Being insane, I signed up to participate in a blogfest/challenge in which we write four entries set in a shared world, Renaissance. You can read more about it here, or on any other number of great writing blogs.
My chosen prompt this week was Relationships mend/are torn asunder (this applies in a couple of different ways here), and this was the most difficult piece to write, undergoing numerous changes before arriving to you in this form. I’ll talk some more about what’s changed in my post-mortem after the Kayson Cycle launch, but for now, I hope you enjoy the climax in this form.
This is 600 words. You can read Episode 1 here, Episode 2 here, and Episode 3 here. For more information on the upcoming expanded edition of this that will be released as Kindle Single, check out my Kayson Cycle page.
Episode 4: The Healer
We lived for a moment in hell, tied and pressed to a great amethyst, an ebony vortex raging around us. It seared our flesh, pressing against every open orifice, seeking entrance. Jeffrey, the commander of this vortex, stood before us, arms tracing the vortex’s route as he sang in a foreign tongue.
Jeffrey had given form to my childhood nightmares: the Cycle, a whispered hint of the violence that came with our gifts. The dark cloud of his will poured into us, sucking at our life force, weakening our limbs.
This is how it ends, I thought.
A bubble of warmth grew from the amulet.
No, a soft voice whispered. This is not the close.
The warmth turned into tendrils of white light that flowed over my body, thinning the vortex, sheltering me in profound silence. Clarity filled me, and I focused on the ropes binding my limbs, mind travelling to the knots and loosening them.
I stepped forward and Jeffrey’s mouth dropped open. The ebony light retracted into him, releasing my companions from their agony.
The Tribesmen behind Jeffrey stirred.
“How-?” Jeffrey asked, his voice trembling.
“You didn’t come to return the totem. You came to destroy it,” I said.
The amulet answered him by catching the sun’s rays and turning them into a streamer of pure white light that shot out and twisted around his hands.
He screamed, flailing and looking to the tribesmen for help, but nobody could stop it now, even if they wanted. The light was on him, creeping across his neck, drowning his screams as it poured down his throat.
I touched his jaw, connecting myself to him one last time. Light coursed through my fingers, sapping his flesh, turning it gray as his soul ripped loose, flowing through my hand into my mind.
I pulled my fingers away; they left spots of hot ash that spread, consuming his shell, leaving nothing more than a gray pile at my feet.
“What was that?” the wife asked.
I looked to my companions and motioned, removing their bonds.
“Salvation,” I said. “Maybe I should kill you both for what you did, but you’re not bad people. Only afraid.” I touched her face now.
The Stranger grabbed my shoulder. “You take your hands-”
It was nothing to shrug him off. I closed my eyes, and my soul traveled the highways of her arteries, seeking her illness.
At last I released her, and she looked to him, eyes wide. “It’s gone.”
Murmurs from the Tribesmen; I faced them. “Two men once took the power of your totem in exchange for healing the land. I’m that totem, returned to its rightful place.”
“The Cycle is complete, and our purpose is clear: we march on Renaissance and put right the wrongs done to you.”
The tribesmen cheered and rushed forward, offering themselves to the holy cause. I spared a moment’s anxiety to question myself on this, but no, it was right. I led them to the horses.
“What happens to us?” his wife said.
“I could use your help – your information. You owe me..”
“What’s going to happen to the town?” The Stranger asked.
“I think you know,” I said.
He glanced at his wife, a wordless conversation passing between them.
She nodded. “We’ll join you.”
The Stranger looked away. “I reckon they earned their fate, but God help ’em.”
“Got nothing to do with God.” I climbed on the Stranger’s roan and motioned them toward their horses. “It’s destiny, and she’ll sort out what’s right.”
We rode on Renaissance, and let destiny guide our hands.