Taliah laid with her back to the wall, propped up by pillows. Master Tal Crowan and Rivyen sat in chairs on either side of her bed.
“I know that this is asking much of you and you are in dire need to rest after your Seyde, but I feel time is of the essence,” Tal said as he reached out and scooped up her hands in his.
“It is,” she whispered.
“I have so many questions. I am not sure what is the proper order to start. Perhaps you should begin with what you know?”
She sighed and shook her head. Tears mixed with blackish brown ichor which stained her cheeks. Fresh streaks continued. Ever since the Seyde the grotesque tears would not stop even when she was calm. All she could do was wipe at her face to clean it every so often. Tal had never seen this kind of side effect from a Blood Seyde before.
“There were four receptacles that imprisoned the Broken God, ARa Etohl, and ended his reign of destruction eons ago, in a time before time. These artifacts are known as the Etohlosii: The Command Orb, The Deity Staff, The Magnus Cuirass and The Bleeding Crown.”
Rivyen interrupted, “That Orb! It played a part in the destruction of our realm and the death of my people!” His wavered toward the end.
Taliah turned and even though she could not see him, she sensed his aura as it washed over her. It was full of rage and despair.
It is happening all over again. All over again! His thoughts floated to her within the aura. The terror in him was building.
“These items were imprisoned…well, they were in the care of a secret order of warrior monks, the LaVoshka. They had the items secreted away and magically protected for several generations. However, human greed combined with the fact that time erodes memories, the monks grew complacent. The Etohlosii somehow broke through the barriers to reach out and find willing volunteers.
I witnessed one such escape. They used a desperate brother and sister who were trying to save their mother. Anyway, the enchantments were dispelled and the items retrieved, separated and freed upon various realms.”
“We know that The Bleeding Crown has some sort of intelligence — LLasher and the others contend that King Taihven verbally communicated with it as he tried to stop Letandra’s possession. So, if all four of these items possess such intelligence…” Tal stopped and tried to put the puzzle pieces together inside his mind.
She went on, “The greatest threat we are facing is that The Bleeding Crown and the other Etohlosii are symbiotic in nature. In other words, they grow stronger with each other. Thus, The Bleeding Crown is calling out to the other three to join it.”
Rivyen grimaced and rubbed his hand through his hair. “If we cannot beat one of these Etohlosii, what will it be like with all four?”
“That is not the real question,” Tal interjected. “All of the Etohlosii contain a part of the Ancient Vile God. This, your answer: All of them together will restore ARa Etohl.”
“We would be at the center of death and ruin to the entire span of universe,.” Rivyen whispered, his voice low in awe and dread.
“I think that is why Letandra erected that barrier of storms. She is hiding her activities so as to not be stopped. The only way for her to contact the other Etohlosii is through powerful summoning magic. To power it, she is having fountains made,” she said.
“Fountains?” Tal asked, confused.
“Yes. She intends to use human sacrifice and the fountains are there to collect their spilt blood. Each time she uses the fountains to call out in the In-Between, it will send out some sort of message in a ripple pattern. You know like when you throw a rock into a pond. Sooner or later, her wave will reach the individual Etohlosii.”
Suddenly Taliah trembled with a chill. Her face grew pale. “I do not feel well at all. But, there is so much more I…I have to give you.”
“It is alright, I will be–“
“–NO! You do not fully understand. We have a way to protect ourselves and even stop The Bleeding Crown, but we are in a race now. The Etohlosii will have to find their own hosts and find a way to come here. It will not be easy or quick, but mark that they are coming.”
She collapsed, quivering and sobbing as her body gave out. She fainted, falling back into unconsciousness.
Tal Crowan and Rivyen sat together at a massive stone table, this was the Order’s War Room. Papers fluttered a bit in the wind. Neither man looked at the paperwork or at the other. They were lost in their worries, pensive and anxious over what they had witnessed and what they heard.
Finally, Tal focused on the words of prophecy before him. The words were jumbled, some sentences did not even go together but that was the way with prophecies. He had never seen other prophets like Taliah, but he had read plenty of religious works to understand their patterns and the ways these predictions had a way of coming true. They only made sense to those that were enlightened enough to search them out or they were clear to those that lived past the verses of fortune.
There was a knock at the doorway. Cam Bahdrea stood patiently waiting for their attention.
“What is it, child?”
“The Seeress has awakened again and asks for you. I have also brought the medicated Brulla you asked for, Master Crowan.” She held a small tray with three serving cups and a clay pitcher.
“Lead us in then.”
Moments later they stood again in the room with Taliah. The bloody tears had dried up and her cheeks were wiped clean for good.
“Evening, Taliah.” Tal greeted her. He took the tray from Cam Bahdrea and dismissed her.
“Thank you. I wanted to answer more of your questions now. I think I told you before, but I have to warn you again that we are in a race of time.”
“Yes, you did mention that before.” Rivyen remarked..
Tal crossed the room with the tray then poured a hot cup of Brulla for her. He offered it to her. “I had them add some healing elements to it. Drink, then continue,” he insisted. He held a cup out to Rivyen, but he declined.
He then sat down beside her bed while Rivyen remained by one of the windows across the room.
“At the end, as I was coming back out of the Seyde, a voice bombarded my mind with names and faces. There were some I knew, others were strangers, some not even human!” Taliah said, shaking her head to clear away the cobwebs like one does coming out of a dream.
“Yes. I made note of the names I heard you say.” He unrolled a parchment and read over his notes. He then read aloud, “Khedarr, Saiya Moi, Rhenden Vox, Kaydaa, Ayreth, Shei, Vii and Broenef Crosseau.”
“There are many names or maybe they are places mentioned inside the…the prophetic vision you were given,” Rivyen said from his place by the window. He could not hide his apprehension in putting faith in her words or her premonition.
“The important thing for us will be to decipher these words and names, their meaning so we know where first to put our energies. Prophecies are like riddles and can be easily misunderstood or misinterpreted. It is going to take some time to interpret and organize what was written down into some logical order,” Tal replied.
Talia waved her hands in the air. “Yes, clearly. But I was given knowledge about two of the names to start us off. We need to free the woman called Saiya Moi, she is a direct link to the LaVoshka and she will have more answers for us. She is imprisoned by the Beleardea.
“The other, well you see, some of the names are not chosen from our realm. One is the name of someone who will help us solve how to free Letandra. His name is Khedarr…of Aberrisc!”
Tal gasped as the words sunk in. “In order to free our world from The Bleeding Crown, we have to find a way back through to Taihven’s alternate reality? Back into the Chaos Plane?”
“The same voice insisted there is only one place, known only as Mescarne and it exists in every plane of existence, somewhere in every realm. If you walk into Mescarne, you can walk–“
“–walk through the Door of Fates! Those words are in your prophecy! I saw it in Master Tal’s notes,” Rivyen shouted, interrupting her in his excitement. “If any of those names prove to be actual people, then your vision may just hold truth.”
“Perhaps Scars or Ama’yen will be able to tell us if they have knowledge of this place Mescarne,” Tal stood and pressed with hands to straighten out the folds of his long robe. “We now have some key steps to take. Get some rest now. Thank you for all that you have done here tonight. You have served the Order well. Your vision may have given us the gateway to get our friends back home. And a way to find answers and allies.”