and beat my head and wish that I could somehow join into this world of theirs. If she had stepped out from behind a grove of trees, shimmering white in the dark and her arms spread wide in homecoming, I might well have fallen to my knees and crawled to her.

But that time had been and gone 500 years ago.

Or is that an illusion too, an illusion of my very own making? Many a time after I sent her away, I tried to ascertain and retain a clarity. Where she was concerned, all was confusion and nothing felt or seemed quite real.

She gave me the gift of patterns and in return, I gave her fire and ice. In hindsight, I am unsure if the glacier I gave her was not mine, nor the mountain fire the fire of my own passions, and who knows? Perhaps it was. Perhaps it was impossible to tell what was what, just as impossible as it was to tell quite who was who. Perhaps I was the one who walked in the illusion that I knew reality, the most deluded of delusions and the most dangerous, by far.

There comes a time when you must stop or the thoughts begin to roar like mountain storms and blast you to oblivion.

There comes a time when you must stop but you can not contain the thoughts and then you turn to wine or pain to beat them back just one more time, just one last stand in an everlasting battle where only your eventual defeat can ever be a certainty.

One night, I  had a dream of extraordinary clarity.

I was a child again, and I was at my father’s castle. It stood fair and tall and strong such as I didn’t know I still remembered. I was proudly riding on my pony, my first real steed, and I was the lord of the land. Everything that lay around me, green and fruitful, belonged to me. Servants tipped their heads and the women curtseyed and smiled as I rode by, my back as straight as an arrow and my head as high as you could balance a crown there easily and it would not fall.

I dismount by the stables and a plump girl of about my age comes rushing, picking up her skirts. Her hair is a brown that shines the deepest red of  wine and her golden brown eyes are flashing in delight at seeing me. She will be my wife and rule by my side. We have been married already in front of a sober attendance, my sister and the servant’s and the  soldier’s children a dozen times or more, and I have seriously told my mother that she would bear my sons and her laughter had pealed like bells.

Here she comes running to meet me and picking up her skirts. She curtseys to me and calls me my lord, and I dismount and hand her a bunch of wild flowers that I have picked for my lady on my ride amongst the verges of the fields and orchards.

When I awoke from the dream I had a sadness on my chest that lay upon me with such weight that it took hours to recede to a point where I could think and move with ease once more.

Such is the power of illusion.

Such is the power of lives that might have been.

In truth, I cannot forget the dream. It haunts me in a way that is creeping, shadowy, a stalking presence ever ready to descend upon me.

It overlays and distorts what I see.

I look down at the young woman, deathly pale and trapped in her own nightmare, and I see the girl child of my dream, with a piece of stolen lace and an untidy flower garland holding it in position, sincere as any bride would stand in swathes of luscious silk and drifting veils.

I would join in her illusion just so that she would smile at me.

Another time I simply wish I was another, anyone but me, a butcher’s boy or a common soldier to whom she could attach her illusions in safety and live her whole life out and never awaken at all, slipping gently from one endless dream into the next.

From the deepest point of darkness in the night where I sit my guard I can feel her unconsciousness turn to sleep. It is a slow shift, a gentle avalanche that gathers speed in the early hours of dawn.

I watch and listen with fascination. I curse myself a fool for wanting to move time so she will open her eyes now and recognise me with that delighted childish smile of hers. Her illusions are a wounding that are hard to bear yet they are intoxicating.

She is dreaming in flashes and visions. I watch her breathe. Do I love this girl, this woman? Is this tearing agony what it feels like, this emotion or entanglement I have heard spoken in passing, yet I never gave it any heed, it not being of any significance to me?

The little witch has cursed me when she spoke of my education. I listened to her and her words sank deep barbs into my thoughts. Often I think that I should have broken her neck that night at Tower Keep, that very first night, there and then. Whenever I think it, I know full well that I would have failed even then if I had tried.

She has been lying on this bed for two days and a night.

I have been watching her for two days and a night.

When she awakes at last, stretches and looks up at me, recognises me and smiles with sleepy delight, I step into her illusion and smile back at her, put her hand to my lips and kiss it most respectfully and lovingly. I know well that she will stroke my hair and neck in return, will voluntarily move her body up to mine. Her softness, willingness, warmth and the scent of her hair will tremble me; I will fight to retain my composure and go through the motions of holding her in my arms. She will begin to kiss me, urge me on with her breasts against my chest, her hands around my shoulders and my back, her legs entwining me, her sweet, hot cunt inviting me. She will awaken a strictly physical energy that I welcome now that it no longer seeks to destroy, not a conquest but a comrade, a cavalry sent to my rescue.

I will simply take her; it pleases her and me, it keeps me safe.

Damn these illusions! They can be broken, must be broken, or they will master us to insanity.

I pick up her hand and I kiss it.

She smiles happily at me and reaches to touch my cheek. I remain still, my lips to her hand, knowing full well what she will do next and trying to find a way out, a way to make this moment new and different and as though it had never been before.

Perhaps if I was to stay absolutely still and did nothing at all, it would change the course of the river. Beneath me, she is shifting, moving, sitting upright, kissing the top of my head. It is different already.

She speaks. Her voice is rough from sleep and I would recognise it anywhere. It follows me around, even in the densest silence of the ice and the mountains.

“What is it, Lucian?” she asks of me, ever concerned with me, and not herself. Such a disconcerting habit.

I can’t think of what to say to her. I have sat here and waited for her and now that she has returned, I don’t know what to do and I don’t know what to say.

I shake my head as I can’t find words. She reaches to link with me. I wish she would not do that. Is it not my right to not know, not speak, not be understood? I fair wager that she would make me into a small ball that contains everything I am, then eat it and swallow it down so it would reside within her, become digested and grow right into her very structure. Will she ever be satisfied with less?

On this occasion, she is merciful and does not force the link.

I lift my head and steel myself for meeting her eyes, traps wide open and ready to have me fall and not return.

I ask her how she is feeling.

She goes inside to check and returns with a smile. Not a smile. Her smile. It strikes me that I cannot remember in truth a woman smile at me, nor a man, not since the long gone days of camaraderie and laughter forged from fear and blood amongst the knights of the Black Wing.

She is unravelling me, a strand at a time. Soon, I will forget what the whole of me used to be. Soon, she will possess me as she wishes, and perhaps, perhaps it proves to be the justice I have sought so long, my final submission, a death yet not a death as I had always thought that death would be, with broken limbs, eyes staring straight ahead.

She tells me that she is feeling well. She wonders how we came to be here. She does not remember anything beyond the giving of the necklace. She asks me where it is.

I point to the bedside table. I am still holding her hand in mine. She pulls it away from me and leans across, picks up the necklace and sits looking at it.

I have to ask her if it was a possibility that the necklace caused her unconsciousness, taking this opportunity to feed her illusion that she simply fainted in the morning room and that there were no events at all between her fainting, and her waking.

She shakes her head yet it is clear that she is unsure, confused still, half dream bound. She sits with the necklace, stroking the ruby and asks me if I would capture the sun and make a coronet for her.

It is a jest, to be sure, yet I consider if I could, and there is a possibility that I could.

I could take the sun from the sky and turn the land into immortal night, an endless shadow land where all would be dead or dying, and after the screams had turned to wailing, all would lie still, and silent. The thought strikes me that she gave me the tools to a true Lord Of Darkness after all.

The one true Lord Of Darkness.

There never was such a one before Sephael made me.

She catches my thoughts and begins to speak of the doorways and the places that she saw. She tells me of places that exist in reality, here and now, that match the outcome of what I had just imagined in a flash.

I want to see.

I want to see the stillness, and the silence.

I want to see what I could do if I but made the choice.

But she is sleepy still, and hungry and confused. I will bring some food and wine to her, and we will eat together, once again, here on this bed she made for me. Beyond that, I will not attempt to let myself fantasize; it is too far already for who knows what might transpire.

It is a strange thing.

What could have transpired between my calling for provisions as we had both done too many times to keep a count before, and the arrival of the food?

What did transpire was that the old man send a plea for help to the gods his people were feeding so religiously.

In truth, I was astonished.

Isca heard it too and of course, she was immediately ready to spring to their aid. She had listened to far too many tales of heroes brave who rescue the squalling helpless from themselves, from their own stupidity and the inevitability of their suffering and dying which was written out like the marching orders posted at the camp’s gate in the morning.

She would justify it and would try and make the words to make it seem the right choice, using phrases such as honour, and debt of duty and such, as she perceived would turn my mind like a key turns a lock.

It turned me to wondering instead how it was that these words no longer worked their charm on me like once they did. It set me to wondering just when it was that they had become quite meaningless, labels on empty jars that stood in dusty rows.

Whilst she was talking of obligation and such things I was considering if it might not be a beneficial diversion for us both to walk amongst the endless plains with their strange soft grasses again, to feel that unfamiliar earth beneath my hips and shoulders and to look up to those stars.

When she had finished her impassioned speech and waited for my response, I gave my consent with a curt bow of head and observed her delight at having won me over once again. She truly equated every time I said “yes” to her schemes, plans or requests with an indication of how my general well being was improving.

She jumped from the bed with the excitement of a child and made off to the wash room. Left with nothing to look at after her body and bouncing upright breasts and smooth buttocks had disappeared from my view, I looked down on myself.

I was not putting in an appearance naked beneath a Serein robe, no matter which colour it might have been.

Somewhere in this forsaken tower were my clothes.

I reached out and began scanning the levels, one at a time. I had been able to scan before I met her but now, the clarity! The range! The intensity of impression! The precise, sparkling definitions! If I still believed in gratitude, I would have had to serve her for a thousand years, carrying her on my shoulders, to make up for such a gift.

I found my clothes in a rubbished heap in a corner of the washroom of one of the unused suites nearby. Bodily, I flexed my fingertips and mentally, I reversed the flow of time across the totality of the fabrics, fastenings and attachments, localising the effect in a bubble that extended precisely to where their patterns interfaced with the air.

For a moment I thought of physically going to fetch them, but opted for a minor translocation corridor instead. The mass of the clothes was negligible, the distance manageable and the tower’s support grids ready and standing by to supply energy for such a task.

I focussed for the effort and then dragged them across the corridor hard, opening my eyes in time to see a bundle of black and white flutter from midair and fall to the floor.

Upon my life, I could not understand why it had never occurred to me to do this before.

The amount of pleasure I received from discarding the Serein robe and sliding into the familiarity of my own fabrics and style was quite extraordinary. With every item I was re-attaching my own limbs, one by one.

Whilst buttoning the jacket, I searched for my boots and found them too at last, at the bottom of the central lifting shaft. I had no recollection as to how they got to be there or even when I had taken them off. I shook my head and grimaced. Weakness, weakness. I am a shambles. I am a shambles with the powers to take the sun from the sky.

It was amusing in a way. I had the boots come to me and when I slid my feet into their perfect shape, the heels lightly raising me and straightening my spine, I stood and had a remembrance of who I used to be.

It was a good feeling.

Without thought, I placed my hand in the pocket of my jacket and my fingertips touched something cool. I pulled out the necklace with the charm Sephael had given me after I had concluded my first successful campaign as the general of Malme’s western armies. I had worn it since that day without thinking as to why; it became a part of me like my own skin and I don’t recall ever taking it off for any reason.

I don’t recall why I took it off, or even if I did, and I wondered briefly if the girl had taken it off then dismissed the thought altogether.

I hold it in my hand. It is worn thin from the centuries of rubbing against my skin and bathing in my sweat, the gold coloured metal dulled and so full of who I used to be, it is oozing from it in great drops. I pick up the chain that has no clasp and only just fits over my head, the links worn to filigree and turn it back in time, further, further, further still, taking one sunset after the other out of its very structure, one sunrise after the other, until at last, it is clean and clear and just been fashioned in a forge, underground, a thousand years, or two or three, back when, and it is new.

But strangely, I can’t stop there. I keep turning back time, further, until the chain melts, burns my fingers and it drops to the floor. Further back, it loses cohesion and becomes a small raised golden lake, and further still, and it separates out into  different substances, different coloured metals and further, crystallising into dull rocklike shapes, then into sand, then dust, then it simply disappears altogether in a small explosion.

On the floor in front of the tips of my boots is a small dark stain. I erase it.

The fancy strikes me to view myself. This is one of these new thoughts that worry me; many times I have heard it say that a man would get weary of looking at his wife, day in day out, after a few years had passed. I had always noted such talk with amusement. They had little hope of conceiving how it felt to look at the same face for a good few centuries. Of course, when I had all mirrors removed from my quarters, it fuelled the talk of my demonic nature.

I swirled the wall by the entrance door to mirror me, and for the first time in a very, very long time looked upon myself steadily.

My eyes were paler than I remembered them to be and colder, not as fierce. My body seemed less, too thin, too soft. The jacket fitted well enough but was loser than I would have preferred. I stepped up closer to look at my face. It should have been wrinkled, mummified by now but it was not. For a time I could not quite place what was wrong, then I realised that the various small scars I had acquired were no longer there. It was logical to assume that they had been removed, together with my skin, when the Serein had tried to give me death by fire. I mourned them briefly, each one a long remembered token gained in incident of carelessness or sheer bad luck.

I saw a movement and the girl had returned from the wash room, her auburn hair sparking, freshly combed, very naked and very alive.

I remembered the mirror that had sparked her breakdown in the morning room and made to return the safe wall, but she interceded with the statement that I looked wonderful back in my own clothes, and that two of me were better than one.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to stop shaking my head at her in astonishment. She can be so - full of wisdom and then again, she is such a child.

She slides into her robe and steps beside me, with the jewel necklace in her hand. I give my concern about its safety and she re-assures me that I should remove it if she showed a negative reaction. That seemed sensible enough so I unfold the linked strands and fastened it around her neck once more.

It is extraordinary how the girl and the jewel come together and are more than the sum of their parts. We stand side by side and look into the mirror, first into our own eyes and then into each others.

I keep a track on her. She is experiencing a degree of vertigo; she is not entirely safe with the mirror you/me combination and I extinguish it rapidly.

She gives me a sideways look under flashing lids - little witch that she is! - and declares herself ready to go. I explain to her that we can not walk into their camp unannounced. They will have to send us ceremonial horses to carry us across and be given some hours to prepare.

She is startled by the thought and I remember that my little witch queen is a commoner born, knows nothing of ceremonials and court restrictions. Indeed, the robe she has been wearing since the first time I knew her, is her only dress and she has never possessed another. Before I start imaginings of seeing her in rich sea green velvets set with gold and flashing yellow deep sea pearls, I send a curt message to the old man of the horses to prepare for the coming of two and shut off his whimperings instantly.

There may be more preparations for us as well. They are expecting gods, after all, and it would not do to jeopardise their fear and relentless obedience that has stretched through millennia. The very least we need are swords. Silently, I curse her for bringing just the one of the Tadara; the swords are not ceremonial but at least, they are.

Whether she was tracking along or I was thinking too loud, she has heard this and puts forth the proposition that we might attempt to retrieve the other half of the Tadara from Tower Keep. I am intrigued by the thought but it is a great distance and the sword quite heavy, even with both of us and the tower lending extra strength. She seems to think it could be done with the aid of the Guardian stone in Sephael’s room.

I consider the options behind the best shielding I can muster (yet still, there is always that unfortunate suspicion that she can read me, nonetheless). We can go and do this thing, or if we do not, she will endeavour to start a conversation about the meaning of life and prattle on about this, that and the other. I could take a walk amongst the silence of the mountains, and might well start a conversation with myself along the way, prattling on about this, that and the other.

I tell her that I would be interested to try retrieving the Tadara but am warning her that it requires much. She tells me she is well rested. In truth, she would be. After all, I did watch her sleep for two days and a night.

Every time we enter Sephael’s quarters, I feel a little less uncomfortable. When I used to live here, if living was what you would call it, there was zone of dread around the area, starting from halfway up the last corridor and getting stronger, the closer you came to the antechambers. The servants would run with hoods over their heads and panic in their legs during the specific windows of moments they were given to clean the rooms.

I remember quivering amongst the golden monster statues that flanked the doorways, standing often for hours, waiting for him to emerge, at his command. He would be involved in some form of witchery and forget about me. I learned much about waiting in those days, and how to control my bladder beyond bursting point.

It was a long time ago.

Sephael was a part of a tree here, a part of a bird there by now. And the girl had said that he could not have done what I did with the patterns. That thought runs hot through my entire body. I don’t believe her but it is a thought that holds much fascination.

She is sitting on the bed. I am tired of lying on beds. Truthfully, I might fall asleep if I lay down right now so I look to the clear large floor space in the centre of the room and raise two chairs from the material, flowing mounds at first, then taking shape as I replicate the basic outlines of the working chairs in the Serein monastery control room. They are set at a slight angle, both facing the Guardian centrally, and one is slightly smaller and tighter than the other.

My little witch queen claps in delight. It is interesting to note how much pride she takes in my accomplishments. I wonder briefly if Sephael did too, and I advise her that the chairs just look like the Serein chairs, I would not know how to re-create their inherent structures.

She is already trying hers for size and doesn’t reply. She puts her feet up, places her hands on the armrests and leans her head back. I soften the chair for her and warm it slightly, mould the surfaces more precisely to the sweep of her back. She sighs, closes her eyes and smiles.

I can’t help but stare at her again. In a moment, we will link up once more and I will experience an intoxicating lightness of existence, a delight about existing and a joy about dancing amongst the patterns that crushes and tears at my mind upon waking like the most horrendous of dreams. I don’t know why I find it so hard to bear.

Perhaps it is the conflict of that and my normal states of being, an incongruency that I cannot reconcile and that makes the wars that rage inside me worse than ever.

Whatever it does, it is better than standing here and thinking these thoughts. There was a time when I could just turn them off, and before that, a time when I did not think about such things at all.

I take my place beside her, close my eyes and she fair pounces upon me, impatient and eager for the link. I set aside resistance and let her in.

This morning, we seem well attuned and the initial stages of having our minds fall into step are accomplished with more ease than is usual. She is in charge of the depth of the link and hovers it at a point where we are separate yet much aware of each other and able to flow power between us easily.

Then she takes us to awaken the Guardian stone.

It is, to be sure, extraordinary, and for the first time since the thought of the endeavour first arose do I believe that it can be achieved. The power in this stone is rippling and mountainous and it has a consciousness, not human but awareness none the less. It welcomes us and offers assistance.

Here, in these levels of shifting lights and flimsy strands, she is indeed, a queen. With surety and confidence, a natural instinct as to where to step and what to do, and her energy of determination, she takes the patterns from the male Tadara on my bedroom wall and casts a web to find its mate. The stone picks up the pattern and broadcasts it far and wide, with such resonance that surely it must be felt across the ends of the world and back again. Far, far away, an echo answers the call. We fly to it in a heartbeat and through her, I recognise my room at Tower Keep, a shifting mass, a multiplicity of patterns, the female Tadara crying out still and pulsing her echo recognition. Never before I had been so aware of the similarity of the two swords; to be sure, they looked much the same but for a single symbol on the hilt, but this similarity extended far beyond what would be seen.

I supply the base knowledge of how to achieve the translocation and my link partner steps aside to have me lead the operation. I can feel her supporting me, steady me, and feed the energy from the guardian, funnelling it into me so that I swell to bursting point. I cast the strand from one Tadara to the other, open the connection. To take hold of the sword is hard and once again, she steadies me and increases the clarity so I can grip it tightly and we brace ourselves for the pull that will bring the sword across the kingdoms. We pull, the stone flares and then there is an almighty explosion that seems to rock the world.

I am back in my body and cautiously open my eyes, glance across to Isca and she seems fine, insecure but awake and together, we look to the space between the bottoms of our chairs and where the guardian sits on its plinth.

The marble floor is cracked deeply, and imbedded, point down, stands quivering the other half of the Tadara. I slide from  my chair and my legs buckle unexpectedly. I catch myself on the arm rest and can feel her easing me, charging me. I ignore her and manage to stand, then walk forward and put my hand of the hilt of the sword. Intense pain shoots through my entire arm and I cry out in surprise, try to let go of the sword and pull my hand back and as I do so, detach the skin from my palm and fingertips which remains stuck to the hilt, hissing and steaming white.

It is true that the girl has her uses. I hold out my hand to her, red agony, blood welling, and mere moments later, the skin is back and the pain has stopped.

I must remember to have her show me in more detail just how she does that so quickly.

We both look closely at the sword and she approaches it carefully with a flat outstretched hand.

“It is cold, not hot,” she says.

I observe her carefully raising the temperature of the sword, causing small puffs of steam to detach from its surface. The small flags of my skin flutter and drift to the floor. She looks to me and gives me preference to pick it up. When I reach towards it, it takes some control to keep my hand from trembling. I trust her and force my freshly healed hand to close around the hilt. It is warm to the touch and I pull it from the stone, raising it to the vertical and tracing it all over. It is undamaged.

We exchange a brief glance. We have moved a sword from one end of the kingdoms to the other. This is real magic indeed. I wonder if she wonders too what else we could do if we tried.

I throw the sword lightly straight up and catch it by the blade, turn it and hold it out hilt first to her.

“Your sword, my lady,” I say and am rewarded with a most glorious smile, truly a sunrise on her face. She takes it with grace, steps around the chair and begins a series of training movements, a set sequence of tight cuts and parries, beautifully executed and perfectly controlled, the sequence smooth and flowing through the complex shapes, ending with the requisite forward thrust and the formal presentation of the sword. I could not have done better myself and cannot hide my astonishment in time.

It delights her of course and she tells me that these are my skills, my movements, my years of practise.

I do not know what to think.

This girl had within her what took me such blood and sweat to acquire, free of all charges, free of all the hard work under the sun that stripped the flesh off your back and the endless beatings of the drill masters; she had not taken this from me with deliberation and I could not accuse her of using what an accident had presented her and yet I could not help but feel a bitter anger towards her at that moment which unbalanced me with its intensity.

I endeavour to fight it back, the thoughts of injustice at such a thing ridiculous, for there was no justice in this world, and I did not even know there was a part of me left that would remember, never mind believe in this preposterous notion.

I fight it hard and eventually, it recedes. The girl looks crestfallen and upset, the sword limply trailing down from her hand to the ground like a dog would hang its tail.

It takes me a moment to understand that she was expecting me to be delighted with her accomplishments and learnings, as delighted perhaps as she had been with mine.

I, in turn, cannot bear to be with her so I turn to flight instead, walk past her and leave the room, out through the antechamber, walk down the corridor, bringing my heels down hard in a steady beat although I feel like running, force myself to step steadily into the lifting shaft and after a moments blankness, command to go up, right up to the tower room.

The shaft terminates here and you rise straight out and into the vast, vast circular space, bright light, uncleaned by her damned interferences and entirely as it should be. I step out into the dust, thick here as it had been everywhere when I arrived her on my fruitless search for sanity so many countless rotations of dark and light ago. There are my tracks in the dust, one track coming and another going, making a meandering circle right around the huge room with its waste high shelves all around the circumference, containing a hundred thousand books or more and objects spanning the ages, all grey, all buried under their dust shroud and things here are as they should be.

I turn and seek to seal the shaft, finding the mechanism easily.

She cannot get to me here. She cannot translocate here, she cannot even watch me here for this room has protection upon protection, layers on layers beneath layers of all kinds of different magics, new and old, and special ones of Sephael’s making.

I raise my voice over the dust and hear myself shout out, “Sephael, where are you? Where are you when I need you? Why did you leave me here behind, why did you leave me out of your explorations, of your plans and of your thoughts? Why did you not teach me as you promised me you would?”

There is, of course, nothing but silence in return. Silence and death and dust. That is all there is or there can ever be. A small part of me is tracking both my actions and my thoughts and warning me to not go any further, to stay right here and centre in some way, to not let my thoughts and words run away with me because they would run away in truth and never return.


I cannot get the word out of my head, nor release the pressure from my throat and chest.


There is no justice, it is an illusion.


There can be no injustice for there is no justice.


My throat hurts to bursting point and finally I have to shout the word, over and over again, and I cannot stop until my voice is hoarse and the veins on my forehead feel like they will burst.

The lies.

I can not stand the thought of all the lies.

Why did you tell me all those lies? I would have done anything for you, anything at all, and I did. I died a thousand times and did so gladly for the asking. I suffered torments worse than any I have ever inflicted on any writhing flesh or hapless soul, suffered and suffered and you promised me you would teach me and you did not. You told me nothing but lies, about me, about yourself, nothing but lies. Lies, lies, lies. Nothing was real that I thought was real, it was all lies, illusions, and I believed them all because I wanted so much to believe in something, I wanted so much to believe everything you told me because without that, where was I, who was I at all?

Who was I at all?

Who was I at all if all were lies and there was no Lord of Darkness, there had never been, just that feeble child she made me watch being so afraid of more pain, being fed lies upon lies, growing into a construct of lies fed by the steady diet that made the stuff for muscles, bones and flesh.

I am a lie, a walking corpse of a lie that should have been extinguished and rubbed out and corrected 600 years ago.

I am a lie that can bring down the stars from the heavens. I can destroy everything and then the lying will stop. There will be no more lies at all, not now, not ever, there will be no more children ever believing what they are fed, there will be clarity, and silence. There will finally be peace.

There will be resolution.

I feel myself relax with the decision, the tenseness and the emotions receding swiftly as though they had never been.

The blue ice is calling me. The clarity and perfection where there was no suffering and an order to all things that extended never ending, never failing, arrow straight into infinity.

I raise my arms and let the power of the ice and the power of the black tower ripple throughout me until I would explode, raise my arms higher still and lightning strikes from my hands, crashing into the ceiling and scattering it high in a million shards of rocks and flying pieces to the sky, the brightness rising hard and fast as the roof of the building disintegrated beautifully, laying the dust open to the wonderfully piercing, sweeping, cleaning ice winds that come rushing to join my endeavour and the white sun above pouring down into my head and filling my body to overflowing.

I turn on the spot, the lightning striking the artefacts and shelves of books, scattering them sky high in flashing blue and fire burn, crashing through the tower windows in a multi-diamond spilling, flying high and arcing down into the mountains now revealed, one after the other, like a row of soldiers marching straight into the lines of enemy fire and when I have swept the entire circumference clear of everything and I am standing on an open platform now, rising above the sea of white peaks reaching from the mist, I direct the lightning straight down, tearing up the floor upon which I stand, laying open the levels below, like honeycomb revealing when you slice a sword through a beehive, a beautiful destruction, and there are cracks snaking through the marble floor towards me and I laugh as I fall and the lightning spins crazily, destroying, destroying, with my flailing arms and hands.