Realms of Destiny
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Grantig and Sephiron stood in silence as they approached the Death Keeper’s Gates. Despite its sinister name, the place is merely an entrance to a hall where the Death Keeper sits, keeping track of every Sylrill who die and come into existence. It was a bit of a misnomer as the hall had no visible gate to it, only an intricate marble archway fashioned into a shape of two Sylrills, one holding a book, dressed as a scholar; another holding a sword, dressed like a warrior. The top of the archway sat a dragon, symbol of the Sylrillian royal family. With the naked eye, the hall is small and empty.
“Isn’t the Death Keeper supposed to be in there? I don’t see anyone.” Sephiron asked, not liking the silence. The atmosphere was peaceful and tranquil, like all sacred grounds on Sylrillia, nevertheless he felt uneasy. “Should we come back some other time?” The Sky General turned to leave, but Grantig placed his hand on his shoulder.
“No. He’s in there.” Grantig said matter-of-factly. “The Death Keeper is always present.”
“But I don’t see…” Sephiron began.
“I take it you have never been here before?” Grantig asked with a sigh.
“Oh, and you have? What does that have to do with anything?” Sephiron asked, annoyed at what he recognized as Grantig knowing something he doesn’t.
“Look.” The Grand Maester said as he stepped towards the archway and stuck his staff, head-first through the archway which rippled. “And no, I haven’t been here before. It’s just common knowledge…for a Guardian at least.” With that, he stepped through the portal before Sephiron could find a retort.
“Well, unlike you, I have better things to do with my life than to spend it in the library like you.” He said, following the Earth Guardian.
As Sephiron stepped through the portal he was amazed that the other side looked a lot bigger than what he saw earlier, and it was not an empty hall at all. The Death Keeper’s Hall? He didn’t know a better word to use, the room was octagonal in structure, each wall, aside from the portal he just stepped through, was lined with tomes which all looked identical to him. The hall itself stretched as high as he could see and there weren’t many light sources, only a candle in each of the corners of the room every three stories or so up. At the moment, only the first level was lit.
“The Death Keeper’s Gate holds records of all Sylrill who lives and those who ever lived. It is the only sure place we can use to find out whether or not someone’s alive.” Said Grantig by way of explanation, seeing Sephiron stare at the amount of record files there are.
“I know that much, Grand Maester.” Sephiron shot back. “So where’s this Death Keeper anyway?”
“He’s right there.” Gestured Grantig, to a figure sitting straight across the hall from where they were stood. He was sitting so still on a chair that seemed to blend into all the dark hue of the place, clothed in all black, with long black hair and what looked like black bandages bound his eyes and parts of his face, including his nose and mouth. Sephiron did not notice him there before. And now that he had, he didn’t know what to think of this. This man is clearly blind, and yet he’s alone in a room filled with books. Furthermore, it is very rare to find a Sylrill with black hair and dressed in all black like that. The Keeper’s heartgem, Sephiron noticed, had a form of seal on it and is purple.
“Well then, let’s get this over and done with.” He said to Grantig, as he called over to the Death Keeper. “Death Keeper, we are Her Royal Highness Princess Miraina’s Guardians, we are here on a matter of utmost urgency.” The figure did not so much as move from his seat.
“He can’t hear you.” Said Grantig, not the least bit concerned. “The Death Keeper possesses none of the senses other than touch. He can’t see us, neither did he hear us come in, and even if he did, he cannot speak to you.”
“Then how are we supposed to –“ started Sephiron in annoyance. Why all the mystery in a time like this?
<Can I help you gentlemen? Sephiron Dragonblight and Grantig Shieldfall. You’ve been standing there for quite a while. Who’s fate do you seek? Perhaps I can help you look.>
“…so that’s how you communicate.” Said Sephiron under his breath. And I assume Grantig knew this and just wanted to see me act a fool…again. “Wait. I thought you said he was blind and deaf, how did he know it was us?” He turned to Grantig accusingly.
“He is blind to the material world yes, but he sees all souls, and I assume that he recognizes them too.” Answered Grantig. <Death Keeper Scythe, we are seeking the fate of Princess Miraina Agrias Sylrillan…and Solarus Phoenixdawn.>
<Solarus Sylrillia Phoenixdawn…and Princess Miraina Agrias Sylrillan of the Light…So King Menianos is dead.> Said Scythe as he walked to a column to his left. He did not sound upset that the King was dead. Life and dead would have been but ordinary things to him, dealing with them every day. Reigns come and go, so do monarchs. However, Grantig knew he could be wrong, it is not easy to sense emotions from telepathic communication after all; and the way Scythe’s face was bound, it was difficult to gauge emotions. Scythe’s head turned some way up on the shelf he had stood in front of. It seemed as though he was thinking to himself for a while. He then called forth his wings which, to Sephiron’s amazement, had black feathers.
“Is he a Sylrill?” Sephiron asked Grantig urgently in hushed tones, not trusting for the time that this guy is actually deaf.
<I’m more Sylrill than you are Lord Sephiron, I’m merely cursed. That is all.> With that he took off to the higher levels of the shelves. The candles lit his way. After four rows of candles, he seemed to have found what he was looking for. Scythe picked up a leather-bound tome, intricately designed with silver and golden linings, extremely well preserved. He brought it down and set it on a desk. <You will find all you need to know of the royal family in this volume.> He pushed the tome towards Grantig. <You may need these.>He reached across the table and handed Grantig what looked like a magnifying glass, gold around the edges with red lenses.
<I can see fine, Keeper, thank you.> Said Grantig, busy poring through the names already. Books are his territory, it would take him no time to read and even memorize all these names. Not that he had to, he only has to find one at the moment.
<Not without these, you can’t. At least, not what you came here for.> Scythe put the instrument on top of one of the pages and Grantig then realized what he meant. Both he and Sephiron could see that through those magnifying glasses, some of the names on the pages lit up with a spiritual flame. Some remained as they were, but those that lit up had flames that constantly changed colour. However, each flame had its own sequence and hue; they were all similar yet unique.
So that’s how he recognized me and Sephiron without having seen us. Grantig thought.
<Flames indicate that the Sylrill is alive. This Soul Glass allows you to see what I see. Now you can find the Princess and Master Phoenixdawn. If my memory serves, I believe that she is on page 820, and he’s…..possibly around 1200s. They’re quite a few lines removed after all.> Explained Scythe.
Without further ado, Grantig flipped to page 820 and sure enough Menianos’s royal line was there.
<Curious isn’t it? Ruler of all destiny, and among all these lives and deaths they are but one volume.> Added the Death Keeper.
Grantig took no time to interpret that comment. The King’s name did not light up under the Soul Glass, but to both Grantig and Sephiron’s relief, Miraina’s name did. Sephiron almost smiled in relief, just almost, but he did not as he remembered that there was Solarus as well. He quickly flipped the pages to the thousand two hundreds to Grantig’s annoyance, as he seemed to be reading the previous page.
“I would appreciate it if you did not do that again Sky General.” Said Grantig as he placed the Soul Glass over Solarus’s name. The name lit up. “There, are you happy now? This only proves that my theories were correct. I would only assume that Byakuron is alive as well. Now…” He flipped the page back to 820. “We have to find the person who would take their place in the meantime. The King has just died, and the Princess is yet to be found, the most suitable candidate just happened to have disappeared with her.” He ran the Soul Glass over the page and was amazed to see that the name just above Miraina’s also lit up: ‘Leorainos Rozen Sylrillian’. “Who…” Grantig began.
“Duke Balthamus is alive right?” asked Sephiron as he spotted the name from across the page which is the closest one after Miraina’s that was still alight. He grabbed the Soul Glass from Grantig’s hands and placed it over the Duke’s name. “His son is one of my Dragoon elites, and the Duke himself had been on the court for as long as the King’s been King.”
<Death Keeper, who is Leorainos Rozen Sylrillian?> Grantig asked Scythe, ignoring Sephiron completely.
<Probably just another Royal family member…so Duke Balthamus…>Said Sephiron, trying to ignore Grantig’s previous rudeness. Grantig knew that was obviously not the case. Sure, he was another royal family member, but not any royal blood, but a direct royal blood. Only those who belong to the direct line may use the lastname ‘Sylrillian’, otherwise it would appear in their middlenames in the form of ‘Sylrillia’, like Solarus’s middle name.
<Death Keeper, who is this person? He is a direct relative to the King and yet I have never heard of him. Why is it that his name is right below that of the King Menianos and the Qu-- > “…Queen Loraina.” Grantig said the Queen’s name out loud without knowing he did so, for what he saw surprised him even more than the mysterious name.
“I thought the Queen was dead!” exclaimed Sephiron out loud as he looked at the blazing letters under the Soul Glass. <Keeper, is this thing broken?> He held it up, questioning its abilities.
<So did I.> Added Grantig <Keeper, what is the meaning of this?>
<It means that the Queen is not dead. The Books do not lie, and the Glass works just fine. As you can see.> He held the Glass with the tip of his fingers and lowered it back down onto the page. <Regarding your earlier question, Leorainos Rozen was King Menianos’s first born. Son of King Menianos and Queen Loraina.>
<That is a lie. The Queen is dead and Princess Miraina is their only child and heir.> Said Sephiron.
<These Books do not lie and you know it Grand Maester!> Said Scythe, turning to Grantig for emphasis. <Perhaps, yours were the ones that did.>
For the first time, Grantig was at a loss for words. He knew what this meant. He didn’t want to believe it, but he had to. The Books of Life and Death do not lie, they cannot lie. That is why these names are still here now. It would be simpler to alter the records in the library, but it would be impossible to alter anything in this room, as no one actually writes them, they just came to be, and they change and update themselves without anyone having ever done anything to them. Grantig could only stare at the letters on the page. Under the black ink name of King Menianos he could see ‘Loraina Sylrillian Arielene’, ‘Leorainos Rozen Sylrillian’, and ‘Miraina Agrias Sylrillian’ all burning bright, each their own unique hue. Of course, if there was anyone else who knew about this, it would’ve been the King. He would have known, and yet he lied to everyone, including his daughter. Why? Grantig asked himself. However, there’s no time to worry about this. The reason behind what the King did would have to be dealt with later.
<Where are they Death Keeper? This is a matter of utmost importance, the Sylrillian throne is at stake.> Said Grantig to Scythe as he looked up from the book into the expressionless face of the Cursed Sylrill.
<Why are you asking me? My job is to know who’s alive and who isn’t. Nothing more.> Said Scythe.
<You must know. Because before we saw what we just did, no one but you knew of the existence of this…Prince, or that the Queen is still alive. Not even the Princess herself.> Grantig confronted Scythe.
<This is the first time I have heard that the Queen was dead myself. So I can’t say I know more about the Queen’s current whereabouts than you do.>
<Then you know where the Prince is.> Concluded Grantig. They glared at each other, or rather, Grantig and Sephiron glared at the Death Keeper, for long moments before Scythe spoke.
<It does not matter where the Prince is, as he is no longer an heir to the throne. Neither can he leave his current whereabouts. You should talk to Duke Balthamus…> With that he turned and walked back to his original sitting place and sat back down. <If you are done please leave that there, I shall put it back later myself.>
<You can’t just walk away from us like this!> Said Sephiron as he followed Scythe and laid a hand on his shoulder to stop him from going further.
<The affairs of the outside world do not concern me.> Said Scythe. He did not turn at Sephiron’s touch, he merely stood still.
<He’s right. You can’t...> Said Grantig, holding up the Soul Glass and looking through it towards the two who are in front of him. He could see two multicoloured flames burning, hues changing in a unique sequence. <You can’t walk out on Sylrillia…Prince Leorainos.>