Beyond The Holders
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I stared at the man on the other side of the table.
He was old and bent. His long, silvery beard protruded from the blackness under his hood. His cloak seemed to flow without wind, and his cane somehow radiated feeling. What feeling? I'm not quite sure, but I know I felt something. Something strong, too; in fact, it's the only thing I remember feeling.
I'd met him online. He called himself ‘Factions' and had apparently been looking for me for quite some time.
As in 10,000 years.
Now that I think on it, it sure fit the age he looked, even though I never quite saw his face.
I offered him wine and he took it rather enthusiastically. He showed no hostility toward me, so I had no reason to feel afraid. Then again, that makes sense, considering that... something... that permeated the air. I could still function. I could still think straight. In fact, if anything, it seemed to keep me alert and aware.
Eventually he finished his wine and leaned forward. The light from the candles glowing on the table revealed small, subtle glimpses of what the man's face looked like under his hood. Pale. Wrinkled. Typical, considering he was a ten-thousand-year-old man.
We continued to chat idly. We talked about all sorts of things. About loves. About losses. About ambitions and dreams. He obviously had more to say than I did. After all, he had ten millenia on me. But he held his tongue and allowed me to speak as much as he. Perfect balance, you might say.
After much dancing around it, we finally arrived at the Objects. I told him about the two I'd already gotten: Object 375, the Toga of the Gods, and Object 137, the Ankle Brace of Submission. I told him about how I got them both. It was quite a lengthy story, but he seemed intrigued and kept urging me to continue. I told him about how I attempted to retrieve The End, but left empty-handed and emotionally scarred. The memory was almost enough to make him feel sad, but no sooner had the thought crossed his mind than he dismissed it. Sorrow was impossible; the feeling continued to settle and calm him, forcing itself upon him.
After I finished my story, the man stood up and removed his hood. He wore a large pair of cracked circular glasses which seemed to reflect light in all directions, ever shielding his eyes from my view. He gazed upon me and smiled at me with a mouthful of false teeth.
'I'd bet you're wondering why I have been searching for you," he said in a raspy, wise voice.
'I have indeed, Mr. Factions."
'I came to give you a message. What you're feeling right now... well, I call it awareness, but it's much more powerful than that, isn't it?"
I nodded; "awareness" was a good description, in the same sense that "cold" is a good description of the North Pole.
"You have faced The End and lived. You possess the powers of Unyielding Will and all the immaculate powers of the Gods. Though the Objects will inevitably come together, though without the objects you are a mere mortal, you are different from most Seekers... from all Seekers, now that I think on it. Legion should fear you. The End allowed you to leave because he knew any attempt to kill you would be futile."
I sat back, soaking it all in. I'd never heard of such a thing, but I understood it all the same. More importantly, I knew that not a single word was false. This man would never lie to me. I couldn't explain how I knew, but I did. I had questions, though, and all the time in the world to ask. My first question was the most obvious.
The man shook his head. "It's unexplainable, yet all will become clear eventually. Just know that death isn't in the cards for you at the moment, if ever."
"When you're a Seeker, dying is the least of your worries. The Holders can do things to you that make Death seem like bliss," I retorted.
The hooded man gave a short, loud laugh and slowly poured himself another glass of wine, filing his glass halfway. He stirred it by moving his hand in a circular motion, and then took a small sip. I could tell he enjoyed the taste, and the sensation of the liquid passing over his tongue. He swallowed, thinking that the wine could have been aged a bit longer.
I had no idea how I knew what he was thinking, but I did know that I liked it. My newfound omniscience would have been even more enjoyable, if only I could have felt joy at the moment. I remained calm and focused on our conversation.
"Alright," I said, "If I'm as powerful as you say, I can't be human. What am I?"
The man laughed. It was genuine enough, frail and raspy, but full of soul. "You are still Dallas. You are, and will forever be, you. You just haven't discovered your purpose yet. It's a divine purpose."
"Divine? As in holy?"
"There's another question on your mind; ask it first."
I did. "What purpose?"
The man smiled again. "Since the beginning of time, the Universe, along with everything within it, has always been about balance. Good was always equal to evil. Devastation was in perfect harmony with creation. Death and birth, Yin and Yang, black and white.
"However, as more and more Seekers continue to abuse the Objects, using their power for greed and selfish desire, and in doing so becoming more like the Foulest of Beings, along with the Holders themselves becoming more and more agitated, their rage against the Seekers ever swelling, that balance is now off. In which direction, I cannot say, but suffice it to say that a skew in one direction is just as dangerous as one in the other."
I knew exactly who he meant when he spoke of "The Foulest of Beings" with a hint of disgust in his voice. Jack Empty. If the rumours were true, he would bring about the universe's ultimate destruction. Some say that chaos follows in his wake. He was immortal, yet he was not human, nor demon, nor angel, nor Holder. I also realized that the "pocket universes" the Objects were said to create were more complicated than I knew. I cursed my ignorance, which by this point I realized all of humanity was blissfully basking in.
I thought for a moment about my next few questions, but after a few minutes, I realized that I really only had one.
"What is it you need of me?"
The old man's cloak waved from head to toe, as if a strong gust of wind blew it from behind. The torn ends kissed the table between us. He shifted, licked his cracked, dry lips and brushed the rim of his glasses with his knuckle.
"Dallas, I am not a Holder, but rather a Keeper. The Keeper of Equality, to be precise. My sole purpose is to restore balance by any means necessary. However, I cannot magically restore the balance in the universe. It must be forced back into equality. This is where you come in. There are many Forces in this war. There are the Seekers, the Holders, and the Objects themselves. That last one may sound strange, but you see, they are mere components to a much larger entity. Because of this, they have a common mind - a collective soul, if you will. There are the Heavens. There are the Hells. There are others too: the ones who created the Objects, Legion, Edo Edi Essum, the Keepers of Religion, and countless others. They all fight each other, desperately trying to tip the balance in their favor, and humanity is blissfully unaware of the tempest ever churning around them. In many ways, mankind is the only faction keeping the balance, so that even in pandemonium there is harmony."
The man paused to inhale; it was sharp and sounded painful.
"Factions, Equality, Balance. They are all off. Evil and Darkness are beginning to rule over all the realms. I cannot balance this with my power alone. But I can imbue my power unto others."
As I listened, I began to understand where he was going, what he was trying to say. It began to dawn on me the sacrifice he was thinking of making. Yet his explanation hadn't answered my question. I asked again.
"What is it you need of me?"
The man chuckled. It was a different laugh than the one he had before, riddled with nervousness and fake glee. Feeling only tense apprehension, I noticed this and leaned over to put my hand on his shoulder. The Cloak felt warm, and slid under my hand, almost as if the garment itself was embracing me.
"Look at things through my eyes," he said. "That's all I ask of you. But before you do, you have one more question for me. Ask it, for it will be the last question I shall answer."
I nodded and forced an unemotional smile. "What will I become?"
"You will become The Balance, the equal and opposite to all that is unbalanced. For the Evil and Hate spilling into the worlds, you will become the Divinity and the Love. For Death, you will become Resurrection. And when the end of all things is nigh, and the Objects come together - make no mistake, Dallas, they will come together - you will balance the horrible and indescribable torment that will come to pass."
I nodded, and the overwhelming feeling of awareness faded, suddenly and completely. Subsiding to my normal human emotions. I knew how Mr. Factions was going to change me, and to do so, he needed to use both my Objects. The Toga and the Ankle Brace were both on my person, and I set them on the table.
Since the day I became a Seeker, I have always known three things; first and foremost, they must never come together. Second, in these games, it was all or nothing. Finally, the Objects could never be destroyed or created.
On that last thing, I was about to be proven wrong.
Faction took the Objects in his hands and, with more power than I thought the frail man could possibly possess, he smashed them together. The Toga was engulfed in a white flame and the Ankle Brace shattered into pieces. At that moment, those two Objects seemed to lose the power they once possessed, the power that was supposed to be invincible. The old, frail man said a few short words in a language I did not understand, then vanished, as did the ashes of the Toga and the pieces of the Ankle Brace. The man's hood sank to the chair. I got up and ran to his seat. On top of his robe lay a note, I picked it up and removed the wax seal. The design on the seal had a large B on it. I opened the note and read the three words in the middle of the page.
Put them on.
I looked at the cloak; its brown colour had turned to a dim white. Sitting on the floor almost directly beneath the chair were the glasses, which had, by some strange power, been fixed. I took the hood in my hands and spun it around my shoulders, sliding the glasses overtop my face. At that moment, I ceased being Dallas the Seeker, I became something more.
I am The Balance.
And I must be maintained.
Read on with The Balance Saga
Categories: | The Forgotten and the Unknown |
|Last modified on 2013-11-27 06:08:42Average Rating: 4.5 / 5 (2 votes)Viewed 30453 times|