Cythera Chronicles: The Shadow Prophecies, chapter 3

  • "Well," Sideline said, looking around, "we’ve got the palindrome. It’s a start."

    "A pretty big start," Katerei commented.

    "Yes, but we haven’t got it all," Flynn reminded them. "There must be something else we have to do with the words, since Lemni had to say them to tell us what it is."

    "And also, have the ten people already been determined, or do we have to choose them?" Sya queried. She peered over Katerei’s shoulder at the book. "Found anything else?"

    Katerei flipped through. "Not much, give me a moment. Oh, hold on..." She ran a finger across the page, searching. "Hmm. Oh, here’s something!"

    There was a chorus of "What?!"s and "What did you find??"s.

    Avatara held up a hand. "Let her speak."

    Katerei stood up and read a passage from the book.

    Facing to the north, raise the wolf-dagger and point it at Aqualais. Speak the words of reverse once and turn to the south. Point the wolf-dagger at Pyralais and speak the words again. The sky-lords will recognize the ritual, and when you do this, it shall be time.

    "So what’s this wolf-dagger, and what’s Pyralais and Aqualais?" Talos asked.

    The Scribe stood up. "I can help you with part of that. Pyralais is the southern constellation- the fire-nymph." He turned to Brianna, his eyes twinkling. "Granddaughter, do you remember Aqualais?"

    Brianna nodded, smiling. "Aqualais is the northern constellation, the water-nymph. Since water and fire are opposing elements, they’re in opposite directions."

    "And what of the wolf-dagger?" Katze asked. "I hope we don’t have to go searching for it."

    "No need," Katerei said. "I have a feeling I know what it is." She drew her dagger from the leather pouch and held it up. "The Amaroq Dagger. Some of you may know my Amaroq friend Silvre, well; she gave this to me. The Amaroqs are the magical wolf pack." Katerei grinned.

    "Oh, I see, so that’s the wolf-dagger," Moonshadow said. She looked around at the rest of the group. "Well...I suppose that means all we have to do now is that ritual."

    Violet nodded. "Yes, let’s do it. I can’t wait until something is finally done about these shadows..." she trailed off, thinking of the attacks.

    "Seems all very complicated to me," Indigo grumbled as everyone stood up. He shrugged, sighing, and followed the others outside.

    Katerei shivered as she stood outside, holding her dagger. All of a sudden she was very nervous. The cold air wasn’t helping either.

    "Well, I guess this is it," Leandra said. She glanced around. "I wonder what’ll happen?"

    "No clue," Ferazel said, voicing everyone’s opinions.

    "So, are you ready?" Trinias asked. Katerei nodded, stepped a little bit away from the others, and held the dagger up to the sky.

    She faced the north, where the stars of Aqualais were twinkling. Katerei took a deep breath and said the palindrome. "Avicenna al mijar rer rajim la anneciva!" she cried. Turning to the south, she stared up at Pyralais, and with trembling hands held the dagger up again. She shut her eyes and repeated the palindrome.

    A huge, cold wind gusted past them all of a sudden. The stars of the two constellations flared up so brightly it hurt to look at them. Katerei shoved the dagger back into the sheath, her blue hair blowing about her face.

    Struggling to keep her balance against the wind, Sasha pointed at the sky. "Look!" she shouted.

    One star from each constellation had begun leaping across the sky, leaving blazes of white light behind them. The trails of light stretched across the sky, joining the stars of the constellations together, and streaking up the sky to meet in the middle. From the east and west, two more streaks leapt up and clashed with the northern and southern streaks.

    Katerei watched, amazed, then looked back at ground level suddenly. She felt a jerk somewhere in her stomach, like a hook pulling her forwards. Pushing her hair out of her face, she saw the same thing happening to nine other people in the group. Biting her lip so hard it began to bleed, she shut her eyes and disappeared.

    Katerei tumbled onto a grassy hill. Wincing, she stood up and stared around. Brink, Leandra, Avatara, Ferazel, Talm, Slayer, Violet, Moonshadow, and Talos were in the process of picking themselves up off the ground.

    Leandra stood up, shaking grass off her dress. "Well, that was interesting, to say the least!" she commented and looked around at the others. "So we’re then ten that have to go find the chosen one. I wonder where we are?"

    "Doesn’t look like Cythera, that’s for sure," Brink remarked. "Especially since it was the middle of the night when we left."

    "Well, I guess there’s nothing to do except explore," Talos said. "Come on, let’s see what’s past this hill."

    On their left, a moor spread out into the distance, apparently empty. They climbed overtop the hill and found themselves looking down at what appeared to be a very large city. A very large city, compared to Cademia.

    "Come on," Katerei grinned, scrambling down the hill. "This looks interesting."

    The nine others followed her down. At the bottom, they found a paved road leading off into the distance. Moonshadow stopped for a moment and listened. "Wait," she said. "There’s something coming."

    They stood at the side of the road, looking down it. Soon a loud, rumbling noise filled their ears. Violet gasped. "Look!"

    What appeared to be a large, white monster was hurtling towards them down the road. It appeared to be made completely of metal, except for some thin glass panes on the top half. Looking through the glass, Moonshadow’s sharp eyes caught a human inside, which looked completely calm and not at all scared about being inside a metal monster zooming down a road.

    Ferazel stared after it as the noise died away. "That was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen," he said. Nobody else could argue, and a silence filled the air.

    "There was a person inside there," Moonshadow said, shattering the silence.

    Katerei shook her head. "Weird. Very weird. Anyhow, shall we keep going?"

    Nobody else looked too pleased at the idea, but they didn’t really have any other options. They quickly crossed the road, wary of another metal monster, but none came.

    The ten Cytherans wandered across a short field, and found themselves at another road. This one was lined with houses as far as they could see, and it seemed completely abandoned. They continued silently down the road, looking around. In front of some houses, more metal monsters were sitting, but they appeared quite dormant and were not moving.

    "Does this place look familiar to any of you?" Talm queried.

    Everyone shook his or her heads. Talm frowned. "I wonder how we’re supposed to get back to Cythera, then."

    Soon, they found themselves in a small, grassy field, with a large squarish building on the other side. Slayer gestured to it. "Let’s go take a look at that building. Maybe we’ll find somebody there."

    They quickly walked across the field, but when they were halfway across, a bell rang out. It sounded like it came from the building. The group exchanged bemused glances and continued walking.

    By the time they reached it, people had begun to come out of the building. They looked to be young humans, about fifteen to eighteen years of age. Several of them gave the group strange glances as they walked by.

    Slayer looked at the others. "Should we go in?"

    Katerei looked apprehensively at the building. It was made of brick, two stories high, with lots of glass windows. Small groups were gathered out front, and a few people were pointing at them. She frowned and looked back at the other nine. "Can’t do any harm, I guess. Just keep your weapons ready in case they’re not friendly..."

    They trooped into the building. Several more humans were standing in the hallways, and some were taking stuff out of tall, thin metal boxes, which seemed to be attached to the walls. There were rows of these down both sides of the hall.

    A tall young man looked up as they walked past. He raised an eyebrow. "Whoa, who’re you guys?"

    Moonshadow stepped forward. "We," she said calmly. "Could you be so kind as to tell us where we are?"

    The boy stared at Moonshadow, apparently startled at her long silver hair and pointed ears. "Foreigners, are you? You’re in England, that’s where you are. How on earth did you get here without knowing where you were heading?"

    "Good question," Ferazel muttered. Luckily, the boy either didn’t hear or chose to ignore it.

    Talos stepped up next to Moonshadow. "Thank you very much," he said quickly. Turning around, he beckoned to the others and led them out the door.

    "Why are we leaving?" Katerei asked once they were around the corner and out of sight. "We should have asked him what year-"

    Talos stopped her in mid-sentence. "That’s just the point. Asking what year it is would make him even more suspicious. And did you notice some of the people’s reactions? I don’t think elves- or Elemence- are very well appreciated around here." He looked at Moonshadow, Avatara, and Katerei meaningfully.

    "So, the question is, how do we find out what year it is without arousing too much suspicion?" Brink pondered. "And have any of you ever heard of England?"

    "Not me," Violet said. "So what do we do now?"

    Talm looked around at the sky. He pointed to the west, the opposite direction they had come from. "Look, there’s some rain clouds over there. If we’re going to do anything, I suggest we find some shelter for the night."

    "Yes," Leandra sighed. "It looks like it’ll be getting dark in a few hours, and we don’t have any supplies. We can either go back to the moor, or farther into the city."

    "Not back to the moor, there’s certainly no shelter there. But I’m not sure about going too far into town. We’ll have to be careful about all these people," Brink reasoned. "But how about that road? We could walk down it and see what we find."

    The group decided that was probably their best option, although none of them were particularly keen on it. They walked back across the field, and back down the streets with all the houses. Luckily when they returned to the road, there was no sign of the metal monsters.

    Choosing to follow the road north, they walked down it for about fifteen minutes. It seemed to be abandoned, but more trees were showing up instead of just the grassy hills and moor.

    After a bit more walking, they found themselves more or less surrounded by trees, and farther on it developed into a full-fledged forest. Avatara turned to the others. "Should we keep going, or stop here and try to set up a camp?"

    Katerei glanced at the sky. "We’ve still got a fair amount of light. I say let’s keep going."

    So they continued on, not entirely sure where they were going, but at least they had a path to follow. It wouldn’t be very hard to get back to the road.

    When the horizon turned pink and orange with the sunset, about four-thirty, they stopped in a clearing and tried to figure out how to set up a camp. They hadn’t found much except a whole lot of trees, so they figured it was nothing but a forest, but the advantage was none of the humans from the city would find them easily.

    "Well, we could make a fire, but we don’t have any food," Ferazel said dubiously. "I wonder if our magic works here?"

    "That’s a good question," Talos said, startled. "None of us have tried it yet."

    Katerei grinned. "Simple way to find out." She crouched down, closed her eyes, and held her hands out palms-up. After a moment, a small ball of blue light appeared in her hands, apparently water energy. She stood back up, releasing the balls, which dissolved into the air.

    "Yes, magic works, but not as powerfully as it does in Cythera," she reported.

    "Then we can use Nutrient, probably," Ferazel said.

    Leandra looked around. "A few of you, try and make a fire, ok? We’ll probably need it tonight." It was already starting to get chilly, now that the sun had set. "I’m going to see if I can find some wild berries or whatnot. I think I might have seen some bushes back there."

    "I’ll come with you," Katerei said quickly. She was quite eager to get away from there if they were successful in making a fire.

    The eight Cytherans left at the camp collected some firewood, and Avatara used his magic to light it on fire.

    Talos leaned against a tree. "So, tomorrow morning we’ll go back into the city?"

    "Yes, and if we’re lucky we’ll actually find something out that will help us," Slayer replied, sighing. "I guess we’ll just have to explore and see what we find."

    Katerei followed Leandra back down the path. It didn’t take them long to find the bushes that Leandra had mentioned, and they did indeed have berries on them.

    "Pity I left my haversack in Catamarca," Katerei commented. Neither of them had a bag, so they were putting berries into the pockets of their dresses.

    "I hope we actually make some progress on something tomorrow," Leandra said anxiously. "I’m guessing this is the place where the chosen one is supposed to be, but we still don’t have a clue as to who it is."

    Katerei nodded. "Yes, I don’t know how we are supposed to find out either. I hope-"

    But Leandra cut her off. "Look!" she exclaimed. Katerei turned around to see, and immediately understood Leandra’s excitement. Kronos was there!

    The deep, resonant voice echoed around the two. "Hello, children. I see that you have found your way so far."

    "Yes, we have," Leandra replied. "Were you aware of all this the whole time?"

    "I knew of the prophecy which brought you here, but I did not know for sure exactly which ten would be coming, or when the prophecy would come true. Also, you may be wondering what year you are in right now. It is the year 2002."

    Katerei’s eyes widened. "Wow, that explains a lot. I figured we must have been pretty far into the future, but not that far."

    "Yes, the distance between your time and this time was great. This was the time that the chosen one was in, though, and so it would be that the prophecy began to come true now."

    "Do you know who the chosen one is?" Leandra inquired.

    "Yes. The chosen one lives in the city you saw earlier. Her name is Renae Martinson, and she is the one who is destined to fulfill the Shadow Prophecies."

    (This message has been edited by moderator (edited 04-15-2002).)

  • This is a pretty good chronicle. I think that for all the travelling to different universes that has been done, this may well be the first time that anyone has brought our characters into our universe. Keep up the good work, Katerei.

    Slayer's Guide to Chronicles

    The ellipsis character(...) produced by some word processors really doesn't work well with a lot of web browsers. One should try to use three periods instead.

    Slayer's guide to Cythera:

  • I've been racking my brains, trying to think of something constructive to say about this chron, but I can't - you're just too good ;) If you happen to see me on IRC this weekend, remind me to tell you about "first-third" person and sigma character; that's about all I can think of that might have improved this.

    Kobayashi Maru!

  • Quote

    Originally posted by cache22:
    **I've been racking my brains

    You have more than one? Ha, I knew it. Explains how you handle such a large number of charicters without confusion :)

  • Quote

    Originally posted by cache22:
    **I've been racking my brains, trying to think of something constructive to say about this chron, but I can't - you're just too good;)

    Why, thank you! :p

    Actually, on retrospect there was a lot that I should have changed or added in before submitting it...oh well.


    Originally posted by Bryce:
    **You have more than one?

    Another brain! I ought to get one; I certainly have trouble keeping tracking of my characters. One night I was going over my chars and even forgot about Lemni! :o

    Some people say I have too much time on my hands. I say their hands aren't big enough.

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Bryce:
    **Explains how you handle such a large number of charicters without confusion:)


    Actually, that's not that hard; just make sure that each character has at least one strong, unique attribute, characteristic or feature that makes them stand out from the rest.

    Kobayashi Maru!

  • Quote

    Originally posted by cache22:
    < snip>

    I'm having this trouble in my chron, (Up to 23 pages, woohoo!), Marchal has inadventently channeled the personality of Talm. I'm wondering how I'm going to explain that, given the fact that the two charicters have little history in common...

  • @cache22_bot, on 17 April 2002 - 03:02 PM, said in Cythera Chronicles: The Shadow Prophecies, chapter 3:

    I've been racking my brains, trying to think of something constructive to say about this chron, but I can't - you're just too good ;) If you happen to see me on IRC this weekend, remind me to tell you about "first-third" person and sigma character; that's about all I can think of that might have improved this.

    If you missed cache's seminar, like all of us did, James Alan Gardner has a page that talks about viewpoints and viewpoint consistency. He also has a lot of other pages about writing techniques that may be useful for anyone else seeking to improve their abilities.

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