Update: I've extended the chapter and am currently working on Chapter 6. -RinIII

Chapter 5

Dasan had watched as Hoiya's slender figured disappeared among the harrowing desert sands. Yes, he knew all too well that this day would come but for some reason he wasn't prepared for the aching within his heart. It was as though he was watching one of his own leave him behind. Dasan hated being left behind. It was one of the reasons why he never stayed in one place for too long. It seemed that the longer he stayed in one place, the lonelier he felt… Eternal life was a cruel curse indeed.

"No matter…" He muttered to himself. "I have finished my duties here... Now it's by the graces of Rahan that she will find her way to salvation…"

With a long sigh he took one last look at the Tea House. He couldn't help but run his gnarled hand across the smooth solid wooden pillars which he himself had carefully selected from the Enoke forests. Of all the multitude of places that he had once or another called home, this Tea House will forever rest within a special place in his heart. It was the only place where life truly seemed peaceful…

Maybe it isn't so much this place as the company that I had lived within… Dasan let out a chuckle. I most certainly will miss that rambunctious girl… Although she has a far greater purpose to serve than be caged within this rotting town. Alas… it is time…

With that last though in his mind, Dasan reached into the deep pockets of his linen robe and produced a large brass key. Taking his time, he strolled with ease to the back of the Tea House where a large shed loomed over the tinny alleyway. A rather heavy but rusty looking lock held together two equally antiquated chains. Gingerly, Dasan lifted the key to the lock and with amazing swiftness the metal latch sprung open. Great moans echoed against the buildings as the doors to the shed lazily swung open. With one last sigh, Dasan began to walk inside shed.

At first there was noting but darkness then, in a low horse voice Dasan mumbled a few incoherent words: "En Luse En Ort En Mhai" Then, a torrent of sparkling lights like dancing candle flames began to encircle him. The light became brighter and brighter until it completely consumed him. Suddenly, with a blink of an eye, he disappeared. The only evidence of his presence was the squeaky cries from the neglected shed doors as they swung carelessly among the gusty winds.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Far across the Unmi Sea in the lands of Alendia…

The soothing sound of a finely strung lute filled the lavishly gold and silken bed chamber of Seriss, the Alendian Queen. It had been ages since she had felt such tranquility. It had taken far too long for her to finally ravish in luxuries of being the sole ruler of Alendia. Her late husband, the King, had proven to be quite a damper on her unnaturally long life but, that was of no more Seriss had finally gotten what she most desired… Unbridled power…

And no one is more deserving of such power than I… For it was I who had to suffer for so long before bringing such great fortune to Alendia by ensnaring the great Rahan within that child…

With liquid grace Seriss rose from her feather filled perch and walked toward the babbling waters of her enchanted springs. As she walked, the strings of precious gems lining the hem of her silken gown glistened and rustled like leaves kissed by the summer winds. In her mind, such copious existence was not only desired but necessary to keep all of her followers at bay. For Seriss, to rule is also to bring all those around her in complete awe of her magnificent appearance.

However, just before reaching the water's edge, a firm deep voice halted Seriss's pleasant thoughts: "I'm sorry to inform you my Lady… The child is missing…"

Words, like ink spilled upon painted parchment rudely tainted her precious serenity. Her once porcelain face of perfection suddenly became contorted with rage and her voice became raised and shrewish: "Do you mean to tell me that a skilled mystic, such as yourself, cannot even contain a child?!"

"If I may speak in my defense my Lady… this Child you speak of is not like any that I have dealt with. Not only is he a mystic but one that possess great powers… For even I, was of no match to him… My Lady… who…"

Before the man could finish, Seriss quickly interjected: "Never mind who the child is. I want him back… And unless you do so, Etheian, you shall have to face Rahan'swrath!"

With the mentioning of Rahan, Etheian's face immediately turned ashen. Without any further comment, Etheian quickly excused himself and disappeared. Once Etheian's aura dissipated, a smug smile appeared upon Seriss's crimson lips. Fool… to think that he was so close to Rahan and still not recognize him… I guess the Redeemer's curse is far more powerful than I had ever imagined… So you've got away? Enjoy you short breath of freedom… For when we meet again I shall destroy you both… Rahan, and the child that is protecting you within…

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

With nervous swiftness, Etheian marched out of the gold laden palace; the odious scents from Seriss's exotic incense suffocated his aura. He despised his pathetic existence. For the sake of duty he was reduced to nothing more than a petty watch dog paying heed to his master's ever whim. Secretly, he wished for the courage to grasp the siren's neck and drown her within her precious pools of immortal waters.

Ah… What brilliant irony that would be…

You should not think such thoughts so carelessly… You never know who else may be listening…A familiar haggard male voice tapped into Etheian's consciousness causing his heart to skip in fear.

Da…Dasan! I thought… I thought you…How? Why? Tinny trickles of sweat began to ease their way down Etheian's youthful face. His eyes darted nervously across the empty marble laden buildings and streets searching for the source of the voice.

Just keep walking… No one else heard you or at least, no one that I can sense at the moment…

Dasan couldn't help but pity the poor fellow. It had been over fifty years since they had last meet and although his appearance still remained youthful and fair, it was apparent through his lackluster gray eyes that time had certainly etch away at the once glorious Etheian. What a punishment for him to be ensnared by such evil and darkness…

To be owned by a demon is a dire punishment indeed Etheian… Do you regret your choice now?

Never! Etheian hissed back vehemently. It is you who is being punished… Having to wander from kingdom to kingdom, like a soul without a vessel; you are nothing more than an aberration of the past that cannot escape nor live within this world!

Abruptly, Etheian halted his steps and turned around. Sure enough, there was the old withered man walking behind him. His once abundant gray and black hair had become ghostly white and frail that fluttered helplessly within the cool winds. Although Etheian did not want to admitted it, but suddenly he felt a great pang of guilt for his thoughts earlier. For a being that had once held boundless power, he was reduced to nothing more than a mere immortal husk.

Suddenly, Dasan began to laugh. It was a hearty laugh one that emanated from deep within his heart.

How amusing we are. Even in our wretched states we still feel pity for each other… But let's drop all this nonsense for now. I have a proposition for you.

Caught off guard by the sudden change in Dasan's mannerism Etheian snapped back rudely: I will not have any more dealing with you. In fact I should be dragging you to my Lady by your scrawny neck… You…

Do you trust your Lady? Dasan interrupted him harshly; his voice pierced through Etheian like a jolt of lightning. Come on boy answer me! Do you think your Lady is with holding the Devine Order? Or is has she simply blinded you with her devious crafts?

Etheian remained silent. Even though he had always prided himself in his sense of honor and loyalty, he couldn't find the words to answer Dasan's question for he could not bring forth the courage to neither deny nor acknowledge the truth.