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Endless Blue – Week 108 – “The Unintended”, Chapter 5   Leave a comment

History

The Unintended
by Dustin Douglas

Chapter 5
The Debt Repaid

    “Call to us! Unleash us! Destroy their petty world built upon petty lies. Who do they serve? Just themselves. Who do you serve? You serve the truth!”

    Tameryh’s eyes opened, but he still felt pain across his entire body. He strained to lift his head up, and saw a plain empty room. He tried to speak, but coughed instead. He saw specks of blood float away from his mouth. He looked down and saw bandages wrapped around his chest.

“Don’t trouble yourself,” came a voice from the other room.

Tameryh looked up and saw the leather-bound mer woman standing in the doorway.

“Who are you?” asked Tameryh.

“A servant of the truth. You hear it don’t you? The voices of the currents bring us together. I couldn’t be sure until I witnessed your baptism myself. Clearly, the currents have chosen you. As for me, the currents spoke to me long ago. Telling me to find you, and help you see the truth. I am Ashani, servant of truth, Druid of the Bloom,” said Ashani.

“Bloom? You mean the red mist?” asked Tameryh.

“Yes. Those scholars think they have it figured out. A natural occurrence, a mere reaction of the environment. Pah. It’s nature’s revolt,” she said clenching her fists.

Ashani continued, “It’s nature’s very immune system. We’ve run rampant. Ruining, destroying, infecting, and killing our own world. Why? Progress, power, or perhaps wealth? What will any of that do for you when the tides stop flowing, and your heart stops beating?” said Ashani.

“What do you mean?” asked Tameryh.

“I mean the bloom is nature itself turning against the greatest enemy. You, me, all of the Piscean’s. Our civilizations’ greed, bottomless appetites, and appalling growth has led to the death of the coral, the kelp, and now even the waters turn. We must act on nature’s behalf, Tameryh. We shall cull the school,” said Ashani.

“You mean… kill them? Kill my clan?” asked Tameryh.

“You’re thinking too small,” said Ashani.

“This entire city is corrupt. Self-serving Yaun-Teel ready to stab each other in the back for a bit of profit. If they’re willing to do that to each other, what are they willing to do to our world? Just look at the strip mining and slaves!” exclaimed Ashani.

“You’re right. They aren’t worthy of being Yaun-Teel. They live to serve only their own greed. All of them. Every single one of them,” growled Tameryh.

“Yes, indeed,” said Ashani.

“What will we do?” asked Tameryh.

“Call to the bloom. Speak to the bloom. Command it,” said Ashani.

“How?” asked Tameryh.

“The bloom has accepted you, young one, now that you’ve survived the red baptism. Look here,” she said revealing a small urn.

She lifted the lid off the urn, and a small red cloud appeared. She placed her hand into the cloud and spoke softly.

“Come. Come. Let us cleanse this world of the wretched,” she chanted.

She continued chanting, and small specks of red started to flow towards her from outside of the room. After a few minutes, a large red mist had amassed around her. She gestured up and down, and the cloud gathered itself upwards, then downwards following her commands.

“Wow…” said Tameryh as his mouth hung open.

“Now, you just need to rest yourself and…” said Ashani as she trailed off.

Tameryh focused his hands on his chest and chanted his healing magic. Within a few moments his aches started to disappear.

“Very impressive,” said Ashani. She continued, “You already know some druidic arts?”

Tameryh ignored her question and eagerly said, “When. When can we start?”

“Tonight,” said Ashani.

Tameryh and Ashani worked with the red bloom in her hidden home for a few hours. Ashani explained the simple art of commanding the red mist. As long as she remained in contact with a part of the cloud, she controlled its motion. The cloud acted like an extension of her being. Tameryh found an odd enjoyment in effortlessly manipulating the mist. He couldn’t wait to wait them all suffer.

That night, the pair returned to the outskirts of Edonmul.

“Come. Come. Let us cleanse this world of the wretched,” they chanted as they looked down at the city. Soon the red cloud would engulf them all. Within a few minutes, the pair gathered a massive cloud, at least the size of a blue whale.

Ashani turned to Tameryh and said, “I leave the culling to you. Make them pay for their service to the lie.”

Tameryh slowly nodded and darted down towards the city. First, he turned his head to the cathedral. He thrashed his fins as fast as he could as he barreled through the stained glass window at the front of the cathedral.

*SMASH*

Bits of glass and debris floated all around him, as he saw the surprised look of five Yaun-Teel commoners and Sidar Asoudi. The red mist trailed behind Tameryh and the majority of it remained outside.

“Who do you serve?!” shouted Tameryh as he commanded his mists to completely envelop the exterior of the cathedral.

“Unintended? How?! What is this?” said the sidar.

“You put yourself before me, before my house, before our gods. You do not serve anyone but yourself, sidar!” shouted Tameryh as some of the red mist began flowing into the room sealing off the exits.

“Is that… by the gods,” said sidar noticing the red mists.

The sidar and the commoners turned and opened the door only to find even more mist on the other side. The commoners screamed and the sidar glanced nervously around looking for an exit. One of the commoners bolted, trying to dash through the mists. The bloom clung to the poor creature as it writhed in pain and its kin looked on in horror. Tameryh enveloped the rest of the commoners in the red mist as well, ensuring that the sidar was the last one remaining.

“You… aberration! Unintended by Yaun-Teel, now unintended by nature itself!” screamed the sidar.

“Oh that’s where you’re wrong, grand deceiver,” said Tameryh as he covered the rest of the commoners in red mists. He continued, “Nature called to me. The truth spoke to me, asking me to fight. Fight the sickness that is Yaun-Teel. And what a sickness it is.”

“Who do you serve!?” screamed Tameryh as the mists cornered the sidar.

The sidar panicked and began mumbling prayers.

“Do you think he hears you, heretic?” said Tameryh as he clenched his fist.

The red mists slammed into Sidar Asoudi, seeping into his body through his gills. He shook violently. The sidar’s face grew bright red, blood leaked from his eyes , ears, and mouth. The sidar tried to speak, but he could only gag as he coughed up more and more blood. The sidar reached to his gills, trying desperately to brush the bloom away to no avail. At last, the sidar gave out one last gasp as blood gushed from his body.

Tameryh let the red mist linger on him as he looked down. Once, Tameryh admired the clergy, but now he saw him for what he was: a miserable self-serving coward who took advantage of his station. Tameryh looked towards the dead commoners and felt nothing.

“You worked in service of the lie…” he said quietly.

Tameryh swam back outside and made his way towards the Basqorjn manor. As he approached overhead, he brought the red mist down with him with terrible force. Tameryh slammed the mist over the entire courtyard, forgoing subtly all together. Within a few moments, he saw the corpses of the watchmen floating up out of the mists.

Tameryh swam down towards the main manor, and forced the mist to form a barrier around it. Tameryh looked through the windows, seeing a few frightened faces staring back at him. Tameryh attempted to open the door, but it was locked.

“Hah, you think that will stop me?” mumbled Tameryh.

Just then, Tameryh heard something coming from behind. As he turned, he saw Blodusk darting towards him with a trident.

Blodusk’s trident pierced through Tameryh on his left side.

Tameryh clenched his fist and brought the bloom crashing down onto Blodusk while also holding the trident in his side. Tameryh watched as the bloom went inside Blodusk’s gills. Tameryh tried pulling the trident out, but Blodusk held strong. Despite the bloom destroying him from the inside, he fought. Tameryh pulled, but Blodusk continued. Tameryh saw the color leaving Blodusk face as his grip went lax. Blodusk coughed up blood and held his hands to his throat. Blodusk tore at his gills trying to give himself a chance to breath. He fought hard as more and more blood left his body. He felt his strength leaving him.

“My-My-Myra!” he finally gasped as he fell to the ground.

Tameryh cocked his head sideways and looked down at Blodusk, barely noticing the trident that pierced him.

“Why… did he really… my mother?” said Tameryh.

Tameryh looked back down at his wound. He removed the trident and winced in pain. He looked up unable to differentiate the blood escaping his body from the red mist surrounding him. Tameryh chanted his healing magic again. While the majority of the bleeding stopped, Tameryh failed to completely seal the wound. Tameryh chanted and focused on his magic a second time.

“CEASE!” shouted Elder Molka as he threw open the door.

For a moment, Tameryh felt the elder’s command seep into his mind. Tameryh stopped chanting the spell, but clenched one fist and pointed towards the elder.

“CEASE!” shouted the elder again, holding up his staff. His coral staff gave off a slight glow with this command.

Again, Tameryh felt himself go limp for just a brief instant.

“CEASE!” commanded the elder once more, but this time Tameryh focused all of his rage and fought through the elder’s magic.

“Who do you serve? WHO DO YOU SERVE?!” shouted Tameryh slamming his fists down.

The red mists crashed into the elder and into the manor. The elder attempted to cling to his staff, but the red mist threw the old Yaun-Teel into the wall. Tameryh swam up  picked up the elder’s staff and began chanting. Tameryh felt the staff become increasingly heavier as it accepted his enchantment. Tameryh hoisted the heavy staff over his head, and brought the full weight of it down onto the elder face, crushing it completely.

Tameryh looked down at the elder and felt a twinge of regret. Regret not birthed from the sadness of loss, regret born from an unjust end. Tameryh thought. “He deserved a far more gruesome fate. I suffered for years. Over twenty years of hatred, judgement, and servitude to a master who only served himself. “.

Tameryh slipped inside the manor, and inspected his injury only to find the bloom had attached itself to his wound. Tameryh brushed the bloom away and he found that the wound had closed completely. A wicked grin grew across Tameryh’s face as he felt empowered for the first time in his life.

Tameryh set his sights on the servant’s quarters across the courtyard. He saw that some of them had started to look towards the manor, worried about what was happening. He knew he had to act quickly or else they might escape.

Tameryh called to the mist and darted towards the servant’s quarters. Again, he completely surrounded the building with the bloom. He could hear their screams, the old, the young, the hatchlings, all of them would soon be dead.

“Tam? You’re alive?!” shouted Grimbould as he swam outside.

Tameryh simply looked away from him and clenched his fist.

“Tam! No! Don’t do it boy! You’re no killer, you’re an honorable lad!” protested Grimbould.

“You serve those who serve the lie, Grimbould. In the end, you didn’t care about the truth, just yourself. You could have spoken for me, but you watched me float away to the vastness,” screamed Tameryh.

“No… please… you were like a son to me, Tameryh,” said Grimbould.

“Your words. They only serve you now. You only think of yourself,” said Tameryh as he brought the mists around Grimbould.

“No! No!” protested Grimbould.

“Oh yes. You serve the clan, even if they’d disown one of their own over such triviality. Even if they sentenced an innocent to death,” said Tameryh.

“What? Innocent? You attacked the elder!” shouted Grimbould.

“Where was your protest when my mother was sent off to die? The only thing I saw were your lies, Grimbould. You never told me. Would it make you feel sick? Would it make you feel terrible to tell me the truth? Your actions prove it to me, you only serve yourself,” said Tameryh.

“No you’re wrong, listen! List-“said Grimbould as he began choking.

“Your deception ends here,” said Tameryh as he turned his back on his kin.

***

Epilogue

That night, the city of Edonmul felt the terror of the bloom. Many escaped as they witnessed the fall of the Basqorjn clan, but not a single Basqorjn family member survived. They say a young Yaun-Teel returned from the dead. Perhaps a vengeful spirit with a thirst for revenge, or the servant of a dark god looking to create chaos.

No matter the case, or the cause, one thing is certain. The bloom engulfed the city. Even now, the red mists still linger there. Who knows what fortunes lie hidden in the once great city of Edonmul. Only a fool would venture into the bloom. Who knows what creatures lurk inside, creatures who’ve learned to live within the toxic mist.

   “The endless blue ran red that night.
The seas grew thick with toxic blight.
The pleas for help fell, empty prayer
at the hand of Tameryh Kinslayer”
— a vexillifer’s ballad, “The Fall of House Basqorjn“.

 

Endless Blue – Week 104 – “The Unintended”, Chapter 1   1 comment

History

The Unintended
by Dustin Douglas

Preface
The Basqorjn Clan

     The Basqorjn Family’s strength resides in their unwavering control. Control over their slaves, control over their business, and control of themselves. Their bloodline’s strength results solely from their devotion to the family. Actions taken against the family strikes at the very heart of one’s own livelihood for any of House Basqorjn. The current living Yaun-Teel generations understand that their success came only from their forefathers labors. The ancestors worked, and toiled to earn the family’s reputation, and the burden now falls to them. The success or failure of the house results from their ability to continue on with the family’s teachings.

The Basqorjn clan never breaks a contract. Contracts may dissolve, but Basqorjn failure is unacceptable.

The Basqorjn clan will serve their elder’s wishes, no matter the request.

The Basqorjn clan treats all family matters on equal footing with business matters.

     While the third rule may seem ambiguous, this rule sets the Basqorjn clan apart from most other families. Clearly, the marriage between any two families would require agreement between elders of each clan, but the Basqorjn go further. Even if marriage occurs, the offspring of that marriage may not be acknowledge as a true Basqorjn, and therefore not a true heir of the family. Many Yaun-Teel communities say, “as stingy as a Basqorjn,” for this reason.

     The elders also dictate if a particular offspring will breed, and with whom. Some offspring mate with the Mer to keep the bloodline from degenerating, while some maintain the pure blood. The elders decide who among the family shall be gifted with true heir offspring. Many young Basqorjn take issue with this fact, as their nature tempts them to betray the family to fulfill their biological drive. In the end, the youth quash such selfish notions. They bow to the family’s needs first, as they are nothing on their own. What could a single, nameless, Yaun-Teel ever accomplish?

     The Basqorjn own many slaves, and produce high volumes of gemstones and precious metals. Despite their draconian family laws, they’ve remained highly productive for many generations. The tight control of the family, and the large number of slaves, allows the core family to live in luxury. A Basqorjn is nothing without faith in the family, and the family repays dedication in gold.

***

Chapter 1
Temptation’s Price

     “Mom?” said a young, nervous, male Yaun-Teel.

     “It’s going to be okay, Tameryh. Remember, we never fail to fulfill our promises. Just like our contracts,” said the boy’s mother.

     “But will I still get to see you?” asked Tameryh as his face turned red.

     “You, and me? We don’t matter. What matters is the greatest gift that you have. Basqorjn, your family name. Wear it with pride, my son. Whatever you do, you do in service of the great house. Generation after generation of devoted Yaun-Teel fought to give this name power. Never take their sacrifice in vain,” she said holding him close.

     “But what about you?” he said, still fighting back the tears.

     “Don’t think of yourself. That temptation leads to the greatest of sins. You may feel pain, but do not let that bring shame upon the house. If you do shame the house, pray you can resolve your debt,” she said.

     A voice shouted from outside the room, “Myra, it’s time.”

     Myra looked down at Tameryh and smiled.

     “Little Tam… Don’t forget everything you’ve learned. I must settle my debts,” she said as the hugged him one last time.

     Myra left the room, and Tameryh followed her out of the room. He swam as close to her as he could, but he stopped as the elder appeared. He didn’t dare interrupt.

     The elder stood tall and strong despite his age. Adorned in clothes with golden trim, wearing three thick golden chains with the house symbol, a golden eel around the perimeter of a circle with a blood drop in the center, hanging down on his chest.

     “You will serve the southern scholars well, Myra. You will do as you’re told, and treat their word as mine. You shall no longer be Myra of Basqorjn, though you still carry the reputation of this house. Should I hear any word of dissatisfaction from them, Tameryh will be stripped of his name too,” he said with a stern voice.

     Myra turned pale at his remark, but nodded meekly.

     “Good,” said the elder. He turned to Tameryh and continued, “ah there’s the boy. You, honor your mother’s sacrifice. Even with her mistake, she settled her debt with the house. It’s a good lesson, lad,” he said in a sterile tone.

     Tameryh meekly said, “Yes Elder Molka, thank you sir,” but couldn’t help but frown as the tears started coming back.

     “Shh, hush now, Little Tam,” said Myra.

     “Blodusk, take the boy,” said Elder Molka.

     From around the corner, a large adult male Yaun-Teel swam up and grabbed Tameryh by the arm. Tameryh wanted to fight. Tameryh wanted to scream loud enough for the vastness to hear him. He knew too well that his selfish actions would only hurt his mother. Tameryh knew the house came first. He submitted completely, and looked away from his mother as Blodusk dragged him from the room.

     Blodusk frightened Tameryh. The strongest Yaun-Teel of House Basqorjn who served as Elder Molka’s Thane. Beyond simply securing the properties of the Basqorjn clan, he also acted at the Elder’s right hand in disciplinary matters.

     Tameryh sat in a room, looking down at the floor. Blodusk shut the entrance and stood inside, looking down at him.

     “She held great status here once. Then you came along. Her great temptation! Ha! Myra of all people,” he said with a wicked look on his face.

     “Oh yeah, you probably don’t understand the full story yet. Let’s just say she wanted to serve herself first,” said Blodusk.

     “Who are you serving by telling me this story?” asked Tameryh as he raised up his head.

     Blodusk rushed forward, grabbing Tameryh by the head.

     “Listen here you little unintended trash! I’m telling you what you need to hear,” said Blodusk with anger in his voice.

     Tameryh’s eyes drifted back down, his shoulders slumped, and he submitted completely again.

     “Sorry sir. Thank you for sharing your experience with me,” said Tameryh.

     “That’s more like it,” said Blodusk as he released Tameryh.

     “You see, she never asked permission. A fine young Yaun-Teel caught her eye, and wouldn’t you know it. Myra couldn’t keep herself in check. My, oh my, she was a profitable one too. We can’t have her going against the family serving only herself. That kind of tarnish takes years to remove,” said Blodusk.

     “Now what to do with you. I wonder if the elder will buck tradition and throw you in the slave pens anyway. We don’t need some no-skilled kid smearing the family name,” said Blodusk with a wicked grin.

     Tameryh grew pale at the thought of a lifetime of hard labor.

     “Oh, did I say something you didn’t like?” said Blodusk watching Tameryh’s reaction.

     “You think you’re too good for mining then eh? Too good for swimming down to the deep blackness? Who knows what monsters lurk out there in The Hole. They say it goes down for miles. If the foreman doesn’t get enough out of you, he’ll send you straight up to the vastness!,” laughed Blodusk.

     Tameryh kept looking down, just hoping someone or something would stop Blodusk from talking.

     “Maybe we’ll just feed you to the sharks, boy! Ah ha ha ha!” laughed Blodusk.

     Tameryh stopped responding and sat silently, yearning to leave this place forever.

     Blodusk pulled out a short dagger and began grooming his claws. For Tameryh, time slowed to a crawl. After his mother’s depature, he couldn’t fathom what future awaited him. His sorrow was soon replaced with hollow despair.

     Tameryh thought back to his earliest memories with him mom. The elders kept Tameryh from formal education with the rest of the children, as “unintended trash,” should not mix with the house. Myra took complete responsibility for Tameryh instead. While she had originally been a profitable hunter, traveling from town to town in her youth, she was reduced to a mere servant.

     Tameryh thought about the many lessons Myra shared with him as they explored the kelp forests…

Myra said, “Listen. You may not hear it with your ears, little Tam, but you will feel it in your soul.”

Tameryh turned his head and said, “What is that supposed to mean, mom?”

Myra brought her hands up and gently brushed the nearby kelp. She looked back and smiled down at Tameryh.

“When you know how to dance with the currents, converse with the waters, and listen to the flora, then you may learn their secrets,” she said as she began to fade from view.

“What?! Where did you go!?” shouted Tameryh as his mother disappeared into the kelp right in front of him. To him, she appeared to merge with the plants completely.

Tameryh felt a tap on his shoulder and turned around.

Myra said, “Over here, silly little Tam.”

“Wow! How’d you do that!” asked Tameryh.

Myra smiled, patted Tameryh on the head, and said, “Well first you need to master the other little tricks I taught you little Tam.”

With a huff, Tameryh crossed his arms and said, “oh fine! Then will you teach me that trick?”

Myra nodded and smiled.

With that, Tameryh brought his hands together and chanted. A few minutes later, his hands gave off a minor glow.

“Good! Now, try moving the light on to this,” said Myra pointing at her necklace. She continued, “If you can, I’ll let you keep it!”

Myra handed Tameryh the necklace with a smile.

“Oh really!” exclaimed Tameryh.

He redoubled his efforts trying to cast the magical glow upon the object for the rest of the day. By the time they went home, the necklace glowed, not very brightly, but it certainly glowed. Tameryh brimmed with pride.

     Tameryh thought of all the little tricks his mother taught him as he looked down at the necklace. Once he learned how to create magical light, he learned minor healing magic, and even learned to speak with lesser evolved life.

     Tameryh clutched the necklace in his hand once more. It was a bronze version of the house sigil. The necklace was rough, scratched, and not as pristine as the elder’s golden one.

     After a short while, a voice commanded, “Tameryh, come.”

     Blodusk opened the hatch, and gestured for Tameryh to leave. Tameryh swam out of the room and stood before the elder.

     Elder Molka said, “Good. You’ll continue on serving the house in your mother’s place. You are Yaun-Teel, and I expect you to fulfill these duties as any Yaun-Teel would. Report to House Master Gimbould immediately. You will help cook, clean, convey messages, make deliveries, and anything else he requests. Is that understood?”

     Tameryh bowed his head and said, “Thank you for this opportunity. I will speak with Gimbould at once.”

     “You will be relocating to the servants quarters tonight,” continued Elder Molka.

     “Ah HA! Not heading down to the hole? Tis a shame” snickered Blodusk.

     Tameryh looked down without responding.

     “You. Speak when you are spoken to boy!” demanded Blodusk.

     “Yes, sir,” replied Tameryh with a flat affect.

     “Good,” said Elder Molka as he nodded towards Blodusk grimly, and left the room.

     “Oh what’s this little trinket? Now that you are formally serving the house, you can’t be wearing it” said Blodusk as he ripped the necklace from Tameryh’s neck. Tameryh’s eyes went wide, and his face turned red.

     “Oh this was your mother’s? You realize it’s not within her authority to bequeath this to you, or anyone. You probably think this was her property. No. This symbol means she’s recognized as a Basqorjn huntress. You. You are no hunter. You are barely Basqorjn. She isn’t even Basqorjn now!” shouted Blodusk

     Blodusk started laughing as he stuck the necklace in his pocket. Tameryh charged at him.

     *THWACK*

     Tameryh felt Blodusk’s full strength in a solid backhand to his face. Tameryh’s head snapped backwards as he sank to the ground. Blodusk looked down on him and laughed, as a trail of blood floated upwards.

     “Don’t fool yourself, boy. You think this is yours? You think you’re entitled to it because she gave it to you? Damn it, fool. You shouldn’t even be alive,” he said as Blodusk picked up Tameryh by the throat.

     “You. You were her mistake, he was her temptation. Damn them both,” hissed Blodusk as he threw Tameryh back down.

     Tameryh took a few minutes, but finally collected himself. Anger, hate, and despair swelled in him as he knew he was helpless to change anything.

***
(Continued…)
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