Chapter 21- The Kingdom of Zeal
12,000 BC, Skygate
Truth be told, Jack did have a clue at what it meant. He had started to put it together awhile ago. The only problem was that it seemed so impossible for him to believe it, let alone Sarah. He decided not to worry her with such things at this time. It was more important to concentrate on surviving.
Now they stood on the stairs leading up to a platform covered in images which, while not so unfamiliar now, were still strange. Additionally, neither of the two travels had any idea what the platform was used for. The carvings on the surface of the platform seemed to be purple, but they were dull. When looking at it in a broad view, they almost appeared to be veins that may carry energy, but there didn't appear to be any such energy flowing through them.
Putting aside thoughts of the connection between Jack's necklace and the carvings on the walls and floor, Jack and Sarah brought themselves back to figuring out the what exactly any of the things surrounding them did.
"There's got to be some purpose for this...thing," Sarah said, not quite sure what to refer to this entire building as. She didn't know what it, or any of it's parts were used for, but she certainly had the sense that there was a use for the whole thing. After all, no one builds something like this for nothing, did they?
"I don't know," Jack said, pausing on the third and final step while Sarah climbed up on the platform itself. "There has to be some sort of..." Jack cut himself short as he noticed the carvings of energy on the floor begin to glow. Their dull purple pigment became slowly brighter and he could feel the energy that was being given off. Shortly after, a pillar of purple glow encompassed the platform, swallowing Sarah up.
"Sarah!" Jack screamed, jumping from the third step toward his friend in the purple light, trying to pull her out of the glow, but suddenly felt himself caught in mid air as the glow around him solidified and time seemed to stop for a moment. He tried to speak but his mouth wouldn't come open. He stared at Sarah's face which showed a mix of shock and fear, but her face soon seemed to fade away into a blur. Slowly, he felt himself moving, but not in any way that could be described as normal. He felt almost like his body was pulling apart, but there was no pain, just a slight...tickle.
Before he knew what was going on again, he had seemingly lost consciousness and his surroundings became white. The white lasted for only an instant before it returned to the original solidified purple. He felt his consciousness come back as the glow subsided. Only then did time returned to it's original flow as Jack sprung from his hanging point in mid air as if he had never stopped. Before he realized what had happened, he had tackled Sarah, knocking them both off the platform and landed with her on the grass below. Wait a minute...grass?
True enough, they were laying on a surface of grace with the platform hanging above them, a few feet away. The building that they were in was no longer anywhere to be seen. Instead, the horizon was filled with a blue sky with spotted images of clouds. There was a generous wind passing over the area.
Jack had landed on top of her with a grunt. Slowly, he pushed himself slightly up. "Well that was interesting," he said, examining his surroundings.
"Yeah," Sarah said, but what was it?" Jack brought his attention to the girl that he had nearly crushed in trying to save her from whatever that machine had done to them. Looking at her though, he instantly found himself caught in her eyes. Her gaze was met by his and the two of them looked into each others eyes for about a minute of awkward silence before Jack climbed up, trying not to blush.
"Ummm..." Jack said as he rose, trying to think of something to say. "Well...hey, hold on a second," he said, finally breaking the silence. "Where the hell are we now?" he asked, holding out his hand and helping Sarah up.
"That think transported us somewhere," Sarah said, "but this doesn't even look like the same era." She stood up and looked around. "Look at the blue skies and all this grass." Shortly after, something in the distance caught her eye...
"It's couldn't have been a gate," Jack said. "We would have been able to recognize the feeling of time travel, so where..."
While Jack was finishing his sentence, Sarah started to walk seemingly aimlessly off to the right. She didn't say anything, and Jack didn't seem to notice her for a second until he trailed off and asked her what she was doing.
"Sarah?" Jack asked, standing were he was and not following her. She still made no comment.
"Sarah?" he asked again. Still, she didn't speak, but kept on walking. The wind started to pick up, blowing her hair in every direction.
"Sarah?!" Jack asked, a third time, a bit more worried. With still no answer, he broke into a run catching up to her and grabbing her shoulder. "Are you okay?" he demanded, the wind now blowing in their faces.
Sarah lifted her arm up and pointed. "Look," she said. Jack lifted his hand off of her shoulder and gazed with shock to where Sarah had pointed. Slowly, the two of them walked towards the point of interest, not speaking at all. The wind seemed to blow harder as they came closer to where they were going. After about one hundred yards, they reached the point that nearly scared both of them shitless. They were looking over the edge of the land mass, the dark sky and swirling tempestuous storm clouds below them. The wind blew up from the edge, almost knocking both of them off balance. Stepping back a few steps, the two looked at each other in expressions that could only be described as utmost confusion.
"Where are we?" Jack asked. "This is so....odd."
"Jack? Could it be possible that the Kingdom of Zeal really WAS a flying kingdom?"
"And that thing that we got beamed through..." Jack mused, "That must be a transport up here..."
"This is way to weird," Sarah said.
"Well," Jack thought out loud, "If we are in the Kingdom of Zeal, then shouldn't there be some cities around here somewhere?"
"I guess," Sarah said.
"Then shouldn't we try to find them?"
"Seems like a plan, since there's not much else to do."
"Okay," Jack said. Turning around and gathering some energy. "Then lets start by going that way." He pointing off to what he could only guess was the north. Sarah nodded and the two of them began flying at a low altitude. Neither was quite sure what to expect, but at this point they didn't have many other options. The only thing left was to fly there and hope for the best.
600ad, Guardia Forest
Aragorn, Tristan and Rayith walked the forest quickly and with purpose. Something big was going down, and whoever was behind it needed to be stopped. An assassination in general was a bad thing, but the assassination of the king? They had to alert the government to this situations, but all three had the strangest feeling that no one would believe them.
They had been told by Aragorn that they would most likely not even be allowed to see the king. More even so if he was with them. Tristan and Rayith had yet to discover what, if anything, Aragorn had done that seemed to affect the king, even though it was clear that it bothered Aragorn deeply. It wasn't their place to ask questions were questions weren't needed, so they had decided before they set out that they would just have to trust Aragorn's motives and methods.
"What are the chances that they'll let you in?" Rayith asked.
"Not that great," Aragorn said. "I'm going to probably have to break through the soldiers and speak to the King himself. He's probably in the throne room, which is just past the main entrance. With you're help, I can push through and deliver the message before being subdued by the guards."
"That doesn't sound like a very effective plan," Tristan said. "What if you can't get through. Can't we all end up in prison?"
"Yes," Aragorn said plainly.
"Then isn't this a bad idea?" Rayith said.
"No," he said in the same tone as before.
"But what if-" Tristan started to ask. Before Aragorn stopped walking and cut him off.
"Listen," he said. "You two are going to help me. I have to get through to see the king. Use Force Tech. Use whatever it takes. Don't try to hurt anyone, but if it comes to that, don't be afraid to kill." Tristan started to say something again, but Aragorn stopped him. "Do have any idea what the assassination of a ruler can do to a kingdom?" he asked. "More than likely, the Mystics have the whole thing orchestrated to attack when during of the assassination."
"How do you know?" Rayith asked.
Aragorn paused before taking a few steps forward and stopping again. "Because that's what I would do," he said, grimly. Without waiting, he continued walking. Rayith and Tristan scrambled slightly to catch up to him.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Rayith asked. Aragorn gave no answer and the three of them continued walking in silence. Not another word was spent between them until the reached the final pathway up to the castle.
12,000 BC, Island of Enhasia
The city of Enhasia was looming ahead in the distance. Neither of the two travelers were scared by it, but somewhat intimidated. It's large towers scraped the blue sky, piercing through the a few clouds which managed to condense at these high altitudes. Both were reminding of a certain style of building in their time, marked by the dome that capped off the towers. Could it have been possible that the remains if this city had influenced more modern architects?
As they came closer, the towers seemed to climb farther up into the sky, looming over what looked to be the main gate. This gate stood open and unguarded. These people obviously either had nothing to worry about, or they just didn't care. What was this culture? Ending their flight just outside of the main gate, Jack and Sarah stood at the entrance and just look up for a while.
"We go in?" Jack asked.
"I guess," Sarah answered. Without further speech wasted, they slowly walked through the gate and found themselves in somewhat of a welcoming building with a vaulted ceiling. A large fountain in the middle of the room was the center of attention. Most of the walls were white with lines and spots of what looked like gold or some other similar substance. Doors, stairs and passages seemed to lead off in every direction and people were moving through all of them. Most of the people dressed in mixes of orange and blue and commonly adorned their clothing intricate jewelry.
Figuring that systematic exploration would be better than random path-choosing, they silently chose the what appeared to be the main passage, it's giant arc of an entrance dominating the landing of a large staircase located directly passed the large fountain. Walking up the glittering staircase, the two travelers passed through the large arc and found themselves in a small, slightly less impressive room.
"This place is amazing," Jack said they walked through the new room which was included a series of corridors and smaller rooms, but they all seemed to be interconnected.
"I don't understand how they built it," Sarah said. "Technology is supposed to be so primitive..." Wandering around the room, neither of them noticed that everyone was looking at them slightly odd. People paused from their seemingly programmed routines to examine the foreigners.
"Sarah?" Jack asked, moving his eyes from side to side, similar to the way a paranoid examines his surroundings. "Is it just me, or is everyone looking at us?" He could here the people whispering amongst themselves, but he couldn't here what they were saying.
"No," she answered, eyeing the people in the same manner. "They are definitely looking at us. But I guess that makes sense. I mean, we do look out of place."
"You think we should talk to them?" Jack asked.
"Maybe we should find someone especially friendly looking first," Sarah answered. Before she could say anything else, a small yellow figure with big eyes and a round, bald head appeared before them.
"Hi!" it announced. "I'm Doreen." The appearance of this being didn't seem to surprise the people at all. In fact, after she started talking, they seemed to disperse away from Jack and Sarah, almost like things were in control now that the creature called Doreen had shown up.
"She looks friendly," Sarah said. Jack nodded.
"Umm, hi?" Jack said, not quite sure how to address the peculiar looking creature.
"What are you're names?" she asked.
Sarah took the liberty of introducing themselves to Doreen. "I'm Sarah, and this is Jack," she said.
"You're not from around here, are you?" she said. Both of them shook their heads. Doreen looked at Jack. "You certainly look familiar though," she said.
"Me?" Jack asked.
"No," Doreen said sarcastically. "The other guy with the blue hair. You certainly stand out, I mean, with that wild hair of yours."
"What are you getting at?" he asked.
"Wow," she said. "You really aren't from around here..." Once again the both of them shook their heads. "So you have no idea why everyone is looking at you oddly?" Once again, the two travelers shook their heads. "Okay," Doreen said. "Then I think we all need to have a bit of a chat."
"Woah," Jack said. "What are you talking about?" You're acting almost like we've met before."
Doreen grinned slightly before closing her eyes. In an instant, Doreen, Jack and Sarah all disappeared from the room in a blur. Jack and Sarah's vision went blank as they felt the effects of the teleportation. Doreen's voice echoed inside of Jack's head. "That's because we have, Lathain."
Jack and Sarah quickly found themselves in a new room, everything about them still in tact. They glanced around. It was a much smaller room, but the odd part about it was that there was no door to be found. It had gold and white walls like the rest of the building, but unlike the extreme tidiness that was found in the rest of the city, this room was messy, with various items strewn about the room.
"What is this place?" Jack asked himself out loud, his eyes slowly scanning the room that they had just been teleported into.
"This," came the voice of Doreen from behind them. "Is my room in the city of Enhasia, part of the Eternal Kingdom of Zeal." Jack and Sarah spun around to find Doreen standing there. She was holding two cups, one in each hand, with small tendrils of steam rising from whatever liquid was in them. She walked forward and handed each of the travelers the drinks she was holding.
"Thank you," Sarah said, taking the drink, Jack was silent.
"I'm sure you have questions to ask me," Doreen said. "Please. You must be slightly confused as to what it going on, right?"
"Well yeah," Jack said, "But what I'm more confused about is how you know us. Can you shed some light on to that?"
"Let's just say, I saw you in my dreams…" Doreen said cryptically.
"Okay, can we stop with the mysterious act?" Jack asked. He exhaled loudly. "Okay, he said. Can you tell me about this Kingdom of Zeal?"
"This is the Eternal Kingdom of Zeal," Doreen repeated, "Where all dreams can come true, but at a price."
"There you go again," Jack said. Doreen smiled. "Let's start from the beginning," Jack said impatiently. "You said we needed to have a chat, like you know why we're here or something. Then you teleport us to this room of yours and talk to me in cryptic sentences. For what?!" Jack demanded.
"How about you tell me YOUR story," Doreen said with a wry grin. "Then I'll try to explain what it has to do with this place."
"Fine!" Jack said, getting angry now. He took a sip of his drink and found it surprisingly good. His eyes perked up and he suddenly forgot that he was angry. "This is really good, by the way," he said off handedly. Doreen smiled again and Jack started to tell his story from the beginning. He spoke of Sean, Aragorn, Rayith, Keltar, Magus and everyone and everything in between. He finally ended up where they were now, sitting in Doreen's room without a clue of what to do next."
After he was done, Doreen stood in brief thought as she analyzed the situation. "Where is that Red TAG that you said you found in 600 AD?"
Jack removed the glistening cylinder from it's pouch on his 'shorts.' He handed it to Doreen, hoping that she might be able to make something of it.
"Hmm..." Doreen mumbled as she waver her hand over the device. To both Jack and Sarah's surprise, the blade seemed to disassemble itself before their eyes. Outer parts disconnected from the main unit and floated in mid air while the rest of the blade came apart. Soon, all the pieces of the delicate device were hanging suspended in the air, leaving the small red rod and the red focusing crystals sitting in Doreen's hand.
"Do you know what these are made out of?" she asked them.
It took Jack a minute to snap out of the trance that the disassembling TAG had put him in. "I tried to identify it, but it didn't match up to anything I've ever seen before. Whatever it is though, I believe that they are responsible for the immense power that this weapon puts out. Normally, we run the TAGs off of a power supply known as Tritanium. This blade, however, lacked any sign of a Tritanium power source. I can only guess that this red stone is the power of the weapon.
"An astute guess," Doreen said. "This is a substance that we call Dreamstone."
"Dreamstone?" both of them asked at once.
"It all began ages ago," Doreen said. "When man's ancestor picked up a shard of a strange red rock....It's power, which was beyond human comprehension, cultivated dreams.…In turn, love and hate were born.…Only time will see how it all ends."
"What!?" Jack asked, getting aggravated with the cryptic comments."
"Sorry," she said. "It's a substance whose magical properties are not completely documented, but it provides many uses in making magical artifacts. In addition, it's magical output is remarkable and it is an extremely strong material. It has been the mark of the royal family."
"You use it for making weapons?" Sarah asked.
"Sometimes," Doreen answered. "There are a few Dreamstone swords around, but most of them are for decoration. There is one blade however..."
"However, what?" Jack asked.
"You found this in 600 AD?" Doreen asked again to clarify.
"Yes," Jack answered. "In the weapon shop we told you about. We believe that it also existed in our time. It seems to emanate the same power as the weapon that Sean used against the Lavoid." Doreen nodded.
"Then if I'm correct, you happen to be in the possession of an extremely powerful weapon," Doreen said. "Please, come with me..." she trailed off at the end, waving her hand again and making the TAG assemble again. After it was done, Doreen handed it to Jack and he turned it on, just to make sure it still worked. Nodding, he deactivated it.
"Ready?" Doreen asked. The other two nodded. Doreen closed her eyes and the three of them disappeared from view.
"Am I a butterfly dreaming I'm a man? Or a bowling ball dreaming I'm a plate of sashimi? Never assume what you see and feel is real!" -Doreen
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