Padme’s ship floated through the gates of Unmandin. Although she could not see much, the city was blinding her senses. She could only feel the presence of the Widow Weaver who stayed close and comforted her before declaring that she needs to go for a hunt and left the ship.
The spider-demon came back carrying cocoon inside which, Padme recognized, was a senseless but live body of Pol. “I found your hearth”, explained the Widow Weaver.
Shortly the ship reached a place that appeared not so blinding to the new Padme’s senses. It looked like a square in center of which there was standing a column burning in white pattern-like flames.
The Widow Weaver went there, inviting Padme to follow. The former deva felt herself wading knee deep in the moonsilver. The pair approached the burning column, the Widow Weaver stopped and cut what Padme perceived as her palm, making the yong demon cringe from the shared pain. Drops of blood started falling, mixing with the moonsilver and absorbed by the white flames.
Suddenly a voice pierced the space: “Welcome back my creation who perceived me”. The voice was all powerful, coming from everywhere, piercing the patterns of Padme, it made her loose the consciousness. She regained her senses submerged, feeling the cold moonsilver filling her nostrils and mouth. She stood up coughing and sooner than she managed to cough her breath, she felt a metal thing hitting her head. Padme turened back, and there the Lord of Time was standing. Not in a shape of a doll, but as a full fledged human. He was holding a rusty sword in one hand and a silver thread that lead to Padmes waist in another.
“It is time to fulfill your promises, oh One Who Kills Ones Who She Loves”, told he giving demon the sword. Padme looked back, and noticed that the Widow weaver seemed to be frozen in time. “Hurry, my powers are limited, I cannot keep it like this forever”.
Padme took the sword, the thought about what she is asked to do terrified her – she must kill the most beautiful thing. A gentle nod on the silver thread tied around her waist hurried her, she swung and stabbed. Blood squirted and mixed with moonsilver. But the wound was not a kill. “Finish your promise”, commanded the Lord of Time. But Padme had other plans. She reversed the blade and stabbed it deep in to her belly. Time started to flow again and with it flowed the rage of the wounded Widow Weaver.
She grabbed Padme, who was starting to loose her consciousness, raised her in to air and slammed against the flaming column. “I do not know what are you doing, but thank you for sparing me from letting your blood to feed the Mad One”. Hissed the now angry but still beautiful voice. “What are you doing!?” she heard, while her body was becoming limp. “Now you blood will feed the Mad One”, hissed the voice. “You can still do it”, shouted the Lord of Time.
In her clouded consciousness Padme started to realize who are her friends here. But her wounded body was failing her, and only with a help of the Lord of Time she managed to pull the sword out and stab in to the face of the Widow Weaver. Then her body went numb and cold, all become darkness.
“Padme, open your eyes”, a soft voice sounded. She listened and found that she can see again, and that she was on a bed in Aturn’s ship. Next to the bed a ivory-white man with silver eyes was standing. A lamentations filled the room, and Padme managed to see Pol lying on the ground and Rakshavyadha sitting in a corner, before the white stranger had hidden everything behind a shroud of darkness and silence.
“Thank you for waking me up”, he told. “Let me show you my gratitude gratitude”.
“Can we first help Pol and Rakshavyadha?” asked Padme.
“I can not turn the events back, and Pol’s mind is destroyed by Widow Weaver’s poison, but I can give him peace if that would please you”.
And so they did. With a touch of his finger on sailor-mage\s forehead the ivory man made him forget his suffering. Pol woke up with no memory of magic, Mad Lands or devas, he was a simple sailor again, serving on a ship of the Red Prince Aturn. The ship docked next to a fantastic garden, where what seemed to be an illusion of the prince told Pol that he is awarded with a shore-leave for his good service. A bit confused but happy sailor left the ship and was greeted by people from the garden who brought forward flowers, drinks and berries.
Next was Rakshaviadha, who unlike mortal Pol was able to keep his mind thanks to his shimmer nature and also his familiarity with madness. The waking up was not easy, he had to travel through the deadly forest, fire and finally the mirror labyrinth. Many times he was almost lost, but then was guided by the sound of a hunting horn. Which was actually a seashell that Mad-One gave to Padme to help her friend.
Finally Rakshavyadha reached the center of the labyrinth, it was only empty space, with his master – One Who Does Not Exist standing in the middle. “Now, do you understand the meaning of the riddle?” told the master. “The process is what important” answered Rakshavyadha. “Yes, and I am sorry that to understand this you needed to destroy it”. Then he turned in to Padme blowing a sea-shell and the Rakshavyadha woke up.
Mad one not here, before Rakshavyadha woke up he left to visit a dark tower, rising to the sky, with only windows at the very top, but that did not matter, Padme had so much to tell her partner. And Rakshavyadha was really relieved when the white man was back and Padme stopped talking for a minute. “Greetings, the one who tried to bring the seed of my enemy to my city”, told the ivory stranger. “I must meet a visitors that come to my city, please excuse me, but please feel like home here”, and he simply vanished.
- * *
Bastyn sat at the edge between Wildland and Madlands and started chanting. He chanted until he went into a trance, but instead of his own warren he found himself in the same place he was, except it was overlaid with with silver patterns, strong towards the east, where the walls of Unmandin raised, almost invisible to the west, where Wildlands were setting its roots. Wildone was watching him from above. And so Bastyn stood and went to the gates of Unmandin, and the gates opened, and Wildlands entered the streets of the city.
For a moment Bastyn felt like he was left alone, and then a humanlike figure, made out of silver threads of unseen complexity, radiating all the colors approached him. “Welcome, oh fruit of the one who betrayed me”, spoke Mad-One. “You brought my brother to my city, but I do not hold this against you”. He turned tovard where Wild One was seen towering above the city and went there, growing with each step, and losing his human shape. Finaly, two giant were standing in front of each other, motionless, their patterns complementing one another. Bastyn went deeper into a city, where he finally stumbled upon a ship with Padme and Rakshavyadha.
The reunion was not so warm. The decades in Wildlands, where only one to have a conversation with wash he himself, left a mark on Bastyn. He accused devas of making a mess of this world and the world of his ancestors. And then demanded to leave the city before the two demigods will destroy everything. Rakshavyadga saw a wisdom in this, but Padme disagreed, and told that she came here to save the world, and will not leave untill she will know how.