Weaving Moonlight

The first in the Tales of Terrahgonia series.
Lux Robertson has a destiny.
Prince Stefan wishes to shape his own.
Jamie Cooper just wants to belong.
What do these three teens have in common? They all have a legacy to uphold. But to do this means braving a war against the tyrannical false queen of Terrahgoina, a mystical land long ago forgotten by mortals. But with hidden secrets and traitors in their midst, they may not survive to save the kingdom.

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12. Rebirth

Author's Note: I know it's been a long time since I've updated, but I promise I'll try to update more frequently. Most times though it feels like no one is even reading this. So if you're out there, please read & review. Show some love. Jamie is going through a hard time right now.

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Jamie wasn’t sure how long he lay there on his bed. Although he had regained autonomy the strange being remained ever present. It was a parasite, living within him. The shadow creature had not been particularly forthcoming about its plans and this was causing Jamie to get worried. It was only a matter of time until Yolanda realised that her phoenix feather was missing.

            Gazing out of the window, he saw that moonlight still seeped into the room. How could it possibly be the same night when it felt as though so many hours had passed?

 A figure materialised before him. Once again, it appeared to be nothing but a silhouette. A walking, talking, three-dimensional silhouette of a man.

“I hope you have replenished your strength, young Guardian,” it stated. “For you will need it in order to perform this ritual for me.”

“What makes you think I will do anything for you?” Jamie asked. He was sick of people using him. Terrahgonia had once been a safe haven for him, but now it wrought nothing but misery and pain.

“Because I can give you what you want. I can give you back your father the way he was before.”

Jamie’s heart skipped a beat. “You possess such a power?”

“Indeed I do. But only if you do me this favour.”

Jamie pursed his lips. This stranger could not be trusted— that much was clear. But if there was a small chance that he could turn his father back… But who was to say that he even could? This shadow creature would surely do or saw whatever it needed to in order to get what he wanted.

“I don’t trust you,” Jamie stated.

“I can’t say that I blame you. So how about you allow me to show you what I am capable of? Your father was cursed to remain a wolf.” This made Jamie think back to the last time he had seen his father, when he had discovered this startling revelation. If this was true then all those years he had suffered from feeling rejected may not have been his father’s fault. “I will change him back for a short period of time so that you may speak with him. Once you are done, I shall revert his form into that of a wolf. I will lift his curse permanently for you if you relieve me of mine. Does that sound fair?”

“I suppose.”

“Then let us be on our way.”

“Wait,” Jamie requested. But the shadow creature did nothing of the sort, instead encircling Jamie in its shadowy vines.

 

Jamie found himself sprawled on a rock, surrounded by water under the moonlit sky. Cold air bit at his exposed flesh. He cursed under his breath not having worn a shirt to bed. He stood up and scanned area. The silver moon was beautifully reflected in the serene lake. Insects chirped noisily in the early morning, whilst owls hooted further off into the distance.

 The rock he stood on was isolated from the few others scattered around nearer to the edge of the lake. He thought he could perhaps he could swim his way back. Jamie dipped his hand into the icy cold lake and sharply withdrew it when he was bitten. A little fish was attached to his index finger. Despite its small size, it had a vicious glint in Ruby eyes promised the horror it would unleash on Jamie’s favourite to get stop.

            A plume of obsidian energy blasted the vile creature and disgusting fish guts sprayed across Jamie’s chest.

            “Didn’t anyone tell you not to feed the fish?” The shadow creature asked.

            “As if I wanted to be fish food! Didn’t anyone tell you it wasn’t polite to teleport anyone without their consent?”

            “Perhaps once before, but I’m not certain. You are wasting valuable time with your questioning.”

            Jamie wanted to protest but he saw no point in it. “So what is it that you want from me exactly, and why does it require the Phoenix feather?”

            “I suppose there is no avoiding this explanation,” it sighed. “I will try to keep it short.”

            “I was once a very powerful creature— whatever it is that I was, I know not. Somehow this power was taken from me. I want it back.” There was a steely determination that resonated in the creature’s voice. It was so eerily like Stefan’s; Jamie couldn’t help shiver a little.

            “So this is some sort of revenge mission?” Jamie asked.

            “Revenge can be seen as such a negative word. I prefer to think of it as justice. I am the shadow of my former self. It is as I told you: I want to be whole again. This ritual can reawaken what I lost. It is a ritual of rebirth.”

            “Hence the phoenix feather?” Jamie said.

            “Precisely.”

            “So where do I come into this equation?”

            “You shall be my spell-caster. You alone can break the bonds of my curse.”

            “Why me?”

            “You have enough of the light in you to activate the phoenix feather, and enough of the darkness to tap into my power without destroying yourself.”

            The thought of possibly destroying himself by failing the ritual terrified Jamie but he had to have faith in his magic.

            “So what do you want me to do?”

 

After the shadow creature had explained everything, Jamie had been so close to backing out. He was sure the creature could sense the fear radiating from him. He sat on the rock, covered by what seemed to be a blanked weaved from shadows. He had expected it to be cold but although it was feather light, it proved to be an effective insulator.

            Jamie was waiting for the creature to bring him his father so that he could make sure that it upheld to its end of the bargain. Seeing his father again would be a bittersweet experience. He wasn’t sure whether he wanted to hug or slap his father. Perhaps he would do both.

            When Jamie heard the howl, a shiver went up his spine. His father was here. He scanned his gaze across the lake until he saw the large, lone wolf. In an instant, the shadow took form in front of him and grasped Jamie in its shadowy coil.

            “Relax,” it said. “I am taking you across to meet with him.” Jamie was engulfed by the shadows within moments.

When his sight was clear, he found himself at the edge of the lake, facing a large golden wolf. It stared at him earnestly, its blue eyes gazing at him with a torrent of emotions it could not express.

“I will change you back now so that you may speak to one another,” the creature explained to Jamie’s father. “Relax and do not fight my magic.”

The creature dispersed itself into what appeared to be tentacles, enveloping itself around the wolf. Although Jamie’s father appeared calm and composed to begin with, he soon began to growl fiercely.

“Dad. Dad, calm down. It— he — whatever, it wants to help you. Just calm down for a moment. Please, for me.”

“How touching,” the shadow creature mocked. When it saw that the wolf had given up its control— its head bowed, submitting itself to its fate— it encased it. Jamie’s father gave a whimper, and for a moment, he feared the worst. Time dragged on, painfully long, but Jamie’s father remained a prisoner to the darkness.

Many moments later, the shadows receded sand Jamie came face to face with his father.

“Dad?” He couldn’t believe the sight exposed in front of him. It had to be a mirage, or some form of trickery.

“Jamie!” His dad exclaimed. Before Jamie could react, he was trapped within his father’s arms. “I have missed you so much.”

There was no way this could have been an illusion. He could not have imagined this kind of happiness from his dad. He looked just as he had that day when Jamie had protected the wolves from the hunters. The main difference was that his clothes was replaced with a cloak of shadows.

 The memory stung. He had been so close to being with his father again, yet so far away. Yet here he stood with bright, excited blue eyes and an ecstatic smile. His tousled blonde hair was much longer than he normally kept it, and Jamie was surprised that he had not seemed to age since the day he had walked out of his life.

“I like what you’ve done with you hair,” Jamie teased. “All you need are some ribbons,” his dad replied. Jamie’s smile wavered. “How is you mother?”

“She’s fine,” said flatly. “She’s moved on— remarried, even.”

“Oh. Of course. I’m pleased to hear that. She deserves happiness.”

The black mist surrounding them began to take shape and soon the shadow creature stood before them.

“Whilst I am touched by this lovely father-son reunion, I believe that there is some business to attend to.”

Jamie ignored the creature and gazed at his father.

“I appreciate what this creature has done for me and what you are trying to do for me, Jamie. But please do not trust him. I fear that this creature may not be all that it appears to be.” Leon Cooper had always seemed like free-spirited type of person, often throwing caution to the wind. It was a trait that had often gotten him in trouble with Jamie’s mother. Many years as a wolf had seemed to change him.

“Your father is right, of course,” the creature purred. “You do not know me. You could not possibly fathom my true intentions. But neither do you have a choice.”

“There is always a choice,” Jamie stated.

“Indeed,” Leon agreed.

“Perhaps, perhaps not. But if the boy does not agree to help me then I will ensure that you forever remain a wolf.” The creature’s threat loomed over Jamie, causing his heart to ache. He could not allow his father to suffer such a fate.

“How is it that you can lift my curse, might I ask?” Leon said. “You would have to… You! You cursed me!”

The shadow creature merely laughed. It was a cold, cruel and grating laugh like shattered glass.

“Is that so?” It challenged. “Perhaps I should show you the true face of the accuser.”

The shadows seemed to melt away, giving way to flesh. The face of the prince stood in its place, with shadow robes clothing the body. “Do you recognise this face?”

Leon lunged towards the creature, but it dissipated before he could strike it.

“I’m not the one you want. I’m not the one who entrapped you within the shape of a wolf in Terrahgonia, thereby separating you from your son. But I can off you retribution if this is what you seek. All you have to do is free me.”

“Like hell we do!” Leon fumed. “Revenge will solve nothing.”

“Then why did you attempt to attack me?”

“Look, I don’t know what you are, but you are trying to incite hatred within me. You’re bad news and I want rid of you.”

“Dad, he’s your only way chance to be human again,” Jamie pleaded. “Do you want to be a wolf forever?”

“Of course not, but I don’t think I ever truly became a man until I became a wolf.”

“Enough!” The creature roared. It took its original shadowy form. “This is me and the Guardian. Moon Guardian, will you willingly assist me in my endeavours?”

“Prince Stefan ruined my life.” Jamie’s voice was envenomed with pure loathing. “I will return the favour.”

“Prince Stefan didn’t curse me. It was my own fault. I had… I had a fall out with the Guardian of Light and…”

“The Guardian of Light did that to you?”

“Yes and no. It’s complicated. Stefan got involved and –”

“So he did do it. I will yet have my vengeance.”

“Honestly, are you hearing yourself, son?”

Jamie shrugged his shoulders. “I heard it in a film. I’ve always wanted to say it. In any case, revenge or not, this is the only way to turn you have. I know what I have to do.”

There would be no changing his mind now. He was a stubborn boy and that might never change.

“Please, James, hear me out.”

“I have had quite enough of you, elder Guardian,” the shadow creature stated. “Your time as Guardian is up and so you are useless to me.”

Leon’s cloak seemed to take a life of its own, wrapping itself tightly around him. It began to cover his face as he hurled threats and insults at the creature. Jamie hated seeing his father so vulnerable and afraid. The last thing he saw before he was utterly submerged by the shadows were his father’s pleading blue eyes. Don’t do it, they said. How could he expect that from him? Jamie was doing it for him— for them.

When the shadows receded, a golden wolf stood in his father’s place.

“Now, shall we get down to business?”

Jamie stared at his father for a few moments, who gazed back at him with those eerie eyes. Then to the disappointment of his father, he nodded.

“Good. You are to wait here, elder Guardian. This should not take too long but your son will be in need of your assistance afterwards.” The wolf raised his snout in what appeared to be a nod. “I am going to transport you now, Guardian.”

 

Jamie found himself on the rock once more. This was it. He was going to unleash great power.

            “I want you to swear an oath to me,” Jamie demanded. “Swear that you will turn my father back into a man when I have broken your curse.”

            The shadow creature scoffed. “You do not trust me?” Jamie only glared at it. “Then you are wise. I swear upon the River Styx that I will turn your father back into a man if you break my curse. Are you satisfied?” The air around them became suddenly chilly. Jamie nodded grimly. “Then please, the feather?”

            Jamie held his hand together, outstretched and concentrated. Nothing happened.

            “A little help here?” he asked.

            “One moment.”

            The creature stretched out its arm, and a tentacle of shadows approached Jamie. It wrapped itself around his wrists. Jamie felt as though a bit of his essence was being taken, but the feather did indeed begin to appear. The bright hues were much to gaze at the feather directly at first, but they began to fade slightly as the shadows entwined itself around it. Jamie’s shadow blanket disappeared and the cold bit at him. The creature came closer and instructed him to kneel.

            “I am entrusting you with my True Name, James Cooper. But first you must retrieve it. It has been lost to me for centuries and for this reason I am never to be whole,” it explained. “Ask the moon. If she does not comply, then we must use the other method. Relax yourself. Meditate.”

            The creature adjusted his position so that he sat in a casual manner, legs crossed with his eyes closed. He now knew that the entity he had dreamed of was somehow the moon and that she possessed secrets that would be able to free this creature.

            “And I swear, if you attempt to betray me, I will sever your body from you soul and engulf you in perpetual darkness,” he hissed. “Do I make myself clear?”

            “Crystal.” Jamie said, shuddering.

            “Now concentrate.”

            It was far from easy. The creature’s threat hung over his head like a bomb waiting to be dropped. A part of him wanted to back out but it was far too late for that. He sat there for quite some time, waiting for a sign. None came.

            “This is pointless.”

            “You are not trying hard enough!” The creature snarled. “Keep trying. The other method is far more dangerous. I need you sane to perform the ritual.”

            Jamie sighed, but closed his eyes again.

            I know you’re out there, moon goddess, or whatever you are. Speak to me, Jamie thought. He waited. And waited.

            “This path you have ventured is a dangerous one,” a familiar eerie voice called out. It was bring like moonlight but with the ferocity of the sun. “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.”

            Jamie snapped his eyes open.

            “What happened?” the creature asked.

            “She spoke to me?” Uncertainty and disbelief warred with him but his heart seemed to know the truth. The freaking moon spoke to me in my head!

            “What did she say?”

            “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.”

            “She dares to lecture you about morality?” With Shakespeare no less. I’m guessing she’s a fan. “Keep trying.” Jamie nodded.

            Will you help me? He asked.

            “What you seek I do possess,” she answered.

            May I please have it? There was a long pause.

            “I exist to keep the balance between light and darkness. I will do as you ask, but there will be a heavy price to pay. It is up to you to establish the balance.

            Jamie was daunted but he had little choice and so accepted the burden. Any price had to be worth his father’s old life back.

            “Guard your heart, guard you heart,” she repeated once more.

            “Funny, she didn’t speak in rhymes this time,” Jamie stated.

            “It’s a full moon,” the creature scoffed. “Those limits do not apply this night. Now, do you have what I want? My True Name please?”

            Jamie readied himself, taking a deep breath.

            “I name you Vasvi-Shyama, The Darkness Unknown.”

            Great power rippled through the air and trees swayed ferociously as if hit by a storm. Darkened clouds suppressed the moon and the lake lost its glimmer.

            “It is true what they say,” the creature purred. “There is power to a name.”

            Jamie was instructed to kneel once more.

            “This is going to sting a little,” the shadow creature warned. “Feel free to scream.”

            As discussed prior to the ritual, the creature brought the feather to Jamie’s back. He readied himself in much the same way as he did when having an injection, gritting his teeth and clenching his jaw.

 Jamie felt the rising temperature as the feather came nearer until it finally made contact with his skin, the tip scorching his back as the creature wrote out his name. Ink was not needed. That was what the blood was for. Jamie cursed the creature’s long winded name.

“Speaking profanities against my True Name does not inspire me to make this ordeal any less painful for you,” the creature said. “Actually, it does quite the opposite.”

He scraped the next letter into Jamie’s back excruciatingly slowly to demonstrate and Jamie screamed in agony.

“You’re enjoying this aren’t you, you sick sadist?” Jamie asked, his voice hoarse.

“Joy is an emotion that has not touch my cold, dead heart for over a millennia,” he deadpanned. “You’re halfway there, James.”

Jamie laughed in a sickening mixture of pain and outrage. The torture was making him delirious. He thought he would faint from the pain. Halfway? He wasn’t sure he could take another minute of this.

“Please refrain from passing out. I need you conscious.”

“Just finish it,” he muttered though gritted teeth.

“As you wish.”

Jamie’s screams pierced the air when he decided he could rein them in no longer.

“Music to my ears,” the creature laughed. “Perhaps you were right. I may be enjoying this somewhat. Just a few more left.”

The feather made another stroke to his back before a blinding light surged through out of nowhere, causing the shadow creature to cry out in rage and drop the feather into the lake.

What in Terrahgonia is going on? Jamie looked all around until his eyes found a silhouette of a man out in the distance. He would not have seen it if not for the moonlight.

“Stefan,” the creature growled. “I know that aura anywhere.”

“We have to… finish,” Jamie whispered. He felt weak and helpless. If the prince attacked again he was not sure he would be able to defend himself.

“Indeed we shall. Retrieve the feather. I shall deal with Stefan.” Jamie was confused to say the least. How was he to reclaim the Phoenix feather? “Have a nice swin,” the creature purred. Then it shoved him off the rock and into the icy lake.

 

Jamie immediately gasped for air and regretted it as water engulfed him.

That bastard!

He swam up for oxygen and witnessed the shadow creature approach the prince by the edges of the lake. They were surrounded by little faeries known as will-o’-the-wisp, which illuminated Stefan’s face. The shadow creature summoned a sword, taking on an aggressive stance, but would he really the prince? Jamie hoped not, if only so that he could claim the revenge that he rightfully deserved.

Strength seeped into him and he felt the pain on his back go numb. Jamie submerged himself once more and began his search for the feather. It was not difficult to miss. Despite the lake’s murkiness, the orange glow was easy to spot. He had feared that the light would have been put out when in descended into the lake. Oh, how magical items like to disprove him. This time, however, he was thankful. He would not have liked the creature directing its anger towards him for failing this simple task.

When Jamie resurfaced and crawled back onto the rock, he saw Prince Stefan standing over him.

“Hope you had a nice dip in the lake,” he said. “I cannot believe you are in league with Shadow.”

He offered a hand to help Jamie up but the fellow Guardian ignored it and stood up on his own.

“I just want to save my father.”

“What is wrong with your father?” he asked.

“Don’t act like you don’t know!” Jamie yelled.

The shadow creature materialised, blocking Jamie’s view of the prince.

“Relax. I’ll not have you harm the little Princelet after I just bartered with him.”

“You made a deal with him too?” Jamie asked in outrage. “But he’s the enemy.”

“No, he is your enemy. Now can we please proceed with the ritual? The moon shall not be here all night and my patience has grown thin.”

Jamie stared at the prince a moment longer through slit eyes, and sighed before nodding in agreement.

“Excellent. Hand me the feather.”

Jamie complied and endured several minues of more suffereing. He stubbornly refused to cry out in front of his enemy, not wanting to seem weak.

“It is done. You may rise.”

Wearily, Jamie rose, attempting to keep a façade of calmness.

“Was all that truly necessary?” Stefan asked. “It seemed a bit gratuitous.”

“Of course it was necessary,” the shadow snapped. “Now James, you are to become my vessel. For a while I shall reside in you and with our combined strength we shall unlock my true power and I shall rebirth. Is this what you freely choose?”

Jamie paused for a moment, in deep thought. Surely it was too late to back out now, even if he wished to change his mind. And his father was counting on him.

“Yes,” he replied.

“Are you ready?”

“I am,” he nodded.

Jamie offered his hand to Vasvi-Shyama and the creature began to dematerialise, slowly becoming one with Jamie’s mind and soul. Jamie immediately felt overpowered. He was being possessed and felt as though he was drowning within himself, his identity being diluted.

“Stay with me, Jamie,” a voice called out from within. He became rattled but he fought with all his might to keep control.

Jamie opened his eyes, but he was no longer Jamie. Not truly.

“James?” Stefan inquired.

“Not quite.”

Stefan’s face looked troubled and fearful but there was little the prince could do now. But Jamie didn’t know what there was to worry about. He felt sublime.

“We are engaged to mischief and must on, Stefan”

 

 

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