All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The Obsidian Tower
It’s amazing what a single mistake can do. First of all, my name is Ether Cain. I’m fifteen years old, and very handsome, I must say. I go to Cactus Cliff High School, in Arizona. As I said, a single mistake can be REALLY bad, so here goes the story. It all started a few months ago. I was in school and sitting with my friend, Alex Gauger. He was talking about when we turn sixteen and get our drivers licenses, and all of a sudden a voice went over the intercom.
“Everyone exit the school quickly in a calm orderly fashion.” Of course, everyone panicked. When we made it out, Alex went back inside to find out what happened. I knew this wasn’t a good idea. I waited for what seemed to be an eternity. All of the sudden, the school burst into brilliant flames, scorching my skin, but instead of a roaring fire, it was as silent as the grave.
“NO!” I shouted. I heard maniacal laughter, echoing into the distance. Then my whole world went black.
When I woke up, I felt disoriented. I looked around. I was in a gray room with ugly paintings in it. A door opened, and a big muscular man entered the room, along with a skinny, clever looking man.
“I’m afraid you’re friend is dead.” The thin man said, with no emotion at all. Well, I guess there’s no sugarcoating it. I just looked down. “Thankfully, he died quickly, with no suffering” he said, again with no emotion. “Well, now isn’t the time for mourning. We need to tell you how he died. The person responsible is one of the most feared killers in the world. His name is Aelonnia, given to him in the hopes that he would do something great. His namesake, Aelonnia Acrin, is said to be the most famous woman in the world, because she invented the silent bomb. It was a great discovery. Her death was untimely, but even more unfortunate is what her name inspired her ‘successor’ to do with her invention. Though his name is Aelonnia, he goes by ‘The Annihilator,’ ” He explained. Just the name sent shivers up my spine. “We know that he used his namesake’s invention to kill your friend. He apparently stole the bomb from the military base commonly called Area 51. He transported it on Air Force One, disguised as a security guard. From there he drove to your school. It was designed to detonate only the principal’s office, but something went wrong. There were some extra explosives mixed in, and they went haywire. Unfortunately they weren’t enough to make a sound, so the police weren’t notified until later. We came in and tried to capture The Annihilator, and that’s when we encountered your friend, or what was left of him. We found a badly burned head, and a still pumping heart, but that stopped seconds later. We took them back to the station, then put them in a casket and buried them. I wished you were there. When we went back, the principal was still alive, but badly hurt. He told me to tell you it was not your fault your friend died.” I didn’t answer. “I’ll leave you in peace,” He finally said. He patted me on the shoulder, and left. I was thinking about the first time I met Alex. It was in third grade and we were playing kickball. I was on one team, and he was on another. I was on third base, heading for home. I tagged base just as Alex tagged me.
“You’re out!” he said triumphantly. We argued whether I was out or not. Then the bell rang, and we had to go to class. We agreed to be friends after school. Since then, we were always beside each other. We wore similar costumes on Halloween, and we always were on the same team at baseball. I couldn’t imagine life without him. I remember my first birthday gift from him. I was 10, and he gave me a pocket-sized game boy. We played for hours with it, until it finally broke last year. I still remember me putting it in my pocket when I got it. I reached into my pocket and felt a recording tape. I noticed a tape recorder that certainly wasn’t there before. I put the tape in and heard the chilling voice of the Annihilator. He said,
“The principal found out about me, so I had to annihilate him. I detonated a silent bomb inside his office. I also had to kill the 15 year-old. He said he would stop me. He was hopelessly wrong. Oh, and to Ether Cain, this was the last word your friend said. ‘Goodbye’.”
I wanted to die. I seriously wanted to lie down and die. Alex, The Annihilator, everything. It made me want to be dead that instant. Then the idea hit me like a punch in the head. I could go after him. I could go and kill him. I did have a couple of thousand dollars from working in my dad’s restaurant. I could get some supplies and be off. That’s what I decided to do. I would kill Aelonnia, The Annihilator.
When I managed to talk my way out of the police station, I immediately went to the bank to get a few hundred dollar bills. I went to a gun store I knew didn’t take I.D. I got a .40 Magnum. I also bought a knife. I was all set. One thing was missing: a way of transportation. I had my permit, but I didn’t have a license. Fortunately, I knew someone who did.
“No” said the voice of my second best friend, Armando. We were in his house, just sitting and talking. Hearing that from him was like a shot from my own Magnum.
“But why?” I asked.
“Because it’s wrong.” He bluntly stated. I gave him a blank look.
“Oh come on, Ether. Killing isn’t just wrong, it’s illegal. Sure it’s revenge, but at what cost? You could go to jail, probably for the rest of your life.” He said, a tinge of irritation in his voice.
“But it’s REVENGE!” I said, exasperated.
“Well, guess what. I don’t believe in that stuff. ‘ An eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth.’ It’s just nonsense.”
I guess I would have to play my trump card. “Armando, where was your sister when the bomb went off?” I said slowly. That did it. Armando’s face went grey, and then white.
“The school” he said bluntly.
“Exactly. Your sister was killed in that blast.” I said triumphantly.
“No she wasn’t, and I can prove it!” He shouted. His sister walked in. I could not believe my eyes. I was sure she had died. Then I figured out a test.
“Julia” (that was her name), “what is your innermost desire?”
“Um, uh” she mumbled.
“Exactly. You are not Julia, and if I am right, then get out of that suit, Aelonnia.” I said. Immediately she peeled off an ingenious body suit to reveal a dark skinned man.
“I hoped you would notice, little Ether. I would have thought that the death of your friend would have a profound effect on you.” said the all-so chilling voice of Aelonnia, The Annihilator. He dropped his watch, or rather, what we THOUGHT was a watch. We figured out it was a bomb, but it was too late. It counted down 3….2….1……. BOOM! Everything blew up in a cloud of blue flame, yet again it was as silent as the grave. The Annihilator was somehow not hurt. It quickly came to me I could pass right through him. It was a hologram.
“Figures. He is, after all, the predecessor to the scientist Aelonnia” I thought. My thoughts were interrupted when Armando grabbed me. We saw an enormous fireball roaring down the hall, about to come for us. Its heat was so powerful; again I wanted to die for the second time that day. I figured I WAS. Me and Armando heaved a couch off his floor and threw it out of the window (I heard a crash at the bottom. Probably an expensive car.). We jumped out of the window onto the couch (We were three stories up. It cushioned our fall, though I bumped my head at the bottom.)
I looked over and saw Armando panting and coughing.
“See? Julia was killed in that bomb. I really need you, Armando” I said heavily.
“It’s just…. I…… couldn’t believe…..” He barely managed to say.
“So what’s your answer?” I replied.
He took a deep breath. “I’ll go.
I couldn’t be happier in my entire life. I finally got to go and do what my heart was telling me to do. (Not that it was always good.) At least I could avenge my best friend. Armando and I went out to his car in the garage, or what was left of it, and he drove us out of there. I told him to drive east. He looked at me quizzically. I told him to drive that direction. He started very slowly out the driveway. We started to drive.
We turned onto the I-20 when I noticed something was wrong. It was something in the air, like when you smell an acrid, acid-like smell before someone heaves. The air seemed to have turned red, and then a hole appeared in the windshield. Some one was firing a gun at us. Since it was silent, I figured it was the Annihilator. It was not him. I looked back, and saw an eerie jet-black sedan with tinted windows. A pistol protruded through an opening in the windshield.
Why do they want to kill me? I thought. Three shots were fired. None hit, until I realized they weren’t shooting at me. There was a big rig truck behind me, but it was blank. It was just a plain white semi. The car was aiming for the gas tank. “That’s not going to work. The bullet’s not hot enough.” The truck exploded. Well, it looks like they had incendiary rounds. Man, this was getting weirder and weirder.
All of the sudden, something snapped in me. Maybe I was just sick of people trying to kill me, or maybe it was my death wish, but I opened the door of the car, got out, and climbed onto the roof. I told Armando to pull up next to the car, and I jumped onto their roof. I pulled out my magnum, and started putting holes in the roof. The car swerved, and I knew I hit something. The car flipped over, and I blacked out.
When I came to, I smelled blood. I looked over and nearly threw up. A guy was over there with his face torn off. I mean literally, TORN OFF. What scared me the most was he was still breathing. I walked over to him.
“It’s too late now. It’s already begun” He rasped.
“What? What’s begun?” I asked roughly.
“His vision shall be stitched into reality, and all you know will be better.” With that, he died. I screamed so all the world could hear. This was so HARD. All the things that I answered, more questions came up. Until I noticed something. I looked up, it was no longer day. I could’ve SWORN it was noon three minutes ago. But the weirdest thing I saw was the stars were reshaping themselves. The big dipper and Orion were merging with each other. They formed three words: Come Find Me. Swell. He could reform the stars. I wondered what THAT tool could be used for. Well, he told me to find him, and I would. I ran to find Armando. He wasn’t there. So I hitchhiked around until I got to the nearest city, Albuquerque. We had been driving a while. I saw Armando parked at a gas station.
“Where were you?!” He shouted when I walked up.
“Dude, I’ve only been gone about 20 minutes.” I replied.
“No way. It’s been eight hours since you pulled that Hollywood stunt. I saw you wake up, and yell at that gross dude, but then you turned blue, and froze. I waited about an hour, so then I decided to get gas. I got gas, drove back, and you were STILL frozen. So I waited two more hours. Then I went and got a snack, came back, and waited for two MORE hours. Finally, I just gave up and came here. I waited an hour, and just now you show up. Where and what the HECK were you doing?!”
I thought about that. How is this possible? Obviously bigger or better forces were at work.
“I swear! All I did was wake up, talk to the guy, and then I looked up, and suddenly it was night. The stars were merging into words, and they read : ‘Come find me’.” I shot back.
“Well, let’s forget about this and………” He froze. Sticking out of his back was a long knife.
“Dude, that was NOT funny” I said while Armando laughed and laughed. Man, I was seething. I knew Armando was a joker, but I didn’t know he could still be one in a crisis.
“You should have seen your face. Your eyes were like baseball bases!” Armando laughed.
“Where in the WORLD did you get something like that?!” I asked.
“There’s a joke shop down the street. I was always a joker, so I went and checked it out. There was some classic stuff like whoopee cushions, robotic zombie faces, stuff like that. But then there was a section called fake wounds, and I knew that one was for you. They also had little packets of fake blood that you could poke the fake weapon into to show blood. Now I’m glad I spent a little extra money on those. The look on your face was priceless.” He said with a grin.
“Well. Now we need to get a move on” I said. Then I realized that I had no idea where we were going. Until a mailman on his last stop came up to us.
“Sorry, I have no idea why I am doing this, but are either of you Ether Cain?” He asked.
“That’s me.” I said.
“I have a letter from a mister Aelonnia.” He said innocently. I took it, opened it, and screamed. There was a picture of ALEX with the Annihilator. How could that be? He had died! The police had found his remains burnt and destroyed! I looked at the letter that was with it.
Surprised? I knew you would be
Especially when the boy is working for ME
But, wait. What’s that?
You try to kill?
Well, well .Looking good. Then find the black hill.
But if I’m not there,
and the clock strikes twelve,
Into the depths,
You must delve.
But the depths hold no answer,
As you will soon find,
just more clues
To mess with your mind.
I guess he likes riddles. I showed it to Armando, who immediately brightened up. I wondered why.
“Because if HE’S alive, then my sister is probably alive. But if Alex is still alive, then why do you still need to kill the Annihilator?” he told me.
“Then I guess I have to kill Alex too, if he’s working with this maniac.” I said grimly. I realized that this mission was all about avenging Alex, and now we were trying to kill him.
“Well, first we need to figure out where we need to go. The first clue is we need to find the black hill. The black hill. Hmm. I’ve got it! The black hills are where Mount Rushmore is! Also, there is a lake near the mountain, so in case he’s not there.” He said triumphantly.
Well, Mount Rushmore it is. We looked in the envelope, and gasped. There were two thousand dollars in it. Well, I guess there would be no more driving.
We drove the last leg to the Albuquerque airport, and purchased tickets to North Dakota. The plane ride was uneventful, and I slept through the whole trip. It had been two days since Alex supposedly died, and this was the first resting sleep I had. I was going to need it. When we got to North Dakota, we found a map, and drove to Mount Rushmore in a rental car. When we got there, there were swarms of people at the top. We looked and saw the famous four presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and one other I couldn’t remember. We waited until noon, but the Annihilator didn’t show up. I guess we were going swimming.
We went to a porta-potty, got changed in our swimsuits, and then snuck past some guards. We went behind the mountain, and started taking turns diving into the lake. Man, it was COLD, with a capital C-O-L-D. I seriously was contemplating driving back to a swim store and buying a dry suit. But finally Armando came up with a device inside a waterproof case. We opened the case, and the device was a simple switch, with a note on it. Pull Me. What was this, Alice in Wonderland? Oh well. It said pull me, so I pulled it. Immediately we heard a low rumble. We ran back to the front of the mountain and saw the faces crumbling to make way for something new. An animatronic face was coming out of the mountain. It was the Annihilator. The face’s mouth started to move.
“Well Ether, Obviously you figured out my clue. But the question is, will you go further? If you do not enter the mouth of this robot in ten minutes, a bomb will detonate, killing you and the people here. It’s your choice. This message is done.” If the word bomb doesn’t terrify people, then I don’t know what will. All the people started to run and scream. ME and Armando, you could say that we reacted differently. We immediately started running towards the mountain. The guards didn’t stop us. We got to the rock face and started to climb. Almost immediately a ladder came down from the mouth. We climbed it, and walked over the tongue of the mouth, and descended into the cave.
We walked and walked into the cavern, when Armando stopped in front of me. I tried to walk past me, but he put his arm in front of me. There was a big pit right in front of me. We were surveying the pit, when we heard a hissing sound. The wall behind us was perforated, and spewing out of the perforations were snakes. Lots and lots of cobras. We started to run, but were stopped by the pit. Swinging above our heads was a pendulum. The Pit and the Pendulum. This guy had a sick sense of humor. I was trying to figure out how to get across, when Armando picked me up and threw me into the air. I landed on the pendulum (it was a big pendulum). I had the air knocked out of me, but I was deposited on the other side. I heard a sharp yell, and Armando bounced next to me.
“Ooh. That hurt” he said.
“Well DUH. We just got thrown onto a freaking PENDULUM. How in the world did you get that idea?” I replied.
“I didn’t. You threw me on, and then you jumped on.” He said, surprised. I wondered. I was thrown on, and then Armando bounced next to me. This was strange.
We waited until the pendulum and swung back towards the other side, and we jumped off. As we went on, we noticed strange hieroglyphics on the walls. First one showed a leaf, then a snowflake, then a flower, and finally the sun. Then the final one was a perfect circle and in the middle was a full black circle a quarter of the size of the other one. It looked like a giant eye. Underneath the hieroglyphics were the words:
What the heck were these???? Some magical lost civilization? I had no idea. Neither did Armando. I looked at the eye. There was something different about it, like it didn’t belong there. I looked at Armando. His fists were clenched, and he was breathing through his teeth.
“Armando, what’s wrong?” I asked him. He pointed. I looked in that direction, and there was the body of his sister. Julia was dead.
Armando looked like he was about to cry. The whole reason he had come on this trip was to save her. Now that drive was gone. What would he do now?
“Ether, let’s go. I don’t know where we are going, but we need to find him. He needs to die for the atrocities he has committed.” He said through his teeth. I nodded. The drive to save his sister would be replaced with the drive to kill the Annihilator.
We kept on going through this dank cave, confounded by the hieroglyphs, and horrified at the body. Armando led the way, and I was hard pressed to keep up with him. Suddenly, Armando stopped.
“Ether, if you suddenly saw a glowing pool of white liquid, what would you do?” He asked tentatively. I shrugged. He pointed. Right in front of us was the thing he had described. There were some words etched right next to a ramp leading down to the pit. They read:
Magic is Might,
Follow this lead
Into the light
Be glad you Read.
“Follow this lead, huh? Okay. Armando, I think we’re supposed to go down to the pit with the pool.” I said. He nodded. We followed the ramp, and it led us to a rocky ridge that stretched over the pool.
“Okay, Ether. What do we do now?” Armando asked. I thought for a minute. Then I got an idea.
“Check and see if that liquid is hot.” I commanded. Armando stuck a finger in.
“It’s warm, but not scalding.” He said. I nodded.
“You’re going to hate me for this.” I said, and then I pushed him in. He disappeared before he could say anything. I held my breath, and jumped. I felt like I was falling form an immense height, and I started to black out. Right before I did, I saw an enormous volcano.
I was in a daze for I don’t know how long. I saw many people. They seemed to be dressed for summer. Everyone wore white shirts and shorts. They seemed to be rather technologically secure. It looked like they had everything Earth had. I had IVs sticking out from everywhere, I was on a gurney, and the food I COULD taste tasted like hospital food. One of the nurses saw me starting to sit up. She gently pushed me back down and made me drink something. I was soon back into dreamland.
I finally came awake completely. I was in a white room filled with white gizmos. One was a machine which my IVs were coming from. Another looked to be a heart rate monitor. All this whiteness was making me dizzy. I wrenched the IVs from my skin, not caring about the blood that started oozing from the pores, and started to head for the door. Almost immediately a girl appeared next to me. I mean it. Just APPEARED.
“So you’re awake? Noschatum said you would be any day now.” Her voice sounded like sweet honey.
“Who the heck is Noschatum?’” I asked, rather forcefully.
“He’s the head doctor here. There is another one, one whose skin is the same color as yours, and he wore the strange clothes you did.” She answered.
“Armando? Where is he?”
“He’s in the room across from you. He just woke up.”
I sprinted out of the room and into the one across from me. Armando was there in a bed with twice as many IVs as me. He looked pale, like he was ready to be sick.
“Interdimensional travel is not for me” he said, a little weakly.
“Well, its not exactly……. Wait. Did you say Interdimensional??” I asked him.
“They didn’t tell you?” he inquired. I shook my head.
“Well, remember those symbols we saw on that wall? Those weren’t nonsense. They were a map of this dimension, called the Season Dimension. The big volcano you saw? It’s called a Point of Energy. Apparently, each section of this world has one of those, and each Point of Energy fires off a massive amount of energy in turn. Nobody knows where this energy goes. But we do. That energy creates the seasons. This section is called Volvia, and its energy creates summer. A big portion of its burst goes into Libya, and a smaller portion goes into Arizona, which is why those places and their surroundings are so hot. The rest of the energy goes off into the rest of the world, but they aren’t as hot because the main portions go into other places. There are three other normal ones. Plantation gives off Autumn, Chlorophin gives off Spring, and IcePoint gives off winter. I believe Plantation’s point is a giant tree, Chlorophin’s is a big flower, and IcePoint’s is a glacier. Each world’s weather is what their season is. Volvia is hot and muggy, Plantation is cool and nice, Chlorophin is warm and nice, and IcePoint is cold and snowy.” He explained. He was breathing hard from his monologue. I had to lean on his bed. This was a lot to take in. I always thought that the seasons were caused by the rotation of the earth and the angle of its axis. My mind was having trouble letting go of the “truths” I knew.
“Ether? Are you okay?” Armando said, but it wasn’t his comment that surprised me, but the nurses’ reaction. They all gasped and started whispering. One went out of the room. I looked around. What had Armando said? The nurse that left came back with a big beefy man. He looked at me, then pointed at me with a strange stick. I instantly blacked out.
When I came awake again, I was in a dark muggy prison cell with a very very hairy man across from me. He looked at me like I was just another fly on the wall.
“What’d they get you for?” he asked in deep rugged voice.
“I don’t know. I just said my name was Ether” I said. When I said “Ether” he shrieked and pressed into the corner.
“Back, creature of the night! I have already paid my dept to your ruler!” he shouted. A guard came and grabbed me. He took me through a series of tunnels, and we ended up in a room that looked suspiciously like a court room. A man smacked a gavel up against the desk and shouted “The trial of the creature of Etherin shall come to order.” When he said that, I felt I was in a lot of trouble.
This was strange. I had barely been awake for more than 2 hours on this dimension, and I was already in a courtroom being tried.
“I’m innocent! I don’t even know what I’ve done!” I shouted.
“Of course you know. Just by being a creature of Etherin, you are subject to execution.” The man at the desk said.
“What exactly is Etherin? My name is Ether. There are similarities, but I didn’t come from your world.” I cried.
“Just to humor you, we will tell you what Etherin is. Etherin is the fifth season. It is a season that does not belong in this dimension, for it throws off the balance of this world. The citizens of Plantation are already feeling the effects. Their Energy tree is not sending enough energy, and the energy of Volvia is overpowering it. Any creature of Etherin must be killed, so this infernal process does not continue.” He explained, rather angrily.
“But how does Etherin do this? They can’t just do it with their presence.” I protested.
“They use abominations called Vortexes. These are not ordinary spirals like a whirlpool. They are invisible forces that cause harm and destruction wherever they go. If you are caught in a vortex, and you survive, the vortex has dastardly plans for you. They do not spare life lightly.” He said with a dark look on his face. I pondered this. Then I realized something horrible. Armando and I had been thrown onto that pendulum by a vortex. This chilled me. If they had spared our lives, then I had some danger in store.
“Is there anyway way that these things could be stopped?” I asked.
“No REAL way. There is a legend that if any seemingly unstoppable force were to arise, a hero would need to find the portal, The Shield, The Domaine, and The Nebula. The Shield to protect, the Nebula to attack, and the Domaine to win. The portal is to get straight to the problem. But this is just a legend! A children’s tale to get them to go to sleep!” he shouted.
“IT IS TRUE!” shouted a woman’s voice. I looked over and saw the honey voiced nurse standing there. She was holding a sheet of ice with words on it. “Ice diggers on IcePoint just found the portal. If someone were to set out to find the other three, the vortexes and Etherin will be gone!” she said. I was thinking. They wanted Etherin gone, and I didn’t want to be killed. My eyes lit up.
“I’ll go!” I shouted. Everyone looked at me.
“Preposterous! You just want an excuse to go back to your master!” The desk man shouted.
“And who exactly is ‘my’ master?” I asked.
“A vile man, who goes by the name, The Annihilator” he said.
‘The plot thickens’ I thought.
“I know the Annihilator.” I said. “He killed a man I knew and I think he is enslaving my friend. He is not my master. My lust for revenge is the reason I was brought here. I am not an Etherin. Maybe I was named Ether because I am to destroy Etherin.” I proclaimed.
“This is insanity!” the desk man said, but everybody else in the court started nodding their heads and agreeing with me.
“However, I cannot go alone. I will need at least two companions.” I said. “Another one arrived with me. He will be one” I was just about to think about someone else I would want, when the nurse walked next to me.
“My name is Kyla. I will go with you. I am quite familiar with the legend and can think of some places where they might be. You will need someone who can navigate the worlds.” She told me. I agreed. Me , Armando, and Kyla were to go search for the Shield, the Domaine, and the Nebula. I wonder what Armando would think when I told him………..
“All right, I’ll do it.” Armando agreed when we told him.
“Wow. That was easier than I thought it would be” I thought. We got him out of his bed, briefed him about Etherin, and the things we were supposed to find. He seemed a little shocked when I told him what threw us onto the pendulum. He seemed to understand the weight of the fact that the vortexes spared our life.
“Well, the first thing is to figure out where these things are” Armando said. Kyla smiled.
“I’m pretty sure the Domaine is right here on Volvia.” She said. Me and Armando looked at each other. Kyla was turning out to be a good choice.
We gathered some supplies, but not many, because apparently many animals and fruit grew on trees this time of year. We got some extra clothes, and a strange map. It showed a diamond with a cross connecting the corners of it. The corners said the names of the season worlds.
Kyla took us to a black staircase that looked like it went on forever.
“We have to climb up THAT?” I said in disbelief.
“No. I always do this to someone who is new on Volvia to scare them and question their athleticism. There’s an elevator over there.” She said with a smile. She pointed to our left. We went over, and as we approached, it opened. We went up, and when we got to the top, I felt an immense blast of heat. Worse than Arizona in the summer. I walked out and there was an amazing blood colored sea.
“This is the Crimson Sea. Lava seeped into it creating our land, but the color of it somehow changed the color of the water.” Kyla explained. She led us to a boat, and we stuck our stuff into it. We were kind of shocked when she started driving it towards the volcano.
“What are you doing?” I asked. “That’s a volcano! Its dangerous!”
“Nevertheless” She replied. “It is where the Domaine is most likely to be.” We kept on going, and we eventually made it to a black shore with pebbles in perfect circles. Kyla was worried when she saw them
“This means that the vortexes know where we are. The rocks are normally in cubes. However, we must press on.” We continued up a narrow path leading up the slope of the volcano. This volcano was ENORMOUS. It looked almost a mile high. We wound around this path for a long time until we reached a wall.
“How are we going to get up that?” I wondered out loud. Kyla walked forward. She touched the wall, making a movement that looked like two vertical lines, with horizontal lines connecting them.. Then she muttered something. A ladder suddenly was etched into the stone. We climbed it, and we still had a few more miles of switchbacks to climb.
“How did you do that, Kyla?’ I asked.
“Magic.” She said, as if it were the simplest thing in the world.
“But how do you use it?” I asked again.
“Rhyme. The basis of all magic is poetry, rhyme, and meter.” She said.
“But which ones do you use?” I asked, getting exasperated.
“Most spells you can just use a couplet, but for more complicated spells, you use more complicated poems. And you need to either touch the thing you are using magic against, or touch it with a thing you have touched. Then you make a drawing in the air, or on the thing you are using magic against, in the shape of what you want to be there. For example, if you were healing someone, you might use a quatrain, and draw a square over the injured part of the body.” She explained.
“Where do you get the power?” I asked.
“We don’t really know, although descendants of important people to the season worlds seem to have the most. Also, you can only do the same number of spells per day as your age. For example, I’m fifteen, so I can only do fifteen spells per day. At midnight, I restart. It’s a very precise system.” She said.
“Wait a minute. If you have technology, why do you still need magic?” I asked.
“We don’t NEED it, but we have it. If we have it, why not use it? Besides, it would be hard to carve a ladder out of this, even if we did have drill. So those who have magic use it.” She explained.
“What happens if you try to use more spells than your age?” I asked.
“You take energy from your body. The energy from all creation during the years you have lived is stored somewhere inside you, but once that energy is used up, it must be replenished. That replenishment happens at midnight the following day, but until then, the only energy you have is in your body. Most people imagined that you could take magic from other living things, but nobody has devised a complicated and powerful enough poem to do so.” She said, almost out of breath. I nodded. I looked ahead, and I could see the edge of a crater. We walked a bit longer, and we were at the summit.
I looked down and immediately wished I hadn’t. We were standing on a ten foot ride overlooking the crater filled with molten lava.
“Where in the world would the Domaine be?” I asked.
“In the crater.” She answered bluntly, as if we were being silly. She walked straight to the crater and knelt down. She took a rock, threw it in the lava, all the while muttering some sort of incantation and making an upward gesture in the air.. All of the sudden a waterfall of light came out of the sky, and it revealed a metal pedestal in the middle of the crater. On it was a clear case, and in it was a strange rectangle of gold. On the rectangle were peculiar runes. This was obviously the Domaine. There was one problem. How were we going to get to it? I thought that Kyla would be able to summon a bridge, so I went over and asked her.
“I would, but there is nothing to summon it from, except lava. I would need steel, or something.” She replied. I pointed to the steel pillar the Domaine was on.
“Brilliant!” she cried. She threw a rock at the steel, then muttered an incantation and drew a long line in the air.. The steel started elongating and widening. It kept on doing that until it reached our edge. We started to cross, but when we got halfway, these metal bands popped off the pillar and went and bound our legs. I fell an inch away from the edge of the bridge. Kyla and Armando were both the same way. The Vortexes had come.
“Ether, Ether, Ether. I figured that you wouldn’t dare go into the mouth of that robot. I know how much you don’t like caves. But alas, you did. And you’ve discovered my secret.” A voice said out of the air. I recognized it. It was the Annihilator. “Well, how do you like the Season Dimension? You’ll never see this version again. Plantation is going to be no more. Out of all the seasons, only the farmers enjoy it. What’s the point of it? Especially when there’s a powerful season of Darkness. Etherin will cause all of the things that would grow in Plantation go to Chlorophin, and then there will be no reason for Plantation. And Etherin shall be real.”
“But that’s throwing off the balance! A world like Earth isn’t made every day! It has to have perfect seasons and stuff. You can’t stick whatever the heck you want into that balance. It would destroy us. The heat of Volvia would then be followed by darkness, and the people won’t be able to adapt. They will have their horrors and their fears realized. Men will stalk the streets to slaughter one another. Children will be afraid. The human race will deteriorate into nothing.” I shot back.
“Ahhh, the classic ‘The human race will die’ argument. I’ve heard it so many times, it’s gotten rather annoying. I don’t CARE about the human race. If you have a season on a world that sends off energy from a Point, then you gain immense power. Where do you think Kyla got her power? She is the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great granddaughter of the man who first replaced Etherin with Volvia. Etherin resulted when the dinosaurs died. The asteroid created darkness, and the beginnings of the human race were dying off, so her grandfather quickly discovered this volcano, made it a point of energy, and forced Etherin out of the rotation. Once I had tasted power, I never went back-“
“Wait. You were the leader of Etherin back when the DINOSAURS were alive?? How is that possible?” I asked in disbelief.
“Yes. With the last of my power, I made myself immune to the pressures of age. I can still be killed, but I no longer am affected by disease or by age. Now don’t interrupt. I have slaved for 65 million years. Yes, I was bored. And finally, I have acquired the way to put Etherin back where it belongs, and restore what I deserve. And then you come along, and try to ruin it all because I killed your friend. Well, here’s your friend, but I don’t think he’ll be helping you anytime soon.” Then the Annihilator appeared, and next to him stood the desk man. The desk man peeled off a body suit like the one the Annihilator wore when he was impersonating Julia. And then suddenly, standing on the tip of a volcano on Volvia, stood my best friend Alex.
“Hello Ether. I’m glad to see you. This means that my act worked, and you truly thought I was your friend. Well, that was your mistake.” Then he snapped his fingers. The metal around us started crushing us, but all of the sudden they stopped and melted off us. A rock had fallen off the side of the ridge, and the lava that had splashed had hit the metal on each of our arms. The heat and light of the lava had scared away the vortexes! Elated, I got up and bolted for the Domaine, but a vortex had other plans. It took a piece of steel, elongated it, and made a trip wire. I ran straight into it. I tripped, and would have fallen over the edge if Kyla hadn’t cast a spell that had saved me. I kept going towards the Domaine, and got to it. I lifted up the clear case, and grabbed it. I immediately felt rejuvenated. I pointed the domain at the Annihilator, and I felt the vortexes go away.
“No!! Darn you, Ether Cain! Next time we meet, I will not make these mistakes!” He yelled, and he and Alex left. I walked over to Kyla and Armando, and showed them the Domaine.
“Well, we’ve got one. Now we just have to find the others” I said.
“On to Plantation!” Kyla shouted, then pushed us into the volcano.
At first, I thought she was crazy. We were going to die, but when we hit the lava, there was no pain. Just an itching sensation. I looked down and saw tiny little bits popping off my body. Our molecules were being changed into pure energy. But instead of going back up, which we would do if we were going to Earth, we went to the side, and were pushed through an orange barrier. Then we blacked out.
When we came awake, we were in a big orchard. Apple trees were everywhere. I looked over the area, but I couldn’t find Kyla and Armando anywhere.
“Ether!” someone shouted. I looked over to my right to see Armando and Kyla coming towards me with lots of apples.
“The people of Plantation are gracious to new arrivals. They won’t mind that we took these. Besides, this is the biggest orchard they have.” Kyla explained. We proceeded to feast on the most delicious apples in existence. As soon as we finished, we started to try and find our way out of this orchard. We had no success.
“Let me guess, you can’t find your way?” a voice said. We looked over and there was a man in what looked like was a harvester, only it was clear.
“Yep.” I replied.
“Hop on, I’ll give you a ride. You’re Volvians, right?” he said.
“How’d you guess?” I asked.
“Only Volvians wear white clothes. Here on Plantation, you need to wear warmer. It’s not as cold as IcePoint, but it is pretty chilly.” He answered.
We jumped on. He started it up with a button, and we lurched forward. It was pretty fun, but we were cold. When he got to the end, he pointed to a trail.
“Go that way, and when you get to the Crossroads go left.” He said.
“Thanks for your help!” Kyla shouted. We kept going, and when we got to this Crossroads, which was just a four way stop, we turned left. Up ahead was a big orange city. It looked beautiful When we got there, we immediately went to go look for warmer clothes. A vendor had some really cool ones.
“This metathermal sweater will always keep you at a comfortable temperature, whether hot on Volvia, or freezing on IcePoint. Four red leafs is the price each.” The lady running it said. Kyla shook her head.
“We can’t pay with leaves. We do however, have these.” She held out her hand. The lady’s eyes went wide.
“You have Volvian Blood Stones?” she said in a shrill whisper.
“Yes. However, if you don’t want them…” Kyla started to close her hand.
“No, no. Those will work fine. So, three metathermal sweaters, along with three pairs of metathermal pants?” the lady said shakily. Kyla paid her the money (if you can call it that) and we went over to changing rooms. When we had changed, we started out to find the Point of Energy on Plantation. Kyla was asking people where we could find it. Many people didn’t know what we were talking about, until we got to an old woman. When we asked her where it was, she looked puzzled.
“Do you mean Livingtree?” she asked.
“Yes. Is Livingtree where people go to go to other worlds?” Kyla asked.
“Yes. Livingtree is that way, past the Plain of the Missing.” She pointed. We followed that direction, and we came to a long plain of what looked to be four miles. Funny. The Plain of the Missing didn’t look so ominous
We started across the Plain, and it didn’t seem so bad. There was lots of grass, and the wind was so nice, and I was SO tired. Kyla and Armando felt sleepy too, so we all laid down and fell asleep.
I awoke to a golden light. I looked over and I saw the Domaine in my hand, and the silhouette of a Vortex. I thought they were invisible, but apparently they were illuminated by the Domaine. The vortex looked like a man, but he was able to contort his body in any way he wished. And he had magical powers, like being to squeeze metal. I looked at the Domaine in my hand. If that hadn’t happened, we would probably be dead. I looked over at Armando and Kyla. They were still fast asleep. I laid back down and went to sleep, clutching the Domaine close to my heart.
When we woke up, we started across the plain. I now understood why this was called the Plain of the Missing. We resisted the urge to sleep, and we made it to the end of the Plain. And looming in front of us was the biggest tree we had ever seen. This was the Livingtree. We were trying to figure out how to get to the top of this monstrosity when Armando pointed to a sign that said “Free rides to the top of Livingtree”. I grinned.
The weasel-faced man who was running an elevator to the top looked at us as if saying “Why me?” We climbed in. Two seconds and a bout of vertigo later, we were at the top. It was one of the most amazing sights of all time. There were all these bridges connecting different bridges, and the leaves were so big and sturdy, people were tying them together and using them as flying suits to go down.
“That is ‘Plantation Tree Diving’. It’s one of the most fabled sports of all time, second only to Volvian Lava surfing.” Kyla explained.
“Wait. That crater didn’t look nearly big enough.” I commented.
“There is another one, several hundred miles from the Point, that is many miles wide.” She said. We asked several people if we could borrow a needle and thread, and we gathered a couple of leaves. We sewed them together, and I put them on. It was like wearing a parachute. I looked at Kyla, she nodded, so I jumped over the edge. I was amazed at how slow I went, but as soon as I tilted forward, I sped up. I found out that I steered with my legs. If I lifted my legs up, I went down, and if I dropped them down, then I went up. If I twisted left, I turned left, and so on. I managed to drop down in a steep dive, before coming up out of it and finally hitting ground. I went back up the elevator and ran towards Armando and Kyla.
“That was amazing!” I exclaimed to them. Kyla smiled. We let Armando have a turn, then we went on, trying to find where the Nebula would be hidden. Kyla stopped in front of a strange branch that looked out of place.
“Ether, could you pull the Domaine out of your pack, and keep it in your hand.” She said in a stern voice. I looked at her quizzically.
“NOW.” She said, even sterner. Startled, I did. Immediately, it lit up and glowed. The Vortexes had followed us, and they were determined.
I held the Domaine tightly. At least we had something to fight them with. But they said the Domaine was to WIN, not to PROTECT. We needed the Shield. But the Domaine would have to do. We kept on looking, but I always kept my eye out for Vortexes. Kyla shouted. I looked over, and she was pointing at the tallest branch on the Tree. On top of it, disguised as a leaf, was a large green bow. The Nebula had been found. But what would it fire? I started to run to it, but stopped when the domain began to glow red the closer I got. I began to look around, then I realized that some of the leaves were not leaves. They were vortexes that were green and contorted to look like leaves. I pointed the Domaine at them, and they seemed to back away. I turned around and towards the Nebula, and when I got to the branch that it was on, I tried to figure out how to get to the top. I saw little nodules of wood on the branch, and I started to climb. But a Vortex pulled me down, and made my legs unable to move. Since they were insubstantial, I couldn’t hit them or anything, so they only held my legs.
“Why, oh WHY, must you be so stubborn?” I heard Alex say. I looked up and saw him on top of the tree holding the Nebula.
“I underestimated you. I thought that the Vortexes on the Plain of the Missing would scare you away. Those vortexes are natural. It’s where The Annihilator found them. He enlisted them in the quest of reinstating Etherin. They agreed, and now they are his servant’s.” He twirled the Nebula on his finger.
“I don’t understand why you wish to stop Etherin. It’s perfectly sane for the Annihilator to want to reinstate something that was in the natural order. Volvia is the unnatural one. These artifacts won’t help you. The power of the vortexes is much more than these silly toys. Have fun dying.” He snapped his fingers. The vortexes started walking toward Kyla and Armando. I reached my hand in my pocket, and pulled my magnum. There was one shot. I couldn’t miss. I aimed at Alex’s hand, and fired. Alex yelled, and dropped the Nebula. The Vortexes let go of me to try and catch it, but then I brought out the Domaine. The Vortexes all ran away, and I caught the Nebula in my hands. I immediately aimed it at the fleeing Vortexes, pulled the string back, and fired. A beam of green light bolted off the center and hit one of the Vortexes. It disappeared. I whooped, then proceeded to take out every single one of the Vortexes. After that, I ran over to Kyla and Armando. They were getting up. Kyla saw me, ran over and wrapped her arms around me in a fierce hug.
“Ether, you were amazing!” she told me. Armando came over and patted me on the back.
“Dude, that was pretty cool.” He said.
“Now we just need the Shield.” I said.
“Definitely. Follow me.” Kyla said. She led us over to a branch that went straight up. We climbed up to the top of it, and there was a churning green pool at the top. We jumped in, and we were on our way to Chlorophin.
We woke up in a calm glade. There was forest all around us, except for this clearing. In the exact middle of this clearing there was a small bush bulging with half green half purple berries.
“Berries!” I yelled. I started to run toward them, but Kyla stopped me. She pointed at a squirrel that had walked up to the bush. It took a berry, stuck it in its mouth, chewed, and started to run around. Its skin was turning bright red, and soon its fur had fallen off. It stopped running and fell on the ground. It looked all ready to cook.
“Chlorophin fire berries. I’ve heard of them. They put a bush in the middle of a glade like this, and burn all other fruit trees around it, so it’s the only food source there. Then they wait, and when anything eats them, their fur or feathers fall off, and they’re ready to cook. It’s an ingenious invention, but many people have died. I don’t know if the Chlorophinians are.. are-” Her voice broke, but I knew what she was going to say. She didn’t know if they were cannibals. This was wonderful. The people we were going to have to associate with might be cannibalistic. Luckily, we still had a couple of the Plantation apples. We ate two each, then started to walk into the woods. I gave Kyla the Domaine, and I hefted the Nebula. I didn’t know if they worked on anything other than Vortexes, but if they did, then that would be good.
We walked on, and the forest just got darker and darker. Luckily, I had a flashlight in my pack, and Kyla had this strange glowing cube. We kept on going, when I started to notice these strange rustling noises. I looked around, but I couldn’t see anything. I looked up, and there seemed to be tons of bat creatures. I nudged Kyla and pointed. She looked, and she paled.
“Chlorophinian prey-bats. If they sense any kind of fear, they stir. If they sense terror, they attack. Think of something happy. Don’t think of anything fearful. If they attack, then I’ll try to use the Domaine, and Ether will use the Nebula.” She explained. We kept on walking, silently telling jokes to each other. When we got to the end of this stretch of the forest, we got to a significantly lighter part of woods, and up above us were tree houses. We had found the Chlorophinians.
We went up a ladder that was hanging down from a tree, and began the tedious task of asking people where the Point of Energy on their season was. This time, though, we got a different reception. The first person we talked to knew where it was.
“The FlyCatcher? It’s only a mile that way.” He pointed. We thanked him, and stopped by another clothes store for proper clothes for this world. When we got them, we went off. A couple hours later, we got to the FlyCatcher. It was not a flower. We were staring at the largest Venus Fly Trap any of us had ever seen.
We gaped. We all thought this thing was going to be a nice flower. When we figured out it was a giant Venus Fly Trap, we were shocked. This was going to be harder than we thought. We contemplated how we were going to get up that. I suggested that Kyla use a spell.
“They only work on my world. I’m only a descendant, so I can’t use them everywhere.” She explained. I had an idea. I took a stick, used my pocketknife from my pack to sharpen it, and tied a rope that I had in my pack onto it. I shot it up onto the top of the FlyCatcher with the Nebula, and it anchored. We all climbed up. When we got to the top, we saw these strange stalagmite type things.
“Sensors.” Kyla said. “If you touch two of those within 20 seconds of each other, then the mouth will close and you will be trapped and slowly digested.” Lovely.
“Where in the world would the Shield be on this? There are only the sensors…” I said. Then I realized. They were the only things here. We would have to look inside of these sensors, and if we weren’t careful, this would snap close, and Etherin would win.
I told Kyla and Armando what we would have to do, and they did not look pleased. There probably fifty sensors here, and while we looked we couldn’t let anything touch those sensors. A bird almost landed on one, but I found out that the nebula energy vaporizes anything, not just Vortexes. However, halfway through checking, we hadn’t found anything. This was getting rather difficult. Kyla decided to check one more. As she was checking, Armando went over to help her, but halfway there, he started to look exhausted. He started to stumble and zigzag. Finally, next to a sensor, he collapsed. His foot touched the sensor. And suddenly I couldn’t see the sun.
“Ether! What happened??” Kyla shouted. I pointed up.
“What??” she shouted.
“The trap closed! Can’t you see?” I shouted back.
“The trap didn’t close! Something else is blocking the sun.” She said. I looked up. There was a large black thing blocking the sun. But as I watched, the black thing slowly turned blue, and was getting bigger. I yelped, and ran out of the way. An object fell at my feet. I looked, and it was a blue parallelogram shaped object roughly the size of my foot. I looked at it closer, and realized two opposite sides of it were rounded. It was a diamond with the two middle vertexes rounded. This was the Shield.
“It was the Shield! Armando, you’re a genius!” I yelled. Kyla ran over. She took a look at the Shield, looked at me, leaned toward me like she was going to kiss me, and-
“Could I get a little help here?” Armando called. Kyla jumped back.
“Armando!” She yelped. She ran over. “What happened??”
“I was walking over to help you look for the Shield, and then I felt dizzy, and I blacked out. What happened?” he said.
“When you collapsed, it triggered something on the plant. But instead of it closing, it dropped the Shield.” Kyla explained.
“And we thank you for that.” The Annihilator’s voice said. I immediately picked up the Shield and the Nebula.
“Oh, don’t bother. This is just a voice out of the air. It has no tangible value. There are no Vortexes. I have just one message for you. Alex and I are waiting.” The voice said. I was seething. My face was about to combust. I would need it. We were going to IcePoint, and the people said that it was the coldest one of them all.
Kyla led us to the biggest of the sensors. It had a large stone cap on it. We pushed it inside, and there was a frozen blue gel inside. I used my pocketknife to slit away a hole big enough for us, and we were on our way to the winter world of IcePoint.
I woke up to bitter cold. We were in an igloo out on an ice plain. I looked around, and saw a big burly man in the shadows. I started to sit up, but he pushed me down.
“You need to rest. IcePoint is having a blizzard, so it took enormous effort for you to cross the border.” He said in very deep voice.
“Where is Kyla?” I asked.
“The Volvian?” The man said. “She’s in the other igloo. We didn’t want to mix the boys and the girls, so my wife is caring for her.” I nodded. This was tiring. I started to lie back down, but I snapped right up again.
“Sir, with us there was a green bow, a yellow rectangle with runes on it, and a blue half-rounded diamond. Do you have these?” I asked him desperately. He nodded, and held out his hands. In his hands, there was the Nebula. But it was different. It was glowing and golden. At least the top half was. The bottom half was the richest royal blue, and the string was deepest green.
“The Nebula was made to meld with the Shield and the Domaine. When melded, they become the Infinites. When one wields the Infinites, they can overcome any evil. But only once. Once the evil is defeated, the Infinites disappear, and scramble to hiding places. There is one on every world. This time, the Domaine was on Volvia, the Nebula was on Plantation, the Shield on Chlorophin, and the Portal is here on IcePoint.” He explained.
“So, am I holding the Infinites?” I asked.
“Yes. But use it wisely. If you vanquish even the smallest evil, it will disappear. The Annihilator is a large evil, but his Vortexes are lesser evil. Do not kill a single one except the Annihilator with the Infinites, or else this quest will fail, and you will be at his mercy.” The man said. I nodded. When I picked up the Infinites, I felt warmth run up my arms and into my body. I immediately felt powerful. The man smiled. He touched the point where the blue, the gold, and the green met.
“Separate!” he said. The Infinites glowed, and then the Nebula was there along with the Shield and the Domaine right next to it.
“To meld the three, put the Domaine at the top of the Nebula, the Shield at the bottom, and say ‘Connect’. That will create the Infinites. But once you destroy any evil, you know what happens.” The man explained. I nodded.
“Thank you.” I said. I got up, and the man handed me a very thick shirt and pants. He pointed towards a room, and I went in there and changed. The clothes were like a body suit, but it felt much lighter than it looked. I immediately felt normal, neither cold nor hot. I smiled. When I came out, Armando was sitting up.
“Ether, can you please bring me something to warm me? I’m FREEZING.” He said. I brought him some clothes like mine.
“The storm has passed.” Said the man. “Time to head for the Portal.” I nodded. I grabbed the Shield, the Domaine, and the Nebula. I assembled them.
“Connect!” I barked. The Nebula glowed, while the Shield and the Domaine seemed to melt into the beauty of the Nebula. When it was done, I was holding the Infinites.
“Let’s go.” I commanded. This was it.
We left the igloo, and stepped out onto a frozen wasteland. Ice, as far as the eye could see. The only thing was another igloo about 10 feet from ours. Kyla was standing in front of it. We ran over to her.
“Are you ready?” I asked her. She nodded. The man form our igloo ran over to us.
“I’m here to lead you to the Portal. It’s very far, and the way is dangerous.” He said. “Follow me.” He started off. We followed him. I cannot account for some of the trip, because it was relatively boring. But it was near the end that I got my biggest surprise. We were walking when all of the sudden, a large bright light shot into the sky.
“That is the Portal. Let us go.” The man said. I started, but stopped. Kyla was staring at me.
“What?” I asked. She stepped closer.
“I’m just worried I might never see my home again. This may be a march toward death.” She said.
“Don’t worry. We won’t. We have the Infinites.” I said.
“Still, if this is a march to death, I want to give you something.” She said softly. She stepped closer, and kissed me on the lips. I was startled at first, but soon I just let it go and kissed her back. Now we were the only people on this barren plain, together without a fear in the world. This was amazing. I suspected there was some reason that she stuck along after nearly being killed twice, but never that she actually loved me. And I realized that I loved her. When we separated, she was blushing. I smiled and gave her a big hug.
“Don’t worry. Nothing will happen. I promise you that you will see Volvia again.” I said comfortingly. She smiled. We walked towards the Portal, all the while holding our hands tightly, as if we would never feel them together again.
The people were waiting for us. Armando and our guide were standing over a large hole in the ice. When we looked down the hole, there was a glowing mass at the bottom.
“The Portal. It is the only portal underground and it is the only one that glows. It will take you to the edge of Etherin, as that is the farthest it can get. Etherin has no Point of Energy, so it has no portal.” Our guide said.
“Wait.” I said. “Then how can the Vortexes travel?”
“They have Realm travel. Only they can, and it comes with a price. For every time they travel, they lose a sense of self. They become one, and though they may think it a blessing, we think of it as curse. They become one, and operate fully by orders. The Annihilator has taken control of them, and they now do his bidding.” The guide explained. We looked down at the hole.
“What do we do now?” I asked.
“Jump in. You will not reach the bottom. If you are holding the Infinites, then it will automatically take you to Etherin.” The guide explained. “But before you go, we have gifts for each of you.” He snapped his fingers. Three men came up, each with a box. “For Armando, we have a magical ice pick, which will transform anything to ice when struck. It can only be used thrice.” He passed the transparent ice pick to Armando. “For the girl, we have the Pointian book of spells. With it, you can manipulate the ice Armando creates, but once you use the spell, it is beyond your power. Use them wisely.” He gave her the blue book. “And for you, Ether, we have the prophecy box.” He drew a black wooden box out of his jacket. “It will give you an item of utmost importance. It will give you the same thing whenever you open it, so open it now.” He held it out, and I reached for it. I took a deep breath, and opened it. Inside I found a blue ring with a transparent orange gem set in it.
“What could this be used for?” I asked the man.
“I do not know. This ring looks familiar, but I cannot recall where it comes from.” He said. I nodded.
“You guys ready?” I asked Kyla and Armando. They nodded, and Kyla stepped closer to me and held my hand tight. We took a deep breath, and jumped. As soon as we jumped, the Infinites glowed brighter than the sun, and suddenly we were on the ground again, in the dark. This was Etherin.
I scrambled around, trying to find something, when I could suddenly see my hand. The Infinites could be used as a flashlight.
“Come to the Infinites!” I shouted. I heard scuffling, and Armando appeared next to me. Kyla did too, and she looked scared.
“This is the land of Darkness. How will we be able to get to the Annihilator in this?” She said.
“The Infinites. It should light the way, and we just have to find it. Where would a maniacal evil warlord live?” I said. Armando tapped my shoulder and pointed. I looked and I saw the strangest thing ever. I could see a giant tower off in the distance, but it was lit by DARK light. It was as if I could see., but it still looked like it was dark. But there was light, so it looked dark but light. Kind of hard to describe, but there it was nonetheless.
“Guess we found him, eh Ether?” Armando said. I nodded grimly. We packed what things we had, and set off. This was going to be hard. As we walked, we noticed that there were many unseen things here. I looked over at a grove of trees and saw three glowing red eyes in the top of one. I decided to separate the Infinites. I found the place where they met.
“Separate!” I said. The Infinites glowed, and then the three components fell into my hand. I gave Armando the Shield and Kyla the Domaine.
“If anything happens, use them. I’ll have the Nebula, so we should be fine. When we get to the tower, give them back and I’ll make the Infinites.” I told them. We walked on towards the menacing tower, all the while wondering what kind of atrocities the Annihilator would have.
The walk towards the tower was a perilous one. Almost every step we took was followed by an eerie creaking sound, and after we went on it sounded like something behind us was destroyed. And every now and then, something would run out towards us, and I’d have to shoot it. We never saw what it was, because they disappeared with a terrifying laugh. This truly was the land of darkness. We went on, and still these horrors assaulted us. Kyla slowly but surely worked her hand into mine, and we held them tight. Finally, I had had enough. I pointed the Nebula towards the tower, and shot it. A beam of golden light struck the tower at lightning speed. The howls grew, until they were earsplitting. Armando swung his ice pick, and turned the ground within a twenty foot radius into ice. He nodded to Kyla, and she opened her book. She found a spell, muttered a short incantation, and lifted the ice from the ground. The ice was a foot deep, and she lifted it all. She pointed up, and then made a gesture like she was tearing something in half. Immediately, the highest pitched and piercing sound filled my ears. The ice was tearing itself in half, and again, until it was in bits and pieces. The howls stopped. I was relieved. All it took for the howls to stop was a high pitched noise. We walked on. The creaking and crashing noises continued, but the howls were gone. I began to notice something eerie. As we got closer to the Annihilator’s tower, the creaking and crashing noises began to die down, and suddenly whispers filled the air. Incoherent, soft whispers assailed us. Kyla squeezed my hand tighter. Armando fingered the Shield. I started to reach for the Nebula, when I thumped into a wall. It felt like glass, but it was stone. We were at the Annihilators tower.
It was darker than I imagined it. It was as if the tower was a black hole, sucking up the light from the air. It felt like glass, smooth and cool. But when I looked at it, it looked like shiny obsidian. I looked at Kyla and Armando. They nodded. Taking a deep breath, I found the door and opened it. Our final ascent had begun.
Imagine climbing the Empire State building stairs in total darkness. Imagine that darkness pressing against you, pulling you down, so every step was prolonged. Then imagine climbing 1100 steps. This is what it was like to climb the Obsidian Tower. The only reason we didn’t plummet to our deaths was the Infinites. I had melded them together to create some light so we could see each other and the steps. Kyla looked terrified. She had grown up in a world of light. To suddenly throw away what she had since childhood and replace it with the exact opposite was terrifying her. I gently placed my hand into hers. She stiffened, but then she wove our fingers together and placed her head on my shoulder. I was the only thing that kept her from dying of fright. Then the tower threw another eerie thing. The whispers we had heard outside the tower had started to coalesce into a shadow and become coherent.
“What are you doing here?” One said to me. “You could have stayed in your realm and never had a worry in the world. You wouldn’t have had to risk your life several times just to save a world that doesn’t matter. Earth is the only thing that matters.” I shook my head against these. I couldn’t listen to these poisonous words.
“These things will try to convince us not to do this.” I whispered into Kyla’s ear. She nodded. I looked over at Armando. He had stopped, and his eyes were focused up. I tried to listen to what they were saying.
“What are you doing with these two? You have always been an outcast in this group. Look at them. Holding hands, her head resting on his shoulder. They don’t care about you.” They said to him.
“Armando! Don’t listen to them!” I shouted. But he was already looking at me with an evil glare. He raised his hands, and started muttering some incantation. His hands filled with arcane power given to him by the shadow, and it fired in a bolt past me. I looked over, and Kyla was on the floor, slowly turning to ice. I yelled, and with fury, pointed the Infinites at the shadow. I fired, and with a howl, the whispers and the shadow ceased to exist. The Infinites started to glow, and then they disappeared from my hand. I looked at Armando. He looked like he felt immense sorrow. I ran over to Kyla, whose legs had turned to ice.
“Ether……” She whispered. I grabbed her hand.
“I’m here, Kyla.” I said, about to sob.
“I was right. This was a march towards death.” She said quietly.
“It’s not.” A voice said. I looked over, and Alex was there. “It’s not. There is a spell called IceLife. It turns any lifelike ice statue to life. But it is complicated. You require an object not of this world that can cut off a piece of ice, and another that can create fire.” He said. I felt like that was impossible, but I remembered. I reached into my pack, and pulled out my knife and a lighter. Alex’s eyes widened.
“All right. Take the knife, and cut off a piece of ice.” I did, from her pants sleeve. “Now say ‘IceLife, I call on thee. Bring this beloved back to me.’ Then burn the ice.” He said. I did. The ice on Kyla began to burn with a blue fire. Wherever the fire touched, her original body came back. Soon she was back to normal. I looked at Alex.
“How could I have done this with a simple couplet?” I asked.
“The Volvians had it mostly right. Most of the time, to accomplish a complicated spell, you need a complicated incantation, but if you pour your power into the spell in the form of passion and feeling, you can even do powerful magic with a single word. That is how you meld and separate the Infinites, although they supply the passion and feeling.”
“Why did you do this?” I asked.
“Because you released me. That shadow was me. However, since you killed only the evil with Infinites, I’m back.” He said. I looked at my hands.
“Now we have no way of winning.” I said. Alex smiled.
“Look at your ring.” He said. I pulled it out. It was now glowing, and it said I call them back. I decided to experiment. I put it on.
“Return!” I said. Then the staircase lit up, and falling from air was the Infinites. I picked them up, and stuck the ring in a slot that looked like it would go there. The Infinites warmed.
“That is the IceFire ring. It’s the sister of the Infinites. It is used to call the Infinites if they are used before their time, and they add to the Infinites power. Look. Fire it.” He said. I picked it up, and aimed it at the wall. It fired a swirling blue beam that looked like a dragon.
“The Infinites were truly supposed to pair with the IceFire ring. When they are both together, any three evils can be destroyed. However, you already vanquished mine, so you only have two left.” He explained. I looked over at Kyla. She was standing up, and she had a smile on her face. I looked up at the staircase. There was a door with an eye at the end of it. We walked up, and opened the door. The battle had begun.
When we entered, I immediately felt the power of this place. It was as if it was oozing out from the cracks in the obsidian. And the center of this power was a dark obsidian throne. And seated on the throne was the Annihilator
“Well, you finally made it. Funny. I would have expected Alex would have driven you apart.” He said. I smiled.
“Look next to me.” I said smugly. He did, and swore loudly.
“How??” He asked angrily. In response, I held up the Infinites.
“These can vanquish evil. When the shadow controlling him was destroyed, he reappeared completely restored, but still with the knowledge you gave him” I answered.
“But how can you still have the Infinites?” He asked incredulously.
“Look at the front.” I said. He looked, and nearly fell out of the chair. He was seething.
“Where in the worlds did you find the IceFire ring?” He asked through his teeth.
“The Prophecy Box.” I said.
“Apparently the Pointians are more resourceful then I give them credit for. No matter. You can still destroy only two evils. And I possess two more besides me.” And with a snap of his fingers two more shadows appeared, and I almost choked. One of them was the policeman who consoled me, and the other was my principle. But there was something different with these two. Their darkness was flecked with glowing lines, as if they were enslaved before they could be convinced to be on the Annihilator’s side. I got an idea. I took the Infinites, and fired a shot at both of the shadows glowing lines. They screamed, and disintegrated, and the men they were enslaving fell to the floor.
“Ha! Now you cannot defeat me!” The Annihilator said triumphantly. But he spoke too soon. The Infinites didn’t glow, and they stayed in my hand.
“Yes I can. Those men were not evil. You enslaved them, and they were fighting to get out. I simply helped them.” I said. And I pointed the Infinites at him. He laughed.
“The Infinites may be powerful, but I am still a match for them. And you will have to fight!” he shouted, and his hands swirled with darkness. “See? I am becoming powerful. Etherin is already being put into the rotation, and Plantation is being pushed out. You will have to fight the power of a king of Seasons!” He bellowed, and he fired a dark beam at me.
I fired a blue fire at the Annihilators beam and cancelled it out.
“You may be powerful, but I am more of a match.” I said. He smiled.
“Then let us compete on the specified battle ground. Up!” He barked. I suddenly felt very dizzy with vertigo. We were on top of the Obsidian Tower, and there were no walls to keep us from falling off.
“This will be the battlefield. You cannot hope to compete with me. I will win, and soon I will be king of both worlds.” He said. I felt overwhelmed, but I got an idea. I gripped the Infinites with both hands.
“MELD!” I screamed to the heavens. The Infinites started to sink into my body, and I felt charged with power. Blue fire swirled up my arms, and down my legs. The Annihilator looked, for the first time, afraid. I was too. I had no way to use this power. I decided to look in my mind for a way. I searched around in my consciousness until I found a strange switch in a glowing ring. It felt strange, being able to see my mind and consciousness. I studied the switch further, and when I touched it, magic poured out of it. The Infinites in me were creating a way for me to also do magic without speaking a single word. I immersed my self in the glow, smiled, and shot two twisting beams of fire at him. He put up a wall of darkness, but it punched a hole in it and missed him by a hair. He grimaced and threw a ball of crackling dark lightning at me, but I made a real lightning bolt destroy it. He created two shadows and sent them after me. I summoned two cages and trapped them. He summoned ball after ball of energy, but I always managed to block him.
“He always said how great his power is, but why is mine so much greater?” I thought.
“Ether, you haven’t even seen my true power yet.” He said, as if he could read my mind. Then he knelt down, and moaned. Darkness began to overtake him, and soon he was a shadow; darkness; nothing but only eyes and fangs.
“This is the true form of me. Etherin is darkness, and I am the king. You cannot hope to compete with me in this form.” It said in deep voice. Then with a wide gesture he created a dark wall that advanced towards me, aiming to push me off. I fired beam after beam towards it, but it kept on pushing me off. I was about to be pushed off, but the wall stopped. It had tendrils of ice creeping up it. I looked at the bottom of it, and Armando’s ice pick was there. I looked over the edge of the tower, and Armando, Kyla, and a Vortex were there. Armando gestured to the Vortex, made a throwing motion. The Vortex had thrown the ice pick against the wall for Armando. I shattered the ice with a blast and faced the Shadow. It looked like it wanted to run. I smiled, willed all the power I had, and fired an enormous bolt at it. It smiled, and dodged. The Shadow got ready to fire again; its hands glowing with a crimson light, but it stopped, grimacing. My bolt was sticking out of it.
It collapsed, and behind it was a Vortex. The Vortexes were not happy, and they had killed their master. It started glowing, and little droplets of light came out of the Shadow and back into the Vortex. Its sense of self had returned. It pointed at me, and made a gesture like something traveling from one place to another. I understood. It wanted to go back to its homeland. I willed the last power I had, and transported it and its brethren back to the Plain of the Missing. Then the Infinites were drawn out of me, and they separated.
“You have destroyed two evils. We will return the IceFire ring to you, but it holds no power until you retrieve us again.” They said. The IceFire ring dropped into my hand. With a flash, the Shield, the Domaine, and the Nebula disappeared. And I was back in the Obsidian Throne Room with Armando’s ice pick. I looked over, and Kyla and Armando were running towards me. Kyla wrapped her arms around me in a fierce bear hug, and I returned the favor.
“We thought you were going to die when a vortex appeared behind that Shadow, but it saved you. Then it disappeared. Where did it go?” She said.
“I returned them to their home. The Plain of the Missing.” I answered. Then I heard a rumble, and a piece of obsidian fell from the ceiling.
“The tower is collapsing! Run!” I shouted. We ran to the door.
“There are too many stairs! We’ll never make it!” Kyla shouted. Then Armando smiled.
“Yes we will.” He said. He swung his ice pick, and turned the stairs to ice. “Welcome to the greatest slide in existence.”
“Armando, you are a genius!” I said, and in thirty seconds, we were at the bottom. We ran out, and watched the great Obsidian Tower crumble. And when it did, an enormous flash lit up this world. The Obsidian Tower was releasing all the light it had stolen. With that light, we could see an enormous beam from under the Tower. A portal was calling us home.
We went into the portal, and found ourselves in the midst of a large crowd of Volvians standing in the middle of a floating platform on the Crimson Sea.
“It’s the heroes!” Someone shouted. Then a deafening roar filled my ears of all the cheering for us. But not all of it was coming from them. Three more platforms were coming to the scene. On them stood Planters, Pointians, and Chlorophinians.
“May we join this celebration?” A Planter said. He was answered with a cheer from all of the Seasons. It didn’t seem much of a celebration to me, but ten more platforms were connected up. And many people started dancing, and singing, and eating and drinking. It seemed like the wildest rumpus of all time. I joined in for a couple of days. Yes, a couple of days. This was the largest celebration of all time. I can remember dancing with a Chlorophinian woman, telling jokes with a drunken Volvian, and singing badly with a Planter. Pointians created ice floes for people to surf the waves on, and for endurance contests. You had to have your feet encased in ice, and see how long you could stand there. The Pointians knew how to heal frostbite, but it was still uncomfortable until you could. On the third day, many people made handmade gifts and bestowed them on the leaders of the seasons. On the fourth day, though, we got our biggest surprise. Vortexes arrived. They came bearing many gifts of their apologies to the leaders for their actions in the Obsidian War. The leaders eyed them for a moment, then smiled and welcomed them into the celebration. I smiled. Now all the races of the Seasons were here in one big celebration. I went looking around for Kyla, but I couldn’t find her. Then I noticed a boat was missing. I had a Pointian man create an ice bridge to the volcano, and I started climbing. When I reached the top, I found Kyla sitting on a rock overlooking the vast mass of people celebrating
“It’s beautiful isn’t it?” She said. “All the people of all the worlds have gotten together for the first time in millennia.”
“It is wonderful. Why are you up here?” I asked.
“I can’t stand being in a throng of people. I’d rather be alone than be in a large riotous group.” She said.
“What about me? Do I count as riotous?” I asked.
“Of course not.” She said smiling. I sat next to her and held her hand.
“You gave me something on IcePoint, so now I have to return the favor.” I said.
“What will you give me?” She asked.
“This” I said. I leaned over and connected my lips with hers. She slowly wrapped her arms around me and kissed me deeply. I knew then that se loved me. And I loved her. Now, we were the only people on this place. We, Kyla and Ether the only people overlooking a beautiful red sea, sitting on a volcano on the beautiful summer world of Volvia, in love until the end of time.