Chapter 39 - The Call to Battle
June 10, 1645
Ilyia (The Land of the Gods)
-Queen Almira Adrienne Ivaris-
“Mistress, I’m afraid that he made it. He’s back.” Ruadan’s voice rang inside my head and my entire body stiffened.
“Show yourself.” I ordered him for I also wanted Seth to see this. I wanted him to understand the nature of the Fountains.
White mist swirled ahead of us and I saw Seth tense. He quickly grabbed me and shoved me behind him to protect me. He crouched a bit and his muscles rippled as he prepared to fight.
“No... It’s alright. It’s Ruadan. He’s the Fountain of the Mortal Realm.” I whispered to him and laid a hand on his arm. He straightened his body but I saw that he was still wary. Ruadan appeared and I thanked the Gods that he chose to appear as the little boy and not the warrior who prepared to defend me that day in my bedroom. If he chose to appear as the latter, Seth would’ve gone berserk.
Ruadan knelt on the floor and bowed his head. He lifted his right hand and crossed it over his chest. “Mistress. My King.” He each greeted us with a bow.
All the tension left Seth’s body when he saw Ruadan.
“Who is he?” he asked me.
“I told you. He’s the Fountain of the Mortal Realm and the gateway. I gave him that form so that he may hide better.” I answered.
Seth nodded but his brows were knitted together as though he was thinking very deeply about something. I know that the Fountains having a form was pretty confusing but I have no time to explain.
“What happened, Ruadan?”
“Mistress... It seemed as though he awaited the exact time that you opened the portal. I did my best and closed it as soon as you were through but he was right on your heels and he was able to enter.” He said.
I sighed and lifted my hand to massage my aching temples. “So what happened? He left behind the real James Murray’s body and returned here? Or did he let go of James Murray’s body, went back to his body and crossed the portal to the Mortal Realm?” I asked.
“He let go of James Murray’s body. He cancelled the spell that allowed him to possess James Murray’s body and he went back to his own body here in Ilyia. When you opened the portal, he crossed over from here and to the Mortal Realm and he’s there right now. He’s travelled to Ivaris.” Ruadan reported.
This was getting more and more difficult.
“Just close the portal and don’t let him back in here.” I ordered Ruadan. He didn’t reply for a long time and when I lifted my head to look at him, he looked very uneasy.
“What is it?” I asked.
“There’s more, mistress. He demands you to open all the portals or he’ll start killing humans by the hundreds every hour that you do not accept his demands.”
My head whipped up. “No...” I whispered.
What am I supposed to do? I cannot simply open the portals again or he’ll cross all the realms and spread his evil there too!
I cannot let the other realms fall to his evil schemes but I also could not simply let mortals die. My knees crumpled and I fell to the ground. “What am I supposed to do?” I sobbed. I covered my face with my hands and let my tears fall.
It seemed that I’ve only stopped crying for a few minutes and now my tears are back. The happiness of being with Seth again and being back to our home faded away and was replaced with a sense of despair.
I felt Seth’s hands on my shoulders. He sat on the ground beside me and held onto my arms and gently pulled me to him. He placed me on his lap and cradled my head to his chest. I felt his lips at my temple and I felt his magic flare. Instantly, the pain that plagued me vanished. He also used his power to envelop me with calmness.
“We’ll get through this. As long as we’re together, we’ll achieve anything.” He promised as he hugged me tightly.
I brought my hands down and looked up at him. He was smiling sweetly down at me and my heart jumped in my chest. Now that I have unlocked the goddess inside of me, I now remember every memory of my past life. I have remembered all the beautiful moments I shared with Aiken.
And with that came the pain of being separated from him for thousands of years. But now, he’s here. We’re together again.
Aiken and Selene, Seth and Adrienne... The King and Queen of Ilyia. The King and Queen of Amaranth and Ivaris.
No words can describe the joy I felt.
“Yes...” I replied. “We’re here. We’ll achieve anything and everything... And we won’t ever be separated again.” I replied. Seth kissed away my tears and I leaned into his hard chest. I wrapped my arms around him and held him tight.
If I could hold onto him like this forever, I’ll be content.
But not now for we had our responsibilities. There were still a lot of things that must be done.
I looked deep into his golden eyes and it was as if everything clicked into place.
Finally... I now understand the connection between us. I now understand all my powers, my abilities since I was younger. I now understand and grasp the will of the Cosmos. And I finally understand the pull Seth had on me right from the start.
He was the half of my soul, my fated, my husband, my King...
“What are we going to do?” I asked Seth.
“First we see if we still have allies here.” Seth replied. He stood up and then helped me to my feet. I faced Ruadan with newfound courage.
“Ruadan. Stay here for now. Just keep the portals closed. Don’t come back to the mortal realm. It’ll be easier for Argyll to find you now that he’s truly there and not just using someone else’s body through a spell.”
“Yes, mistress.” He replied and then he vanished.
Seth took my hand and we slowly walked away from the temple. He noticed the crater I made when we landed. “You flew us here, didn’t you?” he asked me. I nodded and I saw him pale.
I smiled as I realized some things never changed. I was sure he remembered how much he hated my way of travelling and he was scared by the fact that I flew again.
I saw him shake his head and he pursed his lips tightly.
“No more flying.” He said through gritted teeth and he took my hand. Before I could reply, I felt the feeling of weightlessness and saw that we were engulfed by darkness. Seth was teleporting again.
When the darkness disappeared, I saw that we were back in my mother’s meadow. The place I loved so much. But it was not the meadow I remembered. The plants were all withered and the trees had no more leaves. Everything seemed to be dying. The river also didn’t rush down from the mountains as it did before. Now, it was dried up and the rocks from the riverbed were scattered everywhere.
A sense of sadness engulfed me again as I saw what happened to the beautiful meadow I loved so much. I felt Seth’s hand hold mine and he squeezed it tightly to get my attention.
“We’ll restore everything. We’ll make it even more beautiful that how it was before.” He vowed. I smiled up at him. Never did Aiken or Seth promise me anything that he did not fulfil. He gave me his word and he never backed out on a promise.
I squeezed back his hand, telling him that I have absolute faith in him.
He looked around and then he waved his hand. Our clothing vanished and it was replaced with the golden ceremonial robes that the King of Ilyia wore and a white gown embroidered with gold for me. This was the gown I always wore before and this was the real thing. Not the imitation Argyll made for me.
“Mira a’ sheska...”he told me as he raked those golden eyes over me.
“Belavo..” I replied.
He scanned the area again and I saw that he was deep in thought once more. “Now what’s the plan?” I asked him.
“I try to summon the Golden Army. See if they still answer to me. They would be a huge help in the upcoming war. We could also send them to retrieve Ivaris and Amaranth from the clutches of Virlinn.” He replied.
I stepped back as he retrieved his sword. I recognized the sword. It was Destroyer, my father’s sword. The one given to him by the God of Chaos and Discord, Sylvan. My father has told me his story a thousand times before. And it was one I loved so much.
Seth loosened the belt tat held his robes in place and removed his arms from it. He shrugged it off and it fell to the ground leaving him only in his white breeches. His muscles flexed and bulged as he raised the sword high above his head.
“I call upon the Golden Army of the King of The Gods!” he shouted and then crossed his sword over his chest and pressed the flat blade on his right arm, right above the tattoo of the sun. Then he waved his hand in front of him.
I waited for the golden mirage that heralded the arrival of the Golden Army. Seth waved his hand again but nothing happened. Seth tried again and still there was nothing. I saw the frustration in him when he turned around and placed the sword back in its scabbard. He picked up his robe and shrugged it on. He tied the belt with furious strokes.
I approached him slowly and pressed my hands to his chest. “We’ll find another way.” I told him soothingly. He nodded but I saw him run a hand through his black hair in frustration. I stood on the tips of my toes and kissed his cheek. I felt his arms wrap around mine but he suddenly tensed once more. He shoved me behind again and I saw the reason. There were two blurs in the sky and they were flying towards us very fast.
Seth drew his sword and gripped it tightly in front of him. I took a step back as the two blurs in the sky moved closer and closer. Finally, they landed a few feet away from us and both of them stirred up quite a cloud of dust.
When the dust settled, I saw the shape of two children walking towards us. They stepped forward and then bowed low with their arms crossed over their chests.
“My King. My Queen.” The said in unison.
Then they looked up and both their eyes flashed with joy.
“Kaori? Raijin?” Seth whispered.
“It’s us, Aiken!” they both shouted and then ran towards him and tackled him to the ground. Both of them squealed with delight while I heard Seth laugh.
“You took a really long time!” Kaori exclaimed.
“Yes! We missed you!” Raijin added.
I looked at both of them and realized that Ruadan looked as if he could be their sibling. All of them had silver hair and beautiful features. An idea clicked inside my head.
“Can I ask a favour from both of you?” I asked Kaori and Raijin after their laughter died down and they stood up from the ground.
“Anything, my queen!” Kaori screamed excitedly.
“I need you to guard one of the Fountains. Never let him out of your sight and always protect him. Never tell anyone about his nature. Can you do that for me?” I asked. Both of them looked confusedly at me.
“Are we supposed to carry the fountain or something?” Raijin asked.
“No. He’ll be here.” I replied.
I summoned Ruadan and he appeared before us. “This is Ruadan. Please guard him always and keep him safe. Ruadan, if harm comes, I allow you to use your powers for defense.” I ordered. The three of them nodded.
Then they looked curiously at each other and smiled.
Seth nodded to me and I knew that he approved of my decision.
“Do you know anything about the Golden Army? What happened to it? They are not responding to my call.” Seth asked Kaori and Raijin.
Both their eyes widened. “They are now under Argyll’s control. They are under his influence.” Raijin answered.
“When Aiken died and Argyll took the throne, the control of the Golden Army was transferred to him. Now that Aiken is back, they both have the right to control the army... But... the control of the Golden Army resides with Argyll until Aiken challenges him into battle. If he wins, the army is his.” Kaori explained.
“Argyll will never agree to battle me. He’s too much a coward for that. And he knows he’ll never win against me.” Seth growled.
“What do we do now?” Kaori asked.
“The Call to Battle.” I replied.
Four heads whipped towards me: Ruadan, Kaori, Raijin and Seth’s. Kaori and Raijin looked at me as if it was the most brilliant idea they’ve heard in a long time. Seth and Ruadan looked at me with confusion.
“What?” Seth asked.
“My father told me about it. He said that when a situation arises, like war. The King can send a call to battle to all the Gods. Then all the King’s allies will be forced to drop whatever they are doing and appear by his side and fight with him. Those whose allegiance does not belong to the King will not hear the call. My father sent this to all of you once. During the first battle against Azrael.” I explained.
“I remember that. I hear King Rashad’s voice inside my head. Suddenly, there was darkness. And before I knew it, I was in the Golden Palace along with the other Gods.” Seth recalled.
“I remember that too!” Raijin exclaimed.
I nodded to all of them.
“But it won’t be enough...” Seth answered. “We still have no army and the Golden Army is too well-trained and they are too numerous for us to fight.”
I wanted to help Seth so badly. I want us to win this war so that we can be free of Argyll. I want us to win this so we could start restoring everything. And then we could start our life together once more.
If only I knew where I could find an army.
Again, something clicked inside my head. I know where I could find one! And it’s all been in father’s stories! I also know the right bait to dangle in front of him that would tempt him to our cause.
“Seth... I must go... I’ll only be a while. I remembered something I must do.” I told him.
His brows creased again. “What’s this about?”
“The guardians, the fountains. I must secure it before anything else. Argyll might go for the other Realms and we only have Ruadan here with us.” I flinched with the lie I told him.
I don’t want to tell him the truth about my plan because I still might be wrong. I don’t want to get his hopes up and then dash it into bits when I am unsuccessful. Also, I am sure that he wouldn’t really approve of my plan.
But then again, desperate times calls for desperate measures.
“I will come with you.” He said.
“No! I must do this alone. I promise I’ll be safe and I’ll be back right away.”
He sighed and before I could blink, he tugged me and I fell into his hard chest. I looked up and his angry golden eyes bored into mine. “Adrienne. I just got you back. You cannot ask this of me.” He hissed.
“Trust me to do what I must, li’eras. I have to do this. We both have to do things for this war that the other one won’t want. You always went into battle and you always left me behind. Yet I didn’t stop you once for I knew it was in your nature. I always watch you go away with a heavy heart and I always wait for you to return enthusiastically.”
He opened his mouth to reply but I stopped him by putting my finger over his lips. “You go to war and I do not know what will happen. I do not know if you are safe. Yet, I let you go. I ask you of this now, Seth. Please. Trust in me. I can do this. I have to do this.” I replied.
His arms tightened around me and then they fell. I heard a heavy sigh from him. “Be safe, li’eras. I can’t go through losing you again. I know that it would break me this time.” He said as he clutched my hands to his chest. He lifted them and kissed them both.
Then he let go of me and stretched out his hands. Power flared from him and the set of his throwing knives emerged. He pulled five knives away from its straps and handed them to me.
“If danger comes, just throw these. They would always find their mark.” He instructed. I nodded to him as I accepted the knives. I placed them in my belt, within easy reach if I needed them.
“When you run out of knives, whisper ‘ki’rham’ and they will return to your belt.” Seth told me determinedly. He spoke slowly as if he wanted me to understand every word.
I nodded to him. “Don’t worry about me. I promise that I will stay safe. Trust in me, my King. I will not allow anyone to take you from me or me from you.”
“Be safe, my queen.” He whispered and then bent his head to claim my lips. Pleasure surged through me at the contact and I leaned further into him and wrapped my arms around his neck. After a few more seconds, I reluctantly let go and stepped back.
I walked a few feet away from him and summoned the fire inside me again. Within seconds, I was a ball of flame, hurtling my way through the sky. When I was far away from Elune’s Meadow, I touched down the ground and prepared myself to summon the Nine Fountains of the Nine different realms.
The Cosmos created everything. First she created the primordial Gods and placed them in a world filled with light. Back in the day, Ilyia was not how it is now. There were no temples, no trees, no Golden Palace. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, Ilyia was made up only of light and so were the Gods.
They had the ability to shapeshift into any being but their main forms were light. It was the most powerful state of a God for it was not hampered by a physical body.
After the Cosmos created Ilyia, she created the Nine Realms. Nine different places that were connected through Ilyia. And then, the portals, the fountains and the well-being of the citizens were entrusted to the Gods. They were given power beyond anything but they were also given a great responsibility and that is to care for the other creations of the Cosmos.
King Rashad was the most powerful of all the Gods for he was the embodiment of the sun. He had the most light and the most power. The secrets of the Fountains and the Portals was entrusted by the Cosmos only to him. He became the King of the Gods and the Guardian of the Nine Realms. And when I was born, he passed it on to me.
The Nine Realms are not nine different planets or nine different places. They are nine different dimensions.
The Nine Realms are:
Earth- the Mortal Realm. A place where humans dwell. A place devoid of any magic.
Etheria- the Realm of the Faeries.
Aether- the biggest of all the Realms. Ruled by High King Grier and composed of many smaller subkingdoms. A land filled with magic.
Xathos- the darkest of the Realms. This is one of the most powerful realms but it is where all evil dwells.
Celestia- the heavens. It is also where the stars, beings of light second to the Gods, dwell.
Atlantis- a realm under the sea. An entirely different yet very beautiful place.
Pallin- a vast realm yet empty. Usually, this is where immortal beings are sent if they have committed a grievous wrong.
Draugr- the realm of the dead. Where all souls go after they died.
Garan- a primitive realm where Giants dwell.
I touched down on the ground and closed my eyes. Then I summoned Viola, the Guardian of the Fountain of Xathos. One of the Gods of Ilyia was exiled in Xathos and his name was Sylvan, the God of Chaos and Discord. But that happened tens of thousands of years ago. It happened back when Ilyia was still composed of only pure light and the gods had no forms.
He was exiled there because he committed a grave wrong. But now, he has made his life in that realm. He has transformed it and now there is peace there. He has been forgiven for his sins but my father never allowed him back to Ilyia.
A silver-haired girl appeared before me.
She looked shocked at first but she fell to her knees and bowed before me. “Mistress! It is true! You are back!” she exclaimed.
“Rise, Viola.” I ordered her and she did. “What is it you seek, mistress?” she asked.
“I want you to open the portal to Xathos. Allow me to pass and then close it right away. As quickly as possible.” I instructed. She looked very excited and she nodded.
“I will do it, mistress!” she exclaimed as she jumped up and down excitedly. I smiled at her and placed my hand on her head.
“Prepare yourself.” I told her as I prepared to fly once more.
“Ready!” she shouted and I launched myself towards the sky as a ball of flame. I felt one of the veils lift and I added more power to gain more speed. I instantly felt the change in the air after I passed through the line that separated Ilyia from Xathos. I also felt Viola’s power as she closed the portal.
“Well done, Viola!” I called out to her.
“Thank you, mistress!”
“Do you know where Sylvan, the God of Chaos and Discord, is?” I asked Viola.
“Yes! I saw his pack travelling towards the dessert. They are a few miles away from here.” She answered.
“Lead the way, please.” I told her.
“I obey, mistress!”
We flew for a few more minutes before I saw the outline of their camp. I gently touched down near the edge of the forest, a few feet away from the camp. I pulled out one of the daggers Seth gave me to prepare myself if a fight should arise.
“Hide, Viola. Wait for further instructions.” I told her.
“Yes, mistress.” She whispered and then quickly vanished beside me.
“Sylvan...” I whispered into the air and added a burst of power behind it so that I was sure it will reach his ears.
I heard a low growl inside my head. “Who goes there?”
“I am Selene, daughter of King Rashad.”
“You lie! The princess died!” he bellowed.
“I was reborn. If you want proof of my powers, I can show you.” I replied calmly.
“Where are you?”
"I am near the Oasis. Please come alone.” I answered.
I paced for a few minutes while I waited for him. Then, I felt a change in the air. I felt his magic behind me so I turned around. And I came face to face with a large black wolf with streaks of silver in its fur.
Fear instantly had me scrambling backwards into the cover of the trees. I raised the dagger high in the air and prepared to throw it or take a swipe at the large black wolf. It was almost as tall as me when I was standing. Its teeth were bared and I saw a set of very sharp canines.
“You do look like the princess but this may be a trick. ” the voice spoke inside my head again. The wolf appeared before me once more and it was walking towards me. Its head was cocked to the side as if sizing up my worth. It slowly circled me and I felt Sylvan’s power emanating from it.
My breath caught as I saw his glorious form. I relaxed my body so that he wouldn’t sense my fear. I closed my eyes and let my powers radiate from me and into the air around us. The air started to get warmer as my magic burst forth. It got warmer and warmer until flames erupted and a dazzling white light enveloped my body.
“You are your father’s daughter.” The voice spoke again. I opened my eyes and saw as the wolf dissolved and a man appeared before me. My breath hitched as I saw his transformation. He cocked his head to the side once more and chuckled.
He walked closer towards me and a shaft of moonlight illuminated his features. He was tall and he had jet black hair just like Seth but his was much longer. It was braided at his back and the tail fell to his waist. He also had a small scar on one cheek which made him look very rugged.
“What is it you seek? What is the princess of Ilyia doing in the land of exiles?” he asked me.
I stood up straight. “Queen of Ilyia. I am the Queen of Ilyia. I married Aiken and my father decided to make him King and hand over the Kingdom and the Powers of the Sun to him.” I said with my chin lifted in an arrogant gesture.
“Truly? It seems then that I have not heard news for quite a long time. The last I heard was the princess died. And I thought it was only a sick joke.” He replied in a lazy drawl. He leaned across a tree and continued to survey me.
“I am here because I need help. I need an army. Ilyia is at war. I know for a fact that you possess a large and well-trained army—”
He stopped my speech by raising his hand.
“Help? What makes you think I’ll help?” he spat on the ground and moved away from the tree.
“Ilyia will fall if you do not help. It is in a vast state of decay as we speak.”
“What do I care if Ilyia falls? I don’t care about it! I am exiled here, remember?” he roared.
“I am here to call upon the favour you owed my father.” I said softly.
His nostrils flared and his eyes softened. He owed my father once. My father helped him and in return, he gave my father his sword, the Destroyer, and a favour he could call upon anytime.
“Your father is dead. I owe you no favour.” He spat. His eyes were as cold as ice.
“Please... This would be my father’s will. He entrusted Ilyia to Aiken and me. We have to fight for it.
“I do not care about your land! This is my home. Not Ilyia!” he shouted as he waved his hand around the dessert and the camp.
“I am the new guardian. I can always revoke the favour my father gave you.” I threatened.
His eyes flashed but I felt his fear. I truly did not want to threaten him but there was no other choice. I can’t always play right. Sometimes, I’d have to get my hands dirty for the greater good. And right now, I must do everything I can to save my kingdom.
In the blink of an eye, he moved towards me and he had his fingers around my throat.
“I don’t respond well to threats!” he spat. I took the dagger from my belt and was about to stab it into his flesh when I heard a soft feminine voice.
“Put her down, Sylvan.” The soft voice said. A woman stepped out from the trees and I saw that she was one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. I looked at her and I realized that father’s stories were all true...
She slowly walked towards us and then she bowed her head when she reached me. “It is an honor to meet you, goddess.” She said in a reverent tone.
I nodded to her. I couldn’t speak yet for my throat hurt from Sylvan’s grip.
I faced the God of Chaos and Discord once more.
“He will honor the favour that is owed. We owe your father so much.” The woman said. Sylvan’s head whipped towards her and his eyes flashed with anger. She laid a hand on his arm and I saw his entire body soften under her touch.
“I am sorry for threatening you. Ilyia just needs your help.” I told both of them.
The woman looked pleadingly at Sylvan. He looked down at her and then shook his head. Then he turned his eyes towards me once more.
“What’s in it for me?” he growled.
I smiled. I knew I had him this time. “I shall lift your exile. You shall be allowed back in Ilyia.”
I heard his breath caught as I said those words. I also saw the ghost of a smile on his lips while the woman beside him was grinning with tears in her eyes.
“Your exile will be lifted!” she exclaimed.
“Yes.” He answered.
He didn’t talk for a few moments and then lifted his head and pierced me with those silver eyes. “When do you need us?” he asked.
“Aiken will call the others to battle soon. Swear your allegiance to the King now so that you may know the right moment that you are needed.” I replied.
He took the woman’s hand and I saw him squeeze it. “I want your word that you will lift the exile.” He said in a menacing tone.
“I swear to lift your exile if you help us win this war. You shall be allowed to go back to Ilyia and afforded the privileges all Gods have.” I replied. After my oath, a huge smile broke his cold features. His eyes twinkled and he looked down at the woman beside him with love in his eyes.
“I, Sylvan, the God of Chaos and Discord, swear my allegiance to Aiken, the King of Ilyia.” He recited. I smiled when he finished.
Finally! We have our army. And it was one of the most ruthless armies according to my father’s stories.
“I have to go back now. Watch out for the Call to Battle. I will lift the portal once that happens and you may cross back to Ilyia. I do not want our enemies to know that we have an army yet so do not bring anyone. When the time for war comes, I will lift the portal and allow your whole army entrance.” I said.
“I will await the call.” He replied with a solemn nod. I tilted my head towards the girl beside him and she smiled at me.
I gathered my power once more and flew across the sky. I ordered Viola to lift the portal and close it right away. Within a few minutes, I was back in Ilyia and I finally have an army!
I flew towards Elune’s meadow and I saw Seth scanning the skies for any sign of me. He smiled and the tension eased from his body when he saw me flying back towards him. I touched down on the ground more lightly this time and then I ran back to his arms.
“Everything went well?” he asked.
“Better than expected.” I replied and hugged him tight.
“Everything’s ready?” I asked him.
“Yes.” He replied and then broke free from my embrace and held my hand instead.
“You know what to do?”
“I am Aiken, the true King of Ilyia. I am the God of Warriors, the rightful commander of the King’s Golden Army. I hold the power of the sun in my hands. I send this message to all my allies, to all the remaining gods and goddesses who have survived the war with Azrael and Argyll’s treachery.
I am back in Ilyia for the Cosmos has seen it fit to give me and my queen a second chance. We are on the brink of war. Our land has fallen to an evil king for the past centuries but I am here now to set everything right once more.
I send this message to call everyone to battle. The time has come where we must use our powers and fight! The time has come to free ourselves from the grasp of Argyll and to restore the glory of the Land of the Gods!
Today is the day we start to fight! Today, we fight for freedom!”
Aiken shouted the words and I felt his power in the air. I also heard his words inside my head and felt the pull his words had. I looked around and saw Kaori and Raijin’s eyes were closed as the King’s words and his power engulfed them.
I too, closed my eyes and allowed myself to be lulled by the power...
And when I opened my eyes again, the air was shimmering with more power. And then I saw them...
There, standing right in front of me were the remaining Gods and Goddesses of Ilyia as they answered the King’s Call to Battle.
belavo- Thank you