The Invisible Eye
My eyes grow cold. My entire being feels cold, the world no longer real to me. Perhaps I just want to feel numb, knowing what I suddenly understand in my insides.
“You’re a liar,” I hear my words, wishing I were not simply tossing useless filth, “just a liar.”
Carghen’s eyes are still closed. I imagine grabbing the sword he’s given me and plunging it into his now unarmored chest. I thought I had found hate for this man over the last four days. The truth is, just a moon past, I hadn’t yet discovered what hate means. Blood pumps hard through my chest…I must be a benevolent man just for allowing this fool his life. How dare he tell me Arnellus Hhand is still alive? I can’t breathe well. The world barely exists past the red in my vision. Passing out again is becoming a highly plausible idea.
“Arnellus created Veshinti and loosed her upon Bevlum. Would you like to know why?”
“So you can be the Liar again? A Crimson Knight should never lie so, Carghen. Forgiveness will never be yours, not from me.”
“Arnellus is searching for you, Benicious. He begs you to force him to stop.”
“ARNELLUS HHAND IS DEAD! Dead, buried in the sands we passed through not a day past!” I can’t help screaming; neither my mother nor father’s body were found in the sands. A grave was set for them anyway, knowledge of their death obvious to all involved, especially Aria and myself.
“No, Ben. Arnellus lives, but in a hell he cannot escape without your help. We shall face him tomorrow, and you must be able to use the Uitherim dream-stuff before then. Learning should prove easy for you.”
I flash pure hatred towards Carghen even as I hear the truth pouring from his voice. Asshole. He could at least have told me I would meet my father before we got here! A day away? By the Raven! I won’t be able to handle facing a man I thought deceased for ten years! Not in one day, no!
“Pick up the blade Ben. Come on, pick it up,” he says with something related to love in his voice. Bastard.
You’re no knight, Crimson or otherwise. You deserve a special place in hell for forcing me to endure the pain of my father’s memory, teasing me with any hope he lives.
Yet, I do as I’m told, and Carghen closes his eyes once more, “Now. I want you to take all that emotion you have welling up inside of you. Take it, shape it with your invisible eye Ben, and use the blade to draw it into existence. Create something to hurt me…or kill me, if you so choose.
What in the Raven’s name is he telling me to do? Don’t get me wrong, I understand I’m supposed to use this Uitherim stuff to…what? Create? Create what?
Carghen interrupts me, “Use the invisible eye, Ben. Draw it out, with your blade, and order it to come after me.”
Okay…fine, I’ll take you out. Asshole. I close my eyes with the longsword in my hands. I envision a snake; yes…a cobra of ridiculous proportions and black scales with a hint of tan. On its hood will be your sacred eye of Maylyn. Oh yes, yes. I begin to draw with the sword what I’m seeing in my mind. My eyes remain closed, holding onto the mental picture; but I feel Carghen’s surprise. I feel it happening! I finish, open my eyes and…
Carghen stands there with one of his swords in the ground. There is a terrible grin on his face. I hate him. I do. Asshole.
“Your father thought the blade might be too much for you, seeing as you’re only beginning. Do you have something with which you might be a bit more comfortable? How about that antique paintbrush you were holding onto so tightly in the temple?”
That stupid grin is back on his face. Gah! I pull out my father’s paintbrush, looking at it with great wonder. It’s glowing! Not from the inside, the light is coming from my hand! I can feel it now that I see it…this must be Uitherim. The stuff of dreams and nightmares, Carghen had said. Now I have to believe him.
I refuse looking at Carghen before closing my eyes and envisioning the cobra again. I can feel it coming to life under my brush as I swipe back and forth, dabbing my hand where I know the glowing Uitherim exists. A laugh escapes my mouth, not the lunatic kind; but the kind any artist feels as he creates a work he knows overshadows any piece he’s produced before then.
Opening my eyes, I see my dream realized. Twenty feet long and three feet wide, the snake hisses toward Carghen. Smiling, I nod as the snake’s hood opens up, exposing Carghen’s sacred symbol with malice. A tic later, I watch Carghen slice with his sword; and my snake’s head goes rolling off into high weeds. A moment later, the rest of the body melts into pure Uitherim, and then seeps into the ground. Carghen’s eyes are still closed.
“Again!” he calls, I hear the smirk he is suppressing, “Pour your emotion into it, all of it, and do it again!”
I do as I’m told. Copying the same brushstrokes and details from before, then adding my fear, hope, rage, depression, exhaustion, and just everything I’ve ever felt into my new creation, I feel my cobra come alive, far more solid than my last attempt. When I open my eyes, I can see the stark differences. The details are clearer, no blurring around the creature’s edges. It no longer has a wistful, shining component where none should be. This is a fully realized monster.
When the cobra hisses toward Carghen this time, I know he’s going to lose the fight before it even reaches his side. I nod again, and like lightning, the snake wraps around Carghen, sinking poison-drooling fangs deep into his neck.
“Aaargh! Call it off Ben. You’ve won, boy, now call it off!”
“What’s wrong? Shouldn’t your goddess be able to save you right about now?” I ask punitively, “I think you’ve punished me enough.”
I can’t stop the cobra, well, that’s a lie. I don’t want to. Carghen has done more wrong to me in four days than anybody, aside from my supposedly living father, managed in fourteen years. Why should I? He’s the ne’er well-to-do hero of faith. If Maylyn wants him alive, she’ll save him.
“Ben, Benicious, I won’t apologize for what you’ve gone through. You needed the extra emotion to succeed at such an extremely difficult task. Yes, I made it hard on you, purposefully. Look, though, in just a couple of tries, you’ve mastered one of the most difficult talents known!”
“And I should be oh-so grateful, is that right? Is that how things are supposed to work?”
“Ben, your situation isn’t about how it’s supposed to work. It…it’s about who you’re going to be. Remember I was saying how some people use their talents to…to help their fellow man?”
I hear it in his voice. Carghen is dying from the cobra’s poison. I’m surprised how little I care for his predicament. I’d never have thought I’d grow up to be the bad guy. I watch him twitch a bit before answering.
“Yes, I also remember that some use it to defeat those who treaded upon them before, ‘ostracized them from the rest’ I believe you said? I’ve known since I left the temple that I can never return to Bevlum, not to live as I wish, anyway. You have taken my home, my friends, and my life in Bevlum! On top of that, you shatter my beliefs about Veshinti, my father, and…everything. Look at me, Carghen. I won’t be a hero to anybody, you’ve taken me from everybody I had to be a hero for.”
Like the poison running through Carghen, I feel my own, thick as the cobra’s, running through my blood. I cannot stop it, all I can do is order this cobra to perform as it was dreamt to perform. Kill.
“Ben, Be…Ben hold on. You can kill me anytime…shouldn’t you at least let me lead you to…to…your father? You can still be a hero for him. Shouldn’t you see that through at least?”
He makes a good point. I still want to see his body stiff and colorless upon green grasses; but I know if I don’t go to my father, I’ll regret the decision. Chances are I could find him myself; but I don’t know Arnellus’ location without Carghen. I want to see him. A part of me whispers of how lonely and cold life will become knowing my father is out there; and not knowing why he left me, alone, to this world.
I order the cobra off Carghen, “You and I are not done, and you damned well better be telling the truth. I can dream up anything Carghen; it doesn’t have to be a quick death I give you.”
Carghen’s eyes flash, much to my appreciation, showing he knows the truth of my words. The next day is silent, this time on my account. I have nothing to say. All I can do is ponder the situation Arnellus Hhand is in right now…what became of him that he refused coming home to Aria and me.
“Ben, you’re father isn’t all himself. Trust me when I say he dreams of you, and Aria, every day. Also, please believe that the Crimson Knights have tried to save him many times over. Simply put, Arnellus is stronger than we are. This is impossible to explain! I sound contradicting, I know. I’m sorry. I want you to be as prepared as possible for what is coming in the next hour.”
I nod in deference. Some things cannot be put into words. Sometimes, a picture is all you need…other times it’s the only way to explain the world. Certainly my cobra paints a clear picture of how I view my circumstances.