Category Archives: Remy’s Fourth Day

Fourth Day: Chapter Three (IV & V)

Here’s Sections IV & V of Fourth Day: Chapter Three. I hope y’all like it. I know I do. And of course, keep up with the whole series by clicking here.

IV
Amina returned and challenged the queen of the Sand-sprites.
The Queen had to relinquish her name and could only use it if she was no longer Queen.
Amina walked into the royal chamber and called the Queen by her “common” name.

“Halima! I would speak to you.”
The court fell silent. They knew the Queen seized the throne and kept it by sheer ruthlessness. No one had ever learned how powerful she truly was, but everyone feared how powerful she seemed already.
The Queen looked down from her throne, made of the very sand that they stood on, kept by her power, and shaped by her very character.

“You dare call me by that name? You forget your place here, girl. What power do you bear that gives you the…”

“The seed of a King in me, and they give me the power to rule over you…and your kingdom.”
The Queen raised a hand and sensed the children in Amina’s womb, but did not understand the power they held. Still, Halima did not become Queen by being afraid or cautious in the face of the unknown.
“You would battle me? While you are with child? The ‘seed of a king’, unrecognized by this throne? You will fall hard this day, and your fall will remind everyone why I continue to rule.”
“No, Halima. I will establish a new royal house with the seed of a King you know nothing about. A King you have mocked me for over the last few years.”
Amina turned to the court of 70 women and pointed a finger at each of them as she said, “I know your hearts, all of you.”

She then faced the Queen and said in a commanding voice, “Halima, I know what must be done. I will do what must be done.”

“A usurper who bears bastards?” said Oru’e; one of the queen’s champions in jest. The hall laughed. Amina didn’t have a sense of humor. The earth literally turned to whirlpool of dust under Oru’e, and the harder she struggled to control it, the stronger the current became until she was sucked under and carried to the depths of the earth beyond even where she could rescue herself. The crater that was left made that clear to everyone that Amina was not the same person they had known.

“If you are done thinking about your future positions, I suggest that one of you, any of you, all of you stand forward to defend your queen’s throne, or stand behind me as I establish mine.
“I am many years younger and many times more ruthless than she, so choose well. The winner will take it all.”

It was clear that the court would support Halima. Amina looked crestfallen, but in her heart she smiled. Being disregarded and despised made for a plain-realistic look of the world. She knew them for the snakes that they were and they had to die. All of them.

V
Nedeseh had agreed with her that she had to be seen as doing this by herself without him.
“Unseen, Amina. I will be unseen. I will be the shadow that is next to your very body beneath your clothes. No harm will come to you or our children. I will see to that.”
There is a great thing about being powerful and in love. Promises are guarantees and even a sigh is a commitment made. The battle for the throne of the Queen of the Sand-Sprites was not anything like the earth giants. Nedeseh learned that Amina never really needed him to do more than love her. He had already made her a Queen among the Sand-Sprites and she made sure they knew.
Halima stood up and the throne shifted into the form of a sphinx made of a mist of dust. It arched its back until she sat comfortably, then it stared at Amina with predatory eyes and the members of court scampered away. It made ready to pounce, then changed its mind and started to stalk her in a perfect circle.
“So, liar and bearer of bastards…what will you do now? I have no kindness in me. The children in your womb are not my weakness.”

Amina stood perfectly still, then lowered her head and said, “True. Your over-confidence is.”

The sphinx began to convulse, throwing Halima off its back before falling apart into a cloud of dust.
Amina then asked no one in particular, “She doesn’t fear people, but is terrified of scorpions?”

A scorpion of dust slowly rose from the earth beneath, seemingly clawing its way out of hiding. It then shook itself violently, causing its form to become more and more solid. Soon, it was an animated creature of shale. Its pincers large enough to snap the spine of any horse without much effort. Its legs were graceful yet purposeful as it advanced on Halima.
Halima stared at it passively as it raced towards her. When it was almost on top of her, a large jagged rock crashed on it from above.
Halima motioned at the distance behind Amina to a cloud of dust in the distance. It made sense with the trajectory of the rock.
“For a queen, you certainly have little awareness of your kingdom you hope to claim.”, Halima scoffed.
Amina smirked as the form of the scorpion seemed to be struggling under the weight of the rock, but it flailed under the weight, sinking deep into the sands.
“Your manipulation can’t fight the weight.”, Halima said pointedly.
“Halima. You have a grasp of the use of power, but you don’t understand its purposes. It takes more power to create than to destroy.”
The tip of the rock seemed to be animated and a strange pattern burst all over just before it sank beneath the sands. They looked like stress-lines, but they were deliberate, not natural.
Halima sensed the rock wasn’t aiding her cause.
“My scorpion is not fighting the weight of the rock…it is joining with it.”


Fourth Day: Chapter Three (I-III)

So, we start up Chapter Three of Fourth Day. Remember that you can catch up with all the entries in Fourth Day by clicking HERE.

Enjoy.

 

I

In the Sahara desert, a Bedouin girl – a sand-sprite – was being punished for speaking of a lie of meeting a boy of the Sudan and playing with him rather than capturing him so he could be sold as a slave.

She tried to explain to her mother that the boy was unlike anything she had seen, or even been told of. But they didn’t understand. They were never able to. And two years after, she was used to being put down as lazy, stupid, slow…but for peace of mind, she would replay how they chased each other in a dance that men pretend at in dreams.

She was not confident at sparring and she was often pushed in to the circle to get beaten down as the others would look and laugh.

Today she pretended to be on some mundane task while she day-dreamed of the boy. And he was suddenly before her. She did not jump. She reached out to touch him. He did not flinch. He reached back to her.

“This…this moment is worth all the abuse and insults I have received from speaking of you.”, she said with tears surfacing unbidden.

“Then you must not speak of me. I…have thought often of you as well. I have something for you. I knew I could trust you when you did not harm me that night. I cannot think of anyone else. It is the…”

“I will keep it safe.”

They didn’t know when they kissed.

II

They heard when someone called out, “Amina!!”, Nedeseh rolled the both of them into a shadow and they rolled out from behind a rock on a mediterranean beach.

They spoke of things that are silly, but love adds a certain gravity, makes what is unsaid, understood.

They spent the night talking and talking and talking and when it was almost dawn, Nedeseh was about to give her the power of Earth, when she said something that revealed she had aged under abuse as he had under power.

“I want you to ‘root’ it in me.” she said to him.

He was about to ask for her certainty and she kissed him fiercely as she raised her skirts while putting her arms round his lower back.

He let his clothes fall through him as he pushed himself into her firmly. They swam into each other as true lovers do, nothing understated, no reserve, no doubt, and no fear.

They travelled through each other’s memories and powers, then travelled up the falling rain into the thundering sky. When they reached the azimuth, Nedeseh couldn’t stop giving and Amina could not stop taking.

When the Earth power went into her, it rooted itself as a child in her womb. It caused a rumble that was gentle her but it quaked the earth beneath the sea.

Nedeseh could not hold back. Water then followed, as it rooted itself, the clouds grew stonger, thicker, and the sea rose to meet them as a hurricane being born.

He let Wind go into her and gently let them both down to the beach.

Rogobaresth stirred and asked, “Another key is being formed?”

Nedeseh shook his head and said,”Fire will not be her curse.”

“Ah! Well, I’m patient.”, was the reply that rumbled from the depths of the earth.

III
He lay his head between her young breasts and said,”I agree that you will be queen. I cannot rule beside you, Amina. I have a responsibility that even love cannot bridge…as we would like.”
Amina replied in a tired whisper,”I know. I understand. Our sons will not have to suffer knowing what you must become.”
She had seen what he was going to become, even when he could not. This has always been the way with women and the men they are meant to be with…even when they can’t be with them.
The Emptiness watched from a distance.
“Well. This is different. The impossible really has made peace with him.”


Fourth Day: Chapter Two (XIII)

Hey y’all. So here’s the final section of Chapter Two of Fourth Day. I like how it ends. Hope y’all do too.

I’ve been reading into Chapter Three… Woohoo… that’s all I have to say… 🙂

Remember, if you’re not familiar with Fourth Day, you can catch up by clicking HERE

XIII

Rogobaresth discovered he was getting weaker as he got to the core of the Earth-giant. Baru had been brave. He knew the harder he screamed, the more intense the deaths of his men.

Nedeseh walked around the parts cooling on the almost dead and cut 3 stroke tattoos where he could see flesh.

Baru could tell the lava was almost on him, he kept his cries and breathing to a bare minimum, his muscles flexed as a means of doing the screaming for him. The claws of the dragon held the earth giant in a firm grip as its body coiled round it so its head could find delicacies among the men in its different parts.

Nedeseh then appeared before Baru and cut 3 tattoo strokes deep and quick.

“You have realized that I had passed on the power of the dragon to you. You decided you were its prey so you did not try to sway it from its course of action. I thought I would tell you this before I tell what I just did to you and most of your men here.

“You struck down the long-shadow guard. You will replace them; you, your sons, and your men.”

Baru narrowed his eyes at Nedeseh then laughed,” I know this much. You need the permission of my king.”

“Ashket gave it. In fact, he suggested it.”

Baru felt such a fury at the deceit that he gave a roar intended to match his effort at bringing Rogobaresth under his control.

All it did, all it was ever going to do, was bring a final wash of red and orange fire over him. Nedeseh never left his side. He was focused on the life in Baru and he took it with all his knowledge, experience, and skill with earth. The 4 elements were his again with the knowledge of how an earth-giant is brought into being…so much more.

Rogobaresth had lost his form when Baru died, but he had not lost his consciousness.

Boy. What is your name?

“Nedeseh.”

Nedeseh. I will remember that. So, will you try to master me?

“Only fool will try that. I will pass on the powers.”

And keep none for yourself?! Did you not feel the true power of the universe when I raised myself from the bowels of the earth?!! Did you not want to keep it?!!!

Nedeseh smiled and said, “Older and wiser men than me never made peace with the impossible. It is impossible to see such power and let it go. It is impossible to believe you can get it back once you’ve given it out. It is impossible to believe you won’t need it.

“I, Nedeseh, made peace with the impossible and do it at will. For it made peace with me as a child. There lies my peace of mind, hold on myself, my strength, Rogobaresth.”

We will see.” said the great dragon as the volcano died and unmade itself in the wake of his path to where it slept.


Fourth Day: Chapter Two (X-XII)

*Dodges slippers and rotten tomatoes*

Yes, I know that I’ve slacked a lot with Fourth Day. I sincerely apologize. It was caused by a mix of internet connectivity issues and a touch of my usual laziness. Which is why I’m repenting of my sins once more and humbly promise to try to do better.  I’m giving y’all a bit right now, and then I’ll put up some more tomorrow. Which is when it’s meant to actually be up. Remember, if you’re not familiar with Fourth Day, you can simply catch up by clicking this link.

Now, let’s go on.

X

“I was promised an impossible death.” Baru said, with resignation in his voice.

Tears were already gathering in his eyes from looking at Nedeseh.

Nedeseh’s appearance began; a transition back to his original form.

“Rogobaresth!” He said,” He must have been promised you. Make good of it.”

XI

Rogobaresth is an entity known my many names and many forms. His most popular form is that of the Leviathan because that is what most men could relate with. Many have assumed he was the last dragon. Only few are privy to the truth of him. He is a form of judgment, a form that even karma pales to in comparison. He does not care for the individual acts of men, or of groups of men to other groups, he does not look at a generation as good then another as evil. Every generation of ‘life’ has evil that the earth trembles under. That trembling is Rogobaresth and he is the earth waiting to consume the world upon its back. When he consumes, none can record what he did or how he did it for any man who looks upon his power is in danger of staying mad…but they all run mad. They all run mad.

XII

Baru suddenly found himself alone again. The earth giant stooped over to see if it could find a corpse among the charred point of impact from its blow. If found nothing.

Baru then felt a burning sensation that housed itself in his breath, his life. He tried to speak, but he cried out with a violence that dwarfed the earth-giant’s blow. His cry called to the true earth beneath the earth. Men call it Lava, and believe that volcanoes are the only things that Lava forms as outlets. They are spared of the truth. Rogobaresth is the culmination of Fire and Earth and Water and Air. Fire is how he burns, Earth is where he gets his form, Water is how he moves and Air is how he keeps on burning.

A black dragon, with scales of burnt earth that revealed lava through cracks, eyes that were iron and fixed on the source of the cry that called him, it literally swam as if in water, out of the earth, towered the Earth Giant, only to curve back and dive to Baru’s unfortunate army.

As it touched the head of the earth-giant, the dragon became lava and washed the earth-giant. Baru screamed even harder, and the flood of fire intensified. The sky took on a red hue with a tint of fire orange and those being shielded by the Emptiness acknowledged that what he did was right. They could not imagine what was happening and the did not want to for a sense of dread that hides in the primal nature of man came to the surface with such suddenness, grown adults cleared their bowels and bladders without seeing what was happening.

Only the Long-Shadow king and the Emptiness could see…and discuss.

“So the boy found Rogobaresth?”

“Yes. When I told him to take the powers of the elementals, I knew it would only be time before he would come to a conscious state and speak to the key of the day.”

“That boy became a key? For how much longer? I am yet to hear of or meet a key powerful enough to survive Rogobaresth for a week. And they were before and during my time.”

“Really?”, said the Emptiness, “Well, you will hear of one today.”

The Long-Shadow king stood in silence for a few seconds as the earth giant’s true situation was being revealed. It was being eaten. The power that kept it together was being eaten, not as a beast would consume prey, but as a man would take his time over a meal…with contemplation.

“He did not need to strike at me, Emptiness. Where do we replenish my host of guards?”

The Emptiness smiled and said,” Well, I spoke with their king and he gave permission…”

****

So, with this tidbit, am I forgiven? Thank you. I’ll also be putting up the next part of “Four Seasons” in a few minutes. I’ve got a bit of work to do… gotta earn my keep.


Fourth Day: Chapter Two (VI – IX)

Hi there everyone. So today we continue Chapter Two of Fourth Day. But before we do, I need to address a few things.

A lot of you have complained that you’d rather have the book to read than have it given to you in pieces. I understand that. But you see, Fourth Day is a story (or series of stories as the case may be) that has been in existence in Remi’s head for close to a decade. I can say this categorically, because he told me about it when he first started conceptualizing it.

Fourth Day was not meant to be a book.

Shocking, I know. But in actuality, it was meant to be a series of comics (Remi forgive me for telling them this).

So what you’re actually reading, is like me giving y’all comic books to read every week, only without the illustrations. The transition into comic book will happen soon enough I believe, but for now, so that the story doesn’t stay buried in his soul, we agreed that readers on my blog should get a sneak peek at what may be one of the best fantasy stories to come out of Nigeria (in my honest opinion).

So I know it’s difficult, but it’d be best if you took it like I’ve explained… patience as well, is also a virtue. Soon enough, you’ll be able to read everything the way you want.

So, let’s move on shall we? 😉

P.S. I’m thinking of putting another set of stories by Remi on here called “Cameron Vidai”… what y’all think?

VI

“Emptiness? What is happening to them now?” The Long-Shadow King asked.

“Fear.” Said The Emptiness. “Fear, then death.”

The elementals were running, trying to disguise their paths in places where their element naturally occurs. Nedeseh was not looking at their forms. He was drawn to the light of life that was the core of their being.

Earth was the first to fall.

He ‘joined’ the earth of the crypt and began to move away from the surface of the earth and deeper into the center.

He had reached a pocket of space in the crust and stopped there to figure out how to regroup with the other 3.

Suddenly…he wasn’t alone, anymore.

Nedeseh saw the light of Earth’s life and power and fed on it. Nedeseh would spend the next 4 centuries figuring out what he saw as he took Earth’s life and power. He saw the big bang…except it wasn’t a bang. It just happened. All of the lives of the masters who were once in Earth’s position…he saw it all.

Nedeseh trembled then fell to his knees as he saw Earth’s body. Degradation that had been kept at bay for 8 centuries fell upon it and soon you couldn’t tell where his remains ended and the hard earth began.

Nedeseh looked up, causing a straight tunnel to bore through to the surface so he could see the sky and follow his next target. As he turned, the bore adjusted with his gaze. He saw the sky, and then recognized the light of life in Air. He caused the earth to gather itself beneath him till he was 30 stories high staring into the eyes of an unbelieving Air.

“I have all that I need to win this battle. When I am done here, I will go looking for you wherever you run or hide. So long as you are still living, I will find you and consume your life and your power.” Nedeseh said in an even voice.

“Spoken…like the Emptiness himself.” Air said before dispersing to the four corners of the world.

Nedeseh paused at the memory of the Bedouin girl he met so long ago and came to a decision. He could still see the light of their lives. Air gathered himself at the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro where the wind was still. Nedeseh appeared next to him.

“It is too late for you to know what it means to lay your life down so life and power may continue their journey.”

VII

The Tin’Has were gathering their spoils together, and keeping discipline by drowning a few with the soil they stood on. Few things still a person’s protest like the sight of a man drowning in dust, struggling until he’s still and dead. But the Tin’ Has were not done.

To win Ashket’s throne would require more than a handful of slaves, but the abject subjugation of the Half-Moon chamber.

“We have broken their people’s faith in them. In their ‘weakened’ state, they should be easy to overwhelm.” Baru said aloud.

Nedeseh suddenly appeared before them, causing them to jump.

Baru raised a hand to still his men.

“This one isn’t like them. I’ve never seen anything like him.”

It hadn’t occured to Nedeseh that he looked like an undecided nightmare.

His eyes bore fire like lightning, his hair danced as the wind, his movements were like water and his presence was like that of a newly formed mountain.

“Who are you? Friend or foe?” Baru asked in an uneven tone.

Everyone within earshot knew Baru was afraid. His voice betrayed him.

Nedeseh opened his mouth to speak, but he heard an ocean roar, only to realize he had just sighed.

“Speaking would waste our time. You struck a king. So I must strike back.”

One of Baru’s men plunged his hands into the earth, but Nedeseh had seen his intentions. The earth beneath Nedeseh turned to granite and it ran a rude course to Baru’s soldier, turning him and the air around him into granite.

 

VIII

It would not be obvious to anyone why Baru was afraid. It is said that Tin-Has, his royal house, has amongst its slaves a line of seers. These men were the children of a peaceful king who had accepted defeat most graciously and was to watch his sons being gelded as his daughter was raped on command. It is said that he turned to Baru’s fore-father and made a deal with him. He said his bloodline have a gift of prophecy and destroying a gift so precious to the future is one of the lines dividing kings from successful and common men.

Baru’s ancestor asked this fallen king to prove himself. The King asked for a sword and he received one.

His words were recorded:

“A man who knows when he will die is more powerful than one who knows nothing of his final day. This knowledge further divides men into those who are weak and those who are strong. This truth divides even further men who are foolish and those who are wise.

King, you must be powerful, strong and wise. Let the day you die be the day I die if I do not die before you. My children saw this day even more clearly than I, yet they honored my foolish decisions that have led us here. For every member of your direct line, my family will predict the day of their death…in exchange; do not harm my children, for you know not what you provoke.”

 

It is said Baru’s ancestor laughed and ordered the enslaved king to be beheaded saying, “If indeed the day he dies is the day I die…then there is to be a special place in this House for his family.”

 

It is said upon these words; the defeated King stood up straight and broke his own neck. Baru’s ancestor stopped laughing, looked at the corpse and turned to look at the princes and princess. They in turn looked at him, then to their father’s corpse and then pointed at the roof as they took 6 steps back in unison. Everyone turned to see nothing, but Baru’s ancestor was dead.

 

Since then, his last command has been followed over generations and Baru’s death was predicted to him by a descendant of that fallen king.

 

“Lord Baru, there is a land of harvest. Men harvest crops there for food as this kingdom harvests men for slaves here. You will be harvested there…you have been warned about your pride and it will be your undoing. You will be undone by what you do not understand. It will seem to be a man, but it is nothing like a man. It would be a usurper, bearing the authority of fallen allies.

He will bear a fire worse than anger in his eyes, the fire that is promised to follow the floods that came with the first rains.

The power behind the strength of all life will lend him voice.

His presence will be like the mountains beneath the sea…a calm surface hiding things older and mightier than the collective memory of all things that are.

His might will be overwhelming and merciless, like the weight of all that bears the most life in this world.

He is not an evil looking to visit himself on the unwary. Rather he is the punishment that you would have brought on yourself.

You would have struck at what should not have even been looked upon.

You will not be able to reason with him, neither will you or your allies or your men be able to overwhelm him. Your sons will be like your father’s sons and accept that you should not be avenged.

 

Baru looked evenly at the seer and asked for details of where this death was at this time, but the seer confessed that he did not see everything.

“Lord Baru, this is where you must be strong, wise…and prove that you are indeed powerful enough to bear the weight of this knowledge.”

 

“You have just told me that an impossible thing will kill me, but not when or why. Your riddles might have kept you alive during the days when my father was Lord, but…”

 

The seer spat into his own hands and slapped himself until he bled from his bruises.

 

“An impossible thing? You think I deceive you, Lord Baru?!”

 

Baru looked at his seer with surprise and anger.

“I make a statement…”

“A careless one. Do you think it is every man who has the courage to face the certainty of death with determination to make it look good enough to be remembered? No. We know this. We all do. I have given you a chance to make your life a memorable one, knowing without fear that you won’t be poisoned by a wife, murdered in your sleep, betrayed to your death by a brother closer to you than your own blood…and you dare speak to me of trickery?! That what I see are riddles?! That you demand to know when and where?!!

“If you spent less time thinking about your ‘future glory’ and more about what Lords and Kings think about, you would not have insulted the vision. The deities are as fickle as the considerations of Leviathan. They are easily offended and…”

The seer froze for almost a minute then smiled a sad smile.

“An impossible death has been given to you. It is impossible for even ‘I’ to explain what I have seen. The rest is plain to an attentive eye.”

 

Baru shivered a bit visibly, but inside he knew he had made a grave error.

 

“Try…seer, try to tell me what you saw of the impossible death…”

 

“Fire. The color of red earth. And you were…feeding it?”

 

Baru was about to let his tongue roam free again, but he cautioned himself and the seer noticed.

Despite his self-inflicted wounds, his bearing remained regal and paternal.

“Lord Baru, you are learning. It is sad that you had not grasped earlier. Perhaps you would have had an easier time into your death.”

 

IX

Baru’s mind worked as the mind of a man facing certain death would work. Furiously.

He saw the words of the Seer come to in living form, right before him; a land of harvest…this kingdom harvests men for slaves there; nothing like a man; a usurper, bearing the authourity of fallen allies; in his eyes, the fire that is promised to follow the floods that came with the first rains;the strength of all life will lend him voice; his presence…a calm suface hiding things older and mightier than the collective memory of all things that are; his might…like the weight of all that bears the most life in this world; he is the punishment that you would have brought on yourself; you struck at what should not even be looked upon; neither you or your allies or your men be able to overwhelm him; your sons will be like your father’s sons and accept that you should not be avenged.

Baru felt the life him pulse at its strongest, he could feel the power in him reach for the earth around him and he knew he was going to fall…hard.

“…The courage to face the certainty of death with determination to make it look good enough to be remembered”

 

Baru summoned his army around him.

“I will not live past this hour. If you can save yourselves, do so. There is no shame in retreating here.”

His captain, whose name won’t be remembered said,”My lord Baru, as one, we might yet give you the greatest victory ever heard of in our land. In the world and all its annals.”

Nedeseh was experiencing something different. He heard their words and the intent behind them, but to make things even more complicated, he heard their unspoken words, sensed their animal fear like a malodorous smell…and he wondered if they too noticed that the birds and insects had been fleeing from their vicinity ever since he appeared before them. He wondered if they felt the strange combination of earth, water, wind and fire in their living bodies. He wondered what strange thing was begging to be unleashed upon their numbers. He could hear its voice.

“I have slept in a divided form for 3 millenia. Since then, no one else has carried all 4 elements as one. I have ended worlds and I wish to see what the world has become right now.”

 

Nedeseh asked it,”Who or what are you? What is your name?”

 

“Rogobaresth, consumer of worlds. I am the life that ends life. Let me, I plead with you, exercise my power.”

 

Nedeseh noticed that Baru and his army slowly formed a circle. They all began to sink into the earth as one, but not to flee…he could tell. He could sense their individual powers linking furiously, trying to become one that they might birth an earth giant.

It stood almost as high as the clouds, and the acolytes saw it only to be filled with fear. Nedeseh looked at it with neutral feelings. Past the raw power that held this intimidating titan at heights men would yield to the gods for another few millenia, Rogobaresth would consume it before they had a chance to save themselves.

“Only one warning, boy!”, Nedeseh heard in his form.

“Rogobaresth? I am listening.”

“Older, more powerful men than you have lost themselves to madness at the sight of me. I do not feel fear and so I will not lie to you. Being free of this imprisonment might be my means of staying free and you might not be able to handle me. I will cost you your life force as you are not yet a master of all 4 elements.”

Nedeseh spoke out loud in a voice that made life over many lands experience fear without hearing him or understanding why.

“Impossibilities have made peace with me and I with them. I know when you will rise to consume the world…”

The earth giant raised a hand and the clouds gathered round it under the sheer influence of the might of the blow it was going to deliver.

Nda Waniko, the Long-Shadow King, the acolytes, the captured slaves and the poeple hiding in the caves could not tear their eyes away from the terrible sight. This was not morbid facination. This was life recognising how small it is in the vast universe. Nothing can run from humility when it presents itself in this way.

The Emptiness sensed the coming moments. There are things men are not meant to see. He was one of many guardians who shield humanity from going mad with fear of things they cannot understand as men.

He drew forth a darkness that the Half-Moon council could not control. This darkness hides in corners, under people’s feet as they walk, between their clothes as they fold over in movement, in the mouths and insides of every man and beast, within the stillness of empty homes, within the rocks in the shallow streams, beneath the sides of leaves of every size…a darkness that all men take for granted. He drew a curtain around the earth-giant as it brought its hand down to the earth on Nedeseh.

“You won’t consume the world today. But you will help the Emptiness keep a promise.”, he said as the hand crashed over him with a force so great the impact generated lightning that started a brief fire 20 storeys high and the thunder stripped trees bare of their bark and branches.

Baru heard his men cheer and scream his name in victory within the complex of the earth giant. But he could not join them in their cries of victory. He knew the truth of this day. And it stood next to him in the form of Nedeseh.

His life was at an end.


Fourth Day: Chapter Two (IV & V)

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

 

Enjoy.

IV
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.
Elementals.
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.”

V
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?”


Fourth Day: Chapter Two (III)

Hey everyone, so here’s Section III of Chapter Two. If you’re not up to date with Fourth Day, CLICK HERE to get in on everything.

Enjoy.

 

III

The leader of  House Tin’has was an arrogant, bold, and clever old one called Baru. Baru had developed an ‘earth-shifting’ style and based his house on it.

He stood looking at the formations of the acolytes and turned to his Lieutenant to say, “Let us begin harvesting the slaves.”

The people from the 12 villages were hiding in the hill sides, monitoring for slavers from behind the trees. They sat pensive and hopeful, and then it happened.

Someone disappeared in mid-scream. A mother screamed and her own scream was cut off. Then a village headsman saw the earth literally rise as a man-sized beast, then swallow a man, only to dive back into the earth, like a fish that just escaped a fisherman’s grip. The headsman did not delay.

“Run to higher ground!!!”

It wasn’t enough. As they fled the beasts would rise higher than a man then fall on the nearest victim and fall into the earth to vanish.

Nedeseh noticed Nda Waniko give a start.

“You might be right, boy. They’ve already started claiming slaves.”

The Long-Shadow king became visibly angry. Visibly so because his green flames went through the spectrum of light. Then the Stranger showed up.

“Calm your nerves, everyone. My King, Ashket sends his warmest regards.”

“Really?”

“No. But the fact that I mention it suggests the ‘high regard’ I have for you. By now you would have noticed their intentions for you.”

The Long-Shadow King laughed so loud, it sounded like the wail of the undead. The Stranger and Nedeseh noticed it wasn’t laughter.

“My King!! What do you see?” the Stranger suddenly asked.

“They have allies. I know my guards haven’t a chance against them. I think I don’t have long enough.”

He turned to his Long-Shadows,”It seems our servitude is nearer its end than ever before! Let us spend our last moments well!! Kill as many as you can!!!”

Nda Waniko was about to follow when he asked the Stranger, “Where is Nedeseh? Where is the boy?!”


Fourth Day: Chapter Two (I & II)

Okay, we go on with Chapter Two of Fourth Day. Remember, if you don’t know what’s been going on here, you can simply CLICK HERE to catch up.

Chapter II

I

The Earth-Giant prince Ashket was now a king…of sorts. He had been relegated in respect because he had lost standing to the way he had lost face at the hand of the Long-Shadow king, so now all he had was to bring slaves to the allies of the kingdom. He had spent a long number of years perfecting his approach to getting more slaves and out-witting the ‘tribe who had ridiculed his efforts.’ But quite recently, there had been another house that sought power and he knew them. They were the House of Tin’has, and they had made light of his loss so many times, he dared them.

“Defeat them and I will give you my throne and my kingdoms, leaving nothing for my children.”

This challenge went down a little too easily and the whole royal house became unnerved and questioned his sanity and his wisdom.

He dismissed his inner-council, and sat alone on throne room.

“Sparing my life back then guaranteed my throne in this future. I have fast been expecting a palace coup. They’ve been gathering strength for it.”

The Stranger revealed himself from the shadows.

“Are they better prepared than you were?” he asked Ashket.

“Yes. And less humble.”

He turned wizened old eyes to the Stranger and said, “This is my wish. Have none of them return. Not one. In your arts, the Long Shadows ‘recruit’ do they not?”

The Stranger looked back with understanding, “You wish such a terrible fate on them?”

“They wish a worse one on you and your people.”

“Do you hate us?”

“I was the aggressor and I bore the weight of my failure to respect my opponents. They won’t make that mistake. Also they bear more than Sand-sprites with them. They have kept it secret from me and your people will have to think on their feet.”

The Stranger smiled an old smile, “You never asked how I returned you to your home.”

“I know what you do, Shadow-Runner. I know. ‘What’ is not the mystery; it is the ‘how’.”

“It will always remain a mystery.”

“Do you know what marks the greatest mysteries? That they’re not known. Like the mystery of God. Men fear men; we fear things they don’t see. At least, I do. What do you fear?”

The Stranger looked at Ashket with even eyes.

“You know they have discovered the secret of the Long-Shadows. They’ve known since you were returned; since you told them.”

Ashket’s eyes began to haze over. The Stranger snapped his fingers rudely then spoke to him in a reassuring voice.

“I’d have done the same, Ashket. I would have done the same.”

Ashket visibly relaxed and the Stranger answered his question unasked.

“I fear your ‘rivals’ will find that Long-Shadows are not soldier-slaves or the typical undead. When we bury our royalty, they are never buried alone…unprotected in death.”

 

II

The Tin’has teams dedicated to sabotaging the Long-Shadows were not of the same variety of Earth Giants like Ashket. An Earth Giant isn’t just one who moves mountains into armies of men. Rather they give ‘false life’ with the advantage of a single thought driving all their ‘animated forms’. They came into the crypt of the Long Shadows, in formless shapes, looking more like ideas God had discarded mid-creation than anything life-like.

They lolled their way to the bodies suspended by heavy chains.

“Undead servants, we bring you release from your bondage.” one of them garbled through a hastily formed mouth.

Then a whisper, an angry whisper, joined by a multitude of whispers, rose from the very walls of the crypt. There seemed to be a confused noise of clashing ideas, only for the horror to catch up with them, like a delayed thought. All the whispers said the same thing.

“Who threatens the King’s service? Speak your name, then die…and become a retainer amongst us.”

A fire, purple and vivid, illuminated the crypt, revealing a retuine of Long-Shadows. They were the guards, not just of the crypt, but of the entire Half-Moon chamber. Unlike the Long-Shadows presently at battle, they had no desire for conversation.

The Tin’has blobs each quickly became 11 leopards and leapt at the guards, only to be decimated in an instant from a distance. The pieces fell only to reform and become Lions. They were decimated like before.

This trial-and-error approach continued for 30 transformations. The forms of creatures that one hoped to see and hoped never to see were taken and decimated.

The head of the Long-Shadow guard said in a low-hollow voice,”They hope to distract us long enough for their assassins to suceed. Their assassins will discover we don’t protect our King and his captains from them. We protect them from our King.”

7 clay blobs that had been disguised as broken earth suddenly leapt up around all the suspended corpses and grabbed at them. The fire that grew on them seemed to consume not the blobs, but the source of life behind them.

The Tin’has looked in horror as the blobs began to cake, then turn to dust before their very eyes.

The corpses then raised their heads to look at the Tin’has.

The Long-Shadow King’s corpse looked at them through eyes that had valiantly held of death for more than 4 centuries.

“You know of us only in part. For this insult, you will know of us full.”


Fourth Day: Chapter One (VIII)

So this is the final section of the First Chapter of my friend Remy’s story, “Fourth Day”. If you want to catch up on everything from the beginning, just click HERE.

I’ll start up the Second Chapter today, so that I don’t kill anyone with suspense, and we can go on… I feel like I’ve delayed things a bit too much.

Okay then, enjoy.

VIII

The boy’s eyes were ochre yellow and self-pity; disgust and humiliation sat in them.

“He is a dignitary of sorts. He put on airs, but I put them down.”

In a voice that was older than most things living, he spoke, “I am Ashket, son of the King of the Earth-Giants. I will negotiate the terms of my release and…”

The Stranger walked up to Ashket and said, “Negotiate? Can you negotiate my mother back to life? Can you negotiate the people who have perished on your slave marches? Killing you would mean nothing at this point in time. This is already an act of war.”

“Nedeseh, I think we should wait for the Ndas to come and decide for themselves what must be done.”

“Waniko, can you not see lightning streaking outside? They are all dying out there. He’s causing them to hear their birth-names.”

The Long-Shadow king stepped forward and spoke with a level of wisdom that Nedeseh, as an observer, was only seeing glimpses of at his age.

“He is a prince. Even in death, he is deferred to…how much more when alive? I know his king and father. We must spare him. He knows what he will return to better than any of us.

“His request for release is a brave one. Let us honor it.”

Ashket raised a hand and the mountains subsided, like a troubled sea coming to rest. The figures crumbled beyond any recognizable form.

The Stranger hid awe from his face, his body language, but his next question betrayed his thoughts.

“I thought there were more of you.”

Ashket laughed as he shook his head and replied, “We’ve never had reason to gather more than one for these incursions. We’re trawling for slaves, not looking to make war. I was curious about your kind. Your stories ‘amused’ my father and king, so I asked if I could make this run. You’re not seen as threats to our kingdom.”

Ashket turned to the Long-Shadow king, “We have our own undead army. But we only bother with them if we want to end lines, not to capture ‘cattle’.”

The Stranger didn’t feel anger or resentment to his last statement. Not even a rise; just curiosity.

“It seems to me, young prince, that we are a better kept secret than even we knew.”

Ashket laughed again, “Must you assume I am a fool that you might salvage some pride from loss in victory?”

The Stranger looked at the Long-Shadow King who turned to Nda Waniko. They all shared a resigned look.

“Loss in victory? You’re poorly cultured not to recognize the situation you’re in. I will have you beg for your life at the hand of a ‘still-living’ king who dedicated himself to see that his father’s kingdom continues.” was Nda Waniko’s response.

The Long-Shadow king grabbed Ashket’s arm and the green fire began to burn without leaving visible marks on him.

“I don’t burn with a fire that you understand. This fire was started that I might ‘feed’ off life around me. As I touch the very air about me, things in that air age and die.

“You might be resilient, but you will age. If your pride doesn’t destroy you, you’ll beg for your life before you look as old as your father. It will be painful, irreversible and a more ugly scar than losing an eye, or a limb, or a lover.”

This was being said as the fire burned through him. Ashket was brave, and then he started to scream as his hair became white as it grew and swayed like tendrils in a strong water-current. His eyes began to form cataracts. His skin flaked and showered like a swarm of disoriented flies. His voice became hoarse. His breathing became laboured.

Nedeseh could hear Ashket’s joints drying up and popping in his body as he doubled over in old age.

His life was being drained out of him and the Long-Shadow king became more human in appearance.

Soon Ashket begged for his life. To his credit though, he did stand for about a minute before yielding.

Nedeseh came out of the vision. A moment had passed, but he had seen a secret that was generations old…and he understood that they were facing someone or something different. There were fewer people back then and Ashket had come out of curiosity. This time, they had come for business and they had a plan. They were not Ashket.

“Nda Waniko, we are not ready.”


Fourth Day: Chapter One (VI & VII)

Alright, Lemme not talk too much. I’m sorry for the delay. Let the Fourth Day continue.

VI

The columns of acolytes were just behind the lines of the disciples. The early morning sun met a deception, for the forests were neither empty of people, nor were they teeming with fauna. The acolytes had a whisper run through their ranks. The disciples were so few and perhaps the others had died for them fill their ranks. Perhaps they had died under similar circumstances. A disciple laughed under his breath. He turned to his fellow column-leader.

“Their eyes are not yet fully open. The first of them to do so always think giving themselves to the discipline of light is a mark of superiority.”

A voice out of the thin air asked, “Consoling yourself again? Your eyes are still being opened every day. Hopefully you’ll get to see everything before the second-death takes you.”

“See what I mean? The first death released his eyes, but his wisdom awaits him in the second death.”

“Perhaps it is you who awaits the second death?”

“Have you ever seen an Earth-giant before? It is not a man, it is not merciful, and it is not blind to you.”

Pandeseh shivered with excitement. Not from the banter, but because he could see the columns of Light-Acolytes. They vastly out-numbered everyone else. In fact, they formed a blockade 20 men deep, shielding Pandeseh and the others in a near perfect circle.

His mind went to Nedeseh, who was fast beginning to understand why he was asked to stand with the Long-Shadows.

“The Earth-Giants have been a mystery to us until the Stranger revealed their secret. They are the ‘projected animal rage’ of a hidden influence. Their way of war had kept their enemies at bay for centuries. They are nomads by nature, but are hired at great cost. Very great cost. Usually about 6 are sent here to use our land against us.”

Nedeseh looked at Nda Waniko with eyes that said all the Nda needed to know. The boy could see brief glimpses of what an Earth-Giant was.

“I can ‘see’ them. How do they do what they do?”

Nda Waniko was at a loss of words.

“I do not have the words to describe them. If you promise not to harm me as you ‘almost’ did, I can show you.”

VII

Nedeseh nodded. Nda Waniko caused a darkness to fall, a ray of light came through and expanded into an apocalyptic scene.

Nda Waniko shared the most violent experience he’d had with the Earth-Giants.

Mountains seemed to rise and fall, shattered by disciples led by masters as iridiscent waves of darkness that swept into the Earth-Giants. It was like watching the beginnings of the wave that ended the world. Each drop was a frantically violent person slashing at the figures of red earth that seemed to surface from with the heaving wall of earth. But the figures also slashed back. There were streaks of lightning that marked the struck disciples going into their second and final deaths at the heart of the fight. Nedeseh followed the vision into the heat of the battle with the Earth-Giants and saw that the figures formed of the red earth had taken the shapes of men and they fought with the rage of a predator determined to have its prey. He saw Nda Waniko fight with grief in his eyes. Everytime lightning flashed, his grief became deeper and his fighting became even more violent. His sword was quick, precise and unrelenting, striking at pin-points where the forms held their ‘life’. He saw a sudden flash of green fire. He turned to see the Stranger had appeared with the Long-Shadows. The disciples fell back as luminescent dark green flames consumed the mountain with fire from within. Fountains of fire rose with intimidating results. The Earth-Giant suddenly sagged and began to flake apart, falling as clogs of baked earth in the forms of screaming men. He then heard a child’s cry and the Etsu of the Long-Shadows appeared with a teenager bound in chains.