Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chapter IV: The Way Home

Chapter IV: The Way Home

Scrawl, The Past

The black sun hung above his head, only four more days through the Onyx

Desert and he'd be at village of Abiola-Rey, the Inkdwellers there were visited less by the Winterborne because of the climate of the desert. Being born of the winter, their people could not take the direct contact of the black sun's data. The Inkdwellers however have been absorbing its information for as long as Scrawl has been around; they have become the color and hue of the sun they at one time worshipped along with the other aspects of the land. Now the sun domes that were erected by the Winterborne and maintained by their Secondborne children block any high-level information from reaching the people, which is probably why their abilities no longer work. At least that's what Nelo thought to himself, since his birth he'd been passed from person to person, no one could hold on to him for too long for fear of the Second-borne overseers finding him. Darr-Woolf and Black-Phoenyx, had told him that he was the true descendant of the Obsidian Empire and that he had to be kept safe to restore it and Scrawl to its rightful place. He had his doubts about his own lineage, however he did know one thing his existence was bad luck to those around him and everyone who helped him end up dead or exiled. Woolf and Phoenyx were his ideological parents meaning Woolf coded him and Phoenyx housed and birthed him after nine streams. He did have a number of spiritual parents most of whom had died protecting him throughout the years, rather than have his last family slaughtered he ran away, hearing a rumor he traveled north toward Winterborne country; to the very hands of those who wanted his life. The Fourth Wall was said to have existed from time immemorial, supposedly the Mother and Father had created it when everything was nothing and dawns were young, back when G.O.D first created them. That was his chance to escape that is if anything anyone said about the Wall was true, the legends said that the Fourth Wall was a gateway to other worlds. Several stories surrounding the Wall stemmed from the “Fall”, the little remembered war between the Inkdwellers royal families and the capitulation of their remaining power by the Winterborne that resulted in the current decaying state of Scrawl.

In Winterborne territory to the north, vegetation ceased growing and the animals that were herded need to be used as the main source of sustenance, they were processed, In the Winterborne capital city of Eventide. In the western cities of the United Bastions, Data from the Black sun had begun to turn much of the landscape to ash that coupled with the increasing number of Fantoms and Unbound appearing in the area it became less habitable every cycle.

'If there is one thing that can save our world it's you, but you must get through the Fourth Wall'. Phoenyx used to say, he believed her, which is why he risked life and limb now to travel to this place.

A loud bang erupted to his left and as he turned to look at the dune there he saw a group of males, Inkdweller males, surrounding a female wrapped in an earth tone shawl. His head told him to keep moving but his soul said that he had to help, he was not raised to pass by one of his people in need and so he turned and made his way toward the group.

Though he had no weapons to speak of, he possessed a special ability the vast majority of Inkdwellers still lacked. Sea ran down the basin toward the group and then slid down a steep crevice. “Hey what are you doing to her?”

The group all looked at him as he came sliding down, they were armed with sharp crystal weapons and a few had Ricochet spheres floating about them. The largest man in the group broke the circle and began to walk towards him. “Leave here boy, it's not safe.” His voice filled with more worry than threat. Behind him the young woman turned to lock eyes with Black- Sea, she regarded him with a seductive smirk, then gestured that he put his hands over his ears and after he did, she screamed. The black sand around her began to kick up into an instant storm the leader of the group turned back toward her and they all charged in unison, Nelo crouched and closed his eyes, with his hands still covering his ears, and he heard or rather felt bodies or at least their parts flying past him. He felt weightless as the storm lifted him from his spot and a few more minutes he passed out. The feeling of warm, dark, bare skin sliding across his own jolted him awake, he looked up to see the young woman from the storm mounting him, she arched her back, licked her lips and ground her nails into the dirt beside him.

“MMMMM.” She looked down and got off of him. “That’s a nice soul you have, interesting taste to it.

She sat up and took a drink from a strange gourd to her right; it appeared to Sea that he was in a house or tent of some kind with a very high ceiling. Cool air blew in from the desert night. Black- Sea scrambled up to find himself naked and he instinctively put his back to the farthest wall he could find. “W-who are you?”

She smiled at him and put the gourd away. “Don't be afraid, I just had to see what kind of man you were.” She stood up and walked toward him. “I am known by many names, most call me Dear Daughter of the Onyx Desert, but you can call me Dee Dee.”

“Why were you on top of me?” He stood up naked and looked around. “Where are my clothes?”

“Like I said I was sampling what kind of man you were, don't you know anything?” She walked over to one side of the structure, picked something up out of the darkness and threw it at him. “Here.”

He caught a handful of clothes, which he realized were his. “Where are we?” He asked as he began to put his things on.

Dee Dee picked up her shawl and it instantly wrapped itself into a dress around her. “We're in my home, what does it look like.” She then looked him over from where she stood. “You're not from the desert are you?”

“No, I'm from Anoki-Can in the grassland region, to the south.” He finished dressing.

“Oh ok, so that's why you don't know who I am, in that case.” She walked up to him took his hand and led him to another section of the house. “Follow me.”

He walked reluctantly, into the other room, which had candles all around it, she sat him down on the floor. “I will show you who I Am.” she sat down next to him and began to draw something on the floor. “I am the Daughter of the Desert Goddess Onyx, well the daughter of her descendant to be exact.”

At his feet she drew the Black sun and the Silver moon in the vast sky, below it she drew a woman standing on top of an ocean on the firmament. “When Scrawl was still young, my mother was born along with the Great Black and Silver eyes, she covered it all. With the permission of the Great Mother and Father she allowed things to be born from her womb, from her came my father Earth Lord, he spewed flame across her surface to make land, and intern life was eventually created.” She finished her drawing. “Or at least that's what I was told by my mother before she left.” She shrugged. “I could never get it completely straight.”

Sea sat back “That had nothing to do with the desert.” He arched an eyebrow.

“Well I can't remember it all.” She put her hands on her hips.

“So why did you tell me the story if you didn't know it?”

“It's a tradition my mother made me remember it, I only told you because you're not from around here.” She got up. “I personally don't care for tradition, especially since the Winterborne tried to erase our history by destroying the Speaking Crystals and the Talking Tree.”

“Most Inkdwellers don't know those two things existed at one time, I almost didn't believe it myself.”

“So how did you know about them?”

“My parents Darr-Woolf and Phoenyx-Blac told me about them.” He looked down.

She stared at him, with a knowing gaze, trying to recall something told to her as a child but unable to quite remember. “I'm sorry to hear that.”

“Where are your parents, you said your mother left, where did she go?” Sea ran his fingers through his hair nervously.

“To pass on, when a daughter of the desert comes of age the daughter before her must travel out into the mouth of the desert and meet with the Goddess again.” Dee Dee looked down.

“Oh, and what about your father, where is he?”

Dee Dee looked down, at her hands. “He’s dead, remember the big guy in the desert, the leader of those men.” She looked out an open window into the night. “That was him.”

“You killed your own father?” Sea backed up from her. “Why?”

“Well for starters he would have killed me.” She then looked at him. “But the real reason is because he blames me for my mother’s sacrifice.”

Nelo looked down on the ground. “Must’ve been tough, killing your own father and all.”

She smirked at him. “Not really he never loved me anyway.” She twirled a finger through one of her onyx locks. “So where were you headed?” she asked changing the subject.

“To the Fourth wall.”

She let out a loud laugh. “You believe in that place?”

“What do you mean believe?” He adopted a serious expression. “It’s real.”

“Sure it is; what did you plan to do when you got there?”

Sea took a deep breath. “Use it to leave Scrawl.”

“And go where?” She smiled and cocked an eyebrow.

“Endwater.” He said solemnly.

“Of course you believe that exists too.” She rolled her eyes.

“It does.” He yelled. “It must.”

“Oh yes and why must it?” She leaned back.

“Because if it doesn’t I’m going to die.” He looked down at his hands.

She moved closer to him. “Why, who are you?”

He looked her in the eyes, his glinting sliver to her shinning gold. “I am the child of the Sun and the Moon.”

She smirked, she knew what that meant. The sun and the moon were one of the many analogies for the Empress and Emperor who had created their people’s first empire. The phrase was to denote those of Noble spiritual birth, but last she had heard all of the members of the Obsidian Empire had be exiled or killed, mostly the latter. However even if some were still alive could this young man be one of them? She did get that “interesting” feeling from him, that low hum, that steady vibration that hit the base of her spine and the center of her head at the same time, filling her with beautiful emotions. The more she focused on the sensations the easier it became to believe what this boy was saying. Smiling she looked upon him. “If you do make it to the Fourth wall, and to the other side, would you search for my other self and remind her of this?”

Nelo smiled and his eyes shown brighter than ever. “Yes, of course.”

She took his hand. “You promise?”

He nodded to her. “Yes, I promise.”

She picked up his hand and kissed it. “Thank.” She then lay down next to him on her side and pulled him down to her. Her back was facing his stomach. “I’m tried; stay here tonight and in the morning I’ll send you to Abiola-Rey.”

He lay down next to her. “O-ok.” He rested his head behind hers.

She smiled in the darkness and then turned her head slightly. “Put your arm around me would you; I don’t sleep alone if I can help it.”

He obliged her and wrapped his hand around her waist. “Is this ok?”

“Mmm, that’s perfect.” She closed her eyes and smiled. “Oh and if I start moving during the night, just hold me closer ok?”

“Uh, o-ok.” Nelo stammered

“Sleep well.” She said with a smile.

“Y-you too.” Nelo exhaled slowly, closed his eyes and felt the weight of his body drop away.

Endwater, Now

Roderick sat up; he was perspiring, his clothes and parts of his bed sheets clung to him. It’s like having a wet dream with your whole body. He peeled off his covers, got up and while he stretched his mind-attempted piece together the fading fragments of dream approaching the edges of his consciousness. Was it a dream or was it a memory He put on his glasses and walked to the bathroom groping for the lights in the pitch-black hallway, more out of habit than anything else. Coming up on the open door he flicked on the light and looked into the mirror, nothing out of the ordinary. No wide smile, no silver eyes nothing just plain old Roderick Parker. However he didn’t feel plain at all, on the contrary he felt quite extraordinary or at least better than normal. It was as if he couldn’t remember what thoughts currently depressed him and if he could the feelings of melancholy the thoughts brought with them were gone. Was this what Nelo meant when he said he’d make his life better? He did seem to have the courage to express his feelings to Sierra and she did seem to respond in kind. At least she returned both kisses. He was able to take on Randy twice, although he didn’t remember the first time. He smiled at his reflection and then remembered the Unbound, How can that exist in this world, in its true form. He ran his fingers through his hair, the thought that he had less time then he assumed ran through his mind. The shuffling from outside caused Roderick’s head to whip around to attention, he looked outside the bathroom door and saw a long shadow stretch across the floor. Leaning against the doorframe he peered around it and saw a figure shambling out of his mother’s room. Though he couldn’t make out the features he could tell it wasn’t his mother, the figures shoulders were broad and it was taller than her. It’s a man, must be James. His mother’s boyfriend never stayed at their house however she had been talking about having him spend the night. It didn’t matter to Roderick as long as he was safe down the hall with his nice sturdy walls. The figure cocked its head back at an odd angle and Roderick swore he heard the sound of loud sniffing. Roderick turned off the light and slinked out of the bathroom and back into his own room. After a moment he heard it stalking down the hallway toward his room and picked up his acoustic guitar, the one he never played and readied it for attack. He was certain that wasn’t James, what wasn’t sure of was if it was a human being at all. Since Nelo and I merged a lot of strange shit has been happening. A thought clicked in his head as if he was remembering something from another life, a memory that the other side of him had, of something grim and horrid. “Fantom.” Was the single word he whispered as the very thing came bursting through his door he swung with all his might smashing the polished wood against its head. He flicked on the switch and was face to pale, emaciated face with his brother Avery. His eyes were blood shot and he twitched uncontrollably, springing to his feet he lunged at Roderick and was on him in seconds. “Get off of me.” Roderick positioned his foot under Avery’s groin and kicked. Letting out a howl of pain he rolled off of him and curled into a fetal position. “Well your weak point was easy to find.” Roderick got up and took off his glasses as the air began to become thick and the hairs on his body stood up, his eyes became gleaming silver discs. “Now we can play, but not in here.” Roderick ran out of his room and past his mother’s noticing the crimson trail leading from her door. Mom The panic that began to flood his mind was quickly overcome by another calming force, something that made him stop at the stairs. The recovered Avery was now running toward him at a furious speed. Roderick crouched into a defensive position and as Avery came upon him, Roderick shifted his weight and tossed Avery down the stairs, sending him through the banister and to the floor below. Roderick’s body moved on its own, he felt as if his muscles recalled prior fights of this nature and a way to handle them. So Nelo was a fighter? Roderick looked down at his brother’s body as it began to stir. This has to end leaping down the steps where the body was he was caught in mid-air by Avery’s iron grip. “Ack.” Clutching at his arm to relive the pressure he looked into Avery’s eyes, they were dead and vacant; nothing remained of his brother. His eyes began to glow and their silver sheen shown brightly causing Avery to drop him and shield his eyes.

“You know, I was gonna waste my time thinking of some elaborate emotional speech before I ended this, but I know that wasn’t your thing, so I’m just going to kill you.” Roderick threw a kick to Avery’s side sending him rolling.

“Argghhh” Avery let out a primal roar, picked up a chair and smashed it against Roderick’s head sending him flying into the kitchen.

“Damn it.” Roderick hit the kitchen counter and cleared it of its contents. Rolling on his side he glimpsed a kitchen knife inches away from him.

“Rahhhh.” Avery leapt onto the counter his movements were quick and primal. Gazing at the floor he grunted in frustration when he noticed Roderick was gone and then wailed in agony when he felt cold, sharp steel pierce his side.

“Gotcha.” Roderick smiled and attempted to remove the knife but Avery, who proceeded to punch him in the face and then lift him over his head, seized his arm.

Avery launched Roderick into the stove causing the mechanism to collapse and the gas line to be exposed. “Argh.” Roderick yelled at the pain. I’m lucky to be Alive but that hurt like hell. Avery towered over him picked him up and tossed him back across the kitchen counter into the living room where he broke through the coffee table. Lying there in a haze he rolled to his feet he watched Avery come toward him slowly in the same manner a predator stalks its prey. Roderick shuffled over to his mothers well stocked liquor cabinet. He doubted that the bottles would stop him but he was sure that he could find something that would blind him until he could figure something out. Avery lunged at Roderick and was met by a bottle of scotch in the face, the glass and alcohol disoriented him as Roderick continued with various alcoholic beverages. Looking around frantically, Roderick spotted and auto lighter just as Avery was upon him. Pulling the trigger he threw it at Avery, setting him ablaze.

“Arooooooh.” Avery spun in a circle as the flames engulfed him, the alcohol causing it to spread rapidly.

Roderick made for the door and was almost out of it before he noticed Avery ‘dance’ into the kitchen and slam into the damaged stove with its open gas line. He felt more than heard the explosion as it rocketed him through the door; he felt the searing heat on the back of his neck and the bone jarring impact as he hit the pavement. That should’ve killed me; Nelo must give me a superhuman constitution. As his eyelids hung low he heard a distance voice calling to him, it wasn’t Nelo’s, it was a woman’s voice

“I guess I got here too late.” The woman sounded worried but familiar. “At least you’re still breathing.” Roderick attempted to place it but wasn’t able to cycle through his memory and battle the wave of unconsciousness that threatened to over take him any moment. He fought it his body was limp and for the most part he could only hear and feel what was going on around him as his eyes were too weak to open. There was movement though and that woman’s voice, who she was he didn’t know but she didn’t seem to mean him any harm. Roderick realized then that he was losing his bout with the waking world and passed out again.

There was a dull ache in the base of his skull, but he was still alive. He opened his eyes for a moment and then immediately closed them as the piercing rays of the sun shot through the blinds. He didn’t know where he was but he felt that a familiar presence was near by. He got up off of the hot leather couch and in a haze stumbled over to the kitchen table where a glass of water was waiting for him. He downed it in one gulp.

“I guess I found you instead huh?” He opened his he looked up and their before him was the smiling face of a honey colored young woman. She had a ring in her lip and another one in her tongue. She walked over to a stove that had a number of things boiling over on top of it. “You want something to eat, I’m making rice and veggies.” He smiled this young woman had an air of familiar newness to her. Something he could use at the moment, with his mother having been murdered by his-possessed? He didn’t even know what to call it-brother; he had no home to go to. Especially since he had to kill the aforementioned brother in a fire that burned his house down and he was now in need of something different. He wanted to escape this craziness that had become his life Nelo had said it would make his life better, but now he’s homeless and alone.

“I’m gonna let this stuff sit and take a shower.” She walked into the bathroom. “The names Adriana by the way.”

Her apartment was your standard affair; he sat at the kitchen table made of some wood he hadn’t seen before. She had a half kitchen that connected to the dinning room. A leather couch parked in front of a dusty television set, a few potted plants and walls lined with bookshelves. He sat in silence going over the past couple of hours in his head. What about Sierra he thought? Should I even bother to pursue a relationship with her? First the Unbound and then the stuff at my house, it seems like everything in my life ends suffering. I don’t think I can put her through that, he intoned. I should call her and tell her that we can’t be together, but it’s probably best if I just disappear.

The sound of footsteps took him out of his head. Adriana walked back in wearing a towel. She was glistening and putting her tongue ring back in as she walked toward him. He gave her an odd look and she responded. “ I take it out when I’m brushing sometimes.”

“Um It’s not that, You’re walking around in a towel and you barely know me.” Roderick was a bit flushed.

“Of course I know you, wouldn’t have saved you if I didn’t.” She smiled. “ Scrawl, remember the desert?”

Something clicked in Roderick’s mind. “Dee Dee?”

“He remembers me.” She grinned.

“I guess you saved me twice huh?”

“Looks like it.” She walked over to the stove and he noticed the top of a tattoo on her shoulder blades. “You wanna eat?”

“No thank you I’m not hungry.” He looked down at his hands. How could he be after killing his brother? The one he wanted dead anyway that was irony though.

“ Okay.” She fixed herself a plate. “What were you doing in that rubble?”

Roderick looked around; nervously he wasn’t ready to talk about this much less think about it. “Uh can we talk about something else please?”

“Sure like what?” She looked up at him from her plate.

“Your piercings did they hurt?”

“The first couple did but after that nah.”

“Well how many do you have?”

“ Seven, one in each ear, one in my tongue, one in my lip and the rest are covered up by this towel.” She grinned lasciviously.

Roderick blushed. “Oh.”

She stood up and walked around to his side of the table and took his hand. “You wanna see the rest?”

He looked into her eyes and they were a peculiar gold. “Yes, please.” She took him by the hand and led him into her bedroom.

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