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A note from puddles4263

3/7

Randidly blinked. “... you think the Spearsource didn’t show up until the Spearman left.”

Trentyon was watching Randidly with a half smile, but when the other man spoke Trentyon scowled. “Well, I suppose that is a rather inelegant way of saying it, but I suppose I couldn’t call such a sentence inaccurate.”

Considering that Randidly believed the Spearsource was probably a manifestation was somehow a personification of the images of spear use, it made sense that it hadn’t appeared until after the Spearman disappeared. It was the amalgamation of all of his images the Spearman had gathered during his lifetime.

What Randidly was truly curious about was how he had managed to separate himself from his images. Considering his current issues with the pervasiveness of ash in his images… Randidly felt a tightening of his heart but ignored it.

Well, perhaps he was thinking about this the wrong way. Maybe he hadn’t severed himself from the images but… perished as an individual to become an object…? Either way, if the goal was to dodge the track of the Calamity it seemed to have work. Tellus was stuck in the current situation, with no progress with the Calamities and very rigid images, for hundreds of years.

The Creature’s dream. Would it be so bad for the Earth to fall into something similar…?

Randidly shook his head. Perhaps in the short term, but there were a lot of strange perversions in Tellus that seemed unusual. Accomplishing such a feat that had been done here was not a simple thing. Before he understood the details, no point in getting into a philosophical debate with himself.

“That’s not the only bit of drivel that the Song of the Spearman swears by,” Trentyon said. Immediately his gangly limbs stretched to grab different scrolls from the piles and spread them out in front of Randidly. “Another important point that is the subject of hot debate is the actual arrival of the Spearman. It is assumed that he brought the era of prosperity to Tellus, but some sources seem to contradict the notion that it was such a neat thing. It seems much more likely that the Spearman was a relative unknown until he slew the Calamity. It was only then that Tellus became a global community.”

That seemed to make sense, especially since Randidly sincerely doubt that this individual simply brought the System back. He might have been the one to accomplish whatever arbitrary goal the System demanded, but he was an unknown to that point.

“In addition, there is a lot of confusion and mixed reports regarding the destruction of the Halo School. Most say that they perished in the first part of the war against the Wights, but others seem to speak of the Wight invasion as a distant memory while the war of Schools was going on… which would play the war of Schools after it, during the beginning of the Spearman’s absence.” Trentyon shrugged. “For political reasons, it makes sense. There was likely a reshuffling of power in the Spearman’s absence and the different Schools fought. But afterward, they preferred to blame the brutality on a third party than own up to it. If you look at this passage here-”

“Trentyon,” Randidly interrupted. “Shit, how many of these scrolls do you have memorized? Every time you want to show a source, you know exactly-”

“I guess it’s just luck.”

Abruptly, the temperature in the room seemed to tick downward. Trentyon was looking at Randidly with a wounded and angry expression.

Scratching his chin, Randidly said. “Look, I didn’t mean-”

“Of course. It’s fine. I have some work to do putting these back. You’ve gotten your brief overview, so please leave. It’s about time to close for the night.” Without saying anything more, Trentyon grabbed a pile of the scrolls and hurried off.

For several minutes, Randidly just stood on the upper catwalks and watched the other man. It seemed like he had touched upon a sore subject, but what had he even said…? There were moments when Randidly was almost compelled to speak up and ask, but the slouching way that Trentyon scurried around the lower level gave him pause.

Finally, Randidly sighed and left. Perhaps it would be best for him to try his luck tomorrow when Trentyon’s mood improved.

But it was true that he had gotten the general overview of history that he wanted. Still, it had only equipped him to ask the right questions, not answer them. In order to answer them, Randidly would need to actually speak to someone who was present during those that time, years ago.

Was it feasible to try and meet one of the leaders from the central Styles? They would undoubtedly know more. And based upon what Randidly knew, Shal was the sun of someone from the Endless Heat Style, albeit a bastard one.

Most of the people had left the streets at this point, so Randidly could walk in peace along the streets. But even at this hour, the gyms on the roofs of most buildings were alive with noise and exertion. It was a city that prided itself on strength.

And it was slowly being strangled to death by an old enemy that should have been defeated.

What had happened? Why was the Spearsource taken now?

Stopping at a well, Randidly considered his friend's list. After great hesitation, he composed and sent a message to Shal.

Shal,

I’ve been back in the world for a while. I think it’s time we talked.

Randidly

After sending it, Randidly looked up at the sky above. Before he could dwell too much on the drawbacks of the newfound power in his plant images, he received a reply.

In the middle of something. We speak later.

Randidly blinked. In the middle of something? What was his master even doing these days?

*****

The cave was cold and dark, dimly lit by a few candles on Versault’s bedside. His gaze was cool as he considered the three people in front of him. “This is unnecessary. I have already given you all the information I have. You must come here, too? This is a sacred place, to our School. If you do not leave immediately-”

“If it is so sacred, why do you rest here every night?” Verynica countered. Even with only the light of the candles, a huge dome of a cave could be seen. It was true that there was a small pallet and some personal effects in the middle area, but Shal could vaguely see seven large shapes looming in the darkness along the walls. And in the center, there were a brass dias the size of a gazebo.

Shal glanced at Verynica, surprised she had spoken. Ophelia stood between her two Lieutenants, looking at Versault with a bland smile. Shal’s instincts warned him that this would not go well. For once, he was glad that Razland had insisted on going to bed early. At least he wouldn’t be caught up in whatever sort of farce this was.

“It was your turn to guard it,” Ophelia said softly. “I find it hard to believe that you and your people know nothing.”

Versault nodded slightly, and it was clear to Shal from his stiff neck that even that small gesture took a great toll on the man. “As I have said… we are not what we were.”

“Truly, the crushed remnants of Memory do not amount to much…” Ophelia whispered. Then her eyes flashed, and she gestured to Shal and Verynica. “Subdue him. We will need to bring him back with us to the Oracle.”

Verynica took a step forward even while Shal hesitated.

“Ha!” Versault cackled. “You think her name would cow me? Child, although I can no longer remember my homeland, my existence is not something that you can understand. Begone from this place, it deserves better than your petty tricks.”

“Enough talk,” Verynica said and leapt forward towards Versault. Despite his previous bluster, the man seemed to deflate as Verynica approached. Visibly, he aged. But when he raised his hand to meet Verynica’s thrust, all Shal felt was an impassable barrier. A shield of woven reeds that stretched endlessly in all directs.

Crack.

“What?!?” Verynica gasped, looking in horror at the shattered head of her spear. Like glass meeting stone, her weapon had disintegrated into nothing when it encountered Verault’s hand. This made Shal narrow his eyes. For all her bluster, Verynica was competent. Her weapon was also excellent. What sort of man was this that could stop her bare-handed…?

“Child of Gila, must we do this?” Versault asked one last time.

Ophelia said nothing and gave Shal a small look. With a nod, he moved forward to strike.

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