Chapter 5 – The Fire and the Air
A golden light swelled around Syr, Esaax, and the xatu. When it faded, the xatu bowed and bade them farewell, saying that he knew when to return for them. And with that, he teleported away, leaving Esaax and Syr alone and somewhat confused.
Where the bird brought them was not where either had expected to go. They were in a very long and narrow alleyway. Two tall, rather plain buildings loomed up on either side, and a huge cement wall created a dead end. The structures cast dreary, gray shadows into the alley that made it seem later in the day than it actually was.
“Look at this place,” Esaax said. “This could be any city… there’s no telling where we are.” He kicked at an old, dented soda can. “You know… I think it’s a little strange that Faurur had us brought to meet her here when she could have had that xatu bring her to us.”
“I’m not surprised she chose to do things this way, actually,” Syr said, then shook his head as if trying to clear something out of it. “Poison-folk don’t tolerate being exposed to psychic energy very well. I know I didn’t particularly enjoy the trip, but I don’t think we really went very far. Otherwise, I’d really
be feeling it. Faurur, however, doesn’t live anywhere near my house. It wouldn’t have been good for her to teleport that whole distance,” Syr explained.
“Right, of course… That makes sense.”
Syr nodded. “So where is she?”
“She’s here. I can totally feel it.”
“Oh, I know. I’m aware of her, too; she’s got to be nearby,” Syr said. “I’ll just keep looking over here, and you can—” He fell silent.
“Esaax, come here,” the arbok said softly.
Esaax heeded the arbok, feeling an awful, compelling sort of dread. He had a sickening suspicion about what he was about to see. What did he find?
he wondered. Dear Night… she’s not
dead, is she?
It turned out that Faurur wasn’t dead, but her current state suggested that that might not be the case for much longer. She was reduced to lying deflated on the asphalt, pale and shapeless.
Esaax leaned forward as close to her as he could, but he couldn’t have reached eye level with her at this point without melting into the earth. Tears stung his eyes as they registered the sight before him. He could barely breathe, feeling as though he could just cave in on himself at any moment, just as she had done.
had she? What had happened to her? Esaax had only seen Faurur this way once before: one time (out of countless many), when their meowth-head balloon had been shot down by that particular pikachu, she had landed very ungracefully upon the rocks below. Her mantle had torn, leaving her deflated and unable to get up off of the ground until she was given the necessary medical attention.
Esaax could see no sign of a breach this time, but still… “What did this to you?” he asked hoarsely.
“Nothing,” Faurur replied, her twin voices sounding very weak. “Nothing but the seasons. One hundred and thirteen seasons… too many…”
“What? Oh no, that’s right…” Esaax said as he remembered. It was a statistic that Faurur had mentioned to him while they had been waiting for their egg to hatch. About one hundred seasons, or twenty-five years, was generally as long as any weezing could expect to live. Most didn’t make it anywhere near that far, and yet Faurur had managed to surpass that mark.
Thus, Faurur was very, very
old. Esaax explained these details to Syr while Faurur remained silently gathering her strength for more crucial words. The two gazed upon her with immense sorrow as the apparent truth sunk in fully: she had not called them there to help her but rather to say goodbye.
“Listen,” Faurur spoke up then. “I came here to warn you. Beware the strangers from the sky!”
“From the sky…” Syr’s mind, seeming reluctant to process this situation further, didn’t know what to do with Faurur’s unexpected warning at first. “…Do you mean the sky-lights? I thought those were your gods,” Syr said.
Faurur emitted a sound of loathing, a deep groan that was alarmingly loud given her condition. “Gods?” she scoffed. “Deranics aren’t gods. Worms
, maybe. But not
gods. They tricked us. They promised us happiness. But they brought only slavery. My whole colony—my family
, all of them, never to be free again. And after we fought so hard
for them!” She stared up at Syr with anguish in all four of her eyes.
“I know,” the arbok said, his voice constrained. “It’s okay. Your people didn’t really mean to drive mine away, did they?”
“No. The deranics controlled us with their lies
. But listen, they won’t stop with us. More will come and spread their worm-lies through all lands. They’ll seem so nice at first, but don’t trust them
—that’s how they started with us. Then they said, ‘Obey us or die.’ And someday they’ll say this to everyone if they can.”
Faurur lowered her voices even more then, as if afraid of someone overhearing. “This is very important. Pay attention and never forget: Their plan to control has already begun. Already something huge has been done to the world by them. I know because I heard it from them myself. They think we’re too stupid to remember what they say… Anyway, they call it…”
She had to stop to catch her breath, but she was also working through a minor frustration. Finally, she forced herself to continue. “They call it ‘Seterhath Zulo-Denvenda
’.” And then she literally spat. “Filthy worm-language! We all know some of their words, but these…”
Faurur winced, revealing her pain for the first time. “I have no time,” she said, half-panting. “You must figure it out. Don’t forget: beware the deranics. And don’t forget ‘Seterhath Zulo-Denvenda
’. Figure it out and warn the world, please!”
“We will. Don’t worry,” Syr said. Esaax nodded in agreement.
Faurur smiled at them. But then she cried out in agony.
Esaax cringed at the horrid noise—and just as it erupted from the dying weezing, a shard of burning pain sliced deep into his chest. In that moment, suspicions that he’d had about himself for a long time grew stronger than ever before.
“Faurur… I think I can help you,” he said then, his voice sounding very fragile. He leaned forward and laid his hand upon her as he spoke—just as he had done once before, with someone else…
Her body was utterly still save for the vague fluttering of her mantle as she breathed. Esaax, however, was shaking so hard that he could barely stand as he struggled to accomplish what he was still only partially certain that he could actually do. Even as the first hints of a multicolored aura began to blink into existence around him, he feared that his efforts would prove to be in vain. Still, he kept trying, feeling that he owed her greatly, and for reasons beyond her having been a friend and a lover to him.
“I’m so sorry,” he managed in barely more than a whisper.
Faurur no longer howled or screamed. She seemed to have moved beyond pain. She only made a small, puzzled noise at Esaax, seeming not to understand what he was saying.
“For running away,” Esaax elaborated. “For abandoning you all those years ago. First… first, Drasigon left you, and then I…”
Faurur actually gave a little chuckle of surprise. “Is that all? It’s fine! Don’t cry, I’m not angry at you. You just didn’t understand. Drasigon never left
. She just changed into the air. You see? You just didn’t understand then, so you ran away. But now maybe you do
She must be delirious…
Esaax thought. “I still shouldn’t have just taken off on you like that.”
,” Faurur repeated. “Why do you fret? You’re here now, right? Now is all that matters. Drasigon is here, too, in the air. Can’t you feel her?”
that’s what she’s saying.
Esaax kept his hand upon Faurur despite how unnervingly warm she suddenly became. “I was always told that we become part of the earth after… you know.”
“Maybe,” Faurur said softly. “All I know is the fire and the air…”
And then, as if on cue, flames blossomed from within her. She gazed up at Esaax and Syr, her expression now showing nothing but pure and serene adoration even as the fire raged. Within mere seconds, the flames had consumed her completely.
The fire had caused Esaax to involuntarily pull his hand away, but how close that hand had come to being burned could not have been further from his mind. He had not had time to completely form the psychic link by which he had hoped to help Faurur. A sense of having failed her grew within him, and he felt as though it were hollowing him out inside.
As Esaax watched Faurur’s ashes and embers float away, he felt Syr gently lay his tail-tip upon his shoulder.
“Esaax… I think there’s someplace you really need to be,” the arbok said quietly.
Then, just as the xatu had said would happen, the golden light of teleportation bloomed once again to bring them home.
Next chapter: Jen thinks he knows just the thing to ease Esaax’s grief in the wake of Faurur’s passing—and he is quite
insistent that Esaax gives it a try. See you then!
- Sike Saner