Hierophant’s Quest Part 5
Part 52 of Quest
& Part 8 of Istan’s Solo Quest: Chasing the Cross
(Picks up where Hierophant’s Quest Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 & Part 4 left off.
In Part 2 Istan’s consciousness was kidnapped by a demigod from the Dreamer’s court to ask for his help in rounding up the Nightmares that Undreal fought in Nightmare’s Quest Parts 1 & Part 2. Below is what transpired back in the waking world while that conversation took place.)
Ancestors’ chant swells
their song gives breath to the earth
warns that dangers come.
Zallev scanned the darkness for some feature out of place–anything to explain the unease twisting his guts. Night leaned hard on the plane, cloaking all save the paltry patch of earth lit by the small fire in its pit.
“What is it?” Chiron levered himself up on an elbow and slapped a fly with his free hand.
“Something comes. Don’t you sense it?”
Chiron yawned as he shook his head and then he coughed to clear his throat. “Damn flies,” he muttered slapping himself again.
“You don’t sense anything at all?” Zallev stared at his companion. How could that be? The guy could turn himself into a horse but he couldn’t feel a tingle of magic approaching?
Chiron settled himself on the grass, his eyes on the sky. “No, it’s your imagination, nothing more; get some sleep. We’ve a long ride in the morning.”
“You don’t hear it?”
That low-level thrum
ancestors’ voices rising,
urging him to save…
–to save who? Zallev squeezed the bone hilt in his hand. What were they warning him about?
“I hear you and the flies’ droning. Nothing else.”
Zallev panned and scanned, the teardrop on the blade’s flat glowing a more intense blue as the blade’s point swung past where Istan lay unconscious. Zallev hot-footed it to the unconscious godling’s side but his village’s savior looked the same as when he’d passed out hours earlier.
The ancestors’ voices melded into one for a single instance and their words rang clear in Zallev’s head:
“see what the blade sees
raise the blade to eye level
look through its aura.”
Stunned, Zallev complied as the voices resumed their polyphonic plain chant; their voices braided together creating a soothing sound but their individual words were lost in the aural weaving. Perhaps his ancestors had differing opinions about what he ought to do next. With the bone knife held at eye level, he peered through its blue halo and his vision wavered.
Blotchy forms prowled around Istan’s body. The night’s dark hid them but they were not of the dark. A blue glow began to edge their being outlining horse shapes that reared up, their appendages shrinking until they were human-sized. The leader sat down on Istan’s chest and laid down, its outline sinking into Istan’s skin. Zallev blinked, his mouth dropping open and a issuing a soundless hiss. He had just watched an alien being hijack his savior’s body?
“No! Stop!” Zallev swung his blade but lost sight of those things when it left the vicinity of his eyes. Returning the blade to eye level gave him back its sight but those creatures were gone. Had they all invaded Istan’s body? Was that even possible?
“What is it now?” Chiron asked but he didn’t lever himself up to look. Instead he rubbed his eyes, stifled a yawn with his other hand to ensure no flies flew down his throat again and waited.
Zallev opened his mouth to speak but Istan’s eyes opened. Instead of a pair of confused silver eyes meeting Zallev’s, two blue ones that began to fluoresce regarded him. His hand shot out, pale against the dark; white fingers touched Zallev’s ankle and he crumpled.
Laughter followed him as arms sheathed in blue light grabbed hold of him and tossed him off a mental cliff into nightmare’s abyss. The ancestors song fractured into screams that mixed with his own. He knew then what had moved into Istan’s body and possessed it–a herd of Nightmares who fed on fear.
~ ~ ~
Chiron slapped at another fly. He lay on the other side of the fire pit oblivious to everything save his aching body and the flies biting his exposed skin. A figure ambled around the fire pit catching his eye when the firelight played across pale skin instead of the coffee hue of Zallev’s.
“‘Bout time you woke up. You had your friend worried after you passed out.” Chiron yawned and then blinked up at the demigod towering over him. His silver aura burned an unnatural blue–one that didn’t belong on the son of a Storm God. His thoughts stuttered to a stop as a cold touch to his forehead dropped him down a dark well into the grasp of the Nightmares…
Two bodies struggled
bound in Nightmares’ iron grip
their dreams a dark feast.
~ ~ ~
Istan’s Quest continues in A Hijacked Quest.
~ ~ ~