Everywhere, and yet nowhere. Wherever the shadows lurked, so too could the Vespers. Even in the brightest of suns, three in the sky of Tora Darah, were not enough to stop the darkness. In every step, a shadow followed, watching… waiting for the queen to return.
Wait for the queen.
But without her blood, without form, all the Vespers could do was watch.
So we did.
Beyond the Komai Mountain, named for gleaming clearly from all directions across the land, a tear through the weakened wall of the locked plane of Tora Darah shot through the sky like shooting stars bursting in eight directions in a land without constellations. A rainbow of colors: green, violet, red, orange, yellow, even black light and shades of blue.
The black star diverged from it’s route across the land, colliding with one of twilight blue, disappearing into the darkness. We watched as the six remaining stars flickered and faded across the land.
A yellow chrysalis burst open after landing, the only one of the remaining six to stir. His eyes were midnight, and his hair the color of the moon’s light. That face had been absent from Tora Darah for centuries.
Lathar wore the armor of a guardian, the uniform hadn’t changed much from when they used to work for the Divine Council, when our kind were stripped of our forms. Left to wander the darkness, phantoms of what we once were, only the royal blood line gave us sanctuary, kept us from fading.
Without them we die.
Waiting for so long, few of us remained.
So hungry, so cold.
We feel our end.
Save the Vespers, we chanted.
But he did not hear us as he scanned the terrain. Lathar took a deep breath, and the plants around him withered. Curling in on themselves, and drying until they were nothing more than ash and dust, he consumed a circle of energy around him. The ground marred like a controlled fire, black orbs hovered by his side waiting for his command. We could sense his frustration as he groaned, his fists clenched tightly.
He knew we were here, but we had no form for him to lash at. No form for him to lose himself to.
Without the blood we were nothing, and everything, but he didn’t have what we needed. Though it was comforting to know we were noticed, even though not heard.
So, we followed, reveling in the darkness that lived within him. Familiar, like he knew us. The orbs were warm with his essence, and he didn’t seem to mind that we stayed.
“You again,” he growled to us.
We remembered all the times he came here before, and every time he’d help us find our queen. The only one we couldn’t track through the darkness.
We settled over Lathar feeding thoughts to stay focused. He traveled through the grassy plains, and the desserts between the trinity suns and moons. Stationary in the sky, he knew heading towards the moons would bring him to the city. Neither the suns or the moons have moved since the temples sealed themselves off from the realms. With his speed it took only a day to make it to Komai Mountain.
We whispered to him as he traveled, stories of the times he had forgotten, though he could not hear us Lathar’s eyes returned to a bright blueish-violet pacified by the hum of the night descending on the lands the closer he arrived to what was once his home at the top of the cliff side. Though his temper was cooled, he was far from calm thinking about all the places the other advocates could have showed up. None of them good. And one advocate in particular couldn’t stop invading his mind.
He’d done everything in his control to not care, to keep his distance, but here he was in the last place he ever wanted to return. All because he didn’t want to take the chance that he’d never see her again. He’d lost too much already. Not having her be his, and her being gone were two very different things. He didn’t remember it, but he’d given her his mark, the serpent’s kiss, and he couldn’t let her go completely.
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