You haven’t seen Micah for about a week. Normally, you’d at least have seen him with Damian, or at Base Camp, but he’s been completely missing.
Now, he’s in east Forengard, stalking through an overcrowded market. He’s traded his dual-tone jacket for a trench coat, his bangs are tied out of his face, and he’s wearing a white shirt. Definitely different. His combat boots easily grip the slick cobblestone. He looks….taller. Less hunched, not hiding anymore. He’s shoving past the people shoving at him with his chin up.
He makes a sharp left near an alleyway, where a hooded figure is playing a reed pipe, body swathed in robes and fabric. Some people toss coins into a pouch in front of her, others pass by without a glance. Micah sits down beside her and mutters something under his breath. She finishes her song and tucks the pipe into her robes. Micah says something else, still looking straight ahead, and the figure picks up her pouch and nods. She goes in one direction, and Micah heads in another. As she slips through the crowd, you get a closer glimpse of her thin hands. Mottled pink and blue. It’s Delphi.
Why is Micah looking for Delphi — Wait, how does he even know she exists?
Background is needed.
Micah had decided to go through some of Xenon’s blueprints in search of the water cannon specs. If I can get it to fire remotely, then no one will be on the receiving end of the possible explosion.
Problem was, Xenon never had a prefrontal cortex, and his papers were piled willy-nilly with no sense of purpose or organization. Micah had been searching for three hours with no luck. He wasn’t even halfway done looking at the mound on the back table.
“Come on, come on, you’ve got to have it in here somewhere,” Micah muttered under his breath. “Did the droids do anything around here?” He glanced at the droid pods, where Micah had dumped their lifeless, metal bodies. “Except cause general havoc?”
He moved aside another large piece of parchment, but something written on it caught his eye.
The Freedom Blade.
“‘The’ Freedom Blade?” He muttered, tracing the title. “So a special one?”
The drawings beneath the title were of various weapons — swords, knives, daggers — but they were all labeled the same thing. Micah squinted at the paper.
Shifts into what the user needs…..major freedom powers…find Delphi…...uncorrupted a rogue nymph…..progress on trials and working with Nova…..will place it—
Micah sucked in a breath and did a double take. Uncorrupted a rogue nymph. This blade could end the CDs easily. Where is it? Could it be….
He unclipped his knife from his belt and scanned over the specs again, looking for identification.
….rune on hilt….
Micah checked the hilt of his knife. No runes. This wouldn’t be as easy as he thought.
Besides, how many times have I wanted this thing to be a sword when in alley fights? He shook his head and kept reading.
That showed up seven times on the paper. It was a message. Find Delphi...whoever she is.
Though, he did know someone who knew almost everyone important.
“Let me get this straight — you want to find Delphi?”
Micah sighed. “Hanoi, we’ve been over this four times. Yes, I want to find Delphi.”
Hanoi shook his head and shoved a handful of marshmallows in his mouth — the payment for anything from Hanoi had always been marshmallows. “What have you gotten into?”
“Can’t tell you.”
“Ah, of course, confidential information. It’s a need to know basis, and I am not in the know. Just as one would expect of Hanoi the annoying—“
“Just tell me where she is.”
“Right, right,” Hanoi tapped his chin thoughtfully. “Let’s see…..she’s always in east Forengard. She never leaves...something about a curse is what she told me. Uh, she plays a reed pipe. I found her in a city. You’ll have to go looking.”
“East Forengard is huge.”
“Better get started, my friend.”
Micah sighed through his nose. “What did you need her for?”
“Blood oath,” Hanoi’s hand stopped on the way to reach inside the bag. “She’s the best in the biz. Now, if that’s all—“
“You can’t tell Oganesson.”
“He’ll figure it out at some point—“
“But it won’t be from me!” Hanoi mimed zipping his lips. “The marshmallows seal the deal.”
“If this works, I’m going to find you a giant Peep,” Micah said.
Hanoi shivered. “Ah, no Peeps, they freak me out a little. But there’s this thing called marshmallow fluff….”
“Consider it done.”
Micah had searched the markets of East Forengard for three days with no luck, but when he heard the unmistakable sound of a reed pipe, he was sure he’d found her. Sure enough, in the middle of the market, she was by an alleyway and seemed to be….waiting for him.
Hanoi had gone over her specifics — mostly saying how creepy she was — and Micah knew not to draw suspicion. She hid herself in burlap robes for a reason.
Micah sat down beside her. “The marshmallow kid sends his regards.”
Delphi turned her head toward him — not enough to be noticeable — and winked, the smoke streaming from her eyes curling even with the small movement. She quickly wrapped up her song, then stowed the pipe in her robes.
Micah started talking again.“I need to know about the Freedom Blade.”
“Shush shush, not so loud,” Delphi nodded amiably. “Meet me at the willow by the river. There, we’ll be safe from prying ears.”
She left, headed in the direction of the river, and Micah had no choice but to go the opposite way.
Back to the present, at the willow tree. Delphi is sitting underneath it, robes discarded. She’s wearing a simple white linen dress, twirling her reed pipe.
Micah appears from the fringes of the market and walks toward her. There’s no cover except for the gently bending limbs shrouding one side of the tree, so you have to be clever to find a good spot where they can’t see you.
Micah sits down beside her again.
“So, the Freedom Blade,” she says, dropping the pipe. “Let me guess -- Xenon is corrupt and you need to fix that?”
“How’d you guess?” Micah replies dully.
Delphi laughs. “I’ll take that as sarcasm and continue. I suppose you also found the blade specs.”
“Yes. I can show you them if you need to see them.”
“I believe you, don’t ruffle your feathers too much, Micah.”
“I never told you—“
“Micah Jakarta, son of Xenon and…..wow, your mother really never wanted anyone to know her name…..all I’m getting is a last name,” Delphi closed her eyes and held out her hands, fingers twitching.
Micah looked slightly alarmed. “How do you—“
“Shush, I’m looking for something. Timelines. The answers are all there. Aha!” She punctuates her last statement by splaying all of her fingers out. “Wait—“ her fingers droop “—never mind, false positive.”
“Her name was Melody, if that’s what you’re looking for,” Micah interrupts.
Delphi opened her eyes. “Yes...that was it…..such an unexpected turn of events…..anyway…” She trails off, then claps her hands. “Freedom Blade, right. My father, the great and powerful Nova—“
“God of space, time, reality. Not well known since he’s not taken a physical form since the construction of….Well, I’ll get to that. Anyway, my father, the great and powerful Nova, helped Xenon devise a set of trials for anyone — any child of Xenon — who wanted to find the sword. Wait. I’m getting ahead of myself,” Delphi shook her head. “I get distracted by one unexpected event and it throws me off my game. One moment.”
Micah looks thoroughly bewildered, but he only shrugs. Delphi takes a deep breath.
“The blade you seek can end all the CDs. Thus, it is vital that you keep your search for it secret as not to have the CDs on your tail. Tell only those you trust.” Delphi rubs her left temple and almost whacks Micah in the face with a skinny elbow. He carefully leans away. “Yes, it’s coming….get something to write with, fast—why aren’t you moving?” Micah quickly scrambles for a pen and pulls one out plus a scrap of blank parchment from his pocket. “…..I’ve waited almost ten thousand years for this one!”
Micah opens his mouth, presumably to ask another question, but his mouth clamps shut when he sees her eyes begin to glow and start to pour out steam. Her chin jerks up, and she begins to recite a set of verses in a slow, lilting voice.
“Freedom’s sword frees freedom chained.
Their deaths will help them rise again.
The blood of his father will awaken the blade.
Without his help the darkened will reign.
The sword rests where magic dies,
Close to the pit as dark as his eyes.
Many a fear he will have to defy,
But the truth is one he cannot defy.
The answers you seek may be hard to find.
They’re resting in cages inside of your mind.
Release the traps, throw off their binds,
Make the darkened pay for their crimes.”
At the last word, she slumps and falls into him, making him drop the pen to support her. After a few seconds of inertness, she claws her way back into sentience and sits up, shrugging Micah off.
“Wow! That was a doozy,” She blinks a few times. “Did you get all that down?”
“Yeah,” Micah shows her the paper, and she glances over the words.
“Ah….you’ve got to have some ideas about what all this means, correct?”
Micah’s voice is tight. “A few.”
“Good, because I do as well. You don’t have to act on this today, so just mull this over and find me again when you’re ready.”
“I’m ready now.”
“Objection. You’re so pale that your eye dots are as dark as your father’s. If I’m correct,” She wiggles her fingers. “I might be able to venture outside of the East now. I—“
She stops abruptly, glancing around.
“We’ve been seen. I bid you adieu, son of Xenon. You’ll find me when you need to.”
She climbs up the tree and vanishes. Micah tries to follow her, but she’s gone. He shakes his head, then pops out his wings and prepares for takeoff.
You’ve got a mere few seconds to stop him. Do you?
Please tell us why you'd like to report this post
owo Xenon owo