Purple haze: eve of ages

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6: Spawn of a seed

27 Years ago

Panochu cried out. “Orchi, where are you? You win. Come out. I’m not able to find you. Please, it’s freezing!” Panochu heard a faint giggle coming from behind the large boulder in front of him. He ran over to the boulder and then slowed down to sneak up to scare Orchi out of his hiding place.

Orchi burst out laughing went Panochu jumped out beside him. “Ahaha, you found me Panochu! Now it’s your turn to hide.” Orchi giggled.

“Okay! This is the last one for today though. Supper will be ready soon, and it’s getting dark too and colder.” Replied Pa as chill went through him.

Orchi laughed. “You’re always hungry. Fine, I’ll count to a hundred.” Orchi leaned his arms on the boulder with his face buried in his arms and began to count. “One…Two…Three…” Panochu giggled and ran off in search of a new hiding place.

Panochu and Orchi had been best friends ever since they met each other at Flame-Eater Shrine. They were born on the same day to different parents, in the same hour and the same minute. They both nearly looked identical. Panochu and Orchi both had short dark brown hair and both had a smile that suggested they were both happy and care free. The only noticeable difference was their eyes. Rather than the dark brown eyes that Panochu had, Orchi’s were blue and as bright as the blue sky. They both wore orange apprentice robes marked with the Shrine’s symbol. The Flame-eaters prophesied that one of these boys would grow up and become the greatest leader the Shrine has ever seen.

After a few seconds searching for a good hiding place, Panochu knew a place that no one will ever find him. It was a place of secrecy, and it was forbidden to all except those who have been admitted to the ranks of Flame-Eater at age fourteen. This place had no name and it is considered a dungeon to the natives. Unfortunately, Panochu and Orchi were only seven, and they were forbidden to enter there. However, Panochu decided he would sneak in and hide there anyway.

Small flakes of snow began to fall as Panochu ran across the rocky yard to-wards the training dojo that stood in front of the mountain’s wall. The recreation house was the one at the far end of the yard looking out over the western lands below. Panochu didn’t want to hide in there because he knew that Orchi would find him too easily.

The sky was getting darker when Orchi was done counting. “Here I come, Panochu!” Orchi yelled out laughing. Orchi’s stomach growled, and he raised his hands to his belly. “Ohh… I’m so hungry too.” Orchi took a moment to focus and think and then his stomach growled again. “I’m going to find you quickly and then I’m going to eat a whole chicken by myself!” he thought to himself.

Orchi spent almost twenty minutes searching the Shrine for Panochu. He began by looking outside and around the yard and then down the eastern path, but he found nothing. His next stop was the recreation house where he found the others feasting on supper. He asked if anyone had seen Panochu, but no one did. The chapel that was carved from the rocky grey mountain of the southern wall proved no better. Orchi couldn’t find Panochu anywhere. The only place left to look was the dojo. Orchi ran out of the chapel and ran across the yard to the northern wall where the dojo stood. “He must be in the dojo.” thought Orchi as he ran across the snowy yard.

The dojo almost looked haunted when Orchi pushed the creaking door open. A sense of dread pierced his thoughts as he stepped in. The darkening sky and falling snow didn’t make the dojo look any more appealing. The dojo was empty as it always is at this time of the day and the candle torches were all doused. At least the shutters were open, and the light from outside lit the room enough to see, but not for long. Suddenly, Orchi heard a sound coming from what seemed the back of the dojo. Something else caught Orchi’s eye as well, a small light reflected off the floor in front of him. Or-chi squatted down to see what it was. “Water…” He said as he rubbed his finger in it. “Panochu must have come through here and left snow on the floor. Heh! I’ve got you now!” he giggled.

Orchi got up and followed the path of melted snow to the back door of the dojo. He opened the back door and stepped outside. Immediately, Orchi noticed only one set of tracks on the ground, and he knew they were Panochu’s tracks. He followed the tracks north a little while until the only thing that stood in front of him was the rocky northern wall and a stone-carved door. That is where the tracks stopped. Orchi stood in fear staring at the door. It was open a bit.

He could hear the noise again. The sound grew clearer as though somebody was humming. Curiosity caught a hold of Or-chi and he pulled the door open all the way. The echoes of someone humming quickly filled his ears as he stepped in. Inside was a perfectly carved tunnel that headed north into the mountain for about twenty-feet. Beyond that was a stair case. It was the kind of staircase that lounged the walls with a clearing in the center. One couldn’t even see the bottom of the staircase because it was delved so very deep. The only light was a single torch that hung on the wall at the top of the stairs.

“Panochu?” Orchi called out. “Where are you?”

Suddenly the humming got louder and louder until Orchi heard Panochu call out to him. “Orchi! Come down here you need to see this.”

Orchi knew that yelling back and forth wouldn’t get Panochu out of here, so Or-chi decided to grab the torch and go get Panochu. “Why are you humming Pano?” asked Orchi as he began his climb down the steps.

“I’m not. Just come down here and you will see its amazing.” Replied Panochu from down below.

As Orchi began to near the bottom, he could make out a bright blue light. “What is that light?” asked Orchi nervously.

Pano echoed back. “Come, you will see.”

The humming got even clearer when Orchi finally reached the bottom. The only pathway possible lay directly in front of the last step. It was another tunnel. This one led south, nearly a hundred feet. Orchi did not need his torch at this point. The light he saw on the way down turned out to be far brighter than he thought. Whatever was at the end of this tunnel emitted such a large amount of light that it lit up the entire bottom tunnel. “Ahhhh! It’s so bright. Where are you Pano?” asked Orchi as he tried to cover his eyes.

“Down here.” Replied Panochu. “Just come down the hall and your eyes will adjust.”

Orchi understood that he had come too far to turn back now. Instead, he marched forward and covered his eyes from the blinding light. When he reached the end of the tunnel, he emerged into a chamber filled with light. He found Panochu standing near a pedestal in the center of the chamber with his back turned and his eyes fixed on something. “Whoa! Crystal…” Orchi couldn’t believe his eyes. The chamber was made of carved crystal, and it was perfectly polished to reflect light. The ceiling was immensely high. It was beautiful. “Pano, come on. We are not supposed to be in here.”

Panochu did not reply. He only stood there in silence. When Orchi noticed that Panochu hadn’t said a word in a while, he walked over and stood beside him. “It’s beautiful.” said Pano.

Orchi looked down and saw a strange looking crystal floating in midair a few inches above the pedestal. “What is it?” Orchi asked with confusion and amazement as he reached out to hold it.

“I’m not sure, but it looks like an eye.” Replied Panochu.

The eye was the one emitting the immense amount of light that lit the entire room. But when Orchi lifted the crystal off the pedestal with both hands, the light died away. The eye now only gave off a faint glow no brighter than a small candle.

Both the boys got a scare when the light disappeared. “What happened?” asked Orchi with a grim tone in his voice.

“You broke it!” complained Panochu. “You shouldn’t have touched it.”

“Hey! I didn’t break anything and don’t get mad at me. I’m not the one who came down here to hide!” argued Orchi.

“Okay…Okay. Just put it back and we’ll just get out of here. I’m hungry.” Complained Pano.

Orchi smiled and giggled. “Yeah, I’m going to eat a whole chicken to myself!” As Orchi reached out to put the eye back, he noticed that the light changed color. Instead of a blue light, the eye was now glowing a deep shade of purple. “Pano look!” Orchi said in awe. “It changed color.” The boys looked deep into the crystal eye and what they saw looked much like a tiny purple flame. They stood amazed as the light reflected off their eyes.

Suddenly a spark jumped off the eye and struck Panochu on the nose which made both the boys back away quickly. Orchi then tried to set the eye back on the pedestal, but the light was too captivating and he couldn’t open his hand to let it go. “Okay let’s go Orchi.” Pano took off down the tunnel thinking Orchi had put the eye back and was following right be-hind him. All of a sudden, Orchi’s hand, the one holding the eye, began to smoke, and Orchi let out a death-like shriek. Pano had run half way down the hall be-fore looking back, and when he heard his friend scream, Panochu turned around and saw Orchi still standing in the chamber with the eye in his hand. Pano turned back to go help Orchi. “Orchi!” Pano called after him.

Orchi couldn’t stop screaming. The eye seemed to be burning through his hand, and yet he wasn’t able to let it go. Pano called out for Orchi again, and when Panochu reached the chamber’s entrance, Orchi turned towards him. Orchi’s eyes had changed color. They were a deep purple that glowed like the eye in his hand. At that moment, the room began to shake. The crystal on the walls began to crack and shatter, sending sharp fragments falling to the ground. Before Pano could step back into the chamber, a large crystal fragment fell from the ceiling and had crashed in front of the entrance. Panochu couldn’t get through. “Go! Get out of here. Now!” yelled Orchi between shrieks. The crystal fragment blocking the entrance was so clear that Panochu was still able to see Orchi standing there unable to move with his hand seemingly burning. That’s when Panochu became witness to everything. The eye ripped free from Orchi’s hand and hovered above the pedestal. The eye began to glow brighter as an aura spiraling energy formed around it and began expanding fast. Within seconds, it was the size of Orchi’s head. Then the eye burst in front of Orchi and then all the purple light streamed into Orchi’s eyes as he screamed for his life.

Pano cried out and began smashing on the crystal barrier blocking the entrance, but it was no use, the blockage was too strong.

Suddenly, all the light in the room disappeared except for a pair of faintly glowing purple eyes. The screaming stopped, but a voice emerged from the darkness. “I said get out!” It was Orchi’s voice, but another voice spoke the same words too. Pano was so frightened that he didn’t question Orchi’s demand, so he ran for the exit.

As Panochu began his climb up the stairs, the ground beneath his feet began to tremble, and the air was filled anew with the sound shrieking. When Pano reached the top of the stairs, and made it out of the tunnels, he pushed the heavy stone door closed behind him. A moment later, the door collapsed in on its self because of the shaking ground.

The Shrine was in total chaos. Children were screaming. Men and women were running this way and that way trying to figure out what was happening. Pano ran through the dojo and out to the yard. The shaking started getting stronger and more violent. People screamed and yelled. A loud deep scream came from underground, and the earth shook even harder beneath Panochu’s feet, and the yard square began to split from the center out. Then, like an explosion, something burst through the ground in the center of the yard and shot straight up into the sky.

The night was dark, and Pano couldn’t quite make out the shape that hovered hundreds of feet above the shrine. But as the creature began to descend towards the yard, Panochu recognized the dark purple glowing eyes he had seen on Orchi. When the creature finally reached the yard, Panochu could not believe what he was seeing.

The Flame-Eaters Shrine was a place of peace and solitude. They kept no legions. They had no way of defending themselves such a demon.

The creature that stood tall and fearsome in the yard was one of the most horrific sights anyone had ever laid eyes upon. It stood at least seven feet tall. Its silhouette resembled that of a person and a giant lizard. It had the purple eyes of a serpent, a human-like mouth but with teeth like a wolf’s. Its skin was no skin at all. It was covered in deep black scales over an incredibly muscular body. Its hands and feet had massive razor-sharp claws and strong but sleek horn sprouting from its cheek bones. It had a voice that shattered glass and shook the ground beneath your feet but the thing that marked Panochu the most was the wings. Huge dragon like wings sprouted from its back on command and disappeared at will when it wasn’t flying.

Panochu stood behind a balance beam beside the entrance to the dojo, starring out at this thing that was his best friend for so long. The creature stood in the yard near the hole it made and turned back and forth as though it was lost or searching for something.

Trembling and with piss in his pants, Panochu summoned up all the courage he had and shouted at the monster “Orchi!” Immediately, the demon turned its gaze upon Panochu. Its eyes looked straight into Pano’s and then it gave him what seemed a smile. Then, quick as lightening its face changed into a frown of anger, and then the beast sprouted its wings and jumped up into the air and screeched creating a small shock wave. The beast hovered above the yard and stared at Panochu for a minute and then it screeched again. Then, it pointed an open hand at Pano and summoned a ball of scorching-hot fire sending it straight at Panochu.

Fortunately, the grand master of the Shrine was standing close by, and he raced towards Panochu and pushed him out of the way in time to save Pano and himself. However, the dojo suffered irreparable damage. The creature’s blast reduced more than half the dojo to rubble. When the Grand Master and Panochu got clear of the smoke, they looked up into the sky in search of the beast, but it had disappeared. Some of the others spotted the beast flying off towards the west. It disappeared for sixteen years.

11 years ago

Time went on, and the people of the Flame-Eaters Shrine kept their silence. They had not heard anything about the demon since that ungodly night. The hole in the middle of the yard had been built into a sanctum, and the dojo was rebuilt beside the ashes of the old one. The Flames-Eaters were once dragon hunters but now they watch over the world from coast to coast, seeking knowledge in their meditation. It frustrated the Grand-Master to no end that they didn’t see the demon coming. There might have been no sign of the beast since, but they would never forget that day.

One day while meditating, Panochu sensed something. It was something he had not felt since that day sixteen years ago. His eyes popped open. He had the same color eyes as the glowing light he saw down in the crystal eye chamber. Ever since the night when Panochu got a small zap from the crystal eye, his eyes began to turn blue. Now his eyes were as bright and as captivating as the crystal chamber was, but something else had changed in him, something he had yet to find out.

Panochu stood upon the flat rock he had sat on and peered out into the distance atop the cliff looking west. Before he ran off in search of the Grand-Master, the only word that came out of his mouth was: “Orchi!”

The lands west of the Green Valley were named Pryganta. Pryganta is desert lands with sand dunes as tall as mountains that stretch for hundreds and hundreds of miles. The days were scorching hot and the night bitter cold. Many travelers die on the road west. If you were lucky enough to reach the north-west side of the desert without dying, you would find the oasis city of Dalport where the river splits in two.

A man who names himself Ihcro had been venturing the sand lands of Pryganta. He could ride for days and nights without stopping or getting wore out. The people that met him in the villages or on the road referred to him as the Purple eyed man. The reason the people of Pryganta have taken to calling him the purple eyed man is because Ihcro always wore a shemagh over his face and the only thing that showed were his eyes.

Shemaghs are worn by the Prygantians to shield their head and faces from the hot sun during the day and keep them warm at night. It is a long linen cloth, which they would wrap around their heads.

Ihcro had his sights on Dalport for a long time now. He was hoping it could provide him comfort and possibly a new home.

He was mounted on an ash-grey horse with white hair atop a towering dune of sand staring down at the city before him. “Dalport.” He smiled happily.

Dalport was surrounded by sand, and the way the sun outlined the ripples in the sand was beautiful but not as beautiful as the city itself. Dalport was known far and wide as the oasis city of Pryganta. It was located at the throat of where the Prygan River split in two far to the north-west of Flame-Eater Shrine.

Ihcro had heard stories of the beauty of Dalport from the people he crossed in the Prygantian desert. They spoke of the green inside the city, how the grass and palm trees would sway in the wind, and the clear sparkling water of the forking river.

They also spoke of the massive three-hundred foot walls that surrounded the city. Dalport’s walls are made of sandy yellow brick as to match the color of the sand around it. The only way in or out was through the main gate. The people of Dalport were a peaceful lot, mostly industrialists, who keep to themselves and don’t look for the troubles of war. As peaceful as they might be, the city did not lack in proper guarding. Dalport was well protected and knew very well how to fight from behind their walls.

His decent to Dalport was easy, but as Ihcro was about the cross under the portcullis to enter the city, he got held up by one of the guards. “Halt!” the guard ordered. The Guard was dressed in a traditional Prygantian battle armor which was comprised of a full-plated protection. His armor was sandy-yellow with a heavy black cloak and hood attached to his back.

Ihcro’s head didn’t even turn to look at the guard. His horse just kept on walking in past the gates. The guards grew impatient and began to chase Ihcro’s horse into the streets as Ihcro slipped into an alleyway near the gate and vanished into the city.

His plan had worked. Ihcro had created a diversion to gain access to the city. He made himself a dummy out of tumble weed and spare clothes, and then strapped the dummy to his horse’s saddle and sent the horse into the city to get the guards attention while he slipped in behind his distraction.

Ihcro spent the next few days pillaging food from the markets, and he would sleep in dark alleyways to hide himself from watchful eyes. He was a black sheep in this place. The people of Dalport were peaceful and very indifferent towards outsiders. Ihcro had to avoid walking in crowds in order to avoid being arrested. The people he did cross never seemed to like what they saw. They would give him odd looks, and some would even mutter some kind of remark. Many of Dalport’s people were rich traders or crafts-men who wore rich silks and linens. They don’t appreciate crossing paths with the low born. But that wasn’t the case for all the people of Dalport as Ihcro will quickly learn.

One day, as Ihcro was prowling about the city markets, he came upon a pastry shop. The baker had left racks of baked goods outside to cool down before he sold them. Seeing his chance, Ihcro grabbed a pastry from the rack without even turning his head. His subtleness al-ways worked before but not this time. A short and very skinny man with no hair ran out from the shop. “Aye, you with the head wrappings, put those back you little thief!” The man waved a large wooden spoon at Ihcro.

At the sound of the man’s call, Ihcro bolted down the street. “Hey, get back here!” the baker yelled as he chased Ihcro down the street. Ihcro knocked people aside, and to the ground as he ran through crowds with the baker on his heels. Ihcro cut to the left and went down an alleyway and as he ran, he felt a strange presence, something he had not felt in many years. Yet, he still ran on.

Ihcro threw down his shemagh in the alley and blended in with the crowds in the streets on the other side of the alleyway. As the baker emerged from the alleyway, Ihcro knew that he had lost him. But just to be safe, Ihcro conspicuously walked through the crowd and cut back into another alley where his strange feeling became a reality.

He could feel the sweat on his brow as he stopped in the middle of the alley to catch his breath. His heart was pounding ferociously, and his mind was racing. He grabbed hold of his head. “NOOO!” he shouted out loud. But his voice was different. It was almost as though someone else was inside of him and wanted to speak. A deep and gruesome voice echoed his voice right now. Ihcro flailed around while holding his head. He lashed out so violently that he smashed his head on the brick wall in the alley and then fell to the ground unconscious, lying face down in a puddle of goat piss.

The rest was a blur. Ihcro remembered regaining consciousness for a moment when someone came upon him lying there. This person turned him over, and Ihcro couldn’t believe his eyes. She looked like an angel, beautiful, as though Melingra herself stood over him. “Are you alright sir?” the women asked. Ihcro couldn’t reply. He tried to lift his head instead, but he instantly passed out again.

When Ihcro woke, he was lying in a soft bed with the sunlight streaming in through the shutters onto the bed. A woman sat on the side of the bed dabbing a wet piece of cloth on Ihcro’s forehead. Ihcro turned his eyes towards her. She was stunning. Her bright green eyes danced in the sunlight, and her long silky golden hair shined. She had a small sweet smile and pouty lips. She was thin and of average height from what Ihcro could see. When Ihcro tried to sit up to get a better look at her, she gently pushed him back down. “Please do not struggle. I found you lying unconscious in my alley. I carried you back here myself.” She said. The woman held up a cup of water to Ihcro’s lips. “Here drink.” He took a sip and then coughed when the water reached his dry throat.

“You are most kind.” he smiled. “You seem different from the other people of Dalport…Who are you?”

“My name is Lexia, and I like yourself, came to Dalport an outsider.” She replied. “Now tell me, why were you passed out in my alley way?”

A stroke of pain flashed in Ihcro’s head. He raised his hand up to comfort it. “I …” he hesitated. “I don’t know. A heat stroke I guess.” he lied. He didn’t want anyone to know his secret.

She eyed him curiously. “What is your name?”

He raised his head again and looked into her eyes. “Ihcro.” he replied. “You are kind Lexia. Thank you.” He reached over and gave her hand a squeeze and then smiled.

Her cheeks reddened as she smiled back. “Now, you need to get some sleep Ihcro.” As she retreated from the room, Ihcro lay his head back down on the pillow and stared out the window.

The sky was blue, and the roof tops gleamed pleasantly as the palm trees swayed peacefully in the warm wind. Ihcro found himself thinking. “I could do this. I could win her heart and stay in Dalport with her. It’s perfect here. I could start over.”

As time went on, Ihcro grew better. He recovered from his incident in the alley way. Ihcro and Lexia relationship grew and turned into love. Sometime later Ihcro told Lexia everything. He told her about the shrine, the chamber and his curse. He had never killed anyone, but he was afraid that the demon in him would break free and slaughter people. The news was hard on Lexia, but in the end, their love was stronger, and she accepted him as he was.

Sometime later their love flourished even more, and Lexia became pregnant, and nine months later they were blessed with beautiful baby boy whom they named Clorei.

9 years ago

Ihcro, Lexia, and Clorei lived in little home near the center floor of a tower that stood in the center of Dalport. For the first time in a long time, Ihcro had a place to call home. He had a gorgeous wife who loved him and him her and a beautiful son. Ihcro was finally happy. But some people were never meant to be happy. That was Ihcro’s true curse as he would find out.

One afternoon while Ihcro’s wife and son were at the markets, Ihcro was helping some of the local farmer’s with their autumn harvest just outside town. While he was taking a break from the work, his eyes saw a most unwelcome sight. He peered across the desert sands. “Men, hundreds.” He declared to one of the farmers beside him.

The man beside him was scything the wheat around and then stopped to have a look. “Aye that would be men.” The farmer squinted and leaned forward. “Those are armored men…”

Ihcro cut him off. “…from the Flame-Eater Shrine.” Suddenly Ihcro felt very anxious. He did not hesitate. He threw off his working gloves and ran back into town in search of his wife and son. He ran as fast as he could go, bashing into people and throwing them left and right in search of his wife and child. He searched every carpet selling store in town but couldn’t find them. Instead, he found them at home in the tall tower, adjusting their newly bought carpet in the living room. Ihcro stumbled in. “Lexia, Clorei, thank Melingra you are safe.” he sighed and sunk to his knees, exhausted from all the running.

Lexia caught him in her arms before to could fall forward. “What is it, my love?” she was worried.

He did not wait to catch his breath. “They are coming for me!” he gasped. “You and Clorei have to get out of here. Quick, before they get here.”

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Not a simple knock but a knock that suggested someone was trying to break down the door. Their heads turned to look at the door. Frightened, baby Clorei began to cry and ran to his mother’s arms. Lexia picked him up and turned to Ihcro. “Where are we supposed to go?” Her voice was thick with panic.

“Make your way to Whets in the south. I will meet you there.” The knocking at the door became louder. “There’s no time. Go! I will find you.” Ihcro embraced his wife one last time and gave her a kiss and then kissed his baby boy on the forehead. “Go!” shouted Ihcro. His wife and son made their way out by the back door.

For a moment, the room grew silent. The banging on the door stopped and Ihcro stood in his home alone facing the door, listening. Then, the door broke open, and the red warriors filed in one behind the other and circled Ihcro. When they had him surrounded with no hope of escape, Ihcro could only raise his hands in surrender as they closed their lances in around him. Ihcro did not move nor did he speak. He only stood there with his hands up with his heart pounding and sweat streaming down his face.

The men that stood around Ihcro were fearless. They wore no heavy armor only treated red leather jackets and red dyed pants boot and gloves. But the last man to enter the house was different. Ihcro was sure he had seen this man before. He wore the same attire as the other men but instead of a leather jacket, he wore a finely made breast plate grooved and fashioned with muscle outlines. Painted on his breast plate was the symbol of the Fire-Eaters. The man stepped forward and grinned at Ihcro. “Sir Hyles Trant would shift in his grave if he could see you now, Orchi Trant!” the man said.

Ihcro couldn’t believe his eyes. “Pano…,” he said in disbelief. He lowered his arms.

Pano nodded. “Yes but its Grand Master Panochu now.” he said in a proud voice.

Ihcro was shocked. “The old Grand Master is dead? Did I…”

“No. No one was harmed the day of the incident. The Grand Master died a year ago of old age, and I was appointed Grand Master.” Pano nodded at his men and the retracted their lances to their sides. Pano then started pacing. “I didn’t know it until two years ago, but the crystal eye gave me something as well.”

That was when Ihcro saw it. “Your eyes… They are blue.” he said in surprise.

“That’s right. I meditated for three months after my eyes turned blue and in that time, I understood. There are two sides to everything.” Pano stopped pacing and turned to Ihcro. “Listen well Orchi. A branch can be made into a walking stick to help those who have trouble walking, but that very same stick could be used to break a man’s skull.” he explained.

“What are you saying?” said Ihcro, confused.

Pano sighed in disappointment. “What I’m saying is the crystal eye we found had a good and a bad side, but from what I could tell, the bad side was much more abundant. You were made to destroy just as I was made to protect. With my power, I have reassembled the legions. And now, I have come to take you away so that what waits inside of you doesn’t take over or spread. Seize him!” Pano’s men came forward and grabbed hold of Ihcro and then Pano walked up to Ihcro and punched him in the stomach. Ihcro lost his breath and gasped for air.

As Ihcro was standing there struggling for air with Pano’s hands wrapped around his neck, he looked up at Pano’s eyes. “I’m sorry my friend.” said Pano. “I have lied. I didn’t come here to take you away I’m afraid.” he paused. “I came here to kill you.”

Ihcro fell silent and froze in fear at those words. “I’m sorry Lexia…Clorei.” Ihcro leaned his head back and closed his eyes, willing to except his fate. But his demon wasn’t as eager. As Pano drew a dagger and grabbed Ihcro by the throat, Ihcro’s eyes flew open, and his eyes glowed like they did in the chamber and then Ihcro let out a scream that was mixed with his own and the demons. It was a scream that shook the earth and the heavens. Ihcro began to change. Horns, teeth, claws, wings and scales began to sprout. His strength became ferocious. He sent Pano’s men flying and crashing into the walls and yet Pano was still holding him by the throat. Ihcro’s transformation was complete, and his eye caught Pano’s again. Ihcro raised his fist and brought it down on Pano’s arm with bone crushing force and then kicked Pano in the stomach making Pano slide back, yet he still stood.

The demon laughed. “You are strong Panochu. But let me show you true power.” The demon’s cold, dark and raspy voice sent a chill down Pano’s spine.

The demon jumped up into the air and crashed through floors upon floors before it burst out the roof of the tower causing the roof to collapse with Pano still trapped inside.

Hovering above the city of Dalport, the demon spread out his arms and bowed his head with his eyes closed. Suddenly the ground beneath Dalport began to tremble. The ground cracked and split apart. Buildings began to topple, and the streets blazed with fire. Screams and cries could be heard from miles away. In moments, the city was reduced to a pile of ash and rubble. Then finally it stopped, and the demon flapped its wings and took flight without looking back.

Pano had escaped the tower just before it had fallen only to get caught under falling rubble. But fortunately Pano’s power allowed him to create a protective aura around himself to shield himself from danger for a time. When Pano emerged from the rubble, he immediately looked to the sky in search of Ihcro. But he was gone and Pano found himself thinking. “The demon is in control of Ihcro now.”

As the years went by, Panochu had not heard a word about Orchi or the demon. But as time would tell, the beast’s chaos would arise again.

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