CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE

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Faeron sat next to Marcus, still shocked that Elise had been taken. The walls crumbled around him. He felt an empty pit in the bottom of his stomach. He had failed again. How stupid of him to think she was protected by her own spell. He was more angered with himself than he had ever been. He was angrier than when he found out his Masters were keeping his truth from him, and angrier than the day he was sent away from his people. He had never wanted any of this.

Yet he knew now what he did want. He wanted her. He had tried to follow Elise's essence the same way he had done to reach her here in the Scourge, but it was blocked. Whatever the Usurper had done with her had broken the link between them.

Marcus stirred. Faeron broke him free and whisked him quickly outside just as the caverns imploded into a pile of dust.

"Come on, old man, we've got to get you home."

"No," Marcus faintly argued. He put a hand on Faeron's shoulder to back him away and keep him from helping any further. "No, my Lord, you mustn't."

"I am no Lord to you. Now get up, man. Elise was here for you, now I am here for you. Let us go." He grabbed Marcus arm and the old man tried to pull away again. Faeron held firm.

"No. I won't. I..." The Chancellor was in pain. Broken bones riddled his body. It would be an easy fix for Faeron if the man would quit being so stubborn.

"I can help you." Faeron placed both his hands on Marcus and a light emanated from them and surrounded him. His bones, his flesh, all returned to their natural state.

When he let him go, Marcus looked young again; refreshed, healthy.

"Thank you, my Lord. I do, I thank you."

"I am not a Lord."

"Oh, but yes you are. You are Warden. Now, you are Primordial. Please, you must listen to me and do as I ask."

"Yes, Chancellor Thane, what is it?"

"You must return to Bolster, alone."

"Bolster? I thought you'd all be leagues away from there by now."

"No, no, just me. The Shuck brought me here. I can only assume that is where Elise preformed the Spirit Walk. It is where we were last together. Listen, Faeron, Elise is the key. You must go to Avos and find her together. She is important, to both of you."

"I know what Elise is. I know what must be done. Come, if we can get to.."

"No, you have to go alone. I have work to do. I must see Avos resurrected." Marcus stood and began looking through his cloak for something, patting himself down.

"I can help you, be still. Let's think this through"

Marcus looked up at Fareon again, measuring him. "Perhaps you can help..." he paused and took a deep breath and let it out slowly by nodding his head. "You can help. I know you can. You can help, if you think you can put an end to me." Marcus grunted as he stood up a little straighter. "Do it quickly, do it now."

"What! You're mad." Faeron laughed but quickly got angry. "Elise may have just gotten herself killed trying to save you! I'm not about to let you kill yourself, let alone be the one to slit your throat. You've absolutely gone insane."

"Then you must leave me here so I can do it myself!" Marcus tried to push the elf back but it was like trying to push a wall. "It's the only way, Faeron, the only way. These creatures of the dark held me hostage because they wanted me alive! They did not want my successor to be raised! I must die. If you are to help Avos get Elise back, you must kill me now. Avos will become the Rain Maker and together you can find Elise, find the others like you and defeat The Great Dark. It's the only way."

Faeron did not like this plan at all, but as soon as the words left Marcus' lips, he knew he was right. If Marcus' captors were so intent on keeping him alive, Faeron knew the only way to ensure their defeat was to kill him, especially if it allowed Avos to be raised. He then remembered what his Masters had told him; that all the Primordials needed to come together if they were to defeat the Great Dark once again and save the planet. He thought of Elise and that demon witch who took her away. He knew he would need as much help as possible if he was going to get her back and unite all the Primordials.

"Ok then, I'll do it." Faeron offered his arm to Marcus to seal the deal. This time Marcus accepted it.

They held each others forearms for a moment and looked towards the West, the sky bloomed with pink and orange clouds and the haze of the sun could still be seen peaking from behind them. The rusted landscape of the Scourge looked peaceful, softer somehow in the sun's dismissal.

"Is there anything you want to do before this gets done then?"

Marcus turned and looked to Faeron. He didn't speak at first, just looked him over, proud to have been able to see one last Primordial be resurrected before his days were done. He thought then of Avos. A hint of regret seeped up within him at not being able to say goodbye. But he knew that in doing this, Avos would go on to be someone great, someone heroic. With that in mind, he was not afraid to let go. He had seen lifetimes of what the world could be. He had seen people crawl out from ashes and build great cities. He had seen life and death, war and peace, fear and hope. But he was done. He was ready to die and give it all to Avos.

"No, I..." and before Marcus finished, Faeron took his sword and pierced him straight through the heart. His aim was clean. Marcus keeled over and grabbed hold of Faeron. He was nodding and smiling as Faeron gently layed him on the ground.

"Thank you," Marcus said softly.

Faeron watched complacently as the life left the old man's eyes. Of all the centuries Marcus had lived, it only took one strong aim to end it all.

Faeron felt grief for only a moment. It quickly turned to guilt and an anticipation to get to Avos, but he wanted to give Marcus a proper sending to the Light. With his new powers, it didn't take him long to build a pyre of stone. With his mind, he was able to pull the ground up and out from beneath him. He gathered what wood he could to help the burn, and lit Marcus' body aflame with a flint and stone.

He stayed and watched the fire burn until it was almost out. He collected some of the ashes of the man he just killed in an old leather pouch and headed east. With no link to carry him through the ethers, he'd have to find the closest group of trees to travel to Bolster.

He walked only moments before stopping short. An idea sparked in his mind. He wasn't even sure if it would be possible, but how could he know without trying.

He kneeled down on the barren ground of the Scorge and delved into the Valterra's essence. The ground rumbled and shook and the orange dust and rock that made up the Scourge began to darken and turn to dirt. Fresh soil bubbled up from below. Soon grass began to sprout up underneath and all around him.

Suddenly, Faeron was knocked out of the way by a huge trunk breaking up and out of the ground. He looked around, and for leagues, trees sprouted up from below the earth. Barren at first, but they soon sprouted leaves and became lush, green and alive.

Faeron yelled in victory! He got up and screamed in relief and laughed in joy. How wonderful it had felt, connected to the earth. How powerful he felt, creating life.

He dusted himself off and walked over to the closest tree and clutched it. He closed his eyes and whispered, "Until then."

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