Seadwellers: Lifespan 150+
Appearance: born common-form from the waist up. Below the waist is a long, thick, scaled tail averaging 5 feet long but known to reach measurements up to 8. Color of tail ranges across the entire spectrum.
Realm Location: underwater off the shore of the Human Realm
Namesake: Not being geo-located with the rest of the Kingdom, they have established their own language. Their typically long name comes from their new language and tells the life story of their deceased grandparent.
- “A Youngling’s Guide to Eloshian Races, year 2,862”
Sleep evaded Cohthel for hours. His fear over Father’s last words sprinted after his anxiety faster than his sleep chased after him. He finally slept, but only because his body demanded rest, even if his mind and heart clasped hands and danced.
A glow flickering over his eyelids woke him. He opened his eyes like the dead being forced back to life against their will. He remembered covering his R’th rock with the heavy black sack to darken it for sleep, and couldn’t, in his delirium, figure out why it glowed now. Limbs heavy with fatigue, he rolled over, taking longer than he should have if he were awake to verify his R’th rock remained smothered by the sack. The R’th glow came, instead, from his closet.
He stared, dumbfounded, at his closet door. R’th light had taken shape and appeared to, if he could believe it, dance inside his closet. What looked like a human arm made entirely of condensed R’th light pushed through the door without concern to metaphysics binding all mortals to its rules.
He shuffled barefoot across his wood floor, turned the knob, and inched the door open just enough for a single eye to assess what the knuckle was happening in his closet. His R’th-infused sword he’d set into the corner was gone, replaced, instead, with illusions made entirely of R’th light. The illusions moved without any attention to the four walls of his closet, appendages dipping through the wood as if through water.
His gaze went to the R’th woman first because he recognized the long sweep of bang dancing across her eye as she thrust an illusion of a R’th-made sword — his R’th sword Fate gave him — into the chest of the R’th man across the closet from her. Her sword buried deep inside the man’s chest, set him on fire with R’th light, and he, and this R’th woman, disintegrated. Seconds passed. R’th light gathered again, built the same illusion, and replayed it.
“What are you doing?” Cohthel asked his closet. He sat on the floor, watching the replay over and over, R’th glowing on his sable, winter-time face.
It’s not a normal sword at all, the Dream Woman told him. It is sentient. So don’t startle when it changes shapes or…anything else it does.
The R’th illusion of the Dream Woman stood now in his closet, murdering this unknown man. Cohthel consented against his will to believe his R’th sword was performing this unusual scene. Cohthel just wanted to know why. The illusion detailed the Dream Woman just as she appeared to him in his dream and asked him to carry her sword. Same hair cut, shoulder width, eye strain as if still unsure of the killing stroke she would make next.
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…I killed him once already.
Was this illusion the sword’s memory of her using it once before? Was it practicing now to be ready to perform again, triggered because Rodrue said the Dreamer’s name inside his room? Brought the Dreamer inside who Rodrue said was attached somehow to that wrist cuff he wore? Is that first memory of remembered use how the sword knows what the Dream Woman looks like…what this “terrible” man looks like?
Nothing on Mortal Earth could make this face, nothing Eternal Earth could imagine, the Paragons themselves still looking for a higher power to credit his glory. Though he still had the arched eyebrows, nose, eyes, and lips of any mortal human man, a celestial touch sheared him from the chaff and filled his flesh with eternity.
Perhaps his transcended face was owed to the R’th glow composing his form. Surely skin would dull his excellence, lessen him, making him more like the villain the Dream Woman killed after all and not someone worthy of sympathy and praise.
Over and over. The Dream Woman pulled back her sword, thrust it into his chest, he burned in illusioned R’th flames, and the scene vanished. Over and over.
Cohthel watched the man, this Dreamer, every scene. Watched the shocking detail of how the sword’s R’th light chose to detail him. His sunken eyebrows, distressing frown, a flick of his upward gaze the moment her sword ended his life…Cohthel felt sad for him. Noticed her betrayal the instant the Dreamer did. What affection binding the nameless Dream Woman to this man pushed her to murder his body in the same death-stroke as his heart?
Something transcended both their appearances. He studied them, knowing without knowing how, that something was not quite mortal about them, like how a sun burns for eternity until it explodes.
He sat, the entire time, wondering which one was the villain.
The scene vanished after the tenth time but did not rebuild. The R’th light gathered, compressed, and formed again the sword he left leaning against the wall in a corner of his closet. He closed the door.
He flopped back into bed, unaware he’d fallen asleep until heavy knocks pounded from somewhere in the house as if someone beat on a wall with a fist.
Cohthel jolted awake so hard he tweaked his neck. Disoriented, confused, and pissed-off that he had been woken up yet again, he stared into the darkness of his room. The fist pounded again. Cohthel isolated the sound to the front door. Floating on the fear of Father’s return, Cohthel suspected this mischief belonged to him. He grabbed his sword and stomped out of his room.
“Was that you?” Mother asked from the safety of her door, hair mussed and nightdress wrinkled.
Cohthel shook his head. Sleepless energy pinged every nerve and made him jittery. He opened the front door.
Three rangers stood outside, each holding a gold-glowing R’th rock to light their travels in the dark. Their matching uniforms matched the dark as well: dull greens and brown leather armor protecting chest, arms, and legs, armed with swords, knives, and each their own bow.
Cohthel read the dwarven-made time plate outside the door. The plate had shrunk to indicate the 2nd hour of the morning. Still delirious and angry from waking, Cohthel emitted a perky, “Hiya!”
“Are you Evermore Faunt?” a ranger asked.
Cohthel assumed they were probably asking if he knew where Thaen was since he didn’t report to school yesterday. “I am, but could you come back in the morning? This is a very odd—”
“We’re not here for social reasons. We’ve secured a warrant to search this house.”
Cohthel stared at them too long. His brain did not function well with so little sleep. He leaned the Dream Woman’s sword against the wall. “Umm…” He rubbed palms into his eye sockets. “A warrant?”
“We want to respect you and your property, so please cooperate with this warrant. We will either verify or deny the warrant’s claim, and then we will be gone. Is there anyone else in the house?”
Mother had sidled next to Cohthel, having heard the voices.
“What is the warrant for?” The slow build of frustration prickled his brain, waking him up.
“Torc Thoraus signed the warrant because of an anonymous tip that evidence of the kidnapped dragon eggs would be found in Evermore Faunt’s possession.”
“My possession! I didn’t—”
“Sir, please cooperate with the warrant. The severity of the crime gives us privilege to demand cooperation in any effect, but we want to avoid that. So please, cooperate and we will be gone.”
“I can’t believe this,” he muttered to Mother as the three rangers clomped into the house with their heavy boots. Of course Rodrue orchestrated this. To annoy me. Inconvenience me.
One ranger stayed in the living room, one went into Mother’s room, and another into Cohthel’s. Both Cohthel and Mother stayed together, huddled, by the front door.
“Ister, in here,” called the ranger from Cohthel’s room.
The ranger in Mother’s room walked out and into Cohthel’s.
Cohthel stepped toward his room but the ranger in the living room stopped him with a warning hand he upheld.
“Ospherate,” called a voice from Cohthel’s room. “Bring Evermore here.”
What did they find? Cohthel wanting to rush to his room a moment ago now wanted to sprint out the door. He held his sick gut as he walked down the hallway, the ranger behind him. They entered his room, the ranger kneeling beside Cohthel’s bed reached under and pulled out what looked like a chunk of broken ceramic.
Just one piece to the shattered puzzle. The ranger scooped the rest of the broken dragon eggshells out from under his bed.
Pale horror seized Cohthel’s chest the same instant the two rangers next to him grabbed him from both sides. He hardly noticed. His gaze fixed on the broken shells as if they would vanish back into the nightmare they escaped from.
“They’ve hatched,” the kneeling ranger said. “Where did you put them?”
“I didn’t do that! I don’t know how they got there!”
“We have a process that deals with facts and not emotions to decide your guilt or innocence. We will take you into custody while we investigate your involvement with the kidnapping.”
Padded leather cuffs were buckled around both Cohthel’s wrists behind his back. Feelings blurred together in his head, searching, grasping for an explanation and someone to blame.
“He didn’t do anything!” Mother wailed as the rangers walked Cohthel — barefoot, shirtless, handcuffed — out of his room. “Please! He’s innocent! Someone is trying to frame him!”
“It’s okay,” Cohthel said, but he didn’t know how he said it with horror paling everything inside him so he struggled to breathe. “They’ll get it worked out, Mother. I’ll be okay.”
He and the two rangers waited outside his house for a carriage to arrive. The third ranger said he would stay behind and protect the evidence until the proper entity gathered it.
A single horse arrived, pulling the enclosed iron carriage which opened for Cohthel. Everything inside him fighting to turn invisible and run away, he grit his teeth and followed their commands. Nothing says ‘guilty’ more than running away. But where would he go? They already knew where he lived. He could never return if he ran.
Despite that, if it weren’t for Mother’s insistence that he never use his invisibility, he would have had no hesitation using invisibility now for his gain, even having nowhere to run.
The carriage took him to the city bastille. He exited by the courtesy of his two ranger escorts, guiding him into the building and through an admittance process where they took everything from him — he left the house only in his pants — and gave him back a well-used pair of gray linen pants and a matching long-sleeved shirt.
He was housed in a cell by himself. A clean brown rug covering the floor attributed to the clean air. Along the back wall, a brick seat opened a hole straight down into the floor where a constant gush of river water — diverted throughout all of Malandore — would carry bodily waste to the ocean. The bed even looked nice. Clean blankets folded on top awaiting his use.
Cohthel found a place in his heart for relief. The only stories he’d heard about the ranger bastille detailed rats, lice, and old bones from forgotten violators the rangers never checked on. Of course, Thaen told all those stories.
What is it about opposites that create a brand new, unrelated medium? Ambitious Thaen together with unmotivated Cohthel defined a friendship. The opposites hot and cold create wind. Male and female joining in intercourse conceives new life. The contrasting fight between light and dark compels the other to define curves and shapes. High and low notes on a piano sing together in song. Heat melts opaque sand into transparent glass. Melding mortality and immortality begets time. How love holds equal shares pleasure and pain.
What, then, to this treason of the heart and purity of love Cohthel felt toward Thaen? As the two opposites clashed inside him, a new medium seeded behind his breastbone:
Its endless echo would watch eternity wither into dust.