Joran had never been so far from home. The sun was setting, the sky becoming wise in the gleaming starlight. The rising ocean tide frothed, a molten sea of crimson. The life-energy of the Blue Planet thrummed within the Lunarian’s mind.
This… is Mysidia.
The lights of the human settlement danced in the hollow below with beautiful, alien simplicity. Something was deeply stirring about the city. Joran could only absorb the view before her, an ethereal mural that suddenly stretched in its sleep.
Joran hardly dared to breathe.
I never imagined I’d actually see this place.
Mysidia. She remembered Golbez mentioning it as the city of his birth.
The sun slipped out of view and the world grew darker. Joran’s eyes were drawn towards the cheerful light below.
I wonder how he’d feel if he could see this, too?
Her mind was awash with the impossibility of what her life had become within the past few days. Worse yet, she was unable to foretell what was going to happen next.
And if he’ll hate me when it’s all over.
“Have you had your fill yet?”
Joran turned with a hissing gasp, realizing that she was no longer alone. No sound or feeling registered upon her senses. Such was the way of the girl who called herself Sparrow.
“Ah… yes!” was the only thing the young Lunar could think to say.
The small, black-haired girl melted out of the shadows. Her dark, sad eyes were heavy as they rested upon Joran’s form. Neither human nor Lunarian, there was a feeling of frightening inconsistency about her existence. One that Joran did not wish to challenge.
It was Sparrow who gave her this task.
The girl spoke a single word. “Incrytan.”
It lingered eerily in the air between them, ringing through the silence like a name too forbidden to utter. It was not a word of query or statement, fear or fondness. The word was simply there, a momentary discomfort, then gone.
Joran’s face was troubled in the darkness. Last night, the Lunarian girl snuck into Golbez’s chambers and stole his Crystal stone.
Please, forgive me…
Now that the deed was done, Incrytan weighed heavier on her conscience the longer it remained within her hold. Regret was a sharp dagger in her heart.
Please say you’ll forgive me…
The darkness rippled away in a pale teal light as she drew the Crystal from its shrouding. A gentle melodious hum shimmered in warm harmony. The song began to swell as the light of essence spread, reflecting sharply in their eyes. They both drew back in unison.
It was not glowing like this before!
“It calls,” Sparrow said simply.
“Yes. You have taken it from its Maker. And like a child, it calls… cries out… yearning to be returned.”
The Lunar paused. When she spoke again, it was with great inner turmoil. “Then, it will hurt him to be separated?”
“The link between them is a strong one,” it was an answer that was not an answer. “But it only proves that these forces seek to possess him, even when separated this far.”
“Still?” Joran’s reply came fearfully. “Even now? Even though the Crystal is nowhere near him?”
“The link between them is a strong one,” the answer came again.
A static pressure rose in the air between them.
“What… can I do?”
The song of the Crystal faltered, then fell mute. There was no answer.
“Tell me what I can do to free him!” Joran’s demand was a desperate one.
The denial of heavy silence.
Finally, Sparrow spoke. There was a hint of satisfaction in her words, “You are so willing to do this? Even if it means risking your life?”
“I’m not afraid,” the Lunar girl lifted her chin.
“You would do this for Golbez Ya, a man that bears such a corrupted and stained soul?”
“He was the bringer of death to his mother’s people. The destroyer of the nations of this planet.”
“What makes you think you can ‘save’ him?”
“I… love… him!” Joran’s face crumpled. It was the first time she admitted this truth out loud.
“That, I suppose, is valid enough.”
“I’m not afraid.” Determination rang in repetition.
“Words of the hero, or the fool?” Sparrow’s expression gave away nothing.
“Words of the heart.”
“Of the heart?” Her smile flickered, rippling upon the surface of the words, “I see. Words of the heart, then. Though I value actions much more highly than words.”
“As do I.”
“Then we have reached an agreement, you and I.”
Joran fell silent once again. She didn’t trust herself to answer.
“His spirit will not be free until they are gone. All of them.” Sparrow’s voice rose. She turned her eyes down upon the lights of the city below.
The Lunar’s tone became incredulous, “Crystals? Of the Red Moon?”
“Of the Red Moon and the Blue Planet,” the black haired girl stated solemnly.
Joran almost choked, trying to hide her shock.
“His heritage is, after all, torn by both worlds,” Sparrow noted quietly.
“What are you suggesting?” Joran was almost afraid to ask.
“You must gather the Crystals.”
The dark-eyed girl continued to talk as if she did not hear a single word of protest. Joran was forced into silence or else risk missing the instructions that fell heavily on her shoulders.
“The essence of each Crystal can be absorbed into a power that is similar to itself,” Sparrow informed her. “There, in your hands, you hold Incrytan, a Crystal endowed with vitality vast enough to link and contain the energies of all the other Crystals combined.”
“This?” she peered down at the small teal stone.
“It makes one wonder, doesn’t it? What exactly did the Dark Lord Golbez have in mind when he created an artifact of such properties?”
“I… don’t know,” Joran grew hesitant. She fought back the doubts that began to rise within her heart. “He never talked about it. It was only by accident that I learned of its existence.”
One great question tolled through the back of her mind. She couldn’t help but voice it, “Sill, to seek out and absorb the energies of other Crystals … of items that hold such great elemental balance… Won’t that have consequences upon the Blue Planet, if not the Red Moon as well?”
“The Blue Planet welcomes it.”
“What do you mean?”
“The Crystals were placed here by unnatural, alien forces,” Sparrow murmured. “The elements of this world were twisted due to that power. Now that the Red Moon has left the Blue Planet’s orbit, the Crystals only serve to draw life from this world and hinder its growth.”
“Are you certain?”
“I am. In fact, the Daear of the Blue Planet have pledged their aid to this very cause.”
“Really?” Joran choked. “Do they know about me?”
“Yes,” Sparrow seemed quite content in the matter.
There was a moment of quiet shock.
Joran knew that the Daear, the spirit-people of the Blue Planet, loathed the Lunarians more than anything else. The fact that they would choose to work with her willingly spoke volumes of the situation.
“That’s not necessary,” Joran protested, face deeply troubled.
“Golbez will pursue you the moment he realizes what happened,” the child spoke calmly. “You must waste little time hunting down and obtaining the Crystals of the Blue Planet. Pren, the leader of the Daear, has given word that she and her forces will do all in her power to work at sidetracking his efforts to find you.”
“I don’t need an army to do this job.”
“Golbez is a creature of overwhelming power in his own right. If he seeks out the help of his brother upon the Blue Planet, it’s certain that the nations of the world would be at his hands. It’s not wise to decline the help of those who offer it.”
“I understand,” Joran closed her mouth with a click. Her face grew pale.
Does she really believe we will have to fight Golbez?
“Are you having second thoughts?” the dark-haired girl observed the Lunarian carefully. “You suddenly don’t sound so sure of yourself.”
“No. Of course not,” Joran bit down on her lip. The glittering lights of Mysidia didn’t seem so warm anymore. “I just hope he will understand.”
“Maybe so,” Sparrow lifted one tiny hand towards the Crystal. As her finger tips touched the glassy stone, the light faded away into nothing. “And maybe not.”