Previously on Blessed Inversion Soul…
Having embraced his duty as a wielder of Soul Magic, Jey Connors set out to seal his first Rift Gate. This took him to New Utica where he was successful in his mission. But his actions drew the attention of the Inversion group called the Guardians. Together they eliminate the universally displaced mutants plaguing New Utica and return to Aeaea so Soul can meet their leader…
Soul/Jey “Ji II” Connors
Deep within the mysterious island of Aeaea lay an assembly hall made of shimmering topaz crystals overlooking the sea. It was a large mostly empty room roughly the size of a courtroom. The balcony and a small stage with a ramp separating the main area from the balcony were the only special features of note. There sat an elderly man in a crystalline wheelchair that shone emerald in the sunlight. Grey hair covered the sides and back of his head and his bushy mustache. His face wrinkled and eyes tired behind his bifocals that looked reminiscent of Oculus’ Tactical Shades. He wore a simple white short-sleeved suit shirt, black pants, and matching shoes. A tan suit jacket resting on his legs. On his right forearm lay the same tattoo the other Guardians possessed. His hands glow with a cyan blue energy as a portal opens from the ground to the ceiling high above. Moments later; Soul, Oculus, Anaguma, Reverb, and Dragoness exit.
“Welcome back.” the elderly man greets the group. Placing his hands on the armrests of his chair. “And who might this young man be?” he asks upon noticing Soul.
“Soul.” he introduces himself with a small bow.
“A gentleman, we could always use more of those.” the elderly man chuckles. “I’m Gatekeeper.”
“Do you know where Circe is?” Oculus asks.
“She’s…” Gatekeepers eyes briefly shift to Soul. “Well, you know where she goes for this type of thing.”
“If you don’t mind. I’m gonna get going.” Reverb looks to Oculus for approval.
“Thanks, we’ll call if we need you.”
“Sweet, later guys.” Reverb runs off without looking back.
“What about you guys?” Oculus turns to Dragoness and Anaguma.
“I’ll stick with grandpa.” she declines the invitation and walks over to Gatekeeper. Putting her hand gently on the back of his wheelchair.
“Wherever he goes, I go.” Anaguma snarls while staring at Soul.
< We should leave. They clearly don’t want you here. Just go before you mess something up. > *
*Any dialogue within brackets are Jeys thought controlled by his anxiety
“Come on.” Oculus gives a nod to Gatekeeper as he summons a massive gateway. Oculus enters with Soul following close behind. Anaguma lingering uncomfortably close to him. When the group exits the gateway they find themselves inside another crystalline room much like the one they were just in. A singular massive crystal the size of a bus that shone all shades of the rainbow in the light. Aether flowed through the air as Circe observed the crystal. “I’ve brought him.” Oculus says to gain Circe’s attention. As she turns to look at Soul, he gets an oddly uneasy yet familiar feeling from her.
“Do I know you?” Soul asks confused.
“No, I’m afraid not.” Circe walks over to Soul. The aura she gave off wasn’t hostile yet she still intimidated him. “I’m Circe, and you?”
“Soul.” his heart raced as she looked down on him. “Who are you? Why did you need to see me?”
“As I said, my name is Circe.”
< Idiot, she already introduced yourself. That was pointless. Why are you even talking? Shouldn’t be here. Just leave before you make it worse. >
“I’m a Third Generation Inversion and the one responsible for making this island.” she explains.
With a wave of her hand, the walls behind the group retract. Revealing a tropical island with crystalline towns spread throughout it. Pristine beaches at all ends and gentle rivers flowing throughout it. Soul could feel how strong the Aether was throughout the island without even trying. “Aeaea, I created as a safe haven for any and all Inversions who want a sanctuary. My powers sustain this place. I keep it safe and hidden from any who might want to harm us so we can live in peace and grow.”
“Don’t fall.” Anaguma nudges Soul towards the opening in the wall. Startling Soul and getting a dirty look from Oculus. “What? He can fly.”
“Don’t mind Anaguma, he means well…more or less. I’d trust him and Oculus with my life. They’re one of the reasons I created the Guardians.”
“To protect you? If you can make an island why do you need protection?”
Circe returns the wall to its former state and looks back at the massive crystal. “When I created Aeaea I found this buried deep within the Earth. I’ve been told it’s called the Dragoon Crystal. A singular massive Aether Crystal that keeps the massive Rift Gate we sit atop of at bay.”
Soul’s eyes widen. “We’re on top of a Rift Gate?!”
Circe simply nods. “In another time…another place…there existed the King of Dragons. He was a terrifyingly powerful being. Inspiring loyalty in his allies and fear in his enemies. Respected by both though for very different reasons. When his world was threatened by the Rift, he sacrificed himself to stop it. Using his own body as the catalyst. His battle still rages to this day within the Dragoon Crystal.” her eyes lower solemnly. “So long as the Dragoon Crystal survives we’ll be able to keep the world above safe.”
“How do you know this story? Is that why you wanted me here? So I could try to seal the Rift Gate for you? To free the King of Dragons?” Soul asks in a single breath.
“Better Soul Mages have tried and failed. You ain’t gonna cut it, half-pint.” Anaguma scoffs.
< He’s right. You shouldn’t have even offered. They don’t need you. >
“That’s enough Guma.” Oculus scowls at Anaguma who scowls back.
“You wanna go?”
“If you keep it up.”
“Silence.” Circe says calmly. Her words easily making Oculus and Anaguma stop their fighting. Her eyes shift to Soul once more. “One of the truths of life that have held true is that there will always be three Soul Mages throughout reality. When I found the Dragoon Crystal, I had met one such individual. He told me the story and taught me all that I know. As he taught me, I taught my Guardians in turn. That way they could better protect Inversion kind.”
“Protect? This is the first time I ever heard of you guys.” Soul notes suspiciously.
“That’s the point, we got good at keepin’ ourselves hidden. Most Inversions just wanna live a normal life. Not make a buncha waves. Before that frosty showboat came around anyway.” Anaguma scoffs at Black Ice’s actions dismissively.
“Some people like to see heroes in action.” Soul fearlessly defends Black Ice.
“That why you’re in a cute little costume?” Anaguma grins slightly. Barring his fangs in the process.
“You’re wearing one too.”
“This ain’t no costume!” he snaps at Soul without warning. Swinging with his right claw. Had Soul not instinctively phased through the attack or had his Cosmic Aura, his throat would’ve been shredded like paper. Before he or Soul could make another move, Oculus fires a stream of crimson energy that sends Anaguma rolling to the floor.
“That was just a warning shot. Next time, I’m making sure you stay down.” Oculus stands between Soul and Anaguma. “You okay?” he asks Soul who nods in response.
“My Guardians are a…particular breed of Inversion. They’re Inversions who, for one reason or another, require special gear designed to use their abilities properly. It’s part of why I made this island. For those with powers and those with power but little way to contain it.”
< You shouldn’t have brought it up. You deserved it. >
“If I may ask, what spirit granted you your Soul Magic?”
< Don’t tell her. You don’t know if you can trust her. >
“Maybe I should tell her. If she knows more about Soul Magic maybe she can tell me.” Soul thought to himself.
< Don’t be an idiot. You can talk to Sylvanus about this. You said you’d learn from her. Stop being unreliable. >
“It isn’t bad to learn from multiple people is it?” his mind finally comes to a decision. “Sylvanus.”
Circe smiles at the answer. “I had a feeling it was her. That means I can trust you.”
“We want you to keep doing what you’re doing.” Oculus interjects. “We already know all about how magic is affecting the planet but we don’t actually have a spellcaster to deal with anything in the long-term.”
“You want me to join the Guardians don’t you?” Soul feels his body grow tense.
“On a trial basis.” Oculus replies.
“You ain’t my first pick. But yer better than nothin’.” Anaguma once more ruins the moment.
< You’re the bronze medal. They’re just offering out of pity. You just started and a team wants you. You’re good on teams, right? But what about Team Moon Fox and Hal? You can’t just leave them for this. Don’t leave them. Just stay in your lane. Don’t overextend. Don’t make things worse for more people. >
“I’m sorry but I can’t.”
< They can do better. >
“I’m still new and I have a lot of my own stuff to do.”
“I understand.” Circe accepts his decision with grace. “However, since you are new, we’d be willing to assist you in your magical duties should the need arise. It’d be mutually beneficial and you wouldn’t need to join the Guardians.”
“Hmm…I guess that’d be fine…But how would we communicate?”
“Runemaster can give you a mark like ours.” Oculus points to his tattoo. “It doesn’t hurt and allows us to talk telepathically.”
“Is there another way? I’m not sure I should get a tattoo…” Soul continues to hesitate.
“Punk.” Anaguma scoffs.
“Don’t worry about it, we found you before and we can do it again when the time comes.” he glances at Anaguma who walks off to the side with arms crossed. “So…you feeling okay Soul?”
“Huh? I’m okay I guess.”
“So you don’t remember going into a magical trance?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Soul says honestly. His memory of being corrupted by the Abyssal Aether* erased.
“Then tell me why you’re covered with Abyssal Aether?”
“I…” Soul’s mind flashes back to his torture at the hands of Indagator Antiquis within the Rift.* “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” he lies to avoid the memory.
“Uh huh…” Oculus leans close to Soul’s left ear. “You’re a terrible liar. I don’t know what happened. If it involves Abyssal Aether, it’s probably terrible. But I’m telling you now…if you can’t purify yourself you’re going to hurt yourself and everyone around you. We can help you if you just-”
“I-I need to go.” His Soul Magic acting instinctively and teleporting him back home. Soul’s mind spiraling inward like a hurricane. Would Oculus lie to him about something like that? What did he have to gain from it? How could he purify himself when he barely knows how to work his other powers? He felt like he couldn’t breathe or think straight. Soul walks up to his bedroom and collapses in bed. Curling up in his covers while his costume melts away. He didn’t want to deal with any of the day’s events and just wanted to sleep it all away…