Unknown - Chapter 27
“The gauntlet? How is that possible?” Alen frowned. The silhouette looked at him and cocked his head to the side. “Have you not felt it, Alen?” asked the silhouette. “Felt what?” the young man replied. “The power that flows from the gauntlet to you when you in desperate need of such energy?” said the silhouette. Alen frowned. His mind raced to the time at the dock where he felt the chill coming from the gauntlet, then the memories of the same sensation back in Naresh where he first clasped the gauntlet onto his arm and finally the raw power he felt when he was attacked by the man-bear Unknown at the docks of Humi. “Yes, I’ve felt it” he answered. The silhouette’s shoulder sagged. “Never use that power again, Alen” warned the silhouette. “Why?” asked the young man, but the silhouette remained silent. It wavered in the darkness like a miasma and disappeared, leaving Alen alone with the silver gate.
“We’re alone again” said the younger voice. It giggled in the darkness. Alen turned around. “Who are you? Show yourself!” he shouts to the gate but the voice said nothing. It giggled again to the young man’s annoyance.
The gate rattled. Alen stepped back, eyes to the silver gate as its silver glow turned brighter. “Come closer, Alen” the voice called to him. “No, show yourself!” said the young man, reluctant to step anymore closer to the gate. The voice sighed. “I can’t you see, the man had closed me behind the gate and I am trapped in here, formless” said the voice. It giggled. “But you, you can set me free, you can give me form again, Alen” it said. Alen frowned. “What do you mean?” he asked. “Touch the gate and I’ll give you power beyond your wildest dreams. Pray to the gate to let it free me and I’ll give the whole world to you, Alen” said the voice. Alen’s heart jumped. The offer was enticing and it is too good to be true. “What about the others?” he asked. “We don’t need others, Alen. We can have the world to ourselves. The humankind will kneel to us! We will be loved! Don’t you want that? Aren’t you jealous of your friends? They got to live or will live a life of grandeur, yet you… you young Alen, so young yet your destiny is so grim. Do you want to die, Alen?” said the voice. Alen shook his head. “I don’t know…” he said in a whisper. “You were depressed because you lost your eye, and who did that? Your friends did that. Should you be with them anymore? No! Who wants to be with friends who hurt their friend? Come with me, Alen and I will be your best friend, I won’t hurt you or exact pain on you” the voice said.
Alen walked forward, tempted by the voice. “Yes, that’s it, Alen. Come closer and touch the gate” the voice turned louder.
“Alen…” a voice came from the distance. It was soft and calm.
“Alen…” it called again, louder and closer.
Then the gate shook and the darkness around him began to lift. “No!” cried the voice. “I will have the boy!” it cried in agony. The young voice it once was turned into something evil. “I will have you, Alen. YOU!” it cried and disappeared along with the silver gate.
“Alen! Wake up!”
The young man opened his eye. The sound of the waves outside rang his ears and knocked his mind back into reality. The smell of chicken stew and grilled beef filled his nostrils. He looked up to the wooden ceiling of the hold. Sazara knelt beside him, his hand to Alen’s shoulders. “Are you all right?” he asked but Alen sat staring at the ceiling. His jaw dangled and his eye empty. The eye patch felt superficial again and the pain in his chest came back. A stream of tears ran down his cheek yet he said nothing.
Enil walked into the room and sat next to Alen. He held his hand and sat staring at the ceiling without saying a word. Sazara looked at the two teenagers and said nothing and left. Alen looked to Enil who then looked at him. They smiled and laughed.
“Kliph is beyond that mountain” said Edabu as he watched from the bow of the ship. The mountain was far in the horizon but it already loomed the sky where it sat. The ship steered itself amongst the waves, letting the winds from the south drags them farther away and closer towards the mountain. Eliza looked at the mountain ahead. The winds swept her hair backwards and forced her to squints her eyes. “How far is that place?” she asked. Edabu looked to her. “Two days journey to the outermost tip of the island. From there we will part ways, the four of us” said the dark skinned man. Eliza looked at him. “Why?” she asked.
“The Time Veil wrapped around the port town has four points, each for every one of us” explained Sazara from behind. Shamah and Grear followed the Wind Guardian to the bow of the ship, looking at the mountain. The man in the green robe looked at the girl. “Don’t worry, you have your friends with you, and your father. They will protect you” he said. Eliza said nothing to reply the words she heard.
“How is the two doing?” she suddenly spoke.
“They are fine, they will be fine, although I do not know if ‘fine’ is the right word to describe them now” said Sazara. He sighed and turned his head to the mountain. “A thousand years has it been” he whispered to the wind.
“Where are we, by the way?” asked the girl. The Four Guardians looked at her. They smiled and laughed at the question she had just posed to them. “What?” said the girl, smiling.
“We are along the edge water of the Unknown South, my dear” said Grear. “Have you not notice the wind is chiller here than before?” she asked. Eliza shook her head. “No, I thought it was the same” she said and looked at her hands. They were whiter than usual. “To the west of us lies the islands of the lordship, or what the people here called the Realm of the Lordship. To the east is the Unknown South where none had yet managed to successfully enter its treacherous waters” the Water Guardian explained. The girl looked at her. “But you are the Water Guardian aren’t you? Can’t you just swim there or command the water to carry you there?” she asked with a frowning face. The Water Guardian smiled. “I could, maybe I could, but it will drain me of my powers before I managed to even make it to the lands. The waters around the Unknown South is vicious, they yield to no master, let alone a Guardian. To calm them would mean that I would have to call for waters from the other seas to fend them from touching me, and the sea, is not an obedient servant like the rivers or the rain. In short, it’s not worth trying, my dear” she said with a smile.
Eliza smiled back to the beautiful woman and turned her face towards the ever closing mountain. The sun had taken its first dip into the ocean. The light from it began to dim as the moon poked its face to the blue canvas above head. Edabu turned towards the deck. “Night is coming, it is better if we rest ourselves” he said and left the company gathering at the bow of the ship. Sazara bowed and left the company of Eliza and Grear. Shamah left without a word, face as grim as the day when they were attacked by the dire wolves. “Master Shamah must be hating himself, isn’t he?” asked the girl as she watched the sky splashed with tinges of black in front of a purple and maroon background. The Water Guardian looked at her. “Yes, I guess. It is hard for master Shamah” she said calm. Her voice had lost the authoritative feel but maintained the deep tone. She was more ladylike, wearing Alen’s old brown tunic and black pants under her blue robe. She held a small staff, white in color with a small blue stone set to its tip. Her face was brighter although the sadness had never fades from her. Eliza blushed at the sight of the beautiful Guardian. “Come, let’s go” she said, her hand linked to Eliza’s as they walk down from the bow to the deck.
As the ship sailed the water for two days, life began to spring back. Alen began talking again, though he talks little than before. Enil too had changed, preferring to watch the sea in between his training with Alen and Kalvel. The two was practicing harder than before, pushing their master to the brink of exhaustion on several occasion. Kalvel sat with Eliza on the stairs to the bridge as the watch Enil and Alen spar each other. The sun had dip back into the ocean, signaling the end of the second day. They had past the mountain and the silhouette of their destination filled the horizon. The Four Guardians gathered around themselves more the closer the ship gets to the island.
Alen looked to the incoming island. “This is it” he whispered to himself.
A huge bay welcomed the ship into its embrace. The sun had only started to dawn when the ship stopped a few miles from the rocky beach and anchored itself. The four Guardians jumped into a small boat they hauled onto the sea and head for the island with the others following behind them in the second boat. The sea around them was calm and empty of life. Claw like rocks penetrated the sea along the coasts like barriers holding off against invasion from the sea. The waves struck hard on the face of the rocks, angered by its presence.
Edabu steered the small boat with proficiency, something that caught the others by surprise though they said nothing to it. Alen and Enil steered the second boat while Kalvel commandeered at the front. Eliza sat in silence between them, eyes fixed to the island.
The boat creaked and slide through the blackened sand of the beach. Sazara and the three other Guardians jumped out of the small boat and looked at the empty island. A huge jungle loomed in front of them with a small mountain jutting from its center. They looked at each other and embraced before parting ways.
The second boat landed on the beach with the sound of the beach sand scraping its bottom. Alen looked at the empty beach and was about to jump out from the boat when an earthquake hits the island. He held to the side of the boat as did Enil and the others and watched in awe as the blackened beach around them fades in and out from their eyes and transformed into a port town. The stones that clawed the sea fade out and transformed into the wooden pillars of the port town’s dock. A stone wall emerged in front of them, like those of Lhamira with an archway that leads deeper into the town and houses sitting on top of the wall looking down at the dock. Alen and the others held on as the waves around them became violence and the sky darkened. “What’s happening?” shouts Enil. Alen shook his head. “I don’t know!” he said.
Out from the darkened sky flew down Sazara, wearing a green armor and a sword in his hand. His face was those of a young man with short blonde hair, stern eyes and hawk nose. His thin lips smiled at the occupants of the second boat as he descends from the air onto the dock. “Everyone” he said.
“Welcome to port town Kliph” said the Wind Guardian with a smile.
Behind him a seagull circled the emerged dock.