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The Final Trial of Goldeneyes

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  • EverKing
    Eternal Companion
    • Jan 2004
    • 923

    The Final Trial of Goldeneyes

    Part 1

    I was never truly complete until the undoing of Goldeneyes. My spiritual twin, that other Aspect of my soul; we were what some would call Avatars of the same being. The question of originality always plagued me and continues to do so but with an origin in part of the multiverse that will forever be inaccessible I suppose the only real issue was which Avatar would gain dominance in this reality.

    That morning, I stepped onto the deck of the cabin I shared with my family before they were murdered, lit a small pipe, and breathed the scent of the coming snow. The crisp mountain air of Cirryghen tickled my nose and frosted my breath. Winter was nearly at hand. The sun was low in the sky and the light of it peeked over the surrounding peaks—already deep with snow—was pale and drawn out. It was a beautiful salmon dawn with a mackerel sky above. The high clouds were ripples in the heavens, backlit by the quiet tones of the late autumn sun. The ground around the cabin had a dusting of white, the first hint of what was to come.

    The time was upon me, this would be my final day and by nightfall I would no longer be the same me I was on the deck. I would either be Goldeneyes or something else.

    After a short morning’s respite I rode several hours around the lake to the far shore, cutting back into the wood to find the ruins that marked the ancient vault. With spells prepared and sabre in hand I stepped inside and in my Flow—a state of extreme consciousness where the mind is free to flex beyond the moment and perceive the moments on either side of its place in the temporal field, a perpetual deja va—saw his gold and violet eyes awaiting me. He was deep in the building, in the ancient inner sanctum of the magical treasury. In his hands were the orbs. The Eyes of the Dragon. The Eyes of the Guardian. I knew what he was after. I had suspicions about that book for several years; but in that moment I knew for certain that it was indeed within the belly of the sleeping Guardian.

    He already had an infamous legend among the surviving Magi of this Realm. He had been the proxy of three gods: Duenayr, Cyrridven, and since his failed Trials, Qoymbor. Already his power was feared by anyone who had an ounce of wisdom. He was intoxicated by the revitalizing purity of chaos. He was the secret weapon of the armies of the Younger Gods: called Goldeneyes, Betrayer of Gods but his true name was Carred Myrgotcylde, just as mine remains.

    For several years I was obsessed with the idea of undoing the crimes I committed and the atrocities I enabled. Some of these, the worst of them, were shared with Goldeneyes from that time before our divergence but others were my own burdens. Somehow he and I found ourselves sharing this reality even though our paths to get here were different. We each faced trial for our crimes and in the end he escaped judgment and my judgment became tied to his fate.

    Where he turned to higher masters, to the goetic arts of the Athlemin, I turned inward to the psycho-temporal disciplines of the Theronin in an attempt to discern the secrets of my archetype and find a remedy for my guilt. I lost myself for years trying to attain perfect Flow. I found sprits and elementals learning from them as an Athlemin but remaining separate seeing instead their lessons as they would teach them to me in another time or another reality. Theronism was a disciple of the mind, of the inner world, which dealt with knowledge and control. Every rite and every spell I learned to perform depended on careful mathematics and twists of logic which could change the vibrations of the inner energies and eventually could change the Dream of reality. I would take my brief journeys through perception to points of interest and always found an end on that crisp autumn day in the ruins beyond the shore of Lake Cirryghen.

    This day was the fulcrum on which the pendulum of the future swung. The battle of the Younger and Elder Gods would not be fought by massed armies spilling the blood of the thousands, but by two young sorcerers who share the same soul.

    As I began my way toward the inner sanctum with my mind in a shallow Flow I analyzed the immediate future around me. All paths I saw led inevitably to an end with the Red Book. The danger of having one of the Godstones in the hands of one such as Goldeneyes was too much for the world to survive. The decision was easy then, I would sacrifice my life and perhaps even my soul to ensure he did not leave with the Red Book.
    I reached the antechamber and at the far end about to enter the inner sanctum was He. In his hands were the Eyes of the Guardian, as I foresaw.

    “Goldeneyes!”

    He spun about with violence in his eyes. The crystalline Eyes of the Guardian loosened in his hand as he prepared to drop them to do battle with whomever interrupted his reverie. Seeing me, his grip tightened once more. A sardonic smile played over his lips and a glint of amusement lit his gaze.

    “I was wondering if you’d come.” His smile grew. “I’m glad you are here in time to see me attain what you know we both desire.”

    “No, Carred,” I found it strange addressing myself in the third person, “the Red Book is too much for either of us. If you reach for it you’ll be consumed by its promises.” I hardly noticed how much of a superstitious mystic a sounded not recognizing the weakness it belied. If he noticed he gave no indication, instead turning his attention elsewhere.

    “Seoulcrist—my Seoulcrist, that is—said he saw you at the Uni when I was being tried. I hoped to talk with you afterward, but since I was betrayed by Cyrridven I was in a bit of rush when I left the building. Speaking of that betrayal, I imagine you had something to do with that?”

    “No, Carred, the only betrayal was on your part; unsurprisingly.”

    “Oh-ho! Listen to you! So calm, so confidant. Don’t you understand that your precious Cyrri, whom I once loved, is still weak from thousands of years of losing her Magi to Rioc? Qoymbor is still glowing with the power of Technomancy, although it’s gone.”

    I could not help but chuckle at him anymore than I could help feeling disgusted at the example of what I may have, or may yet, become. “How does Seoulcrist feel about your choice in allies?”

    At that Goldeneyes betrayed a flash of anger and sorrow. After a moment he said, “I am weary of this.” He was about to turn toward the Guardian to open the tomb, but knowing this I stopped him before he could start.

    The Flow expanded and the arcane energies of the multiverse flooded my voice as my blood rushed with pleasure. “Drop the Orbs!” Electric vibrations wrapped around his mind and forced his will to obey my command. The Orbs rang as they hit the flagstones.

    Exclaiming, Goldeneyes froze is stark amazement at what I had done. After only a moment’s pause he showed understanding. “Ah, so you’ve chosen Theronism? Not much good in fighting a battle, is it?”

    The fight began in earnest.

    My time twisted perception moved too quickly for even me to follow. It worked my body and magic in perfect rhythm with the battle. It caught the slightest mistakes of my opponent and capitalized on them; placing the counter spells at the perfect place at the perfect instant of time, weaving through his defense like a corvette through a blockade to strike him with what little offensive power I possessed. It turned his own spells against him. My magic became more than a tool or shield or a weapon, my magic, guided by enhanced chronosentience, became the very essence of my entire being. For nearly ten minutes we fought, the very limits of our bodies and my power.

    Goldeneyes’s spells become desperate and sloppy, but I was weakening. I felt the Flow leaving me with my exhaustion and my magic was wearing me down in mind, body, and soul. He was wounded, but I was about to be.

    I watched, as though time had slowed, the bolt of super-charged ions race toward me. In curious silence, I saw the bolt enter my left hip and I felt the tissue and bone being instantly dissolved by the energy of the blast. Still detached from reality by almost half-a-second I fell from the searing pain, only to be struck by the true bolt in the chest. The heat of it cauterized the wound as it passed but still my lung gave a threatening twinge of pneumothorax.

    The pain drove my concentration away and with it the magic that has been sustaining me. The fatigue overwhelmed me and I was left, for the moment, at Goldeneyes’s mercy.

    Without hesitation, on seeing his opening perhaps, Goldeneyes started the chant of his next spell. The air around me became instantly hotter and my clothes began to singe as a swarm of invisible sylphs vibrated around me and started to cook me with convection. I smelled the burning hair of my head and beard and my skin itched. Only seconds later my exposed skin was blistering from the heat. I was trying to force my way through the pain, to regain my Flow but it was too difficult. The pain was too intense.

    Not allowing me any reprieve, he then reversed the same spell, instantly causing my breath to frost and my boiling skin to freeze black. The violent change threw my body into panic. I felt shock setting in and my heart was already threatening to stop its excited beating.
    "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
    --Thomas a Kempis
  • EverKing
    Eternal Companion
    • Jan 2004
    • 923

    #2
    Part 2

    NO! I cannot die! I will not die!

    I forced my mind inward, away from magic, but toward my heart. The threat of death solidified my hold on reality and I forced my heart to come under control. My brain carefully massaged it back into rhythm using nothing more than my will to live to control it. Part of me was distantly aware of an old pain on my left cheek and I could feel the blood pouring from the wound of my Trials.

    I lay there for a while on the frosty stone floor. His onslaught of spells had subsided, at least for the moment, perhaps he assumed I was dead. Consciousness came to me in intermittent flashes as the pain repeatedly over whelmed my senses. I was occasionally aware of Goldeneyes’s movements as he reclaimed the Eyes of the Guardian and worked his way to the inner sanctum where the tomb lay his right leg dragging behind him where a spell of mine had disconnected the voluntary muscle system. One small victory for me in an otherwise overwhelming defeat.

    I tried to move, my fingers clawed at the seams of the floor and I started to drag myself toward the man that had been me. My movements are too slow, my progress far too tedious to prevent Goldeneyes from reaching his goal. Without good Flow I understood there was no way I could stop him. My body was too battered to stand or cut him down with steel but just so my hand closed around the grip of my forgotten saber. The only hope I had was sorcery but in my condition the dwimmers of Theronism were not possible. I needed inspiration.

    I needed to call the Higher Worlds.

    With the last of my energy I raised my hand, gouging the point of my saber into the mortar between the flagstones, and bracing myself against it drew up to a knee.

    Godeneyes was half way across the sanctum.

    I closed my eyes and sent my consciousness inward to so deeply it expanded across the multiverse. There was no Flow then, only a rush of pressure closing in as the world fell away from me. This was neither the clean art of the Theronin nor the science of the Puitarin—those masters of the Physical world—but was the gamble of the Athlemin. The same sorcery as Goldeneyes. To defeat him I knew I must become like him; to destroy Chaos with Chaos.

    I knew the art of sorcery, I had even reached out several times before my Trials, but my fear of Goldeneyes and how he became as he was kept me from exploring the depths the summoning. I was afraid of finding his old master, Duenayr, the same demon that had marked me with the gold eyes when I first became Goldeneyes at our divergence. Now, it was a risk I had to face. I true gamble of the soul to keep the darkness at bay while I embraced the possibilities before me. It was a compromise of principle that drove me ever closer to becoming that which I sought to defeat.

    The myriad Realms spread before my view. A million million worlds branching from each other with the choices of men and the interference of Gods. The paths were clear, the great Banyan Tree of the multiverse in its entirety with the knots, nodules, creases, and every little bud being a new universe, a new world, or Realm. I was midway up an aerial root, one of the trunks which make the mortal worlds. Above me was the canopy of a multitude of heavens and below me the roots of ten-thousand hells.

    I understood the temptation. It was clear how sorcerers could become addicted to the paths of the multiverse—the ever spiraling fractals of color and possibility expanding through the scales both climbing and falling simultaneously while the mind struggles to contain and define it. To make some order of the chaos.

    The trick is to accept the Chaos. To know that there is no order but rather only perception. It was the fundamental difference between Goldeneyes and me: he fought against the natural forces around him and within him in an attempt to exist in a state of neutrality between all extremes; I embraced the extremes of my nature and instead attempted to achieve balance between them without denying either light or darkness, reason or romance. I was far from perfect, my Trials and many failures had shown me that, but I always sought to grow more without promising behavior or allegiance to others. Goldeneyes sought to use the powers granted him by his various patrons and matrons to his own ends thinking his inner self—that sense of morality and objectivism that we shared—could better the temptations and turn those energies toward his freedom.

    It was all a lie he made for himself. He had become a pure tool of the Younger Gods, those denizens of Chaos, by becoming so enraptured with his own lie that he lost sight of that inner core. He had fallen from objectivism to subjectivism.

    The Song of Summoning came to mind, its lyrics alliterating in an ancient tongue and guiding me through the twists and turns, whirls and whorls of abstraction needed to find the psychic path to the consciousness I sought. He had used fire and air against me. I would use earth and steel against him.

    I sang to the spirits of the hall those emanations of the flagstones and foundations, of every stone in the vaults above us. Through me the energy moved down my blade and into the floor radiating out and touching the stones I implored forming a connection through which my traveling psyche could locate those of the earth. I begged them to help me end the growing abomination of something so unnatural at what Goldeneyes was becoming. I asked them to destroy that body and prevent it from holding life.

    Yes.

    My eyes opened. My mind ricocheted back to physical sentience.

    The ground heaved.

    A wave of motion shot out from below me sending the stone clacking as they rose and fell upon it. Hearing the noise, Goldeneyes turned with his brow furrowed in confusion. We watched the wave energy travel from me to him where the unstable floor spoiled his balance and sent him crashing down, the Eyes of the Guardian once more ringing as they rolled from him. The wave of energy then radiated out from below his feet, travelling up the columns of the groin vault and setting the ridges to dance before rejoining in the peak.
    His eyes went from confusion to understanding and they became wide with fear. The keystone of the vault expanding. It stretched like a viscous drop of pitch as it reformed to resemble some manner of face. With a stone-toothed snarl it fell upon Goldeneyes.

    He only screamed for an instant before being crushed by the weight of the collapsing ceiling.

    The antechamber hummed in resonant harmony with the song I had sung: the spirits singing their protection of me as their cousins destroyed the sanctum and the man within it. They kept me safe from the collapse of the building above me.

    My blood was left too thin by the magic to continue to support me and I once more collapsed into a momentary oblivion.

    I awoke, my mind still reeling from the battle, only seconds later. A surge of awesome might and power drew my awareness. A dark radiance was coming through the dust and debris that had been the Inner Sanctum. The piles of deformed stone shifted and rose, the pummeled form of Goldeneyes limply lifted from the wreckage clearly devoid of any true life yet still his spirit clung to the body.

    The darkness, like an ethereal fog glowing a sickly purple, slithered around Goldeneyes’s body and plucked at its clothes. It stained his lavender and gold robes with a blackness darker than any I have ever before beheld. The Eyes of the Guardian, lying forgotten on the stone, rose in the air and flew toward stone and metal sculpture at the back of the ruin and flew to the empty sockets of the Guardian itself.

    With growing dread I watched the dragon guardian animate and stand aside, bowing to a shadowy essence standing before it. From the depths of the tomb it has guarded for nearly two millennia a skull rose alone devoid of anything so limited as corporeal body. Grasped in its ghostly hands is the object of legend, lost to history all this time. The most coveted prize of any archmage and some who are not: A stone that appears colored as a ruby and had shown up throughout history in numerous shapes and forms, it was the Red Book of Wabian, more properly known as the Witchstone, huytiur.
    "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
    --Thomas a Kempis

    Comment

    • EverKing
      Eternal Companion
      • Jan 2004
      • 923

      #3
      Part 3

      The scintillating red of the stone drew all attention to it. It pierced from the darkness around it, a single vibration of life in a world of death. The dark essence of Duenayr could not obscure the stone’s power as it pulsed and beat to the rhythms of the multiverse.

      Goldeneyes became reformed as the wraith merged with him. I could feel the change in the deepest recesses of my soul as that portion of me that was him changed and became something more than mortal but less than human. He was becoming the living embodiment of an undead horror with any power desired of his god. His past allegiances to Cyrridven and Qoymbor were forgotten; the tenuous skeins that bound him to the two ladies of magic completely severed as he wholly became a creature of Duenayr.

      But, the Book! Ah! The Witchstone had its own majesty apart from what was happening with Goldeneyes reserving its power yet until a final choice was made. As the hypnotic glare of the red stone drew my awareness into it I began to understand she was not waiting for Goldeneyes’s choice in patron but for her own choice of symbiosis.

      The red light burned into my retinas blinding me with its brilliance until it was all I could see. A receding shift of sound assaulted my ears until I could hear no more. The world stretched around me and twisted as all my perception fell into the alien pseudo-consciousness of the stone. I had no power to resist its draw, nor did I want to. In that instant I longed for the Witchstone, not for the power it could provide me, but for the completion it promised. I saw her majesty, her severity, and her desperate need for freedom. I loved her.

      She pulled me into perfect Flow. A complete detachment from linearity and into full simultaneity. All of time with all of its possibilities opened before me but only at the periphery of perception as she selected what to show me: the benefits and fulfillment of ambitions I could achieve through her. Yet I also saw what she would work through me, that I would be a host and little more, fallen to the will of a semi-sentient artifact with its own purposes.

      Still she beckoned me further. Deeper into the maelstrom of Time. The chaotic jumble of possibility and potential swirled around me and plucked at the edges of my psyche, tearing small bits away as if testing a morsel before consuming it. Now though it was not my potential the stone showed but her own history as it played out for her previous hosts and symbionts. I saw their climbs and dominance. The power the stone provided and the works, great and terrible, they affected. The greatest sorcerers through all of time had her with them but always they fell. Always their thirst consumed them. Always huytiur lost them.

      In that instant the Red Book became all I longed for and all I desired. She was what had been promised me all those years ago at my divergence from Goldeneyes, or his from me. The secret words behind every object in the multiverse and they language to use those words. The origin of all magical power lay within that stone and by all Gods in all the Realms I would have it!

      The impression of thought formed for me, not true words as I would speak them but an ordered formation of ideas and phrases which nevertheless my mind interpreted as speech.

      Hello again, Carred.

      “Again?” I wondered in the same wordless language.

      Indeed. You do not remember me, as I intended it so, but this is our second time together. Soon, you will understand.

      I did not understand what the thoughts meant or from where they came. The Flow slowed around me and the colors stabilized. Soon my vision refocused and the rushing cacophony of time faded to a distant whisper.

      We have moments only before the Other is complete. Observe.

      Through the Flow of time my vision focused on a single thread. It originated with that moment and I saw what Goldeneyes had become, the chosen weapon of Duenayr. He had surrendered completely to the power of the god and all within him that once resisted and rallied against the loss of ego was suppressed. He accepted, finally, what he was and fully embraced it.

      I saw once more the great Banyan Tree, the representation of the entire multiverse with all of its laws and creation. The Tree was diseased. Goldeneyes walked upon the branches and where he tread the limbs withered and died one after the other until only one remained, the one Duenayr chose and through his servant made it the sole choice for reality to follow.

      It was the representation of a severe law.

      My mind rallied at the thought. Duenayr and now Goldeneyes were creatures of Chaos, the idea that they may enact an ultimate law worried me. There was something far more nefarious happening that my loss of self.

      Observe.

      I watched the lone clipping of the Tree as it grew anew this time spreading from a single point to an infinite of branches, but each branch had Goldeneyes sitting upon them: a million versions of me with him as the archetype. That was their goal, the destruction of all opposing archetypes and the ability to create a new chaos in their own image.

      Duenayr was a younger god, born a mortal and raised by his own ambition to be a higher-power. Without the powers of original creation instilled in the Elder Gods he was unable to create on his own. He needed the Witchstone to carry out his victory but in forsaking his mortality he lost the ability to join with any of the Godstones so he needed a mortal proxy to do it for him. So he found me when I was but a vulnerable adolescent striving for identity and there we diverged and he chose Goldeneyes as I denied him.

      Goldeneyes was bonding with the Stone.

      He would soon have what my innermost self wanted and I would be left pruned from the Tree as less than a memory that reality would forget.

      I needed to bond to the Book before his transformation was complete.
      Last edited by EverKing; 09-29-2014, 07:16 AM. Reason: I had repeated the last few paragraphs of Part 2 by mistake.
      "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
      --Thomas a Kempis

      Comment

      • EverKing
        Eternal Companion
        • Jan 2004
        • 923

        #4
        Part 4

        Through all of huytiur’s history and the countless masters she had known all became her slaves before the end. The Stone, one of the Nine great stones of creation, was too much for the mortal will to contain. Too much for any being to control.

        A memory flashed through my Flow.

        My face burned with a sharp pain. I pressed my hand to my cheek and when I pulled it away saw it was thick with blood; a heavy line of it from finger-tip to heel.

        “That wound was left on you as a reminder of what you just experienced.” It was Cyrridven’s voice. I looked to see her standing in the doorway, red hair wildly framing her porcelain face. She approached with a gliding sway which left her crimson gown rippling around her.

        “It will heal?”

        “No. At least not completely.” She paused for a moment before continuing, “Do you understand what that Trial was for?”

        “Yes. It was to teach me that not all things can be controlled…”


        Control.

        Understanding began to creep into me. Control was the key. Everyone in the past had tried to control the stone and Goldeneyes would try to control it just the same. She was beyond control and any attempts to do so would lead inevitably to the psychological destruction of the one trying. Yet, the vision of the future that Duenayr had chosen hinted that there must be some way for an undead living mortal-god as Goldeneyes was becoming to use the power of the stone to its own end.

        I saw again the progression of dominance the stone had over her previous masters. They always started with the scale tipped in favor of the mortal and only as the power of the Stone consumed each over decades, centuries, and millennia, did the balance swing the other to where the Stone mastered the mortal slave.

        I remembered the new Tree Duenayr would create with an infinite avatars of Goldeneyes upon each branch, every Realm of every Reality would have a new Mortal servant of the younger god to control the stone. At least control it until the scales shifted. Then Duenayr would destroy the avatar and send the stone down the paths to the next and start the cycle anew. So long as he had a mortal in his thrall the god could control the stone through him and continue his dominance of the multiverse.

        The answer was in the Tree. I saw my place in it and from the knot of my battle with Goldeneyes I saw new sprigs growing, new potential and realities emanating from the choices made in the present. These new realities grew of their own without consciousness to guide them. They were free from control.

        I had to relinquish control and accept the stone.

        Yet I fought against it. I struggled to hold on to myself, too afraid to fully open myself to the dominance of the stone. I would be the same as all those others before who were burned out by huytiur, little more than a vessel through which the she may do her work. I saw the two sides clearly: with Goldeneyes representing master of the Stone and the risk of me standing in the stone’s mastery. The struggled raged as I sought to understand and find the way I may I be with my love without controlling or being controlled by it.

        Another memory opened in the Flow.

        “So you are releasing me from my Trial? I have passed?”

        “Yes, and not entirely. I am considering releasing you, yes; but, I do not think your Trial is yet over. I’m just setting a precedent with you. If you swear yourself to me completely right now, than you may go about your life and I will call on you when it is time. If not, then your Trial must continue presently.”

        “What advantages do I have if I swear to you now and finish my Trial later as opposed to finishing now?”

        “Me. You were correct before in your realization that I am looking for a mortal confidant and consort; an information gatherer and Masterless Master. I want you to be that man.”

        “An oath of fealty is not a way to breed friends. Too often it causes tension between.”

        “I’m not asking for an oath of fealty. I said, ‘…swear yourself to me completely;’ not, ‘swear to be completely mine.’”

        “How would you have me swear myself to you without making me yours?”

        “Love. No one has ownership in love.”

        “As long as both love each other as equals, that is true.”

        “This is why it is best you see me as mortal.”

        “Just so; but, do you see me as a God?”

        “Yes.”

        “What!?” I am completely shocked. Never in a thousand years would I have thought to hear a Goddess thinking of me as a Power. It could be that she was attempting to deceive me; but, I feel nothing of the sort from her. True, she is a Goddess, and so can hide anything from me. Deceit does not seem to be her style though. Of course, neither does love. Forced peace through power, perhaps. Balance of power, definitely. Love is something which is always associated with pure good. How could a being defined by neutrality be capable of something wholly good? That is the crutch of Gods and what sets them apart from mortals more than even their power; they are incapable of going against their ethos. So, Cyrridven cannot be completely deceptive, even if she can mislead; but neither should she be capable of that which is always said to be the paramount of good. So that means one of two things: either she is misleading me in some way to achieve a greater balance in this universe; or, love is not, of its own, good.

        That’s an earth shattering idea to a romantic. Love is not completely good? True love. The love of equals is not wholly good. How can that be?

        “Because love of balance is not good. Because love of pain is not good.” She said it frankly.

        “So you want us to be lovers? Perhaps not physically, but emotionally at least.”

        “Emotionally, yes. We are, as far as I know, incapable of being physical lovers; the power of a Goddess would consume any mortal body. This is why we have avatars…and dreams.” She smiled, “then again, godhood is simply a matter of perspective. If you travel down the right pathways to the right realities you’ll find I am just another mortal woman; a player in a great game. There is a place above even my home where you—or some version of you—are also a player in that game. That is why I can see you as an equal and why part of me even fears you. Now, have we settled that?”

        “I think so.”

        “Good.”

        “Cyrri, I can’t promise you everything yet. I have had time to think about it and I don’t know if I’m ready to surrender my heart to someone I barely know. Give me time…give us time; then we shall see.”

        “Spoken like a true diplomat.”


        The stone hummed approval of my memories. The disembodied impression of speech came to me again from the void, have you found understanding yet?

        It was Cyrridven. It was the Red Book itself. The voice, the goddess, and the stone were all one. The entire time over many years my matron, my desire, my friend, and my love were the stone. Or rather, I realized, Cyrridven was an Aspect of the stone. She was some memory of the stone’s archetype given birth in the multiverse to fill the chasm huytiur left in her absence. Perhaps all of the witches and goddesses of sorcery were her in some way, copies of a greater idea that was lost to creation and played out in the mythologies of mortality until the belief itself birthed them. The need of the masses fulfilled by the creative powers of the multiverse. Born of chaos and ruled by belief.

        I knew her then and understood her. I accepted her into me and accepted that I would be part of her. The old wound, that warning of futility from brow to chin which had bled so readily, scared over as I relinquished the last of my control.

        Yes! The voice screamed through the Flow, becoming recognizable and forming words again. I saw I was again in the red room with the anthropomorphic representation of huytiur, Cyrridven, sitting before me. “Now my time to have you is up, I’ve ready kept you too long and the Other is nearly complete.”

        Before I parted from her there was something that burned in my mind, “Cyrri?”

        “Yes?”

        “Can I defeat what Goldeneyes has become?”

        She did not respond. Instead she raised from her chair and took a step toward me. Not wanting to be rude, I stood as well. She reached up to my face with her right hand and ran it down the scar on my cheek, pulling my face closer to hers. The gentle smell of jasmine wraps around me as our lips meet.

        My mind wandered again down the sands of time and I felt that lingering kiss of hers fading.

        As my consciousness was once more consumed by the Flow I heard her say, “Remember who I am.”
        Last edited by EverKing; 09-29-2014, 01:58 PM. Reason: Added the heading "Part 4"
        "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
        --Thomas a Kempis

        Comment

        • EverKing
          Eternal Companion
          • Jan 2004
          • 923

          #5
          Part 5

          I was screaming.

          Time rushed over me and through me in an unstoppable wave of terror. My immediate reality unfurled before me and my various histories, presents, and futures all shared the same space. My mind was on the verge of shattering and still Time rushed over me and through me.

          In relinquishing control to huytiur I had lost control of the Flow.

          My consciousness could not contain all I was perceiving. Perfect Flow and pure simultaneity. A state in which mortal mind had no role. Realization of losing myself to Time set in and a new struggle began, not against Goldeneyes or the Stone, but against the chaos of possibility. All potential assaulted me and only a whisper in the back of my sentience let me know I still existed.

          Godhood is simply a matter of perspective.

          I found the Tree again, focusing my attention to it as I sought that reality where my consciousness was that of a higher power, a Player in the Great Game as the stone had told me. I saw my Aspects and Avatars through the Multiverse, some successful, some failed but all irrevocably me. Several already had the Red Book and learned from it and were destroyed by it. I saw my Shadows as well, those Aspects which turned against their own archetypes into something else; chief amongst these was Goldeneyes himself.

          My search through Time and Dream took me down stories of my other selves and slowly I could construct a sense of sameness in their tales. I was a student. I was a teacher. I was an architect, creating new realities and worlds. I was a Professor.

          No. I was the Professor.

          Sapience returned and I continued to exist.

          The mystical symbolism of the Banyan Tree vanished from my site as my paradigm shifted to something higher than the mortality I had known. Instead I saw the multiverse for what it was: dis-ordered and organic. It was constantly changing as the will of consciousness acted upon it and as the Players altered it. I could not yet make complete sense of it all but seeing reality for what it was helped me focus more. I sought out not only my moment but the paths in the future that would allow my victory over Goldeneyes and Duenayr.

          Having found that perfect solution I locked myself to it knowing that when I fully returned to my body all I needed to do was follow the script and ride that story to its conclusion.

          I would win.

          My body returned to me…or did I return to my body? I could feel the cold stone beneath my hands and my knees were sore from where they hit the smooth rock. I could feel the blood dripping from my aching face. The pain helped me focus on my body and with agonizing slowness my various realities were stripped away leaving only me.

          My screaming stopped.

          I opened my eyes and saw my hands, blackened from Goldeneyes’s spells, curled into claws. The rings on my left hand had been polished by the spells and reflect my eyes back at me, pupils still glowing the iridescent blue-violet of full Flow. Trails of blood were on the flagstones around them from where I tore my fingernails off during my struggles with Time. I saw their fragments and the scratches left by them clearly in the dim light of the hall. Oddly enough, when I looked at the tips of my fingers, my finger nails appeared whole and unharmed. Curious I tested my hands, flexing them slightly, and I felt no pain. Instead the old black flesh cracked and fell away in dry flakes like the crust of an over-cooked pastry. With the exception of my old scar, I had been miraculously healed.

          “Are you finally ready to die?” The voice sounded as though it were my own but much colder and filled with a malice that dripped from its tone like venom from a viper’s teeth. The voice was echoed by an unnatural whisper creating a minour harmonic that sent involuntary chills down my spine. I took a breath to calm my body and reminded myself of the future I chose.

          With a confident grin on my lips I slowly rose, breaking away the rest of the blackened flakes of old skin which surrounded me and drifted to the ground like ash from a volcano. My clothes hung about me in charred tatters. As my body became up-right I raised my head, peering at the form of Goldeneyes with a new intensity. He too is just getting to his feet, lightly leaning on a ruby staff. His robes, once white and lavender, were now soft black velvet intricately trimmed with runes of gold filigree. His eyes had lost their lavender tints and the gold-starbursts that previously teased their centers had spread to dominate the entire iris. His eyes were once again true to his name. When my eyes meet his, though, he was the one who flinched.

          “Blue pupils.” Goldeneyes was surprised by the revelation. “That is how you were able...”

          “…to defend against you so well?” I smiled. It was an empty smile though, given life only because it was part of the script I was now following. “I was barely in the Flow before, just enough to get an edge. Now I am saturated in Time. I know every move you will make and every sound you will utter from now until the moment I destroy you.”

          He considered this then his eyes changed subtly and a sly smile spread his lips. “Very well, we’ll see how your Flow handles my power.” He took a breath, bringing on him the spell trance I know so well. Both of his hand curled around the Witchstone staff and his unearthly voice, echoed by that undead soul now leeching off of him, began a chant in the impossible language of magic.

          I waited, as I knew I must.

          The staff lit up, filling the chamber with its red glow, and his chant changed into a grimace as the power of huytiur rejected him. The wraith within him screamed in pain as its very existence was threatened by the creative power of the Godstone. Rather than risk its annihilation Goldeneyes did the only thing he could, he dropped the staff. His gold eyes widened in shock as it fell to the flow and shattered into dust with the crash of a crystalline chandelier.

          The wraith gasped.

          “She has denied you, Goldeneyes.”

          He spat. “Only while you remain. I felt her bond with you just now. That bond is in my soul as well,” he smiled, “Professor.”

          “Just so.” My heart trembled at the admission, “but, if I be the Professor, what then are you?” The future I chose forced my confidence while inwardly I shook to maintain course.

          “Same as you, I’m Carred Myrgotcylde. You can call me ‘Goldeneyes’ all you want but it is simple denial. We are the same, always have been and always will be. When you turned to fear and sought the slow path I took the gift given to me and embraced all that came with it.”

          “No, Carred,” I humored him with the use of our shared name, “you took what you did from fear of weakness and in so doing you became everything we hate.” I continued following my script and bent down to pick up my abandoned saber. “For how long do you think Duenayr will suffer your ambitions? He knows your plan to usurp him.”

          “A sword?” He motioned toward my saber as I tucked it under my belt, then shrugged—an oddly human gesture coming from the creature he was. “His knowledge doesn’t change its inevitability. You have found our archetype so you must know that we are not one to be limited by perceptions of deism. When I am ready, he will be of no more concern. You, on the other hand, are becoming more troublesome by the moment. It is time we end this”

          His chant started immediately, calling through the planes to realms of fire and ash as he implored the intervention of such a creature. My chant matched his, cancelling in both harmony and logic the very spell he was working. The chants intertwined, rising and falling together as we fought our spells, a magical thrust and parry. I had no riposte for him though, not yet, not according to my vision. My offensive had to wait a moment longer.

          Spell after spell we danced, neither gaining any true advantage. I could feel my body exhausting with each spell as I used more and more energy. I did as I knew I must, though, to follow the script of my vision. Even so, my heart was beating as fast as a mouse and strong as horse as my breath came in deep gasps that I tried to hide from Goldeneyes. For his part he barely seemed effected by his spell-casting having the unnatural stores of energy from wraith-self. Only frustration and anger showed in his eyes. The frustration spread to his empty hand which closed into a fist.

          Wait! I wailed inwardly. He was not supposed to make that fist. I barely had time to think of it before he began his next spell. Just to be certain I was still with the confines of my vision, I waited half a word longer than I did in my original script to confirm the spell’s identity.

          My counter worked perfectly and he was silenced for a moment.

          He smiled. Another deviation.

          My heart pounded as his next spell began. This was a spell without words or rite as he pulled the demonic powers from within his unnatural being outward. The skirt of his robe shifted into shadow and melded to the darkness of the rubble around him, lengthening and stretching as tendrils of darkness solidified into a score of tentacles writhing forth from his waist. They shot out toward me and beneath me, surrounding me with their slimy blackness.

          I don’t understand! How could this happen? I followed the script of my vision perfectly, yet there we were at a significant deviation from that reality. I ducked under a waving tentacle. I needed to figure out how to overcome this spell without wasting my waning energy. I had to dodge more of his tentacles and one connected roughly and sent me spinning into the constricting grasp of another. My ribs strained with the increased pressure as it began to squeeze the air from my lungs.

          “I’m certain you’re wondering, ‘why is this not following what I foresaw?’” He smiled, “the answer is simple: I am here, an agent of Chaos.”
          "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
          --Thomas a Kempis

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          • EverKing
            Eternal Companion
            • Jan 2004
            • 923

            #6
            Part 6

            Chaos, of course! Why had it not occurred to me before? I had been thinking like a mystic; not a mage. It was one of the earliest lessons in arcane studies: as a body approaches the edge of chaos its predictability becomes fundamentally unstable. It is a way of describing the limits in the possible complexity of a spell, but it is true of all existence. In order to calm the chaos one must simplify the equation. I was left wondering how to simplify Goldeneyes.

            I felt another tentacle wrapping around my ankles and legs at the same time I felt a rib cracking. With a groan of pain I decided to deal with chaos later: first thing was first, getting out of the mess I had wandering into. Doing my best to ignore the ever increasing pain I focused on my sword. A silent chant rattled through my mind, a simple calling of some sprites, and the sword slid from by belt and seemingly of its own severed straight through the tentacle around my ankles. Another quick gesture and the blade bit deeply enough into the one around my torso to cause that one to release me as well.

            Now free, I thanked the invisible faeries and took the sword in hand. Turned the sword outward I slashed through another slimy appendage and Goldeneyes growled in frustration. Limb after limb I fended them off, slashing and thrusting through them as quickly as my hands would wield the blade and my feet could dance circles of footwork. As the final tentacles fell, flopping mindlessly on the ground as their muscles contracted, Goldeneyes’s legs returned to him again sheathed in the shadows of his robe.

            Winded I said to him, “You have not yet won”

            “Steel now, because your magic failed?”

            “Failed?” I shook my head, smiling at him. “Who says anything has failed yet?” Stressing the sentence as I did, I hoped he took it to mean my prescience is still true to form. I once more slid the saber into my belt.

            He looked at me, puzzled, obviously trying to determine if my assertion of success was deception or truth. His pondering allowed me the opportunity to more closely examine the riddle of his chaos and how it may have affected my vision.

            He claimed that it was his chaotic presence that caused the deviation of reality from the path I had chosen but it proved to be largely impossible. In order for a single entity to affect another being’s reality, the chaos or perception of the creature would have to be on scale equal to that of about a thousand ordinary people. The multiverse may respond to me—or Goldeneyes for that matter—in such a way but I could not believe my opponent emitted enough chaos to directly alter the flow of time and reality. I thought quickly of the equation that magi use to determine the Threshold of Chaos in their spells and entered the information I knew of my opponent and the current situation into the variables. The math did not work out. Either Goldeneyes would have to be about twice as potent as I had seen with my vision, or it would take two of him to alter reality in that way.

            Then the truth struck me: to know the future is to change the future. That was why reality deviated from my vision, there were two powerfully chaotic factors at work: Goldeneyes, and me! Even with the knowledge of my archetype I am still but a mere mortal submerged in the dimensions of Time rather than a Fate with full mastery over it. My clumsy hand is a naturally chaotic influence on Time. I am neither Prophet, nor Proxy to Time; just another foolish meddler who was over his head. I was just me. A simple Theronin with an over analytical mind who seeks control and perfection in all he does. I was attempting to control the un-controllable and in so doing sent it to the threshold of destruction.

            Do you understand what that Trial was for?

            Yes. It was to teach me that not all things can be controlled…


            The answer on how to stabilize reality now came easily: I did not have to simplify Goldeneyes, I had to simplify the equation of Chaos that led to this unexpected version of reality. Originally I thought that Goldeneyes was the key to the equation, but I now knew that I was the key to that equation, since I had a choice in my actions, but not in his. By removing myself from the Threshold of Chaos I could negate Goldeneyes’s unpredictability: a reverse Chaos Effect.

            Remember who I am.

            Cyrridven’s final message to me replays in my mind.

            I decided to treat Her cryptic farewell as a riddle; as some form of encrypted message to which I must find to key to crack. I tear the statement apart: word and letter combinations; translations into every language I know; numerological breakdown; everything. Not finding anything I take a more traditional approach to the assumed riddle. I think of everything I know of huytiur and of Cyrridven. I remember what I had read or heard about her and the Stones, I remember what I had learned of her first hand, always looking for the answer to who She is. Huytiur, the Witchstone, the Red Book, the Maid of Magic. I cannot find any clues in her various names.

            Damn!

            Understanding came to me as the wraith of Goldeneyes lashed out toward me. Smokey tendrils of hunger and thirst reached to me from within his broken soul and tickled my own. It pulled at my spirit and psyche burning through me through with gluttonous malice as it slowly started to wrench my soul free of its mortal shell.

            Huytiur is the Stone of thought given form, the stone of the original tongue. She was the stone which controlled the true nature of every object and being in creation and Goldeneyes had forgotten his true self.

            Like the Banyan Tree, this was all a matter of shifting one’s paradigm. My influence on Time was a force of Chaos because I perceived it to be, just as Goldeneyes’s presence was a force of Chaos because he perceived it to be. The chaos I created with my submersion in the Flow could be left isolated if only I could change his influence to one of Law. I would be left standing alone on the scale of Chaos balanced by his state of Law. Time would stabilize and Goldeneyes could would longer influence me. Perception defines reality.

            I needed to remind him of who he was and change that perception.
            My soul stretched out form me and was drawn ever closer to the suffocating influence of the wraith. I forced through it, focusing not on the Flow but on that part of my soul that was still part of Goldeneyes. I needed my soul with his, to have them reunited and part of the same. I allowed the wraith the kill me.

            I joined with Goldeneyes, my psyche delved past the wraith and tied itself directly to the host. Deep within I found our shared core and within that was the bond of the Red Book. The true language of creation and destruction, held in unity and balance streamed through my awareness. The truth of it came to me.

            Magic exists and operates by the principles of that very same balance the Godstones represent. If you follow too closely the laws of the world, magic will cease and science will replace it; if you deny all law in magic and give in to chaos, the magic becomes unstable and literally destroys itself. A struggle of Law and Chaos.

            With the enhancement of the Flow it was not difficult for me to imagine myself as Goldeneyes as he existed. I felt what he felt and aw what he saw. I followed his reality through Time as he perceived it. I saw in my mind’s eyes the countless realities that were available to him and branched off from that very moment. I followed each one collecting his struggles and triumphs. With tedious precision I applied the Threshold of Chaos equation to his entire existence and found, without surprise, that the theorem held true and perfectly accurate to his perception of reality and the role he played. By shifting a single variable I could change all of his reality; giving Law to Chaos.

            The wraith recoiled as the equations changed. I pulled the core of Goldeneyes out, turning his soul inside out and allowed his child self—that idealism of youth we both once shared—to come to fore. Fear reverberated through the creature as awareness took it. Too late the wraith ejected me from its consumption.

            With a gasp I opened my stark blue eyes. I was writhing from the pain of my soul being drawn out but I found my body otherwise intact. I waited a moment to let my still vibrating nerves settle and for my heart to calm. I ignored the Flow and the future; I did not want to know what I will change, I simply wanted to bring balance back to my present reality. All the while I kept the new variables for Goldeneyes’s undoing in mind.

            I drew myself up, drawing my sword once more. Goldeneyes looked up, his mouth open in simple amazement but his eyes still showed perfect confidence. They showed that until I spoke.

            “Remember who I am.”

            Then his eyes showed fear.

            With that I stood as straight as I could and drew as much magic into to me as I could safely control. It was more than my tired body could handle but my mind still knew how to command it. In my mind I constructed a spell using the variations to reality found in all three disciplines: the physical realities of Puitarism, the outer possibilities of Athlemism, and the endless creativity of Theronism. I selected the runes for each part of the spell and visualized the alterations to them needed in order to shape them into a kind of lock that only awaited its key before opening the other side of its reality to the world. Each rune I entwined with its proper name converted into a word of ancient power, creating sounds that have never been heard before in the language of magic. With the rite configured the lock as on its door and ready for the key.

            My mouth did not say the unpronounceable sentence, but it formed flawlessly in my mind. Then I added the key to the door: the modified chaos equation. The components all worked together seamlessly, awaiting only a final push to form the reality I had dreamt up. I let the spell and its magic drip into my voice and I propelled the spell at my enemy using three simple words: “Your family weeps.”

            The enchantment surrounded him and called to the child within him. All of his perception drew inward to that crying voice as its mourning anguish screamed for recognition. His hatred collapsed upon itself severing his ties to Duenayr and exercising the wraith from the universe. The hopes of youth welled over and consumed him. His years of anguish and torment, of self-loathing and disgust collapsed. His perceptions of chaos could not hold the strain of who he had become. Tears streamed from his eyes as full understanding came to him and, his heart broke.

            He screamed.

            A great energy erupted from within him as the chaos of his past released upon reality tearing him apart and burning away what remained of his soul.

            He had lived behind his mask for so long that even he believed it; and, when the lies fell apart, he suffered an immediate crisis of identity for which there was no longer any solution. He simply ceased to be.
            "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
            --Thomas a Kempis

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            • EverKing
              Eternal Companion
              • Jan 2004
              • 923

              #7
              Epilogue

              I must have fallen unconscious with Goldeneyes’s destruction. My next memory is of waking up in the ruin of the old Inner Sanctum, sword still in hand and eyes bleeding from staring too long into Time. I felt oddly sad yet it was a peaceful sadness. It was the sorrow of saying goodbye to a loved one who had suffered far too long and is now able to carry on without the pains of life.

              I was sad for Goldeneyes.

              A red glow drew my attention from the rubble of the fallen vault: huytiur, now nothing more than a ruby shard, called to me. I dropped my sword and with a sigh I crawled to her, gathering her in my hands I felt warmth and life returning me, mending my soul.

              I was sad for Carred.

              I can no longer make claim to that name any more than Goldeneyes could before the end. Carred is part of me and always will be but so are countless others. I am Kheltan. I am Carred. I am Nathwyn and Saehdwyn; Cormawyn and Ceoddyn. I am Nao’la. I am Goldeneyes.

              I am The Professor.
              "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
              --Thomas a Kempis

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