Angel, Zan, and secrets of the lost, part 8

Monster Rancher Metropolis: Library: Fan Fiction, Poetry, Birthday List, Links & Non-Fiction Archive: Completed Epics Section III: Angel, Zan, and secrets of the lost, part 8
By
Daeore Dermegil on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 11:03 pm:

***

The very next day, after giving Sarah a bit of a tour of the shrine grounds, introducing her to Durahan, and Doctor Percius, I brought her to the main shrine, and stepped up to the altar.

'I'd like to see if you can call out a monster from a disk. But, we have to get a disk, and we don't keep any here.' I said with a comical flourish of my arms, that silly looking shrine keepers dress sort of flowing about me. 'You know. I'd never thought I'd be doing this. Feels kind of funny, trying to teach you, of all people, how to raise a monster.'

This got me a stuck out tongue. 'I already know all the words and such. But I've never raised a monster. Father said he would send me some place to learn how, and then I could run the shrine back home.' Sarah explained, sitting down in a chair behind a small desk near the foot of the altar.

'But then he caught word that this shrine would need a replacement keeper, and he could kill two birds with one stone, right?' I concluded.

'That's right. It's a good opportunity if you ask me.' She paused and smiled at me, 'When I was told that the shrine keeper would be stepping down after he trained me, I pictured an old man with gray hair and a cane. But I found you instead.'

'The world works strangely, but it works.' I said, trying to mimic a philosophical tone, but we both started giggling. 'By the gods its good to have a familiar face here.' I said after recovering from my giggling fit and sitting across the desk from her. 'Anyhow. These sheets here are for the owner of the monster to fill out. Supposed to keep records and stuff.'

And for the rest of the day, I walked her through the way things happened here. Though she knew most of it already, she still listened like a proper apprentice. Some where, inside my mind, I found this ironic to the point of being laughable. But neither of us minded.

Near the end of the day, I noticed something. Angel was nowhere to be seen. She had been in the background all day, as she always has been, but near dusk, I noticed she was nowhere in sight. Sarah noticed too, the discovery dawning slowly on her, as it had me.

So quietly, we toured the shrine again, looking from room to room for Angel. Durahan was out front, our official greeter and escort into the altar room. He shrugged his shoulders and shook his head when asked if he'd seen Angel. All the small study rooms were empty, save for the odd lost disk. The halls were empty too. That left only one place.

Sarah and I entered the library quietly. By now it was dark, and a bright candlelight could be detected within. At a small reading desk, one of three donated to the shrine, sat Angel. Her back was to the door, her head bent over a book, and her wings lightly fluttering from time to time, a habit that signified 'thought' for her.

She must have been really absorbed in the book, for when I placed a hand on her shoulder, I was rewarded with a surprised squeak and wide eyes when she faced me. I smiled, waved and motioned to the book. 'Good book? Was it donated recently?' I asked.

Angel looked at the book, then to me, then to Sarah, and stood up. She motioned us over to the far back corner of the library. When we had found the library, it had looked like a very large monster had gone through it, as well as a very hot fire. After cleaning up the place we found a single lost disk, in the far back corner of the room. Angel led us to this corner, past the new shelves, still devoid of books, to the lost disk.

Tugging each of our robes, Angel kneeled and pointed to a lifted floor stone, the claw marks around it small and fresh. A small pit had been dug under the tile... Big enough for a book... 'Angel? You found the book here?' Sarah asked as I felt around inside the hollowed out space under the lost disk.

Angel nodded emphatically and smiled proudly. 'How did you know to look here? I don't see any marks, aside from the ones you made trying to lift the stone.' I asked.

Angel stood, and tugged my robe so I would stand too. She took a deep breath, let it out slowly, as if preparing herself mentally for something. She tugged Sarah to stand as well, and took each of our hands in one of hers, and motioned us to look into her eyes.

Now, I've always trusted Angel. Despite her being a monster, she was smart as any person I've met, and even more human than some I've had the displeasure to meet. As I looked into her eyes, I thought on this. She understood the concept of money and trade. Laws, justice, honor. Not only in monster terms, but in human ones too. So much like a human really. Human like body, human like face, human like eyes that were so expressive. A deep blue that a person could get lost in if you looked hard enough...

Of course, this was Angel's intention. As both Sarah and I lost ourselves in those expressive bottomless blue eyes.

When my mind stopped spiraling around, I found myself in the shrine, as I had envisioned it before its ruin. From the sounds in my ears, the time of ruin wasn't far off. A battle was being fought, and I had a sudden urge to go and fight it. But I had been given a task, to guard this library.

That woman... From when I raised Durahan, was there before me. Raising a hand she patted my scaly head, and told me to guard the book. The book, still in her hands, was placed under a stone in the floor in the back corner of the library. Again, she patted my head, and walked out of the room.

I paced back and forth, determined to follow her order, and above that, the entire library. I would make my mistress proud of me, yes, that's a good idea.

The sounds of fighting got closer. Men with their metal shells and long fangs fought against monstrous cousins. Outside in the hall, I watched a man get flung past the doorway, followed by a massive Marble. A mix of Golem and Naga. With a snarl the Marble spotted me and lumbered into the library. I charged him and rammed my hard head into his middle, sending him staggering, but not down. I hopped left and right avoiding those huge hands, trying to beat the Marble and push him out of the library. Finally though, I could not dodge, trapped in the back corner of the library. I must defend the book. I must not fail mistress! The Marble raised it's hand, and just as it came down, I exhaled a great burst of fire. Catching the Marble full on the chest, it staggered backwards, and was pinned against the wall opposite me. The rest of the library caught flame, but I didn't care. I must not fail.

This thought ran through my mind as I exhausted myself with my fiery attack, and even as the Marble died and became a lost disk, I kept breathing out the flames, the disk itself burned to nothing. The book is safe. My last thought as I was caught in my own flames, and died, happy that the book is safe.

I blinked, and had the odd sensation of falling 'up' out of a pair of bottomless blue eyes, and then falling backwards panting for breath, landing on my back on the floor. Angel had caught Sarah before she could land on me, and she too, was gasping for air.

Angel helped me sit up, then stand. When I recovered my breath, 'What was that?!?' I blurted out.

'Were those memories from the disk?' Sarah asked, staggering to one of the reading desks, and sitting down. 'Was this monster... A salamander?'

Angel nodded, and I spoke. 'It was the same woman too. From my trial. That book is important. Worth the sacrifice of an entire shrine?' I asked.

Angel again nodded, and tugged me insistently back to the writing desk. At first it looked like random scrawls and pictures. But helpfully, Angel flipped back pages carefully and pointed to the start of what looked like a chapter.

How to bind monsters to sacred stones.

***

I pause my writing, and try and recall in words how stunned I was. I suppose an approximation of the feeling could be summed up as 'finding out your mom and dad were really your dad and mom.' Or a little child's realization that the golem that brought good girls and boys presents every year was just a myth.

I pat that same book, laying next to my journal, and dip my quill again.

***

Sarah, Angel and I read the pages. It held diagrams of ancient devices, how to create a sacred disk, and how to bind a monster into it. Any monster. It explained things, such as the reason for the monster being an infant when it was unlocked. The reasons the monsters were locked up in the first place. Even the short life spans.

Everything. This book was essentially the encyclopedia monstica. All at once I could picture the insanity of the ancients great downfall. It all became so clear.

It started with the creation of the monsters themselves. Well, more like the means to domesticate them. The people would tame the monsters, and control them with some odd device. At least at first. Then they would train them to do simple things, that required more specialized abilities. Things they couldn't trust to their machines.

Things went well for a long time. But some people and monsters weren't happy. A war started, and the monsters went out of control. The wisest of the old race, the shrine keepers by the way they were drawn, created a way to trap the monsters, and lock them away. They purposefully kept a flaw in the creation of the unused disks, that shortened the monster's life span to only a few years, and made them an infant.

I read the next line out loud. 'So if a monster, unlocked from the sacred disk were ever to roam free it would die of old age before any serious problems could be caused.'

The three of us looked at each other with the same thought in our mind. 'Madness.'

Then the book described the creation of the sacred disks. Not how to remove or prevent the flaw however. The shrines weren't only for bringing them back, but also for trapping them. It was a long process, and incomplete as a whole, for the book described the collapse of their society. Too much damage was done. Not enough time to correct the mistakes. Sacred disks were hidden, and in an effort to cleanse the rampaging monsters from the world...

Priest turned hunter.

The shrine keepers were named not just for their most apparent duty, it seemed. In a desperate attempt, the shrine keepers turned to more direct methods of controlling the monsters. Most died in the line of duty. Others obviously, tried to keep the traditions alive, hiding things like this book, and its knowledge from the next generations.

I was about to close the book, but Angel made a distressed sounding squeak, and placed her hand in the way. I paused, and waited, my mind racing. She turned the pages, coming to several maps. Not complete, or accurate all these years later, they showed the places that the sacred disks had been hidden. Thousands of them. It showed the places where the great cities were as well. Even a place, if I guessed right, not more than a week's walk from here, marked with the word 'peaches' next to it.

This book was the reason for that battle, fifty odd years ago. I felt sure of it. Sarah and Angel looked at me as I snapped the book shut, and looked at the nearest candle meaningfully. Sarah gasped, but Angel finished my thought, and picked up the candle. I was surprised at first, as she calmly touched the flame to the book, then amazed, and Angel wept, the book refusing to burn.

'Angel? You know this book... Don't you?' A teary eyed nod as she put the candle back in it's tray. 'This is what my father was talking about. You do have a secret...'

Angel was weeping in earnest now. Looking back on it, I don't blame her. Her master had found out not only about the gift giving golem being fake, but actually stealing things too. The ancients had failed, and tried to correct the mistake with more blood.

But I didn't know that then. So puzzled, I hugged Angel close, and looked over her shoulder to Sarah. 'Get Durahan. He needs to be told. Hang the closed sign too.'

Durahan's reaction to the book was about the same. And even his great overhand swing of his sword did nothing but break the table under the book. 'Our only option, then, is to keep it hidden, and make sure it is never seen by anyone else.' All four of us had a vision of the evil this book could do. The information on the sacred disks was a good thing to know. We were all more worried about the maps. If those disks were to all be unlocked at once, it could cause another collapse, like the ancient ones experienced. It didn't take an adult to see that.

As we retired for the night, Durahan insisted that he stay in the library. Not with words, exactly, but by simply shaking his head when I asked him to come back to the stone house. After we hid the book back under the lost disk, he simply sat down in front of it, and that was it. So I shrugged, and let him stay. I could think of no better a guardian for the book.

That night my dreams were visited by the shrine maiden. It wasn't like the first visit, not as clear, only random seeming images. Her hiding the book. An argument with a man in armor. Retrieving the book, and running away, the man in armor following her. Days or months running away, eluding the armored man, and coming here. Hiding the book again. The armored man finding her. More angry words. A battle. Her cursing of the shrine, the armored man repelled from the shrine, wounded it seems. The maiden falling, her last words, sealing the shrine itself. Then one last image, after a long dreamless gap. Me, as I was almost a year ago, unlocking Durahan, passing her trial.

'Awaken, and continue on your quest.'

***


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And more, it seems, flows from my mind, to my fingers to the screen, and now to you.

Enjoy. any and all comments wanted.


By torey luvullo on Thursday, January 23, 2003 - 05:06 am:

take your place among the best of the best. so many ways to go; you know best which feels right.


By Vince_V_ on Thursday, January 23, 2003 - 06:55 pm:

You come out with new chapters faster every time, I love it.


By Alai667 on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 12:32 am:

MORE STORY! THE PEOPLE DEMAND MORE STORY!!!!!
And yes, with 5 of us in this here head of mine I DO count as "the people"


By Alai667 on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 09:58 pm:

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! STORY WITHDRAWAL!!!!!!!!!! NOOOOOOO!!!!!


By Daeore Dermegil on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 03:28 am:

Settle down. o.O
I work sunday monday teusday... so expacting an update after a work night isn't very fair.

But don't worry. I'll have more soon.