The Boy with Water in his Veins hed been prophecied about for millennia before he came.
But he hated his fate. Water, running through his veins, instead
And his power was that, control over water, mastery of its ways.
But he had learned well of it, and, though he hated his fate, he
accepted it and learned to become one with it and use its power to aid him.
He walked along a street, crowded with houses but not with people.
As he walked, a shadowed figure crept along beside him, through
higher up then he, leaping silently from rooftop to rooftop.
When to the two of them came to a place, hidden enough in shadow
for no one to be able to see, either them or any passersby on the street, the shadowed figure leapt down behind The Boy with Water in his Veins, and tried to strike at him on the back of the head, in an attempt to knock him out.
But the boy was aware fof him, and, turning around, started using
He wore two bracelets, each with a small sharp blade on the front.
He ran his wrists together, creating a slit across both of his wrists.
Then the water began to run. Down the last bit of his arms, then his hands, and then, finally, it started dripping on the ground.
“Not a good idea,” said the boy coldly, “trying to attack someone
without knowing who it is you are attacking.”
He flung his right arm up, the streams of water running out. The flows of water stiffened, suddenly under his control. He formed them into five strands of the liquid, reaching out towards the man who had tried to attack him.
The man, terrified and suddenly knowing who it was, backed away
slightly, then dropped to his list of things, is attacking me, or any mistake made against me.”
The fingers of water continued stretching out towards the man who
let out a scream of terror.
The water wrapped around him, tightening around his neck.
A snap was heard, and the man’s body slumped to the ground.
The water snaked back to the boy and back into his writs, closing
up the wound before finally going back into his veins.
He continued walking down the street.
The man, who wore a dark grey shirt and black pants, with a black leather vest, looked at the six Chosen and the Forsaken, then his eye
caught that of Wind’s and he frowned.
Wind, in reply, frowed at him.
“What are you doing here?” the man asked sharply.
“Merely getting The Chosen from this Soudulir and leaving, if you
don’t mind.” Wind replied, just as sharply as the man.
Memory looked from the man to Wind, and back again.
“Do you two…know each other or something?”
“No,” said the man, lifting up his head presumptuously, “but I know his type. He is from Aries, our enemy. And he is our enemy, even though we must respect him as we respect you all in this journey of yours. By the way, my name is Jehu Ashaph.”
“I know your type, as well,” said Wind, looking away.
The man moved the stick over to the other side of his mouth. He still leaned against the wall, his hands in his pockets.
“Well, I’m guessing you all want to meet your new addition. I know where he is, but it is a bit of a walk. Here, follow me,” he said. “We can talk as we go on.”
They followed him down the street. The streets in the city they walked through were almost like long winding alleyways that crisscrossed through each other occasionally. They never came to any large openings.
On either side of them were houses, reaching up thirty or so feet on either side. Some of the houses seemed to be apartments, others seemed to be houses, and yet others still were quite obviously shops.
“This is Crelin, the largest city in Libra. It is very easy to get lost here, though, as you can see. Only the people who have lived here their entire lives are able to navigate without losing their way, and yet, not all of those who have lived here their entire lives are even able to do that. It is a winding city, and once you walk through it a while, everything seems to look the same. Guess you all should be glad you have me as a guide,” he said with a smirk.
They walked under a few arches, high above them. But only twice did they pass people in the streets. A few times, though, they would catch glances of people in shops or peeping out of half-shuttered windows.
Steam sidled over to where Wind walked, at the end of the group.
“Why are you showing such hostility to him? And why is he doing the same to you?”
“It is as he said, Aries and Libra are enemies in The Great War. I have gotten so used to it, I automatically reacted. And so did he. I suppose that even us who know better than to have hostilities at each other still lapse into them, even concerning The Chosen and Knowers.”
Steam nodded remorsefully, then continued walking in silence.
They walked down the alley-like street for close to an hour before turning in at one of the doors. It was an apartment.
They walked through the door, which was locked, but Jehu pulled a key out of his vest pocket and unlocked the door, then opened it and put the key back into his pocket. He pushed the door open, then moved to the side slightly, allowing The Forsaken and The Chosen in. But when Wind passed by him to get in, his face darkened.
After they had all gone it, he followed them in and shut the door, locking it on the inside.
“Fifth floor,” he said.
He took the lead again, going up the creaky wooden stairs.
It went up a short bit, then flattened out, with another stairway leading up the other way.
They followed him, going up another three level, then they stopped as he did at the top of the fifth flight of stairs, the highest level in the building.
“Room two,” he said, pointing as he walked. He stopped in front of a door, then knocked on it. The door was of a dark coloured oak, thick and strong, able to withstand, likely, more than the walls surrounding it.
“What,” said the voice from inside.
“It is I, Jehu. And have brought some people with me. Some people, I might add, that you will want to meet.”
“Not likely,” said the voice, “but bring them in. The door is unlocked.”
Jehu opened the door and they stepped in.
From the height of being on the fifth floor, they were able to see out a large window that the occupant had in the room.
They saw building after building with what looked like a labyrinth of streets in between the buildings.
But far away, so far away, in fact, that it appeared very blurry on the horizon to The Chosen and The Forsaken, there was a large expanse of water, reaching out to the horizon and beyond.
And the room itself was filled with interesting things. Large tanks of water, in all different shapes and sizes, sat on tables, benches, the floor, and against the wall.
Small tubes and pipes ran between the different tanks, from full ones, to empty ones, some of the pipes branching off and going to several other tanks. They all seemed to be connected in a long circuit of water.
A boy sat in a chair, reading a book, held in his right hand. He seemed to the six Chosen, The Forsaken, and Jehu to be very pale, and also, whereas on the arms of them, they could see little blue lines, where their veins and arteries were, he appeared to have none. Or none that they could see, in any case.
His left hand lay palm up on the arm of the chair. Hovering above his hand, there was a sphere of water, rotating slowly.
He turned to look at them as they walked through.
When he caught a glimpse at the seven of them, plus Jehu, he stiffened slightly, his eyes jolting open. The sphere of water quivered, then fell with a splash onto the floor.
Recovering from his stupor, he looked down at the puddle of water on the floor.
He glared at it intently, and slowly the water started rising up off the floor, towards his hand. The small jetties of water reached his fingers, and, as they touched him, were absorbed into him.
The water was gone, and he turned to the group again. They noticed, with a shock, that his hair was a very light blue in hue.
“I am, as you have probably figured out, The Boy with Water in his Veins, The Chosen of Libra, otherwise known as Water. You can call me that.”
The group introduced themselves, Wind only speaking after the others had finished.
“I am-” he started, but The Boy with Water in his Veins cut him off.
“I know who you are,” he said, looking away. “You are The Boy with Wind in his Hair, The Chosen of Aries.”
“Yes,” said Wind, starting forward. “And we are supposed to work together. I understand why you don’t want to interact with me, and, frankly, I don’t really feel like doing so with you either. But can we set those things aside? Please?”
“Fine,” said Water. “But don’t expect me to enjoy it very much.” He stuck out his hand hesitantly, frowning all the while, and Wind took it. They shook hands.
“Good, good, all settled,” said Jehu, still looking darkly at Wind.
“You can leave, now, Jehu,” said Water. “I think I can handle the seven of them by myself.”
Jehu suddenly looked stricken, his face paling. “Yes, yes, of course. Goodbye, all of you,” he said. “Perchance I will see you again, before the end. Or possibly, after it.”
“Goodbye,” said Water sternly.
“Ah…” Jehu started, then stopped. He went out the door and closed it.
“Jehu has taught me well,” Water said, “but he bothers me too often. And what knowledge he has given me, I do not like.”
“You don’t like being The Chosen of Libra?” asked Fire.
“No, not at all. Or at least, I used to not like it. But now, I have gotten over such feelings,” answered Water.
Memory had wandered away from the others a moment before, and was examining the system of water tanks and pipes, filled with curiousity.
“What do these do?” he asked. “Or what do you do with them?”
“Ah, those. Well, I used to train with them, practicing my skills as The Boy with Water in his Veins. I have, by this point in my power, excelled beyond that. But now,” he said, with a smile that seemed to strain his face somehow, as if it wasn’t used to smiling, “I just use it to store and transport water around my room.”
The Girl with Light in her hands had been frowning at him the entire time they had been in the room with him.
“An enemy…” she said softly. “I should kill you right now.”
Water turned to look at her, his eyes dark. “I just went over this with Wind. Must I go through it again, with you?” he asked, the tone of his voice quiet, yet all of them could hear the words.
Light raised up an arm, seeming in a trance of sorts. A light began to glow at her hand.
Life rushed up to her, and pulled down her arm. “It matters not whether he is from the alliance of White or Black. Here, we, The Chosen and The Forsaken, are all allies against The Great War.”
“And,” added Fire, “if Malachai was right, we are also fighting against God.”
“I don’t believe in God,” said Water flatly.
“No matter,” said Fire. “If it is God that has been pitting the Soudulir against themselves, then, no matter whether you believe in him or not, he is the one we must go against.”
“But we don’t know that that is what is going on,” said Memory.
“True,” said Fire.
While the other six Chosen talked, Steam pulled Sound off to the side somewhat.
“I want to get your power next,” said Steam. “How do you do it?”
“Well, as we have said, you actually already used it. On Gemini, when that…that…whatever it was fell out from the sky. A vibration, caused by you, we think, opened up the ground under the creature, in a way identical to how I do it.”
“So you have said. But how do you do it?”
“I don’t completely know, myself. I guess I just touch something and try to feel the miniscule vibrations in it. And after I recognize them, I speed them up or slow them down, according to what I want to do with whatever it is.”
“I’ll try that,” said Steam. He put his hands on one of the tanks of water. Slowly a light began to grow at his fingertips, spreading down to his palms. He took a deep breath and tried to search out to find the vibration of the tank and of the water. He found them in due time.
His brow creased, he focused on slowing the vibration of them down. The vibrations of the molecules of water in the tank were already fairly slow, but the ones of the water were moving around rapidly. Slowly they decreased in speed, and a film of ice crept across the surface of the water.
Steam pulled his hands away, smiling that he was able to use the power of Sound’s.
“Good! Very good!” said Sound. “Slowing down the movement of molecules of water was one of the first things I found out that I was able to do.”
“Thank you,” said Steam.
The two of them went back over to where the others were, talking amongst each other. Memory was talking to Water enthusiastically about the different powers that each member of the group had.
“I’ve been thinking about it, ever since we started on this journey. There seem to be different…classes of powers, or something like that. Elemental powers, the one that you, Wind, and Fire have. And possibly Sound and whoever is his counterpart would be in that section as well. Then psychic powers, like Steam and I have. And, presumably, following the pattern that we have been following so far, at least for you and Wind, there will probably be another with a power similar yet opposite of mine. But then there are also powers that seem…noble, or something, I guess. Light and Life, and presumably their counterparts too. ”
“Hmm,” said Water, looking out the window and thinking. “That does seem to be the case. The Boy with Steam on His Breath. What is he? I just saw he and The Boy with Sound in his Fingers over by my water tanks. And it seemed that Steam used the power that Sound has.”
“He is…different from us. Yet similar, in a way. His is The Forsaken of Falx. And at first, he seemed to have no powers at all. But after we fought on Gemini, he picked up some of the powers that we have, and he has gradually been learning to use more and more. I do not yet know of his potential or his final role in this journey. I have tried to find out, believe me. But whenever I search for anything in him, I come up against a wall, letting nothing out. He is an anomaly. I think there may be more to him.”
Water sighed and got up out of the chair. They now saw him to be wearing very dignified clothes, dress pants and a shirt, covered by a black vest. “Should we be on our way now?” he asked the group.
They looked at each other, then nodded.
“I will get the tea ready. Fire, would you mind getting eight tea cups out from the cupboard over there?” he asked, pointing to a closed cupboard.
Fire went over to it, opened it, and took out eight tea cups and put them on the counter.
Starting his power, he pulled water out of one of the tanks and made it hover in the air before them, darkness pulsing in his veins. He separated the water into eight small spheres.
“Now, Fire,” he said, his voice calm, “could you put a leaf of Cerxe into each of those? You will find a plant of Cerxe growing there, on the counter.”
Fire went to the plant, picked eight leaves, and put one into each of the spheres of water. They floated in the middle of each of the spheres.
“Do you want me to heat the water?” Fire asked.
“No, not you. I want to see something. Steam, using your power over sound and the vibrations of matter, could you increase the vibration of the molecules of water, heating it?”
Steam looked at him nervously. “All of them? Are you sure you don’t want Fire or Sound to do it? They would be better, I’m sure.”
“Yes, all of them, and at the same time. I want to see what you can do.”
Steam stepped forward uncomfortably, then rubbed his hands together. “Could you move them a little closer to each other?” he asked Water.
“I can,” he said, and did so.
Steam licked his lips, then reached out his hands so that the fingers of his left hand rested on one of the spheres of water, and the fingers of his right hand on another sphere.
Light glowed at his fingertips, and a faint humming filled the air.
In a moment, steam began to drift off of the spheres of water, now hot. Steam winced, then pulled his hands out.
Water smiled slightly. “Very good,” he said. He moved the spheres of water, now made tea, over each of the cups, and slowly lowered the tea into each cup.
Each of the eight of them took a cup and lifted it their lips.
The drank of the steaming tea.
It had a very light flavour, almost smoky. But its scent was different, smelling like cinnamon.
The area around them blurred to black, the shadow falling down in front of them as if a curtain.
They stood for a second, looking at each other in the darkness, before the area around them again began to clarify into the new Soudulir.
They were standing in a musty, wet, stone chamber. A small amount of moonlight was let in through a grate high above them.
A man, chained to the wall, stirred from his sleep and was startled by the appearance of them.
“You eight, the…eight…you have come…” he said, in shock.