Ivy woke up and stretched, donning her armor and readying herself for the day. She still wore the empty bottles where her healing potions had once rested. the bottles felt light and Ivy felt vulnerable without them.
She turned around and gasped, there was fog rolling towards her, she had a feeling that this fog was bad but within the confines of the garden and the camp there was no where to go. The fog rolled over her and Ivy tried desperately not to breath it in, but her chest her and her body screamed for air, eventually she gave in, but found that the fog was not toxic, instead it was perfectly fine to breath, just a little damp. Ivy started to walk towards the exit of the garden, at least she hoped it was the exit, she could not see in the fog at all.
Then the fog was gone and Ivy found herself in a crowded market place. Ivy looked around confused and pushed her way through the crowd to an opening. She stopped at the edge of the crowd there was a girl dancing on the cobble stone street. She was a gypsy and her skirt was long and it twisted around her body seemingly at random, but responding to each movement the girl made, and Ivy could see the girl was an expert at controlling the skirt and her body.
When the girl stopped dancing Ivy jumped back. The young girl dancing was her. People came up to the girl giving her coins and young Ivy smiled brightly. Then she noticed a girl in a tattered white slip. She walked up to her and smiled, the girl was shivering and looked a little lost, there was a white wolf pup circling at her feet and they both looked very gaunt and hungry. Young Ivy lead her to the back of the gypsy caravan and Ivy followed. She sat the little girl down and Ivy got her first good look at the girl, she gasped and her eyes widened, the tiny girl was Selena. Young Ivy set a cup of tea down in front of young Selena and the two chatted. Ivy stood frozen, unable to move from the shock. After young Selena was warmed up she got up to leave and young Ivy pressed three coins into her hand. Then the place startled to fade away and Ivy screamed, "Find me in the future Selena, I know you," but it seem neither girl could hear her.
The place dissolved around Ivy until it was mist again. Ivy kept walking until she found the exit of the garden, and this time it lead her outside into the camp. Amber's fires had already mostly dissipated the mist and Ivy could see somewhat. She tried to walk towards one of the fires, but she stumbled and fell, Thalia caught her. "Steady there Ivy," The mist disappeared from around them, "I'm trying to get rid of it but it's very hard to control." Thalia cleared the way before them and they got back to the fire with the other girls. The fire was getting rid of the mist slowly and Thalia sat down to rest for a second.
Thalia stood up forced the fog away, first from around the fire, then away from the entire camp. It looked like hard work and Thalia's eyes were screwed shut, sometimes the fog would roll back but in the end she managed to push it all the way outside of the camp. Then she put a ice bubble all the way around the camp encircling it entirely and shutting out the mist. "We need to make sure everyone is here," she panted.
"Where is Selena?" Sylvia asked.
"Mostly likely up in her airy mountain top house, the mist mostly likely didn't go that high," noted Amber.
"No," said Saffron coldly "She is gone." She was looking at something underneath a rock. She picked it up and in her hand she held a note. "The mist is a new power of mine, the mist , the snow, and the wind, the white acquaintances of the mountain. I will be back soon, but I have things to attend to that could not wait. -Selena." Saffron read the note aloud and cursed.
"What is the matter Saffron? You and I as well and Thalia and Lia have all left, and come safely back, it seems perhaps we are too restless for our own good, and that it will help for her to leave for a short time," Ivy pointed out.
"Yes, let us not worry," Sylvia said calmly.
"Indeed, that seems the wisest course of action," agreed Thalia.
Ivy could not help but ask, now that all had been agreed upon, "Did anyone else see the past while they were in the mist?"
"I did," all the girls said simultaneously.
"What did you see Ivy?" asked Lia.
"Me?" Ivy asked, then told her of the experience. "What did you see Amber?"
"I saw of time when I was a thief, I met Selena, she was a pickpocket at the time and one of my personal gang, I wonder that I didn't recognize her. She was thieving with me at the time and she had her wolf friend with her." Amber told her tale with a smile of better days. "And you Saffron?"
"I had just been accepted into the magic guild and I was very happy, I heard Selena playing, she wasn't at her best and she was just learning how to to play. But I gave her a coin anyways. She also had a beautiful white furred wolf with her, a teen judging by its size. She smiled at me when I gave her the coin, but the case she left open for coins was nearly empty," Saffron recounted. "And you Lia?"
"I was working at my usual tavern, trying to get a man to come with me so that I could pay for my little sister's magic tutoring and our food for the week. I already had one gold coin jingling in my pocket for an earlier client. Then a minstrel came in, it was snowing outside and the weather that day was blustery. She did the usual thing and took out her case she opened it then claimed that she could not play with her fingers frozen and cold. One of the bar waiters gave her a cup of hot apple cider. After her fingers were warm enough she fine tuned her citole. Her wolf pet made sure that no man intruded in her personal space. Then she began to play, in between songs I went around trying to to find a good client. Then she topped playing and declared that she was starving and could not play one more song without dinner, but I had spotted a man staring at me and that was the last I heard of her music." Lia told her tale well and Ivy could almost see and hear the beautiful music. "So what did you see Thalia?"
"I was on a job, killing a dragon actually. It was going fairly well. There was a girl not far away along with the other villagers watching us. The dragon grabbed her in one of its armored paws, but this large white wolf came tearing out and started attacking the dragon. It got pretty hard to kill the dragon at that point, but I was able to. After I killed it Selena thanked me than her and her white wolf departed." Thalia remembered. "and your story?' she asked Sylvia.
"I was working at at my tavern, The Wolf's Tavern. And Selena came in, she had a wolf with her, a white one, it was kinda funny, a wolf in The Wolf's Tavern. She did the normal thing with saying it was to cold to play with out warming up her warming up her fingers. I gave her a mug of hot tea, it was on the house of course, she would bring us a lot of extra business, so minstrels always got their drinks and dinners free. When she said she was famished and could not possibly play another note I severed her a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup and a plate of creamy pasta with lamb, and a dish of lamb for her canine friend. I talked with her as she ate and then severed her a steaming mug of cider and she began to play again," finished off Sylvia.
"So Selena is connected in all ours pasts somehow, I wonder if we are all so intertwined with each other." Ivy thought out loud.
"Perhaps," said Saffron.
Thalia yawned, "I feel really tired, but it is only morning."
"No, it is night, that mist kept us asleep for a very long time," noted Amber.
"oh, good night then," said Thalia, but Ivy didn't hear, she was already asleep.
Ivy woke up the next morning, all the girls were around the fire asleep, and stretched out in front of the fire soaking up the warmth. Ivy yawned and woke up Thalia, then started breakfast. Slowly one by one the girls woke up with the smell of bread and roasted dragon. They enjoyed breakfast together but it felt slightly empty without Selena. She was quiet but she always had a smile on her face and could always cheer anyone up when they were feeling down. That day there was no magic or anything, all of the girls helped each other with sharpening weapons, at least those that had weapons that needed to be sharpened. It took nearly all day to polish all armor, and sharpen every single one of Sylvia's thirteen knives, and it was certainly a task to sharpen Thalia ginormous double bladed broadsword. It was a relaxed day and an off day. In the evening Ivy danced for the girls. She also made a chocolate cake, and the girls fell asleep in front of the fire again.
The next day they woke up and and set a morning watch. Saffrons watch was first and Ivy was having a mock duel with Thalia when she came in with Selena. At least it looked like Selena, she had huge white feathered wings and she stood regal and tall. Around her feet wound a large white wolf. Her long flowing dress was replaced with a white corset and a shorter dress that went just below her knees, the ends were jagged and it had a torn look to it. It was also slightly lopsided, with the right end of the shirt noticeably longer than the other. But there was a new purpose about her, and she was far more beautiful despite the wilder look.
"S-s-selena?" stuttered Lia.
"Yes Lia?" Selena replied.
"What happen to you?" asked Sylvia taking the talking job from the stunned and speechless Lia.
"Well my dear Sylvia, I am an angel. I was sent to live on earth, and bring happiness and joy, I did so in the form of music. The pressing and urgent matter was that I needed to reclaim my wings, and take an old friend back from safe keeping." Selena explained, fondling the wolfs head.
"What level of angel?" asked Ivy.
"ninth," said Selena. The was a collective intake of breath from all the girls. Ninth level was the highest level of angel, it was said that only nine existed at any given time. 16 angels at level eight, 21 at level seven, 30 at level six, and so on. Angels were rare in the first place, but to be a level nine was incredible. White wolfs were also extremely rare in general, leaders of any pack, revered and sought after as signs of prosperity.
"What about the wolf? What is the story behind that? asked Ivy.
"After being sent to earth, I found myself a mere child, less than one human year. The wolves found me, they took me in, a white wolf had been born the same day they took me in. We became inseparable, and when I decided to leave the pack at five years old she decided to come with me. The pack was of course heart broken, but they treat the white wolves as gods, and respected her decision," explained Selena.
Ivy was suitably impressed and she said so with great reverence. Selena just smiled, it was a regal smile, but friendly one to. Ivy had always expected angels to be aloof and was greatly relieved to find her friend relatively unchanged. "By the way Ivy, I think I may have found something of yours," Selena said. She reached into the air and grabbed a ring from nothing. She held it out to Ivy, and Ivy gasped. It was a silver ring patterned in look like a vine of ivy, it would twist around the wearer's finger at least twice and the actual leaves of the ivy were stylized in emerald and jade. Her sister had given it to her many many years ago.
She thought it had been lost many years ago, but here it was in this mysterious land. Ivy reached out to take it from Selena. As her fingers touched it, there was a small explosion of emerald flame. Ivy flinched away, and Selena dropped the ring. "Someone has enchanted it," Ivy whispered to herself. Tentatively Ivy reached out to pick up the fallen ring, this time there was no burst of emerald fire and Ivy slipped on the ring, it glowed dully on her finger. "Thank you Selena, I thought this was lost, it means a lot to me,"
Selena just nodded, she had felt its importance when she found it. The magic in the ring was strong and ancient.
Lia who had been starting at Selena, slumped over sideways and fainted. "Why am I not surprised?" asked Ivy resignedly.
Thalia dropped a bubble of water over Lia. She sat up gasping, then looked at the other girls. "Who are you?" she asked.
"What?" all the girls siad simultaneously. Lia's memory was always a little foggy right after she fainted, but not enough that she had to ask who they were. "Where am I? Where is Autumn?"
"Autumn?" Saffron asked.
"Yes, my sister where is she?" Lia asked impatiently.
Saffron put her hands over her mouth, "She has lost track of time, she doesn't remember anything!" she said desperately.