The text below is based on Guild Wars lore but is purely fan-fiction. Click here for Chapter 5.
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Chapter 6 – Rising Menace
Zannos stood in awe before the amazing creature. He has seen Zhu Hanuku many times, but he never stood directly before the great Kraken, nor did he revel in his blessings. Zhu Hanuku was a sea spirit, as the Luxons called the souls of mighty sea beasts and creatures that were believed to embody various virtues. This powerful spirit took on the shape of a fifty-foot long kraken and has been bound to the Kraken Clan since the very beginning of Luxon history. His six transparent tentacles waved calmly in the air, while his grand eyes were fixed on the boy in front of him.
“Zannos, son of Kanaxai, you have proven yourself worthy in the battles you fought tonight. Your victory is well deserved, for you have defeated your foes with true cunning and strength.” The spirit’s deep voice that sounded like the mild waving of the sea boomed throughout the bay. “Although your actions were not seen by the gods, the sea spirits are pleased, and as your reward, I bless you. Even in the darkest hour, the sea herself will forever hold you safe.”
Although Zannos thought that the blessing was just a formality involving no magic at all – a way to show that the sea spirits were always watching and keeping the Luxons safe –, he felt some sort of energy coursing on his skin as well as through his body. The hair on the back of his neck rose and goose bumps enveloped his body.
I wasn’t expecting that. I wonder what this blessing will do…
While he was recovering from the mysterious thrill, Zhu Hanuku began to gradually fade from sight and soon disappeared completely. However, he could somehow feel that Hanuku was still around in the physical world.
I always thought that he returned to the spirit realm after the end of each Convocation… but it feels like he’s still here somewhere.
He looked around to see if he could spot the kraken, but other than the now moderately drunk Luxons that celebrated near the edge of the woods he spotted nothing interesting.
Ah well… who am I to decipher the plans of an immortal spirit? I’m too tired to ponder on that anyway. Zannos turned around, intending to head back to the camp now that he was finally allowed to rest. But a glance at the hordes of his intoxicated brethren, who would stop at nothing to deter him from his plan, convinced him not to go that way. Time to take an evasive route. He smiled and changed course for the steep wall to his left.
“Something is not right, Kanaxai.” Zhu Hanuku appeared beside the captain who stood with crossed arms on one of the larger cliffs overlooking the cove. Kanaxai was surprised that the great Kraken did not return to the spirit realm outright, but he masked his emotions. He watched his son heading for the opposite end of the cove and beginning to climb.
“What is not right, Zhu?”
“I do not know fully either. I sense something powerful… a presence that I have felt before, but I do not know where and when. It eludes me.” The Kraken waved with his two frontal spectre-tentacles in anxiety. Kanaxai still watched as the tiny figure that was Zannos reached the top of the cliffs and moved into the woods, soon disappearing from his sight.
“Do you believe this presence is malevolent? Does it pose a threat to us?”
“I cannot even feel its intentions… it is old, it is power, but it is either oblivious to the world around it or far away from me to detect its thoughts or desires. We must be incredibly careful, Kanaxai.” Zhu Hanuku was beginning to fade away slowly. “Now I return to the spirit realm, but I will be watching… we will reveal the source.” The last of his words were whispery, and it sounded as if the wind itself carried them away in the direction of sea.
Kanaxai remained at the edge of the cliff and stared into the horizon that separated the dark, starry sky from the equally dark sea. Everything will be all right… Kanaxai tried to comfort his worried mind, but now he couldn’t believe himself either. He turned away from the beautiful vista and headed back for the camp.
Clouds rolled over Maishang Hills on the next morning, although it did not seem to begin raining soon. The participants of the festive Convocation day woke up soon, even when a lot of them felt a bit hangover after the last night. Now they’ve been working hard to strike camp and return to their original site. Many of the guests still decided to remain even after the Convocation, having found partners to go on a perilous endeavor against some fearsome creature or a lover to stay with. The captains, their family, champions and closest elders always went back to their then current realm. However, this time the three guest captains did not help in organizing the journey. They had more important matters to attend to.
Kanaxai, Elora, Alua, and Ione sat tensely in the captain’s tent.
“The time has come to decide, sisters.” Kanaxai said in a stern tone. “I suggest we secede from the Dragon Empire and take our future into our hands.”
“I’m in full agreement on this with Kan.” Ione said. “It was good while it lasted, but the Luxon Armada doesn’t need babysitting anymore.”
“I, however, must object to your proposal, Kanaxai.” Elora said, glaring at her sister and brother. “This is not the way to acquire more freedom for our people… For the love of Dwayna, we did not even tell the Empire about this planned secession! What will they think when they learn about this? I will tell you: they will brand us all traitors to the emperor and declare war on us!”
“Calm down, Elora.” Kanaxai tried to comfort her furious sister by putting his hand gently on her right shoulder. “They cannot brand us traitors. Remember, father accepted Kaineng Tah alone, and none of us have sworn fealty to Yian Zho. We simply decided to move on and shape our destinies alone.”
“Very well… I am not going to support this, but I also know I can’t change your minds. I just ask you one thing: if the Imperial navy appears at the seabed, don’t lament and pray to the Six for mercy. End the conflict as soon as possible with the least bloodshed.”
“We will fight with the might of the gods and the spirits of the sea behind us.” Ione proudly remarked. “We will show the Dragon that the Luxons don’t bend to anyone.”
“That is what I fear.” Elora pursed her lips as she sat back. “Alua, the future of the Armada is in your hands. What do you say; secede or stay?”
Alua remained silent in the whole quarrel. She looked up and her siblings could see that her expression was careworn, but her gaze was determined.
The four captains stepped out of Kanaxai’s tent. Their people looked up from their work and saw that something big was about to happen. Most of them abandoned what they were doing and flocked to their leaders.
“Krakens, Crabs, Serpents, Turtles! After much debate, I and my sisters, your captains, made a difficult choice regarding the future of our Armada.” He paused to look around: every eye was focused on him and the large camp that was busy a minute ago was as silent as a grave now. “We will leave the alliance of the Canthan tribes and secede from the Dragon Empire.” Many gasped at the news but he went on louder to be heard among the shocked whispers. “The four clans will become the foundation of the Luxon nation. From this day, the Luxon Armada is a master of its own!”
The people did not know what to make of this. A few hardliners roared, but the majority only clapped. Seeing this, Ione raised her arm in the air, which served as an incentive for the confused Luxons who also raised their hands and began to cheer.
Kanaxai could see from the corner of his eye that Elora put her palm on her forehead and shook her head. When he turned to Alua her sister looked away with downcast eyes, and it seemed as if she was blushing in shame.
For all our sakes, I hope this was the right choice… Kanaxai thought, but again, he doubted himself.