Chapter 15: Snowy Tidings
"Have you ever watched the snowflakes carefully, Crysta? You know, on days like today where they seem to fall by themselves instead of in indistinguishable clusters." Sceon spoke softly as the two of them traveled north. It had been three days since leaving the silver dragon, Silvana, and her cave. Sceon was a little sad about leaving her so soon, since she seemed to enjoy their company, but he figured that Crysta probably kept her enough company to satisfy both of them. He grinned at the thought and imagined her imitating his voice and saying what she figures he would say to certain things.
"What are you gibbering on about now?" Crysta paid less than half-attention to what Sceon had just talked about. She had been thinking about the future developments of Ryera, and all the rest of Vernai like the angels for that matter. But most of all, she had been thinking about Sceon, and hoping he wasn't too scarred from what had happened to the kingdom.
"I was just noticing how even though I love snow so much, I have never really taken the time to look at it. You know? Each flake, like a person, is an individual. It makes me wonder sometimes how there can possibly be infinite combinations of flake parts to come together and make a new flake each time. I mean, come on, there are like a million flakes falling underneath a storm at any given minute! It's just crazy to think about sometimes." Sceon smiled, catching the light snow that had been falling around them in his hands. "Another thing I noticed is this is the first snowfall we have seen on Vernai, and I must say, it's very pleasant. There is a good breeze and it's very quiet outside. I can scarcely hear myself talking at that."
"You think about the weirdest things sometimes." Came the reply from the blue-tinted pixie. Is it a defense mechanism to prevent yourself from thinking about all the bad things that have happened to you in your life? Damn, just thinking about that gets me depressed, better stop. I hope things start looking up for him. Sceon. She thought to herself silently after her remark.
"Maybe I do, and maybe I don't." Sceon sighed. He folded his wings back in contemplation. "I don't really know what I thought about it just now, it just came across my mind." He paused. "Something else I just realized, I completely lost my ol' scimitar back in the battle over Ryera. I am completely weaponless right now."
"What?! You lost your sword?! Wow, that's just great." Crysta's tone was heavy with sarcasm. "And you don't sound the least bit worried, mind telling me why that is? What if we need to defend ourselves!?" Crysta was not happy.
"I have magic too you know, it's really not that big of a deal."
"Yeah, I guess you are right, you are a pretty talented mage. Yeah, I'm worrying over nothing. Though, you and that sword did see a great many things together."
"Heh, yeah, you are right. It may have been just a plain scimitar, but we had many a good fight together. Heh, and I never had to sharpen it much either. Oh well, I guess I will just have to keep my eyes peeled for a new one, huh?"
"Yeah, because you will need it if your ever exhaust your body's magic supply." Crysta nodded as she floated along beside him. "How much farther north do we have to go before we start seeing a little civilization?" Crysta groaned again. They had been traveling for a few days now and were almost out of the food that Silvana had given them for the journey. She was somewhat worried they would be stuck out there in the snow and starve to death. She was, however, not worried they would freeze, because they both took strength from the freezing weather.
"You got me. I didn't talk to Silvana that much. Didn't she say anything about the colonies up north, or like where they are likely to be located? What did you guys talk about anyway?" Sceon got curious.
"Well, she noted how cute you are. She said if she were human, angel, or a mix of both, she would be smitten." Crysta grinned. "Such a lady killer you are." She suddenly frowned and took it back and said something else. "I mean, a lady's man."
"It's alright, Crysta. I know you didn't mean 'lady killer' in a bad way. I shouldn't blame myself for Kamine and her family's death. I came into the kingdom at a tumultuous time with the fool hardy idea of thinking I could help. I knew when I was attacked by Velimir that one night in my sleep that there was no way I could stop him. I just wish I could have had a little more sense and told them to leave the kingdom or something. That way they wouldn't have been killed and the seal on Velimir's physical form wouldn't have been broken." Sceon sighed.
"It's alright, my friend, we will get that bastard and all his little generals too." Crysta nodded, flying over to his shoulder and sitting on it. He didn't mind having her there since it was one of her favorite places to be, close to her best friend. "And as for your being such a cute guy, I wouldn't doubt some angel liking you." Crysta laughed. Sceon couldn't help at laughing as well, knowing full well that her intuition was rarely wrong.
"Okay, so what else did you talk about?" Sceon stopped laughing, hoping she would get the idea that he was serious about finding the angels in the north soon.
"She did mention that her angel friend, Laiana had showed her a little bit of the northern landscapes and where it was possible to meet an angel somewhere. Though Laiana didn't mention anything about where her home is, for all we know we may never find her and give her that letter." Crysta sighed. They reached the top of another large hill and started to go down, passing under snow covered evergreens. The snow which had been falling for a few hours had begun to pick up and was snowing steadily at the rate of about an inch an hour. After a few minutes of walking under the trees, the pair moved out into a wide open space, completely surrounded by evergreens, and the center was just a white expanse.
"Huh, this is a big clearing." Sceon stopped and scanned the area, the clearing looked like it was close to a mile long, and about a half mile wide. "Weird, why would this much space be cleared out in all these trees." He continued looking around.
"You got me." Crysta replied, looking around also. She then noticed something a little ways away. "Hey, what is going on over there?" She pointed and Sceon followed her finger towards where what looked like some action was going on the far side of the clearing they had just entered.
"I don't know, but I think we should go check it out."
"What?! You want to check it out? You don't even have a sword!" Crysta yelled, but he had already run off. "Typical…"
"Come on Crysta, it'll be fun!" Sceon flapped his wings once and flew the rest of the way, slowing down as they got closer. As things became clearer they also got a bit more gruesome. What the hell are those?!
"Sceon! What is going on?" Crysta flew up near him as they approached the skirmish. She sat on his shoulder and he landed, running towards it again now.
"There are creatures, wrapped in cloth, and they are flying around and attacking…" Sceon paused and looked at what the creatures were attacking, and his eyes widened in surprise. "Angels."
"What?! Where? Wow, there are three of them. They seem to be holding their own pretty well." Right after she said that one of the floating monsters unleashed a tide of lightning at the closest angel and it bounced to the other two, leaving all three immobilized.
"Whoa! We got to get in there!" Sceon chanted under his breath and made a long sword out of ice in his hand and flew into the action. Crysta flipped off his shoulder backwards so she wouldn't get caught in the battle. "Leave them alone!" Sceon yelled, swinging the frozen sword about. It sliced through the cloth of one of the creatures, which disappeared with a terrifying scream afterwards. With two of them left, he quickly used magic and flew to them to eliminate them as well.
"Great Sceon, that's the way it's done!" Crysta flew up next to him as the sword in his hand disappeared. The three angels looked at them, luckily not in a hostile way since Sceon had just saved their lives.
"Wow, that was pretty amazing. Glad you joined the party, before those revenants would have cooked us." The closest one ran a hand through his shoulder-length blonde hair. He watched the two newcomers with dark green eyes, and grinned.
"I admit, I was impressed with your use of magic. I have never seen someone use ice needles before. Innovative, and effective." The female between the other two nodded after she could move again, the electricity wearing off. Her red eyes gleamed also at the newcomers. "We owe you our lives." The other angel that was with them also expressed his gratitude. "So, what's your name, handsome?"
"Uh, heh. Sceon." Crysta laughed as her angel friend blushed while he conveyed his name.
"That's a cute name." The girl laughed. "I am Serris."
"And I'm Lloyd. Nice to meet you Sceon." They shook hands. The other angel had walked off at this time.
"Eh? Where did the other one go?" Sceon looked around, but he smiled. I thought Silvana had said they are somewhat xenophobic. Or are they just being nice to me because I saved their lives. Maybe it's because I am an angel, or at least part of one too?
"Oh, he went back home, since the patrol is done. He was a little wounded so he wanted to get back and get to mending it." Serris shrugged.
"Ah, I see." Sceon nodded.
"Who is your friend there, Sceon?" Lloyd motioned towards the pixie sitting on the angel's shoulder.
"I, Lloyd, am Crysta." The pixie grinned, hoping these two angels might be friends to both of them and help them out.
"Nice to meet you as well." The two angels said in unison.
"So, Serris and Lloyd, what was it you two were fighting? I have never seen creatures like that before." Sceon rested his hands at his side and folded his wings back in contemplation.
"Those, new friend Sceon, were revenants." Serris said.
"Spirits of the fallen that were forcefully raised to serve a dark force. All revenants possess an elemental aptitude, they are the mages of the undead. The ones you saw were of lightning, I am sure you noticed. Strange that an accomplished fighter such as yourself has not seen any thing like the undead. Not familiar with necromancy?" Lloyd finished the description.
"Never seen anything like it where I come from. Why do you have a problem with the undead?"
"There is a powerful necromancer in these northlands. Sarnok the Scourge has become quite a nuisance in the past year. He has been sending patrols out and has been trying to take many of our cities, but has failed up until now. Rumor has it, however that he is getting some help from another shadow master. Heard the name Mortimer?" Lloyd asked.
"Mortimer…Does that sound familiar to you, Crysta?" Sceon looked at his pixie friend.
"Actually, that name is very familiar. It happens to be one of Baron Velimir's generals." She nodded. Sceon flinched notably at mentioning of the baron.
"Sceon, you seem sensitive about that subject. Have you two come into contact with that evil bastard?" Serris stared at them.
"Yes. We were in the kingdom of Ryera and fought off several of his advances until he unleashed everything he had and assassinated the royal family there." Sceon hung his head.
"You survived the Ryera Crisis?! I thought everyone was killed." The mentioning of the deaths of so many innocents bothered Sceon a little, so Serris took on a comforting tone. "Don't be down about it, my new friend. He is a very powerful mage. We have tales of him and about his past conquests, and his sealing." Serris rested a hand on Sceon's shoulder.
"Do you also have information on how to kill him?" Sceon looked hopeful.
"Heh, sorry Sceon, but Lloyd and I don't have access to that kind of information. We are just soldiers after all. Fiercely loyal soldiers who like making new friends." She grinned.
"Even with a half-angel?" Sceon looked away a little.
"What? You are a half-angel?" Serris looked serious, but then relaxed when Sceon tensed up. "That's awesome! It takes some serious love for two different races to have a kid. You are the product of a great many good feelings, Sceon." She playfully punched him in the arm. "Nothing to be worried about, most of us have respect for humans, so you being half of one, and half of us, is actually pretty cool. In fact, I would say you are the first half-angel I have ever met, and believe me when I say I know a lot of my people."
"Wow, okay then. Huh, I wasn't liked by the angels on my world because of it, or the humans." Sceon smiled at her comments.
"You are from another world too?!" Lloyd's eyes shined with excitement. "Sceon, you just get cooler by the minute. I bet our leader would love to meet you. Maybe if she liked you enough, she might give out information on how to stop Velimir, since she has been working on that problem for a little while now. We have known of his growing power and the possibility of his return for a bit of time now."
"Your leader is a girl?" Crysta grinned.
"That's right! Laiana is a great leader. Real inspirational, and a looker to boot." Lloyd winked. He got promptly elbowed in the stomach by Serris. "But that's not really important to me, because Serris here is my mate, heh." Crysta laughed at the little exchange. He is a lucky angel then, she seems quite talented herself.
"So, anyway Sceon, do you want to come with us? You can help us against the undead, and meet Laiana, and maybe all of us can work together to get that Velimir and put him away for good. Eh?" Serris winked.
"Sounds great. Where do you all live?" Sceon tilted his head in curiosity.
"Well, there are a few other cities of us in other places, but this place here, is special." Lloyd answered.
"What do you mean? There is nothing here!" Sceon frowned. "It's just a big clearing."
"Follow us!" The pair of angel-soldiers walked off towards one edge of the clearing, near a tree that seemed slightly different from the rest of the evergreens surrounding the region. Sceon did as he was asked and watched as Serris knelt down in the snow and chanted a small fire spell, melting the snow. It revealed a patch of ice, which she then drew with her finger on it a rune that glowed light blue. The patch where she sat sunk under the ice. Lloyd showed Sceon what to do, then disappeared as well. Sceon did as instructed and felt his surroundings shimmer, Crysta looked around in awe as suddenly they were no longer in the clearing, but in a large, glass building that was underwater. And from there, they looked around to see it was connected to many other glass and crystalline structures, filled with lights and the bustle of activity of an entire city of angels.
"It…It's gorgeous!" Crysta exclaimed, looking around. She looked up through the ceiling at the surface of the body of water they were under and noticed it was white, like snow. "So it wasn't a clearing, it was a lake that is frozen on top, and covered with snow; how deviously inconspicuous!"
"That's right." Lloyd winked. "It's why the undead haven't found us yet, despite taking some other, small colonies." He frowned at that thought but cheered up again. "Sceon, Crysta; welcome to the lake city, Kyrnilia, the capitol of the angel kingdoms of Vernai."