Chapter 3

The Prodigy Found

Bound, Praised, and Prime Urisha do not appear out of thin air. They are identified when young, then nurtured and supported to reach their fullest potential. As such, teachers and carers are instructed to keep close watch on Young Urishas, spotting those that may exhibit abilities and powers beyond those of a standard Prosaic. One might think that identifying such individuals is easy, but it is not - Urishas often do not get the gifts or abilities of their parents and although there are some cases (like that of Etin and Unsin) where Onuses are passed down, it is generally rare. Even the Primarchs, Emaja and Egun, are both the children of Prosaic and Bound Urisha.

 

Isangbe is also one such individual. Isangbe’s potential was discovered on a school trip to the Oruka Gate. As part of their education, Young Urishas are taken to various significant historical sites and the Oruka Gate – the main point of access between the Earth and the Oruka – is a significant one. This particular visit coincided with the routine maintenance that Alimo, the Bound Urisha of construction, and his team carried out every fifty years.

On this occasion an unusual malfunction occurred, causing the power unit in the gate to explode and seriously damage the gate terminal’s supports. It was then that Isangbe's eyes glowed bright golden for the first time and his powers bloomed. Instinctively his body radiated a shield of light large enough to protect his entire class, and after the dust had settled he displayed immense strength by removing rubble to rescue Alimo's trapped maintenance team.

 

His teacher reported this event to her superiors and the Praised Urisha Uru was ordered to take Isangbe under his wing. Decades have passed since Isangbe came under Uru’s tutelage, and the young Urisha is nearing maturity. Uru takes pride in his young protégé, believing that with Isangbe’s sharp thinking, numerous abilities, and strong sense of justice, the young Urisha may one day grow to take his place – but as a Prime Urisha.

In The Name of Balance

 

Storms are a standard affair. The wind flows as it does, the Earth will go through its cycles, and the weather Urisha make sure that it stays that way. Aya and Zangu, the Praised Urisha who manage the Earth's weather, ensure this. However, one day some centuries ago, a particularly violent storm struck one of Earth’s ocean with a force that had not been seen in a long time.

 

It was during a period of great commerce, and many ships were out at the time, and as the waves crashed and beat against their boughs, their passengers and crews turned to the Urisha for aid. They called to all the various weather and water Urisha, but especially to Aya, Master of the Wind. At the time Aya was visiting Ulukun, and was content to ignore the cries of those calling to her. Zangu, however could bear it no more and called to her himself, requesting she show mercy to the seafarers. Aya, sighed and came to the water's surface to see the storm for herself. It was indeed severe.

 

She settled on a passenger ship being tossed about in the sea like a leaf in the wind. She closed her eyes to feel the path of the wind, where it had been and where it was going. As she studied the wind, the humans on board came forwards and knelt at her feet begging for her to grant them kindness and save them. She looked down at them and shook her head.

“I cannot carry all of you, and if I calm this storm, then next month the rains will not go where they should. The Earth’s climate will be out of balance.”

 

The passengers looked on with horror as she turned to leave. Then suddenly she felt a tug on her dress hem.

“My children, please take them.” A small man with greying hair knelt behind her, his shaking hands gripping onto the fabric of her dress. His two frightened children, barely over the age of 10, stood behind him struggling to maintain their balance on the rocking ship.

 

Aya looked at him, then at the two children… something seemed familiar about them.

Their mother is Urisha isn't she?” Aya asked.

“Yes”, he responded, “please save them!”

Aya stepped over the man and grabbed the two children by their chins. She stared into the eyes of the girl first, then the boy second. She turned back to the girl:

“You are Urisha.”

Then to the boy.

“You, are not.”

 

She swiftly grabbed the girl and began floating up into the air. The crowd looked on with disbelief, as Aya glided away on the same wind that was striking their ship over and over again. They cried and called to her and the little girl in her arms screamed and begged her to return for her father and brother. But Aya had closed her ears to their calls.

And even as the ship was thrown against the rocks, and its human contents spilled into the sea, Aya still closed her ears to their calls.

 

The child in her arms thrashed about and hammered on her back. It did not hurt, but was incredibly annoying. Aya touched her fingertips to the girl’s temple and the child fell silent.

 

Aya smiled to herself. She had no children of her own, but maybe if she supported and trained this one well enough, the girl would grow to be even greater than her one day - another great servant of The Grand Purpose. And so Aya took the new Young Urisha under her wing.

 

The Young Urisha whose name was Toju.

The Great Human Siege

 

The Great Human Siege was and still remains one of the saddest days in Unsin's career. Her Onus is to protect the Earth, the Oruka, and every living thing on them - especially the humans. But what happens when the protected turn on their protectors?

 

It all began with one man. A man filled with such spite and hatred for all Urisha that it caused him to do the unthinkable – to declare war on them and convince others to do the same. Gaining support was not as hard as one might think; Ulukun's Great flood, the broken families, Aya’s indifference to human life- many had reason to consider the Urisha a plague on mankind. As this man gained more and more followers he came to be known worldwide as The Rejector.

 

Not all mankind was won over by The Rejector. There was vocal resistance to the anti-Urisha movement, and these loyalists tried to remind people that the Urisha were dedicated to balance, and not to human servitude. However, it was too late. The Rejector had claimed the hearts of Kings and laypeople alike and built the greatest army the world had ever seen.

 

The Rejector himself was a mystery. If anyone asked where he came from, he would simply answer “The sea”. Also, even though he was not an Urisha, his abilities and strength were very Urisha-like, and to this day no one knows where or how he attained such power. But it was with these same powers that he and his generals accomplished great deeds, and eventually overran the Oruka Gate and breached the Oruka’s outer walls.

 

As Urisha began to fall at the hands of the human forces, Unsin ordered the inner gates of the Oruka barricaded and shielded. She turned to Uru and the Primes for guidance. Left without a choice they instructed her to strike back at the human forces without mercy and bring The Rejector in for questioning.

The slaughter was great that day.

Thousands upon thousands of humans were slain, their bodies piled high in the streets of the Oruka. And as for The Rejector? He was burned completely when Aya, the most unrestrained of the fighting Urisha, redirected one of Zangu’s lightning bolts down onto his head. The Primarchs were furious that Aya was not able to display self-control and bring The Great Rejector in alive or whole - she had burnt him so badly they could not figure out who he was nor the source of his power.

But the battle was over and the siege was done: it was time for peace and order to be restored.

Turning Point event! - Etin and Unsin: The Danger Outside

 

Since the Dark Serpent’s attack, Etin and Unsin always argued about the best choice of action for the Earth’s security. With over 600 years of experience as the Urisha of Security, Unsin believed that mastering space and inter-universal travel should be a priority. Etin, however, believef that resources were better spent reinforcing the Earth’s security and re-opening the investigation into how exactly the serpent arrived on Earth in the first place. The Prime Urishas spent years listening to arguments for both sides but eventually came to a decision.

 

The Primarchs called Unsin and Etin before them to announce the outcome of their deliberations: It was decided that Unsin's argument was stronger - The Urisha would go to space!

 

Unsin turned to her mother and bowed respectfully.

"Everything I do is based on your teachings," she said, tears filling her eyes. Etin smiled, tenderly holding her daughter's armoured hands in her own.

 

"And you continue to make me proud, my dear," Etin turned to the Primarchs, reached up to her chest and unfastened her Security crest."A new age of Urisha calls for new solutions! For a second time, I gladly retire to the gardens of The Oruka."

 

But do not be mistaken, even as the scientists and researchers began arranging their labs and beginning their experiments, one thing did not change: Etin was still as respected as she ever was, and this would probably not be the last we had seen of this mighty Urisha...

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Turning Point 3: The One Who Dwells Below

Unsin and her team descended to the ocean floor in their transport craft. It had been a while since she had been to Ulukun's Palace, but it remained just as impressive as the last time she saw it. It was as dramatic as its owner, a vast complex consisting of turquoise green spires, circular theatres and aquariums, coral gardens, and arched walkways linking one part to another. Precious metals and gems adorned every structure, and sea life of all kinds darted around grand sculptures of Urisha and humans from nautical history.

As they came closer to the Palace, the five could begin to make out figures among the glowing walls going about their daily work and research. Unsin remembered that many who worked with or under Ulukun had moved their permanent residence to the Palace after Ulukun’s banishment both in support of their actions, and for practicality since Ulukun's building projects meant more Urisha could live closer to where they worked on Earth.

 

Some of the Urisha paused to wave at the team’s craft as it passed, and Isangbe and Omanja waved back excitedly.

“I never got a chance to come down here during my training,” Isangbe said as they maneuvered underneath a crystalline archway, it was quite relieving to see his youthful excitement was still hiding in his larger body, “the Palace really is spectacular!”

“Mum always has brilliant construction ideas, so I’ve asked her to build me a Palace just as amazing as this one on the moon one day!” Omanja responded and then began explaining what different buildings they passed were for.

“Remember why we're here, Isangbe,” Unsin interrupted, “Keep an eye out for anything untoward. And Omanja; you’re here at your grandmother's request as our guide, so focus only on what's relevant.”

Sesewo rolled his eyes and Uranyin chuckled softly.

 

Their craft went down under the sea floor beneath Palace before rising up to the water’s surface in an interior dock. The security Urisha on duty there welcomed them.

 

“Good afternoon, Bound Urisha Unsin, welcome to Ulukun's Palace,” the Urisha smiled.

 

“Idakun. Its good to see you again,” Unsin looked at him with narrowed eyes, mildly annoyed, “I see you’re enjoying your stay here, since you rejected my offer for transfer back to the Oruka.”

 

“I like it here, Ulukun treats me well,” Idakun said, defiantly.

 

Sesewo looked at Unsin and shook his head. It doesn’t matter what Idakun was implying, now was not the time.

 

“I see,” Unsin said, walking past the guard, “Well then, we shall be heading on our way. Omanja will take us where we need to go.”

 

“That won’t be necessary,” Idakun called after her, “you have a guide to take you to Ulukun's office.”

 

(Part 2)

They walked through the door where they found a familiar figure adorned with more jewelry and gemstones than seemed possible, in certain light she was hard to look at.

 

“Ije!” Omanja ran up and hugged the Urisha, causing her jewelry to jingle with the force.

 

“Mum wants to see you, run along,” Ije replied patting Omanja on the back. Omanja

released her, skipped a few steps and then floated off down the corridor.

 

“It's great to see you again, Ije,” Unsin smiled.

“It's been a long, long time hasn’t it, my friends,” Ije laughed, hugging Unsin, Sesewo, and Uranyin.

 

“Why don’t you come see us anymore?” Sesewo asked.

 

“For the same reason you don’t come and see me! My onus keeps me ever so busy. Also, last time I was on the Oruka for more than a day, I almost got my head shot off during that human invasion. Day trips are all you’re getting out of me. Now, come this way.”

 

They walked through several winning corridors lined with artifacts from across the world.

 

“I recognize that necklace,” Uranyin said peering into an alcove housing a thick gold chain with a particularly large ruby pendant dangling from its centre, “It was on the neck of that King I… dealt with  a hundred years ago.”

Ije looked at him bemused, shrugged, then carried on walking.

“You're Isangbe, right?” Ije said looking at the tall figure, “you’re a lot bigger than they said you were. I hear you’ve done some impressive stuff even though you’re barely over 100.”

“I just try to do what’s right,” Isangbe said shyly.

 

“Good answer. You’ll do good as the Urisha of Justice when your time comes,” Ije said,  “You know you remind me of-“

“Are we almost there yet?” Unsin interrupted. “I’ve been counting these turns, and we’ve defeinitely looped back on ourselves multiple times, Ije.”

 

Unsin knew it had been a bad idea to bring Omanja. Ulukun was no doubt being given all information pertinent to this mission right now, while Ije stalled for time.

 

“Yeah, yeah, just round this corner,” Ije said smirking. They stopped at an ornate door, covered in carved dolphins, turtles, and crustaceans.

“But just a word of warning - Ulukun has grown increasingly sarcastic during their imprisonment, please bear with them," Ije reached up and knocked the doo twice before opening it and letting them in. She did not follow.

The round room was lined with bejeweled bookshelves from top to bottom. Around it’s edge was a tiled ring that could be walked on, but most of the room was taken up by a large dark pool. From the centre of the pool Unsin could see several red-hot glowing chains stretching out of the water and rising up to the ceiling. The room appeared empty.

 

“Is anybody here?” Sesewo whispered.

 

“Yes, I can smell a fourth person here with us,” Uranyni said.

 

“What do we do?” Isangbe turned to Unsin.

 

“We call,” she replied, then in a loud voice shouted, “Prime Urisha Ulukun, we wish to speak with you!”

 

The surface of the water rippled slightly, then became increasingly agitated as a tall figure slowly rose from beneath the water's surface. Attached to the figure's neck, wrists, and hair were glowing hot manacles connected to the chains that were fastened to the ceiling. The figure looked up and hidden within the shadows of their long hair, a smiling face could be identified.

“Young Unsin, a pleasure to see you after all this time.” Ulukun said, their slow calming voice bouncing around the room, “and what do we have here? Isangbe, the young Urisha who saved my mother, but also caused the death of my good friend Uru. And I see you’ve also brought Sesewo and Uranyin. Four of the deadliest Urisha alive right now are in my room. How… unnerving. One might wonder what the purpose of your visit really is.”

“We have simply come for answers, Ulukun," Unsin said walking forward to the water’s edge.

“Answers?” Ulukun laughed and walked closer to Unsin. Isangbe’s mouth dropped open in surprise as he noticed Ulukun was walking on the water itself, “then why not see Arunmila. After all, the Tome knows all.”

“Even his reach does not stretch to your kingdom," Unsin responded.

 

“Interesting, that, isn’t it?” Ulukun’s smile widened, and they turned around and began walking slowly around the pool, “I wonder, Unsin, what would you like to know? Do you wish to retire me, like you did your mother? Did you know it was I who suggested that you were chosen instead of Aya for Urisha of War? I have always been on your side.”

 

“I am an Urisha of Security, Ulukun. We are not engaged in war with anyone.”

 

“Is that so?” Ulukun laughed, “The wing on Isangbe’s wall would imply otherwise.”

 

“How did they-“ Isangbe began, but Unsin stuck out her hand motioning him to be silent.

 

“I will humour you no longer. What do you know of the Alympians, Ulukun?” Unsin asked.

“Unpleasant sounding bunch aren’t they? Omanja had been informing me of everything that happened on the Oruka. Can’t say I know much about them beyond her letters though.” A throne rose out of the water and Ulukun sat on it.

“How about their technology, especially their ability to make genetically altered humans?"

 

Ulukun smiled “that sounds intriguing, sounds like something you’ve come up against before Unsin, doesn’t it?”

 

“Yes - The Rejector,” Unsin replied, “we have reason to think he was made here in an underwater complex by Alympians and Urisha working together. The sea is your domain, you know everything that happens here!”

 

“Is that an accusation, my dear?” Ulukun feigned offense, “are you saying I created The Rejector? Why would I do that?”

“Enough of this! Ulukun, where is Aya and where is Ikkarias? I can sense the selective truth in your words,” Isangbe shouted

 

Ulukun looked at Isangbe gleefully, “How interesting, I had heard that Uru trained you well...”

“Sesewo, turn on the Alympian sensor,” Unsin ordered.

 

“Yes unsin" Sesewo pulled out the small device and turned it on. The alarm beeped immediately, “It's not strong but the energy is all over this room it gets stronger in the direction of that door, though.” Sesewo motioned to the right.

 

“Lets go," Unsin said and began walking in the direction Sesewo had indicated, “Uranyin, watch our rear.”

 

“Leaving already? What a shame," Ulukun slowly rose out of their seat and began to follow the group at a distance their chains clanking with each step.

 

The group made their way down a winding corridor until they came to a large metal door. Unsin nodded to Sesewo and he pushed it open.

The four gasped in unison. Behind those doors was a massive laboratory. Urisha rushed to and fro, chattering and attending to the multiple control panels, chemicals, and pipes that littered the room. There were several person-sized test tubes and tanks in various corners of the room, but it was the one in the centre that really stood out. For floating within it was the one-winged figure of Ikkarias, and in front of that with her back to them stood Aya.

“Unsin, I see you’ve finally found me!” Aya turned around and lowered her clipboard, “Took you long enough."

 

“Sesewo, send a call to the security forces we are going to arrest everyone in this palace,” Unsin said, staring at her old rival furiously.

 

“Calm down, calm down,” Aya said as Ulukun walked past the group to stand by her side, “before you do anything as drastic as arresting everyone, let's talk this out like the good old friends that we are.”

“Talk? What is there to talk about?!” Uranyin shouted pointing at Ulukun and Aya. “You are plotting in secret! You are working against the Prime heights!”

 

Unsin placed her hand on Uranyin’s and slowly lowered it, “He’s not wrong, Aya. You must explain this, both you and Ulukun. Because this doesn’t make sense at all.”

“Okay. Let me help you understand. I will give you the short version of events…” Ulukun said and perched on a lab stool, “By the way, you really should have brought a scribe. This is a great story.”

“Just speak.”

“When I was a young river Urisha - not much older than Isangbe - I happened across a small underwater cavern. In there I found a large egg. I had no idea what it was, but I monitored it for decades while it grew, studying and trying to understand it because I could tell it wasn’t of this Earth. As you can guess I was horrified when it turned out to be The Dark Serpent. It burst out of the earth, began attacking us all, so on, so forth.”

“You knew and you never told us? So many of our friends and so many humans died fighting that thing!” Sesewo shouted.

 

“And we mourned them, and we moved on. Pay attention,” Ulukun said with annoyance, “Now not long after we slayed it and the rebuilding had begun, I started my own investigation into how it had got here. What I found was astonishing - A portal leading to another universe was hidden within our very own planet. So I went through it.

“On the other side was another earth, and a race of custodians like us who dwelt on a mountain. Mighty warriors – conquerors known as the Alympians. They were also masters of science. There was a third species there, not Alympian, but not human either. The Alympians invited me to partner with them to help them take our Earth. They in turn would leave me to rule as their vassal. I agreed to the deal, provided they show me how to create augmented humans. This of course worked well for me. I had often clashed with the Primes concerning how we should carry out our Onus. I knew that I would be a Prime one day, but never a Primarch, as a Prime I wouldn’t have the power to change things, so I agreed to their deal, Aya shared my vision and joined me. We planned to double-cross them of course - but that would come later.

“Time passed and I, unfortunately, lost my temper, flooded the world, and ended up chained to the sea floor. But Aya could still move freely. The Alympians helped us create the rejector using a boy Aya left for dead after a storm. I gave him power and training and sent him to invade the Oruka; he would weaken the Oruka, and the Alympians would come after. However Unsin, you are a formidable Urisha. The Rejector failed to cause significant damage and Aya had to burn him to oblivion to cover our tracks. Meanwhile, there was a power shift with the Alympians and they lost their interest in conquest, effectively calling off the deal.”

“Yes, Herakless mentioned all Alympians want peace barring a small faction,” Unsin said.

 

“Small? Try half the Alympians. These two factions are constantly at each other’s throats. The Alympian’s are more divided and weaker than you think - an identity crisis of sorts. The Conqueror faction told us the portal would close soon and they would not reopen it, but they said they would send a ship from space loaded with augmented humans to help us take the Oruka.”

 

“Instead, they crashed and you got two Alympians in a stasis pods,” Sesewo inserted.

 

“Exactly. What a joke,” Ulukun shook their head in annoyance, “Aya did what she could to try and help them remove Emaja so that Aya could become Primarch legitimately, but Ikkarias couldn’t even pull that off. Even with Omanja in there creating blind spots and holes in your security, Ikkarias still couldn’t finish the job. What a disappointment. We’ve found a better use for him now as you can see. Once we figure out the augmentation process, we’ll just take the Oruka ourselves. And we shall be the new leaders of the Urisha.”

“I can’t believe you Ulukun. You’ve been scheming this for over a thousand years, just so that you can be Primarch?” Unsin said in disbelief.

“Just so I can be Primarch? Unsin don’t be so naïve. I don’t care about position. I am Urisha. I want what you want: BALANCE. To serve the grand purpose and have this world work as it should. It’s just that the world would work much better if we intervened more and if the humans served us rather than us serving them.” Ulukun stood up and pointed at Unsin and her team, “And I know you know it. The system hasn’t worked – Not as well as it should.”

 

Ulukun began pacing backward and forwards, Unsin could tell that they were starting to get worked up. The air became humid and the liquid in the tubes and tanks began to float, even the sweat on her brow was starting to drift from her face.

 

“How many times has mankind driven itself to near extinction? How many animals and plants have we lost never to be seen again? And we just watch it happen? One augmented human managed to turn an entire generation on us, one augmented human and his supporters was able to break into OUR homes and kill OUR brothers and sisters. And we’re supposed to protect this world from external forces? We can’t even protect ourselves from the humans.” Ulukun stopped pacing and put their face right up to Unsin’s.

“We are weak, Unsin. We are vulnerable and our entire planet is suffering because of it. I know you feel the same. The old ways have failed us. Our elders would rather patter about investigating and holding feasts than take the fight to our enemies. I will change that - we will change that. Join us and we shall become even greater than the bound, praised and prime Urisha of former generations. We shall create an order superior in every way.”

“I hate that you were the cause of Uru's death. I miss him every day.” Isangbe said ”But I see what you were trying to show me Aya. You knew that he trained me to listen to the old ways, I made my decisions based on the old ways, and it got him killed.”

 

“A painful lesson, but I am glad that you understood it. I did it to show you that the old ways do not work, that they are too soft. Will you join us young one? I can see how powerful you have become.”

 

“Your way is the only way that I think will be prepared for the troubles ahead. Strength, power and order will be what will save this world. I will join you.”

 

“What is this?” Uranyin screamed in shock, “How can you turn on the Primarchs - on all Urisha? Unsin speak some sense into the boy.”

 

Unsin said nothing. Sesewo turned to her with fear in his eyes for the first time in centuries, “Unsin, they are not wrong, the Urisha have fallen on hard times these past one thousand years. Change is needed. But surely we can’t turn on the other Primes and Primarchs. What should we do?”

 

Turning Point 3: The One Who Dwells Below

Unsin’s Choice:

-Join Prime Urisha Ulukun in rebelling against the Primes and Primarchs,

-Reject Ulukun’s offer and escape the palace.

 
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