I have nothing, no one. It is all gone. My home, my love, dare I say my sanity? The man thought as he trudged through snow deep enough to swallow him to his thighs. I have wandered this continent for nearly a century trying to figure out so much. My home has been destroyed by a man called Graph. I believe that I know from somewhere. Roni and Rene died long agoÖI shouldíve joined them. The only thing that has really kept me going is my knowledge on nanotechnology, and the nanomachines in my body. Even that seems to be failing me as well. Have I truly been so foolish to think that I would be able to create god? Does such a being even exist? And if so where was he when Sophia sacrificed herself? I have asked that question so many times. If I succeed, will he do as I say? He clenched his fists as tears of frustration ran down his cheeks. I know nothing of the true nature of a supreme being.
The man stumbled and fell on his hands and knees. He could feel the snow and ice seep into his clothing and began to think of how easy it would be for him to just lay there and let the snow cover him. He heaved a shivering sigh and sprawled out in the snow as if it were a bed filled with the down of the softest animals. As the cold that chilled him to his core began to bring about the warmth of death, his eyelids drooped slightly then widened wearily when he caught a glimpse of a figure rushing toward him. Just let me die. He thought as the wind blew his now fading blue hair into his eyes. He closed his eyes and heard the person come closer. Soft, gentle hands half carried and half-dragged him to what he hoped was his grave. I have nothing to live for. He could hear a door being opened and a blast of heat engulfed his cold body sending an ache that seemed to effect every nerve in his being. He was lying on something now and the room buzzed with a cacophony of incoherence. The huge figure looming above him began to pour what felt like acid down his raw throat. He tired to fight the person off as best as he could, but his arms felt as though someone had tied them to the bed and the only sounds he could muster were more incoherent than the noise in the room. He struggled a moment longer then lay still as everything went back to normal. Before he fell asleep, he saw a woman sitting near him with white blond hair in a single braid draped over her shoulder. His attempt to speak failed as his tongue felt four sizes too large. Who is she? He thought as he drifted into unconsciousness.
* * * * * *
"You know you heal remarkably fast sir," the woman said putting a steaming cup of tea in front of the man.
Krelian looked at her, blinked, and turned his attention to his tea wondering if she had put something in it. What am I thinking? He mused as the tea leaves in the bottom shifted around. If she wants to kill me, it will not matter. My studies are at a stand still for there is nothing here save for this woman and myself.
"Not much of a talker I see," she added. "Will you at least tell me your name?"
Krelian sipped the tea and grimaced slightly as the hot liquid scalded his insides. How he managed to keep a neutral expression on his face was beyond his understanding. He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. Something feels odd. He thought, then realized in panic that his circlet was gone. He fixed the woman with a glare so malicious that she gave a tiny gasp and choked on her tea.
"Where is it?" he asked trying to ignore the frog-like sound of his voice and the pain in his throat.
"What?" the woman coughed. Her pale eyebrows knitted together and she shrugged her shoulders.
"Sophia gave that to me as a gift when she and Lacan first came to live with me! Where is it!"
The woman shook her head. "I apologize," she said as she as handed the circlet to Krelian. "I found it in the snow this morning and figured it belonged to you."
Krelian glared at her, still not sure whether to thank her or be angry. Then, without meaning to, he noticed that her eyes were a strange, golden color and her hairstyle reminded him of the way Sophia wore her hair when she was in her teens.
"Thank you," he said with a grimace as his throat began to hurt again.
The woman smiled. "My name is Kahrina Ramsus. Iíd ask you who you are, but I can tell by your facial expressions that it hurts to talk."
Krelianís eyebrows raised a fraction when he noticed that her appearance and accent looked and sounded vaguely familiar. I see nothing much has changed since then. It has been a century and Solaris is still sending spies to the surface. What could they possibly want from me?
"Someone came here for you while you were ill," Kahrina said.
"Did they state their reason?"
"No. She just told me to stick to what I could comprehend; and that I was keeping you from reaching your full potential or something like that. Strange woman."
"Indeed," Krelian answered. Who could that be? I believe I need to find somewhere else to go. This situation is obviously not going to be anything beneficial for me.
"So who are you? She didnít mention your name. She only said that you know more about the past and the key to life than you know yourself," she shook her head. "She spoke in riddles mostly. Then she told me that my eyes were beautiful and I mustíve fallen fell asleep because I woke up near the doorway. I apologize for anything that mightíve happened over that."
"Where are you from?"
Kahrina looked a bit surprised at the question. "WellÖitís quite far from here. There arenít too many people who know about it."
"Where are you from?" Krelian repeated.
She sighed. "You already know donít you?"
"Listen, I was sent here to find you and then that woman came and started speaking to me in these weird riddles and then she saw you and said that she needed you in Solaris."
"And who is she? You?"
"Nóno!" Kahrina cried. "I came here to spy at first, but I wanted to leave Solaris anyway. That place isÖhorrible. I also came here expecting peace only to find that most of this continent has been destroyed by war. I believe the person responsible for the destruction is Graph. Does that name sound familiar?"
Krelian nodded. "Yes. Graph, the seeker of power, the one responsible for awakening the four pillars of destruction: Marlute, Harlute, Metatron, and Sundel. He managed to wipe out my birthplace, Nimrod, and many more places. How can he be stopped?"
Kahrina shook her head. "How could I know? I do know that Iíll have to keep that woman from taking you with her. Thereís something very disturbing about her that gets to me."
"Does she have a name?" Krelian asked careful not to let eagerness creep into his voice. Anything that would teach him something new was interesting to him. He did not care how disturbing she was.
"Oh I have no idea. Her hair and eyes were indigo. Iíve never seen anyone so beautifulÖor so odd."
Krelian was getting a bit annoyed with the womanís continuing description of how strange, odd, and weird the woman was. She would use a different word, but they all meant the same thing. It was not helping him form a decent mental picture of the woman who wanted to see him. When will she return? He wondered. And will I be well enough to receive her?
"You look tired," Kahrina said. "Why donít you go back to bed?"
Krelian, unusually obeident, got up and let the woman lead him back to the guestroom. As he drifted off to sleep, he saw the woman Kahrina spoke of appear in the mirror.
* * * * * *
"Did you really think you could protect him?" asked an echoing voice.
Kahrina dropped the glass she was washing and whirled around to see the indigo-haired woman standing behind her with a sly smile on her face. "Do you really think that Iíll let you have him?"
"Oh you will," the woman said. "You cannot disobey the Mother."
"Mother? What are you talking about?"
"Where is he Kahrina?"
Kahrina grabbed a large knife from the dishwater. "You canít take him with you!"
"NO!" Kahrina charged at the woman and they struggled for a moment before she was able to overpower the dark-haired woman. This seems too easy. Kahrina thought as the woman grabbed the hand wielding the knife and turned it toward her. She shrieked as it cut into her right arm and dropped the weapon.
"Where is he!"
Kahrina put her hand over the wound and shook her head. "I wonít tell you."
The woman kicked the knife over to her. "Tell me or die."
Staring from the woman to the knife, Kahrina put a hand to her head and laughed. "How can you kill me if you just gave this to me?" She grabbed the knife and ran toward the woman again. Just as she drove the knife into her chest, she realized that the woman had not made any move to defend herself. Kahrina stepped away in horror as the appearance of the corpse changed to one terribly familiar. "NoÖ," Kahrina whispered dropping to her knees next to the corpse. "This isnít happening. How could she have changed into her? Iíve murdered my best friend." Suddenly Kahrina felt her blood run cold and the corpse before her had little meaning. She could feel her entire body tingling and looked to the heavens. I know all and see all. She thought as she walked to the room where Krelian slept. And now I have my wish.
* * * * * *
Krelian woke up to a soft voice calling his name. Half expecting to see Kahrina, he planned to open one eye then go back to sleep. When he did open his eyes though, he saw Kahrina, but she looked totally different. Her indigo eyes bored into his pale blue ones making him feel an emotion he dealt with poorly and did not experience often. Fear. She smiled and tucked strands of her indigo hair behind her ears.
"Iíve found you," she whispered.
"Kahrina?" he asked.
"Donít be afraid. I have something for you."
Krelianís eyes widened as she held up a test tube. "Nanomachines?" he asked taking it from her.
"The Ministry seeks your knowledge. You are their only hope. As we speak, they are dying from age. They will tell you everything you need to know. Come with me Krelian. Help them and they will help you. All you have to do is follow me."
As if he were in a trance, Krelian followed the woman through the house and outside.
"Hold on to me," she said.
Krelian did as he was told and felt himself slipping into unconsciousness. Now I will have the knowledge I so desire. He thought. Darkness followed.