“What can I say, lady Aquarius. My brother the king needs help and the kingdom is threatened. I have the capability to solve it then I will do it. Simple as that.”
It wasn’t special nor overly grand. It wasn’t a beautiful ideal nor a dream. It was the answer of a man who got down to business and get it done. But even so, it struck something within Aqua, it must have. Because after that answer, she gave him hers.
“Then I, First Greater Water Spirit Aquarius of Spiri Raia, shall henceforth give your lineage my blessing.”
It was hollow really. It did not enhance their spirit arts nor did Aqua ever ordered her water spirits to give preferential treatment to the Illyers, merely announced it. She never promised the Illyer to directly intervene nor being their guardian.
It was really just a word, Aqua very well explained it to the Illyer. However, like how humans name spirits, this ’empty’ blessing became so much more.
It really shows how much a single word could dictate one’s legacy and how others see them, Aqua mused, passing through the gate wall, where she eyed the guards manning it. Even though the Illyers were gone, they still dutifully kept their posts. Spirits and humans, as she could clearly tell these guards were depressed with the loss of their lord, much like the water spirits before.
After news of the ‘blessing’ had spread, it was as if every fortune in the world greeted the Illyer; people all over the kingdom coming to him, pledging their loyalty; his brother the king of Kirash gradually giving him more land and; lots and lots of water spirits flocking to his domain with many of them seeking to be named by him and many more.
But most importantly, it practically halted the Fichs from advancing further against Kirash for fear of crossing the greater water spirit by going against the human she blessed. It was wondering what a simple utterance could do.
And it was quite a wonder what it did to everyone else, especially the look on Ignis’ face, Aqua chuckled as she left the city. Naturally, her blessing shook waves on the other greater spirits, believing it to be a breach of impartiality. But ironically, he was the next one to give his blessing.
After all, all Aqua needed to say to them was…
“Admit it, you all want to get ‘named’ by humans too.”
Besides, the blessing entailed virtually nothing, it was up to others to perceive what they will of it – completely within their established rules. With the previous argument, one by one, all the greater spirits eventually gave their blessings to humans – just one for each, that’s enough.
But even then, even his descendants still… Aqua trailed off her thought, with the city walls drawing farther behind her.
Even though the first Illyer was a virtuous man, the same can’t be said for his children and their children. As it was human nature, having a prestigious title of some kind was bound to make one feel entitled.
In fact, all of the blessed fell to this problem, as centuries pass by, generations of blessed families to the next became increasingly arrogant, flaunting their blessings of the greater spirits, and generally not reflecting the quality that made their forefathers worthy of it in the first place.
This, of course, concerned the greater spirits, but they cannot take back their blessing, you cannot un-name something, after all. However, as it turned out, they don’t need to do much to solve the problem.
Even the most juvenile of my water spirits could tell not to mingle with the more haughty Illyers, Aqua closed her eyes, feeling the watery breeze.
Since losing their flesh, spirits have always been able to vaguely sense human souls to know whether they’re good or bad, courtesy of being entities near a pure soul. As being named meant becoming partners until the namer passed away, spirits don’t just pick a namer willy-nilly.
So while Aqua wasn’t privy to the other blessed, when the Illyers were becoming more conceited, the water spirits refrained from being named from them, going so far as to vacate the once spirited mansion.
And thanks to that, the Illyers learned some humility after some hissy fit, Aqua mused to herself, with the view of the pond to her left blocked by a forest. And finally came Allister.
Allister al Illyer, when Aqua first observed him back then he was a young boy raised with stories of the prestige of his family and the blessing she gave to them. However, this boy noticed the lack of named spirits credited to them for the last few generations where others dismiss it. Knowing the stories, he saw the hypocrisy within the family and sought to change.
And because of this, a little water spirit sensed something different within the boy than the rest and thought to give him a chance. So, under a full moon, the water spirit appeared before the young Illyer, seeking to be named.
“I, Allister al Illyer, shall henceforth name you Neptune!”
For the first time in generations, the Illyers finally named a spirit.
Allister after that was treated just about you expected. Fortunately, he was an only child, so he was spared with envious siblings. But even so, he had stuck to his humility and virtue that eventually embody him. Even the water spirits started to return to the mansion.
But even so, the Illyers still was not able to escape the consequences of their temporary decline, Aqua mooted, passing through the road.
The fact the Illyers had not been naming spirits for several generations was not unnoticed by some.
For one, the Fichs saw this and after a few generations deliberating, they finally decided to invade, during Allister in his prime. Suffice to say, if they canceled the invasion, they may never get another chance so they decided to risk it and got soundly defeated, losing the chance to unite the water territory ever again.
But even then, that did not stop that second prince… Aqua grunted in her mind, heading towards a destination in the middle of nowhere.
Aqua nearly did a spit-take when the water spirits suddenly came with the news that Allister had suddenly started a succession war with him supporting the first prince. The second prince intended to invade the Fichs back when he became king which Allister staunchly opposed.
After all, Allister’s father died in the war against the empire, and going to war with an empire as big as Fichs with the intent of conquering it was going to be costly. So the war hero thought that the kingdom shouldn’t bite off more they can chew.
But, Allister had lost, Aqua thought in sorrow, drifting above the dirt road.
While Allister was incredible on the battlefield, he was not so on the succession war he brought upon the kingdom, against the second prince who thought the blessing had wavered and did not hesitate. Thus, the temporary shack where the greater water spirit first met the first Illyer which then became a grand mansion now returned to ashes.
By all means, Aqua should have done something about it as it concerned her blessed, but she can’t.
As a greater spirit, she cannot approach humans the same way as other spirits do. As the most powerful entities of this world, they have to act impartially lest they become no better than the dragons. All they do was protect their respective land from dangers that can swallow it whole and keeping the balance between humans and spirits.
That was why the blessing was an empty promise, the greater spirits still cannot show favor to a singular human or family. That was why Aqua did nothing when the Fichs took over almost half the territory, the empire took care not to go too far and so she stayed her hand, even when they went into conflict with her blessed. And because of that, she stayed put when the succession war happened, leading to the Illyers’ demise.
That was what the greater spirits agreed upon the birth of Spiri Raia. They were not going to selfishly capitulate that over some humans.
But, in the end, I still do not like not doing anything, Aqua sighed as she reached her destination.
The place she floated on was nothing special, just another lonely patch of dirt leading to yonder. However, it was this very piece of land where she had met ‘them’ who made this place devoid of spirits ever since.
“Stop! Stop! We come in peace!” One of the masked brown figures frantically waved his hands up and down.
“Is that the best you can do!?” The other brown-robed man berated. The lower half of his mask shattered, revealing a pitiful excuse of a mustache. He ought to shave it.
“I’m trying, Alan!” The former brown figure retorted.
“Well, our suppressions are off,” another remarked. “So I guess it does?”
“”Huh…”” The first brown figure and this Alan looked as if they realized something.
Decades ago, Aqua felt a disturbance in her territory. As the greater spirit, she came to the source to find a bright rainbow light that had just dissipated. Emerging from that light were three humanoid figures draped in brown robes and wearing a motifless steel mask who called themselves ‘Court Wizards’ – a somewhat familiar pre-Spiri Raia term – which she learned later.
What intrigued her, however, was that, at a glance, their souls gave off a similar feeling to that of ice, fire, and light respectively. They don’t look like spirits though so Aqua innocently decided to take a deeper look at their souls to which she could only describe it with one word.
A greater spirit like Aqua can sense souls in much more detail than others. Each of the Court Wizards’ souls had a ‘border,’ separating it into two uneven parts.
Both parts gave off the elemental feeling but the larger piece doesn’t even feel like a human soul or any soul in that matter. It was the smaller portion, in fact, that held it which was somehow ‘compressed’ to allow the larger portion which was always fluctuating between the state of completeness and incompleteness which was always a different ‘fragment’ each time.
That was what Aqua could only describe these abominations.
I am sure the others would attack them on sight if they showed up in their territory, Aqua thought as she reminisced the fight that happened.
Even before these Court Wizards arrived, a week prior, to be specific, Aqua already felt changes to the ‘laws’ of Spiri Raia, the ‘laws’ she and the greater spirits established. For the fae to transition into spirits, they needed a new ‘origin,’ the ‘principle’ of their existence, which happened to be the greater spirits, effectively making them the parents of all spirits.
Thus, Aqua, as the ‘origin’ of water spirit ‘law,’ could tell that the ‘laws’ of Spirit Raia were being interfered and was going to meet with the other greater spirits who must have felt it too when those Court Wizards arrive. The Court Wizards who gave of the similar interference of said ‘laws’.
And so, Aqua did the most sensible thing to do.
“Everyone stay away!” Aqua shouted to the water spirits nearby. “I will deal with this,” and she aimed her hand and burst forth high-pressured water onto the brown-clad figures.
While Aqua had led off with a surprise attack, it was as if the Court Wizards had seen it coming and scattered, avoiding Aqua’s first salvo. Then, in the ensuing fight, the Court Wizards cast magic – a long-thought dead art with the rise of Spiri Raia – according to the element Aqua saw.
The results? Well, if Aqua kept holding back, as she intended to subdue the Court Wizards to interrogate them, she would have been overwhelmed. However, she also felt that the Court Wizards were too, seeing as when she increased the power behind her arts, so did they little by little. Not only that, when she peered into their amalgam souls once again, it looked as if their emotions were suppressed.
It could have been a bloody encounter if one of them did not start that comical scene, Aqua chuckled. The water spirits must have been so frightened to see me seemingly in a pinch.
Aqua could definitely overpower the Court Wizards if she disregard the environment, but a peaceful settlement was better. After that unbecoming display, the Court Wizards pulled off their masks as a sign of good faith and explained themselves.
As previously mentioned, they called themselves Court Wizards who came from an organization called the Otherworldly Court from another world. Now it would have sound outrageous, but Aqua could tell from their fractured souls that they weren’t lying and what happened along with the testimonies of the water spirits confirmed this as well.
Long story short, their organization’s goal was to protect the balance of worlds in the shadows and they had just discovered Spiri Raia and intended to do the same. A very idealistic notion, but once again Aqua sensed no lie from them.
In the end, Aqua told the Court Wizards to return to their world and bring one of their leaders they told her about to the upcoming meeting with the greater spirits as they were just scouts. That ended up with a whole other can of worms.
Seeing that fire leader Gertrude of those Court Wizards really surprised Petra, Aqua chuckled, remembering the earth spirits’ old form.
All in all, a consensus had been reached, and after that, the Court Wizards had remained largely quiet. As it was their procedure, they only subtly influence human affairs as reported by the water spirits, as best as they can, and nothing malicious. The most Aqua had heard was them running around during the Kirash-Fichs war and that merchant company one of the Court Wizard scouts, Alan, had set up in Illyer’s city.
Now, why was this important? Well…
“You are Alan Bell’s son, correct?” Aqua inquired, observing the familiar, yet younger-looking crimson-haired young man, clean-shaven, along with the tall human. The young lady assassin was not with them, however.
“I am, lady Aquarius,” the son of Alan nodded. “We have a proposition for you.”
Aqua supposed that deep down, she wanted to protect the Illyers. When those two Court Wizards approached her a year ago and explained that they intended to help the Illyers on the succession war, she gave them her sigil without a second thought. If she cannot intervene directly, then she will at least try them instead.
For a year, the Court Wizards did very well, the water spirits had nothing but their near-flawless success protecting the duke of Illyer from harm, allowing the first prince’s faction to gain back momentum after being crippled by the second prince.
But all good things must come to an end, Aqua glanced at a spot where there was once a puddle behind a small boulder that was still there where one water spirit hid behind, who later become a greater spirit candidate named Layla. Aqua hadn’t seen her along with Neptune after the fire.
Aqua never expected anyone or anything to have a perfect track record, but it was frustrating it happened to be the duke’s protection. Additionally, when one made mistakes, they should at least take responsibility, but for the past week, Aqua hadn’t seen so much of a peep from the Court Wizards. Even though most water spirits were children at heart and not the best explained, therefore, they should have at least spotted them, but they didn’t either.
Hah… What happened to the days when we were just children fooling around… Aqua sighed.
All in all, it was over. The Otherworldly Court Aqua put her last hope on had failed and the lineage of the prince she had met centuries ago had died. All she could do now was simply mourn and-
Ah, you know what? Curse it! Aqua spat, jerking her head to the palace on the lone island in the middle of the great pond.
Aqua had always lamented her impartiality, never letting her do as she pleased like the days as fae, frankly tired of it. Just this once, she will set that aside and act selfishly for once. Besides, she had less than a century left, so she might as well warn the humans not to take the spirits lightly.
Then, in that very same spot, a bright rainbow light manifested once more.