Cinder was running way to fast and Bastion, Mana and I were having trouble keeping up. She was sitting there, in the Bin, all pretty and stuff when suddenly she propped up and screamed, ” Chigger’s in danger!”
Then she went racing off into the setting sun! What was she thinking?
Nonetheless, we chased after her as best we could and finally reached our destination. Cinder blew open the front door and yelled out, “Chigger!”, then went racing up the stairs towards the chamber where Chigger was healing from her wolf bite. Cinder got there first and I managed to catch my breath, even as I struggled up the stairs.
” Cinder, what is going on?” I asked.
” Someone’s trying to kill Chigger . . . a Yagan Assassin!” she replied.
” It’s true, I saw her, but this time I escaped her poison because I knew what was going to happen!” said Chigger.
I sat down to regain my composure and Cinder stood up and said, ” Where is Mana and Bastion?”
She left the room quickly and headed down the stairs.
” Chigger, what’s this all about . . . do you and Cinder have a weird sister connection?” I asked.
” Err, it’s kinda complicated. I’ll wait for Cinder to get back.” she said.
Bastion came into the room and Mana accompanied Cinder shortly after. The girls were carrying a jug of water which I happily drank from. Bastion looked at Cinder and said, ” Okay, you got us all worked up, now what was the commotion all about?”
Cinder said, ” You may not believe this, but Chigger and I know a lot of what is or was going to happen . . .actually, we lived it already!”
” There’s a Yagan Assassin who wants to kill me because of what we did at Mortuary. Actually, she did kill me and I became someone else and we even went back in time and you died Bastion and we figured out a lot of things.” said Chigger.
” We also know about what you’re planning to do and why you never took the ritual to cleanse yourself from Eshlazi. We know your . . .”Cinder was cut off by Bastion.
” Wait, I don’t know what you two are talking about, but could we not do this here Cinder?”
” We’re a group and I’m not keeping anymore secrets. I know what you are. . .”
” Please Cinder, not here. Could we discuss this in private . . .for me?”
Cinder agreed and her and Bastion left the room while Chigger told the rest of us what happened except for one thing. . . something to do with Bastion’s banishment!
” Okay, you guys may not believe me, and I know I’ve had some pretty tall tales and outright lies in the past, but now I’m serious and Cinder can back me up. Hell, I’m sure even Mari-Anne can back me up so just listen and try to understand!” We leant her our ears and only interrupted a couple of times to clarify some points but here’s the story as Chigger described it.
” …so after you ran to go get help to put out the fires and repel the Squat attack, Cinder, Mana and I all ran down into the heat of the battle. It was intense. We were chopping up Squats by the dozens until finally it seemed the wave of attackers was overcoming us. That’s when we saw you coming down the hill towards us. Well, at least we thought it was you, but it was actually someone else. The Fallen all around us were fighting bravely and of course I was a huge, strong Joanite Warrior. . .a Templar actually! Except, now everyone around us changed. They were all Joanite Blades instead of being Fallen. The Squats were still Squats, but some Blades on cavalry called out to me and said, ‘Karvy’on, come join our flank so we can squash these soulless bastards to their deaths’ or something like that, so Cinder and I went towards them. There were a few Dahlians among us, but Mana was nowhere to be seen. One of the Blade cavalrymen looked at Cinder and said, ‘Shalla, it is a good sign that you are with us. We cannot lose this battle now!’.”
We joined their flank and, well, to make a long story short, we defeated the Squats with minimal losses. We regrouped and I found out that I was a Templar named Tulka Karvy’on. The importance of the clan name didn’t hit me till later. Cinder was a woman named Shalla and it seemed she was somehow revered by the Dahlians that were with us. Even the Joanites looked at her with a sense of respect.”
So there we were, riding back through Hom. The Fallen that must have been around were hiding in their hovels and broken buildings. Yes, the place appeared a little less organized than the way we know it now. Later on we discovered that we were about fifteen years in the past! A year before I was born!”
I’m getting ahead of myself though. We returned to the land area just east of Sanctuary and I was expecting to be split up from Cinder, or should I say Shalla! But instead, I was apparently staying with the Caravan of the Beautiful Severance, our parents’ caravan! My duty was to travel as guide and protector and also to keep in line with a judge among them named Sakai.
When we arrived at the caravan, they put on a great show and feast in honor of our success in the battle. The rest of the Joanites had left for Bazaar, save for two of my guards. It was great . . .I had lackeys.”
The strangest thing was, the man who joined us in the battle, the one that we thought was you, and who sat with us at dinner was named Dane. Yes Juniper, your father! Your mom was alive as well and she was beautiful and happy. They were planning on having you at the time and that’s how we knew what year it was. My parents were there as well. Of course I wasn’t born yet. Cindra, my sis, was there too. She must have been about three summers old.”
I was very confused and I played up our disguises and had a discussion with Shalla, a.k.a. Cinder. It must have been weird for her to see herself as a child. She made sure to get in a few snide remarks to our mother, Francine. Our mom was such a cow. Still is I guess. I finally saw how mean she was to the young Cindra. What a bitch. Anyway, Shalla always made sure she exposed my mom’s rudeness, although she did it in a very tactful way.”
I returned to my tent after the feast and guess who was there. My daughter, Monika. Monika Karvy’on! The bitch captain who was at this time only six summers old. I couldn’t believe it. Here was my opportunity to set everything right. I could kill her in her youth and none of her evil Clinic garbage was going to happen. As I contemplated the possibilities, a familiar voice greeted me. It was Mari-Anne Melina! She was my child’s caretaker! She told me that Monika was awaiting my return and was so excited to see me, but had fallen asleep because of the late hour. She also let me know that the little girl that I wanted to hate held me in the greatest of regards.
Mari-Anne was younger of course, and I spoke to her to try to figure out who I was and what I was all about. It turned out I was an important member of the Templars who was trying to oppose a new faction of Joanites and TeraShebans who wanted to stop the crusades all together! I was also married to a Crusader named Mirabella.”
Turns out she was on a Crusade at that very moment and wasn’t set to return till the end of the year. Lucky for me I guess. What would I, Chigger, have done with a wife. Well, I could guess but…”
Anyway, I needed to speak to Cinder, I mean Shalla, as fast as possible. I snuck out after everyone had retired for the night and worked my way to her wagon. She was waiting up, I guess half expecting for me to arrive. We discussed the reality of the whole thing and wondered if what we did was going to affect the future or if we were just in it for the ride. We also discussed whether we should kill Monika or not, but decided that murdering a child was bad for the soul. Besides, it just felt wrong.”
During the feast earlier, the
re was a storyteller in the caravan that seemed to hold a lot of importance. His name was Janus, and Shalla and I both had the impression that he knew something was up. So we went to his wagon.”
He was still awake when we got there and invited us in. We asked him what was going on and how come we were chosen to witness the events of the past. Yea, it seems weird that we were so forthcoming about who we actually were, but let me just say, that Janus wasn’t an ordinary person. I have my hunches and Cinder does as well, but maybe, just maybe it was actually Dahlia! I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure, but he did tell us some interesting things. He said we had the possibility of learning many things because of who we were. We should use our intelligence and insight to help us in the future, and that many things would be revealed. Now that was the understatement of the century!”
That night, I couldn’t go to sleep. I was pondering the weight of what was happening. I know, me pondering anything seems like a paradox. Nothing seemed to make any sense.”
So, as I lay there awake I had a visitor. It was a white haired man with a tall frame and gaunt features. I remember he had really long fingers. He entered the tent and seemed to have had previous meetings with Tulka, so I played along. You’ll never guess who it was. It was Eshlazi in a human form! He said he had made sure my wife was safe. He also said he was running out of kittens! He then pulled one from the folds of his cloth and was gently petting it. He said he was trying to nurture them but they often died under his care, although he was getting ‘better’. I was so confused. He said he would maintain my wife’s safety as long as I continued to aid him. He left and I sat there with even more questions.”
Why was a Templar Crusader helping a Z’Bri. Eshlazi at that! I had first hand witnessed the evil that he represented and for some reason this Joanite, who I now was, was helping him. I had a very restless night.”
The next day, we saw the caravan moving towards Bazaar. I was discussing some matters with Judge Sakai and he stated that an Elder Council meeting was going to take place in Bazaar to determine the future of the Crusades. He asked us to join him in his visit to the Council Building. On the trip, I spent some time with my daughter. She was cute, and I couldn’t help but care for her. She had such trust in her eyes. Where did she go wrong?”
I also told Shalla about my meeting with Eshlazi and we speculated the repercussions of it. There were various reasons why he would have been helping Eshlazi, and we concluded that Eshalzi probably had Tulka’s wife hostage.”
When we arrived in Bazaar, we left with Judge Sakai for the Elder Council Building and witnessed the vote that made the future we live in the place it is. We saw speeches from several prominent Tribals and their viewpoints mainly said the same thing ; that the Crusades were a dying force that needed to be abolished. The reasons were varied and generally self justifying. At least that’s how Judge Sakai described it. He was one of the few who spoke against dismantling the Crusades.”
The major players who acted against it were an old Joanite Guardsman named Nostra Guy’on, a TeraSheba judge named Cylix Seth’on and another Joanite named Yasmin Luther’on. Judge Sakai said that Yasmin wanted to secure herself a seat of power among the soon to be institutionalized Watch. Now the Watch existed back then as well, but not as prevalent or influenced by TeraSheba as it is now.”
We watched the proceedings until the vote was finally cast among the Elder Council. It was all in favor for the abolishment of the Crusades. After the vote, I was invited to meet with Cylix Seth’on and he offered me a position among the high seats of the Watch Wardens as long as I agreed to help take power away from the Templars. I answered in typical Chigger fashion. I decked him! He hit the ground faster than a Dahlian thief could pick a pocket, and even as I was dragged away to a cell I was cursing him and telling him that sooner or later, he was going to hell . . .by my hands!”
Well, my sis got me out of jail with a little bit of Illusion, and we hightailed it outta there before anyone caught on. We were racing to meet up with the caravan when we were suddenly attacked. Four Koleris warriors came at us from the darkness of the streets and dismounted us from our horses. Shalla, my sister, was cleaved in two and I was just barely holding off the Horde Warrior that assaulted me. Then came our salvation!”
Eshlazi struck down the Koleris that were going to devour Shalla’s body, and then used some kind of Sundering ability on my adversary. He called him Sk’Ksul. The Koleris said one of these days he would destroy Eshlazi, and fled into the night. Eshlazi then used his Sundering and fixed Shalla and said he would be our salvation. . . if we would be his. He then grew a pair of wings and flew up to the towers above.”
Shalla and I raced back to the caravan and we warned the others that there were Z’Bri about. The hunters took up their posts and we went to meet up with the families among the caravan. The last people we spoke with were Emron and his wife Celeste. Shalla gave Celeste her broach and said that one day, in the future, she was to give it to Cindra. I guess that triggered the journey to resort to its natural order and I found myself by the pond just outside the Shelter, almost about to shoved into the Yagan Assassin behind me. I looked at her and ran. I had avoided my death.”
So, that’s the story as Chigger told it. It seems far fetched and very strange, but whatever happened to the sisters, it held some truth. Whether it was a dream or a vision or an illusion granted by Dahlia is unimportant. What is important is that Bastion is the traitor among us and that he has a lot to answer for. At this point, I wouldn’t mind seeing him dead! Everything that happened to us is his fault. Cinder was right in accusing him after Slash was captured.
Not only that, but now we know who is behind the Clinic. Cylix Seth’on!