Chapter 10

He floated above the world and the breeze didn't even ruffle his cloak. The man ran a hand threw his black, silver-streaked hair and sighed. "Damn you Wulf. You keep on messing in the magic that is for us and us alone! I've tried to tell you the easy way but you just won't listen to me!" He took a deep, shaky breath and looked down on Ioma from where he flew, at least five miles up in the air. "I guess it's time I came down and talked to you." He dropped like a rock to the hard ground below and yet the roaring wind still did not draw near him.

The game had just ended and Jaranna's team had won. Karli and Ricas congratulated her as they tromped back to the bar to celebrate. "Barkeep!" Ricas smiled at the Boy on duty who happened to be Tobi, "a Greggorion Twist, a jaklo and a Corvici Jade!" Tobi nodded and prepared the drinks as the three sat down at the bar.

"A toast!" Karli raised up her glass, "May you never lose a game, Jaranna!"

"Aye!" Ricas laughed and they knocked their glasses together and drank from them. "Laz adds his congrats to yours." A pretzel was picked off a bowl on the bar and it disappeared.

"Thank you Laz." Jaranna bowed to where the pretzel had last been seen.

"H-h-hey Jaranna," came a very timid voice from behind her. She turned around to see a pale, red-haired boy of fourteen looking at her. "M-my name's Jim. I saw y-you out on the court and I'd like to c-con-congratulate you."

"Why thank you Jim. Please, sit down." Jaranna gestured to a barstool.

"Thanks." Jim scrambled up onto the barstool. He was a little guy, only about four foot six.

"What'll it be Jim?" Tobi asked the boy.

"One Jade please." Jim replied. Jim received his drink and told them that he used to be a Robert S'vensons from the United States.

"Why weren't you there on the first day?" Karli queried.

"I just arrived." Jim said with a small smile.

"Really? Then how come you aren't running around screaming?" Ricas asked and then sipped his Greggorion Twist.

"Because I'm a very easily adjusted person." Jim said calmly and then sighed. "But… they're not…"

"Who's 'they'?" asked Jaranna, glancing at Karli quickly. Karli shook her head. It was another conspiracy theorist.

"Bob and Joe."

"Where are they?" Ricas looked around for the two mentioned.

"Uh… you won't believe me and you'll think I'm weird." Jim said and looked down at the ground.

"Awh, come on! I have an invisible friend, Laz." Ricas smiled as Jim's eyes widened when the invisible man picked up the bowl of pretzels.

"Well… okay. I'll let you meet J…" Jim wasn't able to finish his sentence because that's when Han ran in.

His hair was sticking out every which way and his eyes were wide. He looked around frantically. "Where's the Commander? Where's Zenn?" he yelled.

Karli rushed over and gripped him by the shoulders, "Han, Han! Man, what's wrong?"

"I was out hunting with Wulf… I-I… he disappeared. Couldn't find him… looked but no where." Han was speaking in an almost incoherent babble.

"Han, calm down." Zenn stood beside him.

"Okay, I'll try." Han gasped for air and rubbed his temples, "All right. I was out hunting with Wulf. We already had bagged a deer and I had seen another. Wulf was hunting somewhere else so I took aim on the deer but when I was just about to shoot it, a large dreadwulf killed it. Then, the wulf spoke to me."

"What did it say?"

"'Han… I got it before you did… again.'" Han staggered over to the bar and sat down at it. He laid his head down on the cool surface and was quiet.

"Han! Why'd you leave Wulf out there? He might be hurt or something!" Karli yelled and she was backed up by a large majority of the residents, all of them girls.

"Calm down!" Han said, "Wulf can take care of himself." He stood up, "I'm going to my room to get some sleep." He took the bagged deer out of his pocket and handed it to Tobi. "G'day all." Han walked out of the Commons Room without further ado.

"I agree with Han! Wulf is perfectly capable of taking care of himself. Besides, this dreadwulf is no threat to him as they are his creations." Zenn said, "Now, everyone calm down and go back to celebrating or whatever you were doing! Wulf's fine." Zenn sat back down at the bar and ordered a jaklo.

"Now, Jim. What were you saying?" Karli and the other turned back to their short, pale friend.

"You can meet Joe because Bob's a little… off." Jim nodded and closed his light green eyes, taking a deep breath. A warm, yellow glow covered his body and when he opened his eyes again, they were still green but his hair was now black. "Hello, I'm Joe, Jim's other personality."

Jaranna, Ricas and Karli all stared at Joe. Joe scratched his tan arms. "Why are you looking at me like that? What did I do this time?"

"Well… It's not every day that you see someone turn into someone else." Karli said with a shaky laugh.

"Oh, yeah. I forgot you aren't used to it. Well, I assure you that I won't bite." Joe smiled. They all laughed at that remark, relaxed and soon had come to terms with the fact that Jim was three people.

"And I believe that you would be able to destroy the Wekk through that man." Mai finished with a grin. She was kneeling in front of a throne in a large room in the center of a castle. On either side of her, also kneeling, were the two people that had left the Wekk with her.

The Pretender looked at her through half-lidded eyes. He smoothed out a few wrinkles in his robes. "Interesting. Though I do find it hard to believe that they thought you would just do nothing for the half of a month that you were banned." The Pretender had a way of talking that only his lips would move and his jaw would remain stationary. He also managed to let no emotion whatsoever enter his monotonous speech.

"They are a bunch of weaklings with 'pure hearts' that believe everyone deserves a second chance and no one has the heart to turn against those they have known for a long time." Mai sneered as she stood up.

"These two. Who are they?" he gestured at the two kneeling beside her.

"They are my friends, my lord. My closest friends."

"You two, stand." They obeyed him but kept their eye fixed on the floor. "Look at me." Obediently, they looked into his eyes. "Who are you loyal to?" he said to the three former residents.

"Mai," answered the first man.

"Mai," the woman said.

"Only you, my lord," Mai said. The Pretender shot a blast of light energy at Mai's two lackeys, killing them on the spot. Mai's jaw dropped and then she exploded into a fit of rage. "Why the hell did you do that? If I'm loyal to you and they were loyal to me then that made them loyal to you!"

"I need all my subjects to be directly loyal to me," he said coldly. He snapped his fingers and one of his servants ran quickly to his side. "Abide by my commands and you shall move through the ranks quickly."

"Aye, sir. I am loyal to you, and you alone." Mai said, bowing.

"Boy, bring Captain Mai to the General and inform him of her new position." He watched Mai leave and then relaxed in his throne. He stared up at the ceiling and sent out his spirit, looking for the man. "Ah, good. He is alone. I can talk to him easier that way." The Pretender said to himself and prepared to communicate with the man.

Karli felt someone tap on her shoulder. She paused in her conversation with Joe to turn to see who it was. A lady stood there. She was dressed in flowing robes that were covered with bird feathers. Karli blinked twice before she asked, "May I help you?"

"Yes. Are you Karli?" the lady's voice was low and had the tone of a healer's.

"Yes I am."

"I must speak with you and your friend Jaranna in private." The lady turned around and glided away.

Karli excused herself and tugged on Jaranna's sleeve to get her attention. "Come on." She jerked her head the way the lady had gone and trotted of to find her. Jaranna was close behind her and they found the lady waiting in the corridor where Rodent 'hung' out.

 "All right, what is it?" Jaranna asked impatiently.

"I come bearing you both bad tidings. I am Millennia, the shape-shifter and the seer." Millennia bowed slightly to them both, "Jaranna, there are deaths in your close future. I am sorry. I wish I could see pleasant things but that is not my gift." Millennia turned to Karli, "Karli, the one you love will betray you."

Karli gasped, "But I don't love anyone! I just have a major crush!"

"I'm sorry. It's not more defined then that. Maybe it means the one you will love. Again, I am sorry." Millennia bowed again and left, leaving Jaranna and Karli staring at each other.

"But… but… Who?" Jaranna howled.

"Yes! Who?" Karli echoed. They put their arms around each other's shoulders and staggered over to the bar to get drunk. Very drunk.

Life sighed from where he stood in the shadows, "Death. Why do you have to claim them?"

"I'm sorry, friend. You know the Fates are the ones who decide. I just collect the souls." Death said and sighed also. "I don't want to hurt her. You know that. She's a friend. One of the only ones I have. She's even more of a friend to you."

Wulf trotted along, enjoying the sun streaming through the leaves of the trees. He grinned wolfishly. He hadn't felt this good in ages. He smelled the air with his keen nose and felt even better.

Suddenly, the sun above him flashed out for a few moments. Wulf looked around. He felt a presence. A strong presence.

"Wulf, I've warned you. I've warned you so many times it's not even funny anymore. And now, you'll have to pay," came a voice from behind him.

Wulf whirled around to face his opponent and stopped. "It's you! But… you're a god!"

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Jeril: *is hidden in a secret hole in the ground* Muwhahaha!!!! Cliff hanger!!!! Who's is it talking to Wulf? *sniffle* Who's gonna die? I don't even know! But I do know who's gonna betray them! What makes me so damn depressing! *sigh*

Bob: JERIL! I AM NOT A LITTLE 'OFF'! *storming around looking for Jeril*

Jim: Awh, shut up Bob! *is hidden with Jer* At least we got parts in the story. Sorry about giving Jeril the ideas for the prophecies, guys. My fault…

Jeril: Grrrrrs… Now I'm going to go drink to Coke to cheer me up. *sniffle*