Across the Barrier, fantasy, On-going Stories, Short Story

Across the Barrier Chapter Five

I’m all tied up — flat on a medical bed, fit for an asylum.

Everything is in black and grey. Void of any vibrant colours.

The floor is made up of black dust and we were inside a half sunken old ruin.

No other soul in sight.

At arrival here in the void, the old man had dragged me onto a contraption that instantly came alive, straps wrapping around my torso, arms and legs.

‘Fascinating, does it not hurt?’

I shake my head, stunned.

He takes out an odd looking thread needle and pokes me. I feel nothing. He tries to slice me with an ancient dagger and again, I feel nothing.

Everything he takes out of his many pockets slid over my skin like it was made of glass.

He couldn’t draw blood if he wanted to and if I had a drop of blood in me.

He said I was a Golem? I barely knew what a Golem was. In the video games, I played those were the giant zombies. I’m pretty sure I still looked like a boy or else Kera would have said something.

Looking down at my body, it showed me everything was normal, my familiar long skinny legs and bony chest, but somehow I wasn’t ordinary anymore.

I remember being human; I’m pretty sure I was human before I died. I’ve had all kinds of vaccinations to protect me since I was a child. No help if you ask me, considering I died, but the needles definitely pierced my skin then.

‘What are you going to do with me?’ the straps holding me down moved along with me. The more I struggled, the tighter they became.

‘ A curious question, yes, but I’m more interested in what you are. Do you think if I drop a boulder ten times your size on you, would you break?’

I begin struggling, but the straps tighten, becoming like a second skin.

‘Don’t worry, I won’t do it, Benny boy, you’re special now, and I would say indestructible.’ He loosens the straps and sets me free and begins walking, leaving his strange contraption behind and into the dark.

As he walks, the only source of light followed; slowly ebbing away from me, leaving me in the shadows.

‘You seem to be made up of a resilient but malleable essence. Once molded into a form, it becomes unbreakable. I’ve never seen it before. I can sense old magic, quite ancient mind you. Primordial. Wherever you came from, it’s not from any world I’ve been to, but maybe it is where I will find the solution to my problem.’ the old man mumbling with himself.

‘Who are you?’

‘Who am I. I have many names, but I was once Baldemar Wayland, a blacksmith.’

We walk and walk as he tells his tale. He is lost in its telling and me in listening.

‘I had a beautiful wife and daughter, but everything changed when a divinity came into our lives, Gods and their magic.’ he grumbled.

Not too far away I could see a short three-story building with its own source of light. It looked so lonely and abandoned in this place.

‘The God had the whole of creation dripping from his hands. He created creatures at whim, made my daughter a creature of her imagination! Something I could not give her or create in my smithy.’

As we draw closer, in front of a grey three-floor house, there was a female automaton that closely resembled a young woman but made out of gold plated metal. She had dark hair loosely tied in a bun, wearing a long black dress with an apron. She was plucking grey roses from a grey garden. She looked angelic, like a young maid painted in the old painting.

‘Hello, Ava, I see you’ve grown bored with your machines again.’ Baldemar remarks before pecking her on the cheek and entering the house.

‘Not bored, I’m simply seeking inspiration. If you took me with you in your adventures, I could be less inclined to become uninterested.’ Ava smiles at me and beckons me to enter the house.

‘I am Ava, Baldemar’s only companion; you would think he’d be more accommodating. So who may you be? An enemy or a guest?’

I didn’t know what to say. Firstly, Ava was an amazing creation. Whoever had created her made her look and move like a human. Her thoughts and way of speaking, it was like talking to a real live human.

Ava sighs, ‘He looks a little dimwitted to me, Baldy.’ She pokes me in the middle of my forehead. I feel nothing.

‘I’m Ben. Whoever created you must be bloody brilliant.’ I follow her through a metal swing door.

Inside was a cozy living room next to a dining room by an open kitchen that looked half like a witches laboratory.

Ava moves close and scans me from top to bottom and smirks, it blows my mind. It had all the right wrinkles, and dimples and her eyes had crinkles, eyeballs to looks so lifelike.

‘Baldy made me, although he treats me like his daughter. I get punishments, studies, house rules, and chores while at the same time, he tells me stories of places he’s been. He likes to talk a lot.’

‘Ava, can you please go upstairs and finish the project we’ve been working on. I’m sure you’ve dallied enough. I’ll need it on my next trip. I’ve found the god child.’

‘Can’t I do it later; I want to talk to our guest. I’ve never met anyone my age before.’

Baldemar’s face darkens; at the sight of it, Ava frowns and leaves without a word. She heads to the far end of the living room and turns to a staircase on the right, heading up she stomps like a child. I’m not sure if she was doing it purposely or she was just heavy. She is partially made up of intricate machinery.

‘She is my daughter you know. My real daughter. She is older than the discovery of the moon. Older than the oldest ruin in any world, she lived hundreds of years ago, during a time when Gods roamed the earth and before they hid in their realm afraid of us.’

Baldemar hands me a cup filled with a thick fluid that smelled foul.

‘Drink it, it will be your only source of sustenance here,’ I take the cup and sip, it tastes like a blend of bitter gourd, fish oil and something harshly sweet. I try not to hurl.

‘I placed her soul in that body myself. Her body I made by hand, piece by piece. I killed the God and stole his magic to do so. Metal tainted with godly magic. It was only fair, why couldn’t we have powers of our own? Why could I not keep my child alive forever?’

‘Is that what this place is? Your creation?’ The concoction was disgusting. I could feel it oozing down my oesophagus.

Baldemar snorts, ‘No, I was exiled here, given the title of God Killer.

However, I was not the only one who killed a God. Other mortals realized the divinity could be killed, so they hunted. Soon the Gods fought, ran and barred the other worlds from their realm.’ He pours himself a cup of the horrid mixture gulping it down like water.

‘But it was too late, with all the dead gods, magic surged through all the worlds and mortals and I later discovered that the killer like I, could not absorb all the magic; I could not become a God.’ Baldemar grew pensive, lost in thought.

I wasn’t sure to be afraid of this man or want to become his friend. I could understand his situation. In a way, it isn’t so different from the rich kids in school who got away with anything just because they had powerful connections or their parents were working in high places.

However, I am stuck in this godforsaken place, literally, and stuck with a killer who killed a God to boot. How could I possibly get out of here and find Luna?

‘Did you know, the moment a God dies, their essence disperses. It doesn’t cease to exist but moves into the particles around us. The air, the sand, in the tiny particles that make us what we are. Finding a new and capable host. No mortal is capable of holding so much magic but they can have a part of it if they are worthy.’

‘Then why do you stay here? It’s dark, gloomy, and colorless when you have so much power.’ I pass him back the cup empty.

‘I have control here. No one can enter the void, and no one can leave it but me, so don’t bother to try.’

I wouldn’t know what to do first even if I tried.

There was something off about this place.

A deadness to it.

Or was I feeling my lifelessness?

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fantasy, On-going Stories, The Faceless Queen, World Weavers

The Faceless Queen IX

A room away I could hear her crying. The sky must have felt her heart aching and had broken open, shedding gallons of tears into the Evergreen. The droplets slid down the crystals like they were tears streaming down her cheeks.

I groan rising off the bed, I go to the hot spring farther away from Kera.

I’ve sent out my men to find a willing sacrifice for a face, a high price in return would be given. A part of me hopes they find no one while the other fears if they don’t I would see my fathers ghost haunt me in the meeting with the other leaders.

Another voice whispers with Kera’s face in my mirror’s reflection. I shudder at the thought; Flora was a friend that once haunted my reflection. Months with her face looking back at me. The whispers in the hallways of the castle echoed with judgment, fear and worst of all, pity.

The doors of the hot spring open. It’s Kera with puffy eyes lost in her head.

I rise from the hot springs to go making her notice me. She stumbles backwards tripping over her nightgown.

“I’m sorry, I’ll go I thought you were asleep.”

“It’s fine, I am done.” I climb down the Hot spring steps fully naked. She turns her back to me.

“I’m sorry.” She mumbles.

“Sorry?” A little of the fury that wiped my face away earlier in the day unfurls inside me.

“As you say I am like the king of Uvelin, I’m sure I should steal your face this moment as punishment.”

I see her wince.

“You’re not like him. I’m just…” Kera begins to sob fighting it.

“I am a monster, there is nothing to be sorry for.” I move towards her slowly.

“I never hid it from you.”

She turns and hugs me. “I’m really sorry.”

She gazes up at me, and I could feel my power hungry to wipe her face away. To make it mine.

I struggle to free myself from her, but she holds me tighter.

“Let me go, I don’t want to hurt you.” But she won’t let go.

“I know you won’t do it.” She pleads.

A blaze spreads through my body enveloping both of us.

Something in my core begins to thread with hers like a gentle pulling and intertwining. Our souls were interweaving into something I have never done before.

I try to fight it afraid I’m killing her. I struggle fighting harder, but the more I pushed, the heavier the hold.

The fire burns out of our body making the whole hot spring room even more humid. The fire reflects upon the crystals in the trees making it look like it too was on fire.

Flashes of our memories intermingle in my mind.  Kera could see my childhood memories with Flora, my mother and father and my stepmother. While I could see her own, sitting on the floor crying in a corner with wires coming out of her ears.

A final tug and we both sink to the floor crying.

“Am I dead?” she looks around blinking plenty.

Relief spreads through me, I hadn’t killed her but what had happened?

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fantasy, On-going Stories, The Faceless Queen, World Weavers

The Faceless Queen VII

We reach Seers Island in a few days; It was a large island with a magnificent port which was filled with many different kinds of ships. The other dignitaries from the farther reaches of Eludemare had already arrived.

We travelled through pristine villages until we reached a forest unlike I have ever seen. The trees were not made of leaves and wood but were of glass and crystals. The leaves of every tree were different in shape and size. Some had orbs dangling from its silver branches clouded with smoke. Some were green gems shaped like leaves.

In a large clearing in the centre of the forest was a massive flat structure with only two levels made of glass. The top level was a large circular room that could fit a hundred men and the bottom level seemed to stretch across the whole of the clearing, which was likely to be the rooms. We could see figures roaming inside but were like smudged forms shifting into different shapes as a figure walked by.

The entrance had a large arch that was covered in carvings of figures in robes.

As we went down the carriages, seers dressed in silver white robes welcomed us and led us to our rooms.

I was brought to a large round room with a circular bed at the centre. Books on shelves lined the window ledge.

There were two doors to the left of the entrance of the room. One was to a passageway to a single hot spring where a ledge was littered with soaps and ointments, there was no ceiling, and it opened up to the glass treetops and the sky.

The other door was to a smaller room but similarly designed. A round bed at the centre with the walls of the room covered with shelves full of books and items. There was no window but the ceiling was a glass dome facing the crystal forest treetops.

“Wow, if I had a room like this back home I would never leave.” Kera reacts to her quarters.

“The Seers do seem to have a certain elegance. Their art is also interesting.” I say pointing to a painting hanging in my chamber.

It was a painting of an enormous white dragon, its wings stretched out wide, hovering over a village while below the village was like a mirror reflection of the white dragon except it was black.

“I have never seen this painting before, or an illustration of this in my books. There has never been a dragon sighting in decades.” I say.

Kera laughs, “So there are dragons here to huh?”

“Yes, there are stories that a kingdom long ago was ruled by a dragon who transformed itself into a man,” I say as I remove my cloak, longing for the hot spring water waiting for me in another room. It is said to have magical properties.

Before I could say another word or have a thought, a knock comes from the door. I nod to Kera to take it.

It was Matheus with a letter from Eydollon, which I ask Kera to read.

“It’s from Grand Duke Florent. He is just letting us know everything is alright and hoped that you had a safe journey.”

“Write to him, let him know we have arrived safely and thank him too. I’ll be in the hot spring; you can go after I am done. The springs here are known to have magical properties of healing.”

She nods as she unpacks our trunks to find the letter paper.

Tomorrow was the day I would face the leaders across Eludemare for the first time.

I must be ready for them and learn more about them. That would be my priority for this evening. First, the blanket of a warm healing spring to soothe my aching body. Maybe even heal my inability to keep or have a face.

I enter the hot spring slowly. It is deliciously warm and I could feel a tingling feeling spread throughout my body.

I hear a knock on the front door. I hear Kera open it and start arguing with whoever entered.

The springs own doors bursts open and at the doorway stood my step-mother.

“I see you still wear a face. ” Behind her, a man dressed elegantly in a dark ash grey suit stood his back facing towards me.

“I’m sorry to hear about your father, although he was not the kindest towards you. With that aside, I have someone you must meet.” she turns to introduce the man but he keeps his back facing towards me.

“I think it’s best we wait for the Queen to finish with her bath don’t you think?”

My stepmother laughs.

“Don’t be modest, I think you’ve seen her already in all her glory the moment she entered the Evergreen with your senses so enhanced by the crystals

The man turns around and I see he is faceless. At the edges of his face flames dance, tinged with a pinkish hue like a blush.

He’s like me. I could feel my hands clench with fear and embarrassment.

“Leave,” I command.

My stepmother hesitates but the man tugs her out as Kera apologises and closes the door.

I sink into the spring water as far down as I could go to cover my face.

There is a change in the air and I could not help feeling I am far from being in control of it.

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