5 Chapter 3: Orange Flames and Black Sun: Daki
I saw the Above and all its stars surround me. I got to see the Sea of Divinity that the Gods called their home with awe-inspiring clarity. I see the world as a small ball instead of a vast and great place. The black sea was filled with colourful embers. I see the orange ball of fire and a ball of black, a black deeper and darker than the one speckled with colour engulf the fire in front of me, which should have blinded me but it didn't. The ball, of a void, emptier than darkness itself, engulfed the fire. The ball was static, it was like I staring at death itself. I was being pulled closer to it. I saw its tendril spike out and pierce the world and consume it in the blackest night. As I drew closer to it I saw something pulse a deep and dark red within the void like a vein. The fire still burned. The sound of screams drew me out of the book I was reading, fear pulses over me as I recall letting my brother play outside with the other children before the Night of Niff. The Eclipse. Although people were outside and children were playing, The Eclipse wasn't a celebration, the night Niff came was meant to warn of a coming cataclysm, people were outside to say they were going to face whatever came. To show that they weren't afraid.
I opened the door and saw the chaos. The Cataclysm has come in the form of fire. In all the heat I remained frozen, I thought about my brother and I called out to him, I fought to be heard against the chorus of screams and wails. "Roan!" I hear nothing back, people in cloaks and on horseback rode on the ground. I hear the crackling of fire consume the houses and land. "Roan!" I scream out to the point my throat is now raw, I look around frantically and see nothing but people being carried or dragged away. I heard nothing except for shouting and the galloping of horses against the stony roads. I look around frantically for my sibling. As the fire becomes an even stronger presence than it did before I start coughing up the smoke I'm inhaling. I run on the stone, with its sparse grass tickling my tired, overworked feet and fire nipping and scraping against the heels of sandals which were starting to get worn away by hours of walking through taverns.
"Daki!" I hear my brother cry out for me, I could hear the terror in his voice, he's surrounded by danger he has never had to face before, thinking about him being alone and scared surrounded by flames,being consumed in the panic of crowds as they scramble to find their loved ones and escape, imagining the possibility of him being snatched by a hooded figure to get taken into the orange flames and eclipsed horizon, it makes me run harder towards his voice. I start coughing, even more, I could almost taste what must be the metallic flavour of blood at the back of my throat. I feel my head get fuzzy, the smoke making my mind go foggy and trying to make it go dark, my knees start to buckle. I push myself forward. I had to find my brother. I had to save him. I ran harder but with less form than one should as I struggle to keep myself standing. Hooded figures on horses ride through fire, taking people, their screams fade into nothingness as they're taken away to become victim to unknown horrors. I see my brother, he's crying looking around frantically for some semblance of safety, people run past him panicked. I run for him "Roan!" I call out for him, he looks at me with a tear filled smile he starts to move towards me, someone rides in and grabs him and takes into the orange flames and the dark horizon. I feel myself weaken, my body on the verge of collapsing a cough bringing me more and more pain. I wanted to run after him, I wanted to keep fighting but I knew that it could get me killed, but I refused to give up, so instead of run and fighting, pointlessly, I wait and offer myself to these hooded figures, I'm snatched and pinned with a strength that seemed nearly impossible, as I was taken into the horizon of destructive flames and the black sun which warned us too late of the cataclysm that came and destroyed.
The grounds with its terrain flits beneath my vision from grass to stone to grass to stone, over and over and over again, an unending cycle of blurry land, I don't fight, not because I gave up, I knew what I was doing, letting myself be taken was only to get closer to Roan. I couldn't explain what was binding but it just felt like a pressure pressing down on me, it was pulsing. My mind was foggy, I couldn't summon a clear thought to my head, it was blurry I could barely think about something in detail just vague ideas. Grass. Stone. Grass. Stone. Fire. Village. Roan. Brother. Brother. My mind became clear and defined, my body stayed weak. The clop of the horse's hooves became clearer and louder in my ears. My senses seemed to be returning to me, to my detriment, I felt the pain in my feet, the pain in my throat returned, it felt as if I swallowed glass and rock.
I blacked out, I awakened in a dungeon, I was weak, I see people start to leave "Roan" my voice was intended to be loud, but it came out soft and weak, I kept trying to make noise but my voice could barely escape my throat. I sat in the room only being able to do just that, sit and stare, stare at the decaying walls. Stare at the dead-eyed person in front of me, I stared into the sparse light that the torch gave. The fire was different than what I thought was normal it was yellower it caked the room in a faint, pale green. I was just sound enough to question the reality of what I was seeing, the yellow fire, the green light and the boy in front of me. Me and boy at each other, I was questioning his existence and if he was real then maybe he was questioning mine. We stared at each other, his eyes pulsed a red vein. Just like the book. My mind gained salience slowly, my thoughts grew from single words and blurred images into sentences and moving images then into ideas, memory, and imagination. I start to call out for my brother again "Roan" my voice was weak, I repeated my calls, I gained my voice, it grew stronger and louder.Nobody heard me, or they ignored me. The boy's dead eyes didn't pulse a red vein, instead, they were a brown, the light which returned to its natural orange gave the boy a flame in his eye.
"Roan!" my throat hurts, but I yell anyway, to fill the silence, to increase the chance of me finding him a part of me knew that it was futile, but I kept banging on the door. The boy had no response to my noise maybe he was still under the influence, "they don't listen, they don't feel enough to be annoyed enough to take notice of you, they pay any attention to you when they want to break you, make you give up your humanity and go numb, so you can ascend, and join Dialelith, The Beautiful Angel of Unravelling, who has come to save us all" he laughed, the scar on his cheek wrinkling, showing teeth which were white at the tops and faded into yellow at the bottom "the funny thing is that she actually looks like the physical manifestation of leprosy" his laugh wasn't really one of joy, it was the type of laugh that people had after talking about their problems and realising that they're near unfixable. A hopeless laugh. "Dialelith?" I think I heard mention of it but I never really retained anything. I sit back down in front of him. "you never heard? Wait, why am I saying that, you obviously haven't and I didn't until my village was burned down" he draws in a breath I got the feeling that this was going to be a long tale "This cult believes that an Angel came down to them telling them that the angels don't care, they only want the power that our worship gives them, well it's one to talk that's if it's even real" the boy is now blinking rapidly, it hurt him to speak about what he's been through but he does anyways "she said that she would give them power but it would require a sacrifice, their humanity, so now they do this under the illusion that they're saving us they commit all kinds of atrocities to break us, make us want to give up our humanity, just to make the pain stop" the boy spoke. My heart dropped, I just think about what horrors a child might be going through, what my brother might be going through, I think about him crying out for help, to the point I could almost hear him screaming for his sister to save him, but it falls upon deaf ears, I couldn't save him, I can't save him. I huddle up, my knees tucked under my chin. I start sobbing, my eyes fog up, I squeeze my eyes shut, my arms wrap around my legs tighter, I try to silence my sobs I didn't want them to know that I was hurting that I was afraid of what might happen to my brother, that I was helpless to stop whatever horrors might be awaiting him.
The doors open and somebody grabs me and pulls me into the hallway, my mind goes dead, my thoughts start to break down and unlink, I wasn't aware of what was happening, I vaguely remember going down some stairs, then I'm thrown into the dark room, I feel everything, all my emotions that I try to keep down, come flooding in. I was afraid not only for my brother but for myself, I felt helpless not only to rescue my brother but myself. I was using the thought of brother to distract myself. I was angry and hateful, I hated them for ruining my life and perfect routine, I wasn't a Baroness or someone who had it easy, but I worked in a tavern with nice customers that I call family, I went to the shop to buy books, then I'd come home and wait for Roan to come home, then I'd read to him until we both fell asleep, looking after my brother was hard obviously, but I got the hang of it my community was great and loving. Then it was all gone in ashes and screams, everything was gone. Gone. I was alone. I was alone. Alone. Everybody was gone. I hated myself for making my brother's suffering about me, thinking about my emotions when he was in danger thinking about how I wanted to find him, he was suffering and I was complaining about being in a dark room. Afraid. Lonely. Helpless. Angry. I let them all out in a scream. I fell to my knees and then collapsed on my side, I scream and cry into the dark, fighting not to unravel, not to break, what point would there be. Agony now. Happiness later. Agony. Happiness. Going around in a cycle survive the hell of the wasteland for the paradise of the green pastures, then you trudge through the mud for the beauty of the oasis, walk and burn through the fire for the cold of rain. Balance. Equilibrium. I think of this constantly telling myself, promising myself that no matter what I was going to be happy. I dream. I had escaped, I found a free settlement, I was looking for my brother terrified then I see him amongst a group of children playing, I call out for him, he runs towards me and wraps his tiny arms around me and I enveloped him in mine, I laughed not a hopeless one or a fake one. I feel so much happiness, that I couldn't breathe. I was happy again.
I didn't know how long I was in there for. I said a prayer "To Overach, please protect my brother, envelop him in your wing. To Arleda'aan make him strong give him the strength, to Sidrikel do what I'm unable to save him from this, even if it means that I never see him again, to Valaizeekel
make them suffer, make sure that they die screaming, use me as your-" the door opens interrupting my prayer, the light blinds me and I turn away from it. They pull me up and drag me away I feel weak and hungry.
I arrive at whatever place I was dragged to there was a table in the centre, I was put on the cold thing and tied down to it. I felt something cold against my toes, before I could wonder what was going to happen my toenail was being pulled off, it was a bearable pain at first then it increased sharply, I start to writhe around, cold hands hold me down they pull I start crying, I scream the pain starts to subside only slightly, then onto the next toe, a part of me wants to give up my humanity but I don't, I had a dream, I wasn't going to lay and down let myself fade into nothing leaving a dead eyed being, like the ones that were standing above they looked like humans walked like them but I could see that something within them is gone. The pain is almost unbearable but I bear it anyway, in what felt like many infinities the torture seemed done. They pressed into my toes, I cry out again, "please stop" I'm crying uncontrollably, they don't answer me, as I expected but I tried anyways. They used their nails and clawed at the place where my toenails used to be. My throat feels as if it were scraped raw, I cry out in a futile effort for help. In the small breaks, I breathe, forgetting to do so due to the immense pain. My mind cries out for anything, anyone to save me, take this pain away, bring me salvation. I focused on my dream, I focused on reaching those green pastures they were the only thing keeping me from rotting into the wasteland to be forgotten like the ones who stood around me. I was put back in my room. I looked down at my feet to realise that my toenail wasn't completely gone just near shattered. "it gets easier after a while" the boy said looking at my feet they still hurt not as much as before, but I was still in agony. I sit down on the floor, I needed a distraction. "what was your name?" I asked
"Lockan" he went back to staring at the wall, I had to deal with it I guess.