Alice was back in her home in the town of Urrutia. It was still too early to come out of hiding. Their enemies, the other clans that Ledanai’i stirred to war, were still waiting for them. She missed Cavite, and the other places she used to freely go to. The silence in the room she was in was able to push her to that remembrance. Dante, she sat there on her bed thinking. Are you happy? Was this what we wanted? A crash before the growth of something else? Did I do it? Was I successful? It had completely been a year since his death.Alice buried her face in her palms. She was tired, but now she had rest waiting for her. A little break before a few more. Where does this lead to?She lifted her head from her palms, and checked the tattoo on her arm. It was still burning: the new one. She recognized the symbols immediately. There was a dragon, a hound, and a deer… fighting. It was the first new tattoo the Void had given her sin
The village deep in the forest had not taken lightly to the news that Nukasuni was dead. To pay respects, and even more than that, they were silent and inside their homes. A great bonfire was lit just outside the village.Aden stood on top of the cliff, as always. Maria wasn’t there with him. Instead, it was Alice who he saw and he heard the footsteps.“Are you finally here to kill me?” Aden asked.Alice stared back in silence, but her eyes did not show surprise. She narrowed her eyes on him. “I find that you’re of better use to us alive. Besides, I know there’s still one more thing you need to do. I know that’ll benefit us.”Aden nodded. “My family. They’re alive.”Alice nodded back, with a slight smile. “Are you really going there?”“They’re alive,” Aden replied. “And I have questions.”Alice scoffed, then shook her head.
They coughed through the wave of dust and smoke. Alice and Lyle were closest to the crash. Lyle supported her sister while he tried to dispel the thick dust and smoke with his hand. Aden walked slowly along their direction. The last thing he saw were the antlers striking through Nukasuni’s body.Then, finally, the air’s curtains slowly withered. As if joining the thick layer’s erasure, the clouds from above had also moved past the island, allowing for the blue sky and the shining sun to strike through them.It was clear, now. And they were looking at Ledanai’i’s lifeless body, then to Nukasuni’s as well. The dragon was almost out of breath. The three stood beside the dragon, looking helplessly at the life-taking wounds in his body.Nukasuni, gasping for little air, still managed to lift his head not to look at that the three, but to stare back at Ledanai’i. The deer had no life in it left, not after the broken antler tha
“Hold the line! Remember the choke points! And wait for my signal!” Lyle exclaimed into the radio wrapped on his wrist, connected to his earpiece. There were stragglers, those who managed to avoid their ambushing force. Lyle and Aden made quick work of them. The rest of the Ledanai’i were pinned down, pushed away farther and farther from what now was the gods’ arena.“We’re not gonna hold much longer, Alice,” added Lyle. “This better work.”Alice heaved and raced for her breath. “It will.” She coughed, and closed her eyes. Sparks of lightning, little by little, gathered around her. Her tattoo glowed.Lyle watched the scene then focused back to the choke points. “Let’s give her more time,” he radioed again.“I’ll support the front,” Aden said, rushing to that direction. “You got this, Lyle?”There were three more stragglers in view, abou
“Nukasuni!” Ledanai’i howled, her back on the ground while she struggled to stare at the burning images of Nukasuni and Kadlum. Compared to the form Ledanai’i took, Nukasuni and Kadlum seemed like giants to her. But…Come on, show yourself, Alice thought. She waited, as she untied the guards with her. Where’s that goddess?Lyle and Aden dashed towards Alice in the center while the Ledanai’i were pinned down by the attack. “How’s it feel to best a goddess in mind control?” Aden said.Alice chuckled. Before infiltrating the temple, Aden had taught her how to recognize when someone was trying to influence and corrupt the mind. Although it had almost overcome Alice, that slight second of recognition and preparation made it all possible. “The Ledanai’i at the port?” asked Alice.“Dead,” replied Aden. “All dead.”Alice nodded back as s
Three days ago…Replacing the ambient noise of the humming engine was the crackling of the large fire ahead. It was concentrated, far from harming the trees surrounding it. It was encircled by the forest, but it was just a little far enough so the leaves wouldn’t catch fire. It wasn’t a bonfire, no. Aden and Alice walked closer. The crackling was now matched with intense heat. It was a deep depression on the ground, almost like a freshly-dug mass grave. Only, the grave it was housing was that of the embers of the fire.Aden stepped closer to the fire, examining the concentrated flames bursting from within the ground. Alice had not followed him. Instead, she stood far behind Aden in the cover of the trees.A few more seconds, and then Aden heard more than just crackling in the fire. Left and right, from within the shrubbery… movement. Aden looked to the sound. He sighed, as the figures came to light. “We were never here fo
“You?” Alice said under her breath. She had had her fair share of meetings with gods and goddesses. But, this was different. She narrowed her eyes at her even more. “Ledanai’i?”The tall woman chuckled softly at her. “You were expecting something else?” Her eyes twinkled against the morning light.Alice remained silent. She gripped the jar of ashes tightly.Ledanai’i noticed the sudden shift in her grip. She looked down on the jar and looked at it with motherly glance. She chuckled. “Ailan’s eyes… you’ve finally come back to me, my child.” She tried to reach out to caress the jar, but Alice slightly jerked the jar away. They met eyes again.Ledanai’i smirked. “I understand.” She blinked softly, then sighed. “How is Kadlum?”“Alive,” Alice broke her silence. “But not so much as to give you his regards,” Alice cocked he
As Alice and Karel walked across the paved road towards the island’s centre, the temple, she felt more uneasy. Like the stone pillars from before, the structures that trailed beside the roads were of ancient origin. They were either built for shorter people, or just people with limited resources in an early civilization. They were ruins, traced with squarish patterns of demons and ill kind as engravings. The stone they used to make it was so old the color had seemed to fade. But the Ledanai’i didn’t stop using them. Instead of building newer buildings, they utilized the old ones and repaired them with their own resources. Still, looking at the mix of ancient and modern architecture in one building, Alice felt uncomfortable. She was looking at something new and strange to her, and she had no way of guessing how to understand it. The Ledanai’i, indeed, weren’t just people. Some of them… hardly blinked. All of them were harrowingly quiet ex