Welcome back to Maledicturs Terra. This is a Chain Story between myself and @lex-zaiya, meaning that we each write the parts alternatively.
Adrian was always thrilled when he was able to enter his psuedo-uncle's chambers, the hidden ones that nobody knew about when the truth had not been revealed about Adiran.
Adiran was Adrian. It still felt weird. Though Adiran had also explained it to Adrian that though they are the same person, they are also NOT the same person because Adiran came from a different time. His own meddling with this timeline would have caused it to branch from his own.
Like a massive tree, the branches fanned out in a myriad of possibilities. Adiran had come here to save the possibility future of Adrian and his sister where he could save them.
Adiran had been closed-mouthed about the details. Slowly but surely Adrian could piece together some details but a lot of it was guesswork. There is only so much that the older version of Adrian could hide from his younger self. He was fairly intelligent.
"So what exactly is it that you want to do now?" Adrian asked him.
Adiran grumbled something under his breath. Decades spent not explaining himself to anyone and keeping secrets often made it difficult for him to communicate.
"Come now. I am you, your secret is out, remember? What is it that we are doing? You needed my help remember?" Adrian drilled the questions out in rapid fire. It was similar to talking to himself. He did not wait for answers to all the questions. Adiran did not even need to answer all of them. It was just to get their co-operation going.
"Rhys is missing."
"Right. What exactly is he?" Adrian asked.
"I can only really guess at this point for I do not think any more of his kind still exist." Adiran said. "He is from your timeline. I did not find him in mine. Here his egg was in stasis, I was attracted to the wards. I had been setting up wards of my own at the time you see."
"Wards against what?"
"You know, against him. It" Adiran's eyes were wild.
Adrian nodded. He meant the Cold One, the God of Death that was linked to Adrian through its God-touch. It was a burden he bore proudly, his own mind and the wards that Adiran had placed keeping the otherworldly force at bay.
"Anyway. He was there when I found Lucien and his Lifedrinkers."
"Couldn't Stefan just tell us where they are?"
"No. They don't stay in one place too long. Rhys would be able to track them. Something to do with their rules and the way that they maintain balance. Something about how the Lifedrinker curse works, if they stay in one place too long then the land itself is affected. Probably why your Mother's ancestral home was affected the way that it was."
"You mean our mother."
Adiran stood still for a moment, thinking. "She is our mother. Across all times... but Sebastian... that part did not always work out the same way."
Adrian smiled. There was something he was waiting so. He blew out a short little snort and Adrian groaned. "What now?" His older self asked him.
"You've done this before."
"Done what before?" Adiran asked exasperated.
Adrian waved at the chambers around them. "This. All of this. Traveling back in time. Trying to change things. You've done it before. This is not the first time you came back to dad when he was young and stayed until he met mother and all the rest of it."
Adiran looked pained and stayed silent for a long time. He then started rummaging around the things in his laboratory. He seemed to find the thing that he was looking for. It was a glass case and inside there was a human hand. It looked dessicated.
"You don't need to answer." Adrian said. "I know its true and now is not the time for you to explain... You know that I am alright with hearing these things right?"
Adiran nodded. "But it is not the time." As the wizard set the glass container down on the table in the middle of the study the hand twitched.
"It's alive!" Adrian explaimed.
"It's undead." Adiran corrected.
"One of His servants?"
Adiran nodded. "Part of a group of them that I had ambushed. I took them apart without destroying them. Their parts are still linked together with energies that I manipulated. They act as my detectors should He attempt to bring forces to bear here. This one's bits are hidden away in the castle and the city. My final level of Wards."
Adrian nodded. It was as he had suspected. Just like him, this older version of himself had been touched by the Cold One. If Adiran was able to manipulate those energies he was very close to becoming a champion for the God of the Undeath and Adiran himself would nearly have the abilities of a Necromancer. This would explain why Adiran's soul had a hole in it.
Adrian has some experience with how it felt to have your soul damaged. His had trailed over the scar on his chest through his shirt. It would always be there to remind him of the time that he nearly died.
"So what now?"
"I am going to destroy the Ward."
"What?! And leave the Castle unprotected?" Adrian felt cold.
"We have Stefan in the crypts and I can make another." Adiran said impatiently.
"Why no make another first before destroying this one?"
"No time and this one was here when Rhys was here." Adiran began to draw a geometric pattern on the table around the glass case in salt. With another pouch of yellow dust, he drew symbols around the salt shapes. Finally he took out another bag and did not touch these crystals but tipped them out on to the seven points of the shape he had drawn.
"So we sacrifice a Ward to find a lizard to find Lifedrinkers?" Adrian asked.
"Correct." Adiran answered.
"No. Not correct." Adrian countered.
"There is something else you have not told me."
"What makes you say that?" Adiran asked impatiently.
"You are too calculative in your actions. Weighing out the loss and the gain of things, you would not sacrifice a Ward for just a little bit of intel. Rhys is important somehow."
Adiran remained quiet, staring at his younger self. It was enough to confirm Adrian's suspicions. Adrian knew that Adiran understood that this information was already transferred so the wizard continued with the task at hand.
"You remember the warding spell?" Adiran asked.
"You need to ward the area around us both but not the circle. But only when I tell you. I need to bring this one's soul into the room, through the circle and your ward will contain it and cut it off from contacting Him. Meanwhile, I shall probe the spirit for information and then dispatch it."
"Will He not have a window to here once you make it whole?"
Adiran smiled. "You catch on quick, but that is what your ward is for. Do not fail."
Adrian felt sweat bead on his brow and a shiver travel down his spine. His uncle, his older self was trusting him with a lot of responsibility. To fail now would be to allow a dark and terrible God have a point in the castle where he would be able to see both versions of Adrian, people which the Cold One really wanted to have in its command.
"Right." Adrian said. "I am ready."
Without further ceremony Adiran raised his hands. The light in the room dimmed and all the torches and lanterns seemed to dim as though obscured by black glass.
Adrain felt a pressure build as Adrian drew shards of the tortured soul from the other wards and pulled them towards the hand in the circle. Adrian could see the tendrils of soul, like smoke. Adiran was careful not to draw too much if it at a time, so it could not gain any power on its own. Instead the wizard had a more complicated Ward set up, similar to the one that Adrian would need to make.
This Ward allowed the fragments to enter through openings but not escape again. This was well beyond Adrian's current abilities but he watched carefully.
"Get ready." Adiran said needlessly. He was already with the first layer of the spell. "Now!"
All of the soul was iside the symbol now and Adrian threw his own Ward up around both of them and the trap in the centre, this area he left open for Adrian to do what he must.
The spirit had formed together, a face was frowning out at the pair. It did not speak but threw itself against the barrier. Adiran reached in to the double ward they have set up and the spirit began the shriek. The sound itself seemed to be an attack on Adrian. It was trying to break their concentration and get free but Adrian had been ready for this as well.
Adiran had the spirit in a grip and Adrian could see that the power the wizard commanded completely dominated the spirit. As much as it struggled, Adiran extracted the memories from it that he needed.
The spirit must have known which memories the wizard was looking for, it stopped shrieking and began to laugh. Adiran was angry and his magic gripped the spirit so hard that it started to tear in half. Even though this caused the soul intense pain it kept up its mocking laugh.
Adiran nodded to Adrian and the boy dropped his Ward. With a furious roar that was probably not necessary, the wizard ripped the soul into pieces and threw each one through miniature portals. Likely the soul was not returned to the other side.
The pressure dissipated from the room and the lighting returned back to normal.
"So? What happened?" Adrian asked.
Adiran looked grim. "Rhys was attacked. He might have been captured, but it seems like he had fled. We need to assemble a team. We need to find him!"
"Who attacked him?" Adrian asked.
"I do not know. They looked like knights. They might have seemed noble, but they were clad in black and purple armor. They seemed grim and somewhat dark hearted."
"More servants of the... erm... Him?"
Adiran shook his head. "I don't think so, but I cannot be completely sure. I have a trail now. I should be able to give us a direction."
"Let's go get the others then." Adrian said. "Looks like Uncle Sebastian will need to help us with this if we are to help him with his problem."
"Who put you in charge?" Adiran asked.
"Oh, I am sure that its your idea too." Adrian answered glibly. "You can tell the others that it was your idea. I am you after all."
Adiran barked a laugh. "You aren't wrong."
"We aren't wrong."
And just like that it is over to you @lex-zaiya!
|by @zakludick||by @lex-zaiya|
|Part 1||Part 2|
|Part 3||Part 4|
|Part 5||Part 6|
|Part 7||Part 8|
|Part 9||Part 10|
|Part 11||Part 12|
|Part 13||Part 14|
|Part 15||Part 16|
|You are here!||Coming soon!|
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