Six elongated weeks passed on the open seas, travelling south with the coast of Africa left on the horizon, far away enough to ensure the masking of their presence. With winter falling upon Europe, Summer began to rise over southern Africa. Temperatures raised to unbearable heights once again, leaving the sailors to go about their work in a sluggish manner. Their tops left in their quarters in the attempt to cool down, but really exposing themselves to the sun even more, inducing the development of sunburn across their backs. The three explorers kept themselves in the shaded areas of the cabins, napping the long hot days away or talking amongst themselves about anything that came to mind. Anything to take their minds out of such a state of boredom, that was when a call from one of the sailors stated their arrival in Cape Town. Finally, they had reached land once again.
It was the same as before, the captain of the ship disappeared to negotiate prices for supplies from the local warehouses while the sailors jumped into action of performing maintenance on their ship, working has fast and hard as they could so they could retreat into the closest Inn they could find, alcohol and a bed was all they wanted now. At least this time, John decided to stick with the two explorers, following them over the gangplank and into the crowded streets of Cape Colony’s capital. There was a much more pleasing sight here than Gold Coast. The housing was more professionally built, hints of Dutch architecture standing out from the English control, attempting to take control of the Colony as before. The populace was much more civilised, garrisons were more lenient towards the people as every street screamed multiracial unity. The closest hotel proved to be promising, better beds, indoor bathrooms, proper running water. They could easily stay here for way more than the two nights than they planned.
Eventually, once the three had familiarised themselves with their rooms, they had decided to visit a local Inn for dinner and a few drinks, inviting Samuel to join them. It could be a good way to get on his good side, finally dispelling any tensions and hatred held between the two sides. There was no need to bring the spears, only small pistols carried by all four Englishmen. They had made it to the other side of the world now, there was no need to worry about any Spanish influence or attacks that could threaten the group, even crime would be quickly dealt with, especially due to the fact that the four were English. However…
“He has a spear,” Damien muttered to himself, all shock had left his body as if he was expecting such a scene to appear before him, he sounded more annoyed than surprised,
“Definitely one of those Mexican spears,” John confirmed, his tone of voice following the same patterns as Damien’s,
“What are you going on about?” Samuel had to break the cycle of reactions, left in the dark about these spears as he pointed to the dark-skinned man before him, dressed in simple burlap clothing which wrapped tightly around his massive, muscular stature. “It’s just a spear,”
Although it did look closer to a pike than a spear, there was no major defining features such as the spears the three explorers owned. The way it was designed, it seemed more like a custom-made spear, the end of the shaft split in two as it twisted around a large, hand-sized white orb before coming back together to allow the two-foot-long, blunt spearhead to stand. It seemed this man was well-known to the wrong kinds of people, shouting in a mixture of Dutch and Afrikaans as a small group attempted to assault the massive figure. There was no one around to stop this skirmish, where was the police? The garrison? And why is everyone just ignoring them? Was it simply a common thing? The questions had to go unanswered as the small attack ended as fast as it started, resulting in a pile of unconscious assailants with the spear user stood atop them. It all happened so fast, the explorers were simply left in awe.
That was when the large man noticed the group, staring at him with their mouths open, completely speechless at what they saw. John was the first to notice the glare thrown at the four, composing himself before he decided to take the initiative and step forward toward the man. His hand was extended, means to initiate a handshake as he attempted to introduce himself,
“Hello there, that was an amazing show you put off there. It’s nice to meet you.” A hospitable smile accompanied the well spoken words of the military captain, definitely a decent act to hide himself behind the barrier of ‘I’m English, so you can’t hurt me’.
However, this small act had proving itself useless as the man pointed the massive spearhead at John’s throat. The smile he was giving had already fallen to an awkward smile of fear, the hand still extended for some reason unknown to himself.
“Are you with those idiots too?” The man questioned with slightly broken English, his African accent standing out all too well which made it even harder to understand a word that was being spoken.
“You mean those guys?” John stuttered as he pointed at the pile of unconscious men, receiving an angered nod as a response, the spear pushed forward even further to hurry him up.
“No no no no no, we don’t have anything to do with those guys. We were just passing through and saw your little defensive show, there’s just a few questions my colleague wanted to ask,” The captain had completely lost his composure, talking fast with panic as he was left defenceless against some hostile native.
“You saw me?” The man mumbled to himself, his eyebrows fell into an expression of confusion as the spear seemed to be lowered a little, relieving a little tension from John as the other three began to slowly step forward. Suddenly, the spear was raised again, forcing John to flinch as his body completely tensed up. The rest of the group quickly drew their pistols and pointed them at the man, except for Garth, of course. “Why do you have weapons if you’re not with the group?” He ordered, almost shouting. Garth watched around, waiting to hear the loud screams of panic as the guns were drawn, ready to see the police run around the corner with their own weapons, ready to arrest the group, But there was nothing, no one seemed to react, in fact, it was like none of them could see the group. How could this happen?
“Hey, we have weapons as self-defence, we’re just stopping by to collect more supplies before we leave again.” Damien attempted to explain, speaking boldly as he stared down the barrel of his pistol, straight into the eyes of the spear user.
The man glared, he had no idea what to say as he continued to watch the group carefully, thinking hard about what to say before actually speaking, “So you’re not with that Spanish cunt?” He questioned, raising his spear to allow the bottom to rest against the ground, his body still left in a defensive stance, ready to strike at anyone who would attack him.
“Huh? No, we’re more trying to run away from some Spanish dudes, while also searching for some answers.” Damien couldn’t reveal too much, he would rather come across as a fugitive than a spear user. Anything to prevent word of their travels reaching unwanted ears.
“Why don’t people react to this?” Garth jumped in to the conversation, courageously wandering to stand before the giant man, looking up as he stared inquisitively at the man’s face, “It’s the spear isn’t it?”
That was Damien’s goal at hiding their presence gone, he was about to attempt to argue with Garth in the hopes to get him to understand, yet he was already silenced as the man replied with a small blow of hair through his nose,
“That’s right, I’m assuming you are a spear user yourself?”
Garth nodded in reply, ready to listen intently to the man’s explanation, only for him to turn away to begin walking away, “Come with me so we can talk in private, I don’t want to have any more annoyances tonight.”
The journey to Austria-Hungary was a silent one, passing through Switzerland to avoid any unwanted attention. Hugo took advantage of some status his family held, apparently high enough to remove the three’s identities from any recordings, there was even an order to stop sending reports to the Iberians’ boss. As if Hugo held no trust towards the man, wanting to act in secret perhaps to prevent any targets. After all, he used to work for the man, which means he managed to get out of his command, which is something that not many people managed to do, at least to their knowledge.
Although Gabrielo pushed the Frenchman to give out more information about the spears, silence was all that returned in reply. He refused to speak of the spears during the their travels, sleeping the days away without a care in the world. Actions which had slowly gotten on Gabrielo’s nerves as his curiosity reached a new peak, he had to know what makes the spears so complicated. What allowed Hugo to escape the Spanish influence, why they were travelling to Austria-Hungary.
It took just over a month, walking from town to town, village to village, hitch hiking whenever they could, sleeping in every settlement they arrived. Much longer than it should have been, all because of Hugo’s annoying needs for sleep. Finally, they had arrived, brought back from their wandering minds by Hugo’s sudden awakening. He called out to the two with some strange excited look on his face, refusing to wait for the cart to stop as he jumped out into the single lane dirt road. Massive Hungarian fields stretched as far as the eye could see, bright green grass and orange leaves filled the atmosphere with a mellow feeling as the colours contrasted perfectly with the slightly clouded skies. A lone cottage sat at the end of the road, smoke calmly dancing from the chimney, suggesting someone was present in the well-kept property.
“Alright, let’s get to work.” Hugo called out to the two as they finished pulling their small amounts of luggage from the cart, their spears unwrapped due to the orders given by the overly tired Frenchman.
“Can’t we put our stuff in our rooms first?” Gabrielo asked, eager to spend at least five minutes sitting in a comfortable seat, washing himself in clean water was also a goal to be fulfilled, only for his hopes to be smashed.
“What rooms?” Hugo questioned, genuinely confused at the Portuguese man’s words,
“Uh, the rooms there? That’s why you took us here, right?” He pointed towards the cottage, standing out from the rest of the scenery as if the materials used to build it were imported from the other side of the world,
“Huh? Non non non,” The Frenchman waved his hand side to side as he denied Gabrielo’s assumptions, “this is where the true journey starts, but we’ll have to spend a few days refining your skills here before we get started.”
“What the fuck do you mean ‘true journey’?” Matias questioned, his patience wearing thin,
“I mean exactly as I said, you want to get to Nanling, you need to learn how to use the spears. We will walk all the way to your destination, refining our natural instincts in the process as we all struggle to survive the harsh conditions.”
His patience had finally worn thin, as if something had clicked in his mind. Matias had dropped his luggage to wield his spear perfectly, not a single word was spoken as anger took full control of the body, lunging forward in the efforts to strike Hugo in the chest.
The sun slowly fell beneath the horizon of the Hungarian countryside, the skies painted in a myriad of red and orange shades stretching over the scene as if the world had been caught ablaze. A winter breeze slowly pushed against the dying foliage, pushing leaves and petals into the sky as plants fell into their momentary hibernation. The spear users had been gladly accepted into the strange cottage at the top of the hill, all sat around a wooden table, happily exchanging words between themselves as the inhabitants of the property, emptied plates sat before them as their cups were calmly refilled with alcohol or tea.
“Oh come on, Hugo, how could you tease them like that?” A young lady questioned, presumably the daughter of the old couple who sat around the table. She seemed to know Hugo personally, along with knowing his ‘habits’ as she refilled Hugo’s cup with more tea.
“Now now, I was simply testing the two.” Hugo replied calmly, he took a small sip of the tea only to panic a little at how hot it was, quickly lowering the cup to its saucer as he struggled to swallow to boiling drink.
“Like fuck were you testing us, bastard, you’re looking down on us!” Matias shouted back, his left arm held in a sling as a large bruise formed around his eye,
“I look down on those who don’t think, such as yourself.” Hugo replied with a smirk, anticipating Matias’ second attempt at assault, only to be pushed back in pain as Gabrielo lightly punched his damaged arm.
“Stop teasing him, Hugo!” The woman pouted as she slapped the Frenchman with a towel, forcing him to become more serious,
“Are we not going to speak of how Matias’ arm could be broken?” Gabrielo finally asked the real questions, showing concern for his partner, even when using the pain to his advantage in controlling the Spaniard.
“Nah he’ll be fine,” Hugo dismissed the question as he leaned back in his chair, taking a sip from his now cooled tea, “Hanna, is there any cigars?”
“I’m not giving you anything until you stop leaving your pupils in the dark, you lazy bastard.” The Hungarian woman replied calmly, her voice became more refined as she stood gracefully as a perfect example of a lady, despite her simple patch worked dress and double braided blonde hair, even a couple of teeth were missing from her mouth.
“Then I’ll let you do it, I’m going to bed.” Hugo gave up with his efforts for free tobacco, raising from the chair as he forced himself to finish his tea in one, burning the throat in the process. As he began to leave the room, he lightly patted the old woman on the shoulder, thanking her for supplying the three with some beds for the few nights they would stay here.
Hanna pouted even further, watching Hugo leave the room with a glare before sighing in defeat, “Alright, mum, dad, it’s bed time now.” The woman spoke even more calmly to her parents, assisting the two with standing from their seats as her father continuously struggled to hear what was being said. The Iberians were left in the kitchen for around ten minutes, sitting in silence as they knew that they would finally gain information about the spears, perhaps even some dirt on Hugo should he continue messing with them.
“Alright,” Hanna sighed as she dropped to a chair, leaning back in exhaustion before grabbing a glass of alcohol, “What do you need to know?”
The two turned to gaze at each other before returning their sights to the Hungarian, their expressions showed a mixture of confusion and inquisition, “Well I’d like to know how Matias will be fine with his damages,” Gabrielo started, hoping to dissolve his worries with a decent explanation, something expected from the kind woman who sat before them,
“Ah, that.” Hanna started, looking up to the ceiling as she thought of the words needed to explain, “You could say that spear users are semi-immortal, the breakage will fix overnight.”
The two’s eyes widened, such a blunt and brief explanation, a simple sentence that explained a complicated concept. Semi-immortality? How can that even be possible, all they’re using is some ancient Mexican spears. “You two look like you need a little more detail,” Hanna interrupted their thoughts, her words suggesting some kind of mind reading,
“How do you know all of this?” Gabrielo dodged the small statement with another question, an enquiry that would make sense to those new to this strange world. A young-looking girl knowing such information, even that small mention of immortality is enough to attract Europe’s governments into a war for the spears.
“Ah, that’s a good place to start.” She thought a little longer, mouthing Hungarian words as her mind attempted to find the correct Spanish translations, “According to Pagan belief, I’m a Shaman, or a Wiccan. To make it more simple, I’m a witch. Generations of knowledge and power passed down to now, my whole life devoted to learning more about this power, about the spears. And then teaching those who deserve to know.”
“I don’t believe you,” Matias added, still failing to belief all of this magical crap that comes hand in hand with the spears, they’re just weapons. Not some special magical wand or something,
“Well I can’t force you to, you’ll have to see how you arm feels tomorrow. Then you can decide whether you believe me or not.”
“So what is this power?” Gabrielo wanted to bring the explanations back into a working flow, a notebook was already being filled with word for word recordings on the information,
Hanna hummed, thinking some more, “For one thing, it’s called Ayna. I’ll give you a quick brief explanation on this power and the spears…”
In a tiny area in the chest, beneath the heart, lies a strange structure. A metaphysical structure which cannot be seen or felt with natural human senses, the Node. It is here that Ayna is generated as one of three forms. You could think of Ayna as the soul, the consciousness, it is the very essence of nature that grants humans the sentience and sapience they exhibit, it is the mind. Everyone has a node, everyone has Ayna, but only a select few has the conscious control of such power, this control ultimately being known as ‘Magic’. Have you ever seen a mother perform some superhuman abilities to save their child? A frail woman somehow holding the strength to lift giant burning beams to pull their daughter out of the burning home. That is the result of Ayna. The panic, the desperation, it is the subconscious access to this great power. Now imagine someone who can access this power at all times, super humans, witches, warlocks, spear users. That is the conscious control of Ayna.
As for the spears, they did not originate from Mexico. They originated from across the world in the ancient times, before history could be recorded. They were means of defence against a magical power that threatened humanity’s existence. Artificial Nodes. Designed as means to induce conscious control of our own nodes, a magical tool, a medium. They stabilise our mundane, fluctuating frequencies of Ayna, giving them a specific frequency, an affinity; the ability to master the elements. Of course, this meant that nature had to counteract such mastery. After all, it had to remain above everything. Demons appeared, each linked to its own elemental and mental affinity, the true creators of the world. Yet they had no idea about the great abilities of the ancient shamans, quickly entrapping the demons within these spears before genocide could take place. The artificial node had become a demonic node, which is present in the spears we know today. You have achieved semi-immortality because you are borrowing demonic Ayna, you are the demon’s host. You need to stay alive so they can continue to exist, healing you and maintaining a perfect health so they can eat your Ayna. However, there are some things that can’t be fixed. Death is a perfect example, but so is wounds caused by other spears, or fatal damage such as bullets. All that can be done then is the efforts to protect the body instead of healing it.
Spear users, those who have contracted with the demons, those who borrow their powers in order to improve their own. You all have to maintain the balance of existence, nature needs to stay on top of everything. Because, if humanity holds nature within it’s disgusting hands, it will be the end of everything. Each spear has a meaning, a prophecy, an interaction, and a controller. These dictate the works of nature, the events that occur, it maintains balance.
Samuel had decided to leave this one out, confused at the strange words the explorers had exchanged with this overly muscular native. He had no knowledge in what was being chased or what they were running away from, and he wanted to keep it that way. He entered the inn on his own where he could easily run in to some of his sailors, happy to join them in a drink, while also troubled by his constant thoughts of curiosity.
The explorers followed this dark-skinned man who had introduced himself as Alu, a well-known hero of Cape Town who had captured many criminals in the past. Alu lead the three through a maze of alleyways and streets, finally reaching the far end of the docks, an abandoned area. It was here where the four could talk in private without any annoying interruptions. Finally, Garth could gain some answers to the holes in his work, hopefully allowing his genius mind to figure out the entire mystery of these spears.
“So what is with your spear? How does it make everyone ignore you but not us?” Damien questioned for Garth, who was silently writing notes into his notebook, recording everything that took place around the group,
“This is the spear of light, symbolising knowledge. I simply alter the light around me and the immediate area to turn us invisible.” Alu began his explanation, sparking great interest in Garth’s eyes as he frantically noted everything down, his mind working overtime as tens or even hundreds of questions started to develop from this information alone. Things were starting to make sense, at least, for this situation that is. But, making sense of one situation can apply this knowledge to others.
“What do you mean about this symbolism?” Garth took over the questioning with his monotone voice, his eyes opened wide as he stared with great admiration for knowledge,
Alu simply sighed in reply, he was being pushed for questions which could severely compromise his own safety. Although, the way Garth is extremely interested suggests that he is not as knowledgeable in the subject, which then means that he can’t be a member of that Spanish group, or maybe a newbie, “Each spear has a prophecy, and this prophecy outlines a symbol of human nature. My spear symbols knowledge because it’s prophecy is to shed light onto the ignorant minds of my people, raising them into the bright world of understanding. Or something like that, I don’t know it word by word.” He explained, it’s not like this kind of information could affect him in any way, probably. “Do you mind if I ask a question?”
Garth nodded in response, finishing off his high-speed writing as blanks were filled and questions were answered.
“If you’re running from Spanish people, does that mean you’re running from the Illuminati? Do you have people trying to recruit you or at least take your spears? And what spears do you have? Why aren’t you holding them?” It was much more than one question, but they were all important questions that, when answered correctly, would allow Alu to trust the three explorers.
Since Garth was still silently scribbling into his notebook, Damien decided to take the answering into his hands, giving John a small tap with his elbow to tell him to join in, “We’ve never heard of the Illuminati before, if that’s the name of this group you keep mentioning, then perhaps we are running from the same people.” Damien began,
“That’s right, we’ve had two spear users try to take the spears from us. One of them spoke Spanish, so it does suggest they are linked with this group.” John answered the next question, moving on to the third and fourth almost instinctively, “We have the spears of Sound, Fire and Death. They aren’t with us because we don’t want to be seen carrying them, that’s why we have guns to protect us.”
Alu stood in shock, the three spears mentioned seemed to hold a more negative impact than a positive one. Something about them always seemed to instil fear into any one, but there was no explanation as to why. Thus, inciting a lot more questions to appear in Garth’s head, “Do you three know nothing of the spears? You need to keep them with you?” Alu questioned, apparently more shocked at the fact they don’t know about their spears than the fact that they use these specific spears.
“What? We never heard of that need before, why?” Garth questioned, his frantic noting had fallen to a pause as his face was left in confusion.
“You three are definitely not one of them, and I feel like I have to teach you the basics.” Alu sighed of both annoyance and relief, he was finally unguarded as his muscles relaxed, subconsciously glad to meet fellow spear users who shared the same threat of the Illuminati. “Take me to your spears, I’ll explain then.”
On the way to their hotel, Damien decided to take advantage of his acquaintance with someone who seemed to know a lot of the spears. He shared their stories, from the discovery of the temple all the way to the murderer in Gold Coast, giving as much information as he could remember in the efforts to gain some answers, hopefully it would give Alu enough kicker to know where to start with his explanation. The attempts were definitely successful, upon arrival to the hotel, the four gathered in Garth’s room with their spears, waiting a moment as Alu stared in awe at a rare congregation of so many spears.
“So, what’s the basics?” Damien broke the long silence, dragging Alu back into reality as he cleared his throat in an attempt to compose himself,
“Right, yes.” Alu coughed even more, struggling to get himself started, “For one thing, you three don’t need to worry about hiding the spears. Every day people, mundane people, can’t see the spears anyway. Wrapping them up in cloth will allow them to see it though, I’m not too sure why. The only reason some people can see the spears is because they are aware that they exist, something about ignorance or something.” The explanation made perfect sense to Garth, forcing him to hum in agreement, consistently nodding his head as the information was continuously noted down. Although, for the other two,
“That doesn’t make sense, how can you not see it even though it’s right in front of you?” John questioned, struggling to understand such an explanation,
“Let’s get an example,” Alu sighed, “You stand in the forest, what do you see?”
“Trees?” John answered,
“What am I supposed to say? There’s just trees, bushes, leaves, dirt, rocks and all that other crap in a forest.” John was growing impatient already, unaware of Garth’s and Damien’s stares as they easily understood what was going to be explained.
“Alright, and what if I said that this forest is home to blue parrots. What happens then?”
“Then-” John had finally come to understand, breaking his reply as he slapped his hands together as a conclusion of his understanding,
“That’s right, when you’re aware that something should be there, then you start to see it more. That’s basically how the spears work.”
“Then why do you need to alter light to turn invisible?” It was Damien’s turn to ask the questions,
“If a blue parrot flew in front of your face, then you learn that it exists. Basically, it’s to ensure people don’t see me using the spear.”
Garth nodded even further, noting the conversation down word for word as he decided to write down the explanation in his own words to make it easier to understand, using a different metaphor which could be applied to the English countryside.
“Now, Damien, that event you told me with the murderer. That wasn’t a coincidence.” Alu decided to change the subject, knowing that he had finally finished the beginning. “Lamps don’t just blow up randomly, it was your doing. I’m not saying you intentionally killed a man, I’m saying that your power, your usage of the spear of fire, it allowed you to alter the flame to answer your desperation. A subconscious action.”
Damien was left speechless, he couldn’t find a way to argue against it, especially with how this makes sense. He uses the spear of fire, he was trying his best to stop the man while also holding a grudge for attempting to kill him and Garth, of course the subconscious would want to stop the man dead or alive.
“Garth,” Alu turned to the silent man, still noting down the conversation frantically, his eyes nearly glowing his excitement of so much information. So much answers. “Have you been hearing things better? Do you make as much noise?”
Garth stopped what he was doing, slowly looking up to stare Alu in the eyes. This action was already proof that his assumption was correct, Garth started to speak less, his footsteps seemed to be more silent. And, of course, everything seemed to sound much louder, with sounds heard that could never be heard by normal people. The reaction was enough to answer Alu’s question, bringing a smirk across his face,
“That’s the power of the spear.”
“What about me?” John asked, eager to know about his connection with his own spear, the spear of death, a few thoughts had crossed his mind. Perhaps linking to his patriotic personality, or his over average combat abilities.
“You’re dodging places that will include forced death, refusing to go into Gold Coast because you felt uneasy about it. You knew something bad was going to happen, and you need to act on these feelings if you want to stop people from suffering, or kill those who force others to suffer. It’s your choice either way.”
That wasn’t the explanation John was looking for, it was much darker than he had expected. He felt at fault for leaving the two fight the murderer without him now, perhaps he could have stopped the whole event from happening without any problems. Or even prevented Harold’s death. No, that was before he wielded the spear, he had no control then.
The room had fallen to silence as the three explorers became lost in thought, their true natures beginning to be understood, slight or major personality changes all because of these spears. Something that seemed like magic, the three could use magic? Were they wizards now? The spears being a wizard’s staff perhaps. The silence seemed to go on for hours, not a single sound could be heard from anywhere. That was, until Alu broke the silence with his final words,
“I’m not going to tell you three any more. Now that you’ve told me about your small adventure and search for understanding, I’ll leave you to it.” He explained, picking up his spear he had left leaning against the wall before walking to the door, “I suggest you three leave tomorrow before the Illuminati learn of your presence. It was a bad choice to travel this way to escape.”
Just as he opened the door, a single foot placed outside of the room, Damien called back to the giant man, “Why don’t you join us?” He asked, offering a place on the Expedite, a chance to learn more about the spears in China. Means to understand their powers even further to ultimately improve themselves.
“I can’t do that,” Alu walked out of the room, his head turned to the side in order to look back at the three, “The people of Cape Town need me to protect them, and I want to make sure I shed light on the entire colony.” With those words, he disappeared, using the powers of the Spear of Light to bend light around him, rendering himself invisible to the group. Although, it did take a lot of effort to ensure the group couldn’t see through his powers as they did before, something no other spear user could do…