Revelin & the Dark Dragon: part 2

This sequence is from "The Edge" (c.2000) The Tanufalla Revelin is heading for is not the beach on Karangina, but the Tanufalla Institute, just outside Kerav City.

 

Revelin took the long way to Tanufalla.

The scenic route. Although, pretty much all of Terra was scenic in one way or other.

Except, now, for parts of London-Urbex.

He hovered above the still smoke shrouded city. Looking down.

Down there, he had nearly lost four who shared the song of his soul. Four who helped push aside those clawing feelings of isolation he had had -- from the time when he had destroyed everything. And been completely alone.

The Dark Dragon within him stirred, because it fell that territory had been violated. It regarded the Zytarba Brethren as violators.

Some nights, it had tried very hard to tempt me to kill Romane.

Below him, people and machines moved like ants within the carved cracks of streets below. Hover flits flew, but too far below him to recognise that a being floated there, above it all.

A being lost in his thoughts.

The War had come

It wasn't exactly the same as the one I heard about as a cub. And it may also simply be a skirmish. Nothing more.

But it feels ...  like The War.

Romane thinks I'm crazy, risking my own sanity,  my hold on the dragon, to try to tame the wild wolf. To get to understand that mad berserker section of my soul.

Before it got out of control. On some distant battlefield. Fighting a war ...

/ need to be in control. I need to turn all the cards over, see the faces of my being, and know exactly what I can do. My family relies on me. My nest-den.

After what Romane had read out to him, Revelin thought that perhaps a better way was to ask his two brothers how they'd tapped into the war-wolves within themselves that had wreaked the havoc still being carted out, in hover-load by hover-load of stinking carrion, from one of London-Urbex's most prized pieces of historical nostalgia.

Romane said Zhirahd had died. 

I'm sorry, but I don't feel grief.

He'd seen the new ruins smeared across the desert. At least brother Qimero had let the people flee before destroying a multi-million cred facility which it would take Trans-Chron about 3 months to rebuild from out of the new disaster funds the Directors agreed needed lo be set up to cope with stuff like this in all the nine possibilities.

I didn't even really grieve properly for Jarno the first time, hundreds of years ago. Maybe I don't know how to grieve. Maybe that got taken from me by Rishra, too.

Romane had said Securio had died.

And would Sec really want me to go around howling, and let the Dark win the war? Doubt it. He'd give me another lecture on battlefield etiquette.

Suddenly, Revelin had an irreverent image pop into his mind of Secuno, with small half-glasses perched just above his nostrils, in a lecture hall somewhere using his jaroa-soul as a  pointer and teaching stuff like 'It's rude to vomit blood all over the opponent before you've been properly introduced, young man!'

I'm smiling when I should be crying.  See? Told you. I'm screwed up beyond measure, a basket case looking for the right weaver to set me straight. Or put me out of my misery.

Conversations he'd had with the Dark Dragon during those days when he'd tried to relate to the wolf were - - uunngh!

"Worrying about souls is a Shiato weakness, man! Dragons don't worry about the condition of the soul. We are born. We fly. We rule the universe, and all existences beyond. We die, and we become the same stone that makes up worlds and the heart of suns. A soul's just along for the glorious  burning ride, man. A soul is just a tatter in the wind, hooked in the fangs ..."

He could have conversations -- insane conversations -- with the dragon. But the wolf stayed mute. The wolf had been mute since the point where he'd lost Jalnara the first time. Since the point where Saion'tha felt Revelin had betrayed everything by turning away from the crushed wolf and falling into the talons of the dragon.

And with each atrocity he'd committed as the Dark Dragon, with each scream wrenched from dying minds, with each world obliterated by cold, calculating rage unleashed -- the wolf watched. And remained mute.

Revelin wanted the wolf to speak.

The wolf who played with Saion'tha across the Uneratan.

The wolf who loved the father and the mother. Jarno and Rellana. Who loved being part of a playful, strong den of cubs, engaged in harmless games beneath the stars.

The wolf who fell so deeply in love with Jalnara the Seer, the Redeemer of Redeemers, that he let her make him see the future that was his to protect and defend. Falling so deeply in love with her, that he dared the Dark Dragon try to take her away again.

The Dark Dragon hated Saion'tha. It wanted to kill him, shred his soul to smoke.

Saion'tha hated the Dark Dragon. He wanted to see it ended, to be just forgotten, forbidden words upon a yellowing page lost to eyes forever.

They'd both told me this. They'd both told me this. When I asked Saion'tha if I could stay, in his place, in his lair, to try to cure my soul.

Revelin recalled the look on Saion'tha's face when h asked his mentor that favour.

It was as if he'd asked Saion'tha to open up his dakaar and let the dragon rip him apart. Thread by thread. He'd read the eyes.

He let me in. Gave me the room. Did he hear the scream? Did he stay, just outside the doors, listening as the dragon threatened to rip me apart, just to try to break the lock upon its freedom?

No. Saion'tha went away, and shut himself down. Deep meditation, sleep beyond sleep, ordering his students not to disturb him under any circumstances short of world annihilation. So he wouldn't hear the dragon laugh. So he wouldn't hear -- if I started to plead and beg.

Don't worry, Saion'tha.  I didn't plead or beg. I bled, but I didn't beg.

In a weird way, Saion'tha and Rishra should have made great allies. Both of them hated the Dark Dragon. Both feared it, on so many levels. Both regarded the wolf-soul as far more worthy of continuance.

But Rishra regarded Revelin as a thing. She'd coupled with a thing, a monster, a mistake that shouldn't have been allowed to exist, but with which she liked to play. Killing that thing would have been a high, it would have been fun, it would have made her laugh.

Saion'tha ... Saion'tha ...

When he tried to kill me, he cried.

When he was punished for it, he submitted.

Saion'tha loved legends. He told the rollicking, broad-pawed cub lots of legends, watching wonder light up the eyes, the ears prick forward, the fur rise and fall as he recited tales of climax, majesty, hope, devotion, war, death, redemption.

Saion'tha devoted himself to legends. He could have been master of existences, as the half-brother to Jalnara, a living link to the Dawn-Walkers. He could have been as a deity to a universe of lesser beings, serving him to eternity.

But ... he devoted himself to legends. Despite all that Securio inflicted upon him, he still believed that the dark Guardian was an important part of the future. Part of legends to come.

Despite all that he'd seen the Dark Dragon do ... he was still devoted to Revelin. Even allowing the Dark Dragon -- re-emerging, mocking, sniping, dripping vitriol that burned like acid through his soul -- into his home. His sacred place. The seat of his energies upon Terra.

Because Revelin had asked him to do so

Trying to explain to Jalnara was like trying to swim through mud. She listened to him, because she loved him. She'd even stopped threatening to rip Saion'tha apart on sight. But she still hated the knowledge burning in her mind that her beloved had nearly died because of the old one's fear. Jalnara knew -- entire galaxies full of things that should be known. She'd changed, in little ways, since he'd loved her before, but she was still Jalnara. Who couldn't understand this or accept it. He'd told her where he was going, leaving no secrets between them. She'd let him go, after holding onto him and loving him as if he was going off  into deadliest battle.

Jalnara would like to know her daughter could love her. But still can't let the hatred die.

Revelin glowered down at the city.

He'd come here to see for himself what had happened. He ended up brooding about things he couldn't change.

As the oldest of the sons of all possibilities of Jarno Velsicar, it was his responsibility to find out what the hell had happened.  How come he'd nearly lost four parts of his life.

And, as he strongly sensed Kigen's energies still only gradually cooling like the heat signature  of an old footprint from out of that city, he decided he wanted to find out more about that enigma, too.

He moved on.  The wolf soul remained mute, watching him with quiet eyes.

The dragon exulted, and called for battle.

He told the dragon to shut up.