Child Of Darkness
Dezoris: Planet of Ice.
Dezoris' orbit was far enough away from its sun, Algo, to remain under snow and ice
perpetually, but close enough to sustain its own flora and fauna, including a native people -- the
Dezorians. Though its surface is never actually exposed, certain species of grasses and trees
manage to take root and grow atop glaciers, forming vast forests. Palman scientists theorized that
Dezoris' climate may have not always been this way, that it once supported a vast amount of life.
Part of that theory stated that its orbit used to be closer to Algo when the solar system was
formed, and that it had been slowly deteriorating ever since.
Two thousand years ago, the first Palman people established a city on this planet which
was previously thought to be uninhabited. Unfortunately, they quickly discovered otherwise, and
was faced with confrontations with its inhabitants, who were strongly territorial. The Palmans set
up a community known as Skure, a city built underground in order to escape Dezoris' harsh
climate. From there they made their stand, determined to show their neighbors that they could
live in peaceful coexistence. Eventually, a tolerance was developed between the peoples and an
uneasy peace reigned.
It was also around this time when an extraordinary race of people known as Espers came
to Dezoris to escape King Lassic's iron-fisted tyranny. There, atop the Altiplano Plato, Noah,
who was arguably the greatest Esper, helped erect Esper Mansion.
For all intents and purposes, Esper Mansion was to be its peoples' greatest stronghold,
and a refuge from the fear and ignorance that plagued all Palmans. Ever since the beginning of
civilization and the Profound Darkness' first re-emergence, the Espers had been Protectors of
Algo. Traditionally, members were chosen before birth or by heritage and were among all three
races -- Palmans, Motavians, and Dezorians.
It was believed that the Espers' Telemental powers originally were the result of a genetic
mutation, or more specifically, an abnormality in the first chromosome pair of each species known
as trisomy-1, a condition where there exists three chromosomes in the first chromosome pair
instead of the normal two. This abnormality "switched on" a normally dormant part of the
pituitary gland which, when stimulated by the hypothalamus, secreted an unknown hormone that
activated a normally dormant, noncoding portion of a gene called an intron and produced a
specific electrochemical signal inside the cerebral cortex. This signal released an enzyme, termed
"3-1-phospho-esperase" by Palman scientists (3 for the number of chromosomes, 1 for the first
chromosome pair), which created a cascading effect within the unmyelinated fibers of the brain's
grey matter and manifested itself by generating an incredibly powerful bioelectric field (myelin is a
fatty sheath which surrounds neurofibers in the brain's white matter and serves as insulation when
transmitting nerve impulses. Scientists said that the bioelectric field generated by an Esper's mind
had to originate from the grey matter because myeline would only suppress such a field.). This
field became known as telekinesis and was capable of projecting kinetic energy onto inanimate
objects, but much more than just that. When focused, it could draw in energy from the
surrounding environment and project it in the form of fire, wind, lightning, or any of nature's
greatest energies. Espers whose mental capabilities were greatest were even said to be able to
draw in energy not only from the natural, but the supernatural as well, calling on beings from
other planes of existence to aid them.
Almost ten years later when studies of molecular genetics was at its peak, those theories
explaining the origin of Telemental powers were proven to be correct. What they could not
explain, however, was what caused a mutation to occur, and why it occurred in all three races
It was not until after Chaz and his friends sealed off the Profound Darkness that one
scientist offered that it was The Great Light itself that caused the mutation because it sensed its
nemesis' inevitable return and required Champions to defend Algo.
As mentioned before, Espers were chosen before birth. Potential candidates were
determined easily for an Esper can detect another's bioelectric field, even before he or she is born.
Parents of these children were all too happy to give them up, fully understanding an Esper's role
as Protector and because they knew that it would require "special" attention. Training began
early and if everything went well, a new Esper would have nearly developed his powers fully by
Their pilgrimage to Dezoris may have been the Espers' downfall. Each generation saw
fewer and fewer children. Soon, Motavian and Dezorian Espers became extinct altogether and
only Palmans remained. Without any Palman people to diversify and replenish their bloodlines,
their numbers diminished, and soon inter-marriages were common, which polluted them even
further. Children were being born without Esper power and terribly disfigured. Those that did
make it into adolescence and into adulthood possessed only an infinitesimal amount of Telemental
ability. Noah recognized this threat to their survival and planned to move his people back to
Palma, but his plans were put to an abrupt halt.
Native Dezorians, growing tired of Palman occupation of their planet, took up arms and
attacked Skure, its citizens defenseless. A small party of Espers went to their aid, but arrived too
late. When they entered the city, they were attacked. Noah, filled with an incredible rage at
seeing Skure's residents murdered in cold blood, used his very life force to bring the cavern down
around the Dezorian Army, completely annihilating Skure in the process. He returned to Esper
Mansion after that, wounded and dying, and cast a spell that would forever hide it from normal
Noah called Lutz, his student and last of the "pure-blood" Espers, to his bedside and
asked him to assume his role as Protector of Knowledge and Guardian of Light. Not wanting to
disappoint his teacher, Lutz accepted the titles. Noah instructed him to enter the cryogenic sleep
chamber and return every ten years to monitor his peoples' progress, and to enter Palman society
as an observer to see if Esper blood still remained.
Noah died shortly afterward and Lutz fulfilled his promise to his dying teacher, awakening
from cryogenic stasis and doing what he could to maintain his dying society.
He was successful, as were his heirs. In two thousand years, Esper population had grown
tenfold, but only about fifteen percent of them possessed true Telemental abilities. It was the
third generation Lutz who aided Rolf in his quest, and the Fifth Generation Lutz, Rune Walsh,
who accompanied Chaz Ashley on his. Rune was Algo's current Lutz, but disappeared following
his quest with Chaz, and not even his own people knew of his current whereabouts. Even without
him, Esper society flourished, and for the first time in two thousand years they slowly began to
integrate themselves into society.
Kyra Tierney was the first.
She was a pioneer of sorts, being her peoples' first representative and the first Esper since
Lutz and his descendants to return to a world that had literally banished them. In Lutz's absence,
she was selected to journey to Meese, a Dezorian town of Palman settlers, to aid its population
which had fallen ill from a mysterious illness. Shortly after, she met up with Chaz and his
companions, or rather was rescued by them.
When Garuberk Tower appeared, things began to change. First came a storm, a fiercely
strong storm which dropped Dezoris' ambient temperature to intolerable and unlivable. Even
native Dezorians who spent all of their lives in their planet's harsh climate suffered. Kyra traced
the source of both the unnatural weather and Meese's sickness to Garuberk Tower and
immediately set off to rectify it.
In the meantime, Chaz and company arrived in Meese and discovered its people sick and
dying. A short time after their arrival, Raja, a Dezorian Priest and their current travelling
companion, fell ill, having contracted whatever was making Meese's residents infirm. It was Raja
who alerted Chaz to Garuberk's presence, and that he felt what was like an evil chill emanating
from it. Upon questioning the town's citizens, Chaz was told that the Esper Kyra had left Meese
for Garuberk Tower in hopes of ending their suffering.
Chaz, Rika, Rune, and the android, Wren, found Kyra entangled in a dense forest mass of
carnivorous trees and pulled her free. Those trees were unaffected by sword and spell alike, and
guarded Garuberk like a pride of lions guards its young. Kyra cursed herself for being so foolish
in thinking she could get things done on her own, but was gently coerced into joining her rescuers
to achieve their common goal -- to help Meese's people.
To help them on their quest, Kyra recommended that they visit Esper Mansion and seek
counsel with Lutz, the Esper's great Leader who had aided Rolf in his quest one thousand years
prior to their own. They were saddened and disheartened to discover that he passed away long
ago, but not without leaving an heir, a legacy passed on to each succeeding generation. Much to
their surprise it was revealed to them that Rune Walsh was this legacy, and as the Fifth
Generation Lutz, his entire existence was devoted to protecting all of Algo from Darkness.
Rune recalled from memory an ancient tale of Dezoris' most holy possession, the Eclipse
Torch, which was worshiped as such in Gumbious Temple, the two thousand year-old structure of
Dezorian religion. He believed that it could help them, for its holy light was rumored to be able to
dispel evil. They agreed that retrieving the Eclipse Torch would be the most logical course of
action and immediately embarked on a journey to Gumbious Temple.
When they arrived at Gumbious, Chaz and company encountered some resistence from
Dezorian priests who objected to their most holiest possession being removed from its sanctuary.
During their dispute, however, three sinister sorcerers commandeered the Eclipse Torch and
extended to them an invitation from their master, King Lassic, to visit his Air Castle and recover
it. The Dezorian priests begged them to recover it, agreeing to let them use it if they were
Chaz's party made a gruesome and terrible discovery while in Lassic's Air Castle. After
defeating his henchmen, they made their way to the inner sanctum and faced King Lassic himself,
or rather, his horrid reincarnation. Flesh decaying from his bones, he seethed evil like a cracked
dike. Opposing forces engaged in a violent battle and just like Alis Landale, Myau, Odin, and
Noah had done before them, Chaz and his friends vanquished King Lassic back into the
Underworld where he belonged.
With the Eclipse Torch once again in their possession, the Protectors used its holy light to
destroy Garuberk Tower's carnivorous trees and gained entrance. There, they ascertained that its
very structure was a living, breathing entity that polluted its surroundings with evil. The walls of
Garuberk were biological tissues and pulsated with life; consequently, Chaz felt like he was
walking in some creature's digestive system.
A form of Dark Force awaited them at Garuberk's apex, serving as both its mind and
heart. Again, Chaz was forced to lead his friends into combat, the sake of an entire solar system
hanging in the balance. Fortunately, Dark Force fell just as its predecessors did, and Garuberk
was destroyed as well, restoring Meese's health, returning Dezoris' climate to normal.
Obligation nearly fulfilled, Kyra took leave of her companions, but not before she thanked
them with sincerity worthy of an Esper. She regretted leaving them, but part of her obligation
was to return to Meese and ensure its peoples' full recovery, then to return to Esper Mansion.
She bade them a fond farewell, especially Rune who did not turn out to be the Lutz she expected,
but expressed that he did not bring any shame to his name. They went their separate ways, but
Kyra left hoping that her Leader would return to his people soon.
* * * * *
That was three years ago.
Rune Walsh never returned and despite all their efforts, the Espers could not locate him
anywhere in Algo. There were three possibilities of why they were not able to locate him: He was
unconscious, he was not in Algo, or he was dead. Discounting the first and third possibilities,
Kyra and her people agreed that the "Reverent Fifth One," as Rune was referred to, must have
left their solar system on a sabbatical to seek knowledge or to answer another calling. It was
therefore logical to assume that Rune would be absent from Algo for an inestimable amount of
time, and that another Leader should be appointed in his absence.
Kyra Tierney was that Leader.
It was common knowledge among her people that she had journeyed beyond the walls of
Esper Mansion to help Meese recover from its sickness. During her travels, Kyra acquired
massive amounts of information about society, its strong points and its ills.
Normally, all Espers lived a sheltered life save that of Lutz and his descendants, but
desperate times called for desperate measures. Kyra stepped up to the plate and like the
consummate ball player, hit a home run. In two thousand years, no other Esper did what she did
and was able to return to Esper Mansion afterward. And in the process, her Esper powers grew
with the experience she gained making their strength second only to Rune's. Kyra was more than
qualified to lead her people.
That did not mean that she wanted all of the responsibilities accompanying her title. Kyra
accepted it because for the first time in history her people were without a Leader and she feared
that anarchy and chaos might result if they foolishly decided to reenter society without being
prepared. In reality, her title was just that -- a title. The Espers functioned perfectly well
without a "commanding" leader, evident because of Lutz's ten-year hibernations. Kyra's purpose
as Leader was merely to serve as an iconic symbol and maintain order within their society.
Kyra Tierney, Leader of the Espers, was plagued by many things, but nothing more so
than by her own people. Never in her people's history over the past two thousand years had an
Esper Leader remained among his or her charges for more than a brief interlude, and they began
to question her leadership capabilities. Many of them hounded her with questions about what
being their Leader meant to her, or how she planned to reintroduce them to Algo's societies. She
was able to supply them answers that quelled their curiosities, but quickly grew tired of them and
wondered if leadership was all it was cracked up to be.
Lutz commanded both respect and trepidation from his people, demanding that they obey
his every command without hesitation. Kyra, however, did not command as such, and soon a few
of their population came down with a burning desire to leave Esper Mansion on their own. Not
accustomed to belligerence, she called a formal meeting to address their desires.
"We are going to leave, and there's nothing you can do to stop us!" a young Esper man
shouted in defiance. Kyra eyed him carefully, choosing a proper response so as not to anger him
"You're right," she told him, "I can't stop you if that's what you want, Desel." She
looked into his eyes and saw herself reflected in them. Once trimmed and short, her straight, blue
hair, a characteristic shared among Espers, was now at a length past her shoulders. It seemed to
her that it grew even faster now that the burdens of leadership were placed upon her.
"Then you'll let us go?" Desel asked, surprised at Kyra's response. His Leader stood up
and walked away to consider her answer, then returned to her seat at the end of the Council
Table. Seated at both sides were Council members, mostly elderly Espers. It was their society's
younger members that was the voice of rebellion.
"Desel," she spoke clearly and with authority, "let me tell you something of my
experiences outside of Esper Mansion's walls. I learned that all three races, Palmans, Motavians,
and Dezorians, are avid history recorders as we are. There was a time over two millennia ago
when we intermingled with them on a daily basis, but like all mortals, they -- we fear what we
don't understand. Do you understand what I'm saying?" Desel nodded. "Good. Now, when
King Lassic came into power, he fed off of the Palmans' fear, creating anger and distrust where
there had once been only truth. He gained their support from banishing our numbers from Palma,
where Esper culture once flourished, and then led his people to the slaughter like lambs.
"Once Palmans realized that Lassic was, indeed, a tyrant, they felt guilty for what they had
done to us, but knew that there was nothing they could do to restore our numbers to their planet.
In order to hide their guilt and disgrace, the Palmans did the unthinkable and recorded into the
annals of their history that we abandoned them, leaving them at Lassic's mercy.
"When I went to Meese, Desel, I was fortunate that its citizens were desperate for
assistance in any form, otherwise I would have not been welcome there. Against my better
judgement, I openly announced to them my heritage, and immediately they began to speak of me
in furtive whispers, questioning my intentions. If anything, that was a clear indication that they
studied their history well, as falsified as it may be. My point is that not every Palman will be
willing to welcome us with open arms, and after what Master Noah did to Skure, I doubt the
Dezorians would be willing to either. If you leave Esper Mansion, Desel, you may be walking to
your death, something I am trying my hardest to prevent. I have no real dominion over you and I
won't make your decisions; we are all separate, thinking individuals. If you choose to leave, then
you may do so. If not, then we will be happy to have you remain among us. It is your decision
and I invite you to make it before your peers."
Desel faded to back to his supporters, a group of about twenty young Espers, male and
female, to discuss their next course of action. This made Kyra weary for never in her wildest
dreams did she ever imagine any of her people's numbers leaving their sanctuary. The renegades
continued discussing what was to Kyra a consequential event in Esper history, and the longer they
did, the more nervous she became.
"Leader," Desel finally spoke, addressing Kyra in a customary form that some, but not all,
Espers referred to her as, "after careful consideration, we discussed the weight of your words of
wisdom and advice and our decision is this: We feel that for the time being, it would be in our best
interests to remain here at Esper Mansion until we feel otherwise, but first we must have solid
evidence that society will be willing to accept us as a part of it again. We will leave that decision
up to you, Leader."
"Thank you," was Kyra's response. "Your decision shows the wisdom of ages. Noah
himself would have been proud of you at this moment." Each member of the rebellious faction
delivered to Kyra a humble bow, then exited the Council's chamber.
When they were gone, Kyra let out a visible sigh of relief and sank deeply into her chair, a
high-backed wooden piece with arm rests decorated with ancient Esper markings of wisdom and
power. Never before had she been so tense in the company of so many. She feared that she may
have given some sort of a sign indicating her nervousness, but apparently she was able to hold up
under pressure without assistance from her older, yet more distinguished, peers.
"They should be punished," one Council member commented, a man whose years had
been kind to him. Kyra corrected her posture and sat upright.
"Give them a break, Metash," their Leader returned, "they're only kids." Over the past
few months of being Esper Leader, Kyra had developed a habit of referring to teenagers as
children despite that she, herself, was at the ripe old age of twenty-one. Her age was all that kept
the Council from following her absolutely.
"No, Kyra," an elderly Esper woman addressed her, "Metash is right. Such
insubordination should not go unpunished. It only sends a message to our people that this
Council does not support its own laws."
"I understand that, Ephemera, but I also understand their position. Is it not the
responsibility of a Leader to hear both sides of an argument before passing judgement?"
"Yes, a true Leader," said Ephemera, spoken beneath her breath.
"I'm sorry, I didn't quite get that," returned Kyra who was perfectly aware of what was
"I said a Leader must also carefully weigh the good of many over the good of a few.
Kyra, these children are revolutionaries and if one thing has been proven time and time again in
history, its that their kind spreads feelings of nobility, recruiting sympathizers into their ranks. If
they are allowed to continue to discuss their ideals among our people, the results could be
catastrophic." Kyra was by no means a fool, as some of her fellow Council members secretly
might have led some to believe. She was aware of the discord rebellion could cause, as Ephemera
should have remembered. Kyra herself had started one when she requested to leave Esper
Mansion to help Meese.
"Change is good, but it is our responsibility to see that it does not occur too rapidly. If
Algo's people did not request some kind of change, then we would probably still be under
Lassic's rule. It was Nero and Alis Landale who first recognized that things needed to change
because life under Lassic was less than desirable. Their case was one of a few in which rapid
change was required, not the more common and conservative gradual change. Still, it is those
who rebel or revolutionize that produce society's greatest changes. So, Ephemera, you can see
that if we suppress revolutionary ideals, then we suppress progress. In our current state, we need
to advance as quickly as possible." Ephemera opened her mouth to speak, but Kyra raised a
negating hand and she was silenced. "Before you say another word, hear me out. We may need
to advance quickly, but the way we do it is as important as how quickly it is accomplished. I
believe that how our 'revolutionaries' propose to do it is the incorrect way. It is in my opinion
that we keep to Master Noah's original plan and stay within Esper Mansion's walls until Rune --
er, that is, Lutz, returns and tells us otherwise."
Ephemera agreed, as did the rest of the Council. For once, everyone agreed with what
Kyra had to say and she proved to them that she did possess wisdom and insight enough to lead
the Espers in Lutz's absence. An enormous burden was lifted from Kyra's shoulders for she no
longer had to deal with her Council members' doubt along with her own.
"I have a suggestion," First Council Member Lian spoke. As First Council Member, Lian
was second in command and his words held almost as much weight as Kyra's. "Perhaps it would
be prudent for you to do as your predecessors did and retire to the Sleep Chamber. You, I -- we
all have seen that the continuous presence of a Leader is only creating confusion and anarchy.
Everything is much easier when a Leader represents an ideal, just as a martyr does. It will give
our laws a sense of absoluteness, and will give our people something to look forward to when you
return in ten years." Lian spoke with eloquence, which, at times, lulled his fellow members into a
false sense of security. A low murmur spread among the Council, making Kyra uneasy. She did
not trust Lian and questioned his motives. Sometimes she thought he put his own interests in
front of his people's.
"Metash, Octavian, Perla, Ephemera, Balor, Francis, Jakob, Lian," Kyra addressed each of
them by name, a sign that she wanted their undivided attention, "I realize that I have yet to prove
myself as your Leader, but you did elect me as such and I am trying my best not to disappoint
you. I can't pretend to replace Lutz, nor would I ever try. I am merely serving as Leader in his
absence, and I am certain that he will eventually return to lead us. I do not believe that he is gone.
I will not enter his Sleep Chamber and pretend to be him when I know I am not. That chamber is
like his throne, designated to Him and his descendants, and I am neither." The Council exchanged
curious glances, nodding in silent agreement to something that escaped Kyra's notice. "My
fellow Espers," Kyra continued, "if you are certain I am incapable of carrying out my duties in
physical presence of our people, then remove me now. To enter the Sleep Chamber would be like
a sacrilege, and I will not have any part of it."
Murmurs once again started in response to Kyra's final words, but this time they swayed
in her support. She knew exactly how the Council thought, choosing her words carefully and
effectively so that could sympathize her position. None of them envied her, for as first Leader
since Lutz, she was presented with a whole new agenda and was forced to live in the shadow of
his greatness, never living up to the standards that He made.
Grudgingly, Lian announced that after careful consideration, they decided to keep Kyra in
her current position as Leader. Kyra often derived a certain sadistic pleasure from seeing Lian get
flustered, but felt guilty afterward. She knew that he thought himself more fit to lead. His
feelings were justified by the fact that he was senior Council member and led their people during
Lutz's ten-year hibernations. Nothing could convince him otherwise.
A strange sensation, like that of two similar poles of a magnet passing over each other,
overcame Kyra, and she collapsed. For an instant, she felt her entire world ripple, a ripple passing
through her body and twisting her insides like one might wring a rag. She screamed out in pain, a
haunting scream which echoed within Esper Mansion's walls. Instantly, the entire Council was at
her side. She looked to them for assistance and empathy, but it seemed they were not affected by
the sensation that incapacitated her.
Then, as suddenly as it began, it ended. All of Kyra's sensations returned to normal, or as
normal as they could. She could feel something different, not within herself, but in the aura of
their natural surroundings. Kyra, who determined that her Telemental powers were more finely
honed than those who accompanied her, detected a disturbance in Dezoris' magnetic field. She
had felt it before, but could not quite put a finger on its source. She was looking at a face, but
could not associate a name with it. Then, without warning, a memory came to her, unadulterated.
The Esper Leader doubled over in fear.