Yeins blessing was just beginning to seep back in to the world, with long tendrils of light drifting lazily through the veil of cloud overhead. It
was early morning, a time when the world was just beginning to awaken to a new day some with reluctance, others with a joyful aura of
hope for the days events. Things were as they had been for weeks, quiet and uneventful, but no one had room to complain. Bringing the
war here was the last thing on most everyones minds, as many opted to instead focus on the brighter and less intense issues.
The scenery was groggily easing back in to view; the light slowly spreading out across the mountain valley and all of its forest. The single
lake, surrounded by a ring of forest, was plainly visible to anyone of a higher altitude as the light gently caressed its surface with varying
shades of pastels. The sight was beautiful, serene, and completely calm a stark contrast to the turmoil rushing through one Magic Kats
Senbotsuusha was perched upon a high ledge overlooking the scenery below, with his healed wings spread sloppily out behind him. It had
been three weeks since he had returned from the Land of the Lost, but he would never forget the horrors which had assaulted him there.
His body may have healed, but his mind would take months to catch up. Where once sturdy walls stood within his mind, there were nothing
but ruins and flooded land. His barriers had fallen, and his mind was no longer completely his own.
He would find himself, more times than he cared to count, arguing with other presences within his mind that he hadnt missed for centuries.
They were other beings, all of varying ages and alliances, who had been killed by a Goddess of Life thousands of years ago. In an attempt
to rectify that horrible deed the murdered souls had been reborn, but not as individuals for Orcle was not that forgiving. They were reborn
in one vessel, as one, to forever remember their pasts and forever make-up for their sins. It would only be when at last every sin had been
forgiven that the souls would be released from their living cage, and granted a new life. Senbotsuusha was the jailor of this spiritual prison,
but often times found himself thinking he was just another prisoner.
The Guardian had been around for countless generations, an undying figure in the dark who could only sit by and watch as the world
changed around him. He had seen many friends come and go, seen many rulers rise and fall, and could even tell anyone who asked
exactly what happened to cause Elemarenitas destruction. He was old, even older than those Raveens deemed Ancients, and everyday he
awoke wondering just what year he happened to be in.
Sometimes he would find himself wandering through a familiar landscape, and searching for a friend who he would later remember had
long since passed on. For a jailor, it seemed he had been made to suffer more than those who were being punished. It had been several
generations back when he opted to never get close to anyone again, when his lover had passed on to the next world. The pain had been
so intense that Senbotsuusha had begged for release from this torment, and tried to end it all.
It hadnt worked. He had been denied the right to choose his own exit, and was forced to remain with the living. During his recovery he had
come across an elder Raveen who had said the right words to inspire him to try living again. As a promise to that Raveens memory, he had
stopped trying to hide in the shadows.
Sometime after that the Gates had been discovered, their seals broken and frames barely standing. A surge of immeasurable power had
erupted through them, creating a temporary rift in the Dimension which had allowed for the damnation of the Vertian Hounds. With their
seals no longer in place, the Gates were uncontrolled and beings were able to come and go from this world at their leisure. For months it
was as if the black abyss of hell had consumed all that existed of the Ice Plains, twisting every inch of it in to some nightmare of a world.
The self-proclaimed King of that time, Kuurantha (who would later pass on his reign to his youngest son, Ruutak), had demanded that five
individuals offer themselves as living seals to the four Gates. The order was overwhelming, for simply at that time no such thing had ever
been done. Senbotsuusha had offered himself only because he didnt want to continue living in a world where nightmares were real enough
to kill. Three others accepted as well, but a fifth never stepped forward and the Death Gate was without a living seal.
He had been given the South Gate to guard with his life essence, the one Gate which no one knew much about. Once its energies
returned to rebuild the Gate, he had discovered it had the ability to allow teleportation to other worlds. Not just to the sister Planets of the
Ice Plains, but to other Dimensions and realms beyond their own. Wisely Senbotsuusha had not revealed the full extent of the Gates
powers, and acquired his own sin of lying.
Generations would pass by, his fellow Guardians would die of old age as new Guardians came forward, but Senbotsuusha would remain
the same. He was untouched by time, and became a permanent fixture upon the Ice Plains. Even as the world around him changed,
Senbotsuusha never strayed far from who he was and stayed true to his chosen destiny.
Yet this last year had been almost as hard as losing his lover millenniums ago. Instead of passing on from natural causes, three of his
fellow Guardians had their lives cut short by the Great Evils interference. Shantera had been killed by a possessed Talon, a Raveeness
who used to be trapped in the East Gate, and was released by the Great Evil. She tried her best to stay alive, but in the end Talon
overpowered her and Shanteras soul was destroyed. Tsuuku had been killed next, when he was still reeling from witnessing the death of
his lover. In a state of rage he separated from the groups trying to survive the Great Evils hunt, and was later found dead with his killer still
unknown to this very day.
Then there was Kakeruu, the youngest Gate Guardian to have ever been chosen. He was born with the power of death itself, and was
somehow able to control the long-since dormant Death Gate. As the son of Kantuur, the West Gate Guardian, it shouldnt have been so
surprising that the cub had so much potential. No one would know exactly what kind of potential Kakeruu would later unleash, was the
young Guardian was captured and was rumored to have been turned in to mindless killer for the Great Evil.
Kantuur, the only other remaining Gate Guardian, was still distraught over the news. The Star Kat had struggled to disprove the rumor
everyday since the groups return, until finally accepting it in defeat. It had been six days since then, and Kantuur kept looking more and
more like the walking dead. He hadnt been eating much of anything, and everyday his eyes looked even more empty.
Senbotsuusha wanted to help his friend, but had already tried and failed to get the other Guardian to so much as leave his current place of
residence. It seemed Kantuur was set on starving himself, and dying a slow and agonizing death as punishment for failing his son. Not
even Kantuurs mate, Ceilara, had been able to get through to him.
And now Senbotsuusha couldnt concentrate on trying again, for the unsealed Gates had begun to leak their energies. He could already
see the changes starting to happen the water in the lakes being darker, the sky having a raw tint of crimson at night, and the trees
beginning to die. Two new Guardians would have to be chosen, and soon, otherwise the world would fall back in to that darkness he so
So it was on this day, this very morning, that the South Gate Guardian was to begin his search. He would leave for a few days, with Kantuur
in Ceilaras care, and meet with those who carried with them the traits needed to be Guardians. His return to this place would only come
after he had found them.
No matter how long it would take him, Senbotsuusha wasnt coming back until he had two worthy replacements for his fallen comrades.
|.The Downward Spiral.