Chapter #121 – Decisions
“Daneel, by the time you receive this message, I will have long left the Kingdom of Lanthanor, and maybe even the continent of Angaria. You know that I am oath-bound to the Church. All I can tell you is that an oath made in hate now dictates my own life. As your Master, let this be my last advice to you: Beware oaths, whether you are taking them or giving them yourself.
This is farewell, my disciple. Although I didn’t teach you much personally, know that I always had my eye on you and ensured that you always stayed safe while being able to carry out your plans well. I must say that I feel proud to be the Master of a 16-year old self-made King.
If you want answers, and if you think you are strong enough to demand them, go to the place in Angaria where the Roc pierces the Basilisk’s eye, and call for the white-robed augur.
As the last word lingered in Daneel’s ears, he could not help but think back to all the time he had spent with Jonah Castle.
Indeed, the bond they shared was more of an unspoken one. His Master took care of him from the shadows, making sure that his actions wouldn’t be noticed by those who would have brought a swift end to him and his plans.
In other words, Daneel could have long failed if it weren’t for the existence of this drunkard of a master.
Yet, the man had betrayed him and ruined his plan for the Kingdom.
Although Daneel understood that it was probably because of the oath, the knowledge did nothing to lessen the sting he felt from seeing someone he called his own Master act like so.
In fact, he subconsciously knew that this was possible from the day he had found out about the existence of the link between Jonah and the Church.
It was just that….. seeing it confirmed like so hurt, more than he cared to admit.
Daneel was always the type to try to place himself in the other party’s boots in order to figure out their intentions. He knew what had happened to Jonah. If his own loved ones had been brutally killed, what would he have done if he had the same power?
With that much pain, he realized that he would have chosen to torture the culprit for an eternity.
Although he reached logical conclusions like these to explain his Master’s actions, the stinging pain still did not go away.
“Am I so emotionally invested in all those around me?”
He asked himself this, but he had no concrete answer.
Alas, this was no time to confront his emotions or wonder about doubts like these. The damage had been done, and he now needed to decide what to do next.
Just as he was about to list in his mind all the options he had, Cassandra’s impatient voice sounded across the room, breaking Daneel out of his thoughts.
“Your Majesty, did he say anything about the Big 4?”, she asked, hope apparent in her eyes.
“No. Why do you ask that?”
“Being a mage, you must have seen the way the elementary particles resonated with his spell, My Lord. Such spell techniques are only talked of in legends, and it is known that the Big 4 are supposed to be in possession of such techniques which have similar effects. These techniques are only taught to their elites, and are partly the reason that they can keep their position in Angaria for so long.”
While Daneel heard Cassandra’s explanation, he noticed that the anger from before had left her eyes and been replaced by a look of yearning.
Beside Cassandra, he saw Aran looking at her with a worried face. It seemed that this wasn’t the first time she had gone on a rant like this.
“Aran, go on.”, said Daneel, startling the man and making him consciously adjusted his casual green shirt and black pants.
After doing so, he said, “Please pardon Cassandra My Lord, it is just that it is her wish to obtain such techniques since as long as she can remember. She even joined the army thinking that there were secret techniques like that in the military which she could use in case she got strong enough. Yet, there was no such thing even though she rose to the rank of a Commander, and this made her lay eyes on the Big 4 who are rumored to be in possession of them.”
Meanwhile, Cassandra had cooled down and sat back on her seat. Before, lost in the passion in her words, she had been moving more and more forward until the sofa barely touched her underside.
As she heard Aran speak, Cassandra smiled apologetically at the King, knowing that she had spoken out of turn.
Yet, Daneel didn’t mind because this had allowed him to get more information about the Big 4. Recalling what his master had said in the parchment, Daneel asked, “Is the Church of Rectitude a part of the Big 4?”
This time, it was Aran who answered the question.
“No, My Lord. The Church is a relatively new force, and it is rumored that they came to Angaria via the endless sea from an unknown place. Whoever follows them are bound by the strictest of oaths, making it so that very little information is available outside. Their practice to obtain followers is to proclaim that any injustice can be reported to them, and that they will take revenge for all those aggrieved when the reports reach a certain number. You must know of the destruction of the famous Dwarve’s Rum pub a few years back My Lord, which was committed by the Church. So far, they have only targeted the 6 smaller forces in the continent. For some reason, both the Big 4 and the Church stay away from each other.”
So this was the real origin of the Church!
Daneel realized that it was high time he gathered all the knowledge in the library along with the latest news, as it was getting really embarrassing when he did not know basic information about key topics.
Adding it to the list of must-do’s which included finding more time for training, he slipped back into a contemplative state.
“What about the other party? Any clues about him?”
To his surprise, it was Kellor who answered this question.
“I may know something about that matter My Lord. You must have seen the crane’s beak which appeared to attack the claw made by the Dragon Heart Formation resulting in a temporary distortion of the space lock which allowed them to escape. My Master, the previous Court Mage of Lanthanor, once told me that when one reached the Champion Level, he/she would take on specific names which corresponded to their fighting style. He also said that the threshold which needed to be crossed to get to the Champion Realm was one which corresponded more to comprehension. What one comprehended would form the basis of their fighting style, unlike the earlier realms where there are multiple spells and techniques that only require practice to use. Thus, the crane’s beak is an indication that it was a one-time trinket made by the Champion Realm Fighter known as the ‘Cantankerous Crane’. But even though this is a fact, it is unknown whether the man simply bought a trinket such as that or is supported by such a powerful figure.”
Wait…. that attack had been by a Fighter?!
In the room, both Faxul and Daneel were bewildered as the same question had come into their minds.
The beak had been almost life-like, using a complex interweaving of elementary particles the level of which surpassed what Daneel could comprehend. Thus, he had automatically assumed that it was a spell cast by some Champion Level Mage.
It seemed that he had been sorely mistaken.
Seeing the shock on the two youngster’s faces, Kellor said, “My King, you must not be aware that in the later stages, fighters can also control the elementary particles around them to empower their attacks, but in a way different to that of mages. In the Human Level and much of the Warrior Level, fighters have no option but to use the power of their body to attack the other party either using thrown projectiles or close combat. All this changes when their body and mind reach a certain level at which they can begin interacting with the elementary particles. In fact, at the Champion Level, the long-range advantage that mages hold against fighters almost becomes non-existent.”
The shock in the youngsters’ faces only increased in intensity as each word blew away the preconceived notions in their minds, resulting in them broadening their horizons after finally being exposed to more information regarding the legendary Champions who practically ruled over the continent of Angaria.