February 9th 2017, 4:49 am
Welcome, fans, to Origin of Zed, a trilogy of compiled and extended webseries that detail the origins of Zed Starmute, the protagonist of Crystals of Silveria. Be warned that there are spoilers for those who have yet to read Crystals Remastered and Tide of a New Beginning, so read at your own risk!
Now, without further ado, I present the first chapter of the trilogy, The Water Pendulum!
Now, without further ado, I present the first chapter of the trilogy, The Water Pendulum!
February 9th 2017, 4:55 am
Origin of Zed, Part I: The Water Pendulum
- A young man named Zander finds himself in a mysterious realm of fantasy, apparently ending up there through a process known as “sightshifting”, though his arrival within a column of light is considered out-of-the-ordinary. A fellow sightshifter named Tad decides to help the young man get back to the mundane realm, but the fact that Zander has no memory of his past may cause more than a few problems. Zander soon learns of an object known as the “Water Pendulum”, which may prove useful in his endeavour, but the item proves to be capricious, evading in an attempt to not be found! Will Zander and Tad be able to find the pendulum?
Zander – A human of the mundane who manages to sightshift into the fantastic realm with no memory of how he arrived, he struggles to find a mysterious, evasive object that is the key to his journey.
Tad Shyff – A sightshifter who is a surfer in the mundane realm and a spellcaster in the fantastic realm, he decides to assist Zander in his quest for the pendulum.
Siren – A young woman who enjoys scuba diving, she runs a surf and dive shop with her best friend, Tad.
Belle and Jack – Tad and Siren’s roommates, they do their best to welcome Zander into their group of friends…though possibly a little TOO much, in Belle’s case…
Verdann – A wood elf who journeys with Tad in the fantastic realm, he is surprised about Zander’s apparent knowledge of his people.
Dr. Erik Hollows – A lecturer at Belle and Jack’s university, he knows much about sightshifting and urges Tad to help Zander in his quest for the pendulum.
“Are you an alien?! Like, seriously?!”
- Scene 1: Terra: AfternoonChildren of the Overlay…
…fruit begins to grow.
Pendulums swinging to-and-fro…
We see a view of a busy street, with cars driving along the road and round-eared humans walking along the footpaths. We zoom in to a view of an unusually-tall young man with ginger buzz-cut hair, steely greyish-blue eyes and golden eyebrows. He trudges along, seemingly disoriented, as he rubs the side of his forehead with his right hand. He speaks with an Australian accent.
Man: No...it's not possible. It couldn't...nngh!
The young man seems to be slightly frustrated about something. A young woman with blonde hair in tightly-curled bangs notices him.
Man: My head...my mind…is...
Woman: Are you alright? Did you knock your head?
The young man takes his hand away from his forehead and examines it.
Man: Oh, no...I didn't knock it. It's just that...well...my memories are rapidly disappearing.
Woman: Your memories?
Man: Yes. Like...my mother...like, do I even have a mother? Or a father? I just don't know...
Woman: That seems pretty bad...do you want me to call you an ambulance?
Man: Pendulum...what is the pendulum...?
Woman: I'm gonna call for help.
The young woman pulls a mobile phone from her bag and dials a number, then places the earpiece next to her right ear. After a moment, she speaks.
Woman: Ambulance please.
Man: My name...it's Za-...uh...Za-...? What the...?!
Woman: Yeah, I have a young man with me who claims to be losing his memory, and I suspect he may have been hit over the hea-
The young woman pauses, and her eyes widen.
Woman: Sorry, I gotta go.
The young woman hangs up and slowly puts her phone in her bag without taking her eyes off the young man.
Man: Wait...what about the ambulance?
Woman: Y-Your hand...?
The young man looks at the back of his right hand. The mark of the multiverse glows on it with metallic-cyan light.
Man: How long has that been there...?
The young woman claps her hands to her mouth and muffles a scream. She pulls her now-shaking hands slightly down and manages to speak.
Woman: Y-Your eyes?!
We cut back to a view of the young man, whose eyes now glow with metallic-cyan light.
Man: What's wrong with them?
Woman: Are you an alien?! Like, seriously?!
A brown leather-gloved hand drops onto the young woman's right shoulder, which startles her. A blonde-haired, young-looking man with bright blue eyes is standing there, staring at the other young man.
Blue-Eyed Man: I suggest we move back.
Woman: What?! Who are you, and what is going on?!
Blue-Eyed Man: My name is Herikios, and you are about to witness a false awakening...a large one at that.
Herikios gently pulls the young woman back.
Woman: Wait...doesn't he realise what's happening?
Herikios: Yes and no. He's...in a trance.
Man: The fruit of the overlay...?
Herikios: He helped me so very long ago. Now it is time for me to help him.
Woman: But...who is he?
The pattern of the multiverse appears beneath the young man's feet in metallic-cyan light.
Herikios: One day, he will be known as Zed. For now, though, his name is-
A column of metallic-cyan light erupts from the ground around "Zed". As it does so, a pulse emerges from it, shattering nearby windows and setting off alarms.
Woman: What the...?!
We cut to a view inside the column. "Zed's" eyes and mark still glow with metallic-cyan light.
Origin of Zed, Part I
The Water Pendulum
A Chromaicora Adventure
Scene 2: Unknown Location: Early Morning
"Zed" awakens in an unfamiliar bed. He looks around the room, which seems as though it's from another time period.
"Zed's" thoughts: Did I travel back in time...?
Voice: You know, most people end up in their underwear the first time they sightshift.
"Zed" looks over at a nearby table, and sees a blonde-haired young man sitting in a chair. He is dressed in medieval fantasy-inspired attire. He speaks with an American accent.
Man: Yeah, it's a rare ability that few people possess.
"Zed": What does it do?
Man: With it, we can peer through an intangible barrier into another realm.
"Zed": Wait...for real?!
Man: Oh yes. Although...
"Zed": What is it?
Man: Your entrance was...well, it was somewhat unexpected.
"Zed" sits up, pushes down his covers and swings his legs to the side of the bed, sitting comfortably. He continues to chat with the young man.
Man: Usually, when people sightshift, their eyes go all metallic-bluish, followed by sort of "rippling" through the barrier into the other realm. You, however, appeared in a column of light.
"Zed": I did?
Man: Oh yeah, it was quite the spectacle. Everyone was watching it!
"Zed": Well, I don't remember it.
Man: You...kind of fainted when you appeared. Luckily, I was there to catch you.
"Zed": Actually, I don't remember...anything.
The young man raises one eyebrow.
"Zed": My past is a complete blank.
Man: Well, do you remember your name, at least?
"Zed": Za- Uh...Za- Um...no, sorry.
Man: No need to apologise. I'm...gonna call you Zander.
Zander: Zander? Hm...I like it!
Man: Cool. Oh, you can call me Tadpole. Tad! Um...I-I'm...Tad.
Zander: Nice to meet you, Tad.
Tad: Let me get you some stew.
Tad stands up and heads for the door. He stops and turns to face Zander.
Tad: Oh, there's something else.
Tad: Just before you fainted, you mentioned something about a "pendulum". Do you remember?
Zander: Pendulum...? Sorry, no.
Tad: I thought so.
Tad leaves the room. Zander notices the back of his right hand.
Zander: There's something about my hand...I can almost remember...
The mark begins to glow with metallic-cyan light. After a brief moment, it stops glowing, leaving no sign of being there.
Zander: Maybe that mark is a side-effect of sightshifting...?
Voice: What mark?
Zander looks at Tad, who stands with two wooden bowls.
Zander: I don't know...but I think I remember...something...
Scene 3: Umbel: Fantastic Realm: Late Morning
Zander and Tad walk through a marketplace in the town of Umbel. Many people seem to stare at Zander, whose outfit consists of casual clothing like that of our world.
Zander: I feel as though people are staring at us.
Tad: They are.
Zander: But why?
Voice: Ah, Tad. It is good to see you, my friend.
A male elf with long, green hair walks up to Zander and Tad.
Tad: Oh, hey, Verdann.
Verdann: I wondered when you would return to this land.
Tad: Yeah, I've been really busy in my homeland.
Verdann looks at Zander, who seems to be trying to figure him out.
Verdann: And you must be a new arrival. I imagine you have many questions about this place...
Zander: You're a verdelv, right?
Verdann appears surprised.
Verdann: Well, I am impressed. Very few new arrivals know the true name of my people.
Zander: Yeah...though I have no idea how I know that.
Tad: Zander here sightshifted to this place yesterday evening. He was unconscious for fourteen hours.
Verdann: Is that significant?
Tad: Not sure. But his entrance was spectacular.
Verdann's eyes widen.
Verdann: This...unusually-attired human is the source of the beacon?!
Verdann: Then we must journey at once to the Umbel Guardian's home. Surely she will know of Zander's origin!
Tad: The Umbel Guardian?
Tad ponders for a moment.
Tad: It's worth a shot. Let's go! Zander, stay close to us. You're drawing attention to yourself, and that might not be a good thing.
Tad's thoughts: Especially if Skorc finds out...
Tad and Verdann begin walking. Zander follows behind, his long legs easily able to keep up with the others.
Scene 4: Guardian's Home: Umbel: Fantastic Realm: Late Morning
Zander, Tad and Verdann enter the home of the Umbel Guardian. They sit at a small, round table with an aqua-trimmed azure tablecloth draped over it.
Zander: This is nice.
Tad: You haven't seen ANYTHING yet, Zander!
Voice: Welcome, travellers from the realm adjacent! Welcome to this, the home of the Umbel Guardian!
An elderly woman with a hair bun is suddenly sitting on the opposite side of the table. Zander is surprised.
Zander: WHOA! How did you do that?!
Guardian: Ah, a good oracle never divulges the secret of her abilities.
Tad: Nice to see you again, Guardian.
Guardian: Ah, Tadpole! Still not grown into a frog, I see? EHEHEHEHEH!
Verdann: The reason we are here today-
Guardian: No no, do not speak. In fact, you are barred from speaking for the rest of this visit!
Verdann appears disappointed. The Guardian examines Zander.
Guardian: Ah, it is you...the man with no past.
The Guardian looks into Zander's eyes, which causes him to look away.
Guardian: Yes, I see much mystery in you, young man. You found this realm without looking into it!
Tad: He didn't sightshift?! But-
Guardian: Tadpole, you know better than to speak while I work my magic.
Guardian: Now, I have peered into your mind and examined your heart, but...I am embarrassed to admit that not even I am able to glean much at all!
Zander appears surprised.
Guardian: This has only happened once before, many moons ago. The other individual-
The Guardian pauses.
Guardian: No no, this session is about you, one with hair of fire and essence of water. Hm...I see you waking up, breaking free of the shackles of fate. I see a mysterious object, a pendulum, and a key to your true potential. You also seem to have a strong link to the force of magic that permeates this place, so it would be prudent of you to learn to use it in some way. The pendulum-
The Guardian noisily guzzles a glass of water.
Guardian: My apologies. Talking leaves my throat parched. Now, the pendulum is closer than you may think, so find it, and never lose it. Understand?
Guardian: See, Tadpole? This lad knows not to speak when I perform my magic!
Scene 5: Surf and Dive Shop: Mundane Realm: Late Morning
A young woman with long, reddish-brown hair is examining some air cylinders in the local surf and dive shop. Tad walks into the shop, now wearing attire like that of our world.
Tad: Hey Siren, sorry I'm late!
The young woman stands up and turns to face Tad.
Siren: You were supposed to be here an hour ago.
Tad: I know, but I was helping someone.
Siren: Wait! Don't tell me. Um...let's see...
Siren focuses on Tad.
Siren: You were in the fantasy realm-
Tad: Fantastic realm.
Siren: Yeah, that too. Um...you were helping a new arrival named...Ted?
Tad: No, Zander. You are way off today! I'm just gonna tell you.
Siren: *Sigh* ...okay, shoot.
Tad: So this guy, Zander? He arrived in the fantastic realm through...unconventional means.
Tad: He didn't sightshift to get there.
Siren: Wait...for real?!
Tad: Oh yeah! He arrived in a column of light, of all things.
Siren: I don't believe it...
Tad: No, it's true, I swear!
Siren: No, I mean I envisioned a beacon of light when I read your mind.
Tad: Oh, you did, did you?
Siren: Anyway, please continue.
Tad: Okay, so he had this weird, glowing mark on his hand-
Siren: The circles and dots, you mean?
Tad: Yeah! Oh, you've seen it too.
Siren: No, but you said you've seen it before.
Tad: I did? Oh yeah...
Siren: Sorry for interrupting so much.
Tad: Nah, it's cool. Oh, and the best part?
Tad: Zander arrived fully-dressed. He wasn't in his underwear!
Siren appears surprised.
Siren: You mean to tell me that there's a guy in the fantastic realm...dressed like someone from ours?!
Tad: Yeah! The people in Umbel can't figure him out.
Siren: Well, you know what you have to do, right?
Siren: You, my friend, need to take him to buy some clothes.
Tad: Uh...isn't that YOUR job, Siren?
Siren: Usually, yes, but in case you hadn't figured it out yet, I can't sightshift. You, however, can.
Tad: Uh...okay. I better go and do that right now.
Siren: What?! But...your shift!
Tad: This guy needs help. For all we know, he could be stuck there!
Siren: I can't check all of this equipment alone!
Tad: Then call Jack. He knows all about that stuff.
Siren: I...fine. Go help that guy.
Tad: Will do.
Tad runs out of the shop. Siren whips her mobile phone out of her pocket and searches through her contacts.
Siren: If only I could visit that place...
Siren holds the phone up to her right ear.
Siren: Jack? It's Siren...fine, thanks for asking. And you...? Great. Listen, I need a favour...
- Scene 6: Umbel: Fantastic Realm: Early Evening
Zander and Tad walk through the town square. Zander is now dressed in medieval-fantasy-inspired attire.
Zander: Uh...did we really need to get rid of my other clothes?
Tad: While it's true that most people here know that another realm exists, they're led to believe that it's a lot like this place. That includes fashion.
Tad: It's probably better to keep the mundane realm a secret from the people here. Oh, and vice-versa for people in the mundane realm.
Zander: No problem.
Zander sniffs the air.
Zander: Is this place near the ocean?
Zander: Oh. Weird, I can smell seawater.
Tad: Oh, that's probably me. I went for a surf earlier.
Zander: They have surfing here?
Tad: No, dude, in OUR realm.
Zander: Oh, right.
Tad: Don't feel bad. You're still getting used to this place.
Zander: I suppose I have to, since there's no way for me to get back.
Tad: What do you mean?
Zander: Well, I found out that only sightshifters can travel from this realm to the other, and...well...
Tad: You're not a sightshifter.
Tad: Darn it, I hadn't even considered that.
Zander: Eh, it's fine. I get the impression that I wanted a sea change anyway.
A pulse of energy emerges from Zander's body, and his eyes glow with metallic-cyan light. After a moment, Zander's eyes return to normal.
Zander: That was weird...
Tad: How do I put this delicately...eh, screw it. You sightshifted.
Tad: You sightshifted...the other way!
Zander: Seriously?! I can go back?!
Tad: Yeah! Well...you'll probably end up in the middle of nowhere, but-
Tad: The way sightshifting works is complicated. The first time you do it, you end up in the same part of the world in the other realm, but you leave a checkpoint of sorts in the original one. Every time you sightshift, you leave a marker in the previous realm that causes you to always return to that spot, no matter how far you travel in the current realm.
Zander: I think I get what you're saying. So when I sightshift to the mundane realm, and then I sightshift back here, I'll return to this exact spot?
Tad: Exactly! Now, this spot in the mundane realm is probably somewhere in the outback, but my checkpoint is on the east coast. You see the problem, right?
Zander: Yep. I'd be in the middle of the desert without food or water, and probably kilometres from the next town.
Tad: Or you could end up in a point of civilisation. We won't know unless you take the plunge.
Zander: Is that wise?
Tad: Yeah! You can always come back here if you need to.
Zander: So I could be stranded here anyway...
Tad: That's the worst case scenario. You couldn't return to the mundane realm, but at least you'd be able to survive.
Zander: Okay. What do I do?
Tad: Focus on what you saw during that moment.
Zander: Well, I know it's going to sound weird, but I saw the-
Zander shifts through the barrier, which ripples with metallic-cyan energy.
Tad: He did it! He actually did it!
Tad waits for Zander to return. After a brief moment, Zander ripples back.
Zander: Well, I was near a large city.
Tad: Wait...but the closest city to this spot in the mundane realm is-
Tad thinks for a moment.
Tad: Where exactly did you end up, dude?
Zander: On a beach.
Tad's thoughts: No, it couldn't be...
Tad: Okay, sightshift back to the mundane realm, then walk five paces away from the ocean.
Zander: What will that do?
Tad: I want to check something.
Zander: Uh...okay, here I go.
Zander ripples away. Tad waits a few seconds.
Tad: Okay, my turn.
Tad ripples through the barrier, his outfit changing into a black wetsuit with lime green trim. Tad's eyes widen.
Tad: No freaking way...
We cut to a view behind Tad. As the view pans to the right, we see Zander standing in his underwear, a pair of black boxer shorts.
Tad: We need to go.
Zander: We do?
Tad: Yeah. There's someone you need to meet.
Tad: A guy who knows more about sightshifting than I do. His name is Erik.
Scene 7: University: Mundane Realm: Late Morning
Herikios stands at the front of a lecture hall dressed in a tweed suit and blue bowtie. He appears to be teaching a class. Tad and Zander walk in.
Herikios: "And the spellcaster of a different walk"...does anyone have any idea what that could mean?
A male student with wavy, not-quite-shoulder-length hair and glasses raises his hand. He speaks with an Australian accent.
Student: I assume it means that he's a different kind of magic-user, one who casts spells through unconventional means.
Herikios: Excellent observation, Jonathan.
Jonathan: I play a lot of RPGs.
Herikios: Well, roleplayers often display vast imaginations.
The bell rings.
Herikios: And that marks the end of today's lecture. Oh, be sure to read the copy of the novel you've each been provided, and I'll see you on Tuesday.
The students pack up their things and begin to leave. Herikios notices Zander and Tad.
Herikios: I must speak with you.
Jonathan approaches Herikios, followed by Tad and Zander.
Tad: Hey, dude!
Jonathan: Oh, what are you doing here?
Tad: Actually, Zander-
Tad gestures to Zander.
Tad: -and I are here to see your lecturer.
Jonathan: Oh. Uh, hi! Call me Jack.
Jack holds out his hand to Zander.
Zander: Oh, uh...Zander.
Zander shakes Jack's hand.
Jack: Oh, and this is Dr. Hollows.
Zander looks at Herikios. An unfamiliar voice echoes in his mind.
Zander's thoughts: My name is Herikios, but my friends call me-
Herikios: Erik Hollows, lecturer of the literary and performing arts.
Jack: He also teaches swordplay.
Zander looks at Erik.
Erik: Yes? What is it?
Zander: I get the feeling that I've seen you before...
Erik's thoughts: I sense it...the awakening has begun...
Erik: Are you a student here, Zander?
Zander: No, uh...at least I'm pretty sure...
Tad: Zander sightshifted from the fantastic realm.
Erik: He did, did he?
Erik's thoughts: How can that be possible...?
Tad: Yeah, but he didn't sightshift INTO it!
Jack: Hold on...I thought all sightshifters come from this realm.
Tad: Yeah, they do.
Jack: Then...how did Zander get there in the first place?
Voice: Get where?
A girl with curly blonde hair in a loose bun walks in. She speaks with an Australian accent.
Jack: Oh, uh...Belle! What...uh...what are you doing here?!
Belle: I thought we were getting lunch after class.
Jack: Yes, but yours isn't finished yet!
Belle: Oh, we were rehearsing a play, but the lead had to go home. Gastro.
Jack: Oh, uh...what about the understudy?
Belle: Oh, she also had to leave.
Jack: Don't tell me she has gastro as well.
Belle: No, her boyfriend walked in with a single red rose, got onto one knee and said, "You are the love of my life. Will you marry me?" And...she said yes!
Belle: And then they left for the airport, right then and there. Needless to say, we were all dismissed from class.
Belle looks at Zander.
Belle: Oh, who's your friend, Tad?
Tad: This is Zander, a guy I'm helping out.
Belle: Oh, nice to meet you.
Zander: Thanks. Nice to meet you too.
Belle: Thank you. You know, you're kind of cute...in a baby-faced sort of way.
Zander: I am?
Belle: Yeah! Do you wanna-
Jack grabs Belle's hand and starts pulling her away.
Jack: Okay, let's go get lunch.
Belle: What?! But...Zander and I were gonna exchange mobile numbers!
Jack: No you weren't.
Belle: Oh, you're such a stick-in-the-mud!
Tad widens his eyes.
Zander: We couldn't exchange numbers anyway. My phone's completely bricked. Plus, it's in your house in the fantastic realm.
Tad: True...oh crap! I hope Norbert doesn't see it!
Tad: A gnome in my adventuring party. He's also my roommate there.
Tad: Then again, he doesn't go through my belongings.
A male gnome with purple hair opens drawers in Tad's home. He has the same voice as Brocc, Furbendink and Sven.
Norbert: Underwear...books...busted smartphone...wow, Tad keeps a lot of useless junk in his drawers...
Erik: It matters not how Zander arrived there. What's important is that he is now a sightshifter, and he needs someone to guide him. Tad, you will be his guide in this endeavour.
Tad: Okay then.
Zander: Good, 'cause I need to get back there and find out more about that pendulum.
Erik’s thoughts: How does he know of the pendulum...?
Erik: I know where it is.
Zander: You do?!
Tad: Where is it?
Erik: It is here, in the mundane realm. Its current position is...brine.
Zander: Brine? So it's in the ocean?
Tad: Do you know where, Erik?
Erik: Try the cove near the city.
Tad: Great! Zander? You should go to this place this afternoon.
Tad hands Zander a business card. Zander examines it.
Zander: A surf and dive shop?
Tad: Yeah! Ask for Siren, and say you want to take a scuba course. Oh, and tell her I sent you.
Tad: Yeah! I'll pay for the course.
Zander: You'd really do that for me?!
Tad: Hey, if it helps you find the pendulum...
Zander: Thank you.
Tad: I gotta go, but look for Belle and Jack in the campus café. They'll give you a lift.
Tad: Later, Erik.
Tad leaves. Zander turns to face Erik.
Zander: I better go. Have a good day.
Erik: To you as well.
Zander raises his hand, then turns to leave.
Zander looks at Erik.
Erik: We will meet again.
Zander: Not a problem.
Zander leaves the classroom.
Erik: It seems like only yesterday that I met him...but he still has much growing to do before he meets me properly.
Scene 8: Surf and Dive Shop: Mundane Realm: Early Afternoon
Belle is driving her car, with Zander to her left in the front passenger seat and Jack in the back seat behind Belle. The car pulls up just outside the surf and dive shop.
Belle: Well, here we are.
Zander: Thanks for the lift.
Belle: Don't mention it. Have fun!
Zander: Will do!
Zander enters the shop and looks around. The walls and displays are lined with surfboards, wetsuits, BCDs and other goods for aquatic activities. Siren sees Zander and walks up to him.
Siren: Can I help you?
Zander looks at Siren.
Zander: Oh, uh...I was just looking around.
Siren: Okay, well, if you need anything-
Zander: Well I- Oh...sorry, I interrupted.
Siren: No, it's fine! Go ahead.
Zander: Well actually, I was recommended to come to this place by...Tad?
Siren: Oh, you're a friend of Tad's?
Zed: Sort of. It's complicated.
Siren: Things are often complicated with that guy.
Zander: It seems so. Oh, I'm Zander, by the way.
Siren: Siren. It's a pleasure to meet you. Any friend of Tad's is welcome here.
Zander looks around.
Zander: Oh, Tad said I'd be interested in diving.
Siren: Oh, you're better to do that in warmer weather.
Zander: Like, summer, you mean?
Siren: Sure, but the water warms up from about mid-October onwards.
Zander: I did not know that.
Siren lets out another nose-laugh.
Siren: So, did you just move here?
Zander: Oh no no no, I'm...travelling.
Zander: In a way, yes.
An expression of surprise spreads across Siren's face.
Siren: No way. Y-You're THAT Zander!
Zander: Oh, blast! My cover is blown!
Siren: Yeah, Tad said he met you in the fantasy realm.
Tad yells out from the back room.
Tad: Fantastic realm!
Tad walks into the room.
Tad: Hey, Siren, you wanna check these regs for me? I think a couple are worn out.
Zander notices Tad.
Zander: Tad! What are you doing here?
Tad: I work here...? Didn't I tell you?
Zander: I don't think so, no.
Tad: Ah, my bad.
Tad looks puzzled.
Tad: Zander, why are you here?
Zander: You asked me to come, remember?
Tad: Oh, that's right! I forgot about the course!
Siren: What...uh...what course, Tad?
Tad: I sent Zander here to request a scuba course. It's...kind of urgent.
Siren: Why would a scuba course demand such urgency?
Tad: It's a little complicated.
Siren rolls her eyes.
Siren: It always is...okay, Zander, let's get you prepped.
Zander: No problem.
Siren leads Zander into the back room.
Siren's thoughts: Why am I envisioning a pendulum in a frozen sea...?
Scene 9: Unknown Location: Unknown Time of Day
A male human with blue eyes, fair skin, black, slicked-back hair and a bluish-grey robe stands on a silver pedestal in a round room that seems to be comprised of rainbow energy. A female human with tan skin, brown eyes, long, wavy, fiery-orange hair and a reddish-grey robe enters the room and approaches the male human.
Woman: How goes the observation?
Man: I am tracking the Water Pendulum, but...something is happening.
Man: It seems to be behaving erratically, as though-
Woman: -in synchronisation with the Fire Pendulum.
Man: How did you guess?
Woman: I have noticed the same observations with the Fire Pendulum’s behaviour.
Man: Is it too soon for the pendulums to activate?
Woman: I know not. But Viridius and Violetta assure me that the Earth and Air Pendulums remain dormant.
Man: I am beginning to wonder if it was a mistake to leave the Water Pendulum be for so long, Crimsona.
Crimsona: As am I, Ceruleus. But what is there to do?
Ceruleus: Might I suggest relocating the Water Pendulum?
Crimsona's eyes widen.
Crimsona: But is that wise? Even if we were to send the Water Pendulum to a safer location, there is no guarantee that both it and the Fire Pendulum would return to a state of dormancy. In addition, the Water Pendulum could end up anywhere.
Ceruleus: I am aware of both points, sister, but-
Crimsona: -you believe it to be the best course of action.
Ceruleus: I simply feel that keeping all the pendulums within such close proximity to one another is unwise. It may be better to relocate them to nearby worlds within the outer ring.
Crimsona: You may be right about that, Ceruleus, but until every pendulum activates-
Ceruleus: -they must be left alone.
Ceruleus: But let us hope that no other entity locates them before they have a chance to activate...
- Scene 10: Cove: Mundane Realm: Morning
Zander and Tad sit on the back of a boat in the cove. Zander is wearing a black wetsuit with cyan trim, whereas Tad is wearing his green-trimmed wetsuit. Zander is also wearing a pair of yellow fins and a pair of blue-trimmed gloves, whereas Tad is putting on a pair of green fins, though he is not wearing gloves. Both Zander and Tad wear BCDs equipped with all the bells and whistles, including a tank of pressurised air. Zander is holding a yellow full-face mask equipped with a communication device, while Tad has a green version of the same mask and device.
Tad: ...and...there! My fins are equipped!
Siren calls out from the front of the boat.
Siren: Equipped? I think you're spending too much time in the fantasy realm, Tad.
Tad: Fantastic realm!
Siren: Whatever! I just wish I was diving today instead of you!
Tad: But...you dive almost every day! And I don't get to as often as you do, Siren!
Siren: Well, whose fault is that, Mr. Surfer Dude?
Tad: Besides, Zander and I are in this together!
Siren: Well, I guess you have a point!
Tad turns to face Zander.
Tad: Okay, Zander, are you ready to do this?
Tad: Then let's go!
Zander and Tad submerge into the water. They both have their masks equipped.
Tad: So, any idea where this pendulum could be?
Zander: Not a clue.
Tad: Well, keep a look out for it.
Zander: No problem. Whoa...
Tad: What is it?
Zander: This is weird. It's like I'm floating along!
Tad: Didn't you already do an open water dive, though?
Zander: Well, yes...
Tad: Then you should know what it feels like underwater.
Zander: This is different. It's like...I'm being pulled along by...something.
Tad: Actually, now that you mention it-
Just then, a trio of glowing orbs appears in front of Zander and Tad. The middle one is larger than the others, and cyan in colour; the one on the left is azure, and the one on the right is aqua.
Tad: Whoa...what could THAT be...?
Zander: If I didn't know any better, I'd say that that was the-
An orb of white light emerges from the centre orb and floats to the left one, with the centre orb having shrunk and the left one now bigger than the others.
Zander: What the...?!
The orbs disappear. Almost immediately, the water becomes noticeably cooler.
Tad: Was that the pendulum?!
Zander: It didn't look like one!
A beeping noise appears out of nowhere.
Tad: Whoa! Is that the lights trying to speak with us?!
Zander: No, it's your communicator.
Tad: Huh...? Oh, right.
Tad presses a button on his communication device.
Tad: You've reached Casa de Pizza, the freshest pizzas in town. Pick up or delivery?
Siren: Everything okay down there?
Tad: Uh...sure, why do you ask?
Siren: Because you haven't released the marker yet!
Tad: Oh, nuts! Sorry, Siren, we just got a little distracted by...something.
Siren: Oh, for the love of-
Siren: I knew I should have been the one to take Zander for his first full dive...
Tad: No no, it's fine! Look, here comes the marker now!
Tad opens a pouch on his BCD, releasing a blue object that floats to the surface.
We cut to a view of the surface. The object splashes up, and a flag unfurls.
Siren: Okay, I see it.
We cut back to Zander and Tad underwater.
Siren: Just pay more attention next time.
Tad: Will do. Thanks.
Siren: Have fun, Zander!
Zander: Thank you!
Tad: Okay, we need to try and find those lights. Surely they're an indication of the pendulum's location.
Siren: Pendulum? What pendulum?
Tad: Siren?! Wh-Why didn't you turn off communications?!
Siren: Me? You're the one in control of the comms, Tad!
Tad: What are you talking-
Tad closes his eyes.
Tad: Right...I should've realised.
Siren: Honestly, Tad, sometimes I wonder if your I.Q. really is as high as you say it is...
Tad: Hey, there are many ways to measure intelligence, Siren. Some are much more subtle than others.
Siren: Right...which is why you lose every trivia night we attend.
Tad: I told you already, the quizmaster has it in for me! She hates me!
Siren: What?! Belle doesn't hate you!
Tad: Wait...BELLE'S the quizmaster?!
Tad: But...she doesn't wear makeup!
Siren: Not usually, no, but she does when she isn't at home or studying.
Tad: Huh...I was wondering what she meant when she said, "I'll make the next trivia night easier for you, Tad"...
A slapping sound is heard.
Tad: What was that?!
Siren: Only the sound of my palm making contact with my face.
Tad: Oh, good. I thought something was wrong for a moment.
We cut to a view of the boat.
Siren (softly): Clearly there is if you don't recognise people when they use makeup.
Siren: I said, "Clearly there's food such as bread and pies we ought to bake up".
Tad: Good idea, although neither of us knows HOW to bake bread and pies.
Siren: Well, we could take a cooking class at the university.
We cut back to a close-up view of Tad underwater.
Tad: True, true...or we could keep letting Belle and Jack cook for all of us.
Siren: Now THERE'S that I.Q. rating of yours!
Tad: Yeah, 'cause why cook when someone else can do the work for us? Though we DO usually get stuck with the dishes...maybe there's a way out of that as well...
Siren: Okay, okay, think of a plan later, Captain Whiz-Guy. Right now, you and Zander need to find this "pendulum" of yours. Wait...Zander's been awfully quiet...
Tad: Hey, yeah...Zander? Come in! Zander...?
Tad spins around and looks at Zander.
Tad: Oh, Zander! You had me worried, dude!
Tad: What? What is it?
Zander: We...have an eensy problem.
Tad: What do you mean?
Zander: Well...we've sort of ended up who-knows-where.
Tad: What? How can you tell?
Zander: My first clue is the enormous skull below us.
Tad looks down. An enormous reptilian skull sits on the seafloor.
Tad: WHOA! How did that get there?!
Zander: And that's not the weirdest part.
Tad: Wait...then what-
Zander: Follow me to the surface.
Zander and Tad slowly inflate their BCDs and head for the ocean's surface. After reaching the surface, both divers open the air valves on their masks, allowing them to conserve tank air. Tad's eyes widen as he gazes upon a nearby rocky beach with a panorama of a bright blue mountain range in the distance.
Tad: What the...where are we?!
Zander: I don't know, but something tells me we're not in Kansas anymore...
Scene 11: Unknown Location: Unknown Time of Day
Zander and Tad explore the mysterious ocean in which they've arrived.
Zander: This is too weird...
Tad: You're telling me!
Zander: I mean...you're absolutely certain that we didn't sightshift into the fantastic realm?
Tad: I'm positive. If we did, we'd be in the middle of Umbel Plaza right now, and...well...
Zander: Then there must be another world...
Tad: Whoa, hold up there, Zander! THREE realms?! I'm positive that there are only two!
Tad: What is it?
Zander: Well, you know how I told you that there was a mark on my hand that glowed with a bluish light?
Zander: Well...that very same mark is glowing again...through my glove!
Tad looks at Zander's hand, and is immediately startled.
Zander: I know, right?
Tad: I know that mark!
Tad: I glimpsed it in a tome I was studying in the fantastic realm. Apparently it's some kind of map.
Zander: So I have a map on my hand?
Tad: Maybe...still, it's worth investigating.
Zander: I guess so...
Zander and Tad pause.
Zander: Do you hear that?
Tad: Yeah...sounds like...singing?
Zander sees a large, shadowy shape moving towards them.
Zander: Could it be a whale?
Tad: I don't know, maybe?
As the creature approaches, Zander and Tad's eyes widen: it appears to resemble a large seahorse, with cyan scales covered in azure and aqua splotches; the most unusual feature is a mane of dark cyan kelp along its head and neck.
Zander: Is that a-
Tad: Seahorse? I would say so.
Zander: But it's the size of an ACTUAL horse!
Tad: It seems friendly.
Zander: I agree.
A calm, masculine voice echoes in Zander and Tad's minds.
The creature begins to swim away. Zander and Tad begin to follow it. They look at each other.
Tad: This is amazing! An unidentified animal!
Zander: It's amazing! It's-
Zander looks ahead.
Tad: Gone? How could it be-
Tad looks ahead. The creature has disappeared.
Zander: Was it real, or just an illusion?
Tad: Not sure. It seemed real, though.
A beeping sound is heard.
Tad: It came back!
Zander: I...think that was your communicator again.
Tad: Oh yeah...heheh...my bad.
Tad presses a button on his communicator.
Tad: Welcome to Casa de-
Siren: Tad! Oh, thank goodness! I was worried sick!
Tad: You were?
Siren: You suddenly stopped talking, and...well...
Siren: First Zander, then you...oh! Did you find Zander?
Siren: Oh, what a relief! Are you okay?!
Zander: Fine. We-
Siren: Wait! Don't tell me! Let's see...um...
Tad: Here we go again...
Siren: You were on a dragon made of metal, and then you found a seahorse covered in kelp.
Tad: Um...you're half-right.
Erik's voice appears over the network.
Erik: I assure you that, in a sense, Siren is completely correct.
Tad: What the...Erik? How are you communicating with us?! Is he in the boat with you, Siren?!
We cut to a view of Siren in the boat.
Siren: That's a negative, I'm afraid.
We cut back to a close-up of Zander and Tad.
Erik: Turn around, Tadpole.
Zander and Tad spin around and see Erik in mostly-cyan dive gear similar to their own.
Tad: You were here this whole time?!
Erik: Not exactly.
Zander hears Erik's voice in his mind.
Erik's voice: You suffer from seasickness?
Zander: Well, no.
Erik: I'm sorry?
Zander: If I got seasick, I probably wouldn't be able to dive, right?
Erik's thoughts: How can he have memories of events he has yet to experience...in places he has yet to visit?
Erik: Hm...possibly. In any case, it is my duty to inform you both that-
Tad: Wait! Before you say anything, I need to ask you something.
Erik: Of course, Tadpole.
Tad: Okay, have you ever heard of an enormous blue seahorse with seaweed hair?
Erik: Why do you ask?
Tad: Zander and I...well...we both saw one. Just moments ago, in fact.
Erik: Hm...it sounds like a creature from Greek lore known as the hippocamp.
Zander: I've heard of those. They're a chimera that's part-horse and part-fish.
Erik: I'm impressed. You are quite knowledgeable, Zander.
Siren: Could we have this conversation back on the boat, please?
Tad: What?! But...we haven't finished our dive yet!
We cut back to Siren.
Siren: You've been underwater for an hour-and-a-half!
Tad: We have?!
Siren: Yes, which I think is plenty of time for Zander's first full dive.
We cut back to Zander, Tad and Erik.
Tad: But what about the pendulum?!
Erik: Alas, it has changed position again.
Tad: Oh, great...
Erik: Its new position is ice.
Zander: So we need to explore Antarctica or something, then?
Erik: Do not worry, Zander. When the pendulum is ready to be found, it will find its way.
Zander: Fair enough.
Tad: Well then...I guess we should head back to the boat?
The trio swims towards the boat.
Tad: So...any particular reason you're diving without a buddy, Erik?
Tad: Not setting a good example for Zander, are you?
The trio - plus Siren - is in the boat.
Zander: Well, that was fun.
Tad: Yeah, but we didn't find the pendulum.
Siren: Oh yeah, you wanted to tell us something, right, Dr. Hollows?
Erik: Ah, yes. Zander, Tad, you both accidentally drifted into another world.
Tad: Then there IS a third dimension...
Erik: Actually, I meant you travelled to a world other than this one, far from both the mundane realm and the fantasy realm.
Siren: Fantastic realm!
Tad: You finally got it right, Siren!
Siren: Hey, yeah! "Fantastic"!
Zander: So which world did we visit?
Erik: It is a land where dragons of gleaming scales take on a humanoid form and coexist in relative peace.
Tad: For real? Whoa...
Siren: I don't know...how could you possibly know all this, Dr. Hollows?
Erik: I am afraid that is all I can tell you for now.
Tad: And there's Erik's signature catchphrase...
Erik: Oh, but do not tell anyone else of your venture. If they were to find out-
Tad: Say no more! Your secret's safe with us.
Erik: Thank you.
Erik's thoughts: I suspect that Zander will soon undergo another false awakening. It is as though he is subconsciously preventing himself from achieving his true potential, but...
Erik looks at Zander.
Erik's thoughts: ...his next false awakening could leave him stranded far from this place. Perhaps it is time for the pendulums to find new homes...otherwise the Water Pendulum could put Zander in danger from...the Noc-
Tad: Uh, Erik?
Tad: You're spacing out a little.
Erik: My apologies. Now, there is something you must do, Tadpole...
Erik: Take Zander back to Umbel. I suspect the Water Pendulum will manifest itself again soon, and he will be needed there when it does...
Scene 12: Unknown Location: Unknown Time of Day
Erik enters the room of rainbow energy. He approaches the pedestal, where Crimsona and Ceruleus stand with two other individuals: a male syl human with long blonde hair, light brown skin, green eyes and a greyish-lime robe; and a female syl human with short brunette hair, pinkish skin, hazel eyes and a greyish-purple robe. The four robed individuals turn to face Erik.
Male Syl: Ah, Herikios.
Female Syl: You have finally arrived.
Erik: Forgive my tardiness, Viridius and Violetta, but I bring news.
Ceruleus: We have already detected the activation of the Water Pendulum.
Erik: I witnessed the pendulum's activation myself, and my ally has informed me that the Fire Pendulum, located in New Frontier, has also begun to activate.
Ceruleus: Then we must take action at once. Crimsona?
Crimsona: Indeed, brother. We must begin the procedure of extracting, and then relocating, the pendulums. If we do not-
Violetta: I fear it may be too late, cousin. There are reports of the menace becoming unsettled within their world, and they may soon attempt to target the pendulums.
Viridius: Then we must act now.
Ceruleus: Herikios, make sure that your protégé remains safe until the pendulums have been relocated.
Erik: It would be my honour.
Erik bows, then turns around and leaves the chamber. The four robed individuals face each other.
Ceruleus: Let us hope we are not too late...
Scene 13: Unknown Location: Unknown Time of Day
We fade into a view of a mysterious chamber. A number of tubes containing shadowy, masked figures is inside. We pan to a view of one such chamber; we see a close-up of the figure's eyes, which appear to be closed. Almost immediately, both eyes open, the irises glowing with silvery light. The figure speaks with a digitally-distorted voice.
Figure: Wakey-wakey. It's time to continue searching for them.
A navy blue pixellated shimmer appears in both irises.
Scene 14: Aquo City: Fantastic Realm: Late Afternoon
Zander and Tad arrive in the city of Aquo, the apparent "source of the water element" in the fantastic realm.
Tad: Well, here we are.
We hear a loud voice in the distance that resembles that of Brocc, Furbendink, Sven and Norbert.
Voice: You call this udon? The tempura is overcooked, the broth tastes like tapwater and I don't think naruto is supposed to be orange and yellow in colour! It's WHITE with a PINK swirl! Honestly...
Tad: Sounds like someone who knows their cuisine.
Zander: Indeed. So how long do we need to stay here?
Tad: Not sure. Erik said that we need to wait for the pendulum to "reach the water position", which could take hours.
Zander: Oh. So...should we head to the tavern? I hear they're having a "stew festival", whatever that is.
Scene 15: Tavern: Aquo City: Fantastic Realm: Late Afternoon
The scene wipes to that of a medieval-inspired tavern. Zander and Tad sit at a table, a big bowl of stew in front of each of them. Zander scoops a chunk of meat from the bowl and eats it. An expression of joy appears on his face.
Zander: This is the best thing I've ever tasted!
Tad: I knew you'd like it, Zander!
Zander: So what is it?
Tad: Drake and seven-vegetable stew. It's the chef's specialty.
Zander: Drake? As in duck?
Tad: Well, actually...
Zander: Oh...OH! You mean-
Tad: Yeah...drake meat comes from reptilian beasts called, well, drakes.
Zander: Huh. Well, I like it anyway.
Tad: I know what you mean. I was also put-off when I first tried it, but-
Tad's eyes widen.
Tad: Wait...you're not disgusted by this meal, Zander?!
Zander: No. Why would I be?
Tad: Well, it's lizard meat served with carrots, potatoes, peas-
Zander: They put PEAS in this stuff?! Yeugh!
Tad: Oh boy...
At that moment, Zander suddenly ripples through the barrier.
Tad: What the...? Why did he suddenly sightshift away? The peas aren't THAT terrible!
Tad stands up and ripples through the barrier into his apartment.
Tad: Zander, I-
Tad looks around. Zander is nowhere to be seen.
Tad: Where did he go...?
Scene 16: Unknown Location: Unknown Time of Day
Zander is standing in a tube of rippling metallic-cyan energy; he is back in his mundane realm outfit. A number of homonid humans dressed in suits surrounds the tube, each of them pointing a device that slightly resembles a high-tech water pistol at him.
Zander: What the...?!
Man #1: Extraction of sightshifter successful.
Man #2: I can't believe this machine actually worked! So who do we have here?
Woman #1: Uh...noone, sir.
Man #2: Noone?
Woman #1: Apparently.
Woman #2: But we've clearly captured a sightshifter.
Woman #1: Yes, but he's not showing up in any government records. Birth certificate, blood type, reference number...they're all absent, as though-
Man #2: -he's been wiped from this world. But how-
Man #1: Uh...sir? You'd better take a look at this.
The agents look at Zander, whose eyes glow with metallic cyan light.
Woman #1: Is he supposed to be able to do that...?
Man #2: Negative. That is NOT an attempted sightshift!
Woman #1: Then-
A pulse of cyan energy bursts from Zander's body, dispelling the barrier and setting off the sprinkler system.
Man #2: Quick! Use your sleep pistols!
Woman #1: But the gas will have no effect while the sprinklers are going!
Man #2: But he's gonna get away!
The mark of the multiverse begins glowing on the back of Zander's hand with red light. The same mark then appears underneath Zander’s feet, which glows with red-tinged light.
Woman #1: Wh-What are you?!
Zander: I...I don't kn-
A column of red light erupts from the ground around Zander. After a brief moment, the column retreats into the ground, and the mark disappears. The agents all appear puzzled.
Man #1: Why are we all here?
Woman #2: Weren't we about to try and extract a sightshifter to study...?
Man #1: Oh yeah...so why are the sprinklers going?
Woman #1: Oh, great! The sprinklers have ruined the machine! It'll take months to construct a new one!
Man #2: Then get to it, agent!
Woman #1: Yes, sir!
Man #2's thoughts: Every time we try to capture a sightshifter...
Scene 17: Unknown Location: Unknown Time of Day
Erik enters the rainbow energy room, where Ceruleus is waiting for him.
Erik: You wished to see me?
Ceruleus: The plan to relocate the pendulums was met with complications.
Ceruleus: It seems that an outside force unknowingly intervened and attempted to capture your protégé. He underwent a false awakening, and...
Ceruleus: He was sent to somewhere within Universe 1 of the Outer Ring.
Erik: But that is the location of-
Erik: Where is he?
Ceruleus: We are attempting to locate him, but in the meantime-
Erik: -I must be patient.
Scene 18: Mysterious Coastline: Early Afternoon
Zander walks along the coastline he and Tad visited earlier. His hair and clothes are still damp, and he appears confused.
Zander's thoughts: This place seems familiar, but...
Voice: You appear distressed, stranger.
Zander looks ahead at a humanoid dragon with shiny mint-green scales and cyan-coloured leather armour.
Dragon: I would be happy to assist you, if you like.
Zander: Oh...uh...th-thank you...
Dragon: Can you tell me your name?
Zander: Uh...I think it starts with a "Zed"...
Scene 19: Mundane Realm: Terra: Afternoon
The dark figure from before hides in an alleyway.
Figure: I must find it…the Water Pendulum…
The figure makes a fist with his right hand and presses its largest knuckle with his left. His body ripples, and his outfit changes to one similar to that of our world. The figure’s breather and the distortion in his voice seem to disappear.
Figure: There. Now I can blend in better without drawing attention to myself.
Figure’s thoughts: The Water Pendulum must be found…it is the key to restoring and expanding my people…
A navy blue pixellated shimmer appears in the figure’s eyes, his face seemingly cold and expressionless.
Scene 20: Unknown Location: Evening
Zander lies asleep in a bed, tossing and turning.
We zoom inside his mind, and see an image of a silver dragon. It roars and flaps its wings, as though taking off to begin flying, but the dragon starts to glow brightly with cyan light. The light stops glowing, and in the dragon’s place is a shining sword forged from silver, glowing softly with cyan light.
We zoom out to a view of Zander’s closed eyes, which suddenly open, and begin to glow with cyan light.
To be Continued in The Silver Dragon Blade...
October 30th 2017, 2:22 am
Origin of Zed, Part II: The Silver Dragon Blade
- Zander finds himself in the Nation of Soranius, a land as unfamiliar to him as anything he can remember…which is very little. A drachomus named Crynock decides to train Zander in the ways of the spellsword, with fellow drachomus Ocre providing him a blade of his own, but an unexpected occurrence leads to the swordmaster taking his new student to distant Akanius City by airship. Could a stopover in the Soranian Highlands provide the clues Zander needs to recover his missing past?
Crynock of Soranius – A quicksilver drachomus from Soranius City, he is skilled in the art of the spellsword, and decides to teach Zander how to do the same
Ocre of Akanius – A gold drachomus marshal and friend of Crynock’s, she provides Zander the sword he needs to master his newfound talent
Furb Rashfoot – A forest gnome esper with purplish-pink hair, he forms a bond with Zander, but is magenta really his natural colour?
Amanda Mitchell – A syl human druid of an ancient order, she is called away for discussion about the apparent appearance of a “pendulum”
“Oh…*BURP*…I can’t believe I ate an entire mud cake by myself…”
- Scene 1: Crynock's House: Soranius City: MorningIt happened over three decades ago...they began to sprout, mere seedlings within the vast naturescape...yet now they are still seedlings...for one prevents the rest from blossoming...denying the birthright given to them...
We see a view of Zander’s eyes, which open. His eyes glow briefly with cyan light, before returning to normal, a tiny glimmer of light reflecting off his steely greyish irises.
Zander’s thoughts: It’s morning…
Zander sits up and looks around his room.
Zander’s thoughts: I still don’t…remember…oh!
Zander’s eyes widen.
Zander: That’s right! I was helped by that…what did he call himself? A “drachomus”?
The dragon-like being practices his sword techniques in his front yard. After a moment, he stops, closes his eyes and slides his sword into its sheath.
Drachomus: Ah, you have awakened.
The scene pans to the left, revealing Zander, who is walking towards the drachomus.
Zander: How did you know?!
The drachomus opens his eyes and spins to face Zander, a smile on his face.
Drachomus: When trained in the art of the sword, one must always remain alert.
Zander: That makes sense.
The drachomus tilts his head slightly.
Drachomus: Have your memories returned?
Zander: No, which DOESN'T make sense!
The drachomus notices a number of multicoloured particles briefly sparkle around Zander.
Drachomus’ thoughts: The force of magic…it clings to him…
Zander: What is it?
Drachomus: Zed, are you familiar with the art of the spellsword?
Zander: Not really. Why do you ask?
Drachomus: It is said that one with a strong connection to magic is able to harness it in many ways. One such way is by using a blade as a conduit for one's own potential.
Drachomus: I myself am a spellsword.
Drachomus: Indeed. Observe...
The drachomus draws his sword and looks ahead. He leaps into the air and spins while swinging his blade, which releases a frosty blue arc of cold.
Zander: That's amazing! I had no idea magic existed!
Voice: Well, that's not surprising, is it? Haha!
A heavily-armoured gold drachomus woman and a male gnome with bright purplish-pink hair walk up to Crynock.
Drachomus: Ah, yes. Zed, this is Ocre, one of the finest marshals from the Nation of Akanius.
The woman appears chuffed.
Ocre: Oh, stop it, Crynock...but you're right.
Gnome: And I'm...uh...
Ocre: I expect Zed to not remember his name, Furb, but you should know yours!
The gnome becomes agitated.
Furb: And what's that supposed to mean?!
Ocre: Well, you ARE an esper. Figure it out!
Furb: Just because I'm an esper doesn't make me smart. All it means is that I can use psi magic. Hey, imagine if Amy was an esper instead of me. Now, THAT would be a bizarre twist, amirite?
Furb looks around.
Furb: Hey, where is she, anyway?
Crynock: She had to consult with her druidic order about a matter of importance. Something about a "pendulum".
Ocre: What's got you worked up, Freaky-niku?
Furb: For the last time, it's YAKI-niku!
Zander’s belly growls.
Crynock: What is it, Zed?
Zander: I'm pretty hungry.
Furb: Then have I got a treat for you, Zed? Follow me!
Furb begins walking away.
Ocre: You should follow him, Zed. Furb may be a freak, but he sure knows his cuisine! Haha!
Zander: Uh...okay then.
Zander begins to follow Furb. Unbeknownst to him, a figure in a green robe watches them.
Figure: Target acquired.
Scene 2: Shopping District: Soranius City: Afternoon
Zander follows Furb through a busy street.
Furb: Okay, Zed, next I'll take you to this quaint little Pikunian place that serves THE best-
Zander lets out an enormous burp.
Zander: Oop...sorry about that.
Furb: Hey, no need to apologise, Zander. Belches are the language of someone who's enjoying their food! Now as I was saying, this Pikunian bakery-
Zander: I don't know if I can fit in any more food...
Furb: What?! But...your metabolism's supposed to be-
Zander stares at Furb.
Furb: Oh, right. You're not like me, are you? You're a...a...um...
Furb: Yeah, I guess.
Zander: What else could I be?
Furb: Well, the way I see it-
Voice: FURBENDINK RASHFOOT!
The green-robed woman stands behind Furb.
Furb (whisper): There's a woman in a green robe standing behind me, isn't there...?
Zander nods. Furb slowly turns to face the woman, a huge grin on his face.
Furb: Amanda! What...uh...what are YOU doing here? Heheheh...
The woman pulls down her hood. Her face is identical to Amy's from Mask of Akanius, though her fringe is braided and wraps around to the back of her head.
Amanda: You told me you WOULDN'T take him on a food binge!
Furb: That's right!
The woman’s eyes widen.
Amanda: Then what do you call...this?!
Furb: If you must know, I call it a culinary tour of Metaligon. We were on our way to a Pikunian bakery for cake.
Amanda: Well at least introduce me, why don't you?
Furb: Huh? Oh, right. Zed, this is Amanda Mitchell, one of the finest druids in the worlds.
Amanda walks up to Zander.
Amanda: Delighted to meet you. Please, call me "Amy".
Amy examines Zander's face.
Amy's thoughts: His face...it is...
Furb: What are you doing?
Amy: There is something...unusual about Zed.
Furb: I know. His memory is-
Amy takes Zander's hand.
Amy: Come with me.
Amy begins leading Zander away.
Furb: Wait! What am I supposed to do? You expect me to eat an entire chocolate mud cake by myself?! Well, I AM able to do that, but that's not the point! Oh...can Zander even EAT chocolate cake? I should've asked...
Furb shrugs his shoulders.
Furb: Oh well. Time for cake!
Furb runs away with delight.
Scene 3: Armoury: Shopping District: Soranius City: Afternoon
Amy brings Zander into an armoury. Weapons and armour of every description line the walls and shelves.
Zander: Whoa...look at this place! It's like something out of-
The scene shifts into Zander's mind.
We see Zander and Tad walking along a busy street.
Zander: Well, THAT was disappointing...
Tad: What was?
Zander: All that effort for nothing. My ears are STILL waterlogged!
Zander wipes the outside of his ear canals with his index fingers' largest knuckles.
Tad: Well, we DID go to another realm...
Zander: That's true. So, where are we headed?
Tad: My local game shop. You ever done fantasy roleplaying, Zander?
Tad: Oh, right. My bad...
Zander: Well, it sounds like fun!
Tad: It doesn't compare to the fantastic realm, but it's a close 2nd!
Zander: Let's do it!
The scene shifts out of Zander's mind.
Zander: I...think I blacked out for a second...
Amy stares at Zander.
Amy: Uh...nothing. It is nothing. Now, Crynock wishes to train you in the ways of the spellsword.
Zander: He does?
Amy: Oh yes. And he commissioned me to help you choose a focus.
Zander: What kind of focus?
Amy: A longsword.
Zander's eyes widen.
Zander: But...I don't know how to use a sword!
Amy: That's the point of training, Zed...
Zander: Oh, right...
Amy: Anyway, feel free to choose any longsword you like.
Zander: But...where's the shopkeeper?
Amy: Didn't Crynock tell you? Ocre's the owner!
Amy: Yes! And she said you may choose any longsword, free of charge.
Zander: That's good, because I don't have a single dollar.
Amy appears puzzled.
Amy: What is a "dollar"?
Zander: A form of currency...I think.
Amy: Well, the main currency of Soranius is the Soran.
Zander: I see...
Zander walks over to the swords.
Zander's thoughts: Any longsword I like...hm...oh?
Zander notices the shimmer of a blade on a nearby rack. Its hilt is wrapped in what appears to be silver scales, and its sheath is adorned with an image of a dragon breathing electricity.
Amy: You've spotted one, haven't you?
Zander: I guess so.
Amy: You guess so? Crynock said that you would no doubt find the perfect blade after a mere glance.
Amy: Pick up the one you noticed.
Zander gently takes the sword from the rack. Almost immediately, the mark of the multiverse begins glowing on the back of Zander's right hand with cyan light, causing him to nearly drop the sword.
Zander: What the?!
Zander: Again?! What do you mean "again"?!
Amy: This happened just moments ago.
Amy: When you claim you "blacked out".
The mark disappears.
Zander: It's gone!
Amy: Perhaps Crynock knows something about it.
Voice: About what?
Furb is suddenly standing nearby.
Zander: WHOA! Where did you come from?!
Amy: Oh...it was nothing, Furb.
Furb: Okay then...?
Amy: We were just on our way back to Crynock's house.
Furb: Good, cause I need to pee. Like, REEEEEEEALLY bad.
Amy: Too much information...
Furb: Follow me!
Amy: I do know the wa-
Amy's thoughts: Patience, Amanda...
The trio leaves the shop.
Scene 4: Mundane Realm: Terra: Early Morning
The dark figure walks along a street.
Figure: So much effort to find one little pendulum…
A young man in a fast food uniform holds out coupons to the figure.
Man: Hi! Can I interest you in-
The figure quickly pulls what resembles a high tech water pistol seemingly from nowhere and sprays it at the man’s face, who slinks to the ground, unconscious.
Figure: I’d prefer it if there weren’t so many distractions…oh!
The figure looks across the street and sees Siren climb into a navy blue car.
Figure: That female human has witnessed the Water Pendulum…
The figure pulls a tiny, metallic-black object with a blinking blue light seemingly from nowhere and throws it at Siren’s car, causing it to attach to a spot underneath its front. Siren starts her car and drives away, the figure watching as she does so.
Figure: Now I can track her location.
We cut to a view of the figures eyes. A navy blue pixellated shimmer appears in them.
Scene 5: Crynock's House: Soranius City: Late Morning
Zander and Amy walk up to Crynock's house.
Zander: Hey...where did Furb go...?
Crynock stands outside his house. Furb dashes past him.
Furb races past Ocre, who quickly dodges him.
Ocre: Whoa! Where's HE off to in such a hurry?
Crynock: The lavatory, I believe.
Ocre: Ah, say no more.
Crynock: He does have a nervous bladder, you know.
Ocre: No really, shut it.
Crynock: Just last week, he drank litres of lemonade, and then he-
Ocre covers her ears with her hands.
Ocre: LA LA LA LA LA LA LA...
Ocre walks away. Zander and Amy reach Crynock.
Crynock: Ah, Amy and Zed.
Amy: We have a bit of a situa-
Amy: Amy and Zed… “A” and “Zed”…hey, our names sound like the first and last letters of the alphabet! How about that?
Amy: What were we discussing again...?
Zander: The...icon on my hand?
Zander: Yeah! An icon...pictograph...some kind of mark, anyway.
Crynock looks at Zander's hands.
Crynock: All I see is-
Suddenly, the mark begins glowing on the back of Zander's hand with cyan light.
Zander: I know, it's weird.
The mark disappears.
Zander: It first appeared when I blacked out in Ocre's shop, and then again when I tulit gladium.
Zander: I said it first appeared when I-
Crynock: No, the second part.
Zander: Huh? Oh, when I picked up my sword.
Crynock: Hm...I see.
Zander: Is it significant?
Crynock: Possibly. Now, I detect a strong magical force around you, Zed.
Zander: You do?
Crynock: Indeed. I think, with months of training, you could become a most skilled spellsword.
Zander: Okay, what do I do?
Crynock: Watch me as I do a simple technique.
Crynock closes his eyes.
Crynock: "Pyxel, Spirit of the Fae, answer my request..."
Crynock opens his eyes.
Crynock points his sword at Amy. Almost immediately, her hair turns blue.
Zander: Y-Your hair is blue!
Crynock: Relax, Amy, the prestidigitation cantrip wears off after a couple of hours.
Amy: It better!
Crynock: Now you try it, Zed.
Zander draws his sword from its sheath, which is next to his left thigh.
Zander: Okay...here I go...
Zander closes his eyes. His voice becomes distorted.
Zander: "Axis...World in a Bubble..."
Amy: Uh...is that supposed to happen...?
The mark begins to glow on the back of Zander's right hand.
Zander: "...grant me a glimpse of my true self..."
Crynock: No...this is-
Zander opens his eyes, which glow with cyan light.
Zander: "Puer de Chromaicora!"
Suddenly, a beacon of cyan light emerges from Zander's sword, connecting with Crynock's sword. Crynock's eyes begin to glow with cyan light.
Crynock doesn't respond. The beacon begins drawing pulses of multicoloured energy from Crynock's sword.
Amy: Zed, please! STOP!
Zander doesn't respond. We suddenly hear a toilet flushing, followed by Furb walking outside.
Furb: Hey, what's everyone doing out FOR THE LOVE OF EVERY COLOUR OF THE SPECTRUM! WHAT IS GOING ON?!
We cut to a view of Zander.
Zander: The fruit...seedlings...Penduli...Aqua...
- Scene 6: Unknown Location: Late Morning
We see Zander sleeping in a bed, which is inside a tent. His eyes suddenly open.
Zander: Whoa, that was weird...huh?
Zander looks around.
Zander: Wh-Where...am I?
Zander emerges from his tent. Ocre, Crynock and Furb sit around a campfire.
Zander: Wait...now I'm REALLY confused...
Furb: 'Morning, Zed!
Zander: Uh...good morning.
Ocre, Crynock and Furb stare at Zander.
Zander: So...how did we get out here, anyway?
Crynock: We travelled, of course. We left shortly after you passed out.
Zander: Passed out...?
Ocre: You've been unconscious since yesterday afternoon!
Zander: Why does that seem familiar...?
Zander closes his eyes. The scene shifts into his mind.
Zander, in his original mundane realm outfit, and Tad walk through Umbel Plaza.
Tad: We really need to organise an outfit that'll help you blend into the fantastic realm, Zander.
Zander: Where's Verdann?
Tad: Oh, he's still at the Umbel Guardian's home, trying to question her as to why she was rude to him.
Zander: Will it work?
Tad: If I know the Umbel Guardian - and I do - she won't tell him ANYTHING.
Zander: Fair enough.
Zander looks at Tad.
Zander: Thanks for looking after me, Tad.
Tad: Hey, don't mention it. You're trapped in an unfamiliar place with no way home, so it's only natural that I-
Tad: Sorry, my mouth doesn't really have a thought blocker. I usually just blurt out whatever pops into my head, no matter how potentially-insensitive it may be...
Zander: It's fine. I think I'm the same way...well, a little bit.
Tad: But fourteen hours unconscious...it must be a new record.
The scene zooms out of Zander's mind. Zander opens his eyes.
Furb: -and so I said to him, "I don't CARE if you hate yummy food, because I don't CARE for you!"
Ocre: Furb, you've told me this story, like, a THOUSAND times...
Furb: Oh, don't exaggerate, Ocre! It's only been 297. Three more times and I get a free dumpling!
Ocre: Of course you do...
Zander: So...how long was I unconscious?
Crynock: Precisely seventeen hours, Zed.
Zander: Wow, that long?!
Ocre: That's what the man said, Zed! HAHA!
Zander scratches the back of his head.
Zander: Weird...I wonder if I've been unconscious for hours at a time before...
Crynock: Well then, Zed, shall we practice your sword technique?
Zander: After what happened yesterday?
Crynock: Of course! I want to measure your basic skills.
Zander: Well, okay then...
Zander and Crynock stand facing each other, their swords drawn.
Crynock: Now, try to cast prestidigitation, like you did yesterday.
Zander: Okay, here I go...
Zander closes his eyes.
Zander: Pyxel, Spirit of the Fae, answer my request...
Zander opens his eyes and points his sword at Furb.
Crynock: That's fine. Not everyone gets it right on the first attempt. Now, try again.
Zander closes his eyes.
Zander: Pyxel, Spirit of the Fae, answer my request...
Zander opens his eyes and points his sword at Furb.
Crynock: I was certain that you'd be a natural, Zed...
Tears begin to well in Zander's eyes.
Zander: First I lose my past...then I start having mini-blackouts while this weird mark glows on my hand...and now I apparently can't use magic, even though I'm supposed to have a strong connection with it?!
Voice: Try again...without the command request...
Zander looks around. He then points his sword at Furb.
Almost immediately, Furb's hair turns orange.
Ocre: What the...?
Crynock: Remarkable...he doesn’t need to use the command request…which means…
Ocre: Oh, Furb! HAHA!
Furb: What? What?
Zander: I-I...did it! I DID IT!
Furb: Did what?
Ocre: Look into the mirror in my tent.
Furb: Oh, okay then.
Furb walks into Ocre's tent. After a brief pause, he screams.
Furb runs out of the tent and races down a nearby dirt path.
Ocre bursts into laughter.
Ocre: Zed, you are now my favourite human! HAHA!
Zander's thoughts: I can use magic...this is awesome!
Zander beams with delight.
Scene 7: En Route to Soranius Skyport: Afternoon
Zander, Crynock, Ocre and Furb continue their journey. Ocre stares at Zander.
Ocre's thoughts: Such...unusual attire, even for a human...
Zander: I haven't asked yet...
Crynock: Asked what, Zed?
Zander: Where...exactly are we going?
Furb: To be exact, we are exactly going to the skyport...specifically.
Ocre: Now, now, Furb, there's no need to be condescending.
Furb: Huh? I was just explaining to Zander where we're going. What does "condescending" mean?
Ocre: Never mind...
Zed: What's a skyport? Is it the same as an airport?
Crynock: A skyport is a docking area for commercial airships. Many people use them to travel across the world.
Zed: So it IS just like an airport!
Furb: Again, yes.
Ocre: Furb? Do me a favour and stop harrassing Zed.
Furb: Huh? I was just noting that Zander is correct about skyports. What does "harrassing" mean?
Ocre: I hope someone annoys you as much as you annoy me, Furbendink...
The party reaches a stream.
Crynock: Well, now's a good time to replenish our waterskins.
Ocre: What is it, Zed?
Zander: My waterskin's still nearly full.
Zander: Yeah, I'm not really that thirsty.
Ocre: Okay, that's...weird.
Crynock: Perhaps Zed simply doesn't need to drink as much as the rest of us.
Furb: No, that's not it.
Ocre becomes puzzled.
Ocre: And just how do you know that, Furbendink?
Furb: Have you SEEN how much cold tea he drinks?! I feel as though he's retaining water, which might explain his belly-bulge...
Crynock: Furb! Don't be rude!
Furb: Huh? I was just mentioning that Zander drinks a lot of tea. What does "rude" mean?
Ocre's jaw drops as she suppresses a scream.
Zander: Well, actually, my belly's just a little chubby is all.
Crynock: Hm...well, you may need to train extra hard, then, Zed.
Zander: I suppose you're right. Still, I wonder if-
Suddenly, the Water Pendulum appears before Zander. The azure-coloured orb on the left is currently the largest. A tiny white glowing orb emerges from the azure-coloured orb and goes into the cyan-coloured one, which causes the azure orb to shrink and the cyan one to grow.
Crynock: What the...?
Ocre: What the...?
Ocre looks at Furb, whose face is expressionless.
Ocre: Uh...Furb? You're supposed to be surprised!
Furb: I am?
Ocre collapses to the ground in a comical fashion. Zander suddenly begins to dance.
Furb: Oh, you seem happy, Zander!
Zander: I HAVE TO PEE!
Zander races into the trees.
Furb: Well...uh...too much information, right, Ocre?
Ocre's voice: Just...shut up, Furb...
The party sits on rocks waiting for Zander to return.
Ocre: Zed's still not back yet!
Crynock: It's only been three minutes, Ocre.
Furb: Yeah, Ocre! Give the kid some privacy, why don't you?
Ocre: You little-
Zander's voice: All finished!
Crynock, Ocre and Furb's eyes widen.
A big smile appears on Furb's face.
Zander's voice: What?
We cut to a view of Zander, who has lost his belly-bulge.
Crynock: Then the bulge...
Ocre: ...actually WAS water?!
Furb: Well, it's just a theory, but I theorise that those glowing orbs caused the built-up energy within Zander to be released, thus shrinking him to an appropriate size.
Zander pulls his pants further up his waist.
Zander: Sorry, my clothes are a little loose now.
Crynock: Well, we can fix that when we arrive at the skyport.
Furb: YAY! Skyport shopping!
Ocre: But Furb, the skyport boutiques are expensive!
Furb: Well, I AM from a wealthy family, so I can pay for Zed's new clothes!
Crynock: Well, we should arrive within the hour.
Zander: Awesome! Let's go, then!
The party continues onward. Zander pulls up his pants again.
Scene 8: Unknown Location: Unknown Time of Day
Ceruleus and Crimsona are standing in the room of rainbow energy, and are speaking to one another.
Ceruleus: I have detected the Penduli Aqua in the Soranian Highlands of-
Ceruleus is interrupted as Erik approaches.
Crimsona: Ah, Hippocamp.
Erik: You wished to see me?
Crimsona: Indeed, Icon.
Ceruleus: We have found your protégé.
Erik: You have?! Where?!
Ceruleus' eyes flash once with cyan light. Erik appears surprised.
Erik: But...why is he there...?
Ceruleus: It appears that he was accidentally transported there after some people of Terra Neos' mundane realm unknowingly intervened.
Erik becomes determined.
Erik: Who are they?! I must remove their memories! I must...protect Zander!
Crimsona: Do not fret, Hippocamp, for they have no memory of him.
Erik: But...that means-
Ceruleus: Indeed. Everyone who is not like us has forgotten him.
Erik: No...he had...another false awakening?
Erik: So that's how he ended up there...
Crimsona: There is yet more to tell.
Ceruleus: Our contacts within the inner ring detected a transport beacon on Terra Neos shortly after your protégé was sent to Soranius.
Erik: What was the origin point of the beacon...?
Crimsona: We cannot yet confirm with precision, but...
Ceruleus: It is possible it was created within the universe of-
Erik: I couldn't bear the thought of...
Ceruleus: As we said, we cannot accurately confirm.
Erik: But if one DID manage to escape?
Ceruleus and Crimsona look at one another, then back at Erik.
Ceruleus: Then we will rescue them. You have our word.
Erik: Many thanks to you both. Now, I must be going. Good day to you.
Erik bows, then walks out of the room. After a brief pause, Ceruleus speaks.
Ceruleus: The Penduli Aqua...
Crimsona: ...and the Ignis Penduli.
Ceruleus: Soon, they will awaken...the seedlings...
Scene 9: Airship: Skies over Soranius: Morning
Zander stands on the deck of a large airship; he is wearing a new outfit, which includes a cyan neckerchief. Crynock approaches him.
Crynock: You're up early, Zed.
Zander turns to face Crynock.
Zander: Good morning.
Crynock: Why are you on deck by yourself?
Zander: I...had another dream.
Furb's voice: Really?
Furb is suddenly standing there.
Zander: AAH! Oh, it's you, Furb.
Crynock: What was your dream, Zed?
Furb: Yeah, Zander! Tell us!
A loud "ding-dong" sounds out across the deck.
Voice: Now approaching Highlands Skyport. Passengers switching to flights to Akanius City must disembark here.
Crynock: Hold that thought until we land.
Zander: O-Okay then...
Scene 10: Highlands Skyport: Soranius: Morning
Zander, Crynock, Ocre and Furb wander through the skyport. Zander is amazed by the various boutiques.
Zander: Wow, this place is amazing! Ooh, Drake's Supreme Pies is busy. Is it good?
Ocre: By the plains, yes! Although their chicken pie doesn't compare to the super-secret recipe chicken pie from Gleaming Curie's All-You-Can-Eat! HAHA!
Crynock: Amanda also makes a delicious chicken pie.
Ocre: Yeah...I guess...
Crynock: She gets her ingredients from merchants who specialise in Hitorelmian cuisine.
Zander: Hitorelm...that's where humans originated, right?
Furb: METALIN humans, yes.
Ocre: But Furb, ALL humans are Metalin.
Crynock: Well actually, it seems that Zed may not be from Metaligon at all.
Ocre: Wait...so he's from another plane?
Furb: Zander's been having dreams of other worlds.
Ocre: He has?!
Ocre: Then your old clothes...wow, that explains so much.
Zander: There's more.
Zander: Remember when you told me that my sword was linked with Crynock's?
Zander: What are the chances that I may have taken his spellsword abilities?
Furb: Taken? Unlikely. Replicated? Plausible.
Crynock: What makes you ask that, Zed?
Zander draws his sword, holding it in front of him. He spins on one foot, swinging it with precision that startles Crynock and Ocre, and also releasing a wave of cyan-tinged energy.
Zander: I woke up this morning with knowledge of swordplay.
Ocre: By the plains...
Zander: There's more. I dreamed of someone who apparently is a spellsword as well. And...I'm pretty sure I knew him before I lost my past.
Crynock: Well, do you remember his name?
Zander: All I can recall is that his title is "Horse-Fish".
Furb: What? Like a hippocampus?
Zander: Hippo...campus? Oh yeah! He's also a university lecturer.
Ocre: I don't know, Zed...this all seems strange.
Zander: There's one last thing I dreamt.
Furb: Which is?
Zander: A green carrot with a sprig of pink vegetable growing on top. It had your face, Furb.
Furb: It did?
Zander: Yeah! It said "Far...something".
Furb: Well...uh...yeah, Ocre's right. That IS strange!
Furb's left eye twitches slightly.
Furb: I'm gonna go look for...a drake sandwich.
Furb walks away.
Ocre: What's got HIS pants in a twist?
Crynock: I have no idea...
Zander: Anyway, that's the latest dream-wise.
Zander's thoughts: Apart from that name...what was it again...? "Argent" or something...
Scene 11: Mundane Realm: Terra: Afternoon
Siren stands behind the counter in the surf and dive shop.
Siren: Typical. Tad works in the morning and gets five customers every hour. I work in the afternoon and only get the delivery guy. I could be diving right about now...
The dark figure walks into the shop and approaches the counter.
Siren: Welcome! How may I help you?
Figure: Where is the Pendulum?
Siren: The what?
Figure: Do not play dumb. The Pendulum. You have seen it.
Siren: Uh...I have no idea what you-
Siren's eyes widen.
Siren's thoughts: This is no ordinary guy...and what's THAT?!
Erik's voice: Ah, Siren. Good morning.
The figure turns around and sees Erik standing there.
Erik: Is this...person bothering you?
Siren: A little.
Erik: I see...
Erik places his hand on the figure's head and closes his eyes, then exhales through his nose. His eyes open and glow with rainbow light. After a moment, Erik's eyes return to normal, and the figure slinks to the ground, unconscious.
Erik: Now then...
Erik: Oh! He will be fine.
Siren: Yeah, but...
Erik: What is it?
Siren: Look, I get that you're a mysterious guy and all, but...won't that show up on the security footage?
Erik: Twelve Stars, no!
Erik: Well then, I must be going.
Erik looks down. His eyes widen.
Erik: Oh dear...
Siren: What is it?
Erik: Uh...would you like to come with me, Siren?
Siren: Yeah, I suppose so...
Erik: Very well. We will collect Tad and Lissi on the way.
Siren: Hold on a minute! Just what is going on?
Erik: I cannot say.
Siren: I figured as much.
Erik's thoughts: I had it for a moment! How could it have escaped so soon?!
- Scene 12: Soranius Highlands: Late Afternoon
Zander, Furb, Crynock and Ocre walk across a range of hills. The wind whips through Furb's hair and, for a moment, reveals a tiny bit of azure and orange as it parts.
Furb: So remind us again why we missed our flight to Akanius City, Crynock?
Crynock: We need to figure out what-
Crynock briefly pauses.
Crynock: -I mean "who" Zed is.
Furb: But we already KNOW who Zander is, you big blue dummy!
Crynock: You mean YOU know who he is, Farshot.
Crynock: I said, "No, we DON'T know who he is, Furbendink."
Furb: No you didn't.
Ocre: Of course he did! Back me up, Zed.
Zander: Yeah, she's right...I think...
Zander scratches his head.
Furb: But I thought...eh, never mind.
Furb's thoughts: Whew, for a moment I thought...
Crynock: Here we are.
The party stops outside a large temple atop a hill. Its walls are comprised of faded cyan-coloured bricks. The entrance is marked with the same symbol as the one that periodically glows on Zander's hand.
Furb: Wait...why is Zander's hand-symbol on the door?
Crynock: You know full well, Farshot.
Furb: Excuse me?
Ocre: He said, "I have no idea, Furbendink". Uh...right?
Crynock: That is correct.
Furb’s thoughts: Weird…all those not-things that Crynock keeps saying have a certain…something that makes him sound just like…ooh, that-
Furb: Huh...oh well, how do we get inside?
Zander: Maybe if I touch the symbol...?
Ocre: Why do you say that, Zed?
Zander: Because the icon is glowing on my hand again.
Everyone looks at Zander's right hand. The mark glows brightly on it.
Crynock: Okay then, Zed. Try opening the doorway.
Zander approaches the door. He slowly stretches his right hand to the symbol. As Zander's fingertips make contact, the symbol begins to glow with cyan light, as do his eyes.
Ocre: Is it working...?
Both halves of the door open inward. The symbol, as well as Zander's eyes and mark, stop glowing. Zander stares into the temple.
Furb: You did it, Zander!
Ocre: Okay, I've had enough!
Crynock: Whatever do you mean, Ocre?
Ocre: You haven't noticed, Crynock?
Crynock: Noticed what?
Ocre: We've been calling our new friend Zed because he can't remember his name, right?
Crynock: That's correct.
Ocre: Well, FURBENDINK has been referring to him as "Zander" this whole time!
Ocre: Tell us, Furb! Why have you been calling him Zander?
Zander: Because that's my name.
Crynock and Ocre look at Zander, who stares into the temple.
Crynock: You remember your name?
Zander: Yeah...just then, when I opened the door.
Furb: At last, some progress! Way to go, buddy!
Ocre: But how did Furbendink know?
Crynock: Furb IS an esper, Ocre.
Furb: Yeah, what he said!
Ocre: Then why not simply tell us, Furb?
Zander: Furbendink Rashfoot...if that's your name, then...where does "Farshot" come from?
Crynock: Farshot? I've heard that name before, somewhere...
Furb: Don't ask me! I'm just the gnome, after all!
Zander: But Furb, I-
Zander looks at Furb. His eyes widen.
Crynock and Ocre look at Furb. Ocre laughs loudly.
Ocre: I knew it! You dye your hair magenta! HAHA!
Furb: Of course I don't!
Zander: Then...why is your hair green?
We cut to a view of Furb, whose hair has become green. Furb whips out a mirror and looks into it. Both his and Ocre's eyes widen.
Ocre: What are you doing with my mirror, you little-
Furb: HOW COULD THE POTION HAVE WORN OFF ALREADY?! I bet SVEN brewed it, didn't he?! Ooh, that Sven! When I see him at the next family meetup, I'm gonna-
Scene 13: Unknown Location: Unknown Time of Day
We see an orange-haired male gnome wandering through a misty forest. We cut to a view of his orange eyes.
Gnome: Hm...my ears are burning...
We cut to a full-body view of the gnome. His hair appears to be on fire.
Gnome: Wait a minute...AAAAAAAAHH!!
A raincloud suddenly forms over the gnome's head. Rain pours from it, dousing the flame.
Gnome: Stupid Dreamscape...I wish my brother Brocc were here. He’d definitely cheer me up…no, no, don’t get all mopey, Sven. You’ve got a job to do!
Scene 14: Highlands Temple: Unknown Time of Day
Zander, "Furb", Crynock and Ocre venture through a corridor. Crynock leads the way, holding up a lit torch.
"Furb": Wow, this place is amazing...
Ocre: What do you mean? It's a dusty, boring old corridor inside an ancient temple!
"Furb": You seriously can't see the lines of cyan luminescence running along the walls and ceiling?
Crynock: I believe you are imagining it, Furbendink.
Ocre: Or whatever your name is! HAHA!
"Furb": Well, I'm sure that Zander can see it! Right, buddy?
Zander doesn't respond.
Zander snaps back to reality.
Zander: Sorry, I kind of spaced out a little...
"Furb": I was asking if you see the bluish lines of light on the walls and ceiling.
Zander: Yeah, I guess so.
Ocre: You guess so? You don't sound sure, Ze- I mean..."Zander".
Crynock: That name will take some adjustment.
Zander: No, I definitely see it. I just get the impression that only certain folks can see it.
Crynock: Well they sound amazing.
Ocre: But why can only you two see them? Is it because you're not drachomi? Because if that's the case...well, I take offence! For both Crynock AND I!
"Furb": No, that's not the reason, Ocre.
Ocre: Then enlighten us, whoever-you-are. Why can only you two see the lights?
"Furb": Because we-
"Furb": Why do I have to be the one to explain everything?!
Ocre: Because frankly, I'm finding it hard to trust you as of recently.
"Furb": Now Ocre, come on! How long have we known each other?
Crynock: Five days.
"Furb": Five long days of nothing but your best interests at heart!
Ocre: But you've been using a fake alias!
Crynock: And you've magically altered your appearance.
"Furb": Hey! Furbendink and I are IDENTICAL, alright?!
Ocre: Then you're an identity thief!
"Furb": Of COURSE I'm not! Furbendink is-
Crynock: Wait...where is Zander?
The others look around. Zander is nowhere to be seen.
"Furb": Oh no...don't tell me-
Ocre: Don't tell you what, "Farshot"?
"Furb": I...I think Zander...is-
Zander's voice: Hey, Crynock! Over here!
Crynock: Where is "here", Zander?
Zander's voice: Down the corridor!
"Furb": Wait...how did you get in front of us?!
Zander's voice: No, back the way you came!
"Furb": Oh, right...
"Furb", Crynock and Ocre reach Zander, who is staring at the wall.
Ocre: Why are you staring at the wall, Zander?
Zander: The icon...it's on the wall.
Crynock: I see no image, Zander.
"Furb": I do.
Ocre: Of course you do.
"Furb": Go ahead, Zander! Touch it!
Zander: O-Okay then...
Zander touches the wall. Suddenly, the walls of the corridor ripple away, revealing a large chamber with cyan-coloured brick walls and a pedestal in the centre with a large, turquoise-carved dragon atop it.
Ocre: Wait...why is there a statue of one of the Fifteen in the centre of the room?
Crynock: That is not just any dragon, Ocre. It is my people's patron, Soranius.
"Furb": The Cyan Dragon himself...
Crynock lets out a chuckle.
Crynock: I believe you mean "QUICKSILVER Dragon", Furbendink.
"Furb": Oh, right.
Ocre: Do not call him that, Crynock!
Crynock: What else am I MEANT to call him, Ocre?
Ocre: I don't know! Apparently his name is Farshot, so...that?
"Furb": Actually, "Farshot" is my surname.
Crynock: Then what is your given name?
"Furb": I'm not supposed to tell Zander my names.
Ocre: Why not?
"Furb": I'm not supposed to say why, either.
Crynock: Then is Farshot fine for now?
"Furb": I guess so...
Crynock: Very well, Farshot. Now, Zander-
Crynock looks at Zander, who stands staring at a sealed doorway at the far end of the chamber.
Crynock: Zander? What are you doing?
Zander: That's weird...
Ocre: What's weird?
Zander: This door has a weird symbol on it.
Zander pulls out a notebook bound with teal leather. He opens the cover and places his hand over the first page, which is blank.
Ocre: How long have you had THAT?
Zander: Since the skyport. Fur- I mean "Farshot"...bought it for me.
Farshot: He said he likes to do writing and drawing, so I thought I'd surprise him.
Zander's palm glows with cyan light. We cut to a view that obscures the page. Zander pulls his hand away and closes the book.
Farshot: Although that is a VERY unconventional means of doing either thing.
Zander: Well, I figured out my own spell. I call it "Zander's freehand artistry".
Farshot: Catchy! Is it a cantrip?
Farshot: Neat! You HAVE to teach it to m-
Farshot's thoughts: Not again...
Suddenly, the mark begins to glow on the back of Zander's right hand with cyan light.
Zander: Whoa...my head...it feels-
Farshot: ZANDER! You have to keep us in your thoughts! Don't forget!
Zander: Forget what? What an odd request...
Farshot: No, I said DON'T forget!
Zander spins around. His eyes glow with cyan light.
Farshot: NO! ZANDER!
Ocre: What is it? What's happening?!
Crynock: Please, Farshot! Tell us now!
Farshot: I...I can't.
Crynock: What? Why not?!
Farshot: Look, you just have to trust me on this one!
Ocre: You expect us to trust you NOW?!
The mark appears beneath Zander's feet with cyan light.
Farshot: Oh, not good not good not good-
Farshot's thoughts: I have to stay with him no matter what!
Farshot runs towards Zander.
Crynock: FARSHOT, WAIT!
Farshot doesn't look back.
Farshot: Later, drachomies!
Farshot makes it inside the symbol just as a column of cyan light erupts from the ground around it.
Crynock: What...what is happening?!
Farshot's voice: Ocre! My name! It's-
The column of light recedes into the ground, and the symbol disappears. Crynock and Ocre are dumbfounded.
Ocre: What the...?
Crynock: Are they...?
Ocre: FARSHOT! HEY, FARSHOT! ARE YOU OKAY?!
Ocre is met with nothing but silence.
Ocre: I'm sure he's fine! Sure! Why wouldn't he be? HAHA!
Crynock: Come on. There is nothing else for the two of us here.
Crynock's thoughts: Zander...wherever you are...stay safe, please...
Crynock and Ocre head for the exit. The scene pans to a view of Zander's closed notebook, which rests on the ground next to the still-sealed door.
Scene 16: Unknown Location: Morning
The column of light retreats into the ground, revealing Zander and Farshot, who are standing in the middle of a lush, sunlit forest.
Farshot: -Farshot! Huh?
The symbol beneath Zander and Farshot's feet disappears. Zander's eyes and mark stop glowing.
Farshot: By the spires...where did you bring us, Zander...?
Farshot looks up at Zander.
Farshot: Oh! You're okay!
Zander: Yeah, I think so...
Zander stumbles a little, but easily regains his composure.
Zander: I do have one question, though: who is Zander?
Farshot's eyes widen.
Farshot's thoughts: Oh, crumbs!
Zander and Farshot wander through the woodland.
Farshot: I do NOT believe this! He told me to make sure you DON'T have another false awakening!
Farshot: I mean, what am I supposed to tell him?! "Look, dude, I KNOW you told me to stop him from having another false awakening, but there was nothing I could do, alright? STOP PICKING ON ME!"
Farshot: And now your memories have been erased for the THIRD TIME IN A MONTH! I mean, technically it's been 32 days, but that's not the point!
Zander: Look, Farshot-
Farshot: You probably don't even remember my-
Farshot: Hold up...you remember my name...?
Zander: Not just your name. I remember YOU.
Farshot's eyes widen.
Zander: Beats me. I only remember the first initial of mine: "Zed".
Farshot: Interesting...well, I have no idea where we are, so let's look for the nearest city and/or township.
Zander: You really think there are people in this forest?
Voice: Halt, trespassers!
Farshot's mouth shrinks.
Farshot: Yes, Zed. I do think that, Zed.
Scene 17: Luminelv Citadel: Morning
Zander and Farshot are escorted by a group of luminelv, people with pointed ears, fair hair and skin and brightly-coloured irises that lack pupils. The lead one, a young woman, speaks.
Luminelv: I apologise for our ambush, travellers.
Farshot: It's quite alright, ma'am.
Luminelv: It is rare for non-luminelv to be able to enter our citadel. This means that you must possess certain traits. Are you Immortals?
Luminelv: Then you are both puer de Chromaicora?
Luminelv: Oh. Then perchance, are you in possession of Silverian Crystals?
Farshot: Silverian what-whats?
Luminelv: But those are the only possible ways for the two of you to-
Farshot: Wait...what was the second one?
Luminelv: That you are both puer de Chromaicora.
Farshot: Which means what, exactly?
Voice: The puer de Chromaicora are rare individuals, and take myriad possible forms.
A luminelv with bright green eyes approaches the group. Though she looks young, she seems to have an aura of age and wisdom. Her attire of white and gold seems to suggest that she is the ruler of this citadel.
Ruler: Welcome, travellers. I am known as Emerald Lunerosée, and I govern these lands.
Farshot: Nice to meet you. I'm...Farshot.
Emerald: Well met, Farshot.
Emerald looks at Zander.
Emerald: I have expected your arrival for some time.
Zander appears surprised.
Zander: Y-You have...?
Emerald: Indeed. Now come. The two of you are our honoured guests. Lapis!
Emerald looks at the luminelv leading the group.
Emerald: See to it that these two are treated with the utmost care.
Lapis: Oui, cher Grandmother.
Emerald's thoughts: It is as the Hippocamp said...the Star Mute One has arrived in Vitra...
Scene 18: Dining Hall: Vitra Citadel: Afternoon
Emerald sits at the far end of a long dining table. Zander and Farshot are seated to her right, while Lapis is seated to her left.
Emerald: Now, you may be wondering why I have summoned you here.
Lapis: Is it regarding Amethyst?
Emerald: Sadly not, mon cher. I have received little communiqué from your sister in some time. A contact of mine assures me that her journey is progressing well, however. The Ceruleanbound has joined her party of travellers. I believe her name is...Bryn?
Farshot: Bryn, huh? She sounds like a very nice person. I sure wish I could meet her!
Emerald: You may yet get your wish, Farshot. My contact informs me that you are to become the Greenbound.
Farshot: What's that? Is it important? Do I get to eat a lot of ramen?!
Emerald: Patience, Farshot. You will find out in due time.
Farshot: I hope the ramen in this place has correctly-coloured naruto in it. That orange and yellow stuff last week was a joke! And it tasted like yakitori!
Emerald: Yes...in any case, you both must venture to a town called Silvertooth.
Farshot: Is it far?
Emerald: Quite. You will need to venture there by airship.
Farshot: So this place has airships?
Lapis: Of course! It is my favourite means of transportation.
Emerald: You will leave for Silvertooth two days from now. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy your stay within Vitra.
Zander: We will. Thank you very much!
Emerald: You are most welcome.
Emerald's thoughts: His attribute...it seems to be fluid...could he be...?
Scene 19: Vitra Citadel: Morning
Zander awakens in a large bedroom of white and gold with cyan trim.
Zander's thoughts: Whoa, what a weird dream...a huge seahorse was leading me to-
Farshot's voice: Mornin', Zed!
Farshot is suddenly standing next to Zander's bed.
Zander: WAAAH! Dang it, Farshot! Why do you keep doing that?!
Farshot: Because it's what forest gnomes do!
Farshot's eyes widen.
Farshot: Wait...you remember me doing that?
Zander: Of course.
Farshot mutters under his breath.
Farshot: Then there may be hope yet...
Farshot: It's alright, Zed. You don't need to apologise!
Farshot: Now let's make our way to the dining hall! I hear Luminelven cuisine is superb.
Zander: But we had Luminelven food yesterday, Farshot.
Farshot: Actually, that was Ryokorese food. I really enjoyed that "Ninoichish curry". So scrumptious!
Zander: Wait...why did they serve Ryokorese food instead of Luminelven?
Farshot: Beats me. I think one of them mentioned something about it being very similar to YOUR favourite cuisine, Zed.
Zander: But how would they know what food I like? Furthermore, why do I deserve such special treatment?
Farshot: Honestly, I can't say.
Zander: I thought as much...
Farshot: But it happens to be similar to MY favourite cuisine as well!
Farshot: Yeah! We're like two peas in a pod, you and I.
Zander: Well I think you're more like broccoli, personally.
A bead of sweat appears on Farshot's brow.
Farshot: H-How so, Zander...?
Zander: Well, your hair's green, and...you just look like you could be broccoli.
Zander's eyes widen.
Zander: Th-That's not offensive to chromanoms, is it? I'm sorry, Farshot!
Farshot: No, no. I actually think very highly of you giving me that description.
Zander: Awesome. Now let's get some breakfast!
Farshot: Zed, I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship...
Scene 20: Vitra Skyport: Morning
Zander and Farshot wander through a skyport. Zander marvels at his surroundings. A male human with slightly-pointed ears tips his hat off to Zander.
Man: Bonjour! (Hello!)
Zander: Oui, Monsieur! Bonjour! (Yes, sir! Hello!)
Farshot: Wow, you learned that language quickly, Zed!
Zander looks at Farshot.
Zander: What, Luminelv? Maybe a little...
Farshot: Are you kidding?! You mastered the basics in a day!
Zander: Well, I guess so...
Farshot's thoughts: Could Zander's special ability be...?
Zander: That breakfast was delicious, though.
Farshot: I'll say. It was nice of the head chef to use some of the leftover curry as my crépe filling! Yum!
Zander: And I had strawberries with whipped cream and honey...mmm...
Zander becomes puzzled.
Zander: I still don't get how honey exists in this place if there are no insects.
Farshot: Honey is made by insects?
Zander: Yes, bees!
Farshot: So you remember insects, then...hm...
Zander: Well, maybe this part of the world just doesn't have many bugs.
Farshot: Or MAYBE...we're in a different world in a different universe!
Zander: Could be.
Farshot's eyes widen.
Farshot: Okay, just how much do you remember of the past month?
Zander: Well, arriving in Vitra, for one.
Zander: Not much else.
Farshot: Well, you DO remember your sword, right?
Zander: Yeah, I-
Zander's eyes widen.
Zander: Oh no!
Zander: I left my sword back in Vitra Citadel!
Farshot: Is that all? We can get it sent to Silvertooth!
Zander: We can?
Farshot: Sure! I'll just-
Farshot's eyes widen.
Farshot's thoughts: Oh no...
The mark begins to glow on the back of Zander's right hand with cyan light.
Zander: I...I feel...
Farshot: Zander, no! We have to go to Silvertooth, remember?
The mark stops glowing.
Farshot: Phew. For a moment there I thought you were gonna have another false a-
The mark, as well as Zander's eyes, glow incredibly brightly with cyan light. Strangely, no-one except Farshot takes notice.
Farshot: Oh dear...I guess I have to follow hi-
Suddenly, the three orbs appear in front of Zander. A white orb of light emerges from the cyan orb in the centre and moves into the azure orb, causing the cyan one to shrink and the azure one to grow.
Farshot: Oh, this can't be good...
A cage of ice suddenly emerges around Farshot.
Farshot: Wait a minute! Zander!
The mark appears beneath Zander's feet with cyan light.
Farshot: No! You swung to the wrong element, you stupid pendulum! You’re supposed to be BRINE! I mean…never mind.
Farshot wrestles with the cage, trying to break free.
Farshot: ZANDER! DON'T LEAVE ME BE-
A column of cyan-tinged light erupts from the ground around Zander.
Farshot: -hind. Great...just great...
The column retreats into the ground, and the mark disappears. Zander is nowhere to be seen.
Farshot: Okay, let's think of the positives. That transport column was the same colour as the one we used to get here. That means he's still within this universe. Therefore, it's a simple matter of tracking down his whereabouts. So as soon as I get out of this cage, I can find him.
Farshot's thoughts: But where should I start looking...? Oh...! I know just the place to go!
Scene 21: Township: Late Night
Zander wanders into the outskirts of a township.
Zander's thoughts: It's nighttime...but was it just morning a moment ago...?
Zander walks past a house with a wooden sign in front of it that reads "FOR SALE".
Zander's thoughts: And as for my memories...why don't I remember them...?
Zander wanders through the market square. He sees a building called The Naked Drake, and approaches it. Music and laughter can be heard as he approaches.
Zander's thoughts: A tavern...? I don't think that's the place for me...
Zander sees someone standing nearby.
Zander's thoughts: He seems...familiar...
Zander approaches the individual, but he turns around and walks down a street. A friendly voice echoes in Zander's mind.
Zander's thoughts: That voice...I know it...it seems familiar...
Zander walks towards the street.
Zander approaches a little shop called Taylor's Treasures.
Zander's thoughts: This shop looks open...but at this time of night...?
Zander walks up to the door. After a moment of hesitation, he knocks.
Zander's thoughts: No...it's probably closed. I guess I'll go back to that tavern and-
The door opens. A plump, middle-aged woman with greying curly hair, glasses and a bonnet opens the door.
Woman: Yes? May I help you, young man?
Zander: I certainly hope so.
Woman: Oh, you poor dear! You're shaking ever so much! Of course I'll help you! What's your name, lad?
Zander: I...I don't know, but...
Woman: Take your time, lad.
Zander: I...think it starts with a "Zed"...
Scene 22: The Budding Alchemist: Township: Early Morning
Erik enters a shop with a sign that reads “The Budding Alchemist”, a little bell jingling as he does so. An elderly gentleman with aqua eyes and white hair and beard greets him from behind the counter.
Shopkeeper: Ah, Hippocamp. It has been too long.
Erik: Good morning, Newt. Are you keeping well?
The shopkeeper chuckles.
Newt: Oh, you and I both know that you didn’t come here for idle chitchat, Herikios.
Erik: You know me too well.
Newt: Well, we HAVE known each other for more than half a century!
Erik lets out a brief laugh.
Erik holds out Zed’s sword. It becomes enveloped in rainbow light, and transforms into a small silver wand, its handle stylised to resemble a dragon. The light dissipates.
Erik: Are you familiar with the new arrival in town?
Newt: Oh, yes. My good friend Eustace Taylor took him in a month ago.
Erik: This is his personal sword. One day, he will become the Azurebound.
Newt’s eyes widen.
Newt: But…I thought that the daughter of Jules and Julie Goldenclaugh had become the Azurebound just last week!
Erik: Well…there have been a few…complications.
Newt: I might have known the moment you mentioned it…
Erik: Anyway, I would like you to hide this amongst your wares. Once Zander takes on his brief role as the Azurebound, he will seek an implement. No doubt he will visit your shop for such an item.
Newt: His “brief” role as the Azurebound?
Erik: Zander has a much bigger role in store for him, and it involves the Penduli Aqua…
To be Continued in The Star Mute One…
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