”Dr. Agula, I have noticed some irregular brain waves in the Arkane, hes regaining consciousness. ”
”Dose him with the strongest sedative, we cannot have him wake. ” Dr. Agula replied.
”Yes sir, but you must understand that sedatives might not work on him. Over the years we have had to change the contents of the sedative to keep him asleep. The new serum will not work for much longer and we have yet to develop anything stronger that will not kill the Arkane. ”
Dr. Agula snatched the scientist by the lapels of her lab coat and snarled, ”I do not care what it takes, the Arkane must not be allowed to awaken. If it is eternal sleep so be it, better a dead Arkane then one awake who realizes that his Grimoire is gone. ”
The scientist gently pried Dr. Agulas hands from her lapels and said, ”I understand sir. ”
Dr. Agula peered through the thick lazar-proof glass into the bright white room in which the Arkane lay strapped to a medical table, dormant.
Gods look at him, he thought, hes magnificent.
He had been extremely fortunate that he captured the Arkane and what a specimen he was. Usually, it was nearly impossible to capture an Arkane or a Grimoire given as it is extremely rare to find them separated. The Arkane which lay before him had done something foolish, he had done something to make his Grimoire leave. Without a Grimoire, an Arkane cannot use his powers. Even though he was powerless now, it did not impede the fact that he was still essential to Pendulum and the continued growth of the human race.
It never ceased to amaze Dr. Agula that something so foreign and mysterious could appear human. The creature that lay in a drug-induced sleep could have fooled anyone, including himself. The Arkane looked like a regular male in his late twenties, topping off at 6 9 ”, he was quite taller than human males. His muscles were denser, making him ten times stronger.
The Arkanes skin was much darker than the pale humans who have not seen the sky in centuries. Although most bathed in the lights of artificial suns, their tans seemed fake in comparison. Never had he seen such an olive hue. The only physical aspect that differed from humans was the color of their eyes. Their eyes were always such a bright and intense hue that they glowed.
This particular Arkane had such livid green eyes and made all cringe who looked straight into their orbs. Though during his research, he had only seen the eyes a handful of times. The facility was more interested in the Arkanes skin, blood and mana, than the reason behind glowing eyes.
Though they captured the Arkane nearly twenty-six years ago, they still did not know what his face looked like. A top his countenance sat a paper-thin white mask; it obscured most of his mien except for his eyes, lower lip and chin. Five-inch, thick lengths of fabric flowed from the top of the mask.
By feel, the fabric was silk but it remained impervious to every attempt to destroy it. The strips of material were six feet long and filled with arcane script, symbols and glyphs, which all seemed to flow upwards into the face of the mask.
Underneath the mask flowed crimson hair, they had cut and shaved his hair so many times, it did not matter now; it grew back impervious to their ministrations. They now kept it tied back in an elegant french braid sitting between his shoulder blades.
Every method they had tried to remove the mask failed. There were many mysteries behind the mask but one fact was for certain, such an object could only be the Arkanes Athamè.
An Athamè is an Arkanes or Grimoires weapon. The Athamè was much more mysterious, they have never had the chance to observe the weapon in action, their function remained completely foreign.
Suddenly, the high-pitched wail of a machine broke through Dr. Agulas thoughts, dozens of white coat scientists scurried to decipher the problem.
”Dr. Agula! ” a panicked voice called. A scientist ran up to him, he recognized her as the same woman he had talked to minutes before. He took a moment to glance at the name tag.
”What is it, Dr.Harper? ”
”The Arkanes heart has flatlined. ”
”How unfortunate. Prepare the body for preservation, he may be dead but he is still valuable. ”
”Of course. ” With that said, she spun so sharply that the long coil of her braid whipped fiercely striking his cheek with surprising ferocity. It would leave a mark.
At any other moment he would have demanded an apology and issued a punishment, now was not the time especially with a dead Arkane in his section. As Dr. Harpers sharp heels ran towards her station barking orders along the way, he realized her braid would attack her comrades as she passed by. She seemed completely oblivious to the fact that she was literally putting their backs to the whip; he noticed none of the scientists hit with the coil of her hair reacted, even one who had been struck in the eye.
They were either used to it or too focused on the task at hand to register the pain. Both thoughts caused sivers to dance on his palms.
As suddenly as the alarms began, they ceased. The room became a din of confused murmurs while the doctors scuttled even faster to decipher the problem.
”What is it now? ” he demanded.
As soon as a doctor opened his mouth to respond, a brilliant flash of emerald light blinded the workers, including Dr. Agula.
A cacophony of shouts filled the room and every single person raised their arms in unison to blockade the light.
Dr. Harper was the first to react. ”Shut off the power before he blows it. ”
Instead of waiting for her commands to be issued, she ran to the main wall and pulled the two main power switches. A loud whoosh ensued when the generators powered down. The machines and computers flickered as their life was cut.
Though the lights were off, the scientists still had means in which to see, the Arkane himself glowed with emerald light. He sat straight from his table and easily snapped his restraints like they were made of fine glass, not of steel.
Dr. Aguls eyes widened as the Arkane snapped his ankle restraints, stood and flexed his stiff muscles.
The Arkane had been nude during his entire captivity but he had not been intimidating. Now that the Arkane had awakened and stood at his full six foot and nine inches, the man was terrifying indeed.
Dr. Agula knew the look and feel of mana use, this Arkane should not have been able to access it. Mana, the magical source which flows in all beings, only Arkanes and Grimoires were able to access it without the use of a mana stone.
The Arkane took a few steps towards the glass, raised his left hand to his face and placed it on the mask he wore. The material seemed to float off his mien and towards his hand. The Arkane then placed the mask upon the air before him. It hovered shoulder height, then the Arkane punched his right hand forward into the backside of the mask.
The mask did not falter; instead, his arm disappeared into its depths. When his arm retracted, it pulled fabric from the base of the domino. The Arkane immediately donned them. The black and crimson chequered cloth flowed about him before settling upon his shoulders. He tucked the right side underneath the left in a robe-like manner; then tied a crimson cloth about his waist.
”Where is she? ” he asked, voice soft and sleepy but resonated throughout the room. Every person shivered and they fought the urge to yawn.
”Dr. Harper! What is going on? He should not be able to use mana! ”
”I told you sir that the serum may not continue to work on him. I do not know why he can use mana, he should not be able to without his Grimoire. ”
The Arkane took another step and once again placed the mask before him; robes billowing in an unseen wind. He placed his hand atop the glass and said ”Release me. ”
Dr. Agula, finding the courage, took a step forward and said, ”As if I would release you, it took us far too long to capture you. What makes you think that we would let you go so easily? ”
”Then you leave me no choice. ” The Arkane replied, his soft, sleepy voice causing bones to tremble. He withdrew his hand and placed it atop the mask and intoned, ”In the name of fear I call upon you Horned Hound of Hell! ”
Dr. Harper, recognizing the danger dashed towards Dr. Agula, pushing every other body out of the way.
”Get down! ” she cried in her wake.
The room which contained the Arkane burst into mauveine light. Where the mask once floated now stood a large dog made of fire, with long horns atop his head. The creature growled with fangs bared, low and menacing; then howled, piercing the ears of all who heard it. The scientists clapped their hands over their offended appendages and shivered in fear.
”The Arkane possesses his Grimoires Athamè. ” Dr. Harper cried.
”Impossible. ” said Dr. Agula, ”There have been no recorded cases in which an Arkane can possess Athamè. ”
”Well make this the first; just take a look at the mana color. Also, Arkanes can summon. ”
She was right, as a general rule Arkanes only had green or blue mana; Grimoires only had purple or black and could summon creatures from the Beyond just as the Arkane had.
The Arkane took another step towards the glass, ”The second chance. Where is my Grimoire? ”
The horned hound howled, emphasizing his question.
Dr. Agula threw his hands forward and said, ”Please, we do not have her! ”
The Arkane did not say anything, instead, he pointed towards the glass. The horned hound dashed forward and broke the glass with his forepaws and let a howl which made the listeners cower in their positions. The fine shards showered over them, slicing their skin with slender slivers of ceramic.
Dr. Harper scrawled forward, scraping hands and knees upon the concrete, ”Please. ” she cried, ”Spare them, they have done no ill towards you! ”
”Oh, no ill you say? ” The Arcane crawled through the broken windows, seemingly impervious to the knife shards that littered the ground. ”Have you said that they meant no ill? They have butchered my hair, sliced my skin, gouged my eyes and spliced my cells. Yet, you do not mean me any harm? How dare you speak of such things! If I were to do the same to you, you would have called me a monster. You experiment on me like a thing, a thing which possesses naught a feeling nor a blessing. But you, don cause me ill. You take from me. You will take no longer. ”
He turned towards Dr. Harper and whispered, ”You, you who have spoken to me in my frozen slumber. You, you who have encouraged me. You, you who have known that I have been awake in my appeared sleep. You, you will be spared. ”
He raised his left hand and the wolf howled once again. ”Tremble. ” he whispered, ”Sleep in your waking fear. Be grateful that I am not a death Grimoire and your sleep will not be eternal. ”
In a swift motion, his left hand swiped down bringing with it the chime of bells.
”Sleep, ” he said.
The wolf howled, bringing with it the call of slumber. Everyone who heard it dropped to the floor; except Dr. Harper. The Arkane stepped up to Dr. Harper and placed his forefinger upon her right temple, then trailed it down towards the right corner of her mouth.
His thumb stroked the curve of her bottom lip and he said, ”I thank you. You gave me hope when