SHARE
TWEET

Great [Monster] Journey 37

RSanon Jun 30th, 2014 1,319 Never
Not a member of Pastebin yet? Sign Up, it unlocks many cool features!
  1. Galen opened his eyes. The same ceiling he’d said goodnight to greeted him, dark and emotionless. He shifted around on the unfamiliar bed, turning left, then right, then staring straight up again. A foreign room filled with foreign shadows and an air of unnatural peace surrounded him. It wasn’t morning--this didn’t feel like morning. In fact, he’d hardly fallen asleep at all. Laying the back of his hand against his forehead, he groaned. Not an ounce of fatigue pulled at his body, but rather the plague of lucidity. There was no way he’d be getting any amount of sleep like this. He forced himself up, an action which took more effort than it should’ve and brought him back in full to the world of the present. He was in Edward Smith’s room, waiting for Toneruth to be repaired. Seira was still curled up in her spot, Mino an undisturbed pool in her bucket. Sometimes she kept her human-like form when she slept, sometimes she didn’t, but he’d never asked her why. Maybe tomorrow.
  2.  
  3. Silent as he could, he slipped out of bed and into the main room, Edward’s workroom, and was faced with two doors on opposite sides of the room. One door led to the front while the other led to the forge, where Sybyll and him were talking. Well, Galen assumed they were talking--he couldn’t hear anything from them at the moment. While he wouldn’t mind listening in to whatever they had to say, eavesdropping didn’t sit well with him and he didn’t want to disturb Edward by joining in. Besides, Galen didn’t need to stay up all night talking. He needed to clear his head and find some drowsiness so he could get some sleep. With careful steps, he made to the front door, then slipped away, keeping the building between him and the forge as not to be noticed.
  4.  
  5. The salt in the air immediately assaulted his nose and tiny droplets settled on his skin. The sea never slept, always throwing itself at the cliffs nearby. It was the only mark of violence in the night; the city kept silent and the sky, clear. Unsure steps crossed rocky ground. Galen’s eyes never came off the ground right in front of him for more than a second. Seira’s or Sybyll’s eyesight would have come in handy right now, he thought, but he managed well enough. He didn’t travel far. He just wanted a small area to himself to think. Once sufficiently far from the house, he carefully made his way near the cliff’s edge and sat.
  6.  
  7. Tomorrow. Tomorrow he would see if Edward really could fix Toneruth. Tomorrow Sybyll would teach him the greatest secret of the sword--how to wield it with the same power Solvet had. Tomorrow he would leave the city, just as he promised his father, but not to go back to Nox. Would his father try to force him to leave on a different ship to make sure Galen was headed back home? Would he be ready for what Sybyll had to say? What if he couldn’t do it? The only time he had awoken Toneruth was in the heat of the Scorched Lands, and he had claimed three--no, two--lives with it.
  8.  
  9. So much was going to happen tomorrow, but even more waited for him the day after, the day they broke into Medusuub’s castle and tried to claim her life. They would find out if Ahdria’s little ‘key’ would do what she promised, and if it did, Galen would have to pay the price he promised. They would have to fight through whatever allies and guards she had there, something no one in the group had even brought up yet. Maybe Sybyll had a plan; she wasn’t one to let something so important by. And after they made their way to Medusuub, assuming Toneruth could even break through The Covenant, could he bring himself to strike with Red Lightning once more, knowing what would happen to the monster he struck?
  10.  
  11. “You couldn’t sleep, either?”
  12.  
  13. Galen snapped out of his daze, turning to the voice he knew so well. “I guess not.”
  14.  
  15. She sat down next to him, comfortably close as usual, sharing her heat with Galen as she looked over the sea alongside him. “You know, I’ve been waiting for this for thirty years, and now it’s come upon me so quickly I don’t know whether to feel nervous or excited. There’s a mixture of both and neither one of them will let me sleep.”
  16.  
  17. Part of him wanted to be mad at her. She was getting the revenge she always wanted out of this, and Galen was going to be the tool through which she achieved it. She may have even been planning this from the beginning, when he told her about Toneruth. At the same time, however, part of him wondered how he might feel had Medusuub come to Nox and slaughtered everyone there. Could he still find room for anger at someone who so feverishly sought recompense?
  18.  
  19. “I don’t feel any excitement,” he said.
  20.  
  21. “That makes sense for you.” She patted his head with one of her beefy paws. “I’d be worried if things were any different.”
  22.  
  23. “I hate it.”
  24.  
  25. She took her paw away, turning from the sea to stare at him. “Why’s that?”
  26.  
  27. “Because the more I think about everything, the more I fear you’re right. You and my dad.”
  28.  
  29. “Your dad? He said something about this while you were talking with him?”
  30.  
  31. “Not really. I didn’t tell him enough about what we were planning for him to say anything. If I did, he’d have never let me past the dock. I’d have been sent straight back home.” Galen leaned forward, resting his arms on his knees. His arms felt awkward not doing anything. “But if he were to say something, I know he’d agree with you. It’s so… suffocating. He’s always too willing to compromise, like there’s no way to ever really have what you want.”
  32.  
  33. “That’s just the way of the world, Galen. Everyone wants something, often in conflict with someone else, and there isn’t infinite of anything, so you can’t get what you want without some kinda sacrifice. No point in brooding over what you can’t have, just make the best of what you do have.”
  34.  
  35. “Then what good are dreams if you’re just going to compromise those away, too? Doesn’t that dishearten you at all? And why did you tell me to fight for the ‘stupid things’ back in Fullburg if you don’t think there’s any point in it?”
  36.  
  37. Seira’s gaze found the ground, the remnants of a gentle smile twisting into a frown of thought. Her paw absentmindedly grabbed Galen’s arm, holding lightly, there only for the sake of touch. “Assume everything goes as planned for the rest of our trip. We get Toneruth fixed, we sail to Medusuub’s castle, get inside and kill her without any trouble. The war is stopped, the monster army scatters, and I take charge. That’s the best-case scenario. Now think back to when you started your adventure. You wanted to get Toneruth to prove your worth, you wanted to be an adventurer so your dad and your village could be proud, you wanted to be a hero who saved the world, even. You got everything you asked for, didn’t you? But something tells me you’re thinking it wasn’t quite what you wanted.” She squeezed his arm. “That’s reality. You never compromised your dream--no one ever asked you to, and it’s no one’s fault. Yet, here you are.”
  38.  
  39. Galen didn’t take his eyes off the sea. If he looked at Seira, he would be acknowledging everything she said, but… but she wasn’t wrong. No, it’s not just that she wasn’t wrong, it was that she was exactly right. All the things he touted as wonderful, exciting, and rewarding he’d achieved. He had Toneruth. He had been on daring, tense adventures with real consequence and come out on top. If he’d been the same Galen who started this journey, he’d probably be ecstatic, but the elation of everything fantastic that had happened couldn’t compete with the weight of all he had failed and the two lives he had taken.
  40.  
  41. He twitched when he felt Seira’s tail curl around his back and lay atop his lap. He felt none of the intent Seira usually had when he tail went into action, but instead an odd sort of serenity. When her paw laid atop his far shoulder and pulled him in, his suspicions rose.
  42.  
  43. “What are you doing?”
  44.  
  45. “I’m using you to keep warm.” A simple statement, spoken as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. It wasn’t meant to fool anyone of anything, but rather keep the truth of the moment unsaid where it had value.
  46.  
  47. Galen allowed himself to lean his head on Seira’s shoulder. “You know, manticores aren’t supposed to be like this.”
  48.  
  49. “No, they’re not supposed to be.”
  50.  
  51. He wasn’t about to complain, of course. The longer he spent with Seira, the more she changed, just as Galen did. He’d never asked if his change was as obvious as her own, but he didn’t feel like asking. It could’ve been fear that held him back, but maybe he liked the mystery. Seira kept a bit of mystery about herself, why couldn’t he, too?
  52.  
  53. He remembered back in the forest after catching up with Seira, she had a hard enough time just sitting down next to him. Everything that came out of his mouth seemed to bug her somehow. That might even be true now, though if it was she’d gotten much better at hiding her annoyance. Galen’s hand twitched. That was a terrifying thought--did she simply tolerate him? She was the crafty manticore who’d evaded Medusuub’s assassins for decades. Faking a bit of fondness wouldn’t be beyond her. Even so, something told him she wasn’t faking, her personality wasn’t a façade. If all she truly did was tolerate him, why was she out here, warming herself up with him?
  54.  
  55. Galen wet his lips. It didn’t feel cold at all to him. In fact, a great warmth welled within his chest, hotter than anything else he’d ever felt, a blaze above his gut. He fidgeted around, trying to squirm away from the heat, but nothing could disrupt it. No matter how hot it may have burned, he never sweated, never felt a burn or fever, just that alien heat. Seira’s skin radiated a similar heat where his head touched her shoulder. Maybe she felt it too?
  56.  
  57. Sighing, Galen absentmindedly rubbed his left shoulder, realizing only after the action that it had started to ache. Ever since Fullsburg, it had flared up at the oddest times. Maybe after all this was over with, he’d find a doctor who could do something about it.
  58.  
  59. “What’s it like to want revenge so badly?”
  60.  
  61. With his ear against her skin, he heard her heart skip a beat. “That’s… that’s not a feeling you should want to know. Or even have anything to do with.”
  62.  
  63. “Then why do you hold onto it?”
  64.  
  65. “I don’t have a choice.” Her tail curled around him tighter. “I have to do something, or else my family’s lives will have ended for nothing. I hold onto it because someone out there deserves punishment for what they did, and I’m the only one who remembers why. Without it, it feels like the world couldn’t possibly work, like life has some glaring flaw and I have to fix it to go on. It’s a terrible thing, and I will be glad to be done with it.”
  66.  
  67. “Can’t you be done with it now? I mean, you’re the one holding onto it. It sounds like such a horrible feeling. If it’s so bad, just let it go.”
  68.  
  69. Her paw rubbed his shoulder. “I know what you’re trying to do, Galen. It’s just not that simple. I’d say you’d understand if you were in the same position, but really, I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. You can’t just let it go--you might as well be ripping off your own arm.”
  70.  
  71. Galen’s lips had dried out again. When he licked them, he tasted salt. “Will you be happy when you have your revenge?”
  72.  
  73. That one struck something. Her back straightened, her head rose and her other paw dug into her leg where it rested. She stared forward, trying to hide how much she thought about the question, but Galen could hear everything going on in her body and had known her too long to let such a thing get by unnoticed.
  74.  
  75. “I don’t know. I don’t think revenge is supposed to make you happy.”
  76.  
  77. “Then what is it supposed to do?”
  78.  
  79. “Make you whole.”
  80.  
  81. The wind whistled from the south, but still Galen felt no cold. He couldn’t feel the sea, the rocky earth beneath him, the call of the sky, the moonlight bearing down through broken clouds. He knew only heat, heat, heat, burning heat, within his chest, in his ears, in his mouth, his mind, his feet, his hands. All the emptiness in the sky could not hold this heat should he belch it out in a mighty roar.
  82.  
  83. “How can you become whole from causing more pain? Is the only way to fill yourself up by taking away from someone else? I can’t accept that.”
  84.  
  85. Instead of a grumble and a lecture about his ignorance, Seira’s face softened into a smile. “I guess you’ll just have to prove me wrong, then.”
  86.  
  87. “Are you sure you’re a manticore?”
  88.  
  89. His eyes weren’t open to see her smile disappear. “Completely.”
  90.  
  91.  
  92. **
  93.  
  94.  
  95. “Hey!”
  96.  
  97. Galen’s eyes opened to an emphatic slime atop him, shaking his shoulders.
  98.  
  99. “It’s time to get up!” Mino shook him again, even after seeing him open his eyes.
  100.  
  101. “Alright, alright!” Mino hopped off and he sat up, but was immediately assaulted by a wave a drowsiness. His head became so heavy it almost fell right back down onto the pillow.
  102.  
  103. Wait, pillow? Galen scratched his hair and looked around. He was back in Edward’s bedroom, though from the light spilling in the doorway, he could tell it wasn’t night any more. He must’ve fallen asleep on Seira, which meant…
  104.  
  105. His eyes shot to the wall opposite Mino. It had suddenly become very interesting. Thankfully, Seira was no longer in the room to see his face, but Mino would notice it immediately if he let her. It’d been a long time since he’d been so caught off-guard in the morning--usually he caught morning by surprise instead of the other way around. He swung his feet off the bed, shaking his head in an effort to wake up.
  106.  
  107. “I’m up Mino. Go back to the other room.”
  108.  
  109. She obeyed silently and Galen got to his routine. Hopefully getting the blood flowing would set his burning face back to normal. After finishing his morning routine, he left the bedroom and was enthusiastically welcomed into the day.
  110.  
  111. “Afternoon, lazy.”
  112.  
  113. At least there was one thing about this day he was familiar with.
  114.  
  115. “Afternoon?”
  116.  
  117. Seira leaned back in her chair. “Yup. You’ve been out cold for quite a while. Mino woke you up because Edward just finished up.”
  118.  
  119. “He’s finished?” Did that mean Galen had slept really late, or Edward had been especially quick? “Where is Toneruth, then?”
  120.  
  121. “Right here.” Edward walked inside, the wood creaking under his footsteps. He held out Toneruth, secure in its sheath, though with a noticeable new layer of polish. “Like that? Figured it’d be nice to add a little extra touch to it.” When Galen could only stare, Edward pushed it toward him. “Go on, kid. Have a look.”
  122.  
  123. Galen slowly extended his hands, gripping Toneruth as if he’d never seen it before. It hadn’t changed in appearance, true, and the weight was the same as he remembered, but somehow it felt different. Maybe it was the balance, or maybe it was all in his head. His hand slipped up the sheath to the guard, then the hilt, fingers squeezing the woven patterns with a shaking excitement. A tiny silver sliver grew. The bladed half reflected a gentle curve and smooth ripple, the dull side did nothing but make the sharp half more impressive. Galen’s eyes widened when he passed the point of the first break. Nothing. Not a single mark, as if Toneruth had been forged that very day. Same with the second break. Only when the cold, unbroken blade was free from its sheath in its entirety did Galen allow himself the freedom to breathe.
  124.  
  125. It dawned on him that, as long as he’d carried Toneruth, this was the first time he’d held it in full, as a true weapon, the same he knew from legend. The balance was perfect, and even its weight was unnaturally easy on his hand for the weapon’s size. In length, it was only a touch longer than his original longsword, but the liquid curve and silver sheen gave it’s reach the illusion of pike’s. His hand shook with emotion, though he couldn’t make out which hit him the hardest. Perhaps it was fear.
  126.  
  127. “Wow.”
  128.  
  129. Edward slapped a nearby table, throwing his head back in hearty laugh. “Wonderful! That’s exactly what I was aiming for!” His brilliant smile drew Galen in. “Who said old people can’t have their own bit of fun?” He turned back to the door he’d come in through. “Well, Sybyll? Does it look like you remember? Or better?”
  130.  
  131. Everyone’s attention went to the door as Sybyll stepped inside, her expression colder than Galen remembered. Or maybe more intent was a better description? Her eyes took in the new Toneruth, sliding from the hilt to the blade tip. “Better, I think.”
  132.  
  133. “Does it feel any different? To you?” asked Galen.
  134.  
  135. “I have to admit to experiencing a touch of… queasiness as Edward heated and hammered the pieces back together, but now that it is whole, I feel no different than before.”
  136.  
  137. “Huh.” He knew Sybyll had said before she didn’t really care whether the sword was whole or not as far as her well-being was concerned, but he figured repairing Toneruth would make her feel more energetic or something. In the end, though, it wasn’t a big deal. There was still much he didn’t understand about the sword.
  138.  
  139. With care and a smooth motion, he slid Toneruth back in its sheath, finding an unexpected satisfaction in hearing the click of the guard hitting on the sheath.
  140.  
  141. “Thank you for repairing Toneruth,” said Galen, offering Edward a hand. “I still wish I could give you something in return.”
  142.  
  143. “Gah,” Edward said. He slapped his hand to Galen’s, returning the handshake heartily. “I think you’re picking up some formality from Sybyll. Don’t let her get to you too much. And don’t worry ‘bout payment. I said I’m happy with what I got--leave it at that.”
  144.  
  145. Galen smiled. “Well, I guess that’s that. Thanks for everything.”
  146.  
  147. “Ah!” Edward raised a finger. “You can’t leave quite yet. I think, before you go, it’d be best if I taught you something about Toneruth.”
  148.  
  149. Galen cocked his head, but said nothing. Edward gestured for the sword and Galen returned it to him. With much more grace than Galen had done so, he freed the sword from it’s sheath. Laying the sheath down beside him, Edward held the bare blade out to Galen and began to explain.
  150.  
  151. “Mages gave me a complicated speech about all the important properties and whatnot, but I’ve had to kinda hammer down their ramblings into something I could understand. The short of it is: The sword stands for itself.”
  152.  
  153. Galen looked up. “Huh?”
  154.  
  155. “You know how if somethin’ is used to mean something beyond itself, like an idea or somethin’, it’s a symbol? Take, uh, scales, for example. All they do is compare the weight of the things on them, but people also use them to represent fairness or maybe justice. Toneruth is kinda like that, but what it stands for is itself.”
  156.  
  157. “I’m not sure I really follow. Wouldn’t standing for itself just be redundant? Not mean anything?”
  158.  
  159. “Not quite. Here, take a closer look. Each part is forged with dual purpose.” He switched his grip to pinch the blade and hilt, running his fingers over the texture in the hilt. “The grip’s coarseness is meant to dig into your hand whenever you swing it around it to remind you of the power you hold, to keep you uneasy and wary of the weapon itself.” Slipping his hand up near the point, he moved the blade’s flat side closer to Galen’s eyes. “Pay attention to the detail in the metal. See the ripples? On a simple inspection, you would not notice this, but if you were to pay attention, such important details would reveal themselves.”
  160.  
  161. Squinting, Galen moved his eyes closer to the metal. He thought Edward was talking about the waviness reflected in the light on the sharp side of the blade, but he soon found his error. There were many different ripples in the metal, like tiny drops disturbing a pond in hundreds of different places at once, though without the perfectly-circular structure. The ripples were bent and warped.
  162.  
  163. “What are those from?”
  164.  
  165. “They come from the metal used, and from the spells welded into the metal. They’re also meant to represent how the sword is not what it seems at first glance, and that with careful attention, you can reveal the many different uses of the blade.”
  166.  
  167. “That’s incredible.” Galen didn’t really have any other words for it. Sure, he knew Toneruth had been carefully crafted by the best mages and blacksmith at the time, but it was another thing to witness the detail and hear it for himself. He met eyes with Edward. The blacksmith was definitely more than Galen had first thought. He pulled his head back from Toneruth. “Well, thanks for telling me. That’s really cool.”
  168.  
  169. Edward nodded, sliding Toneruth back into its sheath. As he handed it back to Galen, however, he had more to say. “As ‘cool’ as it is, I didn’t tell you just for amusement’s sake. The guys who made this were really damn smart; I’d be lying if even I knew every little thing this sword could do. The magic was the tricky part, I just melted some metal and whacked it with a hammer as it cooled. You shouldn’t underestimate the range of the sword’s abilities, but, at the same time, you shouldn’t overestimate yourself while you’re using it. It can cut into the land, sky, and sea, but an arrow to the heart will still kill you, even if you’re holdin’ this thing. Got it?”
  170.  
  171. “Mm-hmm.”
  172.  
  173. Taking a deep breath, Edward gave Galen one last smile. “Good.” He turned to Sybyll, Seira, and Mino. “Was good to have all you here, so if you’re ever ‘round a again, or for some reason you break that thing again--“ he shot Galen a look as he said that “--feel free to stop by.”
  174.  
  175. Galen nodded. Edward was sure to have a hundred great stories to tell, maybe even better than his father’s, but Galen didn’t have time to stick around and listen to them all. In fact, as soon as he saw the blade was repaired, something very specific had been on his mind, something Sybyll had promised two nights ago.
  176.  
  177. The group set out from Edward’s house, but they hadn’t gotten far at all before Sybyll called for them to stop. Galen knew why.
  178.  
  179. “This would be an adequate location,” she said as she looked around. “There is some open space and we best do this as soon as we’re able.”
  180.  
  181. “Do what?” asked Seira.
  182.  
  183. Galen swallowed. As much as he wanted to learn, his anxiety wasn’t predisposed to disappear just for that. “She’s going to teach me how to really use Toneruth.”
  184.  
  185. “’Really use it’?” said Seira.
  186.  
  187. “I need to be able to cut like Solvet did.”
  188.  
  189. “Ah. Well, don’t let me keep you.”
  190.  
  191. “I’m afraid we will need to do this in private,” said Sybyll.
  192.  
  193. “Huh?” Seira put her paws on her hips. “Why’s that? I was kinda curious about it.”
  194.  
  195. “Me too!” Mino piped in.
  196.  
  197. “Various reasons,” said Sybyll. “Unfortunately, stating them would defeat the purpose of our privacy. I am sorry.”
  198.  
  199. Seira shrugged. “Whatever. Just get on with it.”
  200.  
  201. Sybyll nodded and began walking toward an open area closer to the cliffs. Galen was torn, but only for a moment. After glancing back at Seira and Mino, he hurried off to catch up with Sybyll.
  202.  
  203. This was it. Just like Solvet 500 years before him, Galen would learn how to cut with force to tear the earth asunder, how to send the searing red lightning leagues into the sky, how to shake the world with deafening power. Forget ‘going on an adventure’ or ‘making his parents proud’, Galen would be tearing apart the very core of the monster hierarchy. He’d be ending a war before it could start. His heart thudded in his chest so hard it was like it wanted him to reach in and tear it out so it could beat all the more viciously. He suppressed the urge to do exactly that, keeping his eyes forward and on Sybyll. That same stone stare he was used to had returned. While it was nice to see her smile at Edward’s house, he was much more used to her more stoic expressions. If she was teaching him how to use Toneruth with a smile, he might doubt the integrity of her lesson.
  204.  
  205. “This will be a short lesson,” she said. “Teaching you how to unleash Toneruth is simple enough--you’ve actually already done so in one fashion, and creating another Scar just adds another step to that. What I must tell you before that step are the consequences of cutting with Toneruth in this way.”
  206.  
  207. “C-consequences?” She must have been talking about something other than the obvious fact that anyone hit by Toneruth’s attack would die--and that alone gave Galen enough grief.
  208.  
  209. “Indeed. The first is that the sword cannot be used in any extraordinary capacity for a long period of time afterwards. It will cut through armor and attack will instead of flesh like before, but otherwise, it will be the same as any other sword.”
  210.  
  211. Galen gave a curt nod. That made sense. “How long is ‘a long period of time’?”
  212.  
  213. “After the last Scar was cut, the sword was incapable for nearly 400 years.”
  214.  
  215. He answered with a gaping mouth. Four--four hundred years?! She definitely wasn’t lying when she said ‘long’! “That’s… that’s a really long time.”
  216.  
  217. “Yes, it is.”
  218.  
  219. Swallowing a lungful of air, he calmed himself back down. Such a drawback was unfortunate, but easily worth stopping a war. Besides, he wasn’t even sure if he wanted to use Toneruth’s ‘special’ powers any more after this. They seemed to always lead to trouble.
  220.  
  221. “Alright, what’s next?”
  222.  
  223. “I will be banished from the world for the same amount of time.”
  224.  
  225. That took a moment to register. The color drained from his face and the questions rose up on instinct. “What, what? Why?!”
  226.  
  227. “I was told it was because the sword loses all ability to project me out into the world, and must hibernate my soul due to the diminished amount of magic within. Only after those hundreds of years drawing power for the world can it support my waking mind and whatever actions I take. Of course, this also means that after the hibernation period, I will be unable to interact with the world again except for the sword’s wielder, and only after the bond with the wielder is re-forged can I--“
  228.  
  229. “Wait just a damn second! Don’t--“ Galen squeezed his eye shut in a hard blink. “Don’t talk about disappearing with such, such composure! You’re not just disappearing, Sybyll, you’re dying!”
  230.  
  231. “I can see how you would interpret it that way, as humans have such short lives in comparison, but the sword was meant to endure, and as such, a few hundred years--“
  232.  
  233. “Stop! I told you not to talk like that! I just met you like, a month ago! You can’t disappear so quickly! If we stop this war, you have to be around to celebrate!”
  234.  
  235. “That’s hardly a necessary requirement, and with the plan we have chosen, impossible. You should not be distressing yourself so.”
  236.  
  237. “Distressing myself?” Galen stomped up to Sybyll, seizing the collar of her tight armor and squeezed it with all his might. Sybyll didn’t react but for a glance at his hands. “You spent so long alone, doing nothing but waiting for someone to find the sword, and only a month after someone found it, you’re about to disappear again! Not only that, your friends will all be gone! Cea, Seira, maybe even Edward! Aren’t you going to miss this? Aren’t you afraid you’re going to forget? You said yourself, your memory blurs the more time passes. Can’t you come up with even a bit of worry for yourself?”
  238.  
  239. “I was chosen to be a part of Toneruth for many reasons. One of those reasons is because I understood the importance of my duty. I cannot let some selfish desires prevent me from doing what I must.”
  240.  
  241. Duty. That word again. No wonder Edward reacted so harshly to it. It had taken Sybyll and twisted her into something he couldn’t recognize any more, someone who so lacked thought of themselves you couldn’t really tell if they were real or not. Something had to have gone wrong somewhere, maybe in her youth, maybe it was the magic of the sword, or maybe the years had slowly drained what sense of self she had until there was nothing left, but Sybyll couldn’t possibly be called ‘fine’. And yet, only now did Galen finally see it. His hands went limp, falling off of Sybyll’s stone figure as if they had no more strength to hold on.
  242.  
  243. ‘The old Sybyll’d be fightin’ it tooth and claw every step of the way,’ Edward had said. What could fate possibly have done to her?
  244.  
  245. “Unleashing the entirety of Toneruth’s power is simple enough. It requires an action, a will, and a direction.” She continued her explanation as if nothing had happened. “The will to draw out Toneruth’s power, an object, person, monster or location on which you focus and direct that will, and finally a swift strike of the sword straight from its sheath. Only in combining the drawing action with the striking action will you successfully be able to Cut. Only with iron will born of certainty and confidence will Toneruth respond. Only with clear motive will the scarlet lightning tear through the world once more.”
  246.  
  247. Galen’s ears heard every word, but his body hadn’t the will to react. The world had become fuzzy, sounds distant, his thoughts sluggish and imprecise. He swayed where he stood, his eyes focused on Sybyll’s feet. ‘How can you be okay with this?’ he wanted to say. ‘How can I change your mind?’ But, just like Seira’s words last night, the truth of Sybyll’s statements began to seep in through the cracks in his guard, deep into his brain where they tangled with his core. Sacrifices were necessary, this was just another one of them. When weighed against all the lives, monster and human, in this coming war, what was sending Sybyll away for another 400 years?
  248.  
  249. That, however, wasn’t even the worst of it. For in his heart, her instructions echoed through a grand, empty chamber. He could strike from the sheath, he could send all his intent at a clear target, but he would never be able to do so with even a mustard seed of certainty or confidence. Not when he knew what the blow would do to his enemy, not when he knew what the blow would do to his friends.
  250.  
  251. Toneruth’s greatest power was completely beyond him.
RAW Paste Data
We use cookies for various purposes including analytics. By continuing to use Pastebin, you agree to our use of cookies as described in the Cookies Policy. OK, I Understand
Top