Ch 19. Power of the Beast

Sheer hatred dripped from the eyes that stared Kavothar down, and Shezearin wanted him to see every ounce of it. This time the slimy snake couldn't force him down, smash him, and punish him just for looking at him the wrong way. And he reminded him of this very clearly.

"You will let them go." Each word he dragged out was slow, cool and dangerous. The statement was laced in pure venom.

Through the barrier, he watched his old master carefully. On his right arm, the man wore an extra thick glove, wrappings ran underneath that glove. It was the arm that was scourged from the last time they met, when he tried to kill him and summoned by the fragmented spirit in the jewel that very well rested tucked under his shirt. That fragmented spirit was a piece left of a woman whom he killed, cold-bloodedly in order to steal her son and end her family.

This monster before him was the complete downfall of his life. And he'd pay dearly for it.

"What a request," Kavothar said smoothly, eyeing down his former servant. "It must feel nice for you to give the orders this time. But you forgot one thing." His lips pulled back into an even more twisted grin.

"This is my domain that you stand in. And you brought the girl right to me. You must have forgotten: I'm always getting stronger. Even with you no longer as my pet, all the research and things you've collected and done for me all these years. Ha!" he snickered. "You really don't know the extent of my power do you?"

Shezearin said nothing. This much was true, but his anger stopped him from feeling any fear or hesitation, his only focus was his own plan.

"And after tomorrow, I will be unstoppable. It all comes down to this, and my long term dream will be realized. And not you or anyone at all can stop me! But you know that already don't you?"

Shezearin just glared and ignored his gloating. "I said to let them go."

"C'mon, you already know me Shezearin. For what price would I give up the treasure that I went through such extents to find? I went as far as fishing this treasure from another world so that it may be mine. And now that you even walked the human into my grasp, why would I let her go?"

There was silence while Shezearin eyed him.

Kavothar laughed a slow laugh.

Shezearin took a step closer. "Because my power can also suffice."

He watched Kavothar's face flicker in stun. And Zee continued on coolly.

"I know about the contraption you plan to use. It can only work once for now because of the massive power you plan to transfer. One power holder will be strapped down and taken. The cerulean power is of the same level as mine. The zemar power."

"And…what exactly are you implying Shezearin?" his gloating tone was lost and gained a hushed curiosity.

"I'm telling you to use me instead of the girl."

Shezearin could hear the rest of the team behind him shuffling in the silence. He heard Raijen take a step forward, but without turning around, Zee held a hand back to stop him. This was nonnegotiable.

No one moved, as Kavothar's shield dropped and he finally spoke. "You do remember what I told you about the machine, do you not?"

Zee nodded.

"My," he said after another pause. "The girl must have softened you. And fed you more weakness …but" he seemed to hesitate.

"I insist." Zee said solidly. "Take and do with me what you need to. But allow the girl and the others to walk out of here unharmed. They will hardly be a threat to you afterwards."

Kavothar folded his arms. "I went a great deal to get that girl just to use her powers instead of yours once I'd found that I was capable of reaching her."

Shezearin folded his arms too. His steely eyes flashed to Shay then stare back at the tyrant. "As you say, the girl has softened me then. I'm telling you that if you carry this out with her you will have a most persistent enemy on your hands: Me. And that comes with all the training and power you so willingly forced on me will all backfire in every lethal way I've learned how. I will spoil any plans of yours everywhere you turn.

Even if you will be as powerful as you say, the deadliest thorn you know will be in your side, I promise. You know what I'm capable of, as you've always reminded me.

Now would you have that? Or have my power and not deal with that. The human will be gone; no threat to you."

The truth was Kavothar wasn't all that certain of his former servants power either, especially after the unexpected way he fought him off in their last encounter. And without his chain as his weapon to control him anymore, Shezearin was a rouge power and was much more of a threat to him than he ever was. This, they both knew. Kavothar took a moment to ponder this factor.

"I did consider using you once before." Kavothar spoke more quietly, the edge in his voice was gone. "But I decided I'd rather keep you as my right hand soldier if I could find a different power, and I had. But now that option is gone I see."

Even with all the power in Dezaria, Kavothar always preferred for others to do his work so that he could preserve his own until he felt like gloating and demonstrating. He wanted a servant by his side still. He didn't expect to have his most powerful servant become his enemy when he planned it all originally.

"And you are right about the enemy part." He added in a short sigh.

"If nothing else you owe me."

"What?" Kavothar sneered.

Shezearin took another step forward. "Yeah you owe at least the consideration and honor of my wishes just once…You owe Gahariet."

Kavothar actually paused at hearing the name of the long term friend in which he betrayed. This struck him hard.

"So you have done some research." He looked at him with an interested spark.

He then sighed and looked up to the ceiling. "Shezearin, Gahariet was another reason I decided I'd rather use another source. You're right he was …my friend."

"That you betrayed!" Shezearin growled.

"A hard, but necessary, sacrifice for the greater."

"Largo shit,"

Kavothar chose not to respond to the comment. Instead he sighed and closed his eyes for a brief moment, waiting. After endless minutes had passed in which Shezearin's head was held high, he spoke.

"Okay, very well Shezearin. If this is what you chose. The one request will honor for the son of my old and deceased friend; though it was for the sake of your father's memory that I hoped to avoid another sacrifice of his blood, if possible. But if this is your choice, than very well."

Shezearin was disgusted. He spoke as if his one consideration of sacrificing the son of his best friend again, would make up for all the murderous blood slinging betrayal he'd already done. His mind was sick but simple.

Dark tentacles emerged from the floor and began to twine around Shezearin's feet, immobilizing him.

Kavothar snapped his finger and the shadow figure released Shay, letting her fall forward. Shezearin was thankful that Raijen stepped up to catch her. He scooped her body up with ease and carried her back to where the rest of the team stood. From teh corner of Shezearin's eye, he caught Raijen's hard.

The entire time, Kavothar's piercing gaze eyed Shezearin, as if searching for the truth of his old servant sealing his fate. Shezearin only kept his solid angered eye contact with him, not moving a budge. He was sure about what he was doing, and there was no turning back. The coils were twisting around his legs now and up to his sides. He felt them gripping into him like thorns.

"Raijen," He said calmly, but he never turned away from eyeing Kavothar. "Watch Shay, make sure she doesn't do anything reckless. See that she makes her way home immediately."

"Alright Shezearin." He spoke quietly, he too was most likely trying to figure out the real motives of the exchange.

Shezearin turned slightly towards the team. In Raijen's arms he saw Shay stir. She opened weak unfocused eyes his way. Her body hardly moved, still affected from however Kavothar stunted her energy. He watched her brown eyes widened as she took in what was transpiring. But Shezearin looked away. He didn't want to see the look on her face watching the coils bind around him as he stood willingly.

Behind them, all the grand doors creaked open with a loud squeak and a crack of the light flooded the room. Kavothar was keeping his bargain.

"Shezearin, what are you doing?" Shay pushed a voice out loud enough for him to hear.

He turned back again, but just enough to view her from the corner of his eye. "Don't be so fooled." He said in a low tone. "I'm not doing this for you human. I have my own reasons."

She searched his face silently to see what he was truly saying, but she saw nothing through the cold unemotional surface that he chose to wear. Knowing her. If she had the strength she would have already been up to stop him, but she couldn't.

Shezearin took a quick glance at Sa'li and Ezrene who stepped up with Raijen and Shay. They all wore saddened looks and Shay's look of unsure hurt. He looked up at Raijen and gave him a nod to go on. No one liked the outcome of this mission but it was necessary and he would carry it out.

Raijen lifted Shay and Zee only glanced at her wide brown teary eyes and forced himself to look away.

There was another snap of Kavothar's finger and a dark electric current began to pump through Shezearin's body. The painful shock spread up from the dark minion holding him on the ground. His energy began to drain drastically. He felt Shay and the warrior's presence leave along with the sound of the closing doors and then cold darkness swallowed him up.

It wasn't all for me. It couldn't be. He has another motive. Shay told herself. Still, guilt flooded through her. He'd really take her place? This wasn't right; it was supposed to be her in there. He couldn't be in there…about to die.

Another tear trickled down Shay's face.

Maybe in a sick way, that's what he wanted. Zee had always despised his powers and maybe even himself at one point, but he was much better than wanting to die. The thought was absurd.

They were deep into the trees right now. Raijen was still carrying her, but she didn't slow down the super strengthed fighter one bit. Vahn and Zairick had rejoined them along with the Dark Claw troops who all drew back as soon as they saw Raijen coming out of the castle. Vahn and Zairick had already found their way out of the castle and had been fighting along with them. And they, along with most of the troops, were aching and exhausted, but here.

The fighting had completely ceased, by Kavothar's orders. Shay couldn't tell how many casualties the troops endured, but she saw some of the retreating troops forced to carry some of their comrades. Outside the castle was all a mess, bodies lingered all over, but she wasn't sure which side owned them, there seemed to be damages on both sides. But with the entire groups swift escape, that was all she saw.

But everyone, the Surai team was all safe and in one piece. That left everyone except Shezearin.

During the bumpy ride of Raijen carrying her through the cover of the trees she could hardly focus. Maybe it was a good thing for him that she couldn't walk right now, or their escape may not have gone so smooth. She couldn't say that she would have went with it. Shay was still fighting the shock of what had just happened.

Her heart rate had slowed by now, but it continued to ache with each beat. She drew up an image in her head, the last picture she saw of Shezearin. His back was to them but he turned slightly towards them enough to look at them with a mental good-bye.

And then his eyes; they were cold and still contained that flame in them; that look she had recognized ever since they came to the hidden village where he learned about his past from Veck. He looked dangerous, lethal even; destructive, but focused. He had a plan. She didn't know what it was, but what she knew was that the angry burn in his eyes was really a burn for revenge. What he was doing was trying to get in closer to Kavothar, to carry it out. If he succeeded he could survive, but what if he didn't? It was like he decided to become a suicide bomber.

Revenge…is very powerful in itself. Perhaps too powerful and unstable for anyone's own good, her grandmother, Sophia, used to tell her. And for that to also be in the spirit of an angry zeome'? This didn't look too promising.

Shezearin was alone. Chains wrapped around his hands, ankles and a thick one locked around his mid-section. His energy had been stunnrfd out of him and left his body weak for the moment.

He leaned against the wall for support, refusing to sit down.

There was no telling what time of day it was in that windowless underground dungeon. But he knew a lot of time had passed. The others were far gone now; at least far enough from harm's way. He had been planning all along, to separate from them after he saw everyone out. But with the turn of events, he went long with it sooner; his plan would still be fulfilled non-the less.

And Shay was safe. Though she'd fight, he trusted Raijen would see to her returning home; away from this world of chaos.

But soon, the image he had of her in his head rippled away, overpowered by the return of an emotion that had driven him since they had left the DarkClaw headquarters. It returned as he began to recognize this particular dungeon he found himself locked in. It was the same one where Kavothar ordered his "training" sessions for endurance, where the methods for standing pain included beatings and near starvation.

He looked around to see so many memories of torture. It fed fury to him, and he forgot that his body was presently weak. Below his skin, in boiling blood he felt the power of his ari sway and storm with his emotions. He felt strength.

This, and everything around him, himself included, was all a part of a plan hatched up over twenty years ago in a quest for power by that man. From the very beginning, the coward had been hiding behind Gahariet, his father. And what did his father pay for the trust of friendship?

Death. That was the reward.

And it was all the result from Kavothar hearing the zeome' title that Shezearin hated so much. It brought nothing but, pain, ruin, and slaughter. And what was this all for again? The setting up of his father and attempting mass destruction? It was all for Kavothar's own personal gain. So that he can own the ultimate beast on a leash, that's what it was for. To get a right hand monster to rule over for the dynasty of power that he thirsted for.

Well he has the beast now, the one he strived so hard to make. He will feel it full force!

Anger and raged pushed at Shezearin's zemon power and it subconsciously began to create a field around his body. It only intensified as his thoughts ran through all the people who were sacrificed and suffered for Kavothar's greed. The list was endless. But his mind returned to his parents again.

His father was a legend. And his mother…strong hearted, he knew and felt that even after her death; it was strong enough to protect him all this time. So what gave Kavothar the right to think he can take away and end their lives? And just to take their son and train him as a dog.

They could have been alive right now…happy. And his father, whose mighty legacy he'd ended…was Kavothar's friend. The one his father trusted above everyone since they were kids. Now that was what he could hardly get over. He repeated that fact in his mind.

How DARE he do this?!

Shezearin embraced his rage like never before. All the restraint and composure he held all his life went up in ablaze. He wanted blood, he wanted demolition. He craved it.

Red energy fumed around his entire form. His hair and clothes whipped wildly around him.

Over the years Shezearin hated his power. He shunned it, cringed from it, ashamed of its total destructive ability. No more. Now he had a purpose for it.

The chains locked around him suddenly disintegrated under the massive power that circulated around his body. The first time he'd ever freed himself from those chains that bonded him through his training tortures.

Now standing there free and alone in that dark basement he remembered the first vital point learned in his survival and combat training. If you want to truly effectively take something down, rather if it's a living creature or the base headquarters of an enemy, go for and destroy the heart, the vital area. And though he was at the basement, it was the middle of the castle he was in...the heart.

A storming field of electrical zemar energy surrounded Shezearin in at least a twenty foot diameter. His eyes stayed fully glowing red as he carried the power. His current power state was at the next level; several levels.

Simply outstretching his arms on either side of him, whole blasts of zemon power ignited instantly and smashed through layers of walls. Loud sounds of clattering crumbling brick erupted everywhere. But it didn't faze Shezearin a bit, as he continued forward.

He fired an energy stream through to burst down the door, which just created a tunnel of collapsed brick for him to walk through. As he continued down tunnels from room to room, he sent blasts of power flying in every direction.

The narrow hallways he walked through were still destroyed far beyond its walls by the field of energy that circulated very widely around him.

He heard the crunching and falling of brick and collapsing destruction. Smoke spewed everywhere. He breathed it all in, and enjoyed the sound, the smell and the feel. Causing the fall of this castle was like a new high.

He felt a grin stretch across his own face. He wanted to laugh at the repeating thought in his head: You wanted a beast, now feel it full force. How ironic would it be for Kavothar to see that what he went so far as to create was now the very thing destroying him?

Kavothar miscalculated; he thought those chains that always held him down before would hold him again. But Shezearin knew and felt in his skin that this time it wouldn't. All new power and rage like never before pumped through him now, he wasn't afraid to rip, smash, and obliterate because it was now what he wanted most. Nothing could stand in his way.

Laughter pushed in his chest at all the falling and crashing of walls around him. He fired more as he walked. He heard the explosions; the shouts of the men upstairs, everything falling into chaos around him.

Shezearin took in a deep breath. When he exhaled, it allowed power to blast in all directions from his body. He fired a stream of energy to fire down several yards smashing through walls of the castle and then exploding where it hit.

He listened to the screams and shouts of Kavothar's panicking men. Those men willingly helped in this the entire time. They should suffer too, his parents did. Like Kavothar, they also wanted a beast on their side, so they followed a monster.

By now he had traveled past and demolished at least half the castle. Rooms full of machinery and precious laboratories were also gone. There were louder explosions when he did hit them, the places Kavothar used for research. He destroyed his inventions, his weapons. If he was lucky, that bond ari he was creating was demolished too. I hate that stuff.

He reached the middle of the castle, the main hall again. And everything behind him was a pile of collapsed brick, wood and ruble. But he needed more; he was looking to fry the big fish now.

Then right there, before him, Kavothar appeared. He rushed in from the top of the stairs, men pouring out ahead of him. He was yelling orders at them all.

With Shezearin's eyes sharper than ever in this state, he saw the detesting man's face all the way across the huge room at the top of the stare case. The look on his face was priceless: his eyes were wide, pupils small as he looked from Shezearin to the massacre behind him.

On sight of him, Shezearin's circulating field of power expanded and intensified, from his emotions. One solid beam of zemar power hurled forward and exploded into the large stairway, taking out most of Kavothar's men. But Kavothar himself had managed to zip out of the way before the destruction reached him.

More of zemar energy rained down at the carefully evading Kavothar, levitating through the air. He looked like a fly scattering around the walls. Each blast he barely evaded and allowed another hole to break through the castle wall and ceiling.

A roar ripped out from deep within Shezearin's chest, and a large wave of power passed through the air. It caught half of Kavothar with an electric sizzle.

Like a hunted bird he fell out of the air and landed on the carpet only a few feet in front of him. But he quickly got to his feet in anger, ready to fight.

"I'm your monster remember?" Shezearin managed to hiss his words through clenched teeth. He probably sounded like an animal, a beast...good, he thought.

Shezearin had never seen Kavothar really fight in his life. But he knew he had many trump cards up his sleeve and was reminded of it as soon as Kavothar released an energy beam of his own. It was the same mass as the ones Shezearin had been firing. A dark purple beam came hurling toward him now. But Shezearin met it with his own. A shout came from him when he did, he raised two hands and put his rage into the attack.

On collision, his red fire sliced through Kavthar's energy and barreled forward. There was a large explosion.

Shay and all the others traveled past the barrier they broke into and went on as far as their weary feet could carry. By then, Shay had already regained her strength, though Raijen kept a close eye on her and was there the first few times she tripped on her feet. The Surai warriors traveled close around her, but no one said a single word the entire time.

By now, the sky had darkened. After some time the DarkClaw troop commander had confronted Raijen. "I'm not sure about you but my men are tired. I don't know how far you want to push but with the fight we just had on the outside. We need to stop."

Raijen hesitated; he wanted to be as far away from the castle and its monstrosities as they could. Especially if at some point Kavothar might have Shezearin's power. Raijen's original mission was to ensure the safety of his village from Kavothar, now he began to think the mission was a fail, Shay could see it on his face. But he was sure that as of now, any destruction of Surai was way down on the madman's list of priorities since he no longer looked for Shay.

"Understood." He said finally. "We are far enough, we can make camp here."

The DC general shouted some orders and the entire group stopped to make camp.

While the troops all buzzed around setting up tents, pulling things out of their pouches and book bags and making the fires, Shay found a soft grassy spot on the ground and just sat, watching them but her mind was very far away.

Total defeat was what filled her.

He's not supposed to be there. She didn't think she'd ever get over what was happening.

She felt for the cerulean shard in her pocket, it was still there heavy and powerful.

I'm able to go home now. But…I'm not in a rush. Even if I did know how to work this thing, I don't think I could leave.

Something didn't feel right. Deep down, her instincts told her she needed to wait, clear her mind, answers will come.

Raijen was in a tent near her talking quietly, he was filling in Vahn and Zairick on what had happened in the castle. The two of them never asked questions about it after reading the glum expression on everyone's face during the walk. They both looked bothered by the outcome but followed their trusted leader for the time and knew they'd have answers later.

Now what are we going to do? Sure I could go home but what about them? As much as I hate him, Kavothar is undeniably powerful. Their home may be in jeopardy now. Dezaria could be. With the zeome's power in the hands of a power obsessed maniac, what would become of this place?

A chill ran through her at the idea. Even the air felt uneasy, and it was seen on everyone. Worry shown on each one of the Surai warriors faces when they ended their discussion in the tent.

By the time there was food passed around, the camp was surrounded by people circled around various small fires, eating. Some groups had low conversations, the troops mostly and others were silent in the glum camp. She heard the occasional groans from the injured currently getting treated in the nursing tents.

Raijen came to the fire and sat down next to Shay. She knew this was coming. He handed her a bowl of soup cooked by the DCO allies.

"Thanks." She said quietly.

There was more silence until Raijen spoke. "Shay…I'm sorry it all had to go down like that." He said softly.

"Did you know what he was planning?" she asked in a scratchy voice, the first time she'd talked in hours.

Raijen was silent for a moment. "He told me what he'd do if it came down to it."

Shay looked towards the trees so that he couldn't see the emotions her face betrayed while fresh tears were coming again.

"I think he knew from the start that we'd most likely run into Kavothar."

"You're probably right." Shay sighed. "It was revenge he was aiming for. He wanted to wound Kavothar as close as he could get. Deep inside the castle is the closest. But he wanted us out first."

"He did say there could be a possible flaw in the plan though."

"What was that?"

"That Kavothar would have surprises. He'd been using a lot of new technology since Shezearin had left. So Shezearin said he wasn't sure what his chances of survival could be, but he was set on risking it." Raijen hesitated. "He told me not to tell you until afterwards so that you won't object. You know there was something dark about him since the village. There was no changing his mind."

"I know."

"You noticed?"

"Yeah the change in him happened ever since Veck told him the truth of what happened and about his parents. I was scared of this, that he would now risk everything for a chance to get back at him. I guess I can't say I blame him though." She said sadly. "Everything that happened in his life is because of Kavothar. I probably wouldn't even be able to think clearly about it if I was him." She shook her head. "Still, I don't feel right about this Raijen."

Raijen sighed. "Me either. Its…hard…for me too Shay. I don't know what will happen to him. But the battle still goes on for Surai until we can assure our village is safe. As for you, you've done enough. For the sake of your safety and Shezearin's wishes," he emphasized on Shezearin, "You should go home as soon as you can. We'll handle the battle from here."

Shay was silent.

"You have to start trying to figure that shard out."

"How do I do that?"

"Well you're its master for one. You can connect with it somehow. Figure it out as soon as you can. I'm telling you Shay. Things are dangerous. Until then you will have to travel with us back to Surai where we can prepare for whatever's to come."


"Shay." He gave her a stern look. "I told Shezearin I would watch over you until you go. If you don't, I will figure it out for you when we get back. Either way you need to leave. Do you understand?"

After a moment she sighed and nodded.

"Shay I'm sorry." He said before he stood and walked away.

Shay was left there. The Organization and everyone in the camp fluttered around her, moving to get food or go to bed anything but act as if they noticed her, which was good. She didn't want anyone to notice her. If Raijen wasn't watching her so much, she would have slipped away from the camp. But she was sure the Surai leader took Shezearin's request too seriously to let her venture off alone into the trees right now.

Shay pulled out the cerulean shard from her pocket and watched it twinkle. She stared at it hard. The edges and etchings glowed in all different shades of cerulean blue. Shay had an undeniable attraction to the hue color each time she looked at it. It was the same color that appeared in front of her eyes every time she summoned her ari. And the color of the fire that burned from within her. In a way, she was looking at a part of herself.

Suddenly, a faint sound of what sounded like an explosion rang in her ears. Then she heard falling brick or rock in a sound just as faint. It had to be from far away.

She gasped and looked around frantically to see where it came from. But everyone around her carried on, nonchalantly. Two troops stopped to look at her strange behavior.

"You alright there?" One of them asked, a man with short spiky blond hair.

"D-Did you here that? Is there an attack nearby?"

The two soldiers both looked at her like she had two heads and then at each other. "What are you talking about?"

The look on their faces made Shays anger flare just a bit. I'm not crazy. How could they not have heard it? Not that the sound was loud but it was enough to make a person wonder what was going.

"You might just need some sleep cerulean warrior." The blond one said.

She sighed. "I'm fine." She said irritably and the soldiers walked along.

Shay looked back at the shard in her hand, and it sat just as still and normal. Shay huffed angrily and walked into the tent she shared with Ezrene and Sa'li.

Shezearin could hear himself breath as the smoke cleared.

Kavothar stood there shocked. Cuts and debris covered his clothes but his orange colored shield stood; he summoned it just in time to avoid the bulk of the damage, but it was not quick enough to stop all of the attack. Some of it still hit him, and that satisfied Shezearin as he watched drops of blood trickle down the side of his enemy's face. He could finish him.

Kavothar's men had taken cover and fled from the hall, it was just the two of them now.

Kavothar looked up, teeth elongated resembling the beast that he was. Anger scorched in his face. "Perhaps I should have taken your power from the start once I had the ari ripping machine complete going. I should have forgotten that girl once she was lost!"

Shezearin said nothing to his parent's murderer; he only wanted to silence his annoying mouth.

Shezearin then hurled a continuous blitz of energy beams his way. The entire room around him lit with red lights of explosions. And he only kept going; releasing all the fury built in his soul. There was so much smoke around that even he could hardly see anymore.

In the middle of one of Shezearin's throws there was a tingle in his arm. It then spread to the rest of his body and he suddenly felt weak. It was the only thing that caused him to stop after a few more minutes of firing more energy.

He sucked in deep ragged breaths.

What's happening?

Shezearin could feel his body trembling. His heart literally ached, as if it was pumping from a work overload. In this condition, his ari began to slip from his grasp and he felt the power receded. His body literally felt exhausted.

Now, the smoke began to clear. And an image of Kavothar formed. He was on one knee, breathing hard. Scrapes and some blood in various places covered him. There was a small energy shield left around him, it blinked on and off like a dying firefly. Holes were blown into the shield while static crowded around it.

Soon the shield's surface went out completely, permanently it seemed; the shield's behavior didn't look natural at all. Lying there next to Kavothar on the ground looked like the shattered pieces of a jewel. It was the same orange color that his shields were.

He stared at the pieces. As Shezearin uncontrollably sank lower to the floor he recognized the gem. One he had to dive into another volcano side outside of Dezaria to reach in a mission when he was sixteen years old.

There on Kavothar's left hand glove was where he wore that orange jewel, he realized. And there now was an empty pouch. He was willing to bet that the entire shield skill of Kavothar's was permanently gone now, like the gem itself. The shield was the gem's ability.

Now's the time to get him! But with the state Shezearin was in, energy leaving by the second, he knew that he could barely lift himself from the floor.

"Y-You…" Kavothar sneered with loathe deep in his voice. "I thought to spare you some time…but now you will be thrown away as soon as the machine is ready to drain you! And the rest of the time of your short life you spend rotting there you will regret this!" His body was crouched over still on the floor.

Kavothar hissed in a raged breath of air. "I wasn't sure if you were going to go silently or not. There was something strange about you the whole time! But I-I had no idea you could do this." He said glancing around at the collapsed part of his castle with the chilled night air blowing through the missing ceiling tops.

"It's because of the weakness you always thought I had." Shezearin spat.

"No, it's only through anger that you decide to use your full potential. And it's funny that you finally do it now when you're about to be put down." he forced a painful sounding chuckle. Drops of blood slipped from his face and hit the racked floor. "It's almost impossible to pull so much raw ari out of your source in a sedated state when you had no ready ari at the moment. You forced it out with your anger. But now it's all catching back up to you." He smiled a toothy grin. "I never thought you could measure up to all of the past powerful zeome's that came before your time. But it turns out you do have the same power. You were just too weak to bring it out until now. If you had ever reached this level for me before, you would have been my apprentice… I would have considered that at least for your father's sake, to honor him. But now I see that it is much better for you to make just as noble a sacrifice as he did!"

Past zeome's? There were others? Shezearin knew so little about himself. And to think, the things he only recently figured out about himself and his past Kavothar knew the entire time, so did Veck. But now he was running out of time.

His arms shook as he tried to catch himself from collapsing completely on the floor. His energy was going. His time was up. At least he got another hit at Kavothar and destroyed half his castle. Unfortunately, the way Kavothar had been talking, it seemed Shezearin didn't reach and destroy the part of the castle that contained the machine that would drain his life.