Chapter 11: The Power of Life

Chapter 11: The Power of Life

A Chapter by Sairek Ceareste





Nayleen stood up with a jolt. She hadn’t even went to retrieve her daggers from the wall; she had been too concerned about Sairek. “Who are you?!” She shouted in a hostile tone.

 

“Nayleen, calm down!” Sairek called to her from the ground below. She glanced at Sairek for a moment, and then relaxed her tension slowly. She looked at the figure as it stepped forwards. Despite the red glow it had in its eyes, as it walked closer towards Sairek’s staff which was still a lit with the flame from balinzer would slowly reveal the figure. Sairek and Nayleen could see that the figure was just a child; younger than even Sairek looked. He looked to have been about only seven years of age. He wore a pale yellow robe, much like that of an acolyte. It split open slightly at the bottom between where his legs were, but not very far. Black leather gloves held tight a dark brown book he kept in the center of his chest, holding it with both hands, as if the book itself was like a stuffed animal companion. His eyes were a bright crimson red as well which as Sairek and Nayleen experienced, glowed in the dark.His ears were oddly stretched, nearly flat against his head but stretched and pointed upwards. His hair was white-like silver; although finely cut and combed to be even length. It did not go past his eyes, and was center-parted evenly.

 

“I’m sorry… did I startle you…?” The child asked in a small voice; one that was not filled with any confidence at all it would seem.

 

“Uhh… No-no! Don’t apologize!” Nayleen began. “I was just on edge… I’m the one who should be saying sorry… we were just attacked you see…” She then pointed at Sairek. “And his back got badly injured from the battle with a giant slime!” She expanded her arms out to try and show that the slime had been huge. Sairek couldn’t help but let out a light chuckle at her.

 

The red-eyed child blinked at Nayleen before looking down to Sairek who was lying on the ground, and then back at Nayleen. “How did he damage his back? I may be able to help… if you let me…” He almost muttered the last bit. He was speaking so quietly that Sairek had to strain himself to hear him.

 

“Well… the slime had him… long story short the slime spat him out before it exploded… He slammed into this wall here on his back from the force. He can’t get up right now.” Nayleen explained.

 

“I was wondering why all his clothes was all soaked and sticky. You may want to get that removed quickly; slime goo stains very badly and it can make you sick easily…" The boy half mumbled, before lifting his left hand and point back deeper into the cave.
"There is a spring of Ethereal water a bit further back into the cave. We can carry him there; all we will have to do is soak him into it and the spine should heal after a short while. The slime bits should wash off easily too since it's fresh.”

 

“Ah good, so there is a spring! How did you know?” Nayleen asked.

 

“I come here usually once a week to deliver the Ethereal water to Lamen--“ the boy began.

 

“Wait a second… Just you? By yourself? A little guy like you?” Nayleen interrupted.

 

“Yes.”

 

“Wow! You must be really strong then, right? Able to take on monsters by yourself like that!”

 

The child shrank a little and blushed. “N-No… The monsters do not seem to bother me any… they all leave me alone…" He slightly perked up a little bit, regaining what little composure he seemed to have had. "Although I am surprised to hear that a slime was in here. I saw no slimes of any sort last week even around the area...”

 

“What about bandits? Nobody has tried to mug you?” Nayleen questioned.

 

“…No… I never had any bandit troubles… All of the bandits just leave me alone too… I'm just a small acolyte. I don't hold any value to anyone, really...” He mumbled.

 

“...Guys, if you don’t mind…” Sairek interrupted from down below. Both of the other two looked at him lying on the floor, helpless.

 

“Oh, right… Kind of forgot about you…” Nayleen let out in a quiet mutter.

 

A dull look swept across Sairek’s face. "Yeah, thanks for that Nayleen…” The Prince muttered.

 

“Yeah, you will be thanking me; I have to carry you… again.” She stated as she walked over to her daggers, picking them up individually as she sheathed  them away. She grabbed the end of Saireks' hood and began dragging him deeper into the cave.

 

“Ackk! Nayleen! Are you going to drag me all the way there?!” Sairek managed to choke out.

 

“Well, you’re covered in slime; I don’t really wanna get that stuff on me. Also the other kid is holding his book and it would be rude to ask a total stranger to come and drag you with what you're covered in. You just hold the light up so we can still see.”

 

Sairek could only let out a frustrated sigh; Nayleen took the silence afterwards as a sign he understood and continued to drag the boy along deeper into the cave.

 

 

 

It was only a 3 minute walk deeper into the cave as the red-eyed child lead the way towards the spring. When they did, the spring was like a deep pool of water. It was small in diameter but it was still quite deep, if at least for the size it was. It was uneven in some areas in the clear water, as it cast a faint glow that allowed the bottom to be seen. It was deep enough for any of them to be able to swim comfortably in at least one at a time and easily wide enough to comfortably soak Sairek.

 

The robed child bent down, dusting any dirt away on an area on the floor and setting his book down on the ground for now. He moved over towards Sairek and Nayleen.

 

“So, what are we to do? Just set him in the water?” Nayleen asked. The other child shook his head.

 

“He needs to soak in the water; not float on top of it." The red-eyed boy explained before continuing. "Although, I would request that I take my share of the water first before we dump him in. I am not sure anyone would like the bottled water having chunks of slime inside of it...”

 

“Sure, go ahead, I’m sure he will survive.” Nayleen said with a light chuckle. Sairek let out another sigh. The other child dug into his robes, pulling out an empty glass bottle that would fill up around two and a half coffee mugs. The child yanked out a cork in the bottle, dipped it into the water, letting it fill until it nearly was at the top. Then he simply put the cork back on, and put the container back into his robes.

 

“Won’t dipping me in this be polluting the water…?” Sairek asked quietly as Nayleen grabbed both of his arms, and the other child moved to grab his ankles, slowly lifting him up the ground.

 

“The gunk will gradually sink to the bottom of the water and eventually into the earth." The other child explained. "It would take a couple days, but it will be clean soon enough. In a bottle, the stuff would just sink to the bottom of the bottle, and that wouldn’t be any good… if anyone saw it like that...”

 

“Right… I suppose I’m ready then…” Sairek said as he let out with breath.

 

“Oh relax, it will be fun! How many Princes do you think got to be bathed like this?” Nayleen asked.

 

“…None. That is what concerns me…” Sairek muttered.

 

Nayleen ignored him for now, and looked towards the other child who was waiting patiently for her to be ready. “So, we just gently put him in?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Well, let’s do it then!”

 

Sairek felt himself moved over, and then the rush over cool liquid against his fabric. It felt very strange for his royal clothing to be absolutely soaked like this; he was usually careful not to get his clothes wet; which wasn't really hard when stuck inside a castle all day but there may have been the occasional surprise. The only other time they tended to get wet was only when they were being washed. The water went along his back, and then the two pushed him down some in the water, so it submerged the rest of him, except of course his head. Of all sensations, his entire body stung; tingled. It was in no way relaxing to him. it actually hurt a bit to the point where Sairek had to grit his teeth to endure it and the longer he stayed, the worse it got. Eventually he had to close his eyes to endure the stinging sensation. It hurt; but not in a way he was used to normally experiencing like if he had stubbed his toe or like his back slammed against the wall; this pain was coming like an itch that was getting worse by the second.

 

“How are you feeling?” Nayleen asked a bit worried. The sight of him clenching his teeth probably didn’t bode well with her.

 

“…It feels like… something is shocking me… making me itch all over…” Sairek answered slowly.

 

“That is your body being shocked by the amount of Ethereal you are being exposed to." The silver-haired child spoke in reassurance. "It will be like that the entire time you are in there since this seems to be your first time being exposed to this much of it at once… eventually bodies will begin to build up a resistance to the feeling and the shock will only be just a normal itch. Very soon, you will probably feel the sensations in your spine the worst, since that is where the damage is.”

 

Sairek was still gripping his staff; the tingling felt worst there, his spine only came second to his right hand holding his staff. He had long let go of the Balinzer spell since the water was providing light, however, it seemed like his staff was vibrating… Eventually it was so much, he just let go of the weapon, and it floated to the top of the water. He craned his head back a little as the pain continued to get a little bit worse and he lay himself limp in the water. The slime that had been stuck to him seemed to just melt off of him and just floated absently in the liquid for the smaller chunks, while the large chunks eventually began to sink into the bottom of the pool. Sairek breathed through gritted teeth; he did not dare wish to know how long he would need to lie like this; it was extremely uncomfortable. He feared the answer would be quite a fair bit longer.


“Is this… lethal…?” Sairek would question the other child. It sure felt lethal; that was for sure. The other child shook his head slowly, although Sairek couldn’t see. He still answered in a verbal tone.

 

“Two elements cannot be used to damage each other. The same is for Ethereal. You cannot have water and water slice through water itself; or fire pitted against fire to defeat one another. They simply just fuse together or cancel each other out. Our bodies; as living creatures, have all of the basic elements in life inside of our bodies. We breathe in Ethereal. What you are experiencing is simply two different Ethereal energies clashing into each other; in this case, your body and the Ethereal inside of the water. It won’t be much longer; the Ethereal in the water will begin to fuse with your body, and after that the initial shock will begin to die down as it begins to fuse into your body. That will help repair the damaged spine. It should happen any second now…”

 

As if right on cue, Sairek felt a strong shock; but it came as quickly as it had come and he didn’t even have time to react to it. The tingling quickly began to die down; and the aching in his back began to soothe away. The child opened his eyes and blinked seconds later. He lift his head up out of the water. It seemed so odd… he felt nothing strange anymore. Sairek looked towards his staff which was still floating in the water. He then looked back to the other boy.

 

“What about my staff?" Sairek asked curiously. "It’s crafted out of a root from the Yggdrasil tree. Even in a piece of root, the staff in technical terms is still alive. Would it not be sucking up the energy too?

 

“I don’t think so… You see, a piece of root would not need that much Ethereal to survive on its own and it probably gets more than enough from in the air, although it can horde a large quantity of Ethereal. If you tried casting a spell in the water, well, it would just be quicker and easier to mass the energy needed to use the spell.” The other child explained.

 

Sairek felt uncomfortable with that response. He couldn't wrap his mind around the fact his right hand was aching so badly. It felt like the rest of his body excluding his spine when he had let it go. Sairek didn't press the topic though, and changed it slightly instead. “So how do potions made out of Ethereal work?” The Prince asked as he moved his body over to grab his weapon in the water again and sat himself up in the pool. The child pointed to the water that Sairek was still in. “In this state, it could be used to heal; but one would get extremely sick from it if it is consumed. The sickness isn’t lethal, but you know the shock you have just gone through, yes? Well, imagine that, but in your stomach. It would remain like that until the body digests it and only a little bit would actually get through to the area that would need healing, unless that area would be the stomach itself, like an internal wound, then consuming it may be the best way. So while it can be used to heal wounds, it is kind of ineffective except in that one occasion…

"So, the best way to make them effective is to add a few different solutions to it. Watering it down in an essence, but adding a few extra things to the tonic to make it more effective. After all, in essence; Ethereal in it's liquid state has the same properties as water; you can mix a lot of things with it. Medicine, food, lotions...” While explaining, the silver-haired child seemed to have more confidence, at least more than he seemed to have shown before, anyways.

 

“Wow, you seem to know a lot about Ethereal energy…” Nayleen inquired, as the water splashed when Sairek grabbed the edge of the pool and began slowly pulling himself out; testing his back to see if it was actually cured of its trouble. To his joy, it didn’t hurt no matter how much pressure he seemed to put on it. A small smile came on his face, as he completely pulled himself out of the waters. The clear liquid dripped off his clothing, and clung to his skin. He’d need to think of a way to dry it; but at least it was clean for now, if being drenched in life energies was considered clean. The child bent down towards the pool, and splash his face and hair with the water; he didn’t dunk his head under the water after all. He didn’t want his face or hair still to possibly have slime stuff on it. He listened to the other two speak as he talked.

 

“I…um... well I was taught it…” The other boy said in a small voice in response to Nayleen. “Father Abbot told me learning about the element of life was important…”

 

“Abbot? So you’re an Acolyte of a church? I mean I thought you was but didn't want to assume.” Nayleen asked.

 

“Yes, and no... It's the monastery in Lamen…” he answered.

 

Sairek soon lifted his head from the water, hearing the mention of the monastery. That was where his mother had been buried. He didn’t say anything though and stood up now, turning himself around. His red cape made a slap as wet cloth met wet cloth as it hit his leg. He made a slight face from the sound. “I guess next step is drying my clothes… but I wonder how we’re going to do that…”

 

“Why not just dry them the old fashioned way?” Nayleen soon asked.

 

“You mean hang them to dry?” Sairek asked.

 

“Yeah!”

 

Sairek gave her a dull look. “I am not going to be naked for the next few hours just to dry my clothes. Forget it.”

 

“You didn’t bring any spare clothes?” Nayleen asked.

 

Sairek stepped back a bit at the question. “I-- uh... ...No...”

 

Nayleen let out a sigh, shaking her head. “Even brought spare clothes because I figured I would actually need to change once in a while. You know; being on an adventure and everything?”

 

Sairek sighed as Nayleen spoke. “Don’t patronize me…” He muttered, before giving out a small shiver. Being exposed to the air while being wet was rather chilly. Wet clothes did nothing to protect him from the cold. Actually, it made it worse for him. Sairek shrugged a little, as the Ethereal water dripped off of him. “It doesn’t really matter. It’s uncomfortable but I can deal with it. The air outside of the cave will help dry me eventually and it is kind of warm outside by now. Oh, by the way, we did get what we came in here for… See?”

 

Sairek’s left hand lifted up the jewel, which had been a dull orange before; it was back to its normal pristine white sparkle. “It absorbed some of the Ethereal energy while I was in the water. It should be full and good to go now; we can go back and get our stuff.

 

Nayleen smiled a little bit, pleased to hear the good news on that regard. The other child blinked a little, having no idea what Sairek was going on about. The Prince turned his head towards the other boy. “…Thank you very much for helping me. May I get your name please?”

 

“…Cyial, of the Grandcross-Crusade Monastery of Lamen.” The red-eyed child answered.

 

“Prince Sairek, son of the deceased Queen, Melina, and son of the King who owns this Kingdom; Ceareste.”

 

Sairek then turned his staff sideways, holding it with both hands across his lap. He bowed his torso forward slightly and further bowed his head. He stayed there for full three seconds, before moving back in position, taking his ‘formal stance’. Cyial took a step back, his eyes were widened a bit in surprise. “Prince Sairek?” He repeated in a near whisper. “I… never even knew… I have heard your name of course but… I thought your friend was making an inside joke about saying Princes' taking a bath like..." Cyial composed himself a little before speaking again. "What would be so important that the Prince would only be accompanied by only one other person to Lamen?”

 

“Well, we are going to Lamen… but that’s only for a little break before we continue on into Dandoran… I would like to explain more, but we do need to move quick. We have already wasted far too much time today in here. You are going back to Lamen anyways, right?” Sairek asked the other boy, and he only gave a small shy nod.

 

“Well, we need to backtrack a little bit, so why don’t you come with us and I will explain it along the way?”

 

“If you would have me, I would be honored…” Cyial replied in a quiet voice.

 

Sairek frowned at his response a little bit. “Please, Cyial… I’m still a normal person just like anyone else. Don't let my title of Prince allow to intimidate you like it intimidates anyone else...”

 

“Oh… okay.” Cyial replied. Nayleen looked at Sairek, giving a little shrug. Clearly he was still intimidated.




 

The three of them soon had left the cave. Cyial did not forget his book and was holding it like he had before when the other two had first seen him.

 

“So,” Sairek began, as they walked down the path back towards their items they had left when fleeing from the Grotos. “The reason we are going beyond Lamen is because the two of us are going to visit the Yggdrasil tree.”

 

Cyial’s red eyes gave a look of curiosity in them. Despite that, he only mouthed one word: “Why?”

 

“It's hard to tell for sure, but the tree seems to be dying. Or, at least something is wrong with it anyways.” Nayleen answered and continued. “I live right next to a cave that leads down to the core where the tree rests. You could say my parents and I are like the unofficial watchers of the tree… Of course, we’re just simple civilians, unlike Sairek here. Nobody would believe us if we said the tree was dying, and it’s dangerous in those caves, so nobody really goes to look. People only visit the tree on the Holy Magic Century-Year.”

 

Sairek lowered his gaze from Nayleen to his feet as the three of them walked. The Prince then shook his head; he didn’t want to think about it right now. It would only make him feel irritated and be filled with distraught. The mentioning of that ceremony always brought images and thoughts of his mother to his head. Sairek soon looked up from his feet, eyes widening a little at attention. “We’re here; where we had to leave our stuff.” The child said as he slowed to a stop.

 

He looked back towards Nayleen and Cyial with his emerald eyes. “Are we far enough away?

 

Nayleen gave a short nod. “We’ll both stay here. Just casually walk up to the stuff, do your thing and then just walk back. You will be fine then.”

 

Sairek nodded at the instructions, and turned his back around. He began walking towards the items scattered on the ground. Some were too scattered for him to get in one go, so he'd need to do the spell multiple times. On the bright side, the less there was to grab the quicker he could be with the spell before moving on to the next set of items; he would just have to do the process a few times and get out.

 

After about three minutes of walking, Sairek slowed to a stop at one collection of their supplies. He held his hand out holding his mother’s jewel. The gem shining like it normally did in synch with the items and soon they disappeared. Sairek buckled a little at the increased weight, but proceeded on to the next set of items lying around.

 

Sairek had to do the process a total of four more times before all the stuff was back in the jewel. He then began walking back towards the other two. He felt a tinge of fear, knowing that such a horrible monster was definitely watching every move he was making. However, Nayleen seemed to be correct about how passive it was. He made it back to the two without any problems.

 

“We good to go?” She asked him. Sairek gave a short nod and then pointed with his left hand the way they came. “Let’s follow the path back that way. That is where Lamen is, right?”

 

“Yes, although there is no way to make it by tonight. If we do hurry and stay up later than normal, we can make it to an Inn along the road.” Cyial notified, although the two already knew that, Sairek gave a nod, as the statement was true anyways. The three wasted no time and walked forwards.

 

“So, what do you do in the Monastery? I’m quite curious how the life of an Acolyte is.” Nayleen asked Cyial. The smaller boy blinked with his red eyes and then offered a slow, small shrug.

 

“I do not know… I mean, I don't know what normal Acolytes do... I sleep in a different room than everyone else does, and I’m the only one who does tasks such as this that requires me to leave town… At least of Acolytes that are of my age…”

 

“Why is that? Are you special or something?” Nayleen questioned curiously.

 

“I don’t think special is the right word… maybe different… I’m sorry. I don’t really like to talk about it. But really I don't know the exact reason as to why it's like that... the Father Abbot does take good care of me though…”

 

“Okay, I won’t ask if you don’t like talking about it then.” Nayleen simply stated with a warm smile. Cyial gave a small shy smile back to her and then held the book tighter to his chest.

 

Sairek was curious too. He had never seen anyone with red eyes before. Nor with ears of that kind. The hair color was a bit strange as well, but not nearly as strange as the eyes that glowed in the dark and the deformation of the ears, though. Saireks' eyes themselves were a bit unnatural. The color green was normal, it was how deep and bright they were that made them a bit unique. Perhaps unique was not necessary strange, however. He didn't want to judge, either way.

 

“So, you wander up to this cave, from Lamen and back once every week?” Sairek asked Cyial. The boy let out a small ‘Mhm’ in acknowledgement, as if it was casual for him to do so. Well, for him it probably was casual. “Then you are sure we can make it to the Inn. But how long into the night will we have to walk?”

 

“We will probably be walking up until around the middle of the night… unless you want to run.” Cyial replied.

 

“Ah… No, I can’t run very far with these clothes… And all the weight of the stuff is inside this jewel… oh, and my clothes are still pretty wet. Running is not an option for me.”

 

“Then walking until midnight it is then…” Nayleen sighed a little, but then perked up. “Well, I suppose it isn’t so bad if we get to sleep in warm beds instead of outside, right? And it does mean we will be making that much more progress.”


"We may not get to. It depends on if the moon will be bright or dim tonight. If it's dim, it will be too dark to see where we are going and we will be forced to stop. If it's bright we should be able to see.

 

Sairek nodded in agreement. But he could not shake off the worry in his head that refused to be sat in place into the back of his mind… He needed to know what happened to his mother. How did she get sick? Perhaps she had gotten sick long before and the symptoms hadn't shown until a long time ago? But that wouldn’t make sense. Unless, maybe someone had cursed the tree many years before hand with the same type of disease his mother fell to? Or maybe it wasn't even someone, maybe it was just really a natural cause... but then why has his mother seemed to have been the first and only person to have the disease?

 

Sairek kept thinking; the more he thought the more irritated and unsure he felt about the entire situation. One question was leading to another question in an infinite loop that had a vicious grip onto him now. He was frustrated enough he could pull his hair out over it. He knew it; it was in his nature to find answers to something he was curious about. And he knew the only way to get the answers was to go to the tree in person. He couldn't help but mentally smile at the ironic situation in a very strange way, it was funny...



"This is so ridiculous... I have spent years studying the tree... How the tree works, how the tree provides life... I have even tried studying up measurements of the tree; anything and everything... It was the object I fussed the most over in this entire world... and now... The thing I was interested in the most, may be the very thing I should being fearing the most... I have no answers... no clues at all.

For all I know, the Yggdrasil tree might have been the very thing that killed my own mother because it was inflicted by this 'disease'... Am I too, walking willing into my and Nayleens' death?"








© 2013 Sairek Ceareste


Author's Note

Sairek Ceareste
Chapter last updated on; January 16th, 2013

Hell, this update was well damn needed.

- There was far less dialogue and description refining, but some is still present

- This update was more of a spellcheck, that was desperately needed [how did I miss all of these in my previous spell checks?]

- Fixed the minor plot hole with chapter 10

Changelog: [January 29th, 2012]

- I spelled 'Monastery' like, 4 or 5 different times in this chapter.... Now it's spelled only one way -- the proper way.

- Fixed up a few other typos and errors.

- Removed the explanation of the Magic century thing since I had that explained in chapter 8 instead (This removed about 3 and a half paragraphs of text, and I mean actual paragraphs, not small lines of bits that I tend to use).

- I must have been an possessed or something, spelling the kingdom name because it was absolute GIBBERISH compared to what it was supposed to say. That has been fixed.

- Made Nayleen and Sairek explain a bit more detailed about where they were going after Lamen, instead of just 'to the forest past Lamen'

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Added on October 13, 2011
Last Updated on March 11, 2013
Tags: The Ethereal Elixer Fantasy Adve
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