Aleeskandaro lay half naked atop of Virginia Falls, the calm ambiance and the occasional spring breeze while he played with the sand helped him keep his head within the realms of sanity. In reality, a great sense of loneliness and dissociation had made their way into his daily life...
He had finished all his daily tasks before it was even mid-day, his three outposts were safe, the spider’s reports from the 4 nations were as usual unexciting, the Masters’ of the Goo grounds were as prepared and fertile as they could ever be and there were no exceptional creatures to be spotted. Him and General Lee had made sure that the land be clean… to the point of queasiness. In brief, he had managed to lock himself into yet another afternoon with absolutely nothing to do.
His usual source of distraction, his Magnificent Giant Flask of Enemy tears had been dried out already five or six seasons ago, he wasn’t careful or judicious enough to account for his enemies’ all too sudden disappearance “…Such loudmouth cowards!” he thought, and a smile drew across his face as he realised they had acted the exact way he had foreseen they would… “it all comes down to the black sap… and bad leadership, I guess… I hoped they would prove me wrong…”, he ripped a Dandelion off the ground and watched closely as a slightly stronger breeze blew all seeds away … refreshing.
He had until now always relied on the majestic Virginia Falls when he needed an alternative source of distraction. This time was different, something had changed in the atmosphere…
Running steps in the distance started closing in every second. The sounds of waterfall, the breeze and the grunting Cuttlers he had earlier masterfully avoided made it difficult for him to properly distinguish what or whose they were... Yet soon enough, a slim figure materialised before him and any doubts were cleared. It was his former lover and now loyal servant Laelgia. Even after so many years of resigning her position as Karavan Priestess, she seemed ever as imposing, grandiose and graceful. However, her expression did not appeal him at all.
“I knew I would found you here, I am burdened to bring you sad news, sit down”… “this tone???” he thought to himself.
Concerned, he followed her direction. “What is it Lae, has any of our enemies been sighted? My tear flask has been empty for a while” he said, trying to ease the perceptible heavier mood, but Laelgia remained sovereign and determined, as was common of her.
“Lacuna is dead…” she looked him in the eye, a tear forming in her own and continued, “an anonymous Izam has delivered news that a lifeless body matching her description was found… Remains of a Purple drink would be dribbling out of her mouth as well as in a cup next to her corpse” she hesitates for a minute, closely examining Alee’s countenance, assessing whether she should stop, but his face just looked expressionless “I suppose you understand what this means, Alee. I think it is final”, she concluded.
The word echoed endlessly in his head, yet every time louder. Of course, he knew what it meant. Was it true though? Could it really be that Lacuna’s Seed of Life was blighted by something as mundane as Goo?... Laelgia had to be lying. But that was not usual of her… Many years ago, she had sworn unconditional loyalty to him, why would she ever lie? And about such a delicate matter?
No. It finally stroke him. A gelid current traversed his body cap-à-pie, freezing his every muscle fibre, he shivered quietly as something inside him broke, again. Why would Lacuna ever even do that? Had it been an accident? Had she been consuming Goo to cope? Had she overlooked what would happen? No. That was not the Lacuna he knew, she was the only mildly reasonable Fyrette all over Atys, wiser than most babbling Zoraï Sages, wiser than himself! No. This had been deliberate.
His mind drifted away to more joyful times. He was comforted by the sight of a mature White Chinchilla on her path to becoming the Great Serpent that she was always destined to be. Mely was finally ready. “Go, Mel, join them and fulfil your duty to yourself, you are now finally ready to hatch”, he remembered telling Mely as she approached him, concerned that he’d be mad if she kept hanging out with The Lost Girls. Of course, he wouldn’t, he had taught her everything he knew. He had seen her learn the intricacies of Magic, become a more avid digger than himself, he had taught her to combine materials into mind-blowing armors of war, and almost every Atys secret he took pride of knowing of, he had shared with her. He had also seen it in the stars, Mely was always meant for Grandiosity. He remembered how she had assigned herself the title of Serpent. He giggled in his mind, it all seemed so recent in spite of how many years had passed.
Mely, the White Chinchilla, turned into a Lost Girl. For a moment, he was happy to remember how much joy she had with her new sisters… He feared Marikka’s boytoy would be a bad influence for her, luckily time proved him wrong, as Marikka herself had (to his joy) disposed of him, his endeared Mel wouldn’t be corrupted... And her joining the Lost Girls clan allowed his own, the Arcane, to get a little closer to them, something he had always secretly desired...
Many a time, even before his awakening, he cooperated with them, the coordination and skill they displayed was always admirable. Especially Lacuna, she had a bright aura around her that inspired empowerment, her stances on males were akin to his own and he admired her like one does those one deems equal. Mely’s move had helped him get to know the mighty Lacuna a bit better and even sympathise with her cause, he would even often find himself supporting her craft endeavours with dappers, even when it was craftworks that he could have done himself, he is rich after all, and there’s no greater joy than helping a fellow marauder homina, especially one like Lacuna...
As he came back to reality, Laelgia sat before him, her ocean blue eyes penetrated directly into his soul and a tear escaped them as she witnessed Alee’s ever serene expression turn into untameable sadness. How many people had he lost now? Lamda, Eilvara, Elvanae, Mely, Lacuna and the list went on. Every loss ever as painful. And even though he had mastered the art of summoning some of his old companions, there was no replacement for their spontaneity, ideas and real presence. “These are dark times Lae, the world is full of sadness and sorrow”. He gave her a hug, unable to comfort her with anything other than silence and insight, and his tears escaped his own will to show himself strong.
... “Help me gather some things, Lae”…
They meet again at the Marauder camp entrance, “Did you bring everything I requested?” Laelgia handed him a Golden backpack. “Yes, it’s all in here.” He put one arm around Laelgia and rubbed his and her Crystals together and appeared suddenly in a much darker place. “Lac loved this place, Lae…”. They walk together towards the Mountain Bane, always marvelled at the beauty of the prime roots, so dark and yet full of life, and of course, precious creatures and materials.
They reached the Hall of the Mountain and Aleeskandaro started pulling items from the golden bag, a pile of Mekoo bones served him to start a fire, one flick of his Magic amplifier and the bones started burning with unseen intensity, the highly flammable character of Mektoub bones made them perfect fuel for long lasting campfires. He continued to pull other things off the bag, a book of recipes from Lacuna, which he had written without her permission, Mely’s sisterhood ring, a rubbarn weapon crafting tool, boosted Tekkorn-jen Sword, Maga-jen and Cheng-duk Amplifiers, he pulled some supreme Zun Amber from the ground and… “Lae did you bring that other thing I asked you to? That from Marceline?” “Yes, of course, I had it in my pocket, so I wouldn’t lose it on the way, you know, it’s so little after all…” she added the parts of Marceline on top of everything and it was all ready.
Alee sprung in the air and started casting a forgotten spell, one that he had long ago learnt from his royal relatives, and which allowed him to transport things into the Nothingness, the land of no-homin, where the souls of all those with blighted seeds of life went to. As the spell landed on the pile of things, they turned into glitter and vanished. He descended and watched as the fire illuminated up the Hall… He knew what a good hunter Lacuna was, he was certain she would find the stuff, rejoice with memories of better times and face whatever may come as fierce as she ever had…
The campfire remains to date as a memorial for a lost loved one.
In memory of Lacuna, a great Hunter and friend, may peace and comfort find you on the other side. Words can not fully express my sorrow. You will be missed.