Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Shattered Oracle - II - An Astral Sojourn - Page 1


An Astral Sojourn

- Page One -

"Thraya. Thraya. I can't sleep."

It took a moment for her to open her eyes. She lifted a hand to rub the sand out of her right eye. The voice came from her left; a small shadow perched over her bed and with its arms outstretched, vigorously shaking her at her shoulders.

"Thraya. Wake up."

With her left hand, she swiped the arms from her and sat up in her bed. It took a moment for her consciousness to fully enter her body. The small shadow began to poke at her exposed ribs to get her attention. She quickly lowered her bed-shirt which had bunched up around her chest while sleeping.

"What in Gehemol do you want?"

Her voice was curt, whispered, and groggy. It must have been the middle of the night. No light shone through her open window at the other end of the room. The room was cast in shadow save for a tiny and guttering candle that the shadow child had brought into her room and placed on her wooden desk by the door.

"I had a bad dream. I-"

"Serranos, it was just a dream. Go back to sleep."

She turned away from her brother in the bed and began to fluff up her pillow. She could feel herself give a groan of exhaustion before she pivoted to lay back down. The poking at her ribs had ceased and now was replaced by two clammy hands firmly on her exposed thigh, trying to rock her back and forth.

"It was a thaekkuz. I think one got into the house."

Thraya could feel her eyes rolling beneath her heavy and dry lids. She knew her brother was just bothered by the stories she had been telling him earlier, and the games they used to play. She knew the very second she let him in on her nightly game of courage, that he would work himself up until he would become a nuisance.

"There's no thaekkuz revenant in the house, Serranos. If there were, I'm sure father would have dealt with it by now. Or we'd all be dead. Go back to bed."

"You don't understand, Thraya. It isn't a normal one." He paused for a moment, trying to gather his thoughts. "Not some shambling undead thing from the catacombs below the house. No. It was more like a shade; a ghulg."

"We live in Neshran, Serranos. You know, home of the Sharr-vhult oracles. Since mom is one." She got back up into a sitting position and turned to make eye contact with the boy. "Oracles are pretty good at getting rid of ghulgs. If there was even a single restless shade in the city, the Sharr-vhult and the Order of Lanterns would have dealt with it. What in the world-plane do you think you or I can do about it?"

The boy bit his lip. His eyes were wide with fear and he kept glancing around the room at the shadows given life by the guttering candle-light. He stood with his legs taut and kept padding on the floor with his right foot. He always did that when he was legitimately worried about something.

"It's more than that."

"It's always 'more than that' with you, Serranos." Thraya propped her head up in her hands while her elbows dug into her thighs. She was so tired that she wanted to scream. "Fine."

She pushed him away from her bed and swung her legs over the side. She moved forward and lifted herself up onto her tired and shifting legs while tugging the ends of her bed-shirt below her rump, to cover her thighs.

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