“The fire gem?!” Elera said. “she began to look at the Finder with Narice and it seemed to be pointing in the direction of the knight.
“well… yes… but it’s probably best if i don’t tell you any more about that.”
“Was that what you used against me?” Narice was a little upset that he’d actually been defeated… although he didn’t want to admit it to himself.
Meryell looked at them considering, “yes.”
“i know it’s asking a lot, but can i have it?”
“I wish i could say yes, but we’re meant to deliver it to someone else at the tree…”
“How about we travel together until we reach the tree?”
“That sounds fair,”Meryell said considering.
Narice looked at the Finder. It now pointed to the person in front of him, however, he wouldn’t want to betray his trust and steal it from him- he wasn’t like that.
“How about…” Meryell thought, “If you help us reach the tree, we’ll give you the gem…”
Elera looked at Narice with consideration. It seemed like a fair trade, ”
“Er, what are you going to the tree for?”
“I can tell you that it has to do with the tree of ‘life and time’.”
The tree of life? Narice thought. H’d heard about it but he wasn’t sure that it was anything more than a story from the beginning of time. While Narice thought about it,
“i’m sorry i cant tell you any more than that, do you agree or not?”
Narice wanted to trust them, but after so many betrayals, he thought it best to leave them to their own quest. He wasn’t sure if helping them would tamper with the past or lead to the destruction of the future so he decided to let things stay as this.
“Let me decide whether or not i’ll help you after we get closer to the tree.”
One of the girls got up to retort, “you can-”
“that’s fine…” Meryell said, “For now let’s head together. As a sign of good faith….” Meryell took out the fire gem from around his neck below his armour… He held it in his hand.
Narice and Meryell threw out their hands to shake, but as soon as they touched Meryell and his group vanished completely. Narice looked around only to see empty wood around himself and Elera.
“What was that?”
“perhaps time exists only in vision here?”
“but we fought…” Narice said.
“i dont know, but i do know that magic can transcend time, it is possible that because the swords were magic that you two were able to battle…”
In fact, if the goal of the tree was to keep people away from it, perhaps it instigated the fight across time to hinder one party or another from reaching it. However, seeing as both parties ended up as bygones, the tree could have diffused the partnership by splitting them apart with its power over time.
However, where the group had been- the fire gem laid on the ground. He looked at it for a minute.
“Can it be this easy?”
He picked it up and instantly felt the force of the gem empower him to the point of almost limitless strength.
It was definately the fire gem.
“Is that the gem?” Elera said looking at him.
Narice thought it seemed a little anti-climatic however, with this he was sure to hold some sort of power over Ka’atra.
“It is,” he felt the need to make some sort of demonstration, and threw his hand out at the path- however nothing happened.
“I promise it worked when i had a mock-gem…”
“Dragoons are magical entities, maybe we have to fulfill our part of the promise to get it…”
“What’s the story about the Dragoons?” Narice asked.
“Dragoons are half men, half dragon… or more specifically… men that can become dragons.”
So he DID fight the power of a dragon. He felt better about his duel now.
“well let’s keep moving ahead,” If it was possible that the past and the future could communicate and even fight perhaps there was a possiblity that they’d meet again at the tree.
Narice and Elera got up to move ahead, the Finder once again pointed towards the tree. They should almost be there.
Ahead of them, in fact, it seemed a clearing was coming into view. the sun seemed to get brighter in the distance.
A giant windstorm seemed to circle around a vast area.
“how do we cross it?” Narice asked Elera.
“i dont know, maybe we can stop it with my powers… They held hands and Elera snapped her fingers to make time freeze.”
“you know.. that’s cheating” Narice said with a smile.’
“i can’t help using what god gave me.” Elera spoke with pride..
they walked across the land, past where the windstorm was circling. Along the way, they noticed something peculiar.
As they looked around, the closer they approached the center… the older things began to look. A deer in midair seemed to be partly a doe and partly grown looking into the center of the
“i think things age the closer they get inwards…”
“perhaps that’s the last trial…” she spoke in return.
the wizards watched as the two had teleported.
“they must have gone inside of the windstorm,” one of them said.
“Let’s catch them…”
Dont approach the center… Only deliver a message if you’re not able to catch them in time…
Johna was sure that the center meant the land inside of the windstorm.
“Wait!” Johna spoke.
“We’ve already come this far.” one of the two spoke.
he tried to stop the wizards who had rushed inwards. As soon as they tried to cross the threshhold, the wind ceased)
“Dont approach the tree…”
Looking across the crevice now was probably the best spot to wait for Narice.
He watched as the two wizards moved ahead of him,
“Wait!” he spoke as they appraoched the edge of the cavern.
However the roots already grabbed ahold of them and had started sucking them into the bottom.
He grabbed ahold of one of them
Johna flew towards them with the power of the wind. It would at least be enough to get to them at least. He wasn’t as cold-hearted as he made himself out to be. He wanted to at least save whoever he could.
Narice turned around and watched the scene- Johna was getting pulled into the bottom of the tree by one of his wizard comrades. He wanted to help.
“I dont know what i can do!” he said.
“It seems that the tree of time uses the life energy of the living to feed itself…” Elera looked on with horror and froze time in an instant.
Narice and Elera looked on at the scene as Johna and the wizard were frozen in time.
Johna had aged considerably, having grown wrinkles and white balding hair. he probably looked to be sixty… while the man he was holding onto was already a skeleton.
Elera used her powers of ice to force them back to the edge of the cliff on the far side as she watched the wrinkle lines recede but the hair stayed the same color- it was a symbol of the event that transpired.
Once again it seemed that another trial had taken the life of a wizard.
Upon unfreezing time, with the snap of her fingers they watched the sad scene unfold. Once an enemy, Johna looked to be in tears holding onto the hand of the skeleton. It seems that he held onto another comrade- and Johna was a lot worse for wear.
“I have a message… ” he spoke solemnly, completing his final mission, “Perhaps you could have defeated Ka’atra.” Jhona spoke solemnly with a little bit of sorrow in his voice, “but that’s all in the past and there’s nothing you can do anymore… we have your friends…”
Narice looked at Jhona. He had a sincere feeling coming from him. Something that he hadn’t felt before.
Jhona looked sad as he spoke.
“You can finish what you’re doing…” Jhona said. “but they’re going to kill your friends soon- and if you want to do anything to stop it, then Ka’atra wants ‘you’ as a trade tomorrow morning.”
“It’s a trap…” Elera spoke to Narice, knowing his willingness to save his friends and trying to keep him from doing anything rash.
Narice hoped that possibly he’d find some sort of answer once they reached the tree.
“Jhona,” Narice spoke. “Do you believe i can defeat Ka’atra?”
For the first time, Johna was honest with Narice with a solemn, “I hope you do.”
“Ok,” Narice responded, “My life for theirs. But only if I don’t find anything at the tree. After that, I’ll meet up with you, upon leaving.”
John looked at him, “I’ll wait until sunset…”
John travelled back away from them through the windstorm as he forced the wind away with his powers.
Once again, Narice and Elera looked forward into the woods.
“Are you ready?” Narice spoke.
Elera nodded. Elera snapped her fingers and all the things in the forest stopped moving.
They inched forward towards the tree and took a look at all the wildlife. Along the edges, it seemed that some of the life had come across at different points and been trapped in the circle of the center.
“They’re getting older…” Narice spoke and Elera affirmed with a nod of the head.
“Yeah… I think that the closer you get to the tree… the older you get…”
“Hopefully it doesn’t get any worse….”
The pair kept walking towards the tree free from the curse while Elera’s magic held in place.
“How long can you hold this off?” Narice wanted to be sure to be ready in case her magic faltered.
“Another minute or so…” she responded.
They raced towards the center…
At the final stretch the fulfillment of the hurricane showed what the tree did. Near the outer perimeter of a small barrier, the cycle of life completed with the death of the creatures that approached it.
They passed through the edges as quickly as possible and were surprised by the tree that took over the center.
“Don’t be fooled…” a voice spoke.
Narice and Elera looked around for where the voice would have come from. An image of a small four winged cherub appeared above the tiny sapling that took the center of the sphere.
“You may release your powers now, Elera,” the creature spoke.
“What if we die?”
“You won’t die within the sphere of the tree. It’s only outside of this sphere that is unprotected,”
Elera looked at Narice who then nodded.
Elera let her power go after which the sphere around blossomed.
Inside of the sphere, magical colors of greens and white spun around them.
“Why?” Narice asked getting the major question out of the way.
“Hm?” the cherub spoke.
“All the death leading up to this point…”
“I offer many warnings ahead of time… my power only works on those foolish enough to ignore it.”
“What about those who reach it?”
“What about us?”
“You are the exception…” it returned.
“Why make an exception?”
“I am not the Maker… I am only designed to be what I am… a tree.'”
Elera had more questions, but Narice stopped her.
“We need something…”
“Ah yes…” inside of the tree, an image bloomed and filled the edges with a picture of a person they knew.
“Why yes it is…” the tree spoke, “And you have a message to deliver…”
Elera’s voice took over, “You will find what you are looking for when you need it most…”
And that was all.
“Is there anything else?”
The tree instead lowered its blossoming lights and whisked them to the outside perimeter of the forest- back where John told him to meet.
They were abruptly placed outside of the perimeter.
“Don’t go…” Elera begged Narice. Rather than say anything, Narice did the only thing he knew to do- he embraced her and gave her a kiss.
Jhona looked on at them without action.
After Narice did that- he released his embrace, “Well; i’m ready.”
“Alright… let’s go then,” Johna drew on the ground a portal after which he spoke an enchantment.
Jhona motioned to Narice to enter into the portal. Narice took a last look at Elera and then dove inside…
From there the world around him faded.