Ezra was in shock. Well, shock was a relative term for him at this point. He didn’t know what to expect when he cast the spell. Part of him had hoped it was all a lie that the assassin had cooked up to make him distrust his master. But part of him… part of him knew something was wrong. A sliver of doubt had gnawed at him for weeks now it had only needed an outlet to come to the surface, and it found one.
A magical echo resounded through the halls of the castle, signaling the hour. The noise startled Ezra. If these words were true; what else could be true? Would he really kill his own nation for personal gain? He thought about it long and hard. He knew Laquatus would…
“I have to stop him.” The planeswalker uttered too himself. He immediately ran for the door, the paper with the spell floated in the water of the room. It drifted downward to the floor, and then disappeared from existence as if it were never there.
Okay, the first thing I need to do is find the location of the ceremony. Ezra thought as he ran down the winding halls of the castle. I think that Laquatus said it was being held in the castle’s throne room.
“You stop right there.” Two guards swam towards him their tridents at the ready.
“What’s a human doing here?” The first guard said to the second.
“It’s me guys Ezra. I’m Ambassador Laquatus’ apprentice.”
“The Ambassador hates humans, everybody knows that. There’s no way he’d take on a human to learn under him.” The second one spoke this time not believing a word that was spoken.
“We’d better detain him. He could try to harm the Rebirth Ceremony.” The first one spoke again.
“Look guys something horrible is about to happen. You have to let me get there to stop it.” Ezra raised his hands in front of him as if to block a blow.
“Shut up human!” That’s all they got to say before the first one was slammed against the ceiling by the water in the hallway. At the same time the second one began to choke as if he were being strangled. Whatever the method both guards were incapacitated within seconds.
“Sorry guys I can’t stop now.” After that Ezra continued to run down the halls of the Berbous Castle.
He streaked down into the main atrium to the castle and at the end laid the throne room. As Ezra ran down the football field long hall, he saw more guards rush at him from multiple connecting hallways. His run slowed into a stop from this. His shoulders slumped for a second, and he sighed.
“Come on guys I don’t wanna hurt ya… Oh well.” The first two guards were on Ezra now. The first one attacked high with his trident aiming high to catch Ezra in the face, while the second went straight for his stomach that way he couldn’t block both of them.
If he hadn’t been a mage this would have likely worked. Again Ezra batted one away with the currents in his territory. The other weapon he parried away to the right with his cane, and followed up with magically backed punch to the face that would have sent him flying if they hadn’t been in the ocean.
He began walking down the hall. More came. Three tried to jump him from the left by hiding in an adjoining hall. He simply sealed the door with three foot thick ice before they got the chance to do anything.
Ezra picked up the pace now. He was jogging, and steadily going into a run. It was much the same to him. A few attacked him from behind; before they could lay a finger on him they were pinned to the ceiling with ice encasing their arms and fins. They attacked from above or the sides. Serpentine shapes glistened as they bashed in chest-plates, cracked skulls, and broke spears.
Spells from mages sworn to protect the castle and emperor were cast at him, which would veer off course without him doing anything.
“I don’t have time for this!” Ezra yelled impatiently at the growing number of combatants in front of him, which had grown from a fifteen to thirty out of no where.
So he ran faster and faster. The current was with him and pushed him forward. As for the rest of the occupants of the area, they weren’t so lucky. They were bashed around into each other, the walls, the ceiling, the floor, pillars, and the list kept growing as everything around him was sucked into this torrent. On top of that he sealed all entrances but his target doorway. Within seconds he was there ready to confront his old master and save his adopted people, whether they liked it or not.
The locked double doors flew open as if they weren’t locked or heavy. Ezra walked into the throne room. Eggs were piled high in the massive room. They were a variety of colors from blue and simple white to black and various shades of grey and brown. There had to be thousands of them. He glanced up to see more merfolk chanting peasants, guards, mages, men, and women. A thought finally dawned on him. There were no elderly or children. Once the ceremony was complete they would all die and the eggs would hatch.
The eggs, that had to be it.
“What did you do to the eggs Laquatus?!” Ezra yelled. His words resounded unnaturally within the confines of the room. Everyone could easily have heard him. They continued to chant as if nothing had happened.
“Nothing my boy, I did nothing to the eggs.” The response also echoed within the room. So much on fact Ezra couldn’t find the source of the words.
“You’re lying!” He declared next to his former master. “How long have you been playing this con? Who were the people that I’ve erased the memories of? What did you do to me?”
Ezra called out the questions to Laquatus as he swam deeper in. He searched everywhere for him. People didn’t respond at all to him as he magically lifted himself amongst them. He shook one of the people chanting to try and get their attention.
“It won’t work Ezra. They’re all in a trance. They couldn’t stop now if they wanted.” Ezra stopped. He muttered a small spell under his breath.
“Why are you doing this? Why are you betraying your nation? Your people!”
“I’m not. Now go back to your studies boy before my patience runs out.”
“Gotcha.” Ezra flew forward following the real trail of his master’s voice. He found Laquatus floating next to a dead emperor behind an illusionary wall. He moved faster backed by magic. His cane shifted into a spear again in order to try to stab the man. Invisibly Turg tried to intercept Ezra. First with his bile, but again like previous spells it warped around him not causing harm at all. Turg changed its angle of attack and tried to body slam the young mage.
Knowing exactly where it was from a magical locator placed on it from previous fights, he captured it with the water it swam in and fully encased it in ice without even a second thought. He never liked that thing. Never ceasing his charge he quickly found himself upon his opponent.
Looking disgusted at Ezra he gave a wave of his hand. He cast a spell that again failed to hit him. With no other choice he tried to simply swat the tip away. His aim was off and the spear plunged into his mid-section. Red blood freely flowed into the water around him. Laquatus then began to laugh uncontrollably, and without a word he exploded.
Even if with the spell protecting him the attack hadn’t specifically targeted Ezra himself, he just happened to be far to close for comfort as he took a blast full of bone and fire to the front of his body. Ezra seemed to any onlookers scarred and mangled from the wounds inflicted upon him. He looked around.
“Quit with the illusions.” They faded from him.
“I had to have my fun some how. This process is quite boring if you’re not participating.” Laquatus then swam down from amongst the enthralled citizens of Berbous. “I see Turg is as cold as ever.” He waved his hand, and the ice shattered off of the toad creature. It shook and stretched its extremities to return blood flow to them. It then began to jump towards Ezra only to be frozen again. “Somehow I feel as if I should have seen that coming.”
“Really now?” Ezra shot forward towards Laquatus, and again he stabbed at the master with his spear. But it was captured this time. Laquatus held a section of the wooden shaft in his clenched fist, with the tip pointed away from his chest. With Ezra’s added momentum he collided with his former master fighting for the weapon. Laquatus with his free hand began to punch Ezra in the face, the shoulder; anywhere he could land a solid blow. Ezra himself eventually gave up on the weapon and dropped to the ground without it.
“Ha! You’re far less effective without your weapon.” Laquatus said in triumph, holding the cane over his head.
“Not really.” Ezra mumbled back before the merman was stabbed in the head with a semi-liquid looking spike, from the Ethierium tipped cane. He then summoned his cane back to himself. It didn’t feel good to do that, but victory is what’s needed right now. He could worry about…
A cold and slightly insane laugh is heard throughout the room. It was familiar, and it left a cold lump in his stomach. Ezra searched for the source.
“Did you really think you could beat me boy?” The voice echoed through out the room again giving no discernable direction.
“The thought had crossed my mind yes.” He responded to the room as he cast another spell.
“You don’t get it do you. You had failed the moment you entered the room my plans have been set in motion, and they cannot be stopped. If you quit this foolishness now I can forget this infraction.”
“You say that like I can forget what you did to me.”
“Ah but you can with a little magical aid.”
“But I won’t”
“Wrong again Ezra.”
“Not really.” Ezra mumbled as he found his master the real one this time. Hundreds of water serpents shot out throughout the room tracking him, hunting him. He struggled with the restraining forces for a moment as he was dragged away from hiding. “Now stop this. What did you do to the eggs?”
Laquatus only grinned at him. It was a triumphant hate filled grin that sickened Ezra to look at. Again Ezra spoke. “What did you do to the eggs?”
The restraints tightened around The Ambassador’s body creating excruciating pain. He only continued to grin at first then he spoke.
“Why don’t you see for yourself?” Light began to emit from the people of Berbous. It was an eerie red light that slowly shifted from the people to the eggs. When the light was gone from the people they weren’t talking they just floated in place, unmoving. They were dead the rebirthing ceremony was complete. Then the Eggs began to move slowly at first then gained more strength as the light faded from them. Then the first egg, a black one, hatched. The membrane that encased the infant tore, revealing a pink tentacle, then the rest of the body of the octopus like creature.
“Celaphids?” He spoke dumbfounded. “You betrayed us to help the Celaphids!?”
Ezra was sickened and filled with rage at the realization that his master had betrayed the empire Ezra had grown to love by switching the merfolk eggs with the eggs of their enemies the celephids. More anger flashed inside of him as he wanted to make Laquatus pay for dooming his people. The serpents tightened around the master more and more. He was laughing. The noise stopped him for a second as another realization hit him. He no longer had a reason to stay here anymore. He also no longer wanted to be here. He was dead on the inside. The pain he felt for his people was too much. He just wanted to go home. Where ever that home was. With in seconds he faded from the room releasing Laquatus from his grip. He coughed till he could breathe again, and then laughed more. He had done it. He had gained more power with the rise of the Celaphid Empire.
Ezra landed on the hard ground. He stumbled at first then found his footing. His chest tightened from something he couldn’t breathe. He stopped himself and took a calming breath. He heard the crashing of waves and looked around for the first time.