Chapter 22: Enigma

Chapter 22: Enigma

A Chapter by Sairek Ceareste





The journey through the cave had sped up immensely. The trio as of now wanted nothing more then to just get out of the cave as soon as possible. The fact that a wyvern; an undead one, was roaming around both in the air and burying its way through the ground in search of them did not make them feel comfortable in the slightest. The three had decided that they would do their best to stay out of wide open areas, unless the areas offered suitable hiding spots although no such areas had necessarily came into view.


They felt a little bit safer when they were inside a tunnel once again, which had eventually spread itself out and widened quite a fair bit, but the ceiling was far too narrow for any wyvern to fit through completely. Unless the Wyvern poked only its head through, but then it would probably lose its momentum if it did. It was also much cooler in this section as well, which helped reprieve them from the intense heat and the stress that was weighing on all of their shoulders at the moment.


“Hey, look over there.” Cyial soon pointed out with his right hand. Sairek looked at the Demon, and followed the aim of his finger towards a pool of liquid in the distance. It looked like a mix between purple and aqua-green.


The three wandered over to it. Sairek dipped the end of his staff inside the pool and stirred the water around a little. It took a little effort to do so.


“It’s damn well thick...” Sairek noted out loud as it moved with resistance, much like syrup would. It stuck to the end of the staff when he pulled it out. Like sticky chewed gum, it stuck to the surface of the staff, stretching out until Sairek pulled the staff too far away.


Nayleen made a face. “That’s… kind of disgusting… what is it?”


“I don’t have a single clue. I don’t remember anything like this from any book I read.” Sairek muttered.


Cyial spoke up. “It’s tree sap.”


“Tree sap...?” Sairek spoke flatly. He didn’t believe that. “You are kidding. Sap isn't this kind of colour... It kind of looks poisonous, to be honest.”


Cyial chuckled a bit “I’m not kidding. It’s a concentrated mass of tree sap.”


“What’s tree sap doing in here, in a puddle inside of a cave?” Sairek asked Cyial. But his breath soon caught in his throat, eyes widened. “W-Wait, you aren't saying that…”


Cyial smirked a little. Nayleen soon let out a gasp too, before she soon squealed excitedly. “Really?! That’s what it is!”


The three of them looked up. Out of the low ceiling, they both spotted a chunk of wood that just stuck out a little bit. It was the same color as Sairek’s staff, matching it perfectly.


“I can’t believe it… a root from Yggdrasil!” Sairek exclaimed excitedly. He began walking forward before Nayleen pulled him back before he could. “Woooah, hold on there. You’ll be walking right into that stuff.” She warned.


“But it’s tree sap from Yggdrasil, how much could it hurt?” Sairek questioned almost in a disappointed tone.


“We have no idea how thick it is. 'Sides, you want to leave a trail of the stuff with your feet, or get it inside your boots and sink into your clothes? I don't think something that sticky would wash out easily.”


Sairek shrugged slightly, before glancing towards Cyial. "Does Yggdrasil’s sap have anything special about it?”


“Yes and no.” Cyial answered. “The properties of Yggdrasil’s sap is the exact same from any other tree, from what I know. The only difference is that it has a much higher concentrated level of Ethereal inside of it. You could literally make syrup that’s medicine with it, and yet it would still taste good. Those kinds of potions are extremely rare and rightly so, expensive. Since they aren’t bitter to consume and are actually extremely tasty as well as better than your average healing potion made with just Ethereal, because it's more 'pure', such medicines are treated like a delicacy. You can make sweets that can actually heal wounds and cure illnesses with it. We could consume it as it is, but it would taste bitter still.”


“We should take some then. It may be useful.” Nayleen suggested and Sairek nodded in agreement but soon frowned. “Although, I don’t think we have anything to carry it in, do we?”

”You still have water flasks, right?” Nayleen asked.


“Yes, I’ve got some empty ones still. Lamen didn’t do good with replenishing the water supply. It’s not like I could just take water from the pier. It’s too salty to drink, and I didn't feel comfortable taking any from the monastery because it's much like a hospital and it needs it. You want me to use those flasks?”


“May as well, they’re empty, right?” Cyial asked, and Sairek nodded. Turning around, his mother’s pendant glowed white as he began his usual act of spilling everything inside the gem out.


A spark flashed from the jewel, and Sairek soon cried out in pain, clutching his chest. Another spark let fourth which gave him another cry of pain. It felt like as if something was trying to pull his heart out. Sairek immediately released his hold on the jewel, but it wouldn’t stop.


“Sairek, are you alright?!” He heard Nayleen yell out, but he could only reply with another cry of pain. He let go of the staff as he nearly crumpled up in submission to the pain. He barely managed to open his eyes, but when he did, the world around him was black, everything was gone around him.



Instead of trying to pull back from his spell, Sairek pushed forward. Another spark emitted, but it didn’t feel as powerful. It brought forth a long groan of discomfort from him. Sairek heard a chuckle and somehow managed to struggle his body to turn around in this black illusion he was in. Sweat drenched his face as his teeth gritted. A small laugh came from a hooded figure dressed in a deep red, lined with black patterns, that was slowly walking towards him.


“Y-You…..” Sairek managed to choke out.

Sairek couldn’t see the face. The hood covered it completely with a void of black. The only thing he could make out was milky white eyes with small black pupils that stared back at him. The hooded figure reached its right arm, extending it towards Sairek. The child’s eyes widened as the fingers were devoid of any skin and were simply bone.


"You didn't realize it at all, did you? But it was only a few days ago, you had fallen into my trap, boy..." He heard the voice say in a aged, deep yet raspy voice.

The hand reached out closer and Sairek found himself unable to do anything even as so much as move a muscle, from being locked in fear. The hand reached out to his chest. It was seeking his mother’s jewel; Sairek screamed both in rage, fury and in pain when contact was made. His eyes sealed closed as a hot boiling feeling surged through him. It felt as if his muscles were melting apart in the magma in the cave itself. The hand struggled to grasped the jewel; and Sairek struggled to not faint from the power it was emitting.


With a flash of white, Sairek’s eyes opened with a gasp and he collapsed onto his knees in weakness and panic.


“Sairek?! Are you okay?!”


It was Nayleen’s voice. The Prince looked up weakly to see both Cyial and Nayleen kneeling in front of him.


“I…I think… the Necromancer tried to attack me…” Sairek gulped, still taking in shallow breaths over the experience. “N-No... that doesn't seem right somehow... maybe what I had was a vision instead...? I… I was in some kind of void…" Sairek gulped more air as he managed to calm his breathing a bit. "And... there was a hooded figure…”


Sairek slowly pushed himself to sit upright. His left hand clutched his stomach. He felt like he was ready to vomit. That pain burned in his mind just as badly as it had burned him; and just the memory of it was making him feel sick. The other two waited patiently for him to continue. Sairek gulped, forcing the nausea down a little.


“I was paralyzed… I couldn’t move. He slowly walked towards me, and tried to grab the jewel... at least that's what I thought. But he went through the jewel and instead stuck his hand inside my chest..." Sairek gulped again, attempting to once again still the vomit. "It felt like... he was beginning to literally rip out my very soul... I... I--“


Sairek soon heaved and his head ducked down as he rolled over back on his hands and knees. He felt somebody pull his head back to look straight ahead as the nausea took over and he finally vomited. He heard Nayleen groan out in disgust as his eyes squeezed shut.


Finally when his stomach relaxed, he slowly pushed himself back. The horrid taste wrung in his mouth. His eyes watered, but they moved as he saw Cyial hand him a flask of water.


“Rinse it out.” The Demon said. Sairek took the flask, letting the water flow in his mouth; before he leaned over to the side, spitting it out. He did this a couple of times until the taste of his vomit was mostly gone. But his mouth was completely clean of it.


“Where did you get the flask from…?” Sairek weakly croaked out.


“From the supplies.” Cyial answered simply.




Sairek glanced over behind Nayleen, who had her back turned; not wishing to look at the mess Sairek had left, he gazed as he saw all the supplies laid out in a pile on the ground.


“Well,” Sairek began with a mutter. “Despite that terrible experience, at least it worked… I guess...”


“Do you have any idea why that would happen?” He heard Nayleen ask; back still turned.


“No… I had never had anything happen ever when I used the jewel… It’s not like it’s even a difficult spell to use. It hardly invokes the jewel’s power…”


Sairek’s left hand rose, and covered his face with his glove as he closed his eyes; trying to calm himself down. Sweat was all over his face. “I don’t know who it was… a hood covered the face… All I could make out was white eyes with small black pupils…”


“That doesn’t help much…” Nayleen muttered.


Sairek shook his head and sighed. “He was wearing maroon robes with black patterns on them, it was mostly lines tripping around areas of the robe... and the hand he raised at me was all bone, no flesh… That’s all I could tell… at at least remember...”


The Prince looked towards the pile of stuff and sighed. “I’m reluctant to use the jewel again… but I’m going to have to if I want to keep our stuff… Let’s hurry up and collect the sap. I just want to be somewhere safe… and here isn’t safe.”


Cyial nodded sympathetically. The Demon held out his hand to Sairek, whom took it as Cyial helped pull the boy back up onto his feet. Sairek, still feeling uneasy in his stomach still. He held it with his left hand as if trying to reassure it but that did nothing to settle it.

Nayleen half turned around, still not wanting to look towards them just yet. Sairek walked his way over to the supplies of things, looking for empty flasks. When he spotted one, he gently rolled them over towards the two on the ground. Nayleen and Cyial fetched them, moving over to the pool of Yggdrasil’s sap to fill the flasks up. It was a rather slow process, as the liquid was thick of velocity and they filled up slowly. Sairek managed to fish out 4 empty flasks in total before he couldn’t find anymore and gave up. As the other two filled up the flasks, Sairek, reluctantly, tried using the jewel again. He was relieved when the items glowed and no further nightmare-like-illusions appeared. He held the items like this, until Nayleen and Cyial were done, adding the flasks to the group of items, Sairek then finished up the sealing of the supplies into his jewel.

Swallowing, Sairek turned around as he glanced towards the Yggdrasil root hanging up on the ceiling. A thought soon occurred to him.


Nayleen seemed to notice that he had widened his eyes and gave him a quizzical look.


“Do you think the Undead could possibly be looking for this root?” Sairek soon asked.


Cyial glanced back towards it, studying it for a few moments and then looked back at Sairek, a frown on the incubus’s face. “I don’t see any reason why they would. Or even if they did have a reason, what they could they possibly do to it? Do you know how hard it is to damage the Yggdrasil roots physically? I'm sure your staff can already answer that statement for you. It's already virtually immune to magic and then any other material. Even if it did take damage somehow, it would regenerate in due time."

"Maybe..." Sairek began in a quiet mumble that still showed he was uncertain, but he couldn't think up an argument for it. His staff alone has been through numerous trials of durability. It still looked just as new when he had first received it. It was just as difficult, if not, more difficult to damage the staff with Ethereal based spells, than it was then with any type of metal.


That's when Sairek's eyes widened as he took in a gasp of air.


"No, they can harm it, easily! I'm so stupid!"


"Huh...?" Nayleen let out in confusion.


"Nothing on this world could harm the tree easily. The tree's bark is harder than any metal and attacking it with a spell is counter productive; all spells are made out of one element or another, and all the energy required originally came from Yggdrasil itself...

But that doesn't matter to anything in the underworld. The Yggdrasil tree shouldn't be able to absorb underworld magic; and even if it somehow did, then it would be corrupting the tree -- like ingesting poison..."

Cyial thought for a moment calmly, but eventually the Demon shook his head. "No, I still don't think that would work, Sairek. The Yggdrasil tree is more than just a tree that is forever immobile. The tree has a conscious; that is how it is able to decide how much energy to take in, and how much to draw out. If somebody was to attack it directly, the tree can, and would counterattack it... And trust me it'd win... It is after all the creator of this world, and as you should know is quite powerful, even if it is but a tree. You'd have to do more than just incapacitate a root. Yggdrasil has thousands and thousands of roots. To destroy Yggdrasil that way would literally take hundreds of years even if you knew all of them were."

"Then why wouldn't the tree attack my father's men when they were taking off a chunk of a root? I mean I know it took several months, but--"

"Part of the reason the tree is so hard to damage Sairek, is not because of it being the hardest solid object there is." Nayleen began, interrupting Sairek's thinking aloud. "The main reason is the fact how fast it grows back. Trying to take a piece of root, you would have to work constantly non-stop. A chunk of root is nothing to the tree. Not even a mere itch and the damage with a staff of that size, would take only a couple of days for the tree to regenerate. Basically, the tree saw no threat because it couldn't even feel it. And besides, it's your father's men; legitimate citizens of this world. I'm pretty sure the tree would know that your father's men were not trying to harm it. If they were to harm it, they would have been harming themselves. It's counter productive. There's no way a person in our world could possibly harm the tree, we're all like saplings from the tree itself. Or an outsider like the Necromancer could do such a thing, and it would certainly take more than a few undead minions to do the job."


She shifted where she stood, turning to look at the root as she idly watched a drop of the oddly colored sap drip out from the root, and drip to the bank of liquid that made up the rest of the sap. She breathed in, before glancing back to Sairek and continuing.

"The Yggdrasil tree has so much fuel of Ethereal energy in it, that it's almost like a shield that helps protect both inside and outside the tree in a thick wall. When your mother's jewel makes a barrier, all the barrier is, is a thick mass of Ethereal clumped so tightly together that it creates a wall--"

"Which skips the liquid state," Cyial added in quickly and Nayleen gave a small shrug before continuing. "...that is thick enough to repel attacks. The energy is held together in a giant clump and that's why when you feel attacks hit the barrier, you have to struggle to keep the barrier together from breaking apart. The tree has so much of that, it's just a constant barrier. A really thick barrier at that, with many many layers. Undead spells, even as you said, would still have a hard time go through such a thick mass. The spell would be overrun by the amount of energy. It would take a lot, and I mean a lot of power to even harm the tree in that method."


"What about rituals?" Sairek argued. "Don't the undead have rituals like we have rituals?"

"Rituals are pact deals made with the opposite realm, Sairek." Cyial spoke. "Everything must have a balance. While we have rituals that have pact deals to the underworld, the underworld has rituals that make pacts deals to our world, meaning Yggdrasil. You can't use a pact ritual to attack the Yggdrasil tree like that. For one, it would be as you stated before; the energy would originally had come from the Yggdrasil tree in the first place, making the whole ordeal counterproductive. Secondly the tree would not accept the offering-- if it was made to harm it, or the world it owns."


"The tree declines the offerings?" Sairek asked.

"Yes, it does." Cyial answered, before resuming. "Even if it would accept such an offering as "destroy yourself", it would not accept the offering because the only way you could possibly even make that deal in the first place, would to be sacrificing something of equal value in exchange that you own. You cannot own something as greater value as the Yggdrasil tree itself. To make that exchange, you would need another Yggdrasil tree. A Yggdrasil tree can't grow in the underworld, because there is virtually no Ethereal in the underworld. So no, rituals will not work. And even so, it'd probably be like trying to dose fire with more fire. It doesn't work. You just get a bigger flame when you try that."

Sairek let out a frustrated sigh hinted with a growl. "There has to be something that's logically wrong with the tree though...!"

Nayleen sighed deeply. “We may have to hope that the old man manages to come up with some type of solution from his little roadtrip… he may be our last shot at trying to solve the trees' problems… At the very least, we did find some good bit of news here. We still have time; even with distractions in our way, we should be able to get to the tree in more than enough time.”

“We have time..." Sairek began. Holding the staff with both hands now, as he thought deeply while he spoke. “If we get to the tree and don’t know what to do, we’ll have to backtrack and--“

Sairek’s works caught in his throat. He mentally cursed out. He felt it again; the accursed vibration from before. They had stayed here too long. Sairek gritted his teeth, quickly glancing around the room. There was virtually nowhere they could hide in time but one place; the Wyvern was approaching too fast to get out of the room before it arrived.


“The both of you; dive into the sap, NOW!” Sairek ordered; a tone that showed his position as Prince even thought he had no official direct command at the two. Nayleen and Cyial flinched at the tone.

”What the -- we can't possibly--” Nayleen began; Sairek didn’t wait for her to finish. Abruptly, he shoved the both of them into the sap. Letting out a shriek, Nayleen tumbled back, submerged completely in the sap. Cyial who was caught completely off guard from Sairek's sudden action, lost his footing, yelped in surprise and went flying in from the shove, dropping his book on the ground right next to the pool of sap as he did so. Both of their impacts with the sap made splashes, but tiny and thankfully, rather quiet, making a type of slopping sound due to the thickness of it. The Prince looked down; and was thankful he could see the both of the two; the sap was hardly translucent but he could just make out their outlines. Sairek quickly chased after the both of them, sprinting in diving himself into the sap himself. He felt the entire room rumble just as he felt himself completely submerged in Yggdrasil's sap. He heard muffled noises that sounded alien to him, but well aware the causes were from the Wyvern. There was no mistaking the screech it made however that the Wyvern had let out a howl, which even submerged in this sap, made Sairek shiver.

Soon after, the cave began rumbling once again. Sairek nearly yelled out as a giant chunk of rock splashed right next beside him. He saw the outlines of both Nayleen and Cyial move out of the way from the boulder that crashed in; it made a loud splash outside Sairek could hear. There was yet another roar from the Wyvern; it was total chaos. Sairek could barely see, and there were noises all around with raining giant chunks that could easily land on top of them; and they couldn't even see them coming.

The rumbling soon died down thankfully after twenty seconds later. Sairek couldn't handle it anymore; the stress of the last couple of moments seemingly draining any oxygen he had. He swam up to the surface; the action exhausting from trying to push through the thick sap, and the fact he was heavier than normal, not only because of his clothes, but because of his mother's jewel as well. Underneath all the panic though, he managed to find enough strength as he soon broke through the surface; gasping for air. He felt the thick liquid slowly coming off of what was out of the puddle; it felt like how water dripped down one's body; except at such a slow rate it felt like slow motion. He soon heard Nayleen break out and gasp for air harder than Sairek did.

The Prince was expecting a lecture or rant from her, but none came. Instead, he heard: "Where's Cyial?"

Sairek inwardly groaned, glancing down below. He didn't respond, rather, Sairek despite his exhaustion began walking into the puddle, expecting to have to swim in the sticky liquid again, until he felt something pull on his pant leg, clambering up. Sairek almost began to kick until Cyial's face broke out right in front of him. He gasped desperately for air, clinging tightly onto Sairek.

"Cyial--" the Prince began.

"S-Sairek..." the Acolyte interrupted with a weak and shivering voice. "I'm... a Demon... I... I can't swim... in Yggdrasil sap..."

Sairek stared at Cyial for a moment, holding on to him to keep him afloat. Sairek glanced up at the roof of the cave there were in. His eyes widened at the destruction at the ceiling; along with a wide gaping hole in the way. He turned back to Cyial, and began slowly wading his way back to the land. Nayleen following after, eventually catching up to give Sairek a hand. When they all managed to stand on solid ground, Nayleen and Sairek were panting from the effort.

Sairek looked back up to the ceiling again, inspecting what happened.

There was a hole next to the root; and there was a large dent around the Yggdrasil roots that weren't there before. It almost looked like the Wyvern had slammed face first into the root. That would explain all the destruction around it in only one place. Which if that was the case, Sairek was grateful for the fact the tree wasn't being attacked. He wasn't grateful that it was probably them that the thing was looking for.

Looking back to Cyial, the Prince frowned at the other child's state. "I'm really, really sorry Cyial... I didn't know what else to do... I figured you would be resistant enough to it..." Sairek said in a sincere apologetic tone.

"The sap has too much concentration at once... The sap itself isn't as painful as you may think; but combining that with the thickness of the liquid, and trying to swim in robes..." He trailed off, pretty confident in Sairek's ability to put two and two together to get the point of what he meant. Sairek frowned at the statement. He felt rather guilty putting Cyial through that and not even helping him swim back up.

"If that hurts you, then how will you be when we actually get to Yggdrasil...?" Nayleen asked him. "There should be just as much concentration, if not more around the tree."

"I don't know." Cyial admitted. "We'll just see when we get there..."

"Well I don't know about you two, but I hate this stuff!" Nayleen soon whined out. "It's completely sticky, and I smell like some kind of tree myself! Can we please get out of here so I can wash off?!"

Sairek sighed slightly, glancing at his red cape which was sticking to his back. "I'm sorry Nayleen, but we didn't have any time; it was the only thing I could think of. I rather be like this then face that Wyvern."

"I know..." she said reluctantly with a sigh. She looked towards Cyial. "Does it still hurt?"

"Yes... and it will until it's off of me... one way or another... but, really, I will be alright. I just couldn't swim in it..."

Nayleen huffed in annoyance. "At least you could have warned us Sairek, I mean heck; your staff is even dry."

"What?" Sairek let out, glancing at his staff, he stared at it. As Nayleen stated; the staff was completely devoid of any sap on it. In fact, the palm of his gloves where he was holding the staff were dry too. Sairek's eyebrows rose in curiosity. Experimentally, Sairek scrapped a bit of sap along his shoulder, and wiped it on the staff. The stuff slowly began to disappear, as if it was evaporating at an accelerated rate that was fast enough for them to make out and see. Sairek's emerald eyes rose up to the meet the other two. "...Why does the staff does this? I don't understand; it was originally a Yggdrasil root. Roots seep out sap; not drink it." Sairek tried to think back when he first tested the sap with the bunt end of his staff. Did it drink the sap then? He couldn't remember, he didn't pay any sort of attention to it.

Cyial only stared and Nayleen slowly shrugged and then spoke. "Does it really matter? There's a lot about Yggdrasil we do not understand. We can worry about it later, maybe ask the Abbot, or someone else."

"...I guess." Sairek mumbled. He turned around, glancing towards the hole the Wyvern left. His eyes narrowed as he stared deep into it, trying to make out something if he could; but he couldn't. The hole was too dark despite how big it was and Sairek assumed it wouldn't have lead straight forever. Eventually it would rear off into a different direction.

Without saying a word of discussion, Sairek began to walk off again.

"Um... Sairek?" Cyial began.


Sairek turned around glancing towards the Demon boy.


"I can't grab my book like this. I will get it all covered up with the sap and will ruin it..."


"Oh, d****t all..." Sairek muttered as he shook his head. He felt like an idiot. "I guess I will rinse us off with Waert and dry us after after then."


Cyial and Nayleen stood next to each other away from Cyial's book as Sairek used 'Waert' to blast them with a stream of water, completely soaking them. Cyial had winced slightly as if the water was a bit too hot or something similar. Sairek new that it was uncomfortable for the other child due to the fact the water contained a higher concentration of Ethereal in it than normal water would.


When they were literally dripped wet, Sairek soon blew a gust of 'Wuaie' their way, which used to at least dry them to the point where they weren't gripping wet, however Sairek concentrated specifically on Cyial until his clothes were more or less dry, so there was no danger for him accidentally ruining the book with it even getting slightly damp. After Cyial was satisified that he would be okay, Sairek did the same for himself, washing himself off by jetting the water towards his direction, and then with wind to dry himself off some. The entire process took much longer than Sairek would have liked.


Finally with them cleaned off and mostly dry, Sairek began moving again with the other two following behind him. Sairek kept up a quick pace, half the time making the other two needing to jog behind him. They made no arguments though. Sairek wanted to get out of this entire cave as quickly as possible.

"Coming here was a mistake... a dangerous, reckless mistake..." Sairek thought to himself. "Even if this is a shorter path, we have come with too many close calls already, saving time or not... Did the Abbot make a bad calculation or something...? I guess it's understandable, we wouldn't be having so much trouble if we didn't walk into that building, nor encountered this bloody Wyvern...

"Ugh... I hope he isn't having as much trouble as we are... By even the Flaming Lands I hope he isn't..."

© 2013 Sairek Ceareste

Author's Note

Sairek Ceareste
Last Updated on February 6th, 2013


- Most of the chapter has been changed quite different. Not necessarily in context but what events took place and how.
* The Necromancer does not try to take Sairek's jewel, nor is repelled by it, instead he sinks his hand successfully into Saireks' chest
* Sairek is unsure if the events actually happened. He believes it was more like a vision
* Events after Sairek and co hide in the sap have changed to make actual sense

- Other minor dialogue changes elsewhere.

Changelog [April 7th, 2012]:

- Changed some descriptions, discussions, and altered the way some dialogue was presented without changing the actual direction of the conversations to either flow better, or to present it more easily.

- Several, several typo fixes (I should really pay attention more when writing...)

- Added a few more new descriptions to give a better mental picture in paragraphs when reading

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Added on November 29, 2011
Last Updated on February 6, 2013
Tags: Ethereal, The, Elixer, Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Romance, Mystery, The Ethereal Elixer