Leaving the Shadows

Darkness. I hate it here, but it keeps me alive, hides me from those who want me dead. Magic. I don't know what to do with it, or how to use it, but I think it's supposed to help me. Hunters. They seem to know how to restrain me from leaving without even knowing I'm here. Kiri. The one thing I have left to care about. The one thing left living for. The one thing keeping me from ending it all, right here, right now. I have to find her. Keep her safe. It's all I want now. It's all I'm asking for. It's all I've been asking for for the past seven years. But there are those that would be ready to kill even her to stop me if they found out she was my only weekness left. Shadows. The one thing holding me back from finding her.


8. chapter seven

Again I find myself running. I don't remember much since Aressa put me to sleep, but what I do know is that I have defeated Chybeth and am now running to find Kiri. I can't see my surroundings and I have no idea where I am going except that Kiri will be there. Finally I arrive at the castle in confusion. I had thought that surely I would be going to the orphanage where I had left her, or to the house of a vilager who might have taken her in. Nevertheless, the excitement in my heart from the thought of seeing my daughter once again pushes me forwards to the open gate.


As I approach the entry, I notice that no guards are visibly at their post, and a sense of uneasiness washes over me and for a mere second I feel like shrinking into a tiny ball. Still, I stand up even straighter  with a look of confidence on my face, though I felt more terror than I let show. No guards...it practically reeks of danger, scream out a warning that a trap lies up ahead. But then again, I do have superstitious instincts from the years of living in the woods. With the door in front of me, I push my fears behind me  and am about to knock when it opens on its own. When my eyes adjust to the dim lighting I notice the form of a body in the doorway. I almost tremble but gather up my courage. I haven’t talked to a real person in years and I have almost forgotten how. I dwell on these thoughts until i catch sight of the eyes which reflected what little light poked through the thick layer of clouds above. Blue. Bluer than the sky has ever been or ever will be, bluer than one may think possible, bluer than I have ever known...except…


“Etari!” I gasp. before his death, many had marveled at his eyes, how beautiful and full of life and color they were. I am frozen in confusion, fear and immense measures of joy. But as the body steps forward, I see that it is much smaller than Etari had been, and waves of blond hair fell along her back. Blond with a hint of gold, much like my hair, I note. I then see the unusual but attractively shaped chin and strong, steady posture clearly resembled my own. She had the same pure black thick eyelashes of Etari. Several other features of hers represented Etari and I, that's obvious. Pieces fall together, and again I gasp in realization. “Kiri”, I manage to say.

The young girl in front of me has terror spread across her face and quickly looks behind her into the dark hall beyond before focusing her gaze upon me once again. She seemed to be yelling but no sound came from her lips. I try to question her, but suddenly i find my voice has gone mute, as well. We are both panicking now yet in the confusion i manage to notice that it looks as if she is mouthing for me to run. I can’t budge and my feet seem to melt when I see black eyes shine angrily from the lightless passage in front of me. Although they look familiar, I can't quite place where I had seen them before. And suddenly I am spiraling, and then falling, down and down further still, into a deep, dark, empty void. But soon the bottom is visible and coming quick, and just as it is against my fingertips, I bolt up sweating and sitting on the grass, never having moved from the spot I had fallen asleep, though I feel that it was more than simply a coincidental dream.


On a stump in front of me sits Arresa, gazing down at me. I recall the previous events and, surprisingly I feel at peace and settled with the thoughts and wonder if she had used magic to calm me. She immediately starts talking again. “I told you yesterday I would prove to you that your mother had left this world,” she starts. “So with the help of the Conscious Magic I have summoned her spirit to speak to you. She will help you throughout your quest to redeem and salvage your kingdom. Alucia!" She now turns her back to me and calls out my mother's name towards the edge of the meadow and my mother come stepping through the thick curtain of willow branches. Except her body was a strange glowing blue color and transparent. For a moment I feel dread sweep through my body and a violent shiver rips through my body but as she nears me I see her become solid. She smiles at me warmly and engulfs me into a loving hug, which I gladly return.


"My dear Kaima," she says to me. "you are strong with your nearfound magic, and even without it you are not easily swayed or knocked down. You hold your stand but never would endanger another. Your heart is pure and selfless," Though I'm not so sure all those titles should be given to me. I only care to live because of love and hope, not for returning clarity and knowledge of the truth to the people of Abiladia. I see that to be quite the opposite of selfless.


"Their is more to you than you might even care to realize. You don't yet know how this all will end, and it's no different for Aressa and myself. But if you take this chance, risk everything you have or have a chance of..." Her voice trails off here and I realize how familiar she is with her apparent knowledge of my hopes reuniting with my daughter and sister-who, as far as I can tell, has been practically possessed by a new magic for years. "But do not think that for a minute that you will be able to win this all with ease. You must be prepared for battles, even if against yourself. If even for a moment the circumstances seem great on your side, be expectant for a trap. You have no idea what you are up against, though you have yet to find your own potential. Beware, my love. I will be with you. Always." Her solemness surrounds me, consumes me. I understand. It seems to sink into my skin and flow with my blood, somehow a part of me. "And I love you, my dear. With all the love of a mother that there is, no different from you and your love for Kiri."


The tears swell in my eyes and fall down my hot cheeks and again I wrapped my arms around my dear mother. "Oh, Mama, thank you. For everything. I just...I don't..." I stumble with the thoughts and words evading my mind, but nothing comes close to what my heart would say if it could. "I love you, Mama," I say simply, and sniffed. Giving her a final squeeze to express what I didn't have the capability to say, I release my hold on her. "Looking into her eyes, I see something in them that has never been there before. The burden of being a true and righteous queen was a heavy one, and she hadn't been able to hide all the stress it gave her. She had been tiered, and it had gotten worse over the years. But now, she looked so much younger now, refreshed. Here she looked truly youthful. Beautiful. I was glad for her.


She took my chin in between her thumb and index finger, raising my gaze straight into her face. A warm smile spread across her face and she kissed my forehead. "My dear Kaima, you will make a wonderful queen." I could see how much she meant her words, the immense love she had for me. I could relate with my own daughter, as she has already stated. I wan't sure I was equip with enough knowledge for such a position as queen, but now I was willing to try anything, especially if it would please my mother.


"Come now," she says with the authority of a queen in her voice. "You truly must be famished, am I right?" She leads me to the stream where the fish there were crowded as ever. "Now. You catch us a few, as I gather some tinder and kindling, also some herbs that will make this feast truly exquisite." I watch her walk into the cluster of stumps, and I see her get down onto her knees, instantly hidden behind the stump, probably pealing off the bark for the fire. I turn to the stream and run my hand through the water and felt that foreign yet welcome tingle. The backs of the fish are slippery and smooth. My fingers brushed up on a lovely and shimmering light pink fish, the sun hitting at just the right angle on it's shiny scales to momentarily blind me. I chose it and a dark blue that reminded me of the clear, cloudless nights when I would happen to glance up and gasp the beautiful sight of the starry night sky overwhelming me. This fish reminds me of those moments. So blue it is almost black and scales that shine like the stars.


I glance up and see Aressa's beautiful form standing me, her eyes trained on my thoughtfully. “Look,” she says suddenly. "Look into the water." For a moment I was startled, but I obeyed. Fish of every color. A muddy bed mixed with bits of clay. More fish. Nothing new there. “At what?” I ask finally, utterly confused. She walks to where I am, bends down and placed her hand in the water, moving them in small circles. Although a bit of dirt is stirred up in the water, the motion creates a small area without fish swarming about.

“Lean in a bit closer, so your head is nearly directly above it, but not quite.”

I do as told, and in that water I see...a girl. About my age, same height, but in all other physical features, we are opposites. At first, I think it is a vision, but then I notice that every move I make, this girl copies, but at the same exact time. Also, the water’s ripples are very vivid within that face, and all is transparent. My mind drifts to the night before, and what Aressa had said.

Now I will disguise you so you will be be able to come into the view of the public. Realization comes an instant later and I gasp.

“I...how...but…,” I muter, astounded. This girl is nothing like me, much more beautiful. Her eyes are as green as the forest in the spring, alert and bright. She has flushed cheeks and red, full-bodied curls bouncing past her elbows. I reach to my own hair, as does this girl. I brush my fingers against it and feel the rough, tangled mess I've always know. I bring it to my eyes. Blond. I don’t understand and am panicking.

“This is the work of your newfound magic. While you slept, I used Conscious Magic to have the newfound magic adapt to this use. Anybody under the spell Chybeth has cast will see this girl in here in your reflection. Even Chybeth will not recognize you on sight. Though I cannot promise she wont sense you spirit if you come near her…” For just a moment, I see worry flash across her face, but it left just as swiftly as it had come. “But no mater. You will be seen as a village girl. But to any who are not bound to the magic will know you immediately.”

“You mean there are people out there that Chybeth’s magic has not had effect on?” I ask, shock clear in my voice.

“I do not know, but if there is, they will know and help you. Now I hear your mother returning. prepare the fish so you may eat,” she says. Sure enough seconds later my mother comes trampling through the tall grass, graceful as ever.

I do as told and begin to remove the fish’s scales, all the while watching my mother lay down the tinder. Soon smoke is coming from it and she places the bunch onto a blotch of dirt she has cleared. When I finish with the fish, I help her with the kindling. No more, as two fish do not need a blazing fire to cook. Then she adds some mushrooms that I did not realize she had, and adds it to the fish. As they cooked, the mushrooms smelt divine. In a few minutes, the lack of fuel caused the fire to go out, though heat still rose from it's ashes and the food was finished only moments afterwards.

Aressa provides a large bowl from nowhere, and my mother several plates and some silverware.

The mushrooms, spices and herbs are mixed together in the bowl, the fish placed on the plates, and the mix of seasonings spread onto the fish. We eat the fish in silence, relishing every bite. When we finish, I hear Mother say "Now, I believe we are ready to go to town."




Authors note...



Hey guys! Well, first, for those of you that liked this book enough to read this far, thanks a ton, love ya! Thou I'm going to ask a favor...so I am having so much trouble coming up with a name for this chapter, it would mean the world and more if you could help me out??? Again, thanks, and those of you that will volunteer their thoughts on the subject, I will be forever grateful that you at least trying, even if I don't choose yours. Thnx, and cya! Oh, and PS, I'm going to be spending most of my free time working on my movella, "Fighting Back", so pls go and read, like, favorite, and coment there. Thnx!



End of author's note.




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