Chapter 1 First Encounter
The view from the hill was amazing, you could see the valley, the town and the castle all at once. Farmers were working in the fields, and there was a slight breeze that day, that kept her from getting too warm in the sunshine. The beautiful violet hues, the fragrance of the flowers, the sound of wind rustling in the mighty trees behind her. So tall, that the movement created its own song, it was so lovely, and Victoria knew she had never heard anything like it. It was a perfect day, and for a moment she closed her eyes and let the moment sink in. Then she opened her eyes and just smiled. It was so nice to have a day to herself, but something in the way the sky looked, let her know something was off. It wasn’t blue, nor did she live near a castle. Where was she? To her left she saw a path that appeared to go down into the fields. She needed answers, and hoped someone could help her. So she didn’t see any other way to get to the town, and stood up and began to walk.
Suddenly, she was at the edge of fields and approaching an area with a few buildings, but she didn’t see any people. Where were the farmers she had seen earlier? As she proceeded further the path became wider and easier to travel. A house was just ahead, and she could see someone standing in front. She picked up her pace and as she got closer, she noticed the house was a stone cottage, with a very nice garden in the back, and surrounded by trees. The person she saw was a young woman, who was very tall, but graceful. As Victoria approached closer, the woman stood up, looked her in the eye and smiled. “Welcome Victoria, my name is Aithne and I’ve been expecting you” she said. “I know you have many questions, and I only have a few answers, but I find these type of conversations go better with some shokli. It is a drink close to what you call in your world, hot chocolate, and the nourishment will do you some good, why don’t you come and have a cup with me?”
For a moment, Victoria was not quite sure what to do, however, there was something comforting and peaceful about Aithne, that made her feel safe. She wasn’t sure what was going on, and she knew she needed some answers, so she sat down at the table Aithne had directed her to. Aithne poured a warm liquid, looking much like hot chocolate into both their cups, and took a seat. There appeared to be food on a plate as well, some of it looked like cookies, while others she wasn’t sure of. Aithne encouraged her to take a bite of them all, and see what she liked. Victoria found that she was hungry and her stomach was making sounds to let her know. First she took a sip of the warm liquid carefully. Then she sipped again. Aithne was right, this is just like hot chocolate, but better, oh so much better, it was like chocolate, vanilla, and caramel all rolled into one.
After she had finished most of her drink she asked Aithne, “where am I, what am I doing here, am I dreaming?” Aithne informed her she was indeed dreaming, but not an ordinary dream. The place was called Haven, a town in Trutaugh, on the planet Eldunar, which was very far away from her own. She was there, because she was chosen and would see things she would need to remember for later. There was some important information located in the Academy, which was located near the water fountain just inside the Castle walls and that she needed to go at once. Victoria did not quite understand, but Aithne was very insistent and urgent, so she thanked her and continued her way to the castle gate.
Once inside the walls, near the town square she found the water fountain. The water sparkled as it cascaded down into the pool below. Victoria looked up and began to observe the people as they walked by. Some appeared to be hurried and focused on wherever they were hurrying to. Others, were causally making their way through the shops. She noticed they were very tall, and dressed in an unusual manner. The soldiers had swords on their sides, while others, nobles possibly carried what appeared to be some sort of talking device. No one was wearing jeans, or T-shirts, or items of clothing she was used to.
Across from the fountain was a shop of some sort, and a little girl with ribbons in her hair, was playing with her doll. Victoria smiled and thought the shop looked interesting, forgetting the Academy momentarily. She walked across the plaza, and made her way inside. The Shopkeeper was finishing up with his customer, and wrapping up a purchase. It was filled with books, and the shop was illuminated by crystals, which gave an amazing light. Again, she noted this place was strange, then a particular book caught her eye. It was sitting on a shelf just near the door. She walked towards it, and noticed it had the shape of phoenix on it. She reached out and let her fingers trace the outline of the bird and could feel the warmth coming from it. It was then that this somehow felt familiar to her and she wasn’t sure why. The Shopkeeper’s customer was leaving, and as he left, he walked right through her. Suddenly she became very alarmed and startled, that the man did not see her, then the Shopkeeper looked at her and informed her the Academy was just across from his shop, and that she needed to hurry.
She walked out of the shop and quickly located the Academy, past the water fountain and proceeded there, mumbling under her breath that this dream was becoming more troublesome than it should be. Some students were walking out as she was going in, and she noticed some were very young, and appeared to be no older than ten or eleven years old. The building was beautiful, looking more like a church than an academy, as a matter of fact the whole town looked like something from the medieval days. Except there were signs of advanced technology here and there. Once inside she wasn’t sure what she was looking for, there were many rooms, and wasn’t sure she wanted to go looking into each one. And then again, she didn’t know who could see her and who couldn’t. But as she was about give up, a kind tall gentleman, professor looking chap, addressed her. “Your name is Victoria, correct?” he asked, “Yes”, she said, “then what you are seeking is in the Library located through the door to your left, and hurry, you don’t have much time”, “Quickly now, the Black Mist comes”. And then he was gone.
The entryway to the Library, was just as beautiful and elaborate as she could have imagined, but once inside she still was not sure what it was she was looking for. She looked to her left, and then right, moving forward hoping for some clue. Then a glow caught her attention. There, on an ornately carved table, set a book, with an image of a phoenix. Very similar to the one in the Shopkeeper’s store. But this one was much bigger, and the phoenix appeared to be in actual flames. Seeing that nothing else had caught her eye, Victoria figured this had to be it, and moved closer to take a look. Upon inspection, it was a foot and half long, and about six inches thick. And for whatever reason, she was drawn to it. Some familiar sense she couldn’t explain. But before she could proceed further, she heard loud crashing and snapping noises outside. She ran back out and noticed the people were frantically running towards the castle. She could just see a Black fog rolling down the hill as if it was a giant wave of water. It was moving fast, and was destroying the forest, and appeared to be heading in the town’s direction. People began screaming and yelling, and gathering what they could.
The fog somehow rose up, high above the town, and blotted out the sun, the air quickly turned cold. A dread began to rise up in her, she saw those in need, but couldn’t get close enough. The more she began to run towards them, the further away from them she became, so she gave up trying and had to stand there and watch. She too was now frantic, unsure of what to do. The screams of its victims were agonizing. It tore at her very heart, and it horrified her to watch as many died. And yet, it kept coming closer and closer and was just outside the gates, turning everything pitch black. And in moments, day was now night. Frightened, for her life, and unsure of what to do, Victoria ran back into the Academy. Crying for those who she had just watched die, and unable to help, she rushed back to the Library, towards the book and cried angrily, “If there is something you want me to know, you better tell me now”. The book just got brighter and started to hum, but nothing more. She walked closer to the book and could feel the warmth of the flames, just daring it to speak or do something.
Just through the upper windows she could see the Mist that was what the Professor called it, right? The Black Mist. The entire room went dark, except for the glow from the phoenix. It became difficult for her to breathe and hopelessness began to overtake her. She tried to stop the tears, but couldn’t. Then felt a searing pain rack through her body, it was awful, was this what those people went through? Another pain surged through her, much worse than the last. She began to pray, as it was difficult to remain standing. She could still hear the humming coming from book. Louder and louder it became, then another pain, this time she screamed out and fell to her knees. The humming became so loud, she thought her ears would burst, and another searing pain began to make it’s way across her body, feeling as if she was being cut open, when it suddenly stopped. A flash of light appeared overhead, and lit up the entire sky, she looked up and heard a deep voice behind her say,” You are the One”.
Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, she awoke with a start, wringing wet, tears in her eyes, and gasping for air. Never had she been more thankful for her alarm than she was then. Still shaking from the images and sounds in her memory from the dream, and making sure they were no marks or cuts on her body. It seemed so real, the pain she felt, was real. What did it all mean? What sort of nightmare was this? Why did the voice say she was she the One, and the One for what?