An account of incidences regarding the Harmonian National Policy regarding obtaining True Runes.
April 18, 2008
An Untainted Consort of Tempest: Prologue
Her silence always unnerved him.
Even before he became a Bishop of Holy Harmonia, Lord Yohan Treun had survived through garish battles that would rattle reduce even the most seasoned veteran into a crying baby. His reputation was founded on his steel will and unwavering composure in the heat of battle. All the major decisions he’s made for the glory of Holy Harmonia in his lifetime were calculated and fair. And were always met with approval and respect by his peers. He could confidently say with firm will and resolve that he has never regretted or doubted his judgments. However, none of honors or valor or strong will he demonstrated in his decorated military past mattered whenever he was in this room.
He never liked this room.
The air always felt heavy. It was almost like the electric humidity one feels just before a thunderstorm. Even though his magical abilities were less than desirable compared to the other Bishops of the Council, he was still able to sense it. The muted power of the Absolute One’s presence hung heavily despite the charms and barriers weaved within the walls of the receiving chamber to protect its occupants.
That was the reason why her presence always soothed him. She was almost like the fresh smell of earth after a heavy torrent of rain. Then again, that was the nature of the Bride of Tempest.
But her silence always unnerved him.
Her image was hazy, almost dreamlike. She was clothed in the traditional ceremonial Bishop ensemble. Her headgear veiling her features, her robes making her physique just as indistinguishable as she stood in the middle of the receiving room, resembling a phantom from a half-forgotten memory.
To be quite honest, he didn’t really know what she really looked like. For all he know, what she appears to be was simply as how his mind ideally perceived her. Yet, he always imagined the color of her eyes to be like that of the clear summer sky to accompany what he could make out from the shadowed features of her serene face. He believed she had long tresses tucked underneath her veil from the strands of gold that would sometimes manage to escape from its bonds. Though, it struck him as rather odd. Keeping her hair long, that is. After all, legend stated that she turned her back on her own femininity to better serve the Absolute One.
Then again, that was the problem with legends. Though based on truth, they weren’t necessarily real.
Those within the Temple knew the truth behind her immortality was a mere farce. Her title survived through the annals of Holy Harmonia’s history long after her true death. The handful of ‘incarnations’, which acted under her name in the past, willingly sacrificed their own identities in exchange of hers… but none of them as ambitious as what was to happen.
“So it is to be done,” She finally spoke, though her voice was quiet and almost an inaudible whisper, it rang loud and clear as if she was directly speaking into his mind.
Yet another thing about her that rattled him.
“Yes,” Bishop Yohan replied with a slight nod. “Two are expected to survive.”
“Two?” She lifted her chin slightly at his reply. Though all he could see was her unsmiling full lips underneath the shadow of her silhouetted features, he could tell that she was surprised by the news.
“Are you not happy?” Yohan inquired, noting her reaction with interest.
“It is His will,” Was her simple uncommitted reply.
“But the fact that two was expected to survive displeases you,” Yohan pushed on, his curiosity getting the better of him.
“It will complicate matters. He should be allowed to rest.” She once again answered. “The Wind will refuse to be tamed.”
“Is it truly that, or…” Yohan continued on. “Are you afraid that the vessel will inherit your memories?”
She didn’t respond. Instead, her lips uncharacteristically turned into a thin line and he realized that he might have pushed too far.
Yohan bowed his head placidly. “Forgive me. I simply wished to understand why the Bride of Tempest would be unhappy with His will.”
Still she didn’t respond. She simply stood there, her full lips, thin and unsmiling with displeasure...
…with her silence that unnerved him.
All at once he wished he never asked the question. This wasn’t how he imagined this moment was going to end. When he made the resolve to see her for the final time, he didn’t expect their last exchange to make her unhappy. Something deep inside him wanted things to remain exactly as they were… constant and unchanging like the power that made it possible for him to see her. Even though, as he personally suspected, she was merely a fragment of His own memories.
Why He chose her to be His oracle was just as mysterious to why he was chosen to be hers.
It was ridiculous.
Imagine, a common soldier like him with mediocre magical abilities, chosen to be the one to receive her message when she summons to let His will be known. To have her whisper His will in his mind. He was in not in any means a young man anymore. He was already set on his habits and ways. He was reluctant to give up his decorated position in active military duty so he could act as some sort of messenger boy… even if they were important messages from the Absolute One.
But that was until he met her.
Before he knew it, and despite all his efforts to prevent it, he had grown to love her… perhaps as much as his love for the glory of Holy Harmonia, if not greater. It was fortunate that he was no longer young and naïve who would easily fall victim to the affairs of the heart. Nonetheless, it didn’t make their parting any less painful.
“Those meant to be born mortal should not be imprisoned in a life of immortality before they even have the will the choose,” She finally spoke after a long pause of silence. But there was something uncharacteristic in the intensity of her voice, almost as if she was finally speaking after being kept silent for the longest time, that forced him to look back at her. “And the dead should be allowed to rest underneath Earth’s cold embrace.”
He held back a gasp of surprise as he realized that he was staring at her unhindered eyes for the first time. They were not blue as the clear sky as he imagined. They were bright and an almost luminous green. It was the invigorating hue of spring in the mountainous countryside just before the wildflowers goes in full bloom. There was something about how her eyes pieced into yours that forced you to look away, lest she reads the secrets hidden in the deepest recesses of your mind. He wanted to look away, tortured between feeling pained and feeling grateful to have the chance to see them once. But he couldn’t even if he wanted to. There was something about her eyes that drew him in like he was falling into a hypnotic trance.
“But this is his will,” She stated, her voice quiet and humble once again, as she bowed her head, immediately breaking the spell.
“Yes,” Yohan cleared his throat, before continuing. “But… The vessels… they will be yours as much as they are His. I will make sure that they are cared for.”
Once again, his words were met silence. But she did lift her head once again as if to look at him. This time, Yohan didn’t hold back his sharp intake of breath at the sight. Her full lips curved into a semblance of what might have been a smile that was reflected in those bright green eyes. As if she was silently showing her gratefulness… or looking amused at his foolish notion. But before his mind could confirm that what he saw was not his imagination, the image of His memory of her blinked to nothingness, as if she was never even there.
It was done.
And once again, came the unnerving silence. This time, it was accompanied by indescribable grief. He instinctively reached out with his mind in the silence as he had done many times in the past, but he could no longer sense her presence. All that was left was the heaviness of the uncomfortably humid storm-predicting air.
Followed by an explosion.
The Bishop felt his heart leap into his throat, as he immediately knew where the sound came from.
Pushing his personal feelings aside, the Bishop rushed towards the direction of the sound, his own doubts and reservations about this endeavor suddenly resurfaced to his consciousness.
“Is the Palace under attack?”
“It’s from the laboratories.”
“What’s going on?”
“Where are the guards?”
“Stand by for potential evacuations.”
It was never a secret that was Harmonia main goal was to retrieve all the True Runes. Retaining the True Runes within Harmonia, however, was another story all together since the wills of the True Runes were unpredictable. They had that fiasco with the Beast Rune that the Bride of Tempest of that time had to step in and resolve. Hikusaak’s influence and teachings had attracted many peoples’ sympathies as the Empire’s borders widened throughout the years. Some of these sympathizers wielded True Runes like Harmonia’s absolute ruler. But there was never any guarantee that the human wills that controlled the True Runes would remain loyal to Harmonia despite gaining their sympathy.
Thus came the story of rise and fall of Holy Harmonia’s Five Holy Bishops when the young country was taking its first steps as a nation. Holy Harmonia’s Five Holy Bishops, The Five Harmonian Generals of Death… five True Rune bearers who shared and supported The Absolute One’s dream of a One Strong Nation. Unfortunately, like most legends, there was very little evidence of their historical existence. Those that survived documentation were stemmed from oral traditions of lost peoples and civilizations absorbed within Holy Harmonia. Even if those Five lived, their true names were now forever lost from the passage of time even though their legacy became what was now known as Holy Harmonia’s national policy.
This was the only answer. It wasn’t anything new, either. It was considered once or twice in the past. It was simply never pursued since the idea behind it was abominable. Even though it was a logical course of action, even the nobles will not stand for it, more so if it reaches the ears of the common people. Of course, the loss of the True Fire Rune in the hands of the Fire Bringer terrorists started to sway opinions within the Council.
It was no longer a debate of ideals, ethics and morality. It was now a necessity to ensure Harmonia’s national security. It was their responsibility to do what needed to be done for national security… even if it meant keeping everyone but a selected few completely in the dark. They need not worry about such matters anyway.
However, seeing the flurry of activity as Temple Guards and Priests scurried about in the decimated grounds that used to be one of the Circle Palace laboratories was almost enough to leave him wondering if they did, in fact, make the right decision. It was almost as if a hurricane… a tornado ravaged the entire area. The mages’ chants were almost a low hum as they finished a protective barrier that prevented the laboratory’s structure from collapsing under them, while Temple Guards and healers rushed about to attend to the injured. From the organized chaos, it would appear that he was the first high ranking official to appear.
He recognized the boy as one of apprentices assisting with the project. “What happened?”
The boy’s eyes widened in horror as he recognized the older man, “S-sir! E-every thing’s under co---”
Yohan glared at him in fury, causing the boy to flinch. “Where is your master?”
The boy simply stared back at him, speechlessly. The Bishop gave the young man another disgusted look before venturing forward. He found the man he was searching being tended to for a head wound by his aide, but otherwise looked relatively healthy. The other man waved away for the medic to give them privacy as Yohan moved closer.
“Brudair…” Yohan stared at the older man’s bloodied uniform in concern.
“It’s just a scratch. Iain already healed it with his rune.” The mage waved his hand dismissively. He looked at their surroundings and sighed. “It seems that we may have bitten off more than we could chew again. The Wind was able to break through the binding spells. We were barely able to repress it.”
“… … …”
“The first was successful, perhaps that’s why we got a little careless with the second,” Brudair interrupted. “Worry not, old friend. This may look bad, but both survived and are being tended to.”
“The second may be unstable,” The mage replied flatly. “We were barely to restrain its power. The will of the Wind is more… volatile. The vessel might not be strong enough to contain it.”
/The Wind will refuse to be tamed./ Her voice whispered breathlessly in his head, almost with a hint of amusement.
Yohan frowned at the disturbing news. Even though the project had The Absolute One’s blessing, it would not bode well to the public if word came out that they have not only secretly desecrated a hold vessel, but created a potential threat as well. The Guild would be waiting for such a misstep to make their move.
“Dispose of it,” Yohan replied bluntly.
Brudair gaped at him, not believing what the Bishop just ordered. “D-Dispose… We can’t! It may just be a vessel, but it was… it STILL is a holy relic. You know how long it took to get to this stage! You can’t!”
“Then what do you suggest? Wait until the binding spell fades and allow what we created to bring certain destruction to everything He worked for?” Yohan stated stoically. “It’s of no use if its power that can’t be contained.”
“You mean if its power that can’t be controlled,” Brudair muttered bitterly. “Say what you will, but even the Guild will not dare stain their hands destroying something of holy significance. If you wish to destroy the second, you’ll have to do it yourself.”
Yohan clenched his jaw at the idea. As hardened a military man as he was, there was no way he could do that. Especially not after making a promise to her. “Very well then, take care of this situation as you see fit. Just make sure that this problem is contained until acquiring a new vessel is deemed suitable.”
The mage bowed his head as the Bishop turned on his heels and walked away. And as Yohan Treun left the chaos behind him and eventually found himself back in the empty room he came from. With the knowledge that she would never appear before him from then on seemed to have caused the will of the Absolute One’s rune to make His presence even more felt. The silence remained, it felt sad to the point of almost heartbreaking… though it no longer unnerved him.
For the first time in his life, Yohan Treun started to regret…
(End of prologue)
(To be continued)
This one’s going to be tough. I labeled it as a prologue, not knowing if it is going to reach its eventual end. (Though, yeah, this story is already drafted… getting to the end of my outline as planned is another story by itself!)
This angle is about my personal theory about Harmonian politics re: it’s national policy about retrieving and containing the True Runes. With the exceptions of references to canon characters, events and locations from the Suikouniverse, this story is entirely made up. I know, Ina-chan doesn’t normally use OC as main characters. But since this story is not canon, and not intended to be such, I thought it may be more fitting to make the central character a made up OC.
Bishop Yohan, if you haven’t guessed yet from my past Sasarai-related fics, is Sasarai’s predecessor as Head of the Harmonian Temple Council. I suppose, in a manner of speaking, he was also Sasarai’s father figure growing up… though he didn’t directly raise him, just in case you’re wondering. Since the Bishops (in this fic, it’s the Harmonian Temple Council) are making decisions for Hikusaak, it only made sense that one of them acted as a “direct link” to him as Sasarai is implied to be now.
Of course, the question of whether or not Hikusaak is still alive (did he even exist in the first place) can’t be denied. Considering how the True Runes seems to affect their Bearers’ mental states in various ways as years go by…
Anywayz… comments, criticisms, reviews… you know what to do!