Chapter Twenty-Nine: The Story of Alone

Josh doesn't write letters often, and even less so with any form of official capacity as a Titan Ranger. Sure, he was given an official seal and stamp with all the high ranking members, but he struggled to remember how to work the damn contraption. In his hands, he fumbled with the tiny stamp. Twisting the many layers of the handle left and right, he heard the faint sound of a click. Then, he checked the seal to make sure he had gotten the right combination.

The seal was the octagonal face of Yeren, a giant humanoid sentient Titan that roamed the Titan Plains. In the stead of its single eye though was a circle with 13 pins inside it. Some were retracted into the stamp while a few were poking out. He counted the combination and found them unsatisfactory. Twisting the end of the handle, the pins retracted with a click and he started the process of twisting the interlocking layers of the handle all over again.

"Seems a little excessive for security," Lachesis said.

She had been sitting in his room all day, watching him craft the letter. The only other time she had chimed in was to tell him not to write anything about how to activate Exodus as it might stop the other sentinel girl from coming. After which, she sat quietly reading her book, which he finally found the title of. The Story of Alone.

He explained the security of the seal. "It's what happens when you're operating a group trying to stop people from hunting creatures that are worth millions."

"Money worth killing for?"

"Yes."

"And how would your friends know your seal is correct? I could have stolen your stamp and tortured the information out of you."

"We have two seals. One is a warning that the seal is compromised and the other one real. And before you ask, we also change the pin combination according to the date and person of origin, so stealing an unopened letter doesn't matter much."

"What an intelligent way of doing things. I might have to implement something similar."

Finally, on the umpteenth try, he finally managed to get the correct pin combination. With a relieved sigh, he gently placed the stamp in black in and stamped the letter addressed to 'L and AD'. After sliding the parchment into an envelope, he then took the red candle off the desk and dripped the crimson wax before sealing it. Finally, he wrote 'To A.W. Deliver to L and AD. Do not open'.

He asked the Pyrerai, "And how are you going to get this to my companions?"

"Eca Rend has spies within my court. I'll just hand it to them."

"You know who they are? They don't seem like good spies, then."

"Oh, they are fine at what they do. I'm just simply better. And I'm sure I don't know all the mole he has placed, but I do keep track of the ones I find. Keeping friends close and enemies closer, and all that."

Curiosity finally satisfied, he curtly said, "Here." He held the envelope out to Lachesis.

She set her book on the chair's arm and stood to her feet. Instead of walking over, she simply teleported the short distance. He was not sure if it was an act of laziness or a reaffirmation of her power. Either way, it did not change the predicament that he was still under her foot.

She took the envelope and inspected it. "How do I know you have not set one of the wrong seals?" she asked.

"You won't know. I guess you'll just have to trust that my wish to save the world trumps my fear of you kicking my ass."

She raised a brow. "That chain of phrasing doesn't even work."

"You know," he noted. "Having said it out loud, I can see the issue."

He had thought that joke would have gotten some form of laugh out of her, but Lachesis' expression barely twitched. Though they had spent only a few hours together, he found her a confusing woman. Outside of any private area, she carried herself with a dictatorial regalia, a queen descending. Inside, she was relatively normal. She ate small portions and walked with unkempt hair, with a preference for a book and comfortable chair over a throne and adoring subjects.

It begged him the question, "Why?"

She looked at him questioningly. "'Why' what?"

"Destroy the world? That's such a cliche fictional villain goal. And the more I see of you, the less maniacal monster I think you are."

She paused for a moment before walking back to the chair. Sitting down, she slotted the envelope into her book.

"In stories passed down from sentinel to sentinel, we were told that we were the first. The first truly intelligent race. Before the dwarves, the kins, or you humans. As such, the protection of the world was always our charge."

There was a pause and he took a moment to make sure he did not speak out of line. "So now you kill it?"

"Kill it?" She looked almost baffled. "I'm saving it. My species sacrificed their lives to end the First War of Gods. And you would think that something so drastic would be remembered. Honoured even. But here we are two hundred years later, still killing ourselves, the continent, the planet, for what? Resources? Superiority?"

"Not all of us are like that."

"And look how much you've done to help? You had another sentinel on your side, yet you ran away from the fight, chasing after your own goals. You could have brought her to stop me long before I dug out Exodus."

They were not heroes. That's what had been telling people at every corner. Come into Katoki, find a doctor, and get out. That had been their goal. What were three people suppose to do against the tide of a war that had lasted hundreds of years? Yet, when he had times to himself, he often wondered if there weren't more they could do. They weren't ordinary, not by a long shot. They had knowledge and power most people would dream for. And most of those ordinary people were out there, fighting to end the war themselves while they who were experienced with the extraordinary sat on the sidelines.

She paused and looked out the balcony doors towards the night sky, a soft anger settling over her face lit by the candles of the room. "I used to transport people over the Helm. Those escaping war. Those wanting a new life. And what happened? Some used me to sell recipes of weapons to other countries. Siege golems to the dark elves. Espionage gnomes to Devara. And the refugees? Lost to time. Abandoned in a land that they did not recognise nor wanted them."

"So you want to destroy the world with Exodus? To cleanse us of our transgression?"

"You keep saying destroy. But destruction isn't the end. With each war comes reparation. Once I level all the powers there be, I will be the only power left. At least under my watch, I can rebuild society into one coherent civilisation. No more wars."

"And after you die? Sure, you can live for a long time, but how long is a thousand year in eternity?"

"I'll train a successor, of course."

"And your successor? Will they proceed to do as you wish? Who will judge? Will your followers not end up seeking powers themselves?"

She was quiet for a moment standing to her feet. "I owe it to my people to try." She walked to the door and laid a hand on the handle while turning to face him. "Good night, Mister Stalewaver. I'll speak with you again soon. Perhaps you'll come to see my point of view one day."


Author's Note: Hi everyone. Thank you for reading Tearha: Titan War, which will continue to release a new chapter every week on Friday until its completion. If you like what you've read so far, and would like to support my writing, you can buy one of my books at my website. Or you could check out my Patreon to help out for the long run. Of course, just sharing, commenting, and reviewing helps a bunch as well!

Website: adenng . com

Patreon: patreon . com slash aden_ng