The town of Shik is either seen as a wonderful colony or a violent mob of barbarians. The central square held many markets and was not a residential area, while the farther you went from the square, the more farm land you would see. Sharoz had a dome build over the entire continent to block the sun, this caused an excess amount of moisture and warmth. Everything that lived in Sharoz was nocturnal, the plants were actually one plant that grew in the center and had broken through the top of the dome. It blocked light from entering but it grew tall outside, distributing its photosynthesis with all the little offsprings, in return they gave it the water they absorbed and it uses that to grow more. If you were to hold a light to the ceiling of the dome you would see a pale green layer of leafs and moss growing on it. The dome had been build thousands of years ago and was now slowly decomposing, but the vine has already molded into the dome’s shape so when the dome has fully decomposed the dome will be a coil of vines, sheltering the nocturnal animals and collecting sun light for the little plants. The little plants weren’t very little though, on the surface they were a few centimeters long, but their roots had grown through the crust of the earth and then they began to grow up to the dome, where they would join the coils of vines. On the shore where the dome isn’t covering because of the weakness of the beach’s foundation, the vines grow on the beach and delve into the sea to generate energy with the salt, not the sun’s light. The farm lands harvested the tiny grasses in light chambers that used crystals to generate the light, the sprouts would use this light to generate energy and send it to the mother plant.
The farmers would pick a few leafs and roll them up to be sent to the markets. Because this process took a long time, the vegetation was very expensive, and the meat even more so, and so all the shadons eat are plants.
"This is nice, I think Sharoz probably could be a nice place,” Elorn told Nero while inspecting one of the sprouts.
"Are you happy you came with me?” Nero rhetorically asked, "But on other concerns, would you like a nicer and less expensive way of getting out of Sharoz?”
"Maybe, what are you thinking of?”
"Remember the mother plant I told you about?” This was another rhetorical question. "Well we could take a carriage near there, just off the restricted zone, and climb it. Once we reach the top we could slide down the dome.”
Elorn's mouth was wide open. "That climb seems like it will be long, and the slide would be rough, but okay.”
"Fikar will be in a trolley, and Neltor should do fine.”
"All right, I’ll look forward to it,” only half-heartedly.
"We should be going back, Neltor should be in some bandages by now and conscious.”
"This was a good evening, the markets are nice.”
"They are, but when you get, for Neltor’s sake, wait until tomorrow morning to talk with him.”
And as the clock hands let the inner world know that outside the sun was setting, the tired workers and farmers set off to be with their families. Nero and Elorn set off down the road to the central square and only knew that it was late because Elorn was getting tired and the miniature clock towers along the road.
As they walked down the road they saw all the nice things, to Nero they had always been beautiful, to Elorn they were just starting to be noticed. As they walked they heard footsteps behind them, Nero first and he was first to look back at who was following them. It was Dazanra.
"I see you are still staying close with the runts, but where is the other runt?” Dazanra inquired.
"Dazanra, I am no longer your enemy. I have been expelled from the guild of Zovna. We will be allies later on, I am going to another island to start my own guild, will you aid us or not?” Nero calmly replied without answering the question.
"You will always be my enemy,” Dazanra responded.
"Will that be the same when we find ourselves fighting the same army?”
"You will never be certain of that.”
"Once we are enemies we will always be.”
"Then when Zovna comes to ambush you, I will not be there.”
"We will not be conquered.”
"They still have my plans.”
"You think you are the most important asset to them?”
"I was truly the master, I let the master feel like he was free from the strings that held him in my grip.”
"Then why are you expelled?”
"I tugged to hard and he found a pair of scissors.”
"Then you were planning on attacking us?”
"You could say that, or that we were going to make you surrender.”
"We would never.”
"Then I leave in peace." Nero and his companions went back to the clinic, leaving Dazanra to ponder on it all.
"Alright, get off to the spare room on the third floor and go to sleep,” Nero said with exhaustion as he also went to a spare room on the third floor.
In the morning, when everyone was up, Nero went to see Neltor. The room wasn’t black, only the patients with illnesses that needed their eyes to rest had black rooms. But Neltor’s eyes could handle a red room that had murals of the healing gods. In the room Elorn sat beside his brother, passing him his water and doing little things that helped a lot. Neltor sat in a fluffy bed with bandages that were carefully sanitized around his wound. The bandages were red, but Huetai had told him that they shouldn’t remove the bandages because blood would start rushing again and that the bandages would absorb more blood if they were new.
Neltor looked up at Nero and whispered with difficulty. "Good morning.”
Nero gazed at Neltor, his crimson hair blending with the walls.
"Rest, Neltor, you are in no condition to be giving customary greetings. On the other hand, Elorn, did you read the book Fikar gave you?”
"I’m on chapter 6: Alchemy, they’re talking about how protons and neutrons and electrons all work.”
"It is a theory that Tyr found. He wrote that chapter, he’ll explain how you can make a plant grow twice as large. It is very advanced, so you should only linger on it if you want to be an alchemist. But it is going to be breakfast now.”
At the table, the clinician brought out some boiled dark chicken eggs, which were white as the dark chicken is an albino.
"I boiled these eggs with my tonics.”Huetai proudly stated to start conversation.
Nero continued the conversation with a new topic, "They taste good, but when do you think Fikar will be healed?”
"I looked over his wounds, I think he is going to have to stay here.” Huetai responded mechanically.
"What are we going to do?” Elorn asked curiously.
"Leave when Neltor is better.”
The clinician answered this question for Nero, "Because Fikar is going to take months to cure.”
"Can’t we wait?” Elorn inquired provokingly.
"No, we are in a rush.” Nero answered while eating the pale yellow of an egg.
"Why are we in a rush?”
"We need to act with haste before Zovna gets back on track.”
"I’m Zovna’s ex-warlord, when a guild loses its warlord it is very unorganized. During this window of opportunity, many guilds attack the guild, who’s master must take on the warlord’s responsibility, get another warlord and still deal with his own responsibilities. I’m hoping that we can attack him during this time.
But it is almost impossible to exploit such a small area of time when we haven’t even created a guild. In any case, it will take years for Zovna to recover from their loss of me because they will have to adjust to a different person’s style of combat. Then there is the group who agree with me, and will either resign or have a lowering of moral. It is very complicated, but it all sums up to the fact that the guild is more vulnerable once the warlord is subtracted out of the formula.”
"So we should be going in a few days?”
"Neltor will be ready to go this evening, but you should leave in the morning,” the clinician answered while taking the dishes to a pile of dishes that would, by the end of the day, be washed in the town’s creek...
A few days passed, and Neltor had just a bandage tied around his waist, it was good enough for Nero. Elorn had explained to Neltor that they were going to the mother plant and everything that Neltor had missed of Sharoz, so when Nero started explaining everything, Neltor just nodded and said "I know."
Nero had arranged a carriage ride to take them out of the town, past the dominant guild’s turf and into a smaller turf. Once they were a few miles away from the mother plant, they would get off and walk.
Later that afternoon, the beating of an albino horse echoed in the distance. A door opened, out came three people and they entered the horses carriage. Off they went, down the road in silence, waiting...
Nero looked out at the few little sprouts, one of the prehistoric plants of Synava, of the planet.
Those few sprouts were the oldest organism of Sharoz. They never died--they were like Nero. They were miracles and they had only frail little snubs to prove it. But they surely absorbed a lot of water every day, sucked out crystals’ energy, took in the soils nutrition and held the Sharoz’s continental plates in place. Many said only Sharoz had these sprouts, but Nero believed that Sharoz was just the mother of these vegetables and that the other continents had the flora growing down into the bottom of their own plates. The sea around Sharoz definitely had the vines seeping down them.
The two twins talked about many different things, like what it felt like getting a sword through your stomach, what they had done in the past few months and other things to pass the time. They went on about their opinion of some of the events, but when they didn’t even want Nero to hear, they soul bonded. Nero listened to their conversations, sometimes they would let him join in, but he found they talked to unpredictably.
"Neltor, how are you doing with the encyclopedia?” Nero asked Neltor when he started changing the topic with Elorn.
"I’m on chapter 6: Archery Techniques, I don’t think I’ll need to use a bow, but Elorn says I should read it," Neltor replied.
"Yes, I guess you should listen to Elorn...”
The rider of the carriage opened the wall and ordered "Get into good posture and be quiet! We are crossing a border, only respond if the border guards ask you a question.”
"Alright, we understand,” Nero replied as the wall shut, "I’ll handle this, only talk if they ask you something, listen to what I say and go with whatever I say.” He now spoke with a tone of urgency.
"Okay,” the two twins responded simultaneously.
The road continued for awhile before the carriage stopped. A metal fence bordered the perimeter, as metal was cheaper then wood in Sharoz. Iron towers were placed at gateways, they held the guards, let travelers know where the gates were and allowed them to see people coming before they reached the gateway.
The passengers sat in silence, waiting, when they heard a yell and a person being thrown on the ground. The carriage was pulled through the gate. The door was then opened roughly, guards pulled the three out and tied their hands. He explained with a harsh voice. "We have dropped passage with the clock tower, we will verify your origins and decide if we will let you come into our territory or if we will have to execute you.”
The three prisoners, which had just been three passengers, were led into a circular room. A bench was welded into the black room, the three were sat in the bench. Nero was taken through a door that wasn’t visible in the darkness.
The guards presented Nero to the commander posted to this gate. The person was a sturdy one--he looked powerful and held a vibe of authority. Nero sat down, his eyes illuminating the room, his brain intensifying the luminance level, and waited to be interrogated.
He picked up a clipboard and began his interrogation, "What is your name?”
Nero thought for awhile, and decided that he should tell the truth only, "My name is Nero.”
"...Are you a shadon?”
"What's a shadon?" asked Neltor, bewildered.
"You don't know what a shadon is? The majority of people on this continent Are Shadons!" replied Nero.
"Geez, well I guess I had just whizzed through this place without picking that up," replied Neltor. "I had to spend all that time secluded in the clinic..."
"And whose fault was that?" retorted Nero, playfully.
"Then that means this list of questions isn’t important,” The commander set down the clipboard, "Now then, your origins are probably out of Sharoz, but are you the Nero that was here about fifty years ago?”
"Who are the two others?"
"They are twins whom I’m bringing with me.”
"You aren’t staying as long as you were before?
"Alright, you can continue on. How long should it take you to get out of this region?”
"A day or two.”
"I’ll give you three.”
The commander handed Nero a three day safety pass, the date was sketched on the top of the slip.
Nero got up, left the room and when he was out of it he told the twins while showing them the slip, "We have three days to get out of this region, so we should get going.”
"Okay,” the twins both answered.
And they were off in a rush to get to the mother plant within three days...
The three hurried off, not stopping for any rest until nightfall, in which they laid down on the ground.
Eventually, Neltor got up, told Nero that they should just keep going and reported the news to Elorn after Nero agreed. By the morning they could see a glow, a green glow. Nero told the tired twins that it was the mother plant, so much energy was being flowed through her that she emitted a glow, along with the strings of light that had squeezed through the tiny cracks between the thick vines.
By noon they could see the whole plant, Elorn regretting to have ever thought of climbing it, Neltor hoping his stomach would be okay and Nero marveling over the greatness of the giant vines. They walked on, and a few hours later, they were at the mass overgrowth, their heads tilted back, looking at the height they planned on climbing.
Nero grabbed the two by their arms and lifted off, his bat wings flapping faster then a hummingbird, he flew on until the twins started slipping and his wings started aching with the excess weight of the twins and the altitude they were reaching. He landed vertically into the mesh of greenery, as it was becoming green at this height. He bit a vine, sucking in the sugary juice that flowed through the plant, and told the twins to do the same. When they were finished, the plant recovered from the minor dents they had put into the plant’s skin.
Nero grabbed the twins again and lifted off again. When he got tired, he repeated the process of landing into the mother plant, drinking the sweat juice and resting before blasting higher up the plant. As he was nearing the summit, the air became more and more like pure oxygen and the mist cleared. Eventually, they reached ceiling of the dome, where a hole was filled in by the vines. Nero focused before releasing a beam of dense energy, the plant was pushed aside into the ceiling, the ceiling crumbled and the three climbed up the tunnel as fast as they could while the plant moved back into its original posture.
On the roof of the dome they saw the vines had completely covered the top of the dome, Neltor dreamily remarked, "It is beautiful, Elorn.”
"I told you,” was the response Neltor received.
Nero grasped their arms and flew off, going horizontally before descending into a steep dive. His wings curled into a cone, his head a narrow tip. Thousands of kilometers they needed to travel and their speed was gradually increasing, Nero accelerated by taking advantage of gravity and aerodynamics. He scanned the surface for a landing point and decided on the swampy beach, he tilting towards the beach and when he was a few hundred kilometers near the ground he released his wings into a parachute, drifting down upon the mossy beach with vines sinking into the salty waters.
The twins stood in shock, recalling every moment they had just experienced with a soul bond. Nero, as he had done this before without carrying two people, got up and headed for the harbor nearest to this beach, the twins hurrying after him...