Dr. Athde and the weapon’s professor were arguing about me receiving the Mortalitas. I heard them from behind a bookcase. “If you were so worried about a student getting Him, why was He a choice in the weapons?”
“‘e wasn’t. I do not understand how she got ‘im. Last I checked, ‘e was still locked up in the bottom levels of the Library. ‘ow did ‘e get out?” I peeked around the corner of the bookcase.
Dr. Athde shrugged. “I do not know. But we cannot try to take Him away from her. He made His choice and now they are bonded, you said so yourself.”
“I cannot allow ‘er into my classes then. And when the other professors ‘ear of this…” He shook his head.
“I know. I will see what I can do.” Athde did not sound the least bit worried. Hell, he even sounded a little giddy.
“She is much too powerful to be around the normal students.”
“She does not know this, nor would she believe it herself. The Dean told me about her during the interview. He said that she was so doubtful of her abilities, that she questioned the judgment of her Potential. Even then, right now she is below the other students in the school. Your warriors have more power in them than she currently does.”
“What if she chooses to follow Mortalitas’s path? I ‘eard ‘er tell ‘im that she would release ‘im from ‘is bindings to the war hammer.”
“I will train her, but I cannot guarantee that she will not do that. She swore that she would release him, but what if he views her as worthy of his charge?”
I felt a touch against my neck and I whipped around. Keres was standing there, looking a little surprised. He whispered, “So, He chose you.”
“Yes. I don’t know why or anything like that.” I whispered back.
Keres touched the side of my face, being very gentle, “He sees what I see and what they see.” He meant the ones who could see my true Potential. He leaned in close to my face, “You might not be useless after all.” I pulled my hair away from my neck, an unspoken trust that I had for him, thought I have no idea why I tust him. He leaned towards my neck, and I felt an air-light touch of his fangs against my skin. He smelled like fresh fallen snow with a whisper of a young pine. He whispered, his voice a caress of heat across my neck, “No…”His lips glided from my neck to just above my lips. “Not useless at all…” He stepped back before turning to leave.
I knew that I was blushing a deep red, from the heat I was feeling on my face. “Thanks for the assessment, but I’m still pretty useless. Keres?”
“What?” He turned over his shoulder as he looked to be blending into the darkness.
“What is in the bottom levels of the Library?”
He smiled, “Do you really want to know?”
“Yes.” I sounded meek, though I was trying to sound brave.
“Grab your friend, Deilucus, and I’ll show you tonight.” He turned and walked into the darkness.
I turned back around towards the professors and realized they were standing there. “Hola.”
Athde shook his head, “Myst, I need to discuss some things with you.” He turned back to the Scotsman, “I will take care of everything. Inform the other professors to quell any type of rumors or the such.”
The professor bowed and walked through the gate, back to his fields.
“Am I in trouble?”
He smiled sadly, “No, Myst, you are not. But we do need to talk.” He turned and I followed him to his desk. “Please place Mortalitas on the desk. Do not worry, I will not try to take Him nor harm Him.”
I pulled Mortalitas from the sling on my back and set Him gently on the table, but keeping a hand on the handle. “Dr. Athde, what’s going on? I chose this war hammer because He called to me and now, I have no idea what is happening. Am I getting kicked from the Academy?” I was terrified, thinking that choosing the Mortalitas was my downfall.
“No, no, Heavens and Hells no. Do you think we would allow someone like you to get away? No, we just have to make sure that you are getting a proper education without hurting other students.” He smiled to me. “I overheard Keres telling you to meet him in the basement of the Library. I trust that you were curious?”
“Yes, Doctor. But he told me to take Dei with me. Is that wise?”
He stroked his chin where a beard would have been. “Curious…” He looked back to me, as I stared at the Mortalitas, rubbing my thumb on the handle. “I believe Keres is wrong in this judgment. Grante-”
Another professor burst through the door-portal, holding onto Dei’s arm. She was blazing with fury, “Do you think this is funny, Dr. Athde?!”
Athde stood up behind his desk. “What do you ever mean, milady?”
“He set fire to the classroom! I know he is a Gatekeeper, but you cannot expect me to believe that he belongs to a normal class!”
I looked to Dei, What in the seven hells did you do?
Well… He met my eyes, and I saw the look of a frightened young man, We were working on making lights… And I couldn’t control it…
Athde looked to Dei then back to me, then to Dei again. “It can’t be. Two in the same year. This is going to be fun.” He sighed as he looked back up to the Sorcery professor, “I will take care of this at once, milady. Call a healer to your class and be sure nobody was hurt, then send the students out for the rest of the class time.”
She growled, letting go of Dei’s arm, before whirling around to face the door-portal. “If I were you, I would not suggest keeping these two together. Milt told us about her choosing the Mortalitas and we all know about your little pet.” She stormed out of the office.
“Well, today just got interesting. You must be Deilucus.”
Dei snapped to attention, “Yes, sir.”
“Let me take a good look at you, boy.” Athde leaned forward and set his bony fingers on Dei’s forehead. “Well, this isn’t right. You aren’t supposed to be a Gatekeeper. You have the wrong kind of power and that could led to disaster during testing.”
“But, I have to be a Gatekeeper! My parents won’t allow less!” He was starting to revert into Elfin tongue, as he continued to speak to Athde.
Athde listened and when Dei stopped talking, he nodded. “I understand, but let me explain it to you in terms you may understand.” He swooped out from behind his desk and walked towards a bookcase. He pulled out an old leather bound blue book. “This will suit you more.” He handed the book to Dei. “You see, you aren’t made to be a Gatekeeper. Instead, you are made to be something else. Something this Academy is not supposed to teach.”
“What am I supposed to be, sir?” Dei opened the book and in a flurry, pages opened to a picture of someone creating a world.
“You are a Gatejumper, not a Keeper.”
“A… Gatejumper?” Dei asked Athde, confusion floating around his mind.
“Gatejumpers are the ones who can sense Gates, the ones who find them and can feel when there is a Gate near them as well as find the different places of power that allow travel into other Realms. Gatekeepers open and close the Gate. These two work together to bring peace to the Realms beyond the Gates.”
I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up, as I grabbed Mortalitas off the desk and walked around the corner of the bookcases. Keres stood behind me, whispering into my ear, “We have the Gatekeeper and the Gatejumper. How interesting…”
I whispered back, “What do you mean?”
“There has only been once when both walked the Realms. Nakkar was the Jumper and he threw open the Gates to Hell, invoking a war on all other Realms. Celestia was the Keeper of the Gate and she was overpowered by the massive amounts of magick and power that flowed through the Gate. Only with the help of Dema, was she able to defeat Nakkar and close the Gates before the Realms were destroyed. That was over fifty thousand years ago.”
I turned to face Keres, “What is Dema?”
He smiled, coldly, his eyes empty of emotion. “Dema is the power of Oblivion, the power of all of the Realms placed into a single entity. Whether it be a person, an object or a singular emotion. Did he tell you to go to the bottom levels of the Library?”
“He did, but he didn’t think it a good idea to take Dei.”
“I think he will change his mind. Meet me there at midnight.” Keres backed into the darkness.
I looked back to Athde and Dei, noticing they were still discussing what it meant to be a Jumper. I looked at the Mortalitas in my hand, “Do you know what the Dema is?”
I felt a glimmer of knowledge pass from the Mortalitas to me, Yes, but it is not time for you to know the true powers Dema possesses.
“Since you seem you know what is going on, please enlighten me on this war, since you died there.”
Have you no history, child?
“I was born human in the Normal Realm and I was taught by humans who knew nothing of the Academy, except it was a precocious school for the rich ninnies.”
The Mortalitas chuckled, I will tell you this now, I was not killed in that battle. My destiny went back farther than that war.
“Then you weren’t there?”
I was, but not as a warrior, but as this weapon shell. You remember the goblin that wished you fare better than the last owner? Well, he did not survive the war. He was a mighty warrior by the name of Erik Vaughn. He was on the side of the Realms, fighting against Nakkar’s forces. I had thought I found the one who could wield me. I was wrong. Erik was the best warrior of them all, but he relied too much on his brute strength and since this was when I was still learning, I did not realize that he did not have the Potential.
Not only did he not have Potential, he did not have much intelligence. He was a meat shield, cannon fodder and hell, he did not even realize what I was. He found me by chance, and I do guess I owe my existence to him. If he did not find me, I was going to be destroyed by the King of Fire. Erik found me and had the King give it to him as a gift for being the most powerful warrior in the kingdom.
I rubbed the handle, as He started to become my own little worry stone. “Well, I’m glad that you’re here and that I’m better off than cannon fodder.”
When Nakkar went to war on the Other Realms, Erik was leading the front lines. He and I fought against many foes and destroyed many enemies. But the fool decided that he was going to go up against Nakkar. Let us just say that he did not survive.
“Well, that was anticlimactic.” I spoke aloud.
Not all of death is exciting.
“Coming from a Big Ass Mallet named Mortalitas.”
… A silent annoyance answered my snarky remark.
A loud roar came from behind me, startling Athde, Dei and myself into silence. A stout elfin woman came bursting into the office. Must be a day for surprises.
Dei nodded to me and hurried to my side, as Athde walked up to the crying woman. ”Honey, what is your matter?”
“Dr. Athde, I know that healers are my area of expertise, but this one has me perplexed!” She points back to the orc, Cittrite.
“I apologize, madam, for causing a disturbance..”
Athde turned to Cittrite, “What happened to the child?”
Cittrite looked down at the ground, “When the woman was giving birth, Madam Franchisca had everyone looking on.”
“It was a basic exercise. There were three teams of four students. There was three women giving birth and the exercise was to get the students used to blood, so they would not be squeamish at the sign of it.”
Athde held a hand up to Madam Franchisca, “Please. I want to hear his side of this story.”
Cittrite continued, “The woman we were watching started to not follow the birthing pattern. Her eyes were starting to glaze and started to shake violently. At this moment, all hell broke loose. One of the women’s throat was slashed, another’s child’s head starting to twist, as it started to crowning, and one of the children was born was a deformation was starting to claw at the woman whose eyes were glazed over.”
Athde nodded, “What were you feeling at this moment?”
“What does that have to do with anything?!” Madam Franchisca bellowed.
“Please allow him to answer. If you have a problem with the questions I ask, you may leave.” Athde was cold in his speech. Madam Franchisca was wailing as she walked through the door-portal.
Cittrite spoke calmly, “It angered me. I did not know what was going on. I felt myself rise into power and fell into darkness. I saw only the three women, their children and myself. I felt my mind and heart explode into a bright green light. It covered all of them and flowed through their souls. I opened my eyes and all of the women and their children were healed. When I opened my eyes, all of the other students were staring at me, most were crying. The women knew everything I had done; they saw it all, when the world fell away from them. They knew I was the one that saved their lives.”
Athde smiled, “Cittrite, is it?”
Athde grinned, “Cittrite, how would you like to go on an adventure with a couple of Gatekeepers?”
His eyes glinted brightly, “Honestly? Truly? That would be an honor!”
“Dei, Cittrite, and Valiente, get downstairs and eat some dinner. Get to know each other, and get some sleep. At midnight, meet me in the basement of the Library.”
Dei, Cittrite and I were ushered outside of the office.
I looked to my two new allies, “This should be interesting…”
Dei and Cittrite looked at each other, hatred in their eyes.
I asked Mortalitas, What’s with those two?
You really don’t know? Elves and Orcs have been at war for over three thousand years.
“Joy…” I sighed and started walking towards food, not caring if they followed.
I reached dinner before the other two did and I placed the Mortalitas on the table in front of me. People were staring at me, but pretty much left me alone to enjoy the first meal away from home. Since I was in need of some home comforts, I ate my tacos in bliss as they tasted just like the ones my mum and I make.
Dei and Cittrite sat on each side of me. I ignored them, noticing that they were still fuming at each other. After I was done eating, I sat back in my chair, content with the meal. I looked to Dei, He is going to be a partner with us, get over your racist war and realize that he is an extraordinary healer.
Dei glared at me, but nodded. I had him pinned and he knew it. I looked to Cittrite, about to give him the same lecture, but he spoke first, “Since we are going to be partners for a while, I think it’s time to set aside differences. My name is Jhava Cittrite.”
I smiled, “What a marvelous idea. I wish I had thought of it first. Cittrite, I am Myst Valiente, and that is Dei Florens.”
“Tis a pleasure to meet you both.” Dei and Cittrite settled down to their food, all three of us lost in our thoughts.
I remembered a riddle from my high school and the boy who originally told it to me. There’s a fish… He showed his left hand. And a box. He showed his right hand. Put the fish in the box. He clapped his left hand to his right. Where’s the fish? He opened both of his hands.
I thought of the obvious answer, In the box. But I knew I was wrong. The riddle was about being told something, yet it not being true. The boy had asked me, Do you see a fish? Do you see a box? The boy’s hands were empty, Therefore there is no fish in a box.
I watched Cittrite stand up, taking our plates. He turned and I saw a vicious look in an elf’s eyes, as Cittrite passed him. The elf stuck his leg out, tripping Cittrite, who splattered the food all over his shirt. The elf laughed, “That’s what you get for being an ugly orc. The food makes you look better!”
I watched as a pair of orcs jump up, snarling. I turned to see a few elves hop up to defend the elfin youth. I stood up, calmly and walked to Cittrite, helping him up. I caught a whiff of his coffee flavored scent, as I pulled him to his feet. I looked to the elfin youth and I saw the smile turn to a sneer. I looked to Cittrite, “Please, go ahead and sit down.” I felt the vile of light come out from under my shirt.
Cittrite looked like he was about to disagree, but he took one look at me before deciding it was safer to listen to me. I turned to the other orcs, “Sit.” They looked at Cittrite and he nodded to them. They all sat down, as the elfin youth stood up.
“What are you going to do about it, human?” He snarled at me, but I kept my face cool and collect. I noticed the clothes he was wearing were pure white, not a spot of dirt on them.
I looked to his companions. “This is between him and I. Please sit back down.” There must have been something in my voice that told them how dangerous it was to stay standing. They gulped then sat down. The youth and I were the only ones in the dining hall still standing. All eyes were on us.
“Just because you hold the Mortalitas does not mean that you are in charge here.” He grinned. “I bet the Mortalitas just chose you so it could be transported to me.”
He reached out for the Mortalitas, but I was faster. I grabbed his wrist, twisting it and his arm, before twisting them to his back. I slammed his face into the table once, a loud crack was heard where he broke the table. He hit the ground, blood splattering all over his white clothes. I grabbed him by the collar and lifted him up in the air, and realized how light he was.
“Let this be a warning to all of you. We are here to learn and to bring peace to our people. The Orc and Elvin War has gone on long enough. Anymore racist comments or attacks will not be tolerated.” I pulled the youth’s bleeding face close to mine. He whimpered, “Understand?” He nodded and I brought him towards Cittrite. “Now, apologize to my friend here.” He shook his head, the War too engrained into his mind. I pressed his head into the table. “Then you leave me no choice…” I grabbed the Mortalitas with one hand and swung Him high.
The youth screamed, but nobody moved to his aid. The Mortalitas came barreling down towards his head, “Ok!”
I stopped the Mortalitas by his ear. “Now what do you have to say to my lovely Orc friend?”
Tears and blood mixed on the table. “I’m…Sorry…”
“For allowing my people’s prejudice cloud my mind with hate.” I released him from my grip.
“Lovely. Now sit down and enjoy the rest of your dinner.” I set the Mortalitas on the table where I sat and grabbed the plates. I threw away what was left of the food before sitting back with Cittrite and Dei. They both looked at me, eyes wide. I sighed, “Sorry. I don’t tolerate blind ignorance in their destructive forms.”
Dei spoke, his voice quiet, “Would you have really killed him?”
I smiled, to him, before smiling to the youth, who was staring at me. He cringed, before averting his gaze. I leaned towards Dei, “I don’t know. Prolly not, though. He was not worth killing. Anyways, I’m sure the rest of the Academy got the hint that outside bullshit would not be allowed, when there are people dying because of a petty war.”
Cittrite’s eyes were misty, “Petty war?”
“Honestly, all wars are petty. They start over trying to see who has bigger balls.” I looked at the Mortalitas, “Including the ones that history forgets.” I noticed that it was still very quiet in the hall; all eyes were still on me. I shouted, “Go back to eating!”
Suddenly the hall rumbled and clanked with forks, knives and spoons were now hitting against bowls and plates, the hall resumed eating. Dei and Cittrite both smiled and spoke at the same time, “Thank the Lord God that I’m on your side.” They looked at each other, surprised.
I looked to Cittrite “Can I call you Coffee?”
He smiled, “Only if I can call you Sugar.”
I grinned, “Deal.” I looked to Dei who was still scowling, “Dei, can I call you Cream?”
His face turned dark red, whether it was from embarrassment or rage, I really had no idea. “No… You. May. Not.”
“Aww. But then we can be Coffee, Cream and Sugar!” I could not stop giggling. We all started laughing, the tension of the hall melting away.
| _-_ |
We walked towards the sleeping quarters, tired of the day, ready for it to end. I wished the guys a good nap and that I would meet them in the Library at fifteen to midnight. I walked up a spiral staircase to the female Gatekeeper’s rooms. We occupied all of the rooms at the top floor of the staircases and since there was not that many of us, we each got our own room and bathroom.
I set the Mortalitas on the bed, as well as pulled off the sling, my gray light, pipes, jewelry and the bag of stones. I stripped out of my clothes and put them in a laundry basket, before walking into the shower. I turned the shower on, and looked into the mirror. I felt horrified, as what I had done in the dining hall finally hit me. I felt my eyes well up with tears, as I realized how brutal I was.
Blood splattered on my face, chest, neck and arms. How I did not realize it was there in the first place was beyond me. I looked at the Mortalitas from the bathroom mirror and figured I would ask Him about it when I was done.
I stepped into the warm water and watched the blood tint the water red. I found my poof hanging from a hanger on the wall. I found my soap where I placed it the night before. I lathered up the poof and started to scrub the bloodied grime of the day off my skin, leaving it tinted pink from how hard I scrubbed. I washed my hair and then stepped out of the shower. I quickly dried off, drying my hair then body.
I moved the Mortalitas, creating the connection between us. “Am I really that cruel?”
There was a long silence before He answered, You are only violent and cruel when you are defending someone. I read it in your thoughts before you picked me up this morning
Relieved, I smiled, “Thank you.” I then remembered something else. “And why was Cittrite and the other students terrified of me?”
More silence answered my second question, before He could phrase His answer, What color was your light when you received it?
“The perfect mix of Light and Dark… Gray…”
Not while you were dealing with the elfin youth. I shivered in a small bit of fear, knowing He meant it went black. I set Him on the chair, before snuggling between the lime green cotton sheets, curling up around the black teddy bear my father had given me before he left. The warmth of the heavy desert landscaped comforter kept all of me as warm as I was in the shower. It was not long before the weariness of the day crept over me and I could no long keep myself from crashing into the shadows of sleeping.