One Tree, One Jewel, One Family - Chapter 1 & 2
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Chapter 1: Crystal Eyes

"My Crown", a voice penetrated the thick mist of a man's consciousness, "My Crown, can you hear me?"
With a light head movement, Kether averted his eyes from the table in front of him, "… Yes, I do, what's going on?"
"The Knowledge wants to speak to you", the feminine servant sank her head and folded her hands in an elegant manner.
"… Knowledge … Yes, I understand, let him through."
The servant lifted her head again and bowed, "Immediately." With this word, she first walked three steps back, turned around, walked out of the hall, and closed the door of the hall behind her. Kether was now alone in his great hall of solitude.
He was sitting at a table, his head resting on his right hand, and as it looked from the outside, he was thinking. He closed his eyes and thought for a while.

A squeaking sound sound came from the hall door, without opening his eyes and looking at the guest, Kether asked with a tired voice.
"Daath?"
"Yes, my Crown."
"Sit down", Daath did so by approaching the table and sitting on a chair facing Kether.
"Well, why are you here?", somewhat confused that Kether addressed him so directly, he answered.
"I wanted to speak to you about a … thing, my Crown"
Kether's eyes were closed, with his head still supported on his hand, he looked as if he was half asleep. Not giving it much thought, he began speaking again, "And that is?"
"I've analyzed our last actions and noticed that Caecus Carneliana is now much more offensive than in the past, and I'd like to know the reason for i—"
"Do you doubt our cause?", Kether didn't let Daath finish the sentence.
"No … it's not … I just wanted to know why we're attacking the Foundation so aggressively instead of releasing the prisoners secretly from the dark."
A brief silence was born. Kether finally raised his head and opened his eyes, "Times have changed."
He got up from the chair and walked along the table with eleven chairs. "If we do not adjust, we will not reach our goal. You should know that the best, Daath, as we have not freed you from your imprisonment for nothing."
Kether touched the stone-sculpted table with a white glove, "Men adapt, develop weapons, create new ways of survival, and you have been nothing but a weapon for them, they didn't capture you out of fun, examining you and carrying out tests. And did you already forget how you were captured for the second time? This time by the Foundation?"
"No, my Crown, I haven't forgotten."
"Then you should also know that our previous methods do not work anymore", Kether took a red rose from the elaborately decorated vase in the center of the table. He brought it to his nose, closed his eyes and took in its scent, "adjustment is what we need, and there is now no other way but that of frontal assaults." He removed his nose from the rose again. "All other members have understood this, at least they do not doubt this strategy, which suggests understanding."

Daath was still sitting in the chair, looking at Kether's back. His fingers twitched as he felt his hand wanting to form a fist. Something like that has never happened to him.
"I will not give up before I've reached my goal, Daath, I will not let go, and I will not forgive the Foundation, not until I've extinguished it to the trunk."
Daath was now seeing Kether in all his grandeur, clenching the thorny red rose in his fist. Daath could see drops of blood staining Kether's white glove slowly red. This was the first time Daath had looked so directly into Kether's eyes. He looked into cold, orange-colored crystals devoid of pity. It was pointless.

Daath stood up from the chair, "I understand, my Crown."
Kether was still standing in the same spot, turning his gaze towards the vase.
With a knock at the door of the hall, the feminine servant opened the door, "Do not regret your decision." Daath, for the last time, looked in the direction of the table, where Kether stood next to the vase and put the rose back in.
With these words, Daath disappeared from the hall and the door closed.
"I won't, my Branch", whispered Kether with his eyes open.


Daath went out of the room. "I do not think your methods and ethics will work on Kether, Brenner", he said to himself. The servant next to him did not quite understand what he meant, "Excuse me, I do not quite understand what you mean …" she said as Daath did not move from the spot.
As if with a fingersnap, he came back to reality, "Oh, no, forgive me, I was only absorbed in my thoughts", he answered the servant. With a short head movement the two of them said good-bye. The servant stood by the door, while Daath went to the library at a not-too-fast tempo. He still wanted to find something out, to confirm something.

Daath walked down the wide stone spiral staircase to the library. How often has he done this just to incorporate some more knowledge, but this time it's for another reason. Vague memories from the first day in the "underground castle" came back to Daath. Memories of how he talked with Binah and Chokhmah about the world and books in the library. But these are past times. Neither Binah nor Chokhmah are alive anymore. Their positions were replaced, memories were forgotten.

When he finally reached the entrance to the library, the librarian greeted him. A Fruit created by the former Binah, called "Librorum", a human-like light. He looked like a kind of floating light with an unrecognisable face and a book in his hand, spouting with glowing "fonts". Librorum was responsible for guarding the knowledge center of Caecus Carneliana, the library.
"Master Daath, it's been two years since you visited me here, as I see you were freed from the Foundation's clutches." Librorum bowed artistically and deeply before Daath and opened his book.
Daath answered the bow with a head movement, "Greetings, librarian, yes, I've managed to flee."
"I am glad that you can support us again, I am certain that my deceased master would be glad too."
"Yes, I believe that too."
"…Well, what is the reason for your visit?", the librarian straightened up.
Daath did not hesitate to tell the librarian his reason, "I'd like to find out something about the Caecus Carneliana members."
"About the members? Well, I do not have the right to stop you, and I will not, but … some members might consider this unacceptable." Librorum looked into his book.
"Especially Binah", added the librarian.
"Yes, I am aware of this, but I would like to read up something."
"Hmm … Yes, I understand, I'm not planning on keeping you any more, please, come in." Librorum closed the book with a loud bang.

The door of the library opened up to a slot and let some light from the inside escape. Daath said good-bye to the librarian and entered the library. A mysterious place where books disappeared and new books appeared. Where yesterday a book about the old mankind could stand, the next day one would possibly find one about the nature of birds.
When Daath saw the library, it reminded him of something.
"Perhaps I should drop by the archives of the IMBW, maybe I'll find something there too", he recalled the deal between him and the IMBW, which allowed him to enter the archive of the IMBW. Although the library of Caecus Carneliana had a lot to offer, in special cases it was easier to find a "real" version of the book or the file than to look for it in the library.

He went through the rows until he passed the right one. They weren't labeled, not marked in any way. Daath had been talking with Binah and Chokhmah about the structure of the library for a long time. For him, it was now easier to find the right book, but the library certainly loved to hide the things you wanted to know, for instance, he never was able to find out anything about Kether. For others, however, it was almost impossible to orient themselves in the huge library. Even Kether had problems finding a single novel.

With a finger in the air, Daath, looking over the full book-rows, went through the department. He stopped jerkily as he found what he was looking for. "Malkuth …" He was lucky, the library let him find what he was looking for today. Daath picked up the not too thick book, which seemed to look like a notebook, and opened it. A diary. The library has once again managed to show secrets that no one should have ever gotten to see. Someone who is familiar with the library could easily use it as a weapon or a pressure medium.

He sat down on the nearest seating in the form of a staircase and began to read the book. Recently, Malkuth had been absent from the castle, which worried Daath when considering Kether's motivation. Malkuth was often sent out as a spy. Daath read the diary until the evening.


Daath recognized a well-known voice as he opened the door to the library. "Master Daath, are you going again?"
"Yes, I've seen everything I wanted."
"As a librarian, I am glad to hear that. As a lower being I can not understand the library unfortunately, I admire you and the other masters who can use the library with such ease."
Daath closed and opened his eyes shortly afterwards, making a head movement, "Thank you, I'm not worth of that praise, Librorum."
"Oh, you are, you can be sure of that." Again, Daath and Librorum said good-bye to each other.

"I have a bad feeling", Daath said to himself as he was going along a corridor. Malkuth, according to his diary, was on a trip to America to steal something from the main branch of the Foundation, what that 'something' was, however, wasn't mentioned. It worried him that Kether was acting this fast. It was unusual, almost too much. Malkuth was known as very loyal in Caecus Carneliana, Daath remembered how Malkuth affirmed offensive actions during the discussions of the Branches among each other.

"Worrying. Extremely worrying."


Chapter 2: The missing Kingdom

"I'll be on my way", Kether said without turning around.
Standing a few meters behind him, not knowing of Kether's intentions, Hod replied, "Shall I not give you some of my servants as companions?"
"No, that would attract too much attention. The Foundation is not aware of my face, I'll manage on my own."
"Understood." Hod bowed and went back into the depths of the castle.
Kether pulled on his leather jacket, tucked the collar so that the Caecus Carneliana symbol would not be visible, and began to descend into the infinite black of the stone staircase. Besides the steps of Kether, there was not a single sound in this deep black. The steps echoed strongly and always followed the even rhythm in which Kether walked down the stairs.
Without saying a word, he continued his path down until he could see a bright but distant light. Kether was forced to cover his eyes with his hand. He realized that he had almost reached his destination.
The stairs were over. Kether, a little out of breath, was in front of a slightly opened black door. He reached for the handle and opened the door toward himself.

After Kether closed the door behind him, he found himself in an empty side street of a small town.
"This staircase created by Binah can be really useful", Kether said to himself.
Kether glanced around the narrow side street, recognizing his destination.

He made his way to the meeting point between him and a member of Caecus Carneliana. He walked down streets full of people, crossed fields, and approached an old, almost crumbled hut next to such a field. There he waited until night came.

Kether sat down on a stone in the hut, leaned his body against the old wooden wall and closed his tired eyes. Whether he was asleep or thinking about things, one could not see from the outside.


He did not know how much time had passed, but it was clear that the nightfall had come and as such, the member arrived punctually. "My Crown", said the Caecus Carneliana member.
Kether opened his eyes again, "Malkuth".
"Yes, it is me, my Crown, I have come back from my task."
Kether stood up, "Well, where is it?"
"Here", Malkuth raised a suitcase beside him and opened it.
Kether took the yellow-colored files in his suitcase. On the cover he recognized the inscription "TOP SECRET" which was apparently put with a stamp there.
He opened the first file and read through the first few lines. "Very nice, you really helped Caecus Carneliana and me especially, Malkuth."
Malkuth stepped back and bowed to Kether, "I am most grateful to these words, my Crown."

Kether put the files back in the suitcase, closed it and leaned it against a piece of wood.
"You've done your job well, you deserve a reward."
"Oh no, my Crown, I, a simple Branch, am not worthy of such honor."
Kether stepped away a few steps from Malkuth, "Well, Malkuth, if that's how it is …"
"To hear that I have performed my task well enough is comple—"

A single shot rang through the empty fields next to the hut. Crows, picking something from the ground somewhere in the field, rose with a loud ruction into the air.
Malkuth, not quite realizing what just happened, staggered a few steps back and fell on the dry hay lying in the hut. He ran his hand over his chest and looked at it.
"… B-Blood?" After he understood his position, he looked at Kether, who held an M83 revolver in his right hand.
"… K-Kether? I-I thought … I completed my j-job with bravura … h-have I not …", blood began to flow from his mouth. Malkuth stuttered and looked at Kether with wide-open eyes.
Kether came a few steps closer and lowered his right arm, "You're completely right, my Branch, the thing is, I have to fasten up my plan a bit."
"… B-But … w-why … what d-did I do?", Malkuth began to spit blood.
Kether, with his not unusual, emotionless face looked at Malkuth, "I sadly can not tell you, my Branch."
Tears formed around Malkuth's eyes, "I-I … am crying?"
"… Hehe … Heh …", Malkuth laughed briefly and spat blood.
Malkuth's eyes were full of tears, "M-My sight is getting b-black … in front of my eyes … I-I … see … nothing … I-I … am afraid …"
Kether cocked the hammer of the revolver, "Goodbye, my dear Branch." He pointed the revolver once again at Malkuth, this time, between his eyes.
"I-I … a-actually … have emotions …"
A second, final shot roared through the fields.


"Welcome back, my Crown, if I may ask … where is master Malkuth?", asked a servant Kether as soon as he returned.
"The Kingdom is dead. Distribute the message among the Branches."
"Understood."


"Is it really him?" The operator asked the MTF commander, Mr. Schrauber.
"Yes, it's him. Just like the description sais it. Two shots. One into the chest and one into the head. The first shot must have gone into his chest and penetrated his lung. No shells, must have been either a revolver, or the culprit has collected them. "
"What about the suitcase?" The male voice continued.
"No trace of the files or case."
The male operator had even more questions, "Any further traces?"
"The footprints suggest an adult figure, most likely a man."
"Is there … the possibility of the involvement of other Groups of Interest?"
Commandant Schrauber hesitated, "I … do not know. It's quite possible."
"Roger. I'm going to inform Central Command. I would like you to check out the nearby city. You are permitted to use class B amnestics if needed", the operator said.
"Understood. MTF-Unit 'Light Chain', Commander Schrauber, out."

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