Deep in the caverns beneath the Fortress of Queens, lost in the memories of those who’d succumb to her Masters, Marena felt each and every moment pass her by. Loves and losses, secrets and betrayals. A million thoughts rippled about her in the waters warm at her feet; the Eno’tai within sent image after image to invade her mind.
So many broken hearts, so much everything, it was no wonder the race had become so vile. Hate, anger and frustration reigned supreme among the emotions she suffered, torn by war and greed, a vicious plague that had befallen them all; but the Eno’tai did not see it as such. They were conquerors. Their only goal was to see everything tremble beneath them. Their need for power and knowledge had sent them further and further into darkness and what had returned was hideous and vile. An enemy like no other, using that same darkness to...
‘By the order of the Shadow Council, Zander, son of Grolg, you have been sentenced to death for the crimes...’
Thousands upon thousands of voices swirling in her head, and that voice, that voice made her shudder. It was the Dark Valkyrie, her, Valkyrie. Marena listened closer, her heart racing with each word that came next. It had been so long since she’d last felt her touch.
‘Remember, I told you I would kill you…’ Louder this time and filled with satisfaction.
By the Gods, it was time; Malice was finally ready to break free. This filled Marena with excitement, but it soon turned to dread as she looked about the pools. This, was bad. This was really bad. To receive a vision like that, here...
“Marena, daughter of Foran, it is time to wake up!” She had never heard those voices before, speaking to her in unison as her own Host did, but this was not To’llan.
Where was Anaxa? Who was this new arrival?
“Anaxa was never here, my friend. Our name, is Nashay, and we would have you work, for us!” The voices came again, followed by a scene Marena had thought until now, a dream. “Wake, and know who you truly are.”
A field filled with wild flowers and a lake rippling with crystal clear waters. Two, young, dark-haired females ran through the tall grasses, giggles and laughter filling the air. She had watched them hundreds, if not thousands of times. Listening to their mumbles, shouts and squeals, but they never made it to the shoreline. Someone was calling to them, but that voice too had been obscured, garbled as the dream faded away.
“It is not a dream, Rena!” Those voices returned. “We would see you return to your former glory, so that you may one day bring down those who would block our own destinies!”
Marena was so confused, as she watched the young females run across the field once more, but this time...
‘Come on, Vina!’ She heard the words clear as day, and that voice, it was her own.
Marena’s eyes grew wide as the reply came. ‘Slow down, Rena, my legs are sore!’
She’d called her Rena, and the memories flooded back. A tall male with long black hair and eyes like her own, green as the grass she ran through. His voice so deep and filled with love as he called to them from the water’s edge.
‘Kordahn is waiting, Vina!’
“Kordahn?” Marena whispered, catching sight of the male as he waited with open arms.
“Your brother!” The voices replied. “A brother, and a sister, that Pathen and Anaxa stole you from. A father who had been deceived, and a mother used as a tool to further their hideous plans. You have lost much, daughter of Foran, and we intend to give it back!”
Once more she watched the dream play out, no, not a dream, a memory. One in which she and her sister played happily, but where? And when? Who was this Vina? And Kordahn? Why could she not remember more? And why was this, Nashay, telling her these things? She was Eno’tai, and this went against everything the Masters had worked for.
“Are they really your Masters? Anaxa and her little pet, Pathen?” Nashay’s voices circled through her thoughts, drowning out her memories once more. “Do you wish to serve those who took it all from you, or those who would help get it back?”
Marena thought long and hard. This was wrong, so very wrong; but there was a spark deep inside her that longed to grow hotter. “What is your price?” She inquired.
“My sister has controlled your Verse for far too long. It is time for a new age, a new ruler.”
“Your sister?” Marena gasped.
This wasn’t just any Eno’tai, Nashay was one of The Twelve. She had royal blood running through her veins. She wasn’t even Eno’tai, she was... Ghora. A Master of all Masters, like Anaxa.
“Now you see, why we can offer you this choice.” Nashay’s voices laughed in unison and a moment later, the dream disappeared and the caverns returned.
A few feet away in the pool at her feet, the water began to ripple even more and a figure emerged. The shimmering veil of water dazzled her eyes and took the breath from her lips. Stunning was not the word, glorious was more like it. A true God stood before her, how could Marena say no?
“How?” The words fell from her lips.
“We would see the Valkyrie released from darkness.”
“But why?” Marena gasped again, forgetting her place.
“For the same reason you, have already started down that path, sweet child. You have seen what is to come, you know that only she can see Pathen and Anaxa to their deaths!”
“But I...” Marena paused a moment. “…what of my Host?”
“You has been gone from these pools for far too long, To’llan!” The voices called out, but not to Marena, to her Host. “Come, rest. Your duties are done!”
“With your permission, we would see this task to its end, great Queen. We have longed to see Anaxa and her pet removed from this Verse, for what they have done to our love!” It was To’llan who answered, but Marena too felt the same way.
The torture, the horrors, they had stopped at nothing to keep Malice insane. Where would they draw the line if she did nothing?
“Then you, also seek vengeance?” Nashay’s smile turned to a grin. “That is most honorable of you, To’llan, and we would see your thirst for vengeance quenched!” Nashay laughed, returning to the water. “Take these and present them to your Valkyrie, she will know what to do with them, in time!”
With that, the Queen disappeared and Marena finally drew in a long, deep breath. “You agree with this?” She inquired, calling to her host.
‘We will see our vengeance fulfilled, for both Malice, and our beloved who rests inside her!’ To’llan’s words filled her mind, bringing with them a comfort she’d not felt in a long while.
“Very well!” Marena sighed, holding out her hand and the set of scrolls she’d been given. “We must wait for the right moment, and when the Lord least expects it, we will send Malice from this chaos, once and for all!”
‘We must point out how erratic Malice’s behavior has been. There is concern…’
“Malice is a creature of elegance and grace, it is not she I fear for…” Marena hesitated to finish that statement, knowing how To’llan felt about it.
‘I cannot promise that Marwolaeth’s need to be reunited with Syra, will not overshadow her love for us. A Host cannot survive without a Hosted, we may only be freeing her so that she can return to the dark embrace of her Queen…’
“That is not true, the Host can survive, we just need another for her to claim.” Marena blurted out, her heart sinking from her chest.
‘Who better than Malice? Marwolaeth was Host to the Champion of Enote. The Hand of Death. The Bringer of Darkness. Temptress of Shadows. When she was taken, the whole of Enote cried out and when it was discovered that Pathen and Anaxa had…’ To’llan was a mess of emotions and Marena couldn’t blame her. ‘There has never been another as glorious, save Malice. She may love us, but to take back what was taken from her has been all Marwolaeth has ever wanted. Now that she knows the truth…’
“Malice also wishes to take back what she lost, but she will not let Marwolaeth take control. She is still Valkyrie and I have to believe that a part of her will fight back; but only if she is free.”
‘We would hope for the same, we just…’ To’llan sighed and Marena felt a tear fall down her cheek.
“We will do as we are asked and we will see the Valkyrie returned to her kin, after that, it will be up to Malice to reign in her darkness.” Marena bowed her head. “She would do no less for us.”