Beautiful Chaos: Part Nine
"Here, drink this," Griffin instructed, handing Cedrik a small cup of purple liquid. "It doesn't taste great, but it will hopefully clear your mind a little."
The Draik took the cup grudgingly and had a small sip before spitting it on the floor.
"That's disgusting, what is that?"
"Some sort of plant. Now drink it before your friend whacks you with his chair; he's looking a little edgy."
After making a scene on the streets of the Citadel, Griffin had dragged the two Meridellians back to his little house and sat them as far apart from each other as his small rooms would allow, as he had come to the conclusion that they were both a little nuts and how he got caught up in it all, he would never know.
"I don't know why you're so tense, Leo. I haven't done anything," the Draik said, sniffing the cup cautiously before trying another small sip. He grimaced but forced it down, coughing and spluttering.
"I'm tense because these have been the worst days of my life and they aren't over yet! We came to the Citadel to find out what the Source was and fix Meridell, only to discover that we are the Source. We don't know what it means, why it's us, what we're going to do, who's behind it all and above all things, WHAT DO WE DO NOW?" The Lupe dropped his head in his hands and moaned loudly. "Oh and the fact that you've lost your memory and no offence, but your mind too, is also holding us back."
Ignoring his friend, Cedrik took another gulp of the hideous purple liquid and made a funny sound as it went down.
"Bah! That's horrible. How long does it take to work?"
"I don't know. I'm not a magician; you are," Griffin shrugged, sitting down on the floor as his two new friends had taken the chairs. "Give it a few minutes. It's pretty potent."
"You're telling me," the Draik scoffed, leaning back and closing his eyes, waiting for the fog to lift.
"We're wasting time here," Leo stressed, looking up at them. "We should be out there doing... something. I hate just sitting here. And we still have to find your wand!" He pointed his at Cedrik and waited until the tip turned orange. "Useless, it feels like this place is blocking my magic."
"It's not the place," Griffin replied. "I've seen plenty of people do magic here. It must be you, maybe you're tired or something."
The Lupe glared at him and put his wand back in his pocket.
"Of course I'm tired, I haven't slept in four days. But I can still do my usual magic; it's just not got the same... I don't know, oomph."
"What can you normally do?" the Grarrl asked curiously.
"Well, all sorts of things. Fire's my specialty, and water's Ced's; it always has been. Lisha was teaching me healing back in Meridell, but it wasn't going too well. My magic's always been more... explosive." He smiled ruefully, rubbing his face and looking exhausted. "We learnt basic spells a few years ago, and I think Cedrik was working on mind magic, isn't that ironic? He was learning defensive and offensive skills of the mind, and then he goes and loses his. Only he would manage that."
"Bit of a coincidence, don't you think?"
"That's Cedrik for you." Leo sat up in his chair and looked at his best friend, who had fallen asleep. "I swear, if he makes it snow, I will turn HIM into a snowman."
"The drink wasn't meant to put him to sleep." Griffin frowned, jumping up and tapping him softly on the head. "Cedrik? Yoo-hoo! Anybody home?" He jumped back in surprise as the Draik woke with a start and fell out of his chair, mumbling incoherently. He grabbed the edge of the table and pulled himself up, a look of agony on his face.
"What is it?" Leo asked worried, at his friend's side in an instant and grabbing his shoulder. "Ced, what's wrong?"
"I... remember..." he gasped, clutching his head in pain. "Leo, you have to get out of here!"
"Leave me, just go! She was right, she knew this would happen. Please, you have to go! Go home, back to Meridell. Get Kayla and Lisha and tell them what happened."
"Kayla and Lisha are missing, that's why we're here. I thought you got your memory back!"
"They aren't! We are!"
"That doesn't make any sense!"
"They're looking for us, right now! They have no idea where we are, we left and they never knew. They were all at the meeting, at the Castle."
"Can you both stop yelling in my house, please?!" Griffin said loudly, looking back and forth between the magicians.
"He planned this, from the beginning he planned it all, he was waiting, he's here in my head, I've got to – AGHH!" Cedrik yelled as a sharp pain seared through his head. He dropped to the floor and covered his ears, while Leo looked at him in horror.
"What is it, what's wrong? Who was in the Forest? Cedrik!"
Griffin grabbed Leo as he reached out for Cedrik and pulled him away, putting himself between them.
"Don't touch him!" He tried to keep his voice level as the panic rose inside him. "Who knows what he encountered in that Forest; stay away from him! If he's telling you to leave, you need to listen to him."
"I won't leave him again! I left him before and look what's happened. This is all my fault. I won't let it happen again, I won't!"
While Griffin struggled to keep a hold on the Lupe, Cedrik shakily got to his feet, holding his head and keeping his eyes screwed shut.
"I don't want him to see. I can't look at you. He was waiting for us, but he was expecting both, we weren't supposed to be separated, so he only knows me. He doesn't know what you look like, you have to leave now while you still can. AGHHH!" Doubling over in pain, the Draik blindly fumbled for the door. "I'll find you, Leo, I'll find you again and we'll set it right. You have to trust me."
"I do trust you," Leo replied brokenly, watching his friend run out of the house. "I always will." He closed his eyes for a minute and sat in the silence that followed.
"Leo, I... what do you want to do? I'll take you anywhere in the Citadel, it's the least I can do. Anywhere you want to go, I'll come with you," Griffin said, sitting down on the other chair.
Thoughts were flowing through his head so fast he could barely catch a hold of one, but Leo made a quick decision.
"I want to find that Kyrii, the one who told Cedrik all those things. She might be a part of this, and even if she isn't, she knows things and I need that knowledge. Where can we find her?"
"She usually hangs around the Markets; if she's there, we should be able to find her. Come on, the days are short here and it'll be night again before you know it; we need to get moving. How many nights haven't you slept now?"
"Too many. I can barely count to ten. Let's get moving."
The silence was tense between them as they made their way through the Markets; Griffin keeping an eye on the Darigans that stared at them as they passed and Leo slapping himself in the face every so often as the slow feeling of sleep kept crawling over him. He gripped his wand tightly and held it close to his chest, ready for an attack that never came.
It was midday by the time they found her, and the weather had not improved much. The sky was dark and moody gray clouds rolled around, promising rain.
She was sitting on the edge of a large cart parked in a quiet street, looking entirely unsurprised when the two walked up to her. She spoke first.
"I am sorry," she said, and she looked it, too. "I had hoped I was wrong and that it would change, but the fact that you are here tells me it has not."
"You knew this was going to happen."
"I see things. Sometimes they come true, sometimes they don't. But yes, I knew this would happen."
"You could have stopped it!" Leo hissed angrily, his hand gripping his wand tightly as he felt the frustration of losing his friend again flow through his veins and into the stick. He fought to keep a hold of himself, and tried to focus on the task at hand. "You knew what happened to him and you could have saved him!"
"It doesn't work like that," she replied, and looked appropriately apologetic. "I cannot mess with things I cannot control. It only makes it worse."
"But you spoke to him, you saw him before we found him," Griffin pointed out. "You could have told him more, you could have helped more."
"I told him all I could, he didn't listen. So now it's up to you," the fortune teller said, looking at Leo intensely. "It might be too late for him, but you can still leave. You can leave the Citadel and return home, history needs not repeat itself. Ah, but you won't," she sighed deeply. "You will never leave him, no matter what I say. Oh, you will not listen and there's nothing I can do. So hear this, Leo from Meridell, Leo who laughs in the face of danger but is more powerful than he realises, the one who is the first to act, the first to speak, always the loudest voice in the room. Hear me when I say this- you'll have to make a decision, the worst decision you may ever have to make. Trust yourself and your best friend, he's all you have and you're the last hope we all have. And you, little Grarrl, the smallest of the Guardians, you'll know what to do when the time is right. They're lucky they met you, and I think you realise this too. The greatest friends you will ever meet." She smiled at him, at both of them while they stood looking dumbfounded.
"How can you know all this?" Leo breathed, feeling his magic was nothing compared to the power of foresight.
"I'm special like you, Leo. I think you have some of the gift too, you just don't know it yet. I've never met another magician like you, even Cedrik. Of course he is very powerful, you both are, but in opposite ways. He's calm and soothing, water magic. The sturdy one, reliable, while you've always been more unpredictable and explosive. Fire magic. Complete opposites but together you make one of a kind and fit perfectly. Without him you would not be who you are, and likewise for him. Meridell is a lucky place to have two young apprentices such as yourselves training as its protectors." She nodded at him, her expression unreadable. "Go now. It was always meant to come down to this; it's already been set in motion."
"Where are we supposed to go? We don't know anything about what's happening."
"You'll find out soon enough. He was undetectable for so long, but now he had Cedrik's magic you should be able to find him. You are so in tune with your friend you should be able to home in on his magic, I don't think he counted on that. If anyone can find him, it's you. Both of you take care. I hope I'll be seeing you again soon."
"I don't suppose you can tell us if it all works out in the end?" Griffin asked hopefully.
She smiled ruefully at him.
"When is life ever that simple, my friend? I wish you good luck, because I know you'll need it."
To be continued...