Journey to Esidarap - Part Two
"I must say, this is a fabulous statue." Zadara peered around Buba's stone head and said, "Which one of you fine ladies are responsible, huh?"
"I am," Lisya said darkly.
"We met before?"
Lisya sighed. "No," she said.
It sounded like a lie, and Zadara knew lies well. She hopped off the wagon, causing Kate to flinch, then walked toward Lisya with sly intention. "You sure?" she asked. "I'm not so sure."
"I can't recall." Something about that woman struck Zadara as familiar. If Chrava were here, she would know. Too bad that little bitch ran away. "Anyway, why did you turn Bubs into a statue? I was looking forward to seeing him kill the Wielder. After all, he killed Brand's lover, so why not Brand, too?"
"You know very-"
"Where you headed?"
"-well that Ben didn't kill-"
This chick wouldn't give up, would she? Zadara eyed Lisya, blatantly ignoring what she just had to finish saying, and decided to test out some of her new found powers now that her lovely sister was out of the picture. She reached inside herself to find that special place that housed the great unknown void of demi-goddess power and searched for the perfect tool. Like an instinct never realized but always present, she latched on to something strange and new, pulling it to the surface with a familiar ease that could only come with the territory. Her mind surged with power, her body tingled with anticipation, and she wasn't the only one that could feel it. Both Lisya and Kate took several steps back as they tried to escape whatever was about to happen.
"If you see Brand before I do," Zadara said giddily, "please tell him thanks."
She stretched her arms into the air, fingers spread as if they were trying to wrap around the clouds. Her arms surged with raw power, throbbing incessantly with the need to eliminate the build up inside her. Overhead, the clouds, too, pulled away from her grasp. Twirling fluffs of cotton spread and dissipated with the impending doom preparing to strike.
The world around Zadara dissolved into a hazy, unrecognizable reality that held no meaning. She was alone in her power, one with the gods, able to do anything her heart desired. And right now, she just wanted to play.
With a jerk, Zadara flung her arms toward Lisya and Kate. Her hands squeezed into tight fists with orange arcs of energy jumping back and forth between her hands. She glared over the display at her victims, a rabid snarl exposed her teeth, and she let out a bitter laugh. The longer she held the power, the greater it grew. But already she could feel the drain. Her body was starting to revolt against this awesome strength. The muscles in her legs, arms and shoulders began to quiver with a queer strain as if they were mimicking the clouds in the sky, trying to pull apart and flee from the surge of energy that was building up inside her.
Then the fear started to creep in. What if she couldn't get rid of it? If she took on too much, she'd be ripped to pieces whether she was immortal or not. But the power was there. The ultimate strength lingered at the front of her thoughts and she shoved the fear down, deep into the pit of her mind where it could be lost and forgotten.
She opened her fists; one hand targeted at Kate, the other at Lisya, and willed the power to propel. For a moment, nothing happened. The moment lingered, long enough for Zadara to see the fear rip through her two victims, then the orange arcs exploded from her hands and connected with Lisya and Kate.
They stood there, a triangle of raw power formed between their three bodies, with the air around them shivering uncontrollably at the disturbance in nature. Zadara called forth the underlining command with her mind and watched with gleeful excitement as Lisya and Kate faded in and out of existence. They disappeared. They reappeared. Their bodies became more translucent each time they reappeared. Zadara felt them slipping away, felt the way reality bent and twisted to try and accommodate the alteration in its fabric. She was erasing them, slowly but surely. Everything they touched shifted with the change. Everyone they knew was forgetting. Every action they made since birth became undone. In a moment, they would never have been born on this, or any, world.
But that moment never came.
Suddenly the energy folded in on itself. Zadara screamed out in shock as the orange arcs bounced off of some unseen wall and flew back at her. Her body felt like it was sucked inward and a moment later she was propelled ten feet through the air. She crashed to the ground, the world around her a dizzyingly strange array of colors that flashed in front of her eyes.
"Wha...?" She tried to sit up but a weakness overcame her. She fought against her body without luck; in the end, she just collapsed with exhaust. The power was gone. She was still here, the power was gone, and she was without a clue as to what just happened.
Then the voices blasted her mind. Dozens of them, all simultaneously spoke with the authority of gods, for they were gods. All of them.
"Zadara, daughter of ours, heed our warning well. Your power may grow but we still watch. Do not tempt our wrath for we will prevent you from destroying that which must pass. Guard your gifts, daughter so cruel, there will be a time and a place when you will have one final chance to thwart this world's impending doom. If you abuse that which you've been given, however, you will not be allowed to face the Wielder and serve your purpose of proving him worthy."
As she lay there, Zadara was peeved. Help prove the Wielder worthy? No, no, not at all. You listen to me you overgrown idiots. I'll do whatever it takes to see this world, and the Wielder, bow before me. If that means destroying all of you, so be it! I'll wipe this world clean of your crass existence.
Finally, the Wielder came to rescue her and to think all it took was years upon years of torture and experimentation!
Nadara pulled herself through the hole in the door; her eyes burned from the light overhead as she journeyed into the world once more, reborn at the hands of the Wielder. Where'd he go, anyway?
"Wielder!" she called out again.
Before she could take another step, though, she spotted the soldier to her left and snarled. Blood oozed from his thigh and shoulder, but the sight of it made her tingle with delight. One of the offenders being so vulnerable and here she was, weakened and beaten beyond all recognition. What's a girl to do?
Without a thought or care in the world, she muttered a few choice words in an ancient, long dead language and watched with blissful relief as the soldier let out a scream of pain when he burst into flames. The searing flesh filled her nostrils with such elated aroma that Nadara could barely contain herself. Freedom never smelled so good.
Her leg hindered her those first few steps toward the towering staircase before her, but the release of all those magical barriers had allowed her body to regenerate incredibly. By the time she reached the first steps, she felt more alive than she had in ages. And the sight of the Wielder, scrambling up the stairs brought even more joy to her.
"Wielder!" she hissed out, unaware of the awkward way her voice had warped.
She hopped up the stairs, two at a time, until she was within reaching distance of the Wielder. Then she froze in horror. The man with the silver arm had snakes all over him! Red snakes slithered around his head, one hissed its way through his head from ear to ear. A fat, slimy snake wrapped around his neck, pulsating with deadly intent. His arms were weighed down with numerous copper, diamondback snakes. She let out a shriek of distress.
"Stay away," the Wielder begged, clearly alarmed at the snakes that threatened to smother him.
She dove at him, grasping his legs with clammy, gnarled fingers. As he struggled to escape her hold, she pulled her way along his body and licked her lips. Those snakes had to go! And she it was her duty to save the Wielder now that he saved her.
"Stay calm kind Wielder," Nadara said soothingly as she grabbed one of the copper, diamondback snakes and ripped it clean from the Wielder's arm. The look of absolute fear that filled the Wielder's eyes made Nadara heart shudder with sympathy. Nothing could stop her now. Nothing at all.
Her fingers reached for the Wielder's neck. "Wielder..." she hissed again, trying to calm him. A moment later, the Wielder's metallic fist cracked her jaw and she was rolling down the staircase. As she crashed at the bottom, she couldn't blame him. He was flailing about, trying to get the snake free.
"I forgive you, Wielder!" And she did, truly.
A voice from the past gave her pause. It could not truly be him, could it? She rushed to the foot the stairs and hesitantly peered up at the owner of the voice. For a moment, her heart froze in place and she was sure her mind was playing tricks on her. After all this time, was it possible he was still alive?
"Is it really you?" she called out.
Heavy feet climbed down the stairs toward her. She watched with fascination as the love of her life loomed closer and closer. When he reached the last stair, he stood there and they stared at each other with the world around them lost forever.
"Borodan," whispered Nadara. "Borodan, is it..."
The snakes wrapped themselves around his legs. Oh, no. They were everywhere! Even her beloved Borodan could not escape the slinking wrath of those disgusting creatures. She hissed at stomped at his feet with her bare, wretched feet, a hysterical scream emitted from her lips as she tried to demand the snakes to stay away from this man of such holy virtue.
"It's all right," he pleaded. "Stop it, Nadara. Stop!"
Why was he trying to avoid her? It struck her then like a prophecy from the heavens; she was shown the truth. The Wielder and her lover were in league with the snakes. They didn't fear the snakes! They feared Nadara and her attempts to kill their loyal allies.
"How could you, Borodan. How could you?" she shrieked.
Her gnarled fingers curved into claws and she struck at Borodan's eyes, trying to scratch them clean off his face. He was quick though, too quick, and dodged her attack then ran back up the stairs. But escape was not an option. Nadara chased after him. His corrupt soul would have to be eliminated, for his own good.
"Do it," she heard him say with heavy disappointment.
Nadara jumped the last few stairs and landed at the top. She spun to try and find her corrupted lover. The last thing she heard was the blade of the Sword of Destiny as it whistled by one ear then the other. A split second later, the world was gone, and so was she.To be continued...