“-that behind you?!” Teqqc exclaims angrily.
Vaiqon waits for a moment for his senses to acclimate to the Chamber Rniti where he then sees Teqqc pointing towards the wall behind Vulcan, Rhino, and Shark. Vaiqon follows Teqqc’s finger and feels his stomach drop.
He gulps as he tries to sneak up on Teqqc. He attempts to throw a calming aura over the entire Chamber but finds stiff resistance from Teqqc’s inflamed sigo. He looks to his fellow Daijoks and sees his feelings of unease reflected in each of their faces as well.
He curses in his mind and is shocked to discover Teqqc glaring at him just as he reopens his eyes. He gasps and retreats a few steps. Teqqc scoffs, throws a wind current at Vaiqon, and turns back towards Vulcan, Rhino, and Shark.
“I thought you said that passage had no significance whatsoever? I thought you told me everything! What is that map for when there is a perfectly decent model of Munda Luna in stone right here?!” Teqqc yells while gesturing towards the wall bearing a script of the passage, the scholar’s words, and a scrolled map, and then towards the stone model of Munda Luna between her and the Daijoks.
“Teqqc,” Shark begins, “you must understand. We-”
“I understand perfectly, Shark,” Teqqc spits. “You all, the ‘honorable Daijoks,’ do not want me, the Oqoponh, the mother-figure for all of Munda Luna, to know of your ‘secret’ plans. You all, my supposed classmates and oldest friends, do not wish to be hampered by my instinctual habit to maintain peace in the land for fear of it hindering your plans!”
“Teqqc! Enough!” Vaiqon bellows, his voice reverberating throughout the chamber. “We have always told you our plans. We have always felt the Oqoponh’s wisdom ought to be considered for any and all of our decisions. We just know you so well, we do not always consult with you personally.”
Teqqc curses loudly. “Wrong! You only think you know me. We only speak with one another when something terrible is happening or we want a mutual agreement benefiting both sides. We have not been friends in quite a long while, however.”
Vaiqon gasps and recoils as if Teqqc has struck him.
“Oh compose yourself, you old bastard,” Teqqc spits at Vaiqon. “You know it as well as I, if not better.”
“Teqqc,” Rhino intercepts, “what has brought about such hostility?”
Teqqc whips her head back around to Rhino with a grimace upon her face. “As if you cannot tell. You told me yourselves that that passage was insignificant and yet here it is, displayed on your wall as if it were some memento you could not part with.”
Rhino nods in understanding. “Ah, yes, I see where that can cause you discomfort, but it surely cannot be enough to bring about hostility.”
“You always were a pushover, Rhino,” Teqqc jeers.
Rhino gapes, attempts to speak, and then closes his mouth without another word.
Shark feels Teqqc’s aura slightly, “You have been nursing Uxxok back to health?”
Teqqc brings her steel grip to Shark. “Did you just read my aura?”
“Answer me, Shark!”
“Then you already know. Yes, I have been nursing Uxxok back to health. He is nearly whole again. I hope he is okay in the underground he voluntarily went back to for your stupid mission.”
“That mission now includes your personal affairs as well, Teqqc,” Vulcan pipes in.
Teqqc blows smoke in Vulcan face and then puts her face within a few inches of Vulcan’s face as the smoke dissipates. Vulcan flinches and retreats.
Shark tries to intervene. “Teqqc!” he pleads.
Teqqc summons seismic energy and punches Shark in the gut, doubling him over.
Vaiqon cannot stand anymore of Teqqc’s sudden outburst and summons an air mass to wash over her, but just before his air mass collides with her body, he sees her counter with fire.
Vaiqon is forced to parry the fire by surrounding it with air and then suffocating the blaze by pulling the air out of it. The room fills with white vapor. As the vapor dissipates, Vaiqon finds himself standing opposite Teqqc with his fellow Daijoks to his left.
Each Daijok stands in a battle-ready position. Each Daijok has summoned his respective connection, even Shark from a mug of water that sat on the stone model of Munda Luna.
Teqqc just laughs. “You are ignorant, are you not? Have you forgotten I am the Oqoponh? Very well, if you wish to attack me, and I do so hope you do follow through with this hollow threat, you are capable enough to withstand the counter from a well-experienced and age-hardened Oqoponh.”
Teqqc adjusts herself into a defensive position ready for anything.
Vaiqon, Vulcan, Rhino, and Shark interchange looks with one another. Suddenly, in consent with one another, the four Daijoks fire their respective connection forces at Teqqc.
Teqqc merely smirks as she jumps into action, smoothly knocking one force into the other to effectively neutralize it, and then manipulating the forces to her needs. She knocks the sand blast into the air current, the water stream into the fire blaze, and condenses them all together in one solid ball. She hurls the ball in the middle of the Daijoks where she then spreads her fingers and watches as the ball disperses into four individual streams knocking into each of the Daijoks, baffling them all. Vaiqon is knocked against the wall with the sand blast pelting him viciously. Vulcan is knocked to the floor with the water drenching him. Rhino is thrown to the wall with air trapping him. Shark is flattened on the floor with the fire dancing around him, a burned spot on his stomach.
Teqqc then stands fully with her right arm still outstretched, maintaining control over all the zoltind forces, a smirk dancing across her face.
“Now that I have your attention,” Teqqc says with a smile, “why do you feel the Daijoks can make decisions for Munda Luna without the Oqoponh’s knowledge? Hmm? The people see me much, much more often than they see you, I know what is best for them.”
Vaiqon speaks in between grunts, “Teqqc, we were... not making... any decisions... about all of... Munda Luna...”
“Yes,” Vulcan says through sputters, “...that map there... and that passage...”
“We were looking for an ire,” Shark says quickly with a flame sparking over his head.
“The greatest ire,” Rhino says.
Teqqc just continues to smile, “You act as if I do not know about your secret antics. I have a very good source and I know everything now. Why are you looking for the greatest ire of all time?”
Teqqc release the Daijoks slightly.
Vaiqon speaks, “We feel an utter darkness forming in the east. We feel a great ire has arisen or will arise to defeat this darkness.”
“Yes, that lives up to my information. But, why keep it secret from me? I could have been searching in my many, many travels,” Teqqc asks, still controlling the zoltind forces, still smiling.
“We did not want to worry you, we know the Oqoponh holds quite the responsibility,” Vulcan says.
Teqqc merely nods, “Okay. Why convince me the passage was insignificant and then secretly examine it behind my back?”
“We have looked at the passage before. We had written it off,” Rhino answers.
Teqqc tightens her hold yet again, “But?!”
“But,” Shark says with a gasp as flames begin arcing over his body, “we have access to multiple volumes of ancient Munda Luna and found the passage with even more information than what you and Uxxok found.”
Teqqc blinks, her smile falters, and she relinquishes her hold on the zoltind forces. “What?”
Teqqc waits impatiently as the Daijoks compose themselves. They walk slowly back to the stone model of Munda Luna where they encircle it. Vaiqon across from Teqqc, Vulcan to Vaiqon’s right at the end of the stone model, Rhino on Vaiqon’s left next to him, and Shark at the end of the stone model to Vaiqon’s left.
“That is what we discovered,” Vaiqon says gesturing towards a book on the bench behind them. Vaiqon summons an air current and brings the book to him. He lays the book on the stone model.
Teqqc reads, ‘Gojjoqj ew Rnefqoxvo,’ and gasps, astonished. “That, its. A book?”
“Apparently,” Vulcan says.
“I stumbled across it recently in the library,” Rhino says.
Teqqc nods, “Well, what did you discover inside of it?”
Vaiqon opens the book to a marked page.
Teqqc feels her knees buckle and nearly falls when she reads, ‘Hto Mefokwaq Joor, hto Anfekhtc Wuiq, hto Ytejon Htkigo.’
“Impossible,” Teqqc says more to herself than anyone else.
Teqqc tries to read more of the passage, but Vaiqon closes the book before she can. Teqqc blinks at glares at Vaiqon.
Vaiqon smiles pleasantly, “We have read it diligently, we can tell you what it says.”
“The passage tells of this great power in great detail, describing it as, ‘Man Unworthy,’” Shark begins. “It goes on to describe how it was made, what it was made for, how it should have been used, but more importantly, where it was made, in the center of Mt. Titan in the center of the Eastern Mountains, exactly where we felt the darkness spawning.”
Teqqc nods. “I understand how the passage is important now, but you felt this darkness before Uxxok and I found this passage, before even the murders began. You felt this darkness almost three years ago!”
The Daijoks look at Teqqc suspiciously.
“How do you know that?” Vulcan asks accusingly.
Teqqc just scoffs, “Just another argument for my case in saying that you keep information and plans from me.”
Vulcan opens his mouth to rebuttal, but then decides against it.
Vaiqon concedes, “Yes, you are right, Teqqc. We felt this darkness spawning a long time ago. We sent Uxxok on a mission to find the greatest ire of all time because the only thing we could find while researching this particular darkness was a mentioning of a great battle between the Light and the Obscured, even greater than the Rniti brothers and the Thousand Nightmares. It was almost prophetic in that it said a greater battle will occur and only the greatest light will prevail. We assume it to mean the greatest ire be-”
“Because ire has almost symbolized light, yes, I know. I am the Oqoponh,” Teqqc finishes.
Vaiqon nods somewhat approvingly.
“But...” Teqqc begins.
“Yes, Teqqc?” Shark asks.
“I almost do not want to know,” Teqqc says bashfully.
“You want to know what the darkness felt like to make us all act so fearfully,” Vulcan states.
Teqqc can only nod.
The Daijoks look at one another and then down at their feet. Teqqc notices this and her nervousness is amplified. The Daijoks raise their heads and say in unison, “Prepare-”
Is all Teqqc hears before she is bombarded with a feeling of such all-consuming darkness, she believes she never knew what light was. She feels so cold she never knew what warmth was. Yet, she also feels such warmth she wishes cold existed.
She opens her eyes to find herself curled up on the bench. Her muscles ache as if she had been straining them for hours. She looks out the stained-glass windows to see the sun in its same place as it had a few minutes ago. She looks for the Daijoks and sees them all sprawled out on the bench as well, exhausted expressions covering their faces.
“That darkness is powerful,” Teqqc says.
The Daijoks nod.
“And that was just a feeling of it,” Teqqc states.
“A brief feeling,” Rhino says.
“Nothing compared to what we felt when we first stumbled across it,” Vulcan says with almost longing.
“I’m scared,” Teqqc says.
Vaiqon nods. “As we all should be.”
Teqqc and the Daijoks find the strength to regain control of their bodies and minds. They stand, embrace as they once did as children in a massive group, and break before each flashing away in a blue light.