Cold. He was cold. It wasn’t the chill of the winter–the type of cold that you knew would relinquish if only you made it inside to sit by a fire. This cold was different. It seized you. It went passed your bones, into your very core. This cold consumed you. It spread to every fiber of your being until the cold was the only thought upon your mind. Iejiel needed to focus. As difficult as it was, he managed to push the cold from his mind. Where was he? He glanced around trying to get a baring of his location. A forest. He was in a forest. It was unlike all the other forests he set foot in before. It wasn’t just because it was literally a new forest. There were probably trillions of forest within the universe that he had never set foot inside and among them will be ones that will vastly differ from the others, but now wasn’t the time to think about what could be. He needed to focus upon stood before him in the now—this forest.
The forest he currently found himself standing within was alien. Surreal. It felt as if it was pieced together by a shattered mind. Not all the details were there. No, he realized that all the details were there. It was just the mind whom this forest sprung from lacked the ability to make sense of it. This forest was a reflection of another–expect this version was more twisted than the one it was reflecting. Yet, not everything about the forest was such. Off in the distance was a mountain with a gorgeous city nestled within. Just like the forest, it was a city unlike any other he had seen before. Something told him that he should be able to make out the details of the city like he was, but he found the longer he stared in the direction of the mountain the more the details of the city stood out. It wasn’t just the physical beauty of the city that drew his attention. It was the soul, the spirit. This city shown with the very same light as the one whom built it.
“That’s Shangri-La” A forlorn, feminine voice uttered. Those words, or perhaps it was the speaker herself snapped Iejiel’s attention back upon the task at hand and the truth of his currant location. He wasn’t within a forest. He was inside another being’s mind. Not just any other being…a norcoi. This thought brought him back towards that all consuming cold he pushed aside earlier. Had he fallen victim to one of these beast? Was he lying upon the ground somewhere with one of these creatures straddling his waist and taking his eyes from his head? No. He wasn’t. He remembers that his light wasn’t being stolen from him, but rather he was giving it freely to the noroci whose mind he found himself with. Still, it made him wonder if this cold was what all victims of the noroci felt when their light was stolen from them? Moreover, did the noroci feel this cold and stole the lights of others in an attempt to combat it? He did not know the answers to these questions—only guesses based on his experience.
“How did you come to be here?” The same voice asked. It didn’t sound as forlorn as before. That’s because it isn’t the same voice. Yes, it is Iejiel argued with himself. No, it isn’t. He held firmly to that idea, and within a few moments he realized just how correct he had been. The first voice was of the woman–the one he had came to save. The other belonged to the beast–the armor that the woman wore in order to protect herself against the pain. The question itself was a sound one. It wasn’t everyday that someone went traipsing about inside someone’s mind. Okay, it might be if he had been a telepath, but he wasn’t. He didn’t answer the question. Whether or not, the beast picked up on this decision or simply didn’t like his silence was hard to tell, but the creature repeated its question with much more intensity than before. “How did you come to be here?”
Again. he remained silent. Not because he had chosen to actively ignore the creature’s question, instead it was because he found the one he had came here to save. At least, he thought it was her. He couldn’t make out much of her features. The beast was straddling her waist, its long clawed fingers reaching towards her eyes. It was deja vu. Iejiel had stood upon the scene once before. However, it had not been a female whose eyes the beast was trying to steal. It had been a male. He come upon them after traveling–he didn’t know how long–within the dream realm.
The creature heard his approach–even through, Iejiel had taken care to silence his footsteps. The area of the Dreamscape he found himself within was littered with the noroci’s victims. It was their aimless wondering that allowed him to know he was heading in the right direction. He might be wrong, but it seemed to him that the noroci’s victims sought to remain near it. However, whatever attempt Iejiel made to silence his footstep failed. Oh, it might have been if it had been a different creature than a noroci he was trying to sneak upon. The noroci paused in its track. It did not turn to glance at Iejiel. The creature kept its eyes upon its prey. “Have you come to save him” She sounded amused by the prospect.
She? There was nothing within the noroci’s voice that gave it away as female nor within its physical form. Yet, female was what Iejiel couldn’t help thinking the creature as. “No.” This answer caused the creature to snap its head towards him in slight curiosity, but before it could render a response to that answer Iejiel said “Yes.”
Curiosity changed to confusion. “Which is it? Are you here to save him or not
“Both. I did not come here to save him, but I will save him nevertheless by saving you.”
Those words caused the noroci to let out a roar of laughter that ceased as suddenly as it started. She rolled off her currant victim and stalked towards him. “Or I could steal your light.”
“Go right ahead” He said, causing the beast to pause in its tracks and look at him with bewilderment. While the creature stood there with that expression painted across its face, he plunged his own fingers within his own eyes, grabbing his eyeball and removing it from the socket. “Take it.” He said, holding it out towards him.
The creatures eyes flickered from what he held within his hand, which was no longer his eye but a glowing ball of light and than towards his face. “Why?” She asked. Her voice did not sound like the beast whom had spoken before. It sounded like a human woman, or a witch, or some other humanoid being that populated the universe. Whatever the case, the speaker did not sound as she did before. “Why would you give me your light?” This gesture had completely baffled her.
Iejiel glanced down at the glowing orb he held within his hand. “I do it for the one I love. It will hurt her to see me become…” He glanced towards the creatures previous victims “Like them, but I also know that she will understand that I cannot just stand here and watch you drown within your own pain. She would do the same if she was the one standing here.” He smiled as he said those words and the images of his Everleigh that it conjured. He didn’t dwell upon those thoughts for long. Iejiel returned his focus upon answering the noroci’s question, whom was now glancing at the orb within his hand deep in concentration. The creature’s eyes flicker back towards his face when he continued speaking. “Moreover, I have to see if I am capable of saving her from the demons inside her as well as the ones outside.”
He believed that was why Bryceton gave him the tasks that he did. He remember thinking that thought. No, he didn’t think it. He had uttered the thoughts aloud. He remembers because the noroci had said something to them. What was it? “Do you really think giving her your light will change anything?” No, that wasn’t it. What…he pushed any attempt to make those lost thoughts reemerged. It didn’t matter what she had exactly said. The only thing that mattered was she had agreed to let him try and he now he found himself standing here with the woman she had been and the monster she became standing before him.
It had been the monster, whom had asked him that question. “Yes.” He uttered that word with such sheer conviction that it sent the monster hissing away from him for a few seconds. Just enough time for him to send that glowing orb flying into the red haired female. Was it his imagination or did that orb seem bigger? He didn’t ask this question aloud. It wasn’t his choose to keep this question locked within his own mind. It was just he thoughts turned from the question towards the impact of the orb just as suddenly as the question formed. Nothing at first. The orb appeared to be engulfed by the darkness within the woman, and than an explosion so great that it sent him flying out of her mind. He laid upon the ground dazed for a few moments. Eventually, he dared to open his eyes and found the same red-haired woman he had seen inside the noroci’s head. No, it had been her head. The noroci had only been the armor. Her eyes were different. They were more silver now than they had been before. However, that thought was insignificant compared to one undeniable truth. He did it. He fucking did it. He managed to help a beast noroci regain its human form. He only smiled at the woman peering down at him. There was much they need to talk about.