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In a World without God Chapter 20

Updated: Jan 17

Before long, the night had receded. The sun rose in the eastern sky, lighting up the square. 


Thud. Thud. Thud.


The sound of marching footsteps overshadowed the beating of drums. The longing cries for falsehood to retreat transformed into the clarion call of awakening, echoing through Baidor.

 

Ishkur ignited a fire in the hearts of the people. He stood before a crowd with burning hearts and cried out for the truth. Nevertheless, the truth was treated differently by different people.

 

The people were divided into three groups. Those who marched forward with Ishkur. Those who would run, hide, and cower. And those who would stand on the other side of the truth.

 

"Father. Where are you going?"

 

"Zina. What does it look like?"

 

Kurzina's eyes were streaked with tears, and a steady stream of tears rolled down her white face like condensation on a frozen window in winter. Her hair, the color of the night sky, was disheveled.

 

She couldn't help it. Edulis was dead. The one who bore Kurzina's blood had killed him. The false ones had killed the truest. Kurzina glared at her father, Hathor, with eyes like shattered blades. 

 

"Where are you going with the guards, and why are they carrying weapons?"

 

In the eastern part of the Fey manor grounds, in front of the Manor of the Sky, Hathor and the dozens of men with weapons had to stop in their tracks. Kurzina stood in their way.

 

"Why are you standing around? There’s no time to waste."


"Tell me, why are you carrying weapons, and against whom are they directed?"


"Lord Kindatu himself has sent a telegram. A riot has broken out in the square, and he wants me to put it down. Shouldn't you do as you're told? You too, hurry up...."

 

Hathor could say no more. Kurzina pointed her staff at him. The watery orb at the end of the long ebony staff glistened in the sunlight.

 

"Ku…Kurzina...? What are you doing, Zina!"

 

Hathor's heart sank at the sight. Kurzina had never once disobeyed her father. She was a good, obedient child. Hathor loved her dearly. He had never expected her to bare her teeth to him...


Kurzina glared into Hathor's eyes and screamed. "What are you doing, father, have you not smelled the scent of the Delorean flowers? That is not a riot, that is a march to restore the right order!"

 

"Zina...you have been deluded by the visions the witch has shown you."

 

"It is not an illusion. It is the truth."

 

"It is an illusion. You have lived all this time under the name of the hero Bosha, wearing fine clothes and eating fine food. If it is not an illusion... an angry mob will try to take away everything you have. They'll want you to sleep on cold floors and eat weeds and rabbit meat. As your father, I cannot tolerate that."

 

Kurzina shook her head at the words. "You have fallen, father. Have you forgotten my mother's wishes?"

 

"I remember. Esna told me over and over again to take good care of you, Zina. I intend to honor her wishes."

 

"No, you don't. You have forgotten my mother's will."

 

Kurzina remembered her mother. Her skin was pallid from her illness, but her eyes were tender as she looked at Kurzina.

 

- When you clasp your hands together toward Luthea, remember that I am the light that floats beside you. To be close to Luthea is to be close to me.

 

"My mother told me to get close to the light-the brightest, truest light in the world!"

 

The orb on Kurjina's staff began to emit light. Chains of lightning shot from the staff, entangling Hathor and the guards’ feet.

 

Hathor reluctantly raised his staff. Then the chain of lightning snapped with a clank, as Kurzina had anticipated. The lightning chains were only a time-buying tactic. While Hathor was breaking the chains, Kurjina was enchanting her staff with magick.

 

The magick wrapped around the staff rumbled like a thundercloud and then stretched a great blade toward the sky. A greatsword was formed, three times the length of Kurzina's body. 

 

 "If you're going forward, you'll have to kill me."


Hathor sighed.


"You foolish child..."

 

 ***

 

Children with silver hair ran through the fields. The scent of silver flowers wafted through the air. The children soon realized what had happened to them.

 

"Edulis was Lord Bosha..! A hero has come for us...."


"Don't stop running, Shumi, Lord Bosha wanted us to survive!"

 

Methena shouted, tears streaming down her face. Edulis was dead. Enri was gone. The children thought they were carrying the lives of those two. Survival was no longer a choice, but of duty.

 

The children made their way to the wooden building they were staying in, thinking it was a relatively safe place, as the only other noble house nearby was the House of Yug, which was on Edulis's side.

 

But it wasn't until they reached the wooden building that they realized it wasn't a safe place.

 

"What the......"

 

The building had collapsed. The rubble formed a small clearing.

 

"It's a trap!"

 

Harsh shouted, and a Velox leaped out from behind the rubble. The men atop the Velox were armored and carrying long spears, twenty in number. They formed up and charged, then surrounded the children in a circle.

 

"For what reason do you want to harm us? We need to participate in the Festival of Saints. Are you trying to ruin the sacred rite?"

 

Marie shouted at the Velox cavalry. Then a man with the Fey family crest on his chest stepped forward. It was the captain of the cavalry.

 

"There is no need. The situation has changed. Everyone in the square must die, that means all of you. My lord commands that all who have had visions of witches be killed."

 

"Kill everyone? How can you...You, claiming to be the descendants of the hero Bosha, are saying such things??"

"Yes, we are. We are the descendants of Bosha. That is why you must all die."

 

Tears welled up in the children's eyes. Edulis had risked his life to give the Fey no reason to kill them.  Yet here they were, like a child's sandcastle trampled by military boots. They were about to destroy the painstakingly built sandcastle.

 

"Let's run. Run in all directions. Even if we're all dead and only one of us remains, let's spread the truth of Edulis' words. That's our mission." Methena said. Her hands, gripping her curved sword, stood up. The other children did the same. Their eyes were like a pack of wolves facing a predator.

 

 "On my signal, we run in your direction. Now... go!!"

 

It was then.

 

Woosh!


Velox screamed and flapped his palm-sized wings. Five of the twenty cavalry, perhaps inexperienced in handling mounted combat, fell off Velox.

 

There was fire. A wall of fire appeared between the children and the horsemen.

 

"This way! Run this way! Come on!" The taller boy shouted, raising his longsword. The sword was glowing with flaming magick.

 

 "Sir Raghad?"

 

"Come on! Run behind me!"

 

The children hesitated for a moment. They weren't sure if they could trust Raghad. Methena was the first to take off running. As she moved, Marie, Harsh, and Shumi followed suit. As the children moved behind him, Raghad shouted to the cavalry.

 

"I am Raghad, first nephew of Lord Kindatu! Do any of you dare to harm me?"

 

"Raghad, sir, what do you think you are doing? They are a grave threat to our family!"

 

"If your family can be destroyed by four children, isn't it only fitting that it should be destroyed?"

 

"Sir!"

 

Raghad turned his head slightly to look at Methena. Memories of what had happened at the Festival of Saints flashed through his mind.

 

 “Kill me.”

 

 When Ragad lowered his head, Methena said, "I don't want to. I don't want to do that."

 

Raghad lifted his head and looked at Methena. Look at those eyes. Eyes as clean and clear as a frozen lake.

 

 - Well, it would be shameless to dirty your hands with my blood in the act of my demise."

 

Raghad held the sword in reverse, pointing its tip towards his throat. Closing his eyes and tightening his grip on the sword, a scent of jasmine brushed past his nose. Something as soft as a silk blanket grasped Lagard's hand. Wondering what it was, he opened his eyes to confirm.

 

It was Methena's hand. Despite its delicate appearance, it was extremely strong and difficult to shake off.

 

“Let go.”


"I don't want to see your blood pouring, your flesh scattering. I don't wish for anyone to die in front of me. I hope no one dies before me."


“I wish I could die somewhere else, but... there's not much room for me to end my life on my own terms.” 

 

But Methena did not let go of his hand.  “My mother told me that just as joy does not last forever, neither does sorrow or despair. The heart will always return one day, neither sad nor happy. Why not wait for that?”


“I am exhausted.”


“Just as we were inspired by Edulis, there must be someone who can inspire you, Raghad.”

 

And so, Raghad argued with Methena for hours. With Methena holding his hand.

 

Even after the tournament was over, Raghad couldn't forget. The words she'd said, the sound of her voice, the way she'd held his hand, and the scent of her perfume.

 

"Damn it! Lord Kindatu's orders come first! Everyone off the Velox! Avoid Master Lagarde and go after them!"

 

"The heart will one day return to a state of neither sadness nor joy?”

 

Raghad swung his sword once more, summoning a barrier of flames. He then sent a searing blade toward the mounted captain.

 

"Pfft... Sir, please move out of the way!"

 

Raghad grinned. He hadn't stopped laughing since yesterday, even though he was clashing swords with the captain. Strangely, just thinking about Methena made him laugh.

 

"It can't be. Methena, you are mistaken. This heart will not be lost so easily.”

 

Raghad turned to the mounted captain.

 

"You shall not pass without killing me first."

 

***

 

Kindatu looked down on the square from the window of his office. The people in the square turned to look at him and shouted. It was hard to make out what they were saying because they weren't chanting in unison, but he could recognize words like Luthea, truth, and Bosha.

 

The people in the square seemed to have taken over the armory. Everyone had a weapon in their hands. Seeing this, Kindatu ran a hand through his hair and frowned.

 

"I have done my best to protect this family. I have served my father and grandfather without fail as the head of the family, so why is this trial upon me?”

 

Kindatu's frustration was almost overwhelming. Ashur the swordsman, Dersh the librarian, Dumuzi the archmage. The pillars of the family were all mortally wounded. Dersh's adopted son, Ishkur, trapped and immobilized them by shadow magic.

 

"Lazy Ishkur... You've been hiding your claws all this time.

 

Kindatu sighs to himself. Ishkur's shadow soldiers and the armed populace overpowered House Fey's private army. It's been hours since he sent a message to the elite mage and mounted forces of House Fey, but they haven't shown up in the square. His youngest nephew, Yug, was standing side by side with Ishkur's shadow soldiers, hammering away at the barricades.

 

"The crowd is foolish. You think crying out for the truth will make the world right? Stability requires sacrifice!

 

It was inevitable. The head was something no one could understand. Thinking so, Kindatu kicked the bottom of the bookshelf. As it fell, the wall was revealed. A secret passage only accessible by the head appeared.


Kindatu entered and took out a small box. The snug box, adorned with silver and mother-of-pearl, contained something significant for the Fey family—or rather, the cursed veins of the dark-haired and dark-eyed lineage.


In the box were dark-colored beads and a dagger about the length of a hand. Kindatu took out the dagger, closed his eyes tightly, and cut his wrist. When he did so, a pain that felt like tearing nerves ran down his spine. The pain given by the vengeful spirits was anything but gentle.


Eventually, blood dripping from Kindatu's wrist fell onto the beads. Watching this, Kindatu recited:


"Our master, Granadilla, I, a humble and frail servant, seek power from the authority of darkness..."





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