Blood of the Chosen; A Tale of Wrath

Blood of the Chosen; A Tale of Wrath

To an outside observer, the altar looked like nothing more than charred remains peeking from the ruins of some long forgotten temple. It was only when Reianna entered the timestream that she could see the walls gleaming almost iridescent with tiny pinpricks of glittering gold shining in the light. Blue-green torches flared on either side of the obsidian double doors, carved with a spell equation so complicated even the oldest and wisest Destarian would be hard-pressed to interpret it.

The trick was going to be finding the proper time to enter. Intersectional moments were complex beasts, difficult to tame. To unwind a knot like this, she had to trace the tread from its origin to its end and see it all in front of her so that she would know where to prod and where to tug.

It would have been much easier if she wanted to visit the temple ten thousand years ago. It may have still been open, though it would hardly have answered her call. A cursory scan revealed no future dates in which the doors would reopen to those without the time-touch. The only way into the temple now was to find the precise combination of moments, and to occupy them all at once. Only a Destarian of the highest caliber could do that.

If I hadn’t unwound the meddling of my own kind on the day of my first test, this would seem next to impossible. A challenge it was, but not the worst she had faced.

After fifteen minutes of staring at the ruins, sweat steadily beading on her brow while the battle continued in the distance, a strange double vision appeared to her eyes. The temple remained in ruins for everyone but her. She laid her fingers against the crack between the doors and they fell open for her.

She stepped across the threshold in one smooth motion and the doors closed in her wake.

The temple interior was smaller than she anticipated, lit by flickering violet witchfire, nine lanterns in all, evenly spaced throughout the room. The walls were made of some stone she couldn’t identify, patterned like marble but far denser. It seemed to absorb heat from somewhere, as the room was hotter than the battlefield had been by several degrees. She considered removing her jacket, but thought better of it.

The altar was less than a dozen feet from her now. Reianna slid her feet along the floor as she moved toward it, feeling for physical traps her mage senses wouldn’t detect. It would be just like her kind to leave traps they wouldn’t think to look for. But it seemed having to pass through no less than four time periods at once to enter was the final test.

Strange that the altar itself was made of petrified elder wood. The log which now formed the slab had been rough and weathered when it was preserved, unadorned with carvings or decorations, still bearing much of the outer bark. It was hard to tell if the tiny channels on the top were natural or had been carved; not that it mattered.

She glanced up for a moment. The roof was lost in darkness. She drew a deep breath and extended her mage senses outward, seeking whatever power slept her.

“Come to me,” she murmured, her voice barely more than a whisper. “Answer my call.”

When the answer came it was much smaller than she expected, quiet, distant, like a snake whispering from a high tree branch.

“Who calls?”

“One of the blood.”

“Or you shall not have been able to enter. But are you worthy?” The voice was stronger now. Closer.

“Did I not pass your test?”

“Not our test. No. Offer your proof; what blood do you bring?”

Perhaps when she said of the blood it thought she simply meant Destarian. But if the guardians had not set the test, who had? There were few of her kind left who could practice such delicate time manipulation. She found it hard to believe they had abandoned their places of power.

Never-the-less, Reianna drew the dagger from her belt and set her left palm against it. She extended both hands over the altar and drew the blade across her bare palm, letting the blood drip into the channels that lay within the ancient wood.

“Ah! That blood!” The voice was huge now, filling the entire space, which seemed all together too small for it. And it was eager now, hungry, as though a giant mouth loomed over her, waiting for to let her guard down so that it could devour her whole. “We have not tasted blood of the Chosen for many millennia.”

“Then you will do what I ask?”

“If you pay the price. That is the pact.”

She didn’t know the price and she didn’t ask. She didn’t care.

“Close the time portals through which my kind travel. Force them into the present. Force them to face what they have made.”

“What you ask will have an effect on the fundamental aspects on which your universe functions. More than the portals will change. Many will suffer. There will be destruction. Not all of it can be undone.”

She still didn’t care.

“Let the consequences be on their heads. The Destarians have fiddled with fate far too much. It was bound to catch up with them eventually.”

“A harsh condemnation considering that you are of their ilk.”

“I am what they made me. Let that be on their heads as well.”

“The cost may well rob you of this lust for blood.”

“Let it. My revenge will still be fulfilled.”

“So be it. But on your head shall lay the burden.”

Before she had a chance to answer, a rush of wind filled the space. It whipped past her ears and encircled her body, forcing her to draw her jacket closer. Then the roar grew louder, filling her head, reverberating inside her skull until she thought it would burst.

She did not know what burden the voice may have referred to; she assumed it had something to do with the price of ending an ancient magic. But the next time she opened her eyes, the world had, indeed, changed.

*********
While I had a lot of fun writing this one, I’m not sure how well it stands on it’s own. (Sorry about that.) This scene comes prior to this one in which Reianna is dealing with the consequences of what she’s done. I am planning to write more about Reianna and her story soon, which will hopefully add a little clarity here. Until then, sorry if this one was a bit weird.
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