"Lei-I mean, Mother?" Lisbeth ducked into the tent where Leilana usually studied. It had been a rough month. She had to deal with her new identity as an Ethereal, which was more difficult than expected. She had to plan a sort of social debut party, which she wasn't neccessarily excited about. To top it off, Genesis invaded every dream she had, its form a strangely handsome mix of it and Sparrow. If it wasn't such a malicious creature, she was sure she would've become infatuated.
"Yes, my darling?" Leilana looked up from an especially thick manuscript. "More nightmares?"
Lisbeth shook her head. "No, just questions."
"I'll see what I can do." Leilana's beautiful teal eyes held sadness and worry. Genesis's reappearence had shaken her to her core, and she had been studying the Books of Lore for countless hours, trying to find answers for everything happening.
"Well...how did Genesis escape? If your Guardian and the other two Guardians of Magic that helped her were able to seal it away, why was it able to come back?"
"I...I don't know. My guess is that it was somehow able to possess and gain a new form to get out of its prison."
Lisbeth recalled the white-haired man she had seen in the first nightmare. "That might just be correct. Tell me...is there any Guardian who has white hair and tanned skin? I saw him in the first dream I had of Genesis."
"Yes...that would be Ralien, physical manifestation of Shifting Magic. Why do you ask? Was he important?" Leilana cocked her head to the side.
"He was trying to get help, and then Genesis made his image disappear, telling me not to mind him."
"That must have been who it used to escape Um( )aille."
"It's the eternal prison of the wicked. Um( )aille lies far to the east, guarded by things no man or elf has ever seen before. Think of it as the opposite of Auraena."
"Oh. So...what do we do? We still haven't figured out how we're going to defeat Genesis. I'm supposed to be the hero, and I can't take action. It's going to drive me insane!"
"Go back to bed. We'll discuss matters in the morning." Leilana planted a soft kiss on her daughter's forehead. "Everything is going to be alright."
Lisbeth managed a small smile and exited the tent, ready to get back to sleep.
Lisbeth awoke to the sound of screams coming from Nakitasu. Eva was clanging a mace on her shield as a sort of alarm, rallying anyone who could fight to prepare for battle.
"What's going on?" Lisbeth yelled over the noise. Ren, shifting into a tall, muscular form she had never seen before, ran towards her.
"Genesis has come."
"Oh no..." Maybe it was selfish of her, but Lisbeth couldn't help but think that she wouldn't have to plan a debut party until everything settled down. "What do we do, then?"
"We attempt that thing we did to conquer Xera. Even though Sparrow isn't here physically, we each carry a piece of him with us." Ren said, his voice lowering in reverance.
"About that..." Lisbeth winced. She had told no one but Leilana about her nightmares, afraid that if she told Eva or Ren that they wouldn't like her anymore. It was a silly reason, but after being blamed once before for Sparrow's disappearance, she wasn't willing to take chances.
"There's no time for chit-chat, you two! Hurry!" Eva yelled at them. Lisbeth sighed and ran to grab her sword.
"I'll tell you later!"
Genesis watched its cronies overtake the elvish city. Many of the inhabitants were tripping over their skirts and gowns, easily vanquished by their pursuers.Yes, the conquest was going well. The elves would readily turn their minds towards the truth.
"Genesis." The other being sharing its mind transported them to a room in the sky, filled with starlight. Their regal shared form split into two, and those blank, golden eyes stared at their captor, unseeing. "You have to let go of me. Angeline weakens as you sap away my strength, and my family and friends worry for me."
"Silence! Your life and that of your Guardian are worth nothing to us! You are but a mere pawn, easily sacrificed for our cause. You are only a husk for us to feed upon until We find another who is stronger." Genesis thundered, golden magic crackling between its hands.
"I wanted no part in this! Would you not rather have a body who is loyal? One who willingly shares delight in your destruction?" Sparrow snapped back. "Even though sharing a form means I am able to see, watching the slaughter of countless beings to make others submit is not what I want."
Genesis’s eyes flashed with gold fire. "All those who are loyal to our cause are weak, worthless worms who do nothing more than grovel at our altar and dream of our glorious triumph over the Master of Lies. None are suited to the carnage of battle, to hear the sweet melody of shrieks and screams, or to taste the sourness of death that pervades the air. Nay, until a champion arises from the scrawny mice who follow us, We must seek out a worthy body from the disloyal and bend their will. Come, we must reform."
The pulling sensation began, a strange feeling like holding two magnets and feeling them tug at each other. Sparrow hated it. The first merging was as simple as ( )eathing, and was over in a minute. Little had he known that the other times he would join his body with Genesis’s that it would be almost painful.
Genesis began chanting words in the Forbidden Tongue—Shadowspeak—known only to demons and other malignant beings. And Lisbeth. Sparrow thought, shivers and spasms dancing through his body. He didn’t know what the incantations meant, but they sounded evil, the words of a charred wasteland far away. The language of strongholds washed over him like a sandstorm, rough but oddly elegant.
He was pulled closer to the tall, grand figure who continued to intone in the tongue of demons. He turned transparent, slowly but surely merging with Genesis.
Their minds fused first, and Sparrow felt the now-familiar feel of another set of thoughts mingling with his own, which would be silent until he and Genesis were separate again.
With the mind-transfusion complete, the voice of Genesis was now a strange blend of both their voices. Sparrow could see out of the pale yellow eyes of the larger being, and took in the galaxial surroundings. Crimson and purple nebulae swirled around them, and stars twinkled mischievously, like they thought that all of the ongoing chaos was just a mean-spirited prank.
Next, their bodies fused. The slender form of Genesis was filled out slightly, and its hair turned from ghostly white to raven black, blending in with the sky behind them. Sparrow was a mere set of thoughts now, unable to move or speak. Genesis controlled his entire being now.
"We must begin our work."
After a long meeting in the Master Scholar's tent, Sakivure sent Lisbeth, super-buff Ren, and Eva away with a blessing.
"May the Master send your Guardians to protect you."
"Thanks, but we gotta go." Eva waved and sprinted away, Lisbeth and Ren following close behind her.
"Where should we go?" Ren asked Lisbeth, straightening his golden helmet.
"Wherever Genesis appears." She replied.
"Do you think it'll still be using Sparrow?" He slowed down his pace, getting tired. "Hold on, we need to shift into someone with more...stamina."
"I don't know...but we need to get our friend back." Lisbeth said with a huff, putting on her shoulder guards as she ran. "I should probably tell you now...Sparrow's been possessed."
"What?" Her companions asked simultaneously.
"I had a dream, like your mother did. Genesis appeared, introduced itself, told me lies, and showed me Sparrow." She didn't want to mention the part about him looking all beat up and tortured. "Then...it possessed him. As far as I know, he's being used as a human body so Genesis can gain strength."
Eva started to say something, but got teary-eyed and blotchy-faced, so she shut her mouth. Ren looked at the ground, a doleful look on his face.
"I'm sorry for not telling you sooner, it's just...I didn't want another incident like before."
"Hey, guys. Look up ahead." Eva wiped her eyes, stopped a( )uptly and pointed to a group of people, all in white and gold garb. "They look rather shady, don't you think?"
The people were gathered around some sort of gilded monument, inlaid with silver runes, moonstones, and opals. It was large, but small enough to be transported in pieces on a cart. It made a humming noise as the three heroes got closer, the tone low and sinister.
"What's going on here?" Eva asked an older man. He smiled.
"We're preparing to greet the Supreme Being, who will usher in a new era of truth and peace. Look, followers of the One! It arrives!"
"Hail Genesis!" The cry arose as the runes on the monument began to glow. A beam of yellow light shot out of the top, and cheers echoed through the small gathering. The clouds parted, and the sun shone through.
Then it descended, emitting a golden glow that nearly blinded all who looked upon it. Genesis alighted on top of its altar, an eerie fusion of it and its unwilling captive.
"Dratha thulathka, Intha shiganishthe bathka!" The man who had talked to Eva fell to the ground, bowing in reverance. All the others did the same, dragging Lisbeth, Ren, and Eva down with them.
"What did he say?" Ren whispered to Lisbeth.
"My wise leader, I greet thee fondly." Lisbeth whispered back.
"I didn't think that humans had the capability to speak and understand Shadowspeak." Eva muttered. "At least, normal humans."
"Sha shute akshete. Bathka daith mish thi drakth."
"We meet again. Your life will be spared."
"This creature is sickening." Eva growled under her ( )eath. Lisbeth didn't have to get inside her head to see that her blood was boiling.
Genesis turned its yellow gaze onto the three. "So...you are the few who dare to resist us...the force of opposition. I suppose you miss your little blind bird."
"Let go of Sparrow!" Eva shouted at it, hand flying to the hilt of her sword.
"Eva!" Lisbeth hissed. "Don't anger it! Not now!"
"You won't get him back until our goal is achieved. Now...let this battle be between us and the one who we allowed to live many times before."
"What?" Lisbeth rose to her feet.
"How do you think you've survived since your ressurection? We could have killed you easily, with a snap of our fingers. But instead We allowed you to fight our demon puppet, thinking you would perish in her stronghold. But you exceeded our expectations, which is unfortunate. Now We must challenge you. Meet us at the village of Misty Moor, or should We say the ruins of Misty Moor. When you died, We had Xera destroy it. It was the first time since our banishment that we got to taste the wonderful bitterness of slain enemies, and it felt invigorating. We hunger for more...and for more to follow us like this loyal handful. Anyway, meet us at the ruins tomorrow. We will halt our attack on this city until after you pass from this world."
Lisbeth drew in a deep ( )eath. "I'll be there."
With a confident smile, Genesis disappeared in a cloud of golden stardust.
After getting over the initial shock of what had happened, the three heroes went back to the Enlighten's camp to discuss a plan of action. Their talk lasted well into the night, and Leilana finally convinced them to sleep when the moon was at her highest peak.
"So you're going? Just like that?" Eva asked, following Lisbeth, who was busy saddling Hyacinth.
"There's no other way to defeat this evil." The younger girl sighed. Then she smiled. "But I won't be alone. I want you to come with me and hide in the shadows, where it can't see you. I'm sure Sakivure has some sort of charm to where it can't sense you, either."
"Really? We get to stay in the distance and watch you fight?" Eva rolled her eyes. "I feel so involved."
"I don't want you to be hurt...or worse." Lisbeth gave her a sad smile. "Can you go get Ren and the charms for you both? I need to say goodbye to my mother."
"Got it." Eva nodded, then ran off to find her ( )other. Lisbeth patted Hyacinth's flank.
"I'll be right back, girl."
Entering Leilana's tent, she found her mother sitting in the corner, crying quietly.
"I'm sorry...I shouldn't be worried. It's just...you're leaving so soon, and I'll miss you so much. I can't help but wonder...what if you die?"
"I'll be fine. If I'm not, we'll meet some day in Auraena. I'm sure of it." Lisbeth felt her own eyes tear up, and gave Leilana a long hug. "However, this is the path laid out before me, and I must do what I was meant to do since the Master created me."
"Goodbye, my darling." Leilana planted a kiss on her daughter's cheek. "When we meet again, I hope we will both be very much alive."
"Farewell." When Lisbeth pulled away, she felt like a piece of her heart was ripped away from her as well.
The charred ash of the ruins glared at the three riders as they galloped down the old roads of Misty Moor. Lisbeth gazed at the town, destroyed almost beyond recognition, and tried to calm her nerves. The pressure everyone had placed on her grew greater the closer she got to her destination: the town hall.
The clock in the clock tower still ticked, its elegant hands moving jerkily across the ivory face. The tower itself wasn't as fortunate, and sported nasty burn marks up and down what used to be beautiful mahogany woodwork. There were claw marks gracing the statuette that sat at the base, its face marred with the deep gashes caused by demons.
There was an unnatural chill in the air, typical of Genesis's presence, that made Ren and Lisbeth reach for the blankets stored in their saddlebags. Eva made no complaint, but stared stoically ahead, bearing the ever-present goosebumps and chattering teeth like a true champion.
"You two stay here, at the remains of the tavern. Do you have the charms?" Lisbeth slowed Hyacinth to a walk, and looked at her friends, knowing that this could very well be the last time she ever saw them.
"Mmhmm." Eva nodded, her eye( )ows furrowing as she held hers up.
"It's in our pocket." Ren said with a sad smile.
"Do you mind if I say something real quick?" Lisbeth asked, alighting on the ground and tying her horse to a tree nearby.
They both shook their heads, so she continued.
"Eva, I know we didn't exactly hit it off, but you're kind of like an older sister to me. Thanks for the pie, even if it was apple."
Eva smiled, hopped off of Saiph, and drew Lisbeth into an armored bear hug. "I feel the same way. Even though you do frustrate me sometimes."
"Ren, you're one of the sweetest, most sensetive people I know, always ready to help. Thanks for all of your help in figuring out my telepathic possession thing, it was nice of you."
"You are one of our best friends, Lisbeth. We will miss you if...you know..." Ren took off his glasses and wiped them off, then dabbed at the corner of his eyes, where tears were forming.
"I love you both." Lisbeth finished. "I'll...see you soon."
The double doors of the town hall rose ominously in front of the girl approaching them, who was dwarfed by them. She cracked one open cautiously. Genesis stood at the podium, long robes pooling around its feet.
"Well?" Lisbeth stepped inside, sword hilt firmly gripped in her hand.
"There's nothing much to say, is there?" The air grew ever colder as Genesis turned to face her.
"I would think that there would be very much to say." Lisbeth willed herself to step forward. "That you would give me a lecture on your so-called truths. Let's just get to the fighting and get this over with."
"Very well." The corners of her opponant's mouth turned up slightly, and it lunged at her.
She dodged, drew her sword, and thrusted. It blocked the hit with magic, sending the blade flying across the room.
"Pity, I just had that sharpened." She mocked a sigh, putting one hand on her forehead while a ball of pink magic was gathering in the other. "I suppose I must resort to other means now."
She was now finally confident enough in her magic abilities to use them, although sparingly. What spell to use? She thought, racking her ( )ain for useful incantations. Maybe the ensnarement one? Yes, that could work...potentially.
Making a motion as if she was lifting something, she focused on finding roots that grew below ground. She located a particularily large tree root and made it burst through the floorboards and wrap around Genesis.
"Argh!" It tried teleporting out, but the root snaked around it once more, holding it fast. A blade spell, however, split the plant in two, and Genesis tossed its long black hair back, smirking.
"What will you throw at us next, little one?"
Hmmm...paralyzation? I know that I shouldn't use my possession ability. Knowing this monster, it might turn out badly. Paralyzation seems like a safe bet.
Another spell was thrown at Genesis, but was deflected with ease.
"You're such a waste of time. Honestly, We thought you were better than this."
A burning fire seemed to light in her chest, making her innards boil. The agonizing pain spread through her entire body. She let out a scream, wishing she could tell Eva and Ren to run as far away as they could. She didn't want them to feel like this, to feel like their body was going to combust.
Then everything stopped, and she heard a cry of pain. Sylvan stood in front of her, shielding her from Genesis's magic. He looked back at her, his eyes filled with compassion.
"Leave this place, Guardian. You should not be here." Genesis growled.
"She is my ward, and I am her protector, sworn to keep her safe since her birth. I have heard her cries of distress, and have come to help her. Lisbeth...take this." Sylvan dropped to his knees and pushed a ring towards her. "There is a magic contained in it greater than any spell you know. Unleash it."
Lisbeth took it, and slipped it on her finger. "Thank you."
"LISBETH!" Eva kicked the doors open, and she and Ren ran in.
"Eva! Ren! You shouldn't be here!"
"They told us to come!" Two more Guardians entered. Orion stood protectively by Eva's side, like a large, manly guard dog, and Eos looked ready to explode with rage.
"UNHAND MY SISTER'S CHARGE AT ONCE!" She screamed, swirls of pink and yellow surrounding her.
"What?" Genesis whipped around, and Sylvan fell flat, coughing.
"I can do this, guys. Hold on a second!" Lisbeth thrust the ring into the air and fed all the magic she could into the prism at the center. A white, blinding light burst from it and enveloped everything. All sound was eclisped by the howls of Genesis, whose screeches were the most hellish sound anyone had ever heard. And then everything went quiet.