'It's too late... your tricks won't save you this time!' the Harpy shouted in the stormy air.
A vortex of magic and power filled the old building from part to part, making it shake violently. Its walls trembled, drapes and items were dragged away from their rightful place, pulled towards the center of the evil spell. There, Lëogan stood unchallenged, his body grew large, his form extending into the space. One by one, the five flares burned with a raging fire, increasing their power to the limit of an impending collapse. As the pillar of light peaked through the atmosphere, a blinding explosion dispersed across the lands, penetrating every matter, burning the air hot. The five who had been dragged outside by the prompt move of the Aqualymph fell on their backs, the Chomps' flare protecting them from the unmerciful attack. Aura stood steady with her hands on the precious stone, her feet firmly planted on the ground.
'Stay behind me!' Aura shouted as her body flickered, her shape turning dark and bright in a violent convulsion. 'I need to extend this power as much as I can! There won't be any survivor outside this dome!'
'Our people!' Faróel cried, his voice barely audible.
'It's going to be ok!' The young King replied as his eyes struggled against the raging wind. 'This is what's going to save us!'
'What are you talking about, you silly boy! Look up! We have been deceived!' Varuk let out, his hands on the Human's shoulders. 'This is on you!' and he pushed the King away, hatred spilling from the Valahan's eyes.
But there was no time for arguments. There wasn't time at all. In the despair of the moment, Aura lifted the flare in the air, her arms stretching as much as she could, her mind silently screaming for help. Her soul fought against the unstoppable pushing of the evil's power; her own magic core was about to be stripped away from her body, as if a violent beast was tearing her apart. Blow after blow, trails of sparkling magic detached from Aura and dispersed in the air, droplets of a dying being crashing against the horrified faces of the five behind. Right when their end was about to be sealed, someone's hand moved on the Aqualymph's back.
'Thank you for being here when I couldn't...' an ethereal voice said. 'I'm here to protect you, all of you!'
Time's body appeared amidst the suffocating, red fog surrounding the burning land. He had swiftly replenished the gatekeeper's strength and moved away, towards the enemy. As he entered the room where the Harpy stood undefied, the oppressive power of the enemy suddenly halted, releasing its grip on the others and their planet. Time's arms extended in the room as if he could contain Lëogan's magic within his merciful embrace. Step by step, he reduced the size of his counterpart's power until the God's face met his.
'How dare you use my mother's blessing against her children? Against me, the protector of Runae?' Time's eyes glowed bright, their light so powerful it blinded the Harpy in a snap. 'I'll weed you and your poison out of these lands once and for all!'
'As I said, it's too late...' and Lëogan laughed, his voice resounding the room, mixing with the destruction he had brought upon them. His face had gone dark, his eyes burned out by Time's splendour and yet, the Harpy laughed again. 'He is here...'
A devastating blow pressed on Time's body, making him clash on the ground. A moment later, his energy was pulled into the air, and his body was dragged out through the opening in the ceiling. Under the eyes of the few standing just outside the building, their master and protector swung in the air like a bullet ricocheting into invisible walls, bouncing left and right. As Time opposed an enemy he could not see, he raised the power of his core and set free, descending on the fields just outside the Chomps' village. There, the King of Emptiness had quickly found him again, grabbing his arms and throwing him many miles away.
'Your time has come... God!' a deep voice thundered in the air. 'Go and join the others where you belong: in me!'
An unnatural darkness spread across the purple sky, Erion eclipsed by the shadows of gigantic clouds. Right above the Leonty hills, a spinning, hovering force opened up. As if the matter had been pierced by the devouring mouth of Nothing, the evil extended everywhere eyes could see, paralyzing the many witnesses in shock and terror. Time rose from the hot ground he had been pushed onto and extended his arms over his head. The long cloak hanging on his shoulders flapped frenetically against the growing storm, but the God stood still, his feet planted on the green field. His hood down, Time's face shone like a small star in the night surrounding him. A green glow expanded from a precious artifact he was holding in his hands. The Clepsydra of Time was finally in the open, holding every tiny second still, frozen in between the folding of past, present, and future.
'This is your secret... the pure defiance of the one you called mother!' Nothing's voice could be heard in every land. From the Aqualymphs' sea to the giant Mogs, he was everything and everywhere. 'But she is gone, and so are the others! You and the one you call Love are about to face the same fate. Go now, you and your... brother! Die by my hand!'
Two enormous hands formed out of the dark clouds, their fingers stretched as if they could grasp many lands at once. Nothing's power pressed on Time's magic, his ethereal body too weak to oppose the evil. As the enemy unleashed his wrath on the God, his violent power crawled and spread across the fields, uprooting trees and breaking the planet's crust down to its core. Long, wide cracks suddenly ran across the ground, all the way up to the Leonty's temples, unleashing waves of horror and destruction.
One by one, the many residents' homes collapsed, followed by some of the small temples, casting white dust into the air. The few Leonty who had survived the war against the humans fled in terror, their hearts unable to face a new, worse evil. Shock after shock, tremors reached the far hill where Una, once again, was fighting against her warderer.
'You were told to go to the Temple of Grace and resume your duties in there, you disgusting monster!' a Runer shouted after hitting Una on her back with a long wooden stick. She looked back at him with rage, her eyes burning with the red of death. 'Your magic is useless, just like you. You can't speak, and yet your eyes tell too much... That's it! Your time in here is finished! We'll ship you down to the Crown City. That will teach you!'
If a punishment was coming, it was certainly not the kind the Runer intended. Right after he had hit Una again, he moved outside the Naos where devastation and destruction opened up right before his eyes. There, a large portion of the architrave gave in to the seismic waves coming from afar, cracking the entablature at the top, releasing some of the tall columns from their ancient spot. Two of them collapsed one next to the other, and before the Runer could act, they crashed on the ground as he stood right at the top of the white stylobate. Pushed back by the sudden shock of almost meeting his end, he fell on the ground, his face covered by white, fine dust. Right when he thought he had been graced by a god who certainly didn't protect him, death had turned around to fix its near miss through the hands of a young Leonty who was ready to strike.
With rage and a long desire for revenge giving her strength, she pulled from the ground a heavy piece of metal that had broken out from the architrave and, without hesitation, hit the Runer on his head. Once, twice, and more, and more, and more. The many faces of the Leonty she had met and lost were rolling in her mind, squeezing her heart as strongly as the evil was shaking her physical world. Among the many she saw with the eyes of the mind, Vertatis took the spotlight. Una knew who she was. She could feel the same emotions she had felt since the day she was born. Their bond was made of blood and magic fused together in an unbreakable seal. Why did she leave me behind, to face all this? Why did Mementhya and the others let this happen to me?, She thought. Her mother's choice had spun a sequence of terrible events, turning an innocent, young Leonty into a tormented, abused creature.
As she looked down at the Runer, she could not see in his face the look of a dead man. She saw violence, hate, and horror. His features were those of a human, but his nature was the same as everyone else she had met. They were all warders; they were all culpable for the unbearable pain she felt in her cracked heart. As if the fire and devastation unfolding in her world were a mere breeze, Una moved slowly, as if she were silently counting her steps. If her heart and mind were mirroring the wrath unleashed on the planet, her expression was dull and locked under the weight of her metal mask. Her hands reached towards the priests' rope, and with a swift move, she took a long, silvery key from his side. The same warm blood that was slowly pouring on the ground, leaving the Runer's body, stained her hands and arms as she freed her mouth from the tormenting prison. The feeling of the hot air on her jaw and lips felt like a balm on burning scars. The evil had come to destroy, and yet she felt the beauty of it, the reinvigorating, healing power on her green skin, on her face, in her heart.
The young Leonty left the Temple of Time and slowly descended the hill, her eyes fixed on the unfolding battle in the far distance. Whatever was fighting down south, it was calling her from afar. She was attracted to it as if whatever that was had come to rescue her, to save her when nobody else would. But her gaze was not on Time; her trust was not on the God who was said would protect every being in Runae. He had disappointed her since the day she was born. The many prayers she silently whispered in her mind, her begging him for freedom, right in his Temple, had all gone unanswered. Truths and beliefs had turned to lies, dishonesty, and hypocrisy. Whoever had come to put an end to it, they were welcome.
On her way to the long-desired freedom, a chance for revenge was waiting for her, in her path ahead. As Time was losing strength, crushed by an evil too strong to be defeated, the Leonty stopped right in front of the vast magnitude of their collision, her eyes wide open in disbelief. She was witnessing the full power she was craving. The ground was breaking apart, trees dying at the touch of the evil’s power, their roots ripped from their rightful homes. The protector of the dying world was not giving up. Despite the enemy waves of power coming against him, Time was rewinding his own form, briefly escaping the horrifying destiny. The more he fought to hold his position, the wider the destruction ran wild, subverting the law of matter, turning the burning world into nothing.
While a few more Leonty ran away in fear, Una was drawn to it instead. Unable to recognize her face, now free from the heavy trap, some tried to stop her, convince her to run for her life, but Una’s will was as strong as her desire to break free. As her wish for vengeance got stronger, the evil saw her fearless move towards him. She had come right when he needed it the most. In the secret of his eternal existence, Nothing was here and there and everywhere. He was fighting in Runae against Time but he was also on Earth facing Love. There, the attacks had found him weak; Love and Health's magic had just violated his essence, corrupting his dark core with shards of pure light.
If Nothing wanted to succeed, his plan had to change. The Gods were resisting him. He could oppose Time, but he could not fully destroy him. The longer the battle went on, the higher the chance the God could strike a blow into his dark heart. And so Nothing quickly found a better way to end the eternal fight by diverting from its original plan. Found its ideal jailer, the one who could comply with its maleficent will, the dark entity spoke.
‘You are not afraid?’ a thundering, deep voice spread from the raging sky. ‘You are not like the others. What is this…anger I feel? No…it’s not just anger. It’s wrath, desire for annihilation.’ But Una wasn’t talking. Her gaze locked into the depth of the enemy above; she was almost smiling. ‘So you come to me... asking for it? Very well! I’ll turn your rage into a power that no kind has ever seen. You will be taming this…God and his power to make it yours. For now and as long as I need to complete my plan!’
As Time held onto his spot, his knees on the trembling ground, a stronger magic unleashed from around him. A compressing power pushed from his sides, from the top, and from below, squeezing his body and his heart.
'You call yourself Time...' Nothing sneered. 'Let me gift you with a never-ending fraction of a second where you will constantly live and die... forever. There, where these...beings have built monuments in your name... there you will be cast away, for as long as my eternity goes!'
A whistling sound ran across the space, as if the air and every element of that dying planet were being dragged away towards a single, tiny spot. There, the God was reduced to a bright dot and sent into the abyss below the Temple of Time. Amidst the whirling dust and fire, a Clepsydra slowly descended, finding its resting place in Una's hands.
As I'm restlessly working on finishing the main trilogy, The Power of Love: The One (available on Amazon), I'll begin and continue with this fantastic prequel, 'A Tale of Time.
For those who have read 'The Power of Love: The One,' you already know our main characters (Daniel, Noah, & Anita) were too preoccupied with their main quest to find the time to explore the origins of Runae, the God of Time, and all the secrets and history of that beautiful world.
However, as the author, I knew a great deal about what it had been, what mysteries lurked in the shadow of the past, and I felt a strong need to share. So, prepare yourself to dive into this epic fantasy story.
Don't worry if you haven't read 'The Power of Love: The One.' You're in for an exciting ride!"
A Tale of Time tells the story of a long forgotten planet, Runae, sitting in a remote area of the universe. Guarded by the God of Time, it stood strong against the evil threat of the King of Emptiness: Nothing.
As the Power of Love Trilogy explains, while Time faced the enemy directly, a subtle menace grew within the lands of his protected world.
From the fall of the humans kingdom, to the raise of the Crimson Queen, the adventure of a lifetime begins here, with the Great Dawn. Prepare yourself to dive into magic & power, wars and betrayals, in a race against an inevitable, gigantic clash.
For anyone interested in the main trilogy, The One is available on Amazon, B&N, and many other stores. Also available on Kindle Unlimited!
The Power of Love: A Tale of Time is now also available on RoyalRoad.com. I'll be posting all the published chapters in there (and I'll continue the webserial on both platforms!).