Prologue- The Great Pandemonium
One more day by the pits of hell...
Just one more, when even yesterday was too late!
One more thought that I had to sell...
One last trick that you can't debate!
And my eyes sweep a shore that was always there
A blood red line through the sonisphere
I can't resolve where it's coming from...
I sense it's the great pandemonium
Norgard-Two miles outside of Toria-Zelvad's safe house-One week after Bria's arrival
Zelvad's mind was a wreck as he leaned back and sighed, rubbing the sides of his head.
The scrolls were in the most perfect cipher he had seen in a long time and it would've taken him months to decode it had it not been for Helena's aid. Her reasoning for wanting to help him still evaded him, but he figured if she was going to say anything it was going to be on her time and terms... plus an extra set of eyes allowed him to see things that he would've originally missed.
Though the first scroll was done, his work was far from completed.
He sighed as he looked at Bria. She had just recently fallen to a deep sleep, the tear streaks drying on her face. At least she could sleep...that was good.
"No child should ever have to go through what she has to get these to me....Widow curse your soul Cronus."
He was itching for action. It was evident by the way he slouched in his chair, rapping his fingers against the table with one hand and now flipping his dagger around in between his fingers with the other.
"I'm slaving over a goddamned six volume codex that has ciphers layered on top of fucking ciphers ...instead I should be in Chanclera right now gathering information and allies, slowly tearing apart Cronus's hold over the Fangs!"
He stabbed the dagger into an area of the table not cluttered by the work they had put in so far and stood hovering over the scrolls, letting his hair fall over his left shoulder while resting his hands flat on the table as to hold his weight as his emerald eyes frantically darted around the table.
"But I'm not. I'm standing here serving Lieroian's dying wish...as Roseabelle before him for the good of my clan and country. I'm slowly losing my damn mind because of this conflict Helena...and it seems that my only salvation lies here scrambled in at least three different codes. Widow's grace guide me...".
Helena chuckled, "And what of me? I was to be sent here on a request made by Father Augustine. This was never a fate for me to bear upon my shoulders.... ", Helena took a deep breath, gazing quickly over the little child that rested peacefully not so far from her, "You mistaken a word here... Let me...", she took the second scroll while writing up the next lines.
Then she pulled the chair she sat upon backward, the wood making a sound against the ground as it was pushed while she slowly got up. Without armor and without much of sleeping hours, the image of Helena, the cold warrior woman, didn't seem so frightening as she should have been seen. She took a deep breath, "High Priest Tik'Va wanted me to learn this... around the time my father died he just convinced everyone to let me be. So instead of training I spent hours on this kind of scripts and ancient languages. He said I had a talent for this... But now I think there is more to it...".
Hearing that her father agreed to some deal with the demon lord Emonalach was not easy news to anyone, but only now Zelvad seemed to realize how horrible was the news to the lady Paladin.
"The cruel truth is that fate never gives you a choice at times. That being said, know that it is always something more than what you see at face value Helena, you just need to dig a little. Whether it be with yourself, others, or even if you actually have to physically dig for it." He chuckled a little at himself before turning his attention back to the second scroll. "Now if I move this letter here...so that means this is that which means this goes here...." He wasn't sure what it was, but something about Helena had surfaced rather quickly in the week they had spent revealing the mysteries of the scrolls.
Her usual distant, defensive attitude had evolved to something he couldn't easily identify...not yet at least. Whatever it was, it caused waves to echo within. They were small, but enough to be noticed. Though to be honest the two of them had never really actually had a conversation since Ascara, so it could very well be nothing.
He needed to know for sure though.
Zelvad cleared his throat a little before he spoke again. "It's a good thing you got to study as much as you did though, otherwise we'd probably still be stuck on that first scroll for another day or two. Though I guess the isolation just comes with the stigma of red hair, eh? I know the feeling well...".
Helena smiled and nodded. Zelvad, too was belong to the same bloodline of the ancients from Chanclera. Now that she learned that her mother originally came from there, she wouldn't be surprised if there was much deeper connections between the two of them, "The habits of solitude are not new to me. You are right, it has much to do with the stigma I bear within the top of my skull", she chuckled, "But I would like to think that someday in the near future I shall take pride of it... Somehow...", she nodded, "I'm sorry that the little child now shares your fate... Or that you are forced out of your family yourself... It must be hard".
Blue orbs danced eagerly within their sockets as Helena forced Zelvad to gaze back at her. He seemed to be weary himself and she thought it was much more to do with recent events than the fact they both missed their nights of proper slumber.
Zelvad smirked lightly, "I think it's gotten to the point that I'm not worried about being an outcast anymore. Now I'm more worried about the process of changing the clan's opinion on magic now that Cronus is in control."
Zelvad rested his quill on the table and leaned back in his chair as he locked eyes with the Paladin.
"Magic is only as corrupt as its user. If the talents gifted at birth are being abused for sake of personal gain or wanton destruction, then yes that person should be permanently removed for the safety of all. Though if a person truly wishes to help the world with their power, to do as you will while harming none in the process...then I believe we can rid the world of the fear of red hair and allow the Ancient blood line to flourish once again."
The smirk on his face quickly faded as his eyes left Helena and found their way to Bria again. "I feel worse for her than for myself though. Losing her home, her parents, and Lieroian all in one night had to be devastating. I couldn't imagine not having my parents when I was her age." Zelvad slouched in his chair again as he crossed his arms in a worrisome manner. "I just wish that I could offer something more than comfort for her right now...".
"Be strong for her, Zelvad", Helena nodded, "Create a better world for her. Create a future for her", white teeth landed peacefully upon red lips as Helena considered her next words, "Be sure to do all that you can do... But be sure to guide her path as well...".
(Done with the help of the Amazing Repent!)