The Ranger of Severum – Episode 11

As they docked, Trillian immediately noticed the warm hues of various colored wood.  The buildings were designed in a pattern of wood and stone Trillian had never seen before.  The scent of wood surrounded them in a pleasing way the ranger found comforting, but something else had caught his attention.  In the sky there were several contraptions floating about in the air.  Remembering Yulissa’s warning to not stare, he tried to divert his eyes from the phenomenal sight, certainly noting to ask the woman about it later.

Yulissa directed them through the winding docks and into the city.

The people wore strange clothing Trillian was unfamiliar with.  There were laces on every piece of outer clothing.  The women wearing constricting contraptions that laced over top of their ruffles, and the men wearing lacing vests and various hats.  Even their shoes laced, which was not uncommon for some boots, but all shoes?

A few of the passers-by wore strange goggles, and every last motorized contraption had a series of metallic spokes all working in unison, causing them to move.

Such miraculous and odd things Trillian had never seen before, and he tried exceptionally hard to keep from staring as they passed one after the other.

His black outfit seemed to blend in, though he was without laces and vests.  Yulissa had changed into one of these strange outfits the other women were wearing, though Trillian hadn’t noticed until now.  Her skirt was shortened in the front, and dipped to the ground in the back, fluffed in ruffles.

“Fluffed seems an appropriate word.” Trillian thought to himself as they rounded a street corner and walked into a building.  The glass doors were also new and strange to Trillian, being able to see into most of the buildings through large storefront windows, and their similarly designed glass doors, all framed in wood.

“Hello!”  Yulissa called out, walking to the front desk.

“Just a moment,” a muffled cry came from somewhere behind the curtain spanning the doorway behind the counter.

Trillian wondered if this were a good moment to speak, and looked to Yulissa.  “Where are we?”

The woman held her hand up, shaking her head briefly.

A comical sort of man emerged from the back, his vest in brightly colored patches, while his unkempt white hair splayed about his shoulders, circling round his balded head.  He had a pair of strange large goggles on his head, with smaller circles of glass stacked on one another on one side.

“Yulissa, my dear,” he exclaimed.  “I wasn’t expecting to see you for another two weeks, what brings you back so early?”

“I could use some funds for these, Maxus.”  Yulissa pulled out her velvet bag of treasures, dumping the contents gently on the countertop.  Pieces she hadn’t been able to sell in Severum knowing she’d get a better price somewhere else.  “I haven’t much time, what are these worth?”

The shopkeeper picked them up one at a time, gemstones in various shades and sizes, pendants on golden chains, and a chain of pearls and gold.

Trillian didn’t see any reason to watch as she sold them and began wandering through the shop.  He was fascinated by the amazing things surrounding them.  Various decorative pieces, candelabras and smaller candle stick holders, unique sculptures crafted from metal and those strange spoked circles, what seemed houses for birds with numbers on small circular faces and tiny arrows that pointed to the numbers, hung staggered along a wall behind a counter.  More wooden and glass boxes containing the same circle and number pattern sat on the glass counter top, with even more various styles of them down inside the glass counter.

He’d never seen so many knick-knacks and decorations all in one place.  He knew smiths who could create such pieces, and Severum had oil lamps, but nothing quite like the lamps he saw here.  They had a glowing orb inside of them that seemed to shine by itself.

A few moments later, Yulissa was ready to leave and they were back out into the busy street.  Trillian had also never seen so many people moving about, the people of the city appeared to be free, untouched by darkness.  Trillian wondered what that kind of a life must be like, never worrying for your life or if the dark overlord was going to summon you to punish you for some deed or other.

“When we get to the next place, you can ask all the questions you like, thank you for being so patient.  You’re both doing quite well, I’m impressed, though worry what life at the Severum must have prepared you for.”  Yulissa turned briefly to Trillian, still guiding them on their way.

His lips drew to the side in a brief smile, “It doesn’t differ beyond what you have already seen, in your short visit, I assure you.  However, once in a while Lord Sideon hosts a public execution.”

A sullen shadow visibly passed the woman’s face.  With a gentle, sympathetic smile, “We’re not far. ”  Yulissa continued walking with more purpose to her step.

Trillian knew the concept had made her uncomfortable, himself beginning to wonder what kind of a life this woman must lead to be unaccustomed to the darkness.

 

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The Ranger Of Severum – Episode 10

Gentle rocking interrupted by a sudden bob woke Trillian from his sleep.  He opened his eyes to find the stateroom empty.  Sunlight peaked through the curtains, falling in strips of gold on the floor.  The sound of water lapping and splashing soothed his mind as he lay on the bed a few moments.  Despite the calm, Trillian felt his chest constrict.  He was anxious wondering when Sideon would catch up with them.

Gathering himself, Trillian braced against the rocking to sit up as he shifted his legs over the side of the bed.  After grounding his feet on the floor, Trillian nodded in rhythym to the sway of the boat before standing up.  The first few times he’d tried to stand from sitting, he’d lost his balance.  Once in front of Yulissa, who laughed at him.  The motion to stand was swift.  He put on his shirt, aware of his need to eat and drink.

First he would find his mother and Yulissa, considering neither had woken him when they’d gotten up that morning.

Holding the handrail to balance himself, Trillian ascended to the deck, blinking against the fierce sunlight, shining freely in a clear blue sky.  Trillian couldn’t recall the last time he’d seen the sky so open.  There wasn’t much sunshine in the Severum.

Glancing about he easily found the women.  Yulissa stood beside his mother.  She smiled warmly at Trillian as they met eyes.  This strange woman who’d entered his life a few weeks ago consumed his thoughts.  He hadn’t decided yet whether it was because she was the first woman he’d encountered.

“And here is the devil himself.”  Yulissa stretched a hand in his direction as mother and son smiled at each other.

Their eyes locked intensely and Trillian stepped forward eagerly enveloping his mother in a long embrace.  She’d been waiting for them when they arrived at the docks two nights before. Trillian learned Yulissa had arranged the entire escape down to taking his mother with them.  He’d been alert, spurned by nervous anticipation in each step that took them further from the Severum. Trillian sensed Sideon would be pursuing in flight, riding with his fleet of Morfin –  hawk-like birds the size of lions.  Each one naturally fitted with enormous talons, shaved to sharp points, able to pierce right through an enemy.

Thankfully they had still not seen Sideon or his henchmen on the horizon behind of them.  Yulissa insisted it was because they passed through a portal to another realm, but Trillian was leery nonetheless.

Trillian let his mother go, taking in a deep breath of fresh air.  Traveling by sea brought him joy.  Perhaps it was the salty, fishy scent of the ocean, or the constant warmth of sunshine so foreign to him in the Severum.  Maybe it was getting to see his mother every hour of the day, or the chance to breathe without Sideon’s ever-present gaze hovering in his mind.

“We have much to discuss.”  Yulissa wasted no time.  “We will be to the Gate in a few hours.  When we get there, the ship will immediately dock in a large city.  One greater than either of you could imagine.  It is very important that you refrain from gawking.  My mission depends on your absolute solemn behaviors, even down to the tiniest flash of light in your eyes.”

The ranger thought the order more than possible, though in his heart he wasn’t entirely sure he could agree to it.  “Why is this so strongly required?”

Yulissa’s expression tightened, “Realm Jumping is forbidden, without permission from the High Ones.  The tyrant overlord uses his repulsive minions to guard the gates, in order to keep them secret.  They are trained to see everything, even the slightest flash of awe and wonder.”

“Who are these High Ones?”  Trillian’s mother asked.

Gorthnek, from the lands of fire.  One of them, Urgo, decided he was greater than all the races of the Universe, and warred against the Realms, capturing the Gates as he went.  After conquering the realms, he opened the Gates to hell and foul beasts flooded into the Realms.”  She looked to Trillian, “It is my job to smuggle the beings of Light into Giordan and collect valuable items along the way.”

“But,” Trillian began, slightly confused, “is this Urgo not already aware of a gathering?  If he is watching the Gates, and we passed through one, does he not already know?”

“Urgo does not fear Langoria, he knows Sideon rules with iron will.”  Yulissa replied, her eyes flashing to Trillian’s mother briefly.  “The people are subjugated to him, unaware of freedom and liberties.  It is unlikely Urgo will notice the inhabitants of Langoria passing through the Gates until Sideon has been defeated.”

“Defeated?”  Trillian exclaimed in disbelief, knowing such a thing was nearly impossible.  “Who are you expecting to overthrow Sideon?”  His eyes twitched between his mother and Yulissa.

“You.”  His mother smiled.

A sensation of fear filled Trillian’s chest as he considered what that meant for him.  “I am not–”

Yulissa smiled, “We have been discussing several options, Sosha and I decided you are the only one capable.”  Sosha, being his mother.  “I have seen what you are capable of, Trillian.”  She stepped forward slowly, “You have amazing powers.  If you could learn how to use those powers to your greatest ability, I guarantee you will defeat Sideon.  And in turn, Urgo.”

The weight in his chest became heavier, “Mother, I…”

Gulls squawked over head as the Lookout called, “Gate ahead!  All hands on deck.”

The crew came alive, preparing the ship for docking.

Trillian stood at the rail staring beyond the horizon into the uncertainty of his future, trying to imagine what it might be like to stand up against Sideon.  He was absolutely certain he would be able to stay solemn as they entered this new realm he’d never seen before.