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|A tragedy based in the Invincible Universe. The poem in the beginning was done in vers libre (or Free Verse). I am attempting now to 'convert it', if you will, to Blank Verse. The poem fit with the story I wanted to write, and the insiration came to use it...||
When all is said and done, when all words are spoken, when all thoughts are spent, the earth--our mother--takes us home.
The feelings that I bear for thee beloved,
Beyond the wildest hopes of mine heart
--Be contained by words--
The child that we cherished is now separated
From this world of ours,
So cruel and unspeakable
--That this love should perish also--
Be that, would it, what that child would have wanted,
For parents two, who would have loved and
Sheltered it unto and even beyond
Whose chilling grasp reaches from the darkness
Into the light to pluck fresh, dew-dropped
Stars from this heaven of our existence
--Or could it be just as thus--
That wee babe as yet unborn upon the sweat frothed
Bed of its passionate conception, cried out
--The meaning of its life as yet unfounded had no realization--
That when the time of love and trust be right,
That passion be reincarnate, as immortal it is,
To confound the eyes of the infidels
--And then, now soon, be born--
Lady C’Andrilaine slowly raised her eyes once more from the parchment, staring blankly across the garden without seeing it, and over the wall beyond. The balcony she occupied was directly off her bedchamber; it afforded a breathtaking view of the capitol city beyond the walls of their home. Yet she did not notice. Her mind was numb--the overload of emotions and erratic thoughts threatened to destroy her sanity--she watched the sun cast its shadows across Fàir a Cathair as the sun proceeded in its journey to the horizon.
Though she appeared to be looking at the royal palace in the center of the great city, her eyes did not see its shining splendor. Instead, she looked beyond its graceful and flowing architecture to the base of the mountains that lay just beyond the walls on far side of the city. She felt as if she could reach out to touch them, if she would only lean out. Part of her heart lay there, forever lost to the darkness that threatened to consume her mind. Yet there was still hope, a piece of her heart--and older piece--yet remained. If she could only find some way to discover the truth of it...
Lady C’Andrilaine sat quietly in the ante room, which also served as the study on such occasions such as this; reading a new text she had borrowed from the Hall of Knowledge. Old k’Thalos never had been able to deny her anything.
The ancient old elfwylm’s ears might droop a bit, the creases of his face might be plainly seen, and his hair might be entirely white now--but his mind was sharp as ever. Then again, he knew C’Andrilaine better than most. He had seen the trouble right away, and had known its solution. It had been revealed to his ancient eyes, long ago, that it was hard in these days to make the children listen. They seemed more high-strung and prone to wrong-headedness than he and his peers had been three centuries ago. But this child was different.
Old k’Thalos had been her tutor as a child, a retainer of House N’Ciearillian; yet as far as she knew, he had always been learned and wise; he had already taken the sleep of the Methuselah by the time she had come to know him. He had signed on as a retainer at the request of her father, about a century before, and then her father had left for his final mission and not returned home. The two had become fast friends, with k’Thalos taking the role of her teacher, confidant, and most trusted advisor--a relationship that lasted to this day. Therefore, he had known something was wrong as soon as she had entered the solarium in the Hall of Knowledge, seeking him.
The loss of her first child had wounded her deeply, as such things will, and Lord Invincible D’Thoth--being called away for duty--did not help to make matters any better. He was a cold man at times, owing largely to what he was--one of the Invincible. The loss of his child--while it devastated him also--could not be allowed to show to anyone, and in his opinion, that included his beloved wife. He just did not know how to let go sometimes. And thus, his emotions weighed on him like clouds of lead, sinking into his soul with as much deadly toxicity.
He had gone away on assignment without resolving the issue between himself and his wife. Because of his attitudes and demeanor, as well as the fact that he would not discuss the tragedy with her, Lady C’Andrilaine thought he blamed her for the loss of their unborn offspring. When she confided as much to k’Thalos, he promptly tried to assuage her fears.
“But how could he yet love me? I have cost him more than he could ever lose again! Even should another child be conceived,” she railed, “its loss would not begin to compare to this--our first! Any tragedy yet to follow shall surely be diminished by this--the accursed first confliction!”
Holding her at arms length by her shoulders, k’Thalos spoke firmly to capture and maintain her attention. “Dear one, know ye that thou art as a daughter to me, and know too that I never have--nor would I--lie to thee. The logic of it is this; thine own self has he yet to lose, yet whilst thou livest, the hope of future progeny yet lingers.”
Folding her gently in his wizened old arms, k’Thalos attempted to sooth her then with cooling words. “I assure you that the remedy thou seekest can only be met in the agonized thoughts of thy dearest husband. Whence he returns hither, thou shalt see what changes hath befallen; and if need of my council thou still hast--at such a time I will abide thee. Until then, fear not! For though thou hast not seemed to notice, thine beloved is fervent in the administration of his duties. Long ago, he constructed a wall against those painful things that he would both see, and bring to pass; none shalt break through that wall of duty but time. Once he chances to sort out the emotions that ensnare his soul, he wilt come to term with this tragedy, come to himself again, and come home to thee in truth.”
After speaking to her the words she needed to hear, k’Thalos led her over to a dais upon which sat an ancient book of lore. He explained to her his recent discovery of it, and several other tomes of like vintage, hidden within a secret and long forgotten chamber within the very Halls of Knowledge themselves. The other tomes he had had no trouble reading or translating, but this one seemed impervious to his deductive reasoning. Given her keen mind and comprehensive education, he felt she would prove a just avenger against this worthy adversary, and begged her look over it if she would. Being not of the mood to contemplate it here--or at this time--she begged-off, but he would have none of it. He knew that something like this was exactly what she needed to get her mind off her troubles for the moment. So he influenced her with his words to come around to his way of thinking, leaving her with the belief that it had been her idea from the beginning, and had her begging for the book to peruse at her leisure.
And so, she now sat still and at peace, calmly pouring over and devouring the manuscript in her fascination; dipping the quill to make notes in a journal for the purpose. The cool sweet fall air blew through an open door and swirled around her, occasionally causing the fallen leaves on the balcony to rustle around in a dry, but soothing fashion. From the garden below, the gentle tinkle and splash of water falling from an artificial stream--in the form of small waterfall--to the fish-filled pond at its base, filtered through all other sounds as it playfully floated up to her. Her feelings of pain and loss all but forgotten, she had turned her thoughts to other things--if only for but a tranquil moment.
Nestled within her studious reverie, she did not even notice the rush of heavy footsteps through the great chamber beyond her anteroom. In fact, her first indication that something was amiss, were the raised voices of her retainers from the great chamber, which broke through her contemplations.
“I am sorry Milords Invincible, but it is entirely inappropriate for thee to enter in this fashion, unannounced. We do not mean to hinder thee in thine business, except but for to warn our mistress of thine coming so that she may maintain herself in the eyes of all present,” said the voice of her head retainer, Selmon.
“We must speak with thine mistress at once! If thou hinder us but a moment longer, there will be unpleasantness good master.”
“I do apologize, Milords Invincible, but that is just not possible. We are no match for thee, to be sure, but we have our duty, just as thee have thine; I wilt not back down,” replied Selmon.
Always a hard one for rules and propriety, that one; but he was always true and to the point when it mattered. Had he said Milords Invincible? Had she heard that correctly? That he would speak that way in defense of her honor--to a pair of Invincible--went well beyond the call of duty, even if he was a childhood friend. Whatever else that might have been said was lost as the urgent rap of her handmaiden sounded from behind the wall on the far side of the room; she had just slipped her feet into her silken slippers and began to rise from the desk, moments before. The young woman entered at her acknowledgement.
“Milady, there are two Invincible here to see thee, about what they wilt not give answer. Master Selmon has barely--and just now I might add--stopped their forward progress to this very chamber after summoning near all twelve retainers of the house!” The girl was clearly flustered and had set about chattering and hurriedly trying to prepare her mistress as soon as she had come in the room.
C’Andrilaine waved her off with a gentle motion of her hand and a look. “Dear n’Hessa, I am quite prepared to appear before yon Invincible just as thou seest me. More like, they are those whom I know through Lord D’Thoth and likely have seen me in worse states than this. All that is amiss is that my dress is slightly creased from sitting at yon desk, and mine hair is slightly mussed.” With a playful smile she added, “Now get thee gone before I needs must find something for thee to do!”
The girl spread her skirts and dipped a curtsy, while nervously eyeing the doors leading to the great chamber. “Milady,” she answered as she turned, leaving back the way she had come--through the secret door in the anteroom wall.
C’Andrilaine smoothed her dress, which was only the slightest bit wrinkled, and slowly made her way to the anteroom door. As she opened the door, she saw Selmon’s back, flanked by the backs of her other retainers. Looking over their shoulders, she looked the pair of Invincible over, and seeing a familiar face, smiled. She placed her hand on Selmon’s shoulder, and he turned to look at her. His stern expression relaxed as he looked at her. Turning toward her slightly, he took a step back on one foot--out of her way--with his other foot pointed toward her, and bowed slightly allowing her to pass.
“Milady,” he said in acknowledgement. As she nodded to him and stepped forward past him, he turned back to the Invincible, and standing proudly erect, announced, “Lady C’Andrilaine will now accept audience with thee, Milords Invincible.” He bowed slightly to them and began dispersing the other retainers.
“My dear N’Cyllos,” she said in greeting to the taller of the pair, “it truly is good to see thee, but I thought thou had already left to join Lord Invincible Ahngyel. What brings thee to mine door when thou shouldst be departed?”
“Milady, something came up whilst we made preparations to begin our journey.” She noted his solemn demeanor as he spoke, which was unlike him. Normally, Lord Invincible Ashterran was a rather jubilant person; quick of whit and always with a ready smile that made his eyes flash. Today, that smile was gone. “My going will, unfortunately for us all, be delayed for a few days, perhaps a quarter-moon.”
“What is wrong dear N’Cyllos? Something bothers thee, I can tell; what exactly was the cause of your delayed departure?” She stood in silent apprehension, awaiting an answer.
“Milady, there was an accident of sorts,” Stevnos went began tentatively. “Thine husband, Lord Invincible D’Thoth has fallen.”
He paused to see how she would take the news, and when her expression did not change, he continued, “He was checking The Rift as was his duty this moon, but when he probed it with his Gifts, something happened that has never happened before; the Rift opened. He sent his Eilean¹ from him and instructed the lad to make for the outpost at once, but the boy held to his master faithfully. The lad witnessed thine husband force the A’ceud² back into the breach and seal the Rift, tapping a nearby Node. He channeled a vast amount of raw energy, pouring it into the Rift, resealing it and trapping the A’ceud once more.”
N’Cyllos, seeing C’Andrilaine standing mutely, and staring blankly, sighed and continued. “The amount of energy he channeled from the Node is what defeated him; after a certain point, he was no longer able to control it. It burned him out, his ability to channel the world’s energies gone, leaving him in shock--from which he died. The energies of the Node ceased flowing after he fell.”
C’Andrilaine stood there blankly for a few moments after he stopped talking, and then darkness took her. As she fell, Selmon stepped forward swiftly to catch her. No one had noticed that he had stayed after ushering the other retainers out, though he had placed himself in a position several feet behind his mistress. Selmon bore the visage of pain and utter devastation as he held her. He gently bore her to the floor and cradled her in his arms.
N’Cyllos walked over to the pair and crouched down beside Selmon. He could feel the young man’s pain clearly; and it made him wonder. He reached out to touch Selmon on the arm, and the young man pulled away swiftly, but gently, holding C’Andrilaines limp form to his breast, as if afraid N’Cyllos would harm her. Selmon looked up at N’Cyllos and virtually glared his defiance, his face twisting into a rictus snarl; the young man virtually growled at N’Cyllos.
N’Cyllos pulled his hand back, beginning to understand. The young man was one of the Devoted, and it was clear to N’Cyllos now to what the young man had chosen to dedicate his life. He sat back on his haunches and spoke soothingly to Selmon.
“Young master, I understand thine pain, and I know from whence it comes. Thou needst stand aside and allow me to heal her. I need thee to run and get k’Thalos from the Halls of Knowledge. Thou must be swift and bring him here immediately!”
Selmon’s face did not relax in the slightest. He glared up at the Invincible as if he could destroy N’Cyllos with his eyes alone. “It is my duty to see to Milady, not thine! I will not be sent away like some simple errand boy! This is my place, and I will hold fast to it! She needs me to protect her now more than ever!”
N’Cyllos’ expression grew stern. He continued to look Selmon in the eyes and spoke now with the voice of authority. “Thou wilt do as I ask, or I will force thee to do so--at the tip of my Shakna if needs be. She is in distress; if I do not help her, the shock may yet steal her from us. And if thou art the cause of that loss, thy life is forfeit! I will give thee but a moment to decide thine course of action.”
N’Cyllos twisted around in place to look at his Eilean. He removed a ring from his right thumb and held it toward the boy. Releasing it, he sent it floating swiftly across the room with his mind, and into the waiting hand of the lad.
“Go see to the preparations I have already begun for our departure,” N’Cyllos sent to his Eilean with his mind. “If anyone asks or tries to hinder thine efforts, present them with this ring; it should suffice as explanation. Thine presence here may make it harder for me to deal with this young man. He is bound to the Lady as surely as if they were wed. Quickly now, young Eilean, get thee hence.”
He turned back to Selmon and C’Andrilaine, knowing his instructions would be headed, as his Eilean turned to leave. Selmon was now cradling C’Andrilaine in his arms and rocking back and forth. Tears streamed from the young man’s eyes as he gently brushed a lock of her hair from her face. He looked up to N’Cyllos with a pleading look in his eyes.
“Please, Lord Invincible, help her. I will do what thou ask, but thou must make her well! Without her, I have no purpose.”
N’Cyllos looked at Selmon kindly, and said, “I wilt do what may be done. Now help me get her over to the divan, and go get Master k’Thalos.”
They both rose, Selmon giving C’Andrilaine over to N’Cyllos’ arms. He stood and watched in agony as C’Andrilaine was carried over, and laid gently on the settee.
Turning, N’Cyllos saw that Selmon was still standing there, looking at his mistress in dismay, and spoke to him sharply to bring the young man back to his senses.
“Art thou still here young master? Get thee hence to the Halls of Knowledge and get Master k’Thalos. Hurry now, the swifter thou movest, the sooner thou wilt return to see to thy mistress!”
Coming back to himself, Selmon slid one foot forward, bending the one behind slightly in a bow. “Right away, Milord Invincible,” he replied, his blood-shot eyes never leaving C’Andrilaine. He backed away several steps, unable or unwilling to look away, then wrenched his eyes away and took off at a run.
N’Cyllos sighed and turned back to his charge. Laying his hand upon her forehead, he probed for any sign of her consciousness with his mind. After a few moments, he found a chink in the wall of shadow she had retreated behind, and found her in a dark and tortured corner of her mind. Using his Gift, he reached out to touch her, sending soothing, comforting waves to her, urging her gently to come back to consciousness. She resisted, but after a while moments, she emerged once more.
As her eyes fluttered open, she saw N’Cyllos’ face above her, and her eyes filled with tears. He helped her up and held her gently as she sobbed into his shoulder.
“Why has this happened? Tell me it was some horrible nightmare, which thou hast awakened me from! Thou must tell me that mine husband was merely wounded, even seriously so, but not that he is dead!”
N’Cyllos shook his head sadly, “Thou knowest that this is something beyond mine power milady. I would change things if I could, but I cannot; he was a good friend to me. Thou shouldst take comfort--however small it is--in knowing that before he was lost to us, he channeled more raw power from a Node than any one person has before. It is a testament to his sense of duty, his love of his people, and his love of thee.” He stroked her hair gently as he continued, “Think thou what wouldst have befallen had he not succeeded. Our people would be at war with forces that very well might overwhelm us. If he had not loved thee--loved us all--with the very breadth of his soul, he would not have been able to do what he did. He feared thee coming to harm milady, and did the only thing that could be done to stop it.”
“And that makes it the easier to bear? I think not.”
“In time milady, in time it may.”
“Why is it everyone speaks to me of time in relation to mine hardships and pain?”
“Time is all we have milady.”
Selmon returned with k’Thalos shortly thereafter. The day progressed slowly for all involved, wearing away into the early afternoon. Lady C’Andrilaine had retired to her chambers, and N’Cyllos, k’Thalos, and Selmon whiled the time away in discussion of the situation, trying to determine the best course of action for her recovery. C’Andrilaine’s handmaiden came to her presently, to check on her mistress’s condition.
“Doest thou need anything, milady?”
“No n’Hessa, not unless thou canst bring my husband back to me,” C’Andrilaine replied resignedly.
“I am sorry for your loss milady, if there is anything thou needst, I will be right here to see to it; I’ll not leave thine side. And milady, this letter came for thee but a short time ago. I brought it to thee straight away.”
C’Andrilaine took the envelope, noting her husbands seal, and removed the parchment from within. Tears welled up in her eyes as she read, and re-read the message her husband had sent out the day before, the last message he was ever to send.
Noticing her renewed distress, n’Hessa made ready to comfort her mistress. “Milady? Is something amiss? Not more hard news I hope.”
C’Andrilaine smiled weakly. Drying her eyes with her handkerchief, she told n’Hessa that nothing was amiss, she had just been reminded of someone she cared about.
Pausing for a moment, n’Hessa observed, “Thou shouldst know my lady--if thou dost not already--that Selmon is a good and true man. Never a better have I seen, milady, unless of course I were to speak of thy departed husband.”
C’Andrilaine, slightly unnerved, asked, “What sayest thou?”
“Well, milady, he was greatly bereaved at thy distress. Held you for a long time did that one before Milord Invincible managed to pry him away. Was very vehement he was to Milord Invincible about protecting and looking after thee. Seemed as a wild beast he did.”
“That doest not surprise me much dear n’Hessa, Selmon and I grew up together; we were always the best of friends.”
“And if he had wished it, we could have been more,” she thought
“Begging pardon milady, but think he dotes on thee I does. His actions were more that of a lover than a friend, milady, no matter how close a friend that may be.”
C’Andrilaine sat silently, staring blankly at n’Hessa as if she had just sprouted three heads and begun floating about the room. Hundreds of thoughts and memories burned spiraling paths through her mind. She felt ill, taken by vertigo; she sat down and put her head in her hands. After a few minutes, the thoughts began to order themselves, and she sent n’Hessa away.
“Please, n’Hessa, give me a few moments peace, I beg thee. I need some time to think.”
Bobbing a curtsy, n’Hessa turned to leave.
When n’Hessa had departed, C’Andrilaine’s thoughts came crashing home. She began remembering things about Selmon that she could not believe she had overlooked. How could she have been so blind? It was plain when she thought upon it now! The most obvious memory of the sort was when she had accepted Lord D’Thoth’s proposal.
Selmon had been told long before that he should train to be Invincible. Several Invincible had approached him about it, but he had put it off each time telling them that there were things more important in his life. Then, one day, he had come to her, and excitedly told her he had finally sought training as an Invincible, that he would begin his training in a few weeks. She had told him she was very proud of him, and that she had something to tell him also; she had accepted Lord Invincible D’Thoth’s proposal of marriage.
She had not noticed then because of her own elation, but now that she thought back on it, she remembered how his face had changed. It had gone from one of excitement, to a stone cold expressionless mask for a moment, then turned to a mask of happiness. He had congratulated her, and that was that. A few days later, he had renounced the prefix from his name, had it removed, and become one of the Devoted. He had never said what it was that had caused him to give up a life as an Invincible to take up the life of a Devoted, and she had never pushed the issue.
Selmon had simply come to her one day and begged her to put him in her service. He had told her that since he had become Devoted, and renounced his prefix, he no-longer had the ability to rise in position, or do anything but be devoted to his cause. Once a prefix was renounced, it could not be restored except in extreme circumstances. But still, he had said, he needed a means of survival, so he asked her to take him on as one of the retainers of what was to be her new household. And of course, she had accepted him.
But now that she thought on it, she realized that he had become Devoted, and rejected his chance at becoming Invincible, mere days after she had accepted Lord D’Thoth’s proposal. He had then come to her to be placed in her service. He had since left her side not once. She came to realize that there was nothing and no-one to whom he could have devoted himself, but to her.
Her world rocked, and the darkness that had taken her once today threatened to return. How could she have been so blind, so stupid not to see the signs that lay right before her eyes; she had loved him since they were children together, yet had never seen the reciprocation. But now that she knew where to look in her memory, she knew him well enough to fit the pieces back together.
He had accepted training as Invincible to improve his status, and provide her with the life he thought she deserved, to have something of a life to offer her; and she had taken that need away with her acceptance to D’Thoth. So he then chose to become Devoted to her; it was the only way he could be close to her, true to his feelings, and keep her honor and his own in tact.
She was devastated; wracked with guilt over the events that had led up to this moment, this revelation. How could he still love her so, when she had inadvertently destroyed all hope he had of a normal life; when she had hurt him so badly? He had lived a shadow of a life since that day, and she had not even noticed. How could she call herself a friend, much less be held as the best among friends, when she had not even seen what was before her. But the fact was that she had always loved him, she just had not known how he felt about her.
She sat in quietly in her room, the revelations and events of the day weighing down on her, threatening to crush her. As she sank further into her depression, she picked up the message from her deceased husband once more, and walked over to the door leading to the balcony.
Selmon, N’Cyllos, and k’Thalos were still sitting in the great chamber, fretting, when it happened. One of the retainers rushed in and began babbling all at once. Selmon and N’Cyllos rose immediately to discover what the problem was. But when they could make no sense of it, Selmon placed his hand on N’Cyllos’ arm and requested that he be allowed to speak to the man.
“He is one of mine, in service under me for many years,” Selmon explained, “let me speak with him and find out what the trouble is.”
N’Cyllos bowed out and left Selmon to his business.
“Calm yourself, s’Nyal, and tell me slowly what it is thou art about.”
Taking a deep breath, s’Nyal proceeded to do just that. “Milady D’Thoth is out on her balcony, sitting upon the ledge with her face to the house. I thought that I should come and tell thee considering her present condition and all.”
The retainer had not even finished his statement when Selmon, N’Cyllos, and k’Thalos burst into action at the same time. Each headed in a different direction, each with their own intents and purposes.
“If she falls, I am the only one able to catch her from such a height,” N’Cyllos shouted over his shoulder as he headed for the door.
“The door is locked, and barred from the inside, for the key does not work,” shouted k’Thalos from the door to the ante chamber. “If she falls, all is lost!”
Heading for a secret door in the wall panel--which led to the same corridor the handmaiden used--Selmon whispered, “If she falls, I will surely die!”
Luck was with Selmon, for as he reached the end of the corridor and came to the secret door to the ante chamber, he found it had not been locked. He burst into the room with k’Thalos hot on his heels. They rushed across the room until they came within site of the balcony, where they both skidded to a halt. C’Andrilaine was now standing on the balcony, facing them.
“Milady, please,” Selmon pleaded, “Come down from there and back inside. If anything happened to thee...”
“Do not milady me Selmon! Thou needst speak true and let me hear it, as thou hast hidden it all these years for mine happiness, forsaking your own.”
“My love, my life, please,” Selmon begged as he cautiously edged toward her, “come down from there and to me and we shall talk of things long hidden, perhaps, when thou art truly ready.”
“Why didst thou not tell me the day I told thee of my betrothal to D’Thoth? I could have taken it back then, why didst thou not tell me?”
“I was afraid, Heartsong, afraid of what wouldst happen to us. I was thine best and truest friend for years, and was content to be so, so long as thou wert happy. It terrified me to think that if I spoke mine feelings for thee--that thou wouldst not feel the same--that thou wouldst deny me because I had nothing to offer you, and our friendship too, like mine heart, would thus be broken.”
When Selmon used his petname for her, Heartsong, it brought more memories back to her, memories that had lay buried until that moment.
“So that is why thou accepted, at the last, the requests for thee to join the Invincible?”
“My dear Devoted, thou shouldst have told me, shouldst have spoken up against mine betrothal! I would have loved thee as I always have--and more!”
She stood now, trembling, on the balcony’s railing. Selmon was in the doorway now, almost to her. He reached out his hand to draw her in.
“Please C’Andrilaine, come down from there. If anything happened to you, I would follow you in that injury.”
“Forgive me Selmon.”
He looked askance of her, “Forgive thee for what, beloved?”
“Forgive me. Please forgive me for all the pain I must have caused thee. Tell me thou forgivest me and I will have reason to come down.”
Selmon chuckled weakly and smiled. “My dearest Heartsong, there is nothing to forgive. If I had had the courage to tell thee, I might have held off such grief with the joy we might have found. But do not worry for me; I have been happy all these years to serve and guard thee. I was close to thee, and yet kept my honor, and that was enough for me.”
“But thou couldst have had so much more.”
“Knowing thou wert happy was enough for me.”
She looked at him as though she was beginning to accept his answers, but still uncertain. She chewed her lip, and slowly, reached her own hand out to the one he offered. Their fingers touched, clasped--and Selmon’s luck ran out.
As she started to step down from the rail, her silken slipper slid out from under her--their grip on each other’s hand was broken. Selmon grasped for her hand, for her fingers--anything--and she grasped for him. But like their love, long denied, so too was this saving grace. Her balance lost, their fingers briefly held and then slipped away.
Selmon roared his defiance to the world, his defiance to it cruel, emotionless fate, and dove for the railing in one last attempt to catch the one he had loved all his life. And as she fell, she still reached up to him with a look of abject terror upon her face.
Selmon looked below, and saw that N’Cyllos was not yet there. Where was the Invincible! Then he noticed N’Cyllos blurring across the garden from the far side, seeming to be at both the door he had exited, and the ground beneath the falling C’Andrilaine at the same time. But the blur in-between told the true tale--N’Cyllos was not yet there, and she was almost to the ground. He would be mere seconds too late. He would not reach her.
Selmon screamed his rage and pain at the world, tearing his throat raw with that one final outburst. Somehow, whether by some trick of the garden’s acoustics or some other unknown factor, everyone in the city heard his cry; it would be talked of for centuries. Just as C’Andrilaine struck the ground, k’Thalos grabbed him from behind and pulled him in with all of the strength in his old bones. He held tightly to the young man, fearing he would attempt to join the one he was Devoted to.
After a while, Selmon seemed weary from crying, and no more tears would come. He had regained his calm exterior, and told the old man that he needed to go to her. They both made their way to the garden.
N’Cyllos was there, now kneeling over the lifeless body of the Lady C’Andrilaine. He looked up in anguish with tear-filled eyes as the two men approached.
“I have no words to express my sorrow at not reaching her in time, and I have no excuse,” he said, as he rose and stepped back a pace.
Selmon had eyes for only C’Andrilaine. Ignoring them both, he approached her slowly, and knelt to cradle her lifeless form in his arms. With no more tears to shed, he looked on her face, and brushed a lock of hair away; the same lock that always seemed to fall into her face. He brushed a trail of blood away with his thumb, and kissed her for the first, and the last time.
“Goodnight Heartsong, I will join thee before long.”
Calmly, Selmon placed her back on the ground and rose to regard N’Cyllos, “There is no blame to place here, Milord Invincible. You did what you could--and now I do what I must.”
With that, he blurred into action. N’Cyllos was stunned by the unexpected display of one of the Conair Suthainn³ abilities--abilities that only those trained as Invincible possessed. Any one of the abilities required a singular will, and focused mind that came with the Invincible way of life. Selmos must have found both of those on his own, in his desire to attain his goal, because he used the ability to great effect. Due to his sheer shock and surprise, N’Cyllos could not stop what happened next.
Selmon pushed N’Cyloss back several yards and even as he did so, he drew the Invincible’s Shakna and blurred back to where he had been seconds before. As swift as thought, he spun the magnificent weapon around above him, switching his grip on the weapon. Tilting his head back and lining the point of Shakna up with the unprotected space at the base of his throat--he drove the straight, double-edged blade downwards, through and behind the space between the larynx and the breastbone--impaling himself vertically, down into his chest.
He stood there for a moment, transfixed, arms coming halfway down to his sides, staring up at the sky, his mouth hanging open as his body convulsed. He looked like some sort of twisted marionette--offering himself in worship to the sky. His death rattle resounded off the walls of the garden--seeming louder than it actually was--as his body collapsed, still and lifeless as his beloved Heartsong.
When all was said and done, when all words were spoken, when all thoughts were spent, Lady C’Andrilaine was laid to rest. On her right, they lay Selmos--her Devoted, her beloved friend, her lifelong love. On her left they lay Lord Invincible D’Thoth; her beloved husband and lover. Together, the two forever protect her, keeping the darkness from her side.
(1) Eilean - literally means training, but in this case is used as the title for apprentices to the Invincible.
(2) A’ceud - the first in the old tongue, a title used to signify the first group of beings created by the Gods--before man. Down the centuries the old tongue meaning has changed slightly, making it the actual name of these beings collectively.
(3) Conair Suthainn - literally eternal way but actually used to mean Invincible Way, and is used to describe a certain group of skills or abilities that are unique to the Invincible, and can only be learned and used by those who have trained in their arts.
|Prolog Part 2 - Pursuit||Invincible Resurrection - Path of Honor (part 2)|
|Invincible Resurrection - Path of Honor (part 1)||Prolog Part 1 - Shattering of Heroes|
|Prolog Part 3 - Old Plots, New Beginnings|