Known as Dream Sellers, Whisperers of Days to Come, and Fortune Carriers; Khalazarans could sell you the secrets of things your heart desires to know most in the world. Secrets that speak of ancient truths. Secrets that could turn civilisations against each other in conflicts of belief, even ones that could ripple and change actualities.
If you decide to believe what people acknowledge as truth, then you should convince yourself that Khalazarans have been around longer than any who have ever lived. That they are able to remain invisible to all unless they want to be seen in the unlikeliest of places.
Few have been fortuitous enough in knowing where Khalazarans dwell, and even less find answers to yearning questions.
Mira had discovered Octavian’s sanctum, after proceeding through two separate dimensions and crossing through a gap which took three gruelling sendiums of her life. With every chance she took, somehow Mira found herself back to square one. The Khalazaran sitting before her was now Mira’s last hope.
Mira had to know the answer to an essential question. She walked gracefully across the cold marble floor, her cloak trailed behind her tired and bruised feet that were bare except for the anklets she wore. Black lace fingerless gloves ran all the way up to her elbows.
Octavian noticed the half mask first, resting comfortably on Mira’s nose, the eyeholes showed her bright green eyes. Her scarlet hair bounced as she made her way over to the Khalazaran.
‘I see it in your eyes,’ spoke Octavian. ‘The paths that you have taken are traced on the surface of your pupils, allowing me to see the numerous things that you have captured in sight. Your thoughts displayed in their true form. As of now, you are closing your mind so that I am unable to read you. How are you doing that? None have been able to do such a thing.’
Mira’s mouth curled.
‘It is not your privilege to know what it is that burdens me, I have not come here to be Suppressed, I’ve come under the impression that you can provide me with what I require.’
‘What is it you wish to know?’
‘I have walked the full length of Time,’ Mira explained. ‘Having seen nothing but destruction, empty futures, forgotten pasts and burst matter. I have been in the presence of beings who became important pieces in the continuum, yet I am in need of a Traveller, the one destined to fall in the Darkened Days.’
Octavian rummaged through drawers, searching high and low until he found the phial he was looking for.
‘Take this.’ He said.
Mira took the phial and surveyed it. ‘What is it?’
‘It is used to induce visions. A few gulps and you will be shown what you deeply desire.’
‘And how will it show me what I want to see?’
‘Whilst you are in a trance, I shall join my mind telepathically to yours to seek out the answers that you have been searching for. I assure you that it is completely safe.’
Mira tilted her head back and emptied the contents, wiping her mouth with the sleeve of her fingerless glove. For a while, nothing seemed to take effect. Mira wondered whether the liquid was a ruse when she felt a tingling sensation rush through her body. Before she knew it, everything went full dark.
Hear the sound of my voice.
Mira was motionless, all she could do was listen.
You are entering the deepest parts of your subconscious. Let go of your troubles … let them wash over you.
Blurs of colours danced before her, Mira felt like she was flying. Her connection with Octavian had diminished and she heard snatches of whispers but could only form some of the words: lost … false hope … terror … betrayal … collapse … broken worlds …. gone. It was difficult to deduce who the new voice belonged to, though it was definitely female, perhaps even hers, yet somehow it sounded foreign.
Mira stood in the middle of what looked like a great battle with many races fighting amongst one another. She could not say where she was, but Mira was on what looked like a platform suspended in space. Plasma balls, bullets and beings passed through her and Mira felt none of it. Was this the future or some hideous nightmare?
As she moved across the platform, Mira saw a hooded figure cloaked in black waving his sceptre, its power caught onto those around who fell helplessly as if some invisible force had tackled them. The figure towered over another who was forced to his knees. He paused for breath before uttering: ‘So it is here, where the defining moment comes into play, I have sought to eradicate you for so long. Now is when I destroy you and take what is rightfully mine!’
Mira gasped at what she was seeing.
The hooded figure spat. ‘You are weak and pitiful, you live to serve those around you, yet you have the power to command whole galaxies and place them at your mercy.’
No, this couldn’t be!
This was unmistakably a vision showing the events being unfolded of the Great War of the Masters, to see whom would assume control over the entire Matter-Fabric, whether Aric would seek to abuse it or the Traveller – the very man on his knees right now – would live up to the prophecy and become one with Time to serve its needs and its questionable survival.
For so long, the moments of what was happening in Mira’s dreams both scared and motivated her to keep on fighting. Now that she saw it unfold right before her very eyes, she could do nothing but watch.
‘A pity you did not have the guts to kill me when you had the chance. Once I am done with you, I will strike the Matter-Fabric and then no one will stand in my way.’
‘I will not be the only one who stands in your way, Aric,’ said the Traveller, blood trickled down his face. ‘After me more shall follow.’
‘Oh, I beg to differ. Though you have been a worthy adversary, this is your darkest hour, let me relieve you of your suffering.’
Aric raised his sceptre. Everything around Mira sped up. White light emitted from the tip of Aric’s sceptre and engulfed everything.
Mira found herself lying on the floor, with Octavian crouched low, trying to help her.
Once seated, Octavian placed a goblet in Mira’s hand.
‘Drink this,’ he said.
Mira took a sip, it tasted awful. Her skin prickled. ‘What– What was that?’
‘You saw a glimpse of a potential future that may pass on the turn of the Darkened Days.’
‘I saw everything.’
‘What do you make of it?’
‘Though this is a version of perhaps many that could occur in its place, I urge you not to treat it as fact.’
Mira mulled over the vision, trying to make some sense of it.
‘Still, if it were true, then the fate of the Matter-Fabric is threatened. I will have to find a way to counter it. Maybe, I will be able to prevent coming events from happening.’
‘That is unachievable,’ he said. ‘Many who have seen visions have said the same. They wish to change what they have seen, but in doing so, they only merit more hurt and disappointment.’
‘Yet I saw the Traveller. Tell me that is not coincidental.’
‘Perhaps,’ said Octavian. ‘It could perchance be something that you desired to see. Visions are unclear at best, most play on the thoughts of their hosts.’
On one hand Mira could try to convince herself that it could have been something her subconscious had conjured up, but what if it wasn’t. What if the vision was real?
Octavian moved between the round pillars, looking cautiously around. ’Heed my words. It will be revealed at the dawn of the Darkened Days. Take note, for when this secret is revealed, a calling from the furthest reaches of space will signal the coming of universal destruction. Before the end, many will come together to claim the Matter-Fabric. More will fail under the reign of a Temporal Lord and another who will be his downfall. Though our destinies hang by a thread, there is but hope for survival. For a Traveller carries the fate of us all. Only one can save you from a terrible cessation. For only he, a human, will be your saviour or your doom.’
‘I, on the other hand,’ He said. ‘Cannot jeopardise events that have yet to be played out. Even with the instruments that I possess, it is hard to predict almost anything. I can, nonetheless, tell you of one place where you’ll be able to seek out the location of the Traveller, one where he is faced with a choice. A path where your involvement will be secluded from interference.’
‘Tell me what I wish to know Khalazaran and I will reward you handsomely.’
‘There are some secrets that are better left undivulged,’ said Octavian.
‘Even I know that for a gargantuan amount, you will tell me.’
‘Material possessions hold no value here.’
‘Then you should be glad to receive gifts from outside the universe.’
‘Do pray tell,’ said Octavian. ‘What could I possibly need?’
‘I wonder what your conscience says about this?’ Asked Mira, throwing a pouch that landed with a heavy thump.
Octavian stole a glance. ‘Oh, as you wish,’ he relinquished. ‘To find the Traveller, you must first seek out the Wise Men in Ladayga. There you will offer them a token that is close to your heart.’
He reached out a forefinger and placed it on her temple. With one thought Octavian showed Mira where she could find the Wise Men.
‘Your help is most appreciated Khalazaran.’ She bowed.
With a swipe of her hand and a turn of her cloak, Mira was gone.