FOREVER KNIGHTS: #13 Salvaging Souls

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SEBASTIAN - Elsabet Uses the Orb

WaterRose, Meadow Mountain, Grier Country


Sebastian was haunted by Calisto’s voice tonight. Her whispering in his ear.

Where are you? He wondered. He’d thought her a wraith. Impossibly trapped in the realms of time. No one has heard her in centuries.

She is using the last of her strength to reach me.

She wouldn’t burn those last vestiges of energy now…Unless she’s found him.

Only one thing drove Calisto, that wily woman, these days. The only thing she’d want bad enough to risk the last pieces of her essence…

Her husband.

He swallowed hard. The lost are not gone forever. Not yet. He remembered vividly that battle, and great defeat that had haunted him so many of his waking moments.

Raese being knocked from the sky. Never to be seen again.

For many months, the Knights tried to track their fallen comrade. But there was no trace of his magic anywhere. And without him using it, it was impossible for them to find him. At length, they were forced to give up hope.

Bast still recalled that pain just as visibly. It seemed he was dead or lost forever. We’ve no way of knowing.

Still, Sebastian left several days every month to scour different cities in Ardae in search of his brethren.

For the first time since he had given it to her, Elsabet sat on her bed watching firelight dancing over the orb. She’d kept it carefully rolled in cloth in the bottom of her wardrobe. She hadn’t used it before.

But tonight was different. Uncovering it, she did as Sebastian bade. Thinking of him as she caressed its surface.

Fog inside the orb shivered and distorted before an image appeared. An image of Bast pacing the library materialized in the crystal. He paused to palm his face morosely. Rolling his shoulders and shaking his head at himself.

“You should be remorseful. King of Deceivers. Laying in my chamber year after year as Quandary…” She pulled back to the throw the gift but saw Bast in the orb. He’d stilled. Staring up through the floors as though seeing her where she lie. “It’s not possible…” She shifted uncomfortably.

His image in the orb lowered its head and angled to look back at her as though he could now see her through the orb.

She dropped the crystal. Putting a pillow to her face and shrieking. The pained cry of the valkyrie.

Bast attuned himself to her thoughts. Finding her recalling being a child. He was intrigued.

In all her years here she’d rarely pondered thoughts of her life before becoming a valkyrie. She wondered if she’d taken different roads if she’d still have ended up here.

A captive.

If she’d felt the loving touch of a mother, witnessed fond smiles from a father, could she have earned the love of a true husband. One who hungered for her, yearning to offer gentle caresses.

I do! Bast was wounded by her thoughts. Am I not enough?

Anger at the injustice of it slammed through her. Bringing her back to reality. “This is the way of the world. The way of men.” She tossed a pillow across the room. Hardly noticing she kicked the crystal from the bed until it clinked to the floor. Scraping as it rolled until fracturing and snapping open into pieces.

She peered over the edge of the bed and grunted at the sight of it. Flopping onto her back. She missed her talons.

So, she could hang from the ceiling. And remember what she’s become. He thought.

Flexing her fingers and toes, yielded no change. She was trapped in her delicate human form. Before she could think anymore, her exhausted body succumbed to the peace of slumber. Finding her dreams fitful.

But in the shattered bits of the orb was a flowing white cape emblazoned with the red cross. Circling the shoulders of the Great Protector. Sebastian of the Templars. Wearing the metal helmet to shield his face as he fought valiantly. Excelling in warfare despite the shadows of doubt invading his mind. Fear no one watched over them any longer.

Bast watched his kind falling all around him. White capes stained with their blood. And bloody tears trailing his face when he pulled the helmet off. He’d become the lion in battle. Purportedly as vicious as he was beautiful. He became a harbinger of death to their enemies. Battles won by the tip of his sword. Thus the other knights began calling him ‘The Great Protector.’

No matter how dark the day and how weak their spirits grew. Bast fought more boldly. Afraid of nothing, they said.

Though it wasn’t true. I did fear. That I might be the weakest amongst them. Because I lack faith. A fact he was ashamed of. Hollowed by grief and loneliness. It’d become more about saving the lives of his brother and friends then about serving the faith.

I was unwilling to watch anyone else die.

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