Chapter 2- The Builder

What was supposed to be a week’s travel has been almost a fortnight at sea.

It was his second excursion into the Wall of lightning, his previous excursion was met in utter destruction after the net failed. For protection, not only for the crew but also for the vessel itself, Cyrus came up with the idea of a copper net hung tight over the ship, the lightning would then follow the copper wiring within the net all the way to the top of the mast.

Cyrus sincerely hoped that the Falcon would make it through, as it was a stunning vessel. The Falcon was roughly fifty feet long from tip to end, with a single sail, a big sail. a vessel built primarily for speed rather than cargo. Last expedition I barely escaped with my life, how crazy am I for trying again? But what an achievement it would be. Traveling the sea at the hardest conditions, continuous lightning strikes as far as the eye can see. No way around it, but through. The Falcon is probably fastest ship I’ve ever built. Its now or never.

Even higher than the crow’s nest there was an additional platform built on the ship's mast, with a three-foot adamantine coil placed on top. Within this platform a Vault was placed buried in the wood.

The Vault was not his creation, it came from the Masters of Magic. it was a small box, with no lid or hinges, no lock and key either. Just an ordinary box, or at least, that’s what Cyrus used to think. When the masters of magic showed him how they filled The Vault with their lightning magic, to then use it to power all the lights of a street Cyrus imagination went to work.

Imagine how much The Vault would be able to store from The Wall. Entire cities could run on the power within, travel through teleportation would be available to more than just the Masters of Magic. Travel by Airship would be possible for average citizens instead of only the elite.

He immediately set on making a ship that could withstand the Wall of Lightning. First trip was a disaster, a diamond coil was used on the king’s advice but upon entering the Lightning he saw it wasn’t going to hold. They turned back after the first crack appeared into the coil. When they were almost out, the diamond exploded, and the net shattered. The explosion also sent The Vault flying back into the Lightning. Well, that’s going to be an interest conversation when we’re back.

When he returned to Mantanar after his failure, a meeting was called, a meeting of Masters. It was made abundantly clear that losing a Vault is pretty much the worst thing you can do, not only does it cost some of the most valuable minerals that are available in Mantanar, but those same minerals are also depleting faster and faster these days. After the meeting of the Masters, the last of the funds went into the adamantine coil, and now of course, with losing a Vault, Master Selin was there to make sure this one made it back.

When they left Mantanar they were with a full crew. 8 deckhands for the sails, a master of Magic; Master Sélin, a navigator, the captain and Cyrus, the Builder of Ships. On getting closer to the Wall of Lightning the storm got worse rapidly, and on day ten around midnight, the waves hit so hard that Cyrus got knocked out cold. Navigator Arkan anticipated the storm that came after day four, but not how long it persisted. Probably what cost him his life, yesterday’s storm took half the deckhands plus Navigator Arkan.

He woke up in his chambers, with thick bandages around his head, he could feel the nagging pain of the headwound he suffered. He took a big chuck of the rum flask from his cabinet. The only personal item he took since starting this unpredictable journey, this flask, with his name perfectly engraved into it, Cyrus Meti. The only thing connecting him to a family name, and thus his only proof of belonging to a family. The thoughts didn’t do much for his pain. Luckily for Cyrus, the rum did.

Exiting his small cabin, right underneath the captains’ quarters, in the lower deck of the ship, he looked up to the upper deck and the awaiting responsibilities. Rain came down hard and visibility was bad, the storm calmed down, but the rain did not. The remaining deckhands were already busy working the sails realigning the vast ropes and knots. Changing course? How long was I out? Looking back and up to where the navigator was supposed to be, there meditating, he found the Master of Magic. Palms together fingers in the same direction as his dark blue eyes, upwards into the barely seeable sky. Masters of Magic are normally mysterious, but the way Selin floated about, maybe a foot of the ground, was abnormal for even the most experienced masters.

The captain called Cyrus; Master Selin told us to change course to this direction Master Cyrus. He explicitly said not to deviate of course.

After three hours of traveling in the pouring rain a voice came from the crow’s nest; Lightning strikes dead ahead 500 feet and closing. Captain Osana gave him a look of anticipation, and a bit of a smile; are we still sticking to the plan? Captain Osana was worth every coin she cost him. Nothing seemed to get her down even with the storm tyring it’s very best. Yes we are Captain, no idea when Master Selin is coming out of this trance but there is no going back. We continue. And with that, it began.

The thundering of the Lightning came closer, like the sound of battle drums, the sea echoed the sound over a great distance. Upon the first time seeing the Wall of Lightning he felt in awe of the visual beauty that was the lightning wall, this time though Cyrus knew the power of the entity before him. As the Falcon cut its bow into the coming waves, the drums of lightning became louder and louder. After the first lightning strike hit the adamantine, Master Selin came out of his trance.

The look on his face scared Cyrus, Selin’s eyes were completely blue, with sparks of lightning going through them. A deep voice came from Sélin, not at all the one he was used too.

Make sure we keep going straight, we’ll be on the other side in thirty minutes. I will make sure the Vault stays intact. Before Cyrus could respond, Sélin flew towards the Vault and circled it at a 15 feet distance, muttering an incantation Cyrus couldn’t hear over the sound of the pouring rain and the Lightning soaring in the sky.

How did he know it would take 30 minutes? There are no records of anybody in the history of Mantanar that knew how far The Wall really goes. Around was more than five weeks of travel, but through, everybody believed it to be a mystery. We can worry about it afterwards he thought, thirty minutes in this storm is not going to be easy.

You’d think going straight isn’t that difficult, but with the rain pouring down and the storm raging on, it was a challenge to stay on course. Thank God for Captain Osana, she was worth every penny. Her commands bellowed over the deck, making sure the deckhands kept busy on the sails. Cyrus did what he could, but he was mostly there to make sure the net didn’t fail. It was after about twenty minutes that one lightning strike hit the side of The Falcon. The copper did direct the electricity to the Adamantine but where the lightning strike hit, it left a hole in the net.

Captain Osana, I need one of the deckhands to help me with the net. Take Avi she yelled back, he can help you, and with that Cyrus and Avi went to work, Avi was a muscular man about the same age as Cyrus, spend most of his young life fixing ships. We got to be quick Avi, here is what’s going to happen. you will tie this rope around me, I’ll hang on the side of the ship. Avi looked concerned for a moment but knew better then to question Cyrus. They had it fixed within two minutes, the net was still connected although with a weakness that concerned Cyrus, I’ll have to find a different way to fix this for the way back. The way back, I didn’t even think that far ahead, he looked over the bow to the horizon to see if he could see anything else than lightning strikes, unfortunately he didn’t.

One Lightning strike after the other hit the coil of adamantine, Master Sélin was still circling the mast, Cyrus couldn’t figure out what he was doing, but seeing as the ship was still sailing it was probably a good thing. Looking back at Captain Osana he saw she was wrestling with the waves to keep the ship on course, when he stepped up next to her she gave him a quick smile; I wonder if he knows how much further, looking up towards Sélin. His thirty minutes are almost over. Well, let’s go ask him Cyrus said. He stepped down from the stern and went into the crow’s nest. It was a difficult climb with the waves pushing the Falcon in every direction. Once he finally arrived he noticed something off about Sélin. Now not only his eyes were blue, but he was also covered in a layer of blue coating. Like he absorbed some of the lightning unto himself.

How much further!? screamed Cyrus over the sound of the Storm. Master Sélin cocked his head in his direction. Man, this guy is giving me the creeps, when we are back in Mantanar I will ask the other Masters what they think of him. I know he requested to be here, but I thought it was for a sense of adventure like me. Seeing him now looking this ominous with his blue eyes and blue coating over his entire body, I’m not so sure anymore.

When Sélin spoke, it was that same deep voice as before; we will be there shortly, nothing can go wrong anymore. The Vault is almost ready, one more strike and it’ll be full enough for what is needed. Cyrus looked at the Vault and realized that was not the adamantine that gave off the bright light, but the Vault itself. A bright blue light came from the box, so bright that Cyrus had to cover his eyes. He looked towards the horizon and saw the storm withering, the rain lessened and the lightning strikes not as frequent anymore.

Just when he was about to head back down Lightning hit the adamantine above him, He saw the Vault bursting with energy, thinking it would explode right then and there. The Vault shined brighter than ever before it subsided and became a normal box again, with the faintest blue light over it. The storm calmed down to a light breeze and the weather around him began to turn back to normal, it was nighttime but with the rain and storm gone, Cyrus could still see much. Well, its good to know the moon and stars are the same on this side of the Wall.

We did it!! We survived the Wall of Lightning, something nobody has ever done he screamed from the crow’s nest. He looked at Osana with a big smile on his face. We really did it, now let’s take some rest and fix the net before we go back. He expected a big smile on his Captain’s face as well, but all he saw was a scared Captain Osana looking back at him. Was she looking at him though? He focused on her and realized she was looking passed him. He turned around and almost fell out of the crow’s nest of the shock. There before him was Master Sélin, completely covered in blue light. His eyes blue like the lightning itself.

I did it! Me! Me alone. he said with a deep and angry voice, you were just transport. The power of the Vault filled to the brim, completely under my control. Nobody can stop me anymore, least of all you. Goodbye Cyrus and thank you.

He moved his hand and Cyrus heard a sound like a cannon going off. He felt an impact hit his entire body, before he could react he was flung over the edge of the crow’s nest, last thing he saw was Master Sélin disappearing with a flick of the wrist. Is this how I die, immediately after my greatest achievement.? Those were his last thoughts, before he hit the water and fell unconscious.