Author: Maleika Winters PM
Once upon a time there was a planet called Asroth, and if Enkillaian didn't want 'once upon a time' to be the only time, she was going to have to save it from annihilation. First though she had to stop her fellow questers from killing each other.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Humor - Words: 4,686 - Reviews: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 01-16-07 - id: 2305090
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Hello, this is I, the strange one known as Maleika who has decided to be strange and write another type of story. With my best friend. We are both slightly insane at the best of times, but put us together and you get Asroth!!! Muhahaha. Read it and cry.
Yay. I get to put my contribution in here too. First of all, don't take her too seriously, for obvious reasons. Secondly, um, that's it. Bye.
by surroundedbysquid and Maleika
Chapter One: The End of the World
The yellow people are, in fact, not that. In fact, they are from head–bald and shiny like the rest of their body–to their toes golden. Of course they are not just bald and golden, but also small. Minutely so. But never mention this to their face, or in any other way which could come to their ears. They have the nasty tendency to blow up in your face. Sometimes quite literally.
And if you are by any chance not of their species or not a young woman by the name of Kikadendedensadioxylaodiekinuvaudaranetimiada, which you're most definitely not, you are in their bad books just by being born.
Kikadendedensadioxylaodiekinuvaudaranetimiada, or just Kiki for short, pondered this as she watched the small figure in front of her cry its eyes out. In comparison to her it was indeed very small, its nose being somewhere in the proximity of her knees. Then again Kiki wasn't exactly normally sized herself. She could usually watch the top of most peoples' heads. And these were the people which inhabited the rest of Asroth.
"And then I turned purple again!" wailed the small skinny creature, collapsing to its knees in tears. To take away some of her unfair advantage in height Kiki decided to seat herself cross-legged across from it.
"Come now Pogden," Kiki comforted her, abbreviating her name to the first two things she'd done in her life, namely being born and tripping over a snail. "I'm sure we can find something to cure your ailment."
From somewhere, only audible to Kiki came a gruff snort. "Ailment, right. More like obsession with sacred fruit."
"What do you mean dear?" she asked in return, not directing her question at the small crying creature, but at the wall of her healer's practice.
The tree forming this sizable room and several above it, snorted. "Don't you remember that Pog-whatdoyacallit from a century ago? The one that came here turning blue all the time? This is the same thing."
The golden creature finally looked up from the ground, sniffing.
"Pogden dear, tell me: Have you been eating anything that you shouldn't lately?"
Pogden's eyes widened slightly. "What do you mean Kikadendedensadioxylaodiekinuvaudaranetimiada?"
"I'm talking about a couple of silver fruit growing in the centre of the village. As in sacred silver fruit, dear," Kiki explained with utter and total patience, something she'd learnt to have in the last two-hundred-and-three years.
Pogden, who resembled an elf more than most of her village, was at a loss for words. She opened and closed her mouth several times for the next few moments while Kiki watched, still as a rock. "You won't tell anyone, will you?" Pogden squeaked eventually, looking up at her frightfully. "They'll banish me."
"I will tell them," Kiki said, taking slight pity when seeing Pogden's face fall, "If you do it ever again. And believe me, I will find out." The walls of the ancient tree began to moan as an emphasis of this and Pogden gave a scared shriek, jumping to her feet.
"Yes Kikadendedensadioxylaodiekinuvaudaranetimiada! No more silver fruit! Never. I'll go then, thank you, rest peacefully." And then she was down the hole that led outside, faster than Kiki could have said her own name.
Then again Kikadendedensadioxylaodiekinuvaudaranetimiada wasn't really her name. Kika was what the yellow people called her when they'd first found her, unconscious in the woods. As far as they knew she might not have been born. Dendeden, without memory, was added after that and on and on until the time she moved into the ancient tree in the middle of the lake, when she'd slipped from their watching eyes. Or else her name would by now have probably taken a few pages to write.
Kiki was nothing like the yellow people. The only thing they had in common was their extreme skinniness. Other than that they were complete opposites. Kiki was more than twice their height, with long fingers and toes, pale white, slightly green tinged skin and pale brown hair, which she usually tied back by any means possible. Her most extraordinary features were her eyes, with vertical pupils and pale blue Irises that could stop a person with a look. They also had the annoying tendency to change colour, whenever her mood changed. Then again that wasn't very often.
Most of the time Kiki was in a state of utmost serenity, unlike the Yellow People, with too much time on her hands, as the head of the nearest village always put it. He was the great grandson of the chief that had found her two hundred and three years ago in the far north of Goldenwood, and like his great grandfather he took care of her needs.
Not that Kiki couldn't take care of herself. Oh no, there were reasons for her being the most celebrated amongst healers in Asroth. There wasn't a sickness they'd dished up for her that she hadn't cured, not a wound she hadn't known how to heal. Lady Kiki knew everything there was to remedies.
"Get off your high horse you silly little girl," the voice of the tree, its annoying ability to read her mind somewhat not as annoying as usual. "You do not know everything." There was a pause before it added, "I do."
"Ha ha," Kiki said calmly, brushing it off. "If I don't know everything then you don't know either. I know everything you know. You've taught me everything."
"Of course I have, but nobody can know everything!"
"Not even you?"
"I'm not two rooted like you."
"Are you trying to insult me?"
"It's not working."
"It never does."
"Then why don't you stop?"
"I need something to do."
Kiki mustered the general bark of this particular tree's insides and scrunched up her face. "I think you're getting old."
"What? You call seven centuries old?!"
Kiki smiled, shook her head and ventured to lock the trapdoor that led outside the hollow tree. The bolt was wearing thin from the last seventy years of use. She'd have to replace it in another ten years.
"Aren't you going out tonight?" the tree asked as she headed for the wooden staircase at the far end of the round room.
"No dear," Kiki answered placidly, "I still have to finish that burning-ulcers cure for Poghet, and I told Pogba I'd have the bronzing lotion finished for the Festival of the Moons, which is tomorrow."
"Pff," the tree went, "I remember a time when they were happy with just being golden."
Kiki headed up the stairs into her workshop and from there into the hospital, unoccupied at the moment, through the library, the bathroom, the kitchen and the workroom until she finally found herself in the sleeping quarters. The climb didn't exhaust her as much these days as it had two centuries ago, but she still wanted dreadfully to just cuddle up in her nest and fall asleep.
Alright then, Poghet and Pogba can wait until tomorrow, she decided and turned towards the comfortable straw covered in linen. I'm going to have a long sleep.
"I'm right here, of course, you senile old bird. Do you have amnesia or something? You put a spell on the door, how could I be anywhere else?" came a muffled voice from another of her rooms, somewhere in the back.
"There's always the window," he muttered to himself and clicked his beak, as he went over to the doorway of the next room. Sure enough his student was busy closing the window, a rope lying in a pile at her feet.
"What?" she said in a hurt voice, "You didn't expect that I would just stay here and miss out on all the gossip?"
"Actually, I was hoping you would try to remove the spell instead of being your usual lazy self and climbing down that wall and scrambling over the roofs, where it's illegal to scramble about, might I point out. And as to missing the news; the private messages sent to me are not for your ears. You know that if any of it concerned you I would tell you." He watched her neatly roll up the rope that she had used to climb down the twenty metre wall outside the window, and throw it under her bed. Teenagers, really.
"Yes, of course. 'It's none of your business Enkillaian. Don't poke your nose in where it's not wanted Enkillaian. It's not your place to read other peoples' letters Enkillaian.' Blah, blah, blah, that's all you ever tell me, you pathetic excuse for a mentor. Besides it did concern me, so now I have saved you the trouble of telling me about it."
"I do need to tell you about it. It concerns you more than you think it does, you impudent squirt," he said ruffling his metallic ginger feathers.
"Really?" Enkillaian stopped kicking things under her bed, and suddenly started listening. "You mean that I'll have to do more than just be head magician of the city in your absence?"
"You won't be doing anything of the sort; I'm not going anywhere."
"But the messenger said th-"
"This is why you shouldn't eavesdrop, Enkillaian," he cut her short. "Now you're jumping to conclusions. I'm not going anywhere; you are."
"Oh… Um… and where will I be going?" she asked, slightly nervous at the look in his eyes. For a nice old bird he could come up with some devious punishments when he felt like it.
"What?" she barely concealed her surprise, "That's on another continent! I won't go! I want to stay right here, thank you very much!"
"And then you will go on to Rozrimm with the healer," he added, pretending not to have noticed her protests.
"WHAT?" She definitely didn't conceal her surprise this time. "Rozrimm doesn't even exist! And what healer? Have you gone totally mental?"
"Rozrimm does exist, and the healer is the reason why you need to go to Goldenwood. You have to find the healer and take her to Rozrimm within two years," Paradox paused dramatically, "Or the world is doomed."
There was a brief pause, and then, "You're having me on, aren't you?" Enkillaian laughed. "'The world is doomed!' I'm not stupid you know. You don't seriously think that I'll believe that? You've tried this sort of joke on me before, I'm not going to fall for it this time. I'm not eight years old anymore."
"Yes," Paradox said, looking rather smug for a bird, "That is exactly why you'll believe it. You have already noticed it yourself; in fact it is thanks to you that I noticed it in the first place."
"Wha'd'ya mean?" she asked suspiciously.
"Are you the one suffering from amnesia now? Don't you remember noticing all those changes in the weather?"
"Me notice the weather! Pah! I was just trying to make small talk." She sat down resignedly on her bed. "Okay, tell me what's going on."
"Maybe I shouldn't tell you now, I could somehow break the news to you slowly over the course of your journey…"
"Pecky!" Enkillaian said sharply, "Tell me what's going on or there's no chance of me going!"
"Yes, alright, no need to get worked up! I suppose it would be best to make it as easy as possible." Yes, he thought, it is certainly not going to be easy, "Well, the Planet is sick, it is falling apart, quite literally. And these changes in the weather and uncommonly frequent natural disasters that we've been having everywhere are just the first signs! I could kick my self for not seeing it earlier, Asroth must be helped or we will all be dead soon. The Council of Magicians has proved that I am right about this."
"So you want me to find this healer person, sail half-way round the world to a place that's supposed to be a legend, and heal a planet. Piece of cake! When do I start?" Enkillaian paused taking a deep breath. "You've finally flipped, you've lost you're marbles; you're crazy, insane, mad, loopy! If you want someone to go on this ridiculous errand of yours do it yourself! Anyway, I still don't believe that this isn't all a joke."
"Enkillaian! Don't be mean, I can't go, I'm too old." Paradox made a lame show of being old, bending his back and hobbling pathetically. "I would kick the bucket before reaching Goldenwood and that's not even halfway."
"Why me! I haven't even finished my training! You're always saying yourself that I'm still too young to have much responsibility, I am only seventeen! I'm supposed to enjoy my life, and as it is, I haven't even had one yet! And now you're leaving the fate of the entire planet in my hands!"
"It's not only in your hands; there are several other people that you'll have to pick up along the way. You aren't all that important. You just have to ensure that they all end up on the same boat at the same time, and get to Rozrimm in one piece. Besides, I thought you wanted to travel." He smirked. Well, tried to; it is not very easy for a giant bird to smirk.
"Don't you use that against me! I want to travel, not die."
"What makes you think that you will die?" he asked, slightly amused.
"Even if Rozrimm does exist, which I still doubt, how am I supposed to get there? Where will I possibly find a ship's captain who is stupid enough to sail off into the middle of the ocean with no maps and only your word that the place he's going to is more than a legend? I'll end up having to swim there!" Then she added after a moment of thought, "And I'll have to carry that blasted healer of yours."
"Good point." He mused for a moment, "But this is not the time for your strange logic; there are bound to be a few captains willing to try to get to Rozrimm, in my experience sailors are generally rather crazy."
"Oh, and how much experience have you had with sailors? You live in a bloody desert!" She glared at him.
"I used to travel quite a bit before I had to take over your teaching. Now, that's enough arguing, you are going whether you like it or not. You will not do as bad a job as you think you will. It would be ideal if you could finish your training before having to go, but there is not enough time. However I believe your magic is strong enough for this little task."
He thought it was, even though Enkillaian was usually an indifferent student and preferred practising knife throwing to magic, she was still rather talented. She would not need much magic on this journey anyway, he hoped.
"Wait a minute; I haven't agreed to go yet!" Enkillaian said indignantly.
"You don't have a choice."
"You do realise that this whole thing sounds completely crazy, don't you?"
Pecky sighed. "Alright, take a look at this." He produced a small grey stone from a pocket in his robes. It was about a finger width thick and roughly the size of Enkillaian's palm, there was a symbol engraved in its centre. It was record stone. The stone slipped off of Pecky's wing and he spent a few moments swearing and fumbling about trying to pick it up again. Enkillaian retrieved the stone from the floor and looked at it more closely. It was the stone that the messenger had just delivered to Pecky. There was another symbol on the other side; she recognised the seal of the High Magician of Asroth immediately. Pecky stood up and straightened his robes in an attempt to recover his dignity.
"Humph. Nothing is designed for birds to use! I should complain!" He ruffled his feathers indignantly.
"You complain all the time, it's just that no one cares." Enkillaian held out the stone towards him. It had been sent to him, she could not open the message herself.
"Ah, yes." He concentrated on the stone for a moment. She felt the rush of magic as he activated the stone. There was no change at all in it to give any indication that anything had happened. Enkillaian let her hand drop. The stone stayed, hovering in mid-air. Suddenly there was a flash of light from the symbol and the High Magicians head appeared above the stone. Enkillaian had always thought he looked more like a politician than a magician. His round, bright red face and fancy robes made him look too pampered to be a scholar, which is what most of the magicians in the Council claimed to be.
"The Council has reviewed your report…" Pompous old fart, Enkillaian thought vaguely as she watched the image, "… we thank you for your additional information, it helped us to verify beyond doubt that my suspicions are true. Asroth is, very unfortunately, dying. We are going to prevail upon you…" Pecky stopped the message.
"You won't believe me, do you believe him?"
"Believe me, I don't want to. The stupid fat blob seems to think that he should get all the credit for realising …"
"Is that a yes?" Pecky dropped the stone into his pocket.
"Alright," Enkillaian sagged visibly, "I believe you."
"Good. You have three days to get ready, and sort out this mess," he said distastefully, kicking at a coil of wire lying in the middle of the floor. Enkillaian squeaked, and hurriedly saved the wire from his talons. She sat back on the bed and tried to look serious. "Then you will travel to Cacia by caravan and take a ship to Vioed from there. Finding the healer should not prove difficult, just ask for Lady Kiki. I will give you a letter for her from the council of magicians. Then you will need to find a ship, I'm sure you will manage that. I will give you something to pay the captain with. See? It's all planned, not so difficult. Anyway, then," he broke off briefly because the girl was rolling her eyes and muttering something about understatements under her breath, he ignored her, "then you will have to get to the island itself. The Council has persuaded someone who knows the way to join you, and that was no easy task. He is a Lamia. The Lamia are so incredibly arrogant that they won't even work with 'lesser beings' willingly when the world is in danger. You know how they think that they are the perfect race." He mumbled something insulting about the Lamia, which Enkillaian chose to politely overhear; she had never met a Lamia before and was reserving her judgement of them until she had. "He will meet you at the foot of the Larain Mountains. Then you must find Asroth and cure it."
"Find Asroth? We're standing on Asroth right now!" She gestured in the general direction of the ground, but somehow managed to make it look like she was pointing at the chair behind her. Paradox sighed.
"No. It's not that easy."
"It never is. There's always some little thing to complicate everything," she sighed back.
"You must get the healer into Asroth, to the planet's centre, its spirit, you know."
"Into the planet?"
"And how do you propose I do that?" She did not sound sarcastic so he decided that she wasn't trying to be funny. Enkillaian chose not to mention that the planet's core was made of molten rock and that anyone who tried to get to it had to get through excessive amounts of earth first. Magicians usually did not consider such trivial obstacles as important.
"There is one person who can open a door to the planet's centre. The Council has managed to locate this person's soul, on Rozrimm. That's why you must go there." Paradox knew that all this was not quite as easy as he was making out, but Enkillaian would manage, he hoped, desperately.
"Why couldn't this person have had the decency to be born a little closer to here?" She was not to happy with the prospect of trying to sail to an island that everyone thought was a legend, simply because the person that just happened to have the ability to save the world, just happened to be there.
"I doubt they had much say in the matter. And neither do you, unless you want to go around digging up bones, there have been several people with the ability throughout history, but they're all dead." Paradox said sarcastically.
"Is that all?" Enkillaian asked sharply.
"Er… I think so. That's the general plan, anyway." He scratched his head with his wing. "I'll write it all down for you, I'm not sure that I trust you to remember it all-"
Enkillaian suddenly jumped up from where she had been sitting on the bed.
"Who's plan Pecky? The Council's, or yours?" She took a step in his direction. "The Council of Magicians does know that you are sending an apprentice on this mission, don't they?" He shuffled about a bit "Well! Do they know?" she almost shouted.
"Well you see, it's like this… the council sort of left this in my hands, as their most able magician, of course," he ended lamely.
"And you're passing it on to me! Do you have a death wish, old bird?" She put her hands on her head and groaned, "We're all doomed!"
After recovering from her brief lapse into despair she continued, "So, why are you sending me Pecky? And don't give me any lame excuses about your age!"
"Well I am too old, that is true!"
"Yes, I agree." He snorted indignantly and she glared at him, "But wouldn't it be better to send someone who actually knows what they're doing? I mean, why me?"
"It seemed like the right thing to do half an hour ago." He knew that it sounded ridiculous, in fact he was beginning to wonder how he had even come up with the idea. She kicked the bed then went over to the window, slamming it open. For a long while she looked out over the city, and the desert beyond it.
"Are you listening?" Pecky asked irritably.
"You're not talking!" she snapped. "Fine, keep your reasons to yourself; I guess you'll tell me if I manage to survive, and if I don't, it won't matter! Give me a list of everything I will have to do, and I'll start packing. That'll be a chore." She had the sneaking suspicion that Pecky had a sound reason for sending her.
Pecky decided not to disillusion her.
"And you had better not forget your studies while you are away," Pecky added.
She ignored him. "I think that I really should tidy up in here," she muttered to herself, as she surveyed the chaos that was her bedroom, "Wouldn't want anyone doing it while I'm away and putting things in the wrong places." She stooped to pick up a sock, which she just as suddenly dropped, "Rosa! I have to tell her I'm going away! She'll be so jealous that I get to see the world! It's a pity that she isn't coming; we would have so much fun!" She turned towards the door, only to find Pecky blocking it. This was not a very daunting sight as he was only a third of her height and did not have arms, "What is it?"
"You can not tell anyone," he said firmly.
"Not even my best… er… only friend?"
"We can't have word of this getting out! There would be wide spread panic! Riots! Breakdown of civilization!" He waved his wings in the air and hit one on the door frame.
"I highly doubt that," she said as he squawked in pain. "There's not much to break down."
"I must stop imitating your gestures," he told her, ignoring her again, "No, don't tell Rosa. And maybe you should tell as few people as possible, you'll have to be careful with the ships crew." He sighed, "Anyway, tell Rosa that you are going to be apprenticed to another magician so that you can learn another specialisation or two. That is plausible enough, you do need to refine your skills; you can't make do with shooting off a lightning bolt in the vague hope that it will hit the general area of the large building you aimed it at," he scolded.
"And I suppose you are going to make me take the whole library with me, so that I can continue with my studies?" she asked sarcastically.
"Don't be ridiculous! Just The Rules of Magic, Theories of Weather, The Shorter Catalogue of Magical Beasts, and an astrology chart or three should do nicely."
Her jaw dropped. "That is the whole library!" she cried in desperation. And why was he always on about the weather?
"Not quite," he pointed out. "And you can not ignore your education! It is important that you… Where are you going?" She was already past him and heading for the front door. He made a small gesture with his right wing and the door locked.
"To talk with Rosa, I need some sane company." She made the reverse of his gesture with her left hand and the door unlocked.
"You will not tell her anything!" Pecky shouted at her as she ran down the corridor.
"I'll try!" Came her reply from around the corner.
Paradox sighed to himself and left as well to find the list of instructions for Enkillaian that he had already written up a week previously. He wondered about what she had asked, why had he decided to send her on this mission? Strangely enough it really had seemed like the right thing to do half an hour ago. Perhaps he should call her back, and tell her that he would go himself. No, it would be fine, he was sure of it. At least he hoped that he was. He was hopping things far too often lately, he did not like it at all. He could not shake the feeling that there was something in this whole situation that he was missing. He entered his own rooms and retrieved the list, he put it into a small bag. As an after thought he dropped the record stone in too, she might need it.