Read Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX

 

The rest was mostly a blur, the memory of the events preceding the nothingness.  For a moment, it was soothing; to be at rest, careless, bodiless in a void, no sensations, only his own thoughts, fluid and meaningless. And then it all came back in a rush as he fell toward a pinpoint of light.

Oetho emerged into stark whiteness, his body flung forward until it hit some sort of ground.  His eyes were blinded and his ears rang from the silence.

He blinked, yet he saw nothing but white. Then a blur of darkness hung over him and he recognized the washed out redness of skin.  A thick hand grabbed him at the armpit and lifted him up.

“What is this place?” The creature howled, momentarily deafening Oetho. He saw its mouth speak more, though understood none of it.  The creature roared and its spare hand slammed against the side of Oetho’s head.

He awoke sometime later spitting blood.

The whiteness was no longer blinding.  Turning his head, he could see the creature squatting, watching him.  Everything around was a brilliant oval emptiness.  The floor, the walls, everything glowed.  Amana was sprawled out upon it, leaning against its curvature, unconscious.

“What have you done to her?” he said, the words coming out in gasps. 

“She was not quiet,” it said.  “Maybe now you tell me where I am?”

Oetho tried to sit up but his head just spun.  Instead, he found himself only capable of crawling to Amana’s side.  Her neck and face were bruised and a gash cut across her forehead, yet her chest still rose and fell to her breathing.

The creature rumbled, “She will wake again.  Maybe I kill her?”

Oetho swallowed hard.  He brushed his hand lightly over Amana’s face and spoke to her softly.  “This is not what I had in mind.”

The Ban-Tho stood abruptly and in two strides was upon him.  It grabbed Oetho with one hand and lifted him back into the air.  “Time for woman later.” 

“But I...”  Oetho stammered. 

The creature growled and flung him across the expanse.  Oetho landed roughly against the hard surface and slid down its face.  He was in too much pain to move, even his eyes hurt as they turned to watch the Ban-Tho step forward.

“I don’t know,” Oetho screamed.  “Something went wrong.  I don’t know where we are.  I don’t.”

The creature paused, exhaling forcefully from its snout.  “Enough lies.  Open door, Myztic.”

Oetho lay there just breathing.  It would be some time before he could even walk again.   It was too difficult to concentrate on anything but the pain.

“Now!” the creature screamed and kicked him in the side, splaying him across the floor.

Oetho curled into a ball, using all the strength he could muster, yet the creature still loomed over him.  He knew he would have to do something, soon.

 

Continue to Part XI