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Paragon Forgotten Chapter 25

Pegasi: live 15-20 years

Appearance: walks on four hooves. Wings extend out from behind shoulder blades. Have hair down the length of their long necks and hair for a tail. Bodies covered in short hairs, color ranging from brown, white, black, and gray. Average 10 hands high at their withers.

Population: 50,000

Contribution: cargo-carrier

Realm: Mount Jharell

Namesake: Their last names are the mountain peak they live on. First names end in “sphere”.

Torc: Opasphere Sphorix

- “A Youngling’s Guide to Eloshian Races, year 2,862”


Shollomoon called out behind him with a tone of impatience. “Cohthel—”

“No.” He thrust a finger at her. He couldn’t place this wicked emotion shredding his insides, but he felt it all the same and it needed release, needed answers, needed someone to blame. “I’m done allowing myself to be treated like a child, expected to follow along like a good little boy and not question. Fate wants me to carry the sword, but won’t tell me why. I’m expected to carry it for someone else, but won’t tell me who.” Fire erupted across his knuckles, energized with a fury so hot he could pound the stone walls into dust.

He spun back abruptly to the door.

Markie stopped him with a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Evermore…”

“No, Markie.” Cohthel stared straight forward. “I’m not going to blindly obey anyone anymore.” Not anyone. Not Mother. No more.

He took a step forward, passed Markie who tried to form words in his disbelief, but Cohthel only stopped when Shollomoon erupted behind him.

“Wait.” Shollomoon strode toward Cohthel. Before he had decided to fight or run, she set a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Think about it overnight.” Then she walked out of the shrine, the summoned sword still hovering above the two boulders.

If Shollomoon believed leaving the sword unguarded would spur Cohthel into taking custody of it, she was deluded. He followed Fate’s Cleric, who vanished through the trees. Markie stayed in step with Cohthel along the footpath back to camp.

As Cohthel expected, Markie opened with parental chastisement.

“Evermore, I understand you not wanting to be treated like a boy, but I don’t think that’s what Fate was doing to you.”

“Markie, I spent sixteen years with my mother, believing everything she said about my father, but then I proved her wrong, and she still refuses to tell me. I’m done doing the blind bidding of adults and goddesses. If she wants me to wield this knuckling, mysterious sword so bad, she can give me all the answers. If she won’t, then the sword must not be important.” Cohthel stretched out his stride to overcome Markie’s, rubbing his chin and wondering if the faintest prickle of a starting beard had not sprouted on his chin.

He found Atalixsphere asleep, along with most of the camp. He prepared his bed and laid down, a certain satisfaction filling him with ego, reflecting how Thaen would react when Cohthel told him.

His dream opened in a way he’d never experienced. As soon as he opened his eyes to his dream, not only did he immediately realize it was a dream, but he also retained the presence of mind to understand the dream was all very wrong.

He stood on what looked like a giant glass sphere. Colors and shapes swirled inside the sphere and looked — honestly — like what a dream is supposed to look like, except he stood on top of it. This sphere floated in a black universe. He had the disturbing impression that if he looked hard enough, he’d see the inside of his brain.

A short bridge made of unknown material stretched narrowly out from his feet, connecting another bridge and another sphere. A woman stood in the center where both bridges connected.

She had cut her black hair as short as Thaen’s but for a long sweep of bang hiding her right eye. The symmetry of her nose and eyes perplexed the typical human plaster as if a god formed her in an eon far different than his.

Her body could only have been forged, some blacksmith god pounding her limbs and torso full and firm so nothing but the same forge irons could rip her apart again. Her brazen skin exposed by the radiance of the sphere glowed as if the flames from which she was molded still beat in her veins.

Comparing her to the jeweled glitter of Fate’s Shrine, the white glory of a unicorn’s liquid light, the entire gather of celestial star-fire would slander her countenance.

He would not guess her age, for as soon as he guessed twenty, he beheld a new expression capturing a thousand thoughts and emotions rolling together in one glance earned only those who have lived through experience. He sensed the Paragons in her presence as if she had touched them once, and he should kneel.

“Hiya, Cohthel,” she said. Her voice relaxed him. She seemed familiar with this scene, though he didn’t know where his dream mind had conjured her.


“I heard what you said to Fate and Shollomoon and I thought it was appropriate to meet with you myself.” She paused, looking at the darkness beyond where he knew his brain was. “I want to stress the importance of this sword. How can we compromise?”

“This isn’t a dream, is it?”

“It’s a detached dream, leaving you still asleep but mind-conscious inside a dream.” She tilted her face downward, to his sphere, watching the dream images churn beneath. Though winter and nighttime, her skin was not faded sable, but remained the daylight tone of burnt-gold.

“Okay. How did I get ‘dream detached’, and who are you?”

“Manipulating dreams…it is my R’th.” She smiled with a sad quirk of her upper lip.

Cohthel wasn’t aware of any other kindred with R’th, so rare that Fate gifted them.

She must have translated the shocked expression on his face. “I am old, Cohthel. I was one of the last…kindred to receive R’th from Astorous himself before he stopped giving them.”

He knew this was a dream because none of it made sense. However, his brain wasn’t smart enough to conjure these imaginations on his own. Maybe R’th was involved in ways he didn’t understand.

“You haven’t explained who you are.”

That sad smile again. “I could, in all honesty, tell you a name which means nothing to you, but you’d be satisfied because your ignorance of my identity doesn’t know any better. But you expressed so profoundly that you are not a boy, so I will talk to you like a man, which means I won’t lie to you. I will not give you a fake name. And because I’m protecting information, I will not tell you who I am.”

“Then I will not carry that knuckling sword.”

She looked around their black surroundings, then at the vibrant, swirling orb he stood on. “Can I cross onto your bridge so I can speak to you better?”

“Cross?” Cohthel looked but saw nothing preventing the woman from crossing without permission. “I suppose.”

She stepped forward, crossing his short bridge onto his sphere. Without apparently doing anything, the woman and Cohthel sunk through the swirling orb. Cohthel felt no sensation; no temperature, no texture, not even the turning of his stomach as images swirled him around so, in the next blink, he was sitting at home at the kitchen table.

This dream built and furnished his house exactly as he remembered. Same colors, same worn wood floor, curtains. He sat at the table. The unnamed woman sat across him. Mother sang to herself at the stove while she made dinner.

“Better?” said the woman.

Cohthel scowled at Mother.

“Ah, that’s right.”

Mother left the stove with a bowl of Cohthel’s favorite stew and set it in front of him.

“Cohthel,” Dream Mother said, “I am very sorry I didn’t tell you about your father sooner. But look, he’s here!” she pointed down the short hallway and out stepped a man, his face exactly how Cohthel remembered from the portrait Mother drowned in her bucket of mop water.

“Hiya, Cohthel!” Dream Father waved, but that wasn’t correct because Father always called him Evermore.

Dream Mother walked toward Dream Father, who embraced and kissed her. They separated and Mother returned to the stove and Father went outside. Cohthel heard muffled hammer blows through the wall.

“You can see into my thoughts,” he said.

“No. I see your memories, and toss them together for a scene of my making.”

Unbidden, Cohthel’s staunch refusal to cooperate with this unnamed R’th woman loosened even knowing Dream Father wasn’t real.

“Your name?” Cohthel reminded.

“I will answer questions, Cohthel, but I cannot answer that one. And I’m admitting that because I will not lie to you.”

“And what’s so special about your name that I don’t deserve to hear it?” He grinned with triumph, the essence of man building in him while he challenged the world.

“Because you already know it.”

“If I already know then you have no reason not telling me.”

“You know my name comes with a bad connotation. I see that in your memories. I don’t want biased rumors connected to my name. Knowing my name will make you know another, and the less kindred who know that name, the more stable Mortal Earth will remain.”

He leaned back in his chair, impressed with this dream-making woman and the realistic wood-on-wood squeal the chair legs made. “Okay, so you won’t tell me your name. Fine. Tell me about the rightful owner of the sword you want me to carry. Why can’t he carry it? If you don’t answer that I’ll blink three times and wake up.”

She nodded in submission, her single long bang fanning past her cheek like the wing of a crow. “The man whom you are keeping the sword for cannot wield it at this time because he keeps dying.”

Cohthel leaned forward, dropping his arms. “He what?”

“Keeps dying.”

A long silence followed, Mother’s singing morphing into humming.

“That’s not possible.”

“It is for him.”

“What do you mean for him? Only the Paragons compel the dead back to life, a celestial blessing diviners say they’ve never done. And won’t.”

“The Paragons don’t bring him back to life. When he dies, he’s reborn over and over by natural conception.”

Cohthel opened his mouth. Closed it.

“Next question.”

Cohthel feared to ask. “What is this man’s name?”

“I will not give his name. I’m protecting his identity like he and Shollomoon are protecting mine. Unfortunately, rumors have proceeded him and me, and neither of us are able to prove them wrong…or right. I only told you about his unstable mortality because I promised you an explanation.”

“What is your relationship with Shollomoon?”

“You better be careful with your questions because you won’t like the answers. I live in Shollomoon’s head. In her dreams. I can transfer to another one’s dream through touch. I just can’t access their dreams unless I get their permission.”

Cohthel remembered Shollomoon’s hand on his shoulder. Think about it overnight. “I didn’t give you permission to access my dreams. You asked if you could cross onto my bridge.”

“It meant the same thing.”

“How was I supposed to know?”

“I tricked you. I’m sorry. This is important.”

Cohthel scratched his head in irritation. “You said you were one of the last kindred to receive R’th from Astorous himself before he disappeared. So you were alive before the Kingdom formed?”


“What is Shollomoon to you?”

“A willing host. She was there when I died and offered me to reside in her dreams.”

“…Before the Kingdom formed.”

“Before the Kingdom formed.”

This knowledge punched him in the face. No one guessed Shollomoon’s age. Cohthel feared to.

“These are secrets I am trusting you with.” She clasped hands in front of her and leaned over the table, gaze intent. R’th light glowed from her irises. “I promised I would not treat you like a boy, so I will not keep all secrets from you. You are tired of secrets, aren’t you?”

All this information churned his brain into whipped milk. He’d hold an intimate embrace with prejudice until he awakened — a true testament verifying the reality of this dream.

“Next question.”

Cohthel didn’t want to ask more questions, not when she spoke of one man dying over and over, reading minds, fabricating dreams, and confessed Shollomoon’s age. “Why is the sword important?”

“Common knowledge says R’th regulates all life. R’th controls the population by controlling procreation…not death. However, sometimes events become greater threats to life than mere overpopulation. Wars, for example. R’th has a little-known side job: protect life. The Paragons will not intervene, but they are not ignorant to their children’s needs.” Her expression shifted. Deep sorrow. Regret. Loss. She cleared her throat and shifted in her chair, straightening her spine. “The Earth R’th will sometimes create an object tailored to a specific threat, and then delivers this object to the one kindred it analyzes will do the best job to both use the object and eliminate the thing killing life.

This sword is named Cinder Dream. The Earth R’th spit this out at my feet and explained in its sentient way that the R’th fashioned the sword specifically to kill a terrible man on Mortal Earth. This man is still alive and will soon taint Mortal Earth. He calls himself the Dreamer.” A long pause Cohthel didn’t dare break. “Cinder Dream presented itself to me knowing I was the most qualified to kill him with it.”

Her sincerity tore into Cohthel’s rebellion to tell a goddess no, leaving him childish and stupid beneath the false bravado he displayed to Shollomoon and Markie.

“So I ask, Cohthel,” she raised her chin, her single bang covering half her right eye, “if you will carry this sword for me. Because I can’t yet. It’s not a normal sword at all. It is sentient. So don’t startle when it changes shapes or…anything else it does.” She pushed her chair back and stood. “Blink three times when you’re ready to wake up.”

“One more question.”

She stopped but did not turn.

“What makes you the most qualified to kill the Dreamer?”

She didn’t speak right away, fists clenching in and out. “I killed him once already. He didn’t completely die. I learned then the only way to kill him forever, is if we die together at the same time. As in, same sword, same stroke.” She left the kitchen closing the front door behind her with a gentle snick.

Father came into the living room from outside and entered the kitchen. “Hey, Cohthel, I heard you’ve been working on your sword fighting. Come show me what you’ve learned.”

Even Dream Father’s voice replicated what Cohthel remembered. Cohthel would never receive this dream again, made special for him. Illusion, unreal, gone when he woke, Cohthel rose from the table. Father and he sparred until Cohthel woke against his will with the dawn.

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