Faster and faster they rode the beam as it left the surface of Lilea. As they approached and then surpassed the speed of light they felt the bonds that held them loosening. More than a hundred of them clung to the beam of energy as it sped across the vastness of space taking them to safe harbour and away from the new terrors that conspired to enslave them. As the energy beam raced them through the void away from Lilea and all that they ever knew, they wept with relief at their escape. They also wept with pain for those left behind who didn’t make it in time to catch the energy beam away from bondage and they wept for their loved ones still on Lilea who were in such mortal peril for their very souls. The great vacuum of space opened up around them and they were filled with awe at the vastness of God’s creation, the endless creativity from the microscopic cell to the greatness of planets, moons and huge suns whose life giving warmth and light brought life to so many. Many of them never left Lilea, either during their lifetime or since journeying to the land of the dead and although every one of them knew of other worlds, the reality of it stunned them and humbled them into silence.
They saw the leviathan approaching them through the void of space and instinct told them this was their destination, their safe haven and, with hope, a step towards their salvation. Effortlessly the beam and the ghostly throng that was its unseen cargo entered the safety of the hulk and all was quiet. They were safe and although many of their fellows were still in bondage on Lilea, and the loved ones they walked beside were in the most terrible peril from the invisible darkness that waited for them, they were happy and relieved there was now at least a chance to fight back once more and save Lilea. Their homeland that suffered so much and yet still lived and breathed was once again approaching its last breaths and once again the spirit people knew what was to be done, and by whom. One of the spirit people stepped forward and quietened the throng.
“Friends please listen to me. I am Leon Domenico and this place is safe haven for us. Those who live and work inside this spaceship are my friends, our friends and helped my son Vincent defeat the Transmortal Army a year ago. We must find a way to alert them to the new danger that threatens Lilea. They cannot see us nor hear us as our own people do, but we may be able to reach them when they are dreaming. They do not yet know it but due to their rather unusual racial heritage they have a great psychic potential latent within their minds. It lies dormant within the deepest parts of their minds but we may be able to awaken them enough to get through to them.”
“I am Syra and I walk beside the prophesied one, Vincent,” the beautiful young woman who looked like a warrior princess said as she stepped forward and everyone listened. “It is important that we all work together to get through to these new friends. We must all give them the same message; that Leon and I wish to communicate with them urgently. They know us both by name and once they know we need to speak with them, they will work to make it possible. Go now.” The Lilean spirit people spread out to all corners of the Drycenian Battle Cruiser and as the Drycenians slept, their unseen new friends drew close to them, bonded with them and entered their dreams. It was imperative that they reach them now in their hour of need. They were the only ones who could help them save Lilea, but first they must save Vincent and Farra for without them once again fighting for their freedom, there would be no Lilea.
“Jam, my friend, are you still sure you wish to continue? You stand on the brink of a very dangerous mission and I would be failing in my duty as your guide if I didn’t give you every opportunity to turn back.”
“We’ve had this conversation already Arshad,” Jam replied. “I am going to do my best. If the Lilean ancient ones have enough faith in me to make me a chosen one, then I should be able to have the same faith in myself.”
“Very well,” Arshad replied. “I have taught you how to reach for Vincent with your mind and how to recognise him by his energy. As you search the hinterland for him, you may encounter those dark souls who are his captors. They will be drawn to you and will try to distract you but you must turn away and focus only on Vincent’s energy. I have also taught you how to reach for me via the energy bond that we share. No matter what the cause or how trivial you feel the matter is, you must call for me the moment you begin to struggle. I will be here every moment while you’re in the hinterland and I will send you energy whenever you need it. If at anytime you feel you cannot continue, call for me and I will draw you out.”
“Okay,” Jam replied. “Concentrate on Vincent’s energy and ignore anything else, yes?”
“Yes,” Arshad smiled. “When you find Vincent he may not remember you and may be wary of you. Remember that wherever he is being held is beyond time; he could believe that he has lived many years where he is and may have forgotten you. Be gentle and patient with him but remain by his side and continue to call to him until he will listen. He must be made to realise that the life he thinks he is leading in there, is not real; that it is just a shadow of something that could have been, but wasn’t and never will be. Unless he firmly believes that what he is experiencing is a lie, he won’t be able to leave it.”
“I believe that he and I had a good friendship when he was with us a year ago, Jam said. “He trusted me then and I believe he can do so again.”
“There is another thing you must always remember,” Arshad reminded him. “You must resist falling under the spell of the alternative reality yourself. The moment you lose focus and believe in it, you too will be lost to us. Always remember it is not real; it is a lie created by the Transmortals. It will be very convincing, very real and Vincent will probably be totally immersed in it. He may take some convincing and there is always the chance that he cannot ever be convinced. You may have to return without him my friend.”
“I will return with Vincent,” Jam replied emphatically. “There is no question.”
“Then I bid you safe journey my friend,” Arshad said as he pointed into the white mist of the hinterland. “Reach for Vincent now and always remember I am here if you need me. Just call and the bond that links us will find me and I will send you aid.”
Doctor Jam took a deep breath and looked in the direction Arshad was pointing. He could see nothing but the white mist but he stepped forward with purpose. He opened his mind as Arshad taught him and began to search for Vincent’s energy. At first he felt nothing at all but then he became aware of intermittent bursts of energy floating past him. He found it a little distracting and tried hard to link with each one to see if it came from Vincent but they were so fleeting and were gone almost as quickly as they appeared. He began to get confused but then a strange sensation infiltrated his awareness; a sense of focus and an understanding of what he should do. All of a sudden he realised that he needn’t scan each and every energy signal that happened to float past him; all that was necessary was to focus his whole being on Vincent’s energy. This would prevent him even noticing all but the very strongest of these transient energy pulses and would enable him to fix on Vincent the very moment he found him. Jam fixated on Vincent’s energy and pushed out everything else from his awareness and was delighted to discover that it helped calm things down to a more manageable level. He took a tentative step forward and with each step, he searched for Vincent’s energy with his mind. He didn’t know how long he’d been in the hinterland; it only seemed like a few minutes, less than a half hour at the most, until he felt the first tiny blip of energy that caught his attention. It was just a tiny pulse and lasted just a fraction of a second but it fitted so perfectly with the energy he was searching for, like a key sliding into a lock that he almost let it pass him by. It was Vincent’s energy, it had to be. It felt so right that Jam was certain Vincent was nearby, even just for a fraction of a moment. He focussed with every ounce of his energy and strength towards that tiny blip and at first he felt nothing in response. He was about to wonder if there had been a mistake when it came again, stronger this time because he was focussing on it so hard. He let it wash over him and knew he was near Vincent. Remembering what Arshad taught him, Jam used that blip, and the ones that followed, to rush to Vincent’s side.
Arshad watched Jam begin his journey into the hinterland to search for Vincent’s energy. He felt his confusion and recognised the beginnings of panic as he encountered the myriad energy pulses that stream and flow everywhere and he wasted no time in sending his brave charge energy and focus to help him fine tune and hone his search. As that night passed into a new day, he remained on duty focussing on the bond that linked him with Jam, listening and waiting should he need him. As day passed again into night he felt Jam’s joy as he recognised that first tiny blip that signalled Vincent was nearby. It was as the second night passed into another day that he felt Jam rushing to Vincent’s side at last and he shared the joyful news with Leon and Syra, so that they could pass it to Jam’s Drycenian friends and companions who were so worried for him.
The two landing ships left the battle cruiser and headed down towards the surface of Lilea. As they drew closer, they all gasped at the beauty of the landscape that lay below them.
“How can such evil survive in such beauty?” Lomas asked.
“How indeed,” Byron replied.
The landing ships continued their descent; the transmitters ensuring the safety of their engines. The dark souls gathered around the craft as they entered what they now saw as their new domain but try as they might, they could not affect the power sources hidden behind the energy barrier that caused them so much pain whenever they tried to penetrate it. Unable to cause the engines to fail, the dark souls grew frightened and as the landing ships approached their designated landing place, their fear turned to anger and loathing. The dark souls recognised the energy of these Drycenians as they stepped out onto Lilean soil. They recognised them as descendents of those early failed experiments at transformation by that first mighty Pzolgon who perfected the Transmortal Process and first began to offer this greatest of gifts to the uninitiated. How dare these abominations return to their new home world and try to save the evil one again? Don’t they realise that he is at this very moment journeying to the edge of The Veil surrounded by faithful Adherants of the Transmortal Truth? Don’t they know that the evil one will never be free? He escaped from the horrors for a short time but there will be more, much more to come for him to suffer.
As the landing ships manoeuvred their way over the Lilean forest, Lomas addressed his Troopers. “We have to land a little way away from the actual Grotto entrance as there isn’t sufficient space for the ships to land. If we were to land by the Grotto itself we would damage the trees and plants. The Lileans hold their forest in very high regard and so we are landing a few miles away in a natural clearing that affords us enough space to land without doing any damage.”
Everyone looked as the forest sped by beneath them and as the clearing came into view ahead Byron called everyone to get ready. “Okay here it is guys, everyone up and ready now.”
The two ships landed in the clearing and the Drycenians stepped out onto Lilean soil. They looked about them at the lush forest and everyone took a deep breath.
“The air, it’s so fresh,” a Trooper exclaimed and his team mates nodded.
“This is your first time on Lilea,” Byron replied. “Remember this taste because you’ll never taste air like it anywhere else.”
“Okay gentlemen, let us be on our way,” Lomas ordered. “Byron, how far to the Grotto entrance?”
“Three miles Sir,” Byron replied as he checked his beeping locator device. “Okay everyone, mount up and let’s go.”
Everyone mounted their battle boards and Byron led them through the forest, his locator beacon leading the way to the Grotto entrance and the crystals that would revive Vincent and Farra. They sped through the trees, their battle boards affording them the luxury of fast travel at two to three feet above ground level. The flat oval boards, powered by Pulse Wave Energy and steered with a simple joystick, look far simpler to operate than they are. Vincent learned to ride one of these during his adventure with the Drycenians just a year ago and suffered a sore backside for days after having just a few hours learning to ride it like a pro. As they raced through the trees, Byron remembered the last time he was speeding through the Lilean forest. It was night and they were all racing to save Farra from Wesley, who kidnapped her after she brought about Vincent’s retrial and gained him his freedom. He was sad that the only two times he was ever on Lilea, were when people were facing death and he determined that the next time he came here it would be a happy occasion.
Lomas and Toma, side by side, rode behind Byron and just as during the last time they were here, Lomas felt proud of his son for insisting he accompany them on their mission. Toma was fast approaching real manhood and Lomas knew that he would soon have to let him have some responsibilities in order that he stretch himself and grow in wisdom and experience. He wondered how long it would be before he would have to help him choose his bride and deliberate at his wedding.
“The Grotto Sir,” Byron called over his shoulder. “Just ahead, look.”
Lomas looked and saw daylight through the trees ahead. As they entered the small clearing and dismounted from their battle boards, they saw the entrance to the Grotto in front of them. A sign board stood at the edge and Lomas went to read it but found it was written in Lilean. He called to Byron.
“Byron, can you come and translate for us please, I would so like to know what this sign is telling us, wouldn’t you?” Byron stepped forward and held out his Vidicom and scanned the sign. After transmitting the signal back to the battle cruiser he waited for his deputy to signal him. His communicator beeped.
“Sir, I have received a Vidicom signal from you. I have it here on the screen.”
“Yes,” Byron replied. “Please translate it for us.” The group waited in silence for the reply to come through.
“I have it here sir,” the deputy replied. “Within this sacred space lie the mortal remains of our Goddess Lilea. The first to walk upon Lilean soil, she was lonely and longed for a mate and children. God saw her weep with longing and as her tears fell upon the ground, the forest grew and became ever lovelier. As her divine soul returned to the heavens, her mortal remains became the wondrous star that keeps our world in all it’s beauty, alive. This star is her gift to each and every one of her children born on Lilea and she bids you welcome. Come now pilgrim and meet Lilea, your divine mother whose loving kiss you bear upon your chest.”