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Rebellion: The Last Rebel
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Prologue: The true treasure.
Angus McDow was lying on a large bed inside a dark room lit up by lanterns filled with oils. The walls were decorated lightly with tapestries and the bed was everything a nobleman in the 1660's could dream of; extravagant and amazingly solid, probably made by a master carpenter, out of the finest rainforest trees.
Angus was just starting to awake. He now with a dazed, and still dreaming mind, looked around curiously.
Ah! He was back! Back in the eternal bliss, back at the place that had been his heaven a long time ago. He was back into the guestroom of the Mêlée Island mansion. He was a guest of the governor, and should soon get up so that he and the governor could continue their planning of the overthrowing of the evil VoodooLady that ruled the area.
Angus forced his mind out of his dreams about flying carts and monkey-men. He was now ready to start the task that would change his future, but then, when he awoke he understood his mistake. It had all been a dream, just a poor innocent dream. Angus looked around in despair. Once again, the walls would disappear before his eyes, once again, the lights from the scented oils would fade into nothing, and once again, he would be in the hell that he now called reality. For several lifetimes (as it seemed now), he had lived this life of nightmares (The pains had only stopped when he had lost all hope and clung to the promise of rest). He knew that once again, he would be forced to enter a journey filled with murder, hate, madness, and despair. It was just a matter of minutes, before his brain had awoken enough for him to be cast into the world that for an eternity had tried to kill him.
He sat up in the bed and looked with wonder upon the rags that sparsely covered his legs and chest; there where huge tears in them and the colours of the fabric had long faded, as had their appearance; now they were barely hanging on his body at all. Through all holes and cuts in the fabrics scars could be seen; hundreds upon hundreds of scars there were, intersecting each other with their different lengths and depths. Only his face had been seemingly lucky. While his body almost looked like it had been dipped into acid, and was so filled with scars that clean skin was hard to decipher. His face was unhurt. Only a thin, tiny cut was visible between his eyebrows heading down towards his nose. This however looked more like a wrinkle than a scar, and served Angus well, since it gave him a more serious look. He had before looked rather young and careless, and perhaps even dim, with eyes that seemed to marvel at anything around him. Now it seemed that Angus looked around carefully, and eyed everything around him with care and thought. It suited his lifestyle well, one might say.
Angus, unable to sleep any further, left his bed and looked around carefully, wondering how long it would take before this idyllic bedroom would change into the nightmare that he knew would come.
Then slowly increasing in volume, he heard muffled cries from the tapestries. He took one long step backwards towards the room’s door.
He had just taken his hand on the door handle when the tapestries fell with a shuddering gasp and the cries became clearer. From beneath one of the cloths, a large grey and brown-spotted rat now ran out. It sniffed around curiously, and spat a devilish cry when it saw Angus standing just before the door. Then it sprang forward, followed by an endless flock of other rats. It stopped right in front of Angus, and started to speak.
“You recognise me?” the rat asked, while he ran screeching around the floor in circles in an attempt to freshen the Scotsman’s memory. “Of course you wouldn’t remember any stinking rat with my marks.” He spat in disgust, while swiftly increasing in size. “You don’t even remember stepping on a rat with my marks, do you?”
Angus looked shocked upon the rat, which now was half the size of himself.
“It was a sunny and cloudless afternoon …” the rat told with great insight. “But for our humble rat family, it was a dark and mournful night, in which our poor brother, son, and uncle was trampled to death by a careless Nevis barkeep.”
The rat was now at the same size as Angus, and was sneering at him.
“It was him!” one of the smaller rats cried out.
The giant rat turned and picked up the smaller rat and petted him tenderly.
“I know,” he said to him, “and soon I will get my revenge, and you and your friends will get some long awaited dinner.”
A giant roar came from the rat horde behind the giant, and suddenly Angus was in a wild forest followed by thousand screaming rats, hunting for their dinner, and lead by a giant monster-rat hoping for a revenge for a killing in Nevis years ago.
The hunt went on for many miles through a giant oak forest and then a wide-open plain, before Angus finally reached a pine forest. There he hoped he could finally find more cover.
The forest was, however, filled with millions of wailing forest-mice. Angus was stomping on the small mice as he ran to get away from the rats, and many of the mice died.
"Oh! So you're letting your anxiety go over the mice now huh?" the leader rat cried out. "Be sure! My cousins will grow up fast enough..."
Then, within seconds, all the mice and following rats had grown into the same size as the giant leader rat. Now thousands upon thousands of screaming monsters surrounded him.
Then out of nowhere, a rope came down. The rope shimmered happily with a glow of calming blue.
Angus grasped it gladly and started to climb. Soon he had climbed away from the monsters and only their faint cries could be heard, echoing from the depths beneath him. Then suddenly he felt a sharp sting in his left palm, then as he grasped for a new lift, another sting in his right hand. He then felt a warm mass flowing from his hands, and smelled the oozing smell of fresh blood. He looked with despair upon his hands that held the rope and saw to his shock that they where both filled with blood, and that the rope had millions of long and tin spikes strutting out of reddish-glowing fibres. Angus shortly let go of the rope, and started falling. The squealing yells of the rats and mice grew louder and louder, Angus knew that he now would fall straight into their claws, and he knew that he would soon be their dinner.
The sounds grew louder and louder, now it was like a great roar that sent hurtful stabs into his ears and head. It grew louder and louder.
Then suddenly, Angus was stabbed in the shoulder. He could feel claws grasping for blood. He could sense that his arm would soon be ripped of. Then, suddenly he heard from the rat that must have stood behind him, a squealing voice.
Suddenly all thoughts in Angus mind seamed to scream in old tormented agony, and he froze as everything around him turned blindingly white.
All his senses disappeared in a flash, he could not smell, and his vision was blended. A second or a lifetime went and a faint echo of the rat’s word came back to his ear, and the piercing claw seemed to have turned into a soft careful touch.
Angus slowly turned, and in what seemed like an eternity, wondered about which gruesome episode he now had entered.
Angus slowly turned around towards the direction of the hand on his shoulder. The sight made him freeze completely, and he only stared at the creature behind him with open shocked eyes.
"Master, is everything well?" the creature asked carefully, now with an insecure human voice.
Then everything snapped.
Angus got hold of his mind, all his memories, and the whiteness became replaced with the old world of horror. Angus flew, with the creature’s hand on his shoulder, through all that had happened to Angus since he had entered the altar.
And there they travelled; a maniac’s dreams could not be worse, or more horrid. Variation on variations of different dream-like realities. A horrid slideshow appeared before their eyes before Angus drowned in a monstrous sea of eel-like waves with different grim colours. His mind let go of reality, and he once again (as he had thousands of times before) let go and wished for the lulling comfort of death.
He was now back in the guestroom in the Mêlée Mansion.
Finally, Angus would rest again from the horrid truths and hellish realities.
He went towards a bowl of water, dipped a cloth into the hot water, and took the cloth towards his tired shoulder, ready to wipe the warm blood away.
He looked up and saw straight into a mirror, and in the reflection, he saw the sight that he could not believe in earlier. There on his shoulder was not a claw, or even a paw, but a small and tender hand. A warmth flowed vigorously trough the hand, and into his back. Angus, now apathetic after timeless dreads, looked without seeming interest at the hand.
He did not dare to look any further. Experience had taught him that he should not follow his curiosity no matter how tempting it could be, and in his current state, he was too tired to even dream about disobeying his self-taught rule.
He only wanted away from the horrid world he lived in; he wanted rest.
"Help!" he whimpered, still not taking his eyes off the perfectly shaped hand; slowly starting to fear that it would disappear soon, either by him falling asleep, or it changing into a giant snake or something.
But no answer came to his plea, and tired of it all, Angus glanced up towards the creature’s head, as to finally stop the insanity that now seemed to have invaded his only safe place.
When Angus looked up, his eyes met a pair of large, deep brown, woman eyes, filled with shock and despair.
Then, expecting a monster to explode from the girl’s face, Angus fell to the floor, giving up all hope that might remain.
"Help!" he whimpered again, so faintly that it was practically inaudible.
Then from inside his head, a woman with a soft voice answered.
"You must leave this room."
"Help!" Angus again cried on top of his voice, clearly desperate, and filled with panic.
"I cannot help you if you don't leave..." He now started to hear the voice too, as if the voice was slowly transforming from inside his head and to the room itself.
"You must leave this room." A pair of strong but gentle hands pulled up Angus and he looked at the woman who now was crying as she spoke.
"Help," Angus begged for a third time, more in a hunt for a reassurance of the command than in despair.
"Leave," The woman said to him while looking at him with pity. "Leave, and I can make it all better."
Angus stumbled to his feet, and wobbled towards the door. He opened it and saw straight into what hell must be like.
He jumped into the inferno, and let go of all hope of staying sane and alive.
The next moment he was flying through a cloud of billions of different colours. He could see nothing clear, all was rather blurry; but his thoughts where starting to come back to him in way which seemed strange to him, as if he had never thought anything before. And suddenly in a flash, he saw that all around him was changed, into heaven. And suddenly he stood outside a sturdy oak door. He was inside an endless hallway, much like the hallway of the Governor’s Mansion, but this hallway only had one single door.
He tapped it gently before entering.
He was back into the guestroom. And for the first time since he entered the altar, the room, and world around him was fast, sturdy, and unchangeable.
He closed the door, went towards the bed, and threw himself onto it.
Instead of feeling like floating on a cloud, Angus fell hard into a soft mattress. Things have changed, he thought. Then shortly after he fell asleep; and dreamt just like he had lived, for what seemed like an eternity.
There was dark now.
Only darkness was now left of Angus’ dream, and he was now forcing himself out of it. His senses started reporting their observations to him. He now felt the soft mattress supporting his back, and could faintly hear a wind rushing through some curtains.
He slowly opened his eyes, still tired, and tried to recuperate as ancient memories came back to his mind.
He was lying on his side, and was therefore looking straight into a bed-table lit by a thin ray of light coming from an open window nearby.
Angus lay there dozing, ready to fall into the calm realm of sleep again. Then a voice with clearness as of a small spring river rolling past small fields of apple-trees came from behind his bed. Angus looked up and caught a glint of a memory that quickly faded from his awakening brain. It was the woman who he had mistaken for a rat, but his memory of her was rather bizarre and desperate.
Now that image however was shortly gone, for he had glanced upon a wonder of beauty. Angus gazed amazed at the woman in front of him, and he could not keep his eyes from her perfectly formed, smooth olive brown body, nicely decorated in an amazing dress of brown leather and many coloured feathers. Her face was puzzled but open. Her lips were inviting, her cheeks slightly red, her nose slightly small (showing her youth), and her eyes were deep and searching. They where brown and had a depth Angus never had seen before in his life. They seemed to hold knowledge to all times and ages, but had at the same time the playfulness of an innocent child. She smiled, and it seemed to Angus that her eyes glittered slightly as she did, as if they where two bright stars on the night skies, radiating their glory to the world.
He smiled foolishly in reply, totally knocked back by her beauty. He thought that he was dreaming, so he slowly started to close his eyes, so that he forever could treasure the moment.
"No!" she protested with her glorious tinkling voice, which seemed so full of life.
Angus opened his eyes again, not daring to disappoint the girl in front of him. He again focused on her deep eyes.
"Oh, I'm sorry," she quickly added, as if ashamed of her outburst, "but I don't want you to sleep for ages again. You have been unable to awake for three of my day's now."
Angus heard fear in her voice and he felt sorry for the young woman, and quickly assured her that he would not fall asleep again. Angus then continued to look at her face, and like a traveler explored new glorious sightings of her. The girl on the other hand seemed very distressed and nervous; she seemed to have a personal fight with herself before she broke the silence again.
"Could I ask you a question, dear lord?" Her voice was filled with awe, and she had bent her face towards the floor.
Angus sat silent a while before the question really got into him. And he wondered why she called him “lord”. He could not find a good answer.
"What is it?" he choked out, so inaudible that even he could not hear it.
"I presume you want your powers back now, right?" the woman said, while still looking at the floor. Angus did not understand what she meant by the question, and was just about to ask, when she continued, "I wouldn't have taken it from you if you hadn't asked for help." Angus opened his mouth for a replying question, but the woman was too quick for him. "I know it wasn’t my place to question you, but your actions seemed so strange. First, I hoped that all the horrifying images and worlds that you created were just tools for the coming destruction of Intombulala, and therefore I left you alone to your creating and thoughts, while I waited for you to contact me. Then, as time went by, and months followed weeks, I became worried. Therefore, I went searching for you, not managing to live in the brutal world you had made for yourself and me. And then as I called out your name, and you turned with that pain in your face, I didn't know what to do. It was as if you were afraid of me, but I also noted that the pain, suffering, and remorse in your eyes had been there long and were a product of your own making, and therefore I could not let go of you. And when you begged for help, I knew that you could not handle your force any longer, that the force had started to take control over you. And I knew that one more day would either madden, or kill you. But I could not understand it... Why should you have problem controlling the powers you granted me long ago?
I thought long about these things, before it all became clear for me.
I have changed it, I have changed the properties of the powers you granted me; and in doing so, I have made the force unusable to you… I thought that the changing of the powers would be a good thing, since it made the creation of this world possible, in which I could foresee the growth of nature, before letting these elements out to the world. But now I see my error. And thus I feel I must explain why I did it in the first place.” The young woman silenced for a while, while despair and fear showed itself more and more clearly upon her sweet face.
“ I... I... I had troubles with handling all nature when I was younger, and... Well, I found that this test-world would be a good idea, and I was right. In here I live my thoughts, like in a dream, and can therefore test out new ways for nature to flourish while living among the plants, and animals, and feeling the storm, and heat soaring through my body, and I can relax when I have time for it.
But you knew nothing about these powers, and still now, I have only given you one fragment of information on all that I have done here.“ She silenced while looking curiously at Angus. Angus’ face was now a mixture between amazement (over the beauty of the girl) and wonder (over the tale). This somehow made her more relaxed, so she continued to talk. ”When I realized that you could not possibly handle the powers without my explaining about this world, I had to help you, and the only reasonable way was by taking back the powers that you gained when entering the gate, until I have explained fully how things work around here now. Still, I feel guilty though, guilty for changing how things work. I have changed the powers, I have changed the way things are created, and thus I am forever guilty in my sins!"
Angus could now see the sun from the window reflected in the tears that dropped down from the girls cheeks, and in the reflection, Angus felt unbearable pain and guilt, though a proper reason for the guilt he could not sense.
He wanted to help her feel better, but as he studied her and her feelings of sorrow, her tale finally reached his mind fully. It shocked him and he asked with great wonder, “You mean that the hell that I have lived, for what now seems like an eternity, was my own creation? That it was all created by my own mind?”
The girl now bowed even lower towards the ground, and her affirming “yes” was almost inaudible.
“But what about my wounds? Are those only in my mind?”
The girl now lifted her head a bit higher, seeking refuge in explaining about her masterpiece, “What you think becomes reality. It is very like human dreams, and is controlled in the same way. The things that happen, however, happen in reality, and if you die, you die for real.” She stopped a long while after saying the part about dying. She, as Angus, knew well that Angus had been very close to death numerous of times. “But,” she continued, as to comfort Angus, “I can understand it, if this is a new experience for you. I personally don’t know if gods dream or not…”
Angus just stared dumbly at her, trying to match up the new information with all that he had experienced.
The girl noted his bewilderment, and started on an explanation that she thought would clear up the matter "The force you granted me, my lord. Have you already forgotten? It is the force you granted me, when I was young and you were weary. It was the force of nature. But alas, I have changed the properties of the power since you ruled here. Now you must live in the world that you create, and what you create here can then be introduced to the world. I had to test out new things before I let them out on the world. Too many mistakes I have done in the past, and making this world might be one of them. Basically, this world is what your thoughts want them to be, and therein lies the force, within thoughts inside the holy altar." She stopped a moment to recollect her thoughts before she continued. "What else is a fitting name for a god, than master or lord? My tongue can only find these words worthy enough, but now I see that even they can't bring your greatness enough praise."
"God?!" Angus was completely bewildered. "You must clearly be mistaken, I'm just a Scottish highlander, and although I'm the last standing member of the clan McDow, I clearly ain't no god or any noble, not by renown nor stature. Only in European propaganda about The New World have I heard about us Europeans being mistaken for gods, which we surely aren't."
The girl now seemed almost in panic.
"But, but!" she stammered out. "Only gods can enter this place..."
"I don't know" Angus said, confused by the strange speech of the girl, "But I did what the instruction said, I dropped some blood into that bowl near the altar, and now I'm here."
"The altar!" she exclaimed, both surprised and shocked. "Of course! Ah, my youth's faults will surely haunt me to my last breath. I should never have let those priests in here! And now I have sealed the fates of the world forever. Never again will the gods rule in harmony. Now man has fooled Xyzta, and the gifts of the gods will never come to the rightful, but rather to the sinful."
She looked sad and thoughtful, but at the same time stern, and when she noticed Angus' bewilderment, she smiled at him and added, "But these things are for me to muse over, and not something that we should talk about. Let me introduce myself properly, I am Xyzta, princess of the Mayas, and daughter of Qerx the son of the panther."
Thousands of questions rolled around in Angus' head, but he could not be rude and drown this woman with questions, especially such a beautiful woman.
"And I am Angus McDow,” Angus replied humbly, ”a humble Scotsman who is very honoured to meet such a fine lady as yourself, your majesty."
Xyzta laughed, what seemed to Angus a heavenly and slightly chuckling laughter.
"Please no drilled politeness to me, Angus." Xyzta smiled a glorious smile as she said this "I'm not a princess anymore. All my family and their relatives are long dead now; even their children’s children are dead now. You should therefore consider me an equal to yourself, even though I'm a couple of thousand years older than you."
Angus was shocked by the last comment but relaxed greatly when she smiled at him, even if she where ten thousand years, he would always adore her young body, and deep eyes.
Then Xyzta bent over Angus and kissed him on his forehead, just between his eyes and on top of his only facial scar. Angus instantly fell to sleep again, dreaming a great dream about a newfound love.