Cythera Chronicles: Musings of the Lost
Well, this is quite rushed, so I don’t claim it’s going to be any good. It’s also probably going to be short.
I am sufficiently dissatisfied with it that I might try to expand it more at a later date to correct its shortcomings.
It will probably also mangle Avatara’s character, but that’s actually okay with me :) . My apologies to anyone else whose character might have been mangled in the process.
Avatara trudged along the faded path down into the valley, guided by the light of a single torch. The locals of this world had not gone into this place in many years. He had been warned that the region played tricks on the mind, but he had also been told that Desert Fox had gone this way and had not returned. Those talking to him had been inclined to assume that he had died, but Avatara knew Desert Fox better than that. If he had gone here, then he had either remained or had left by some other means.
So, Avatara followed, hoping to find some lead as to where his friend had gone.
It was, he reflected wearily, the sort of place Desert Fox would go.
The land about him was green in the dim light cast by the torch, not yet fading in the oncoming autumn, but silent under an empty night sky. Other than the occasional distant call of a bird, there was no sign of life that he could see or hear.
I shouldn’t be here, he thought to himself again, as he reached the floor of the valley. Ahead, he glimpsed a gleam of light.
“Are you sure that’s true?” A voice asked, startling him.
Avatara jerked to a stop, pulled out his sword, and spun to face the speaker.
He froze, staring at the man framed in the flickering torchlight.
“Slayer?” he asked in disbelief.
“Are you sure you shouldn’t be here?” Slayer asked again, not seeming to notice his actions. “Icel is a serious threat and Desert Fox needs your help.”
“How do you even…” Avatara started to say, then he sighed. “You’re not real, are you?”
“No, I guess I’m not.”
“I could use your help now, you know,” Avatara said wistfully. “You, Rogan, and the rest of the old gang, wherever they all are now.”
The apparition smiled sadly and began to fade.
“Keep going, old friend. I know you can do it.”
“Well, at least, one of us does,” Avatara replied, as Slayer vanished completely.
Sheathing his sword, he turned and went on his way once more. As he did so, he caught a glimpse of a shadow on the edge of the pool of torchlight. Recognizing it, he resolutely ignored it.
Typical, he thought, I can’t even take a walk without being haunted.
He continued on, moving carefully but quickly along the old path. Without looking behind him, he knew the shadow followed him.
The gleam he’d spotted previously grew stronger. He discerned the swirling colors of the Ethereal Void.
This, then, was how Desert Fox had left.
Restlessly, he returned to his prior thoughts.
“I shouldn’t have left her,” he said aloud.
“Why did you?”
He tensed and turned warily toward the new illusion.
“Why did you leave?” she asked.
“I didn’t want to leave, but I had to.”
She was silent a moment.
“But why alone? I would have gone with you,” she told him sadly.
“I know but—“
“It was not safe for either of you,” the shadow interjected.
“And who were you to say?” Katerei demanded. “What gave you the right?”
Selax stepped into the light and studied her for a moment.
“Leave,” he told Katerei.
She began to disappear.
“Katerei!” Avatara cried out.
She looked at him.
Then, she was gone. Selax turned to Avatara.
“This is a diversion,” he said, pointing toward the gateway. “You should press on.”
“Why?” Avatara demanded angrily. “Why couldn’t you do this yourself?”
“You are arguing with an illusion. This is futile,” Selax replied.
“Isn’t this all futile?” Avatara retorted. “Trying to find Desert Fox—to stop Icel?”
Selax studied him for a moment.
“You are afraid of what will happen to her,” the image surmised.
“Shouldn’t I be?” Avatara shot back. “You’re up to something—you’re always up to something.”
The elemental began to fade.
“Then you should complete your task rapidly so that you can return,” Selax answered, unperturbed by his anger.
“Like you care,” Avatara muttered.
The image vanished without replying.
Alone again, Avatara looked at the gateway.
He hesitated, torn between going back to Cythera—to Katerei—and pressing on, finding out what had happened to Desert Fox.
Slowly, hoping Katerei could forgive him, he stepped toward the portal. It was time to be going.
Katerei last edited by
Well, that was utterly depressing.
Still a bit short though. I might have been able to make it even more depressing with more words :) .