• Chapter 2: Key

    His wings of pure black glided across the skies; like a satin sheet of onyx covering ones body, or the dark raven racing swiftly through the air, like a blade slicing through butter.
    Costin's emerald green eyes stared down at the Lake of Illusions as the steady beat of his wings drew him closer towards its cool, apparent manifestation.

    As his feet touched the soft green grass that grew at the lakes edge, his large wings folded neatly against his back; the long feathers that lay at the ends of his wings draped onto the ground, almost like a cape of mystical feathers.
    His body was covered in a cloak of dark grey, a sash of green was laid over his right shoulder and the ends tied together around his waist.

    The Seraph let out a sigh; he hated wearing such garments that did not suit ones current lifestyle. His black curly locks had small twigs and feathers flowing freely through it, he liked it like that; the wild and untamed feeling he got from his mind made him one of the most likely to succeed in awakening the Key.

    'May your vision be wrong Elder, or great sadness overwhelm me now…' Costin outstretched his right arm; his palm faced the waters surface, fingers straight and unmoving.
    His green eyes shifted from its bright radiant colour to Larkspur blue, violet and black before they returned to their original colour. He moved his hand over the edge of the lake, and as he slowly bent down and knelt on one knee; his hand appeared to wipe the brilliant blue water to the furthest edges of the lake, and as he stood up, he walked just like Moses as the waters let him cross the sea.

    As he reached the centre which was the deepest part of the lake, Costin pushed a small boulder aside revealing a series of ancient steps that would lead him underground.
    He ruffled his feathers as he hunched over slightly so his wings would not get him trapped within the narrow walkway.

    Each barefooted step he took was silent and slow; both careful and aware that every tread he took led him closer to the complete power, which would ultimately ruin him.
    It was impossible to see ones way in this underground tunnel but a bright blue glow from beneath the Seraph's robes allowed him to see clearly ahead.

    Costin walked down the spiral stairs, for what would seem like 2 days before he finally came upon straight and level ground, as he gained his bearings the blue glow that came from his chest dimmed for there was no need for it now.
    He stood in a grotto which had pools of lava everywhere, their bright heat was the ultimate lighting that he would need, but the heat was nigh unbearable.

    He walked straight ahead not daring to wander near the lava pools; their fiery liquids would be the end of him if he strayed. Sweat fell from his brows, and various other parts of his body, but he was not permitted to remove the thick robes until he found the key, for he did not know if his most faithful elder was watching.

    The young Seraph eventually came upon two thick stone doors, on each were unreadable inscriptions, gracious etchings of a mighty dragon and the birth of a world; both extremely beautiful and dangerous.

    'This is Astphous the true god and creator of us, such a tragic fate that led to our life.' Costin placed a hand upon one of the mighty stone doors; admiring the artwork before he took in a rasping breath and bowed his head.
    'I remember Astphous, I remember the day you instructed us for I was there… nearly 80 thousand years has passed since that day but I feel as if it was yesterday… Forgive me my friend for now I must break down your doors of solace.'

    A green light emitted from Costin's palm as his entire hand moved through the door, weakening it as the rest of the door began to crumble away. As the door collapsed he outstretched his wings leaping over the rubble and landing on the other side.
    His eyes widened in awe as he looked straight ahead; a series of torches lit the entire chamber up, a never ending waterfall of lava fell slowly from the walls, and followed a stream that coursed through the back wall and led deeper to the world core.

    In the centre of the chamber there was a circular pillar that was covered in ancient etchings, a series of steps led to the summit of this huge pillar and on the summit would lay the vessel which kept Astphous's power safe.

    Costin walked briskly up the steps skipping every second one so he would reach the top faster, of course he could've flown but he wanted to save what energy he had for later.
    Upon reaching the top he stared in wonder as he gazed upon a large golden egg like object, although he was alive when Astphous gave up most of his powers, he was not allowed in this chamber; none were except the Elder and the Goddess of Justice themselves.

    The Seraph stood beside the egg and cautiously moved his hand towards its porcelain like shell, but as soon as he touched it, the top half of the shell simply faded away.
    A bright light emitted from the inside, Costin shielded his eyes with his arm as the light streamed through the chamber. As the light diminished Costin lowered his arm slowly and gazed into the egg, and was stunned at the site which lay before him.

    'H-How can this be?'

    There lying before him, curled in an innocent embrace was a young woman; sound asleep and at peace, her nakedness did nothing but provoke his staring eyes to linger longer, not once had Costin seen such an eldritch and beautiful creature such as she.
    Her bright auburn hair was luscious and straight, it laid on her and the egg like a blanket of soft mystical fabric, her pale skin look so new and inviting just like a new born baby, but it did nothing to disrespect the rosy cheeks and pink full lips of her face. Her body was curved, like a work of art, the very essence of her made him almost weak at the knees, she was every bit the gift Astphous had created.

    Suddenly the girls eyes opened they were the palest and softest shade of blue, and there she stared up at him, exactly like a baby would.
    'Fear not Damil Cèril, I am here to guide you…' Costin turned his head as he swiftly took off his robes, and placed it over her naked body quickly, willing himself not to gaze upon her.

    It was alright for one such as he; Costin came prepared, under his robes he wore black pants and a thin white linen top.
    'We must leave this place Damil Cèril the Elder requests your presence.'

    'E-Elder?' her voice was soft and sweet yet broken and new, Costin suspected that she was indeed created like this, left to sleep an eternal sleep and dream of her own awakening.
    'yes, now come' Costin gathered the woman in his arms making sure the robes covered her before he outstretched his wings and flew swiftly pass the destroyed door and down the cavern, as he very skilfully flew up the spiral staircase and broke through to the starlit surface.

    The water of the lake collapsed into its original position as Costin reached the surface. He took in the fresh air and cool breeze of the night; its nocturnal voices bringing him peace and happiness, he then stared at the woman's face as he slowly descended towards the soft grass.

    Her pale blue eyes stared up at the moon and sky almost lifelessly, but also in awe and amazement. She moved not a muscle as Costin gently touched the grass and lowered her down; the girl almost fell back as he let her go. Although she was siting, the girl had no balance, none at all.
    Costin grabbed hold of her shoulders steadying her as she stared up at him, blinking only when her eyes felt dry and old, her presence making Costin feel extremely uncomfortable.

    'Are you hurt Damil Cèril?' his voice was racked with confusion, he never once imagined the essence of god to be a living human being; the creatures that were corrupt and flawed, but yet she was not human, not completely.

    The fiery red haired beauty tilted her head slightly 'E-Elder… D-Dam...Damil Cèril?'
    Costin gave a slight nod, as he let go his grasp on her, watching as she fell on her back and sighing as he helped her up once more.
    'But you do not understand, you cannot… you should not, you shouldn't even be in this body, and did not Astphous create you to be a dragon in the very moment of his death?'

    The girl sank against his chest as she yawned, 'kiiotoi jitu sapiu?'
    Costin smiled recognising the words she spoke 'ah, so you speak the language of the dragons… I am Costin, a Seraph; a great creature of the sky and now that I answered your question, please tell me your name.' Costin moved a stray strand of hair away from her eyes.
    'Costin… kiiotoi jitu sapiu?' he asked her perfectly, nearly as well as she herself asked him.

    'Nada embacu Sapiu…'
    'You have not a name…' Costin translated as he relaxed his body, feeling her warmth against him.
    'I shall give you a name, as the pale sky brightens your day, as the red fire resembles your eldritch and wild hair, your beauty is unrivalled and you shall be known as Escalette; she who is born from greatness.'
    When informing her of her name that he had bestowed upon her, he did not tell her all, only what it meant.

    The Seraph laid her down as she drifted to sleep; he then rested against the trunk of a nearby tree, staring out into the sky.
    'Elder, you instructed me to awaken Astphous's new soul, so that the children of Astphous; the corrupted gods would be quenched and Vior saved, but how could such a being as she save us all from them?'

    Escalette slowly glided her hands along the grass; lifting them slightly until she could sit without assistance. Her eyes took in all as she began speaking in the language of dragons, her heart pounding harder as an owl flew overhead.
    Costin sighed as his train of thought left him, he stood up as Escalette's rash outbursts scared away the owl.
    'You are but a child entrapped in a woman's body… such a soul would be cursed amongst my people.'

    The man who resembled that of an angel stood back and observed the creature, he could not come to a conclusion of why Astphous would re-incarnate himself as a human.
    His thoughts jumped from Escalette to that of the gods; who's every breath was taken to plague this world in their own visions.

    'Where are your bones Escalette?'
    'Escalette, Nobu ti lokkon?' he asked, crossing his arms staring at her intently, he would not let anyone gather the last of the dragons remains. If he did so the lands would know no peace or love, only chaos and destruction.

    'jigtu lerler nobu ti lokkoner' she said. Costin stared in interest as Escalette had already began to find her feet.
    'I see… you do not know where they are…' Costin took in a deep breathe and sighed. 'it is better… better for them to remain unknown for a time, at least until we find... your... well I suppose she would count as your daughter.. the goddess Vior, one of the few left that has remained loyal to you.'

    This has indeed caught me of guard elder, but it shall not stop me from finding Astphous's remains before the gods…
    Costin told himself this over and over again, he remembered that he had promised, her… the goddess of Justice that he would assist her in stopping the gods forceful rise to supreme power and the war in which they had brought about.

    And now he had found this flame haired child, it was time to continue this journey and search for Vior so that their plan set out so many years ago would be able to start... at long last.