Agian, Turns mean Years.
Chapter One: Krystal’s Departure
Dais Venis could probably be called the most beautiful city in the world but, sadly, hardly anyone ever came to see its beauty. The most beautiful place in Dais Venis is the Tower of the Exalted where Odoen was right now at the top of fifty flights of stairs in the Hall of the Exalted. Large and ornate tapestries decorated every inch of the fifteen pace long hallway on both sides.
Odeon waited in the Hall of the Exalted for admittance to the Exalted’s Chamber where he had been summoned. He of course knew why he had been summoned already. Having your father as an Exalted had its advantages.
At first Odeon had protested the assignment he knew would come to pass with his father there to convince any opposers, but his curiosity had finally put down any fool thoughts he had had about seeing his old girlfriend. Once he had thought she could be more than his girlfriend, but that plan was rudely interrupted when she was called of the Phoenix as their Queen; and everyone knows a Queen of Phoenix can never marry.
Odeon pushed those thoughts out of his mind quickly and became intent on staring at the intricate tapestries lining this hall. Most of them portrayed Merlin and his six followers doing heroic and hazardous deeds that, to his knowledge, had never even close to happened. The odd one in the bunch was the one that was, uncomfortably, the closest to Odeon. It portrayed a man standing on a stone dais, arms outstretched to the sky as if he would call down lightning. Above his head were seven bright halos of light that looked as if to explode.
It was anyone’s guess what the lights were. Merlin himself, who had woven the tapestry, did not know what they were. He had simply been inspired to weave them.
Across the bottom was an inscription in the language of the ancient Alteris inhabitants. It was said that back then everyone, being and beast alike, spoke the same language and the breaking of the languages was a punishment from the, now fled, Gods for a forgotten indiscretion. Of course now everyone had progressed to the point where they could mostly all speak a common language again. Since it happened to be the language the humans originally spoke, it was called human.
Depicted here is a man who will find the lost and return them, find the destroyed and bring them back. He will break all bonds, and it will bring both evil and good.
Everyone thought it referred to the One finding something long lost and returning the Gods, even the evil ones, and bring great destruction. Normally a death prophecy would not trouble Odeon except that the first time he saw the tapestry he had had a vision of sorts where he could hear people talking all around him. They were speaking ancient Alteran and he could not understand, but ever since that day he set himself on finding out what those words he had heard meant. Nothing could ever purge him of those words; they rang in his head all day every day and he would not rest until he found out what they meant!
“Are you all right Odeon?” A soft touch on his hand stopped everything. Odeon looked down at his hand clenched so tight it was turning white then at the source of the sweet voice. “Odeon?”
He tried to talk, but he could still hear those words rattling in his head. Finally he managed a meek, “I’m fine. It’s just this summoning that has me on edge. That’s all.” The elf-woman gave him a disbelieving nod.
“Do you even know what it’s about?” Her rose-red lips and deep green eyes were what had attracted him to her in the first place. Chrysa was his Bonded, and he hers.
Every man and woman Magi needed to be bonded to someone of the opposite sex before they were allowed outside of Dais Venis walls. The bond allowed them to feel each other. When one was in trouble the other could feel it. Besides that, the bond allowed them to combine their powers.
Only with a flow of spirit, which only a Wizard can use, or a strong flow of all the other powers except healing, can a Magi be blocked from the magic. With a woman controlling strong flows of air and water and the man controlling strong flows of fire and earth, they can create such a shield if needed. The last advantage is that they think as one. If they choose so, then they can communicate through their minds.
Chrysa’s dark brown hair curled to her shoulders, hiding her elf ears, but it could not hide her pale face or her almond-shaped eyes. She tilted her head to Odeon and looked up at him thoughtfully. His mind was blocked, but Odeon couldn’t help feeling like she knew his thoughts anyways. She was definitely not a woman to fall in love with. She would as likely kill you as kiss you, if she thought it necessary.
There was a swish-swish sound of slippered feet and they both looked towards the sound casually. There was no need to be on guard at the Tower of the Exalted, but who knew what could happen even there? “The Exalted will see you now.” The woman’s smile was warm, but she spoiled it with a look of hastiness in her eyes. She wore her blue robes open, as most women did, flaunting her body-hugging yellow silk dress that showed considerably more skin than a woman her age should have shown.
When Odeon began entering the room he opened his thoughts and Chrysa immediately reached out to them. Why did you come if you knew you wouldn’t be accepted in? You know as well as I that you could have heard what they have to say from our tower. A tingling feeling in Odeon’s back told her that she had heard his thoughts and was trying to drive nails through his back with her eyes. She knew as well as he that his thoughts would be cut off when the Exalted acknowledged him. Odeon had no need to close the door behind him because she directed a flow of air at it so hard he had to cut her out of his head again to escape her angered ramblings.
Placing his right fist to his left breast, he bowed to one knee in the middle of the floor as was acceptable in the presence of the Exalted Ones. His robes spilled upon the smooth marble floor in a flurry of green. The only other two people in the room were garbed in the same flowing robes as he, but they were seated in elaborate thrones where he was kneeling.
The woman Exalted was tense and not really seeming to pay attention as he expected she would. Though she was obviously not trying, she still managed to look remarkably beautiful, even pouting as she was.
“You summoned me my Exalted Ones.” It was more of a statement rather than a question. The man signaled for Odeon to stand and he obliged.
“Come here my son.”
Odeon walked toward the male Exalted and took his hand. The gold ring on the Exalted’s index finger was pure gold with the design of a golden book on it. There were only nine in the world, one for each of the Exalted, and seven for Merlin and his followers. The first Exalted had had different rings made for all the other Magi. The women had rings of gold that had shield and dagger on it to symbolize their great defensive skills. The men, including Odeon, had one with a sword and a bow crossed, also gold. The Magi from both women and men who had given themselves up to studying only the art of Healing had a gold ring with a handshake to symbolize peace and lending a helping hand. Odeon raised his father’s ring to his lips and kissed it, then released his hand.
“You know why I have summoned you son?” Odeon nodded and looked at the other Exalted. Her face was smooth as all women’s faces are and by the look of it most would say she could not be much older than he. In actuality she was 66 years while he was only 41. She was avoiding his eyes and the eyes of the other Exalted. He knew she didn’t completely agree with his leaving Dais Venis.
“Of course father. I am to see Queen Krystal and give her the words of the counsels. If I may ask father, how am I to go?”
“By horse. You will need to leave immediately after this meeting if you are to make it tonight, and I counsel that you make it tonight.” Vespar turned to the woman Exalted and succeeded in catching her eyes. “Do you have anything to say Rosalyn?” She shook her head and continued to stare vacantly out the window. “Then go son. And our blessing be upon you.”
Odeon exited the room and made his way out of the tower into his own tower to await his father’s company. His Bonded had long left to her own tower to prepare for leaving. Chrysa had a certain talent for eavesdropping even when the room was shielded.
When Odeon was gone the Exalted Vespar put his hand on Rosalyn’s left shoulder. She turned, half unwillingly, and stared at him with her big blue eyes that sparkled like a lake. Those deep pools seemed to pull people in, even at her old age, and make them do what ever she wanted.
“I know you don’t like it, but it must be done.” Vespar didn’t have to try very hard to make it sound sympathetic.
“I know. I only wish you men wouldn’t be so hasty.” She shook her head as if to emphasize her words. She moved her wrist so she could see her ring. “These were made wisely. Not only are we women gifted in defense skills, but also, we always try to look at our possibilities before rushing into things. If your defenses can hold long enough you can always slip a dagger in at the right moment and win.” She sighed again.
“Sometimes it pays to act quickly Rosalyn. I’m only glad I could make you see it my way before it was too late.” Vespar knew she hated being reminded of an argument lost, usually she never did lose an argument.
“I must attend to things as do you. Give your son farewell.” With that she stood up from her throne and strode out as regally as any queen. She was as hard and immovable as a rock when she wanted to be, but she could also be as gentle as a butterfly when necessary. Vespar’s figure shimmered and finally winked out of the room.
His figure reappeared in front of Odeon’s tower. He could never understand why his son insisted on shielding his tower. Certainly no one in Dais Venis would hurt him. Try to hurt him actually. Odeon’s skills had been climbing rapidly in these past two years. Vespar climbed the long stone spiral staircase up to the very top where Odeon’s room was. His son was already waiting for him.
“I see that you’ve started and finished without me.”
“Yes father. I know my need for speed and I packed as quickly as possible.”
“If you don’t mind. Could you not remove the shield just so we can avoid those nasty stairs?” Vespar looked uneasily out the door to the top of the stairs. Odeon simply nodded and removed the shield. Not seconds after, Odeon and Vespar’s images were shimmering into the stables where Odeon kept his horse.
“How did you convince her father?” Odeon spoke while packing his bags onto his beautiful white mare Farleyn. When his father didn’t answer he stopped his work to turn and stare at him. “Just because you are an Exalted does not mean you have to treat me like a child. I am your son and in the prime of my life for a scholar. Things of the counsels should not be kept from me as they are from others.”
“Rosalyn Moscar is not easy to convince, even for me. I told her you would check on the defenses of Rishna’s cities while you were there. Of course you can always trust women to be concerned about defenses.”
“Of course. You expect me to then? Check on the defenses I mean.”
“No,” he paused to stroke his long beard, “There is no time for that. I have told Chrysa to do it in your stead so you can talk to Krystal alone. It will be much better if we can keep as much information as we can from the Women’s Counsel. Just concentrate on your journey.” Odeon nodded and climbed atop Farleyn but he was going to see King Tussur in Rishna’s capitol if he had to go against all of Dais Venis.
“Farewell and may the powers of spirit flow through you one day.” Odeon kicked Farleyn’s flank and sped off, the traditional send off of the Magi clear in his head. His father whispered to the air when he was afar off. It was too quiet to be heard by anyone.
“Be careful son. We no longer know who to trust.”
“They’re sending him. The Exalted are sending Odeon, I just know it. I’ve never been able to hide anything from him. He’ll find out I just know he will.” Krystal, Queen of Phoenix paced relentlessly in her room until she heard the knock. Rushing to the door she straitened her crown, smoothed her dress, and opened the tall arched doors to the face of her old friend, Odeon.
“I knew you would come.” A smile played across her face, but it didn’t last long. He returned her smile with a scowl. There was once a time when her smile pleased him, but that time was past. She was wearing a beautiful red dress, with a low neckline, that would have made anyone look prettier. Her dark brown eyes seemed to be poring into his mind and her strange red hair, reaching to her shoulders, framed that perfect elven face.
“Yes the Exalted sent me as you knew they must. Rosalyn Exalted wasn’t very pleased about it though.”
“Of course not. Women magi never agree with men and they are not so rash in their actions. Come in and tell me what I need to hear from the women’s counsel and the men’s. Where is Chrysa?”
“Checking on your kingdom’s defenses. She will not be joining us.”
“You are very lovely Krystal and ever since, well ever since that day I’ve never been the same. This is the first time I’ve seen you in many turns.”
She flipped her hair behind her and began walking through the castle’s front hall. “Ever since you found out that the one you loved could never marry. I was only thirteen when I became queen and it crushed me also, but it is in the past and you now have a wife.” Krystal paused and looked back at Odeon.
“A wife of necessity,” Odeon sneered.
“She loves you though.” She put her slender hands on Odeon’s shoulders.
“Perhaps.” He shrugged her hands off and continued walking on down the hall. He walked into the Spiritual Room of the Sapphire Palace.
This particular room had been his favorite, he remembered, because of the magnificence of it. This room looked as if it had just been pulled from a castle in heaven and placed here. The Sapphire-marble walls of the rest of the castle paled to the radiance that this diamond-walled room provided. Technically the present Queen of Phoenix was the only person allowed inside, but Krystal did not protest when Odeon had headed for it.
She shut the door and led him to the center of the labyrinth-like room where a small pond was, and some chairs. Krystal had not seen Odeon since fifteen turns back, but she could never forget his flowing green cloak that he was given when he reached the magical stasis of a Magi. His blonde hair was like the sun’s rays, it seamed to beam down upon her. It flowed now down over his shoulders and Krystal couldn’t help but notice it. He had avoided her now for fifteen years, but how could he pass up an order from the Exalted.
Krystal stared awkwardly at Odeon’s face until she thought he was finished thinking then she spoke. “Did you come here by magic?” Her sweet voice jolted Odeon from his thoughts and he moved his head to look at her.
“No. My magic is not sufficient. I have not learned that spell yet either.” He let his head slump down and he stared at the trickling pond a few feet away.
“Look what has become of us Odeon. The evil Wizard grows more and more powerful and he has many of our magic books so we are limited to almost nothing. Already he has the aid of the Cyclops.” She sighed and looked at Odeon. He looked as if he would say something, but when he didn’t she prodded him on.
“What is it Odeon?”
“He has the aid of the Dragons as well.”
Odeon spoke bluntly, but his voice was not without reluctance. Krystal’s eyes went wide with fear and Odeon was immediately sorry he’d mentioned Dragons at all.
The only thing on Alteris powerful enough to match her precious Phoenixes in battle was a Dragon. The Phoenixes are powerful creatures and they don’t go down easy, but Dragons are even more powerful. The Phoenixes are giant birds with enormous beaks for pecking their enemies, but their most powerful weapons are their fire breath, the ability to light themselves on fire, and the ability to be reborn from their own ashes after they die.
In opposition, the Dragons are like giant winged lizards. Their sharp teeth rip their enemy to shreds and they also have fire breath, but the one thing that makes them the most dangerous is their great knowledge of magic and how to use it. Any normal Dragon can match a Magi in magic and some can obliterate one. A Black Dragon alone can face down five Phoenix, but with the Cyclops attacking with their laser sight and the Dragons from the air, the Phoenix would be helplessly outnumbered.
Odeon let her think, but he was in a hurry after all. “His bewitching spell is very powerful. I don’t know where he came from, but it must be a place of high magic. The Exalted both together have problems bewitching one Dragon, but he can mesmorize any color of Dragon in huge groups. He must be a Wizard. There is something that can end the spell forever though.”
“Yes, if I could find it. It was lost to us when the Queen of Phoenix Maryn went berserk and the Phoenixes took it for her. You remember that day? Of course you do. After they stole the Domidicus they all killed themselves on the spires of this very castle. Now not one person even remembers the beauty of the blue walls. It should be called the Blood Palace if you ask me. After that you were named Queen.
The Domidicus should not have been kept in the city with that reckless girl with such power in her hands. Well anyways it’s gone and we don’t have a clue where it is. It is the largest piece of the lost obelisks anyone ever found. Odeon shook his head feebly. It could have been anywhere for all he knew. All he had were old rumors and opinions.
“What else has the counsel found Odeon?” It was not really a question. She knew he had more to tell and she was in a hurry as much as he.
“They have found out that this Wizard has three enchantresses that wear the purple robes to guard each of his other three ‘settlements’. One is stationed at the Dragon settlement Orostar, one at the Plains of Babhadre in a makeshift castle, and one in the Marshes to the east. He himself resides in the Cyclops city of Burimo. Probably only for the purpose of using the eyes on the top of the cities pyramids to spy on us.”
“You don’t think he has it then?”
“I don’t know,” he said, “but if he does then we have no hope. Without hope we cannot win and we will all die.” She nodded and let her eyes drift down slowly to the clear pool of water in front of her.
“There is one more hope.” She said it in a soft voice, but the words hit Odeon’s ears as if she had been screaming them.
“Yes, but if it doesn’t happen.”
“It will. If you try Odeon, then you can save them.” She lifted her eyes to match his and for a moment they were sixteen again. Their love for each other burned then, but it had been forced to subside, for a Queen of Phoenix could never love anyone except her Phoenix.
He held out his staff. The staff began to shimmer into another image; it’s true form; a crooked stick with a faceted Diamond held on the top by obsidian vines.
“I will wield the power of the Domidicus. And I will win this war for us, but prophesies tend to be broken if the person doesn’t help it on it’s way which is why I intend to go among the Dark Magic-Users to try and find the Domidicus. You are right my love. If I try I can save us. I will take my apprentice Derick with me, but I don’t think he’ll be of much help.” Krystal had cringed at the word love as if it was a snake, but Odeon had not noticed because a thought had entered his head.
‘Odeon,’ it was Chrysa. ‘I’ll be waiting at the peak of the mountain for you.’ That was it. It was concise, Chrysa always seemed to be in a hurry. That was another one of the reasons Odeon had chose her to be his Bonded. One of the only women in Dais Venis, that was a Magi, who would not only agree to quickly-made decisions, but want to act upon them as soon as possible. Very un-like most women.
“And I must also leave,” Krystal said after she had regained her composure, “Before The Day of Tears we had many Phoenix, but now we are limited. I will take the Phoenixes to the southeastern part of Alteris. If rumors are to be believed, there is an ancient city, Yotori, which contains Phoenix towers from when the Phoenixes and Dragons coexisted. That is what the Exalted sent you for is it not?” Odeon nodded.
“I have already spoken to the King of my flight. Also I had hoped you would do another thing for me.” She gestured to the ornate black box that had appeared in her hand. “Deliver this to my son.”
“I will find him in Mosswood I presume?”
“Yes,” she said it with a sigh, “isn’t that where you last saw him?” Odeon’s silence told Krystal that he hadn’t visited her son. He had been in Mosswood many times yet he hadn’t bothered to see the elven son of Krystal.
Odeon left after a brief embrace and climbing on Farleyn he galloped off into the forest as fast as he dared push her. When he reached the river he looked back.
Night had fallen and the sun was only just setting, staining the clouds purple. In the distance he saw hundreds of shadows against the sky. Yellow, Orange, Black, Green, Blue, and Red. In the front he saw a giant red, bigger than thirty men. The Phoenix, Bliss, was bearing Krystal on her back as they headed to the southeast. He saw thousands of small diamonds falling gently from the sky and being soaked up by the earth below. The Phoenix was a sight to see in itself, but one seldom saw a whole pack of Phoenix shedding tears for no apparent reason.
“Goodbye. We will meet again.” He whispered it so quietly that only Farleyn heard him. He pulled out the pendant Krystal had given to him to give to her son. Their son. The inner fire was lit, as he had never seen it before. It would ignite when the new leader of the Phoenix was ready to take their place on the Fire Throne that sat in the Sapphire Palace. He opened the blue-bound spellbook and began to chant words of magic. In an instant Farleyn and Odeon were gone, leaving only the crickets to their goodnight song. Or their goodbye song. They reappeared about a hundred horses off and another shadowy figure rode up to them. In just moments they were speeding off through the night. The sun set completely and they were left with only an eerie sort of light produced with the magic. They traveled southeast to Mosswood.
After Odeon and Chrysa departed, another shadowy figure rode up to where they had been. A man. He had seen everything: the pendant, the meeting with Krystal, and the Phoenixes leaving. Now he turned west and rode silently off.