The World Split and Conchohar's Journey

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Mamma Peach
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The World Split and Conchohar's Journey

Post by Mamma Peach »

(Compiled from the threads they originally appeared in.)
The World Split
In Aleriand
It was New Year’s Eve. Lien Hua watched fireworks from the shelter of the festively decorated balcony outside of her and Conchobhar’s room. The landscape glittered with snow, which was drifting from the sky in large flakes, and she wore a large fur wrap against the cold. Her hands rested on the curve of her her huge belly and the dragon egg it contained. Her family was talking with Conchobhar about the events of the last year as they watched the fire works. She had been in Aleriand a week now waiting for the time that she would lay her egg in the hatching grounds. Tomorrow would be her 152nd birthday, her second birthday since she had come of age and first traveled to Falcon 6 Town. So much had happened in that time.

In the weeks that followed her wedding to Conchobhar and the War of Kiryushiro, yokai had begun to move back into the central region. New villages and towns sprang up everywhere among the mountains. Crime rates fell drastically all over Demon World, and the new churches were thriving. Lord Kyuketsuki had evidently not minded his son’s new faith, and Lady Reiwana managed to have a chapel (more like a cathedral) built for mass to be said for her son (she even researched that part for the attending priest), and she required everyone to attend. Lien Hua didn’t think she quite grasped the whole meaning of faith. Another note about the vampire family was that Yorutsubasa was fully adopted as their son, and Lady Reiwana had taken in an orphaned vampire girl as a daughter, whom she doted on.

Aunt De Zhen was still translating the huge diary and prophetic record of Lord Kiryu. In the process she found a number of interesting things, including the fact that the barrier that had occurred during the battle was a magical defense Lord Kiryu had built into the castle, and was triggered by prayer. There were also magical properties in the map table on the fifth floor, which she barely understood. In addition, the budding romance between Aunt De Zhen and the azure dragon, Lord Seiryu, was beginning to blossom. He had visited Aunt De Zhen a number of times, often bringing gifts, and had gone on log walks with her in the gardens. It wouldn’t be too long, Lien Hua speculated, before she would see her maiden Aunt as a bride.

Though Conchobhar’s work load was rather full, he still found time to train for the tournament, though it wouldn’t happen for another year or so. He also managed to find two new team mates, recommended by the priests, and was training them. In addition to that he managed to spend time with Takumi helping him to recover through various physical therapy routines that officer Inori had recommended. The fact that Conchobhar had used the crystals to cripple him was what made the recovery so long. Even though they had been removed rather quickly their deadly influence had caused a slow down of the whole healing process. Inori had seen things like that before, and knew how to deal with them. At first Takumi had been rather despondent and frustrated over his situation and the restraints that the law had put on him. Lien Hua had cautioned Inori against acting like the law officer she was, and reporting small infractions directly. Instead she asked the kitsune to behave more like a nurse and gently counsel him to stay clean, for his own sake. Lien Hua also visited Takumi often and played games of chess. She always ended up loosing, but Takumi said that she was at least a challenge, and it helped break the monotony. The vampire boys visited sometimes too, bringing over various electronic devices, though their visits were strictly monitored by Inori or their father. Kagekiba stopped by once or twice on official business, and offered Takumi a part time job. Still, progress for Conchobhar’s team mate was rather slow, and Takumi’s frustration only seemed to grow. For weeks it seemed like his seething, underlying anger was on the verge of exploding. Then something happened. Lien Hua wasn’t sure if it was his improving physical condition, an acceptance of life, or a dark hidden secret that was the cause, but it was as if all of his pent up frustration had found a new outlet, and he began to act like his confident old self again. The edge of his sarcasm was still there, but he seemed to be happier with his progress. His health also began to gain ground with his brighter outlook. Now he could be seen walking around the castle grounds, heavily leaning on Inori’s shoulder. Though it seemed to Lien Hua that this constant job of taking care of Takumi was beginning to wear on Inori. She was looking rather stressed, though she tried not to show it. Lien Hua would have to look into getting Kagekiba to send someone to replace her for a while so she could take a vacation. As it was she and Conchobhar always had Inori take a break while they were with Takumi.

The past couple of weeks though were pretty much consumed with Lien Hua’s burgeoning belly and the imminent arrival of the egg. When everyone had been cleaning and preparing for the New Year’s Festival, Lien Hua had only been able to toddle around. She even had to get Conchobhar to get presents to give to her family for her. At the feast this evening she could hardly fit the delicious holiday foods into her stomach. The New Year’s pudding was still sitting in there rather heavily.

The fireworks finale went off at midnight as Lien Hua’s brothers set off firecrackers. Aunt De Zhen took around a plate of jiaozi dumplings for everyone to eat. As Lien Hua took one, a sharp pain ran through her body, causing her to drop the dumpling back on the plate. “Is something wrong, dear?” asked Aunt De Zhen handing the plate off to one of Lien Hua’s sisters. Lien Hua gasped as another pain came just as she was about to reply. Aunt De Zhen put her hands on Lien Hua’s belly and felt the tightening muscles. “You’re going to have to resist the pains until you get to the hatching grounds. If you try to lay your egg in this form you’ll tear yourself apart!” The Aunt turned to Conchobhar. “Take her to the hatching grounds right now,” she said. Conchobhar scooped Lien Hua up in his arms and flew towards the hatching ground entrance. “Mei Xing, you should be with your daughter,” said De Zhen. The queen nodded and transforming into dragon form, flew after the couple. “Bao Yu and Chun Yue, come with me,” said the aunt. “Everyone else can see the egg when it’s laid.” She and the elder sisters transformed and flew after the queen. The brothers whooped loudly and set off more firecrackers to celebrate.

In the warm sandy cavern Lien Hua lay against the curve of one wall, in her huge golden dragon form, breathing heavily as the muscles of her long body rhythmically contracted. Conchobhar was stroking her mane and encouraging her. In the center of the sandy floor was Bao Yu’s shiny gold egg, half covered in warm sand. Lien Hua’s mother, sisters, and aunt entered the cavern, her sisters carrying the bedding and towels that the fays had brought. The fays set up the frame of the resting bed and the girls made the bed.

“You’re doing fine, dear,” said Lien Hua’s mother encouragingly as she felt along her daughter’s body for the progress of the egg.

As soon as the resting bed had been set up the girls came over to help. Chun Yue held the birthing blanket and towels while Aunt De Zhen showed Bao Yu how to massage Lien Hua’s belly to ease the passing of the egg, as queen Mei Xing was already doing, leaving the encouraging to Conchobhar. After two hours of this the egg finally made it’s way to the end of Lien Hua’s body. The four women held the birthing blanket under the emerging egg and caught it as it fell. Then they began wiping the egg dry as Lien Hua rested.

Conchobhar came over to see the egg that held his offspring. It was quite different from the shiny gold egg already in the center of the cavern. For one thing it was larger. It was also different in color. While it did have the shiny gold, it also had a glossy black on it, and the two colors were swirled and intertwined with each other.

“I think this means you are going to have twins,” said Queen Mei Xing to Conchobhar, “one for Lien Hua and one for Xin Le Hua.

They carried the egg to the center of the room and half buried it in the warm sand next to Bao Yu’s egg. Conchobhar had Lien Hua turn back into human form and carried her over to see her egg. She stroked the egg and sang to it, the same song her mother had sung to her, pleased at it’s mottled beauty, as was Xin Le Hua. ~Our egg!~ said Xin Le Hua in her mind. ~Our egg, yours, mine, and Conchobhar’s!”

The rest of the family came in and congratulated her, touching the egg and commenting on the beauty of it’s unusual color, though her oldest brother Hao Fa still seemed rather strained to be polite, saying very little about the egg. Lien Hua was very tired, so the family soon left to get some sleep before the New Year’s Day festivities, and Conchobhar carried her to the resting bed. Before leaving them Lien Hua’s mother reminded him that it would be several days before her daughter’s insides would be normal again, and that she needed plenty of rest. When Conchobhar and his wife were alone he told her how well she did, and how much he loved her, until she went to sleep.

***

Early the next morning Lien Hua’s mother and father stopped by with their gifts before attending the dawn ceremony for thanking the fays for their work in maintaining the environment, and the prayers and offerings to Aru. Lien Hua’s father told her just to rest and sleep until the festivities later that evening. Conchobhar also excused himself with a kiss to attend the ceremony as ambassador of Demon World and the son of Morrigan, and said he would stop by and see her and their egg before going to visit his parents and delivering the news and their gifts. Lien Hua ate a few of the jewels that her parents had given her and went back to sleep, waking only briefly when Conchobhar came in to say good bye and that he would be back that evening.

The ceremony went well, with all of the fays attending in one form or another, the whole Council, and other dignitaries as well, but after the offering of prayer and incense to Aru, and the pouring out of the water and the wine on the door step of the Temple of Heaven, a messenger from Asgard came to Elder Arnbjorn and the Emperor with an urgent message. There was a dispute about borders between the frost giants and the northern mountain village of Arnvidr, and tempers were getting very heated. The Emperor put his eldest son, Hao Fa, in charge and left with Elder Arnbjorn to settle the dispute. As soon as Prince Hao Fa saw that his both his father and Conchobhar had left he signaled Elder Shagbark. The old oak tree sent messages around to the councilors, and Aoibheann, summoning them to a secret emergency meeting of the Council. In a short time the full Council, except for Arnbjorn and the Emperor, was assembled in the Council Chambers of the Celestial Hall of Judgment. Outside in the Landing Field the fays and fairies mingled about greeting one another and engaging in impromptu dances, yet they sensed something wrong in the air, a kind of foreboding. Those fays with souls felt that Aru was grieved, but they didn’t understand why. How could their celebration have offended Him?
In Yokaisekai
Conchobhar flew towards his mother’s place, bearing his and Lien Hua’s gifts with a light heart. He was going to be a father! He couldn’t stop thinking of Lien Hua and their beautiful egg. As he flew past their castle at Kiryushiro he decided to check on things there on his way back, and visit Takumi, before paying a visit to his father at Enma Shihonkin, the capital. Today was a good day!

Morrigan was very glad to see her son and receive their gifts, even more glad to hear about the egg. Her own belly wasn’t even showing yet, though she was fully aware of the life within, even to the fact that she bore a daughter. Yet there was something troubling in the air, like a portent of evil. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it as she listened to Conchobhar recount the New Year’s events.
In Aleriand
Inside the Council Chambers Aoibheann also felt that something was deeply wrong, and even more so when Hao Fa took the Moderator’s seat and Elder Arnbjorn’s son, Byrghir, took the place of his father. Hao Fa called the meeting to order, saying that the secrecy and the urgency of the meeting was due to the dire nature of the matter they were to discuss and its timing. Then he called upon Councilman Shagbark to speak. The old oak rose to an impressive stature and began to tell about the horrors of Demon World, spinning into tragic events even the smallest attacks on people from Aleriand, and recounting the yokai’s crimes against other yokai. He spoke sorrowfully about the sons of the Emperor and the black dragon knights, dragging their private grief over the war out publicly in front of the Council, and sadly described the deformed egg that was the product of the forced union between that demonic prince and their lovely princess. Aoibheann tried to object and interject a more truthful picture, but she was silenced by Hao Fa. The crown prince warned the Council about Aoibheann’s gift of speech, saying she was already biased towards keeping the two lands joined at all cost because of her love for her sister Morrigan and her desire to revive Primavaldia. So the Council voted that she would remain silent for the duration. If she protested, she knew that she would be removed from the Council Chambers and placed under guard. All she could do was watch as Hao Fa’s separationist faction gained the upper hand and swayed the Council towards their way of thinking. It would not have happened that way if the Emperor and Elder Arnbjorn had been there. Aoibheann knew that somehow Hao Fa had arranged that too. Finally the Council came to a vote. It was a virtually unanimous decision, Aleriand would separate from the world. The authorization was drawn up then and there, and Hao Fa signed it with the royal seal. Then they handed it to Aoibheann to carry out the edict. By the strength of the vow she had made at the founding of Aleriand she could not disobey. Only the Emperor, who was far away could stop this from happening.

Aoibheann left the Council Chambers. Snow was falling thickly, whipping around, as she made her way to the landing field, tears in her eyes and document in hand. She was followed at a distance by the Council. She quickly called Nixie the fairy to her. Speaking softly she told the fairy to use her greatest speed and find the Emperor and tell him that Hao Fa had led the Council to decree complete separation from the world, and that if the Emperor did not make haste the deed would be done before he returned, and only he could stop this. Nixie flew off in a flash.

The landing field was kept somewhat clear of the snow by the power of the fays, but it was becoming a blizzard around the edges making a swirling white dome around the field. Saebhreathach, Iomhar, Aodhfionn, and Dwyer along with a host of others came up to the fairy Queen as she approached and asked what was wrong. For once in her life the silver tongued fay was unable to speak. She handed the edict to Saebhreathach. The fays read it with increasing dismay. “This can not be!” said Saebhreathach, and the exclamation echoed from thousands of voices as word of what the edict said was passed along.

“You’ve seen the edict,” said Hao Fa to the assembled fays. Shagbark and the council members who had always supported the split stood close behind the prince to back him up. “Now, carry out your vows! Do as the edict commands!”

A wild keening and a sonorous moan arose from the fays as they formed their circles and began the dance, their feet tripping lightly though they felt like lead. A song began, the lament of the exiles, a song that had not been heard since the fall of Primavaldia. They sang of the great shining cities of Falias, Gorias, Murias, and Finias crumbled into ruin, the fertile fields of Mag Mell, Mag Mor, and Tir Tairngire laid waste, the beautiful islands of Tirn Aill, Tir Nam Beo, Hy Breasail, and Avalon gone forever, and the fair towers of the High King’s palace at Tir Nan Og broken and fallen and the tragic death of High King Fionnbharr and his fair queen Una, the parents of Aoibheann the fair. They sang of the cavalcade of Tuatha De Danaann Knights; seven score steeds, each with a jewel on its forehead like a star, and seven score horsemen, all the sons of kings, in their green mantles fringed with gold, and golden helmets on their heads, and golden greaves on their limbs, and each knight having in his hand a golden spear, dead, dead, all dead on the field of battle. They were exiles without a land to call their own, their world destroyed, crumbled to dust. Would it ever rise again? The former glory was gone away, and now they must wander without a home, waiting, waiting, ever waiting, till the long road ended or they perished into dust. Tears flowed freely down Aoibheann’s cheeks and froze on the ground.

Lien Hua’s family heard the keening and the mournful moaning and they left the game of Mahjong and other family leisure activities and ran outside to see what was wrong. They joined hands as they were hit by the blizzard and continued to walk towards the sound of the mournful cries. Emerging on the cleared landing field they saw the fay’s mournful dance, and the full Council standing by with Hao Fa. Queen Mei Xing put her hand over her mouth and ran towards the Council followed by her sons and daughters, and Bao Yu’s husband, Lord Kohaku.

“What is the meaning of this?” gasped the queen. “What is happening?” Hao Fa showed her the edict that he had retrieved from where the fays had dropped it on the ground. “No!” said Mei Xing. “You can’t... Hao Fa, your sister’s husband is in Demon World, they will be separated forever! How could you do this?!”

“That is one of the reasons that this action is so necessary,” said Hao Fa self righteously. “How you could let her marry such filth is beyond me.”

The three brothers stepped forward with the intent to do their insufferable elder brother physical harm, when an earthquake shook all of Aleriand, causing rocks to fall from the cliffs and the brothers to fall backwards. Concern for what was happening to the world overrode their desire to pummel their brother. “You must stop this madness!” they cried to the fays.
In Yokaisekai
Suddenly she (Morrigan) felt a major shift in the power lines she had established between Demon World and Aleriand. How was this possible? Only Aleriand pulling away from the world and this dimension would cause such a shift, but why would they do such a thing?

Concchobhar stopped when he saw his mother’s pained expression. “Mother, what’s wrong? Are you all right?” he asked concerned.

“Go! Go quickly to your wife!” she said between gasps as she exerted all of her strength in holding the lines stable. “She is in terrible danger! You must go to her before it is too late and you are trapped here forever!”

Conchobhar didn’t wait for an explanation. He left behind the gifts for his father and flew as fast as he could back to the western gate. When he reached the doorway to Aleriand he found it blocked by solid rock, as it was when he first burst through to the kidnapped children. Charging his spirit energy he punched the rock as before, smashing a huge hole in it, and followed that up with another punch, striking the rock over and over, digging deeper and deeper.

Morrigan called the Unseelie court and gave them instructions for holding Demon World together during the coming onslaught. Then leaving them to their dance she went into her inner chamber, flung aside her raven feather cloak, and lay on the floor. Where her bare skin touched the floor she drew in the rich energy of Demon World, its inhabitants, and King. She then reached out with her considerable power and strength along the lines she had established with the other three, Sulis, Brigid, and Aoibheann, and took firmly a hold of them and their surroundings. The strongest hold was on Aoibheann and Aleriand, which seemed to be rapidly moving further away. She felt the lines stretch agonizingly taut as they pulled, like ropes attaching a great ship that was pulling away from port to other ships that were firmly anchored to solid ground. Something would have to give way, but it would not be her dreams of a restored world, of a Primavaldia returned, not after she had worked so hard for it. She felt other forces tugging on the overworld, Locura, pulling in the opposite direction. She could not oppose them. They were too strong. She did the only thing she could. She cut Demon World’s ties to the overworld altogether. All of Demon World shook as it burst through the shattered realities, drawn after Aleriand along with such flotsam and jetsam as still had spiritual ties to that land, to Lien Hua, and to Primavaldia. Still the pressure did not give. Brigid was completely a part of the Pokemon Islands, as was Sulis a part of the realm of the Soul Society and Hueco Munde. The islands were being pulled along with the forces that wanted the world of Locura for their own purposes, and the realm of souls was firmly anchored in the reality that Aleriand was trying to leave. She felt herself stretched beyond bearing. She alternately apologized to the distraught child in her womb and screamed in agony. Large rough hands, a familiar touch, gently caressed her shoulders as Enma’s tremendous spirit energy flowed into her. Tears of pain and gratitude flowed down her cheeks. Behind Enma’s energy came four others, the great daimyo of the yokai, who stood behind their lord, their hands resting lightly on his shoulders. Drawing on their strength she gave a mighty pull and those she bound herself to broke free of their moorings. Together they drifted into a new dimension as her strength failed. The lines were loosened and Demon World was alone. She felt her husband lift her to her bed and tell her that the land was fine, that they would survive this like they had survived the death of the first world. She could feel how weak everyone had become. Thank Aru that their enemies had died at the battle of Kiryushiro. Even the Unseelie Court was so weak now that they could not have fended off an attack. As it was she wasn’t sure if she had the strength to make it, with her daughter. She did one last thing before she sank into unconsciousness. She would at least give her daughter a proper name, even if she could give her nothing else. “Our daughter...” she barely whispered to her husband, “...her name... is Aine (en-ya)...” King Enma smoothed his unconscious wife’s hair. Large hot tears fell on her pillow.
In Aleriand
In the hatching grounds Lien Hua began to feel ill. Something was terribly wrong. It was like something inside her was trying to tear her to pieces. The lines of the lotus mark on her hand were breaking and merging, alternately glowing and fading in clashing colors. What was worse, she couldn’t feel or hear Xin Le Hua, though she could tell that she was present and must be going through the same hell that she was, separate and alone. There were no fays in the hatching ground to help her. She had to go out and find help. Dressed in the same new red dress and slippers she had worn the night before, she stumbled out of the cavern wrapped in the fur wrap, and out into the blizzard. At that moment the earth shook flinging her to the ground and part of the cliff side collapsed. Lien Hua continued to move forward, climbing over rocks and boulders, blinded by the snow. She had to feel her way ahead with her hands and feet, pulling her way up over rock and vegetation. Soon she saw dark objects looming in a row in front of her. She tried to grasp a hold of them and stumbled past with hands full of leaves, and smacked into a white pillar. The Temple of Heaven! It must be just ahead, but how? She stumbled on, her body outwardly numb and her ears deaf and her voice silent, but inwardly she screamed with the excruciating pain. She could see the dark blue tiled roof and gold decorated red walls of the Temple through the snow. If only she could make it to the door. Perhaps Saebhreathach could help, and if he could not she could at least go to Aru. She came to the door of the Temple. It was open, but no one was there. She had no more strength to walk. She fell face forward into the snow, her outstretched arm resting on the threshold, in snow stained red with wine, the lotus mark all but gone. Her breathing stopped and her heart stilled. The golden leaves, pearl flowers, and diamond fruit fell from the silver tree in the center of the Temple as it withered and turned black with tarnish. As suddenly as it had come the blizzard stopped the snow ceased to fall.

***

As the fays of Aleriand pulled their land away from Locura, and Morrigan in Demon World tried to hold everything she had worked so hard for together, the earth shook violently and rifts occurred in time and space, plucking people and things off not only Locura but also from other places, and from various times and even eras. Then world began to split apart. Many of the pieces that were directly connected to Lien Hua, as in the places where her ashes were laid to rest, and those connected to the four great fairies, followed Aleriand. The powers that had long used Locura as a plaything also snatched up all the people and places that they wanted, as well as the geologic formations of earth, continents, seas, and vegetation, as they already were arranged, and began a quick reconstruction of that world, pulling it into another dimension complete with it’s own universe, much like the one that the old Locura had been in.

The earth began to shake and the sky grew dark and ominous. Electrical discharges flashed through the sky as the dimensions were twisted. In Falcon 6 Town, the first thing the NPC’s thought was that there was an attack of some sort. It had been far too quiet and peaceful lately. They should have known something like this would happen. They began to run to the Library for shelter, but the Library had vanished completely, leaving behind an empty plot of ground with the workers standing in it. There was nothing to do but head back to their homes and hope that the trouble would pass. The employes of the Library stood in the empty field stunned for a moment. They saw other NPC’s begin running to the Library, but then turn back as they saw that the Library was gone. As the earth convulsed and the wind began to blow, some of the employees went to the church with the others there. The rest vanished to add to the numbers of the nameless in the new Locura.

Father Asa’s converts, decided to go to the church and pray. Their families, and even some of their unbelieving friends, went with them. The generic priest was not there at the time, having gone off world for a retreat, but he would only be a little upset at finding nothing left to go back to. People who stayed in their houses began to vanish, pulled along to the new Locura to become a part of nameless masses, villain bait, cannon fodder, and in some cases even dinner. The houses, the farms, and the school were pulled along with the church, Battlefield Park, the Cafe, and other physical parts of Falcon 6 Town that Lien Hua had ties to, into the void of nothingness with other bits and pieces of Locura, almost all of which had no inhabitants except animals and the occasional monster. The houses stood empty, awaiting owners. The same was true in the Town Housing as well. Lien Hua's house was particularly intact, with all of it's things inside, while many other houses lost their contents along with their inhabitants.

In the cafe everything alive vanished, taken wherever the powers wanted them to go. The building itself was dragged along with other pieces of Locura entering into the nothingness with Aleriand, breaking apart in the process.

The entire island of Toaru was torn from Locura intact, dragons, sacred cave, hills, and all, and drawn after Aleriand into the void. On leaving the dimension of the old Locura the “blood” dragons were cut off from DG Chaos’s power and reverted to their normal selves again. The island entered the void, joining other bits waiting to become a new world.

The Pokemon Islands shook with a terrible earthquake as two different forces pulled on them. The power and spirit of the fay Brigid so permeated the islands, and was so connected to the pokemon and the people associated with them that the islands as a whole were pulled along with her towards Aleriand, but the forces of those who wished Locura to remain in their power took hold of the physical terrain of the islands and pulled them strongly in the direction of the rest of Locura. Every pokemon felt the strain of the pull as everything threatened to tear itself apart. As fissures appeared across time and space, warping the dimensions of Locura, Dialga and Palkia appeared, then Giratina. Celebi, Mew, and Jirachi hovered around St. Brigid Island trying to communicate with the suffering spirit of Brigid. Under the powers of the “god” pokemon the islands divided in two. The solid terrain left that dimension with the rest of Locura, but the pokemon and people along with everything they built followed the spirit of Brigid on a duplicate island chain created by the three great pokemon. It was not quite as substantial as the original islands, and though it allowed for a clean separation from the world of Locura, it was not enough to sustain them when they went into the void of gray nothingness.

In Yokaisekai

Conchobhar felt his spirit energy drain away as he pounded away through solid rock. He was weak and tired, and was so deep into the rock that couldn’t see where he had come from, but he would tunnel through the entire planet if he had to. Suddenly the rock gave way into open space. He wiped the dirt from his eyes. He stood on the ledge of a cliff that extended along on either side like the great wall of mountains that surrounded Demon World. In front of him was a vast expanse of grayness, featureless except for a floating island some distance ahead. Beyond that was another island, and after that another one somewhat larger than the first two, but so far away that he could barely see it, let alone what might be further on. The ring on his left hand throbbed, and as he held it up a thin beam of light, barely visible, shot out towards the islands. Somewhere in the direction of those islands was his wife, and she needed him. He lifted his wings and flew to the first island. Landing heavily on it he felt weary beyond belief. Flying through the gray nothingness was so very hard, but he would have to continue on, no matter how tired he was, no matter how many islands he had to traverse. In a way he was fortunate that he didn’t know the vast extent of those islands, and how very long it would take for him to cross them.

Meanwhile, Back on Locura

It was one of the cliffs in Locura, that one would focus in on a singular being. The cliff wasn't particularly important, but the fact the figure was running as it seemed to be breaking up along with the rest of the world was. The figure was garbed in many times of bandages and brown, torn cloth, no actual clothing present. It seemed to be frantically clicking some kind of mechanical device on it's wrist, fast but not panicked.

"Well, it seems the end has come faster than I had anticipated." It said to no one in particular, running forward as the cliff behind it continued to collapse. "And I do believe it's time for me to take my leave!" It clicked one last button on the mechanical device, before it reached the edge of the cliff, and took a little hop off.

A portal, circular with a mixture of green and black in colour, opened up under it. The figure, having hopped off the cliff, fell in perfectly. Now nestled safely on a trip out of the exploding world, it turned it's body to watch.

"Aaaaand..." It continued to watch as it fell through the portal, watching the creation of the new world...and the destruction of the old. It snapped it's fingers. "There it goes!" It turned around. "I'll have to remember to check the new place. But, for now..." The portal between the new world and it closed, as it moved forward in the odd space. "Time to go home for a bit and rest."

In this, the new Locura that the powers made, the NPC population exploded, as did the technology. Little Falcon 6 Town became the massive city of Zuerst with, Ygalef of the Ranul territory as it’s rival in size. It no longer had the Library or any of the old landmarks. The Cafe became a towering skyscraper. Some of the old terrain also received new names and populations, like the islands that had been rifted from the Pokemon Islands. These became the Greater Aeste Islands, and had no pokemon at all. This new Locura even had a new history that reached back into antiquity, one that did not include the old Locura, Primavaldia, Aleriand, Demon World, or even Xella. The Nobodies in this new Locura may have gone by the same names, but they were different, and knew nothing of the tragic half gardevoir. The old Locura did not exist to this new one. No one in this new world remembered anything of the events from the old one, or of Lien Hua or Xella. Their memories were based solely on the history imbedded in this new world. The only ones that had any memory at all of the old Locura and Lien Hua was Tejas and the DG90, but even to them the memories did not seem like real history. They seemed more like a dream, a fantasy, or a story they once read. Though they might just wonder from time to time where these dreams or stories came from.

This new Locura was once again the chaos that the old one began as, with dozens of conspiracies, villains, and factions, causing massive damage to the lives of those hapless creatures that had been put there, with even less attention to “saving the world” than before. The NPC’s were fair game with no one to protect them, or even care. Even time became more inconsistent, with moments or hours passing for some, while days or weeks passed for others, even while in the same town. Such standards of orderliness mattered little to the powers that ruled. After all the world was made for their convenience, not for the convenience of the people who lived there.

While new Locura was being formed in one dimension, the other parts of Locura were dragged along with Aleriand into another, a dimension that was as yet a featureless void, a void that could eventually become an entire universe of it’s own though. On one side of a general sphere that would one day grow into a world, that is if the Mediator that once built Primavaldia returned to build it, lay the continent of Aleriand. On the other side of the sphere lay another continent, Demon World, or Yokaisekai. Between these the two continents stretched a chain of islands, resembling many of the islands of old Locura rearranged in a long meandering chain, a chain that Conchobhar was trying to navigate with great difficulty as they floated in a lifeless space. Below Demon World, or rather Yokaisekai, stretched the Pokemon Islands with ocean water slowly spreading out across the sphere from them. Right next to the Pokemon Islands was a third continent, put together from pieces of North and South Erinacueus, forming a triad with Aleriand and Yokaisekai. This was the new continent of Talamh.

The eastern part of this new continent resembled Okawa somewhat, though without the digimon population, while the western part resembled a truncated Narna Desert along with the areas north of it including a duplicate of Ayei Lake, now Loch Suil, and a simpler form of Falcon 6 Town, now Midtown, but the northern and southern parts were like the northern and southern parts of the Spiney Back Mountains. The resulting new mountains were the Mana Mountains, which contained the Gelahre Desert, quite different in shape and position from the old Obi Desert. The over all shape of this new continent resembled the head of a wolf or a lion, and above this lion’s “nose” were the islands that were once below the unfortunate city of Termule, a city that no longer existed, along with the rifted island of Toaru where the dragonsword had been hidden for so long.

These were not the only things pulled into the sphere of this newly forming world. The Library city of the planet Athuair was torn from it’s world by a random rift, along with it’s fabulous collection of all of the known books in the universe and the winged Athuairians who lived there, and set down on the shores of Loch Suil where the Ruins of Nsider once sat. On Mobius Dr. Robotnik went to check on some mobian prisoners and found them missing. Robotnik believed that Sonic had rescued them, but Sonic and the others believed that Robotnik had killed them. Actually they ended up on the large island just above the “nose” of the continent Talamh. In a dimension surrounding this newly forming world, separate from but somehow connected to it, a digital world formed with digimon, rifted not from Locura or Ruki’s experiments, but from a source closer to the original. There was also a spirit dimension consisting of parts of the Soul Society and of Hueco Munde that had been torn away from the parts connected to old Locura and dragged into the void because of the spirit of Sulis that had been trapped in that dimension.

In Aleriand

The fays in the field collapsed, exhausted, as the golden streak of the Emperor, returning as fast as he could appeared in the sky, followed at a distance by the white form of Elder Arnbjorn. Emperor Chang An took everything in with a glance. Then he saw the red figure of his daughter lying in front of the Temple. Rushing down he transformed at her side. He gently held the pale cold girl in his arms, checking for signs of life and finding none. Holding his daughter to him he let out a resounding cry of sorrow, such as only a dragon could muster. Shocked, his family, the Council, and the exhausted fays Aoibheann, Saebhreathach, Aodhfionn and Dwyer, crossed the field and headed up the stairs towards the weeping Emperor and the lifeless princess.

Emperor Chang An saw Aoibheann and her kinsmen approach. “How is Aleriand?” he managed to ask with great difficulty, just as Elder Arnbjorn landed near by.

“We are separated from everything, your Majesty,” said the exhausted fay sorrowfully. “We are alone. The land is exhausted. The barrier is gone. We are suspended between dimensions as it was when we left Primavaldia, only this time we have gone much farther. If a new world does not form soon we will surely perish. Give me a few moments and I will see how much time we have.”

The Emperor nodded and turned his attention to his approaching family and the Council, as Saebhreathach came and stood by him. “Hao Fa!” he growled as he caught sight of his son. “This is your doing! See what you have done. You have killed your sister! You have also put the entire land in danger. I warned you against your presumptuousness. You ought to be banished from Aleriand for your crime! As that is impossible, with the way things are now, I will disown you. You are no longer my son! Sheng Li is now the crown prince, and my successor, if there is anything left to inherit.” As Hao Fa stood in shock, the Emperor turned on the Council. “And you, the Council of Aleriand, the wise elders, you too bear the burden of guilt. How shall you atone for the sin you have committed against the people of this land, against my daughter, and against Aru? Do not say, ‘We didn’t know’ when here stands the Temple of Aru, where all wisdom may be gained. What’s more you knew that He had blessed the union of Conchobhar and my daughter, yet you deliberately sought to separate them. You knew enough to be held guilty till the end of time! I will say no more. My heart is too heavy.”

“Sire,” said Saebhreathach who had his hand on Lien Hua’s head, “she is not dead, at least not completely. There is still a spark of life within her, but it is like the sleeping death. We have not the power to waken her or give her life. The mark on her hand, the Dragon Sword has tied her to the world. With our passing from the world the magic has faded and she was nearly torn to pieces. If the world reforms she might return to normal. I can’t tell.”

“My poor child,” said the Emperor, “why is it that you are always the one to suffer so?”

“Your Majesty,” said Aoibheann, “there is a problem. Aleriand is already failing. Even now the sands in the hatching grounds are beginning to cool.”

“My baby!” cried Bao Yu. Lord Kohaku put his arms around her.

“Bao Yu,” said the Emperor, “both of the eggs may yet be saved. Go to the hatching grounds and wrap yourself around them in dragon form. Make sure they are completely surrounded, above and below. The heat of your body will keep them warm. So did the dragons of ancient times when they were hunted by men. That way you will save both your child and your sister’s.” Bao Yu quickly headed to the cavern to save the eggs. “Lord Kohaku, go with her to keep her company,” said the Emperor.

“Yes, your Majesty,” said Lord Kohaku and he rushed after his wife.

Aunt De Zhen looked up at the dead, featureless, sky above them and remembered Lord Seiryu telling her about the end of Primavaldia. She spoke them half aloud, “...the empty gray skies of a dead world; skies without sun, moon, or stars, without darkness or light, and a world dissolving into nothingness.” Then she remembered that she would never see the azure dragon again and she choked up.

“Unfortunately that is so,” said Aoibhean. “The life of this land has reached it’s limit. If we consume it at the present rate we will have only eight days to live.” The phrase,”Only eight days!” was taken up by numerous people before she continued. “This was perhaps the worst time of the year to expend the kind of energy that it took to split from the world, when the land’s energy is so low anyway. It is unlikely that a planet will form so quickly.” She shook her head and thought hard for a solution. Her eyes went to the corpse like Lien Hua in her father’s arms, and an idea came to mind. “There is one thing I can do,” she said. When I was young I heard about a human princess that was under a spell of sleeping death. The spell would be broken only when a hundred years had passed, but by that time her parents and all who knew her would be dead. So it was decided that the whole kingdom should be put to sleep, from the fire on the hearth to the king on his throne. It was perhaps not the wisest course of action for that time, but it would work well in this. Give the fays a couple of days to recover and we can put the entire land into a sleep state, to awaken when a new world forms. If no energy is expended we and our land could last for months, perhaps even a whole year. If no world has formed by then...”

“Then we perish in our sleep,” said the Emperor. “So be it. Let word be spread throughout Aleriand of what has happened, and that in three days the land will be put to sleep. Let everyone prepare them self as they see fit.”

***
The news was carried all over Aleriand. Time was too short and precious for anyone to spend it on being angry with Hao Fa and the Council. People spent their last days with family and friends, and in setting things in order. The dwarves of Zwergheim made a gold and crystal coffin like bed for the Lien Hua’s body. The Emperor had it set up in front of the doors of the Temple of Heaven, where his daughter had finally fallen. Her mother and sisters washed the body and clothed her in her wedding garments, without the phoenix crown, but a simple tiara instead. Lien Hua was then laid on white silken cushions in the coffin-bed, her dark hair around her shoulders and her skin so pale and death like but still beautiful. Gold leaves and pearl petals fallen from the silver tree were strewn around her, and the clear crystal coffin lid placed firmly over her and sealed. Aoibheann was struck with the similarity to another tragic princess in Primavaldia who had been poisoned with an apple and wakened with a kiss. If only such fairy tale endings could happen here in the nothingness that their land was in. Even Aru seemed far from them, though His Temple had been frequently visited in the past two days. So now came the time to put the land to sleep. Everyone went to the place they wanted to be in during the long sleep, and the fays began the process of putting the land to sleep. When they were finished, they too joined in the long, long sleep of Aleriand.

The Pokemon Islands

The pokemon and people began to loose consciousness, especially the water pokemon who had no water only empty space. Soon they would die. Even Brigid’s power was fading. When her power was finally exhausted, her spirit would no longer be bound to the islands, and she would go to her eternal rest knowing that she had failed her beloved pokemon. At that moment a shining white and gold pokemon appeared, with a golden jeweled divided ring around it’s middle. Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina cried out to the shining pokemon and it cried back. Then it gave a loud roar that reverberated throughout the islands, giving them substance. Power flowed through the islands, and waters appeared on their shores spreading outward in the nothingness. As the island became whole again, Brigid’s power and spirit was pushed out of the land and a new body formed to contain her, a parting gift from Arceus for her loyalty to the pokemon that had been pulled to Primavaldia. Mew formed a protective bubble around the unconscious, resurrected fay and laid her down to rest under her sacred oak tree. As quickly as it had appeared, the shining pokemon Arceus disappeared. Then Dialga and Palkia went back to their dimensions, and Giratina went about its business mending the shattered dimensional lines. So the Pokemon Islands also waited for a new world to form.

***

For several days all these elements floated in the void of nothingness, threatening at any moment to dissolve, drift apart, or phase into other dimensions. On the far side of the sphere, opposite the triad of continents, was a circle of islands, fragments torn from the interior of Locura. These were the resting places of the elven kings of Eilifrrad and their kin, in an enchanted slumber since the ancient days of Primavaldia, which had been overlooked by the great evil and buried in the creation of old Locura. There were twelve of these islands in the ring, along with smaller pieces of rubble. In the center of that ring was a lump of earth about the size of a fist, and in that lump was a tiny seed. Suddenly the seed sprouted and grew at a rapid rate. It’s roots reached out across space and dug into every piece of land that had been pulled into this dimension, anchoring them firmly in place. It’s trunk reached far up into the sky with it’s topmost limbs reaching into the the dimensions of the Digital World and the worlds of the Soul Society and Hueco Munde. This was Laerad, the world tree.
Old Locura
Back in the dimension of old Locura all that was left of the world that was once there was debris. Those people that had not been taken to the new Locura or the new world Triudomhan either were pulled back into whatever worlds they came from, were deposited somewhere else, or simply perished. Most of the colonists and military from the Paysmortella of that dimension were able to be evacuated by space ships during the convulsions of the planet. There was no sign of the nasbies they had fought as they had been pulled to the new Locura. It was likely, though uncertain, that some of their soldiers and colonists had been pulled there as well.

As Grizelda had once said, no one would really notice or care about the destruction of one small planet. Grizelda herself only had a moment of regret when she heard about Locura’s demise from traders. It was officially reported in obscure astronomical publications, and to the few who traded with Locura, that the planet had developed an instability and exploded, along with it’s moon. Father Asa was shocked and grieved at it’s destruction, having heard about it from the organization that tracked his brother’s activity when they pointedly questioned him as to whether the Fourth Reich had the power to destroy worlds. He told them that his brother had no interest in Locura, that he knew of no such weapons, but that the planet Locura had many powerful creatures that could have destroyed the world themselves. Afterwards he searched through whatever sources he could find about Locura’s destruction, and took comfort in the small fact that the debris left behind amounted to less than a tenth of the total mass of the planet. Perhaps the rest was safe elsewhere. Though he would never be able to visit again like he had hoped, he still had the hope of seeing the people he had come to love in heaven. He told his growing children stories about Locura, Lien Hua, the little church in Falcon 6 Town, and their “fairy godmother” Morrigan. Though Locura was gone, it’s memory would still live on.
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Mamma Peach
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Re: The World Split and Conchohar's Journey

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Conchobhar's Journey: The Awakening


After months of traveling from island to island; combating the draining fatigue of the nothingness before the world formed, hunger, magical beasts and monsters; swimming endless miles of sea water after the world was beginning to form and when his wings were too wounded to be of any use; traversing the unpeopled expanse of islands ever westward, using the newly formed sun and his wedding ring as a guide; Conchobhar finally set foot on the shores of Aleriand, tattered and worn. In the rest of the northern hemisphere Spring had already begun, but Aleriand was still locked in Winter. The night sky in the east was just turning cobalt blue as he climbed up on the frozen shore. He set off at a steady trot across the snow, towards the familiar mountains that held the imperial city of Huang Jin An.

Conchobhar didn't slow down as he entered the Midorimori forest and only stopped at Yuxiang village, the same village that hosted the Harvest Festival where he and Lien Hua had danced in fay form for the first time, just after his nearly fatal battle with God. He went into the village seeking food to restore his energy for the long climb up the mountain road, and knocked on the door. Though it was still well before dawn surely someone would answer. No one did. All were fast asleep. He looked around and realized that everything was asleep, the dog in the streets, the rooster in the hen yard, the birds and the animals, even the nocturnal ones. He opened the door and went inside. The fire was frozen in time on the hearth. The pendulum of the clock was frozen in mid swing. The family that lived in the house were all soundly asleep (so deeply that they barely even breathed) in their finest festival clothes around a table set with a feast, still fresh after all these months, frozen in time. Conchobhar helped himself to a portion of their feast knowing that the people of Aleriand always welcomed a guest.

With a full stomach, he left the sleeping village behind in the snow and began to climb the long road up the mountain. The sky had turned icy blue, the blue before the coming of dawn, yet the eagles on the cliff still slept. Everything in the whole land seemed locked in wintery sleep. Conchobhar entered the purple and gold gates of Huang Jin An with it's guardian sages of white stone. His ring still lead him upward with a beam of light, up to the Temple of Heaven. Hurriedly he skirted the Celestial Hall of Judgement, his hooves clattering loudly on the white pavement, echoing eerily in the frozen silence of the city, and then went through the second gate to the landing field. He ran across the snow covered grass and up the stairs to the Temple.

There on the clean swept golden pavement; in front of the ornamented doors of the massive red lacquered, blue roofed Temple, against which the fay Saebhreathach slept like a guardian statue; lay a delicate gold and crystal coffin, nearly in the same spot that he and Lien Hua had been married. This was where the light of his ring led him. He quickly went over to the coffin. There lay his beloved on white silken cushions, clothed her in her crimson wedding garments with her dark hair around her shoulders and crowned with a diamond tiara. Gold leaves and pearl petals fallen from the silver tree were strewn around her. Her skin was so pale and death like but still so very beautiful. Dead, but not dead, she lay there perfectly preserved, waiting for him. Conchobhar carefully lifted the solid crystal lid and laid it on the pavement. Then he gathered the seemingly dead girl into hs arms scattering leaves and petals everywhere, and sank sobbing to the pavement holding her close. "Oh God, why her? Why not me?" From the first day he stole a kiss he was only trouble for her. How was he going to get her out of this one?

"With a kiss," said a quiet voice in his mind. Conchobhar slid his hand into her soft black hair and pressed her lips against his. She began to breathe. As color flashed back into her skin and she began to waken, so too did all Aleriand. The snow vanished. New grass, leaves and Spring flowers sprouted. As the sun rose birds sang and roosters crowed. Lien Hua's eyes fluttered open as she responded to the kiss. Conchobhar's heart sang praises to God. "Thank you for telling me what to do," he said in his mind. He felt God smile in return.
----
Saebhreathach awoke from where he leaned against the Temple and saw the ragged looking Conchobhar sitting on the pavement with Lien Hua in his arms, the two engaging in lingering kisses. He smiled and turned away from the two, giving them privacy, and opened the great doors of the Temple. The tree in the center of the circular Temple had returned to a lustrous silver and was sending forth new little golden leaf buds and the pearly buds of beginning flowers. Unlike the first time it appeared at the wedding, it looked like the silver tree would grow at the same rate as other more normal trees. Saebhreathach went into the Temple and knelt on the carpet, thanking and praising God.

As Lien Hua finished her kiss Conchobhar spoke. "I almost thought I had lost you, but here you are, alive! What of Xin Le Hua? Is she still with you?" He looked at Lien Hua's right hand and saw that the lotus mark had appeared again. Suddenly it was Xin Le Hua he held in his arms. She flung her arms around him tightly, sobbing.

"Thank God you came!" she wept. "It was horrible! I was locked away in the darkness, all alone in the nothingness. I don't know how long it was, or if I was unconscious for a time, but it was unbearable! It would have been better for me if we had died. Thank you, thank you for saving me!" Conchobhar stroked her hair and held her tight.

"I'm sorry I didn't come sooner," he said. "I'm sorry I left you alone at all. I should have stayed and kept this from happening. He also wondered about their egg, but didn't ask. It could be a tragedy beyond her endurance if the babies within had died, and he couldn't see how they could have survived in the frozen land. He would have to deal with that in it's own time. He just held her and comforted her until she felt better.

In the royal quarters, in the upstairs meditation chamber, the gathered Fu family had awakened. The only ones missing were the disowned eldest son, Hao Fa, who had not been seen since the world had been split by his machinations, and the eldest daughter, Bao Yu who was married to Lord Kohaku. Emperor Chang An gave Empress Mei Xing a quick hug. "Our world has survived! Let's go see if Lien Hua has awakened." The whole family got up and went out to the Temple, with the empress holding her twins. Aoibheann, who awoke in the garden near by, followed them with her kinsmen Aodhfionn, Iomhar, and Dwyer. The whole Counsel, including Elder Arnbjorn and his son, Byrghir, also came toward the Temple, having spent their sleep in the council chamber as an act of penance for the part they played in Hao Fa's treachery. The whole group converged on the stairs with the royal family at the head. Xin Le Hua switched places with Lien Hua as soon as she saw her family.

Lien Hua and Conchobhar were mobbed by her siblings wishing her well and asking Conchobhar questions all at the same time, until their father asked them to give the couple some space. Then the Emperor quietly asked Conchobhar to fill them in on what had happened, as he did the same with events Conchobhar didn't know about. Then he asked Aoibheann to give the news about the state of the land. Conchobhar was very angry at the absent Hao Fa, but everyone was pleased to learn that the world had been completely restored. Aoibheann said that there seemed to be three large bodies of land, one that was made from parts of the old world, Locura, in addition to the land of the yokai and Aleriand. She could also strongly sense the presence of her "sisters", Morrigan in Yokaisekai, a now living Brigid in the Pokemon Islands, and Sulis in Huecho Mundo. "...and there is more," she said. "I sense the roots of the World Tree, Laerad, joining all together. Primavaldia has returned! Though... it is not exactly the Primavaldia of old. It is a third world, a triudomhan ((tru-do-wan))."

"Then, that is what this world will be called, Triudomhan," said the emperor, and then he raised his voice in an official decree. "I decree that the obligation of the fays is at and end! They are no longer beholden to the Counsel. They are free to come and go as they please, to establish a kingdom for themselves to replace the lands they lost long ago, as was agreed upon at the beginning of Aleriand. So too, may any who wish to leave this land may leave of their own free will." A cheer went up from the many fays who had gathered silently around the Temple. Any attempt to object on the part of the council members was silenced by the stern looks of the winged elder, Arnbjorn. "All of the uninhabited islands that Conchobhar passed through on his journey to save my daughter," the emperor continued, "shall belong to the fays forever."

"As for myself, O Emperor of the Golden Throne," said Aoibheann formally addressing Emperor Chang An by the ancient title of his ancestors, "I shall live here in Aleriand. It is the land I made, and I will continue on with it."

"I too shall remain, as guardian of the Temple doors," said Saebhreathach coming out of the same and shutting them behind him. "There is no place that I would rather be than in the presence of Aru night and day."

"Then," said a tall and lordly fay with sea gray eyes, "it shall be up to me to rebuild that which was lost, the great shining cities of Falias, Gorias, Murias, and Finias, the fertile fields of Mag Mell, Mag Mor, and Tir Tairngire, the beautiful islands of Tirn Aill, Tir Nam Beo, Hy Breasail, and Avalon, and the fair towers of the High King's palace at Tir Nan Og. It shall be up to me to see that the Dirge of the Exiles is never sung again, because of the glory that is. My fair Queen," he said kneeling to Aoibheann, "accept my castle in the Moinear Tarn as your dwelling in exchange for the lands that have been offered us."

"Very well, Abartach," said Aoibheann. "You were faithful to my father, and have served Aleriand well. Do as you have said, as the High King of those domains, on one condition. The condition is that you build and maintain always a magical bridge that will join the tip of the peninsula here in Aleriand to the gateway of the land of the yokai, so that Prince Conchobhar and Princess Lien Hua may easily travel back and forth between the lands of their peoples, and that pilgrims from Yokaisekai may freely travel to the Temple of Heaven to have their hearts purified or to converse with Aru."

"It shall be done, my Queen," said Abartach, "all save one thing. Though I may be a King over kings, you shall always be the highest over us all, as your father before you was."

"Well," interrupted Conchobhar with a grin, "since I discovered those islands, I get to name them, and I name them Hanayomebashi, the bridal bridge!"

"So they shall be called," said Abartach.

A little fairy with a blue light around her flew up to the royal family. "The eggs are hatching! The eggs are hatching!" she chimed in her tiny voice. "Hurry! Hurry!" Then she flew back towards the hatching grounds as if leading them there.

Conchobhar joyfully lifted Lien Hua in his arms and carried her to the hatching grounds, even though he was rather worn out from his journey. The rest of the family followed, along with some of the fays who usually helped and elder Arnbjorn with a few other counselors who were curious to see what kind of offspring would hatch out of Lien Hua's mottled black and gold egg. As the group went down the stairs, and the rest, including Saebhreathach, were distracted away from the Temple doors, a disheveled Hao Fa came from the rocks and trees behind the Temple and sneaked around to the Temple doors, slipping quietly inside.

Conchobhar passed the area where the rock slide had detoured Lien Hua on the day of the World Split without noticing how the fays had cleared away the rock, since the new growth of the plants that had been set there in winter now artfully covered the shattered cliff side with new growth. He did notice the few cracks in the smooth walls and paved floor of the tunnel, but was assured that it was still sound and the cracks did no real damage. Then they entered the large smooth walled cavern, big enough for three or four full sized golden dragons, with a sandy floor and was now very warm again, almost hot. There were markings in the sand that looked like a full sized dragon had recently been coiled around the two eggs in the center. Bao Yu and her husband Lord Kohaku were in human form by the golden egg, already singing the ancient dragon birthing song, a cross between humming and singing that sounded like a throaty wordless chant. Bao Yu was gently touching the egg where the baby's serpentine body pressed against the soft leathery shell as it moved inside, and there was a small hole in the top of the shell torn by the baby's horn like egg tooth. Everyone entered and made a partial circle around the eggs and began humming too, as Conchobhar took Lien Hua over the the mottled black and gold egg. Lien Hua choked up as she touched the egg and felt the moving coils. She could hardly believe that her child was hatching! Then she saw the clear imprint of a wing moving. No golden dragon ever had wings. Xin Le Hua was half afraid that their children would be rejected for being different, even though Lien Hua reassured her. Conchobhar urged her to sing with the others to encourage the birth.

The baby in Bao Yu's egg struggled and tore the hole in the shell wider. The damp, silvery blue tip of its snout stuck through the hole and its tongue flicked out testing the air before it struggled again. Then the egg tooth of Lien Hua's child punctured the side of the egg. A clear fluid dribbled from the hole. Lien Hua stroked the impression of the baby's face as she hummed in encouragement. Eventually Bao Yu's baby emerged from the shell and she caught it in the soft towels the fays had brought and dried it, softly crooning. He looked a great deal like his father in dragon form, with the long Japanese snout and shades of blue, green, and silver, but much smaller and younger. Then, after the congratulations, as Bao Yu went to sit on the resting bed with her new son Izumikoi ((spring of good deeds)), Lien Hua's baby pushed its hole wider and stuck out the tip of its golden snout. She encouraged it even more with her singing. The little dragon seemed to have a harder time than Bao Yu's son, or even any of Lien Hua's siblings that she could remember. It would try to push its head further out only to have it pulled back inside, sometimes to be obscured by a black tail. Finally it pushed its head all the way out. Lien Hua barely had time to grab the towel before catching the long golden coils. She crooned to him, as her mother before her had done, while drying him off. He was almost a solid gold without any accents except a deeper gold. His mane and fur tufts were bright red and his eyes a steel blue like his father's. Before Lien Hua had much of a chance to dry him off, the head of a black dragon stuck out of the hole and hissed, blinking it's emerald green eyes. Conchobhar quickly took the golden boy dragon from her arms.

"This little one is for Xin Le Hua," he said. "Let her receive the black one."

Lien Hua switched places with Xin Le Hua as the fay handed her a towel. "But I..." Xin Le Hua objected.

"Sing to your daughter, Edana," Conchobhar reassured her, "encourage her to come out."

"How do you know it's a girl?" she said skeptically.

Conchobhar laughed. "Because she looks just like you when we fought in the arena the night we first met, only with different colored eyes."

She looked sideways at Conchobhar, but began to sing as the frightened baby dragon hissed again. The baby dragon began to hum too, then it heaved and put out one shoulder and clawed foreleg, its wings catching on the leathery shell. The unbalanced egg toppled over on the little dragon and it began to thrash, tearing the opening wider. The red haired golden dragon let out a squeak and the green eyed black dragon stopped thrashing and looked up at him, sand sticking all over its wet scales. The gold dragon began to hum too, but more like a purr. Xin Le Hua continued to sing. The black dragon gripped the edges of the ripped hole and heaved, pushing its wings and forequarters out of the hole before resting. The gold dragon squeed and hummed louder. The black dragon made another effort, freeing its hind quarters, and took a few wobbly steps before falling down. Only the tip of its tail remained in the collapsed egg. Xin Le Hua gathered up the little black dragon in her arms, crooning the same welcome song that Lien Hua had sung to the gold dragon, as she tried to clean off the sand.

"See, I told you she was a girl," said Conchobhar with a wink.

Everyone came over and congratulated them. The young artist, Lien Hua's brother Jing Shen, remembered the hatching of his youngest siblings when Conchobhar was there with Tejas and the DG90. "You've changed your mind about being wicked?" he joked.

Conchobhar laughed. "Of course," he said, then winked at the boy, "but I still like fighting in the tournament just for the fun of it!"

They carried the newly hatched dragons to the resting bed where Bao Yu and her new baby sat. "We will have to get another bed set up," said Aoibheann.

"No," said Lord Kohaku, "Bao Yu and I have decided to go back to our house in Ryushuto this evening. I have been away from Nihonryushima for too long. Besides, Crown Prince Conchobhar has just come from a long journey to be with his wife and children. It would be best if they could sleep here alone tonight. If it would be permitted," he continued with a bow towards the emperor, "I would like to suggest a feast be given here in the hatching grounds, to welcome the new arrivals, and celebrate the renewing of our world. I am certain that everyone is hungry after such a long sleep and the events of this day."

"That would be a good idea," said the emperor, "on both accounts."

"I will see to the feast," said Aoibheann, and she and most of the fays left.

They returned a little later with tables, a great deal of food, and chairs for the guests. Everyone ate with great gusto and cheer as the infants slept. All over the land of Aleriand there had been feasting and celebration unlike any spring had ever seen. Later that evening Kohaku, Bao Yu, and their infant Izumikoi left for their island home, with a promise that they would return before Lien Hua and Conchobhar left Aleriand, and the hope that the couple would find proper names for their new children before then. That the twins had no names yet was understandable since the parents had not had any time in which to find them suitable names.
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Late that night after everyone went to sleep, Hao Fa emerged quietly and subdued from the Temple of Heaven. First he went to his quarters and wrote a long letter of apology, and of farewell, to his father and Lien Hua foremost, and also to the rest of his family and the whole nation of Aleriand. Folding the fine sheets of paper it was written on he placed it in the red envelope of a gift, properly addressed in gold ink. Then taking a razor he shaved off all of his hair and threw it in the fire. Quietly he went to the bath and cleaned off, dressing in simple unbleached, undyed, cotton clothing. He threw his tattered celebration clothes away and returned to his room. There he took everything he owned and packaged it with labels to give away. Finally, wrapping a bright orange blanket from his bed across his shoulders for warmth and taking a leather bag with a few rice cakes and a knife, he silently went over the mountain. When out of sight of Huang Jin An, his home, and his family, he changed into his golden dragon form and began flying southwards across the open ocean. The next day the Empress went to check and see if her son had come back to his room, and found the letter. The Emperor read the letter to the family first, and then to the Counsel. Everyone was sad to see how that Hao Fa had gone in such sorrow and disgrace, especially the Counsel who still felt the guilt for their part in the betrayal, but the Emperor was hopeful. He could see from the letter that Hao Fa had gained insight and a repentant spirit. Hao Fa would not be truly lost. In recognition of that the Emperor declared that Hao Fa was once more his son, even if he was no longer heir to the throne.
***
Thus began the third world, Triudomhan.
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