The Truth
by Joshua Davis

I waited until the three of them were well out of sight and earshot.The tresses of her midnight hued-hair rippled like the water from a fountain over her milky shoulders, her gown swayed in the evening breeze, looking as though someone had plucked the very stars from the sky and sewn them into it. I couldn't bring myself to it, yet if I didn't it might cost us all our futures. "Luka," I roared accusingly. "Why? How could you betray the goddess, betray this world and ME?"

She turned to me. Her face was a phantasmal white, and her eyes therein lied the evidence of her guilt; these normally sapphire eyes looked so angry, as if they were lipid pools in which some furious was imprisoned. It was completely revolting; she had to be stopped. "Luka, I charge you with treason in the highest degree." Her eyes flared now, as if to burn through the fabric of my very soul and instinctively I drew my sword. Now, she hovered eerily over the wading waters surrounding the water palace, its alabaster doors looked ominous and unforgiving. She was chanting something guttural and wordless, deep challenging sound in a tongue I didn't understand. Suddenly, without warning, a titanic serpent sprang force, and it appeared to be fashioned of pure water, sparkling with a precision only she was capable of.

It drew back its massive head as if to strike. It had no eyes, and indeed, no soul, just lackluster slits were eyes would have been, it had a long, whip-like tongue that was reptilian and volatile snaking to and fro as though it had a mind of its own. Through the corner of my eye, I caught sight of Luka who was now levitating in the center of a pillar of raindrops cackling shrilly. It lunged and I tumbled out of its reach, regaining my balance I raced at it my blade poised at its scaly middle, with determination the likes of which I had never known. I raised my other hand and called vociferously, "Salamando, I pray of thee, Flame Saber!" The next few moments went in surreal slow motion: In a blinding flicker the elemental appeared and was gone, his power lingering in my sword, the acute edge defiantly penetrating like a simple knife through butter; however, it wasn't to be spurned so easily. Resiliently, it struck me and its chilling teeth sank into my shoulder. An undeniable frost infiltrated every cranny of crevasse of my body, my bones shrieked in aching and my skin numbed. The sword still acting as a torch grew encumbering in my grasp, I could barely lift it, my teeth annoyingly chattered and my heart seemed to drum beneath my armor. What was I to do, it had only one chance and while to this day I regret it, I had to disable the source of the monstrosity's power. It had no other options.

Leaping into the air, I threw the sword like a javelin at Luka, whose cries still echo in my ears, as the smoldering sharpness sliced her side and she tumbled to the earth. As she went unconscious my enemy drew his last breath. It had worked, but at what price? Sweat had the lavender locks of my hair matted to my forehead, my aging beard to my chin. I put my finger to the writhing veins in her neck. She was alive. The sky seemed to react to her condition, for out of no where clouds swept over the clear sky and a rain like a thousand venomous bees stung the ground. My mouth was filled with the bitter misgiving of my victors as I scooped her into my arms. My sunlit cloak billowed in the ghostly wind that has risen, as I willed the palace doors open with an intimidating stare and went inside. The mysterious torches burned their ever-vigilant emerald, and the cobblestone walkway made no sound beneath the weight of my boots. She was guilty, there was still no doubt, but how had the forces of darkness managed to worm into her heart, surely she didn't capitulate to them, willingly? Perhaps some sort of control, but the level of magic it would require to taint a being like Luka, could only mean one thing, that indeed the asension of the fortress was at hand and that Thanatos was already rising to its throne once again. It occurred to me that the dismal weather outside would be like a glorious spring day compared to the days ahead. Finally, I reached the stage; gently, I laid her at the base of the seed's altar, ascended it and snatched the seed from its niche. Kissing her goodbye gently, so, as not to disrupt her slumbering, it became obvious to me that she would be right as rain soon enough, but I was never one for gambling, as I left the palace that day, I knew what had to be done.

Yes, it was I who stole the seed from the water palace, I was too afraid that leaving it with Luka, at least for the time being, was a bad idea. So, I left it in the hands of those petty thieves, knowing that Randi, the mana hero and his friends would crush them and restore it to its proper location and hopefully by that time Luka would have reverted to normal. My quest was far from over, the events of that day reminded me that was much to be done, and it was my responsibility to guide those children to their destiny, for I am servant of good, from the kingdom of Tasnica and my name is Jema.

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