"GLORIANNA, THE CHOSEN WORLD"
Saga One:"MEANING OF HONOR: THE LEARNER SAGA"
CHAPTER V - "SOME PEOPLE AREN'T SATISFIED WITH DYING ONLY ONCE"
Garriott brought the gondola down near Erana's garden. The moment he had even neared the island Lymnos, he sensed something gravely wrong; some tragedy had already taken place.
Garriott leaped out of the gondola before it touched down, running as fast as his legs could carry him into the magical garden. He entered the garden, halting before he made it far- found himself standing in utter shock, his mouth gaping. He could not believe his eyes; at the other end of the garden lie a deep crater, surrounding a small 'island' of level ground just large enough for one person to stand upon. Strewn about the once lovely piece of land were clots of soil held together by the roots of scorched, broken plants. What in the world could have been capable of causing this destruction? Especially in one of Erana's enchanted places?
Garriott almost cursed at himself aloud for losing track of his only important goal in the situation; finding Erana. He glanced around. His eyes finding nothing, he ran further into the garden, stopping near the fountain and looking around, fearfully. He felt his heart drop as he spotted her, lying, twisted and broken, on the other side of the fountain. His feet carried him to her faster than he had ever moved before. "Erana!?" He gasped her name as he knelt beside her. "Are you alive!!?" He asked the somewhat stupid question without thinking.
Trembling on his knees beside her, he shut his eyes tight. I've got to get a grip on my emotions. Filled with despair, he managed to compose his senses, and then inspected her body. Tears nearly formed in his eyes at the mere appearance of her left arm; literally smashed, blood leaked from out from the sides; small chips of bone showing from the torn- and slightly burnt- flesh. Inspecting her chest, he found her ribs to be broken quite severely; a barely visible impression of the sole of a small boot pressed into her sternum. "Who could do this to you?" Garriott's trembling magnified, and, almost expecting the worst, he checked her right wrist for a pulse.
Garriott, after finding her to be alive, immediately attempted to summon up his healing power as he laid his hand on her head. The glow swept through her body, but barely succeeded in healing a few of her minor burns. I need to focus... "Calm down, damn you!" He muttered to himself hostily. He took a deep breath. "All right, Garriott, you can't do her any good if you're like this...you need to calm down for her sake."
Garriott took another deep breath, laid his hand on her scalp again, and summoned up his healing power. Her body shone a bright bluish color as the remaining burns on her body turned to mere blemishes, and then disappeared altogether. Her arm, though slowly, visibly began repairing itself. He placed a hand upon the lower part of her rib cage; he felt the crushed ribs in her chest regain their shape and strength; mending together. Garriott gave a faint, relieved smile as her arm began to look normal. The healing did not, however, revive her to consciousness. Garriott relaxed at the fact that Erana's injuries, and thus her pain, were gone- such pain surely could not be escaped through sleep. He drew his fingers across her chin gently, wiping away blood that had trickled from her mouth.
"Come on dear, time to wake up now." He whispered, taking her up in his arms, and carrying her over to her faerie fountain. He gently knelt down and set her down next to it, being careful with her arm. Though he had healed her, he could not help but believe that such an injury would be painful even after completely healed.
He cupped his hands, dipped them in the water, and brought his hands over Erana's mouth. A few drops at a time, he allowed the water to drip onto Erana's lips. He repeated this, and as he prepared to do it a third time, Erana's eyes fluttered open- she woke. Immediately her right arm reached over and grasped at her left. Then she looked up, to see Garriott kneeling over her.
"How do you feel? Are you all right!?" Garriott asked, helping her to sit up- her strength drained by the immense pain she had been in- and sat her against the fountain. After a moment of silent eye contact, he smiled and sat down next to her. "What a day..." He mumbled softly; and then he repeated his question. "Are you all right now?"
"The garden..." Erana said distantly.
"I'm so sorry for being so late!" Garriott said without warning. "I am sorry..." He shook his head, trying to calm the rage he felt towards himself.
"Immense danger that I felt from him...it was...so great that... The feeling of danger itself almost killed me."
"Who?" Garriott asked, and then immediately shook his head, placing his hand on her shoulder. "Later. You need rest, and we need to get to Silmaria to tell Rakeesh about what happened. He usually knows about these things, or at least about someone else who would know."
Erana could barely keep her eyes open. Garriott stood, and found Erana wearier than he had previously believed, as she needed his help to even stand. He helped her walk out of the garden, and he used his danger senses to avoid monsters as he walked her back to the gondola.
"Careful, dear." Garriott walked her to the gondola. Smiling to reassure her, Garriott helped Erana into the gondola, and then he climbed in as well. Erana's eyes drifted closed as she slumped against the back of the boat. "Garriott kissed her lightly on the cheek before turning to the task of getting the gondola off the ground and to Silmaria.
"My love," Erana began, opening her eyes, "he...was a horrible creature. I've never felt an aura like his. Even if he were powerless, the evil about his soul would be enough to kill me with disgust."
"Why don't you get some sleep on the way?" Garriott asked as the gondola lifted, wishing she would listen to him but knowing she wouldn't. I'm just the fool, no idea what I'm talking about. He thought to himself "No, dear, I don't need to sleep, we need to sort out how to solve this problem." Yeah, she'll push herself to the point of exhaustion, if I don't do something...I know this is a serious problem; that's more than obvious... Garriott, easily anticipating her response, let out a sigh.
"No dear, I don't need to sleep right now. Right now we need to figure out what to do about the monster."
Hmm, so I was off by a few words. "If that is what you want, dear." Garriott restrained himself from arguing with her, knowing it would accomplish nothing. "But, if you're not going to sleep, please take this." He reached under his armor, taking a stamina pill from his vest, and then gently placed it in her hand before getting back to steering.
"Very well," Erana tried wearily to smile, knowing that though she preferred not to use such things, Garriott only acted out of concern for her, and thinking would be much easier once relieved of her fatigue. She slowly, and slightly reluctantly, put the pill in her mouth and swallowed, nearly instantly feeling rejuvenated.
"Now, since you are feeling better anyway," Garriott shrugged slowly, "What happened, exactly?"
"Well," Erana breathed a long sigh, her memories vague. "I believe it started... It started when I felt a foreboding presence. It was slight, and vague- I assumed it to be nothing but my imagination." Garriott nodded, gesturing for her to continue. "I waited for you for a while..."
"I'm sorry I was so late." Garriott cut in.
"I know." Erana smiled at him for a moment. He nodded for her to continue with the story of what happened. "As I remember, I felt the danger magnify greatly. At this time, I knew that the menace I felt was not my imagination, but also hadn't seen or heard anything entering my garden. So I used my magical senses, and found such a powerful undead presence my senses overloaded." Garriott's brow crinkled, and he glanced off to the side.
Could that be the demon-like presence I felt earlier? No...that presence came from the wierding. Garriott shook his head, and looked up to see Erana had stopped talking. Her face held an expression of concern- surely she sensed his turmoil. "I'm sorry. Please go on." He smiled, trying to assure her of his well-being.
"Then he appeared to me." Erana said, shivering. "I remember little, except he was a strange little man. Purple skin...and a rather generous amount of green hair. He was shorter than I...I remember his eyes. His eyes were green...they were cold, and they stared right through me." Erana nearly shivered. "His voice was so cold...I remember he told me he had come to kill me, and he knew of you. He knew somehow that you are my husband. He toyed with me..." Garriott wondered at her words.
"Did he wear clothing that would indicate a cult of some dark sort?" He knew of me...and earlier today I just happened to have a run-in with some freakish super-wierding. "Perhaps the kind of sect that would summon demons to possess monsters- to be used as assassins?"
"He wore black...or gray...I forget." Erana shrugged, "But I do remember something else...a medallion. It was shaped like a six-armed star...the arms were curved."
"The hexapod symbol?" Erana nodded at Garriott's question. "So then, he is a worshipper of Avoozl?"
"He told me he hated Avoozl." Erana replied, "But he said also that he was a servant."
"Did he give you a name?" Garriott asked. "Rakeesh may be able to tell us more if we give him a name."
"I remember it." Erana thought for a moment. "Yes...Zaw...cure...dai. Zakkyurrdai was his name; when he told it to me I knew it wasn't the first time I had heard it."
"Interesting name.... Isn't that a type of vegetable?" Zakkyurrdai...zucchini? Squash? Hmm, sounds so familiar... Zakkyurrdai, I could swear that that was something edible...
"I'm not sure. Perhaps." She giggled softly, and then went back to the story. "As I said, I had heard the name before. It was when I was in Hades."
"You've heard the name before?" Garriott let his question hang for a moment. "Well, I guess I'm not surprised that you heard it in Hades. Such a person who'd attack someone like you has undoubtedly killed many others."
"He seemed angry when I mentioned it. The person who mentioned his name was Katrina..."
"What?" Garriott suddenly appeared far more attentive.
"Yes, and he seemed angry when I mentioned her death." Erana said. Garriott stared blankly ahead, confused. He said nothing, and gestured with a nod for Erana to continue. "Then suddenly, I lie on the ground on my back...my ribs were broken."
"You literally had a boot mark on your chest." Garriott said slowly, somewhat cryptically. "A deep one, almost like a footprint." Erana closed her eyes and nodded.
"I attempted to heal myself," She said slowly, her memory fogging, "but he stepped on my wrist. I couldn't even speak, it felt as if a boulder had been dropped on my arm." Garriott shivered as he remembered what her arm had looked like. Even more disturbing to him the fact that such of damage could be caused by nothing more than a step. "I remember very little after this, except for that the ground shook, and he was laughing about his key, and then a bright red glow covered everything." Erana trembled; she had a feeling she was better off not remembering everything. "Obviously, he left without killing me... I believe he said something about returning."
"Oh he did, did he?" Garriott grumbled. "He'll have to get through me first."
"To be honest," Erana sighed before continuing, "I don't think that would be too difficult for him to do."
"We'll find a way. I'm sure Rakeesh knows something..." Garriott sighed. "You can't die again. It wouldn't be right." I won't let you die. Erana, looking up into her eyes, could feel something disturbing behind his words.
Something's not right about him. Before she could inquire, however, a sensation of unrightness swept over her. She battered her fears away, immediately noticing the difference between the present danger and the sensation Zakkyurrdai's presence had caused. Garriott's head immediately turned towards the direction of Silmaria, despite the fact that it could barely be seen, as they had not yet cleared the shoreline of Lymnos.
"You sense it too?" Garriott asked, having caught Erana's twitch to awareness before he turned westward.
"Yes!" Erana said, standing. "Three points of evil; two of them are undead." Erana looked down for a moment, concentrating. "Rakeesh is in danger. All of Silmaria- all of Marete is in grave danger!"
"GLORIANNA, THE CHOSEN WORLD" introduction/summary page