Chapter 17:


Xorsis : Invasion\Lost

Chapter 15: Freedom?

The carriage stopped at the farthest place in the north it could go and they got off.

“Thank you for the ride,” Nia bowed at the carriageman, who was counting the money. He nodded and turned his carriage.

“I think if we walked twenty minutes more, we’d reach the gates,” Mersoy said. “Well. Before that, time to make some arrangements.

“What arrangements?” Nia asked.

“Just trust me. Don’t look nervous when the showtime comes,” Mersoy smirked.

And she led the other two to a shop.

Five minutes later, three people emerged from the shop and headed towards the gates. One of them carried a backpack. But that was the only notable thing about them as they three looked fairly Cridelfordian. The tallest girl was wearing glasses. The boy was wearing a hat (and no one could notice his curly hair underneath). The smaller girl was wearing a pink hooded cape, and her hair was tied up. Nothing was strange about them, capes were common in fashion in Cridelford.

Then the trio walked to the city gates. There weren’t any buildings there, only two guards were standing, patrolling the gates. They stopped, evidently surprised to see common people in the gates.

“We’re going for a hike, please let us out!” The hooded girl said as pleasantly as she could.

“Go home, kid.”

“Ah. You’re not even letting your fellow Cridelfordians leave?” the taller girl sighed dramatically.

“Cridelford is under Tokrei investigation,” one of the guards said, “Obviously we can’t let anyone get out.”

“Then maybe this would change your mind?” the tallest girl said cooly, and threw a handful of golden coins at them. The coins fell on the ground.

The guards were alarmed.

“All that gold is triple your monthly pay, isn’t it? Let us out.” she said.

“There’s a strange air about you three,” one of the guards said, squinting his eyes at them.

The taller girl rolled her eyes.

“Well, who cares?” the guard shrugged, “You’ve got money, all right. We’ll let you out.”

“I don’t give a damn about your pathetic country,” Mersoy swore under her breath, and then walked out, Nia and Aez following her, trying to keep the same confident demeanor as her.

When they were deep inside the forest, Mersoy took off her glasses and Nia her cape.

“I’m not sure how they keep wearing these capes,” Nia said, sighing, “It gets too hot!”

As they walked for a few more minutes, suddenly, Nia stopped. She looked around the place, and looked at Aez. They nodded at each other, and then Nia said, “Mersoy, can you wait a minute?”

Both Aez and Nia walked a relatively empty area a few feets away. Being curious, Mersoy followed them too, and stopped behind them, as she saw them kneeling down next to a certain place on the ground. There was a sapling in front of them.

“Leo,” Nia whispered.

“Leo found a new life,” Aez whispered in a comforting voice.

“It’s not him, I know that Aez,” Nia sighed, “It’s okay. You don’t have to worry,” she said as Aez looked at her with a concerned face. They were whispering among them, talking about something. But none of them really reached her ears.

The way he looks at her.

Mersoy turned away from them.

The memories of a certain face were knocking at the surface of her mind again.

“If you are ever sad, you can talk to me!” A young pretty girl with clear blue eyes told another girl, who was in ragged filthy clothes, sitting on the ground, “I’ll be there. Now, now, get up!” She extended her hand to the other girl on the ground. “I’ll be your friend, don’t worry, okay?” she said, though her face was full of concern as the other girl didn’t reply at all at first. Then the other girl extended her hand.

It was all so long ago, yet I still remember them.

Mersoy sighed.

There was a puddle of water nearby. Mersoy looked at her reflection in the water.

Those blue eyes. Now hers.

It all happened so fast back then. Mersoy didn’t remember any more what she felt - but the responsibility she now felt for having her eyes was heavier than back then. Maybe because back then, she was sure of the direction she’d have to go - she thought the scroll was a solution to everything. To feel free from that burden, to ease the pain.

The pain had now faded from the surface and resorted to a deeper part of her psyche. But the responsibility had grown heavier - because where she’d have to go, what she’d have to do wasn’t clear to her anymore.

Mersoy shook her head and stood straighter.

Azura. Idoph. Cinthia.

Even now closing her eyes, she could see the faces of the people who were precious to her.

You would have wanted me to go on despite all these things. She closed her eyes. And so, I can’t turn away from this anymore now. Because I’ve become an integral part in this whole story, even though it’s not just mine.

But whose story is it? That’s to be found.

And for the sake of all of you, I’ll see an end to these things.


Aez’s voice broke into her reverie.

“Are you two done already?” Mersoy asked, scowling.

“Yeah. I’m sorry,” Nia said, giving a weak smile. “Leo was really… special to us. You probably won't understand, and you probably don’t want to hear. But yeah, that’s it. I’m sorry if it bothered you, Mersoy. But it’s all right now.”

They resumed walking.

Mersoy walked them to the place from where Mersoy was discovered. There was supposed to be a giant tree there. Judging by the paths they had taken, they weren’t misdirected. And there were no mistakes in their paths.

But surprisingly enough, the giant tree was missing.

Nia gaped at the empty place. Without the tree it looked very odd.


Mersoy scowled at the empty place. This wasn’t supposed to be like that, was it? The forest spirit was supposed to be here. After all, it had been stuck in its tree form for centuries, and it had never been able to go anywhere. Then, where did the tree disappear all of a sudden? It made no sense!

She walked forward, examining the place. There was something shining on the grass. Bending down, she scrutinized it. She expected it to be a small weapon, but no, she had been wrong. It was something else. Mersoy squinched her brows, and touched the silvery stain on the grass.

“What is it?” Aez asked, hunching down on the grass next to her.

“I… I don’t know,” Mersoy said, still looking at the stain.

“It left a trail,” Nia said, pointing at the other silvery stain in the area. “Should we follow it?”

“Yeah, we have to. Let’s go.” Mersoy answered, and standing up, she started running, following the trail.

But they didn’t have to go too far. All of a sudden, Mersoy stopped in her tracks, not being able to believe what lay in front of her. Aez and Nia walked to her side and looked at it, gasping in shock.

The forest spirit - though no one other than her would know it - was lying on the green grass, its whole body filled with the silver stain - its blood. Its branchlike body was broken into several pieces, lying all around her. The green leaves were gone. The spirit glanced at her with its now dim green eyes, blinking. Without further delay, Mersoy rushed to it.

Aez and Nia were still shocked that something like this could exist, and then realising that it too, was critically injured and there was almost no chance of its survival, they followed Mersoy. Mersoy caught hold of one of its branches, and the spirit then started speaking.

“There you are. Have you accomplished the mission?” A feminine voice said.

There was a moment’s pause.

“I haven’t.” She said quietly.

The spirit sighed. “I guess it’s all over now. This is how I die. Without the things I ever wanted. Without any of them. Without the dream of flying fulfilling me.”

“But I can’t let things end here. So I’ll go on,” Mersoy said.

The forest spirit widened her eyes. “Without the undead forces - you alone won’t be able to do anything. Do you get that or not?”

“I won’t be alone,” Mersoy shrugged, “There are two others with me.”

“Pfft. Two others.” The forest spirit’s eyes hovered over Aez and Nia, “They are children, Mersoy.”

“Oh no, they are definitely not children,” Mersoy scowled, “I know what I’m doing. But don’t die on me now.”

Mersoy brought out the necklace she always wore. The amulet was shining dimly.

Mersoy grimaced. “The healing powers of the sea-serpent. It’s almost fading, but it’s enough to keep you alive for a little bit more.”

She put it on the forest spirit. The spirit looked relieved, though it wouldn’t last long.

“Tell us your story,” Aez said.

The spirit took a deep breath and started.

“You see, I was born into this world centuries, maybe thousands of years ago. I can’t remember. I was fully a spirit, an existence without a body. So was the other one - the one you call water spirit now. We were always asleep, dreaming away leisurely.

“I can’t remember when, but a woman brought us out from our reverie. ‘It’s time,’ she said. And then, I don’t know how, but I found myself in the form of a dragon. So did he, the water spirit. We were grateful to the person who gave us these forms, and so, we helped her in her work, driving away enemies.”

“Enemies? Whose enemies?” Aez asked, “And who was that person?”

“Her name was,” the spirit took a deep breath, “Aura.”

“And Aura is a legendary Estoycan spearwoman. Essentially, a pure fiend who could walk in the lands as well,” Mersoy said, and Aez wrote down the information quickly. “But that’s all I know about her. I wasn’t into mythology back then.”

The forest spirit continued, “The enemies… I don’t remember well. But I know for one thing for sure, that one day, we lost the long term battle with them. The water spirit did what was right. He took Aura and dived into the water. The other fiends followed her. After that, they didn’t leave the water.

“Until the land part of Estoyca was established,” Mersoy completed for her, “And part-fiends started to exist.”

“Who made the pure fiends into part-fiends?” Nia asked.

Mersoy shrugged. “We don’t know… yet.”

“The water spirit escaped, and what happened to you?” Aez asked the forest spirit. “You were supposed to be a dragon, how come you’ve become this tree?”

“They. They could only get their hands on me,” the spirit’s eyes bulged. “They took away my wings and my freedom. From a glorious form, they turned me into this monstrosity who can’t move, who can’t change anything at all.

“And so I waited. I waited. I waited for thousands of years. I noticed changes around where I lived from the tall place. I saw civilisations being built, I saw humans being trampled and I saw demons hiding among humans. I waited, while desperately waiting for a chance, just one chance so that I could get back what was mine rightfully.

“And then, one day, a group of people came by. They told me that it was right. That what I felt was valid. They knew what exactly happened to me. And they wanted to rescue me from the darkness I was bound to forever. I could fly again, I could be free again - if only - if only I did what they asked me to do. And I was willing to go through any measures to do it, after all these thousands of years. Because I had given my soul to the memories of flying, and to the desires of experiencing that all over again. And so, I agreed.

“They gave me an ancient scroll. If I did what I had to do, I’ll be able to fly again, they’ll set me free from that monstrosity. And so, like they advised me to do, I did it. I told several lies to the Nevidilandians, the country which was right next to this forest once.”

“You said that the scroll was powerful. That it would bring a marvelous future to the bearers only until the scroll would turn red,” Mersoy replied.

She brought out the scroll from Aez’s bag. “And this does have dark red patches in it.”

“Those who gave me the scroll, said that there had to be a bloodbath by the time the scroll’s colour would become red. Unless I managed to do that, I’d never be free from this form. And so I threatened the Nevidilandians. I told them I’d kill them all unless they killed people. I said when the scroll would turn red - I’d have started that action.”

“And that’s why, to save themselves from you,” Mersoy concluded. “After Estoyca was seized by Pensylan, and then Crilania - old Cridelford seized parts of them, Nevidilandi suddenly came forward and started wars with them, that went on for years.”

“What?” Nia gasped, “The six year long war - the one we say as the ‘second major war of 1943’. That’s how it started?”

Mersoy shrugged.

“Aren’t things messed up,” Nia sighed.

“Fools,” Aez slapped his forehead, “The colour of the scroll turning red - that has to be a chemical reaction. If they knew it back then - they wouldn’t have been convinced by such a bad bluff.”

“I trusted those who gave me the scroll,” the forest spirit said. “But… time went on. Even after the bloodbath - nothing changed. I thought, maybe it wasn’t enough, but I didn’t know what to do. So I waited, again. In my rage, I killed the animals of this forest. But I didn’t harm anyone yet.

“Until… one day, I heard that there was an ambush in Nevidilandi. Someone stole the scroll.”

“It was me,” Mersoy said, “After finally locating the scroll in Nevidilandi, I stole it from the castle. The Nevidilandian prince caught me, but he let me go. He was a learned person. It was he, who told me that the scroll was nothing. I was in despair. And that’s when you,” Mersoy looked at the forest spirit, “You caught hold of me and kept me here for years. And I guess, realising it all eventually, you killed all of Nevidilandi in one night.

“As you killed them, you had power over them. Somehow, you created weapons you could utilise.”

“And it was me, from the start, who started this invasion,” the forest spirit admitted quietly.

“Then… those undead,” Aez said, slowly, now placing her eyes at the dim green eyes of the spirit. “They are….”

“The old people of Nevidilandi, who died for nothing.” The forest spirit answered him. “I slaughtered them all. I made them my puppets who would follow me only.”

There was a long pause.

“And I waited. I knew… one day, they’d turn up again. There was no reason to provoke wars like this - unless there was a definite cause. And I was right. They are in Dottonex now.”

Aez didn’t say anything. Mersoy couldn’t see his expression as he looked at the ground.

“She infused this amulet,” Mersoy said to Aez, “with some of her powers. Just like the water spirit infused it with his healing powers. And that’s how, I was able to control the undead with that amulet.”

“It’s such a shame,” replied the forest spirit, staring blankly at the slit above through which sunlight appeared at her side. “But in the end, I still couldn’t change anything.”

Failure. Mersoy thought. But whether the forest spirit totally failed wasn’t something she could judge - she, who had been failing others all this time.

“Before my death,” the forest spirit said, “I’ll be releasing the last two swarms of undead I’ve saved up all this time. You don’t have to lead them, Mersoy. They can work independently. But I think, in time, you’ll be able to come up with something that’ll be good not only for us, but also for the whole world.”

“I don’t care about what happens to the world,” Mersoy said.

“But won’t those undead swarms kill common people?” Nia asked, taken aback at the spirit’s decision.

Mersoy scowled at her. “Unless that swarm is released, the Tokreians will find us quickly. We can’t let that happen. We have to live through this shit if we can take any action.”

The spirit smiled.

“Thank you, Mersoy.”

Thank you? What have I accomplished, in the end? Mersoy wondered.

And then, the forest spirit turned its head away from them. The wooden body started to emit a greenish glow. Slowly, like steam evaporating, the body of the spirit started to become transparent, and then started to disappear. It happened swiftly, and then, in the place in front of them, there lay nothing but the grassy meadow.

“Maybe, you can be free now,” Aez whispered, as the last dust of the remaining particles of the forest spirit’s body disappeared.