Where there's a Weewoo, there's a way Circulation: 177,714,884 Issue: 360 | 19th day of Gathering, Y10
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The Fate of the Lost City of Geraptiku: Part Four


by rest_in_boredom

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Geraptiku’s tomb was now silent. The chamber as Nevada last remembered it changed before November’s eyes. The glass-like surface of the pods roughened and corroded, the paint on the wall paled, and bits were falling off, merging with the growing amounts of dust on the ground. The bamboo furniture started rotting, and broke apart. Eventually, the room was the same as it was the first time November entered it.

     For the first time since he spoke to Nevada in person, he felt like he was present again. During the time she told the story of the fall of her city he felt like he was just a spectator, who didn’t actually exist in that place. Now he had his body back, and stood at the exact same place where he was encased in darkness just before...

     How long has it been?

     He couldn’t tell exactly. He had lost all track of time since Nevada brought him into that telepathic environment.

     “You don’t have any idea how long it has been either, do you?” Nevada asked, appearing next to him.

     “It’s so hard to tell,” he answered. “I heard stories about your city as a child, but nobody knew in what period this all happened.”

     Nevada sat down on a crumbling chair.

     “So it could be fifty, a hundred years, or even more. It’s just unreal,” she said. She was terrified by the sheer gravity of the time span, but she soon lightened up.

     “But things are about to get better. Now you know of our fate, will you help me and the citizens escape?” she asked November.

     November did have some doubts, but after the things Nevada showed him, just walking away was really no option.

     “Of course I will! We’ve come this far; I can’t give up on you now. Just tell me how to undo whatever spell you cast.”

     “How to break the spell,” Nevada said, sinking in thought. “Okay, for this, we need a magical item and a chant. The flute is encased with me, so that won’t work. Do you have anything magical of some sort? A wand, a staff or an artifact, anything like that?”

     November thought about the magical items he had seen himself in his lifetime. Of course, there was Nevada’s flute and King Roald’s staff, but he also remembered Jhuidah’s magical cooking pot and the codestones that the Techo Master could strangely silence by putting them into the ground. But that all seemed so far away, and he didn’t think he could ever perform such feats himself.

     “I’m sorry, but I don’t think I have an item like that. Wands and such are powerful, so also quite rare. I’m not sure we’ll be able to do this,” he said, disappointed.

     “Oh, stop it,” Nevada snapped at him. “Everything’s magic, you just have to know where to look for it. What are you carrying?”

     “Well, the day I went here I carried a machete, a packet of berries, a rope, some bandages and a torch. Oh yes, I also wore this necklace I found here.”

     He realized his own ignorance the moment he looked at the necklace.

     “Oh, of course!” he said. “The Lucky Bone Necklace is the Ancestral Charm!”

     November paused, trying to put the pieces together. He knew the Charm he found actually belonged to Cesar, but did Nevada know that? He decided not to tell her for the moment.

     “So, now we have a magical item. But I’ve never done any magic, are you sure it’ll work?” November asked.

     “Sure it will. You just need a little practice first,” Nevada replied with confidence. “Are you ready for Magic 101?”

     Before November could answer, the scene was changing again by Nevada’s hand. The glass spheres sank into the ground, and regular tables and chairs appeared, with various items on them. Soft rugs appeared beneath his feet, the thick, stone walls shrank, and the ceiling lifted up and broke apart to form a roof of straw. Now he was standing in a large room which he recognized as part of Nevada’s house.

     “You’re going to teach me magic?” November asked in amazement.

     “Yes, I am,” Nevada said, as if he were going to learn to add two and two. She took her flute-wand out of nowhere.

     “Now listen. Anyone can do magic, if they have the right medium for it. Yours is the Charm, mine is the flute. Sometimes the medium acts on its own. That’s probably how you got here. But if you want to get the full potential you need to channel it. This can be done with a chant. Watch me.”

     Nevada brought the flute to her mouth, and it started to glow faintly. She played three high, shrill tones in quick succession of each other, repeated them five times, and then a narrow wave of blue light flowed away from her. It came to the nearest table and crashed like a wave would on the beach. Bright sparks flew in all directions, and when they cleared, the candle on the table was burning and – not surprisingly – with a blue flame.

     “Nice!” November said. “You’re saying I could do that too?”

     “Haven’t you already?” Nevada asked him.

     November remembered when the Charm lit the torches in the hidden room. It had acted on its own then.

     She didn’t wait for an answer.

     “You see, the music I make functions as a chant. When you want to perform something like this, you have to chant yourself. You can’t just use anything as a chant; it needs to have a certain power within you. Words describe things, chants feel things.”

     “You mean like the Song of the Volcano?” November asked. Seeing Nevada’s wondering look, he added: “It’s a song, accompanied by a dance that the Gunali tribe used to perform around a large bonfire. It’s intended to please the volcano god by channelling energy from the earth to the fire. It was always very impressive, and I used to come to all of their gatherings.”

     “Yes, that’s perfect. Take your Charm, and chant that song. Remember to feel it,” Nevada said.

     November took the Ancestral Charm in both hands, and tied the string to his wrist. He imagined the great fire in the middle of the forest where the tribesmen danced around. He started chanting the Song in the old language as he remembered it, and felt the fire inside him.

     Power in the earth’s deep,

     Fire under our feet,

     Erupt this Pango energy

     In the flames our souls meet.

     Power in the earth’s deep,

     Fire under our feet,

     Erupt this Pango energy

     In the flames our souls meet.

     The Charm seemed to tug at the energy, and he let it flow into it. It grew hotter and hotter, so hot that he needed to pull his hands away. The energy erupted out of the charm in a raging fireball that shot out of his hands, through the opposite wall. It left a smoldering black hole.

     Nevada was as amazed as he was.

     “Amazing! That is one powerful chant,” she said.

     November looked in awe at the hole he created.

     “Wow. I actually shot a fireball. Let’s do that again.”

     “Not just yet. Can you tell me where that chant came from?” Nevada asked eagerly.

     “Well, legend has it the Gunali tribe learned it from someone named Eithne. I don’t know who that is, though.”

     “That’s a shame. I would have liked to meet her. But first we have to get you out of here. The spell can only be broken from outside.”

     When hearing the word ‘outside’ he suddenly got very aware of the seriousness of the situation. He enjoyed a certain degree of immortality in this world inside a world, and back in the dangers of the Tomb that would be gone. Although that didn’t stop him before, he felt that this time it would be different.

     “You’re saying it like it’s not going to be easy. Is it?” November asked, because of the sudden change in Nevada’s confidence he thought to hear.

     “It’s complicated, that’s for sure,” she said, and that didn’t reassure him. “I can’t do it on my own; you need to bring yourself back.”

     “Well, I’m ready. Just tell me what to do,” November said, and hoped she didn’t hear the slight fear in his voice.

     “I’m going to bring back these surroundings to nothingness. You need to use the sense of unreality to break free from here. Summon the feeling of coming home, and focus on the feeling. Nothing else. Do you understand?”

     “Break free from the nothingness and come home. Nothing else,” he repeated to himself. “Yeah, I got it.”

     November envisioned his cottage at the beach again, and captured the homesickness he felt. The royal house around them started to vanish, and the void was forming again.

     “Remember, just the feeling. No objects, no places, no people, but feel,” Nevada repeated, as the image of them both faded away.

     November heard her chanting unknown words, while he felt like he was turning to air himself. He focused on coming home, and Nevada’s voice grew weaker. The air that was him blew away from her. He felt himself slowly solidifying, growing larger and larger until he fit in his own body again. The darkness was driven away, and made place for the reality he knew.

     ...

     He found himself standing in the room again, but immediately collapsed to the floor, and gasped for air. His body felt like he was in it for the first time. After stretching his limbs and cracking some joints, he got up and turned to the opposite wall. Where the void had been was now nothing. However, no sooner than he laid eyes on it, a crack ran through the middle of the wall. It ran farther through the other walls, the ceiling and the floor, but stopped at November’s feet. After that, it was silent again.

     To the right of him was one of the corroded glass capsules. A blue glow was slowly dying away from within it. He heard the same whispers coming from it as he heard the first time he entered the room. It became clearer when he cautiously walked over there. When he tried placing his ear on the pod to listen, the Charm that hung from his neck also touched it, making a connection between them with a small spark. Nevada’s voice was now clear as day.

     “November! Are you back? Did it work?” her voice sounded in his head.

     He quickly lifted his head in shock, but the Charm stuck to the pod. It seemed she was pulling at it.

     “Is that you, Nevada? I’m back in the room, but every stone here is breaking apart. What’s happening?”

     “Something went wrong. It was caused by you leaving the place, but I don’t know what it did exactly. I think something between us is ripped,” Nevada said hastily. “You need to try to break the spell now, but we’ll have to work together. Can you do that?”

     November realized the Tomb could fall apart at any moment, so he knew they had to act quickly.

     “Okay. Think freedom, and repeat after me,” Nevada commanded.

     Andi Gladuana Varrka,

     Shanje Pangoa Pango,

     Vyuren Arka Bonfra,

     Andi Gladuana Varrka,

     Shanje Pangoa Pango,

     Vyuren Arka Bonfra...

     November chanted the words as he heard them from Nevada, even though they were in a language he could not understand. After a few repeats, their voices were as one, and November felt the energy pulling away from him, into the capsule Nevada was imprisoned in. The Ancestral Charm was glowing again, and the glass was slowly clearing up as the aura of the Charm spread to the room. The flames of the torches around him were bending towards his light.

     Very soon, Nevada’s face became distinguishable inside the pod. She still looked exactly the same as she did when November had his first encounter with her. Time had stopped completely for the citizens.

     He could look around while still chanting in the ancient language. All the other capsules were clearing up too, and the shapes in them became visible as well. November felt a piercing cold running through his arms when a lightning bolt shot from Nevada’s flute, towards the pods surrounding him, illuminating them in blue light. The chanting from him and Nevada was joined by dozens more voices, who were all awakened minds confined in still sleeping bodies. No more than a minute later, all the capsules in the room were bathing in blue, strong words coming from the minds of those inside.

     But no later than that, another crack ran through the middle of the ceiling, only inches from where November was standing. He looked up in shock, but did not stop chanting. His voice was controlled by every person around him. Trails of sand were seeping from the walls like a dam with a leak. The Tomb was disintegrating before his eyes.

     I have to get out! he thought to himself, his lips still not stopping.

     No, please, don’t! The voice of dozens of people begged him.

     The Charm was still magically glued to Nevada’s capsule, and so was he. Pieces of the ceiling were falling all around him while he frantically tried to undo the knot that tied the Charm to his neck. He barely got it off when a piece of debris fell down, right on the spot that he could just jump away from. Quickly getting to his feet, he heard that the begging of the citizens was now reduced to quiet, desperate wailing.

     He knew that he was this city’s only hope, but he had no choice. For a moment he thought about how selfish he was being, abandoning these people, but he could not place their lives over his own.

     Rocks continued to fall while he made his way back to the entrance. More than once he had to jump out of the way when a large slab of stone crushed the floor in his path. The blue aura from inside the pods was growing weaker; Nevada had to power it by herself.

     He now had the entrance in view, but it was still blocked by the wall that was conjured there by Nevada’s father. However, he noticed that it was crumbling away like the rest of the room, and knew that he had to ram himself through it.

     He sped up, still dodging rock after rock that fell in his path. He charged right into the crumbling rocks, and slammed his body against it with all the force he still had in his body. It was not enough; he bounced off the wall, and fell to the ground, feeling a crack in his shoulder, and a burning pain taking over. He had to get out of the way quickly, as his blow to the door was enough to make large chunks fall off it, leaving enough room to crawl through. With his last strength, he pulled himself through the hole, and collapsed on the floor on the other side. He was only just able to lift up his head to see the huge figure of a ghost Hissi gliding towards him.

     “Cesar...” was all he could mutter, before everything went black before his eyes.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Fate of the Lost City of Geraptiku: Part One
» The Fate of the Lost City of Geraptiku: Part Two
» The Fate of the Lost City of Geraptiku: Part Three
» The Fate of the Lost City of Geraptiku: Part Five



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