Chapter 58 The Oeve
I thought my guys were going to crap their pants when a massive oeve ran out of the grasses right at us… We knew that was going to be an oeve, the duhis warned us of its arrival. We just could not help but drown in the primal fear this dangerous predator instilled in all of us.
So this thing, like a black ghost, approaches us in one large jump. The creature has a resemblance of a four legged animal with a somewhat human face, but for the three eyes. They are big and colorless. Two eyes are for seeing, and one on top is a biosonar.
Not every oeve has a biosonar. This one was genetically modified. This is a disaster. It means he knows about the catacombs. There is no point playing coy, then. These eyes penetrate your essence, and you feel like a cowering prey, hunted down, about to be wiped out.
“You are not Moro.” The creature stops in front of me, and says in a deep voice that does not sound human, but then, an actual oeve can’t talk, it’s an animal.
You can’t really compare his voice to anything. It is meant to intimidate, to inject fear into your very soul. The funny part, if there is one, is that he says it as if explainng the reason I’m still alive, like, justifying his hesitation.
“You are correct.” I answer, trying not to show fear, but all I see is his hideous eyes, transparent and bottomless. What chance do I have? Help me Leot.
“Moro is inside of this cave. You are standing in my way.” The creature’s voice is deep and carries no emotion.
He is giving me a warning to get out of the way. If I do not obey, his next move is a blast of energy that will decimate me and my team. This energy is collected and stored by his parasite. Normally a parasite is a harmless entity that nourishes his host in a symbiotic relationship when ordered by the host. The parasite of oeve has immense offensive capabilities.
I do not even know if Salix actually had a chance to administer the leaf to Tensartis. I do not know anything, but we’ve come this far to protect what matters. So I gather my strength, and bring my hand to the creature’s third eye.
“In the name of the Rose, stop whatever you’re doing.”
This pitiful gesture will mean nothing if the data overriding his program was not installed. We’re probably all dead.
I swear most of my hair turns gray in the moment of silence that follows afterwards.
“Ohh…” Oeve sighs, and sits down. “That sounds familiar. Are you Levir? Salix… He told me to listen to you… Because… Hmm… I don’t remember. What on Earth did they do to me?!”
The animal features begin to melt away. In less than a couple of seconds we can see a man standing in front of us. He is lovely, looking exactly like our beloved icon of Domiarn Gidealis. So, it is heartwrenching to know - it is not him.
“On Earth”. This guy has a sense of humor even when he is not on Earth, and he is less than 7% human by now. Well, whatever that may be I must let the Emperor know.
How did this guy manage to give me the memory of my Tensartis identity just now? I shake my head and feel getting smaller. Totally painless, easy, my paws turn back into hands and feet, the same way a while ago the wings folded into my back without a trace.
“I know what you’re looking for, Arte, but I can’t let you into the catacombs for now.” Levir touches my hair ever so lightly.
“OK.” I simply answer. The order to hunt down Moro is still there, but it is somewhat subdued to the point I can think clearly for myself. I was an oeve, the dreaded animal… I’m not that. I’m Tensartis.
It gets windy and the trees around us move, but their foliage is not a tussled mess, but an intricate pattern of symbols. Because they are not trees, they are the duhis. They seem to be working in unison to deliver some kind of a message to the group. The ederi watch the trees intently, then talk to each other quietly.
“What do you remember?” Levir asks.
“Quite a bit, but it is not “memory”. It’s like… like reading a book. I just read a book about a certain guy, named Demi Gidealis. It did not happen to me. It happened to him.”
“Interesting.” Levir nods, and hugs me unexpectedly. “We really need you on our side, Arte.”
I wonder what is it on Levir’s face? It’s a device that blocks his eyes. I can’t see them, and yet it feels like he is looking at me.
“Whoever can control the oeve, gets to have me on their side, I guess.”
“Yasen could see the future and he always believed in my experiment. That’s why he gave Demi a brand of the Rose.” Levir sighs, and looks at his men. “Arte… So beautiful, so dangerous. Forgive me, I can’t invite you to my craft, until we find a way to calibrate your programming. But now we all need to go to the office. If we linger, Fern will get suspicious. Just follow my scent. Do not mention any of this to Fern.”
They start walking away and I’m still thinking about what he said.
“What are you talking about? Whatever Yasen gave Demi does not matter anymore. Demi is dead.”
“Yes. But there are some things even death cannot obliterate, if they were given in the name of love.” With that Levir pulls away the collar of his shirt, revealing a pendant of a rose.
I stare at it, and they leave. This is exactly the pendant Yasen had. What does it mean?
A big tree that sat nearby flattens, changes shape, and turns into a semblance of a flying craft. The group of ederi gets inside of that, and they fly away without making any sound.
But even this weird sight does not amaze me nearly as much as what happens next. My chest starts burning. I scratch it, then unbutton my shirt and see a brand of the Rose on the left side closer to the shoulder. Demi is dead, but I still have that brand of his? How is that possible?
The office? What are they talking about? Oh, whatever. I catch the scent of Levir, and run. The duhis rustle with their leaves, and wind carries their pain and sorrow. I can sense it. So much sorrow…
That, and secrets. Many, many secrets. There is a clandestine place down there. This is the place Levir did not want me to see. I think I know why. Therefore I will not enter it as a mindless oeve. I will enter it as a human, or with whatever human left in me. I will not hurt them. But how to resist the order?
The more I run, the easier it becomes to follow Levir’s energy. Yeah, it really is not a smell, and it never was. I can’t read the ederi’s mind clearly, but some thoughts stand out. He was surprised I had a biosonar. Fellows, that’s insulting. Read up. Gidealis had a biosonar. Then Leot used him as a base model, and put add-ons like sheirer and oeve genes. I mean, come on.
I run into the endless fields. What they call “the office” is about hundred more miles to the east. Piece of cake. It will not take more than ten minutes, and I need time to think. I notice that I turned back into an oeve, but this time I kept my human mind.
I think it is only when I’m ordered to hunt stuff, my mind goes wild. So, granted I can catch the point of transition, I could override the order to hunt Moro all by myself. Is that right? It remains to be seen. The information from both leaves is coming like two gushing streams now.
Salix’s leaf is especially helpful. It contains everything about Demi. It will help me create an identity, independent from Fern’s pressure to keep me clueless and subdued. He does not need to know. And I do not need to lose my mind when he forces me into the oeve state with an order.
One question remains – Leot surely knew that Kallitris was an AE, Advanced Entity. If so, then how could he manipulate Demi to believe there was no other way to save Almaz, but to commit suicide, and take Kallitris with him?
This just does not seem right. Or logical. It even feels cruel. But then Leot is very, very wise. So he is never cruel. I must trust him before getting angry at him. There must be an answer, and a piece of the puzzle I do not have yet.