Carpathia III: Episode 105: The Angel's Song
Yseri, Desert Trail
Wolfram: I'm bored!
Reuli: I'm hungry!
Quilyon: Knock it off, you two.
Reuli and Wolfram were right. It was boring waiting for Jaze to wake up, and now that they were out of the forest and away from access to food, rationing was the norm. She, along with everyone else, wondered how long this situation with Jaze was going to take. It was then that Azrael approached the group.
Azrael: With your permission, I am going to Volcano to secure some lodgings. It is a less than a day's journey from here and we should re-stock and recuperate after the events of tonight.
Adell and Artemis especially were surprised, both looking knowingly at each other.
Artemis: Isn't that the place that Prince Riven told us not to go?
Azrael nodded before he continued.
Azrael: Together, we possess strength of which my Prince knew not. There should be no issues if we stay together. The alternative is a two-week journey back to Jonas. Your key necklace, Master Adell, will be more than enough to allow everyone to enter. I am known to the guards, so I can enter freely.
For awhile, everyone was silent, considering Azrael's words. Artemis scratched behind his ear and Adell ran his hands through his hair.
Adell: If you think that's best, then that sounds good to me. What do the rest of you think?
The others nodded hesitantly, mostly because nobody could think of any better ideas.
Azrael: I will hurry back as swiftly as I am able.
Without another word, Azrael sprinted north.
The blind angel was patient as Jaze internally surveyed his newfound freedom and enjoyed the small pleasures around him. Eventually, however, curiosity began to surface. Where was he? Who was this person who could flick Wishmaster away with one motion of his finger?
Jaze: I have... a lot of questions.
The blind angel smiled and tilted his head, as though he were trying to get a better look at him.
Blind Angel: I'm sure you do. I will answer any question you have. Please escort me to my favorite place, so that we may be comfortable.
The blind angel lifted his arms, beckoning Jaze to help him. Jaze rose to his feet and leaned toward him, placing his hands under the angel's arms. Gently, Jaze lifted him until he could put the angels arm around his shoulder.
Blind Angel: Turn to the left just a little and then proceed straight, please.
Jaze looked in the direction that the angel indicated, but there appeared to be nothing but grass and bushes for as far as he could see. Gingerly, Jaze stepped forward, carrying most of the angel's weight with him and wondering how long it would take for them to reach their destination. In short order, the angel spoke again.
Blind Angel: This is the place. You may stop now.
Jaze shook his head in disbelief and looked over his shoulder. He could still plainly see the place from which they came.
Jaze: But we're only about ten feet away from where we started.
Blind Angel: This is my favorite place!
Stunned by the angel's sudden turn of demeanor, Jaze lowered him down into the grass until he was safely kneeling on his own. Jaze then staked out his own place facing him. Expecting the angel to speak first, Jaze remained silent, but the angel said nothing. Jaze decided to be the one to break the silence, starting with the most pressing question in his mind.
Jaze: Am I dead?
Blind Angel: No.
Jaze leaned in, waiting and hoping that the angel would elaborate further, even turning his his ear toward his mouth in case the angel was muttering something he didn't catch. When nothing appeared forthcoming, Jaze raised an eyebrow, wondering what he should do next.
Blind Angel: Are you surprised by this?
Jaze leaned back again and slunk down where he sat, putting his hand on the ground to support himself.
Jaze: Honestly, yeah, kinda. I think I've probably died a few times already, but it never seems to take. I expect that it will be permanent one of these times.
Blind Angel: Yes, you have had a rough time. I wished to speak with you, and that is why I have summoned you here.
In his mind, Jaze debated what he should say next. Though he had many other questions, he decided it would be best to get to know this angel a little better first.
Jaze: Um... so, what's your name?
Blind Angel: That would be a good place to start. My name is...
The angel's head suddenly darted from side to side, as though he were looking for something he dropped.
Blind Angel: My name... um... My... um... name...
The angel then let his head droop.
Blind Angel: I forgot.
Jaze gazed upon the angel, wide-eyed, without any idea how to respond. What does one say to someone who forgot their own name? Fortunately, the angel spoke again, saving Jaze from having to utter a banal remark, like "I'm sorry to hear that."
Blind Angel: My apologies. I have been trapped in this crystal for a long, long time, since before Wishmaster and before... um... that other guy.
Jaze's mind was hazy, but through the fog, he seemed to remember something about a crystal just before he ended up in the fire.
Jaze: I remember something about a crystal. If you're trapped inside, then how...
Before Jaze could finish, the angel cut him off abruptly.
Blind Angel: The crystal is my prison which not only steals my freedom, but unnaturally extends my life. I can, however, visit with those who touch it. I can even summon those who have not, but I cannot interact with them in any fashion. This is why I could not communicate with you while you were with your father. I have drawn your mind inside so that I may meet you. Your body remains outside in the care of your friends.
Jaze: So I'm in the crystal? And the fire... and Dad... that was you too?
Blind Angel: I apologize for the fire, but it was necessary in order to begin cleansing you of the darkness which has burdened you for so long. This is what enabled me to banish Wishmaster from your mind. He will not trouble you any longer.
Painful as the fire was, Jaze understood that it was a small price to pay to rid himself of Wishmaster. It was at that moment that he realized he hadn't properly thanked the angel yet.
Jaze: Thank you very much for that.
Blind Angel: Some time ago, I was found by an old man who had gone so long without another with whom to speak that he had forgotten how to speak himself. I gave him the gift of fire, so that he may take care of himself more easily.
Though Jaze wasn't sure why the Blind Angel had chosen this new line of conversation, he listened attentively anyway.
Blind Angel: Later, something extraordinary happened, and that's when I saw my chance to free myself from Wishmaster forever. When Wishmaster connects with someone, I am also aware of him. When you arrived at Nekramentia, the connection between you and Wishmaster began to form and I began to catch glimpses of your hopes, dreams, and, most importantly, your friends. When the old man first presented the crystal to Adell, the way was clear.
Jaze's eyes widened in surprise. Adell had mentioned nothing like this to him, though, with little thought, Jaze could understand why he didn't.
Jaze: You know Adell?
Blind Angel: I know Adell and your other friends as well. To demonstrate my worth, I gave him the ability to manipulate stone.
Through the fog of his mind, Jaze was able to recall the battle that he just had and remembered Adell somehow throwing rocks at him, even though he didn't see any laying on the ground.
Blind Angel: To your friend, Artemis, I gave healing. This became as amusing as I had hoped! I then requested the old man give me to them to take on their journey, hoping that they would, one day, seek you out. To strengthen the bond, I have given abilities to those who are directly connected to you. Kaoru received the gift of water. I had to do this, for Wishmaster prevented me from communicating with you directly. I could only know vague impressions and fleeting glimpses of your life. It was only when you saw the crystal that I knew you were close and could fill you with the compulsion to come to me.
Listening in rapt attention, Jaze carefully took in the angel's words. It was then that a new idea dawned in his mind.
Jaze: All this to find me?
Blind Angel: Yes. You were the key to both our salvations.
Jaze rubbed his chin with his hand and began thinking out loud.
Jaze: So, you're saying I'm some sort of chosen one...
No sooner did Jaze utter the words "chosen one" than he felt a hard slap on his cheek. Stunned, it took him a moment to recover as he slowly turned his head back to the angel, who now had his hands on his hips and spoke to him in a mocking tone.
Blind Angel: Oh, look at me! I am Jaze and I am the chosen one! I'm super-duper important and my socks don't stink!
Too stunned to speak, Jaze just stared at the angel with his mouth hanging open. The angel, at least, now seemed to return to his previous temeperment, except that he punctuated each word of his next sentence with four pokes to Jaze's forehead.
Blind Angel: You were not chosen. A group of boys travelling in the middle of nowhere simply presented a convenient target for Wishmaster.
Jaze rolled his eyes.
Jaze: Okay, okay, I get it. Anyway, what happens now? Am I expected to fight Wishmaster?
Blind Angel: Wishmaster will expect that I have given you all my power and have made you his equal in strength. Because of this, he will hide himself from you, for he is a coward. However, what he doesn't know is that I do not have that much power to give. I used too much in my efforts to bring you here. You cannot hope to defeat Wishmaster, unless you happen to have a fully-grown dragon in its prime at your disposal.
Jaze held up his thumb and index finger a few inches apart.
Jaze: Well, I have a little one.
Blind Angel: Yes, Ryuu. He will be ready in about 500 years, but not now. In time, Wishmaster will be more vulnerable. He is old and he is deteriorating. He keeps his body and soul separated, though I cannot see why. Nevertheless, he is still too formidable and it will be centuries before even you could challenge him.
Jaze hung his head low, knowing that the angel was right.
Jaze: I know. It's just that nobody deserves to grow up in a world like this.
The angel gently placed his hand on Jaze's shoulder. Looking up again, Jaze could see that the angel was now smiling sweetly at him.
Blind Angel: Our time runs short. For every moment which passes here, many more pass in the outside world and keeping you here rapidly saps what little remains of my strength. I no longer have the ability to take away the power that Wishmaster has bestowed upon you, but the cleansing fire will now ensure that the power belongs to you now, and you alone. Use it wisely.
Though Jaze would rather be rid of the strength that Wishmaster had given him, the angels words soothed him all the same.
Blind Angel: As I said, the crystal unnaturally extends my life. I should have died eons ago, but alas, I am still here, rotting away. I so wish to die, but still I must wait longer. I may not remember my name, but I know who I was. It was once my responsibility to guide the departed to the next life with the soothing embrace of my song. I wish I could sing again, but I am not able.
Only now was Jaze beginning to understand the kind of life that the angel must have had, ripped from his world to be imprisoned and tortured.
Jaze: I'm sorry to hear that. I suppose I can understand a little of what you've been through.
Removing his hand from Jaze's shoulder, the angel now gently stroked the underside of Jaze's chin, holding his head up as though he wanted to look him in the eye.
Blind Angel: Don't be sad, Jaze. Everything dies. It is the nature of the universe. My time finally approaches, and I eagerly await it.
Jaze closed his eyes as a tear dripped down his cheek, almost unable to bear to hear of such sorrow. Wishmaster told him the same thing. Perhaps, Jaze thought, it was the one thing he was not lying about.
Blind Angel: Before you go, I shall bestow upon you two gifts, one to suit your fiery personality, and the other... the other because I can no longer use it myself.
Jaze suddenly felt a soothing warmth beginning in his chin, around the angel's hand, which rapidly spread around his entire body. Suddenly, he felt invigorated, filled with an abundance of energy and well-being that he had all but forgotten. Then, the warmth faded and Jaze gazed upon the angel as he removed his hand. Before he could say anything, the grass and sky around him began fading into a bright, white light. Gazing upon the angel one last time, Jaze could see that his skin had suddenly become dull and gray and that more tears had opened up on his body. At the same time, several feathers separated from the angel's wings and fluttered to the ground, one of which landed in Jaze's hand. Whatever the angel did weakened him even further.
Blind Angel: Farewell, Jaze. I shall carry you in my heart until the last feather falls from my wings.
The light rapidly brightened and Jaze only had time to give one final wave and a shout before the angel disappeared completely.
Jaze: Bye! And thank you!
Kaoru: Something's happening!
The others sprinted quickly to where Kaoru sat, hopeful, but on guard all the same, wondering which Jaze would be the one to wake up, the good one or the bad one.
Slowly, Jaze stirred, moaning and rolling his head on the ground, as though he were waking up from a very long sleep. Finally his eyes opened at the same time that his arms flopped to his sides. The crystal rolled a few inches away from him across the scrubby dirt, still glowing bright red. Nobody paid it any mind and focused entirely on Jaze.
Kaoru: Jaze? Are you okay? What happened?
Jaze looked up and saw nothing but the tired, concerned face of Kaoru staring down at him. His emotions overcoming him all at once, Jaze burst into tears.
Jaze: Kaoru... I am so sorry.
At that moment, Kaoru disintigrated into sobs as well as he threw his arms around Jaze.
Together, they embraced as the light of the rising sun slowly began to descend upon the land as the others watched with rapidly dissipating trepidation.
Jaze felt a sudden wave of sleepiness fall over him. With Wishmaster no longer able to trouble his dreams, he knew that he would soon fall into a doze. Gently, he pushed Kaoru away from him.
Jaze: I promise I'll explain everything. For now, I feel like I haven't slept in two years. I'm gonna...
And then Jaze suddenly went limp in Kaoru's arms, breathing heavily in deep slumber.
Adell: I guess we'll have to find out what happened later.
Unbeknownst to the others, Kagurain, eyeballing the crystal which had rolled out of Jaze's hands, began to reach for it.
Kagurain: What is this thing, anyway?
Artemis: Don't touch that!
It was too late. Before Artemis even began speaking, Kagurain had already grabbed the crystal. Suddenly, it turned bright yellow and he went into a trance. This one, fortunately, was more like what Adell, Artemis, and Kaoru went though and did not include Jaze's cries of pain.
All city pictures from SimCity 4