Verse One: Chapter 18: Kinir
My wound festered and smoldered with every passing minute. I had no idea where Athine could possibly be. I could feel myself losing the grip on this body. I had to find a way into the temple and to the healing pool. Part of me knew it was the Kisaka, the mythical pool of the dead. I was not sure how, but I knew that if I could get in the pool it would heal me. I was beginning to think Athine had been bested or worse had decided to let me die out here. That is when I noticed some acolytes of the temple approaching the chariot. They were probably doing a grounds check. If I could convince them that I was a dying human, I might be able to persuade them to carry me to the temple. I used every bit of the illusion magic that I could summon. I crouched down in the seat of the chariot and began to cough and moan.
“Look, sister, a chariot! I wonder what that is doing here.” The smaller of the two women questioned.
“I am not sure; I think we should find Mnemosyne and report this. This chariot does not belong here.”
“Wait, do you hear that? It sounds like a person is in there. We need to make sure that is not a pilgrim to the temple. Mnemosyne would not forgive us if we left a patron out here to die.”
The first woman to spot me leaned over the side of the chariot. “Oh my, are you injured?”
I looked up at her with the most pitiful eyes I could muster, “Yes, I was attacked by a rogue goddess. She wounded me on the way to the temple. I am afraid I am not going to make it, young acolyte.”
“Quick, we must get her to the temple. We can take her to the pool of Kisaka. Essnem will surely want to figure out why there is a rogue immortal out attacking humans.”
“Alright sister, we can take her in through the pool’s entrance and get her into the healing water immediately. Then we can send for Essnem.”
They fashioned a crude carrying device to pull me across the snowdrifts that were atop the mountain entrance to the Kisaka. I played my part and groaned just as a weak human creature would have. They both were none the wiser to my identity and soon I was in the water of the pool. The two girls were praying over me when she came into the room.
“Sarah, you say you have a wounded human you found outside that was attacked by a rogue immortal?” Essnem queried.
“Yes my lady. She is over there in the pool. I am hoping we were not too late.”
My back was to her, but I knew her voice. I knew when we fought that she was more than just an ancient human. Her scent was one of an immortal. She was the sister to this body I had made my home. I would finally have my vengeance against her for wounding me. Essnem approached, although I could hear caution in her footsteps.
“Young lady, are you healed now? Are you able to tell me what this rogue immortal that attacked you looked like?”
I sat there secretly smiling. “Yes, I was on my way to the temple as I stated earlier when I was attacked by a crazed goddess. In fact, she looked a lot like you.” I turned around to face her with a twisted smile.
“You! I knew it had to be you. Humans very rarely journey up here and only a very few know about the Kisaka pool.”
“Yes, my dear friend, but I didn’t lie. You attacked me. I do not know what I would have done if your kind acolytes had not taken me in and placed me in the magic pool. Now, I believe I have a gift for you.”
The pool had invigorated me. I summoned my most powerful attack and went after Essnem. I grabbed her around her throat. My hands burned with magic as it touched her skin; I was going to destroy this hag. Then it hit me, a flash of a beautiful temple on the top of Arocia. Inside this temple was a powerful weapon. It was called Is’che’aiq and with it I would make this world tremble under my feet. I would have everything that I lost back and this body would become mine to control.
“Oh, you lucky hag! Today I shall let you live so you can see the glory of my reign after I find Is’che’aiq and claim it for my own,” I released Essnem and she fell to the ground. I no longer needed Athine or anyone else. All I needed to do was find Is’che’aiq. I looked around and I knew where I could find a map to Arocia. I was under a great library of history and knowledge. All I had to do was find the information. “I leave you now, Essnem, for next we meet I shall be the ruler of this place and everywhere I touch.”
Verse One: Chapter 19: Athine
I went outside to find Kinir, but she was not in the chariot. I saw strange drag marks in the snow leading from the chariot so I followed them. Surely she couldn’t have been strong enough to drag herself out of the chariot in search of a way into the temple. The tracks lead up a mountain pass and into a cave. Kinir must have found the Kisaka pool on her own. I was very surprised at what I saw when I walked into the sanctuary.
“Aeralasti!” She laid on the floor smoldering and crumpled. She looked more like a child’s toy laying there than a living being. There were two acolytes on the floor unconscious next to her. I immediately ran to Aeralasti and picked her up. I wondered how she had gotten here. I had seen her vanish back in Olympus, but now she was here in the Kisaka pool sanctuary. I had no time to think of such things as time was limited in my race to stop Kinir. Aeralasti clung to me while I lowered her into the Kisaka’s waters. It took a few moments for the wound on her neck to disappear so she could speak, but the waters seemed to restore her completely.
“Athine, I take it you have chosen to side with your sister?”
“Yes, for now, but how did you know about that?”
“Because, that’s what a good Und-vor does; she knows things.”
“A what?” I asked her with confusion and surprise.
“Athine, my dear child, for someone that has grown up here you act as if you know nothing of the culture. An Und-vor is a Grand Oracle. We have vast knowledge of time and space. My true name is Essnem.”
Essnem. Where had I heard that name before? Then something clicked. “The sister of Asdage?”
“Yes, at one point and time in history she was my sister, but she no longer exists in this realm. Enough with this chit chat. I have tangled once again with Kinir. She stepped into the pool and healed herself. My acolytes mistook her for a wounded human trying to pay homage to Mnemosyne and brought her for healing. When we were fighting, she received a vision of the temple in Arocia and of the great weapon Is‘che‘aiq. She is on her way right now to Arocia where she hopes to claim that weapon.”
“What will this weapon do?”
“Nothing really. She thinks it will make her ruler of this world. However, it will actually weaken her enough for you and Harmonia to strike.”
“What made her think this weapon would help her?”
“I gave her a false vision. It is a long journey to Arocia and since she has no ability to teleport she will have to take your chariot. In the meantime, I can have you and Harmonia teleported directly to the temple where you can wait for Kinir. The weapon she seeks is in the center of the temple under the sky dome. The instant that she touches the weapon you must be ready to strike. You and Harmonia must kill both the body that she inhabits and the spirit of Kinir with your Ser’urn’els. Go, find Harmonia and tell her of the plan. She will know where to meet us for the teleportation.”
Verse One: Chapter 20: Kinir
The temple in Arocia was a long way off, but Athine’s chariot cut the traveling time in half. If she had changed sides she would never be able to catch up in time to stop me before I reached the Ser’urn’el inside. I could feel the power dripping from it in the temple. I was so close to ruling this world.
I walked through the large arch doors. The temple was not very big, but right in the middle the weapon glistened in the moonlight. I took several steps forward to claim my prize and then I heard it.
“Stop, Kinir, this is over. Did you think you were going to get away with this that easily?”
There she was in all of her old haggy glory, Essnem. Right behind her was Athine and Harmonia, each carrying their shiny Ser’urn’el weapons. One of them must have gotten Essnem to the pool and healed her so she could tell them of my plan. The how and why no longer mattered to me. In a few moments I was going to be ruler of this world. I had beauty, I was about to have significant power, and I would rule all I could see. With Is’che’aiq I would conquer Athine, Harmonia, and Essnem. I was sure it would only take one swift motion with such a weapon to stop them.
“You are too late, hag. In a few minutes, I will become ruler of all you know and love. I will become the possessor of Is’che’aiq and its power. You will bow before me or be destroyed. Take your pick.”
“You will never be ruler of this realm Kinir. You will never use anyone as a pawn in your games again. Did you think I would be so gullible as to let you steal my body and my powers?” Athine sneered at me as she raised her weapon.
“It doesn’t matter now, Athine.” I walked closer to the weapon of my dreams. I reached out to grasp my new power. “I no longer need you or anyone. I only need Is’che’aiq. With this weapon I will become whole again.” I grabbed Is’che’aiq from its resting place. I felt the magic pounding through me and I could not wait to see what kind of power I would gain from our union. Suddenly, I felt very outside of myself. Then there was a sharp pain, it was as if I were being stabbed. I looked down to see Athine with her Ser’urn’el thrust into my side. Then I saw Harmonia with her Ser’urn’el slashing at my very essence. My spirit and my body had separated from one another. I tried to fight back, but I had no strength. Is’che’aiq fell from my hand. Everything went black…