An Encounter (Chapter 10)
Ydris watched the exchange between the late prince and his lover and smiled coldly. Whilst love and other such emotions were not things he could feed off, the sight of two people so in love and yet unable to touch made him very happy. He wondered if he his brother or sisters had seen the exchange, given that the prince had always been a favoured focus for them all, but he sensed they were occupied elsewhere. Perhaps young Kaylen was doing something interesting for once, now that his father was dead. That thought brought no end of pleasure to him as Urthen’s death had been a violent and painful one and he had felt every drop of pain and fear as the energy fed into his being.
The day humans realised their gods only had power because of them, would be the day they would all be at the mercy of a lesser race of beings. Obviously there were other gods in other dimensions but this was their home and their realm, so to have their supremacy snatched away by the very people who gave to them would be beyond embarrassing. He had met many of the deities that watched over other dimensions and had found them, for the most part, to be incredibly boring. They varied in power and jurisdiction but on the whole they shared a common level of disinterest in almost everything to do with being a god.
Ydris on the other hand revelled in the power and control being a deity gave him. He was feared by nearly every living creature on Helliom and a few other planets in this dimension and whilst his name and appearance varied from people to people, one thing always remained the same. He was the Darkness and shadows hid his creatures and followers from light. He was not evil as such. Good and evil were not really concepts that gods bothered with because each implied the other was in some way in the right when, in fact, neither could exist without the other. Paradox was something Ydris loved also and where ever he found one, his attention could be held for centuries.
He sensed a presence nearby and reached out with his mind to encounter it. Being on this side of The Veil, any normal human or animal was unlikely to even perceive his presence, let alone see him, but if it was a Mage or a lunatic there was a chance he could be seen. When he finally found the mind he was seeking he was surprised and little intrigued. It was the boy, Kaylen, but not in his physical form. Mages and most humans were capable of what was called Veil Walking, where their spiritual energy would cross The Veil and they could move between this dimension and others. To them it seemed like dreaming and in some cases it was but more often than not they were actually experiencing the worlds of other people and sometimes their gods.
“Hello Kaylen.” he whispered.
“Who’s there?” Kaylen shouted in response. “I don’t know where I am, can you help me?”
“You don’t need help, dear boy, you need knowledge.” Ydris’s voice echoed all around Kaylen and came from no one direction. “Your father is gone and you can’t even handle the simplest of Hala tests but wouldn’t you like to know something that would make you of use to your Aracum?”
“The only thing I will be useful for is cleaning dishes and horses soon.” Kaylen replied.
“The book your father gave you. Do you not think maybe if you could read it, they might see value in keeping you there?”
“That would depend on if they thought to ask me about it before or after they handed me over to the guards for being in possession of it in the first place.” Kaylen turned about again. “You still haven’t answered my questions. Who are you and where am I?”
“Neither are important and neither will I answer. All you need to know is that I can give you what you need to stay in your precious school but at a price.” Ydris said.
“I’m not showing the book to anyone. My father warned me about it and I have seen what happens to Mages who defy the laws of our order.” Kaylen replied.
“Very well, you don’t need to show it to anyone.” Ydris said. “I will give you the key to reading the book but in exchange I require you to carry out a task for me.”
“What sort of task?” Kaylen asked.
“You will be headed to the funeral of Prince Byren and you will be travelling in the company of the Larmec royal family, yes?” Ydris enquired.
“Clah and his family offered to take me as I can’t travel through the Mirror Gates.” Kaylen said with more than a hint of frustration in his tone.’
“I need something that is hidden in those tunnels the cave dwellers use. It’s small and easy to carry and you will be in no danger retrieving it.”
“What is it?” Kaylen asked.
“A small shard of metal, barely the length of your palm.”
“I tell you what.” Kaylen said. “You show yourself to me and I will do exactly as you’ve asked.”
“Very well” Ydris replied.
A shape coalesced in front of Kaylen from what seemed like tendrils of pure shadow. The long and thin vines of darkness wove a complex pattern that eventually formed the shape of very all and incredibly handsome man. He would have been well over three metre tall, his build was strong and athletic and Kaylen imagined that even if he had been a normal height he still would have been an imposing figure. Looking into the man’s eyes, Kaylen felt like his lungs had been drained of air completely. Instead of the whites and irises he expected to see, this man’s eyes were completely black with slowly swirling lines of silver that seemed to marble across the surface in an ever changing pattern. Kaylen knew who this was and knew that he would have no choice but to follow the man’s instructions because this was no man. This was Ydris, the Light Eater.
“I see you know me boy.” Ydris said with a cold smile. “I trust you know better than to speak of my task for you to anyone?”
“Ye…yes.” Kaylen said, his voice breaking. “Of course.”
“Good boy. Now, hold out your hand.” Ydris instructed.
Kaylen obeyed immediately, his palms glistening with sweat and small indentations in the skin where he had been squeezing his hand shut. Ydris reached out and laid his palm across Kaylen’s, the skin of the boy practically red hot compared to his which was like ice. Kaylen breathed in sharply as a sense of awareness washed over him, his mind expanding and opening to take in what seemed like the whole world. He closed his hand around the god’s and the sensation of awareness intensified, he head throbbing with the pressure of so much information. Ydris cried out in alarm and tried to free himself but Kaylen had a firm grip on him and whilst his physical strength would have been no match for Ydris, on this plane of existence strength meant nothing.
“I can feel everything inside me.” Kaylen said breathily. “It’s like everything I can think of is possible.”
“Kaylen, let go now!” shouted Ydris.
“What is this? Is this what you feel all the time?” Kaylen said in wonder.
“Kaylen you need to stop or I will have to hurt you.” Ydris voice was shrill. “Let go human!”
Kaylen released Ydris’s hand and everything seemed to fade into a dull reminder of what is was. Colours that would have once been vibrant to his eyes, now seemed muted and washed out and he had a sense of disconnection that almost caused him physical pain. He looked into Ydris’s eyes and saw both anger and confusion, his face which had already been quite pale had lightened to an almost translucent sate. Kaylen took a step back, afraid that his actions had angered the god and he was going to be punished in some way. Ydris stepped forward and placed a hand on Kaylen’s shoulder gently but firmly.
“It seems you got more from our agreement than I had planned Kaylen.” Ydris said. “What you know now I cannot take from you but remember where it came from remember that if you do anything with this knowledge to challenge me, I will end you.”
Kaylen nodded his understanding and Ydris smiled in a way that, for him, was actually quite warm. He had no way of knowing how much the boy knew or what he knew but Kaylen would not know that. Humans assumed their gods to read minds and know their thoughts and actions before they had them but that was not the case. Each human had two things to protect them from interference from any of The Four and they were free will and physical body. Free will kept them relatively safe on this side of The Veil and their physical body formed a barrier none of The Four could penetrate. Giving Kaylen one last smile, Ydris shoved him backwards as hard as he could and the force of the pushed shocked Kaylen in consciousness.
“Kaylen, are you alright?” Clah whispered from his bed.
“I’m fine, just a bad dream.” Kaylen replied.
“It was more than that Kaylen.” Clah said. “Your whole body was glowing so brightly I thought one of The Four had walked into our room.”
“Really? That’s strange.” Kaylen replied in a tired and dismissive tone. “Maybe something to do with the Healing they did on me.”
“What healing?” Clah asked.
“I’m not allowed to talk about it.” Kaylen said sleepily.
“Kay, I think we should…”
“Clah I really appreciate your concern but we have to be up in a few hours and as this will be the longest I have ever spent on the road, I would rather not do it on a bad night’s sleep.”
“Sorry. I’ll be quiet.” Clah said sheepishly.
“Thank you. Now go back to sleep and make sure you wake me as soon as you’re up.”