Excerpt from book 2 of Oracle’s Legacy
Smoothing her hand over the afghan, the Oracle marveled at the oranges and reds of the crocheted pattern. They blended like sunset, melding in harmony even though different. Her people were like this blanket, blending and melding.
No, her people were nothing like this blanket. They had no harmony and no warmth. How could such a people lead the world to unity if they were divided themselves?
She pulled the afghan up to her neck, snuggled under it, and closed her eyes. The visions of those she wanted to see were getting blurrier. The visions of everyone else were still clear and their voices still called to her. And though she was usually happy to hear from her husband, his was the loudest voice.
He was relentless, no matter how she tried to ignore him. She had cut her ties with him, so he could not visit her, but she still allowed herself to feel his mind.
Bethea, where are you? What have you done? What game are you playing? Where is my daughter? Where is Ollie? Where is she?
He had been calling to her for weeks using every energy channel available to him. And she had held her ground just the same. Tuning him out, she let her mind silence. Sometimes it was best to be in the quiet of her own mind, not allowing the visions to influence or hurt her. Even the strongest of people need a rest sometimes.
But not even the silence of her mind could shut out the pain. She sighed as her heart ached.
Ollie was changed: death. Her precious daughter was gone. Her daughter was one of nineteen children, but Ollie was just as special as each of the other eighteen. She had touched all of them. But her sacrifice and trials served a larger purpose. It brought back the Void. He walked among them once again. Not as he once was, but still the power flowed through him. And the carefree daughter…just the thought of what purpose she served was frightening.
The destruction of the Structure would begin.
House Moon has turned its allegiance to that very purpose. But most of the Pillars of the Structure were preparing to stop it, because they sought Uni’ki. And Uni’ki was a dream of unity that was wrong. All that was left for her to do was watch and wait, since her hands were tied.
Feeling an odd presence, she opened her eyes. Someone was watching her. He was not in the room or anywhere she could see him, but his energy saw her with eyes staring from a concealed location.
And he knew she knew. A smile came to his lips. A smile?
There was only one person whose power could find her without her permission. Only one. But she wasn’t used to him smiling. She opened her mind and drew him to her careful of the energy barrier in the room.
Creed. Her thoughts greeted the Level Four Moon who had ordained her Oracle and trained her in everything she would need to know for the position.
You’re well. His thoughts were a whisper in her mind.
I did not think you would visit. She graciously returned his smile. Though she was more powerful and in a higher position than he was now, she still respected him for all he did for her and for his guidance. And for his age.
Hmmm, I am impressed that you are the only Oracle to accomplish the Void’s resurrection. Though three thousand years overdue.
A compliment, almost.
Bethea, energy…is only as merciful as its living host. So if energy has no living host, it can be quite…unforgiving. And when energy tries to find balance, its cruelty knows no limit. None. Pompeii is a good example…or Uni’ki.
She already had this knowledge, so where was he going with this lesson? Her eyes gazed around the dimness of the room. She turned lights on with her mind, illuminating her penthouse prison.
The order of things won’t be satisfied with the Structure’s fall. The darkness we dream of, that we feared would happen if the Structure’s fate was not met, is becoming a reality. Tesen’s prophecy warned us. Creed’s smile faded.
She had already accepted the damage that the past had caused and the repercussion fast approaching. It was coming.
Muscles aching, bones creaking, and joints praying, she slowly rose from her recliner, letting the blanket fall to the floor. Fear of her own knowledge trickled down her sweaty brow. What are you saying?
His mind was confident with the answer. I can no longer aid you. The balance of this world has been unstable for too long. My attention will go elsewhere, because you and I both know not enough of the Structure will be left to rebuild a new society if I don’t.
He was abandoning her. Though it hurt, the living needed him now more than she.
I understand. She sighed.
I knew you would. Though your term of Oracle was the shortest, you were the most resolute of them. Anyone who could sacrifice her own family, as you did, deserves the honor I give you.
His words held a cruelty that slapped her in the face. She wanted to lash out at him, but he was right. As painful as it was, she had done nothing more than her job, for the benefit of humanity. Just as he had taught her.
What is this honor? Her thoughts were bitter, but she curbed the sting she wanted to pin him with.
I bring news. Your blurring future sight is not because you are dying, it is because of death. None of us will see the future for long. The stronger she gets the harder it will be to see our destiny.
Yes, but why? How could such energy limit what they saw in the future? Then how will the future be saved if no one can see it? She let her mind stare into his dark cold eyes.
Brutal laughter echoed through her. Maybe she doesn’t want it saved. Or maybe she is tired of meddlesome people like you and me messing with it. Whatever the reason, it will be an interesting game. You do what you must, as shall I. If we succeed, the Structure might, indeed, survive in some way. But is that what you want?
No empire stands forever. She understood that. That was why she had to bring back the Void. And if any civilization tries to last, balance will find a way to bring it down. Energy was not good or evil, but its existence was a flawless cycle. Uni’ki, the first of their kind, understood this. Energy embodied everything in countless forms. It created and destroyed, ebbed and flowed. It was beyond intelligence and beyond supreme worship. Pure and simple: it was balance. Even in chaos, it was order. When wars were sparked, it was not the energy of evil men, but of the world correcting itself. Energy balanced. If it rained in one part of the world, it did not in another. If one man went hungry, another man was well fed. Balance. And if the balance tipped in favor for one thing too long, then it would correct itself violently.
If everything could come into perfect balance, nothing in excess or lacking, then energy would be at peace. No high, no low, no stop, no go. It would be Nirvana. But living creatures could never accept such a paradise. This defined the eternal struggle and Bethea’s part in it.
Creed’s presence began to fade.
There is no winning or success. She sighed before stooping, picking up her blanket, and sitting back in her chair ever so slowly, so that her bones would not ache too much. She settled into the cushions.
Winning…we will see. Keep your eyes on the darkness a little longer, my old pupil. His whispering thoughts dissipated.
The darkness they dreamed of, and feared, was more heartless than the Void. And far more destructive. The Void swallowed energy whole, keeping it intact, disconnecting a minority from the majority like slicing a branch off a tree. But the darkness they all dreaded shattered energy to the point that nothing was recognizable. Like shattering a mirror. There would be no whole left, just devastation. Leaving nothing recognizable. A power that knew only destruction.
But all sides must at least put up a good fight against such destruction. What would be the point of watching a one-sided war?
Bethea clutched her afghan closer as her mind reached out past the window and looked into the night sky over the city of Atlanta. Her eyes and mind stretched to their limits. She and Creed had taken their positions in the upcoming chaos, just like the others. Each wanting something different, yet striving for the same things – to protect what they loved. There was one final piece left to be played, before the real game began.
Dropping the barrier in her mind and around her heart, she let the shadow in. Jamali, you must protect your family. Or they will be killed.