Kemeia Ascends Part 4

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This is part 4 of my first work, a fan continuation of the unfinished Kemeia Ascending. It is entirely inspired by Armond's magical world of Argentia and its Goddess Selene.

Link to the book here Kemeia Ascends - A Fan Continuity

You can read the prior parts by Armond from the links below

Kemeia Ascending Part 1
Kemeia Ascending Part 2
Kemeia Ascending Part 3

More of Armond's work can be found here

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ONE YEAR LATER

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"When the night's silence is broken by the snoring of the guards, and the royal cat claims the throne, know that the age of solemnity has ended. The realm shall flourish under the banner of shared laughter and the occasional prank."
- The Chronicles of the Mirthful Dawn, Book of Beginnings, Laughter 1, verse 10

KEMEIA
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4th day of Rainmoot
Late morning
Selene’s Temple at Selene’s hall - Marossa

There we were, Myrrine and I, cloaked in the garb of commoners, tucked away in the lively throng of marketgoers outside Selene's Hall. As I watched the royalty parade before the crowd, I felt an uncharacteristic yearning for the shadows and, for a moment of peace from the gazes that lingered a bit too long.

The murmurs slipped through the busy chatter. "Is she one of the moon temple guards?" Some would whisper, eyeing Myrrine's stature and the splendour that Selene had graced her with. It was evident in her newfound height, hourglass figure and gleaming hair.

Their gazes then shifted to me, surveying a figure often deemed ‘ripe’. Children would halt their games, gazing at me with wide eyes and wonder. "Is she a real-life doll, mummy?" they'd ask, stirring a deep blush on my cheeks with their words.

Clearly, our presence stirred more than just the morning air; it stirred desires. But, it starkly contrasted how people saw us when we wandered the streets draped in our healers' robes. There they saw Selene's grace, and their eyes were full of hope. Here and now, their feelings were very different as they admired the curves that turned heads wherever we went.

I couldn't help but sign to Myrrine, *"It's peculiar, isn't it? In the temple's service, we're healers first and foremost. But step out in civilian wear, and suddenly, we're the highlight of rumours and sighs."* I jested with a light-hearted eye roll.
There it was: her voice filled me with warmth. "Well, my love, even in the heavens, we appreciate a good show. And while you hold the power to make kings and queens bow, it's equally intriguing to note how others... 'erect their standards' in your mere presence, is it not?" My cheeks burned with a sudden heat. My goddess had a knack for the odd bawdy comment. But that is precisely what made her a cherished friend, not a distant deity.

Prayer had become unnecessary in our relationship. She had never insisted on such formalities. And she only endured them because we mortals had stretched the divide between divine and human through our own stupidity.

Consequently, I could not share this with the world yet. But, by now, she and I were having daily chats. We were not a goddess and her devotee but two friends sharing fun secrets. After all, celestial or not, a bit of heavenly gossip made for the liveliest of spiritual soirees.

"So, how does it feel to be the market's living treasure?" Myrrine's tease broke me out of my reverie, her words laced with mischief while securing an arm around me with playful intent. Her sparkling eyes coaxed an unvoiced laugh out of me, revealing my flustered amusement.

I pretended to sigh deeply. I signed in mock frustration. *"If one more person asks me if I was crafted from clay, I may just surrender and let them pour water on me to test it out."* She laughed richly, unrestrained. Reminding me of the joy found in simple jest as I returned my focus towards the ceremony at hand.

The air in the courtyard was filled with the energy of new beginnings. Marta Coona, now our high priestess, anointed Lunete with the title of 'Queen Luminara.' Ravela, standing to her right, couldn't help but let tears streak down her smiling face as she watched. There, to the left of Lunete, was Commander Sechnall, silent and solid as stone. His gaze was unwavering, concealing the depth of their relationship.

Here I stood among the gathering, my heart full, knowing what we had all been through to get here. Ravela had come clean about the pains and horrors she had caused. It was messy and nearly shook the very foundation and sanity of our brotherhood. Sechnall had nearly fallen to righteous fury. His blade had been only a whisker from Ravela's throat. But we needed that outpouring. It was part of our path to heal.

And time, with its tender brush, did indeed heal many of our wounds. They were once again my brethren, my dearest friends. We stood shoulder to shoulder, laughing again. It wasn't perfect. There were days the shadows crept back. But, we were learning to laugh at them, to find light moments to string into a new story.

I had even promised the fellas that I'd meet them later for some long-due drinks. Their company was always good for the soul, filled with laughs and friendly cheer.

As for Ravela's vow to abdicate the throne, it was no longer a matter of personal choice. Her stepping down was critical politically too. Because, Wildevale was now under the watch of not two, but a trinity of Sorgente.

Yes, indeed, Selene's judgement had touched Myrrine as well. She now possessed her own powerful Sorgente, making her, in some ways, far more dangerous than Ravela had ever been. a figure of both reverence and a dash of wariness.

Arcum and Parasia were still reeling, the echoes of our skirmishes ringing in everyone's ears. We’d swept the Arcum spies right off our doorstep, sharing the tales of our sweep with friends up in Glamorgan.

We put our foot down, closing our ports and holding back our harvest from Parasia's tables. It wasn't long before they came to us, ready to talk turkey.

But with Amangons casting his long shadow over us, we couldn’t afford to hold grudges long. It was clear as day – we needed each other. To craft an alliance that held the scales of power against him.

Thus, the mantle of rule shifted smoothly with the kind and gentle Queen Luminara at the helm. Her reign promised to be one where nature and herbalism would thrive.

Meanwhile, Ravela had taken on her priestly duties. She publicly declared her new stability and dedication to her sacred calling. With her new role and with Myrrine and I serving as humble healers, we sent out a nice, quiet message. Wildevale preferred the embrace of peace to the fists of war.

And just as quietly, without making too much fuss, the other kingdoms got our message.

They would keep an eye out for us, like good neighbours, and we would offer help with our healing hands. A token of goodwill and an offering of sanctuary for all who sought our care.

There was something thrilling about the idea of spreading my healing far beyond the whispering trees of Wildevale.

How I, as Cormac, relished such ventures. It was a calling I felt deep within, and I couldn't wait to answer it along with my two lovely ‘servants’.

Yet the irony of my 'doting attendants' was not lost upon me, their fates interwoven with my whims by the decree of Selene. But heavens know, more often than not, I found myself dutifully dancing to their tunes instead.

Without warning, a quick swat landed upon my backside, jolting me to the present. "Chop-chop, my sultry little minx," Myrrine's intoxicating voice stirred a flutter in my core.

"Madam Chinedu waits for no one. The rhythm beckons for my alluring little Kuumas."

She winked at me, the gleam in her eye promising mischief. "And don't forget, it’s your well-deserved day of rest. Leave the tending to us. You have a special dance lesson. And, a planned booze-fest with your rowdy bunch. I think we'll see you only when you stagger back, flushed and giddy. That's just how I want you when I tell you to slip into that exquisite little number.”

A sudden heat spread across my cheeks at her mention of the 'exquisite little number.’ I tried to sign a flustered question. But, she met me with a dangerously delightful smirk. Then, she gave me a firmer, more possessive spank that sent a jolt right through me. "Now, depart, little kitten. Save your energy for tonight’s festivities as you will sing with the heat of your dance."

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RAVELA
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Late morning
Selene’s Temple at Selene’s hall - Marossa

Today was resplendent, the perfect backdrop for Lunete's ascension to Queen Luminara. Her title was apt, for she was to be a guiding light for our people. As her sister, The sight of her claiming the crown brought forth unending joy, and I let the tears of pride cascade freely. No shame in showing vulnerability anymore. I was now a priestess of the order, and I had shed the trappings of Royalty with my decision to seek the goddess.

I was known as a priestess, yet that was merely the start of my sacred roles. Secretly, I had been ordained the 'Spellblade' priestess of the goddess. It was a sacred duty assigned to those deemed worthy to mend their past and dispense divine retribution. We were a grim necessity in this world, wielders of swift justice. Like two sides of the same coin, just as Kemeia embodied Selene's welcoming arms, we were the sharp edge of her divine law.

The road to redemption stretches long ahead, but when dear Marta... I mean, High Priestess Marta Coona entrusted me with this sacred duty, I embarked upon this newfound purpose with no hesitation.

As Lunete was crowned, I discreetly scanned the crowd to see my dear Kemi and that dimwit assassin-healer. And what do I see? A spank! The audacity! "Steady now, take a deep breath, priestess. It's part of the spiritual journey to watch as some unwashed buffoon abuses your cherished one's dignity," I murmured under my breath. That Myrrine, quite the gutter-snipe, isn’t she? She might not be entirely unworthy, but Oh, Goddess, if only I were in her hideous boots!

I continued to smile and weep away as the ceremony wound down, paying very little attention to it once she was crowned and Kemi had left for her lessons. My mind was on what would be happening later in the day. Myrrine's insistence on puppeteering Kemi's moves for the day irritated me. I may be bound to serve Kemi, but I still had a trick or two up my sleeve to show them who was the real queen here.

As the ceremony came to a close, we walked back into the private chamber behind us when I heard a quick rustle and found Lunete with her hands around my neck. In a throwback to her childhood antics, she quickly hopped onto my back for a piggyback ride. Of course, I accommodated, resting my hands on her legs just as I've done countless times before.

"By royal decree, you'll haul me around, Priestess, until you agree to stage Kemi's long-overdue Saltatus," she playfully commanded. I groaned; Kemi's dance was my exclusive spectacle, yet here I was, sharing it with the healing harpy Myrrine and her stabby sticks.

"In your dreams, will anyone else claim it! It's mine," I answered with mock severity. Our little banter continued for a good five minutes until she finally let me put her down." Remember, sister, this is a battle I intend to win one day. Best you surrender before it becomes a Queen's order," she declared with a wry smile as she leaned against a smiling Sechnall.

With the memory spells now removed by me, his mind was free of at least one great burden, yet despite all the efforts by myself and, most importantly, Kemi, I knew that he still carried my crimes against her AND him to heart.

I could never forget the day of my confession. He was on me with his sword, a hair’s length away from slitting my throat, and I had let him. I had even wished it at that moment, but there was Kemi, sinking to her knees—her silent, impassioned plea somehow filled the room with the echo of an angel's cry, halting the sword's descent.

Days passed, and with Kemi’s touch and Marta’s guidance, we found a way forward. The memories stayed, but the sharp edges of guilt softened.

Yet, there was a price, a secret I carried – a promise to Sechnall to relive the memories of all the men. To bear witness to the nightmares I created for Kemi and them again and again. Alone, I would cry through the memories in my chamber, facing the pain I inflicted on the one I loved every day, hour upon hour.

But then, the tears would dry, and I'd emerge as though from quiet contemplation. It wasn’t a pretence, though. It was my repentance, a cry for reprieve not from the heavens but from the depths of my own soul.

“My lovely Queen Luminara,” I declared, ensuring that my voice carried none of the grief that flooded me at the thought of the penance due today “It is time for this priestess to leave. Her daily prayers await. ” She smiled back and said, “go ! go! I understand that you have many a plan.”

As I turned to depart, Sechnall's steps approached. I slowed to match his pace, a smile audible in his voice as he spoke, “I…all my men, release you from your pledge.”

Before I could fully grasp his forgiveness, he continued with a light heart, "It has taken us some time, but we do have our old captain back with us, only in a far more delightful form."

“Rest assured, ‘blessed’ Queen,” he said cheerily. "Your fair captive will be safely returned, perhaps addled enough to succumb to your evil charms." he joked as he gently rested his hand on my shoulder with the warmth reserved for a friend. I simply nodded with teary eyes and a heart filled with gratitude before I hastily fled to the castle to attend to my more pressing matters now that I was relieved of my burden.

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Myrrine

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Early Noon
Palace - Chambers of Justice and Renewal

The witch finally did something right. Took her until the end of her reign to set those dungeons straight, locking up only the real monsters. For most, though, the Chambers of Justice and Renewal would offer a fresh start, their purpose being rehabilitation over punishment. all thanks to her.

And guess what? The very spot in the courtyard that saw the tyrant fall apart – the place where Ravela faced the truth about Kemeia and Cormac – that’s where redemption happens now.

I could tell you every dirty secret, every cruelty she imposed on my Kemi. If I were a tad crueller, I would've watched her meet her maker under Sechnall's blade, encouraged it even. Even now, sometimes, I’d still like to give her a good shanking, just for the thrill of it — let Kemeia get her healing on. Rinse and repeat.

But, despite how much she grinds my gears, credit where credit is due. Wildevale's ahead of the curve now, a haven of kindness and a safe place for those dealt a bad hand. That legacy, as much as it makes me gag to say it, is Ravela’s handiwork. Most won’t sing her song, and it will be Lunete who will get the glory — which she should — it would always be Ravela who planted the seeds and left them to the new queen to tend.

Strolling past the lively open space, I couldn't help but take in the sight with a swell of satisfaction. The women gathered here, detainees just like their male counterparts in the centre nearby.

Once confined by their crimes, they were now learning - bending over scrolls and harps, brushes and easels, throwing punches, and threading needles. “All the makings of a proper revolution,” I mused. It was heartening, watching them scribe new chapters of their lives, teaching each other, teaching us how right paths can be forged from wrong turns.

I wandered further in and, lo and behold, found Elara holding court over a clutch of ladies with ledger books in hand. That woman had a mind like a steel trap, must have been all that time spent skulking around as Arcum's finest sneak. nd now here she was, our very own library at her disposal, she was dishing out lessons like she was born to do it.

Her precious little girl, the guest of honour for the day, plopped down next to her, happily nibbling on a bowl of fruits. It was one of those moments that tugged at your heartstrings, you know? When we unearthed the truth—that her heart bled more for her ill child than for Arcum—we had to act. We'd gone out of our way to snatch both Mireya and Jarek out of Arcum. Kingdoms rise and fall, but a mother's love, that’s forever, isn't it?

As I watched her in her domain, I couldn’t help but think to myself. ‘Look how the tides had turned, Elara. Arcum had you on a string, the promise of safe passage and healing for your little one from the north priestesses' touch. But there it shattered, didn't it?’

Lo and behold, there stood my Kemi. The moment my dear heart laid her hands on the child, the moment life seeped back into her under her care, Elara broke. Pieces of her scattered on the ground as she begged Kemi, desperate for her forgiveness. The scene of her penance, drowning in her own shame, begging Kemi over and over to undo her part in her agony. It haunted me to this day.

She had even somehow snagged one of Amangons' ghastly slave collars while cooped up in the clink. I'm still scratching my head over that one. She's quite the crafty one. The nerve, though, she went and bared her throat to my Kemi, Like she was some object to be claimed. I scoffed, Kemi's little harem was already too crowded. though deep down, I had to tip my hat to Elara's guts.

Kemi, bless her soul, didn't entertain that twisted auction for a second. Helped Elara up with all the grace of the divine, peppered her cheeks with forgiveness, and gave her a chance to start over. Her sentence? Educate others for three spins of the seasons, her freedom sweetened with family visits. Do her time, and she gets to waltz free. Kemi's heart's as big as the moon, I swear.

I sidled up to Elara, who caught my approaching figure with a quick flicker of acknowledgement. "Hold tight, love," she mouthed, her hands wrapping up the final threads of her lesson. Nodding, I stepped aside, leaning against the cool stone wall to give her space.

The chatter of the departing group faded as I ambled over. She offered me a worn smile, as comforting as ever. "Myrrine, dear," she stated softly. "Before you make your escape, drop by Raima, would you? She’s been fading a little, and your healing might be just what she needs." A reminder of how deeply she cared for her flock.

She glanced at her daughter, who was finishing her fruit, and added, "And could you share a kind word with my little one? She gets so excited when Aunty Myrrine visits."

“Of course, and of course," I replied, breaking out the biggest smile I could spare, brushing a stray lock back from her face. "But first, did you manage to get that special thing we discussed?" I asked, barely containing my excitement. This woman never missed a mark when her heart was in it.

As I settled in beside her, I lifted her kiddo onto my lap, the little munchkin fitting just right as she bubbled over with laughter.

"You know, things that start with 'M' are the absolute best, right?" I whispered to the tiny bundle of joy, her eyes sparkling up at me, pure and full of happiness.

Mireya’s face lit up with an ear-to-ear smile. "Yeah! Like 'Myrrine' and 'Mireya' and 'Mommy'!" The enthusiasm in her voice was downright infectious.

"Spot on, my little angel," I said, laughter bubbling out of me. "Only the most fantastic things in the world."

"And what have I taught you about things beginning with 'R'?" I asked, watching as she wrinkled her nose and replied just as I had coached her, "Ew... the worst." I couldn't help but burst into laughter at that.

Elara threw me a look that could curdle milk, letting me know in no uncertain terms that she wasn't entirely thrilled with my brand of education. But then, her edges softened, and she let out a reluctant chuckle.

"Well, the Queen herself took on the task of brewing that potion. Did it with such flair and finesse that you’d think she was spinning gold. Swallowed my infusion like it was dessert," as she slid those glowing vials across to me.

"We're still brewing on that other batch, though. The variation that's meant to pack more punch. The Queen’s in her element, and we are just a whisker away from the finish line," Elara added. Her gaze lingering on those vials as if they were newborns.

Honestly, I was this close to 'accidentally' dropping one of these vials just to see Her Majesty lose her composure for once. Despite the old bat’s attempts to worm her way into my story with Kemi, I've got to admit this potion stunt was her brainchild. And she was okay with me being part of it, sharing this power with my Kemi. My cherished Kemi, sworn to me by the stars themselves,' danced through my thoughts as I rolled the vials between my fingers.

My predatory smirk must have caught Elara’s eyes as she groaned, "I'm almost tempted to spoil your little game. It's scandalous how you toy with our guardian angel. Lucky for you, her heart's big enough to room your antics," her voice thick with exasperation.

A sheepish grin took over as I acknowledged her jibe and swiftly steered our conversation back to the day's buzz. the ascent of our new queen, a day that would be etched in the memory of our people as the dawn of a new era.

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Podracer's picture

I must be missing something, because I don't understand why there aren't more votes and comment on this story. It's not as if an adventure with tg and magic would be shunned, there are good examples here already. Heigho, I'm one of those who read them.
Not so much action this time, but I appreciated the inner and outer (Hehe, can I say that) dialogue. Is Myrinne mellowing under Kemi's influence? She hasn't stabbed or even nicked anyone lately.

"Reach for the sun."