CHAPTER 6: MISSING HEART
The Master of Past and Present was resting. His mind wandered as his left hand skidded thoughtfully over an orb. As he touched that, he could follow every living being’s movements, thoughts, times, doings… everything.
He recalled when he had created the MareKats centuries ago. He had gained his powers by taking the place of Kilira, the Goddess of time. By taking her place, he had also gotten several new abilities he did not think possible. But, the most powerful and dangerous ones had been the gifts to create and destroy……
“What a fool I was when I created the MareKats…. young and irresponsible….” the mage sighed and rested his head on his chin. “So many things have happened… another page turns in the Great Book….” he gazed into the orb, seeing an image of a golden-furred kitten and the Apocalypse knight of Death, Nexus…..
“And a parted soul will be in need of being joined once more….”
“And, all you do is fire off riddles and junk!!” a familiar voice snarled, cutting into the Master of Past and Present’s thoughts.
Jerking up from his throne, the mage saw his own creation, Syphon, his face split with a enormous grin. Behind him was a dark silhouette he knew all too well…
“Hei Ying. You have returned…” he stated calmly, his voice expressionless and his blood-red eyes glowing in alert.
The dark goddess smirked, her wings folded around her shoulders like a cape.
“Ahh, so you have not forgotten me. Good!” she sneered.
Before the mage could react, Syphon pounced and grabbed him, flinging him into the ground. The collision with the ground knocked all the air out of him, and he let out a cry of pain as Syphon smashed his elbow into the mage’s ribcage. How come he could feel pain!!?? He was a God, he couldn’t…
“You are no God, mage!” Hei Ying stated icily and smirked as she held up a orb. “This look familiar?”
The ancient mage’s eyes widened. “The Orb of J’kahral!!” he whispered hoarsely. “It contains my soul… my life-source…”
“And, your death…” Syphon hissed coldly.
Hei Ying grinned evilly, her eyes showing no mercy.
“I have not forgotten what you did to my sister Kilira. I am still amazed how Father Time and Mother Universe could allow you in our circle for your crime. But, nonetheless…. You shall not be in my way anymore!!”
The orb began to glow and flash in wild rainbow colors, the surface cracking into web-thin lines until….
Pain rushed through the mage’s body as his powers where shattered. His mouth opened as if to scream though no sound emerged. His fur began to turn snow white and fell off his body in large bits until there was only his skin left on his body, tightening over his bones like old papyrus….it gave dry snapping noises as it tore apart, revealing the shiny white bones, who quickly turned gray, then black and soon pulverized, vanishing in the cold winds blowing around the two immortal beings…
The Master of The Past And Present was dead.
“We have completed what we came for,” Hei Ying said with a smirk. “Come, Syphon. We have much more to do.”
Syphon cackled as he followed his mistress.
The cape that the ancient mage had worn was lifted by an unseen wind and soon vanished in the surrounding fog…..
Kathy looked on worried as the doctor was looking at David, shining into his eyes with a small light, checking his ears, his tongue and throat and his heartbeat. The kitten only sat still, ears drooped and his eyes tiredly staring at the floor. He politely answered the doctor’s questions about how he had eaten, slept, if he had been hurting or if someone had hurt him….
“What is wrong with him, doctor?” Kathy asked quietly when David had gone out to the bathroom so the doctor could get a urine-test.
The black-furred kat sighed and rubbed his eyes, then looked on her through his glasses.
“I am not sure what is wrong with him, Mrs. Purvis. But, it could seem as if… he is suffering from a sort of melancholy…. which seems to be taking away his lifesource like a sort of cancer… It’s not cancer, I can assure you that…. but it “eats” off his lifesource, and… it might end with him needing treatment by professional people… I am sorry…. Just continue to give him the pills as I instructed. Let him sleep and rest. If something happens, you know my number…”
Kathy looked thoughtfully ahead as she and David were heading home. The kitten sat quietly in his seat, staring blankly ahead and not saying a word. Kathy finally decided on something she had thought about for a long time….
“David…. what is wrong with you?” she said quietly.
The kitten raised his head and looked on her, his green eyes having a dozy empty look in them. Kathy frowned with worry….
“You don’t eat much… you only sleep more and more…” she said in almost a whisper. “And, you’ve become so thin….”
“I’ve lost something, mommy….” David said quietly in an odd sad voice, looking down on his hands again.
David nodded. Slowly, he placed a hand on his chest, staring vaguely ahead.
“It’s something in here. Like I’ve lost a bit… of my heart….” he whispered.
Kathy frowned, and asked: “Your heart? What do you mean sweetheart?”
“I don’t know… but sometimes..it hurts…” David whispered in a hoarse voice as if about to cry. “It hurts, mommy….. It hurts badly!!” he suddenly whimpered, hugging himself tightly, squinting his eyes shut.
Kathy then did what a mother does best. She pulled off to the side of the road, stopped the car and got out and went over to the passenger’s side, opened the door and hugged David close, softly stroking the back of his head as he cried and cried and cried.
“It hurts, mommy…it huu-uu-uuuurts!!” he whimpered, hugging her tightly.
Kathy felt tears come to her eyes as she listened and directly felt her son’s inner turmoil and hugged him tightly.
“I know baby… I know it hurts… Shhhh….. Everything is going to be just fine…..”
David looked at her, his cheek-fur matted by his tears. “No mommy, it won’t be just fine….if…if I don’t get back..wh..what I lost….I..I….”
Kathy hugged him tight. “We will get back what you lost…somehow… I promise, David… I promise….”
*MEANWHILE, IN ANOTHER WORLD……*
The screams from the wounded and dying rang through the air like grimly composed music, accompanied by the screeches of the vultures and other creatures that devour the body of the dead. In the middle of the battlefield, on top of a hill standing next to his black Hell-horse Xerxes, stood Nexus in his dark glory. A black cape was swept around his shoulders being lifted by a gently blowing wind that flew across the battle-field, bringing a stench of rotten meat from undead soldiers and bodies that had lied dead on the battle-field for ages. The hood of the cape was pulled down over his face so you could just see the cold glow of his golden eyes. One hand clutched the cape around him to seal his body from the cold air, the other grabbing his scythe resting against his shoulder, as the Deathknight looked over the battlefield, his eyes narrowed…. thinking…. searching….
Finding what he sought, he began climbing down the hill, calmly stepping on or over the dead and dying bodies spread around on what was once a beautiful golden field…. The ground would never bring anything or anyone more corn for bread centuries into the future.
Nexus stopped next to the body of a human man, whose body was pierced through by the spear of an ogre. The ogre itself lay a few miles from its victim, its head bitten off by a dragon just before the dark armies had retreated or surrendered. The human had been the leader of the armies of the light, their advisor, helper, and king. The human managed to open his eyes, looking up weakly at Nexus who calmly stood and looked at him.
“I….it’s you….” the human whispered hoarsely, lifting an iron-gloved hand and pointing at him. “You…. the black knight…. keeper of souls…. bringer of death…..”
Nexus only nodded once. “You have fought bravely in this battle. But, I am only to bring an end to your suffering. Not to bring you to paradise….”
“Then who is…?” the king wanted to know, but Nexus brought him to silence with a shake of his head.
“I am not to tell you or to know myself. I am but a servant of my goddess, and that is enough. Now rest… you have fought long enough. Leave the cocoon that is your body….”
Gently, the Death-knight bent over and placed his hand over the king’s eyes, closing them forever. He then took his hand and helped the spirit to stand. Then, he turned and left. A sound of bells reached his ears, and he knew the king was on his way to the right place…..
Pain jerked through his body, spreading from his chest and out to every fiber of his body, causing him to tumble over, tripping over the body of a goblin and landing on his stomach on the dead ground. There he lay for several minutes, gasping and wheezing. Coughing, he managed to stand up, leaning against his scythe as if it was a staff to support him. Wiping his mouth with one hand, he saw he had coughed up green blood.
“That is the fifth time this has happened…” he hissed to himself. “What is happening to me??!!”
Slowly, he managed to stand up straight and made his way to Xerxes who came walking over to him, shaking his large head with a fume. Slowly and painfully, Nexus crawled up on the Hell-horse’s back, then was soon making his way back to where he had come from. To the world of Kats.
The Swamp creature lay with its brothers in the murky waters of the swamp, all awaiting orders from their goddess and creator. Its eyes were closed like they were when it was asleep. Then, a sudden singing tone rang through the air. It was like a mixture of pain, pleasure and death, all mixed into one long tone that would have driven a mortal kat insane. But, to the beasts, it was a sweet lullaby, soon lulling them all into a rest that would last for another million years. Not even Hei Ying would be able to awaken them now. On top of a hill, two figures where standing. One being a little taller than the other, but the age was a great difference between them.
“There, they’re all asleep again,” the kitten said, putting down the flute he had been playing on. Due to him being half Marekat, the tones of the flute had not affected him. The Pastmaster nodded, contented, and looked at the field of enormous Swamp-beasts.
“Very well done, Nicky. Now. For the next step….” Nicky stepped back a little as the sorcerer took out his watch and began to chant. The kitten had heard the Pastmaster chant spells many a time since he was a tiny baby, but this one was new to him. He had become a sort of apprentice to the ancient sorcerer because of the favor he had done years ago for Nicky’s parents.
As the Pastmaster chanted, a faint purple-ish glow surrounded the many sleeping Swamp creatures. The scales that covered them slow, very slowly turning into solid rock. Nicky watched, fascinated, as the Pastmaster was now slowly turning the Swamp creatures into nothing but large enormous boulders, the weight of the massive colossus pulling them down into the wet soil. By the time the Pastmaster had finished his spell, each of what had once been a Swamp creature was now nothing but solid rocks and boulders, spread out in the entire field.
“Yay, we stopped the swamp creatures!!!” the kitten cheered, jumping happily on the spot.
The ancient sorcerer smirked, yet he had a dark expression on his skeleton features.
“We may have stopped a few of her Dark Majesty’s servants, but we have not won the war, child,” he said darkly. “Come. We still have much to do.”
Nicky nodded and followed the Pastmaster as he opened a portal that would lead them both to the Pastmaster’s tower.
Somewhere far away from the city, Nexus was resting, his back against a tree, both of his hands having a solid grip around the deathly looking scythe he kept for a weapon. His horse Xerxes was calmly eating leaves from a bush, working as a guard-dog for his master. Should he be disturbed, Xerxes would warn his master.
But, something else was on the snakekat’s mind other than keeping an eye out for danger. His mind was showing him memories of different things that had happened during his training as he was the Grim Reaper’s apprentice.
In the beginning, everything had been extremely difficult. Something had been wrong… The Grim Reaper had told him it was because of the goodness of his heart, that Nexus (who back then in a way still had been David Purvis) was unable to become a true Death-knight. Nexus’ teacher had lectured to him about how one was not suppose to feel soft about death. Granted, death was a natural part of life, but when you are suppose to bring the dead one’s soul to either Heaven or Hell, you couldn’t afford to become soft and irresponsible, and thereby giving the dying one some more time to live in. There HAD been rare cases where one or two Reapers had been soft and had spared victims from horrible car-accidents, crashes, overdose with drugs…but only for a short amount of time. Sooner or later, there was no hope for the person whose soul was to go to the Pearly Gates or the Fires of Sin.
And thus, David Purvis had to go under the N’mhraa ceremony. Every living being, from the tiniest sandcorn to the largest oak-tree had two sides of themselves, a good and an evil one. Enchanted into a magical sleep, David was placed on a stone-altar, the Grim Reaper watching over him as one of the many incubi-demons performed the ceremony with the Shadow-Knife.
The Shadow-Knife was known to be one of the greatest and most powerful magic objects you could find anywhere in every known or unknown universe. Kings and emperors had battled to win its power, Gods and Godesses had destroyed worlds in order to have it in safe keeping, and demons and creatures of Hell had laughed in glee whenever the Shadow-Knife was brought to their sharp claws. Indeed, it was a powerful weapon in the right hands….
When Nexus had woken up, he had been on the same altar, still in his mutated form…. but he had changed. He felt stronger… pulsating of a inner power…. of evil. Sitting up, he saw a demon servant with a kitten in its arms. A golden-furred, black haired kitten. The good side of him… the part that was David.
“Perhaps that isssss what is wrong with me…” the reptilian Death-knight thought as he opened his eyes slightly. “Part of me…. my good part…. is misssssing…. that isss why I have not been too well lately…”
He stood up and called for Xerxes that trotted over to him, awaiting for his master to get up in the saddle. As Nexus swung up in the saddle, he mentally sent Xerxes an image of their destination. The Library of Ch’thulthru. The scrolls in that particular library would tell him what he needed to know….
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