The Guardians' Pendants (The Zor Chronicles Part I)
falls that spanned the
walls of the flaming mountain, reaching high over their heads.
Then, there came a frantic cry.
    “Ikani, look
out!”
    His attention shot
upwards. A mass of molten rock was hurtling down towards the two
Zor. Ikani had no time to think. However, there seemed to be a
deep-seated instinctual sense inside of him that propelled him to
reach for his sword. And so he did. He held it high over his head,
marveling as the molten mass suddenly stopped in mid-fall before
shooting towards them again. Ikani steadied his sword, wide-eyed
with marvel as his blade seemingly fused with the fiery object
itself as the rock vanished from sight. Nearly paralyzed with both
lingering panic and a sense of awe, Ikani, trembling still, managed
to hold his sword out before him. He marveled at its new look. It
was much larger in stature, with a long, flaming blade and a red
handle that felt as if it were meant for none other than his hand.
He lifted it upward then, captivated by its
near-weightlessness.
    “Incredible,” he
breathed, still awe-struck.
    “Maybe that’s what
lead us here after all,” Niru mused. “According to the educators of
Af’Lanu, Veha Guardians are said to have access to special tools
whose power only they can tap into.”
    Ikani, deep in
thought, said nothing in reply. Part of him was taken aback by the
sudden revelation that maybe – just maybe – he
was
worthy
of bearing the title of Veha. However, another part of his mind was
distraught by an emerging realization that his Pendant was more
than likely not guiding him to Oren after all, as it now lay limp
against his chest once more.
    Ikani shut his eyes,
breathing deeply. Then, readying his sword, he opened his eyes anew
and took a swing, sending a blast of fire energy hurtling towards
the near wall. The barrier between them and the outside world was
suddenly broken as light poured in through the newly formed exit
way. They were free.

Chapter VIII – A
Cold Welcoming

    Upon arriving back in
Af’One Village, Ikani and Niru had parted ways, both of them
returning to their dwellings to rest through the remainder of the
night that had fallen in their absence.
    “Farewell… Chosen
Veha,”
uttered a familiar
voice.
    Ikani’s eyes snapped
open. He was shocked to find that he was once again standing atop
the Tavar Tower. Standing before him was X, her towering figure
gazing enigmatically down upon him. Ikani turned his head, scanning
the rest of his surroundings. He was surprised to find Kaho, Lanaru
and Enoke all standing behind him.
    “Hey!” Ikani called in
their direction, waving. There was no response. Ikani hesitated,
lowering his hand and gazing curiously at the other Veha. Their
attention was turned the other way, and they all seemed to be deep
in conversation, laughing and enjoying themselves.
    Ikani spun around once
again, turning back towards X. As he did, he froze when he instead
found himself standing face to face with another figure, dressed in
all black, its shrouded face downturned towards the
ground.
    “Who are you?” Ikani
demanded, readying his sword.
    At that, the figure
began to laugh. Gradually, a great red aura began to appear from
around the mysterious stranger, growing outward and swallowing the
surrounding light as the skies above turned to darkness. Ikani
braced himself, but it was too late. The shadows had already
consumed him.
    Light quickly found
its way back into Ikani’s world, however, as he awoke to light
pouring in through his window. Still breathing heavily, he pulled
himself upwards and sat at the edge of his bed.
    “Must have been a
dream,” Ikani figured, wiping the sweat off of his brow and
releasing a sigh of relief.
    After making any
necessary preparations, Ikani peered out through the single window
of his hut. It was long after sunrise, and he had clearly slept
through the tolling of the miner’s bell. It was strange to Ikani
when he came to realize that this no longer mattered to him. His
life as a

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