SHOCK! The Girl Named Eris
What's this?! Rezo's turned against Tannah? And who's this Eris?!
Hey, it's Lina again! You know, things couldn't be going better. We've gained three more recruits since we started out, and we're still going strong!SHOCK! The Girl Named Eris
Lina Inverse, Gourry Gabriev, Zelgadis and Zoey Graywords, Nepha of Feli, and Tannah the White Priestess were all just entering ancient Sairaag. Tannah was looking around in a little bit of awe. Her eyes were then drawn to a huge chapel, beautiful stained glass windows still perfectly in tact, the paint peeling, and half the building damaged. And yet, she smiled widely.
First there's Nepha, a half-Felinic from the kingdom of Feli. She has this awesome sword called the Mystic Blade, and she's in love with Zelgadis.
Then, there's Tannah Wyndstarr, the White Priestess. She's Rezo's wife, and Zelgadis' grandmother. Weird taste in men, doncha think? We blamed Rezo for her 'death', when it turned out she wasn't even dead at all, and Rezo had no hand in it! Oops. . .
Finally, we've got Zoey Graywords, Zelgadis' twin sister! Crazy, isn't it? Well, it can't be too bad. We're almost in ancient Sairaag, and only a small journey lies ahead! Let's go!
"Olamin Chapel, it's still standing!" she exclaimed.
"Olamin Chapel?" asked Zoey. "What's that?"
"The chapel was named for the original Red Priest, Olamin Graywords," responded Tannah, her eyes lit up. "Rezo's ancestor. This is the chapel where Rezo and I were married. . ."
She stopped abruptly after that, her eyes filling with tears. Memories came back, everything stopped, her heart felt heavy. The husband she had lost, she felt she would never see again. She fought back tears and cries of dispair and grief. Rezo would come back to her.
It took her a few moments to realize that Lina had been speaking to her.
"Do you want to go inside?" she asked again.
Tannah shook her head.
"No," she stated. "I'd much prefer. . .to see another part of town."
On the east side of ancient Sairaag there stood an old mansion, well appointed and beautifully built in an archaic style.
Just walking in the door, the large foyer had five portraits. One of each priest, and priestess. Just above the center portrait, one of Rezo, was a portrait of he and Tannah with a young girl, whose hair was short and black, and two boys.
"Who's that?" asked Gourry, pointing.
"That's Rezo and I with our two sons, Matthieu and Jordan, and our student, Eris," Tannah said quietly. "What memories this place has for me. . ."
"It very well should!"
The voice out of nowhere caught the group off-guard. A small girl, about Lina's size, with short, wild black hair and fiery golden-yellow eyes stepped out of the shadows, a smile on her small face, her brows furrowed.
"Eris!" exclaimed Tannah.
"The one and only," the girl responded sarcastically.
Vrumugun and Zangulus, along with Netalia, emerged from the door to her left. From the door on the right, however. . .
"Rezo!" exclaimed Lina.
Indeed, the Red Priest had emerged through the door next to Eris. Tannah was absolutely shocked.
"Rezo, my lord, what. . ." she breathed.
"I knew you'd come here," Eris chuckled. "Out of all the places in ancient Sairaag, Olamin Chapel and this mansion hold the most memories for you."
Tannah almost couldn't contain herself. She couldn't tell, however, if she was upset or angry.
"Eris, what are you. . ." she tried to ask.
"Doing?" interrupted the young sorceress. "I'm finishing off those who almost killed Lord Rezo, and the one who forced him to what he did." She pointed at Tannah. "You, Lady Tannah."
"Me?!" exclaimed Tannah in shock. "But, I didn't. . ."
"You most certainly did," stated Rezo. "You. . .never were an exactly suitable wife."
The words cut into Tannah like a knife. Rezo. . .was saying she was never. . .a suitable wife? It couldn't be. She had loved Rezo, and he had loved her. They had two sons, two grandchildren. How could he. . .?
"Tannah, what should we do?" asked Zoey.
Tannah lifted her head. Rezo was about to cast a spell attack at them!!
"I suggest we run," Tannah said nervously.
The group did as suggested, and barely managed to escape a barrage of fireballs headed right for them.
"Is Tannah all right?" asked Gourry later. "She looks a little upset."
"Her husband -- whom, need I remind you, Tannah loved a great deal -- just completely flipped their 50 year marriage into a time he'd rather forget. I think I'd be a little upset too," Zelgadis responded, his arms folded across his chest.
"I just don't get it," stated Nepha. "I always thought that at one time, Tannah and Rezo had been a very happy couple."
"They had been," sighed Lina. "That's what's weird about it."
"Perhaps. . ." Zoey began. "No."
"Perhaps what?" asked Lina.
"Perhaps if we went to Rezo's old lab, we could find some information. I mean, after all, he kept everything he had down there. It's sealed up, but with the Sword of Light we should be able to get in. It's at the northernmost edge of ancient Sairaag. Surely there's something that could tell us why he would suddenly turn against the woman who loved him for almost 50 years," responded the femme chimera.
"It's a long shot," Nepha rang in, "but it just might work."
"Let's get moving," Lina finished.
"Your surrogate mother definitely doesn't have much fight in her, does she?" laughed Jamar in his throat, his sharp green eyes glinting devilishly.
"Tannah never was one for a fight," Eris answered, a wry smile crossing her lips. "She'd never raise a hand against Lord Rezo."
"I see," laughed Jamar. "So, do you think they'll go to Rezo's lab?"
"Most likely," Eris shrugged. "Tannah knows her way around there too, so I suggest we go. After all, Lord Rezo's legacy is still there. We may be able to find it yet. . ."
It took a while, but they finally made it. Deep, deep within the many chambers and mazes of Rezo's lab, with the help of all the shortcuts Tannah knew after her years of marriage to the Red Priest, they found the room which held most of Rezo's old possessions.
"This is it, the deepest chamber," breathed Lina. "It's. . . kinda creepy down here."
"I always thought this place could use a woman's touch, but Rezo never minded the decor," sighed Tannah.
Lina didn't listen. Her attention was turned to an odd stone tablet on the wall. Carefully, she removed it.
"What's this?" she asked.
Tannah's eyes widened as she walked over to Lina.
"That's Rezo's legacy," she said on a breath of awe. "The manuscript of the Holy Claire Bible." She ran her slender fingers down the engraved runes. "A great deal of time and effort went into this. It. . ."
They heard a sound, and stopped. Zelgadis and Zoey were suddenly flung past them, and their lifeless bodies fell motionless to the floor.
"Zelgadis, Zoey!!" cried Lina. She ran over to them, checking each of them in turn. "Oh, God. . ." she breathed. "They're dead. . ."
"No!" cried Tannah, running over beside her. "Zelgadis, Zoey, my grandchildren, no. . ."
She lifted her head to find Jamar, who was laughing. He grinned, then disappeared into nothingness.
Lina, Gourry, and Tannah all stood. Nepha was just walking around as Jamar disappeared, and her breath caught in her throat.
"Oh, no, my love. . ." she sobbed.
She ran over to Zelgadis' limp form. . .
"We'll leave her be," whispered Lina. "C'mon, let's find Jamar, Eris, and Rezo. They must be behind this. . ."
After wandering through an endless maze of halls in the deepest chamber, they finally found another lifeless figure. The figure of the Red Priest, lying on the ground. Tannah cried out again, this time more grieved than the first.
"Rezo, my husband, my lord. . ." she sobbed, falling to her knees beside him. "No. . .my beloved husband, it can't be. . ."
Jamar was standing over them, Eris at his side. She looked a little upset, but not too.
"I should've known you'd do something like this," whispered Eris. "You killed Lord Rezo, Tannah!"
Tannah shook her head softly.
Lina was still clutching the stone tablet, but in a sudden instant, it flew out of her hands! Eris caught it.
"Hey!!" shouted Lina. "Give that back!"
"Give it back?" chuckled Eris. "Why would I want to do that? I'm going to use the magic in this tablet to get revenge for Lord Rezo."
"But, Eris. . ." Tannah pleaded.
"Don't tell me the rest of you don't know what happened to make Lord Rezo change. . ." Eris sighed. "Allow me to tell you." She lifted her head a little and sighed, then proceeded. "It was in this laboratory that I studied white magic, under the guiding hand of Lord Rezo and his new wife Tannah," she said softly, gesturing around the room. "I followed them from city to city, helping them perform their miracles. Tannah and I wanted with all our souls to give him true happiness." She watched in her mind the events and memories unfolding. "Tannah bore Lord Rezo two sons, twin sons, named Matthieu and Jordan, almost ten years after their marriage." She lowered her golden yellow eyes in sorrow. "Things started to change after Jordan's death. Rezo now sought to heal his eyes. Tannah had tried every powerful healing spell she knew, but Lord Rezo's eyes refused to respond." Her voice started to break as tears brimmed her saddened eyes. "Then, when the other three priests died. . ."
'Why?!' she heard Rezo's voice in her mind, as if it were just happening. 'Why?!? Why won't my eyes be opened?! Why must I be trapped inside this darkness?! I could have saved them, had I been able to see. . .'
"Lord Rezo," Eris continued sadly, "a prisoner of his own dispair, and half mad. It had devastated Tannah, and frightened the both of us terribly whenever he would suddenly snap." She wiped her eyes, trying to be strong. "He tried his one last hope, in the legendary Philosopher's Stone. He left Tannah and I behind to find it." She lifted her head, her features contorted in grief and anger, tears still falling down her cheeks. "And then. . . !"
"Totally misplaced resentment," finished Zelgadis with a sigh.
"Silence!" snapped Eris, the anger flashing back into her eyes at full force. She pointed at the group. "That still doesn't change the fact you took Rezo from us. Imagine how I felt. . .when I came to find out he was thought to be dead." She drew a deep breath, the tears drying up. "Then, I learned from Jamar that it had been Tannah all along. Had she comforted Lord Rezo like a wife should after the death of their friends, he never would have left! It was her fault all along!"
"Eris, I loved you like a daughter and raised you as such. Believe me, I was as devastated as you when Rezo changed. He wouldn't listen to reason or accept my comfort," Tannah pleaded, her eyes filled with the pain of memories. "Eris, listen to me, please. . ."
"Shut up!" shouted Eris, bringing up the stone tablet in her hands and aiming it at Tannah. The magic energy released flung the White Priestess into the far wall. She continued speaking with bitterness and sorrow as the woman she saw as a mother figure fell. "Now, Tannah Wyndstarr, you die."
Tannah lifted her head a little. The fight was about to begin.
In a little while, Eris was proving her mastery in the arts of magic she had been practicing.
It was much to Tannah's disappointment that this young woman that she had helped raise and saved from certain death had turned against her. Jamar had brought her to believe that Tannah had been at fault for Rezo's change, which made her seriously doubt how much influence she really had on Eris' life. The priestess barely managed to dodge as Eris threw a Freeze Arrow at her.
"I trusted you!" she cried, tears brimming her flaring golden eyes, hate filling her voice. "I loved you like a mother! And for what?! You betray Lord Rezo! It was your fault he changed and left us!" She aimed a Flare Arrow that Tannah again barely managed to escape the path of. Since the last thing Tannah wanted to do was to fight back, all she had to rely on were speed and how long her aching body could hold out. "You witch!"
Then, suddenly, Eris froze, her face contorted in an expression of shocked pain. Her mouth fell open as muffled sounds of pain escaped. Eris' gaze fell to where the dagger through her back had pierced completely through, out her chest. She weakly managed to pull it out and drop it. Her eyes were filled with pain as she saw the blood flowing from her chest. With a helpless cry and a stiff hand clasping the wound, she began to fall. Tannah lifted her head to find Jamar, who had just thrown a dagger.
"Eris!" cried the White Priestess, running over to the girl as she fell to her knees. She felt as if she were running in slow motion. A pit had eaten her away in that brief, flickering moment. Tannah knew her breathing was unsteady, but she didn't care. "Eris, are you all right?"
Eris barely managed to lift her head as she fell back a little, to be caught by Tannah.
"Lady Tannah?" she breathed, tears falling down her cheeks.
Her voice was almost inaudible, being choked by Death's unforgiving grasp. Her eyes told Tannah she knew, she knew she was going to die.
Tannah looked at the band around Eris' forehead. It had broken. It had been there for mind control! Eris knew it hadn't been her!
"It's all right, Eris, you're safe," stated Tannah, hugging her surrogate daughter, unable to conceal her own emotional pain.
Lina and the others watched in shock. Tannah had known Eris that well? How?
"No, Lady Tannah. . ." stated Eris, barely able to keep her eyes open, let alone talk through a dry throat. "It's not all right. . .I . . .I almost killed you. . ." She caught her breath on a sob, cringing from the coursing pain slowly taking over her. "I'm sorry, I know it wasn't you. . .You loved him so much. . ."
"Shh, Eris," Tannah hushed. "You. . .you'll be fine. . ."
She lifted her head to look at Jamar, who was laughing. Tannah nearly passed out as the flood of anger and distress immediately took over her. Blood rushed to every muscle, preparing like a panther, ready to rip him apart.
"Poor little Eris. She actually believed me. Who knew that little headband could keep someone in line like that?" he laughed.
"She did all I needed, and I finally killed the Red Priest!"
He was still laughing as Tannah turned her head to the side and gasped. Indeed, he was pointing to where Rezo was lying on the ground unmoving.
Too much at once. Tannah stumbled for words as the anger suddenly flushed out of her and, for that moment, she felt nothing, saw nothing. Just flashing still images in her mind. Rezo. Eris. Zelgadis. Zoey. No, it couldn't be. Dead? Tannah's hands began shaking.
"Yes, dead," Jamar stated, a triumphant smile making Gourry and Lina clench their fists from where they stood watching. "As you soon will be, White Priestess."
Tannah thought that was it, she was going to join her husband, and the twisted, confused part of her wanted it that way. For Tannah, a life without Rezo. . .would it be a life? Then, she remembered. All the people that needed her, all the people she could still help. But Rezo had been her strength the whole time, believing in him, and finding out he still had faith as well. What could she do now? She didn't need to think of a plan, however, when she saw Eris forcing herself to sit up.
"No. . ." she groaned. "I won't let you hurt Lady Tannah, and you won't get away with what you did to Lord Rezo. . ."
"No, Eris, save your strength. . ." Tannah pleaded.
"I can't, Lady Tannah," Eris managed to utter, forcing herself to stand. "I'm going to die anyway. . ." She grimaced in pain. "So I may as well die fighting the one who did all this to you and Lord Rezo. . ."
"Eris. . ." Tannah whispered. "No. . ."
Eris lifted her hands, ignoring the pain that shot up from the deep wound in the center of her back and the chill she was getting from the blood flowing down her back. Her spine felt like shattering glass, snapping her nerves in half and killing her brain. She felt Death creeping up her back with icy, greedy fingers, but fought it off.
"Darkness beyond twilight, crimson beyond blood that flows," she uttered, staggering a bit but regaining her balance, "buried in the flow of time. . ."
"You little witch," growled Jamar, almost ready to cast a spell attack.
". . .In thy great name, I pledge myself to darkness. Let the fools who stand before me be destroyed by the power you and I possess!" She aimed her hands at Jamar. "Dragon Slave!!" Jamar didn't escape the spell attack. He practically disintegrated into the air. When the smoke cleared, Eris was still standing. However, the impact itself had thrown everyone back against the walls.
Eris' legs were shaking as she looked down on her lord. Rezo lay still, peaceful -- something no one hoped to see. There was blood flowing down her legs and pooling at the floor at her feet. Eris knew that with that dagger run completely through her, she shouldn't have lived this long. Even with her blurred vision and slowing breath, she managed to look at the spot Jamar last stood. Through a tight throat and a swallow of blood, she uttered: "Now . . .you have paid. . ."
Then, she let out a final breath, and fell, right next to Rezo.
Tannah ran over to the girl who had for so long been like a daughter of her own. Eris, however, would not be moved. She was already dead. Tannah couldn't contain the tears. Her husband lay dead beside her, a man dead before his time. She brushed back the strands of jet black hair in Eris' face, a girl dead at too young an age. She took Rezo's hand and Eris' hand and brought both to her face. Her tear-filled pale blue eyes were focused on the blood of her life, lying on the ground.
"First Zelgadis and Zoey, then Rezo, and now Eris. . ." she murmured. She threw her head back in grievous agony. "NO!" Her eyes were blazing with fierce anger, the wind suddenly blowing strong. "I will not be left alone!!"
Zoey lifted her head weakly, every bone in her body aching.
"Ohhhh. . ." she groaned. "What happened?"
Nepha lifted her head and looked in shock at Zelgadis' twin, with the girl's significant other still lying motionless on the floor.
"Zoey, you're alive?!" she cried.
"As far as I know," Zoey sighed, rubbing her head. "What about Zelgadis?"
"Present and accounted for," Zelgadis muttered, sitting up and rubbing his head, "I think."
Nepha threw her arms around his neck, hugging him tightly.
"Oh, my love, I thought you were dead," she whispered.
Zelgadis hugged her back, stroking her long blue hair with a gentle hand.
Zoey almost gagged.
"Look, I hate to break up this Kodak moment for you two, but we really have to find the others!" she exclaimed. "Then, we find out what's been going on around here."
Tannah was still sobbing, her arms now folded on Rezo's chest and her head lying upon her arms, as Jamar's laugh filled the room.
"Damn," growled Lina as she watched Jamar stand, laughing. "You just can't kill that guy!"
Tannah was shocked as Rezo's hand moved a little. Lifting her head, she found herself looking at Rezo, who was alive!
"My love!" she exclaimed, throwing her arms around his neck, tears still streaming down her face as she mourned her grandson, granddaughter, and surrogate daughter. "Rezo, it's awful. . .Zelgadis, Zoey, Eris. . .all of them are dead. . ."
Suddenly, Tannah felt a sharp pain through the center of her chest. Looking down, she found blood flowing from where a spell wound had been inflicted.
"And you will soon join them, White Priestess," Rezo said, an evil tone filling his voice.
"Rezo, my husband, my love, why. . .?" Tannah breathed.
She collapsed as 'Rezo' took off the headband he was wearing. Beneath it was a shining gemstone. Yet, unlike the ones that adorned the phoenixes Netalia and Vrumugun, this one was round.
"Perhaps this will answer your question," grinned the priest. "I am not your beloved Rezo."
"A copy. . ." sobbed Tannah with what breath she could get. "Only a copy. . ."
Lina and Gourry stood in utter shock. Before them, Tannah was lying on the ground, her shoulder-length turquoise hair fanned around her face, her pale blue eyes closing. She was lying in a pool of her own blood, and blood was staining her pure white gown. A single tear fell down her cheek. The copy of Rezo was laughing, laughing at the dying priestess.
"You devil!" shouted Lina. "Even for a copy of Rezo, that was low!"
"Oh?" questioned Copy Rezo. "That was only the beginning. What use have I for the White Priestess? None."
"Perhaps you don't."
All heads, even that of the copy Rezo, lifted. On the top of the stairs stood none other than the real Red Priest. His brows furrowed and his ever closed eyes tightened.
"Well, if it isn't my predecessor," chuckled Copy Rezo. "Why don't you come down here and fight? Then, we'll see who is the better Red Priest."
"I suppose I'll oblige. I'm going to make you pay for what you did to my wife," growled the real Rezo, extremely angry.
He used Levitation, easily getting to the lower level. The two went at each other with the ferocity of wild animals as Lina and Gourry ran over to Tannah. Lina gently lifted Tannah's upper body, pressing her hand against the wound that went through to her back.
"God," whispered Lina, "it went all the way through."
"Will she make it?" asked Gourry.
Lina shrugged. From behind them, three figures were running in. Zelgadis, Zoey, and Nepha.
"Oh, my God!" cried Zoey. "Tannah!"
"What happened?" asked Zelgadis.
"You guys are alive!" Gourry exclaimed.
"Never mind that," snapped Zelgadis. "What happened to Tannah? Will she be all right?"
Lina looked down at the priestess, whose frail body was shaking hard. She was losing more blood by the second, and if they didn't stop the bleeding soon, she would surely die.
The two Rezos were still going at it. The real one, however, seemed to be fighting a losing battle against one that should be inferior!
"You see," the copy chuckled, "my power surpasses even yours. You may be the true Red Priest, but I was magically enhanced. I am even better than you used to be! Now, you will join your wife! Die!!"
Rezo suddenly felt something within him snap. He lowered his head a little, thinking of Tannah, thinking of what his copy had done to his beloved wife.
Everything he had known and loved was gone, taken from him, stolen away like a precious treasure everyone wanted.
With an almost tortured shout, he fought back with a viciousness he had never known himself to have before.
"Damn you!" he shouted. "First, you trick her! Then, you kill her! Tannah was innocent! You've killed an innocent woman, you bastard!!"
Lina's eyes were wide, as were the eyes of everyone else in the room. Never had they heard Rezo so upset, so angry. The copy itself was shocked, barely able to fight back against the true Red Priest's lightning quick attacks.
"I don't believe it!" he cried. "You can't win!"
"You are a creation of science!" growled the real Rezo angrily. "You can and will have the life that was given to you in that laboratory taken away!"
Rezo lifted his staff and hit the copy as hard as he possibly could, then struck it with a spell attack that completely disintegrated the impostor.
The epic battle over, Rezo fell to his knees for a moment, catching his breath in deep gasps.
"Rezo. . .?" Lina said softly.
Rezo finally forced himself to his feet and moved towards them. He knelt at Tannah's other side and gently took the priestess from Lina.
"Tannah. . ." he uttered quietly, lowering his forehead to hers. His lips brushed briefly across her cheek. "Tannah, don't die. . ."
Tannah's pale blue eyes opened a little.
"Rezo?" she asked in a barely audible whisper. "My husband, is it. . .really you?"
"Yes, Tannah," answered Rezo. "This time, it is me."
Tannah lifted her hand to Rezo's face, tears in her soft blue eyes.
"I knew. . .I knew you would never leave me. . ." she breathed, a smile crossing her lips, yet blood was staining the corner of her mouth.
Rezo noticed Tannah's hand was shaking, even as she laid it against his face. Gently, he pushed some of Tannah's thick hair out of her face and behind her ear. An angel, that was what she reminded him of. An angel in white.
"It's all right, my lady wife. We'll get you help," he told her softly, tears brimming his softly closed eyes. He lifted his head, facing his two grandchildren as well as Nepha, Lina, and Gourry. "We have to get her to Sairaag."
Everyone looked at each other.
"Can't we. . .just cast a healing spell on her?" asked Gourry.
"A healing spell won't work," Rezo sighed with a shake of his head. "She's too badly wounded. It would take someone in a shrine at Sairaag to heal her now. Jamar has left, and gone there to wait, so we can face him then." He kept his hand against Tannah's face, though her small hand had already fell. Lowering his face towards Tannah's, he spoke again. "Don't worry, my dearest Tannah. You'll be all right, I promise."
Tannah hadn't heard him speaking. Since he had mentioned the fact that the healing spell wouldn't work, she had slipped into deep unconsciousness, her small frail body still cradled in the caring arms of her husband, returned to her at last.
The journey to Sairaag was still long, and they still had to cross the Miasma Forest. Lina watched solemnly as Rezo lagged behind, carrying Tannah's lifeless body, which was still shivering. Though barely noticable, you could see the blood staining the priest's red cloak.
*Hang on, Tannah,* Lina thought to herself, and to the White Priestess. *For all our sakes.*
In the back of her mind, Lina almost heard Jamar's laughter.
Rezo's Legacy had been returned to its place, and the lab sealed once more.
Before they had left, they had given Eris a brief, yet deeply mourned, burial ceremony, next to the gravesite of the other three priests, Jiro, Ito, and Akira. Rezo had never looked so solemn.
She didn't know that Zelgadis, no matter how untrusting of his grandfather he had always been, was deep in his own thoughts about the matter.
*I always thought badly of you, Rezo, but I can't now, can I? You did save Tannah's life before, perhaps you can again,* he thought. *Everything I know, I credit to you, Tannah, and the other three priests for teaching me. I can't go on hating you forever. You may just have proved your worth. . .*
As he thought, he didn't notice Lina watching his midnight blue eyes, their depths unforgiving, not giving away even the slightest hint of emotion. She was unsure whether he was indifferent to the situation, but she was sure of one thing: they had to move faster. If not, the White Priestess would surely die. . .
Ohmigosh, things are getting bad! If we don't get to Sairaag soon, Tannah could die! This really sucks! She can't die, she's our best defense! Having the White Priestess on our side?! That's an upper hand! Wake up, Tannah, don't die!!
To Be Continued!
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