Messenger is a pretty long story, and could easily get kind of confusing for anyone just jumping in. So this page is here to help by serving as a chapter-by-chapter synopsis to refresh your memory if you’ve missed something, or help you catch up to the present more quickly!
Be forewarned, some spoilers will follow!
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Our story begins with Akiara Kenakobe, a teenage human girl, waking up from a nightmare about her best friend. He was recently killed by Akiara’s cousin Zavier in battle. It is revealed that the people of her land live in tribes and must fight one another for survival. Her friend, Luke, was a member of the Makaio tribe, just as Akiara is a member of the Kenakobe. She lives in an underground fortress known as Kenakobe Hill. Her family works together to defend the hill and keep themselves safe from other roving tribal groups.
However, after Luke’s untimely death in battle, Akiara begins to question this way of life. While she understands the necessity behind the lifestyle, she has a hard time coming to grips with being a part of killing other people. She decides that the best solution to clear her conscience is to leave this life behind and strike out on her own – wherever that might lead.
Eldora and Finnegan are two creatures known as Chios, and they are siblings. Eldora, the elder of the two, is late for her warrior training meeting. She drags her brother out of bed, and they run across the desert village of the Chios to arrive just in time to find out that Eldora hasn’t made the cut to be a warrior, and is instead placed on border duty. Feeling bad for making her arrive late, Finnegan accompanies Eldora to the border to relieve their friend Dev of his watch.
When they arrive, they find that Dev has fallen sick and is in extreme pain. Finnegan helps him hobble back to the village and Eldora stays on guard. An entire day passes and no one comes to replace her. Late into the night, Finnegan returns, telling her in a panic that the entire village has fallen ill with the same sickness Dev had. He tells her that one of the village leaders, Jazlyn, wants to speak with her.
The two return to speak with Jazlyn, who tells Eldora that the beliefs she’s held since childhood simply aren’t true. The Chios were created as part of an ancient scientific experiment, and the disease that they suffer from now was intended to be a failsafe should the creatures escape the lab. For some reason, Eldora and Finnegan have an immunity to this disease. Jazlyn tells Eldora to go north in search of a city, where she may find the cure for their disease. Eldora leaves immediately.
Akiara is out on her own. She has managed to evade the Kenakobes, who spent time searching for her when she went missing, and has distanced herself from the hill. She spends her days resting and her nights traveling when she’s less likely to be seen out on the plains, but soon begins to run low on food. Exhausted and believing her time is close to up, she takes shelter on a boulder where she’s less likely to be seen from a distance and where she’s away from any wild animals.
She sees Luke in a vision, who warns her not to lose her sword, no matter what happens. Shortly afterward, she is knocked unconscious and kidnapped by a masked and robed stranger. He takes her away to an underground prison cell.
She regains consciousness in the darkness, seemingly alone and injured. She soon realizes that she’s not alone in the cell – a young man around her own age is resting in the shadows. She finds out that his name is Nekos, but he is hesitant to tell his own story. He offers Aki the cell’s only cot, since she is starving and exhausted. She falls asleep, and Nekos rattles the bars, shouting at the guards to do something.
When they arrive and open the doors, Nekos acts quickly to get them on the defensive. He grabs Aki’s unconscious body and her sword, and holds the guards at swordpoint as they make their escape. He carries her to the surface, where she regains consciousness briefly. Nekos tries to quiet her and get her to rest, as a pair of wings appear on his back. A bright light surrounds them as Nekos heals her. His power drains, and they rest before moving on. Nekos takes this opportunity to tell his story.
A news reporter describes a recent attack by an extreme activist group known as the Personal Firearms Defenders, who have been the cause of many deaths. A young Kyle Nekos rests on the couch at home, taking in the report instead of doing his homework. After some prodding from his mother, he takes his papers upstairs to his room to work. He passes his older brother’s empty room, pausing to close the door.
He sits at his own desk and pulls out a photo of himself and his brother, and begins to write. He falls asleep at his desk, suffering nightmares about his brother’s death. The next morning, he rushes out the door to make the bus to school, where he must read his paper to the class. The paper is about what he believes patriotism means, and he tells the story of his brother who went to war despite not believing in the cause. His brother was assured a safe job behind a desk, but was instead sent to the front lines, where he was killed in an explosion. Nekos is overcome and storms out of the room. He leaves the school and walks home.
Time passes, and the political climate begins to turn. Government propaganda is posted in the streets, and a new campaign illegalizing personal firearms. Those who do not comply suffer a dire punishment. Nekos is upstairs at home when the officers arrive to collect his father’s weapon. His father refuses to hand it over, and Nekos’ parents are shot. Nekos steals the gun from his parents’ room and escapes to a neighbor’s home, where she hides him in her basement.
Eldora is crossing the desert on foot. She catches and eats a lizard for nutrition. In the distance, she sees tracks leading to the remnants of a village, and heads towards it out of curiosity. She paws and climbs over the wreckage, and crawls into the window of a burned out house. She paws through the wreckage and finds a smashed and worn picture frame containing the photo of Nekos and his brother; she is in the remains of their home.
She turns around to find a small human boy. Both are startled, and Eldora hides behind some broken furniture. The boy runs away, and soon returns with a mob outside the broken structure. Eldora is afraid, but after building her strength and packing her gear tightly, she dives through the window and makes a run for it.
The angry mob chases her across the desert into the distance, firing arrows at her as she runs. An arrow catches her tail and she slips briefly. Her doll, Icy, is cut loose and is left behind. Eldora runs, bleeding, and trying to gain ground over her pursuers.
Akiara opens her eyes, and is in a dark place once more. She finds herself glowing with ethereal light, and tries to figure out her surroundings. It feels familiar, when suddenly, she sees Nekos. She goes to him, but he doesn’t seem to see or hear her.
He is walking towards a hill, to an abandoned tunnel where he thinks he can hide out. He is surprised to meet a girl who is already hiding there named Kiara Kena. They decide to hide out together, and share stories. Time passes and seasons change, and soon more people are looking to hide out with Nekos and Kiara. Soon they are making plans to expand the tunnel, and make raids on the town. It is little surprise that Nekos soon finds himself leading a small army of refugees in a fortress called “Kena-Nekos Hill.”
In complete surprise, Akiara awakens suddenly to find herself in a strange place; a comfortable bed inside a small house. She overhears a brief conversation from the next room, presumably about her, referring to things like “the sword”, and she approaches cautiously. Standing in the next room are Nekos and an old woman. Akiara and Nekos take a walk to have a discussion about what has just happened.
Nekos explains that he is what’s known as a “messenger,” basically someone who has died before completing their purpose in life. Nekos isn’t sure what his purpose is exactly, but he knows that he’s been waiting for Akiara for a very long time – through many generations of the Kenakobe family. He can’t move on to his afterlife without completing whatever task is set before him. He explains that Aki’s dreams were a residual effect from the healing process he used on her, and that she was witnessing some of his memories from life.
When Akiara begins to ask why Nekos has been waiting for her, she finds that he has vanished.
Eldora rests in the shade of a small rocky outcrop in the desert. She was wounded slightly by her pursuers in the chase several days earlier. While it is not a mortal injury, it’s still enough to put her off balance and unable to move as quickly as she needs to. She pauses to reflect on everything that’s just happened, while trying to figure out how to move ahead. Suddenly, she hears an oddly familiar voice from above the rocky outcrop. Her doll, Ice, is dropped into her lap.
Her brother, Finnegan, leaps down from above and explains that he began to follow her trail after some further strange events back at the village. He followed her tracks and scent, and then admits to having some “additional help” in the form of Luke Makaio – a Messenger. Luke explains that it’s his duty to help the two Chio kids on their journey, whatever it may take them. Eldora is taken aback at the sudden appearance of this human – but quickly changes her mind when he heals her tail injury. The trio decides to rest for the night before continuing their journey in the morning.
They walk for several days, searching for the city, and two weeks later they spot something in the distance. It is a city, which has clearly suffered some damage, but still lighted against the night sky. They make their way into the city, and as they’re about to decide what to do, Eldora catches a distinct odor and dashes off to find its source before anyone can stop her. She follows the scent through the city to an old brick building with a sign on the front step – “Lenore Institute.”
She enters the building through the long-gone front door and finds herself in the lobby of Lenore Biotech Institute. The building has fallen into disrepair, with graffiti and water damage throughout. The scent is very distinct now, and she trails it down a long hallway. Signs in the background point out that biometric scans were in place when the building was active. As Eldora proceeds down the hallway, the scan reactivates. A digitized voice echoes through the hallway, directing her to a large metal door that is automatically raising. Light streams out of the doorway, and Eldora cries out in recognition. Someone she knows is on the other side.
Akiara finds herself sitting on the steps of the old farmhouse where she awoke in Chapter Six, and where Nekos seemingly left her behind. An orange cat curls up on her shoulders, as the old woman she met earlier steps outside to talk. She explains that Nekos simply cannot have just left her behind. As a Messenger, he has some investment in Aki’s well being, so he’ll have to come back for her. The old woman explains that she has known Nekos for a very long time, and tries to clarify a bit about his background. The period in history he came from – back when he was alive – was turbulent, and the world was at war for reasons unknown. The soldiers returning from the war were inexplicably “changed” and angry. She says that combined with the conflicted political situation at home, there was trouble on the horizon. She encourages Aki to have faith that Nekos will return, suggesting that she relax around the farmhouse while she waits.
Left alone with her thoughts, Aki eats and contemplates her situation. She decides that all of this Messenger stuff just isn’t what she signed up for, and heads out on her own. She is quickly ambushed by the robed stranger, and takes off running. She does what she can to outrun him, crossing the wasteland through the night. As day breaks, she spots a city in the distance and decides to head for it, thinking that she can easily lose her tail there. Exhausted and out of options, she decides to duck into an alley and hope for the best. What she doesn’t realize is that she’s also run into Luke and Finnegan.
Zavier stands in front of a group of four people at a long ceremonial table in a dim, shadowy room. He delivers a report on the search so far for Akiara – she has been seen, and briefly captured, but escaped. The four slowly emerge from the darkness; one to reprimand him – Aki’s mother, Reh. Another to maintain order among the four Elders – Matthias. And two others, Joseph and Janine. Each heads one of the four clans of the Kenakobe tribe: Wolf, Snake, Owl, and Dragonfly. They mention that Akiara will soon turn 18, and they must recover her and her sword before that date, since she can’t become part of something called the ‘Kiara Order’ after she turns 18. With approximately five months before her eighteenth birthday, they decide to send Zavier to the city to find her, personally. Zavier returns to his room to plan for his mission, and is interrupted briefly by his friend, Eric. Eric expresses worry for his friend, since the city is notoriously dangerous. Zavier quickly gets annoyed and suggests that the reason he’s more respected among the tribal elders is because he can coldly and heartlessly carry out orders. Eric recoils in discomfort and leaves.
Zavier collects weaponry and packs his gear to leave, when he is met by a returning scout named Jobar, dressed in black robes. Jobar explains that he managed to follow Akiara all the way into the city of Metro, but had to turn back for help when it appeared that she had “summoned an angel and a beast.” Zavier is again frustrated with the apparent incompetence of his tribemates, and continues on his way, muttering furiously to himself. Suddenly, Nekos appears, mentioning that he felt Zavier’s anger from a great distance. He snaps his fingers, becoming invisible, and follows Zavier, hoping to find out more about what is going on.
Zavier continues ranting to himself (or so he thinks) about Akiara being a traitor and how she’s unfit to join the Order of Kiara. Nekos recalls his relationship with Kiara Kena in a sudden flashback, and his determination to find out what the Order is is only fueled by this frustration. In one last burst of fury, he lunges at Zavier over his campfire and disappears. Zavier, having seen nothing, goes to sleep for the night.
Aki catches her breath after the confrontation with the strange robed figure, and turns around to realize that it wasn’t just her sword that scared him off: Luke and Finnegan happened to be hiding out in the very same alley. Luke and Aki have a brief but emotional reunion, and then introduce Finnegan. At first, Aki and Finnegan are unable to communicate verbally, because humans and Chios apparently do not speak the same language. However, Luke resolves the problem, by acting as a “translator” between the two – his Messenger abilities allow him to take control over part of Aki’s mind. When he does, a glowing “halo” rings Aki’s head to signify this change.
Finnegan explains his dilemma; his sister disappeared a few days ago, and they haven’t seen her since. Afraid to explore the city ruins on his own, Finnegan and Aki decide to team up and search for her. Finn leads Aki as far as the building where Eldora vanished, and then the two enter it together. They split up briefly, but Aki quickly encounters a hallway where her presence trips a sensor and opens a laboratory door. She calls Finn over, and inside they find Eldora and another Chio, who turns out to be Eldora and Finnegan’s mother, albeit slightly different than they remember her.
Their reunion is happy but is quickly shortened when a grenade is tossed into the room, and detonates. Finnegan leaps through the flames in time to get outside with Akiara and Luke, but quickly realizes that his eardrums have burst from the sound and his proximity to the blast. He can only stare in horror at the burning building in front of them. Aki urges Luke to do something, so he transforms into his more “lightweight” invisible form and zips inside to search in the burning wreckage. He finds Eldora’s doll, Icy, and mentions that he can still sense her presence — but can’t seem to find her.
Our Narrator begins to discuss the meaning of all that’s happened in the story to this point, and the chapter comes to a close with Luke, Akiara, and Finnegan in a dark place as Aki writes down the last few words of the chapter in her notebook.