Secret of the Gods
Often she'd lay awake trying to work through the tangled web that was her memories. Tugging and pulling, digging for what she could not find. She didn't know how she'd lost herself, couldn't remember anything before this place of mist and shadows. She had no inkling as to how long she'd wandered there looking for something...someone. The fog crawled along her pale skin like a living thing, cool and clammy, there was no wind. In and out of the mists seemed to dance haunting wraith-like things, gone so fast she wasn't sure they'd ever existed.
She couldn't remember how she'd gotten here, couldn't remember anything but this place where the sun never rose and three moons drifted in the sky. Her breath came out as crystals in the cold air and the grass tickled along her bare skin. She remembered wandering in this world until she'd finally collapsed, but there was no sense of time. How long had she been here? Where was here? These things seemed right there within her mind ready to be understood but when she grasped for them they slipped through her hands like water.
The only thing she had was a name that was not her own, Asha. The clouds drifted until the moons shown in the sky, and for just a moment the mist parted. On the edge of a cliff sat a white barked tree with pale green leaves that seemed to glow with the moons light. Silver flowers nestled between two leaves, and the tree swayed as though beckoning though no wind danced in its branches.
Confusion made itself known to her numb mind and she sat up. That tree... Where had it come from? It hadn't been there before. She got to her feet and padded towards it. Where there had been no sounds before other than her feet in the grass the beings that were and were not within the mist seemed now to whisper among themselves. The tree stopped swaying as though waiting for her. She neared it and reached out to touch it.
"Aya," the voice was aloud and not in her mind, soft and barely audible, yet she recognized the name, and she froze inches from touching the trees cool, smooth bark. This world did not permit speech by mouth but whoever had just spoken had done so despite his surroundings. A hand touched her shoulder, physical contact after years of being alone. She gasped and whirled to face...nothing. There was a sense of terrible loss and terrible sorrow and then she was falling, falling fast.
~*~ Now ~*~
Dark blue-grey eyes snapped opened on a room dimly lit by fire's light. A pale hand pressed against a pale forehead touching white-blond hair that seemed to catch the moonlight in silvery threads and cascade around thin shoulders. Panting Fallyn sat bolt upright her slender body trembling from head to foot in a cold sweat. That dream, she'd had it so many times in the past year. So many times she'd wandered in that world alone only to forget come morning, but this time was different. She remembered every detail, she'd felt herself die.
She closed her eyes trying to banish the memory and instead a cruelly handsome face with wounded angry golden eyes and black hair flashed through her mind. She jerked her eyes open with a cry half expecting to see HIM there. The room was empty, but for the first time in a long time she used her power to light the candle by her bed. The fire's golden light seeming to dance with the silver of the moon in her hair as she trembled and wrapped her arms around herself not understanding how she knew the name of the man those eyes belonged to... if you could even call him a man. "Malick..."
So many names... all of them so very familiar. As she watched the flame dance her mind moved back... Back to a time when Sieran had been full of life and laughter, back to before it had went from being her home to her prison. The ruins were all that was left now of her life before and the events that had brought around its desertion had happened over a hundred years ago. Once Verrin, the old scribe, had told her that their kind aged much more slowly than the mortals outside the mist. Now, she wished it was not so. Remembering Verrin brought a smile to her face despite the grim thoughts that had brought the remembrance about. "Verrin," she whispered to the darkness, "I'm sorry I didn't get to tell you how much you meant to me..." Teacher and father, she missed him more than anyone else she'd lost.
The misty swamp was calm with occasional gentle sounds of a bird or the gurgling from contact with the muddy banks of a small island. A small wooden boat silently cut its way through the mist and water barely disturbing it as the craft maneuvered its way up to the small wooden platform which acted as a dock to the island. This path cut across the muck leading to a small shack where the clinging mist seemed to fade around to be replaced with the strong scent of herbs and fire from within the hut leaving a grayish smoke hanging over the structure. The owner of the hut was an old mystic of sorts who helped any who came to him in whatever way he could, this was what the now elderly man had chosen as his path in life. The young man, somewhat pale but muscular and tall wearing lizard skin clothing, piloting the boat that had just arrived on the island had what he thought might be a curiosity to such a man and as he stood to tie the boat to the dock he looked back at his passenger, a young woman about his age more or less, who he found lying in the wet mud and swamp grass next to a large tree. She would not rouse no matter the shaking or speaking but still breathed even if she felt cold and clammy as if she were dead.
So strange are the symptoms but I can only hope the mystic might have an answer to this.
The young man lifted the woman up after securing the boat so as to bring her to the hut. The path creaked underfoot as he navigated his way to the entrance of the hut poking a head into the door before pulling it back out momentarily being unprepared for the potency of the herbal smell coming from what he saw was a large cast iron cauldron.
"Come in Lenron, you should know you are welcome by now and your guest as well." The elder man spoke with a wispy voice that had a warmth to it like a grandfather talking to his grandchildren.
He was slightly hunched with deep wrinkles in his face and on his old but strong hands, he wore similar clothing to the younger man but thicker as he needed the extra protection from the damp.
"I thought you might have had business already judging by the scent of your concoction, Tijet." Lenron said in return with a strong but overall subtle voice.
Tijet waved a dismissive hand at the remark but had a humorous glimmer in his eyes from his young friend's joke about the smell. He urged Jenron over to a small cot near the fire where he placed the young woman to allow the older man to examine her. He often helped in healing the denizens of the swamps who came to him among many things and he seemed the logical choice for such a strange occasion with his background and age.
"There are two things that strike me beyond the strange sleep, there appears to be a black hand mark on her left shoulder and there are other marks I do not recognize," Tijet said with a perplexed look but he still was thinking," Jenron...have you been having strange dreams?"
"In a sense, they were not unlike the swamps as if being lost inside the mist without knowing where I was." Jenron said uncertain where this was going.
Tijet walked over to the cauldron and grabbed the stem of a dark leafed spiny herb and dropped into the mix. It brought into vision what looked like a flickering candle before showing the tree Jenron found the woman under and then indistinct but bright, golden orbs.
"I only recognize the tree, do you know what the other images mean?" Jenron asked anxiously after watching the images.
"I sensed strong magic in the first two images, but last fills me with concern of sorts though unclear," Tijet said with a rather dark expression," You should sleep young friend, allow me to try and help this young woman otherwise I will think of something in the mean time."
With the suggestion of sleep the younger man went to a cot in a separate room with another cot falling into sleep in short order. Tijet moved to look outside and stared out into the mist seeing shifts of wind moving through the white.
A change is coming for better or worse.
She pinched the bridge of her nose and then tensed, something outside had shifted. She stood and moved to the door of her hut and pushed it open. Outside was a desolate city, long since abandoned... what was left of Sieran and its crumbling ruins. She was the only one left.. except that now she wasn't alone. The mists that encompassed the city shivered and writhed before parting in the distance... Fallyn stepped outside and neared the breach only to spot a stranger, a living person standing with eyes closed as if he were dazed or only just awakening from a deep sleep. He wore lizard skin clothing and was young... no older than she appeared. She frowned, "Hello?" She almost suspected that she had finally lost her mind, no one ever came in or out of the mists... not since long long ago.
Suddenly, she felt as if all of this were unreal somehow.... as if none of it were really happening. As if she were caught in a dream and as if to confirm it... she began to smell herbs, only slightly but enough to confuse her. Something else seemed off as well, and as she looked up she realized there were still three moons... There was only one moon in Sieran, had she ever woken up? Panic began to stir inside her and she called out to the stranger again, trying to wake him and desperate not to slip back into that place where she forgot and died over and over. "Hello?! Please, are you really there?"
Last edited by Nephriel; 08-01-2013 at 09:39 PM.
Scaley Reptilian Warlord
Jenron's mind slowly slipped into the strange mists he was cloaked in the first time but it felt different this time. There was movement to this dream and while his vision of it faded he felt the as if he was floating in a purposeful direction through the whiteness. The image of the candle shone in his mind brightly again until he felt himself stop and it exploded seeming to match the sun in brightness. His eyes shot open causing him a start when he noticed he was not only standing somewhere he had no recollection of but also not alone as his being real was in question, this felt much different from a dream because he had never felt his surroundings in one. It took a moment to collect himself before he met the eyes of the woman in front of him which at first prevented him from speaking because compared to himself she had a look to her he could not find the words to describe.
"I...I am not sure. All there was were mists, movement, candle light, and now you." Jenron said feeling muddled with confusion at his situation.
This place felt dead as if no life had been here for a very long time except this woman who appeared not unlike him. He almost felt as if he were in more than one place at once or simply in between what he knew and what actually was. It was the sort of place that made the young villager feel both at home and unwelcome at once leaving him in a sort of awe while he temporarily broke contact to scan his surroundings.
"This place...it seems almost familiar as if I have known of it but not until this moment has it occurred to me." Jenron said before returning eye contact.
All of this was more confusing than most could imagine in the duality of the place and time. He moved one hand to the side of his head as if trying to keep it supported because he felt a great weight being added to what was already there.
At his response her world rippled as if disturbed by their conversation, as if becoming aware that they were awakening at last... they were not supposed to meet. The mist was never to be breached. "I don't know how I got here... It's been so long..." No, she did know how she had gotten here but how long had she been here without realizing that she'd never truly awakened the night that her life had been stolen from her in front of that tomb... the tree... was it a tomb or the tree? Her memories were so confused, had she been here just this once or many times? She couldn't think straight, but none of that mattered because there was someone HERE with her. Now that she heard his voice she knew she had heard it before, but she knew not from where. The smell of herbs was growing stronger as the whispers in the mists grew louder, she knew something was closing in and that her chance at escape was waning fast like the three moons in the sky which were now slowly darkening. Once they were gone she had a feeling that so too would her chance to escape disappear.
She saw something move in the mist behind him and caught his hand yanking him forward away from it just as a misty hand reached out to grab him. It turned back to mist when it closed on nothing, but the moment she'd touched him an electric shock had run through her. The pain in her shoulder that she hadn't noticed till now was suddenly mind-numbingly agonizing. It went from a dull ache to a blinding torment and stole the air from her lungs, and she quickly yanked her hand away and it vanished as quickly as it had come... but through the agony she'd heard things. The sound of an old man's voice calling out a name as if trying to wake them as the smell of herbal remedies had grown so intense it was stifling... as if she were there instead of here. "There isn't much time to explain, if we don't escape now I'll be stuck here again until those three moons form once more and I don't know how long it will be or even how I know that... I don't know if you'll be trapped here as well or simply expelled, I don't know how you found your way here to begin with but please... I need your help..."
The shadows twisted more actively now inside the mists and she knew time was running short.
Last edited by Nephriel; 08-08-2013 at 03:03 AM.
Lord-High Everything Else
The mists had only become thicker as he proceeded, as had the sense of foreboding, the warning that the animated, almost sentient, smoky shapes swirled around him. Still, he proceeded, unwavering and unbothered. He seemed different.
Was he Charon, ferrying the river Styx? He was a hunched and elderly man, clad in a brown robe and a massive black cloak lined with a thick black fur. On the top of his head, a leather hood was tied over his wiry grey hair. Bony fingers with talon like fingernails held the pole that he used to drive his canoe through the swamp. He was an elderly and solemn looking individual, but he was no servant of the afterlife; his expression was of determination. He seemed different.
It was almost as if he had been quietly cruising through the mists for hours. As discernible shapes began to take form in front of him, he took pause, and then moved toward them at a renewed faster pace. It was a hut of some kind. Two people were visible near it... a man and a woman? The elderly man maneuverer his canoe into their site and tied it to a lichen-clad tree nearby, where he stepped onto the shore and placed the pole, of which he had used to push his canoe along the swamp, down across the canoe itself, before retrieving a dry walking stick that went up to his armpits. Satisfied that his vessel was secured, he turned to the pair he had spotted and moved towards them with a slow, but still strong looking stride. His expression remained determined and gruff, spiting the mists that protested around him. The mists were treating him differently, it seemed.
Once the elderly man had strode up to the pair, he lay both palms over the top of his walking stick and leaned on it, studying them both in turn with a thin-eyed glare. He had stood in silence for a while as he studied and puzzled, a glint of recognition showing through his stony expression for a moment as he looked at the woman's face. Soon, the man broke the silence. He raised one hand in the direction of the younger man, pointing at him with the long fingernail on his gaunt index finger. "You... boy..." His voice was croaky at first, as if he hadn't spoken for a long time, "You were not spoken of." His head turned slightly in suspicion, "What is your name?"
Scaley Reptilian Warlord
Jenron listened intently to the woman as she had given him something to focus on and it diverted his mind from the influx of realization. The desperation that rang in over the similar confusion was enough to tug at heart strings and the sudden yank forward had startled him but whatever had been behind him was gone before he even managed a glance backwards. However he noticed a great many things moving in the mist but also the mist closing in like a slow moving being in its own right as well as when he returned his gaze back that the touch had caused agonizing pain for only a moment. This was a disturbing realization when she brought up that only a short time in he might be trapped here or pushed back, but her being stuck here seemed like a fate far worse than death and he couldn't leave someone to it as only that sort of cruelness lay beyond his homeland.
"I will find a way to get us both out, no one should be stuck in this place." Jenron said with urgency as he tried to think of the solution in the brief window he was given.
He had turned his gaze to the side only to realize the old man in furs and a hood stood there staring at them in turn. When the old man pointed at him it reminded him a bit of Tijet when he was angry or in need of something very quickly.
"Jenron is my name. As much as I would enjoy speaking an exit must be made from this place elder." He said as his mind began to quickly think of what led up to this situation and how it was now.
I can feel the ground below me and yet I can still smell the herbs in Tijet's hut. This means something! Maybe this is where these two places meet closest to one another and if that is the case...
Jenron closed his eyes again started to form a picture in his mind of a lantern in his right hand as well as a small box of powerful smelling salts in his left. If it worked he might secure them a few more seconds from the mist and then possibly a way out of this place.
Fallyn was taken aback when another presence emerged from the mists, an old man who looked familiar in some way. He reminded her of the council elder who had commanded her death and yet... he reminded her of Verrin as well... and so many others. So many lives now danced within her memory except that when she tried to recall them specifically the meshed together so it was impossible to tell which life was which, which role which face had played. She was certain that they were not meant to ever meet again, that they'd all been thrown apart across time and the planes for a reason that she'd once known. How was it that after what seemed hundreds of years, only now were others able to breach the mists to enter this place... her special prison. It was the moons, she knew that much, but they came and waned so many times before with nothing more than a whisper of another presence that was always gone so quickly she was left with nothing. Someone had to be doing this... strengthening the weakness born during this time so that they could reach each other... but if they didn't hurry then whatever reason that someone had would no longer matter.
"When I touched you.... It hurt, like I was dying here, but it felt as if I were waking up somewhere else."
She turned to the old man, would he try to stop her from escaping? Was that his role in this life... if a life is what this was. It seemed more of a between, a waiting place... Limbo. "Will you try to stop us?" Somewhere deep inside her magic stirred and her stormy grey-blue eyes were briefly illuminated with gold, as if by some inner fire. "I won't stay here any longer...."
Last edited by Nephriel; 08-08-2013 at 03:03 AM.
Lord-High Everything Else
Gravelly mumblings emanated from the old man as he scratched his nose and listened to them both. Jenron was not a name he reckognised, at least not at that time, but the boy had an aura about him, a promise in his eyes in absence of anything else. The last comment by the woman silenced the old man and caused him to stay still. "Hmph, so it is true." The old man started, "Fallyn of Sieran, you were but a child the last I saw of you. The last I heard, you had been killed... it seems my brother knows mercy after all. Or" -the old man gestured to the moons above- "Someone thought to protect you here, ere the moons only allow passage to this place to those they can see. Interesting... very interesting..."
The old man looked over to the mists again, as if he heard something, then back to the pair, "Ah, but where are my courtesies?" he smiled and bowed, "I am known as Halbard, son of Alfdert, and enemy of my brother Ulfenard. You may better know Ulfenard as the harbinger of your homeland's downfall, though there was more to it than just him." He rose, opened his hand and placed it over his heart, "I am not here to stop you, you needn't face me in a challenge of magic as you have in your eyes. But-" He lowered his head slightly and looked up at them both, "-if you yet live, then the legends of this place ring true, but not for the reasons I had anticipated..." Halbard pulled back his head and chuckled for a moment, and then leveled it to continued "I suppose a desire to find a means to destroy my brother could be interpreted and answered any number of ways, I daresay I revere the wisdom of this place, despite it's... misgivings..." Halbard's smile lowered as he turned his attention to Jenron, "Young Jenron, this hut, it belongs to Tijet, the Apothecary, does it not? Then his message was true. He is still loyal..."
Halbard proceeded to produce a small scroll of paper and a knife from pockets inside his sleeves, then secured the paper to wall of the hut by stabbing it through with the knife. Halbard stepped back and looked at the paper for a moment. Suddenly, the originally blank sheet rippled for a moment, then revealed a sequence of strange runes. The old man's mouth moved as he read them to himself, and when he stopped reading, he turned and proceeded back to his canoe. "Come then... if both of you wish for your desires to leave to be granted, then do not let this opportunity slip through your fingers. Unless you wish to wait for another cycle in this bog." Halbard lowered his walking stick into the canoe and stepped onto the craft, disturbing the still waters below. He looked back at the pair as he untied the rope that secured the canoe and held onto the tree so as not to drift away. "Even if you wait, I may not be here to guide you out. Few enough know how. Come aboard."
Again, the mists whirled in protest at Halbard's presence, but the mist dared not touch him. It was as if the mists directly around him were in conflict with themselves. It could be described as a bubble that held a mosaic of a battle. Indeed, the man's entire demeanor had changed since he identified Fallyn. There was now a new direction to be going.
Scaley Reptilian Warlord
Jenron was unsuccessful in his attempt to bring something over and before he opened his eyes the image of the orbs flashed again surprising him when he looked to woman again to see that her eyes glowed in the same manner with a certain power. He listened to the old man who named the woman as Fallyn, he would remember it, as well as naming the glow in Fallyn's eyes as magic which he couldn't think of at the time. As the old man began to speak again, Halbard being his name, Jenron lost most of the panic that was with trying to find a way to escape and the elder man's talk of himself along with the places around him made it interesting to the young villager. When Halbard roused the subject of Tijet still being loyal he was a bit confused at it and his actions didn't quite register in his mind in anyway that made sense so he let it go.
This has taken a turn for the stranger though it was to begin with.
When Halbard offered to guide them out of this place on his boat Jenron noticed how the mists seemed unable to get close to him and he felt safe enough to follow the old man out of here and back to Tijet.
"Fallyn...I feel we have no better choice in this, let us leave here with Halbard." Jenron said gently but with a slight urgency below it.
He walked a bit ahead and turned back to her to wait until she went forward to the boat first, a little courtesy was the least he could do at this point.
Fallyn frowned, the veil between this realm and the other was thin and so she assumed that Halbard could see through to the other side clearly because the hut was hers... and yet inside it she smelled the herbs of the old man's apothecary. If they were to slip out of this place in this manner she would be leaving her body behind, as would Jenron because their bodies lay within the hut on the other side of the veil while their spirits roamed this plane... It was not a place of the living and thus the reason why the man's presence and his ability to move within and without them so easily was disturbing.
She watched as he stepped into the boat and there was a moment of indecision, especially as she watched the flash of recognition in Jenron's eyes when her own flared to life... He seemed so very very familiar and she hoped, dearly, that it wasn't for the reason she imagined. As Jenron spoke she nodded and then turned back to Halbard, "I do remember him, and not fondly though I assumed him dead, but we're running short on time. The moons still wane..." She glanced again anxiously at Jenron and then stepped into the boat waiting for him to do the same. The moment he did so and the boat moved out towards the mist a deep lethargy began settling over her and probably Jenron as well... There was no pain involved in this manner of escape but the effect was the same. The further they moved into the mists the further she fell away from this world and the closer she came to the other... Until at last she woke with a start coughing and gagging in a hut that smelled of herbs, shaking in a cold sweat and unable to remember what she'd been dreaming about.
She shivered and looked about in confusion. She didn't know where she was and her shoulder tingled and itched... There seemed to be some form of herbal paste on it because when she reached back to touch it her fingers came away covered in green sludge of some sort. She frowned and then spotted Jenron and some of the dream came back to her, though it was nothing more than names and faces. She didn't remember anything they'd discussed... Where had Halbard gone? He'd been ferrying them through the mists, getting them out... and now here she was alive and out of that misty prison and there was Jenron... but where had Halbard gone? Was he still moving through the mists in the boat, just in this world this time? Or had it really simply been a dream? She spotted the old man, Tijet, watching her and finally spoke with a tongue that felt thick and clumsy from lack of use. "Where am I?"
Last edited by Nephriel; 08-08-2013 at 03:04 AM.
Lord-High Everything Else
More mists. They were dominating everything. They were becoming bright. He knew he had to keep rowing if he was to escape. Don't fall just yet. Keep rowing. Keep the mists at bay. Keep rowing. Keep rowing. The bright mists were blinding now. He closed his eyes. Keep rowing...
His eyes flashed open again, the sky greeted him warmly. Instinct took him over again and he started to breathe. Slowly, after remembering that he had lungs, he discovered his mouth, his nose, his ears, his shoulders. Everything eventually came back to him, though his arms and legs took longer as they had become numb. Once he had resumed his position in this world, he sat upright.
Halbard still saw mists, but this was the swampy place that he had fallen asleep in, the boat he had tied to the edge of a mangrove, not the foggy limbo of the afterlife. The old man pressed at his temples as the dream came back to him. The hint to try to perform a sťance was a small glint in his mind, nothing more. He took the signal on board and he had thought there was something on the other side with an answer this time. Instead, he had found a couple of people in there, living people, not dead spirits, strange creatures, or the answer he was expecting. People. And not just any people, but one of them was a means to the end. It was almost tremendous luck that the moons had allowed him to bring them back into the living world, that the moons were at their fullest at this time. He could not believe it to be anything short of an answer to his prayers.
The other one, Jenron, his purpose escaped Halbard. No doubt that he was as heavily entangled in the situation as Fallyn was, but to do what, he could not say. Was he coincidentally close to death at the time, or was the part he would play an fateful one? Halbard would try to find him as well.
They would have to be nearby, their return from the afterlife still hung heavily in the world's threads. Halbard stood up carefully on his boat, a wooden dingy that was less slender than the canoe he used to navigate through the veil, but no less reliable. Standing and keeping his balance, Halbard extended his hand and faced his palm to the distance, his eyes closed as he tried to pinpoint where they could be. He changed the direction of his palm as narrowed down where they had returned. Eventually, another direction was found. Halbard sat back down and rowed for a few minutes until he came across a larger hut with a wooden jetty. A couple of other boats were moored at the platform where Halbard tied his dingy up. It was only then that he realised that the fast and eager rowing had caused him to lose his breath; he was not so fit as when he was younger. He then stepped onto the jetty, taking his walking stick with him, and walked up to the door. The smell was unmistakable, "Apothecary's hut," he mumbled.
Still breathing heavily to catch his breath, Halbard knocked on the door three times with one end of his walking stick.