Hey folks. I know I haven’t written in a while. My life’s been totally upended lately. I’m in repair though, so I’ll come back to what I love doing soon.
So, let’s go on with Fourth Day. If you’ve never read before, or you’ve missed out on some stuff, you can follow by clicking HERE
Nedeseh suddenly appeared in the crypt. He understood that any victory would come from the Long-Shadows staying in the fight. He was ready to do everything in his power to keep them there; even if it was to guard their corpses himself. What he met there was not as grandiose as the visions of Nda Waniko’s memories…but it was the closest he had come to watching anything apocalyptic in person.
The corpses of the Long-Shadow guards were being torn off their chains, one-at-a-time, and he could only watch. He had never even heard of what he was looking at, but he knew what they were at first glance.
Earth, Fire, Water, Wind and Metal were each being used by strange men. They were not apparitions. Nedeseh became a shadow on the walls…literally.
Six of the remaining nine Long-Shadows had formed a circle around the Long-Shadow King’s corpse.
One of the Long-Shadow guards swung his sword and struck at one of the strange men. The man reappeared inside the Long-Shadow itself, filling the air with the smell of ozone and burning flesh. There was a loud clap of thunder and that Long-Shadow became a thin, unholy dust that added to the terrible atmosphere of the crypt. Nedeseh stared as the man was a brilliant blinding white light, both hot and unfriendly.
“I am the purest form of Fire.”
“Fire” Nedeseh said under his breath.
One of the 3 Long-Shadows in the periphery took its fallen comrade’s place.
The second stretched out his hand and a Long-Shadow appeared between him and the Long-Shadow king’s corpse. Suddenly the Long-Shadow began to tremble into dust.
“Even the undead are of the Earth, and earth is mine to command.”, he said as the Long-Shadow suddenly became black and dirty-white ash.
Nedeseh noted him, “Earth.”
The third clapped his hands twice and there was a wind building in strength. A Long-Shadow went after him, only to find the wind dousing the fire surrounding him. Then his limbs were being torn off slowly and flung about the crypt, just before the wind began to weather him. It was like watching erosion in fast-forward.
Soon he wasn’t there anymore, but threads of his garb floated like lint.
“Air” Nedeseh noted.
“By now, you must have realized that I’m ‘Water’…boy.”
Nedeseh stepped out of the shadows with a confidence that he did not feel.
“I can remove the water in your body till you’re more of a corpse than those you stand with. But that would be boring and drag this ‘distraction’. What do you know of the nature of the undead, boy?” Water said to him in a mocking tone.
“I just know they are dead and moving.”
“You know nothing. Undead means they are not dead or dying. They still have a link to this life. Do you know their link to this life? You’re standing in it. I have dealt with this type before. All I need to do is make his corpse ‘touch’ the earth, and the curse that keeps him among us will be broken.
“I could cause his chains to rust so quickly they would be too weak to support his weight. But I think I’d like to make a statement…by flooding this room from the river that runs beneath this passage. Any idea as to how you would stop me?”
Nedeseh was quiet… a little too quiet. Suddenly he wasn’t there anymore. Neither were the Long-Shadows or their corpses.
The elementals were surprised and impressed.
“So…this one thinks ahead, I see.” Air said calmly.
“No. You see too slowly. He’s quite powerful for one his age. He put us in an illusion as he retreated with them.” Fire replied.
“I want to finish what we started…let’s find him.” Earth stated in anger.
“And who are you?” Water asked someone who was stepping out of the shadows.
It was the Stranger.
“I am known as the Emptiness.”
The Elementals suddenly drew together into a very tight circle.
“We’ve met the Emptiness. You look nothing like him. You are not the Emptiness.” Fire said in a calm voice.
“Is that what you feel deep in your very heart? Is that what your spirit tells you?” he said as he took a step forward and they took a step back together.
“I caused the illusion; I had the young acolytes to move the corpses and the key part of this crypt. The boy didn’t do any of this…except for convincing you that he was still here when he was with me explaining what was happening.”
Emptiness drew his sword out without menace or malice.
“I have often coveted your powers, but have feared that I might not have the capacity to wield them with the ‘youth’ they require. They ‘do’ require youth, don’t they? You’ve not passed them on yet? It must be over eight centuries now. You’ve trained ‘tricksters and magicians’…not people who can become you.”
They became uncomfortable… very uncomfortable.
“How does he know so much about us?” Air asked.
“And yet all we know of him encourages fear in us.” Water added.
“Relax”, Earth said to them,” We are of the same sort. He knows that to pass on our powers would require our dying…passing away. He knows because it is the same with him. He is no threat to us. And he knows it.”
Emptiness looked at them with even eyes,” You’re right. ‘I’ can’t threaten you the way I’d want to.”
Nedeseh appeared next to the Emptiness.
“As we had discussed earlier, Nedeseh. Dispossess them of their powers …and their lives.”
The Long-Shadow king suddenly grew weak. Nda Waniko reached to help him, but he withdrew his hand.
“Touching me is not a good idea. I sense my corpse is being ‘moved’ away. It is getting increasingly difficult to channel myself here. And we will need to act soon. I can trace where they are gathering our people to…but we are not enough to handle them. They’re under-handed and our acolytes can’t do battle in the earth…except for where their captives surface.”
Nda Waniko instructed disciples to run as far as they could in every direction till they traced where the captives were. Just as they started to run, The Emptiness appeared next to all of them, and told them to go back. Those who didn’t listen suddenly found themselves running in front of Nda Waniko.
“Their attempt to destroy the Long-Shadows has just made things very difficult for them…” he said to Nda Waniko.
“You didn’t make the boy…?”
“Waniko, he has to practice on someone or something…and they are the perfect balance of both.”
Waniko’s eye widened as he asked,” Are they fighting back?”
The Long-Shadow king said in a relieved voice,” Who wins against inevitability? Emptiness, you have my thanks and respect. So what’s happening to them now?”