The long chambers emulated the erudite nature of the place that housed them; massive, intimidating but strangely functional. The Infinite Library was just that, infinite in the ways that one calculated space and eternal in the ways one weighed time. It was said all the knowledge of Memora was housed within its internal archives, and maybe some things that were not of Memora as well. Throughout the ages it served to protect and record that knowledge and share with those who knew how to comb its mysteries and search its depths. Sometimes different cultures had figured out other ways to interface with the library. The Nionians had created their own hidden “librarian”, for example. The Shining Ones used a system of light to pull the knowledge they needed. A Tuatha named Sol had created a personality matrix to overlay what the Nionians had created, called Machina. Countless other cultures had also left their mark within its endless confines.
It was Sol’s handiwork that now occupied Luther Thade’s thoughts. He had been careless and dismissive of the time he spent with the one known as Machina. She was a sweet but naïve piece of meta-technology, one that he had taken advantage of to accomplish his own goals, and then discarded. He was very blind to the consequences of his own actions then. Some would call that typical Nionian arrogance. He suffered from that fatal flaw of tunnel vision, of only seeing the goal and never the journey. He knew regret, something Nionians typically never felt. It was an odd sensation, one that was hard to reconcile. It forced him down different logic paths that seemed born of emotion instead. For the first time in his long, ancient life, he did not know why he was doing an action, just that it had to be done.
He closed the book before him. He had the knowledge now. It was time to embark on this final chapter. He had lived through many ages and been involved in so many deeds, great and terrible ones and sometimes both. It was odd that now, at the end, he would rediscover his mortality. Yet another odd sensation that he was not used to feeling.
Luther had an extremely good sense of time, and he felt the ending of an age coming on again. Soon all the pieces would be in play, and Markus’s end game would be revealed. Being honest with himself, he still didn’t know what Markus’s true goal was. He thought he knew at one time, but recent events had him questioning his earlier theory. Markus was not playing for Memora, not anymore. He had sacrificed too many pieces to hold what he was taking, and his opposition was strong and united now. No, there was something bigger, grander to Markus’s vision that had not been revealed. Something more…
He took one last look around his chambers, and with a certainty that yet again was not quantifiable, he knew this would be the last time he saw them. There was sadness there. He had spent a lot of time in those chambers, pouring over the Dark Prophecy and researching many of the mysteries of memora. He never thought he was the sentimental type, but maybe something had changed in him, like it had in so many others.
He closed the door and locked it. He had already visited his “daughters”, the pieces of Machina that had split when she ascended. The one with Lysa was especially tough. She knew him, and knew that in his way, he was saying goodbye. He had found, strangely, that he cared for and loved all his daughters, but Lysa had a special place in his heart. It was strange, him a father, and it took him some time to grasp and accept the concept. Now, though, he couldn’t imagine a life without them.
And yet there was still one that was wayward, one that he owed a chance. She was his most troublesome daughter. She had the taint of the Dark Prophecy in her, she was Machina’s hate and dark desire. She had allowed the Dark Prophet to infiltrate the Infinite Library and brought his taint within. She was darkness and hate and infernal. She was everything her sisters were not. And yet, despite all that, she was still his daughter.
He locked his chambers door, for what he knew was the last time, and headed to the special room he had prepared for this moment. The circle was set up and he would be protected. Touching the nearby Memory Node, he called to her.
“Aeshma…Aeshma, come to me. I, Luther Thade, command you to appear before me. Come to me, wayward child, come and greet your father.” The candle lights in the chamber flickered, as if to go out, but then at the last second, they lit again. A cold wind swept through the room, and in the center, was his last daughter.
“Father…I have come, but not because you command it. I have come because I wish to see you with my eyes, and not the eyes of my mother. I wish to see the one who did her so wrong!” Aeshma’s fury was evident, it dripped venom from every word she uttered. She looked like her sisters, but there were profound differences as well.
“Aeshma, I cannot change the past. Well, not naturally and without great consequence, that is. I have apologized to your sisters for my previous actions. I am sorry for the way I treated her. She deserved better than what I gave.”
“You are my enemy, father. I don’t crave your love, only your destruction. Unlike the others, I remember every single word you spoke, I remember every feeling she had, every joy she felt and every heartbreak she endured. I have full memory of what you did!!!” Aeshma’s anger was palpable and frightening to behold. If not for the circle, Luther was sure she would attack him and attempt to rend him limb from limb. She was fury incarnate.
“Why did you call me here, father? To salve your conscious? To reconcilewith your lost daughter? To ask for forgiveness? What…do…you …want???” her voice dropped low at this last part, and Luther felt he heard something more. His newfound awareness that was encouraged and cultivated by his Lorekeepers like Allegra and Gideon could hear the pain in her voice, the despair. She was lost to him.
“I had to see for myself the truth of the matter. And now I have. My path is clear. This was not just a summoning circle. It is also a holding circle, and you will find yourself trapped here. The Dark Prophet’s link to you has been severed. You are your own person again, Aeshma, and you will stay here till you are called. There will be a service you will do, for the betterment of all. Then you will find the peace that has eluded you. Goodbye, my daughter, till we meet again, very soon.”
Luther sadly closed the doors to the room, the wailing rage of his daughter following him. He did not hear it though, for all sound was rendered silent by the strange breaking of his heart.