Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Arcadia (Trollhunters, 3Below, Wizards and Rise of the Titans) or any character which you may recognize from the shows, the movie or books. They belong to Guillermo del Toro and DreamWorks Animation. However, everything else is my own creation.
Part 2 of Of Time and Magic
The Birth of a new Stone
Her very core ached. So much suffering, so much bloodshed. So many lives brutally torn from the face of the earth.
A burning tear made its way down her cheek as she stared into the distance, slumped over. Embracing herself, she didn't feel the balmy refreshing breeze and the warmth of the sun shining gently down on her. Didn't feel or hear the pleasant rustling of the leaves that nestled against her body.
With a deeply disturbed sigh, she wiped away the single tear and called the branches to her. Slowly and deliberately they came, and with hand movements executed since the beginning of the wooden giants' existence, Nari formed herself a bed on this ancient tree in the middle of a forest of which she had no idea where it was. Driven by her complicity in the affairs that had led to the massacre at Killahead Bridge, she had simply run. Just away. Away from the two beings who had been her companions since the beginning. Her brethren. Wizards like her. Elemental beings who had insight into the energy and life on this planet like no other, and yet had failed to adapt to the inevitable.
Time called forth change. And growth. Evolution.
The last tendrils came to rest around her, and as Nari let herself sink into the leaves grown by her magic, she let her tears run free. It wasn't long before they completely blocked her vision. And at that moment, when the world blurred in front of her, it was as if a window opened in her mind and her heart clenched at what flickered to life before her.
Familiar blurred forms formed into giant powerful shapes that surrounded and suffocated, froze and burned everything earthly. And she felt all the pain that was caused in their wake. Suffering, driven by physical and mental torment, seized Nari's heart, and with widened eyes, she was unable to look away as a powerful wave, emanating the same energy that was inherent in her very self, spread out and life arose again before her inner eye. But this life was desolate and empty.
Shaking her head in denial and trembling, she stretched out one arm and tried to search for life in that vortex of energy before her. But she had to wait, a long, long time, in an ever faster moving time lapse, until shapes rose again from a vast blue and became larger and more. Desperate, she lowered her weak arm again and felt a sob escape her chest.
It mustn't happen…
Nari knew what she had seen. The tools of creation that her brethren and she had used at the dawn of time were still too familiar to her. But millennia upon millennia had passed since then, and life had evolved in the most diverse forms. Sometimes unremarkable to human eyes, sometimes bizarre, peaceful, deadly, but always beautiful! And everything was connected with her! How could she allow or even help to extinguish this diversity which sounded in her heart always like euphony?
No! I won't let that happen!
In that moment, something flashed before her eyes, and as if the sun was reflected in a sword, she saw a figure rise from kneeling, wearing the same armor that Nari had seen only a few hours ago.
"Will you help prevent the end of this world, Trollhunter?" whispered Nari, and her eyes widened in wonder as the blurred figure's lips formed into a smile.
"Always... For the good of all..."
Hearing these words, a faint hope sprouted in Nari's heart, but when she wanted to meet his gaze, she saw that his smile didn't reach his eyes and she recognized the pain in them as her own. This realization shook her to the core and at the same time caused a wave of protective instinct to surge through her.
This being, who fought and stood up for others, must have suffered terrible losses for his soul to look so blank and dead through his eyes. Nari's heart contracted with guilt. Her actions had made it necessary for the wizard to make his Amulet in the first place.
Slowly, she leaned forward and approached the apparition sincerely.
"Only time can bring us together, but until that time comes, I will do everything I can to ensure that my brethren do not continue to cause pain," Nari vowed as the image of the Trollhunter slowly began to blur before her eyes, the vision becoming one with the wind.
"But, what if I'm not strong enough?" she asked no one, thinking.
One thing in particular bothered her. Even though the Trollhunter was only blurredly recognizable, it had been obvious that he was a human being. So the wizard had created his Amulet not only for trolls? But why would he let it pick out a human? Certainly, the knights of Arthur's retinue had fought bravely, but there was no denying that they were for the most part far inferior to trolls. So why a human? And the pain in his eyes that Nari had seen! Would anyone choose such a task if they knew the dangers it involved and the hurt it obviously caused?
"Something must happen in the future that makes it necessary for a human to take over the Trollhunter's duties," Nari reasoned. "But obviously this task will become a terrible burden."
Sniffing, she wiped away the last of her tears, and energetically, she straightened up further and took a deep breath. No, she wouldn't allow another human to suffer from her actions. Just, how could she do that if she had to hide from Skrael and Bellroc?
But no matter how hard she tried to think, she couldn't come up with a solution. Her head ached from all the emotions felt for the dead souls who would no longer be on earth from this day on. But she would manage it. Somehow. She wasn't a guardian of nature, of life for nothing! And if her ability of geomancy gave her such clear indications of a possible future, she had to use it!
"By all the life that was, is, and is yet to come, I swear I will not let you walk into an unknown future, human trollhunter!"
And with this oath a sensation ignited in her chest that grew stronger with every breath she took, like a spark being fed. Gasping, she pressed her right hand against her collarbone when the magic didn't stop growing right within her. But it didn't stay there. Her eyes widened as the force, which felt like a pulsating circle inside her, burst out of her all at once and pushed her hand away from her body.
Right in front of her it continued to pulsate and as if the elements were welcoming her magic, the air around Nari began to shimmer as the tree she was sitting on began to hum. On her skin, the water that had been carried through the air until then gathered and the spark in her chest that had set this in motion suddenly blazed into a hot fire that, amazingly, didn't burn her. Instead, as if in a trance, Nari bent to her magic and wove more of herself, of life itself, into it with a smile.
Minutes passed and when Nari then straightened herself up again, a solid shape was hovering in the air. Looking at it closely she saw that it was a stone. A green glowing stone that she instinctively knew could change fate. Change time itself…
Perhaps she could undo the day she had lived through? Save the many lives? Reaching out, she wanted to clasp it with her hands. But then she hesitated. Was it the right moment to reverse time and try another possibility? Nari doubted it. Skrael and especially Bellroc wouldn't be willing to change their plans and alone she was powerless against them. But all wasn't lost yet. Stretching her energy through the tree into the earth and on and on, she sensed that magic was alive and well in other parts of this planet. Would it be fair if she reversed time with the help of the newborn stone? No. What had happened to the human king and his sister and the magical beings need not have happened. But perhaps that would tip the balance back here in this civilized human world as well. After all, there had rarely been such a powerful wizard as Merlin in these geographical realms. Surely that had to do some good now that he was no longer bound to that king.
She would have to meet with him and talk it out. Maybe he could… cover her magic with his so that her brethren wouldn't be able to detect her so easily?
Staring into the distance, Nari formed this vague plan into a more and more detailed one as she continued to surround the stone with her magic. It still pulsed, emitting fine waves of green energy. And that worried Nari - even though something new had been created with the stone, part of what it was giving off was her energy.
"This would make them find me..."
And how should she hide such a powerful stone until the wizard's Amulet would choose the human?
If only she hadn't left her staff with Bellroc and Skrael! With her stone, she had always been able to concentrate and focus on the smallest detail. But that couldn't be changed now. She had to get along without it. And if she was honest with herself, she had never really taken it with her when she went on her expeditions anyway. It was only a small part of-
"A small part!" she breathed, turning her gaze to the stone in front of her. "Of course!"
Gathering her magic in her fingertips, she placed her fingers on an uneven part of the stone, as if she were about to break it off with her small claws, and then slowly released her magic. It didn't take long for a small piece to come loose from the stone. It wasn't much bigger than a splinter, but she was sure that would be enough.
She carefully formed a spell around it and then blew on it so that the wind would carry it far away. It would be too dangerous to hide the small stone here. It would be better off in the vast land beyond the ocean. There was magic there, too, but the inhabitants used it differently than the magical beings who called themselves wizards here. There it would remain undiscovered until the Amulet would connect with the human Nari had seen in her vision.
"Good luck on your long journey," she whispered after it. Then she looked again at the stone that was still floating in the air in front of her. "And what am I going to do with you? You, too, need something to hide you."
Thoughtfully, she scratched her antlers. But again, her mind went blank. Once this task was done, she would have to take a long rest to fully regain her composure. With a sigh, she reached out for the stone and pulled it closer to her with her magic and let it rotate.
"A stone of time," she thought aloud. "Maybe you can help me yourself? Show me what you will look like in the future..." she spoke, grasping the stone with both hands. When it began to glow, Nari's mind opened again and a vision formed before her eyes.
"Oh," she breathed as she saw the shell that would surround the stone. "This is beautiful. If this is how it should be..."
And once again, Nari worked her magic, using the powers of the earth to form around the stone a spherical metallic casing in which small screens were set.
"Now you too go on your journey away, deep into the earth, where the magical ones will not find you."
With a final wave of her hand, she finished her spell and then watched as the Sphere moved away from her. "I will lock your existence tightly into my heart until perhaps one day you will be needed after all."
When her creation was no longer visible, Nari sank back onto the bed of leaves, deeply exhausted. She would be able to get a few hours of sleep, since Skrael and especially Bellroc had been wounded in the battle. And tomorrow... From tomorrow on she would be running from them...