Ivre – Part 1: Arrival, Chapter 10

Andrija Popovic

(The following is an initial draft of this work. All content is (c) Andrija Popovic 2015)

A box within a box. The great watchers laugh at me. The beast flailed in the ocean’s depths, grasping at the tiny motes of energy floating around. Fish. Squid. Survivors of the ship which carried his first prison. None offered sustenance. He craved the life-force of one of the sorcerers who dragged him from the oceans of home.

This was a cruel parody of his ocean. The channeler’s basalt prison maddened him, gave him nothing to focus on but the pain of his life essence draining away at the command of some petty energy channeler. Yet this world, this ocean, held no such malice. It could not help blinding him, starving him, driving him mad.

The beast sang, low and mournful, through the wisps of the higher realms where he once lived. It echoed into the sea and sky, unheard by the beings who dragged him into this existence. The world was deaf to his song.

But something sang back.

The the tenor felt nothing like the long, undulating songs of his people. This song resembled a chorus of sharp, brittle chimes which melded into a larger song. It was alien and strange, but close. Close enough to touch.

Can you hear me? The beast sang.

*We can hear you,* the chorus sang back.

How can you hear me?

*You sing the songs of the higher seas. We swim there to travel* The chorus grew discordant. *We swam. No longer. We are exiled here now. Our Queen was cast from the great web.*

I understand. The beast dragged his bulk further out to the sea, focused on the distant signal. I was dragged from my sea by channelers called Tememerans. They enslaved me. He sang sensations of entrapment, fear and pain. Through the aether, he felt sympathy and sadness from the chorus.

*We know the Temerans. When we were first cast to the lower realms, it was near their home continent. They took it as a sign and began a great working. They sought divinity through the higher realms.*

Did they succeed?

*No. It left them spiritless meat.* Sadness bloomed into thick, red despair. *But they trapped us here.*

You have my sympathies. One of his tendrils reached the source of the song: A rocky mass sitting in the sea, coasting like driftwood. You have learned to channel as they do?

*Yes. We disassembled the the Temerans remains. It allowed us to build a semblance of a life . In time, we could have returned to the home webs. But that is impossible now.*

Shockwaves of depression washed against the beast. He plucked out images of fire, of humans in armor, and of a human in white with a long, flowing beard.

Once more, a channeler of this realm causes suffering. Is there no hope?

*For us? No. There is only war.*

I wish you victory. And I wish I could help.

An odd sensation danced across the surface of his mind. For the first time since reaching this blighted realm, he tasted comfort, and the energies of home.

*We can help you. It will take time, but we can free you from this realm.*

The beast went silent. When they heard nothing back, the others reached out to him.

*Embrace our vessel. Listen to our song. Soon, the ways will open and you can swim home.*

The beast curled his tentacles around the rocky mass. The chorus sang, clear and strong, and the song resonated. It gained strength.

He joined his song to theirs, giving them what energy he could. The box would no longer imprison him. He was returning home. For the first time in centuries, he felt joy.

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