CHAPTER 150: THE LADY OF THE LAKE
That evening Helia was given the title Duchess Regent and she was installed into her office in a public and solemn manner, at a great assembly of the estates of the realm.
Most of the noble houses of Arrandy was present. The Ormonts, The Lethe, The Perigords, The Blacktons, Loness, The Marble and many other great houses from Althea and Arrandy.
At the close of the ceremonies, after Arial had given Helia his charge and his trust for guarding the realm for him, he closed his address by adding,
“And do not let us fail to enjoy the benefit of your noble prayers, and those of all the lovely ladies of your court, that the blessing of God of Light may attend us, and secure the glory of our great expedition.”
Arial thus professing to the public on how he rely on the protection of Heaven in the personal and political dangers which he was about to incur which made the occasion approved by both the churchmen and the common folk and drew admiration from the lordly house.
Arial nodded seeing the approval of his men. Then he spoke in a solemn manner and a regretful tone addressing to all that is present of his intention and his opinion
‘The Vanguan throne is my right, and to enforce such right is a solemn duty as the lord of Arrandy. This is a principle of duty, for the vast power which I was granted was granted by Divine Providence.’
And saying this word some lord gasp for Divine Providence can only be invoked by Kings and such saying coming out from the mouth of Arial show his ambition bare open to the rest of the assembly.
He meant to be King, an independent realm from the Aetherland crown.
The news of the falling out between Adrian and Arial is widespread, for the news elicited many response from all rulers of the Human continent.
Still the Duke mother, Lady Julia has work tirelessly behind the scene to try to douse the fire in both of these great rulers heart, fearing that they would resolve their conflict in the battlefield.
All of the lords know this to be true, and appreciate the work that the Lady has done for the stability of the region.
It is the only reason why there is not interference from Aetherland. Lady Julia smooth diplomacy.
Adrian is kind and generous, and Arial is fierce and strong will.
Such contrast attitude between these rulers is hard to reconcile but Lady Julia manage to at least keep these two men from clashing head thus showing the power that one woman hold over two great men, one that Helia emulate perfectly in her reign.
Helia role model has always been Arial mother, only that Helia lack the compassion and peaceful disposition of the Lady.
It could be said Helia is more cunning but it also make her by other estimation as ruthless and vicious compared to Lady Julia who is view favorably even by her enemies.
Helia on the other hand drew respect from her rivals, fear from her enemies, and adoration from the common folk.
In a way Helia reminds Arial of his mother. Strong will and smart.
Arial once decided to break the betrothal between her sister and Adrian son blinded by anger for the refusal and humiliation Adrian has shown him, but Helia try to persuade her husband to not do it but it was Lady Julia that manage to calm the dragon fury.
Which is why the betrothal between Adrianna and William Alan is still not broken. It could be said that these betrothal might one day reconcile these two great men.
For few weeks now since the falling out lady Julia has arranged for her daughter to meet William in private setting so these two matches could find it in their heart for love to blossom.
And from the meeting it seems Adrianna find it to her liking for William itself is comely and of dashing appearance as most prince always do.
But even though there is no aggressive action from these two rulers, they still maintain their own cold war refusing to speak to each other and instead communicating with messengers.
Then the lords once again pay attention to the lord address.
‘It is my imperious and solemn duty, a divine providence , which could not innocently be laid aside; for my duty is the protection of the communities over which I ruled from external hostility, and the preservation of peace and order within from internal discord, and the promotion of the general trade and welfare that I so endearingly promote. I have devoted my lives to the performance of this duty, with the usual mixture, it is true, of my own ambition and selfishness, for I am no saint, and I bare this truth to all that is present, but still, after all, with as much conscientiousness and honesty as the mass of men in the humbler walks of life evince in performing theirs.’
The crowd nodded. Who in this assembly had no great ambition? Who in this assembly dare say they have never been selfish?
No one dare claim such things. But it is true that the Lord of Arrandy was a generous lord, and a dutiful lord.
And Arial of Arrandy appears to have been one lord that takes the charge of duty seriously and dutifully; and in obeying the dictates of his ambition in seeking to gain possession of the Vanguan crown, he no doubt considered himself as fulfilling the obligations of duty too.
This is the general lord opinion of Arial the Celestial Dragon.
‘I hereby declare, that in a week time I, the dragon will personally lead my army to the Vanguan borders and march straight to Arleans and take what is rightfully mine.’
Then Arial create a poem as he imagined what will happen, visualize it in his mind on how majestic his army would look when they reach the border and march to his enemy castle and do battle with him.
‘Ride forth and bring out your arms
With the heaven on our side, fear nothing
Bear out your shields and saddles,
Lead out the warhorses and palfreys
THE ARCHERS, set fly to your bow,
KNIGHTS, trample your enemy
Let us set our foot
AND LET US CONQUER!’
The lords, the traders, the guilds of merchants, mercenaries, knights, common folk all cheered swept by this feeling of invincibility.
And when the ceremony is ended with these addresses, they all returned to their houses and castle, waiting for the order to march out but not before something of extraordinary phenomenon happened that night in view of all the Human continent one that is marked as a prophecy of what is to come.
And there is many to be joyous about in this state of Arrandy after all the opposition has dwindled down.
The preparation for the march is vigorous and prosperous.
The whole of Arrandy is enthusiastic in the cause; and their belief that the enterprise about to be undertaken had unquestionably secured the favor of Heaven, was confirmed by an extraordinary phenomenon which occurred just after the Duke had decided to march in a week time to Vangua.
A comet appeared in the dark night sky, which, as close observers declared, had a double tail.
It was agreed by churchmen, by lords and by hearsay and the conspicuous time of the comet that this portended that Vangua and Arrandy is about to be combined, and to form a kingdom, which should exhibit to all mankind a wonderful spectacle of splendor.
To a God-fearing people who were ever watchful for heavenly portents, this is a sign of unprecedented significance.
Great change—good or bad—must be afoot.
And considering the recent news, most of the common folk, of churches and cathedral they become convinced this portended the transfer of a kingdom.
Arial like usual lay his head on the bed after finishing his reading of the report. Helia has already dozed off after the tiresome hectic schedule of hers.
Arial has urge her to take care of her health and so she has decided to sleep early tonight.
Arial then sleep and then he dreams.
But this time the dream is not about his dead parent, fro that nightmare has long ended, nor the vision of the countless grave that he once saw in his unconscious state but this time the dream that he dream almost feel too…real.
Arial could swear that he could smell the environment in the dream, his sense alive and working perfectly well.
‘This is-’ he is about to say and then in front of him it was the most beautiful woman he has ever seen.
Arial daresay that the woman in front of him right now is even more beautiful than the famed beauty of Ariana or even the rumoured beauty of the Empress of the Great Empire of the Sun.
She was a woman so bewitching that if this was not a dream Arial would have attacked her right there.
Innocent face with mischief in her eyes and the image of shyness. A fleeting moment of eternal beauty shone itself upon Arial.
A wonder of beauty.
A woman that only appears in the dream of men, the grace of the clouds and seas for she is nature itself, Arial could not help but think of such when faced with such beauty surpassing of everything he has ever seen.
Arial heart tremble. It whispered, “Fall in love”.
And Arial calm his heart but still his heart beats fast. Such power of charms. THIS is magic Arial decided.
Old magic, ancient magic he repeated in his mind and slowly his heart returns to normal. Once he knew that this is magic Arial began calming himself down more faster.
Her arm is clad in the purest shimmering samite, with hair white as light, shining, glowing like the sun and her dress is a dress clad in glowing blue hue.
Her eyes are true blue, blue eyes that seem to even pierce Arial soul, her skin was to Arial eyes, like silk.
Yet that her blue eyes shows coldness like the winter that comes to burn.
Her hair that flowing long until it reached her hips is white, just like Arial hair, an appearance like a pure white snow melded itself into the woman hair.
Arial look at this magnificent woman who is standing majestically like a Queen of immense power, and it was like peering too long into the sun’s brilliant dazzle, and once again Arial feel his heart lurch in his breast for yearning, to have the words spoken of her beauty stolen from his tongue before the lips could even speak them.
She is barefoot but her feet look like she just gets out of the water.
Arial realizes the woman is standing before a beautiful lake, with lush forest around the lakes, and deer’s and birds fly around the lake but the Lake was still.
There is a feeling of otherworldly about the Lake, a beauty not ravaged by time.
Then suddenly Arial feels like his head is attacked, like something split apart and a word growls at him
‘GET OUT OF MY HEAD’ the word seem to yelled and Arial consciousness crinkled back as he last saw the visage of a smiling woman, a warm smile that dispel the coldness in her eyes and Arial dream ended.
And the memory slowly fades as Arial went into deep sleep.
The man shakes his head, like attacked by a headache. The lady just smiles with a mischievous smile.
The man has a tall stature with short hair and muscly body, his eyes is red and his hair is black.
However such disguise is clearly seen by the Lady as she has seen this kind of transformation countless of time since she has live very long.
‘What is the matter Gaveror? It seems you have transformed into the illusion of man. It seems your magic have recovered if you can even transform like this.’
Gaveror look at the Lady of the Lake with annoyed expression. He doesn’t look at all pleased. The pain is still seared in Gaveror mind.
‘Someone try to enter my mind and rob me of my consciousness. What do I suppose to feel?’
‘Who could possibly do that? To a dragon warrior? Must be a formidable opponent!’ The Lady of the Lake said chuckling looking at Gaveror.
‘You know who! You who sees the future! You who have orchestrated all this. Even now your eyes do not leave the boy, watching him from the distance. The Ages is dawning. And you have started it, my Lady. Once again, your Blood will wreak havoc into the world. The Church should have destroyed that damn lineage a long time ago. But even that you manage to turn to your advantage. I have never seen a woman more manipulative than you my Lady’
Gaveror said in what is could be considered a very heated monologue and accusation towards the Lady
‘OH, such anger, little Dragon. I could squash you with one palm and you still dare spout off your mouth. When you were one, I have been millions, trillion of years older than you. Watch your language and tone, little dragon.’
The Lady said keeping a calm composure. Gaveror gulped and then he began changing his tone.
‘I’m sorry my lady. I failed to keep my anger in check. But I could not help but think of the injustice dealt to me by the Blood Of Light.’
‘Blood of Light huh?’ The Lady asked feigning ignorance.
‘The boy may not have known but I know you have protected him. I feel your magic, though I did realize it too late. Since this kind of magic that you have put on him is not only a way for him to improve but also a seal in his heart. A curse. And then I realized finally who I am dealing with. I should not have given him my heart. Two lives. The boy has lived two lives. Or it could also mean he is given two lives. Two hearts. This is what I hate about prophecy.’ he sighed and complained.
Then he continued.
‘I can feel it, I can see it, as I see in the dream of the boy, the good and the bad, the happy dreams, and the nightmare scare. A different outcome from what happen in this plane of existence. He is the Blood of Light for the Age of Heroes. This is the only reason you would guard him so carefully while secretly guiding him. He is one of the Chosen Blood.’
The Lady did not reveal any expression.
‘And is that the reason why you have come Gaveror? I have thought you have come to greet me after all this time. Sadly that is not your intention.’
‘I want to know why you keep protecting them’
‘Humans’ Gaveror spoke.
‘And mostly that lineage? You even betray your brethren to side with humans. I could never understand your thoughts my lady. If you did not help them, if you did not give that to them then the Prophecy should have been averted. All the Gods made agreement during that time but you….you are the reason why things become like this.’ Gaveror said, his tone slightly higher than before
‘Betray? HAHAHAHAHA’ she laughs.
‘I merely back the winning side, Gaveror. Who would have thought that the Prophecy would really be real? Even the Gods do not really believe that man to be a True prophet, right? And is it my fault? Did the Water Maiden ask my agreement? She asks everyone? No, she did not! She did not ask me! Primordial Gods and their pride. Just because I used to chase her husband. Did she think her husband is that handsome? Hmphh’ Lady of the Lake feel miffed remembering old stories of millions of years past.
‘That boy, he has my heart’ Gaveror then said after waiting the Lady finished venting her feelings.
And the Lady looks at Gaveror with an amused expression. And then looking like she couldn’t handle her laughter she burst out laughing
‘What are the odds?’ The Lady exclaimed joyous.
‘This is no laughing matter my Lady. How could I….share with the Blood of Light? What would even happen to me? He is of Light properties, mine are of Dark. Such elements must not mixture. You know of this, my Lady.’
Gaveror play along with lady. Surely the lady has known that the boy has regained his heart yet she still feign ignorance.
The Lady of The Lake just listens.
‘I have come to ask you of this question my Lady, since you are the last of your kind and surely you know of certain things only you will know.’
‘Hmm. I will accede to your request Gaveror but for now, I will return to my lake. Come tomorrow and I will answer your question.’
Gaveror seeing no other choices nodded and then shed of his human illusion when he is far away from the lush forest and fly to the great expanse of the clouds.
In the lake the Lady smile and the water from the lake overflow from the lake banks and creeps to the lady feet, like teasing the lady as the Lady return to her domain under the lake, a palace built with magical enchantment that no one could ever find her place unless she is willing to be found.
She returns to her throne and sit down in this empty thrones and castle of hers. She has learned from past mistake.
The Lady of the Lake still remembers. She still remembers when she first decided to help the first Blood of Light or should he say the reason why that lineage becomes the Lineage of The Chosen Ones.
Not Levitia. But Aero. A great warrior King of the First generation. He was human but he dares tricking her and even defeated her in a game of wits.
It was absurd but the Lady of the Lake fell in love and not only that, but to fall in love with a human, one emotions that most other Gods would never understand.
It took the Lady a long time to accept and understand the feeling in which she felt towards the human but it was too late when she realizes it.
When she heard that the human king has died, she grieved horribly. As a tribute to love, she even protect Aero lineage.
One day, a very long time ago, one of Aero descendant faces a poison of the most terrifying kind, one that robs the mind and giving en excruciating pain.
And so, the Lady wanted to help so she revealed herself to the Emperor of the Enochian Empire and give the Emperor her blood.
It gave Aero descendant a peculiar traits that is different from everyone setting a Prophecy long written before even she woke into consciousness.
The trait was the piercing blue eyes and the snow white hair.
Since that Emperor of the Enochian Empire who has been blessed by her blood, their lineage has always produced an offspring that has this trait and the strongest of them inherit the best trait that the Lady has.
Bravery. Loyalty. Strength. Compassion.
And love. This is marked by the pure white snow hair and the sky blue eyes.
It was at then truly the Prophecy began, beginning with the descend of the race and a war started between Gods and humans until finally the Battle of the Gods happen and each God choose their champion.
At that time, the Blood of Light does not yet come to play. And for Ages they fought until humans are weakened and the Enochian Emperor is drowned o the Sea with the power of many Gods.
And the Ages did not change. So the Gods believe the prophecy is averted.
And the Morning Star rises. While the Gods recuperate in their temples and realms, humans once again suffer without the power of the Sky people.
And then finally, the Prophecy is triggered without the knowledge of the Gods as Levitia triggered the Ages dawning and Gods and goddesses died under his sword.
The Seven Stars portent to His birth.
Some Gods believe it to be their reckoning for destroying the Enochian Empire in such a way.
Levitia himself is one of the bloodline of Aero, protected by divine ordinance.
When she decided to give Levitia, Lightbreaker, she did not know she was fulfilling a great prophecy of the Ages Prophecy ending the Age of Gods , truly this time, and ushering the new era of the Age of Man but when she decided to help Arial she already knew that the coward little boy, that the dispirit and disillusioned boy, she knew when she help him she will fulfill the Prophecy of Age of Heroes.
She who have outlast everyone, the Sun Emperor, the Maiden, The Dawn father and the Night Mother, she who is the last of an Ancient past, like Gaveror, like Grinadine.
When the boy sends letter to outside sending ravens asking for news it was the lady that sent her reply.
Even the fortunate timing of the book falling from the table in the private library is her doing.
When she sees the fate of humanity in her eyes, she moves with great haste to secure the safety of Aero lineage.
She knows the boy called Arial will suffer, his heart will be broken, his humanity tested, but……this is the life of people who are burdened with great destiny.
Life in some twisted way is fair.
They are given strength, given power but all of it is for their fated fate. But Lady of the Lake knows…..she believe, and she have faith….that Arial would endure, that no matter how dark and evil the world seems to be…..that the boy would never lost hope.
It is this….this one trait that separates great men with ordinary people. They have hope. A burning hope that things could get better….that every ending is just a beginning.
Hope that carried around for generations, their will transmitted to whoever has the will to carry the torch.
But it is not only because of a lost love that such a Goddess like Lady of the Lake would expend this much effort on her part.
It is because the lineage is her lifeline. Gods do not die. This is the truth. They fade.
They fade when no one ever believes in them anymore and some die only under certain circumstances like the Battle of The Gods which the Lady participated, Levitia as her champion.
However the story of how it started began a long time ago. So, the Lady made a deal with the Enochian Emperor when she gave them her blood.
The moment her blood enter the Emperor bloodstream, Aero lineage was bonded forever to the Lady of the Lake.
They all fade but she did not. Why?
Because as long the lineage exist……as long as the blood of Aero lives, her blood, a part of herself, an essence of self-existence….she could never fade……she is tethered to the mortal plane and will not return to the Sea of All Things.
It was by this reason she is so eager to protect the lineage of Aero, of Levitia. How was she supposed to know that the blood of Light is achieved by her act?
It was millennium ago and now she knows why it was the Vermont’s, Carlingian in the past become the chosen bloodline.
The blood of Light is just another name for a blood of a god. Then can anyone become the man in the prophecy of the Ages? Of course not.
To acquire the Blood of Light is the hardest thing to do. You can’t acquire it by attacking or even taking the blood forcefully or even cheating from it.
You can’t attack a god and drink his blood.
That is not how it works. As the Book of Light has spoken that there is one act of love that trumps all the others and that is a noble sacrifice.
The blood must be given willingly and with no malice but with a loving heart. And she fit the prophecy as she gives her blood to the first son of the First generation King, thus setting in stone the prophecy.
Love. Love is the answer. And she is the only one that fits the requirement. How could those vicious Gods and vengeful Goddesses understand love as she has understood it?
The undying loyalty, the fidelity, the madness, the euphoria of such divine feeling surpassing everything.
Love has always been the answer. It was obvious. It was staring the Gods in the face but they could not see it.
Thinking of this and Gaveror request she closed her eyes. Tomorrow she will tell Gaveror what it means.
But today, like always her clear blue eyes peer to the distance as once again, her eyes set her watchful gaze onto the man who will become The Chosen Blood of Light.
And like a girl in love, she smiles a contented smile.