2nd Anniversary Event 2015
After your time spent in Alabaster City, you set off towards the Mystic Glades once more to meet up with Seraphina. The Mystic fortune teller had requested your presence after the events that transpired in Alabaster with the fabled Watch Crows. Since it was she that spoke on your behalf so the Crows would not end your life for opening the Obsidian Gates, you are eager to return the favor and meet up with an old friend in the process...
You slowly walk into the forest clearing that you recall visiting the year before, only this time you are not lost in its maze due to the Ancient of Illusion's curse. You can't help but feel the strong presence of magic here, the flow of its living power, as you could have sworn it was gently leading you to your destination this whole time, making sure you did not lose your way, bringing you along the safest path.
Just before you stood that familiar intricate wagon that you knew belonged to the mysterious fortune teller, Seraphina. It had been quite some time since last you had seen the elderly woman that read your fate and predicted darkness and destruction, words that now made so much more sense, but you did not falter as you stepped carefully up to the caravan and pulled back the velvet curtains to reveal its owner within.
Seraphina: "It is good to see you again, Sealer."
Before you sits a familiar face as Seraphina smiles warmly to you in the dim light of her small wagon abode. You can't help but return the gesture as you grin broadly to the older woman, before bursting out in an excited rambling of everything that has happened since last you saw her.
You: "Oh my gosh, Seraphina! You were right about all that darkness in my future and stuff! I went to the Ashmoors and accidentally, more or less, released Oblivion upon the realm -- but I swear It wasn't on purpose and Sully totally tricked me! Then he set Steve on FIRE and the stump turned into a blooming phoenix of all things, but really that's not as surprising as it should be to me, but we are best buds now. Then, I woke up in Silverport and got roped into helping Captain Willy again where I eventually met the Ancient of Present in this lighthouse there, and she said something about there being more to this curse that is starting to infect everyone, and Azara of course attacked my face again and she still hates me, and then I met Sorren who keeps giving me sooooo much homework and telling me to focus, which I am completely focused by the way, and I joined the Watch Crows and there was this blood pact ritual I did with my own soulbird that went CAW-CAW and now an assassin and pirate are my mentors/father figures -- and did you know those two were a couple? Well, now we are this weird family-unit thing of awesomeness and they totally indulge my pet hoarding addiction, and I think I may have a problem? Do you think I have problem? Anyways, we have pancakes and card games and lots of training to focus and what not...but I still don't know why or how Fiore stole that wedding cake--and, and, AND, AND--"
You trail off there for a few moments more as Seraphina simply smiles and listens to all that you have to say about everything you had experienced since last you met. She was obviously amused by the many tales you had to retell, and even chuckled softly a few times to your excited rambles, before you finally took a moment to remember to breathe.
Seraphina: "I am glad to hear that, despite your hardships, you have made many new friends and bonds, Sealer. You carry the aura of someone who has experienced much on their journey to become something greater...quite different from the lost young traveler who wondered into these woods alone and uncertain of their fate over a year ago, hmm?"
You give the Mystic fortune teller a small, nervous laugh to this. She was right, just a year ago and you would have never thought that you would go through so much or meet so many new creatures and individuals. Despite all the terrible things that were going on due to your actions...you could not help but feel glad about it all. Well, not the whole Oblivion destroying the world thing of course, but everything else seemed like it was worth it.
However, there were so many questions you had to ask! It was Seraphina who had summoned you here, after all, and you needed to know more about Oblivion, the curse, why you were called the Sealer...but, just as you opened your mouth to unleash an onslaught of endless inquiries, you were stopped abruptly by the older woman who hurriedly interjected.
Seraphina: "I know you have much to ask me, Sealer. Why you were summoned here, about Oblivion, even your name that everyone now speaks with hope and desperation...but all will be answered in due time. First, I require your assistance now that you are here."
You make a mental note to yourself that Seraphina is also a mind reader as you wonder what exactly she needs your help with. Perhaps there is another demonic door holding a long lost, evil power that needs to be opened? Or perhaps she needs your help with taming a wild Ursa into submission that you would then promptly adopt and call your own! Oh, or maybe it had something to do with an Ancient curse that only you could lift! So much excitement, adventure, and--
Seraphina: "I need you to help me gather some herbs and various plants in the glade, if you don't mind. These old fingers of mine aren't what they used to be, and since I am always on the move, I've been very tired as of late. Would you please help me, dear?"
...Flower picking? You could have sworn you saw an amused glint to Seraphina's violet gaze as you deflate at the thought of doing what seemed to be simple chores.
Seraphina: "Don't worry, child. There is more to this task than just boring old flower picking. Everything is done for a reason, but if you can help me collect some things, I'd be happy to share some stories along the way...and perhaps indulge your habit of taking in homeless creatures as well."
Alright, you were now positive she was a mind reader, but you would never turn down an offer for pets and stories! My goodness...now that you think about it, you sound like an eager grandchild willing to do anything for a treat -- well, you had no shame in that!
Seraphina: "What do you need dear?" • I've been wondering since I came here, but where are the other Mystics? Don't you usually travel and lead them all across Eldemore?
Seraphina: "I wanted this meeting to be between just you and I this time. There is much to discuss, and my people will be fine for a short while since I will only be absent for about a week. However, I do miss them dearly. Though they are not my family by blood, I still consider them to be as such. Something I'm sure you can relate to as well, Sealer.
• "You're not related to any of the Mystics? But I don't understand, you've been leading them for, like, forever! What is your connection to them? Actually...how old are you really, Seraphina? When I spoke to Sullivan -- I mean, Oblivion...he said you were his twin sister and the Ancient of Fate. That you were the one who locked him away. Is that true? Why? I just...don't understand it all."
Seraphina: "So many questions, Sealer. I can only answer a few at a time.... Sully was correct. I was once called the Ancient of Fate, though, now I am but a hollowed shell of what I once was. I locked my brother away long ago, during the Oblivion Wars with the humans who wanted to lay claim to all that they saw. On that fated day that changed the history of our world forever...I sealed him away and stopped the young race of man who marched under his banner. His own sister. His friend. His family -- I betrayed him yet also was the cause for his madness. It was because of me that this all started."
"He cried out to me in agony, anger, and confusion, but I had no choice. The dark magic which was forbidden, humans' lust for conquest, a pact of blood and old magic once thought lost...I'm sorry, Sealer. It is...very difficult to revisit these memories. I promise to answer them more clearly during your time here, but I can only handle so much in one sitting. Please, let me rest for a few moments...just a few..."
• Seraphina! I just saw Fiore and Muzu outside. How'd you get them to come? Are you...a creature whisperer?
Seraphina: Haha, no child I am not a whisperer to the creatures of this realm, they do as they please after all. Those two actually came of their own free will. No doubt Muzu the crow followed you here when you left Alabaster. If I had to guess, I would say the little bird is here on behalf of his master to watch over you and Fiore -- as well as delivering delicious lunches and notes too it seems!
As for the sea serval herself, she is...just like her owner in more ways than one. Usually she stays with Willy to help keep him out of trouble, or to get him and Sorren into more of it, but Fiore always goes where she pleases. When I gave her to Willy when she was just a kitten, and he a young lad, I had hoped the two would balance each other out...I don't yet know if that was the wisest of decisions, especially due to the wedding cake fiasco, but I'm pretty sure it will all work out for the best in the end. For now, I would accept her help. After all, it is rare for a sea serval to take time out of their busy schedules to offer their skills to another. You should be sure to thank her when you can. As they say, bad luck is sure to follow those who scorn a serval.
• I remember Sorren said that both he and Captain Willy spent time with you and the Mystics when they were younger. Tell. Me. Everything! Do you know anything embarrassing? Were they together before they met you? What happened to make them become ex-pirates? Sorren won't tell me anything and I need info, like, badly.
Seraphina: Ooh, gossip! All the better to blackmail with so as to have a certain someone ease up on the homework load, correct? Don't worry, I won't tell.
I always look back fondly on those few years they spent with us. Those two lads had been through much turmoil when we found them washed ashore. Both were severely injured and at one point I was afraid that they would not make it, even with my knowledge of healing remedies. Their scars went far deeper than the wounds which marred their skin, but what happened out at sea must have been a trying experience since neither of the boys have spoken of it since...
However, though their wounds were deep, time allowed them to heal, as well as gave them the opportunity to finally realize their love for one another -- and during our traditional Mystic Festival of Bonds no less! What perfect timing -- some would call that Fate, wouldn't you say? Oh, but It was adorable, Sealer! You should have been there. I've never seen Sorren so shy, the usually stoic lad practically turned as pink as Fiore with how hard he was blushing half the time! During the festivities we sing, eat, and dance merrily to the many bonds we share with loved ones and with the creatures that we call our friends. Which I must add, both Sorren and Willy participated wholeheartedly in. That pirate can carry a tune!
Now, all you have to do is mention that festival when Sorren gives you a hard time and watch the young man stop in his tracks. The lad needs to remember to have a bit of fun now and then, and not to be so serious all the time -- oh, but you didn't hear this from me~
• Do you mind if I ask more about Oblivion? Before he was sealed away, I mean. There seems to be a lot of history between you two.
Seraphina: There is indeed much history between my brother and I. Most of it was good, mind you. Sully was actually quite the shy individual back then, if you can believe it, but always so full of life, and with an endless sense of curiosity and wonder for the world around us. He loved to learn about new things, even though that curiosity of his often got us into trouble since he was a notorious klutz. He had the 'butter fingers' as you humans like to say.
Haha, there was this one time when he and I visited the Elvian forest kingdom to the north at the request of Mythandian. They had invited us to partake in an event they hold for their master artisans and silver smiths. So many beautiful and delicate works were displayed -- it truly took one's breath away to witness such marvelous pieces of art, some which took a lifetime to make. However, the whole thing was rather dull and there wasn't much excitement beyond simply looking.
Well, Sully eventually went to take a closer look at one of course...but accidentally tripped and knocked the piece over. That piece then fell onto another, and then that one bumped into another, which proceeded like dominos across the whole hall, damaging each piece in under a minute. It was actually quite entertaining! Oh, but awful for those who spent so much time on their work of course. Sully was beside himself, he apologized and tried to help clean up the mess, but everyone assured him that it was quite alright. Clearly they did not wish for him to touch anything else, and needless to say, we haven't been invited back since.
Oh but, Sealer, Sully certainly knows how to be the life of the party! If not for him I thought I would have died from boredom. To help cheer him up I procured some sweets from the Elvians and we decided to watch two wild Ursas duke it out instead. Way more fun than fancy parties, and one of my more fond memories from the past.
• I can't believe it! Oblivion, the guy trying to end the world, had butter fingers...but then, why all the bad blood between you two now? Was sealing him away really what made him turn so vengeful?
Seraphina: No, Sealer. Locking Sullivan away was only the conclusion to a very long string of events. Do you recall what I mentioned before? Sully was always curious about the world around him, and it was that curiosity that led him to the far edges of our realm that few dare to tread. It was there he ultimately found the young race called man.
Humans were not very well known to us then. No one dared to venture to the realm of ash, it was a place that was thought to be empty and devoid of life...clearly that was not the case. Sully had come across them, a dying race of hollowed beings that held no magic within their souls like we do, yet it was their ingenuity and perseverance which enabled them to hold on to life, despite where they lived...
When Sully returned, he spoke of this new race that he felt so much compassion for. Of how they lived in houses of iron, smoke and brimstone, and of how they could move mountains without any magic to aid them in their endeavors. It was clear he had spent a great deal of time among them. The way he spoke about them was akin to a father doting over his children. No doubt he had made friends with this race he seemingly took under his wings -- but I, nor the other Ancients, shared his sympathy or fascination for them. All we heard was how everything that humans touched turn to ash...
The other Ancients and I grew gravely concerned about this dying race. Sullivan had advocated that we help the humans, this odd race that he seemed to care so deeply for. He wanted to bring them to these lands and offer them a new chance at life before they died out from the famine they had wrought upon themselves. Sully's heart was in the right place, he clearly felt for these people that were slowly vanishing from this world, but...
...I refused him.
I'm sorry, Sealer. No more today...I must rest now or I won't have the strength to tell you the rest. Forgive me...
• You refused Oblivion's request? But humans are here today. Did you decide to help him after all?
Seraphina: No. I decided to not act against him like I should have, Sealer.
Sullivan was clearly hurt by my refusal. I saw shock and betrayal in his dark eyes that day, before they hardened into something I did not recognize...he must have felt very alone when even I stood against him on the matter. I tried to explain my reservations for this new race, but I did not have the heart to stop him when he blatantly went against my wishes and brought the humans to these lands, despite the disapproval of both myself and the other Ancients.
Man came under the wings of Oblivion, they saw the bountiful fruits of these lands, felt its once endless magic flow through them, and quickly became eager to set root wherever their eyes fell. Seasons passed, and tensions would grow high. Both Sullivan and I were constantly at odds, the Ancients were now divided on the matter as some slowly grew fond of the humans and their many diverse personalities, and the other races were at the brink of war as man fought with Elvian, Wolfkin, and Avian over rights to the land and its resources.
Eldemore was in disarray. Everywhere I turned, someone cried out for me to solve these disputes, to quell my brother and his children and have them reign in their greed before it went too far. I tried to get him to see reason, to see that humanity had no place here, to send them back to the lands of ash that they had wrought for themselves...but of course I was met with stubbornness and adamant refusal. I could not see what Sully saw in these humans...all I had witnessed was their destructive nature as they blindly ignored the results of their actions on the realm they tore apart needlessly for their own gain.
And then, the final, tattered thread that was holding the strained peace between my brother and I finally snapped on that one fateful night...
• What happened next?!
Seraphina: War cries called out into the night as one of the many disputes between the humans and the avians had finally turned fowl. The avians had been the first of the other races to passionately voice their hate against mankind for their destructive natures. In fact, they still hold on to that hatred to this day. Avains are a proud race, Sealer. They reflect Zephyr, the Ancient guardian of their race, in his appearance, mindset and prideful nature -- but that pride only hindered the already strained relations with the humans.
Tensions had arisen between two scouting groups, when the arrow of a youthful human was let loose by nervous fingers -- an accidental release no doubt, but one that ultimately decided the Fate of our realm. That arrow came to rest in the heart of an avian, who fell to the earth with his last breath while his kin looked on in horror. For the death of one, the avians slaughtered that human's entire village. This, Sealer, sparked the terrible wrath of Oblivion, as none had seen before. He in turn retaliated by almost wiping out the Avain race and their homeland altogether, as well as very nearly killing Zephyr himself in the process. Two Ancient lords whose only wish was to protect their people from the other, rage and passion blinded them both, and such a thing could only end badly.
So much blood was spilled in so few days...a single arrow started a war...and now that such an atrocity had occurred, all the realm was fearfully silent as they held their breath for what was to come next. Oblivion made it clear then that he was willing to destroy an entire race in the name of vengeance for his people, that he would go to any lengths to protect them, even if that meant going against the very Ancients themselves...
That is all for today, Sealer. Go and rest. There is much to contemplate.
• Okay, I seriously want to know what happens next, but I've got to know why I'm collecting all these herbs first -- the curiosity is killing me. I don't know if I have anymore room on my skin for painful scars and scratches from all those drake thorn bushes I've been suspiciously falling into. What do you need these plants for specifically?
Seraphina: Some of these herbs are only found within these woods, Sealer, while others are harder to obtain. The Seraphim Tears are one such flower that only grows in this area, and though the story behind the flower is a sad one, they hold great medicinal properties if one knows how to mix them. Drake thorns are plentiful enough, but only the foolhardy dare collect them...much like yourself, really! Omen berries on the other hand are highly poisonous, so I hope you have not been eating any of those. Finally, the aptly named Dolos root is easy enough to find, but very tricky to blend into concoctions for its healing properties. Get it wrong and you'll end up with a purple tongue that won't go away for weeks on end.
Though all of those on their own seem simple by comparison, if you put them together with a skilled herbalist to extract their contents, you will get a powerful concoction that can heal the gravest of wounds or poisons. The process, however, is time consuming, and though you've collected many, I will probably only be able to extract a few drops from each one. I rarely make this because of how much magic it takes to do so. Now, I must get back to work child. We shall talk more tomorrow.
• Seraphina! Something is stalking me outside in the forest while I'm herb collecting and it's really starting to creep me the hecky out...also, I think whatever it is has been making me fall into those drake thorns, 'cause I keep hearing this muffled laughter every time I get hurt...
Seraphina: Ah, that would be Dolos dear. He is the Trickster Ancient, and one of the younger Ancients at that. He is also one of the reasons why you and I are here -- all part of Fate of course. Usually he stays near the Flickering Vales, however the fact that he is not concerns me, so hopefully we can learn why he is appearing to us now...
Dolos is still much like a young child. He enjoys playing pranks on others, so I would not doubt that he has been the one behind any accidental falls into prickly bushes or bottomless pits -- he gets a kick out of those. Oh, but don't fault him, the fact that he is playing some of his tricks on you, Sealer, must mean that he has taken quite a shining to you! That, or your sufferings are just very entertaining to him. Lucky you~
He may be a bit shy at first, but perhaps he will warm up to you soon. You will need all the help you can get, Sealer. Though Dolos is a young Ancient, his powers are great. We will need to ask him why he has ventured so far from his home since I'm sure he is very unfamiliar with this forest. See if you can befriend the young lad, would you? No doubt he will enjoy a few games of hide-n-seek first.
• Did the battle with the avians start the Oblivion Wars?
Seraphina: The Oblivion Wars spoken of in the legends of man were spurred by the accumulation of many things, but yes, I suppose that was the straw that broke the drake's back as they say...
Shortly after that, all of Eldemore was riddled with fear and outrage as the other races braced themselves for what was to come. Oblivion's powers can be great and terrible when rage fuels his might. That was both Sully's greatest strength and his greatest flaw when I knew him as my brother. He always did let his heart lead him in his endeavors...but on that day, his heart was broken by loss and anguish. Instead of controlling it, he lashed out in vengeance from the hurt and hardened himself to the plights of others thereafter.
However, that alone would never excuse murdering so many more in retaliation. Sullivan almost wiped out an entire race. Neither side were justified in what they did, but the last of Oblivian's mercy was spent that day when he allowed the tattered remains of a once great race to pick up the pieces of his destruction, though, I have a feeling he simply left those still alive to suffer the same pain that he did...
When the other Ancients heard of what transpired and witnessed the destruction, they either sided with Oblivion or against him. We were all now divided on the matter, and as such, war was upon the lips of all who spoke. The trueborn races and the humans were now at odds, and Oblivion himself was readying his people to fight all those who dared to oppose them. The Oblivion Wars had begun.
• What happened to the avians and Zephyr, Seraphina? Were...they alright in the end?
Seraphina: The fact that you show concern first instead of judgement for them speaks well of you, Sealer. I know many believe the avians to be a myth these days, since they have not been seen for centuries on end, but you have already met one individual that carries some of their blood, a testament that they are indeed still here within our realm to this day.
After the brutal battle with Oblivion, Zephyr used the last of his strength to call upon the mighty gales of which he commanded. They came swiftly to their master's call, tearing at the edges of the ravaged land of his people, until it ripped the earth beneath them and created a protected, floating landmass that ascended into the skies above. There the Skyrealms float to this day due to the Ancient's magic, and there they remain out of sight from the world below, forever distant and apart from the rest of us. Zephyr and his avians had been the first to stand against Oblivion, and they paid a great price for their hasty actions.
Perhaps, Sealer, you may one day visit the Skyrelams above. Even though it saddens me that the avians have hidden themselves away, their floating isles are quite beautiful and filled with a myriad of rare creatures you've never seen before. Maybe Fate will lead you there one day, and maybe you will even be able to heal some of the old wounds between humans and avians.
• Okay, I finally got a hold of Dolos, and he nearly scared me half to death in the process, but he said he came here to seek aid from you. Apparently there is something going on in the Flickering Vales. He also mentioned something about an evil spirit or dark entity that chased him away?
Seraphina: I will have to think about this more before I do anything, but Dolos was right to come find me. Do you know why the Flickering Vales are littered with torn seems of magical energy and wandering, lost spirits of old, Sealer? It is because that is where one of many great and terrible battles took place when the Oblivion Wars started. That battle left a very deep scar upon the land there. You see, not all of the humans followed Oblivion in his vendetta. No, it was a but a handful, but there were a few humans who stood up against my brother when they realized he would destroy all of the realm to achieve a home and peace for mankind. This was not the so-called 'peace' that those individuals sought. Some of them even considered the trueborn races and Ancients to be their allies.
It was during those days that I slowly began to see a different side of man, as one young, human child stood out from the rest in particular. Her name was Amalthea, and she is the one you humans recall in your history as the first to create a magical bond with a creature of this realm -- actually, you remind me of her in many ways. Amalthea showed me that humankind is diverse and unique in almost everything they do, though they are magicless beings, they have the remarkable ability to filter magic through them rather than it being physically a part of them. This allowed them to connect to almost everything they touched, and for the first time, I did not see their touch turn the world around them into ash.
However, the battle that took place at the Flickering Vales is a story in and of itself. No doubt you will learn of it soon, Sealer. For now we must focus on the task at hand. I am glad that young Dolos seems to have warmed up to you. Surely he will be of much help to you in the future.
• I remember reading about Amalthea in all that homework Sorren made me do back in Alabaster City. Were you two friends?
Seraphina: Amalthea and I were indeed friends, many centuries ago. In fact, I looked after both her and her little sister as if they were my own. They used to call me Grammi Seri...even though that was really not my name, and I certainly did not look as old as I do now, haha. Oh, but it was close enough and quite endearing. Almalthea's little sister is the one who came up with it since saying 'Seraphina' was a bit of a mouthful for her.
They were both sweet children and cared for the world around them. If I had not met them I may still be distrustful of humans to this day, but then...
Nevermind, Sealer. Sometimes, Memories are best left forgotten.
• Everyone seems to rely on you for everything. How do you do it? Keep going, I mean, when the whole world seems to turn to you for answers?
Seraphina: I have a feeling that you ask this question for more than one reason, Sealer...
No answer that I can give you will help you sleep soundly at night, my child. Everyone speaks your name with either disdain or faint hope, but I can at least tell you that you are not the first Sealer to walk this path alone. Do you remember what I said before about Amalthea? The one who was the first of the young race of man to channel magic through them rather than force it to their will? You remind me much of her because you both had to endure and overcome the same Fate.
Amalthea struggled much like yourself now. Everywhere she turned people either cursed her existence or begged for her help, but despite it all she was still able to grow into a remarkable individual that is herald to this day for her many great deeds. However, she did not overcome so much alone. I believe the only way Amalthea or myself were able to keep going despite the many hardships and wars was because of all those who believed in us.
Without our friends and loved ones' support, I've no doubt that grief, anguish, and loss would have consumed us both. Whenever you feel as if the world threatens to come crashing down upon you, Sealer, remember that there are those who care for you and will stand by your side no matter what. Your path will surely be a long one, but it is one that need not be traversed alone. Place your faith in the people and creatures you have come to trust and they will help guide and protect you to the very end...
• You said a few days ago that the Oblivion Wars had started after the skirmish with the Avians, but how exactly was he sealed away? How did you all stop him?
Seraphina: I suppose it is about time to finally wrap up that dark tale. It is also almost time for you to move on from this place, so you will need to know what transpired on that day when all of Eldemore banded together to fight back Oblivion and his followers.
A great war was started when my brother attacked the Avians in his vengeance. However, he did not stop there. As the war lingered on, he began to feel that both the humans and himself were threatened by a world which despised and rejected them, and as such, Sullivan too began to despise and reject all he once held dear and close to his heart...even me.
I had tried countless times to speak with Sully, to plead with him, to try and calm his rage before it consumed him, and to see if there was any way to mend the relationship we once had. Yet, in the end, he saw me as his greatest threat and vowed to protect mankind even if he had to obliterate all of Eldemore -- to him, it was already too late to mend what was broken beyond repair...
With a shattered heart, I marched alongside the other races that day. Even the Avains stood with us then, alongside Zephyr, despite their great losses from before. Elvian, Avian, Wolfkin, Ancients and even the humans who opposed Oblivion's ideals all marched against Sullivan's army. The skies turned black with dark clouds as ash slowly rained from above, casting an omen of what was to come. Red streaks of magic shot across the battlefield like lightening in Oblivion's wake, and the dark mass of a large army made up of humans and the creatures they forced to their will, trailed behind their massive, ancient lord's form like an ebony cloak, kicking up soot in their wake, their boots sapping the world's magic with every step they took.
I rose to meet my brother up above, now the white seraphim dragon of Fate faced down the black seraphim dragon of Oblivion -- a scene that I thought would never come to pass. I begged him one more time to stop all of this, to remember the times he and I shared as friends and siblings, of the trials we overcame together in the past...but when I looked into Sully's eyes that day there was no trace of the brother I once knew. All that was left was utter Oblivion in its raw and terrifying form. He cried out in a thunderous roar that only one of us would be leaving the battlefield that day.
With that outcry, he attacked, and the world shook as Oblivion and I clashed above while all of Eldemore fought below...
• S-Seraphina? Are you alright? You don't have to go on if you don't want to...
Seraphina: No. This needs to be retold to you no matter what...
Both Oblivion and I continued our fight above. Two massive twin dragons of lore tearing apart the other they once cared for, all while our people below fought and died beneath us.
So much anguish...so much death. I had tried to combat Oblivion with everything I had, but I could feel my magic and strength being drained from me with each blow he struck. Then, a searing pain like no other shot through my body and pierced my soul. My brother had taken two of my six wings within his maw and tore them from my back. I cried out in agony as I fell to the world below, my once white form now stained a dark crimson with both our blood. I plummeted to the earth as I heard the cries of my friends and allies call out to me in horror at the scene. As soon as I crashed into the battlefield below, I felt Oblivion's weight on top of me once more, and as he roared with pure rage, he ripped my remaining wings from my broken form, one by one. I was in shock, I couldn't move. I saw his face come close and contort into a monstrous scowl as he prepared for the final blow.
But...he was delayed. Avains, Elvians, Wolfkin, Humans and Ancients all turned to face Oblivion and stop him from striking the final blow against me...b-but I wished they hadn't. If only they did not care for me. If only they did not rush to try and save me...so many would still be alive to this day. Oblivion...he struck them down. Tore them apart. Turned them to ash before his army came to his aid. Tears clouded my vision as I tried to crawl to my dying friends. That's when I heard Amalthea cry out in defiance and anguish.
I turned to see her standing before me, facing Oblivion alone...and I remember, the face he made that day. The pure horror and shock at having the very thing he fought to protect now stare him down, a human child of all things standing against him in defiance. He broke down into utter madness at being betrayed by one of his children. Oblivion lunged out to strike. But I would not let him harm her.
With broken talons I took the blood which poured from my wounds. I wrote in the ash the forgotten language of the Ancients. I summoned the old forbidden magic which was never meant to be called upon again...and I created a blood pact with Eldemore itself.
I did not know what I had summoned then. All I commanded of Eldemore was to stop Oblivion by any means, and Eldemore answered my summons. The earth shook as the world's magic flowed to meet the command, and from it erupted the Obsidian Gates, an otherworldly architecture that I had never laid eyes on before...
Sealer...I must rest. It's too much. No doubt you wish to know what happens next, but I must take a moment to breathe. Tomorrow I will tell you the end...
• You commanded Eldemore itself to summon the Obsidian Gates? So then, that's how Oblivion was sealed away and why this all started...
Seraphina: Yes, the earth shook violently as it awoke at my summons. My will to stop my brother spurred Eldemore to bring forth those black gates, that hellish prison whose magic and presence was not of this world, nor should it ever be...
As they jutted forth from the ground like a mighty titan, all those who bore witness to the event gazed upon it with terror and silent awe. Those dark Obsidian Gates slowly opened their entrance with a bone shattering groan. Its creaking metal silenced the battlefield as their screeches split the skies and made you kneel in pain from the horrendous, ear-splitting sound. Finally, as the gates cast their doors far and wide, a hoard of chains as thick as tree trunks erupted from the gate's dark depths, skittering across the bloodstained ash as if they were alive, eagerly seeking out their prey, til at last they found it.
Those chains quickly began to snake themselves around Oblivion's massive form as he tore at them violently. The more he broke, the more that would come to replace them as he tried in vain to get away. They seared into his scales and flesh, binding him into submission as he cried out in pain. I watched in horror as my brother fell to the ground, subdued and made silent like a common beast. His gaze fell on me one last time as he was being dragged backwards into the waiting maws of unknown darkness. I could see the tears in his dark gaze as all his rage and sorrow had left him for that one moment...there, I saw the old Sully I once knew. I could feel him cry out my name with fear and confusion at what was going to happen to him and his people...and then, with the sound of rolling thunder, the Obsidian Gates closed, and all became hushed across the ashen plain.
The earth began to shake one last time, as a great quake split the land around the gates and to the ocean. Those that were left alive scrambled to safety, and from the edges of the land, we all watched as Eldemore rejected that ash stained battlefield, casting the island out to sea, a forbidden place you now know as the Ashmoors. That was Oblivion's once eternal prison, before he was set free.
So now you know how all this began, Sealer. Understand that what is happening now was not your fault, but my own. Because I did not stop to see the good in humanity like my brother, it ultimately drove a rift between us, and then led to the horrible decisions made thereafter. Hopefully, with your help, there is still time to mend all the wrongs I have caused...
• I can't believe you created a blood bond with Eldemore itself. Aren't those forbidden? You can barely create even one blood bond before you-- Seraphina! Are you going to be okay?
Seraphina: Your concern for my well being is heartwarming, but please, do not fret for someone as old as I, Sealer. There is yet still time to change our Fates.
Yes, Eldemore is more alive than most know or come to comprehend. The very life giving magic that flows through us all originates from Eldemore, and now with that magic being sapped away, Eldemore is slowly dying all around us, in more ways than one.
Sealer...when I created a blood pact with the world itself, I bound the entirety of my soul to these lands both as its guardian and protector, as well as its prisoner. But understand the dangers of using that forbidden magic which entices the desperate or foolish, for the old, tired woman you see before you is a reflection of our world's current state. When Eldemore dies, so too shall I perish with it, but what is far worse is that everyone who carries magic within their veins will slowly suffer and disappear until all that is left are humans and an empty realm with echos of a past wrought with sorrow.
What you see happening now, Sealer -- the magic slowly being choked from these lands, the trueborn races and creatures affected by this curse til they suffer and die from madness and agony, all happened then as well. The curse is Oblivion's pain and turmoil manifested to infect the world around him. It is a dark, contorted magic filled with grief, anger, rage, and sorrow, and it will choke the life from its victims until they too experience all of what he felt on that day before succumbing to it.
That is why it is so important that we stop Oblivion. He will not relent in his conquest til Eldemore withers and dies, and he knows that the more he strangles the magic from this realm, the weaker I'll become, til even I will be unable to protect you all from his terrible might. I have tried my best to use what magic I have left to keep Eldemore alive, but soon, even that will not be enough...
You step close to the bushes as you had done for the past two days now. It seems this Trickster Ancient dubbed 'Dolos' still wished to play his game of hide-n-seek as you notice those bright green eyes flicker with laughter within the thick foliage once more -- peering at you with an invitation to come play yet again.
Expecting the usual to happen, you roll your own eyes playfully before taking another step forward, however, instead of the young Ancient disappearing with a glee-filled taunt like so many times before...
He erupts from the bushes with a deep growl!
You cry out in horrific fear as you are suddenly knocked back from the unexpectedness of it all. Your breath escapes you and your heart beats madly in your chest, trying its best not to burst from being scared half to death by what appeared to be a giant, smiling dragon fox!
A single, large black paw weighs down on your stomach as the Ancient peers down at you with that same inquisitive bright green gaze as before. He flashes you a fox-like grin, his smile a bit unnerving for a moment there, as you feel like a piece of prey caught under this creature's grasp, before suddenly he begins to laugh with a boyish-tone to his young voice.
Dolos: "HAHA! I got you, Sealer! Bet you weren't expecting that, huh? I win!"
No. No you were not expecting that at all. You finally get your breath back as Dolos moves his paw off of you, only to prance and hop around the glade with child-like eagerness, his long swaying tail following close behind. It was only then you realized that this Ancient was actually quite large -- and this one was supposed to be a child? He was as big as Seraphina's caravan! And that wasn't including his slender wings or long fluffy tail.
Dolos: "I've heard a lot about you, Sealer! Everyone is talking about you these days, even the Ancients. Did you really release Oblivion again? Do you really have an uncontrollable habit of collecting everything that moves? How many pets do you have now? Are there any other weird hobbies or odd things you do? Do you like to play games? Oh, how about we play--"
Dolos was talking a mile a minute as he peppered you with question after question. You were starting to see how you must have first appeared to Seraphina when you arrived, but you could not help but smile somewhat at Dolos for his youthful charm. However, you had your own questions to ask him.
You: "Dolos, right? Seraphina and I wanted to know why you've come here. She said you usually stayed near the Flickering Vales. Can you tell me why you are so far away from your home?"
Dolos paused mid-sentence in his interrogation of you as large prong fox-like ears laid back to give him a more meek appearance.
Dolos: "Oh, that...with the magic slowly fading from everywhere, and with the creatures slowly going mad from this curse, the Vales aren't safe anymore. Even the spirits there are becoming restless! And that's not good. Not good at all..."
The young Ancient shook his head back and forth solemnly at that last statement. Bright green eyes, which were once filled with glee, now only reflected fear and uncertainty. However, you had to press him for more...
You: "What do you mean, Dolos? What's not good? Is something bad happening there?"
Dolos looks back to you with sadness and fear to his young voice,
Dolos: "My magic used to help keep things calm there. I looked after the Celtic people and kept the bad spirits at bay from their villages, that's what I'm known for after all, I trick and chase away the evil spirits so they don't harm my friends."
Dolos: "But there is a dark one there. He's not what he once was...not anymore. He was nice back then, but now, after the Oblivion Wars -- the magic disappearing from this realm has awoken him from his slumber...and his power is greater than mine. There was nothing I could do...so I-I ran to find help. When I felt Seraphina's strong magic nearby I knew I had to come find her! She's the most powerful of all the Ancients! Everyone knows that. She can help...right?"
It was hard to understand what exactly he was saying. You had no idea who this dark entity was that made the young Ancient so fearful. Clearly it was not Oblivion, otherwise you had a feeling that Dolos would have simply said so -- this was someone else it seemed. But then, who or what had chased the Ancient from his home? As you looked to Dolos you could not bring yourself to press him for more information as he seemed to be shaking slightly from recalling these harrowing memories. It seemed like the ordeal he suffered at the Flickering Vales had taken its toll on the young individual, but you made sure to reassure him with a steady voice.
You: "Don't worry, Dolos. I'm sure Seraphina can help. After all, she's helped just about everyone right? She can do anything!"
Dolos seemed gradually reverted back to his more hopeful self as you spoke those words of encouragement. A weak smile now turned into a broad fox-like grin once more before his ears and tail perked up at receiving aid.
Dolos: "I knew it! I knew she'd help! Oh, but...um -- is it alright if I stay here with you guys? I promise not to jump out from the bushes again. Oh, and you and I can play some games that the Celts taught me! And I can tell you all about my home and the people there, too. Oh, and the yummy snacks they make! And all the stories, and--"
You smile warmly at how comfortable this Ancient made you feel as he reverted back to his excited, talkative self. He would certainly be welcome company in such dark times, but you knew you had much more to ask Seraphina now as your mind wondered to what Dolos had said before about the trouble brewing in the Flickering Vales.
Everywhere you turn, your actions once again set off a chain of events that only seem to be causing Eldemore to fall into more disarray and chaos. You only hope there is some way to fix this all in the end...
Seraphina: "Sealer, it is almost time for you to leave this place once again, but I have enjoyed speaking with you this past week. You allowed an old woman like myself to share her troubles with you, and for that, I can not thank you enough."
You listen to Seraphina speak with sadness in your heart. After everything you have learned you can't help but feel that you had only caused her trouble and heartache, but as you look to the fortune teller now, all you can see is kindness and mystery in those vibrant, violet eyes of hers.
Seraphina: "Now that you know the past, it is time to prepare and brace yourself for the future. If you are ready to tread this path, allow me to guide you to your next destination. As you recall, Dolos mentioned the Flickering Vales were in turmoil. No doubt the magic being drained from that place is causing many spirits to become restless once more. May I ask you to investigate? There is an old friend there that I fear may be suffering without your help."
There is no way you could refuse, since you were curious as well, but also you felt it was the least you could do since Seraphina herself requested your aid. You give her a small but reassuring nod to confirm your answer.
Seraphina: "Thank you, Sealer. I actually have something that may be of help to you while you are there. Remember the potion that you've been helping me to make? Well, it seems our efforts have paid off, and I was able to produce a few drops from the herbs you brought me. Here, keep it safe. This can heal the gravest of wounds, be they for the living or the dead...I have a feeling you may need it where you are going next."
You gingerly take the small, precious vial which barely held three drops in it's tiny glass case. Carefully you placed it on your person, before looking to Seraphina with a worried gaze. You feel somewhat reluctant to leave her presence...
Seraphina: "Do not worry for me, Sealer. I will be fine. I promise to do everything I can to give you enough time to prepare before we must face Oblivion again. But before that, you must start on a very long journey that will no doubt take you all across Eldemore, and beyond. Go back to where it all began for you...back where you first received your title as 'Sealer', where you did the impossible and closed a torn rift, back to the Flickering Vales."
Seraphina: "There, your path will start anew. You must gain the aid of the four races to prepare for the battle ahead. Elvian, Avain, Wolfkin and Humans must heal their past differences and old wounds before they can gather to fight back Oblivion and his followers. You will help be the thread that ties them all together, and this time, Fate will be rewritten to help mend all the damage of the past..."
You feel your chest tighten somewhat at all this. It seemed impossible that one individual could ever gather an army with so many who seemingly despised each other. However, for the hundredth time during your stay, Seraphina seemed to already have read your thoughts and doubts as she spoke once more with a warm smile.
Seraphina: "Do not fret, Sealer. You will not face this alone. No one changes the world by themselves. Rely on your friends, family, and loved ones. Take courage in the companions and bonds that you have made, for they will all be your wings and your strength when you falter in your resolve. You are not alone, Sealer. You will never truly be alone, that, I promise you."
In that moment, you could not hold back a tearful smile as you rushed to give Seraphina a swift hug. Her presence was calming and filled with warmth.
As you turn to leave and pack your things, she lets you know that she will remain here for a few more days until you are prepared to go, even offering to share tea and answer any remaining questions you may have, as you spend what time you have left with both her, Fiore and Muzu.
-End of the 2nd Anniversary Event-