Chapter 8 The Shrine of the Thurexa
Gard had been taken away by his storytelling, not noticing that the others had had their minds clogged with unintelligible fiction or whatever they thought it to be. However, ignoring the abstruse parts, they did still find some clarity over some missing pieces to the puzzles they had not completed, and now given these remaining jigsaws, there were definitely some mixed reactions. Perhaps enlightened, or maybe, even more bewildered than before.
“Who’s this Illian Greyor?” asked Sarah, who had totally strayed from attention at the beginning. With some knowledge, Gerard explained, “Illian Greyor is perhaps the famed legendary hero of Terran kind. He’s the symbol of strength and might of the Terran race, but, that was, only in legend, and it’s unclear if he really existed. Still, now we can confirm his existence, if Mr. Gard’s right.”
Meanwhile, Keith just sat still and pensive from a major setback. The tale was too formidable for him to accept as the truth, notwithstanding his yearning to find answers to his shady origins since long ago. It was tough to learn that all the while his life had been faked; his creation was just for another purpose for world domination, paradoxical to his faith against war and killing. Nevertheless, these feelings of deceit had to be put aside, and attend to a more serious problem arising.
Equally as troubled as Keith was, Zurho reclined dumbly on his seat, vacant. Keith rose and walked to him, slapping hard on his shoulder and inquired, “anything wrong?”
“Ah…” Zurho sighed, and stood up, and said, “perhaps it’s already predestined that our paths will cross, you, me, and everyone here. Our twisted fates have all been arranged and strung together by God for one reason: to rectify and undo the mistakes that have been done. Often I lamented on this perilous journey I must traverse; now I know why – to cleanse this dreadful sin my brother committed.”
“Yes, Dethc Sorlovori, the eldest sworn-brother of the Rhoaku. I’m the fourth brother of the Rhoaku. There’re altogether five of us, and we’re the senior disciples to Master Yuerloz, who formed the Rhoaku Brotherhood. Master Yuerloz tutored us for ten years, and passed down the Shoku arts of defence. After that, we parted our ways in search for our own glory.”
Zurho paused, drew out his black sword, and continued, “the Rhoaku brothers have sworn upon the Nazrec blades to be eternal brethrens, and will help each other in time of needs no matter what happens. And even though Dethc had chosen the darker path, I, as the fourth brother, will have to atone for his misdeeds and redeem his dignity.”
Zurho displayed the ebony-black sword in the air, and the shiny surface reflected light, dazzling to the eyes. With little agitation, Gard hobbled forwards and brought the sword close to him, studying with interest. “Does Dethc have this sword?”
“Of course he has. Master Yuerloz forged these blades for the five brothers, and it’s a symbol and pride of the Thurexa’s order. It’s the weapon that bestows strength to us. It’s the Nazrec.”
“If I’m not wrong… Dethc used this sword to injure the monster in the laboratory,” said Gard, “then all our hopes have been answered, praise the lord!”
“What’s it all about, Gard?” asked Keith.
“Don’t you see? It’s obvious! This sword is forged using one of the little rare substances that can actually injure the hybrid clones! It’s their weakness. If only we can obtain this substance, then we can defeat them. But… where to find it?”
“I know,” declared Zurho, “the Nazrec is made of Erulium, a mineral found in abundance in planet Callec, my master’s monastery in the Grodon Empire. Master Yuerloz could help us with the ammunition supply.”
“Then we’ll head to Callec at once,” announced Keith,” Reuban, locate our destination immediately. We must wipe out the Arzankans before they wreak havoc in other planets again.”
Trekker V now travelled in hyperspace, to achieve the speed fast enough to reach Callec. The planet where the Grodons resided was isolated from most of other civilisations, for few races lived in that space, mostly because it was just an empty region, nothing to allow life to sprout – no sun, no water, no food, nothing promoting the continuation of life. Yet from these barren planets emerged a new race, and called themselves the Grodons. Uniquely formed, they were no more than rock golems, with their physique made entirely from inorganic minerals, mostly from the soil. It was unsure whatever breathed life into them, but some said that they drew energy from the planet itself, revitalising their essence. Anyways, they still remain a mysterious and enigmatic race.
Quite some time later, from the radar Reuban picked up some space activities. Quickly, he informed the rest, and they looked through the screen. Further ahead they could see battleships and fighters patrolling. It seemed like a war had been taking place.
“It is planet Callec,” Zurho verified, “but I wonder why are the Grodons preparing for war? Who’re they fighting?”
“I don’t know,” Karl uttered, “but if we’re going into that skirmish, we’ll be dead meat!”
“Don’t be such a whiner, Mr. Smithson,” Sarah scowled, “there’s always a way to get near them without getting into harm’s way.”
“That will be my task,” said Zurho, “the Grodon empire has high regards for the Rhoaku Brotherhood. I’ll send in a Rhoaku insignia, and they will understand.”
Zurho bent over the controls and ran his fingers over the buttons. In no time a signal flared up from the ship, multicoloured, and exhibited a bird-shaped design.
“It’s the Faerie Farum,” explained Zurho, “the symbol of the Thurexa clan. We believe that all lives are borne by this mystical bird, and thus made it our sacred beast.”
Moments later, Trekker V received a reply, bearing the same signal Zurho sent. “That means we can land on Callec without restriction,” said Zurho.
As Trekker V approached Callec’s atmosphere, they could see the planet even more clearly, and a total surprise at the view of an incredibly advanced and complex cityscape, where skyscrapers were erected everywhere, power plants connected the whole city, well-linked portals that shortened distance between metropolises; a technology far modern from any civilisation they had seen. It was pleasant to find such grandeur in the middle of nowhere, dismissing first opinions about the Grodons still living in caves.
“Welcome to Vaneeratrum, the capital of Callec. There’s still enough air here for us to breathe, so don’t you worry. Food may be scarce, but the Grodons have stocked supplies for visitors like us,” Zurho said, introducing to them who seemed too awestruck to move from captivation.
“How thoughtful of them,” Gerard remarked, “to prepare food they don’t even eat.”
“This is the way of the Grodons, Gerard,” replied Zurho, “they’re a much nobler kind than any other races I’ve met so far. Master Yuerloz lives at the edge, so we’ll move further.”
They passed several towns, and then came to a large shrine built remote from the capital. It was the Thurexa monastery, as described by Zurho. Just above the entrance hung a large monument of the Faerie Farum, made of shining gold and lavished with sparkling gemstones as its eyes. Simply magnificent, was the phrase they could conjure in their thoughts.
However, as they entered the temple, the opulence they first felt suddenly declined to meagre simplicity. The interior was poorly furbished, the halls looked like rustic masonry, might be age-old workmanship. There were only crude chairs, tables and furniture lying around, and gloominess enveloped due to poor lighting of the torches. Everything looked primitive.
“Welcome, my honoured guests,” spoke a voice as the person appeared from a dark hallway. Two others, perhaps servants, who followed behind, accompanied him. As the figure approached light, they could see a rock-like creature with his stony face showing from his hood. The rest of his body was covered with fine robes.
“Master Yuerloz!” Zurho cried, and ran towards the person, falling on his knees, “Master Yuerloz, Bonj Zurho, fourth brother of the Rhoaku, has returned.”
“Bonj Zurho Kalari, the flame of the Rhoaku,” uttered Yuerloz with an old, hoarse voice, “it’s been awhile, Bonj Zurho. Twenty years time, and you’re first to return.”
“Master, all these times I’ve followed your advice, and I’d chosen my path to serve my people. And now I’m proud to tell that I’ve succeeded. For all these, I convey my deepest gratitude to you, Master.”
“There’s no need to thank me, Bonj Zurho, please rise. I sensed urgency in your speech. What brings you here, Zurho?”
Zurho stood up, and guided his aged master to a nearby seat. “I’m sorry to trouble you, Master. But my friends and I need your help. It’s a matter of survival or destruction of the universe. Master, your indebted disciple asks for a favour.”
“I know your problems,” said Yuerloz, getting up from his seat and paced a few steps away, “I know your problems all along, Shjrous Keith, Shjrous Gerard, Shjrous Reuban, Shjrous Karl, Shjrous Gard, and Shjrousae Sarah. I knew this coming all along.”
The group was stunned by the sudden mentioning of their names, clueless of how possibly could the old sage know their names. To avoid being discourteous, Keith stepped forwards and bowed, “my name is Keith Gunter, leader of the team. I’m sorry for being rude for not introducing ourselves earlier. Nevertheless, I’m very impressed that Master Yuerloz addressed us by our names correctly.”
“Please, please. There’s no need for formalities and apologies here. I’m just a plain, old keeper of this temple, and I can predict the near future, as well as read your minds. Yes, I know all about you, and your troubles that came a long way here. And I know you all come with a sincere heart to ask for my assistance. Not to worry, I’ll help you whatever I can with the weaponry, if that’s the most I can do.”
Master Yuerloz was really a nice friar, who gave them good hospitality, even better than they received in their homeland. They were each shown to their own quarters to spend the night, have some sleep and revitalisation. Yuerloz also invited them for a dinner, which they could not decline, after so many days without decent meals.
After changing into soft robes, they gathered at the dining hall. Some delicious dishes were laid on the table, still sizzling hot, and everyone’s mouth watered. “Help yourselves, young people,” the old Grodon invited, “these are just some poor food I could offer from the pantry. I hope you don’t mind.”
“These are all great delicacies!” exclaimed Sarah, ogling at the roast beef at the centre of the table, “I’ve never eaten such meals since the war.”
Everybody too agreed. Hurriedly, they seated themselves, and started the feast. Yuerloz just watched on the guest enjoying their food, looking pleased. It was never more satisfying than watching famished travellers having their stomachs filled.
Very soon, they had cleared the whole table. There were no leftovers, and the plates were licked clean. Master Yuerloz heartily laughed, and called for an acolyte to tidy up the earthenware, and another to bring out the weapons he promised them. The humble servant came back with a huge stack of black, gleaming swords, and handed over to his master. Then, the old friar distributed the swords to them.
“These are the Nazrec blades, given only to the high order of the Thurexa. But since you’ve been in great need of them, I’ll give them to you. As for the artilleries, the blacksmith has been melting Erulium bullets for your rifles. They’ll be ready by tomorrow.”
“What about me?” asked Keith, who was the only one not given the Nazrec. Yuerloz just smiled.
“You already have yours, Shjrous Keith.”
Keith stared blankly at Yuerloz. He understood that it was a hint, as old monks did like to speak in clues. But still, he could not relate anything that suggested he had the Nazrec. Master Yuerloz must be joking, he thought, or had he forgotten something?
At the same moment, Gard suddenly leapt up frantically from his seat. He hastened back to his room, and carried a large briefcase to the dining hall. But at closer view they realised that it was no ordinary luggage, rather like a hard casing for something long and heavy. Gard rested the case on the table, unlocked the bag and tilted open the cover. Then, in their eyes they saw something they never had expected to see.
“Is this what you mean, Master Yuerloz?” asked Gard.
Master Yuerloz sat calmly on his chair, not being too excited or too happy. “Yes,” he said, very coldly, “That’s the Kashykan, evil sword of Rendar.”
“But… isn’t this… isn’t this… the Ultimate Weapon of Destruction? What’s it doing here?” Gerard exclaimed.
“You’re right, Shjrous Gerard. It is the weapon, and we Grodons call it the Kashykan. I’ve sensed its presence here very long ago, for it has a strong aura of darkness emanating from the blade itself. There’s a long line of history regarding the Kashykan, and was feared most by every living being in this world, for it had claimed billions and trillions of lives more than any weapon did since its creation. I’ve witnessed with my own eyes how this sword destroyed one planet after another, killing innocents and plaguing the lands as it travelled through galaxies. It’s a cruelty that we Grodons will never tolerate.”
In the middle of the conversation, they were interrupted by an unanticipated visitor, who seemed to someone authoritative that the acolytes bowed low as he walked by. Dressed in elegancy, no one knew that the Grodon was the emperor of Callec until Master Yuerloz saluted him. Keith and the rest followed the obeisance.
“I give my warmest welcome to you strangers,” said Emperor Amyl, “but I apologise my incapability to provide good hospitality. We’re facing war. Our planet is under siege and it’s not advisable to stay here. It’s best that you strangers leave as soon as possible.”
“Who’re your enemies, your highness?” asked Keith.
“They’re a ruthless tribe, and you Terrans know them better as Arzankans. They come in swarms, and… I don’t know how much longer can my men withstand against them.”
“We’ve a common enemy, your highness,” said Keith, “we’re fighting against the Arzankans as well. Let us join in your battle, in exchange for all these weaponry your nation offered us. After all, we’ve come so far in a mission to stop the onslaught of the Amorphos and their lackeys.”
“Very well then,” said the emperor, “I wouldn’t turn down a man who speaks with great courage and chivalry. I heard from Bonj Zurho that you’re a good strategist and conversant in the art of war. I hereby proffer you to lead my men into the battlefield. May you triumph over them.”