The Trails of Moonlight II

Chapter 5 Interlude, Arthur - Bonds

Finding that which one needs

Political intrigue.
Stolen identities and revenge.
Family tension.
Alex and Bastion’s relationship damaged, party morale in tatters.
Mysterious legends coming to life.
Limiters, Blood Swords, and revelations abound.

All of this was too much for Art’s mind to comprehend. Up until a few months ago, all he cared about were his inventions, adventures and misadventures, mainly himself.

As he lay on the soft, comfortable bed at the Misty Maiden, he took stock of the events so far.

He had not needed anything up until he joined Artestech, and took the junior engineer position to acquire a license to legally scavenge ruins for technology. One thing lead to another, and soon he found himself needing to take the escort job to ensure the safety of two Yurran students on field study. There simply was something about that particular job that inexplicably drew himself to it.

The chain of events leading up to today saw his group discovering a plot to destabilize the country, and finding a mysterious girl who turns out to be possibly the daughter of a ages-old gods – the Scarlet Child.

He felt his heart pound strongly for a moment.

Mirana…who are you? he thought.

Her image resonated in his mind. Art heard faint whispers the longer he thought about it. He pushed the thoughts away, fearing what would happen if he let the whispers persist.

He directed his rumination towards Aid. He was outgoing, a smart and fun sort of guy, though fiercely secretive about the bandage wrapped around his arm. It turns out he had good reason – and the reason is deadly.

I wonder if he’s like me and Mr. Arsel… he wondered, restless.

He thought about the Magnus family. He had read and heard about them since he was younger – a noble family of knights hailing from Aleria, adhering to strict ideals and codes. Having heard how far they had fallen, and that they were still trying to uphold a code that may very well be dying.

Art never understood the need for such stuffy things – he had always loved the freedom to pursue whatever one wanted, as long as it didn’t caused malicious harm to others. And yet, here are two opposing sides within the same family.

Bastion, who says he lost everything. He wants to make those responsible for his loss pay, Art mused. He ignores the only one I think is supportive to him.

Alex, who wants to uphold the family name and code, despite the hardship. he thought about the other Magnus. Why go through so much trouble? She could always be the best Yurran student even without a family name.

He felt his heart pound strongly once more, one that resounded all over.

Art could no longer sleep, so got off the bed and quietly set up his Arcus for tinkering on the larger table in the room. Tinkering had always helped to keep his mind off anything troublesome.

I inspected my Arcus for any damage or issues. I picked this up months before I met the others…left in front of my workshop. I kept it inside the ‘shop and didn’t tell my mom or Sonny about it, seeing as they might tell me to give it back. Not like that would be possible anyway, since the package did not have any return address or identification.

I had seen Arcus before, but I have definitely never seen anything like it. It didn’t have any of the control mechanisms typical to contemporary designs – just a magnetic docking mechanism used to mount the shields. It came with three of them, so they were attached as such: two on my arms and one on my back to accommodate maximum protection. Wearing it gave me the ability to move things with just thought, though at great effort. Shortly after meeting the others, the shields gained the ability to move and float on their own…sometimes, I feel like they may actually be moving on their own accord. No idea how that happened, but it’s beneficial, so I’m not complaining.

And now, this gal tells me that I had a broken limiter? What the heck is a limiter? There has never been such a thing in any Arcus designs. And why would there be, since mana no longer flowed freely?

I took a close look at the mounting points, where she placed this ‘limiter’. I noticed that the central portion had broken off…when did that happen? I popped the device off, and immediately a headache and the whispers followed. I immediately returned the device into its slot. What the heck does this thing do?

Great, now I can’t even maintain my gear without getting into trouble.

Everything’s just messed up. All this because people refuse to understand each other.

Alex has her obligations, whatever that means. I guess she feels strongly about it, so I didn’t mind, though I don’t understand it personally. She cares about her cousin (which is normal, sure), but I don’t think she understands what he’s going through.

Heck, I kinda feel for Bass; I mean, if someone stole my stuff like that, I’d get pretty angry too…but he’s not seeing clearly, and is pushing Alex away, even though we’re all in deep shit now anyway.

Me, agreeing with Bass? Yep, everything’s definitely messed up.

But I do want to help them…but how? How do I help them understand each other?

Wait…what if I…?

Art stretched out his thoughts, trying to unblock the things he brushed aside before.

Nothing came.

Dammit, it’s not working… he thought. He tried to focus, but nothing extremely faint murmurs.

Oh, right. He slapped his forehead hard.

He removed the device from the docking mechanism. The lines in the shield started glowing red.

The whispers poured in, quickly and enveloping his mind. It gave him a massive headache, but he shrugged it off and tried to focus; he as trying to sift through the voices, and find what he was looking for.

After almost an hour of focusing, failing, and trying again, he was able to quiet his mind, and the whispers stopped, though his severe headache persisted, though he was exerting all his effort in maintaining this state of mind. The color in the shield changed to green.

“Well done.” said a voice in his head. “You’ve been able to get this far.”

Who is it? Art wondered, confused at being addressed directly by his mind.

“That’s not important right now. I know what it is you seek, and I can help you.” the voice answered in a reassuring tone. “Your time here is short, but I hope you will learn.”

It’s him.

“I can hear you, you know.” the voice replied.


“All you need to know right now is that the world is bigger what you have known, that your bonds with others is a two-way connection, and that you have the ability to bring that together, even just for a few moments.” the voice explained. “It will take too much time to explain in detail, and doing so may endanger you.”

Bring bonds together…a two-way connection.

“You will understand soon. Now, go, help them. Help her.” the voice echoed, eventually fading.

Art’s mind started filling with whispers again. He immediately puts the limiter back in its place, silencing the whispers and removing his headache.

Whoa, what a trip. he thought. A bond is a two-way connection, huh…

He suddenly felt dizzy and sleepy, so he returned to bed and dropped hard and fell asleep.



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