Last Stand of the World
Chapter Seven: Marriage and Promises
Davern froze for a moment then backed up farther, “Just what’s going on here?”
“Well, Davern, you could say I'm from a very old and somewhat forgotten race, among the last of my kind. Thank you for doing what you can for these ol’ bones of mine.”
The girl threw herself into Azer’s arms, “it will be alright. He gently soothed her, rubbing a hand along her hair and placing a palm on her shoulder, “you have help now.”
“What about mother? Where is she? What happened after you left?”
His grip on her shoulders tightened, and he pulled her more firmly into his arms, patting her back while, his being deflated, “sorry, I'm sorry, there is nothing I could do. She’d already disappeared by the time I returned I’d returned. I don't know if she was alive or not.”
“It's okay, Azer, you were only following mother's orders,” she cried harder, hiccuping into his chest.
Azer looked at Davern over the girl's head, “ I have a few things for you that will help you. It isn’t too much but first, do you promise to look after and protect her?”
Davern nodded, “Yes, as long as she doesn’t cause too much trouble along the way, we should be fine.” He could tell that the girl was decent, and if he could help her out while he was looking for his brother, he didn’t see any reason why he shouldn’t. Besides, he’d already agreed to help her when he’d taken the potions.
“Then as her Elder, I give her into your protection,” he said, reaching out and clasping a platinum band onto Davern’s left wrist. Runes shimmer for a second and then went dim, inert.
“This has several useful functions. I'm sure you'll discover them in time.”
He held up the girl’s chin, “are you sure?”
“Yes,” she nodded with a firm shake of her head.
“Then as your elder, I’ll give you into his protection,” and he placed a platinum band on her left wrist, runes swirled, and a shimmer of brilliant light glowed between them for a moment as something locked into place.
Davern felt his heart lurch; bewildered, he wondered just what the hell had happened, but as soon as he had the sensation, it passed. He wanted to ask but held himself back when he heard what Azer said next.
“I don't have a lot of time.” He handed her mother's Royal seal and weapons. “I found these in the throne room.” Asaa, trembled as she took them, then she teared up as she put them inside the band that Azer had just place on her arm.
“And you,” he took out a sword that shimmered a different blue, “this is the only reason I made it away from the Nuller; I’m not sure what it is, but the Nuller seems to abhor this metal. Too bad I wasn't able to land a clean strike before I was wounded. These creatures are fast and incredibly vicious.”
Davern nodded, his understanding. “I thought something wasn't right when it hadn't attacked me, but then there were moments when I couldn't hear it at all.”
“You survived a direct encounter?” Azer asked in surprise.
“In a way, I guess. I was hung up in the food locker. Then my healing ability took over, and I ended up here after a few adventures.
“I see that must be some healing ability you have.”
“You don't understand the Nullers’ food storage is a state of suspended animation. It's different than what it tried to do to me. The Nullers’ food storage keeps things alive, unable to move, unable to break free, unable to use magic, completely aware until they are devoured, flesh, blood, magic and all.
Davern froze when he heard that he’d had the ability all his life could recover from any injury, poison, illness; sometimes, it took a long time. That's why he thought it wasn’t an incredible healing ability; because he’d had friends who could almost instantaneously heal.“I'm not sure either. I was born this way, and my brother was born a jinx.”
“Which is why we are in this mess.”
“Why do you say he's a jinx?”
“Every time he opens his mouth about something bad, we have that bad thing happen to us.”
“I don't think he's a jinx. There might be more to your powers than you are aware. Didn’t you get an Oracle at the church when you were born?”
“We can't; they don't work anymore, not since the last Nuller catastrophe.”
“The gods don't speak anymore?” Azer seemed very agitated for a moment, then calmed down, “Well, I'm sure they'll figure it out.”
Davern looked at him confused,” who?”
“Nevermind, the point is, your magic isn't as mundane as you think. If you can find the library and the librarian, he will be able to help you; and your brother if you successfully rescue him.
“I'm even more confused, now.” Davern looked over at Asaa to see if she had a clue; she just shook her head.
“Asaa, I don't have any more time.” He kissed her on the head, “stay strong and believe in the path you've chosen; it isn’t often that your people leave the desert. It might bring a miracle you’ve yet to anticipate.”
He hugged her tightly, and she looked at him in bewilderment; why did it seem like he was saying goodbye, “Azer?”
“Davern, take care of her.”
“Well, I did agree to help her find her people. I’m sure they’ll be okay once we find them. Then they can look after her.”
Azer gave him a penetrating look and sighed; “sometimes it’s nice to be young, I mean it. Keep your promises, or the consequences won’t be to your liking oaths aren’t something you can casually break.”
“Oath? What oath?” Davern looked at him with question marks around his head; somehow, it seemed like he was talking about something other than helping her find her people. But that’s all he’d agreed to, hadn’t he? Just what had the old snake meant when he’d asked him to protect her?
Davern watched the old snake; sure, he was trying to tell him something; then, he felt an unbearable pain shoot through his body. He clenched his chest and looked around, confused, trying to identify the source. At that moment, Azers’ body dissolved into motes of light and shimmered into the body of an azure snake before collapsing on the floor and laying still.