Friend or Foe

Arimus waved his hand over the sphere he’d attuned to Marius and slammed a gauntleted hand against the wall. Why couldn’t he see him? That damned building. When they spoke in that hall, he could not see what they plotted. He could not know their intentions, their movements, and it was maddening. What loop hole had he found? What magic did he work? Could it be the work of that magister, Lucius, who’d recently aligned with him? No. He had seen Lucius and Marius speaking in other places, but his sight was always absent in that hall.

Perhaps one of the others was interfering? Who? There were few beings left with enough power to rival his own, fewer still who would be bothered to interfere with the baser workings of his favored pawns. He would go there and raze the hall himself. He would remind them of their place, remind them of who was in control, and perhaps send a message to the one who interfered with his movements that he was not to be trifled with. That he wasn’t afraid to make his presence known, even to his enemies. A violent storm began to form over Jhelom, blackening the skies save for roaring thunder and intense flashes of lightning. They were so rampant that Arimus appeared to walk in slow motion as he moved through the streets. If they were present in the hall he could not know it. His attack would draw them out, if any were within, and they would know they had crossed a line. Perhaps killing some of them would send a proper message, one they wouldn’t forget. He rounded a corner, now on the same dirt road that would lead him to the hall, it lay only several yards north of him. He took a few more steps….

The storm that had roared in over Jhelom was suddenly gone, leaving only clear blue skies. Marius stepped out the front door to glance skywards, and then down the two adjoining streets that ran north to south and east to west along the combat pit in the center of the island. People milled out of nearby buildings. Fighters, relieved at the break the brief storm brought, descended back into the combat pit. Smiths, merchants, and traders returned to their work. Men from the docks headed back to their piers to fish, and work on boats. While he found the storm to be an oddity, it was no cause for concern. He closed and locked the doors to the hall. He had more books to retrieve from the library if he was intent on finding a way to relinquish their servitude. The allies he was gathering might not be enough on their own, and perhaps in this place along with the other knowledge he’d gleaned in past lives he might find the answers he needed to see them free. He set off to the south, traveling several yards before he rounded the corner of the combat pit walking along its east side. He was now on the same dirt path that would lead him to the library. He took a few more steps…

Arimus found himself standing in the midst of a rolling green field that stretched on endlessly. It was dotted with trees, and flowers, hills and wildlife. A crystal clear blue sky rolled overhead, absent all but a few hazed clouds. He knew this place, and it had been more than a while since his last visit. Arimus called out to the wind “Bentarum, as I am standing here in your home I can only assume you’re the one who interferes with my hand?” He heard a loud crunching sound behind him and turned to find Bentarum sitting beneath a tree, he spoke in response between chewing on a large apple. “I do, but I don’t appreciate that you call them yours. You knew that your stewardship was going to be contested at some point, or at the very least, you should have known. It may still remain that you are strongest amongst us, emphasis on may, but that doesn’t mean you’re best suited to coordinate them anymore. They are the hand, our hand, but not just your hand. Not anymore. You see, I recently discovered what you’re doing. I suspect the others don’t know yet. What will they do when they learn I wonder? I don’t know what game you were playing at, and I don’t care. If you continue to interfere with them, however, I will cast you out myself. I may be the most recent addition to our ranks, but it was not so long ago as we measure time that I stood as a mortal. I was not only a great warrior but a shrewd and wise leader. I did not subvert and destroy my enemies through strength alone. I do not know where all of your secrets are buried Arimus, but in time I will. I should hate to think of the calamity it would cause in the meanwhile if the others were to learn of your betrayal, what you’ve been hiding. It was not what was agreed upon. It was not what we promised her, nor are you in a position to break that vow at the expense of myself and the others. How many of them have you taken I wonder? How many times have you robbed them of their memories to hide the truth from them? How quickly will they bring the fight to your door when they finally learn the truth?” Arimus narrowed his eyes as Bentarum tossed aside his apple and continued to talk, his voice rising in slight anger. “It was all she asked of us and you would trample on it.” He got to his feet drawing his sword, and the place in which they stood shifted into an endless and war torn battlefield. “Before I allow you to leave, to crawl back to your hole and hide, I will give you a permanent reminder of why I was tasked with upholding the sanctity of the pact we made with her, and any who should see you will know you were struck by my blade.” Arimus smiled as he took on his battle form, drawing his own weapon. “Long have I waited for the chance to remind you of your place Watcher, know that I will not hold back in this fight, and you’ve only yourself to blame for what comes of it.”

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