34: The Elemental Emissaries Picture

The four women had another round of shots, and ate some bread, cheese and fruit that had been brought to the table. Finally Brigit spoke up.

'So what's the deal. You brought us together, but not for just a reunion I presume.'

Ertha responded. 'Both your reputations have preceded you. Your endeavors since leaving Wizard Spring have lead to great highs and finally, great lows.'

Both Brigit and Winslet made faces at Ertha'a statement. Both had obtained status in respected Orders of the Mages. Winslet in the Order of the Djinn and Brigit in the Order of the Phoenix. Both had been kicked out as well. Not for lack of talent, but for their disrespect for authority and hierarchy. The various Mage Orders rely on this to keep their own in line and to minimize situations arising such as the likes of Alira and her half sister Al Kimia.

Ertha continued. 'Your current 'rogue' status is very suiting to our needs.'

'Your needs? You and Sirenia?' Winslet asked.

Ertha looked at Sirenia and she just smiled. Ertha grabbed the bottle of whisky, as she called it, and did another shot. No one else shared in this time. Then she leaned in to the table closer. The two other women did as well without realizing it, and Ertha began her tale.

'Harken back to your days at Wizard Spring and your classes on Mythology and Theoretical Metaphysics.' Brigit and Winslet both rolled their eyes and sat back in their chairs to get comfortable. Memories of Ertha's long class lectures were returning to all three women. Sirenia knew how important this was, however, and gave the two a squint eyed look and Ertha continued.

'The material universe we live in is vast, but not infinite. Think of it as a bubble or more like the structure of a sponge. We know there are other star systems and worlds of life as evidenced by Worm Portals and the visitors we've discussed who use starships. The structure of the sponge is all the cosmic dust, debris and galaxies running like filaments. The air pockets of the sponge are akin to the void itself. We are one tiny star system in one galaxy of billions in this material universe. Beyond this universe is the multiverse which is structured similar to our single universe. '

The difference is what's in the space between the universes. What we call the Ethereal Plane is the medium that all the universes float in. It connects them all and connects them, also, to the Elemental planes. The Elemental Planes are the sources of raw material that the universes are made of and surround the multiverse. Beyond that are the outer planes and the homes of the Divine.

As you should remember, the astral plane is the realm that connects the material universe to the outer planes of the divine. It does not interact with the ethereal and connects with our universe through threads of energy and dark matter that weave in between the ethereal and link directly to worlds or to the void itself. Summoning the divine, demons, avatars and solars are based in methods of weaving those threads and manipulating them to our own needs to create a direct gate or portal to these outer planes.' This was basic knowledge for advanced studies in Magical Metaphysics.

'Here is the issue. A balance must be maintained within this framework or everything can unravel. The divine are the seed of this discord. Their constant interference with the affairs of those of the material universe can set things too far to one side of the scale and cause the multiverse to shake and shudder. No one seems to know what the divine are exactly, but for them to exist, they need the hopes, beliefs and allegiances of us mortals. So a constant war is waged as divine powers try to collect as many worlds as possible to their allegiance. The more followers they have the greater their power and territory grows in their home plane. There have been divine that have ceased to exist because no one believed in them anymore.' Brigit's and Winslet's interest was growing.

To maintain the balance a group of beings, not unlike the divine, monitor and govern laws that the divine and even the denizens of the elemental planes must follow. Law breakers are dealt with severely. Case in point would be the draconian Queen Mother Tahakhan. She directly forced her metaphysical presence here in an attempt to gain power and was therefore banned from this world and from this galaxy for a thousand years. This was a huge blow to her standing in her home plane and no doubt affected her power and prestige, as well as the extension of her realm. This banishment, however, is leading to a quick rise in status of another divine of far reaching power. Asmodeus.' The expressions of both women took on looks of shock then deep concern.

'What is this all about? What is it you need from us?' Asked Brigit.

'I'm getting there.' Said Ertha. Now she took a drink from the water pitcher on the table, taking a drink from a small metal mug.

'These beings who observe and govern the Balance, appoint guardians, servants and watchers to help control the actions of the divine.' Ertha continued.

'You're talking about the Elemental Emissaries aren't you.' Said Winslet.

'They're a myth.' Said Brigit and Sirenia giggled, getting a look from the two cast out mages.

'We are not a myth.' Ertha replied and went on with her lecture. With stunned looks and open mouths, both women gave Ertha their undivided attention.

'The role of the Elemental Emissaries is to assist mortals and the Balance. We are chosen by the Divine Governors from mortal stock, so the normal rules of interference are not affected as much. We are given abilities over our respective spheres of influence and granted immortality in the sense that we do not age or are affected by normal disease or poisons and gasses. Enchanted weapons, special potions, certain magics or powers from the outer planes can affect us as they would anyone. If we abuse our gifts or stray from our purpose, our powers can be revoked. Since many of us have outlived our normal lifespans, that would mean instant death. Of course Sirenia being an elf would continue to live the rest of her life out as normal, but would suddenly be three hundred years older.' Brigit and Winslet stared in disbelief, but said nothing.

'Each mortal world has it's own group of Emissaries, if necessary. Some worlds have given up on the divine and live lives based on technology and other worlds are steeped in magic and are playgrounds for the divine. This is allowed as long as balance is maintained. Ideally a world should be part technology and part metaphysical, but this is hard to achieve and maintain.

'On worlds where Emissaries exist there is a typical arrangement. Four women are the pillars that represent the four main elemental planes; rock, water, air and fire. Two men each represent the material planes of positive and negative energy. For all the aspects that exist between all these planes men or women can be chosen and given limited powers and abilities. These para-elemental emissaries act more as assistants to the main six and unfortunately succumb to the lust for power, prestige and wealth that can be exploited from regular mortals.'

'Sirenia and I have been missing two solid 'pillars' for two centuries now since the Mage wars. Alira and Al Kimia were to be those replacements, but we were deceived by the one who brought them to our attention. This misguided elven mage wanted their powers to gain his own revenge and create his own circle of power. This abuse led to all their deaths. Sirenia mentioned you two to me recently and it seemed very obvious that you both would make the perfect candidates to fill the void we've had for so long. Regaining the balance requires us to be balanced as well.' Brigit and Winslet looked at each other and still said nothing. Ertha waited.

'You've gotta be friggin kidding me!' Brigit burst. Winslet watched. For once Sirenia wasn't smiling and Ertha had her 'extra' serious face on. From their classes in the past, Brigit and Winslet knew when these two were serious. And for Ertha that was most of the time.

Brigit got up and walked to the back rooms where the toilets were. The other three sat in silence with Winslet just taking in the site of the bar room. She noticed one man in particular sizing them up. When he saw that Winslet had noticed him he winked and nodded. At that moment Brigit walked by and the same man eyed her up and down as she returned to her seat.

'So what's the plan then? She calmly asked. 'How does one deal with a divine the likes of Asmodeus and how do you know that he's up to anything?'

'I know Asmodeus.' Was Ertha's reply. 'I've been dealing with him for nearly eight hundred years. I even managed to relieve him of his fabled Ruby Rod for the last two hundred years, but he managed to find some clever mortal to steal it back.' Her brows knitted together as she spoke and you could almost see the lightning in her eyes.

'Tabor Jael has subdued most of Gotodonia and is now establishing trade with Messinar. He is a devout diviner of Asmodeus. He is powerful as an individual and has the resources of a small continent at his disposal. If he gains the trust of Messinar he could end up conquering this world and bring the reign of Asmodeus down on all. Messinar could gobble up Exador. That would be enough to keep the High Elves of Talana at bay while he marches on Neuwaullen and Nordok. The Dwarves are a wild card. They are not friendly to Nordok, but are a protectorate under Neuwaullen. If Jael deceivingly offers them sovereignty they may side with him and Neuwaullen and Nordok wont stand a chance. Asmodeus conquering this world could begin a chain reaction and severely disrupt the balance and send our entire multverse spinning to it's doom. The divine are fools that they don't know what they do. Good and evil alike.'

'What of the dragons?' Winslet asked.

Ertha smiled. 'Exactly. What of the dragons?' She took another drink of whisky. 'Jael has Goroth Mons and his two brood on his side and therefore all the red dragons. The black dragons live in the Great Marsh and could easily be convinced to go along with Messinar. There are very few white dragons and they live so far outside civilization it is likely they will not play a factor. The green and blue are left. Dasak Min is gone and there is no longer a leader for the green dragons, so they are a true wild card. The blue on the other hand, I believe I can bring to our side.' Even Sirenia gave Ertha a strange look this time. But she ignored them and continued. 'It's a given that the metallic dragons want to prevent the rise of Asmodeus and as long as Shan Ji is appeased in the AzZalad desert, we can be sure to make it very difficult for an army to make a quick march through the passes of the Redstone Mountains. Jael will have to have cooperation from the dwarves if he is to march west.'

Winslet spoke up. 'I don't get it. Why would Messinar side with Jael in the first place? Asmodeus isn't known to be a very benign patron.'

Sirenia replied. 'Messinar is at a point of becoming a big state. Their parliament leader is a fairly just and wise man, but the opportunity Tabor Jael brings to them with trade from across the sea is too good to pass up. As small as Exador is, it is a bottle neck of trade with the west and whoever controls that bottle neck has power. Exador's newest king is a rather greedy man and is making large demands for tolls and taxes for passage through his land. The High Elves distance themselves from these affairs because they are self sufficient. And as long as Exador is in control of the valley pass through the Barrier Mountains Talana feels no interference is required. However if Messinar gained control of all the passes, that could prove ill for Talana. Messinar is poised to become the main power of this continent, they just don't realize yet that they would ultimately be Jael's puppet army and ultimately Asmodeus' pawns.'

Ertha continued on this. 'There is a young man who seems to have the ear of the head of Parliament in Messinia and is now liaison to Tabor Jael. He is Roland Sabo and I'm going to be watching him closely and see what his role is in all this. There is something odd and familiar about him. I need to discover what he is about. Additionally Jael has two personal guards that are para-elementals. I've known them before and I don't think they can be trusted. Should they step too far out of line I can bring this to the attention of the Governors of the Balance and have their powers stripped.'

'Why don't you just assassinate Jael yourself?' Asked Brigit.

Ertha sighed heavily. 'This is a case where I would if I could. As quasi immortals, we still have interference laws to abide by. Another reason, Jael is powerful himself and under a close watch by Asmodeus. Someone of my level would find it hard to get close enough to do it. If I caused a landslide or small earthquake, innocents would suffer. You might say that such collateral damage is acceptable, but it is not my right to abuse such power. A hired assassin wouldn't have a chance and likely couldn't be found. Jael's daughter is leader of the Ashonen of Gotodonia and we've recently learned she already has contacts here. For now, while Jael is here she will have her hands full running Jael's empire and Brigit, that's where you come in.' And Ertha smiled.

Turning to Brigit Ertha spoke. 'It is time you returned to your native land and assist the rebel movement of the Free Humans and your people, the sylvan elves, and make trouble for Maella, Jael's daughter and Regent of Gotodonia. You will re-ally your self with the Order of the Phoenix and lead them in a guerrilla campaign against the Empire.'

Brigit glared then laughed. 'Yeah, right!'

Ertha continued unfazed by Brigit's outburst. 'As I mentioned, I have plenty to do here to discover more about Roland,' Sirenia giggled and Ertha gave her a look as she continued speaking, 'the para-elementals, and the mood of Messinar. Sirenia has a job across the western sea to see if we can gain allies long forgotten.'

Winslet asked then, 'You mentioned the blue dragons may be brought to our side, how is that supposed to happen?'

'Oh Winslet, ' Ertha smiled, 'that is where you come in. After tomorrow we leave and I will introduce you to a large and royal blue acquaintance of mine. You will assist him and in turn he and his kind will assist us.'

Brigit spoke up. 'We haven't even accepted this elemental role you're speaking of. Don't we get a say in our own lives?'

Ertha and Sirenia both looked at her sincerely and in unison said, 'Yes.'

Winslet looked at Brigit, then back to the other two women and said, 'Well, I'm in. I've got nothing better to do. I'm guessing I get to be the Pillar of Sky.' She smiled.

'If you manage to live and succeed in your mission.' Was Ertha's reply. Winslet's smile faded quickly.

At that moment the man who'd been eyeing them from across the room came over and right up to Brigit. She turned and looked up at him then turned away to stare at the arch behind Sirenia.

'Hello Red, I'm Jack. You're a rare stone. An elf with red hair that's almost as short as mine.' He smiled, but did not appear drunk. He wore dark sailor's clothes without any symbol of affiliation, and was likely a pirate rather than a merchant. He had a goatee and shaved head. Actually kind of handsome, but the manners of a dog. 'My lads and I were wonderin' if you're the real thing. Ya know, does the carpet match the drapes?' He guffawed and there was laughter from three other men at the bar. Before she could respond, Jack made the huge mistake of putting his hands on Brigit's shoulders.

In the blink of an eye Brigit's chair went backwards as she grabbed Jack's right hand, twisted, stood and using her body as a fulcrum, easily tossed him over her shoulder. He hit the hardwood floor with a loud thump and an audible gasp as the air left his lungs. He was stunned and trying to gasp for air. Sirenia and Winslet were quite amused at the show before them, but Ertha watched to see what Brigit would do next. Her temper is what got her exiled in the first place.

Brigit stepped forward in her high heeled boots and placed her right foot right on Jack's crotch with the heel pressing his most sensitive area. The man was truly starting to panic. In the background they could hear his 'lads' laughing louder than ever at Jack's predicament. Brigit applied just enough pressure to make the stunned man uncomfortable and said, 'Hi Jack. I'm Brigit. The carpet does in fact match the drapes. I like to play rough, so if you want to see for your self we'll have to do things my way. Do you like being tied up and blind folded? How about riding crops and whips?' She had a big smile on her face that turned in to a hungry and lustful look.

Jack sat stock still and stammered. 'Uh...uh...th...th...that's okay. I...I'll take your word for it.'

'Awww. I thought I'd found a new playmate.' Brigit made a pouty face as she removed her boot heel from his crotch. Jack slid, crawled and then scrambled to his feet. He held one hand to his aching back and as he left he winced as he bowed and said, 'Ah, nice to meet you Brigit. Ladies...' as he winced and bowed to the other three women at the table, 'I'll be on my way.' All four men left the bar, three laughing. The bouncer at the door had a smile on his face as he watched them leave as did Barlo, who showed up when he heard the comotion.

Things went back to normal and Brigit sat down. Ertha gave a slight smile and said to Brigit. 'Nice show of restraint. It seems you've grown.'

Brigit looked at her and smiled. 'Okay, I'm in too. Fire right?'

And Ertha replied. 'If you succeed. You have to rely on what you know and what you have as you are now. We cannot take a chance on repeating the debacle with Alira and Al Kimia. If you can handle these initial missions, by the time we have to face Asmodeus, assuming we will, you will have been accepted and taken before those who govern the Balance. But tonight we celebrate!' She grabbed the whisky and poured everyone another drink. They all saluted and drank them down.

Sirenia was a little surprised at Ertha's more than normal jubilation, but she'd already figured out from Ertha's body language that this Roland Sabo had gotten to her. She smiled to herself and was glad to see that her dearest friend and former lover had opened up again.

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