Akryn had remained seated for quite some time before Akeya returned, stewing in his own misery and shame. He almost did not notice her when she approached, but as she drew near a sixth sense kicked in, causing him to look up at her and take note of her approach, and prisoner. "Akeya.....I am unsure of this." He said as he began to rise from his seat, taking hold of his large sword. "It might be easy for you, to over come a life time of fear so easily, but I am not you. We have already proven I hold much more connection to my emotions than you do. No offense." He said to her. Despite his obvious trepidation however he would still raise his sword and widen his stance, preparing for combat.
Despite his concerns and his fear Akryn knew that Akeya was right. The odds were that his father was still out there, perhaps weakened and healing, perhaps even now plotting his vengeance, who could know? But the inevitable truth was that Marcus Motomiji would indeed return. Last time Akryns brother, Magnus, had only barely managed to bring Marcus down. The effort had nearly killed him and destroyed a city. When Marcus returned he would likely come to Fiore, not to Akryns homeland, and they couldn't afford the casualties a long, drawn out battle would cause. When he came back he needed to be taken down as hard and fast as possible. If that was to happen, then Akryn needed to be able to fight. He needed this, and he knew it.
He prepared himself, mentally and emotionally, for what he knew was to come. Still, when the beast morphed its form, shifted its body to take the form of Akryns father, the young mage felt more than a twinge of panic. His heart began racing, his hands tightened on the sword, sweat formed on his brow. This was his nightmare in real life, this was a waking terror. He stared at his father starting to rise before him, he stared as his father began to approach him, one hand slowly rising. He stared as the hand began extending towards Akryn....
In a moment of panic Akryn closed his eyes and the world around him seemed to freeze. He wasn't in the darkness. He wasn't faced by his father. He didn't grip his sword. The world was white and empty, a clear void with no one around. There was no danger. There was no fear. There was only the void. There was only the eternal emptiness. In this void Akryn opened his eye, taking in the eternal white emptiness before taking a step forward, sensing the peace and loneliness that this place granted. He knew this place, all to well, if he were to be honest. This was him, his inner most sanctum, the emptiness of his own soul. He had come here often as a child, a safe place in his mind from which he could do anything. It was where he had sent his mind whenever he felt afraid, whenever he had to do something that he just could not bring himself to do on his own. For a moment he felt a surge of joy and comfort, reveling in his old mental peace.
That revelry would end abruptly as a dawning realization washed over the young fighter. He had not been to this mental state in over a decade. In over a decade he had seen no need to enter the empty void. In a decade he had not known fear so crippling, he had not known such weakness, such cowardice! In an instant his father, no, not his father, the memory of the monster, had driven him into this void, had driven him to throwing out everything that he really was. That is what the void was to him, a place where he deposited his heart and soul, a safety box for his humanity. It hit him then just how damaged he really was, how weak against his father he was. Akryn fell to his knees inside the void, hanging his head in despair. If he could be so easily broken by his fathers memory, as if he had no will of his own at all, then how could he ever hope to overcome the real thing?
Even as Akryn sat there, wallowing in his self pity, a sound came to him through the void. There had never been sound in the void before, so for a moment Akryn did not recognize it for what it was, but as the humming grew louder and louder Akryn could no longer deny it. He lifted his head, looking around the void curiously, wondering what on earth could be making noise inside his own head, and he was positively stunned at what he saw.
A man was inside the void! A tall man, with pale blue skin and white hair that stood up to a ridiculous height. He wore magenta colored robes of a decorative nature, and carried an odd staff. And he was floating through the void, staff in one hand, a book in the other, passing through Akryns mind as if it was a stroll in the park! No, not passing through Akryn realized, quickly forcing himself to his feet and taking a step or two back, heading towards him. Akryn watched the man, no, not a man, a djinn, float towards him, confusion overtaking his guilt and fear, as he watched the person float to within just a few feet of Akryn before looking up from his book and smiling at the young mage. "Oh why hello there! My name is Whis! I am your uncle, on your mothers side of course." the djinn said before snapping his book shut.
Akryn stared at the man before him, dumbfounded for a moment. He knew that one of his mothers brothers had escaped when his father had come to take her as his wife, but as far as he knew that djinn was still in hiding somewhere in desierto. How could he possibly be here, in his head? Before he could ask that however his uncle, Whis he had called himself, spoke up.
"You are likely wondering how I am here yes? How could anyone ever have entered my inner mind, my private thoughts, oh no oh no!" The djinn said, laughing a little at the end. "The answer is that this is not your inner mind. This giant, empty void that you see before you is actually a meeting ground for djinn. Or at least it once was. A place where we could come together and speak in total privacy and safety, all within the blink of an eye. In a way this is your mind, but not with you any more. Your mind has gone beyond your body to this meting ground, likely to seek help, yes?" Whis said softly, slowly floating around Akryn, looking him over curiously.
Akryn, for his part, had never heard of such a thing. A meeting ground of the djinn? A giant void where minds went to converse? That couldn't be a real thing, surely, and yet here he was, speaking to what could only be described as a djinn, offering him help. "Yes....I did come here for help." Akryn said, watching the man from the corner of his eye, but deciding that there was no harm in finding out what the fellow djinn had to say. "I have to overcome my fear. A fear of my father, a crippling one. But I cant even overcome a shadow of him, a memory. It drove me to falling back and exposed my comrade to danger."Akryn admitted, still watching the djinn cautiously.
The djinn seemed to ponder things for a moment, even tilting his head a bit and placing a finger against his chin. "Your father is Marcus if memory serves. A very nasty man indeed, and someone you are right to fear. He has defeated, and captured, many djinn, demons, men, even a dragon I heard, and trapped them all within his sword. Strong in magic, strong in arm, strong in sword, even strong in speech, for he did lure my sister to his side and convince her to betray her own family for him. A man you should rightly fear. But you said that a memory of him, a shadow, forced you back. That is very unfortunate indeed, and a flaw that needs overcoming. Shall we have a look at this shadow together?" Whis said, smiling and extending his hand towards Akryn with a smile. "If you take my hand I can initiate a contact. It will allow me to see things through you, and perhaps grant you the support you need. I promise, I will only look. You are my nephew after all, and it would be quite rude of me to do more." The djinn said to Akryn.
Akryn for his part was understandably skeptical. He had never seen anyone here before, had never been contacted before, and certainly did not like the idea of someone else getting into his head, a peek through his eyes, and who knew what else, without him knowing any way to stop them if they were to try and take over. On the other hand though, here was someone offering him help, offering to help him overcome his fears. Even Akeya, who Akryn trusted about as far as he could trust someone, could only do so much. Would the benefits if this work outweigh the risks, he asked himself. Slowly and with great reservations, Akryn reached out and took the djinns hand.
Akryn was back in his own head. In the blink of an eye this entire exchange had happened, and now Akryn was back in his own body. The spectre of his father was still approaching, Akeya was still standing by, his sword was still raised. But something else was there as well. Akryn saw Whis, standing to the side, watching it all, observing it all in a moment, frozen in time. He slowly floated forward next to Akryn, placing a hand on Akryns arm gently. "Your fear is a good thing Akryn, don't forget that. Fear is a natural instinct, a tool for self preservation. Your father drove hard at you and your siblings and did his best to remove fear from your bodies. He viewed it as nothing more than a weakness. The fact that you feel fear means that you have already scored some victory over your father. Despite all of his attempts all of his years of abuse and torture you were able to come out the other side of it as something that he did not desire. Look there, at your friend. She stands by, ready to save you if needed, ready to stand by you as long as it takes to over come this. You are of a guild are you not? You have friends, a new family, those you love. You do not raise your sword against your father for you alone Akryn." Said Whis as he began to slowly float around behind Akryn, his hand going to Akryns shoulder. "Your father does not hold sway over you." Whis said, squeezing Akryns shoulder. "You alone hold sway over yourself. Lift your sword. If you fail then those behind you will as well. If you fail your friend there will fall beside you, your guild will fall behind you. Do not fight for you. Do not overcome your fear. Simply fear for something else." Whis said, still squeezing Akryns shoulder.
Akryn listened to the djinn as he stood there, watching the world around him starting to go back to real time. Fear for something else.....fear for something else.....fear for something else. Akryn thought for a moment, the memories of his life rushing to him. He saw Magnus, standing in the fire before Marcus. He saw his sisters and brothers leaving him with smiles. He saw Thorsfell. He saw Marduk. He saw Kyll, Zeno, Xierak. He saw Zack, Shuhei, Natalia....Akeya. Akryn saw them flash before his eyes even as the shadow of his father reached in towards him, and in an instant Akryns instinct kicked in. In a flash his fear was smashed down, replaced by a burning determination, and in one swift motion his gigantic sword was whipped across, severing the shadows hand. The shade froze for a moment, seemingly surprised before Akryn brought his sword back across the other way, the tip slamming into the ground in a gonging sense of finality, before the shadow would shatter into pieces, leaving Akryn standing there alone. In that instant Whis had left his mind, and Akryn stood there, panting and confused, as if he had just gone through a great, physical ordeal. He turned and looked at Akeya, seemingly confused before speaking. "Akeya.......something strange just happened...."