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The Seventh Protector

1.

Legend has it that sometime way back in the mid eighteenth century an unknown number of gems fell to earth during a meteor shower, all apart from one are identical in size but they do vary in colour. Each gem gives its holder abilities, abilities such as increased speed and or strength and each time these gems pass on to a new holder they give the new holder some of the traits of each of the previous holders such as, if the previous holder of one of these gems was proficient in the martial arts then so too would the new holder. Personality traits would be passed on too.

Darkness was falling quickly and a light rain had begun to fall. Gareth knew he should hurry to get home. The terrain ahead of him was rough enough to cover in broad daylight and dry conditions, never mind the current conditions he found himself in. There was a humming buzz sound that Gareth couldn't help being distracted by. The sound was coming from behind him and he was being drawn to it. Even though he thought it'd be a bad idea to go and investigate the sound, he went after it anyway.

It was getting dark quickly and the rain began to fall a little heavier, Gareth was getting further and further away from home but the humming buzz was calling for him. He was being drawn to it and he had to answer its call. He couldn't turn away now even if he wanted to. Getting deeper into a wooded area, there were more trees now than there were earlier and they were closer together providing a little shelter from the rain.

Ten minutes after first hearing the sound he was drawn to Gareth could see a green glow shining and dimming and shining again coming from a ditch about two hundred meters or so ahead of him. Almost feeling like he should leave whatever it is that is glowing and just go home Gareth went towards it anyway. He had to climb into the ditch to get to the glowing object. He pulled a green crystal from out of the mud and almost as soon as he touched the crystal, the glow became very strong and he felt a whooshing sensation. Everything around Gareth seemed to be spinning round and round and an incredibly fast speed. Gareth thought he was going to pass out right before everything came to a halt.

Just as the spinning sensation did come to a halt, a bolt of green light shot from the crystal and seemed to direct itself right out of the ditch. Gareth was now quite a way down in the ditch and didn't quite know how he was going to get up and out of it. An oriental man dressed like a Buddhist monk peered into the ditch.

‘Hello down there’ spoke the oriental man.

‘Hello yourself’ replied Gareth.

‘Why are you still down there?’

‘Why am I still down here? He asks me’ spoke Gareth under his breath before continuing ‘in case you haven’t noticed I am stuck in quite a muddy ditch and the rain is making it difficult for me to get out. I would really appreciate it friend if you could help me get up out of it’.

‘Sorry friend, but I cannot help you and you do not need my help, you are more than capable of getting out of this ditch all by yourself’.

‘I am, am I?’ becoming frustrated Gareth tried to remain calm.

‘If you try to get out from the ditch on your own accord then you may be in for a pleasant surprise’.

Gareth did try to climb out and he was amazed by how easy it was for him to get out, ‘right what is going on here? And why aren't you wet from the rain?'

‘My name is Li Hai, but you can call me Lee. I am from China and I lived a very long time ago. I am also not getting wet as I am not actually here’.

‘What? I don’t understand’.

‘It is quite simple actually. I am the first protector and as of right now you are the seventh protector’.

‘Quite simple huh? I am the seventh protector of what exactly?’

‘That green crystal you went down into the ditch to retrieve’.

‘This green thing I am holding? Why does this need to be protected? And why am I the one to protect it?’

‘It is a key, a key which holds a secret which in time will be revealed. You heard it call to you, the crystal has chosen you but the task of protecting this crystal is not an easy one, for there will be those whom will come after you looking to take the crystal from you, but you cannot allow that to happen. Do not fear, however as you in turn will receive gifts’.

‘Gifts? What gifts?’

‘Well for one, everything I am or once was is now in you, for instance I have mastered the martial arts, and now since you are the new protector you too are a master of the martial arts’.

‘I am a master of the martial arts and now that you possess the crystal, you too are now a master of the martial arts’.

‘Me? A master of the martial arts? Yeah right, sure I am’.

‘There is a chain attached to the crystal, tie it around your neck, and then defend yourself as I attack you'.

Gareth did tie the crystal around his neck and he was seriously surprised by the fact he could defend himself just as well or maybe even better than how Lee was attacking. Gareth was as equally amused by this as he was surprised.

‘Holy ... wow, what just happened?’ asked Gareth.

‘I told you, because of the crystal my abilities are now a part of you, you not only have my abilities and strengths but those of each of the other five protectors too. Be wise though, with such power, one can be corrupted, the crystal choose you to be its next protector and with it your speed and strength has also been enhanced'.

Before Gareth could ask any more questions he had turned to find that he was no longer in the company of Li Hai. As Gareth began to make his way home he heard the voice of Li Hai echoing out.

‘Many will seek out the crystal, you must protect it with all that you are, and you are the lucky one, you are not alone, for I am always with you'.

When Gareth got home he ate well and he slept well, for the next morning he began his journey, his new quest as the protector of this mysterious green crystal, for Gareth is THE SEVENTH PROTECTOR.......

2.

The early morning was dark and dull, the rain from the night before had long since stopped though the ground was still wet. Gareth walked along a gritty dusty walkway. How there could be dust after a night of rain Gareth could not understand. A man wearing a ten gallon cowboy hat approached and began to walk along side him.

‘Hi, my name is bill, most folks know me as cowboy Bill'

‘That's nice' Gareth said sarcastically.

‘Can you see what I see?' asked Bill.

Gareth was unsure; he could sense something but didn't quite know what that was. Gareth looked at Bill with a look that asked what is happening? Gareth had a sensation of being surrounded and he didn't understand this feeling. His crystal was also glowing bright and somehow could sense movement both to his left and to his right without actually seeing anything.

‘I need you to stand with your back to mine, do you understand?' asked Bill.

‘I think so' was the reply. Both men stood back to back and in a stance both ready as if they were expecting a fight and a fight was what they were about to get.

Within seconds they were surrounded by twenty men all of whom were wearing crystals around their necks, crystals that varied in colour and all of which were smaller than the crystal Gareth wore. Within a few seconds battle would ensue. Gareth and Bill fought together back to back against the surrounding circle of twenty men. Just like before when he was with Lee, Gareth was amazed by his ability to defend himself. Defending himself from punches and kicks came so naturally, and throwing punches and kicks of his own came instinctively.

Gareth and Bill became separated. Gareth tried to run at each opportunity he got, defending himself from one on one attacks and moving until he found himself in a four on one situation and for a moment which felt like such a long time but actually only took seconds Gareth was doing well for himself until he found himself flat on his back. Instinctively he spun on his back and with his legs knocked the four men about to attack him onto their backs. He got up and ran until he came by a bridge. The river beneath was running at a low tide. Gareth hid under the bridge.

‘I don't know what hiding down there will do for you, your crystal will give your position away'.

Gareth couldn't see who was speaking to him but he recognised the voice, he knew it was lee.

‘I can't do this, why does this have to happen to me?'

‘You are right, you can't do this'.

‘What?' asked Gareth.

‘Hiding will not do you any good, and it is happening to you, the crystal choose you, it could have chosen anyone but it chose you'.

Lee showed himself and continued ‘now get up on that bridge, you are needed'.

The crystal was glowing strongly and it distracted Gareth, when he looked up Lee was gone. He climbed up on to the bridge, Bill was fighting off those whom were approaching from the right side of the bridge, Gareth turned and was once again fighting almost back to back with Bill, Gareth fought off those coming onto the bridge from the right. When there was no one left to fight off, both Gareth and Bill began to run.

They ran until they could run no more and at this stage they were no longer being followed, so they both sat.

‘Where did you learn to fight like that?' asked Gareth.

‘Eerrr, I didn't exactly learn to fight like that, I didn't get the chance to explain earlier as to just who I am, as I said I am cowboy Bill, I am from Texas in the U.S, and I am also your predecessor, I am or was the sixth protector'.

‘So your ability to fight is the same as mine, it came from Lee'.

‘Yes that is right, remember just before the fighting began, you were able to sense that something was not right'.

‘Yeah, it was a strange sensation but I could feel it'.

‘Well that is something you get from me, I kinda have this sixth sense like ability that lets me know that things are not quite right, and now this ability is also yours'.

Bill would also go on to explain that those whom attacked them are after the crystal that Gareth now wears and this is why it needs to be protected. Each of those attackers have a smaller crystal of their own and the colours of these crystals vary giving it's holder an ability such as speed or strength, but these crystals are nowhere near as powerful as the one Gareth is now wearing, neither do these crystals bear gifts from their processors. Gareth's crystal will glow whenever someone wearing a smaller crystal is nearby.

A passing car slows down and pulls over before it would begin to reverse right up to Gareth. The window rolls down and the male driver asks ‘need a lift?'. Gareth looks round; Bill is no longer with him.

‘Yeah, sure'. Gareth was having such a strange; he thought he may as well accept a lift. What would be the worst thing that could happen?

‘Where are you headed?' asked the stranger.

‘Don’t quite know just yet, but dropping me to the next town over would be great‘.

‘Alright get in'.

The passenger door opened, Gareth got in and off they went. Bill and Lee stood together at the point where Gareth was picked up.

‘Not sure about this one' commented Bill.

‘Don't worry, he will do just fine' responded Lee.

3.

Gareth lives in the here and now. His mother was born in Delhi India and was brought to Dublin when she was just three years old. Gareth's father was born in Blackpool England, work brought him to Dublin Ireland when he was twenty three and this is where he would meet the then twenty one year old lady he was to marry and together they would just have one child. Gareth’s dad was a structural engineer and his mother was a beautician and both are no longer living.

Living alone for the past four years and now just twenty three years old himself, Gareth finds his life turned upside down, but rather than thinking why me? He now feels a sense of adventure, something he has been needing for quite some time.

‘If I was to tell you something very strange I wouldn't be scaring you, would I?' asked the driver of the car that Gareth now found himself being a passenger in.

‘Depends upon what it is you would be telling me' was the reply.

‘I had this dream last night that I was driving along this road which we are on right now and I just happened to stop and pick you up, my name is Neil by the way'.

Gareth didn't quite know how to react other than by shaking Neil's hand and saying ‘I'm Gareth'.

‘Gareth, can I ask you? Are you a Protector?'

Again Gareth was puzzled not knowing quite how to react to this question. Just as Gareth was about to attempt to answer his crystal began to glow and cars pulled up along and either side of the car he was travelling in.

‘No way' Neil said seemingly exited ‘real seekers'.

Again before Gareth could say or do anything Neil slammed on his brakes and turned his car around and began to speed away in the direction he was now facing. The other two cars had continued on briefly before they too turned and began to give chase.

The chase lasted quite a while but Neil was able to put enough distance between himself and those in pursuit that they would not become a problem. Gareth needed answers.

‘Ok who or what are you?'

‘I take it you are still quite new to this whole protector thing but it has become a myth that I have been trying to prove ever since I was a child, my name is as I told you Neil and what you need is a companion, what you need is me'.

Gareth had been alone for such a long time and he felt he no more needed a companion now than at any other point in his life especially now having found a mysterious crystal that somehow chose him to protect it. The truth is that he does need a companion but just doesn't want to admit it. He had met two of the previous protectors but he did feel that he did need them, besides they aren't real, their just in his head right? Something projected on him by the crystal.

‘Look, I am not trying to be bad or anything but I don't need a companion'. 

‘Yes, you do, see I helped you back there and I clearly know things about your position that you have yet to find out yourself'’.

Neil did have a point. They drove at a decent pace for the next few hours. Neil tried to complicate the journey in the hopes not to make it too obvious as to where they may go so to make it all the more difficult for those whom gave chase earlier to follow now.

Along the way Neil explained a few things. What he is aware of is that the crystal holds a secret and needs to be protected. It is something that some had always believed to have been a myth, a legend, it had been a story told to him when he was young by his father. All through his life he dreamt of the crystal, he knew that these dreams where more than just his mind working overtime on the stories his father told him. For he knew the crystal was real, his dreams told him so and his dreams lead him to find Gareth. Neil felt he had a role to play for if he was not to directly be a protector then he is destined to aid the one who would be the protector.

Gareth had already known that there would be those with smaller crystals, hell bent on getting his crystal and Neil had referenced them as ‘seekers', those whose only purpose now in life if to get the crystal that Gareth holds. These seekers don't want the crystal so they can protect it, they do not care what secret or secrets it may hold, ‘seekers' only want the crystal for the power it gives to its holder.

Neil had money and plenty of it, Gareth not so much. Neil booked them a room in a hotel so they could rest for the night. Gareth did need Neil but he didn't trust him, not just yet anyway, and he insisted they had separate rooms. Neil paid for both rooms and Gareth could rest knowing Neil was not in the same room as him thinking of trying to take the crystal.

The next morning Neil was awoken by noise coming from Gareth's room. He quickly got dressed and went to Gareth's room. Gareth was being attacked by seekers. Neil was weary that he was no match to take on a seeker as each crystal does give it's holder added strength and speed, however during a scuffle Gareth ripped a crystal from around the neck of a seeker and dropped it to the ground which allowed Neil to attempt to help out, taking on this seeker whom he was now on a more level playing field with, shortly after however Neil was knocked forcefully to the ground by another seeker. As he lay on the ground Neil would begin to witness other seekers apparently fighting with thin air.

When he got the opportunity Gareth picked up Neil, got into the car and made his exit constantly watching out to see if they were being followed. After some time it seemed as if they were not being pursued.

‘There were seekers fighting with thin air back there, how is that?' asked Neil.

‘You couldn't see them?'

‘See who?'

‘Lee and Bill, two of the former protectors'.

‘I had heard that the crystal could do that, not only are the former protectors a part of you but at times they can be with you too, wow’.

Neil did manage to get his hands on that smaller crystal which Gareth had ripped from a seeker but Neil had also dropped that crystal when he had been knocked down by another seeker. Now that very same crystal no longer lay on the hotel room floor.

4.

It is September 3 rd 1939 in Danzig Poland and it is also the third day of Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Through the mayhem of the attack, with night fall looming and rain pouring down, a man is separated from his wife and young son, in his attempt to get back to them he is attacked by German soldiers, knocked unconscious and left laying in the mud.

Morning begins to emerge and the man regains consciousness. Feeling the pain from his attack and with mayhem still around, the man notices a German Sheppard dog sitting close by as if it is protecting him. It barks once and leaves. To his right, a green glow grabs the man’s attention; it is as if the object that is glowing is calling him.

Gareth awoke in his motel room, stretches and straight away notices that he is feeling somewhat different than how he had been feeling since he found the crystal. ‘The crystal’ he thought as he grabbed his chest. It was gone. He was no longer wearing it.

Neil’s car was not outside, Gareth was angered to first find that Neil had checked out of the motel a few hours ago, then he felt betrayed, but he felt that he could not trust Neil to begin with, finally he felt stupid for letting his guard down. The crystal was gone. It was with a man whom Gareth virtually knew nothing about. He had no idea where Neil would go to and no idea how to find him. Pacing his hotel room would get him nowhere, but what else could he do?

Driving at great speed on an open road, wear a shirt unbuttoned due to wanting to put as much distance as possible in a short as possible amount of time between himself and where he had been staying the night before, Neil almost lost control of his car, swerving and regaining control as a deep angry sounding voice speaks in broken English from the seat behind him in the car.

‘Give back crystal’

‘What the hell?’

In his in car mirror Neil could see a rather large man sitting right behind him and it freaked the hell out of him, so much so he pulled over immediately and got out of the car looking back towards it as he began to run turning forwards ending up just bouncing the big man whom only moments ago had been sitting in the back of the car and now stood before Neil as he lay on the ground. Neil was perplexed. He had the crystal he thought he should be strong enough because of the crystal not to be knocked on his ass by any man, but what stood before him wasn’t just any man.

‘Who the hell are you?’ Neil asked still laying on the ground. 

‘I am Pavel, protector number four’, looking down at the large green crystal Neil is wearing Pavel continues ‘you must give back crystal, you not protector’. Seeing that Neil also has a smaller brown crystal Pavel would speak again.

‘You must destroy that brown crystal’. 

‘No, no, no and no, Gareth fought a seeker, the seekers crystal came loose, I took that crystal to help him’.

‘You help him taking his crystal to? He is protector, he should have crystal’.

Neil began looking around and then stood up. Pavel stared at him.

‘Brown crystal, it has corrupted you, you must destroy it’.

Pavel was right and Neil knew that. Neil only ever wanted to help Gareth. The myth he grew up knowing so much about was real and he had found himself living his own dream of being part of the legend he often dreamt about. He took the brown crystal knowing what it would quite possibly do to him, but he thought he would be strong enough not to be corrupted and use the brown crystal to improve his strength and speed and be able to see the past protectors, but things had not gone to plan. The brown crystal did corrupt him but Neil is strong enough to now destroy that brown crystal.

Neil removed the brown crystal from around his neck, placed it under the front right tyre of his car, got into his car and began to head back to the hotel he had come from. He knocked on the door to Gareth’s room, there was no reply. Neil figured Gareth was gone but before Neil could consider how to go about finding Gareth, Gareth approached him and stopped about thirty feet away.

‘Look I apologise, I only ever wanted to help you, see what you see, be strong enough and fast enough to fight alongside you….’,

Gareth could have let Neil grovel for a while but he decided not to, interrupting Neil instead.

‘I know, I have talked to Pavel’. 

‘You have, but how?, I haven’t given you back your crystal yet’.

‘You may have taken the crystal but I am still the protector’. Neil was still confused but guessed that maybe being the protector meant something more than just protecting the crystal.

The crystal is back where it belongs, three of the previous protectors have revealed themselves, Neil returned to Gareth’s side and the journey once again continues….

5.

The sun shone bright on a new day. Neil was feeling after effects of having had the crystal. He wasn’t meant to have it, and combined with having a smaller brown crystal at the same time, Neil now felt like a drug addict coming off from drugs, his head hurt, his body felt as if he had just run a marathon.

Neil wore dark sunglasses as he left the hotel that he and Gareth had spent the previous night in. Gareth was already waiting for Neil by the car and as Neil approached he asked ‘that’s not coming with us is it?’ pointing to the German Sheppard dog lying on the ground. It sat up looked at Gareth and whined almost as if itself was asking the question that Gareth was about to.

‘You can see him?’

‘What? The dog? Of course I can, why wouldn’t I be able to see it?’, Gareth explained that ‘Boris’ the dog just appeared when he met Pavel and that he had been like a guardian angel to Pavel and now the dog seemed to want to be another companion for Gareth himself.

Boris stood up barked twice and circled a couple of times then stood facing away from both Gareth and Neil. Gareth began feeling that sensation he felt when he first met Bill.

‘Your crystal, it’s glowing’ said Neil. Gareth and Neil both looked at each other before saying together ‘Seekers’.

Before Gareth and Neil could get into the car three seekers approached. Boris pounced knocking one seeker to the ground. The second seeker punched Neil in the face only knocking him back a step. Neil hit that seeker with two blows, one to the stomach knocking the seeker forward and a second blow catching the seeker squarely on the chin knocking him out completely. The third seeker ran at Gareth who scooped up his attacker and slammed him across the bonnet of the car.

Thirty more seekers appeared seemingly out of nowhere and attacked. All of a sudden Lee, Bill and Pavel all appeared and began fighting. A fourth man also appeared fighting on the side of Gareth and the former protectors. Neil and Boris were also putting up a good fight too.

The first chance they got, Gareth and Neil got into the car and along with Boris made their escape with the crystal still intact around Gareth’s neck.

‘Did you see that?’ asked Neil, ‘I fought alongside you,   and just as well as you or those other men were fighting too’. Neil felt delighted with himself; his earlier feelings of sickness were long gone too.

‘Must be after effects from when you had the crystal, you could see the former protectors?’

‘That’s who those men were, wow I’m like an honorary protector now or something huh?’

‘Probably the or something so don’t get carried away, there was a man unfamiliar to me fighting on our side back there, I’d like to know who he was or is’.

‘His name is Vicente’ said Lee whom just appeared in the back seat of the car and continued ‘he is from Argentina and was protector number two, my first protégée and was protector back in the early 1800’s. You’re journey has come a long way in such a short time, but I feel a conclusion is inevitable’. With that Lee vanished just as swiftly as he had appeared.

‘What now?’ asked Neil. 

‘I don’t know; guess we just keep going forward’. Blood began trickling down from Gareth’s nose. There was also a trickle of blood coming from his mouth.

‘You’re bleeding’ Neil told Gareth.

‘What?’ Gareth was now as confused as he has ever been since this whole protector thing first began and within seconds of wiping the blood from his nose and chin, Gareth passed out. Neil panicked, and partly being in shock grabbed the steering wheel, Gareth had been driving. Neil couldn’t control the car and so the car crashed and came to a halt upside down. Neil still felt that added strength from having the crystals so he, along with Boris managed to escaped the car. He was also able to free Gareth taking him to the side of the road and away from the car which ended up exploding.

With Gareth still being unconscious, Neil knew seekers were now coming for them from the faint glow of the crystal. He wouldn’t be able to fight them off, and even if he was to have the aid of the former protectors whom had already revealed themselves there was no way he could defend the crystal while waiting for Gareth to regain consciousness, Neil didn’t even know if Gareth would regain consciousness anytime soon let alone at any time at all.

With all his knowledge of the legend of the crystal, Neil had no idea of what to do next…. The journey is now on hold now and not only that but the seekers are coming too …….

6.

Blood began to trickle from Gareth’s nose again. His eyes opened and began to roll showing only the whites. Neil was panicking but tried his best to remain calm. He took off his jacket and placed it behind Gareth’s head as well as rolling up a clean handkerchief to place just in case he might have a seizure.

A lady approached. Speaking in what was clearly an Australian accent she spoke ’help me get him inside’ while pointing towards an opening to the right. Neil picked Gareth up and carried him inside of an off road cave like area. Neil found a suitable spot to let Gareth lay down and rest.

‘I take it that you were a protector’ inquired Neil.

‘Yes, I am the sixth protector and my name is Anna’. Anna reached for the crystal to give it a twist. A green force field appeared and surrounded herself, Neil and Gareth; it then expanded to engulf the whole cave.

‘What just happened?’ asked Neil.

‘I have just activated the crystal’s vortex’.

‘The crystal vortex? What is that?’

‘The vortex is an inbuilt mechanism within the crystal. When activated like it is now it protects us, as in those inside its force field. It keeps intruders out and allows the current protector time to heal if so needed’.

‘Really?’

‘Yes. It is quite a clever quality. The crystal which is being protected has a mechanism to protect its holder’.

‘So what is wrong with Gareth? Will he be ok?’ asked Neil.

Attending to Gareth Anna explained that Gareth is essentially suffering from an information overload. Each time a former protector makes themselves known it is as if Gareth downloads some of that protectors abilities, traits and even some of their memories. The crystal was also able to let Gareth know that he can trust Neil. From receiving it back after Neil had taken it also means there is now a part of Neil within Gareth despite the fact that Neil was never intended to be a protector himself.

Anna would also explain to Neil that each of the previous protectors had been a protector for years so the emergence of each prior protector had occurred over a long period of time. However things are moving much quicker for Gareth. It just so happens unfortunately that it is moving a little too quickly. Anna was also able to inform Neil that seekers would be on their way to their current location but as long as the vortex was active then the seekers could not enter the cave.

It was close to an hour after the vortex had been activated that Gareth was able to regain consciousness and when he did he would not make sense as far as Neil was concerned.

‘Gdzie ja jestem?’

‘What was that?’ asked Neil.

‘He is speaking Polish’ Anna told Neil. ‘Pavel is polish and this is why he is speaking that way, he is not quite back with us yet’.

‘He is speaking Polish’ replied Anna, ‘Pavel is Polish and that is where he got that from’.

‘Co się dzieje?’ Gareth was becoming agitated.

‘Calm down Gareth’ spoke Neil. ‘It will be ok. We will work all this out’.

‘Muszę iść’.

Gareth sat up and with whatever he had done as he got up the vortex force field around the cave came down. Gareth, Neil and Anna no longer had the protection of the vortex. Seekers had already arrived so they could now enter the cave. Gareth was in no condition to fight. Anna and Neil could only do so much to fight off those seekers. Neil still felt strong from when he had the crystal. He was also aware that the effects the crystal had on him could come to an end at any moment but for now and especially now he was glad that he still felt strong.

When he looked Neil could not see Gareth anywhere.

‘Gareth is gone’ Neil told Anna.

‘He has the crystal and that means that I cannot stay here with you’ spoke Anna. ‘It is the crystal that allows me to be here so no crystal means that fairly soon that there will also be no me. You are going to have to go it alone Neil. I will ...’

Anna was gone, she disappeared and Neil found himself alone with a large number of seekers. Each seeker had a crystal of their own. Each of these crystals had been glowing. As soon as Anna vanished each of the seekers crystals stopped glowing. The seekers all no longer had a desire to fight so they soon let Neil be. Neil’s initial relief quickly turned to panic as he did not know where Gareth was or what kind of condition he was in.

Neil could only hope that wherever Gareth had got to that he would have the aid of his fellow protectors, but all the same, Neil’s thoughts filled his mind with fear as if the presence of the former protectors is the main reason to Gareth’s current demeanour then Neil could only presume that Gareth’s condition would only get worse.

Can Gareth see out his journey? Or will a seeker take possession of the crystal. One way or another, the journey is nearing its conclusion.....

7.

Several hours had passed, it was getting dark and the soft cold breeze gave Neil the shivers. He was tired and cold but he was not about to give up looking for Gareth. He walked a long winding road, trees filled the hills either side of the road. One car would pass every few minutes. Neil couldn’t really stop one and ask for help. What would he say to the driver of any car that may stop if he flagged one down? ‘I can’t find my friend, he is a protector and is sick, he has taken on the personality traits of those whom were protectors before him and he is also alone and confused, will you help me find him?’, no, Neil knew he couldn’t do that. Neil felt just as alone and confused as Gareth may be.

Neil noticed someone up ahead of him; he couldn’t quite see what that person looked like. As he got closer he could tell it was female and when he did get close enough to clearly see her Neil was surprised to see it was Anna.

‘How are you here? I thought I could only see you if the crystal is close by’. Before Anna could reply Neil realised that Gareth is indeed close by.

‘Gareth is around here somewhere, isn’t he? Either that or he no longer has the crystal or the crystal is around here somewhere’. Anna told Neil that Gareth is indeed close by and that he does still have the crystal. The only thing now is that Gareth has taken on the traits of Vicente.

Vicente the second protector loved the outdoors. He was a master of his surroundings and could use them to his advantage, and he could survive in any circumstance. So in a strange way Gareth was actually looking after himself while not being himself.

Boris the dog became a constant companion for Gareth and when Neil and Anna were close by Boris began to howl and continued to howl until both Anna and Neil had caught up to Gareth. It was at this point that the third protector ‘Ajani’ made himself known. Anna being the sixth protector already knew Ajani, but for Gareth this was yet another ‘download’ so to speak for him to take on. Adding traits, memories and skills to his already messed up mind, but Ajani couldn’t wait the end is near it’s up to him to get Gareth to his final destination where everything is to be revealed.

Ajani was African. He was the protector for twenty two years towards the end of the nineteenth century right into the early twentieth century but these twenty two years had followed an eight year period whereby Ajani had been a seeker. For four of these eight years whereby Ajani had been a seeker, Vicente had been the protector and for the remaining four of Ajani’s years of being a seeker the crystal was laying in wait for its next protector, which ultimately became Ajani himself.

It is the crystal that chooses its protector. Being a seeker set up Ajani to become a protector. Through the vortex, a lot can be achieved. For when Ajani discovered the crystal, the vortex destroyed the seekers crystal which Ajani had worn for those eight years. It had never been in his nature to take the crystal for reasons of power. Also because of the vortex and having been both a seeker and a protector Ajani was left with the information of when, how and where the journey would end.

‘We have to set up the vortex’, Ajani told the others.

This worried Neil. ‘Seekers will come’.

‘Yes they will’ Ajani told Neil before continuing ‘Gareth needs to heal, he will heal inside the vortex, when he has healed we will be ready for the seekers and we will be ready for whatever the crystal will show us’.

An underground cavern nearby was where the vortex was to be set up and just as it was set up Gareth’s nose once more began to bleed. He lay down, the healing began and the journeys end was nearing. Neil, Boris and all six of the previous protectors surrounded Gareth. The end is near, what secrets are to be revealed by the crystal…..

8.

Hours passed, Gareth remained unconscious. Ajani spoke ‘the end is near, it will end here’, the crystal began to glow intermittently. Neil looked worried, being extremely uncertain of what to expect, there was only one thing he could expect and that was a fight. He, along with Gareth, Boris and the six previous protectors remained inside the vortex. The vortex engulfed the cavern in which they rested, waiting.

Seekers gathered outside the cavern, unable to enter the vortex. They outnumbered the protectors and Neil by almost fifteen to one and they waited patiently. To them it was now only a matter of time.

Gareth awoke. He was back to his usual self and totally aware of what brought him to this moment in time. He sat before standing, looked at Ajani and said ‘it is time’. The intermittent glow from his crystal which was what would tell him that seekers are nearby now became a permanent glow. The vortex opened and faded away then the fighting began.

There was only one entrance to the cavern which would only allow a certain number of seekers in at a time. Lee, Anna and Ajani stayed with Gareth and Neil inside the Cavern. Bill, Vicente, Pavel and Boris disappeared and reappeared outside the cavern and began to fight the seekers outside.

No longer being as strong or as fast as he had been due to having had the crystal, Neil wasn’t as capable of defending himself as he had been recently, being caught off guard he was thrown against a wall before hitting the ground hard and being left unconscious.

The fighting intensified but came to a halt when all the seekers crystals began to light up. An almost blinding bright light began to surround the whole area and when it faded each and every seeker no longer had a crystal. Confusion was all around. Seekers now no longer had a desire to attain the protector’s crystal thus leaving no desire to continue fighting. None of the six previous protectors knew what to now expect either. Gareth’s crystal now began to light up and a bolt of green light shot from it and the same four figures appeared at intervals between the cavern at the outside area, one of which stepped forward and began to speak.

‘We are the Humari. We came to this planet a very long time ago. Our own world was destroyed. Greed, war, power, and the likes engulfed our race until there was nothing left. We were once many but only few escaped our world and travelled amongst the stars for a very long time until we found this place, this world. We settled here, began anew and travelled the globe. We brought you all here today, all of you whom hail from the many places we travelled to and settled in. All of you exist due to our visit here. You are our descendants, and just like us on our home world, power and greed consume you. War is destroying your world. All of you here can prevent what happened to us from happening to you. Work together and you can save yourselves, or this planet will suffer the same fate my home world did. It begins with you.’

Three dimensional images began to appear all around for all to see, showing the Humari home world, its destruction, the journey they embarked upon, and their beginnings on Earth. When this ended, the holographic images of the Humari disappeared. The six previous protectors to Gareth stood together and one by one they began to vanish and as they did so Gareth could see in his head what became of each of his predecessors at the time their journey as protector ended. Ajani going back to his home in Nigeria. Vicente returning to his life in the outdoors of Argentina. Anna went back to her home in Perth Australia, World War two had ended when Pavel’s time as protector had come to an end and he was to be reunited with his family from whom he had been separated from. Bill and Lee looked at each other ‘Told you he would do ok’ spoke Lee before Bill disappears. After Bill’s time as protector he returned to his family ranch in Texas. Lee looked directly at Gareth nodded and vanished. After his many years as Protector, an aged Lee returned to the monastery that he had left to be Protector.

It was only at this moment that Gareth noticed Neil lying on the ground. Neil was not breathing. Gareth’s crystal began glowing intermittently and he placed it on Neil’s chest. The glow from the crystal became almost blinding and when the light dissipated the crystal too had vanished. Neil began coughing. He would be ok. As for the crystal? Who knows? Maybe one day it will need to be protected once more, and if it calls for you, maybe you will become the next protector. Gareth and Neil remain friends and Boris the dog, well he is still with Neil, the thing is that only Neil can see and hear Boris and when he talks to him it seems as if he is talking to thin air.….

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