This story is by Patrick Dudgeon and was part of our 2018 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Kaz rounded a dying Stoneclast, it’s opal eyes wept a river of blood and stone and it’s faded cyan stone body began to shake. He had seen eyes like those once, those eyes bespoke of being cheated and they also spoke of an unfruitful rebirth. As Kaz pushed himself up the rocky sand covered hill to it’s peak, his gaze shifted down to a group of men adorned in scarlet ruby and each held a part of a broken sword the dull color of jade. They were chanting, but Kaz knew little of the Ro’Kalis tongue for their ceremony to bear him any fruit. And yet the fragrance of memory lingered for a brief moment, prodding and pushing for remembrance. Nothing broke that still pool, and yet something shimmered beneath its still waters.
Upon toping the sand covered dune, Kaz found himself amidst broken pillars of white marble silhouetted by a large temple. Where the temples rounded top once lay there was only broken masonry. Little remained of those broken towers, and nude statues. Held within the shadow of those broken monuments lay motionless bodies. Fingers of sunlight splintered through a group of rain dark clouds. Shining down upon their dull and lifeless bodies, that fire in each of their eyes long perished.
“Will you weep for their deaths, for their pain?” A man draped in brilliant silver said as he walked out from the shadow of a broken pillar. Taking care not to disrupt the dead in his wake.
Kaz turned and regarded him with the same dull grey gaze. “Mockery of me, and your fate will be the same as theirs Balazar.”
“My, even your voice is saturated of emotion”, Balazar paused for a moment regarding the dead and broken masonry. “Kaz, do you even care what happens in this place that destiny is made….”
“Destiny is dead Balazar, you above any of the reaming Seraphs know that grain of truth no matter how shrouded it has become with each cycle spun.” Kaz turned his head once more to regard the monks gathering below. Then snarled, “Are they offering to burn themselves for my rebirth, to cleanse me of my sin.”
Balazar smiled a sad smile his ebony skin gleamed where the fading sunlight kissed him. “No, they were quite insistent for your head.”
Kaz barked a cruel and sadistic laugh, then regained composure just as soon as he had lost it. “Your a Seraph as well, they’ll come for you Balazar.”
Balazar regarded Kaz with a cold glare burning with contempt, “Not this time Kaz, I am afraid you will suffer at the hands of The Painted One once more.”
Kaz smiled a ravaged smile then simply said “I will not go back to Ral’Shaktor” each word emulated with anger the color of ice.
“You’d be marked a traitor .” A small smile piercing Balazar’s thin lips dusted the color of white ash.
Kaz was speechless for a time, then spoke his voice was adjacent to the grating of stone as if a fabric of his reality had been newly awakened. “She was my advisory, my enemy, my other half. I did what was excepted of me as a Seraph. But I will not suffer in damnation for a few thousand years before she awakes once more!”
“Your advisory Kaz, never mine nor any of the other Seraphs. And your jurisdiction as a Fallen Seraph holds no shape.”
Kaz shook his head like a rabid hound, “No, my jurisdiction holds whether or not I have fallen in my morals.”
Amusement shined like a false portent in Balazar’s watery blue eyes, “Even glass shatters Kaz, but remember your actions at Kal’Drrak and the breaking of the Law of Light bespeaks far beyond betrayal.”
Kaz’s grey eye’s narrowed “I did what was asked of me as a lower caste immortal.”
“That does not pardon you from the blood debt you owe to the higher caste of immortals.” Balazar motioned with his hand to the lifeless bodies, their deathless eyes seeking refuge in a nonexistent haven found in the hearts of children’s stories. “Remeber you stole the lives of mothers, sons, and daughters. Though most of all your beloved Takra, do you even remember her Kaz?”
That still pool of memories began to throb and crash at the mention of her name, Kaz fell to his knees gripping his head. He tried to usher words forth, yet none came for they would do little justice and screamed. Tears dotted wet patterns upon the sand, bringing forth little rivers and streams each from a single point. Those memories danced like a thousand burning flames. “I know I betrayed the world and those I love in it, but…Takra always told me to continue moving forward.” With those words, the last tears of remembrance fell to become one with the sand below.
“Even when the world despises you, mortals and immortals alike Kaz.” A firmness had entered Balazar’s voice, and his left fist was clenched tight.
Kaz pushed himself up upon his feet, a firmness had enraptured his slender frame and his grey eyes fixed upon Balazar’s. “I can no longer abide the words of immortals, or gods.”
“You know this is treason Kaz” Balazar’s voice shone with great unenthusiasm.
“It was treason from the start Balazar,” Kaz said his words echoing the color of cold malice without shattering that thin veil of ice. He then turned without another glance given to the broken masonry, or the dead. Kaz proceeded down a series of large white marble steps half covered in sand.
The suns Kanitar and Octorail dipped into the horizon casting a long mixture of ruby and sapphire across a desolation of a once healthy land long scared by an immortals dream.
Kaz walked past that same Stoneclast, still clinging to life. Surprised Kaz drew towards the stone creature with an even stride. Then squatted down in front of its elongated face, its eyes held a fading opal tapestry. Furthermore, it should of long attacked him with its array of deadly claws. But, no those eyes bespoke of a long familiarity.
“Kaz.” the Stoneclast rumbled, its voice sang of pain bathed in a thousand hells. “Don’t walk away this time.” It’s cyan body shuddered and then was still.
He pulled himself away from the dead Stoneclast, and cast his glance towards those monks holding a jade sword. “I know Takra.”, I will not fail again, Kaz thought to himself. Never again.
As Kaz approached the Monks, they bowed and offered that jade blade to him. He grasped its hilt with a firm grip and thanked them in the common tongue. Each then took seven even strides backward, each grabbing a fallen blade. Their blades shone like beams of light in the fading fingers of the dawn. Kaz raised his own blade, it was long and slender two fingers in width with a slightly curved tip.
“Do you understand why you are here, Seraph.” Each monk said in unison to him, their voices dull, but their eyes held determination. And a twisted sort of fixation found only in the most zealot of fanatics.
Kaz brushed his two forefingers about the length of the jade colored blade, “I am Heaven’s scapegoat after all.” Kaz said meeting their eyes, “But I will not be used by false portents either.” In a smooth motion Kaz lifted his blade and slammed it into the desert floor, and it became alive in the bright emerald fire. Furthermore, Illuminating the night with dancing green flames.
Balazar noted the monks below with upraised arms to shield their eyes from that blinding green birth of fire. He could see Kaz being swallowed up by those green flames, and Balazar met him eye for eye. Kaz’s mouth ushered a phrase, the flames snapped and became the shade of ruby twisting and crystallizing about that blade before solidifying in place. Then those colors faded to a straining dull light, adjacent to a fading heartbeat.
Balazar raised his spindly ebony fingers into the night and drew forth light. His eyes drew past the charred and burned corpses of the zealots. And found no trace of Kaz, save for that sword embedded into the earth. The sand surrounding the blade was glass for miles unending.
Three moons all crescent slivers in the abyss of the night sky shone their faces upon the aftermath with more clarity than Balazar had the talent for. His deep blue eyes meet the eyes of an albino hawk perched atop the very sword Kaz had wielded. The hawk looked at him with a penetrating glare of long familiarity. Gave a sharp cry that broke the stillness of the night, and flew of northward without a single glance back. That sword still stood, the blade was now blood ruby in color.
“It is not done between us” Balazar growled in deep disdain, “It never shall be.”